Beginners

By Clark Thomson

Scotland. 1985.


Amanda is a teenager.


Dr Clark is the local Medical Practice locum. He’s in his mid-twenties.


Dr Clark: So, Amanda. How are you feeling?


Amanda: I need to know if Victoria Gillick’s happening here. 


Dr Clark: Victoria….?


Amanda: You know. Her. The Catholic wifie with all the kids.


Dr Clark: Sorry. You’ve lost me.


Amanda: Oh my God. You’re a doctor. How do you not know this stuff? This is your - thing - field - rules. Victoria Gillick. Gillick, yeah? She got bent out of shape about under 16s being - I don’t even know what her problem with us is - being actual humans? Making decisions? Who even knows.


Dr Clark: Amanda, sorry -


Amanda: The thing. The thing. The thing in parliament. England just made this law that if you’re under 16 you can’t, like, get stuff from the doctor without him telling your parents.


Dr Clark: Oh Victoria Gillick. That’s not actually what the Gillick Competence says - 


Amanda: Is it a thing here?


Dr Clark: - and it’s discretionary anyway. Not a blanket ruling


Amanda: Is it a thing here? Because I have to know before I can say - what I’m needing to say. 


Dr Clark: What do you need say?


Amanda: I just told you I can’t say it. Oh my God. What’s wrong with you? 


(She eyes him suspiciously


Are you even a real doctor?


Dr Clark: I can assure you, I am. Now I think that’s enough of all this...chat...and we should address whatever the problem seems to be. 


Amanda: I am addressing it. That’s exactly what I’m doing. Addressing it. You have to tell me. Nobody else knows and I can’t ask just anybody.


Dr Clark: Do you feel unwell? 


Amanda: No. I’m absolutely fine.


Dr Clark: Are you upset? In yourself?


Amanda: I am right now but that’s your fault.


Dr Clark: Amanda, I need you to tell me what’s wrong.


Amanda: Nothing’s wrong. Everything’s fine. I just need you to tell me if the Gillick thing is up here before I ask you.


Dr Clark: Well, I’m not entirely sure. I would have to check. 


Amanda: I can’t believe you don’t know.


Dr Clark: I’ve been in Scotland two weeks, Amanda. It’s certainly current in England but I’m unclear in practice -


Amanda: Oh my God. How can you not just……help me instead of being useless? 


Dr Clark: Alright, that’s enough. I really don’t think there’s any need for that. I think the best thing would be if you told me whatever you need to tell me. And in return I promise -


Amanda: Hah!


Dr Clark: I promise, that I will try my very best to help. 


Amanda: Do you promise not to tell my Mum?


Dr Clark: Well I - that really depends. You’re how old? 


Amanda: 15.


Dr Clark: Well I can’t…I can’t make you a blanket assurance like that…probably.


Amanda: Probably? Are you taking the mick? Are you? What use is ‘probably’ to me? Why do you think I’m here?


Dr Clark: Amanda. I have no idea. I was hoping you would tell me at some point.


Amanda: I came to you because you’re not Dr Casey? Ok? You’re young. Ish. He’s mum’s doctor and he’s my Nanny’s doctor and I don’t want him knowing my business ok? I know for an actual fact that he talks to my Mum about what goes on in my Nanny’s appointments. So I’m not going to him so he can blab all about me and my business to my family. I thought that was against the law.


Dr Clark: Sorry. You’ve lost me.


Amanda: Talking to people about your patients. 


Dr Clark: Patient confidentiality. Yes. But your Mother and your Nanny might have an agreement.


Amanda: I bet they don’t. My Nanny would be raging if she knew he was talking behind her back.


Dr Clark: Is she perhaps incapacitated in some way? Is your Mother her carer? 


Silence. 


Amanda: Oh.


Dr Clark: Yes. Exactly. That might be a situation, don’t you think, where it’s legitimate to share some information?


Amanda: She’s off the legs. She doesn’t have Alzheimer’s or anything.


Dr Clark: Amanda. I will not casually share information with your mother. It’s at my discretion and so long as I believe you are not in danger I have no intention of -


 


Amanda: I’m not in danger. I’m totally fine. I could not be more fine if I tried. 


Dr Clark: I see.


Amanda: I want to go on the pill.


Dr Clark: I thought so. And you’re….?


Amanda:  In a relationship. Definitely. It’s not like I’m going ‘just write me a blank ticket’.


Dr Clark: I meant you’re exactly how old?


Amanda: 15. I already said.


Dr Clark: Date of birth?


Amanda: 17th June.


Dr Clark: So you were 15 a month ago.


Amanda: I’m bloody 15, ok? I had a cake and everything. 15 is 15.


Dr Clark: Have you had sex with your boyfriend? Are you using condoms?


Amanda: No. And No. God. We were waiting till I see you. Because I really cannot get pregnant. That would be a disaster.


Dr Clark: There’s a disease called AIDS -


Amanda: I know. But he’s a virgin. So am I. It’s totally fine.


Dr Clark: People don’t always tell the truth.


Amanda: He’s younger than me.


Dr Clark: Good grief.


Amanda: Believe me. I’m his first. And it’s ok. It’s legal for boys at 14


Dr Clark: Oh my God.


Amanda: Look I’m absolutely happy to use condoms too.


Dr Clark: Then why do you need the pill?


Amanda: We’re teenagers. We’ll mess it up. We’ll be drunk. Something. I’m being careful. You should be proud of me.


Dr Clark: The safest way not to get pregnant is not to have sex


Amanda: It’s going to happen. Are you going to help me or I am going to end up the duff because you wanted to make a point?


safe sex, assertion, teenage rebellion