SCENE 5 –THE BARMEN AND THE BOY

CURTAIN UP

The scene takes place in the bar. The BARMAN is not in his usual place but instead he's in the seating area straightening the stools, etc. The little boy is lying asleep on the sofa. His jar of milk is on the table in front of him. There is about 15 per cent of milk remaining.

Simon clumsily re-enters the bar.

BARMAN: Hey there, how was your evening? (he returns behind the bar and starts polishing glasses)

SIMON: Great. It was great, but then I had to leave.

BARMAN: Did you see her? Was she everything you'd imagined?

SIMON: I did, thank you. But then I had to leave. She didn't say why. She told me to speak to you.

BARMAN: She did, did she? (carries on polishing glasses)

SIMON: She said I need to do something vital; vital for our future.

BARMAN: (puts his glass down and looks at him seriously) I am not sure what the young lady is talking about. Your rendezvous is over and I believe it went well. Your work here is over and you can go.

SIMON: But Amanda said ...

BARMAN: Don't worry about that, Simon. Just go back through the door. You will see her again. You've done well, buddy. You can go home now.

SIMON: So that's it?

BARMAN: That's it, buddy. Happily ever after is through that door (points to the door)

SIMON: But she said I had to do something important and was adamant that it was urgent. This doesn't make any sense.

BARMAN: The young lady probably just had a bit too much to drink. You need to return home. Amanda lives close to you. You'll find her. Follow your heart and you'll find her. You just need to go home. Step through the door and you'll be home and you'll be together for as long as possible. You have to trust me on this one.

BOY stirs.

SIMON: (sees the boy) Who's that?

BARMAN: Don't worry about him. He's a travelling boy who's come to the end of his journey. Poor fella's tuckered out.

SIMON: Okay, I'll be going then. What do I owe you?

BARMAN: (the barman laughs)This one's on me, good buddy.

SIMON: Okay, thanks. I'll see you around.

(SIMON walks to the exit door and stops. The door opens. SIMON waits and hesitates. He doesn't enter but instead turns round)

SIMON: All my life I have followed my heart, my instincts. I have let my heart lead the way even when my head is in front. (he walks nearer to the bar and points his finger at the BARMAN) Something doesn't feel right. (more intense) Something just doesn't feel right. She said it was vital; vital for our future.

BARMAN carries on with his work.

SIMON: (goes to the bar) Listen to me. Something isn't right. She wouldn't say it was vital if it wasn't something important.

BARMAN: (very uninterested) Like I said, the lady had a few to many glasses of wine. What's vital is that you walk through that door and be together. You have to forget about what she said. You have to forget it.

SIMON: But I can't ... I can't go through that door(points to door). Before I left she asked if I trusted her. Well I do trust her and if she said it was important then I believe her ... and that means I have to stay. There is something I must do. I can feel it in my bones. It doesn't matter what she said and what you believe she said. I must stay for now.

BARMAN: You do understand that if you don't go now you may never see her again. I have to warn you.

SIMON: No. That won't happen.

BARMAN: I'm just saying.

SIMON: No. She said we would be together.

BARMAN: (claps his hands) Your amazing. Well done, Simon, well done. Simon, sit down. Take a seat. Would you like another drink? Another Mojito, perhaps?

SIMON: No thanks.

BARMAN: Just sit down, take it easy. I have to check on my other patrons. In fact, Simon, could you check on the young boy for me? See if he's okay. He's been asleep for a while. I don't want him to miss his bedtime.

SIMON: You want me to wake him?

BARMAN: Yes. Be gentle with him. Don't scare him.

SIMON: Okay, no problem (he walks over to the child)

BOY is stirring.

SIMON: Come on, little one, it's times to wake up. (he gently moves)

BOY: (he opens his eyes and sounds half asleep when he speaks)The boy, the boy.

BOY: (is fully awake)Who are you?

SIMON: I'm Simon.

BOY: Where's the boy?

SIMON: What boy?

BOY: The little boy he was singing to the dandelion.

SIMON: I think you were dreaming.

BOY: I was dreaming about the children. One was singing to a dandelion.

SIMON: You're in the bar now. You fell asleep.

BOY: I want to go home.

SIMON: Can you wait here for one minute?

BOY nods.

SIMON approaches the BARMAN.

BARMAN: So how's he doing?

SIMON: He wants to go home.

BARMAN: Poor fellow. He's been travelling a long way and come so far. It's a little too much for a little fella like that. And now he wants to go home. I guess he needs to go home. He needs to sleep in – in his own room, in his own bed, but I can't leave. My shift isn't over. Hang on a minute! I have an idea. Simon, do you mind taking the little fella home? It saves him waiting around for me. A bar is no place for a child anyhows. Do you mind?

SIMON: I don't, but where does he live?

BARMAN: Simon, Simon, Simon! You ask a lot of questions for someone who claims to follow his heart instead of his head. Look, don't ask any more questions. I can't take it anymore. You know what to do. You always did. Stop searching for the logic in all of this.

SIMON: Okay, I'll take him home.

BARMAN: Splendid, splendid! Here's the little fella now.

BOY approaches the bar.

BARMAN: Hey, little fella. How was your sleep? (doesn't wait for a response) Very good, very good. This is Simon. He's going to take you home. Is that okay with you?

BOY looks at Simon for a few seconds and then takes his hand

BARMAN: The little fellow trusts you.

BARMAN: (looks at Simon seriously again) It's time, Simon. You can go.

SIMON: Is that it?

BARMAN: That's it.

SIMON: Thanks for everything.

BARMAN: No problem.

SIMON: So I can – we can go?

BARMAN: Look, Simon! The door is open.

SIMON: Okay. (he looks at the boy) You ready?

BOY: (nods his head) Thanks for the milk, Mister.

BARMAN: It's my pleasure, little fella. Any time.

SIMON and the boy begin to walk towards the door. About halfway across the room SIMON kneels down and says something to the boy. The boy waits by the door whilst SIMON returns to the BARMAN.

SIMON: Barman?

BARMAN: (ignores him)

SIMON: One Mojito, please, barman.

BARMAN: (ignores him)

SIMON: Barman!

BARMAN: Sir, the bar is closed. Please go home.

SIMON: I won't go until you answer my question.

BARMAN: You need to go. The clock's ticking. This is serious.

SIMON: I'm not going.

BARMAN: (grabs SIMON'S collar in anger) Why? Why have you come back? You have everything you need... you can go... why have you come back? You're going to ruin all my hard work!

SIMON: I'm not going till you answer my question. Heart over head, remember!

BARMAN: No, Simon, No! It's me who asks the questions. This isn't part of the deal!

SIMON: Screw the deal! I won't leave until you answer my question. I won't leave you behind!

BARMAN: You won't leave me behind? (laughs)

SIMON: No, I won't go until you speak to me; until you answer my question.

BARMAN: (looks at him intrigued) What the hell do you want to ask me?

SIMON: Why?(pause)What do you get out of this? Why did you help me?

BARMAN: What did I help you do exactly?

SIMON: You helped me find her. You helped with the boy.

BARMAN: (a little flabbergasted) You are... you are a strange man. You certainly are an odd one. You do realise that if I stay and talk you may lose everything and never see her or the boy again?

SIMON: I don't care. I'm not going. I won't leave you.

BARMAN: Okay, okay. What do you want to know?

SIMON: Who are you?

BARMAN: (pause) I'm the barman of course.

SIMON: (gives him a look)

BARMAN: But I'm also more than that. I'm a custodian, a guardian, and a Janus.

SIMON: A custodian of what?

BARMAN: Of something that means a lot of things to a lot of people; of something incredibly powerful and incredibly special; of something that exits in every species from the smallest animals to the most advanced beings; (starts to emphasise the point)of something that has brought milk to a baby's mouth and a tear of joy to an old man's eye; of something that has created empires and discovered new galaxies. I am custodian of that feeling. But I'm also more than that. I am a caretaker; a caretaker of spirits. I guess it's something I do to pass the time. You see time is different here. At the edge of the universe time has been created and we are part of time, not living in time. Can you see the difference?

SIMON: A caretaker of spirits. Genji; you're talking about Genji.

BARMAN: Remarkable! You are remarkable!. You truly are special. Of course Genji. In some ways it is. You got it, Simon. Many people don't. It's Genji but it's more than Gengi cos you get a helping hand.

SIMON: In that helping hand is you, but why?

BARMAN: (checks his watch) You're running out of time.

SIMON: Why do you do it?

BARMAN: Cos I have to.

SIMON: Atonement?

BARMAN: Maybe, but things are not always so simple. Was I bad in a previous life? Maybe, maybe not. Do I have something to atone for? Yes! Is this the reason why I am here? No! The only thing I can say for sure is that for now my place is here. I will keep doing this for as long as it's required of me to do so. I belong here.

SIMON: So you won't come with us?

BARMAN: (laughs) Who would look after the bar? (laughs again) Simon, you have come further than I ever thought possible, but now you must go. You have been a special visitor and I have shared more with you than most. Like I said when we first met, what you see before you is a creation; a creation to help you understand where you are and what opportunities lie here. But now you must go. It is imperative that you must go home. You must go. I will be okay. I enjoy it here. I really do. Just talking to you has freed my heart and taken away some of the pain I carry. You have been a special visitor and I consider you a special friend. Now, as one friend to another, please, please go.

SIMON: I will never forget what you have done for me.

BARMAN: I am surprised you have even realised what I have done. Most people don't get it.

SIMON: Thank you.

BARMEN: You're very welcome.

SIMON walks over to the child and takes his hand. The door opens and they step through it.

CURTAIN FALLS

CURTAIN RISES

The BARMAN is straightening the bar the same as before SIMON entered. A woman steps through the door.

CURTAIN FALLS