Monday, August 29, 2011

Andrew & The Vanishing Verkoff (iv)

[Andrew and Gabby are leaving a Mexican restaurant.]

Gabby: So what do we do now?

Andrew: [shouts over his shoulder] Find a BETTER Mexican place! [to Gabby] I can't believe they threw us out!

Gabby: They threw YOU out.


[A pause.]


[They head down the street.]

Gabby: So, Answerman, what the hell do we do next?

Andrew: Well, Gabrielle, what do YOU think we should do?

Gabby: If I knew that, I wouldn't have hired you!

Andrew: You've got a mind of your own. Apparently. You tell me.

Gabby: OK, well, I think...

[A middle-aged man emerged from a chemist and nearly bumps into them. He sees Andrew and freezes. Andrew waves. The man lets out a scream and runs into the traffic, causing much honking of horns and squealing of brakes.]

Andrew: [sighs] Ah.

Gabby: Who was that?!

Andrew: One of my satisfied customers, would you believe?

Gabby: Do all your satisfied customers run off screaming?

Andrew: Not ALL of them. But don't worry, he wasn't a case I investigated.

Gabby: Who was he then?

Andrew: A customer from my day job. [blinks] Speaking of which...

[Cut to outside Toys R Us. Andrew and Gabby approach the entrance.]

Gabby: If you have a day job, why are you trying to be a private eye?

Andrew: Because it's a day job! That's what the day job is for!

Gabby: But it's still daytime!

Andrew: [blinks] Yeah, well, I work on a casual basis. [beat] Very casual. [beat] Borderline comatose if I'm honest about it...

[They enter the store and head wander through the aisles.]

Gabby: How exactly did you get a job here anyway?

Andrew: Oh, excellent qualifications, winning personality, a well-turned trouser...

Gabby: You're wearing shorts. Well, some jeans that have been ripped up.

Andrew: Meh. Details.

Gabby: So how did you do it?

[Andrew suddenly gets interested in some boardgames.]

Andrew: Oh, er, the boss was a bit careless one Melbourne Cup. "Transvestite Orgy"-careless. Meathook convinced him to let me get a casual position without all that tedious mucking about with work experience and motivation... How many versions of Monopoly are there now? Fifty-three? It's the same game, you fools!

Gabby: Who's Meathook? A gangster?

Andrew: Huh? Uh, no. He's my dad. Sort of.

Gabby: Sort of?

Andrew: I got adopted by him a few years back. Lovely guy. He's the Warden at a prison down Campbeltown way. You'd like him.

Gabby: Really?

Andrew: You're Nigel's girlfriend, you'd like anyone.

Gabby: [frowns] What happened to your real mum and dad?

Andrew: Oh, this and that. Mostly that. [eyes widen] Get back!

[The two of them duck into the shade of some overhanging Lego sets. A store worker trudges down the aisle and passes them without looking. Andrew nudges Gabby and they emerge from hiding and creep down the aisle after the worker.]

Andrew: [conversational] Hey, Harry. Long time, no see.

[Harry doesn't turn around, but chats as if this is perfectly normal.]

Harry: Hey, Andrew Formally Known As Maddog. What can I do you for?

Andrew: You're a witness and I need your testimony.

Harry: Oh, doing the whole private eye thing again?

Andrew: Not "again". "Still". Heartbroken dame has put me on the case to find her missing beau, and you happen to have the info the boys downtown can use to put the truth in a game of musical chairs at Sing-Sing with 400 watts of direct current.

Gabby: [to Harry] Do you understand what he's saying?

Harry: Nope. But verbal communication's overrated in my estimation. Hey, Gabs.

Gabby: Oh. Um. Hey.

[They turn left into another aisle and Harry starts searching for a particular toy. Andrew helps him without asking.]

Andrew: So, you're the drummer for Yellow Fever And How To Die From It?

Harry: Used to be, Drew. We broke up.

Andrew: Harry! I told you dating Yoko was bound to have this effect! Look what she did to the Wiggles!

Harry: Meh, like I was happy doing Gangajang cover versions with that egomaniac.

Gabby: That egomaniac is my boyfriend.

[Harry stares at her.]

Harry: I know. [to Drew] What's the prob?

Andrew: Said egomaniac has disappeared and there's strong evidence he isn't just taking a couple of weeks before Denton gets an exclusive interview. Foul play is suspected.

Harry: There's nothing foul about my drumming.

Andrew: Whatever you say, Ringo. Thing is, the Big N has not been seen since your final gig at K-Mart or wherever it was. Wanna tell us what happened?

Harry: Not really, but it passes the time.

Andrew: I ever told you I admire your brutal honesty?

Harry: No. You haven't.

Andrew: [to Gabby] See? Brutal! [to Harry] What happened?

[They have the toy and head off.]

Harry: Not much. We turned up, we told Nigel the party was over, he got slightly emotional, called us all fat-faced sniveling traitors, then the jailbait nun turned up with the bucket of fish and the TNT shop dummy. We legged it. Ain't seen Nigel since.

Gabby: Didn't the police call you in for questioning?

Harry: Course they did. Whole anti-terrorism stuff. But we never saw Nigel and got released that night. Just assumed he was lying low.

Gabby: He wasn't blown up, was he?

Harry: Nope. We all got out of the main floor way before the bomb went off.

Andrew: You saw Nigel escape then?

Harry: We all took the one door through those service tunnels and stuff. But when we got out, Nigel was nowhere. Didn't leave him behind, he didn't go ahead of us. Just assumed he took a wrong turn.

Andrew: You think he could still be hiding in K-Mart?

Harry: David Jones.

Andrew: Enough of the Bowie trivia, Harry, answer the question!

Harry: I don't know. But I think all those swat teams and stuff would have found him. I reckon he found some other fire escape, slipped away into the night and is probably lying low at some science fiction convention. Probably trying to bum a role in Farscape or something.

[Andrew stares at him VERY suspiciously, then grins.]

Andrew: Thanks, man. I'd be lost without you.

Gabby: What? That's it?

Andrew: I'd trust Harry with my soul.

Harry: If you still had one.

Andrew: [shrugs] Admittedly, there is that disclaimer.

Gabby: How do we know he's not in on the conspiracy?

Harry: Well, if I were trying to lure Nigel into a trap, I don't think using someone with a very public hatred for him that he barely liked let alone trusted and then leave that someone behind working minimum wage at a toystore as a reward for services rendered, do you?

Andrew: He's got you there. We'll just have to ask the others in the band. Who are they again?

Gabby: Um, Nigel, Harry, Jadi, Tegan and Lucy.

Andrew: Damn. Tegan went to schoolies week with her girlfriend.

Harry: Lucy's in Tokyo for the next two weeks.

Andrew: [sympathetic] Still obsessed, huh?

Harry: [defensive] Just keeping an eye on her.

Gabby: And Jadi's been missing since school ended.

[Andrew stops, frowning.]

Andrew: [lost in thought] He has, hasn't he?

Gabby: Andrew?

Andrew: [snaps out of it] So Yellow Fever's last performance didn't have a bass player?

Gabby: Oh, no, Jason took over at the last minute.

Andrew: How convenient.

Harry: [to Gabby] You gotta love him when he gets like this.

Andrew: Gets like what?

Harry: All Dirk Wolf. Or was it Nero Gently? You know, the whole Sherlock Holmes thing.

Andrew: Harry, I am many things, but I am not a heroine-addicted homosexual violinist.

Harry: [to Gabby] I remember the last case we sorted out...

Gabby: Oh?

Andrew: [warning] Harry.

[Harry continues to chat to Gabby, totally oblivious to Andrew's discomfort.]

Harry: See, one recess, we were sitting on the stairs to the library, right next to the girls' toilets when there was this horrible screaming noise...

Andrew: We don't need to dicuss this, Harry.

Harry: it turns out that this year ten girl has just fainted from terror inside one of the stalls, so what we do is...

Andrew: Harry, seriously!

Harry: ...break down the door and there she is, unconscious, pants down by her ankles...

[Andrew hangs his head in his hands.]

[Much later, Harry is concluding the story. Gabby is rapt. Andrew bored shitless.]

Harry: ...and when her mum came in and saw her... well, you know, she assumed the worst and totally smacked her in the face! Told her it was very bad and dirty and all that stuff! She totally repressed the memory and became so, like, inhibited about her body the faintest glimpse of her own pubic hair caused a total anxiety attack!

Gabby: Wowwwww. [blinks] How did you find out any of this in the first place?

Andrew: [bored] You DON'T want to know.

Gabby: You don't seem happy you cracked the case.

Andrew: Why should I be? Just because I worked out what was wrong with her doesn't mean I fixed it. No happy endings, because nothing ever ends. [blinks] What the hell am I talking about?

Harry: [to Gabby] We should have that on a T-shirt.

Andrew: Where's Jason? We need to talk to him.

Harry: [shrugs] Probably filming.

Gabby: Filming? Filming what?

[Cut to a bus heading through the city. Andrew and Gabby are sitting at the back.]

Gabby: [righteous indignation] A porno?! He's filming a PORN movie!

[Some other communters glare. Andrew squirms.]

Andrew: I guess this is what it feels like when I'M the one having a rant...

Gabby: Nigel's gone missing, possibly dead, and what's he been doing? MAKING PORN!

Andrew: Well, look on the bright side.


Andrew: Maybe that's where Nigel is? Maybe he's a stunt-double...

Gabby: This isn't "Orgazmo", Drew, this is real life?

Andrew: [sighs] Rub it in. Anyway, you got enough money for a return fare?

Gabby: [checks wallet] Guess so. You know, for someone who works for free, your expenses are piling up pretty quick!

Andrew: Pah! I've been on the case for three hours and already uncovered a huge conspiracy against your beloved! At this rate, you'll be back with the Coconut Bastard by sundown - pretty good, huh?

Gabby: [worried] Wouldn't that count a happy ending?

Andrew: [grins] Not for everyone else. Come on. Our stop.

[They emerge out before a huge park next to a stadium.]

Andrew: FOX Studios! The home of the stars! The place where movies are made!

Gabby: What a dump.

[Andrew looks like he's going to argue for a moment.]

Andrew: Yeah, good point. I'm not even going to try to defend it. Let's go.

[They hurry across the park.]

Gabby: What's this film called, anyway?

Andrew: [embarrassed] Um, well, the title's SORT OF like "The first cut is the deepest". Only not.

Gabby: [rolls eyes] Classy movie.

[Dressing room. Andrew sits before a vanity mirror, squinting at his reflection.]

Andrew: All these lights, I can't see a damn thing!

[He looks for a switch, shrugs, takes off his sandal and smashes all the bulbs. He's still doing it when Jason enters, wearing a fluffy dressing gown and looking sweaty and exhausted.]

Jason: What the hell are you doing?

[Andrew continues to smash bulbs.]

Andrew: Don't mind me!

Jason: YOU! [frowns] Aren't you dead?

[Andrew grins at him.]

Andrew: Three guesses. And the first two don't count. You've gone up in the world. Or gone down on the world. Are those pick-up shots part of the plot or DVD extras?

Jason: Why are you here? You want a job or something?

Andrew: I have got a job!

Jason: [smug] Not as good as mine!

Andrew: Well, sychronized swimming in bodily fluids doesn't appeal to everyone.

Jason: Hey, there are downsides to this job! It's not all multiple orgasms, you know!

[Andrew idly steals random stuff from the dressing room.]

Andrew: It must be very hard for you. So to speak.

Jason: [groans theatrically] Don't I know it? I tell you, it feels like all my muscles have been burned by acid! I feel so weak and raw and it's only the second week of filming!

Andrew: It must be awful!

Jason: Girl after girl after girl! Retake after retake! I swear, I'm running out of precious bodily fluids at this rate!

[Andrew turns around. He's aiming a gun at Jason's face.]

Andrew: And you're about to lose a whole lot more!

Jason: [confused] Wha? Is there a reason for this?

Andrew: [icily] Where's Nigel?

Jason: [just as icy] Dunno. Don't care. And THAT is not even a real gun!

Andrew: I never said it was.

[Andrew fires. It's a water pistol. Jason screams and writhes on the chair.]

Jason: Argh! My eyes! MY eyes!

[Andrew laughs, takes some cable-ties and binds Jason to the chair. The porn star is in too much agony to resist.]

Jason: The salty pain! WHAT IS THAT STUFF?

Andrew: Lighten up, Jase! It's just lemon juice, always good to take your own to Mexican restaurants.

[He squirts some up into the air and catches it on his tongue. Then retches.]

Andrew: Oh, so THAT'S where I put the last chili shot...

Jason: Make it stop! MAKE IT STOP!

[Andrew sucks the water pistol until it's empty.]

Andrew: Taste-teeee. Right, Jase.

[He throws a glassful of water at Jason's eyes and he sobs in relief.]

Jason: Thank you!

Andrew: No need for thanks. I'm here today, Jase, to give you a choice of career change.

Jason: Huh?

Andrew: It's simple. I'm going to ask you questions. Knowing your IQ is slightly lower than that velour dressing gown you wear, I'll keep the questions as simple as possible. But if you lie, or even if I think you might be holding back anything at all, there are going to be consequences and repercussions.

Jason: Like?

Andrew: Like you'll never work in the porn industry again. But I dare say you'll do wonders as a male soprano...

[Andrew holds out a mousetrap.]

Andrew: ...perhaps even a CASTRATO!

[Jason swallows.]

Jason: You wouldn't.

Andrew: I don't have to.

[Andrew crosses to the door to the dressing room and opens it. Gabby is waiting outside. She enters.]

Andrew: Jason, meet the very angry and passionate girlfriend of Nigel who will do pretty much anything she has to in order to get him back. Gabby, meet the treacherous scum-sucking bottom-feeding bastard who sold your beloved down the river.

[He hands her the mousetrap.]

Andrew: If you have a preferred testicle, Jase, I suggest you mention it now.

Jason: NO! PLEASE!

[Gabby casually primes the mousetrap.]

Jason: You can't do this to me! I'll be all... lop-sided.

Gabby: Good point. I'll do both. Balance it out!

[She puts the mousetrap on the chair, between Jason's legs.]


Gail: Where's Nigel!

Jason: I don't know! I swear I don't know!

Andrew: [angrilly] I believe you! It's been two weeks, I dare say he could be anywhere now! Where did you last see him!

Jason: At David Jones! The concert!

Gabby: Be more precise!

Jason: After the nun turned up! We ran for it!

Andrew: To the fire escapes?

Jason: Yes!

Andrew: And where did Nigel disappear to?

Jason: He... he... he went ahead of us, went down a corridor! We lost sight of him!

Gabby: [chuckles] Nigel coming first. As per usual.

[Andrew nods, then freezes and turns to look at her.]

Andrew: Wha... no! No, I didn't want to know that! No one wants to hear that! What are you doing? I'm trying to make a perp sweat here and you're trying to make me lose my not-fully-digested Mexican lunch? A bit of decorum, please!

Gabby: So-ree.

Andrew: Ugh! I feel DIRTY!

[Andrew brushes invisible filth off his shoulders, disgusted.]

Andrew: Right. Jase. You know which corridor he took, don't you? Because YOU made sure he went that way. You wanted him to end up in the right exit where someone else was waiting for him while YOU and the others got an alibi!

Jason: [whimpers] Kind of!

Gabby: [eyes widen] You really did it? You betrayed Nigel? He was your friend!

Jason: [furious] He was an asshole! He's treated me like shit since the mid-nineties! Guilt-tripped me for years about a stupid accident!

Andrew: Is that it, Jase? You've been the noble slave enduring everything for the past seven years? Never once bothering to fight back? Taking it all with stoic stoicism?

Jason: [shrugs] Yeah. Possibly.

Andrew: And you never once got any kind of reward from Nigel? Apart from the money and fame and appearing with him on Good News Week all those time? It was all just cruelty without any reward!

Jason: He treated me like a slave!

Gabby: He liked you! When you nearly drowned at Muck-Up Day, he was worried sick! He thought you were his best friend!

Jason: [bitter] Best friend! He has a funny way of treating his best friend.

Andrew: HE never betrayed you, set you up for a trap that might have been fatal. Did he?

[A beat. Jason can't look them in the eye.]

Jason: [in a small voice] No.

Gabby: Is that why you posted that postcard, warning Nigel?

Jason: Wha? What postcard?

Gabby: [shocked] You saying you DIDN'T feel guilty? You DIDN'T try to save him?

Jason: [upset] No I didn't.

Andrew: No, he didn't.

Gabby: How do YOU know?

Andrew: Because I saw who did and it wasn't Jason!

Jason: Look, Gabs, I think you might be interrogating the wrong guy here...

Gabby: SHUT UP!

[The mousetrap snaps shut. Mercifully it wasn't in position. Gabby resets it.]

Gabby: Who put you up to this?

Jason: I don't know. Honest to God. This Aboriginal lady just turned up at my door one day. Said she'd rig it so I didn't have to do the HSC, none of the exams, nothing, but I'd still pass.

Andrew: And you believed her?

Gabby: He's Jason.

Andrew: Good point. But you weren't suspicious at her generosity?

Jason: She said she wanted something for it. She told me that she wanted to know everything about Nigel, what he was doing, where he was going, everything. She already knew most of it, but I'd know all the inside last-minute stuff. Then she says she can get me this job in the porn industry, instant start!

Andrew: And in return?

Jason: She wanted me to make sure Nigel went to David Jones. She said there'd be something wierd happening and everyone would run, but I was to make sure Nigel went down one corridor. The next morning, in the mail, I got all these contracts and a script and everything. I mean, she can't be that bad, can she? If she actually coughed up her part of the deal? Only good people do that!

Andrew: Or very intelligent bad people.

Gabby: Huh?

Andrew: You haven't read Machievelli, have you?

Jason: We've done one of their songs, I think...

Andrew: The point is, you two, that if you want to succeed in this world it's easier to make friends than enemies. Stabbing you in the back, Jason, would only leave you a loose end, someone who might want to betray the deal or just an unidentified body somewhere to gain unwanted attention. This way you stay loyal - at least until the next person comes along and bribes you to betray HER as well.

[Jason looks guiltier.]

Gabby: Why is this happening?

Jason: She never said. Only clue was that, like, she said if I didn't help them, then whatever happened to Nigel would happen to me. Like I was in trouble as well.

Gabby: If they've got a grudge against you, you must have some idea!

Jason: I don't! Even if I did, I've spent two weeks revelling in sin, banging complete strangers in a variety of tasteless methods! I barely remember my own name! You've got to believe me! DON'T MAKE ME A EUNUCH, I BEG THEE!

[A long pause.]

Gabby: [to Andrew] What do you think?

Andrew: [darkly] He betrayed his only friend. The worst level of Hell is reserved for people who do that. Do what you like.

[Jason turns white. Gabby grins and begins to slide the mousetrap towards him as Andrew starts to pace, brooding.]

Andrew: They came after Nigel. [points at Jason] And you.

[He stops.]

Andrew: Just at the same time Jadi disappears. And Phoebe... what kind of gynecologist just forgets to tell her she's having triplets? Come to think of it, what are the odds of triplets anyway? This is the ABC murders, only backwards! THAT is what I call postmodern!

Jason: [stares at him] The ABC?

[Andrew is pacing around the room, frantic.]

Andrew: Agatha Christie. The ABC Murders. You hate someone, you want them to die, so if you kill them, the police are bound to come after you because YOU have a motive. But if they die at the hands of a serial killer, you just get lucky. You hide the death you have a motive for by the deaths you DON'T have a motive for! The most basic smokescreen! The only place you can hide a tree is in a forest!

Gabby: What? You're saying there's a serial killer?

Andrew: It's the opposite, Gabs! The opposite! This isn't one attack hidden by a smokescreen by a smokescreen, it's a smokescreen hidden by one attack! Nigel isn't the only victim, Jason was on the hit list as well! Whoever behind this has a grudge against several people, and we only noticed Nigel!

Gabby: So whatever pissed these people off, it wasn't just Nigel?

Andrew: No. Jason was involved too. And Jadi too. What about Phoebe?

Gabby: She's fine, she's in Prague! Nothing happened to her!

Andrew: She didn't know she was having triplets, Gabs! She could have died in childbirth - it was only a fluke we were all around to help her out. And if her boyfriend hadn't hit the big time, she'd have had to raise three kids when she was barely able to afford one... they were trying to destroy her life! And a week later Jadi's vanished, Jason's blackmailed and Nigel's humiliated and disappeared.

Gabby: [trying to keep up] So what do Nigel, Jason, Jadi and Phoebe have in common?

Andrew: I don't know. But if those two are in the firing lines then it means...

[Andrew freezes. Oh crap. He turns and sprints out of the room.]

Andrew: [over his shoulder] We have to find Dave!

Gabby: [confused] Dave who?!

[Nevertheless, she turns and runs after him. Jason is left alone, still tied to the chair, with the mousetrap poised to neuter him.]


- to be continued...

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Yeah, you can follow toyline_assembly's suggestion, but unfortunately the answer will be "fuck the lot of you". You don't do a thing to help when I ask, well, you get the exact same treatment. In particular I dearly hope you suffer eight pints of bloodloss from a severed artery to his wrist, which will allow you to share my current suffering and maybe get you all to SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR ONCE.

There's a reason why none of you hypocritical assholes can get into the Archive. And never will - bar one of you, who is pretending they can't for some unaccountable reason.

Meantime, some more positive gags of a chathamological bent.

About the Contributors

ARCO CHAMBER is 19 years of age, and fled to Australia as an exchange student when planes started crashing into buildings. Since then he spends a lot of time on the internet, being surprisingly clever but unsurprisingly unconstructive. He penned the horror tale Children Shouldn’t Play With Cybermen, but the attempted sequels of All Tomorrow’s Parties and Forbidden Territories never really worked out for some unaccountable reason. A total control freak and chronically lazy, he is that most dangerous combination of a man who could conquer the world if he just got out of bed in the morning. In the meantime, short stories will have to do.

BENJAMIN S. CHATHAM is unwilling to disclose how old he is, and uncertain as to what his middle name is – it could be Sebastian, it could be James, we just don’t know. Although he professes to be a popular, multitalented homosexual amateur archaeologist, the fact is he’s a lazy drunken layabout with no friends and a string of ex-girlfriends who thought he was crap in and out of bed. A lifetime of absinthe abuse has lead to him to start to believe he’s not merely a fan of Doctor Who but actually a main character who has his own XXX-rated spin-off series The Ben Chatham Adventures that basically consist of remakes of The Green Death only with lots more schoolgirls with their throats ripped out.

MAURICE DE LACEY is only writing for this collection to make up the numbers. He has no real interest in Doctor Who, science fiction or the phallocentric pagan sun gods worshipped by the shape-shifting reptiloids that run the local council under direct orders from the Illuminati. He also doesn’t take his medication.

CAITLYN JANUARY is a successful university student working towards a law degree, having achieved excellent academic achievements despite her being a natural blonde, hideously insecure about the size of her breasts, still a virgin, and being helplessly and completely in love with another of the writers for this book. She prefers Red Dwarf, Blake’s 7 and Stargate: Universe, but nevertheless has a lot of time for Doctor Who and her favorite Doctor is Sylvester McCoy.

THEODORE KLYNGIROPHEL, or “Andrew Beeblebabble” as his friends call to him, is clinically insane and has been since he received permanent brain damage from having his dead Siamese twin surgically removed from him just after he was born. Since then he’s been a primary school drop-out, beggar, live-in cook at a King’s Cross brothel, a part-time shop assistant and full time renaissance man who dabbles in home duties, advanced cyber-surgery, amateur crime-fighting, cryptozoology, water-painting and writing very, very bad science fiction. His only completed audio play, Doctor Who and the Hidden Bonus, was actually rather crap – but only because it was more fun than doing something good.

EVELYN MARKSON is the only legitimate daughter of Samuel Markson, head of EuroGlobe Industries and the 33rd richest man in the Solar System. She admits she only got into Doctor Who because David Tennant gave her “the screaming thigh-sweats”, but has since admitted City of Death was damn good. She knows an incredible amount about the show, since she only has three friends and they don’t do much else beyond sitting around all day watching it. She is currently back-packing across Greece with her long-time girlfriend and thinks the New Paradigm Daleks look completely shithouse.

DAVID RESTAL lives in the same apartment with three of the other writers, has a dead-end job working in a video store, is estranged from his rather odd family and suffering severe bouts of crippling anxiety and depression. Having lost his best friend and the only girl he’ll ever love, Doctor Who is probably the only thing keeping him from ending it all with an overdose of whatever pills he can find in the medicine cabinet. He’s also prone to whining a lot about how miserable he is.

ALEXANDER SORNE was an academic failure and completely unemployable, and even turning his squalid bungalow into an exclusive art gallery didn’t help. He nevertheless has been a life long fan of Doctor Who, he just doesn’t care that much about it. His favorite story is the one with the Kandyman.

NIGEL VERKOFF is many things – a pop star, playwright, sexual athlete, white-collar criminal, pathological liar and more. He has written and appeared in countless Big Finish stories including (deep breath) Fan & Phantasmagoria, The Actual History of Beer, The Cyb-Fest, Faith Dealer, The Dreaming, Caption: 1872, Dustbin Umpire 0: Terri’s Firmer, Orange, The Rip-Off, The Sequel, Interesting Times, Id, 300, The Girl Who Never Was A Virgin, Sympathy for the Devil, Fly Charley to the Moon! and, come to think of it, countless more we can’t be arsed to write down here and now. Verkoff has appeared as Adam Mitchell in five episodes of the Welsh revival of the series (and a corresponding Touchwood episode) and thus directly responsible for Christopher Eccleston quitting in 2005. Bastard.

RUPERT WOOSING-GARD is Arco Chamber’s flatmate and when he wants to grow up he wants to be a mad scientist. In the meantime, he has got the completely inexplicable nickname of “Dr. Spoon” even though he is not a doctor in any way, shape or form despite people constantly coming to him for help with twisted ankles, heatstroke, chronic fatigue syndrome or virgin births. He prefers Patrick Troughton to Matt Smith and is convinced Nicholas Briggs’ Audio Visual plays are a canonical depiction of the Time War. He is also an albino who likes dressing up as Tom Baker, but no one ever really mentions it nowadays.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Andrew & The Vanishing Verkoff (iii)

[A rather cheap-looking Mexican restaurant at lunchtime. By the window, Andrew is messily devouring a taco. Gabby munches at some corn chips.]

Gabby: Should you really be eating all that?

Andrew: [mouth full] Mmm? Gabrielle, I am actually being monumentally considerate. If you'd hired Sherlock Holmes, you'd be in a crack den by now. Hercule Poroit? Choking on the fumes of his moustache wax. Miss Marple? Enduring a lecture on why you should still be a virgin before marriage and give up a career. Brother Cadfael? Speaking medieval latin...

Gabby: OK. OK. I get it. So, what now?

Andrew: Not sure. Do they do dessert here?

Gabby: No, about Nigel.

Andrew: Oh. THAT old thing. Right. [sips drinks] Ah! Chili shots! Woo!

[Gabby gives him a look.]

Andrew: Do you girls take classes in expressions like that? All right. We know that someone out there set up the exploding nun saga to humiliate and perhaps even kill Nigel. To this end they have employed someone to infiltrate his life and lure him into the trap somehow, but this person got cold feet at the last moment. The plan at K-Mart went ahead, as far as we can tell, as it was... well... planned.

[An awkward pause. Andrew goes back to eating.]

Gabby: [sighs] I don't get it.

Andrew: Nonsense. You're one of the most sexually-active girls I know.

Gabby: What? No! I meant I don't get the plan!

Andrew: Don't you?

Gabby: Yeah, why get a nun to try and blow up a department store? No one was hurt! Only a few windows got broken, a few displays burnt. Why go to all that trouble?

Andrew: Because it was meant to destroy Nigel's reputation, not the store. Nigel Verkoff, the bestiality-loving nun-corrupting pedophile who inspires suicide bombings...

Gabby: It's not true.

Andrew: I know it's not true! YOU know it's not true! And I know that you know that it's not true! And now I've told you, you know that I know that you know that I... I'll stop. I'd assume it was entirely to humiliate the Big N, EXCEPT that postcard shows that Nigel was in danger of losing his life. Which suggests...

Gabby: ...what?

Andrew: Good question. The explosion wasn't just meant to destroy Nigel's public image, but to act as a massive distraction to allow another part of the plan to unfold. That makes perfect sense to me. That's not the problem.

Gabby: What is the problem?

Andrew: Why? Why go to all this trouble? You've seen Blue Murder, haven't you? If someone wanted Nigel dead, they could just shoot him when he answered the door, or poison his drinking water... why go to all this trouble?

Gabby: I dunno. Maybe they're really wierd.

Andrew: Wierd but rich. This must be a massively expensive operation, meticulously planned. Whoever infiltrated Nigel's life didn't do so in a minute, they've worked at this for years. Which means, whoever behind all this has wanted revenge for years. So why wait?

Gabby: Nigel said revenge tastes better out of the fridge.

[Andrew shakes his head.]

Andrew: He probably did. But there's fridge-chilled revenge. This revenge was dipped in liquid nitrogen and dropped into the bottom of the arctic sea... Unless...

Gabby: Unless what?

Andrew: Unless this megalomaniac only recently got the power and money to put things into action.

Gabby: You said it had been going on for years.

Andrew: Relatively recently.

Gabby: Relatively? You think it was a relative.

Andrew: [sighs] No. I don't. You're a sweet girl, Gabby, but you should be the punchline to an Irish convict joke. [frowns] Yes, you ARE sweet, aren't you?

[Gabby is slightly creeped out.]

Gabby: Your point being...?

[Andrew stares at her, no longer friendly.]

Andrew: How long have you and Nigel been an item now? A few years? You've moved in with him, shared his bed. Put up with his unspeakable behavior, including having sex with 143 separate schoolgirls, all without a complaint. Very dedicated, aren't you?

Gabby: [swallows] What are you saying?

Andrew: You are a perfect match for Nigel. He couldn't get a better live-in combined doormat and sex doll if he tried. If someone were going to try and infiltrate Nigel's life, who would be better placed than you?

Gabby: You think it was me?

Andrew: You didn't turn up at the concert that night.

Gabby: It was the last day of school, I was tired!

Andrew: So you had the perfect alibi.

Gabby: It's not an alibi, it's the truth!

Andrew: You don't seem very shocked at my theory of a massive conspiracy against Nigel.

Gabby: ...I've MET him.

[Andrew shrugs. She has a point.]

Andrew: And then the coo-de-grass, you just HAPPEN to find this postcard from an anonymous source and you're SO concerned about Nigel's wellfare. No one could suspect you were behind it, because you'd created a false trail and a false motive! Et tu Gabbay! How much did they pay you for all of this? 30 pieces of silver, or do double-figures genuinely confuse you? You should be well-rewarded for living undercover for so long, putting up with that empty-headed bleached-blonde animal pawing at your body at night - why, the costs for the STD tests alone would bankrupt anyone!

[Gabby is horrified.]

Gabby: That's not true!

Andrew: And then you cunningly hire an incompetent private investigator, presumably to ensure the plan was perfect. Almost worked, too. But your stupid-brunette act was laid on slightly too thick, and you gave the game away. What was the plan now, Gabby - if that IS your real name, Mrs. Judas?! [eyes widen] You poisoned the chili shots! You cunning bitch! I'll take your secret to my grave! No one will ever know the truth! [chokes] Ahhh! The bitter taste of almonds! You poisoned my arsnic with cyanide! The liberty of death approaches!

[Andrew, face red, claws to his feet and points to Gabby.]

Andrew: You may have killed me, but YOU WILL NOT ESCAPE JUSTICE, EVIL ONNNNNEEEEEEEEE!!!

[He gives a gargling scream and falls over. Everyone in the restaurant stares at Gabby for a long time. She smiles shyly. Andrew bursts out laughing and returns to his seat.]

Andrew: Woo! Sorry about that. Mexican food always makes me a bit hyper.

[He ruffles her hair condescendingly.]

Andrew: Course you're not the traitor, Gabs.

Gabby: You just said I was.

Andrew: I said you fit the profile, but you're not. You didn't buy that postcard, or write on it or anything else.

Gabby: How do you know?

Andrew: [smiles secretively] Because I know who did.

Gabby: Who?

Andrew: Sorry. You know client confidentiality? This is me keeping things confidential from my client.

Gabby: Tell me!

Andrew: Why?

Gabby: So I can find them and break every bone in their body until I get Nigel back!

Andrew: You really do love him, don't you? [finishes drink] At least we know you aren't PRETENDING to be stupid.

Gabby: Tell me who it was!

Andrew: The information is useless at present, dearheart. You want to know what happened to Nigel? To get him back? [icily] We are playing for the very highest of stakes, Gabrielle. And we are not going to show our hand until we KNOW it is the strongest! Agreed?

Gabby: [wary] Agreed.

Andrew: [sits back] Good. Now...... dessert!

- to be continued...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Andrew & The Vanishing Verkoff (ii)

[Cut to a crude animated title sequence. A silhouette of Andrew strolls past a background pattern of Las Vegas casino lights. Then an animated Andrew lights a cigarette with a broody expression. A wierd mixture of whistles and bass accompany this ghastly Hazell parody.]





[Caption: OR...]

Nigel: [VO] Get on with it, you hairy bastard!

Andrew: [VO] OK. OK.


Nigel: [VO] I'm storing all of this up, you know, Andrew! ALL OF IT!

Dave & Andrew: [VO] Shut up!

[Pull out to show this all on the screen of a second-hand TV in Andrew's run-down bungalow. Andrew sits with his feet up on a desk made of milk crates while his dog watches the TV.]

Andrew: Oi! Jones! Turn it down!

[The dog growls at him, then chews the remote until the volume drops. Andrew picks up a very cheap picture book called "HOW TO RHYME YOUR SLANG I SHOULD COCO". Andrew's inner monologue is in a thick Cockney accent.]

Andrew: [VO] Cor. It's been twelve days since school ended. I can go where I want, do what I want, and absolutely nothing comes to mind. Thirteen years trying to escape from the country's schools and now I'm at a loose end. Thirteen years trying to get out and the rest of your life trying to get back in. Rather like the womb, really. Especially when you're born on the last day of school. Those triplets will spend a fortune in therapy bills to work that out. So, here I am. It's been a week and my private detective business is circling the drain. Obviously advertising in the Inner West classified was a bad move. I can't believe the editor thought I was a prostitute. And especially so cheap.

[There's a knock at the door.]

Andrew: [VO] Maybe I should join the police. Then I can quit. Everyone respects detectives better when they're ex-policemen.

[Another knock at the door.]

Andrew: [VO] Well, more respect than active policemen anyway.

[Another frantic knocking.]

Andrew: [VO] Do we call them "cops" or "pigs" in Australia? Where's my copy of "Stone"?

[A very loud banging.]

Andrew: Is that inside my head? No? [calls] Come in!


Andrew: isn't locked!

[He crosses to the door and slides it down to reveal a flustered Gabby.]

Andrew: That door is my protection against insolence!

Gabby: I'm not insolent! [less sure] Am I?

Andrew: Depends. You a customer?

Gabby: Customer?

Andrew: I'm not exactly choosing male escort as a career path, but I look good on business woman's arms if I do say so myself. What can I do for you, Gabby? The washing up? I must say, my rates are much more competitive than they used to be...

Gabby: Are you going to let me answer or just keep talking?

Andrew: [shrugs] I haven't decided yet. So, pull up a pew. What's your problem?

Gabby: It's Nigel.

Andrew: Took you long enough to realize it. You can do so much better...

Gabby: He's missing! He's disappeared!

Andrew broods.

Andrew: [VO] This is not unexpected. Twelve days ago, Mister Nigel Verkoff had been outed as a nun-molesting pervert moments after his sub-Indie band Yellow Fever and How To Cure It split up at the opening of K-Mart...

Nigel: [VO] It was David Jones!

Andrew: [VO] Whatever. One of his Brides of Christ conquests turned suicide bomber and blew up the store. No one was injured, but Nigel himself hadn't been seen since. He was a total laughing stock and also wanted by the police to "help with their inquiries" if you get my not-so-subtle drift.

Gabby pokes Andrew in the shoulder, unsure if he's dozed off.

Gabby: Hey? Are you stoned or something, pay attention!

Andrew: Tch. Cody McBride never gets this aggravation of the earhole. Or was it GBH? Anyway, Gabs, Nigel's probably hiding out somewhere at an inexpensive brothel until everything dies down. He's public enemy number two, just after Steve Irwin's babysitting fiasco. What did you expect?

Gabby: He hasn't called me, or anything!

Andrew: Like I said, sweetheart. He's in hiding.

Gabby: He hasn't contacted his family, either. Benny's not heard from him. Or his mum.

Andrew: If the family aren't worried...

Gabby: ...screw the family! They don't give a crap about him when he IS there!

Andrew: [shrugs] It's a tempting attitude to take.

Gabby: Not from me! Maddog...

Andrew: Andrew.

Gabby: Whatever. Look, I really think something bad's happened to him.

Andrew: Worse than a 16-year-old nun and a bucket of fish?

Gabby: Uh-huh.

[She hands him a postcard.]

Gabby: I got this the afternoon before the explosion and everything.

[Andrew studies it.]

Andrew: "IF YOU ATTEND THE CONCERT TONIGHT YOU WILL DIE." You told Nigel, I suppose?

Gabby: Of course I did. He didn't care.

Andrew: Sounds like him. [frowns] Wait a minute, why are you telling me all this?

Gabby: The police aren't going to help, are they?

Andrew: Generally speaking? No.

Gabby: Plus, you kept banging on about being a private eye all week.

Andrew: So I did. [looks up] You want to hire me to find your boyfriend? Gabby, I'm honored! [less pleased] Couldn't you ask me to find a missing cat or something? I like cats. Or stolen jewelry. I mean, this case could only depress me - even if I found him, I'd lose...

Gabby: Please. I'll pay anything.

Andrew: [disgusted] I don't want your money. It'd make me feel dirty. [sighs] But I suppose I have to get used to compromising my morals in this big, wide world we live in. Okay, Gabrielle. I agree to do everything in my power to track down the pampered, self-absorbed ungrateful son of a bitch who has somehow done a number on you to the point you think he actually cares about you more than an inflatable doll.

Gabby: He's not like that!

Andrew: [laughs] Oh, he SO is!

Gabby: [sighs] Maybe. But I love him. I want him safe. Please help.

Andrew: Mmm. I should be a psychiatrist. At least I'd get plenty of customers. [looks at postcard again] OK, this tells us a lot.

Gabby: Does it? [eyes widen] I've got it! You recognize the handwriting?

[Andrew stares at her, slightly unnerved.]

Andrew: No. It's written in block capitals.

Gabby: Oh. [perks up] But you can tell it was done by man or a woman?


Andrew: No.

Gabby: Oh... but you can tell if they were right-handed?

Andrew: No.

Gabby: If they speak English as a first language?

[Andrew shakes his head.]

Gabby: What can you tell me then?

Andrew: Well...

[He leaps to his feet and starts to pace.]

Andrew: Judging by the language used, the spelling, etc. I'd say whoever wrote this has above-average English literacy. The handwriting is rather rough and hasty, suggesting this was quickly scribbled down, so they were in a hurry. However, they remembered to write in block capitals and frame the warning to give nothing away. Ergo, this message was clearly planned beforehand, right?

Gabby: OK. But if whoever wrote it was thinking it up ages ago... why are they in such the hurry?

Andrew: Good question.

Gabby: You got a good answer?

Andrew: Of course I do.

[He leans forward over the desk and grins and Gabby.]

Andrew: Let's discuss this over lunch. Your treat. I fancy Mexican.

Gabby: want to go to lunch? Just so you can tell me something you could say here?

Andrew: [blows out cheeks] It always looks good on TV. All right, Gabby, my theory is this. [deep breath] Whoever wanted to warn Nigel rehearsed warning him, but they waited until the very last minute. Why? They wanted Nigel safe. It's not some kind of double bluff, or else they'd say something like "You're too much of a coward to attend the concert." No, they wanted Nigel out of danger. But they decided not to warn him, then hastily sent this postcard. Yes?

Gabby: Yes.

Andrew: What does that suggest to you?

Gabby: That there are better private eyes I can contact?

Andrew: It suggests they decided not to warn Nigel at all. Only at the last second did they relent, quickly sending out the message. Now, this can mean one of two things. Either the author of this was somehow intimidated into not warning Nigel, or else they simply stopped themselves.

Gabby: Why do that?

Andrew: Because Nigel is a total arsehole. Admittedly, this doesn't limit the range of suspects. But logic tells us that the writer knew about what was going to happen at the concert. They knew a nun packing TNT was going to turn up and make a scene.

Gabby: So that wasn't random?

Andrew: No. It planned in advance.

Gabby: Could it have been the nun?

Andrew: Mmmm. Why go to all that trouble with the bomb? She could have just stayed at home. No, if it WAS the nun, it meant she was not pulling that stunt of their own free will. So, what does THAT tell us?

Gabby: Um. Ok. Someone wants to ruin Nigel's concert. They arrange everything, but someone involved doesn't want Nigel hurt.

Andrew: Yes. But not someone who liked Nigel. Otherwise they would have contacted him sooner. Why not ring the police? One bomb threat, the concert would be canceled. Nigel safe and sound. Why not make a more detailed message? "IF YOU ATTEND THE CONCERT, MAD NUN WITH TNT WILL TRY AND KILL YOU!" No, this person didn't like Nigel. They were happy to have him shamed and humiliated, but clearly uncomfortable with having him killed. Whatsmore, they were clearly in the minority of this entire operation. They dared not warn Nigel directly...

Gabby: You think they were being spied on?

Andrew: Maybe. Maybe their boss wouldn't take kindly to ruining the plan.

Gabby: It doesn't tell us who it could be, though, does it?

Andrew: Doesn't it? You got a postcard in the mail, yes?

Gabby: Yes.

Andrew: No. You didn't. Look. [He shows her postcard] No postage stamp. The only way that could get into your letter box is if posted by hand. Whoever it was came right up to your house and left right away. Why do that? It can't be they were worried about being spied upon, because if they were seen posting this, they'd be seen talking to you. They could have explained the whole thing to you, given you a false name, so why didn't they?

Gabby: You tell me.

Andrew: Because YOU would have recognized them. And if YOU recognized them, so would Nigel.

Gabby: So, it's someone I'd know? On sight?

Andrew: Yes. Someone close to Nigel. Close enough to hate his guts and take part in this bizarre Chaser-style stunt. But moral enough to get cold feet. And intelligent enough to make sure they weren't caught by any clues from the postcard.

[A long pause.]

Andrew: NOW can you buy me some lunch?

- to be continued

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Andrew & The Vanishing Verkoff (i)

["I Need A Dollar" plays on a pub jukebox. Nearby the pokies area, a listless-looking Dave fiddles with an ATM. He sets it to give him $450.]

Chamber: [vo] Please, don't do this! I beg you! It's not worth it! It will never work! There is no such thing as a winning streak, no dead cert - the only certainty is that you'll lose everything in the end!

[Dave gets annoyed and finally looks at Chamber, who is kneeling next to the ATM in a ridiculous Victorian sailing outfit, like Donald Duck. He holds a huge plastic lollypop and sobbing unconvincingly.]

Chamber: How much of our lives have you destroyed already with this addiction? Do some dice and an illuminated poker display mean more than your family? How can you live like this, ruining everything on blind chance?

[Chamber bursts into tears and hugs Dave's legs tightly.]

Dave: For love of Lady Gaga, I'm not playing the pokies!

Chamber: You just took out the best bit of five hundred bucks next to the pokies!

Dave: It's not MY fault they leave the ATM here, is it?

Chamber: So what are you going to spend it on? [sobs] Booze?

Dave: No! Damnit, Chamber, I'm doing my tax return next door! This is to pay the agents so I can forget about this tax crap for the next 360 days, OK?

[Chamber immediately drops out of character and gets to his feet.]

Chamber: Oh, sorry. Thought you were an alcoholic compulsive gambler.

Dave: What ARE you doing, dude? Why are you dressed like that?

Chamber: Work for the Dole scheme, innit? [crosses to the bar and knocks back a schooner] See, they pay us to try and break all the really bad gamblers from the pokies, snap them out of it with guilt and stuff. Stop them emptying their bank accounts on a losing streak, thing like that.

Dave: Oh. Business going well?

Chamber: Nope. Pretty crap. Course, it doesn't help that this pub is right next to the tax people.


Chamber: Everyone's either too poor to gamble or too busy sucking up Dutch courage.

Dave: It's not maybe you're completely crap at this job?

Chamber: Hey, I'm the most talented psycholigical divergence operative in this pub!

[He nods towards the pokies. Dr. Spoon is there, dressed as Sailor Moon and pestering a fat biker playing.]

Dr. Spoon: [in horrible accent] Ah-farther-sarn, this is so disonerabble, you bling shrame to our framiry! [burst into tears] Godzirra, where are you when we need you?!

[Dr. Spoon falls to his knees sobbing. Dave shakes his head in despair and leaves the pub, cash in hand.]

[Dave emerges from the pub and walks along to the very next building, a shop with TAX OFFICE in flashing neon letters and a rotting skeleton in a gibbet outside the doors. Dave pushes open the door and enters.]

[A rather cramped office. Most of the space is filled up with cardboard boxes of files which even act as furniture in place of chairs and tables. Nigel is forced to sit up six metres above the ground, next to a tasteful landscape painting. Andrew sits cross-legged on the boxes used as a desk by one agent. Dave enters.]

Dave: Got it.

[He hands the cash to the agent who hastily taps at a computer and scribbles out a very dodgy-looking receipt.]

Dave: So, my return was $450 and the fee for your services is $465. I didn't even break even this year. I don't know why I bother.

Agent: Because no matter how depressed you are, Mr. Restal, the vengeance of the ATO is always worse. Cheer up, your next return will be better now you claim Mr. Verkoff as a dependent.

Dave: The word I used was "parasite", but point taken.

Nigel: Oi! I can hear you all down there, you know! By the way, you SURE I can't have this painting?

Agent: No, Mr. Verkoff.

Nigel: I'll look after it, I promise! Take it out of my next return!

Andrew: [irritated] Excuse me, can we get back to my problems, please?

Agent: Mr. Kliengirophel, I have said many times before. You cannot list yourself as a private detective for tax reasons.

Andrew: Why not? It won't change any claims I make!

Agent: It is not true, sir! You are not a private detective!

Andrew: I bloody well am, Yatsumoto!

Nigel: Oh yes. Jack of all trades, master of none. Jack Shit, to summarize.

[Andrew jumps up and clings to the side of the box-cliff where Nigel sits.]

Andrew: That's gratitude for you, isn't it? My very first case was saving your miserable over-pampered hide from the Russian Kid, remember?

[A very long pause.]

Nigel: Oddly enough? Nope.

[Andrew drops down to the floor.]

Andrew: That's not my fault. You were all full of horse tranquilizers and neural inhibitors so you wouldn't... [smacks forehead] Forget I said that. [to agent] Anyway, I had a proper investigation case, I was paid for it, and it all worked out. I request that you put that down in your records!

Agent: "Request"?

Andrew: [placating] Well, demand, then?

[Outside tax office. The doors slam shut, and the troika pick themselves up off the ground and dust themselves down.]

Andrew: That's the trouble with accountants.

Dave: Their narrow minds and limited imaginations?

Andrew: More that they're a bunch of unhelpful arseholes.

Nigel: Nonsense. They didn't fall for that crap about you being a PI? Big deal. Just proves they have IQs worthy of dealing with our finances. Would YOU want YOUR tax return handled by a gullible moron?

[Andrew and Dave stare at him.]

Andrew: Yep.

Dave: Yes.

Nigel: [shrugs] OK. Bad example.

Andrew: The point is, it's true. I was a professonal private investigator.

Nigel: True? When have you EVER investigated anything privately, let alone professionally?

Dave: He's got a point, Drew.

[Andrew flings an arm around Dave's shoulders.]

Andrew: Our story begins long ago, Dave, before we all moved in together. It was just after the HSC, back in those dark days of dubious canonicity when my career first began...

- to be continued...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

YOA Alert

Under strict psychiatric instructions I am now uploading my YOA comic strips up onto the net to be mocked and ridiculed across the web. I've scanned in over a month's worth of the bastards and if you can't read my BLOCK CAPITAL writings, tough. And if you think the artwork is shitty, well, you're right, but I was drawing these randomly on clipboards while using public transport, and some of the shitty ones actually got published, SO WHO IS LAUGHING NOW, YOU FREAK?!?

But the artwork will improve. Honest.

Go here.

Marvel at my genius.

Spot the pop culture references.

And then tell me how awesome they are, because it's medically required, dammit.