Tube mice is a short script to introduce to very dubious characters from a later piece called “…of Men & Monsters”, say Hi to Griff and Gerry…
… for those of you who are easily offended, look away now… I’ve used some bad words in this piece…
Another vingette from my un( never to be )finished “Toxic Shopping” comic book, establishing a pair of rather short lived but important characters… (no, not the nuns)…
I wrote the original of this way back in ’92/’93, in that whole post-Tarantino phase that I imagine alot of aspiring writers/scribblers went through… and it hasn’t been altered much since then…
I’m not sure, but I think it works as a stand alone anyway…
Toxic Shopping (a fragment) – TUBE MICE
Sounds of the London Underground, the echoing chatter of the hundreds of people, rushing air, and the distant rumble of trains…
1 INT. TUBE STATION, LONDON – EVENING
Extreme C.U. of a LITTLE GIRL’S face eyes wide open (just the eyes, unblinking) staring into camera…
CAMERA pulls back to reveal her whole face and shoulders (she blinks)…
2 POV – TUBE TRACKS
We see what has been holding the girls attention… as little black TUBE MICE dart about under the rails looking for food…
3 INT. TUBE STATION, LONDON – EVENING
The LITTLE GIRL again… head and shoulders… she squints her eyes, screwing her whole face up… Suddenly from the focal blur behind her a hand (her MOTHER) reaches out and grabs her by the shoulders (her eyes widen) dragging her backwards…
(at once annoyed and worried)
COME AWAY FROM TH…!
4 INT. TUBE STATION, LONDON – EVENING
The motion blurred exterior of a London underground tube train racing through a station… the noise of the train is at first overwhelming and then fades to a regular level… In the lower left of the screen the date, time and location appears.
“London, 16:52, May 8”
5 INT. TUBETRAIN COMPARTMENT, LONDON – EVENING
The interior of one of the compartments… It has only six occupants, The CAMERA moves down the compartment dealing with each of the occupants…
This should be shown in a Dream like collage or flashback… (FDIO) The first, a sleepy, rather PRETTY WOMAN in her late twenties… She’s heading back to her apartment to meet her mother who called her at work an hour ago. The phone call informing her of the fact that mum would be “staying over a few days”. So besides her usual homeward bound thoughts of yet another convenient yet nutritious meal for one, and the coming weekends prospective lack of romantic interest, tonight she’s congratulating herself on the formulation of a watertight case for premature euthanasia…
Next to her a RED-FACED MAN in his fifties struggles with his tie, it refuses to loosen. Instead the knot simply becomes smaller and increasingly beyond the capabilities of his sausage-like digits… He has had to run to catch the tube, carrying his somewhat more than slight frame down two flights of stairs and onto the train where it now seemed to be contemplating a massive coronary, he self-consciously tries not to pant so loudly, which to his surprise and further embarrassment brings on a fit of hiccups…
The far end of the carriage is presided over by two NUNS, Sisters of the Sanctuary of the Holy Name, they sit in silence, one of them, the older of the two, absent-mindedly rubbing her skirts between the thumb and forefinger of her left hand, she stares at her reflection in the glass opposite wondering if the sanctuary has fallen into complete disarray in her absence, her young companion sits head down and suddenly flushes with colour whilst, for what must have been the fifteenth time since lunch, she considers sex that she’s never had, she’s becoming more and more convinced that it’s not only God that can read her thoughts and just longs for the safety of her own room.
The two remaining passengers sit side by side approximately one third the way down the along the compartment, the first, the taller of the two (GRIFF), is dressed in a crisp clean white shirt under a dark suit. He’s reading a newspaper which appears to be in a Foreign language (Maltese) whilst listening to a personal stereo, which can clearly be heard over the clickety-clack and rush of the train. His neighbour (GERRY) is dressed in jeans and a jumper (which could only have been a present), he carries an overcoat roughly folded around his arm. He looks particularly uncomfortable as he scans the carriage for the hundredth time, suddenly he says…
Look at that!.
The taller man continues to read his newspaper oblivious to his companion.
(He nudges the taller man impatiently.)
Have you seen that?
(obviously irritated he removes his
earplugs with a yank on the wires.)
What the fuck now! I’m reading…
How can you concentrate to read with that shit blasting in your ears?
I hardly need to concentrate to read do I? I mean it’s getting kind of easy, I’ve been doing it for over twenty-five years… It’s not like I’m trying to build a house of cards is it? Besides… I happen to like this shit… Now did you want something, or what?
Look down there…
(he points down at the floor a few feet away.
6 POV – CARRIAGE FLOOR
C.U. of a discarded syringe on the floor opposite… it rocks a little with the movement of the train.
7 INT. TUBETRAIN COMPARTMENT, LONDON – EVENING
Whadda y’mean ‘and…?, There’s kids on this train, that kinda thing is out of order, who knows what sorta crap that thing’s had in it… Or still got in it for that matter? Some damn junkie just shoots up on a train or in some disease ridden broom closet in a station back there, then dumps the residue of his stinking habit here… Then, some pregnant mother gets on with her toddler, she’s in a hurry, she’s visiting her husband at the hospital, I don’t know, some roofing accident or something, she’s busy thinking about the bills and food she can’t afford, and not paying attention to the kid when WHAPP!… the kid picks up the needle and sticks it in his eye…or worse, sticks it in his mum’s leg then his eye…Crack, Smack, Hepatitis, HIV…
It coulda just had insulin in it…
So you’re telling me the kid an’ his mum are gonna feel so much better knowing they’ve gotta balanced blood-sugar level?
(suddenly animatedly pissed off)
Well I…, hold on ! What kid? What eye? There’s nobody here but us, a fat bloke, someone’s secretary an’ a couple’a goddamn nuns!…
6 INT. TUBETRAIN COMPARTMENT, LONDON – EVENING
We see the reactions of the NUNS (they look like they’ve had something seriously unpleasant waved under her nose).
7 INT. TUBETRAIN COMPARTMENT, LONDON – EVENING
GERRY looks from the NUNS, and back to GRIFF, then in a lower voice (out of the side of his mouth), as if suddenly embarrassed…
I was talking hypothetically.
You were talking crap!.
Look, there’s still five or six stops between here and our stop, not to mention the ones after we’ve gotten off.
OK What?.. Look GERRY just tell me what you want me to do for you here… I can see this is pissing you off almost as much as you are me… So tell me, what? Should I get off the goddamned train right here an’ go write a letter to my local M.P. …or just stand over the fuckin’ thing all day with a notice pinned to my arse saying ‘STAY BACK! Possible risk of possible infection or minor bleeding’, What? c’mon tell me, what?
Now you’re being stupid.
I’m being stupid??? You’re the one who’s throwing a duck-fit over a needle that may or may not have been used by some invisible, unidentified, possible AIDS infected diabetic junkie, Fuck!… it could’a just fell out of a vets medical bag…
So pick it up.
Fuck you! you want me to stick it in my finger an’ put myself down, you pick it up.
You’ve just no idea about community spirit or social responsibility have you Griff?
No!…Besides, what community? What social? We’re on a fuckin’ tube train two hundred fuckin’ yards under ground!
OK! OK! I’ll pick it up.
With that GERRY now irritated and embarrassed by the whole scene, bends forward pulling a handkerchief from his jeans pocket, and proceeds to wrap up the syringe, carefully avoiding any actual contact with the object. He stands slowly and moves to the end of the train, lowers the window in the door, and lets the bundle fall between the carriages and onto the line below. All the while he is being eyed suspiciously by the two NUNS… Brushing his hands on his jumper, he returns to his seat.
Feel better now Mr. Bleeding Heart, Saviour of the World? Can I finish reading my paper now?
Total silence from GERRY. GRIFF smiles with smug satisfaction, flicks his paper open and continues to read.
Well… I mean, what about the mice?
What frigging mice?!!
(pleased with himself)
Ah well, don’t come shouting to me when some crack-crazed tube mouse jumps off the Central Line and tries to drag you down onto the track.
(gives his paper one last flick, briefly revealing an automatic pistol in a shoulder holster under his left arm.)
(folding his arms and looking the other way, defeated)
Fuck you Griff!