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
Hold your blooming horses will
He opens the door to the bloodied and
What the blinking heck
happened to you lot?
Janice steps forward.
Hello, Mr Mason…do you
Janice Gale: What the heck’s
happened to you girl: Been in
Yes. Can we come in?
Mason is flummoxed momentarily.
We really need to come in.
Judith notices a brief flicker of headlights
amongst distant trees.
There’s a car in the lane.
Wozniak bundles the others past an uncertain
Mason, then goes for the car.
Mr Mason…is there a barn
or something? I need to hide
Mason senses the urgency of the situation…
Round the back: I’ll fetch the
7: INT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE (PANTRY).
Arthur sits at the table, confused.
Cavisbury lays upon a bench, slowly
Judith is tugging the curtains closed as
Janice enters from the hall.
Locked and barred.
Oh, Miss Gale, I’m so sorry
I got you involved.
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.
But you could both die!
May we live in interesting times.
The door is flung open, startling Arthur.
Wozniak enters, followed by Mason, who locks
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.
Thankyou, Mr Mason.
Call me George.
Here, aint that Lord
Cavisbury looks at Mason through bleary eyes.
Mason, isn’t it?
It is. I’m surprised you
remember me. Do you remember
all your tenants you chuck out
on their asses?
I remember you because of all
the grief you gave me.
(looking around room)
I see you’ve done well for
No thanks to you.
Nonsense: It was the making of
Excuse me, Lord Cavisbury –
how long ago was this?
What was it, Mason: Twenty,
twenty five years ago?
Twenty two years ago.
And you recall it clearly?
It was twenty two years ago!
And yesterday? Anything?
Yesterday? I don’t under…
Can you remember anything of
yesterday – last week – last
Cavisbury mentally strains to recall – without
No, nothing. What’s happening
to me? Have I lost my marbles?
We don’t know exactly: It has
something to do with General-
General-Elite? How the devil’d
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?
You knew nothing of this?
Wozniak drags Arthur forward.
How well did you know your
I pride myself on knowing
everyone by their forename.
Good. Who is this?
Cavisbury regards Arthur.
You do look familiar.
Wozniak tosses Arthur’s ID to Cavisbury, who
No – Arthur Cronin is
brilliant: This man is
When you put it like that…
(holding side of head)
And violent with it.
This is Arthur Cronin. This is
what General-Elite do to
brilliant people…to people
who get in their way.
And you are the result of what
they can do to people they
need. How does it feel to have
your strings cut?
Like a vodka martini.
Shaken and stirred.
Mason pulls away from the curtain, going to a
cupboard, which he unlocks.
There’s someone in the yard.
I heard footsteps in the
He pulls out a shotgun, then some cartridges.
Wozniak lays his hand on the barrel, shaking
If there’s a homicidal nutcase
out there, Bessie here could
come in handy.
Wozniak thinks about it. Then…
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
You make him sound like a
Treat him as such, and we
might come through this.
Now let’s get out to the
Wozniak makes for the door. A nervous Mason
follows, loading the shotgun as he does so.
Wozniak halts at the latch. He takes Janice in
Remember your promise.
They part, and Wozniak exits without another
8: EXT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE GARDEN.
Mason, shotgun in hand, leads Wozniak away
from the house.
THEY SPEAK IN WHISPERS.
Young Janice mentioned a
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.
It’s dark. He’ll not be at his
best. It’s his one weakness.
He needs to synthesise light
to be totally effective.
So – you’ve encountered your
Startled, Mason swings the shotgun around in
10: INT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE (PANTRY).
Janice, Judith, Cavisbury, and Arthur wait.
TWO SHOTGUN RETORTS.
Janice leaps at the door.
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
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
He leaps up, dragging Mason to his feet.
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.
Oh, but you have grown old.
Past your sale-by-date. For
you, I am so sorry to say,
He is distracted by the sound of approaching
11: INT. NIGHT. COWSHED.
Wozniak pursues the last of the cattle from
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.
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.
He does not respond. She follows his gaze…
CUT TO JANICE’S POV.
A figure lays trampled in the dirt several
Janice runs to the figure.
A cat-like eye slowly opens. The voice is
breathless and pained.
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.
Jan, get away from it. Get
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
He turns angrily, vainly spitting venom at
the departing car.
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.
He turns around to see a bull standing in the
doorway of the barn.
He whips off his jacket, fluttering it before him.
© 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.