'Okay, me first.’ She makes herself comfortable on the couch, drawing her legs under her backside and tucking her hair behind her ears. He can tell she’s nervous. ‘So, right, my name’s Jennifer – Jen – and Darren and I have been together for, like, ten months . . . God, this is so fucking weird.’ She holds a hand over her mouth as she laughs. ‘Right, okay, sorry.’ She takes a breath, gets herself together again and looks back towards the video camera.
‘Do you want me to go first?’ The acoustics of the caravan and the camera’s in-built microphone lend his voice a distant, muffled tone even though he’s no more than six feet away.
‘No, no! I want to, it’s just . . . Wait, I know what’s wrong.’ She leans out of shot and reappears with a glass of red wine. She drains it and puts it back, then bares her teeth at the camera. ‘Are they purple?’
‘No, you’re cool.’
‘Right.’ She breathes in deeply through her nose, closes her eyes then opens them.
‘Let’s start again.’
She nods, then pouts at the camera. In a husky drawl she says, ‘Hi, big boy. I’m Jen and I . . .’ She topples to the side and screams into a cushion.
He says, ‘For fuck’s sake,’ but he’s giggling, too.
She tries to get herself back together but can’t quite manage it. ‘Maybe you should go first. I don’t think I’m pissed enough. Or I’m too pissed, I’m not sure.’
Jen leaves the frame as Darren enters and sits on the couch. ‘Okay. Our Weekend of Hedonism, take one.’ He stares into the camera. ‘Shit, I forgot what I wanted to say.’ He starts laughing, then turns his head from side to side, checking his profile. ‘It doesn’t look like me. I look like a monkey.’
We hear Jen’s voice echo. ‘No, you don’t. Well, not real-’
Something loud happens behind the camera and Darren jumps. ‘What the fuck was that?’
‘Sorry. I’m looking for the wine.’
‘I think we finished it.’
‘Three bottles? Bloody hell. Well, I’m not pissed enough.’
‘I thought you said you were too pissed.’
‘I said I wasn’t sure. Now I’ve decided.’ She chants, ‘More wine, more wine,’ moving closer and closer to the camera, until she seems to be talking right over the microphone. ‘Must. Have. More. Wine.’
Darren smiles at her and says, ‘There’s a shop at the other side of the campsite.’
‘Cool. What button is it?’
‘The wee red one on the side.’
Jen snogs the camera lens, staggers backwards and lands on the L-shaped couch. Her red lipstick leaves an opaque smear that Darren wipes off with the tail of his T-shirt.
‘That was a laugh. I enjoyed that,’ she says.
‘Yeah. That fat guy doing ‘Mack the Knife’ was brilliant.’
‘I liked the ‘My Heart Will Go On’ girl.’
‘That was hilarious. God, how rubbish was she?’
‘Wha’doyoumean? She was great!’
He speaks over the microphone. ‘In case you were wondering, Jen and I found this great wee pub near the campsite. They were having a karaoke night.’
‘Who are you talking to?’ she asks.
‘Whoever’s watching this,’ he tells her.
Her face goes wide. ‘You’re not showing this to anyone. Ever.’
‘Course not,’ he says, laughing. ‘Well, maybe just the sex parts. I was thinking about a website.’
She breathes in sharply through her open mouth. ‘You fucking better not!’
‘Yeah. What about jensjigglyjuggs.com?’
‘You are so . . .’ She grabs a cushion and makes to throw it at him.
‘Hey, hey, watch the camera.’
She puts the cushion down.
He says, ‘Anyway, the worst one was that silly moo that did ‘Achy Breaky Heart’. What a fucking hatchet job that was.’
She does her best to look pissed off. ‘Ha ha. That was an excellent rendition, even if I do say so myself.’ She lies on her side and closes her eyes. ‘Anyway, I wasn’t as bad as that tosser . . . What did you sing again?’
‘You mean you’ve forgotten already? My public are so fickle. It was ‘That’ll Be The Day’.’
She opens one eye. ‘What made you sing that?’
‘How do you mean?’
‘I just thought it was kind of a weird choice.’
‘Obscure maybe? All those songs . . . I dunno.’
‘I like Buddy Holly.’
She opens both eyes. ‘Since when?’
‘I’ve always liked Buddy. Total genius.’
‘Yeah? I didn’t know that.’ She adjusts her body, getting comfortable. ‘He’s shit compared to Billy Ray Cyrus, though.’
He splutters a laugh. ‘Fuck off.’
‘And he doesn’t look as good in a pair of tight jeans.’ She closes her eyes again.
There’s a silence. Then: ‘Hey, hey, what are you doing? Hot sex, remember?’
‘Uh-huh, I’ll be with you in a minute. Just resting my eyes.’
‘Well I’m going for a pee and when I get back I expect you naked and wanton.’
She raises a hand, gives a thumbs up, then lets her arm fall limp along her side. Her eyes stay closed.
We hear Darren’s bare feet suck and slap against the kitchen lino. Then the sound of him peeing into the toilet. The camera watches Jen; she doesn’t move, although her mouth twitches occasionally and she swallows.
Darren comes back across the kitchen. ‘What a surprise.’ He walks over to the couch and squats next to Jen with his back to the camera. ‘Oh, Ms Mitchell?’ he says, soft and low.
Jen makes a sleepy sound.
‘Is this what you call wanton?’
She replies with a little squeaky fart and turns onto her other side. Apart from that she doesn’t react. Darren laughs so hard that he starts coughing. Then, eventually, wiping his eyes, he says, ‘That’s probably the best knock back I’ve ever had.’
He stands and disappears behind the camera.
Jen’s on the couch, cocooned in a duvet. She sips from a glass of water and holds a facecloth over her forehead. ‘Oh, Jesus,’ she says.
Darren sits at the other end of the couch, drinking a mug of coffee. ‘Look at the state of us. Some pair of party animals we are.’
‘Darren, would you turn off the fucking camera!’
He gets up. ‘Okay, take it easy.’
‘I feel totally shit.’
‘Yeah, I know.’
Something in his tone makes her look at him. ‘What?’
‘Well . . . I just think you’re overreacting a bit.’
She takes a sip. Then: ‘How?’
‘Oh, come on, Jen, you’ve got a bit of a hangover, not cancer.’
‘Oh, that’s nice. Thanks for the sympathy. And turn that fucking thing off. Please.’
‘I’m doing it, amn’t I?’
‘It was your idea to bring the thing. I’m sick of it staring at me. It’s like a stalker or something.’
‘What is your fucking problem? You’re being such a drama queen.’
Her face sets, hard, and she throws a cushion at the camera, knocking it on its side. We see the leg of a coffee table. Some beige carpet.
‘Fucking hell, Jen. That thing was expensive.’
‘God, I’m going to be sick.’ There’s a rush of activity before naked skin and a purple-painted toenail flash past the camera as Jen sprints for the toilet. ‘Oh, God.’ A door slams then we hear violent retching.
Darren’s voice is so loud over the microphone that it distorts. ‘Some fucking weekend of hedonism this is.’
Jen nods. She is dressed now, but still looks rough. She sips something orange. ‘This is helping.’
Rain begins to dance on the roof. They both react to it, looking up.
‘Nice night,’ she says.
She finishes her drink and waggles the glass at him.
‘I take it that means you want another one.’
She nods then smiles when he takes the glass and gets up. Her eyes track him to the kitchen and she watches him work; we hear glass on glass, liquids being poured, the fridge door opening then closing. Then:
‘What are we going to do, Darren?’
He sighs. ‘About what?’ He returns to the couch and hands her the drink. She thanks him. Then:
‘About this. About why we keep fighting all the time.’
‘We don’t fight all the time.’ He takes a sip. ‘Just most of the time.’
She looks at him. ‘It’s not funny.’
There’s a pause. Then:
‘God’s sake.’ She puts her glass on the floor then leans her forehead on the heel of a hand.
He hasn’t looked at her; staring past the camera and into the distance. He finishes his drink. Then:
‘Maybe this is just what happens.’
‘How do you mean?’ she says.
‘When people stay together for a long time. I mean, look at my parents. Niggle, niggle. Bitch, bitch.’
She sighs. ‘God.’ Then she sits up straight. ‘That’s really fucking depressing.’
He turns to her, reaches out and touches the side of her face. ‘I don’t think we’re that bad.’ He strokes the hair behind her neck.
‘Seems like it.’ She doesn’t move his hand. ‘That’s nice.’
‘No, no, keep going.’
He hands her his glass. ‘Your round.’
She matches his smile with a mock glare, gets up and takes both glasses to the kitchen. He watches her.
‘Tell you what,’ she says. ‘Let’s take these drinks to bed.’
He makes a big silly face, crosses his eyes, and through buck teeth says, ‘Cooooool.’
She laughs at that and calls him a twat. ‘To talk.’
He gets up and stands beside the camera. He goes to pick it up.
‘No, Darren. Please?’
He sighs. Then: