Comfort of Wild Birds

A screenplay written with the BFI

 

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MOOD BOARD

 

EXT. SCOTTISH HIGHLAND – DAY

The day is still and light mellow.

A serious of shots: the bare feet of a girl, stumbling; the heavy boots of a man; the girl falls, her white dress stained and hair wild; the old man’s (ALECK) face, rolling wrinkles.

ALECK finds the fallen girl. He scoops her into his arms. He carries her across the land. A solitary cottage comes into view.

He struggles to open the door with the girl in his arms. Heavy breath as he pushes through with his shoulder into a small corridor.

Carries her through to a dark sitting room. The mud off his boots drops to the floor.

He lowers her onto a sofa. Pulls her dress back down so it covers her knees and retrieves a red tartan blanket. Her feet are dirty and grazed.

Through the kitchen window see him walk back out across the land pushing a wheelbarrow.

GIRL wakes and rises from the sofa. She surveys the room: picking up objects and running her finger across surfaces and fabrics.

Continue reading “Comfort of Wild Birds”

Busy Men

I’m gunna be a busy man
Like the busy men you see being busy on BBC
But not a bad busy man
I’ll do good things with my busy words
I’ll be the busy man to help the un-busy people

He’s back
Slouched in chair, Tiger in hand
He’s flicking
TV clicking
He’s the king
With his Tesco mobile ring

Ma’s in the car
Orange, red, white
White, red, orange
The tiger’s eyes beaming
The garage cage gleaming
TJ’s car’s round the corner
Ma won’t know he’s back

Click, click, lock in key
Thud, thud, boots off
Tesco bags ruffle
She stops, just before the TV light, so she’s
Hidden
She can sense it:
Boots still on
Fizzle of a can
King to her princess

Ma tucks me in
Every light off
‘Read me a rhyme’
‘Not tonight little man’
‘Come on Ma, come on’
‘Ma’s got’a make TJ some chicken’
TJ, T-J
Closing door, then, just head
‘Did you let him in?’
‘Sorry Ma.’
Bang, ring, silence
Hidden

Resonating ringing
Circling screaming
Sudden smash
Bone in crash
Teddy safe, pillow clinging

Ma’s eye’s gone black
Not brown black
Black black
My eggs are all wrong

TJ’s phone’s on the table
His jacket on the chair
There’s a dirty plantain plate sinking
He’s staying, this time

Swing-ing, swing-ing, smack
Smack, smack, swing
Swing-ing, swing-ing
Crack
Stick’s broken

TJ, T-J
Why don’t I call him Pa?

Ma says you got’a be a brave man
A brave busy man
You got’a say when it’s not right
You got’a say, or things’ll never be right
Just like cleaning the dirty egg pan

Maybe the chicken boiled

It’s five, the sun’s up but the pillow’s up
I got some chicken rice n’ peas
Ma says I got’a stay in my room tonight
Read the rhymes
Read ‘em quiet

TJ’s voice is loud
Boom, boom, booming
Ma’s voice’s screeching
Screech, screech, screeching
TJ’s voice is louder
TJ’s voice wins this battle of beats
Beat, beat, beat
Beat, beat, beat
Black and red

Red and black
Like that plane last night
Black and red
Red and black
Like her last night

Dribble, dribble, dab
Dab, dab, dribble
Dribble, dribble
Drop
Ma’s leaking

I thought TJ would go last night
Ma thought TJ would go last night:
She didn’t make him any chicken
TJ didn’t go last night
TJ wants his throne

Tesco bags ruffle
In goes teddy, no pillow
PJ’s go in, no rhymes
‘Ma?’
‘Put your shoes on little man’
‘Ma?’
‘We’re just busy people and-‘
‘Busy people have busy places to be’
‘That’s it.’
Why do busy people have to run from lazy places?

Vroom, vroom, vroom
Ruffle, squish, ruffle
Click

TJ will have to make his own chicken
In our palace

Ma says he’s got to learn to be a busy man
Not a bad busy bag-o-wire
But a busy man
To help the un-busy people

 

 

Maggie

Infinity is a long time.
Well it’s time upon time added to time divided by time.
A lot of minutes ticking over in the infinite.
And you just float: fingers and toes, seconds and hours.
My dad used to talk about it. Those numbers that never end, how long it takes to cycle to the moon. It always made me feel small when he spoke about space: all that blackness with nothing containing it.
Anyway, I don’t think about time much these days.

But sometimes it catches you
off breath:
the thought of it all.

Shifting Earth

Hardly had the gust of wind passed and she was back. The butt end etching the boy’s eyes, his nose, caught –  momentarily – on his collar. He watched his mother’s lips: their smudge of lipstick, how they squish to the side then spit. He’d seen people kissing in the park behind the swings. He couldn’t ever imagine these doing that. Her hair static while her head swung back and forth. She uses the iron and a dish cloth to straighten it, the activity smells like sour toast. Another gust came, and she returned to heaving up ash ends. The boy wondered how long this would go on for: the screaming, the coughing. He was digging, digging to Australia. And his spoon was getting stuck on something when she appeared above him. He felt he was close. His secret broke a smile.

There is something so about you. When your fabric slips to reveal skin. When you, you, there is something so that I cannot word. It’s not love. I’ve felt that before, that’s light on water, that’s a dazzle. This, this is a fascination but. To touch that skin. I have never felt this. What your energy does to my space I have never felt. Maddening. I miss breaths, I miss words to think of you. You wore silk and it slipped and I near cried.

I did it because I ran out of coffee and the flowers were too blue.

But why d’you do it. Why?

Give m’ a light. And a kiss.

You could be in the fucking ground and you ain’t gunna tel me why.

Do you think it’s romantic?

Yeah.

Do you love me?

Which flowers?

His.

Yeah I fucking love you.

Good.