1. A CHURCH IN A LONDON STREET. 1904. NIGHT.
A large church set back from the street. A horse-drawn
carriage stands outside.
Close shot: a wooden plaque on church gate reading:
I was hungered and ye gave me meat
I was thirsty and ye gave me drink
I was a stranger and ye took me in.
2. CHURCH CRYPT. NIGHT.
Point of view: unseen protagonists as they search around the darkened crypt with a lantern. The lantern reveals ragged men heaped one on another, sleeping in whatever posture the conditions allow. A chorus of snores.
3. CHURCH. NIGHT.
Viewed from the pulpit. Shadows. We see the empty pews by the moonlight coming through the windows.
Breathing is heard. At first barely discernible, it grows clearer: the sounds of two men in physical exertion. Their shapes emerge from the shadows, coming slowly towards us down a side aisle: two men dressed in cloaks and hats. They are carrying something heavy between them.
We hear whispering again, sinister, the words barely discernible.
WHISPER 1: Perhaps over there. [Heavy breath.] Over towards that door.
WHISPER 2: Yes, yes. [Heavy breath.] We’ll take it through to the vestry.
WHISPER 1: Just a little further now. As you say, the vestry.
4. VESTRY. DOORWAY TO BACK ROOM.
The vestry is a small bare room, which we see by the moonlight through a window. At the moment, we are interested only in the doorway which leads through to a back room. This doorway has no door–it is black and ominous, like the gateway to another world.
Meanwhile, the whispers continue.
WHISPER 1: Yes, indeed, you’re quite correct. We should cut it along this piece . . .
WHISPER 2: Yes, yes. [Heavy breath.] We’ll take it through to the vestry.
WHISPER 1: Just a little further now. As you say, the vestry.
5. CHURCH. NIGHT.
Long shot: the Church. We are zooming in slowly. Sound of horse hooves in the distance.
6. VESTRY. DOORWAY TO BACK ROOM.
Still moving in on the black doorway. The whispers continue.
WHISPER 1: Yes, yes. I think that direction.
WHISPER 2: You think we should cut it along here?
WHISPER 1: Yes, indeed, along that strip there. As you say.
We have now come right up to the doorway, but there is utter blackness across the threshold.
We then move down slowly, in time to see a thin line of blood run out from the blackness towards us along the vestry floor.
7. AIRPORT RUNWAY. DAY. 1985.
Jet-liner coming into land.
8. ROOF. CAR PARK OF AIRPORT TERMINAL. DAY.
Carter stands at the edge of the roof, watching the landing.
Carter, mid-twenties, slim, dapperly dressed in chauffeur’s uniform. Even if he were not wearing dark glasses and his cap pulled down low, his face would probably reveal little emotion; as it is, there is something sinister and assassin-like about him.
He looks at his watch, then back out towards the runway. Evidently, this is the plane he has been waiting for. He walks off out of shot with an almost deliberate lack of hurry.
9. CARRIAGEWAY. DAY.
Rolls Royce in motion.
Carter is driving. He continues to wear his dark glasses, as he will do throughout the film.
Manley Kingston is in the back seat, preoccupied with something on his lap.
Manley is in his fifties; large, formidable British upper-class presence. He wears a habitual expression of disdain and boredom, but there is also a maverick streak in his face–a hint of the decadent or criminal.
Close up: photograph of church in Manley’s hand. The church is the one we saw in scene one. The photograph has emerged from an attaché case on Manley’s lap.
On Manley: studying the photograph as though to commit its details to memory.
Close up: open attaché case into which Manley returns the photograph amid other documents. Evidently, he only happened across it while searching for something else, and he now continues through the contents of his case. We glimpse two sketch plans (of the church) and three mortis keys on a ring. Each has a large tag; one is marked ‘vestry’. Manley’s hand moves these aside as he continues to search. Carter continues to drive silently, while Manley remains preoccupied with the attaché case.
In the ensuing exchange, there is just a hint of malice and sarcasm in Carter’s voice–but no more than a hint, and Manley is too preoccupied to notice. Carter has a London working-class accent.
CARTER: Weather nice in Brazil, was it, Sir?
MANLEY: [Not looking up from his case.] Paraguay. [Pause.]
CARTER: Beg your pardon, Sir?
MANLEY: Paraguay. I’ve just come from Paraguay.
CARTER: Sorry, sir. Madam told me you were in Brazil.
MANLEY: I suppose I was. I became tired of the place.
Manley has found what he was looking for–an address card. He leans forward and holds it out for Carter.
MANLEY: We’re going to drop in at this address on our way home, if you will, Carson.
Carter takes the card without turning, glances at it and puts it on the dashboard. Manley settles back in his seat and gazes out of the window, a preoccupied look still on his face.
CARTER: Carter, Sir.
CARTER: Name’s Carter, Sir.
MANLEY: [Turning back to window, impatiently.] Oh yes, yes.
Move in on Carter’s face. It is impossible to tell what is going on behind his glasses.
A series of shots of the Rolls’s journey into London.
12. DR GROSVENOR’S HOUSE, DAY.
Rolls halts in front of a very expensive house. Manley gets out, studying an address card. He waves carelessly towards the car, then walks to the house.
13. DR GROSVENOR’S ENTRANCE HALL.
A hum of conversation coming from within the house. The doorbell rings.
The figure of Watkins as yet not clearly seen comes into shot and opens the door. Manley is on the doorstep.
WATKINS: [Off: cheerfully.] Good afternoon, Sir.
MANLEY: Ah. My name is Manley Kingston. Dr Grosvenor is expecting me.
WATKINS: Come in, Mr Kingston. [Following Manley’s gaze.] Oh, we’re having a little reception. Eduardo Perez is in London, and he wished to premiere some of his new dishes.
MANLEY: [Distracted] Is that so?
Manley goes on looking through into the inner room. Watkins, who should really be leading him in, is delaying doing so to savour these few moments with a celebrity. He beams admiringly at Manley. Manley begins to move further into the house.
MANLEY: Dr Grosvenor about?
WATKINS: [Suddenly remembering himself.] Why yes, of course. Let me get you a drink, Mr Kingston, then I’ll go and find him.
14. DR GROSVENOR’S HOUSE, RECEPTION ROOM.
An elegant, spacious room of a private house, large enough to hold comfortably the twenty or so guests present. The guests are middle-aged to elderly, formally dressed, men far outnumbering women. This could be a gathering of university professors or classical music critics. They stand conversing in groups of three and four, holding wine glasses.
Watkins is leading Manley across the room towards the wine. Two male guests break off talking as Watkins and Manley come past them. They steal interested glances at Manley, looking him up and down, then stare after him, somewhat disapprovingly. We can hear amid the general hubbub the following exchange, taking place elsewhere in the room:
MALE VOICE 1: But I do think I agree with you on the whole. You have a genuine point there. That whole generation, their central themes were far too centred on protein. Far too centred on protein . . . [Then in lowered voice.] I say, look, I believe that’s Manley Kingston. That fellow there . . .
15. RECEPTION ROOM. ONE CORNER.
Watkins and Manley have reached the table with the wine.
Watkins hands Manley a glass.
WATKINS: I’ll go and find Dr Grosvenor. Won’t be a moment, Mr Kingston.
Watkins goes out of shot. Manley turns to the table with a preoccupied air. His back is to the camera and the rest of the room.
Meanwhile, amid the general hubbub, we hear:
MALE VOICE 2: Not at all, not at all, don’t get me wrong. I’m very fond of de Montière’s work. He does have a splendid sensitivity towards textures. But don’t you find his souffles in particular a little–incoherent?
Two guests we have not yet seen have come up to Manley. These are Proterston, a grey distinguished-looking man, and a Japanese, Takeda. Initially, it is not clear if they have come simply to replenish drinks, or if their interest is in Manley.
Manley remains with his back turned. Proterston attempts to catch Manley’s attention. Meanwhile, Takeda is staring at Manley as though he is an exhibit in a museum.
FEMALE VOICE: But I suppose one can’t help getting the feeling de Montière achieved his best work in the mid-sixties. I suppose there I do have to agree with you . . . [Fades into general hum of conversation.]
PROTERSTON: [Finally deciding on the direct approach.] Excuse me, it’s Mr Manley Kingston, isn’t it?
Manley turns, startled out of his thoughts. He has not touched his wine. Proterston smiles genially. Takeda continues to stare.
MANLEY: Er–yes. Indeed.
PROTERSTON: This is a genuine pleasure. My name is Proterston.
Proterston clearly hopes Manley will recognize the name.
MANLEY: [N sense of recognition.] Oh really?
PROTERSTON: [Gives small self-conscious laugh.] As a matter of fact, I published an article about you quite recently, Mr Kingston. In Gourmet Academica, the spring issue. I thought perhaps you might have come across it.
MANLEY: [With little interest.] I’m afraid I didn’t.
Manley now becomes aware of Takeda staring up at him. Manley looks down at him with distaste.
PROTERSTON: Oh–er–this is Mr Takeda.
TAKEDA: [Heavy accent.] Great honour. [He continues to stare at Manley without offering his hand.] Great honour. Manley Kingston. Great great honour.
PROTERSTON: I should point out, Mr Kingston, my article was entirely in support of your–er–approach. I’d been an admirer of yours for some time and thought, well, in my own small way, I should add my voice to the ranks of your supporters.
Manley is searching the room for Watkins.
MANLEY: Very grateful. I’ll keep a look out for it.
Takeda now speaks a great torrent of words in his native tongue. He addresses Proterston while gesturing dramatically towards Manley. Proterston nods throughout. Manley continues to look over at some point behind the camera.
PROTERSTON: Mr Takeda was wondering what had brought you over to London. He was wondering if in fact you had a specific project in mind–here in London?
Clearly, Proterston is himself very eager to know the answer. But Manley has been signalled to from across the room. He puts down his glass and starts to move off. He remembers Proterston and Takeda at the last moment.
MANLEY: Oh, excuse me. Delighted.
16. RECEPTION ROOM.
Manley moves through the guests towards Watkins, who is standing near some double doors. Watkins, smiling eagerly, has his arm raised in preparation for ushering Manley through the doors.
17. DR GROSVENOR’S HOUSE, HALLWAY.
Manley comes through doors held open by Watkins and they move towards the stairs.
18. DR GROSVENOR’S STUDY, EARLY EVENING.
Dr Grosvenor likes to work in a darkened atmosphere. Perhaps this is why he has drawn the blinds, although it is not yet dark outside. The source of light is a powerful desk lamp.
The room is used for consultative purposes as well as for its owner’s private study. A client’s chair faces Dr Grosvenor’s desk. Behind the desk, bookshelves. The books we can see are about food; not cookery books, but serious studies with titles like Eating Rituals of the Aborigines in the Nineteenth Century, Protein and Culture, The Evolution of the Carnivore.
Dr Grosvenor, fifty-five, elegant, assured, but also with an air of depravity; he may be a wealthy doctor in private practice who performs shady operations.
MANLEY: You mentioned in your letter, Doctor, you were having difficulty obtaining one of the solutions I requested . . .
DR GROSVENOR: [Cutting in.] Oh no, no. A very minor problem. I have everything you asked for.
DR GROSVENOR: And may I say, Mr Kingston, I’m very happy to be of assistance to you. An honour.
DR GROSVENOR: [A small laugh.] Forgive me, I suppose you must be getting rather impatient.
He opens a drawer in his desk. Before removing anything, he looks teasingly at Manley.
DR GROSVENOR: [Continuing.] You look rather like a hunter, Mr Kingston, just before his big kill.
He smiles and produces an attaché case. He puts it on the desk, opens the lid, then turns it towards Manley.
DR GROSVENOR: [Continuing.] I think you’ll find everything in order.
Manley leans forward hungrily.
Over the shoulder: the attaché case contains papers and documents packed in an orderly manner, uppermost of which is a large photograph of the church we saw in scene one. The case also contains a small metal box.
Manley adjusts the desk-lamp and begins to examine the contents. Dr Grosvenor leans back and smiles.
DR GROSVENOR: Would I be correct in supposing, Mr Kingston, that tonight’s adventure, if successful, would even by your standards constitute something of a remarkable feat? A–shall we say–crowning achievement?
MANLEY: [Absorbed with the attaché case.] Indeed, indeed.
Dr Grosvenor watches Manley for a few beats, smiling.
DR GROSVENOR: Your career has interested me for some time, Mr Kingston.
Pause. Manley remains absorbed and does not respond.
DR GROSVENOR: I’ve come to love and enjoy dishes which the average European would feel nauseous just to look at. But let me say, Mr Kingston, I have no hesitation in admitting I have not come anywhere near your level of er–enterprise.
MANLEY: [Not listening; still absorbed.] Mmmm.
Dr Grosvenor goes on watching Manley, smiling silently, for another beat or two.
DR GROSVENOR: YOU know, Mr Kingston, I have little time for those who attempt to denigrate your name . . .
Close up: attaché case. As Dr Grosvenor continues, we watch Manley’s hands sorting through the contents.
Manley’s hands move to the metal box. Inside, the box is antiseptically packed with test-tubes, packets and containers. Meanwhile, Dr Grosvenor is enjoying his own lecture.
DR GROSVENOR: [Continuing.] You see, I’ve always found something noble about your career. Noble in the most fundamental sense. In the primitive world, man was obliged to go out into an unknown wilderness and discover food. He was unbound then by prejudices about what did and did not comprise the edible. He tried anything he could get his hands on. You, Mr Kingston, are one of the few in modern times worthy of our great pioneers in taste. The rest of us, even someone like myself, we’re akin to the womenfolk who waited in the caves worrying about how to cook what the hunters brought back . . .
Dr Grosvenor is interrupted by Manley snapping shut the lid of the attaché case.
MANLEY: I am most indebted to you, Dr Grosvenor.
DR GROSVENOR: Not at all. A pleasure.
Manley gets to his feet, holding the case. He moves towards the door.
MANLEY: I’ll be on my way.
Dr Grosvenor rises to show Manley out.
DR GROSVENOR: You’re extremely welcome, Mr Kingston, to remain a while and sample Señor Perez’s new offerings. He’ll be presenting his dishes in twenty minutes.
MANLEY: [With haughty disdain.] So kind, no thank you.
DR GROSVENOR: You’re familiar with Señor Perez’s work?
MANLEY: [Shaking his head; he has long been above such things.] Mmmm.
DR GROSVENOR: A very interesting talent. Personally, I find his preparations suffer from certain unnecessarily romantic effects. But really, overall, a very interesting talent. In his native Central America, he’s regarded as something of a revolutionary. You’re sure you won’t stay? [But he laughs before Manley has time to respond.] But of course, you have other plans.
19. CAR. DAY.
Carter is in the front seat of the stationary Rolls, eating a take-away hamburger. He chews slowly and deliberately, as though he is chewing over some deep plot. He glances outside, and something makes him stop chewing. Then he puts away his unfinished burger, carefully re-packing it in its napkins and cardboard.
20. DR GROSVENOR’S HOUSE, DAY.
The Rolls has remained where we last saw it.
What Carter has seen is Manley emerging from the house and coming towards the car, attaché case in hand. Carter gets out of the car and opens the back door for Manley. Manley gets in. Rolls drives off.
21. BEDROOM. DAY.
Manley is sitting on the edge of a double bed, dressed in a safari jacket. What resembles items of kitchenware dangle from his belt. He is examining something on the bed, which means his back is turned to his wife, Winnie, kneeling on the carpet by the bed. She is fastening a small saucepan to Manley’s belt.
Winnie, forty-seven, is a small, stay-at-home woman; not the type to have affairs during her husband’s prolonged absences. Her nervous manner in the ensuing scene arises not from any fear of Manley, but because she is in awe of him. Her bedroom would normally be tidy, comfortable and conservative. But for the moment, spread all over the bed are ‘tools’ which look vaguely surgical, vaguely like more kitchenware; also, an open suitcase from which the ‘tools’ have originated, a small camping stove, a bulky net. On the floor nearby–though we need not see this for the moment–is a large empty duffle bag.
Throughout the ensuing dialogue, Manley remains preoccupied with these items–concerned there is nothing omitted and that all is in working order.
Winnie finishes fastening the saucepan. She now begins to tie a wok on to Manley’s back. Her task is not facilitated by Manley, who–oblivious to Winnie–is constantly moving. This infuriating charade continues throughout the following dialogue. But Winnie, for her part, displays not a hint of impatience.
WINNIE: Was the trip to Iceland useful at all?
MANLEY: Mmm? Oh . . . I didn’t go. Nothing very interesting up there any more.
WINNIE: What a pity. Mr Knutsen would have been so disappointed.
MANLEY: Knutsen? Oh yes.
Then Manley turns slightly towards Winnie, thus sabotaging her wok-tying.
WINNIE: [An embarrassed smile.] You wrote to me last time you were in Iceland. You told me all about Mr Knutsen. And about his most interesting oven.
MANLEY: [Preoccupied again.] Mmm.
WINNIE: [Fondly.] Two years ago now. 1984.
Manley begins to load the various items into his duffle bag, giving each item a final check before packing it. Meanwhile, Winnie continues her attempts to secure the wok on to Manley’s back.
MANLEY: I suppose . . . [He turns slightly, again sabotaging the wok-tying.] you’re curious as to where I’m going tonight.
WINNIE: [Laughs.] I know you don’t like me to pry.
MANLEY: [Preoccupied with packing again.] Mmm.
Winnie finally succeeds in securing the wok.
Another angle: Manley stands up and surveys the room to check he has not forgotten anything. He picks up his duffle bag, which is now very full.
MANLEY: [Looking around the room a last time.] Hmm. Should be everything.
Winnie, too, glances concernedly around the room. Manley turns to exit.
22. MANLEY’S MANSION BLOCK.
Carter is waiting, leaning against the Rolls, eating his hamburger in the slow deliberate manner we saw before. As he does so he is looking at the front of the Kingstons’ mansion block.
Point of view: Carter. Move slowly up and across the obviously expensive and ornate archway around the Kingstons’ front door. Resume on Carter: chewing his hamburger slowly as though chewing over the details of the archway. His face, as usual, gives little away.
Manley begins to put his coat on. This presents difficulties on account of the dangling objects about his person. As he moves to the door Winnie comes into the hall. She moves to follow him and we hear the front door slam off screen. Hold on Winnie, devoid of expression.
24. MANLEY’S MANSION BLOCK.
Manley comes down the front path towards the Rolls, still parked as we last saw it. He is carrying his duffle bag and is still struggling a little with his coat. Carter holds the door open for Manley.
25. A STREET. NORTH OF WEST END.
Rolls Royce moving through the street.
Carter is at the wheel. Manley is in the back seat, looking out of the side window, deep in thought.
27. ANTE-ROOM IN SOUTH AMERICA. NIGHT.
Close shot: Rossi.
28. CAR. DAY.
On Manley: deep in thought.
MANLEY: You know, Carson, I’ve been working on this project now for nine years.
CARTER: Carter, Sir. [Pause.] Name’s Carter, Sir.
On Manley: still lost in thought, no sign of his having heard Carter. Move in on Manley’s face–car drives into a tunnel.
29. ANTE-ROOM IN SOUTH AMERICA. NIGHT.
Close shot: Rossi.
MANLEY: [Voice over.] Mmm. Three times before, I’ve tried and failed. But this time, I’ve covered every eventuality.
Close shot: Manley still lost in thought.
MANLEY: Trial and error, Carson. Persevere and it’s bound to come right in the end.
On Carter: who does not react at all.
MANLEY: Nine years . . .
31. ROOM IN SOUTH AMERICA. NIGHT.
MANLEY: Nine years since I met Rossi.
Background music begins. A room with four men and two beautiful women.
Background music gets louder and continues through the following series of shots. The shots are silent–we hear no sound other than the music.
The door: which is chained and bolted. This is the object of the men’s stares; evidently, someone has knocked. A servant in breeches, about forty, comes into shot. He looks through a peep-hole, says something through the door and waits apprehensively. Then, satisfied, he unchains and unbolts the door, lets in Rossi, and quickly shuts the door again. Rossi is over seventy, a white-haired man in a white suit. He could be a scientist. He surveys the room with a calm, amused expression.
Point of view: Rossi. The room suggests money and decadence–like a back room of a brothel or casino. Five male guests are sitting around the room. Four of these–all aged forty-five or over–are of Latin origin. They look like men accustomed to power, but at the moment, they are smoking as though to relieve nervousness. They look furtively towards the camera. A guilty thrill hovers around them, as though a drug-or sex-orgy is about to take place.
Rossi’s gaze settles on a fifth guest: this is Manley sitting apart, looking bored. Manley is fanning himself with a hat.
An electric fan: in motion on a chest of drawers.
A large joint of meat: being brought in on a platter and placed at a low table at the centre of the guests. The meat is not readily identifiable.
Latin man: looks at the meat like a Catholic boy looking at his first naked woman–shock, fascination, fear, embarrassment.
Faces around the table: display unconvincing attempts to conceal nervousness and excitement. Grins exchanged as though for reassurance. Manley, by contrast, is eating without the least self-consciousness. Again, he looks over to Rossi. Rossi too is an old hand. He wears a similar bored look.
The joint: being carved. Soft, pinkish, bloody.
Faces eating the meat, chewing and tasting with fascinated deliberation. Guilt, pleasure, nervousness.
Manley eats without the least self-consciousness. He looks over to Rossi, who returns a look as though to say: ‘What a bore.’
32. ANTE-CHAMBER. NIGHT.
Background music fades. Sound of insects and birds fade in.
Manley is looking out of the window, smoking a cigar. He looks sulky. Rossi is standing in the room behind him, also smoking. He has just been trying to make some point to Manley. The door into the next room is ajar, through which can be heard sounds of merry-making–tension-relieving after the eating of the meat. Laughter and shouting continue in the background throughout the ensuing dialogue, but never so loud as to interrupt the speakers.
ROSSI: [With an Italian accent.] You look offended, Mr Kingston. [He smiles reconcilingly.] Please. I didn’t mean to imply you are not a man of great achievements. Of course you are. And I am very sincere, when I ask you to see me as your father-figure. You see, Mr Kingston . . . [Lowers voice.] I am now old. I have a bad heart. I will not live much longer.
Manley turns to Rossi. He looks vaguely interested, but not at all sympathetic. He says nothing.
ROSSI: No need for sympathies, Mr Kingston. I have no desire to live much longer. I have done everything there is to do. My tongue has tasted everything on this earth. [Pauses. Then with meaning.] Even once, something that was not of this earth.
Rossi smiles conceitedly. Manley’s curiosity has been aroused. He takes the cigar from his mouth and turns to Rossi.
MANLEY: Not of this earth?
ROSSI: You see, Mr Kingston, I am your true father. And you are my true son. I wish you to be the heir to my greatest accomplishment. This is why I tell you this. Yes. I have tasted that which is not of this earth. I have eaten a ghost.
Manley is stunned. He is at once inspired and humiliated. He asks the following question despite himself.
MANLEY: What–er–did it taste like?
ROSSI: [Laughs triumphantly.] I wonder how many in the world have had the privilege of hearing such a question from your lips, Mr Kingston.
Manley is now really put out. He turns to leave.
MANLEY: Quite, quite.
ROSSI: [Becoming suddenly serious.] Mr Kingston, please.
Rossi ushers Manley to come back. Manley hesitates.
ROSSI: Don’t mix with those nonentities. I wish to help you. You are my natural heir.
Manley comes back and stares again out of the window. He puts his cigar in his mouth and avoids looking at Rossi. Rossi too looks out at the view. He draws deeply on his cigar.
ROSSI: The process by which one consumes a ghost is not a simple one. I devoted many years research to the task. I am willing, Mr Kingston, to pass to you–and you only–the fruits of my labour. I ask only in return that you acknowledge me, in the years to come–in your great years–as your mentor. You are interested, are you not, Mr Kingston?
A confident glint is in Rossi’s eye. He has Manley hooked.
ROSSI: Good. Come to my apartment tomorrow and we will discuss this further. [With a smile, Rossi starts to leave. Then turns.] As for your–er–question, the taste is exquisite. [He gestures with his hands.] Like nothing on earth.
33. CENTRAL LONDON. NIGHT.
Rolls Royce in motion. Background music ends.
34. CAR. NIGHT.
On Manley: now very alert, leaning forward to see up ahead.
MANLEY: That’s it there, Carson. Slow down.
35. STREET OUTSIDE CHURCH. NIGHT.
Point of view: Manley from car. A dingy back street. Derelict houses and graffitied walls. Up ahead is the church we first saw in 1904 (scene one). Outside it, along the church wall, is a queue of men.
Reverse angle: Manley through the window of the approaching car. The car has slowed right down. Manley is looking out intently.
Point of view: Manley from car. We are passing the church gate. At its centre is a wooden plaque. This is not the same plaque we saw in scene one – the design and translation are modern.
I was hungry and you gave me food
I was thirsty and you gave me drink
I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
36. CAR. NIGHT.
Manley is looking intently out of his window.
37. STREET OUTSIDE CHURCH. NIGHT.
Point of view: Manley from car. We are now moving along the queue of homeless men–about twenty in number. Some lean against the wall, some crouch, others sit on the pavement.
There are only men here, because the church takes in only men. Otherwise, a mixed crowd–multi-racial, all ages. Only a few of them are ‘traditional’ tramps; most are losing a battle to maintain a conventional ‘respectable’ appearance. A significant number of teenagers. Their faces are bored and weary. They look towards the passing Rolls without surprise and with little interest.
MANLEY: Drive on a little, Carson. Round that corner there.
Close shot: Carter, whose face gives away nothing. Another angle: Rolls moving past queue of men.
38. CUL-DE-SAC. NIGHT.
Dingy ground covered with rubbish. The car comes into shot as it rounds the corner into the cul-de-sac. It halts.
Carter gets out and comes round to open the door for Manley, but Manley has already opened the door himself before Carter can do so.
Manley struggles out, with his big coat, holding his duffle bag. Indeed, he is not unlike a stereotype tramp.
MANLEY: Be here at five tomorrow morning, will you, Carson?
Manley turns and sets off towards the corner, hoisting his bag on his shoulder. He raises his hand without looking round.
On Carter: his face impassive as ever.
39. STREET OUTSIDE CHURCH. NIGHT.
Manley walks purposefully towards the queue of men.
Another angle on a section of the queue: Manley comes into shot. He walks past the queuing men, completely ignoring them. He goes out of shot, leaving us to favour the men in the queue. The men in shot glance neutrally after Manley. He is of no special interest to them.
A few further angles on men in the queue: there is little conversation; most have arrived singly and do not have the will to strike up new acquaintances. Many look exhausted – they have been walking around aimlessly all day–and some look ill. There is a self-consciousness here, such as one may find in a dole queue.
40. FRONT OF THE CHURCH GATE.
Two or three men at the head of the queue are in shot, leaning against the gate.
Manley comes striding into shot. He tries to open the gate, which is locked. He pushes at it.
MAN IN QUEUE: There is a queue, mate.
MANLEY: [Turning.] What?
MAN IN QUEUE: Queue. [He nods in the direction of the queue.]
Manley looks towards the queue, then again at the locked gate. He is very put out.
Grudgingly, Manley strides off towards the back of the queue and out of shot.
41. STREET OUTSIDE CHURCH. NIGHT.
Manley is walking back towards the end of the queue. He ignores the men.
David, the last man in the queue, is sitting on the pavement, his back against the church wall.
David, thirty, wears a corduroy jacket and a shirt–which appear for the moment to be in reasonable condition–and ill-fitting trousers with wide flares. Like others in the queue, he looks bored and tired. To a large extent, he is affecting these looks to disguise his feeling uncomfortable and undignified.
Manley comes into shot and takes his place in the queue beside David. Manley shuffles discontentedly, then looks worriedly at the length of the queue ahead.
David observes Manley. In the ensuing dialogue, David speaks with a nonchalance which is not quite convincing.
DAVID: Don’t worry, we’ll be alright.
MANLEY: [Noticing him for the first time.] What?
DAVID: The first fifty always get in.
MANLEY: Oh. Oh yes. [A quick glance down the queue.] But when do we get in? I was given to believe the place opened at eight.
DAVID: Supposed to. Never does these days though. Not enough people to run the place any more.
MANLEY: Mmmm. I didn’t reckon on standing in a queue.
DAVID: Gets longer every night. Here’s a few more.
Point of view: Manley and David. From the direction Manley originally came, two more men are coming down the street to join the queue.
44. PAVEMENT. NIGHT.
Manley and David are both sitting on the ground, gazing emptily ahead of them. During the ensuing dialogue more men join the queue and Manley keeps looking anxiously at the queue in front of him.
DAVID: Get around much, do you?
DAVID: You travel around much.
MANLEY: Oh–yes. I suppose I do. Thousands of miles each year.
DAVID: [Nodding in weary sympathy.] Yeah. Same here. [Pause] Just the last few weeks, I’ve been up to Manchester, come back down here, up to Scunthorpe. Get fed up after a while. [Pause.] You’re from London, are you?
MANLEY: [He has not been listening.] What?
DAVID: You were born here. In London.
MANLEY: Oh–yes. Yes. I don’t stay here much though. [With disparagement.] A city like this has little to offer someone like me.
DAVID: [Nodding sympathetically again.] Yeah. Hopeless. Just as bad everywhere else in the bloody country. If not worse. So what you doing back in London then?
MANLEY: [Shrugs.] Usual reason I go anywhere. Hunger.
DAVID: Yeah well. You got to eat.
MANLEY: [Looking away again.] Hunger. The lengths I’ve gone to satisfy it. Yet it always returns.
DAVID: I know what you mean. One point last week, I actually started looking in the bins. [Laughs.] Really.
MANLEY: [A tired shrug.] It’s an old game, but always worth trying. I often recommend it.
DAVID: Surprising what you find if you bother to look.
MANLEY: An interesting process takes place inside a refuse bin. A kind of stewing pot of randomness. The chance factor often produces recipes far beyond the capabilities of ordinary imaginations.
For the first time, the thought crosses David’s mind that Manley may be a little eccentric. He decides to agree anyway.
DAVID: Yeah, I suppose so. No good being proud and starving to death. Still, you’ll get a decent supper tonight.
Manley turns slowly and looks at David as though for the first time.
MANLEY: How do you know that?
DAVID: Well, that’s what you’re waiting here for, isn’t it?
MANLEY: But how the devil did you get to hear of it?
DAVID: [Shrugs defensively.] Known about it for ages.
MANLEY: You’ve what?
DAVID: Got it from an advice centre. Off Piccadilly Circus.
MANLEY: [Outraged.] Piccadilly Circus? [Then realizing his mistake.] Ah. Ah yes. [Turning away again.] No doubt, no doubt.
45. STREET OUTSIDE CHURCH.
Long shot: the queue along the wall.
46. IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH GATE.
Sounds of the gate being unlocked from the inside. It opens.
47. CHURCH COURTYARD.
The men are moving in line to some point around the side of the church building. The main doors of the church remain closed.
48. CHURCH. BACK LOBBY.
The men are filing in from outside, crossing the small lobby and going further inside the church through another door.
There is occasional conversation, but no more than might be expected in a bus queue. When people talk, their voices tend to be lowered self-consciously.
Manley and David go by in the procession. David shuffles along, looking only ahead of him. Manley is looking around with careful interest.
49. STAIRCASE DOWN TO THE CRYPT.
The procession files down an old stone staircase. Very much a feeling of going underground.
50. CHURCH CRYPT.
A catering trolley is being wheeled along. On the trolley are a large soup canister, a bakery tray loaded with an assortment of rolls, two ladles, a few ‘towers’ of polyester beakers.
We do not see clearly the surroundings through which the trolley is being pushed, but from the dim artificial light, we get an impression we are down near the basement of the building. The trolley stops momentarily. Widening, we see this is due to some double doors which are presently closed. Volunteer 1, a young woman in shirt and jeans, comes into shot to hold open one of the doors. As we follow the trolley through the doorway, Volunteer 2, a young man, comes into view. It is he who is pushing the trolley. We follow the volunteers and the trolley into the church crypt.
The crypt is the same large basement room we saw in scene two. If space alone were the criterion, this room would be adequate shelter for the fifty or so men now present. However, there is a comfortless, airless feeling about the place. There are now mattresses spread on the floor beside the walls, but otherwise there has been little visible change since 1904. Lighting is by spotlights, which create heavy shadows.
The men have been sitting on the mattresses conversing much more than they did in the queue outside. As the trolley comes in, there is an oddly quiet, but immediate response; the men rise and move towards the centre of the room where the trolley is expected to halt. No one pushes or comes rushing; there is, nevertheless, an urgency in their manner.
52. CRYPT. A CORNER.
Over the shoulder: a sketch plan of the church, which we glimpsed in the attaché case.
Another angle: Manley is seated on a mattress, back to the wall, studying the sketch plan. He is ignoring the arrival of the trolley.
Beside him, David is crouching on his heels. He looks anxiously in the direction of the food, then hesitantly at Manley. Shadows moving around them suggest they are among the last to get up.
DAVID: I thought you were hungry.
MANLEY: What? Oh . . . No, no. I’m going to dine later.
DAVID: There won’t be any left later.
But Manley is absorbed in his sketch plan. He looks at it intently, frowns, then cranes his neck trying to see something on the other side of the room.
David shrugs, gets to his feet and goes out of shot.
52. CRYPT. A CORNER.
Manley is still sitting by the wall, studying his plan.
At the trolley, the two volunteers are as busy as ever.
Then–a series of shots around the room of the men eating.
Some of the men, not far from the trolley, are eating standing up. Others eat sitting on their mattresses, backs against a wall. Not only the environment, but the means by which they are obliged to eat makes the whole procedure appear rather disgusting. The men ‘drink’ the beans from the beaker, then chew, taking an occasional bite from a roll. Some eat hungrily. Others appear to be eating only because they know they should, without really caring if they do or not. Many look mentally and physically exhausted. Meanwhile, the buzz of conversation continues. Above which we hear:
VOLUNTEER 1: [Off; calling in background.] Don’t bung your cups on the ground, please. We’ll come round with a bag in a minute. Don’t bung them on the ground, you’ve got to sleep here, remember.
One young man stares into his beaker, not eating.
An older man is making a particular mess of his supper. The beans are running down his chin, but he chews on regardless.
The lights have been turned off, but there is still light coming in from somewhere, enabling us to make out the shapes of the fifty or so men huddled or lying asleep.
A grotesque chorus of snores.
55. CRYPT. IN FRONT OF THE DOUBLE DOORS.
The snores continue.
One of the double doors opens. Manley enters. He comes in backwards, preoccupied with something outside the doors. His duffle bag is on his shoulder.
He closes the door quietly and turns. He is holding his sketch plan. He brings this close to his face in the bad light, lowers it again, then looks about him with a perturbed air.
A slow pan across sleeping, snoring shapes.
57. CRYPT, A CORNER, NIGHT.
Close shot: David, asleep on his side. A hand comes into shot and shakes David’s shoulder. David starts awake–the reflex of someone used to sleeping in places where he fears discovery. He looks up.
Point of view: David. Manley’s face is looking down at him. There is something alarming about Manley’s face seen in these circumstances.
MANLEY: [Whispering; he is now more animated than we have yet seen him.] I need your assistance.
DAVID: What’s the matter?
MANLEY: [Holding up the sketch plan.] My information has not proved to be as accurate as I had a right to expect. Do you know the geography of this building?
DAVID: [Props himself up on to his elbows and looks past Manley as though for some explanation.] What? What you up to?
MANLEY: I wish to reach the vestry. I need first to get up to the main church.
DAVID: [Pointing.] Well, you can go up through . . . [He breaks off.] Look, what you up to?
MANLEY: I am hungry. I wish to dine. Perhaps you’d be so good as to indicate to me how to get to the main church.
DAVID: Well, no wonder you’re hungry. You should have ate when you had the chance. What’s all this about the vestry anyhow?
MANLEY: [Becoming impatient.] I expect to find my dinner there.
DAVID: You reckon?
MANLEY: To that extent, my information should prove reliable.
Now, if you’d be so good as to assist me. I’m very hungry.
DAVID: Should have eaten when I told you to.
David turns over to go back to sleep. But he remembers the times he has been hungry. Almost immediately, he looks up again at Manley, sighs and begins to get up.
DAVID: There won’t be anything left anyway.
David and Manley are climbing the staircase we came down earlier. We cannot see much in the darkness, but we hear Manley’s heavy breathing. This may well be due to physical effort, but it also sounds like mounting excitement.
59. TOP OF STAIRCASE.
The better light shows us that Manley is still carrying his duffle bag.
DAVID: [Low voice.] You’ll know better next time. Stomach’s always going to catch up with you.
Manley, breathing heavily, consults his sketch map.
Manley starts to go in one direction. David touches his arm and leads in the opposite direction.
DAVID: This way.
Viewed from the pulpit. Many shadows. We see the pews, etc., by the moonlight coming through the windows.
In a shot strongly reminiscent of scene three, we first hear Manley’s breathing, then gradually make out the figures of Manley and David. We hear, in lowered voices:
DAVID: [Voice-over.] They catch us doing this, we’ll get banned from this place. [Then a new thought.] Anyway, it’ll all be locked up.
MANLEY: [Voice-over.] I have all the appropriate keys.
DAVID: [Voice-over.] God. How d’you get those?
61. IN FRONT OF THE VESTRY DOOR.
Close up: Manley’s hands sorting through a bunch of mortis keys. These keys all have large tags – these are the same we glimpsed in scene ten.
Wider angle: Manley selects a key and fits it to the vestry door. Meanwhile, David stands beside him, casting nervous glances all around the church.
MANLEY: [As key turns.] Ah.
Manley opens the door. David looks quickly at the doorway, then throws more furtive glances around the church.
DAVID: Well, enjoy yourself.
David begins to move off. Manley grasps his arm–but not aggressively. It could almost be an insistent hospitality.
MANLEY: You’re very welcome to join me. In fact, I suspect I’ll need further assistance. Please.
Manley ushers a reluctant David into the vestry.
David looks about him. Manley comes in behind him. He shuts and locks the door. David does not see this. Manley also surveys the vestry.
Point of view: Manley and David: A small bare room as in scene four. Light from outside illuminates the doorway through to the back room. Now, as in 1904, the doorway has no door. It is black and ominous, like the gateway to another world.
DAVID: [Trying to hide nervousness.] Well, I can’t see any food. Anyway, I’ve had my supper.
David turns and goes to the vestry door, and finds it locked. He tries a few more times to open it. His manner reveals how desperate he is to get out of the vestry. He turns and looks back at Manley.
Manley, all the while, has been looking around the room with interest, not bothering with David’s efforts to get out.
DAVID: You’ve locked it.
Manley puts down his duffle bag, then takes off his coat, revealing his safari costume with dangling pans, spoons, etc. He drops the coat on the floor.
David watches for a beat, then looks towards the doorway to the back room.
DAVID: [Sounding casual.] Er–I’ll take a look what’s in here.
David sneaks past Manley towards the black doorway. Manley is too preoccupied with his unpacking to look up at David.
On black doorway: David hesitates at the threshold, trying to see into the blackness. He gives a quick glance towards Manley, then vanishes through the doorway.
On Manley: who looks up and watches the doorway as though for confirmation of something he knows will happen.
On black doorway: hold on the doorway for an ominously long time–long enough so that we expect a scream or something from within.
Then David appears in the doorway. He looks utterly drained.
MANLEY: [Smiling.] Well? What did you find in there?
DAVID: [Shocked.] There’s nothing there. Completely black. [He manages a nervous laugh.] I thought for a minute I wouldn’t get back out.
MANLEY: Now, my friend, why don’t you help me instead of wandering around like that. There’s a good fellow.
Manley is holding out his hand invitingly towards the floor.
Another angle: in the half-light, we make out an array of objects Manley has laid out on the floor. These are basically the objects we saw in scene twenty-two: the stove, the various metallic utensils, the net, jars and containers–and Dr Grosvenor’s box.
On David: the experience in the back room has shaken him. He seems to have lost the will to offer any resistance. He looks meekly at the equipment. Then, as though suddenly remembering, he looks nervously back to the black doorway and takes a step away from it. Dissolve to:
Close shot: a candle burning on a saucer on the floor.
Another angle: Manley is shifting about studying something on the floor around the black doorway. We cannot yet see what it is he is studying. He crouches, moves around to get another perspective, like a golfer assessing a crucial putt.
David is standing behind him, leaning against a wall. He is clutching his jacket protectively to himself.
Manley crouches again to scrutinize the unseen objects on the floor. Clearly, he is unhappy about something.
Manley straightens, then without taking his eyes from the floor, gestures towards David.
MANLEY: Your jacket. That will do.
MANLEY: [Gesturing more impatiently; eyes still fixed on the floor.] Give me your jacket.
David is still clutching his jacket to himself.
DAVID: Rather not, if it’s all right with you. I need this jacket.
MANLEY: [Impatient.] You’ll get it back, man. Now this is important. Your jacket.
Manley goes on studying the floor, a hand held out in full expectation of being handed the jacket.
David looks about him, then reluctantly begins to take off his jacket. At one point, he hesitates, then continues. The reason for his hesitation is that there is a big hole in his shirt, previously hidden by the jacket. He tries to make the hole less conspicuous by hiding it under an arm.
Manley takes the jacket from David without looking at him and continues to shift and assess, holding the jacket open before him.
DAVID: Look–er–I need that jacket. It’s not going to get. . .
MANLEY: [Cutting in.] You’ll get it back. Now, kindly allow me a few moments of silence. The most precise calculations are essential here.
David looks on, worried for his jacket.
64. VESTRY. LATER.
Close shot: the rip on David’s shirt. David is fingering it self-consciously, as though somehow it can be folded away.
Widen to find Manley and David sitting on the floor, backs against the wall, facing the black doorway. The candle is on the floor in front of them. Manley is not expecting the ghost to appear quite yet. Nevertheless, his eyes are fixed on the doorway. He wears a brooding look. David is also looking at the doorway. His posture suggests he is trying to maximize the distance between himself and the doorway.
On the black doorway: hold on the doorway for a beat. Then moving down, we see something has happened to the floor in front of the threshold. A line of what appears to be pieces of bread forms a semi-circle around the doorway. Within the semi-circle, the floor is covered with white powder, dotted with what looks like olives. In a central position, David’s jacket is laid out, arms outstretched.
On Manley and David: David gives a start at Manley’s voice, though it is not loud.
MANLEY: Very well. I will tell you.
DAVID: What’s that?
MANLEY: One night in nineteen hundred and four, a pauper was murdered. In there.
David follows Manley’s gaze.
On the black doorway: we close in slowly over the following exchange.
DAVID: [Voice-over.] Why?
MANLEY: [Voice-over.] What?
DAVID: [Voice-over.] Why was he murdered?
MANLEY: [Voice-over: he considers this an irrelevant diversion.] Oh . . . some human organs were needed for research purposes, some such thing. In any case, he was brought up here and killed through there. Eighty years ago.
MANLEY: [Continuing; teasing David into the conclusion.] On this very night.
DAVID: I get it. We’re waiting for his ghost to appear.
MANLEY: Very good. And I am informed it is a very reliable ghost, as ghosts go. [A pause.]
DAVID: And you’re going to . . .
On the black doorway.
MANLEY: [Voice-over continuing.] And I am now quite hungry.
65. VESTRY, AN HOUR LATER.
Close shot: the rip on David’s shirt. Now, it is being allowed to hang open. Widen to reveal David, sitting as before, back against the wall. He no longer looks frightened; he seems resigned, past caring.
Pan slowly until close on Manley, sitting beside David. He now looks much more hungry and impatient. He is hunched forward, breathing heavily, his gaze fixed on the doorway. He looks lecherous.
Another angle: Manley suddenly lurches forward, looking intently ahead. David does not react, but goes on staring blankly in front of him. This is because Manley has lurched forward numerous times before during the past hour. Manley relaxes and settles back.
MANLEY: Hmm. I thought I saw something move again.
DAVID: [Emotionlessly.] I’m the ghost around here. It’s me.
MANLEY: Now, you’re quite clear what you are to do? It’s absolutely imperative everything is timed precisely.
DAVID: [Staring blankly ahead.] I’m the ghost around here. Could vanish tonight, nobody would notice.
Manley lurches forward.
On the black doorway: hold for a few beats. Nothing happens.
On Manley and David: Manley is settling back again. David is still gazing blankly ahead.
Point of view: unidentified presence which is moving up the side aisle of the church. It then seeks out the vestry door.
Close shot: Manley’s face igniting with excitement.
MANLEY: [Hissing.] There!
Manley rises to his feet, his eyes never leaving the doorway. We see his net is grasped in his hands. David, as though awakened from a dream, starts, then also hurries to his feet.
MANLEY: [Off; hissing.] This time definitely! Something moved. Prepare yourself.
Hold on the doorway: there is a movement amid the darkness, which we cannot identify. Then a tramp appears in the doorway. His coat and body become visible, then his face. This is an ‘old-fashioned’ tramp, with a big raggy coat. He is middle-aged, small, with a friendly, cheeky face. There is absolutely nothing eerie about him. The tramp rubs his eyes, as though he has just been awakened, then grins sheepishly.
On Manley and David: both staring at the tramp in some confusion. Manley’s net is poised in one hand.
TRAMP: What’s going on here then? What’s all this? [He prods with his foot the powder on the floor.] Spilt something here, have you?
MANLEY: Leave that alone!
TRAMP: [Looking offended.] Don’t know who are you are, mate, but you won’t catch much with that there. After butterflies, go back to Hampstead Heath.
MANLEY: [Lowering his net, outraged.] What are you doing here?
TRAMP: What am I doing here? I might ask you geezers the same question. I always sleep here. I clean the floors for the old reverend and he lets me stay in here. Can’t sleep down there with all that snoring and God knows what else going on. Still, don’t know how you geezers got to come up here.
MANLEY: We happen to be awaiting a highly important event. And you, my man, are in the way.
TRAMP: [Shrugs.] Pardon me, mate. But I tell you there’s nothing much in there. If there is, I never noticed it.
As he says this, the tramp turns and looks into the black doorway. Hold on the tramp, his back turned to camera.
MANLEY: Well, I assure you something is very likely to materialize, and I would ask you kindly to remove yourself from that vicinity.
The tramp does not respond. His back has not moved since he turned. Hold a further beat, then zoom in quickly as the tramp begins to turn back towards camera. For a fleeting moment, we glimpse the tramp’s face, which has changed. It is the face of a dead man–staring, horror-struck, blood on the lips. We only catch this fleetingly, because we immediately cut to: Manley and David, utterly shocked. Manley comes to his senses first.
MANLEY: The flame, quick! Quick, man, quick!
Another angle: something causes a ring of flames to burst around the doorway. The figure of the tramp remains as still as a statue, caught half-turned, looking over his shoulder. We cannot see the face through the flames.
Point of view: Ghost. Through the flames, David is frantically throwing some powder from a bowl towards the camera. His urgency owes more to some illogical sense of self-defence than to enthusiasm for Manley’s cause.
Manley is unfurling his net. Taking deliberate aim, he throws it. The net covers the camera, and the screen goes black.
68. VESTRY/BACKROOM, A HALF-HOUR LATER.
Fade in: the vestry is empty. The net, and David’s jacket, lie on the floor at the doorway to the back room. The flames have gone and there is no sign of fire-damage.
There is now light coming from within the back room. We move in slowly through the doorway to discover: Manley sitting on a small stool, hunched over his stove, cooking something in his wok. The flame of the stove appears to be our only source of light. It is not strong enough to show us details of the back room. However:
David is caught within the glow of the stove. He is propped against a wall. He is staring towards Manley.
Close-up: Manley’s face. Impatient and lecherous, looking down at what he is cooking. He smiles in anticipation.
Manley puts spices into the wok. Hissing and sizzling sounds issue from the wok. We do not yet see the contents of the wok.
David, eyes blank, is still staring towards Manley.
69. CENTRAL LONDON. VERY EARLY MORNING.
Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square. The city has not yet awoken.
70. BACK ALLEY NEAR CHARING CROSS. VERY EARLY MORNING.
Garbage and old newspapers on the ground. A row of dustbins line the alley. At the far end, an old man is looking through a bin for food. He holds a plastic carrier bag into which he puts anything edible. We watch him going from bin to bin, coming towards us up the alley.
Manley appears in the foreground of our shot. He now has his overcoat on again. He is staggering. He halts and leans against a wall, turning to camera as he does so. Manley looks very ill. He is clutching his stomach and breathing heavily. Manley turns and vomits into the nearest dustbin. Meanwhile, the old man, searching a few bins away, has his back towards Manley and is thus unaware of Manley’s vomiting. Manley finishes vomiting, turns towards us and staggers away out of shot. The old man finishes with his bin and turns to the next in line. One glance tells him this is empty. His next bin is the one Manley has vomited into. The old man comes walking up the alley towards us, holding open his carrier bag expectantly. Just as he is about to peer into the bin, we cut to:
71. THE UNDERPASS OF A BRIDGE. VERY EARLY MORNING.
About fifteen men are sheltering on the pavement beneath the bridge. There are signs here of permanent encampment; empty bottles, blankets, newspapers and cardboard boxes marking out ‘places’. Around half the men are in sitting positions, propped up by the wall – either because they are awake, or because they sleep in this position.
Manley’s figure appears at the far end of the underpass and comes staggering towards us. The men pay little attention to him. Manley stops halfway down the underpass, leaning against the wall to regain his breath.
Another angle: just where Manley has halted, one homeless man is sitting on the ground. He is around forty. He wears a suit but no tie. His clothes are now stained and creased, but conceivably, in these same clothes several months ago, this man may have sold insurance. The homeless man looks up sympathetically at Manley and indicates the space next to him. There is a ‘seat’ of flattened cardboard.
HOMELESS MAN: Sit down. Take a rest.
Manley sits down, still short of breath. He looks broodingly into the space ahead of him. The homeless man fixes Manley with a friendly smile. Manley ignores him for a while, but the homeless man continues smiling. Manley gives the homeless man a quick glance, then looks beyond his companion, down the underpass.
On Manley and homeless man: Manley rubs his stomach slowly and gazes broodingly into space once more.
HOMELESS MAN: Overdid it, did we?
HOMELESS MAN: Bit too much of the old . . . [Makes a drinking gesture.]
Manley looks at the homeless man with disdain. Then with dignity:
MANLEY: I was hungry. I ate. Now I am sick.
HOMELESS MAN: [Shrugs.] Right, right. See what you mean.
MANLEY: You see what I mean? I very much doubt that. How could you ever understand the kind of hunger I suffer?
HOMELESS MAN: Well. We all get hungry, don’t we?
Manley gives the homeless man another disparaging look.
MANLEY: You have no idea what real hunger is.
Homeless man shrugs. Manley continues to look broodingly into space, slowly rubbing his stomach.
72. THE UNDERPASS, EARLY MORNING, A LITTLE LATER.
A Rolls Royce appears at the far end of the underpass and comes slowly past the homeless people.
73. CAR. EARLY MORNING.
Carter, driving, is watching the pavement. He has been searching for some time. His gaze fixes on Manley and the barest hint of a smile crosses his face. He brings the car to a halt, then for a beat or two, remains in his seat, gazing out towards Manley.
74. THE UNDERPASS.
The Rolls has stopped in front of Manley and the homeless man. Manley looks moodily up at the car, but makes no move to stand up. Carter comes out, unhurrying. He makes no move to assist Manley to his feet; instead, he opens the back door and stands holding it open. Manley rises to his feet tiredly. Carter continues to hold the door open, making no effort to assist the struggling Manley as he climbs into the car. On homeless man: there is no surprise on his face. Few things surprise him. He watches with the same friendly smile.
Sounds of doors slamming.
Another angle: the Rolls starts up. It moves past the rest of the homeless people and out of shot.
75. A LONDON STREET.
The Rolls moves along a deserted street.
During the following speech, Manley continues to look tiredly out of the window. Although he ostensibly addresses Carter, he is really just thinking aloud and thus does not notice anything amiss in Carter’s silence.
MANLEY: [Without triumph.] You may like to know, Carson. I achieved what I set out to do last night.
Carter shows no reaction.
MANLEY: Not quite as extraordinary as one may have expected. [Pause.] A disappointment all in all. Perhaps I’ll take a trip up to Iceland again. [Pause.] Mmm. So dreary, Carson. [Pause.] Life gets so dreary once you’ve tasted its more obvious offerings.
Manley continues to gaze out of the window, lost in his thoughts.
77. BACK ROOM/VESTRY, VERY EARLY MORNING.
Close shot: David. Asleep propped up against the wall, then he starts awake. He looks around then relaxes. The back room is small and stark, a kind of storeroom for odd bits of church junk. Although we need not notice this yet, there is an old full-length mirror propped against one wall. On the floor are the remains of Manley’s presence. It looks much like any untidily abandoned camp-site. The wok sits crookedly on the gas stove. Spoons, spatulas, an empty plate, jars and packets lie strewn around. Manley’s stool has keeled over.
David is behaving much like someone waking after a heavy drinking binge. He sighs heavily and rubs the back of his neck. He suddenly remembers the rip in his shirt and examines it as though in hope that it may have healed overnight. He rises to his feet tiredly. He continues to finger the rip in a preoccupied way, while his eyes search the room for something.
Point of view: David.
The wok with three or four pieces of meat still stuck to the edges. With a tired curiosity, he goes to the wok and crouches down by it.
David reaches down and picks off a piece of meat from the wok. He holds it gingerly, as one might a slug. He brings it cautiously to his face. The smell–powerful and awful–hits him. He grimaces and flings the piece of meat away. Then he sighs again and stares emptily in front of him. Still fingering the rip in his shirt, David goes to the doorway. He continues to glance about him in search of something. Through the doorway, we can see to the vestry door, which is now slightly ajar. We move down to the floor around the back room doorway, to discover the object of David’s search–his jacket. It lies amid white powdery ash.
David picks up his jacket, brushes as much ash off as possible, then puts it on. There is a large hole burnt around the shoulder. David notices this with dismay. He fingers the hole in his jacket, then his attention is caught by something in the back room. He returns into the back room, holding the burn in his jacket as though it is a wound.
What David has seen is the full-length mirror, left abandoned against a wall. He stands in front of it, then takes his hand away from the burn in his jacket. He looks at his appearance with an empty expression. Then he sighs, shrugs and turns away, once again rubbing the back of his neck.
78. CENTRAL LONDON. EARLY MORNING.
Rolls moving through morning streets.
The Gourmet was shown in 1987–produced by Ann Skinner and directed by Michael Whyte–and is published here for the first time courtesy of Screbe Productions.
Image © Internet Archive Book Images