The offices of a well-known centre-right broadsheet. 10am. An EDITOR sits, reading from a tablet. A DEPUTY enters.
EDITOR – Thanks for coming, close the door.
DEPUTY – Morning.
EDITOR – Morning. So you read the brief?
DEPUTY – Ah, no. Did you just send it?
EDITOR – Five minutes ago.
DEPUTY – Sorry I was probably/
EDITOR – Fine, not a problem.
DEPUTY – I’ll take a look now.
EDITOR – It’s fine, I’ll fill you in. It’s just an op-ed. Culture section.
DEPUTY – Okay.
EDITOR – Something fighty. Something to get them clicking. Seen what the Indy’s been doing recently?
DEPUTY – Sure.
EDITOR – Something like that. But bigger.
DEPUTY – Right.
EDITOR – Bolder. Just really kick the shit out of something. Get the lefty luvvies properly fucked off, you know?
DEPUTY – I think so. Something pro-cuts to the arts? Hit up Vaizey for a few zingers?
EDITOR – Too dry. Something stronger.
DEPUTY – Stick it to the BBC? Slice the license?
EDITOR – No, no, no. Hang on, I’ve got it. ‘Abolish funding for the arts’.
DEPUTY – All of it? All of them?
EDITOR – Absolutely. Fuck ’em all. How about ‘All funded art is shit, a critic’s view.’ Actual theatre critic says ‘it’s all a pile of wank’.
DEPUTY – Wow. Okay.
EDITOR – ‘There has never been a decent piece of funded art, it’s all just lesbians paying kick-backs to lesbians.’
DEPUTY – Okay, that’s…
EDITOR – Strong. Fierce. Fucking irresistible, that’s what that is.
DEPUTY – Piss off a lot of people.
EDITOR – Fucking right it will. They’ll go mental.
DEPUTY – They will.
EDITOR – Absolutely mental. They’ll go for it. They’ll go for blood.
DEPUTY – Thing is…
EDITOR – Thousand words, keep it snappy.
DEPUTY – Only question/
EDITOR – An hour. Make it happen.
DEPUTY – But who’s going to write it?
EDITOR – Get Charlie to do it. Ah fuck.
DEPUTY – Charlie’s gone.
EDITOR – Course he is. Shit.
DEPUTY – And I don’t think Dominic/
EDITOR – Hasn’t got the balls for it?
DEPUTY – He wouldn’t write it. Too far for him.
EDITOR – Shit. Letts? Do it for a favour?
DEPUTY – Might do it. You’ll pay for it though. Greedy bastard.
EDITOR – Hang on. Thought forming. You still got Douggie’s number?
DEPUTY – Douggie? ‘Tiger’ Douglas?
EDITOR – Tiger Douglas.
DEPUTY – But…
EDITOR – But what?
DEPUTY – You can’t be serious. How could you even suggest that?
EDITOR – What’s the matter with Tiger Douglas?
DEPUTY – Tiger Douglas is demented.
EDITOR – Damn fine writer.
DEPUTY – Sir, no offence but we can’t use Tiger Douglas. He’s… I mean… He’s not even really a critic.
EDITOR – Writes for The Stage.
DEPUTY – That was years ago. And he only writes about
EDITOR – Circus, I know. That’s fine. Circus is big.
DEPUTY – Not circus, though. Circuses. He only writes about circuses. Actual circuses. With tigers and dogs jumping through hoops.
EDITOR – Nothing wrong with that. Everyone likes a circus.
DEPUTY – Everyone ‘likes’ a circus, sir. But we’re not talking about ‘liking’. Tiger Douglas is obsessed. It’s like an illness for him. Did you see his latest article?
EDITOR – Remind me.
DEPUTY – ‘Edinburgh Fringe Gets Circus Hub But I’d Rather See Some Lions’
EDITOR – Ha!
DEPUTY – He means it though. He wants to see some lions. In a circus. He’s upset that there aren’t any lions any more. Lions and tigers.
EDITOR – Good man. Everyone likes lions. He’s got the common touch.
DEPUTY – But it’s not about ‘liking’! He’s written a book about it. He’s written several. He’s written a Mills and Boon or something called ‘The Showman’s Girl’ with endless rambling descriptions of what circuses smell like.
EDITOR – Listen, I want this article and I want Douggie to write it, is that clear?
DEPUTY – But sir…
EDITOR – Is that clear?
The sound of an organ playing ‘Entry of the Gladiators’ is heard, growing slowly louder. The men freeze and turn to the office door.
EDITOR – What’s that sound?
DEPUTY – Oh God.
EDITOR – Where’s it coming from.
DEPUTY – God…
EDITOR – Someone there?
A growl from outside the door.
EDITOR – Call security.
DEPUTY – Too late.
EDITOR picks up his phone and dials.
DEPUTY – It’s… Tiger Douglas.
The door explodes in a shower of splintered wood as a man riding a giant orange tiger bursts through it. The tiger rears
DOUGLAS MCPHERSON – (screamed) I’M TIGER DOUGLAS!
The DEPUTY begins to scream, the EDITOR begins to scream. And as DOUGLAS MCPHERSON advances on his stripy, razor-clawed steed