THE GALLERY

Original Screenplay by Mitchel Wicking

c) Authors Copyright April 2010

FADE IN

SOUNDS OF SIRENS, ANXIOUS VOICES, GENERAL CHAOS.

REVEAL –

EXT. TATE GALLERY, ST. IVES, CORNWALL – DAY

It’s pandemonium as nervous POLICE OFFICERS cordon off the gallery, while HOLIDAYMAKERS and LOCALS jostle with TV NEWS CREWS for the best view.

INT. TATE GALLERY

At floor level, deep inside surrounded by silence we are looking up at wonderful art on the gallery walls.
And then we’re on the move as we hear a WOMAN humming gently to herself – and a soggy mop comes swishing across the area of wooden floor in front of us.

CUT TO

Gallery cleaner SPLENDID MOPHEAD beginning her rounds.

In her late 50s Splendid is wearing blue overalls and greying white trainers, listening to Ry Cooder singing chicken-shack songs on her mini I-pod.

Humming and mopping Splendid enters an exhibition entitled The Nature of Things – and comes to an abrupt halt.

There in front of her lie seven blood-soaked bodies scattered on the floor like a Chris Offili dung painting. Splendid shakes her head slowly like a contemptuous tortoise struck by the blues and whistles between her teeth.

SPLENDID

Dere’s noh waay I’s cleanin’ tha’ lot up at this time ov dae! Getme de boss man now!

The stricken include six men and one woman. Five of the men are dressed in police uniform.

The other man is younger with wild hair in 60s art student clothes. He goes by the name of TRAGO MILLS.

The only woman is gorgeous, mid-twenties, possibly Spanish. She wears a pretty yellow sarong that hugs her figure like cling film and her name is quite aptly DEE ANGEL LOPEZ.

SPLENDID

Blurdy performant artiss, ‘ave no respect for us manual labourers.

Splendid focuses her attention on Trago.

SPLENDID

Okey-dokey Mr. Hirst, of de pickled cow famousness, tis time t’ go home luv. (There is no response) I’s sure tis was a truly brillian’ performant Damien, but everyone’s gone home for tea man. ‘Onest I nose lyin’ t’youse.

Still no response. Splendid checks her watch. Time is of the essence. She prods Trago in the ribs with her mop but he still doesn’t react. Splendid tuts loudly and nudges a little more forcibly, and this time it does the trick.

TRAGO

Argghhhhh!!

Splendid steps back startled, casting her mop to the air, accidentally flicking Trago’s blood onto an expensive Van Gogh canvass hanging behind them.

SPLENDID

Aww noh, man. I ‘ope dat’s not cow’s blood you’s usin’ Mr. Hirst?

Trago moans and gestures for Splendid to come nearer. Splendid shuffles across and realises her mistake.

SPLENDID

Oh my, oh my, you’s not Damien Hirst of de pickled cow famousness, you’s Mr. Trago Mills of Widdle.

TRAGO

Yes, Splendid, it is I.

SPLENDID

Heavens man, what are you doin’ here messin’ about wiv dese performant arsewipes?

TRAGO

There has not been any art performed today Mrs Mophead, unless you consider murder and mayhem to be an art form. Those pieces of toilet paper are real policemen. They are as real as the blood you see cascading from my body. Therefore, my blood on that Van Gogh, may well stain that expensive, but rather over-priced masterpiece.

SPLENDID

Ooo my-my, better give it a little wipe den?

TRAGO

I don’t think so, you might smudge it.

SPLENDID

But I always wipe de lovely pictures if I sees any of de snot from de tiny tots, or de shit from de flying insects. Jus’ a little dab…

Splendid reaches for a large grubby cloth from her cart.

TRAGO

Over my dead fucking body!!

Trago flaps his arms frantically, which stops Splendid in her tracks, although she looks hurt by his rage.

TRAGO

I’m sorry I yelled. But you would have set the alarm off.

SPLENDID

B’maybe tha noh bad ting, Mr Mills, considering?

TRAGO

No, look, I think I may be on the way out too so it doesn‘t matter.

SPLENDID

O. Dat’s a shame, Mr Mills, dat’s de great shame.

TRAGO

Yes, but before I go I need to tell you something. You see for years I have been a sad man.

SPLENDID

Bu’ dat noh true, youse always such a happy soul.

TRAGO

No I mean S.A.D sad, not sad. Seasonally Affected Disorder.

SPLENDID

Dat sounds serious.

TRAGO

It is. It means when the weather gets bad, I get upset. I become a monster Splendid, a horrible grotesque monster.

SPLENDID

Like Godzilla, in the rain?

TRAGO

Kind of, the result is the same. So many people have died in my presence and now I’m going too, I want to tell you every thing about me and that gorgeous girl over there who I love so dearly and was going to ask to be my wife.

SPLENDID

Oh, I see. Congratulations. Will it take long? I ‘ave a hot date wiv Frankie Parsnip of Onion Barghee Row. Showaddywaddy are playing at the British Legion.

TRAGO

That’s nice and no it won’t take long Splendid.

Splendid pushes her cleaning trolley nearer and places her considerable posterior over most of it.

TRAGO

It all began about a week ago…

INT. TRAGO’S BEDROOM – MORNING

In dim light we see Trago asleep in a double bed. He is well under and snoring heavily.

A sudden blast of sunlight comes scorching through the threadbare curtains to reveal Trago slumped forward on his knees, his bare arse sticking up in the air.

On feeling the sun on his skin, Trago’s eyes pop open and he springs off the bed like a startled kitten.

TRAGO

About bloody time!

He scampers to the bedroom window, tripping over his shoes and underwear, and grabs the curtains.

He flings them aside – but too forcefully. The drapes, rails and bits of wall come crashing to the floor.

But he doesn’t care for he is only interested in the sunlight. It hits him in the face like a hot brick and sucks his breath away.

TRAGO

Yes, yes, come to me, come to me, you rays of delicious joy!

He flings his head back joyously as the sun bathes his body – but the ecstasy is quickly shattered by a hideous scream erupting outside.

SNAP CUT

EXT. TRAGO’S BEDROOM WINDOW

And the extremely white-haired and haughty-looking LADY PHILOMENA PRUNEDSHRUB with mouth agape, staring at the naked Trago. By her side, on the end of a lead, is a gaggle of wriggling ferrets.

CUT BACK TO – TRAGO

As he opens his eyes and sees Lady Prunedshrub staring back at him eyeball to testicle. He jumps with horror and bounces to the left out of view. But on turning to find some clothes to put on, Trago becomes frozen to the spot.

There is something in his bed under the sheets, next to where he had been sleeping – the unmistakable shape of a human body.

The top of the sheets is covered in thick globs of speckled scarlet like a Jackson Pollock.

TRAGO (confused)

I don’t remember painting that.

Then he sees the arm sticking out. The arm with a hundred tiny stab wounds punctuating the skin.
Nervously, Trago pulls the sheet away to reveal a YOUNG GIRL’S face – and her wide lifeless eyes. Trago gasps, winces, and almost heaves and turns away in utter disgust letting go of the sheet.

TRAGO

Oh my God, dear Lord, not again.

He buries his head in his hands but seems unsure. Then it comes to him gradually.

FLASHBACK –

EXT. THE PIGEON’S ARMS – NIGHT

A lonely part of town, the pebble-dashed pub stands grimly in the bleak black night. The creaky pub sign swings violently in the wet howling wind. The rough hand-painted sign of a whistling pigeon with its cheeks puffed out adds to the air of malevolence. And here’s Trago soaking wet in a white t. shirt and white boxer shorts, brown hush puppies on his feet, fascinated by the erratic pendulum precision of the sign, waiting for it to come crashing down. He is convinced he can hear the tune the pigeon is whistling.

TRAGO

I bet it’s Good King Wenceslas.

The trance is broken when a car races through a puddle and splashes him up the legs. Enraged he snarls, shakes his fist at the car as it fades into the blackness. He is sure he can hear people laughing but can’t see a soul anywhere.

It has been another black day and another raging storm is engulfing his skull. This is Trago’s psychosis, a bad weather psychosis.

INT. PIGEON’S ARMS

Bright, seedy, one the big brewers left behind.

Trago is sitting at a far table with a bottle of Bud and his friend the melancholy mood. PHYLISS GLASSUP, the landlady, is very wary of him, which is not surprising, as he looks drugged-up and brain-dead. The twitching cheeks don’t help, nor the sporadic shouting or sudden raucous laughter.
He is now fascinated by the seat he is sitting on. It has tufts of yellow foam sprouting from a number of splits in the cheap black plastic cover.

TRAGO

Hey, Phyliss, did you know you’re seats are oozing pus?!

Phyliss smiles weakly and pours herself a stiff drink just as the YOUNG GIRL, CINDY, comes falling in through the main doors. She’s as pissed as Keith Floyd, but Phyliss doesn’t mind, she is glad to have more company.

CINDY

Bacardi breezer, please luv. Make it two.

Phyliss hands Cindy the bottles. Cindy downs the first in one go and nearly keels over from the impact.

PHYLISS

Easy dear.

CINDY

Who told you I was easy? Well I don’t care. What else is there?

Cindy glances Trago’s way and smiles in mock-coy fashion.

Phyliss becomes nervous but Cindy is already hooked by Trago’s manic good looks while Trago finds Cindy kind of pretty in her chubby formation.

Phyliss does her best to make Cindy stay at the bar.

PHYLISS

Do you like my beer mats and coloured straws? What about my cheese, does it smell all right?

But Cindy wants to meet the odd-looking guy in the corner. With Bacardi Breezer in hand, Cindy moves on.

PHYLISS

No, wait…stay…

But Cindy is gone.

She staggers over and sits opposite Trago who now wears a weird sneering expression. The disco classic “The Birdie Song” is playing much to Trago’s disgust.

TRAGO

Who the b’Jesus put this fucking shite on?!

Trago gets up, goes to the wall-mounted jukebox and tries to kick it but it is too high. He gives up and slumps back to his seat.

Cindy studies his face and seems to like what she sees even more. Trago catches a glimpse of himself in the large wall mirror opposite but struggles to recognise the face looking back at him.

TRAGO

Do you think I look like Norman Tebbit?

CINDY

Who’s he play for?

TRAGO

The devil. But if ever there was a man who looked like he’d had his soul sucked from his body with a high-powered Dyson, Tebbit’s yer man.

CINDY

You what?

TRAGO

A right fucking ball-bag!

Cindy is puzzled and laughs. Trago looks Cindy up and down. He gives her a wink. Cindy repays the compliment – only she doesn’t do it very well and winks with both eyes at once.

CINDY

Hey, you know what?

TRAGO

What?

CINDY

I like doing it best in the shower.

TRAGO

Really?

Trago stares at Cindy with his twisted smile and bulging eyeballs and it seems to excite her even more. She pouts amateurishly and leans towards him. Trago leans forward.

TRAGO

Prooove it.

Cindy downs her drink and heads for the door. She stops and strikes a saucy pose, pointing her bum at Trago, raising her impossibly short skirt even higher to reveal she is not wearing any pants. She wiggles like Marilyn Monroe.

Trago’s eyes widen and he doesn’t bother finishing his drink. He rises from the table, his leery gaze fixed on the girl’s enticing posterior.

TRAGO

Jesus Christ, what an arse! I’m going to make that my first port of call!

Cindy giggles. Trago puts his hand to his mouth in mock embarrassment.

BACK TO THE PRESENT

INT. TRAGO’S BEDROOM

And Trago starts to chart the progression of events after he brought Cindy home from the pub.

FLASHBACK MONTAGE

Trago and Cindy eating a Chinese meal.

Cindy stripping off so Trago can paint her picture.

Cindy making all sorts of erotic poses.

The steam and clothes on the floor in the bathroom.

Cindy proving she was good in the shower.

Cindy’s enticing ass.

Cindy and Trago, naked, falling into bed together.

The wild sex. What she did to him. The climaxes, three of them..

And then come the SOUNDS.

It is these that start to worry him. Grotesque noises that don’t seem right for normal love-making, sounds like a wild animal, a wailing, grunting, alien pig and is that a howl, like some crazy Somerset werewolf?

All he has are the horrible sounds in his head, no pictures. Nothing at all.

Until, suddenly –

An ordinary kitchen fork. In one hand.

Then the other hand, oh God, the other hand!

Over the girl’s mouth. Fork in left hand. Right hand over mouth. Hand with fork coming down…

TRAGO

Oh my God!!

Tearfully, his eyes fall on the murder weapon – the dinner fork. It has landed in the tin foil debris of the Chinese meal. He begins to feel sick. The bloodied fork has merged with the leftovers of sweet and sour pork. Another plate beside it has another fork on it, licked clean.

The sunlight coming in through his window gleams off the metal fork and blinds him.

TRAGO

Oh sweet sunshine, where have you been?

He bites his lip, ponders his next move. He looks around his room. It is more like Francis Bacon’s cluttered studio than a bedroom with books, easels, palettes, paints, oily rags. And dozens of paintings, orange and yellow abstract shapes. His sun pictures.

He gazes from paintings, to the sun outside, to the dead girl. Mmmm. Difficult choice. Go painting or clean up the mess? Trago twiddles his thumbs.

But before he can decide the doorbell chimes. Trago hesitates. The bell rings again but this time it is followed by the booming voice of a Welshman Trago knows too well.

JACKO (o.s)

Hey boy-o, open up, it’s me Jacko.

TRAGO

Oh shit!

JACKO (o.s)

Come on now boy-o, we know you’re there.

TRAGO (to himself)

We?

Trago grimaces and gets into a bathrobe. He opens the door and is stunned to find POLICE SERGEANT JACKSON PERU standing next to Lady Prunedshrub and her posse of ferrets.

Jacko is 48 years old, six foot five, portly with a flabby face glowing orange like an unripe tomato. Lady Prunedshrub is seventy-something with Bob Monkhouse eyes and unusually pronounced nasal hair.

The uninvited guests look insanely serious which immediately worries Trago.

JACKO

Tut-tut-tut. Who’s been a little scally-wag then?

TRAGO

I…I don’t know what you mean, who‘s done what, you‘re kidding? How about a croissant?

LADY PRUNEDSHRUB

Don’t try croissants with me young man! I know what you’ve been up to!

Trago starts closing the door in panic. Jacko sticks his foot in the way to jamb it –

JACKO

Uh-uh, not so fast son. Lady Prunedshrub saw everything. She was quite perturbed.

LADY PRUNEDSHRUB

Yes, yes, I was quite, quite perturbed!

TRAGO

Oh dear Lord. I knew this day would come. I have tried to be good, really I have.

(Trago puts his hands out and waits to be handcuffed)

I’ll come quietly.

LADY PRUNEDSHRUB

Now you’re just being funny young man!

TRAGO

Funny by name, funny by nature.

LADY PRUNEDSHRUB

I don’t want to see you arrested! I just want you to apologise.

TRAGO

Apologise?

LADY PRUNEDSHRUB

Yes. Apologise. What people do in their own home is entirely up to them, even I will concede, but when it comes to parading one’s genitals at the front window for everyone to see, I really must object.

Trago roars with relieved laughter. But the Lady sees nothing to laugh about. Jacko notices the severe look of indignation and wipes the smile from his own face.

JACKO

It’s not a laughing matter son.

TRAGO

I’m sorry. It’s just that I wasn’t actually flashing…

LADY PRUNEDSHRUB

But I saw you. Plain as day.

TRAGO

Well, yes, the sunshine did have something to do with it. You see…

LADY PRUNEDSHRUB

No you see young man, there’s a time and a place for such blatant nudity and that’s Amsterdam. Any more nonsense like that and I’ll have no alternative but to have you incinerated!

TRAGO

You mean ‘incarcerated’?

LADY PRUNEDSHRUB

That’s what I said!

Lady Prunedshrub stares at Trago ala Monkhouse, turns and stomps off leaving Jacko and Trago dumbfounded.

Then Jacko starts to snigger.

JACKO

Frigid old lezzie.

TRAGO

It must have been pretty scary.

JACKO

Now you’re bragging. (beat) Coming for a game later?

TRAGO

Maybe, I don’t know. I must make the most of the sunshine while it’s here and get some painting done. Such a wonderful morning, isn’t it?

Trago points to the inside of his room. Jacko squints into the sunny interior and nods.

JACKO

I guess so. But you know me, I prefer things shady. Besides, I’ve been up since four. Had a report about a missing girl. Didn’t come home last night. She was staying with a friend in town. Went for a drink. Didn’t return. Hope that killer’s not at it again. Won’t have time for chess then.

Jacko shoots Trago a quick, almost knowing glance and then notices the curtain rail on the floor.

JACKO

Had trouble with your drapes?

TRAGO

You know I get a little excitable when the sun comes out.

Jacko catches a glimpse of something on Trago’s hand. Trago follows his gaze and sees the dried blood.

TRAGO (perhaps too quickly)

Paint. Vermilion to be precise. Looks like blood, doesn’t it?

JACKO

Not up to no good while my back’s turned, now are we?

TRAGO

Not me. I gave that up long ago.

Jacko stares at Trago, thrusts his hands into his trouser pockets and walks away.

JACKO

See you later then?

TRAGO

Okay.

Jacko starts whistling the Morecambe and Wise theme tune ‘Bring Me Sunshine’, as Trago blows out his cheeks, closes the door and gets straight to work cleaning up.

Gently, he pulls Cindy’s body off the bed while trying to avoid her eyes. He wraps her in the sheets and slides her along the floor to the door and exits into the corridor.

The corridor leads to a padlocked cellar door. Trago loosens the padlock and pushes the door open. He switches the light on and descends the stairs carrying Cindy in his arms as if she were his own beloved daughter.

INT. TRAGO’S CELLAR

Trago is standing in front of a large chest freezer. He lifts the lid, tips Cindy in and closes the lid and turns the freezer on at the plug – and it’s now we notice there are seven more freezers in here.

TRAGO (head bowed)

Young girl, please know this, I couldn’t help it.

Trago wipes away some tears as he returns up the stairs. He switches the light off and re-padlocks the door.

Seconds later, the door re-opens. Trago comes down carrying the nude portrait of Cindy.

His tears are uncontrollable as he places the picture in Cindy’s freezer-tomb and returns upstairs.

FADE OUT

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