Decamot inspired by the following items: buzzer, Komodo Island, crater, exorcist, juggernaut, waterfall, bull, patio, Yachtsman, quiver
The arrow was embedded in Marco’s head, impaling him to the wooden door of a primitive shack, perched on the edge of a crater, on the southern slopes of Komodo Island; a crater created by the impact of a massive meteor strike that had wiped out the dinosaurs sixty-five million years earlier, but not the mythical Komodo Dragon, which not only survived but thrived, against all the odds.
Johan van Oldenbarnevelt of the Dutch East India Company stepped forward cautiously, retrieved his arrow and put it back into his quiver. He was confident that he had eliminated all opposition to his mission but couldn’t be absolutely certain. The only other indigenous family, led by the more pragmatic Paulo, had succumbed six weeks earlier, by accepting shares in the fledgling Dutch trader.
“Yes!” he thought to himself “The year 1620 is shaping up rather nicely”
There were only two tribes living on Komodo, the Neiserarm and the Severla. They were both beholden to the mystical powers of the Komodo Dagon which was reputed to be the size of a bull and capable of swimming up waterfalls at great speed in pursuit of its prey. For personal protection, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt had taken the precaution of travelling with a copy of the 1602 Book of Common Prayer and an exorcist but neither had yet been called into action.
Paulo, the chief of the Severla, had been open minded about the benefits of free trade and negotiated accordingly. Not so Marco, whose Neiserarm people had long since accepted abject servitude as a way of life for which he had now paid the ultimate price. He had gone the way of all dinosaurs, albeit with a little help from a closet Calvinist.
The brief from Johan’s government had been to establish a base on Komodo Island which was part of the Lesser Sunda chain of islands between Sumbawa to the west and Flores to the east, so that they could challenge the trading duopoly of the Portuguese Maritime Fleet and the English East India Company which accounted for 95% of the burgeoning Indonesian spice trade.
Suddenly, and without warning, the Dutch leader found himself surrounded by twenty-six giant lizards which had somehow managed to creep up on him without making a noise. They now circled him in a manner reminiscent of Indigenous American Indians as reported by Christopher Columbus 120 years earlier when he had been seeking a new route to India for the exclusive use of his Italian paymasters.
Johan van Oldenbarnevelt had little choice but to lay down his quiver and raise his arms above his head in a gesture of surrender. A gap then opened up in the circle and the lizards were joined by their even larger giant leader breathing fire through its nostrils and aggressively waving its twenty-six-foot tail from side to side.
The Dutchman was now face to face with the awesome Junckerbeast, a massive survivor of the Cretaceous - Paleogene extinction event of 65 million years earlier; and it did not take kindly of the threat to its dominance of Komodo Island. It was in no mood to compromise.
Cannes is always busy at this time of the year, but Stephen Jones had secured his usual berth on the harbour.
Since winning the Round the World Yachtsman of the Year event in 2015, he was arguably more famous than many of the film starlets attending the famous film festival with him. One or two of the crowd recognised him as he alighted from his 1973 Sparkman & Stephens 34 yacht. He posed for a few selfies but excused himself when the buzzer alarm on his Huawei 4G Sport Smartwatch reminded him that he had arranged a meeting with Terrance Donovan of Capital Adventures Inc. for 5.00 pm.
Twenty minutes later he was in the lift of a typical Haussman style building on Boulevard Alsace near Rue d’ Antibes overlooking the harbour. Donovan’s luxury four-bedroom apartment was on the top floor. Jones was slightly surprised that Donovan himself opened the door to him but, with arms outstretched, the American film producer gave him a typically over the top welcome.
“Stephen my old buddy!” he gushed, Hollywood style “How great to see you! I’ve been watching your progress from the balcony. I saw you were held up by your legion of admirers harbour side! Come on in and help yourself to a Pimm’s! I hope I’ve got your recipe right”
Stephen Jones laughed
“It's quite simple really Terrance” he said with a smile “I got it from one of Pimm’s chief mixologists. Fill your glass with ice, pop in the mint and chopped fruit, pour in the Pimm's, top up with lemonade and stir. To make up a pitcher use the same method, this time with a handful each of the chopped fruit, cucumber and mint leaves”
Stephen took a sip of the concoction before he and Terrance made their way through a door to the roof patio overlooking the Mediterranean.
“A bit light on the mint, but otherwise spot on” he added with a chuckle.
They had both met at Oxford twenty years before when Stephen Jones had beaten his friend to the Presidency of the Union. Jones had read PPE but became involved with rowing and was a member of the victorious Boat Race crew of 2000 which broke a seven-year sequence of Cambridge victories. Donovan studied archaeology but returned to the US early following the premature death of his father, a respected film producer, who had been one of Hollywood’s leading studio chiefs at one time. Terrance Donovan had taken over and successfully developed Capital Adventures Inc. into a major media player.
Having exchanged the usual pleasantries, they quickly got down to business.
“Stephen” said Donovan urgently. “These days its all about franchises – developing blockbusters – take a look at what Disney has done with Marvel Comics and the superheroes; they are cinematic juggernauts. Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Game of Thrones, James Bond. I need one right now if CAI is to thrive.”
“What did you think of my story?” said Stephen
“I loved it!” gushed Donovan “I think it has great potential. We can pitch it as Indiana Jones meets Game of Thrones with Round the World in Eighty Days thrown in for good measure. You know how celebrity led travelogues are all the rage these days. What do you think, Stephen?”
Struggling to see quite how Jules Vern’s classic novel might be relevant, Stephen offered a tentative response
“Well, you know your market Terrance, but who will you get to star in it? After all, as I understand it, most projects like this need well-known established box office actors to attract an initial audience as well as investors”
“Well, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about” Donovan enthused “I have Chinese investors sufficiently interested to pay what it takes to get the project launched but I see you taking the lead Stephen.”
“Me!?” replied Stephen Jones, feigning astonishment. “But I’ve never acted in my life”
“Come of it, Stephen. Your performance at the Oxford Union Debating Society was awesome. Don’t tell me you weren’t acting then. It was a masterclass. Your character just needs to burst in on the scene at the end to rescue Johan against all the odds by slaying the dragon. Then you sail away into the sunset and cinema audiences queue round the block to get tickets for your next adventure. Is it a deal?”
Stephen Jones found himself nodding his acquiesce and signing the contract.
Terrance Donovan ran a very tight ship at Capital Adventures and had the five phases of Film Production organised at a fair old lick. Development and pre-production were tied up within a week and shooting began on Komodo Island three weeks later. Before Stephen Jones could draw breath, the project was into post-production and almost ready for distribution.
“When will the final rushes be ready for viewing, Terrance?” he asked innocently.
“Ah” he replied somewhat guardedly “Distribution for this epic will be a first for the industry”
“How come?” replied Stephen.
“Well” replied Terrance “We’ve done a special deal with our two main investors. The film’s release will coincide with the launch of the new Huawei 3 Pro Wrist Band!”
“Oh, how does the film fit in to that scenario?” said Stephen, his curiosity peaked.
“It’s the only way you can watch it – by buying one of these new hi tech wrist bands. It will be brilliant for people going on holiday who don’t want suitcases full of books”
“What!” exclaimed Stephen “I hoped we might be back at Cannes next year with a red carpet premiere event!”
“Get real Stephen …. We are competing with Amazon Prime, Netflix and Facebook …. Not Warner Bros or Disney!”
Disappointed as he was from a purely artistic point of view, Stephen consoled himself with the thought of the £50,000 that was now sitting in his bank account, plus the fact that any sequels that might follow if the project was successful, might increase that exponentially.
It was only when he was watching the opening credits that he harboured a few doubts. He watched his character walk into a plush Komodo Island hotel, accompanied by a musical soundtrack created by Vangelis, order a Pimm’s at the bar, and utter the immortal words to camera.
“The name’s Cook ….………….. Thomas Cook”