Insider info and illuminati analysis...

...from the man they just can't recruit.

Popstars of the Apocalypse 2 Act 4.

A busy East-End street, Steve and Crew along with Stookie Bill who as usual is inside a ruck-sack. His muffled voice is complaining and moaning about his discomfort as usual.

Stookie Bill: Why am I always stuffed in here? I thought I'd be seeing the sights and getting back into the swing of old London town, not bundled in here with Crew's old sweet wrappers and sorts of fluff and crumbs, honestly when you walk quickly it's like being in here with a wood sander, it's not doing my old wooden noggin any good.

Steve: What do you suggest? We can hardly have a possessed wooden puppet at large and on display in broad daylight.

Stookie Bill: in a hurt rage How dare you? Possessed? I've never been so insulted in my life. I'm not a monster from a tawdry Hammer film starring Vincent Price you know, is that how you see me? Possessed?

Crew: addressing the bag What would happen if we brought in an exorcist?

Stookie Bill: I'd spit in his eye, there's nothing of the devil in me.

Steve: So what about your favourite pastime of scaring old people to death in Scotland?

Stookie Bill: defensively I don't scare them, I give them a surprise that's all, it's not my fault the old duffers' hearts weren't up to it.

Steve: Wait a minute, you said hearts, plural, I thought you just did it once. How many people have you murdered like this?

Stookie: I en't murdered noone, just surprised a few is all.

Crew: He's a devil Steve. Not to be trusted. Maybe we should have him exorcised, leave him as a harmless piece of wood that can't surprise anyone anymore.

Stookie: How can you talk like that after how I've helped you? If I'm going to be threatened and insulted then take me back to Soho and leave me in my nice old Master's laboratory where you found me, I don't feel safe with you two anymore.

Steve: Let's get him out of that bag Crew, it can't be much fun for him in there.

Crew: But he'll just try to 'surprise' old people, besides what are people going to think of us going about with a talking wooden puppet?

Steve: Crew, you forget where we are, this is London, two people talking to a wooden puppet is almost normal for this place. Talking to the bag We'll let you out, I'll hitch you onto the shoulder strap of my bag, but you must be quiet, pretend you're not alive and don't surprise anyone.

Crew: Yeah, if any old people start dying around us then you've really had it, we're good guys here you know, if you're one of us then no more so called accidental surprise murder.

Crew goes into the bag and pulls out Stookie Bill who has an old sweet wrapper stuck to his face and a spider dangling on a thread from his partially singed hair.

Steve: removing the sweet wrapper Look at the state of him Crew.

Crew fixes Stookie Bill to the shoulder strap of his bag.

Crew: There you go old buddy. Breathe that fresh London air.

Ahead of them there is a group of teenage girls hanging around the grease-stained pavement outside the Burger Monster restaurant.

Stookie Bill: quietly Be on your guard, those girls are not all they seem to be, I can detect something malevolent about them.

Crew: to Steve But they're just girls.

Stookie Bill: Exactly. 

The girls are just standing there on either side of the pavement and not talking or even playing with their mobile phones as teenage girls are wont to do. One of them is holding a large drink. As Steve and Crew walk past suddenly Stookie Bill shouts out.

Stookie Bill: Duck.

Both Steve and Crew quickly lower their heads, as they do so, a drink which was thrown in their direction goes over their heads and drenches one of the girls on the other side. 

Crew laughs.

Other girls start to come from across the road and stand on the pavement ahead of Steve and Crew blocking the pavement.

The girls stand there staring unblinking at Steve and Crew.

Steve: Excuse me young lady we have to be somewhere.

The girls ignore him and continue blocking the pavement, meanwhile the other group of girls behind them comes up and blocks them from behind. The group then move down a side street with Steve and Crew trapped in the middle.

Crew: What is this? Why are we being abducted?

One of the girls face Crew, unblinking: 

Girl 1: Because you are the enemy.

Girl 2: You think you can stop us.

Girl 3: And now we will stop you.

The girls all raise their hands and stare unblinking at Steve and Crew, a pink light suddenly emits from their eyes.

Crew: I feel faint, like I'm losing my mind.

Steve: Me too, we've got to fight this.

Girls: in unison You can't fight this. You're ours now.

Suddenly there is a an explosion of fire and the girls shriek and are knocked back.

Stookie Bill: Run.

Steve and Crew don't need to be told twice, they run out of the side-street and all the way to the university building without looking back.

They scamper up the stairs, all 11 flights and collapse in a crumpled heap inside Dr Kemble's forgotten lab.

Bill Hicks: The Prof made a breakthrough. Welcome home boys. 

Scene 2.

Steve and Crew are now talking to the ghost of Bill Hicks who is now clearly visible on the TV set in front of them.

Crew: Wow. It's Bill Hicks and I'm not dreaming.

Dr Kemble and John Hampton come over.

Steve: clutching several pairs of cheap polarised sunglasses I brought the sunglasses but how come we don't need sunglasses anymore?

Dr Kemble: Oh simple, I polarised the screen. Obvious solution, sorry if I led you on a fruitless errand. Did you keep the receipts? You can get a refund.

Steve: Not really, I got them at Back-Lane Market they don't do paper-trails.

Bill Hicks: So aren't you folks curious how the good Dr managed to help me find my voice?

Steve: Yeah I am actually.

Crew: So how did you do it professor?

Dr Kemble: Well actually it was all John's idea.

John Hampton:  Well actually it was Steve's idea.

Crew: This is like playing pass the parcel. Is it my turn now?

John Hampton: I'm afraid not Crew. Steve gave me the clues I needed. Steve was talking about Yuri Geller's tapes with spooky voices being magically transferred to them. This got me interested and to be honest it sounded like a load of nonsense. And it got me into EVP or 'electrical voice phenomenon'. It turns out some people on the internet have been experimenting with this kind of thing and found that any kind of sound source can be used as a medium for the EVP phenomenon. Some would start of with the hiss of cassette playback, this was all that was needed for the voices to be manifested. Unfortunately for these people once they had become tuned in to these voices other things would rather inconveniently start to talk to them. Anything that made a low background noise signal could be used to transmit so they'd get the air-conditioner talking to them, the dishwasher, even passing cars would be used by the beings to transmit a voice.

Crew: That doesn't sound good.

John: It's not. These people ended up on anti psychotic medication.

Crew: That's encouraging. So are gonna go nuts too? 

John: Well that's just it. Dr Kemble has used the same principle except the sound medium is ultrasonic so we can't actually hear it, all we hear is the voice transmitted, that way we're unlikely to be plagued by talking toasters or a garrulous vacuum cleaner.

Crew: That's a relief. Still, sometimes London can be rather a lonely place. A bit of a chat while out and about would make a nice change. What kind of things did these voices talk about?

John: Well suffice it to say that it wasn't chit chat about West Ham's last game at the Boleyn ground.

Crew: I guess not, ghosts are Spurs fans, everyone knows that. Winks at Steve.

John: Well none of the communication with these beings had anything of the reassuring banality of a game of soccer. It was of rather a different tenor. It was more of a kind of relentless persecution of their apparent 'sins' and threats of punishment and hell. 

Crew: That's not very friendly.

John Hampton: Indeed not, but many of the being in the other dimension do not appear to be friendly, not in the least. In fact they progressed from merely auditory persecution of their victims to actual physical manifestations. It seems that by trying to open up contact with this other world one opens up a portal through which these things can attack you, manifesting pokes, muscle spasms and sometimes actual physical marks which suddenly appear with no explanation.

Crew: We're not going to get poked are we?

Steve: I'll check. Addressing Bill Hicks on the screen. Bill, you're not going to poke us are you?

Bill Hicks: Do you want me to to poke you?

Steve: No, I think it would just complicate matters.

Crew: But is anyone else likely to start poking us? I mean we've just heard some weird stories about ghosts being a bit stalkey.

Bill Hicks: Everyone gets a bit stalkey given the appropriate amount of emotional devastation. Ghosts are just the ultimate lonely hearts club without the benefit of being able to get drunk and go to a night club to remedy the situation.

Crew: Damn Bill, you still have the answers. 

Bill Hicks: Just born this way dude, as your demon dick choking Jezebel beast of the apocalypse Lady Gaga once said. Though my theory is she wasn't born that way, she was manufactured that way in a Disney bunker using DNA from the off-cuts of Madonna's festering perfumed labia and implanted into a female version of the living robot from Demon Seed. 

Crew: Man that's harsh.

Bill Hicks: You don't know her the way I do. We spiritual being see the instant truth of everyone and everything. Believe me when I say that if she had a Dorian Gray picture in her attic you wouldn't want to look at it even through the cracks in your fingers while simultaneously hidden behind your couch. Believe me Crew old buddy, she's so fucked up. So are most of the people on TV, Satan worshipping scumbags who all sold out to the boys at one point in their lives with one little act of extreme evil, and it was all taped to keep those suckers singing the right tune.

Crew: So what do we do? How do we beat them?

Bill Hicks: We can never beat them here on Earth, this is their world dude. Always has been. But this time they want to turn the whole world into demonic zombies. We can't beat them, but we can stop them this time.

Steve: How do we do that?

Bill Hicks: We need to put on a show. The ultimate show. We need to counteract their Hype Aid mass hypnotic spectacle of mass hypnosis and possession by diet fizzy pop star demons. We need to put on a REAL rock n roll show. 

Crew: How do we do that?

Dr Kemble: Actually that's what we're working on at the moment. We need to find a way to hijack their Hype aid event with our signal. But that's not going to be easy since their pop stars are alive and ours are all pretty much dead.

Steve: What do you mean pretty much dead, I thought they were all dead?

Bill Hicks: Well we've got one who's pretty much undecided on that score. He should be dead, and technically he was summoned at one stage by the angel of death, but when the angel of death came he played the guitar and sung his sweet songs and made the angel of death cry. After that he could no longer perform his duties.

Crew: Who? Who is the guy who beat the angel of death? Or at least made him cry.

Bill Hicks: Willy Nelson.  The Angel of Death now gives ol' Willy  a wide berth for fear of being caught with his grim skull face, streaming helplessly with tears at the soft lulling sadness of 'Georgia on my Mind'. Old Willy Nelson's been talking to old Bill for a long time, all old people talk to ghosts all the time. 

Steve: I don't believe it.

Bill Hicks: Oh yeah? Ask your granma.

Scene 3

John Hampton is driving his black juiced up Ford Fiesta at urgent speed out of London following an urgent phone call.

Within an hour he finds himself rolling into Wiltshire and onto the village of Pensively. He parks up at the Barge-In and takes seat in the beer garden with the dusk reflecting in the canal.

He walks towards a seated figure who is wearing a hoodie. John Hampton sits down quietly without speaking for a moment. After a silence.

John Hampton: Would you like a drink?

Sarah Clarke: No, dreamily I'd love a smoke though.

John Hampton: He takes a bag of weed from his inside pocket, will this do? Some friends of mine find this odorous herb to be of some value, personally I abstain these days. I don't enter that dimension any more.

Sarah Clarke: Right now I want to stay there. She takes the weed and silently rolls up a joint.

John Hampton: with a gravity which surprises even himself What has happened Sarah?

Sarah Clarke: Lighting up the joint and taking a draw. Vicky's been certified.

John Hampton: involuntarily Oh my god! How? Why?

Sarah Clarke: I don't know where to start. She was found talking to herself with David Bowie outside in the garden in the middle of the night.

John Hampton: Talking to herself with David Bowie? curiously Was he there?

Sarah Clarke: What do you mean 'was he there?' David Bowie is dead John, you know this.

John Hampton: No I mean, was it..... stops himself never mind.

Sarah Clarke: She came back one night at 2 in the morning ranting about her dead friend, a secret witch club, and David Bowie. Again.

John Hampton: David Bowie again. I wonder why Bowie's mixed up in this.

Sarah Clarke: confused Well, er, it's nothing really to do with Bowie, it's all in her head, she silently mouths the letters M,A, and D.

John Hampton: How did this happen? This doesn't seem like Vicky at all.

Sarah Clarke: Brother says that it might be stress of the exams.

John Hampton: I don't like this, not one bit. I need to see her.

Sarah Clarke: We can't.

John Hampton: We can't be damned! Who says we can't?

Sarah Clarke: Her doctor. I feel like I've entered a sinister Jane Austin novel, where family members suddenly disappear into Bedlam.

John Hampton: This can't be right! How can a doctor deny family visits?

Sarah Clark: It is his 'method' apparently. He is known for the process he using of treating her. He says she is dangerously insane and could kill herself. He says he has seen this mania before and knows how to treat it, and some parents who didn't allow him to treat their daughters killed themselves soon afterwards.

John Hampton: We must see her!

Sarah Clarke: We can't. It's the treatment.

John Hampton: Now you sound like a gothic cliche! Stop it. We can see her and we will see her.

Sarah Clarke: What if she kills herself?

John Hampton: Gah, it's all hookum. A threat, to give him more control. He's slick.

Sarah Clarke: Really? But he's well respected, he's a trustee of the Royal College of psychiatrists.

John Hampton: All the worse for us and Vicki. The higher up they are up in the food-chain, the closer they are to the mouth. The operation may require a moment's thought and a few local friends. Where is she being held?

Sarah Clarke: At the Doctor's special residential centre.

John Hampton: Special residential centre? She hasn't joined the territorials, what is this?

Sarah Clarke: It's part of her treatment. Stops herself Oh there I go again on about the treatment, brainwashed, it becomes like a way to explain everything when really it explains nothing. What has happened? Where has she gone? Now all we hear about is 'treatment', 'she must be treated otherwise I cannot be responsible for the consequences.' so he says. Keeps saying.

John Hampton: We must find the location of this centre and rescue Vicky.

Sarah Clarke: We can't rescue Vicky.... can we?

John Hampton: Yes, of course we can. But we must do it at once. Or at least, wait until I make a few phone calls. How do we find out where his lair is?

Sarah Clarke: His lair?

John Hampton: I mean, his 'centre'.

Sarah Clarke: Oh well that bit's easy, it's signposted from Aldershot to Cheltenham. The I.C.E. The Institute of Cognitive Education at Sells Green. Some say all roads lead to it, wherever you go you can see the signs. It's hardly a secret lair.

John Hampton: Of course! Implanting the centre into the population's consciousness, then if they should happen to meet any escapee then they'll know exactly where to drop them off. Hidden in plain view. I need to make a phone call. On the phone Are you busy? No, that's good, we need an emergency Pizza Protocol at the I.C.E in Sells Green. You know it? Good. ETA for us is about an hour, what's your ETA? Good. Progress to stage two then wait for the signal. Puts the phone in his pocket. We've got work to do.

Scene 4

Dr Vale's Institute of Cognitive Education (I.C.E.) residential centre.

John Hampton is driving his black Ford Fiesta with Sarah Clarke in the passenger seat. 

They follow a sign which indicates the directions to the I.C.E. After a few turnings they come to a dark country lane; turning off from this they come upon a security booth manned by a uniformed guard.
John Hampton: Ok Quark, plan A is he lets us in.

Sarah Clarke: And what's plan B?

John Hampton: He doesn't, and we have to improvise. Follow my cues.

John: Winding down his window at the security booth. John eyes the man silently for a moment. Hey there! I found this stray nutcase out on the Devizes road. They tell me you get a lot of stray nutters and we should bring 'em 'ere.

Security agent: Ok wait a minute I'll have to report this.

John Hampton 
whispers something indistinct to Sarah.

Sarah Clarke: Suddenly starts fighting and screaming Don't take me back there, she lashes out with her hand and starts to strangle John. Take me back to the road or I'll kill you.

John: Ok buddy I ain't waiting for you to report this while I choke to death, this bitch is crazy. I'm doing what the young lady says unless you let me in now. I ain't riskin' my friggin' biscuit while you sit there making phone calls. Adios. puts the car in gear and makes to reverse away

Security agent: Ok go through. He opens the barrier.

They drive down the lane toward the institute.
Sarah Clarke: Did you have to call me a bitch?

John Hampton: Of course. You tried to strangle me.

Sarah Clarke: You said to make it convincing.

John Hampton: Nothing personal. I measured the man, I had to think like him and be like him, because if I'm like him, he'll recognise that fact and trust me. Because if he think I'm like him with the same values and motivations, he will think I can be trusted and he won't for one second even suspect that we're trying to break-in to rescue your niece. If I hadn't called you a bitch he wouldn't have trusted me.

Sarah Clarke: Oh come on, that's pushing it a bit.

John Hampton: Not at all. The word 'bitch' conveys a lot of meanings, but it's pretty unambiguous and forceful and it's a word which provokes an immediate response or reaction whenever it is used. 'Bitch' was the alarm trigger I needed to get him to open the gate and let us in.

Sarah Clarke: Really? I'm almost convinced by your psycho-semantic wizzardry. But what do we do now?

John Hampton: Pyscho-semantic...that's pretty good. Well, we can safely assume that our compliant security guard has by now contacted whichever member of the medical staff is on hand, obviously he has no details except that an escaped female patient is being returned. It is possible however that there have been no recent escapees and all patients are accounted for, but the fact that security have just made a report of a female patient being returned by yours truly might give some pause for thought that maybe he or she perhaps doesn't quite know what's going on in this instance and is out of the loop. We shall act on this assumption.

Sarah Clarke: What do I have to do?

John Hampton: A little bit more acting. You're being returned to the last place on Earth where you want to be, they'll probably try to sedate you. I strongly recommend you attempt to resist I'm going to need you in tip top shape. So you must resist being drugged and the best way to resist being drugged in a psychiatric facility such as this is not to resist, be compliant but not too compliant. We just need a bit of time. All you have to do is try not to get drugged. As soon as we get out of the car you need to struggle with me again. Remember this is the last place on Earth you want to be but you don't want them to think you're out of control so they need to drug you.

Sarah Clarke: Are you trying to make a method actor out of me John?

John Hampton: If that's what it takes. I'm going to open my door and I want you to dash out and make a run for it, but obviously don't actually escape because I still need you on the grounds.

John gets out of the car as a duty doctor walks towards him. At the same moment Sarah runs screaming out of the passenger side and makes a run for the trees near one end of the compound.

She runs and leaves the doctor and John standing. The doctor looks on without concern. 

Doctor: We get this a lot. 

John: She's a bit of a handful as you can see.

Doctor: Oh don't worry about that. We'll soon settle her down.

The doctor gives a signal with his raised hand.
Suddenly a search light chases Sarah and an unsuspected high look out tower reveals itself. The beam falls on Sarah and tracks her for a moment. A man in the tower aims something at Sarah and she instantly collapses.

John Hampton: astonished What happened to her?

Doctor: X12 Taser rifle. He gives a thumbs up to the man in the tower who does a celebratory fist pump in reply. He loves it when he gets a chance to take down a patient with his X 12. Spends most of his time electrocuting rabbits and crows with it.

John Hampton: Well who'd have thought it.

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