Extract from a modern day musical in multiple, repetitive acts

by

Lesley ‘2X Stranded’ Junlakan

Credit: “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Freddie Mercury

Dramatis personae

Toffy, long suffering travel agency staff

Ajay, the antihero

Lynn, the cool voice of reason

Paul, another voice of reason

Filly, Silly Billy 1

Tilly, Silly Billy 2

Jilly, Silly Billy 3

Seb, the would-be-hero

Ted, the hothead

Sam, the bystander

Kim, the newcomer

….and a supporting cast of thousands

Author’s note: Any resemblance to persons living or dead is fully intentional.

Location: Cyberspace in Nepal

The stage is brightly lit, with puffs of dust and smog from time to time

Ted: (Shouting & angry) I didn’t get on the flight… for @#*%’s sake I didn’t get on the flight!

Filly: Toffy, he didn’t get the flight.. How could that happen?

Jilly: Is the Qatar flight on 22nd or 25th….I’m confused.

Ted: There were dogs in the queue, they got the flight… not me!

Tilly: OMG! What kind of game is this? Dogs on board and not us! Toffy can you explain this?

Filly: The German got on?

Jilly: Guys….22nd or 25th… Someone… tell me…

Ted: No, it was a French poodle….

Paul: Qatar or Turkish?

Jilly: Or was it Emirates?

Ajay: While there is news online that the cabinet has approved weekly one flight to Guangzhou and Doha, that’s just a statement from the spokesperson of the cabinet. After this, there are procedures that happen at the Ministry of Tourism…..

Ted: And all the people with no American accent being allowed on the flight. Middle Eastern types, Asians… It was supposed to be an embassy flight for Christ’s sake. What’s going on?

Paul: Are you racist or something, you entitled twat? Show some respect!

Ajay: …. negotiations with airlines, approvals from the airport’s authority, and only after that can an official statement and approvals come out. Hang on. Do not jump into conclusions just yet.

Filly: Toffy, please post the lists! We need the lists… how can we know otherwise?

Ted: I know my rights: women and children first, men before dogs… For @#*%’s sake. And people with fake PCR reports being pulled out of the queue and arrested. So ugly.

Tilly: Toffy… are you there?

Paul: And you had a ticket for the flight?

Ajay: ….As it comes out officially, we will announce it here. The team behind this initiative has more reach and access to information than your guides or the hacks online. Trust us!

Ted: Nagh… just turned up in case… you know… on the off-chance. My bad… ♪ I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy, Because I’m easy come, easy go, Little high, little low, Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me ♪

Seb: Guys! There are bubble flights to Delhi… let’s get permission to fly on those then we can transit to elsewhere… the US….Europe…The sky’s our limit! (Punching the air).

Lynn: Nope….only for Indians and Nepalis. No foreigners allowed …..No transits allowed!

Tilly: Toffy… Am I on the flight? And my name is wrong.. I’m Tilly not Tillie.. OMG maybe they won’t let me on…

Filly: Hey guys.. I am still COVID positive… When can I test negative? Anybody know? OMG… I feel so sick.. ♪Too late, my time has come, sends shivers down my spine, Body’s aching all the time… ♪

Sam: Any testing at home? What’s the difference, Star and HAMS?

Tilly: How you mean? What’s the difference?

Seb: Always someone being pessimistic… not ready to try something… I am going to contact my embassy. They will help me… ♪If I’m not back again this time tomorrow, Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters…. ♪

Sam: I mean result time….same day?

Lynn: Have you any idea what is involved in such an issue? It’s governmental … high level…national policy…Not something to be decided by an embassy.

Seb: So much negativity around here. Don’t need any more. ♪Goodbye, everybody, I’ve got to go…Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth ♪

Tilly: And Toffy, how do we pay? Credit card? Cash? Toffy? Are you there?

Kim: Hi guys! I’m new here….What do I have to do? I want a flight!

Everybody groans…

Ajay: Welcome Kim…. Fill up the forms…the Google forms…

Ted: We all want a flight for @#*%’s sake….

Ajay: (Aside, appealing to the audience) Why is no one replying in my information? Did they listen? Are they interested?

Tilly: We want to see the lists…..

Filly: Yes the lists….

Jilly: The lists….the lists… the lists…

Kim: I’m in Pokhara…

More groans…

Toffy: Hi everyone.

Everyone gasps…

Mixed calls of Namaste, Good morning, Bonjour, Salaam Alaikum , Guten Morgen, etc

Toffy: Can you remove your names from the list if you have already left… or if you are confirmed with Qatar? We are making new lists…

Applause

Ajay: You rock, Toffy….

Sam: ♪We will rock you, Toffy… ♪

Seb: How do I make sure I’m on the next flight, Toffy?

Paul: Hey! Thought you were going to transit in Delhi? Special permission… Pulling strings…

Seb: (Stage whisper) Shut up, can’t you? Just wanted to be like a boss.. .Know what I mean? ♪ I don’t want to die, I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all. I see a little silhouetto of a man.. ♪

Paul: Man! You must be sick…

Toffy: Guys.. I am doing my best… just be patient.

Tilly: ♪Scaramouch, Scaramouch! ♪ Something is wrong?

Jilly: Someone said no more flights?

Filly: ♪ I can’t stay here.. gotta get out… gotta get out.. ♪

Tilly, Jilly, Filly: ♪ So you think you can stop me and spit in my eye, So you think you can love me and leave me to die, Oh, baby, can’t do this to me, baby, Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here.. ♪

Toffy: (Pulling off her mask to show an evil face) Bismillah! No, we will not let you go!

Flashes of red, yellow and green light

All: ♪Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening me

Galileo, Galileo

Galileo, Galileo

Galileo, Figaro — magnificoo.. ♪

Lights go off: it is pitch dark. Then spotlight on Ajay alone

Ajay: (Singing to the audience) ♪Nothing really matters, Anyone can see, Nothing really matters, Nothing really matters to me Any way the wind blows… ♪

* *End of Scene**

A native of the UK but long-term resident in Asia (Thailand and Japan) Lesley, a writer and photographer, is especially fascinated by the Himalayan swathe.

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