Dear Auntie Ora,

Are there any lamas in Peru? What about llamas in Tibet?


FADE IN:

INT. - THE OFFICES OF DELPHIC RESEARCH, INC. - DAY.

[SIBYL, PYTHIA and CASSIDY are studying a piece of paper which Sibyl is holding up.]

PYTHIA: It's a typo.

SIBYL: Can't be. Everybody knows there are llamas in Peru and lamas in Tibet. They wouldn't be asking us.

CASSIDY: Aren't they the same thing, then?

SIBYL: You'd better take Tibet, Pythia. I'll handle Peru. Cassie--

CASSIDY: Yes?!

SIBYL: You mind the store.

PYTHIA: And don't answer any questions.

CASSIDY: That is just so totally sucky!

CUT TO:

[Split screen - stock footage of a DC3 heading in one direction, a Constellation in the other. Superimpose image of a map of the world, centred on the USA. Gradually fade aircraft.]

[On the map, broad red lines start inching out southwards and eastwards from a central red dot. Suddenly, the line heading south changes direction and veers off north-westwards, while the one heading east stops altogether and starts expanding at the end.]

[Pan back and up to reveal Cassidy, sitting at her desk doing her nails. She has accidentally knocked over her nail polish bottle, and the red liquid is dribbling onto a map spread out on the desk.]

CASSIDY: Knickers!

[She tries to wipe the map using a tissue, getting it completely covered in red smears in the process.]

CUT TO:

EXT. - THE CENTRAL MARKET, LHASA, TIBET - DAY.

[Everywhere there are colourful stalls bearing every sort of produce. Hundreds of people are milling around, haggling over prices, shouting at friends and generally making a racket. In the midst of it all walks Pythia, carrying an enormous rucksack and wearing combat trousers, a bush hat and an extremely tight T-shirt. She is talking to her faithful local contact, BUNGDIT DIN.]

BUNGDIT: Ah, Missie Pythie! It is being altogether too long since you were last being here, oh yes indeed!

PYTHIA: Cut the pleasantries, BD. I'm here after llamas. Seen any?

BUNGDIT: Oh yes, very much so, Missie Pythie! We are having more lamas in Tibet than you can be shaking a stick at. Tibet is being in the nature of the world capital of lamas. You cannot be going anywhere in this country without tripping over--

PYTHIA: Llamas, numbnuts! Two L's! The second is silent, as in fox. Taxonomic name - Lama glama. The Andean beast of burden of choice. Renowned for spitting. Is any of this getting through to you?

BUNGDIT: Not in the exact sense of getting through, no, Missie Pythie. I am thinking perhaps you are partaking too liberally of the complimentary in-flight alcoholic refreshments on your journey, for you are making none of the sense whatsoever, no indeed.

PYTHIA: [sighs] BD, remind me again why I put up with you?

BUNGDIT: Ah! That is so you can be hitting faithful Bungdit Din when you are getting mad, Missie Pythie.

PYTHIA: Right in one.

[She throws a massive punch at Bungdit Din. He is sent sailing across a market stall, scattering native handicrafts in all directions and bringing the awning down to cover him and the startled stallkeeper. Pythia adjusts herself within her T-shirt and strides off on her own.]

PYTHIA: Note to self - find new Tibetan local contact who isn't a cerebrally-challenged leftover extra from a Carry On film.

CUT TO:

EXT. - DOWNTOWN LIMA, PERU - NIGHT.

[Sibyl is standing on a busy sidewalk outside a restaurant, a finger in one ear, mobile phone clapped to the other. She is dressed in khaki like a 19th century explorer, complete with pith helmet.]

SIBYL: Speak up, Cassie dear, you're very faint. Did I what? No, no, it was a false lead. It must have been that man's dreadful accent.

[Pan up to sign over restaurant door. It reads: "DELHI LLAMA. Best Indian Food in the Andes!"]

SIBYL: Have you heard from Pythia? What? Is a what a big pink bird with fish in its beak? Pemmican? No, I think you're thinking of flamingos, dear. Why do you ask? What? Cassie, you're breaking up. Cassie? Oh, fish-hooks!

[She shakes the mobile phone. A man wearing dark glasses, a white suit and fedora, black shirt and two-tone shoes edges up to her. He has a gold medallion, several gold teeth, and bears a striking resemblance to PETER LORRE.]

LORRE: Psst!

[Sibyl continues alternately shaking her phone and holding it to her ear.]

LORRE: Pssst!

SIBYL: [noticing him] I am not looking for a good time, thank you.

LORRE: You look like you could use it, lady.

SIBYL: Young man, I'll have you know I haven't had a good time since that Grateful Dead concert in 1972, and I most certainly don't intend to start again now.

LORRE: You don't want to buy naughty postcards of eastern mystics, then?

[He turns to leave.]

SIBYL: Not so fast! This could be the break we need. Show me what you've got.

[Peter Lorre fishes some postcards out of his inside pocket and extends one to Sibyl.]

LORRE: Here's one of Roxanna doing the famous Indian rope trick.

SIBYL: [shocked] That's absolutely disgusting! A woman of her age, doing such - such things!

LORRE: What do you expect? She's a mother-fakir.

TO BE CONTINUED...