Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Screenplay About Death

I debated putting this up here or on Tumblr, since my tumblr is more frequently used these days, but I don't think it's a particularly good place for fiction writing, so this goes here. It's a piece I wrote when given the prompt to write about death. So fair warning.

HARVEST


EXT. WHEAT FIELD- NIGHT

MAX DAVIS, a 46 year old Sheriff’s Deputy with thinning hair stands in the headlights of his patrol car. Max is a skinny man, but his bullet proof vest makes him appear puffy. His badge gleams in the light. Max is taking a statement from JON VENNERI (65). Jon is covered with a thick layer of dirt and wheat dust. There are dark streaks under his eyes where he has wiped away tears. The grime on his hands and overalls is black, some of it may be blood. There is a dusty wheat truck and a combine parked just outside the circle of light. Both men avoid looking at the truck.

JON

I, I just…We radioed him around lunchtime but he didn’t answer. We figured that he was just having a cigarette or something. I sent the other guys home already. I hope that’s ok.

Jon pauses to take a shuddering breath.

MAX
(coaxing)

I can get statements from them later. You were first on the scene. Go on Jon.

JON

We didn’t get worried until Tim was supposed to meet us at Ober’s Field and when he didn’t show, we went looking. He was sort of…slumped over. It was like he’d fallen asleep or something. But then I opened the door and there was all the blood. There were flies. Everywhere. It was so hot and I tried to get them away…

Jon stops talking to swipe at his face again. He makes the smears worse. Max reaches out to pat him on the shoulder.

MAX

It’s alright. There was nothing you could do. Tim He wasn’t acting strangely at all this morning? He didn’t seem depressed?

JON

No. Nothing like that. His son just turned three. Tim was going to use the harvest money to put a down payment on a new house. He’d been drinking. There was a whisky bottle on the floor. It was empty, but I think it got knocked over so I don’t know how much. It, it had to have been an accident.

MAX

It looked like he was cleaning the gun. Or something. I don’t think this was intentional. I have all that I need for today Jon. Why don’t I drive you home?

JON
(takes a steadying breath, trying to get himself under control)

You still have to tell Maurine?

Max nods.

JON

I’ll be ok. I’m ok to drive. You still have a long night.

MAX

If you’re sure….

JON

I’m sure. I’ll be ok.

Max and Jon both get into their vehicles and head towards town. Max follows Jon most of the way before turning down the road to Tim and Maurine’s house.

EXT. SMALL SUBURBAN HOME- NIGHT

Max is standing on a covered porch. The porch light is a bare light bulb and there are moths fluttering around it. The curtains are drawn but the room inside is warmly lit. Max stares at the door for a long time before he finally knocks. MAURINE FLEMMING, a young frowsy woman in baggy pajama pants and a sweater answers almost immediately. BOBBY FLEMMING, a big eyed three year old is behind her. Both of them are surprised but pleased to see Max.

BOBBY

Officer Max!

Max smiles weakly at Bobby.

MAX

Hey there Bobby.

MAURINE

Hello Officer Davis, what can we do for you? C’mon inside.

MAX

Thanks Maurine. 

Max steps into a warm living room done in pink floral wall paper. All the accents are frilly.

BOBBY

Did you bring your doggy? Can I see him?

MAX

Sorry Bobby, not this time. I need to talk to your mom for a while ok? Maurine, I need to speak to you privately.

Maurine realizes that this is not a social visit after all and she is becoming alarmed. 

MAURINE

Bobby, you go watch TV. Mommy needs to talk to Officer Max, ok honey?

Bobby grins and toddles off down the hallway. Officer Max is much less interesting without the allure of the dog.


MAURINE

What’s happened? Is Tim alright?

Max gently draws Maurine to the sofa and sits down next to her.

MAX

Maurine, there’s been an accident.

He watches Maurine steal herself for the news. 

MAX

Tim’s dead.

Maurine gasps, but it’s a prepared reaction. She is wringing her hands in the bottom of her sweater and shaking a little.

MAURINE

Wh, what happened?

MAX

We’re not completely sure. He was in his truck and apparently he was cleaning his gun and it went off. It hit him in the leg. Dr. Robert’s said it hit his femoral artery. He bled out in seconds.

Maurine has gone pale and her shuddering is more pronounced now.

MAURINE

He shot himself cleaning his gun? He’s never done that before.

Max starts to speak, and then pauses, unsure if he should continue.

MAX

There was some evidence that he’d been drinking. It was just an accident.

MAURINE

But…that’s so stupid. He knows better than that.

MAX

Maurine, I am so sorry.

MAURINE

Where? Where is he? I need to see him.

Max glances out the window and sees that another squad car has just pulled up outside.

MAX

The body is at the coroner at the county hospital. I can take you there now if you like. Officer Barrow is outside. She can stay with Bobby, or take him to a neighbor’s house.

Maurine straightens up and nods decisively. This sounds like a sensible idea. 

MAURINE

The Mackenzie’s will watch him.

MAX

Ok. She’ll take him there and make sure they understand the situation. I’ll take you to the hospital whenever you’re ready.

MAURINE
(near whisper)

Tim’s really dead?

Max nods.

MAX

Yes Maurine. I’m so sorry.

Maurine’s brief practical fa├žade crumbles and she falls against Max’s chest sobbing. He strokes her back and lets her cry.







No comments:

Post a Comment