Sunday, December 13, 2015

THE SHY YETI CHRISTMAS POST 2015

HOT STUFF!! THIS CHRISTMAS...

Hello beasties!

This week I've got the first of two Christmas-themed stories for you. The first is a script which acts as a prologue to the adventures that you'll find in my new series, HOT STUFF!!, the first season of which is published in January. It introduces all the main characters and is set around in a Christmas tree in Spectrum City Library... I hope you enjoy it!!

THE CHRISTMAS BEFORE… A PROLOGUE


This short script acts as a prologue to events that take place during the first season of HOT STUFF!! It is set before Horner arrives at the library – whilst he is elsewhere taking part in events that appear in THE BEAST OF FRIENDS – Season 4. It is Christmas and we have the chance to meet those who work in Spectrum City Library for the very first time – including the Head Librarian, Fiona, who – for a number of reasons – did not actually appear during the first season of HOT STUFF!! Note: I didn’t want to include this at the start of the book, partly as it was written later than the rest of the season and partly because it works better if read after the first season.

HORNER:

I was not at the library when the following occurs – but much of it was told to me by those who were; Mavis and Edie, mainly. It is a Christmassy tale – a ghost story, if you like – only this story does not feature ghosts of the past, but ghosts of the future!

WE SEE THE LIBRARY – IT IS QUITE A LARGE BUILDING, SET OUT IN WHAT WAS ONCE A LARGE GYMNASIUM, BUILT OVER ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO. IT IS NOW A PLACE OF BOOKS. IT IS DARK OUTSIDE AND ALL THE CUSTOMERS HAVE LEFT – HOWEVER THE LIBRARY STAFF ARE STILL ON DUTY AND HELPING TO DECORATE THE LIBRARY CHRISTMAS TREE…

FIRSTLY, WE MEET MAVIS AND EDIE – TWO LADIES WHO ONE WOULD ASSUME ARE WELL PAST RETIREMENT AGE – BUT THIS DUO ARE FAR FROM READY TO RETIRE… THEY WORK ON THE ENQUIRY DESK AND HELP TO SHELVE THE BOOKS – ALONG WITH A SENIOR GENTLEMAN NAMED ARTHUR, WHO HAS ALSO WORKED THERE FOR QUITE SOME TIME… THERE IS ALSO A YOUNGER MAN – A HIPSTER, SOME MIGHT CALL HIM – HE IS A PLACEMENT STUDENT CALLED JACKSON… AT THIS VERY MOMENT HE IS MAKING A MESS OF GETTING THE TINSEL FROM A BOX, WHILST THE LIBRARY CLEANER, DEBBI – BUSILY HOOVERS UP AROUND HIM. FINALLY WE SEE SCRUFF MAN IN HIS 40S, FELIX – THE CARETAKER – HE IS HELPING THE LIBRARIAN, FIONA, A MIDDLE-AGED FLAME-HAIRED LADY TO HANG BAUBLES ON THE TREE… ON THE VERY TOP OF THIS TREE THERE SITS A GREEN PARROT WHO WATCHES OVER THEM; THIS IS NIXON…

MAVIS: (delicately)

Fiona… I’m asking this for Edie, by the way… We were just wondering when we might be stopping for a break and whether after that we get to go home…

FIONA: (brightly)

Well, thank you – Mave… You might like to tell Edie that I’m happy for us to have a break any time we’d all like to… Helping decorate the tree was always a voluntary exercise and I know that it’s not everybody’s idea of a fun Friday night…

MAVIS: (with dedication)

Well, I certainly don’t mind…

EDIE: (defensively)

Hey! I never said I minded… But we have been at it a fair while… I’m hungry!

FIONA: (not intending to make them feel bad)

I’m happy to keep on over the weekend anyway – I’ve got no better plans…

JACKSON: (toading up, looking like he’s about to salute)

Well, I for one will certainly be here to help you, boss – I’m not having you scrambling up and down this tree without me here to assist…

DEBBI: (in agreement)

Too right, Jackson… She’s been battling that cold for days…

FELIX: (disapproving)

She should go home! We can do this…

ARTHUR: (nodding)

Which is exactly what I said too…

FIONA: (gently)

Thank you, people… Well, perhaps you’re right… Would you all like to take that break and whoever of you are free tomorrow, we’ll continue then; but only if you’re genuinely free… I know exactly why Edie wants that break…

FELIX: (curious)

Mulled wine and carols around the fire?

MAVIS: (jumping in, wary)

She doesn’t do carols – have you ever heard her sing?

EDIE: (pretending to be offended)

So rude!

MAVIS: (cheekily)

Rude, but honest! As for mulled wine – don’t give her more than a thimble-full!!

FIONA: (trying not to sound impatient)

Yes, thank you… What I was actually about to say was that Edie wants her break because I promised her we’d open any presents that the customers have left us…

MAVIS: (enlightened)

Oh! Is that the story? I did wonder…

ARTHUR: (still intent on teasing)

Just keep her away from any liquor chocolates… She can’t handle them…

EDIE: (with mock upset)

Arthur! Not you too!? I’m hurt…

JACKSON: (hopeful)

Where are these presents anyway? Shall we stop? It’s just that I’m not achieving anything other than making a mess with this tinsel… Did anybody buy us an X-Box?

DEBBI: (also hopeful)

Or a new hoover? A man-shaped duster? No?

FIONA: (chuckling)

Alas, I don’t think so… Edie… Where’d you put the swag?

EDIE: (growing excited)

On the spare shelving trolley…

MAVIS: (nonchalantly)

Which she is currently guarding like her life depends on it…

EDIE:

Well, it does! There are crackers too… We should pull those first…

MAVIS: (sounding a bit school-marm-ish)

Or we should leave those for the library Christmas lunch…

FIONA: (calmly)

I’m pretty sure that we get a cracker as part of the deal with the restaurant… Edie is clearly feeling the urge to pull a cracker – and I, for one, don’t feel that any of us should stand in her way… I must admit, I am quite in the mood to wear a paper hat!

ARTHUR: (seeming quite excited himself now)

Who isn’t? Then we’ll pull a cracker now… Do we have mince pies too?

FIONA: (clearly beginning to revel in her role as party hostess)

We do… I’m afraid we can’t have them hot – the last time we tried to heat them on the fire in my office we were left with little piles of ash! Such a waste – and these ones look very nice; Nixon and I picked them up when we were in Waitrose earlier…

MAVIS: (teasing again)

…And no, Edie, we can’t heat them on the radiator! That’s what she does at home!

FIONA: (grinning)

Mave! Listen, before you ask – it was a customer, not me, who got the crackers!

EDIE: (curious, then calling out)

Bless! Shame we don’t know who! Come on Debs – come and get a mince pie!

DEBBI: (reluctant)

Oh, I dunno, Ede – Jackson and I are meant to be going for a curry later…

FIONA: (enthusiastically)

I’m sure you’ve room for a mince pie… Consider it your starter… Good girl!

JACKSON: (with his mouth full)

Yes, come on! I’ve already had two, Debs – you’ll be fine… Line your stomach!

DEBBI: (sounding quite keen once she’s tasted one)

You are naughty, both of you – encouraging me like that… Oh, these are good!

FELIX: (spitting crumbs as he speaks)

Very good! So where are those crackers that you’ve been talking about?

EDIE: (reading off the back of the box)

I’ve got them here… It says that each one of them has a motto for the new year!

MAVIS: (becoming quite excited)

Oh! Perhaps they’re like Chinese fortune cookies – where there’s a prediction… You know the ones I mean – we had them that time when Reverend Pascoe retired – you know, when he got very drunk on Babycham and kissed the Bishop…

FIONA: (thinking back with fond memories)

I recall – I was invited to the wedding the following summer; now that really was a lovely day! Come on, make sure you all take one – so we each get a hat and a motto!

THEY ALL TAKE CRACKERS FROM THE BOX AND BEGIN PULLING THEM – MAVIS AND EDIE, FIONA AND FELIX, JACKSON AND DEBBI ETC – EVEN NIXON GETS A HAT, PULLING HIS WITH ARTHUR AND WINNING… ONCE DONE FIONA INDICATES THAT THEY SHOULD ALL READ THEIR MOTTOS ALOUD. AS THEY SIT AROUND THE HALF-DECORATED TREE IN THEIR BRIGHT CRACKER HATS, THERE IS LOTS OF CHATTER; EDIE SPEAKS UP…

EDIE: (clearly keen to be first)

Shall I read mine? Yes?! (not waiting for a response) It says “You will soon be surrounded by old friends who come to your rescue!” Who could ever could that be?

MAVIS: (mystified, becoming cheeky)

And why would you need to be rescued, Edie, dear? I know… She’ll be accepting an invite to a school reunion – will get drunk and then fall over in the ladies loo…

EDIE: (sighing)

To be surrounded by old friends who come to my rescue! How kind! Thanks Mave…

MAVIS: (gently)

Don’t sulk… My prediction is much the same… “Things must get worse before they get better – but a familiar face will arrive just in time…” Now I’ve fallen in too…

EDIE: (laughing)

Ha! …And a happy Christmas to you… What does yours say, Felix?

FELIX: (slightly embarrassed)

“Grow confident in the next year – secrets do you no good – flourish and fly!”

EDIE: (fascinated)

Felix! That’s kind of a positive one… But what secrets are you keeping, exactly?

JACKSON: (a little patronisingly)

He’s hiding that special someone out in his tool shed… I knew it all along!

MAVIS: (encouragingly)

Don’t listen to him, Felix… That sounds very positive, doesn’t it, Fiona?

FIONA: (looking a bit distracted as she begins another mince pie)

Absolutely… Jackson! Enough teasing… It’s Christmas! (Jackson just rolls his eyes)

FELIX: (somewhat sarcastically)

It’s okay – he’s just being daft… So, what does your say, Jackson? Wins lottery!?

JACKSON: (grudgingly)

“If someone offers you the world, don’t be na├»ve – the world is not theirs to give!”

ARTHUR: (surprised/confused)

Blimey! Now we’re getting deep! What about you, Debbi? Did you get a new duster?

DEBBI: (getting rather giggly)

Oh, Arthur… Don’t be silly… Although now you mention it, I could do with one!

ARTHUR: (happy to see her smiling)

Maybe there’s a new one amongst the presents? If not then I’ll buy you a new one!

DEBBI: (blushing now)

Aw! You lovely man, you! I’m not sure about mine – you read it, Arthur… I’m shy!

ARTHUR: (reading it to himself before reading it out, with some surprise)

Alright then… Although if your motto is anything to go by then you shouldn’t be – hark at this… “You are a born leader – just don’t let the power go to your head!”

DEBBI: (defensively, but humoured by the idea)

It doesn’t say that… Give it here… (but Edie has already taken it from Arthur)

EDIE: (surprised, but kind of pleased)

It does, you know… World domination beckons, my dear…

FIONA: (handing Debbi another mince pie, which she takes)

…Or failing that maybe you’ll be Head Librarian before next year is out?

DEBBI: (affectionately)

Don’t be silly, Fi… You’ll be here forever…

FIONA: (not sounding too sure about that idea)

So, I’m told… So, what about yours, Arthur? What does it say?

ARTHUR: (pleased)

I’m in for a treat, I think… “The past is passing – soon the future will arrive and it will be bright…” I mean, that’s certainly a lot better than I ever dared hope for…

EDIE: (quite excited)

Aw, Arthur! How cute! Maybe it’ll be a lady! One of the customers, maybe?

MAVIS: (equally as excited)

Oooh! We could all do with a bit of that… What about Nixon, Fiona?

FIONA: (sounding uncertain)

Short but sweet… “It’s time for a change – so get started!”

DEBBI: (offering the parrot a bit of her mince pie)

Blimey, Nixon… Maybe he’ll be starting a family of his own…

FIONA: (sounding a little strained)

Hmm… I’m not sure about that… Don’t give him too much of that, Debs…

EDIE: (keenly)

Who’s left… Oh, you! What about yours, Fiona?

FIONA: (sombrely)

“You will be going somewhere hot…”

MAVIS: (confused)

And?

FIONA:

No, that’s it…

EDIE: (disappointed)

Really… That’s not a very good one… Unless it means that you’re going on holiday? Had you been considering a tropical holiday somewhere, Fi?

FIONA: (trying to make light of it)

I’d not, no… Still, I might do now… I’m more a “Walking in the Lake District” type of girl, but we’ll see! Ah well! Come on, everyone… More mince pies… Let’s get some of these presents open… Let me go and fetch the port… I left it in my office!

JACKSON: (chuckling)

I bet she’s been secretly knocking it back when the cataloguing gets too much…

ARTHUR: (supportively)

I wouldn’t blame her…

FIONA: (keen that the truth be known)

I can assure you that I’ve not been doing anything of the sort…

DEBBI: (helpfully)

Can I help you with anything?

FIONA: (thankfully, but still looking upset)

No… No… I’m fine… Mavis… Edie… You know where the glasses are, don’t you?

MAVIS: (getting up to fetch them)

Yes! Yes! They’re ready to go – I gave them a rinse earlier…

EDIE: (with relish)

Oh, I love a glass of port…

FIONA HURRIES AWAY TOWARDS HER OFFICE – SHE KEEPS THE SMILE ON HER FACE FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE – BUT AS SOON AS SHE IS OUT OF VIEW HER FACE FALLS AND SHE BECOMES FLUSTERED – AS SHE REACHES HER OFFICE SHE CANNOT STOP HERSELF FROM SOBBING – ALMOST KNOCKING OVER THE PORT AS SHE REACHES IT… SHE STOPS HERSELF FOR A MOMENT, SITTING DOWN AT HER DESK AND LOOKING ONCE AGAIN AT THE MOTTO THAT SHE RECENTLY RECEIVED IN HER CRACKER…

YOU WILL BE GOING SOMEWHERE HOT…

FIONA: (fearfully)

Oh, goodness – no… Surely not yet…

FIONA CLOSES HER EYES – ALMOST WINCING IN PAIN – WHEN SHE OPENS HER EYES AGAIN SHE SEES FLAMES SURROUNDING HER – ALTHOUGH THEY ARE NOT REALLY THERE, TO HER THEY LOOK VERY REAL… SHE BLINKS CONTINUALLY – BUT THE FLAMES REFUSE TO DISAPPEAR…

FIONA: (whispers)

Please no… Please… This is not the way it is meant to end… We’re not ready!

JUST THEN SHE HEARS VOICES BEHIND HER – IT IS EDIE AND MAVIS…

MAVIS: (concerned)

You alright, Fi? You looked upset? We were worried…

EDIE: (sympathetic)

What’s up love?

RELUCTANTLY FIONA OPENS HER EYES AND LOOKS AROUND – THIS TIME THE FLAMES HAVE GONE AND HER OFFICE IS BACK TO NORMAL…

FIONA: (wiping her eyes, smiling)

I’m fine… Fine! It’s just getting to me a bit… You know what Christmas can be like!

MAVIS:

You poor thing, you look exhausted… You need a proper rest over the holidays…

EDIE:

You’re still coming to ours I hope… You won’t need to lift a finger…

FIONA: (trying to sound enthusiastic)

Of course! Of course! We’ll have a lovely time…

EDIE: (teasing slightly)

You know what Mave’s like – every Christmas might be her last; so it must be good!

MAVIS: (deep in thought)

Well, it might be… I’m going to give Fatima a ring later and see if she’s still free to come over on Boxing Day… She’ll be with her niece on Christmas Day, I expect… Oh! Here’s the port… Come on, now… Let’s get back to the others…

EDIE: (ushering them all on)

There’s a bottle of Bucks Fizz in the fridge if we finish that…

FIONA: (to herself)

Finished… We might be, indeed… It really could be our last Christmas…

THE LADIES HURRY BACK TO THE FRONT OF THE LIBRARY – WE SEE THE MOTTO ON THE DESK AGAIN… YOU WILL BE GOING SOMEWHERE HOT… THEN WE HEAR THE SOUND OF CELEBRATION… THE LIBRARY IS GETTING READY FOR FESTIVITIES – BUT WHAT WILL THE NEW YEAR BRING??

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY…

FACT FILE:

It was nice to return to the season one cast of HOT STUFF!! which features a number of characters who are no longer around during the season that I am currently writing. I finished the first draft of season one in November 2014 – so returning to that era of the show a year later was interesting and also made sense as a way of writing a piece for my Christmas blog and introducing HOT STUFF!! to a potential audience, especially with the first season being released in January 2016. It was only when I started thinking about what exactly I’d write that I realised that it should be a scene that occurs before the series starts – introducing the main characters from season one and partly acting as a premonition of what is soon to come. It was interesting to write for Fiona, as although she is mentioned a great deal during the first season – she did not appear in any scenes in the way that she does in this special scene. The only characters missing here from the season one cast are Horner and Fatima.

It was written in my flat between Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th November 2015 – in two main chunks – with the second section being the reading of the cracker mottos onwards. Proofreading and preparation took place the following week and it was posted on the blog on 21st December 2015… There was time to add it to this season one release of HOT STUFF!! as an extra, as it hadn’t yet been sent for printing.

Next time, I have a few Christmassy photos and another short prose piece. The week after Christmas I'll be sharing with you my review of the year - no, not world news - but looking back over what I've written and published during 2015 and what's to come in 2016.

More soon,

Yeti hugs,

Paul xx


P.S. Deeley really isn't keen on me wishing you all a Happy Christmas - he's such an old Scrooge!

This post and all contents are Copyright Paul Chandler, 2015.