Still trembling, he shakes his long sleeves over his real hands and thrusts out the two tiny fork-like backscratcher hands where his hands ought to be, and places them in the stocks, wiggling them for emphasis.
The Guard's scimitars rise.
A drumroll builds.
a gasp from the crowd. blades.
down come the
Cut to the Thief's head in close-up as he mouths a silent imitation howl of pain. Cut to the little amputated backscratcher fork hands rattling in the platform basket. The Thief pulls his tiny stump ends back in and tucks them under his arms, turns around, hobbles across the platform on his knees and down the steps into the crowd which makes way for him as he skitters away, gaining speed, getting up off his knees as he runs out a convenient exit from the square.
Cut to a back alley, the Thief in the distance comes out of a small archway and races up toward us and ducks into a niche in the wall. He looks back to see that no-one is following him, and drops
the backscratcher sticks out of his sleeves.
He shudders, then
stretches his arms out and, grinning, wiggles his real fingers in triumph.
Then he runs down the rest of the alley and disappears up a flight of steps into the shadows. It is getting quite dark now.
Long shot of the Golden City at dusk surrounded by its glittering river. The even ing I ight dissolves slowly through to the silvery turquoise of the noon of night.
Suddenly, an inky black diagonal shadow crosses the rooftops. The camera comes round to see what is the cause of this and we see a
tall minaret with a winged vulture-like shape for its crown. The shadow is caused by the moon which is now behind the vulture-shaped turret.
As we go closer, towards a gaping mouth with stairs up the inside into what would be the gullet, the eyes of the vulture light up. They are two windows and the light streams out like searchlights into the night as the camera goes closer inside the mouth, up through the gullet, and up a winding staircase as the light gets brighter and we arrive in ZigZag's plotting room.
Lit by candles and wall torches, ZigZag's lair is an alchemist's laboratory. The walls are covered with maps, the tables and corners full of alchemical equipment, flasks and beakers, old books, scientific and astrological and occult paraphernalia, astrolabes, astronomy charts. Perched on a stand-up globe is ZigZag's familiar, his pet vulture, Phido.
Phido has quick and delinquent gestures and though skinny and haggard he has the swollen stomach of the starving. He does not speak but exhales bursts of air.
At present, Phido is asleep on the world globe and ZigZag is agitatedly pacing in his Zig-Zagging walk, up and down the room. Grey-greens, purples and blacks, candle light and shadows flickering.
SLEEP. . . SLEEP. . . SLEEP THEY SLEEP. . . THEY SLEEP. . . THEY IRE ALL ASLEEP! BUT I AM QUITE AWAKE! EH, PH I DO?
Cut to the Vulture, snoring on the globe, on which is inscribed liThe Known World II.
I RISE ABOVE THE HUMAN HEAP.
He gestures out the balcony towards the moonlit city below.
THE WORLD IS MINE TO TAKE!
Leaning over the globe, ZigZag gives it a violent spin and the dozing vulture flies off into the wall, SPLAT! Recovering himself, he flaps dizzily back and lands on an hour-glass.
Phido nods in agreement, then sticks out his tongue in a silent hiss when ZigZag has turned his back.
MEN ARE FOOLS WHO WALK IN DREAMS
Cut to vulture sitting on the hour glass, seemingly passing a thin stream of sand.
THEY SLEEP THEIR LIVES AWAY. BUT I, ZIGZAG, WILL REIGN SUPREME!
Phido is asleep again.
FOR THEY ARE EASY PREY. . . E H, PH I DO ?
ZigZag fingers the back of Phido's neck. Phido jumps awake in panic, then realises ZigZag is stroking him, and he IIpurrsll up toward ZigZag. Then when ZigZag turns away, Phido hisses at him.
ZigZag flicks out his self-ejecting pointer and uses it as a
THE KING HIMSELF SLEEPS ALL THE TIME. . . A LOST, UNCONSCIOUS SOUL TOO STUPID TO SUSPECT THAT I'M (points to himself) THE ONE WHO'S IN CONTROL.
On IICONTROLII he presses a button on his stick and, Flick! It extends to twice the length. He brandishes it in front of the vulture. Phido, trained to jump on the pointer, sighs, rolls his eyes to heaven and wearily jumps aboard. Then, with the vulture on the end of the stick, ZigZag gestures at the maps and at the silver panorama below his window.
CONTROL! CONTROL THE GOLDEN AND ALL ITS GOLDEN WEALTH! I RULE IT WITH AN UNSEEN HAND BY CLEVERNESS AND STEALTH. EH, PH 100 ?
He has absently finished a broad gesture and the half-asleep vulture perched on the stick is poised over a large candle flame. His tailfeathers burst into flames.
Phido leaps into the air, his arse blazing and, flapping his huge wings wildly, runs along a couple of benches over to a large black ink-pot and dips his burning end deep into the ink. Rising steam. Hisssssss. A big sigh of relief from Phido.
ZigZag paces across to the suffering bird.
BUT THIS IGNOBLE WAY OF LIFE IS JUST A PASSING THING.
Pluck! ZigZag pulls a quill feather from Phido's tail, already conveniently dipped in ink. . . and steps forward to the wall.
FOR I INTEND TO TAKE AS WIFE
Cut to two full-figure paintings, side by side, of Princesses MeeMee and YumYum.
BOTH DAUGHTERS OF THE KING!
ZigZag scribes a huge "Z" across each Princesses' body. . . scratch, scratch, zzt, scratch, scratch, zzt.
Standing back, he continues, still gesturing with the quill.
AND WITH THEM AS MY ROYAL I'LL RULE I N PUBLIC SIGHT. WITH BOTH PRINCESSES AT MY TO FEED MY APPETITE!
ZigZag throws the quill, like a dart, and it sticks into the wall and quivers between the hips of the two pictures of the Princesses. He bursts into obscene laughter.
Phido, still on the ink-pot, registers definite disgust. ZigZag suddenly notices him.
POOR PHIDO! HOW COULD I FORGET? I FEAR YOU HAVEN'T EATEN YET.
Phido nods and smiles, starts to fawn and drool and purr.
FOR YOU, DEAR BIRD, A SPECIAL TREAT: FOR BREAKFAST, YOU'LL HAVE COBBLER MEAT!
The bird's eyes light up and he jumps on ZigZag's shoulder, hissing and cackling. ZigZag is also chortling and cackling amusedly as they both leave the tower, twisting and turning, snickering and flapping, down the spiral steps winding below. The camera follows them and we slowly fade to black.
Fade in on the pre-dawn mountains. The sky is crystal blue; silvery white lace clouds edged with gold hover magically. The rim of the sun appears over the horizon and the first ray of sunlight beams across the valley a golden streak into lilac shadow. The camera follows the ray across the top of the Golden City where it lights only the three golden balls - one two - three. The ray is then beamed down, reflecting off the balls, and we follow it, descending into the City where it bounces off a window, angl ing down, ricocheting off various reflective surfaces. We follow it all the way down to the grassy ground at the edge of the palace wall to where the ray shines directly into the barred slit window of the Cobbler's cell.
Dissolve to the interior of the Cobbler's cell.
is asleep on the stone floor in the same position as when we first saw him sleeping at the beginning or the film. He is surrounded by shoes of all kinds. The ray of sun terminates on the Princess' white and gold slipper which the Cobbler clutches to his breast. He is still sewing on it in his sleep and has just finished stitching the shoe to his shirt, when the sunlight wakes him up.
He sits upright and discovers the Princess' slipper is stitched to his chest. Then he recollects his state of affairs, sighs, and sadly starts to unpick the slipper from his shirt. His eyes look left for an instant and he stiffens in terror.
Cut to the door of his cell. There is a small square window hole in the door and a large yellow eyeball with a red iris is staring at
him. It blinks sideways, like a camera lens. One by one the tacks drop from the Cobbler's mouth onto the stone floor.
Cut to the other side of the door where we see Phido, the vulture, staring into the Cobbler's cell. He has stereo vision, and while one eyeball is looking directly into the cell window, Phido's other eye is looking up at ZigZag who is holding him.
THERE'S YOUR BREAKFAST, PHIDO DEAR. IT'S TIME TO TAKE HIM OUT OF HERE AND CHOP HIS HEAD OFF - MAKE HIM DEADLIKE THE LOVELY PRINCESS SAID.
Cut to the Cobbler, confused, fingering the Princess' slipper. He glares at the door.
Cut back to ZigZag and Phido. In attendance are the two guards dressed in blue with their scimitars The Royal Executioners. Phido opens his beak in anticipation and we see the Cobbler's head through the window, neatly framed by Phido's beak.
YOU CAN HAVE THE HEAD TO START, THEN THE NECK, AND THEN THE HEART. SUCH A TASTY LI TTLE MANEH, MY FLYING GARBAGE CAN?
ZigZag tickles Phido's starvation-induced belly and Phido's beak snaps shut, blotting out the shot of the Cobbler. The vulture, dribbling slobber, starts flapping his enormous wings and bashing against the door so that we can see that Phido actually does look like a flying garbage can.
Cut to the Cobbler as ZigZag laughs.
The Cobbler spits a
tack at the door.
WATCH HIS TACKS, THEY'RE NOT SO YUMMY. MIGHT UPSET POOR PHIDO'S TUMMY. (tickle tickle, hiss, hiss, flap, flap.)
Behind the thin stream of daylight in his cell, the Cobbler crouches in the dark, and the hissing vulture keeps beating his large wings against the door.
SEQ. 5. 1 .
Cut to various superimpositions of vultures in the canyon where the One-Eyes defeated the Frontier Guard. G riding vultures, and flapping vultures, landing on dead bodies, piles of dead bodies. As the various vultures land and everything is still vague, amorphous and in soft-focus, the image appears of the dying survivor pin-cushioned with arrows, riding, riding. There are several images of him riding - far away, up close, blending one into the other, indicating passage of time. Things are coming in and out of focus, as in a dream. Also, very vague, behind the riding messenger, are the faces of the One-Eye soldiers, and then, large, the image of the Mighty One-Eye but only just perceptible, seen through a haze.
As the survivor rides and the images blend, the sound of the hoofbeats grows louder, building into a crescendo of multiple hoofbeats.
Cut to the King's head, as he awakens suddenly. bolt upright, shocked awake and staring, frozen in fright.
ZIGZAG! ZIGZAG! GET ME ZIGZAG!
( shouti ng)
The King's ancient manservant eunuch bangs his mighty hands together, and it echoes like a thunderclap.
GET ME ZIGZAG NOW!
Cut to Singing Eunuch 1, framed in a doorway, calling out, beginning a "chime" chord. The dwarf runs from eunuch to eunuch via the pantlegs.
(bellowing) THE KING WANTS ZIGZAG!
(in another doorway) ZIGZAG!
(in another doorway) ZIGZAG!
(in another doorway) ZIGZAG!
THE KING WANTS ZIGZAG!
As the four voices reverberate in canon, throughout the palace, the camera shoots down staircases, round corners, through rooms, into
passages, and ends up down in the dungeon with ZigZag and Phido. The two executioners have just pulled the Cobbler out of his cell and hold him between them. Phido is flapping frantically, ravenously. ZigZag is cackling.
The echoes of the four eunuchs reach them:
ZIGZAG! ZIGZAG! THE KING WANTS ZIGZAG!
All pleasure disappears from ZigZag's face.
OH FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF-PHIDO! AFFFFFFFFFFFFF-FAIRS OF STATE! I FEAR YOUR BREAKFAST WILL HAVE TO WAIT!
Cut to Cobbler
rei ieved .
Cut to bird
. (to Guards) LOCK HIM UP, PUT HIM AWAY!
(to Phido) YOU ILL EAT H 1M LATER ON TODAY!
The guards push the Cobbler back into the cell and lock the The eunuchs' singing continues:
ZIGZAG! ZIGZAG! THE KING
WANTS ZIGZAG NOW!
ZigZag, failing to cover his irritation, shouts:
Phido, on ZigZag's arm, recoils at the shout.
impatiently sets the vulture on the edge of a brazier full of glowing coals, and Phido again burns his arse - this time on a branding iron in the brazier. Squaaawk! (more flapping, hissing and hopping).
ZIGZAG YOUR GRAND VIZIER IS COMING! (sotto voce)
WHO DOES HE THINK I AM? - HIS MOTHER? IF IT ISN'T ONE THING, IT'S ANOTHER!
ZigZag stamps away from us, down the corridor.
SEQ. 5. 3A.
Dissolve to the Thief coming towards us, sneaking through a shadowy alley. We hear the Eunuchs chanting in the distance. He comes out of the shadows into the early morning sunlight. He suddenly freezes, transfixed, staring up into the sky.
Cut to the Thief's P.O.V. in the morning sun.
the three golden balls, shining
Cut to the Thief's head in close-up. As he lifts his head, we see in his eyes, the three gold balls panning through - one - twothree.
Cut to mid-shot of the Thief as he works his way backwards, back into the shadows of the alley.
Cut to King Nod. Bolt upright, ringing his hands, his face wreathed in anguish. The eunuchs are still calling for ZigZag.
SEQ. 5. 3B.
Eunuchs and Dwarf:
ZIGZAG! ZIGZAG! ZIGZAG! ZIGZAG!
THE KING WANTS ZIGZAG NOW!
o DAY OF DEATH! o DAWN OF DISASTER! o MORN OF CALAMITY!
(entering) o GREAT KING NOD HAVE NO FEAR! ZIGZAG, YOUR GRAND IS HERE!
DEATH AND DESTRUCTION ZIGZAG! MY KINGDOM WILL COME TO DESTRUCT ION AND DEATH!
BE CALM, SERENE HIGHNESS! YOU MUST CATCH YOUR BREATH! WHAT DAWN OF DISASTER? WHY SPEAK YOU OF DEATH?
liVE HAD A DREAM! A NIGHTMARE! NO! A - A - A VISION! A VISION OF INVASION!
NOW, EXCELLENT MAJESTY! RULER SUPREME! I CAN SAFELY ASSURE YOU A DREAM'S JUST A DREAM. . .
I SAW IT, I TELL YOU! I KNOW ITIS TRUE! AN I NV ADI NG HORDE OF ONE-EYED MEN! AN ENTIRE RACE OF ONE-EYED MEN, AND DEATH ! DEATH EVERYWHERE!
CALM DOWN, YOUR HIGHNESS! I NV ADERS? ONE-EYED? BUT THIS IS AGAINST WHAT HAS BEEN PROPHESIED!
FOR HAS IT NOT BEEN WRITTEN WE ARE SAFE FROM ANY THREAT AS LONG AS THOSE (gesturing out the THREE GOLDEN BALLS ARE ON THE MINARET?
SEQ. 5. 3C.
From the King's and ZigZag's point of view the camera zooms out the window to the three gold balls, up close. We hear the sound of flies buzzing.
Cut to the Thief's head, with its halo of flies. The camera pulls back and we see the Thief is holding a long vaulting pole. He paces backwards. He is in the main palace courtyard and everything is in lilac shadow, except for the gleaming balls atop the minaret. The Thief takes careful aim, and begins his approach, gaining speed as he runs. Faster and faster, he nears the base of the minaret, goes past it and runs straight into a wall, pronging himself right in the stomach with the pole. Silently wheezing and gasping, ne hops around in terrible pain.
Cut to the faces of the King and ZigZag at either end of the scope screen, both intense and staring.
BUT, BUT, BUT. . .
BUT HAS IT NOT BEEN FORETOLD BY THE SAGES IN DAYS OF OLD THAT AS LONG AS THEY STAY (gesturing
out the window)
AND AREN'T TAKEN AWAY WE'RE AS SAFE AS OUR BALLS OF GOLD?
.. . .. .
.. .. .. .. .. ..
The King's head falls on his chest and he is asleep.
SEQ. 5. 3E .
Cut to the Thief with his vaulting pole, pacing backwards for his next attempt. We see him in a long shot. The sunlight has begun to move down the minaret, although it is still very early in the morning and the Thief and the courtyard are still in shadow.
He takes aim, runs, faster, faster. the pole goes down, the Thief goes up, and vaults gracefully up to the minaret. Two things
are wrong. His pole takes him only halfway up, and he hasn It got enough impetus for his feet to quite touch the minaret. His toes, like fingers, grab desperately and futilely and he falls back, out of frame, out of luck.
Cut to the King, starting awake. or five hysterical paces forward, and yells:
He leaps up, takes four
o TIME OF MISFORTUNE! o DAY OF DISASTER! o EVIL, EVIL HOUR!
OUR SAFETY'S ENSURED FOR THE BALLS HAVE ENDURED THROUGH A THOUSAND AND ONE, OR MORE, AGES. THEY'RE QUITE SAFE UP THERE, SO DO NOT DESPAI R, REMEMBER THE WORDS OF THE SAGES!
The King, still standing, surrenders:
YES. . . WELL. . . THEN. . .
The King nods off again, standing up.
SEQ. 5. 3G.
Cut to the Thief. Here he comes again. He takes aim, and runs. He's getting better all the time. Faster, faster. Down goes the pole, up goes the Thief, and. . . SPLAT! He hits the minaret half-way up, and slowly sinks out of sight.
Cut to the King, snapping awake, still standing. to run forward and yells:
o ENDLESS, ENDLESS EVILS! o WHAT A HIDEOUS CALAMITY APPROACHES!
I FEEL IT! I KNOW IT!
NO, IT COULD NEVER BE, o INFALLIBLE MAJESTY! WHILE THE BALLS ARE IN PLACE WE CANNOT FALL FROM GRACE. JUST LOOK OUT OF THE WINDOW AND SEE!
The King, addled, looks out the window, and we move in on
Cut to the Thief and flies.
He is more determined than ever,
and has more of a professional stance now, as he launches into this, his fourth attempt. He runs. Faster, faster. The pole goes down. He goes up. And head first, his nose almost touches the wall of the minaret. Of course, he's still only halfway up, but he desperately tries to touch the minaret, balanced rigidly on the upright pole. There is a SPRONG, the pole vibrates like a tuning fork, and he rotates in a spiral down the pole toward the ground. Again.
S E Q. 5. 3J .
Cut to the King, gazing at the balls in a stupor. out of it and mutters:
DEATH AND DESTRUCTION, ZIGZAG! (his voice building up to a bellow) THE PROPHECY SAYS IF THE BALLS ARE EVER TAKEN AWAY THE CITY WILL FALL TO DESTRUCTION AND DEATH! (really screaming) WHAT IF THE BALLS ARE TAKEN AWAY
111111111 . . ..... ..
(shouting as loud at first as the Kinghis voice decrescendoing down to a calming reasoning level)
A WAY HAS NEVER BEEN FOUND TOT A K E THEM A WAY. . . . . . . WHAT FREAK OF NATURE COULD EVER GET UP TO THE TOP OF THAT MINARET? WHA T FREAK OF NATURE COULD THERE TO STEAL THE BALLS WHILE ALL COULD SEE? THEY'RE UP TOO HIGH, AND IN FULL VIEW AND IN THE PALACE COMPLEX, TOO.
SEQ. 5. 3K .
On "Freak of Nature" we cut to a medium top shot of the Thief backing up with his pole. He backs out of the picture but the pole doesn't and it keeps on travelling through the frame. We see in longshot that it is of enormous length. Just long enough this time for the Thief to be able to reach the top of the minaret.
Slowly, he begins the approach. Very professional now. Faster, faster I faster - down goes the pole, and in semi-slow motion, the Thief takes off in a perfect arc, headed for the top of the minaret.
Just below the dome is a small window. He goes straight through the window and out of the other side and the perfect arc continues on down. He falls into a group of buildings, RIP - he goes through a large awning. And then, like a circus trapeze artist, he ricochets off various awnings, past shuttered windows towards the ground. He drops through clotheslines, temporarily augmenting his costume in mid-flight with random articles of clothing, underwear, etc. Finally he reaches a long awning which smooths his fall and glides him safely to the ground, where he skitters dizzily across the courtyard into the shadows.
Cut to the King and Z ig Zag. The K in9 ZigZag gently leads him back toward his throne. soothingly and patronizingly;
is asleep, standing up. He whispers
THERE'S A GOOD KING. NO REASON TO FRET.
THERE HASN'T BEEN A PROBLEM THAT WE COULDN'T HANDLE YET.
ZigZag is gliding the King onto a dais of bolsters.
IT'S NOT TIME TO GET UP TOO EARLY TO RISE TOO EARLY TO OPEN (tip-toeing THE KING'S SLEEPY EYES.
Cut to the King's eyes popping open. He lets out a mighty scream, and charges head-first off the dais, colliding head-on into ZigZag. They both splatter across the floor. The King jumps up and runs around the room hollering.
BLOOD! FIRE! CATASTROPHE!
(as the K in9 shouts all this, he is crashing into ZigZag, who is trying to calm the King down and getting mauled in the process. )
GREAT TROUBLE! TERRIBLE TROUBLE!
(being battered) SERENE HIGHNESS! CALM THY FEAR! SUCH THINGS COULD NEVER HAPPEN HERE! SUCH THINGS HAVE NEVER HAPPENED! - WELL, THEY HAVEN'T HAPPENED YET! CAN'T YOU SEE? THE GOLDEN BALLS ARE SAFE ATOP THE MINARET!!!!
(pulling himself together, standing on top of the collapsed ZigZag) I CANNOT BUT THINK YOU ARE WRONG, ZIGZAG.
SEQ. 5. 3M.
Cut to the Thief's head with his halo of flies. He is really determined now. His robes are pulled up above his pants to allow for unimpeded leg action, and he has developed olympic style. Off he goes, slowly at first, increasing speed. Faster, faster. . . faster. . . down goes the pole, and up he goes in an impossibly graceful arc, making a perfect approach to the tip of the minaret and the balls.
Cut to the Three Gold Balls in close-up as the Thief passes over them helplessly, grasping at thin air. He is an inch too high.
Cut to a top shot of the Thief as he disappears below us into the buildings. Here he goes again, bouncing off awnings, shooting across balustrades, around corners. He goes through a series of windows, the shutters banging open and shut. Each time he comes out, he is clutching more and more potted plants. Finally he loses the lot, ricochets off another awning, and ends up on the same long awning as previously. Only this time, he's head-first, on his back gliding backwards down to the ground. He shoots off the end, and runs backwards across the courtyard and collapses in the shadows.