Episode One - "The House of Tricks".
FRAN (Voice over)
It’s sad when you get hurt so much that you can finally say,
‘I’m used to it’.
EXT. STREET. 1966 - NIGHT
A DARK CAR cuts through the night like a shark.
INT. CAR. 1966 - NIGHT
Ribbed leather rear seat of an expensive car, probably a 1960s Rover.
Light from the occasional street lamp sweeps across the seat.
The car slows then stops, and a back-door opens.
The driver CLICKS the dial of the car radio, it sweeps through radio stations. It settles on something SOULFUL.
A CHILD, FRANKIE, his face is 14 years old, his eyes are ancient, slides onto the seat.
FRANKIE smiles over to someone, probably the driver. Then the usual terror makes his face adopt a grimace.
This kid has done all this, too many times, before.
Frankie closes the door.
The car drives off.
The street lights illuminate a thoughtful boy with a million things on his mind.
The car slows once more, and stops.
This time, DAN, 10 years of age and terrified, slips onto the seat next to Frankie.
Frankie doesn’t look at the kid, he just slides over.
Tears are forming on DAN’S FACE.
With both boys staring straight ahead, Frankie places his hand on top of Dan’s, then puts his fingers between Dan’s (as if to say, I’m here too).
SOMEONE outside the car, straightens Dan’s clothes, pats down Dan’s hair, and then closes the car door.
The CAR SPEEDS away.
INT. WESTMINSTER SQUARE. 1966 - NIGHT
Dan looking haunted out of the window of the car.
CAPTION: “LONDON - 1966”
The CAR drives around WESTMINSTER SQUARE.
EXT. GARAGE. 1966 - NIGHT
The CAR drives through the entrance of an UNDERGROUND PARKING AREA.
INT. GARAGE. 1966 - CONTINUOUS
The car stops beside several Bentleys, Rollers and Jaguars.
A LARGE BOUNCER TYPE - (we take it he’s the driver) - gets out and opens the door for the kids.
Frankie has done this all before, he knows the routine and where his place is in things.
The Bouncer waves to the boys to get out. Frankie stands beside the door - he looks back and sees Dan is sitting, petrified.
Dan still doesn’t want to leave the car.
I said, come on.
Frankie takes Dan’s hand and leads him out.
I’ll look after you.
Frankie means it.
I’m called D....
Frankie puts his hand over Dan’s mouth.
Don’t tell me your name.
The two boys and the Bouncer walk across the garage to a private elevator.
INT. ELEVATOR. 1966 - CONTINUOUS
The lift doors open onto a sumptuous apartment.
This is a room full of MONEY and very little else. LUST has chased COMPASSION out of the door.
It is populated with the British establishment doing what they do best.
INT. THE HOUSE OF TRICKS. LOUNGE. 1966 - CONTINUOUS
Cravings being satisfied in every corner.
Frankie and Dan are standing in the middle of the room as OLD MEN eye them up.
As Dan becomes more anxious, Frankie squeezes Dan’s hand tighter.
SOMEONE grabs Frankie by his neck and drags him off to a room.
Frankie struggles to look back at Dan. Frankie smiles at him.
Dan is upset after being separated from his protector. Dan is standing isolated in a room of predators.
Don’t let them take me. Please, someone help me. Please. My name is Dan! Help me!
SOME OF THE ROOM turn for a second, smile at the boy, then turn away.
Dan starts to cry. AN ARM picks up Dan and lifts him off to a waiting room.
Dan tries to hold on to the door frame, but his little fingers just scrape the paint and he’s pulled into the bedroom.
JIMMY (25) is the man who is keeping an eye on the room. He is watching and you can tell his mind is never on deep conversations; he is superficial.
Jimmy is conversing with several men. The ‘MINISTER’ is in his forties and overweight.
As you can see, new talent comes in all the time.
Fresh, delectable meat.
The Minister licks his lips and the OTHER MEN, laugh.
I prefer to say ‘fresh talent’.
Whatever you say James. Your parties are always a triumph.
You flatter me.
The Minister stuffs extra money in Jimmy’s jacket pocket.
I’ve had one helluva day in the House, so let me see the bait.
If you gentlemen will follow me. (To a TOPLESS MUSCULAR MAN)
My friends’ glasses are empty.
Jimmy snaps his fingers. The muscular man fills glasses.
The Minister rubs his hands, then grabs the bottle from the muscular man.
The Minister pushes himself to the front of the men and enters the room where Dan has been taken.
INT. THE HOUSE OF TRICKS. DAN’S BEDROOM. 1966 - NIGHT
A terrified Dan is tied to a bed and a LARGE MAN stands next to him. Dan’s mouth is silenced by tape.
Wonderful. Simply magnificent.
The Minister turns to the men.
Gentlemen, behold the delicious quarry.
The Minister bends down beside Dan. He runs his finger over the scared boy’s hair, then lets his hand caress the boy’s face.
Beautiful and fresh and ripe.
The Minister rips the tape from Dan’s mouth.
I like to hear the whimpers - it makes me feel all warm inside.
The Minister looks at the men with him, and they all LAUGH.
The Minister puts his two fingers over the little boy’s mouth, who is about to say his name.
Shh, little one!
INT. THE HOUSE OF TRICKS. FRANKIE’S BEDROOM. 1966 - NIGHT
Frankie keeps looking back at the door, even although he is lying almost naked, face down on a bed.
The YOUNG MAN, who is surprisingly young (mid twenties), FORCES Frankie’s head to face forwards.
Frankie is ‘matter-of-fact’ about the process.
The Young Man is stripping off in the background.
The Young Man’s view of the naked Frankie lying face down on the bed.
The Young Man bends over and inspects a birth mark on Frankie’s lower back. From his accent and manner, this guy has been jettisoned out from a fifties’ public school.
That thing on your back.
The Young Man traces the mark with his fingers.
The woman who delivered me was drunk.
It rather looks like a strawberry. It’s.....pretty. Just like you.
The Young Man smiles to himself, then leans forward and kisses the birthmark.
The Young Man stands up.
The back view of the Young Man, naked. He has ROPES in his hand.
INT. THE HOUSE OF TRICKS. LOUNGE. 1966 - MORNING
THE MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE. The sun is shining in the windows and bleaching away the debauchery of the previous evening.
The Rich and Famous have long since departed. They never spend the night in this type of place.
A TEENAGE BOY lies sleeping, half-naked on a sofa.
The CLEANER shakes the boy awake, who then starts to dress himself.
This is a business and everyone does their bit.
INT. THE HOUSE OF TRICKS. FRANKIE’S BEDROOM. 1966- CONTINUOUS
Frankie is sitting on the edge of the bed. He looks terrible but then again, he’s survived another night.
Bed sheets are strewn around the room, whatever went on in this place was wild.
The Cleaner enters and tries to ignore the boy. The Cleaner knows better than to say anything, but he can’t help himself and hands the boy his sweater.
That’s all right.
The Cleaner smiles and continues cleaning up.
INT. THE HOUSE OF TRICKS. LOUNGE. 1966 - LATER
Frankie walks through the lounge and takes in the aftermath.
He heads for Dan’s Bedroom - he wants to make sure Dan is all right.
INT. THE HOUSE OF TRICKS. DAN’S BEDROOM. 1966 - CONTINUOUS
The room is empty except for the stench of depravity. There is blood on the sheets. Dan didn’t give up easily.
Frankie RUNS from the room.
INT. THE HOUSE OF TRICKS. BATHROOM. 1966 - CONTINUOUS
Frankie THROWS UP in the toilet. He probably does this every time.
Frankie has a gulp out of the water tap and then splashes his face.
Outside the bathroom, and reflected in the bathroom mirror, are TWO MEN (BIG MAN and FAT MAN) carrying a BODY wrapped in bed-clothes.
They continue into the lift.
The lift doors close.
INT. THE HOUSE OF TRICKS. LOUNGE. 1966 - CONTINUOUS
Frankie sneaks out of the bathroom and decides not to follow them by using the lift.
Instead, he uses a STAIRWELL that he has obviously used before.
INT. THE HOUSE OF TRICKS. STAIRWELL. 1966 - CONTINUOUS
Frankie looks carefully over the edge of the bannister.
NOISES from the guys in the garage, below.
Frankie creeps down.
INT. GARAGE. 1966 - CONTINUOUS
BIG MAN and FAT MAN dump the body on the ground, like a piece of meat.
Big Man opens the boot of the car and both men throw the body in the boot.
The door is SLAMMED shut.
I’m going for a piss. Make sure he don’t run.
Big Man exits smiling at his own joke.
Fat Man smirks. He goes around the vehicle and lights a cigarette.
Seeing that the coast is clear, Frankie crawls over to the back of the car.
Frankie carefully opens the car boot, a little.
Fat Man, smoking, thinks he hears something, but sees a RAT moving across the floor and pretends to shoot it with his fingers.
Frankie holds the boot while pulling the cover off of the body.
Frankie jumps back.
There is Dan’s battered little face staring back at him. COLD and DEAD. His mouth is taped up.
Frankie has let the car boot swing up. This spooks Fat Man.
Big Man takes a gun from his jacket. Frankie scuttles behind the other cars. Both men search under the them.
Frankie crawls under from one car to another, as one of the men tries to grab Frankie.
Come out you little shit.
Fat Man’s arm is attempting to grab under the car at Frankie.
Frankie scuttles quickly from underneath one car to another.
Frankie’s POV of the men’s legs walking around the other direction.
Frankie pushes himself out and runs for a door. It opens. He stumbles as he’s running so fast, but he scrambles up.
INT/EXT. TUNNEL. 1966 - CONTINUOUS
Frankie runs along a tunnel. In the background, Big Man and Fat Man are entering.
The door at the other end of the tunnel is BLOCKED by a PILE OF RUBBISH on the outside.
Frankie keeps kicking at the door. The rubbish slides and the door opens - enough to let someone the size of Frankie squeeze through.
EXT. LANE. 1966 - CONTINUOUS
Frankie runs down a lane behind the buildings.
At the end of the lane is a HIGH STREET, full of PEOPLE. Frankie disappears into the crowd as Big Man and Fat Man reach the end of the lane.
Big Man and Fat Man split up to search. Inside the crowd is Frankie getting lost and running.
MUSIC plays and continues over the start of the next scene.
Camera lifts up over London and into the big blue yonder. We travel over distance and time, landing in...
EXT. RUGBY PARK. FIELD. PRESENT - DAY
CAPTION: “PRESENT DAY”
THE CRUNCH of a RUGBY SCRUM. We are in the middle of it all, the grunts and the sweat.
A REFEREE looks into the scrum, then blows his whistle.
The MATCH is OVER.
The BULKY MEN head to the clubhouse.
We are interested in FRANCIS (60s). This is an old man’s league and these are old men.
CHARLIE (60s) one of the players from the opposing team slaps Francis on the back.
Played well, Fran.....considering.
INT. RUGBY PARK. SHOWERS. PRESENT - DAY
Francis is showering in among the usual banter. These are all MAN BEASTS who have played this sport to a good level, once upon a time.
Francis turns his back to us in order to wash. On Fran’s back is the strawberry birthmark we saw earlier. It might be older, and more tired, more wrinkled even , but it’s still the same one.
INT. RUGBY PARK. BAR. PRESENT - DAY
Charlie, from earlier, is at the bar, he brings over the TWO BEERS to the table, where Francis is sitting.
God bless, Chaz. God bless you my friend.
Charlie sits down.
Not enough to let us win, apparently.
What can I say, the man upstairs supports Heaverbrook Over 60s. Always has.
How’s life, anyway, you old scoundrel? How’s the family?
Bobby Stevenson 2016