Archive: Anywhere, just tell me where it's going and keep my name on it.
Subjects: Monty Python, humor, suspense, Halloween
Summary: On Halloween, the Pythons end up having to rehearse in an abandoned studio, then get spooked on a dare inside an old graveyard and house.
Disclaimer: I am making no money off of this. The Pythons do not belong to me, they belong to themselves. This is just a short fic in time for Halloween. I apologize in advance if I get some things wrong about the celebration of Halloween in England, I'm not being ignorant and I'd prefer just general feedback on the story as a whole rather than nitpicky comments. This story is copyrighted October 2002 and may only be used with the expressed permission of the author. I think that's about it. Enjoy :)
"What do you mean, we have to rehearse someplace else??" John demanded.
Terry Jones looked at him and folded his arms. "All I'm telling you is what Duncan said this afternoon when he rang me up. Apparently the BBC needs the studio tomorrow for a special programme on the history of Halloween."
It was the day before Halloween, 1971, and the Pythons were at Jonesy's house for a writing session. They weren't planning to start taping episodes of Flying Circus until December, but they were going to use the studio to shoot some of the filmed inserts.
The Pythons sat all around the table in the front room. John was at the head of the table, sitting directly across from Jonesy. On Jonesy's right sat Michael and Eric, and on his left were Terry Gilliam and Graham. Gilliam sat with his with his head down across his folded arms, and Graham sat back in the chair, quietly puffing on his pipe.
John rolled his eyes in disgust. "All this for a bloody holiday that doesn't even mean anything," he griped. "So, what are we gonna do?"
"Well, Duncan told me there's a old abandoned studio right across the road which we can use for the day," Jonesy answered.
"Across the road? You mean that old place that's been abandoned for about twenty years?" Eric spoke up.
Jonesy nodded. "That's right."
Mike bit his lip and looked over at Jonesy nervously.
"Um...Terry...isn't that the studio where the murder took place?" he asked in a small voice.
Jonesy nervously looked down at his hands and nodded slightly.
Suddenly John's eyes widened and he leapt to his feet. "That's it! That's the studio where the young woman was murdered in 1951! I remember because it was in the paper! You can't tell me that that place is not haunted, Jones."
Jonesy looked at John, narrowing his eyes. "Who ever said it was haunted?"
John shrugged. "Oh, I've heard stories here and there..." he said coolly.
Jonesy rolled his eyes. "Oh for Chrissake, John, that's just an old wive's tale! No one has ever proved that it's haunted. It's really not that big of a deal."
Michael looked up and nodded slightly. "Terry's right. I mean, we're only going to be there for one day and we've got no other choice."
"Palin, what you don't seem to understand is that tomorrow is Halloween, and the fact that a murder occurred there makes it more likely that it will be haunted!" John insisted.
Michael raised an eyebrow. "I thought you said Halloween was just a bloody holiday that didn't mean anything," he said in a slightly challenging tone.
"Well...what I meant was that it didn't mean enough to have a BBC programme devoted to it," John said quietly, blushing.
Mike nodded slightly and rolled his eyes.
"Can't we just hold off on the filmed segments for another week? There has to be a way to avoid this." John said, frustrated.
Eric shook his head. "No, the longer we wait the more it will cost. In case you've forgotten, it cost me a pretty penny to put that book together."
"Well, if we can't wait we might as well get it over with," Michael broke in. "There's no proof that this building is haunted. If we all think positive we'll get through this."
All the Pythons turned and looked at John, who was still sitting there adamantly, arms folded over his chest.
"Well, how about it? Are you in, John?" Jonesy asked.
John shook his head. "I'm not doing this."
"Well, I guess your out of the sketch, then. I'll have to take on all your parts," Jonesy said matter-of-factly.
John's eyes widened. "Okay, alright, I'm in. I just hope nothing happens over there," he blurted out.
Jonesy rolled his eyes and grinned.
Michael sighed as he began the drive over to Jonesy's house. After a tense time shooting at the old, abandoned theater, they were having a party in an attempt to unwind and have a little fun. Luckily, not much had happened at the old studio. At one point the door blew open, but it had been a particularly windy day, and they thought they had heard some muffled screams, but attributed it all to imagination. Though they were all a bit on edge, they filmed the segments as quickly and professionally as possible.
It was good to have some fun at last. Michael didn't have much trouble choosing a costume either...he just slipped into his Cardinal Ximinez outfit from the Spanish Inquisition. He chuckled, thinking how funny it would be if Jonesy was dressing as Cardinal Biggles and Gilliam as Cardinal Fang. Then they could reenact the whole sketch just to torment John.
He parked the car and started walking toward Jonesy's house. Inside, the other Pythons were munching on some take-out Chinese food which Jonesy had procured from the restaurant down the road. He had of course offered to cook something, but right then they all insisted on something more digestable. John was dressed as Frankenstein's monster with a fake scar on his cheek and a fake bolt through his neck. Graham was wearing his pink organza dress, complete with pearl earrings and necklace, and some rather nice pink pumps. Terry Gilliam was dressed as a burglar, wearing a black-and-white striped shirt, black hat and a black mask around his eyes. Eric was dressed as Napoleon, a costume from one of the Flying Circus sketches. Jonesy was dressed as medieval serf, and was pontificating to the others on just how horrible the peasantry had it back in those days.
"Oh, is the great Terry Jones going to give us a history lesson?" Eric retorted, causing Gilliam to giggle.
Jonesy glared at him. "Piss off, Idle. At least I can educate you all through my use of costume."
Eric narrowed his eyes and made a face. "Educate? All you're doing is spouting off the same rubbish you've been going on about ever since you got interested in Chaucer. We've heard it all a hundred times now."
Jonesy sighed. "Alright. Fine."
He poured himself a glass of the gin Graham had brought over, and drank it in one go.
"Ah, drink is good tonight," he sighed.
"Hey, go easy on that, Jonesy," Graham said suddenly, rising from the couch. "I only have so much of that to go around!" He took the bottle from Jonesy.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
"Oh!" Jonesy exclaimed. He went to the window and peered out. Michael seemed to be gesturing at him to say something.
Jonesy turned back around to the others. "Uh.... I, uh.. didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition," he said sheepishly.
At that instant, Mike burst through the front door.
"NO one expects the Spanish Inquisition!" he exclaimed. The naughty grin on his face turned into a wide-eyed, startled frown as he noticed his two co-actors were not in their respective getups.
"Hey. I thought you both were going to dress up with me," he said quietly, sounding like a disappointed child.
Jonesy and Gilliam looked at each other and grinned.
"Oops," Jonesy grinned. At once he and Gilliam broke out in giggles. Michael stared at them and his face turned bright red.
"Ah, don't worry about them, Mike. Your costume is a hundred times better than Jonesy's. He looks like he got it off a drunken old sot and rubbed some gravel in his hair," he giggled.
Mike grinned and looked over at Jonesy who had turned red and was glaring at both of them. They enjoyed a laugh at his expense.
Meanwhile, no one had taken much notice that both John and Graham had become quite drunk on the gin, Graham a bit more so than John.
"Um, John, don't you think you've had enough?" Michael asked in a concerned tone.
John tried to straighten up and act casual but he did have a bit too much to drink.
"Well Palin wouldn't you drink up a bit after being in a place like that?" he slurred.
Michael furrowed his brow. "What? Nothing out of the ordinary happened this afternoon!"
"Ah, so you'd think!" John exclaimed. "While you were looking outside the door for that New Haven Lifeboat bit, I happened to catch sight of something at the back of the room! Some kind of... some kind of... help me out, Gray."
"Ahm...some kind of... ghostie!" Graham exclaimed drunkenly before dissolving into giggles with John.
Mike exchanged looks with Eric and rolled his eyes. Eric snorted. Jonesy looked at them both, perhaps a bit afraid they'd both start puking on his floor.
"Oh, you're both being silly!" Mike raised his voice over the giggling. "Just because it's All Hallows Eve doesn't mean there's any ghosts floating around! Why don't you grow up and act your age?"
John and Graham both stopped laughing and stared at Michael. John's eyes widened.
"Well, Palin, if that's what you think, why don't you PROVE it to us?" He slurred in a challenging tone.
Mike furrowed his brow. "What??"
"You heard me!" John shot back. "Go down to the cemetery down the street and prove it!"
Michael exchanged confused looks with the others.
"Hey, I know a great place he can visit. There's a small crypt right in the middle - you know, the one with the angel on top that's covered in cobwebs?" Graham slurred, nudging John. John looked at him.
"And then after that, he can go pay a visit to the old Woodson Mansion...heard it's quite haunted. But you shouldn't have any problem with that, should you, Mikey boy?" he continued, giggling along with John.
Michael stared at them. "I can't believe you're serious!"
John suddenly stopped giggling and his face became serious. "Well we are, Mike. You keep saying there's no ghosts around here. You think you're such a big man, no such thing as ghosts and all that..." he slurred, still a bit drunk.
"I didn't say there was no such thing, I just said-"
"And now, you're gonna try to prove it to us!" John raised his voice. "There's a bunch of old decomposed bodies stacked in that crypt. We want you to bring back a small finger bone from one of them."
Michael looked at him, wide-eyed. He couldn't believe John was saying this. No doubt he wouldn't say such things if he was sober.
"I can't do that! I'll be accused of breaking into a crypt! I could get arrested!" Mike said disbelievably.
John shook his head, a dazed grin on his face. "Oh, Mike Mike Mike.... the police are off at their little party, they're not gonna hang around an old graveyard on this night. And the crypt is easy to get into. It's just got a little wraught iron gate across it, all you have to do is hop over it and go down the stairs. Think you can do that like a big boy?" he asked teasingly.
Mike glared at him. "I still don't believe this. Listen to how you're talking! You're completely pissed...I'm not gonna risk my life in a crypt and then in an old abandoned house just for your drunken amusement."
"DO it, Palin," John suddenly said in his reserved, upper-class tone. "Or Gray and I will see to it that your lovely car gets proper treatment," he grinned as he held up a can of spraypaint and shook it.
Michael thought he had to be nuts. John probably wouldn't do such a thing if he was in his right mind, but he began thinking about doing the rest of their shows and John calling him a chicken the whole time. He looked back up at them and sighed.
"This is blackmail," he said quietly. "Alright, I'll do it. But I'm not doing it alone."
"Oh, fine. Take all the adventure out of it," Graham smirked. "Alright, take Eric with you then."
Eric looked at Graham, wide-eyed. "ME???" He turned back and noticed Mike looking at him with a slightly pained look on his face.
"Alright I'll do it," he sighed. Mike broke out in a grateful smile.
John and Graham nodded.
"Now remember, take a finger bone and then head to the Woodson mansion next door. Just leave a personal item there to let us know you were in there. On the stroke of midnight come right back and tell us all you've seen," John said.
Eric and Mike rolled their eyes. "Yeah, fine," Eric said, quite annoyed. They exited, exchanging worried looks as they noticed how dark it had become outside. Jonesy threw two flashlights to them.
"And don't come back til you've proven it to us!" Graham yelled, as the door slammed shut.
Eric snorted as he heard John and Graham giggle drunkenly behind the door.
"Damn those two, making us risk our lives like that," he spat out.
Mike snorted. "I never would have agreed to this, you know, if it weren't for the fact that I'd have to live it down."
"Live what down?"
"John calling me a chicken for the rest of my waking life," Michael said sheepishly.
Eric looked at Mike, feeling bad for him for a moment. John could really be a bully sometimes, and poor Mike was just too much of a nice shy guy to stand up to him.
He turned back around. "Well, let's just get this over with. I don't feel quite comfortable breaking into a crypt when its dark like this," he shivered.
"You and me both," Mike said in a tone full of dread. He nervously pushed his hair off to the side of his face and took a deep breath as he and Eric started for the graveyard.
Meanwhile, John and Graham were getting ever the more drunk and giggling about what they had put their pals through.
"You know, they're gonna hate us when they find that tape recorder you planted in the house this morning," Graham giggled.
"Ah, who cares, Gray? I'm leaving after this next series anyway, so they can't hurt me," he blurted out.
Graham stopped giggling and looked at John curiously, furrowing his brow. John reached for the gin again and poured a bit more into his glass.
Mike and Eric cautiously made their way through the cemetery. It was as quiet as death, except for an occasional owl hooting. The cemetery was about 400 or 500 years old and some of the gravestones were literally ancient. A shiver ran up Mike's spine as he spotted the small, steepled crypt with the angel on top.
"Well. I guess this is it, eh?" he said timidly.
Eric nodded. "I guess so." He shone his light into the small opening of the crypt. It had a large cut-out window on the other side, and as he shone his light down he could see the small stairs leading downward. He swallowed hard and fixed his Napoleon hat on his head.
He climbed over the small, wraught iron bars, but overstepped and slipped. Mike winced as he watched Eric fall flat on his stomach.
"Ooh. Are you alright?" he called.
Eric snorted and sat up. Luckily he hadn't been hurt. "No, I'm fine," he panted as he picked up his hat and put it back on.
Michael cautiously climbed over the bars and helped Eric up.
"That'll teach me to go poking around in stuffy little crypts in the dead of night," Eric grinned sheepishly.
They shone their lights down the stairs, and slowly made their way down. Mike turned up his nose as a damp, mildewy smell wafted upward. As they descended the stairs they noticed the temperature seemed to rise a few degrees and it actually seemed comfortably warm as they reached bottom. It was also noticeably dry down there.
"Huh. Well, I reckon the conditions down here don't do much for the..... bodies....." Mike froze as he noticed the corpses piled up in wooden coffins scattered around before them. Most of the bodies had actually been mummified, and even though most were at least 300 years old and eyes and noses had fallen away, they appeared as if they were just sleeping.
"As you were saying, Mike?" Eric turned toward him.
"Oh, my...God!" Mike exclaimed as he ventured over toward a few of the coffins. Even the flesh and joints of the corpses appeared quite supple.
"I guess the conditions are just favorable for preservation, then."
"I guess so," Eric remarked, hoping Mike would just hurry up and find a finger bone so they could get out of there. The whole time he had the creepy feeling that he was being watched.
"I take it you won't be able to find a finger bone, then," Eric started when he saw Mike rummaging through the coffins and corpses. He turned his nose up in disgust.
"Oh, Christ, what are you doing??"
Mike turned back to Eric for a moment. "Eric, I'm searching for a finger bone so I can appease John."
"But you're actually touching those things! Who knows, they could have died from plague!"
Michael laughed. "Eric, even if they did die of plague, we're not gonna catch it ourselves. The pestilence is long dead. I don't quite like doing this either, but I have to find... hang on!"
Mike sighed in satisfaction. He'd finally found a corpse that was quite mummified, but its hands were reduced to bones. As Eric looked on, he carefully took hold of the pinky finger bone and twisted it until it came off in his hand.
"I've got it!" he smiled.
"Good, now let's get out of here," Eric said quickly. Mike smiled and turned back to the corpse. His eyes widened as the corpse looked like it was ready to rise up and come after him for stealing part of its finger.
"Wait for me, Eric!" he hollared as he ran up the stairs after Eric.
Mike and Eric giggled like little schoolboys as they ran out of the cemetery.
"Oh, I'm so glad that's done now!" Mike exclaimed, sighing deeply.
"Yup, now we've got to hang about that old house," Eric remarked dryly. "Wait until we're done with this, I'm gonna rip every hair out of Cleese's scalp!"
"That might be too easy, you know. Cleese doesn't have much hair left on his scalp," Mike grinned widely.
Eric looked at him and started to laugh. "You know, you're right. Okay, I'll pull out what he's got left, then I'll ram those fine porcelain teeth of his down his throat and shove a stick up his arse - pointed side up."
Mike laughed along with him. "That sounds like a suitable punishment, I should think."
He stopped laughing as he looked up at the tall, forboding mansion. It was undoubtedly a creepy looking place in the daylight, and at night it looked far worse. Michael ran his fingers through his hair at the back of his head, and grabbed it with a motion of making a ponytail. He released his hair and swallowed hard.
He gestured at Eric and the two of them slowly walked up to the front door. Eric tried the door, twisting the knob, but it wouldn't budge.
"Well, now we have an excuse," he shrugged.
As he spoke, the door gave way and opened slightly, emitting a loud creak. They both felt the hair go up on the back of their necks.
"Um...after you?" Mike asked timidly.
"Oh, no! I went first in the crypt. After you!" Eric insisted, wide-eyed.
"Sorry," Michael said quietly.
He turned back around and shone his light ahead as he cautiously set foot in the house, Eric on his heels. The house was filled with old pieces of furniture and portraits of various inhabitants hung on the walls. Eric and Mike wondered if it was truly haunted. They'd known about the house since they were university students as it was something of an urban legend. As the story went, the mansion was built in the seventeenth century and was occupied by a fairly prominent family. The eldest son had gone insane however and murdered his parents. Not long afterwards he and his siblings died of plague. Whether or not the story was true was anyone's guess since it had been passed down through the ages. Still, something about being there was making Mike and Eric feel terribly uneasy.
"Um...so.." Eric began. He was cut off by the sound of a door slamming.
"What was that?" Michael asked nervously.
"Probably just the front door...you know, the wind..." Eric responded, just as nervous.
"So...what do we do now?" he continued.
"Well...in their drunken stupor, Gray and John said we should each leave a personal item here as proof we were inside." Mike answered.
"A personal item? What the bloody hell was he talking about?" Eric said incredulously.
"Hmm... take a button off one of your cuffs. Hazel can aways sew another one on," Mike said. Eric nodded and removed one of the buttons from the cuff of his sleeve. He bent down and placed it on the floor.
"What about you?"
Mike furrowed his brow. Suddenly a muffled sound of footsteps was heard. They seemed to be coming from the back of the house, drawing closer.
"Umm...Eric...I don't think it matters right now. We should just get out of here," he said nervously.
"Well, alright, but Cleese is gonna-"
A door to one of the rooms suddenly opened. Mike and Eric were utterly horrified by what they saw.
"AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!" they both screamed. With that they high-tailed it out of the mansion and ran down the road back to Jonesy's house.
Jonesy shook his head as he noticed Graham and John both passed out on the floor. They had spilled a bit of gin on Jonesy's nice oriental rug, and he didn't like it one bit. He plugged the vacuum cleaner in, and ran it, every so often hitting John and Graham's snoring, lifeless bodies. Gilliam sat at the table and giggled, wondering how they could both sleep through this.
Finally, some loud, frantic pounding on the door caught Jonesy's attention. He shut off the vacuum cleaner and went to the door. He breathed a sigh of relief upon finding Mike and Eric there.
"Let us in, Terry!!" they yelled.
"Hey, what happened to you guys? You look like you've seen a ghost," Gilliam said with concern.
Eric and Mike panted. "No, wasn't quite a ghost," Mike gasped. "Much worse, actually. Right, Eric?"
Eric nodded. "Oh God it was one of the most awful things I've ever seen!"
Just then, John came around and got to his feet. "Oh, I have such a hangover," he moaned. He nudged Graham, who awoke and also groaned in agony.
"Go away, John," Graham muttered.
John turned to Eric and Mike who appeared utterly horrified. "What happened to you both?"
"That mansion, what an awful place," Michael said. "Oh, and here's your bloody bone," he spat out, flinging the finger bone in John's direction.
John caught the old, rotted bone and wrinkled his nose. "So, how did you like staying in that house, hmm?" He grinned.
"What a nightmare," Eric said dreadfully. "First we heard doors slamming..."
John and Graham exchanged amused looks.
"Then we heard muffled footsteps..."
John and Graham both narrowed their eyes in confusion.
"Footsteps?" Graham asked incredulously.
"And then the most horrifying thing of all. You both have to see this, really," Michael insisted.
Graham and John looked at them curiously. John had in fact set a tape recorder in the house early in the morning, but the tape was only of doors slamming and creaking. There weren't any muffled footsteps on the soundtrack. They looked at each other and shrugged.
They turned back to the others. "Alright, since you're both such big babies, Gray and I will go down there now and investigate, despite the fact that we've got huge hangovers," John said coolly.
With that, he and Gray walked outside and down the road toward the mansion. They had to retrieve the tape recorder anyway so now was as good a time as any.
As they made their way inside the old house, it seemed quiet and eerie. John figured it was because the tape had run out, but he was still beginning to feel uneasy. He bent down to pick up the tape recorder when the footsteps started up. He and Graham stared straight ahead, wide-eyed. A bedroom door creaked open, and they were greeted with a ghastly sight.
"I'm Robson," an orange-haired man with a mustache and an eerie look on his face declared ominously. "I don't want to know yer names. You should not have come here. This place is stained by a long, bloody history. It..."
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" John and Graham screamed in unison. With that they bolted for the front door and sped out the house and back down the road.
Finally they reached Jonesy's house. "Mike!" John exclaimed, his eyes bugging out in terror. "You were right! It was the most frightening thing of all!!"
"Told you so," Mike raised his eyebrows and sighed. He and Eric exchanged glances knowingly and began to laugh.