A WHITE-TILED BUTCHERS SHOP WITH GLASS FRONTED COUNTER TO FRONT.
BEHIND THE COUNTER THE BUTCHER IS CHOPPING MEAT. A BELL RINGS AS A CUSTOMER ENTERS THE SHOP AND THE BUTCHER TURNS WITH A ‘TUT’ AND APPROACHES THE COUNTER. HE IS CARRYING A CLEAVER AND HIS WHITE SMOCK IS COVERED IN BLOOD.
BUTCHER: Ah, good morning sir. Can I be of service?
CUSTOMER: Yes. Do you have any hearts?
BUTCHER: Hearts? Just give me a moment and I’ll have a look.
THE BUTCHER SLIDES THE DOOR AT THE BACK OF THE COUNTER AND LIFTS OUT A CLIPBOARD WHICH HE SCANS DOWN WITH A BLOODIED FINGER.
BUTCHER: No, we’re right out of hearts I’m afraid. Not a single heart in the place. Who’s it for?
CUSTOMER: It’s for me.
BUTCHER: (Sharp intake of breath) Do you smoke?
BUTCHER: Pity, I’ve got a cracking pair of lungs here. You’re certain it’s a heart you need are you?
CUSTOMER: Well, the doctor said…
BUTCHER: Only I’ve got the possibility of a kidney fairly soon.
CUSTOMER: No, it’s my heart.
BUTCHER: I could do you a nice lower leg.
BUTCHER: What about a liver? Got a half-decent liver here. Go for the liver and I reckon we could have you sorted out before… well, before… Are you prone to coma at all?
CUSTOMER: I don’t think so. No, look, I’m sorry, but it’s definitely a heart I need.
BUTCHER: I could put you down on the list I suppose.
CUSTOMER: Could you?
BUTCHER: Of course. Now, how bad is it?
CUSTOMER: Doctor reckons six months.
THE BUTCHER RIPS THE PAPER FROM THE CLIPBOARD, SCREWS IT UP AND THROWS IT AWAY.
BUTCHER: We’ll not bother with the waiting list eh? I tell you what I’ll do; I’ll write your name on this raffle ticket and drop it into the drum with the others.
HE INDICATES A RAFFLE BARREL.
CUSTOMER: You mean it really is a lottery, whether I get a heart or not?
BUTCHER: Good grief, no! You’ve got no chance of getting a heart in six months. It’s a little draw we do. A sort of consolation prize. If we pull your ticket out, you can get your piles done within weeks.
CUSTOMER: I haven’t got piles.
BUTCHER: What are you moaning about then?
CUSTOMER: (Indignant) Look, I’m forty three, I’ve never smoked, I rarely drink, I’ve always kept fit and the doctor’s told me I’m going to be dead within six months if I don’t get a new heart…
THE BUTCHER PUTS HIS HAND ON THE CUSTOMER’S SHOULDER, LEADS FORWARD OVER THE COUNTER AND WHISPERS CONSPIRITORIALLY INTO HIS EAR.
BUTCHER: Look, I shouldn’t be suggesting this, but have you ever considered going private?
CUSTOMER: Will I get a heart if I go private?
BUTCHER: God no, but they will break the news to you in a more sympathetic manner.
CUSTOMER: But I’ll still die?
BUTCHER: The room will be much more comfortable…
CUSTOMER: Is there no hope at all?
BUTCHER: Do you want the truth or a bare-faced lie?
CUSTOMER: I think I’ll go for the lie.
BUTCHER: We’ll have a heart for you for the weekend.
CUSTOMER EXITS WHISTLING. BUTCHER RETURNS TO HIS CHOPPING BOARD.