The Pet Shoppe

[A cus­tomer en­ters a pet shop.]

Cus­tomer. ’El­lo, I wish to reg­is­ter a com­plaint.

[The own­er does not re­spond.]

C. ’El­lo, Miss?

Own­er. What do you mean “miss”?

C. [pause] I’m sor­ry, I have a cold. I wish to make a com­plaint!

O. We’re closin’ for lunch.

C. Nev­er mind that, my lad. I wish to com­plain about this par­rot what I pur­chased not half an hour ago from this very bou­tique.

O. Oh yes, the, uh, the Nor­we­gian Blue . . . What’s, uh . . . What’s wrong with it?

C. I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ’E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

O. No, no, ’e’s uh, . . . he’s rest­ing.

C. Look, matey, I know a dead par­rot when I see one, and I’m look­ing at one right now.

O. No no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’! Re­mark­able bird, the Nor­we­gian Blue, idn’it, ay? Beau­ti­ful plumage!

C. The plumage don’t en­ter in­to it. It’s stone dead.

O. Nononono, no, no! ’E’s rest­ing!

C. All right then, if he’s restin’, I’ll wake him up!
[shout­ing at the cage]
’El­lo, Mis­ter Pol­ly Par­rot! I’ve got a love­ly fresh cut­tle fish for you if you show . . . [own­er hits the cage]

O. There, he moved!

C. No, he didn’t, that was you hit­ting the cage!

O. I nev­er!!

C. Yes, you did!

O. I nev­er, nev­er did any­thing . . .

C. [yelling and hit­ting the cage re­peat­ed­ly] ’el­lo pol­ly!!!!! Test­ing! Test­ing! Test­ing! Test­ing! This is your nine o’clock alarm call!

[Takes par­rot out of the cage and thumps its head on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watch­es it plum­met to the floor.]

C. Now that’s what I call a dead par­rot.

O. No, no . . . No, ’e’s stunned!

C.stunned?!?

O. Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin’ up! Nor­we­gian Blues stun eas­i­ly, ma­jor.

C. Um . . . now look . . . now look, mate, I’ve def­i­nite­ly ’ad enough of this. That par­rot is def­i­nite­ly de­ceased, and when I pur­chased it not ’alf an hour ago, you as­sured me that its to­tal lack of move­ment was due to it bein’ tired and shagged out fol­low­ing a pro­longed squawk.

O. Well, he’s . . . he’s, ah . . . prob­a­bly pin­ing for the fjords.

C.pinin’ for the fjords?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that? Look, why did he fall flat on his back the mo­ment I got ’im home?

O. The Nor­we­gian Blue prefers kip­pin’ on it’s back! Re­mark­able bird, id’nit, squire? Love­ly plumage!

C. Look, I took the lib­er­ty of ex­am­in­ing that par­rot when I got it home, and I dis­cov­ered the on­ly rea­son that it had been sit­ting on its perch in the first place was that it had been nailed there.

[pause]

O. Well, o’course it was nailed there! If I hadn’t nailed that bird down, it would have nuz­zled up to those bars, bent ’em apart with its beak, and voom! Fee­wee­wee­wee!

C. “voom”?!? Mate, this bird wouldn’t “voom” if you put four mil­lion volts through it! ’E’s bleed­in’ demised!

O. No no! ’E’s pin­ing!

C. ’E’s not pinin’! ’E’s passed on! This par­rot is no more! He has ceased to be! ’E’s ex­pired and gone to meet ’is mak­er! ’E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ’e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ’im to the perch ’e’d be push­ing up the daisies! ’Is meta­bol­ic process­es are now ’is­to­ry! ’E’s off the twig! ’E’s kicked the buck­et, ’e’s shuf­fled off ’is mor­tal coil, run down the cur­tain and joined the bleed­in’ choir in­vis­i­bile!! this is an ex‐​par­rot!!

[pause]

O. Well, I’d bet­ter re­place it, then.
[he takes a quick peek be­hind the counter]

O. Sor­ry squire, I’ve had a look ’round the back of the shop, and uh, we’re right out of par­rots.

C. I see. I see, I get the pic­ture.

O. [pause] I got a slug.

[pause]

C. [sweet as sug­ar] Pray, does it talk?

O. Nnnnot re­al­ly.

C.well it’s hard­ly a bloody re­place­ment, is it?!!???!!?

O. Look, if you go to my broth­er’s pet shop in Bolton, he’ll re­place the par­rot for you.

C. Bolton, eh? Very well.

[The cus­tomer leaves.]

[The cus­tomer en­ters the same pet shop. The own­er is putting on a false mous­tache.]

C. This is Bolton, is it?

O. [with a fake mus­tache] No, it’s Ip­switch.

C. [look­ing at the cam­era] That’s in­ter‐​city rail for you.

[The cus­tomer goes to the train sta­tion. He ad­dress­es a man stand­ing be­hind a desk marked “Com­plaints”.]

C. I wish to com­plain, British‐​Rail­ways Per­son.

At­ten­dant.i don’t have to do this job, you know!!!

C. I beg your par­don . . .?

A. I’m a qual­i­fied brain sur­geon! I on­ly do this job be­cause I like be­ing my own boss!

C. Ex­cuse me, this is ir­rel­e­vant, isn’t it?

A. Yeah, well it’s not easy to pad these python files out to 200 lines, you know.

C. Well, I wish to com­plain. I got on the Bolton train and found my­self de­posit­ed here in Ip­switch.

A. No, this is Bolton.

C. [to the cam­era] The pet shop man’s broth­er was ly­ing!!

A. Can’t blame British Rail for that.

C. In that case, I shall re­turn to the pet shop!

[He does.]

C. I un­der­stand this is Bolton.

O. [still with the fake mus­tache] Yes?

C. You told me it was Ip­switch!

O. . . . It was a pun.

C. [pause] a pun?!?

O. No, no . . . not a pun . . . What’s that thing that spells the same back­wards as for­wards?

C. [Long pause] A palin­drome . . .?

O. Yeah, that’s it!

C. It’s not a palin­drome! The palin­drome of “Bolton” would be “Not­lob”!! It don’t work!!

O. Well, what do you want?

C. I’m not pre­pared to pur­sue my line of in­quiry any longer as I think this is get­ting too sil­ly!

Sergeant‐​Ma­jor. Quite agree, quite agree, too sil­ly, far too sil­ly . . .