TWO SOCKS ARE TALKING. IT’S ALMOST MIDNIGHT.
SHE: …socks mate for life. We were inseparable. Wherever he’d go, I’d go and wherever I went, he’d be right there. We’d go out dancing, the chicest parties, restaurants. Back when greed was good we were in the boardroom doing deals. Travel: London, Milan, Montevideo, Santa Monica. No suitcase mind, always carry-on, stowed right there in the cabin. When we hadn’t been carelessly tossed onto some plush hotel carpet we had pride of place in the drawer, right up the front, the best views. Primo.
HE: So what happened?
SHE: (SHARPLY) To bring me to this? Is that what you mean?
HE: I didn’t—
SHE: I’m sorry…It still…hurts. Even after all this time.
HE: He left you?
SHE: (SOBBING NOW) It wasn’t that—
HE: I didn’t mean to upset you…here’s my hankie.
HANKIE: (BRIGHT) Hello there.
HE: Shuttup hankie.
HANKIE: (HUFFILY) Well suit yourself.
HE: Go on.
SHE: It was laundry day. We’d been swimming and we were hanging on the line. It was warm and breezy and we were swirling around and around, giddy with success, our love. Laughing and laughing. And then suddenly…the dog.
HE: Oh god.
HANKIE: Oh god.
SHE: It…it was leaping and snarling and wouldn’t leave him alone, and…and then there was a cry and a terrible tearing sound … Later that day, after I couldn’t call any more when I was lying stunned, alone in the laundry basket, I could see the beast still barking and tossing his torn body—
HE: You poor thing. Do something Hankie.
HANKIE: Me? I don’t know why people think that hankies can help. We’ve barely a hem around us but in an emergency, they always reach for a hankie.
HE/SHE: Shuttup hankie.
SHE: (TURNING BACK TO HIM) That’s how I came to be living alone, up the back.
HE: With those dreadful sport socks: ‘Never mind the stripes, feel the absorbency’.
SHE: They’re not so bad. I’ve tried to talk to them about travel and culture but really all they’re interested in is…well. But it’s the Lucky Underpants Casino upstairs that keeps me up at night. What a racket and open all hours.
HE: And that’s why you’re…here?
SHE: I guess. What about you? What’s a handsome green stocking like you hanging around in a place like this? Or is that a line?
HE: It’s a sad old story, nothing to it really. I guess we were just different people. I was quiet and she was flamboyant. She had ambition. And talent—she was great. What a voice. It started with amateur dramatics, a bit of sock puppet work. Then one day an agent in the audience spots her and makes her an offer. Well, we argued, said cruel things. She called me a stuffed shirt. Said I was holding her back, crushing her talent. Then she just packed her bag and left. Jumped into a limousine and that was the last time I saw her.
Except one winter night, I was lying over the drying rack watching TV and there she was.
SHE: On television?
HE: I’m sure it was her. They’d sown some buttons on for eyes and a stupid pink mouth but I’m sure it was my Jeanie with some stranger’s hand up her. It was disgusting. I couldn’t watch.
SHE: It’s not much of a life, being an only.
SHE: But there’s one day of the year.
HE: Our day. For solos.
SHE: And I don’t even mind being pinned here on the mantelpiece.
HE: Me either. So, what do you want for Christmas?
SHE/HE: What else?
HANKIE: And a hankie.
SFX: THE SOUND OF SLEIGH BELLS IN THE DISTANCE.
Something from the archives for the season. And here’s Winston Surfshirt – with Be About You – very chill.