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                                                             FADE IN:


               Two men are beneath a streetlight.

                                   FIRST MAN
                         Well, I told you, I'm not looking
                         for her anymore. Why did you call

                                   SECOND MAN
                         I called you because you paid me
                         to find her, and there she is -
                         I've done my job.

                                   FIRST MAN
                         But I paid you - you didn't need
                         to call me out to see where she
                         is. I would have been satisfied
                         just to know that you found her
                         and I knew where she was - that
                         was all I wanted.

                                   SECOND MAN
                         It has to be completion. No, I
                         don't smoke anymore. The job has
                         to be complete, you know, you ask
                         me to do something, I'm a
                         professional, whatever you say
                         now, your words to me were, "Take
                         me to her." And that's what I've
                         done. It's up to you what you do
                         with it.

                                   FIRST MAN
                         And she's okay?

                                   SECOND MAN
                         That's none of my business. Why
                         you want to find her, who she is,
                         who you are, what she does, if
                         she's well or sick, who her
                         friends are, none of that
                         interests me. My brief was simple
                         - take you to her. There she is,
                         up there, on the second floor,
                         third window along, the one with
                         the light in. That's her, I've
                         completed my task. I can go.

               They walk off in opposite directions.

               INT. CAFE/BAR - NIGHT

               The FIRST MAN, whose name is Neil, is sitting on his own at
               a table near the window. It's raining outside. It's warm
               inside. The bar is half full, a friendly atmosphere. A man
               and a dark-haired woman sitting on stools at the bar are
               talking intimately.

                                   MAN AT BAR
                         But it's never the same the
                         second time around, is it.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         It will never work. He is too old
                         for her anyway and where will
                         they go? Morocco? Beirut? South
                         Africa? She would never go with

                                   MAN AT BAR
                         But if she loved him...

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         She doesn't. You can see how she
                         is with him, she cuts him short
                         all the time, every time he

                                   MAN AT BAR
                         Well if I was him, I'd...

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         No-one can put up with that.
                         There is just no way they will
                         stay together, even though they
                         love each other, which I'm sure
                         they do, there's no framework to
                         what they're doing - they just
                         have no sense of...

                                   MAN AT BAR

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         ...where they are. You can't
                         blame her.

                                   MAN AT BAR
                         You can't blame either of them.
                         That's just the way it is. It
                         never works second time around.
                         Have you finished your christmas

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         I have one left to buy and I
                         don't know what to get. He's so
                         difficult. Some people you just
                         know straight away even though
                         they already seem to have
                         everything, and others, even
                         though they have almost nothing,
                         you can't think of anything.

                                   MAN AT BAR
                         They have nothing because they
                         want nothing.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         Something like that. Maybe I'll
                         just forget it.

                                   MAN AT BAR
                         He'll cut you. He'll drop you and
                         won't speak to you again.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         He'll understand. He's a dreamer.
                         He knows what it's like, I mean,
                         to be always looking for
                         something and not finding it.

                                   MAN AT BAR
                         That's what he's like. Exactly.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         You have him off to a T.

                                   MAN AT BAR
                         We're the same in a lot of ways.
                         I just wish he'd leave her or
                         they hadn't got back together.
                         It's too late now, they've done

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         We'll just have to sit and watch
                         the whole drama mechanically
                         unfold before our eyes and
                         pretend we didn't see. I hope
                         they don't invite me around. No
                         one else will be there. Will you
                         be there?

                                   MAN AT BAR
                         Probably. It will probably be
                         just you and me, the second time
                         around. How sad will that be. He
                         treats her like dirt. I'm going
                         now. I might see you next week.
                         I'll ring you, maybe. Sometime.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         Just like that?

               The man gets up and leaves. Neil watches the woman and goes
               to the bar to get another drink. He's served by a young
               girl who reveals her lower back as she bends down to reach
               a bottle beer. Neil picks up his beer and turns to the

                         I always find it strange at this
                         time of year. It's coming up to
                         christmas but it feels like

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                             (sussing him)
                         It's mild really. I don't mind

                         You prefer the summer though,
                         waking up when it's hot and the
                         day has already begun. It's a
                         different feeling - you want to
                         spring out of bed and get

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         I can't say that I ever feel like
                         that. But you definitely feel
                         better in the summer. It's
                         probably a physical thing, some
                         hormone, some chemical or
                         something that switches in.

                         Have you ever lived anywhere hot?

               She shakes her head and looks straight at the bar.

                         I have. I worked in Africa for
                         five years. But there it was
                         different again - the night fell
                         so quick that that in itself was
                         a kind of...

                                   WOMAN AT BAR

                         No. Just a kind of sadness, like
                         it came too early. And what was
                         there to do, unless you could get
                         into a town. Oil lamps are just
                         not the same.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         What were you doing there?

                         Working with the government.
                         Helping them to finance their
                         development. They had tremendous
                         problems with money leaking out,
                         everywhere, and the donors
                         demanded more control, so I was
                         sent to manage the situation. It
                         was useless.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         Sounds like a thankless task. Are
                         you working now?

                         Not exactly. I mean I am but I'm
                         not doing very much. I'm a
                         freelance researcher.
                         Demographics mostly.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         What do you mean?

                         Where people are. What they do.
                         Changes in the population and the
                         effect that has. Three out of
                         four people are now aged thirty
                         to forty.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         That can't be right.

                         Not everywhere - in some towns.
                         What do you do?

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         I own and run a small publishing
                         company. Children's books mostly.
                         And pets. We have a fine run in
                         canine stories.

                         You're an expert on dogs then?

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         No, my writers are. I just have
                         to know a good dog story when I
                         hear one.

                         A shaggy dog story?

                                   WOMAN AT BAR

                         You remind me of someone.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         A good memory, I hope.

                         Oh yeah, an old girlfriend.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         What was her name?

                         Gillian, I think.

               Two men enter the bar and stand next to Neil and the woman.
               Neil moves aside to let them enter and sits down on the
               stool next to her.

                         Gillian Armitage. 1984, I think.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         You were a bit vague. You must
                         have had a lot.

                         Oh yeah, I'm a regular Lord

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         Really? Do you know about Lord

                         Casanova then.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         There are even rumours about him.

                         There are rumours about everyone
                         these days. People are nothing
                         but rumours. Famous people I

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         And us.

               Neil touches the sleeve of her sweater.

                         I like your jumper. I thought it
                         was wet: it glistens.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         It's lambs wool with a thread
                         woven into it.

                             (touching her again)
                         It's really nice. Doesn't it

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         No, it's very soft. I like the
                         feel of it.

                         It would itch me. I've always had
                         sensitive skin. Things make me

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                             (instinctively scratches
                              her arm)
                         But if you're honest, you're just
                         waiting for the right person to
                         come along.


                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         I can read what's on your mind.
                         I'm a mind-reader.

                         How does that work?

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         You just put yourself in the
                         other person's place. It's easy
                         when you know how. You lived in
                         Paris and fell in love with a
                         woman. She was dark; she wore her
                         hair like this...
                             (she holds her hair up
                              at the back)
                         you lived somewhere high up, with
                         shutters on the windows, and a
                         view over an institution, a
                         statue of Jesus in the distance.
                         Something happened, you came home
                         one day and she was gone - she'd
                         discovered something about you,
                         something you'd done. There was a
                         letter on the bed, you picked it
                         up and read it, you sat down and
                         started crying. You walked over
                         to the window and looked out, the
                         wind blew one of the shutters
                         back. You turned back towards the
                         room and saw yourself in the
                         mirror, your face darkened with
                         grief and smeared with tears.
                         There's something in the sky
                         behind you - a balloon, no, a
                         plane trailing an advertising
                         ribbon, the words "Véracité,
                         égalité, ...", but the rest is

                         I've been searching for her
                         since, to, to make up.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         Some things you can't make up.

                         There might be another chance, if
                         we meet again. I tell myself I'm
                         not looking for her anymore, but
                         I am. I know where she lives.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         It's not far from here.

                         We could walk there now.

                                   WOMAN AT BAR
                         You could be with her before you
                         know it.

                         Let's pay up and go.

               They pay up and go.


               Neil and the woman from the bar are beneath a streetlight,
               same as opening scene.

                         So this is it?

                                   WOMAN FROM BAR
                         This is where I live. Do you want
                         to come in?

                         It's been so long, I can't
                         remember. I've been looking for
                         you so long.

                                   WOMAN FROM BAR
                         It's just another start.

                         They say it can't work the second
                         time around.

                                   WOMAN FROM BAR
                         But it's two different people. It
                         always is. Let's go up and see.

                                                            FADE OUT.
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