Shot of car wreckage and glimpse of MIKE looking distraught then CUT to local NEWSREADER.
HER HUSBAND, WHO ESCAPED WITHOUT INJURY, SAID HE IS PRAYING FOR HER RECOVERY
Clip from crummy hospital soap opera
IS SHE GOING TO BE OKAY?
THERE’S EVERY CHANCE SHE’LL PULL THROUGH BUT, MR DENTON, YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT DENISE WON’T BE ABLE TO LIVE THE LIFE SHE ONCE KNEW.
Clip from Documentary
…AND MANY PATIENTS FIND THAT THEIR NEW LIVES OPEN UP MANY POSSIBILITIES, THEY DO THINGS THEY WOULD NEVER HAVE DONE.
Clip from Shakleton’s High Chair commercial
IF YOU’RE GETTING ON A BIT OR YOU CAN’T GET AROUND LIKE YOU USED TO.
Clip from another crummy soap opera
I KNOW YOU’VE BEEN SEEING HER. AND HOW MANY OTHERS HAVE THERE BEEN BRIAN?
Clip from Pet Shop Boys Video (Jealousy)
WHERE’VE YOU BEEN? WHO’VE YOU SEEN?
Clip from Fawlty Towers
IT IS, OF COURSE, DISGUSTING THAT YOU HAVEN’T SHAVED…
Clip from very odd cookery show
THEY CAN LITERALLY BE DRIVEN OUT OF THEIR MINDS!
Clip from cable TV advert (hi-tech ident)
MORE CHANNELS THAN EVER BEFORE
Clip from Jerry Springer Show
White trash man
…THERE WAS WOMEN AND SOME OF THEM WAS PROSTITUTES. (Audience boos) A GUY HAS NEEDS, JERRY!
Clip from prison drama
THERE IS NO WAY OUT. GET USED TO THAT.
Clip from cable TV advert (discovery channel-type footage)
GO ANYWHERE YOU WANT WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR SOFA
Clip from Phantom of the Opera (Masked phantom and Christine)
Clip from Chat Show
OF COURSE THERE CAN BE SEVERE PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS. THAT’S WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR THE SUFFERER TO KEEP THEIR MINDS ACTIVE
Clip from The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer
Vic and Bob (singing)
TRAPPED IN MY FLAT…
Clip: Ladyshave advert (glossy CU on woman shaving her leg)
…CHANGE YOUR LIFE…
Clip from Sitcom
WITH THE CLEANER? (laughter)
Clip from Basic Instinct (Catherine in the interview room)
Clip from talk show
AND MANY COUPLES LOOK FOR AN EXCUSE. THEY DON’T ADDRESS THE REAL PROBLEMS FOR THEIR MARRIAGE GOING WRONG.
Still shot of Bates Motel
Clip from Crimewatch-type show
IT’S IMPORTANT NOT TO ENDANGER YORSELF BY TACKLING AN INTRUDER. IN MANY CASES THIS IS WHERE THINGS CAN GET OUT OF HAND.
Clip from cable TV advert (CU on remote control. The keys are alphanumeric.)
…PUTTING CONTROL IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND…
Further clips are only a few frames in duration; the channel is changed rhythmically, obsessively. During these shots we see MEGAN reflected in the screen.
1. Int. Living Room Day
MEGAN is lying up in a sofa bed, dressed in frumpy pyjamas. She is in her thirties but looks older. Her hair is dishevelled and the bedclothes are crumpled. She’s obviously been here a while. She grits her teeth and grunts as she presses the remote control keys hard to change channels, changing again before she can possibly have registered what is on each channel.
Sound of the front door opening. Sit com on TV VO of “Honey , I’m home…!” but MEGAN turns her head in the direction of the living room’s open door. As she does so we see that one side of her face is badly scarred around the eyelid, which, itself, is scarred and clamped shut.
MIKE? MIKE IS THAT YOU?
JUST A SECOND, LOVE.
Megan mutes the TV and suddenly looks nervous. She’s not sure whether she’s happy that Mike is back from work.
Mike enters. He is clearly younger than her, early to mid-twenties and a lot fresher-faced than he appeared on the news report. He is wearing a suit and not carrying flowers.
HOW’S MY ANGEL?
YOU DIDN’T COME BACK FOR LUNCH.
Mike (looking away)
WE’VE BEEN REALLY BUSY. (He turns to face her.) YOU HAD YOUR SANDWICHES THOUGH DIDN’T YOU? HOW WERE YOUR SANDWICHES?
DID MARIE MAKE THEM?
I… YES. I ASKED HER TO. LISTEN I’VE GOT TO JUST SORT OUT THAT DODGY PLUG SOCKET IN THE KITCHEN. THINK IT’S WORKING AGAIN BUT I DON’T WANT THE FUSE TO TRIP THE WHOLE CIRCUIT WHILE I’M OUT. I’LL MAKE US SOME DINNER WHILE I’M AT IT, EH? NICE BIT OF DINNER?
SHE STAYED AGAIN LAST NIGHT, DIDN’T SHE?
Mike (hurriedly leaving)
IN THE GUEST ROOM! YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE ON A WEEK NIGHT. TOO MUCH OF A RUSH IN THE MORNING TO GET BREAKFAST SORTED OUT FOR BOTH OF US.
Megan turns back to face the TV as Mike leaves. The screen lights up her face.
I GOT THE POST
Mike appears suddenly at the door.
YOU WENT TO THE FRONT DOOR?
TOOK A WHILE TO CRAWL THERE BUT THERE WAS NOTHING MUCH ELSE TO DO.
YOU KNOW YOU SHOULDN’T TRY TO GET OUT OF BED WHEN YOU’RE ALONE. WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENED?
HAPPENED? WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME?
YOU COULD HAVE BEEN HURT. I MEAN…
SO? ANYTHING COME? IN THE POST?
JUST JUNK. AND A CREDIT CARD BILL
Mike (rummaging through a pile of papers)
IS IT HERE?
It is. It has been opened.
THE MILL VIEW HOTEL, THAT’S BY THE ROUNDABOUT ISN’T IT?
MEG, THIS IS MY PRIVATE ACCOUNT. FOR WORK.
YOU KNOW, WITH NOTHING TO DO ALL DAY, I STILL HAVEN’T MANAGED TO FIGURE OUT WHY YOU’D WANT TO STAY IN A HOTEL FIVE MILES FROM WHERE YOU LIVE.
IT WAS A CONFERENCE ROOM. IN THE AFTERNOON. I DIDN’T STAY. LOOK IT WAS A THURSDAY. I WAS HERE EVERY NIGHT LAST WEEK.
THEY’VE CHARGED YOU FOR A ROOM.
MUST BE A MISTAKE. MORE STUFF FOR ME TO SORT OUT!
FIND MY FUCKING VIOLIN.
Mike (still attempting to keep the mood light)
YOU DON’T KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE BEING ABLE TO STAY IN FRONT OF THE DIGIBOX ALL DAY!
OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE, MIKE!
I’M SORRY. I JUST MEAN… LOOK, I’LL GET SOME DINNER.
MIKE goes out. MEGAN looks back at the screen, the light playing once again upon her disfigured face. She stares at the screen as she calls out to MIKE.
WHY DON’T YOU WAIT FOR MARIE TO MAKE IT? I ASSUME SHE’S COMING AGAIN TONIGHT? IS SHE MIKE? IS SHE STAYING OVER IN THE GUEST ROOM AGAIN? QUITE A COOK FOR A CLEANING LADY, ISN’T SHE, MIKE? DON’T YOU THINK SHE’S TALENTED? MIKE? WHAT OTHER TALENTS DOES MARIE HAVE, MIKE?
Mike bursts in, waving a wooden spoon accusingly.
JUST WHAT ARE YOU IMPLYING?
THAT YOU’RE FUCKING MARIE.
THAT’S. MEG. DON’T BE RIDICULOUS.
…AS WELL AS THE NUMBER OF WHORES YOU TAKE TO THE MILL VIEW HOTEL.
ARE THEY WHORES? REAL WHORES, MIKE? DO YOU PAY THEM? ARE THEY ON YOUR PRIVATE ACCOUNT FOR WORK?
Mike (shouting now)
ENOUGH! I’VE HAD ENOUGH! MEGAN, IT’S BEEN EIGHT MONTHS SINCE YOU GOT HOME. NEARLY A YEAR SINCE THE ACCIDENT. I NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT HAVING TO WORK AS YOUR CARER ON TOP OF EVERYTHING ELSE I DO. THINGS AREN’T GETTING ANY EASIER AT THE OFFICE. THERE’S ONLY SO LONG THEY CAN STAY SYMPATHETIC. AND FRANKLY, MEGAN, I’M RUNNING OUT OF SYPATHY MYSELF.
YOU MIGHT AS WELL STOP CALLING IT THAT.
NOW YOU’RE BROODING IN FRONT OF A MILLION FUCKING CHANNELS – AND THEY DON’T COME CHEAP EITHER – ENTERTAINING YOUR PARANOID, DIRTY FANTASIES.
WHY DO YOU STILL CALL IT AN ACCIDENT, MIKE?
Mike (brandishing his spoon)
YOU’RE GOING BACK TO THE DOCTOR. YOU’RE GOING TO DRIVE ME MAD AT THIS RATE.
WAS I SO DRUNK I WOULDN’T LET YOU PUT MY SEAT BELT ON? YOU HAD YOURS ON THOUGH DIDN’T YOU MIKE?
FOR CHRIST’S SAKE.
AND MEGAN THE DRUNK PASSENGER, SHE WAS ASKING FOR TROUBLE! ASKING TO BE CRIPPLED!
Mike (more softly)
ASKING FOR THIS TO BE DONE TO HER FACE.
MEGAN, THIS RIDICULOUS JELOUSY. IT CAN’T GO ON. WE’VE GOT TO ADAPT. WE’VE GOT TO MAKE THE MOST OF THIS NEW LIFE. BOTH OF US…
WELL, YOU SEEM TO BE MAKING THE MOST OF IT.
AND MARIE. HA! YOU REALLY THINK I’D EVEN THINK ABOUT IT WITH HER?
WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
MAYBE I AM JEALOUS, MIKE. BUT NOT OVER YOU.
He is interrupted by the sound of the key in the door.
MARIE enters. She is a very attractive brunette twenty-something with an exotic accent. Her clothing isn’t particularly sexy but she’s the sort of girl who could wear a boiler suit and look gorgeous. She looks a little worried. It is obvious that MIKE and MEGAN have been having a row.
SORRY I’M A BIT LATE. DO YOU WANT I AM TO PREPARE DINNER NOW?
Mike (without facing her and with a hint of sarcasm)
THAT WOULD BE NICE.
Mike glances curiously at the way Megan is looking at Marie. He exits after the cleaner and Megan returns her attention to the TV screen.
2. Int. Living Room. Night.
More shadowy effect’s on Megan’s face as she is still sitting up in the sofa-bed, flicking through channels. We hear the following whispered conversation off-screen.
NO, MICHAEL, NOT TONIGHT.
WHY NOT TONIGHT? IT WAS OK LAST NIGHT.
BUT TONIGHT, NO. MEGAN. SHE SEEMED UPSET.
SHE’S ALWAYS UPSET. COME ON. I’M A LITTLE UPSET AS WELL, YOU KNOW…
Cut to CU on Megan as the sound of muffled sex escapes from the guest room.
YOU DON’T HAVE A CLUE, MIKE. Y-YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO FUCK HER.
T-TALKING TO YOURSELF, MEGAN! FUH-FUH-FIRST SIGN OF MADNESS!
She flicks through the channels some more until she finds the “Yoursoul” channel.
On the screen a rather handsome chap in a black suit and black shirt and tie, with gelled back black hair and a goatee beard, is sitting across from a chat show host. The man – Zach - is holding up a bent spoon above a small pile of bent spoons. Both men on screen seem to be finding this hilarious.
I MEAN – WHAT IS THIS?!
HA HA! SO YOU DON’T THINK WHAT YOU DO IS CONJURING TRICKS?
NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT, JONATHAN. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH CONJURING TRICKS AND I’M NOT TRYING TO BELITTLE THOSE WHO HAVE ACHIEVED CELEBRITY STATUS BY PERFORMING THEM!
The Host laughs again, clearly utterly charmed by this man.
BUT WHAT I DO IS REAL. POSITIVE THINKING, JONATHAN, THAT’S ALL IT IS. WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT, THE MIND IS A POWERFUL WEAPON.
WELL, PERHAPS WEAPON IS THE WRONG WORD. A TOOL. AND WE ALL HAVE THIS TOOL. WE CAN ALL BE TRAINED TO USE IT.
SO, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO ASK OUR VIEWERS AT HOME TO DO TO TRAIN THEM TO USE THIS “TOOL”?
Zach (with a mischievous schoolboy grin)
AH! TIME FOR THE GIMMICK? WELL, FAIR’S FAIR. YOU HELPED ME PLUG MY BOOK SO NOW YOU GET YOUR GIMMICK!
Zach (turning to face the camera)
SO, THIS IS FOR OUR DIGITAL VIEWERS. I’M GOING TO SHOW YOU JUST WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF. ALL I WANT YOU TO DO IS DIAL THE WORD “SOUL” ON YOUR REMOTE CONTROL. THAT’S 7-6-8-5: SOUL.
Megan frowns but does this.
NOW LOOK INTO THE SCREEN.
The shot on TV has gone to close up now. Zach is looking sincerely, straight at cam. There is a brief, almost subliminal, shot cut into this of the same Zach looking decidedly demonic. He has clear eyeballs and his mouth is open to reveal fangs. The shot is uplit, a CU but from a different enough angle to jar uncomfortably.
AND PRESS “SEND” ON YOUR REMOTE
CU of Megan’s finger pressing send as she points the remote at the TV.
The screen has gone back to the two-shot of Zach and the host.
AND THAT’S IT! YOUR VIEWERS WILL START TO SEE THAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF ANYTHING THEY PUT THEIR MIND TO. AS WILL ANYONE WHO READS MY BOOK. IT’S CALLED “CONTROL THE SOUL” AND IT’S…
Host (finding this extra plug delightfully hilarious)
…PUBLISHED BY HENDRICKSON AT TWELVE NINETY-NINE! OK! ZACH FINNIAN, IT’S BEEN A PLEASURE…
Megan throws the remote down, feeling stupid at playing along. Off we can hear the sound of Mike talking to Marie, trying to shout and whisper at the same time.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? YOU’RE WORSE THAN HER!
The guest room door slams.
3. Int. Living Room Later. Megan is sleeping fitfully on the sofa-bed. On the screen, the host is chatting and laughing with Zach’s empty chair.
Zach appears from behind the TV, climbs out and stalks toward Meg on the sofa-bed, pulling the bottom of her duvet up and crawling in head first, his head and arms disappearing beneath the covers, between her legs. CU on Meg’s sleeping face. She is having a very strange dream.
4. Int. Living Room. Dawn. As the first glimmers of morning light up the curtains, Zach sits on the end of the bed, his back to us. Megan smiles as she sleeps, soundly now. Zach wipes his lips with his forearm as he glances at Meg before standing and walking out of shot.
5. Int. Living Room. Morning. Megan has a slice of toast on a plate on her lap. Mike is sitting at her bedside, looking at his watch as often as he looks at her.
WE’LL TALK SOME MORE ABOUT THIS TONIGHT, OK? I’LL LEAVE EARLY, BE BACK BY FIVE.
I’VE HEARD THAT BEFORE.
WHAT HAPPENED, WHAT WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH, IS JUST BAD LUCK, MEGAN. JUST BAD LUCK BUT WE CAN WORK THROUGH IT.
NOT SUCH BAD LUCK FOR YOU THOUGH, MIKE, WAS IT?
LOOK I’VE GOT TO GO IF I’M GOING TO GET BACK EARLY.
YOU G-GOT PRETTY LUCKY, YOURSELF, DIDN’T YOU?
TONIGHT, WE’LL TALK. OK?
I WISH YOU WEREN’T SO DARNED LUCKY, MIKE. I REALLY DO!
The TV bursts into life: some wacky kids’ morning show.
Mike (standing up)
MUST’VE SAT ON THE STANDBY BUTTON
He hands her the remote and goes to kiss her on the cheek, pausing before he does so, faced with her scarred eye. He leaves in a hurry.
6. Ext. Driveway. Day.
Mike rushes to his car and climbs in. He starts the car and begins to reverse into the main road. CU on Mike as he realises another car is speeding toward him. He yells. Cut to black. SFX of a massive collision.
7. Fade up on TV Static then dissolve to Rebecca Ravenhill MTV-style video: World Made of Glass. Shots of Becca wandering on the moors with her guitar and ponies inter-cut with still images of Megan, who is with Marie, shocked at news of her husband’s accident; being passed a mug of tea; comforted with a hug…
8. Fade up. Int. Bedroom. Day.
Marie is sitting at Megan’s bedside, stroking her hair, which is now combed. Megan is tucked into a cleanly made bed.
I WASN’T GOINGTO COME BACK. MIKE WAS RIGHT TO FIRE ME. I HADN’T BEEN TAKING GOOD CARE OF YOU.
Megan (close to tears)
OH MARIE! THAT WASN’T YOUR JOB.
ARE YOU SURE YOU’RE GOING TO BE OKAY?
I’M GOING TO CALL THE AGENCY. YOU WILL HAVE A CARER WHO CAN TAKE CARE OF YOU PROPERLY. I’M SO SORRY, MEGAN. I WILL PICK YOU UP FOR THE SERVICE ON WEDNESDAY.
Megan begins to cry. Marie hugs her and slowly, reluctantly, leaves the room.
I WISH YOU’D STAY.
Sound of the TV coming on in the Living room.
A pause. Marie appears in the doorway and walks towards the bed. Megan looks up. Marie sits back down. They kiss. Fade to black.
9. Fade up to same room. The sheets are rumpled and both women are smiling. Looking less uncomfortable. Now Marie is standing over Megan with her coat on.
I’LL BE AN HOUR. MAYBE A BIT LONGER. IT IS BUSY AT SAINSBURY’S IN THE EVENINGS.
BUT YOU’RE COMING BACK.
YES, MEGAN. I’M COMING BACK.
She leaves and Megan sighs happily, lying back, propped up on her pillow. Then she reaches for a smaller channel changer and watches the small TV set in this room, again falling into her solitary habit of flicking through channels.
The Love Affair
OPEN UP YOUR EYES, THEN YOU’LL REALISE…
PROTECT YOUR HOME
10. Int. Kichen. Day
Marie comes into the kitchen from a corridor and heads towards the back door. She opens it but notices that the toaster is plugged into a broken electrical socket. She frowns. Could be dangerous. Shouldn’t be using that socket. She reaches out to unplug the toaster and sparks fly out onto her arm. She is electrocuted and falls to the floor, convulsing before lying still, dead.
11. Int. Bedroom. Evening.
Megan frowns, unsure whether she heard anything in the kitchen.
She shrugs and carries on flicking through the channels.
Clip: Ministry of Silly Walks
IT IS EVERY HOMEOWNER’S RESPONSIBILITY NOT TO MAKE IT EASY FOR THE BURGLARS.
SUDDENLY I SEE…
STAND IN THE PLACE WHERE YOU ARE…
…AND HIS BOOK “CONTROL THE SOUL” IS ALREADY A BESTSELLER.
Marie watches the interview with Zach Finnian and a slow zoom onto her CU follows as she realises what has happened.
She slowly opens her injured eye, blinking in the unaccustomed light. She moves her fingers around in front of her face as she realises she can see out of this eye again. She gasps.
12. Ext. Street. Dusk.
POV shot from the driver’s side of a van, parked across the road from the house. Helen Shapiro’s “Walking Back To Happiness” is playing on the van’s radio. A BURGLAR is watching the house. He sees Megan leave and walk down the driveway – unsteadily but walking nevertheless. She leaves the front door open.
The burglar opens the van door as we follow Megan, wandering down the street and looking around her as the streetlights come on, taxis drive back and forth and various early nighttime signifiers happen around her. The song continues on the soundtrack.
Megan marvels at the outside world. Her facial scars are noticeably faded. She is still in her pyjamas, which earns her a few strange looks. She comes across a publicity poster of Zach at a bus stop and presses herself against it. He is her saviour!
Strutting now, she stops to pole dance at a lamppost. Eat your heart out, Gene Kelly!
She wanders back home and sees that her front door is now shut. Puzzled, she walks around to the back door.
13. Int. Kitchen. Night.
Megan sees Marie’s body by the open back door. The Helen Shapiro soundtrack ends abruptly. Silence then…
She kneels over Marie’s body, distraught. Is it too late? Megan is sobbing hysterically. She is about to move to the telephone to get help when there is a clunk from the living room.
Megan looks up. Fury is in her eyes. Her scars have now gone.
14. Int. Living Room. Night.
The burglar is ransacking a drawer and filling his pockets. The room has been turned upside down; books, CDs and the Digibox TV remote are scattered on the floor. He turns to see Megan. She is standing confidently, angry but in control. Her pyjamaed pose is almost seductive, except for the fact that she is holding a large kitchen knife.
YOU’VE PICKED THE WRONG DAY TO COME HERE, SHITHEAD.
She advances on the burglar, who looks terrified.
IF SHE’S DEAD, YOU DIE NEXT.
The burglar is puzzled. He hasn’t been in the kitchen.
WHAT IS IT YOU’RE AFTER, EH? DRUG MONEY? GOING TO LOOK FOR MY CREDIT CARDS? WORTH KILLING HER FOR MY CREDIT CARDS, IS IT, FUCKER?
The burglar looks at the door, wondering if he can make it past this crazy woman and get the hell out.
W-WOULD YOU LIKE THE TELLY? EH? WHY DON’T YOU TUH-TRY TO TAKE THE TELLY?
The burglar makes a dash for the door but Megan sidesteps in front of him. There is a struggle, during which Megan slips on the remote control, the burglar grabs the hand holding the knife and Megan is accidentally but very effectively stabbed in the chest.
High angle long shot of the burglar standing over Megan’s body. She dies messily.
The burglar whimpers and runs out of the room. Pause. In the same shot, the burglar runs back in and grabs another handful of items from the drawer, stuffing it into his pockets. He pauses, looks over at the TV and hurriedly unplugs it before carrying it out of the room. Another pause.
The burglar returns and picks the remote off the floor (Jump cut to CU on this action). He pockets it as he exits a final time.
Cut to subliminal shot of Demon Zach smiling at camera.
Cut to black.
End credits over Bobgoblin’s “Killer”.
© Copyright 2016 Richard Elliott. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Fantasy
Short Story / Science Fiction
Short Story / Horror
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