(The Street. MRS WALPURGIS is leafletting on the street. NARRATOR is watching her.)
NARRATOR:  Morning, Mrs Walpurgis!

MRS WALPURGIS:  Do I know you?

NARRATOR:  Saw you in the local rag.
Your picture's everywhere.
The clean-up action plan.

MRS WALPURGIS:  I don't think...

NARRATOR:  Well, you know, I'm a resident too.
I sit here and mind my business
most of the day (points to peepshow)
and sometimes it does get busy.
I hate standing around
with nothing to do. They say
the devil makes work for idle hands.

(MRS WALPURGIS exits hurriedly.)
NARRATOR:  Goodbye Mrs W!
     I went to school for a while
     there with her, but she doesn't
     remember me. Of course,
     we've both changed a lot since then.
     Finished up in the same town,
     opposite ends of the spectrum.
     I know her daughter, though —
     comes every year to the Pride Parade
     giving out holy medals,
     thinks we need a miracle
     swooning saints on gilt-edged cards
     promising discount on purgatory.
     What can you say?
     It's a free country.
(NARRATOR withdraws. ANGEL enters. A CLIENT enters and falls into step with ANGEL.)
ANGEL:  What's happening?

CLIENT:  How much?

ANGEL:  It's going to be a nice day
     wouldn't you say?

CLIENT:  I wouldn't know about that.
     Now how much? I haven't got
     much time to spare.

ANGEL:  You've got a nice voice. I like
     hearing you speak.

CLIENT:  I need relief.

ANGEL:  I understand. Relief
     is what I give. Fifty
     for a hand job, eighty
     for the tongue and lips.
     One-twenty for the whole bit.

(CLIENT takes calculator from pocket.)
     Time is essence,
     so to speak.

CLIENT:  My boss is always
     saying something similar.
     I'd like her
     to relieve me
     but there's no chance
     of that...

ANGEL:  I'll be your boss.

CLIENT:  You're not dressed for it.

ANGEL:  Then close your eyes
     and I'll clothe myself
     in whatever you want.

CLIENT:  I can't wait.
     Time is of...

ANGEL:  the essence. Move on down
     the road. I'll catch you up.

(BOTH exit.)

Smith Street | Mudlark No. 19
Contents | Act 1, Scene Three