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Stan awoke before dawn and put his boots on; the wooden floors were always cold. His exposed skin, as naked as the walls of the house. Like an empty morgue, bereft of the features that make a house homely.
He used the bathroom before walking down the hall to his study, guided by the dim blue light from his computer screen.
“Hi Jim, just love the Pollock you used for your profile pic. Love to meet up sometime, and put a face to the name. Looking for a friend. X, Catgirl84.”
Stan’s spine tingled as he viewed her ‘Match-Made’ profile. He sent a reply, “Sounds fun, let’s arrange a time and place. X, Jim.”
From Catgirl’s gallery Stan printed a picture of her, in a swimsuit by a lake. Print in hand, he headed back along the hall to the bathroom.
Outside dawn was still a glowing ember in charcoal sky.
Janie had already met some real jerks on the Match-Made site. One guy seemed quite promising but turned out to just be a real fucking douche.
“Hey doll,” he’d said. “I’m Darcy. I own my own company, distributing dairy goods to delis in seven states. Why is a guy like me using a dating site? Right?”
Talk about peddling cheese; what a dickhead.
This Jim guy however, just felt like the one. It was all there in his profile.
Stan had a day of preparation. After his run, he buzzed his hair; grade two, shaved twice and cut his nails short. Then he showered, exfoliating and scrubbing hard. He fixated on the thought of a tattoo he’d imagined she had, but hadn’t been able to see in the photo. His second step-mum had a tattoo of a butterfly on her pelvis. He’d seen it for the first time, aged thirteen, when Father sent her to his room, to see if she could make his weird quiet boy a man.
Janie made a call to check-in with her best friend; her partner from work. She took her time with her make-up to look just right. Smokey eyes, and lips deep plum red. She downed a swig from the vodka bottle she kept in the ice-box. She put on her biker jacket and an over-sized scarf, picked up her purse and went out the door.
The world was an inferno, the sunset augmenting the fall leaves. As Stan loaded up the old van, blood and adrenaline coursed through his veins. The fucking stink was coming back. He’d told the valet some rats had died in there and rotted. He had latex gloves, a plastic tarp, cable ties, duct-tape, a knife and a length of piano wire.
The fall sunset burned brightly in Janie’s auburn hair as she waited for her man. Inside her purse were her phone, her badge and her issue Glock 19.
“Yes, I am the owner, William Anning Jr. What can I help you with, Detective Inspector?”
“Mister Anning, I was hoping to speak to you about a missing persons’ case. We believe that the people in question were last seen entering your club.”
“Of course, whatever helps, but it gets really busy in here ya’ see. I’m usually busy upstairs in the office. Maybe I could arrange for y’all to speak to the doorman and the bar staff.”
“I’ll speak to them in due course. Perhaps we should head up the stairs to that office,” said Fraser.
“Certainly, sure thing.” Anning led the way and Fraser followed.
Anning was smug in the seat behind his desk. “So Detective, call me Bill. I never caught your first name.”
“Just call me Detective Inspector Fraser.” Fraser reached inside his jacket. “So, Bill, start by telling me if you recognise the people in this picture.” He held up a picture of an attractive Indian couple.
“No, I’ve never seen them.”
“They were here at your club on Friday night.”
“It don’t seem likely.”
“Really Bill? Why exactly is that?”
“Well it’s just that we don’t get many people like them in here, on a Friday.”
“Young, professionals, you mean?”
“No, I mean, it’s just that, we have a particular clientele on a Friday night.”
“I see,” said Fraser, looking straight past Anning at the Confederate flag pinned to his wall. “You’re a country music fan right, Bill? This place has a real country-cowboy aesthetic. Maybe you’re a fan of Johnny Rebel?”
“I fail to see what my taste in music has to do with this enquiry.”
“Well I was just wondering how a good ole’ Country bar like this ends up hosting a regular night for skinheads?”
The kettle whistled on the kitchen stove. Alice took the tea towel that was hanging on the handle of the oven door and wrapped it loosely around her hand. She lifted the steaming kettle from the ring. On her mug were a dozen or so cat faces. They stared up at her as she dropped a single tea bag in to the mug; Lapsung Sencha Jade Nirvana. She added the water. Usually she preferred plain old black tea, but she had run out. It had been several days since she had been out to the store. She wasn’t ready to face the world. After probably six months, this was her first taste of the “special” green tea that she had purchased from the tea guy at the farmers’ market. He’d had a strangely conservative air about him, for a white guy in his fifties who wore his hair in dreadlocks and an old knitted rainbow sweater. Alice lifted the mug of tea to her lips and sipped. She’d forgotten how much she actually enjoyed the taste of green tea. It was just a little bitter, but with the addition of a little honey it was quite delicious. The toaster popped and a charred slice of bread leapt in vain for the ceiling. It was the heel of the loaf; the last slice. Once again, honey seemed to be the answer. She had also run out of butter. Alice was going to have to venture out soon if she didn’t want to starve.
Alice placed her mug on the kitchen table. “Shit,” she said as it spilled a little. The tea hadn’t burned her hand, but she winced and blew on it as if on auto-pilot. The green floral table cloth had suffered worse; it was originally her Mother’s. Alice was about to turn thirty-two; she figured that the table cloth had to be at least that old. One of the washed-out stains on the table cloth reminded Alice that just five nights ago, she had cooked a beautiful homemade chicken curry with garlic nan breads, yoghurt, and a spicy lentil dahl. James had sat across from her smiling. They had spoken little, just laughing with full mouths as they watched each other stuffing their faces. The meal had been a great success. They had gone from the dining table straight to the bedroom; happy in the knowledge that they both smelled equally of garlic, and they didn’t care one bit.
“Where the hell have you gone?” Alice spoke aloud to herself as she thought about James and that lovely meal. She bit into her burnt toast. It was sticky but dry, so she took another sip of tea before opening the pantry for the third time. She took a small bowl from the drying rack by the sink, filled it with some dry cereal, and topped it with a handful of raisins. This hardly qualified as breakfast. It was merely sustenance.
At the other side of the room there was an old sofa and a wood-burning stove. Nearest to the door of the wood stove was an armchair. When people entered the room, they would always gravitate towards that armchair. It was not pretty but it had personality. Alice had convinced James they should buy it from the thrift store when they first bought their house. It was the type of seat that gave you a warm hug when you sat in it. Meanwhile, it stole any loose contents from your pockets and consumed them. Alice went to the chair and sat. Her purple woolen tights prickled slightly with the heat. The crackle of the fire complimented the sound of the rain against the window. She nibbled at the dry cereal, and toyed with the occasional raisin between her teeth. Soon she’d probably run out of logs for the stove. She was scared of the axe.
Alice cradled her warm mug to her chest. She contemplated her new-found loneliness, and refused to believe that it would continue this way much longer.
The small bowl on Alice’s lap slipped. “Shit!”
Dry cereal and raisins disappeared down the side of the cushion, into the gaping mouth of the sofa. Alice instinctively thrust her hand in the gap. What she found startled her, causing her to spill what was left of her green tea. She was dumb-struck.
It was James’ wallet, containing his driving license and all of his cards.
“There is no reason to suspect that your husband hasn’t just left for a bit, perhaps due to some early mid-life crisis,” one of the detectives had said previously. Where could he have gone without money or I.D?
Alice decided that she would leave the house today after all.
I jingled the keys to my Grandmother’s old house as we walked up the drive way. There was more weed than gravel. Some kids had impaled a pumpkin lantern on the wrought iron fence. Rusted spikes pierced the orange flesh. The heritage house in Esquimalt was neglected. Once yellow and white; it badly needed repainting. In the moonlight, it looked blue and green like mold.
“These, ladies and gentlemen, are the keys to party central,” I said.
“Are you sure it’s okay that we hang out here. Won’t your parents freak?” Jane said. She looked amazing in a red crushed-velvet riding hood. I’m sure Little Red never had legs like Jane.
“Look my Uncle owns this place. Nanny left it to him when she died, and he hasn’t been back here in years. Mum only comes here once a month to check on the place, if that,” I said.
All week, Bud and I had been planning on this chance to get the girls alone in our very own pad for the night.
“Andy found us the perfect place to chill. I think it’s awesome,” said Bud.
Jane pulled tight her scarlet hood. The evening was cold and blustery. “This place gives me the willies,” she said.
“I think that’s Andy’s intention, if you get what I mean, right Andy?” said Bud.
“Shut up,” was the best I could come up with.
“I just meant that I think it’ kinda spooky,” Jane said. She linked arms and cuddled with Cassie. Cassie was Jane’s best friend, and my best friend’s girlfriend. Looking at them, with their straight black hair, the two of them could have been sisters. Though I’m sure Little Red Riding Hood was no relation of Medusa. Jane was always the prettier one. Cass had a sort of tough girl thing going on.
“I love old houses like this. It’s got character,” said Cass.
“So does Freddie Kruger. I wonder if this place has one of those big ol’ furnaces in the basement.” Bud bounced around the girls pretending to claw at them.
“Look guys, it’s just a house,” I said. “Nobody’s living here and it seems a little dark and empty. That’s all. If everyone would rather spend another evening conversing with Stinky Joe at the bowling alley…”
“Hell no,” said Bud. “If it’s a choice between Amityville and Stinky Joe I’ll be inside with the flies.”
“I’m not sure that Amityville has any more flies than Joe does, but Nanny’s house is fly free. I promise.” With that, I unlocked the shabby wooden door, and it opened with a mournful creak.
“If you’re sure it’s okay,” said Jane.
“Come on J, let’s go have some fun. It is Halloween after all,” Cass said. As she led Jane into the house, a sudden gust of wind startled a crow into laughter.
Inside, I turned on the old brass standing lamp. There was light, but the bulb was old, and the light was dim. Bud helped me fetch and chop logs for the wood stove.
Jane looked for blankets in the cupboard under the stairs. Cass set up bits of paper on a table in the middle of the room. One bit for each of the letters in the alphabet, then numbers zero to nine, and finally one for yes and one for no. At the center of the mahogany table was an upturned glass and a large candle.
Bud and I were by the back door when a shrill scream came from the hall followed by a dull thud.
“Did you hear that?” Bud said. “Do you think she’s okay?”
“Wait a second. Listen. We should go check.” I made my way back to the sitting room. Jane was with Cass. She was shaking and her breathing was quick. Bud came lumbering in behind me. “What was it? I totally dropped my doobie in a puddle. The weather’s turning f’ugly out there.”
“What’s going on? We heard a scream. Are you okay Jane?” I asked. I was briefly distracted by the new ladder that had formed in her tights.
“Yeh sweetie, I’m fine,” she said.
“Jane, what happened? Are you okay?” asked Cass.
“I... I’m fine. I got a fright, that’s all.”
“You got a fright. I almost peed in my pants,” said Cass. “What was it Jane?”
Jane took a deep breath and brought both of her hands up to her temples. “I found the cupboard under the stairs... but it was dark in there. I couldn’t find the light. There was just enough light from the hall to make out the blankets folded on the shelf at the back.”
“And?” Cass interrupted.
“And when I reached in there, something moved. It brushed against my hand. It was gross.”
“What Jane? What was it?”
“A rat. I think. Anyway, I got such a shock that I stumbled and fell.”
“My Uncle Tony’s an exterminator, eh? He told me about rats the size of raccoons,” said Bud.
“Guys, let’s forget about it, it was nothing... You should get the fire lit and we can start having some fun,” said Jane. “Cass, here’s a blanket.”
“So is everybody ready for this?” said Cass.
“Sure,” I said. “It isn't as if anything is actually going to happen.”
“Aren't you just a little creeped out by this? said Jane. “I sort of want to go home.”
“Now everyone in the circle has to put one finger on the glass, then we try and make contact,” Cass said. She reached over the table to give Janes hand a reassuring squeeze. “One thing though, if we do make contact, then nobody takes their finger off the glass, or leaves the circle without asking the spirit first.”
At first, we asked if there was anybody there, and nothing happened. Then slowly the glass slid across the table and made a sound like nails on chalkboard. Jane went pale and her hand flinched slightly, but she kept her finger on the glass. A tear formed in her left eye. It glinted like a pearl as she looked to me, either for assurance or to make it all stop. I still believed Cass was in control of the glass. She had taken the lead and seemed more exhilarated than frightened.
“Who are we talking to?” asked Cass.
The glass moved in a swooping motion around to the paper that said “No.”
My senses were heightened. I became aware of the sound of the old wall clock ticking in the hallway. Outside, the wind wheezed, and the old oak groaned and rattled. I thought that I could hear the footsteps of spiders in the walls, and the wriggling of earthworms in the garden’s dank soil. There was a smell like rotten milk. The weak light from the antique lamp flickered in time with the candle.
The glass screeched as it started to sweep in a figure of eight motion. Bud’s bottom lip dropped and quivered and he started to whimper. The glass moved to “six.”
All four fingers remained on the glass as it changed direction. It circled the table leaving a scratch in the once polished surface. It settled again, on “six.”
I looked at Cass and pleaded within that it was her pushing the glass. Her teeth clenched and shiver visibly ran down the length of her spine.
“Spirit I wish to leave this circle,” said Cass. Fear strangled the strength from her voice.
The glass swung to “Yes.” Then resumed its figure of eight motion.
Cass removed her finger from the glass, and in a single motion pushed back her chair putting distance between herself and the table.
“Me too, said Bud “I want to leave the circle.”
Only Jane and I were left touching the glass. Certain that Jane was not pushing it, I felt sick to my stomach.
“Now you!” I said to Jane.
“Please can I take my finger away?”
“No,” said the glass.
Tears streamed down Jane’s cheeks leaving streaks of black eye liner.
“Can I leave the table?” I said.
I snatched my hand back. As I did so, the look in Jane’s eyes silently screamed, don’t you dare leave me alone. Don’t leave me.
Her finger remained as though stuck on the glass, yet barely touching. The glass moved more fluidly than ever “L-I-T-T-L-E-R-E-D”
Bud and Cass were huddled against the back wall of the room.
I ran around and grabbed Jane’s shoulders and pulled her back. As her finger came away from the glass it shattered. The clock stopped. Glass exploded around the room, a thousand razor-sharp diamond shards and 38 pieces of paper leapt into the air. I raised my hands to shield my face. When I removed them, Jane was gone. She’d ran from the room. Cass had tried to reach out toward her, but she was locked, fear-frozen, and couldn’t move. Jane left the house with the front door wide open. The wind rushed in and whipped and billowed the curtains. Its whistle became a shrill siren-yowl and from outside of the house came a grim eldritch cry. A severed scream, that was chased and cut down by silence. The ghoulish crow in the old oak tree laughed and cackled. I ran to the door. There in the darkness, I could just make out a red velvet flag flying by the wrought-iron fence.
Dancer /Script by Alasdair Robertson
Ext. park. Day
We start with a P.O.V shot running along a raise path through the park and crossing a bridge.
The next shot pans, follows the runner as he crosses the bridge and carries on along the path, moving from right of screen to left. The dialogue is in the form of a voice over.
MUSIC WILL PLAY THROUGH OUT AND THE SHORT MONOLOGUE AND INTERVIEW WILL PLAY OVER INTERJECTING SHORT SCENES.
RANDY STARMAN (AKA Duncan Feltch)
I grew up in a tough area, most people were going to end up at sea, in the Army, or worse jail. This was an escape for me in every sense. First, when I was younger it was about escaping inside myself. I could close off to the outside world. Later it became about escaping my outside world in a more literal sense... I would escape my small town and the small-minded people inside it. I wanted to be something more... Something bigger.
Int. A gym. day
Another P.O.V. shot from the point of view of our character RANDY he is working the bag.
For me nowadays physical fitness is a bigger issue than it ever used to be. It's a tough game to be in and it takes its toll on your body. Not just that but your mind too.
Ext. Park. Day
This time we have some macro shots zooming out to reveal a tranquil area of the park. Some slow panning shots and the sound or water running into the pond.
I have to just take the time... sometimes it’s important to get into the zone and find a character. The guy inside of me that is going to get the job done. I am imagining in my mind’s eye each bit step I'm going to take, every move...
Ext. Park. Day
Now at the park bench the camera slowly zooms in as Randy appears to be meditating. He is deeply focused.
Ext. A paved area. Day
Randy is walking straight towards the camera. Determined steps walking as if he is going to walk right through it.
Growing up was tough. The world can be tough. All I ever wanted was the space to do exactly whatever I wanted to do. To be me, without having to worry about what all the bored, small town, big fish, bully boy "sheeple" were going to think about it.
Int. a view from a stage.
The camera is panning down from the ceiling to reveal a large open theatre.
As far back as I can remember,I always wanted to be a dancer!
Int. A party. Night.
The camera is following Randy as he dances.
Short Montage... various daft dance clips
Int. A mirrored Dance Area
The camera studies Randy as he is being interviewed. We do not see the interviewer. The Interview will continue as a voice over but will occassionaly give way to small snippets of "dance action" or Randy going about various preparations.
I am here with Dancer once described as the most unique and tenacious talents of the contemporary dance scene. //
That was my mum that called me that..
And written off by some as too much to swallow.
So, Randy, I'd like to start out by asking you about your name. "Randy Starman" how did you come by such a moniker?
Well I come from a small town in Scotland, and I used to get a lot of teasing about my real name; "Duncan Feltch"I knew that i had to leave it behind with everything else. I liked the name Randy...I didn't think much about it, i suppose but I thought it sounded American. And Starman came straight from David Bowie, The new name, I thought at the time, was out of this world.
And when you left home where did you go?
I headed south for the big cities, anywhere I could go and dance, disco's, night clubs, the streets anywhere...
But it wasn't long before you headed to America...LA in particular.
Yeah... I mostly did dishes in restaurants but I would go out in the streets and see people break dancing, I started taking lessons, trying to get noticed dancing in clubs...and going to auditions.
And your big break?
What was that…?
You were in the original "footloose" movie… is that not correct?
Well yes, Of Course...Kind of...it was an un-credited roll. I am a little hard to see in the final cut.
Why is that do you think?
I can't remember the reason they gave me...I think my choice of moves and my outfit were too contemporary. I think they thought I was likely to show up Kevin Bacon. He was meant to be the star.
Oh, really... And what about Dirty Dancing?
Oh, yes, I was definitely on set for that one, I am there somewhere in the crowd scene. I don't think Jennifer Grey liked me... She's a stuck-up cow.
Yet you did your own show based on that experience?
Yes. It was a one-man show, very complicated stuff ... you know... technically
Ext. Park. Day
The interview cut to a shot of Randy dancing across a small bridge. He is wearing a vest and jean shorts and carrying a watermelon.
See... I carried a watermelon.
Int. A party. Night
A full shot of Randy in jeans and a leather jacket, he points and the camera zooms in to a head shot as he says;
Nobody puts baby in a corner!
Int. A mirrored dance area
Back to the interview
I think I have a picture of Patrick Swayze somewhere. He's kind of like my spirit animal. So cool. He typifies what it is to be a dancer and still be manly. You Know in Roadhouse he pulled out a man's throat... My friend Soapy, told me that was for real … I mean… I don't know but just imagine…
Back to your one-man Dirty Dancing. Can you tell us why that show lasted just one night?
I blame the promoters… The turn up was poor
According to the review that we read there were just 23 people in the audience at the beginning and only 9 left by the first break.
I don't think people were ready for the concept. It was a difficult thing to do... Particularly playing the roles of both Baby and Johnny when they were meant to be dancing together.
The critic found that particularly challenging in the love scene; I quote "Vile, disgusting, interpretive dance or not, not at all appropriate for public viewing."
Like I always say, what do critics know, they're always so critical. I was just ahead of the times.
Randy is pacing and talking on the phone
Hi Maddie, how’s it going, so what about that follow up to Chandelier?......... You what ... it’s me ...........Randy......No not that Randy..........Yes that guy...Who the hell is Shia Le buff?......Maddie... MADDIE!
(looks to camera) She is such a little Diva... Always joking about though.
Int. A mirrored dance area
Back to the interview.
So, what happens next for Randy Starman?
I'll probably pop out for a sandwich
No next... career wise
Actually, big announcement...After my current project "Samurai; Dance of Death"...Retirement... Too many little injuries... too many niggles.
That’s it? No More?
I am going to watch my daughter in a recital.... she’s not in Kindergarten yet.. but I know she's got it.
Close up of Randy smiling as he beams;
She's the Future!
Finale Montage .......and Credits