Where am I going with this? asked one concerned reader. Well, there was a plan of sorts — THE MYSTERIOUS MR IF was written in a few short sessions as a ten-page treatment, which had most of the main plot points. The bit we’re emerging from now was augmented when the first draft seemed… thin. I suspect maybe some of it is just padding, though. Now we move into the more apocalyptic, possibly unpleasant stuff… and soon, what I believe some of our racier filmmakers term, “the climax”!
Down below, you’ll see the gloomy deco of the old Scottish Office building, which I always wanted to use in a movie — here, the image stands for what the script calls “the Public Information Bureau,” a non-existent organisation. Probably the Scottish Records Office would fit the role more neatly, but it’s a friendlier, less BRAZIL-like building.
Last we saw, Sheena McQueen was attempting to break free from Mr If’s demented funhouse, while Howie, the human exhibit from Edinburgh Zoo, and Detective Inspector Turner of the Lothian & Borders Police attempted to rescue her by following If’s puzzling clues. This leads Howie to uncover a message inscribed on the leg of a choking mountaineer, while Turner learns of Mr If’s hatred of facts and records.
Now read on…
INT. ZOO – DAY
Foyle is carted off on a stretcher.
Howie trails behind, chatting to the Zookeeper.
“Hawk guru to fig your ate…”
Hawk? You might try Professor Wazzoo, he’s our resident ornithologist. Leading man in the field. He practically invented the tawny owl.
They approach the Bird House.
INT. SECRET PASSAGEWAY/CHUTE, WAREHOUSE – DAY
A PARROT SQUAWK!
Sheena tumbles headlong down a steep chute. SIGNS roll past, with fun-house lettering:
STAND UP OR GIVE UP
THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER
The ticking CLOCK pounds on.
Sheena’s fall accelerates.
Barrel organ MUSIC swirls and warps.
The chute curves sickeningly in all directions.
WHERE’S MY FILE?
I don’t know! It fell down the back of the couch!
Bells and klaxons freak out in triumph.
Ahead – a cinema screen blocks the chute. It shows a black and white film of a couch – completely unlike Sheena’s.
Sheena tumbles towards the screen.
A file falls from the on-screen couch and slips through an implausibly large gap in the floorboards.
Silent movie intertitle: AH-HAH!
Sheena hits the screen and bursts through it into – ?
EXT. PROF. WAZZOO’S OFFICE, ZOO – DAY
PROFESSOR WAZZOO bursts from his office, a funny little man in a colourful bow-tie. Howie runs to meet him.
Ah-hah! Professor Wazzoo! I need your help on a hawk-related matter!
The esteemed ornithologist produces a yellow envelope.
Ah. This is for you.
Howie is puzzled.
I was told to give this to the man who approached me with those words.
The envelope is addressed “Human.”
EXT. PUBLIC INFORMATION BUREAU – DAY
Turner pulls up at the Public Information Bureau. He bounds from his car, passing a sobbing Bureaucrat.
History is dead.
Turner brushes past and into the revolving glass doors.
INT. LOBBY, PUBLIC INFORMATION BUREAU – DAY
Turner pauses at the elevators.
A SIGN reads ORDER OUT OF. Arrows point to the correct position of the words.
Turner makes for the stairs.
Ping. The elevator opens. It contains a child’s space hopper.
INT. WAREHOUSE – DAY
Bursting into the hall of records, Turner finds only the empty warehouse with the maze painted on the floor.
And in the centre of the room, If’s grandfather clock wearing its F-cup bra padded out with stuffed owls.
Turner walks towards it. The hands read 5.55…
Mr. If steps up behind him and WHACKS him on the noggin with a ball peen hammer.
Turner staggers, dazed.
Ball peen. We know a song about that, don’t we?
He hits Turner again.
Ball peen, ball peen, hard and sore,
Crashing down on crashing bore,
Hammer like a man insane,
Raining blows like brain pain rain.
He smashes Turner’s head again and it all goes
MR. IF (O.S.)
EXT. PUBLIC INFORMATION BUREAU – DAY
Sheena bursts through a papered-over window and lands, all Starsky-and-Hutch, on Turner’s already battered car.
She shakes off the seaweed and goggles in dismay.
Three Iffies – disciples of a new If-Cult – are kneeling before a large wooden crucifix, burning files. The Iffies consist of an OLD DUFFER, a HIPPY CHICK, and a Rotund Dutchman.
Nailed to the cross is the Bureaucrat, dressed as a banana. Above his head a sign reads CRUC IF IX.
Jesus fucking Christ.
History is dead. Unreason is arisen!
Down vith the vorld! Free love!
Father forgive them for they Scooby Dooby Doo!
To Be Continued…