Silence, a dark street. We hear the sounds of panting, a heart banging and the urgent beating of running feet.
The hero flashes on to the screen. He is middle aged, thickish round the middle and clad in jogging bottoms with combat pockets, hung around with a gun belt festooned with water bottles. He is wearing an awful grey vest, ripped, tattered and begrimed.
He pounds the hard grey cobbled street, the haunted eyes in his tanned, grey streaked, sweat-glistened face flicking back and forth, scouring the buildings, ever searching, searching. He is a man fleeing from the spectre of something terrible.
The camera draws back and pans out. Now we are able to see just coming into view what appear to be his pursuers. There are many of them. In the lead a long-faced tall black man, whose height does not disguise his growing corpulence. Hard on his heels three ample chested women in a rainbow of designer running suits, they pant urgently, their breath explosively expelled between perfect teeth fully exposed in a rictus of pain as their flagging muscles propel them on to the only possible conclusion.
Following them a posse of men with the shortness of haircuts that declare their allegiance to the law and behind them a tighter group of men all wearing small dark sunglasses.
One by one they stream past us, all in pursuit of the hero, who we now see in the distance, running and running.
He is searching, raking the buildings with his desperate eyes as he runs past them down the hard streets, now on to flat wide paving stones that front shops and businesses, the smoothness underfoot lending speed to his flight.
Suddenly, he darts into a doorway, out of our sight. The packs, still on the cobbles up the hill behind him, pause visibly but momentarily until with audible howls and cries they redouble their efforts in the pursuit.
They arrive at the doorway! First the tall man, without pause runs in. Then the ample chested women squeeze into the narrow door one after the other. Finally the stocky men and all but one of those with the dark sunglasses rush inside.
The remaining sunglasses man leans against the wall outside, on lookout. He gets a mobile phone from his pocket and speaks into it urgently. He replaces it in his pocket, casting a wary glance up and down the street.
The man in the grey vest, festooned still with water bottles, emerges from the doorway. The sunglasses man is still leaning on the wall on one side of the doorway. The grey vest man leans on the wall on the other side of the door. He turns to the sunglasses man and speaks. As he pants the interchange is brief.
‘Didn’t you want to go then?’
‘No I went before I came out.’
‘You’re not on the Brussels sprout diet are you?’ Grey vest man bends his right knee, grasps it in his clasped hands and farts resoundingly.
Sunglasses man, up hill and upwind moves two feet to the left. ‘Well I’ve only got half a stone to lose before we start shooting.’
‘Lucky you. If I don’t lose twenty pounds in the next fortnight, they’re going to shoot a prequel instead with somebody younger.’
‘And that’ll be all of us out of a job as well. Keep drinking the water.’
‘Is there a choice?’
‘Not really. Race you.’
Grey vest man takes a swig from his bottle, farts twice and sets off down the hill, hotly chased by sunglasses man. One at a time the other cast members emerge from the doorway. Swigging water and farting they set off down the hill.
JaneLaverick.com – a free trip to the movies, sort of.