Site For Sore Eyes
A Pilot Situation Comedy Script for Television by Vince Poynter
Phase One - Pumped Up
Mess Hut - A site shed, with benches and table. Very untidy. Calendar and site safety notices on the walls. Tea making equipment, old tabloid newspapers and broken cups on the benches. Rubbish around on the floor.
Two pipe fitters are in the hut, drinking tea. One is reading a tabloid newspaper and eating his sandwiches, all that is seen are his hands grabbing the curled up sandwiches, his face hidden by the paper. The other is wearing a tatty Walkman listening to music with his eyes closed. His fingers drum out a beat on his thigh.
Bill Clark enters. He is a Pipe-fitting Foreman in his fifties. A know it all from the old school. He pushes past the reading fitter.
Bill: "Morning lads."
The fitters grunt acknowledgement, without moving. Bill places his bag on the table, sits between the other two and starts to prepare tea. This is a well-rehearsed routine.
The fitter with the paper slides the sugar along the table without raising his head.
Bill: "Tea bag."
The other fitter reaches down to the ground and flicks a tea bag in the air, straight into Bill's cup.
As he says this he extends his cup towards the reading fitter. The fitter's hand appears with the milk bottle and pours straight into the cup.
Bill: "Kettle on?."
The other fitter swings round, picks up the kettle from the floor and pours the hot water straight into the cup, all without looking. Bill stirs the tea and takes a sip.
Bill: "Ahh. Tea. Lifeblood. See the match last night lads?"
The fitters grunt.
Bill: "Did you see that second goal. I haven't seen a ball hit as hard as that since my Aunt Deirdre swiped old uncle Bob with his own golf club. Nine iron I think. Painful."
The fitters squeak.
Bill: "Our man was on top form yesterday. Still they need the points if they want to stay up this season. After all, top teams aren't built in a day."
The fitters grunt.
Bill: "I reckon if they stopped going for the classic four, four, two and used a sweeper, winger ..."
Tim Peterson entering cuts Bill short. Tim is a sixteen-year-old first year pipefitting apprentice with natural fallibility. He is obviously late and knocks things about as he rushes to his seat.
Tim: "Morning Bill. Morning lads."
The fitters and Bill grunt. Tim quickly looks about for a tea mug and can only find a chipped old one with a missing handle. Unlike Bill, he doesn't receive the help in making his tea, in fact when he searches for the items they are moved away from his sight by the others. This slows down the process of preparing the drink and allows for some interplay and visual slapstick. When he finally pours out his drink, the others, in unison, stand up, clear their items away and leave the hut. Bill and Tim are the last to leave. Bill is sorting out a specification and Tim is trying hard to cool down his drink, by frantically waving an old newspaper over it, whilst sipping.
Bill: "Oh. Tim. Did you get that new bubble for my spirit level on your way home yesterday?"
Tim: "No, sorry Bill. They said the ones they had in stock were damaged. They said they were hoping for a delivery today and I was to go back."
Bill: "Did they tell you that the new ones would come in bubble wrap?"
Tim: "Yeah. That's just what they said."
Bill: "I thought so."
Tim: "So, what are we on today?"
Bill: "We're in the plant room. We've got to modify those pumps Mike told us about before he went."
Tim: "Mike eh. Who would believe it? Fourteen million quid. What would you do with your share of that, Bill?"
Bill: "Not waste time talking pumps with you. That's for certain."
Tim: "I reckon I'd buy this company and make the old man redundant. I can't understand why Mike just disappeared like that. I mean, he didn't even trash the computers in the office. How sad."
Bill: "And get himself sued. With all that money you become a target and I bet the old man would've tried it on. No, Mike is best out of it. I would probably just leave too. Jobs like this always seem to go on forever. This one's been going for ten months already and it will probably see out my retirement the way it's going. The Colosseum wasn't built in a day, you know. Come to think of it, if Mike was doing the Colosseum it would probably still be a pile of rubble now."
Tim: "It is."
Bill: "Don't be facetious."
Tim: "Will the new engineer be any good?"
Bill: "Probably not. Them suits are all the same. More interested in their company car and expense account than the job. And most couldn't build a sand castle on Bournemouth Beach let alone a big job like this."
Tim: "So you've known a few in your time then."
Bill: "Just a few! I remember this suit once. Name of Rogers. Used to speak with a limp I recall. Drove a Cavalier. Didn't know a thing. He thought six inch copper was what a policeman's wife gets."
Bill: "Anyway lad. Lets get a move on. These pipes won't fit themselves and the new man will have enough to do without worrying about that."
They leave the mess hut.
Engineer's Office - A single person's office. With desk, drawing board and filing cabinets. Telephone on desk. Shelves with files and catalogues on. Calendar, telephone lists and notices on walls. The office is in a generally tidy state. One or two files have been taken from the shelf and opened and a pile or two of letters await response.
Gerry Blade enters carrying his briefcase. Gerry is a thirty-five-year-old Project Manager who served his apprenticeship on site and has risen to an office position. He seems always to be in a rush and rarely considers his actions before taking them. He looks around the office.
Gerry: "Not bad, not bad."
He dumps his briefcase straight onto the desk and slumps in the swivel chair.
Gerry: "Swivel. Yippee."
He spins round. Then looks at the shelves above.
Gerry: "How can they possibly work like this ... far too neat."
He leans forward and looks at the filing tray.
Gerry: "Filing in the filing tray. Unreal. This guy obviously had nothing to do. This is going to be a cinch."
Gerry spins round again in his chair and pushes off the desk attempting to cross the room. The wheels snag a loose box on the floor and he crashes to the ground onto his back. As this happens Sophie Valley enters, carrying some more post. Sophie is a dainty twenty-year-old clerk who is obsessed with dancing. Gerry ends up on the floor looking skyward up Sophie's skirt.
Gerry: "Whoa! Thank you Lord. Is this a Kodak moment or what?"
Gerry picks himself up hurriedly and extends a hand to greet Sophie.
Gerry: "Hi. I'm Gerry. Gerry Blade. Good to see your... er you."
Sophie accepts his handshake.
Sophie: "Sophie Valley."
Gerry: "Hi. So what do you do in this big enterprise, Sophie Valley?"
Sophie: "Me? Receptionist, filing, typing, accounts, tea maker, dogs body ..."
Gerry: "Wouldn't agree with the last. Seems pretty fit to me."
Sophie continues unabated.
Sophie: "Appointments, letters, contract witnessing, fending off reps., invoices, spreadsheets, databases. You name it."
Sophie: "Never. Always got something to do. You must be here for Mike's job."
Sophie: "Used to have this office until last week."
Gerry: "What was he like?"
Sophie: "Well, between you and me he was a right twongo. Of course everyone said they liked him because of his win."
Gerry: "Lottery wasn't it? How much did he get?"
Sophie: "Papers said fourteen million."
Gerry: "Fourteen mil!"
Gerry: "What I couldn't do with fourteen million bazonkaroonaas."
Gerry: "What do you mean, what?"
Sophie: "What couldn't you do with fourteen million pounds?"
Gerry: "Oh well. I couldn't get David Beckham for a start."
Sophie: "David Beckham? Isn't he that man in 'Hello'?"
Gerry: "'Hello'. 'Hello'!?"
Sophie: "You know. Oh that's it. That football man."
Gerry: "Becks. That football man. That's like saying the Pope's that religion man. What would you buy Sophie Valley?"
Sophie: "Me. A big old country house I expect. And I would have a dance studio built. And I would put all mirrors and lights around the walls."
Sophie spins round with her arms extended.
Gerry: "Sounds like my bedroom. Hey, do you want to see it?"
Sophie: "Not really. Frankly, I would rather staple my feet to the ceiling, thank you."
Gerry: "Whatever your perversion. I don't mind."
Sophie: "No thanks."
Gerry: "Anyway. Back to work. What's the score with this big project I've got to sort out for you lot."
Sophie puts the mail on the desk. She leans to grab two of the files off the shelf above. Gerry, in his chair, admires her figure.
Sophie: "You'll find it all in order."
Gerry: "I can see."
Sophie: "First you will want to get your hands on these two. I'll get them out for you."
Gerry: "If you don't mind."
Gerry smirks. Sophie retrieves two files then reaches into the filing tray. Gerry looks at her rear as she bends.
Sophie: "You may want to poke around down here as well. I suggest you go through everything until you reach the bottom."
Gerry: "Funny. I was just thinking that."
Sophie hands him the two big files.
Sophie: "Of course Mike had everything duplicated. You will find a pair just the same as these on site."
Gerry: "You will have to show me. Perhaps you could get them out for me on site."
Sophie: "Me? On site? I don't go to site, I'm stuck here in the office, I'm afraid."
Gerry: "I thought you said that all the files on site were sorted."
Sophie: "They are, I guess. Well, they're bound to be. Mike was always so tidy."
Gerry: (Cringing) "Don't mention that four letter word."
Gerry: (Cringing) "You said it again."
Sophie: "I reckon that a tidy desk means a tidy mind."
Gerry: "My desk is usually in a complete heap. That's the way I like it."
Sophie: (Sarcastically) "I'd never have guessed."
Gerry: "Being tidy doesn't get a job done. If you want to shift a mountain you don't go around shuffling stupid bits of paper. I mean, look at this."
Gerry points to the wall.
Gerry: "Even his elastic bands are graded for size."
They are. Hung on pins.
Gerry: "No, if you want to get things done you have got to be travelling at one-eighty with your sword in hand and a glint in your eye."
Gerry mocks shaking a sword. The action could be misinterpreted.
Sophie: "Yes. That would be you I guess."
Site Cabin - A site office. Three desks, filing cabinets and a drawing board. Desks have telephones, there is a facsimile machine. Files on shelves. Calendars and telephone lists on the walls. A bit dusty.
Ed Macey is sitting at his desk reading a tabloid newspaper. A fussy man of about fifty-five with a distinct need for trifocals due to his constant changing of glasses to suit the moment.
Andrea Winchester-Putlock enters carrying too many files and drawings. A scatty, untidily dressed Architect into environmental issues in her mid-thirties. She struggles to her desk and puts down the files. Ed doesn't try to help, his only movement is to swap his glasses to look when she enters then back again to read. Andrea wears a tee-shirt with the words 'Save the Rhino'. Ed changes his glasses again.
Ed: "So what are you saving them for?"
Ed: "The Rhino's."
Andrea: "Oh, the tee-shirt. Do you like it Ed? I got it down the market last Tuesday. They only had two styles left by the time I got there and it was either this or one with 'Stuff me please' written on it."
Ed: "I beg your pardon."
Andrea: "Oh, and a picture of a turkey on it."
Ed: "Oh I see."
Andrea: "I wanted one of those slogan ones like you see. For me I thought 'Architects do it on a drawing board'."
Ed: "Yes. I think I've seen them. What would I have on mine?"
Andrea: "Probably, 'Clerk of Works watch others do it'. Talking of which the new services engineer starts today, thank goodness. We are all getting behind on phase one in the plant room. We need to finish this week or else."
Ed: "Don't look at me Andrea. I always said you would have to keep an eye on them pipe boys. And I don't trust that old Bill."
Andrea: "He seems to know his bunions. And he helped out when that builder's work drawing went missing. He marked out all the holes needed that very evening."
Ed: "He positioned them to suit himself. Look at that one he marked up on the west wall."
Andrea: "He said that was for access."
Ed: "Access to his tea hut, so he didn't have to walk around the building."
Andrea: "Well he helps me. And I am going to need all the help I can get with this new extension the client wants."
Andrea rises to the drawing board and unravels a drawing which she brought in. Ed rises with her, changing his glasses to look at the drawing."
Ed: "Let's see that." (He points) "What's that?"
Andrea: "That's the lift. It was on his notes. Space lift for new room above."
Ed: "But it's only single story."
Andrea: "I know, his note said..."
Ed: (Interrupting) "His note said. Space left for new room above. As in the sketch above."
Andrea: "Oh. It's not my fault his writing's worse than a dyslexic in a bathtub rounding the Cape. Still, Bill will help us sort it out."
Ed: "Only if it suits him. Even then I doubt that he will make much effort. What we need is a mover and shaker round here."
Andrea: "Anyway, I'm off to see Bill about it now."
Andrea leaves with a copy of the drawing.
Plant Room - A plant room with masses of half complete pipe work and a workbench. Loose pipe fittings, valves, welding equipment and sundry materials around. The pipe work will gradually alter as the series develops (but not really significantly).
The two fitters are 'working' on a pipe in the background. Bill and Tim are working at the bench. They are interrupted by a noise off. Gerry enters carrying a briefcase.
Gerry: "Ahh, you must be Bill?"
Bill: "Might be. Who's asking?"
Gerry: "Gerry. Gerry Blade. New engineer."
Bill: "Bill Clark."
Gerry: "How do you do. (They shake hands) "I've been looking for you for an hour. Everyone kept sending me round in circles. I've just been up on the roof with the scaffolders."
Bill: "Normal site practice mate. All suits are treated the same. Did the Sparks say that I was on the roof?"
Bill: "And did the Brickies send you to the site hut?"
Bill: "And the Chippies suggested the gas meter housing?"
Gerry: "I haven't met up with them yet."
Bill: "I guess you must be here to replace Mike."
Gerry: "That's right. I've come to sort you lot out. Things slipping I hear."
Bill: "Is that what they say?"
Andrea enters, unseen by Gerry. Bill notices. Andrea listens.
Bill: "I wouldn't believe a word of it, mate. Things couldn't be better. Everything's going first class."
Gerry: "Not what I heard. I spoke to the Architect this morning and it seems you lot need a good kick up the arse. Mind you she didn't exactly put it like that. I mean, she's a woman ain’t she. Didn't sound older than ten. Who appoints some scatty dint as the Architect. All right she might be able to select the correct pastel shade for the toilet walls, but seriously, what about structure, calculations, workings out."
Andrea: (to Gerry's shock) "I've worked you out Mr Blade. Andrea Winchester-Putlock. Architect."
Andrea offers her hand, which Gerry accepts.
Gerry: "Oh. Sorry. I didn't mean you to ... I mean, I didn't know you were there. Gerry Blade."
Andrea: "That's all right, I'm used to it. You have to be in this industry. One's always judged by sex and age not ability and experience."
Gerry: "I'll go along with that."
Andrea: "When people see you they see a man, assume you have ability and trust according to the number of lines on your face."
Gerry: (to Bill) "They must trust you then."
Andrea: "When people see me they see a woman first. Then assume I've escaped from the kitchen. Or Tesco. They don't see my four years of university and six further years studying architecture."
Andrea:"Failed year two, did it again. Out here your degree counts for nothing."
Gerry: "What did you read at university?"
Andrea:"Oh. Peruvian art history, thirteen twenty-five to sixteen hundred."
Bill: "You've got to accept that woman are still rare in this industry. That's why there's the prejudice. After all how many do you know Andrea?"
Andrea: "Come to think of it, only one. A female Q.S. I worked with her last year. A right bimbo, more interested in painting her nails than working. But I didn't come here just to chat about gender. Come to think of it I can't remember what I came to tell you. It didn't help that those Chippies sent me over to the gas meter housing. I'll see you later in the site cabin Mr Blade."
Gerry: "Thanks mate, you could have said she was there."
Bill: "You're the one who's come to sort us all out."
Gerry: "Well lets get doing. Now I'm here you better show me what's what. This is the main plant room I guess. Show me this phase one pipe work which needs finishing this week."
Bill leads Gerry to a section of large pipe. There is an obvious gap.
Gerry: "Where's the pump?"
Bill: "Don't look at me. I just fit what I'm sent. Mike did say it was ordered two weeks ago. He gave me the dimensions. Four inch table PN sixteen, four fifty mil face to face."
Gerry: "I'll get onto the suppliers straight away."
He gets his mobile telephone out, mis-dials, re-dials then checks the display.
Gerry: "Damn 'phone, no signal down here. I'll go over to the site cabin. Catch you later."
Bill: (to Tim) "Tim, over here son."
Tim: "Yes Dad."
Bill: "Did you see that lad. Typical 'thinks he knows it all'. I’ve seen ‘em all myself. I hate people like that. He probably thinks he can sort us all out in a flick of the wrist, but I tell you. Sites like this...."
Tim: "...aren't built in a day.
Site Cabin - Ed is still reading the paper. Gerry enters.
Gerry: "Hi. I'm Gerry. Gerry Blade. Services. Which is my desk?"
Ed: "Hello. Ed Macey. Clerk of Works. Nice to meet you."
Ed changes his glasses and offers his hand. Gerry accepts.
Ed: "Over here."
Ed shows Gerry to his desk that has been left all neat and tidy.
Gerry: "I could have guessed."
Gerry: "Yes. Graded elastic bands." (He shows Ed.) "I thought as much."
Ed: "Have you been brought up to speed on phase one?"
Gerry: "Yes, if the words speed and phase one can be used in the same context."
Gerry starts to search through the files.
Gerry: "Pumpco. Pumpco. Pumpco. Where on earth do I find that?"
Ed: "Have you tried under 'P'."
Gerry: "'P'? What sort of system is that?"
Ed: "Is there another?"
Gerry: "Oh I'll call the office."
Gerry picks up the phone and speedily dials. In his haste, he mis-dials, has to hang up and re-dials.
Gerry: "Ahh. Is that Sophie ... Gerry ... I'm down on site ... Tell me, have you got the order number for Pumpco ... Yes I've looked. I can't find the orders ... Under 'orders' at the back ... Yes just here (He finds an order at the back of the file) Thanks ... Yes ... We'll I'll be needing that. Why don't you bring it down here tomorrow ... Yes you can. Tomorrow. Bye."
Gerry hangs up the phone. He then dials another number and again has to do it twice because of haste.
Gerry: "Is that Pumpco. Can you tell me where our pumps are? ... Oh ...Order 62584 ... Four inch ... Ordered two weeks ago ... I'll hold ... Yes, our pumps ... Order 62584 ... Four inch ... Two weeks ago ... I'll hold ... Yes, I want to know about our pumps ... Order 62584 ... Four inch ... Two weeks ago ... I'm holding ... I can't believe this ... Hello ... Earth to Mars are you reading me ... Hello ... Yes I know my call is being dealt with you stupid machine ... Oh sorry darling ... Madam ... I'm trying to find out about my pumps ... 62584, four inch and two weeks ago okay! I want to know where they are ... All right I'll hold."
Gerry covers the mouthpiece with his hand.
Gerry: (to Ed) "Can you believe this?"
Ed: "I was on hold once. Over seventeen minutes. Mind you, I got them back."
Ed: "I called them the next day and asked them to wait just a moment, then hung up after eighteen minutes."
Gerry: "Yeah, sure." (on 'phone) "Oh yes ... It's about my pumps ... That's right. When are they due on site? ... I can't accept that. We need them now. You've got twenty-four hours or I go elsewhere and I'll write a snotty letter to your M.D. ... I don't care. They managed to get a man on the moon. Surely you can get those pumps to me tomorrow morning."
Gerry slams the telephone hand set down hard and grins at Ed, who looks unimpressed.
Mess Hut - Bill, Tim and the Fitters are having tea. They are all in the same position as the first scene. Andrea enters carrying a drawing.
Andrea: "Hi there." (They all grunt) "Bill. I've just remembered what I came to see you about earlier."
Bill: "Not just to check out our new boy then?"
Andrea: "Him. No. How gross."
Bill: "Typical suit. They're either fussy little oiks like Mike was or mad as a rabid kangaroo. Can't see the point of them really. They float onto site with their pensionable salary, one point eight sixteen valve with hospital cover and think they run the show. Shows aren't built in a day, you know."
Andrea: "Quite. But as I way saying, we've had some changes made to phase three..."
Bill: "Changes. But they only altered things last month. This project has more changes than a Kylie concert."
The fitters whoop with joy at the mention of Kylie.
Andrea: "Anyway, take a look at this drawing." (Andrea unravels the drawing on the table) "It's this extra area here. We will need some more rads and things. Just ignore that lift there - that will change. I will let the suit ... er ... Gerry, know the details. Meanwhile, perhaps you might think about the main pipe routes."
Bill: "I suppose you still want it done within the next month?"
Andrea: "Actually, yes. We haven't got an extension for this extension. I'll leave this with you."
Andrea leaves the drawing with Bill and leaves the mess hut.
Bill: "Look at this Tim. She's only added another ten rooms."
Tim: "Does that mean we will need even more of those sky hooks which you asked me to get?"
Bill: "Yeah. Blimey, look where this is. This building butts onto phase one. Those pipes and pumps are going to need to be bigger. We better let Gerry know first thing tomorrow morning."
Fade to ... Site Cabin. Caption : 'Tomorrow morning.' Then added: 'First thing.'
Andrea is working on the drawing board, rubbing out the lift. Ed is reading his paper and Gerry is sat at his desk pulling bits of paper out of the file, reading them and leaving them around the desk. Gerry spots the graded elastic bands on the wall, removes a large one and adds it to the group of smaller ones.
Gerry: "That's more like it."
A delivery man knocks on the door and enters. He carries a huge parcel.
Delivery man: "Package from NASA mate. Is this the moon?"
Gerry: "Ahh. That must be my pumps. I'll take that."
Gerry rises to accept the package. He breaks the pen in his haste to sign the delivery ticket. The delivery man leaves.
Ed: (changing glasses) "Are those the pumps for phase one Gerry?"
Gerry: "Looks like it. I'll get my men to fit them straight away. By midday tomorrow we could be ready to rock and roll."
Ed: "I'll let the Sparks know they can wire them up later. Looks like phase one will be completed after all."
Gerry: "What do you expect Ed? You've got me on the case now. Not some airy-fairy novice more interested in getting his rubbers straight. See's you later."
Gerry rushes out of the office. A moment. He immediately returns, looking sheepish.
Gerry: "I better take the pumps."
Gerry leaves with the pumps.
Ed: "It won't last."
Andrea: "What's that?"
Ed: "That new bloke, he will run out of steam on this job. You mark my words."
Andrea: "He's exactly what we need. There's already too many round here more interested in filling out their crossword than working."
Ed sheepishly hides his paper under a file. His half completed crossword is shown.
Boiler Room - The two Fitters are huddled over a paper. Bill and Tim look on.
Bill: "Four letters, third one J, means an extinct bird."
Bill: "No, I reckon you got that J wrong. It's Dodo. Adjust must be A-D-J."
Tim: "What sort of a bird is a Dido?"
Bill: "Dido? It's Dodo you dildo."
Tim: "Do what?"
The Fitters laugh and change the crossword.
Tim: "Watch out. Here comes Super Mario."
The men shuffle to 'working' positions. Gerry enters carrying the package.
Gerry: "Ahh, there you are. That big Brickie sent me up to the roof."
Bill: "You should know better."
Gerry: "But normally the Brickies would sent people to the site hut. It's the Sparks that send you to the roof."
Bill: "That big Brickie you say."
Bill: "He used to be a Spark. What have you got there?"
Gerry: "Pumps. Get them fitted today and we will be up and running tomorrow morning. Well ahead of them wire boys. Then we'll be able to get on with phase two."
Bill: "Are these pumps the four-inch PN sixteen, four fifty mil face to face by any chance?"
Gerry: "That's right, just as you said. I found Mike's order."
Bill: "It's all changed now."
Gerry: "What's changed?"
Bill: "Pipe size, we went up to five-inch."
Gerry: "Why? Phase one calculates at four-inch."
Bill: "Not with this new extension they've added." (Bill shows Gerry the drawing) "Ten more rooms that size. Mike said we were already on the limit with the four-inch. Any more would mean up a size."
Gerry: "But these pumps are on a two-week lead. I am going to see that Andrea about this. We'll need an extension because of this extension."
Bill: "You've got no chance mate. You're more likely to get a Sparky with brains than get another day on that new work."
Gerry: "What an attitude. What would you say if you saw a glass, half filled with beer?"
Bill: "Fill it barman or I'll nut you."
Gerry: "I bet you'd say it was half-empty. I'd say it was half-full. That's because I'm an optimist and you're a pessimist."
Bill: "That depends on how many other glasses are empty, surely?"
Site Cabin - Ed is reading a specification, but it drops away leaving him holding his newspaper.
Ed: "Ahh. That's Dodo. Adjust must be A-D-J."
Gerry: "Ahh. Ed. Is Andrea in?"
Ed looks around. There is obviously no one else there.
Ed: "Have you tried under 'A' in the cabinet."
Gerry rushes to the filing cabinet, grabs open the top draw, then realises.
Gerry: "You're having me on aren't you?"
Ed: "Of course I am. She would be filed under 'W' for Winchester-Putlock. Why do you need her?"
Gerry: "It's this extension. It can't be done. It joins to phase one and the pumps will need changing. Luckily the lads have started on the pipe."
Ed: "Well don't just stand there. Order the new pumps."
Gerry: "That's just what I'm gonna do."
Gerry rushes to his chair and grabs the phone and starts to dial.
Gerry: "Number, number ..?"
Gerry thrashes round his desk pushing aside a lot of the loose paper he has created to find the old order. He mis-dials, then re-dials.
Gerry: (On phone)"Pumpco ... Morning ... About those pumps you sent me ... Order 62584 ... Four-inch ... Two weeks ago. I need to change them ... I want to go up a size ... I dunno, I'll call back."
Gerry slams down the phone then starts to grab some more files off the shelf.
Ed: "What's up?"
Gerry: "I've got to work out the new size."
Gerry frantically grabs a calculator, pen and paper and starts to scribble down some notes.
Mess Hut - Bill, Tim and the Fitters are having their tea break in their usual positions. All is quiet, except the tingling of the Walkman. A knock on the door.
Bill: "Get that lad."
Gerry: "Why me?"
Bill: "You're nearest."
Tim has to climb past the other three to get to the door. Sophie is at the door. She is wearing her office clothes which are a bit mud splattered and a large site helmet, nearly covering her eyes. She carries a large envelope.
Sophie: "Hi. Is Gerry Blade in?"
Bill: "No. You're at the wrong place. He works in the cabin. Come in."
Sophie: "Thank you. I went over there first but a kind man carrying a trowel thing sent me here."
Bill and Tim: (simultaneously) "Brickie."
Bill: "What do you want with Gerry?"
Sophie: "I've got some post for him."
Tim: "Yeah. You'll find him over at the toilet blocks, near the site entrance."
Bill: "No. Don't listen to him."
Tim takes Bill aside.
Tim: "But you said Bill. When we get a visitor to site we have to send them over to the toilet block."
Bill: "Not in this case Tim. Trust me." (To Sophie) "What you need is the site cabin. Go out of the door and into the big hall, take the second door on the right and follow the corridor up the steps and across over the aerial link. The cabin will be on the other side down the stairs."
Sophie: "Thanks, see you later."
Tim: "Why did you send her that way? The cabin is only across the car park."
Bill: "Because Tim. I sent her across the link."
Tim: "The link?"
Bill: "The aerial link ... "
Tim: "The link?"
Bill: "Didn't you notice that short skirt which she was wearing. And with an arse like Kylie's"
They both look up and smile. Bill and Tim rush out of the hut. The fitters had already gone!
Site Cabin - Ed is reading his paper. Gerry is on the telephone.
Gerry: "I know it's usually on a two-week lead but couldn't you make an exception ... It's a matter of life or death ... That's right ... Five-inch connections ... Will you? ... Thank you ... If you can ... Bye."
Gerry: "I think so. Friday they reckon. Am I cooking or what?"
Ed: "We'll see."
There is a huge cheer outside and a scream.
Gerry: "What was that?"
Ed: "Sounds like a girl on site to me."
Ed: "Yes. Happens every time. The lads on site always send them over the aerial link."
Ed: "Think about it."
Ed looks up. So does Gerry, who doesn't understand.
Gerry: "What? ... What?"
There is a knock at the door and Sophie bursts in, out of breath and shaking.
Sophie: "Hi. Can I come in. Thank you."
Gerry is still looking up, studying the ceiling. Sophie notices and also looks up.
Sophie: "What is it?"
Gerry: (noticing Sophie) "Ah, Sophie. There you are."
Sophie: "I've brought the post."
Sophie hands Gerry the envelope.
Gerry: "Thanks. Do you want a drink. Tea? Coffee?"
Sophie: "I can't. I should be getting back."
Gerry: "Nonsense. Stay a while. I'll show you round. Give you the grand tour."
Sophie: "No it's all right. I've got some filing to do back in the office. It's in a mess."
Sophie notices Gerry's desk, all untidy.
Sophie: "On the other hand. Perhaps I am needed here more."
Plant Room - Bill, Tim and the Fitters are 'working'. Caption: Friday Morning. Gerry enters with a huge parcel.
Gerry: "Morning lads. I told you I was lightning. Pump's arrived."
Bill: "We'll do our best. No promises though. Getting them fitted and running today will be a miracle."
Gerry: "No problem if you just get on with it. Things are really flying now."
Bill: "Have you still got that cute girl of yours on site?"
Gerry: "Sophie. Sure. She's going to be here every other day to sort out the paperwork. Quite a gem."
Bill: "What were you doing with her in here yesterday lunch time."
Gerry: "Nothing. Just showing her around."
Bill: "Oh Yeah, likely story."
Gerry: "She seemed to be quite fascinated by the control panel. I ran through the start up sequence for the pumps with her as a matter of fact."
Bill: "Who showed you then?"
Gerry: "Ha. Ha. Just get the pumps fitted by lunch time."
Site Cabin - Andrea is at the drawing board looking thoughtful. Sophie enters.
Sophie: "Morning Andrea. You seem thoughtful. What are you thinking about?"
Andrea: "Morning Sophie. I am just trying to decide on the correct pastel shade for the toilet walls."
Sophie: "Have you always wanted to be an Architect?"
Andrea: "Not really. I didn't know what to study at college. I always liked art but was never really any good at drawing, particularly buildings. What about you?"
Sophie: "Oh I've always wanted to dance. I do whenever I can."
Andrea: "What sort of dancing?"
Sophie: "Anything really. Ballet, old time, disco."
Andrea: "I tried out that river dancing once."
Sophie: "What happened?"
Andrea: "I slipped on a rock and got carried off down stream."
Sophie: "Where's Gerry?"
Andrea: "Out on site. He got those pumps this morning and is getting the lads to fit them."
Sophie: "He showed me how to turn them on yesterday."
Andrea: "The lads?"
Sophie: "No. The pumps. Quite simple really."
Andrea: "Yes, we will need them on by lunch today or we will all be in trouble."
Sophie looks quite concerned.
Boiler Room - Bill and Tim are working on the pumps. Now fitted. Tim is tightening the last bolt.
Tim: "There. Done."
Bill: "Right. Now open the valves to let the water in."
Tim tries to open the valve. It is very stiff and he cannot manage it.
Bill: "Give it here lad. You need more iron in your diet."
Tim: "I am already sucking on that nail like you told me to do each morning."
Bill opens the valve.
Bill: "There. No leaks. All filled and tested. Wired up and ready to go."
Tim: "Shall I switch the pumps on?"
Bill: "You never learn. Don't do more than you are paid for lad. Switching on is a suit's job. Leave it to Gerry. Tell you what. You go over to the site hut to tell him it's finished whilst me and the lads slip off early for lunch."
Site Cabin - Ed is doing the crossword. Andrea is sifting through some pastel shades. Sophie is at Gerry's desk re-grading his elastic bands.
Ed: "Here's one. Four across. Nine letters. Begins with an 'F'. Third letter 'S'. Clue reads 'Interestingly, one of the nine buttons had come off'."
Andrea: (Thinks) "Fascinate."
Ed: "Pardon. How did you get that?"
Andrea: "If one of the nine buttons had come off you could only fasten eight."
Sophie: "Is it zipped?"
Ed: "Is what zipped?"
Sophie: "If one of the buttons was lost you could use a zip."
Ed: "No. Its fascinate. That's the answer."
Sophie: "I don't understand crosswords. I just fill them all out with numbers."
Sophie: "Yes. If you put a number in each of the little boxes then whichever way you read it you get a correct number."
Ed looks at Andrea in disbelief.
Andrea: "Sounds good to me."
There is a knock at the door.
Ed: "Come in."
Tim: "Is Gerry in?"
Sophie: "He's out. Can I give him a message?"
Tim: "The pumps for phase one are ready to go. All Gerry needs to do is switch them on."
Sophie: "Thanks Tim."
Ed: "Would you Adam and Eve it. The new Messiah has got it done. It looks like you are going to get hand over of phase one Andrea."
Andrea: "I won't be happy until there is heat in there. Those pumps aren't running just yet. Until then his crowd are still in deep water."
Sophie: "I tell you what, I'll go over and switch them on. Gerry showed me how to do it yesterday."
Ed: "Don't you think you should wait for Gerry, he was only popping out for a few minutes."
Sophie gets up and puts on her oversized helmet.
Sophie: "Don't be silly. Any fool can flick a switch."
Ed: "Confident young girl isn't she?"
Andrea: "I was like that at her age. It must be something about youth."
Ed: "You are not very old yourself. What are you, twenty eight, thirty?"
Andrea: "You should not ask a lady her age."
Ed: "I'm not, I'm asking you."
Andrea: "Don't you normally go out on site on a Friday?"
Gerry enters, with Bill. They are in a rush.
Gerry: "Andrea. I've just thought."
Bill: "You didn't just think. It was me who told you."
Gerry: "Whatever. Those new pumps. You know we changed them."
Bill: "I changed them."
Gerry: "Well we didn't tell the electricians."
Bill: "Gerry didn't tell the Sparks."
Andrea: "So. You didn't add anything. You just changed the size."
Gerry: "And they wired them up."
Bill: "Based on the four-inch."
Gerry: "And the new pumps are five-inch."
Bill: "Bigger than the old ones."
Andrea: "Naturally. So what are we saying?"
Gerry: "We are saying ... We are saying. What are we ... er ... you saying Bill?"
Bill: "The new pumps will draw a bigger load."
Gerry: "The new pumps will draw a bigger load."
Ed: "That means ... The wiring could melt."
Gerry: "Causing the panel fuse to trip."
Ed: "Taking out the whole site."
Bill: "Including the kettle in my mess hut."
Andrea: "And this cabin."
Gerry: "So I can't switch the pumps on yet."
Gerry looks round.
Gerry: "Where's Sophie?"
There is a loud bang and flash. Everything is thrown into darkness.
Phases 2 and onward are yet to be developed but will continue the building theme developing the project and characters. One ‘phase’ will inevitably have to feature the most potentially comedic thing in construction nowadays, Health and Safety rules. For instance, how soon before they standardise construction workers for Health and Safety reasons? Will they outlaw small people so things can't fall so far onto them? Will fatties be banned to reduce the percentile chance of people getting hit by falling objects? And will new legislation require all Site Agents to wear hard hats when using their computers just in case they encounter a drop down menu?
Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.050 3 Jan 2018
First published: Version 1.01 Jan 2004
The image depicts a crashed lorry on a building site in Canary Wharf and was added in Version m5.050 3 Jan 2018