Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Exclusive leaked script from Breaking Bad finale


On a dark surburban street, HANK sits behind the wheel of an unmarked car with WALT in the passenger seat, both of them looking tense. They are parked outside of a house with several cardboard boxes on the porch.

You can’t be serious.

Oh I am, Walt.

This place is a dump. You can’t expect me to -

You’re not 'Heisenberg' anymore. You won't even be 
'Walt' for much longer, so just shut up.


You're just jealous, Hank. Jealous because 
my hair grows back.

A moving van pulls up in front of a house, and two teenage boys emerge from the house to unload boxes. 

You know, Hank, I could make you very comfortable. 
 You don’t have to do this.

Oh but I do have to do this. It just so happens 
that I want to, too.



HANK rests his hands on his fists, pensively looking at WALT who sits opposite him, with the copy of Leaves of Grass sitting in front of him. 

Boy, I gotta admit, you had me fooled for a long 
time, Walt.  (He leans back in his chair)
All those times I thought I knew you.

You should have looked closer, Hank.

Right under my god damn nose. You know, if this 
was anything else, I’d be impressed. But this is 
my turf, Walt, and you know I can’t just leave this 
alone, not something this huge. I’m obligated to bring 
you in.

(leaning closer to HANK)
You know, I think some people would find it hard 
to believe that you had no idea what I was up to. I 
think they’d find it hard to understand how a DEA 
official could have no idea that his brother in law 
was running the largest crystal meth empire
in America. I don’t think you realise that this 
doesn’t bode well for you either.

Hank sighs, stands and walks to the window.

You’re right, Walt. You’re absolutely right. 
 I know that if I turn you in for this you could 
implicate me, but on the other hand I can’t just 
let you walk away from this. Not scot-free, anyway.

What do you mean by that?

I mean that I’m not prepared to risk my career, 
everything I’ve worked for, just to bring you down. 
You’re not worth it. After all, don’t forget, 
I know that at heart you’re just a bum. 
 You think I don’t watch Diagnosis Murder?

That was years ago, that was the nineties, everyone 
did Diagnosis Murder…

Not me, Walt.  All I got was Charmed, and JAG 
(slams his fist against wall)

What do you want from me, Hank?

I’ve made arrangements. You’ll need to pack up 
some of your clothes and be ready for midnight. 
 We can’t risk doing this move in the day, 
so be ready for when I come to get you tonight. 

Move? What move?

Witness protection, Walt. You have no other options.

Walt starts toward Hank, but instead despondently turns to leave. 

Oh and Walt? 

Walt turns back to face him.

Don’t bother trying to run. I’ve got Jessica 
Fletcher’s number - and she always finds what she’s 
looking for, and it's usually a corpse.
You of all people should know that.

Walt leaves. The camera pans over to Hank’s computer, which has freeze frame shots from Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder open, featuring Bryan Cranston. I mean, uh, WALT


An irate, tall brunette woman knocks on the car window.

Hey! HEY! You can’t park here, this is a residence - 

One second, ma’am. (To Walt) 
Whaddaya think of her?

Her? She’s alright, I guess. But you know 
I’m not interested, right?

Yeah I know, alright. You’re not going to 
ever move on from Skylar, you don’t want to find 
anyone else, blah blah blah.

What do you mean, blah blah blah? 
I’m serious, Hank.

Just like you were serious all those times
 when I confided in you, when we sat together at 
meals as a family?  (leaning in to WALT)
When you visited me in the hospital? That’s what 
I thought. Get out of the car.

Hank slams the car door, getting his coat caught up in it. As he struggles to free it, a man in a crisp suit is led from the house toward the van across the road in handcuffs.

Who’s that guy?

Oh, that’s your ‘son’.

My what?

Your son, his name's Francis. Used to be Barney.  
(He manages to free his coat)
He’s been sent into witness protection after 
New York’s entire female population filed simultaneous 
sexual harassment claims, all on the same 

Are you… are you sure that’s him, and not just 
someone who kind of looks like him?

I…uh… budget constraints, ya know

Right. Well, what’s he doing here anyway?

Well, the cost of the trials would have 
bankrupted the city of New York, so this was 
a cheaper solution.

He’s just going to get away with it, then, 
a sex-offender? A REPEAT sex-offender?

Nope. He’s off to military school. 
(He smirks) No women, no freedom, and a cadet uniform 
so far removed from his beloved designers suits, 
it should drive him crazy in a matter of hours.

Jeez, Hank.

Hey, he’s the monster here, not me. The best part 
is he’s your son.

He… he’s what?

Well, ya know, not biologically of course. But for 
the purposes of Witness Protection, we’ve gotta 
have somewhere to put him once he’s done his 
time in military school, so he’s going to be 
your oldest son.

I told you, Hank! I didn’t want a new family. 
If you’re going to take me away from my real 
family, I don’t want to be put with another.

And I told YOU, Walt, that you don’t get to choose 
anymore. You’re not Heisenberg now. 
(He places a hand on WALT's shoulder) 
You don’t have to live with him for the most part. 
 But there’s the other three you’ll have to put 
up with…

Other three?

Hanks nods in the direction of the two boys who had been unloaded moving boxes. They are now engaged in a fist fight while a smaller, younger, big-eared boy is setting fire to the plants on the front lawn.

We should stop that kid!

We’? He’s your son, Walt.

Him too? God dammit, Hank.

All three of them are, and you see her, there? 
 (he points at the woman who is storming back to the car) 
That’s your new wife.  You can call her Lois.

Oh god… why’s she in protection?

She’s done a few things, here and there. 
 Frasier, Law and Order, Party of Five. To be honest, 
this is just another gig for her.


Uh… never mind.

Hey, come in if you’re coming in, don’t just sit 
there letting the kids do all the work.

They walk toward the house.

(looking helplessly at Hank)
Don’t do this to me, Hank.  I'll have a breakdown 
here, I just know it.

You’ll see, Walt. This is for your own good.

Solemnly he walks to the door.

I guess you think I should be thanking you, Hank.

Thank me by never, ever trying to contact anyone 
of us, ever. 

Walt clenches his fists. Hank starts to walk toward the car but turns one last time.

Oh yeah and uh, make sure you read through 
your profile pack. 

WALT removes a book from the inside pocket of his jacket.

 Get to grips with your new identity.

I thought you said we’d discuss the name, you 
said we’d talk about the new career -

Yeah well, I changed my mind. don’t screw things up 
this time, buddy.

He turns round and walks away toward the car without turning back.  Hank stands there, leafing through the pages.

Son of a… (shouts after Hank) 
Are you kidding me with this? I’m ‘Henry’? You 
named me after yourself?

Hey, you don’t have to go by ‘Henry’. 
(He turns and smiles)
You could go by Hank. Or, I don’t know, there are 
other versions you could use... 
(shrugs his shoulders)
How about Hal?

Friday, 8 March 2013

Three Little Words

I don’t suppose many women are lucky enough to hear those three little words from their other half every day, like I do.  Granted, they’re not the same little words, but they mean just as much.

You and I were never the romantic type, were we? That stiff-upper lip, self-effacing English cynicism we were both guilty of, I suppose. A firm peck on the cheek, that was our idea of romance, and we were lucky that we shared it; another couple might have drifted apart with spontaneous acts of affection, tacky gestures guided by gift-shop notions of love, red hearts and roses on designated days that meant nothing to us.  No, we were content.  Why ask for more than to be content? Anything either side is uncomfortable - I needed nothing more or less from you, and if you had felt otherwise you would have let me know.  My love for you was just as strong when I straightened the lapels on your raincoat as it had been the first night you took my hand and kissed it, like the gentleman you've always been. I was happy to sit in silence with you as you read your evening newspaper, occasionally reading aloud a headline that particularly tickled you or that you thought would interest me, while I sorted through my letters, and home was anywhere that you and I could sit together and put the world to rights. And did we ever put the world to rights.  Working in the public sector should have made you more cynical, but your cynicism was always presented with a wry smile, like love in spite of many faults. You know, I was convinced that you would have made a wonderful prime minister, I’m sure I must have told you that many times, and I stand by it even now that you’re gone - you’re the best leader this country never had.  But that’s beside the point now, I suppose.  You were so rational, so level-headed, so approachable.  People listened when you spoke, and I suppose in a roundabout way they still do. 

Part of me wishes there was another way to do this.  It’s funny how you can regret decisions that meant nothing at the time, things that seemed so insignificant but would make all the difference now.  Why were we so convinced that a portable phone was a necessity, in our humble household consisting of just you and me? I liked our little phone cubby, as you used to call it, with our old plastic phone, slightly off-white with a permanently kinked lead and the clunky answering machine with your polite, crisp greeting on it.  And then we caught up with modern technology, gadget by meaningless gadget, the sleek silver handset taking its place by the door while we donated the old telephone to the charity shop.  You would walk around the house talking away to old friends and family, straightening pictures and pillows here and there, and we never bothered to record a new out-going message because the pre-recorded one did such a good job.  We threw the tape away.  That piece of you, your voice letting people know we weren’t there but they had still reached us.  I don’t walk around on the phone as you used to; I take all my phone calls in the cubby, as if some rip in time and space will allow your voice to echo through and reach me.

I’m not too down about it though.  I can still hear you.  Not just in my head; not just repeatedly playing scenes from our life together, my finger stuck on the rewind button of some separate tape player for my memories of you.  No, I mean I can still really hear you. 

It’s the station. I know you never liked the idea of me going out alone in the dark, but I need to be there for the last train, you see.  During the daytime there are so many people on the platform, coming and going, chatting to one another or on their phones, children shouting and laughing, heels clacking on the concrete - I can barely hear you at all, and I hate the thought of having to strain to hear your voice.  But the last train, now that’s the ticket (if you can excuse the pun - you never did enjoy such obvious humour).  I like it best when the sky is clear, with a slight breeze and the almost-silence of a deserted train station awaiting its last arrival. 

A few of the platform attendees look at me like I’m mad, but the older ones, the ones who have been there for a fair few years know who I am, and more importantly they knew who you were to me.  They’re happy to allow me through the barriers without a ticket, because they know I’m not going anywhere.  They know I’m only there for one thing; to sit on the platform, on the bench beneath the loudspeaker, and wait for your voice to warn busy, distracted travelers to be safe, to be aware, to mind the gap.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Other 45 Ways To Leave Your Lover

A recently discovered list of the remaining 45 pieces of advice from Paul Simon’s hit song

For reference:

1. Just slip out the back, Jack
2. Make a new plan, Stan
3. You don't need to be coy, Roy
4. Hop on the bus, Gus
5. Just drop off the key, Lee


6. Break down and start cryin’, Bryan
7. Pretend that you’re gay, Jay
8. Leave her on a whim, Jim
9. Kick her in the leg, Greg
10. Get on your bike, Mike
11. Tell her she’s fake, Jake
12. Just say no, Joe
13. Introduce her to Larry, Barry
14. Buy her a cat, Matt
15. Push her in a gorge, George
16. Dig her a grave, Dave
17. Don’t give her a chance, Lance
18. Tie a note to a brick, Nick
19. Tell her she’s odd, Todd
20. Find someone new, Lou
21. Get really cross, Ross
22. Cut the bitch loose, Bruce
23. Call her a knob, Rob
24. Just make sure you’re gone, Don
25. Pretend that you’re dead, Fred
26. Set off your “bitch detector”, Hector
27. Abandon her in a field, Neil
28. Say you don’t give a damn, Sam
29. Throw her stuff in the bin, Finn
30. Change the locks and keys, Rhys
31. Make her feel small, Paul
32. Tell the news at ten, Ben
33. Just slay ‘em, Graham
34. Pretend that you’re deaf, Jeff
35. Take all of her cash, Ash
36. Make her pay every bill, Phil
37. Don’t be a coward, Howard
38. Tell her she’s foul, Raul
39. Don’t say you’re sorry, Cory
40. Be her long-lost pal, Al
41. Tell her she’s an own-goal, Noel
42. Step on her feet, Pete
43. Say her voice hurts your teeth, Keith
44. Do it for a lark, Mark
45. Call her a skank, Frank

Monday, 22 October 2012

Not Now, Bernard - Consequence

Clarissa drinks alone most nights.  Not at a pub, not at a bar, just drinking at home in the dark. 

It has been six months since Michael left, give or take a week or two, and the ache lingers.  The ache for his touch, his voice, his company.  All that is over now, gone without a chance of reconciliation.  The warmth of their love now absent from the home they once shared as a family, Clarissa sits and drinks alone most nights, in the cold chill of the evening. 

She favours the clear drinks.  The cloudy cocktails she loved in the early years of her marriage, the sugary ones she had snuck in while doing the housework, the murky ones that had initially made her light-headed and loosened her up but crashed her mood into inky depths when her beloved boys returned from school and work - those were too much for her now, evoking memories of the noise and chaos of a busy household, reminding her of the mistake they had made all those years ago.  She flavours the clear drinks, neat.

When Bernard was a baby, he had never needed much attention.  He didn’t cry, he didn’t shriek - he was just full of love and wonderment.  Clarissa recalls how he would look up at her and smile silently during a feed, during a change or just while she held him in her arms.  She thinks of how the need for physical contact diminishes as a child ages; from growing inside you, actually attached; then every moment as a perfect, beautiful newborn you want to hold them close to you; a little older now, the terrible twos, you want a moment to yourself but all your moments belong to them, as should your attention; their first few weeks of school where the realise they don’t need you all the time but still crave your attention; and then the teens when they pull away completely, looks of defiance and embarrassment as they start to find their own identity separate from you and the concept of a hug provokes looks of anger that betray the memory of the needy loved one you knew just a few years ago.  But Bernard had never needed much attention.

In fact, Bernard had never reached the stage where the thought of being held by his mother made him cringe.  That evening, when she had been too busy to talk to her son, he had not been a moody, sullen teenager.  That evening, when her husband had not even turned around to acknowledge their son’s greeting, he had not yet developed that thin skin and overly sensitive demeanour that makes a teenager withdraw into their bedrooms.  That evening, when Bernard had warned her that there was a ‘monster in the garden’ and Clarissa had simply been too busy to pay him any attention for what would turn out to be the last opportunity she would ever have to do so, he had been just seven years old.

Sometimes Clarissa thinks about what kind of adult Bernard would have become.  Seven years on, he would have been fourteen years old now; settled in at high school, maybe on the football team, barely thinking about his future - boys at that age think the future will never come.  That’s true enough for Bernard, Clarissa laughs darkly to herself.  Then the tears come again, but the bitter saltiness is lost in the liquor.  She drinks in the dark.

The monster.  That’s how children interpret the unknown, isn’t it?  Monsters, creepy things that they don’t understand and don’t know how to communicate with.  Bernard’s monster was waiting in the garden, that’s what he’d said , wasn’t it?  Clarissa had heard him but didn’t have the time to listen to his stories.  She pours another glass, wondering if it was possible to quantify her regret for not listening to him that afternoon.  If she’d just taken a second, just left the houseplants for a moment, she wouldn’t be sitting alone in her kitchen, drinking a glass or two for each of the seven years that have passed since the last time she heard his voice or saw his face.

The monster.  She remembers now the urgency that she had missed in his voice, the edge to his normally chipper voice.  Oh, the details.  Those were the things that stuck.  How he used to pull his sleeves right over his hands, his cute/sad expression when she told him that he was going to stretch it, the regretful tremble of his bottom lip when she admonished him for not looking after his things then sent him to his room.  He would lie on his bed and sob - not weep, Bernard never cried like other children.  His was a unselfish cry, one that required no comforting.  But children always require comforting, don’t they?  She had been wrong.  She had been the selfish one when he should have been, he should have cried and called out for her.  Maybe he had done.  Maybe she just hadn’t heard.  She sips her drink desperately, the tipple dripping down her chin and neck as her own lips quake with regret.  The monster.

She cautiously stands, knowing the alcohol will have started taking hold of her body, and starts the long walk up to Bernard’s bedroom.  Her fingers linger on the bannister - here, where they had thrown their coats after a long day; there, where Michael had leaned her against the rails and kissed her passionately on their first anniversary; and there, where Bernard had almost broken his arm after trying to slide down like in Mary Poppins.  He had barely cried even then.  So starved of attention, yet so quiet in his craving. Her beautiful boy. 

Clarissa stands in the doorway of his bedroom.  She stares at the bed where he used to sleep.  Where he had his first nightmare.  Where she saw her worst nightmare.  Where the man in the purple coat lay in her son’s bed, on her son’s sheets, covered in her son’s blood.  The monster.  That purple coat, the dark red patches and the frayed edges of the sleeves and hem - had Bernard pulled them and made them that way?  Had he had ignored Bernard’s screams?  Had she ignored his screams?

She doesn’t realise that she’s crying.  She remembers things in blurry flashes; the police lifting Bernard’s body out of the crude, shallow grave in the alley behind their home, still freshly dead; coming home from the police station after 50-odd hours, and collapsing on the floor in a heap with Michael as they held each other, crying out in anguish for their lifeless boy; the first night at home without Bernard; the nightmares.  Her mind turns to the first time Michael chose to sleep on the sofa instead of with her, and how she noticed for the first time just how big their double bed was - and how she didn’t miss him when he wasn’t it.  Does she miss him now?  Physically, yes.  She doesn’t think about any other needs right now, because she doesn’t really have any.  What about Bernard’s needs?  She had turned him away so readily and consistently, always telling him “Not now, Bernard” or “Come back later”; she couldn’t be bothered to pay him any attention, so somebody else did.

They had brought his battered, violated little body back to the house for one day before the burial, and she had sat next to his coffin with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of chardonnay in the other, afraid to touch him.  She felt strange acknowledging this, but she knew that aside from her ignorance toward his pleas, one of her greatest regrets was not touching her son for one last time.  She could have simply stroked his cheek, brushed his hair, kissed his forehead - but no, the last succession of hands on her son’s body had been sexual and murderous, then clinical and sterile.  Even after his death she could not afford him the physical contact he had still craved from her.  Her mind brings forth the memory of the the morning of the funeral, the young police officer lingering at the back of the church, catching her on the way to the burial to inform her that the man who had killed her only son had been declared as severely mentally unstable, and would therefore be committed rather than put on trial for the murder of her child.

She knows a little bit about being unstable herself, these days.  The house remains dark, even in the brightest hours of the day.  Even on those beautiful summer days when parents should cherish every moment of their off-spring’s childhood by taking day-trips and outings, basking in one another’s limitless love and attention.  She recalls the day that Michael left, merely six months ago.  He had taken the suitcase that they had used on their honeymoon and left her two days before the anniversary of Bernard’s death. 

Sometimes on nights like this, in the blurry moments as time passes between each drink, Clarissa knows that she would give her whole world for another day with them both; another day to lavish the attention on her son that he so badly needed and deserved; another chance to hold him, play with him, listen to his voice and tell him stories.  Just one more night to tuck him in safely to sleep, and let the world turn around them both without fear or consequence. But there is no chance of that anymore.  Not now.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Unpublished Chapter from Caitlin Moran’s ‘How To Be A Woman’ - I Find My Writing Style!

So I’m sitting on the beach, Converse sneakers next to me as I sit here with my legs UNCOMFORTABLY tucked under my 30-something body, and as I’m looking out at the sea I realise - I haven’t written anything about TITS all day.  Yeah, I said it: TITS.  I mean, come on ladies, I spent a whole chapter talking about the bloody things and then mentioning them in every effing chapter, but today I’ve been writing a column for The Times where I seamlessly combine mindless chatter about how AWESOME it is to watch Downton Abbey while eating far too many biscuits because I BLOODY LOVE BISCUITS with liberal lashings of feminist ranting - but not the kind of feminist ranting you’d EXPECT, this is MODERN feminism where we want to be equal but also SCARE MEN by talking about TITS and FURRY CUPS in CAPITAL LETTERS - when I realise that I haven’t mentioned mammaries in any form for the whole article

When I was growing up, I read loads of really intense and obscure books because I LOVE reading, especially books about SEX and TITS.  But also really hardcore stuff like the intrinsic transcendental work of writers like Henry David Thoreau, the macroeconomic manifestos of John Maynard Keynes and the original Dungeons and Dragons guide book by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson because this is a diverse selection of titles.  Also, the word ‘titles’ is made up of the words ‘TIT’ and ‘LES’ - so the real meaning of the word should either be ‘sapphic breast appreciation’ or ‘lovely bird (avian, not the slang term for FEMALE which the patriarchy would love us not to use but we CAN because we’re WOMEN/BIRDS) appearing on Family Fortunes’.  I don’t know which I prefer - it’s a real dilemma, if I’m honest.  Here’s why:

1. ‘TIT-LES’ - Sapphic breast appreciation.  As a feminist, this covers two of my favourite things - the freedom of SEXUALITY and my God-given (and God is a woman, and I am a woman, ergo I am God) boobies!
2. ‘TIT-LES’ - Birds appearing on Family Fortunes (mid-90s, not Andy Collins era, obviously).  As a self-appointed expert on EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD EVER, this definition allows me to express my love for learning about things (women = birds, birds = nature, nature = the world, therefore women = the world, and me being the GREATEST WOMAN EVER means me = God), as well as my love for all things retro and cheesy, like Family Fortunes and Les Dennis. 

So what’s a girl to do?  I can say ‘girl’ because I have TITS and a VAGINA but if a man calls me a ‘girl’ then I’m entitled to kick him in the penis and tell him that I am a proud and beautiful woman, before making a joke in one of my columns about running home and crying and eating loads of cake and feeling sad because I think I’m fat, even though that’s what men think women do anyway so even as a joke it’s sort of redundant.  Should I go for option 1, which empowers LESbians and their TITS, or go for option 2, which reminds people that I’m INTERESTING and QUIRKY?  Or should I go back to the original point I was trying to make, which has more or less become lost in one of the seemingly unending rants that has become my trademark?

Speaking of my trademarks (and no, I don’t mean my boobs, although ‘my trademarks’ seems like a brilliant nickname for the twins - non-identical, I should add, I did breastfeed my children I’ll have you know…. with my TITS), I got to thinking about what it was that made my work so damn READABLE.  I mean, how could someone go from prattling on about Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch GET IN MY BED), X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing to waxing lyrical about the position of women in society today.  Maybe it’s the smattering of exclamation marks, the grammatical signpost that shows I’m fun-loving and capable of whimsy; or perhaps it’s my chatty, slang-ridden prose that attracts people to my articles - it’s like they’re TALKING TO A FRIEND but also learning things; or perhaps it’s the EYE-CATCHING, EXCITING and often INEXPLICABLY RANDOM way I often lapse into CAPITAL LETTERS to get my point ACROSS?  There’s always the chance that people are drawn to my writing by the fact that there is always a picture of ME doing a QUIRKY face that makes me look AWKWARD but also CUTE and FUN - exactly like Zooey Deschanel except 10 years older and with bigger, (intentionally) silver-streaked hair and TITS that aren’t as PERKY as they used TO be, while wearing SOMETHING that’s blatantly from TOPSHOP even though I can’t shut up about how I used to be pudgy and UNCOOL.

Then I realised; maybe it’s all of those things COMBINED.  Maybe it’s because all of those elements put together make up MY STYLE, and being so IN YOUR FACE ALL THE TIME AAAARGGHHHH CUSTARD CREAMS can be intimidating and excessive, which is why my ARTICLES and COLUMNS (side note: I hate the word ‘column’ because it’s a PHALLIC IMAGE) are easy to digest (like cake, because who doesn’t love cake?  And cats.  I love cats.) because they’re in small portions, and something like an ENTIRE BOOK OF ME SHOUTING needs to be broken down into pieces otherwise someone reading it might go COMPLETELY MENTAL and try to write a parody based on it and find themselves going GENUINELY INSANE AND GETTING ADDICTED TO USING THE SHIFT KEY INSTEAD OF THE CAPS LOCK.

And then I put on my shoes and went to the pub.