Saturday, January 20, 2007

YOA # 3 (2) - Normal Service Resumed

Last time on YOA...

Nigel, ridiculously amused at this, laughs uproarishly before falling off the couch. His laughter stops suddenly. Andrew frowns and moves to get to his feet. Suddenly, he grimaces, dropping his glass. It smashes to pieces as Andrew collapses back into the chair. He gives an apologetic look at Dave, before his eyes roll back in his head and he slumps back, unconscious. Dave blows out his cheeks, looking slightly bewildered.

DAVE: Must be the... bloody cryptosperidium in the water again...

He drops the glass and, swaying unsteadily, gets to his feet. Very, very carefully, he makes his way over to the front door. Suddenly, his legs fail him and he collapses onto the ground by the door. With all his strength, Dave manages to roll over onto his back, then he dozes off. The door clicks open, to reveal Parker. He smiles evily. We gradually blur out of focus, mixing the shot to:


Psychadelic patterns, kaliedescoping into each other. Incoherent, pained howls from our three heroes as they are sucked down, down, down, their hands clawing at us. They spin faster and faster, different shots. Everything spins in the opposite direction.


We see a dark French city. Silent, apart from distant gunfire. We focus on a street mainly illuminated by ligt behind the windows of a cafe. The street is deserted - no cars, no traffic, no pedestrians. Just a few tables and chairs at the entrance to the cafe.


A dimly-lit coffee lounge typical of Paris in the year 1944. Silhouettes of people move back and forth between couches and low tables, and the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxed. Occasionally, there is the distant mutter and crack of gunfire, but we pay it no heed.

We zoom in on one lounge area. Dressed in their ordinary clothes are our heroes, sitting around a table with a bottle of wine and shot glasses. A wino in beret and glasses is slumped next to them, comatose. Andrew holds his glass, staring thoughtfully into the distance, reclining on the couch. Next to him is the thoroughly relaxed Nigel, who is smoking a cigarette. Dave is reading a newspaper called COMBAT.

[Note: All characters from this point speak in French, bar Andrew. Their dialogue is shown in subtitles]

NIGEL: //Well? What does it say?//

DAVE: //"The liberation of France is at hand, my friends!"//

ANDREW: Really.

DAVE: //You betcha! According to this, the Allies have landed in Normandy. The Americans must have taken Chartres by now, mustn’t they?//

NIGEL: //That's the rumor.//

ANDREW: We’ve heard lots of rumors. This could just be another dead end. A false hope. Never rely on rumors. Especially tenth-hand rumors from a third-rate underground paper.

He smacks the paper in Dave’s hand, who wrenches it away.

DAVE: //Come on, Andrew! It explains the fighting going on out there! You gotta admit that!//

ANDREW: [FROWNS] "Got to admit"? Don’t tell me what I have to admit to! [SCOWLS] The Nazis have invaded France, Dave – of course there’s going to be fighting. The resistance groups just happen to be more aggressive tonight. You’re reading too much into it.

DAVE: //Am I? All the resistance groups are out there, fighting! All of them! The Nazis have their hands full at the moment. When the Americans reach here, the invaders will be caught between two fronts. We’re as good as free now!//

NIGEL: //That, Dave, is because it’s what we’re SUPPOSED to think.//

ANDREW: [RUBS EYES] Oh, now what?

NIGEL: //This is all part of the Fuehrer’s planning.//

ANDREW: Yeah, it has that characteristically melodramatic element indicative of someone who, when pissed off, tries to eat the carpet sans cutlery.

NIGEL: //That’s a lie, Andrew! A total lie!//

ANDREW: It’s a well-known fact.

NIGEL: //A well-known opinion, more like.//

ANDREW: [SMUGLY] Most well-known facts are. I tell you, if that idiot Jean-Paul listened to me, the war would have ended months ago. Marks my words!

NIGEL: //Oh, yeah! SURE!//

ANDREW: It would work! It’s a brilliant idea!

NIGEL: [MOCKING] //Sure, sure – put a cyanide-flavored rug in Hitler’s room and wait and see...//

DAVE: //Wait, wait, wait. Nigel... You’re saying that Hitler actually plans to lose the war?//

ANDREW: Yes, it’s a close-run thing, though.

NIGEL: //Oh, wake up, you two! It's all a plot. The Allied Forces will free France – and how many men will they lose doing it? How many resistance members will be left afterwards? And will they be prepared for the German reinforcements? The weakened armies shall be crushed and France shall fall back under Nazi rule. This is all a ruse! A gigantic bit of psychology.//

DAVE: //You know, Nige, you really are looking into these things a bit too deeply. Do you get that feeling?//

ANDREW: Besides, even if it isn’t a trick... if Hitler DOES lose the war... what’s the stop it happening all over again, hmm? Versailles didn’t work last time, it won’t work now.

DAVE: //Well, I think Europe will go communist after all this.//

NIGEL: [ANGRY] //That’s total bull-twang, Dave! Within three weeks, Hitler will be master of Europe once more – and they’ll all be goose-stepping in our living rooms!//

DAVE: //WHAT? You’re crazy! You’re--//

Andrew sighs and swigs his glass down. There is no more wine left to be drunk.

ANDREW: You’re driving me bananas.

He rises and leaves. Dave rises, picking up the paper.

NIGEL: [SINGSONG] //Oooh! Andrew’s in a bad mood...//

Nigel looks smug. Then he sighs and rises. The wino slumps.


Andrew, then Nigel, then Dave exit. There is little noise, bar night atmosphere and a distant rumbling noise. Andrew frowns, stops and turns around.

ANDREW: Hey, what’s that?

He crosses over to a manhole cover in the middle of the street.

DAVE: //What?//

ANDREW: That noise...

He gets down on all fours and listens to the manhole cover.

ANDREW: It’s coming from this manhole! Help me with this thing...

Dave and Nigel sigh, but, between the three of them, manage to lift the cover free and put it down next to the access shaft. It seems to be a very long tunnel with a ladder stretching down into the distance. The noise is getting louder.

NIGEL: //I can hear voices...//

ANDREW: [NODS] Sounds like a party.

DAVE: //Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go!//

Dave hastily climbs into the manhole and out of sight. Nigel follows, clearly uncomfortable climbing into the sewer. Before he is out of view, Andrew starts to climb down the shaft. We hear crunching noises and Nigel howling in agony.

ANDREW: [DESCENDS] Do you mind? Would you please get your freaking head out of my way...?


We see a tight shot of Dave climbing down the ladder. Finally, the shaft ends and then, so does the ladder. Dave jumps off onto a platform. All around is darkness. He walks forward and moves down some steps onto a lower platform. Behind him, Nigel moves down the ladder.

We slowly pan out to see just where they are. This odd staircase becomes an extremely steep one. It is in the middle of a gigantic chamber, containing a building that fills up most of the space.

From it emerge large pipes and water streams from these in endless waterfalls. Surrounding the construct are more of these staircases, like miniature buildings themselves. What little illumination there is comes from arched windows in the buildings.

NIGEL: [VO] //Now where are we?!?//

DAVE: [VO] //I wish you’d stop saying that every five minutes.//

NIGEL: [VO] //I wouldn’t have to if I knew where we were for more than five minutes at a time.//

We pan out further to show that this impressive setup seems bottomless, with more pipes emerging from other angles to empty water out. The most illumination comes from a doorway on the far side of the chamber.

NIGEL: //I’ve seen bigger...//

DAVE: //Oh, shut up! [SOTTO] I had no idea this was down here... Someone’s converted the sewage works into a miniature city – even got some electricity working.//

He points at illuminated arched windows in the buildings.

DAVE: //Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to see a damn thing.//

NIGEL: //Surely, it’s a bit dim for all this light.//

DAVE: //...what?//

NIGEL: //You know.//

DAVE: //No. I don’t.//

NIGEL: //The light in the windows is really weak, so how can we be so well... lit?//

DAVE: //I know.//

He points to the far side of the chamber. Behind them, we can hear Andrew scream. His voice gets louder and louder until he drops out of the manhole shaft and slams into the platform above them.

ANDREW: Ohh. My back...

NIGEL: //So, where to now?//

DAVE: [POINTS] //Like any self-respecting wanderer, we go towards the light. That door. Over there.//

NIGEL: //Are you sure about this, Dave?//

DAVE: //This is life. Nothing’s sure.//

NIGEL: //Exactly. So don’t make it worse.//

Dave frowns and looks at him.


A few moments later. The guys have somehow managed to cross the chasm to be on the other side and are passing the main outlet pipes towards the bright light. Andrew is ruefully massaging his shoulder as they come to a halt. The light streams through the ancient and ruined door that blocks their way.

NIGEL: //It’s a door.//

ANDREW: Give that man a prize for his insight.

NIGEL: [INTERESTED] //Ooh! What have I won?//


He smacks Nigel in the face. Nigel tries to smack him, but misses.

NIGEL: [SCREAMS IN AGONY] //You bastard! You broke my jaw!//

ANDREW: Afraid not, Nigel. You can still talk. Unfortunately.

DAVE: [SIGHS] //Well, we’re here.//

NIGEL: //This seems a bit too much for a party that might not be on.//

ANDREW: Oh, where’s your spirit of adventure?

NIGEL: //Working its way through another bottle of wine, back at the Café Des Poetes. Where’s yours?//

Andrew laughs humorlessly.

ANDREW: Nige, did anyone ever tell you have a marvelous sense of humor?

NIGEL: //Yes, actually.//

ANDREW: They lied.

Dave stares at the door. Painted on the surface is a screaming skull surrounded by burnt soot. Above the wall is the word ‘OSSUARY’ scratched out into the stone wall.

DAVE: //‘Oss-you-air-ee.’ What’s that?//

NIGEL: //Probably French.//

ANDREW: What? Can’t you speak French?

NIGEL: //Not a word. Why?//

ANDREW: Because, you vacuous adolescent, ‘Ossuary’ is an ENGLISH word! Christ in a blender, man...

NIGEL: //Oh, and what does that mean then, gobshite?//

ANDREW: A place or receptacle for the bones of the dead. Derived from the Latin word for bone, ‘os’.

NIGEL: //Likely story.//

ANDREW: It’s true!

NIGEL: [SNORTS] //Sure.//

ANDREW: Fine! YOU think I’m lying!

DAVE: //Well, just prove it then.//

ANDREW: Prove it? YOU disprove it!

NIGEL: //Very witty, duckface.//

ANDREW: Cephalopod!

Dave sighs and pushes the door. With a nerve-rending creak, it swings open, allowing a relatively bright light to shine on the three of them. Andrew and Nigel stop fighting and stare beyond the door, at what we cannot see.

NIGEL: //OK, best of three?//


A tall, long corridor with a leaky ceiling. The walls are made up of countless human skulls. The trio walk down the passage cautiously down the passage towards a more conventional door at the far end of the mausoleum.

ANDREW: I suppose you could call this an uncorrupted gloom.

DAVE: //Could you?//

ANDREW: Yes, but I wouldn’t. Quite oppressive, that’s what I’d call it.

NIGEL: //Yes. Cold, damp walls, twisting tunnels... Why would anyone have a party in the Paris Ossuary?//

DAVE: //Maybe they like the way the eyes follow you around the room?//

NIGEL: //What eyes?//

DAVE: [COLDLY] //That was a joke, you moron.//

ANDREW: The skulls of a million dead Parisians... a million faces glaring impassively, as if pressed, en masse, against the walls of a glass cage... BOR-RING! Come on!

Andrew strides up to the door and moves to turn the knob.

NIGEL: //Andrew, is this REALLY a good idea?//

ANDREW: Of course it is.

DAVE: //After all – the party can only get livelier after this...//

Andrew turns the handle and pulls open the door.


The door, which is framed like a painting opens. Andrew enters, into some slightly-less gloomy gloom. The others troop in behind him, filling the doorway.

ANDREW: Yes... This seems about right.

We see we are in shadowy dungeons, lit by period light fittings that cast flickering glows over the occupants. The rumble can now be heard as French-style pre-rock ’n’ roll music. A bunch of people are dancing to the music, while other mingle. Hunks in tight shirts, Nazi officers, naked women in body paint – all freaks and all freaky, smoking, talking and drinking. The guys are unfazed.

NIGEL: //We should have brought a six pack.//

DAVE: //Why?//

ANDREW: These bastards are drinking Cointreau!

We see Katy, smoking a cigarette and talking to someone. She notices the guys by the doorway and nods very slightly.

NIGEL: //There’s Katy! HEY, JANUARY! SALUT!//

Katy approaches them, a cheerful host and frighteningly normal in this odd surroundings. She waves happily.

KATY: //Nigel, Dave, Andrew! Hey, you made it!//

ANDREW: Odd choice for locale.

KATY: //Unique, Andrew. And that is what tonight is all about.//

DAVE: //Yeah, well, I guess having a party inside the Paris Ossuary counts as unique – especially when you don’t tell anyone about it! What, the invitations get lost in the fighting or something?//

KATY: //If we’d told you, if would have spoiled everything.//

ANDREW: Oh, what a shame!

KATY: //To come here, you have traversed the underside to Paris. With this new understanding, you can appreciate our endeavors.//

DAVE: //The poor woman’s insane...//

Nigel turns and notices someone hanging from a casually-placed crucifix. Stripped naked and brutally beaten is the owner of Andrew’s workplace, Snugglewarp. He stares at Nigel, drunkenly.

NIGEL: //Oi! What are you looking at, mole features?//

OWNER: //So! Herr Verkoff, you seek to mock me? To mock my terrible power? [EVIL LAUGHTER] You will call me Derek, the crucified one!//

NIGEL: [TURNING AWAY] //Later dude.//

OWNER: //Yes, I see you shrink before my glorious aspect! Yes!//

Katy, Andrew and Dave, now all carrying drinks, move over towards the Owner. Dave closes the door to the Ossuary.

DAVE: //So, what are you celebrating? You think France is about to be freed by the Allied Forces?//

KATY: //Oh, Dave. To give this decadence a purpose is... purposeless. It is, and that is enough. Now, I must introduce you to every one... This is he whom we call Derek, the crucified one. Well, he likes to be called that.//

Andrew wanders over, placing his glass on the cross bar of the crucifix. He smiles at the Owner.

ANDREW: How’s it hanging, Maddog? No, wait, I'm Maddog. You're Mr. Snugglewolfe! I think...

OWNER: [SINGING] //To give style to one’s character – that is a grand and rare art! He who surveys all that his nature presents in its strength and in its weaknesses, and then fashions it into an ingenious plan, until everything appears artistic and rational...//

DAVE: //Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.//

OWNER: //Alas, the time is coming when Man will no longer give birth to the Dancing Star!//

ANDREW: Oh, really. How interesting.

OWNER: //You cannot begin to understand!//

ANDREW: Looks like.

OWNER: //For you, the Music of the Spheres will always be a dull, scraping noise, forever! You will hear only this for a time, then... NOTHING! NOTHING AT ALL!//

KATY: //Oh, give it a rest, arsehole.//

DAVE: //What’s he talking about?//

ANDREW: What’s wrong, Dave. Scared?

DAVE: //Scared, I’m fricken’ terrified.//

KATY: //Don’t let him get to you, Dave. He only does all this because he can’t talk to girls. Speaking of which, where’s Nigel?//

Nigel enters our view, notices the gang and waves. As he moves forward to speak, a beautiful blonde leaps out of the shadows and jabs a gun in Nigel’s face.

EVE: //Now, please put these paper cylinders on your fingers, my dear!//

Nigel swallows, terrified and puts the paper shapes over his fingers. While keeping a gun trained on Nigel, Eve produces a matchstick and strikes it. It ignites immediately.

DAVE: //Katy, who’s that?//

KATY: //Oh, that’s just Auntie Eve. She likes party tricks.//

EVE: [TO KATY] //It’s my birthday, you slut!// [TO NIGEL] //Perhaps now you will only write the truth of real socialism. Or social realism, I forget which. Hold still...//

Nigel swallows again as the lighted match moves towards his hand. The others move off into another dungeon. Nigel is perspiring now.

NIGEL: //Guys? Guys? GUYS!//

His face is lit by the eerie glow of the fire.


A normal period French theatre. A spotlight shines on the stage, silhouetting someone. Seated around the stage seem to be everyone in the party. A few windows show the sewer outlets the guys had to navigate outside. A pipe-smoking American sergeant moves out of the way as Katy, Dave and Andrew enter.

KATY: [EAGERLY] //Come on, you two! Quickly! The cabaret is starting!//

The trio take some convenient seats. The figure on the stage steps forward. It’s Parker. In a tight black dress, fishnet stockings and a seat, elbow-length gloves and a ridiculous beehive wig.

PARKER: Evening...

Dave stares at him in appropriate horror. Parker begins to do an erotic, cabaret-type dancing around the chair. Delta Goodrem’s voice provides the lyrics.

SONG: Do you remember
When you were seven
And the only thing
That you wanted to do
Was show your mum
That you could play the piano?

Ten years have passed
And the one thing that lasts
Is that same old song
That we played along
And made my mumma cry

We start to introduce frame-flashes of Dave’s face in colour, lolling and unconscious. These flashes get longer and longer.

SONG: I miss those days
And I miss those ways
When I got lost in fantasies
In a cartoon land of mysteries

In a place you won’t grow old
In a place you won’t feel cold
And I’ll sing...

We are now slowly but steadily zooming in on Dave’s troubled face, getting closer and closer as the flashes of him get longer and longer, until we can no longer tell what is the illusion.

SONG: Da-da-da-da-da-da da-da-da-da-da-da
Seems I’m lost in my reflection
Da-da-da-da-da-da da-da-da-da-da-da
Find a star for my direction
Da-da-da-da-da-da da-da-da-da-da-da

For the little girl inside
Who won’t just hide
Don’t let me see mistakes and lies

Let me keep my
Faith and innocent eyes
My innocent eyes

We flicker rapidly between the two Daves until the chorus ends and we snap to -- --


We see Dave’s face in close-up, blinking blearily. Delta’s voice echoes and reechoes. We can hear someone speaking.

ANDREW: [DIST] Wake up, Dave... Wake up... Dave, wake up!

We see Dave’s point of view. A pink blur refocuses into a haggard-looking Andrew, wearing a dressing gown. Dave sings completely out of tune.

DAVE: Da-da-da-da-da-da da-da-da-da-da-da, in-no-cent-a eyes...

ANDREW: Dave? Dave!

Dave snaps out of it and looks around. The movement is painful.

DAVE: [GROANS] Oh, what happened? Where’ve I been?

ANDREW: You don’t want to know...

We now see the apartment for the first time. It has been stripped completely of all furniture and fittings. All that’s left are three rickety chairs. One is empty, the others occupied by Dave and Nigel (who is still unconscious). They are stripped down to their underwear and stand on the chairs, feet tied to the seats and nooses around their necks. Andrew pulls out a comb and a flick knife extends from it. He starts to cut the noose from around Dave's neck. He registers what is going on.

DAVE: Wha? Wha?! WHA?

ANDREW: Shut up, Dave! This is a delicate procedure!

DAVE: What? Done this before, have you?

ANDREW: How do you think I got out? Now, very gently... ease forward...

Dave inches forward, trips, sumersaults through the air and crashes on the floor. Andrew helps him up.

ANDREW: Your future kids owe me big, man.

DAVE: Bu... what happened, man? Who did this?

ANDREW: Surprise me.

DAVE: [SIGHS] Parker?

ANDREW: Parker.

Dave stretches his shoulders.

ANDREW: He’s spiked our water supply. When we were all out for the count, he came in here, stripped us, strung us up and stole everything that wasn’t nailed down. Including Pæje!

DAVE: Wha... that bastard!

ANDREW: Don’t get emotional.

DAVE: Why?

ANDREW: Because then I would have to hit you. What little stuff we have is in a dumpster out front. We can collect it once we pay a fine.

DAVE: [ROLLS EYES] A fine. How much?

ANDREW: $600. More if we ask for it tomorrow.

DAVE: Hey – how do you know all this, anyway?

ANDREW: Oh, I’m an old hand at intoxication. Just had to speed up the metabolism. Processed the drug and woke up tied to the chair while two of Parker’s cronies stole everything and took it to the dumpster. I overheard them telling each other about the fine. Good thing exposition’s cheap.

DAVE: So how did you escape?

ANDREW: Easy. I dislocated my ankles and freed my feet, then backflipped and wrapped my legs around the rope so THEY were bearing the weight rather than my neck and began to swing back and forth until a mixture of stress, friction and weight ripped the rope in two, allowing me to fall to safety.

DAVE: Really?

ANDREW: No, but it's a brilliant image isn't it? I put some clothes on and tried to wake you up.

DAVE: Why haven’t you woken Nigel up?

ANDREW: [SIGHS] Because... Because, Dave... because, for one glorious moment, I forgot he ever existed...

Andrew and Dave stare off into the distance, wistfully.

DAVE: Mmm. Nice.

Andrew shrugs and snaps out of it.

ANDREW: Still, we better get on with it.

He crosses over to Nigel unties his feet.

ANDREW: [SOTTO] Nigel... It’s the tambourine-player from the Dandy Warhols... She’s fallen out of her clothes and she needs a cuddle... Ni-gel?

Nigel smiles craftily, not opening his eyes and his head slumps forward. With a grin, Andrew wrenches the chair away. Nigel cries out and chokes.

ANDREW: Whoops! Missed a step!

Andrew hurls the knife through the air. It slices through the rope and Nigel falls, sumersaults, and lands in the splits. Dave and Andrew wince. Nigel’s eyes snap open and he screams. His voice sounds like he’s been on helium.

To be continued...

No comments: