Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Last Days

A long time ago, when a fellow named Paul Green still spoke to me, he asked me to write him another war type of short for him to shoot. I'd written his first two war films from high school (which are still pretty damn good for high school kids) and so I thought I knew what he was capable of and wrote his filmmaking sensibilities into this piece. It was something we could shoot for no money with the costumes and resources we had.

He opted not to do it because he thought "it was too dark."

He went on to do "The Sea Angel" which was a loose adaptation of a short in Kurosawa's "Dreams," that I introduced him to.

EXT - THE BRUSH - DAY

We’re in the middle of what could be a war.

But there only seems to be two people around. The only two men around seem to be wearing uniforms that say “U.S. Army, circa Vietnam.”

The scenery, however, seems to say “United States Mid-west.”

This story could be a part of any war.

This happens to revolve around the two men in the middle of the field. MANNING and DOYLE, both seem to be in their early twenties. Doyle, seems to be almost younger. Maybe he lied about his age.

Maybe he didn’t.

Their faces and bodies are grimy, it doesn’t look like they’ve seen any R and R for weeks.

They look long overdue for some rest and relaxation.

Manning and Doyle are trying to cross a meadow.

MANNING
(whispering)
You think there’s an ambush on the other side of this meadow?

DOYLE
(whispering)
How’m’I supposed to know?

MANNING
(whispering)
Let’s just move across that left tree-line, and stay low.

DOYLE
(whispering)
That sounds like a good idea.

They crouch down, low to the ground, and start out, towards the other side of the meadow...
They press on in silence, hoping for nothing to go wrong...

THRASH! CRASH! THRASH!

A trashing. Something’s coming through the tall grass!

MANNING
(mouthing)
What’s that?

Doyle shrugs...

The thrashing and crashing has a voice...

THRASHER
...Coming! Right behind me...

Manning peaks his head up, over the tall grass, to see what he can see.

THRASHER
Agghhh! They’re comin’!!!

The Thrasher is an American soldier, running through the brush at full speed.
He’s only wearing his ammo bandoliers and carrying a rifle...

THRASHER
It’s the gooks! They’re coming! They’re right behind me!

DOYLE
(whispering)
Gooks?

This time Manning shrugs.

DOYLE
(whispering)
I thought this was supposed to be a clear run back to HQ?

MANNING
(whispering)
I thought so too...

Soon, the Thrasher is gone, through the meadow, still screaming in the distance.
Clearly he was disturbed.

Manning and Doyle press on, through the brush.

EXT - THE BRUSH - THAT NIGHT

Manning and Doyle are sleeping in the brush, much like Charlie Sheens first night on Ambush in platoon.

One sleeping. One on watch.

Manning is on watch...

EXT - THE BRUSH - LATER

Manning is nodding off. He turns to a sleeping Doyle, and shakes him awake.

Now Doyle is on watch and Manning is enjoying his sleep as much as he can.

EXT - THE BRUSH - MORNING

Both are awake, and ready to go, but they aren’t alert. They’re sleepy and sluggish.

In a morning torpor.

MANNING
I think the best thing to due, is keep heading south.

DOYLE
We don’t even know if we still hold any of that.

MANNING
No...
(beat)
But that’s where we held the strongest before the rest of our company was killed.
The walk, wearily at first, through the trees.

Doyle is at point.

The faint sounds of a third pair of footsteps can be heard. They seem to be a ways away.

DOYLE
Shhh....

They stop.

Silence.

DOYLE
(whispering)
Do you hear that?

MANNING
(whispering)
Hear what?

DOYLE
(whispering)
Footsteps.

He points in front of him, indicating that’s where the footsteps might have been heard from.
Suddenly, the crunching of leaves can be heard.

At a distance.

DOYLE
(mouthing)
Find cover!

The two duck into some bushes and shrubs...

Scared looks are prevalent on their faces.

The footsteps come closer.

CLOSE ON Gook feet walking.

CLOSE ON Manning.

CLOSE ON Gook feet walking... Faster...

CLOSE ON Doyle.

CLOSE ON The Gook clutching his guns...

MS Manning and Doyle clutching their rifles.

We can see Manning and Doyle from their hiding place, and the Gook coming towards them.

Doyle puts his rifle down...

...looks To Manning...

...pulls his knife out...

Manning gives one nod...

The gook comes closer.

Closer...

Doyle lunges!

He goes for the Gook with his knife...

The Gook is taken off guard by this surprise attack.

There is a struggle...

The knife is lost in the struggle, it skitters into the dirt, away from the fray.

Doyle gets on top of the Gook and hits him more than once, fiercely, in the face.

The Gook gets enough leverage to roll Doyle over.

He raises his hands over his head, to bash Doyle’s skull in...

BANG!

CLOSE ON Doyle’s face getting splashed in gook blood.

The gook falls, revealing Manning with a smoking gun...

MANNING
You okay Doyle?

DOYLE
I’ll be alright...

He shoves the Gook the rest of the way off of him and then starts to wipe the blood from his face.

DOYLE
Couldn’t you have done that a little sooner?

Manning reaches down and offers a hand to Doyle and helps him up.

MANNING
I was trying. I didn’t have a clean shot.
(beat)
I did as soon as he rolled you over.

Doyle is trying to catch his breath.

DOYLE
What’d’you think?

MANNING
I think he’s a scout. And that means there’s probably a whole damn column of Gooks headed for this position...

DOYLE
I think we should double-time it back to HQ and try to report it...

MANNING
If there’s an HQ left.
(beat)
You good to go?

DOYLE
Yeah. I’m good to get. Let’s go...

They begin to press on...

EXT - THE BRUSH - LATER

As they walk, they talk quietly:

MANNING
I wish we could’ve found out from that soldier last night what was going on...

DOYLE
Or how far we were from anything...

MANNING
Definitely...

They press on...

They walk for a while longer...

DOYLE
Let’s stop for a breather...

MANNING
Alright. Just for a minute.

DOYLE
I know. I know.
(beat)
We’re still double-timin’ it...

Doyle sits down, and takes a sip from his canteen...

MANNING
How much longer do you think it’ll be before we find a base of ours?

DOYLE
Or a group of Gooks? Not long...
(beat)
We’ve been marching at full speed for about four hours now.

MANNING
And about half speed since “B” company was taken out.

DOYLE
I still can’t believe we’re it.
(beat)
I can’t believe we’re...

MANNING
(emotionally)
We’re the only ones left...

A short reverent silence.
DOYLE
Let’s get moving...

They stand and get moving.

EXT - THE BRUSH - NIGHT

They’re on watch.

Sleeping hesitantly, one at a time.

EXT - THE BRUSH - DAY

A forced march.

EXT - THE BRUSH - NIGHT

More sleeping.

EXT - THE BRUSH - DAY

More marching...

They are marching quickly, through the brush, and in the distance, they see two VC soldiers...

MANNING
(whispering)
There’s two of those bastards...

DOYLE
(whispering)
Where?

Manning points his rifle in their direction...

Doyle raises his rifle.

MANNING
(whispering)
Eat this you son of a bitch.

BANG! BANG! BANG!

Doyle and Manning fire three times each, downing both Gook soldiers...

MANNING
I guess that’s the end of that...

DOYLE
How much longer do you think we have to march?

MANNING
I dunno...

DOYLE
Couple more hours?

MANNING
Maybe...

DOYLE
Isn’t that what I said two days ago?

MANNING
I think we’re out of water...

DOYLE
(despairingly)
We’re never going to find them...

EXT - THE BRUSH - NIGHT

It’s raining this time, and they’re filling their canteens...

Then they’re trying to sleep.

EXT - THE BRUSH - DAY

They continue on, but Doyle stops.

DOYLE
All of our guys are dead.

Manning stops, has a confused look on his face.

MANNING
What are you talking about?

Doyle...

He’s raising his rifle?

DOYLE
I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up on our situation. But we haven’t seen anybody in sixteen days.

MANNING
We’ve got to keep going though...

DOYLE
I’m not taking another step.

MANNING
What’re you talking about?

DOYLE
I’ve only got three rounds left.

MANNING
So?

DOYLE
How many do you have?

MANNING
One.

DOYLE
How much longer do you think we’re going to last with no ammo and no food, and a dwindling supply of water?

MANNING
We need to keep going until we can find somebody...

DOYLE
I’m not moving another step.

MANNING
What?

DOYLE
If they want to find us, they’ll find us.
(Beat)
But they’re gonna find me right here.

MANNING
Have you lost it?

DOYLE
In the past week, since “B” company got whacked how many U.S. Soldiers have we seen?

MANNING
I dunno, none?

DOYLE
One. On day two we say a U.S. soldier. He was crazy and shouting.
(beat)
And I think he was going the right way.

MANNING
North?
(beat)
Toward the enemy strongholds?

DOYLE
Manning get a clue. This whole damn country has become an enemy stronghold.

He’s getting a bit aggressive, gesturing with his gun.

MANNING
Just watch yourself with that rifle, would ya?

DOYLE
Don’t tell me what to do.

MANNING
Listen...
(beat)
We can’t stay here... We’re the only survivors of “B” company. We have to report in...

DOYLE
To who?

MANNING
Command.

DOYLE
There is no more command.
(beat)
After six days of moving south, we should’ve found someone.

MANNING
I know...
(beat)
But...

A twig snaps....

BANG!

Doyle lets the trigger squeeze, killing Manning...

DOYLE
NO!

MANNING
Ugggnnnn.n......

Manning is still alive, he’s only been shot in the gut!

Doyle is completely out of sorts now...

What to do?

Put him out of his misery, that’s what...

Doyle puts one more bullet into Manning...

This time in the head, ending it all.

Now, what to do...

Doyle contemplates this for a long moment.

Beat.

Beat.

He turns his rifle on himself.

BANG! The screen goes black.

CREDITS ROLL

The Executive Attendant

I wrote this short and was planning on shooting it on 16mm.

INT - CORPORATE OFFICE - DAY

A well dressed EXECUTIVE is sitting behind his desk, shuffling through papers.
A knock at the door stands him up to greet whoever may enter:

EXECUTIVE
It’s open...

The door opens to reveal a YOUNG MAN, with a resume in his hand.

YOUNG MAN
Hello sir.

The young man comes towards the desk to shake hands with the executive just sits down ignoring the offered hand.

Taking the hint the young man sits down.

YOUNG MAN
I brought my resume, like your secretary asked...

He hands the resume across the desk to the executive who in one fluid motion takes it from the young man and throws it in the waste basket.

EXECUTIVE
Yes. It looks wonderful.

The young man looks confused.

EXECUTIVE
So. Which job are you applying for?

YOUNG MAN
Well, sir, anything really, but I was told that there was a copy boy position available.

EXECUTIVE
(quickly, sharply)
You were lied to.
(pause)
There’s a machine doing that now. We do have a bathroom attendant position. For the executive bathroom.

YOUNG MAN
Well, sir that doesn’t sound so bad.

EXECUTIVE
Well, some of the executives, myself included, sometimes take a hankering to shitting in the urinals and pissing on the sinks...

YOUNG MAN
Okay.
(pause)
How’s the pay?

EXECUTIVE
You’ll get paid less a year than I make in a week.

YOUNG MAN
You make a lot of money then?

EXECUTIVE
More than you’ll ever see.

YOUNG MAN
Is there any chance of promotion?

EXECUTIVE
No. You’re as high up on the food chain as you’ll ever get.

YOUNG MAN
Sir?

EXECUTIVE
And that’s only until we find someway to eliminate your job or ship it to Mexico.

YOUNG MAN
You’re shipping the bathroom to Mexico?

EXECUTIVE
Not the bathroom the whole damn company. But that’s just to keep that stockholders happy. They’re who count. Not your worthless ass.

YOUNG MAN
Well, sir, If i get the job when would I start?

EXECUTIVE
As soon as we get rid of “Dad,” the old guy.

YOUNG MAN
The old guy?

EXECUTIVE
He’s been here for 42 years, but if he works to his 43rd we have to pay him a retirement bonus, and we can’t have that now can we?

YOUNG MAN
(incredulously)
I suppose not.

EXECUTIVE
So, we’ll send him his pink slip, and then we’ll let your jack ass have the job.

YOUNG MAN
So I got the job?

EXECUTIVE
Well, how little are you willing to be paid?

YOUNG MAN
Minimum wage.

EXECUTIVE
That’s the answer I was looking for.

YOUNG MAN
So I got the job?

EXECUTIVE
Yes. But keep in mind we don’t need you.

YOUNG MAN
Thank you sir. You won’t know how much this will mean to my family.

EXECUTIVE
Nor will I care.

YOUNG MAN
I needed this job so badly.

EXECUTIVE
And this job didn’t need you at all.

They begin to stand, and the Young man goes to shake his hand. The hand is ignored again, and the young man turns to leave the room.

YOUNG MAN
Thank you sir.

EXECUTIVE
Report here on Monday.

YOUNG MAN
Yes sir.

He closes the door and leaves.

The executive gets on his intercom to his secretary, MISS BRANT.

EXECUTIVE
(into intercom)
Ms. Brant?

MISS BRANT
(through intercom)
Yes sir?

EXECUTIVE
(into intercom)
I need you to send a pink slip to “Dad”, the executive bathroom attendant.

MISS BRANT
Your father sir?

EXECUTIVE
Yes. His last day is Friday.

MISS BRANT
Yes sir.