Triumphator. A script for film.
This is a script that has yet to be filmed. It has been gestating for quite a while. At least a few years. Every now and again I dust it off and add something to it. Unlike a lot of my scripts it didn't occur to me all in one go (like Aphrodite springing whole from the forehead of Zeus - to keep with the classical theme). It is a comedy about the day in a life of a man whose every word is translated for him. The translator is translating what he says into what he REALLY means. It started with a germ of an idea while reading an essay on Roman triumphs and another interesting article about an experimental play done in the fifties where the actors used hand held masks. They addressed other characters in the play with the mask up but took the masks down to address the audience directly - telling the audience what the were "really" saying. One interesting fact about a Roman triumph; Roman generals would be painted red for their triumphs. I'm still trying to think up some way to work that into this script.......
The screen is black as the narrators voice begins. As he talks we see small pictures on a black background appear and disappear in turn. The pictures show a Roman Triumph. The title and opening credits scroll over the top.
Narrator – "In ancient Rome a victorious general would sometimes be granted a triumphal procession through the streets of the city by the grateful citizenry. The general would mount a gold and ivory chariot encrusted with every sort of precious stone and pulled by four snow white horses. Beautiful girls would strew rose petals in his path and the entire populace of Rome would turn out to cheer. Every honour – games, celebrations, riches and glory - would be paid to him in this - his hour of triumph.
But,,,,,,,, he shared the chariot with one other. A lowly slave who would occasionally whisper in his ear 'you are a man not a god'. 'All glory is fleeting'. 'This too will pass'. This slave’s job, in a word, was to take the air out of the general’s big fat head and to make sure he didn’t get above his station. And now, I have a similar job – to make sure people hear what is meant, rather than what is said – to make certain that people don’t take themselves too seriously. To let the air out of big,,,, fat,,,, heads".
As the second paragraph is reached the camera opens in a bathroom. The camera is focused on a steamy bathroom mirror; in the background we can hear “bathroom” noises and the sound of a shaver. A hand clears away the mist and we see the reflection of a young man with a towel wrapped around him. He is just finishing shaving and puts down an electric shaver.
Man – Beautiful!
He claps his hands on a not particularly taut stomach and then holds up both arms and flexes them. No discernible muscles can be seen.
Man – Trim, taut and terrific! (He winks at himself in the mirror) What a sex machine.
As he says, “sex machine” he flexes his arms again and his towel falls to the floor. The camera pulls back and we see that there is a small man with glasses and a bow tie standing right next to him. (They do not make eye contact and neither makes any gesture of acknowledging the existence of the other).
Bow Tie – Slack, paunchy (he looks at the Man's crotch) and your sex machine needs a bigger rotor.
The Man looks into the mirror again and frowns.
The man is sitting in the car, driving. He is in a suit and looks a little nervous but talks with attempted nonchalance and conviction; as if trying to convince himself he is full of confidence..
Man – OK. Job interview.....Piece of cake. All I gotta do is show them how brilliant I am.
Bow Tie – I wonder if I can find a body double. A smart one.
Man – How perceptive I am.
Bow Tie – Must remember not to say “Duh”.
Man – What a great employee I am.
Bow Tie – Please god they don’t talk to my old boss.
Man – Tell them about my workplace initiatives
Bow Tie – Issuing extra soft mouse pads so you can sleep at your desk without leaving a dent in your head.
Man – My achievements.
Bow Tie – The biggest, most record breaking, pool of sleep drool on my desk ever seen – you can see the stain on the office carpet to this day….. And the burn marks where my computer shorted out!
The man looks into the rear vision mirror and frowns. He straightens his tie.
The man is seated in a very large office. Apart from the chairs for himself and his companion the only furniture is a very, very long table and a (very) professional looking woman behind it. She is flanked by two standard issue, nondescript “business” men. Each has a large pad in front of them and a pen in their hands.
Woman – So....(she looks down at the man's resume)....what do you think you can bring to the company? (She looks up expectantly).
Man - (with a confident smile on his face the man opens his mouth....nothing comes out and he takes on an expression of deep stupidity).
Bow Tie – Duh!
Women – You’ve had quite a few positions in the past few years.
Man - Please don't misconstrue my 14 jobs as 'job-hopping'. I have never quit a job. (He smiles hesitantly).
Bow Tie – (looks at him sideways in disbelief).
Woman – Errr..well..what did you do at your last position?
Man – (He brightens and looks a bit more confident) I had many and varied roles at my last job...
Bow Tie – I kept falling asleep at the training sessions so I never worked out what my actual job was.
Man – I was always busy and under a deadline.
Bow Tie – Bludged! But, I used to run around a lot with stuff in my arms.... everyone just assumed I was busy at something. They never realised it was all going into my car’s boot.
Man – Everyone at work used to tell me to slow down.
Bow Tie – Speed up. But, while it might have looked like I was doing nothing, at the cellular level I was always very busy.
Man – but, I was always very organised....
Bow Tie – (Counting off with his fingers). 9 to 11; morning tea. 11 to 12; midday siesta. 12 to 2; lunch. 2 to 4; afternoon tea. 4 to 5 30; in the crapper with a Penthouse. I never washed my hands afterwards and I always shook everybody’s hand goodbye!
Woman – (looking at her hand in alarm) And why did you leave that position?
Man – (He flinches and a look of panic crosses his face. He visibly gets a grip on himself and assumes a look of total and sincere honesty). Health issues…surgery I’m afraid.
Bow Tie – I tried to photocopy my hairy, naked rear end and the glass broke……every time I go to the toilet now I wet my tie.
Man – It took a while for me to recover.
Bow Tie – Thanks to all the blood I was electrocuted too. Guess what’s white, pink, purple and with a black knob? My d....
Man – (Hurriedly interrupting) but, I’m 110% now.
Bow Tie – Once they take out the eighteen stitches I’m headin’ straight for the photocopier room.
The woman gazes at the man and then at Bow Tie and then back to the man. As one, in perfect unison, all three write something on their writing pads. A very large N and a very large O.
Woman – Thank you. We will be in touch.
Man – Errrrr..
The Man and Bow Tie are seated at a table in a bar. The man is hunched over a drink. He looks sad and depressed.
Man – That bitch was definitely a dyke.
Bow Tie – Confident women scare me.
Man – Well..(he swigs a drink). I can’t be blamed.
Bow Tie - It’s not my fault I wasn’t given enough oxygen at birth!
Man – I’m an asset to any workplace.
Bow Tie – I put the “K” in kwality.
The man frowns, and takes another drink. He glances over at the bar and sees a pretty young lady having a drink and minding her own business.
Man - I need a distraction.
Bow Tie – God I need a root!
Man – She’s my type.
Bow Tie – She is so far out of my league its ridiculous.
Man – What should I say? Just play it by ear... Turn on the charm and (he gets up while doing a very bad job of straightening his tie) just remember; women are from Venus……
Bow Tie – (still seated) And I’m from Uranus.
The man sidles up behind her with a corny smile on his face. Just as he reaches the barstool she is seated on he starts to say something and lays his elbow on the bar far too forcefully. It lands on the end of a tray and an empty glass shoots up and into the side of his face. He hits the floor like a ton of bricks and, hearing this, the girl turns around just as he over energetically bounds up again.
Man – Hey...(he grins idiotically, desperately trying to look smooth).
Bow Tie – Right now your probably thinking my mum was also my aunt.
Man – Hey!!!! Hi!
Bow Tie – so, sex; what are my chances?
Man – I just thought I might come over and say hello....
Woman – You have a straw sticking out of your ear.
Man – (Hesitantly the man turns his head and raises his hand to his ear. We see that he has indeed got a drink straw sticking out of his ear. He pulls it out). Ummmmmm.....
Bow Tie – Gimme a minute while I try and think of a witty way to weave the phrase “sticking it in” into the conversation.
Woman – What do you want?
Man – I just wanted to...well...to...(drawing himself up and trying to be cocky)…Well baby, I just want to let you know that I’ve got the goods you’ve been looking for your whole life!
Bow Tie – (brings up his clenched fist. Sticks out his little pinkie and, with raised eyebrows, points to it with his other hand – and smiles).
Man – And, I know how to use it!
Bow Tie – (Looks at his outstretched pinkie. It droops and he frowns, tragically. He uses his other hand to stiffen it and smiles. It droops again and, again, he frowns tragically.)
Man – And there are no “control” problems with this hombre.
Bow Tie holds up an index finger as if to say “wait”. He reaches over to the bar and grabs a half full glass of beer, some straws, an empty peanut container and various other sundries – He flourishes all of these, looking just like David Copperfield about to do a magic trick. The camera goes to a close up of the woman’s face so that we don’t see what he does with all of this. But, we do see a look of deep surprise, shock and amazement on her face as we hear a sound reminiscent of a kazoo.... Her eyes and head follow a high arc from where Bow Tie is to the other side of the bar.
She looks at the Man with alarm and distaste……..
Woman – (The woman looks at the man and then at Bow Tie and then back to the man). I'd like to leave you with one thought in mind - but, I don’t think you’ve got anywhere to put it.
The man is driving his car.
Man – Bloody lesbians. (There is silence and then the sound of a police siren can be heard). What the hell... Not a bloody cop car...
The next scene is from the interior of the car. A copper is leaning against the window.
Cop – Can I see your licence please sir?
Man – sure can! (He smiles ingratiatingly and hands it over). Is there anyway I can help you?
Bow Tie – So, are you on the take or what?
Cop – (Frowns) I beg your pardon?
Man – Nothing, nothing... I just want to help in any way I can.
Bow Tie - You aren’t going to search the boot are you?
The man is looking at a ticket he has been given by the copper. He is standing next to his car. He crumples up the ticket and stuffs it into his pocket. Looking miserable, his hands in his pockets, he walks into a tidy looking front yard and up to a front door.
Man – Well at least there is one place where I’m respected and treated with courtesy. (He knocks on the front door and it opens almost at once).
A grey haired, motherly old lady opens the door; takes one look and grabs him and gives him a big hug.
Bow Tie – The one place I can put on my jimmy jammys, sip my hot milky wilkys and go off to sleepy bo bo’s... Safe, snug and warm. Mum’s place.
Man – Oh mum I’m so glad to be back in your warm, warm bosom. Can you give me a bath and cover me in baby oil like you used too?
Bow Tie opens his mouth and holds up a finger and there is a smile on his face. He is obviously ready with a line that will deserve to be immortalised in stone due to its levity and wit. But, hauling her son inside, the mother slams the door in his face. His face drops. A moment later, the door opens again and the woman hurries out. She has an envelope in her hand. Looking over her shoulder to make sure she isn’t overheard she says....
Mother – He has another job interview on Thursday. Can you make it?
Raising an eyebrow, Bow Tie smiles and takes the envelope out of her hand.