Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Fall of the Big N (iii)

[A David Jones style massive department store. A small stage has been erected facing the main entrance. A large crowd of people, mostly in formal dress, stand before as Nigel’s band play. The music is generally being enjoyed and a couple of pre-teens are dancing. Harry is on drums, Nigel, Tegan and Lucy vocals, Jason is playing bass (replacing Jadi) and looking surprisingly badass in a Sid Vicious sort of way.]

Nigel: I’ve seen the pictures, I read the stories now
All the good times in the days of old
You look around you, you see the legacy
Of all the empires that just went all wrong

Lucy: You look around you and what do you find?
Hollow visions that just went all wrong
No angry people? No decent, senseless crimes?
Life was simpler in the days of old!

All: Are these the Golden Years, oh won’t you tell me now?
Are these the Golden Years, oh won’t you tell me now?
Are these the Golden Years, oh won’t you tell me now?
We should be living them!

[The music that starts to die down.]

Nigel: Golden years, golden years, golden years... [louder] Thank you! Thank you very much!

[A little later. More people have arrived. We may not notice that one of them is a nun. The media are around. Nigel is being interviewed by a news reporter while sitting on stage with the others.]

Reporter: So will there be another album?

Nigel: You might think that but I couldn’t possibly comment.

[Nigel laughs. None of the others get it.]

Nigel: Seriously, it’s all up in the air. We’re needing to replace Jadi Morok on bass, but no one knows where he’s got to...

Tegan: Plus of course the anti-Mark-Latham songs we’ve been writing? All useless after that election.

Harry: So, it looks like we’re stuck doing cover versions for the foreseeable.

Reporter: And what about rumors that this is your last ever performance?

Nigel: Eh? Who’s saying that?

Harry: [shrugs] It’s our last performance as high school kids, maybe that’s what they’re on about?

Lucy: Yeah, we’re not going to split up until at least the HSC marks come out.

Reporter: OK. Thanks for that.

Tegan: No worries.

[The reporter and cameramen wander off. Nigel turns to Lucy.]

Nigel: [astonished] Say WHAT now?

Lucy: Come on, Nigella, you didn’t think I was going to be a glorified backing singer all my life, did you? I’m going to be a doctor.

Nigel: [hurt] Oh, well, as long as you wring money out of the sick and feeble, that’s all right is it? What about the rest of you? You all got non musical careers lined up as well?

Harry: [awkwardly] Well...

Nigel: Oh, shut up, Harry. Get ready for the next cover. [bitterly] Something appropriate. Like Stuck In The Middle With You or Tainted Love... [sulks] I bet Sid Vicious never had to put up with crap like this.

[Simone approaches. She makes eye contact with Jason, who nods.]

Nigel: Hey, babe.

Simone: Nige. [sighs] Guess you didn’t believe that postcard then.

Nigel: [indicates the others] That band of ungrateful scum-sucking biological disasters want to split up the band! I had enough trouble trying to replace Jadi, now I need a new keyboardist, bass player, lead singer... and drummer. [shouts] Mind you, a woodpecker in a tin can could hold better time! You make RINGO look talented, you tit.

[Harry flips him the finger.]

Simone: [serious] I think it’s time to say goodbye.

Nigel: Oh? I thought we had another set to play...

Simone: No. I mean, you and me. Us. To say goodbye to each other.

Nigel: [stares at her] You’re leaving.

Simone: Yes.

Nigel: ...and?

Simone: For good, I mean. We’re not going to see each other again.

Nigel: Get real, Simone. This is the age of broadband and social networking sites...

Simone: Look. It’s a big world out there. Sometimes you can just get lost in it and...

Nigel: What in the name of kangaroo buggery are you talking about?

Simone: Just... [trying not to get emotional] Goodbye.

Nigel: Wait a minute...

[But she’s gone. As she passes the nun, she slows down.]

Simone: He’s all yours.

[The nun gives a disturbing grin. At the front, the MC, a bald store manager, is addressing the crowd.]

MC: ...and to round off the evening, celebrating the new renovations, Yellow Fever And How To Cure It will play their final song together.

[The band begin to play. Nigel is a bit put out by Simone’s departure, but in a surprising moment of professionalism, concentrates on his (quite decent) performance. Note: the last word of each line is sung by the whole band.]

Nigel: Most people I know think that I’m CRAZY!
And I know, at times, I act a little HAZY!
But, if that’s my way, and you should KNOW IT
In every way, help me to SHOW IT!

[The nun is fiddling with a shape under a tarpaulin that’s clearly on wheels, inching it closer towards the stage, occasionally bumping past audience members.]

Nigel: For most of my life, I lived a DELUSION
Yes, material gain has caused me CONFUSION!
But, slowly in time, I learnt that my PLACE IS
To tell everyone I meet the glory that GOD IS!!!!

[The other band members stop playing and stare at Nigel in mute horror. A long pause]

Nigel: [shrugs] And that’s why
Most people I know think that I’m CRAZY!
And I know, at times, I act a little HAZY!
But, if that’s my way, and you should KNOW IT
In every way, help me to SHOW IT!

[The music dies down. The audience applaud.]

Nigel: Thank you! I’m Nigel Verkoff, that lot are Lucy Gou, Harry Hill, Jason Kane, Tegan Who’s Last Name Isn’t Jovanka But I Honestly Couldn’t Remember It. We WERE Yellow Fever and How To Cure It and that was our last performance, [shouts at band] YOU BUNCH OF FAT-FACED SNIVELING TRAITORS!

[The audience laughs, assuming this is some comedy routine.]

Nigel: [to audience] You lot aren’t helping!


[Silence falls. Everyone turns to face the Nun, who stands before the shrouded object.]

Nun: Look at me, Nigella!

[Nigel has no idea who she is.]

Nigel: Nope. Sorry. Got nothing. Who are you?

Nun: I’m just the poor bride of Christ whose heart you ripped out! I saw what you were doing with all those underage school girls, and THIS!

[She delves behind the shape and picks up a metal bucket, and then empties the contents over the floor – a heap of dead and smelly fish. The audience start to recoil and are making disgusted noises and jeering at Nigel. “You sicko” is shouted more than once. Jason has taken off his guitar, getting ready to run.]

Nigel: [smiling] Oh, this is one hell of a Chaser prank! Dude! This is good! This gonna be on CNNNNNNN?

Nun: This is no prank, you fucker!

[Everyone looks shocked at that.]

Nun: I swallowed your lies, you pervert! Now YOU can swallow THIS!

[She tears the tarpaulin off to reveal a store mannequin that has a blond wig, sunglasses and tight T-shirt, so it looks rather like Nigel. Except for all the wires and plastic explosives strapped to it. A large flashing digital display is on the front, counting down from 45 seconds. Immediately people are screaming and starting to run as the numbers tick down.]

Nun: [laughs insanely] You’ve got thirty two seconds to remember all the good times!

[The nun turns and runs off into the crowd struggling to flee the store. Nigel stares in shock as the bomb continues to tick to oblivion.]

[In Magnus’ limousine, Magnus is watching an in built television. The chaos can be seen, relaying from the live broadcast of the cameraman. He laughs.]

Magnus: That girl is wasted as a singing telegram, she really is.

[On the screen, the MC grabs the camera and shouts into it.]

MC: [hysterical] I’d just like to make it clear we in no way endorse Nigel Verkoff or his actions...

[In the store, chaos reigns. There are less than fifteen seconds left. The band are fleeing the stage and running for their lives. They are too far from the entrance, which is clogged with people trying to escape and the bomb is between them. Jason runs for the staff entrance to the level, shoves open the doors and ushers the others through. Nigel pauses on the threshold to look at the bomb. Ten seconds.]

Nigel: Man, I lead such an interesting life.

[He bolts through the doors.]

[A service corridor branching off in several directions. Jason and Nigel are at the lead.]

[The bomb ticks. Eight seconds.]

[Service corridor.]

Jason: Look after yourself, Nige.

Nigel: Like I do anything else...

[Jason suddenly stops running. Nigel, not noticing, keeps running down the corridor. Jason rushes back to the others and shoves them down a side corridor.]

Jason: Dead end! This way!

Tegan: What about Nigel?

Lucy: Come on!

[They run out of view down the side corridor, abandoning Nigel.]

[Five seconds.]

[Nigel sprints down a flight of steps. He slows slightly as he registers Jason, Lucy, Tegan and Harry have seemingly disappeared and he’s entirely on his own.]

[Two seconds.]

[Nigel is running down a bare and industrial concrete corridor, totally lost and alone.]

[One second. Zero. Nothing happens. The last few customers struggling to get out the door realize the bomb is a dud and then relax. A few laugh hysterically. Then the mannequin is engulfed in a brilliant white flash. By the time the roar of the explosion is heard, everyone is screaming as a howling tornado of heat and light levels the store and everything inside it. Windows shatter, pillars collapse, the ceiling comes crashing down and everything flares to white...]

[Nigel smashes through two fire doors and emerges into a back alleyway behind the shopping precinct. He staggers to a halt, bent double catching his breath.]

Nigel: Man! I can’t believe I got out of there alive! [sighs] Still, mum said there'd be days as bad as this...

Magnus: [VO] Oh, Nigel. Even if you live, you will see no better days than these.

[Nigel looks up sharply. Magnus emerges from the shadows, wearing a long coat.]

Magnus: Your career just perished live a few moments ago. You think anyone is going to want you now they’ve seen you sexually harass a nun into committing suicide and blowing up a department store?

Nigel: [cautious] Hey, Kyle Sandilands still has a career. Hello, Maggie.

Magnus: Hello, Nigel. You recognize me, then?

Nigel: Took me a moment with the premature baldness.

Magnus: [shrugs] Psychosomatic reaction.

Nigel: And I thought it might have been chemotherapy. What can I do you for? An autograph?

Magnus: Your autograph will only be worth something if it’s on a signed confession, Nigel. Your social standing? Kaput. I’m quietly confident your record company has dropped you like a hot brick, and don’t think any of your friends are coming to rescue you. Not that you had many left to start with.

Nigel: [laughs] This is some kind of revenge conspiracy thing?

Magnus: If you like.

Nigel: Planned for years, a budget of millions, an army of stooges?

Magnus: It’s working out cheaper than I expected, but basically correct.

Nigel: [calm] Magnus. I have but one thing to say to you. [beat] You seriously need to get laid.

[Nigel turns and sprints past Magnus, who makes no move to stop him, running up towards the loading bay. Three MIBs step out of the shadows ahead of him, silently barring his way. Nigel skids to a halt, turns and runs back the other direction, but two MIBs and the Sinister Woman are already waiting. He’s trapped.]

Magnus: [chuckling] No, no, no, Nigel! There’s no escape for you, I’m afraid. You’re going to die tonight and I am looking forward to the pleasure of being the one who kills you.

Nigel: I’m sensing a little hostility here, Maggie.

Magnus: You’re not taking this seriously.

Nigel: [icy] Don’t you remember what I did you the LAST time I took you seriously?

Magnus: Oh yes. Emergency blood transfusions. Anti-radiation treatment. Seven injections every day. Four in my arm, one just above the liver, one in my heart... and one in my throat. Every day. Every. Single. Day.

Nigel: And they all turned out to be a placebo. How you must have laughed.

Magnus: We have many scores to settle, you and I – and now’s the time to settle them.

Nigel: Oh, we’re not going to go through all this again are we? How many times do I have to apologize?

Magnus: You haven’t apologized once!

Nigel: [mock surprised] Haven’t I? Oh, that’ll probably be because I’m not sorry, you fuckwit!

Magnus: Oh, I feel greatly cheered having heard that, Nigel.

Nigel: Does this mean you’re not going to kill me?

[Magnus smiles and shakes his head.]

Nigel: And there you were, threatening to halfway surprise me for once. I guess—

[Suddenly, out of nowhere, Magnus slams his fist into Nigel’s face with a punch that slams him back against the wall, striking the ground hard. As Nigel struggles to get to his feet, Magnus punches him in the stomach, launching him straight back into the wall. As he bounces back a second time, Magnus takes Nigel’s arm and snaps it over his knee. Nigel screams in pain.]

Magnus: That’s good. That’s actually working for me, that is.

[He plucks the glasses off Nigel’s face, examines them, and then snaps them apart with his bare hands and throws them to the ground.]

Nigel: [sobbing in pain] You... you really don’t... don’t have self-control, do you?

Magnus: No. I’m too tired, too sick. All I’ve got the strength for is hating you. But it’s more than enough to do the job. And I’m going to see it through right to the bitter en—

[With his remaining arm, Nigel punches Magnus in the stomach, then again across the jaw. He flings himself over Magnus, driving him to the ground.]

Magnus: Get off me!

Nigel: Ask nicely, or I might take offense at this stupid vendetta of yours!

Magnus: [struggling] You’re dead already! Why not accept it!

Nigel: Oh, dear GOD you are pathetic! That’s all you’ve got left? Hating me? Is that all you want? Me dead? Russian diplomat’s child with an inheritance of millions and diplomatic immunity can’t find anything else to live for? [snorts] Cry me a river, bitch!

[The MIBs rush Nigel. One kicks him in the leg, causing Nigel to buckle and crash to the ground. One grabs his hair, pulls his head back and drives his fist into Nigel’s face. The Sinister Woman watches on as the second MIB slams Nigel’s head down against the ground. Magnus is getting to his feet.]

Magnus: Enough. Get him to the car.

[Magnus’ limo. Nigel lies sprawled on the floor. Magnus sits with his feet propped up on Nigel. The Sinister Woman sits beside him.]

Magnus: Nearly there. Almost over at last. Jadi, Dave, Phoebe, Jason and now for the finale.

[Magnus idly jabs the cigarette lighter in, then releases it. He gives it a critical look as it glows with heat, then absently stabs it into Nigel’s back. He screams, regaining consciousness.]

Nigel: WOW! Cleansing fire! Halleluyah!

[Smoke sizzles from between his shoulder blades.]

Nigel: Bit higher, Gabby! Oh, wait, sorry, I thought I was being tortured by someone I give a tinker’s cuss about! Trying be more unexpectedly cruel, if you can? Hah! There are brothels on Broadway I’d pay more to get this kinky crap – and better quality of service too! Bet you’ve never got a gushy orgasm with weak follow through like that, you sick tosser!

[Magnus angrily slams his feet down on Nigel’s shoulders.]

Nigel: [pained] You really are new at this, aren’t you? You can’t drown someone in pain if they can swim!

[Magnus kicks him repeatedly. Nigel slumps.]

Nigel: Mind you, my freestyle IS a bit rusty...

[He goes limp.]

Sinister Woman: [trying not to sound concerned] Sir, if you keep this up, he might die before we get there.

Magnus: I’m taking no chances.

[A corridor leading to a triangular room. The far wall, the longest, has a single door, closed at present. Magnus strides towards it, follows by his MIBs. Nigel is dazed, bloodied and in clear pain. His arms are tied behind his back with cable ties, as are his ankles. He needs to be carried into the room.]

Magnus: Here we are then, friend Verkoff. Not a cheerful place to die, but death isn’t often cheerful.

Nigel: [weakly] Speak... for yourself... Maggie.

Magnus: Save your breath.

Nigel: Why? You’re going to kill me, aren’t you?

Magnus: Duh. Of course I am. But I’m willing to give you a choice of how your life ends.

Nigel: A choice of how to die? Fine... [inhales deeply] Breathlessly with a naked Delta Goodrem and some whipped cream, please.

Magnus: Not one of the options available, I’m afraid.

Nigel: Heh... and you call yourself civilized...

[Magnus turns to Nigel. He is now carrying a very sharp carving knife.]

Magnus: Civilized? Me? When did I EVER say that?

Nigel: [unafraid] So what... are the options?

[Magnus gently strokes the knife over Nigel’s cheek.]

Magnus: Well, it’s either my way or the booby prize. And no, no actual boobies involved.

Nigel: What’s your way?

Magnus: My way? I’m glad you asked. What I intend to do is give you a teeny, tiny injection. Just a local anesthetic, nothing gratuitous, perfectly safe, clean needles and everything.

Nigel: So far so good.

Magnus: Then I chain your hands together, and loop them over THAT [points] hook so you end up dangling from the ceiling just above the floor. I haven’t done the measurements, but I’m still REASONABLY sure you won’t be more than a few centimeters above the floor. Might get achy after a while, but I’m sure the local anesthetic will take care of that.

Nigel: Then what?

Magnus: I’m SO glad you asked. Then I take THIS knife and cut you open from here...

[He places the tip of the knife at Nigel’s throat and then points it to his groin.]

Magnus: here. You won’t feel a thing, and you’ll be wide awake to see me remove your internal organs one by one, waving them up in your face until you die of blood loss, a hollow, empty shell of cold meat. [sighs happily] It sort of mirrors what you did to me, really.

Nigel: You’re not going to have sex with my corpse or anything, are you?

Magnus: [stares] Don’t be disgusting.

Nigel: Don’t pretend, Maggie. We all know this is frustrated homosexual longing on your part, you should have gone out during the Mardis Gras and got yourself laid by some blonde surfer type.

Magnus: Shut up!

Nigel: You’re not disagreeing with me, though, are you?

Magnus: No, I’m going to kill you! Make your choice!

Nigel: I’ll take the booby prize.

[Magnus grins.]

Magnus: [demonic whisper] Oh, god bless you, Nigel.

[He thrusts the knife at Nigel, then pulls it free – he’s cut the cable tie holding Nigel’s hands together. He does the same with Nigel’s feet.]

Magnus: Let him go.

[The MIB release Nigel, who stumbles and then collapses.]

Nigel: [in pain] So... what’s the booby prize?

Magnus: This is. Can’t you tell where we are, Nigel? [indicates] This is the home of the Jekka Tatvi, well, since it was abandoned after 911 so the funds could be diverted into the war of terror. This is the site of your greatest triumph.

Nigel: [coughs] No, I think you’ll find that was back at high school involving a truly disturbing amount of pubescent girls. I never gave this place a second thought.

[Annoyed, Magnus crouches down to hiss in Nigel’s face.]

Magnus: Then it will just have to remain the site of your ultimate defeat.

[Nigel gives him an odd look.]

Nigel: It’s a bit over-the-top-with-Jim, isn’t it? Talk about melodramatic...

Magnus: Perhaps. [rises] This is the maze level, slightly modified to become the borderland between life and death.

Nigel: Loaded with deadly traps, I suppose?

Magnus: You’ll find out. This is a place where everything is determined and inevitable. You know, I wasn’t quite sure what to call it. Labyrinthian Murder Machine sprung to mind.

Nigel: [rolls eyes] It’s Labyrinthine, not Labyrinthian.

Magnus: Whatever. The “Murder Machine” bit is completely accurate.

Nigel: Meh. I’ve got out of worse.

Magnus: No. You haven’t. And you never will. You know, I am really interested in what you’ll look like when this is over.

Nigel: Your envy of my good looks is entirely understandable.

Magnus: Show him his reflection.

[The Sinister Woman holds a circular mirror, letting Nigel see his battered face.]

Nigel: Ah. Point. I suppose I won’t live long enough for bruises and cuts to heal? This is lame.

Magnus: This is death. Your death. Get him up.

[The MIBs drag Nigel to his feet. The door slides up, and Magnus steps through. The MIBs shove Nigel to the doorway. He stumbles, nearly falls, then with sudden speed and agility, turns and runs for freedom. The Sinister Woman grabs his arm and, grimacing, twists him around. Nigel cries out in pain.]

Nigel: All right! ALL RIGHT!

[The Sinister Woman turns him and shoves him violently through the door. Nigel howls.]

Nigel: AGH! Did you just stab me or something?

[The Sinister Woman doesn’t say anything. Nigel is lying inside the maze, with corridors twisting away in all directions at sharp right angles. Magnus is looking around idly.]

Nigel: What did she just do to me?

Magnus: Oh, nothing, nothing. Compared to what I’m going to do to you.

Nigel: [grins sickly] You SO want to shag me, don’t you?

Magnus: [smiles back] In a few minutes, Nigel Verkoff, having sex with you will not only be necrophilia, it will also be a highly inadvisable health hazard.

Nigel: That’s what all the ugly girls say. So what? [struggles to rise] There a minotaur in here or what?

Magnus: Oh no. The booby prize means I do to you what you did to me. With a few TINY adjustments.

[Nigel looks at him, but doesn’t say anything, his bravado starting to falter.]

Magnus: Instead of a shed, it’s a maze. And instead of a blue light bulb, we have some GENUINE plutonium. Oh yeah, Nigel, this is the real deal – as befits the Big N.

[Magnus points to the door.]

Magnus: In precisely one minute after the door closes, the maze will be flooded with a lethal dose of radiation which will alter ionize every drop of water in your body, changing the molecules until it stops being water and turns into.. well, some other chemical. HO, rather than H2O. Hydrogen peroxide I think it’s called.

Nigel: [quiet] Doesn’t sound too bad.

Magnus: You’ll be surprised. Water is the most basic part of life, even at the cellular level. That’s eighty per cent of your entire body ruined like that [snaps fingers]. Your body can’t do its normal thing, it can’t even process some genuine water you might take in later.

Nigel: So I’ll die.

Magnus: More than that, you’ll fall apart – from the inside out – in a massive chemical breakdown.

Nigel: Unless I get out of the maze in time.

Magnus: Which is impossible.

Nigel: Is it?

Magnus: [grins] I’m betting your life on it. Of course, there’s an exit, and, yes, if you clear the maze in time you will escape with your life. But by the time you get there, you’ll probably be microwaved. And we get to watch your rapid and agonizing demise on glorious hi-definition plasma display!

Nigel: So what’s the twist?

Magnus: What makes you think there’s a twist?

Nigel: Unlike you, I have an imagination.

[Magnus shrugs.]

Magnus: There’s a door. But it might be locked. Of course, I could be lying.

Nigel: So you want to see me to die trying to get to a door that I won’t be open?

Magnus: Or I might be wanting to see you lay down and die even though there’s a genuine escape route on offer.

Nigel: You really missed your calling, Maggie. Reality TV creator.

Magnus: [shakes head] You’re still joking and posturing. Don’t you understand this? You are going to die. You do not get to see the sun rise again. You stop. You cease to exist. Your life ends HERE and NOW.

Nigel: Yeah. But at least I have a life to end.

Magnus: What?

Nigel: [shakes head] Honestly, Maggie. Is this all you’ve got in your miserable existence? Revenge? What happens when I’m gone? What the hell are you going to do then? You’ve got nothing else, do you? No friends, no family, nothing. Six years since we last met. And what have you done in them? Me? I only passed the HSC, lost my virginity, had sex a truly impressive amount of times, became a celebrity, got a rock band, oh, hell, I even delivered three babies. From a girl I banged. You can kill me, but you can’t stop my brief life being made of awesome and forged in the fires of Mount Coolio. You wasted your life, Magnus, and that’s a hell of a lot nastier than anything I tried to do to you.

[He pushes himself from the wall.]

Nigel: Go on then. Get out of here. I’ve got an appointment with the afterlife and YOU are not invited.

Magnus: [softly] I’m impressed.

[He turns to leave when suddenly the door slams down over the exit, trapping Nigel and Magnus in the maze. There are hydraulic hisses and servos whirring – the door is closed for good. A regular ticking begins to crackle in the background.]

Magnus: [stunned] No... no, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be... I... I don’t understand!

Nigel: [trying to stay calm] I take it this isn’t part of your plan?

[Magnus runs to the door and thumps his fists against it, shouting angrily.]

Magnus: Gracelands, you fool, let me out of here! Open the door this instant! Instantly, do you hear? The countdown will have started by now!

[Nigel laughs painfully.]

Nigel: I’ll take that as a ‘no’ then.

Magnus: Release me! I am your employer and I command you to OPEN THIS DOOR! LET ME OUT!

[Magnus kicks the door furiously, to no avail.]

Magnus: Cretins! Morons! Idiots! Halfwits! Imbeciles! You do NOT have the WILL to oppose me!

[A long silence.]


[He rounds on Nigel.]

Magnus: YOU! You’ve brought this down upon me!

Nigel: [laughs painfully] You’re far too modest. This was all you, Maggie.

[Suddenly, the ticking stops. The lights start to pulse blood red, on and off. Gradually build up Toto’s “Africa” in the background. Magnus looks around slowly, terrified.]

Magnus: [numbly] It’s started... and we’re finished!

Nigel: Is the other door unlocked?

[He grabs Magnus by the scruff of his neck.]


Magnus: [dazed] Yes... b-but it’s at the other end of the maze... we can’t get there in time!

Nigel: Who’s “we”, pale face?

[Disgusted, Nigel releases Magnus and looks around for which route to take. Magnus is hyperventilating with fear now, as if each red flash is causing him physical pain.]

Magnus: [groans] The radiation will ravage your body long before you get there! It’s stealing our lives right this second! [sobbing laugh] Glorious, isn’t it! We die together, and it ends in a draw... And I always thought you’d win... Any last words, Nigel?

Nigel: [glares] Time’s running out. You think I’m going to waste my breath on you?

[Nigel turns, placing his left hand against the corridor wall. He then runs off, keeping his hand touching the wall as it twists and turns. After a few moments he is out of sight. Bring up the music as, realizing he’s alone, Magnus starts to beat his fists against the door to no avail.]

[Nigel continues his way through the maze, trying to control his frustration as he has to double back over several dead ends, but he dare not break contact with the wall – he has to keep following it until he finally ends up at the exit. He picks up some more speed.]

[Magnus continues to scream and batter the door. He’s starting to sweat with panic.]

[Nigel runs around a corner and heads into a side corridor taking him entirely the wrong direction. He tries to keep his temper, but he’s rapidly tiring and getting slower.]

[Magnus slowly slides to his knees, still sobbing and beating at the door.]

[Nigel is struggling to keep a brisk pace now. The maze opens up a lot. He’s visibly tempted to break the pattern, but nevertheless continues to follow the wall as he lingers, getting nowhere.]

[Magnus struggles to bang on the door, but loses the strength. His arms fall to his sides.]

Magnus: Oh... my head... hurts...

[Nigel is walking with difficulty. His breathing is heavy.]

Nigel: [hoarse] Dying’s bad enough. Do I have to have a stomach ache as well?

[He coughs nastily, as the corridor seems to spin around him. Shaking his head to clear his gaze, he manages to climb around a corner, his vision blurs again. With a groan he falls down. He struggles back to his feet and stumbles on.]

[The hyperventilating Magnus is still slumped by the door, shaking his head as if trying to stay awake.]

Magnus: It’s... not... fair...

[The maze spins around him faster and faster. Eyes peeled back in terror, Magnus’ mouth opens in a silent scream and he noiselessly falls back onto the floor, clutching at his chest, then goes limp. His sightless eyes stare blindly up at the ceiling.]

[Further in the maze, Nigel has fallen to the ground. Dripping with sweat, he painfully crawls forward. Ahead is another doorway, just out of reach. Nigel struggles one last inch, then slumps. His eyelids flutter. Everything is going dark. The music rapidly fades out.]

Nigel: [sighs] Oh well... could’ve... been... worse...

[His eyelids close and he lies still on the floor, right in front of the door. The red lights continue to pulse in the silence. A long pause. Nigel doesn’t move.]



Matthew Blanchette said...

You really just want to leave him dead, Ewen? Aren't you afraid that somebody will pull an And Another Thing... on ol' Nigey once you're gone? ;-)

Youth of Australia said...

The thing is, this is a PREQUEL.

It's the equivalent of killing off Luke Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith. Makes the plot of Star Wars slightly difficult, doesn't it?

Imagine if the First Doctor got killed by an Imperial Dalek on his way to Totter's Lane in the very first episode. This is the sort of problem this story has.

1) Nigel is a regular in The Youth of Australia
2) Nigel has apparently been killed before he becomes a regular

So... how does Nigel get out of it?

I mean, *I* know how it happens. But I doubt anyone else does, and I doubted anyone else cared.

But if you ponder the solution for how he escaped...

1) There are two crucial clues in the episode
2) Nigel wasn't faking his collapse
3) Neither was Magnus
4) Magnus is dead for real
5) None of this was some elaborate bluff by Magnus, and he believed every word he said
6) Andrew, Simone, et all, are not going to come to his rescue as no one knows where he is or what to rescue him from
7) It is NOT all a dream
8) Nigel is NOT amazingly able to absorb radiation like a superhero and mutate into a superior life form
9) The Demon Babe nor Danny is going to help him
10) The Nigel in YOA is the same one in this story, and not Magnus/Jason/someone gone insane and convinced they are Nigel and assuming his mantle, ala Robin Hood or the Phantom

So, basically, these are all ideas I might have considered to fit the next chapter of Nigel's life.

But no. What happens is completely different.

Anyone smart enough to work out what?

Matthew Blanchette said...

Yeah; that woman stabbed him and locked Magnus in -- was it with an anti-radiation drug?

Youth of Australia said...

Oh, Matt, you are clever...


True, she injected Nigel with something... but it wasn't any kind of anti-radiation drug.

And you haven't worked out the other clue:

WHY Sinister Woman would do such a thing...

Matthew Blanchette said...

Because... she's working against Magnus? Etc, etc... :-/

Youth of Australia said...

It's a simple and complete explanation for what she's doing and why. And the clue is there, I made sure of it...

Matthew Blanchette said...

Is she one of the friends who "disappeared", mayhaps? ;-)

Also, what was the deal with the nun? I don't remember her, before... :-P

Youth of Australia said...

The nun is another noodle incident explained...

NIGEL: Have you been listening at ALL?? Not only have I failed to seduce my sister, I have flunked the HSC!


NIGEL: So, my life is screwed! Who’ll employ me without an HSC!?

ANDREW: No one.

NIGEL: Exactly!

ANDREW: On the bright side, no one would employ if you had passed the HSC. No one would employ you. Not after that time you were working at K-Mart and there was the now-legendary incident involving you, a bucket of fish, a shop mannequin and a little old nun.

So now we know what Andrew was referring to...

Matthew Blanchette said...

But you said it was a "David Jones"-style department store, not a K-Mart! :-P

Also, was that name a reference to David Bowie's original name, or is that actually the name of a department store down in Australia?

Youth of Australia said...

But you said it was a "David Jones"-style department store, not a K-Mart! :-P
Yes I did.

Andrew wasn't there, after all. He describes the event as "legendary", which means a Chinese Whispers thing happened. The nun wasn't "little old" either.

Mind you, K-Mart IS a department store downunder, although a lot less fancy than David Jones.

Also, was that name a reference to David Bowie's original name, or is that actually the name of a department store down in Australia?
Heh. No, DJ is a huge chain of massive, multi-storey department stores across Australia. High quality, even higher prices. Only the posh and rich go there for regular shopping, everyone else only splurging at Christmas.

Matthew Blanchette said...

Well, are we ever going to know who the nun was?

Also, you never answered my question: Was she the friend of Nigel's who "disappeared"? ;-)

Youth of Australia said...

No, the Sinister Woman isn't Danny. Apart from anything else, Magnus would have recognized her.

Danny's lost forever in the dreamtime. As a gecko.

As for the nun, see how Magnus describes her as a very good singing telegram.

Matthew Blanchette said...

So... the nun was a singing telegram? :-S

Also, who is the Sinister Woman, then? Is Nigel needed for some MIB thingie that's detailed in Youth of Australia-proper? I've not really read it, so, as a newcomer to the whimsical world of Nigel Verkoff, I'm completely drawing a blank, here... :-/

Youth of Australia said...

So... the nun was a singing telegram? :-S

"[In Magnus’ limousine, Magnus is watching an in built television. The chaos can be seen, relaying from the live broadcast of the cameraman. He laughs.]

Magnus: That girl is wasted as a singing telegram, she really is."

Also, who is the Sinister Woman, then?
The answer is in this very installment if you look closely.

Is Nigel needed for some MIB thingie that's detailed in Youth of Australia-proper?
...not that I know of...

I've not really read it, so, as a newcomer to the whimsical world of Nigel Verkoff, I'm completely drawing a blank, here... :-/
Well, perhaps Sinister Woman's motivations can be found in Verkoff: A Terrible Ego.

Actually, it pretty much explains everything. Oh, what sort of mystery IS this supposed to be...?

Matthew Blanchette said...

Ooohhhh... heh-heh. :-D

"Mummy can't be arsed... until the last minute"? :-P

Youth of Australia said...

You're being a bit harsh. She had to act here and now - any sooner, she would have been discovered, any later, Nigel would be dead.

Matthew Blanchette said...

Ahhh... so, are we going to get a "Secret Origins" of how Christie Gracelands wormed her way up into Magnus's organization? ;-)

Youth of Australia said...

Yeah, that would have been the majority of the epilogue - but I got depressed, decided to turn the cliffhanger into a downer ending instead.

Mind you, it had a much larger effect on an as-yet-unpublished installment of The Rise of the Big N, where Nigel's sex life drives Dave to try to kill himself.

I'm not sure if the end result was hilarious, sickening, tasteless or truthful - but I can honestly say the laqst weeks of high school were never THIS interesting.

I may post it if I feel the readership has a strong enough stomach for Nigel's seduction techniques, the resulting sex scene doesn't offend and that Dave doesn't come across as a wangsting loser (which was NOT the intention at the time anyway)...

Matthew Blanchette said...

So... any chance of the downer ending reverting to a cliffhanger, The Final Problem-style? :-D

Youth of Australia said...

Oh, the same chances as me finishing the rest of the saga. Let me see, eleven episodes, five finished, four posted, two started, the rest unwritten.

Twas why I was cunningly offering to post the remaining complete episode rather than writing something new. Antibiotics and the changing of seasons can really take the zing out of your writing ability...

Matthew Blanchette said...

Zing or not, you are a good writer... and I suspect you rather enjoy writing YOA and its various spin-offs. :-)

Give it another go, change of season or no.

Youth of Australia said...

You have the mind of a consulting detective, Matt. Imagine, me actually enjoying a franchise I've written about for over ten years... ;)

I'm feeling as sick as the proverbial at the moment. The best you'd get today is posting episode eight, Do You Wanna Feel - which is set BEFORE Nigel's "Death".

Matthew Blanchette said...

You've no heart for Nigel's resurrection... even if it is as simple as adding, "The door opens. A pair of hands drag Nigel through it. We cut to an above shot, and as Nigel is draged by the shoulders out of sight, he opens his eyes... and smiles wanly as Toto's "Africa" starts"? :-/

Youth of Australia said...

Dude, you know me better than I know myself. But Nigel's near death experiences are a lot more complicated than most people's, PLUS there's all the crap of him actually meeting him MUM. For real.

That's deep stuff by anyone's standard.

Not even going into when he finds out what's happened to all his friends while he was facing death...

Matthew Blanchette said...

...that being, that Jason led them out a side door? :-S

Seriously, you've got me intrigued, now.

Youth of Australia said...

I apologize, I didn't mean to intrigue you.

Nigel "faces death" for a couple of months (long story), so by the time he's fully recovered, the HSC results are out.

The thing is the YOA episode begins with Nigel alone. No friends. No family. Nothing. So the epilogue would brutally explain why this occurred. The Journey's End of YOA.

And why he's left with no one but Andrew, Dave and later Eve to keep him company...

(And if I'm honest, I haven't really worked out a reason beyond "they were all pissed off with him and went off to live their own lives").

Matthew Blanchette said...

Well, it seems Simone certainly was pissed-off enough... though, I do hope Jodi gets released, one day. :-/

Youth of Australia said...

Jadi gets out eventually - when Dave stumbles across him, in the clutches of none other than Ben Chatham. And what Dave does to Ben when he finds out... well, it could give Nigel and Magnus lessons...

As for the other characters?

Jason becomes a famous and successful porn star.

Betty gets a job at ASIO (the Australian equivalent of the FBI).

Lucy becomes a qualified doctor. Then goes evil. For the hell of it.

Harry gets a job in a toy store and hangs out with Andrew.

Simone becomes a famous fashion model and guilt-ridden junkie.

Bernice and Ari get married and move to Fiji. (Nigel makes one last unsuccessful attempt to seduce her just before the wedding ceremony... she turns him down nicely.)

Danny never leaves the Dream Time.

And as for Dave, Nigel and Andrew? Well... that would be telling...

Matthew Blanchette said...

Well... what exactly is the Dream Time, then? :-/

Youth of Australia said...

That is a very difficult question to answer simply.

Suffice it to say it's pre-history, before reality as it is understood fully settled down. Getting into it is a LOT easier than getting back OUT of it.

To all intents and purposes, just imagine Doomsday only with Danny as Rose and Nigel as the Doctor. Once the walls close, there is no way back.

Matthew Blanchette said...

Ahhh... no wonder I hadn't really heard of it, then. :-/

So, no way out... save being a Mary Sue, of course? ;-)

Youth of Australia said...

Pretty much. But no, I don't think Danny will ever come back and if she DID the first thing Nigel would do would give her a black eye for how she treated him.

(Given Nigel's general dislike for violence against ANYONE, male or female, this should demonstrate just how much she hurt him. Anyone who says women are somehow more or less deserving of being decked than men is a sexist, and the lot of you can do drown in your own vomit.)

Matthew Blanchette said...

Hey, do you still have my e-mail address, Ewen? I'd like to get our conversation started up, again... ;-)