A lush, overgrown planet circles slowly around the inside of a sleeping
man's skull. From a point of departure lost in the sky, a monorail snakes
down towards a vast, gothic castle. Ravens fly high above the spires,
singing the refrain of an old Negro spiritual.
MINOR ACTION. A train slides to a halt outside the gates of the
castle. Its engine is made from bleached human bone, with the words SKULL
GARDEN EXPRESS carved on the front. Seven weird-looking scorpions hop
to the platform, arguing amongst themselves. One of them buys a magazine
from the vending kiosk. The headline reads: CHARISMAXIMUS LAUNCH DELAYED
YET AGAIN! The scorpion curses at the news.
LOOP. Legs and arms and a long pink tongue sprout from the magazine
and it jumps down, to run off into the undergrowth. The scorpion chases
after it a little way, and then gives up. He joins his six companions
as they move toward the castle.
BACKGROUND. A crowd of chattering products bustle around the entranceway.
Guard dogs flank the gates, wearing peaked caps and old mackintoshes.
They each hold a clanking steel instrument, which they use to punch the
tickets of the various items seeking delivery.
MINOR ACTION. The seven scorpions slip through the bleating crowd,
unseen. One by one, they pass beneath a golden lamp. How strange they
look, these creatures. The first is made of shining chrome, another of
cut glass, a third of veined marble. The fourth has a body formed from
velvet cloth, studded with costume jewellery. The fifth is made out of
baked earth, with chicken feathers sprouting here and there. One more
looks like some impossible origami model, with a carapace of folded paper.
The last scorpion is constructed from iron, its many intricate parts making
a dreadful noise as it races to keep up with the others.
LOOP. The seven weary companions crawl through a labyrinth of closed
theatres and empty restaurants. Peeling fliers on the walls advertise
extinct shows by Florenz Ziegfeld, Busby Berkeley and Albert Speer. The
glass scorpion has to keep dodging the sudden amorous advances of the
BACKGROUND. The creatures scuttle down a long dark corridor that
leads to a hidden courtyard, where shadow-blossoms and palm trees flower
amid landscaped pools and ornamental benches. Mama Lujo sits there in
a rocking chair, her various books, instruments and chemicals fanned out
on the ground.
LOOP. The scorpions look around nervously. One by one they come
forward to present their tails, and the old woman fills each in turn with
a special preparation.
MAIN ACTION. A New Orleans style march starts up, played by an
orchestra of beetles. The scorpions are swinging their tails and clacking
their claws together, all in time to the music. And then, around the sting
of the first creature, the one made of chrome, a vapour is seen, floating
upwards to form a pale swaying figure, a faltering ghost of Elvis Presley.
And from the tails of the glass scorpion, and the marble one, vapours
also rise. Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe, hazy blue, transparent,
they join with Elvis in the dance. Nearby, a telescopic dragonfly extends
its proboscis, on the end of which a video camera is growing. The fourth
creature dances for the camera, with precise erotic steps, and from the
tip of its velvet-covered tail, from the jewel that sparkles there, a
purple mist is whispering. Sssss! Like a sultry breeze blown here from
exotic climes, this vapour drifts around the courtyard. The music starts
to slow down, to drag a heavier beat. Electromagnetic eels play the drums.
BACKGROUND. Old Mama Lujo, sucking on a pipe and rocking in her
seat, smiles to see the handsome ghost that flickers now amongst the flowers
and the trees.