When the shit hits the fence

I miss Montreal’s “franglais”. Everyone speaks their own language fully, and a bit of the other (only a few are truly bilingual). A francophone mate of mine (whose English is excellent, but whose native French is better) told me a story about a friend of his who got himself in trouble, and about what happened “when the shit hit the fence.” The story was funny in and of itself. But the mangled metaphor inspired me to write this faux BBC radio play.

[EXCERPT from BBC Radio Comedy piece, “Smells like Rain”]

Main Characters:

REGINALD, 55-year-old handy-man, married 30 years, currently employed as a landscape gardener, better known to his friends as “REG”.

OSCAR, 41-year-old, twice-divorced, now-single, painter. Currently employed as a house-painter, a member of a renovation crew.

SIMON, 28-year-old, in a 7-year on-again, off-again relationship with SUSAN. Currently employed as a handy-man in the same renovation crew as OSCAR.

Supporting Characters:

LOCAL, male retiree, a local from the neighborhood, approx 82 years old.

The setting is in the yard at no. 5 Sunnydale Road – currently under heavy renovation. The reno crew are all present, as is LOCAL. The atmosphere is tense after an “incident” that morning over which no-one can agree.


LOCAL What I want to know is, WHO is going to pay the cleaning bill for my pants? Just LOOK at them, it’s disgusting.
REG Listen my friend, I’ve already apologized to you. I don’t mean to be rude, but you weren’t born yesterday and you should have been more careful – you know what can happen when you’re walking past a fence. Sometimes shit hits it.
SIMON It could have been worse – the shit could have hit the fan.
OSCAR Shut UP, Simon. You’re about as helpful as tits on a bull, you are. Obviously shit hitting the fan isn’t as bad as shit hitting the fence. For one thing, FANS are INSIDE the house. People don’t get shit all over their pants from walking under a FAN now do they? Who’s going to be throwing shit near the fan to begin with?
REG [feeling sorry for Simon, who isn’t the brightest member of the crew, although he always means well]

It’s alright Simon, my lad, I can see how shit hitting a fan could get messy, but of course, statistically speaking, walking past a fence when the garden’s being fertilized really is more of a risk, when it comes to “accidents”.

OSCAR [feeling rather full of himself because he takes REG’s speech to be validation that he is right, and also to be a corroboration of HIS point that SIMON is simple]

Exactly, Reg, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I mean, throwing shit at a fan is a really stupid thing to do anyway… and as for whether it’s messy or not, if the fan isn’t even turned on and no-one’s standing under it, well there’s no real harm done anyway, is there?

LOCAL Heaven SAVE me from these morons! You STILL haven’t answered my question. WHO IS GOING TO PAY THE CLEANING BILL FOR MY PANTS?
RENO CREW [said in unison] YOU are!
REG LOOK! You should have been watching where you were going. Walking past fences without paying attention just INVITES trouble. And if I didn’t know better, I’d say you did that deliberately – just waiting until the shit hit the fence so that you could walk past and start a fight. You’re just bored, that’s your problem.
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