Saturday 10 September 2011

Night Workers




1                    EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT

FX: Hard core house music beat.

Stock footage:  Friday night crowds throng the pavements. Hundreds of people going to clubs,  pubs or even home.

                              JONAH (v.o)
                  It’s shit being dead.  Don’t let
anyone tell you different.

2                    INT.  JONAH’S BEDSIT  -  NIGHT

JONAH, 19,  sits on a tidy bed.  On the walls are pavement artists portraits of him.  Old photographs are stuck to a cracked mirror showing JONAH in the uniform of the Great War, JONAH on the arm of a girl in summer dress,  JONAH and three others lined up smartly at attention. None more recent.

There are cardboard boxes littering the floor holding worthless treasures,  rubbish and the detritus of old age (in the manner of Mr. Rebus from TV’s Life of Grime).  On the floor are dozens of humane mousetraps.

JONAH,  despite the room,  looks to be one of the homeless.

                  It’s the films I hate.  Books
too.  Not that I’m much of a
reader.  They’re not true.

                              INTERVIEWER (o/s)
                  What isn’t true,  Jonah?

                  This.  All of this.  I’m one
hundred and seven years old.
I fought for King and Country.
I died for King and Country.
They gave me a medal –
                                    But they won’t give me a

3                    EXT.  PARK BENCH  -  NIGHT

JONAH is feeding the birds and many sit on his shoulders and lap.  VIVIENNE,  in her twenties but dressed like a woman three times that age holds open a wet paper bag for him. VIVENNE’S make up is badly applied and her fringe is uneven.

                  I don’t tell anyone about my

                  Well you can’t can you?

                  Not nowadays.  The only one’s
that want to know are kids.  Boys
that dress like girls.  Girls that
dress like whores.

In rubber.  Lace and rubber.  In my
day if a girl had dressed like that
she’d have been treated no better
than she ought.

One of us, Mr. Price, he thinks
society went to pot after the war

JONAH takes hold of the nearest pigeon and gives it a shake.  It does not resist  JONAH and VIVIENNE gather up the birds one by one and put them in a supermarket carrier bag whilst they speak.

                        Admittedly,  he’s talking about
the Napoleonic war.

VIVENNE holds up the wet paper bag. With her other hand she digs about amongst the pigeons, taking one and shaking it at the camera.
                                    Gin in the birdseed.

                                    We have to drink, don’t we?  Pigeon’s
                                    Not bad.  Better than rat.  Black
pudding ain’t going to do us no good
now is it? Foreigners may eat cat or
dog,  but not us.

Not us.

            INTERVIEWER (o/s)
In popular media you’re portrayed
as killers?

JONAH sneers.  VIVIENNE crosses her arms and raises her chin somewhat imperiously.  JONAH makes to take a bite from the pigeon in his hand but VIVENNE nudges him with an elbow.

                                    I said as I didn’t like them books.
                                    Films too.  We ain’t serial killers.
You killed anyone,  son?

                                                INTERVIEWER (o/s)
                                    Well…  no.  Of course not.

                                    There you are then. Bigotry.  Nor me.
                                    Jonah here only killed in the trenches.
They gave him a medal.

                                    They gave me a medal.
                                    Posthumous.  And crosses?
                                    Viv here goes to Church regular.
                                    Does a lot of charity work.

                                    ‘Outreach’ they call it now.  It
was the soup kitchen in my day.
I go to Church twice Sunday.
C of E of course.  Proper Church.
None of that Papist idolatry. 

                                    So do you miss anything from…
                                    your former days?

She SIGHS and touches a tentative hand to her hair.

                                    (QUIETLY) My reflection.

                                    You should let me do your
make up for you, girl.

JONAH pats VIVIENNE’S hand. She turns away shaking her head sadly.

4          INT.  SOHO SEX SHOP  -  NIGHT

Blue lit,  racks of porn everywhere.  JONAH is looking shifty.  MR. PRICE,  late teens but dapperly dressed in well-to-do pensioner chic  (neat,  tidy in every way).       

                                                MR. PRICE

                                    Mr. Price doesn’t approve.

                                                MR. PRICE
                                    If I had my way I’d have every
                                    pervert in our proud nation hung,
drawn and quartered.

MR. PRICE holds up a magazine.

                                                MR. PRICE
                                    Look at this!  When I unpacked
the delivery this evening I nearly
dropped my price gun.  It gets worse
every week.  I remember when Soho
was a hunting park.  It was the call
you know – ‘Soho’ they’d halloo.

MR. PRICE smiles in happy memory.

                                    Those were the days eh,  Mr.

                                                MR. PRICE
                                    Those were the days indeed,  young
Jonah.  I’m proud to say that I’ve not
had a stiffy since Waterloo.

You take the train a lot?

                                                MR. PRICE
                                    The battle…

We,  ah,  don’t you see.  Do it you

Take the train?

No,  the other.  No drive.  No…

JONAH seizes the nearest DVD and waves it at the camera. There is an awkward PAUSE.

                                                INTERVIEWER (o/s)
                                    (CLEARING THROAT)  Erection? 
Oh,  yes.  Quite.  I suppose that
                                    You don’t have the blood to spare?

JONAH looks embarrassed. He COUGHS.

And we can’t buy or sell
anything either    credit’s bad
for the dead.  Mr. Price is
sort of stuck with the land here.

            MR. PRICE
Only thing I can sell now is…
filth.  I would end it all in a moment.

5 -        EXT. GRAVE YARD - NIGHT

                              …we can’t.  Die you see?  Stakes
hurt and sunlight burns.  Pain
we still get.  So we muddle through.
We muddle through.  We got no
rights.  Ain’t voters,  see?

JONAH pats the top of a gravestone before kicking it viciously. He pauses, looks about himself sheepishly then returns to the attack with more vigour. The kicks grow more violent until JONAH uses his fist. The punch cracks his knuckles painfully and he sucks them, scowling.
                              You lucky bastard!

6 -        CLOSE UP OF PHOTOGRAPH     

JONAH,  VIVIENNE and MR. PRICE are all shying away from the still,  not looking directly at the lens.  All three hold up both hands in a ‘V for Victory’ symbol.

Just some of the wackiness we love to give the dead, Rob and I. Ideas not all mine by a long chalk as it's just some of the mockery Mr. Nott and I have been batting about over these long years.

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