BAD LEG


    BAD LEG


    FADE IN

    INT. TRACY’S OFFICE - DAY

    Tracy is sitting in front of a computer. Her right hand is on the mouse, checking her emails. We see a close up of a column which is brought to our attention.

    TRACY

    (voice over)

    It’s been brought to my attention that maybe not all of last week’s column was the complete truth. I wouldn’t say it was complete out-and-out lies. But I will admit to a slight degree of artistic licence.

    For example it wasn’t cowbells, just an ordinary doorbell, in fact, with an answer phone. And it wasn’t edelweiss on the ribbon, but there was a ribbon. And it wasn’t exactly Switzerland - but it was somewhere else. And guess what? I didn’t do my leg in snowboarding, but I did do it in. Touch of the Walter Mittys?

    Oh I forgot to say, about the Saturday night.

    INT. CABIN’S MAIN ROOM - NIGHT

    She is sat on the sofa looking very forlorn and downhearted. As the snow fell she realised that from the outside she must look like a very sad little snow dome. But she couldn’t let all things go to waste. She dims the lights and leaves the room.

    INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT

    Tracey cranked up the hot tub. Two bottles of pink Dom Perignon on ice in one hand the CD remote control in her other. The candles flicker as she submerged herself up to her neck in the tub and closes her eyes.

    TRACEY

    (Voice-over)

    Yes, I was feeling a lot better. I needed to have some fun, so I decided to play a game. The game was, I would telephone all my favourite people. The first ones to guess where I was and what I was doing would win a luxury weekend for two - not including me. And of course they would have no idea they were playing.

    She picks up the phone and dials a number.

    TRACEY

    Hey Froggy, guess what I’m up to?

    FROGGY

    Counting all your money?

    TRACEY

    Nooo. Buy, Froggy!

    She calls her new best friend from America, Mike Schnabel.

    MIKE SCHNABEL’S ANSWER PHONE

    Hi! This is Schnabel’s phone. I’m sorry but I am not able to answer now.

    We hear a beep.

    She turns the CD up louder. The camera focuses on a little bell by the tub. Tracey finishes her first bottle and throws it on the floor ready to open the second. She starts singing on top of her voice.

    TRACEY

    I can see clearly now, the rain has gone! It’s gonna be a bright, bright, bright, bright, sunshiny day!

    “God, my toes are weird.” I can feel myself being lifted. The valet guy with the accent is hoisting me out of the tub. The part of me in his hands is thinking: “This is quite nice! I haven’t had a shag since I can last remember.”

    He carries me to the giant bed and lays me across it. My eyes are opening and closing, opening and closing. I wondered how he would take me. “A stallion of a man, hung like a donkey…”

    I started to think about the Bad Sex Award for literature. Could you ever imagine writing, or even thinking: “He shot three more times, in thick stripes on her chest. Like Zorro.” It’s an award I have often been asked to give. But if the truth be known, it’s something I would like to receive! Oh come on! What’s wrong with a winter love story? Give me something. Or shall give you the truth?

    Woke myself up coughing so violently. Saturated in sweat. Coughing up foam balls. My lungs are about to cave in from the inside out. It’s 4.45 am and the winter birds are twittering. Docket’s jumping around frustrated by that over-present noise. I can tell he thinks they are taking the piss out of him.

    We’re both stuck there, trapped in our soaring misery, the inability to move. That’s what it’s like when you’re single and unwell. Couple of months before my platelet count went down to 15 and I lost the use of my legs. Just a temporary issue for a couple of weeks. After I came out of hospital, I left my keys with Sandra, the landlady of my local pub. Either Sandra would come in and see me, or friends would pick up the key, make me something to eat, and drop it back again.

    And last month after I smashed my leg up trying to shoot the duck in the park - it was fucking tragic, man! - British Airways wouldn’t fly me home unless I had nine seats (because I had to lie on my back, having my leg raised above me). I finally sneaked home via Italy. Still in a wheelchair or one of those little go-kart things.

    My really kind neighbour picked me up from Gatwick airport at 1:30 am in the morning. I was in so much pain. Mat, my ex-boyfriend, had offered to go around to my house and make me a bed on the ground floor. Too sad. Fuck it.

    I’d take those five flights up the stairs any day! I think my worst moment was after coming back from the knee specialist (who I think was more interested in my good leg than my bad one, purely from an anthropological point of view). I’d had the car drop me off at Sandra’s, at the Golden Heart. It was a really hot April day.

    Sandra said: “Babe. You’re not alright. Have a glass of rose.” I just sat there underneath the jukebox. My eyes started to smart. She put her arm around me and said: “Would you like a cup of tea?” Tears started to roll down my face. “No,” I said, “I just want to go home.”

    Isn’t a love story much better?

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