[Dull bell tolls. Ominous music plays. A young man dressed in black, carrying a rucksack and wearing a baseball cap approaches the entrance of a charming extended split-level end-of-terrace in Crouch End. He knocks heavily at the door.]
CHARLIE: [answering the door]: Yes? Oh. Right. Have you brought a takeaway? Sorry about that. I should have phoned to cancel the usual. We’ve got people round this evening for a little cooked supper to celebrate our friend Giles becoming a shrink. You’re not the normal chap. Is it Hamid’s night off?
CHARLIE: Look. I am awfully sorry, but—
SUICIDE BOMBER: I am shahid. I bring Death to you all.
SUICIDE BOMBER: We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation.
CHARLIE: The chap from the Sally Army usually comes to collect on a Thursday morning.
[The SUICIDE BOMBER opens his coat to expose a detonator belt.]
LIZA: Who is it, darling?
CHARLIE: He says his name is “Shaheed” and I think he’s come to blow us up.
LIZA: How funky! Are you going to invite him in?
CHARLIE: [slightly worried now] Er, that might not be the best id…
LIZA: Hello, Shaheed! Come on in. Would you like a glass of Pinot? [slapping her forehead] D’oh! Silly me.
Come and meet everyone, Shaheed. This is Ed and this is Vicky.
SUICIDE BOMBER: Your wife dresses like a whore!
VICKY: Well I think of it more as a “gypsy” kind of look. Whores are so 90s Versace.
LIZA: And this is Uzi who’s visiting from Tel Aviv.
SUICIDE BOMBER: Zionist scum!
LIZA: Uzi usually describes himself as Reform Jewish.
And this is Giles, [gently slapping him on the back] who’s just qualified as a psychiatrist!
ED: Well, Shaheed, that’s quite a waistcoat you’ve got there.
LIZA: Shaheed blows things up.
ED: Is that a performance art kind of thing? Or are you a civil engineer? You know if you look up “Boring” in the Yellow Pages it says “See Civil Engineers”. [His laugh peters out as the SUICIDE BOMBER glares at him.]
UZI: [staring at the construction of the jacket and the SUICIDE BOMBER’s increasingly anxious fumbling with it] Are you guys insane? He’s a suicide bomber! He’s got explosives strapped to him and he’s trying to kill us all! Run for your fucking lives before he gets the detonator to work!
[UZI throws down his wine glass, clambers over the sofa and races out of the door.]
LIZA: [looking at the open door and then at CHARLIE] Well, I know you said Israelis were a bit lacking in social graces, but, frankly, I think that was very rude.
GILES: Uzi was projecting the essence of his apocalyptic fears onto Shaheed. Occupying the political (and, indeed, as an Israeli, physical) space of the neo-con project, the suicide bomber is the perfect mirror of his expansionist vision. There is, in a very real sense, not even an Al-Qaeda as Uzi imagines it. Shaheed is a confused and lonely young man, alienated from his community. He is not a footsoldier in a vast transnational army of Islamists…
SUICIDE BOMBER: I fookin’ am!
ED: That’s not a London accent you’ve got there, Shaheed. Are you from oop North?
SUICIDE BOMBER: I and thousands like me have forsaken everything for what we believe. Until we feel security, you will be our targets.
LIZA: Oh, I think I understand now. You’re one of those oppressed Palestinians. I’ve always wanted to meet one. It must be terrible for you, living in a tent village and everything. This is our mezzanine , by the way. Look, you don’t really want to blow us up. Let’s sit down and discuss it over a cup of Fair Trade coffee. I’m sure we can find some answer to your grievances. We all wish Tony had never got us into Iraq. Terrible mess.
CHARLIE: [gently and shakily taking his partner’s forearm] Liza, darling, do you think this is wise? That young chap might not be part of some global network, but I think he is, “in a very real sense“, going to blow us all to kingdom come.
ED: So how long have you been blowing things up?
SUICIDE BOMBER: Until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight. Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood.
LIZA: He’s a suicide bomber, Ed.
VICKY: Well, isn’t that extraordinary? We were just talking about suicide bombers only five minutes ago. When you’re that poor and trapped like that, being shot at by tanks all day when all you can you do is throw stones, you must get desperate.
ED: [sniggering nervously] Oh. Yes, I have to say I get a bit suicidal some mornings riding the Tube into work myself. So how long have you been blowing yourself up, then?
CHARLIE: [attempting blokey firmness] Look, Shaheed, mate, I think you’ve probably just got the wrong address…
BOMBER: Be quiet! Kufr! All you do is talk, and none of you have got any balls.
[The SUICIDE BOMBER finally fixes his detonator and the ground floor of the house is all but demolished. Massive nails rip through the bodies of the guests as their limbs are torn like tree branches in a tornado. The SUICIDE BOMBER and CHARLIE in particular are reduced to a scorched mist of human flesh. All of the windows are shattered. A dog in the street outside is eviscerated by shards of glass. LIZA, making coffee in the stainless steel kitchen, has been shielded from the main blast and takes somewhat longer to die from hypovolemic shock. She speaks, but can’t hear what she’s saying. Blood is running from her broken inner ears.
LIZA: But we voted Lib Dem.