TAFE: We Don’t Educate


Al Agolli

Ray Monk Mid 60s, retro hairstyle; prides himself on his strong physique; loves to wear out of vogue leather and denim.

Gary SchmidtLate 50s, a stressed out plumber turned divorcee turned poet turned teacher. His persona resembles Ivan Milat, but he hides a darker secret.

CarrieMartiniHolmesglen’sActing Dean.Spiky dike hairdo; she’s constantly reminded that she looks like Homer Simpson’s wife.

Deb VanderslurpHolmesglen’s Coordinator. Tall, bottle-blonde, has the look of an aging Amsterdam whore who’s seen better days.

Raj VindalooA young Sikh who’s only ambition in life is to serve and protect Holmesglen’s elite.

Setting:Deb’s office: There are phones, faxes, a Xerox printer, several swivel chairs and a desk alongside a darkened window, and another desk along the back wall. Two shelves full of folders and books, and all sorts of educational bric-a-brac.

Act 1

Scene 1

(Gary and Deb enjoy a coffee while seated at their desks, while sorting out the day’s activities.)

Gary:Geez... I’m looking forward to the next semester break.

Deb:Doing anything special?

(Carrie opens the door and takes a seat.)

Gary:Howare you Carrie?

Carrie:(nodsnervously.)I’m good.

Gary:(to Deb.) We’re flying out to Byron Bay to see my kids for a few days.

Deb:Sounds good. I wish I could get more time off.

Carrie:Sorry to bother you, Deb, but there’s an urgent matter that needs your attention.

Deb:Sure. What can I do for you?

Carrie:There’s a rumour circulating that he’s going to write to a local MP.

Gary:(stands.)I’ll let you two talk in private.

Carrie:Stay!You need to hear this. It involves all of us.

(Gary hesitantly sits down.)

Deb:I don’t understand.

Carrie:One of Student Councillors told me the other day that he intends to write to a local MP.

Gary:Who are you referring to?

Carrie:That congenital idiot student of yours,Ed Nuridini. He seems hell-bent on taking the matter further.

Deb:So what’s the problem?

Gary:If you ask me, that guy’s a pain in theproverbialbackside.

Carrie:He just won’t let it rest.

Deb:What’s he done this time?

Carrie:KrystalHumpy came into my office last week balling her eyes out. She was utterly hysterical—

Gary:Did that wog bastard hurt her?

Deb:Let her finish, Gary. (to Carrie.) Go on.

Carrie:Well, it seems he wrote apoem and didn’t bother to show up on the night of the performance.

Gary:He pulled a similar stunt in my class last year. Mumbled some gibberish into the mike and then went and sat down. How do you explain that?

Carrie:(to Gary.)That’s right, but we levelled the score. Didn’t we?

Deb:What is wrong with that student? You try and be nice and sensible to them and what do you get?

Carrie:There’s no appreciation anymore;a total lack of respect.

Gary:Why bother teaching them how to write; when simply, they’re just going to turn their skills against you.

Deb:That kind of individual is in the minority.

Gary:Thank goodness for that.

Carrie:Krystal has worked tirelessly to put on that show. I mean poor thing, what has she ever done to deserve this?

Gary:If you ask me it was a great show; free Champers at the door;plenty of young women to perve on.

Deb:Give him another fail on his assessment. Why are you getting so obsessed with this?

Carrie:I’m not obsessed; it’s just that he’s already written to the Ombudsman outlining his complaints...

(There’s a knock on the door. Carrie shudders. Ray pokes his head in.)

Ray:Hi, everyone. Deb, do you mind if I use your printer? I can’t get the damnthing to print on both sides.

(Carrie makes eye contact with Ray.)

Ray:(enters.)How are things at the top?

Carrie:Could be worse.

Ray:Yeah, like last Saturdays’ match against the Western Bulldogs.

Gary:You were lucky we didn’t have Hall on the night.

Ray:Mate, they absolutely thrashed your Bulldogs on the weekend. Thirty-one points down at three-quarter time. You never once looked like getting up.

Gary:It’s still early in the season. They’ll fire up for the finals.

Deb:Ray, you have Ed in your playwriting class. Has his behaviour been odd or out of the ordinary to you?

Ray:Not a worry in the world. Why, what’s wrong?

Carrie:(holds up a stack of letters.) He’s written to the Human Rights Commission, the Education Ombudsman, Holmesglen’s Chief Executive. And something was mentioned about VTAC.

Ray:What’s he complaining about? Holmesglen TAFE is the best tertiary education, dollar for dollar anywhere in Australia.

Carrie:The issues weren’t about the slack in education.

Ray:(seems confused.) Obviously not...

Carrie:What he’s alleging is all sorts of dirty innuendos.

Ray:What like?(laughs.) No, probably best I didn’t ask.

Carrie:He’s going to ruin our chance to keep this writing course from going ahead next year if we don’t act.

Deb:She’s right, you know. We need to get rid of him.

Gary:But how? The guy won’t budge.

Deb:I can’t get involved in the matter without being seen to be biased.

Gary:He’s either very thick or very stupid, but he’s no lawyer.

Deb:Don’t underestimate him, Gary. On the few occasions that we have spoken, he seemed well versed in the art of litigation.

Carrie:That’s where you come in, Ray.

Ray:What did I do?

Carrie:It’s what you’re going to do.

Ray:Here we go.

Deb:Come on, Ray. Hear her out.

Ray:Okay. What am I supposed to do?

Carrie:How many females do you have in your class?


Gary:Susanna is enrolled in your class. I’m sure of it.

Ray:Yes, she’s avery bright student. And incredibly gifted I might add.

Gary:You mean she’s a big breasted woman.

Carrie:I would like you to have aquiet word to her.

Ray:What about?

Carrie:Sexual harassment.

(Ray steps back.)

Carrie:No, nothing like that.

Ray:Then what?

Carrie:I want you to ask her to make a complaint that Ed acted indecently.

Ray:You want me to lie?

Carrie: No. I want Susanna to lie.

Ray:What if she says no.

Carrie:Tell her you’ll fail her.

Ray:On what basis? You know I’ve never failed anyone in my life. So long as they’re not illiterate.

Gary:We’re depending on you. Just ask her to make a complaint that Ed touched her in an inappropriate manner.

(Ray stares at Gary in disbelief.)

Gary:Oh, come on, Ray. In all the years you’ve been a school teacher, you never once ogled somegorgeousslut?

Ray:Are you still onViagra prescriptions?

Gary:Why do you think my first wife left me?

Deb:Tell her to say, Ed squeezed the shit out of her big tits, something of thatnature.

(Ray stares at Deb in disbelief.)

Deb:How do you think I paid my way through Uni and put money in the kitty?

Ray:Couldn’t one of you ask her to make the complaint?

Deb:It’s has to happen in your class otherwise who’s going to witness it? Neither, Gary or I can arouse any more suspicion than necessary.

Ray:This is absolutely ridiculous.

Gary:No. You’re the one who’s acting ridiculous.

Ray:Look. I’m planning on retiring at the end of the year.

Carrie:Why do you want to retire? You’ve got the best learning facilities in the state. There’s no pressure here to teach.

Ray:I can’t believe I’m standing here and listening to this.

Gary:He wants to write another novel. As if the last one sold millions of copies.

Ray:Listen, mate. No one’s ever going to be interested in Ned Kelly’s mother or sister-in-law or whatever else you’re writing in that manuscript of yours.

Gary:And you think that freethinking libertarians such as yourself love reading about the soft underbelly of so called infamous criminals and society’s dregs—

Ray:You hypocrite. You’re too much of a feminist.

Carrie:Please! The enemy is out there.

(Gary crosses his legs and composes himself. Ray folds his arms in front of his chest.)

Carrie:You’d think twoconsecutive fails in Poetry1 and 2 and he’d get the message, but no, he just keeps coming back for more.

Gary:He’s trying to ruin the reputation of this school. That’s what he’s doing.

Ray:But he’s a good student.

Deb:That’s not what you told me the other day.

Ray:No, Deb, what I said is: he won’t submit a script to the school play.

Carrie:That’s it, that’s a third-strike. Now we can throw him out on his face in defiance of Holmesglen’s authority.

Ray:He hasn’t finished it yet. I don’t even know how his play is going to end. Or whether there’s a dramatic arc in it or not.

Carrie:He’s capable of stopping us from getting next year’s funding if we don’t do something soon.

Gary:Without corporate support this course is finished. We might as well be dead in the water.

Ray:That’s absolute rubbish.

Deb:Any adverse publicity will put a stop to everything. Do you want that on your conscience?

Carrie:We’ve got the bastard where we want him. Just give us the opportunity to rip his Professional Writing and Editing Diploma in the shredder. That’s all I’m asking. Please!

Ray:You’re asking me to ruin a student’s career. I won’t do it.

Gary:Well,let’s get somebody who can.

Carrie:You got criminal connections.

Deb:What about that Mr Do-it-Yourself?

Ray:His name’s Dale Flannery. And they call him Mr Rent-a-Kill.

Gary:I like the name.

Carrie:We can pay him from the teacher’sslush fund. No one has to know.

Deb:You’re asking him to arrange for a hit man?

Gary:It’s feasible. He’s unpopular. A loner if you ask me. Who would miss him?

Ray:Hang on a minute. Dale Flannery AKA Mr Rent-a-Kill has not been sighted for over twenty-years.

Carrie:Couldn’t we at least put the word out?

Ray:He could be lying on the bottom of the continental shelf, for all we know. How’s that going to help your cause?

Gary:You’re such an ignoramus, Ray.

Ray:Mate, I’ve written over twenty-two plays, a novel, and a follow up movie script.

Gary:Yeah, to great reviews. Wow, big deal!

Ray:What have you ever had published apart from a few plumbing journals.

Gary:Go ahead, try and belittle me. You’re just talking in random clauses.

Ray:Has anyone ever told you to leave your ego at home?

Gary:Myego’s fine. It’s your pernicious conjecture that’s the culprit.

Ray:Is that why you got out of the plumbing game? Because of your pernicious handiwork.

Gary:(snaps at him.)That’s none of your business.

Carrie:You never told me you were a plumber.

Ray:Must of got sick of shovelling shit.

Gary:I was making more money in one year than I do today. And that’s not why I got out.

Deb:Calm down, everyone.

Gary:I’m not angry. I don’t like being talked down to.

Ray:Why did you leave then?

Deb:Stop teasing him.

Ray:Did the customers find out as soon as you walked out their door the warranty became null and void?

Deb:That’ not a nice thing to say, Ray.

Gary: If nothing’s going to be done, what’s the point of this conversation?

Ray:(to Gary.)The biggest mistake you ever made was becoming a school teacher.

Deb:Just stop it, will you.

Ray:You’ve seen him, the dedication’s never there.

Gary:I’ve spent thirty-five years of my life writing poetry.

Ray:It’s okay to be gay in the Y generation. Put it down to humanity’s frustration. You call that writing poetry?

Gary:My two sons are gay. What are you insinuating?

Ray:Last of the great living Poets. Aren’t you proud?

Carrie:This is bizarre. Look at us.

Deb:Are you with us, Ray?

Ray:We’re nearly in the second semester. Five more months and the year’s over.

Gary:Stop being nostalgic.

Ray:All you can think about is setting him up as the fall guy.

Carrie:Time is of the essence. Of all people, you should know that.

Ray:Why ruin his writing career before it’s even begun?

Gary:At least keep an open mind.

Ray:I told you. I don’t want to get involved.

Deb:We’re all involved whether we like it or not. Future enrolments are at stake here.

Ray:Why place the burden on me. I’ve done my time.

Gary:You’ve been talking about retirement for the last ten-years. What’s with you? Just stab the bastard in the back and we’ll do the rest.

Ray: Asfar as I’m concerned, Ed’s a talented writer.

Deb:If he’s talented, then my bum doesn’t itch. (clasps her breasts.) Do you want these or not, Ray?

Ray:Of course I want them.But you’ve never had him as a student, Deb. How would you know?

Deb:Carrieshowed me the essay he handed in on one of Gary’s poetry assignments.

Carrie:He’s a complete simpleton. Tried to cheat, he got caught.

Deb:The worst case of copy and paste I have ever seen.

Gary:He tried to pass the essay off as his own. By the time he was out the door I realised he’d forgotten to sign it, otherwise I would’ve had him. (gestures with his fingers.)We were that close.

Ray:Whydidn’t you make him re-submit it?

Carrie:He did. But then the smart-arse handed in another assignment the following week. That’s when Gary shit bricks.

Gary:When I read it, I instantly knew it wasn’t his. I mean the guy had only been in my poetry class for less than ten-weeks and he’s analysing the likes of Frank O’Hara and the New York School of Poets. Figure that?

Ray:Was it plagiarism or not?

Gary:Well sort of. I mean it wasn’t word for word. But there were phrases like: utilising emotional shades of consciousness to confront the intangible or material process. Things even I don’t understand.

Carrie:He’s copied it straight out of a book. I’m sure of it. But who cares. That was his second strike.

Ray:Did he provide references?

Gary:He did, but we couldn’t find any books in the school library to confirm the facts.

Ray:So you just framed him because he rephrased an idea.

Gary:He would have done the same to us given half-a-chance.

Carrie:Can’t you see he’s trying to screw us?

Gary:Surrealism cannot be expressed in a contextual matter unless you’re a literary genius.

Carrie:We had experts look over his essay.

Ray:What experts?

Deb:Mike Slumber browsed through it.He alluded to it being written in an erudite manner.

Gary:For heaven’s sake, Mike’s not an academic.

Carrie: He was the only person we could find. Krystal was still in hospital after drinking two bottles of red.

Deb:He kept ringing and complaining. What was I supposed to do?

Ray:You could have at least given him the benefit of doubt.

Carrie:The report came back as inconclusive. So we all agreed.

Ray:Agreed to what?

Gary:It was Carrie’s idea to set him up. She said she would handle it.

Ray:(to Gary.)You bigot. There’s not a day that goes by where you don’t find fault in all your students.

Carrie:He looks more like a thug than a student. Probably is one.

Deb:She’s right, Ray. The guy’s a real threat to knowledge.

Carrie:He made a threat to me once.

Deb:When was this?

Carrie:Last year.

Deb:Why didn’t you report it?

Carrie:It wasn’t a direct threat.

Gary:How do you mean it wasn’t a direct threat? It was or it wasn’t?

Deb:I’ll be the judge of that.

Ray:What did he say?

Carrie:He didn’t say he’d kill me. Well not those words exactly.

Gary:(to Ray.)See, I told you he’s dangerous and mentally unstable.

Ray:What you mean, he didn’t say he’d kill you? This sounds serious. I think the police should be involved.

Carrie:The police. As if they would respond. Do you know how long it took them to get here last time when the Chinese students rioted because there was no MSG in the sweet-and-sour pork dish?

Gary:I’ll never forget that day. The whole canteen was like a smorgasbord of flesh.

Carrie:In all likelihood it was my fault. I asked him what Albanians were famous for.

Ray:Jim Belushi’s Albanian.

Deb:I didn’t know that.

Gary:I should have knownthat.

Ray:Shake your tail feather.Blues Brothers. One of my favourite movies.

Deb:(smiles at Ray.)Mine too.

Gary:Years ago I put a hot-water service unit in this Albanian’s home. His wife told me to install it in the laundry. It turns out it was a walk-in wardrobe in the main bedroom.

Ray:Looks like someone’s made a fool of you.

Gary:How was I supposed to know? The husband came home and threatened to shoot me if I didn’t leave ...the bastard still owes me a thousand bucks.

Carrie:Well anyway, when I asked him, he said they were famous for killing people.