Whale is counting down the time to when he will see Hot Dog again. He already misses his pet dog muttering around the house and doesn’t know what to do really with the time that she is with his mother. He supposes the two are having fun over the weekend. Sighing heavily under his breath, he turns his television on. It is time for the eight o’ clock news and he doesn’t want to miss it. Just then, the bell to his front door chimes…
Whale: Huh? Who is visiting at this hour?
He goes from his living room to open the front door. It’s Fat Pig and Jack.
Whale: Oh! What are you two doing here? Hot Dog is with her grandmother for the weekend.
Jack: I know! May I talk to her over the phone? I really miss her.
Whale: Um, why don’t you come back tomorrow? I can ring her for you in the morning. It’s quite late already. I don’t want Hot Dog to be talking over the phone now with her friends.
Fat Pig: Sure, Mr. Whale! We’ll come back tomorrow! Have a pleasant evening!
Whale slams the door shut and goes back to the living room to catch his evening news. Channel Two has got adverts on already and Whale notices something that gets him very excited – an advert scripted by his boss Bart is airing, and it has a young and pudgy boy talking about a bookshop.
Young and Pudgy Boy: This is my favourite bookstore in the whole world! It is in the perfect place in Kent and it stocks the greatest range of biographies, fiction novels, and other kinds of books ever. It might not be really huge but that’s not what you are looking for from this village bookshop. Everytime I really want to find out about a celebrity and who he is dating at the moment – an actress, a supermodel, or his superfan…I just come to this bookstore. It tells me everything I want to know. I have never been not pleased with the books they stock in that biography department. Why don’t you also come down to Kent soon and join me? It is the perfect place to learn about a millionaire’s love affair with a lady who will do anything to date him, or simply a woman that has demonstrated in every possible way that she is meant to be with him. It is so difficult to navigate the world of Hollywood romances like those: a heartthrob’s girlfriend will still be his typical kind of girl – I like to dream that it will be his superfan, in the end . She might not have it in her to handle being with him and so might act otherwise or disinterested at first, but deep down inside, she is still that girl who a) has met him b) wants to date him but will act not interested around him because she likes him too, too much. Ah! That is called true love!
It’s almost late evening. Whale parks his car next to an old house, which bears a rusty yard sign “Mrs. Jennifer Lamb”, and it’s covered with enveloping botanicals. Hot Dog jumps out of the car and runs to the front door of the house, to gently knock announcing their arrival, as Whale gets busy offloading Hot Dog’s luggage from the trunk of his car. The front garden of the house is very messy and unkempt – it looks like a who’s who of the jungle-plants world has set up base there without Mrs. Lamb’s permission, and there’s no pruning through them ever, no matter how much you would want to. Indeed, this is a house that has let gone of itself over the years…
Whale: Knock louder Hot Dog, Mrs. Lamb told me she would be in!
Hot Dog (knocks thunderously): Mrs. Lamb!…Mrs. Lamb! It’s Hot Dog! Is Mother Potato in?
Just then, the front door of the house opens, and a very thin lady, with very long blonde hair greets them. Hot Dog can make out Mother Potato is listening to the evening news inside her house – there’s some report about a cyclone happening somewhere that has wrecked havoc to a lot of homes.
Mrs. Lamb: Good evening, Hot Dog! I am Jennifer! How was the trip here?
Hot Dog: Long…
Mrs. Lamb: Is that Whale with your luggage? Oh, it’s so tiny!
Hot Dog: Tiny? I’ve got my basketball and three board games with me…
Mrs. Lamb: But still that’s very tiny…I can sense you must have stuffed in all of your clothes for the weekend in those two mini suitcases.
Whale: Yes, she has!…So, I think I am going to drive back home now! I don’t want to be driving too late…is Hot Dog’s nan in?
Mrs. Lamb: Yes, she’s watching the six o’clock news! You don’t want to come in and say “Hi” to her?
Mother Potato (screaming from the living room): That’s quite alright, honey! Whale just help Hot Dog out with the luggage and drive back home, soon!
Whale: Yes, mother!
Whale puts his baby’s mini-luggages in the tea room, kisses Hot Dog goodbye (on her forehead) for the weekend, and drives back to Chelsea. Hot Dog is shown to her bedroom – it’s upstairs and she shares it with Jennifer’s daughter, Kim. Kim Lamb is a petite sixteen-year-old girl, who is four months into her pregnancy – given her misfortune, she’s oddly jolly, and happy to have a roommate for a change. After saying a few introductory words to Kim, Hot Dog moves to take a look at the house since it’s her first time here. There are two bedrooms (Mother Potato is staying in Kim’s bedroom), a kitchen so tiny there’s barely any room to stand, a crooked living room, one bathroom, and many windows around and they are all shut very tightly.
Hot Dog (mutters to herself, under her breath): Spooky! Wonder what happens around here daily?
Act III Scene II
Mother Potato is busy cooking up a storm, because she is so happy to see Hot Dog visit her. She is making tortillas, spicy one-pot beef and lemonade, for all.
Mother Potato: Don’t worry, baby! I am making enough for you to have as much as you want!
Hot Dog: Thank you, nan!
Mother Potato: So, what to chat about at first? Ahhh..yes! Mrs. Jennifer Lamb…she and I have been friends since college! She use to work as a jewellery designer for some store in town but now she’s retired like me as well. You can find some of her designs pop up in flea markets sometimes, I don’t even know how but I am going to guess she’s pretty talented that way, yeah?…so many nice, nice things these flea markets in Birmingham sell sometimes!
Hot Dog:…yeah! So, she never went to university?
Mother Potato: Oh no! She’s nothing like our family, Hot Dog! She quit college a few semesters before graduation and went looking for a job to support herself. Her father had deserted her the moment she was born – it was just her and her mother, and she never recovered from her husband running away, with another woman. She was too ill to work anymore as a baker, when Jennifer was seventeen – it was arthritis that did that to her, so Jen then had to go get a job!
Hot Dog: Was she married to a man anything like Kim’s boyfriend…you know, because he ran away with another woman?
Mother Potato: No! Hot Dog, she was married to a great fellow but he had lost total interest in married life, in his middle-ages, so ran away with his secretary.
Hot Dog: What was the secretary like? I bet she was fat!
Mother Potato (laughs): This was the seventies, and Kim’s grandfather was looking to settle down in Minnesota, for a very long time!
Hot Dog: In the United States? Really?
Mother Potato: Yes! So, then he really couldn’t find any way to do so, at first! But after a point in time he met Sylvia – she was American, and very…
Hot Dog: Loose?
Mother Potato: Yes, I think that’s the word! He took an instant liking to her and after knowing each other for four years, the two ran away, after he fell in love…
Hot Dog: Like with her loose ways?
Mother Potato: Yes! Tragic, yeah?
Hot Dog: Yeah!…Did Jennifer’s mother ever meet Sylvia?
Mother Potato: No! She heard of her only when she couldn’t find James Lamb (her husband). A year passed, and then she heard of him through a letter from his mother, who didn’t endorse James’ relationship with Sylvia but didn’t care much for his wife: Julia, either.
Hot Dog: So, Julia was totally lost in that era of protests, and world-peace-loving crowd for one whole year before she heard from her husband’s mother through a letter?
Mother Potato: James had taken his mother to Minnesota, with him. She described in her letter that Sylvia actually pronounced to her she can’t do housework, or cook for her son, and only wants to drink sherry and enjoy her life with James!
Hot Dog (laughs): Sylvia is such a brilliant misfit! It’s better than if she was fat, I think!
Mother Potato: Yes, I suppose!…oh look! The beef is done!…it’s time to dig in!
Whale and Hot Dog are visiting Grandmother Potato today. It’s one of Hot Dog’s favourite things on Earth – visiting Mother Potato, because she’s Whale’s mother and a lady who always gives her so many very delicious candies, and knitted goods, she has crafted herself during her spare time. Most of the time Mother Potato (that’s what Hot Dog was taught she should call her grandma, apart from “nan” of course) is busy cooking, gardening, reading several newspapers, writing her diary entries, and spending time with her friends, a majority of which weren’t fortunate enough to escape living in homes after retirement because their kids (after they grew up and everything) and grandchildren, never really cared much about them.
Whale: Just look at the traffic this weekend! I think it will take us a whole day to drive to Birmingham!
Hot Dog(laughs): Where is nan staying in Birmingham?
Whale: With her friend Jennifer – her granddaughter just became a teenage mom, so Jennifer’s very distraught about it!
Hot Dog: What for?
Whale: She’s only a teenager, she shouldn’t be having kids! But her horrible boyfriend simply knocked her up and left her, so she’s quit her day job and holed up with Jen!
Hot Dog: Where did she use to work?
Whale: Oh that girl had a very bright future ahead of her but she totally ruined it…she use to work at this Mexican restaurant, like serve food and everything there!
Hot Dog: Wow! What a story!
Whale: Yeahhh…but you’ll be there with nan this weekend so she won’t totally lose her cool in all that drama!…poor Jen, she’s really freaked out about all of it!
Act II Scene II
It’s been flipping three hours and Whale and Hot Dog are still on the road, merely inching close to Birmingham. Whale stopped by at a gas station for a couple of minutes, in the middle, to get some soda for Hot Dog and chocolate for himself; he really can’t understand why the road is so badly jammed…
Whale:…so, Hot Dog! How was the circus? I feel last week was too much of a whirlwind and we couldn’t really properly catch up! Did you have a grand ball, with Fat Pig and Jack?
Hot Dog: I did, yeah! It was really, really fun! But we’ll catch up on that subject later…why don’t you tell me how work’s been?
Whale: Mmmm, work has been boring, first. Then it got interesting because I got to have tea with my boss, Bart, and I remember talking to her about moms and everything.
Hot Dog: Oh! Does she know I am visiting nan this weekend?
Whale: Yup, I did tell her! She told me that she hasn’t been able to have that kind of a-whole-week-of-fun for plenty of work, for ages, which is still cool because she frequently visits her grandmother and mother, for like a couple of hours.
Hot Dog: Why do they live a short drive away from her?
Whale: No! They live in Belfast!
Hot Dog:…OMG! That’s in Ireland!…this all sounds so much like the Spice Girls’ song “Mama”!
Whale: What’s the Spice Girls, honey?
Hot Dog: It’s this British band, I like!
Whale:… you do, honey? That is so amazing! I just know I will simply love everything you love…
Whale is sunbathing at Hyde Park today. The summer has gotten unusually hot, so he is sipping on some cold beer and lounging around the park with his childhood friend, Jack Sr.
Whale: It’s so hot. I am glad I have this mug of frosties with me to make me feel really cool!
Jack Sr: I know! I don’t know what I was thinking when I said “Yes” to dropping off Jack with the kids, and Mr. Brown, at the circus this weekend! In my mind, just picturing the long walk to pick them up later on is making me sweat…
Whale: Yeah? Why did Brown’s car break down all of a sudden?
Jack Sr: I think it had something to do with the tyres, and he just couldn’t find any time over the week, to fix it for the weekend!
Whale: Was that all? Wish I had been at the circus with Hot Dog…her friend Fat Pig kept screaming all the way about cotton candy at the circus, and maybe we could have seen all the fun sitting underneath a tree, and in the shade if we had gone with them!…ahhh the frosties!
Act I Scene II
Hot Dog, Jack and Fat Pig are at the circus for the weekend. They want to enjoy a trapeze show, but so far they are stuck at the enormously long queue to buy tickets to it. It has been fifteen minutes and the four of them are thoroughly bored.
Hot Dog (exasperated): Ohhhhh! How much longer Mr. Brown?
Mr. Brown: Not very long, honey!
Fat Pig:…Dog…I saw Moja Bleu yesterday!
Hot Dog: Where?
Fat Pig: At the supermarket! I was there to get some peanuts for our kitchen cupboard!
Jack: You like peanuts?
Fat Pig: Yeah, they are pretty good snacks!
Hot Dog: Yeah? Was Moja Bleu shopping as well?
Fat Pig: No! He was there to return Moti Pasteur’s munsell-yellow jumper he had bought the week before, with a pair of lemon chiffon socks for himself – the jumper unexpectedly shrank in the wash!
Whale and Hot Dog are getting ready to visit Mr. Burrow, Whale’s father and Hot Dog’s grandfather. Hot Dog is helping Whale tie his purple and yellow thin-striped tie, in her little emerald jumper dress.
Whale: When I was a little boy I never got the chance to spend time with my father. He was always so busy in his science workshop he had no time for me. Not that I wouldn’t be alright with it but I can’t imagine raising you like that!
Hot Dog: Well, you are not! Does Grandpa have friends back in Sheffield?
Whale: Yes, he does! And tonight after dinner at Pizza Hut, he’ll be with us for the weekend! Then we will probably go up to Sheffield for a week as a long holiday, during your Easter break!
Jack and Hot Dog are spending Valentine’s Day together by watching Mary Poppins. It’s a beloved classic to Hot Dog. This is the first time Jack is watching it and he is absolutely hooked onto the children’s masterpiece. In the middle of it, Whale suddenly arrives with a friend, as they are watching the movie on television.
Whale: Baby, meet Moti Pasteur! He’s our new neighbour.
Hot Dog: Hello!!! You now live in the house, the right of us?
Moti Pasteur: Yes! I am very excited to be moving from New Delhi. So, exciting to have sailed here!
Jack: Woooooooahhhhhhhhh! How come?
Moti Pasteur: I am going to work here now, that’s how come!
Whale: How interesting, isn’t it Dog?…Where is your banana-leaf loving friend?
Moti Pasteur: You mean Moja Bleu?…I think he left for the local supermarket to get some rice for our dinner tonight, a couple of hours ago!…He is so slow, that one!