The Exodus of Calvita: Part V

EXT. (LS) Night. A caravan of traders has made camp in the desert. Their tents are clustered around a fire. There is music and merriment.

Cut to MS of a tent on the edge of the camp. It is lit from within. We see two indistinct figures. We hear raised voices and laughter.

A figure emerges from the tent, veiled and clad in a long gown of pink, gauzy cloth. The figure appears to totter indignantly.

Another figure emerges. He is a heavily built trader, wearing an open nightshirt and a single boot. He appears drunk.

TRADER: Honey chile! Come back to Otto, eh? I ain’t fix your hem even. You look like is rape on prom night or some shit. Come on.

Cut to handheld alongside the figure in the pink gown, now scurrying. The veil slips, revealing CALVITA. He is clearly agitated.

CALVITA: Feck off, you. I gave you a priceless heirloom for this–for this ladies’ wear. I’m not interested in any sailor antics.

TRADER: Heirloom? You think is heirloom? This fucking snuff box I seen hundreds. Stolen from resort harem in Occident City, eh?

CALVITA (stopping and turning to face the TRADER): That snuff box was passed to my aunt on my uncle’s death bed. It’s pure rosewood.

TRADER (guffawing): Rosewood! Someone pass your aunt some wood on a bed, but was no priest around, eh?

Cut to MS. CALVITA’s silhouette, its progress somewhat impeded by tafetta, stalks away into the desert night.

EXT. (MS) Day. CALVITA, wearing the diaphanous pink gown and veil he procured from the trader, stands before an imposing tent.

MVO: Two days after receiving his eviction notice, Ivor is back in the village. Even in disguise, he is taking a considerable risk.

CALVITA (to camera): Does this yoke look alright? Can you lads check me behind? The dress isn’t caught up in me jocks again, is it?

CALVITA makes nervous last-minute adjustments to his costume. He uses a gong placed at the entrance to the tent to announce his presence.

MVO: If the Council of Elders should learn that Ivor has violated the terms of his banishment, he will face certain death.

A turbaned official emerges from the tent. CALVITA immediately prostrates himself in the dust before the entrance.

OFFICIAL: Good lord, madam. Are you overcome? Faint with the heat of the day? Did I startle you?

CALVITA (rising, dusting himself down): Eh, no, I’m grand. Just showing due respect for this, em, great civic edifice, kind of thing.

OFFICIAL: This tent you mean? Goodness. Well, I’m sure that’s a lovely gesture, but scarcely necessary. You have an appointment?

CALVITA: Ah yeah. Now, not exactly an appointment. But I’m here to see that nice man from the planning department. [Giggles coquettishly.]

OFFICIAL (suspiciously): Nice man? The Surveyor? Indeed? Does he expect you?

CALVITA, in response, raises a hand playfully to his veiled cheek, snagging a fingernail. He attempts an alluring titter, then sneezes.

OFFICIAL: Whatever it was, madam, that just occurred behind your veil, I wish to have no knowledge of it.

CALVITA: Ah, no. Game ball. Sorry about that. It’s just myself and the Surveyor, you know yourself. I lose the ould run the odd time.

OFFICIAL: The Surveyor, Madam, is not a man of tender passions. Nor, it would seem, is he fastidious in his appetites.

CALVITA: Sure, there isn’t a pick on him. I’d say he’d go for a week on a bag of dates and the suck of a camel’s ear.

OFFICIAL: Madam, I beg you. I will conduct you to the Surveyor. But please do not speak further. It perturbs me.

INT. The Surveyor’s quarters, an opulently furnished tent hung with animal skins and embroidery. Smoke curls lazily from censers.

The SURVEYOR reclines on a gigantic tiger skin rug, inspecting a necklace of shark’s teeth. He chuckles darkly at a private thought.

OFFICIAL (entering): I beg your forgiveness for the intrusion, Surveyor. A lady of your acquaintance is without.

SURVEYOR: Is without what, lady boy? If it’s underthings, I may be lenient with you.

OFFICIAL: Is outside, Surveyor. I would not presume to speak indelicately of a maiden you have favoured with your attention.

SURVEYOR (rising): If I had so favoured her, bootlick, she would no longer have claim to that honour. Show her in.

CALVITA enters. He looks around with bemusement for a moment, then hurriedly prostrates himself on the nearest rug.

CALVITA: Oh, noble Surveyor. God, you’ve a grand little set-up here. Anyway, I’m a meek young one, here to beseech your effulgence.

SURVEYOR: It may surprise you to learn that I dislike having deranged debutantes frothing on my wildebeest. Do please get up.

CALVITA: Is that what that is, a wildebeest? It’s some classy-looking yoke, anyway. I’d love one myself if you’re ever getting rid of it.

SURVEYOR (hurling the shark tooth necklace at CALVITA): This is not the haberdasher’s stall, you mindless hag. What is it you want?

CALVITA: Ah jaysus, yeah. Sorry, now. I could talk for Pyrexia, hah? Anyway, I have come, kind sir, for a favour curry.

SURVEYOR: A favour curry? I begin to see. The lodger of reason, I fear, is but occasionally resident at Madam’s address. Do go on.

CALVITA: Yeah, well, that’s the whole thing about it, you see. It’s all residence- and address-related, kind of thing. A friend of mine–

SURVEYOR: A *friend* of yours? Oh, I do love these. Continue.

CALVITA: Em. Yeah. So, this friend of mine. He has a bit of a planning permission, em, situation. Irrespective of a dwelling.

The SURVEYOR peers closely at CALVITA. He takes his pink nylon veil between thumb and forefinger and examines it with immense disdain.

SURVEYOR: Irrespective, no less? Why is it that you seem oddly familiar to me?

CALVITA: Familiar? To your excellency? Sure, we wouldn’t move in the same circuits at all. Ah, no. You must have me—

The SURVEYOR pulls CALVITA’s veil suddenly and with considerable force, ripping it from his face, which he regards with jaded recognition.

SURVEYOR: Mr Calvita, I presume.


SURVEYOR (pulling on a velvet rope): Mr Calvita. You knew a tolerable life once, did you not?

CALVITA (sobbing): Have you any ould meths or anything I could put on it? I’ll get fecking Dedalus. Me immune system wouldn’t stop a ball from Bray Wanderers.

Guards enter the tent. The SURVEYOR nods impassively at CALVITA. They seize him roughly.

SURVEYOR: Henceforth you will know only suffering.

The guards place CALVITA in manacles and drag him from the tent by his ankles. He shrieks.

CALVITA: Ivor Calvita will be back! Oh, yes! Don’t bother writing my epicentre! Mark my words! Yesterday is a hydrangea, tomorrow is a miscellany!

The SURVEYOR reclines calmly on a kidskin divan, the firelight playing over his smooth, tranquil features. He selects and inspects a grape.

Faintly now, we hear CALVITA. He screeches in elaborate pain. He attempts a Shania Twain ballad. Then silence.

The SURVEYOR crushes the grape. He wipes his fingers fastidiously on a scrap of pink nylon.

EXT. (LS) Night. The village is quiescent under the desert night. A single campfire gutters, the sparks tumbling upwards into the perfect darkness.

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