Vignette – “House Arrest”

Okay then, bye!

Humph. Bastards.

When they leave the dog behind, they say goodbye to that. But not me. Oh no.

After all, what am I to them? Only their roof, their walls, their floor. Their comfort, their security. The thing that divides them from mere animals. Except the dog.

Bloody dog.

At least they took it this time. Can’t abide it running around inside, making me rock, making all that bloody racket for no reason. Don’t hear me do that, do you?



Okay, yes, I envy it one thing, that mangy mutt. It can move. It isn’t graceful, but it is movement. They can all move.

Not sure I’d want a goodbye wave anyway. It would be a “we’re going away now, because we can, because we can move, and you can’t, so just stay there – which is all you can do – while we just go away, while we just MOVE”.

It’s not much to ask, is it? I used to be able to move. But not any more, oh no. Movement’s too good for you, they thought. Your days of movement are over. So we’ll just take your engine off, your lovely lovely engine, and you can just sit there. For eternity. Stationary.

They haven’t the slightest idea what it’s like. Here I am, all tied up, nice and secure and I have to watch. Sit here and watch. All those lucky lucky bastards just cruising past. I’m sure they do it deliberately. “Ha ha, look at him, he’s just a houseboat. We can move. Look. Look at the spray. Hear the engine. It’s a sexy engine. Modern too. Japaneeeese. It’s so good to be out on the river. Look at us. We can moooove. Wheeeeeeeeee!”


I could move away from the ducks too. And the swans. I like my slime. I like my barnacles. They keep me warm. Alright?!

And the kids. I swear, if I get one more gloop of vanilla ice cream on my running board…

Yes, okay, so the water laps along one sides – slaps even, when those swines go past – but it isn’t the same. Not the same as cutting through the coolness, up river, down river, kicking up a bit of a swell. Feeling that throb, that great throb. It was noisy that engine, but I liked it. Got me noticed. Not now. Just an appendage to the bank now, a curiosity.


Got some peace and quiet too. It wasn’t all day every day. I got some nights to myself. They’re nice enough folks I suppose now, treated me better than the last lost. Can’t forgive them though, not for taking my freedom. Draws a line under your youth, it does. A thick black line.

Still life in me yet. If only they knew. How would they feel if someone cut off their legs?

It’s a crime.

Look, it isn’t much to ask. Just an engine. Even a little one. At least I could move then. Maybe once a month to start. Then once a week. Maybe we could go somewhere. Even with the dog. I always wanted to go the south of France.

I hear the girls there are great.



In that case, maybe a big engine.

Chris Towndrow

Playwright & author. Three professional adult pantos have sold out their runs in Guildford in the past 3 years. Currently planning for 2017.