THIS was written in response to a request for a TropFest script involving a horse. It all got a bit too ambitious in the end. Anyway, here ’tis…
The camera begins on a close-up of a little girl, humming to herself and quite obviously drawing. We cannot yet see what she is drawing. Her face is creased in concentration, a tongue poking out of one corner of her mouth.
Her hands drawing. She is slow and meticulous. This is a labour of love.
A view of the paper as she holds it up to admire it. It is covered in unicorns.
A close-up of her face again as she looks at her handiwork. She hesitates and sighs happily …
SLOW FADE TO
Close-up of the girl as a young woman [JANE] who is also sighing, but out of exasperation.
He’ll be here, OK? It’s only 10 past; give him a break.
As she speaks the camera pulls back to reveal JANE is sitting at an outside table set for lunch. With Jane are her MOTHER, FATHER and older sister, L UCINDA. The sister is wearing riding gear (jodhpurs and all that). They are all neatly but comfortably dressed.
Give him a break? I wouldn’t give him the time of day.
MOTHER [trying to be objective but finding her distaste of ‘him’ impossible to conceal]
He is always late, dear. You’d think just once …
LUCINDA [pleased with herself]
Yes, you’d think just once he’d be ON TIME. I really don’t see what you see in him.
FATHER [taking a happy swig of white wine; he seems amused by them, and a little drunk]
750 horses between his legs instead of just the one, I would imagine.
JANE/LUCINDA/MOTHER [all shocked but laughing]
Leather-clad biker riding up bush road past a sign that spells out the name of the dressage stables.
Biker arriving at the previous lunch scene. As he parks his bike and takes his helmet off JANE gets up from the table and rushes over. We get the family POV as he attempts to kiss her while she obviously admonishes him for being late yet again.
It’s sickening. Why does she put up with him?
Love, I suppose.
Lust, I reckon.
LUCINDA [giving her father a dirty look]
He’s got dirty fingernails. He’s a grub.
He’s a mechanic, for God’s sake.
LUCINDA [with triumph]
While they are talking, JANE and the biker [JOHN] have obviously made up and come -walking over, arms around each other, though he is a little loo familiar in front of her family and she tries to disengage him a little in the process.
JOHN [sickeningly insincere, with what looks like a joint in his mouth]
G’day. Am I late? Sorry about that. Traffic. G’day, Luce.
LUCINDA [in obvious irritation]
It’s Lucinda, greaseball.
Whatever. Sorry to see you didn’t do so well at the competition. 12th, wasn’t it? We watched it down the pub. All that sideways disco dancing on horses – great stuff. The boys all pissed themselves laughing, didn’t they Jane? But I put ’em right, I did; that’s frottage that is, I said. And it’s not as easy as it looks
LUCINDA [angry now]
It’s dressage, you moron … and I came 11th!
LUCINDA storms off towards the stables. FA THER continues watch and drink his wine. JANE is half annoyed and half-amused. MOTHER just looks puzzled.
So what’s frottage then?
It’s a type of cheese, dear.
JANE and JOHN walking in the bush after lunch.
I should think so after what you just ate.
I think it was the cheese that did me in.
They laugh and he pulls her off the trail and into the bushes with lustful intent.
The couple obviously in the last throes of sex, JOHN is on his back with trousers around his ankles. JANE is astride him, her skirt covering any naughty bits, but she is in the last moments of coital bliss, eyes closed etc.
Then JANE opens her eyes.
And then JANE opens them even wider and her mouth drops open in astonishment.
Oh my God!
JOHN [from underneath somewhere but out of shot]
You still going? Fuck, I’m good.
JANE [quietly but urgently]
CUT TO HER POV
Standing there, large as life in the clearing, is a unicorn.
JOHN, frowning now, wondering what she looking at. He tips his head back.
There, upside down in the clearing, is indeed a unicorn. He jumps up, throwing JANE to the ground in his haste, attempts to run away but is hampered by the trousers wound his ankles and falls over.
What the f-.
JANE [hissing at him]
Stay still or you’ll frighten it away.
JOHN [backing away on all fours]
What is it? What is it?
JANE [with a spreading smile]
It’s … a … unicorn. I think
You’ve got to be kidding. This is a joke, right? Lucinda! Lucie-Loohoo?! Come out come out wherever you are.
He looks angrily around the clearing while JANE slowly approaches the creature. It allows her to stroke its nose.
JANE [in wonder]
I knew it. I knew it. It’s real. John, it’s real.
Is it dangerous?
Only if you waggle your willy at it.
JOHN frowns again and then looks down at his nether regions before leaping up and doing his trousers up.
It’s not beautiful. It’s a bloody nightmare. Of course! That’s it; I’m asleep after lunch. I’m dreaming.
JANE [still stroking the creature]
Oh, I wish I could keep it.
Why don’t you? I don’t suppose it belongs to anyone around here. Unless Merlin’s moved in recently.
JANE [with ‘authority’]
You can’t just ‘keep’ a unicorn. They don’t ‘belong’ to any one person. And as soon as we turn our backs it’ll disappear.
Well, I reckon that last joint was a bit suspect. Let’s go, Jane. It’s making me nervous.
He attempts to pull her away from the creature by the arm but she rounds on him with an angry yell of LEAVE ME ALONE before realising that she’s turned her back on the creature. As it dawns on her she closes her eyes in resignation and starts to cry softly. Until the beast starts nuzzling her bottom.
The stables, where LUCINDA, MOTHER, FATHER, JANE and JOHN are watching the unicorn roam the dressage ring. They are all astonished. JANE is just finishing her story.
And then it just followed us home.
As they stand there, a truck is heard off in the distance.
Damn, that’s Murray come to dean out the stables We don’t want him seeing this. A few beers down the pub and it’ll be all over the news by tomorrow morning. Quick, hide it in the end stall.
They usher the creature into the last stall, all except FATHER who, drink still in hand, wanders dreamily back to the house with a smile on his face.
Murray the cleaner arriving in his truck. He is greeted by LUCINDA et al standing by the last stall and looking suspiciously self-conscious. They ALL smile and wave and greet him. He waves back, a little puzzled, but simply shrugs to himself, reaches in to the back of his truck and pulls out a portable stereo system.
MOTHER [with a little groan when she sees this but still stroking the horse]
He’s a terrific chap but I do wish he wouldn’t play that hip-hop rap metal music or whatever it is. It gives me a frightful headache.
LUCINDA [who has smiled coquettishly at the young man]
Oh, he’s alright mum. At least he loves the horses.
That’s not all he loves, from what I hear.
As JANE and LUCINDA start to bicker, MURRAY puts his stereo down and turns it on. Beautiful classical music drifts across the ring, much to the surprise of the assembled cast. MURRAY, too, is flabbergasted. At this time the unicorn starts to get a little restless.
He doesn’t like being shut up in there.
Well, we can’t let him out.
He’s going to kick the place down if we don’t.
LUCINDA [stroking the horse dreamily]
He’s gorgeous, isn’t he? I wish I could ride him.
Just then FATHER comes back from the house, drink in one hand and something hidden in the other. He skirts them all, tut-tutting their questions away, and disappears into the stall. In seconds, the unicorn comes trotting out wearing a huge pointed party hat on its head. MURRAY looks over in astonishment.
FATHER [waving his drink in Murray’s direction]
It’s his birthday.
As the horse passes L UCINDA she gets an odd look on her face and leaps onto its back and rides it into the ring. The next minute or so is taken up with the horse’s amazing dressage ability, dancing in perfect time to the classical music from Murray’s stereo. Once again, everyone looks on agape.
INTERIOR of the house at night. The main cast is sitting around the kitchen/dining table.
It’s a gold medal now for sure. No two ways. That horse is a champion
It’s a unicorn, not a horse.
JOHN [smoking yet another joint and drinking a beer]
Gold! Gold! Gold! Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!
He is greeted with silence and dirty looks.
No? Look, it’s a horse with a permanent horn – think of the stud fees
MOTHER [pointedly ignoring him]
You don’t think people would find it a little . .. different, dear?
Where in the rules does it say you have to have a horse? Haven’t you seen Babe?
They don’t say you can’t have wings either but they might get a bit suspicious if you literally flew around the course.
MOTHER [sensing an argument developing]
Oh, look at the time. Why don’t we sleep on it? We’ll talk some more tomorrow. I’m sure we’ll all feel better for a [she is looking at JOHN when she says this] long sleep.
As the cast busy themselves for bed, JOHN stays slumped there, drunk, joint burning in hand and mumbling that he ‘can’t see -what the problem is’….
SAME PLACE, next morning. ALL cast except JOHN. This penultimate scene should be intercut with fast flashes of angry hooves and distressed horse noises.
It’ll be a circus. Lucinda, not a dressage event. It just won’t work.
Then we’ll just have to keep it a secret until the last minute.
And until then you’re going to keep it locked up wearing that stupid party hat? Are you that obsessed with winning a medal?
LUCINDA [puzzled by the question]
Well, yes …
MOTHER [as ever trying to deflect argument]
Here’s John. Want some breakfast, John?
JOHN comes back into the room looking a little worse for wear. You get the impression that he’s either still drunk/drugged or coming down from the previous day’s binge. He has a self-satisfied grin on his face and one hand behind his back.
I have solved your problem, ladies.
JANE [with a little fear in her voice]
You have? How?
With a theatrical flourish, JOHN produces the unicorn’s sawn-off horn.
After a moment of stunned silence there is a sob of despair from LUCINDA and JANE, who reaches out and takes the artefact from JOHN’S hands. He is starting to look a little ill.
Oh my God, what … have … you … done?
I … er …
LUCINDA is in a speechless rage as she grabs hold of the horn. JANE hangs on for a desperate moment and then unexpectedly lets go. LUCINDA’s backward momentum, however, is enough for her wildly swinging arm to shoot backwards with enough force for the tip of the horn to penetrate JOHN’S chest above his heart. He looks down at the horn and then falls down dead.
It is about here that the horse hooves and noises should subside/disappear.
LUCINDA backs away in horror as JANE kneels down beside her dead boyfriend. She is holding the horn as she speaks.
I wish I’d never seen that bloody unicorn.
SLOW FADE TO
The little GIRL again. She is in the same room and she is drawing with the same look of intense concentration on her face. Once again we cannot see what she is drawing for a while until she lifts the paper up to admire it.
It is covered in dragons…