[Caption: TWO MONTHS LATER. At a rather grungy flat, an anxious Christie sits by the toilet, waiting for something. At Bertram’s place, Steve strides past the sobbing Bertram to collect the mail. He flips through it. A letter for him. He opens it.]
Steve: HSC results. Prepare to be amazed.
[Christie is looking at a pregnancy test. Two pink lines appear.]
Steve: YES! Best results EVAHHH!!!
[Steve waves some pages in Bertram’s face.]
Steve: You LOSER! You failed, whereas I have won! Thank God for Mr. Keating and his grade curve averages! This country can only go from strength to strength under his leadership! Yes, I know I may have dubbed his brain Terra Nullius in the past and suggested his ostriches set up a Commonwealth, but that funky scrawny hobgoblin with the speech impediment has finally paid off!
[Christie is crying. Steve is still showing off.]
Steve: Oh, and Master Bertram has spectacularly failed! 45%, oh, why didn’t you kill yourself already?
[Bertram collapses in sobs.]
Steve: And where’s Maxy, huh? Where’s that overfed gimp now, eh? Who cares, Berty? Not me, that’s for sure!
[Steve crosses to a table and starts flipping through a paper.]
Steve: Time to enter the job market. With my undoubted skills in legal and business studies, I’ll be running half the central business district by the millennium! Oh yes! It’s the 1950s all over again and Steven J Bruck-Michaels is going to ride the wave all the way to Woodstock!
[His enthusiasm dims.]
Steve: Man, this job section is scarce... Oi, Bertram, stop mooning about Denise shacking up with Max and Aileen and going to Bombora and get me a sandwich dammit!
[Bertram, still sobbing, wanders off.]
Steve: Good boy. Now, where can I get a job before the Bicentennial? Ideally one with as little work as possible, as much pay as possible, and with all the interns I can screw?
[The doorbell rings.]
Steve: Bertram! Get that would you?
[The doorbell rings again.]
Steve: Fine. Leave all the back-breaking labor to your intellectual and academic superiors, why don’t you? [rises] If I had my way you would all be gassed at birth! And Bob Geldoff agrees with me! Well, he would if he had any braincells, the throaty-voiced Irish convict joke...
[Steve opens the door. Beyond is Christie.]
Christie: Steve... hi.
Steve: Yeah. Hi, Christie. Is it important, I’m busy. Hang on. Didn’t I dump you?
Christie: Can I come in?
Steve: [laughs annoyingly] That’s what all the pretty girls say. Look, I’m a bit busy, come back at 6:30 when The Goodies have finished and you can beg for my body then, K?
Christie: I need to talk to you.
Steve: We are talking. Pay attention.
Christie: It’s important.
Steve: What? And I’m not?
Christie: I’m pregnant.
Christie: ...is that it?
Steve: What am I supposed to say?
Christie: I dunno. Ask me if I’m sure...
Steve: Why would you come round if you weren’t sure?
Christie: It’s yours.
Steve: Again, I must ask “so?”
Christie: Don’t you care?
Steve: Not particularly, no. Get rid of it.
Christie: [annoyed] Oh, that’s just charming!
Steve: Do you want me to lie to you? Claim I would love to have a brat at this point in my life when it would be most detrimental to my future career prospects? [shouts] Bertram, you got a spare coat hanger around?
Christie: I can’t believe this!
Steve: You really should.
Christie: I should keep it and sue you for child support.
Steve: [laughs] Like you’re the first one to try THAT old trick.
Christie: I was your first.
Steve: [icily] Mouth closed, Christie. But my point is this!
[With a flourish, he produces a folded piece of paper and hands it to you.]
Steve: A medical certificate proving that not only am I sterile, I also had a vasectomy two years ago.
Christie: This is fake... right?
Steve: Of course it’s fake. But tell that to the judge, you two-timing hussy.
Christie: I was just one night of fun then, was I?
Steve: Nonsense. Three weeks at the least. But if you want to stick with me, it’s just going to be the three of us. By which I mean you, myself and Bertram. Now, be a good girl and book an abortion. Use your own phone though, if you can, Bertram’s been calling suicide helplines all month and you wouldn’t believe the bill...
[Steve wanders off bored. Christie stares after him, crumples the paper given to her and walks off.]
[Caption: ONE WEEK LATER. Steve and Christie are sitting in a Greek restaurant at night.]
Christie: Will Bertram be all right in the car with all the windows wound up?
Steve: [reads menu] We’ll only be a few hours.
Christie: Why IS he your slave again?
Steve: He has nothing else in his life since he was dumped. Plus since Max pulled that whole “restraining order” or whatever it was with the police, I needed a place and Denise’s room was going spare. Now, I fancy some dolmades and some restinated wine...
Christie: I’ll have the calamari bake. With ice cream.
Steve: Interesting choice. Still, you’ve earned it after the whole artificial miscarriage business.
Christie: Yeah. [smiles to herself] You bet.
Steve: Hey! Don’t think this has not effected me, Chrissy. For a start, my fertile potency has been proved beyond a doubt on the first try. That means more to me than words can say. Maybe a few years down the track when we need an infant for publicity reasons or to suck up to the boss’s children, maybe then we’ll let a patch of dividing cells reach the zygote stage next time.
Christie: [mildly annoyed] You don’t care that I wanted to keep it, then?
Steve: Now, now, Chris. That’s hormones talking. Some stupid Darwinian evolution crap to make you want to spread your genetic material. Use your brain rather than your endocrine system and be aware we narrowly avoided twenty years of emotional and financial abuse from someone who we would have deliberately prevented existing anyway if I’d bothered to buy condoms that night.
Christie: So if, say, we had an unexpected baby arrive on the doorstep one day...
Steve: I would call the police and get rid of it.
Christie: Really? You wouldn’t, like, look into its eyes and fall helplessly in love?
Steve: If I did I’ve left clear orders with Bertram to kill me right away.
Christie: Bet you anything you will.
Steve: What? You think there’s going to be an abandoned baby at our doorstep any time soon?
Christie: Maybe. Maybe in about six months.
[She lets out an evil laugh. Everyone in the restaurant stares at her.]
Christie: Sorry. I was just thinking about Max Gillies.
[The other patrons start talking normally again.]
[Caption: THREE MONTHS LATER. Christie is zipping up a baggy jumper. Steve is chatting on the phone. Bertram is idly emptying pills into a blender.]
Bertram: [very depressed] How far gone are you now?
Christie: Pushing five months. By the end of the financial quarter, I’ll be due.
Bertram: This is your cunning plan then.
Christie: Uh huh. Once the bastard is born I can screw the father for every penny he has – he can’t wriggle his way out of a paternity test.
[Bertram pours some water into the blender.]
Bertram: Assuming it’s his.
Christie: Which is will be. I think.
Bertram: And assuming he’s got any money for you to take.
Christie: Ah. Well, he’s getting that high-flying job in Canberra.
Bertram: He’s applied for it. What if he doesn’t get it?
Christie: Then I’ll marry him and then divorce him and have him pay maintenance.
Bertram: But you don’t actually like him.
Christie: I do. I like it when he suffers, and I’ll positively love him when he realizes how I’ve flushed his life down the toilet without him even knowing it. And I’ll raise my child to be the same brilliant tactician that I am!
Bertram: Maybe you should drink this too.
[He switches on the blender for a moment and then pours it into a glass.]
Bertram: Oh, to drink of deep oblivion and to bathe in the ocean of nothingness...
[Bertram is about to drink when Steve comes over and slaps Bertram on the back, sending the drink everywhere.]
Steve: Oh yes! I’m the man! It turns out that there is a vacancy as junior clerk in the Canberra office of Wolfram and Welcher and I’m their new member. Oh, I can almost TASTE the power!
[Bertram looks at the spilt suicide juice and starts crying.]
Steve: Yes, my inevitable success DOES bring a tear to the eye. I must prepare to move at once.
Christie: To Canberra?
Steve: Yes. The job starts in October but I want to be settled. When I am, I shall send for you, Christie, but in the meantime it will just be Bertram and I! [slips arm around sobbing Bertram] Unless of course he finally grows sufficient genitalia to actually end it all am I right, you old weakling! Oh, and Christie, go on a diet or something. The sweat pants aren’t a turn on any more, fatty.
[He walks off, singing again. Christie watches him go.]
Christie: Big mistake, Bruck-Michaels. Big mistake...
[Caption: ONE MONTH LATER. Central Station. Steve, wearing a sharp suit with braces and stripy shirt ala Gordon Gecko, stands next to Bertram, who is carrying huge amounts of luggage. Christie follows.]
Steve: Just think, a mere six months ago I was an unemployed drifter being forced to watch musical theatre with a Buffy fan. And now I’m off to start a new life in our nation’s capital, a place of wonder, excitement, wonder and power! A place where decisions are made, where the economy is manipulated, the very seat of government itself. This job will just be a stepping stone.
Christie: To what?
Steve: Me achieving supreme executive control of Australia, of course. With Howard out of the picture, the Liberal Party needs a proper leader and an up-and-coming stud lawyer like myself is just what’s required. I’ll send for you in due course. And seriously, see a doctor about your weight. I can barely stand to look at you nowadays.
[Steve strides onto a train. Bertram sighs and follows.]
Bertram: Brilliant plan, huh?
Christie: He’s got three months left to enjoy himself, Bert. And then I’ve having his guts on toast. [blinks] That sounds delicious, actually, I’ll see what that tastes like...
[She wanders off and Bertram enters the train, which is starting to move.]
[Aboard the train, Steve peers out the window at the retreating Christie.]
Steve: God, she’s bloated. She must have caught a horrible disease or something. Good thing I don’t let her sleep in my bed, eh, Bertram? Or any bed...
[He moves on, and bumps into a nondescript guy who ignores Steve.]
Steve: Watch where you’re going, dickhead.
[The guy meets a similar guy and holds up Steve’s wallet. He takes out the ticket.]
Guy: Seat 23A.
Guy 2: Good. Then the idol will soon be ours!
Guy: Prepare the revenge of Kanbo-Ala!
[They laugh evilly but stop as Bertram appears nearby.]
Guy 2: Ahem. That Max Gillies is very funny, is he not?
Guy: Yes. I prefer the bald man who dresses up as native birds though.
Guy 2: Indeed. He is most observant in his humor.
[Bertram wanders off.]
Guy 2: That Wendy Harmer looks hot too.
[The train arrives at the station. Steve emerges from the train followed by Bertram and the two nondescript guys, plus other passengers.]
Steve: Right, Bertram, hail us a taxi. I’ve got a nice apartment overlooking the river.
[The two guys give thumbs ups to each other.]
[The apartment is neat, bland and almost unfurnished. The door is unlocked and Steve and Bertram enter, the latter carrying all the luggage.]
Steve: Right, Bertram, start putting everything away while I inspect the bedroom and have a little lie down. Then you can get me something to eat before you let your suicidal anguish render you useless for the rest of the evening. God, where WOULD you be without me, eh, Bertram?
[Bertram groans and starts opening suitcases and takes out foldable furniture, a portable TV... pretty much all of Bertram’s possessions Steve has stolen from their old place. As he does so, one of the nondescript guys sneaks in, holding a large knife. He creeps over to the wall and holds up a voodoo doll and then stabs it with the knife, nailing the doll to the wall.]
Steve: [from other room] Bertram! I said unpack first THEN unsuccessful suicide attempts!
Bertram: [sighs] I know!
[The guy takes out a lipstick and writes DEATH TO THE DEFILERS under the doll, then leaves. Steve returns from the bedroom.]
Steve: Big enough for me, but I doubt I can fit both me AND Fatty Boombah in there. Yes, I think it might be time for a clean break. She can’t cook, she doesn’t clean, she stopped being remotely attractive a good two months ago and she eats all the food. Quite frankly, Bertram, you’d be a better bet for domestic help and rumpy-pumpy combined. Besides, I prefer white girls anyway.
Bertram: Isn’t that racist?
Steve: Ahem. Am I white? No. So it’s not racist. Show another independent thought again and I will slide a needle under your fingernails. AGAIN.
[He idly notices the doll and graffiti.]
Steve: Mmm. Makes the place look a bit more homely I suppose. More lived in. And I do think Australia should reintroduce Capital Punishment for criminals. Dead criminals, less crime, less people, more jobs, and the bodies can always be used as fertilizer for the National Forests. [to Bertram] Lateral thinking, Bert, I think you may have some justification for living after all.
[Bertram looks at the message and freaks out.]
Steve: I’m going for a nap. I don’t want to be disturbed and when I awake I want food. With some Juicy Fruit 8-pack of drinks. And make sure I’m awake when they screen Batman on Channel X.
[That night. The apartment looks slightly more furnished. Bertram is slaving over a hot Chinese takeaway. There is a knock at the door. Bertram sighs and crosses to the door.]
Bertram: I hate my life.
[He opens the door. It is one of the nondescript men.]
Bertram: Yes, can I help you?
Guy 2: I believe, factotum, your master dropped this. [holds up wallet] It is his, isn’t it?
Bertram: Yes. [with no emotion] Thank you very much.
Guy 2: It is my pleasure. Defiler.
[Bertram nods and is about to close the door when he twigs what the guy said. The guy lets out a deranged scream and drop-kicks Bertram and leaps into the room.]
Guy 2: You are going to die!
Bertram: Am I?
Guy 2: You are going to die!
Bertram: Yes! Yes, kill me!
Guy 2: You are going to die!
Bertram: Please, just do it!
Guy 2: You are going to die... later!
[Bertram wails in despair and bursts into tears. The guy is slightly put off.]
Guy 2: Freak. Now, where was I? Oh yes.
[He barges into the bedroom where Steve is lying asleep on the bed, having dozed off reading “Pot-Bellied-Vietnamese-Pig Monthly”.]
Guy 2: You stole the sacred idol, defiler, and now you will...
[He stops and looks at the porn mag.]
Guy 2: What the hell?
[He picks it up and looks at the centrefold.]
Guy 2: Whoa. Twelve tits. Impressive.
[The guy realizes that Steve is awake and looking at him.]
Guy 2: Oh. Er. Feel the wrath of Kanbo-Ala, defiler!
Steve: Who. The fuck. Are you?
Guy 2: Your death!
[The guy leaps onto the bed, straddling Steve... who promptly kicks the guy in the nuts.]
Guy 2: Oooooooh.... My kidneys....
Steve: Now why are you trying to kill me?
Guy 2: You are... defiler... Steven Micheal-Brucks...
Steve: No, I’m not.
Guy 2: Huh? You’re... you’re not?
Steve: No. I’m Steven Bruck-Michaels.
Guy 2: ...you have got to be fucking kidding me? We’re never going to kill the right defiler and get the idol back if they keep getting the records at head office mixed up! Can I use your phone?
Steve: Yes. I suggest you call an ambulance.
[Steve picks up the knife and advances on the guy. Who screams.]
[Captions: THREE MONTHS LATER. In a legal office, Steve is chatting to a secretary. He wears a business suit and has had his hair done. A scruffy Bertram miserably sweeps the floor.]
Steve: ...so even before I’d cut off the tip of his nose he was promising me all the Cult’s liquid assets to recompense me for my time and effort. Yes, apparently the whole Kanbo-Ala organization has gone down hill. Tragic really, especially after putting all that money into AusSat.
Receptionist: I don’t think these satellites will take off anyway.
Steve: Heh. [frowns] That’s a joke, right?
Receptionist: Yes. Yes it was. But I still think that after all the trouble we’ve put into OTC, switching everything over to a tin can in orbit round the moon is not going to be cost effective.
Steve: [nodding] Uh-huh, uh-huh.
[He scratches his nose, covering his face while he whispers to Bertram.]
Steve: Bertie, quick, what the hell is OTC?
Bertram: Overseas Telecommunication Commission.
Bertram: Lots of phone cables lying under the ocean. You know. The add. [sings] ‘No one’s far from anyone, anymore...’
Steve: Oh yeah. ‘Ohhhhhhhhhh Teeeeeeeeeee Seeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!’
[He realizes that the secretary is looking at him oddly.]
Steve: So, anyway, that money allowed me to become a major shareholder. Fancy going out tonight to, er, discuss my portfolio as it were?
Receptionist: Not tonight. Rumpole’s on.
Steve: Fair enough. [to himself] Damn you, Leo McKern. Damn you. If you weren’t an ex-pat, so help me... [brightens] Tomorrow night! Bertie, get my tuxedo ready, hide all the Italian erotica in the apartment, crank up the thermostat and make yourself scarce once she comes round.
Bertram: Er... what about Christie?
Bertram: Your girlfriend. Remember?
Steve: Oh, yes. Chubby Christie. Gosh, I haven’t thought about her since... since...
Bertram: ...we last saw her?
Steve: Yes. When was that?
Bertram: Eleven weeks, six days and thirty-one minutes. [blinks] In fact, I think you better get back to her.
Steve: What? Now?
Bertram: [checks watch] Sooner the better.
Steve: Why? Did I leave some of my stuff with her?
Bertram: In a manner of speaking...
Steve: Yes, well, I can afford to take the rest of the day off. In fact, I can afford to take the rest of the year off – who’d have thought being mistaken for a tomb robber could be so lucrative. I’ll pick up whatever it is and dump her for good.
Bertram: Christie might look a bit different...
Steve: What? Her weight, you mean?
Steve: Well, if she can compete with Supple Sheila over there, I might bring her back... You stay here and do whatever it is Quentin wants me to do.
Steve: Do you have anything else to occupy the black hole Denise made of your heart?
[Bertram start sobbing.]
Steve: Thought not. As they say in Morocco... Ciao.
[Steve strides out.]
[Caption: THE NEXT DAY. Central station, Steve arrives and heads off towards the taxi cab. He speaks into a ridiculously huge mobile phone.]
Steve: You got an answering machine? Have you any idea how much those things cost? Don’t expect me to pay for it, darling, money’s tight as it is and just because we slept together for a few weeks nine months ago doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to get me as a sugar daddy. Anyway, Bert told me I had to be here to pick up some stuff. I’m pretty certain it’s my He-Man playset. And I don’t care if that sounds childish, the painted detail on Skeletor’s castle is amazing. I won’t hear another word against it. You know, the good thing about these machines is I don’t have to listen to people who aren’t as interesting as I am...
[Bertram’s House. The grass has grown, as it hasn’t been mown. Steve approaches.]
Steve: Ah memories. I beat up that twat Terry here. I wonder if he survived? Oh well.
[He pushes open the front door and enters.]
[The place has been half-tidied. Steve strides in and finds a plastic toy castle that folds into a makeshift suitcase. Happily he picks it up.]
Steve: Priceless. I’m out of here. Hang on... [frowns] What was it? Oh yeah. Christie?
Christie: [oov] Up here.
Steve: Ah. The bedroom. Trying to seduce me with the curves you’ve spent the last few months acquiring, huh?
Christie: [oov] ...kinda.
Steve: [to himself] One for the road. Maybe two if she’s really smoking...
[He heads up the stairs and looks into the bedroom. Christie lies on the bed under a blanket.]
Steve: Well hello. Long time no see.
Christie: You said you’d send for me.
Steve: When the time was right. I’m only here because apparently I left something with you...
Christie: You did. This.
[Christie flips off the blanket to reveal how pregnant she is.]
Steve: I knew it! You’ve got a stomach tumor! It’s not contagious, is it? Please God say no...
Christie: It’s not a tumor! It’s baby! It’s all baby! Our baby!
Steve: ...the one I specifically told you to have surgically executed?
Christie: The very same one, Steve.
Steve: Oh well, good luck with the rest of your life.
[He turns and leaves. Christie watches him go, shocked.]
Christie: Where are you going?
Steve: Somewhere you can’t follow, Chubby!
[Christie struggles to follow him.]
Christie: You can’t run away! It’s a fact now!
Steve: But thankfully not a fact I have to deal with – unlike you!
Christie: Oh no. I know all about the Curse of Kanbo-Ala! You’re loaded, Steve, and I want my share!
Steve: [aghast] You mean you only went ahead with this for my money?!
Christie: No, it was to ruin your life – the money’s a side benefit!
Steve: You heartless bitch. If you didn’t look like a cross between a diseased potato and a beached whale, we might have been good together. But I’m leaving you and your illegitimate offspring to wallow in these slums, while I return to my life of success and fortune.
Christie: [breathing heavy] You did this to me. I want compensation!
Steve: And I want you to not be pregnant – guess we don’t always get what we want! Besides, I’m a shareholder in the biggest law firm in the ACT and you are an unemployed dole bludger squatting in this house, so do you really think you can possibly threaten me with any kind of legal law firm. Hell, even with a blood test proving your wild claims true, I can spin this out for years – you won’t get a red cent out of me before the little bambino is old enough to have a criminal record!
[Lost in his own rant, Steve doesn’t notice Christie double over in pain and clutch her stomach.]
Steve: Besides, it was fully consensual in the first place – and you’re the one who wanted to keep it despite my clear feelings of the subject. No jury in this wide brown land would turn against me, the innocent sperm donor in this web of uterine lies!
[He wanders around the room, ignoring Christie’s evident pain.]
Steve: Mind you, I’ll probably look like a complete spastic if they think I didn’t twig you were pregnant for the first nine months... I’ll have to find a way to spin that. Maybe dodgy eyesight? Or maybe I can get some tame doctor to say you told me it was a tumor... [to Christie] Do you think that’d sound feasible? I value input.
Christie: I’m going into labor you idiot!
Steve: See? Incompatible. I’m Liberal, born and bred and... [twigs] Oh. Oh? How VERY convenient?
Christie: Convenient?! I can’t breathe!
[She cries out. Steve folds his arms.]
Steve: Oh, and she just happens to have the baby the afternoon I arrive. Your honor, must the court witness such a cliché? I call a mistrial!
Christie: [through gritted teeth] Uhhh...
Steve: And then, m’lud, she showed her clear disregard to my feelings, in particular my hygiene concerns, by wetting herself when she lost the argument. [twigs] Oh, OK, bitch, that’s a clever touch. Dunno how you managed it, but it’s not going to work on me.
[She doubles over and screams.]
Steve: Oh all right. I’ll call an ambulance. See how long you can string this out. No one’s going to look on me as some kind of callous misogynist.
[He crosses the phone.]
Steve: Seriously, though, working in the legal profession has HUGELY improved my vocab, don’t you think?
[Christie screams again.]
Steve: Oh yes, yes, I’m doing it, already. No need to milk it...
[Rolling his eyes, he starts dialing...]
Christie: I’m going to call him... Norman.