Monday, October 10, 2011

Andrew & The Vanishing Verkoff (vi)

NOTE: I am very pissed-off with life at the moment, what with possibly-disastrous medical results hanging over me, unable to hear my latest audio episode, betrayed by two what I thought were friends (don't worry, it's not you), plus my work life has gone crazy with me volunteering, training and working simultaneously or not at all the same week I'd rather spend an inexpressibly-rare chance to be with my mum. I'm angry and it possibly comes out in my work. Thus we have the "nice" and "nasty" versions of part six...

[Andrew is stuck inside his burning hut. Suddenly Ace Rimmer, Katie Perry and a wombat arrive and douse all the flames.]

Andrew: What a guy!

Ace Rimmer: No need for thanks, big fella. Nigel needs rescuing. [hands him note] Here's the address he was last seen at. Head there, and best take Gabby and Simone there to be on the safe side.

Andrew: Wow. Cool. Can't you help further?

Ace Rimmer: No point in me staying round here, my old cantaloupe. You're the smart one with all the high-tuned detective skills. If anyone's going to find Nigel, it'll be the slueths like you rather some devilishly-attractive test pilot like me. Good luck, not that you need it, old love!

Katie Perry: Let us away - WITH LUDICROUS SPEED!

[The trio vanish. Andrew shakes his head.]

Andrew: I lead a very interesting life, don't I?

- to be continued...

[Leaving Andrew lying bloody and unconscious on the floor of his bungalow, Simone lights a match and throws it onto a pile of newspapers. They catch alight as Simone leaves the room, closing the door behind her. She heads across the park unhurriedly. As she reaches the pavement, she casts a look over her shoulder - thick black smoke is pouring out of the windows. Satisfied, she turns down the road and heads into a sidestreet towards where she has parked her car beside a large gum tree. She takes out her key beeper thing and unlocks the car.

There is a distant shattering of glass and a squawk from a domestic cat running away. Frowning, Simone crosses the road to see what caused the noise. There is no one around but a broken bottle and a spreading puddle of beer. Shrugging, she rises and returns to her car. She clambers inside, pulls the door shut, buckles up, starts the engine and drives off. Smoke continues to rise into the sky behind her and there are the first sounds of sirens.]

[Simone pulls up in the car park of a block of flats. It is now night. Switching off the engine, she gets out of the car and crosses to the main entrance. She heads up some steps to her flat, unlocks the door, and enters, closing the door.]

[Simone's apartment is rather spartan but tastefully furnished. Simone is pacing up and down, talking on the phone.]

Simone:'s not as if there's anything to worry about. No one is surprised he's missing and not one person has connected me to it. Not one person. And they're not going to. [beat] Because I made sure they wouldn't, of course! I'm a professional, aren't I? And if they haven't got any suspicions now, then they never will - at least not until it's too late. Now can we please start the process of getting me out of this rat's nest? It's been three years and I have better lives to live. [beat] Yes, I know I'm being well compensated, but at no point did I sign up to have a creepy neighbor who is clearly perving on me every chance he gets?

[There is a knock on the door.]

Simone: [rolls eyes] That'll probably be him now. I'll be in contact later, Mrs. Gracelands, by which time I expect a one way ticket back to Kiwi civilization and away from this Aussie shit heap.

[She hangs up and opens the door. A large, spectacled guy in a tasteless jumper is there.]

Simone: What is it, Abdul?

Abdul: [shy] Um, sorry about this, Simone, but...

Simone: Get on with it, Abdul, I've had a long day.

Abdul: You left your lights on. In your car, I mean.

Simone: Don't be stupid.

[She goes to close the door. Abdul stops her.]

Abdul: No, I'm serious. Look.

[Sighing, she follows him out onto the verandah overlooking the car park. The headlights on her car are now switched on very brightly.]

Simone: That's impossible. I switched them off, I know I did.

Abdul: [shrugs] Yeah, maybe you hit the switch accidentally...

Simone: I'm not a spastic, Abdul. [to herself] For fuck's skae...

[Leaving the door wide open, she hurries down the steps towards the car park. Abdul follows.]

Simone: I suppose I should be grateful I've got a stalker like you perving on me so you notice things like this.

Abdul: [deeply embarrassed] I wasn't... I mean... See, this passer-by knocked on my door and told me about the lights and...

Simone: [polite] Couldn't care less, Abdul.

[She unlocks the car, switches off the lights, then locks the door manually. Simone and Abdul stand in front of a moment, waiting to see if the lights come back on. They don't.]

Abdul: Maybe you should take it to a mechanic? My cousin, she's really good at...

Simone: [irritated] Oh shut up! You know, Abdul, it would be so nice - SO nice - if you never spoke to me ever again and, in fact, died right now without issue so the chances of me ever meeting anyone or anything like you for the rest of my life.

Abdul: But, Simone, I was just--

Simone: SO! NICE!

[Abdul sags, upset.]

Simone: Go on. Get out of my sight and back to your Happy Rotter books or whatever garbage you use to fill up your life when I'm not around.

[Abdul nods sadly and walks off.]

Simone: Just be glad I've done my quota of homicide for the night.

[Sighing, she turns and climbs back to her flat. The door is now closed. She tries it. Locked. Frowning, Simone goes for her house keys and then realizes that they are inside. Scowling, she reaches under the welcome mat... but there's no key.]

Simone: Give some fucking strength here...

[Abdul is sitting on a couch, glumly eating a homemade falafel with one hand and reading "Tomorrow When The War Began" with the other. There's a knock on the door. Surprised, he hurries over to the door and opens it. Simone is there, grinning a very insincere and embarrassed smile.]

Simone: Abdul! Hi! Don't suppose you can help me with something?

Abdul: [thinks about it] No.

[He slams the door in her face and walks back to the sofa.]

Simone: [VO] I need your help! I've got locked out of my flat! Please, I'm desperate.

[Abdul sighs.]

[A little later. Abdul is holding a key with a big card saying MASTER KEY on it. He tries the door to Simone's flat and it opens. Simone watches on, impatient.]

Simone: [lying through her teeth] Oh thanks so much Abdul, you are a life saver and I am eternall in your debt. I so owe you one, you name it, it's yours.

[He regards her for a moment.]

Abdul: Go fuck an echidna, you slag.

[He turns and wanders off. Simone stays where she is for a moment, blinking.]

Simone: Well. That was unexpected. [shrugs] But where did my spare key go to?

[She enters the flat, closing the door and looking around. On the living room table are both sets of keys and a folded note. She takes the note and opens it up - written on it in block capitals are the words LOOK UP. She blinks, and looks up at the ceiling. Nothing at all. She lowers her gaze and realizes that Andrew is standing right beside and grinning at her.]

Andrew: [very loudly] SUR-PRIIIIZEE!

[He slams his head down on hers, sending her reeling with a cry of pain. As he strides over to her, she tries to punch him but he's too quick and grabs her by the throat and slams her against the wall.]

Andrew: Come on, Simone! Aren't you shocked to see me again? What? No fainting? No screams? No "You're still alive! That's impossible!"?

Simone: [pained] No.

Andrew: Aren't you going to ask how I managed to escape and track you down?

Simone: Pretty obvious, isn't it?

Andrew: Not so obvious that YOU saw it coming, though.

[He punches her again and she flies back into a sofa and crumples to the ground.]

Simone: [groans] True.


[Simone leaves the bungalow, the newspapers burning. The second she's gone, Andrew's eyes snap open and scrambles to his feet.]

Simone: [VO] You were faking.

Andrew: [VO] I thought if I let you win, you'd drag me to your boss and I'd find out the truth. But you HAD to be difficult, didn't you?

[Andrew dives for a fridge and opens it - it is full of identical VB cans. He grabs one, shakes it violently and pulls it open. The spray douses the fire, creating a thick cloud of smoke.]

[Outside, Simone glances back and sees the smoke pouring out the windows.]

Andrew: [VO] I knew you must have had a getaway vehicle and I knew wouldn't have parked right outside - not even you would be stupid enough to do that twice. Henlard Lane seemed a good bet for stashing your motor.

[Andrew snatches up a thick bottle of hootch and opens a panel in the back of the bungalow, allowing him out into the park. He cracks the bottle open, knocks back a slug to clear his throat of smoke, then sprints off into the gloom.]

[He runs out between two houses into a side-street. Simone's care is parked nearby. Andrew runs to hide behind the gum tree and is hidden as Simone approaches. As she unlocks the car, Andrew swigs from the bottle and then hurls it across the street. It shatters loudly. Simone goes to investigate as Andrew dives for the unlocked car. He climbs into the back and curls up behind the driver seat, completely hidden. Simone returns to the car, unaware she has an extra passenger, and drives off.]

[Simone pulls up outside her block of flats and leaves. Once she's gone, Andrew climbs into the front, turns on the lights, then leaves the car. He locks and closes the door behind him, then hurries to a door on the ground floor and knocks on it. Abdul answers it and the two chat. Andrew points at the car with the lights on.]

Simone: [VO] You were the "passer-by".

Andrew: [VO] Where were those razor-fast deductions when you needed them, huh?

[Abdul leads Simone down to the car and, while they are distracted, Andrew skips up the steps into Simone's flat, scooping up the spare key and locking the door after him. A few moments later, Simone arrives and finds herself locked out.]

[End flashback.]

Andrew: While you were out getting a locksmith, I went looking for clues. Didn't find much, but then we both know you're not really Simone Lokidor, are you? You're part of Magnus' little conspiracy, an agent provocateur to keep Nigel on his toes! And such dedication - or was sleeping with him on the agenda from the start?

Simone: [grins] There's nothing in this flat you can use as evidence.

Andrew: I know! It's so frustrating, which is why...

[He pushes open a wardrobe - all the clothes and dresses have been torn apart. He then opens the door to the bathroom - the cabinet has been smashed to pieces, the shower curtain torn down, the sink cracked.]

Andrew: ...I did this. And this. And... this!

[He opens the bedroom. The room has been professionally trashed - perfumes emptied on the bed, broken glass everywhere, a smashed TV lying next a cracked window, possesions tossed around the place.]

Andrew: I thought about setting fire to everything, but it's a national fire ban.

[Despite herself, Simone is shocked at the destruction.]

Simone: So? You think I care about this rat-hole? That I don't have better elsewhere?

Andrew: What good is money and material possession now? It's all about choices, Simmy. The ones we make, and the ones we don't. Oh, and the consequences. Those are always fun. For example, you made the choice to try to kill me and burn my home to the ground and now there's the consequence of me being really, fundamentally, dare-I-say-even-biblicall?, pissed off.

[She charges him and he backhands her without effort.]

Andrew: Eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth, as Old Nick Cave would say..

Simone: You're not a murderer.

Andrew: [laughs] Whatever the hell gave you that impression? You think they call me "Maddog" because of my devotion to peaceful origami and tai chi? Besides, if you can beat someone up and leave them to die in a housefire, it can't be THAT difficult - not like you were going to get cold feet like you did with Nigel, is it? I mean, I got an impression you had some moral compassion for your friend, but you must have just been worried about being caught. Oh well. That's the least of your problems now.

[He crosses over to her and kicks her in the ribs. She collapses.]

Andrew: Come on, Simmy! You're not even trying!

Simone: [coughs] Guess I'm not used... to people fighting back...

Andrew: That's a shame.

[He body-slams her, pinning her to the floor.]

Andrew: You bruise very easily, I notice. I wonder what colour you'll be when I'm done?

Simone: [weak] Please... stop this...

Andrew: This? This is just the warm-up act. Something tells me you're gonna be a screamer.

[Andrew crosses to the kitchen area, pulls open drawers until he finds the knives and starts scooping them out. Simone manages to roll over, too battered and bruised to keep fighting.]

Andrew: You know, there's nothing quite as powerful as the sense of smell. Ketones, esters, pheremones triggering olfactory nerve memories with amazing intensity... And the last thing YOU are going to smell is the coppery scent of your own blood.

Simone: [whimpers in pain] I'm not afraid of you.

[Andrew smiles serenely as he crouches over her.]

Andrew: I don't care.

Simone: [shaken] You're just trying to scare me!

Andrew: [curious] Is it working?

Simone: No!

Andrew: [nods] And how about NOW?

[Suddenly he starts slamming down the knives over Simone's body.]

[Outside the apartment. The "shunks!" of the knives are heard, then silence.]

[Flat. Andrew is flipping through a CD collection.]

Andrew: It's the landlord downstairs I feel sorry for. Abdul? Yeah. Abdul. He's going to come up here and find you - strictly speaking, what's LEFT of you - and there'll be blood and vomiting and hysterical fits. And I'm sorry about that, but I'm very, VERY angry and don't have time to slaughter you somewhere else, but what really hurts is that Abdul will probably blame himself for not being here to save you.

[He stops and checks a particular CD.]

Andrew: Still, after what you said to him, he'd probably help me out if he but knew. [calls] How does it feel, knowing you're going to die before he can forgive you? Hmm? Simmy? [tutts] Honestly, I expected better from you. What kind of professional goes into shock during a knife attack? Answer me that!

[We now see Simone is still on the floor - very much alive and even more terrified. The knives have pinned her down through her clothes, her shirt and trousers cut into the floor, trapping her, legs and arms spread. There is a knife close to her neck, cutting through the collar of her shirt and forcing her to keep her head very still.]

Andrew: Don't get the wrong impression, though. I've always been a bit of romantic. Both upper case and lower case "r" romantic. If that doesn't make sense, well, tough. You'll have to die ignorant, but then I have to live with my case unsolved. That's life. Still, it was pro bono work. No loss.

Simone: [swallows] I... I don't know where he is... where Nigel is...

Andrew: Didn't think you did. Where was I? Oh yes. Romantic. Dim the lights.

[He does so.]

Andrew: Some suitable music to help the mood. And cover up the screams.

[He puts a CD into the player.]

Andrew: And now it's just you and me, Simmy. [picks up scissors] It's the perfect start to an evening, but forgive me if my technique's rusty. I haven't done this in a very long time...

[Hard rock music begins to blare from the speakers. Andrew bangs his head along with the tune, air-guitaring with the scissors. Simone cannot move even to watch.]

Song: Spread your love like a fever,
And don't you ever come down!
I spread my love like a fever,
I ain't ever coming down!

[He suddenly drops to his knees, his thighs on either side of Simone's head.]

Song: She gave me love like a big fire!
I only saw it once!
She spread her love like a fever!

[He crudely cuts open Simone's shirt, laughing.]

Song: She's bad, but not enough...

[As a harmonica solo plays, he slices a Y-shape through her trousers to the tune, exposing everything below the waist. Still pinned down, but just in her undies.]

Song: I'm so low! I'm so low!
I'm so low! I'm so low!

[He cuts one of her bra straps, still headbanging. Simone is shaking with fear.]

Andrew: Beg me to stop.

Simone: Please.

Andrew: Sorry, it must be the loud music. Can't hear a thing.

[He pauses the music.]


Andrew: [smacks forehead] Oh, you want me to stop!

Simone: YES!

Andrew: [gently] Pity I'm not going to, now, am I? I'm sure you're thinking, based on the pathetic scraps of information about me you know and rather foolishly believe to in any way accurate and not drunken bullshit I was saying to impress my fellow students, that I'm deep down a really nice guy full of morality and light and wonder who would never hurt absolutely anyone because I'm just a dinky-di Aussie hero.

[He cuts the other strap.]

Andrew: On the other hand, we have reality...

[He turns on the music again.]

Simone: [screams] I know where they took Nigel!

[He cuts between her bra cups.]

Simone: I'll take you there!

[Andrew is about to cut the sides of her panties.]

Simone: I'll do anything! Anything you want! Tell you anything you want! DON'T DO THIS!

[The music crashes into silence. Andrew studies her, staying perfectly still.]

Andrew: So scared. So helpless. So utterly alone... I bet that was how Nigel felt.

[Simone stares at him, weakened and broken.]

Simone: [mouths] I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.

Andrew: You deserve this and worse.

[Simone weeps silently.]

Andrew: That'll be the guilt. Do you want me to take your mind off it?

[He taps her thigh with the scissors.]

Andrew: Put those womanly-wiles of your to good use?

Simone: [sobbing] You're... a monster...

Andrew: Yes. I am. And what does that make you?

[She just cries. Emotionlessly Andrew rises and walks off, putting the scissors back on their hook.]

[Outside flat. The door opens and Simone emerges in a dressing gown. She has a black eye and several bruises and is very cowed. Andrew follows, holding her arm as though to stop her from collapsing. They do not speak as they reach the ground level.]

Gabby: [VO] Well, well, well.

[They look up, surprised as Gabby emerges from the shadows.]

Gabby: Didn't see that one coming?

Andrew: Evening, Gabby. I don't remember you be invited to this.


[Gabby is walking back to her place when she sees Simone hurrying away from the park. Gabby looks around and sees smoke pouring from the bungalow and races inside to snatch up a mobile and dial 000.]

[End flashback.]

Andrew: But how did you know she'd be here?

Gabby: Duh. This is where she lives, I've been here before.

Andrew: Oh. Good point.

Gabby: [darkly] Did you beat her up?

Andrew: [nods, grinning] And worse! Isn't that right, darling Simone?

[He puts an arm around her. She flinches.]

Gabby: I didn't think you were the type to hit a girl.

Andrew: I didn't think you were the type to hit a boy. Remember Jason? And YOU weren't the one left for dead as someone tried to burn down the only home you've ever had. If you wanted a perfect human being for detective, Gabs, you came to the wrong guy.

Gabby: What did you do to her?

Andrew: An empathy game. I don't think Miss High and Mighty here will be treating other human beings so lightly now she's been on the recieving end.

[Simone shudders.]

Simone: I tried to warn him.

Gabby: You could have tried harder. You could have tried not to sell him out in the first place.

Simone: They'd always have found someone.

Andrew: And I'd always have done this to them. [shakes head] Not a brilliant justification when you think about it, really, is it?

Gabby: So where's Nigel?

Simone: I only know where they took him.

Gabby: Magnus, you mean?

Simone: Yeah.

Gabby: Where?

Simone: Ultimo. Where they used to hold the Jekkatatve.

Gabby: Is he still there, you think?

Andrew: More to the point, is he still alive?

[Simone looks at them coldly.]

Simone: Only one way to find out, huh?

- to be continued...


Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Well, you successfully suckered me into thinking that your anger had you on the path of the Dark Side enough to make Andrew a murderer, which would have been just that little bit out of character. The uber-disturbing mind games on display here are actually unnervingly IN-character...

Like your Mindwarp rewrite I get fascinated by your darker material because you write it quite well, even while I'm disconcerted by the violence.

Anyway, sorry to hear things are so bad for you at the moment (or at least on Monday) Sorry I didn't see this post until right now, it's been a bit of a chaotic week.

It's looking like I should be living in Pymble soon, so I should be able to catch up sometime in the not-too-distant..

Youth of Australia said...

Well, you successfully suckered me into thinking that your anger had you on the path of the Dark Side enough to make Andrew a murderer, which would have been just that little bit out of character.

FWIW, I added the little warning after I looked back over it and boggled. I'm pretty sure there was something gentler and funnier in the plan - Andrew ordering pizzas to distract Simone while he went through her drawers, things like that.

The uber-disturbing mind games on display here are actually unnervingly IN-character...
Yeah. That was my main stumbling block in trying to rewrite it.

Like your Mindwarp rewrite I get fascinated by your darker material because you write it quite well, even while I'm disconcerted by the violence.
I guess the violence is meant to be disconcerting. It's sort of like the character's words and actions become one, and breaking someone's jaw is equal to winning an argument... mmmm, now I'm stuck with that scene from Spaced where they kickbox each other with hard truths. "DAISY STEINER... WINS... HA. HA. HA."

Anyway, sorry to hear things are so bad for you at the moment (or at least on Monday)
They're not better. I've had to give up the work I wanted, do a retail course I don't want to do, sign up with TWO Santa people for no real gain, plus I have to go to the GP tomorrow to discuss my "interesting" blood tests.

Sorry I didn't see this post until right now, it's been a bit of a chaotic week.
I relate.

It's looking like I should be living in Pymble soon, so I should be able to catch up sometime in the not-too-distant..
Ah good luck with that.

It's possible this installment was so damned bleak because I drained out all my comedy into a bunch of new BF guides...

As they meet up at the Green Dragon Inn to compare notes, the two time travelers watch a traditional mummers’ play in progress and react in the traditional village manner of pelting the players with rotten tomatoes and telling them to "now do the play that DOESN’T suck!"

Nyssa, for her part, is deeply disturbed when he notes the mummery characters consist of Father Christmas, a Turkish Knight, Saint George, Saint George’s Dragon and the Doctor – an agent of death, rebirth and seasonal renewal who possesses a blue cart that’s bigger on the inside, wears a white coat with a sprig of celery on his lapel and with a mini-skirted assistant who refers to him as a Time Lord.

"Oh, no, now that’s the damned limit!" the Doctor shouts from the audience. "Nyssa! Get me my lawyer on the phone! I am going to sue!"