ISN'T MUCH - IT'S EVERYTHING
PETER is a young, married theatre technician and is due to meet his wife SARAH by the river to watch a puppet show with their daughter. As is so often the way in a life which seems to conspire against you and then throw up strange quirks of fate, he arrives late, can’t find them and in his disappointment decides to walk home ‘the pretty way’. At the end of an alley, he encounters an old man, JAMES.
JAMES recounts a story and it turns out he has many things in common with PETER, from birthplaces to interests - even to birthdates. His story of family bereavement and ever-rising costs of hotel bills, coupled with his very obvious frailty and friendliness make PETER realise that here is a man in desperate need of help - all this 70 year old is asking for is a few pounds to get him back home to Folkestone. JAMES doesn’t understand cashpoint cards, awayday saver returns or much about the new world really and so is stranded in outer London with no access to money and no friends. PETER sees several pieces of identification as proof, lends JAMES £20 and puts him on a train home. They are like Spring and Autumn - two halves of the same life - both knowing the other in spirit and equally, both knowing this meeting would somehow change them for ever.
Arriving back at his home, PETER is staggered to find that he is crying at the thought of having met someone so perfect, and yet someone he may never see again. He decides to write to his new found ‘soul mate’. Days later, with no reply, he writes a second letter. Again, no word from Folkestone. After many heated family arguments about the subject, SARAH suggests she sends an angry letter on her husband’s behalf, spelling out a few home truths to JAMES about how much emotion PETER has, for some unknown reason, invested in this friendship. In this way, the point will be made but PETER will not be the perpetrator. At the last moment, PETER writes his number on the back of the envelope, asking the occupants of the house, if they are not those written on the front, to call him and let him know. Some days later, he receives a call from the house owners - JAMES does not live there and never has - PETER has been conned.
Thus ensues a chase which envelopes PETER’S life to the extent that he risks losing his job, his family and ultimately his mind in an attempt to find the man - apparently all for the sake of twenty pounds, but there is, of course, far more at stake than that. Ego, foolhardiness, territorial pride, a missing father - what ever it is, PETER is hurting to the extent that even the threat of losing everything he has is not nearly enough to stop him.
Finally, deserted by everyone (which seems not to affect his obsession), PETER works out through previous victims’ correspondence that there is some sort of bizarre pattern to JAMES’S movements. If he can just crack the code, he will surely be able to find him again. Throwing himself into the research ultimately pays off and, just as PETER had planned, the two meet again on Waterloo station, with PETER playing it very cool and attempting to ensnare JAMES into a con of his own...
WHAT GOES AROUND is set in the troubled, confused and ever-jumping time frames of PETER’S mind as a PSYCHIATRIST attempts to unscramble the obscure clues PETER has thrown into the pot suggesting he may have even killed the old man but refusing to explain any further. Initially he has no interest in recounting the story to the authorities and helping the investigation but as he is questioned more and more, he recalls every event in vivid detail. What begins as a hunt for stolen pride ends as a lost little boy madly pursuing the childhood he never had.
It is a story of how a minor obsession can lead to a major decline and ultimately to an act of personal revenge which PETER feels is fully justified…..what ever the cost.
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