Suggested Audio Candy
Béla Bartók “Music For Strings, Percussion, & Celesta”
I’m always looking for ways to keep things fresh and, after much pensive chin-stroking, have conjured up a new sequence which should please fans of the classics. I have spent my entire adult life watching movies and often wonder what would have happened should the script have played out differently. Thus I have decided to fashion my own alternative endings for some of these movies, a Keeper Cut if you like, and will take whatever tangent I see fit and see where that leads us. This series will explore what might have been I had my way. So where to start then? No procrastination, it simply has to be Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. With King’s sequel currently grabbing headlines it is certainly topical and I suspect King himself would prefer a different take from Kubrick’s as he really was never enamored with it to begin with. However, I refuse to pull the wool over your eyes, there’s one clear reason why this needs revisitation. And all will become clear very soon.
The Keeper Cut
Jack peeks through the panel he has just hacked away to get a better look in the bathroom. Danny is sat on the lavatory mid-number two as a little turtle head has popped out to say hi during all the commotion. The kid’s not so bad although admittedly Jack has grown weary of listening to that infernal tricycle going up and down the hallway while he’s attempting to focus on writing his book. However, right now, Danny isn’t the one he’s concerned with chopping into firewood.
You see, children should be seen and not heard, but his wife should be neither. What was Jack thinking when he accepted the caretaker role? He was warned about being snowbound for long periods and also about the possibility of cabin fever creeping in but he must have taken temporary leave of his senses when agreeing to spend the entire winter shacked up with Wendy. Currently she is backed against the wall in the corner groveling and whimpering as only Wendy can. To her credit, she has armed herself with a pretty savage-looking kitchen knife, which she clutches close to her chest in sheer desperation. However, she is far too pathetic to use it effectively.
As Jack prepares to force entry, she has just enough time to reflect on her life and work out where it all went wrong. She casts her mind back to the time when he washed his red underpants with her white blouse. While his actions were thoughtless, she did rattle on for perhaps a little too long. Maybe he grew tired of walking into the bathroom to take a whizz and seeing her hunched over as she clipped her toenails in the wash basin. Surely all couples do that? It just didn’t make sense; why would he suddenly turn so hostile. One simple glance in the mirror would explain his pent-up fury but Wendy is too busy cowering in the corner to see what’s staring her in the face. The painful truth is that she is the most whiny, toad-like, spineless fishwife ever to grace the silver screen, but ignorance is bliss for Wendy Torrance.
Suddenly the chopping ceases. It’s all quiet, apart from Danny’s last plop followed by a quick glance at his creation and subsequent flush. He momentarily marvels at the colossal girth of his brown delight before it sinks with the current. He instantaneously refocuses his attention on a small roof window behind the can. As he swings it open the chill rushes in and almost takes his breath away. This looks like being the only way out. He looks to the doorway and daddy looks different from how he remembered. Then he looks at mommy dearest and this is all the encouragement he needs to vacate the premises pronto.
She waits precisely 0.5 seconds before repeating her call.
She really could do this shit all day but, on her second whine Danny turns around and looks at his mother blankly. “Hun, I won’t fit through that space, it’s barely big enough for you hun” Danny looks her straight in the eye, shrugs his shoulders, and, within around three seconds flat, has his entire torso out that tiny aperture.
this last sorry cry is the last Danny hears as he slides down the roof slates and drops into the white blanket of snow beneath.
Back in the bathroom, Jack is greeted with the aroma of Danny’s recent dump which hits him with some force as the door shatters from its hinges and swings wide open.
“Goddammit Danny. What the hell does she feed you?”
There’s sufficient sting to the scent to cause his eyes to water momentarily, allowing Wendy to saunter past at a leisurely pace, place her knife at Jack’s feet as it appears she has no further need for it. She then stumbles over her own ridiculous feet, hurtling headlong down the staircase and breaking every tooth in her head in the process. As she lands in a broken heap, gargles replacing groans due to the throatful of blood, Jack regains his bearings but not before treading on the blade donated by his wife, spinning on the spot and taking that same swan-dive as she, hitting every step en route to the bottom. As he hits the deck both kneecaps shatter, bone jutting through painfully and leaving him immobilized a few feet from that face, that godawful face.
All he really wanted was a little peace and quiet. Just a few hours a day to work on his novel without having to constantly keep her entertained. Suddenly boning the old lady in the bathtub seems a far less unthinkable notion but that moment has now long passed. It seems the most cruel irony to Jack that he is currently paralyzed from the waist down and unable to escape from his insignificant other but that is exactly the fate which is greeting him. He glances over at his unsightly spouse, toothless and with a web of snot spread across her face, and shudders. What he would give to be back in the Gold Ballroom with his old buddy Lloyd knocking back shots of whiskey.
“Tell me what I did to upset you please. I thought we were happy”
“Deliriously. Waking up next to you each morning is a real gift from the heavens”
“Tell me I’m beautiful. Like you used to”
“Can’t do that Wendy”
“Why? What have I done to you that’s so terrible?”
“You really wanna know?”
“More than anything”
“Okay. Here goes. You resemble a trout, not a happy trout either, one that has been snagged in a fishing net and marooned on dry land. Your second toe is far longer than it should be. I abhor your constant whining. You smell like damp linen. Your nasal snore resembles a walrus. You can’t cook a salad without burning it. You never give me even a solitary moment’s peace. You remind me of Olive Oyl. Your breath smells like ass. Your farts smell like raw sewage. Your tits sweat. Basically you repulse me in every conceivable way. How’s that for starters?”
“But you still love me right?”
Exhausted, Jack takes one last look at his wife of nine years.
“Like a fucking hole in the head”
He then collects a shard of jagged fallout timber from the floor beside him, with the intention of ramming it into Wendy’s face and earning himself some last-gasp gratification. However, he just can’t do it. Not because his conscience has gotten the better of him but because both his legs are broken and he simply can’t reach that far. Besides, she deserves to suffer a little longer after what she has put him through.
“Hun…what are you doing?”
“Bye bye Wendy”
A single strike to the chest is all it takes as Jack plunges the makeshift weapon through his rib cage and punctures his heart, killing himself instantly.
Meanwhile, outside at the entrance of the hedge maze little Danny has frozen to death perched upright like a miniature gargoyle.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013