We've Got Off Lightly

SYNOPSIS
DAWN discovers IAN's true talent.

IAN and DAWN are walking along in one of those parks where you see people playing chess.

DAWN
No, you’re not getting it. Let’s try again. What does “I’m all right” mean?

IAN
Erm, I’m not all right. Leave me alone?

DAWN
No, Ian. That’s “I’m fine.” “I’m all right” means I’m not all right but I want you to ask me why.

IAN
Right. Got it.

DAWN
So if a woman says, “Tsk. I’m not all right, actually”, it means you’ve upset her or she’s met someone better and wants a divor…

But IAN has stopped to watch a chess game between two oldish, smart-looking men. DAWN tsks and goes back to IAN.

IAN is enthralled, puts his head to one side like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.

IAN
Pawn c2 takes bishop b3.

The men are annoyed but try to ignore him. The one opposite plays a move.

IAN prods the shoulder of the man he’s standing behind.

IAN
Now rook a1 takes rook a8.

The men scowl. The one over whose shoulder IAN is peering, though, seems to heed his advice. The other one tuts and moves again.

IAN
Queen d6 takes his queen.

Ian’s man makes this move.

DAWN
Wow. This is amazing. You’re somehow seeing the board in the future. You’re psychic. I told you, Ian. I said you were psychically incredibly open but you wouldn’t listen.

The opponent moves, irritably.

IAN
Queen takes knight and mate in five.

Ian’s man does it and his opponent swears, topples his king and storms off.

IAN’S MAN
Bravo. Here. Sit and play. Please.

IAN
I dunno. Shall I, Dawn?

DAWN
What does the board say?

IAN
Erm, play?

DAWN
Then do so.

As IAN sits his OPPONENT takes out a large denomination bank note and places it beside the board.

DAWN
The board, Ian.

IAN
Hmm?

DAWN
Ask the board whether you can do it. Abuse your god-given talent for money.

IAN
Oh, right. The board says yes, if I like.

DAWN touches the board reverently.
Thank you, O board our god.

IAN rummages in his tin and piles up coins on his OPPONENT’S note. They start to play.

FADE. We return to see IAN piling up enemy pieces. His wins and his opponent offers his hand. IAN ignores it and rocks autistically. DAWN counts the money. Uplifting film-style music starts. From here on it’s music and not sound…

Rapid FADES and CUTS as IAN plays different people. Children, women, Hassidic Jews, a policeman, a pirate etc. Dawn rakes in the money. We see IAN rub a bishop in his hands and spin it onto the board like a dice. The crowd ahhs and claps and his opponent throws his arms up and leaves, ruefully. We see IAN playing two games at once. IAN playing blindfold. IAN playing against someone with twice the number of pieces they should have. And IAN wins every time.

Eventually, at dusk, we see the adoring crowd part and DAWN and IAN walk through towards the gate. DAWN is ecstatically counting money. IAN looks exhausted. Then IAN sees at a table one of those three cups and a ball merchants, sliding the cups around to hide which one the ball is under.

IAN stand still again and tilts his head, staring at the swooping cups. His eyes dart, following the cups. DAWN stops, checks out IAN’s face and asks him something. We see Ian nod. Dawn hands the entire wad to the cup and ball man, who cracks his knuckles.

FADE out and in. The music dies down.

IAN and DAWN are standing outside a floodlit Mercedes-Benz dealership, looking through the plate glass.

IAN
The silver one’s nice. Looks fast.

DAWN
Yeah. I’m glad we’re sticking with Snowy, though Ian. We’ve come so far together.

IAN
Snowy’s one of the family.

DAWN
Literally.

IAN
And mechanically.

Inside the dealership we see the CUP AND BALL man shake hands with a salesman and caress a new sports car.

DAWN
The moral [she pronounces it morale] of this is, you must never use your blessed gifts for financial gain again. With that in mind, I think we’ve got off lightly. Come on, mastermind.

DAWN and IAN link arms and head off into the evening.

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