The Cast (in or­der of ap­pear­ance.)
M = Man look­ing for an ar­gu­ment
R = Re­cep­tion­ist Girl
Q = Abuser
A = Ar­guer (John Cleese)
C = Com­plain­er (Er­ic Idle)
H = Head Hit­ter

M. Ah. I’d like to have an ar­gu­ment, please.

R. Cer­tain­ly sir. Have you been here be­fore?

M. No, I haven’t, this is my first time.

R. I see. Well, do you want to have just one ar­gu­ment, or were you think­ing of tak­ing a course?

M. Well, what is the cost?

R. Well, It’s one pound for a five minute ar­gu­ment, but on­ly eight pounds for a course of ten.

M. Well, I think it would be best if I per­haps start­ed off with just the one and then see how it goes.

R. Fine. Well, I’ll see who’s free at the mo­ment.
Pause

R. Mr. De­Bakey’s free, but he’s a lit­tle bit con­cil­ia­to­ry.
Ahh yes, Try Mr. Barnard; room 12.

M. Thank you.

[Walks down the hall. Opens door.]

Q.what do you want?

M. Well, I was told out­side that⁠—​

Q. Don’t give me that, you snot­ty‐​faced heap of par­rot drop­pings!

M. What?

Q. Shut your fes­ter­ing gob, you tit! Your type re­al­ly makes me puke, you vac­u­ous, cof­fee‐​nosed, mal­oder­ous, per­vert!!!

M. Look, i came here for an ar­gu­ment, I’m not go­ing to just stand . . . !!

Q.oh, oh I’m sor­ry, but this is abuse.

M. Oh, I see, well, that ex­plains it.

Q. Ah yes, you want room 12a, Just along the cor­ri­dor.

M. Oh, Thank you very much. Sor­ry.

Q. Not at all.

M. Thank You.
[Un­der his breath] Stu­pid git!!

[Walk down the cor­ri­dor]

M. [Knock]

A. Come in.

M. Ah, Is this the right room for an ar­gu­ment?

A. I told you once.

M. No you haven’t.

A. Yes I have.

M. When?

A. Just now.

M. No you didn’t.

A. Yes I did.

M. You didn’t.

A. I did!

M. You didn’t!

A. I’m telling you I did!

M. You did not!!

A. Oh, I’m sor­ry, just one mo­ment. Is this a five minute ar­gu­ment or the full half hour?

M. Oh, just the five min­utes.

A. Ah, thank you. Any­way, I did.

M. You most cer­tain­ly did not.

A. Look, let’s get this thing clear; I quite def­i­nite­ly told you.

M. No you did not.

A. Yes I did.

M. No you didn’t.

A. Yes I did.

M. No you didn’t.

A. Yes I did.

M. No you didn’t.

A. Yes I did.

M. You didn’t.

A. Did.

M. Oh look, this isn’t an ar­gu­ment.

A. Yes it is.

M. No it isn’t. It’s just con­tra­dic­tion.

A. No it isn’t.

M. It is!

A. It is not.

M. Look, you just con­tra­dict­ed me.

A. I did not.

M. Oh you did!!

A. No, no, no.

M. You did just then.

A. Non­sense!

M. Oh, this is fu­tile!

A. No it isn’t.

M. I came here for a good ar­gu­ment.

A. No you didn’t; no, you came here for an ar­gu­ment.

M. An ar­gu­ment isn’t just con­tra­dic­tion.

A. It can be.

M. No it can’t. An ar­gu­ment is a con­nect­ed se­ries of state­ments in­tend­ed to es­tab­lish a propo­si­tion.

A. No it isn’t.

M. Yes it is! It’s not just con­tra­dic­tion.

A. Look, if I ar­gue with you, I must take up a con­trary po­si­tion.

M. Yes, but that’s not just say­ing “No it isn’t.”

A. Yes it is!

M. No it isn’t!

M. Ar­gu­ment is an in­tel­lec­tu­al process. Con­tra­dic­tion is just the au­to­mat­ic gain­say­ing of any state­ment the oth­er per­son makes.
[short pause]

A. No it isn’t.

M. It is.

A. Not at all.

M. Now look.

A. [Rings bell]
Good Morn­ing.

M. What?

A. That’s it. Good morn­ing.

M. I was just get­ting in­ter­est­ed.

A. Sor­ry, the five min­utes is up.

M. That was nev­er five min­utes!

A. I’m afraid it was.

M. It wasn’t.
Pause

A. I’m sor­ry, but I’m not al­lowed to ar­gue any­more.

M. What?!

A. If you want me to go on ar­gu­ing, you’ll have to pay for an­oth­er five min­utes.

M. Yes, but that was nev­er five min­utes, just now. Oh come on!

A. [Hums]

M. Look, this is ridicu­lous.

A. I’m sor­ry, but I’m not al­lowed to ar­gue un­less you’ve paid!

M. Oh, all right.
[pays mon­ey]

A. Thank you.
short pause

M. Well?

A. Well what?

M. That wasn’t re­al­ly five min­utes, just now.

A. I told you, I’m not al­lowed to ar­gue un­less you’ve paid.

M. I just paid!

A. No you didn’t.

M.i did!

A. No you didn’t.

M. Look, I don’t want to ar­gue about that.

A. Well, you didn’t pay.

M. Aha. If I didn’t pay, why are you ar­gu­ing? I Got you!

A. No you haven’t.

M. Yes I have. If you’re ar­gu­ing, I must have paid.

A. Not nec­es­sar­i­ly. I could be ar­gu­ing in my spare time.

M. Oh I’ve had enough of this.

A. No you haven’t.

M. Oh Shut up.

[Walks down the stairs. Opens door.]

M. I want to com­plain.

C. You want to com­plain! Look at these shoes. I’ve on­ly had them three weeks and the heels are worn right through.

M. No, I want to com­plain about⁠—​

C. If you com­plain noth­ing hap­pens, you might as well not both­er.

M. Oh!

C. Oh my back hurts, it’s not a very fine day and I’m sick and tired of this of­fice.

[Slams door. Walks down cor­ri­dor, opens next door.]

M. Hel­lo, I want to . . . Ooooh!

H. No, no, no. Hold your head like this, then go Waaah. Try it again.

M. uu­uwwhh!!

H. Bet­ter, Bet­ter, but Waah, Waah! Put your hand there.

M. No.

H. Now . . .

M. Waaaaah!!!

H. Good, Good! That’s it.

M. Stop hit­ting me!!

H. What?

M. Stop hit­ting me!!

H. Stop hit­ting you?

M. Yes!

H. Why did you come in here then?

M. I want­ed to com­plain.

H. Oh no, that’s next door. It’s be­ing‐​hit‐​on‐​the‐​head lessons in here.

M. What a stu­pid con­cept.