AUTOGEDDON – A SCREENPLAY

auto 3

Montage: Claire Palmer

.

BY HEATHCOTE WILLIAMS

ADAPTED FOR FILM BY DAVID ERDOS

 

 

 

PRIMARY LOCATIONS:

 

 

EXT. ACE CAFE NORTH LONDON. DAY – DUSK – NIGHT

 

INT. ACE CAFE NORTH LONDON. DAY – DUSK – NIGHT

 

INT. CARS 1-8. DAY.

 

INT. REMOVALS VAN. DAY.

 

EXT. CHURCHYARD. DAY.

 

EXT. MOTORWAY – LAYBY. DAY.

 

  1. NORTH CIRCULAR ROAD/ MOTORWAY. DAY – DUSK – NIGHT

 

INT. HOSPITAL. CORRIDORS – A&E/ OPERATING THEATRE.

 

 

 

 

FEATURED CHARACTERS:

 

 

LEAH/

BENZ/

POET/

JB/

CAFE MANAGER/

BIKER/BIKER 2/

POLICEMAN/SECOND POLICEMAN/

WAITRESS/WAITRESS 2/WAITRESS 3/

COOK/

TRAMP/

ELDERLY WOMAN/OLD MAN/

PROSTITUTE/REMOVALS MAN/VAN DRIVER/

DRIVERS 1-8/

GIRLFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND 2/PASSENGER/

MOTHER/CHILD/

CAR SALESMAN/RECEPTIONIST/

BUS DRIVER/SMOKER/CYCLIST/

MAN/RABBI/MAN WITH SOUP/GIRL WITH ALKA SELTZER/TRUCKER/

PORTER/NURSE/DOCTOR/NURSE 2/NURSE 3/INJURED MAN/

DISFIGURED CHILD/GIRL/FEMALE SKELETON/

HITCH-HIKER/HEARSE DRIVER/

FAT AMERICAN DRIVER/

CHINESE PENSIONER/

 

 

 

BLACK:

 

 

SOUNDTRACK: from tune up to crescendo, a fugue of car

noises orchestra out from the dark.

 

TITLE:      AUTOGEDDON

 

BY HEATHCOTE WILLIAMS

 

ADAPTED BY DAVID ERDOS,

 

 

 

(PRODUCTION NOTE: ALL SCENES TO BE INTERSPERSED WITH 

                  STILL SHOT INSERTS FROM THE JONATHAN

                  CAPE PUBLICATION OF AUTOGEDDON.)

 

 

FADE IN:

 

 

1  EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY.                                  1

 

Aerial view of Motorway traffic. The vast congress,

snaking, clearly defining the land.

 

CUT TO:

 

2  EXT. TRAFFIC JAM. DAY.                               2

 

Camera tracks along cars. A frustrated DRIVER

turns to us, providing the first frontis quote:

 

DRIVER.

 

             ‘A carriage without a horse will go

              Disaster fill our world with woe..’

 

 

    The PASSENGER leans across:

 

 

PASSENGER.

 

              From the prophecies of Mother Shipton,

              Ursula Southall of Knaresborough,

              Yorkshire, 1488-1561.

CUT TO:

 

 

3  EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY.                                  3

 

A mass of vehicles at speed. A vast lorry cuts across

Into foreground, obscuring our driving POV.

 

CUT TO:

 

 

4  EXT. ROAD. DAY.                                      4

 

A CYCLIST shakily negotiates through the traffic.

He/She to camera for the next frontis quote:

 

CYCLIST.

 

           ‘What good is speed if the brain has

            oozed out on the way?’

 

 

As they leave frame:

 

CYCLIST (CONT)

 

           Karl Klaus..

 

CUT TO:

 

5  EXT. STREET. DAY.                                    5

 

A crowded bus boards. A frail PENSIONER struggles to

get themselves on.

 

PENSIONER.

 

           ‘Today I must resolve to come home

            in a new Mustang, Mustang, Mustang.’

 

                       BUS DRIVER( TO CAMERA:)

 

            Sirhan Sirhan Notebooks,May 18th 1968.

 

CUT TO:

 

6  EXT. GRAVEYARD. DAY.                                 6

 

The traffic sounds cut for the peace of the graveyard.

A Young Woman, LEAH crouches down at a grave. We view

from a distance before she finally stands, walks

away.

CUT TO:

 

7  EXT. STREET/MOTORWAY. DAY.                           7

 

A screech of brakes, a car horn as someone stops

without warning. A brief, shocking contrast to the

peace we’ve just seen.

 

CUT TO:

 

8  EXT. ACE CAFE. JUNCTION. DAY.                        8

 

Outside the Ace Cafe, North London. THE POET

approaches, heavy coat, bag and hat. Morning light

picks him out as he enters the cafe. Heavy traffic

surrounding, the sounds exchange quickly as we

 

CUT TO:

 

9  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                  9

 

Music, chatter. The cafe is full of all manner of

people. THE POET goes to the counter where he is soon

served his tea. He looks round at the space. BENZ, a

man in an antique bowler hat reads a paper. He looks

at the Poet who then takes his tea to a seat by the

window. The Poet gazes out at the traffic and then

starts to write.

 

CUT TO:

 

10 INT. CAR. DAY.                                      10

 

JB is driving. He speaks to camera on the backseat

while keeping his eye on the road.

 

JB.

 

IN 1885 Karl Benz constructed the first automobile.

It had three wheels, like an invalid car,

And ran on alcohol, like many drivers.

 

CUT TO:

 

11  INT. ACE CAFÉ. DAY.                                11

 

The POET looks across at the Hatted Man who returns

the look. He puts down the paper as a Waitress

presents him with a perfect fried breakfast.

 

(MORE)

JB (VO)

 

Since then about seventeen million people have

been killed by them

In an undeclared war;

And the whole of the rest of the world is in danger

of being run over

In a terminal squabble over their oil.

 

CUT TO:

 

12  EXT. ACE CAFÉ. DAY.                                12

 

Striking light through the clouds. A spectacular

morning. LEAH approaches, wrapped up in herself. As

she comes to the door, a man is stood, smoking. He

eyes her. She ignores him. He talks on his phone as

His gaze follows her in.

 

SMOKER.

 

Were an alien was to hover a few hundred yards

above the planet

It could be forgiven for thinking

That cars were the dominant life-form,

And that human beings were a kind of ambulatory

fuel cell:

Injected when the car wished to move off,

And ejected when they were spent.

 

CUT TO:

 

 

13  INT. CAFE ENTRANCE. DAY.                           13

 

LEAH walks in, followed by the SMOKER. He continues

the poem into his phone.

 

SMOKER.

 

          If the visitors curiosity were still

                    aroused

          It would quickly discover on landing,

          From hoardings, newspapers and television     

                    commercials

          That the car continues to satisfy

                    a compendious spectrum of desires;

 

LEA passes a YOUNG MAN.

YOUNG MAN.

 

Sexual,

 

The POET looks across. The Hatted Man also.

He smiles at the Poet who now recognises him as BENZ.

 

BENZ.

 

Social,

 

Across at the counter a Waitress mans the till:

 

WAITRESS.

 

Economic,

 

BENZ beams at the Poet.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

14  INT. JB CAR. DAY.                                  14

 

JB,to us as he’s parking.

 

JB.

 

And religious..

 

DISSIOLVE TO:

 

15  INT. ACE CAGE KITCHEN. DAY.                        15

 

THE COOK, as a number of sausages fry:

 

COOK.

 

          Gratifying an A to Z of unbridled cravings

          In the guise of getting from A to B. 

 

CUT TO:

 

16  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                16

 

Various intercut lines, thick and fast:

 

BENZ.

 

              Nothing performs like a Saab..

 

 

17  EXT. CAFE. DAY.                                    17

 

JB as he emerges.

 

JB.

 

              Car as stud.

 

 

18  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                18

 

LEAH sits down next to a lecherous BIKER.

 

BIKER.

 

              Beautiful body. A joy to handle and             

              rumoured to be rather fast – MG.

 

BENZ (TO POET:)

 

              Car as pimp.

 

JB enters the cafe.

 

JB.

 

              Step on the exhilarator – Datsun.

 

He passes an ELDERLY WOMAN sat on her own at a table.

 

ELDERLY WOMAN.

 

              Car as marital aid.

 

A WAITRESS serves LEAH tea. The BIKER sits near her.

 

WAITRESS.

 

              Drive it like you hate it – Volvo.

 

WAITRESS 2.

 

           Car as enemy. The enemy only you can control.

 

JB takes his seat. WAITRESS 3 brings him coffee.

He smiles at her.

 

JB.

 

           Believe in freedom. Believe in Honda..?

 

WAITRESS 3.

 

           Car as declaration of Human Rights,

           Drafted with only you in mind..

 

 

19  INT. ACE CAFE KITCHEN. DAY.                        19

 

THE COOK, frying on:

 

COOK.

 

            Nothing quite so perfectly reflects

            one’s achievements in life – Daimler.

 

WAITRESS 1 comes to take a meal from the kitchen:

 

 

WAITRESS.

 

            A car that gives you permanent positive

            feedback and insulates you from any other..

 

 

20  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                20

 

BENZ is now sitting next to the POET. He gestures

to the window as they see BIKER 2 parking up.

 

 

21   EXT. ACE CAFE. FORECOURT. DAY                     21

 

A HONDA DRIVER is sat parked in his car, busily

eating an apple. BIKER 2 approaches his window

and speaks, leaning in.

 

BIKER.

 

            For people who lead the good life.

            A car that leads the simple life –

 

HONDA DRIVER.

 

Honda..

 

BIKER.

 

            How to radiate a high minded vegan

            glow while eating Steak tartare..

 

The Driver smiles weakly.

22  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                22

 

A YOUNG MOTHER and SON. She eats an omelette, the

child their own toffee bar.

 

CHILD.

 

            Crunchy on the outside and hard

            in the middle – VW POLO.

 

MOTHER.

 

            Car as confectionery.

 

THE BIKER places his hand next to LEA’s.

 

BIKER.

 

            Kiss the old ideas goodbye – BMW.

 

BIKER 2 joins them. LEA looks up.

 

BIKER 2.

 

            Car as mind stylist.

 

JB, to camera, at his table:

 

JB.

 

            The Ecstacy without the agony –

            Porsche.

 

BIKER 2(TO LEA:)

 

            The designer drug with no earthly

            withdrawal symptoms…

 

 

JB picks up an abandoned newspaper. He flicks

Through and talks to us:

 

JB.

 

          The TR7 is now available with optional

                   breezes, sunsets, moon,

          Stars, and smell of morning dew.

 

BENZ (TO POET:)

 

          Car as Nobel Proze for literature.

 

 

JB (READS)

 

          Volvo. A car with standards.

 

ELDERLY WOMAN.

 

          For those who might not have any.

 

 

23  INT. ACE KITCHEN. DAY.                             23

 

WAITRESS 2 takes a plate. THE COOK eyes her with

desire.

 

COOK.

 

          Solara – The Power to light up your life.

 

WAITRESS 2 (SMILES)

 

          The Holy Grail on wheels.

 

 

24  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                24

 

The chorale concluding:

 

JB (READS)

 

          Rover offers to put you

                      in the seat of power

          And your passengers in Positions of

                      Privilige.

 

BENZ (TO POET:)

 

          Car as one man coup d’etat.

 

MOTHER.

 

          Experience more breathing space – Mercedes.

 

CHILD.

 

          Car as lebensraum.

 

                                           CUT TO:

 

 

25  EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY.                                25

 

A car accelerates towards camera.

JB (VO)

 

           With 80 percent of air pollution

                          coming from cars

           The resultant breathing space maybe no wider             

           Than the walls of a coffin..

 

CUT TO:

 

26  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                26

 

THE CHILD gets up suddenly runs from the Mother.

She looks round and follows, shouting as it makes

for outside. BENZ and the POET look round. The

MANAGER follows..

 

CUT TO:

 

 

27  EXT. ACE CAFE FORECOURT. DAY. (CONTINUOUS)         27

 

The Motorway traffic passing. The Mother comes out

of the cafe with the MANAGER close behind her. The

Mother is stricken as the Child runs close to the

road. She looks to the Manager who now reassures

her. He gets the child and talks to it, reuniting

the two.

MANAGER.

 

           Makers of accessories and spare parts,

           Known in the trade as ‘the fluff’

           Are not to be outdone in their inflated

                          claims; 

 

A monstrous close-up of a tyre-tread

           Is captioned ‘the basic pattern of life –

           Fathom the fundamental myseteries of

                          Evolution.

           Bring primeval chaos bang up to date.

           A competitor peddles ‘The tyre that saves

                          petrol;

           In the further interest of economy

           This rubber time-bomb, like all its                   

                          counterparts

           May unpredictably explode.

 

The MOTHER embraces her CHILD and keeping their

hands held, walks across as they study the cars.

MOTHER.

 

           The Visitor moves in for a closer look:

           Vehicles are being washed,

           Caressed, polished and petted

           As if they were members of the family.

 

MANAGER.

 

           A scratch on the bodywork

           Draws a fury otherwise reserved for

                            child-molesters.

 

 

The MOTHER and MANAGER exchange a look.

The CHILD spots a brightly painted car,

similar to one in the book.

 

CHILD.

 

           Techno-tomcats appear to spray the..

 

MANAGER.

 

           ..boundaries of their territory,

 

CHILD.

 

           Marking out their vehicles

 

MANAGER.

 

           With a myriad of automotive fetishes,

 

 

The MOTHER stares at him.

The CHILD runs to another paked car.

 

CHILD.

 

           Bumper stickers..

 

MOTHER.

 

           And monogrammic numbers

           Are applied as if summoning the

                    menacing potencies

           Of the Golem,

 

 

(CONT’D)

CHILD.

 

           A monster lurching through the backstreets,

 

MANAGER.

 

           Its power derived from the

                     cabbalistic marks

           Etched upon its forehead;

           Pendulous mascots,

           Cosy spells against the evils of chance,

 

MOTHER.

 

           Hang like household gods in a home

                      from home.

 

    She picks her child up and together

they all go inside.

 

                                           CUT TO:

 

28  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                28

 

THE MOTHER, CHILD, MANAGER enter and resume

their places. BENZ goes to greet them, before

addressing all:

BENZ.

 

           The inhabitants of North America

           Spend sixty two thousand years a week

           Inside these prosthetic tin-cans

           Interminably punched out in cybernetic grease-                 

                                 pits

           Under militaristic conditions.

 

 

People look round and then turn back, dismissive.

Benz becomes flummoxed. JB, at his table, notices

a gathering light in the sky

 

JB.

 

           Perplexed by the frequency

           With which these containers are gouged open

           And spattered with the blood of their contents

           The visitor seeks a pattern

           In an echoing black museum of soundbites:

 

He looks round. People continue.

Nobody else bar the poet, JB and Benz sees the light.

CUT TO:

 

29  INT. CAR 2. /INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                   29

 

Another series of fast intercuts between scenes in

cars and the POET in the cafe.

 

DRIVER 2 (SINGS TO RADIO)

 

            ‘Driving along in my automobile

             No particular place to go,

             Cruisin’ and playing the radio..’

 

POET (IN CAFE)

 

CRASH

 

 

30  INT. CAR 3/ INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                    30

 

A BABY in the backseat is screaming.

 

DRIVER 3.

 

            FOR CHRIST’S SAKE GET THAT

            CHILD TO STOP WHINING!

 

POET.

 

CRASH

 

31  INT. CAR 4./INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                    31

 

TIRED DRIVER.

 

            I can do this bit of the journey

            in my sleep..

 

POET.

 

CRASH

 

32  INT. CAR 5/INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                     32

 

DRIVER 5.

 

            Uh, there’s a fly in my eye..!

 

POET.

 

CRASH

33  INT. CAR 6./INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                    33

 

DRIVER 6 AND HIS GIRLFRIEND.

 

DRIVER 6.

 

           Look, girl, telling someone he’s a

           bad driver is like telling him he’s

           a bad fuck..!

 

GIRLFRIEND.

 

So..?

 

POET.

 

CRASH

 

34  INT. CAR 7. NIGHT. /INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.            34

 

DRUNK DRIVER (ON PHONE)

 

Whaddaya mean, I’m drunk? Course

           I’m bloody drunk. The only time I can           

           concentrate’s when I’m bloody drunk…

POET.

 

CRASH

 

35  INT. CAR 8. /INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                   35

 

GIRLFRIEND 2.

 

Ronnie..

 

DRIVER 8.

 

Now, what?

 

GIRLFRIEND 2.

 

            I’m going to have a baby..

 

POET.

 

CRASH

 

An OLDER PASSENGER leans forward to talk

to them from the backseat.

 

PASSENGER.

 

            We’re on holiday, so shut up

            and start enjoying yourselves..!

 

DRIVER 8.

 

            I wish I was dead.

 

POET.

 

CRASH

 

CUT TO:

 

36  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                36

 

BENZ turns to look at where LEAH is sitting. The

Bikers are still with her.

 

BIKER.

 

            You ever feel something’s gonna

            happen, then it does?

 

LEAH.

 

            Nope.

 

 

She gets up and heads for the toilets. The Bikers

exchange glances and follow her. The Poet rises.

Benz nods him A moment. A look. And then Benz

continues.

BENZ.

 

On entry, the automobile

            Even that moving Parthenon, the Rolls –

            Agitates the heartbeat

            And transforms the psycho-galvanic skin                      

                                   response

            Sufficiently to set the needles shivering

            On any lie-detector.

CUT TO:

 

37  INT. ACE CAFE. TOILETS. DAY.                       37

 

LEA enters the LADIES. She looks behind her.

We see the BIKERS approach.

 

38  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                38

 

JB has turned from the light to take in what might

happen. He moves to where BENZ stands and watches.

The POET too, watches on.

 

JB.

 

             From the moment the driver

             Settles behind the wheel

             Stress readings increase,

             As the driver’s body is slowly marinated

                       in adreno-toxins

             Generating a wide range of cardiovascular                       

                       pressures.

             The pelvis is fondled by the replica

                       flesh oozing with static,

             And the automobile becomes an orgone                

                       Accumulator

             Stimulating shallow sexuality..

 

Concerned glances are shared.

 

 

39  INT. ACE CAFE LADIES TOILET. DAY.                  39

 

LEAH looks troubled and slightly frantic.

 

LEAH.

 

Tides of blood and water within the body

           Are magi-mixed, as if subject to a

                      permanent full moon.

           The car whips up a portable mistral

           Of enervating ions

           And moves them along in a packet of

                      pre-storm tension:

 

 

The BIKERS enter the toilet.

 

BIKER.

 

           Oh we had such an awful journey,

           I feel completely washed out..

 

BIKER 2.

 

           What are we doing here anyway?

 

They smile, darkly.

CUT TO:

 

40  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                40

 

JB moves to the toilets.

 

JB.

 

            Insulated from the outside world

            By the wraparound TV of the car,

            The Driver’s brainwaves are sucked into

                         an artificial resonance,

            Rendering the dangers as unreal as those

                         in a video game.

            The machine vamps up the muscle power

                         of the driver

            With scant relation to the pressure on

                         the pedal:

 

 

He alerts the MANAGER who now joins him.

 

 

41  INT. ACE CAFE LADIES TOILETS. DAY.                 41

 

LEAH maces the BIKER while kneeing BIKER 2 in the

groin.

MANAGER (VO)

 

            Half a ton is despatched with a

                       feather like touch.

 

LEAH.

 

            Whoops, did we hit something then?

 

 

JB and the MANAGER enter the toilet.

 

JB.

 

            Couldn’t have. We’d have felt it.

 

LEAH.

 

            The vibratory hum of each driver’s engine

            Swells an onslaught of erosive sound-porn

            Deadening the psyche..

 

She smiles and moves past, leaving the toilet.

They turn and follow.

42  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                42

 

LEAH walks back to her table. BENZ is still

standing. The POET writes on.

 

BENZ.

 

             As rush hour drivers mass together

             In a compulsive and pleasureless spectacle

             Of mechanical self abuse,

             Civilisation’s distinguishing call

             Resembles a harsh bottom A,

             A penetrative drawling of ninety decibels..

 

CUT TO:

 

43  INT. CAR 8. DAY.                                   43

 

DRIVER 8, GIRLFRIEND 2, PASSENGER sit in silence.

 

BENZ (VO)

 

Rats exposed to such levels

           Exhibit overt aggression

           And no longer nurture their young.

 

DRIVER 8 angrily sounds his carhorn at the

jam ahead. The PASSENGER sits back, closing his eyes

at the strain.

BENZ (VO-CONT)

 

           The infra-sound, 

Exuded by compressors in ‘air-conditioned’

models

Will deal with those who shrug and claim

to be unaffected,

As their pre-capillaries pop,

And turn into varicose veins.

 

CUT TO:

 

44  EXT. ACE CAFÉ. DAY.                                44

 

The bins at the side or at the back of the cafe.

A light is descending, from where no light should

  1. A TRAMP slumped asleep, wakes and is quickly

affected. The light seems to hover as he/she talks

to it.

(MORE)

TRAMP.

 

          Cavernous sides of buildings amplify

                              the volume

          As colliding blasts of noise judder back

                              and forth .

          Birdsong is sucked down and asphyxiated

          Beneath a characterless swamp of sound.

 

The Tramp stands, transfixed.

 

TRAMP (CONT)

 

          More disturbed citizens seem mesmerised

          By traffic’s death rattle.

          They stand around, devitalised, harassed,

          Making incoherent gestures –

 

CUT TO:

45  INT. ACE CAFE KITCHEN. DAY.                        45

 

The back door is open. The strange light spills

from outside. THE COOK deposits food in a bin.

 

COOK.

 

            ..As if exhausted by vain attempts

            To refuse their auditory diet..

 

 

46  INT. CAFE. DAY.                                    46

 

The MOTHER feeds the CHILD grapes from her bag.

 

MOTHER.

 

            ..Their metabolism jammed by the

                            hormone

            Summoned to deal with the stressful

                            Sound;

 

CHILD (EATING))

 

Corticotrophin.

 

 

47  EXT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                47

 

The TRAMP, mesmerised.

 

(MORE)

TRAMP.

 

             A substance that dulls the acoustic

                            nerve,

             Rendering any still, small voice

             Quite speechless.

 

    The light builds on his face and then spins

round to camera.

The dazzle blinds us. The image distorts..

 

CUT TO:

 

48  EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY.                                48

 

No sound. No traffic. The Ace Cafe and the

forecourt. The empty motorway.

 

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

49  EXT. PARK – FOREST. DAY.                           49

 

Nature. Sounds building. A wasp, buzzing. Insects,

amplified, beneath soil.

 

TRAMP (VO)

 

             Noise becomes an autocratic force

             Requiring impotent consent.

 

CUT TO:

 

50  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                50

 

LEAH now sits alone and is turned to the window. She

opens her bag. Concealed in this is a gun. She

looks around. BENZ is looking straight at her.

She holds the look. He turns from her and makes

his way through the cafe to the platform/stage.

JB sits down and now watches Lea. He also looks to

the POET who continues to write.

 

JB.

 

             The Attention span is whittled down

             To the length of a passing car.

             Look out of any city window –

             Cars will slice through your thoughts

             And take them away for nothing.

 

LEAH.

 

             No child knows silence.

 

 

She looks across at the CHILD who the MOTHER

now takes to the toilet. LEAH watches.

She rests her hand on the gun.

 

CUT TO:

 

51  INT. ACE CAFE KITCHEN. DAY.                        51

 

Unseen by The COOK and other workers, the strange

light is moving. Its source is also unseen.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

 

52  EXT. GRAVEYARD./ROAD. DAY.                         52

 

    LEAH walks past the stones, in deep contemplation.

SUPERIMPOSE as those lines of Gravestones

becomes two lanes of cars. Leah continues to walk at

the centre of the image. Sounds of Birdsong to

traffic. Her pace, quickening.

 

LEAH (VO)

 

             Stand on any street

             Awash with bristling piranhas

             Grinding out the flatulent Muzak

                           of stress.

             A sudden move, a moment’s inattention:

             You’re snapped up

             And idly spat aside.

 

 

She turns a corner to see the entrance of the

Church before her.

 

An approaching car is Superimposed on the

doorway.

 

A GIRL OF 2 OR 3 walks before it

then turns to the car.

 

Leah screams.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

53  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                53

 

LEA’S hardened stare as she looks through the

window.

LEAH (VO)

 

             As adults are glutted by mobility,

             Children wanting to lay on their own 

                           doorsteps

             Are hemmed by parental fears,

             Or else fatally immobilised.

 

A tear forms.

 

JB stands to join her.

 

She looks across at him, daring.

 

He backs away. She turns back.

 

JB looks around.

 

BENZ readies himself at the platform.

 

The POET writes.

 

JB moves back to join him.

 

The Poet looks at him before sharing his book.

 

LEAH, gun resting, is staring hard at the cars.

 

CUT TO:

 

54  EXT. STREET. DAY.                                  54

 

A Hearse approaches. Passersby stop to regard it

as it fills the frame.

 

JB (VO)

 

           The heart of the community, 

           The street is daily rent apart –

           Conversation numbed

           By a nervy descant of toxic shock.

           Streets, once the open forum of daily life

           Are now the open sewers of the car cult.

 

CUT TO:

 

 

55  EXT. CAR SHOWROOM. DAY.                            55

 

A line of new cars, catching the sunlight.

A SALESMAN emerges talking to a CUSTOMER. The

Salesman turns the man round, so he does not see

the Hearse passing. We glimpse LEAH watching from

the Hearse’s following car.

 

 

56  INT. CAR SHOWROOM. DAY. (CONTINUOUS)               56

 

A RECEPTIONIST watches the SALESMAN through the

window. She does her nails or sips coffee, her true

attitude inexpressed. Her words are also mouthed by

the SALESMAN. He passes her a look from the

forecourt as she glares at him.

 

RECEPTIONIST/SALESMAN.

 

           Its invitations to enlist

           Are riddles with a dizzying mumble jumbo:

           STEP INTO A WORLD OF ADVANCED ENGINEERING

           THROTTLE-BODY ELECTRONIC FUEL INJECTION,

           SMOOTH-SKIN BODY SHELL,

           FIN-DRUM BREAKES WITH POWER ASSIST, MEMORY                   

                         RETURN SEAT ADJUSTER,

           STEEL-BELTED RADIALS, TACHOMETER AND FUEL-

                         WIDTH FRONT SPOILER,

           POWER OPERATED MOON-ROOF, NEGATRIVE ROLL 

                         RADIUS,

           TELE-TOUCH FOR AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION,

RECEPTIONIST/SALESMAN (CONT)

 

AND IT SPEAKS THROUGH THE STEERING IN                 

                           POSITIVE,REASSURING TONES…

           OOOOH THE FEEL OF IT – IT TRACKS STRAIGHT

                           AS A LASER

           …COME AND HAVE ALL THE MUSCLE YOU CAN HANDLE

           WITHOUT NEEDING A WHOLE LOT OF MUSCLE

                           TO HANDLE IT!

 

The Salesman smiles at her from outside.

She gives him the finger.

 

CUT TO:

 

57  INT. HEARSE. DAY.                                  57

 

As he drives:

 

HEARSE DRIVER.

 

Should the torments of this secular mass 

                           movement

           Drive you steadily round the bend,

           Feel free t take it out on anyone you wish,

           Including yourself,

           With a relaxing impunity.

He smiles and turns left.

 

CUT TO:

 

58  INT. ACE CAFE. KITCHEN. DAY.                       58

 

The moving light settles on an ashtray and

newspaper. Another series of fast intercuts:

 

JB (VO)

 

            The Visitor follows up the court reports:

 

 

59  INT. CAR 6. DAY.                                   59

 

DRIVER 6’s resentment of his GIRLFRIEND builds.

 

DRIVER 6 (VO)

 

            Hit someone over the head with a

            discarded chrome fender and kill

                           them: Life.

 

 

60  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                60

 

JB reads on from the POET’s notebook.

 

JB.

 

            Take the precaution of attaching

                     the fender to a car

            And kill them: Six months,

            License to drive briefly suspended.

 

He looks to the Poet, who raises an eyebrow.

 

A MAN is sat near them eating bacon and eggs.

 

(MORE)

 

MAN.

 

            The sight of dead animals being

                      disassembled,

            Chopped up and ground into meat

            On a Chicago packing plant’s moving belt

            Gave Henry Ford the billion-dollar notion

            Of the mass assembly line..

 

A RABBI sat on the table behind them, turns

to comment, before clearly flinching at the

man’s meal:

RABBI.

 

            The Nazi autobahns, built with slave

                       labour

            For the conquest of Europe

            Were partly funded by Henry Ford.

            The Fuhrer kept a signed photograph of Ford

            On his desk in the Reich chanecellory,

            And in August 1938, awarded him the Grand                    

                       Cross of the german Eagle;

            A decoration for distinguished and

                       helpful foreigners.

 

    BENZ shouts across from the platform/stage.

 

BENZ.

 

            ‘I am going to democratise the

             automobile,’ said Ford, ‘And when I’m

             through everyone will be able to afford

             one and about everyone will have one..!’

 

MAN.

 

            Now we’ve reached hallways house:

            Half the world’s earnings are auto-related,

            Half the world’s resources are auto-devoted

            And half the world will be involved in an

                              auto-accident

            At some point during their lives.

 

RABBI.

 

            What Ford and Hitler started

            The motor corporations

            Appear to be contemplating,

            Offering the ingenious defence

           ‘That accidents will happen..’

 

He joins The MAN, JB and the POET.

The Man moves his breakfast out of grudging respect.

 

Across at her table, LEA takes a newspaper

and places her gun under it.

 

The POET writes on.

RABBI (CONT)

 

            Carbon monoxide,

            Since its victims offered the least 

                              resistance

            Was the death-camp gas that first found 

                              Hitler’s favour,

            Now, massive dosages of carbon monoxide

            Are apathetically ihhaled

            Throughout a global Autoreich.

 

MAN.

 

            The new theatre of war

            Presents itself as a place of leisured

                              entertainment

            But, like some benighted South American 

                              stadium

            It conceals an unpublicised death-zone…

 

 

WAITESS 2 passes and takes camera with her.

Other CUSTOMERS sat at tables now add to the tale.

 

WAITRESS 2.

 

            Seventeen Million dead,

            And counting..

 

MAN WITH CROSSWORD.

 

            More than twice the number in the

                              deathcamps.

 

ELDERLY WOMAN.

 

            Eighteen times the count in Korea.

 

MAN WITH SOUP.

 

            Seventeen Vietnams.

 

 

(MORE)

GIRL WITH ALKA SELTZER.

 

         A hundred and thirty times the kill

                               at Hiroshima.

 

TRUCKER.

 

         Eight thousand five hundred Ulsters..

 

 

    BENZ makes a series of conjuror’s gestures:

 

BENZ.

 

         The hundred years war in a week.

         The Crusades in under thirty seconds.

         A humdrum holocaust

         The third world war nobody bothered

                               to declare.

 

LEAH stares through the window at the motorway

traffic. As she speaks:

 

SUPERIMPOSE traffic accident footage.

Ambulance, Medics, Stretchers and cars. Sirens

flash…

LEAH (VO)

 

The victims are brought through on

                                stiff scoops

         To body workers and brain-repairers

         In medical parking lots.

         Lines of metal beds on castors:

         The unreported wounded, the unreported dying

         From the consumer front,

         Vainly trying to kick their engines over

         And get back on the road.

         Sinuous tangles of drip-feeds

         Fuel those who blended too urgently with

                                  vehicles

         And make the room almost indistinguishable

         From an automobile’s wiring system.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

61  INT. HOSPITAL. DAY.                                61

 

A distressed LEAH follows a hospital gurney…

 

 

A young child victim is indistinquishable beneath

sheets. The Medics rush the child as other gurneys

are passing. Through A&E’s frantic clutter and now

along corridors..

 

They pass a HOSPITAL PORTER who mops as he speaks.

 

PORTER.

 

            An attendant mops up blood slick

                           in the corridors

            Twenty four hours a day

            Watched by its donors

            As they deliberately try to steer their minds

            Back to a mental oasis

            Where the accident never happened.

 

 

LEAH’s face as she runs.

They turn a corner.

 

A DISFIGURED CHILD in patients smock watches her.

 

DISFIGURED CHILD.

 

            A child,

            Its eyes fried into deep, dried up hollows,

            Stares from within at an unending film loop

            Of a friendly and faithful Ford-Cortina

            Running amok in a pedestrian precinct,

            And then exploding.

 

The Gurney crashes now through some doors, leaving

Leah behind it. She spins round to find herself lost

in a Ward. Leah walks through and sees a girl she

describes.

LEAH.

 

            A girl

            With the incised and swollen face of

                           a gargoyle,

            Slowly cranks her head down to study the rest                       

                           of her body,

            The inside of her right though is torn and                     

                           braised,

            By a head-lamp socket;

            Her stomach diagonally printed and crushed

            By the basic pattern of life.

 

A BURNED MAN lain stricken in bed speaks to her.

BURNED MAN.

 

           A man,

           Badly burned,

           Covered with punched packages of skin

           Like a crocodile

           Tries to get up,

           Then falls back in agitation,

           Wondering why the comforting juices in his 

                                      brain

           Normally on tap for a reassuring rush

           Are all dried up.

 

           Fretfully, he knocks his forehead

           Against the bars of his truckle bed

           As if to stir them back to life.

 

A NURSE arrives to attend to him.

 

NURSE.

 

In the next bed

           A woman explains what happened to her

           In a voice flattened by repetition:

   

In the next bed an animated FEMALE SKELETON speaks.

 

FEMALE SKELETON.

 

           I was propelled into it

           As if it wasn’t happening.

           I remember thinking, “Oh, this is that dream    

                                      you were having..”

           The car crumpled around me.

           The windscreen turned into thousands of                

                                      diamonds.

           I screamed and screamed,

           Like they do on television.

           People came to look through the window

           But they went away..

 

NURSE 2 attends to her.

 

FEMALE SKELETON (CONT)

 

Then someone leant in and handed me

           A drink and said:

 

NURSE 2.

 

           I don’t know how you survived..

A DOCTOR joins them as they bed the Skeleton down.

 

DOCTOR.

 

She turns, unsettled

          And adds a questioning thought,

          Repressed till now:

 

FEMALE SKELETON (TO NURSE:)

 

          You can get cancer after an accident,

                               can’t you?

          Because of the shock.

          You don’t think I will?

 

DOCTOR (TO US:)

 

Dimly aware that when a body is confused,

          Like hers,

          Cells can attack themselves.

 

          A year later

          Her inner organs alive with irradiated pain,

          Her head shaven and bloated by chemotherapy,

          She dies.

 

The Doctor and Nurse wheel the bed while

LEAH stands watching. The NURSE now joins her.

 

NURSE.

 

          One man sees only glaring headlights

          Fused to his mind’s eye

          As if by a soldering iron,

          All other lucidity extinguished by trauma.

          He is permanently silent,

          Choosing catatonia as the only

                               protection left.

 

She leads Lea out of the ward.

They pass NURSE 3 writing on a wall chart.

 

NURSE 3.

 

          Another sucks at a hospital sheet

                               in slow motion,

          Cossetting the last fraction of life.

 

The Nurse leaves Lea to watch the life of the Ward.

An INJURED MAN reads a paper on a small ward seat,

drip attached.

INJURED MAN.

 

          A baby held in its mothers arms,

          Flung at the dashboard at thirty miles

                                 an hour

          With the impact of a quarter of a ton

          Is flattened.

 

Horrified, Lea moves, intent on finding her baby.

She moves through swing doors towards theatre..

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

62  INT. OPERATING THEATRE. DAY.                       62

 

An operation in progress. The SURGEON, NURSES and

ANAETHETIST.

 

ANAETHETIST.

 

          In the operating theatre

          Many of these wrecks, yesterday’s models

          Are decommissioned by assembly-line

                                 surgeons,

          Their brains idle,

          Their throttle closed..

          Disposable mini-martyrs

          To progress’s seedy pretender: traffic.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

63  INT. HOSPITAL CANTEEN.  DAY.                       63

 

TWO POLICEMAN take their breakfast trays to a

nearby table. The canteen is full of PATIENTS,

NURSES and VISITORS. Two Patients watch the Police.

 

PATIENT.

 

Surviving victims

          Stare out through heretrical scars,

          Medievally resented and ostracised

          Unlike their inanimate assailants.

PATIENT 2.

 

          The Police return home:

 

POLICEMAN.

 

          The ketchup came out of the bottle tonight.

SECOND POLICEMAN.

 

Yes.

 

POLICEMAN.

 

           You couldn’t do fatals unless you have

           a bit of a laugh..

 

SECOND POLICEMAN.

 

           No –

 

PATIENT.

 

           Followed by embarrassed remorse:

 

POLICEMAN.

 

           Kids are bad, though. Ones with kids.

 

SECOND POLICEMAN.

 

           Yeah.

 

A CANTEEN WAITRESS dispenses black pudding

and beans onto plates.

 

CANTEEN WAITRESS.

 

The self is inflated.

           Then deflated.

           In a lemming rhythm  of auto-destruction.

           Half a million auto-fatalities per annum.

           The fast-food-junk-death-road-show.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

64  INT. OPERATING THEATRE. DAY.                       64

 

LEAH looks in. The Medical crew stand in silence.

We see for the first time the unfortunate child.

Silently, Lea screams. A Nurse appears to escort

her. She drags her from the window. The medical

team do not move.

 

 

65  INT. HOSPITAL CORRIDOR. DAY.                       65

 

LEA screams in total silence. She sinks down,

desperate, wretched. The NURSE watches her.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

66  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                66

 

LEAH’s hardened face as she glares through the

window.

YOUNG GIRL (VO)

 

           Oh, he died in a car crash..

 

LEAH (VO)

 

           She died in a smash up..

 

At their place, the Poet writes. JB reads.

 

JB.

 

           So frequently said

           With little more than a careless shrug.

           So many swindled of a more measured death.

           Accidents feature on the radio

           Merely as hold ups to the traffic flow.

 

At her table the ELDERLY WOMAN notices and

then speaks.

 

ELDERLY WOMAN.

 

           Those that are left behind

           Deny it has happened..

           Laying a place for dinner,

           Night after night,

           Month after month.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

67  EXT. GRAVEYARD. DUSK.                              67

 

Moving through the tombstones. The sounds of

infrequent nature are slowly replaced by the build

up of traffic…

JB (VO)

 

With their haunted cemetery air

           Bathed in ghoulish sodium light,

           The motorways seem thick with demented souls

           Suddenly sucked out of twisted metal;

           Their bodies randomly pulped by strangers

           And snarled up with angry disbelief,

           Still resonating:

ELDERLY WOMAN (VO)

 

           Why me?

 

LEAH (VO)

 

           Why me?

 

CUT TO:

 

68  EXT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                68

 

The still recovering BIKERS revv up their massive

Mock Harleys and ride out to the road..

 

JB (VO)

 

           An overhead pass

           Of massive concrete slabs,

           Shrouding the highway,

           Gives off a whiff

           Of some sultry, sacrificial megalith.

 

CUT TO:

 

69  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                69

 

LEAH sees them and grabs hold of her gun.

 

ELDERLY WOMAN (VO)

 

           Interconnecting roads,laid out like

                               lattice work

           Resemble a predatory web,

           Asphalt deserts stagnantly reek

           Of the automobiles aggressive scent markings.

 

Leah takes the gun and walks out of the cafe.

 

The MANAGER clocks her and freezes, paniced.

 

CUT TO:

 

70  EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY.                                70

 

The bikes join a jam. The cars are seen at low

angle so that their various shapes make a stack.

 

JB (VO)

 

           A skin-head architecture,

JB (VO – CONT)

 

           ..Tall, cubic gravestones with a

                           thousand eyes,

           Spawned by the lethal dream of Autopia,

           Hover beside a no-man’s land

           As if they’ve gulped up the dead.

 

CUT TO:

 

71  EXT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                71

 

LEAH approaches the traffic. She raises her gun to

the road. The MANAGER now comes out and watches her

closely. The TRAMP wanders over, shaken and still

mesmerised.

 

TRAMP.

 

Sometimes a car that has seen enough

                           action,

           Lies abandoned in the street for several                              

                           months,

           Oddly penitent in appearance,

           Its metal body gnarled and twisted.

 

MANAGER.

 

           On the outskirts of cities

           Wreckers raise up mausoleums of

                           mouldering vehicles

           Picked clean of their inhabitants

           Like parsee towers of silence.

 

LEAH.

 

           The Visitor senses the eviction of

                           the genius loci

           From every place the car has invaded

           In the dispirting cause of turning the

                           world

           Into an interconnected no-place-at-all.

 

She aims.

 

Suddenly the light shines on them.

 

The Manager and Lea are stunned.

The Tramp is joyful.

They all stand there frozen as the light picks

them out.

CUT TO:

 

72  EXT. TRAFFIC JAM. VARIOUS CARS. DAY.               72

 

As we track past the cars, the alien light shines

on faces. It arrives and enters a large Removals

van.

BENZ (VO)

 

             The Visitor then takes a look

                        at the human garage:

             The petro-chemical fall-out

             In a kitchen, bathroom or living area.

 

 

73  INT. REMOVALS VAN. DAY.                            73

 

The VAN DRIVER eats a sausage sandwich. A REMOVALS

MAN’s chewing sat staring at the road next to him.

In the back of the van the objects of a house stand

as needed. A cooker, a toilet and sat on boxes

various characters relevant to the text. The light

picks them out as they speak their verses. A small

autogedddon artfully placed in this van.

 

VAN DRIVER.

 

Sausage skins? Polyvinyl dichloride.

             Chewing gum? Hydrocarbon wax.

             Margarine? Oleo-marge-

             You might not be able to tell it from butter                   

                         with your tongue

             But you can with a dipstick.

 

He looks down. A PROSTITUTE mid fellation:

 

PROSTITUTE.

 

             Looking for love?

             Petrolatum jelly will accelerate it

             With loveless haste.

 

An OLD MAN sits on the toilet in the back:

 

OLD MAN.

 

Giving off fumes?

             ..Mouthwash?

             Benzoic acid will take your breath away,

             And your larynx as well.

 

REMOVALS MAN.

 

            Losing touch?

            Benzodiazepine

            Should settle your feet back on the pedals.

 

PROSTITUTE.

 

            Losing control because those in power

            Are out of touch?

            CS gas and a hundred other incapacitating                       

                                        agents

            Should see you’re steered back in the right 

                                        direction.

 

She turns to the Removals Man:

 

PROSTITUTE (CONT)

 

            Identitiy crisis?

            Why not change sex in mid-lane with 

                                        stilboestrol

            Or testosterone phenylpropionate?

 

She gets up to switch places with the Removals Man

who now goes down on the Van Driver.

 

A GRANDMOTHER is boiling liquid on the cooker.

 

GRANDMOTHER.

 

In the ditch?

            Tank up with meths

            And sputter back on the road.

 

OLD MAN.

 

            Hungry?

            Butylated-hydroxy-toluene

            And all other food preservatives

            Now work so well.

 

VAN DRIVER.

 

They’ve diversified to accommodate human

                                        meat.

            Our bodies have become so rich in                   

                                        prophylactics

            That corpses are resisting natural 

                                        decomposition –

 

The Old Man strains on the toilet.

 

VAN DRIVER (CONT)

 

           You can keep it all together

           Even though you’re dead.

 

CUT TO:

 

74  EXT. TRAFFIC JAM. DAY.                             74

 

A CHORUS OF DRIVERS stuck in the jam all complain.

 

CHORUS OF DRIVERS.

 

           Salves, ointments, paints, adhesives, luggage,

           Detergents, food dyes, printing inks,                  

                                    laminates,

           Rust preventers, tiles, floorings, piping,                  

                                    lubricants,

           Fibres, solvents, scents, soap, rainwear,                       

                                    plastics,

           Deodorants, emulsifiers, shoe cream,         

                                    photographic film,

           Magnetic tape, rectal suppositories,    

                                    explosives..

           All petrochemically produced

           And all owned by the arachnoid oligopolies

           Gushing with product enthusiasm.

 

CUT TO:

 

75  INT. REMOVALS VAN. DAY.                            75

 

The PROSTITUTE pours from a thermos.

 

PROSTITUTE.

 

           Like a drink? Ethyl alcohol –

           Some spirits now on the market

           Never saw a grain in their lives.

          

           Another for the road?

           More appropriate than ever

           If the motorist’s high

           Comes from a refinery and not a distillery.

 

The VAN DRIVER’s eyes close in pleasure.

 

 

(CONT’D)

PROSTITUTE (CONT)

 

           Oh, you don’t want a scotch? Have a beer –

 

She opens the glove compartment:

 

PROSTITUTE (CONT)

 

           Stabilised with propylene glycol alginate.

           Something soft?

A fruit flavour

           Enriched by propinol..

 

She looks down at the REMOVALS MAN:

 

PROSTITUTE (CONT)

 

           Now be a good boy, drink up your juice,

           Then you can Play with your cars!

 

REMOVALS MAN.

 

           Even the glint in someone’s eye

           May be petrochemical;

           And each new life is anointed

           With a petrochemical by-product –

           Baby oil..

 

The VAN DRIVER orgasms.

 

The OLD WOMAN now leans across.

 

OLD WOMAN.

 

           Should anyone remain untouched

           And refuse to have petrol pumped into

                               every orifice,

           Polyurethane foam for incendiary furniture,

           Combustible acrylic for curtains and covers,

           Should see that you end up in a more                          

                               manageable shape.

 

CUT TO:

 

76  EXT. MOTORWAY LAYBY. DAY.                          76

 

A HITCH-HIKER is walking the length of the

traffic jam.

 

 

(CONT’D)

HITCH-HIKER.

 

Asphalt completes the picture,

            Transforming the petrochemical rainbow

            Into a giant ourobus,

            Running rings around the world

            And eating its own tail.

            So the Detroit Warlords can jeer:

 

 

77  INT. LIMO. DAY.                                    77

 

A FAT AMERICAN DRIVER expresses frustration:

 

FAT AMERICAN.

 

            Look, ya miserable little eco-wimps,

            Before you go handing us the black spot

            We couldn’t take our toys off the rack

            Even if we wanted to.

            The automobile keeps the whole friggin’ show                      

                                on the road –

            Not to mention the road on the road..

            Vroom, vroom, vroom..

 

THE CHORUS OF DRIVERS now echo: VROOM, VROOM!

 

CUT TO:

 

78  EXT. TRAFFIC JAM. DAY.                             78

 

The line of stalled cars. A line of exhaust pipes

exhausting the possibilities of fresh air.

 

CUT TO:

 

79  EXT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                                79

 

The door to the kitchen is open. The MANAGER sits

with LEAH, trying to comfort her. The TRAMP attends

but seems distracted. The light is not present. He

looks for it.

TRAMP.

 

OIL.

From the Sanskrit root -il, light,

illumination,

And petr, Peter, the rock.

Thus, petrol is light from the rock.

 

CUT TO:

 

80  INT. ACE CAFÉ. DAY.                                80

 

A TRUCKER tucks into the full fry up.

 

TRAMP (VO)

 

If the Chinese geomancers are right,

And this earth is a living organism,

The atmosphere obviously being its breath,

Oil could pass for its digestive juices,

Its cerebro-spinal fluid―

An essential bile

Or even its lifeblood.

 

CUT TO:

 

81  INT. ACE CAFÉ KITCHEN. DAY.                        81

 

The COOK stands frying in vast quantities.

 

TRAMP (VO)

 

Before we can be illuminated

It is being burnt

By those who assuredly know best.

 

CUT TO:

 

82  EXT. MOTORWAY SERVICES. DAY.                       82

 

A Limousine stops at pumps. A Fat hand emerges, as

if calling for staff.

TRAMP (VO)

 

The global juice is fed

Through umbilical tubes

Marrying man to machine

In a miscegenating mixture.

 

CUT TO:

 

83  EXT. OIL RIG. NIGHT.                               83

 

Stock footage. The sound of the drills through

the sea.

TRAMP (VO)

 

As the earth is being sucked dry,

it may one day react

TRAMP (VO-CONT)

 

Against being caricatured as a multi barreled

Molotov cocktail,

Needled by two million bore-holes

Inserted by oil racketeers.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

84  EXT. BEACH. DAY.                                   84

 

Oil slick – Stock footage. Dead Herons, Sea-gulls

and ruined fish clog the beach.

 

TRAMP (VO)

 

Oil,

The liquefied, transmutation of extinct lives:

Primordial kelp, crustacea, foraminifera,

Plankton, unicellular diatoms, marine

protozoa . . .

The haemins and lipids of dinosaurs

And unknown mammals from the Jurassic

Whose first extinction was clearly not enough

For this consumer version of ancestor worship.

 

CUT TO:

 

85  INT. ACE CAFÉ KITCHEN. DAY.                        85

 

The COOK is deep frying chips. WAITRESS 2 joins

him. She takes out a mars bar and drops it into

the pan.

TRAMP (VO)

 

A sacrament

Which is most happily partaken of

When as many people as possible

Are incincerating as much of it as they can

For as trivial a reason as they can find,

 

CUT TO:

 

86  EXT. TRAFFIC JAM. DAY.                             86

 

A CAR-TRAILER. From the cab, the CAR TRAILER

DRIVER throws unwanted fish and chips on the road.

 

(MORE)

TRAMP (VO-CONT)

 

..To keep a continous carousel of consumer

Offal on the move;

And which is most perfectly employed

Transporting convoys of layered trailers

Piled high with fresh cars.

 

CUT TO:

 

87  EXT. MOTORWAY SERVICES. DAY.                       87

 

An ATTENDANT stands by the Limousine. THE FAT

AMERICAN DRIVER still sat inside stares at him.

 

TRAMP (VO)

 

          The car cult permits an elitist

                                   nation-state

          Ruled by 20,000 princelings

          To carry out any and every human rights

                                   abuse

          It can think of merely because,

          Due to a geological fluke of nature,

          It happens to be sitting on

          The largest oil wells in the world –

          Underground lakes of viscous black liquid.

 

The Attendant walks off.

The Fat American rages. He slams his horn.

 

The TRAMP approaches and stands in appeal.

Driver nods.

 

The Tramp goes to the pump and does as he’s bidden.

The Fat American eyes him in a wing-mirror view.

 

As the Tramp fills the tank he looks round the

Garage: In another car a YOUNG ARAB WOMAN is

involved on her mobile phone.

 

TRAMP (VO)

 

          The Saudi Little Miss Muffet coins it

          As she watches serial decapitations

          For her religious entertainment

          For, in order to acquire Saudi oil,

          An insensitive and cowardly world

          Has to happily stand by

          And let its conscience be decapitated.

 

The FAT AMERICAN stares as the pump is extracted.

The TRAMP holds it, staring. A look is shared

between them.

TRAMP (VO)

 

           Watch… Watch how President Obama

           Cravenly bows down to Saudi’s King Abdullah

           To keep US cars on the road.

           Watch.. watch how the US President offers to

                                 sell

           the tyrant king any weapon

           of mass destruction he chooses

           to keep Saudi’s King Abdullah in power.

 

 

The Tramp replaces the pump.

 

The Attendent approaches.

 

The fat hand proffers money,

Then throws it on the ground.

 

The men stare.

 

The Limo drives off.

 

The Attendent is ready.

The Tramp is poised.

 

The Limousine having turned is now driving

straight at him. The Tramp begins running

away from the pumps and the road.

 

TRAMP (RUNNING)

 

           Meanwhile poets who criticize the regime

           Are executed, street conjurors are killed

           In public in Riyadh’s so-called Chop Chop   

                                 Square –

           having been condemned for sorcery –                 

           And pits are dug for women who have

                                 rebelled by

           Trying to liberate themselves and they’re

                                 stoned to death.

           All this to keep Western Civilization

                                 on the road.

           Eyes are closed wide shut

           As gas tanks fill with blood

           At every service station.

          ‘What can we do?’

 

88  INT. LIMO. DAY.                                    88

 

THE FAT AMERICAN laughing as he rejoins the road.

 

 

CUT TO:

 

89  EXT. ACE CAFÉ. DAY.                                89

 

The TRAMP as he was at the café. He is still

looking, scrabbling around for the light. He moves

round the back: bags, bins, assortments. A dead bird

lays flattened. He stares at it.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

 

90  EXT. BEACH. DAY.                                   90

 

A Dead gull, discovered. A YOUNG BOY is pouring a

tin of black paint over it.

 

TRAMP (VO)

 

The flagrancy of the oil’s consumption

Is made more conspicuous by careless or

demented spillages,

Glutinously exterminating whole populations of

sea birds

To feed gas guzzlers with their flightless

stumps of wing,

Creating a submarine sludge

That snarls up underwater life

In thousand mile tailbacks.

 

The Boy empties the tin and stands there watching.

 

The TRAMP now joins him but speaks to us:

 

TRAMP.

 

The car manufacturing countries wage

war over oil

And the freedom to move, on prescribed tracks

 

CUT TO:

 

91  INT. LIMO. DAY.                                    91

 

THE FAT AMERICAN DRIVER relishes as he speaks.

 

FAT AMERICAN.

 

And the lord made him suck oil out of the

flinty rocks

Deuteronomy thirty-two, verse thirteen.

Yep, this is a good ol’ boy industry.

Take gas or take their ass!

 

Y’know there’s been no basic change in auto

design

Since the flivver – the model T?

Just featural whatnots. Its all anyone wants.

Didja know we spend twenty times as much

On tuning a car door slam

Getting it to say, ‘Well, fuck you!’ Or,

‘I’m home, honey!’

As we do on safety trash?

Emphasis on safety implies accidents,

And accidents do not nurture a buyer’s mood.

You’re selling a daydream.

You want something that gives the moonshine

an extra kick

You’re looking for the sizzle that goes with

the steak!

 

The PROSTITUTE raises herself from his groin

and takes her place in the passenger seat.

 

FAT AMERICAN (CONT)

 

Listen, the automobile’s a credit card on

wheels..

Its pushy to tell people how much you make,

So you tell ‘em through your automobile,

And you want that automobile to be overpowering,

Feed peoples fantasies about your success

And breed even more success.

Impress. Success.

Let safety suck.

 

He drags her back, into place.

 

CUT TO:

 

92  EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY.                                92

 

The traffic shifts slightly. The vast Limo is

featured. The Driver sounds his horn. Others too.

 

CUT TO:

 

93  INT. ACE CAFÉ. DAY.                                93

 

JB and THE POET look up. As does BENZ on the

platform. He holds a mirror, which now catches

the light.

 

CUT TO:

 

94  INT. LIMO. DAY.                                    94

 

THE FAT AMERICAN DRIVER lights his cigar as he is

pleasured. He rests his elbow on the prostitute’s

head.

FAT AMERICAN.

 

          So, what’s the safety lobby suggesting?

          A moving padded cell?

          Listen, nevermind being low on macho,

          Safety’s unsafe.

          Because the safer it is –

          With safety belts that garrotte you,

          Pop-out windshields

          And collapsible telescopic steering-columns –

          None of which ever function on the day,

 

His concentration wanders.

 

          Bye the bye..by the bye bye –

          The safer you feel

          And the safer you feeeel…

 

 

95  INSERT: THE POET’S MOUTH IN CLOSE UP:              95

 

POET.

 

CRASH

 

 

96  INT. LIMO. DAY.                                    96

 

The rant continues:

 

FAT AMERICAN.

 

          Wanna keep death of the roads?

          Go drive on the sidewalk.

          The only favours we should do safety

          Is promote our cars as indestructible!

 

He steers sharply. The Prostititure raises her head.

97   EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY.                               97

 

The Limousine veers from the jam and onto the

layby. It drives past the traffic or alternatively

crosses fields.

 

 

98   INT. LIMO. DAY.                                   98

 

As he drives, THE FAT AMERICAN is ecstatic. He

whoops and hollers. The PROSTITUTE clambers into

the back.

FAT AMERICAN.

 

Now, what are they saying?

            Lead? Poison?

            We got rid of it, didn’t we?

            Though tetra-ethyl lead was a patriotic

                             additive

            Developed by the CIA

            As the perfect assassination weapon:

            One drop of it on your skin

            And you’re stone dead..

 

 

99   EXT. MOTORWAY./ LAYBY. DAY.                       99

 

A Police car siren sounds as it starts to follow.

 

 

100  INT. LIMO. DAY.                                  100

 

THE FAT AMERICAN sees the Police car in his

rear-view mirror. He starts to slow as it gets

closer.

FAT AMERICAN.

 

They got eight hundred tons of it

            Falling on every European city every year..?

            Damages kid’s brains?

            Just the kind of customer we wanna have in                

                             the pipe line..

 

101  EXT. LAYBY. DAY.                                 101

 

Both cars come to a stop. Stalled Drivers are

watching. TWO POLICEMAN emerge. As does the FAT

AMERICAN who now talks to them and his stalled

audience.

 

FAT AMERICAN.

 

          Look, why don’t we concentrate on

                             the real issues of life:

          The automobile is the groundbait of                   

                             civilisation…

Ask yourself why every government in

                              the world

          Trails the industry like a para-medic

          And bends over backwards to winch it out

                              of a hole..?

          Because its a billion-udder milch cow..

          Listen, on a good day,

          Three cars are manufactured for every child 

                              born,

          One per second world wide,

          And we need every kid you can manufacture to                      

                              fill ‘em..  

 

 

He gestures for the PROSTITUTE who now emerges.

The POLICEMAN just stand there as she drops to her

knees. The Fat American laughs. And bows to the

Drivers. Whose horns are sounding as the Prostitute

resumes work.

 

CUT TO:

 

 

102   EXT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                             102

 

LEAH and THE MANAGER are still sitting. He takes

the gun from her, whilst cradling her.

 

MANAGER.

 

          The first recorded death by an automobile

          Took place on September 23rd 1899,

          A Mr H.H. Bliss stepped down from a trolley-car           

                              in New York City

          And, while reassuring a lady passenger to               

                              descend

          Was fatally struck by a horseless carriage.

 

                                             CUT TO:

 

103  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                              103

 

BENZ adjusts a mirror, reflecting more light

through the space.

BENZ.

 

          The first commercially available vehicle,

          A Coupe, manufactured in 1899,

          Was curiously christened ‘My Lord.’

 

 

At his place, THE POET writes the following words

in his notebook.

 

NOTEBOOK.

 

          The Visitor pondered the results

          Of submission to this lengthy test programme.

 

CUT TO:

 

104  EXT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                              104

 

LEAH breaks away from the MANAGER, walking

towards the traffic.

 

LEAH.

 

          The residual husks of human glue,

          From rear-end collisions, whiplash collisions,

          Head-on collisions, multiple collisions,

          Seemed to have a cautionary value

          As limp as a ‘No Smoking’ sticker

          Slapped on the rim of Mount Etna,

          And made the Crucifixion look as if it were                         

                            done with adhesive tape.

 

MANAGER.

 

Wait..

 

LEAH.

 

          Rib cages impaled by steering colums,

          Legs concertinaed in crushed doors,

          Snapped bones granulated on tarmac,

          Corpses kebabed by flaming upholstery,

          The stomachs of pregnant women gashed open

                            by wing-mirrors,

          Blood-rinsed lungs punctured by door handles,

          Swatches of brain pancaked into defused slush..

          Were all regarded as little more than traffic                    

                            violations.

          The acceptable face of psychopathy.

 

She walks into the road.

 

The MANAGER moves to help her.

He turns back to the cafe and sees JB looking on,

through the window.

JB now moves quickly to make his way outside.

 

 

105  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                              105

 

As JB leaves everyone watches. BENZ adjusts

mirrors. THE POET writes on.

 

 

106  EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY.                              106

 

LEAH is close to the rush of the traffic. She

shouts information back to the MANAGER and as he

joins him, JB.

LEAH.

 

Some had even come to regard them

           In a beneficial light:

           As a valued source of organs to transplant..

           The wholeness of the human body overridden

           As a pedestrian superstition.

JB.

 

Shit..

 

LEAH.

 

           The healing landscape

           In which the human spirit could re-tune itself

           Had been violated by a million million cars

           Since the century began.

           Cars’ nitro-oxygen waste

           Acting deceptively as air-borne fertiliser

           Persuaded trees it was still the growing                  

                                   season,

           So that when winter came,

           They failed to prepare for it

           By turning their starches into sugar,

           And froze to death;

           Their tuning powers extinguished.

           Their lungs – the oxygenating leaves – 

                                   withered;

           Pine-needles grew grey, metallic tips

           And dropped to the ground.

 

                       LEAH (CONT)

 

           In the Black Forest miles of leafless stumps

           Lay stark an joyless as a bed off nails.

           In Switzerland the forests were so flimsy

           Avalanches tore through them as if they were                  

                                   Straw…

 

A car stops before her. The shocked Driver stares

at her, unsure what to do.

 

 

107  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                              107

 

BENZ plays with the moving light in the mirror.

 

BENZ.

 

As the planet was slowly shaved of

                            cleansing tree-cover,

           Air, the visitor observed

           Could come in as short winded supply

           As the breath of a sedentary driver.

 

CUT TO:

 

108  EXT. ACE CAFE. FORECOURT. DAY.                   108

 

A Bus stops directly outside the cafe.

A CHINESE PENSIONER disembarks and turns to look

at LEAH.

CHINESE PENSIONER.

 

           In Rome, the traffic police were on strike,

           Claiming that they were unable to breathe.

           In Japan, department stores were selling

                             oxygen,

           Dispensing it in purpose built bars,

           Flavoured with lime, lemon, coffee and even             

                             mushroom,

           And advertising it as a sovereign remedy

           For Tokyo’s suffocating citizens.

 

LEAH.

 

           The nitrous oxides,

           The hydrocarbons,

           The sulphur dioxide,

           The carbon monoxide

           Mix into a miasmic cocktail of indestructible

                             molecules,

                            LEAH (CONT)

 

           Feculent radicals in new and irreversible

                             combinations –

           Each year, each car belching out a quarter of

                             a ton of it

           Gift-wrapped in four tons for carbon dioxicde,

           Fouling up the intricate metabolism of nature.

 

The MANAGER looks at the gun.

 

CUT TO:

 

 

109  INT. ACE CAFE.TOILETS. DAY                       109

 

The MOTHER and CHILD emerge. The Mother stands

there as she sees what’s gone on.

 

 

110  INT. MOTORWAY. DAY.                              110

 

LEAH addresses the SHOCKED DRIVER directly.

The others watch her, each unsure what to do.

 

LEAH.

 

Small signs of degradation

           Appeared at first:

           A rubber band

           Would lose its elasticity,

           Dessicate and crack;

           The thread of a nylon stocking

           Would wither in the street air;

           Then the acid ate into paper’s cellulose,

           Turning it brown

           As it absorbed airborne gases;

           The spines of a half a million books

           In the British Musuem, splintered and cracked,

           Their bindings decayed.

           Silks, cottons, brocades,

           Furniture, tapestries..

           The pigment in paintings became wizened;

           Frescoes were engorged with acid

           Forming corrosive blisters,

           Turning the surface into a brittle crust.

 

 

111  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                              111

 

BENZ aims the light, like a glare.

 

BENZ.

 

           Two hundred thousand tons of nitrogen dioxide

           Now drop on England every year.

           Reacting with all organic material.

 

 

112  EXT. ACE CAFE./ MOTORWAY. DAY.                   112

 

THE CHINESE PENSIONER now joins the MANAGER and

  1. The MOTHER also approaches, holding tightly

the hand of the CHILD.

 

CHINESE PENSIONER.

 

           All over Europe

           The annual dosage builds up incrementally,

           Formimg saturating releases of nitric acid,

           The copper on church roofs perishes;

           Stained glass is discoloured –

           Blazing blue panes turn khaki-

           To give way to gimcrack facsimilies.

           Marble becomes as flimsy as coral.

           Joints become porous.

           Arms and legs drop off.

 

JB.

 

           The church bells of Europe are corroded:

           Ancient, protective sounds

           That once harmonised with natural events

           Are now hobbled by falsenotes.

 

At the car, LEAH recites to the SHOCKED DRIVER:

 

LEAH.

 

The acropolis, Chartres, Rouen,

           St Paul’s, Lincoln, Westminster,

           Notre Dame, the Statue of Liberty,

           The Washington Monument, Independence Hall

           Acidify, flake and rot down,

           Their structures perilously eaten into;

           Ornate architectural detail

           Reduced to shapeless, blackened lumps

           As if they had been an irrelevant distraction;

           A traffic hazard.

 

                                                 (MORE)

CHINESE PENSIONER.

 

           Relics of history are obliterated

           Like superfluous road-signs.

 

LEAH.

 

           Historical memory is being re-designed

           To last no longer than a recollection

           Of the last service stop.

 

At  that moment, a car crashes into that of the

SHOCKED DRIVER. The Shocked Driver panics.

Lea moves behind. It is the Limo.

The FAT AMERICAN smiles.

 

The MANAGER, JB, MOTHER, CHINESE PENSIONER and CHILD

all move forward.

LEAH.

(SCREAMING)

 

History is to be as faceless as

                              the present

           And left for dead!

 

She approaches the Limo.

 

The FAT AMERICAN sits there, unmoved in each sense.

 

LEAH.

 

           Toxic particles are then embedded into

                                human lung tissue –

           A more ingenious artefact,

           Unsigned and priceless

           Turning invisible air

           Into visible life.

 

The MANAGER takes the gun and approaches the Limo.

JB draws the MOTHER, CHILD and CHINESE PENSIONER

back.

MANAGER.

 

The ashen metropolitan face

           Betrays more than the forlorn anxieties of                             

                               the marketplace:

           Grey is the colour of nitrous oxide

                               poisoning.

           Lungs, slowly stifled by a molecular slurry,

           Are incapacitated and close down.

           Useless as worn rags in the wind.

The MANAGER reaches the Limo and points the gun at

the FAT AMERICAN.

 

LEAH smiles at the solidarity shown.

 

CHINESE PENSIONER.

 

           During medical experiments at Auschwitz

           Petroleum was injected into prisoner’s

                                 bodies,

           Just to see what would happen.

           The experiment continues

           With unlimited subjects..

 

CHINESE PENSIONER (CONT)

 

           Follow-up studies reveal

           The effect to be the same:

           Absorbing petrol,

           Directly or indirectly,

           The human body goes no faster.

 

The Manager gestures the American out of the car.

Expectant horns sound. Police sirens echo.

 

The SHOCKED DRIVER manouvers the car from the road.

 

The American then gets out. The PROSTITUTE follows.

 

The Manager guides the American back from the road

across the cafe forecourt.

 

The others move with them as they head inside.

 

CUT TO:

 

113  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                              113

 

By now everyone inside is watching.

 

LEAH and the MANAGER leads the FAT AMERICAN in to be

made a spectacle of. Lea leads him into the centre

of the cafe. People are gasping as the MANAGER hands

her the gun.

 

The PROSTITUTE screams.

 

BENZ aims his mirror.

 

Lea gestures and the Prostitute takes her place.

 

People move back.

 

Police sirens can be heard in the background.

 

The FAT AMERICAN and PROSTITUTE are now both on

their knees.

 

The light plays across them, cast no doubt by

the mirror.

 

The waitresses panic but the Manager calms them.

 

JB stands ready. The POET observes and writes on.

 

LEAH.

 

          Petrol’s particulates seep through

                                 the skin

          Like pesticides

          Leaving flesh half mummified.

          Particles gnaw into the thymos gland,

          Hidden behind the breastbone,

          The headquarters of the immune system,

          Displacing wholesome lymphocytes

          By a languid sump of distortion

          With the stentorian name of lymphoblasts,

          Healthy cells are bombarded into abnormality.

 

The Poet slips JB a piece of paper.

 

JB (READS)

 

          People on the street

          Are clinically refered to by the city 

                                   planners

          As pedestrian traffic

          Their lives impressively foreshortened

          In an alfresco gas chamber.

 

The ELDERLY WOMAN rises.

 

ELDERLY WOMAN.

 

           Spilt on a puddle,

           Petrol is as pretty as a peacock’s feather

           And carries the same ill-luck,

           The enticing vapour of benzene

           Can bestow cancer at each sweet breath.

 

 

                                               (MORE)

JB.

 

           Children wheeled past exhaust pipes

                              at chest level

           Become catalytic converters.

 

LEAH looks to the MOTHER:

 

LEAH.

 

           The tender lining of the womb

           Is considerately reinforced by lead,

           Cadmium, mercury and aluminium,

           Then required to filter petrol’s deadly 

                               neurotoxins,

           Toluene, xylene, ethylene dibromide.

 

CHINESE PENSIONER.

 

          Child abuse is dress rehearsed in pregnancy.

 

The MOTHER stares.

 

CHINESE PENSIONER.

 

          The future is conventionally housed

          Inside the womb,

          But the present,

          Likewise the property of the creature lying                            

                                        within,

          Has been pitilessly clamped.

 

MANAGER (AS RATIONALE:)

 

          The baby is sometimes stillborn,

          Thanks to greed’s halitosis.

          Breath is no longer a birthright.

 

LEAH.

 

          While paying lip service to clean living

          The car still aspires to Peculiar paroxysms

                                         of design;

          A pumping penile womb

          With illuminated breasts,

          And auto-erotic fuel injection

          To achieve orgasmic speeds..

          The perfect self satisfying body;

          And the richer you are

          The better the body you can buy.

 

She stares at the PROSTITUTE, who returns the look.

 

CHINESE PENSIONER.

 

          But unlike musk, the odour given off

          By urban man’s peak experience

          Is a poison.

 

Leah bends down to address the FAT AMERICAN’s face:

 

LEAH.

 

          And just as a rat with an electrode

          Wired to the sex centre of its brain

          Nudges the button that fires it

          Again and again and again,

          Neglecting hunger and thirst

Until it dies..

          So, a vapid obsession with erotic power

          Stands poised to turn the planet

          Into a venusian oven:

          The cleaner the car, the more fuel it uses;

          The more fuel it uses, the more carbon

                                       dioxide;

          The more carbon dioxide, the more heat.

 

CUT TO:

 

114  EXT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                              114

 

The Police car arrives outside the cafe. It takes

several moments before the engine’s turned off.

 

 

115  EXT. GRAVEYARD. DAY.                             115

 

A Young girl’s Tombstone. The name isn’t pictured

but the age is there, three years old.

 

 

116  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                              116

 

BENZ on the stage, places a second mirror.

The small siege continues as LEAH holds court.

 

LEAH.

 

           Despite the insidious sops of

                          opportunitist advertisers

           Whose forbears promoted cigarette

           As a cure for bronchitis –

                          LEAH (CONT)

 

           A clean and modest car

           Purchased with self-righteous complacency

           Produces yet more hot air.

 

While talking to all, she seems to be appealing

to JB, whose conscience struggles as he looks at

her with concern.

LEAH (CONT)

 

           The ‘pollution free’ car is as green as pus.

           Its heat creates drought,

           Killing even those

           Who never aspire to a car.

 

THE TWO POLICE OFFICERS enter.

The PROSTITUTE, greatful runs to them for comfort.

 

POLICEMAN.

 

           Sparkling new age morality emulates

           With the best of intentions, the psychopath

           Who once climbed the tower

           At the university of Austin, Texas.

           He took with hom three high velocity rifles,

           And a crate of ammunition,

           Provisions for a long and murderous siege.

 

SECOND POLICEMAN.

 

           He also carried up six cases of deodorant:

 

POLICEMAN.

 

           He killed eleven people

           While fastidiously entertaining the wish not

                                      to offend.

 

SECOND POLICEMAN.

 

           A Mother collecting her children from school 

           In a car covered with worthy stickers

           Expressing ecological concern

           Innocently understudies Mother Kali

           With her rosary of skulls.

 

POLICEMAN.

 

           The only green car

           Is rusted and overgrown.

A Stale-mate of sorts.

 

The people in the cafe are restless.

 

The POET stops writing to watch.

 

The FAT AMERICAN stands.

 

Leah points the gun at him.

 

The Police Officers stand there.

 

The Prostitute crouches down before them.

 

JB moves close to Leah.

 

BENZ reflects the scene in one mirror whilst

catching the light in the next.

 

BENZ.

 

          The Visitor then detected a yet more radical

                                       legacy:

          The earth’s outer skin had become attenuated,

          Eaten away by humanity’s totalitarian exhaust,

          Forming a vast artificial anus

          As large as America, as deep as Everest,

          Burnt through the southern sky,

          Through which the proliferating virulence

          Of ten dirty decades

          Could be evacuated.

 

Everyone stares at him.

 

Benz aims a mirror. In it is reflected the entrance

of THE TRAMP.

 

The Tramp stands. He moves through the people.

 

Concerned, JB, watches. The Poet writes.

 

TRAMP.

 

          As half a billion four wheeled spray cans

          Spun carelessly round and round below

          In a hazy car-lot,

          With its long, hot summers,

          And long, hot winters;

          As cars reconditioned the air,

          Usurping the elements,

          Threatening to become the weather…

                           TRAMP (CONT)

 

          The earth’s self regulator

          Had pulled the plug

          And allowed the thin coat of protection

          That had given humanity its life

          To open up.

 

The Tramp grabs the MOTHER and places his mouth on

hers. She screams, struggling.

 

A plume of black smoke is seen, rising.

 

He lets her go. She is choking.

The CHILD goes to her.

All retreat.

Benz looks on troubled.

 

JB looks to the Poet but he does not see.

He writes on.

TRAMP.

 

            As the atmosphere was peppered

            From a thousand suppurating cities,

            The earth’s skin was slowly leaking,

            Exposing it raw to the sun..

            Unimpressed by the self-regarding protests

            Of the human race:

 

CUT TO:

 

117  EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY.                              117

 

The traffic is moving.

 

DRIVER.

 

            But the car is so convenient..

 

TRAMP (VO)

 

            Or its egoistic credo:

 

Another car does a fast overtake.

 

OVERTAKER.

 

            My journey is important. Yours isn’t!

 

CUT TO:

 

118  INT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                              118

 

As before. The TRAMP now kisses a WAITRESS. The

black plume of smoke rises as the Waitress falls

back. There are screams.

 

TRAMP.

 

And each autumn the orifice grows larger

            As the celestial sphincter muscles grow 

                                sloppier

            To allow more of the gaseous excrement to

                                escape.

            The aperture is serviced by rashes of freak 

                                storms,

            Tornadoes, whirlwinds..

            Operating like extractor fans

            Newly created by shifting layers

            Of chemically heated air.

 

CUT TO:

 

119  EXT. MOTORWAY. DUSK.                             119

 

The daylight fades. Traffic moving. Headlights

are turned on – if possible; all at once.

 

TRAMP (VO)

 

           The global intelligence seemed impervious

           To the human effects upon the ground.

           Cataracts, skin cancers,

           The stunted failure of crops

           Incapable of synthesising so much ultraviolet 

                                     light;

           The mutant scorching of genes and DNA, 

           The breakdown of immunity…

 

 

120   EXT. ACE CAFE. DAY.                             120

 

The TRAMP terrorises. BENZ catches him with

the mirrored light.

 

TRAMP.

 

           For as common sense would indicate

           If you were in a confined space

           With half a billion cars

  

                                                 (MORE)

                        TRAMP (CONT)

 

           Remorselessly venting themselves of a noxious 

                                       wind,

           Someone, somewhere would want to open a window

           No matter what it would bring.

 

Another kiss. More black smoke.

 

The TRAMP turns. The light blinds.

The Tramp collapses.

 

Everyone startles.

 

BENZ re-aims the light.

 

Various people watch as the light travels.

 

It reaches the RABBI.

The Rabbi exhales darkened smoke.

 

People scream.

 

The Rabbi takes over the function and role

of the Tramp.

 

The POET watches.

RABBI.

 

Despite being swamped with artifice

           Nature still inclines to fit all phenomena

           Into a larger pattern:

           As cars give off their venom

           Other events are homeostatically triggered.

 

He kisses a WOMAN. She exhales his black smoke.

 

CUT TO:

 

121  EXT. MOTORWAY. DUSK.                             121

 

A foregrounded verge. Motorway in the background.

The darkened grass, close now. Its movement and

sound, evident.

RABBI (VO)

 

Just as a moribund ant

           Exuding the death pheromone

           Alerts its colony to take it to the midden

           For fear that they will be overrun with

                                    fungus;

RABBI (CONT)

 

           So another species,

           Exuding deadly pheromones

           Toys with its own extinction…

 

 

122  INT. ACE CAFE. DUSK.                             122

 

All watch him closely.

 

RABBI.

 

With an innocuous flick of the ignition

                                     key

           The world can be turned off.

 

Benz aims the light.

 

The Rabbi falls, dazzled.

 

The people gasp.

 

The light travels.

 

The ELDERLY WOMAN stands, breathing black.

 

ELDERLY WOMAN.

 

A second hole appears,

          In the Northern Hemisphere,

          As if the planet were trepanning itself,

          Like the ancient cure for epilepsy,

          To let out low spirits,

          By puncturing the skull.

          Yet, below

          The endless, endless flow…

          So in love with their metal parasites

          That they would drive through the earth’s skin,

          And each as disdainful of the cost

          As a cocktail-party-coke-head

          Snorting powdered Colombian blood.

 

The light dazzles.

 

She falls. JB catches her quickly.

 

BENZ stands triumphant.

 

The POET looks directly at him.

CUT TO:

 

123  EXT. MOTORWAY. DUSK – EVENING.                   123

 

Another jam. The stalled cars. Fumes rising.

 

BENZ (VO)

 

          Still curious to see how the advanced animals

          Were adapting their surroundings

          To suit their sense of purpose,

          The Visitor observed that the fullness of the

                                    night sky

          Was rarely seen or revered

          By self-referential city-dwellers

          Sealed off by a canopy of discoloured haze.

          And noticed that the former sacred ways,

          The footpaths, sunlit bridleways, lovers

                                    lanes,

          Were withered away;

          Sucked dry by haemorrhaging motorways

          Dotted with civic tubs of dusty shrubs

          That pass for acquaintance with nature.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

124  EXT. MOTORWAY. NIGHT.                            124

 

An aerial view of the traffic snake, moving.

 

BENZ (VO-CONT)

 

          Delicate arteries, once worn in by thought

          Had been displaced by swarms of carcinogenic            

                                     wasps

          Racing helter-skelter through chemical killing

                                     fields

          On an elongated open grave.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

125  EXT. MOTORWAY. NIGHT.                            125

 

Camera tracks a line of Drivers.

 

BENZ (VO-CONT)

 

          The Visitor scrutinised the individual drivers:

          Legions of them in autistic cocoons

          With an air of gloomy ferocity,

 

BENZ (VO-CONT)

         

          Their faces matching the expressionless

                                      landscape;

          Their language confined to sultry gestures of

                                       contempt;

          Worn expletives and arbitrary violence.   

 

 

A car horn sounds. And then another.

Drivers are shouting, often to no-one at all,

in their cars.

 

CUT TO:

 

126  INT. ACE CAFE. DUSK – NIGHT.                     126

 

It is somewhat darker. BENZ guides his mirrors,

catching the light between both.

 

He catches himself and glimpses of others.

 

He aims the light outwards, directly through

the cafe.

 

The light picks out a third man-size mirror.

 

This is perhaps animated, or specially made

as man shaped.

 

The mirror is death, as if the alien light had

a figure. The Visitor is the fear and imagined

presence of death.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

127  EXT. MOTORWAY. NIGHT.                            127

 

A Crashed car. TWO CHILDREN stands screaming.

The DEATH MIRROR beside them, like 2001’s Monolith.

The Death Mirror speaks with the voice of The Poet:

 

DEATH MIRROR.

 

           Two children stranded on the crash barrier

           Scream at approaching cars,

           Rolling their eyes away from their parents

                                    bodies,

           Mashed together in a mangled re-marriage.

 

Traffic speeds past.

DEATH MIRROR.

 

           Cars hiss back with mechanical disregard,

           A track shoe, caught in the tail-wind,

           Tumbles across the tarmac

           And comes to rest on the hard shoulder.

 

 

128  INSERT: SLO-MO:                                  128

 

A Track shoe falling.

 

 

129  EXT. MOTORWAY. NIGHT.                            129

 

The DEATH MIRROR glimmers. The CHILDREN are

screaming. The Mirror captures the passing cars.

 

DEATH MIRROR.

 

           People die. People pass by.

           Things seen at speed matter less.

 

                                          CUT TO:

 

130  EXT. MOTORWAY. NIGHT.                            130

 

Another stall. AN ATTRACTIVE FEMALE DRIVER sits

stressing. THE TWO BIKERS approach her from each

side of the car.

 

DEATH MIRROR (VO)

 

           Just as the ambitious cauterise compassion

           So roadside deaths are callously noted

           A little more than traffic signs

           Indicating that the lives of passing drivers

           Have been spared.

 

CUT TO:

 

131  EXT. MOTORWAY LAYBY. NIGHT.                      131

 

THE CHILDREN crawl towards their ruined parents.

Their screams are silenced by the traffic noise.

 

DEATH MIRROR (VO)

 

           A man thrown from his car

           Is run over again and again,

           By oncoming drivers – retarded by speed.

132   INT. ACE CAFE. NIGHT.                           132

 

LEAH points the gun at THE FAT AMERICAN who

glares at her. The MANAGER watches. JN makes an

approach.

LEAH.

 

Drivers in Los Angeles,

            Who found it irksome to be tailgated,

            Would shoot their rivals as they overtook.

            Drivers who would cut into the line for gas

            Were liquidated.

 

 

133  EXT. MOTORWAY. NIGHT.                            133

 

Across from the BIKERS surrounding the woman, in

another lane and Ambulance stalls. The AMBULANCE

DRIVER is shouting:

 

DEATH MIRROR (VO)

 

             Even Saints, in cars, became satanic,

             Transmuting gold into lead:
AMBULANCE DRIVER.

 

             Come on, come on, come on..

             Get out my fucking way..

             Can’t you fucking see I want to fucking

                                   MOVE!

 

DEATH MIRROR (VO)

 

             Gridlocked, blocked streams of cars

             Pulsate with a murderous mantra:

 

Camera pans to a car stuck behind him:

 

MANTRAMAN.

 

             Me before you. Me before you..

 

CUT TO:

 

134  EXT. MOTORWAY. NIGHT.                            134

 

The Children and crashed car by the side. This

section of traffic still moving…

 

 

The Death Mirror now stands reflecting

beside the motorway, like a sign.

 

Somewhere in the distance we hear the ambulance

siren.

 

DEATH MIRROR.

 

All re-enacting the myth of Thrasymachus,

            Who brutally defined justice

            As the interests of the stronger –

            Only to starve for want of bread

            And hang himself.

 

The traffic flows on.

 

CUT TO:

 

135  INT. ACE CAFE. NIGHT.                            135

 

THE FAT AMERICAN stands as all move to accuse him.

LEAH keeps the gun on him, but does not shoot.

Benz aims the light picking out peoples faces.

The people band together, forcing the representative

American out of the place.

 

MANAGER.

 

The Visitor took a brief, sorry overview

             Of a self-consuming planet,

          

WAITRESS.

 

             Rotting down like an overripe puffball,

 

WAITRESS 2.

 

             Then breezily rocketing its polluted

                                spores into space

             With boy-scout optimism,

 

COOK.

 

             In the lofty hope of finding some more                      

                                congenial womb.

 

LEAH.

 

             The Visitor glanced at the individual 

                                carnage,

             Still mystified,

MAN WITH SOUP.

 

            But then recalled that on a previous visit

            Now extinct tribes, notably the Aztecs,

            Used to sacrifice human lives

            Keeping the streets constantly lubricated

            With blood.

 

TRUCKER.

 

            To ensure that the sun would rise each day;

            Their ceremonies were so extravagantly

                                 packaged

            Their victims glowed and shone

            And consented with pleasure.

 

LEAH.

 

            The Visitor gazed again

            At the new brand of mass execution

            Casually sponsored by market forces,

            And noticed that in a riot

            Or revolution

            It was curious that cars,

            Anyone’s cars

            Always seemed the first to go.

 

They pressure him out through the doors.

 

 

136  EXT. ACE CAFE.NIGHT.                             136

 

The enlightened Motorway as our backdrop.

The moon stark above us. The noise of the cars,

like a wave.

 

The FAT AMERICAN is lead out.

The Limousine is before him.

 

The various Diners are now a chorus.

 

A number of cars park and stop.

Their drivers emerge.

 

BENZ at the window, aims the light out

and through.

 

FAT AMERICAN.

 

What the hell –

 

MOTHER.

 

The Visitor then glimpsed the occasional                           

                                   vandal,

          Who, were they ever to risk losing pace

          By politicising themselves,

          Might feel that since no-one voted for the car,

          Rubbishing them required no referendum.

          And that slashing tyres,

          Pouring sugar into the tanks,

          Shoving potatoes up the exhaust

          So the pipe explodes, blowing off the manifold

Splashing brake-fluid on the body-work,

Topping up the oil with valve-grinding paste,

Placing upturned plaster-nails under stationary

vehicles,

Turning cars over in the street like wood-lice,

So that the petrol spills out and they can be

fired . . .

Might keep a few hunks of human flesh

Throbbing with life for a little longer.

 

FAT AMERICAN.

You’re all fucking crazy – !

 

He backs away, to the car as if to protect it.

The MANAGER has a tub of oil which he throws

over him. The Fat American screams.

 

The CHILD approaches. It strikes a match,

stands there, holding, waiting for the word.

 

MANAGER.

 

           It seemed to the Visitor that the vandals

           Were perhaps the only experts in crisis

                                   management.

           And even dogs, the visitor observed,

           Would attack the tyres of passing cars

           As if biting at the tendons of a marauder…

 

 

137  INT. ACE CAFE. NIGHT.                            137

 

BENZ stands with the mirrors. The POET approaches.

Benz hands the mirrors to him.

 

 

(CONT’D)

BENZ.

 

           But these as yet were midgets

           Shaking their fists at the heavens..

 

 

138  EXT. MOTORWAY. NIGHT.                            138

 

The DEATH MIRROR reveals the Ambulance getting

closer..

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

139  INSERT: TRAFFIC CAMERA PICTURE.                  139

 

VARIOUS CARS AND DRIVERS passing by, brief

lives caught.

POET (VO)

 

           For the visitor concluded,

If you were conceived in a car

As many are.

If you first made love in a car

As many have.

If you went to work in a car,

And if you derive your sense of freedom

from cars,

 

CUT TO:

 

140  EXT ACE CAFÉ. NIGHT.                             140

 

THE CHORUS are gathered. THE CHILD throws

the match.

POET (VO)

 

You’re going to defend them to the death.

 

THE FAT AMERICAN screams.

 

A flash of fire.

 

Above, the moon dazzles,

creating a blurring light.

 

 

141  INT. ACE CAFÉ. NIGHT.                            141

 

The POET stands with the Mirrors. There is no

trace of Benz. He sets them down, picks up his

book and bag, leaves the café.

142  EXT. ACE CAFÉ. NIGHT.                            142

 

The POET walks from the fire. The CHORUS turn

to him and follow on through the night.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

143  EXT. STREETS. NIGHT-DAWN. END CREDITS MONTAGE.   143

 

The people are walking away from the dark

into day.

 

 

 

FADE OUT:

 

CREDITS.

 

END.

 

 

 

 

 


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