The Old Man In My Garden

There is an old man in my garden. There is a tall, well dressed, slightly confused-looking, old man stood in my garden. I’d say he’s in his late 70’s, and he’s wearing a suit. He has carefully combed silver hair and a little beard, and shiny black shoes. I noticed him 10 minutes ago when I came out to the kitchen to wash the dishes. He was just stood there, hands behind his back, examining the potted flowers along the back wall by the gate. I live in a terrace house and the walls that enclose my little garden are quite high, so I was understandably shocked to see him. Plus, you know, he shouldn’t be there. I haven’t invited him to come and inspect my, admittedly poor, gardening attempts. I don’t know him from Adam, whoever HE is.

My first impulse was, of course, to go out and confront him. Perhaps shout and wave my hands a lot, like I do when I’m trying to stop that big bastard of a cat from down the road from going to the loo on the flowers out front. For some strange reason though, I couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I chose instead to kind of hide a bit and watch him. He had just stood there, looking around him with a strange little smile on his face. I finally decide, that ten minutes is too long to let a mysterious elderly man stand, uninvited, in your back yard and remain unchallenged, so I open the door and walk out.

“Um..ex..excuse me?”, I stammer authoritatively, adding a small cough for emphasis, “what are you..I mean, who are you?”. The old man turns slowly, and looks at me with much the same level of surprised interest as he did the plants in the garden. “Is this…heaven?”, he murmurs, “No”, I reply, “This is Burnage. You’re in Burnage, Manchester”. “Oh”, he says, obviously disappointed. “Is it…the future?”, he asks hopefully. “Well that depends, really, doesn’t it? What year do you think it is?”, I respond. His eyes flash briefly, “2014, it was November 2014! What year is this?”, “Right, well it’s 2014, mate. It’s still November 2014. Look, what are you doing in my back garden?”, I enquire testily. His eyes grow sad and his face drops. He looks around a bit, “Well I’m not dead, and I’ve not travelled through time”, he sighs and says “I’ve no bloody idea, son”.

I bring him inside and sit him down. He tells me his name is Henry Wilson, he’s 76 years old and is from Bolton. He seems sane and clear minded to me, as clear minded as I am anyway. All he remembers is getting up, dressing himself, and walking out the door to get the paper. He got to the end of the street and then the next thing, he was in my garden. As you can imagine, I ask him to repeat that last bit a few times. I make some tea as I decide what to do with him, and after asking Henry for the umpteenth time if he remembers anything else about how he got here, I go into the living room to get my phone. I figure maybe there’s someone at home he can call, and also, I need to take a photo of him so I can talk about this on various social media sites. Suddenly I hear a loud noise and run back in to find the mug of tea I gave him smashed across the kitchen floor and Henry nowhere to be seen. I look in the pantry, I look upstairs, I look out in the garden, but he has gone. Disappeared. I spend the rest of the afternoon worrying alot about my sanity, trying desperately to think of a rational explanation for all of this. He must have just legged it, right? Yeah, the 76 year old ran out the back door and vaulted the wall in a split second. I find myself googling things like ‘mysterious old men appearances’ and ‘elderly teleportation Bolton’ with predictably rubbish results. My cat, Bruce,  enters the kitchen via his noisy cat-flap and makes a point of sniffing around the chair Henry apparently sat on before moving on. “What does that mean?”, I sigh at him. He looks up, then down, then wanders off, not one shit given about my possible mental breakdown.  Eventually I fall asleep on my sofa, after coming to the shaky conclusion that Henry was my brain’s way of saying, “You need more rest, and possibly medication”.

I awake with a start. That feeling when you think you’ve heard a noise, or a voice, but once you’re awake there’s only silence. Well, this was like that feeling, but after a minute or two, the chilling sound of an old Boltonian filled the house. “HELLO?? IT’S ME, HENRY. I’M IN YOUR KITCHEN AGAIN”. It’s bright outside. Sunday morning. I shuffle blearily to the door, and there before me is the Incredible Vanishing Mr. Wilson. “Hello again, son. I’m awful sorry about this. I’ve made an appearance again”. “WHAT IS GOING ON?!” I shout, helpfully. “I know, I know, believe me young man, I’m just as confused as you”. I poke him in the arm. “Ow”, he says, and pokes me back. “Are you a ghost? Have you come to warn me of something?” I ask, aware instantly of how silly that sounds. “No, I’m not a ghost. And as far as warnings go, I wouldn’t go poking me again. I’m an old man, son, I bruise easy”, he says, rubbing his arm. At a loss, I make more tea, my default visitor-mode kicking in. This time, however, I keep my eyes on him as much as possible, as he tells me what happened yesterday. “So, I was sat, cup in hand, here in your house, then a flash of light and I was suddenly in my shed at home, whereupon I fell on my arse”, he winces, the memory still raw and painful, “so I went inside and tried to make sense of it all, but it were no use. Today I got up and fetched the papers, I like a good long read of a Sunday, anyway I went and got them, came back, sat down, and BOOM”. I jump, spilling milk on myself, “Back here, again”. I ask if there’s anyone he needs to call, a wife, children perhaps, but he just shakes his head, “Just me”.

We decide to see how long it takes before whatever the hell is happening to us happens again. I make some cheese toasties for lunch, and we sit in the living room watching Colombo. It’s actually quite nice, and Henry turns out to be good company. He gasps at the villain’s wicked plan, points out actors that he knows throughout, and he is chuffed when the scruffy cop finally solves the case. After the show finishes, we sit in silence for a bit, both obviously now waiting for the disappearing trick to occur. When, after a bit, it doesn’t, we start the awkward chit-chat. He asks me about myself, what I do, where I’m from, and then I do the same. “I were a baker for many years, nothing fancy mind, just bread”. We end up talking for a good while, he has plenty of stories, whilst we have some biscuits and yet more tea. Bruce wanders in, and after an initial, cautious inspection of Henry’s shoes, leaps up and sits on his knee. Henry clucks and coos at him, and makes a fuss. Bruce, who is normally an asshole on the rare occasions I have a visitor, seems to love the old bloke.  Henry asks if he can watch The Antiques Roadshow. I find it and stick it on, and within minutes, he’s snoozing. With Henry asleep, I sit and wonder what to do next. What if the weird thing doesn’t happen soon? It’s too late to put him on a train to Bolton now. I figure I’ll have to put him up for the night, so I quietly get up from my seat and go up to set up the sofa bed upstairs. I’m halfway up the stairs, when I suddenly have a feeling, a gut-feeling that he’s gone. I run down and into the room and sure enough, Henry has left, leaving behind a seriously confused and distressed Bruce.  “Christ”, I wonder aloud, ” I hope he’s not appeared in the middle of the road somewhere”.  I wait around for a while in the living room for him to show up again. I sit for a bit, then pace around the room for a bit more. No sign. I give up and go to bed.

In the morning, I get up and immediately run downstairs, like there’s a brand new games console waiting under a tree for me down there, but the kitchen is unoccupied and the front room the same. I feel a pang of disappointment. Still, I think he might appear again, so I call in sick at work, blaming a possible case of man-flu. After I hang up, I question myself. Why am I skipping work to wait for some old guy to appear in my house, is it the distinct possibility of biscuits, endless cups of tea, and more talk of the past? Am I that lonely? Wait a minute, I counter, this is seriously weird business that warrants investigation! Don’t forget, this man appears to be able to teleport! Admittedly only between my house and Bolton, and without any real control, but still! To be honest though, it was just nice having him there. As I said before, it was rare that I got visitors, the few friends I had are all living elsewhere now, and I can’t afford to get back home as much as I’d like. I suddenly realise Henry and I hadn’t even talked that much about the fact he could magically travel across England, it just hadn’t come up again after a while. I feed Bruce, then take myself up for a shower. I’m on my second belting chorus of ‘I Get Around’, and about to wash the suds out of my hair, when the room is suddenly filled with a loud shout. Terrified, I cower into a corner of the shower and peel the curtain back, to reveal a similarily terrified pyjama-clad Henry, toothbrush in hand, and mouth foamy with toothpaste. “Bloody hell!” says Henry.

After calming down and gently ushering Henry out of the bathroom and downstairs, I finish my shower and get dressed. I hear the kettle boiling, and when I get downstairs, I find a plateful of toast and a mug of tea waiting for me. Henry is reading the paper from yesterday, and slowly chomping on his breakfast, like a paisley cow. “Morning, Henry” I say, and just then, he’s gone. Before I have time to react, he appears again, still reading, still chewing. “What did you say, son?”, he says, peering up at me, “Just, good morning Henry. Nice to see you again”. I decide to leave it, probably a glitch in the old man Matrix. I sit down and eat breakfast. “I see you’re not in work today then, eh? You poorly, lad?”, asks Henry, sounding concerned, “Nah, just fancied a day off. That was a weird one this morning, eh? Took me quite by surprise, so you did”. “You’re telling me!” he replies, then laughs, spraying toast crumbs, “Be thankful I weren’t sat on the toilet, eh?”.

After breakfast, we retire to the living room, and stick on the TV. There’s an old film on, The Big Sleep, so we watch that. Henry tells me all the actors’ names, and marvels at Lauren Bacall (“Oh she were summat else, her”). Midway through a story about sneaking into a cinema with his mates one time, Henry disappears again. Just for a few seconds, and then he’s back, still in full flow. I feel an uneasy sensation, like when you know a fuse is about to go, but I try not to show my concern. Bruce is nuzzled by his feet, but when this signal interference happens, he’s not impressed and so hops up onto the sofa beside him instead. Henry appears none the wiser, and happily indulges Bruce with head rubs. The film ends, and we sit in silence, Bruce’s contented purring the only sound. I’m still thinking of something in the film’s plot that didn’t make sense to me, and I’m about to ask Henry about it when he speaks first, “I’ve enjoyed these, these visits, y’know”. I nod, “Me too, Henry”. “I still don’t understand them, and I don’t think I ever will, but they’ve been nice all the same”, says Henry, and raises his mug of tea in a salute of sorts. I raise mine too, and then we talk more about Humphrey Bogart, and Raymond Chandler books.

When I come back from the toilet, and find the living room less one Henry again, I’m sad, but not surprised. I had the feeling again that he was gone, and so felt a little more prepared for his absence. I sit with the cat and read till it gets dark, and I’m just about to reach over and switch on a lamp, when Henry appears on the chair opposite. He is phasing in and out, his image flickering like a bulb about to go, and I feel sad and happy at the same time, overwhelmed. He raises his mug, smiles and nods at me, and then…gone. I sit back in the sofa and breathe out slowly. “That’s that”, I say pointlessly to Bruce, who looks up at me, non-plussed.

The next day I call in sick again, and I hang around the kitchen, and I linger in the living room, but to no avail. My Mum calls, and I talk about the weather, and I talk about work, and I promise to come visit. At no point do I mention the randomly materialising pensioner whom I befriended over the weekend, I figure she has enough to worry about. Henry doesn’t reappear that night, and I realise now that I have no address and no phone number, no real actual normal way to contact him. Whatever cosmic error that led to our paths crossing has now apparently been fixed and things are seemingly back as they were before. Bruce meows from the kitchen, probably starving. I go in, and put the kettle on.

 

 

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Funny People

This review appeared here but with unfortunate typos which I assume happened when uploading to the site, so I have included the original text here.

If you’re anything like me, I hope for your sake that you are not but if you are, you might see a poster for a film called ‘Funny People’ featuring the smug face of Adam Sandler and think ‘No. No, you’re not a funny person. Just stop’. I’m not a fan, I think it’s fair to say. I don’t mind ‘Happy Gilmore’, ‘Punch Drunk Love’ had its moments, and I enjoyed Jack Nicholson’s performance in ‘Anger Management’, but other than that Sandler’s movies do not interest me. I do, however, enjoy the films that Judd Apatow makes and so this being the third film written and directed by him, I went along for a look.

Sandler plays George Simmons, an extremely successful stand up comedian who now makes his money from starring in atrocious family friendly comedies similar to the ones that Eddie Murphy appears in every bloody year without fail. George is told at the beginning of the film that he is dying from a rare blood disease and after some soulful staring at old footage of himself and crying, he decides to make a surprise appearance at a small comedy club where he meets Ira Wright. Ira, played by Apatow regular Seth Rogen, is also a stand up but on the opposite end of the fame spectrum. He is struggling to make his name on the local circuit whilst also working at a deli with none other than RZA from the Wu Tang Clan. After an odd, distracted performance on stage, George is followed by Ira who scores some laughs from mocking him. George asks Ira to write some material for him and to also act as a personal assistant/nurse to him in his dying days.

The first part of the film follows their relationship growing as George shows Ira a taste of his lifestyle and Ira provides George with companionship and new edgy jokes about the internet. This part is ok, partly because it features scene stealing performances from Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman as Ira’s housemates Leo and Mark, but mainly because it’s not the incredibly boring second part. In this section, George attempts to reclaim his lost love, ‘the one that got away’, Laura (Apatow’s wife Leslie Mann simpers her way through the film with serious ‘eye widening’ skills) who is now married with children to Clarke (Eric Bana, in a rare comic performance). It was somewhere around this point in the plot that I realized how little I cared about the characters, and that’s one of the major problems with this film. Whilst Sandler plays George as the arsehole we all know he probably actually is himself, I expected to like Rogen’s character and to sympathize with him as he is emotionally thrown around by the selfish, cold superstar but I really didn’t. His bumbling, oafish lovable loser act has gotten old and so I found it difficult to stay interested in his side of the story.

All in all, the whole tone of the film seems off. It tackles the serious issues of death, infidelity, divorce and legacy but also features an inordinate amount of shoddy ‘penis’ jokes and three SERIOUSLY cheesy, ultra smug moments: George sings ‘Real Love’ by The Beatles in his home studio , George and Ira perform at a MySpace company do with James Taylor (the website’s creator ‘Tom’ also makes a sick-inducing appearance), and in one scene we are ‘treated’ to a series of cameo’s from such comedy stars as Sarah Silverman, Ray Romano, and of course Eminem. These scenes take you away from the story and seem to serve only to promote a flagging social networking site, showcase Sandler’s lamentable music skills, and prove to us once and for all that Eminem cannot act.

Comedic dramas are nothing new but they are very tricky to pull off without losing effect in one of the areas. I got the feeling this is Judd Apatow’s attempt at a real grown up credible film, a Woody Allen-esque story of the serious side to comedians, the tears of the clown etc. but instead he has produced an overlong (almost 2 and a half hours!), boring, and crucially, unfunny movie about a group of self centered, irritating people. That would not be as catchy a title I admit, but it would sadly be more apt
Martin Higgins

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EVERYDAY I’M HUSTLIN’

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Air Dancers

The three sketches on here are first drafts written for a collaboration that sadly never came to fruition. They’re a bit weird, to be fair.

20_foot_Blue_Air_Dancer_1_1024x1024
Int car – man driving. He is middle aged, with bushy black hair, and thick glasses. He is wearing a red jumper.
VOICE OVER

This is John Fennel. John is 42 years old, he works as a central heating installation technician, he is single, and lives alone in Chutney-upon-avon.

JOHN looks to the camera, clearly excited
JOHN
“This is me favourite bit of the day, this.”

CUT TO:
Shot of car slowing and pulling up outside car sales lot with sign that reads ‘Big David’s Car Dealership’

VOICE OVER
Like many men John’s age, he has an obsession. An obsession which has all but consumed him. A love which will never be requited.

CUT TO:

shot of advertising air dancers, flapping frantically in the wind

VOICE OVER
John is an inflatophile. Someone with a strong attraction to inflatable objects. In John’s case, the objects in question are the inflatable marketing products known as ‘Air Dancers’.

CUT TO:

Shots of John staring longingly at air dancers from inside his car. Close ups of the dancers.

JOHN
“I love ’em. I just love ’em. They just flap around, like..like they haven’t a care in the world. I find their enthusiasm very infectious!”

CUT TO:

Close up of air dancer. Loud sound of wind billowing inside it.

JOHN
(sighs)

“If everyone felt as happy about their jobs as these guys, the world would be a better place.”

CUT TO:

INT. GREASY SPOON CAFE – DAY
JOHN stands in line for food. He gets some sausage and chips and pays at the till. He seems to make a joke with the lady at the till. He laughs and she stares at him, seemingly repulsed by what he’s just said.

VOICE OVER
John’s infatuation with air dancers began 3 years ago, shortly after recovering from the effects of a car accident which left him in a semi-coma for 2 weeks.

CUT TO:

John is sat at a table in the cafe, speaking to INTERVIEWER who is off screen

INTERVIEWER
(quietly)
“What exactly is a semi-coma, John?”

JOHN
“Well, basically, I was semi-conscious the whole time. I weren’t sleeping but I weren’t really awake neither. Me wife, sorry me ex-wife, Betty would be talking to me and I’d just be going ‘eh?’ and ‘whu?’ all the time. Must have been very stressful for her. She left me not long after that.”

CUT TO:

EXT. Garden centre
BETTY is going about her business, planting some seeds in a plant pot and very self consciously glancing up at the camera. She is around 40, with tightly permed hair and a constant expression of concern on her face. She is wearing a green apron.

VOICE OVER
Betty and John were married for 3 years before John’s accident.

CUT TO:

Photo of newly wed John and Betty looking miserable outside a church, then one of John and Betty on a roller-coaster with the same expression, then one of the two of them standing beside a santa, again with the same expression.

BETTY
“Before the accident…well, John was a great husband. He was very dependable, and he loved to spend the evenings sat beside me watching old episodes of Lovejoy on VHS.”

CUT TO:
Int. staff room in garden centre.
Betty looks sadly out the window

BETTY (CONT’D)
(sadly)

“Then there was the accident, and when he came out of the semi-coma, he’d changed. He wasn’t paying me any attention any more, y’know, in the marital bed, kind of thing. And he kept going out on little trips, sometimes till very late at night. He’d roll in at 8, sometimes 9 o’clock and flop in his chair with a big sigh. “What has you so deflated, love?” I asked him one night. Oof! He ran out the room like a scolded teenager. I decided to follow him the next time. He spent an hour and a half sat in his van outside a car dealership. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Eventually I got sick of it and I left him, moved in with me sister.”
(shakes head)
“He just wasn’t the same.”

CUT TO:
Ext. Big dave’s car dealership
JOHN is standing beside a red Air Dancer and looking very pleased with himself. As he talks he is gazing at the billowing figure.

JOHN
“I call this one Sebastian. He’s my current favourite. I try and visit him as much as possible during my working day, which has led to a few issues with my job. The odd complaint about not turning up for a job on time. People can be very funny about getting their new TV channels.”

INTERVIEWER
(Off Screen)
“And what do you do when you visit Sebastian, John?”

JOHN
“Oh, well mainly I’ll just put up a seat and have a sit with him, you know, have a little chat. He sees a lot, standing about here all day. He’s clued up on the local gossip! He were tellin me the other day that..”

JOHN is interrupted by the sudden arrival of BIG DAVID, the owner of the dealership, who is coming towards the camera waving his arms angrily. BIG DAVID is 50, tall with a large figure stuffed into a tight shiny suit. He is balding, with a severe comb-over and a well groomed moustache.

BIG DAVID
(Angry)
“WOAH WOAH! That’s enough, no more filming, you’ve no right..oh sweet jesus in a hatchback , it’s you!”

JOHN attempts to placate the angry salesman.

JOHN
(calm)
“Now, now then David, there’s no need for that kind of talk. These people are from the telly. They are making a documentary ab.. ”

BIG DAVID interrupts JOHN again, shaking his head.

BIG DAVID
“I don’t give a cat’s knackers who they are, you bloody weirdo. No unauthorised filming on my lot and I have already warned you about coming here. You are BARRED.”

INTERVIEWER
“Excuse me, but why is John barred? Can you do that?”

BIG DAVID shakes his head and addresses the camera.

BIG DAVID
“Alright then, making a show about this fruit loop are you? Well I’ll tell you a few things”

JOHN attempts to interrupt BIG DAVID and stop him speaking but he continues.

BIG DAVID (CONT’D)
“For starters Mr. Tellyman, yes I can bloody well bar him, this is my business and my property and he is constantly trespassing on it.”

JOHN
(indignantly)
“I’m not doing anythin wrong, me. Just an inflatables enthusiast is all, its perfectly innocent”

BIG DAVID
(outraged)
“INNOCENT!! Are you mad??”
(to camera)
“He’s here every day, every day we do the same dance and I’m bloody sick of it. He’s putting off my customers with his antics. It started off as just odd, he’d come down and stare at the place, I thought he was thinking about getting a new van to replace that shitheap he has now. Then the security guard for the business park told me he had caught him out here at night. I’ve got some CCTV footage you might want to see.”

JOHN
(angrily)
“No, no you don’t need to see that, they don’t need to see that David.”

JOHN walks away and gets in his van, before driving off.

BIG DAVID
(shouts after him)
“THAT’S RIGHT! BUGGER OFF! STAY AWAY FROM MY ADVERTISING INFLATABLES!”
(back to interviewer)
“Do you want to see them videos then?”

CUT TO:
Ext. CCtv footage of the car lot.

VOICE OVER
I agreed to watch the CCTV footage that Big David had spoken about. I needed to know what John was doing on these late night visits.

JOHN’s van appears on the far side of the road to the car dealership. He gets out and after a moment or two standing watching the Air Dancers, he begins to undress. He throws his clothes aside and begins to dance around the flapping figures, his arms in the air wildly waving. He runs around and around the Air Dancers before spotting someone coming and quickly grabbing his clothes and quickly getting into his van and driving off. A car arrives shortly afterwards and a security guard gets out and stands with hands on hips.

VOICE OVER (CONT’D)
It was clear that John’s obsession was becoming stronger, and leading him into some confrontational situations. I spoke to him on the phone and after some initial reluctance he agreed to continue to participate in our documentary. He asked us to come and meet him at Big David’s car dealership that night so that, in his words, he could “explain his actions.”

CUT TO:
INT. Car – niGHT
Camera is looking out of passenger window as the crew drive into the business park and approach the car lot.

INTERVIEWER
We are on our way to meet John again, he didn’t sound too happy about meeting us but I think we should hear his side of things after what happened earlier.

The car turns a corner and the familiar sight of Big David’s Car Dealership comes into view. A figure can be seen dancing around.

INTERVIEWER (CONT’D)
That’s..that’s him. Stop the car.

The car stops and the camera is taken out. The crew run towards JOHN. There is loud music blaring from his van (Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’) and he has positioned it so that his headlights are directed on him whilst he dances.

JOHN
(shouts above music)
“I WANTED YOU TO SEE, EVERYONE MUST SEE. THIS IS WHO I AM!!”

Camera watches on as JOHN stands beside the Dancers. The wind is strong and they are billowing wildly. JOHN is completely naked and is painted green, head to toe. His hair is gelled so that it stands s He is waving his hands above his head, his face a picture of joy. The music reaches a crescendo and suddenly a siren can heard in the background. The camera pans round and a police car approaches at speed. JOHN appears oblivious to this and continues dancing. The camera approaches JOHN as the police attempt to arrest him. They are not impressed with the crew filming all this.

POLICE MAN
“Come on, that’s enough pal. Let’s go.”
JOHN struggles with the officer, as the music blares in the background.

JOHN
“Wait! Wait! You don’t understand! This is me! I’m an air dancer!! ”
Camera remains fixed on the scene as JOHN is led away by POLICE MAN.

VOICE OVER
(somber)
John was released without charge this time but was warned that he must not go anywhere near Big David’s Car Dealership or he will be prosecuted.
FADE OUT.

FADE IN:
INT. JOHN’s VAN – DAY

VOICE OVER
John agreed to speak with us once more, a month after the incident at Chutney Business Park.
John is driving in his van. He appears cheerful.

INTERVIEWER
“How do you feel now, John, about what happened last month?”

JOHN
“Well, y’know, I’d like to say it was a wake up call or something, that I’d changed me mind about balloons an that, but eh..well, I can’t do that I’m afraid. I packed in the TV installation job and now I’m doing something that really means something to me.”

CUT TO:
Ext. Music festival – day
JOHN gets out of his van and we see the sign on the side reads ‘FENNEL’S INFLATABLES’.
JOHN (CONT’D)
“They’re my livelihood now, these beautiful beasts. I’ve learnt me lesson though, no more joining in from me! Heh!”
He sets up several deflated Dancers and counts down loudly, much to the bemusement of festival goers passing by.

JOHN (CONT’D)
“5..4…3…2….1…INFLATE!”
He pushes a button and the Dancers jump up. ‘The Final Countdown’ plays over slo-mo footage of the dancers flapping in the wind.
The camera pans across to find JOHN, shirt already off, pulling down his trousers and waving his arms around in slow-motion.

VOICE OVER
(over the footage)
John is still pursuing his dream of supplying inflatable advertising products to the whole of England, despite already being banned from 7 festival sites, and 5 car dealerships in the north-west alone.
FADE TO BLACK.

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Club Committment

Int: Busy club with very loud music
MAN and WOMAN meet at the bar and start chatting.

CUT TO:

MAN buys WOMAN a drink and they seem to be getting on very well.

CUT TO:

They do a shot of tequila, now obviously feeling drunk.
WOMAN whispers in the MAN’s ear and starts to walk off,

CUT TO:

MAN can’t believe his luck, he looks back at his mates and give them a thumbs up before following the WOMAN.

CUT TO:

The WOMAN stops at a door, presumably the bathroom, and beckons the MAN towards her with his finger before walking through the door.

CUT TO:

MAN does exaggerated ‘YAAASSSS!’ facial expression and struts through the door.

CUT TO:

INT. GRAND FAMILY HOME
Music changes immediately to classical

MAN finds himself in a family living room, he looks around and then realises the WOMAN is stood with her entire family in front of him. They are all very formally dressed. A large portrait of the WOMAN hangs above the fireplace that they are stood in front of.

The very stern looking FATHER strides towards the MAN and exclaims in a booming voice

FATHER “So young man! What EXACTLY are your intentions with my daughter??”

CUT TO:

MAN looks bewildered and terrified.
FADE TO BLACK.

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Fun Boss

Int. Busy open plan office
Camera pans across office showing people busy at work, photocopying etc.

CUT TO:
A wall clock with an alarm bell beside it.
The clock strikes 2 pm and immediately the alarm bell gives off a shrill ringing sound for 5 seconds.

CUT TO:
Three office workers in adjoining cubicles: two men and a woman
The three look from their work and at each other, looks of sheer dread on their faces. Horror music swells.

CUT TO:
Door to managers office
The door creaks open and a stern, middle aged man steps out. He is dressed severely and his greying hair is plastered down with brylcreem. He looks like a Mad Men character basically.

CUT TO:
Row of cubicles
The manager stalks down the aisle and each office worker looks increasingly scared as he approaches them. He comes to a stop in front of ROBERT.

FUN BOSS (menacingly) “Robert, do you know what that bell means?”
ROBERT gulps.
Robert (nervously) “Y..yes sir. I know what that means.”

FUN BOSS motions for him to rise, not even looking at him.

FUN BOSS “Up you get Robert, up to the front. You know the drill.”

CUT TO:

ROBERT slowly gets to his feet and follows his manager, the other staff members watch as he passes, one woman crosses herself, weeping. Mournful music plays, as if he is walking to his death.

CUT TO:
Front of office
FUN BOSS stands beside a table covered in glass coke bottles (other soft drinks are available), it also features a bucket filled with tennis balls, a fez and a ghetto blaster. ROBERT stands nervously on the other side of the table.
FUN BOSS raises his hands.

FUN BOSS “Come now employees, stand up so that you may all see.”

CUT TO:
Fun boss – pov
The staff all quickly stand up nervously.

CUT TO:
Front of office
FUN BOSS smiles broadly and passes ROBERT a small red fez.

FUN BOSS (increasing in volume) “Robert, employees, Its your 2 o’clock FUN BREAK!”

CUT TO:
Close up of ghetto blaster
FUN BOSS presses play on the cassette player and ‘The Benny Hill Theme’ (or ‘Baby Elephant Walk’?) plays.

CUT TO:
FRONT OF OFFICE
FUN BOSS indicates the bottles.

FUN BOSS (laughing) “Today’s game is Bottle Fingers!! Put them on Robert, put them on!”

CUT TO:
ROBERT is wearing the fez and looks miserable. He puts bottles on his fingers and turns to face FUN BOSS.

CUT TO:
FUN BOSS is now wearing a baseball cap with clapping hands on it. The word FUN is emblazoned on the cap in bright colours.

FUN BOSS (CONT’D) (sing song voice) “Look everyone! It’s Bobby Bottlefingers! Want to play catch?”

He lifts some tennis balls from the bucket and proceeds to throw them at ROBERT.

CUT TO:
ROBERT is attempting to catch the balls, his glass fingers clanking against each other. He looks determined yet pained.

CUT TO:
FUN BOSS is laughing maniacally and throwing more balls at ROBERT. The sound of the bottles clanking and balls bouncing on the floor fills the room.

FUN BOSS (CONT’D) “Come on Bobby Bottlefingers!! Catch the balls!”

CUT TO:
SHOT OF STAFF LOOKING ON
The staff stand, open mouthed in horror.

CUT TO:
ROBERT flails helplessly at the balls and falls over with the crashing sound of breaking glass.

CUT TO:
FUN BOSS – Close up
FUN BOSS is almost in tears laughing.

FUN BOSS “OOPS! BOTTLEFINGERS!!!”

CUT TO:
ROBERT is lying still now on the floor covering his head as more tennis balls rain down on him. The last one bounces off his head after a delay.

CUT TO:
CLOSE UP of cassette player
FUN BOSS presses stop.

CUT TO:
FRONT OF OFFICE
FUN BOSS has removed his hat and addresses the office

FUN BOSS “Back to work employees, Fun Break is over. Another one same time tomorrow.”

CUT TO:
ROW OF CUBICLES
FUN BOSS marches quickly down the aisle, back to is office. His face is stern and businesslike once more. The staff sit down quickly in his wake.

CUT TO:
MANAGER’S DOOR
The door opens, FUN BOSS enters, the door whips shut again.

CUT TO:
FRONT OF OFFICE
Whilst most of the staff return to their work, a couple help ROBERT to his feet, he winces as they remove the bottles.
Camera pans away past cubicles

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Wrong Orbison

“I drove all night / crept in your room
woke you from your sleep / to make love to you / Is that alright?”

Frankly, Roy Orbison, no. That’s not alright.

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