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Friday Nights

by Peter Read

On Friday nights the Benthamite clans swing into town.
Marital chains loosened for an evening,
the boys chat up the girls, toss their phone numbers to the wind.
They laugh at theatre hoardings, wonder how anyone
could choose such ‘entertainment’ over their fun.

In the Indian, Ritchie, leader of the gang,
speaks to his huddled, tabled audience,
heads slumped on serviettes,
or chins resting on wine glass rims.

He’s heard about this geezer Bentham
who got some kind of calculation going
to work out what gives people the greatest pleasure.

Spike reckons he needs no maths to work that one out
as John Smith’s froth decorates his moving lips.
Ritchie explains that they must give marks for every pleasure they enjoy:
Lifts Bonzo’s head to rescue a serviette,
then with a pen makes columns for Intensity and Duration.
Digger protests, saying that chatting to his Gran
lasts forever and makes him deeply happy.
It’s much longer than a spliff or sex, but nowhere near as good.

Stuart the Brains chides their earlier laughter outside the theatre,
states his support for such gigs,
and says Quality needs a column alongside Intensity and Duration.

Silence. They look at him askance. Bonzo starts to snore.

© Peter Read 2021

Peter Read is a full time ghostwriter and playwright. He won the John Tripp award for spoken poetry, has had twenty two of his plays staged professionally, and performed his one man show about Dylan Thomas throughout Britain and in America (petersamread@gmail.com).

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