The Break In
THOMASINA is in her apartment, sitting at the kitchen table, reading a magazine and drinking coffee. It is very peaceful and quiet, just the occasional turning of pages can be heard.
There is some strange noise coming from the front door and seconds later it opens. Somebody comes in. THOMASINA is startled –she sits at the table not able to move wondering what to do.
Whoever came in went straight for the living room which is the first door on the left hand side. THOMASINA is still in the kitchen which is the second door on the right. She peeks through the kitchen door and seeing nobody, runs quietly towards the front door, goes out of the apartment and locks the door behind her. She then dials 999 on her mobile phone.
THOMASINA: Hello, I need the police. I have an intruder in my apartment. The address is 73 Wards wharf approach, E15 2EX. (listens) No, I got out and locked them inside. I’m just outside the front door. (listens) Thank you.
Hangs up the phone. Sits down by her front door waiting.
Soon she hears a noise coming from the inside of the flat. She sees the handle of the front door being presses lightly down. Nothing happens. The handle is pressed firmer a second time but nothing happens again.
THOMASINA: You can’t come out. It’s locked. I locked you in.
THOMASINA: The police are on their way.
Silence. She hears movement as if somebody in sitting down next to the door. It’s so quiet that she actually hears them breathing.
THOMASINA: Aren’t you going to say anything?
JAMES: What’s your name?
THOMASINA: (startled) What’s my name?? You tried to rob me and who knows what else and you are asking about my name??
JAMES: (calmly) Yes.
JAMES: What kind of a name is that? (laughs)
THOMASINA: It’s actually a very pretty, unusual and charismatic name!
JAMES: Is that what your Mom used to tell you when you were teased in school?
THOMASINA: What are you now – a burglar or a psychotherapist? Pick one – you can’t be both.
JAMES: Why not? It’s not true that men are not good multitaskers, you know.
THOMASINA: (quietly) I can’t believe this is happening…
JAMES: My name is James, by the way. Thanks for asking.
THOMASINA: I’d say “nice to meet you” but it’s really not.
JAMES: You seem awfully uptight. Do you have a boyfriend?
THOMASINA: Excuse me??
JAMES: Thought so. (smiles)
THOMASINA: (angrily) How dare you make fun of me? You broke into my home, tried to rob me… How many other people have you robbed, hurt or killed??
JAMES: Enough with the drama. I haven’t robbed, hurt or killed anybody. Including you.
THOMASINA: Yeah, because I locked you in and called the police. Who knows what would’ve happened if I was sleeping…
JAMES: Nothing would’ve happened. I’m not here to hurt you in any way or take anything from you.
THOMASINA: Oh, yeah? Why did you brake in my apartment then? To enjoy the view from my living room balcony?
JAMES: (smiling) You are quite funny. In a sarcastic, mind-your-own-business kind of way but still…
THOMASINA: Oh, I’m so flattered getting compliments from a burglar!
JAMES: Stop calling me that! I’m not a burglar, a rapist or a killer!
THOMASINA: Excuse me for making that assumption based on, you know, you braking into my home!
THOMASINA: (sighs and shakes her head in a “I can’t believe I’m doing this” kind of way) What are you then?
JAMES: You are not going to believe anything I say so why bother?
THOMASINA: That’s true. But can you blame me? You broke into my house…
JAMES: Yeah, yeah, enough of that.
Pause. They both fall silent for a while
JAMES: So, what do you do for a living? I’ve seen you going out dragging suitcases often enough. And you are always tanned..
THOMASINA: So, you are a stalker in your spare time?
JAMES: No. (signs) My studio is just opposite your building entrance. I like looking through the window and watch people. It inspires me and gives me ideas…
THOMASINA: What ideas? Who’s going to be your next victim?
JAMES: Something like that….
THOMASINA: You are tired of denying it anymore then?
JAMES: Look, just tell me what you do for a living and I’ll tell you why I was in your apartment and what my job is. You can believe me or not, I don’t really care. But I’m absolutely sure that you are very curious to find out (smiles)
THOMASINA: I’m not dying to find out anything about you. You are very mistaken…
JAMES: I’m not. Now – spill.
THOMASINA: (rolls her eyes) OK. I’m doing research for holiday companies.
JAMES: What exactly does that mean?? What research?
THOMASINA: Well, I visit hotels, villas, spa retreats etc. which are not part of any big travel company and give a report back to the company - if I think it would be a good idea to sign that hotel or whatever exclusively with the holiday company.
JAMES: So, let me get this straight – you go on holidays for a living?
THOMASINA: It’s not just that, I have a lot of work to do there…
JAMES: Yeah, like try all the spa treatments? Or swim in every single one of the 12 pools?
THOMASINA: Think whatever you like. I do a very good job and it’s a win-win situation – the small hotel gets more visitors, the travel company get exclusive deals on more secluded holidays and the customers get a bigger choice.
JAMES: But still… You are going on holidays for a living!
THOMASINA: I am.
JAMES: How did you manage to get that job??
THOMASINA: My dad used to be a big shareholder in one of the most popular travel companies. He suggested they try that kind of research. And they did and it proved to be very beneficial for all sides and now most companies work with researchers like me.
JAMES: I’ll be damned! I had so many theories about you but this just blew my mind!
THOMASINA: Yeah, I know, I’m very lucky. (waves dismissively with her hand) Your turn. Why are you in my apartment?
JAMES: OK. I’m a writer.
THOMASINA: Oh, come on! You think I’m going to believe this lame excuse??
JAMES: Just let me finish, OK? I used to be a stunt man – one of those doubles they use in action movies. I love adrenalin and danger and all that stuff and being young and hot headed that was the perfect job for me. I did it for 5 years and loved every second. But then I had an accident which left me with a serious knee injury and I couldn’t do my job anymore. So, I started writing – my other passion. My first book was about being a stunt man. – it wasn’t a novel, it was an honest account of the job. I just shared my experience, my stories. And it became a hit.
THOMASINA: I’ve never heard of it…
JAMES: You must be interested in non fiction to hear of it.
THOMASINA: I guess… But wait, that still doesn’t explain anything about you breaking in my flat.
JAMES: Well, after my book became a success my publisher suggested I write another one. But I didn’t have experience in anything else. However, I had a great enthusiasm to learn and discover new things so they suggested I try other professions and later write about them. And I did – I trained as a chef and worked in a well known restaurant for a year and then wrote about it. Later, I trained as a fireman and a pilot and wrote about those jobs as well.
THOMASINA: And now you are tired of conventional jobs and want to write about being a thief?
JAMES: You can put it that way, yes. I need an adrenalin rush again. I’m not doing it for money anymore but for the joy of experiencing something new, unusual and it that case, a bit dangerous and unpredictable.
THOMASINA: Why me?
JAMES: I told you – I’ve been watching you from my studio window and I decided I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone – see what it’s like to be a thief and find out more about you. My curiosity was killing me. (laughs) And rightly so. I knew you’d be unusual.
THOMASINA: Unusual? What’s unusual about me??
JAMES: First – your name. Then – your job. And who would lock a thief inside their flat? And then spend the time to talk to them while waiting for the police? That’s not a normal reaction.
At that moment two policemen arrive. THOMASINA stands up and unlocks the door. JAMES is sitting next to it. He stands up and without saying a word turns around with his arms behind his back. One of the policemen puts handcuffs on him and turns him around. THOMASINA and JAMES make eye contact for the first time. He smiles. She returns the smile. He’s taken away by the policemen. THOMASINA watches them leave, walks in her home and closes the door behind her.