The Ten Thousand Mile Race
A Narrator? William Elson (spotlight on Elson sitting at a table) had become famous for his toxicological
( one of discoveries. He had been appointed president of all the new temperance societies in the United States
the tarts) on the very day when, by a reversal of scientific opinion, it was announced …
Elson The only hygienic and wholesome beverage is pure alcohol.
Narrator Elson's theories were opposed in Europe. Most bitterly by Dr Bathybius.
Spotlight on Bathybius sitting at the same table
Bathybius Why man, The effect of alcohol on you is only too apparent. You've got an alcoholic tremor. The shakes!
Elson pulls from beneath his coat a revolver, which he aims at a bell push (painted on a paper 'wall' held by attendants
(two of the tarts). One of them holds a bell in one hand.
Elson My dear doctor, if you would please to cover my eyes with this….
Gives Bathybius a menu card, which the doctor rather hesitantly holds in front of his eyes.
Elson Fires. The wall holding the bell-push falls apart. and the bell goes 'ding'.(One attendant punches a hole in the
wall, the other rings the bell)
Elson Another bottle of brandy!
Lights fade except on narrator
Narrator This was the man whose latest discovery was his Perpetual Motion Food, the
invention of which led Elson to agree with the opinions of Andre Marcueil
on the limitlessness of human strength.
Provided, of course, it was sustained by Perpetual Motion Food.
The famous Ten-Thousand Mile Race was to be
the test. It was reported in the New York Herald by one of the members of
the five-man bicycle team, Ted Oxborrow.
The narrator then changes his badge,or whatever the signifier is, and puts on one labelled 'Ted Oxborrow'.
Some sort of radiophonic sound distortion kicks in. The setting changes. The five-man bicycle , with dummies, is brought
on. Two projection screens are unveiled, or flown in, or whatever. One of them has a small platform in front of it. A bare
piece of steeldeck at about 0.5m will be fine. A piano is wheeled on. At an appropriate point the pianist begins to play
Oxborrow/ Narrator We were tightly strapped to the machine, with our legs joined
together by aluminium rods. I was at the back. In front of
me, Jewey Jacobs, George Webb, Sammy White, and Bill Gilbey, our
leader, whom we called the Corporal. Behind us we towed, ,
the dwarf, Bob Rumble, in a small cart, to act as ballast.
We started off alongside the great express, at first towed by a
bullet- shaped car at 120 kilometres per hour.
At regular intervals Corporal Gilbey passed us over his shoulder small
colourless, bitter-tasting cubes of Perpetual motion food.
The wheels of the bicycle are now turning fast,; one screen is showing a montage sequence of trains chugging through
landscapes. The other screen has a platform in front, on which are sometimes seen Elson and Gough, and, constantly,
Ellen, with a wind machine blowing her hair.(Preferably a fan, hand-held by a stagehand in full view. Back-projected on
the screen is footage of countryside whizzing by, rails seen from a carriage, etc. The projections and piano should now
continue throughout, orchestrated as necessary.
The lighting state changes to indicate night.
Oxborrow In the silence of the night, Bob Rumble yelped (mimicing) 'There's
something behind us!' But nothing, live or mechanical, could possibly
have kept up with us at that speed.
When the second day dawned (effect) we saw that the train was still
alongside us as before, as though we were both standing still. I could not see
Elson or Gough, but, when I looked to Miss Elson's carriage, all that I could see
was a profusion of red roses. ( some sort of net with the roses has been
lowered/thrown across the platform.) Ellen appears. She finds the roses.
It seemed to me that Miss Elson uttered a cry.(no cry)
(Louder)It seemed to me that Miss Elson uttered a cry
(Ellen utters a cry).
[OK, it's a cheap gag, but it'll probably work. More importantly, it will empasise the artificiality of the scene]
Night effect. Dawn effect.
The following day there were more roses. (More roses fall from the sky).
But, on that day, something more serious happened which might have cost
us the race.
Just in front of me, Jewry Jacobs suddenly seemed to take a perverse
pleasure in stiffening his legs, forcing me to work much harder. At the
same time I smelled an awful stench.
'Jewry Jacobs is dead!' I cried.
The others relayed the message to the corporal.
Manipulation of puppets, with repeated 'Jewry Jacobs is dead!'
Manipulation of 'corporal puppet'
'Oh, he's dead is he? I don't give a damn! Keep him going! Keep pedalling!'
said the Corporal.
Mimicking Bob Rumble !'There's something following us!'
Night effect. Dawn effect. Projections, etc, continue.
Night effect. (As Bob Rumble )'There's something following us!'
The locomotive was still alongside us. It seemed to carry no living soul
besides Miss Eldon, who was following with an excited and intense curiosity
the progress of our mysterious shadow. (FCC continue)
There can be no doubt about the only really extraordinary occurrence of the
race, and yet I shall never believe that anyone, man or devil, could have
followed and overtaken us during the ten thousand miles!
'Come on! One more effort! '
Manipulation of puppets throughout
the corporal was saying. His clear voice
made me realise that I was drunk, dead drunk from fatigue, or from the
alcohol in our Perpetual Motion Food.
Nevertheless, I had not dreamed it. AEldonerious racer was in front of the
There was a movement on the platform of the locomotive. Arthur Gough
gently pushed back Miss Elson ( They perform this on the platform), who
was leaning forward to watch, lovingly, it seemed, the unknown racer.
On the platform, Elson produces a bottle.
Gough You're not going to give it to the locomotive to drink! It would hurt it. It's not
human! You're not going to kill it!
Gough seizes the bottle
Gough Then let me perform the sacrifice myself. Let me be with it to the last!
Oxborrow The bottle contained, I since learned, an admirable rum, which Elson had
been saving to drink alone. Gough poured it into the locomotive's
boiler. The alcohol was no doubt too admirable.
Cessation of all FX. Sound effect 'Pssshhhhh'
Finishing post is brought on by attendants. Strewn with roses.
Oxborrow So it was that the Perpetual Motion Food's five man team won the ten
thousand mile race. But neither Corporal Gilbey, nor Sammy White, nor
George Webb, nor Bob Rumble, nor, I think, Jewey Jacobs (looks up and crosses himself)
, nor I, Ted Oxborrow, who am signing this report on behalf of them all,
will ever be able to get over the fact that we found, when we got to the
finishing post, that it was crowned with red roses.
No-one has been able to tell us what became of the mysterious racer.
End of sequence. Blackout?