Advent Blog – 22nd December – Book & Screenplay Comparison

Lost Christmas

For today’s blog I thought I would post a scene from the screenplay of Lost Christmas and the same scene from the book for those who feel so inclined to compare and contrast. Enjoy.

Firstly, from the screenplay, the scene where Goose first meets Anthony…

EXT. CANAL BRIDGE – DAY

CLOSE ON a pigeon. His head is tilted to one side watching… Anthony, pacing back and forth. Anthony is talking thoughtfully to the bird.

ANTHONY
An angel. An angel with a monkey’s head in the snow…

The pigeon doesn’t answer.

ANTHONY
It’s like a dream that’s real. Or not… perhaps none of it’s real.
(a beat)
And now I’m talking to a pigeon.

The pigeon flies away.

ANTHONY
And now I’m not.

Just then, Anthony sees Goose sprinting past, shouting:

GOOSE
MUTT! MUTT? WHERE ARE YOU, MUTT?

Anthony blinks. He recognizes that face.

CUT TO:

Goose stops, gagging for breath. He’s got to rest for a moment. He sees that his shoelace is undone and bends down to tie it up.

ANTHONY (O.S.)
Aglet…

Goose looks up to see Anthony standing above him, frowning. That’s not really how Anthony wanted to start this conversation. But, as before, somehow it just spluttered out like that.

GOOSE
You what?

ANTHONY
Hard bit at the end of your shoelace. It’s called an aglet. And that–

GOOSE
Huh?

ANTHONY
That.

Anthony points to the gap between Goose’s eyebrows, making Goose pull back, sharply.

ANTHONY
The Glabella. It’s true. See, someone, somewhere’s named everything. Think about it. Everything. That’s a lot. Not just one person, of course, that would be ridiculous. Did you know an owl has three eyelids? Bet you they all have a name.

Anthony smiles but by now it’s very clear that Goose thinks he’s a nutter. Anthony steps forward.

GOOSE
Hey! Stay. Stay right there!

ANTHONY
(he’s somewhere else)
It’s not just the names…. you see I know Mel Blanc’s tombstone reads, “That’s all folks”… Coca Cola’d be green if they didn’t add colouring and Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliaphobia is the fear of long words.

GOOSE
Listen, I’m not interested, right? So go and dirty mac someone else.

Goose switches directions and starts walking the other way.

ANTHONY
Lost something?

Goose turns, suddenly engaged: “How does he know that?”

GOOSE
Maybe. Yeah, my dog.

ANTHONY
Mutt!

GOOSE
Yes! You seen him?

ANTHONY
No; but it’s what you were shouting.

Anthony smiles. Goose looks annoyed. He wants to get away from this clown.

ANTHONY
I lost a dog once… when I was about your age.

GOOSE
Yeah?

ANTHONY
Or perhaps I didn’t. Sorry there’s a lot I’m not too sure about right now.

Goose raises his eyebrows.

ANTHONY
Like this…

Anthony grabs the name badge on his striped jacket (which he’s still wearing under the long coat).

ANTHONY
You see, I don’t feel like an Anthony.

Anthony has finally hooked Goose’s interest.

GOOSE
You saying you don’t know your own name?

ANTHONY
(a little sadly)
No. The other stuff seems to have got in the way.

GOOSE
The aglet stuff?

ANTHONY
(nods)
And then I saw you…

GOOSE
(”here we go!”)
Oh, yeah…

ANTHONY
And I thought maybe there is some kind of logic to it all because it was you who stole the bangle…

The urban sounds suddenly FADE AWAY and you could hear a pin drop. Goose shivers as if someone had stepped on his grave.

ANTHONY
She lost a bangle… you stole a bangle… you lost a dog and…
(thinks)
I mean there might be some sort of pattern there, don’t you think?

All the BACKGROUND NOISE suddenly comes hurtling back like a wall of live static. Goose is absolutely horrified; he starts to back away and then turns and runs off. Anthony watches him go. Goose looks back once, glances over his shoulder at Anthony to check he’s not following, then runs away even faster.

 

And now the same passage from the book…

Anthony couldn’t sit still.  He was pacing back and forth, talking out loud.  His only audience was a rather mangy looking pigeon pecking at the remains of a bag of Prawn Cocktail crisps that someone had tried to throw in a bin but missed.

“Something’s happened,” Anthony told the bird.  “Happening,” he corrected himself, slumping down on a bench.  “I can’t work out which bit’s a dream and which bit’s real.  Or maybe none of it is…” With that he jumped back up onto his feet and resumed his pacing.  “Or perhaps I got knocked on the head.”  He rubbed his gloved hands over his face and looked down at the pigeon.  “And now I’m talking to a pigeon.”  Anthony stamped his foot in frustration, causing the bird to fly away.

“MUTT!  HERE, BOY!”

Anthony turned in time to see Goose sprinting past.  Immediately, Anthony recognised him.  He was the boy from the vision.  The boy at the window.  The little thief.

Goose reached the middle of the park and stopped.  He could see a long way in every direction and there was no sign of Mutt.  Goose was ready to cry but he sucked back the tears.  He looked down and saw that his shoelace was untied.  He focussed on that, crouching down to tie it, forcing himself not to cry, willing the tears back into his tear ducts.

“Aglet!”  Goose heard the word from behind him and jumped up and span around.  He saw Anthony, who was frowning.  Cross with himself because that wasn’t the best way to start a conversation.  Still, it was a way.

“You what?” asked Goose.

“Little hard bit at the end of your shoelace.  It’s called an aglet.  And that…” Anthony pointed his finger at the gap between Goose’s eyebrows.  This was a bigger mistake.  The attempt at physical contact put Goose on guard and he pulled back sharply.  Anthony could see the wariness in the boy’s eyes.  He was thinking Anthony was a nutter at best, a perv at worst.  He would get away from him as quickly as he could.  Anthony knew he didn’t have long to get Goose’s attention.  He knew he should just get to the point but he was unable to.  Some sort of mental block somewhere was stopping him.  Making him talk.  He wondered if he had Tourette’s.  Not that he shouted out swear words uncontrollably but he assumed Tourette’s came in many shapes and sizes.  “That’s the Glabella.”

Goose was frowning deeply.  Anthony persisted.  “It’s true.  You see, someone, somewhere has named everything.  Think about it.  Everything!”  He emphasised that word.  “That’s a lot.  Not just one person, of course, that would be ridiculous.  Did you know an owl has three eyelids?  Bet you they all have a name.”  In his head, Anthony was telling himself Get to the point!  Get to the point! but he seemed incapable.  Despite himself, he just kept talking.  “You can make about eleven and a half omelettes from one ostrich egg, Coca Cola’d be green if they didn’t add colouring and…” he took a deep breath.  “…Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of long words.”

Anthony exhaled and finally stopped talking.  Goose looked at him open-mouthed, buffeted by the torrent of trivia that this strange man had just unleashed.

“Is that true?” asked Goose.

“I’m not sure.  I think so.”

“Fascinating!” Goose sneered; making it clear he wasn’t interested or indeed fascinated and would very much like Anthony to go away.  Goose started to walk around him but Anthony just followed.  Goose, however, was a tough kid.  He had to be.  He spent most of his time alone, well with Mutt, and mostly out on the streets.  He knew how to take care of himself or at the very least he knew how to project the idea that he knew how to take care of himself.  In a year, no one had really tried to mess with him so he assumed it was working.

“Listen, I’ve tried to be nice but I’m not interested, okay?  So go and annoy someone else or I’m gonna start shouting at the top of me lungs!  Got it?”

“Got it,” said Anthony.

Goose switched direction and started walking away.  Anthony knew he only really had one more shot.  It was all or nothing.

“So you lost something then?”

Goose froze, turning his head slowly to look back at Anthony.  “Yeah, how’d you know that?”

“What d’you lose?”

“My dog.  He’s called—“

Anthony held up his hand, closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose as if concentrating hard.

“Mutt,” he said finally.  Goose actually gasped.  He felt a flutter of excitement in his belly.

“Yeah!  You seen him?”  There was suddenly a childlike stutter of expectation in Goose’s voice.  Like something out of Oliver Twist.

“No, it’s what you were shouting earlier.”  Anthony could see the child in Goose retreat and the hard-edged mini-adult reappear.  Silently, he admonished himself.  This was the wrong approach.  He was losing him again.  “I lost a dog when I was about your age.”

“Is that right?” said Goose, wiping his nose on his sleeve.  Anthony could sense Goose’s invisible wall being rebuilt before his very eyes.

“Yeah, I think so.  I mean I’m not sure.  There’s a lot I’m not sure about right now.  Like this.”  It was the only thing Anthony could think of to say at that precise moment.  He grabbed the name badge pinned to his striped jacket and held it out to Goose.  “I don’t feel like an ‘Anthony’.  Do I look like an ‘Anthony’ to you?”

Goose frowned and Anthony could tell he had hooked his interest once more.  He was determined not to lose it again.

“Are you saying you don’t know your own name?”  Goose was looking for the angle, wondering if this weirdo was about to try and get some money off him.

“I don’t want any money or anything,” said Anthony, apropos to nothing verbal.

“You what?” said Goose, wondering if Anthony was a mind reader.

“You looked like you were thinking I wanted money off you,” said Anthony, by way of explanation.

“What does someone look like when they think that?” asked Goose, clearly incredulous.

“I don’t know,” Anthony shrugged.  “Like you.  Anyway, back to me not knowing my name.”  Don’t lose his attention again, Anthony told himself.

“How can you not know your own name?” asked Goose.

“I’m not sure.  There seems to be lots of things I can’t remember.  Like I’m pretty sure I wasn’t here yesterday but today I am and I don’t remember the bit in between.  The getting here.”

“So where were you?” asked Goose.

“I don’t remember.  I remember lights.  Lots of lights and noise.”

“Maybe you were abducted by aliens,” said Goose.  “I saw a film about that once.  People lose whole chunks of time.”

“It’s a possibility I suppose,” said Anthony.  Don’t go off on a tangent! Anthony admonished himself in his head, partly because he already knew he was about to go off on a tangent.  “Did you know that the sun is three hundred and thirty thousand, three hundred and thirty times larger than the earth?”

“Can’t say I did know that,” said Goose.  “Or particularly want to know it,” he added.

Get to the point!  Get to the point! “And there are three hundred and thirty six dimples on a regulation golf ball.”

Anthony could see Goose running the figures through his head.  The boy frowned.

“So?  So what?” he asked.  “Three hundred and thirty thousand, three hundred and thirty and three hundred and thirty-six aren’t the same numbers.”

“No, but they’re close.”

“No, they’re not”

“No, I suppose they’re not.  Similar though.”

Goose shook his head.  “They both have some threes in them.  You seem to know a lot of useless facts.”

“Yeah, I do, don’t I?  Maybe I got hit on the head by an encyclopaedia salesman.”  Anthony meant it to be funny but he knew it wasn’t and he could tell Goose didn’t think so.  The boy was looking away.

“Look I’ve got to be going now, okay?” said Goose, having decided a direct and calm approach was probably the best way to handle this guy.

Anthony nodded.  “Okay.”  It was now or never he told himself.

“I don’t want you following me.  You tell me which way you want to go and I’ll go the other way.”  Goose sounded very reasonable and mature.  Anthony suddenly felt like the child.  “You want to go that way.”  Goose pointed west.  “And I’ll go this way?”  He pointed east.  “Or you go this way.”  East.  “And I’ll go that way.”  West.

“By raising your legs and laying on your back, you can’t sink in quicksand.”

Goose was already shaking his head before Anthony had even finished the sentence.  “That’s not going to be much use in Manchester is it?  Not a lot of quicksand.“

“S’pose not,” muttered Anthony.

“And I don’t want to know any more trivia,” added Goose.

“Dogs can make up to a hundred different expressions,” said Anthony hopefully.

“No,” said Goose, forcefully but still not losing his temper.  “Listen, Anthony, or whatever your name is.  We need to go our separate ways now.  Okay?”

“But our paths must’ve crossed for a reason.”

Goose frowned.  “How d’you mean?”

“Well, it can’t be a coincidence, can it?” asked Anthony.

“What can’t?”  Goose didn’t understand.

“That I meet the boy who stole the bangle from the old lady right after I meet the old lady whose bangle you stole.”  Anthony stopped to repeat that in his head to make sure it made sense.  He was relieved that it did make sense and he had finally managed to say what he had been trying to say.  Then he looked at Goose and could literally see the colour draining from his face.  Anthony realised he had said the wrong thing.  He was angry with himself.  Goose started backing away.  “Don’t go,” pleaded Anthony.  “There’s some kind of pattern: she lost a bangle, you stole the bangle, you lost your dog and here we are.  It’s got to mean something, hasn’t it?”

But Goose wasn’t listening.  He was scared.  Who was this weirdo?  How did he know about the bangle?  Goose had to get away from him.  As far away as possible.  He turned on his heel and started running.  Goose ran faster than he had all day.  He looked back only once to make sure Anthony wasn’t following.  He wasn’t.  Goose kept going.

About David

Screenwriter and Novelist.

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