Blue curtains part, we hear a long fart, draws us to the contorted Miley Cyrus on the pavement with the rest. They are sad. Behind them a grey grill front Woolworths store shot with red flame. The flames are really convincing. Not at all like that puny bright red foil cut into star shapes with pinking scissors because real scissors couldn’t be found. There is an advert in the window for an ‘Apple iSelection Box – Reduced To £249.99″. Tori Amos lifts a red aluminium can from the floor and throws it viciously across the stage were it clatters, rolls from sight. John Craven lifts his head up.
“Coca-Cola are putting people’s names on the side of their cans. They even got John!” he beams.
“That one was Jose. One of their murdered Colombian plant workers range” she admitted sadly.
Nobody spoke. They sat by that intersection of grilled up shops. Carnacki lifts the larger part of a smashed bauble from the ground. Miley Cyrus rocks to and fro beside him and he turns to calm her.
“No Miss Merrick. I wish we could go to Lapland, or Greenland. But our only hope is to stomp out this tyrannical power structure at it’s source. We must wait for the bus to Whitehall.”
“This isn’t how Christmas was in my day.” quipped Craven, sensing the darkening. “My father bought me my first knife, made of chocolate. It was an unusually warm Christmas Day, and after family time, he’d take me down to the local river and we’d test out our new fishing equipment together. We’d catch a few chocolate fish. But it was in the Summer, when we’d sail the Chocolate Seas together, that the real magic happened.”
The players are silent.
“What do you suppose is the worst Christmas song?” asked The Silver Surfer.
“The one that really gets me is that drumming song. You know, it’s really chirpy. Its as if it’s being sung by the Boys Brigade as they give biscuit tins to pensioners. But it’s all just a lead up to the central refrain.” Jetfire chokes on his words, he’s crying. “‘I wish I was at home for Christmas’.
“Stop The Cavalry by Jona Lewie.” says The Surfer, pleased at his recall.
“Its actually an anti-war song urging disarmament”, says Heller.
“And now we’re set for the firing squad. This Longthorne will want us executed surely.” said Carnacki matter-of-factly.
“You know what I can’t stand?” says The Surfer. “’Driving home for Christmas?'”
Carnacki raises his elbow and bobs his pipe. “That’s a fine song!”
“You Kiddeth Me! The tune sounds like he’s dancing up a motorway! ‘I look at the driver next to me. He’s just the same?’ It’s wretched vomit.” he snarks.
Carnacki moves uncomfortably and John Craven puts his arm around him and looked along the row.
“At least you know what you’re getting. The tune and delivery tells you it’s melancholic outsider pop, and it quickly establishes itself as having popular base appeal. Chris Rea is the poor man’s Tom Waits and he never pretends to be anything else. He’s antidotal to that other Chris – De Burgh.”
That’s a good argument. How can you not like John Craven?
The grizzly freighter Captain raises his arm and speaks with confidence. “The Band Aid one.”
Tori laughs. “It’s like ‘The Walking Dead’, that song.”
“It’ll put years on you!” smirks Heller slyly.
“Dung! Duh-Dung!” says Tori, slouching slowly to her feet. She jerks towards the front and her chin protrudes fatly. Her motions are like a zombie, screwed up mocking eyes and teeth.
“Dung! Duh-Dung!” said Heller, shrugging his dust-jackets’ shoulders out, and flapping his arms by his sides.
“Duuung!” yelled Miley.
Tori pulls a cigar from her pocket and took several puffs, rasping out, “Its Crusmus Tummm”
Heller at the edge of the stage beckons a pensioner in the front row. He pulls a large service revolver from his jacket and presses it firmly against the man’s nose.
“There’s no need to be afraid” he sings with a smile to screaming children.
“A-At Christmas Tie” sings the man visibly shaken. Heller releases him and he falls back onto his chair.
“We let in light and we banish shade!” boisterously delivers Carnacki.
“Duuung!” yelled Miley.
“And in our world of plenty” sings Jetfire rubbing his armour breast-plate.
“We can spread a smile of joy” sang John Craven.
“Purt Yar Marand Teh Weld @ Crusmus Tum” screamed Miley Merrick flapping about like a seizure crashing into The Silver Surfer.
Like a finely honed classical ballet dancer he strides. “But say a prayer” Down on one knee, he placing elbows on the other and joins hands to meet at his face. “Pray for the other ones”
Jetfire raises his arms, and his two wings become four, rotating to form an amazing spectacle. “It’s hard, but when you’re having funnnn” His tones are those of a desperate alien and his large hands wrap over his ears which resemble over-sized headphones.
“There’s a world outside your window”, Craven hopefully offers you and Carnacki warns , “it’s a world of dread and fear.”
“Where nothing ever grows, no rain or winter snows” sing Glenn Howerton and Alison Brie. They square off in a mock kung-fu tournament. Then, the seven performers lift their feet, delivering the hook line of the song together. “Do. They. Know. It’s. Crisp. Mass. Time. At. All?” The jolly tune kicks in now and they bulk up. They clomp around the stage, dancing like exuberant mad young things wearing clogs. Miley Merrick marks the beats, drowning out the vocals.
“Bum Bum Bum Bum Bum Bum! Bum Bum Buuum Bum..” and she is the first to fall out of formation. She clatters into Woolworths and a cage falls from the shop-front. Amos and Carnacki are by other buildings, and if on cue grills by them become the backs of cages that fall from the rafters.
“What demonology is this?” calls Carnacki.
Miley is yelping and the others have stopped singing.
“Oh now look.” pleads the Surfer. “I’ve never been against Longthorne. I’m completely harmless!”
But it was too late for he too had wandered into a trap.
“Stand still!” calls Heller, just as cages fall upon the Surfer and Jetfire.
Captain Heller and John Craven stagger back towards one another. Heller looks around tactically. To the audience, back to the shops. His prison falls from the sky, boxing him on all sides. He looks through the bars at John Craven.
“Have you betrayed us? Have you betrayed me?” he screams.
* * * Curtains * * *