Blast From the Past


Whilst searching (unsuccessfully) for the set-up disc for a printer I have in  my bedroom, but never use, I chanced upon some floppy discs at the bottom of a plastic storage box. Some of them contained corrupted data, which was inaccessible. But one still worked. It contained the script for Episode Eight of a TV thriller/mystery/ sci-fi show that I had written almost exactly twenty years ago. If I recall, ten episodes were completed before I began trying to interest potential production companies. I also recall that a lot of people made a lot of nice noises about the scripts, but none of them were in a position to influence anyone of importance. Agents and actors mostly. I spent many a happy hour on the phone chatting with them. But when it seemed that my dreams were going nowhere, I quit writing (in 2003)and ran away to Spain for a sabbatical, which lasted until the money ran out in 2005. I never returned to script writing. But, as I mosied through Episode Eight, I began to wonder…

Here’s a snippet from it. Please excuse the strange layout. Word couldn’t read the ancient Windows 98 system I used back then. I was forced to upload from the disc using LibreOffice, then converting to Word 2003, before finally being able to access it on my usual laptop. In the process, the formatting went a bit doolally.

                5: EXT. NIGHT. MASON’S FARM.

                 Wozniak’s car glides into the yard, halting

                before the front door of the farmhouse.

 

                (6: INT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE HALLWAY).

                The front doorbell is jingling insistantly.

                GEORGE MASON, a stout, florid, man in his

                late fifties – very much the archetypal

                owner-farmer, clumps in from the adjoining

                pantry, and begins unlatching the door.

                When he speaks it is with a broad rural

                accent.

                                        MASON:

                                Hold your blooming horses will

                                ya!

                He opens the door to the bloodied and

                dishevelled group.

                                        MASON:

                                What the blinking heck

                                happened to you lot?

                Janice steps forward.

                                        JANICE:

                                Hello, Mr Mason…do you

                                remember me?

                                        MASON:

                                Janice Gale: What the heck’s

                                happened to you girl: Been in

                                a fight?

                                        JANICE:

                                Yes. Can we come in?

                Mason is flummoxed momentarily.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                We really need to come in.

                Judith notices a brief flicker of headlights

                amongst distant trees.

                                        JUDITH:

                                There’s a car in the lane.

                Wozniak bundles the others past an uncertain

                Mason, then goes for the car.

                                        JANICE:

                                (concerned)

                                Peter!

                                        WOZNIAK: (shouting)

                                Mr Mason…is there a barn

                                or something? I need to hide

                                the car.

                Mason senses the urgency of the situation…

                                        MASON:

                                Round the back: I’ll fetch the

                                key.

 

                7: INT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE (PANTRY).

                 Arthur sits at the table, confused.

                Cavisbury lays upon a bench, slowly

                recovering.

                Judith is tugging the curtains closed as

                Janice enters from the hall.

                                        JUDITH:

                                (breathless)

                                The door?

                                        JANICE:

                                Locked and barred.

                                        JUDITH:

                                Oh, Miss Gale, I’m so sorry

                                I got you involved.

                                        JANICE:

                                Don’t be: Remember what you  said…

                                it’s Peter’s stock-in-trade. He may

                                be scared ridged, but deep down

                                inside he wouldn’t miss this

                                for the world.

                                        JUDITH:

                                But you could both die!

                                        JANICE:

                                (smiling)

                                May we live in interesting times.

                     The door is flung open, startling Arthur.

                Wozniak enters, followed by Mason, who locks

                the door.

                                        MASON:

                                (to Janice)

                                Your young man’s explained

                                everything. You’re being

                                chased by an escaped nutter.

                                Well you can rely on me. Aint

                                nothing I wouldn’t do for

                                a fellow Brambledownian.

                                        JANICE:

                                Thankyou, Mr Mason.

                                        MASON:

                                Call me George.

                                (noticing Cavisbury)

                                Here, aint that Lord

                                Cavisbury?

                Cavisbury looks at Mason through bleary eyes.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                Mason, isn’t it?

                                        MASON:

                                It is. I’m surprised you

                                remember me. Do you remember

                                all your tenants you chuck out

                                on their asses?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                I remember you because of all

                                the grief you gave me.

                                (looking around room)

                                I see you’ve done well for

                                yourself…

                                        MASON:

                                No thanks to you.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                Nonsense: It was the making of

                                you.

                Wozniak interjects…

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                Excuse me, Lord Cavisbury –

                                how long ago was this?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                What was it, Mason: Twenty,

                                twenty five years ago?

                                        MASON:

                                Twenty two years ago.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                (to Cavisbury)

                                And you recall it clearly?

                                        CAVISBURY: (defensively)

                                It was twenty two years ago!

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                And yesterday? Anything?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                (confused)

                                Yesterday? I don’t under…

                                        JUDITH:

                                (to Cavisbury)

                                Can you remember anything of

                                yesterday – last week – last

                                month?

                Cavisbury mentally strains to recall – without

                success.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                No, nothing. What’s happening

                                to me? Have I lost my marbles?

                                        JUDITH:

                                We don’t know exactly: It has

                                something to do with General-

                                Elite.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                (startled)

                                General-Elite? How the devil’d

                                that happen?

                                        JUDITH:

                                Sorry?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                That damned Wake fellow:

                                Pressurised me for months.

                                Him and his so-called

                                “fertility clinic”. Couldn’t see

                                the connection – his line of

                                business and mine. And now you

                                say the companies are merged?

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                You knew nothing of this?

                Wozniak drags Arthur forward.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                (to Cavisbury)

                                How well did you know your

                                staff?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                I pride myself on knowing

                                everyone by their forename.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                Good. Who is this?

                Cavisbury regards Arthur.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                You do look familiar.

                Wozniak tosses Arthur’s ID to Cavisbury, who

                studies it.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                No – Arthur Cronin is

                                brilliant: This man is

                                clearly…

                                        JANICE:

                                …An imbecile?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                When you put it like that…

                                (holding side of head)

                                And violent with it.

                                        JUDITH:

                                This is Arthur Cronin. This is

                                what General-Elite do to

                                brilliant people…to people

                                who get in their way.

                                        JANICE:

                                And you are the result of what

                                they can do to people they

                                need. How does it feel to have

                                your strings cut?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                Like a vodka martini.

                Seeing incomprehension…

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                Shaken and stirred.

                Mason pulls away from the curtain, going to a

                cupboard, which he unlocks.

                                        MASON:

                                There’s someone in the yard.

                                I heard footsteps in the

                                gravel.

                He pulls out a shotgun, then some cartridges.

                Wozniak lays his hand on the barrel, shaking

                his head.

                                        MASON:

                                If there’s a homicidal nutcase

                                out there, Bessie here could

                                come in handy.

                Wozniak thinks about it. Then…

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                O.K; but if you have to use it

                                – go for a head shot. Nothing

                                else will do. If you don’t

                                kill him with the first shot,

                                you wont live long enough to

                                regret it.

                                        MASON:

                                You make him sound like a

                                superman.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                Treat him as such, and we

                                might come through this.

                                Now let’s get out to the

                                cowshed.

                Wozniak makes for the door. A nervous Mason

                follows, loading the shotgun as he does so.

                                        JANICE: (sharply)

                                Peter.

                Wozniak halts at the latch. He takes Janice in

                his arms.

                                        JANICE: (quietly)

                                Remember your promise.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                I remember.

                They part, and Wozniak exits without another

                word.

 

                8: EXT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE GARDEN.

                 Mason, shotgun in hand, leads Wozniak away

                from the house.

                THEY SPEAK IN WHISPERS.

                                        MASON:

                                Young Janice mentioned a

                                promise?

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                The last time we encountered

                                this sort of…man before, he

                                raped her. I promised never to

                                leave her alone again.

 

                9: EXT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 THE MUFFLED LOWING OF CONTENTED CATTLE.

                Wozniak and Mason slip along the base of the

                wall toward the main door.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                (whispering)

                                It’s dark. He’ll not be at his

                                best. It’s his one weakness.

                                He needs to synthesise light

                                to be totally effective.

                                        WAKE:(oov)

                                So – you’ve encountered your

                                future before!

                Startled, Mason swings the shotgun around in

                an arc.

 

                10: INT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE (PANTRY).

                 Janice, Judith, Cavisbury, and Arthur wait.

                TWO SHOTGUN RETORTS.

                Janice leaps at the door.

                                        JANICE:

                                (desperate)

                                Peter!

                FADE OUT.

                                ACT TWO.

                 FADE IN.

                11: INT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 Wozniak is urging the frightened cattle toward

                the door. He yells, and slaps at their flanks.

 

                11A: (INTERCUT) EXT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 Mason crashes to the ground.

                Wake leaps upon him, straddling him, baring

                his carnivorous teeth.

                Mason is powerless, staring up at Wake in pain

                and fear.

                                        WAKE:

                                You were once a warrior. Had I

                                not the eye of an eagle, and

                                the speed of a cheetah, you

                                would surely have removed my

                                head from my shoulders. I like

                                you.

                He leaps up, dragging Mason to his feet.

                                        WAKE:

                                Fight me some more.

                He taunts Mason with a series harmless boxing

                moves, then cuffs the man around the ear.

                Mason lashes out a heavy fist, missing by a

                margin as Wake ducks away with ease.

                                        WAKE:

                                Oh, but you have grown old.

                                Past your sale-by-date. For

                                you, I am so sorry to say,

                                time’s up.

                He is distracted by the sound of approaching

                hooves..

                                        WAKE: (impatiently)

                                Now what?

 

                11: INT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 Wozniak pursues the last of the cattle from

                the building.

 

                12: EXT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE GARDEN.

                 Janice stumbles about in the dark. She finds

                the garden gate. As she begins to open it, she

                is forced back by the stampeding cattle.

                                       JANICE:

                                (calling desperately)

                                Peter!

 

                12A:(INTERCUT) EXT. NIGHT. FARMYARD.

                 Wozniak unlatches a barn door, then dashes on

                to the next, which he opens to reveal his car.

 

                12: EXT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE GARDEN.

                 The stragglers from the stampede pass.

                Janice dashes out into the yard.

 

                13: EXT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 Janice finds a bloodied, and badly shaken

                Mason pressed against the cowshed wall. He

                stares at something unseen.

                                        JANICE:

                                George…where’s Peter?

                He does not respond. She follows his gaze…

                CUT TO JANICE’S POV.

                A figure lays trampled in the dirt several

                metres off.

                RESUME.

                Janice runs to the figure.

                A cat-like eye slowly opens. The voice is

                breathless and pained.

                                        WAKE:

                                My dear, you cannot imagine

                                how much I hurt. Hereon I

                                shall treat the common milk

                                cow with greater respect.

                Both are abruptly bathed in the light of

                Wozniak’s car headlamps.

                                        WOZNIAK:(oov)

                                (calling)

                                Jan, get away from it. Get

                                Mason.

 

                14: EXT. NIGHT. FARMYARD.

                 Wozniak and Jan bundle Mason into the rear

                seat of the car.

                All aboard, the car accelerates across the

                yard toward the rising Wake.

                Wake dives aside as the car sweeps through his

                position.

                He turns angrily, vainly spitting venom at

                the departing car.

                                        WAKE:

                                (sotto voce)

                                You’ll not cheat me, so

                                easily. I’ll identify you soon

                                enough; and when I do…

                THE SNORTING OF A LARGE ANIMAL…

                Wake is hesitant to turn around.

                                        WAKE:

                                Uh oh…

                He turns around to see a bull standing in the

                doorway of the barn.

He whips off his jacket, fluttering it before him.

                                        WAKE:

                                Ole!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2002

I remember a guy from one of the many production companies, whom I conversed with, being very impressed with my explicit camera directions. Pity I can’t bring that level of care and attention to my ‘regular’ writing.

Four episodes were later re-jigged to become my two ‘Causality Merchant’ books, Captive Echo and Present Imperfect. So it wasn’t a complete waste of my time and effort. And, who knows, maybe I’ll get to finish that third one I started in 2016.

 

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