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The End
by Paul Murgatroyd




(A manic end-of-days party surges and seethes in a sweating Berlin cellar on the 27th of April, 1945, as a mob of the undone try to obliterate the irresistible advance of Armageddon. Many have drunk themselves into the floor. Those who have not succumbed yet laugh, talk, eat, dope, bay, cry, drink, shout, smoke, spew, fuck. They perform all these actions frenetically, some of them simultaneously. The din of despair doesn’t quite overwhelm the background thrum of guns, grenades and shells. Two vast trestle tables are occupied by battalions of bottles and slaughterhouses of sausages, hams, chops ,liver, kidneys and steaks. One wall is lined with jerry cans of petrol; on another a gibbering artist daubs an idyllic vision of crimson skies and black rain, of raging rivers and flaming forests, of hills and mountains throttled by a sulphurous fog.

In the foreground, pinned to a dentist’s chair, an SS colonel in an undertaker’s black hat and tailcoat is grinning through gritted teeth. He is being ridden by a naked forty year old prostitute with a scarlet smear of a mouth, a pig-like snout and a rotting nose. In a pram nearby an army private who has lost his arms and legs gazes with drooling eyes at the poetry in motion of her asymmetrical breasts (with their iron cross and death’s head tattoos) and the hanging gardens of her midriff, festooned with representations of the flags of all the countries devastated and subjugated by the forces of the thousand-year Reich. She and the colonel argue over her price as she bounces up and down on him.)

ANNA BAUER: Sixty cigarettes.

COL. GRAF: Are you mad? Ten cigarettes. And I’m not a colonel, not any more. Use that title again and I’ll blow your head off.

ANNA B. (snarling): Sixty cigarettes, Herr Graf.

COL. GRAF: No fucking way! Ten…Why do your breasts smell of sperm?

ANNA B.: Why does your arse smell of shit? Sixty is a fair price. I am giving you my maidenhood, giving it to a German before the Ivans take it. Somebody said they’re taking revenge for what our troops did in Russia, that Germans have brought this catastrophe on themselves. But our soldiers would never harm women. It’s lies, propaganda.

COL. GRAF: Actually we did do quite a lot of damage to them. Most enjoyable. I remember a crippled girl in particular…writhed beautifully.

ANNA B.: Well, no doubt they deserved it. But I’ve heard of Ivans raping nuns and bayoneting babies.

COL. GRAF (smirking) Not at the same time, I trust…Faster!

ANNA B. (bouncing faster and starting to sweat): In East Prussia one woman had to ‘concede’ thirteen times in one day.

COL. GRAF: Yes, they do say thirteen is an unlucky number. Faster, bitch, faster!

ANNA B. (speeding up and panting): Well, thirteen isn’t so bad. But I did hear that some soldiers got a young mother in a barn and were raping her continuously, one after another, until her relatives came and begged them to stop for a bit, so she could breast-feed her baby, which kept on and on crying. The soldiers wouldn’t stop. But then the  officer demanded to see the baby. And when they brought her to him…he raped the baby.

COL. GRAF (shouting): Typical Russians – crude, sex-mad sub-humans. Oh, cunt fuck tits, I’m coming, I’m coming.

ANNA B. (jumps off him, grabs his penis and puts her thumb over the end of it): Sixty cigarettes, you bastard, or I blow your balls off.

COL. GRAF: OK, OK, sixty. Just…nnngg.

(After ejaculating he produces a Mauser pistol and clubs her unconscious with it. As he strides off to get himself a glass of hock, he passes a man cackling dementedly as he puts broken glass into a pair of discarded jackboots and then a young couple with their arms around each other, whispering.)

HANNAH REYMANN: Thank you for bringing me here, Peter. All this food… You’re so kind. The steak was…wonderful. I was reduced to eating roots and grass. Some of my neighbours have killed themselves and their children to escape a slow death by starvation.

MALE VOICE OFF: Send nudes! No queers or mental defectives.

PETER BRANDT: Yes, well, you know the joke: life is like a child’s shirt – short and shitty. And now you’ve filled your belly, you can thank me properly. On your back. I’ve been wanting to fuck you again ever since you got married. To that creature with a face like a man straining at stool. And now that Obergruppenführer Otto is out of the way…

HANNAH R.: Yes, Otto was dangerous, a real sadist. Do you know, on his deathbed the priest asked him if he forgave his enemies, and he said: ‘I have no enemies. I shot them all.’ Mind you, he was an absolutely first-rate looter. Do you see this necklace? Beautiful, isn’t it? Exquisite craftsmanship. Worth a fucking fortune…Erm, anyway, now that bastard’s out of the way, by all means let’s fuck…But where?

PETER B.: Are you mad? Look at all the others. Here, under the table. (They get on the floor and partially undress.) Come on, sis, open wide! Say hello to your old friend Willy. See how pleased he is to see you. He’s standing to attention, saluting you. Heil Hitler!

(As they start to copulate, a nurse in the group at their table speaks to a plump violinist from the Berlin Philharmonic, who is holding his violin case in one hand and a chop in the other. He has a spiky moustache and is wearing red boots with three inch heels, frilly knickers and a striped corset which pushes up his breasts to produce cavernous cleavage.)

MARTHA JUNGE: Have you heard these ridiculous rumours about death camps for Jews?

CONRAD ULBRICHT (gasping in outrage): Yes. Propaganda! Who in their right mind would believe that? We Germans produced Wagner, Beethoven, Bach, Bruckner, Goethe. We would never do that. Work camps, yes. Those sub-humans should be made to do something useful.

MARTHA J. (ducking a flying sausage as a food-fight starts): Yes, cheap labour. But never extermination camps.

MALE VOICE OFF: You know the only trouble with him? His shit stinks.

(Bottles and glasses shatter in a cascade.)

CONRAD U.: That’s the kind of thing the Ivans would do. Sub-humans! I hear their women dismember our wounded soldiers and nail their still steaming hearts to house doors.

(A drunk rushes past, shouting ‘Cuckoo, cuckoo!’)

MARTHA J. (recoiling): I can believe it of those animals. You should see what I’ve seen. Men run over by tanks, their insides squeezed out. A great mash of blood and guts, with grey skulls and gold wedding rings all you can make out. My god, what have we done to deserve all this? It is the end of civilization.

CONRAD U.: Ach, I know. I’ve seen looting and wanton destruction of things of beauty. Those peasants, they unscrew light bulbs and send them home to illuminate their hovels, when they don’t have electricity in them.

FEMALE VOICE OFF: The Devil  made me do it. The Devil with his big bifurcated penis.

MARTHA J. (knocking back her schnapps): Who will save us from them? Our leaders lie to us, say Wenk’s army is coming to save us. But there is no army. Göring with all his loot, pictures and statues and -

CONRAD U.: Yes, and there is no wonder weapon to drive back the enemy. The scientists have failed us too. Useless bastards! They should all be exterminated, they –

MARTHA J. (snorting): Oh, our leaders claim they’re holding off the enemy until Wenk arrives. Holding them off with what? The fucking Volkssturm? Old cripples and children! Hitler youth on bicycles, with helmets that are too big for them and drop down over their ears. Pissing in their shorts. Did you know they get sweets in their rations instead of cigarettes? Like that one there propositioning the two schoolgirls. (She shouts.) Hey, boy! Come here. They’ll wait for you. You can fuck them later, for as long as you like. (He comes over.) You in the Volkssturm?

PAUL GANTZ (a Hitler youth aged 14, with a wet patch on the front of his shorts): Yes. Well, er, I was. But I ran away. We had hardly any ammunition, and the rifle butts were too long for our arms, so we couldn’t hold our weapons up and shoot. They lied to us. Said everything would be all right, we’d save Berlin. But they’ve blighted our lives, those of us still alive. There’s only death and destruction for us now…Before I got home, they caught me and made me join Werewolf.

CONRAD U.: Oh yes, I’ve seen the slogans on the walls – Traitor, take care, the Werewolf is watching.

MALE VOICE OFF: There will be apricots tomorrow.

PAUL G. (scowling): A stupid name for a stupid project. It was crazy. We were supposed to be a resistance movement, saboteurs and assassins, to hit the enemy wherever we met him. With what? With exploding tins of Heinz oxtail soup that don’t explode. Or do explode and kill the boy carrying them, and turn him into soup. Like Georg and Carl…

(Enter a wolf, a superior and affected wolf.)

CONRAD U. (taking a step backwards): My god, a wolf!

WOLF: I say, that’s extraordinarily observant for you, Conrad, old boy. Sieg heil. Ha! In a pig-dog’s ear!

CONRAD U. (goggling): You can speak. Are you a Werewolf? Watching us? I wasn’t really being defeatist, honest.

WOLF: Du calme, du calme, mon petit chou. One is a pure, unadulterated wolf, not a sub-animal. A lone wolf. In fact, the last wolf.

CONRAD U.: What? The last wolf in Germany?

WOLF (languidly): No, darling. The last wolf in the world.

CONRAD U.: What? How can you be?

WOLF: Oh my dear, I would have thought that would be clear to the meanest of intelligences…No? Well. Look no further than yourselves – humans – exterminating animals (and everything else while you’re at it).

CONRAD U. (frowning): How? In the war?

(A slight young man in the group of British people at the other table has been listening in, and he now leans over and speaks angrily.)

PAUL KENNEY: No, not the war. The climate crisis.

CONRAD U.: The climate what?

PAUL K.: The climate crisis. Or climate catastrophe now. (As Conrad U. shakes his head in perplexity, the other British people start to take an interest in what Paul K. is saying.) The world is ending right now. We humans have now destroyed the earth and all species on it with fossil fuels, plastic –

PETER MOORE (a man in his fifties wearing a grey pin-striped suit): Shut up, you! Little cunt! You don’t know what you’re fucking talking about. We haven’t destroyed anything –

OTHER VOICES OFF: Of course we haven’t. It’ll all be fine, you’ll see.

WOLF (pouting): Oh, this is too, too absurd. Positively grotesque. Do you know, I sometimes wish all humanity had just one head. So I could tear the throat out of you all in one go. (He turns his back on them.)

PAUL K. (shouting to be heard over the hubbub): Some of us warned people, but politicians and big business lied and fobbed us off, and the general public (sheep) closed their eyes, wouldn’t think beyond their own comfort and pleasure. (He turns to Peter M.) And now it’s too fucking late. (There is a crash as chairs are smashed, and someone begins to weep loudly.) Your generation have blighted young people’s lives, taken away our future. Fucking politicians – pigs’ bladders on sticks. They’d lick the arse of a hangman with dysentery if it’d keep them in power. They’re –

PETER M.: Hey, don’t be blaming politicians. We did all we could. Declared a climate emergency, er, signed pledges and accords –

PAUL K.: Written on wind and running water.

PETER M.: What? Have some sense. We know what’s best for the country. There were powerful interests lobbying, spreading disinformation and –

PAUL K.: Handing out huge bribes. (Sings.) Loot, glorious loot, not sausage and mustard –

PETER M. (bristling): I refute that. The problem was just too vast and complex. And it wasn’t our fault: China, America, India, they were massive polluters. And people just weren’t ready for drastic changes. Who in their right mind would have pushed them through?

PAUL K.: A caring and responsible government? You should have led the way. Leaders lead.

PETER M. (draining his glass of brandy and jabbing Paul K. in the chest): No fucking way! Are you mad? Or blind? Didn’t you see the gilets jaunes, or the Australian election? Use your brain, think of the job losses. We wouldn’t have got back in, to carry on the good work –

PAUL K.: Oh snot off, you preposterous political person! Actually you’re not a proper person at all – you’re just a trainer bra of a person. And a grubby, tattered, well-fingered bra at that. It’s all fucked now. You’ve –

(Peter M. punches him in the stomach, making him sink to the ground winded.)

PETER M.: It all seemed so far off. But somehow it suddenly all went tits up with the domino effect. The scientists never predicted that. And they never came up with a quick solution of the problem to save us all either. Useless bastards! It’s all their fault. They -

DR ANNA SMITH (a diminutive young woman shaking with rage): Don’t blame us, you slimy bloody lobby-snaker! We warned government and big business for years. But you crazy morons just wouldn’t listen. You were like some idiot who jumps off the top of the Shard and as he passes the second floor says: ‘So far so good.’ We produced study after study proving the damage being done, by poisoning rivers and oceans, by –

GEORGE JOHNSON (brandishing a beer bottle at her): Oh hark at the Poison Dwarf here. Studies! Fucking scientific studies! You bastards told us diesel was OK; then it wasn’t. You said twenty-one drinks a week was OK, then reduced it to fucking fourteen. And according to you lot absolutely everything gives you cancer. No wonder nobody believed you. Stupid bastards. Thinking you know what’s best for people. Well, you don’t. I know what’s best for me. And that includes thirty fags a day and getting pissed out of my brain whenever I want.

(Peter M. backs off a bit, and looks on, smirking.)

CARL WOOD (nodding vigorously): Yeah, and steak and burgers. Ah, the cows…What fucking fool came up with the idea that cow-farts could do any harm? First of all we couldn’t eat meat, then we couldn’t eat fish. So what the fuck can we eat? Veg? I’m not becoming a vegan for anyone. No fucking way. There will be blood. (He crams blood sausage into his mouth ostentatiously.)

MALE VOICE OFF: He said he saw Fate behind him, pursuing him on a bicycle.

GEORGE J. (grinning): How do you know if someone’s a vegan?

CARL W. (mumbling, with his mouth full): Don’ know.

GEORGE J.: They tell you…Fucking cunts.

CARL W. (laughing and spraying out food): That’s a good one. Reminds me of – what’s a word that means constipated, twelve letters, beginning with m? Come on…No? It’s mmmmmmmmmmmm.

DR SMITH (gasps): How can you joke at a time like this? How can you be so bloody flippant?

FEMALE VOICE OFF: Why is there no wifi? Or music? Christ, what kind of a party is this?

EMILY JONES: Yes, and you scientists went on about insects too. Who cares about creepy-crawlies? It’s a good thing when they die. They –

DR SMITH: They are an important part of the food chain. They –

EMILY JONES: Oh, I know all about the food chain. My mum told me. That’s why God put animals on the earth. So they could feed us. And clothe us. So we should eat animals, they’re all part of God’s plan, for the good of the human race. He’s a kind God, a generous God, and he has a suitcase of blessings for us.

DR SMITH (grimacing in horror): But the damage from extensive –

CONRAD THATCHER (slamming down his glass of beer): Shut the fuck up! Do you know what really pissed me off? Being told I shouldn’t fly to Benidorm. Or buy so much stuff.

CLIVE GANTZ (a middle-aged executive): Yes, everybody wants to buy things, to own things, lots of things, and be somebody. It’s only natural. And it’s only natural for those who supply all those needful things to want to make a modest profit. Only a fool would deny that and -

DR SMITH: But consumerism –

CONRAD TH. (putting his face right up to hers and yelling): Fuck off, bitch! Everybody else was doing it. So why shouldn’t I? You scientists kill me, whining on and on about fucking climate change.

MARTHA BROWN (a young woman in her mid-twenties, emerging from under the table and putting her knickers back on): I knew nothing about it at first, and that was better, I was happier then. I never put the news on the TV, erm, never visually looked at it, like. There was lots on the internet saying it wasn’t true, was all fake news, so I didn’t believe in it. Then someone said it was changing, and I was literally petrified. But they said the change wasn’t due to humans and it would change back. It was, erm, a bit confusing actually. But I never thought it would affect me, would never happen in my lifetime. And I still believe that. So I’m not really worried.

DR SMITH (shouting and waving her arms around): But it’s happening now, you crazy cow. The environment is totally fucked and –

CONRAD TH. (hitting her over the head with a wine bottle and knocking her out): Fuck the environment! I don’t care. I’m getting pissed.

GEORGE J. (falling over): Fucking right! Me too.

(The Germans at their table have been listening in, baffled, but now start smiling and nodding.)

CONRAD U.: Good idea, tommy! Let’s all get pissed together. Ja?

(When the other Germans start baying ‘ja’, the British look at them in amazement.)

CARL W.: What are the fucking Krauts doing here?

FEMALE VOICE OFF: There will be sickness.

PETER M.: I don’t know. Can’t say I like Huns. The Nazis were animals; and German’s a terrible language, with all those absurd compound nouns. I mean, I’m basically out of sympathy with a language that calls a glove a ‘Handschuh.’ It’s a bloody difficult language. Not like Italian. Terribly easy language, Italian. You can learn it over a weekend.

CARL W. (knocking back his schnapps): Never mind that. Don’t be such a bigot. (Puts a thumb up and shouts to the Germans.) Good idea, you jerries. I’m with you. Let’s all get wasted and not mention the war…Actually old Adolph wasn’t all bad, was he? I mean, he loved German shepherds, didn’t he? The dogs, that is. Right, let’s get pissed!

(The Germans and the British fill their glasses and come together in the space between the two tables. They embrace and drink. One German starts to vomit into a spiked helmet. An Englishman who has drunk so much that the pores of his face are bleeding gets down on all fours and brays like an ass. The wolf looks down its snout disdainfully.)

WOLF (drawling): Do you know, something as criminally cretinous as the human race positively deserves to be wiped out. The only thing to be regretted in all this is the fact that you are taking other species with you.  

(The animal curls its lip in a sneer, then suddenly howls, making them recoil in terror. When the howl ends, it becomes clear that the noise of battle has ended too. Colonel Graf cocks an ear and waits for several seconds.)

COL. GRAF: I don’t know what you’re talking about, wolfie, but I do know that the din outside has stopped. ..Gantz, go and see what’s happening out there. Go on, boy, quick, quick! It’s very strange, might be something important.

PAUL K. (suddenly standing up, recovered by now): I’ll go too. I want to see for myself what’s happened.

(They both exit the cellar. After a minute they return, pale and wide-eyed.)

COL. GRAF: Well, what is it? Speak up, boy.

PAUL G.: It’s all over. It’s finished.

COL. GRAF (smiling): What? The war?

PAUL K.: No. The world.

(The Germans crumble to dust, and the cellar and its contents shimmer into non-existence, leaving the British people and the wolf all alone in the midst of a vast and silent wasteland. The humans stare around incredulously; the wolf eyes them contemptuously, and then predatorily.)



‘So, erm, would you be interested in taking that on, Mr. Ford? It’s just the first draft, addressing a possible climate scenario in the not too distant future. It still needs some work, but, er, there’s enough there to give you a good idea of what I’ve got in mind. It could be developed into a one hour drama. What do you think?’

‘I think it’s unbelievable, weird, grotesque.’

‘Great! That’s the point. All of that is so apt for people’s reaction, or non-reaction, now to the climate crisis. It’s in the tradition of Georg Grosz and Otto Dix.’

‘It’s too downbeat. Nobody wants to watch shit like that on TV. And what are the fucking Krauts doing there?’

‘Well, it’s provocative, isn’t it, the juxtaposition of National Socialism’s Germans and Capitalism’s British. And all the links there, they should make people think, probe the various correspondences and –‘

‘Are you mad? People don’t want to think. They’d rather die than think. They want to be entertained. Have some sense, man.’

‘Well, erm, I could put in more nudity and sex. Tits always sell…Or more jokes. The amputee with no hands – I could call him Hans. Or that bit about German compound nouns – I could get one of the Brits to ask what’s the German word for bra, and then give the answer – Disselstoppemfloppem…No? Well, er, what about dwarves and dragons? I could work some of them in, easy.’


‘Look, just tell me what you want and I’ll do it…With your OK, a big producer like you, this would be my big break, really make my name…And this is the big story of the twenty-first century, vitally important for the whole human –‘

‘No fucking way! It’s not economically viable. In terms of advertising, placement, spin-offs, you name it. Who in his right mind would want to associate his product with this depressing shit? I’m not interested. And no other company or corporation will touch it with a bargepole either. I can assure you of that.’

‘But the environment –‘

Fuck the environment! This conversation is terminated. That’s it – all over, finished. The end.’




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