Saturday, 29 October 2011

A Tale for Hallowe'en

Hallowe'en approaches and so here to dismay you is a hopefully appropriate story:


THE brief was simple and I was a special effects man, working in theatre rather than films or TV which would be why Dr Thorne approached me. I’m good too, which will be why he offered me enough of a fee that I quickly agreed despite it being the oddest job I’d ever been offered.

Basically, it was one of Thorne’s patients. Thorne was a Harley Street man so this patient, Mr Marlowe, was not short of the readies. I hadn’t heard of him myself, but Thorne reckoned he was one of the richest men in Britain, in Europe maybe, even richer than those Russians who buy football clubs. Mr Marlowe had two.

So what was the problem and why did the richest man in London want the help of a special effects wizard. Well, not for his daughter’s wedding which was what I had assumed. In fact, he didn’t want me at all. He didn’t know I existed. No, it was Thorne that wanted me.

What it was see, was that this Marlowe had had some kind of breakdown and was convinced that his success was down to his selling his soul to the devil and the problem was the devil was due to collect the next week. Nothing Thorne could do would persuade him otherwise and he had brought in other doctors, scientists and priests even. Nothing would persuade Marlowe that he was not going to Hell at midnight the next Wednesday.

So what was the problem? I asked. Just wait until then and when nothing happens, result. Thorne wasn’t having it. No, Marlowe so much believed this idea that Thorne was scared that he would actually hallucinate seeing the devil and would believe that his soul was gone. At worse he might give himself a heart attack, at best he would be completely mad.

So this was Thorne’s bright idea. Marlowe was off flying round the world for a last look round and so his family would let me into his house, I would put up my gizmos and bits and bobs (no, you’re not getting any of my trade secrets) so that come Wednesday I would make an image of the devil appear and tell him that the deal was off and he could keep his soul. Then Mr Marlowe could relax and Thorne could get on with charging, I mean, curing him.

Like I said. Odd.

But the money was more than good and it would a story to tell the kids so I agreed.

And it all went to plan. I put in my bits and bods in the library, which was where the devil was going to appear apparently, and with a hidden CCTV link I was in the kitchen able to watch and operate what needed to be operated.

WELL you probably remember what happened, it was all over the news for long enough. Thorne got struck off, tried to make out that it was practical joke gone wrong, then when that didn’t work, started hinting that it was a murder plot put together by the family. So they sued and with the help of the recordings I had made of our conversations when he had been briefing me (I’m not so green…) they pretty much took him for every penny.

And what about me? Not as bad as you’d think. Legit theatre wouldn’t touch me, Cameron McIntosh didn’t want to know. Can’t say I’m surprised. Who’d want to employ an FX man who’d scared someone to death? Turns out those ‘death metal’ bands do. Looks great on the posters for their gigs. Pays well enough and the perks are brilliant. So I’m all right.

EXCEPT, well, except that sometimes I can’t sleep and all I can see is Mr Marlowe on his knees, horror struck, and all I can hear is his last scream. And sometimes it sounds like what he’s screaming could be:

‘Dear God, there are two of them!’

And for those who seem to think that disneyfy is a synonym for sweeten, from Fantasia:

And once again, if you are abroad on Monday e'en, beware for there are things that will be walking that night that should not.

No comments:

Post a Comment