Friday, October 31, 2008

YOA & The Cognitive Dissonance pt 2


Early morning. Wide awake, Nigel runs out of the house carrying a parcel. He runs down the street to a very old-fashioned pillar box. Standing in front of it, in a queue are: Eve, Cuddles, and the man, all carrying similar parcels. Nigel fumes. Shoving past them, he drops the parcel into the pillar box and returns back to the house.


Dave rolls over, gets up and stretches. He turns and looks to the computer – although it is switched off, steam is pouring off it and it is glowing orange. He frowns and gets up to go when the door bursts open and Nigel storms in.

NIGEL: Can you BLOODY believe it?

DAVE: [YAWNS] Morning, Mr. Meldrew.

NIGEL: All the other bastards have finished their submissions as well? How is that possible? In just two days, how could they have all finished a novel?

DAVE: [FROWNS] You don’t need to send in the finished novel, just an outline and few extracts, the ideas to explore...

NIGEL: I know that! But I thought sending in a complete novel would improve our chances – and I told everyone else you needed a novel as well, this totally sucks!

DAVE: Heck. ‘A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped self-addressed envelope big enough for a manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation for the editor.’

NIGEL: Dorothy Parker?

DAVE: Ring Lardner.

They start to leave the room.

NIGEL: I knew it was someone who worshiped Satan.

DAVE: [FROWNS] Why did you just say that?

NIGEL: Honestly? I have no idea.

They exit. A pause. Someone rushes into the computer and switches it back on again. It makes a pained whining noise as it boots up. A few moments pass and then the sound of typing is heard. Fade to black.


Caption: ONE WEEK LATER. Where the guys auditioned earlier. It is filling up with people – guests, media, the writers, caterers. We fade through several shots of the place filling up. A TV reporter is interviewing guests. We see a caption: BRONSON DACKER.

CUDDLES: Well, after a fortnight on some wild psychedelic drugs, I was called on by Vermin, who told me to write an original novel. However, I didn’t hear the word ‘original’, and so just typed whatever came into my head. I was able to use much of what was in my dream and put it in this novel, although most of the scenes involving pipe cleaners and cats were strangely cut out... The drugs... oh, they haven’t worn off...

Nigel and Dave enter, the former in The Suit, the latter squeezed into a tuxedo.

NIGEL: This is it, Dave! This is MY apotheosis! Stardom! Fame! Eating dissorders! ALL MINE!

DAVE: And what about me?

NIGEL: Tisk, tisk, David. If you can't even propel yourself into celebrityhood by clinging onto my coattails, then what's the point of you, eh?

DAVE: It's Andrew who wrote For The Love of God, Why? remember!

NIGEL: And Andrew is a hermit, remember! He didn't do this for the money, the fame, the fortune, the spectacle... come to think of it, I have no idea what he did do it for. Come to think of it I don't really care. I will be his representative on this Earth.

DAVE: What like the pope?

NIGEL: Yes, exactly like the pope. Except people will allow me near small children. [LONG PAUSE] Oh Yeah, I went there, bitches. I so went there.

Caption: TOM PAULIN.

MAN: When I wrote this book, I was convinced I was writing this amazing epic, full of battles and shock revelations. After my counseling, I have realized my mistake. I’m sure I planned the entire story out in every single detail. However, it does seem to be the case that the first draft was simply some scraps of used toilet paper. [LONG PAUSE] I’m NOT mad! Just... special.

REPORTER: Yes, well...

MAN: Now, there ARE romours that I wrote this book whilst in a drug induced trance. This is a complete lie! Anyone – anyone at all – who says otherwise will be murdered by my dealer. Is that understood?

Nigel looks around in annoyance.

NIGEL: Where the hell has Andrew got to?

Andrew staggers in. He is wearing a black cocktail dress, showing off his mainly hairy chest, and his hair is in a beehive hairdo. His red-rimmed eyes are bulging and he looks quite, quite insane.

DAVE: Holy Frank N Furter, what the hell happened to you?!

ANDREW: Hahahahaha. I did it! I did it, Harry, I did it! I have written the greatest book in all history!

DAVE: That's nice. I'm Dave.

ANDREW: Don't bother me with trivialities, Harry. I've been writing this book round the clock every day for the last week. I haven't slept once. But Battle Not With Monsters, Lest Monsters You Become will set me up above the literary gods. Move over JK Rowling, the A-Man is in town!

NIGEL: "Battle Not Lest Monsters..." What is this Pokemon shite? I thought the book was finalized as For The Love of God, Why?

Andrew puts a companionable arm around Nigel while still talking to Dave.

ANDREW: Nigel. Nigel, Nigel, Nigel. Nige. Ni-geeee-lah. I hate you, you do know that, right? I mean, I find your continued existence absolute concrete proof that there is no benevolent god. You make me contemplate suicide to escape this miserable planet you contaminate. You're aware of this, right?

NIGEL: Everyone says that when they're trying to hide their true love for me.

ANDREW: So, logically, by extrapapopolopation... any book you like, I'd hate. Your quality is my crap, my evil is your god and all that. So any book you thought would be brilliant, and, yes, honestly, I AM going somewhere with this, Harry, any book you like I would find morally repugnantly reprehensible. Get it?

NIGEL: Got it.

ANDREW: Good. And, logically, any book I would like YOU would hate. So, we are exact opposites. Ying and Yang. Kim and Kath. You see, Nigel, that was when I came up with my master plan. I would write a book entirely composed of your ideas, the crappest of the crap. Then all I'd have to do is reverse the polarity and write a book with the exact opposite plot, characters and stuff and it would be bigger than the Bible!

NIGEL: Andrew? I know all this. You told me on the way to the pub remember?

ANDREW: But that was just a plan, Nigel! THIS IS IT! IT'S REALLY HAPPENING! Every time you and Dave were out of the room I was there, retyping, rewriting, changing everything down to the smallest grammatical accuracy! [BLINKS] Oh, did I remember to turn it off?


Smoke is pouring out of the computer. The monitor has partially melted. Suddenly it catches fire.


As before.

ANDREW: Oh well, never mind. The point is... is? Is. Is that with this one book I shall change Australian culture whatever.

NIGEL: Whatever. As long as I get rich and famous.

ANDREW: [WITH WOOZY CUNNING] You underestimate the magnitude of my betrayal, Nige. When we first chatted with the woman from Vermin, I discussed this plan with her... until she called the police and made me go away. Anyway, this book is all mine. Not yours.

NIGEL: We had a deal!

ANDREW: A deal? Oh. Yes. That's right. The deal was about For the Love of God, Why? though. This book is all mine. I take everything seriously. Except myself. I always try to mix a little foolishness in with my serious plans. [TO NIGEL] It helps, don't you find, Dave?

DAVE: What if Nigel's version wins?

ANDREW: Highly unlikely, I'd have thought.

NIGEL: You can "think" all of a sudden, can you?

ANDREW: While I was dropping off the finished manuscript of Battle Not With Monsters, Lest Monsters You Become I shredded For The Love of God, Why?, burned the remains and flushed them down the toilet.


ANDREW: Now, now, Nige. You said I could do anything I want with the manuscript.

NIGEL: As long as you won!

ANDREW: And I will. Just not with yours. [BRIGHTENS] Oooh! Canapes!

He stumbles off into the groud. Nigel looks around him, furious. Dave starts to chuckle.

NIGEL: That double-dealing, two-faced, back-stabbing, lying piece of... WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?!? [TO DAVE] Shut up. Now... what brilliant tactic can get me out of this? I said, shut up, Dave! Now. I need to try and win this on my own. Ergo. I need my own manuscript. Hand it in and win.

Dave is now laughing very loudly.

NIGEL: Shut up, Dave! OK. Writing a 9000 word manuscript off the top of my head inside [CHECK WATCH] one hour seven seconds a tad difficult. Stop laughing, Dave! But I can do it. I can do anything. I'm Nigel freaking Verkoff and this world shall bow to MY convenience.

Dave collapses screaming with laughter. Nigel stares at him.

NIGEL: [DRYLY] I can see you're right with me on this one. Now. I must... AWAY!!!!

He jumps over Dave's convulsing form and flees the whole shebang.


Nigel makes his way through a throng of people and sprints across the road to an internet cafe. It's early evening and its got a sign saying SERVER DOWN in the window. Nigel stares at the sign for a long moment at it and runs inside. A moment later he is thrown outside again. Snugglewolffe leans around the door.

OWNER: Can't you read?!

NIGEL: I didn't want to use the stupid internet anyway!

OWNER: Yeah. Sure. Whatever.

Nigel rolls his eyes and checks his watch.

NIGEL: Less than an hour. Right. Who do I know pathetic enough to not only live round these here parts and also possess a half decent laptop with Microsoft Word?

Nigel wracks his brains, before noticing the door beside the cafe marked "DR. SPOON & CHAMBER".

NIGEL: [BLINKS] Seriously. Come on. What are the odds of that?


Dr. Spoon is frantically typing at a computer and checking wires connecting it to a widescreen plasma screen. Chamber is carefully positioning a sofa in front of it and checking a bowl of popcorn.

DOCTOR: Oh yeah. Another minute and it's fully downloaded!

CHAMBER: The last of episode of Blake's 7! It's, what, 25 years old and we've STILL managed to avoid spoilers! And now we get to see it. I bet you anything there's a threesome between Vila and Soolin and Dayna. Mark my words, Rupert, this is going to be massive.

DOCTOR: Why on Earth would they have an orgy for a final episode?

CHAMBER: Duh. Because they don't have any more episodes?

DOCTOR: ...fair enough. Oh, man, this is going to be awesome! Much better than that stupid book competition over the road. You know, they turned down my application, Chamber?

CHAMBER: Did you send one?

DOCTOR: Maybe. Out of sheer muscular habit.

There is a banging at the front door.

NIGEL: [VO] Doctor Spoon you dirty albino, open the damn door!

CHAMBER: Nigel's come round. Man, this episode must be hardcore filth to get HIM interested!

DOCTOR: [OPENS DOOR] What are you doing here?

NIGEL: Being incredibly sexy, dashing and magnificent as ever. You? [CROSSES TO COMPUTER] I need to borrow your harddrive. Long story short I need to write a new manuscript in [CHECKS WATCH] less than forty-three minutes and come up with something greater than Harry Potter so the two of you can shut up. [STARTS TYPING] Right. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and it was a dark and stormy night as Oldark Moor heaved under the shame of its past..."

CHAMBER: That'll take you days! How are you going to write a thousand pages...

DOCTOR: Give or take a few.

CHAMBER: Shut up. Nigel, how are you going to do that in half an hour?

Nigel is typing furiously. Words fill up the screen rapidly.

NIGEL: The Big N has powers and abilities undreamed of by mortal men. Plus I have a great typing speed. 200 words a minute. 60 if you want them to make any actual sense. And worse case scenario, I'll just make the font incredibly large. You got a printer, right?

DOCTOR: Nigel, even if for the briefest of brief moments I cared for your predicament, we had kind of an evening planned. We've illegally downloaded entertainment and everything...

NIGEL: Oh, what is it? Might be some ideas to nick...

CHAMBER: It's the last episode of Blake's 7...

NIGEL: BRILLIANT! [TYPES MORE AND MORE] I'll set it on an agricultural planet overrun by criminals and bounty hunters, have the main characters go on a desperate soul-destroying quest to meet each other and finally have a huge misunderstanding which causes a huge shoot out and all the cast die horribly one by one in slow motion and the last one standing surrounded by faceless enforcers of a fascist regime and leave it open ended as to whether he somehow miraculously escaped or dies horribly. Just like in the last episode of Blake's 7, except it won't be quite as shocking, harrowing and distressing...

Doctor Spoon and Chamber have been listening to this in mounting horror. They exchange looks and turn to Nigel, who continues to type frantically, grimacing with the pain of moving his arms so much.

NIGEL: The brilliance is that only a complete idiot would have missed the end to Blake's 7 and ergo everyone would recognize it as plagiarism. So only a complete idiot would try and rip off that ending without every single person in the English-speaking world noticing and so, ergo, it just has to be one of life's little coincidences. The Nobel prize for literature, come to papa, that's it, there's a good---


The door to the stairwell bangs open as Nigel is thrown down the stairs. He finally hits the bottom and falls silent. He looks around in a daze.

NIGEL: Was it something the Big N said?

A screaming chamber throws a bowl of popcorn at Nigel's head, causing him to scream in pain.

CHAMBER: You total jerks! This is so freaking unfair! THERE IS NO GOD! GAAAAAAAAAAGHHHH!

He starts kicking Nigel in the ribs before collapsing in sobs. Nigel gets himself up, dusts himself down.

NIGEL: ...Okaaaay.... Plan C. [COUGHS] I can do anything. Isn't that right, Arco?

Chamber is curled up into a foetal position sobbing.

NIGEL: Who needs a fricken manuscript anyway. Time to crank the charisma to twelve. Only losers and the Bulldogs use it on eleven...

He strides off as Chamber continues to weep.

- to be continued...

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