Robert Bullock and Cyrus Aecheleos stand at the end of a reception hall in Clive Reade's Kensington Palace Park mansion. On one side of them a black statue of Mercury, on the other fine books going back to Tacitus. They're nervously getting smashed before Clive's dinner party starts.
ACT III Ides of March Party
--CYRUS: What do you make of these invitations from Clive on the 'Ides of March'? Rather unlike our hospitality recluse, don't you think?
--ROBERT: Well, surely we all have enough trouble nowadays without making a stink about one or two little tabloid indiscretions. It's meaningless, if at the end of the day, you get the scoop, am I right, Cyrus? These are the stories that indelibly shape our lives! If we don't have the right to know, who does?
--CYRUS: If we don't have the right, one might argue, nobody bloody does, and what a load of whinging piffle! We're newsmen ... woven into the woof and warp of Great Britain ...The fabric, man, the fabric! What, ho! (waves for another bottle). It would be wise to remember in the midst of chaos, opportunity. Do you realize we sold 500,00 copies over our normal volume during the Reade Thursday Night Massacre? And we're just hitting our stride this year ... We'll break fiscal records, my lad, I'm talking packets! The Sentinel will rule Fleet Street, take my word.
--ROBERT: Word on the street? The News Register will take the Redtop Press Award this year ... (Stella strides by snubbing them both). I say, did you see the frost flying off that filly?
--CYRUS: Fortnight ago, I was reading The Prince, the part that says: 'And one must therefore be a fox to recognize traps and a wolf to frighten lions' ... Oh, there they are now (staring dead-eyed), the happy couple ... Or is it a lion to frighten wolves? Easy peasy! (downs wine)
--ROBERT: Take it easy on the plonk, old man, we've a long night ahead of us.
--CYRUS: Plonk? This is Petrus! Whatever one says about Clive, he's not skint ... Cheers, Bullock!
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