COLD!


I am fighting a cold because it has turned cold! Guess we even had a little snow last night, although it melted right away. I keep thinking about the warm days I spent in Sanya. Not too much to report; I am actually trying to get myself organized. Bought a little notebook for lesson plans, etc. Of course, it will probably get added to the small pile of other little notebooks I bought when I was trying to get organized….
Here, for your reading pleasure, is the opening act of my screenplay:

WRITING SAMPLE 1 – from Mindgame

By Ron Hendricks

FADE IN:

EXT. KUWAIT CITY SCRAP YARD -NIGHT

Not long after the first Gulf War two shadowy figures sneak along a chain link fence.

DIMITRI

(Loud whisper.)

Comrade…over here…

DIMITRI holds up the bottom of the fence so MICHAEL can slither under. Next it is DIMITRI’s turn, but his butt is too big. MICHAEL slides out and they try it in reverse order. Success…

MICHAEL

I think it’s this way…

MICHAEL and DIMITRI approach an old yellow school bus half hidden with canvas. They force open the door and climb inside.

MICHAEL and DIMITRI flip on their flashlights and look around. All but the driver seat is removed and there are a few empty crates in the corner. Keys dangle from the dash and a padlocked panel is cut into the floor.

MICHAEL (CONT’D)

Well… what have we here?

Dogs begin barking in the warehouse office. MICHAEL and DIMITRI freeze. Foreign shouting is heard over the dogs. A door opens and the dogs get louder and closer!

DIMITRI

Do you suppose they’re friendly?

MICHAEL

I’m not waiting to find out!

MICHAEL leaps into the driver seat, grabs the lever arm handle and slams the door shut just as two Dobermans lunge. Their slobbering jaws and snarling teeth leave streaks on the dirty glass.

MICHAEL turns the key and pushes the starter button. It cranks slowly. Rrrr… The GUARDS are getting closer. Rrrr…

MICHAEL (CONT’D)

Come on, come on…

The old engine purrs to life. MICHAEL throws it into second and takes off. DIMITRI is launched onto the floor. MICHAEL cranks the wheel left and heads for the padlocked gates.

MICHAEL double clutches and grinds through the gears. He can barely see out the front window because of the canvas. It flaps, billows and snags on scrap metal as the bus picks up speed. Junk flies everywhere.

DIMITRI attempts to secure a seat on one of the empty crates. He holds on for dear life as the crate slides back and forth.

The GUARDS fire warning shots with their automatic weapons. Running back to the warehouse, they leap into a humvee with a distinctive LOGO on the door. The humvee engine cranks over several times before starting. They peel out.

Another GUARD is yelling into the telephone. He slams the receiver down and races out the door. He is nearly run over by his compatriots in the humvee! He curses at them and then jumps into a second vehicle to give chase.

Ke-rash! The bus hurtles through the locked gates. A large chunk of canvas shreds off onto the barbed wire. MICHAEL turns right and heads for the deserted streets. Screee… the bus tilts sideways as it careens onto the pavement.

CUT TO:

I/E YELLOW SCHOOL BUS -NIGHT

With the guards in hot pursuit, the bus barrels into the night. Up ahead, a few VENDORS are setting out their wares and preparing their stalls for the day’s market.

MICHAEL

Where are the damn lights??

MICHAEL frantically toggles the light switch, but to no avail.

DIMITRI

Look out!!

MICHAEL

Do you want to drive??

MICHAEL lays on the horn. The VENDORS look up just in time to leap out of the way. Their stalls are demolished and their wares go flying. DIMITRI stumbles to the back window and calls out.

DIMITRI

Sorry! Sorry!!

More vehicles join the pursuit, firing automatic weapons. DIMITRI dives to the bus floor and slithers up front.

DIMITRI (CONT’D)

They’re on to us!

MICHAEL

Ya think so??

The chase continues through empty streets, down alleyways, around corners, up onto sidewalks, etc. At the outskirts of town the pursuers suddenly lose interest. Up ahead there is a hand-lettered sign.

MICHAEL (CONT’D)

What’s that?

DIMITRI

I think it says MINES!…

They look at each for a second and then MICHAEL jams on the brakes. The bus halts in a cloud of dust. Nobody breathes for a long exaggerated moment. Then they both exhale loudly.

Pulling out his gun, MICHAEL trains his flashlight on the padlocked access panel. He takes aim.

DIMITRI (CONT’D)

What are you doing comrade?

MICHAEL

Shooting the lock off! I’ve seen them do it in movies!

DIMITRI

Why not just use key?

MICHAEL

Key? What key?

DIMITRI

That key!

DIMITRI points his flashlight at the bus dashboard. Dangling from the ignition key ring are two other keys.

MICHAEL

I thought those were just extras.

DIMITRI

Let us find out!

DIMITRI grabs the keys and bounds to the padlocked access panel. He kneels on the bus floorboards and tries a key in the padlock. It doesn’t fit. He tries the other. It does.

MICHAEL gets up, strides to DIMITRI and grabs his hands.

MICHAEL

Wait a minute!

DIMITRI

What?

MICHAEL

Suppose it’s booby-trapped!?

DIMITRI

Comrade… We just drove half dozen atomical bombs through city at ten times speed limit with no lights going and guns chasing us. We are in field of mines with no way out.

(Beat.)

I hope it is booby trap!

MICHAEL

Okay… since you put it that way…

DIMITRI turns the key and pops the lock off. MICHAEL grabs one side of the access panel with his fingernails and DIMITRI grabs the other side. They look at each other and slowly lift.

The lid falls backwards with a clang. MICHAEL and DIMITRI shine their flashlights into the storage compartment. It is empty. They sit back against the bus walls and say nothing.

Finally, MICHAEL breaks the silence.

MICHAEL (CONT’D)

I wonder if they hang bus thieves in Kuwait?

(Beat.)

Let’s get those lights fixed and have a look around.

MICHAEL and DIMITRI stand and dust themselves off. MICHAEL gingerly steps out of the bus. Hugging the sides, he makes his way to the front to inspect the lights.

DIMITRI sits down and flips the light switch. Nothing happens. He shines his flashlight under the dash and spots two dangling wires. He touches the bare ends together. The lights come on and then…

KA-BOOM!! The bus explodes in a ball of flames.

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