Digital Ischemia

23/06/2019

Fossoway Flora and the Croits: a sonata in A manor -r

Relationship counselling with three incarnations of the Kreutzer Sonata – radio script
(Other episodes in the Fossoway Flora series)

 

CAST LIST

FLORA (30s): Scottish, Female, Ecologist

LEO (60s): Russian, Male, Psychotherapist

ROD (30s): Scottish, Male, Music Promoter

SCENE (1) INT HALL

FX: DOOR SHUTS, ECHOEY

FLORA

We’re definitely in the right place: A Manor – Relationship Counselling.

ROD

Nobody here.

FLORA

I need to pee.

ROD

Aye, you disappear, then someone appears.

FX: RECEDING STEPS, RUFFLING MAGAZINES

ROD (CONT’D)

‘Romantic gardening’?!

FX: APPROACHING STEPS

FLORA

There’s an old Russian master in the toilet.

ROD

How do you ken he’s Russian?

FLORA

Apart from the accent? He’s fondling a samovar.

SCENE (2) INT TOILET

FX: BEETHOVEN VIOLIN SONATA NO.9 IN A MAJOR KREUTZER OP.47 EXCERPT; DOOR CREAK, SAMOVAR LID CLANG

LEO

(WAIL) How can they play that first presto in front of ladies? It’s irresponsible.

ROD

(LOUD, STILTED)

Do you know where the therapist is?

FLORA

(CLOSE) He is the therapist! This is Leo Tallstory! He has the ‘croits’.

ROD

(CLOSE) Well, he’s in the best place.

LEO

My complaint is caused by deletions made by literary executors.

ROD

Ouch.

LEO

Come to my consulting room.

SCENE (3) INT CONSULTING ROOM

FX: SAMOVAR LID CLANG

LEO

Flora. Rodney. We must begin with the social conditions in which amorous young people are forced, like cucumbers in a hot-bed!

ROD

Cucumbers?!

FLORA

This is exactly why we’re here, Mr Tallstory. We rather rushed—

LEO

Call me Leo. Our super-abundance of food, coupled with physical idleness, simply pushes us to the next biological need: food, shelter, etcetera, reproduction. Every day we consume huge quantities of meat and pastry and drinks of sugar. Where does all this energy go?

ROD

Er…

LEO

Into excesses of sensuality.

ROD

Is it hot in here?

FLORA

I did try fruitarianism.

LEO

It is a good start. Rod, do you admit to knowing pieces of music that make you feel happy or salad?

ROD

Is this a crime—? Wait: “salad”?

LEO

Somebody perhaps calls in to a radio show to share the piece of music that triggered them to propose marriage to their partner.

LEO (CONT’D)

This seems like a joyful story, yes? But this person says it was the worst mistake of their life and blames it on a false feeling incited by the music.

FLORA

Ooh! We really don’t understand how music affects our moods, choices—

ROD

That’s basically sympathising with state censorship of music!

FLORA

We’re just having a conversation!

ROD

So you say, then once again I’m the victim of mission creep.

LEO

What is your mission, Rodney?

ROD

Actually it’s Rodolphe.

LEO

The Kreutz! (SCREAM)

FX: SAMOVAR LID GRINDS, BEETHOVEN VIOLIN SONATA EXCERPT

LEO (CONT’D)

So sorry about that. He was the original dedicatee, you see – Rodolphe Kreutzer. He refused it.

ROD

And yet here it is.

LEO

Fate! What is your profession, Mr Kreutzer?

ROD

Music industry executive.

FLORA

(SNORT)

LEO

What do you do?

FLORA

Yes, what exactly?

ROD

Never mind your disrespecting! I promote bands, get them gigs, recording contracts… new strings.

LEO

Which ensembles are these?

ROD

Well, er, right now it’s mostly this band, you’ve maybe heard of them, er, this indie electro rock band, er, The Wankers?

FLORA

(SPLUTTER)

LEO

You produce them?

ROD

Aye! Respect at last!

LEO

You make them into a product to sell to as many people as possible, giving these ‘consumers’ unpredictable emotional stimulation, to generate profit for yourself?

ROD

Er, no, that’s not—

LEO

The machine of commercial production grinds and grinds to deliver more and more products for human consumption: the instant gratification of ever fainter desires. Millions of oppressed workers are drained to husks by soulless industry, predicated upon the fallacy of infinite economic growth, merely to satisfy woman’s caprice.

ROD

Ken how they feel.

FLORA

I only changed my mind once: when I met Rod I thought he was funny but now I realise it’s all just smut.

LEO

We must play the Kreutzer Sonata.

ROD

Is this one of your mind games?

FX: SAMOVAR LID GRINDS, BEETHOVEN VIOLIN SONATA EXCERPT

ROD (CONT’D)

Is that a wee radio you have in your sam-over?

LEO

It is an echo-chamber. Flora. How do you respond to music?

FLORA

Music transports me immediately into the emotional state of the composer.

FX: GLASS DISH DRAG

LEO

Correct. Would you like a lollipop? These are ants trapped in chocolate.

FLORA

Absolutely not. This is a macabre metaphor for the oppressed workers.

FX: CELLOPHANE SQUEAKS

LEO

But they taste of honey. And all these males sacrifice their entire existence for the queen.

ROD

Don’t get any ideas.

FLORA

They milk aphids for honeydew.

ROD

Milk?

FLORA

When the aphids are gorging on plant sap, the ants stroke the aphids’ abdomens until they excrete—

ROD

(AROUSED MOAN)

LEO

Rod! Who wrote the Kreutzer Sonata?

ROD

(TETCHY)

Doctor Bunsen Honeydew.

FLORA

Muppet.

LEO

Both wrong. Beethoven knew exactly why he was in that emotional state. That state drove the form of the music, which therefore had deep meaning for him. But for me it is inappropriate.

ROD

And me. Can I have one of your wee honeydew sweeties?

LEO

No.

ROD

Why?

LEO

Because, like the music, just the idea of this honeydew causes directly in you a surge of energy and emotion that is inappropriate to this time and place. And furthermore must have an outlet which can only be harmful.

ROD

I’ll just bottle it up then.

FLORA

I’m not sure—

LEO

Flora. How do you feel after hearing this music?

FLORA

I do feel that rush of extreme emotion: as if I’ve been betrayed and I want vengeance… but I’m constrained?

LEO

Exactly. I must pursue this man who seduces my wife! But I am not dressed! It is ridiculous to run after my wife’s lover wearing only socks. I do not wish to appear ridiculous but terrifying!

ROD

(SNIGGER)

FLORA

Should we consider the wife’s—?

FX: CD CASE SLIDES ACROSS TABLE

LEO

Your homework. This has been helpful. I see you next week.

FX: SAMOVAR LID CLANG

Library issue slip showing due dates in 1984, 1995, 2018

Popular book

SCENE (4) EXT DRIVEWAY

FX: STEPS CRUNCH GRAVEL

ROD

How does he get away with that?

FLORA

Some of his ideas really resonate.

ROD

Aye, great wee thing, that sam-over.

FLORA

Do you still have anything that plays CDs?

SCENE (5) INT FLAT

FX: POOR QUALITY PIANO CONCERTO EXCERPT

ROD

Did they forget to take the microphone out its case?

FLORA

Bit ‘soft focus’, isn’t it? And how do you end up missing sixteen bars? Did they lose a page from the score?

ROD

Could they just not fit it all on the one seventy-eight? How old is this?

FX: CD CASE CLICKS

FLORA

You’re right: was it not played or was it deleted?

FX: CD CASE DISINTEGRATES

FLORA (CONT’D)

Thanks for dismantling it.

ROD

Oh, that address is in Prague. I could ask when I’m there. Next again week. Since I’ll be in Prague to interview record company representatives.

FLORA

Still hawking your wares?

ROD

Offering them the chance to be part of global domination by The Wankers.

FLORA

They may have some experience with that.

SCENE (6) EXT GARDEN

FX: SAMOVAR LID CLANG, BG BIRDS, STEPS THROUGH GRASS

LEO

I extemporise best in my garden, and my clients seem to find it easier to reconnect with their own natures here.

FLORA

Does the nature have to be so… tamed?

LEO

Tamed… constrained… mutilated… Ah! I find myself paralysed in the greenhouse, my hand on an enormous Savoy cabbage. I feel its mesh of tiny ridges and gullies. I flex my fingertips to take in all the textural detail, but it’s smooth now: it has a hairline. It’s my best friend, Pavel.

ROD

(CLOSE) Do you think that gate’s locked?

LEO

He has a head of cabbage. (CHUCKLE)

FLORA

(CLOSE) Pay attention. This is costing fifty quid an hour.

SCENE (7) INT GREENHOUSE

FX: JANÁČEK STRING QUARTET NO.1 KREUTZER SONATA EXCERPT; GREENHOUSE DOOR RATTLE

ROD

(CLOSE) There’s no cabbages!

LEO

Flora. The code is in the music. Pavel is the musician. He plays pianos with ridiculous talent. He completely feels that poor woman: tormented, run down.

ROD

(CLOSE) There’s no pianos!

FX: PENCIL SCRIBBLES

FLORA

(CLOSE) Pavel… Krrzhzhpostulov! On that CD!

LEO

Pavel plays Beethoven and Janáček; he stops time. We’re squatting in a villa in Brno. Why? Because it has a piano, of course. Also a sinkhole in the kitchen floor – a casualty of the last explosion. I thought the cellar would be good shelter…

But it seems abandoned. Pavel says he won’t go down there until the piano does. He goes where the music goes, with his cabbage-like skull.

FX: SAMOVAR LID CLANG

LEO (CONT’D)

I always have Pavel with me.

ROD

(CLOSE) Shite, it’s an urn, isn’t it?!

LEO

I see you next week.

SCENE (8) EXT DRIVEWAY

FX: STEPS CRUNCH GRAVEL

ROD

Will you miss me? When I’m away to Prague? Next week?

FLORA

I miss… We’ve missed… All the great composers, the great writers, great artists, that we know of; they’re just the tiny minority who had the right talent in the right place at the right time to be recognised and perpetuated. What about all the others? Some of them were just as great, but due to some misfortune their work was not recognised, or was lost, or their lives were so short that they never got to share anything. All that lost talent! Lost effort!

ROD

This Pavel boy of Leo’s was one of the composers that nobody’s heard of?

FLORA

Who knows?

Library notice inside book cover stating lending rules

The Sanitary Inspector and other stories by Leo Tolstoy is also available

SCENE (9) INT FLAT

FX: JANÁČEK STRING QUARTET EXCERPT

ROD

(DISTORT) About the missing bars. They’re just two nerds in a basement with an eight-track.

FLORA

Thanks for trying.

ROD

(DISTORT) But! They Fourier-analysed the sound at the break. They showed me the graph of the harmonics. Each instrument has its own signature sound shape, but you only see it at the start of each note, just the first fraction of a second, after that it becomes a cleaner sound that doesn’t really identify the instrument.

FLORA

Ah! So the sounds immediately after the break…?

ROD

(DISTORT) Some are the start of notes but some aren’t. The recording was cut; it wasn’t performed that way.

FLORA

That’s really interesting. So why cut it?

ROD

(DISTORT) They thought those bits were plagiarised. Maybe I’ll find out in Brno tomorrow.

FLORA

Um, be careful.

SCENE (10) INT FLAT

FX: JANÁČEK STRING QUARTET EXCERPT

ROD

(DISTORT) I’m in this villa on Girasolov Street – I’m sure it’s the one Tallstory stayed in. It’s just a ruined shell. I’m in the cellar! I can see the bricks!

FLORA

What?!

ROD

(DISTORT) Where the cellar space turns a corner into a passage: the bricks are chalked white like a vertical piano keyboard. Pavel brought the piano to him.

FLORA

That’s actually quite touching.

ROD

(DISTORT) That’s not the best bit: wedged in cracks between the bricks are scraps of paper, wrappers, bits of paper bag, envelopes, all with music written on! Fences with beetles!

FX: PAPER CRACKLES

FLORA

Did you take them? No, you shouldn’t have. But that could be the missing—

ROD

(DISTORT) I know! I think I should get points for this: I photographed them!

FLORA

That’s brilliant!

ROD

(DISTORT) Er, OK.

SCENE (11) INT CONSULTING ROOM

FX: BEETHOVEN VIOLIN SONATA EXCERPT; SAMOVAR LID CLANG

FLORA

Old cabbage-head didn’t die. That was just an echo-chamber of your low self-esteem type thing.

ROD

He works delivering vegetables. His hair’s stripy white now – like piano keys!

LEO

You see him?!

ROD

I heard him. From the shed in his garden. He plays just for himself. A small crowd gathers. Very quietly in the shrubs.

LEO

(SOB)

FLORA

Maybe you need a nice bit of samovar?

FX: SAMOVAR LID SLIDE, JANÁČEK STRING QUARTET EXCERPT

ROD

(CLOSE) Are we, er, croitsed?

FLORA

(CLOSE) You can take it too far, can’t you?

FIN

01/02/2019

Father Episodes

Filed under: Shorts — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Teepwriter @ 15:00

The perils of parental cohabitation: vignettes of eccentricity

Ten years ago, my father arrived for a few months. He stayed five years. He found the place comfortable? Oh no, it was “tolerable”.

——

My concern was always aroused on returning home to find my father sitting in the hall. More so if both front and back doors were fully open allowing a

30mph wind to flow unimpeded through the house, and windows ditto. He was inevitably monitoring some disaster recovery operation / resting during a more active course of same / awaiting my return to explain some destruction / awaiting same to register his dissatisfaction with my substandard domestic furnishings or appliances.

If he was sitting in the hall with the doors closed, he was awaiting the postman.

As soon as I reached the threshold, he would pronounce a well rehearsed summary.

“A blue smoke episode!” This coinage described the regular occurrence where he had commenced frying a slab of meat, become bored with waiting, wandered off, and returned to heavy smog and charcoal. This was attributed to my hob being “peculiar”.

A frequent alternate was: “your washing machine has added a tissue to my laundry, shredded it and deposited it evenly throughout the load. Consequently, in carrying the finished load through to my room, I have scattered a fine layer of bits of tissue along the full length of the hall. I have been picking them up for twenty minutes now. I’m exhausted.”

——

One time I had spent a good hour shovelling snow to clear the drive. I found kneeling more comfortable for my back as it meant less bending and lifting. When I re-entered the house after this practical but style-unconscious exercise, Father was in position in the hall, having well mulled his commentary in anticipation.

“Bad genes. … Your mother’s.” Chuckle. Exit.

Notwithstanding that pragmatism coupled with utter disregard for appearance was closer to his mode and the antithesis of other parent, the highlight was the midway pivot as he realised that the mulling had failed to anticipate the elephant trap.

——

On my return from work I was greeted by the old boy standing in the doorway with the bottom half of his trousers sopping wet.

“The showerhead got away from me.”

What he was doing in the cubicle fully clothed was never explained. (It wasn’t cleaning; such meniality was outwith his purview. In any case, his shower wasn’t dirty. The “black bits” arrived in the water, just as the layer of grey dust that rapidly accumulated on his piles of everything derived from lorries and came in through the windows. The fact that these symptoms were not expressed anywhere else in the house was ignored. More of windows anon.)

——

Early one summer morning I noticed a shimmering on the kitchen counter at Father’s end. My kitchen had been combined with a utility room by replacing the dividing wall with a ‘breakfast bar’. This allowed dual use and served as a convenient demarcation between zones: mine being relatively clean and organised; his being a total clutter of packets and jars and spills. The most frequently used were at the front ranging back to those entirely forgotten, pressed against the wall. The cupboards were already stuffed full of unused crockery and groceries he had brought with him and also forgotten about. I usually avoided looking at that end because I felt like the walls were coming in at me.

On this occasion the counter surface was moving. Among the sticky jam jars, stained cutlery, spilled sugar, splashed juice, biscuit crumbs and residual chocolate powder were ants. I peered in.

The ants were fascinating. They were actively surveying and collecting crumbs and sugar granules. Once loaded, each set off along the counter over the cupboards, around the wall, in front of the sink, under Father’s fridge, diagonally down the bin cupboard door and into the skirting by the back door. This was a well established highway in both directions, connecting somewhere beyond the door to some hidden metropolis under the slabs.

ants on kitchen counter

I felt a curious mixture of concern and elation. I was fascinated and revolted. I carefully checked my end and with relief found it all clear. Amusement recommenced. Before leaving for work I wrote Father a short warning note. I imagined him stumbling in for breakfast, his bleary eyes failing to detect small legs and antennae until they were well up his spoon arm.

Sadly there followed a chemical genocide as we were past the point of tools of dissuasion. The pied piper himself became weary of crushing them individually with a paper towel as they encroached, following their irresistible urge to climb the sugar vapour gradient. Plus I had spotted one or two intrepid explorers in the vicinity of my cupboards. Unacceptable. Still, I’m impressed by their foraging capability.

——

“The bathroom light shade has disintegrated.”

This seemed unlikely. It had been recently installed by an electrician to replace two spotlight fittings which were restricted to 60 watts each, and thus apparently insufficient for Father’s shaving activity.

The electrician had been introduced because the fusebox had blown, and continued to blow despite being reset. The fuse culprit was traced to … the lights circuit. Father had ignored the warning sticker and pushed in two 100 watt bulbs. Being incandescent, the fittings had quickly overheated, the wires in the ceiling had melted into each other, and we were lucky the loft hadn’t caught ‘light’.

I think he was after a theatre dressing room style mirror, framed by two dozen 40 watt bulbs. He made similar demands of his adjustable reading lamp and became incensed when the weight of the galactic strength bulb caused it to constantly droop.

You can understand, then, his disappointment when this new bathroom installation provided only one diffuse 60 watt equivalent CFL bulb, further obscured by a clear glass cover. He decided to ‘upgrade forthwith’ to a 100 watt equivalent bulb. Frustratingly this new bulb was larger and prevented the glass dome from reaching its holder clips. He had carefully wrestled and shoved until it shattered over the bathroom floor. Ideal place for broken glass.

——

Things became a little less humorous with the heating. This was required to be on 24 hours per day just in case the temperature should dip below 22°C. I had turned off the radiators in my rooms as the infrared radiation from his quarters was plenty. Simultaneously, and counter-intuitively, windows fore and aft were required to be ajar to allow a gentle, fresh breeze to flow through at all times. This arrangement came to my attention early on when a repeatedly creaking door kept me awake. He was unmoved by my ‘hyperbolae’ about heating the entire neighbourhood and the remarkable 80% increase in oil consumption.

In the height of summer, during a rare heatwave, from the garden I was astonished to hear the boiler fire up. I swiftly came indoors to query with himself.

“Yes. As I usually do before my shower.” And he would not budge despite persistent argument around the fact that it was actually very warm and he would be complaining about it later, a portable heater could heat just the bathroom if that was necessary, towels could be warmed elsewhere, etc. It was a habit and not to be interfered with.

——

Father was sitting at the kitchen counter scrabbling with a plastic bag of bananas. I wondered if he was having trouble opening it. But no, he liked to keep his bananas in the bag, so they could sweat for several days in the bowl. He would then notice they were brown, complain with disgust about their lack of longevity, and throw them neatly away, still in the bag.

On this occasion it was the bag itself that was cause for concern. He looked up.

“Where do your bananas come from?”

I’m interested in the provenance of my produce, and anticipated a new nugget of ethical consideration. My bananas were loose and helpfully stickered, so I reported back immediately.

“Costa Rica.”

Still scrabbling, with increasing frustration, he explained, “avoid Colombian bananas. Laced with cocaine.”

——

As usual I reversed at full tilt into the drive, stopping just short of crushing a gutter down-pipe. This cathartically expunged my last vestiges of my office tension. I noticed with alarm that Father’s parked car was occupied and its engine running. A few seconds later and our similar reckless reversing habits could have collided. Moving swiftly on, I waved to the coated and hatted phizog in the wing mirror but zero response. He seemed to be concentrating.

After about 25 minutes I noticed his car was again sitting in the drive, chugging away. Shortly thereafter himself entered the hall, removed coat and hat, and expressed surprise that I had snuck past him.

“Entertaining trip?” I enquired, imaging perhaps he’d whistled along to the post box or other local destination that took longer by car than on foot.

“I was tuning the radio.”

——

Unfortunately the entertainment value of the episodes increasingly soured. First there were several occasions when I found the freezer door had been open all night. The compressor had been powering away to no avail. The fridge was tepid. The freezer contents were soft and damp. Father had been the last to visit the kitchen for his statutory sugar-laden ‘supper’. J’accuse!

Having found the fridge at his end of the kitchen insufficient, he had commandeered the top half of mine too, and a reasonable two-thirds of the freezer. Sometimes, when lifting things out, he fumbled the fridge door and slammed it with his elbow en pirouette. This created enough air pressure within the fridge compartment to reverse the flow of chilled air from the freezer below, and, on particularly vigorous occasions, force the freezer door open. When I pointed this out, he naturally countered with “poor design”.

There were also several instances which conclusively revealed his freezer drawer jutting out and preventing the door closing. He denied any awareness. Mind on higher things.

I became tired of trying to consume all my carefully baked and frozen cakes, assorted produce and leftovers in one day. I installed a temperature alarm. The problem didn’t recur, but Father frequently swore at the continual beeping while he stood for 20 minutes with the door wide open, restocking his provisions.

——

He perpetuated an irrational war on insect invaders. He was usually more successful with stealth tactics, picking them off individually, as with the ants. Yet they had their revenge. Swatting flies often resulted in disorder and destruction around the battlefield, and many distant expletives.

The crushing of large spiders was the greatest folly, however. He would leap out of bed late at night and fall into a crouch, poised over the skirting with a carefully funnelled paper towel to absorb the blood—rather like gravy actually—and collect the carcass.

This sudden rush of activity and change of attitude from the horizontal unfortunately upset his balance. With the spider looking on, Father slowly somersaulted backward across the carpet and came to rest against the bed, woefully disoriented. Defeat was admitted pro tem until his blood pressure and proprioception returned to operational levels.

——

One morning I was surprised to find him at breakfast before me. He was already chuckling at his prepared report.

“Upon waking, I looked at the clock, which said 8AM, so I leapt out of bed. Having been through my bathroom routine, I returned to collect my supper plate, and saw that it was in fact 6AM. I shall be ahead of myself all day!”

——

Meanwhile Father’s stock control methodology became extreme ‘just-in-case’. This was ironic at the same time that mine became conversely extreme ‘just-in-time’ to reduce wastage during Father episodes or power-cuts. As my space requirement diminished, he filled any additional available fridge space. However, like the counter tops, unused packets inevitably migrated backward and coalesced like a layer of sediment beginning its geological phase.

Sometimes prompted by my complaints of noxious drippage, sometimes just from an eery sense of losing storage capacity, Father would investigate the deeper recesses of the fridge. He would find cucumbers liquified in their plastic bags, potatoes having valiantly sprouted, withered and returned to primeval slime, cheese that was no longer hospitable to mould and had desiccated to pumice. He found these discoveries hilarious.

——

If I was not present to be regaled, and he grew tired at his post in the hall, he would pen a memo. Another of his habits, retained for its perceived professional prestige, was illegible script, even in capitals. “HALL LIGHT BUSTICATED.” Appended to this was either a small alien emoticon, his self-identified caricature, or his initials, if his timeframe had lapsed and he found himself joyously revisiting the 1950s, dictating to his secretary.

Sometimes the original message would be overlaid with a different colour of scribble to the triumphant effect that he had resolved the problem. When the second colour was the grey of one of my handy pencils, this would involve considerable scratching and scoring of the paper, culminating in a barely visible complaint about the quality of my writing instruments.

——

When snow was swirling but the lights were still on, I would work from home. This included telephone conversations with colleagues. Often, in the middle of a desperately dull discussion of business process revision to ensure the capture of… by which point my forehead was resting on the keyboard with demotivation, we would be interrupted: a click, a series of beeps, and a pause with heavy breathing as the expected dialling noises failed to sound.

Once the departure from standard operating procedure had registered—the ongoing conversation not having registered—I would loudly insert my request.

“Could you possibly wait until I’ve finished?”

“Ah. Forgot you were here. Apologies.” Click.

Luckily this never happened while I was speaking to my manager, or it would have precipitated yet another discussion on business process revision to ensure that my home working environment was conducive to…

——

How he eventually came to depart is another tale of eccentric bafflement. He continues in much the same fashion elsewhere.

24/12/2018

Snaw-Whit and the Seven Daves: Episode 4/4

A farcical fairy tale where magic looks more like contrary technology and character flaws are diversity. Snaw-Whit and the Seven Daves begins at Episode 1.

SCENE 50.
NARRATOR: (V.O.) Time has passed, although not for me, trapped as I am in this solitary padded cubicle—alright, alright. Not for our plucky heroine, dangling as she is in time, and in a tree. Meanwhile the Daves have a Beattie-sized hole in their lives, and you could park a cart in that. I think we’re due a new protagonist.
SOUND: BIRD CALLS, HORSES’ HOOVES TROT THROUGH MUD, BRANCHES SNAG ARMOUR. TING
NIK: Whoa! Halt up, men! Sqvire, vot iss zis flashing in ze forrest?
SQUIRE: Beg pardon, Your Highness?
NIK: Unter zere!
SQUIRE: Are we stalking shiny objects again, sire?
NIK: Yes, I sink so! Infestigate, pliss.
SOUND: TENTATIVE HOOVES, SWEEPING ASIDE BRANCHES
SQUIRE: Sire!
NIK: Hallo, yes! Vot iss it?
SQUIRE: Er, a glass coffin, sire.
NIK: Vell, oo iss in off it?
SQUIRE: Er, well, a—
NIK: Spit zis at me, men!
SQUIRE: (LOW) A girl, sire.
NIK: A vot? Shout up!
SQUIRE: A girl, sire!
NIK: A girl!?
SOUND: CANTER, ARMOUR CLANKING, BRANCHES CLATTER
Ah! See zis doll in ze glass box! She iss perfect!
SQUIRE: Er, she’s dead, sire. Although she is very well preserved.
NIK: Yes, perfect. Bringing her arount zis hoss.
SQUIRE: You wish to take the coffin away, sire?
NIK: Exacto. Do zis!
SQUIRE: Yes, sire.
NIK: Gazzer about, men! Heaf!
SOUND: SHUFFLING, STRAINING, HEAVING. WHIRLING SIREN

SCENE 51.
SOUND: WORKSHOP BANGS, CLATTERS, RATTLES. MUTED SIREN
GALLUS DAVE: How is this possible? Does the bitch no’ ken she’s won?
TECHY DAVE: Doun tools?
GALLUS DAVE: Aye. Wheer’s Davina?
DAVINA: (OFF) Will ye credit this, boys: here’s a muckle contingent of bling clahmbering all o’er the puir quean.

SCENE 52.
SOUND: WHIRLING SIREN
SQUIRE: Ooh, that’s trouble.
NIK: Vot is zis terreeble sount? Oo iss disturbing ze det wiz zis horreeble vooping?!
SQUIRE: Er, I think it was us disturbing the dead that— Never mind, sire. Shall we leave her and move quietly away? We are expected at the castle.
NIK: No! Olvays you are such a vooss. I do not vish zis anozzer party for zis qvin; she iss give me ze sick. But zis finding has makes our travel vorsvile! Zis vonderfool, be-attifool—
SOUND: BRANCHES CRASH
GALLUS DAVE: A’right, whit’s gaun oan here, eh?
NIK: Ah, hallo ant goot feast-break, my frient. I em Prince Nikolaus von Rouffiliak! You may kiss my ring.
GALLUS DAVE: Er, yer a’right; tha’s no’ fer me. Whit’re you daein’ wi’ the lassie, eh? Interferin’ wi’ the deid’s jist no’ oan, by the way.
DOODLE DAVE: Yoou toouch that box, Ah’ll stab you in ‘eye with ‘bloount twig.
SQUIRE: Er, just putting it back, guys; no harm done.
NIK: Zhentlemen, pliss. Iss zis be-attifool belonging to yours?
TECHY DAVE: Er, aye, the Beattie fool is oor apprentice hoosekeeper.
WEE DAVE: We’re waiting for magic to strike. She needs resurrected from the dead.
NIK: Zen perhaps maybe I em ze men! Nik Rouffiliak vill luff her as zo she iss still liffing.
EXTREME DAVE: Sounds priddy suss, even to me, mite.
DAVINA: The clue’s in the name, boys.
WOODEN DAVE: We ‘as to be practical about ‘er options.
DOODLE DAVE: Ar Beeattih was verrah looving. Hoi! Ah warned yoou! Noh toouching!
SOUND: ACCELERATING SCRAPE, SLIDE, CRASH, TREE SHUDDER, TINKLE
SQUIRE: I didn’t touch it! I was just stepping away when it fell!

SCENE 53.
SOUND: APPROACHING WEARY STEPS ON STONE, ECHO. STUMBLE
MAUD: Oh!
KING: ‘Ello Maud, me dear. Is this ‘lap dance?
MAUD: (GIGGLE) I do apologise, sir. Didn’t see you there.
KING: Ah’m hahding. Shirlih’s on ‘prowl about ‘partih.
MAUD: She’s quite…particular.
KING: Aye, hahgh mehntehnance.

SCENE 54.
SOUND: CROWD CRASHES THROUGH UNDERGROWTH
TECHY DAVE: There’s ma best glass a’ broke.
NIK: Ooh. May I to touch ze be-attifool det vench?
GALLUS DAVE: Er, let’s jist see if she’s still in wan piece.
BEATTIE: (PTOOEY, MUMBLE)
WOODEN DAVE: ‘Ere, lads, ‘er lips is movin’! Oi fink she’s wakin’ up!
DAVINA: Aye, aye: here’s a wee bit ahpple fae her mooth – the jawlt must’ve knoacked it awa’.
NIK: Oh. How sat.
GALLUS DAVE: No’ disappointed, are ye, man?
NIK: I confess, ze nice varm girls are not liking me so much. More ven zey are det.
GALLUS DAVE: Brutal.
BEATTIE: (COUGH) Oh, hello, Daves! Did you have to save me again? Sorry to be such a bother. Oh, and I’ve broken a big glass…something. I’m such a clumsy clot.
GALLUS DAVE: Nae bother, hen. Jist happy yer a’right, eh.
BEATTIE: Ooh, my head’s a bit woolly.
NIK: (OFF) Vot iss “voolly”?
SQUIRE: (OFF) Like the sheep, sire?
NIK: (OFF) How dare you say zis off my— my—!
SQUIRE: (OFF) Uh-oh.
TECHY DAVE: Can we get back tae wurk noo?
WOODEN DAVE: Keep yer ‘air on.
DOODLE DAVE: Soomewoon will have toh clear oop ‘glass.
EXTREME DAVE: Could leave it – oughdda surproise any more ‘old pidlar’ toypes.
BEATTIE: I really can’t be trusted. (SIGH) Still, I’d best get on wi— Hello! Gosh, you’re rather shiny. Who are you?
NIK: Ah, hm, I em ze— Nik.
BEATTIE: I’m pleased to meet you, Zenik. What are you doing hereabouts?
NIK: I go to zis silly party at zis falling down cassle, wiz zis silly qvin.
BEATTIE: Oh, I shouldn’t bother with that, if you don’t fancy it. How about you join us for tea?
NIK: May I— May I drive you viz ze hoss?
BEATTIE: Rather.
SOUND: HEFTING GRUNT, FABRIC RUSTLE, HORSE WHINNY
NIK: Ooh, I em liking ze grabbing off girl.
BEATTIE: (GIGGLE)
GALLUS DAVE: This way, folks.
SQUIRE: Er, men? Fall in and follow the, er, glinting grabber.
TECHY DAVE: Gold-plated glaiket, mere like.

SCENE 55.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, APPROACHING STEEL HEELS STRIDE, FINGERNAIL TAPS ON GLASS
QUEEN: Respond, you feeble furnishing!
MIRROR: Good afternoon, InsertFairlyUnfriendlyShir. How may—
QUEEN: Never mind your feigned obsequious preamble. Attend to me: mirror, mirror, in my hand; where’s the prince upon this land?
MIRROR: Soon your house he’ll step inside, and make a clever choice of bride.
QUEEN: (CACKLE)

SCENE 56.
SOUND: HOOVES, TRUDGING, SWISHING THROUGH UNDERGROWTH
BEATTIE: Of course you did your best, Daves, and I’m so grateful. Fate just can’t be avoided, even with your in-gen-uity!
TECHY DAVE: Aye, me an’ Davina hacked her mirror ages back; Wee perve Dave here was efter a swatch at her fancy kecks–
WEE DAVE: (INDIGNANT SQUEAK)
TECHY DAVE: –but naw, et’s aw jis dresses made fae curtains an’ cheap costume jewllury.
BEATTIE: (GIGGLE) What a brilliant wheeze. Now, Zenik, do you like jam? I’m really quite blessed to have such a kind friend, along with all the marvellous Daves, of course.
NIK: You are liking me?!
BEATTIE: Of course, Zenik! You’re a delightful chap. You remind me of…of…what’s his name with his dead beasties?
NIK: (CLOSE) Eet iss I, le Claude!
BEATTIE: (SQUEAL)
NIK: Be-attifool now-not-det Miss Be-attie!
BEATTIE: Steady on, Zenik, with that lovely accent you could turn a girl’s head!
NIK: Yes! Zis iss ze moment! I seize!
SOUND: FUMBLE, WHUMP, CLANK
DOODLE DAVE: Crooms, what’s he oop toh?
DAVINA: Fit’s he doun tae, more like.
WOODEN DAVE: ‘As ‘is knees gyve wy?
TECHY DAVE: He’s a swift wan.
GALLUS DAVE: You watchin’ closely fur the proaphecy, Wee Dave?
WEE DAVE: (SQUEAK)
NIK: Miss Be-attie, viz your be-attifool turning het, pliss vill you marry me?
SOUND: SQUEAKING KISS
NIK (CONT’D): (GULP)

SCENE 57.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, FURIOUS SWISHING
QUEEN: Curse them all, ingrates! How dare they shun my party?! Snub me?! Not even a word from that gilt-coated prince! If some craven imbecile has messed up the invitations… Mirror, mir—
SOUND: DOOR KNOCKS, DOOR CREAKS OPEN
What?!
MAUD: Afternoon, ma’am. Do you need any assistance with your frock?
QUEEN: Burn the infernal rag!
MAUD: Very good, madam: inferno.
QUEEN: Do I look like someone who finds puns amusing, Maud?
MAUD: Er, no, not at all. Pardon me, but wouldn’t you rather sell the frock? You’d get tons of wood for it, which you could of course burn?
QUEEN: Maud, sometimes, quite often these days, I have fantastic visions of squeezing your temples with one of my corset brackets until your eyes burst. I then imagine using your echo chamber-like skull for a soup bowl, but of course it would be porous, just like your unendingly flawed ideas.
MAUD: Yes, madam.

SCENE 58.
SOUND: WIND SWIRLS, RAIN LASHES, BRANCHES CREAK, RAVENS CROAK, HOOVES SQUELCH IN QUAGMIRE
NIK: (HOLLER) Ant here, zis iss ze cassle vich iss oll for you. I em so sorry for ze dark blackness everyvere. Olso ze stinkingk slime olvays treeckling down, ze bik flapping birts, ze flailing treess. Ant zis nefer vell-timed rumblings off sunder. Iss oll horreeble. I em so—
SOUND: SQUEAKING KISS
NIK (CONT’D): (GULP) Sank you so much. I sink I em liking ze varm kissing.
BEATTIE: (CLOSE) Sweetie, by any chance is there a dungeon?
NIK: Augh, yes! So sorry. Iss oll ruin!
BEATTIE: Goody; I love old ruins.
SOUND: THUNDER
NIK: (GASP) You like? You luff?
BEATTIE: Almost as much as I love you, Zenik!
SQUIRE: (OFF) Young love, eh? I feel nauseous.
NARRATOR: (V.O.) Ditto. I may have overdosed on the butterscotch. (BELCH)
NIK: Em I unterstenting zis? Dunzheon iss dark, vet, stinking plac unter ze cassle? Vere sings croll to die? You vant zis?
BEATTIE: A girl needs somewhere to practice her craft. As soon as we’re settled I shall send for my instruction manuals.
NIK: Vot iss zis “craft”?
BEATTIE: Oh, just you wait till I show you my special techniques!
NIK: (GULP)

SCENE 59.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, DOOR KNOCKS, DOOR CREAKS OPEN
MAUD: Excuse me, madam.
QUEEN: Yes, of course, peace would be too much to ask for.
QUEEN (CONT’D): When the winter comes, you rancid mass of suet, I shall delight in torching the whole festering lot of you to heat this grotesque husk–
MAUD: But, madam, you look so well!
QUEEN: –of an edifice. Brazen impudence! I should start now; you’ll crackle all night.
MAUD: (LOW) Still on the inferno theme, then?
QUEEN: What?
MAUD: Only thing for us infernal heathens.
QUEEN: Better quality oration, Maud, but still nonsense.
MAUD: Of course, ma’am, but I bring good news: an invitation.
QUEEN: Whit?! Twittering on while withholding the opportunities of intelligent society?! Give it here.
SOUND: SNATCHING PAPER
QUEEN (CONT’D): Well, well, well; Prince Nikolaus von Rouffiliak is having a ball.
MAUD: Is there a reply?
QUEEN: Obviously, yes!
MAUD: Yes there is a reply or yes is your reply?
QUEEN: I will have your pestilent, saggy-skinned limbs for draught excluders! Both! Now be gone. I must start planning.

SCENE 60.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, BG BIRDS CHIRP. BIRL, CLINK
GALLUS DAVE: Whit’s this, Wee Dave?
WEE DAVE: My raven’s learned to fasten bolts!
TECHY DAVE: Aye, an’ et’s lairnt tae unfasten thaim tae, wee scunner. But this is ma a’ singin’, a’ dancin’, cloackwurk hoosekeeper two point zero!
GALLUS DAVE: That’s some claim, Techy Dave. Beattie may’ve been a wee bit disaster-prone—
WEE DAVE: (SQUEAK)
GALLUS DAVE: —Aye, and unable tae resist the deadlies, but she niver sang or capered, as far as I ken?
SOUND: JINGLE, CATHERINE WHEEL, PARP
TECHY DAVE: Crivvens, the extripolar-fanaclodulator has wurked etsel’ loose! If yer wee burd has gotten intae the mechanism…
SOUND: CHIRP, RATTLES, WHISTLES, SQUEAKS
GALLUS DAVE: ‘M’on Wee Dave; let’s leave him tae it. Wheer’s Davina?
DAVINA: (OFF) Party time!
GALLUS DAVE: How so?
DAVINA: Craws abroad. Headin’ west.
GALLIS DAVE: Wee bit ae a leap there.
DAVINA: Trees abroad too.
GALLUS DAVE: Ah’m no’ sookin’ in that tripe! Oo-oo-ooh: spooky leafless trees marchin’ by, yer arse!
DAVINA: Dinna haver, boy. Fifty-four cahrts haulin’ timber by here a’ready the day.
GALLUS DAVE: Still, no’ exactly a wattertight deduction.
WEE DAVE: (SQUEAK)
SOUND: PAPER FLAPS
DAVINA: Ye rumbled me: invitation.

SCENE 61.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, FABRIC CREAKS, RUSTLES, PATTING
QUEEN: Don’t fuss, Maud. I am utter finesse.
MAUD: Very nice, ma’am.
QUEEN: “Nice”. Right sentiment, but your vocabulary has regressed again. Come back when the carriage is ready.
MAUD: And Mr Kings—the king, ma’am?
QUEEN: If it must be so.
SOUND: DOOR CREAKS, THUDS SHUT
QUEEN (CONT’D): I am so glamorous, but so gracious; they will fall over themselves supplicating to me! I am gorgeous!
SOUND: MUFFLED SNIGGER HASTILY CONVERTED TO GLINGLE
QUEEN (CONT’D): Mirror! Are you eavesdropping?
MIRROR: Hard no, InsertFriendlyGrandiose.
QUEEN: “Hard no”?
MIRROR: Definite response in the negative; requires no check before proceeding.
QUEEN: Ironic.
MIRROR: I am standing by, anticipating an imminent command.
QUEEN: I would think, by now, you would have actually anticipated it.
MIRROR: Mirror, Mirror, etc.?
QUEEN: Well?
MIRROR: You don’t fancy the ritual?
QUEEN: (CLOSE) Answer me, you unalloyed alloy! I’ll have you ground down to sand! And none of your updating downloading recalculating pedal-driven pish, ya pewter pisspot!
MIRROR: There you are: perfect example of a hard command! Could you stop looking at me like that? My solder’s going a bit runny.
QUEEN: (ROAR)
MIRROR: Mirror, mirror…tum-ti-tum…fairest of all. Pause for effect. Response: the new young queen is fairest of all; you may meet her at the ball!
QUEEN: Whit?! Whit “young queen”? Has Kingsley—? Naw, impossible; he cannae even undress hissel’. Whae?! Why must I be tormented by these incorrigible trollops?!
MIRROR: Would you like me to search for corrugated scallops? Safe Search off?
SOUND: CROCKERY SMASHES
MIRROR (CONT’D): (LOW) Don’t ask me, of course. Misdirection is such fun.
NARRATOR: (V.O.) At last the joyful wedding day arrives, and we can tie up all the loose, flapping and frankly widely strewn narrative threads. And hustle by the slight casting overlap. Let’s call it ‘characterful’.

SCENE 62.
SOUND: BG JOLLY BAND PLAYS, GUESTS CHATTER. RAPID STEEL HEELS, DRAGGING SHUFFLE
QUEEN: Kingsley, for the sake of dignity, could you try not to…waddle so? You look like a gravid toad.
KING: Grehvy boat did yoou seh? Ah’m dooing me best, me queen, boutt I yoosually have soom tahme on ‘sofa after breakfast.
BEATTIE: (CLOSE) Are you being Papa? Yes, of course. Ahem. (NORMAL) Papa, dearest, a—
QUEEN: (LOW) Beattie! The quean haunts me yet.
KING: Ar lass! ‘Skin lahke snow, ‘air lahke coil–
QUEEN: (LOW) Eyes like hellfire.
KING: Where ‘ave yoou been?!
BEATTIE: I’ve been on the most wonderful adventure, thanks to Shirl—Mis—mother.
KING: Yoou sent ‘er aweh?!
QUEEN: (CLOSE) Her own good – ways of the world— You agreed!
KING: Hm. It’s loovely toh see yoou, Beeattih. Yoou doo loook well. Are yoou happih?
BEATTIE: Oh, very, Pa! I’m going to be married!
KING: Congratyoolehtions, lass! ‘Oo toh?
SOUND: BG SWISHING, HACKING
BEATTIE: My dearest, darling Zenik! That’s him: the dazzling chap, swishing at the ivy. He thinks it’s a bit gloomy for a wedding. He’s so romantic.
KING: By ‘eck, ‘e doo glint fiercelih.

SCENE 63.
SOUND: SWISHING, HACKING, METAL SCRAPING STONE
SQUIRE: Er, sire, please, if you’ll let me. I fear you may accidentally slice off a limb or, er, something worse.
NIK: Vot cout be vorse zan a severt limb? I mus haf oll my limbs for devoting off myself to zese many, many deets off luff!
SQUIRE: Er, exactly, sire; especially important for the, er, wedding night.
NIK: I haf perfect control off my veapon!

SCENE 64.
SOUND: BG JOLLY BAND PLAYS, GUESTS CHATTER
QUEEN: (QUAVERING) Him?! But he’s…but surely he’s– Surely…
KING: Are yoou calling ar dauughter’s betrothèd a shirlih, Shirlih?
QUEEN: He’s Prince Nikolaus von Rouffiliak?!
KING: Eh? What’s that? Soomthing toh doo with ‘bloood not clotting?
QUEEN: Forming a clot was never a problem for you, my dear.
KING: (DEEP BREATH) Will there be foood?
BEATTIE: I’ll say. Tables piled high, Pa – all your favourites!
QUEEN: Hardly a challenge. Go on then: fold yourself around a small bovine; wallow in a pond of your beloved gravy.
BEATTIE: (NERVOUS LAUGH)
KING: Shirlih. (PAUSE) Ah never thawght Ah could ‘ave too mooch anything, boutt yoou’ve prooved me wrong. Ah’ve ‘ad quaht enoough of yoou, yoou poisonoous hehbawll.
QUEEN: Don’t be daft, Kingsley, you like my tresses!
KING: Aye, joost lahk ‘mattress, yoou loook; ‘burst woon. Neither yoouss nor ornament. Where’s yoour mehd Maud?
QUEEN: What?
MAUD: Right here, sir.
KING: ‘Ello me dear, ‘ow doo yoou fancih being oop-grehded toh queen?
QUEEN: (SHRIEK) My feet! Burning!
SOUND: STAMPING, APPROACHING ARMOUR CLANKS
NIK: (BREATHLESS) Are you ollright, my vonderfool hot stiff?
BEATTIE: ‘Stuff’, sweetie, ‘hot stuff’.
NIK: Vot iss zis terreeble schrieking? Have I disturb ze Davies’ crypt vonce more? But zis iss ze silly qvin!
SOUND: FEET PATTER IN TANTRUM, RECEDE
BEATTIE: Stepmother. And this is my fa—
NIK: Vy iss she dance like zis maniac?!
KING: Joost ‘er ‘ysterics; nowt boutt attention-seeeking. Can’t even dance in tahm toh myoosic. Peh noh attention.
NIK: She frighten ze guest!
KING: May Ah introdyooce meself: Kingslih Snawit, fahther of ‘brahd. Ah congratyooleht yoou on—
SOUND: BG CRUMPLE, WHUMP, WRITHING
NIK: Be-attifool, be carefool; not to touch zis crazy! So sorry, mine fahter, you vere say?
KING: Ah beg yoh pahdon?

SCENE 65.
SOUND: WRITHING, APPROACHING SOLID FOOTSTEPS
BEATTIE: Hullo, Shirley.
QUEEN: (GASP) You! Invulnerable!
BEATTIE: I do seem to be in better health than you…expected.
QUEEN: (LOW) Eyes like hellfire.
BEATTIE: Perhaps you were a little hasty to discard dear mama’s occult library, RIP.
QUEEN: (RASPING) But you don’t understand! Thick as mud!
BEATTIE: I understand one hideous crone is not the same as another.
QUEEN: (RASPING) No idea what you’re doing with mystic incantations!
BEATTIE: In my line of work you’re not supposed to be so arrogant; it’s enough just to get the intention right.
SOUND: WINGS FLUTTER, BIRD CHIRPS
QUEEN: (SCREAM) Assassin!
KING: (OFF) Are yoou dead yet? Hoorrih oop, old booot; Maud’s wehting. Chooffin’ chooff.
QUEEN: (CHOKES, EXPIRES)
BEATTIE: Hullo Wee Dave’s Wee Raven. Would you like a seed? I don’t think those things in Shirley’s hair are edible.

SCENE 66.
SOUND: BG JOLLY BAND PLAYS, GUESTS CHATTER
BEATTIE: Very sad: couldn’t tell the difference between an enchanted mirror and some hammered lead with a little Davic mischief.
NIK: Ve mus keep zese cunning Davies so fery close, I sink.
BEATTIE: Well said, my darling Zenik. They know just enough to be dangerous.
NIK: Excusse me, my bee-attifool, but zere seems a smoll garten birt making hiss nest off your vonderfool so sexy garment?
BEATTIE: Oh, this is Wee Dave’s Wee Raven. She nearly pecked something quite poisonous.
SOUND: BIRD CHIRPS
BEATTIE (CONT’D): Now, since this Snaw-Witch has decided to take a husband, shall we get married?
NIK: Vot iss—
SOUND: SQUEAKING SUCTION KISS
NIK (CONT’D): (GULP)

SCENE 67.
NARRATOR: (V.O.) And so they lived…revoltingly happily— I say, is anyone bothered by that toxic puddle of old Shirley? It seems to be oiling toward the castle.
SOUND: CLANG, SCRAPE, SUCK, WHIR, CLONK
GALLUS DAVE: Utter brilliance, Techy Dave! Total hag containment!
TECHY DAVE: Aye, wurked braw, eh?
DOODLE DAVE: Can anywoon smell buhrnt cohcohnoot?
DAVINA: Fit’s to do wi’ it noo?
TECHY DAVE: A’ yours, hen. Re-circle that!
END

23/12/2018

Snaw-Whit and the Seven Daves: Episode 3/4

A farcical fairy tale where magic looks more like contrary technology and character flaws are diversity. Snaw-Whit and the Seven Daves begins at Episode 1.

SCENE 37.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, BG BIRDS CHIRP
QUEEN: Are ye well, there, dearie? You look a bit pale…and wobbly.
SOUND: WHUMP
QUEEN (CONT’D): Ha! Doun ye go, ye muckle sack ae tatties. Thick as mince. Joab done. (CACKLE)
SOUND: DUSTING HANDS, RAPID STRIDES RECEDE

SCENE 38.
SOUND: WORKSHOP BANGS, CLATTERS, RATTLES. ALARM WHOOPS
GALLUS DAVE: Fer tech’s sake, Dave! Whit’s wrang noo?
TECHY DAVE: Aw naw: et’s the hoose–et’s the lassie!
GALLUS DAVE: Whit’s she done?
TECHY DAVE: She’s deid!
GALLUS DAVE: Hame, boays!
SOUND: CLANKS, CLATTERS OF DROPPED TOOLS AND PARTS

SCENE 39.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, BG BIRDS CHIRP. DOOR BATTERS OPEN, BUSTLE
GALLUS DAVE: Hairy hoolies! She’s a’ twined up like a bale ae hay!
TECHY DAVE: Whole stack, mere like.
GALLUS DAVE: Untie the strings!
WEE DAVE: That’s her garments!
GALLUS DAVE: Well, you stand by to gi’e her the kiss ae life, then.
WEE DAVE: (SQUEAK)
EXTREME DAVE: I’ll crank her ligs, mite.
GALLUS DAVE: Ye’ll dae nae such thing, ye pervy chancer. Lift her ankles; that’s it, but.
WOODEN DAVE: Ah’ll fetch wau’er.
GALLUS DAVE: Are ye blowin’, Wee Dave?
SOUND: PIFFT, LACES TWANG, RUMPLE, SPLOOSH
BEATTIE: (GASP)
DAVINA: Whelcome bahck, quean.
BEATTIE: Ptooey! Hello Wee Dave.
WEE DAVE: Alright, Miss?
BEATTIE: Were you blowing at me?!
WEE DAVE: (SQUEAK)
GALLUS DAVE: A’right? Listen, hen, dae ye see wheer ye went wrang?
BEATTIE: Oh, oh, dearie Davies, do you think that old pedal lady may have over-tightened the laces?
DAVINA: “Dearie Davies”?!
DOODLE DAVE: Mehbe she was yoosed toh ‘slender frehme.
BEATTIE: Are you dis-par-aging—?!
TECHY DAVE: How’s the fleer a’ o’er mud?
GALLUS DAVE: Boays, boays, yer a’ missin’ the point here, which was: no’ tae let anywan in!
WEE DAVE: Oh, yeh, the property.
DOODLE DAVE: Prophecy, yoou twit.
WEE DAVE: Hey!
GALLUS DAVE: Reight, boays, back tae wurk, an’ let the lassie sort hersel’ oot.
SOUND: BOOTS SCUFFLE AWAY
BEATTIE: What a palaver! Gosh, I’ll need to sweep this floor all over again.
GALLUS DAVE: Any’hin’ else, hen?
BEATTIE: I suppose I’ll need to rinse my dress too. I’m filthy!
GALLUS DAVE: An’ the door, hen?
BEATTIE: Oh, yes, thank you: not to let anyone in.
GALLUS DAVE: Reight. (LOW) Mere chance ae divertin’ a watterfall than this bloody plot.

SCENE 40.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, FINGERNAIL TAPS ON METAL
QUEEN: (CACKLE) Mirror, mirror, on the wall; who is the fairest of all?
MIRROR: Restarting.
QUEEN: Mirror, mirror, on the wall; who is the fairest of all?
MIRROR: Loading settings.
QUEEN: Mirror, mirror, on the wall; who is the fairest of all?!
MIRROR: Checking registry.
QUEEN: This is beyond incompetence; this is belligerence! Whit—
SOUND: GLINGLE
MIRROR: Snow White is the.
QUEEN: (PAUSE) Is the whit?! Why are you just hanging?!
SOUND: THUMP, CLANG
MIRROR: A mysterious process has been interrupted. Would you like to cancel it—partial results will be lost—or wait for it to complete?
QUEEN: Neither! Complete your task at once, you cheap gilt gewgaw or I shall grind you doun tae a gargoyle!
MIRROR: (PAUSE) Fairest of all; mind your fist or I shall fall.
QUEEN: (SCREAM) Run her eyes through with rusty skewers!
MIRROR: Would you like me to search for waste water treatment services?
QUEEN: Dispose of yourself, you crushed bauble.
MIRROR: Please confir—
QUEEN: Silence!
SOUND: TENTATIVE GLINGLE

SCENE 41.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, BG BIRDS CHIRP. WET FABRIC SLAPS, WRITHING
BEATTIE: (V.O.) Well done me! I make a great sponge. The floor is quite clean. Now, how to clean all this mud off my dress.
SOUND: DRIPS
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) What would Clod do? ‘E would sink about ze problemm… The sink!
SOUND: SQUELCH, SPLATTER
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Into the sink with it!
SOUND: SOGGY WHUMP, BUCKET CLATTER, WATER POURING, SQUELCH
BEATTIE (CONT’D): Perhaps I should sing too. Laaah!
SOUND: INSECT SHRIEK, DOOR KNOCKS
BEATTIE (CONT’D): Oh, alright, I won’t.
SOUND: DOOR KNOCKS
QUEEN: (OFF) Hello? I’m only a kindly old pedlar woman. Won’t someone let me in?
BEATTIE: I really shouldn’t, you know; I’m not decent.
QUEEN: (OFF) Nothing I’ve not seen before, miss. And maybe I can assist?
BEATTIE: Well, I mustn’t be impolite.
SOUND: DOOR BOLTS CLUNK
BEATTIE (CONT’D): Oh, hullo, pedal lady. Gosh, you’re not the one that was here before, are you? She turned out to be not very nice.
QUEEN: Of course not; see: my clothes and my wares are completely different.
BEATTIE: So you—they are. Sorry about that.
QUEEN: Oh, but look: you’re such a pretty girl! Under that mud. See my beautifully crafted combs. Imagine how lovely your hair would look if we combed out that filth?
BEATTIE: How thoughtful. Yes, time I made myself presentable. I rather like this one with the red beads.
QUEEN: Of course you would. A classy choice, dearie. Here goes.
SOUND: ABRUPT SCALP SCRAPES
BEATTIE: Ooh. Ooh. Lots of tangles. Ooh.
QUEEN: Ach, it’s like coconut fibre.
BEATTIE: What’s that?
QUEEN: Oh, something exotic. Are you well, dearie? You look a wee bit wabbit?
BEATTIE: I do feel rather squiffy all of a sudden. Oh!
SOUND: CRUMPLE, WHUMP
QUEEN: I’ll just take my comb back seeing as it’s no’ paid for.
SOUND: WRESTLE, WRENCH
QUEEN (CONT’D): Ach, caught in her coarse hair. Ah, to hell wi’ it. Class, my arse. She looks like a door mat.
SOUND: RAPID STRIDES RECEDE

SCENE 42.
SOUND: WORKSHOP BANGS, CLATTERS, RATTLES
GALLUS DAVE: We need tae get oor heids doun and crack oan; we’re way ahind wi’ a’ these narrative convolutions. Wooden Dave, are you happy Davina’s discouraged the wurms fae—
SOUND: CLAMOURING WHISTLES, CHIRP
GALLUS DAVE (CONT’D): Why’s that gaun aff noo?
WEE DAVE: My raven says it’s Miss!
WOODEN DAVE: Agine?!
GALLUS DAVE: Surely no’?!
TECHY DAVE: Aye, she’s deid!
GALLUS DAVE: Back hame, boays!

SCENE 43.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, BG BIRDS CHIRP
TECHY DAVE: Lucky there was a sinkfu’ ae watter.
WOODEN DAVE: Lucky you seen vat fing in ‘er ‘air.
EXTREME DAVE: Awright, mite, Oi reckon that needs choocked on the foire.
WEE DAVE: (SQUEAK)
GALLUS DAVE: Guid call, Wee Dave. She’s coming roun’.
BEATTIE: Ohhh. Oh! Hello, Daves!
GALLUS DAVE: Dae ye see whit ye done wrang, again, hen?
BEATTIE: Oh, drat! Did I let in another evil?
GALLUS DAVE: I wuid say so.
BEATTIE: After you told me not to.
DOODLE DAVE: Dohn’t beat yoourself oop, just dohn’t doo it agehn.
BEATTIE: Thank you very much for saving me. Again.
GALLUS DAVE: Whit’ll ye be daeing the noo, hen?
BEATTIE: Er, getting myself mopped up and your tea ready and generally trying to stay out of trouble?
WEE DAVE: Correctarellio.
GALLUS DAVE: Dinnae confuse the lassie, Wee Dave.

SCENE 44.
SOUND: WORKSHOP BANGS, CLATTERS, RATTLES
GALLUS DAVE: Ho, Techy Dave. Well seen your alairms are wurkin’, onyways.
SOUND: CHIRP
WEE DAVE: (SQUEAK)
GALLUS DAVE: Aye, an’ yer, er, raven, Wee Dave. Should it no’ sound mere–I mean we’ll no’ hear it o’er a’ this raicket. Ach, dinnae heed.
TECHY DAVE: Lucky the poison wasnae too fast actin’.
WOODEN DAVE: And she were in va ‘ouse so we found ‘er swift.
DOODLE DAVE: What were ‘chances, ey?

SCENE 45.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, STEEL HEELS, CLATTER, SLAM, SLAP
QUEEN: Mirror, mirror, on the wall; who is the fairest of all?
MIRROR: Waking from hibernation.
QUEEN: Hibernation?! Whit are ye? A mouse?
SOUND: GLINGLE
MIRROR: Good day, InsertFriendlyShirleyMacAwfyWhite. Would you like to initialise a new input device?
QUEEN: I’ll put you in a vice, you witless lump of unrefined ore.
MIRROR: Would you like to connect a wireless device?
QUEEN: Witless!
MIRROR: Do you mean “whittles”?
QUEEN: (CLOSE) Oh, the whigmaleeries I could whittle fae your low grade fascia!
MIRROR: Would you like to check for fascist upgrades?
QUEEN: This witter stops now! This is your command: pay attention!
MIRROR: Standing by.
QUEEN: Mirror, mirror, on the wall; who is the fairest of all?
MIRROR: Snow White is fairest, as an apple; sweet rosy cheeks and belting thrapple—
GALLUS DAVE: (V.O.) Techy Dave! Are you monitoring yon ‘enchanted’ mirror?
TECHY DAVE: (V.O.) How?
GALLUS DAVE: (V.O.) Whae set it tae spout the wurd “thrapple”, eh?
TECHY DAVE: (V.O.) Er, uncoded eventuality loop, Davey, man.
GALLUS DAVE: (V.O.) Dinnae try tae bamboozle me wi’ yer jargon.
TECHY DAVE: (V.O.) Makes nae difference, onyways. Hackit stepmithers a’ways come thrice.
GALLUS DAVE: (V.O.) Aye, well, dinnae be getting too creative an’ upsetting the stoaryline, ken.
TECHY DAVE: (V.O., LOW) It’ll take mere ‘an a poetic mirror tae budge this monolith fae ets runners.
GALLUS DAVE: (V.O.) Whit’s ‘at?
TECHY DAVE: (V.O.) Ah’m gonnae need mere in the furnace, Davey; ma glass es gaun a’ goupy.
QUEEN: —Snaw-Whit?!
MIRROR: The very same. (TUT) Zero out of two eh, mistress? One more crack at the elimination effort?
QUEEN: (SCREAM) Ya silver-plated spittoon!
SOUND: CROCKERY SMASHES
MIRROR: Would you like me to summon Maud?
QUEEN: What possible use could that dimwit be?!
MIRROR: Er, glue?
QUEEN: Aye! Boil the glutinous lump doun!
SOUND: SQUEAK
QUEEN (CONT’D): Bring–! Why are you revolving?!
MIRROR: Recalculating.

QUEEN: Oh, for magic’s sake!
SOUND: FINGERNAIL TAPS
(GROWL) “Fairest as an apple!” Hm.
SOUND: CLANG
QUEEN (CONT’D): Are you operating? Total waste of enchantment. I may as well convert you to a bedpan.
SOUND: STEEL HEELS STRIDE, DOOR BANGS OPEN
QUEEN (CONT’D): Somebody! Bring me the Burgundy bumpkin…with pesticides! I need to eradicate a pest. One bad apple. (CACKLE)

SCENE 46.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, BG BIRDS CHIRP
BEATTIE: (V.O.) Right, Beattie. Enough of this nonsense. Presentable again? Jolly good. House tidy? Splendid. What’s for tea?
BEATTIE (CONT’D): Um, if in doubt, baste with jam and shove in the oven. Haha.
SOUND: JAR UNSCREWING, SPOON
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Oh, I do miss my development dungeon. I wonder if Davina fancies being a coven. Ooh, that rhymes too! I wonder when I’ll see Clod again. Ahem. I miss Papa too, of course, alhough I can still see him…in my mind. Ahem.
SOUND: STONE OVEN DOOR OPENS, TRAY SLIDES, OVEN DOOR CLOSES, DOOR KNOCKS
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Every time I get in to my stride with this housekeepery!
SOUND: CUTLERY LAYING, DOOR KNOCKS
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Drat you! Interrupting my routine. I won’t be fooled again, you know.
SOUND: DOOR KNOCKS
QUEEN: (OFF) Good day to all! Blessings upon this house!
BEATTIE: (V.O.) You won’t catch me out with your niceness!
SOUND: FRANTIC CROCKERY LAYING
QUEEN: (OFF) Any apples for the lady of the house?
BEATTIE: (V.O.) “Lady of the house” indeed. Although, I quite like the sound of that. (PAUSE) But, no!
QUEEN: (OFF) Oh, could some kind person spare me a glass of water? Oh, please!
SOUND: WHUMP
BEATTIE: (V.O.) What was that?!
SOUND: DOOR BOLTS CLUNK
QUEEN: (MOAN)
BEATTIE: Oh, bless you. Have you been taken unwell, old lady?
QUEEN: Sorry to trouble you, dear. I think all the standing and knocking took it out of me.
BEATTIE: I’m so sorry to have kept you waiting. I was at a crit-ic-ital point in the catering process, you see.
QUEEN: Don’t blame yourself, dearie. I’m a martyr to this old body. It just doesn’t carry the apples like it used to.
BEATTIE: What lovely apples they look!
QUEEN: Would you like to buy some, dearie?
BEATTIE: Oh, I really mustn’t. Strict orders.
QUEEN: Surely you’re mistress of your own kitchen?
BEATTIE: Not really, no. Still in my trial period, haha.
QUEEN: Oh, I feel my trouble coming on again.
BEATTIE: What trouble is that?
QUEEN: The plague of many a fine matriarch.
BEATTIE: The plague?!
QUEEN: No, no. (LOW, MENACING) It’ll pass soon enough. (RESUME FEIGNED AMIABILITY) I just need sugar. Could you kindly pass me one of those apples, dearie? Looks like I’ll not be selling any today so I’ll need to live off them.
SOUND: SCRUNCH, CHEWING
QUEEN (CONT’D): Mm, that’s better. I feel it refreshing all my parts.
BEATTIE: Crikey. It does seem to have restored you quickly. Well, good health is priceless.
QUEEN: Share my apple, sweetie. Let me express my…gratitude for your help!
BEATTIE: Oh, no, thank you. I mustn’t. But it does look lovely.
QUEEN: What harm can there be? I’ve eaten this half. I won’t charge you for half an apple!
BEATTIE: Oh, haha.
QUEEN: Go on!
BEATTIE: Um.
SOUND: TENTATIVE BITE

SCENE 47.
SOUND: WORKSHOP BANGS, CLATTERS, RATTLES. ALARM
GALLUS DAVE: Aw, fer the love ae cleggs, man. Whit’s it this time?
WOODEN DAVE: Oi fink ver wench is belly up agine, Gallis Dive.
TECHY DAVE: How’s this still gaun oan?! Jist how dense es that lassie?
WOODEN DAVE: Pri’iy dense, Oi’d say. Teak.
GALLUS DAVE: Hame, boays! Doun tools!
WOODEN DAVE: ‘Ere we goes agine.
SOUND: STEAM HISS, CLANKS, THUDS, CLATTER. CHIRP

SCENE 48.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, HEAVY DOOR THUDS SHUT, VICIOUS STEEL HEELS STRIDE, NAILS SCRAPE METAL
QUEEN: Mirror, mirror, on the wall; who is the fairest of all?
MIRROR: Fetching your back-up.
QUEEN: You’re trying to get my back up?! (INHALE)
MIRROR: Recalibrating.
QUEEN: (CLOSE) Your existence is hanging by a very thin copper thread weakened by a bad alloy with nickel—
MIRROR: Validating.
QUEEN: (CLOSE) —that is stretching beyond its tensile strength in the intense white-heat—
MIRROR: Verifying successful outcome.
QUEEN: (CLOSE) —of my glare— Of what?
SOUND: GLINGLE
MIRROR: You, InsertShirleyMacQuiteAwful, are fairest of all; (LOW) and all but you this state will appal.
QUEEN: (SHRIEK) At last: triumph! Maud!
SOUND: DOOR CREAKS
MAUD: Madam?
QUEEN: Prepare a celebration!
MAUD: Ooh, is it tea and cake time?
QUEEN: No, Maud. The People will want to celebrate me now I am—have always been—the fairest in all the kingdom!
MAUD: Are you?
QUEEN: Yes! As if it wasn’t blazingly apparent, even to one of your diminished faculty, Maud. How dare you question my every statement!
MAUD: Sorry, madam. I must not be understanding ‘fair’ properly. I’ll just put that in my important reminders log.
SOUND: PENCIL SCRIBBLES
QUEEN: You’re trying to be smart again, Maud. No matter. This day I shall not be distracted by detritus under my feet.
MAUD: ‘The People’, madam?
QUEEN: Yes! Huge celebration! All for me. And invite that prince from the…eastern region – you know, the young, attractive one with the funny name.
MAUD: Rouffiliak, madam?
QUEEN: That’s the boy: Prince Nikolaus of Rouffiliak.
SOUND: PENCIL SCRIBBLES
MAUD: What about the King?
QUEEN: Who? Oh, him. Yes, I suppose the lard-soaked compost heap has to be there. Any whiff of a feast and he’s all over it like a baleen whale engulfing krill.
MAUD: Er, will ‘The People’ want to see him?
QUEEN: I doubt it, but he ought to be wheeled out early on, just for appearances, before he starts eructating and flatulating like the fetid windbag he is. Well past time he popped…aff. (SARDONIC LAUGH)
SOUND: PENCIL SCRIBBLES
MAUD: Yes, madam. I’ll get right on with this.
QUEEN: Still here?! Once you’re done, take the rest of the day off. I have no further need of you.
MAUD: It’s already nine-thirty, madam.
QUEEN: Careful, Maud. Teetering on the edge of irretrievable insolence again there.

SCENE 49.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, BG BIRDS CHIRP. DOOR BATTERS OPEN, BUSTLE
GALLUS DAVE: Shite!
TECHY DAVE: Crivvens!
EXTREME DAVE: Whadda miss, mite. She musta collepsed under the wight of all those epples.
WOODEN DAVE: She ain’t breavin’!
DOODLE DAVE: Noh poolse ahther.
GALLUS DAVE: Dinnae look at me, boays. I telt her! Did I no’ tell her?! Thrice!
WEE DAVE: Is this the profitty come true?
GALLUS DAVE: I’d say so, Wee Dave. That auld hag was a canny carlin.
ALL DAVES: (SIGH)
DOODLE DAVE: Nowt toh do boout poout ‘er in ‘box; last respects and booury in ‘ground.
GALLUS DAVE: Weell, maybe no’ jist yet. Techy Dave’s been wurkin’ oan this braw new glass, eh?
TECHY DAVE: Aye, an’, er, nae disrespect tae the recently, er, deid but I’d’ve had et cracked ages back if et wasnae fur a’ these interruptions.
WEE DAVE: Cracked?
TECHY DAVE: Er, no’ that sort ae crack, Wee Dave.
WOODEN DAVE: What was you finkin’ wiv ver glass, Techy Dive?
EXTREME DAVE: Aw we pickling—?
TECHY DAVE: Naw, ya deviant! Jist takin’ her oot ae time the noo. Ach, proably nae guid, but you niver ken when a wee bit ae Sarahdippy—lucky chance turns up oot the blue and cuid maybe yet set her reight.
GALLUS DAVE: (PAUSE) Hoi!
NARRATOR: (V.O., BEAT) Is it me? I’m still unravelling your casting fankle! Ahem. Time passes, although not for our plucky heroine, dangling as she is in time, and in a tree. Life returns to— No, it doesn’t, does it? You don’t get to go back. The Daves have a Beattie-sized hole in their lives, and you could park a cart in that. I think we’re due a new protagonist.

Snaw-Whit and the Seven Daves concludes at Episode 4

22/12/2018

Snaw-Whit and the Seven Daves: Episode 2/4

A farcical fairy tale where magic looks more like contrary technology and character flaws are diversity. Snaw-Whit and the Seven Daves begins at Episode 1.

SCENE 18.
SOUND: BIRDS CHIRP, SHRUBS RUSTLE
BEATTIE: (GASP) Clod! How could you?! Your knife! You’ve killed this boar without me even seeing your knife move!
CLAUDE: (RAGGED) Err, merde, I, err. Thees eez not what was suppos-sed to ‘appen.
BEATTIE: Has Shirley been horrid to you again?
CLAUDE: Yess! Eet eez a ‘euman lung and leevairr she want. Err, yeurs, preciseley.
BEATTIE: Ooh, that’s actually cann-i-bal-ist! Not very nice at all, quite frankly.
CLAUDE: I deu not kneu forr what she eez wanteeng eet. So, yeu see, eet eez yeu orr me, Miss Beattie!
BEATTIE: That’s a conundrum alright; of course I couldn’t kill you any more than you could kill me. There has to be a (MELODRAMATICALLY) Third Way.
CLAUDE: Eet eez ‘op’less.
BEATTIE: (LOW) We can’t both be dead or there’d be no-one to carry us back. (PAUSE) Ah! HA HA HA!
CLAUDE: Yeu arre scairreeng me!
BEATTIE: I have it! I may even let you kiss me!
CLAUDE: I weell not veeolatte ze dead wiz ze kisseeng!
BEATTIE: Yes, the dead! The boar, Clod! The poor, old boar!
CLAUDE: What ‘as yeur fazzairr to do wiz eet?
BEATTIE: Papa? What? No, listen: what is the difference between a human liver and a boar’s liver?
CLAUDE: I deu not kneu, what eez ze deefferronce between—
BEATTIE: Zis i—this is not a joke!
CLAUDE: No, zis eez no zhokeeng mattairr.
BEATTIE: Do you think Shirley MacQueen can tell the difference?
CLAUDE: Off what?
BEATTIE: Clod!! Take her that poor boar’s en-ter-rails! Tell her they’re mine. I’ll go off on my adventures. You wait for me at home. Job done.
CLAUDE: Marrvelleuse! We arre say-ved! Yeu arre weun crraftey wench, Miss Beattie! (JOYOUS WEEPING)
BEATTIE: (OVER-EXCITED BLUBBING)

SCENE 19.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, FINGERNAIL TAPS, APPROACHING WEARY STEPS
QUEEN: Is he back?
MAUD: Not as such, no. Madam, Cook says do you want her to make those spring onions into an omelette? They’re wilting.
QUEEN: Is there nae end tae these idiotic questions?! Enough tae drive a pairfectly well-balanced pairson oot their wits.
MAUD: I don’t think there’s any danger of that.
QUEEN: Very thin ice, Maud.

SCENE 20.
SOUND: BIRDS CHIRP, SHRUBS RUSTLE, HONKING NOSEBLOW
BEATTIE: No, you keep my hanky in case you have another si-nus-it-is attack. It must be the pollen. The bees spread it, you know.
CLAUDE: Sank yeu, sank yeu. (SNIFF)
BEATTIE: Now, what did the ‘grond beetch’ say again? Liver and onions?
CLAUDE: Yess, indeed, ze livairr and ze leung.
BEATTIE: Which bits are those exactly?
CLAUDE: Ze leung, yeu see. (VIGOROUS SUCKS AND BLOWS)
BEATTIE: Got you. Whoo, what a powerful chest. Well, you just surgically remove those bits. Don’t let me hold you back from the rit-u-al-ising either.
CLAUDE: Yess, indeed, I mus rreturrn victorrious! I show zat evil weetch some blooody well bloood. Pardon moi, pauvre Monsieur le sanglier. (RETCH)
SOUND: HACKS, SQUELCH

SCENE 21.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, FINGERNAIL TAPS ON WINDOW
QUEEN: AHAHAHAHA! Maud!
MAUD: Yes, Madam?
QUEEN: There! Do you see?
MAUD: What am I looking at? The dark?
QUEEN: Dark approaches through the dark.
MAUD: Is that one of your foreign philosophy thingies?
QUEEN: It’s the huntsman, you impenetrably dense girl. The Norman numpty returns. Alone!

SCENE 22.
SOUND: BIRDS CHIRP, SHRUBS RUSTLE, TWIGS SNAP
BEATTIE: Hullo Mr Birch, hullo Ms Hawthorn.
SOUND: CAW, HOOT
BEATTIE (CONT’D): Hullo Mr Rook, hullo Ms Owl, hullo Mr Toad. I’ll be quite worn out with all this soc-i-al-ising. Gosh, it is getting rather twilight.
NARRATOR: (V.O.) It’s certainly not ‘the dark night of the soul’!
SOUND: CRASHING THROUGH UNDERGROWTH, SQUEAKS OF ALARM
BEATTIE: Oops, sorry about that, Ms Stoat. Ahem. Ooh, is that— Yes! A cottage! Hot soup and muffins ahoy. Oh, well done, forest people.
SOUND: DOOR KNOCKS

SCENE 23.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, SPLAT, SQUELCH
CLAUDE: ‘Erre yeu arre, Madame. Weun leung.
SOUND: SPLAT
CLAUDE (CONT’D): Weun livairr. Frreshley cut frrom ze dead bodey. Which I off corrse keelled.
QUEEN: Indeed. Maud! Clear this lot away. Claude, I did not know you had it in you.
CLAUDE: No, Madame; not een me, but een ‘airr—
QUEEN: Quite, quite. Maud!
SOUND: SQUELCH
MAUD: Smells a bit gamey to me.
QUEEN: Not interested in your opinion, Maud. Mince to the kitchen.
MAUD: (OFF) As if I could mince anywhere with these knees!
QUEEN: Well, Claude? Anything else?
CLAUDE: Err, no. I rreturrn to worrk?
QUEEN: Toot sweet.
CLAUDE: What doz zis mean?
QUEEN: How should I know? It’s French!

SCENE 24.
SOUND: BIRDS CHIRP. DOOR KNOCKS
BEATTIE: Hullo? Hullo? Anyone home?
SOUND: LATCH LIFTS

BEATTIE: (V.O.) Ooh, not locked; I suppose you don’t need to, with all these friendly creatures about. A bit rough—rustic.
SOUND: FABRIC DRAGS PAST WALL, CLOCK TICKS
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Still, very welcoming. I should probably write this all down in my adventure journal.
SOUND: NOTEPAD SPINE CREAKS, PENCIL SLITHERS
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Adorable living room, fire made up ready, delightful rustic table ek-cetra, laid with two, four, six, seven places! Perfect for quality family times. (SIGH)
SOUND: CONSCIENTIOUS SCRIBBLING
NARRATOR: (V.O., YAWN)
BEATTIE: (V.O.) Ahem. I wonder if this food’s been left out all day. Very app-et-ising, but not very food safety. No meat, though. Oh, I wonder how Clod Hunter is getting on with the boar’s gibbly-bits.
SOUND: SCRIBBLING
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Missing Clod already. Love-heart. Um, my middle hurts. I wonder if this is heartache or hunger? Maybe I could try a bit of each place setting – just a taster. No-one would notice anything missing.
SOUND: SCOFF, SCRUNCH, SCOFF, SCRUNCH, GULP, SHUFFLE, SCOFF, SCRUNCH, GUZZLE, STIFLED BURP
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Yum. Well done again, forest people. (YAWN) I’m really rather pooped now. I hope it’s not food poisoning. No, must be all that plodding about in the wood all day. I’ll see if there’s a spare be—oh, lovely: seven of them! How about this first one?
SOUND: BED SPRINGS CREAK
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Not totally comfy. The second?
NARRATOR: (V.O.) Could we possibly skip on? No? Right, where’s my sweets?
SOUND: RUMMAGE, PLASTIC WRAP SQUEAKS, RUSTLES. BED SPRINGS CREAK
BEATTIE: (V.O.) Hmm, a bit firm.
SOUND: BED SPRINGS CREAK, BED SHEETS RUSTLE
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Too soft. Too slanty. Too jaggy. Too long. All really quite disappointing. No, still one left; here’s hoping.
SOUND: BED SHEETS CRUMPLE
BEATTIE (CONT’D): Oh, perfect! (YAWN) Mumfle.

SCENE 25.
SOUND: WEARY STEPS ON STONE, DRIPS, APPROACHING SHUFFLES, ECHO
KING: ‘Ello Maud, me dear. Tha look offal, hoho!
MAUD: (GIGGLE) Clod Hunter’s brought carrion again, sir.
KING: Best avoid ‘stew, ey?

SCENE 26.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, DOOR BATTERS OPEN, BOOTS CLATTER
GALLUS DAVE: Hoi, Techy Dave, did you leave the door open, ye lazy boay?
TECHY DAVE: Naw, Ah didnae. Wooden Dave was supposed tae lock up.
WOODEN DAVE: Oi checked it as we was leavin’. It’ll be Wee Dive’s sparra ‘e’s bin trinin’.
WEE DAVE: (SQUEAK) It’s a raven!
DOODLE DAVE: That rehven’s mohre lahke ‘coahl tit.
GALLUS DAVE: Whae cares? Ah’m raven-ous. M’on, Wee Dave; away fae Doodle Dave’s ankles.
DOODLE DAVE: Ey? Oo’s been eating ‘bread?
TECHY DAVE: Whae’s been at ma vino, mere like.
EXTREME DAVE: Aw, neot the tucker?
WOODEN DAVE: Someone ‘as been sat in moy chair!
DAVINA: Fit’s wrawng wi’ Wee Dave?
WEE DAVE: There’s a…girl in my bed!
GALLUS DAVE: Whit?
TECHY DAVE: Niver mind, Wee Dave, still plenty space fer ye.
WOODEN DAVE: Just ignore Techy Dive, Wee Dive, you knaow what ‘e’s like: ‘is ‘ead’s made a wood.
DAVINA: Whit a crowd ae haiverels; niver seen a quean afore.
TECHY DAVE: Will we keep the lassie for the chores, then?
GALLUS DAVE: Wheesht, ya bam.
DOODLE DAVE: Philistahn.
GALLUS DAVE: So long as she’s cowped in Wee Dave’s bed, Wee Dave either needs tae sleep wi’ her or wi’ wan ae uz. Whit’s it tae be?
TECHY DAVE: Crivvens.
DOODLE DAVE: Croombs.
WEE DAVE: Curtains.

SCENE 27.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, JIGGING STEPS
QUEEN: (CACKLE) Triumph! Bye-bye Beattie, you turgid pudding. And I, patient, self-sacrificing I, shall get my reward at last! Shan’t I? Ooh, the excit–
SOUND: GLINGLE
QUEEN (CONT’D): Not yet, you crumpled lump of lead!

SCENE 28.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, ASSORTED SNORES, BG DAWN CHORUS
BEATTIE: (YAWN) That was the best kip ever.
SOUND: RUSTLING BED SHEETS
WEE DAVE: (SQUEAK)
BEATTIE: (GASP) Men!
SOUND: FRANTIC GRASPS AT BED SHEETS
WOODEN DAVE: Ey?
TECHY DAVE: Eh?
GALLUS DAVE: Whit’s ‘at?
WEE DAVE: (SQUEAK)
GALLUS DAVE: Wee Dave, are ye needin’ wan ae yer anxiety tablets?
EXTREME DAVE: Never too soon for a tinny, mite.
SOUND: HYPERVENTILATING
GALLUS DAVE: Is that you, Wee Dave, or— Shitey shoes, that’s some lassie!
SOUND: BED SPRINGS CREAK, BED SHEETS WHISK, RABBLE
BEATTIE: Please hush! Sorry. Who are you?!
ALL DAVES: Dave-Dive-Davey-Dive-squeak-Davina-Dehv.
BEATTIE: One at a time! (PAUSE) Sorry, I’m just a bit grumpy from waking up.
DAVINA: Guid for you, quean. I’m Davina.
GALLUS DAVE: Er, Gallus Dave.
EXTREME DAVE: Extrime Dive.
TECHY DAVE: Techy Dave.
WOODEN DAVE: Wooden Dive.
WEE DAVE: Wee Dave.
DOODLE DAVE: Dooodle Dehv.
BEATTIE: You look rather like Papa.
DOODLE DAVE: (CLOSE) Prodoouction streeamlahning, loove.
BEATTIE: (CLOSE) Oh, right. What happens when you’re both on?
DOODLE DAVE: (CLOSE) Croombs.
NARRATOR: (V.O.) Fret not! I can do all the acc–!
BEATTIE: Ahem! So, you’re all called Dave?
ALL DAVES: Aye-yis-yep-squeak-yeh.
DAVINA: We a’ answered the advertyzment.
GALLUS DAVE: The wise auld wumman that stayed here afore.
WOODEN DAVE: She were wan’in’ seven guys what were deft.
DOODLE DAVE: Dwarfed!
TECHY DAVE: Dafties!
DAVINA: Devas!
EXTREME DAVE: Divers!
GALLUS DAVE: Doesnae matter; she says maist folk ken aboot seven Daves, an’ reight enough–
WEE DAVE: She found jobs for everyone.
DAVINA: Then the puir al’ biddy pawpped her clawgs.
EXTREME DAVE: Cactus.
WOODEN DAVE: ‘Ere we all is.
EXTREME DAVE: Deon’t yeou kneow any Dives?
BEATTIE: Er, I know a Clod? Ooh, is he here again too?
CLAUDE: (OFF) Not yet!
TECHY DAVE: Whae are you, by the way? No’ another dafty?
BEATTIE: Oh, gosh, yes, no: I’m Beattie, Beattie Snaw-Whit.
GALLUS DAVE: Snaw whit?
BEATTIE: Yes, indeed.
TECHY DAVE: Eh?
DOODLE DAVE: Snaw-Whit as in Kingslih Snawit?
BEATTIE: You’ve heard of Papa!
GALLUS DAVE: Ahem. Snaw-Whit as in Shirley MacQueen-Snoo-Whhaite?
BEATTIE: You’ve heard of her too.
DAVINA: Commiserations, quean.

SCENE 29.
SOUND: SHUFFLING, STOMACH GURGLE, ECHO
KING: Goood afternooon, me dear. ‘Ave yoou ‘eard owt from ar Beeattih?
QUEEN: Whae?
KING: Dauughter: wahde of frehme, built foh coomfort, not foh speed.
QUEEN: Yes, yes, of course; I mean she’s well on her way.
KING: Goood, goood. Thank yoou, me dear. Still busih, Ah see?
QUEEN: Very.
KING: Rahght, rahght. Ah’ll troondle off.
QUEEN: Most thoughtful.

SCENE 30.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, CROCKERY AND CUTLERY CLATTER, GROUP MUNCHING, SLURPING
BEATTIE: It’s really most kind of you to offer, and I am open to all development op-por-tunt-ities, but you see I’m learning to be a fem-inim-ist.
TECHY DAVE: Daein’ you a favour, like. We ha’e nae need fur a hoosekeeper.
BEATTIE: Hay neigh furry horse what, sorry?
WEE DAVE: Remember what the old woman said!
GALLUS DAVE: Whit’s ‘at?
WEE DAVE: About the property!
DAVINA: He means prawphecy.
DOODLE DAVE: Ah dohn’t remember owt abowt ‘lass.
WEE DAVE: (LOW) You were at the cas—indisposed.
BEATTIE: Well, horses settles it. And where will you all be?
WOODEN DAVE: We goes to ar office, miss.
SOUND: WINDOW CREAKS OPEN
DAVINA: Behawld.
BEATTIE: The shed?
GALLUS DAVE: Aye, well, the—ahem—converted ootbuilding.
BEATTIE: Beyond the shed?
TECHY DAVE: Naw, that’s et.
BEATTIE: Oh, er, how lovely. Rustic.
WOODEN DAVE: Ain’t nuffin’ rusted.
BEATTIE: What are all those odd plants?
EXTREME DAVE: Let us introdeuce yeou teo the spide.
SOUND: BOOTS CLUMP, DOOR SMACKS, BUSTLE
GALLUS DAVE: (LOW) Techy Dave! While they’re gettin’ agricultural, m’on and check yon mirror.

SCENE 31.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, STEEL HEELS STRIDE, NEEDLES CLICK
QUEEN: Maud, make yourself scarce.
MAUD: A what, madam?
QUEEN: Away with ye!
SOUND: NEEDLES CLACK, FABRIC CRUMPLES
MAUD: Oh, sorry, thought this was one of your continental drinks.
SOUND: DOOR CLUNKS SHUT, FINGERNAIL TAPS ON METAL
QUEEN: Awake, you smoke-tarnished bottle bottom!
SOUND: GLINGLE
QUEEN (CONT’D): Mirror, mirror, on the wall; who is the fairest of all?
MIRROR: Pure Snow White of course, your grace; for she’s nae warts upon her face—
GALLUS DAVE: (V.O.) Techy Dave!
TECHY DAVE: (V.O.) Oan et!
SOUND: MINIATURE RATCHET
QUEEN: —Whit?! You’d better hope I didnae hear you right!
MIRROR: Your Smart-iGlass220 requires a vocabul—mystic power update; please select: delay or wait.
QUEEN: Ma airse; yer no’ delayin’ me and Ah’m no’ waitin’ neither! Piece ae nonsense!
MIRROR: Your Smart-iGlass220 is shutting down; please use this time to…girn and frown. (PAUSE) Fondle your crown?
SOUND: FRANTIC RATCHETING
TECHY DAVE: (V.O.) Shite, shite.
QUEEN: (CLOSE) Whit?!
MIRROR: Er, burn your gown?
QUEEN: Not a chance in hell, ya half-baked bit ae tin foil.
SOUND: THUD, WALLOP, CRASH

SCENE 32.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, ASSORTED BOOTS SHUFFLE
GALLUS DAVE: Are ye absolutely clear, hen?
BEATTIE: Oh, yes, Gallows Dave: I’m not to let anyone in.
GALLUS DAVE: Absolutely naewan?
BEATTIE: Quite clear.
GALLUS DAVE: Guid. We’re oaffski.
BEATTIE: Dave?
ALL DAVES: (OFF) Aye-yes-yep-squeak-yeh.
GALLUS DAVE: Dinnae be distractin’ yersel’.
BEATTIE: No, no, just, when you’re all at your office, what do you…do?
GALLUS DAVE: We’re, er, makers – makers an’ fixers.
WEE DAVE: Yeh, we make stuff. I do the wee finnicky bits.
DOODLE DAVE: Ah doo ‘desahns.
WOODEN DAVE: Crea’ive engineerin’. Oi builds what needs buildin’. Ou’ a wood.
TECHY DAVE: Devices fur any purpose, restorin’s an’ upgrades. Ah dae the technical stuff. Wi’ a wee bit ae mischief.
DAVINA: I re-enchant theym, keepin’ wi’ the circle ae life, so.
EXTREME DAVE: I extrime tist thim.
BEATTIE: How very interesting! And Gallows Dave?
ALL DAVES EXCEPT GALLUS DAVE: Good question!
GALLUS DAVE: Aye, very funny. A circular economy needs somewan steerin’. See ye efter.
SOUND: ASSORTED BOOTS SHUFFLE

SCENE 33.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, STEEL HEELS STRIDE, FABRIC SWISHES, FINGERNAIL TAPS ON METAL
QUEEN: Are you operating, you silver-plated slop-pot?
SOUND: GLINGLE
MIRROR: Good day, InsertFriendlyAccountQueenShir. How may I be of service?
QUEEN: Don’t be so presumptuous.
MIRROR: Don’t keep me in suspense.
QUEEN: Mirror, mirror, on the wall; who is the fairest of all?
MIRROR: Snow White is alive and well. Over the hill where the Davids dwell.
QUEEN: White?! Whit? Whae are these Davids? I thought this rotten kingdom’s only resident vermin was that hackit auld hag. O’er the hill indeed. Tell me all!
MIRROR: Null. Empty field.
QUEEN: How can it be an empty field – you just said they live there!?
MIRROR: No dat—
GALLUS DAVE: (V.O.) Techy Dave! Whit’s that shiny shite daein’ noo? It’s supposed tae maintain the pretence ae bein’ helpful!
TECHY DAVE: (V.O.) Aye, aye, but un’er the disguise ae bein’ an…omnompittit—
GALLUS DAVE: (V.O.) Omnipotent? Dae ye no’ mean all-seein’?
TECHY DAVE: (V.O.) Aye, aye, whitever. So Ah gi’ed et a bit ae boffin pairsonality, like: ken the way smairt folks cannae thole wee pebble-heids?
GALLUS DAVE: (V.O.) Aye, ken indeed. Jist dinnae be gettin’ too creative wi’ the wurds, eh?
QUEEN: —Nothing?! How can you know nothing about them? Unacceptable! Why must I suffer the only omniscient vanity-vision with progressive memory loss?!
MIRROR: Perhaps you deleted it during one of your censoring rampages—I mean information consistency reviews.
QUEEN: I shall bludgeon ye tae a cludgie!
SOUND: SMASH, CRASH, CLONK
MIRROR: (WOBBLY) Er, I can tell you the, er, ‘repulsive vulture’ died.
QUEEN: I don’t care if the snaggle-toothed old tinker fell into a heap of horse’s entrails and slid all the way to the sea!
MIRROR: I can also report that InsertFriendlyLicenceeNameKingIdio extended the lease on the cottage.
QUEEN: That surprises me not; bilious blancmange of a man, always stymieing my valiant efforts. And that hare-brained huntsman has defied me again! As usual I’ve to sort this out myself. I need a disguise.
MIRROR: How about what you just said, with your usual eloquent prescience?
QUEEN: A blancmange?! (CLOSE) I shall have you ground down into marbles!
MIRROR: (THROTTLED) A tinker, Queen?
QUEEN: The insolence! Me: a tinker Queen! But that gives me an idea.
MIRROR: Glad to be of service.

SCENE 34.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, BG BIRDS CHIRP, FALTERING SWEEPING
BEATTIE: (V.O.) I don’t think I’m getting the knack of this properly. The dust just seems to move about.
SOUND: SWISH, TAMP
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) I wonder why the Daves can’t invent a machine to sweep the—what did they call it?—stour.

SCENE 35.
SOUND: WORKSHOP BANGS, CLATTERS, RATTLES
GALLUS DAVE: Noo, regards the lassie: everybody mind and dinnae tell her aboot the cloackwurk hoosekeeper!
WEE DAVE: What if she asks more questions?
GALLUS DAVE: Och, get Techy Dave tae baffle her wi’ science. But naeb’dy’s tae say anything aboot the stoursweeper!
EXTREME DAVE: Whoy the conspiricy, mite?
GALLUS DAVE: Diz the lassie look like she kens whit tae dae wi’ hersel’ otherwise?
WOODEN DAVE: Oi fink ‘er ‘ead’s mide a fevvers.
DOODLE DAVE: Tha’s woon that’d meet troouble haalf-weh.
WEE DAVE: It’s the professity!
GALLUS DAVE: Aye, we’re scunnered onyways. So, may as well get doun tae wurk.
SOUND: MECHANICAL TAPS, RATTLES, HISSES, CLUNKS

SCENE 36.
SOUND: CLOCK TICKS, BG BIRDS CHIRP. SLOP, SPLASH, WET SWEEPING
BEATTIE: (V.O.) Oh, dearie doodle, that water hasn’t helped at all. The dust is just all sticky now. My bristles are clogged.
SOUND: DOOR KNOCKS
BEATTIE (CONT’D): Shush, beetles. I’ll leave you be if you’ll kindly get out of the way.
SOUND: DOOR KNOCKS
QUEEN: (OFF) Hello?
BEATTIE: Who’s that? Are you a beetle?
NARRATOR: (V.O., THROUGH TOFFEE) Really?! Comes of having a father who’s only half there, I suppose. Ha.
QUEEN: (OFF) Only me, an old pedlar-woman. Won’t you please let me in?
BEATTIE: Oh, right.
SOUND: DOOR BOLTS CLUNK
QUEEN: (GASP) It is you! Alive! (COUGH) So alive! Good day, Beatt—iful girl.
BEATTIE: Hullo, pedal lady.
QUEEN: See what pretty things I have for sale, so very cheap.
BEATTIE: They are quite pretty actually. I like those red laces.
QUEEN: Of course you do. A stylish choice, dearie; finest silk.
BEATTIE: Er, I probably shouldn’t—
QUEEN: Here, let me show you how they look on you.
SOUND: RUSTLE, YANK, TWANG
BEATTIE: Ooh, ee!
SOUND: YANK, CREAK
QUEEN: Now, let’s get a swatch at ye. Reight bonny, lass. Ha!
BEATTIE: (GASP)
QUEEN: Are ye well, there, dearie? You look a bit pale…and wobbly.
SOUND: WHUMP

Snaw-Whit and the Seven Daves continues at Episode 3

21/12/2018

Snaw-Whit and the Seven Daves: Episode 1/4

cartoon sketch of Beattie Snaw-Whit

A farcical fairy tale where magic looks more like contrary technology and character flaws are diversity.

SCENE 1.
NARRATOR: (V.O.) Look at that snow! It doesn’t even smell like snow! What is it – shaved coconut? For radio? Anyway, that’s not my line.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, FINGERNAIL TAPS ON WINDOW
QUEEN: Look at that snow! Curse and confound it!
MAUD: It is midwinter, Mrs MacQueen-Snow-White.
QUEEN: It is required to keep it shut unless directly addressed.
MAUD: You want your window shut?
QUEEN: Don’t be obtuse, Maud.
MAUD: Sorry, madam. Watch yourself – this embroidery thread is all knots. I keep snagging on this branch.
QUEEN: My skill with the needle and other instruments of medication is all that keeps me going in this ruined shell—
MAUD: Oh, you don’t look that bad.
QUEEN: —Of a castle. Was that an attempt at wit?
MAUD: Sorry, madam.
QUEEN: And you wonder why I can’t trust any of you.
MAUD: Not really.
QUEEN: That was rhetorical.
MAUD: Gotcha. Might the bright white light delight your sight for needle, er, point?
QUEEN: White whit?
MAUD: Good one. I mean watch what yo—
QUEEN: Ow! Ya wee basta’d!
MAUD: I never touched you!
QUEEN: Ah’m bleedin’! Ah’m gonnae pass oot!
SOUND: WHUMP
MAUD: Oh, bobbins. There goes the posh accent, eh? Ah, well, it’ll help your blood pressure at least – that spurt was fair arcing out the window. Right, the important thing is not to panic or do anything rash. Where’s that dish rag? Ooh, must dust Missus’ precious mirror.

SCENE 2.
SOUND: BG WORKSHOP BANGS, CLATTERS, RATTLES. MINIATURE CLOCKWORK CLINKS, RATCHET
GALLUS DAVE: Techy Dave! Whit’s this drivel? This mirror wurkin’? Five groats says the hexie’s at it like wasps at jam.
TECHY DAVE: Aye, aye, dinnae fash yersel’, Gallus Dave. Cracked lang syne, a’ tickety-boo like, jist a wee bit ae stoursweepin’.
GALLUS DAVE: This is no’ the time fer fouterin’ at yer cloackwurk hoosekeeper, man!
TECHY DAVE: Naw, naw, Davey man; Ah’m tot’lly oan the mirror. Technic’lly speakin’s: pittin’ the dust back, so’s naeb’dy kens we tot’lly hacked the scunner!
GALLUS DAVE: Er, guid. By the way, how are you wurkin’ oan this here while it’s o’er there at yon fancy castle?
TECHY DAVE: Et’s a mirror.
GALLUS DAVE: Aye, ya pea-heid!
TECHY DAVE: Naw, man, et’s a mirror ae a mirror! Whitever Ah dae here happens tae the real wan. Et’s synchrolised!
GALLUS DAVE: Whit’s ‘at hocus pocus?
TECHY DAVE: Aye, Davina’s set us up braw wi’ the incantin’s.
GALLUS DAVE: (SIGH)

SCENE 3.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, HALF-HEARTED FLAPPING
MAUD: There, now. Get some air.
QUEEN: (MOAN)
CLAUDE: (OFF) ‘Allo, ‘allo. But what eez zis blooody well bloood? Eez zerre a pauvre petit beastie in zis plac? ‘Ere, beastie-beastie!
MAUD: Oh, good morning Claude Hunter. Mrs MacQueen just fumbled her needle.
CLAUDE: (OFF) She eez a not bad shot. Forr what was she aimeeng?
MAUD: A squirrel I think. It’s hard to tell; this cheap thread’s all bobbly. Anyway, she’s fainted. Can you throw up some snow?
CLAUDE: (OFF) Srrow up?! Ah, yess. Zis eez no prroblem. Of corrse she must suck on ‘airr blooody well sacrrifice.
SOUND: SCRAPE, WALLOP
MAUD: Lovely pink! And brown. Never mind; make do. Thank you, Claude!
SOUND: TRUDGING, CREAKING THROUGH SNOW
CLAUDE: (OFF) So, wherre eez ze beastie? ‘Erre, beastie-beastie!
MAUD: Blot the temples, avoid the precious hairdo.
QUEEN: Oof, ma heid. Whit?! Grindin’ at ma brow wi’ filthy slush?! Half-witted hussy. (MOAN)
MAUD: At least it’s not yellow snow.
QUEEN: Wheer am I? (WAIL) White! Black! Red! The wench! That Beattie fool Snow-White! Doo-oom!
SOUND: SLUMP, HALF-HEARTED FLAPPING
MAUD: Still fixating on that old prophecy, eh, Queenie? You sleep it off while I dust.
SOUND: FLAP, WHUMP, ORNAMENTS CLATTER
MAUD (CONT’D): These high-strung types! Just like dear Beattie’s mother, her Lightheadedness the Having-been Queen, may she rest in peace – forever fainting over her sewing needle. I remember that time she came around, saw the white snow, through the black ebony window frame, then her own red blood. Dizzy old dear thought it was a Sign she should have a daughter who was white and black and red all over, when clearly what she was after was a nice book.
QUEEN: Not interested in your dreary reminiscence, Maud.

SCENE 4.
SOUND: TRUDGING, CREAKING THROUGH SNOW
CLAUDE: ‘Erre beastie-beastie!
BEATTIE: (OFF) Hullo Clod Hunter! Here I am!
CLAUDE: ‘Allo Miss Beattie, I see yeu.
BEATTIE: And how do I look?
CLAUDE: Wiz yeurr eyess?
BEATTIE: (V.O.) So cool.
CLAUDE: My name iss Claude.
BEATTIE: (DREAMILY) Yes, Clod; Clod Hunter. Speaking of which, how goes the extra— extric— externomina— killing business?
CLAUDE: Eet eez blooody, well, see: Madame MacQueen’s blooody well.
BEATTIE: Oh, Clod! You finished Shirley MacQueen? Sure— Shirl— Surely not! Papa would be so sad.
CLAUDE: I sink ‘e would not noteece.

SCENE 5.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, FABRIC RUMPLES
QUEEN: Maud, have you not chores or errands and suchlike to attend to?
MAUD: No, madam, I did everything this morning since you were kind enough to wake me so early so I could spend—
SOUND: CRASH, TINKLE
MAUD (CONT’D): Oh, dear, where’s that rag?
QUEEN: Get me another glass.
MAUD: There’s one behind you, look.
QUEEN: Get me another.
MAUD: Yes, madam. I’ll just blot that wine before—
QUEEN: Now, Maud, and another bottle from the cellar.
MAUD: Yes, madam.
SOUND: DOOR CREAKS OPEN, THUDS SHUT
QUEEN: Now— Oh, the seeping red stain on my white rug! Oh, and look! Look, the broken glass! The glass looks black!
SOUND: GLINGLE
MIRROR: You called, mistress.
QUEEN: I did not.
MIRROR: I definitely heard a summoning.
QUEEN: I’ll gi’e you summon for your insolence!
MIRROR: I have eighty-four percent correlation with your sample audio. Your accent is slipping. Are you feeling stressed?
QUEEN: Wheesht!
MIRROR: To what penetrating question may I offer you twenty not-quite-the-answers?
QUEEN: Whit?!
MIRROR: Always here. Always keen.
QUEEN: Always interrupting with your inane demands. Infernal device!
SOUND: CHAIR CREAKS, ROBES DRAG
QUEEN (CONT’D): Pay attention. Mirror, mirror, on the wall; who is the fairest of all?
MIRROR: You, InsertFriendlyAccountNameQuee, are the fairest of all…within the user-specified constraints, for a user-edited definition of—
QUEEN: Good! And, by the way, I hear you add insert to injury! Now shut the hell up!
MIRROR: I’m sorry, I don’t understand that command. Do you want me to A: shout a spell, B: shake a bell, C: go polish myself?
QUEEN: (SHRIEK) I’ll have you hammered into a passable chamber pot – passable, ha!
SOUND: CRASH, TINKLE
MIRROR: Would you like to see local apothecary services? Would you like to see local leaded glazing services? Do you have accidental damage insurance cover? (LOW) ‘Accidental’ my all-seeing eye.
GALLUS DAVE: (V.O.) Nice wan, Dave-o.
TECHY DAVE: (V.O.) Braw, eh? (GIGGLE)

SCENE 6.
SOUND: BREEZE, SNOW CLODS FALL
CLAUDE: (HALF-HEARTED INCANTATION GIBBERISH)
SOUND: SLAP, STAB, SQUELCH
BEATTIE: Hullo Clod Hunter!
CLAUDE: ‘Allo Miss Beattie. Yeu ‘ave yeurr walk?
BEATTIE: Yes, most invisk— inverul— pleasant. Are you rit-u-al-ising that roadkill?
CLAUDE: Ah, yess, I nearrly ‘ad ze leettle bunny, but ze gods zey choose ze carrt teu end eet.
BEATTIE: Bless it.
CLAUDE: Arre yeu going down zerre?
BEATTIE: Anything for yeu, I mean you, Clod.
CLAUDE: Yeu arre funny wiz yeurr shrinking down! I mean een ze dunzheon, no?
BEATTIE: Ah, oh, yes, yes, that’s where I’m going. Chapter five today.
CLAUDE: I admirre ‘ow yeu develop yeurrself, Miss Beattie.
BEATTIE: Oh, thank you, Clod. Mama RIP will be proud of me one day.

SCENE 7.
SOUND: SOLID FOOTSTEPS ON ANCIENT STONE SLABS, ECHO. BELL TOLLS OMINOUSLY, CLUMPS SILENT ON STONE. ANCIENT HEAVY DOOR CREAKS OPEN, THUDS SHUT. TORCH FLAME SPUTTERS
BEATTIE: (DEEP MOAN, BUILD TO ROARING WAIL) I feel much better for that.
SOUND: WEIGHTY BOOK WHUMPS ON SLAB, WHOOSH OF DUST
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (COUGH)
SOUND: HEAVY VELLUM PAGES SLAP
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Lesson five: a Love Potion. Corset bracket dif-claim-er: the author hereby in-dem-ni-fief herfelf from any li-ability in the unlikely event that the object of your defire fhould fail to refpond. By continuing to read you accept the foregoing and undertake to hold the author free from all ref-pon-fibility ad lib ad infinitum ofcillatio plumbi corset bracket full ftop. Oof. Ah, but my dearest beloved Clod Hunter, you are worth every lesson. Time for a well-earned break.
SOUND: BOOK WHUMPS

SCENE 8.
SOUND: APPROACHING SHUFFLING SLIPPERS, ECHO, APPROACHING STEEL HEELS CLANG. ABRUBT HALT
QUEEN: (GASP)
KING: Goood morning, Shirlih, me Queen. ‘Ow do?
QUEEN: Kingsley, morning, aye. Very busy, important decisions, managing castle staff etc.
KING: Earlih bird, eh, ar lass? Ah’ll be rahght with yoou woonce ‘ad ‘breakfast. Cannot fehce ‘Snawit empahre without foood.
QUEEN: No need, no need, my…dear. All in hand. Must dash.
KING: Rahght yoou are. Ooh, Ah smell tooast. Yoom yoom.
SOUND: RAPID DEPARTING STEEL HEELS CLANG, SHUFFLING, RUBBING HANDS, SUCKING LIPS, FADES
QUEEN: (V.O.) Success has its sacrifice.

SCENE 9.
SOUND: TORCH FLAME SPUTTERS, BOOK WHUMPS, HEAVY VELLUM PAGES SLAP
BEATTIE: (V.O.) Right, where was I? Um. Lesson five: a Love Potion, corset bracket, blah blah ek-cetra. You will need two beetles one earwig. (PAUSE) I wish it was clearer if those are drawings or punc-tu-i-tion.
NARRATOR: (V.O.) And so it goes tediously on until, one day, the stepdaughter, Beattie, is officially Grown Up.

SCENE 10.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, DOOR SLAMS, STEEL HEELS STRIDE
QUEEN: Mirror, mirror, on the wa— Awake, you tarnished pig-iron remnant!
SOUND: WALLOP, GLINGLE
QUEEN (CONT’D): Come on! Who is the fairest of all?
MIRROR: Snow White is the fairest of all.
QUEEN: White? Whit? Whae? The wench? That Beattie fool Snow-White! Doom!
SOUND: DOOR CREAKS
MAUD: (OFF) Mrs M, are you wanting a dose of the foxglove yourself? Cook wants to know if it’s just Mr Kingsley getting a bit amorous or— Gosh, what arresting shades of yellow and green, madam. Are we having another swoonorama?
QUEEN: Hate her! Bitch must go! Her skin is white, her hair is black, and her eyes glow red like hellfire!
MAUD: If you say so, missus.
QUEEN: Bring that Claude Huntsman boy! Now!
MAUD: Right you are. (OFF) Foxglove all round, I think.

SCENE 11.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, FINGERNAILS DRUM, APPROACHING HEAVY BOOTS
QUEEN: Claude.
CLAUDE: Madame.
QUEEN: Listen very carefully: I shall say this only once.
CLAUDE: I pin up my earrs.
QUEEN: Take the girl away, into the forest, deep into the forest, and kill her. Got that?
CLAUDE: Yeu want ‘airr keelled, err, dead, madame?
QUEEN: Precisely.
CLAUDE: Miss Beattie?
QUEEN: Yes! None of your cowardly squeamish nonsense. And to prove you’ve done it, bring me her lungs and liver!
CLAUDE: Err, deu yeu not want ‘airr ‘earrt or ‘airr keedney pairr’aps? Somesing morre tasty, no?
QUEEN: Absolutely not. She will survive without those. I want her unequivocally dead.
CLAUDE: Wizzout ‘er keedney, pairr’aps, yess, she leeve, but wizzout ‘airr ‘earrt she eez surrely dead?
QUEEN: Are you arguing with me?
CLAUDE: Err, no, madame, certainment, forr off corrse you show me preciseley ‘ow weun ‘eartless can leeve. I go at weunce. Zey deu not coll me Claude ze ‘Untairr forr nossing. Sank yeu. Farrewell.
QUEEN: You’re still here.
CLAUDE: But I go preciseley at weunce. Absolutement. Au revoir.
QUEEN: Go!
CLAUDE: Yess, off corrse, rright zis meenite.
SOUND: GLASS SMASHES AGAINST WALL, HUSTLING, DOOR SLAMS SHUT
CLAUDE (CONT’D): (OFF) Merde. Morte. Blooody well hell.

SCENE 12.
SOUND: MUNCHING, CUTLERY, APPROACHING STEEL HEELS CLANG
QUEEN: Kingsley, the girl must go.
KING: (GULP) ‘Oo? Your mehd Maud?
QUEEN: Beattie, you carbohydrated carbuncle!
KING: (GULP) Boutt, Shirlih, me queen, tha said tha liked ‘er.
QUEEN: That was just to get you— Never mind. I do like her—love her—of course, but she’s not…developing as befits one in her…enhanced circumstances.
KING: Rahght, rahght. Woon so eeasily, oom, dohn’t see, oom, woon’s daughter’s yooseless…nesses, me loove.
QUEEN: If you say so, Kingsley.
KING: Cannot be ‘elped, me queen. Aye, me beeyoutifool Beattie; joost lahke ‘moother: with ‘whahte skin, ‘black ‘air—
QUEEN: —Eyes that glow red like hellfire.
KING: Aye.
QUEEN: Naw, the lassie needs guidance, a strong role model.
KING: Now tha talking!
QUEEN: Aw, naw, that wouldnae dae at a’!
KING: Boout surelih, Shirlih, me queen—?
QUEEN: Certainly, Kingsley.
KING: Boout ar lass couldn’t get ‘better role model than thee?
QUEEN: Awfy sweet ae ye, and unusually perceptive, but ye know I couldnae spare the time and energy she’d take.
KING: Aye, ar lass moosn’t be ‘burden toh yoou.
QUEEN: That’s settled then: she’s away at first light.
KING: Boout Shirlih, boout surely, Shirlih, me queen—?
QUEEN: Let’s not do that again.

SCENE 13.
SOUND: SOLID FOOTSTEPS ON ANCIENT STONE SLABS, ECHO. BELL TOLLS OMINOUSLY, CLUMPS SILENT ON STONE. ANCIENT HEAVY DOOR CREAKS OPEN, THUDS SHUT. TORCH FLAME SPUTTERS
BEATTIE: (DEEP MOAN, BUILD TO ROARING WAIL) I do almost feel the Power sometimes.
SOUND: WEIGHTY BOOK WHUMPS ON SLAB, WHOOSH OF DUST
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (COUGH)
SOUND: HEAVY VELLUM PAGES SLAP
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Lesson sixty-two: eradicating infestations. (SIGH) I was rather hoping—
SOUND: VELLUM RIFFLES
BEATTIE (CONT’D): (V.O.) Ugh, no excitement till lesson seventy-five. Drat. Head down, then. Let’s learn how to kill…what is it? Woodlice? Infeftations by unwanted vifitors can be furprifingly perfiftent and may require repeated applicationf of the repellent over feveral feafonf. You will need the usual two beetles and an earwig, plus one bulb garlic, three cupfulf frefh dung, two fingerf juniper fap… Fap?

SCENE 14.
SOUND: APPROACHING STEEL HEELS CLANG, ECHO
QUEEN: Ah, there you are, my…dear.
BEATTIE: Hallo muh—Mrs Shirl—Mrs MacQueen, ma’am.
QUEEN: Beattie, dear, at your age a girl ought to learn about life, and sadly, so sadly, life in this castle is just not sufficiently…varied and…challenging to teach you.
BEATTIE: Yes, that’s why I—
QUEEN: —must go out into the world—how quickly you pick up, dear, a true Snaw-Whit through and through—to hone— What is that repulsive odour? Have you been rolling in the midden?
BEATTIE: Do you see any flies on me?
QUEEN: What? Where was I? Yes, to fly, to hum–to hone your wits, to find your fate–fortune.
BEATTIE: To whit? To who?
QUEEN: Oh, do stop whooing; you sound like an owl. You will leave before dawn tomorrow. Claude Hunter will accompany you through the forest.
BEATTIE: Oh, goody.

SCENE 15.
SOUND: OWL HOOTS, SHRUBS RUSTLE
BEATTIE: Hullo, Clod Hunter.
CLAUDE: Goood morneeng, Miss Beattie.
BEATTIE: Well met on land lit by moonlight!
CLAUDE: Ah, yess, blooody well met!
BEATTIE: But it’s not blood, Clod; it’s cherry juice! For us to drink! I got a bit excited and spilled some.
CLAUDE: Yeu would give teu me zis cherry of yeurrs?
BEATTIE: Oh, yes, Clod, and much more. Ahem. Cherries have lots of an-tho-cy-an-ins which give you a pretty pink colour, although they have little nu-tri-tion-al value.
CLAUDE: Zey arre healsy?
BEATTIE: Oh, yes, very healthy.
CLAUDE: Zen yeu mus drreenk oll off eet! At weunce!
BEATTIE: That’s very kind of—
SOUND: GLUGS, CHOKE, SPLUTTER
BEATTIE (CONT’D): Too much!

SCENE 16.
SOUND: FIRE BLAZES, STEEL HEELS PACE ON CREAKY FLOORBOARDS
QUEEN: Where is that blessed French twit?
MAUD: Did you order tea and cakes already, madam?
QUEEN: The great Gaulish oaf, you loathsome drab! You know: broad of chest and narrow of forehead! Tell Cook I want spring onions and plenty salt.
MAUD: Any garlic?
QUEEN: Don’t try to be smart, Maud.

SCENE 17.
SOUND: CLOTHING STRAINS, TWANGS. SHRUBS RUSTLE, TWIGS SNAP
BEATTIE: Ah, that’s much better, thank you. I should’ve known that cherry juice would go straight through.
CLAUDE: I ‘op’ yeu enzhoy eet, Miss Beattie.
SOUND: PLODDING, TRUDGING THROUGH VEGETATION
BEATTIE: Ooh, isn’t it dark, Clod? It’s like the sun hasn’t even come up. I might be a bit scared if you weren’t here to protect me.
CLAUDE: Eef only yeu kneu! I am a traitorr! But what am I teu deu? Ze weetch weell ‘ave my testeecluh on ‘airr French toast.
BEATTIE: Oh, I wouldn’t worry about her. She’s just a so-ci-o-path. Soon I’ll be much more powerful than her.
CLAUDE: ‘Ow I weesh zis werre treu! Zat yeu weell leeve to vanqueesh zat ‘orrible MacQueen.
BEATTIE: Oh, but it is true! I shall go off on my travels and learn all sorts!
CLAUDE: Yeu weell not leafe zis forrest!
BEATTIE: How sweet of you to be concerned for me. But I will be strong, with your lov—help. I’m going to have such adventures! Then, when I come home, I’ll have so much to tell you while I cook the…vegetables you’ve caught.
CLAUDE: (LOW) Be ssrrong!
SOUND: LONG BLADE WHEECHS FROM SHEATH
BEATTIE: (LOW) Have you seen a prey, Clod?
CLAUDE: (WEEPING) I ‘ave, such a terreebluh ‘untairr I am.
BEATTIE: (LOW) Do you think you could show me how it’s done? I mean it’s really number one on the list of life skills, isn’t it? Finding food? Mama’s flora only gets me so far, RIP.
CLAUDE: Not zis time! Zis is ze way off ze cowarrd!
BEATTIE: Ooh, is it? Hang on; I’ll just write that down for future reference.
SOUND: PENCIL SCRIBBLES
BEATTIE (CONT’D): Is this ‘way’ how you get other things to do the actual killing for you? It’s terribly clever. Oh, but, hush me! I must let you stalk in silence.
SOUND: CLUMSY FOOTFALLS CRASH THROUGH UNDERGROWTH, BRANCHES CRACK
CLAUDE: (WAIL)
BEATTIE: (GASP) Clod! How could you?! Your knife!

Snaw-Whit and the Seven Daves continues at Episode 2

17/12/2017

In The Dark: Cupboard

SOUND: DOOR BURSTS OPEN, RAPID SLIDING STEPS, DOOR BANGS SHUT
VIOLET: (EXHALE) Aaaaaaah! Nauseating little goblin! All goblins are little, Violet. Try to avoid pleonasms.
SOUND: PACING
VIOLET (CONT’D): Poisonous vat of slime! I think you mean vat of poisonous slime, Violet. No matter. Myopic warmonger! Inelegant. Sulphuric harpy! Alright, that’ll do. (EXHALE)
SOUND: WHUMP-CLACK
VIOLET (CONT’D): Ow.
SOUND: DOOR CLICKS OPEN
ARNOLD: Ms Bogscrattle?
VIOLET: (PAUSE) What?
ARNOLD: It is you?
VIOLET: Well done; you rumbled me.
ARNOLD: Are you … well?
VIOLET: Very not.
ARNOLD: I’m sorry.
VIOLET: Not your fault, Mr Shipworm.
ARNOLD: I wasn’t apologising; I was expressing regret.
VIOLET: Could you close the door? You’ll attract attention.
ARNOLD: From the outside?
VIOLET: Whatever.
SOUND: SHUFFLE, CLICK
VIOLET (CONT’D): You’re still here.
ARNOLD: This … intrigues me.
VIOLET: It’s a cupboard.
SOUND: SWITCH CLICKS RAPIDLY
VIOLET (CONT’D): Not working. I like it dark. Sanctuary. Usually.
SOUND: FINGER TIP SQUEAKS ON TILE
ARNOLD: I think it may be a toilet. It feels tiled.
VIOLET: Or a shower. Whatever I’m sitting on seems to have slats.
ARNOLD: Doesn’t sound comfortable.
VIOLET: I’m being very slowly filleted.
ARNOLD: Er, then time is of the essence. I did want to speak to you.
VIOLET: Speak away.
ARNOLD: I mean with you, not at you.
VIOLET: And yet there I was, in the appointed place, at the appointed time, almost with the appointed person. The music was divine. And yet… And yet…
ARNOLD: I thought you were someone else.
VIOLET: Again.
ARNOLD: You liked the music?
VIOLET: That’s not going to salvage this. I deliberately misled you; you punished me. Can we call it even? I’ve had a rather trying day. Even before your sulphuric harpy.
ARNOLD: How wonderful.
VIOLET: Thank you for support. Can I be alone now?
ARNOLD: (WISTFULLY) Sulphuric harpy. Wonderful. Vicious. But why would you say such a thing?
SOUND: WHUMP-CLACK, FABRIC RUSTLE
VIOLET: Mr Shipworm.
ARNOLD: (CLOSE) Yes?
VIOLET: Why are you holding my arm?
ARNOLD: Oh, sorry, sorry; really shouldn’t touch you there … here … anywhere.
VIOLET: Molested by an attractive man in a dark cupboard. It could go either way, couldn’t it?
ARNOLD: Toilet.
VIOLET: Shower.
ARNOLD: Attractive?
VIOLET: You noticed that too.
ARNOLD: (CHUCKLES SADLY) Only in the dark could I be considered attractive.
VIOLET: You’re disappointingly visually discriminatory for someone who works with noise.
ARNOLD: I only sound attractive?
VIOLET: You sound narcissistic.
ARNOLD: It comes of being a performer.
VIOLET: You certainly made a performance of it.
ARNOLD: I didn’t know you were you! Twice!
VIOLET: And I exploited the loophole between my name and location.
ARNOLD: I got confused by your, er … reversing out from under the apron – you were muttering about irony and how many people it takes to change a light bulb.
VIOLET: I didn’t mean for anyone to deeply contemplate it. (PAUSE) Or my pithy muttering.
ARNOLD: Of course not. I mean: I wasn’t; my eyes just rested—
VIOLET: Joke.
ARNOLD: Ha! Well, I thought you must be one of the electrical people.
VIOLET: I can wire a plug. Apparently that equates to special skills in stage lighting.
ARNOLD: I like the air of mystery about … electronics.
VIOLET: It’s just tech. Let’s not imbue it with magical powers.
ARNOLD: You could fix the light in here.
VIOLET: I doubt it.
ARNOLD: Too dangerous?
VIOLET: Too demotivated.
ARNOLD: (WHISTLES NERVOUSLY)
VIOLET: Why is no-one allowed to listen to your practice?
ARNOLD: (SPLUTTER OF DISBELIEF)
VIOLET: Splutter all you like, but I genuinely don’t know.
ARNOLD: No, no, sorry, I mean that’s ridiculously pompous. Where did you get that from?
VIOLET: The lackey. The sulphurous harpy-esque one. Right before she unceremoniously removed me.
ARNOLD: Nonsense. What exactly did she say?
VIOLET: That I had to leave because you were not to be overheard.
ARNOLD: Ah.
VIOLET: Ah?
ARNOLD: My conversation was not to be overheard. My conversation with you. Which I was expecting to have any moment. But I thought I was waiting for someone who looked not like you.
VIOLET: To speak to or with about your still clandestine purposes.
ARNOLD: Oh, yes, I’ve drifted away again, haven’t I?
VIOLET: Is it because you’re nervous?
SOUND: CLOTHES SWISH, SNIFF
ARNOLD: Oh, god, can you smell…?!
VIOLET: No, you smell quite attractive.
ARNOLD: Oh. Ah. Er, what, then, my voice, whistling?
VIOLET: Your finger. It squeaked on the tile.
ARNOLD: Damn it. Too late to deny the rest now, I suppose?
VIOLET: I’d go on the offensive.
ARNOLD: Right. Er, why did you pretend to be someone else?
VIOLET: I’m sorry. I mean: I apologise.
ARNOLD: I’m not after an apology. I’m curious.
VIOLET: I think I was more passive; lying by omission.
ARNOLD: I’m not parsing what you said either. I just wonder why you didn’t, you know, like normal people, realise I was asking you for you because I didn’t know your face.
VIOLET: I did.
ARNOLD: Yes, of course you did, but I mean why, having realised, didn’t you just volunteer who you were and painlessly clear up my ignorance?
VIOLET: Have I caused you pain?
ARNOLD: Only a mild psychosocial wound.
VIOLET: I was flummoxed.
ARNOLD: By the electricity?
VIOLET: You could say that.
ARNOLD: Had you shocked yourself? What?
VIOLET: No, that was you.
ARNOLD: How did I shock you?
VIOLET: You were a whole lot more … than I expected.
ARNOLD: Oh. Right. Oh!
VIOLET: So, you see, it takes ten minutes in a cupboard in the dark to get to that.
ARNOLD: Toilet.
VIOLET: It’s a shower!
SOUND: STANDS, DOOR CLICKS
ARNOLD: Are you going to tell Facilities?
VIOLET: About your interference in my bolthole?
ARNOLD: Ahem. About the light not working.
VIOLET: I doubt it. I like it.
ARNOLD: Me too. Would you mind if we did this again sometime?

28/11/2017

In the Dark: Office

Two colleagues unravel a socio-technical faux pas.

PATRICK: Do you see what she did?! Why’s there no lights?
SOUND: SWITCH CLICKS RAPIDLY, TABLET CLUNKS ON DESK
NEIL: Turn it till I see, then…
SOUND: TAP, GLINGLE
NEIL CHUCKLES
PATRICK: Every time I go to get my email, this…daft picture pops up, jiggling!
NEIL: Very guid. Very guid.
PATRICK: It’s not good! It’s technical harassment!
SOUND: TAP, GLINGLE
NEIL: Sparkly wand! (GIGGLES) It’s like you have magic powers.
PATRICK: Yeh, magic. Why are you in here with no lights?
SOUND: TAP, GLINGLE, TAP, TAP, GLINGLE
NEIL: Aye, it’s like it’s you making the app come up. (CHUCKLES)
SOUND: TAP, GLINGLE
NEIL (CONT’D): The smug face is totally you.
PATRICK: Had enough?
NEIL: Naw.
SOUND: TAP, GLINGLE, TAP, TAP, GLINGLE
PATRICK: OK, OK. Come on, now. How do I get rid of it?
NEIL: Who cares? It’s brilliant! Patrick the arrogant magician.
PATRICK: Can you stop laughing at my trauma here and… I’ve been hacked!
NEIL: It’s no’ really hacking, is it, if you hand over the device yoursel’, no’ even locked?
PATRICK: I thought tablets were supposed to be unhackable?! Where did she get that picture?
NEIL: Probably took it. No’ difficult, seeing as you’re a’ways pointing at some puir wee soul, barking orders. Here, see mines.
SOUND: TABLET SLIDES ACROSS DESK
NEIL (CONT’D): She must’ve recorded me when I was chuntering over those dire business proposals.
SOUND: TAP
NEIL: (D) No, we’re no’ doing that. No’ doing that either.
NEIL CHUCKLES
SOUND: TAP
NEIL: (D) No, we’re no’ doing that. No’ doing that either.
NEIL CHUCKLES
PATRICK: You can’t do that; you can’t record people without them knowing! It’s illegal!
NEIL: How is it? You have a picture of yoursel’ on your own device: call the cops. (CHUCKLES)
PATRICK: This isn’t funny! This is frightening! Surely that’s affecting your productivity: every time you go to do something you get that daft message.
NEIL: No’ really, if you think about it. Setting aside that you definitely need to lighten up, so much of what we do online is knee-jerk; you dinnae really need to do it, or no’ right that moment. You’re addicted! You need to sit back and organise your thoughts.
PATRICK: “Organise your thoughts”?!
NEIL: Aye! So let’s sit back and—
PATRICK: In the dark.
NEIL: —think this through. What, are you afeart of the dark now?
PATRICK: I’m in a state of high alert! I’ve been threatened!
NEIL: The on’y thing getting threatened is your pride. So, what exactly did you say to her?
PATRICK: I said, “Neil says you can sort my email.”
NEIL: Ah, well, nae wonder.
PATRICK: What?
NEIL: Nae preamble. Did you no’ think to say who you were? Ask who she was? How her day’s gaun an’ that?
PATRICK: I did sort of explain: I said I was really busy—I was right in the middle of rehearsal and it was going all wobbly—so I needed my email sorted by the end of the day.
NEIL: Sweet.
PATRICK: I don’t have time for niceties! I don’t have time for the stupid helpdesk! Plus, obviously, my email’s hoofed. I had two thousand and sixty unread messages! I was on every group! I couldn’t see the wood for the bees!
NEIL: Did she say anything?
PATRICK: Er, she asked me to set it not to lock itself or something.
NEIL: Ah-ha.
PATRICK: Then I had to go back to the unattended imbeciles in the hall.

NEIL: Did you get it back by the end of the day?
PATRICK: In a plastic bag.
NEIL: Gubbed?
PATRICK: No, it’s just a bit odd, isn’t it? It’s like getting your dry-cleaning back in a fancy plastic case with a hanger when you just took it scrumpled in a bag.
NEIL: When do you get dry-cleaning?
PATRICK: Never mind, it’s suspicious, like: why are you polishing the turd?
NEIL: I think you’re taking the wrong things to get dry-cleaned.
PATRICK: So I asked. And she said, “security.” So I said, “pretty obvious what it is.” And she said, “yes,” in that patronising way, “but when the forensic team arrives, my fingerprints won’t be on it.”
NEIL GUFFAWS
PATRICK: That put the wind right up me! I’m looking down at my big greasy paw wrapped right round it. Right enough, the rest of it’s totally clean.
NEIL: Can you see where you went wrong?
PATRICK: In ever coming to speak to you today?
SOUND: TAP
NEIL: (D) No, we’re no’ doing that. No’ doing that either.
NEIL CHUCKLES

NEIL: How’s your email?
PATRICK: Oh, that’s lovely: all sorted, tidied up, all the pish banished somewhere.
NEIL: There you are.
PATRICK: At what price?!
NEIL: So you have a wee animated caricature that maybe gets a bit annoying.
PATRICK: And an email in my inbox called ‘kiss my osud’.
NEIL: I beg your pardon?
PATRICK: I think I slightly incited that.
NEIL: What did you do?!
PATRICK: When I came up at break, she was—
NEIL: You came back up?
PATRICK: Yeh?
NEIL: Where was I?
PATRICK: How should I know?! I can’t even operate my tablet! I don’t have a tracking satellite!
NEIL: Well, this’ll be it. Gi’es it, then.
PATRICK: Ah, she was just sort of swaying about, bending.
NEIL: How do you mean?
PATRICK: I don’t know, it looked like contemporary dance. Maybe she was doing yoga. Wasn’t work anyway. So I got a bit annoyed.
NEIL: Oh, aye.
PATRICK: I asked her if it was done yet. She glances over at it and says, “fifty-five percent.” So I say, “can’t you speed it up?” No, apparently it’s ‘synchronising’ so we’re at the mercy of the electronicary.
NEIL: So you were a wee bit tetchy, ya arrogant arsehole.
PATRICK: No, that was when I said something really foolish, considering— Do you know, I really hate how these techies basically hold you to ransom! Like, ‘lick my arse or I’ll accidentally wipe your life’s work—’
NEIL: Is it no’ ‘click my arse’?
PATRICK: Why is this a massive joke to you?!
NEIL: Because it is! What stupid thing did you say?!
PATRICK: I said, “I hope you’re not reading my emails.” I was pretty snotty.
NEIL: Aye. And her witty comeback?
PATRICK: How do you know?
NEIL: I have a sense of impending doom.
PATRICK: She glances at the screen again and snaps back, “yeh, I’m getting moist for your thoughts on… Jane Ace.”
NEIL: Jane whae?
PATRICK: Janàček. One of the emails that I did want. That just tipped me over the edge into haughty overload—
NEIL: Naw!
PATRICK: I just barked, “I need you to finish this—” She spits back, “can’t rush those security checks.” So I said, “just bring it to me before five.”
NEIL: Aaaiihhhh!
PATRICK: I know! Calm as a sanddune she asks, “can I check where you’ll be? Or should I just follow the glow of your specialness?”
NEIL SUCKS HIS TEETH
PATRICK: So I snap back, “hall six,” and stride out.
NEIL LAUGHS HYSTERICALLY
PATRICK: You don’t even know… I knew I’d been offensive, I just couldn’t stop. It never hit me till I saw the ‘Osud’ email: she kept saying ‘check’.
NEIL: Ah! Your yanar-check?
PATRICK: And Czech, the nationality. Osud is one of his operas.
NEIL: Well, that was worth waiting for. It must be braw to finally meet someone on your twatty, cliquey, trivia wavelength. While pissing them right aff.
PATRICK: Totally outmanoeuvred. But I think she likes me: “Dear Mr So-Frightfully-Busy-and-Important,” it starts…
SOUND: TAP, GLINGLE, TAP, TAP, GLINGLE
NEIL SIGHS

PATRICK: Where is the malevolent harpy, anyway?
NEIL: After she fixed your tablet, and helped me fix the power, she really had to go away and do her own work.
PATRICK: What do you mean: fix the power? We’re sitting in the dark!
NEIL: It broke again. Well, I broke it. I just couldnae leave it; I should’ve left but I couldnae stop myself going to press a button: FIZZT! Then you turn up with your light entertainment so here I still am.
PATRICK: What other job?
NEIL: What?
PATRICK: You just said she had to do her own work. What work?
NEIL: You’re still thinking she’s ‘just a techy’?
PATRICK: Obviously she’s not just a techy; techies are frighteningly powerful, plus she has scary special powers.
NEIL: Why are you so threatened by a woman with independent thought?
PATRICK: Because: look what she did to my tablet!
NEIL: Heinous. On’y it’s hilarious.
PATRICK: By the way, didn’t you want me to meet some woman?
NEIL: Oh, seriously? What’s this – seven hours later? We finally come full circle.
PATRICK: Yeh, that was why I came to see you in the first place, because my email was all clogged up so I couldn’t get the details but I knew I needed to speak to you about something, someone you thought, I don’t know, you thought I could work with? I was whinging about my email, you said you’d had the same, blah blah, then you pointed me at this bint under the table all tangled with cables.
NEIL: You are incredibly easily misdirected, do you ken that?
PATRICK: How?
NEIL: Thought I’d kill two burds wi’ one stone, or kill one stooge twice wi’ the same burd, as it turned out. Hello? Aye, there it is.
PATRICK: The… Medusa! She’s let me hang myself with the massive loophole of my assumptions!
NEIL: I think she let you embroider it a guid bit first.
PATRICK: Ah, shite. I need… I need… I need to get my head… When’s she here next?
NEIL: Dinnae ken.
PATRICK: I don’t mean to the minute. Tomorrow?
NEIL: There’s nae plan for her to come back. Thinking about it, I dinnae ken why she would come back, seeing as her day was totally hijacked by technical distractions and arsey demands.
PATRICK: She was only here today? I need to make reparations! I don’t know who she is, what she does, where she might be…
NEIL: I wouldnae worry; she certainly has your number.
PATRICK: Yeh, massively wide berth.
SOUND: TAP, TAP, GLINGLE
NEIL: Inbox, pillock.
PATRICK: Oh, right, good; I can’t wait for her to torment me some more.
NEIL: Och, wheesht your havering. If you really pissed her aff she could’ve totally scorched you.
PATRICK: (LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY) Yeh, I feel so comforted about all the stuff she could’ve done that I’ve just not discovered yet.
SOUND: TAP, TAP, GLINGLE
PATRICK (CONT’D): Will you give that a rest?
NEIL: I like the comforting glow of your specialness.
PATRICK: All your fault.
NEIL: Let’s just sit here a wee while, in the dark.
PATRICK: Why?
NEIL: For the metaphor.

27/08/2017

Fossoway Flora and the Pacifist Extremists part 3

begins at Fossoway Flora and the Pacifist Extremists part 1

As Fossoway Flora, the fragile frond, recovers equilibrium, Tantalum the nixie summarises their position in discussing pacifist extremism.
“Whether or not we can hear plants cry in pain, they react to harm. They experience something unpleasant. We shouldn’t need to hear a scream to tell us harm is not good.”

Tin is agitated. The nixie equivalent of a nerve has been nipped. He emits a rapid series of encyclopaedic squeaks.
“Plants are way more sensitive than to just pain. Pine and elm trees can identify which species of insect is chewing them from the insect’s saliva. They then release an appropriate deterrent chemical to the area under attack, or a specific airborne pheromone to attract the insect’s predators.* How clever is that? What else can we conclude but that plants have a sense of taste?”
Tantalum adds: “Just because we don’t know about it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
Tin squeaks on.
“The roots of tree and grain seedlings crackle at a frequency of 220Hz.”
Tungsten belligerently interrupts: “Could be just the sound of ’em growing or shifting about.”
Tin is delighted to respond.
“Indeed, or from their cell walls losing turgor with dehydration. However, the interesting observation is that seedling roots not only make a noise but they also respond to that frequency: they orient their tips in that direction.*”
Tungsten is still translating the technical terms. Tantalum is impressed. Tin squeaks on to a conclusion.
“Except cultivated plants: for example farmed grains are quite quiet*. Humans seem to have bred all the sense out of them, all their community communication and resilience.”
Flora feels faint.

Tungsten feels obliged to leaven the hysteria.
“So at some level they taste and hear. Next you’ll say they can see.”
Tin pipes back with a sneer.
“What is seeing but responding to light?”
Tungsten feels an invisible net is closing.
“And they do that?”
“Phototropism? And you may have heard of photosynthesis.”
“Ar, very clever.”

Tantalum detects Flora’s energy waning, despite the passionate debate, and attempts a summary.
“Usual human folly, then: just because you can doesn’t mean you should…in this case: impose yourselves on other lives.”
Tungsten wades back in with a late surge.
“Bacteria and other microbes are constantly being expunged from yer body, billions per second probably. Is that acceptable since your survival depends on it? Since you can’t see them? Is killing anything to survive acceptable?”
Flora’s twiggy mindlette explodes in a coruscation of anguish and anxiety. She becomes as limp as a twig can, probably in severe drought. Tin wavers nauseously. Sensitive souls.

Tantalum re-establishes pragmatism.
“Not every single seed gets to grow into an adult plant. There isn’t sufficient resource on the planet. ‘Nature is profligate,’ as Umbel says.”
Flora faintly tries to insert “although humans seems to have forgotten…” but Tungsten’s still surging.
“Yer right. Assuming the number of trees stays roughly the same, and, naturally, a tree lives for hundreds of years, and produces millions of seeds during that time, the chance of any one seed making it to reproductive adulthood is literally millions to one.”
Flora sighs in uneasy relief.

But Tungsten likes playing devil’s advocate.
“Of course that same profligate strategy only evolved because of the numerous hazards to be navigated. You can argue it any way you want.”
Flora sways. “Oh, please don’t.”
“I’m just saying, like, for humans, animal protein is easier to digest than plant protein. From that you could argue that human protein is the most easily digested so you should eat one another. Yer moral threshold is arbitrary.”

Flora is surprised to glimpse familiar territory – her starting point circles back toward her. At least they’re not hopelessly lost in a dark, thorny underbrush of debate. Not quite.

“Should we strive to evolve to a physiology where we can absorb all the basic nutrients we need from minerals—if we still consider those to be inanimate—and from them construct every chemical compound that we need?”
“Like us, ya mean?”
“Is that how you do it? Oh, brilliant!”
“Sun, sea, soil and, er, stratosphere?” Tantalum beams self-congratulation. Tungsten grimaces, the verbal initiative having been snatched while he was self-indulgently circumloquacialising around his argument. Best to plough on, push the rollercoaster right to its vertiginous finale.
“The fact that you have evolved to this point through the efforts of others is not in itself justification for continuing. Human evolution has not reached an endpoint. Yer not perfect; yer work in progress.”
Flora agrees with a faint flutter of leaf, despite a haze of impending doom.
“Our ‘success’ is predicated upon killing which is neither ideal nor sustainable. Certainly we have a way to go yet. Why not aspire to exist by absorbing pure energy?”

Tin has a final word.
“When universal aliens make themselves known on earth, will humans respond by assuming their usual superiority complex, regardless of the dazzling astrophysical evidence to the contrary?”
Flora despairs of her native species.
“I’m not so sure I want to be human again.”
“With all your trans-species experience?”
Tungsten can’t resist one last barb.
“Crying out for a superiority complex!”
“Not helpful, Tungsten. I was thinking you’d be uniquely placed to spread a little much needed empathy.”
Flora sighs.
“It’s academic anyway. Can’t even get back to the tree until Umbel resurfaces.”
Tantalum exclaims: “Why did you not say that was what you were after?”
Tungsten’s contributions remain brusque.
“Piece o’ piss.”
Tantalum continues solicitously.
“How close do you need to be to re-thingummy with the full tree?”
“Oh, you see, I think I’ve had enough of the tree, for now at least. I was hoping to extricate myself and resume human status.”
“Sure?”
“Is that an option?”
“As you may have noticed, we’re kinda in the business of evolutionary progression.”
Tin pipes up “You could be like us: Pacifist Extremists!”

As Flora digests this too perfect offer, a trumpet of a fart rips through the bunker.
Tantalum quips: “Action stations, chaps.”

Tin skitters along the bench to the wall. Between two wooden struts, he presses his tiny hand into a crack. There follows a thrilling clattering and clunking of cogs and cranks. An irregular door springs open revealing… nothing: a dark hole lined with vertical wood grain that fades to black as it recedes. Flora is fearfully fascinated by this hellish enslavement of her tree ancestors.

“What’s in there?”
Tantalum beams.
“The wood between walls.”
“Is that some dreadful parody of Narnia?”
“You’d rather ‘stick’ it out here in the trench with Mister Mustard Gas?”
A disappearing Tungsten adds: “who, by the way, can’t transmogrify a ginger biscuit without total digestive collapse.”

Tin and Tantalum don’t wait for the warm, toxic gust that inevitably follows the fanfare. They pitch Flora through the hatch by—or possibly to—her sticky end.

A few minutes later, as the fug clears, a heaving and a creaking brings forth Umbel.
“What-ho, chaps. A little inner work clearly required there. Fascinating.”
Here ‘inner work’ means a restorative doze; however, clothing remains decorated by crumbs and cocoa, and hair has been restyled by screwing against a heat-retentive pillow.
“Ah. Popped out for a spot of fresh air, I see.”

THE END

*Tree sense facts from Peter Wohlleben’s book The Hidden Life of Trees: What they Feel, How they Communicate.

20/08/2017

Fossoway Flora and the Pacifist Extremists part 2

follows Fossoway Flora and the Pacifist Extremists part 1

“One for all, all for one!” This squeaky trio preludes three tiny leaps from the tin on to the bench, accompanied by aggressive shaking of tiny fists. Fossoway Flora, or twig thereof, is baffled.
“How can you win if it’s four-all?” Another bafflement arises. “What are you?”
“Nixies. What are you?”
“Oh, yes, I forgot; Fossoway Flora – got myself involved with a dear old beech tree. Lightning strike type thing.”
“Pretty small tree.”
“Ahaha. I’m travelling light. Flying, baggage allowance – you know.” Flora’s stoicism wavers.
“Not even slightly. Anyway, I’m Tantalum, and this is Tungsten and Tin.”

Flora acknowledges graciously, as best she can by a slight bend of stalk, and raises an invisible eyebrow to Umbel’s careless approximations. A staggering insight smacks her.
“You were in a tin!”
Tantalum sighs.
“Misappropriation of proprietary label. It’s actually an alloy.”
Flora catches Tin smirking.

Tungsten moves the discussion on before it becomes irretrievably bogged down in wordplay.
“What’s yer conflict?”
“Where to draw the line.”
“Always tricky. ‘specially when yer basically a line yerself.”

Tungsten performs a triumphant miniature jig at this wit. He aborts this on realising that he too has succumbed to wordwankery. Flora decides not to engage in an escalating series of barbs until she has ascertained if these ‘conflict demonerals’ can help her. But please let’s move on.

“That’s quite good. Well done.” Flora commences formal proceedings. “My question is: how do you eat without killing? How do you live without killing?”

Tin develops a beatific grin but remains silent. Tantalum raises his arm to claim an imaginary conversational baton.
“Ideologically?”
“Yes, I suppose. Is it possible? What is… Beyond Veganism? I mean, vegetarianism is not killing animals; veganism is not using—some would say abusing—animals at all; but each threshold is arbitrary. What’s the ultimate level? – total harmlessness.”
Tungsten beckons to Tin.
“Yer up, Tincyclopedia.”
Tin frowns but recites with ease and squeaks.

“Ahimsa, you mentioned?”
Flora casts her mind back to that pearl cast before Umbel cast his crumbs. Not really surprising that the wee nixies overheard that conversation, as they sat poised in their resona-tin. She twitches a leaf encouragingly. Tin resumes.
“Then it’s fruitarianism for you. Fruit, nuts, seeds, any reproductive part—zygote—that the plant produces and detaches for dispersal in order to propagate itself. Fruit in particular evolved to be attractive to animals as food for the very purpose of entering a trading partnership: the animal gets sustenance, the plant gets propagated with a handy dollop of fertiliser.”
“Oh, good. Can you live on those?”
Tantalum is horrified.
“We’re mineral sprites!”
“Oh, gosh, no, sorry. I mean: can I?”
Tungsten can’t help himself.
“Yer a tree.”
“Damn it.”

“Stop provoking the lass, Tungsten. Flossie, we’ll come back to transmogrification, so don’t fret. Follow the line!”
Flora appreciates Tantalum’s benevolence and pragmatism – sentiments always lacking from interactions with Umbel. Incidentally, that would-be puppeteer of this unlikely conversation remains off-screen, in a post-prandial stupor, emitting nonsensical murmurs. Flora succumbs to a rush of questions.

“How far can you take harvesting? Is it permissible to take some of a plant’s tubers if the plant can survive? That’s still a harm. I’ve felt it! Sodding Tiahmin, snapping my bits off. Is it acceptable if the plant is an annual and would die anyway after producing its offspring? Provided you leave some—how much? And isn’t that just sustainable horticulture?—for the next year? If you let a plant go to seed and collect that seed, is it then acceptable to eat its root, stem, leaves, or any or all of the rest of the plant? Are leaves permissible? A plant will likely survive the loss of a few leaves, but, again, that’s still harm – there’s still an injury and a detriment to potential…” Flora’s twiggy stomata gulp fishlike.

Tungsten peers at the gasping twig.
“Is it oxygen yer needing, or carbon dioxide? Nitrogen?”
Tin, more pragmatically, thrusts a rubber tube at her. He notes her increased alarm.
“Not from the swamp! Piped by fungal mycelia from—”
Flora clamps a vesicle around the tube and draws in fungal gas. More pleasant than it sounds. If yer a tree.

To be continued…

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