ACCIDENTS INVOLVING FOOD

 

 

Cut to interior of car speeding along highway. Pither is sitting in the back seat with his bicycle. The driver, Mr Gulliver, talks with a professional precision.

 

Pither:  (M.P.) My rubber instep caught on the rear mudguard stanchion and...

 

Gulliver:  (T.J.) Really? And what happened to the corned beef rolls?

 

Pither:  The corned beef rolls crushed out of all...here, how did you know about the corned beef rolls?

 

Gulliver:  I noticed them - or what remained of them - in the road. I noticed also that the lemon curd tart had sustained some superficial damage.

 

Pither:  That's right. The curd had become...

 

Gulliver:  Detached from the pastry base.

 

Pither:  (with some surprise) Absolutely right, yes.

 

Gulliver:  Otherwise the contents of the sandwich box were relatively unharmed, although I detected small particles of bitumen in the chocolate cup cakes.

 

Pither:  But they were wrapped in foil!

 

Gulliver:  Not the hard chocolate top, I'm afraid.

 

Pither:  Oh, that's the bit I like.

 

Gulliver:  The sausage roll, the crisps and ginger biscuit were unscathed.

 

Pither:  How do you know so much about cycling?

 

Gulliver:  Well, I'm making a special study of accidents involving food.

 

Pither:  Really?

 

Gulliver:  Yes, do you know that in our laboratories, we have developed a cheese sandwich that can withstand an impact of up to 4,000 pounds per square inch?

 

Pither:  Good heavens!

 

Gulliver:  Amazing, isn't it? We have also developed a tomato which can eject itself when an accident is imminent.

 

Pither:  Even if it's inside an egg and tomato roll?

 

Gulliver:  Anywhere! Even if it's in your stomach, and it senses an accident it will come up your throat and out of the window. Do you realise what this means?

 

Pither:  Safer food!

 

Gulliver:  Exactly! No longer will food be squashed, crushed and damaged, by the ignorance and stupidity of the driver! (becoming slightly messianic) Whole picnics will be built to withstand the most enormous forces! Snacks will be safer than ever! A simple pot of salad dressing, treated in our laboratories, has been subjected to the impact of a 4,000 pound steam hammer every day for the last sixteen years and has it broken?

 

Pither:  Er....well...

 

Gulliver:  Yes, of course it has...but there are other ideas - the safety straps for sardines for instance.

 

 A tomato leaps up out of the glove compartment and hovers, then it ejects itself out of the car window

 

Pither:  Here, that tomato just ejected itself.

 

Gulliver:  Really? (embracing Pither excitedly) It works! It works! (the car crashes)

 

Fade out. Fade up on country road. Pither is cycling along with Gulliver on the back of the bicycle. Gulliver has his head bandaged and his arm in a sling. Occasionally strains of the Clodagh Rogers hit 'Jack in a box' float towards us as Gulliver moves rhythmically. 

 

Pither:  (voice over) What a strange turn this cycling tour has taken. Mr Gulliver appears to have lost his memory and far from being interested in safer food is now convinced that he is Clodagh Rogers, the young girl singer. I am taking him for medical attention. 

 

Cut to Pither and Gulliver cycling into hospital. A sign says 'North Cornwall District Hospital'. Cut to nurse receptionist at a counter with a glass window which lifts up and down. Pither appears. 

 

Pither: Is this the Casualty Department? 

 

Nurse: (G.C.) Yes, that's right. 

 

Noise of splintering wood and crash out of vision. Pither and the nurse look up. A bench has collapsed in the middle and three patients sitting on it have slid into a heap in the middle. A nurse is on her way to assist. Cut back to Pither and nurse. 

 

Nurse: And what can I do for you? 

 

The window comes down on her fingers. We hear a shriek of pain. She pushes it up again. 

 

Pither: I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and... 

 

Nurse: Could I have your name please? 

 

Pither: Ah, my name is Pither. 

 

Nurse: What? 

 

Pither: P-I-T-H-E-R ...as in Brotherhood, but with PI instead of the BRO and no HOOD. 

 

Nurse: I see... 

 

Pither: I had just visited Taunton... 

 

Terrific crash. Cut to trolley on its side, and a bandaged patient under a mound of hospital instruments and a nurse standing looking down. 

 

Nurse: Ssh! 

 

Pither: ...and was cycling north towards... 

 

Nurse: Yes, where were you injured? 

 

Pither: Just where the A237 Ilfracombe road meets the... 

 

Nurse: On your body... 

 

Pither: Ah no... it's not I who was injured, it's my friend. 

 

The Nurse crumples up the paper she's been writing on, and throws it away. The piece of paper hits a smallish cabinet of glass which topples forward and smashes. 

 

Nurse: Name? 

 

Pither: Pither. 

 

Nurse: No, no, no, no. Your friend's name. 

 

Pither: Oh, Clodagh Rogers... 

 

Nurse: Clodagh Rogers!? 

 

Pither: Well only since about 4: 30.... 

 

Nurse: Yes. I think you'd better talk to Doctor Wu... Doctor! 

 

Cut to a doctor unloading a crate balanced on top of a medicine cabinet. As he turns the box falls off 

 

Doctor: (J.C.) What? Damn! 

 

Cut to patient in a wheelchair being pushed. The wheelchair completely collapses and the nurse is left holding the handles. Quick cut to the nurse as window comes down on her fingers again. 

 

Nurse: Aaaaaagh! 

 

Doctor comes across to Pither, limping slightly, in some pain. 

 

Doctor: Now, what's the trouble? 

 

Pither: I am on a cycling tour of... 

 

Nurse: He thinks he's had an accident. 

 

Pither: I have friend who, as a result of his injuries thinks he is Clodagh Rogers. 

 

Doctor: He what? 

 

Pither: Well, what happened was... 

 

A nurse carrying a tray walks past the doctor, making for the entrance doors. As she reaches them they swing open to admit Gulliver, with his head bandaged and his arm in a sling. He collides with the nurse; she drops her tray. He grabs Pither and they exit rapidly, stepping on the doctor's foot in the process. The doctor yells, grabs his foot, and as he does so the reception window slams down, trapping his hand. He howls in pain.

  

 

The Cycling Tour continues...

 

 

 

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