Montage: Claire Palmer
BY HEATHCOTE WILLIAMS
ADAPTED FOR FILM BY DAVID ERDOS
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.
- NORTH CIRCULAR ROAD/ MOTORWAY. DAY – DUSK – NIGHT
INT. HOSPITAL. CORRIDORS – A&E/ OPERATING THEATRE.
WAITRESS/WAITRESS 2/WAITRESS 3/
ELDERLY WOMAN/OLD MAN/
PROSTITUTE/REMOVALS MAN/VAN DRIVER/
MAN/RABBI/MAN WITH SOUP/GIRL WITH ALKA SELTZER/TRUCKER/
PORTER/NURSE/DOCTOR/NURSE 2/NURSE 3/INJURED MAN/
DISFIGURED CHILD/GIRL/FEMALE SKELETON/
FAT AMERICAN DRIVER/
SOUNDTRACK: from tune up to crescendo, a fugue of car
noises orchestra out from the dark.
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.)
1 EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY. 1
Aerial view of Motorway traffic. The vast congress,
snaking, clearly defining the land.
2 EXT. TRAFFIC JAM. DAY. 2
Camera tracks along cars. A frustrated DRIVER
turns to us, providing the first frontis quote:
‘A carriage without a horse will go
Disaster fill our world with woe..’
The PASSENGER leans across:
From the prophecies of Mother Shipton,
Ursula Southall of Knaresborough,
3 EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY. 3
A mass of vehicles at speed. A vast lorry cuts across
Into foreground, obscuring our driving POV.
4 EXT. ROAD. DAY. 4
A CYCLIST shakily negotiates through the traffic.
He/She to camera for the next frontis quote:
‘What good is speed if the brain has
oozed out on the way?’
As they leave frame:
5 EXT. STREET. DAY. 5
A crowded bus boards. A frail PENSIONER struggles to
get themselves on.
‘Today I must resolve to come home
in a new Mustang, Mustang, Mustang.’
BUS DRIVER( TO CAMERA:)
Sirhan Sirhan Notebooks,May 18th 1968.
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
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.
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
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.
10 INT. CAR. DAY. 10
JB is driving. He speaks to camera on the backseat
while keeping his eye on the road.
IN 1885 Karl Benz constructed the first automobile.
It had three wheels, like an invalid car,
And ran on alcohol, like many drivers.
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.
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.
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.
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
Injected when the car wished to move off,
And ejected when they were spent.
13 INT. CAFE ENTRANCE. DAY. 13
LEAH walks in, followed by the SMOKER. He continues
the poem into his phone.
If the visitors curiosity were still
It would quickly discover on landing,
From hoardings, newspapers and television
That the car continues to satisfy
a compendious spectrum of desires;
LEA passes a YOUNG MAN.
The POET looks across. The Hatted Man also.
He smiles at the Poet who now recognises him as BENZ.
Across at the counter a Waitress mans the till:
BENZ beams at the Poet.
14 INT. JB CAR. DAY. 14
JB,to us as he’s parking.
15 INT. ACE CAGE KITCHEN. DAY. 15
THE COOK, as a number of sausages fry:
Gratifying an A to Z of unbridled cravings
In the guise of getting from A to B.
16 INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 16
Various intercut lines, thick and fast:
Nothing performs like a Saab..
17 EXT. CAFE. DAY. 17
JB as he emerges.
Car as stud.
18 INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 18
LEAH sits down next to a lecherous BIKER.
Beautiful body. A joy to handle and
rumoured to be rather fast – MG.
BENZ (TO POET:)
Car as pimp.
JB enters the cafe.
Step on the exhilarator – Datsun.
He passes an ELDERLY WOMAN sat on her own at a table.
Car as marital aid.
A WAITRESS serves LEAH tea. The BIKER sits near her.
Drive it like you hate it – Volvo.
Car as enemy. The enemy only you can control.
JB takes his seat. WAITRESS 3 brings him coffee.
He smiles at her.
Believe in freedom. Believe in Honda..?
Car as declaration of Human Rights,
Drafted with only you in mind..
19 INT. ACE CAFE KITCHEN. DAY. 19
THE COOK, frying on:
Nothing quite so perfectly reflects
one’s achievements in life – Daimler.
WAITRESS 1 comes to take a meal from the kitchen:
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.
For people who lead the good life.
A car that leads the simple life –
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.
Crunchy on the outside and hard
in the middle – VW POLO.
Car as confectionery.
THE BIKER places his hand next to LEA’s.
Kiss the old ideas goodbye – BMW.
BIKER 2 joins them. LEA looks up.
Car as mind stylist.
JB, to camera, at his table:
The Ecstacy without the agony –
BIKER 2(TO LEA:)
The designer drug with no earthly
JB picks up an abandoned newspaper. He flicks
Through and talks to us:
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.
Volvo. A car with standards.
For those who might not have any.
23 INT. ACE KITCHEN. DAY. 23
WAITRESS 2 takes a plate. THE COOK eyes her with
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:
Rover offers to put you
in the seat of power
And your passengers in Positions of
BENZ (TO POET:)
Car as one man coup d’etat.
Experience more breathing space – Mercedes.
Car as lebensraum.
25 EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY. 25
A car accelerates towards camera.
With 80 percent of air pollution
coming from cars
The resultant breathing space maybe no wider
Than the walls of a coffin..
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
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
Makers of accessories and spare parts,
Known in the trade as ‘the fluff’
Are not to be outdone in their inflated
A monstrous close-up of a tyre-tread
Is captioned ‘the basic pattern of life –
Fathom the fundamental myseteries of
Bring primeval chaos bang up to date.
A competitor peddles ‘The tyre that saves
In the further interest of economy
This rubber time-bomb, like all its
May unpredictably explode.
The MOTHER embraces her CHILD and keeping their
hands held, walks across as they study the cars.
The Visitor moves in for a closer look:
Vehicles are being washed,
Caressed, polished and petted
As if they were members of the family.
A scratch on the bodywork
Draws a fury otherwise reserved for
The MOTHER and MANAGER exchange a look.
The CHILD spots a brightly painted car,
similar to one in the book.
Techno-tomcats appear to spray the..
..boundaries of their territory,
Marking out their vehicles
With a myriad of automotive fetishes,
The MOTHER stares at him.
The CHILD runs to another paked car.
And monogrammic numbers
Are applied as if summoning the
Of the Golem,
A monster lurching through the backstreets,
Its power derived from the
Etched upon its forehead;
Cosy spells against the evils of chance,
Hang like household gods in a home
She picks her child up and together
they all go inside.
28 INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 28
THE MOTHER, CHILD, MANAGER enter and resume
their places. BENZ goes to greet them, before
The inhabitants of North America
Spend sixty two thousand years a week
Inside these prosthetic tin-cans
Interminably punched out in cybernetic grease-
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
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.
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)
30 INT. CAR 3/ INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 30
A BABY in the backseat is screaming.
FOR CHRIST’S SAKE GET THAT
CHILD TO STOP WHINING!
31 INT. CAR 4./INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 31
I can do this bit of the journey
in my sleep..
32 INT. CAR 5/INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 32
Uh, there’s a fly in my eye..!
33 INT. CAR 6./INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 33
DRIVER 6 AND HIS GIRLFRIEND.
Look, girl, telling someone he’s a
bad driver is like telling him he’s
a bad fuck..!
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…
35 INT. CAR 8. /INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 35
I’m going to have a baby..
An OLDER PASSENGER leans forward to talk
to them from the backseat.
We’re on holiday, so shut up
and start enjoying yourselves..!
I wish I was dead.
36 INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 36
BENZ turns to look at where LEAH is sitting. The
Bikers are still with her.
You ever feel something’s gonna
happen, then it does?
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
On entry, the automobile
Even that moving Parthenon, the Rolls –
Agitates the heartbeat
And transforms the psycho-galvanic skin
Sufficiently to set the needles shivering
On any lie-detector.
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.
From the moment the driver
Settles behind the wheel
Stress readings increase,
As the driver’s body is slowly marinated
Generating a wide range of cardiovascular
The pelvis is fondled by the replica
flesh oozing with static,
And the automobile becomes an orgone
Stimulating shallow sexuality..
Concerned glances are shared.
39 INT. ACE CAFE LADIES TOILET. DAY. 39
LEAH looks troubled and slightly frantic.
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
The BIKERS enter the toilet.
Oh we had such an awful journey,
I feel completely washed out..
What are we doing here anyway?
They smile, darkly.
40 INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 40
JB moves to the toilets.
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
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
Half a ton is despatched with a
feather like touch.
Whoops, did we hit something then?
JB and the MANAGER enter the toilet.
Couldn’t have. We’d have felt it.
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.
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..
43 INT. CAR 8. DAY. 43
DRIVER 8, GIRLFRIEND 2, PASSENGER sit in silence.
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.
Exuded by compressors in ‘air-conditioned’
Will deal with those who shrug and claim
to be unaffected,
As their pre-capillaries pop,
And turn into varicose veins.
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
- A TRAMP slumped asleep, wakes and is quickly
affected. The light seems to hover as he/she talks
Cavernous sides of buildings amplify
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.
More disturbed citizens seem mesmerised
By traffic’s death rattle.
They stand around, devitalised, harassed,
Making incoherent gestures –
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.
..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.
..Their metabolism jammed by the
Summoned to deal with the stressful
47 EXT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 47
The TRAMP, mesmerised.
A substance that dulls the acoustic
Rendering any still, small voice
The light builds on his face and then spins
round to camera.
The dazzle blinds us. The image distorts..
48 EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY. 48
No sound. No traffic. The Ace Cafe and the
forecourt. The empty motorway.
49 EXT. PARK – FOREST. DAY. 49
Nature. Sounds building. A wasp, buzzing. Insects,
amplified, beneath soil.
Noise becomes an autocratic force
Requiring impotent consent.
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.
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.
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.
51 INT. ACE CAFE KITCHEN. DAY. 51
Unseen by The COOK and other workers, the strange
light is moving. Its source is also unseen.
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.
Stand on any street
Awash with bristling piranhas
Grinding out the flatulent Muzak
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
A GIRL OF 2 OR 3 walks before it
then turns to the car.
53 INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 53
LEA’S hardened stare as she looks through the
As adults are glutted by mobility,
Children wanting to lay on their own
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.
54 EXT. STREET. DAY. 54
A Hearse approaches. Passersby stop to regard it
as it fills the frame.
The heart of the community,
The street is daily rent apart –
By a nervy descant of toxic shock.
Streets, once the open forum of daily life
Are now the open sewers of the car cult.
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.
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
TELE-TOUCH FOR AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION,
AND IT SPEAKS THROUGH THE STEERING IN
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.
57 INT. HEARSE. DAY. 57
As he drives:
Should the torments of this secular mass
Drive you steadily round the bend,
Feel free t take it out on anyone you wish,
With a relaxing impunity.
He smiles and turns left.
58 INT. ACE CAFE. KITCHEN. DAY. 58
The moving light settles on an ashtray and
newspaper. Another series of fast intercuts:
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
60 INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 60
JB reads on from the POET’s notebook.
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.
The sight of dead animals being
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
The Nazi autobahns, built with slave
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
BENZ shouts across from the platform/stage.
‘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..!’
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
At some point during their lives.
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.
Since its victims offered the least
Was the death-camp gas that first found
Now, massive dosages of carbon monoxide
Are apathetically ihhaled
Throughout a global Autoreich.
The new theatre of war
Presents itself as a place of leisured
But, like some benighted South American
It conceals an unpublicised death-zone…
WAITESS 2 passes and takes camera with her.
Other CUSTOMERS sat at tables now add to the tale.
Seventeen Million dead,
MAN WITH CROSSWORD.
More than twice the number in the
Eighteen times the count in Korea.
MAN WITH SOUP.
GIRL WITH ALKA SELTZER.
A hundred and thirty times the kill
Eight thousand five hundred Ulsters..
BENZ makes a series of conjuror’s gestures:
The hundred years war in a week.
The Crusades in under thirty seconds.
A humdrum holocaust
The third world war nobody bothered
LEAH stares through the window at the motorway
traffic. As she speaks:
SUPERIMPOSE traffic accident footage.
Ambulance, Medics, Stretchers and cars. Sirens
The victims are brought through on
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
And make the room almost indistinguishable
From an automobile’s wiring system.
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
They pass a HOSPITAL PORTER who mops as he speaks.
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.
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
With the incised and swollen face of
Slowly cranks her head down to study the rest
of her body,
The inside of her right though is torn and
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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:
I don’t know how you survived..
A DOCTOR joins them as they bed the Skeleton down.
She turns, unsettled
And adds a questioning thought,
Repressed till now:
FEMALE SKELETON (TO NURSE:)
You can get cancer after an accident,
Because of the shock.
You don’t think I will?
DOCTOR (TO US:)
Dimly aware that when a body is confused,
Cells can attack themselves.
A year later
Her inner organs alive with irradiated pain,
Her head shaven and bloated by chemotherapy,
The Doctor and Nurse wheel the bed while
LEAH stands watching. The NURSE now joins her.
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
She leads Lea out of the ward.
They pass NURSE 3 writing on a wall chart.
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,
A baby held in its mothers arms,
Flung at the dashboard at thirty miles
With the impact of a quarter of a ton
Horrified, Lea moves, intent on finding her baby.
She moves through swing doors towards theatre..
62 INT. OPERATING THEATRE. DAY. 62
An operation in progress. The SURGEON, NURSES and
In the operating theatre
Many of these wrecks, yesterday’s models
Are decommissioned by assembly-line
Their brains idle,
Their throttle closed..
To progress’s seedy pretender: traffic.
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.
Stare out through heretrical scars,
Medievally resented and ostracised
Unlike their inanimate assailants.
The Police return home:
The ketchup came out of the bottle tonight.
You couldn’t do fatals unless you have
a bit of a laugh..
Followed by embarrassed remorse:
Kids are bad, though. Ones with kids.
A CANTEEN WAITRESS dispenses black pudding
and beans onto plates.
The self is inflated.
In a lemming rhythm of auto-destruction.
Half a million auto-fatalities per annum.
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.
66 INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 66
LEAH’s hardened face as she glares through the
YOUNG GIRL (VO)
Oh, he died in a car crash..
She died in a smash up..
At their place, the Poet writes. JB reads.
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
Those that are left behind
Deny it has happened..
Laying a place for dinner,
Night after night,
Month after month.
67 EXT. GRAVEYARD. DUSK. 67
Moving through the tombstones. The sounds of
infrequent nature are slowly replaced by the build
up of traffic…
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,
ELDERLY WOMAN (VO)
68 EXT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 68
The still recovering BIKERS revv up their massive
Mock Harleys and ride out to the road..
An overhead pass
Of massive concrete slabs,
Shrouding the highway,
Gives off a whiff
Of some sultry, sacrificial megalith.
69 INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 69
LEAH sees them and grabs hold of her gun.
ELDERLY WOMAN (VO)
Interconnecting roads,laid out like
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.
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.
A skin-head architecture,
JB (VO – CONT)
..Tall, cubic gravestones with a
Spawned by the lethal dream of Autopia,
Hover beside a no-man’s land
As if they’ve gulped up the dead.
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
Sometimes a car that has seen enough
Lies abandoned in the street for several
Oddly penitent in appearance,
Its metal body gnarled and twisted.
On the outskirts of cities
Wreckers raise up mausoleums of
Picked clean of their inhabitants
Like parsee towers of silence.
The Visitor senses the eviction of
the genius loci
From every place the car has invaded
In the dispirting cause of turning the
Into an interconnected no-place-at-all.
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
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
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.
Sausage skins? Polyvinyl dichloride.
Chewing gum? Hydrocarbon wax.
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:
Looking for love?
Petrolatum jelly will accelerate it
With loveless haste.
An OLD MAN sits on the toilet in the back:
Giving off fumes?
Benzoic acid will take your breath away,
And your larynx as well.
Should settle your feet back on the pedals.
Losing control because those in power
Are out of touch?
CS gas and a hundred other incapacitating
Should see you’re steered back in the right
She turns to the Removals Man:
Why not change sex in mid-lane with
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.
In the ditch?
Tank up with meths
And sputter back on the road.
And all other food preservatives
Now work so well.
They’ve diversified to accommodate human
Our bodies have become so rich in
That corpses are resisting natural
The Old Man strains on the toilet.
VAN DRIVER (CONT)
You can keep it all together
Even though you’re dead.
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,
Rust preventers, tiles, floorings, piping,
Fibres, solvents, scents, soap, rainwear,
Deodorants, emulsifiers, shoe cream,
Magnetic tape, rectal suppositories,
All petrochemically produced
And all owned by the arachnoid oligopolies
Gushing with product enthusiasm.
75 INT. REMOVALS VAN. DAY. 75
The PROSTITUTE pours from a thermos.
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.
Oh, you don’t want a scotch? Have a beer –
She opens the glove compartment:
Stabilised with propylene glycol alginate.
A fruit flavour
Enriched by propinol..
She looks down at the REMOVALS MAN:
Now be a good boy, drink up your juice,
Then you can Play with your cars!
Even the glint in someone’s eye
May be petrochemical;
And each new life is anointed
With a petrochemical by-product –
The VAN DRIVER orgasms.
The OLD WOMAN now leans across.
Should anyone remain untouched
And refuse to have petrol pumped into
Polyurethane foam for incendiary furniture,
Combustible acrylic for curtains and covers,
Should see that you end up in a more
76 EXT. MOTORWAY LAYBY. DAY. 76
A HITCH-HIKER is walking the length of the
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:
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!
78 EXT. TRAFFIC JAM. DAY. 78
The line of stalled cars. A line of exhaust pipes
exhausting the possibilities of fresh air.
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.
From the Sanskrit root -il, light,
And petr, Peter, the rock.
Thus, petrol is light from the rock.
80 INT. ACE CAFÉ. DAY. 80
A TRUCKER tucks into the full fry up.
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.
81 INT. ACE CAFÉ KITCHEN. DAY. 81
The COOK stands frying in vast quantities.
Before we can be illuminated
It is being burnt
By those who assuredly know best.
82 EXT. MOTORWAY SERVICES. DAY. 82
A Limousine stops at pumps. A Fat hand emerges, as
if calling for staff.
The global juice is fed
Through umbilical tubes
Marrying man to machine
In a miscegenating mixture.
83 EXT. OIL RIG. NIGHT. 83
Stock footage. The sound of the drills through
As the earth is being sucked dry,
it may one day react
Against being caricatured as a multi barreled
Needled by two million bore-holes
Inserted by oil racketeers.
84 EXT. BEACH. DAY. 84
Oil slick – Stock footage. Dead Herons, Sea-gulls
and ruined fish clog the beach.
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.
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
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,
86 EXT. TRAFFIC JAM. DAY. 86
A CAR-TRAILER. From the cab, the CAR TRAILER
DRIVER throws unwanted fish and chips on the road.
..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.
87 EXT. MOTORWAY SERVICES. DAY. 87
An ATTENDANT stands by the Limousine. THE FAT
AMERICAN DRIVER still sat inside stares at him.
The car cult permits an elitist
Ruled by 20,000 princelings
To carry out any and every human rights
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Meanwhile poets who criticize the regime
Are executed, street conjurors are killed
In public in Riyadh’s so-called Chop Chop
having been condemned for sorcery –
And pits are dug for women who have
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.
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.
90 EXT. BEACH. DAY. 90
A Dead gull, discovered. A YOUNG BOY is pouring a
tin of black paint over it.
The flagrancy of the oil’s consumption
Is made more conspicuous by careless or
Glutinously exterminating whole populations of
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:
The car manufacturing countries wage
war over oil
And the freedom to move, on prescribed tracks
91 INT. LIMO. DAY. 91
THE FAT AMERICAN DRIVER relishes as he speaks.
And the lord made him suck oil out of the
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
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 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
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.
Let safety suck.
He drags her back, into place.
92 EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY. 92
The traffic shifts slightly. The vast Limo is
featured. The Driver sounds his horn. Others too.
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
94 INT. LIMO. DAY. 94
THE FAT AMERICAN DRIVER lights his cigar as he is
pleasured. He rests his elbow on the prostitute’s
So, what’s the safety lobby suggesting?
A moving padded cell?
Listen, nevermind being low on macho,
Because the safer it is –
With safety belts that garrotte you,
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
96 INT. LIMO. DAY. 96
The rant continues:
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
98 INT. LIMO. DAY. 98
As he drives, THE FAT AMERICAN is ecstatic. He
whoops and hollers. The PROSTITUTE clambers into
Now, what are they saying?
We got rid of it, didn’t we?
Though tetra-ethyl lead was a patriotic
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
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
Look, why don’t we concentrate on
the real issues of life:
The automobile is the groundbait of
Ask yourself why every government in
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
One per second world wide,
And we need every kid you can manufacture to
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
102 EXT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 102
LEAH and THE MANAGER are still sitting. He takes
the gun from her, whilst cradling her.
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
Was fatally struck by a horseless carriage.
103 INT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 103
BENZ adjusts a mirror, reflecting more light
through the space.
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.
The Visitor pondered the results
Of submission to this lengthy test programme.
104 EXT. ACE CAFE. DAY. 104
LEAH breaks away from the MANAGER, walking
towards the traffic.
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.
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
Blood-rinsed lungs punctured by door handles,
Swatches of brain pancaked into defused slush..
Were all regarded as little more than traffic
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.
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.
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
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 –
Pine-needles grew grey, metallic tips
And dropped to the ground.
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
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.
As the planet was slowly shaved of
Air, the visitor observed
Could come in as short winded supply
As the breath of a sedentary driver.
108 EXT. ACE CAFE. FORECOURT. DAY. 108
A Bus stops directly outside the cafe.
A CHINESE PENSIONER disembarks and turns to look
In Rome, the traffic police were on strike,
Claiming that they were unable to breathe.
In Japan, department stores were selling
Dispensing it in purpose built bars,
Flavoured with lime, lemon, coffee and even
And advertising it as a sovereign remedy
For Tokyo’s suffocating citizens.
The nitrous oxides,
The sulphur dioxide,
The carbon monoxide
Mix into a miasmic cocktail of indestructible
Feculent radicals in new and irreversible
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.
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.
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,
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.
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
- The MOTHER also approaches, holding tightly
the hand of the CHILD.
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.
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:
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.
Relics of history are obliterated
Like superfluous road-signs.
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.
History is to be as faceless as
And left for dead!
She approaches the Limo.
The FAT AMERICAN sits there, unmoved in each sense.
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
The ashen metropolitan face
Betrays more than the forlorn anxieties of
Grey is the colour of nitrous oxide
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.
During medical experiments at Auschwitz
Petroleum was injected into prisoner’s
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:
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.
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
The light plays across them, cast no doubt by
The waitresses panic but the Manager calms them.
JB stands ready. The POET observes and writes on.
Petrol’s particulates seep through
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.
People on the street
Are clinically refered to by the city
As pedestrian traffic
Their lives impressively foreshortened
In an alfresco gas chamber.
The ELDERLY WOMAN rises.
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.
Children wheeled past exhaust pipes
at chest level
Become catalytic converters.
LEAH looks to the MOTHER:
The tender lining of the womb
Is considerately reinforced by lead,
Cadmium, mercury and aluminium,
Then required to filter petrol’s deadly
Toluene, xylene, ethylene dibromide.
Child abuse is dress rehearsed in pregnancy.
The MOTHER stares.
The future is conventionally housed
Inside the womb,
But the present,
Likewise the property of the creature lying
Has been pitilessly clamped.
MANAGER (AS RATIONALE:)
The baby is sometimes stillborn,
Thanks to greed’s halitosis.
Breath is no longer a birthright.
While paying lip service to clean living
The car still aspires to Peculiar paroxysms
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.
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:
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
The more carbon dioxide, the more heat.
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.
Despite the insidious sops of
Whose forbears promoted cigarette
As a cure for bronchitis –
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.
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.
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.
He also carried up six cases of deodorant:
He killed eleven people
While fastidiously entertaining the wish not
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.
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.
The Visitor then detected a yet more radical
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.
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…
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.
Benz looks on troubled.
JB looks to the Poet but he does not see.
He writes on.
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:
117 EXT. MOTORWAY. DAY. 117
The traffic is moving.
But the car is so convenient..
Or its egoistic credo:
Another car does a fast overtake.
My journey is important. Yours isn’t!
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.
And each autumn the orifice grows larger
As the celestial sphincter muscles grow
To allow more of the gaseous excrement to
The aperture is serviced by rashes of freak
Operating like extractor fans
Newly created by shifting layers
Of chemically heated air.
119 EXT. MOTORWAY. DUSK. 119
The daylight fades. Traffic moving. Headlights
are turned on – if possible; all at once.
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
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.
For as common sense would indicate
If you were in a confined space
With half a billion cars
Remorselessly venting themselves of a noxious
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.
BENZ re-aims the light.
Various people watch as the light travels.
It reaches the RABBI.
The Rabbi exhales darkened smoke.
The Rabbi takes over the function and role
of the Tramp.
The POET watches.
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.
121 EXT. MOTORWAY. DUSK. 121
A foregrounded verge. Motorway in the background.
The darkened grass, close now. Its movement and
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
So another species,
Exuding deadly pheromones
Toys with its own extinction…
122 INT. ACE CAFE. DUSK. 122
All watch him closely.
With an innocuous flick of the ignition
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.
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.
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.
123 EXT. MOTORWAY. DUSK – EVENING. 123
Another jam. The stalled cars. Fumes rising.
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
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
Were withered away;
Sucked dry by haemorrhaging motorways
Dotted with civic tubs of dusty shrubs
That pass for acquaintance with nature.
124 EXT. MOTORWAY. NIGHT. 124
An aerial view of the traffic snake, moving.
Delicate arteries, once worn in by thought
Had been displaced by swarms of carcinogenic
Racing helter-skelter through chemical killing
On an elongated open grave.
125 EXT. MOTORWAY. NIGHT. 125
Camera tracks a line of Drivers.
The Visitor scrutinised the individual drivers:
Legions of them in autistic cocoons
With an air of gloomy ferocity,
Their faces matching the expressionless
Their language confined to sultry gestures of
Worn expletives and arbitrary violence.
A car horn sounds. And then another.
Drivers are shouting, often to no-one at all,
in their cars.
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 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.
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:
Two children stranded on the crash barrier
Scream at approaching cars,
Rolling their eyes away from their parents
Mashed together in a mangled re-marriage.
Traffic speeds past.
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.
People die. People pass by.
Things seen at speed matter less.
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.
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
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
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:
Come on, come on, come on..
Get out my fucking way..
Can’t you fucking see I want to fucking
DEATH MIRROR (VO)
Gridlocked, blocked streams of cars
Pulsate with a murderous mantra:
Camera pans to a car stuck behind him:
Me before you. Me before you..
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
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.
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.
The Visitor took a brief, sorry overview
Of a self-consuming planet,
Rotting down like an overripe puffball,
Then breezily rocketing its polluted
spores into space
With boy-scout optimism,
In the lofty hope of finding some more
The Visitor glanced at the individual
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
To ensure that the sun would rise each day;
Their ceremonies were so extravagantly
Their victims glowed and shone
And consented with pleasure.
The Visitor gazed again
At the new brand of mass execution
Casually sponsored by market forces,
And noticed that in a riot
It was curious that 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
What the hell –
The Visitor then glimpsed the occasional
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
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.
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.
It seemed to the Visitor that the vandals
Were perhaps the only experts in crisis
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.
But these as yet were midgets
Shaking their fists at the heavens..
138 EXT. MOTORWAY. NIGHT. 138
The DEATH MIRROR reveals the Ambulance getting
139 INSERT: TRAFFIC CAMERA PICTURE. 139
VARIOUS CARS AND DRIVERS passing by, brief
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
140 EXT ACE CAFÉ. NIGHT. 140
THE CHORUS are gathered. THE CHILD throws
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.
143 EXT. STREETS. NIGHT-DAWN. END CREDITS MONTAGE. 143
The people are walking away from the dark