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PROLOGUE

On Liverpool Streets

The 400 are set free

Dark Ages have begun

ACT I SCENE 1

It is late August 2017. The sun has set. We are inside 23rd Precinct of the New York City Police Department. Moonlight illuminates the desk of a 2m x 3m office.Two veteran detectives sit across from each other. BARNEY MULDOON smokes his third pack of the day. SAUL GOODMAN clutches a stack of clippings.

MULDOON: OK, Saul, calm yourself. What have you got?

GOODMAN: Barney. They are back.

MULDOON: You mean…

GOODMAN: Yes. It’s all in here. They’re back. And this time, they will immanentize the eschaton.

MULDOON: Well, I know how you could think that. The collapse of the banks, the rise of Trump. But how do you know it’s them?

GOODMAN: OK. Let’s start here. London, England. January 5th 2017. One plus five plus seventeen…

MULDOON: Twenty three! Not this again. It’s gonna take more than a few crude calculations with a date to convince me.

GOODMAN: OK, Barney. But it’s not one twenty three. It’s twenty twenty threes. Look at this poster that appeared on January 5th.

MULDOON: Fine. I see it. And there’s another 23 there. 23 years later. And another. 23rd August 2017.

GOODMAN: You missed one. 23/08/2017. Eight multiplied by two plus one seven. Sixteen plus seven is twenty-three.

MULDOON: OK, so it’s 23 years since what?

GOODMAN: Well I did some digging around this K2 Plant Hire outfit. They are linked to these artists, the K Foundation who burnt a million English pounds on an island in Scotland and filmed it.

MULDOON: When?

GOODMAN: Twenty-three years ago. August 23rd 1994. 8/23/1994. Eight is two raised to the third power. One plus nine plus nine plus four is…

MULDOON: 23. Three times. A Trilogy Of Twenty Threes. That’s some powerful numerology right there.

GOODMAN: I know. But that’s just the start. After showing the film twenty-three times they announced on the 5th November 1995…

MULDOON: Wait, let me do this one. Five plus eleven plus nineteen plus ninety five is… one hundred and thirty. No that’s not it.

GOODMAN: It’s not. But 130 is important. It’s factors are one, two, five, ten, thirteen, twenty six and sixty five. If you add those factors together you get 122. One plus twenty two is twenty three. 130 is the only integer that is the sum of the squares of its first four divisors, including one:

One squared is one

Two squared is four

Five squared is twenty five, and

Ten squared is hundred.

One plus four plus twenty five plus one hundred is one hundred and thirty.

MULDOON: OK. I follow the maths, but that’s not twenty three. Or even seventeen, if we’re really getting desperate, like in the old days…

GOODMAN: I haven’t finished. What’s missing from those squares?

MULDOON: Well, I guess it skips three squared and four squared and then a bunch of others up to ten squared.

GOODMAN: Add together those missing squares and you get 255. Two lots of the Rule of Five. And three seventeens multiplied by five also gives you 255.

MULDOON: Finally, seventeen makes an appearance. But there’s still no twenty three.

GOODMAN: Really? Did you miss it? Subtract your 130 from the hidden 255 and you get 125.

MULDOON: 125. That’s 5 cubed.

GOODMAN: Well done. You see, 130 contains both a double Rule Of Five and a triple Rule Of Five. It is a number of great significance and we will return to it.

MULDOON: OK. So where were we. Scotland?

GOODMAN: Indeed, and more specifically on a cliff top called Cape Wrath. It was here that those K Foundation clowns started their twenty-three year moratorium.

MULDOON: Their mora-what?

GOODMAN: A moratorium. A moratorium is a delay or suspension of an activity or a law. In a legal context, it may refer to the temporary suspension of a law to allow a legal challenge to be carried out.

For example, animal rights activists and conservation authorities may request fishing or hunting moratoriums to protect endangered or threatened animal species. These delays, or suspensions, prevent people from hunting or fishing the animals in discussion.

Another instance is a delay of legal obligations or payment. A legal official can order a delay of payment due to extenuating circumstances, which render one party incapable of paying another.

MULDOON: Christ, Saul. You sound like you’re reading from Wikipedia.

GOODMAN: I am.

MULDOON: But all this talk of contracts, of animal rights, of monies owed, these don’t sound like your normal artists.

GOODMAN: They are not. And it took 23 years for them to finally show their colours.

MULDOON: So they did nothing for 23 years.

GOODMAN: Well. They tried to bring peace to the Middle-East.

MULDOON: That went well.

GOODMAN: At least they tried. The plan was for the song, K Cera Cera to be played at the Glastonbury Festival in 1993.

MULDOON: And was it?

GOODMAN: No. Michael Eavis thought it was ‘simply dreadful’

MULDOON: Well, I suppose he’d know.

GOODMAN: And, I suppose it was nothing to do with the gigantic pyramid at the centre of his Solstice Festival. Except that year, they avoided the 21st June. Just as they did for every year after that. Michael Eavis. M.Eavis. Mavis. I’ll leave that one for you to look into.

MULDOON: So, they couldn’t bring peace to the Middle-East. Did they do anything else?

GOODMAN: Made soup. Shined shoes. Made models. Invented BANKSY.

MULDOON: BANKSY? Really?

GOODMAN: Maybe.

MULDOON: And now they’re back. In Liverpool. Why Liverpool?

GOODMAN: Have you got all day?

MULDOON: Saul. I should have left work hours ago. You take your time.

GOODMAN: We have a long way to go. I’ll be brief.

MULDOON: I know you, Saul. You don’t do brief. But thanks for trying.

GOODMAN: In no particular order:

Carl Jung

The Pool Of Life

An intersection of Leylines on a Mathew Street manhole cover

The Liverpool School of Language Dream and Pun

An immaculate backstage conception

The Kazimier

Ken Campbell

Bunnymen

Crystal Day

Yellow Submarines

Yoko Ono

Bluecoat

The Walker Art Gallery

A warehouse of Ice Cream Vans

Allen Ginsberg

Thomas Hobbes

The Dockers

That’s 17. Is that enough?

MULDOON: Well, Saul, six more might convince me.

GOODMAN: Very well.

The Tate. The Florrie. The Bombed Out Church.

News From Nowhere. Kalavela in Probe and the Ukranian connection.

MULDOON: OK. Liverpool is the place. How did folks get to go?

GOODMAN: More twenty-threes. 23rd June. At 11:23. Tickets sold out in…

MULDOON: Twenty-three seconds?

GOODMAN: No. Twenty-three minutes. The website kept crashing. This was the poster.

MULDOON: I see a couple of twenty-threes. Anything I’m missing?

GOODMAN: Add the digits.

MULDOON: 1+1+2+3+2+3+2+1+7 makes, let me see 22. They failed…

GOODMAN: And add the price 1+0+0?

MULDOON: Twenty-three.

GOODMAN: Exactly. You were saying?

MULDOON: OK. How about The 400 volunteers. No twenty threes, no seventeens, no five. Ha!

GOODMAN: Four sides of a pyramid, each side made of 100 bricks.

MULDOON: OK, we’re back to pyramids again. But where’s the Eye in the pyramid?

GOODMAN: Right there. Two times three gives ‘I’, the sixth letter of ‘pyramid’.

MULDOON: Fine. But I still see none of your special numbers in The 400.

GOODMAN: Allow me to explain. Two members of The JAMs with 200 volunteers each..

MULDOON: Two hundred still ain’t special.

GOODMAN: But you forget the Rule Of Fives. Five times seventeen plus five times twenty three gives…

MULDOON: You’re shitting me.

GOODMAN: Barney, my old friend, I shit you not.

MULDOON: You know it’s getting kinda late for all this math.

GOODMAN: Don’t worry, Barney. The rest are all in plain site. With their army of volunteers, or The 400 as they’ve started calling themselves, they had no need to hide in numbers anymore.

MULDOON: Hallelujah to that! I need coffee. Do you want coffee? I can get you a coffee.

GOODMAN: A coffee break would be great.

ACT I SCENE 2

We are in the offices of The Catashi Gallery. Head of Acquisitions, PABLO SANCHEZ is waiting for his scheduled call from his employer, MISTER CATASHI. His desk, the tiled floor and the walls around him are the purest of unspecified whites, although magnolia would be my guess. There is nothing on the desk except an oversized, vintage, red telephone. SANCHEZ twitches nervously. He knows what this call is about. He knows that he cannot get what he is going to be asked for. He knows the conversation will end badly. The RECEPTIONIST rings through.

RECEPTIONIST:Call for you Sir. It is Mr. Catashi in LA. The time there is 23:23.

SANCHEZ: Thank you, Clive. Put Mr. Catashi through and…

RECEPTIONIST: Yes, Sir?

SANCHEZ: Get me on the next flight to Liverpool. John Lennon Airport, I think it is.

RECEPTIONIST: As you wish, Sir. Shall I arrange accommodation and prepare an overnight bag?

SANCHEZ: That would be great, make sure that you…

RECEPTIONIST: Sir, Mr. Catashi is waiting.

SANCHEZ: Shit. Christ. Fuck. Sorry. Put him through.

CATASHI: What the fuck took you so long?

SANCHEZ: Mr. Catashi, Sir, sorry I, er, my, er…

CATASHI: I get it. It was that cunt Clive. He’s a fucking liability. Who the fuck has ever heard of a receptionist called Clive?

SANCHEZ: He’s very…

CATASHI: Very what?

SANCHEZ: Very…

CATASHI: Very fucking inept is what I say.

SANCHEZ: He’s very…

CATASHI: Very fucking unemployed is what he is. Have him clear his desk by the end of the day. No one. NO ONE keeps me waiting.

SANCHEZ: As you wish, Sir. By the end of the day.

CATASHI: Now. If you’re worth anything like the money I’m paying you, you’ll know why I’m ringing.

SANCHEZ: Liverpool, Sir.

CATASHI: Liverpool.

SANCHEZ: Well, the thing is…

CATASHI: I want it.

SANCHEZ: It, Sir?

CATASHI: Yeah, it. Whatever it is. The whole fucking thing. Welcome To The Pleasuredome…

SANCHEZ: The Dark Ages, Sir.

CATASHI: What?

SANCHEZ: The work. It’s entitled Welcome To The Dark Ages.

CATASHI: Yeah. Whatever.

SANCHEZ: Whatever, Sir?

CATASHI: Yeah, whatever it’s called, I want it.

SANCHEZ: Bbbu…

CATASHI: Don’t you say ‘but’…

SANCHEZ: Bbbbuuu….

CATASHI: Don’t you fucking say it!

SANCHEZ: Well…

CATASHI: Yes, well. Well what?

SANCHEZ: Well, the thing is…

CATASHI: The thing is, I FUCKING WANT IT. Comprendez?

SANCHEZ: Yes, Sir.

CATASHI: Finally. Finally he fucking gets it.

SANCHEZ: Do we have a budget to work to, Sir?

CATASHI: Whatever it takes.

SANCHEZ: Bbbuu…

CATASHI: Whatever. It. Takes.

SANCHEZ: But, money, Sir. It’s not really their…thing.

CATASHI: I know. I know. I know about Jura. I know about the ashes in the suitcase that your predecessor couldn’t get me. And I know what happened to him. As do you. Besides, I know what they really want.

SANCHEZ: What’s that Sir?

CATASHI: They want to be artists. They want respect. They want the plaudits. They want to be BANKSY. And you, through me, can give it to them.

SANCHEZ: As you wish, Sir.

CATASHI: Sanchez?

SANCHEZ: Yes, Sir?

CATASHI: Not getting this would break my heart. Do you hear me? Break. My. Heart.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Sir

CATASHI: You don’t want to break my heart, do you, Sanchez?

SANCHEZ: No, Sir.

CATASHI: Whatever. It. Takes.

SANCHEZ: Whatever it takes, Sir.

CATASHI: Good. And if they need a bit of a push, call Keith.

SANCHEZ: Keith, Sir?

CATASHI: He was very persuasive with Damien and I’m fairly certain he contributed to some of that mess on Tracey’s bed.

SANCHEZ: I will contact him if necessary, Sir.

CATASHI: No need.

SANCHEZ: Sir?

CATASHI: He’s already on his way.

SANCHEZ: His way, Sir?

CATASHI: To Liverpool, you fucking dimwit. Which is where you should be. Yesterday.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Sir. Clive is just…

CATASHI: Clive is just clearing his fucking desk. There’s a car outside for you now.

SANCHEZ: OK, Sir. Thank you, Sir.

CATASHI: I’ve got a couple of insiders in place in The 400 already. Keith will give you the details when you arrive.

SANCHEZ: Insiders, Sir?

CATASHI: Yes, of course. How do you think I know what the fuck is going on?

SANCHEZ: Very good, Sir.

CATASHI: Sanchez…I want it all.

SANCHEZ: As you wish, Sir.

CATASHI: (click)

SANCHEZ: Clive?

RECEPTIONIST: Yes, Sir?

SANCHEZ: Could you come in here please?

ACT I SCENE 3

New York Police Department. BARNEY MULDOON has coffee. SAUL GOODMAN has got his second wind.

MULDOON: So where did it all start?

GOODMAN: Well, The 400 registered for jobs at The Dead Perch Lounge. Address 23 Roscoe Street…

MULDOON: Keep going

GOODMAN: The JAMs book, called 2023, was launched at 00:00:23 on 23rd August at News From Nowhere on Bold Street.

MULDOON: News From Nowhere? Like the William Morris book

GOODMAN: The very same. Published 14th January 1890

MULDOON: One plus four plus…

GOODMAN: Yes. Twenty-three.

MULDOON: And when did this shop first open?

GOODMAN: May Day 1974.

MULDOON: 1+1+9+7+4 = 22. Close but no cigar.

GOODMAN: Except, the May Day Public Holiday that year was Monday 2nd May. 2+1+9+7+4 = 23.

MULDOON: You promised no more math.

GOODMAN: Then just trust me. Every date will give twenty-three. I’ve checked them myself.

MULDOON: OK. My brain says thank you. So where were we?

GOODMAN: The book stamping. Word on the street – well, behind the bar at The Dead Perch Lounge – is that the first twenty-three books got stamped in a particular way. Unique.

MULDOON: The JAMs logo is inverted. Why?

GOODMAN: Maybe it was sloppy. Maybe not.

MULDOON: These don’t strike me as sloppy guys.

GOODMAN: Exactly.

MULDOON: So, what was the deal with this book?

GOODMAN: Well, 377 pages, which is 400-23, but on the second day these pages were given to every single volunteer.

MULDOON: But they were expecting 400.

GOODMAN: Exactly, what happened to the missing 23 volunteers. Were they the ones with the special stamps?

MULDOON: You mean…they were…sacrificed?

GOODMAN: Well it was Jodorowsky who said ‘art is a form of sacrifice.’

MULDOON: But these people paid money. One hundred pounds.

GOODMAN: Yeah and MuMufication costs £99 plus a tip.

MULDOON: Mu…Mu..Fi-what?

GOODMAN: Later.

MULDOON: Later? OK. Whatever. You were saying about the book, 2023 wasn’t it?

GOODMAN: 2023, A Trilogy By The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu

MULDOON: 23 letters

GOODMAN: Of course. They changed it from Mummu for that very reason.

MULDOON: Anything else?

GOODMAN: The 23rd word on the 23rd page is ‘I’

MULDOON: The Eye In The Pyramid?

GOODMAN: The 23rd word in the 23rd Chapter is ‘book’

MULDOON: What about the 23rd letter of whole book?

GOODMAN: It’s a ‘u’.

MULDOON: I. Book. U. Freaky. Did they really plan all of this?

GOODMAN: To the very last detail. In fact, look at the 23rd word of the script.

MULDOON: Script? What script?

GOODMAN: Nothing. Now where was I?

MULDOON: The JAMs had launched a book.

GOODMAN: Good place to leave it. I’m going home to see if my wife still remembers who I am.

ACT II SCENE 1

A hotel room. An expensive one. The huge, panoramic vista shows the Liverpool Dock area, The Liver Building and beyond that the dark, moonlit waters of The Mersey. Two men are enjoying a late night whiskey. They are the INSIDERS and their identities are unknown. Below is a transcript of their conversation recorded covertly by the Catashi Organisation.

INSIDER 1: Well that was fun.

INSIDER 2: Pretty cool.

INSIDER 1: What did you make of them?

INSIDER 2: They looked great. Full of energy.

INSIDER 1: They’ll need it.

INSIDER 2: Do you reckon?

INSIDER 1: Well I’m expecting great things.

INSIDER 2: But we don’t know what’s going on.

INSIDER 1: Hopefully they do.

INSIDER 2: You’d like to think so.

INSIDER 1: But, its always chaotic with them and this time it’s on a massive scale.

INSIDER 2: They’ll have been planning this for years.

INSIDER 1: Years?

INSIDER 2: Well months.

INSIDER 1: Do you think we’ll get our monies worth?

INSIDER 2: It’s not about the money for me.

INSIDER 1: Who are you kidding? It always about the money with you.

INSIDER 2: Yeah, but…

INSIDER 1: Yeah, but nothing. I’m shattered.

INSIDER 2: Me too.

INSIDER 1: What’s on tomorrow?

INSIDER 2: Job allocation and the hearing.

INSIDER 1: Busy, busy, busy.

INSIDER 2: Better get some rest then.

INSIDER 1: Don’t think I’ll sleep well tonight. Too excited.

INSIDER 2: Another whiskey might help.

INSIDER 1: Why not?

INSIDER 2: It’s good stuff. Where did you get it?

INSIDER 1: Do you know what?

INSIDER 2: What?

INSIDER 1: I can’t remember.

INSIDER 2: Too pissed, probably.

INSIDER 1: Probably.

INSIDER 2: Well, here’s a toast. To forgotten whiskey and the next three days.

INSIDER 1: I’ll drink to that. Cheers

INSIDER 2: Cheers.

ACT II SCENE 2

The same office in the same NYPD. Our detectives are the same. Both suffered a restless night in bed. Both detectives know that they have a long day ahead of them.

MULDOON: OK, Saul. We have coffee. We have clean underwear. We have the whole of the day ahead of us. Tell me about the second day.

GOODMAN: They call it Day 1

MULDOON: OK, my oh-so-pedantic friend, Day 1.

GOODMAN: The 400 met at Constellations in Baltic Triangle.

MULDOON: Any significance?

GOODMAN: Plenty

MULDOON: Why do I bother to ask?

GOODMAN: Constellations telephone number is 345 6302

MULDOON: Twenty-three.

GOODMAN: The Baltic Triangle is..

MULDOON: Russia? The Russians are involved?

GOODMAN: Not yet… The Baltic Triangle is a creative quarter of Liverpool, regenerated over the last 17 years. It has a curious logo.

baltic

MULDOON: A pyramid?

GOODMAN: It lies between the centre of Liverpool and The Dingle.

MULDOON: The Dingle?

GOODMAN: Later…

map

MULDOON: Saul, you big tease.

GOODMAN: Patience. Constellations is on Greenland Street. Greenland Street is also home to the Camp and Furnace. On the 23rd November 2014, the Camp and Furnace hosted something called Cosmic Trigger.

MULDOON: 11 minus 2 plus 14…

GOODMAN: What? On yes, Very good. The Cosmic Trigger is something that requires further investigation.

MULDOON: I’ll add it to my list.

GOODMAN: Thank you.

MULDOON: So what happened at Constellations?

GOODMAN: The 400 were shepherded into a space at the rear of the venue called The Observatory.

MULDOON: The Observatory. What were they observing?

GOODMAN: Nothing. They were being observed. It was here that the jobs were distributed.

MULDOON: By The JAMs?

GOODMAN: No. By their familiars. They used the names Daisy and Oliver.

MULDOON: Daisy and Oliver? I’ll look into it. How many jobs were there? 23?

GOODMAN: No. 40.

MULDOON: Pity.

GOODMAN: You forget. 23 plus 17 equals 40. 40 is five multiplied by two raised to the third power. Forty is very powerful.

MULDOON: I’ll add it to my list!

GOODMAN: Ever the willing student.

MULDOON: You know me. I lap it up. So, after the jobs were distributed, what did The 400 do next?

GOODMAN: Very little is clear about the afternoon’s activities. Snippets are available online. Some activities bordered on the illegal. Some bordered on the insane.

MULDOON: I’d expect nothing less.

GOODMAN: Good. Your expectations are high. You will not be disappointed.

MULDOON: Was that it for the day?

GOODMAN: The evening involved a hearing.

MULDOON: A hearing? Like in a court?

GOODMAN: There were witnesses. There were closing arguments. There was a jury of 400. There was even a Court Artist.

MULDOON: And the verdict?

GOODMAN: A deep tradition of historical weirdness.

MULDOON: Whatever.

GOODMAN: That’s what they said.

MULDOON: They? The JAMs were there?

GOODMAN: They accepted the verdict of 23% of the jury. Then they vanished.

MULDOON: Wait a minute. Back up. Where did this take place? Constellations?

GOODMAN: No. They decamped and regrouped at The Black E.

MULDOON: The Black E?

GOODMAN: Formerly known as The Blackie. Also known as the Great George Street Congregational Church.

MULDOON: A church? I didn’t know they were religious.

GOODMAN: They’re not. They ARE a religion.

MULDOON: Any interesting dates?

GOODMAN: How about the year it closed as a church? 1967.

MULDOON: One plus nine plus…

GOODMAN: No math required.

MULDOON: Oh, yeah. I forgot, In Saul we trust.

GOODMAN: The date building was completed of the original chapel- 26/5/1812 . The date that a fire destroyed the first chapel – 19/2/1840

MULDOON: That’s…twenty…five. Both of them.

GOODMAN: Five fives?

MULDOON: Forgive me. What does this place look like?

GOODMAN: Striking. Take a look. Strangely evocative of something much older. I just can’t place it at the moment.

black e

MULDOON: I know what you mean. I’ll do some digging.

A phone rings.

GOODMAN: Homicide. Detective Goodman speaking….I see…OK…You got an address?….On our way…And do me a favour…No press…I want this watertight.

MULDOON: A case?

GOODMAN: Get your coat.

MULDOON: I guess The JAMs will have to wait a while.

GOODMAN: We can talk on the way. You can drive.

ACT II SCENE 3

A restaurant. China Town, Liverpool. Two women are enjoying a meal and a bottle of wine. ART is giddy with excitement. MONEY is quiet and distracted by her mobile phone.

ART: Well THAT was fun

MONEY: Sorry, what?

ART: Tonight. The hearing. In that building right there.

MONEY: Yes, the hearing. Right.

ART: Are you OK?

MONEY: No. I don’t think I am.

ART: Why? What’s the matter?

MONEY: I need your help. Can you keep a secret?

ART: Your scaring me now. What is it?

MONEY: That building. Where we were tonight.

ART: The Black-E?

MONEY: Do you recognise it? I mean have you seen it before?

ART: Well…

MONEY: I’m sorry. I’m not making sense. I’m finding it difficult to keep my head straight. What I mean to ask is… have you seen that building somewhere else before?

ART: I don’t think I have. What are you getting at?

MONEY: Look at this.

ART: Well that could be The Black-E on the right. But what’s this on the left?

MONEY: That depicts two knights riding a single horse. Destitute after giving up their worldly possessions.

ART: What are you getting at?

MONEY: Those are the Seals Of The Knights Templar. An organisation that hasn’t existed for over 700 years.

ART: And what has that got to do with us.

MONEY: Everything.

WAITER: Good evening, Ladies. My name is Philip. I’ll be your waiter tonight. Would you like to order your starters?

MONEY: Erm, we’re not quite ready yet.

WAITER: Some more drinks maybe?

MONEY: Yes. More wine please. Another bottle and we’ll need your Wi-fi password.

WAITER: I’ll get you another bottle of rosé and the password is temple23, all lowercase.

MONEY; temple? 23? Are you sure? That’s an odd password.

WAITER: They’re just randomly generated I think. We’ve just changed our provider.

MONEY: Thank you, Philip.

ART: What is this about?

MONEY: Do you believe in fate?

ART: Sometimes. Sometimes not. You make your own luck.

MONEY: You do. I agree. I’ve worked damn hard all of my life to get to where I am. An economics degree and a career as an analyst.

ART: And an activist.

MONEY: Well that came later. But yes, let’s not be modest. I’m the worlds leading expert on usury and debt and I predicted the Global Financial Crisis.

ART: You did?

MONEY: I did. Many times. And five years before it happened.

ART: No one listened.

MONEY: They listened. They just didn’t want to hear. And you, an expert in what you do.

ART: I wouldn’t say that.

MONEY: Don’t be coy. Your work is excellent. I’ve been reading it since I knew you were on the panel.

ART: Thank you. But what did you mean by fate?

MONEY: Fate has bought us to this place, at this time for a reason.

ART: What reason?

MONEY: The Knights Templar are back. They have resources. They have money, despite what they are prone to doing with it, and now they have an army of 400 volunteers.

ART: You don’t mean..

MONEY: They go by many names. The Knight Templar. The Order Of Solomon’s Temple. The Knights de L’argent Français. The Jerusalem Armed Monetary System. The KLF. The JAMs.

WAITER: Here you are ladies. One bottle of chilled rosé. Are you ready to order yet?

ART: No.

MONEY: No thank you. Not yet.

ART: That’s incredible. But what proof do you have?

MONEY: Nothing yet. But we’ve got the Wi-fi password.

ART: Where do we start?

MONEY: Iconography.

ART: Right up my street.

MONEY: Exactly.

ART: And where are you looking?

MONEY: I’m sticking with the numbers. And maybe a background check on Messrs Cauty and Drummond. I trust they are registered at Companies House.

ART: OK. First thing that stands out for me, as an art historian is the dearth of recorded images from the time. When were they about?

MONEY: I’ve got that here 1119-1307

ART: Twenty-three.

MONEY: Sorry, what?

ART: Oh, it’s just something I picked up from the hearing. They are very much into the number twenty-three. Like today’s date for example and the twenty-three year moratorium.

MONEY: That means they were only around for 188 years.

ART: Seventeen.

MONEY: What?

ART: They like seventeen too.

MONEY: So, anyway, those dates 1118-1307. Ring any bells.

ART: Oh my god.

MONEY: What?

ART: The Dark Ages

MONEY: Of course.

ART: A phrase coined by Petrarch in 1330…

MONEY: Twenty-three years after the end of the Knights Templar.

ART: Just as The Renaissance began.

MONEY: Plenty of art then.

ART: So why did they disappear?

MONEY: Hunted down on the orders of the Pope, who was in fact just doing the bidding of King Philip of France, who was in an awful lot of debt to the Templar bank. As well as formulating the first banking system, the Templars were instrumental in the Church allowing usury, that was regarded up to that point as a sin. The Pope declared that the Templars were ‘giustifacto’ in their actions – Justified to you and me.

ART: Justified and 700 years old makes them Ancient.

MONEY: Dolly Parton?

ART: Tammy Wynette.

MONEY: That’s right. What was she thinking? Anyway, the Pope famously ordered that the Templars were ‘cauterizzata dalla chiesa’ – cauterised from the church.

ART: As in Cauty?

MONEY: See, they’re not even hiding this.

ART: This article here accuses them of worshipping mummified heads.

MONEY: Are you sure that’s not mumufied?

ART: What’s that?

MONEY: Nothing. Just a bad pun.

ART: It then goes on to talk about the final Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques De Molly cursing those who persecuted him.

Dieu sait qui a tort et a péché. Il va bientot arriver malheur à ceux qui nous ont condamnés à mort – : God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death

MONEY: Nice last words, but when did curses ever work?

ART: Well they did in 1307. Pope Clement died within the month and King Philip died within the year.

MONEY: Powerful magic.

ART: Magick with a K…

MONEY: The rest of the order were dispatched in equally gruesome ways. Many were caught because they refused to cut their distinctive beards.

ART: Hipster chic even back then.

MONEY: The largest and most infamous of these mass burnings happened on Friday 13th October, which just happens to be a date THIS year as well.

ART: Spooky

MONEY: I prefer scary. What if they are back to reek havoc? Cauty and Drummond seem to be vehemently anti-money and anti-corporations. The polar opposite of the Templars.

ART: Did any Templars escape?

MONEY: A few. Their distinctive churches cropped up in three places. Portugal, Devon and Scotland.

ART: Ah, the birth of Clan Drummond. Naming records of Drummonds start almost exactly as the Templars end. Also, it says here that a John William Drummond moved to Portugal in the 15th Century. Travelling the continent was still virtually unheard of then, so it was remarkable that he would move his entire family to the Madeira Islands when he did. And they stuck around too, to the degree that Drummond is still a popular surname in both Portugal and Brazil.

MONEY: Coincidence after coincidence after coincidence.

ART: Deepak Chopra says there is no such thing as coincidence or accidents. There is just synchronicity and everything happens for a reason.

MONEY: When the student is ready…

ART: …the master appears.

MONEY: And when the rosé is empty…

ART: The waiter appears!

WAITER: Hello again, ladies. I’m afraid we are closing now. Can I order you both a taxi.

MONEY: No need, thank you. I’ve ordered us an Über. It’s quoting two grand to get us out of here and back down south.

ART: Are you serious?

MONEY: I’m always serious. Even after six glasses of wine. I’ve got a very bad feeling about what’s going on. I want to get back to London and show what we’ve found to a few of my colleagues. Are you coming?

ART: Well I’m as uneasy as you about what we’ve found, but if we are about to witness another Renaissance, it’s my duty as an academic to be here, at Ground Zero, so to speak.

MONEY: OK. Be careful. I’ll ring you tomorrow for an update.

ART: OK. Safe journey home and don’t worry about me. What’s the worst that could happen?

MONEY: …

ART: It’s OK. Just go.

MONEY: Be careful and stay away from bearded men.

ART: Wise words, Mrs Money. Wise words.

ACT III SCENE 1

A hotel room. An expensive one. The huge, panoramic vista shows the Liverpool Dock area, The Liver Building and beyond that the dark, moonlit waters of The Mersey. Two men are enjoying a late night whiskey. They are the INSIDERS and their identities are unknown. Below is a transcript of their conversation recorded covertly by the Saatchi Organisation.

INSIDER 1: Well that was fun.

INSIDER 2: Pretty cool

INSIDER 1: What did you make of them?

INSIDER 2: They looked great. Full of energy

INSIDER 1: They’ll need it.

INSIDER 2: Do you reckon?

INSIDER 1: Well I’m expecting great things.

INSIDER 2: But we don’t know what’s going on.

INSIDER 1: Hopefully they do.

INSIDER 2: You’d like to think so.

INSIDER 1: But, its always chaotic with them and this time it’s on a massive scale.

INSIDER 2: They’ll have been planning this for years.

INSIDER 1: Years?

INSIDER 2: Well months.

INSIDER 1: Do you think we’ll get our monies worth?

INSIDER 2: It’s not about the money for me.

INSIDER 1: Who are you kidding? It always about the money with you.

INSIDER 2: Yeah, but…

INSIDER 1: Yeah, but nothing. I’m shattered.

INSIDER 2: Me too.

INSIDER 1: What’s on tomorrow?

INSIDER 2: The Day Of The Book. A reading.

INSIDER 1: Busy, busy, busy.

INSIDER 2: Better get some rest then.

INSIDER 1: Don’t think I’ll sleep well again tonight. Too excited.

INSIDER 2: Another whiskey might help.

INSIDER 1: Why not?

INSIDER 2: It’s good stuff. Where did you get it?

INSIDER 1: Do you know what?

INSIDER 2: What?

INSIDER 1: I still can’t remember.

INSIDER 2: Too pissed, probably.

INSIDER 1: Probably.

INSIDER 2: Well, here’s a toast. To forgotten whiskey and the next two days.

INSIDER 1: I’ll drink to that. Cheers

INSIDER 2: Cheers

ACT III SCENE 2

A hotel room. A very expensive one. The huge, panoramic vista shows the Liverpool Dock area, The Liver Building and beyond that the dark, moonlit waters of The Mersey. Two men are arguing. They have already been doing this for some time. KEITH is a mess of alcohol driven anger and coke-fuelled self-importance. He will finish three cigarettes during this scene. He flicks each stub at SANCHEZ who has the demeanour of a convict on death row who wants to throw the switch to his own electric chair. For him this scene could not end soon enough.

KEITH: FUCK YOU AND FUCK YOUR PRINCIPLES.

SANCHEZ: I can’t take much more of this.

KEITH: OF WHAT? FANCY SUITS AND PENTHOUSE SUITES. TEN GRAND EXPENSE ACCOUNTS, ALL THE COKE AND RENT BOYS YOU CAN SWALLOW.

SANCHEZ: I’m not into that. I’m…

KEITH: FUCKING YOUR PA. WHAT’S THE FUCKERS’S NAME?

SANCHEZ: Clive.

KEITH: WELL CLIVE’S A CUNT AND YOU’RE A CUNT AND YOU’LL BE A DEAD CUNT SOON IF YOU DON’T DELIVER FOR CATASHI.

SANCHEZ: Are you threatening me?

KEITH: NO. I’M FUCKING PROMISING YOU, CUNT. IN FACT, I’LL WRITE IT DOWN ON THIS HOTEL STATIONERY. I, KEITH *****, DO GUARANTEE TO RIP YOUR FUCKING HEAD OFF IF YOU LET CATASHI DOWN. I’LL DO JUST WHAT I DID TO YOUR PREDECESSOR ONLY TIMES TWENTY FUCKING THREE.

SANCHEZ: It was you?

KEITH: IT WAS ME THAT SLIT HIS THROAT. I WAS ME THAT CHOPPED HIM UP. IT WAS ME THAT BURNT THE BODY AND IT WAS ME THAT MADE HIS ASHES INTO THAT FUCKING BRICK THAT CHARLES USES AS A PAPERWEIGHT IN HIS TOKYO OFFICE. I ENJOY MY WORK, BUT WHAT I ENJOY MORE IS THE MONEY THAT CATASHI GIVES ME WHEN I GET THINGS DONE.

SANCHEZ: But why him?

KEITH: CATASHI IS UP TO HIS NECK IN POWERFUL, EVIL FRIENDS. HE’S POWERFUL TOO. EVER SINCE THAT FIRE AT HIS WAREHOUSE IN 2004. FIFTY MILLION QUID THEY RECKON. PUTS THIS WEEK’S CLOWNS INTO PERSPECTIVE. PRICELESS ART INCLUDING OFILI’S CAPTAIN SHIT, TRACEY’S TENT AND THE CHAPMAN BROTHERS’ HELL.

SANCHEZ: He did it himself?

KEITH: NO. GOT SOMEONE TO DO HIS DIRTY WORK.

SANCHEZ: You?

KEITH: NO. SOME PERFORMANCE ARTIST/HIGH PRIEST BY THE NAME OF MOBUGU.

SANCHEZ: But why?

KEITH: A BURNT OFFERING IN MYSTICAL LEYTONSTONE TO THE SORT OF GODS THAT ASK A LOT BUT DELIVER MORE

SANCHEZ: Christ…

KEITH: NO THE OTHER GUYS.

SANCHEZ: You mean…

KEITH: WELCOME TO THE DARK SAGES.

SANCHEZ: That explains a lot.

KEITH: WELL, NOW YOU KNOW MINE AND CATASHI’S SECRETS, HOW ABOUT YOU TELL ME WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THESE MU MU CUNTS?

SANCHEZ: Well, I’ve spoken to one of The Insiders…

KEITH: THEY’RE CUNTS TOO.

SANCHEZ: …and they say that its big. As in huge. As in how the fuck are we going to get it back to London huge.

KEITH:(calmer) What will it cost us?

SANCHEZ: It’s too much…

KEITH: Just tell me…

SANCHEZ: 34592 x £99

KEITH: Just tell me…

SANCHEZ: £3,424,608

KEITH: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Do you think we’ll get it?

KEITH: I will. Catashi will. You…

SANCHEZ: I know, I’m just a cunty lackey.

KEITH: Are you Mexican?

SANCHEZ: My parents were.

KEITH: I’m going to need some dips. And some tortilla.

SANCHEZ: Why?

KEITH: Because that’s what you have with a Mexican.

SANCHEZ: I don’t get it.

KEITH: You know too much. I’m going to stab you in the heart and then eat you. Is that clear enough? Today is the Mexican Day Of The Dead.

SANCHEZ: Los Dias De Los Muertos

KEITH: Whatever.

ACT III SCENE 3

A New York City loft apartment. The power is out. The room is lit neon from the billboard across the street and the blue lights of the police cars in the street below. The floor crunches autumnally under foot. There are no leaves. Dozens of ice cream cones cover the floor. A disembowelled corpse and a cryptic message written on the floor in what looks to be blood await inspection. GOODMAN and MULDOON are climbing the 23 floors up to the apartment. Their annoyance at being here is palpable. GOODMAN lights a cigarette. MULDOON swills coffee dregs in a paper Starbucks cup.

GOODMAN: …and that’s all we know about Day 2. Do me a favour and keep looking online for anything else that comes out.

MULDOON: Still plenty of twenty-threes in The Bombed Out Church. How the hell do you arrange the date of it being designated a listed building, so that it gives you twenty-three – 2+8+6+5+2? Surely that sort of things just happens with bureaucracy. Just guys pushing papers until the work is done.

GOODMAN: They thrive on bureaucracy. They control entire organisations by just having one of their operatives somewhere in the heirarchy. Remember, every brick in a pyramid is as important as every other one.

MULDOON: Except the brick on top.

GOODMAN: Exactly.

MULDOON: So, what have we got here.

GOODMAN: Neighbours complained of a smell. Building super kicked down the door and rang us straight away.

MULDOON: So the crime scene is fresh?

GOODMAN: Evidentially, yes. Fragrantly, far from it.

MULDOON: Yeah, what is that smell?

GOODMAN: Lets find out.

MULDOON: My God, that’s disgusting, and I’ve worked my share of stinky crime scenes.

GOODMAN: I agree. Clearly organic in nature, but that is not the smell of human death. The victim is nightclub bouncer by the name of Danny Z. What’s left of him is over here.

MULDOON: Those wounds…it must have been one hell of a frenzied attack.

GOODMAN: No. Look again. They are symmetrical in their design. See. One cut. Then two. Then three. Then two. Then one.

MULDOON: Nine symmetrical cuts.

GOODMAN: Each of the middle three sets of cuts has been slashed again three times. These are more random. These give the impression of frenzy and disguise the inherrent structure. Chaos from order.

MULDOON: So how many cuts is that in total?

GOODMAN: Brace yourself.

MULDOON: No…

GOODMAN: Yes. Twenty three.

MULDOON: Ooh, that give me goosebumps. But it’s just a coincidence, right.

GOODMAN: Deepak Chopra says there is no such thing as coincidence or accidents. There is just synchronicity and everything happens for a reason.

MULDOON: I don’t see any reason here.

GOODMAN: Maybe. Hand me your flashlight.

MULDOON: What you got?

GOODMAN: A message? Look.

IMG_4437

MULDOON: KU? You thinking the klan? In New York City?

GOODMAN: Maybe…maybe God’s Lightning are making a comeback…

MULDOON: You don’t buy that though, do you Saul?

GOODMAN: Your instincts are correct. There is something about this crime scene. About those wounds. About that message. It’s too…

MULDOON: Artsy?

GOODMAN: Barney, that’s it. We are standing on a canvas. These cuts are the brushstrokes. KU is some kind of signature.

MULDOON: So, if we’re standing here, on the canvas, as you say, are we part of the art?

GOODMAN: No, but we are spoiling the effect. We need everything photographing and documenting as soon as possible.

MULDOON: I’ll ring Al, see where he’s at……Al, it’s Muldoon… we need some CS snaps as soon as you can…what do you mean you’re ‘too fucking busy’?…go on…yeah…is it…OK…look I’ll speak to Goodman first then ring you back.

GOODMAN: What is it?

MULDOON: Al’s at a crime scene in midtown. John Doe, evicerated in his own home. Peculiar smell…

GOODMAN: Go on…

MULDOON: And KO is written on the wall in blood.

GOODMAN: My God…

MULDOON: I know…

GOODMAN: Looks like we have…

MULDOON: A fucking fruitloop on the loose. I hate these cases. KUKO. What the fuck is that?

GOODMAN: That, Barney is the beginning. We have two more bodies to find.

MULDOON: Terrific…fucking terrific…I hate it when you get all cryptic.

ACT IV SCENE 1

ART is in her hotel room. Not an expensive one. The window shows the Liverpool Lime Street Station but no Liver Building or moonlit river. Her laptop comes to life to announce a Skype call. It is MONEY  and she is worried.

ART: Hiiiiii

MONEY: Are you alone?

ART: I am.

MONEY: How was today?

ART: The Day of The Book. It was brilliant. Loads of creativity in a beautiful setting with a wonderful atmosphere. Nothing sinister in the slightest. I think we got a little bit paranoid.

MONEY: I’m glad you’re OK, but I think the worst is yet to come.

ART: Why?

MONEY: Well I’ve been digging into the business interests of Cauty and Drummond.

ART: What did you find?

MONEY: Well K2 Plant Hire used to go by another name…

ART: Which was?

MONEY: Meilleur Promotions…disbanded on 15th February ’96

ART: One plus five plus…

MONEY: Yes, yes. Twenty three. Let’s just assume we don’t have to check every date.

ART: What did Meilleur Promotions do? I’ve never heard of them.

MONEY: Well they were only in operation for 388 days, or one year and 23 days if we’re still checking.

ART: And what did they do?

MONEY: Meilleur as you probably know is French for ‘better’.

ART: I did.

MONEY: But, in older, more ancient French, it had another use.

ART: Which was…?

MONEY: Master Undertaker.

ART: Fuck.

ACT IV SCENE 2

A hotel room. An expensive one. The huge, panoramic vista shows the Liverpool Dock area, The Liver Building and beyond that the dark, moonlit waters of The Mersey. Two men are enjoying a late night whiskey. They are an INSIDER and KEITH. Below is a transcript of their conversation recorded covertly by the Catashi Organisation.

KEITH: Where’s the other guy?

INSIDER: He’s got one of those ‘jobs’ to do.

KEITH: Jobs. What jobs?

INSIDER: Getting stuff ready for tomorrow

KEITH: What’s happening?

INSIDER: No one knows. People are guessing, but it could be anything.

KEITH: When can we make our offer?

INSIDER: It’s not that simple.

KEITH: What do you mean?

INSIDER: Well today we had poetry, comedy, arson, sound collages, interpretive dance, cellos and a Christmas Number One, to name but a few.

KEITH: And your point is?

INSIDER: Well it all existed in the moment, but now it’s gone. All that’s left is what’s in that book.

KEITH: What book?

INSIDER: I can’t remember. Something to do with Yoko Ono and tropical fruit.

KEITH: Catashi will want that book.

INSIDER: I’ll see what I can do. Last time I saw it, Daisy had it.

KEITH: Daisy?

INSIDER: Campbell. Ken’s daughter.

KEITH: I nearly worked with him once. He was going to direct The Bullshitters for The Comic Strip

INSIDER: What happened?

KEITH: He wanted to call it The Cunts.

INSIDER: His is better.

KEITH: Whatever.

ACT IV SCENE 3

New York City. American History Museum. PROFESSOR HIGGS stands at a lecturn in front of two dozen reporters and photographers. As he sighs, a hush envelops the room.

HIGGS: My statement is as follows:

‘After exhaustive surveying of the area, East of Montreal, on the Saint-Francois river, we can confirm that the first European settlers to the American continent arrived in 1399, 93 years before Columbus, and that they made Drummondsville their home for the next 600 years. The village was burned to ground in August of 1994. There were no survivors.’

ACT V SCENE 1

Dawn. We are back in the 23rd Precinct of the New York City Police Department. BARNEY MULDOON smokes and paces. The office is small. He reverses direction with a frustrated regularity. SAUL GOODMAN answers the phone.

GOODMAN: Yes, Sir….I…..what I….yes, Sir…yes, Sir…well we appreciate the call, Sir. Thank you, Sir…yes, you too…

MULDOON: Chief Wilson?

GOODMAN: Indeed.

MULDOON: And…

GOODMAN: We’re off the KUKO Killer case.

MULDOON: That’s easy for you to say. Did he say why?

GOODMAN: Simple protocols. Forensics have linked the two crime scenes. Same MO. Same handwriting, we were lucky to get two K’s. Same blood used to write the message.

MULDOON: The same blood? Who? Victim one or victim two?

GOODMAN: Not who, what. Blood comes from the mammalian family of Mustelidaes.

MULDOON: Mu-stel what?

GOODMAN: Weasels… Otters… Polecats… Badgers.

MULDOON: Badgers!?

GOODMAN: You’ve been doing your research, haven’t you Barney?

MULDOON: Badger Kull. They played their first and only gig in Liverpool last week. Here, look, this is one of the flyposters.

IMG_4309

GOODMAN: Well I see it has the stamp of approval from our friends The JAMs. But this date, its wrong.

MULDOON: Yeah, I noticed that, but then I found this one online too.

IMG_1914

GOODMAN: OK. So it was a typo. Who are these other people listed?

MULDOON: The only lead I’ve got comes from Kibbo Kift.

GOODMAN: And who is he?

MULDOON: It’s not a guy, more of a movement.

GOODMAN: A movement of what?

MULDOON: Historical weirdness

GOODMAN: Whatever. What about these other name? Hencken? Winnie? The 400?

MULDOON: They’re on my list. So, we’re off the case because we found the second victim?

GOODMAN: Time of death is yet to be established, but presently the window is between 23:20 and 23:25 for both stiffs.

MULDOON: How is that possible, if it’s the same killer?

GOODMAN: I’m guessing they were moved from the kill site, although no neighbours have reported anything strange.

MULDOON: In a way, I’m glad we ducked this case. I hate the weird ones.

GOODMAN: We have more pressing matters anyway…

MULDOON: Liverpool…

GOODMAN: Indeed. Chief Wilson has given us the morning off for some R and R. Go home, get some sleep and we’ll meet up again at 2:30pm, if that’s OK.

MULDOON: Ha…twenty-three…

GOODMAN: Barney, it’s late.

MULDOON: It’s early.

GOODMAN: Whatever. Go to sleep.

ACT V SCENE 2

Intercepted text conversation between target and unknown associate, known only as K.

ACT V SCENE 3

A dressing room. A small one. We are upstairs in the Florence Institute. We are not in Florence. Two men are enjoying a lunchtime can of lager. They are the INSIDERS and their identities are unknown. Below is a transcript of their conversation overheard by a cleaner.

INSIDER 1: Ready?.

INSIDER 2: Ready.

INSIDER 1: Sure?

INSIDER 2: Sure.

INSIDER 1: Do you think they’ll pull it off?

INSIDER 2: The odds are against them.

INSIDER 1: Not to mention the police

INSIDER 2: Nothing illegal though.

INSIDER 1: Well…

INSIDER 2: Did you get your job done?

INSIDER 1: Just about. You?

INSIDER 2: I’ll finish mine later.

INSIDER 1: Typical.

INSIDER 2: What can I say? I’m a perfectionist.

INSIDER 1: Speaking of which…

INSIDER 2: Catashi?

INSIDER 1: Catashi.

INSIDER 2: Do you think he’ll be happy?

INSIDER 1: If it goes to plan, he’ll be ecstatic.

INSIDER 2: And if it doesn’t

INSIDER 1: He’ll just walk away.

INSIDER 2: But they’ve achieved so much already.

INSIDER 1: Enough to hang in his gallery?

INSIDER 2: Enough to fill his gallery.

INSIDER 1: What about… the announcement?

INSIDER 2: A distraction.

INSIDER 1: That’s what they’ll write about.

INSIDER 2: If it goes to plan…

INSIDER 1: And if it doesn’t?

INSIDER 2: That’s what they’ll write about.

INSIDER 1: Right, what time is it?

INSIDER 2: Two-thirty.

INSIDER 1: And The Rites?

INSIDER 2: Five-thirty. Well, five twenty-three.

INSIDER 1: It’s going to be good.

INSIDER 2: With this lot? It’s going to be great.

INSIDER 1: I’ll drink to that. Cheers.

INSIDER 2: Cheers.

ACT VI SCENE 1

It is September 1st 2017. Mid-afternoon. We are back in the 23rd Precinct of the New York City Police Department. Sunlight illuminates the desk of the same 2m x 3m office. Two veteran detectives sit across from each other. SAUL GOODMAN drinks his third coffee of the hour. BARNEY MULDOON clutches a stack of clippings.

MULDOON: Have I got a story for you?

GOODMAN: Have you been to sleep?

MULDOON: I tried. But I couldn’t, so started chasing some leads online.

GOODMAN: The KUKO killer? We’re off that case.

MULDOON: No. Your buddies over in England.

GOODMAN: What do you have?

MULDOON: Well, to kick things off, you were right about that place they held the hearing.

GOODMAN: The Black E.

MULDOON: Yeah, I ran a reverse image search through the system and came up with this.

img_3722

GOODMAN: The Knights Templar. Are you sure?

MULDOON: Well some dame in England thinks so. She’s been blogging endlessly about it for the last week.

GOODMAN: This dame gotta name?

MULDOON: Calls herself Miss Moneypenny, a pseudonym I guess.

GOODMAN: Do you think?

MULDOON: Anyways, she’s pretty convincing.

GOODMAN: Is that it?

MULDOON: No. I’ve been busy. Those associates of The JAMs, Daisy and Oliver…

GOODMAN: You’ve found them.

MULDOON: Full names are Daisy Eris Campbell and Oliver Senton. Both heavily involved in esoteric theatre productions, including Cosmic Trigger

GOODMAN: The plot thickens…

MULDOON: Like your Ma’s Thanksgiving gravy. Cosmic Trigger is itself a kind of sequel to a play called Illuminatus! that premiered in Liverpool in 1976…

GOODMAN: One plus nine plus…

MULDOON: Twenty three! How’s that for a role reversal? Anyway, it turns out that this play was based upon a trilogy of books.

GOODMAN: Never heard of them.

MULDOON: Me neither.

GOODMAN: What are these books about?

MULDOON: Well, that’s not the easiest of questions to answer, but put simply, two New York detectives investigate a shadowy secret society hellbent on bringing about the end of the world.

GOODMAN: Sounds interesting.

MULDOON: I know. The only problem is the book is about three inches thick. It’s going to take forever to wade through it.

GOODMAN: Maybe save that for later. Anything else?

MULDOON: I’ve saved the best for last.

GOODMAN: What is it?

MULDOON: Well, I’d been at it for a couple of hours and my eyesight was getting a bit blurry. I’d been searching for the term Mu Mu and then I decided to try out the number you said was so special, one hundred and thirty.

GOODMAN: And…

MULDOON: Well, by accident I searched for both Mu Mu and 130 at the same time and stumbled across a blog from one of The 400. It’s mostly video clips and links to other, much better sites, but every now and again you get a bit of insight.

GOODMAN: This could be the break through we’ve been looking for.

MULDOON: Do you think?

GOODMAN: I do. Barney, I think we need to take a trip.

MULDOON: Where?

GOODMAN: I think we need to pay this 130 a visit.

MULDOON: In England?

GOODMAN: If that’s where they are?

MULDOON: But we don’t have the jurisdiction or the authority.

GOODMAN: How about we take a little leave? Our case load is light, since we didn’t get the KUKO killer.

MULDOON: But…

GOODMAN: But, nothing, Barney. It’ll be just like in one of those detective novels.

ACT VI SCENE 2

7pm. Upstairs in The Florence Institute. The INSIDERS await the arrival of KEITH. All three of them have faces painted like those in a procession on the Mexican Day of The Dead. They do not resemble pandas or badgers. Definitely not badgers. KEITH enters and removes a pair of ear plugs. The INSIDERS do the same.

KEITH: Gentlemen…

INSIDER 1: What do you reckon?

KEITH: Spectacular, darling. Charles is going to be ecstatic

INSIDER 2: Do you think he’ll pay?

KEITH: 34592 lots of £99 pounds. A curious charge, but…

INSIDER 1: Whatever?

KEITH: Yes. Ha ha. Whatever. Are you sure it worked?

INSIDER 2: Just look at them.

KEITH: They do seem very pleased with themselves. How did they do it?

INSIDER 1: It’s all about the bass.

KEITH: The bass?

INSIDER 2: No treble.

KEITH: I don’t follow.

INSIDER 1: Have you ever had a religious experience, Keith?

KEITH: Plenty, in my ecstasy days. Not so much now.

INSIDER 2: Without chemicals?

KEITH: Go on.

INSIDER 1: Why do you think religion is so popular, Keith?

KEITH: I don’t know. Guilt? Free wine?

INSIDER 2: From the beginning of time, the masses have gravitated towards ritual and kept coming back for more. Addicts.

KEITH: The opium of the masses.

INSIDER 1: Exactly. And how do you think that was achieved?

KEITH: I’ve never really though about it.

INSIDER 2: It’s all about the bass.

KEITH: The bass?

INSIDER 1: The bass. 111 hertz of bass to be precise. The same frequency that sacred sites across the world resonate to. From Stonehenge to Mecca. And back.

KEITH: Go on.

INSIDER 2: 111 hertz, the frequency of a male tenor hitting a slightly off-key low C.

KEITH: Jarvis?

INSIDER 1: Perfect, wasn’t he.

KEITH: To what end?

INSIDER 2: At precisely 111 hertz, the brain disconnects the pre-frontal cortex and switches from left to right-sided dominance, banishing logic and rational thought and promoting happiness and creativity.

KEITH: For how long?

INSIDER 2: Exposure for a few minutes can lead to hours of joy and creativity.

KEITH: But they were in there for two and a half hours.

INSIDER 1: The hypothesis is that the change is permanent. It was only after extended exposure to frequencies in the Sistine Chapel that Michaelangelo’s genius was truly born. The monotonous hum of the Detroit Car plants had a similar effect on Prince. Researchers into frequency-induced creative states are finding new links every day.

KEITH: And that’s what they were doing this afternoon?

INSIDER 2: The Birth of The 400.

KEITH: Experimenting on them. Like lab rats. I fucking love it.

INSIDER 1: And your employer?

KEITH: It’s right up his back alley, if you catch my drift.

INSIDER 2: You don’t really do subtle do you.

KEITH: No. Fuck that. How do we get them to London?

INSIDER 1: London?

KEITH: Catashi is going to want them all.

INSIDER 2: We can arrange that. But, first we need the money… The People’s Pyramid Shall Be Built.

INSIDER 1: The People’s Pyramid Shall Be Built.

INSIDER 1 and 2: The People’s Pyramid Shall Be Built. The People’s Pyramid Shall Be Built. The People’s Pyramid Shall Be Built. The People’s Pyramid Shall Be Built. The People’s Pyramid Shall Be Built…

KEITH: OK. I’ll wire the money. Mr Cauty… Mr Drummond… it’s been a pleasure.

ACT VI SCENE 3

Early evening. The streets of Toxteth. Liverpool. L8. Four hundred shellshocked souls spill onto the street. None of them know what the fuck is going on. But there are jobs to do and almost instinctively they begin to work. ART has no job. Her face is painted as a skull. Not a panda. And definitely not a fucking badger. She wears a crown. She is smiling. A lot. Her phone rings. It is MONEY.

ART:  Hellllllooo!

MONEY:  Where are you? I’ve been ringing all day.

ART:  I had my phone switched off. They said I had to. I was in a… church, I guess.

MONEY:  A church?

ART:  Well kind of…

MONEY:  A church? Why were you in a church?

ART: For the Rites.

MONEY: The Rites?

ART: The Rites Of MuMufication.

MONEY: What the hell was that?

ART: It was…it was…

MONEY:  Yes?

ART:  It was beautiful. Amazing. Fantastic. I feel fantastic.

MONEY: Were they there?

ART:  Yes…kind of… they were… watching

MONEY:  Watching?

ART:  Yeah, watching. They seemed really serious. But its all OK. They’re opening a funeral business and building a pyramid.

MONEY:  You sound delirious. Can you hear what you’re saying?

ART:  Yes. It’s fine. I’m fine. I’m great, in fact. It was just amazing.

MONEY:  Where are they now?

ART:  They’re in the van

MONEY:  The van?

ART:  The Ice Kream Van. We’re pulling them somewhere.

MONEY:  Where?

ART:  We don’t know yet. But it’s OK.

MONEY:  Now you listen to me. This is not OK. You sound like your on drugs.

ART:  I am NOT on drugs.

MONEY:  You cannot trust these people.

ART:  The JAMs? Don’t be silly. It’s just.. it’s just…I don’t know what it is… it’s just…

MONEY:  Listen. This is important. I’ve been speaking to some of my historian friends. They don’t agree with my Templar theory.

ART:  Thank goodness.  I was starting to get a bit freaked out by you, if I’m honest.

MONEY:  The Templar story is just a cover for who they really are…

ART:  You really have to stop this now.

MONEY:  What they really are…

ART: Don’t tell me… shape shifting lizards… vampires… aliens from the planet Mu… the Illuminati…

MONEY:  Don’t be preposterous.

ART:  Well you started it.

MONEY:  The evidence I’ve uncovered suggests an ancient order…

ART:  Here we go…

MONEY:  Assumed to have vanished…

ART: Aren’t they always…

MONEY:  Back for revenge…

ART:  WHO?

MONEY:  The Spanish Inquisition

ART:  Well, I didn’t expect that.

MONEY:  Nobody does.

ACT VII SCENE 1

The streets of Toxteth. Liverpool. L8. An Ice Kream Van, possibly of Ukranian origin. Discordant music chimes from its speaker. Traditional alongside more modern tunes. In the back of the Ice Kream Van are two wooden coffins. They appear to be self-assembled and are made of unfinished wood. The INSIDERS are driver and passenger, although there is no engine noise. The van is being pulled by volunteers.

INSIDER 1: Happy?

INSIDER 2: Yeah, I’m happy. You?

INSIDER 1: You know me

INSIDER 2: C’mon. We did it. It’s over.

INSIDER 1: Not quite.

INSIDER 2: Well, not quite. But once we’ve burned these, that’s it.

INSIDER 1: We’ve got the money. The People’s Pyramid Will Be Built.

INSIDER 2: The People’s Pyramid Will Be Built.

INSIDER 1: Do we trust him? You know, to finish the job?

INSIDER 2: Not our problem.

INSIDER 1: 34592 is a lot of people.

INSIDER 2: Not our problem.

INSIDER 1: Where’s he going to find them?

INSIDER 2: Not our problem

INSIDER 1: And what about this lot? They don’t know what we’ve done yet.

INSIDER 2: But, we signed a contract, on their behalf.

INSIDER 1: I’ve been thinking about that. Maybe, it’s time for another moratorium.

INSIDER 2: A moratorium?

INSIDER 1: A moratorium is a delay or suspension of an activity or a law. In a legal context, it may refer to the temporary suspension of a law to allow a legal challenge to be carried out.

INSIDER 2: You sound like you’re reading from Wikipedia.

INSIDER 1: I am.

INSIDER 2: So we keep the money, but this lot don’t know why for…

INSIDER 1: Twenty-three years.

INSIDER 2: They need time anyway, to get to grips with what we’ve done to them.

INSIDER 1: Time to grow. Time to flourish. Time to fail. Time to succeed.

INSIDER 2: He won’t be happy.

INSIDER 1: Fuck him. It’s an investment in the future. A chance to get in on the ground floor of something spectacular.

INSIDER 2: Our work is done.

INSIDER 1: Who knows? Maybe what we’ve done will be contagious.

INSIDER 2: Viral?

INSIDER 1: A plague of positivity.

INSIDER 2: A cancer of creativity.

INSIDER 1: Too far.

INSIDER 2: That’s not like you. Telling me I’ve gone too far.

INSIDER 1: No. It’s not. In fact, it could be the first time ever.

INSIDER 2: Well it was good while it lasted.

INSIDER 1: It was great. Now lets burn these fuckers and go home.

INSIDER 2: Too far.

INSIDER 1: Touché.

INSIDER 2: Uh-oh! Here come the police.

INSIDER 1: We knew they were going to come.

INSIDER 2: What are we going to do?

INSIDER 1: They’ve brought a van.

INSIDER 2: We’ve got a van.

INSIDER 1: What if they try to stop us?

INSIDER 2: We’ve got a Gimpo.

INSIDER 1: They better not stop us…

INSIDER 2: …cos we’re coming through?

INSIDER 1: Stop it.

INSIDER 2: Whatever.

ACT VII SCENE 2

The Strand. Liverpool. A conversation is taking place through the passenger window of a police van belonging to the Merseyside Police Force. GIMPO wears a high-vis vest and has his face painted like a skull. Not a panda. And not a fucking badger. Have I made myself clear? Good. On we go. Not long left.

OFFICER: Good afternoon, Sir. Do you mind telling me what you are doing here?

GIMPO: Yeah. No problem. It’s the Toxteth Day Of The Dead.

OFFICER: Excuse me, what?

GIMPO: The Toxteth Day Of The Dead. In that van there are representitives of Callender, Callender, Cauty and Drummond, the Undertakers to the Underworld.

OFFICER: And in the back of the van?

GIMPO: Two coffins… obviously.

OFFICER: Well, your ‘funeral procession’ has just ran a red light.

GIMPO: Did we? Well the Highway Code suggests that isn’t a problem and that the police are obliged to escort any hearse through areas of heavy traffic.

OFFICER: On who’s authority?

GIMPO: I dunno. The government or somebody.

OFFICER: I mean you don’t have any authority for this procession.

GIMPO: Don’t need it mate, as the hearse is being pulled.

OFFICER: But, that’s just for horse drawn carriages.

GIMPO: It’s not. We checked.

OFFICER: But you’re going too slow.

GIMPO: Never had that complaint before. If you notice, the van has no power in the engine, it is technically broken down and being towed.

OFFICER: So?

GIMPO: So, we’re also following the rules for a breakdown on public highway. Fluorescent jackets, warning triangles…

OFFICER: For a funeral?

GIMPO: Your choice mate. If it’s a funeral, your bound by law to escort us to our destination. If it’s a breakdown, the same.

OFFICER: But…

GIMPO: But nothing mate. Get to the front to clear the way and get some of your mates to cover the back. It’s bloody bedlam at the moment.

OFFICER: OK. Whatever.

ACT VII SCENE 3

A wasteland. Once upon a time, industry flourished here. In the centre, an unlit funeral pyre. Inside the pyre are the two coffins from the Ice Kream Van. Having carried out their duties, the KOFFIN KARRIERS are relaxing. They are all five feet five inches.

KOFFIN KARRIER 1: Woah, that was heavy. What the fuck was in it?

KOFFIN KARRIER 2: Sorry, what? Out koffin was very light. Felt like it was empty.

KOFFIN KARRIER 1: Well ours weighed a lot. As heavy as a…

KOFFIN KARRIER 2: Nooo. You don’t think?

KOFFIN KARRIER 1: Don’t be daft. It’s just that when we carried it in The Rites, it was quite light. But, just then it felt like there was something in it.

KOFFIN KARRIER 2: Or someone…

KOFFIN KARRIER 1: But it was there in front of us all of the time, wasn’t it.

KOFFIN KARRIER 2: I think so. My head’s still a bit mashed after this afternoon.

KOFFIN KARRIER 1: Great wasn’t it. I feel so…so…

KOFFIN KARRIER 2: Amazing?

KOFFIN KARRIER 1: Yeah, amazing

KOFFIN KARRIER 2: Me too. And positive?

KOFFIN KARRIER 1: Yeah, I feel pretty invincible at the moment.

KOFFIN KARRIER 2: Me too. You don’t think…

KOFFIN KARRIER 1: What?

KOFFIN KARRIER 2: You don’t think they did something to us.

KOFFIN KARRIER 1: Where? When?

KOFFIN KARRIER 2: I don’t know. All week, I’ve felt a bit like I was in a dream.

KOFFIN KARRIER 1: A good dream though.

KOFFIN KARRIER 2: Yeah, the best.

(A mobile phone rings. The ring tone is a popular football chant)

KOFFIN KARRIER 1: Do you hear that? It’s coming from the pyre. You don’t think?

KOFFIN KARRIER 2: Nah, don’t be silly. Ignore it and if anyone asks just say ‘whatever’.

KOFFIN KARRIER 1: Whatever.

EPILOGUE

We are in the offices of The Catashi Gallery. Head of Acquisitions, CLIVE HUNT is waiting to connect to a call from his employer, MISTER CATASHI. His desk, the tiled floor and the walls around him are the purest of unspecified whites, although magnolia would still be my guess. There is nothing on the desk except an oversized, vintage, red telephone. HUNT twitches nervously. He knows what this call is about. He knows that he cannot do what he is going to be asked for. He knows the conversation will end badly.

HUNT: I’m sorry. I’ve been calling for 23 minutes now. There is no reply

CATASHI : OK, Clive. Good man. Keep trying.

HUNT: Very good. Anything you wish, Sir. Thank you again for this opportunity.

CATASHI: Whatever.

One man’s lust for art

Two men destroy to create

Four hundred up for sale

Templar plot debunked

Detectives on their way

Four hundred cannot fail

An army illuminated

Four hundred on the march

Dark Ages?

Whatever

Paperback available from Amazaba for the next 23 years

EPILOGUE TO THE EPILOGUE

November 2017. We are in the offices of The Catashi Gallery. Head of Acquisitions, CLIVE HUNT is waiting to connect to a call from his employer, MISTER CATASHI. His desk, the tiled floor and the walls around him are the purest of unspecified whites, although magnolia would still be my guess. There is nothing on the desk except an oversized, vintage, red telephone. HUNT twitches nervously. He knows what this call is about. He knows that he cannot do what he is going to be asked for. He knows the conversation will end badly.

The RECEPTIONIST rings through.

RECEPTIONIST: Call for you Sir. It is Mr. Catashi in LA. The time there is 23:23.

HUNT: Thank you, Kelly. Put Mr. Catashi through and…

RECEPTIONIST: Yes, Sir?

HUNT: Nothing, Kelly. Just put him through.

RECEPTIONIST: As you wish, Sir. (click)

CATASHI: What the fuck took you so long?

HUNT: Mr. Catashi, Sir, sorry I, er, my, er…

CATASHI: I get it. It was that new receptionist. She’s a fucking liability. Who the fuck has ever heard of a receptionist called Kelly?

HUNT: She’s very…

CATASHI: Very what?

HUNT: Very…

CATASHI: Very fucking inept is what I say.

HUNT: She’s very…

CATASHI: Very fucking unemployed is what she is. Have her clear her desk by the end of the day. No one. NO ONE keeps me waiting.

HUNT: As you wish, Sir. By the end of the day.

CATASHI: Now. If you’re worth anything like the money I’m paying you, you’ll know why I’m ringing.

HUNT: London, Sir?

CATASHI: London.

HUNT: Well, the thing is…

CATASHI: I want it.

HUNT: It, Sir?

CATASHI: Yeah, it. Whatever it is. The whole fucking thing. Burn Baby Burn, whatever it’s called.

HUNT: Burn The Shard, Sir.

CATASHI: What?

HUNT: Their new work. It’s entitled Burn The Shard, Sir.

CATASHI: Yeah. Whatever.

HUNT: Whatever, Sir?

CATASHI: Yeah, whatever it’s called, I want it.

HUNT: Bbbu…

CATASHI: Don’t you say ‘but’…

HUNT: Bbbbuuu….

CATASHI: Don’t you fucking say it!

HUNT: Well…

CATASHI: Yes, well. Well what?

HUNT: Well, the thing is…

CATASHI: The thing is, I FUCKING WANT IT. Comprendez?

HUNT: Yes, Sir.

CATASHI: Finally. Finally he fucking gets it.

HUNT: Do we have a budget to work to, Sir?

CATASHI: Whatever it takes.

HUNT: Bbbuu…

CATASHI: Whatever. It. Takes.

HUNT: As you wish, Sir.

CATASHI: Clive?

HUNT: Yes, Sir?

CATASHI: Not getting this would break my heart. Do you hear me? Break. My. Heart.

HUNT: Yes, Sir

CATASHI: You don’t want to break my heart, do you, Clive?

HUNT: No, Sir.

CATASHI: Whatever. It. Takes.

HUNT: Whatever it takes, Sir.

CATASHI: Good. And if they need a bit of a push, call Jarvis.

HUNT: Jarvis, Sir?

CATASHI: He can be very persuasive and he owes me one.

HUNT: I will contact him if necessary, Sir.

CATASHI: No need.

HUNT: Sir?

CATASHI: He’s already on his way.

HUNT: His way, Sir?

CATASHI: To London, you fucking dimwit. Which is where you should be. Yesterday.

HUNT: Yes, Sir. Kelly is just…

CATASHI: Kelly is just clearing her fucking desk. There’s a car outside for you now.

HUNT: OK, Sir. Thank you, Sir.

CATASHI: Sanchez…I want it all.

HUNT: As you wish, Sir.

CATASHI: (click)

HUNT: Kelly?

RECEPTIONIST: Yes, Sir?

HUNT: Could you come in here please?

To be continued.

Probably got a trilogy in this.

Or not.

Whatever.

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