5) The Argument Sketch

C: customer    A: arguer    I: insulter   R: receptionist

C: (customer to receptionist) Iíd like to have an argument, please.

R: Certainly, sir. Have you been here before?

C: No, I havenít. This is my first time.

R: I see. Well, do you want to have just one argument, or or were you thinking of taking a course?

C: Well, what is the cost?

R: Well, itís one pound for a five-minute argument, but only eight pounds for a course of ten.

C: Well, I think it would be best if I perhaps started off with just the one and then see how it goes.

R: Fine, fine. Well, Iíll see who is free at the moment. Hmm, Mr Bakey is free, but heís a little bit too friendly. Ah yes, try

     Mr Barnard, room 12.

C: (goes to room of Insulter instead of the room of the Arguer)

I: (extremely unfriendly) What do you want?

C: Well, I was told outside that Ö

I: Ö(interrupts him) Donít give me that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!!!

C: (shocked and unbelieving) What?!?!

I: Shut your festering gob, you tit! Your type really makes me puke, you vacuous, toffee-nosed, stinking pervert!!!

C: Look, I came here for an argument. Iím not going to just Ö

I: (completely changed) Oh, oh! Iím sorry, but this is ABUSE.

C: Oh, I see Ė well, that explains it.

I: Ah, yes, you want room 12A, just along the corridor.

C: Oh, thank you very much. Sorry.

I: Not at all.

C: Thank you. (leaves ABUSER and goes to ARGUER)

I: (aside) Stupid git!

C: (knocks)

A: Come in.

C: Is this the right room for an argument?

A: Iíve told you once.

C: No, you havenít.

A: Yes, I have.

C: When?

A: Just now.

C: No, you didnít.

A: I did.

C: Didnít.

A: Did.

C: You didnít.

A: Iím telling you I did.

C: You did not.

A: Oh, Iím sorry Ė just a moment. Is this a five-minute argument or the full half-hour?

C: Oh, just the five minutes.

A: Thank you. Ė Anyway, I did.

C: You most certainly did not.

A: Look, letís get this thing clear. I quite definitely told you.

C: No, you did not.

A: Yes, I did.

C: No, you didnít

A: Yes, I did.

C: No, you didnít.

A: Yes, I did.

C: No, you didnít.

A: Yes, I did.

C: You didnít!

A: Did!

C: Oh look, this isnít an argument.

A: Yes, it is.

C: No, it isnít! Itís just contradiction.

A: No, it isnít.

C: It is.

A: It is not.

C: Look, you just contradicted me.

A: I did not.

C: Oh, you did!

A: No, no, no!

C: You did, just then!

A: Nonsense.

C: Oh look, this is completely pointless.

A: No, it isnít

C: I came here for a good argument.

A: No, you didnít. No, you came here for an argument.

C: Well, an argument isnít just contradiction.

A: C a n  be.

C: No, it canít. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.

A: No, it isnít.

C: Yes, it is. Itís not just contradiction.

A: Look, if I argue with you I must take up a contrary position.

C: Yes, but thatís not just saying No, it isnít!

A: Yes, it is!

C: No, it isnít. Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.

A: No, it isnít

C: Yes, it is!

A: Not at all.

C: Now, look here Ö

A: (strikes bell on his desk, smiles brightly) Good morning!

C: What?

A: Thatís it. Good morning.

C: But I was just getting interested.

A: Sorry, but the five minutes are up.

C: That was never five minutes.

A: Iím afraid it was.

C: It wasnít!

A: Iím sorry, but Iím not allowed to argue any more.

C: What?

A: If you want me to go on arguing you have to pay for another 5 minutes.

C: Yes, but that was never five  minutes just now. Oh, come on!

A: (hums, twiddles his thumbs etc.)

C: Look, this is ridiculous.

A: Iím sorry, but Iím not allowed to argue unless youíve paid.

C: Oh, all right. (hands over banknote)

A: Thank you.

C: Well?

A: Well what?

C: That wasnít really five minutes just now.

A: I told you, Iím not allowed to argue unless youíve paid.

C: But I just paid.

A: No, you didnít.

C: Look, I donít want to argue about Ö

A: But you didnít pay.

C: Aha!!! If I didnít pay, why are you arguing? Iíve got you now!

A: (pauses briefly) No, you havenít.

C: Yes, I have. If youíre arguing, I must have paid.

A: Not necessarily. I  c o u l d  be arguing in my spare time!

                                                           [ET CETERA AD INFINITUM!]

see also more sketches       back to RAZZAMATAZZ     back to homepage

THE BOTTOM LINE THE BOTTOM LINE THE BOTTOM LINE THE BOTTOM LINE THE BOTTOM LINE THE BOTTOM LINE THE BOTTOM LINE