[Street. Wynona drives through the suburbs. Maurice is at the wheel, Nigel holding a pack of frozen peas to his forehead, still hungover.]
Maurice: I still think it would be easier to convince Dave.
Nigel: Course it would! So we can do it later. We'll need to work harder on Andrew, so we might as well start now.
Maurice: Ah, it shouldn't be too difficult. Once he finds out how your pathetic scheme backfired, he'll be in a great mood, won't he?
Nigel: Hmph. I really preferred you when you didn't take your meds, Maurice.
Maurice: Oh stop being a bitch.
[They turn a corner to the park where Andrew's shack should be. Instead there is a smoky hole in the ground where the shack was, which is taped off and with fences around. Maurice parks Wynona and they emerge to approach the sealed-off area.]
Nigel: Oh now what?
Maurice: Andrew's place... it's burnt to the ground.
Nigel: He probably burnt it for insurance. The hairy lunatic lost his job and needed some cash. [winces] Oooh, I'm getting that amnesia again...
[Maurice hurries to a smoke-damaged house next to the hut as the front door opens and Cuddles, a body-builder type with a ponytail, lumbers out.]
Maurice: Excuse me... scuse me...
Maurice: Sorry, but what happened?
Cuddles: Typical media bias.
Cuddles: You'd think the news would have reported a terrorist attack like that, wouldn't you?
Nigel: What terrorist attack?
Cuddles: Day before yesterday. Hole place blew up, just as we were getting some credibility back into the neighborhood. Oh well...
Maurice: You know the guy who lived there?
Cuddles: Drew? Oh yeah, I knew him.
Nigel: Your use of the past tense disturbs me as much as your oiled pectorals excites my companion.
Maurice: They don't excite me that much.
Nigel: You have very strange fetished, Maurice. [to Cuddles] Did something happen?
[Flashback. Andrew is crossing the park to the intact hut. He opens the door just as Cuddles spots him and runs out of his house.]
Cuddles: Hey, you, what are you doing?
Andrew: What’s it look like? It’s my hut.
Cuddles: Jeez, Drew! Property values have just started going up again, you spastic! You move in and they’ll head straight back down again, you evil little goblin!
Andrew: Look, I was here before you. I have title on this land.
Cuddles: Only because none of the Aborigines wanted it.
Andrew: Look, ‘Cuddles’, I’m just stopping by for some stuff.
Cuddles: [haughty] If you move in, I won’t be responsible for my actions.
Andrew: Fine! But remember: I know what you do kangaroos, so just shut up, you annoying virus. Or soon the local papers will work out just why you’re called ‘Cuddles’! OK?
Cuddles: Fine! I hope you die horribly.
Andrew: Yeah, like that’s about to happen.
[Andrew turns to face his hut. A massive explosion utterly destroys Andrew’s hut, flinging Andrew across the park. He strikes a wall before crumpling to the ground. End flashback.]
Maurice: Holy shit. What happened then?
Cuddles: Lots of fire engines, police, the right-wing media...
Nigel: To Andrew?
Cuddles: No idea. No ambulances turned up. I suppose he must have just got up and gone. I was a bit busy trying to raise awareness of Kakadu National Park Uranium Mining with that cow from 60 Minutes, so I guess he could have been pronounced dead. But there was nothing in the paper about it.
Maurice: Well, Kakadu's probably going to be more of an election issue...
Cuddles: I meant Drew. Kinda feel a bit bad, but then it was my house that got damaged. Stupid insurance premiums... I should totally set up a website.
Maurice: Yeah, you do that.
[Nigel is staring at the blast site.]
Nigel: Oh dear. I just remembered.
Maurice: Remembered what?
Nigel: Well, er, the person who put the plastic explosives in the so-called Beeblebrox Bungalow may very well have been someone not a million miles away talking to you right now.
Maurice: You blew up Andrew's hut!
Cuddles: My geraniums are practical worn down to the stem you terrorist!
Nigel: In reverse order, a) I don't give a shit and b) hey, I was drunk with evil power at the time.
Maurice: You might have killed Andrew!
Nigel: That wasn't my intention.
Maurice: Do you think it makes this all right?
Nigel: Doesn't it? Hell, I just wanted to blow up the shack to mess with him. I didn't think he'd be inside it at the time.
Cuddles: Actually, he was sort of outside the doorway.
Nigel: See? Besides, it's me who has to suffer if the yowie-faced freak's dead! Who's going to pay rent!
Nigel: I could explain it to you, but that would involve me caring that you're well-informed.
[Cuddles calmly punches Nigel in the face.]
Nigel: OK. Ow. Shit. I'm broke but I known a stunning outer suberb converted gymnasium quality apartment and rooms are going vacant so I'm trying to...
Cuddles: I'll take it.
Nigel: What? I thought I was the one with concussion!
Cuddles: You've damaged my property. Until the decorators are finished, I need a place to stay.
Nigel: I don't want you in my house, whatever your name is!
Cuddles: You can call me Cuddles. And if you find that funny I will snap your femur.
Nigel: Look you walnut-filled condom on chopsticks...
Maurice: Hey, leave it, Nige. You want paying guests, take what you're given.
Cuddles: Oh, I'm not paying. I'll take the rent owed out of the lawsuit I'm still tempted to file against you.
Nigel: Lawsuit? Do you know who I am?!
Nigel: Shit, that means he could get me to court. Fine, "Cuddles". I suppose you can take Andrew's room until we find him.
[Cuddles claps his hands girlishly and runs inside.]
Maurice: Find Andrew? He could be dead by now!
Nigel: Rule 1, Maurice. They're not dead until you see the body.
Maurice: Yeah, tell that to Jimmy Hoffa.
Maurice: I dunno. People said that to me once when I did the "see the body" thing.
[They cross to the brick wall Andrew impacted on. There is an impact dent and a bloodstain.]
Maurice: Well, it doesn't take CSI: Los Angeles to see he was hurt.
Nigel: It's not that bad. Headwounds always bleed out. He must have regained consciousness and walked away.
Maurice: He could still have died from an anuerysm or something.
Nigel: In which case, someone would have found the body by now. If only we knew where he was going.
Maurice: Oh! I've got an idea!
[Maurice starts to run to a phone box.]
Maurice: We can call Katy - he probably went to see her.
[Flashback. Nigel is by the kitchen table which is covered with buttermenthol wrappers and he picks up the landline. When he speaks, his voice is absolutely identical with Andrew’s mellow tones.]
Nigel: [Andrew's Voice] Katy, is that you? Katy, this is difficult for me.
Katy: What is?
Nigel: [Andrew's Voice] Well, look, it was either ringing you up or telling you face to face and getting slapped for ten minutes straight.
Nigel: [Andrew's Voice] Katy, there comes a time in life to grow and change. With your compassion and guidance I have discovered the beauty of life. Now, I must go into the world a new person, and seek out my own truths. So, er... I’m out of here, you slut! But, er, I will remember you January, like a memory I once had. [calls] Pass the gin, will you Serena?
Katy: [stunned] So, this is goodbye?
Nigel: [Andrew's Voice] Goodbye, you nagging know-it-all bitch! Do you owe me any money? No? Well, don’t be too put out that you screwed this one up. That’s the problem with you lady, you never could hold a relationship past three weeks.
Katy: Fine! Piss off – you’re like all the rest! I’m sick of you! All men are bastards...
[Nigel hangs up. End flashback.]
Maurice: So. You tricked Katy into breaking up with Andrew before you blew up his place and probably killed him in the process.
Nigel: See, when you put it like that, it sounds bad.
Maurice: It sounds bad because it IS bad you stupid arsehole!
Nigel: Why are you forgetting the "drunk with evil power" bit? Hey, if their love was so awesome, it could have survived anything I did. And if that stupid ape-shape hadn't distracted Andrew, he would have had enough time to realize the hut was full of plastic explosive and do a runner. So, technically, he's the bad guy.
[It turns out Cuddles is right behind them, with lots of backpacker stuff.]
Cuddles: Who's the bad guy?
Nigel: [sighs] Oh, this relationship is not going to improve any time soon.
[Later. Cuddles' stuff has been packed into the boot of Wynona. Cuddles and Maurice close the boot and climb inside. Nigel is in the passenger seat. Maurice glares at him.]
Nigel: Don't glare at me, boy. I intend to find Andrew.
Maurice: Andrew's dead, obviously. He stumbled into some back alley, karked it and is probably on a mortuary slab right now thanks to you!
Nigel: And you call yourself a friend with that attitude?
Cuddles: Well he's not the one who blew him up.
Nigel: Cuddles, unless you have something to contribute to the conversation be silent. In fact, you should bring silence to every conversation from now on.
[Cuddles reaches across and slams Nigel's head against the dashboard. Nigel grabs the handle of his chair and it jack-knifes back into Cuddles face and he cries out.]
Nigel: You know, I hold Andrew in some small regard so imagine the sort of shit I might do to you if you keep this up you over-oiled anabolic baboon! [brightly] Right, now primal dominance over the herd has been reasserted, we need to find Andrew.
Maurice: How? Check out the morgue?
Nigel: Nonsense. All we need to do is think like him.
Nigel: Man, this is going to be difficult, isn't it? OK, well, working on the assumption Andrew wasn't killed what would he do now he has nowhere to go and no one to turn to? Well, he'd need money - especially after I emptied his account...
Cuddles: My god, there are Nazis out there who've done more for human decency...
Nigel: Shut up, Cuddles! Now, Andrew needed money, he needed work... He'd go to the nearest toy store that hadn't already fired him. Where's the nearest shopping centre, Maurice?
Maurice: You've lived here for three years and you're asking that now?
Nigel: Hey, I probably knew, I just destroyed that brain cell with alocohol poisoning.
[Maurice rolls his eyes and then starts the engine. Wynona drives off.]
[The parkling lot around a Westfield shopping centre. Nigel, Maurice and Cuddles emerge from the car and start moving towards the centre.]
Nigel: I've got a good feeling about this, people. Walking distance from the disaster area, plenty of warmth and food and employment opportunities - if Andrew was headed anywhere it would be here.
Cuddles: You know, the argument for him being dead in a back alley is getting very compelling about now.
Nigel: Oh, how many potential homicides have you investigated, muscle man? The same number as Stuart Littlemore. Zero! Besides, you're both underestimating the sheer thickness of Andrew's skull. Believe you me, I know where of I speak - I've tried to bash it in enough times.
Maurice: He's not going to be there, Nige. At best he'd be in some intensive care unit...
Nigel: Maurice, this is precisely the attitude that made you fail the HSC.
Maurice: I didn't fail.
Nigel: Denial isn't the answer, Maurice.
Cuddles: No, it is!
[Cuddles laughs uproarishly. Nigel and Maurice eye him uncertainly.]
Nigel: Dear god, I hope we find him. You've actually lowered the bar.
[They enter Westfield.]
[Main hall. It is full of people. The trio approach a detailed model of the shopping centre under a glass case with a map superimposed over the top. Nigel looks around.]
Maurice: OK, well the toy stores are up on the top level.
Cuddles: Another conspiracy. Designed to drag all the parents through the whole complex, so they're more likely to impulse buy all the way. Brainwashing, I tell you.
Maurice: Do you actually do anything about all these social problems?
Cuddles: I don't ignore them. [folds arms] That's enough. Oh yeah, that's enough.
[Nigel approaches a cafe.]
Nigel: I remember this place. I've been here before with Andrew and that moron Mungo Smith!
[Flashback. A waitress called Alf is talking to Andrew and Nigel as they sit at a table with Mungo.]
Alf: $15 for the drinks, boys.
Andrew: Sure, whatever.
[He pulls out a wallet and hands over some cash. She hands it back.]
Andrew: You don’t take Monopoly Money?
Alf: Fraid not, smelly.
Andrew: [sighs] I tried. You can’t say I didn’t try.
Alf: No, but I can say you didn’t pay, so pay up!
[Nigel stands up, between Andrew and Alf.]
Nigel: [charming] I’m sure the value of those drinks can be made up in... other ways, don’t you think? Eh? Get my drift? Uh?
Alf: [folds arms] What? You want to wash dishes for the next three weeks, cause that’s what it’s gonna cost to cover the bill.
Nigel: Three weeks for $15? That’s daylight robbery!
Alf: Yeah, and so is not paying for your drinks.
[Andrew stands up, calmly.]
Andrew: Now, now, no need for such unpleasantness. I’m sure we can rustle up enough money if we pull our heads together.
[He waves Mungo and Alf together for a huddle, then grabs their heads and slam them together. They fall down unconscious. Andrew pulls out Mungo’s coin purse, opens it and pours the silver coins out over their prone forms.]
Andrew: Hah! Charge that, you slags!
[Huffing, he turns to face Nigel.]
Andrew: Come, Nigella. We’re leaving.
[Nigel nods and they leave, looking dignified. End flashback. Nigel sniffs back a tear.]
Nigel: Oh. Good times. I'm coming for you, Andy-Pandy!
[He hurries off. Shaking their heads in despair, Cuddles and Maurice follow.]
[Montage. The trio are in the liquor store, with Nigel performing a strange monkey mime to the guy behind the desk. He shakes his head. Nigel talks earnestly. The guy pulls back a wall panel to reveal a row of photographs and BARRED FOR LIFE written above them. There is a photo of Andrew with a rubber chicken, face half-blue. Nigel points to the photo. The guy shakes his head.]
[A plaza with mini rides for kids - vans and helicopters and cars and boats and rocking horses. Nigel checks them, occasionally double-checking the riders even though they're all under fives. He shakes his despair and moves on.]
[Cuddles and Maurice point out a photobooth to one side. Nigel, delighted, whips back a curtain but it's empty. He sighs miserably and they move on.]
[The escalaters. As they ride up to the top floor, Nigel looks around miserably for Andrew. No sign of him. He then looks down to the lower level where a stage is set up and a guy in a Shrek outfit is dancercizing with a load of kids dancing along. Exciting, Nigel starts running down the stairs but as they're going upwards, gets absolutely nowhere.]
[Telephones near the toilets. Maurice chats to a security man there, describing Andrew. Cuddles is far more interested in a sushi bar. Maurice starts to flirt with the security man, who blows him a kiss.]
[Nigel finally climbs across the escalator onto the one going down and runs the rest of the way. He runs up on stage, half-angry and half-delighted and tears off Shrek's head. It is not Andrew but a black teenage girl who is pissed off. She knees Nigel in the bollocks and he collapses. The children cheer and start kicking Nigel as well, in a massive gang-bash.]
[Cuddles notes a carpet rug rolled up on display outside a store. Idly, he unrolls it in case someone is inside. They aren't. He minces away before the store owner can come out and complain.]
[The montage ends as Nigel, very bruised, limps out of Toys R Us with the others behind. Nearby is a newsagent with a Greek girl idly flipping through the poster rack.]
Nigel: Nothing. No one's seen him, heard from him - they sure as hell would've smelt him. He hasn't applied for a job. [sighs] Maybe we should've checked out the alleyways near the park to make sure.
Cuddles: Ooh, before we do I want to get the latest issue of New Dawn!
Maurice: It's just a reprint you know. They don't come up with new material.
Cuddles: God damn! I knew it!
[Furious, Cuddles storms into the newsagent. The girl, Vasiliki, turns to them. She carries a rolled-up poster in her hands.]
Maurice: Hah! Like injecting fish in a shooting gallery.
Vasiliki: You looking for someone?
Nigel: Hrm. Yes.
Vasiliki: Would it be a very distinctive, smelly sort of guy?
Nigel: Why yes.
Vasiliki: I might have seen him.
Nigel: Yeah, and you might have just been overhearing my glorious baritone voice. I know a con when I see one.
Vasiliki: Hey, just cause I'm Greek doesn't mean I'm Con the fruitier you know! That's totally racist!
Nigel: [eye rolls] Puh-lease. You're trying to scam me.
Vasiliki: Me? Scam you? How dare you, mister!
[Cuddles returns and spots the poster rack.]
Cuddles: Ooh! That's a point, I should get some posters for my new place!
Vasiliki: Oh, you got some new accomodation?
Cuddles: Yes, bleach-blondie over there needs paying tennants at his place.
Vasiliki: Oh really?
Nigel: What? No. No, no, no! Shut up!
Vasiliki: I happen to be in need of somewhere to crash...
Nigel: Paying customers only, Stephenidies!
Vasiliki: So, so racist. [to Cuddles] How much is he charging you?
Cuddles: Oh, I'm getting it free. It's cheaper than legal fees, right, Nigel?
Vasiliki: Oh, so you're open to an offer, are you?
Nigel: What, are you going to blackmail me after our minute-long association are you?
Vasiliki: How about a gamble? I win, I get your spare room for a week, no questions asked.
Nigel: There will be no questions asked because the answer given is no. I have a very select criteria...
[She holds up her hands.]
Vasiliki: Hear me out. How long have we known each other?
[Maurice checks his watch.]
Maurice: About seventy-seconds.
Vasiliki: OK. So seven... [looks around] Seven posters! I'll ask you to find seven posters and if you can't, I win. What's more, you can choose the posters I need to look for.
Nigel: What? Entirely off the top of my head?
Vasiliki: Given there's a reasonable chance for them to be in this poster rack. How fair is that? Guess seven posters are there. If they're not, I get your room to let and if you find them, I'll never bother you again. No bones about it. You won't find any skeletons in my closet.
Nigel: Hrm. OK... Okay... er... a chick on a sports car and/or powerboat.
Vasiliki: OK. Big fellah, you find it for him.
[Cuddles looks through the poster rack, flips through them and comes up with
Vasiliki: One out of seven.
Nigel: OK, some obscure American basketballer no one's ever heard of.
[Cuddles looks and takes out a poster of a basketballer.]
Vasiliki: Ever heard of Dominik Wilson?
Nigel: Nope. Guess that counts. OK, some ghastly 80s rock band in awkward pose.
[A moment later, Cuddles pulls out another poster.]
Maurice: "Black Nadir and the Puss-Suckers". That fits.
Nigel: OK, some sort of homestead with a bowl of fruit on the table.
[Cuddles easily finds it.]
Vasiliki: Too easy, isn't it?
Nigel: A completely gratuitous festival of boob flesh.
[Cuddles finds a suitable poster. Nigel takes it out of the rack.]
Nigel: You can pay for that one, Cuddles.
Vasiliki: Five. More than half way. Still feeling confident?
Nigel: Immensely. Your bizarre hustle will not work. There's bound to be Marylin Monroe in there.
[Cuddles shows the second poster on the rack is Marylin Munroe.]
Vasiliki: Come on. I've got one last chance. Go on, be specific!
Nigel: The skeleton on the toilet.
Maurice: Nigel, man, unfair. It's law there's one in every newsagents. And possibly the national gallery.
Vasiliki: Find it, Cuddles.
[Cuddles starts looking through the posters. He keeps looking.]
Nigel: The pee-estre-resistance! Quite an easy one, you could put a timer!
[Cuddles is still looking.]
Nigel: [less confident] It can't be too far away. It'll turn up.
[Cuddles reaches the end of the rack and starts looking back through them.]
Nigel: Where the hell's that damn skeleton! They can't leave that out!
Cuddles: You should've picked Patrick Swayze, there's a dozen of him in here...
[Cuddles reaches the end and shakes his head.]
Vasiliki: [smug] Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.
Nigel: Daughter of a bastard! This must be the only newsagent on Earth without that damn poster!
Vasiliki: So it's agreed? I'm your new flatmate?
Nigel: You're working on the highly uncertain suggestion I am a man of my word.
Vasiliki: We had a verbal agreement. I can sue you.
Nigel: And how are you going to afford the legal fees?
Vasiliki: I might know someone in the legal profession.
Nigel: I don't doubt it. You hustled me!
[Vasiliki gasps in shock and bobs him with the poster.]
Vasiliki: How dare you, sir! For that, you can buy me a poster!
[Nigel frowns, grabs her poster and unfolds it. It is a lurid painted image of a skeleton in a top hat sitting on a toilet with a rose in its jaw. Nigel looks at Vasiliki in shock.]
Nigel: You cunning bitch.
Vasiliki: Hey, I had this before we made our wager.
Maurice: How did you know he'd pick it?
Vasiliki: Everyone knows every poster rack has the skeleton in it, he was bound to have picked it off the top of his head. Plus a little bit of neuro-linguistic suggestion.
[Flashback in slow-mo...]
Vasiliki: ...skeletons... to let... bones...
Nigel: I don't care. I don't have to take you in.
[Cuddles' hand thumps down on Nigel's shoulder.]
Cuddles: I think you should.
Vasiliki: It'll just be for a week. And who's to say I was lying about seeing your friend?
Nigel: The fact you refer to him as a friend, for a start.
Vasiliki: Is that how Andrew would put it?
Nigel: You're a hustler, you overhead me asking the staff.
Vasiliki: Did I? It's not going to kill you to give me the benefit of the doubt, is it?
Nigel: [sighs] Oh, if only it would. All right, you can come with us. What's your name, anyway?
Nigel: Really. I shall call you Silky.
Vasiliki: You wouldn't be the first. Oh, we've got to pick up my stuff on the way.
[The street outside the house. Wynona pulls up. The doors open. Cuddles goes to the boot, opens it and starts taking out his stuff. Nigel heads for the front doors and opens them. Vasiliki and Maurice carry an unconcious goth chick with dyed hair and skimpy outfit to the doors.]
Nigel: You consider close relatives "your stuff", then.
Vasiliki: Well, let's just say she's emotional baggage. Don't worry, Nemonie's completely nocturnal, you won't even know that she's there. Unless she finds your stereo and a Cradle of Filth album.
Maurice: What happens then?
Vasiliki: Normally? We look for another place.
Nigel: You should be doing that already. Vasiliki and Nemonie, you sound like retarded pokemon!
[Hallway. Nigel leads Maurice and Vasiliki as they carry Nemonie inside.]
Maurice: What are you complaining about, Nige? You were desperate for company last night.
Nigel: Yes, but not yours! Or any of these Pizza rejects who refuse to shift hard-earned cash!
Maurice: [to Vasiliki] He's just cranky.
Vasiliki: Not getting any, huh?
Maurice: Last night, he found this barmaid but then he vomited up her--
Nigel: Shut up Maurice! God what a horrible day. Abandoned, broke and I seem to be collecting freeloading idiots like some kind of moron-gathering Pied Piper...
[He enters the living area, stops and sighs.]
Nigel: Oh look, two more!
[Sitting in the chairs are Dr. Spoon and Chamber. Boxes of their stuff fill the room.]
Dr. Spoon: Afternoon, Verkoff! We let ourselves in, hope you don't mind.
Chamber: And if you do, we don't particularly care.
Dr. Spoon: What time's supper?
[While Vasiliki and Maurice lower Nemonie onto the couch between them, Nigel confronts the pair.]
Nigel: What in the name of Kim Beazley's urinary tract infection are you two doing here?
Chamber: Well, we live here now.
Dr. Spoon: Yeah, obviously.
Chamber: What a stupid question.
Dr. Spoon: Pfft.
Nigel: And who said you could do that?
Chamber: Well. You did.
Dr. Spoon: Couldn't have put it better myself, Chamber. You rang us up last night, all tired and emotional, and begged us to come and live with you, rent free, for as long as we liked because your silly treasure hunt meant you couldn't pay us for services rendered.
Nigel: Services rendered? You dug a hole in the backyard!
Chamber: [yawns] I know. You're really generous, man.
Nigel: I never made that phone call!
Maurice: Or are you just too drunk to remember?
Nigel: That's beside the point!
Vasiliki: I dunno, you seem to be offering rooms a lot today. Hey. Vasiliki.
[Chamber shakes her hand.]
Chamber: Archibald "Arco" Chamber. The albino over there yonder dressed as Tom Baker is Rupert Woosing-Gard, but we all call him Dr. Spoon.
Vasiliki: Why? You a gynaecologist?
Dr. Spoon: No, oddly enough. [beat] Well, I dabble. [confidentially] And I am a dab hand with a speculum, when's all said and done.
Vasiliki: I'll bear that in mind, Doc. [points] That's my cousin, Nemonie, but you're unlikely to meet her when she's conscious.
Nigel: Stop talking to each other! None of you are welcome here! Get out of my house!
Chamber: You invited us here.
Vasiliki: That's a verbal agreement, you know.
Nigel: Shut up, Silky. [to Dr. Spoon] Can you actually prove I invited you here?
Dr. Spoon: I think the question you should be asking, Verkoff, is - can you actually prove you didn't?
[Nigel groans in despair.]
- to be continued...