Tempting Fate Inside No. 9


Tempting Fate

Dark comedy. A hoarder's flat, a blood-stained floor, a dead rat and a curse from beyond the grave. All in a day's work for council contractors Keith, Nick and Maz.


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Transcript


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This programme contains some strong language.

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ENGINE REVS, DOG BARKS

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LOCK CLUNKS

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DISTANT POLICE SIREN

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What a shit tip!

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Neighbours have been complaining for weeks.

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He was a hoarder, apparently.

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Get away(!)

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-It stinks.

-You'll get used to it.

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We've had worse than this, haven't we, Keith?

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Oh, yes! This is a veritable potpourri

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compared to Stanley Gardens.

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Oh, no, that was bad.

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Widow, been there 18 months, nothing left of her.

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Just a pile of old lady porridge on the settee.

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With a hat on top.

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Whoa, that's rank.

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That's the job, Mary.

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You never know what lies in wait.

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I have to say, you don't strike me as a Mary.

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People call me Maz.

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And you DO strike me as a Mary, if you don't mind me saying.

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Why, because I wear glasses?

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-Basically, yes.

-The gentleman's name was Frank Meggins, 68 years old.

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He fell through a glass coffee table and bled out, apparently.

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Urgh! Are you going to have to change those floorboards?

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Yeah. We're also doing a probate valuation and document search.

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Mr Meggins had no living relatives, so,

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any clues will be beneficial to sorting out the estate.

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Yeah, because someone will be dying to get their hands on all of this

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-crap, won't they?

-Someone DID die, Mary.

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That's why we're here.

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Look at this! It looks like Frank's numbers came up.

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What?! He won the lottery?!

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Looks like it. Maybe he was a bit of a Howard Hughes,

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but without the germ phobia, obviously.

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Why would you live in a council flat full of shit

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-if you're a millionaire?

-Show some respect.

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Sorry, Keith.

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But seriously, 3.5 mil.

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I would be like, Ferrari, massive mansion, special edition Yeezies.

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-What's that?

-Trainers.

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Oh, right, yeah. Push the boat out, why don't you(?)

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A boat, why not!

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Although my dad did say, "If it flies, floats or fucks, rent it."

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That's enough!

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Nick, go and show her how to bag up the kitchen waste.

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I'll make a start on this Jenga.

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-He's a barrel of laughs, isn't he(?)

-Keith's all right.

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He means well.

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He's had a hard life.

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I heard his son's got M & S.

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MS. He's...

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A rent boy?

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No...

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-What? No! He's in a wheelchair.

-Oh!

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He's got a lot on his plate. Here.

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Lesson one - no matter who you are,

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people always have the same things in their kitchen cupboards.

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Kidney beans.

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Peaches in syrup.

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Half a box of icing sugar.

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But not everyone has...

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-..a dead rat.

-Urgh, get that away from me, man!

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-These need to be double-bagged, here.

-I'm not touching that.

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Come on, you can't be squeamish in this job!

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Ugh.

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Oh...

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-Hurry up, man!

-All right.

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Good.

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You can put Roland by the front door.

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-Roland?

-Never mind. It's from the '80s.

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SCRAPE ON FLOOR

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DOOR CREAKS

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CLICK

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-Is it locked?

-Jesus!

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Are you trying to kill me?

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Yes.

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Look, are you thinking what I'm thinking?

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I don't know. What are you thinking?

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3.5 million.

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Try this. 17-04-50.

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It's his wife's date of birth.

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Clever clogs.

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-Is that it?

-Packages and a VHS.

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What's a VHS?

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It's from the '80s.

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I assume you were trying to find a passport or will or some such?

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Exactly. We were just trying to find his prostate.

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Probate.

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"Danger, do not open."

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Shall we open it?

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Of course. How can we not?

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It's better that we have the full picture.

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Is that it?

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I bet it's full of drugs.

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-Smash it open.

-It feels pretty solid.

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Probably sentimental value.

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Why did it have "danger" written on it?

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We need to find a player for this.

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Maz, you look in there. Nick, check the kitchen.

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I don't even know what I'm looking for.

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Oh, I just had a horrible thought.

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What if it's home-made pornography?

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Ugh. I'm not sure I want to see old Frank going at it with his fat wife.

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Keep it clean, you two.

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That's ironic!

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We just found a rat in here.

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-Dead or alive?

-Dead.

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We double-bagged it.

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-Good.

-Wish it WAS alive.

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Be less paperwork.

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Found it.

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-There's nowhere to sit.

-Ssh.

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DISTORTED SPEECH

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By the time you see this message, I hope to be free.

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Free from this terrible curse that I've brought upon myself

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through greed and vanity.

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It's like Jackanory.

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-Don't tell me - '80s?

-Yep.

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Inside this package is an object that has ruined countless lives,

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including mine.

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I got it many years ago for a small fortune from a holy man in Jaipur.

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He got ripped off there. He could have got it from IKEA for a tenner.

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-Quiet!

-He told me that this artefact

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would grant the bearer three wishes,

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which would transform my life.

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And, for a while, it did.

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But after what happened to Brenda...

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If you find this package, I urge you,

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I implore you, do not open it.

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Send it away, destroy it.

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Our lives are ruled by fate,

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and those who interfere with fate do so to their sorrow.

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No, he's not going to...

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That's very sad.

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I mean, where's social services in all this, eh?

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Nobody cares any more.

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What's up?

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You heard what he said.

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That thing is dangerous.

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Oh, come on, Nick, he was clearly delusional. He's lost his wife

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and he couldn't accept it. It's classic displacement.

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Blaming a rabbit ornament isn't going to bring her back.

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-It's a hare.

-So?

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Hares are associated with witchcraft and trickery in almost every culture

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-in the world.

-How do you know?

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Because I did a PhD in ethnology and folklore.

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Then, why are you here acting as a glorified binman?

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Because it didn't get me anywhere, did it?

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Like having a degree in washing-up.

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-Yeah, but, still.

-Well, let's just say I made some bad choices.

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Oh! YOU were a rent boy!

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He was an alcoholic.

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Am an alcoholic.

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It never goes away.

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Fortunately, there are people willing to give you a second chance.

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Hm.

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Look, why don't we put the man's property back in the safe, eh?

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This glorified binman thinks we've wasted enough time as it is.

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SQUEAKING

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Guys, come here a second.

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You don't double-bag a live rodent.

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-It was dead.

-Really?

-Yeah. I know a dead rat when I see one.

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It's all right! We all make mistakes.

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-I wished for it.

-What?

-Just now, in there, I was holding the statue,

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I said, "I wish it was alive, it would be a lot less paperwork."

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-Nick, calm down.

-No, he's right, he did.

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Damn. That means we've only got two wishes left.

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-What do you mean?

-Well, you've used yours, you wished

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-for the rat to come alive.

-What? I was just making a joke.

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-That's YOUR problem, mate.

-I could have had anything in the world

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-and I've ended up with a pet rat?!

-Well, it's very domesticated,

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-very clean.

-Well, you have it, then!

-Excuse me.

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SQUEAKING

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CRUNCH

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Sorry. Couldn't concentrate.

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Look, Nick, what we're dealing with here is an old man,

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possibly with undiagnosed dementia, who had a run of bad luck.

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Is one explanation. But consider this. Maz?

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This is Frank's wife, Brenda.

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I'm not being rude but she's a bit of a...

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-She's overweight.

-Yes, she's a beast.

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I think the word is obese.

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Anyway, within six months, she gets ill and ends up looking like this.

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She had cancer, yes, that's what happens.

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But here in Frank's diary, "Brenda upset about her weight again.

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"Poor sausage. I wish there was a way I could help her."

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-Poor sausage?

-You see? He wished for her to be thin,

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-she gets cancer, weight drops off, she dies.

-How could you even...?

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That's just sick.

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All right, look at this.

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3rd of September, back from India.

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12th of September, wins the Lottery.

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-You've said all this.

-29th of September,

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sends his brother on a luxury holiday to the Florida Keys.

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-So?

-Where he dies in a boating accident.

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-See?

-What?

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Every wish backfires. It's throughout folklore.

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There's no way around it. After his wife dies, he sells the big house

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in Highgate, he moves in here,

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starts frittering away his money buying crap off eBay.

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That's because he was a hoarder. It's an illness.

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It's because he was trying to get rid of it by buying the

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most innocuous things. The money is cursed.

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This is just story-fying, Nick. You've developed an overactive

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imagination cos of your fairy-tale degree.

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Have you been drinking the antibacterial hand wash again?

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I did that once!

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All right, then, so, what was his third wish?

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-I don't know.

-Look, my point is, we've got two wishes left -

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what are we going to use them on?

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Well, I wish we could just go back to work and get this job done.

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-That's not going to happen now, is it?

-No.

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-You have to be holding it.

-Oh.

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Come on.

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I know what we should do.

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We should wish for unlimited wishes.

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-It won't work.

-What? How do you know?

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It never does. You can't wish for anything

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that would alter the structure of the wishing system itself.

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Can you make a start on those floorboards, please?

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I've got an ATP fluorescence booked in at 12 tomorrow.

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I need that room spotless.

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Grab that.

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PHONE CHIMES

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Why don't we just ask for shitloads of money, like, 50 million each?

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That's exactly what Frank did, look what happened to him.

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Just a stain to get rid of.

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The wish-granter is always vengeful.

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If you're greedy, you pay the price.

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Yeah, but it's like the taxman, isn't it?

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I claimed for a Happy Meal because I found a receipt

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in the trolley outside Tesco. And he never came after me.

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I don't think you can compare fate to the Inland Revenue.

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I wish for £93,000, please.

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-What are you doing?!

-What?

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That was very carefully thought out.

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-Not too much, but enough to make a difference.

-Give me that.

-Why?

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-You're an idiot.

-Everything all right?

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Yeah, we're just sorting out the floorboards.

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You should not have wished for that money, Maz.

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-Well, what, then?

-I don't know, something harmless.

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-An activity.

-An activity like what?

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Skydiving? Yeah, cos that would end well, wouldn't it?

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Don't say I didn't warn you.

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When will I get it, anyway?

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-What do you mean?

-Well, when you wished for your rat, it was instant.

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-It's not my rat.

-I'm just saying,

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how long will it be before I get my money?

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What?!

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HE CHUCKLES

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Tut!

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What have you got there, Keith?

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Oh, I've come across some of Frank's Lottery winnings.

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It looks like he didn't spend it all, after all.

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And what are YOU doing with it?

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Well, you know the procedure, Nick.

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This money has to be secured and taken off the property

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-as soon as possible.

-By stuffing it in your coat pockets?

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I thought it would be safer that way. But you're right.

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Best keep it all in one place.

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What's going on?

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Keith has found some money.

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Yes, looks to be in the region of £100,000.

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93. It's mine, I just wished for it.

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You do talk some rubbish, Mary.

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This money was just here, nobody wished for it.

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Well, how do you explain the rat?

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I can assure you, there's more than one rat on this property, Nick,

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they're everywhere. Now, if you'll excuse me.

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You're not going.

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-What?

-That's my money.

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-You're not taking it.

-Maz!

-It belongs to me!

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ELECTRIC BUZZING

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Maz! Come back!

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Get the fuse box.

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Maz!

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Listen to me.

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If you take that money...

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..something terrible will happen to you.

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I know you're spooked.

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But that money is not yours.

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There's no point hiding.

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There's only three rooms.

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Don't come any closer!

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-Maz.

-I'm warning you, don't move, or I'll turn you both into cushions.

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What?

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It's the first thing that came into my mind.

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Think about what I said.

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You're being greedy. Remember the Happy Meal in the Tesco's trolley.

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-It's not the same thing!

-I'm sorry, you've lost me now.

0:21:330:21:37

Maz, you don't know what your fate has in store.

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It could be that you ARE going to be really rich.

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Don't meddle with it. Just let it be a surprise.

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Thanks for the warning, Nick, but I know what I want.

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I don't like surprises.

0:21:530:21:55

-Oh...

-Jesus.

0:22:110:22:14

Don't touch anything, Nick,

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you don't want to contaminate the evidence.

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We've still got one wish left. I could wish for Maz to come back

0:22:330:22:36

-to life.

-Nick.

-But then she'd be brain-damaged, of course,

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just like in The Monkey's Paw, when the son comes back all mangled.

0:22:380:22:41

Nick, Nick, you're babbling.

0:22:410:22:42

Why don't you go home now and I'll sort this?

0:22:420:22:44

-Yeah, but what about Maz?

-She's gone.

0:22:440:22:46

She's gone. It was an accident at work, we both saw it.

0:22:480:22:52

I'll alert the authorities, I'll take the money back

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to the office and in the morning I'll reassign the case, OK?

0:22:560:22:59

Yeah, will you, though?

0:22:590:23:00

What do you mean?

0:23:020:23:04

Take the money back?

0:23:050:23:06

I saw what you were doing with it.

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I explained all that.

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Keith, I've known you 12 years.

0:23:090:23:12

Don't lie to me, please.

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OK.

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OK, 50/50.

0:23:200:23:21

-What?

-We'll split it, 45 grand each. No-one knew it ever existed,

0:23:220:23:25

-it's not a crime.

-Keith, I don't want anything to do with that money,

0:23:250:23:28

-we've got to get rid of it, burn it!

-I can't burn it, Nick!

0:23:280:23:30

This money is a godsend to me.

0:23:300:23:33

This could pay for Charlie's operation.

0:23:330:23:35

Yes. Yes, maybe.

0:23:370:23:39

In the stories, people always make self-serving wishes,

0:23:390:23:42

use it for something good, there'll be no retribution.

0:23:420:23:44

There's no such thing as wishes!

0:23:440:23:46

There is no magic, there's no short cuts!

0:23:470:23:50

If you hadn't found that stupid video, Maz would still be alive!

0:23:510:23:55

We could have just done this job and gone home.

0:23:550:23:57

Hang on a minute. We found that video locked in the safe.

0:23:590:24:03

So?

0:24:040:24:06

It was his suicide video. Who put it there?

0:24:060:24:08

-What are you trying to say?

-Maybe Frank isn't dead.

0:24:080:24:12

-Frank is dead, Nick.

-Yes, but how do you know?

0:24:120:24:14

Because I killed him!

0:24:140:24:16

The trouble with these old properties is...

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..they're deathtraps.

0:24:410:24:43

FAINT HISSING

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Especially...if you've been drinking.

0:24:450:24:49

I'd heard rumours there might be money here.

0:24:530:24:55

The neighbours have been in, complaining about the smell.

0:24:580:25:01

So I arranged a home visit.

0:25:010:25:03

I told Frank about Charlie...

0:25:060:25:08

..asked him if he could help me out, but he wouldn't listen.

0:25:100:25:13

We argued.

0:25:140:25:17

I lost my temper.

0:25:170:25:18

Next thing I know...

0:25:180:25:19

..he was dead.

0:25:220:25:23

So, you see, Nick,

0:25:250:25:27

it's got nothing to do with your stupid wishes.

0:25:270:25:30

DOOR CLOSES

0:25:320:25:34

I am so hungry.

0:26:120:26:14

I don't know what's happened to all my food.

0:26:160:26:18

Frank?

0:26:210:26:23

-What are you doing here?

-This is my flat.

0:26:230:26:26

Where else am I going to go?

0:26:270:26:29

But you're dead!

0:26:330:26:35

I had some tinned peaches in here somewhere.

0:26:350:26:38

I know you, don't I?

0:26:400:26:42

You came from the council.

0:26:420:26:43

One minute you're trying to help me, and the next...

0:26:450:26:50

..you're pushing me through a glass coffee table.

0:26:510:26:54

Yes, sorry about that.

0:26:550:26:57

-I have a son, you see.

-Yes, I remember you saying.

0:26:590:27:03

We try and help the ones we love.

0:27:040:27:07

I understand that.

0:27:070:27:09

I tried to help my wife, but it didn't work out.

0:27:110:27:15

I also wished to be rich, and now look at me.

0:27:160:27:20

What was your third wish, Frank?

0:27:220:27:24

I thought you'd have guessed that by now.

0:27:250:27:27

What's the point of being rich if you can't live forever?

0:27:270:27:31

So that videotape...

0:27:320:27:34

Oh, I've tried countless times to end it all, but I can't.

0:27:340:27:39

Like a bad penny, I keep coming back.

0:27:400:27:43

It's a living hell, and I'm trapped in it.

0:27:440:27:46

Don't make the same mistake I made.

0:27:480:27:50

Be careful what you wish for.

0:27:500:27:52

Here.

0:27:590:28:00

This belongs to you.

0:28:010:28:03

Thank you.

0:28:040:28:06

I'll make us some tea.

0:28:060:28:07

KEITH!

0:28:150:28:16

Here you go.

0:28:280:28:29

You've got a visitor.

0:28:300:28:32

-Charlie?

-Look, Daddy, I can walk!

0:28:350:28:38

Oh!

0:28:400:28:42

I wished it for you, Keith.

0:28:420:28:44

It's what you deserve.

0:28:440:28:46

Oh, my boy, my beautiful boy.

0:28:460:28:49

Daddy?

0:28:490:28:51

What's that smell?

0:28:510:28:52

Oh, no.

0:28:530:28:55

FAINT HISSING

0:28:550:28:56

SPARKER CLICKS

0:28:560:28:58

A dead hoarder's flat, a blood-stained floor, a dead rat and a terrible, inescapable curse from beyond the grave. All in an ordinary day's work for council contractors Keith, Nick and Maz.


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