Jockeys

1. EXT. RACECOURSE. DAY

A well-dressed crowd are gathered at the racecourse. We hear the usual race-day hubbub of touts offering bets, champagne swigging toffs and women cackling. Two ladies, sporting the notoriously ridiculous headwear and the requisite slathering of makeup, are gossiping by the infield of the racetrack. The taller of the two is wearing a hat that resembles a bucket with a horse’s muzzle eating from it. The other, a plump lady, practically disappears under a hat fashioned from hay and featuring a single, protruding horseshoe.

TALL LADY

I mean honestly, who would turn up at the races looking that absurd?

PLUMP LADY 

I’m actually embarrassed for her.

The ladies turn to look at another woman. Her hat is a jockey’s saddle with an actual child dressed as a jockey riding it. People are gathered around her admiring it.

PLUMP LADY 

She looks like a clown!

A young lady joins the other two, also sporting oversized headgear.

YOUNG LADY 

Good afternoon ladies.

TALL LADY 

Ah Gwynny, where did you acquire that delightful piece? The ladies admire her hat. 

YOUNG LADY

The hat shop.

Zoom in on the hat to reveal it’s a miniature course with tiny plastic horses at the start line. A bell rings. The announcer says “And they’re off”. The tiny horses move forward. At the same time the actual race begins. Cut between the announcer in his booth and the three ladies aggressively supporting their chosen horses. Various uncouth screams of “Come on you four legged bastard!” and so on.

ANNOUNCER 

The big race is starting strong with Senile Oedipus in the lead, followed closely by Rabid Tuesdays, and the 2-1 favourite, Mugabe’s Hinterland Tricycle. Also prominent is Check Me Out I’m A Horse running to the right of Hepatitis B. And we’re coming up to the first fence now with Whimsical Vasectomy in the lead trailed closely by Pankhurst Sashimi. All jumped the first successfully except for Giddy Beanbag who – is not getting back up. And neither is the jockey, Keefy McMarks. The doctor is rushing on the scene. Mugabe’s Hinterland Tricycle is now in the lead followed closely by Orphan Calculator. The view of Giddy Beanbag and Kevin McMarks is being shielded from the spectators with a curtain. 

A loud gunshot is heard from behind the curtain hiding Giddy Beanbag. A distraught lady, who we later discover is Kevin McMarks’s wife, Suzan, rushes to the scene. She is quickly surrounded by people trying to offer comfort. Her hat falls with a slow motion crash to the ground. The camera zooms in on her hat, which features a functioning TV lying on some grass. On the screen is…

2. INT. BEDRAGGLED LOUNGE. DAY

…Eric and his best friend ‘Dragon’ sat on a dishevelled sofa. Beer cans all over the place, music posters and CD’s everywhere. A TV in the background, unfolding live events of the horserace. Neither are paying attention. Dragon is playing Buckaroo. Eric is a little disheartened by the letter he is holding. It clearly states ‘eviction notice’. He shows it to Dragon. 

DRAGON

Stop worrying about the eviction. I told you, we can live in Big Jimmy’s tree house.

His phone rings. He answers it.

ERIC 

Hi Mum. No I didn’t watch the race you know I don’t care about… What? Are you OK? Mum what d’you mean Dad… Dad’s dead?

The Buckaroo horse topples everything. 

3. EXT. FUNERAL. DAY

Eric is standing sombre by his Mother, Suzan, and relatives, in front of an unusually small casket. Most people are smaller than Eric. Some shadowy figures are standing in the distance; jockeys dressed in usual racing attire, but black and silver silks fit for funeral attendance. One is drinking a pro-biotic yoghurt. 

Kanye comes to stand by Eric’s side holding his hat in front of him as a mark of respect. He then puts his hat on, forgetting that he has left his hip flask in it. He gathers the booze from the floor, slips an envelope in Eric’s pocket, and takes a crafty swig before slinking away. Eric looks at a headshot depicting his Father in his winning Jockey attire. This triggers a flashback to when Eric and his parents were living together in Newmarket. The camera zooms in to the picture and zooms back out…

4. INT. FLASHBACK AT THE McMARKS HOME 

… to reveal the picture framed in their home, which zooms out further to reveal a once living Kevin. The lighting is faded and soft. Both Eric and Kevin, are gathering up their belongings from around the home, intermittently returning to the kitchen where Suzan is preparing food. Wendy Buttercup, Eric’s school sweetheart, is having a cup of tea at the kitchen table. They are both dressed like typical teenagers; brightly coloured new rave as if they’re about to go to a music festival.

SUZAN

Promise me you’ll be careful Kev?

KEVIN

It’s just another race. They kiss and smile.

SUZAN

I know, I just worry whenever you’re riding in another country. You’re used to riding on the left. And with Eric leaving for the big city…

ERIC

Annoyed. Mum, I’ve got to get out this shithole sometime. I can’t DJ another church fête, I’ll kill myself. Eric & Wendy smirk.

SUZAN

Well maybe you should try playing something nice like James Blunt. Mother and Father exchange a loving glance, acknowledging their song.

WENDY

Oh gross, Mrs McMarks. It was bad enough when he dropped Marvin Gaye. 

ERIC

The image of those pensioners tonguing each other amongst the oversized vegetables…I couldn’t get it up for weeks. Cheeky smile.

KEVIN

Eric! His Father pretends to be shocked. So you sure you don’t want me to teach you how to ride when I get back?

ERIC

Yessss! Teenage exasperation. I told you, me, Wendy and Dragon are going to smash it. They basically give you a record deal just for living in East London and looking like this. Points to his past ridiculous haircut.

SUZAN

Lovingly handing Kevin his riding boots. You know, we respect those mixture tapes you’ve been making… Presses play on the stereo to play one of his “tracks”. It’s weird. (Potentially with a few bars from the title theme track?) Wendy & Eric are bobbing their heads up and down as if this is the best music they’ve every heard. It’s just, we always imagined you’d follow in your Father’s hoof-steps. Kevin smiles warmly at the oft repeated joke.

 ERIC

Eric looks disgusted. Then semi-seriously. I want to make a difference, I want to be remembered. Like Jesus. Or Frietzel. No one cares about horse racing. It’s a dying art… 

Cuts back to the funeral.

5. EXT. FUNERAL. DAY

The casket is lowered. Suzan is crying as the camera pans to a group of horses further afield in funeral attire (Black saddles and the sort) around a tombstone for their pal “Giddy Beanbag”. The scene blends to the guests entering a pub for the wake. 

6. INT. FUNERAL WAKE PUB. DAY

Pub: The Pregnant unicorn. Image of unicorn with a Jockey snuggled inside its belly both getting drunk.

Eric is standing alone with a pint, the other guests are dotted around while three men are drinking beer out of a trough. He spots Wendy, his beautiful quirky British-Asian school sweetheart, over in the corner sitting alone. She is looking very different. Professional adult, glasses. Basically the opposite of what he once knew. He’s surprised to see her. He raises his arm to say hi, but she looks away at the same time and starts stroking a cat that is sat beside her. Eric awkwardly aborts the hand gesture and walks over to her.

ERIC

Wendy! It’s been a while. No response. I heard you made it as a vet. Well done. Smiles. No response.

WENDY 

Sorry, who are you?

ERIC

Hurt. It’s Eric.

Wendy shrugs, beginning to pick up her things

I moved to London. You were gonna come with me, but you disappeared off to Dubai?!

WENDY

Oh really?

ERIC

Yeah, how do you not…

WENDY

I’m sorry. I have to go.

Wendy pops the taxidermied cat in her bag, looks over Eric’s shoulder and leaves. Eric turns to see Wendy’s Father, Imran Buttercup, who is sitting at a table flanked by three other smartly dressed people (Jockey Club). Wendy walks up to him and kisses her Dad on the cheek. Imran nods her away.

WENDY

See you at home, Father.

The Jockey Club elite are all staring ominously at Eric. It feels very tense, but Dragon interrupts holding a brightly coloured cocktail.

DRAGON

Alright. You got a tenner?

Eric looks sad, but is distracted by Dragon. 

ERIC

Where were you earlier? Eric rummages in his pockets for some money.

DRAGON

Asleep, obviously

ERIC

Asleep?! I told you to be here by 3pm!

DRAGON

Yeah right ok. Eric finds an envelope in his pockets and begins to open it. But these things never actually start when they say they…I mean it says 3pm kick off, but y’know. Takes nonchalant sip of his cocktail. So did I miss much?

ERIC

Yeah. My Dad’s funeral. You missed the entire funeral. And what the hell are you drinking?

Eric’s brow furrows as he looks at the letter, prompting Dragon to read over his shoulder.

KANYE VOICE

Dear Eric,

I have some terrible and alarming news. I suggest you sit down before reading onwards. Eric continues to stand. I said you need to sit down! Eric sits. And you Dragon.  Dragon sits also. Your Father’s death was no accident. He was murdered! And I have good reason to suspect that it occurred because of something he found out about the Jockey Club. Do not contact the police. The Jockey Club are more powerful than you think. If you don’t do something now the truth will remain buried and Kevin McMarks will never receive justice. I urge you to go to Newmarket as soon as possible, try to infiltrate the Jockey Club and discover what really happened to your father.

ERIC

Shit

DRAGON

Shit. Who gave you the letter?

ERIC

I dunno… Eric looks around the pub to see who slipped him the letter… The handwriting gets really messy at the end…

KANYE VOICE

Until next we meet, yours fuderbrrr

DRAGON

What? Let me see that. He grabs the letter and starts to read.

KANYE VOICE

Until next we meet, yours fuderbrrrrrrr

DRAGON

That’s fucking illegible. Eric continues to look around for the potential writer. That’s a worse signature than Guy Fawkes after he was tortured. Who even writes letters by hand nowadays?! Is that some vomit on the corner of the envelope. They both look at a suspicions stain. 

ERIC

Not sure. He gives it a lick.

Eric continues to look around the pub to see who might have slipped him this letter. He sees his Mum talking to guests. He see Kanye on the other side of the bar, drinking alone, staring at the Jockey Club elite, who are staring him down also. At this point, Eric doesn’t know either Kanye & the jockey club elite. Both Kanye and Jockey Club elite turn to look at Eric. It feels very tense, but Eric’s uncle, Michael, interrupts, placing an arm on each of their shoulders with a barely concealed display of masculine dominance. Michael is obviously wearing a fake wig. Every time we meet Michael, he will be sporting a new hairpiece. This is never mentioned by anyone.

MICHAEL

Alright boys. Eric quickly hides the letter. Well if it isn’t the black horse of the family. How good of you to come back to visit us Dick Whittington, It’s been, what, five years since you last gifted us with an appearance?

Dragon is grinning and trying to stifle a laugh.

ERIC

Looks at Dragon. What?

DRAGON

Dick Whittington!

ERIC

You do know that’s an actual character’s name, right?

MICHAEL

Looks decidedly pissed off. Tell you what boys, why don’t you try showing a little bit of respect. It’s your Father’s funeral for Christ’s sake. I know horse racing never meant anything to you, but round these parts, Kevin McMarks was a living legend. Eric and Dragon look down at the ground. All that man and your sexy Mother ever wanted was for you to become a jockey.

Eric looks at him in disbelief, unsure if he heard him correctly.

DRAGON

He is a jockey!

MICHAEL

Oh yes that’s right. Big Mr DJ star, I forgot.

ERIC

Humble. I’m not that big.

7. INT. FLASHBACK TO WORKING MENS CLUB. DAY

A dingy working man’s club. Eric is mixing on his desk to three people who aren’t listening. A man in the corner is peeling a potato and eating the skin.  This, however, does not faze Eric.

ERIC

Make some noise!

MAN 

Shut the fuck up!

A potato is thrown at Eric, who continues to smile and dance while Dragon turns on his smoke machine!

8. EXT. FUNERAL WAKE PUB. DAY

ERIC 

I mean obviously things are going pretty well. I guess I’m kind of big in certain circles. Dad said he was going to come and see one of my gigs eventually… Eric trails off, looks down poignantly.

DRAGON

What are you on about? We’ve not had a gig for five weeks!

MICHAEL 

Sorry who exactly are you?

DRAGON

I’m Dragon. His manager.

Hands Michael a business card. It just had a picture of a dragon on it. No contact details. Bamboo flute music plays as it’s handed.

MICHAEL

Dragon? He looks incredulous. Why Dragon?

Dragon doesn’t answer. He just puts his finger over his lips and shushes. Notice a bamboo flute player at the back. The music subtly continues throughout the scene.

MICHAEL

Whatever. When your Dad said he wanted you to be a jockey, he didn’t mean the disc variety. You can’t mount a CD. I want you to know he was disappointed in you. God rest his soul. 

ERIC

Clearly very hurt, and maybe in denial. Dad wasn’t disap – 

MICHAEL

You know they looked into getting you adopted? Nobody was interested. Creepily switches facial expression to one of faux consideration as he spots Eric’s Mother walking past. Well, nice to see my lovely nephew. Michael leaves, giving Suzan a hug as he exits.

DRAGON

They freak me out.

ERIC

Who?

DRAGON

Jockeys.

They look at the jockeys sat together at a table opposite, giggling sinisterly and playing with a whip. The one drinking the Yakult, Pablo Chablow.

ERIC

That’s pretty standard behaviour.

DRAGON

Tiny men jiggling about on a slab of muscle. Slapping it about for money. That’s not a job. It’s creepy.

ERIC

My Dad was a jockey.

DRAGON

Yeah. Didn’t want to say anything, but your Dad creeped me out.

ERIC

Well you did say something. At his funeral… At least I have a Dad.

DRAGON

I’ve got a Dad. I just don’t know where or who he is.

ERIC

The 80’s was a busy time for your Mum. You were conceived early 1985 right? Which if I’m not mistaken was her bukake boom years. Highlights how proud he is by taking a large gulp from his drink.

DRAGON

I’m not a porn baby! Said as though it’s a recurring topic between the two.

ERIC

You are. Your Mum’s got her own section on YouPorn. Eric smiles a massive gummy grin.

While the boys were talking, Pablo and his jockey pals got up from their table to leave the pub. As they exit, Pablo shoulder barges past Eric.

PABLO

Oh my, look at those gums. Said to his goons but clearly in earshot of Eric.

ERIC

Excuse me?!

PABLO

You’re practically a centaur. Pablo smiles creepily and strokes his whip. I’ve half a mind to saddle you up. 

ERIC

What the…

PABLO

See you around, Longfolk. Whips Eric and walks away.

DRAGON

See. Jockeys are weird!

ERIC

Yeah. Actually… Those guys are. But everyone’s weird when you go back home to visit.

DRAGON 

Not that weird… Let’s do a quick funeral selfie. Holding a selfie stick.

ERIC

Put that down. Embarrassed. I was thinking, maybe I could give it a go. 

DRAGON

Buy your own.

ERIC

Not your ego stick! I mean, be a jockey. I could make my Dad proud, or something. Pause. And that letter… freaked me out. D’you think it’s real?

DRAGON

Dunno.

ERIC

What if I did give it a try?

DRAGON

A jockey? Like an actual dieting, preening, ‘always angry because you can’t eat before the weigh-in’ horse jockey?

ERIC

Yeah

DRAGON

You’ve lost it mate. Laughs.

SUZAN

Lost what?

DRAGON

Your loss. I’m sorry for your loss Mrs McMarks. Dragon looks overly sombre. Eric shoots him an irritated glance. Eric was just saying he was thinking of becoming a jo-key to honour Kevin’s memory.

SUZAN

Really Eric, is this true?

ERIC

A jockey, yeah, why not, I was thinking it’s what you guys wanted, right?

SUZAN

Dismissive. Eric, I know this is an emotional day, and you are trying to make up for not spending time with your Father, and you’re probably feeling guilty and confused and guilty…Well I don’t know…Everyone deals with their grief in different ways…But this is just stupid.

ERIC

Stupid?!

SUZAN

Oh you’re serious. Oh.

ERIC

But you said you’ve always wanted me to follow in his hoof-steps. 

Dragon smirks at the ridiculous family joke.

SUZAN

Of course, but that was a long time ago. It’s too late for you. You’ve gone all wrong.

ERIC

Gone wrong?

SUZAN

Yes you’re elongated and ridiculous. 

ERIC

Mum? Surprised. Doesn’t sound like her.

SUZAN

I’m sorry Eric… 

Suzan realises she’s been overly aggressive and is stressed by the events of the day. She offers a compassionate smile. But you don’t know how to ride at all. And I seem to remember you’re pretty scared of horses. And you don’t really like danger or speed or…

DRAGON

Yeah he shits himself if he drives above 30 kilometres an hour. Honestly, he can’t even do A-roads let alone motorways. We call him the B-road bender. Or captain back alley…

ERIC

That’s not true. I could do it. I just need to ease into it…

DRAGON

Look mate, no offence, but you can’t even play drum and bass during your set because the bpm gives you a panic attack.

Eric looks despondent.

SUZAN

It was a nice thought Eric. But you know sometimes the best thoughts are the ones that stay in your head. You just stick to your discotheque; I need to talk to the other guests.

Suzan walks over to a large portrait of her husband. ‘In loving memory of Kevin. You were horsesome!’ An actual horse tail is hanging at the side for guests to stroke as they walk past. Drum and bass starts playing for the next scene.

9. INT. McMARKS HOME. NIGHT

After a long day at the funeral, Eric is at the kitchen table examining the letter. Dragon enters the room, dancing ridiculously, playing drum and bass from his phone with one hand and holding a briefcase with a picture of a dragon in the other. He’s grinning stupidly and imploring Eric to get into the music. Eric begins to look uncomfortable and clutches his rumbling stomach. Starts to have panic attack and grasps wildly at the inhaler. Dragon cuts the music.

DRAGON

Listen mate; don’t give up on your ridiculous dreams because of what your Mum said.

ERIC

And you. It was mainly you. Why’d you have to tell her I can’t use A roads?

DRAGON

Because it’s funny. I needed to lighten the mood. Everyone was acting so fucking depressed in that place. Eric looks at him in disbelief. 

ERIC

Doesn’t matter anyway. I doubt I could become a Jockey. It’s too late now. 

DRAGON

It’s 10pm you square.

ERIC

I mean they start young. Who’d want to teach me? 

DRAGON

Well, I was thinking about that! Dragon slams his briefcase on the table. I have a plan! 

Opens case and pulls out a detailed portfolio full of pop up pictures and bullets points in crayon he has made with a badly photo-shopped Eric-face stuck over the head of a jockey.  

DRAGON

I hear the Jockey Club are auditioning for new riders. I don’t know if you noticed but those idiots are dropping like flies at the moment.

ERIC

Look of disbelief. Yes I had noticed as it happens mate! When did you have time to do this anyway? Indicating to Dragon’s presentation

DRAGON

Dragon ignores Eric’s question. As we’re in Newmarket, let’s stay here for a bit, and give them Hell. As your manager, it’s only right I become your horseracing agent.

ERIC

I don’t think jockeys have –

DRAGON

 I’ll go on the hunt for some equipment; saddle, horse, Yakults. Maybe organise on a DJ event to raise some funds – mucky mares and hung studs, total glue factory of a night. It’ll be amazing. I’ll try and find you a coach as well if you like mate. Dragon idly pulls the tail of the pop-up horse, making its legs spin round.

ERIC

A trainer.

DRAGON

Whatever 

ERIC

Flawless…

DRAGON

Thanks. Plus, the locals are gonna love us for bringing some fresh blood in this inbred gene puddle.

A mourning Suzan walks into the kitchen to make herself a cup of tea. Eric gets up to approach his Mum.

SUZAN

What are you boys doing up? It’s late.

DRAGON

It’s only 10pm. We’re not squares, Mrs. McMarks. 

ERIC

You ok Mum?

SUZAN

It’s been a long day.

ERIC

Mum? Pauses. Was everything alright with Dad? 

SUZAN

What do you mean?

ERIC

Before… He tries to find his words, but reconsiders mentioning the letter. His Mum’s gone through enough today. Never mind. I’m just sad. 

Eric and his Mum hug. The tender moment is broken by Dragon hugging them both, prompting them to break apart.

SUZAN

Thank you Dragon. Mildly sarcastic.

DRAGON

Cheers for letting me stay at your house.

SUZAN

Oh. I assumed you were staying at yours.

DRAGON

 Mum’s moved to Colombia. I think tax reasons. So gonna stay with you if you don’t mind.

SUZAN

OK. Pointing to the crayon pitch on the table What’s this?

DRAGON

Oh Eric’s going to…

ERIC

Interrupting. I don’t know how long we’ll stay yet Mum. Not long I’m sure. We just fancied getting out of the city for a couple of days.

SUZAN

Well, it’ll be lovely to have you back home. You too Dragon. Good night.

Suzan leaves to go to bed. Leaving Eric & Dragon alone.

ERIC

I’d rather we say nothing to my Mum about our plan. It’ll only upset her.

DRAGON

Yeah. Fair enough. Get some sleep. Bright day ahead of you, my little champion. Dragon kisses him on the cheek.

10. INT. McMARKS HOME. MORNING

Morning. Eric and Dragon are whispering by the front door. Suzan, still upset, interrupts them. 

SUZAN 

Morning.

ERIC/DRAGON

Morning!

SUZAN

Where are you going? 

ERIC

Nowhere. Just. Erm. Eric is looking for his words. Dragon helps him.

DRAGON

He’s gonna buy an ironing board. Eric looks puzzled by the shitness of the lie. 

SUZAN

We have one in the utility room.

DRAGON

Not the kind that Eric likes. Winks at Eric as if to say he has his back. The way your son irons makes women gag for him. Suzan looks at him disapprovingly.

ERIC

Yeah… To Dragon. I’ll meet you at the pub at three. To his Mum. Love you. Dragon mouthes “I know”. Eric begins to walk away, leaving Dragon and Suzan together.

DRAGON 

That boy loves smooth clothing. Turns to Suzan. Come on you, let’s get you inside. Dragon turns once more to Eric who’s not too far away. Mate!By the time you finish buying that ironing board, I’ll have all that stuff sorted and a tasty milkmaid on each arm…begging to milk my city meat.

ERIC

To himself. Not sure there’s a great deal of 18th century dairy farming in…       

11. EXT. STREETS OF NEWMARKET. DAY

We see a sign saying ‘Newmarket’. Eric walks the high street. Various slow motion shots of unwelcoming reactions from the locals. Woman with a pushchair full of hay. A haunted looking Father feeding his child a carrot with an open palm, a blacksmith hammering horseshoes on a man’s shoes, etc… He’s walking towards the Jockey Club.

ERIC

I don’t remember Newmarket being like this.

12. EXT. OUTSIDE JOCKEY CLUB. DAY

Outside the Jockey Club; a sign is visible “Become a jockey today. No experience necessary. Simple test inside”. A drunk Kanye is kicked out by the Jockey Club’s bouncers. He is wearing a long coat, some horse riding boots and nothing else. The Jockey Club Elite woman, Jamima Bareback, is at the windows closing the curtains.

KANYE

(Talking to the window) I just want to make you pregnant again!

BOUNCER

Stop coming here, Kanye. You’re not an official trainer anymore. 

KANYE

You know nothing! I am the Jackson Pollock of horses. 

BOUNCER

That’s exactly why Mrs. Bareback banned you! You made a horse gallop into a wall.

KANYE

That was an important quantum experiment!

Kanye picks up his cowboy hat and sees Eric arriving on the premises. 

KANYE

Young McMarks. Greetings.

ERIC

Erm…Confused as to who this naked man might be. Hi.

KANYE

When the jaguar approaches the rabbit hole, he does not hunch his shoulders nor draw in his bosom. No, rather he swells the hole to meet his desire.

ERIC

OK.

KANYE

Take these. You will need them.

Kanye gives Eric his riding boots and walks mystically backwards and springs theatrically behind a bush. Eric is left standing confused. Wendy exits the Jockey Club. Carrying a large box of veterinary supplies, which is concealing her identity.

BOUNCER

Have a great day Miss.

WENDY

Good day, Thelonius

Wendy is about to drop her box. Eric comes to the rescue but his hands are full also.

ERIC

Oh, let me help you with that.

WENDY

Thank you

Upon realising it is Eric, Wendy pulls back dropping everything to the floor, revealing a box full of syringes, some small resealable plastic bags with the words ketamine on it, the Visual Clichés Monthly magazine and a taxidermied mouse.

WENDY

Eric! She quickly looks around, scared.

ERIC

So you do remember who I am.

WENDY

Of course I do. My Dad was at the funeral. He still doesn’t want me talking to you.

ERIC

Still? Why? 

WENDY

Because your face is troubling, you lack even basic knowledge about animals and the childishness of your chosen profession is surpassed only by the extent to which it is deluded and loathsome. Because you’re a hapless, gangly layabout, utterly lacking both the fortitude to claw your way out of this self-constructed ditch of mediocrity you call a life and the modicum of intelligence required to comprehend the depths of your own ineptitude. Pause. His words.

ERIC

You learnt his words by heart? 

WENDY

Well, I was paraphrasing.

ERIC

OK… How long you in town for? 

WENDY

I’ve moved back.

ERIC

Oh yeah? Nonchalantly. Me and Dragon might be staying for a while

WENDY

Saw him at the wake. That dude hasn’t changed a bit. Do people in London know he got that nickname from burning all his hair off in his first fire breathing class? I’ve still got that picture of him looking like a twatty egg. She shows Eric (audience sees it as well) a picture on her phone and they laugh.

ERIC

So how’s being back anyway? 

WENDY

God it’s boring. The pick-up lines… Christ! There’s really a limit to how many times you can insinuate I’m a horse and you’re going to ride me over the finishing line.

ERIC 

Have you been chatting to Dragon or something?   

WENDY

Wendy laughs. Trust me, that’s the sophisticated end of the spectrum. I’ve even resorted to Tinder. 

ERIC 

How’s that working out for you?

WENDY

Ummm, pauses, well if real life dating is trench warfare, Tinder is the fucking battle of the Somme. Check out some of these guys. 

She scrolls through some Tinder profiles, showing Eric (and audience) various pictures of jockeys licking the necks of horses, holding up whips in a suggestive manner, pouring Yakult over their chests. She stops on Pablo Chablow’s profile. His profile reads (Or can be read by Wendy) Elite jockey, genetic perfection, seducer of the wind. When Im finished youll be pleading for the knackers yard. She scrolls to a picture of him looking really tall, surrounded by buildings. 

WENDY

Yeah, that picture is actually taken at a local model village.      

ERIC 

Wow. I think I saw that freak at my Dad’s funeral. Well maybe we should have a proper catch up sometime.

WENDY

Yeah maybe. I’ve got to go now, help my Dad with… Anything else. 

‘Anything Else’ is the name of a horse, but Eric doesnt know that yet. Wendy walks off leaving Eric a little hurt. She then stops in her path.

WENDY

Hey Eric. It’s nice to see you.

ERIC

Thanks?

Wendy runs off leaving Eric confused. He walks up to the Jockey Club entrance.

BOUNCER

Hold it. No trainers. Eric looks down at his sneakers. Horse riding boots only.

Fortunately, Eric has riding boots that were given to him by the strange and elusive man from earlier, Kanye. He pops the boots on and enters.

13. INT. JOCKEY CLUB RECEPTION. DAY

‘The Findus Cup’ trophy is in the room amongst other memorabilia. Four portraits of the Jockey Club elite are hung on the walls.

1. Sebastian Phillybuster. White male. Raising one eyebrow looking all regal. Smart suit, almost resembling a mayor.

2. Jamima Bareback. White female. She’s clearly drunk pouting with a Yakult in hand. Dressed in a fur coat.

3. Chadley The Third Junior. Black American male. Wearing American Football padding and yet still resembling a jockey. Thumbs up smiling.

4. Imran Buttercup. (Wendy’s Father) Middle Eastern male. Dressed like a Sheik. Emotionless.

The atmosphere in the Jockey Club is unsettling. Eric walks towards the Testing Room, but stops to see a film being shown on a lumpen TV with built-in VCR in the reception.

14. FILM

Art-house aesthetic, sound of hooves, black and white close-ups of horse’s rippling muscles, swishing manes and bulging eyes. 

FILM NARRATOR

Overblown, portentous delivery. Horse. What is horse? They must run. They breath. Close-up of flared nostrils. They run. What does it mean to run? Are we horses?

Eric rolls his eyes, checks his watch, leans forward to check if the receptionist is still on the phone. She is laughing and talking loudly in foreign language. Cut back to film. 

FILM NARRATOR

Sleipnir, Pegasus, Hippocampus…Shergar…(paintings of each flashed up on screen dramatically). This is horse. This is rushing water, raging wind. Where is my boat? Who can build me sails? He is rider. Shot of jockey’s silks billowing in wind. Odin, Boudicca, Lancelot (again heroic paintings shown)…Sebastian Phillybuster (Jockey Club leader)

Cuts to scene of Jockey Club leader giving a talk at a local school assembly (he is wearing a sharp suit and smiling as he receives applause).

SEBASTIAN

So who can tell me why we add weights to the horses during races?

NERDY CHILD

 To compensate for the age of the horse and the conditions sir?

SEBASTIAN

Looks confused. No young man, it is because some of them are naughty. Ok here’s an easier one. What makes a good racehorse?

NERDY CHILD

A good temperament sir?

SEBASTIAN

Disbelieving laugh. What the fuck is this guy on?! It’s the legs you prick. 

Gestures to two burly ‘bouncers’ in suits who come and remove the child. 

Just get him out of my sight. 

Teacher says something to Sebastian in low voice about ‘detention’

Got anything more permanent?

15. INT. JOCKEY CLUB RECEPTION. DAY

Sound of the testing man interrupts the film (his voice appears on the film as though Eric is waking from a dream). 

TESTING MAN

Next…Next! Excuse me, talking to you longfolk. Eric notices the man in a lab coat barking at him. Follow me.

16. INT. TESTING ROOM. DAY

Small like a Doctor’s office. Man in a lab coat sat on a chair in the corner.

TESTING MAN

Ok Sir, I’m just going to administer a couple of quick tests.

ERIC

Great.

TESTING MAN 

Please stand here. 

Eric stands by a life-size cardboard cut-out of a jockey who points to his side. A speech bubble above saying ‘You must be maximum this tall to ride on a horse’. And simultaneously stands on a weighing scale. “Fat”. TM writes notes on clipboard and shakes head.

ERIC

Is this gonna be a problem?

TESTING MAN

You will get your results upon completion of the test.

Hands Eric a small wooden horse. Eric clambers onto the tiny horse. It breaks. He tries to fix it unsuccessfully. Eventually puts it back together all wrong, leans it against a wall, breaks things. Somehow gets back on it. Looks pleased. Breaks it again. 

TESTING MAN

Take this. 

Hands Eric a whip, then puts a red ball gag on himself and bends over. Takes a while for Eric to figure out that he has to smack him. The testing man makes horse noises as he gets spanked. It escalates and cuts to the next scene…

17. INT. THE SHATTERED FEMUR PUB. DAY

Eric is hunched in the corner; dejected, confused, distraught, eating a microwave lasagna, staring angrily at a portrait of a horse. Dragon enters cheerfully.  

DRAGON

Alright mate, why the long face? Ha! Horse joke. So c’mon, how did it go? 

ERIC

Shit on basically every level. Shows him the test results being stamped as being “Too tall”. They won’t train me at the Jockey Club. Not sure I want them to. Hears a whip smacking a neighing testing man. Wendy’s back!

DRAGON

What? Wendy, as in ‘upper school’ Wendy?

ERIC

Yeah 

DRAGON 

Ignoring Eric’s admission. Wendy as in ‘your binder shrine of photos’ Wendy? 

ERIC

Yeah

DRAGON

Wendy as in ‘recurring dreams that end in castration by the villagers’ Wendy?   

ERIC

Yes Exasperated

DRAGON

Oh ok. How’s she doing?

ERIC

She’s definitely not interested. Anyway, none of that actually matters. Speaking is hushed tone. I’m too tall to be jockey so I can’t find out what happened to my Dad.

OLD CREEPY GUY 

Listening in to the conversation. Too tall you say? Well you boys clearly haven’t heard the tale of old Kelly ‘the eel’ Jivebones. Eric and Dragon lean in attentively. Jockey longer than a horse used to race back in ’26. He used to keep the grass short ‘cos his stirrups were so low. Won every race there was.

ERIC

So what happened to him?

OLD CREEPY GUY

See that red stain. 

Said with an air of horror and sadness, he points out the window to a gruesome red stain on the arch of a road bridge.

ERIC and DRAGON

Shit

DRAGON 

Decapitated?

OLD CREEPY GUY

No. Looks disgusted. He became painter. Points to a tall, old man outside who waves back jovially. The old man is clearly painting the far side of the bridge red. All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t let your height hold you back. You take care now boys. He returns to nursing his pint alone. These Tinder bitches aren’t gonna swipe themselves.

ERIC

OK… Look, the Jockey club rejected me. So all that stuff you organised today is basically pointless.

DRAGON

All what stuff?

ERIC

The horse, the equipment, the fundraising gig…  

DRAGON 

Oh yeah I didn’t get round to any of that. I thought I’d start with the most important thing on the list.

ERIC

The trainer? 

DRAGON

No. Boring. The girls obviously.

ERIC

Right. Ok. That’s great. Well it’s good to see you’ve got your priorities in order. I’m kind of scared to ask, but how did it go?

DRAGON

I dunno. I mean I was telling these girls about how we’re from London and are big time DJs. And that maybe if they fancied it later on they could come and suck us off in the toilets of this pub. 

ERIC

If they fancied it? Just like that. Like offering someone the last biscuit. Pause. You didn’t offer them any food did you? They were definitely over 18, right?

DRAGON

Yes. Probably. I dunno, it’s difficult to tell with these country types. Living out in the elements – the wind, the rain…their faces get all weathered, you know? Like limestone cliffs. 

ERIC

Right. Well I look forward to definitely meeting these possibly under-age, possibly retirement-age cliff-faced ladies. 

DRAGON

You don’t need to look forward to it. They’re here mate. 

Gestures to two local girls entering the pub at the far entrance.     

  ERIC

They actually look fairly normal…Why on earth did they turn up… oh…

One of the girls is squinting into the dimly lit pub, the other holding the door open. When the girls spot Dragon waving, they signal to someone outside. Three jockeys enter; Pablo, his childlike goon and a muscular jockey enter branding whips. They begin to walk purposefully towards Eric and Dragon. Spotting them, Eric and Dragon dart out of the nearby side exit and begin running into the countryside. 

18. EXT. COUNTRY LANE. DAY

Eric and Dragon are running ridiculously. Close up shots of their feet running juxtaposed with the sound of horse galloping, their nostrils flaring, etc. They wheeze and slow down to a walk. 

ERIC

Did they follow us?

DRAGON

Nah I think we lost them. Ah man I’ve always wanted to say that.

ERIC

Yeah I’m really happy for you mate. So what do we do now?

DRAGON 

We go to your audition obviously.

ERIC

My what?

DRAGON

Oh I got you an audition with a horse coach. 

ERIC

A trainer! But that’s amazing. Really? 

DRAGON 

Yeah, totally. He said to come and find him later because the Jockey Club would refuse to train you because they’re a bunch of inbred, fascist psychopaths.

ERIC

So where do we go?

DRAGON

He owns Touch The Sky stables and that it’s easy to find, you just head out of the town past the clock tower.

ERIC

Ok wow. Eric appears baffled and impressed by dragon having actually arranged things. I think it’s that way. I recognise this area.

DRAGON

How? There’s nothing proper on it like a Starbucks, it’s just trees and fields and shit. 

They walk a bit further until eventually they see a sign for Touch The Sky stables. They head in tentatively through the gates. 

19. EXT. OUTSIDE TOUCH THE SKY STABLES. DAY

They arrive at the stable, Pablo Chablow, standing on the stunt pegs of a BMX ridden by his goon, skids in front of the gates obstructing our heroes.

PABLO

Woah there! To his goon, as if he were a horse. He steps off and strokes the goon’s hair. Well if it isn’t the lanky orphan. Sniggering from both Pablo and the goon. Those were our mares your ridiculously named servant tried to besmirch.

ERIC

Yeah sorry, wait, who are you exactly?

PABLO 

My name is Pablo Chablow. Takes a sip from his Yakult and flicks his pony tail. Seven time winner of the St jennifer’s steeple chase, five time winner of royal dingeindearth twelve furlong stakes, thrice time winner of the Heensbury invitational and… Overly long dramatic pause.

Your worst mummy-fucking nightmare!

GOON 

A child dubbed over a gravelly adult’s voice. Yeah! Watch your backs.

DRAGON 

How old are you? 

GOON 

43.

DRAGON 

But you look so…?

GOON 

Horse milk.

ERIC

Ok well, great to meet you and everything. We’re here to see…

PABLO

Interrupting. Listen you unfortunate elongation, you barn-roof admirer. I hear you’re wanting to become a jockey. If you think you can just waltz into my town, you’re quite mistaken. Your thighs won’t last a minute on a horse. Cracks a walnut between his thighs as he continues talking. It takes breeding to become a jockey. My Mother selected my Father for artificial insemination from over a thousand applicants. 

DRAGON

Defiant. Eric’s Dad was a jockey. Kevin McMarks, maybe you’ve heard of him?

PABLO 

Ah yes I had the displeasure of beating that old fool a few times. Feeds his goon the nuts with open palm who snuffles it up like a horse. It’s a pity when they have to get taken to the knackers yard isn’t it? Almost brings a tear to eye. Sniggering from goon. He could ride I suppose. But your mother…not exactly a prize specimen is she?

Eric lunges forward to hit him. Dragon holds him back. Pablo flinches and steps back on to the BMX stunt pegs.

PABLO

Yes that’s right. Listen to your consort. I guess I’ll be seeing more of you. Cheerio longfolk. Pablo slaps his goon on the back and orders him forward as one would do to a horse. Ya!

DRAGON

This town is starting to really freak me out.

20. INT. OUTSIDE TOUCH THE SKY STABLES. DAY

The boys step into the stable.

DRAGON

Comforting his friend. Don’t listen to that prick mate. He’s got small man syndrome.

ERIC

Yeah. Eric sees Wendy tending to a horse. A sign with the horse’s name is on the door. ‘Anything else’. Anything else. Realising what Wendy meant earlier. 

He smiles in her direction. But her Father, Imran, walks into frame giving an envelope to a jockey and then tapping him on the head. The Jockey runs away. Her Father, now taunts the horse with the promise of a burger and then gives it the middle finger. Eric signals to Dragon to hang back. He walks towards the pair of them apprehensively. Wendy smiles nervously. Imran catches Eric in his sights, giving him a cold look.

ERIC

Hi Wendy, didn’t expect to see you again so soon 

WENDY

Oh hello, it’s Eric isn’t it? She affects a polite accent and tone.

ERIC

Umm. He glances nervously at her Father. Yes, yes it is.

IMRAN

Look you two. I know this is the same Eric that used to loiter outside our house, harassing our mailbox with his love letters.

ERIC

Hey those letters were private! Wendy and Eric look embarrassed 

IMRAN

Yes, well you should be grateful that it was only I who had to endure those tear stained reams of turgid prose. Imran looks pleased with himself . Why are you back here?

ERIC

I’m hoping to become a jockey

WENDY

Really? Are you sure that’s wise? She appears concerned, but there is also a flicker of admiration.  

IMRAN

Daughter, this man is fool. Fixing Eric with a steely glare. Then in a droll tone. A Jockey you say? Laughs. I heard about your attempts at the club today. Quite impressive. Kenneth tells me no one has ever scored so low on his test. He did however inform me that the thing you did for him afterwards was most enjoyable. Imran Flashes a creepy smile. Eric looks troubled as he hears a whip smacking the neighing testing man.

Imran leaves, beckoning his daughter. She is about to follow but gives Eric a kiss on the cheek behind her Father’s back. Eric & Dragon smile. They walk towards the trailer/office with the words “Kanye’ on door.

21. INT. KANYE’S OFFICE. NIGHT.

Eric and Dragon knock on the door of Kanye’s office. It opens.

ERIC

You?

KANYE

Me! Enter.

They enter his office has been converted into a kind of bizarre training room/office. There is an old desk and PC in the corner, but straw on the floor. It is evident Kanye also sleeps in the same room. An erotic oil painting of Kanye and Jamima Bareback together in an over dramatic embrace is hung on the wall, as well as a picture of a younger, successful, clean shaven Kanye holding up a trophy. A few other trophies dating back to the 90’s dotted around the place. Empty bottles of whisky accumulated in a corner of the room. Kanye pours them a concoction into a trophy cup and flicks three curly straws in the mix.

DRAGON

This is the guy. Whispered into Eric’s ear. Eric gives Dragon a bemused look.

ERIC

Thanks for giving me those boots.

KANYE

Yes! And the letter. Realisation dawns on Eric’s face. He opens his mouth, as if about to unleash a torrent of questions. Kanye cuts him off.  There will be time for questions. But for now let us share this. It’s Aztec firewater, traditionally given to a hunter after his first jaguar kill. 

ERIC & DRAGON 

Thanks. They take a sip and attempt to look like they enjoyed it even though it’s disgusting.

ERIC 

I have to ask. Why the cryptic letter?

KANYE

 I wanted you to feel as the young foal’s, whose knees are grateful for the bruises before the milk. And I would have Facebooked you, but I broke my PC last week. He gestures at the PC in the corner, which is covered in mud. Yes boys I’m afraid I mistook that old guy for a fire God during my last shamanic quest and threw it in a drinking trough. Have you ever imbibed Ayahuasca? Amazonian Indians call it the vine of death. Two days of vomiting and existential crisis. It’s quite something…

DRAGON

Looks confused. OK but you said you were a… Does quotation marks with his fingers and nods at Eric to show he’s learning. …“Trainer”, right?

KANYE 

Suddenly angry. Of course I’m a bloody trainer! Stumbles over to the corner and picks something up. I was the best trainer in this town until the Jockey Club ruined me. I trained your Father. This was his helmet. Hands Eric a dusty riding helmet.

ERIC       

Wow. Long reverential silence.

KANYE

Oh no sorry that’s the wrong one. Hands Eric a different dusty helmet.

ERIC

Wow. Less enthusiastic.

DRAGON 

So you can train Eric like you trained his Father? I mean not exactly the same because…well you know he fell…Eric and Kanye look at him in disbelief.

KANYE

Yes I can train him. He’s got that same look in his eyes his Father had all those years ago…that passion, that ferocity.

DRAGON  

Really? Looks into Eric’s eyes. Are you sure? He has a panic attack if he listens to drum n bass.

KANYE  

Young Dragon, I do not know or care what those words mean. Eric will be a jockey! It won’t be easy but if he works hard he can win enough of the amateur races to get accepted into the Jockey Club and infiltrate their world. 

ERIC

You know what happened to my Father? 

KANYE

There are rumours. But I know the club are involved. Nothing happens in this town without their say so. But enough talk of that tragedy. Tonight we celebrate my new apprentice! Now let me get us some more Aztec firewater. We see Kanye in the corner mixing Tesco value Gin with Blue WKD.   

22. INT. JOCKEY CLUB HQ. NIGHT

The four elites are gathered round a video monitor, which is showing the scene of Eric’s Father’s accident. They are laughing and replaying it. The camera pans to reveal a fifth member at the table; is it Eric’s Father?