The Mysterious Mr If, Part Two

“Do you like my tie?”

Part the second of my unproduced feature script, THE MYSTERIOUS MR IF. For Part the First, go here.

“Inspiration”, if you can call it that, for this episode came from a couple of things. There really is a police museum on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile. And I heard from a friend about another friend who worked in the Camera Obscura at the top of the Mile — sometimes, when the tourists clearly didn’t speak English, this employee would depart from the scripted presentation

In Last Week’s Exciting Episode, Inspector Rathbone Shinty intrepidly failed to apprehend the diabolical Master Criminal known as Mr If. The year was then 1889. It has since moved to the present day, as you can observe by looking around you.

Now read on…

Smog smog smog.

Modern Edinburgh – a city of colour and high def video.

TITLE:

THE MYSTERIOUS MR. IF: A MELLOW DRAMA

SUB-TITLE: LADIES – PLEASE REMOVE YOUR HATS!

EXT. THE ROYAL MILE – DAY

The Lothian and Border Police’s famous BLUE MUSEUM- a modest shop front concealing a veritable diorama of legal history.

SHEENA (O.S.)

“…just another case successfully solved by the Lothian and Borders Police.”

INT. EXHIBITION ROOM, BLUE MUSEUM – DAY

The exhibition details the history of crime and punishment inScotland’s reeky capital.

Mannequins of policemen from different periods dot the floor space, accompanied by display cases housing representative types of truncheon, handcuff, and whistle.

SHEENA MCQUEEN, tour guide, wearily herds a bunch of TOURISTS around the exhibits. She’s a smart girl in her twenties who clearly hates her job, as anyone would, since it involves wearing a tartan version of a WPC’s uniform, only with a shorter skirt. Her glasses are not part of the uniform, she needs those.

SHEENA

Here we see a selection of nineteenth century truncheons, decorated with colourful illustrations hand-painted by the constables’ wives. Favourite subjects for illustration included prisons, handsome policemen, and bruised and bleeding felons…

She pauses.

Her audience, a gaggle of international types, nod enthusiastically but without comprehension.

SHEENA

By the way, do any of you actually understand a word of English? No? Fine. Over here we have a display of handcuffs. These were used…

She trails off. What’s the point anyway?

SHEENA

These were used to stop the sky from falling on cloudy days. I didn’t want to be a tour guide, I wanted to be a detective. Not tall enough. Police stations are likeDisneyland, with signs that read “You must be THIS tall to ride.”

(deep breath)

Handcuffs are also useful for kinky sex games and three-legged races. Do you have those in Japan? Races, I mean, I know you have kinky –

MR. NETHERBOW

Miss McQueen!

She starts. MR. NETHERBOW, a furious little bald man scurries over. He too wears a tartan uniform, only with a BADGE labelling him CURATOR where Sheena’s says GUIDE.

MR. NETHERBOW

I’ve previously told you: no confabulation!

SHEENA

But it’s not as if they can understand a blind word I’m saying anyw-

MR. NETHERBOW

That’s neither here nor germane. Whatever their linguistic handicaps, they are entitled to the unvarnished reality of Edinburgh policing. Facts, Ms McQueen, facts.

SHEENA

Yes, Mr. Netherbow.

She makes an irked face as her boss turns away, applying a feather duster to a stuffed constable.

Sheena marches back to her expectant huddle, and there’s a scene change, which we don’t notice at the time –

INT. EXHIBITION ROOM, BLUE MUSEUM – EVENING (LATER)

Sheena marches up, unbuttons her jacket and raises her arms, opening the jacket and flashing a bra-full –

SHEENA

Ta-daaaa!

Silence. The SHUTTERS are down, the exhibition deserted.

The mannequins show a distinct lack of response. Sheena lets her arms fall.

SHEENA

Suit yourselves.

She returns to THE BACK ROOM:

INT. BACK ROOM, BLUE MUSEUM – EVENING

A KETTLE comes to the bubble.

A changing room with two LOCKERS, plus kitchenette.

Sheena tosses her jacket over a chair and pulls on a woolly jumper. As she struggles with her head and the neck-hole, the kettle switches off and a sudden –

MOO/UCK-PUCK-PUCK/BAAA

– is heard. Sheena’s head emerges from the jumper like a new-born babe’s, only with a more quizzical expression.

It couldn’t be. She shrugs off her worries with her skirt and pulls on a pair of JEANS.

The mysterious series of farmyard noises repeats.

Either a really good impersonator or a bunch of barnyard life is afoot downstairs.

Sheena waddles to the top of the stairs, jeans still at half mast. She can see part of the Files Room from here. A single light bulb is on, swaying softly to stir the shadows.

MOO?

She hoists her jeans and squeezes her bottom in, then crosses to the sink. Among the drying MUGS is a newly-washed period TRUNCHEON. She flicks the droplets from its shaft and creeps downstairs with it, barefoot.

INT. FILES ROOM, BLUE MUSEUM – EVENING

Reaching the foot of the stairs, she glimpses a shadowy cloaked figure reaching into an open filing cabinet. The slender dossier marked IF is clutched in a gloved hand with one empty finger.

The figure turns, revealing a COW MASK instead of a face.

MR. IF

(defiantly)

Moo!

Sheena throws her truncheon at the figure.

She scores a direct hit on the cow mask, dislodging it. A gorilla mask is revealed beneath.

The IF file drops to the floor.

MR. IF

Uck puck puck!

The shadowy form scurries to a tiny basement window looking out on a dingy back alley.

The window seems too small for easy access, but If seems to transform into a loose pile of clothing as he squeezes through in an instant. His bone structure reasserts itself as he gains the street, and his shiny shoes tap off into the gloom.

MR. NETHERBOW (OS)

What means this?

Netherbow stands at the top of the stairs with a stern expression and a plastic head under his arm. The head has a peeling moustache, and Netherbow has a tube of glue.

MR. NETHERBOW

Cease these farmyard impersonations at once. I grow weary of them.

SHEENA

But Mr. Netherbow, there was –

MR. NETHERBOW

Enough! I have spoken. I am firm.

He gestures dramatically and a jet of glue squirts out. He turns and departs.

Sheena glowers after him. Then she goes to the IF file, lying on the floor next to the fallen cow mask. Looking back at the stairs and the window, she stuffs both items up her jumper.

INT. EXHIBITION ROOM, BLUE MUSEUM – EVENING

Bulging abnormally, Sheena enters the exhibition area, coat slung over her shoulder. She stops in surprise.

In front of her, Netherbow is also frozen, slack-jawed.

All the police mannequins are dressed inVictoria’s Secret undies instead of their uniforms.

EXT. BLUE MUSEUM, HIGH STREET – EVENING

A SIGN proclaims this THE BLUE MUSEUM – THE HISTORY OF EDINBURGH’S FINEST.

In the window, the Victoria’s Secret Police make a hollow mockery of this claim.

Sheena exits and hurries off.

Netherbow locks up behind her, while talking heatedly on his mobile.

MR. NETHERBOW

You’ll send a constable? This is a case for Special Branch! The Vice Squad! The S.A.S!

As Sheena leaves, a pair of eyes, wearing dark eye-shadow, watch from inside a red Post Office mailbox.

MR. IF

Uck. Puck. Puck.

Who is the Mysterious Stranger? (Well, it’s obviously Mr If.) What is he after? (The file, clearly?) What strange events await Sheena McQueen of the Blue Museum? (More nonsense, presumably.) Tune in next week for the third exigent episode of THE MYSTERIOUS MR IF!

2 Responses to “The Mysterious Mr If, Part Two”

  1. you’fe inspired me to visit the police museum!

  2. It’s quite good — best five minutes you’ll ever spend… in a police museum.

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