INDEPENDENT NEWS

Lyndon Hood: Dotcom Indeminity

Published: Tue 25 Sep 2012 01:19 PM
Dotcom Indeminity
DISSOLVE TO:
ENGLISH'S OFFICE - (NIGHT)
The desk lamp is still lighted. Outside the windows, the dawn is slowly breaking.
English is still clutching the dictaphone. There are eight or nine used memory cards on the desk beside him. A widening stain of leaking credibility shows on the left shoulder of his jacket. He is very weak by now, and his voice holds a note of utter exhaustion.
ENGLISH
It's almost four-thirty now, Key. It's cold. I wonder if he's still contesting that court case, or whether they've let him go by now. I wonder a lot of things, but they don't matter any more, except I want to ask you to do me a favor. I want you to be the one to tell Steven Joyce, kind of gently, before it breaks wide open... Yes, and I'd like you to look after her and that guy Banks, so he doesn't get pushed around too much. Because...
Suddenly he stops his dictation with an instinctive feeling that he is not alone in the room.
As he turns in his chair the CAMERA PULLS BACK slowly. The office door is wide open. Key is standing a few steps inside it. Behind him, on the balcony outside, stands a diplomatic protection squad member and a duty minister, peering curiously into the room over Key's shoulder.
Slowly, and without taking his eyes off English's face, Key reaches back and pushes the door shut.
English stops the dictaphone. He looks at Key with a faint, tired grin and speaks very slowly.
ENGLISH
Hello, Key.
Key moves towards him a few steps and stands without answering.
ENGLISH
Up pretty early, aren't you? I always wondered what time you got down to work.
Key, staring at him, still does not answer.
ENGLISH
Or did your press secretary pull you out of bed?
KEY
The GCSB did. Seems you leaked a little on the way in here.
ENGLISH
I didn't leak, that was a court document.
English makes a motion indicating the memory cards on the desk.
ENGLISH
I wanted to straighten out that Dotcom story for you.
KEY
So I gather.
ENGLISH
How long have you been standing there?
KEY
Long enough.
ENGLISH
Kind of a crazy story with a crazy twist to it. One you didn't quite figure out.
KEY
You can't figure them all, Bill.
ENGLISH
That's right. You can't, can you? And now I suppose I get the big speech, the one with all the two-dollar words in it. Let's have it,Key.
KEY
You're all washed up, Bill.
ENGLISH
Thanks, Key. That was short anyway.
They stare at each other for a long moment, then, with intense effort English gets up on his feet and stands there swaying a little. His face is covered with sweat. His shoulder is still leaking credibility. He is on the verge of collapse.
KEY
Bill, I'm going to call a spin doctor.
ENGLISH
(Bitterly)
What for? So they can patch me up? So they can nurse me along till I'm back on my feet? So I can walk under my own power out to front the media? Is that it, Key?
KEY
Something like that, Bill.
ENGLISH
Well, I've got a different idea. Look here. Suppose you went back to bed and didn't find this recording till tomorrow morning, when the office opens. From then on you can play it any way you like. Would you do that much for me, Key?
KEY
Give me one good reason.
ENGLISH
I need four hours to get where I'm going.
KEY
You're not going anywhere, Bill.
ENGLISH
You bet I am. I'm going to Australia.
KEY
You haven't got a chance.
ENGLISH
Everyone else is.
KEY
You'll never make the border.
ENGLISH
That's what you think. Watch me.
English starts to move towards the door, staggering a little, holding himself upright with great effort.
KEY
(In a voice of stony calm)
You'll never even make the elevator.
English has reached the door. He twists the knob and drags the door open. He turns in it to look back at Key's implacable face.
ENGLISH
So long, Key.
English goes out, leaving the door wide open. THE CAMERA FOLLOWS his staggering walk along the BALCONY TOWARDS THE ELEVATOR LOBBY. The sound of his breathing is so harsh and loud that for a moment it dominates the scene. Finally he reaches the swing doors leading into the lobby and starts to push them open. At this moment he collapses. He clutches the edge of the door and as it swings around with him he falls to the floor. He tries to struggle up but cannot rise.
In background comes the sound of a telephone being dialed.
KEYS' VOICE
Hello... Send an ambulance to the Beehive on Molesworth Street...Yeah... It's a ministerial job.
There is the sound of the phone being replaced in its cradle. Then there are footsteps growing louder along the balcony and Key walks slowly into the shot. He kneels down beside English.
KEY
How you doing, Bill?
English manages a faint smile.
ENGLISH
I'm fine. Only somebody moved the elevator a couple of miles away.
KEY
They're on the way.
ENGLISH
(Slowly and with great difficulty)
You know why you didn't figure this one, Key? Let me tell you. The guy you were looking for was too close. He was right across the desk from you.
KEY
Closer than that, Bill.
The eyes of the two men meet in a moment of silence.
ENGLISH
I love you too.
English fumbles for the handkerchief in Key's pocket, pulls it out and clumsily wipes his face with it. The handkerchief drops from his hand. He gets a loose cigarette out of his pocket and puts it between his lips. Then with great difficulty he gets out a match, tries to strike it, but is too weak. Key takes the match out of his hand, strikes it for him and lights his cigarette.
FADE OUT:
THE END
********

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