Script: The Search

Scene: a staff meeting room in a secondary school.

Ru: Thank you all for coming in today and at such short notice.

Colleagues at the table nod and smile.

Tina: So, Ru, you said it was urgent.

Liz: Sorry, I’ll just pull the curtains to. The sun’s a bit low. Sorry, Ru.

Ru: All settled? Ah, yes, I did, didn’t I, say it was urgent. I, um, would like to introduce a new colleague to the team. Mr Collins. He’ll be joining us once he passes Security.

There's a knock at the door and Collins enters.

Gerald: Welcome. Are you the new Drama teacher?

Ru: Ah, my apologies, Mr Collins, I was just brief-

Collins: My title is TransFinder Collins, thank you. The cloak and hat are my uniform. Sadly, Security insisted I hand in my ceremonial staff.

There's a snort of suppressed laughter.

Collins: Who was that?

Barry: I’m sorry. It just reminded me of that film. The one where the character says it’s doctor not mister, because –

Collins: I did attend TransFinder academy, yes. I was level 9 in Gender Sensorium, Curriculum Binarism, and, Correctionalism.

Gerald: Level 9, you say.

Collins: Yes, nine where the rank is between one and six.

Liz: No Maths course at the academy then?

Collins: I’m sorry? What’s your point?

Liz: If you achieved a grade nine qualification, how can the top grade be a six?

Collins: Do you doubt my abilities?

Liz: No, I’m curious about the grading system.

Collins: We should be wary of curiosity as it leads us to the rainbow path! How lip balm leads to lip gloss, lip gloss to lipstick! Lipstick to cutting off your d-“

Ru: Colleagues! If I may interject. Mr, sorry, TransFinder Collins will be with us on behest of the Gender Obligation Board. I’m sure you’ll find that they –

Collins: There is no they. Only him or she.

Tina: A quick question: if there’s no they, how do we describe a group of people?

Liz: I’m guessing there wasn’t a course on English either….

Collins: I am sensing a dark undercurrent within the room. That you are…. that you are enablerers! It’s this true? That this school enables gender nonconformingness?

Liz: Definitely not a course on English.

Ru: We encourage students to do their best and we ask them to accept others with kindness. We do not tell them how to live.

Collins: I see I have much work to do.

Liz: So, what are your plans, Mist – sorry, TransFinder Collins?

Collins: An excellent question! I will use my gifts of Gender Sensorium to detect both gender variance and temptation within the curriculum. In fact – Ah, Liz, was it? You have a question.

Liz: Thank you, yes. I was wondering what your sensorium skills had noticed within this room.

Collins gets to his feet and draws his cape about him. Barry hides a laugh in a cough.

Barry: I’m terribly sorry. Your cloak may have dislodged some dust. Allergies.

Collins: I am sensing…. sensing scepticism –

Liz: That’s not really a gender is it? That’s just a tone.

Collins: and… and, yes, I feel it now, potential.

Liz: in this room?

Collins: Yes. In him! I see it now. Ru, it is you. Your full hair, your complexion! Your name? It is not a tribute to Ru Paul…?

Ru: No, it’s a name from my great grandparent and not unusual in China. I’m sorry, that feels very culturally insensitive, Mister Collins.

Liz: Plus, Ru Paul is a drag queen. That’s not the same thing at all.

Gerald: Well, if it’s about hair, I can’t be trans then, because I’m bald as a billiard.

Collins: Nonsense! The wily transers use wigs and hats to disguise their true nature!

Liz: TransFinder, I think you’re confusing transgender people with Roald Dahl’s children’s book, The Witches. That is fiction, I should add.

Collins: Yet much like witches they are! How they sneak into the thoughts of children, turning them away, converting them with dark alchemy, and –

Barry: Excuse be, but that should be ‘They are like witches’, it’s not 1687.

Tina: Thank you, Barry. So, nothing in this room then?

Collins: What do mean exactly…?

Tina: Well, Liz is wearing trousers for a start. I know Barry moisturises and has been known to wear running tights while cycling at the weekends. Ru, a man, is married to another man. I’m –

Collins: A g-g-gay marriage?

Ru: Given I’m a man and so is my lovely husband, it seems unlikely we’re bloody straight.

Tina: I am sensing…. that this job is not for you

Collins: I beg your pardon?

Liz: Let it be noted in the record that the accused was unable to detect the gender variance within the room.

Collins: You have no authority to do – You. Stop making notes.

Liz: the accused demanded that the review board not make notes….

Collins: I said cease!!

Liz: “I said cease”. I’ll underline that as you were shouting.

Barry: You seem troubled by dark forces, Mr Collins. The cloak and the hat, fashions from yesteryear…. women’s fashions!

Collins: No! You’ve got it all wrong. This is, this is – my office garb.

Tina stands

Tina: I cast you out, unclean entity! Back, back to the pit I send thee, for thou art not fit to walk these hallowed corridors, to whisper your lies upon the works of the wise and the just. By the school bell, the good books, and birthday candles, I banish thee!

Barry pulls the curtain by the window, the sunlight startles Collins.

Ru and Liz: Vampire! See how the creature is repelled by the holy light!

Collins flees the room and the staff watch him run across the car park. 

Barry: Look at him go. Off like a kite in a hurricane.

Gerald: And in those built up shoes. What a panto.

Liz: Never trust a man who can’t accept his own height.

Barry : Any more of a platform of them and Baby Spice would’ve sued.

Ru: Ah, a topical reference there, Barry.

Tina: Humbug, I didn’t even if get to use my old voice either to help him spot me.

Gerald: To be fair, Tina, how you are now, that’s how we think of you. Plus, I’m not sure Collins knows any of the science.

Barry: Great voice projection, though. You sure you don’t fancy a crack at the Drama gig?

Tina smiles and shakes her head to signal no.

Ru: Oh, well if any of you want to talk to Collins. I can get him back.

Gerald: What with? A giant lamp on the roof? The Twat Signal.

Tina: Umm, Liz, what are you doing with his CV?

Liz: Oh, just a minor correction. Marty Collins said we couldn’t have any T in the school, so I’m making him a Mary.


  1. Do I detect a mashup riff on Witchfinder General here perhaps? (a very scary and unnerving performance from Vincent Price. I must watch this again sometime.)
    The grade 9 out of 6 also remind me of something in the grading of the Guardians in N K Jemison’s Broken Earth trilogy where one of them has abilities that go completely off scale. (Though they try to hide it rather than boast about it, because it the sort of thing that gets you culled as being impossible to control.)

    1. Not that film directly, but yes 🙂 A running joke in our house is a reference to Witch Smeller from the first series of Blackadder. I read recently that Hopkins, the Witchfinder General was self appointed and just blagged it! That certainly played a part.

      BTW, the BBC comedy series, The Witchfinder, is worth a go. It picks up after the second episode.

      1. I did wonder if you were referring to the comedy series. I only know it exists because there was a trailer on FB feed. I am such an Old… 🙂

        1. What is this FB of which you speak? 😋

          TBH, you may be less of an Old, if you’re aware of it via t’interwebz. I may have actually watched an episode as it was broadcast. So retro! 😉

  2. It got a smile and a laugh from me, so there’s that. I struggle with who is my favourite character, but the fact that everyone is very clearly characterised with such aplomb is testament to your writing skill (which is a flowery way of saying I liked it).

    1. If it raises both a smile and a laugh, that’s a win in my book.

      Personally, I quite liked writing Liz. She seemed to have quite a strong voice as a character.

  3. Haha. That made me laugh a lot on a grey morning, thank you. Also very pleased at the alternatives for bell, book, and candle.

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