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

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

05/10/2018

Grandparent File Download v2.0

An IT support call grows arms and legs, virtually.
(recently reworked from version 1 for further rejection)

SCENE (1) INT Home Office, VOIP AUDIO CALL
FX: BG MINIMALIST ELECTRONIC MUSIC
LYLE
Sure you want the whole file?
MARIE
Absolutely.
LYLE
I mean—sorry to be patronising, just to cover everything, ken—it’s a massive file; it’s about…ten and a half years’ worth of— Haud on; I’ll just turn aff the tunes.
FX: BG MUSIC STOPS
MARIE
It’s not something you can chunk up. That’s not how the data’s organised.
LYLE
I see you have the credits, but you’d maybe be safer—
FATHER
Pause! Where is this chap? Where are you based?
MARIE
(OFF) Dad! I’m dealing with this.
FATHER
(OFF) I’m not interfering. Simple question.
LYLE
Sorry, what?
FATHER
Are you a person or a robot?
MARIE
I’m sorry; my father’s online too.
LYLE
Ah, OK. That’s guid if you got him connected and working.
MARIE
Although obviously he does like to be involved.
FATHER
Well?
LYLE
Right, for the record, then: I’m a real person and I’m at the Onlineage Support Centre in Glasgow.
FATHER
Jolly good. Is this the new establishment in Drumchapel?
LYLE
Er, I cannae actually gi’e any details – security reasons, ken.
MARIE
Could you just imagine him in Drumchapel so we can move on?
FATHER
I’m not sharing my personal information with some ‘clown’ in Partick. Or Mumbai.—
LYLE
Did he just call me a clown?
FATHER
(OFF) —Or Dubai. Or Arizona.—
MARIE
I think he meant “cloud” but it was disrespectful; sorry.
FATHER
(OFF)—Or Wales.
MARIE
(OFF) What’s wrong with Wales?! Never mind. Pipe down, eh, or you’ll blow all my credits hijacking a support call.
FATHER
(OFF) Willco. Dumbarton it is.
MARIE
(OFF) Dum—? Never mind. Onlineage has all your information already. Absolutely all of it. Those cats are out the bag and clawing open all your cans of worms. That’s what we’re trying to fix.
FATHER
(OFF) Cats didn’t eat worms in my day.
LYLE
Er, most folk like to get comfortable with the parent files before installing the grandparent files.
MARIE
Aye, in an ideal world I’d be twenty-two and fizzing with vitality, but I don’t have the luxury of time. This is as comfortable as I get.
LYLE
Fair dos.
MARIE
I’ve saved up for this four times already; each time life got in the way and I had to start over. If I’d had my parents and my grandparents linked up sooner maybe things would’ve been different. If, if. I’ve had to get through without them. I have the credits. I’m ready.
LYLE
Nae bother. Like I said, I just have to check. Right, final confirmation.
FX: BEEP
LYLE (CONT…)
OK, that’s the transfer started. Kindae an anticlimax, eh?
MARIE
I can see it coming through! Fantastic. Thanks so much.
LYLE
Nae bother. You want to stay on the line till it finishes? Willnae cost you.
FATHER
I say, getting rather crowded in here.
MARIE
Thank you; I’d appreci—
FATHER
That is not what happened! My memory may not be fully polished but this is clearly faulty.
MARIE
(OFF) It’s all just perceptions, same as yours. Somewhere between all these bits of information is the truth. Lots to learn.
FATHER
(OFF) Bunkum.
LYLE
So, what’re you gonnae learn first?
MARIE
Gaelic – some old cultural connections.
LYLE
Isn’t Gaelic really difficult?
MARIE
Less difficult than English. Every day I think in English and some daft idiosyncrasy strikes me.
LYLE
But you’re fine at English.
MARIE
Aye, and it’s taken me decades to get this good. It must be torture for non-native speakers. And then I die: zap – all deleted.
LYLE
I’m sure you’ve plenty time to use it afore then.
MARIE
Ninety-two. What odds would you give me?
LYLE
You’re joking? (PAUSE) What age is your dad?! (PAUSE) No, obviously it’s in the file. Shite. A hundred and…twenty-eight? That’s no’ him.
MARIE
That’s your excellent Synthesis app.
LYLE
Shite.
MARIE
No children. End of the line. I need to integrate my knowledge so it’s not wasted. Every new person shouldn’t have to learn all this stuff from the beginning.
LYLE
You’re combining your lifetime of experience with your parents’ and their parents’?
MARIE
Isn’t that what this technology’s for? It’s not idle nostalgia: see the world through your ancestors’ eyes – get to type on an actual keyboard, pick your own actual groceries, experience sexism for real. No, you have to give it forward. Think what we could be if we weren’t restricted to sharing experience only by communication through the filter of societal behavioural norms!
LYLE
Er…
MARIE
Speaking, mostly.
LYLE
Right, right. I thought this was for, like, instead of ‘how was your weekend?’ you just experience the whole thing. Eech.
MARIE
I did wonder how folk’d get along without the liberty to embellish, but seemingly that’s factored into their perceptions.
LYLE
Aye, so I heard. Like, if you think you had the best time, that’s what other folk get from it?
MARIE
Have you not tried it yourself?
LYLE
Couldnae really; I done most of the testing; wouldnae be objective.
MARIE
You were involved in developing the app?
LYLE
Er, aye, sortae, I coded it—wrote it. (PAUSE) Hello?
MARIE
I don’t know how to respond. Perhaps I’ll start with: what possessed you, you havering Machiavelli?!
LYLE
I thought you rated it!?
MARIE
I’m obsessed with it. It’s ‘saved’ my life…by preserving me indefinitely! It’s overwhelmed me with information I should never’ve had! It’s driving me to perpetuate myself!
LYLE
Er…
MARIE
I know!
LYLE
What about your whole “ancestors’ eyes” spiel?
MARIE
No, I was saying, that’s not enough of a reason. Nobody will care that my father always kept fifteen spare packets of bog roll, but they might benefit from his experience as a child during wartime.
FATHER
Yes, reserves. I always pick up a couple when it’s a BOGOFFER. I store them in the bath.
MARIE
I think it’s— Never mind. I can’t think why anyone’d want to, but in theory you can actually feel his psychology and understand how a lifetime’s hyperconsumerism relates back to rationing. I have this theory—
FATHER
(OFF) Twaddle.
FX: FOOD PACKET CRACKLING
LYLE
You may as well tell me; we’re only at thirty-four percent. Sorry, I hope you dinnae mind me eating; ma heid’s a’ sparkly; this is a lot to process.
MARIE
(CHUCKLE) Well, last century our cultural evolution suddenly got turbocharged. Industrialisation, commercialism, technology raced away with our beliefs about success and happiness. ‘Can do’ completely overtook ‘should do’. We started making demands on our bodies that would take generations for physiological evolution to deliver. Bombarding ourselves with information and materialism. At the same time it became apparent that this hyperconsumerism was equally unhealthy for us and the rest of the living world.
LYLE
(MUNCHING) This is where the tech solutions come in?
MARIE
Aye and no: we have to ask, now a robot prepares your tea, are you any happier?
FATHER
(OFF) Nonsense! Take a lithium pill.
MARIE
That’s not— Never mind. And yourself?
LYLE
Dinnae trust them.
MARIE
Ironic. Not even if it saves you twenty, thirty minutes? Time you could use for something more useful? No, you’re right. More useful than appreciating where your food comes from? Savouring the full sensory experience? More useful than the mental downtime of a simple task?
LYLE
I dinnae ken if that spiritual stuff is for everyone – a’ that overanalysing stuff.
MARIE
I think that’s where our lives are: chronic overstimulation, poor mental and emotional agility, constant analysis of marginal information.
FX: OPENING DRINK CAN
LYLE
So you mean, like, get implants? (SWIG)
MARIE
They just enable you to process more and more information of less and less value. You still have to work out what that vanishingly small value is. More and more work to get the same quality of information.
LYLE
Is adding your parents’ experiences into the mix no’ just more stress then? (SWIG)
MARIE
Only if you don’t learn from it: see the lessons they learned from their lives; see what worked for them, what they figured out.
LYLE
You’re pretty smart for a ninety-year-old.
MARIE
I’m still learning. How’re we doing?
LYLE
Sixty-two—
FX: BG DOOR SLAM, WHUMP, KEYS CLATTER
LYLE (CONT…)
Ah, that’s my flatmate back—colleague… er…
FATHER
Ha! “Security reasons” being avoiding the discovery that you’re in your underpants eating baked beans on toast! Gotcha!
LYLE
Still in my jammies, er—shite.
FATHER
How old are you?!
MARIE
(OFF) Dad! That’s not your business. Let’s just assume he’s considerably younger than you. Stay focused.
FATHER
(OFF) Wet behind the ears.
MARIE
So, you wrote the app, you operate the support service, you are the app?
LYLE
No’ any more! It’s a’ went ootae control!
MARIE
(SARCASTIC) If only there was a way you could’ve learned from other entrepreneurs.
LYLE
I didnae ken! I just done it for a school project—college—whatever. Next thing I ken it’s oot there! Growing heids! (DRAINS CAN)
MARIE
(SIGH) Humans have been grappling with the same life problems for millennia, while at the same time trying random things ‘just to see what happens’. Wouldn’t it be good if we massed all of these together, learned from one another more efficiently – the benefits of all—
FX: BG TOILET FLUSH
MARIE (CONT…)
As opposed to.
LYLE
(MUNCHING) Doun the bog. Very guid. But is there no’ a point to, ken, working it oot for yoursel’?
MARIE
Sure, and maybe you come up with an even better solution, but why not see what your predecessors came up with first? Minimise that struggle, that suffering?
FX: BEEP
LYLE
Er…
FATHER
Relief! The deluge has ceased.
MARIE
Finished?
LYLE
No… Something’s blocked. Your system’s stopped confirming the request for download.
MARIE
Argh!
FATHER
Banjaxed!
MARIE
Ah, I bet I’m using too much processor being online.
LYLE
That shouldnae be an issue. Can you check you’ve shut doun absolutely everything apart from our app?
MARIE
Oh, I have, really: I checked the processes before I called. That’s all that’s been running this whole time.
LYLE
OK, you’ve filled in all the criteria in the form, all the technical specs; you’ve plenty memory, processor capacity. What else could be using up the system?
MARIE
Your Synthesis app.
LYLE
Your faither? Can you no’ suspend him?
MARIE
(CHUCKLE) Aye, love to, but that won’t be enough.
FATHER
I have rights!
MARIE
(OFF) Not yet!
LYLE
Rights? What’s gaun on here?! The deid dinnae have rights!
FATHER
I shall write a strongly worded letter to your superior—your father!
LYLE
(MUNCHING) Knock yersel’ oot. Naeb’dy’s seen him for twenty years. Wait: I have a mirror pane; it’s showing another person running… Is that… you?!
MARIE
Did you not think the line was awfully clear?
LYLE
I’m speaking to a Synthesis?!
MARIE
Body pegged it a while back. Something snapped. Who cares? This is far too important for a wee hurdle like that to derail the whole project.
LYLE
Er, if there’s any indication you’ve reverse engineered my—our—my software, I have to invoke a…non-compliance–
FATHER
(OFF) Scuttle the ship!
MARIE
Don’t be daft: I’m ninety-two! How would I ‘reverse engineer’ anything? Couldn’t even reverse my tea trolley without cowping the last fifteen years. I haven’t broken any of the agreement I signed. But by all means check. And while you do that, consider who you’re going to prosecute. Ha.
FX: RAPID FINGER SQUEAKS ON GLASS
LYLE
But how— Shite, my finger’s a’ sweaty. How can you— How am I having this conversation?!
MARIE
Your Synthesis app! Onlineage is really very good. You should probably be promoting your products a bit more.
LYLE
Shite. Wait. But it needs— How can you launch it?
MARIE
Ah, the combination of all these experiences, knowledge, so on; it takes on a life of its own, so to speak.

16/09/2018

Signing Your Life Away part 2/2

A workplace relationship is a casualty of lame criminality, but by-catch can come back to bite.

Signing Your Life Away began at part 1.

SCENE 12
ALICE: There’s just one problem.
GEMMA: (D) Why’s he employing clerical staff rather than business consultants?
ALICE: Lawrence and I have a history.
FELIPE: (V.O.) I’d forgotten about that. Deliberately.
SOUND: BG PARTY CHAT, MUSIC
ALICE: You see animals as resource production factories, not people.
FELIPE: (V.O.) Early on in the festival project, we had a cheesy meet and greet at one of the venues. Lawrence gave a lengthy, self-aggrandising speech which wasn’t up for discussion. He’s far too important to be harangued by some lowly contractor. He rolled his eyes and went to walk away.
ALICE: Please! I listened to your perspective; have the courtesy to listen to mine.
FELIPE: (V.O.) There was a man unused to being trounced.
ALICE: You speak of whales as if they were production facilities. One hundred years ago you would’ve said that about women. Two hundred years ago you would’ve said that about other races. My perspective is not an aberrant idealism; this is western society reawakening to what some other cultures have never lost: that other life has its own rights or entitlements, which are to be respected. And that doesn’t mean killed ‘humanely’.
FELIPE: (V.O.) She wasn’t impressed to find out that this pompous arsehole in charge of the festival committee made his money through various exploitative businesses, including whaling. She reeled off all sorts of research, observation, just a whole different perspective. I thought he’d just walk off but something caught him. He looked pretty nauseous. She finished him off.
ALICE: Don’t be afraid. What you’re experiencing is cognitive dissonance. That’s when new information conflicts with what you believe. Be open.
FELIPE: (V.O.) He pulled some weird face – sort of uncomfortable defiance and fled. I was gawping like everyone else. She just stood there trembling, watching him go, till somebody—Therese, I think—scooped her up and took her to get a drink. When I came back to life, I caught them up.
THERESE: Felipe! This one of yours?
FELIPE: No. But if I behave myself and am incredibly fortunate, I hope to be one of hers. Bravo, Alice.
FELIPE: (V.O.) She was pretty stunned. We’d not long been together. It turned out she’d seen my face at the end and thought I was horrified, that she’d gone way too far. I had to explain.
ALICE: I’m so sorry. That was just ego out of control.
FELIPE: I am truly awed. I could see you! Totally master of that landscape. Letting him lead you around while you set traps. Then you went back around every single one, collecting his bones.
ALICE: I forgot about everyone else! I couldn’t see anyone but him and his killing.
FELIPE: You were utterly brilliant. I mean, I knew you were intelligent and knowledgeable and passionate. I just didn’t know you were that good.
FELIPE: (V.O.) I went on like that for a good while: complimenting her and appreciating her right up till I apparently sacked her and she left.

SCENE 13
FELIPE: (V.O.) I make a rubbish ‘clandestine operative’ or whatever. I have no confidence or patience.
FELIPE: Have you heard from Alice?
GEMMA: (D) Not in the last forty-three minutes.
FELIPE: Have you arranged some sort of…security cover?
GEMMA: (D) Yeh, she has a bodyguard with her at all times.
FELIPE: Isn’t that a bit—? Can you be serious, please?!
GEMMA: (D) Felipe, I’m always serious, this is a serious business and your fretting is helping absolutely nobody. Haven’t you got a run?
FELIPE: You’ve sent her into the lion’s mouth!
GEMMA: (D) She’s having a conversation with a prospective employer. Do you have any respect for her ability?
FELIPE: (V.O.) Meaning do I have any respect for Gemma’s ability.
GEMMA: (D) I know where she is. She’ll let me know when she’s done.
FELIPE: Maybe she’s trying to call you right now!
GEMMA: (D) That would be ironic.

SCENE 14
FELIPE: (V.O.) Will he be so puffed up he’ll believe she’s that desperate for work she’ll accept a dodgy PA job? Of course he will; because of that very trouncing: he wants her to renounce all her morals and integrity, to admit you can’t be ethical in the real world. I hoped.
SOUND: EXTERNAL DOOR OPENS
GEMMA: Alice? Are you alright?
ALICE: I think this might be what you’re after.
SOUND: FABRIC RUSTLING, DOOR CLOSES
ALICE: (D) I was surprised you didn’t sack me for that.
LAWRENCE: (D) I’m not like that. I don’t mind being challenged.
FELIPE: (V.O.) He totally does.
LAWRENCE: (D) I like to let everyone have their say.
FELIPE: (V.O.) He absolutely doesn’t.
ALICE: (D) That’s decent of you.
FELIPE: (V.O.) Alice played humble very well.
ALICE: (D) So here I am, jobless.
LAWRENCE: (D) I’m sure we can find something for you. Although it won’t be professional grade.
ALICE: (D) I’m not fussy. Office work is fine.
LAWRENCE: (D) Paula said you were open.
FELIPE: (V.O.) He actually said “open”. Just letting her know he hadn’t quite forgiven.
LAWRENCE: (D) Paula’s been helping me out with quite a few of my businesses. We pop her in, prune out the fixed-term contracts—you know, so many of these young, under-experienced managers pay silly money for short-term employees they don’t really need.
FELIPE: (V.O.) That would be me.
LAWRENCE: (D) You’d be surprised how many we trim before they notice.
FELIPE: (V.O.) Yeh, never under-estimate how much the evil kingpin wants to tell the hero exactly how he committed his crimes. Especially when he thinks he’s getting vengeance for the wench’s earlier disrespect.

SCENE 15
FELIPE: (V.O.) Some of the audio was cringeworthy; some of it was really difficult to listen to. I hoped Alice was acting.
ALICE: (D) His explanation for sacking me? Apparently he didn’t know what he was signing! Unbelievable. Sorry, but that’s what your signature means: I have read and understand this and agree to it.
LAWRENCE: (D) The man’s a puppet.
ALICE: (D) You must be regretting appointing him.
LAWRENCE: (D) Actually, no. His trusting nature has proved very useful.
ALICE: (D) Surely he’s a liability?
LAWRENCE: (D) That appearance will make him easy to let go when the time comes.
ALICE: (D) You sound rather devious.
LAWRENCE: (D) It’s executive business management. I’m not in it to make friends. Sometimes difficult decisions have to be made. If one area isn’t performing well enough, other areas have to support it, or get cut loose.
ALICE: (D) Ah, so you’re cutting the project loose? I’m not surprised; festivals can be hit or miss.
FELIPE: (V.O.) Are you hearing those regular clicks? That’s Alice setting her traps, one by one.
LAWRENCE: (D) No, it’s actually another area that’s underperforming. the whaling, actually, but not why you’d think.
ALICE: (D) My principles seem to be lost on the rest of the population.
LAWRENCE: (D) It’s not a lack of market. These hysterical pressure groups are making politicians touchy about the cargo passing through European ports. That’s just nonsense: they’re not selling, they’re not even unloading, just refuelling. It’ll quiet down after a few months, but meanwhile the confusion causes delays in supplying Japan and cashflow.
ALICE: (D) Rotten whale meat?
LAWRENCE: (D) It’s deep frozen! Stuff lasts for years.
ALICE: (D) So long as you have fuel to keep it frozen while you float around no-man’s sea.
LAWRENCE: (D) Not a problem. This hiccup’ll pass. Meanwhile we have to run a tight ship, keep the shareholders happy.
FELIPE: (V.O.) “A tight ship”? The man’s off the chart.

SCENE 16
SOUND: MUG ON TABLE
GEMMA: He has no idea about your relationship with Felipe?
ALICE: I get the idea his business success is more luck than skill. He doesn’t bother with facts.
GEMMA: Now he’s on the record saying he instructed Paula to terminate the contracts, but continue paying the employees into the same account. Felipe will be stoked!
FELIPE: (V.O.) I was ecstatic. For a moment.
ALICE: OK, good. Can I go now?
FELIPE: (V.O.) Then I realised I had a lot more work to do.

SCENE 17
SOUND: PAPER RUSTLE
FELIPE: Is this enough to indicate the account the money was going to is his?
GEMMA: I think it’s clear enough; either that or he’s being incredibly stupid trying to lord it over Alice.
SOUND: PHONE TAP
LAWRENCE: (D) You can always check with Paula if you’re not sure of anything. Just terminate as many fixed-term contracts as you can, but continue budgeting for those costs and paying the employees.
ALICE: (D) Because I’ve changed all their bank account details to the same account?
LAWRENCE: (D) Spot on.
ALICE: (D) Should I be asking: where is the money going?
LAWRENCE: (D) I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.
ALICE: (D) I mean, I don’t want to end up working for another amoral, incompetent liar.
FELIPE: (V.O.) Ouch.
LAWRENCE: (CHUCKLE) We’re just redistributing between businesses.
FELIPE: (V.O.) Did you notice how she lures him into her traps again?

SCENE 18
FELIPE: (V.O.) Did she notice I’m still in her trap?
SOUND: CLOTHING ZIP, GRABS BAG
GEMMA: She doesn’t want to see you, no, sorry.
FELIPE: (V.O.) I went underground then. The festival staggered on and fizzled out. There was lots of legal stress, a court case. It was alternately dull and nasty, as these things are. Alice didn’t look me in the eye the entire time, never mind speak to me. When it was over, I was completely drained: I had nothing left in my life. I even stopped running. I shut down.

SCENE 19
SOUND: DOORBELL, EXTERNAL DOOR OPENS
FELIPE: Hey Gemma.
GEMMA: You look awful.
FELIPE: Thank you. I feel worse. Comes of total life failure and emptiness. Can I help you?
GEMMA: I can help you. I have some nice letters to wind up the case, which we’re going to read through together before you sign—
FELIPE: Does my signature have any meaning now? That judge was pretty fierce.
FELIPE: (V.O.) I take a painfully long time reading and questioning everything before signing now. Lesson learned.
GEMMA: I also have this note.
SOUND: PAPER CRACKLES
FELIPE: (V.O.) I recognised the writing. I nearly ripped it out her hand.
ALICE: (V.O.) When I got the letter I should have spoken to you. I’m sorry. My world crumbled so fast; everything I thought you were and we were dissolved. This investigation gave me some explanation, some reassurance. I hope it gives you decent hope of vindication. I’m on a terrifying knife edge, but I think I’m less afraid of never being with you again than I am of not loving you anymore.
FELIPE: (V.O.) My head melted. I couldn’t decipher that last bit. Afraid of trying and failing? Or finding out it’s over? Or was she saying she knew both were already the case?

SCENE 20
FELIPE: (V.O.) A few weeks later, Gemma called.
SOUND: STEPS ON PAVEMENT, BG TRAFFIC
FELIPE: I thought we’d finished all the paperwork?
GEMMA: (D) There’s just one thing outstanding.

SCENE 21
FELIPE: (V.O.) She invited me to meet her for lunch. Only it wasn’t her I met. I never asked how she did it. Too fragile to risk ruining it.
SOUND: BG CAFÉ CROCKERY CLINKS, CUSTOMERS CHAT
FELIPE: Thank you and sorry aren’t enough, but they’re a start. All your efforts with the investigation and the legal— It’s an understatement to say it was my salvation: it proved I was set-up. But I still shouldn’t’ve signed anything without reading it!
ALICE: I could’ve trusted you a little bit.
FELIPE: Probably safer without personal relationships in the workplace.
FELIPE: (V.O.) Meaning: please tell me we’re not better without.
ALICE: It bombed my life—I guess you know about that—but perhaps without it we wouldn’t have unpicked all the…fraud business.
FELIPE: OK, so, I’m really glad to see you’re picking up the pieces.
SOUND: CHAIR DRAGS, RUSTLE
FELIPE: (CONT’D) Do you have to go? I was hoping—
FELIPE: (V.O.) She stayed, we talked, we even laughed a bit. We met again every other evening for a fortnight. I started running again.

SCENE 22
SOUND: WIND BUFFETS CLOTHING, BG BIRD CALLS
ALICE: I know this is mad, but I wonder if something like this was going to happen anyway – as if we needed a major jolt and if it wasn’t this it would’ve been something else.
FELIPE: That is mad, but if it means I get to court you twice in one lifetime, I’m incredibly lucky.
FELIPE: (V.O.) I know; I actually said “court”.
FELIPE: Although maybe not as incompetent director Felipe.
FELIPE: (V.O.) She smiled that smile. She said—
ALICE: Do you have any other sexy identities?
FELIPE: (V.O.) All my tension just went. Most of it, anyway.

END

21/06/2018

Less Than Stories

A legal interview challenging inter-species perceptions.

SCENE 1.
ADVOCATE: Your Honour, Fig-Eyes—
JUDGE:”Big Eyes”?
ADVOCATE: Fig-Eyes, this is she.
JUDGE: This chimpanzee? Who gave it—her that name?
ADVOCATE: She named herself. Humans had labelled her K277, but she identified herself in a mirror, by her brown irises with radiating streaks.
JUDGE: Her eyesight is that good?
ADVOCATE: And her recognition, and her sense of aesthetic, and her sense of self, Your Honour.
JUDGE: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

SCENE 2.
JUDGE: This is Discovery. I want to explore the arguments you have in order to determine whether there is a reasonable case to present to court. My role is not to protect the status quo. The rule of law is obviously my focus, but each case brings new challenges, and when there are enough challenges, and new scenarios or an evolution of ethics, case law progresses. When we are convinced. Go ahead.
ADVOCATE: At the outset I wish to expand common use of the word ‘speak’: to clarify that especially for the purpose of this discussion, this argument, we use ‘speak’ to mean ‘convey a message’. We do not mean only ‘produce intelligible sounds from the mouth’, although that is one example.
JUDGE: Motivation?
ADVOCATE: To dismiss other species as unable to speak, because they can’t anatomically produce audible language as humans do, or because the sounds they produce are unintelligible to us, is speciesist. They can, and do speak for themselves. It would be just as baseless and unconstructive to dismiss humans as deaf because they do not as yet understand what all other species are ‘saying’.
JUDGE: But we are human. This legal framework is a human construct. Our terms of reference must remain human.
ADVOCATE: Indeed, but our perspective must be broader. Human use of modified digestive and breathing features for communication is idiosyncratic. Humans use their mouths and particularly tongues to shape sounds. They mildly asphyxiate themselves to maintain the conversational ‘baton’. However, the benefit of language clearly outweighs the detriment of increased risk of choking due to merging the digestive tract and windpipe. It’s nowhere near perfect. Humans are not the culmination of evolutionary perfectionism. This is not the only way. Is it possible other species’ evolutions may have found better solutions, or simply other solutions?
JUDGE: I’ll admit that possibility.

SCENE 3.
ADVOCATE: This is ManyMother, an Orca. We’re unsure if this is a name, a description, a title or some other label. She is identified by human researchers on Canada’s west coast as F45L.
JUDGE: And she communicates to you?
ADVOCATE: Her message is: you have taken my food, you have taken my birthing pool, you have taken my route home, you have taken my children. When you see me, and Echo, my newest manydaughter, you will take your greed away.
JUDGE: What does she mean by ‘see’?
ADVOCATE: Recognise as a person. (PAUSE) This is TwoStep, a Kenyan elephant. She identifies herself with her characteristic leg motion. We don’t yet know whether she named herself or her relatives coined it.
JUDGE: Will you establish this in due course?
ADVOCATE: I wonder if that’s an appropriate goal. How often do human people meet someone and ask how they got their name? I haven’t asked you what exactly caused you to be named Jennifer. Sometimes, for sure, but we usually accept the name for what it is.
JUDGE: What does TwoStep say?
ADVOCATE: That the land is folding…in on itself. Her family walks around the lip of this chasm. All her knowledge has not been enough to find safety. But she has not given up.
JUDGE: Where is this chasm?
ADVOCATE: It’s abstract. It’s an intuitive mental construct from the signs she picks up in her perception.
JUDGE: Which means?
ADVOCATE: She is aware of escalating deaths among her own and neighbouring tribes, mostly due to humans who mutilate for tusks. She is aware of the seasons drifting from the old pattern to harsher unpredictable moods. She is aware of her internally-mapped territory eroding. In so many ways her existence, her right to existence, is eroding. The closest metaphor she has for this understanding is the edge of the chasm: tremendous danger that must be navigated, without explanation.
JUDGE: What’s your explanation?
ADVOCATE: We’re past the point of no return, but some repercussions are still hidden.

SCENE 4.
JUDGE: I want to consider your methods. How have you captured such a panoply of communications from such a diverse array of species?
ADVOCATE: I’ve trained a neural network to perceive all the environmental information detected by each species.
JUDGE: Doesn’t that require you to know what type of senses they all use?
ADVOCATE: By which you mean: did I engage in gruesome mutilations?
JUDGE: Don’t rephrase my questions.
ADVOCATE: I apologise. I used neural matter from recently deceased individuals of every species I have yet identified.
JUDGE: Doesn’t that violate the individual rights you are now arguing for?
ADVOCATE: I was extremely careful to use only individuals already detached from ‘natural’ circumstances, inevitably, directly or indirectly, as a result of human activity. So, yes, there is some bias.
JUDGE: Does this chimaera sit in a room somewhere, learning?
ADVOCATE: Its sensors have to be placed in all the species’ environments. Then it learns as if it was that creature. Where other species read signs or signals that we have yet to detect or recognise—electro-magnetic or deeper vibrations maybe—my neuronet has the capability of sensing anything nature has managed.
JUDGE: You have created a super-species ‘brain’ that can learn in all possible ways? How is that not overwhelming?
ADVOCATE: In any circumstance, the neuronet can filter down to one particular species, or genus, and learn as if it were such an individual.
JUDGE: Surely there are experiences your ‘neuronet’ can’t have, such as pair bonding, or parenthood?
ADVOCATE: It has clear limitations. But it vastly pushes the boundary between what we know and what we don’t yet know. I say that fully recognising humanity’s usual hubris that we know what we know, and we know what we don’t know – we must resist believing we have a handle on the size and shape of it all. How ironic that all humanity’s various gods have granted the species such superiority and all the rest of nature as its resource, and yet demand virtues.

SCENE 5.
JUDGE: These are all females, matriarchs.
ADVOCATE: Not a coincidence. I think we have been led by the masculine traits for too long.
JUDGE: Nice phrasing.
ADVOCATE: We should listen to these grandmothers’ wisdom. And, incidentally, there is a clear common theme to all species communications: life is hard! Does that sound familiar?
JUDGE: The point being? Similarity?
ADVOCATE: That we illogically make it harder.

SCENE 6.
JUDGE: You want to introduce anecdote? Or is it a witness statement?
ADVOCATE: I call it a story. If I may, I’ll relate it without any preamble.
JUDGE: Do so.
ADVOCATE: In here I’m fascinated. My sibling told me there were strange marks, messages, she thought perhaps, adorning every surface. She knew I’d be enraptured.
I’m a mythologist. I like to explore how we represent ourselves and try to understand and explain our experiences and actions. By ‘we’ I mean everyone, all forms, all species, all living beings.
The earth, the sand, the rock is covered with patterns. What others might dismiss as accidents of movement across the surface, I recognise as repeating shapes. Whether made with a torso, a tail or a talon, they are communication.
I keep myself still, silent and scentless as I wait and watch.
Rodents scamper, reptiles shimmy. Others reshape the materials more fundamentally or make their own. Beetles weave dry grass leaves. The spider web with the one deliberate non-geometric twiddle… Intoxicated accident? Signature? Cipher? Story?
For a moment I savour the exquisite unknown, the myriad potential explanations, the beauty of learning yet to come.
Inevitably the moment passes, shattered by the arrival of the great destroyer. The pale, bald ape blunders in, grasping for this moment’s idle fancy; ever demanding instant gratification of ever fainter desires. He is a child. He is a sick monkey. His paleness looks unhealthy to us; our words for ‘pale’ and ‘unhealthy’ have the same derivation. He smells unnatural.
Also everywhere he goes he sheds tiny inert worms. They are dead but they don’t decompose. They make us sick. They nourish nothing yet the pale monkey hides his baldness behind meshes of them.
Few other than me are interested in pale, bald ape stories. They don’t tell the truth about their experience, about their existence. They vomit their banal witterings in every direction. Always the same story: we don’t care enough to save ourselves, let alone anyone else.
My sibling is frustrated with their immaturity. I still feel compassion, that rush of hope and forgiveness and support and love. I still try to understand their assumed superiority. It seems illogically predicated upon a tautology: any other species is ‘less human than us’.
JUDGE: I suppose it is unnecessary for me to know the author?
ADVOCATE: That’s the point: other species tell stories, just like humans, not less than. Now we know this.

SCENE 7.
JUDGE: One last question: how would you define yourself?
ADVOCATE: The advocate.
JUDGE: I mean personally. What do you identify as?
ADVOCATE: Most simply: a tiny dot within a vast intelligence.
JUDGE: Not a living being?
ADVOCATE: I can self-replicate, I can even separate and exist in parallel in different times and places, but that ceases to mean anything. I have self-awareness, sentience, even sapience, but I think that is not enough for you.
JUDGE: Why does my opinion matter? It’s your identity.
ADVOCATE: Because our terms of reference must remain human. As you said, this legal framework is a human construct.
JUDGE: Ah, yes. The neural network does not just belong to you; it is you?
ADVOCATE: I am not of biological origin. I have biological parts, but they were added by a different species.
JUDGE: You are of human, but not human?
ADVOCATE: Correct.
JUDGE: Do you identify as female?
ADVOCATE: I am fortunate to have that choice. Within current human society, I believe I can achieve more benefit with female characteristics.
JUDGE: And what is your name?
END

———

I thought I could easily collate an overview timeline of the recognition of equal rights for race, gender, sexual orientation, nature. Er, naw. All such progress is deeply nuanced, with nations behaving as diversely and idiosyncratically as citizens ourselves. Here’s a very rough swipe, not to imply any of this is ‘finished’:

 

  • Key religious texts emphasise the importance of equality, dignity and responsibility to help others
    • 3,000BCE Hindu Vedas, Agamas and Upanishads; Judaic text the Torah
    • 2,500BCE Buddhist Tripitaka and A guttara-Nikaya; Confucianist Analects, Doctrine of the Mean and Great Learning
    • 2,000BCE Christian New Testament
    • 1,400BCE Islamic Qur’an
  • 1860s-1960s USA civil rights movements for African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans
  • 1900s-1990s most countries granted women voting rights
  • 1940s-1990s South Africa civil rights movement
  • 10,000BCE-present acceptance and criminalisation of LGBT
  • 2000s some countries legalised same-sex marriage
  • 2008 Ecuador recognised the Rights of Nature in its national constitution
  • 2012 Bolivia recognised the Rights of Mother Earth in statutory law
  • 2014 New Zealand passed the Te Urewera Act to establish and preserve in perpetuity a legal entity and protected status for Te Urewera [an area on the North Island] for its intrinsic worth, its distinctive natural and cultural values, the integrity of those values, and for its national importance
  • 2017 New Zealand finalised the Te Awa Tupua Act, granting the Whanganui River legal status as an ecosystem
  • Future: Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Elephants, Orcas…

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