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Qui Quoi Où Êtes-Vous?

January 8, 2011

Samuel Beckett once wrote “In the landscape of extinction, precision is next to godliness.” And, while nobody really knows what that abysmal drunkard Mr Beckett was on about, in the landscape of forensic science, precision is key  And so it is, also, that precision is the watchword of the television script writer. Extraneous, unnecessary, or even redundant information is “from its mother’s womb untimely ripped”, as it were, and scattered to the four winds “like so many nickels and dimes”… Hmm, perhaps that could have been said better. Whatever the case, what I’m trying to say is: television script writers need to be concise. When they aren’t, scenes get excised, man. Scenes get cut.

This, O nobly-born, is one of those scenes.

INT. – HOTEL ROOM – DAY

We see CAPTAIN BRASS standing in the middle of an upscale hotel room, his head tilting slowly from side to side like a puzzled puppy in curiosity.

A CLEANING WOMAN sits moaning in a chair by the door under the watchful eye of a uniformed officer.

GIL GRISSOM enters carrying his heavy kit and approaches Brass who is too enraptured to notice his presence.

GRISSOM
What’s the story?

Brass allows himself an additional moment of admiration before snapping back to business.

We see what he’s been looking at. On the bed, the corpses of a naked man and woman. The man lying on his back; the woman kneeling, knees planted on either side of the man’s head, her cheek pressed against the wall which holds her upright.

BRASS
We’ve got a positive I.D. on the
female, name of Sunny Chiang. The
room is registered to her. We’re still
working on I.D.ing the male;
his driver’s licence was an obvious
fake. They were discovered by the
cleaning woman…

He looks at his notes for the name.

BRASS (CONT.)
…one Lucinda Sagrado…or
Consagrado…there seems to be some
difficulty getting her name out of
her…

He jerks a thumb at the woman in the chair who gives a look of surprise at Brass’ gesture, then speaks, becoming increasingly agitated.

CLEANING WOMAN
¡No, no sagrado—consagrado!
¡Yo nunca daño a nadie! ¡Consagrado!
¡Consagrado!

BRASS
Ma’am…

She leaps from her chair and runs shrieking out the door, passing CATHERINE WILLOWS who is on her way in.

The uniformed officer who was guarding the woman stands dumbfounded and Brass has to point toward the door before it sinks in that he should initiate pursuit.

WILLOWS
I haven’t seen a woman run from a
room like that since Carrot Top
left town.

She looks at the corpses.

WILLOWS (CONT.)
What do we have here?

BRASS
Well, no signs of violence. The
lady’s purse and the guy’s wallet
are accounted for; and it appears
from their position that these two
died simultaneously.

WILLOWS
“Simultaneously”. Considerate
fella.

GRISSOM
(Catching Willows’ drift)
The French have a colloquialism for
orgasms: “La Petite Mort”. The
little death.

BRASS
Yeah? What’s their colloquialism
for “irrelevant information”?

Grissom looks hurt.

BRASS (CONT.)
Anyway, it looks like they ran into
Petite Mort’s ugly cousin Big Morty
during their trip around the sixty-
nine stations of the Kisokaido.
Cause unknown.

GRISSOM
That’s not sixty-nine.

Brass gives him an impatient look.

BRASS
What?

GRISSOM
That’s not sixty-nine.

BRASS
I know it’s not sixty-nine, Cochise.
Trust me, I know sixty-nine.

Grissom and Willows both grimace at the unwelcome mental image.

GRISSOM
Then why…?

BRASS
This is CBS. If it ain’t
missionary, it’s kinky. You think
all those biddies watching this
show just ’cause it comes on after
“Murder, She Wrote” know what sixty-
nine is? It’s shorthand for kinky.
That’s all they know. That’s all
they want to know.

GRISSOM
I think “Murder, She Wrote” went
off the air twenty years ago.

BRASS
What are you trying to say, Gil?

Grissom shrugs.

Catherine walks to the bed, bends, and peers under the female corpse’s slightly upturned rear which she illuminates with her penlight.

WILLOWS
Full lividity; suggests a T.O.D.
sometime last evening.

BRASS
And here I thought the trip to
visit the in-laws for the holidays
was a long ride.

He pauses, then looks to the ceiling waiting for the theme music to kick in. It does not.

Judging by Grissom and Willows’ befuddled reaction to the line, this lack of theme music comes as no surprise to them.

Grissom clears his throat.

GRISSOM
It appears this fellow liked his
sex Sunny side up.

Obviously, no theme music. Brass and Willows stare blankly.

GRISSOM (CONT.)
…because her name is Sunny, see?

BRASS
Really, Gil?

GRISSOM
Oh, fucking bite me, Brass! It’s
better than yours.

BRASS
Horseshit! Yours is just some cliché
you heard somewhere else and
repackaged to suit the situation!

GRISSOM
Where? Where do you think I heard
it?

BRASS
I don’t know exactly, but it
definitely has a ring of
familiarity about it.

GRISSOM
“A ring of familiarity”?

BRASS
Certainly a lack of originality.

WILLOWS
Enough, girls! I’ve got it.
Her name was Sunny and she
“set” on his face.

Brass and Grissom weigh this statement for a moment and then reluctantly nod their approval. The three of them stand waiting for the theme music. The silence becomes awkward, and then, just as Brass is about to speak, the theme music blasts.

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