HJA 437 Scene 1

Refer to the Feb 5 post before reading this. 

1.   EXT.   SECOND HAND CAR SALES OUTLET.   DAY  

IT IS 1972. WE ARE LOOKING AT THE FORECOURT OF A SECOND HAND CAR SALES SHOWROOMS IN MANCHESTER. GEOFF HORSFIELD, AGED ABOUT FIFTY, IS GIVING ONE OF THE CARS FOR SALE THE ONCE OVER. HE IS OBVIOUSLY IN LOVE WITH THE CAR, WHICH IS A BLACK 1966 FORD ZEPHYR ZODIAC IN MINT CONDITION, REGISTRATION NUMBER HJA 437. WRITTEN ON THE CAR’S WINDSCREEN IN WHITE IS ‘1966 LOW MILEAGE. ONE OWNER. £899 ONLY. HP ARRANGED’. GEOFF’S WIFE ROSE, THE SAME AGE AS HER HUSBAND, TRAIPSES BEHIND HIM, NOT ENTIRELY UNINTERESTED, AS HE CIRCLES THE CAR, LOOKING AT IT FROM ALL ANGLES, BENDING TO LOOK UNDERNEATH IT AS BEST HE CAN A COUPLE OF TIMES. WHEN THEY HAVE CIRCUMNAVIGATED IT ROSE STOPS WHILE GEOFF CARRIES ON.

GEOFF:

(TURNING TO HER) It’s very……. (HE SEES THAT SHE IS NO LONGER FOLLOWING HIM. THIS ANNOYS HIM) Try to show an interest Rose.

ROSE:   

I’ve been round twice, Geoff.

GEOFF:

Well I don’t want to miss anything, do I. You can’t be too careful when you’re buying a second hand car. I think we’ll be all right with this though. (HE GIVES THE CAR ANOTHER ADMIRING LOOK) Very clean isn’t it.

ROSE:

I should hope it is for that price.

GEOFF SHIELDS HIS EYES TO PEER IN THROUGH ONE OF THE WINDOWS. WE LOOK IN WITH HIM. THE UPHOLSTERY IS LEOPARD SKIN.

GEOFF:

It’s absolutely spotless inside.

ROSE:

(INCREDULOUS) Spotless? It’s nothing but spots.

 

GEOFF:

What? (REALISES) Oh, you mean the leopard skin upholstery. Classy that.

ROSE:

Well that’s one word for it I suppose. Not the one I’d have chosen.

GEOFF CONTINUES WITH HIS INSPECTION. A SALESMAN HOVES INTO VIEW GIVING A FAIR IMITATION OF A VULTURE DESCENDING ON ITS PREY. AS PART OF HIS INSPECTION GEOFF GIVES ONE OF THE TYRES A GOOD KICK. THE SALESMAN WINCES.

SALESMAN:

Nice motor isn’t she.

GEOFF:

(TURNS TO HIM) Ah. Yes, very nice.

THE SALESMAN UNLOCKS THE DRIVER’S DOOR AND OPENS IT WIDE.

SALESMAN:

Take a look inside if you like. Only one owner as you can see.

ROSE:
Who was it, Jungle Jim?

SALESMAN:

What?

ROSE INDICATES THE SEATS.

SALESMAN:

Oh, the upholstery you mean. Class that. It takes the skins of three leopards for every car.

GEOFF:
(IMPRESSED) Go on.

SALESMAN:
Or so I am reliably informed by the Ford Motor Company.

GEOFF:

Hear that Rose? It takes the skin of three leopards to make the seats.

ROSE:
Am I supposed to be impressed?


GEOFF:

I thought you liked animals?

ROSE:

I do when they’re walking about. Not when they’re chair covers. It’ll be like living in a zoo

SALESMAN:
(TO GEOFF, WHO HAS IS HEAD IN THE CAR LOOKING AT THE INSTRUMENT CLUSTER ) So what do you think then?

GEOFF:

(TURNS TO THE SALESMAN) Is this mileage ……?

ROSE:

It’ll be like living in a zoo.

GEOFF GIVES ROSE A DIRTY LOOK THEN TURNS HIS ATTENTION BACK TO THE SALESMAN.

GEOFF:
Is this mileage genuine? 22,000?


SALESMAN:

Can’t be anything Squire, you can’t turn the clock back on a Zodiac, it’s part of the in-car security arrangements.

GEOFF:
(CLEARLY IMPRESSED BY THIS BLATANT LIE) Well that just about settles it then.

SALESMAN:

(STETCHES OUT AN ARM IN THE DIRECTION OF THE OFFICE) Shall we get the paperwork over and done with then?

THE SALESMAN TURNS TO GO, GEOFF MAKES TO FOLLOW HIM.

ROSE:

Geoff? (GEOFF TURNS TO HER) You are sure about this are you?

GEOFF:

You’re not going to be awkward about this are you? What have we been saving up for for the last three years for?

ROSE:

I know all about that, but……

GEOFF:

(CUTTING IN) Well then. You know I’ve always wanted a car.

ROSE:
It’s such a lot of money, all at one go. Couldn’t we buy something a bit cheaper?

GEOFF:
No. It has to be this one. I’ve always wanted a Zephyr Zodiac ever since I first set eyes on one when they first came out in 1962. And you don’t see too many of them for sale, they don’t make them anymore, they only made them for four years.

ROSE:

Well they probably ran out of leopards.

GEOFF:

And stop going on about leopards will you, you’re liked a bloody gramophone record. (TO THE SALESMAN) Lead on, Macduff.

THEY HEAD FOR THE OFFICE. ROSE SHRUGS HER SHOULDERS AND STARTS TO FOLLOW THEM, BUT WITHOUT MUCH ENTHUSIASM.

FADE TO

2.   INT.   THE HORSEFIELD’S LIVING ROOM.   DAY