Sherlock Dog and the Adventure of the Peg-Legged Duchess

30 Jan

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This is the second script I wrote for the NYC Midnight shorts festival, and the third in the series of short screenplays I’m throwing up here to get them off my C drive. Here are entries one and two. Oh, and if you want to dress your dog up like the one in the picture, I shamelessly lifted that off of this pet costume website. If you are associated with that pet costume website and would rather your business not be associated with a script this deeply stupid, please let me know and I’ll switch it out with a picture of a Benedict Cumberbatch otter or whatever. 

If you missed the last post, the NYC Midnight competition works like this: All the writers who enter are placed into “heats” of about thirty. Each of those thirty heats are assigned an object, a genre and a location that they then have 48 hours to produce a five page script around. For this one, I was assigned:

Genre: Mystery

Object: Prosthetic leg

Location: Dog park

And while my initial thought was to try something Lebowski-esque, where a slacker has to find his rich brother’s dog in a park full of yuppies, I thought that might confuse me with a writer who had any idea what he was doing. And thus, we have a dog detective and a flailing attempt to write characters with British accents. Hope you enjoy.

INT. BUTCHER’S STREET FLAT – DAY

A TELEVISION, surrounded by half-used fast food containers and worn socks, shows the news. A top-right still photo: the radiant image of the pixieish DUCHESS IRENE.

ANCHOR (ON TV)
…Irene Middlesex, Duchess of
York, more commonly known by her
self-assigned moniker “The Peg
Legged Duchess,” has been missing
for ten hours…

EXT. BUTCHER’S STREET – DAY

A bloodied Welsh Corgi wearing a JEWELED COLLAR limps along the snowy cobbles. Her collar reads: QUEEN MARY.

INT. BUTCHER’S STREET FLAT – DAY

The television’s owner, BOSWELL, rifles through his piles of bachelorey refuse for the TV remote.

His life wasn’t always like this: on the wall there’s a ad for the Magic Show of THE AMAZING DOCTOR BOSWELL… but his BEAUTIFUL ASSISTANT has been RIPPED OFF the poster.

ANCHOR (ON TV)
…meanwhile, the Duchess’ husband
to-be continues to earn his
reputation as “the Playboy Prince”
with another night of debauchery…

CONAN, a white German shepherd, notices what his master is doing. He locates the remote with a few quick SNIFFS and takes it to Boswell. He clicks off the news.

BOSWELL
Thanks, mate. Bloody royals, huh?

A SCRAPING PLASTIC NOISE. Both look for the source. It’s the dog-flap in the door. Mary has just limped through it. She YIPS pathetically. Boswell and Conan leap to their feet.

BOSWELL
Oh, gosh! We ought to call a vet!

Conan sniffs around her. He smells… THE BLOOD ON HER NOSE.

EXT. DOG PARK – FLASHBACK – NIGHT

A BOOT slams into Mary’s snout. The boot belongs to a man, wreathed in winter shadow, who bats the little dog away as he struggles with her owner: Irene.

INT. BUTCHER’S STREET FLAT – DAY

Back with the dogs. Conan circles Mary, sniffing. He smells… HER HURT LEG.

EXT. DOG PARK – FLASHBACK – NIGHT

The three men struggle with Irene. Mary LEAPS up and CHOMPS into one of their arms. He HOWLS, and throws her away. FAR, FAR away. She disappears into a snowbank with a YELP.

INT. BUTCHER’S STREET FLAT – DAY

Conan smells… MARY’S TEETH.

EXT. DOG PARK – FLASHBACK – NIGHT

Mary limps after the three men and Irene as they recede into the darkness. They’re too far away. She looks down. The only thing they’ve left is IRENE’S PROSTHETIC LEG. Mary tries to pick it up with her mouth, but she can’t. She’s too small.

INT. BUTCHER’S STREET FLAT – DAY

Boswell is on the phone, pacing frantically.

BOSWELL (INTO PHONE)
I don’t know who the owner is, do
I? The poor thing just wandered in!

WOOF! Boswell looks down. Both dogs are looking up at him impatiently. Conan holds a leash in his mouth.

BOSWELL
You’re right. Enough of this.

He hangs up, takes the leash from Conan. Opens the door. A gust of ICY AIR blasts him back. He shuts it. He looks back at the dogs, considering something…

EXT. BUTCHER’S STREET – DAY

Boswell holds Mary under one arm and walks Conan on a leash. They’re all bundled up. Boswell in a parka, Mary in a blanket, and Conan… In a INVERNESS CAPE and DEERSTALKER.

They pass by a shop window — inside, televisions all play the same news clip. They all show Irene’s beautiful face…

INT. DOG PARK – GROUNDSKEEPER’S OFFICE – DAY

IRENE’S FACE

Bruised. Puffy. Bloody. Tear-streaked… But tough. Fearless.

STATLER, a big, bald lump of muscle in a leather jacket passes in front of her, popping his knuckles. Two others circle behind her.

Funny thing: she’s missing a leg too, but it’s not a recent injury. A smooth stump protrudes from beneath her skirt.

Statler pulls up a chair and sits across from Irene. The two other goons stand behind him with crossed arms.

STATLER
Look. I’m sorry we had to rough you
up. But you have something we want.

IRENE
You’ll never find it, Statler.

STATLER
Please don’t be like that. You’re a
duchess, not Veronica bloody Mars.

IRENE
No, I mean you’ll never find it
because it’s snowing.

He sighs: Of course that’s where it is.

STATLER
(to his men)
It’s in the leg!

EXT. DOG PARK – DAY

Conan drags Boswell along, sniffing the ground. Mary yips encouragements.

BOSWELL
I’m pretty sure this isn’t the way
to the vet, boy…

Conan stops. He stands bolt upright. He smells something. Pushing on his snout, we suddenly find ourselves in…

INT. CONAN’S NOSE

Where vibrant, colourful blasts of scent swirl together into different shapes before BURSTING apart and becoming something new. First IRENE’S FACE, then STATLER’S, then MARY, then A GUN, then A PIZZA, then THE LEG, then ANOTHER PIZZA …

EXT. DOG PARK – DAY

Conan shakes it off, licks his lips, and starts digging.

BOSWELL
Come off it, Conan! We don’t have
time for this!

Mary yips and wriggles her way out of Boswell’s arms. She helps Conan dig. A beat. Boswell shrugs and gets down on his knees to help. They dig and dig and soon…

They unearth IRENE’S PROSTHETIC LEG. Boswell holds it up to the sun in bafflement. But then a SHADOW blocks his light. Boswell and the dogs look up for the source of it…

STATLER
Oi.

INT. DOG PARK – GROUNDSKEEPER’S OFFICE – DAY

Statler KICKS open the door. He has IRENE’S LEG in one hand and Boswell’s ear in the other. The dogs slip in quietly.

STATLER
Who’s this!?

IRENE
I don’t know! Should I know?
(to Boswell)
Who are you?

BOSWELL
Boswell. Hi. Your, um, highness. Or
whatever. Ow.

Statler throws both Boswell and the leg to the ground. Something small clatters out of the leg: A USB DRIVE.

STATLER
Now tell me where the damned thing
is! I looked everywhere!

BOSWELL
Did you look behind your ear?

Statler turns. In a lightning fast motion, Boswell reaches behind Statler’s ear, produces the USB drive, and holds it up between two fingers. When Statler reaches for it, Boswell rubs his hands together. Gone. Poof.

Statler GRABS Boswell by the neck. Boswell nods to Conan. Conan gets it. He goes and gnaws at Irene’s bindings.

STATLER’S GOONS hold Boswell while Statler beats on him.

STATLER
This! Is! A! Matter! Of! National!
Security!

WHAM! Irene CLUBS him with her prosthesis. He drops. The dogs LEAP at the other two goons, biting their hands, legs, junk. WHAM! WHAM! Irene drops them too.

Boswell beams at her as she reattaches her leg.

IRENE
Thanks. Do you have my drive?

He hands her the USB.

BOSWELL
I — no problem. Thank you. Can
I… Can I ask what’s on that?

IRENE
Oh, just pictures of my shite
fiance screwing his way through all
the trollops in the empire. Once
his “security detail” here found
out I had it…
(she nods to the
unconscious goons)
Well, I’m sure you can piece the
rest together.

BOSWELL
So what’ll you do now?

IRENE
Me? I’m going to go party in Ibiza
while MI5 sorts all of this out…

She checks him out. Likes what she sees.

IRENE
You ever been to Ibiza?

Conan smushes his face into Boswell’s dangling hand.

BOSWELL
Can I bring my dog?

She grins. Of course he can. He grins back.

Conan winks.

Mary runs circles around all of them, yipping.

FADE OUT.

2 Responses to “Sherlock Dog and the Adventure of the Peg-Legged Duchess”

  1. Nolan Pearson February 9, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    Sooo, I’m playing your campaign for SRR, Nightmare Harvest, and I must say it is one of the most well written stories I’ve ever encountered. After finding your blog, it makes a lot of sense why it is so creative and witty.
    Reason I’m writing this here is because I wasn’t really sure how else to contact you, but also to make one small suggestion. In order to keep with the theme of characters and trying to preserve genderless dialog, during the scene when the character is woken by the Yakuza squad, you may want to find a word for a Japanese insult when they refer to your character. Something like ‘Dog’ or ‘Swine’…
    Just an idea. Really wonderful campaign.

    • Kyle Francis February 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks Nolan! Good note. It’d be cool if it was something in Japanese, but a slang term specific to that group. I’ll think about it!

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