Sarah Barnett - Moved to post, finally, Auckland.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Scene: Wellington. Day. A girl, who looks younger than her years, sits with the YELLOW PAGES. She is on the phone, halfway through a conversation.

Girl: So the movers will be there Friday morning?
Secretary: [voice heard over phone] Between 9 and 12, yes.
Girl: Cool. Could you make sure that they ring if there are problems? I nanny in the afternoons, so I would need to make back-up plans.
Secretary: Of course, but they’ll be there in the morning.
Girl: And my stuff will be delivered in Auckland on Monday?
Secretary: Yep, just ring the Auckland office on Monday morning, and they’ll be able to give you an ETA. I’ll send your paperwork out to you. And finally, can I ask how you heard about us?
Girl: You were in the Yellow Pages.


Int. The Moving Company office. The SECRETARY sits at a HUGE DESK. She is inscribing STRANGE RUNES on the TABLET in front of her. She is clearly pleased that the Yellow Pages has, once again, provided the perfect cover for their hellish operation.

Secretary: That’s great, thanks for calling. I’ll get your paperwork in the mail.


Girl’s flat. Friday. Day. Too late in the day. The Moving Company has just called to say they will be there “around two”. Her last day in Wellington is in ruins and she is unhappy. She paces, PRETTILY. She sends some ANGRY, but MORDANT and WITTY, text messages to friends. She looks at the clock. 2.10.

Moving Guy: Hey, sorry we’re late, eh.
Girl: [aware that these guys are just mules for a far bigger cartel] That’s cool, but I need to be out of here before three…
Moving Guy: That’s cool, eh. But we forgot your paperwork. Do you have some paper we could borrow?
Other Moving Guy: Eh.
Girl: [unpacks box to find paper] Here you go. Could you get The Moving Company to send a copy to me?

Furniture removal MONTAGE ensues. It’s 2.50. They’re finished. Mules are good guys.

Moving to Auckland MONTAGE ensues. Girl plays HALO 2 one last time, gets DRUNK, cries PRETTILY in the pub toilets. The scenery in Auckland is a stark contrast to that in Wellington: FLAT, BLEAK. Clouds gather over the SKY TOWER. Pathetic fallacy.


Auckland house. Day. It’s Monday and the Girl is ringing the Moving Company for her ETA.

Auckland Secretary: [voice on phone] Oh, your stuff’s still in Wellington, don’t know when it will be in Auckland.
Girl: [laughs] Oh, you moving people and your hilarious ways.
Auckland Secretary: Seriously. It’s in Wellington. We would never have told you your stuff would be delivered today.

Girl closes her eyes, breathes deeply and rings the WELLINGTON OFFICE. Skip to the middle of the phone conversation. It is clear this has been going on for some time and getting nowhere. Probably because the Branch Manager is a MONUMENTAL CRETIN.

Wellington Branch Manager: [voice on phone] No, we never would have told you that your stuff would be delivered today.
Girl: Well, your secretary just admitted that she told me, and apologised.
Manager: No she didn’t.
Girl: Oh, you’re right, I imagined all the things she said to me about moving.
Manager: Oh, don’t feel bad. It happens to the best of us. Let me explain the policy to you again.
Girl: Oh, I understand the policy, but it’s not much use to me now that all my shoes are still in Wellington. I really should have been told it before I moved.
Manager: You were.


The Manager’s office. It is a festival of CHROME and OBSIDIAN. We can only see The Manager from BEHIND. He sits in a LEATHER executive chair. There is an ELABORATE, FRUITY cocktail on the desk, and a huge FLUFFY CAT on the right arm of his chair. An industrial-grade SHREDDER grinds away next to him.


Girl on the phone.

Girl: Whatever, so you’ll deliver my stuff on Saturday? And please send me my paperwork.
Manager: Of course.

Another furniture removal MONTAGE ensues. Everything is going swimmingly, then:

Girl: Where’s my stereo?
Moving Guy: I don’t know, eh.
Girl: Well, I’m not signing anything until I get my stereo.
Moving Guy: Oh yeah, we don’t have your paperwork, eh.

A series of unsuccessful phone calls are made, messages left.

Moving Guy: The Auckland Branch Manager will call you on Monday, eh.
Girl: I can’t wait.

Living in Auckland MONTAGE ensues. Girl sits on the Devonport ferry, surrounded by women having the world’s most boring hen party. Girl walks along K’ Rd. Clouds gather over the Sky Tower. Girl gets accosted on Queen St by a mad man asking for love life advice. Girl goes to work and comes home again.

The MONTAGE is punctuated by EMAILS and PHONE CALLS between the Girl and the Wellington Branch Manager. Snatches are shown on screen or heard in voice-over. Her emails start “Dear sir,” and become more painfully POLITE as time goes on. His emails continually PROMISE to send paperwork. His final email says:

Wellington Branch Manager: [voice over] …our records show that we delivered your stereo with the rest of your stuff…


Girl’s apartment. Night. GIRL sits in SILENCE, doing the CROSSWORD and drinking GIN. It is clear that lack of aural stimulation has led her to turn to mother’s little helper. She is beginning to look all of her 23 years. Her CD TOWER sits next to her SPEAKERS, whose cords trail off to nowhere. Occasionally she looks at them, and does another shot. PRETTILY.


Manager’s office. Night. The MANAGER and his SECRETARY are KNOCKING BOOTS on a pile of SHREDDED paperwork. The CAT is watching them from the arm of the chair. The secretary is READING ALOUD to the manager while they’re at it.

Secretary: [quoting Girl’s email] “Surely if you had actually delivered my stereo, I wouldn’t be asking you where it is?”
Manager: Oh God yes.


Girl’s cubicle. Day. It is clear from the calender that three months have passed. The phone rings.

Auckland Branch Manager: [voice heard over phone] Hey, we found your stereo.
Girl: [with quiet dignity] You’re shitting me.
Manager: No, it was about to go the the UK with another family’s stuff. Hahahahahaha.
Girl: That is, indeed, hilarious. When can you deliver it?
Manager: Well, we’re pretty busy this week…


Auckland Moving Company office. The Manager sits in an enormous, empty, warehouse. TUMBLEWEED blows across the floor. Against the distant back wall, you can just make out the MOVING GUYS huddled in a CAGE. Two of them are out, TRAINING. They move a BABY GRAND to and fro, pointlessly.


Girl’s office. She is still on the phone.

Girl: …so next Wednesday? Thanks.


Girl’s apartment, Wednesday. She comes home after work and there is a Moving Company box on her floor. She falls on it, sobbing. The BOX is covered in SYMBOLS of a CRYPTIC nature. She reaches in and pulls out her stereo… and one big stainless steel CASTOR, not hers, that clearly belongs to a LARGE piece of furniture. Puzzling.


Ext. House in Bayswater, London. Day. There is an International Moving Company van outside.


Int. House in Bayswater, London, night. A couple, clearly exhausted after a long-haul flight from New Zealand and a day’s unpacking, jump gratefully into bed. The bed COLLAPSES comically, due to having only THREE castors.

Man: Worst Moving Company, ever.


Girl’s apartment. Night. She walks to her CD tower and we can see the CASTOR, mounted like a TROPHY on it. She reaches for a CD and smiles. PRETTILY.