Dave: Man, this anecdote of yours seems to have been going on forever.
Andrew: It's not my fault people keep interrupting!
Nigel: Stop being so boring, then.
Andrew: Boring? We just spent an hour at the ATO! You find ANYTHING boring after that!
Dave: Yeah. Especially that bit where Andrew hunted down Simone with a bowie knife, stripped her naked, threatened her until she had a complete nervous breakdown all the sound of Big Red Motor Cycle...
Nigel: Wow, I bet he didn't make THAT bit up.
Andrew: [offended] I didn't! [thoughtful] Mind you, I have been watching a lot of Cracker lately, sometimes the lines between can get all blurred...
Nigel: See, Dave? Andrew here is what we call...
Dave: ...an unreliable narrator?
Nigel: I was going to say "hairy retarded moron", but yeah if you want. So, while the missing link here was struggling to rub both braincells together in order to establish my whereabouts, I bet you were wondering what was happening to me, huh?
[Rippling water. We pull out to see this is the surface of Circular Quay, and our attention wanders rather predictably over the cityscape. As sinister and rather unsuitably-dubbed music plays, we slowly zoom on Centre Point Tower. Closer and closer until we see the observation deck, where Nigel Verkoff himself can be seen standing, peering out through the window with a preoccupied, crestfallen expression. He turns away from the view and heads past the gift shop towards the lift and presses the call button. Monumentally overblown and drammatic music plays.
The lift arrives. Nigel enters and hits the ground floor button. A moment later, four other people wander into the lift, see the ground floor button is pressed and quickly shuffle around so as not to take up too much space. The doors close. The lift descends. The music really is getting apeshit by now.]
Nigel: [shouting] What idiot writes this lift muzak?
[He kicks the wall and the music ends with an off-the-record-style noise. An embarrassed pause for everyone who isn't Nigel.]
[No one talks. They avoid eye contact. The lift goes down and down and down and down. Some check their watches. The four other interlopers are - a good-looking American in a blue WW2 army jacket; a forty-year-old man pretending to be a 15-year-old public schoolgirl; a manic-looking security guard with an eyepatch and a crazy-eyed emaciated woman with long brown hair and nervous twitch. The lift passes the ground floor and stops two levels down.]
Mephisto: Huh? Who chose the sub-basement?
Isabella Gisbourne: It was set for the ground floor.
Jai'me: Why won't the doors, like, you know, open?
[Nigel rolls his eyes and presses the open door control. The lift doors open up on a large, pentagonal chamber lined with curtains. There is a five-sided table in the middle of the room with a chair on each side. The chair is covered with bottles of scotch, lemonade, etc, and a tray of triangular catering sandwiches. An antique fireplace is dark. It is well-lit and looks comfortable.]
Captain Jack: Looks like some sort of meeting room.
Isabella Guisborne: In the sub-basement?
Nigel: Set for five people. THIS sure doesn't look dodgy.
[He turns to re-enter the lift, but the doors shut in his face. He reaches for the door control... but there isn't one.]
Jai'me: Hey, this elevator, like, totally has no call button!
Nigel: Thanks for that, Captain Obvious, we've never have spotted that without you.
[The others are peeking behind the drapes and curtains, but there are just blank walls to be found. No doors or windows.]
Mephisto: No other way out.
Isabella Gisbourne: [munches sandwich] This must have been set up today. Not too long ago. And whoever this is for should be arriving soon.
Captain Jack: And they'll probably be pissed off to find you munching their food.
Mephisto: She's right, though. There must be someone else coming. We might as well make the best of it...
Jai'me: Like, whatever!
Isabella Gisbourne: Yes. Let's do that.
[They all sit down at the table except for Nigel.]
Nigel: Are we all taking our daily stupidity suppelements? What lift goes of its own accord to a sub-basement with no way out? This is some deep Satre crap and I for one do not intend to hang around here.
Mephisto: What? You think we've gone to hell?
Nige: I think I have. You lot being near my greatness? This must be paradise!
[He keeps looking for a way out.]
Captain Jack: Gotta say, if this IS hell, it's not half as bad as its cracked up to be.
Mephisto: There IS something wierd about this, though. It's like a dream.
Jai'me: Oh, no, like, dreams are way totally more frightening than this. At least mine are. God, I am so hot.
Captain Jack: Oh? In what way?
Jai'me: Tch! I dunno! But they're, like, so amazingly real... almost like it was, like, you know, a memory of what really happened.
Mephisto: Well, why not tell us about it?
Isabella Guisborne: Yes, there's nothing else to do.
Jai'me: OK. You see, it's this sort of... recurring dream. I just keep having it. Every night, all the time. I just can't get rid of it. I dream this total slag mole bitch army of ungrateful bogans lynch me in the street and call me an unfunny transvestite joke and that "Angry Boys" was total shit.
Jai'me: Perhaps it's some kind of warning for the future.
Isabella Guisborne: Yes. Wierd. I have something like that. A sort of... vision. Phobia. Obsession. Whatever you might want to call it. I went absolutely batshit insane in thirteenth century England, murdered my brother, lover and then I got blown up in a nuclear explosion that left me so scrawny whenever I wander around naked people keep screaming "MY GOD! EAT SOMETHING DAMMIT! I CAN SEE YOUR FUCKING RIBS!"
[No one is sure how to take that.]
Isabella Guisborne: And so real, I was sure it actually happened.
Captain Jack: I know exactly that feeling.
Mephisto: I bet you do. You look like you've seen a ghost.
Captain Jack: Sort of. My dream involves me turning from a fun-loving omnisexual conman with a heart of gold to an angst-ridden rule-book-fetishing immortal gaylord in charge of the only four people in Western Europe even MORE fucked up than I am, until I eventually kill them all and then murder my own grandson because I'm too lazy to think up anything clever, before running off to become a prostitute on the planet Zaggit Zagoo - and then the worst thing happens! I get summoned back to Earth in an American remake that removes any endearing features I have and even makes me one-hundred percent self-hating homosexual!
Mephisto: Which is odd, because a similar vision keeps troubling me... similar, but not quite... I was taking part in this violently overmasculine reality tv show when I got infected by a passing cursed Aztec totem god... and after that, things just got WIERD!
[Nigel, still looking for an exit, rolls his eyes.]
Nigel: Oh this is just bullshit! Doesn't ONE of you find it just a TAD suspicious that five people with recurring nightmares of their own deaths just HAPPEN to all get into the same lift that BY COINCIDENCE takes them to an underground room which AMAZINGLY also is set out to entertain exactly FIVE PEOPLE!!
Captain Jack: I've known bigger contrivances.
Jai'Me: I want to talk about me some more. Only, instead of "some", make that a lot.
Nigel: They're just dreams, you fugly slag! Everyone has them. Kinda the price we pay for abstract thought - so why YOU'RE having them is a genuine mystery!
Isabella Guisborne: Oh, and do you have a dream that haunts you every night?
[Nigel starts to reply, then stops. He sits down in the vacant chair, furthest from the lift doors, and helps himself to a sandwich.]
Nigel: My dream... OK. I'll tell you.
[Everything blurs and when it refocuses we see Nigel is lying in his bedroom, dressed in a kimoni, reading a copy of The Adventuress of Henrietta Street.]
Nigel: You know, for a novel set in a brothel, I'd expect some more shagging and less fat bloke in a gorilla mask trying to be less funny than cholera. I'm sure Alien Bodies was cooler than this - and that had fucking Krotons in it for crying out loud...
[He looks up at a strange noise. A sword of flame slices through air, creating a gap from which emerges a serene figure with wings and a halo.]
Nigel: Give me strength. [shouts] This IS private property, you know!
Archangel Gabriel: I am the Archangel Gabriel!
Nigel: I'm a Bhuddist. So fuck off and try next door, you filthy pagan belief system!
Archangel Gabriel: Bit of respect, you unbelieving bastard!
Nigel: Hey, I'M not the one worshipping a loser who was such a pussy he got nailed to a tree even though he had freaking super powers, am I? What do you want, anyway?
Archangel Gabriel: Oh, you're interested NOW, huh, punk?
Nigel: Look, YOU are the one who interrupted me reading this shockingly mediocre novel by cutting through the air with a sword. That sounds like a lot of trouble to go through if you ask me - and you should, because I, as we have already established, are the cooler person in this conversation.
Archangel Gabriel: Oh, shut up you wanker!
Nigel: That will be the infinite patience of god himself right there, huh?
Archangel Gabriel: I don't have to put up with this shit!
[The angel turns and steps through the hole in the air. A moment later, Danielle is shoved rudely through the gap and stumbles. Nigel looks up at her for a long moment, then returns to his book.]
Nigel: [reads] "Did Sabbath worship these totems? Or was it all an obscure, blasphemous joke?"
Danny: Nigel, it's me, Danny.
Nigel: "Without knowing the exact nature of the idols it’s hard to say, though one witness records that 'some had faces so monstrus I could not bear but look' (bad writing, or did she mean it that way?)." Oh, Larry, what a wit you are. Moron.
Nigel: "As Rebecca mentioned at least one in the Polynesian style and one following the fashion of the West Indian witch-cults, perhaps Sabbath saw the icons as an inventory of all the world’s major systems of ritual."
[Danielle snatches the book and throws it to one side.]
[Nigel glances at her. Then shrugs.]
Nigel: It was a shithouse book anyway.
[He picks up a copy of Mad Dogs and Englishmen. He looks at the cover, then tosses it aside.]
Nigel: OK, Danny, what do you want?
Danny: Aren't you happy to see me?
Nigel: Of course! After all, it's not like it's been the best part of a decade since you abandoned me without a word of warning at Hanging Rock of all places and left me alone ever since, is it? Oh wait, yes you did!
Danny: Nigel, I...
[Nigel leaps to his feet, furious.]
Nigel: YOU! LEFT! ME!
Danny: You're speaking in fragments again.
[Nigel sits down on the bed.]
Nigel: Say what it is you've got to say and then bugger off wherever the hell you've been for the past six years. I've got used to not having you around.
Danny: Nigel, listen to me. God is coming back.
Nigel: I know. He's always coming back. He's like the opposite of John Farnham. Does that mean John Farnham is Satan? Heh, that WOULD be a surprise...
Danny: Are you taking this seriously! The Earth is being devoured by a curse and all who live in it are being held guilty! The living outnumber the dead and the Armies of the Lord are waiting for the Day of Judgement!
Nigel: Wow. How interesting and original. I find this very fascinating.
Danny: Stop being sarcastic! You need to embrace the love of God!
Nigel: I need to floss more. Guess which is more likely to happen?
Danny: Do you love God?
Nigel: I loved YOU and see how that turned out!
Danny: God loves you, Nigel. Because you love him.
Nigel: He's got the wrong stunningly-attractive sex maestro. And given that the celestial magnificence of God himself is returning... why the hell did he want ME to get the heads up? You got an answer that doesn't involve "mysterious ways"?
Danny: Um. No.
Nigel: No. So. Exit stage freaking left, Danielle.
[Danny sighs and steps through the gap in the air, which closes up. Nigel picks up his book and searches for his place.]
Nigel: Can't get a moment to myself nowadays...
[A close up of a calendar. All the pages fall away one by one until the calendar is used up. Pull out to see Kenjii standing right next to the calendar, all the pages piled up at his feet.]
Kenjii: These calendars use inferior glue, don't you think?
[Nigel's bedroom. Nigel is finishing his book.]
Nigel: What a pile of shit!
[He tosses the book into the corner.]
Nigel: The world might as well end if THAT'S the best literature has to offer.
[There is the sound of trumpet notes.]
Archangel Gabriel: [vo] Attention, please. This is the Archangel Gabriel speaking. This is the first call. I will blow this trumpet a further six times. You have until the last call to repent your sins and accept Jesus into your life. After that, it is too late. This is not a hoax. Seriously, not a hoax. Will you people stop laughing at me and start repenting?
Nigel: It's the thought that counts.
[There is the sound of hoofbeats approaching. On the TV an image of a white horse appears.]
TV: People of the world, attention please. This is God. He is giving you one last chance to save yourselves from the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This is seriously not a hoax.
[The image changes to a trumpet against a blue background as the second call goes out. Yawning, Nigel turns off the TV.]
Nigel: Oh well. Life goes on.
[The trumpet sound grows so loud the walls of Nigel's room collapse.]
Nigel: What-evah. Tell it to someone who cares. I'm not letting the end of the world spoil my day off, thank you very much.
[Through the holes in the walls, Nigel watches as a sword-weilding warrior on a red horse runs by, holding a pair of scale as the trumpet sounds again.]
Nigel: Oh yeah, VERY subtle.
[A ghostly woman holding a candelabra rides past on a huge bull.]
[Suddenly the world dissolves into smoke. There are more hoofbeats as the Grim Reaper arrives on horseback through the fog.]
Nigel: You people are really making up for lost time, huh? I thought the rapture was suppose to leave us ordinary folk behind! I bet heaven doesn't even get SBS!
[The Grim Reaper waves his scythe and Nigel suddenly lifts off his bed and into the smoke and disappears as another trumpet sounds.]
Nigel: [fading] Son of a bitch!
[Limbo. Nigel floats in the silent darkness, lit by moonlight.]
Nigel: Man, this has to be the lamest afterlife I've ever seen. [shouts] And I've seen more than one, you plebian deity! So, who else is here? A creepy extra from The Bill with a snake tattoo on his arm? Go on, amaze me.
Danny: Hey, Nige.
Nigel: This isn't the Dreamtime. I am totally confused. As much as I can be without giving a shit about the answer, anyway.
Danny: This is the river that washes away all your sins.
Nigel: Metaphor. I get that.
Danny: You need to cross the river to get to Heaven.
Nigel: More metaphors.
Danny: OK! Look, just say you love God for giving you the gift of life and you get paradise.
Nigel: Piss off! I had paradise you sanctimonious bitch!
You don't have time for this! Gabriel is coming!
Nigel: I have no interest in his sex-life, Danny.
Danny: This is serious, Nigel!
Nigel: Not so serious the big man himself was prepared to talk to me. Come on, Mr. G! Get your omniscient ethereal butt down here! I WISH TO REGISTER A COMPLAINT!
Danny: You have to love God.
Nigel: Have to? I thought love was free will!
Danny: There really is a Heaven.
Nigel: If it's so good he can come here and give me the sales pitch personally.
Danny: Tell God you love Him!
Nigel: You know the reason people don't believe in God? Any god? All the suffering and pain in the world. Now, that's either down to existence being random or God being a complete and utter fuckwit. He creates the universe and then does everything to make it suck?
Danny: It's a test of faith!
Nigel: Yeah. He gives humanity freedom of choice just so he can ask an entire species "Hands up, who likes me?" at the end of the day. YOU INSECURE LOSER! I am not your fucking cheerleader for whenever your existential angst gets a bit too much! You want me in your paradise, well you take me as I am or not at all!
Danny: If you don't tell God that you love Him, you can't go to Heaven!
[A golden light shines down on them both, like a sunset.]
Danny: See heaven! Isn't it beautiful?
Nigel: [sighs] Yeah. It is. But then so's Dubai. Big freaking deal.
[Another trumpet sound.]
Danny: That's Gabriel's final call. A melody like the infinite regression of an image in parallel mirrors, and the melody stretches into the end of time...
Nigel: Yeah, yeah. Very experimental. Yellow Submarine is as nothing.
Danny: [totally losing it] JESUS JIGSAW-ASSEMBLING CHRIST, YOU EGOMANIAC! THIS IS THE FUCKING DAY OF FUCKING JUDGEMENT YOU SELF-ABSORBED ASSHOLE! IF YOU DO NOT DECLARE YOUR LOVE OF GOD YOU HAVE TO STAY HERE IN LIMBO FOR ETERNITY AND DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LONG THAT WILL BE?
Nigel: Hmmm. Tough one. The use of "eternity" muddies the waters...
Danny: I fucking give up!
Nigel: Aint that the old story, Danny? Well screw you, screw God and screw the rest of reality! I am not going to back down to cosmic blackmail just because the almighty needs my approval for creating a universe where you can see Jack the Ripper on Ice at the theatre! He wants my love, he can come here himself!
[Danielle vanishes, leaving Nigel alone in the darkness.]
Nigel: On second thoughts, this could be one hell of a big mistake.
Nigel: Ah, shit.
[Everything blurs back into the subbasement. Nigel is staring at the far wall, twiddling his thumbs and lost in thought.]
Mephisto: [doubtful] That's your story?
Jai'me: [shrugs] Well, you know, we all totalluy have our crosses to bear.
Nigel: [to himself] But it seemed so real. Almost as if it had happened.
[The others look up as the lift chimes.]
Nigel: Which is odd. Because it couldn't have happened.
[Nigel stares into the distance, unaware the others are running for the lift as the doors slide open - revealing a misty, moonlit graveyard in the dead of night.]
Nigel: I haven't lived with Kenjii for ages. I've been flatsharing with Gabby and Benny and that... that thing she's convinced is worthy of her love. If the world ended, why can I remember at least a year's worth of shit happening since?
[As if in a trance, the other four wander out through the doors into the graveyard. They head off in different directions and, as each reaches a fresh grave, they shimmer and vanish without a sound. The doors slide shut. Nigel does not notice.]
Nigel: Come to think of it, the last thing I remember is David Jones and the Russian Kid coming back to try and kill me. If this was a dream about the future, why didn't I dream about that? Christ knows it would have been slightly more useful! What do you think?
[He turns around and realizes he's alone for the first time.]
Nigel: What? You rude bastards! I WAS TALKING, DAMMIT!
[Angrilly he picks up a glass and throws it at the wall. It bounces and doesn't break at all.]
Nigel: Lame. But hang on. I can remember that maze at the Jekkatatve... I can remember dying. How the hell did I get from there to Centre Point Tower in the first place? None of this makes any sense at all! It's like Lost without that hot pregnant chick!
Nigel: Unless this a dream. But that would mean...
[Cut to Nigel slowly cracking open his eyes. He is lying in a hospital bed. There are bandages patches on his head and shoulders, wires leading between him and heart monitors and the like. One arm is in a cast. What's bizarre is that this seems to be in a deserted warehouse in the middle of the day. Nigel peers around groggily.]
Nigel: This just gets better and better...
- to be continued...