(Scene – Outside a cold morning and we see a man walking in the snow of a Victorian era street, carrying his Doctors bag. A Large house can be seen and he is walking in that direction. As the Narration continues, the Doctor knocks on the door, opened by a butler. Cut to Doctor in the room of HAW giving the news. He leaves the room as the Narrator finishes the opening)
The smell of soot from over worked chimneys filled the air as the Doctor trudged through the snow. He didn't trudge though. For the news he was about to deliver to any other person, he would have trudged. He would have had a tear in his eye and a sadness in his heart. Not today, for today he did have a slight spring in his step, a smile in his eyes and a contented soul.
He had acted professionally throughout the treatment of his patient even when they are one of the most vilest human beings he had ever encountered. Never before had he ever felt the joy of delivering the news of someone’s impending death from illness.
His patient is Henry Adam Wood. That name would immediately sour the sweetest smile on the face of an angel. A man of privilege, with an acid tongue that could slice the air. A banker by trade and a banker by nature. Adulterer, bully, shrewd and hollow to the core. Trying to see his good side was like trying to look at the dark side of the moon.
His days were joyously numbered. The Doctor, not wanting to spend any more time with him than what was necessary, suggested he filled his last days writing to those he had wronged in his life and look for redemption. Could anyone really forgive such a beast of a man? A futile exercise really. But who knows? Maybe the fear of death might change his ways. Maybe.
Doctor Alfred Tipton
(Out of shot and heard through the closed door.)
HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH (Whispers and another burst of laughter with the butler)
(Cut back to HAW who is annoyed at the news. Such an inconvenience. He struggles to walk to his desk and eventually sits. He sits looking at a blank piece of paper. He takes a sip of tea and it is cold.)
(Enters the room)
You called, Sir?
I want more tea. This pot has now gone cold.
Yes Sir. Anything else?
Yes, I shall be needing ink and plenty of paper. Get it for me.
But it is Sunday Sir.
I don't want to hear your excuses.
As you wish, Sir. (Exits)
(HAW picks up his quill and dips in the ink. Shot of him holding the quill tip over the ink well and letting it drip before wiping the excess away. He is pensive then begins to write.)
(As Voice over while writing)
My dear wife, I wish to apologise for leaving you before you could leave me; I had always hoped you would be first to go, if only so that you would not have to endure life without me. I know that it is excrutiating for you to endure the mere thought of my dying, and you must wonder what your life will be worth once I am gone. I'm afraid that you would be lucky to acquire even the most foppish suitor, if any would take on a widow at all.
A matter of business now, to notify you that I suspect Mr Davis, the gardener, of relieving us of our silver. I do beg you to put an end to it now while there is enough left with which you could exchange with a surgeon in order to have your teeth fixed. That, my dear, would certainly increase your value!
(Cuts to Wife reading the letters and is clearly annoyed and angry at what he is saying)
I will also include the information to our housekeeper to ensure that Mr Davis is promptly fired, for your sake, before more silver goes missing. Your husband, Henry
p.s. If perhaps you do find one who is willing to be your lover after I am gone, perhaps you would also be lucky enough to be the mistress of someone who is afflicted with a contagious disease. At least you would not have to live for very long without me.
(Cuts back to HAW. Tea arrives by the Maid who is of ample bosom and quite pretty. He looks at her like a lecherous old man and slaps her arse as she turns to leave.)
(Feeling pleased with himself)
That man was right! This does feel Good! (Grabs another piece of paper and begins to write again)
Dearest Alfie, I'm sorry I slept with your wife. Did you know I slept with your wife? Well I did. Sleep with your wife, that is. I don't know about you but I certainly feel better. Sincerely,
Henry Adam Wood. P.S. Don't be mad. I'm dying and it would be uncivilized
(Grabs another piece of paper. Cuts to a time where HAW is visiting the family and the girl is singing he is clearly being an ass hole about it.)
Letter number 43. Dear Louisa, Since I will soon meet my demise, perhaps one good deed wouldn’t hurt. The last time I visited your family, you took it upon yourself to provide us a melody. Please never slaughter another song with your voice. If you cease to do so, you may actually have a chance at marriage. Yours truly, Henry Adam Wood. P.S. If this favour proves too difficult, consider singing outside next time your father goes hunting. Perchance he will not need to use bullets.
(Cuts to girl finishing reading the letter and being upset. Back to HAW as he gets into another letter)
My dearest nephew Milo, (Cuts to a young boy opening the letter, looking confused and passing it his furious father.) Did you hear the news about my passing? Well Milo, I'm dying. However that is not the reason I write to you. remember these coordinates: 6°50'21.5"N by 152°40'54.5"E. Everything I stole from your family is on that island. Happy sixth birthday my boy. Your Uncle,Henry Adam Wood
(Cuts back to HAW who has a sizeable stack of letters. Goes to drink tea but it is cold again and spits in back into his cup)
BROMWELL! BROMWELL! (Enters Bromwell) My tea is yet again cold! (Throws the cups spat out content at him) I want more tea. And get yourself changed you look like a disgrace! (Bromwell leaves)
(Voice-over)(I'll stop giving direction at this point as I imagine it can chop and change between HAW and the subject)
Dear Bromwell, As my butler, I am sure you have heard through gossip and whisperings from the other servants that I will not live much longer. I beg you to recall the unfortunate collision involving your son, aged 6 years. I can only apologise that I did not take more of an interest in your son’s upbringing so that he would have correctly developed the good sense not to jump in front of one’s carriage. I do believe that my cart and horse are still needing replaced. Please see Mrs Wood for repayment. Sincerely, Henry Adam Wood
p.s. I feel that your reaction to my suggestion of having my carpenter fashion a new leg for your son from the woodpile, was not received with the same enthusiasm with which my generosity was bestowed.
Dear Servant. I imagine you are surprised that I would even address you, my faithful help. You have served me faithfully for many years, and one might thank you for that. I have contacted my associate at the offices of citizenship regarding your status. You will be deported shortly. Alas, do not trouble yourself, as he has assured me there will be no cost to my estate. I had a tree planted in your honour. It was the one with thorns you cut yourself upon last week. Magnanimously, The Henry Adam Wood.
(Tea arrives and it is the same maid. Same thing happens. Takes more paper)
My Dear Miss Adeline Gray, I know upon receiving a missive from such an illustrious personage as myself your mind will fill instantly with the silly social-climbing fantasies so common to the weak minds of women but I assure you this is no invitation to greater social association.
I write to remedy a wrong I have done you. I know you enjoy nattering about politics, art and other topics rightly reserved to the male sex. Previously I simply ignored your prattle. I see now that my patience was to your greater detriment. In truth, an “educated” woman (I use the term loosely) is an assault to the eyes and ears. Indeed, your tongue is like a flapping seal. Dear woman, empty your mind as quickly as you can. I recommend frequent visits to ribbon shops. I shall not rest easy in my grave if I know you are blathering on about your “opinions”. I know you will honour the wishes of a dying man. Yours, Mr. H.A. Wood, Esq. P.S. Also, your teeth are over large, pray, smile less and save the world from your toothy visage.
Mr. Pensey, I apologize for once wishing you bodily harm. This was a poor choice of words and wholly unfitting of my character. I meant to say that I wished you would simply die. Quickly and spectacularly. Sorry for the mixup. Sincerely, Henry Adam Wood.
(On a role. Next paper)
Dear Samuel, Since I am dying I thought I would do you a favour. Your parents have lied to you- you're adopted. Sincerely,Uncle Henry Adam Wood
Dear Mother in Law. Since I have first met you I have discovered that your voice makes infants and small children cry. Every utterance you make curdles milk. Every declaration makes all the foliage within a kilometre radius wilt. Your shrieks are likened to iron nails on a slate. With all of this in your thoughts, I would strongly suggest you take up a vow of silence in hope that ears of many is spared. Your Caring Son-in-Law, Henry Adam Wood. P.S. I would also strongly suggest you consume less pastries, for they do your already abnormally large waist no favours.
Number 156. Dear Douglas, As you know I will not be on this Earth for much longer and so feel I must be honest with my intentions with regard to your company that I have recently bailed out. It fills my heart with joy that I was able to purchase your business and save the 120 employees that work with such dedication for you. You must look at me as a hero. However, the problems with your business became clear to me with this very transaction. You lack any hard business qualities because if you had business balls you would not have buckled so quickly to my gross undervaluation of your business. On my death I have arranged for the business to be broken down and sold off to the highest bidder. . My estate will drive a harder bargain than you. Fancy that. Even in death I am a better business man than your good self. It is for your own good that you receive this life lesson. I do not envy you having to inform your employees that they are out of a job and potentially have their lives ruined. All because you lack the necessary skills to maintain your business adequately.
All the best for the future yours indifferently Henry Adam Wood
Dear Father Robin, I understand you have become aware of my rather fragile state thru the intercourse of my dearest wife. She believes, the poor thing, I am in need of receiving quite a few sacraments as well as being splattered by a few gallons of holy water in order to make my ascension to the heavens. She is, of course, mistaken but I do not wish to waste my precious breath arguing with her. I much rather argue with you. So, please, do come over. I predict we shall have a very pleasant and, most importantly, semi-intelligent discussion which I will undisputed win. Sincerely, Henry Adam Wood P.S. – I will send a carriage for you next Thursday. I will make sure to alert the driver to look for you at the local pub in case you can not be found at your rectory.
(Bromwell enters and it is clear a day or two has been passed as there is almighty stack of letters and a number of low burnt down candles. Bromwell gives him 2 letters)
Doctor Alfred Tipton
Dear Mr. Henry Adam Wood, I am familiar with your illness, and thank you for reminding me of your tryst with my wife. This may come as a surprise to you, but I believe I have a first-rate understanding of your condition. In fact, I believe I am the leading authority on your condition, seeing as I am your doctor.
I have told you this on multiple occasions, most perplexing as you wrote your adultery confession of a letter to me. Your verbal response, a stern nod and some vague mention of packaged biscuits, hardly inspired confidence. I write this letter in the hopes that you might actually acknowledge me as a person, seeing as I am your attending physician. Sincerely, Dr. Alfred Tipton .
p.s. I’d estimate that you have four days left…best of luck with your letters
He hardly looks like a Doctor. (Opens next letter)
Gatekeeper (Voice of Narrator maybe?)
Dear Henry Adam Wood, You still have more letters to write, therefore you cannot pass through the Heavenly Gates. Go back to your stack of papers and quill. Sincerely, Heaven's Gatekeeper
P.S. Stop pestering Heaven's Elevator Operator or he might drop you in the other realm of the Dead.
What the...! (He immediately starts scribbling more)
Dear Sir Julius Paddington, I wanted to apologize for the incident at your bakery. Realising I had not had breakfast. I had to step into your shop for one of those fanciful breakfast pastries. They were actually quite delicious, which was surprising as most of your items leave a bit of a chalk taste on the tongue. I was surprised to encounter a well dressed voluptuous woman in your shop as normally your customers are the scum of the lower social classes.
Having took her leathery hand to introduce myself I merely did the gentlemanly thing of paying her a compliment similar to “Your father must have been an exquisite baker in order to provide you with such lovely buns.” . Had I realised she was your daughter I would have still paid that very compliment as I cannot think of one more fitting. Your fury was quite confusing for me. I only placed my hands on her buns to establish if they were still fresh. Adieu, Sir Henry Adam Wood
Dearest Leonard, It was wrong of me to judge you and for that I apologise. It has taken an impending meeting with the Grim Reaper for me to recognise that only the Good Lord himself has that right. Live and let live I say! Sincerely, Henry Adam Wood P.S. I have instructed my solicitor to leave you four shillings in my will, plenty enough for the most attractive of sheep
(HAW Bursts into laughter. As his cackles die down one all the candles and the fire in his room burn brighter and with a gust of wind some of his papers fall on the floor. He curses as he bends to pick them up. He moves to his knees and then to his feet. He hears a scribbling on his desk. He turns to see a letter being written on with no hand on the quill. He is clearly scared. He goes to move the paper being scribbled on but the paper is very hot and burns him. Eventually the pen signs off and he sits to read the letter penned)
Beloved Henry Adam, I was delighted to receive your letter to my master, despite your never actually sending it. The physical formalities between sender and recipient tend to bend in my favour and break entirely in yours. The seemingly endless tome you penned for my father ended up in your bedpan eventually, did it not?
(shot of screwed up paper in bedpan).
And I can feel your eyes widening even now as you read the response you certainly did not expect the post boy to deliver. There's a great many things I know about you, child, that even you, as proprietor of your own body and mind and spirit, do not comprehend of yourself.
The trace of a quickened heartbeat whenever you send one of your drivelling, snide correspondences to people who would rather see you in the ground already! Doth thou actually believe you are alleviating your guilt through the ink in your nib? Is that human skull of yours thick enough to allow entry to such a crude, misshapen idea? One that you have no doubt accepted and internalized, like a bite of a worm-infested steak into the gullet of a hound. Humans, and their false interpretations of good and evil, right and wrong, salt and sweet. You are a backwards animal, you lot.
You need not send any more correspondence! To anyone, Henry! Does a butcher send his regards to the cattle he's already slaughtered? Does a charlatan pen his apologies to the man he sold his snake oil to? Does the wealthy man write a note for the fly he crushed beneath his daily paper?
No. He doth not. Wherefore do you think it matters which of your phantoms knows you've grown naught one inch of a respectable soul inside that clogged chest of yours? My father doth not want your poorly-penned apology, nor does he make deals with the likes of mankind, at least, not any more.
My apologies, he's soon to be your father as well. We art practically brothers already!
(HAW Gasps and almost falls off his chair)
Do I see surprise in that weak, fat heart of yours, Henry? Doth the lungs quiver at the sound of the fire below? You make me laugh so, Henry! I haven't laughed in such a long time. However, I digress. Is there a part of you that actually believes your fraudulent, incessant scribbling would save you? Could thou truly believe, with the full weight of your soul, that every time the post boy delivers your weak apologies, your guilt is alleviated in the slightest way? Like a stone being chipped away at the edge of a blunt axe?
That is not how this works, and I bid thee, write no more letters to Lucifer. Write them to me, if you must, although I'd prefer you did not write at all. Each word that spills from your drab human mouth is another vivisection into my skin, like a rusty scalpel. Truly, it's embarrassing to watch such a lowly, blind creature burrow into the ground when he's expecting to take flight.
From your friend, Astaroth
P.S. If you'd have spent more time writing to mine enemy, and my father's enemy, maybe we wouldn't have to have these pointless correspondences. Alas, the ass does not know he's an ass until another one bites him in the ass.
(HAW puts the paper down. Picks up the quill and writes “I am Sorry” and goes to his bed. He sits there in shock. Does he die in his sleep? Heart attack?)
NB: Easily could add more as so many good stories!! Depends how long this is going to be.