INT. COLLINS’S HOTEL ROOM -- DAY
It’s minuscule, decorated in best British ’70’s style: cheap wood paneling, ancient wall-mounted phone and pushbutton radio, tiny built-in desk and chair, the skinniest possible double bed: barely room to move. The bathroom is a tiny cubicle. As Harry and Joy ENTER (with difficulty), the room comes as a shock to both. Harry drops the suitcases, resigned, as Joy tosses her bag onto a chair.
Isn’t this... snug!
Hey, nostalgia. I haven’t slept in a closet since before my divorce.
Joy tries to get past Harry to the bathroom. It’s a struggle: they squeeze past each other with difficulty. Now that they’re in the room, Harry’s tiredness really catches up with him. He pushes the bags up against the wall and collapses on the bed, eyes closed, while Joy continues examining the room.
Well, like you say, I’m going to be out sightseeing most of the time. And it’s only for a couple weeks...
(sleepy but emphatic)
No, it’s not. As soon as we can, we’ll find someplace else. This is a dump.
Oh, isn’t that a little harsh, honey? The people downstairs seem nice. ...Honey?
She GLANCES at him. He’s already ASLEEP: he SNORES.
Joy lets out an affectionate breath, goes to him: quietly gets Harry’s shoes off, puts a pillow under his head. Briefly she sits down by him with a “What do I do now?” ~look.
Her eye falls on her bag: the guidebook she was reading in Immigration has fallen out of it, the picture of Big Ben noticeable on its cover.
She turns back to Harry, reaches around and under him and with a wife’s expertise gets out his wallet without waking him. From the wallet she removes a wad of sterling, counts some out for herself, then puts Harry’s wallet back.
Joy gets up and redistributes the money around her various secret pockets (much more Velcro business: she tries to keep the noise down, mostly fails, but Harry doesn’t notice). pauses to scribble a note on the bedside table, takes the key and EXITS.
INT. ORMONDE HOTEL RECEPTION -- DAY
Joy comes to the desk. Doris is there, taking care of paperwork. The two smile at each other. This is a “like at first sight” situation -- Doris likes Joy’s enthusiasm, Joy likes Doris’s “cozy” feel.
Mrs. Lewisham, can you call me a cab?
Why, you can get one right outside, dear. Just wave, they’ll stop for you. Going to do some sightseeing?
I couldn’t sleep. Not with Buckingham Palace just down the road!
You know you can go inside, this time of year? They do tours now. Mind you, there are shocking queues, you might want to take something to read --
(sees the guidebooks)
No, I see you’re equipped!
Here George JOINS Doris behind the desk. Joy smiles at him.
Yes. I’m so glad to be here! The history here, the romance -- it’s all so exciting!
Have a good time!
Joy hurries out the front door. George and Doris watch.
You shouldn’t, you know.
Get involved with them. It’s not wise.
I can’t help it. Sometimes I just have to.
They look at each other. A moment of dull pain. Then George nods sadly, walks away.
I know. So do I.
EXT. LONDON, DAY -- MONTAGE OF SHOTS
Joy’s day in London.
1) The street outside the hotel. She hails a cab, gets in all excited. It zooms away: we can see Joy talking to the cabbie, a mile a minute.
2) The cab heads up the Mall toward the Victoria Monument in the roundabout-circle outside Buckingham Palace.
3) Outside Buck House. The cabbie lets Joy out: she’s still talking. The cabbie smiles as she pays him, and drives off. Joy turns with great delight to look at the palace.
4) The Changing of the Guard. Among many other tourists from all over, Joy watches, eyes shining.
5) The gift shop in the Palace Mews. Joy buys souvenirs.
6) A sidewalk in Piccadilly. Burdened with shopping bags, Joy bustles along, looking at everything: it’s all new and strange, but she’s delighted.
7) The National Portrait Gallery from outside: Joy goes in.
8) Inside she checks her bags, then wanders among the portraits of the great: finally stands in front of the famous and dramatic Gheeraerts portrait of Elizabeth I, plainly very impressed.
9) Then outside again, in Trafalgar Square, Joy stands among the pigeons, under the benevolent gaze of one of the huge lions. She drops her bags, does a Mary Tyler Moore twirl, happy: pigeons scatter in every direction, their wings CLATTERING as they fly --
INT. ORMONDE HOTEL ROOM -- LATE AFTERNOON
The door opens and Joy comes back in, puts her bags down. She’s pooped too, now. Harry is still asleep.
Joy sits on the edge of the bed, turns the TV on low. It goes from a “Big Brother” rerun on ITV to a commercial. As this starts, it becomes clear that Joy’s heard similar commercials before and is sick of them.
-- Erickson Computer’s new PowerTools portable, featuring more power! Less weight! And a lower price than any other comparable machine on the market!
COMMERCIAL ANNOUNCER / JOY
(Joy in a “nyah-nyah” voice)
Come see why we say, If you need a computer, you need an Erickson!
And on the screen, the same young man we saw in his office and on the airport poster, oozing trustworthiness and charm:
Tell them Mrs. Erickson’s boy sent you.
Yeah, right. Cheapskate.
Joy kicks her shoes off and pushes herself up the bed, trying to get comfortable -- jams a pillow up against the headboard, looks at her husband. A mixed expression, tender but sad. She takes one of his hands, interlaces their fingers, leans back against the pillow: drops off to sleep almost instantly.
INT. ORMONDE HOTEL ROOM -- NIGHT
Joy and Harry are still asleep. The TV shows a lame car-wax infomercial involving a bizarrely-sweatered host setting a car’s hood on fire. A HAND reaches INTO SHOT and turns the TV down, then off.
George stands by the TV, straightening up from shutting it off. A wistful look on his face as he looks at the two sleepers, then moves OUT OF SHOT. We don’t see how he came in, or how he leaves. No sound of a door being used, though...
From outside the window comes some TRAFFIC NOISE. Through the window a van can be seen driving slowly past the hotel. The van says ERICKSON SCANNING LTD., and shows the Erickson Computers star-and-circle logo. The van has a scanning antenna on the top like those on UK TV license vans. It pauses, the antenna moving: then passes on.
INT. ORMONDE HOTEL BREAKFAST ROOM -- MORNING
A poky little breakfast room, middle-class ’50’s decoration again. Along with Harry and Joy, maybe ten other GUESTS are seated here, picking at their food: no one seems to eat much. Some guests wear clothes and hairstyles that are out of date in a way that’s hard to pin down. Among them, at a table near Harry and Joy’s, is Gunter, the young German man who was in the lobby earlier.
Joy EATS: Harry sporadically TRIES to. A newspaper is folded on the table beside him.
This is no place to wake up in at five in the morning. No room service, nothing. I’m starving.
So eat your breakfast!
I refuse to eat any breakfast that originally had “Goodyear” stamped on it. This bacon should have treads.
So have some toast.
It’s cold. Never mind... I’ll have something at the show when I get there.
So what else did you do yesterday besides shop? Did you see the Queen?
Not the live one.
At the next table Gunter reacts slightly to this.
But I don’t care. Everything’s so wonderful and old.
Oh, come on, Joy. America is old. We just got there late.
Harry picks up the paper, starts reading: George comes by.
Oh, good morning, Mr. Lewisham!
Mrs. Collins! Mr. Collins. Good morning! Can I get you anything?
(sotto: into the paper)
Food we can chew would be nice.
Joy KICKS him under the table.
I’d love some more tea.
Coming right up.
He goes off, comes back with the pot, pours for her. Harry opens his paper to the sports pages; a picture of a horse is visible.
Ah, the gee-gees. Do you ever have a flutter, Mrs. Collins?
Call me Joy. A what?
A little bet on the horses.
I never tried.
I do, sometimes.
I have a hot tip for Epsom this afternoon.
The race course.
Bumper Crop in the two-fifteen. By a nose.
Inside information, huh?
I know a jockey.
George goes off.
Isn’t that nice of him!
If it’s a good tip, yeah. We’ll see. So what are your plans today?
I was thinking about going to Harrods.
Sounds good. Listen, I’d better get a move on. Show opens in an hour.
He gets up.
You’ve got the mobile number. Text me if anything comes up.
When will you be done today?
Eight, nine maybe. I’ll call you... we can go out somewhere for dinner.
He smooches her hurriedly and heads out. Joy looks after him a little sadly.
Excuse me --
She looks over to where Gunter’s finishing his breakfast.
Mrs. -- Collins? I know this city well, and have no plans today. If you did not object, I would be glad to show you some places.
(brief indecision, then:)
Yes, thank you, I’d like that --
Gunter. Gunter Meyring.
She holds out a hand. He doesn’t take it, gives her that slight bow. She takes her hand back, slightly bemused.
As long as your husband would not object --
(smiling, a slight edge)
He’s not here to object, is he?