9. TOP LEVEL
Dave looks around and spots Eve looking through a rubbish bin.
DAVE: Eve! Er, I mean, Miss! Hey!
Eve looks up at him as he goes over to her.
EVE: Dave, have you seen my pen anywhere?
DAVE: Um, no, sorry. Look, would you like to help me out at the refreshment stand tomorrow...
EVE: Only if you help me find my pen.
EVE: No pen, no help!
DAVE: [SIGHS] OK, when did you last have it?
EVE: When we were at Rasputin Goes To Happy-Flappy Burgers. I gave it to you in the scene before the E-Coli gets out of control and goes off hunting for new victims.
DAVE: Uh, you didn’t hand it to me, miss.
EVE: You were sitting next to me, weren’t you?
DAVE: Ah... [GRIMACES] Actually, I, well, I went to...
Dave lets out a scared noise and runs away. Eve shrugs.
EVE: Men. Though, come to think of it, the guy who took didn’t look much like Dave. Hair was too long. And he was black. And he was wearing lipstick... [FROWNS] Why would Dave be wearing lipstick to the movies? Maybe, maybe so he could steal my pen without retribution! Nah, Eve, you’re getting carried away. He’s probably just a poofter.
She continues rummaging through the bin.
The sun sets, shrouding the guy’s house in darkness.
11. KITCHEN/LIVING ROOM
Andrew is making dinner. As he talks, he grates some cheese into a saucepan. Katy stands by a heavily-depleted wine rack now mainly holding bottles of apple-juice.
ANDREW: Blood museum attendants. Cockier than God and twice as ugly. I’m not bitter though. I’ve been thrown out of better art galleries than that, you know. Not that I make a habit of it, you understand...
Dave comes in, looking frantic and disheveled.
DAVE: Doomed! Doomed! We’re all doomed.
Katy notices a bottle called MICROWAVE INTERIOR STRIPPER. She pours some into a shot glass and sips it. Tasty.
ANDREW: [GOING TO FRIDGE] What was that Dave?
DAVE: We’re all doomed.
ANDREW: Oh, right. Thought you said we were all roomed. [OPENS FRIDGE] What’s wrong now? The TV’s broken again? Don’t worry, I’m sure I can rewire it.
He takes out a packet of pasta butterflies and puts them into a saucepan of boiling water. Dave runs a hand through his hair.
DAVE: No, Andrew, it’s not the TV. Thankfully. I doubt you could rewire it if it WAS broken.
ANDREW: [GRATES MORE CHEESE] Doubt it? Me? I could rewire it blindfolded. Of course, it’s a delicate business. Like repairing a watch with a hammer and chisel. I should know, I do it all the time.
DAVE: [TRYING TO KEEP UP] You repair TVs a lot?
ANDREW: What? No, I just get terribly upset when my watch breaks.
Katy begins to set the table. As Dave and Andrew talk, they go into the kitchen area and Andrew drains the pasta with a sieve and empties it into the saucepan with the cheese.
ANDREW: So, what’s the problem?
DAVE: Doug wants me to do the speech tomorrow night. But I need someone to look after the refreshment stand – but you’re barred, Nigel’s in hospital and Katy won’t go near the stuff in case it makes her sterile! I am so screwed!
ANDREW: I wouldn’t say that.
DAVE: What would you say then?
ANDREW: I would say you were COMPLETELY screwed. Still, there must be someone who can help us out. What about Doctor Spoon?
DAVE: Oh, HIM. Uh, he’s out of town until November 23.
ANDREW: Okay, how about Chamber?
DAVE: He’s at Ultimo all day tomorrow.
ANDREW: What’s he doing?
DAVE: He’s the front doormat for the Youth Centre’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
ANDREW: [STIRRING MIXTURE] That’s a bit of a step downwards for him, isn’t it? Normally he gets to be chief mascot.
DAVE: Yeah, he said he was trying to get back to his roots.
ANDREW: Do a bit of soul-searching, eh?
DAVE: That’s what he told me.
There is a beat as Andrew crossed to a badly-made spice rack.
DAVE & ANDREW: [SOTTO] Wanker.
ANDREW: Daria? She must be free tomorrow.
DAVE: She’s going to a frustrated nymphomaniac’s workshop.
ANDREW: [INTERESTED] Oh. Where’s that?
DAVE: She wouldn’t tell me, no matter how much I offered.
ANDREW: Damn. I know Mitchell’s trying to get back onto the poetry circuit. He’s double-billing with Norman and Great Arsehole up at Gore Hill. Odd that. He hasn’t been in the spotlight for simply ages.
DAVE: Not since falling out with his ghost writer.
ANDREW: I think Norman and the Great Arsehole are repaying an old favor, working with him like that. He gave them a mention at the Existentialist’s Cafe before they hit the big time.
He closes his eyes and pulls out a few spice jars.
ANDREW: What about Lucy?
DAVE: She’s taking some time off in Bermuda for the next financial year, but she’ll probably be back for the flu season. She’s a trooper, always career first.
ANDREW: [POURS SPICES INTO SAUCEPAN] Alex?
DAVE: Oh, you mean Shit-Faced Megolomaniac? He and the band have gone down hill. Only touring three cities this year. Bit of a heart condition now, these days.
ANDREW: Yes, he’s on his last legs to be honest. Melanie?
DAVE: She joined the Commies For Christ group.
ANDREW: So? She’s always had a soft-spot for you.
DAVE: Yes, but you know what the CFC are like? They have so much cash, booze and sex-crazed groupies lying about the place they’re far too horny and hung-over to come over and help us out tomorrow – or, indeed, ever.
Andrew goes to the fridge and takes out a carton of milk.
ANDREW: What about Jodafra, her boyfriend?
DAVE: [FROWNS] He’s dead, Andrew.
DAVE: Smiling accident.
DAVE: Last year.
Andrew shrugs and pours all the milk into the saucepan. There is an explosion and white mist fills the room, getting thicker and thicker. Coughing and spluttering, Andrew runs over to a glass-fronted box on the wall marked ONLY TO BE USED IN EMERGENCY. He breaks it open and pulls out a jar marked TARRAGON. He opens it and pours it into the smoking mixture. The smoke gets thicker.
12. LIVING ROOM
The guys are sitting around the table. Andrew is serving out Chinese bowls filled with a kind of high-cholesterol version of Macaroni and Cheese. Katy – who has served out several glasses of microwave stripper – is slightly tipsy.
ANDREW: Well, that’s used up all your options.
KATY: [SLURRED] I know! We get Doug to do it!
DAVE: Brilliant! That would definitely work!
They cheer and down their glasses. Andrew and Dave nearly throw up.
ANDREW: Um, gak, dear heart, what IS this?
KATY: Who cares? It’s wet and alcoholic.
Andrew looks like his about to object, then he shrugs and sips it.
ANDREW: Good choice. I LOVE this woman!
DAVE: [TO HIMSELF] Brilliant! Get Doug to look after the drinks while I do the speech. Hey, Katy, can you write me a speech about Australian art in the twenty-first century?
Katy giggles and gives the thumbs up. She grabs a notebook and begins to write in it.
KATY: Sure. Right. Woo. ‘Australian art has come a long way since two Aboriginal handprints ended up on the cave wall. But that was graffiti and so the offender, who was called Bill, was prosecuted. But things weren’t always that good...’
ANDREW: Mention Paris, Katy. The Louvre and all that.
Katy writes down ANDREW, then, PARIS.
ANDREW: Leonardo, Picasso... Just write down everyone in Paris.
Katy writes down EVERYONE IN PARIS.
ANDREW: And sex. That’s in art a lot. And you have to talk about you, so write ‘I’ every so often. And mention eight generations of your family...
Katy writes this down too. Meanwhile, Dave smiles, totally relaxed, and leans back in his chair.
The dead of night. A light comes on in the house.
DAVE: OH SWEET JESUS, NO!
14. LIVING ROOM
Andrew and Katy have fallen asleep on the couch in front of the TV. The light comes on and Dave runs in, wearing only his underwear. Andrew and Katy wake up, startled.
ANDREW: Wha... what is it?
DAVE: Argh! I’m DOOMED!
KATY: Not again.
She rolls over and tries to get to sleep.
ANDREW: I thought we’d settled this! Doug’ll help you out.
DAVE: Why am I doing the speech, Andrew?
ANDREW: Cause Doug can’t make it tomorrow?
DAVE: And that’s bad because...?
ANDREW: [GETS IT] Ahhhh. Smeg. OK, Plan B.
DAVE: What, run away?
ANDREW: No, ‘follow my lead’.
DAVE: What’s your lead?
Andrew smiles evilly.
15. OUTSIDE HOSPITAL
The sun rises over the city.
16. HOSPITAL WARD
The place is packed with beds and busy nurses. Nigel lies in one such bed, fast asleep smiling happily. He is surprisingly clean and only has one bandage over his eyebrow. A heart monitor beeps in the background to the tune of Fleetwood Mac. We cut to the doors at the end of the ward, Andrew and Eve are hiding. Andrew wears a white coat.
EVE: Is THIS where my pen is?
ANDREW: No. I threw your damn pen down the waste disposal chute!
EVE: You... bastard!
ANDREW: Look, are you going to keep watch or not?
EVE: I want my goddamned pen!
ANDREW: And I want to be able to transmit pork sausages through telephone lines – WE ALL HAVE TO LIVE WITH DISAPPOINTMENT!
He turns and creeps, Ninja-style, up the ward. A nurse looks up from a patient and notices him doing backflips down the aisle.
NURSE: Can I help you?
ANDREW: Ah, yes. [GETS UP] I’m looking for N.V. Gilepsie. Admitted yesterday, attempted suicide? Calls himself Nigel.
NURSE: Ah, yes, there’s a Nigel here. Are you some kind of doctor?
ANDREW: [PROUDLY] I am EVERY kind of doctor. [SOTTO] I’m not good at any one medicine, but I’ve seen every episode of Surgical Spirit. [LOUDER] Now step aside!
The nurse shrugs and walks off. Andrew moves down until he finds Nigel, fast asleep. He pulls the curtain around them and relaxes slightly. He takes off his coat and picks up the treatment chart.
ANDREW: A few witty remarks...
He takes out a green highlighter and starts to adjust the chart.
17. TOP LEVEL
The artists and Virginia are setting up their artworks in the background. Dave sits at the refreshment stall, downcast. Katy nudges the still body of the artist/disco godfather. Through the scene, she re-writes her speech on a fresh notepad.
KATY: Told you there’d be side-effects.
DAVE: [SIGHS] Yes, Katy, you’ve made your point. God, it starts in twenty minutes and there’s still no sign of Nigel. Oh god, oh god, this is not happening...
KATY: Give Andrew a break.
DAVE: [CLUTCHES HEAD] Why? Why did I send in Andrew and Eve?!? I mean, is there anyone less suited for this kind of situation than those two? Is there?
KATY: King Havoc the Imbecile and his inbred half-brother?
DAVE: [SIGHS] APART from them.
KATY: None that come to mind. Give him a ring, find out what’s happening if you’re so worried?
Dave looks like he is about to ridicule her, but brightens.
He gets out his mobile and begins to tap out at it.
18. HOSPITAL WARD
The chart is now coloured entirely green. Andrew has taken out a black pen and is crossing out tiny remarks and changing them. He crosses to a small table where a folder bugles with various items. Andrew is about to look through it when there is the dialtone version of Urban Spaceman. Wincing, Andrew takes out his phone – shaped like an apple – and opens it by pulling away a bite-sized chunk.
ANDREW: Yes, Satan?
DAVE: [VO] Andrew! What’s happening?
ANDREW: Uh, I’m on the phone, talking to you.
DAVE: [VO] What about Nigel? The festival starts in a quarter of an hour! You have to get him down here now!
In the background, the heart monitor image begins to spit and crackle.
ANDREW: I’ll get him there, Dave, I just have to take some precautions first. If I know him, he’ll probably want to stay here for the rest of his life.
DAVE: [VO] Andrew, we have fifteen minutes until zero hour. If Nigel is not here in time [SNAPS] I will shove your head up your arse and laugh as you spend the rest of your life crawling round on all fours, looking for the light switch!!!
By now, the picture on the monitor is jumping and spinning.
ANDREW: Look, why do we even NEED the refreshment tent anyway?
DAVE: [VO] SOMEONE has to get rid of this muck you made!
ANDREW: Hey, that Caesar Salad would be fine if Nigel hadn’t interrupted me! All right. He’ll be there!
DAVE: [VO] If he isn’t, Andrew, you will learn the TRUE meaning of emasculation! Get on with it!
Dave hangs up. Andrew is about to, when he notices a bank of red lights flashing on the heart monitor. Andrew smiles and puts the mobile down, leaving it open. He crosses to the folder and looks through it – X-rays, blood samples and Nigel’s clothes. He dumps the last in the bin, rubs the slides under his armpit and then folds the X-rays in half and starts drawing over them. More lights are going off.
Nigel is strutting his funky stuff surrounded by women. Suddenly, there is a massive alarm and Nigel is struck by lightning. He screams and, singed, falls over. Lightning hits him again.
20. HOSPITAL WARD
Nigel convulses on the bed. Several cables connecting him to the heart monitor are jerking every few seconds. Andrew laughs for a while, then closes his phone. The red lights cut out, the monitor stabilizes and Nigel gasps in pain – but he is now wide awake.
NIGEL: Argh! Where am I? [SEES ANDREW] You! Oh my God! I’m in hell! I’m in hell! And it’s even worse than real life because YOU’RE still here! No!
ANDREW: You’re not in hell, Nigel.
NIGEL: I’m not! The last thing I remember was falling into infinity, my last thought: I’ll never screw that babe in the tuxedo. Then, a kind of warm, light peace. [EYES WIDEN] I was in heaven! And you and my legion of fans have brought me back, just like Buffy!
ANDREW: Nigel, shut up.
NIGEL: I knew I would be appreciated if I died! Hah! Beat that, Mao Tse Dung! I am the Cult of Personality!
ANDREW: The Cunt of Personality, more like.
Andrew crosses to the heart monitor.
ANDREW: Now, if a mobile phone interferes with the circuits, it automatically revives the patient by electro-convulsion. So all I have to do is...
NIGEL: Bow down before me, girls! Bow down before me, men! Bow down all the weird ones where it’s hard to tell if they’re a boy or a girl! I am Omni-Potent!
He notices Andrew is fiddling with the heart monitor.
NIGEL: No! Andrew, you mustn’t!
ANDREW: [SIGHS] Nigel, I must!
He presses a button. Nigel convulses. Smoke rises from his chest. Andrew releases the button and leans over the singed Nigel.
ANDREW: Are you paying attention to me now?
ANDREW: We have got places to be and things to do.
He lifts the covers, then drops them in fright.
ANDREW: OK, I’ll get your clothes and then we can leave.
NIGEL: Screw that for a game of soldiers, buster!
NIGEL: You think I’m going with you after what you just did! Well, you can go hang. I am not moving one inch.
ANDREW: Then I shall be FORCED to MAKE you move an inch.
Nigel folds his arms and shakes his head firmly. Andrew shrugs and presses the button again. Nigel is electrocuted.
21. TOP LEVEL
Dave is talking to someone behind the counter.
DAVE: Right, so you’re sure you can run this place for the next few minutes until my friends get there?
We see it is the sixth artist.
ARTIST 6: [SMILES CHARMINGLY] I am an annoying Danish freak.
Dave nods and crosses over to Katy, who is watching the others.
DAVE: God, has he rung yet?
KATY: Not yet. Look, I’ve got to go. My free period ends in twenty minutes. So, good luck with the rest of your life.
Katy smiles, kisses him on the cheek and leaves. Dave swallows.
DAVE: God damn it, Andrew WHERE ARE YOU?
...a very good reason not to be continued...