Archive for The Mysterious Mr If

The Mysterious Mr If – The Final Chapter

Posted in FILM with tags , on October 3, 2011 by dcairns

One good thing about this being the positively final chapter of THE MYSTERIOUS MR IF, my unaccountably unproduced feature script, is that we’ll be free to do week-long celebrations again — starting next week with a series of posts on a filmmaker well-known but underappreciated, and hitherto rarely discussed on Shadowplay. Shall I tell you who it is? Not yet!

Another good thing is that you need no longer stand in silence, awed by my genius, but can once more join the discussion, my creative juices discretely hooded ‘neath a veil of criticism.

Last we saw, things were coming to a head, as Mr If, Victorian master-criminal, took over the Big Computer at Edinburgh University (come on, we all know it exists!) in some one-tenth-baked scheme to end the universe. The forces of reason — including Duffle, a narcoleptic policeman; Turner, a less interesting cop; Thrower, a dunce; Sheena, a tour guide; and Howie, the human exhibit from Edinburgh Zoo —  gather to stop him.

Can they succeed, or will cause and effect go up the lum, with reason besmirched and reality a-tatter?

Now, for the last time, read on!

INT. UNIVERSITY LOBBY – NIGHT

Duffle halts, holding the others back, a grim look dampening his visage.

TURNER

Shit – the ballerinas.

DUFFLE

Dancers of death!

The Ballerinas have set up a practice bar at one side of the lobby, where they are stretching and bending. They leave the bar and advance on the forces of order. One of them activates a CD player which blasts outSwanLake.

TURNER

We can’t let them delay us. Thrower – arrest them.

Thrower gulps and charges forward. The Ballerinas go into kung fu mode and kick him senseless with slippered feet.

SHEENA

Leave these bitches to me. I know what shits them up.

She whistles. The Ballerina nearest to her covers her ears and Sheena belts her one. The girl crumples to the floor.

TURNER

Of course – they can’t stand high frequency sound!

Howie doesn’t get the “0f course” part, but shrugs.

Turner and Duffle draw their police whistles and emit piercing blasts. Sheena and Howie wade in, punching the dancers into unconsciousness.

HOWIE

You are tutu much!

SHEENA

Cop this, twinkletoes!

Thrower manages to handcuff one Ballerina to his wrist while she’s covering her ears.

TURNER

Right, let’s go.

They sheath their whistles and move on. Thrower’s Ballerina immediately recovers and starts kicking the shit out of him. He’s left behind.

The elevator has a sign hung on the door – THE END IS NIGH. They take the stairs.

INT. COMPUTER ROOM, EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY – NIGHT

The computer workshop is lit like a disco, a mirror ball above. Shadowy figures lurk in the corners. Upon entering, they find a giant birthday cake.

DUFFLE

No candles – this is If’s work.

Muffled cries. Turner punches the cake, breaking the icing.

Flutterings.

Twenty-four blackbirds take wing.

Howie peeps into the gateau and finds the Prof, bound in spaghetti and gagged with a balled-up printout.

TURNER

Howie, look after the professor.

HOWIE

(petulant)

Aw -

Huffily he starts unwrapping the Prof.

Footsteps. Materializing from the feet up as though emerging from a dark shadow that isn’t there, If himself.

MR. IF

I’m glad you could all make it to my little un-birthday party.

DUFFLE

If himself!

If himself wears a paper party hat and reads from a copy of The Dummy’s Guide to Computers.

MR. IF

It seems I can programme this computer to subtract facts from the area, weakening existence. My power is at its height – it is time for my apotheosis!

PROF

It’s true – my factatron has become a world-sucking truth-crumpler! He has perverted science and made it gay!

DUFFLE

Don’t do it, If!

Duffle draws an outdated pistol and levels it at the mad genius as he plays the computer keyboard like an organ.

Then, shambling figures emerge from the far corners of the room – THE PROCLAIMERS!

Covered in tar and feathers and wielding guitars.

SHEENA

(horror-struck)

The Proclaimers!

TURNER

Not that!

MR. IF

Fly, my pretties! Smite their brute flesh with your unreasoning fists and things!

Duffle switches his aim from If to the advancing zomboids.

TURNER

Don’t shoot them! They don’t know what they’re doing.

MR. IF

Free will all piffle now, my mind-slave zomboids do my bidding and dream of yams! No hospice for the brain dead, but lovely fights!

The lights flicker as If nears the end of his programming.

Duffle hurls himself at the dirty zombies.

DUFFLE

It takes a dreamer to catch a dreamer. I’ll put paid to their malarkey.

The Proclaimers throw him out the window. A scream and thud as Duffle impacts upon Turner’s car bonnet.

Strobe lights on. The Zombie Proclaimers grab Turner. As one tall singer attempts to throttle him, another marches towards him, instrument raised.

MR. IF

My underlings are better than other people’s overlings!

Sheena draws her gun and shoots down the mirror ball. It lands on the approaching Proclaimer’s head, and he staggers off aimlessly, making the room dance with light.

Passing Sheena, he BIFFS her head with his flailing guitar.

Turner rabbit punches the other Proclaimer, winding him.

Howie is still tearing spaghetti bindings from the Prof when he gets bored.

HOWIE

I want a go!

He charges between the zombies and wrestles If away from the doomsday computer. But If is becoming more and more unreal, and Howie can’t get a grip on him.

MR. IF

It’s like wrestling with mist, is it not? Puny human, my unreal flesh defeats your corporeal fumblings.

HOWIE

Fucker! Argh!

He growls like a wolf, but to no avail. His arms slip through If like swimming.

If’s hands solidify on his throat and do some choking.

Turner grapples with his musician while the mirrorballed Proclaimer bedevils him with his guitar neck. It snaps off, shedding straw from within.

Sheena casts around, nursing her injured head.

SHEENA

Think! Be detective. Solve, not fight. Poirot, Sherlock, Nancy Drew. Must – use – brain!

In a corner – a Gladstone bag marked “Dr. Trumpton Mondo”.

She opens it. The If file!

She passes it to the Prof and whispers something.

Then she empties her gun into If.

SHEENA

Get off my boyfriend’s neck!

HOWIE

Boyfriend?

(chokes)

If laughs satanically and carries on strangling Howie.

Howie is on the verge of losing consciousness. Everything goes blurry:

INT. ZOO – NIGHT (HOWIE’S VISION)

Everything shimmery and badly drawn.

The zoo, a sign reading ZOO.

The little furry animals – a sign reads LITTLE FURRY ANIMALS.

A possum. A sign – POSSUM.

The sign shimmers, and reforms as PLAY POSSUM.

INT. COMPUTER ROOM, EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY – NIGHT

Howie plays possum. He lets his body go limp and his tongue loll out.

If relaxes his grip and Howie kicks him in the balls.

MR. IF

Swine! My knackers are still solid!

Just then, an expertly flung mirrorball knocks Howie cold.

Staggering back, If sees the Prof entering details from the If File into the computer.

PROF

“As a boy, froze milk and used it as meteor. Confused bishop with wooden dress.”

MR. IF

No! You’re making me real!

PROF

“Burst woman with goal post at school. Lost virginity in wilderness.”

SHEENA

We’ll fact you up! You’ll be a pushover without your fanciness!

Sweeping Sheena aside, If advances on the Prof, but as his white hands reach for the hapless scientist’s throat, two outsize pencil erasers sweep into view, erasing If’s hands. True Crime has his revenge.

TRUE CRIME

You doled out the power of erasure: little thought you that my rubbers would be your undoing!

MR. IF

Oh!

The Prof types like fury, flicking through the aged pages of the If File.

PROF

“1889… nailed panda to Queen Victoria… covered Stuttgart in bacon…”

MR. IF

(screaming)

I’m becoming real… heavy… substantial… I can feel my feet on the ground…

PROF

“Born for third time in 1892, this time as Negro…”

Duffle, staggering back in through the door and wiping broken glass from his nightshirt, shoots If through the heart.

The zomboids recover their minds and wonder where they are.

PROCLAIMER 1

Where am I?

PROCLAIMER 2

Where are you?

Howie wanders over, rubbing his head. Sheena takes his hand.

If lies dying, his cape spread around him like a pool of ink. One hand flutters, a shadow of his melodramatic gestures.

MR. IF

All I wanted was a world that didn’t exist. A happy world with nothing in it. Alright, I may have ravished a few statues. I dressed up a cat and shot a pensioner. I may have gone too far. But who is the true criminal here among us today?

Turner puts his face very close to that of the dying man, and whispers:

TURNER

You are.

If dies, a smile playing about his lips.

SHEENA

Well, he doesn’t exist now.

DUFFLE

If only we could be sure. If only… if only… if… if…

EXT. GREYFRIARS CHURCHYARD – DAY

A gravestone marked “THE MYSTERIOUS MR IF”.

Draped with a string of onions.

Glib newscaster monologue #158.

NEWSCASTER (V.O.)

So peace falls again upon our fair capital, like an unwanted figurine from a high window.

EXT. STREETS – DAY

Montage of discarded banners.

The Iffies return home, sadder but none the wiser.

The Proclaimers are led away by kindly MEN IN WHITE COATS.

Bruised Ballerinas are dragged off in handcuffs.

NEWSCASTER (V.O.)

The followers of Mr. If’s insane death-cult have dropped their nasty placards, forgotten their right of free assembly and returned to their meaningless lives. Peculiar violations have fallen by 700%, and the surfaces of things have recovered their pleasing dull solidity. For some time to come, the good folk of Edinburgh will not take reality for granted.

The Prof walks down the street, glancing this way and that in paranoid terror. Then he shakes his head, laughs, and walks off jauntily, twirling a cane.

EXT. GREYFRIARS CHURCHYARD – DAY

The “IF…” grave.

The floral Tramp walks by, his head now free of horticulture. He carries the flowers as a bunch in his hands.

NEWSCASTER (V.O.)

Nobody will get in a boat without first affirming it is a REAL boat, but soon our former indolence and neglect shall return, and we shall squander our lives and despoil our world as ever before.

The Tramp lays his bouquet on If’s grave.

EXT.BLUE MUSEUM – DAY

The Blue Museum, open for business.

NEWSCASTER (V.O.)

God bless us, every one.

INT. EXHIBITION ROOM, THE BLUE MUSEUM – DAY

Bunting hangs generally.

DUFFLE

Just another case successfully solved by the Lothian and Borders Police.

Duffle shows a new batch of uncomprehending foreign TOURISTS around the Blue Museum.

A mannequin of Mr. If has been added to the displays. He towers over a cut-out of the Edinburgh skyline, clutching a black sphere marked “BOMB”.

Turner smiles at this understatement and sips a cup of tea.

TURNER

Come back in fifty years and we’ll be able to reveal the REAL story.

DUFFLE

Now, now, Chief Inspector, mustn’t confuse the punters.

PC. Thrower, heavily bandaged, enters with a tray.

PC THROWER

More tea, anyone?

Cries of joy from the coppers.

EXT. ZOO -DAY

Sheena hurries up to Howie’s cage, whooping.

SHEENA

I’m going to be a detective! They’ve waived the height restriction. I saved the universe so I get to fight crime!

HOWIE

That’s brilliant. All I get is some extras hay and a tire to swing on.

ZOOKEEPER

Feeding time!

He clangs a bell.

MOMENTS LATER

In his cage, Howie tears a pizza in half and gives Sheena the section with anchovies.

SHEENA

So…do you think the zoo would be interested in having a breeding couple of humans instead of just the one?

HOWIE

Hmm. You never know. Some day humans in the wild might become rare. Better safe than sorry.

SHEENA

Or alternatively, I have a nice flat, you could move in.

HOWIE

Hooray!

Edward Woodward meows.

Watching their ever-more passionate embrace, the Rotund Dutchman snaps a picture and a CHILD turns to his MUM:

CHILD

Mummy, what are the humans doing?

Meanwhile, a bronze statue of a great ape:

TITLE: THE END…

A tear dribbles down its cheek.

…OR IS IT?

MR. IF (V.O.)

The world shall hear of me again…

A melodramatic LAUGH.

EXT. ALLEYWAY – DAY (END CREDITS)

Scratchy black and white, overexposed sky.

An Old Testament Prophet stands in the alley with his slabs. A thirties-style British jazz song plays while the Prophet periodically drops a stone tablet.

The words on the tablets are unrelated to the song.

They are:

1)  YOU HAVE BEEN WATCHING:

2)  THE MYSTERIOUS MISTER IF

3)  LADIES! PLEASE REPLACE YOUR HATS

4)  PLEASE ADJUST YOUR DRESS

5)  PAWKING METAS

6)  FOG FOG FOG

7)  A FILM BY HECTOR BABENCO

8)  WHERE EAGLES DARE TO TREAD

9)  WHERE THE JUMBLIES LIVE

10) THE WORLD SHALL HEAR OF ME AGAIN…

Mr If folds up the screen into a tiny square, pockets it, and sweeps off into a white void…

The Mysterious Mr If, Part the Eighteenth

Posted in FILM with tags on September 26, 2011 by dcairns

We’re there, or nearly — the penultimate episode of my mysteriously unproduced screen masterpiece is upon us at last. In our previous installment, Sheena escaped the clutches of If, but he fulfilled his diabolical goal of obtaining his own police file — but why? Meanwhile, Inspector Turner narrowly escaped an exploding building with a plank nailed to his scrotum, and Howie, the human exhibit at Edinburgh Zoo, achieved little.

Now read on…

INT. BOTTLE BANK – DAY

Smoky light filters through the open mouth of the bank. If is gurgling on a hookah and leafing through his file. The ballerinas snog each other, bored.

MR. IF

Ah, the Great Duck Heist of 1898! I got away with fifty ponds. Such happy mammaries. Committing arson while dressed as a naan bread – they laughed when I said I’d do it, but I proved them wrong. Committing treason, live on stage, while personating an admiral of the royal fleet and cuckolding an ironmonger. The best notices I’ve ever had. Bliss!

He slams the file shut and sticks it in his Gladstone bag.

MR. IF

My record of infamy will go last into the furnace so I can join the nothinged world as it melts like cheese atop a hot pencil. All colours running together, a riot of emotions and flesh, feathers and bacteria, science and soup.

He punches a Ballerina in the stomach.

MR. IF

Quickly, Gaston! My cheddar violin! My toothpaste sword! My sandals of truth and my nitrogen smock! To battle!

INT. TURNER’S OFFICE – NIGHT

Police Headquarters. Howie, Sheena and Turner sit gloomily together, stumped. A big map is full of pins marking If’s outrages.

Turner is covered in sticking plasters and bandages.

HOWIE

How are the -

TURNER

I’m fine.

HOWIE

You know, where the nails -

TURNER

I’m FINE.

He crosses his legs with an air of finality, winces, and uncrosses them.

SHEENA

So we have no clues?

TURNER

Everything’s a clue. Or nothing is. Either way, they don’t mean anything.

HOWIE

It’s like wrestling alligators and God at the same time.

Howie turns on the news.

NEWSCASTER (OS)

The Lord Provost has been dragged naked through Drylaw by hunchbacks, a milliner’s shop has turned to fat, and everybody in Musselburgh has grown a leg. And a disturbing new cult is welcoming these escalating incidents of freakishness. This report, now:

EXT. STREET – DAY

A parade marches. Banners read IF IS, THE END IS NIG, BRING ON THE NOTHING and HISTORY IS DEAD, DEATH IS HISTORY.

Some of the MARCHERS wear animal masks, tutus or top hats. They chant:

MARCHERS

What do we want? NOTHING! When do we want it? FOREVER!

NEWSCASTER (V.O.)

They call themselves the Iffies and their demands are simple: an end to physical matter and the establishment of a big ice rink. I spoke to some of these queer ducks.

A Hippy Chick is interviewed:

HIPPY CHICK

It’s not New Age. It’s not Old Age. It’sNOWAGE.

An Old Duffer:

OLD DUFFER

If IS, daddy-O! He’s a happening cat! He’s hep to the beat and he’s wild in the street.

A Rotund Dutchman:

ROTUND DUTCHMAN

Ve vill tear down your vallsh and make love in the ruinsh while the lasht men fight to the death for scrapsh of oxygen, ishn’t it?

INT. TURNER’S OFFICE – NIGHT

Sheena flicks off the set.

SHEENA

Something’ll turn up. We can beat this. He’s a criminal and we’re the law.

Turner and Howie look at her curiously.

SHEENA

…in a way.

A bell rings -

INT. DORMITORY, POLICE STATION – NIGHT

Sheena, Howie, Turner and Thrower pile into the dormitory.

Duffle is awake again. Wide awake this time. He’s out of bed, in nightgown and cap, arming himself to the teeth.

TURNER

Duffle! Should you be up?

DUFFLE

Twenty years asleep but it’s all been worth it – God willing, If is mine! I don’t know who you all are, but follow me if you value your existence!

EXT. UNIVERSITY BUILDING – NIGHT

If swirls about using a Ballerina as cello, a rose clenched between his teeth. His bow saws her midriff, produces eloquent gypsy threnodies.

He passes the rose, with a kiss, to a second Ballerina.

MR. IF

Seconds out, round three. In which virtue is punished, vice rewarded, death triumphs, and the apocalypse is delivered by induced labour. Tights, comrades, achtung – let bottle commence!

If gestures with his bow to a single lighted window in the university building.

A distant clock strikes bong.

INT. BOTTLE BANK – NIGHT

Two Ballerinas load a blue bottle into a mortar and FIRE!

EXT. UNIVERSITY BUILDING- NIGHT

The bottle explodes as a firework in the night sky with an inappropriate WOOF!

INT. COMPUTER ROOM, EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY – NIGHT

The Prof frowns at another baffling printout from his computer: a hand made of millions of 0s.

He is seized by sticky hands.

EXT. STREETS – NIGHT

Turner’s knackered police car roars through the chillEdinburghnight, directed by Duffle.

DUFFLE

I dreamed it all – I hope to God it doesn’t come true!

MONTAGE:

POLICEMEN run pell-mell through the streets. They near a tunnel, and stop, hesitating. Before them, a twenty-foot chicken emerges hesitantly from the tunnel.

A lone CONSTABLE cycles along. He skids to a standstill and dismounts, horrified. Large fish are swimming in the air around him. He blows his whistle, but it makes the sound of a foghorn.

A Black Maria van roars through the streets. Viewed from the driver’s seat, the road seems to get nearer, until we are skimming along an inch above the white lines on the road surface. The van has become tiny. A TODDLER picks it up and rattles it. High-pitched screaming from within. The child sticks one end of the van in his mouth. Furious honking.

NEWSCASTER (v.O.)

Strange tights in the sky! Wasps the size of bagpipes – bagpipes the size of women! Plates of meat that come to life and kill their owners!

Victorian illustrations flash up depicting new outrages.

NEWSCASTER (v.O.)

Cairo: pyramids open to emit giant glass noses. Chandelier tycoon retracts like telescope.

We see this in engraving form – Cheops unfolds, a Dwarf startled amid glassware.

NEWSCASTER (V.O.)

Washington: James Joyce reborn as swordfish prophesying war. Assassin feasts on own hair.

And this – a moustached fish in a hospital bed, radiant light beaming upon it. A gunman consumes his pigtails.

NEWSCASTER (V.O.)

Oslo: lost Pyrenee found under bushel. Songstress gutted by windmill.

Stray mountain. Windmill with axe-blades.

NEWSCASTER (V.O.)

Beijing: Great Vole of China mates with local blimp. Musketeers electrified. Is the world coming to an end – or what?

A rodent mounting an airship, lightning strikes swashbucklers – then the image combusts.

EXT. EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY – NIGHT

Duffle and the others pull up outside. Strange lights within.

Another firework WOOFS above.

Duffle hurries up to the bottle bank and fires two shots into its mouth. Squeals from within.

THROWER

Steady on!

DUFFLE

No time!

SHEENA

He’s in the university?

TURNER

The professor! Quick – science is what separates us from the animals!

HOWIE

Not me!

But they run into the building.

To be CONCLUDED…

The Mysterious Mr If, Part the Heaventeenth

Posted in FILM with tags , on September 19, 2011 by dcairns

I apologise in advance for the litany of vileness you are about to scroll through, before hurling your computer out the window and battering yourself into blissful unconsciousness with the nearest onyx figurine.

Last we saw, diabolical Mister Man mastermind Mr If had knocked Detective Inspector Turner insensible with a cruel hammer, while Howie, the human exhibit at Edinburgh Zoo, received an unexpected missive… now read on…

INT. WAREHOUSE – DAY

Turner is awoken by a stream of urine on his face. He splutters. He’s flat on his back with a ten foot plank across his pelvis. If stands on the plank and micturates.

MR. IF

Det Insp Shinty. We meet again.

TURNER

I’m – glub – not Shinty -

MR. IF

But this time, I think it is I who have the avantage.

He pronounces this last word with an absurd French accent.

MR. IF

Scrotal sac. Can there be two lovelier words in any tongue? Your scrotal sac, my friend, has been nailed to a ten foot plank.

Indeed, two bloody nails protrude from the wood, bent round to fasten Turner’s privates securely.

MR. IF

This barn was full of facts. But I showed them. Births, deaths and marriages, the lies that pin us to our lives. Without the records, we can be born as often as we like, die continuously, and marry ourselves! Hoorah!

He throws some confetti in the air.

MR. IF

Meanwhile my grandmother clock will blow this building to crumbs in two minutes. Make good your escape and you shall have the ecstasy of seeing me unmake the puniverse just as easily.

If dismounts the plank and bounces through the door on his Space Hopper.

Turner groggily sits up. The plank slides and he has to support it by hand.

He gets up with difficulty.

INT. INFORMATION BUREAU CORRIDOR – DAY

We hear only the ticking of the grandmother clock.

Turner exits the big room and immediately encounters problems turning a corner. The beam nailed to his nutsack is too wide. Turning it diagonally with some discomfort he is able to manoeuvre it through.

Now he comes to an elevator. No good. He makes for the stairs.

INT. PUBLIC RECORDS STAIRWELL – DAY

Tick tock.

There’s enough height to allow him to point the plank down the steps in front of him, but progress is slow and halted frequently by agonizing bangs to either end of the plank.

INT. LOBBY, PUBLIC INFORMATION BUREAU – DAY

Tick tock, tick tock.

Daring to hope, Turner hauls his encumbered scrotum into the main entrance hall.

Shit. The revolving doors.

It is immediately clear that no amount of manoeuvring can fit a ten foot plank through a set of revolving doors.

We very clearly see Turner mouth the words “For God’s sake – no!” Aiming the plank like a battering ram, Turner charges.

A colossal SMASHING of glass.

Tick.

INT. WAREHOUSE – DAY

The grandmother clock’s big hand touches the little hand.

Tock.

EXT. PROF. WAZZOO’S OFFICE, ZOO – DAY

The yellow envelope, torn, blows away. Howie is reading the letter it contained.

WAZZOO

What does it say?

Howie shakes his head, perplexed. He hands the note to Professor Wazzoo.

Howie feels a tap on the shoulder and turns to see Sheena, alive and well.

They embrace.

Wazzoo looks at the note. Just one word is written on it:

WAZZOO

“Boom.”

And there is a distant explosion.

EXT. PUBLIC INFORMATION BUREAU – DAY

True Crime watches as Turner’s coat, torn and smouldering, flutters to the ground at his feet. The bureau is no more. He shakes his head sadly and walks off.

True Crime staggers through the smoke, bumping into the big crucifix. One arm is broken off and the upper part is ablaze, Klan-style.

Banana-crat lies at the foot of the cross, his banana costume smoke-blackened, one bit of wood still attached to his wrist.

BUREAUCRAT

Oh, I’m gonna be sore later.

The Iffies emerge from the smoke.

POSH SCHOOLBOY

Truly this banana is the son of God.

They fall on the Banana-crat and begin kicking the shit out of him. True Crime leaves them to it.

Turner, charred and lacerated, emerges from the smoke. One end of his groin plank is broken off, the other is on fire. He is covered with broken glass. He blinks at True Crime.

Turner’s POV: two True Crimes. One of them is played by the Sheena actress, one by a not-too-convincing look-alike.

TRUE CRIME

(in stereo)

Areare youyou alrightright?

AUDIO BOOK ACTRESS (O.S.)

“His eyes burned, twin meteors of desire.”

INT. MISS HING’S LIVING ROOM- NIGHT

Miss Hing is listening to am audio book in front of the fire.

AUDIO BOOK ACTRESS (O.S.)

“No, sir!” I protested, slapping away his reptilian paw. His loins surged like an exotic fruit. “Yield to me, you little fool!” he snarled, his nostrils flowering in an animal’s triumph. “No, sir,” I cried, pummelling his manly thorax with my tiny fists. A rib cracked but he bellowed with mirth like some mighty mountain cat. “I want you!” he roared, “and you shall be mine tonight!” I gasped, “No, sir!” and slapped his moustache. It came off on my hand.

There is a knock at the door. Miss Hing turns off her audio book and hobbles off to the hall. A cry of alarm.

MR. IF (OS)

Greetings, Miss Hing! I am Rex Runcie, matinee idol!

If strides into the living room, carrying Miss Hing in his arms. He wears a Valentino Sheik outfit with top hat.

MR. IF

After sixty years of indolence, love has come your way, my sweet. Prepare your torso for ecstasy.

Hooking open a cupboard door with his foot, he hangs Miss Hing from a coat hook, shoves an apple in her mouth and slams the door again.

Removing the audio book cassette from the stereo he inserts a tape marked “Partee Hitz.” Effete English jazz crackles out.

If’s Ballerinas enter and methodically ransack the room as If sits by the fire and lights a pipe.

INT. CUPBOARD, MISS HING’S FLAT – NIGHT

Miss Hing struggles to free herself from the coat hook she is suspended from, and to get the apple out of her gob. Prising at her jaws with both hands, she finally expels the fruit. It falls to the floor, upper and lower dentures embedded in it.

MISS HING

Help, poleesh, murder!

INT. MISS HING’S LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

The Ballerinas, having mostly exhausted their search, are now simply trashing the place. One spray-paints a big nob above the fireplace while another does a shit on the rug.

MISS HING (OS)

Help, ho! Poleesh, ambulansh, help!

Belatedly If springs to his feet, pipe clenched.

MR. IF

What’s that? A lady of the night in peril stroke distress? Have at you!

He fires a revolver at the cupboard.

MISS HING (OS)

Oh! I am shlain!

A ballerina holds aloft the If file, discovered behind a ripped-up skirting board.

MR. IF

Well done, Tonto. Success! A dirty horse crashing backwards through the frosted windows of the possible.Missionaccomplished – back to the shadows!

EXT. SHEENA’S FLAT – DAY

Miss Hing is stretchered from the premises, PC Thrower in attendance.

MISS HING

…and then he shot me right in the cupboard.

THROWER

The hound. Rest easy, Miss…

MISS HING

Hing.

THROWER

Miss Hing. I shall not rest until this miscreant is brought to heel.

Miss Hing is ambulanced away.

THROWER

The curtain is falling on the second act. I must be about my business.

To Be Continued…

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