With or without beans

Who do I think I am, posting my revised draft of Happy Birthday and thinking anyone is remotely interested?
What a bum!
Anyway I have and it’s up for submission tomorrow, deadline 5.00pm GMT.

So if anybody is up for giving it the once over and feeding back I will give you £150.00p So that’s not a bad wee incentive.
While I am on incentives, I have to attend a sleep study in Raigmore Hospital, and I require a form to be filled in my partner to inform of my sleeping behaviours, but as I am temporarily without at the moment, I am looking for volunteer/s to sleep with me. A full Scottish Cooked Breakfast will be provided.
Please advise if you require beans.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

FADE IN:

EXT./- BACK ALLEY – GLASGOW CITY – Mid evening.

It is summer 1997. The sun is shining. TAM (37), medium, unkempt, unshaven, dishevelled, is on the ground in an alleyway, his back is propped up against a building. He has on a tatty leather jacket, black shirt, black jeans. He is drunk, half-asleep. An almost empty bottle of cheap wine is protruding from under his side.

Two neds, junkies, POS (sixteen) and KIPSO (seventeen) come into the alley, they spot Tam and head towards him.

POS

Let’s roll that cunt?

KIPSO

He’s a Jakey, he’ll have fuck all.

POS

He’s no a Jakey, he’s got a watch on.

Pos and Kipso are standing over Tam. Pos boots Tam a THUD against his thigh. Tam comes around.

KIPSO

Haw cunt, give us yer watch.

JEAN (35) brunette, a roughly hewn, but once attractive Glasgow woman, dressed in red jacket, black skirt, and heels, is watching the situation, sheltering in a darkened recess.

Tam looks at the watch on his wrist, curiously, puzzled. He feels the watch wristband briefly and looks up at the two standing over him.

TAM

I’d back off, if I was you, laddie.

KIPSO

Give us yer watch then an we’ll no cut ye.

Tam stands up.

TAM

OK, Have it your way.

Tam is on his feet, his shaking hand holding the wine bottle.

TAM (CONT’D)

Can I just swallow the dregs of this?

Pos now has a knife in his hand.

POS

Aye, shift it, then give us that fucking watch, ya dick.

Tam uncorks the bottle, drops the cork.

The evening sun comes from behind a gap in the city buildings, and blinds him.

He refocuses and grasping the top of the bottle, by its neck, Tam smashes it down on Pos’s head. Pos falls to the ground, releasing the knife. Tam retrieves the knife quickly and plunges it into Kipso’s chest, twice. Pos comes around and tries to get up. Tam falls onto him, his knees on Pos’s chest, then frenziedly stabs Pos several times. Tam comes off Pos onto his own knees on to the ground and then stands over the bodies of Pos and Kipso. He is panting, sweating, looking around.

On a second glance he sees a silhouette in a dark recess of the building.

JEAN (O.S.)

Tam, Tam, over here.

Tam puzzled, stares harder at the source of the voice.

JEAN (CONT’D)

Come, quickly, come to me, over here.

BLACK BRICK MICK (62), a grubby man, with coal smudged, grey tweed trousers, jacket and flat cap, 1930’s style,and MAMMY BETH (43), a plump negress, white smock and black crochet cardigan, come into the alleyway.

Tam at first hesitant, then hurriedly goes to Jean. Jean has her hand out to lead him down the stairs.

BLACK BRICK MICK

Look, Mammy Beth, there he is.

Tam turns to Black Brick Mick and Mammy Beth.

MAMMY BETH

Hurry. There may not be much time.

JEAN

This way. Come… Quickly.

Tam follows Jean down into the darkness of the unlit stairwell.

FADE OUT.

FADE IN:

INT./ENTRANCE – BARN entrance way – STAFFIN – ISLE OF SKYE – night.

THIRTEEN YEARS LATER…..

Jean (35) is leading Tam (50) through the dark entrance of the barn.

JEAN (CONT’D)

This way. Open your eyes Tam.

INT./BARN – STAFFIN – ISLE OF SKYE- NIGHT.

Jean and Tam come into a dark barn, the lights come on and we see a small gathering of people. They sing.

THE CROWD

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Tam, Happy Birthday to you.

TAM

Oh my God, This is wonderful, Thank you all so much.

Tam stands with arm around Jean, proud. The singing stops.

The DIAMOND TWINS, (25) blonde, bob-haired female twins, wearing pink PVC mini skirts and white PVC knee-length boots along with PRAYING JACK (73), black smock and white dog collar and Beretta, pass round drinks.

DIAMOND TWINS

Raspberry leaf and Tansy today folks.

PRAYING JACK

Only the best for Birthday boy, our Tam.

Black Brick Mick (62) beckons to the assembled guests for quiet.

BLACK BRICK MICK

Ladies and Gentlemen, before you present Tam with your gifts, let us propose a toast on this, his 50th and final birthday, and his 13th year, to this very day, that he took his last drop.

The crowd raise their glasses.

THE CROWD

To Tam.

Tam mouths the word ‘Final’ to Jean. He shrugs his shoulders. Jean smiles. Standing proud again, his friends line up, to wish him the best. Black Brick Mick is the first to approach.

TAM

Black Brick Mick, my dear friend.

Tam moves, arms open to hug Black Brick Mick.

BLACK BRICK MICK

You’ll get covered in coal, mind.

TAM

Your fine, man, don’t worry about that.

They hug.

TAM (CONT’D)

It’s been great knowing you.

They unclasp. Tam dusts off his jacket and then stoops, dusting off his trousers.

Black Brick Mick looks down at his dusty tweeds, his clothing is bloodstained.

BLACK BRICK MICK

Yes, likewise, but that’s over now and I thank you for it.

TAM

What.. What’s over?

Black Brick Mick moves away, then takes a coal smudged folded paper from his inside pocket and unfolds it. He reads from it and announces.

BLACK BRICK MICK

Ladies and Gentlemen, Order please.

The chatter ceases.

BLACK BRICK MICK

First up this evening, Tam, your loyal and loving nurse, Mammy Beth.

Mammy Beth (43) comes forward. She hands Tam an ornamental small black elephant. It has a broken tusk.

MAMMY BETH

Tam, Praise be, what a great day this is. We are all so happy about it. Now, don’t you be fretting, ‘t all be over soon.

TAM

What, no, I’m happy Mammy, really, I am.

Tam hands Jean the ornament.

MAMMY BETH

Of course you are.

Beat

MAMMY BETH (CONT’D)

We all are.

BLACK BRICK MICK

And now Tam, the man responsible for that perfect smile of yours, the Master Dentist himself.. Woodcutter Willie.

WOODCUTTER WILLIE (56), wearing white overalls, a deep black weightlifters belt and cowboy boots approaches Tam. He produces a Jew’s harp and plays Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on it. He hands the harp, dripping with saliva, to Tam.

WOODCUTTER WILLIE

No pain, no gain, Thomas. You know the score.

TAM

Always.

WOODCUTTER WILLIE

Refrain, abstain, stay sane, Thomas.

TAM

Yeah…sure….What?

WOODCUTTER WILLIE

No pain, no gain, Thomas.

Tam nods in agreement, but looks at Jean for assurance. She smiles to him.

Beat.

BLACK BRICK MICK

Now Tam. Who showed you the light? Who showed you the way?

TAM

May?, Blind May?

BLIND MAY (56) stout, muscular,with dark glasses and wearing motorbike leathers. She is led forward by Praying Jack, feeling her way, arm outstretched, holding, in one hand a burnt-black link sausage, and in the other she is tapping with her stick. She hands the sausage to Tam. Tam looks at the sausage, bemused, and bites the top off it.

BLIND MAY

Well done, you are an inspiration my dear boy, but, don’t worry, soon you won’t be afraid of the dark anymore.

Beat.

BLACK BRICK MICK

Finally, Tam, a man who has never been off his knees for you and every one here. Your dedicated spiritual guru, Praying Jack.

Praying Jack (36) kneels before Tam and takes off his biretta and wipes blood drops from Tam’s shoes with it.

PRAYING JACK

Shiny shoes. Tam, always have shiny shoes.

Tam nervously smiles and then attempts a more hearty laugh, but fails. A table is brought into view, carried by the Diamond Twins, it has a birthday cake on it.

THE CROWD

Cut the Cake. Cut the cake

We hear a slow hand CLAP.

Jean has her hand out to lead Tam over to the cake.

JEAN

Quickly, over here.

Praying Jack hands Jean a knife. Jean holds the knife in one hand and with the other beckons Tam to come

JEAN (CONT’D)

This way. Quickly.

Tam is panting, sweating, looking around.

FADE OUT

FADE IN

EXT./ BACK ALLEY – GLASGOW CITY – NIGHT.

Tam (37) follows Jean down into the dark stairwell. A door opens. They go through.

JEAN

This way. Quickly.

INT./ CANDLELIT CELLAR – Glasgow city – night.

Jean and Tam enter a disused cellar. The Diamond Twins, Praying Jack, are sitting together on an old grubby sofa, Woodcutter Willie and Blind May are sitting on matching armchairs. Tam is agitated.

TAM

I need a drink.

Beat

JEAN

But those boys……

Beat

TAM

I warned them.

Beat

WOODCUTTER WILLIE

Fancy a wee reviver, Thomas?

Beat

DIAMOND TWINS

The hair of the dog, a curer?

Beat

TAM

Yes, yes, give me a fucking drink.

Beat

JEAN

…. you should have just given them the watch Tam.

Beat

TAM

What..

Beat

JEAN

There is no time now….

Beat

TAM

What the fuck are you on about, they’re both dead. Dead meat.

Beat

WOODCUTTER WILLIE

‘Fraid not Thomas, no pain no gain.

Beat

TAM

Just give me a fuckin’ drink.

Beat

BLIND MAY

He should do it, now.

Beat

PRAYING JACK

He will, won’t you Tam?

Beat

JEAN

For Christ sake, open your eyes Tam…

Beat

JEAN (CONT’D)

…just do it for me.

Beat

PRAYING JACK

Do it Tam.

There is an inkpot filled with blood red ink. Jean dips a quilled pen into the pot.

Beat

BLIND MAY

He has to. Now.

Beat

WOODCUTTER WILLIE

No pain no gain Thomas.

Beat

Jean passes the quill to Tam. Tam reaches out to take it.

Beat

FADE OUT

FADE IN

INT./ BARN – STAFFIN- ISLE OF SKYE – NIGHT.

Tam (50), bewildered, takes the knife from Jean.

THE CROWD

Tam, cut the cake. Tam. Cut the cake.

TAM

Cut the cake, Tam, cut the cake.

Tam jumps up and down on the spot in time with the chant.

TAM (CONT’D)

I don’t want to cut no fucking cake. Shut to fuck up about the fucking cake. You cut the fucking cake. I only like fucking jaffa cakes and you bastards know that. I keep fucking telling you, Ja-ffa Cakes, Ja-ffa Cakes, Ja-ffa Cakes, Ja-ffa Cakes, Ja-ffa Cakes, Ja-ffa Cakes…..

Tam stays a while jumping and chanting and then stops. SILENCE

Beat

THE CROWD

Cut the cake, Tam, cut the cake, Tam

Tam gives in and plunges the knife into the thick icing of the cake. Thick red blood and offal spills out of the cake. The guests applaud. Tam gags and spews a spurt of blood.

A camera flashes. Tam is crouched and then straightens and adopts a fighting stance.

TAM

I need a fucking drink, ya bastards, get me a fucking drink

He is gesturing to all to come at him with one hand and holding the knife outstretched in the other.

TAM (CONT’D)

Get me a fucking drink, or I will have you, any one of you.

From behind the group, Kipso and Pos emerge. Kipso has a bottle of cheap wine.

KIPSO

It’s your Birthday?

Pos applauds

POS

All the best then.

Tam is on his knees, sweating, slevering

TAM

Give me it, you fuckers, give me the wine, I’ll fucking have you.

Pos, with his foot on Tam’s shoulder, forces Tam to lie flat on his back. Kipso holds the bottle over his face and pours it towards Tam’s mouth. Tam with mouth open drinks as much as he can catch. The knife falls from his hand.

Jean charges at Kipso, pushing him off-balance.

JEAN

Stop that now. Show some fucking dignity you bastards.

Tam looks up at Jean. He stretches out to take her hand. Jean takes it and grasps his arm.

Tam looks at his wrist, then Jean, as she takes the watch from him and exchanges with Kipso for the bottle.

Jean holds the wine bottle to Tam’s lips, he glugs at it desperately, agitated, and then he calms.

Jean lifts Tam’s head and kisses him gently on his forehead.

JEAN

Goodbye Tam.

Tam smiles to her.

Pos and Kipso run from the scene.

pOS

Cunt.

KIPSO

Prick.

Jean puts the bottle of wine to her mouth, and takes a long swig at it.

JEAN

Bastards.

A camera flashes.

EXT./ BACK ALLEY – GLASGOW CITY – NIGHT

A camera flashes.

Tam is lying on the ground. We see an ambulance and police cars in the background, blue lights flashing. More flashes come from the camera of a police photographer as he takes a close up of Tam’s wrist. We see Tam has no watch. A small crowd stands behind police cordon. In the crowd stand Black Brick Mick, Mammy Beth, Praying Jack, The Diamond Twins, Blind May, Woodcutter Willie and Jean. Black Brick Mick takes his turn to drink from the bottle of cheap wine that is being passed around. He holds it up.

BLACK BRICK MICK

To Tam, one of the best.

FADE OUT

THE END

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6 thoughts on “With or without beans

  1. First, Do you snore? If not, I bet Bill would sleep with you. He’s about had it with my allergy season snoring. :-}

    Okay, about the screenplay: The new version is a lot less ambiguous. I really, really like the added blood on Black Brick Mick and on Tam’s shoes. I also like the bit where Pos and Kipso pour the wine into Tam’s mouth. It’s the kind of action that you could imagine them doing to a guy they just stabbed. (Little sadistic bastards!)

    Maybe it’s just because I know what’s coming, but Jean’s good-bye kiss seems to make the meaning of the ending much more obvious, as does the toast at the very end. Do you want to be that blatant? I like the vagueness of the previous draft’s ending because I like to think about and discuss a movie like this. In my opinion, leaving it a little more open makes the crime scene at the end more powerful.

    Thanks for entrusting us with your creation!

    XOXO

  2. I think this is much better than the earlier version – can see you have worked the changes it needed into the screenplay. For me it easier to read and understand although I still am left with enough questions. It feels finished although I still find it very dark but like Michelle am grateful to see creating a screenplay in action.

    By the way re the sleeping partner, why don’t you book yourself and maybe Alex and John F into Lilac Cottage again for a night!

  3. Dammit I just typed a big long reply and then I LOST it! ****. Well anyway – what I was saying was pretty much that I like the rewrite and the changes and that it has been made less abstract. I like the ending but I can see what Michelle is saying about being too literal – fine line between too abstract and too literal. I was thinking about what that David Morrisey blokey was saying during his talk about how the actress was overacting – or doing too much. He said that she should bring it right down and he’d ‘catch it All in her eyes’. Maybe when jean kisses him gently then it could all be captured in their eyes.

    I do like that you’ve removed the ‘Mammy’ character’. I was still mulling it all over in my head and She was standing out as a difficulty. She reminded me of the nursemaid from ‘Gone With the WInd’ and I wasn’t getting the reference with her. And I couldn’t understand why the stark contrast witht he others. More cohesive now. I was going to pm you on that one but school is mental the now and I hadn’t gotten around to it.

    One more thing which I’m thinking about with Pos and Kipso – are these two characters full on BAD or are they two daft wee boys with a knife who wind up doing something stupid? I work with a lot of sixteen year olds and I’ve seen maaaaany daft wee boys but virtually never met any full on BAD kids. I feel like I want them to be daft but not pure bad. But that is me being extremely picky and likely biased and idealist. Ignore if irrelevant. it was something which had occurred to me a bit later on as well. Maybe I am getting too finicky there and looking for things.

    Hope the big hand-in goes well, John

  4. Correction from me – the Mammy character hasn’t been removed but there is some of her dialogue removed I think. I need to stop now because I’m being very braindead tonight!

  5. Michelle,
    I actually agree with you about the ending vague. This is part of a Post Grad on Screenwriting that I am currently doing, and the school of thought is that vagueness is not a good thing. I do like the new ending, and I did change it again, and finally submitted as above, mostly. I thought of removing Jean altogether from the final scene, making her a kind of ghost and that she leads Tam to a kind of ‘heaven’ .
    I introduced the jaffa cake scene as a funny scene, I found it funny writing it, but is it?
    Grateful, very much so, for your feedback.

    Thanks Kay for reading, and again I am flattered that you like it and found it a bit clearer, there are, indeed, remaining questions and one of them which I hoped would be raised, is where did Tam get the watch, he was given it, but by who.???

    It was originally supposed to be Jean, but I don’t know now. But that’s ok.

    Incidentally, for the record, JF did not stay at Lilac Cottage ……

    Kim, again I am really chuffed at your comments too.
    Again I kind of agree about keeping it abstract, ambiguous, call it what you like, but the trick is to make it as clear as possible to the reader of the script, whilst keeping the intriguing stuff back from the potential audience.

    Funny, about your thoughts on the Mammy character, wrong movie same era, I took her from the maid in the Tommy and Jerry cartoons who would always end up on stool, shrieking on the site of the mouse. Don’t know why though, I suppose transposing that character from the cartoon world to the world of Glasgow Dossers has some subconcious signifigance.

    Also one of my fellow students, pointed out that the word ‘negress’ could be regarded as offensive, but accepting it was a word relevant to the image of the character, and I advised I never meant to offend, but then co-incidentally, with regard to the Maya Angelou facebook discussions, I happen to come across the following extract, from ‘Wouldn’t Take Nothing for my Journey Now’.
    ******************
    The woman who survives intact and happy must be at once tender and tough. She must have convinced herself, or be in the unending process of convincing herself, that she, her values, and her choices are important. In a time and world where males hold sway and control, the pressure upon women to yield their rights-of-way is tremendous. And it is under those very circumstances that the woman’s toughness must be in evidence.

    She must resist considering herself a lesser version of her male counterpart. She is not a sculptress, poetess, authoress, Jewess, Negress, or even (now rare) in university parlance a rectoress. If she is the thing, then for her own sense of self and for the education of the ill-informed she must insist with rectitude in being the thing and in being called the thing.

    A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a woman called by a devaluing name will only be weakened by the misnomer.
    ****************
    Anyway, I digress with the negress.

    Pos and Kipso to me are bad, although I would see them as typically brutalised young guys, and for some young males, being brutalised is part of family life, I say that anecdotely, but I am read just a particularly sickening news story today, of such brutality.

    I don’t think Mammy says too much less, although others say more.

    Thanks to you and all once again.

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