Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Tale of the Roller Skating Archaeologist Part 1

They go on about how Shakespeare wrote King Lear in quarantine for the plague, but I can safely say I've outdone the bastard with The Adventures of Carlo and Leslie: The Tale of the Roller Skating Archaeologist.

This is a true story. No names have been changed. I've written it as a script to make the inevitable Hollywood deal easier. A warning though, it is pretty hard hitting gritty realism so it's not light reading.

The Adventures of Carlo and Leslie: The Tale of the Roller Skating Archaeologist



CAPTION: Throughout millennia, valuable artefacts have been secretly accumulated by obscure figures unseen by history. Now, a new danger threatens their work....

[Carlo and Leslie meet at Carlo’s lair, dressed in old Napoleonic-era style uniforms. Leslie’s is a stylish, neatly pressed, black uniform with white lacing. Carlo’s is blue, but dishevelled and coming apart at the seams. Leslie wears his with a calm, understated bearing, but Carlo exudes an exaggerated pride as though he is the best dressed Emperor in history.

Carlo is seated behind a large, wooden desk in a room best described as ”ornately morbid”. Leslie is in front of the desk.]

CARLO: Ah, Leslie. How good of you to come!

LESLIE: Yes, it’s been a while since I was last in your lair. [Looks around] I like what you’ve done with the skulls.

CARLO: Thank you. I see you’re admiring my collection of mounted tongues!

LESLIE: Yes. [Points] Alfred the Great’s if I am not mistaken?

CARLO: Well spotted!

LESLIE: The tongue of the great 9th Century Wessex king who successfully united the Anglo Saxons to defeat the Viking invasion to become arguably the father of the nation we now know as England? I’d recognise it anywhere! What caused you to claim it?

CARLO: Oh, he spoke to me in an unacceptable tone. No idea what he said, I don’t speak OId English. But the tone was highly offensive. Please, have a drink.

[Carlo produces a bottle and pours two glasses. Leslie calmly reaches over to take the glass closest to Carlo.]

CARLO: Still don’t trust me, I see.

LESLIE: After Paris? [laughs gently and sips his drink.]

CARLO: Ah yes, the day the Nazis marched in! I remember every detail! The Germans wore grey and you wore…

LESLIE: Grey! I was in disguise, trying not to be spotted among the Nazis, when suddenly your voice cries out: “There he is! There’s the bastard who nicked the Fuhrer’s wine!”

CARLO: Oh, that was just business.

LESLIE: Four years in Dachau! And it was you who nicked Hitler’s wine when his back was turned!

CARLO: Let’s not fight about who condemned who to which concentration camp! We have more pressing problems. You have, I imagine, seen the news.

[Carlo tosses Archaeologist Weekly on the desk.]

LESLIE: [serious] Yes. The archaeologists found the jewelry stash in Siberia. Associated it, with their usual lack of imagination, with the Denisovan species of early humans. So we’re in the clear there at least.

CARLO: [stormily] That’s not all.

LESLIE: I know, it comes hot on the heels of the “discovery” of all the “oldest known bottles of wine” in a particularly isolated cave in Iran. And I was saving that for a special occasion.

CARLO: [angry] Someone’s telling the archaeologists where all our shit is hidden!

LESLIE: And we both know who it must be.

[dramatic pause]

LESLIE: Duroyan.

CARLO: THE BAVARIAN BASTARD! Selling our shit to archaeologists! Christ, and how long before Duz gives up the secret to… you know what!

LESLIE: He wouldn’t dare. Surely not even Duz!


LESLIE: If he does, and the archaeologists actually disturb… you know what… then all Hell breaks loose!

CARLO: Lucifer will walk the Earth once more! And I still owe that prick a beer!

LESLIE: We have to stop Duz! And we know where he can be found.

CARLO: The pub! I’ll get my machete and … well who cares if you’re armed… [grabs machete] Let’s go.


[The pub. Duz, dressed in a white safari suit, is at a table covered in empty glasses holding forth to an unseen audience.]

DUZ: ... the thing people don’t realise is that Bavaria is not really even part of Germany, we are very clear that we’re Bavarians first and foremost, and it is totally wrong to associate the region with the far right just because Hitler had his rallies in Nuremberg coz you had the Bavarian Socialist Soviet Republic established in 1919, but unfortunately they put a poet in charge and you can imagine how THAT ended up, I mean if it had been ME in charge...

[Frame pulls back to reveal a woman slumped face down, passed out, in the seat next to Duz. He is talking regardless until he sees Carlo and Leslie appear.]

DUZ: Oh hi guys, how are you going?

CARLO: [points to passed out woman] WHO IS THAT! 

DUZ: Oh… just an archaeologist I happened to … ah… run into...

LESLIE: We know, Duz. 

CARLO: THAT WAS OUR STUFF! Christ, the shit we went through with the fucking Sumerians!

DUZ: I can explain… LOOK OVER THERE [points behind them] A PINT OF GUINNESS!

LESLIE: Oh come on, we’re not falling for … [sees Carlo looking behind him] CARLO!

[Duz dashes out the door.]

LESLIE: Shit...

CARLO: [still looking behind him] Where’s the Guinness? 

LESLIE: He lied.

CARLO: The Bavarian BASTARD!

LESLIE: We have to follow him… the entire fate of human civilisation rests on us stopping Duz!
CARLO: Yes! But… well…  [head tilts towards the bar] One drink first?
LESLIE: Yeah OK, one can’t hurt.

CAPTION: Four hours later

[Leslie and Carlo’s table is covered with empty glasses, half drunk beers in front of them.]

CARLO: ...and then Bill Fucking Shakespeare ripped me off!

LESLIE: You WERE quite upset when he nicked your material.

CARLO: “To be, or not to be, THAT is the question!” My greatest line! No idea what it meant, I was pretty wasted.

LESLIE: Yes, you jumped up on the pub table and started banging on about slings of fortune and dreams of mortal coils. The scrumpy round Stratford-Upon-Avon was quite potent in those parts.

CARLO: There’s an idea! 

LESLIE: Oh no. I don’t want to end up in Wales again.

CARLO: What do you mean?

LESLIE: You can’t handle your scrumpy. Every time we drink it, we end up in Wales.

CARLO: What have you got against the Welsh?

LESLIE: Nothing, asides from the constant singing. It is just when we finally sober up from a scrumpy binge, we’re always in some field in North Wales surrounded by sheep carcasses and a furious mob enraged by some insulting rendition you did of their national anthem in the local pub.

CARLO: Yeah I do like to do that. Alright [rises unsteadily] Just a whiskey then…

CAPTION: Eight hours later

[Leslie staggers out of the pub, followed by an even less steady Carlo loudly butchering the folk song “Dirty Old Town”. They fall about the street, Carlo’s machete waving.]


LESLIE: [trying to focus] RIGHT! Duroyan.


LESLIE: The bastard who’ll unleash all Hell on Earth if he sells that thing to the archaeologists.
CARLO: HIM! He promised me Guinness! [Turns back to the pub] LET’S HAVE ANOTHER GUINNESS!

[A trowel is thrown from an unseen assailaint, who then quickly rollerskates by. It hits Carlo’s shoulder.]


[A second trowel is thrown from a different direction and someone else quickly skates past. Carlo and Leslie duck, scattering bins.]

LESLIE: [dusts himself off] I just dry-cleaned this!

CARLO: What the FUCK was that?
LESLIE: [Picking up a trowel] Archaeologists. This is a warning.

CARLO: Shit.

LESLIE: But I have a plan.

CARLO: Shit.

LESLIE: We need the advice of a Wise Man. Follow me.

[Leslie walks off, Carlo tries to follow but falls over.]


[Leslie and Carlo arrive outside a nondescript block of flats.]

LESLIE: The Wise Man we seek lives up here. His name is Robinson Otto.

[They enter and walk up multiple flights of stairs, Carlo’s machete in hand. After what seems an eternity, they arrive at a floor where the first door has smoke billowing from under it. Leslie knocks.]

ROBINSON’S VOICE: Oh hi, come in!

LESLIE: [to Carlo] He is a very wise man, so let me do the talking.

[He opens the door and more smoke billows out. They cough and push their way through the smoke in a struggle to enter the room. Behind a wooden dining table Robinson sits in an old t-shirt with a large, greying beard and scattered, greying hair on his head. He is finishing a cone and places the bong in front of him. The table overflows with empty take away containers and ginger beer bottles.]

ROBINSON: [coughing slightly] Hey!

LESLIE: Robinson, we need your help.

[Carlo looks around unsteadily, and nearly trips over a pile of empty take away containers.]

ROBINSON: Well… [he packs and pulls another cone, coughing] You know my price.

CARLO: This freak is charging?

LESLIE: One pork chop and rice from the Chinese shop on the corner and a bottle of ginger beer?

ROBINSON: I am quite hungry.

LESLIE: Carlo? I am sure you can get the required goods. 

CARLO: What? Me?

LESLIE: Or perhaps you’d prefer to stay here amid all the empties of this non-alcoholic ginger beer you are so allergic to?

CARLO: [sneezes and shudders] ALRIGHT! Pork chop and… the other thing.

[Carlo staggers out as Leslie and Robinson share a polite smile.]


[Carlo bursts through the smokey room with a plastic bag of food and a machete dripping with blood.]

CARLO: That queue! Lucky I had my machete. [slams the pork chop and the ginger beer on the table in front of Robinson] HERE!

[Robinson snatches the pork chop and rice and begins furiously consuming it.]


[Robinson throws down the last of the pork chop bones, finishes the ginger beer and tosses the bottle behind him, wiping his mouth.]

LESLIE: Right so…

[Robinson holds up his hand, and starts packing a cone]


ROBINSON: [Pulls the cone] Have patience and I shall [breaks into a long-lasting coughing fit] give you the answer you seek… [looks off into the distance] What was the question?

CARLO: Jesus fuck! [starts for the door]

ROBINSON: Oh right! The archaeologists.

[Carlo and Leslie stare at him.]

LESLIE: How did you know?

ROBINSON: Next weekend there will be an International Archaeologists Convention featuring Duroyan as a special guest. If you do not act quickly, the thing you wish to remain hidden will be exposed.

LESLIE: Where?
ROBINSON: In Brussels.


LESLIE: How do you know this?

ROBINSON: [looks off into the distance] I foresaw it in a dream. Plus [produces newspaper] there's an ad at the back of Archaeology Weekly.

LESLIE: Oh you subscribe as well! 




[Leslie is seated in a window seat, Carlo is next to him with empty cups and beer cans piling up.]

CARLO: [crushes another empty beer can] I SWORE I WOULD NEVER SET FOOT IN BELGIUM AGAIN! [Slams his fist down, sending plastic cups and empty cans flying]

LESLIE: So you keep saying … You do realise this is a 22 hour flight?

LESLIE: Did they.


LESLIE: This was in the midst of the German occupation during World War I. The pubs simply weren’t open and there was a severe alcohol shortage. You weren’t the only one to suffer...


LESLIE: [Looks out of window] They do actually sell alcohol these days.


[A stewardess comes over with a forced smile.]

STEWARDESS: Sir, I think you’ve had enough…

[Carlo whips out his machete]


STEWARDESS: [Sighs] Why of course sir, another VB? 

[Produces can]

STEWARDESS: [walking away] I still have no idea how you got that thing on the plane. 

LESLIE: Look, at it this way… do you REALLY think Duz would DREAM of going to Brussels if there was no beer?

[Before Carlo can answer, two archeologists leap into the plane aisle holding trowels.]

ARCHAEOLOGIST: This is a hijacking! Nobody move or we WILL use the trowels!

STEWARDESS: How did they get those things onboard?

CARLO: I got this! [gets up brandishing his machete] OK archeologists! Where EXACTLY do you think you’re taking us?

ARCHAEOLOGIST: We are taking YOU, Carlo Sands, and your fancy-dressed friend there [Leslie gives a smile of faux embarrassment] as FAR AWAY from Brussels as possible!

CARLO: Why didn’t you say so! [puts machete away] Away from Belgium? THANK CHRIST!

LESLIE: Carlo…

ARCHAEOLOGIST: This plane will fly over a tiny isolated Pacific Island, where, in the name of of our Eternal Leader Boudica, The Roller Derby Archaeologist Queen…

LESLIE: Oh no...  not Boudica….

ARCHAEOLOGIST: ...the two of YOU will be left to meet your fate, far away from our Glorious Convention in Brussels!

CARLO: You have NO IDEA how HAPPY I am to hear that!


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