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Scene: Danny walks along the top of a fence near the garage.
He sees two men in long coats taking samples from their gasoline tanks. Inside the garage, William watches the men from his workbench. Danny runs in.
Danny: Who are those men, Dad?
William: Men from the Ministry. Some garage owners top up with low-grade fuel in their high-grade tanks to make a bit more cash. It’s an old dodge.
The two men enter.
1st Man: Right, sir, we’ve finished. (Holding out a clipboard.) If you would just like to sign here.
William: Proper blitz on, have you?
1st Man: Just routine, sir.
William: No it’s not. A couple of your chaps were here two weeks ago.
1st Man: I don’t know anything about that, sir.
William: Well, you can tell Mr. Victor Hazell from me that he’s wasting his time.
1st Man: I don’t know what you’re talking about sir. Afternoon. (The men leave.)
William: How was the first day back, Dan?
Danny: All right. There’s a horrible new master called Captain Lancaster. (Danny walks over to the garage window.) Dad? Did they really come because of Mr. Hazell?
William: No doubt about it. And I don’t expect they’ll be the last.
Scene: Victor Hazell is smoking a cigar and talking on the phone at home.
Hazell: Yeah, well of course he knew it was a put-up job. That was the idea. (Listens.) Well you let me worry about that. All right. (He hangs up and thinks for a minute. Then he reaches for the phone and begins to dial another number.) Hello? Is Councillor Mitchell still there, please?
Operator: Putting you through.
Hazell: Stan… There’s something I’d like you to do for me.
Scene: It’s a dark and foggy night back at Danny and William’s gipsy caravan.
Danny wakes up and checks his father’s bunk, but it’s empty. He looks at the clock and sees that it’s after 11:00. He opens the caravan door and shines a flashlight around the yard.
Danny: Dad? (He runs to the garage and checks in there.) Dad? (He shines the flashlight around.) Dad? (He checks the floor pit, but it’s empty as well. He then turns to the office but still can’t find him.) Dad?(Frightened, he stands in the yard looking around.) Dad? Where are you?
Finally we see Danny wrapped in a blanket sitting on the steps of the gipsy caravan. He’s nearly asleep when he hears a noise. A silhouette appears on the hill. Danny climbs down and see that it’s his father.
Danny: (Running to him.) Dad!
William: Danny, what’re you doing?
Danny: Where have you been? I thought something terrible had happened to you. (They hug and William carries him inside.)
Inside, Danny lights the fire.
William: I’m sorry Danny, I was wrong. I shouldn’t have done it. I didn’t think you’d wake up. You never do.
Danny: Done what Dad? Where’ve you been?
William: I’ve been up to Hazell’s Woods.
Danny: But that’s miles! Why? Why?
William: (Thinks for a minute.) Do you know what poaching is?
Danny: You mean, catching things?
William: Yes, well, it’s rather more than that, actually. It’s going out to the woods in the middle of the night and coming home with a nice, fat pheasant for the pot.
Danny: But that’s stealin’!
William: What? No it’s not.
Danny: But it is.
William: (Stops to think.) How would you like a midnight feast? And I will explain to you the mysterious art of poaching.
As the sausages sizzle in a frying pan, Danny’s father continues.
William: Well, now, once upon a time…
William: Do you want your sausages? (Danny smiles.) Then listen to your old dad. Once upon a time, people who lived in the country were incredibly poor. In fact, some of them were starving. And they were so poor, that they had to poach their own food in order to survive.
Danny: But that was ages ago.
William: (While preparing the food.) No, not so long ago. In your grandfather’s day. And then, when things got better, people just continued poaching because… well because… well because it’s one of the most exciting and difficult sports there is.
Danny: (Munching on a sausage.) But the pheasants still belong to somebody, don’t they?
William: Ah, well yes. Strictly speaking. I mean, legally, they belong to the person whose land they happen to be on at the time. Now that’s never really bothered anyone around here. Not, of course, until Mr. Smarty Pants Hazell came and bought up all the land. (Hands Danny a cup of tea.) Tea, sir. Hot. (William sits down and takes a sip of his own tea.) Oh, I hate organized shoots like Hazell’s.
William: Because they’re unnatural. I mean, they’re against nature. Do you know why he’s got so many pheasants? (Danny shakes his head.) Because he buys them as chicks. He puts them in pens and the keepers feed them like, like, pets. And when they’re released they’re practically tame! Then on the big day of the shoot, an army of beaters crashes through the wood and frightens them all up into the air and a load of rich idiots who couldn’t hit a barn at fifty paces blasts the senses out of them. Well, that’s disgusting. That’s organized slaughter. (Collects himself.) Now poaching, on the other hand, is a quite different matter. It’s one man on his own. It’s the hunter and his prey. And the pheasants have a chance. I mean, it’s not easy to catch a pheasant. And anyway, there’s the added spice of the keepers lurking behind the trees with loaded shotguns.
Danny: Guns! They wouldn’t shoot you would they?
William: Well Hazell’s keepers might. But in the old days they’d just pepper your backside a bit. Your old grandfather had a backside like a pincushion.
Danny: (Yawning.) Grandpa was a poacher?
William: He studied the art of poaching like, like, a scientist. Your grandfather discovered one of the greatest secrets of poaching.
Danny: (Drifting off.) What was that?
William: It’s time you were in bed, young man.
Danny: Aww, Dad, please. I’m all right.
William: No Danny, it’s a secret.
William: Well… (Thinking.) I suppose my Dad told me, so that I should tell you. Pass it on, so to speak. Like a family heirloom. (He digs in his coat pockets and pulls out a paper cone.) The thing he discovered, Master Daniel, (pulls out a raisin) was that pheasants love– (He sees Danny is asleep.) Pheasants love raisins. (He pops the raisin in his mouth.)
He puts Danny to bed while “Pheasants love raisins” echoes in Danny’s head.