Close up on a jukebox. A young woman’s hand reaches towards it and selects a song.
SONG (from jukebox – with musical notes): You better be prepared ‘cos I’m coming to get you…
CAP (Constantine): Oh, not THAT – I hate that bleedin’ racket!
Pull out. We are in a shabby British pub. John Constantine is sitting at the bar wearing his trenchcoat, a pint of beer in front of him. He’s got his hands over his ears. Behind him, the girl who chose the song on the jukebox is dancing. She looks like a dancing jukebox girl from a Quentin Tarantino movie, the sort of girl who’s drawing stares from around the pub and knows it. Her boyfriend stands watching her dance, holding a pool cue. He’s built like a brick outhouse. Behind the bar, a middle-aged, balding landlord (Archie) stands polishing a glass.
SONG: Nothing I can do is ever gonna upset you…
ARCHIE: I thought everyone liked this song, John. Twenty weeks at number one?
JOHN: Only because he did a deal – Teddy Threlfall, snotnosed lead singer of these talentless scrotes. Wanted a hit bigger than Bryan Adams, so he sold his soul to some 7th Circle demon wearing Malcolm McLaren’s corpse as an overcoat. Wanker.
Close on John, having just taken a long swig from his beer.
SONG: I’m ready – I’m able…
JOHN: Course, Teddy didn’t read the small print. Thought he’d get to live out his natural before the debt came due. Malcolm had other ideas.
JOHN: That’s when Teddy came to see me.
Archie gives John a suspicious eye. John puts his empty glass down for a refill.
SONG: Gonna spread you all over my table!
ARCHIE: But… the papers reckoned he killed himself ‘cos he couldn’t handle not being Number One no more…
JOHN: When will you stop believing what you read in The Sun, Arch?
John continues talking. The landlord is pulling him another pint. In the foreground, the pretty girl keeps dancing.
JOHN: Anyway, I was having a little trouble of my own round that time with this East End gangster who’d got himself possessed by Sid Vicious. Now I may or may not have lost my own soul to Sid in a card game back in '79…
SONG: Love love love – la la la – Love love love – la la laaaa…
JOHN: I was very young and very stupid… but not quite as stupid as this chorus.
Close on John, sipping his new pint.
SONG: La la la, love love love…
JOHN: There’s this recording studio down Soho knows how to transfer a singer’s soul into a digital recording. So we burn Teddy’s soul onto CD for safe-keeping… then when Vicious turns up – “Here you go, my son, paid in full.”
Archie looks confused. Behind John, the girl and her friends begin to sing along with the song’s chorus.
ARCHIE: But what about when Sid found out it wasn’t your soul on that CD after all?
JOHN: Too late. ‘Cos when Malcolm found out Vicious had made off with his prize, he ripped old Sid into so many pieces, even Nancy wouldn’t have recognised him.
GROUP (loud singing): La la la – love love love – la la la—
Archie frowns at John. The off-panel singing ends suddenly with a loud explosion. John is still drinking his pint.
ARCHIE: So Malcolm got Teddy’s soul after all?
JOHN: Not exactly. Having burnt all his greedy, selfish, vainglorious swagger onto that CD, Teddy realised just what a sham his life had been. Topped himself rather than listen to this bloody song one more time.
JOHN: Which wiped Malcolm’s disc before the stupid demon even got to play it...
GROUP (off-panel): Love love lo—
The jukebox is on fire. The dancing girl and her friends are most upset. So is the landlord. John pushes his empty glass across the bar for another refill.
LANDLORD: Jo-ohn…! My jukebox…
JOHN: Put it on my tab, Arch. You know I’m good for it…