Very Small Business

And you can clean up your room, young man!


A play in one short act


TONES: a surly teen

MUM: his longsuffering mother

BILL: a mate


TONES and his mother are locked in an argument, which has obviously been going on for some time.

MUM: So when are you going to tidy up this marriage thing young man?

TONES: I will get to it, I promise. Alright? [MUM looks unconvinced] Alright, alright, but I got important stuff to do first. I will do it, I promise….

MUM: When? When? You’ve been putting it off for for months, there’s always something more important, …..according to you, that is

TONES: Oh lay off Mum, I said I’ll do it, alright? But I got this other stuff to do first. S’important.

MUM: Well, what is this ‘important stuff’ that’s so very very important, anyway?

TONES: Small business.

MUM: I thought it was foreign fighters?

TONES: Oh Mum! That was yesterday Mum, do keep up!

MUM: But that’s done now, is it?

TONES: Well, no……..

MUM: And how long is that going to take you?

TONES: Shouldn’t be much longer.

MUM: And then you’ve got this small business to do, or so you say. How small?

TONES: [mumbling] Bigger than this marriage rubbish. [MUM glares] Well I would have got small business done before, only I need some stuff from Bill and he won’t give it me. ‘S’not my fault. [pouts]


BILL: Hi Tones. Wassup??

MUM: He says he can’t tidy up marriage because he’s got some ‘small business’ he has to do first, and you’re stopping him. That’s ‘wassup’.

BILL: Oh, sorry Tones, is this what you wanted? [hands over folder] Here you are, mate. Done.[grins]

TONES: You bastard, you bastard, it’s not fair, it’s not fair! Mum, he said he couldn’t do it and now he’s done it. He’s trying to make me look bad, that’s what it is. Well I shan’t do it now, I’ll do it when I want to, not ‘cos you made me, I don’t have to do what you say……[stomping angrily off]

MUM:…… you go and do it right now young man, stop telling porkies, no more excuses, and then get right on with marriage, do you hear me?

TONES: [exiting at speed] I said I’ll do marriage, I’m going to do it, alright? I’ll do it, I’ll do it [has sudden idea] in August, right, yes, that’s it, August [sotto voce] . . . . maybe.


MUM: Do you believe that?

BILL: Do you?


MUM: You wanna job?

[Both collapse in helpless laughter]


pic: Sydney Morning Herald

pic: Sydney Morning Herald

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)