‘Roy, please come and sit down. We need to finish this script by Monday!’ The strain in Sarah’s voice was irritating like the squirt of lemon juice in your eye. Roy dragged himself over to the breakfast bench and slumped onto one of the pedestal chairs.
‘I don’t think it’s fair to make Jim the patsy,’ Roy said letting his bottom lip jut out like a sullen teen.
‘He’s not the patsy; he’s just the weak link, the one they can use.’
‘Yeah, but he’s basically a good guy – he wants to be a good guy, and we’re going to make the audience hate him – what if he thought about doing it, but decided not to in the end, you know, like he had a weak moment, but came good?’
‘Okay, let’s look at that for a minute. He thinks about betraying Richo, but doesn’t and they live happily ever after, and then what happens to Lloyd, who saves him?’
‘I dunno, someone else?’
‘But what if there isn’t someone else, what if it has to be Richo?’
‘Well, maybe it does have to be Richo, but maybe Jim doesn’t have to be the one fingers Richo. You know, like in those shows about parallel realities, or about going back in time to change a bad event, and even though the hero changes the event, the outcome remains the same because something else happens that bring the story to the same point in the end?’
‘Hmmm,’ Sarah strokes her coffee cup and Roy knows she’s not going to budge, she’s completely convinced herself that the only way is for Jim to betray Richo, so that Richo ends up in a position to save Lloyd.
Roy drags he’s palms over his face, it’s not a big deal really, Jim is just a character, he shouldn’t be invested, it just doesn’t seem fair, is all.
‘Okay, I guess Jim will be the villain, someone has to be the villain.’ Roy says.
‘That’s right. Someone has to be the villain.’ Sarah says and smiles and pats Roy on the shoulder.
‘It’s just never that black or white, Sarah. People have their reasons for doing stuff they know better than to do, they’re not evil.’
‘No, they’re not evil, just weak.’
‘The world needs weak people, Sarah. Without weak people, we’d have no one to blame all our shit on.’
‘Yes, the world needs weak people, Roy.’
‘Stop patronising me!’
‘I don’t know why you’re taking this all so seriously, Roy, it’s just a play, a story, a bit of entertainment.’
‘Yeah, but it entrenches the idea of people being bad, without investigation into how - without them - good stuff might never happen. Jim fingers Richo, Richo goes to jail and stands in the way of the shiv that would have killed Lloyd, so now Lloyd can go on to become a social worker and prevent hundreds of kids falling into a life of crime. It’s all thanks to Jim being weak, but no one will ever thank Jim, he’ll just be the villain.’
‘So, you think he should be credited for fingering Richo?’
‘So, everyone should aspire to wrongly accusing other people in case, somewhere down the track, that leads to that person being killed in the process of stopping someone else from being killed so they can go on to do good stuff?’
‘Well, no,’ Roy gets off the stool and paces the floor, ‘I just felt bad for Jim.’
2011 © Sif Dal