Sreekumar Natarajan

Shorts

Escape to Alabama

Oh Father, please take me safely back home. Please let me not hurt any one on the way,  let me not shoot my brother, my enemies or even those who is trying to kill me. I have done terrible thing, I repent for those lives I destroyed, those women I widowed. Oh Father in heaven, I beg you to give me a safe passage home. I want to lie down on my mother’s bed because I believe that is the only place I will find peace. Yes father I seek thee to deliver me peace, I have this terrible feeling that something is not right in my mind. I loose my thoughts, I can’t remember things. I don’t want a doctors to reveal the bad news, because I submit myself unto thee to show me thy kingdom.  Don’t let my brother shoot me from behind at the Greyhound station, nor let him stab me in my sleep. Protect me father all through this journey, until I reach my mother’s house in Alabama.


Merchant of Exuberance

Merchant of Exuberance

By Sree Natarajan

FADE TO:

“..how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values.”

Alan Greenspan, December 1996 “10 years later”

Titles rollover with inter-cutting of the following sequence.

VO (FEMALE RADIO ANNOUNCER) We are in San Diego Pier looking

at this magnificent Yacht that won this year’s America Cup…let me transfer to Fred at the Pier. (pause) What you got there…Fred?

1 INT. NURSE’S DESK ROOM – EARLY MORNING

A cluttered desk. Rows and rows of medicine. Bound volumes of patient registry. A nurse walks into the frame we don’t see her face.

She opens

a file and turns the page.

VO (MALE ANNOUNCER) Cindy…this is a piece of work…the

yacht famously…or should I say notoriously…(laugh)…associated with Mike McDonnell of Noah Oil…

VO (FEMALE) Last year’s America Cup winner…

VO (MALE) You are right Cindy…you remember

the story of a Board meeting on board this yacht…

VO (FEMALE) (laugh)He threw shoes at one of

his managers…(laugh)…oh my..CUT TO:

1.

CUT TO:

INT. NURSE’S ROOM We see a hand picks up bottles and spreads it on the table

amid the chatter of FM radio. mentioned the hand stops.

VO (MALE) We are onboard Mike yacht…we had to get permission to board

The moment Mike McDonnell is

McDonnell’s special this one..The hand bangs the tablet tray on the table. CUT TO:

2 INT. ROOM – EARLY MORNING

The man, MIKE MCDONNELL paces up and down with a “cell phone”.

A wall clock shows 3:33 AM He puts the “cell phone” closer to his ear and whispers.

Soft.

MIKE Marty…this is me…Mike.

MIKE Listen…yes I am here in DC

(glances)…some god dam place Karen booked for me…you listen to me now very carefully…(listen)…are you listening to me?

Seriously.

A beat.

MIKE We are in serious trouble…God damn

it…Marty (pause) would you take a deep breath…(listen)

2.

MIKE Are you alone Marty? Make sure no

one hears you…not even Jane…(listen)…this is between you and me.

A deep sigh.

Listen.

Listen

MIKE Marty…we are being investigated

(listen)…no…no not just the SEC…FBI…IRS…they are all involved. It is a conspiracy Marty…(listen)

MIKE The indictment? It…it is absurd…

Marty…totally without any merit …(scoffs)Manipulation of financial markets with intent to defraud investors…sounds much like penny- enny class action lawsuit right? (pause) But this has a nasty twist Marty…

MIKE Apparently a little old lady, a

school teacher (pause) in Ohio left a suicide note implicating Noah Oil Corporation for her troubles (pause). She was on the phone with this goddamn half witted reporter just before she killed herself…piece of shit.

3 INT. ROOM EARLY MORNING

Mike senses something and he spins his head towards the door, the door is half open.

He feels something odd, a moment of thoughtful silence.

CUT TO:

3.

Listen

MIKE Listen…I want you to wake up

Karen, (listen) I don’t care her kid is sick don’t give me such trivialities…I hired her to do a job.

MIKE I am going to put this thing into

conference call. A long beat.

MIKE Alright, who is on the line?

He walks towards the bed and sit. He waits; as he waits his restlessness is quite visible.

A hand enters the frame and touches his shoulder. HE IS STARTLED AND JUMPS UP.

CUT TO:

4 INT. ROOM EARLY MORNING

Angle on the nurse, she looks passive. She is carrying a tray with cups of tablets and water.

Loud shouting.

MIKE Who are you? What are you doing

in my room?

THAT MOMENT WE HEAR A SOUND OUTSIDE THE DOOR.

CO’S VOICE Everything okay?

Nurse without turning her head answers

NURSE Yeah…(pause)

4.

CO’S VOICE Let me grab a cup of coffee. I’ll

be back in a minute. Commanding.

NURSE Mr. McDonnell..MIKE Don’t move, I am calling security..NURSE You are not, Mr. McDonnell.

Please cooperate.

MIKE What does that mean…”cooperate?”

NURSE You know exactly what I meant Mr.

McDonnell…

MIKE a second. (thinking) Oh Is that your pimp out the phone)…Marty…just a

Long beat.

NURSE Mr. McDonnell, do you always enjoy

…Hey…wait I get it! side? (on second…(on the phone)(back to the nurse) I am in the middle of an important business decision…I don’t have time for the whores trying to steal from me.

hurting people?

MIKE Some deserves to be hurt;

Especially you who over stayed my hospitality. Now get out before someone really gets hurt.

NURSE Don’t push it, Mr. McDonnell.

5.

MIKE What the fuck are you talking

about Miss Pussy? (phone) Marty…are you there?

Angry with this silly game. COMMANDING VOICE.

NURSE Stop this stupid game.

It becomes very quiet, an uncomfortable silence. Fierceness of her words make Mike stops on his track.

Mike looks confused; shame of the reality makes his legs feel very weak. He walks towards the bed and sits supporting his head in his hands.

Nurse walks over to the switch board and turn on the light. Now we see that he is in a hospital room.

NURSE I think you had ‘nough sleep.

MIKE

Go away…

NURSE After your medication.

MIKE I said…GO AWAY.

NURSE Mr. McDonnell this is a prison

hospital…nobody cares if you take your medication or not, no body is waiting for you to get better… (pause)I think that is very sad.

Mike slowly raises his head to look at her. She puts her hands in her pocket and rather rebelliously looks at him.

NURSE Yet you must ask yourself Mr.

McDonnell, why you’ve never missed

6.

even a single day of medication since you came here two weeks ago.

She gives the medication and he swallows it. Mike puts down the handle and she grabs it.

You broke this week not going it.

NURSE the flush the fifth time Mr. McDonnell, they are to be very happy about

MIKE Stop humiliating me.

Nurse takes measurements and adjusts the valves that come off of a control panel just above his bed.

She stops

A beat.

NURSE Shame is on me Mr. McDonnell.

MIKE What is that supposed to mean?

her activities and suddenly deflates.

NURSE You see Mr. McDonnell my mother;

she was a teacher all her life, used to say “when fools go to the market peddlers make money”. You made the money and she was among the greatest of fools.

Now her focus is on the bed, she adjusts the bed she does it rather mechanically.

MIKE Maybe I could help. I could make

some phone calls…

However she gives it up when emotions swell to the point of breaking it.

7.

Beat.

day…even on Sundays after church…he used to beat her.(pause) Happy people wouldn’t do that would they?

NURSE No they wouldn’t. (Pause)

MIKE I never stopped him…even when I

could have.

NURSE She doesn’t need your help any

more Mr. McDonnell; she is in a far better place. God bless her soul.

her head to wipe her tear.

MIKE Your mother was the school teacher

who… Ignoring him she goes back to her work.

She turns

NURSE When I saw her the last time Mr.

McDonnell…she was broke and very sad (pause). I didn’t know anything about you or your company Mr. McDonnell. She said, an unhappy man was responsible for her troubles.(beat) Perhaps Mr. McDonnell you don’t realize how unhappy you are?

Mike slumps in his sitting Long beat. Soft.

position.

MIKE I grew up seeing

my step father beating my mother every single

8.

Soft.

My God… Long beat.

NURSE

She picks

MIKE (beat) Now it is too late isn’t

it?

NURSE It is never too late…to love

someone, if that is what you meant.

up the tray and it looks like she is ready to go.

MIKE Could you stay with me little

longer? I feel very lonely.

NURSE I am sorry Mr. McDonnell…I can’t,

my grave yard shift got over, we are not allowed to stay beyond (pause) But I sure will see you tomorrow…perhaps you will feel little better by then. Goodbye now.

NURSE Were you scared?

MIKE No, (pause)I didn’t love either of

them enough to care that much.

With little cheer.

MIKE I will wait for you. Bye.

As she is about to open the door, a man enters in suit and he holds a manila folder in one hand a paper cup of coffee in the other. He is the Case Officer (CO) of Enhanced Outpatient Program (EOP) of CDCR (California Department of Corrections And Rehabilitation).

9.

5

INT. ROOM EARLY MORNING CO switches the light on and walks towards Mike.

CO Good morning Mike (pause)Was she

giving you a hard time? Mike looks at CO with unease.

CO These nurses…Mike…in the prison

system Medi Cal pays them shit…yet they do a good job.(pause)It bothers me when people don’t appreciate that.

CO Oh I am sorry I didn’t introduce

myself. I am Randy Smith your new CDCR case officer.

.

She closes the door behind her.

CO I am not an early person…today

this is my second one(pointing the coffee) to get here on

to

time(pause)I got some good some bad news for you.

Mike slowly slides down from his bed floor, as if he is submitting to the

The CO pulls a chair and sits little

and

squints on the away from Mike.

CO I presume you like the good news

first(beat) California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation think you are doing great, which means you are no longer need to be here in the Mental Health Crisis Bed.

and CO.

CUT TO:

10

.

CO The bad news (pause) is you are

going back to the jail in the next couple of hrs…(looking at his watch)..at 6:45am a bus will come to pick you up.(pause) I wouldn’t be here to see you off…but I sure wish you good luck.(pause) I have been trying to contact your wife to tell her about your change of location, it looks like she has moved(pause) without leaving a contact number.

Mike shrinks himself into a womb position. Soft.

Laughing.

MIKE I would rather stay here.

CO You don’t get to choose Mike. You

break the law you pay for it. No more fancy yachts, hundred million dollar compensation, blondes in bikinis competing for your attention (pause). On the positive side you lead a wholesome life, three square meals a day and do some honest work for a change..Mike looks around for something, searching rather intensely.

CO Mike…do you have anything to say

before I sign the paper? Mike turns his head and looks at the CO.

MIKE I don’t see my phone…

CO Well…we got to do something about

it. Won’t we?

11

.

A resigned look on the CO’s face. He skims through the paper work.

He glances at the newspaper cuttings interspersed with official transcripts. We see articles of his arrest. When he sees a copy of Fortune Magazine from his folder he looks at it for a beat. A picture worth thousand words-Mike McDonnell CEO of the year.

CO Just look what a difference a year

can make.

Before CO flips close the folder he looks for beat at an article “Noah Oil’s Chief Financial Officer Martin Rosenthal Surrenders”.

CO gets up and then stops for a beat.

CO Your former Chief Financial

Officer Mr. Marty Rosenthal…(pause)I am sorry to say…he was found dead last night, in his cell, apparently killed himself.

Angle on Mike he has almost curled up like in a womb position.

CO Some times losing reality is a

blessing.

INT. NURSE’S OFFICE

CUT TO:

The nurse crumples a piece of paper and throws into the wastebasket.

She thinks for a while.

She then picks up the crumpled piece of paper from the waste basket and opens it and read.

12

.

MIKE (VO) You opened my eyes to the reality

that I was in denial. I can now accept the guilt despite voices in my head saying otherwise. “Thank you, Mike”

FADE OUT.

Closing credit over graphics showing various stages of Mike’s turbulent life.

END

13



In the Backyard of Loneliness

In the Backyard of Loneliness

By Sree Natarajan May 2009

MONTAGUE

SOFIA (VO) Juan wanted me to look pretty; I

looked pretty, Juan didn’t want a child, I agreed. Juan didn’t like me sad, I tried. (pause) Juan asked, promise me you never hurt yourself, (sigh)

FADE TO:

1. Vehicles zip by the highway as if trying to escape from some unknown.

2. An empty residential street, all houses have their blinds drawn and not a soul is out side.

3. A car stops in front of a house; a man gets out of his car and struggles to carry a TV that he was lugging in the trunk of the car.

4. A stray dog walks along the street.

5. An old man sits inside his garage and looks out into the street with suspicious eyes. He scratches his stubbles.

6. Back to the highway from a different angle.

INT. HOUSE – DAY A new day. The noise of the highway filters into the room. A clock ticks.

Sun breaks into a modestly furnished room with matching dresser, bed, and nightstand. Neatly arranged women’s makeup and ornaments.

A low wattage night lamp sheds a patch of light which now competes with profuse of sunlight filtering through the window curtain. The curtain flutters.

1.

Sofia lies on the bed on her side, he eyes are wide open and stares something on the floor.

CUT TO:

INT. HOUSE – DAY

A hand parts the window curtain. Sofia’s POV of the backyard. Apple tree, some apples lay on the ground. Ants go around decaying fruits.

Sun light is giving her a head ache or the last night?

Sofia notices the sprinklers she forgot to the previous night. She murmurs something

EXT. HOUSE BACKYARD – DAY

hangover from

turn off from and hurries.

CUT TO:

Sprinklers stop. Wet grass and patches of accumulated water enough to flood the lawn.

Sofia looks at the mess. She walks towards a rose bush and decides against plucking one.

A Crow cries from one of the branches of an overhanging tree.

By some instinct she pays attention to it and then goes inside the house.

CUT TO:

INT. MRS. HENDERSON’S HOUSE – DAY Camera pans over a dirty counter top. In the semi-darkness a lost soul tries to kill time.

2.

MRS. HENDERSON (OS) “let me give the glory unto him:

for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 19:8And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

The crow’s craw stops a hand that was counting the prayer beads.

1 INT. HOUSE KITCHEN – DAY

Sofia makes coffee and looks through the window. She gets some hard liquor from the cupboard and mixes with it.

A Mexican man walks along the sidewalk unsure of himself as where to go.

A car passes by. She feels the stillness, the silence. CUT TO:

INT. ART ROOM – DAY

Sofia enters their private art gallery; she still has the liquor coffee.

Unfinished picture of Mayan woman on a hill side holding a basket of fruits.

Camera pans dried brushes, half finished paintings and the dust that slowly building up.

Sofia sits down on the crammed floor. She is lost in thought or in a stupor from the comforting effect of the liquor. Either way her eyes look lifeless.

Sofia cleans a cobweb that is beginning to form around the picture.

CUT TO:

3.

INT. MRS. HENDERSON’S HOUSE – DAY

Through the cobwebs we see a figure in silhouette walks towards a bright window.

INT. ROYAL LIQUOR SHOP – DAY

Sofia buys a good chunk of stuff. The Indian dude at the counter looks at her collection with bit of amazement.

Silently she pays without making eye contact with the dude, why bother.

CUT TO:

EXT. TRAM STATION EVENING- DAY

Sofia stands next to a pole. A stud stands few feet away pretending to be unaware.

A tram noisily approaches the station, when it leaves we see the stud has moved close to her.

CUT TO:

INT. CAR EVENING – DAY

Sofia drives, we focus on her. She has a strange fleeting smile across her face. Passenger seat is empty. The car drives along the highway.

A man, the same guy we saw at the tram station gets up from somewhere. He wears this funny womanish type of sunglass.

He is about to light a cigarette. SOFIA

Don’t. An uncomfortable silence and they remain quiet.

SOFIA My husband was a Latino. (pause)

He was an artist. Not very interested.

4.

MAN Oh. Where is he?

Sofia turns her face to look at him but doesn’t CUT TO:

INT. MRS. HENDERSON’S HOUSE – NIGHT A candle being lit, a weak sound says prayer.

say a thing.

of her

of her.

CU of two prayer.

feeble hands shaking in the intensity

MRS. HENDERSON Oh Father who art in Heaven. You

showed me the light while I was going through this dreadful darkness, Father forgive my son it is not his fault..A shadow quietly moves inside the house unaware

FLOOR CREAKS AS IF SOMEONE WALKS, CAMERA FOLLOWS THE SOUND INTO A ROOM WE SEE A CLOSET GENTLY CLOSING FROM INSIDE.

Sound of the night faintly audible.

EXT. MOTEL FALMINGO – NIGHT

CUT TO:

Yet another pathetic place, the usual boasting of HBO, and Cable in the room. We linger on the sign.

CUT TO:

INT. MOTEL FLAMINGO – NIGHT

The stud has no shirt and sits on a chair and snorts powder. Sofia lies on the bed covering herself with the Motel comforter and look at him admiringly.

5.

SOFIA What a strange name for a motel,

it is something erotic, isn’t it? The man glance her for a beat and goes back to his activity. Sofia talks as if she is in trance.

SOFIA Do you bring other women here?

The man rolls his eyes.

SOFIA Juan used to say cheap motels

arouse him (sigh) he never took me any where.

We focus on her wedding ring as she turns her hand.

The man is high now, he has a strange look, perhaps he even contemplates violence on her?

CUT TO:

INT. HOUSE – NIGHT Sofia returns home, disheveled.

She throws her bag and shoes and falls into the couch. She sobs silently.

It is all you leave

INT. HOUSE – DAY

SOFIA your fault Juan. Why did me alone?

CUT TO:

Another morning. Sofia gets up with severe head ache; she searches the cupboard for any left over bottles. Her hand shakes, finally she finds half finished Vodka. She fills a shot of Vodka and empties it on the rock.

She looks into a mirror in the kitchen, and unexcitedly ties her hair.

6.

She walks towards the backdoor.

EXT. BACKYARD – DAY

CUT TO:

Sofia steps into the backyard and lazily strolls in mild breeze.

She notices a broken rose stump near the fence and walks towards it. Suddenly she is arrested as she hears kids playing from across the fence.

Sofia’s face lights up as she listens.

SUDDENLY something crashed, a kid scream in pain and everything falls quiet.

Sofia looks perplexed. She moves closer to the fence and listens, nothing.

She bends down and peeps through a small hole in the fence. CUT TO:

EXT. NEIGHBOR’S BACKYARD – DAY

Weed infested and overgrown backyard. It doesn’t even look like anybody has stepped there in ages let alone kids playing.

CUT TO:

EXT. SOFIA’S BACKYARD – DAY

A thoughtful look on Sofia’s face. She briskly walks towards her neighbor’s house.

Sofia adjusts her shawl across her shoulder to protect her from the mild chill outside.

CUT TO:

7.

EXT. NEIGHBOR’S HOUSE – DAY

Sofia hesitates, blinds are drawn, no car on the drive way. No sign of life.

Sofia knocks the door, no response. She stands there for a few seconds and decides to go back.

She walks half way along the empty drive way and stops. From there she could see the gate to the backyard.

She approaches the gate and stretches herself to look at the backyard. When she touches the gate it creates an ungainly creaky sound.

SOFIA Anybody home?

Something doesn’t seem right, she wants to leave. Suddenly she senses a movement behind the window, she is alert.

When she turns to walk back she notices the same Mexican man we saw earlier stare her from the side walk. God knows what his business is. He frowns and runs away and disappears behind the adjacent house.

Everything is quiet for a long beat.

She hears

EXT. MRS.

someone from inside the house.

MRS. HENDERSON (OS) As long as you’re not here for a

donation, back door is open.

HENDERSON’S HOUSE – DAY

CUT TO:

Sofia walks opens the wooden gate and steps into the backyard from there she can see the door.

CUT TO:

INT. MRS. HENDERSON’S HOUSE – DAY

Sofia opens the door and steps inside. In the semi darkness she sees someone sits on a couch facing away from the door.

8.

MRS. HENDERSON There’re no garage sales of any

kind going on here.

SOFIA I heard some noise.

MRS. HENDERSON

I didn’t!

SOFIA I wanted to check and see if

anyone was hurt. I live right behind your house.

A moment of silence.

Mrs. Henderson turns in her chair, now we see a TV where a home video is paused.

SOFIA It must have been the TV.

A long beat.

MRS. HENDERSON Goodness, Did I wake the whole

neighborhood? I accidentally sat on the remote (chuckles)

Sofia notices the TV.

SOFIA Aren’t they beautiful!

Mrs. Henderson smiles.

MRS. HENDERSON My grand children.

SOFIA I am Sofia Parker.

Suddenly realizes. Mrs. Henderson. Please come in.

MRS. HENDERSON

9.

.

Forgive here…

Mrs. Henderson is ill at ease.

MRS. HENDERSON me; it is bit messy

too eager to show her hospitality, Sofia is

A beat.

MRS. HENDERSON You live in that house (pointing).

SOFIA

Yeah.

MRS. HENDERSON I am not sure if I saw you’re kid;

I see a lot of them sneaking into my front yard. I don’t know what on earth are they looking for?

SOFIA I don’t have kids.

MRS. HENDERSON You are still young.

SOFIA My husband passed away last

December.

MRS. HENDERSON I am so sorry… (pause to say something but decides against)

SOFIA (Just look at her).

MRS. HENDERSON Come have a seat. Can I get you

something?

SOFIA I am fine, thank you.

MRS. HENERSON Why don’t I make some coffee uh?

10

.

Mrs. Henderson tells her it is okay and fumbles into the kitchen.

SOFIA Don’t bother Mrs. Henderson, (give

up) sure.

Sofia sits on the sofa and from there she can see partially what Mrs. Henderson is up to.

Mrs. Henderson finds the coffee powder and puts in the filter and pours water.

Sofia gets up and looks around, the house is irrecoverably decaying. Everything inside the house looks ancient and feels that time has stopped ticking.

Sofia looks at the poor thing’s eagerness in making the coffee. Sofia walks towards the kitchen and stands by the door.

SUDDENLY SOFIA HEARS SLIGHT CREAKING OF THE BEDROOM DOOR BEHIND HER. SOMETHING HAS MOVED OR FELT LIKE MOVED. SHE SPINS HER HEAD TOWARDS THAT DIRECTION. PERHAPS FOR A BRIEF MOMENT SHE SAW A MAN QUICKLY CROSS THE DOOR AND NOTHING MORE. SILENCE PREVAILS.

She turns to Mrs. Henderson

Mrs. Henderson does not seem to have heard the sound as she is trying hard to get the last biscuit out of an old box.

Mrs. Henderson looks at Sofia, then back to her activity.

MRS. HENDERSON My son lives in LA with his

family, he almost forgotten me (chuckles).

SOFIA Who is with you now?

Mrs. Henderson raises her head, for a beat.

MRS. HENDERSON (Low voice) No one.

Sofia thinks.

11

.

Mrs. Henderson puts the cup and the single biscuit on a tray. She is about to walk and SUDDENLY something happened the tray and coffee fell down from her hand with a bang!

Sofia is startled.

MRS. HENDERSON Oh goodness, again.

Sofia quickly comes to her rescue and tries to comfort her but somehow Mrs. Henderson is deeply hurt. The single biscuit lay on the floor soaked in coffee.

Mrs. Henderson and Sofia clean the mess. While they pick up the pieces Mrs. Henderson talks.

MRS. HENDERSON (chuckles) Yesterday I saw someone

standing right there next to that door.

Sofia sits down on the floor and looks at the feeble almost fragile Mrs. Henderson.

SOFIA

Who?

MRS. HENDERSON Bob, my husband, he looked rather

pale. He whispered “don’t be afraid, everything gonna be ok”, then just walked away.

A long beat. Suddenly rather unexpectedly with a seriousness.

MRS. HENDERSON You think I am crazy?

Sofia feels very unsettled. SOFIA

Oh no…

MRS. HENDERSON There were times dear, I thought I

was going crazy, I hear noises , human like presence that I

12

.

couldn’t’ explain; It is now , I know Bob is with

SOFIA That is so great.

all clear me.

MRS. HENDERSON It is dear; it is like all of a

sudden a purpose (pause) to continue.

Sofia can’t take this anymore, she gets up briskly. Her eyes have welled up.

MRS. HENDERSON Do you believe in such things?

Too quick. NO.

SOFIA

MRS. HENDERSON I never used to.

In one breath she says these words and heads towards the door.

SOFIA Mrs. Henderson, I must be going.

Thanks for everything. It was nice meeting you.

MRS. HENDERSON It was a pleasure meeting you too.

Sofia briskly walks out; before she reaches the door she turns and looks at the bed room door. The door remains open as before.

CUT TO:

INT. SOFIA’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Sofia has a strange glow in her eyes. She has dressed up very nicely for a party or something.

13

.

14 deliberates, but a sudden urge

from the cabinet and a glass

two, and then three. She feels

She comes to the kitchen and overpowers her.

Her eyes are getting redder.

She picks up a liquor bottle rather abruptly.

She sits down and downs one, her bare legs.

SOFIA (VO) What an idea, (slightly pant) I

was convinced that woman was crazy, there is nobody out there (verge of a sob). You can fool your mind, however you want, even pretend death is a mere curtain, all you need is pull hard, of course you will see what you want to see.

She walks hears someone breathe heavily, it could as well be hers but in her state of mind it sounds otherwise. She listens.

towards the bath room. Then stops and listens. She

Her cat follows her.

INT. BATH ROOM – NIGHT

CUT TO:

She pees and then gets up and looks into the mirror, her face is glowing with a dangerous idea.

She looks herself again on the mirror. SOFIA

Pathetic…

She picks up the razor blade and sits down at the edge of the tub and puts her leg in a position to shave.

CUT TO:

.

INT. BATH ROOM – NIGHT

She turns on the tap.

She fiddles with the razor blade.

Her cat walks into the frame and looks at her rather sadly.

In a sudden urge she brings the razor closer to her wrist and about to cuts her vein.

SUDDENLY

stand and

EXT. MRS.

look at it.

MALE VOICE Sofy, why are you

(OS) hurting you?

cat makes a sound and goes off

FADE OUT.

puts a finished picture on the

Soft. She raises her head; the to a side.

SOFIA

What?

INT. SOFIA’S HOUSE – DAY Sofia cleans the art room; she

SOFIA (VO) After that meeting with Mrs.

Henderson I didn’t think about her for several weeks, until I saw a flier stuck on my door, Mrs. Henderson’ house was on sale. I was curious.

CUT TO:

HENDERSON’S HOUSE – DAY

Realtor puts down an ‘Open House’ board and heads back to the house.

SOFIA Excuse me.

15

.

REALTOR 1800 sq ft, hard wood floor, great

school, under priced to sell. Hi I am Sheila Williams.

SOFIA Do you know anything about Mrs.

Henderson?

She looks conversation.

REALTOR I am sorry I don’t know anything

about her.

SOFIA Why not? She was living here.

REALTOR I deal with the owner, he lives in

LA.

SOFIA Can I get his number?

REALTOR Are you some kind of …?

SOFIA Some kind of what?

REALTOR There is lots of stuff going on

with this house. I can’t give my client’s phone number, if you are interested in the house you can talk to me.

SOFIA Can’t you just give me a simple

piece of information?

REALTOR One thing I know is, she’ll be

at Sofia and didn’t really want to continue this

safe now. What you mean?

SOFIA

16

2

REALTOR Considering the stuff she has gone

through, (hesitates) I can’t talk to you any more about my client.

SOFIA I am worried about Mrs. Henderson,

she is a good friend.

REALTOR You know, she wasn’t all there,

there was somebody was living in her house, she never knew it, weird uh? I guess he was kind of…some homeless guy.

SOFIA

Really?

REALTOR I thought everybody knew it, it

was even on TV. I guess you didn’t know.

SOFIA

No

EXT. NURSING HOME – DAY

Mrs. Henderson sits in a wheelchair and struggle to focus on something on the ground; she has aged a lot in few days. Her eyes looked sunken and lusterless.

A bit far away a nurse stands and watches.

Sofia walks into the frame and approaches by Mrs. Henderson’s wheelchair. They stay quiet.

Sofia holds Mrs. Henderson’s hand. Sofia has sense of contentment on her face

NURSE (OS) Mrs. Henderson, sorry to interrupt

your concentration. It is time to go.

Sofia gets up and asks the Nurse.

.

17

.

SOFIA

May I? Sofia pushes the wheel chair towards the building.

Soft.

MRS. HENDERSON I was happy at my home.

SOFIA You are safe here Mrs. Henderson.

MRS. HENDERSON But I have nothing to believe

(chokes) it is hard.

SOFIA Who knows Mrs. Henderson, there

maybe someone out there watching over us.

A long beat.

MRS. HENDERSON Do you believe that?

A moment of thought on Sofia’s face. Soft.

EXT. MRS.

SOFIA Maybe I do…

HENDERSON’S HOUSE – DAY

CUT TO:

SOFIA (VO) Well, my new neighbors have moved

into Mrs.Henderson’s house, they came by to ask what I think about replacing the old backyard fence, I thought about it too, probably it is time.

Y-Haul truck parked outside and someone unload boxes and bring into Mrs. Henderson’s house

18

19

.

FADE OUT.

END



Blind Musician

Blind Musician

By Sree Natarajan

Sreekumar Natarajan 1105 s baywood Ave San Jose, CA 95128

“BLIND MUSICIAN”

1 EXT. SUBURBIA – MORNING A dreary winter day.

FADE TO:

A blind man in dark sunglasses navigates his way with the help of a walking-stick. He barely misses tripping himself along a rather steep edge into an adjacent stream. No Good Samaritan is around or cares to be around to help him. He carries a leather case in one hand which looks like that of a violin or some other musical instruments and a small plastic bag of Subway sandwich.

CUT TO:

2 EXT. SUBURBIA – DAY

The blind man stops for a beat at an intersection as if trying to gauge the place; he then takes out a scarf size cloth from his pocket and spreads it on the pavement. He puts four small rocks at each corner, obviously setting up his shop.

CUT TO:

3 EXT. SUBARBIA – DAY

The blind man plays saxophone, few coins and greenbacks have are already been dropped on the cloth. Some people stops momentarily to listen and then move on minding their business.

CUT TO:

4 EXT. STREAM – DAY

A folk of geese merrily swims in the nearby stream. Saxophone music in the background. SUDDENLY a muffled blast of a gun, music abruptly stops.

The geese are startled and they fly away noisily.

1.

5 EXT. SUBURBIA – DAY

Blood oozes from the blind man’s forehead as he slumps against a side wall, saxophone still in his hand. The money

is still on the cloth. A down from the blind eye.

6 INT. LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

(BOSS vo) I wouldn’t say

lone drop of tear slowly channels CUT TO:

his music sucks but I had reservations about his

talents.(beat) Mother fucker was no Coltran.

A table is placed somewhere in the middle of the dimly lit room. A lone incandescent light throws yellowish light on a cramped table where an old chess board sits ready to play. A faint shadow of a shotgun placed next to the wall in the background.

When we pull back we see two men are actually playing the chess, one of them rather uneasily. The man in command is the boss and the other one is the man we saw earlier with the saxophone case.

The boss is a menacing looking man in his late thirties; however his face shows strange calmness.

The boss talks in measured words; he looks at the nervous man sits across

BOSS (beat) you agree with me?

MAN

Yeah.

BOSS I trusted him to focus on the

business, a blind man attracts sympathy not cops.

CUT TO:

never raises his head to him, he got game!

2.

Somewhere in the background a baby cries, the boss listens and he seems to have a visible effect. He doesn’t deviate his attention from the chessboard.

The boss continues his monologue.

BOSS Mother fucker was trying to be

healthy, I asked why?; You can have a decent meal for dollar ninety nine at Burger King, mother fucker gets a sandwich from Subway; three ninety nine. (beat) Frivolous mother fucker, always short of money.

BOSS Have no fucking doubt I need

money. Do you have any fucking clue how much a box of diaper costs at Costco?

MAN uh…I don’t know.

BOSS Neither do I, my wife does the

shopping. But the point is it fucking costs me.

The boss raises his head and looks at the nervous wreck.

The baby seems to be quite agitated and cries intensely despite mother’s attempt to pacify him.

The boss tries hard attention shifts to

The boss raises his him.

not to get too distracted but his the crying baby.

head to look at the man, rather stares at

BOSS (node to open by pointing to the

case) The man nervously opens.

The case is wide open; there is nothing in it except a small pouch of white powder.

3.

The boss

The boss the man.

Slightly

picks up the pouch and raises it towards the light.

BOSS What the fuck is this?

throws it back into the case and furiously turns to

BOSS Where is the fucking money?

stammer.

MAN I thought it was inside.

Boss is angry.

BOSS You thought it was inside, but it

aint? The main rises from his seat.

A beat.

BOSS Sit down. I don’t like

interruptions.

The boss raises his head and looks at the man who is now frozen by fear.

The boss looks into the eyes of the hit man, a piercing look.

The boss takes his two fingers and points to the hit man’s eyes.

BOSS You know what, I like them…

MAN

What?

BOSS Those fucking eyes…

Shocked beyond belief the frame freezes on scared yet intense eyes of the hit man.

4.

7 EXT. SUBURBIA – DAY

The hit man wears dark glasses and walks rather slowly across a wooden bridge. A far cry from the moment we saw him sprinting away like an athlete.

When we pull back we see that he uses a walking stick to navigate his way. He is blind!

FADE OUT.

CUT TO:

5.



A Girl in the Swamp

A girl in the swamp

By Sree Natarajan

FADE TO:

A lonely swamp somewhere in the outskirts of the city. A swollen stream almost hidden away in vegetation gracefully runs through it to nowhere. Some birds chirp, a bored cricket made a stucco of chatter and then broke into silence.

The camera slowly tracks against the flow while meditatively observing reflections of the sky and rays of the evening sun peeks through the branches.

At a distance on the stream a tiny spec of white object struggle to float it appears to be tangled into a reed. We slowly zoom into it and slowly it becomes clear that it is a girl’s panty.

From some distance away we hear sound of someone walking along the water towards the camera; we wait and observe a man with a pair of rubber boots walks past the camera in the opposite direction. The boots make waves in otherwise quiet stream.

The ripples from the waves circles around the reed and gently toss the panty. When the panty moves rhythmically up and down a thin stream of blood encircles the area as if the panty itself is bleeding.

We pause forward. descends sight of reeds have been trampled and left behind are few fading foot marks on the mud. We see her naked legs stretching into the water and blood channels through it and spread into the stream.

One ballet shoe partly covered in mud lies closer to the body.

We pull back and lookup along the path we traveled, we see the man at a greater distance climbing out of the bank with a black plastic bag and he wears a city cleaning crew jacket.

Sky is getting darker and we hear slight thunder in the horizon. In the background we hear: Walt Whitman’s poem:

for a moment at this strange sight and continue to move Suddenly we are arrested on our tracks. A silence

like a wet curtain. We are thrown back at the ghastly a girl’s dead body partly covered in bush. Surrounding

1.

4 In the swamp, in secluded recesses,

A shy and hidden bird is warbling a song.

Solitary, the thrush, The hermit, withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements, Sings by himself a song.

Song of the bleeding throat!

Titles rollover.

EXT. HOUSE – EVENING

A dreary winter day, rain pours down.

Rain socks a yellow ribbon tied to an enormous tree in the front yard near the sidewalk. We see that along the street several trees in the neighborhood also adorn the yellow ribbon, a symbol of hope perhaps.

We turn to a house next to the tree; there also a ribbon has been tied to its door.

CUT TO:

1 INT. HOUSE KITCHEN – EVENING

The camera pans gently inside the kitchen of a semi affluent middle-class family. As we slowly moves in the background we hear a phone rings, few rings later it stops.

Camera stops at various objects. The phone rings again, this time it goes to the answering machine.

FEMALE (VOICE) Sorry I am not here to take your

call, please leave a message…

Call is interrupted. No message is left, answering machine beeps.

2.

We look at framed pictures of a smiling teenage girl prominently placed on the kitchen counter and few other family pictures taken obviously during some happy times.

A samovar on the range spews steam. A healthy indoor plant in a vase stands next to the range.

Heavy rain splatters the window panes incessantly. We hear someone sobs softly and we pan towards it.

Mother sits by the window facing away from the cooking range. She must have been sitting there alone for some time.

Some news papers are scattered over the table, a cup of coffee remained half drunk.

Her eyes are eagerly pinned on the road, as if waiting for someone, every passing vehicle seems to be giving her a fleeting ray of hope only to be dejected a moment later.

CUT TO:

2 INT. HOUSE – NIGHT

Mother wipes her tears and walks slowly towards the photo of her daughter.

She looks at the picture and stays there; her face shows an explosion of emotions.

We very slowly zoom into her. The entire monologue is in whispers.

MOTHER I made a promise to myself; I am

not going to make you unhappy ever. You can color your hair, blue is fine. I am not sure Rick smoke, but you can still bring him home. (pause)I wouldn’t ask you to practice ballet everyday, only on Saturdays that too after watching TV.(pause) When you come home I want to hold you tight one whole night, please don’t tell me not to. I hope you are not cold or

3.

Door bell

rings. She is startled.

EXT. HOUSE – EVENING

hungry. Mom is not proud any more I am not going to scold you for putting your mom through this test(pause) I know when you come back, I can forget all my sad thoughts.

When the door opens Ed folds his umbrella and wipes wetness from his face.

He takes off his raincoat and places both on the verandah, wet hair sticks on his forehead.

We look at his rubber boots for a beat. With a broad smile he opens the door ajar and enters.

3 INT. HOUSE – EVENING

Mother looks apparently happy to see Ed but she does not show any emotions, she walks back to her chair and see a pile of unopened mails. She picks them up and begins to sort disinterestedly.

He comes very closer to her. ED

hi Not too enthusiastic.

MOTHER

hi Mother looks at one piece of mail.

ED I have been calling you since this

morning, why didn’t you pick up the phone?

CUT TO:

4.

Mother still focusing on the mail.

MOTHER I am tired of sympathy calls.

Ed’s becomes serious.

ED This is ME, calling.

MOTHER You call ten times a day.

His face is very closer to hers, she never turns her face, her mouth is little open, and she is enveloped by an uncomfortable feeling.

Mother picks up a half-full coffee cup from the table and walks towards the sink.

Ed pulls a chair and sits. Very low voice.

ED When I was stationed in Fort

Irwin, my neighbor’s daughter, may be 7 or 8 that time, went missing. We searched all over the place, day and night. Few days later she was found with her estranged father, in Montana.

She turns while washes the cup.

A beat. Without looking up.

Minnie is Low voice.

MOTHER not with my ex-husband..her head adjust a lock of hair fallen on her face

ED Maybe not, but how can you be so

sure?

5.

Mother slowly walks from near the sink towards him. She stops; she has a serious look on her face.

Low voice.

But he is A long beat, Mother

ED a dangerous man.

looks at him

She walks

MOTHER It doesn’t surprise me what you

said about my exhusband, but something else you said really surprised me.

ED

?

MOTHER Misha Lansdrom.

ED Who is Misha Lansdrom?

few more steps closer.

MOTHER (pause, looking straight into his

eyes and very clearly) They didn’t find her in Montana; they found her body (lips tremble) in Mojave desert,(pause) less than 15 miles from Fort Irwin.

MOTHER Lots of bad things happen to

people; my ex-husband was the worst that happened to me. (Pause) But whatever it is he loved my daughter.

Ed looks incredulous.

ED Where did you get that news?

6.

MOTHER What you think I am doing, day and

night? It is all there on the internet.

Ed is eager to defend his position.

ED No…no…this is not the same. They

never report happy endings. You must have mistaken with someone else…

Phone rings, she walks out of the frame. Ed turns his head as she walks off. To himself.

ED …she was a Mexican girl

Ed’s eyes wander in the room, perhaps bit relieved at the momentary break from super charged atmosphere. His glance falls on Minnie’s picture; he gets up and walks towards the picture.

As he stares the picture his face shows some discomfort and it grows as the time goes.

Suddenly.

He is startled, from behind; he his head:

What?

and becomes aware that Mother is watching him regains his composure, without fully turning

ED

MOTHER (OS) What was the last thing my

daughter told you?

MOTHER Erika, you know the girl in her

ballet class, called me just now, she said you went to Minnie’s class that day.

7.

A beat.

ED I stopped by on my way to Home

depot, just to say hi to her. (pause)

MOTHER What else are you hiding from me?

ED (no response)

Mother looks pale; somewhere in her mind fear has started growing.

ED Why? I would…n’t do anything to

hurt you…

MOTHER Why didn’t you tell me.

ED Because she was very upset.

MOTHER Why was she upset?

A long beat, replies in a low voice.

ED I guess, she didn’t want me moving

in with you. Mother doesn’t buy that statement.

She walks towards the window. She opens the blind and looks outside.

A long beat.

Ed follows walks into the frame and stands closer to her. He smells her hair and he puts his hands over her shoulder.

ED I know this will all pass, she

will come back. (pause) I never

8.

She turns Following

had anybody in my life; this is the first time…

her head to look at him and moves away from him. lines are talked in a very low voice.

MOTHER Don’t look at me.

ED I need you.

to get away from him, the earlier she could do the

She wants better. She turns her head away from him and continues to look outside.

He makes an attempt to come near her. She turns and looks into his eyes.

MOTHER You are suffocating me.

He stops on his tracks. A beat.

MOTHER I need to be alone.

I long beat, something in his heart just snapped. He slowly moves away from her.

He looks at her; in his mind some decisions have been made.

He slowly moves out of the door. She closes the blind and quickly turns off the light. She peeks through the blind to see if he is gone.

A car drives away.

She stands in the semi-dark and then walks towards the phone. She dials some number and waits.

CUT TO:

9.

4

5

6

EXT. MOTEL FLAMINGO – NIGHT

In the neon lit exterior of the motel some homeless people huddle along the wall unable to find enough money to enjoy the comfort inside. The fortunate ones however move in and out of the decaying relics of the motel where they redeem their soul for weekly or monthly rent.

(OS) A phone rings in one of the rooms

CUT TO:

INT. MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

A booze party is in progress, half empty hard liquor bottle and two empty glasses compete for whatever little space left on the night stand with Chinese takeout food in different stages of completion.

A middle aged man must have had a dignified life at one time but now looks beaten down sits on the edge of the bed and scratches couple of days of stubble with resigned interest. Tonight however he got a woman and booze, can’t ask for more. He wears an old pajama and t-shirt with Grateful Dead logo.

He puts down his drink and stares the annoying telephone which keeps ringing. He looks at it for a long beat and then picks it up. He searches for his reading glass among the messy table top as if he needs it for talking on the phone.

He puts the phone to his ears and listen, his face changes. CUT TO:

.

INT. HOUSE Mother holds the phone to her ear.

MOTHER Is that you…?

CUT TO:

10

7

INT. MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT Annoyed. Mark talk in a hush voice.

MARK Were you expecting someone else?

MOTHER (OS) Is there somebody with you?

Mark’s eyes dart towards the bathroom and slowly glance on the cheap shoes and purse left on the bed.

MARK

NO.

At that very moment we hear someone flushing the toilet, Mark deftly covers the phone.

A smoky voice from the bath room.

WOMAN (OS) Who is on the phone? (pause)

(complain loudly) You piss me with your fucking hush talk.

MOTHER (OS) I want to talk to you.

MARK I thought we settled everything in

the court.

MOTHER (OS) Our daughter, did you settle that

too? No response.

WOMAN (OS) (loud)Are you talking to that

bitch ex-wife of yours? Mother fucker you promise me…

When it gets too annoying he slowly walks out of the door with the phone in his hand and closes the front door slowly behind him.

.

11

8

EXT. ROOM MOTEL – NIGHT

Mark struggles to hold on the phone because the phone cord is not long enough, he shivers.

In trembling voice.

.

A beat.

MARK Cops came here this morning, what

did you tell them. (firm)I love my daughter.

MOTHER (OS) I know you loved her; I didn’t

call you to dispute that.

MARK (pause)Why did you call me?

Mother hesitates.

A beat.

MOTHER (OS) No…nothing, I shouldn’t have

called you.

MARK I know you didn’t call me this

late to say nothing.

A beat. Low voice.

MOTHER (OS) I called you on an impulse, a wild

impulse that is. (pause) I want to surprise Minne when she comes home, (pause) I thought what could surprise her the most?

A long beat. Wait…wait…what are you saying?

MARK

12

.

9 INT. HOUSE – NIGHT Very low voice.

MOTHER I wanted to say something…I don’t

think I can (pause). A long beat. Mark sighs.

MARK (OS) It is too late.

Sadly resigned. You think so? (pause). Bye.

10 EXT. MOTEL – NIGHT Feeling immediate remorse.

MARK God damn it.

MOTHER

He is about to put the phone down by some urge he stops for a beat and then slowly brings it closer to his ear.

In a very calm voice.

MARK Stephanie, are you still there?

A long pause, he continues to hold the phone. CUT TO:

11 INT. HOUSE Mother holds the phone closer to her ear,

MOTHER I am still here.

CUT TO:

CUT TO:

13

.

A beat.

12 EXT. HOUSE – NIGHT

CUT TO:

We look her from outside and see her hold the phone and open the blind.

CUT TO:

13 EXT. MOTEL

Mark puts the receiver back and opens the door. There she stands, the woman. She was obviously listening to his conversation.

He doesn’t like her posture.

14 INT. MOTEL

CUT TO:

Mark places the phone back on the night stand and sits down. The woman stands back and stares.

What… Sarcastic, very

MARK

calmly.

WOMAN will be no happily ever for you asshole.

Angry.

There after

MARK What are you talking about

WOMAN I am talking about the blood in

your hand.

MARK What the fuck is that.

14

.

Mimicking

Firm.

She grabs sounds of

Mark.

WOMAN Love my daughter.(pause) That girl

looked sad when she left here yesterday, she wanted to say something, you didn’t even listen a fucking thing the whole time. (pause) How could you remember such small details you fucked up alcoholic?

MARK Get the fuck out of here.

WOMAN

Fuck you.

her stuff and leaves in a hurry. The door bangs and it on Mark’s face.

END

FADE OUT.

15