ACT FIVE – MATURATION
[The children are sitting at their tables, cutting out paper animals and gluing them to paper. Theo and Nigel sit together. Nigel is tense, Theo bored and idly eats some of the paste. Nigel looks like he’s going to be sick. Theo notices.]
Nigel: That’s disgusting! You’ll glue your insides up!
Theo: I wish. [frowns] You still nervous? Calm down, already, will you... what’s your name again?
Nigel: Nigel. Nigel Yang.
Theo: Nigel Yang. [laughs] NY! Oh, I can’t believe no one’s bought you an “I Heart NY” T-shirt yet! [shakes head] Classic! I shall call you Manhattan.
Nigel: [not getting it] ...um. OK. When do we get out here?
Theo: Home Time’s at three.
Nigel: Don’t we get lunch?
Theo: Sure. Little Lunch and Big Lunch. Only another [glances at wall clock] twenty minutes. Why? You hungry? [offers Nigel glue] My shout.
Nigel: No thanks. It’s just... my sisters and my brother Kenji... they got taken to other classes and...
Theo: Ah. Say no more.
Theo: Mainly because you’re boring me.
Nigel: I just have to see them again, OK? My sister Benny was getting really upset!
Theo: Mmm. OK, Manhattan, I’ll do you a straight deal. I’ll make sure you get to see your Benny girl again at little lunch.
Nigel: And what do you get out of it?
Theo: I haven’t decided yet.
Nigel: You mean, it could be anything?
Theo: Yep! Take it or leave it?
Nigel: [grimly] I give my word. If YOU keep YOURS.
Theo: [shocked] Manhattan! You WOUND me! I better patch that wound up!
[He eats some more paste. Nigel looks ill. Theo laughs at him.]
[Playground. The bell rings and students start to leave the classrooms. Theo takes Nigel’s hand and they sneak away from the verandah area all the kindergarten children are restricted too. They sneak along a brick wall to a group of girls, one of them is Beriniko.]
Nigel: [delighted] Beriniko!
Beriniko: [mildly] Oh, hi, Nigel. How are you?
Nigel: Freaking out! This place is insane! They all know each other and they eat glue! We’ve got to get out of here, forget Kenji and Akiro, they’re probably dead already...
Beriniko: Aw, come on, Nigel. It’s fun here!
Nigel: F... fun? Did I hear right? Fun? This isn’t fun! It’s prison! Degrassi style prison!
Beriniko: Oh lighten up. I’ve made lots of friends here, and we’re doing painting this afternoon...
Nigel: Yeah, Benny, you won’t believe how LITTLE that interests me...
Beriniko: I’m not going. It’s great here.
Nigel: What? Have they drugged you or something! This place is horrible! Beriniko, please...
Beriniko: Oh, and that’s another thing. Call me Bernice here.
Nigel: “Burn East”?
Bernice: Bernice. Not all the children can say my name properly, so I call myself Bernice. Cool, huh?
Nigel: Bernice Yang? That’s a stupid name!
Bernice: [hurt] Well, rack off then if you don’t like it!
[She turns and storms off to join the other girls skipping. Nigel is devastated.]
Nigel: What have they done to her?
Theo: [sadly] Nothing. You just wish they had.
Theo: She prefers all this new stuff to boring old you. Sorry, Manhattan, but that’s the way it goes.
[Nigel stares at Bernice, amazed.]
Nigel: But... she said she’d... Akiro. Yeah. Akiro would know what to do. We’ve got to find her. [to Theo] I’ll double whatever it is if we get to her.
Theo: What about your brother?
Nigel: Kenji’s useless at the best of times and that ain’t now!
[The bell rings.]
Nigel: What? It’s over already!
Theo: Looks like.
Nigel: This is a conspiracy!
Theo: Pretty much.
Phoebe: Hey, what are you two doing here? You’re not supposed to leave the boundary without the teacher coming with you!
Theo: Oh, Phoebe. [loudly] You’re so pretty! Oh so pretty! Yeah! You’re vay-cant!
Phoebe: [troubled] That sounds rude.
Theo: There’s a reason for that. Work it out.
Phoebe: You’re a jerk, Theo, you know that? No one likes you.
Theo: Because they know I’m right.
Phoebe: That’s what you’d like to think, isn’t it?
Theo: It’s what I KNOW, Feeble Phoebe.
Phoebe: You’re not gonna upset me, you know.
Theo: Oooh, a challenge.
Phoebe: You just want everyone to be as miserable as you, and we’re not going to.
Theo: One day it will.
Phoebe: And on that day, we’ll build a bridge and get over it. You should try it yourself.
[Theo shoves past her. Nigel shrugs apologetically and follows.]
[Caption: TWO HOURS AND FORTY-FIVE MINUTES LATER. The lunch bell rings and the children emerge from their classes again. Inside the school, Theo and Nigel hurry through the corridors to the front office, heading in the direction Akiro and Kenji were taken.]
Theo: What teacher did she have?
Nigel: Um. Webby or Webster or...
Theo: Right. I got ya.
[They hurry into a classroom. A moment later they leave and go into the classroom opposite.]
Theo: ...and by process of elimination...
[They emerge from the second classroom.]
Nigel: In the library...
[The library is big at the left-hand section is multistoried with a staircase leading to an upper balcony and level. Nigel and Theo are wandering around.]
Theo: Well, she’s not in the science fiction section or the non-fiction section like you expected and the librarian doesn’t know her.
Nigel: She’s got to be here somewhere... [points up stairs] Up there maybe?
Theo: But... that’s out of bounds.
Nigel: I don’t care!
[Nigel runs up the stairs. Theo follows, non-plussed. They look around the upper level which is pretty much deserted. The glass walls of the library have paintings of Elmo, the Magic Pudding and Grover. Nigel heads for a narrow walkway to a locked door while Theo, intrigued, pushes open two doors and moves out onto a balcony over looking the interior of the school. Nigel bangs on the door.]
Nigel: Akiro! Akiro are in you in there? It’s Nigel! Akiro!
[The door opens. Akiro looks pissed off.]
Nigel: Akiro! Are you all right?
Akiro: Of course I am. They say my English is not up to their standard and have put me in this class. Nigel, they are nothing but mindless sheep here. I’m already best in class! Now, quickly, go before you inspire these cattle to involve further...
Nigel: I thought you wanted to get out of here?
Akiro: Well, you thought wrong, didn’t you? Moron.
[She slams the door in his face. A moment later, she opens it.]
Akiro: Is it lunch? [Nigel nods] Good. Mother promises us sushi rolls today!
[She slams the door again. Nigel deflates. He wanders out to the balcony to join Theo.]
Theo: I can’t believe they don’t let us up here. It’s so cool. Like the Texas Book Depository...
Nigel: Yeah. Great
Theo: She didn’t want to know you either, huh? Maybe it’s cause you’re adopted.
Theo: It means they’re not your real brothers and sisters.
Nigel: They’re not? You mean... [sotto] they’re robots or something?
Theo: I... you see... oh. Forget it. That paranoid stuff could be a lot of fun but... I just can’t be bothered. But you owe me now.
Nigel: Yes. I do.
Theo: You going to chicken out?
Nigel: I gave you my word, Theo. A Yang doesn’t go back on that!
Theo: But that depends on if you’re really a Yang, doesn’t it?
Theo: Nothing. Hey, you see the size of the spiders up here?
Nigel: [worried] Spiders, where?
[Theo leads Nigel to the edge of the balcony and points around the corner.]
[Nigel peers over and freaks out. A giant (but obviously fake) redback spider hugs the wall over a huge web which has caught some smaller giant insects. Theo laughs.]
Theo: Sucked in!
[In the playground, Theo and Nigel are ducking and weaving through some grassy hills separating the asphalt from the fence. They head along the fence, parallel to an alleyway, towards a huge wide tree that shadows a large patch of the playground. Like spies they furtively run towards the trunk and then behind it, up the sloping roots pressed against the fence like a ramp so they can easily climb into the branches. After a moment, they regain their breath.]
Nigel: Now what?
Theo: We wait.
[The bell rings. The playground starts to empty. Nigel starts to move but Theo grabs his arm.]
Theo: I’m calling in the debt. We stay.
[Nigel stays. The playground is now devoid of anyone else.]
Nigel: They’ll notice we’re gone.
Theo: I doubt that, somehow.
[A little later. Theo sings to himself, listening to his walkman. Nigel idly takes out his lunch]
Theo: Finished with my woman coz she couldn’t help me with my mind
People think I’m insane because I am frowning all the time!
All day long I think of things but nothing seems to satisfy!
Think I'll lose my mind if I don't find something to pacify...
Can you help me occupy my brain?
Theo: [sighs] Ah, Ozzie. You’re a freaking genius. It could almost be written about me. They should make a whole TV show about that guy, they really should... [distracted] What ARE you eating?
Theo: Sue who?
Nigel: It’s like a sandwich but with seaweed instead of bred and cold rice and raw fish instead of butter.
Theo: ...isn’t it cheaper to just buy a tin of cat food? Probably tastier too.
Nigel: My parents wouldn’t feed me animal food!
Theo: Oi. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, Manhattan.
Nigel: [horrified] You eat animal food? Like... dog biscuits?
Theo: You eat raw fish in cold rice and seaweed. Who is true animal here, huh? Who is the true animal here? [sighs] You know, it’s a beautiful place here.
[They look out across the playground and the surrounding suburbs.]
Theo: Pity about being stuck here for the next seven years.
Nigel: [choking on sushi] Seven... years...?
Theo: Yep. You want to go home?
Nigel: I can’t. My mum and Togi the butler are coming to pick me up at home time.
Theo: But if you could... would you go home?
Theo: Lucky you.
Nigel: Don’t you have a home to go to?
Theo: Not one I want to go to. I’ve got nowhere to go, nowhere that’d make me any happier than I am now. That’s why I’m stuck up a tree with an adopted Aboriginal kid eating raw fish bait.
Nigel: We could go to class?
Theo: What for? For a fun game of singing “Wheels on the Bus”. You’ve just been ditched by your family. I think you’ve learned enough harsh realities for your first day of school.
Nigel: [sarcastic] How kind.
Theo: I know how you feel. I’ve lost people too.
Nigel: Yeah. Sure.
Theo: My brother’s dead.
Nigel: ...I didn’t know you had a brother.
Theo: Not many do. I’ve got the scars to prove it.
[He lifts some ragged locks of hair to show a vicious scar down the side of his head.]
Nigel: [horrified] He did that to you?
Theo: Not quite. You know what Siamese twins are?
Theo: No. But, yeah, I thought that too but no. Sometimes twins are born stuck together. Like me and my brother. But he died when we were born, so they....
Nigel: [looking ill] Cut him off you...
Theo: Yeah. [weak grin] Maybe raw fish wasn’t the best thing to be eating when you heard that. Sorry. But now, I sometimes wonder... what if I had died and he lived? Would the world be different? Would anything really important change? He’d still get my stupid name, stupid parents, get sent here, and probably ended up buddied with you, Manhattan. How does that sound? To know you hadn’t done anything that was really you... [sighs] I need someone to show me the things in life that I can’t find. I can’t see the things that make true happiness, I must be blind.
[Theo stops. A dangerously inspired look crosses his face.]
Theo: [eyes wide] I’ve got it.
[Theo starts climbing further up the tree.]
Theo: Break the pattern, Manhattan! Ooh, that rhymes... I’m not going to be stuck in this dumb life like the rest of you. Seven years here? No chance. I’ve got two lives to live, my own and the one my brother never had! How does that sound, Manhattan?
Theo: That’s what I like to hear! [sings] Make a joke and I will sigh and you will laugh and I will cry!
[He climbs onto a branch and his weight causes it to sink, lowering him down over the other side of the fence into the back alley way. Nigel follows, baffled at the sudden pace of events.]
Theo: Happiness I cannot feel and love to me is so unreal!
Nigel: What the hell are you doing?
Theo: I’m not happy here. Maybe I’ll be happy somewhere else. Only one way to find out!
Nigel: You can’t just... run away?
Theo: Can’t I? You just watch me!
Nigel: But the police, and, and you’re parents and teachers...
Theo: Pah! I’m not living my life to please them. Are you coming, Manhattan?
Nigel: [glumly] I’ve got to, don’t I?
Theo: No, you don’t.
Nigel: I promised to look after you!
Theo: And a Yang never breaks his word?
Nigel: [getting pissed off now] Pretty much!
Theo: But you’re not a Yang, Manhattan! You’re adopted. It’s not your name you’ve sworn by – you don’t HAVE to come with me. So I’m giving you a choice, something that’s all too rare nowadays. Do you want to run away from home?
Theo: Then you can stay here. [brightly] See ya round, Manhattan!
Nigel: [hurt] You can’t leave me behind! I’ll get lonely! You’ve all I’ve got left!
[Theo is already walking cheerfully up the alleyway. He doesn’t seem to hear.]
Nigel: [upset] Theo...
[Theo turns and points to Nigel, still walking away.]
Theo: And so as you hear these words telling you now of my state!
I tell you to enjoy life! [sighs] I wish I could... but it’s too late.
[Theo turns and keep walking. Nigel watches him head off into the distance, and finally move out of sight. Nigel sighs and, after a moment, quietly climbs back down the tree. Toto’s Africa begins once more.]
[Caption: TIME PASSES... We see Nigel sitting with the other children in class. He doesn’t raise his hand to answer questions. He stares glumly out the window. During games, he wearily plays without enthusiasm. At lunch times, he sits alone. He paces along the fence of the school, clearly with nothing better to do. At a kind of exam, kids are stepping up to count to 100 in front of the class. Nigel does it, weary and bored. We see Dave, Phoebe and Jadi clearly talking about Nigel and casting odd looks at them. Nigel doesn’t care. Nigel is walking through the playground. Something hits him in the back and he fall over. He rolls over and looks around – no one there. Confused and unnerved, he continues... not seeing that his back is covered by a surprisingly large amount of seagull shit, from one of the many circling overhead. When he returns to class the kids laugh. Nigel is annoyed, but when he discovers why they’re laughing he sighs, takes off his jacket and puts it in the bin.]
[Caption: TWO AND A HALF YEARS LATER. An older Nigel, now over nine years old, paces along the fence, then, reaching the end, sigh and turns back the way he came. In a different classroom, he sits with different children. Idly he colours in a mathematics activity book, making little attempt to do the answers. The other kids laugh and argue. When the bell rings, he is least eager to move. At the fence again, Nigel eats some lunch without enjoyment and watches a basketball game on the courts. Kenji is the main player.]
Nigel: Mmm. Needs more satay.
[Finishing his food, Nigel stuffs the plastic wrap in his pocket and glumly starts walking.]
Jason: What you doing?
[We see a cute-looking brown-haired boy with a slightly vacuous expression, this is Jason.]
Jason: You weren’t. You were doing something. You always come here every lunch time. Why?
Nigel: Why do YOU think?
Jason: [stumped] Gee...
Nigel: I’m going to hang out at the garbage dumpster.
Nigel: Maybe I like the smell.
Jason: Oh. [brighter] Can I come too?
Jason: Well, you seem to like it so much.
Nigel: Jason. Am I popular?
Jason: I dunno.
Nigel: Do I have lots of friends?
Jason: I dunno.
Nigel: What DO you know?
Jason: You look a bit lonely.
Nigel: And you don’t?
Jason: I dunno. Guess so. We can be friends.
Nigel: Yeah. Sure.
[Nigel stalks off. Jason follows.]
Nigel: Stop following me!
Jason: But... you’re not going anywhere. Are you?
[Nigel sighs and slumps against the fence.]
Nigel: You’re right. I’m going nowhere. Just like everyone else.
Jason: Aw, don’t get upset. People will laugh.
Nigel: Who cares?
Jason: ...are you gonna get mad if I say “I dunno”?
Nigel: [sighs] No. No, not this time.
[Nigel gets to his feet and crosses over to a huge green garbage dumster sitting on a concrete dais beside two large gates.]
Nigel: Every Friday, a huge truck drives in here, picks up that dumpster, empties it into the back and drives off.
[Jason, only half listening, idly examines some rubbish dumped near the bin.]
Nigel: And we just watch it. Doing nothing. At least they do something. They have some kind of, I dunno, a reason for being here. What’s the point?
[Jason picks up a rusty object and examines it curiously.]
Nigel: You know, Jason, I think this place is worse than any prison. In prison you can try and escape. But here... where is there to escape to? That’s depressing, that is. That’s just screwed. I mean, I could get out of here easily. That gate isn’t even CLOSED, let alone locked. I could go on an adventure. But there’s nothing to come back to. Just this.
[Jason tugs at the object – it is a penknife.]
Nigel: Unless... unless there’s something out there. Maybe if I find it I’ll stop feeling like this... maybe things will finally start to get better. Is that worth a chance? Of course it is. Like that story in the library, you know, The Water Tower?
[Jason looks up sharply.]
Jason: Nigel, that book’s scary.
Nigel: Not to me.
Jason: To everyone else! There’s that thing in the water and it... it does something to that boy... and...
Nigel: And? And he gets better, that’s what. OK, there’s that freaky tattoo on his hand. But he stops being scared. Like the town. He finds something. It’s the kid that doesn’t get absorbed or possessed or tattooed that gets left upset and scared. Well, I’m sick of being the boy that doesn’t get... I dunno, abducted by aliens or whatever the hell it is that happens in the Water Tower.
Jason: You’re weird, Nigel.
Nigel: That’s what’s happened here, dude. Benny, Akiro, Kenji... they all got the tattoo. And I’m left the freak. Well, no more. I’m getting out of here. I’m going to find that... whatever... even if it kills me. I mean, you call this LIFE? Even Mr. Bean has more than a life than I do. Damn it, I’m pathetic. [starts to tear up] Lord, I suck. OH GOD I AM SO COMPLETELY SCREWED!!!
Jason: [nervous] Cheer up, Nige. Hey, what do you think this is?
[Nigel wipes his eyes and turns around.]
Nigel: What’s wha—
[Nigel manages to turn around in such a way he accidentally impales himself on the knife by the shocked Jason. They both stare at each other and then at the knife in Nigel’s stomach.]
Nigel: [mildly annoyed] You stupid bastard.
[Jason cringes in embarrassment and Nigel slowly topples backward onto the ground.]
[Caption: ONE TRIP TO AN INTENSIVE CARE UNIT LATER. At the Yang Household, Nigel lies on the couch, his torso bandaged and his head resting on Bernice’s knee. Akiro can be seen working with a chunky laptop while Kenji sits on the floor reading “AFL FOR COMPLETE MORONS”.]
Nigel: [bored] For the last time, Benny, he didn’t try to kill me. It was just a stupid accident. How many assassins would have a hysterical screaming fit and offer to carry me into the ambulance?
Bernice: He could still have killed you. A little bit to the left and you’d be dead.
Nigel: Typical. I never get any good luck.
Bernice: [anxious] Nigel, you’re not saying you want to die, are you?
Nigel: Why not? It’s gonna happen anyway, sooner or later, isn’t it?
Kenji: Oh, Nigel! Pull yourself together! This is not the attitude that wins. Did “Plugger” Lockett want to die? Now, you have to get up in the morning and say “Today is a day I shall live!”
Bernice: What happens if you get killed?
Kenji: Ah. Well, on that day, you must remember this. [furious] YOU FAILED, LOSER!!!!
Nigel: [rolls eyes] My loving family.
Akiro: Well, this generation of it, anyway.
Nigel: Oh, thanks Akiro. Maybe I’ll see how Riyoshi, Owen and Jose are getting on. They might give a damn when I’m stabbed during little lunch.
Akiro: I gave a damn, Nigel. But it was quite clear the wound was not fatal and you were already receiving medical attention. What more could I do?
Nigel: Come and see me, maybe?
Akiro: [confused] ...I’m seeing you now.
Bernice: And it’s really improving his mood.
Akiro: See? [disgusted] Emotions. Give me a computer any day.
Bernice: [ruffles his hair] Don’t worry, Nige. I still love you.
Nigel: You didn’t visit me either!
Bernice: I only found about it when I came home! None of the girls told me!
Nigel: Get real, Benny. Everyone knew about me being stabbed.
Bernice: Well, yeah. But I didn’t know it was you.
Nigel: And no one mentioned my name?
Bernice: Nope. They just said it was that weird kid with no friends.
Nigel: Who happens to be your brother.
Bernice: They didn’t say that. They don’t believe we’re related.
Akiro: What intellectuals you associate with, Bernice.
Bernice: Oh, piss off, Akiro.
Kenji: Look on the positive, Nigel. You get a whole month off. That means you get weeks to psyche yourself up for the new Doctor Who movie.
Nigel: Whooppee. We all know the Americans are going to screw it up.
Bernice: They might not.
Nigel: Furry blue dolphins that talk? TARDISes that rap? Steven Speilberg? How can it NOT suck?
Akiro: It’s got that guy from Whitnail & I in it.
Kenji: The fat one from Pie in the Sky?
Nigel: See? This is going to be crap...
[Caption: TWO WEEKS LATER. The family are watching the 1996 telemovie with the Pertwee logo. Nigel is still bandaged. He seems to have cheered up a bit though.]
TV: Grace! I remember who I am... I am a PINBALL WIZARD!! IT’S A MIRACLE!
[Kissing noises. Everyone’s eyes widen in surprise.]
Akiro: [stunned] You never saw Sylvester McCoy doing that.
[Nigel’s jaw has dropped in surprise. Uncle Miko notices.]
Nigel’s Dad: First half-human and now this? Tch. I knew I should have tried to outbid that Segal bogan for the franchise!
Nigel’s Mum: Never mind, husband. The Space Chase format seems workable for Channel 9.
Nigel’s Dad: As long as that idiot Kerry doesn’t get involved...
Bernice: Shh! We’re watching this!
TV: Hey, Yamaguchi! Take off the damn skates and step on the gas!!
Kenji: Heh. I like the Master.
[Afterwards, Nigel and Uncle Miko are doing the washing up. Nigel is glum.]
Uncle Miko: Well, they might pick it up for a series, you never know. Nigel, is it me or have you seem unusually depressive of late?
Nigel: I dunno. I got stabbed?
Uncle Miko: Apart from that, little one?
Nigel: I dunno. Life just seems... I dunno.
Uncle Miko: Ah. I understand. I saw your reaction when Dr Who snogged that chick rotten.
Nigel: Why did he do that? I mean... why?
Uncle Miko: I know the Doctor often seems asexual...
Nigel: [upset] Uncle Miko, that is the bitch that KILLED HIM! And he was kissing her! WHY WOULD HE DO SOMETHING AS STUPID THAT?!
Uncle Miko: Ah, Nigel. You are so young and innocent, you have yet to surrender to the lusts of the body.
Nigel: “The lusts”?
Uncle Miko: Yes, the...
[Uncle Miko notices Nigel’s Dad enter with more plates.]
Uncle Miko: Never mind right now. Come round to my bungalow tomorrow and we will discuss it further.
Nigel: OK, Uncle Miko.
[Caption: THE NEXT DAY. Nigel, wearing a fur-lined coat, hurries up to Uncle Miko’s place. Opposite this is the park where he and his brother and sisters were ‘trained’ years ago, with the Torii silhouetted against the sky. Nigel notices an unmarked van on the curb, frowns, shrugs, and then heads up the steps to the front door. He rings the bell. The door opens to reveal Uncle Miko... in a school girl outfit. When he spots Nigel, his expression turns from cheerful to horrified and he slams the door in Nigel’s face. A moment later, the door opens, Uncle Miko reaches out and drags Nigel inside, slamming the door again.]
[Inside Uncle Miko’s room. Nigel looks confusedly at his uncle.]
Uncle Miko: Uh, hi Nigel. How are you?
Nigel: Oh I’m good.
[An uneasy pause.]
Uncle Miko: What do you need?
Nigel: Well, er...hmmm... You know, I can’t remember.
Uncle Miko: You’re probably wondering about the...
[Uncle Miko indicates the schoolgirl outfit.]
Nigel: Yeah... Yeah. The thought did cross my mind that it was a bit...odd.
Uncle Miko: Yes. Well, it’s for a play I’m in.
Uncle Miko: Mmmm, yes. I play... I play a schoolgirl, and I wanted to get into character, so...
[There are animal noises from elsewhere in the house.]
Uncle Miko: [hastily] Anyway, oh yes, I remember why you’re here, Nigel. About that talk.
Uncle Miko: You see, Nigel, you are a child. And what’s the one thing that separates child from adult?
Uncle Miko: Well. Yeah. But innocence. You have not experienced the hellish truth of sexual intercourse... the burning, fire life ecstasy! You think you know pain, Nigel? You know NOTHING! It’s torment, robbing from the minds of men that which separates us from rutting animals – all civilization undone by that desperate urge to smack the Grim Reaper up like the bitch he is!
[Nigel is not following a word of this.]
Nigel: So... what are we talking about again?
Uncle Miko: You’re young, boy. As you grow, your body will change and an uncontrollable surge of hormone chemicals will bubble through your veins and drive you to the brink of madness. You might regain your senses around 21, but you’ll never be the same again. You’ll be compelled to make as many babies as you can, a fiery passion to procreate the human species at any cost!
Nigel: ...is that good?
Uncle Miko: Well, it’ll take your mind off the soul-crushing depression you feel now, won’t it?
Nigel: Guess so.
Uncle Miko: Right. Now, this stupid country insists it will be another six years before you can make sweet love, so that’s up to six years of being trapped in an existential nightmare of overheating bodily fluids! [Nigel grimaces] But if there’s one thing I can do for you, my most obviously-adopted of nephews, I can give you the knowledge so when you finally get past the age of consent you can make it work for you...
[We see the unmarked van. Inside is a SWAT team checking equipment.]
Officer: Any minute now. Get the tear gas ready.
[Uncle Miko crosses to a bookcase and takes out an unmarked video.]
Nigel: Um, thanks for that, Uncle Miko but...
Uncle Miko: But nothing! Writing, reading, mathematics, computer literacy... they are as nothing as compared to giving a woman multiple orgasms, an intricate skill many waste their lives failing to achieve! Such power in your impressively large hands, my boy, and the world will be yours. Or the straight female percentage of it anyway. And while Kenji and all the others are lost hopelessly in their puberty hell, you at least will know what to do with the end result. Do you WANT that power, Nigel? DO YOU?!
Nigel: ...do I get a cape?
Uncle Miko: Maybe. If she’s into that kinky stuff. It’s situational. Rather like morality. Here.
[With reverence, he hands Nigel the video.]
Uncle Miko: This contains the deepest of mysteries, all the knowledge of five thousand years of sexual exploitation and experimentation. There is nothing anyone can teach you that isn’t contained within this video. Except perhaps bull elephant sodomy... but I haven’t perfected that yet... never mind.
Nigel: Will this make me happy, Uncle Miko?
Uncle Miko: [sighs] It might, child. It might. And if it does... well...
Uncle Miko: You remember that one with Tom Baker and Romana in Paris?
Uncle Miko: As good as that.
Nigel: [bugs eyes] Wowsers.
Uncle Miko: Oh yeah. That’s what they were doing when Duggan and K9 weren’t around...
[Back at the van.]
Officer: He’s up! Go! Go! Go!
[The van’s back door opens, and SWAT team pour out and knock down the door.]
[Inside, Uncle Miko shoves the video at Nigel.]
Uncle Miko: Run, Nigel, run!
[Nigel turns and sprints off as the officers swarm into the sitting room, forcing poor Uncle Miko face down onto the floor and handcuffing him.]
Uncle Miko: This is outrageous!
Officer: Mister Hamato Mikosaura Yang, you are under arrest for being in an international pornography ring. You have the right to remain silent, but I wouldn’t encourage you to do so. Anything you DO say will be taken down, altered to my satisfaction and used in a court of law to send you down for a good many years [loses temper] so start confessing!!
[Uncle Miko is pulled to his feet and marched out the door.]
Uncle Miko: Do you mind, I am a card-carrying member of the Cult of Kanbo-Ala, you know...!
[One of the officers spots Nigel struggling to open the back door.]
Officer: Hey! Hey, you, kid!
[Nigel finally gets out of the house. The cops follow.]
[Nigel sprints out into the backyard, through the gate and across the road into a park. There are the sounds of pursuit. He sprints up the hill, too busy looking over his shoulder to realize he is running straight towards the Torii. When he finally notices, he struggles to halt his momentum but stumbles through the arch, shimmers and vanishes in the blink of an eye. The police arrive, but there is no sign of Nigel anywhere.]
[Nigel falls to rough stone ground. He looks up. He is lying on a flat-topped rocky pillar just beyond an identical Torii. The pillar rises out of the darkness in a huge rocky cavern lit by sinister glowing fog. Nigel looks around. Hanging from chains are thin cages in which are trapped moaning zombie corpses. Nigel cautiously gets to his feet and looks around.]
Nigel: Holy hell...
Demon Babe: Call it what you will.
[He flinches as he realizes a tall Demon Babe stands behind him, a bald woman with white eyes, red skin, horns and a skintight red lycra bodysyuit. A yellow ribbon tied to one horn loops around her, double helix style. Nigel hugs the video to his chest, terrified. He understandably doesn’t recognize the Demon Babe is a doppelganger for his mother Christie.]
Demon Babe: Hell, Yomi, the Underworld, the Land of Gloom... I call it “Home”.
Nigel: This... wasn’t what I planned...
Demon Babe: You do surprise me, handsome. [strokes his chin] But when you dive through a Torii full of negative thoughts, knowing what might happen... do you really expect sympathy?
Nigel: No, but it’d be nice, anyway. So... is this it? Am I here, forever?
Demon Babe: [shrugs] Well, you didn’t die, so you might be able to get out on a technicality. I can’t persuade you to stay?
Nigel: Um... it’s... really nice here... but I wouldn’t want to do more than visit.
Demon Babe: Then simply return the way you came, through the Torii.
[Nigel looks back through the Torii. It is at the edge of the pillar – if you walked through, you’d fall over the edge into the darkness. He looks doubtfully at the Demon Babe.]
Nigel: There’s a catch. If I’ve learned one thing after ten years on this stupid world, it’s there’s always a catch.
Demon Babe: You mean APART from the anti-terrorist squad waiting for you?
Nigel: Yeah. Apart from that.
Demon Babe: Well, to pass through the gateway properly, you must be pure of heart. And are you pure of heart, Nigel Yang? Can you clear your mind of all your doubts and negative thoughts? Can you give peace of mind a chance?
[Nigel looks downcast.]
Demon Babe: Oh, hey now, no need to look so forlorn. There are worse places to spend all eternity... [frowns] Well, actually, no there aren’t, but on the bright side, it’s never dull around here. Unlike Canberra. But why would an innocent child like you run through a transdimensional gateway in such despair? With only a VHS video casette for company?
[She holds out a red hand. Meekly, Nigel hands it over.]
Nigel: Uncle Miko gave it to me. He said it would explain everything and set me up for life.
[The Demon Babe examines the video, unimpressed.]
Demon Babe: Well, the best laid plans... Would you like to watch it? You might get one out of two, then.
[She indicates a trolley with a VCR and a TV standing on a previously empty outcrop of rock. The Demon Babe loads the cassette and picks up a remote. Nigel joins her.]
Demon Babe: What’s on this, anyway?
Nigel: Something to do with multi-organisms.
Demon Babe: [sarcastic] A nature video. Let joy be unconfined.
[The TV shows an old fashioned countdown. We cut to the reactions of the pair.]
Demon Babe: Meh. This isn’t much. Just some Sheila on a rooftop. Oh, she’s taking her clothes off very slowly. What a surprise. She’ll get skin cancer doing that in such direct sunlight. Ooh, and now a circus midget has arrived and wants a snog. She’ll have to get down on her knees to...
[Something unspeakable occurs on the screen.]
Demon Babe: Unholy shit! I’ve never seen someone “go up” on a girl before...
[More stuff happens.]
Demon Babe: Oh my... there are places NO HUMAN BEING should have STUBBLE! AND THAT IS ONE OF THOSE PLACES! [grimaces] How the hell can they all breathe doing that? I hope they’ve got a quarantine license for those spider monkeys...
[Violent animal noises.]
Demon Babe: ARGH! Look, not a single one of those... they are definitely NOT enjoying themselves! This is revolting! I bet not a bit of it is consensual! How can that camera man look his family in the eye and... oh, hang on, he’s putting down the camera... and now he’s JOINING IN! Oh, no, that’s not a llama, is it?
[The sound of gunfire and explosions.]
Demon Babe: Oh, like anyone is going to use live ammunition...
[Lots of explosions. The Demon Babe blinks in surprise.]
Demon Babe: I stand corrected. Oh no, those girls’ spine definitely were not meant to bend like that... and those IV drips should really be applied by a qualified nurse. I do not believe that wombat in a nurse outfit is a qualified medical practitioner...
[Some horrible noises.]
Demon Babe: UGH! That, you see, THAT is what happens when bodily orifices are not used the way they are intended! Does the expression “one way street” mean nothing? And what are those nuns doing with those glass pipes? [blinks] OK... I can think of a number of ways that would go horribly, horribly wrong. Those things are way too shallow to be shoved up there... they’ll break, there’ll be broken glass everywhere and...
[A lot of crashes and screaming.]
Demon Babe: Oh. That’s what they intended. Oh, oh that is just wrong... just get an ambulance! Maybe a swat team! Those 57 prostitutes and nuns need medical attention... DON’T DRINK THE BLOOD! Oh, that is not hygienic, not hygienic at all... ewww, spitting out broken glass... oh my god... so much cellulite...
[Curious slurping noises.]
Demon Babe: What the hell? What are they doing? Making pea and ham soup? With boiled eggs? Did we suddenly turn to a cooking show or something? Hang on, they’re pouring it down a glass tube. Like one of those ones they rammed... oh my... it IS one of those ones... the poor police woman on the tanning bed! Oh my. ALL OF IT?! I don’t believe it, it’s a trick, that is not humanly possible...
[A gurgling plug hole noise.]
Demon Babe: Oh god. She’s going into traction for the rest of her life. And so will her gynecologist. Why on... hang on, they’re putting her in a bungee cord and... no way...
[A noisy splashing sound. The Demon Babe doubles over and starts vomiting. Nigel stares at the television, expressionless yet transfixed.]
[Caption: ONE HOUR AND THIRTY-THREE MINUTES LATER. The credits are rolling. The Demon Babe is still dry-heaving. Nigel, expression unchanged, reaches out and presses stop. He seems lost in thought for a moment.]
Nigel: Right. Now I get it.
[Nigel smiles slightly, his whole bearing changed. Relaxed, confident, in control. He seems older, calmer. He manages to eject the video cassette in a cool way, flipping it into his jacket pocket like a gunslinger. In one smooth motion, he turns on his heel and strides, without any hesitation, straight back through the Torii, and is swallowed up before he reaches the other side. The Demon Babe looks nauseated.]
Demon Babe: Well... this sure sucks...
[She groans, unwell.]
[Nigel strides out through the Torii and into the park. There’s no one else around, but Nigel doesn’t even seem to notice. He smoothly takes out a pair of sunglasses and slides them on without breaking stride.]
Nigel: Time to make up for lost... well... time. The Big N is in the house.
Nigel: It’s time this school was remade in my image. Comprehendé?