What Goes Up

By Chris Wyatt


A prospective passenger has a confusing lesson in buying a train ticket.


Ticket office clerk


A railway ticket office


Pax: Do I get a ticket for the express to Auckland here?

Clerk: Yep.

Pax: I want a sleeping berth, please.

Clerk: I think we can fix you up. Single?

Pax: No, I'm married. She's a lovely girl, is Ethel. And our two young ones are getting bigger every day. In fact, I've got a photograph here. (Reaches into pocket).

Clerk: (Hastily) No. No. Single or return?

Pax: Oh - just the one way, thanks.

Clerk: Right. Sleeper, single fare to Auckland. Upper or lower?

Pax: Umm. (Pause) Pardon?

Clerk: Upper or lower - bed.

Pax: Ah, I see. What's the difference?

Clerk: Come on.

Pax: I mean, what's the difference in price?

Clerk: A difference of one dollar. the prices are $40 and $41. You understand, of course, the lower is higher than the upper. The higher price for the lower berth. If you want it lower, you'll have to go for the higher. It wasn't always like that, you know, but we found the numbers got higher in the lower. In fact, it turned out to be the higher, the fewer.

Pax: Why? Why do most people prefer the lower?

Clerk: Because it's more convenient. Most people don't like the upper, although it's low on account of it's being higher, and because when you have an upper you have to get up to go to bed and then get down when you get up. Now, which will you have; the upper or the lower. You can have the lower, but you'll have to pay higher, but if you're happy to go higher, it will be lower.

Pax: Er - can I book here for Air New Zealand?


© Chris Wyatt, All rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: wyatts@paradise.net.nz