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Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983) movie script

by Graham Chapman & John Cleese & Eric Idle & Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones & Michael Palin.
Transcribed by Jason R. Heimbaugh.

More info about this movie on IMDb.com
First Fish: Morning.

Second Fish: Morning.

Third Fish: Morning.

Fourth Fish: Morning.

Third Fish: Morning.

First Fish: Morning.

Second Fish: Morning.

Fourth Fish: What's new?

First Fish: Not much.

Fifth and Sixth Fish: Morning.

The Others: Morning, morning, morning.

First Fish: Frank was just asking what's new.

Fifth Fish: Was he?

First Fish: Yeah.  Uh huh...

Third Fish: Hey, look.  Howard's being eaten.

Second Fish: Is he?

[They move forward to watch a waiter serving a large grilled fish
to a large man.]

Second Fish: Makes you think doesn't it?

Fourth Fish: I mean... what's it all about?

Fifth Fish: Beats me.

Why are we here, what is life all about?
Is God really real, or is there some doubt?
Well tonight we're going to sort it all out,
For tonight it's the Meaning of Life.

What's the point of all these hoax?
Is it the chicken and egg time, are we all just yolks?
Or perhaps, we're just one of God's little jokes,
Well ca c'est the Meaning of Life.

Is life just a game where we make up the rules
While we're searching for something to say
Or are we just simple spiralling coils
Of self-replicating DNA?

What is life?  What is our fate?
Is there Heaven and Hell?  Do we reincarnate?
Is mankind evolving or is it too late?
Well tonight here's the Meaning of Life.

For millions this life is a sad vale of tears
Sitting round with really nothing to say
While scientists say we're just simply spiralling coils
Of self-replicating DNA.

So just why, why are we here?
And just what, what, what, what do we fear?
Well ce soir, for a change, it will all be made clear,
For this is the Meaning of Life - c'est le sens de la vie -
This is the Meaning of Life.

                       THE MEANING OF LIFE
                       -------------------

                             PART I

                      THE MIRACLE OF BIRTH

[Hospital corridor. A mother-to-be is being wheeled very fast down
the corridor on a trolley, which crashes through several sets of
doors. A nurse with her slips into a consultant's room, where one
doctor is throwing beer mats through the crooked arm of another.]

First Doctor: One thousand and eight!

Nurse: Mrs Moore's contractions are more frequent, doctor.

First Doctor: Good. Take her into the foetus-frightening room.

Nurse: Right.

          [They pass through the delivery room.]

First Doctor: Bit bare in here today. isn't it?

Second Doctor: Yeees.

First Doctor: More apparatus please, nurse.

Nurse: Yes doctor.

First Doctor: Yes, the EEG, the BP monitor and the AVV, please.

Second Doctor: And get the machine that goes 'Ping'!

First Doctor: And get the most expensive machines in case the
     administrator comes.

          [Apparatus starts pouring into the room. The mother is
          lost behind various bits of equipment.]

First Doctor: That's better, that's much better.

Second Doctor: Yeeees. More like it.

First Doctor: Still something missing, though. [They think hard for
     a few moments.]

First and Second Doctors: Patient?

Second Doctor: Where's the patient?

First Doctor: Anyone seen the patient?

Second Doctor: Patient!

Nurse: Ah, here she is.

First Doctor: Bring her round.

Second Doctor: Mind the machine!

First Doctor: Come along!

Second Doctor: Jump up there. Hup!

First Doctor: Hallo! Now, don't you worry.

Second Doctor: We'll soon have you cured.

First Doctor: Leave it all to us, you'll never know what hit you.

First and Second Doctors: Goodbye, goodbye! Drips up! Injections.

Second Doctor: Can I put the tube in the baby's head?

First Doctor: Only if I can do the epesiotomy.

Second Doctor: Okay.

First Doctor: Now, legs up.

          [The legs are put in the stirrups, while the Doctors open
          the doors opposite.]

First and Second Doctors: Come on. Come on, all of you. That's it,
     jolly good. Come on. Come on. Spread round there.

          [A small horde enters, largely medical but with two
          Japanese with cameras and video equipment. The first
          doctor bumps into a man.]

First Doctor: Who are you?

Man: I'm the husband.

First Doctor: I'm sorry. only people involved are allowed in here.

          [The husband leaves.]

Mrs Moore: What do I do?

Second Doctor: Yes?

Mrs Moore: What's that for?

          [She points to a machine.]

First Doctor: That's the machine that goes 'Ping'!

          [It goes 'Ping'.]

First Doctor: You see. It means that your baby is still alive.

Second Doctor: And that's the most expensive machine in the whole
     hospital.

First Doctor: Yes, it cost over three quarters of a million pounds.

Second Doctor: Aren't you lucky!

Nurse: The administrator's here, doctor.

First Doctor: Switch everything on!

          [They do so. Everything flashes and beeps and thuds.
          Enter the administrator...]

Administrator: Morning, gentlemen.

First and Second Doctors: Morning Mr Pycroft.

Administrator: Very impressive. What are you doing this morning?

First Doctor: It's a birth.

Administrator: And what sort of thing is that?

Second Doctor: Well, that's when we take a new baby out of a lady's
     tummy.

Administrator: Wonderful what we can do nowadays. Ah! I see you
     have the machine that goes 'Ping'. This is my favourite. You
     see we lease this back to the company we sold it to. That
     way it comes under the monthly current budget and not the
     capital account. [They all applaud.] Thank you, thank you. We
     try to do our best. Well, do carry on.

          [He leaves.]

Nurse: Oh, the vulva's dilating, doctor.

First Doctor: Yes, there's the head. Yes, four centimetres, five,
     six centimetres...

First and Second Doctors: Lights! Amplify the ping machine. Masks
     up! Suction! Eyes down for a full house! Here it comes!

          [The baby arrives.]

First Doctor: And frighten it!

          [They grab the baby, hold it upside down, slap it, poke
          tubes up its nose, hose it with cold water. Then the baby
          is placed on a wooden chopping block and the umbilicus
          severed with a chopper.]

     And the rough towels!

          [It is dried with rough towels.]

     Show it to the mother.

          [It is shown to the mother.]

First and Second Doctors: That's enough! Right. Sedate her, number
     the child. Measure it, blood type it and... *isolate* it.

Nurse: OK, show's over.

Mrs Moore: Is it a boy or a girl?

First Doctor: Now I think it's a little early to start imposing
     roles on it, don't you? Now a world of advice. You may find
     that you suffer for some time a totally irrational feeling of
     depression. PND is what we doctors call it. So it's lots of
     happy pills for you, and you can find out all about the birth
     when you get home. It's available on Betamax, VHS and Super 8.

                       THE MEANING OF LIFE
                       -------------------

                      THE MIRACLE OF BIRTH

                             PART 2

                         THE THIRD WORLD

                            Yorkshire

[A northern street. Dad is marching home. We see his house. A stork
flies above it, and drops a baby down the chimney.]

Dad: Oh bloody hell.

          [Inside the house. A pregnant woman is at the sink. With
          a cry a new-born baby, complete with umbilical cord,
          drops from between her legs onto the floor.]

Mother: Get that would you, Deirdre...

Girl: All right, Mum.

          [The girl takes the baby. Mum carries on.]

          [Dad comes up to the door and pushes it open sadly.
          Inside there are at least forty children, of various
          ages, packed into the living room.]

Mum: [with tray] Whose teatime is it?

Scores of Voices: Me, mum...

Mum: Vincent, Tessa, Valerie, Janine, Martha, Andrew, Thomas,
     Walter, Pat, Linda, Michael, Evadne, Alice, Dominique, and
     Sasha... it's your bedtime!

Children: [all together] Oh, Mum!

Mum: Don't argue...  Laura, Alfred, Nigel, Annie, Simon, Amanda...

Dad: Wait...

          [They all listen.]

     I've got something to tell the whole family.

          [All stop... A buzz of excitement.]

Mum: [to her nearest son] Quick... go and get the others in,
     Gordon!

          [Gordon goes out.  Another twenty or so children enter
          the room.  They squash in at the back as best they can.]

Dad: The mill's closed. There's no more work, we're destitute.

          [Lots of cries of 'Oh no!'... 'Cripes'... 'Heck'... from
          around the room.]

     I've got no option but to sell you all for scientific
     experiments. [The children protest with heart-rending pleas.]
     No no, that's the way it is my loves... Blame the Catholic
     church for not letting me wear one of those little rubber
     things... Oh they've done some wonderful things in their time,
     they preserved the might and majesty, even the mystery of the
     Church of Rome, the sanctity of the sacrament and the
     indivisible oneness of the Trinity, but if they'd let me wear
     one of the little rubber things on the end of my cock we
     wouldn't be in the mess we are now.

Little Boy: Couldn't Mummy have worn some sort of pessary?

Dad: Not if we're going to remain members of the fastest growing
     religion in the world, my boy... You see, we believe... well,
     let me put it like this...
     [sings]

     There are Jews in the world,
     There are Buddhists,
     There are Hindus and Mormons and then,
     There are those that follow Mohammed,
     But I've never been one of them...

     I'm a Roman Catholic,
     And have been since before I was born,
     And the one thing they say about Catholics,
     Is they'll take you as soon as you're warm...

     You don't have to be a six-footer,
     You don't have to have a great brain,
     You don't have to have any clothes on -
     You're a Catholic the minute Dad came...

     Because...

     Every sperm is sacred,
     Every sperm is great,
     If a sperm is wasted,
     God gets quite irate.

Children: Every sperm is sacred,
     Every sperm is great,
     If a sperm is wasted,
     God gets quite irate.

Child: [solo] Let the heathen spill theirs,
     On the dusty ground,
     God shall make them pay for,
     Each sperm that can't be found.

Children: Every sperm is wanted,
     Every sperm is good,
     Every sperm is needed,
     In your neighbourhood.

Mum: [solo] Hindu, Taoist, Mormon,
     Spill theirs just anywhere,
     But God loves those who treat their
     Semen with more care.

Men neighbours: [peering out of toilets]
     Every sperm is sacred,
     Every sperm is great,

Women neighbours: [on wall]
     If a sperm is wasted,

Children: God get quite irate.

Priest: [in church] Every sperm is sacred,

Bride and Groom: Every sperm is good.

Nannies: Every sperm is needed.

Cardinals: [in prams] In your neighbourhood!

Children: Every sperm is useful,
     Every sperm is fine,

Funeral Cortege: God needs everybody's,

First Mourner: Mine!

Lady Mourner: And mine!

Corpse: And mine!

Nun: [solo] Though the pagans spill theirs,
     O'er mountain, hill and plain,

Various artefacts in a Roman Catholic Souvenir Shop:
     God shall strike them down for
     Each sperm that's spilt in vain.

Everybody: Every sperm is sacred,
     Every sperm is good,
     Every sperm is needed,
     In your neighbourhood.

Even more than everybody, including two fire-eaters, a juggler, a
clown at a piano and a stilt-walker riding a bicycle:
     Every sperm is sacred,
     Every sperm is great,
     If a sperm is wasted,
     God gets quite irate.

          [Everybody cheers (including the fire-eaters, the
          juggler, the clown at the piano and the stilt-walker
          riding the bicycle). Fireworks go off, a Chinese dragon
          is brought on and flags of all nations are unfurled
          overhead.]

          [Back inside.]

Dad: So you see my problem, little ones... I can't keep you here
     any longer.

Shout from the back: Speak up!

Dad: [raising his voice] I can't keep you here any longer... God
     has blessed us so much that I can't afford to feed you
     anymore.

Boy: Couldn't you have your balls cut off...?

Dad: It's not as simple as that Nigel... God knows all... He would
     see through such a cheap trick. What we do to ourselves, we do
     to Him...

Voice: You could have them pulled off in an accident?

          [Other voices suggest ways his balls can be removed.]

Dad: No... no... children... I know you're trying to help but
     believe me, my mind's made up. I've given this long and
     careful thought. And it's medical experiments for the lot of
     you...

          [The children emerge singing a melancholy reprise of
          'Every Sperm is Sacred.']

          [They are being watched from another Northern house.]

Mr Blackitt: Look at them, bloody Catholics. Filling the bloody
     world up with bloody people they can't afford to bloody feed.

Mrs Blackitt: What are we dear?

Mr Blackitt: Protestant, and fiercely proud of it...

Mrs Blackitt: Why do they have so many children...?

Mr Blackitt: Because every time they have sexual intercourse they
     have to have a baby.

Mrs Blackitt: But it's the same with us, Harry.

Mr Blackitt: What d'you mean...?

Mrs Blackitt: Well I mean we've got two children and we've had
     sexual intercourse twice.

Mr Blackitt: That's not the point... We *could* have it any time we
     wanted.

Mrs Blackitt: Really?

Mr Blackitt: Oh yes. And, what's more, because we don't believe in
     all that Papist claptrap we can take precautions.

Mrs Blackitt: What, you mean lock the door...?

Mr Blackitt: No no, I mean, because we are members of the
     Protestant Reformed Church which successfully challenged the
     autocratic power of the Papacy in the mid-sixteenth century,
     we can wear little rubber devices to prevent issue.

Mrs Blackitt: What do you mean?

Mr Blackitt: I could, if I wanted, have sexual intercourse with
     you...

Mrs Blackitt: Oh, yes... Harry...

Mr Blackitt: And by wearing a rubber sheath over my old feller I
     could ensure that when I came off... you would not be
     impregnated.

Mrs Blackitt: Ooh!

Mr Blackitt: That's what being a Protestant's all about. That's
     why it's the church for me. That's why it's the church for
     anyone who respects the  individual and the individual's right
     to decide for him or herself. When Martin Luther nailed his
     protest up to the church door in 1517, he may not have
     realised the full significance of what he was doing. But four
     hundred years later, thanks to him, my dear, I can wear
     whatever I want on my John Thomas. And Protestantism doesn't
     stop at the simple condom. Oh no! I can wear French Ticklers
     if I want.

Mrs Blackitt: You what?

Mr Blackitt: French Ticklers... Black Mambos... Crocodile Ribs...
     Sheaths that are designed not only to protect but also to
     enhance the stimulation of sexual congress...

Mrs Blackitt: Have you got one?

Mr Blackitt: Have I got one? Well no... But I can go down the road
     any time I want and walk into Harry's and hold my head up
     high, and say in a loud steady voice: 'Harry I want you to
     sell me a *condom*. In fact today I think I'll have a French
     Tickler, for I am a Protestant...'

Mrs Blackitt: Well why don't you?

Mr Blackitt: But they... [He points at the stream of children still
     pouring past the house.]... they cannot. Because their church
     never made the great leap out of the Middle Ages, and the
     domination of alien episcopal supremacy!

                        the Adventures of

                             MARTIN
                             LUTHER
                               in

                         Reform-O-Scope

                          presented by
               The Protestant Film Marketing Board
                       in association with
                 Sol. C. Ziegler, Andy Rotbeiner
                    and the people of Beirut

                             GERMANY
                 in the grip of the 16th century

An exciting and controversial examination of the Protestant
reformer whose re-assessment of the role of the individual in
Christian belief shook the foundations of a post-feudal Germany in
the grip of the sixteenth century.

It was a day much like any other in the quiet little town of
Wittenberg. Mamie Meyer was preparing fat for the evening meal when
the full force of the Reformation struck.

          [A woman and two rather plain daughters are sitting
          outside their house with bowls. A man arrives
          breathless.]

Hymie: Mamie! Martin Luther's out!

          [Consternation amongst the womenfolk.]

Mamie: Oh! Martin Luther!

          [She hurries her daughters inside.]

     Did you get the suet, Hymie?

Hymie: Oy vay - the suet I clean forgot!

Mamie: The suet you forgot!

Hymie: The lard, the fish oil, the butter fat, the dripping, the
     wool grease I remember... [Hands over the shopping]... but the
     suet... oy vay...

Mamie: [pointing to his head] So what'd keep up there? Adipose
     tissue?

Hymie: Look out! Here he comes.

          [Mamie goes inside shouting.]

Mamie: Girls, girls! Your father forgot the suet!

          [Groans from the girls inside.]

          [Martin Luther is at the gate. His ears prick up at the
          female voices. His eyes flick from side to side.]

Hymie: Hallo Martin.

Martin Luther: Where's the john?

Hymie: We don't have one.

Martin Luther: No john? What d'you do?

Hymie: We eat fat.

Martin Luther: And that stops you going to the john?

Hymie: It's a theory.

Martin Luther: Yeah, but does it work?

Hymie: We ain't got no john.

Martin Luther: Yeah, but d'you need to go?

Hymie: You know how it is with theories - some days it's fine...
     maybe one, two... three days... and then just when it looks
     like you're ready for to publish... [Expression of resignation
     and disgust.]... Whoosh! You need a new kitchen floor.

Martin Luther: Oh you should be so lucky!

          [A girl's laugh from inside. Martin Luther looks up -
          alert.]

Martin Luther: D'you need any cleaning inside?

Hymie: Oh no... today it's all going fine.

Martin Luther: Oh well, how's about showing me the cutlery?

Hymie: Martin - I got a woman and children in there.

Martin Luther: So there's no problem... I just look at a few
     spoons... and...

          [Martin Luther starts to go in. Hymie stops him.]

Hymie: I got two girls in there, Martin... you know what I mean.

Martin Luther: Honest! I don't look at your girls! I don't even
     think about them! There! I put them out of my mind! Their
     arms, their necks... their little legs... and bosoms... I
     *wipe* from my mind.

Hymie: You just want to see spoons?

Martin Luther: My life! That's what I want to see.

Hymie: I know I'm going to regret this.

Martin Luther: No, listen! Cutlery is really my thing now. Girls
     with round breasts is over for me.

Hymie: What am I doing? I know what's going to happen.

Martin Luther: I'll crouch behind you.

          [He goes in. Martin Luther follows, crouching.]

Hymie: Mamie! Guess who's come to see us!

Mamie: Hymie! Are you out of your mind already? You know how old
     your daughters are?

Hymie: He only wants to see the spoons.

Mamie: What you have to bring him into my house for?

Hymie: Mamie, he doesn't even think about girls any more.

Martin Luther: Mrs Meyer - as far as girls is concerned, I shot my
     wad!

Mamie: You shot your *wad*?

Martin Luther: Def - in - ately...

          [Pause.]

Mamie: Which spoons you wanna view?

Martin Luther: Eh... [shrugs]... I guess the soup spoons...

Mamie: [suddenly interested] Ah! Now they're good spoons.

Martin Luther: You got them arranged?

Mamie: No, but I could arrange them for you.

Martin Luther: Don't put yourself to no bother, Mrs Meyer.

Mamie: It's no bother... I want for you to see those spoons like I
     would want to see them myself.

Martin Luther: Oh you're too kind, Mrs Meyer... You could get your
     daughters to show me them...

Mamie: Hymie get him out of here.

Hymie: Mamie, he only said for Myrtle and Audrey to show him the
     *spoons*.

Mamie: Like you think I run some kind of bordello here...

Martin Luther: Mrs Meyer! How can you say such a thing?

Mamie: Listen Martin Luther! I know what you want to do with my
     girls!

Martin Luther: Show me the spoons...

Mamie: You want for them to pull up their shirts and then lean over
     the chair with their legs apart...

Hymie: Mamie don't get excited...

Mamie: I'm getting excited? It's him that's getting excited!

Martin Luther: My mind is on the spoons.

Mamie: But you can't stop thinking of those little girls over the
     chairs.

          [Luther is struggling with himself.]

Hymie: I got to go to the bathroom.

Mamie: [grabs him] Hymie! I'm a married woman!

Hymie: So... just show him the spoons.

          [Hymie goes.]

Mamie: And you don't want to put nothing up me?

Martin Luther: Mrs Meyer - you read my mind.

Mamie: Oh...

          [They go out discreetly.]

But despite the efforts of Protestants to promote the idea of sex
for pleasure, children continued to multiply everywhere.

                       THE MEANING OF LIFE
                       -------------------

                             PART II

                       GROWTH AND LEARNING

[A school chapel.]

Headmaster: And spotteth twice they the camels before the third
     hour. And so the Midianites went forth to Ram Gilead in Kadesh
     Bilgemath by Shor Ethra Regalion, to the house of 
     Gash-Bil-Betheul-Bazda, he who brought the butter dish to 
     Balshazar and the tent peg to the house of Rashomon, and there 
     slew they the goats, yea, and placed they the bits in little 
     pots. Here endeth the lesson.

          [The Headmaster closes the Bible. the Chaplain rises.]

Chaplain: Let us praise God. Oh Lord...

Congregation: Oh Lord...

Chaplain: Oooh you are so big...

Congregation: Oooh you are so big...

Chaplain: So absolutely huge.

Congregation: So ab - solutely huge.

Chaplain: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here I can tell
     you.

Congregation: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here I can tell
     you.

Chaplain: Forgive Us, O Lord, for this dreadful toadying.

Congregation: And barefaced flattery.

Chaplain: But you are so strong and, well, just so super.

Congregation: Fan - tastic.

Headmaster: Amen. Now two boys have been found rubbing linseed oil
     into the school cormorant. Now some of you may feel that the
     cormorant does not play an important part in the life of the
     school but I remind you that it was presented to us by the
     Corporation of the town of Sudbury to commemorate Empire Day,
     when we try to remember the names of all those from the
     Sudbury area so gallantly gave their lives to keep China
     British. So from now on the cormorant is strictly out of
     bounds. Oh... and Jenkins... apparently your mother died this
     morning. [He turns to the Chaplain.] Chaplain.

          [The congregation rises and the Chaplain leads them in
          singing.]

Chaplain and Congregation:
     Oh Lord, please don't burn us,
     Don't grill or toast your flock,
     Don't put us on the barbecue,
     Or simmer us in stock,
     Don't braise or bake or boil us,
     Or stir-fry us in a wok...

     Oh please don't lightly poach us,
     Or baste us with hot fat,
     Don't fricassee or roast us,
     Or boil us in a vat,
     And please don't stick thy servants Lord,
     In a Rotissomat...

          [A classroom. The boys are sitting quietly studying.]

Boy: He's coming!

          [Pandemonium breaks out. The Headmaster walks in.]

Headmaster: All right, settle down, settle down. [He puts his
     papers down.] Now before I begin the lesson will those of you
     who are playing in the match this afternoon move your clothes
     down on to the lower peg immediately after lunch before you
     write your letter home, if you're not getting your hair cut,
     unless you've got a younger brother who is going out this
     weekend as the guest of another boy, in which case collect his
     note before lunch, put it in your letter after you've had your
     hair cut, and make sure he moves your clothes down onto the
     lower peg for you. Now...

Wymer: Sir?

Headmaster: Yes, Wymer?

Wymer: My younger brother's going out with Dibble this weekend,
     sir, but I'm not having my hair cut today sir, so do I move my
     clothes down or...

Headmaster: I do wish you'd listen, Wymer, it's perfectly simple.
     If you're not getting your hair cut, you don't have to move
     your brother's clothes down to the lower peg, you simply
     collect his note before lunch after you've done your scripture
     prep when you've written your letter home before rest, move
     your own clothes on to the lower peg, greet the visitors, and
     report to Mr Viney that you've had your chit signed. Now,
     sex... sex, sex, sex, where were we?

          [Silence from form. A lot of hard thinking of the type
          indulged by schoolboys who know they don't know the
          answer.]

     Well, had I got as far as the penis entering the vagina?

Pupils: Er... er... no sir. No we didn't, sir.

Headmaster: Well had I done foreplay?

Pupils: ...Yes sir.

Headmaster: Well, as we all know about foreplay no doubt you can
     tell me what the purpose of foreplay is... Biggs.

Biggs: Don't know, sorry sir.

Headmaster: Carter.

Carter: Er... was it taking your clothes off, sir?

Headmaster: And after that?

Wymer: Putting them on the lower peg sir?

          [Headmaster throws a board duster at him and hits him.]

Headmaster: The purpose of foreplay is to cause the vagina to
     lubricate so that the penis can penetrate more easily.

Watson: Could we have a window open please sir?

Headmaster: Yes... Harris will you?... And, of course, to cause the
     man's penis to erect and har...den. Now, did I do vaginal
     juices last week oh do pay attention Wadsworth, I know it's
     Friday afternoon oh watching the football are you boy - right
     move over there. I'm warning you I may decide to set an
     exam this term.

Pupils: Oh sir...

Headmaster: So just listen... now did I or did I not do vaginal
     juices?

Pupils: Yes sir.

Headmaster: Name two ways of getting them flowing, Watson.

Watson: Rubbing the clitoris, sir.

Headmaster: What's wrong with a kiss, boy? Hm? Why not start her
     off with a nice kiss? You don't have to go leaping straight
     for the clitoris like a bull at a gate. Give her a kiss, boy.

Wymer: Suck the nipple, sir.

Headmaster: Good. Good. Good, well done, Wymer.

Duckworth: Stroking the thighs, sir.

Headmaster: Yes, I suppose so.

Another: Bite the neck.

Headmaster: Good. Nibbling the ear. Kneading the buttocks, and so
     on and so forth. So we have all these possibilities before we
     stampede towards the clitoris, Watson.

Watson: Yes sir. Sorry sir.

Headmaster: All these form of stimulation can now take place.

          [The Headmaster pulls the bed down.]

     ... And of course tongueing will give you the best idea of how
     the juices are coming along. [Calls.] Helen... Now penetration
     and coitus, that is to say intercourse up to and including
     orgasm.

          [Mrs Williams has entered.]

     Ah hallo, dear.

          [The pupils have shuffled more or less to their feet.]

     *Do* stand up when my wife enters the room, Carter.

Carter: Oh sorry, sir. Sorry.

Mrs Williams: Humphrey, I hope you don't mind, but I told the
     Garfields we *would* dine with them tonight.

Headmaster: [starting to disrobe] Yes, yes, I suppose we must...

Mrs Williams: [taking off her clothes] I said we'd be there by
     eight.

Headmaster: Well at least it'll give me a reason to wind up the
     staff meeting.

Mrs Williams: Well I know you don't like them but I couldn't make
     another excuse.

Headmaster: [he's got his shirt off] Well it's just that I felt -
     Wymer. This is for your benefit. Will you kindly wake up. I've
     no intention of going through this all again. [The boys are no
     more interested than they were in the last lesson on the
     Binomial Theorem, though they pretend, as usual.] Now we'll
     take the foreplay as read, if you don't mind, dear.

Mrs Williams: No of course not, Humphrey.

Headmaster: So the man starts by entering, or mounting his good
     lady wife in the standard way. The penis is now as you will
     observe more or less fully erect. There we are. Ah that's
     better. Now... Carter.

Carter: Yes sir.

Headmaster: What is it?

Carter: It's an ocarina... sir.

Headmaster: Bring it up here. The man now starts making thrusting
     movements with his pelvic area, moving the penis up and down
     inside the vagina so... put it there boy, put it there... on
     the table... while the wife maximizes her clitoral stimulation
     by the shaft of the penis by pushing forward, thank you
     dear... now as sexual excitement mounts... what's funny Biggs?

Biggs: Oh, nothing sir.

Headmaster: Oh do please share your little joke with the rest of
     us... I mean, obviously something frightfully funny's going
     on...

Biggs: No, honestly, sir.

Headmaster: Well as it's so funny I think you'd better be selected
     to play for the boys' team in the rugby match against the
     masters this afternoon.

Biggs: [looks horrified] Oh no, sir.

                       THE MEANING OF LIFE
                       -------------------

                            PART III

                       FIGHTING EACH OTHER

Biggs: [now a soldiers-in-arms] O.K. Blackitt, Sturridge and
     Walters you take the buggers on the left flank. Hordern,
     Spadger and I will go for the gunpost.

Blackitt: [a Deptford Cockney] Hang on, you'll never make it,
     sir... Let us come with you... 

Biggs: Do as you're told man.

Blackitt: Righto, skipper. [He starts to go, then stops.] Oh, sir,
     sir... if we... if we don't meet again... sir, I'd just like
     to say it's been a real privilege fighting alongside you,
     sir...

          [They are continually ducking as bullets fly past them
          and shells burst overhead.]

Biggs: Yes, well I think this is hardly the time or place for a
     goodbye speech... eh...

          [Biggs is clearly anxious to go.]

Blackitt: No, me, and the lads realise that but... well... we may
     never meet again, sir, so...

Biggs: All right, Blackitt, thanks a lot.

Blackitt: No just a mo, sir! You see me and the lads had a little
     whip-round, sir, and we bought you something, sir... we bought
     you this, sir...

          [He produces a handsome ormolu clock from his pack. Biggs
          is at a loss for words. He is continually ducking.]

Biggs: Well, I don't know what to say... It's a lovely thought...
     thank you... thank you *all*... but I think we'd better... get
     to cover now...

          [He starts to go.]

Blackitt: Hang on a tick, sir, we got something else for you as
     well, sir.

          [Two of the others emerge from some bushes with a
          grandfather clock.]

     Sorry it's another clock, sir... only there was a bit of a
     mix-up... Walters thought *he* was buying the present, and
     Spadger and I had already got the other one.

Biggs: Well it's beautiful... they're both beau -

          [A bullet suddenly shatters the face of the grandfather
          clock.]

     ... But I think we'd better get to cover now, and I'll thank
     you properly later...

          [Biggs starts to go again but Blackitt hasn't finished.]

Blackitt: And Corporal Sturridge got this for you as well, sir. He
     didn't know about the others, sir - it's Swiss.

          [He hands over a wristwatch.]

Biggs: Well now that is thoughtful, Sturridge. Good man.

          [A shell bursts right overhead. Biggs flings himself down
          into the mud.]

Blackitt: And there's a card, sir... from all of us... [He produces
     a blood-splattered envelope.]... Sorry about the blood, sir.

Biggs: Thank you all.

          [He pockets it and tries to go on.]

Blackitt: Squad, three cheers for Captain Biggs. Hip Hip -

All: Hooray!

Blackitt: Hip Hip -

All: Hoor...

          [An almighty burst of machine-gun fire silences most of
          them... Blackitt is hit.]

Biggs: Blackitt! Blackitt!

Blackitt: [hurt] Ah! I'll be all right, sir... Oh there's just one
     other thing, sir. Spadge, give him the cheque...

Spadger: Oh yeah...

Biggs: Oh now this is really going to far...

Spadger: I don't seem to be able to find it, sir... [Explosion.]
     Er, it'll be in Number Four trench... I'll go and get it. [He
     starts to crawl off.]

Biggs: [losing his cool] Oh! For Christ's sake forget it, man.

          [The others all look at Biggs after this outburst, as if
          they can't believe this ingratitude.]

Blackitt: Oh! Ah!

Spadger: You shouldn't have said that, sir. You've hurt his
     feelings now...

Blackitt: Don't mind me, Spadge... Toffs is all the same... One
     minute it's all 'please' and 'thank you', the next they'll
     kick you in the teeth...

Walters: Let's not give him the cake...

Biggs: I don't want *any* cake...

Spadger: Look, Blackitt cooked it specially for you, you bastard.

          [They all look at Blackitt rolling in the mud.]

Sturridge: Yeah, he saved his rations for six weeks.

Biggs: I'm sorry, I don't mean to be ungrateful...

Blackitt: I'll be all right.

          [Shell crashes. Blackitt dies.]

Spadger: Blackie! Blackie! [He turns to Biggs with tears in his
     eyes.] Look at him... [He pulls up the supine form of
     Blackitt.] He worked on that cake like no-one else I've ever
     known. [He props him in the mud again.] Some nights it was so
     cold we could hardly move, but Blackie'd de out there -
     slicing lemons, mixing the sugar and the almonds... I mean you
     try getting butter melted at fifteen below zero! There's love
     in that cake... [He picks up Blackitt again.] This man's love
     and this man's care and this man's - Aarggh!
     [He gets shot.]

     [Biggs runs over to them in horror.]

Biggs: Oh my Christ!

Sturridge: You bastard.

Biggs: All right! All right! We will eat the cake. They're right...
     it's too good a cake not to eat. get the plates and knives,
     Walters...

Walters: Yes, sir... how many plates?

Biggs: Six.

          [A shot rings out. Walters drops dead.]

Biggs: Er... no... better make it five.

Sturridge: Tablecloth, sir...?

Biggs: Yes, get the tablecloth...!

          [Explosion. Sturridge gets shot.]

Biggs: No no no, I'll get the tablecloth and you'd better get the
     gate-leg table, Hordern.

          [Hordern is shot in the leg.]

Hordern: I'll bring two sir, in case one gets scrumpled...

          [Suddenly we find this has all been a film, which a
          General now stops.]

General: Well, of course, warfare isn't all fun. Right, stop that.
     It's all very well to laugh at the Military, but when one
     considers the meaning of life it is a struggle between
     alternative viewpoints of life itself. And without the
     ability to defend one's own viewpoint against other perhaps
     more aggressive ideologies then reasonableness and moderation
     could quite simply disappear. That is why we'll always need an
     army and may God strike me down were it to be otherwise.

          [The Hand of god descends and vaporizes him.]

          [The audience of two old ladies and two kids applauds
          hesitantly.]

          [Outside the hut RSM Whateverhisnameis is drilling a
          small squad of recruits.]

RSM: Don't stand there gawping like you've never seen the Hand of
     God before. Now! Today we're going to do marching up and down
     the square. That is unless any of you got anything better to
     do? Well, anyone got anything they'd rather be doing than
     marching up and down the square?

          [Atkinson puts his hand up.]

     Yes? Atkinson? What would you rather be doing, Atkinson?

Atkinson: Well to be quite honest, Sarge, I'd rather be at home
     with the wife and kids.

RSM: Would you now?

Atkinson: Yes, sarge.

RSM: Right off you go. [Atkinson goes.] Now, everybody else happy
     with my little plan of marching up and down the square a bit?

Coles: Sarge...

RSM: Yes?

Coles: I've got a book I'd quite like to read...

RSM: Right! You go read your book then! [Coles runs off.] Now
     everybody else quite content to join in with my little scheme
     of marching hup and down the square?

Wycliff: Sarge?

RSM: Yes, Wycliff, what is it?

Wycliff: [tentatively] Well... I'm... er... learning the piano...

RSM: [with contempt] 'Learning the piano'?

Wycliff: Yes, sarge...

RSM: And I suppose you want to go and practise eh? Marching up and
     down the square not good enough for you, eh?

Wycliff: Well...

RSM: Right! Off you go! [Turns to the rest.] Now what about the
     rest of you? Rather be at the pictures I suppose.

Squad: Ooh, yes, ooh rather.

RSM: All right off you go. [They go.] Bloody army! I don't know
     what it's coming to... Right, Sgt Major, marching up and down
     the square... Left-right-left... left... left... 
     left-right-left...

          [The RSM marches himself off into the distance of the
          barracks square.]

Democracy and humanitarianism have always been tarde marks of the
British Army and have stamped its triumph throughout history, in
the furthest-flung corners of the Empire. But no matter where or
when there was fighting to be done, it has always been the calm
leadership of the officer class that has made the British Army what
it is.

                       The First Zulu War.

                    Natal 1879 (not Glasgow)

          [Inside a tent.]

Pakenham-Walsh: Morning Ainsworth.

Ainsworth: Morning Pakenham-Walsh.

Pakenham-Walsh: Sleep well?

Ainsworth: Not bad. Bitten to shreds though. Must be a hole in the
     bloody mosquito net.

Pakenham-Walsh: Yes, savage little blighters aren't they?

First Lieut Chadwick: [arriving] Excuse me, sir.

Ainsworth: Yes Chadwick?

Chadwick: I'm afraid Perkins got rather badly bitten during the
     night.

Ainsworth: Well so did we. Huh.

Chadwick: Yes, but I do think the doctor ought to see him.

Ainsworth: Well go and fetch him, then.

Chadwick: Right you are, sir.

Ainsworth: Suppose I'd better go along. Coming, Pakenham?

Pakenham-Walsh: Yes I suppose so.

          [Chadwick leaves. Ainsworth and Pakenham-Walsh thread
          their leisurely way through the line of assegais.
          Pakenham-Walsh's valet is speared by a Zulu warrior but
          Pakenham-Walsh valiantly saves his jacket from the mud.
          They enter Perkins's tent. Perkins is on his camp bed.]

Ainsworth: Ah! Morning Perkins.

Perkins: Morning sir.

Ainsworth: What's all the trouble then?

Perkins: Bitten sir. During the night.

Ainsworth: Hm. Whole leg gone eh?

Perkins: Yes.

          [As they talk, the din of battle continues outside.
          Screams of dying men, crackling of tents set on fire.]

Ainsworth: How's it feel?

Perkins: Stings a bit.

Ainsworth: Mmm. Well it would, wouldn't it. That's quite a bite
     you've got there you know.

Perkins: Yes, real beauty isn't it?

All: Yes.

Ainsworth: Any idea how it happened?

Perkins: None at all. Complete mystery to me. Woke up just now...
     one sock too many.

Pakenham-Walsh: You must have a hell of a hole in your net.

Ainsworth: Hm. We've sent for the doctor.

Perkins: Ooh, hardly worth it, is it?

Ainsworth: Oh yes... better safe than sorry.

Pakenham-Walsh: Yes, good Lord, look at this.

          [He indicates a gigantic hole in the mosquito net.]

Ainsworth: By jove, that's enormous.

Pakenham-Walsh: You don't think it'll come back, do you?

Ainsworth: For more, you mean?

Pakenham-Walsh: Yes.

Ainsworth: You're right. We'd better get this stitched.

Pakenham-Walsh: Right.

Ainsworth: Hallo Doc.

Livingstone: [entering the tent with Chadwick] Morning. I came as
     fast as I could. Is something up?

Ainsworth: Yes, during the night old Perkins had his leg bitten
     sort of... off.

Livingstone: Ah hah!? Been in the wars have we?

Perkins: Yes.

Livingstone: Any headache, bowels all right? Well, let's have a
     look at this one leg of yours then. [Looks around under sheet]
     Yes... yes... yes... yes... yes... yes... well, this is
     nothing to worry about.

Perkins: Oh good.

Livingstone: There's a lot of it about, probably a virus, keep
     warm, plenty of rest, and if you're playing football or
     anything try and favour the other leg.

Perkins: Oh right ho.

Livingstone: Be as right as rain in a couple of days.

Perkins: Thanks for the reassurance, doc.

Livingstone: Not at all, that's what I'm here for. Any other
     problems I can reassure you about?

Perkins: No I'm fine.

Livingstone: Jolly good. Well, must be off.

Perkins: So it'll just grow back then, will it?

Livingstone: Er... I think I'd better come clean with you about
     this... it's... um it's not a virus, I'm afraid. You see, a
     virus is what we doctors call very very small. So small it
     could not possibly have made off with a whole leg. What we're
     looking for here is I think, and this is no more than an
     educated guess, I'd like to make that clear, is some 
     multi-cellular life form with stripes, huge razor-sharp teeth,
     about eleven foot long and of the genu *felis horribilis*.
     What we doctors, in fact, call a tiger.

All in tent: A tiger...!!

          [Outside, everyone engaged in battle, including the
          Zulus, breaks off and shouts in horror:]

All: A tiger!

          [The Zulus run off.]

Pakenham-Walsh: A tiger - in Africa?

Ainsworth: Hm...

Pakenham-Walsh: A tiger in Africa...?

Ainsworth: Ah... well it's probably escaped from a zoo.

Pakenham-Walsh: Well it doesn't sound very likely.

Ainsworth: [quietly] Stumm, stumm...

          [A severely-wounded Sergeant staggers into the tent.]

Sergeant: Sir, sir, the attack's over, sir! the Zulus are
     retreating.

Ainsworth: [dismissively] Oh jolly good. [He turns his back to the
     group around Perkins.]

Sergeant: Quite a lot of casualties though, sir. C Division wiped
     out. Signals gone. Thirty men killed in F Section. I should
     think about a hundred - a hundred and fifty men altogether.

Ainsworth: [not very interested] Yes, yes I see, yes... Jolly good.

Sergeant: I haven't got the final figures, sir. There's a lot of
     seriously wounded in the compound...

Ainsworth: [interrupting] Yes... well, the thing is, Sergeant, I've
     got a bit of a problem here. [With gravity.] One of the
     officers has lost a leg.

Sergeant: [stunned by the news] Oh *no*, sir!

Ainsworth: [gravely] I'm afraid so. Probably a tiger.

Sergeant: In Africa?

Ainsworth and Pakenham-Walsh: Stumm, stumm...

Ainsworth: The M.O. says we can stitch it back on if we find it
     immediately.

Sergeant: Right sir! I'll organise a party right away, sir!

Ainsworth: Well it's hardly time for that, is it Sergeant...?

Sergeant: A search party...

Ainsworth: Ah! *Much* better idea. I'll tell you what, organise one
     straight away.

Sergeant: Yes sir!

          [Outside dead British bodies (of the other ranks) are
          everywhere.]

Sergeant: [apologetically] Sorry about the mess, sir. We'll try and
     get it cleared up, by the time you get back.

          [They walk through the carnage. Orderlies are cheerfully
          attending to the equally cheery wounded and the only
          slightly less cheery dead.]

A dying man: [covered in blood] We showed 'em, didn't we, sir?

Ainsworth: Yes.

          [He gives a thumbs up and dies.]

Sergeant: [addressing a soldier who is giving water to a dying man]
     We've got to get a search party, leave that alone.

Another cheery cockney: [with an assegai sticking out of his chest]
     This is fun, sir, init... all this killing... bloodshed...
     bloody good fun sir, init?

Ainsworth: [abstracted] Yes... very good.

          [He waves and moves on.]

A severed head: Morning, sir!

Ainsworth: Nasty wound you've got there, Potter.

Severed head: [cheerily] Thank you very much sir!

Ainsworth: Come on private - we're making up a search party.

Another terrible casualty: Better than staying at home, eh sir! At
     home if you kill someone they arrest you. Here they give you
     a gun, and show you what to do, sir. I mean, I killed fifteen
     of those buggers sir! Now at home they'd hang me. *Here* they
     give me a fucking medal sir!

          [The search party for Perkins's leg is passing through
     thick jungle. As they emerge into a clearing they suddenly see
     a tiger's head sticking out of some bushes.]

Ainsworth: Look!

          [Their eyes follow along the bushes to where the tiger's
     tail is sticking out several yards away. For a moment it looks
     like a very long tiger.]

     My God, it's *huge*!

          [The tiger's head rises up out of the thicket with its
          paws up. The tiger's rear end backs out of the thicket
          further down.]

Rear end: Don't shoot... don't shoot. We're not a tiger. [Takes off
     head.] We were just... um...

Ainsworth: Why are you dressed as a tiger?

Rear end: Hmmm... oh... why! Why why... isn't it a lovely day
     today...?

Ainsworth: Answer the question.

Rear end: Oh we were just er...

Front end: Actually! We're dressed like this because... oh no
     that's not it.

Rear end: We did it for a lark. Part of a spree. High spirits you
     know. Simple as that.

Front end: Nothing more to it...

          [All stare.]

     Well *actually*... we're on a mission for British
     Intellingence, there's a pro-Tsarist Ashanti Chief...

Rear end: No, no.

Front end: No, no, no.

Rear end: No, no we're doing it for an advertisement...

Front end: Ah that's it, forget about the Russians. We're doing an
     advert for Tiger Brand Coffee.

Rear end: 'Tiger Brand Coffee is a real treat
     Even tigers prefer a cup of it to real meat'.

          [Pause.]

Ainsworth: Now look...

Rear end: All right, all right. we are dressed as a tiger because
     he had an auntie who did it in 1839 and this is the fiftieth
     anniversary.

Front end: No. We're doing it for a bet.

Rear end: God told us to do it.

Front end: To tell the truth, we are completely mad. we are inmates
     of a Bengali psychiatric institution and we escaped by making
     this skin out of old cereal packets...

Perkins: It doesn't matter.

Ainsworth: What?

Perkins: It doesn't matter why they're dressed as a tiger, have
     they got my leg?

Ainsworth: Good thinking. Well have you?

Rear end: Actually!

Ainsworth: Yes.

Rear end: It's because we were thinking of training as taxidermists
     and we wanted to get a feel of it from the animal's point of
     view.

Ainsworth: Be quiet. Now, look we're just asking you if you have
     got this man's leg...

Front end: A wooden leg?

Ainsworth: No, no, a proper leg. Look he was fast asleep and
     someone or something came in and removed it.

Front end: Without waking him up?

Ainsworth: Yes.

Front end: I don't believe you.

Rear end: We found the tiger skin in a bicycle shop in Cairo, and
     the owner wanted to take it down to Dar Es Salaam.

Ainsworth: Shut up. Now look, have you or have you not got his leg?

Rear end: Yes.

Front end: No. No no no.

Both: No no no no no no. Nope. No.

Ainsworth: Why did you say 'yes'?

Front end: I didn't.

Ainsworth: I'm not talking to you...

Rear end: Er... er...

Ainsworth: Right! Search the thicket.

Front end: Oh come on, I mean do we look like the sort of chaps
     who'd creep into a camp at... night, steal into someone's
     tent, anaesthetise them, tissue-type them, amputate a leg and
     run away with it?

Ainsworth: Search the thicket!

Front end: Oh *leg*! You're looking for a *leg*. Actually I think
     there is one in there somewhere. Somebody must have abandoned
     it here, knowing you were coming after it, and we stumbled
     across it actually and wondered what it was... They'll be
     miles away by now and I expect we'll have to take all the
     blame.

          [During the last exchange a native turns and leers at the
          camera, while the dialogue continues behind him. Then he
          unzips his body to reveal a fully dressed white announcer
          in dinner jacket and bow tie underneath.]

Zulu announcer: Hallo, good evening and welcome to the Middle of
     the Film.

Lady TV presenter: Hallo and welcome to the Middle of the Film. The
     moment where we take a break and invite you, the audience, to
     join us, the film-makers, in 'Find the Fish'. We're going to
     show you a scene from another film and ask you to guess where
     the fish is. But if you think you know, don't keep it to
     yourselves - YELL OUT - so that all the cinema can hear you.
     So here we are with 'Find the Fish'.

                               THE
                             MIDDLE
                           OF THE FILM

                          FIND THE FISH

Man: I wonder where that fish has gone.

Woman: You did love it so.
     You looked after it like a son.

Man: [strangely] And it went wherever I did go.

Woman: Is it in the cupboard?

Audience: Yes! No!

Woman: Wouldn't you like to know.
     It was a lovely little fish.

Man: [strangely] And it went wherever I did go.

Man in audience: It's behind the sofa!

          [An elephant joins the man and woman.]

Woman: Where can the fish be?

Man in audience: Have you thought of the drawers in the bureau?

Woman: It is a most elusive fish.

Man: [strangely] And it went wherever I did go!

Woman: Oh fishy, fishy, fishy, fish.

Man: Fish, fish, fish, fishy oh!

Woman: Oh fishy, fishy, fishy fish.

Man: [strangely] That went wherever I did go.

          First fish: That was terrific!

                    Second fish: Great!

          Third fish: Best bit so far.

Fishes: Yeah! Absolutely... ! Terrific! Yeah!... Fantastic...
     Really great

     [Whistles 'More'... Pause.]

Fifth fish: They haven't said much about the Meaning of Life so
     far, have they...?

First fish: Well, it's been building up to it.

Second fish: Has it?

Fifth fish: yeah, I expect they'll get on to it now.

Third fish: Personally I very much doubt if they're going to say
     anything about the Meaning of Life at all.

Fourth fish: Oh, come on... they've got to say something...

Other fishes: ... Bound to... yeah... yeah...

          [They swim around a bit.]

Second fish: Not much happening at the moment, is there...?

                       THE MEANING OF LIFE
                       -------------------

                             PART IV

                           MIDDLE AGE

[A hotel lobby. The lift doors open.]

[Mrs Hendy is bending down in front of Mr Hendy, doing something of
an intimate nature to his camera lens.]

Mr Hendy: Oh that's much better. Thank you honey.

Mrs Hendy: You're welcome.

Mr Hendy: It was sort of misty before. That's fine.

          [A strange girl in a crinoline steps forward. This is
          M'Lady Joeline. played by Mr Gilliam.]

Joeline: Hi! How are you?

Mr Hendy: We're just fine.

Joeline: So what kind of food you like to eat this evening?

Mr Hendy: Well we sort of like pineapples...

Mrs Hendy: Yeah anything with pineapples in is great for us...

Joeline: Well, how about the Dungeon Room?

Mr Hendy: Oh that sounds fine...

Joeline: Sure is. It's real Hawaiian food served in an authentic
     medieval English dungeon atmosphere...

[Suddenly a red hot brand sears the flesh of some poor wretch. This
is the restaurant. Dark, full of torture instruments, stocks,
Chamber of Horrors stuff.]

[They sit down. A waitress dressed in a grotesque travesty of a
Beefeater's outfit, comes up.]

Waitress: Hello, I'm Diana, I'm your waitress for tonight... Where
     are you from?

Mr and Mrs Hendy: We're from Room 259.

Mr Hendy: Where are you from?

Waitress: [pointing to kitchen] Oh I'm from the doors over there...

Mr Hendy: Oh.

Mrs Hendy: Great...

Waitress: [reaching across to the central serving table] Iced
     Water...

Mrs Hendy: Oh thank you...

Waitress: Coffee...

Mr Hendy: Than you *very* much...

Waitress: Ketchup...

Mr Hendy: Oh lovely... real nice

Waitress: T.V....?

Mr Hendy: Oh... that's fine...

Mrs Hendy: Yeah that's swell

          [The Waitress dumps a T.V. down on the table.]

Waitress: Telephone...

Mr Hendy: Er... telephone...?

Waitress: You can phone any other table in the restaurant after
     six.

Mr Hendy: Oh that's great...

Mrs Hendy: Some choice...

Mr Hendy: Yeah, right...

Waitress: O.K.... D'you want any food with your meal?

Mr Hendy: Well, what d'you have?

Waitress: Well we have things shaped like this in green or we have
     things shaped like that in brown...

Mr Hendy: What d'you think darling?

Mrs Hendy: Well it *is* our anniversary, Marvin...

Mr Hendy: Yeah... what the hell... we'll have a couple of the
     things shaped like that in brown, please...

Waitress: O.K. fine... thank you sir... [She writes]... 2 brown
     Number 259... and will you be having intercourse tonight...?

Mr Hendy: Er... do we have to decide now...?

Mrs Hendy: Sounds a good idea honey. I mean it sounds swell. I mean
     why not?

Mr Hendy: Yeah, right... could be fun...

          [Waitress takes out a condom and slaps it on the table.]

Waitress: Compliments of the Super Inn - Have a nice fuck!

Mr Hendy: Oh, thank you.

Waitress: You're welcome...

          [She leaves.]

Mr Hendy: [reads:] 'Super Inn Skins' - that's nice.

          [Suddenly a Hawaiian band comes through the door and
          surrounds Mr and Mrs Hendy at their table, before leaving
          them to their own devices, which are not many. There is
          a long silence.]

Waiter: Good evening... would you care for something to talk about?

          [He hands them each a menu card with a list of subjects
          on.]

Mr Hendy: Oh that would be wonderful.

Waiter: Our special tonight is minorities...

Mr Hendy: Oh that sounds interesting...

Mrs Hendy: What's this conversation here...?

Waiter: Oh that's football... you can talk about the Steelers-Bears
     game, Saturday... or you could reminisce about really great
     World Series - 

Mrs Hendy: No... no, no.

Mr Hendy: What's this one here?

Waiter: That's philosophy.

Mrs Hendy: Is that a sport?

Waiter: No it's more of an attempt to construct a viable hypothesis
     to explain the Meaning of Life.

          [The fish in the tank suddenly prick up their fins.]

Fish: What's he say, eh?

Mr Hendy: Oh that sounds wonderful... Would you like to talk about
     the Meaning of Life, darling...?

Mrs Hendy: Sure, why not?

Waiter: Philosophy for two?

Mr Hendy: Right...

Waiter: You folks want me to start you off?

Mr Hendy: Oh really we'd appreciate that...

Waiter: OK. Well er... look, have you ever wondered just why you're
     here?

Mr Hendy: Well... we went to Miami last year and California the
     year before that, and we've...

Waiter: No, no... I mean why *we're* here. On this planet?

Mr Hendy: [guardedly]... N... n... nope.

Waiter: Right! Have you ever *wanted* to know what it's all about?

Mr Hendy: [emphatically] No!

Waiter: Right ho! Well, see, throughout history there have been
     certain men and women who have tried to find the solution to
     the mysteries of existence.

Mrs Hendy: Great.

Waiter: And we call these guys 'philosophers'.

Mrs Hendy: And that's what we're talking about!

Waiter: Right!

Mrs Hendy: That's neat!

Waiter: Well you look like you're getting the idea, so why don't I
     give you these conversation cards - they'll tell you a little
     about philosophical method, names of famous philosophers...
     there y'are. Have a nice conversation!

Mr Hendy: Thank you! Thank you very much.

          [He leaves.]

Mrs Hendy: He's cute.

Mr Hendy: Yeah, real understanding.

          [They sit and look at the cards, then rather formally and
          uncertainly Mrs Hendy opens the conversation.]

Mrs Hendy: Oh! I never knew that *Schopenhauer* was a
     *philosopher*...

Mr Hendy: Oh yeah... He's the one that begins with an S.

Mrs Hendy: Oh...

Mr Hendy: ... Um [pause]... like Nietzsche...

Mrs Hendy: Does Nietzsche begin with an S?

Mr Hendy: There's an S in Nietzsche...

Mrs Hendy: Oh wow! Yes there is. Do all philosophers have an S in
     them?

Mr Hendy: Yeah I think most of them do.

Mrs Hendy: Oh!... Does that mean Selina Jones is a philosopher?

Mr Hendy: Yeah... Right, she could be... she sings about the
     Meaning of Life.

Mrs Hendy: Yeah, that's right, but I don't think she writes her own
     material.

Mr Hendy: No. Maybe Schopenhauer writes her material?

Mrs Hendy: No... Burt Bacharach writes is.

Mr Hendy: There's no 'S' in Burt Bacharach...

Mrs Hendy: ... Or in Hal David...

Mr Hendy: Who's Hal David?

Mrs Hendy: He writes the lyrics, Burt just writes the tunes... only
     now he's married to Carole Bayer Sager...

Mr Hendy: Oh... Waiter... this conversation isn't very good.

Waiter: Oh, I'm sorry, sir... We *do* have one today that's not on
     the menu. It's a sort of... er... speciality of the house.
     Live Organ Transplants.

Mrs Hendy: Live Organ Transplants? What's *that*?

                       THE MEANING OF LIFE
                       -------------------

                             PART V

                     LIVE ORGAN TRANSPLANTS

[A photo of the Emperor Haile Selassie hangs on the wall of a
suburban house. Upstairs 'Hava Nagila' is being played on a lone
violin. The door bell rings.]

Mr Bloke: Don't worry dear, I'll get it!

          [He opens the door.]

Mr Bloke: Yes!

First Man: Hello, er can we have your liver...?

Mr Bloke: My what?

First Man: Your liver... it's a large glandular organ in your
     abdomen... you know it's a reddish-brown and it's sort of -

Mr Bloke: Yes, I know what it is, but I'm using it.

Second Man: Come on sir... don't muck us about.

          [They move in.]

Mr Bloke: Hey!

          [They shut the door behind him.]

          [The first man makes a grab at his wallet and finds a
          card in it.]

First Man: Hallo! What's this then...?

Mr Bloke: A liver donor's card.

First Man: Need we say more?

Second Man: No!

Mr Bloke: Look, I can't give it to you now. It says 'In The Event
     of Death'...

First Man: No-one who has ever had their liver taken out by us has
     survived...

          [The second man is rummaging around in a bag of clanking
          tools.]

Second Man: Just lie there, sir. it won't take a minute.

          [They throw him onto the dining room table and, without
          any more ceremony, start to cut him open. A rather sever
          lady appears at the door.]

Mrs Bloke: 'Ere, what's going on?

First man: He's donating his liver, madam...

Mr Bloke: Aarrgh... oh!... aaargh ow! Ow!

Mrs Bloke: Is this because he took out one of those silly cards?

First Man: That's right, madam.

Mr Bloke: Ow! Oooh! Oohh! Oh... oh... God... aargh aargh...

Mrs Bloke: Typical of him. He goes down to the public library -
     sees a few signs up... comes home all full of good intentions.
     He gives blood... he does cold research... all that sort of
     thing.

Mr Bloke: Aaaagh... oh... aaarghh!

Mrs Bloke: What d'you do with them all anyway?

Second man: They all go to saving lives, madam.

Mr Bloke: Aaaaargh! Oh... ow! Oh... oh my God!

Mrs Bloke: That's what *he* used to say... it's all for the good of
     the country, he used to say.

Mr Bloke: Aaaargh!... Ow! Ooh!

Mrs Bloke: D'*you* think it's *all* for the good of the country?

First Man: Uh?

Mrs Bloke: D'*you* think it's *all* for the good of the country?

First Man: Well I wouldn't know about that, madam...we're just
     doing our jobs, you know...

Mr Bloke: Owwwwweeeeeeeeeh! Ow!

Mrs Bloke: You're not doctors, then?

First Man: Oh!... Blimey no...!

          [The second man grins and raises his eyes as he digs
          around in the stomach. They laugh. A head comes round the
          door... It's a young man.]

Young Man: Mum, Dad,... I'm off out... now. I'll see you about
     seven...

Mrs Bloke: Righto, son... look after yourself.

Mr Bloke: Aaargh... ow! Oh... aaargh aargh!

Mrs Bloke: D'you er... fancy a cup of tea...?

First Man: Oh well, that would be very nice, yeah... Thank you,
     thank you very much madam. Thank you. [Aside.] I thought she'd
     never ask...

          [She takes him into the kitchen... shuts the door. She
          bustles about preparing the tea...]

     You do realise... he has to be... well... dead... by the terms
     of the card... before he donates his liver.

Mrs Bloke: Well I told him that... but he never listens to me...
     silly man.

First Man: Only... I was wondering what you was thinking of doing
     after that... I mean... will you stay on your own or... is
     there someone else... sort of... on the horizon...?

Mrs Bloke: I'm too old for that sort of thing. I'm past my prime...

First Man: Not at all... you're a very attractive woman.

Mrs Bloke: [laughs a little] Well... I'm certainly not thinking of
     getting hitched up again...

First Man: Sure?

Mrs Bloke: Sure.

First Man: [coming a little closer] Can we have your liver then?

Mrs Bloke: No... I don't want to die.

First Man: Oh come on, it's perfectly natural. Only take a couple
     of minutes.

Mrs Bloke: Oh... I'd be scared.

First Man: All right, I'll tell you what. Look, listen to this - 

          [A man in pink evening dress emerges from the fridge.]

Man in Pink Evening Dress: Whenever life gets you down, Mrs Brown
     And things seem hard or tough
     And people are stupid obnoxious or daft
     And you feel that you've had quite enough...

[As he starts to sing, the wall of the kitchen disintegrates to
reveal a magnificent night sky. The vocalist in pink escorts Mrs
Bloke up into the stars.]

     Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
     And revolving at 900 miles an hour,
     That's orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it's reckoned,
     A sun that is the source of all our power.
     The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see,
     Are moving at a million miles a day
     In an outer spiral arm, at 40,000 miles an hour,
     Of the galaxy we call the Milky Way.

     Our galaxy itself contains 100 billion stars
     It's 100,000 light years side to side.
     It bulges in the middle, 16,000 light years thick
     But out by us its just 3,000 light years wide
     We're 30,000 light years from galactic central point,
     We go round every 200 million years
     And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
     In this amazing and expanding Universe.

     The Universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
     In all of the directions it can whizz
     As fast as it can go, at the speed of light you know,
     12 million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there
          is.
     So remember when you're feeling very small and insecure
     How amazingly unlikely is your birth
     And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space
     Because there' bugger all down here on earth.

     [The vocalist in pink climbs back into the fridge and the door
     slams to.]

Mrs Bloke: Makes you feel so sort of insignificant, doesn't it?

First Man: Yeah yeah... Can we have your liver, then?

Mrs Bloke: Yeah. All right, you talked me into it.

First Man: Eric!

          [A lettering artist is just finishing painting the words
          'Liver Donors Inc' onto a wall plaque enumerating all the
          subsidiaries of the Very Big Corporation of America.]

Chairman: [of the Very Big Corporation of America]... which brings
     us once again to the urgent realisation of just how much there
     is still left to own. Item 6 on the Agenda, the Meaning of
     Life... Now Harry, you've had some thoughts on this...

Harry: That's right, yeah. I've had a team working on this over the
     past few weeks, and what we've come up with can be reduced to
     two fundamental concepts... One... people are not wearing
     enough hats. Two... matter is energy; in the Universe there
     are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some
     energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's
     soul. However, this soul does not exist *ab inito*, as
     orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into
     existence by a process of guided self-observation. However,
     this is rarely achieved owing to man's unique ability to be
     distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.

          [Pause.]

Max: What was that about hats again?

Harry: Er... people aren't wearing enough.

Chairman: Is this true?

Edmund: [who is sitting next to Harry] Certainly. Hat sales have
     increased, but not *pari passu... as our research -

Bert: When you say 'enough', enough for what purpose...?

Gunther: Can I ask with reference to your second point, when you
     say souls don't develop because people become distracted...
     has anyone noticed that building there before?

          [They all turn towards the window to see a building
          approaching or sliding into position outside.]

All: Gulp! What? Good Lord!

                           THE CRIMSON
                       PERMANENT ASSURANCE

                        A tale of piracy
                        on the high seas
                           of finance

                         London, England

In the bleak days of 1983, as England languished in the doldrums of
a ruinous monetarist policy, the good and loyal men of the
Permanent Assurance Company - a once-proud family firm recently
fallen an hard times - strained under the yoke of their oppressive
new corporate management...

Pushed beyond the bounds of decent and reasonable victimisation -
the aged retainers take their destiny in their own hands and...
MUTINY!

And so - the Crimson Permanent Assurance was launched upon the high
seas of international finance!

There it lay, the prize they sought - the richest jewel in the
crown of the IMF - a financial district swollen with multi-
nationals, conglomerates and fat, bloated merchant banks.

Hidden behind the faceless towering canyons of glass, the world of
high finance sat smug and self-satisfied as their future, in the
shape of their past, slipped silently through the streets -
returning to wreak a terrible revenge.

Adopting, adapting, and improving traditional business practices
the Permanent Assurance puts into motion an audacious and totally
unsuspected Take Over Bid.

And so, heartened by their initial success, the desperate and
reasonably violent men of the Permanent Assurance battled on,
until... as the sun set slowly in the west the outstanding return
on their bold business venture became apparent... the once proud
financial giants lay in ruins - their assets stripped - their
policies in tatters.

[They sing]

It's fun charter an accountant
And sail the wide accountan-cy,
To find, explore the funds offshore
And skirt the shoals of bankruptcy.

It can be manly in insurance:
We'll up your premium semi-annually,
It's all tax-deductible,
We're fairly incorruptible,
Sailing on the wide accountan-cy!

And so... they sailed off into the ledgers of history - one by one
the financial capitals of the world crumbling under the might of
their business acumen - or so it would have been... if certain
modern theories concerning the shape of the world had not proved to
be... disastrously wrong.

                       THE MEANING OF LIFE
                       -------------------

                             PART VI

                        THE AUTUMN YEARS

[Elegant restaurant. A man in a dressing gown, who is not Noel
Coward sits at a piano.]

Not Noel Coward: Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Here's a little
     number I tossed off recently in the Caribbean. [Sings]

     Isn't it awfully nice to have a penis,
     Isn't it frightfully good to have a dong?
     It's swell to have a stiffy,
     It's divine to own a dick,
     From the tiniest little tadger,
     To the world's biggest prick.

     So three cheers for your Willy or John Thomas,
     Hooray for your one-eyed trouser snake,
     Your piece of pork, your wife's best friend,
     Your Percy or your cock,
     You can wrap it up in ribbons,
     You can slip it in your sock,
     But don't take it out in public,
     Or they will stick you in the dock,
     And you won't come back.

[Spontaneous applause breaks out all over the restaurant.]

     Oh... thank you very much.

Woman: Oh what a frightfully witty song.

          [Clapping.]

     [Mr Creosote enters.]

First Fish: [in tank] Oh shit! It's Mr creosote.

          [All the fish disappear with six flicks of the tail.]

Maitre D: Ah good afternoon, sir, and how are we today?

Mr Creosote: Better...

Maitre D: Better?

Mr Creosote: Better get a bucket, I'm going to throw up.

Maitre D: Gaston! A bucket for monsieur!

          [They seat him at his usual table. A gleaming silver
          bucket is placed beside him and he leans over and throws
          up into it.]

Maitre D: Merci Gaston.

          [He claps his hands and the bucket is whisked away.]

Mr Creosote: I haven't finished!

Maitre D: Oh! Pardon! Gaston!... A thousand pardons monsieur. [Puts
     the bucket back.]

          [The Maitre D produces the menu as Mr Creosote continues
          spewing.]

Maitre D: Now this afternoon we monsieur's favourite - the jugged
     hare. The hare is *very* high, and the sauce is very rich with
     truffles, anchovies, Grand Marnier, bacon and cream.

          [Mr Creosote pauses. The Maitre D claps his hands and
          signs to Gaston, who whisks away the bucket.]

Maitre D: Thank you, Gaston.

Mr Creosote: There's still more.

          [Gaston rapidly replaces the bucket.]

Maitre D: Allow me! A new bucket for monsieur.

          [The Maitre D picks the bucket up and hands it over to
          Gaston. Mr Creosote leans over and throws up onto the
          floor.]

     And the cleaning woman.

          [Gaston hurries off. The Maitre D takes care to avoid the
          vomit and places the menu in front of Mr Creosote.]

     And maintenant, would monsieur care for an aperitif?

          [Creosote vomits over the menu. It is covered.]

     Or would you prefer to order straight away? Today for
     appetizers... er... excuse me...

          [The Maitre D leans over and wipes away the sick with his
          hand so that the words of the menu are readable.]

     ... moules marinieres, pate de foie gras, beluga caviar, eggs
     Benedictine, tart de poireaux - that's leek tart - frogs' legs
     amandine or oeufs de caille Richard Shepherd - c'est a dire,
     little quails' eggs on a bed of pureed mushrooms, it's very
     delicate, very subtle...

Mr Creosote: I'll have the lot.

Maitre D: A wise choice, monsieur! And now, how would you like it
     served? All mixed up in a bucket?

Mr Creosote: Yes. With the eggs on top.

Maitre D: But of course, avec les oeufs frites.

Mr Creosote: And don't skimp on the pate.

Maitre D: Oh monsieur I can assure you, just because it is mixed up
     with all the other things we would not dream of giving you
     less than the full amount. In fact I will personally make sure
     you have a *double* helping. Maintenant quelque chose a 
     boire - something to drink, monsieur?

Mr Creosote: Yeah, six bottles of Chateau Latour '45 and a double
     Jeroboam of champagne.

Maitre D: Bon, and the usual brown ales...?

Mr Creosote: Yeah... No wait a minute... I think I can only manage
     six crates today.

Maitre D: Tut tut tut! I hope monsieur was not overdoing it last
     night...?

Mr Creosote: Shut up!

Maitre D: D'accord. Ah the new bucket and the cleaning woman.

          [Gaston arrives. The Cleaning Woman gets down on her
          hands and knees. Mr Creosote vomits over her.]

          [Some guests at another table start to leave. The 
          Maitre D approaches.]

Maitre D: Monsieur, is there something wrong with the food?

          [The Maitre D indicates the table of half-eaten main
          courses. The guests shrink from his vomit-covered hand.
          The Maitre D realises and shakes a little off. It hits
          another guest, who wipes his eye.]

Guest: No. The food was... excellent...

Maitre D: Perhaps you are not happy with the service?

Guest: Er no... no... no complaints.

Guest's Wife: It's just we have to go - um - I'm having rather a
     heavy period.

          [A slight embarrassed silence while the rest of the party
          look at her.]

Guest: And... we... have a train to catch.

Guest's Wife: [as if covering for her previous gaffe] Oh! Yes!
     Yes... of course! We have a train to catch... and I don't want
     to start bleeding over the seats.

          [An awkward pause. The Maitre D gropes for words.]

Guest: Perhaps we should ne going...

          [They start to go. The Maitre D follows.]

Maitre D: Very well, monsieur. Thank you so much, so nice to see
     you and I hope very much we will see you again very soon. Au
     revoir, monsieur.

          [He pauses. A look of awful realization suffuses his
          face.]

Maitre D: ... Oh dear... I've trodden in monsieur's bucket.

          [The Maitre D claps his hands.]

     Another bucket for monsieur...

          [Mr Creosote is sick down the Maitre D's trousers.]

     and perhaps a hose...

          [Someone at another table gently throws up.]

Companion: Oh Max, really!

          [At another table someone else has really thrown up all
          over the place. His mother and brother look at him
          incredulously. Meanwhile Mr Creosote has scoffed the lot.
          The Maitre D approaches him with a silver tray.]

Maitre D: And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint.

Mr Creosote: No.

Maitre D: Oh sir! It's only a tiny little thin one.

Mr Creosote: No. Fuck off - I'm full... [Belches]

Maitre D: Oh sir... it's only *wafer* thin.

Mr Creosote: Look - I couldn't eat another thing. I'm absolutely
     stuffed. Bugger off.

Maitre D: Oh sir, just... just *one*...

Mr Creosote: Oh all right. Just one.

Maitre D: Just the one, sir... voila... bon appetit...

          [Mr Creosote somehow manages to stuff the wafer-thin mint
          into his mouth and then swallows. The Maitre D takes a
          flying leap and cowers behind some potted plants. There
          is an ominous splitting sound. Mr Creosote looks rather
          helpless and then he explodes, covering waiters, diners,
          and technicians in a truly horrendous mix of half
          digested food, entrails and parts of his body. People
          start vomiting.]

Maitre D: [returns to Mr Creosote's table] Thank you, sir, and now
     the check.

                       THE MEANING OF LIFE
                       ___________________


                            PART VI B

                       THE MEANING OF LIFE

[Some time later.]

[The Cleaning Woman is still on her knees, cleaning up the remains
of Mr Creosote. The Maitre D lights up a cigarette in pensive
mood.]

Maitre D: You know, Maria, I sometimes wonder whether we'll ever
     discover the meaning of it all working in a place like this.

Maria: [shrugs] Oh, I've worked in worse places... philosophically
     speaking.

Maitre D: Really, Maria?

Maria: Yes... I used to work in the Academie Francaise
     But it didn't do me any good at all...
     And I once worked in the library in the Prado in Madrid,
     But it didn't teach me nothing, I recall...
     And the Library of Congress, you'd have thought would hold
          some key...
     But it didn't. And neither did the Bodleian Library.
     In the British Museum I hoped to find some clue,
     I worked there from 9 till 6 - read every volume through,
     But it didn't teach me nothing about Life's mystery...
     I just kept getting older, and it got more difficult to see.
     Until eventually me eyes went and me arthritis got bad,
     And so now I'm cleaning up in here - but I can't really be 
          sad,
     Cause you see I feel that Life's a game
     You sometimes win or lose,
     And though I may be down right now
     At least I don't work for Jews...

          [The Maitre D pours the bucket over her head and turns to
          the camera looking most upset.]

Maitre D: I'm so sorry... I had no idea we had a racist working
     here... I apologise... most sincerely... I mean... where are
     you going - I can explain... oh, quel dommage...

          [The camera pans off the Maitre D and alights on Gaston,
          smoking a cigarette.]

Gaston: As for me... if you want to know what I think... I'll show
     you something... come with me...

Maitre D: [out of shot] I was saying that - hallo... hallo...

Gaston: Come on... this way.

          [He nods to the camera and walks out of the restaurant
          and the camera follows him.]

Voice of Maitre D: I can explain everything.

Gaston: Come on - don't be shy. Mind the stairs... All right. I
     think this will help explain.

          [He walks through the town.]

Gaston: Come along... Come along... Over here... Come on... Come
     on... This way... Come on... Stay by me, uh? Nearly there now.

          [Eventually Gaston comes over a hill and nods down to a
          little thatched cottage nestling idyllically in a valley.
          Smoke rises up from the chimney.]

     You see that? That's where I was born. You know, one day, when
     I was a little boy, my mother she took me on her knee and she
     said: 'Gaston, my son. The world is a beautiful place. You
     must go into it, and love everyone, not hate people. You must
     try and make everyone happy, and bring peace and contentment
     everywhere you go.' And so... I became a waiter...

          [There is a rather long pause, while he looks a bit 
          self-deprecating and nods shyly at the live.]

     Well... it's... it's not much of a philosophy, I know...
     but... well... fuck you... I can live my own life in my own
     way if I want to. Fuck off! Don't come following me!

                       THE MEANING OF LIFE
                       -------------------

                            PART VII

                              DEATH

Distraught Male Voice: I just can't go on. I'm not good any more,
     goodbye... goodbye... aaaargh!... Aaaargh!

          [A leaf falls to the ground.]

Distraught Female Voice: Oh my God! What'll I do!? I can't live
     without him... I... aaaargh!

          [Another leaf falls.]

Distraught Children's Voices: Mummy... Mummy... Mummy... Daddy...

     [Two more leaves fall.]

More Distraught Voices: Oh no! Aaaargh!

          [All the remaining leaves fall with one accord.]

This man is about to die. In a few moments now he will be killed.
For Arthur Jarrett is a convicted criminal who has been allowed to
choose the manner of his own execution.

Governor: Arthur Charles Herbert Runcie MacAdam Jarrett, you have
     been convicted by twelve good persons and true, of the crime
     of first degree making of gratuitous sexist jokes in a moving
     picture.

Padre: Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...

          [Ingmar Mergman now takes over the direction of the film
          and re-invokes one of his greatest triumphs on a low
          budget. Bare windswept trees starkly silhouetted against
          the... oh you know. Lots of good sound effects, too:
          howling wind, howling dogs, howling sabre-toothed field
          mice. Suddenly we see the Grim Reaper. He is hooded, in
          a black cloak with a sackcloth jock-strap, and bearing...
          a scythe.]

          [He materializes outside a lowly cottage and strikes the
          door with his scythe. Geoffrey, who is Marketing Director
          of Uro-Pacific Ltd, opens the door. From inside the house
          comes the sound of a dinner party.]

Geoffrey: Yes?

          [Pause. The Reaper breathes death-rattlingly.]

     Is it about the hedge?

          [More breathing.]

     Look, I'm awfully sorry but...

Grim Reaper: I am the Grim Reaper.

Geoffrey: I am Death.

Geoffrey: Yes well, the thing is, we've got some people from
     America for dinner tonight...

          [Geoffrey's wife, Angela is coming to see who is at the
          door. She calls:]

Angela: Who is it, darling?

Geoffrey: It's a Mr Death or something... he's come about the
     reaping... [To Reaper.] I don't think we need any at the
     moment.

Angela: [appearing] Hallo. Well don't leave him hanging around
     outside darling, ask him in.

Geoffrey: Darling, I don't think it's quite the moment...

Angela: Do come in, come along in, come and have a drink, do. Come
     on...

          [She returns to her guests.]

     It's one of the little men from the village... Do come in,
     please. This is Howard Katzenberg from Philadelphia...

Katzenberg: Hi.

Angela: And his wife, Debbie.

Debbie: Hallo there.

Angela: And these are the Portland-Smythes, Jeremy and Fiona.

Fiona: Good evening.

Angela: This is Mr Death.

          [There is a slightly awkward pause.]

     Well do get Mr Death a drink, darling.

          [The Grim Reaper looks a little startled.]

Angela: Mr Death is a reaper.

Grim Reaper: The Grim Reaper.

Angela: Hardly surprising in this weather, ha ha ha...

Katzenberg: So you still reap around here do you, Mr Death?

Grim Reaper: I am the Grim Reaper.

Geoffrey: [sotto voce] That's about all he says... [Loudly] There's
     your drink, Mr Death.

Angela: Do sit down.

Debbie: We were just talking about some of the awful problems
     facing the -

          [The Grim Reaper knocks the glass off the table. Startled
          silence.]

Angela: Would you prefer white? I'm afraid we don't have any beer.

Jeremy: The Stilton's awfully good.

Grim Reaper: I am not of this world.

          [He walks into the middle of the table. There is a sharp
          intake of breath all round.]

Geoffrey: Good Lord!

          [The penny is beginning to drop.]

Grim Reaper: I am Death.

Debbie: [nervously] Well isn't that extraordinary? We were just
     talking about death only five minutes ago.

Angela: [even more nervously] Yes we were. You know, whether death
     is really... the end...

Debbie: As my husband, Howard here, feels... or whether there is...
     and one so hates to use words like 'soul' or 'spirit'...

Jeremy: But what *other* words can one use...

Geoffrey: Exactly...

Grim Reaper: You do not understand.

Debbie: Ah no... obviously not...

Katzenberg: Let me tell you something, Mr Death...

Grim Reaper: You do not understand!

Katzenberg: Just one moment. I would like to express on behalf of
     everyone here, what a really unique experience this is...

Jeremy: Hear hear.

Angela: Yes, we're *so* delighted that you dropped in, Mr Death...

Katzenberg: Can I finish please...

Debbie: Mr Death... is there an after-life?

Katzenberg: Dear, if you could just wait please a moment...

Angela: Are you sure you wouldn't like some sherry?

Katzenberg: Angela, I'd like just to say at this time...

Grim Reaper: Be quiet!

Katzenberg: Can I just say this at this time, please...

Grim Reaper: Silence!!! I have come for you.

          [Pause as this sinks in. Sidelong glance. A stifled
          fart.]

Angela: ... You mean to...

Grim Reaper: ... Take you away. That is my purpose. I am Death.

Geoffrey: Well that's cast rather a gloom over the evening hasn't
     it?

Katzenberg: I don't see it that way, Geoff. Let me tell you what I
     think we're dealing with here, a potentially positive learning
     experience...

Grim Reaper: Shut up! Shut up you American. You always talk, you
     Americans, you talk and you talk and say 'Let me tell you
     something' and 'I just wanna say this', Well you're dead now,
     so shut up.

Katzenberg: Dead?

Grim Reaper: Dead.

Angela: All of us??

Grim Reaper: All of you.

Geoffrey: Now look here. You barge in here, quite uninvited, break
     glasses and then announce quite casually that we're all dead.
     Well I would remind you that you are a guest in this house
     and...

          [The Grim Reaper pokes him in the eye.]

Grim Reaper: Be quiet! You Englishmen... You're all so fucking
     pompous and none of you have got any balls.

Debbie: Can I ask you a question?

Grim Reaper: What?

Debbie: ... How can we all have died at the *same* time?

Grim Reaper: [pointing] The salmon mousse! [They all goggle.]

Geoffrey: [to Angela] Darling, you didn't use tinned salmon did 
     you?

Angela: [unbelievably embarrassed] I'm most dreadfully
     embarrassed...

Grim Reaper: Now, the time has come. Follow... follow me...

          [Geoffrey suddenly runs forward with a revolver. He
          looses four shots at the Grim Reaper from about three
          feet. They pass through him. Pause. Everyone is rather
          embarrassed.]

Geoffrey: Sorry... Just... testing... Sorry... [He sits.]

Grim Reaper: Come! [Out of their bodies, spirit forms arise and
     follow the Grim Reaper.]

Angela: The fishmonger promised me he'd have some fresh salmon and
     he's normally *so* reliable...

Jeremy: Can we bring our glasses?

Fiona: Good idea.

Debbie: Hey I didn't even eat the mousse... [They follow the Grim
     Reaper out of the house.]

Angela: Honestly, darling, I'm so embarrassed... I mean to serve
     salmon with botulism at a dinner party is social death...

Jeremy: Shall we take our cars?

Geoffrey: Why not?

          [Slightly to the Grim Reaper's surprise, they follow him
          up to heaven in a Porsche, a Jensen and a Volvo.]

Grim Reaper: Behold... Paradise!

          [Heaven bears a striking resemblance to a Holiday Inn.]

Mr Hendy: I love it here, darling.

Mrs Hendy: Me too, Marvin.

Receptionist: Hello. Welcome to Heaven. Excuse me, could you just
     sign here, please sir? Thank you. There's a table for you
     through there in the restaurant. For the ladies...

Fiona: [reading the box of chocolates that has been handed to her]
     'After Life Mints'.

Receptionist: Happy Christmas.

Debbie: Oh is it Christmas today?

Receptionist: Of course madam, it's Christmas, *every* day, in
     Heaven.

Debbie: How about that?

          [A restaurant in Heaven. It is full of all the characters
          who have died in the film. Plus some of the naked girls,
          because... well, we don't have to give a reason, do we?]

Tony Bennett: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, it's truly a real
     honourable experience to be here this evening a very wonderful
     and emotional moment for all of us, and I'd like to sing a
     song for all of you: [sings] 

     It's Christmas in Heaven: all the children sing

     It's Christmas in Heaven
     Hark hark those church bells ring'

     It's Christmas in Heaven
     The snow falls from the sky...

     But it's nice and warm and everyone
     Looks smart and wears a tie

     It's Christmas in Heaven
     There's great films on TV...
     'The Sound of Music' *twice* an hour
     And 'Jaws' I, II, *and* III

     There's gifts for all the family
     There' toiletries and trains...

     There's Sony Walkman Headphones sets
     And the latest video games!

     It's Christmas It's Christmas in Heaven
     Hip hip hip hip hip hooray
     Every single day
     Is Christmas Day!

     It's Christmas It's Christmas in Heaven
     Hip hip hip hip hip hooray
     Every single day
     Is Christmas Day!'

          [But before we get to the end of this chorus the TV set
          is switched off and the whole picture collapses into a
          little spot and we pull out to find that we have been
          watching a TV set in front of the Middle of the Film
          lady.]

                             THE END
                           OF THE FILM

Lady Presenter: [briskly] Well, that's the End of the Film, now
     here's the Meaning of Life.

          [An envelope is handed to her. She opens it in a 
          business-like way.]

     Thank you Brigitte. [She reads.]... Well, it's nothing
     special. Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a
     good book every now and then, get some walking in and try and
     live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds
     and nations. And finally, here are some completely gratuitous
     pictures of penises to annoy the censors and to hopefully
     spark some sort of controversy which it seems is the only way
     these days to get the jaded video-sated public off their
     fucking arses and back in the sodding cinema. Family
     entertainment bollocks! What they want is filth, people doing
     things to each other with chainsaws during tupperware parties,
     babysitters being stabbed with knitting needles by gay
     presidential candidates, vigilante groups strangling chickens,
     armed bands of theatre critics exterminating mutant goats -
     where's the fun in pictures? Oh well, there we are - here's
     the theme music. Goodnight.


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