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On The Buses - Mrs Chalkie's Afternoon Off.

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Introductory note - In 'On The Buses' one regular bit part character is a black West Indian bus driver known only as Chalkie ( or Chalky ). His real first name and surname are never mentioned in the programme. Another bit part character - who never even gets a line - is a black West Indian 'clippie'. I have always presumed that she and Chalkie are a married couple and that is how they appear in my story - with a lot more lines and screen time than they ever had in the TV series. I have given Chalkie's wife the first name 'Winnie' as Winifred is quite a popular name in the West Indies and because I once knew a Nigerian woman of that name. Beyond that, and the new characters Reginald and Patricia, all the other characters in the story are as usually seen in the programme. Watch out for a couple of 1970's guest star appearances.

ON THE BUSES

"Mrs Chalkie's Afternoon Off"

The Butler family living room. Olive, Arthur and Mrs Butler are at the table eating a huge breakfast. Stan enters obviously in a hurry and flustered. He has his shirt under his arm and is putting his tie on round his bare neck.

Stan- I went back to sleep after the alarm went off. I'm going to be late for work. ( Realises he is putting his tie on before his shirt and pulls it off ) Where's my breakfast ?
Mrs Butler- It's right here love, oh !
Olive- Oh, was that Stan's breakfast ? ( There are two empty plates in front of Olive )
Arthur- You great Ug ! You've ate Stan's breakfast.
Olive- I didn't realise what I was doing. I was hungry.
Arthur- You're always hungry, that's half your problem in life.
Olive- Yes and the other half is you.
Stan- Cor blimey, Mum, she HAS eaten my breakfast, look at that. She's nearly taken the pattern off the plate as well. You're not even working today Olive, it's your day off.
Olive- ( not looking sorry at all ) I'm sorry Stan. It was really good though.
Mrs Butler- Don't worry, son, I'll cook you some more.
Stan- I won't have time for that, Mum, I'll need to get something in the canteen instead.
Jack enters through back door.
Jack- Come on Stan,aren't you ready yet ?
Stan- I've had no flaming breakfast, mate, Olive ate it.
Jack- Good for her, she needs it, she's a growing girl, aren't you love ?
Olive- That's quite right Jack.
Arthur- And growing more every day.
Olive- Don't be so cheeky.
Jack- Quite right. Olive, I reckon you need to lose about 12 stone of unnecessary fat ... by which I mean Arthur !
Stan- Yes, quite right mate.
Everyone laughs except Arthur who quietly fumes.

Luxton Bus Company. Bus garage canteen. Stan and Jack are seated. The canteen waitress brings a cooked breakfast to Stan. Jack is drinking a cup of tea. They are joined by another driver - Reginald ( special guest star Trevor Bannister ). Reginald wears a cravat instead of a tie under his jacket and is obviously a camp homosexual.

Reginald- Hello boys.
Stan- Morning Reg.
Jack- How you settling in mate ?
Reginald- Oh, how nice of you to ask. It's lovely here, isn't it ? Much nicer than the other depot that I used to work at.
Jack- Oh good.
Stan- Better looking clippies for a start, eh ? Oh, sorry, I forgot.
Reginald- That's all right Stan, anyway who needs a clippie ? I've told you about my boyfriend haven't I ?
Stan- ( obviously being put off his food ) Yes, mate, you have.
Jack- Once or twice !
Reginald- I've told you all about his best feature, haven't I ?
Stan- ( with a whole sausage on the end of his fork which he looks at suggestively ) No, I don't think you have, what is it ?
Reginald- His blonde hair of course !
Jack- Phew !
Stan- ( still looking at sausage ) I thought you were going to say something else altogether.
Reginald- Oh you cheeky thing, no, my Wayne has got lovely blonde hair. I love running my fingers through it.
Stan- ( obviously feeling 'put off' his sausage and returning it to his plate. ) That's great.
Reginald- Wayne says that my best feature is my eyes. Lovely kind eyes, he says. Anyway, I must be running along. I've just got time to visit the 'little boys room'.
Jack- You'll probably be disappointed. There aren't any little boys in it just now.
Reginald- ( laughing camply ) Oh that's funny ! I'll have a look anyway, nothing ventured, nothing gained. ( He leaves )
Stan- ( pushing plate across table ) He's put me right off my grub. Honestly, Jack, how can a fella end up like that ? Preferring men to crumpet. It ain't natural.
Jack- I'll tell you what ain't natural mate, driving a bus on an empty stomach. Get some breakfast inside you or you'll pass out at the wheel.
Stan- It's stone bleeding cold now anyway.
Jack- ( standing up from table ) I'll get you some fresh.
( Patricia - a clippie approaches - special guest star Susannah York. )
Patricia- Here Stan, were you talking to that new driver, Reginald, just then ?
Stan- Well, he was talking to me and Jack. Reg was doing most of the talking actually.
Patricia- I don't half fancy him.
Stan- ( incredulous ) Really ?
Patricia- I think he's got lovely kind eyes. Do you know if he's spoken for ?
Stan- Well, I know he hasn't got a girlfriend at the moment.
Patricia- Oh, I might have a chance then. I must have a little chat with him.
Stan- I wouldn't bother, love. Reg is ... well, he's quite fussy about that kind of thing. You might not be his type.
Patricia- You reckon I'm too common for him or something ?
Stan- No, love, not at all, I didn't mean that for a moment. It's just that, well, don't raise your hopes. That's all.
Jack- ( placing plate of fresh hot food on table ) There you go mate. Hello Pat.
Patricia- ( coyly ) Hiya, Jack.
Stan- Pat's thinking about asking Reg out.
Jack- ( surprised ) Eh ? I wouldn't bother trying that.
Patricia- Oh, you too !
Jack- Well, I know for a fact that he never dates clippies.
Patricia- Well, we'll see. After all, there's a first time for everything.
Stan- If Reg fancies you, Pat, that really will be a first.
Patricia- Huh ! ( Walks off in huff )
( Inspector Blake enters the canteen )
Jack- Oh, heads up, mate. It's Dracula !
Blake- Haven't you two got a bus to get out ?
Jack- Yes, we're just going. Come on, Stan, eat up !
Stan- ( pushing large forkful of food in to mouth ) Oh, ah, they're bleeding red hot. ( Pulls usual 'Stan Butler eating hot food' type faces )
Blake- Twit !
Stan- ( recovering ) Here, listen Blakey, can't you do something about that Reginald feller.
Blake- Our new driver ? What about him.
Stan- Well, quite frankly, tell him to stop being an annoying big poof !
Blake- Butler, I'm surprised at you. Talking like that about your colleague. There's nothing wrong with Reginald. He's a perfectly decent chap. He just happens to have a different, shall we say, sexual appetite to the rest of us, that's all.
Jack- The rest of US ? What, including you ? Blimey, Blakey, I never thought of you having an appetite like that at all.
Blake- Moron!
Jack- An appetite for blood, maybe, like all the other undead but not for anything else.
Blake- I presume you're not supporting Butler in this discrimination against another member of staff and fellow union member ?
Jack- Well, if you put it like that Blakey, yes you're quite right. I would have to defend the right to self expression of all my union brothers.
Stan- Or sisters in his case !
Jack- ( laughing ) Ha ha, right enough but seriously Stan, you can't talk like that about a fellow driver. He can't help it, he can't change the way he is.
Stan- I don't want him to change the way he is. I just want him to stop going on about it.
Jack- I must admit that Stan has a legitimate point, there, Blakey. He does go on about it and quite frankly, he IS an annoying big poof !
Blake- Well, he's only been annoying you for a week. You two have been annoying me for years. Now get your bus out.
Stan- OK Blakey, we've still got a few minutes.
( Inspector Blake stays in the canteen while Stan and Jack exit to the bus garage interior. )

 

Bus garage interior. Stan and Jack sauntering across. Chalkie enters from other side.

Stan- Hiya Chalkie.
Jack- Hello mate.
Chalkie- Morning. Hey, I was just hoping to see you two.
Stan- Oh yes ?
Jack- What's up.
Chalkie- I'm just on my way to talk to Blakey about something. It's a bit awkward. Maybe you can help.
Stan- If it involves getting one over on Dracula, you can count us in mate.
Chalkie- Well, it's about Winnie...
Stan- Your missus ? She's OK I hope.
Chalkie- Oh yes, she's fine, but that's the whole point. I'm just about to tell Blakey that she ain't coming in for her afternoon shift. He ain't going to be happy. This is the third time she's been off sick in three months.
Stan- Hold on a minute, I thought you just said she was fine.
Jack- Yeah, what's wrong with her. Why's she off sick ?
Chalkie- I told you, she isn't sick. She's staying off because the washing machine repair man's coming round. I can't tell Blakey that though, can I ?
Jack- I wouldn't recommend it.
Chalkie- But, like I say, she's already been off sick three times recently. Well, I say sick, she was off once with sunburn during the heatwave. The other twice she was waiting in for the central heating repair man and then the cooker repair man.
Stan- Right enough... Just a minute ! Sunburn ?
Chalkie- Yeah, WE can get that too you know.
Jack- I wouldn't tell Blakey anything just now mate. For a start he's in a stinking mood...
Stan- As per usual.
Jack- ... and there is always the possibility that your repair man might turn up early and she can still come in anyway.
Chalkie- No, he's due to come round in the afternoon. There's no chance he'll turn up early. That's why I was glad to see you two.
Stan- Oh yeah ?
Jack- If there is anything I can do in my capacity as union shop steward or anything that Stan can do in his capacity as your mate, you need only ask.
Chalkie- I was hoping you might get your sister to come in and cover for Winnie this afternoon. That would square it all as far as Blakey and the management are concerned.
Stan- I don't know about that.
Chalkie- Eh ?
Stan- Well, Olive might have other plans.
Jack- A visit to the beauty salon perhaps !
Chalkie- Come on mate. She'll get paid. I'm not expecting her to do it out of the goodness of her heart. ( In a more conciliatory tone ) Also, you can tell her I would be eternally grateful too.
Stan- Oh that's nice of you mate.
Chalkie- Also, the next time Blakey asks who ran a bus over his bike, I'll continue to suffer from amnesia on that subject. ( Chalkie walks away and calls back over his shoulder ) She's starting at two thirty, my bus to the rugby pitches and back.
Stan- That's nice, isn't it ? Mentioning that bike again. It was a bleeding accident.
Jack- Stan, you ran over it then reversed over it as well.
Stan- Yeah, and who was guiding me in at the time ?
Jack- Never mind that. Let's 'phone Olive !

The Butler family living room. Olive sits on a chair with a towel wrapped round her shoulders. Arthur sits in his armchair. Stan and Jack approach Olive with shoe polish and shoe brush.

Stan- Right, Olive, let's get started.
Olive- I'm still not sure about this, Stan.
Jack- Look, Olive, we both owe Chalkie a big favour so we need you to take Winnie's place for one afternoon, all right ?
Olive- That's fine, but why the shoe polish.
Stan- Because you and Winnie are a completely different colour. We need to make you look like her. ( He begins applying brown shoe polish to Olive's face. Olive girns. )
Arthur- Are you sure that's the right stuff to use ? I mean - will it wash off ?
Jack- Of course it will ... probably.
Olive- It will wash off won't it ? I don't want to be this colour for the rest of my life.
Arthur- Don't be daft. You don't look any worse than usual.
Stan- Anyway, you've seen Mrs Chalkie - she looks great this colour.
Olive- But its natural for her. It's not natural for me.
Jack- Olive, there is nothing natural about you.
Arthur- And there never has been, either. ( pause ) Shouldn't you use burnt cork. I believe the commandoes used that during the war.
Stan- ( Finishing off Olive's face ) Used it for what ?
Arthur- To black their faces, of course.
Olive- Did they have to impersonate Mrs Chalkie too ?
Arthur- You stupid big lump ! Of course they didn't. They had to black their faces to fight in the dark.
Jack- Fighting in the dark, eh, Arthur ? Just like you must do when Olive switches off the bedside lamp !
Stan- Right, that's you done, love. ( Olive looks absolutely awful and completely unconvincing )
Jack- I'm not sure about her hair.
Stan- She'll have her hat on.
Arthur- Will she have gloves on as well ? Look at her hands.
Stan- Oh yeah, we'll have to do them as well. ( He smears some shoe polish on the back of Olive's hands. ) There. ( Stan and Jack remove the towel from Olive's neck and help her on with her hat and clippie satchels. )
Stan- I don't know what Chalkie's going to say when he sees this. I really don't.
Jack- Me neither mate but it was his idea.

Luxton Bus Company. Garage interior. Stan, Jack, Chalkie and Olive. Olive looks upset and Chalkie looks mortified. Dialogue seems to continue seamlessly from previous...

Chalkie- What do you mean it was my idea ?
Stan- Well, it's what we discussed this morning.
Jack- It's what we agreed on.
Chalkie- No it isn't. We agreed that Olive would come in and do a straight shift swap with Winnie. We agreed she would work her shift. We did not agree that she would come in and audition for 'Swanee River' ! I mean... look at her !
Olive- ( crying ) It's not my fault.
Stan- For goodness' sake Chalkie, what do you want us to do? Go and scrub it all off ?
Chalkie- That would be a good start.
Jack- There's no time for that anyway, here comes Hitler ! ( Blakey begins to approach but is delayed by talking to another driver. )
Chalkie- What do we do ?
Stan- Get your bus out !
Jack- Blimey Stan, you sounded just like Blakey there.
Stan- Never mind that. Come on Chalkie. Blakey will never know, take the bus out with Olive. ( Chalkie jumps in to the cab and Olive boards the bus. The bus drives out. )
Blake- ( approaching ) Hoi, who was driving that bus ?
Stan- Chalkie of course. It's his bus.
Blake- Well who was conducting it ?
Stan- I can't say that I noticed.
Jack- I think it was Andre Previn ! ( Laughs )
Blake- Andre who ?
Jack- Andre Previn. He's a very good conductor. I saw him on TV with the Royal Philharmonic !
Blake- Moron ! I mean the bus conductor, don't I ? It's supposed to be Chalkie's wife but she isn't here. At least she hasn't clocked on.
Jack- Ah yes, Blakey, she was in a hurry. Didn't have time to clock on. She asked me to tell you.
Blake- ( unconvinced ) Did she really ?
Stan- Yes, that's right. She told me that too.
Jack- If you don't believe us just look. ( He points and Blakey looks across the garage yard. Chalkie's bus is disappearing out the double doors and Olive is waving through the rear window. )
Stan- There you are, that's Winnie isn't it ?
Blake- Well, yes, I suppose so. I'll overlook the clocking on matter on this occasion then.
Jack- Good for you Blakey. Your not such a bad old stick are you. ( Mrs Chalkie enters the garage behind and invisible to Jack and Blake but visible to Stan )
Stan- Oh cor blimey !
Jack- What's the matter mate ?
Stan- ( desperately ) It's me appendix again ! ( He clutches his heart. )
Blake- That's not where your appendix is Butler.
Stan- Eh ? Isn't it ? Well, it's sore anyway. Oh ! ( He collapses in to Blakey's arms. )
Blake- Here, are you all right ?
Jack- Do want a doctor or something ?
Stan- I'll be OK in a minute. ( He points towards Mrs Chalkie with his hand behind Blakey's back. Jack does a 'double take' and realises.
Jack- Oh Blimey ! You wait right here. ( He runs over towards Mrs Chalkie and leads her quickly away. He returns with the first aid box. ) I've got the first aid box mate. Hold on.
Stan- ( suddenly straightening up and obviously absolutely fine. ) That's all right Jack , I feel better now.
Blake- Eh ? I thought you were dying !
Stan- Well, it seems to have passed now.
Jack- Funny things appendixes !
Stan- Yes, I suppose we'd better get the bus out then.
Blake- Are you sure, Butler. You looked as if you were having a heart attack there.
Jack- Oh come on, Blakey, what would you know about hearts ! ( Stan and Jack board their bus and drive out. )

Outside the bus station. Stan's bus stops to pick up Mrs Chalkie from the pavement.

Jack- Hiya Winnie.
Winnie- Hello Jack. What's happening here. I just saw Chalkie's bus pass me with another clippie on board. Who was it ?
Jack- That was Olive.
Winnie- Olive ! It didn't look like Olive.
Jack- No, well it's a long story. Hop on. ( Winnie boards and the bus drives away. )

Bus garage interior sometime later as Stan's bus pulls in after a journey to the Cemetery Gates and back. Jack and Winnie get off surreptitiously and Winnie sneaks off out of shot. Stan walks round from his cab.

Stan- Everything all right mate ?
Jack- I've sent Winnie to hide in the lav. When Chalkie comes in we just need to swap her for Olive and we'll be fine.
Stan- Ha ha, swap Winnie for Olive eh ? I'll bet Arthur would jump at the chance.
Jack- Too right mate.
Stan- Chalkie's due in any minute now. As long as Blakey stays out of sight, we're fine.
Jack- Oh no ! ( Blakey appears )
Stan- Hello Blakey. What are you doing here ?
Blake- Doing here ? I work here don't I ? Which is more than I can say for you two.
Stan- Ha ha, I didn't mean that Blakey. I meant what are you doing out here when you've got that nice cosy office of yours. Its unhealthy for one thing, out here, with all these fumes.
Blake- Unhealthy, there's nothing wrong with me Butler. I'm not driving a bus one minute then having an attack of appendicitis under my arm pit the next !
Stan- No, of course not, I just meant... er, Jack, what did I mean.
Jack- I think you meant that Blakey might have better things to do instead of... um...
Blake- As it happens, I'm just waiting for Chalkie's bus so I can tell his wife I've sorted out that clocking on issue from earlier.
Stan- Oh good.
Jack- Yeah, that's great.
Blake- Here he is now. ( Chalkie's bus pulls in and stops )
Stan- Aargh, my appendix ! Help ! ( He clutches his heart and throws himself on Blakey, wrestling him to the ground. The bus doors open, Jack pulls Olive ( who is no longer covered in shoe polish ) out and pushes her away towards the rear of the bus. Winnie appears and Jack pushes her quickly on to the bus. He turns back round to face Stan and Blake. )
Jack- Are you feeling better, Stan.
Stan- ( standing up immediately ) Yes, much better. Sorry Blakey. ( Blakey is still lying on the ground in a dishevelled state.)
Jack- Well, help him up Stan.
Stan- Oh yes, of course. ( They help Blakey to his feet as Winnie and passengers emerge from the bus and as Chalkie walks round from the cab.)
Chalkie- Hello Blakey.
Winnie- Hello Inspector Blake. I'm sorry I didn't clock in this afternoon, I was running a little late but I got my bus out on time. ( She smiled sweetly at Blakey. )
Blake- Well, that's all right. I saw the bus pulling out so I knew you were here on time. ( He walks away but turns ) Don't let it happen again though.
Winnie- ( smiling ) No I won't.
Stan- Phew !
Jack- Cor blimey, that was close.
Winnie- What was Olive doing on my bus ?
Chalkie- She was pretending to be you.
Winnie- She looks nothing like me.
Stan- Well she did earlier on.
Jack- Not that much if truth be told.
Stan- Actually Chalkie, how come she's all, you know... ( He mimes wiping his face )
Chalkie- She got off and washed in the ladies toilet on the High Street. She was scaring the passengers.
Jack- That's nothing new for Olive.
Chalkie- Anyway, Winnie, how come you arrived here ? Did the repair man come early ?
Winnie- No, he 'phoned and said he couldn't make it this afternoon. He'll come tomorrow instead if we can arrange for one of us to be in.
Stan- Huh, you can organise that yourself. Leave us out of it. ( Stan and Jack retreat to the canteen )

The canteen. Stan and Jack enter. Patricia and others are seated at tables. Reginald is seated at a seperate table alone.

Stan- Honestly, those two. They're Jamaica's answer to Terry and June.
Jack- Ha ha, yes mate. Exactly. Hey, what's up with Reg. ( Reginald is sobbing in to a large, pink handkerchief. Stan and Jack join him at the table. )
Stan- What's the matter mate ?
Reginald- It's Wayne. He's... He's left me. ( Sobs )
Stan- What, for another woman ? Er, I mean ...
Jack- Stan, mind what you're saying, mate.
Stan- I didn't mean it like that. What has happened Reg ?
Reginald- Well, actually Stan is quite right. Wayne says that he's changed his mind about me, about everything. He's gone to live with some woman he met in a pub. ( Sobs )
Stan- Oh, that's too bad, mate.
Jack- Plenty more fish in the sea, Reg, of whichever type you like.
Stan- Exactly.
Reginald- ( cheering up ) Oh you're both very kind. ( He walks out of the canteen to the garage. Patricia, who has noticed his upset state rushes out after him. )
Stan- Blimey, what a turn up for the books, eh ?
Jack- There's nowt as queer as folk, mate.
Stan- Do you think that's possible ? You know, that a bloke can fancy other blokes one minute and then, the next minute he's with a woman. That someone can just change like that. Can you believe that ?
Jack- Well, yeah, I can believe it now, mate because seeing is believing... and just look what I can see. ( Jack points through the canteen door to the garage interior. Reginald and Patricia are snogging passionately. )
Stan- Blimey ! Go on Reg, mate, get stuck in !
Jack- Yeah, fill your boots !

Audience applaud and end titles.