73

"SKIN"
 

 

            FADE IN:

1          EXT. HIMALAYAS  —  TWILIGHT  —  AERIAL SHOT  —  PANORAMIC

view of mountainous terrain,

uppermost peaks still lit by the setting autumn sun,

canyons mauve with shadow,

catlike ground fog slinking through alpine passes cut by icy-gray cascades,

WIND at frostbite velocity warns of a nightfall full of fatalities. CLOSE IN on:

 

2          EXT. PLATEAU  —  THE PALACE  —  ESTABLISHING

From a BIRD’S-EYE P.O.V. manicured grounds maintain precarious purchase on a multi-tiered plateau.

Walled and studded with lookout-tower turrets, the peripheries loom unmanned.

Cameras form the vanguard of surveillance that keeps constant, silent watch. ZOOM IN on:

 

3          EXT. TURRET  —  REVERSE P.O.V.  —  A BEARDED VULTURE

drops a bone in order to shatter it on an outcrop. CAMERA PANS to follow the bone’s topsy-turvy plummet.

CAMERA PAN ENDS on impact.

 

4          CLOSE SHOT  —  BONE

A human femur CRACKS, bounces, bounds, and rolls to a gory stop.

In the fading light, its blood EXTREME CLOSEUP looks black, its marrow a chalky beige. Shreds of sinew cling to its great trochanter at the site of dislocation.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

5          EXT. PALACE GROUNDS - MED. SHOT - GARDEN + WROUGHT IRON GATE 

In silhouette, against the dusk’s diminishing blush, stands a threesome of stilt-supported litters,

their rough-hewn scaffolds like the skeletons they hoist for 'sky burial.'

Frigid temperature ensures the dismembered bodies are relieved of insect drones.

CUT TO:

 

6          INT/EXT. PALACE / CORRIDORS  —  NIGHTFALL  —  DOLLY SHOT

through a labyrinth of colonnades,

in and out-of-doors,

up steps,

down polished marble stairs,

palatial splendor obvious in every sumptuous tableau,

each of which is lamp-lit and seen as in a peepshow.

 

7          SERIES OF SHOTS

A)    A Negress, dark as obsidian, anoints her breasts with oil.

Carpeted walls, floor, and ceiling create a womb-like effect in her solitary chamber.

Turning toward a quarter-length cheval glass she unselfconsciously exposes her naked back and buttocks.

MOVE IN on welts; their scarlet crisscross indicative of recent flagellation.

B)    A pair of women, one seated in a chair, one standing behind with a brush, alternately grooms.

First the redhead gets her lavish tresses stroked.

Her companion's wan complexion is the opposite of the adjacent Negress's; white onto anemic, her body hair and skin appear as darks do in a photographic negative.

C)    Trying on wigs from a dresser-dummy rack of disembodied heads—

platinum blond exchanged for ebony,

ebony exchanged for chartreuse,

chartreuse exchanged for burnt sienna

—another unclad woman (a Marilyn Monroe look-alike) lifts her arms and thereby uncovers...

EXTREME CLOSEUP ...a second pair of breasts, each one mirroring the shape and coloration of its larger next-door-neighbor.

D)    Clad in a sheer velour robe plastered to his ribcage with excess perspiration,

hairless chest revealed through the garment’s slack lapels,

circumcised penis dangling like a link of unsheathed sausage,

dribbling at its tip (freshly spent) with an opalescent drool,

a MAN, alone or seeming so, waits before a free-standing hardwood triptych.

SOUNDS of gushing water emerge from its unseen side—

all three panels carved with eroticized scenes from the Bhagavad-Gita.

CAMERA PANS above the screen and hovers over a WOMAN who squats at a bidet, her flimsy smock outspread like a misshapen parasol.

Blocked from view are the genitals she meticulously bathes.

 

8          ANGLE ON  —  MAN

THE PRINCE

Nana, clean enough. I am eager that you should see. Come.

 

NANA (O.S.)

Another moment, please.

THE PRINCE, with obvious impatience, cinches the sash of his robe and half-turns toward an adjacent parlor.

 

9          ANGLE ON  —  WOMAN

No longer straddling the basin, NANA rises with her back to the triptych, arms across her chest protectively, hands embracing either bicep—hug of distress.

 

10         CLOSEUP  —  NANA

Eurasian eyes enlarge as if from fright or some dire anticipation in search of an escape route.

 

11         THE PRINCE’S P.O.V.  —  PARLOR

Inventory taken at a cursory glance, his interest falls upon a throw rug at the foot of a plush divan.

CLOSE IN on snow leopard, its padded paws outstretched, limbs disjointed. Bereft of flesh and bone (save for its skull) the feline sprawls inertly, insensible to whatever crude indignities accompanied its demise.

Relic of vitality, echo of ferocity, eyes as blind as rage, the beast that growled, prowled, purred adorns the lavish premises as an ineffectual floor covering.

 

12         INTERCUT superimposed and then replacing the big cat’s pelt—               
             spotted fur transmuted into flawless epidermis—the rug consists of Nana's
             head and hide.

13         BACK TO SCENE

CLOSEUP on Nana’s narrowed eyes as fear gives way to resourcefulness.

Heretofore she will execute a bold, impromptu plan.

CUT TO:

 

14         EXT. AIRPORT  —  DAY  —  ESTABLISHING

Lear jet after Lear jet lines up on a sizzling tarmac,

heat waves distorting international insignia.

 

15         CLOSE SHOT  —  ARAB DIGNITARY

A stately, elderly gentleman disembarks dressed in a white burnoose, resplendent in the dazzling midday sun; SHEIK HADITHAH greets, and is greeted by, a group already gathered,

each of whom exhibits due respect

by kissing the Sheik’s wizened cheeks

or shaking his outstretched hand.

 

16         REVERSE ANGLE  —  TERMINAL

Above the assembly, that mills toward several limousines, is a sign in English.

INSERT: WELCOME TO DUBAI

 

17         ANGLE ON  —  PRIVATE VEHICLES

As chauffeurs open doors and seat their passengers,

cargo is off-loading (b.g.) from Sheik Hadithah’s jet, a string of diminutive figures, single file, marching down the gangway,

all eight identical with regard to costume, gait, and stature,

each identifiable as a form without a face; heavily veiled the pint-size troupe proceeds like a chain of paper dolls.

 

18         EXT/INT. TARMAC  —  CLOSE ON  —  VAN

Lockstep, the eight climb into seats, four on one side, four directly opposite, knees adjacent to knees, gloved hands folded in laps, postures uniformly squared.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

19         EXT. DUBAI AIRPORT / EXIT  —  FULL SHOT  —  PROCESSION

Limos, followed by the van, depart through an arch and merge with traffic on a superhighway, snaking toward some undisclosed destination.

MATCH CUT TO:

 

20         EXT. WELLINGTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT  —  DAY  —  ESTABLISHING

A shuttle bus departs from in front of the terminal.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

21         INT/EXT. RENTAL CAR OFFICE  —  FULL SHOT

Exiting the rental office with car keys in hand is a TALL MAN in his late fifties/early sixties, a wry sense of humor etched into the wrinkles that score his rugged face.

DAD O’ROURKE, through force of habit, reaches for the rental vehicle’s passenger-side door—sees no steering wheel—then walks around to its other side.

 

22         INT. VEHICLE  —  CLOSEUP  —  DASHBOARD

Activating the mapping console Dad types in coordinates for three locations, each of which appears on a twelve-by-seventeen centimeter screen. CLOSEUPS on:

A)    FALK FOUNDATION

We SEE a two-storey red-brick structure, ivy-covered, that shrinks into a dot on the map of GREATER WELLINGTON.

B)    SERENITY PARK WEST

We SEE interconnected modules in a miniature-golf-course-like setting likewise reduced to a dot.

C)    NUMBER ONE WILLESTON QUAY

We SEE a stylish, modern residence overlooking Lambton Harbour dwindle into a third dot.

With kilometers calculated, positions triangulated, optimum route appraised, Dad proceeds to the first of his selected destinations.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

23         EXT. IVY-COVERED BUILDING  —  DAY  —  ESTABLISHING

SUBJECTIVE CAMERA as Dad circumnavigates on foot the perimeter of a nondescript establishment.

 

24         ANGLE ON  —  O’ROURKE

Searching for but finding no windows, Dad approaches what appears to be the building’s primary entrance.

Beside an opaque door of tinted glass is a plaque reading:

INSERT: FALK FOUNDATION

Tempted to press the buzzer, Dad instead frames his eyes and tries to peer through the heavily plated glass.

 

25        O’ROURKE’S P.O.V.  —  EXTREME CLOSE UP

of Dad’s own dark reflection.

Glancing up and to the left he spots a surveillance camera.

 

26        P.O.V. CAMERA  —  O’ROURKE

as he back-peddles out of frame.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

27         INT. FALK FOUNDATION / LABORATORY  —  SURVEILLANCE MONITORS

Over the bare shoulder of a YOUNG WOMAN facing SCREEN ONE (of three), we SEE an instant replay of O’Rourke’s abortive attempt to peek into the facility.

SCREEN TWO records O’Rourke retreating across a parking lot.

SCREEN THREE records O’Rourke getting into a vehicle and driving out of range.

 

28         ANGLE ON  —  YOUNG WOMAN

SUZETTE NGUYEN (SEEN NUDE FROM THE REAR) her body pleasingly proportioned, muscle tone athletic, posture somewhat stiff, positively aglow in her extraordinary, blemish-free skin, stands with head inclined toward a bank of surveillance monitors.

CAMERA PANS IN FRONT: radiant complexion all but extinguished by her empty-headed stare.

 

29        ANGLE ON  —  YOUNG MAN

Also stark naked, ROCKEFELLER FALK, his twenty-two-year-old body trim and fit, executes a series of rigorous calisthenics.

CLOSEUP on slight discoloration along the shaft of his (convalescent) penis.

Unaware of O’Rourke’s arrival and departure, Rockefeller glances at Suzette,

his expression tinged with tender-hearted patience and bitter-sweet desire.

ROCKEFELLER

Suzette? Pilot to co-pilot. Suzette?

 

SUZETTE

(Failing to wrest her eyes from the bank of empty screens, she utters a somewhat stifled, unintelligible GRUNT)

 

ROCKEFELLER

What are you looking at?

His eyes follow her eyes; we SEE what she sees, namely THE MONITORS.

 

30         ANGLE ON  —  SUZETTE

Apropos of nothing, she starts to shake, a subtle quiver at first

that escalates into a convulsion.

 

31         MED. TWO SHOT  —  ROCKEFELLER AND SUZETTE

Rushing to embrace her, to arrest her violent spasms, Rockefeller lifts her like a fireman rescuing an infant

and carries her from the scene.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

32         INT. LABORATORY  —  FULL SHOT  —  LIFE-SUPPORT APPARATUS

Suzette, supine position, as she levitates over a platform,

her groin affixed to an umbilicus of flexible hoses and tubes

—her shudders virtually quelled,

her diaphragmatic breathing returned to normal—

is surrounded by a network of high-tech devices.

 

33         ANGLE ON  —  ROCKEFELLER

looking concerned yet guardedly relieved, he works a complex panel of switches, levers, and dials,

adjusting air-flow, nutrients, and compounds on which Suzette evidently depends.

SMASH CUT TO:

 

34         INT. SERENITY PARK WEST / INMATE RESIDENCE - DAY- ESTABLISHING

In an immaculately white room—walls, curtains, blinds, baseboards, fixtures, floor tiles, and bedding all the exact pasty shade—seated in an adjustable bed cranked to lounge position, its back almost vertical, is a CONJOINED TWIN

restrained by two of four wrists and two of four ankles.

Clad in a single oversize smock that ties around the back, torsos LEFT and RIGHT appear to merge,

STUYVESANT FINK (LEFT) and REMINGTON FALK (RIGHT) ostensibly are joined at ribcage, waist, and pelvis.

Facial features of the pair form independent expressions throughout their drollery.

 

REMINGTON

Who wrote Under the Bandstand?

 

STUYVESANT

Seymour Butts.

 

REMINGTON

How about Piles along the Nile?

 

STUYVESANT

Squat & Leavitt.

 

REMINGTON

And that Chinese classic Spots on the Wall?

 

STUYVESANT

Who Flung Poo. This is really vintage material. How can you...?

 

REMINGTON

Remember such nonsense? Fifty-yard Dash to the Outhouse?

 

STUYVESANT

Willie Makeit.

 

REMINGTON

Edited by?

 

STUYVESANT

Betty Wont. Stop, already!

The twin heads chuckle, their badinage reminiscent, it would appear, of shared adolescence.

 

35         ANGLE ON  —  DOOR

opened automatically, panels retracting to either side, the entrance frames

DOCTOR GRANT: a balding man in his fifties, wearing spectacles, his face uncommonly friendly with a dash of condescension, his casual clothes representative of a laid-back professional.

 

36         INT. SERENITY PARK WEST / INMATE RESIDENCE -  DAY -  ESTABLISHING

The all-white room, upon Grant’s entry, turns periwinkle-blue.

 

37         GRANT’S P.O.V.  -  FULL SHOT  -  STUY-REM (STUYVESANT-REMINGTON)

No longer twinned (a solo pair of wrists and ankles restrained) STUY-REM greets the doctor with a patently aim-to-please smile—

which breaks into a grimace shortly thereafter, his face afflicted by a random series of eye-blinks, tongue-flicks, and unattractive twitches.

DOCTOR GRANT

And how are we today?

 

STUY-REM

So to speak.

 

DOCTOR GRANT

So to speak, indeed; I did hear voices.

 

STUY-REM

‘We’ are hunky-dory, Doc. Fit as fiddles; perfectly in tune and poised to play...

 

DOCTOR GRANT

Duets, I take it?

 

STUY-REM

Precisely.

 

DOCTOR GRANT

Your son called.

 

STUY-REM

Our who?

 

DOCTOR GRANT

Rockefeller, your...

 

STUY-REM

Name’s a bit familiar, but we question the appellation "son." Do we know of any wayward spermatozoon that scandalized an egg?


We suspect not. No, in fact we’re sure; a "son" we never sired.


Certainly not in the sense our good doctor means it.

 

DOCTOR GRANT

That was... Stuyvesant speaking?

 

STUY-REM

Himself. Do I look like a ventriloquist?

 

DOCTOR GRANT

And that was Remington.

 

STUY-REM

All present and accounted for—unless you’d care to bare your own two-faced personality. Ours at least is candid. Yours qualifies as cagey. Duplicity, thy name is “psychiatric therapist."

 

DOCTOR GRANT

You sound resentful.

 

STUY-REM

Oh, no. It’s downright edifying to sneak a peek at the mirror and have it flash back faces fit for a House of Horrors.

 

DOCTOR GRANT

We’ve discontinued that medication.

 

STUY-REM

The side effects persist. And there’s that "we" to which we just referred—craftily employed to spread the blame.

 

DOCTOR GRANT

What did you mean, if you’ll pardon my changing the subject, about never having fathered a son—in the traditional sense, that is, the sense I intended?

 

38         P.O.V. CONJOINED TWINS  —  DOCTOR GRANT

The room reverts to white as we SEE Doctor Grant from between two heads regarding him, heads which turn simultaneously askance then knowingly smile.

MATCH CUT TO:

 

39         INT. PALACE / NANA’S STUDIO  —  NIGHT  —  ESTABLISHING

CLOSE IN ON Nana’s finished sculpture, returned from the foundry and cast in an oxidized bronze, its twin heads slightly turned and bearing similar expressions.

CAMERA PANS up and over the sculpture, keeping it in focus.

CAMERA PAN ENDS in the same position on the opposite side where we SEE, from between the two heads, Nana—blindfolded by the Prince who stands directly behind.

 

40         ZOOM IN ON  —  NANA’S FACE

as the palms clamped over her eyes hinge open like blinkers.

Fear gives way to relief, excitement, then gratitude on beholding the Prince's 'surprise.'

 

41         P.O.V. SCULPTURE  —  MED. TWO SHOT  —  NANA AND THE PRINCE

Nana rushes to inspect the workmanship while the Prince lags to appraise his scantily-clad paramour.

NANA

When did it arrive?

 

THE PRINCE

Delivered this afternoon. I ordered the servants to take it very gingerly from its crate and packaging.

 

NANA

Which they kept, I hope?

 

THE PRINCE

I would suppose so... Why?

 

42         ANGLE ON  —  NANA

With the sculpture piece between them, she cocks her head at the Prince.

NANA

The Sheik did not mention...

She stops herself mid-sentence, nerves back on edge.

NANA

 (continuing)

You two spoke; yes? The other day, I mean.

 

THE PRINCE

Naturally.

 

NANA

But not about me?

 

THE PRINCE

We spoke of many things. You may have been among them.

 

NANA

My show? He did not mention my upcoming show in Paris?

 

THE PRINCE

No. You have another? Marvelous news!

Spontaneously, the Prince steps around the bust and lifts Nana into his arms for a congratulatory hug.

 

43        CLOSEUP (OVER THE PRINCE’S SHOULDER)  —  NANA’S FACE

Conflict and confusion underscore her expression:

FREEZE FRAME.

CUT TO:

 

44        INT. HOTEL AUDITORIUM / ENTRY  —  FULL SHOT  —  ESTABLISHING

Stragglers enter a jam-packed auditorium—

proceedings underway, doors behind them closed

staunchly guarded by uniformed, side-arm-carrying Security.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

45        INT. AUDITORIUM  —  DOLLY SHOT

As a MASTER OF CEREMONIES introduces the KEYNOTE SPEAKER we travel toward the stage down center aisle.

MC
(speaking English with a thick

Mid-eastern accent)

... whose standing in our Brotherhood is justly exalted...

 

46         REVERSE ANGLE  —  AUDIENCE

DOLLY SHOT continuing, we SEE faces turned expectantly, reverentially.

MC (O.S.)

... only fitting that a conservator of Yesterday and statesman of Today should usher in Tomorrow.

DOLLY SHOT STOPS.

CAMERA PANS left to right.

 

47        INTERCUT Sheik Hadithah walking on stage,

acknowledging the Master of Ceremonies,

and replacing him at the lectern.

 

48        BACK TO SCENE

CAMERA PANS right to left, on those in attendance raising their fists in a militaristic salute.

ZOOM IN ON index fingers, all identically tattooed.

 

49        INTERCUT: the tattoo in EXTREME CLOSEUP is an incandescent eye that
            glimmers radioactively from underneath the skin.

 

50         BACK TO SCENE

Silence, save for the speaker’s AMPLIFIED BREATHING, signifies rapt attention.

SHEIK HADITHAH

I will tell you why a camel is better than a Mercedes...

DISSOLVE TO:

 

51        INT. AUDITORIUM / BACKSTAGE  —  WIDE ANGLE  —  OCTET

Spread out along a balance bar, eight figures (plus their reflections in a wall-length mirror) stretch,

execute pliés,

and otherwise limber up as for a performance,

each completely covered by hood, robe, and veil.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

52         INT. STAGE  —  CLOSE SHOT  —  SHEIK

SHEIK HADITHAH

...a camel wants to arrive at its appointed destination.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

53         BACKSTAGE  —  SERIES OF SHOTS  —  OCTET STRIPPED TO LEOTARDS

A)    FIGURE FOUR lifts left leg and locks ankle behind head.

B)    FIGURE SEVEN does a backbend, head tucked under crotch, face forward, chin parallel with knees.

C)    FIGURE THREE performs a split.

D)    FIGURE FIVE, stock-still, holds a handstand.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

54         STAGE  —  CLOSE SHOT  —  SHEIK

SHEIK HADITHAH

Appetite equals impetus, impetus equals zeal, and zealousness is a heart that beats beyond cessation.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

55         BACKSTAGE  —  SERIES OF SHOTS (CONTINUING)

A)    FIGURE ONE lies on stomach and brings both feet in front of shoulders, ankles framing face.

B)    FIGURE EIGHT, from a seated posture, crosses ankles in back of neck.

C)    FIGURE TWO, hands grasping the balance bar, threads both feet through arms to plant on floor.

D)    FIGURE SIX carries out a similar maneuver in reverse.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

56         STAGE  —  FULL SHOT  —  SHEIK

SHEIK HADITHAH

Undocumented, anonymous, origins undetectable, Mini-Minions are anyone and everyone; they fulfill the rarest needs, cater to connoisseurs, gratify commoners, realize radical aspirations, and make manifest their possessors' wildest dreams.

 

Gentlemen, meet the future, and calculate your options.

Superimposed on what heretofore has been a plain black backdrop is a magnified image of the signet—the Brotherhood Eye's tattoo—glowing ever more brightly as the house lights grow dim.

Opacity turned to transparency, the signet disappears, revealing in its wake an octet of shadows—silhouettes equidistant, shoulder to shoulder, strung across the stage.

Each is petite, albeit noticeably endowed with well-developed curves.

Each is identical, a seeming carbon copy in the artificial night.

Each is risqué, in that none wears a stitch of clothing.

CUT TO:

 

57         EXT. GOLDEN GATE PARK / PLAYGROUND  —  DAY  —  ESTABLISHING

A YOUNG COUPLE strolls along the periphery of a playground—replete with primary-colored jungle gym and nearby carousel.

They walk as if some gravitational force keeps each in the other’s orbit.

Toddlers play on the slides, the merry-go-round, and the sway-saddle swings.

One arm’s length between them, JOANNA MEERSCHAUM and SAMUEL BLUMENTHAL sit on a bench.

In a sandbox, plastic shovel in hand, a little boy starts to dig his way 'to Australia.'

A little girl, toting a pail, plops down beside him.

Ignoring one another, the girl upends her container; the boy regards its contents—sand retaining the bucket's conical shape.

Neutral, with respect to this phenomenon, the boy resumes his task.

CUT TO:

 

58         INT. AUDITORIUM  —  WIDE ANGLE  —  STAGE

Like a troupe of naked acrobats, the octet performs. 

Childlike in dimension, agility, and enthusiasm—their sexual development in glaring contradiction—they strike provocative poses.

Double-jointed limbs afford them postures conspicuously prurient.

Chorus-line contortions are uniformly staged.

The overall impression is one of innocence corrupted—a cookie-cut-out crew of post-pubescent nymphs.

SHEIK HADITHAH (O.S.)

Hairlessness was a choice we made for demonstration purposes only; models come with head hair.

All eight figures, bending over backward, lift their collective crotches.

SHEIK HADITHAH (O.S)

Pubic hair, as well. These were plucked to showcase special features.

En masse, the eight reverse their poses, bending over frontward, exposing derrieres, each of which is fashioned with a tightly puckered anus that dilates, on command, with the precision of an aperture.

One by one, the rouge-rimmed orifices gape.

CUT TO:

 

59         INT. SERENITY PARK WEST / PURE-WHITE ROOM - EVENING - TWINS

Ventriloquist-fashion, Stuyvesant (left) and Remington (right) sing alternate phrases, lips scarcely moving, all four (unrestrained) arms keeping time with the a cappella ditty.

REMINGTON

♫ She’ll be comin’ around the mountain ♫

 

STUYVESANT

♫ When she comes ♫

 

REMINGTON

♫ She’ll be comin’ around the mountain ♫

 

STUYVESANT

♫ When she comes ♫

 

REMINGTON

♫ She’ll be comin’ around the mountain ♫

 

STUYVESANT

♫ She’ll be comin’ around the mountain ♫

 

REMINGTON

♫ She’ll be comin’ around the mountain ♫

 

STUYVESANT

♫ When she comes ♫

 

60        INT. SAME ROOM PERIWINKLE-BLUE  —  P.O.V. NURSE  —  STUY-REM

Upon entry NURSE SOMERSET is greeted by her patient’s smile-fixed face (still prone to intermittent spells of uncontrolled grimacing). Before she issues her standard salutation, Stuy-Rem voices it for her.

STUY-REM

 (mouth stationary)

Cheers, dears.

 

NURSE SOMERSET

How DO you do that?

 

STUY-REM

 (mouth moving normally)

How do-we-do—-we-do-be-do—what, Roo?

 

NURSE SOMERSET

Roos are native to our boorish next-door neighbor.

She leans across the bed, eases her patient forward, extracts, puffs up, and replaces his pair of king-size pillows. 

STUY-REM

Beg your pardon, Mum—which rhymes with?

 

NURSE SOMERSET

Skip it. I’d rather be called Roo.

 

STUY-REM

But possums are so adorable, road-kill regardless—merciless are our island nation's motorways. Speaking of which—what’s chef incinerating for dinner? We understand there’s a bumper crop of freshly butchered marsupial.

 

NURSE SOMERSET

Mightn’t we dispense with tasteless remarks before supper?

She checks his chart.

STUY-REM

Right, alright—she’s right—we won’t deny it—Mum’s the word.

The nurse expels a weary sigh.

NURSE SOMERSET

I think you need a pet; something submissive. Dark and furry might do, so it won’t show the bruises.

Stuy-Rem feigns contrition.

STUY-REM

O, my possum, we are heartily sorry for having offended thee...

 

NURSE SOMERSET

Save it.

 

STUY-REM

And we detest all our puns because of thy just 'pun-ishments.' Case in point, the persistence of these humiliating post-neuroleptic fits.

 

NURSE SOMERSET

I am not to blame for your misfired medication.

She repositions a wheelchair next to the bed.

STUY-REM

Oh, we like that; "misfired medication." Very alliterative. Very poetic. We may have underestimated you, Ms Pouch. Tuck us into your apron; we’ll appreciate you properly.

Stuy-Rem’s serpent’s tongue exhibits a seizure not wholly unintentional.

The nurse, pulling aside his bedclothes, helps him out and into a wheelchair.

At forty-eight years of age, Stuy-Rem’s fragility seems grossly premature.

NURSE SOMERSET

Dark and furry and poisonous; a rabid black cat might serve.

 

STUY-REM

To double as our familiar?

 

NURSE SOMERSET

To bite the hand that feeds it.

Pushing from behind, she wheels him brusquely to the sensor-triggered door. On scanning her ID, its panels part—nurse and patient exit—its panels close.

CUT TO:

 

61         INT/EXT. PALACE / PORTAL  —  NIGHT  —  MED. TWO SHOT

of Nana and the Prince, arm-in-arm, standing in a niche before an odd metallic door, its double panels etched with elaborate hieroglyphics, its surface slightly aglow as from low-grade radiation.

THE PRINCE

News like yours well-warrants a special celebration.

Passing the ring on his index finger in front of an alloy sensor, the Prince gains their admittance as the arcane panels separate,

and with a SOUND that belies their mass, slide quietly closed.

 

62         ANGLE ON  —  CATACOMBS

Dimly lit by parallel tracks of fluorescent tape along boardwalks, a series of caves and tunnels leads off in several directions.

THE PRINCE

(continuing)

Welcome to my wine cellar. Finest of its kind, at our current elevation. The only one of its kind, I should imagine, this high above sea level.

(beat)

Step this way, milady. And "mind the gap."

They proceed, Nana’s shoulders braced by the Prince’s outstretched arm.

 

63        ANGLE ON  —  NANA

looking askance at the fingers that dent her bare bicep; reassured or entrapped? Ambivalent, she allows herself to be guided.

 

64        INTERCUT: Stacked one atop another and crammed into eerie cavities that
            line the dusky passageway are human skulls, badly decomposed, their features
            macabre
.

 

65         BACK TO SCENE

THE PRINCE

(continuing)

Cold? You're trembling. Please, wear this; let me lend you my warmth.

The Prince removes his vest and drapes its soft-as-kid material over Nana’s flock of goose-bumps.

 

66         CLOSEUP  —  HANDS

grasping the lapels, Nana overlaps them, flattening her breasts inside the warmth-retaining... cloth?

 

67        INTERCUT: The vest, adhering to proportions underneath, undergoes a creepy
            transformation:
           
            darts convert to sutures; fabric transforms to flesh; breast-high buttons morph
            into a pair of desiccated nipples.

 

68         BACK TO SCENE

THE PRINCE

(continuing)

Mind the narrow pathway. We draw near.

Once again he employs his ring to activate a sensor.

THE PRINCE

(continuing)

Let there be light!

 

69         CLOSE SHOT  —  NANA

expecting something ghastly, squints through the sudden luminescence.

 

70        ANGLE ON  —  WINE

in racks from floor to grotto-top.

 

71         ANGLE ON  —  THE PRINCE

Selecting a dust-covered vintage, he holds his choice aloft.

THE PRINCE

(continuing)

This should do quite nicely.

(beat)

Now for a likely nook wherein we can cork, decant, and savor; might I recommend my most-private chamber, one to which none other of your peers has ever been admitted?

 

72        CLOSEUP  —  NANA

reacting to this invitation with an apprehensive cringe.

SMASH CUT TO:

 

73        CLOSEUP  —  ROCKEFELLER

Horrified by the sight of...

 

74         REVERSE ANGLE  —  SUZETTE (IN SUSPENSION)

... blood escaping through transparent tubes, umbilicus ruby red (with the onset of her menses) while Rockefeller rummages for something.

CAMERA WIDENS as does Rockefeller’s search. Abandoning the control panel, he ransacks drawers and file cabinets.

Lights begin to flicker. His panic grows intense.

Suddenly the lab goes dark and—after a DULL THUD—momentarily silent.

We then HEAR NOISES:

of Rockefeller groping,

bumping into equipment,

overturning apparatus.

Finally, with the WHIR of a generator, and the RUMBLE of something heavy that moves as on a rail, lights flicker back on.

 

75         FULL SHOT  —  LABORATORY

In addition to the disarray, one section of inner wall has retracted to reveal an antechamber.

INTERCUT: Rockefeller’s inquisitive (if overwrought) expression.

SUZETTE

(no longer hovering, emits a muffled GROAN)

Diverted from exploring what doubtless is a sinister secret room, Rockefeller rushes to tend his ward.

CUT TO:

 

76         INT. HOTEL ROOM  —  NIGHT  —  CLOSE SHOT  —  FOUR-PART SCREEN

Simultaneously we SEE four videos:

1)     UPPER LEFT: Footage of an ivy-covered brick building from various angles that FREEZE FRAME ends on a plaque reading FALK FOUNDATION."

2)    UPPER RIGHT: Footage of landscaped grounds surrounding a complex of module-type living quarters that FREEZE FRAME ends on a sign reading "WELCOME TO SERENITY PARK WEST."

3)    LOWER LEFT: Footage of an architecturally striking harbor-side residence that FREEZE FRAME ends on an embossed address reading "NUMBER ONE WILLESTON QUAY."

4)    LOWER RIGHT: Footage of a man’s silhouette seated in a wheelchair being pushed from the rear along an asphalt walkway that FREEZE FRAME ends upon his reaching a rectangle of illuminating light.

PULL BACK to reveal Dad O’Rourke, typing commands on the keyboard of his laptop, constructing a file folder, encrypting it, compressing it, and attaching it for:

EXTREME CLOSEUP on: SRYME@JEANNECLAUDE.ET.NET

An icon moves across the screen and stops at a directive. We HEAR a click, then SEE the printed confirmation: YOUR MESSAGE HAS BEEN SENT.

 

77         SERIES OF SHOTS

Repeating the four-part screen format, we SEE Dad O’Rourke:

A)    Settling his bill at a hotel reception desk.

B)    Retrieving his suitcases.

C)    Closing the lid of his laptop and zipping it into a carry-on bag.

D)    Standing at a picture window overlooking Wellington, his back in total shadow.

This fourth (LOWER RIGHT) section expands, gradually eclipsing the other three.

 

78         REVERSE ANGLE  —  CLOSE SHOT  —  O’ROURKE

his face aglow from below by the city’s night-time lights, looks pensive, vaguely discontent, and somewhat Mephistophelian.

MATCH CUT TO:

 

79         INT. PALACE / PRINCE’S DEN  —  NIGHT  —  PORTRAIT

of a man in his mid-forties, dressed regally, facial characteristics similar to those of the Prince.

Nana, eyes cast upward, studies the painting carefully.

NANA

Your elder brother?

Approaching from behind, the Prince joins Nana before an ornate mantelpiece, cupping both her shoulders with open palms.

THE PRINCE

My father. A year before he perished.

 

NANA

So young? What of?

(feeling him flinch)

Sorry; it is not my place to ask.

Slipping both hands inside the vest Nana still wears, enclosing either breast as with a form-fitted bra, he rests his chin on her head while pulling her close against him.

THE PRINCE

Of treachery.

(feeling her flinch)

My uncle had him murdered.

 

NANA

Your uncle! You mean Sheik Hadithah?

 

THE PRINCE

Your mentor, personal procurer, and unabashed pimp—all one and the same.

Pressed so tightly to his body, Nana feels her nerves connected as to a polygraph.

Shifting his chin from the crown of her head to the lobe of her right-side ear, the Prince recounts events—represented henceforth in FLASH BACK.

 

80         EXT. DESALINATION PLANT  —  DAY  —  WIDE ANGLE

on a ground-breaking ceremony, the man (as pictured in the portrait though differently attired) is posing, spade in hand, with a group of VIPs.

THE PRINCE (V.O.)

I was ten at the time, not privy to the details but aware of their ramifications. As my father’s only heir, I am our Family’s next in line.

INTERCUT parts of a high-powered rifle being assembled in the front seat of a vehicle.

THE PRINCE (V.O.)

 (continuing)

Converting sea water to fresh water is the lynchpin of our Family’s patented business. Extraordinarily lucrative it is cleaner, in all respects, than that other cruder liquid.

Among those in attendance, Sheik Hadithah stands to his younger brother’s left, far enough away to abdicate the limelight.

THE PRINCE (V.O.)

 (continuing)

Sheik Hadithah—heirless though he was and remains, never having married—is our Family’s uncontested Patriarch. Were he not childless—namely impotent—I would never have survived.

INTERCUT an eyeball seen through a rifle sight; REVERSE ANGLE ON the target caught in its crosshairs.

THE PRINCE (V.O.)

 (continuing)

Perhaps his crippled sperm explains my uncle’s long obsession with genetic engineering. Whatever his motivation, he and my father came to blows about a certain... venture.

A PHOTOGRAPHER, grown impatient with the sun’s intrusive angle, tries to rearrange his disobliging subjects.

Anxious to be done with the formality, the VIPs comply.

THE PRINCE (V.O.)

 (continuing)

You, my dear, were the precursor of subsequent machinations; I, alas, the beneficiary, unable to refuse—my uncle hoping I would lose myself to lust and thereby pose no obstacle.

INTERCUT a rifle barrel poked through the vehicle’s open window—distance, caliber, trajectory, implicitly calculated, clear shot awaited.

THE PRINCE (V.O.)

(continuing)

"Appetites uncontrolled by self, by others are manipulated"—this is my uncle’s motto and modus operandi, too. Ruthless scarcely begins to describe the Brotherhood Eye.

He who clings to the spade lets go of his life, a one-two punch of projectiles infiltrating his sternum, exit wounds leaving huge, unsightly holes.

THE PRINCE (V.O.)

(continuing)

"I am Eye, all-seeing, all-knowing" is the Brotherhood’s Creed. Members are implanted with a microchip that glows beneath the skin and lends luminescence to the symbol that unites them—hidden, often as not, by a glove or an ornamental ring.

INTERCUT the vehicle’s tinted window, with the press of a button, shuts. Dad O’Rourke (twenty years younger), his contract coolly executed, calmly drives away.

 

81         BACK TO SCENE

Nana glances down at the Prince’s crisscrossed grip.

NANA

Like that one?

 

82         EXTREME CLOSEUP  —  INDEX FINGER

Flush with her left breast’s nipple is the Prince’s heirloom ring.

CUT TO:

 

83         EXT/INT. STUDIO APARTMENT / SAN FRANCISCO  —  NIGHT —  ESTAB.

SOUNDS of a woman’s cries get louder as we ZOOM IN toward a three-story Victorian, entering through a bedroom window, coming to a sudden stop.

EXTREME CLOSEUP on Joanna Meerschaum’s contorted face, apparently in the throes of orgiastic rapture,

her rhythmic grunts apace with shocks absorbed from the rear,

her volume growing shriller,

her fingernails clawing the sheets like a pronated feline.

CUT TO:

 

84        INT. LABORATORY  —  EXTREME CLOSEUP  —  EYES WIDE OPEN

Suzette (no less oblivious when her lids are tightly shut) stares at him whose rescue, once again, has saved her.

Stabilized... levitating... menses tapped and dribbling through a catheter that drains into a cup... life supports back on with the swift return of power... Suzette Nguyen returns to suspended animation.

 

85         ANGLE ON  —  ROCKEFELLER

satisfied with his jerry-rigged solution, eager to investigate the lab’s uncovered chamber, he approaches it anxiously.

SUBJECTIVE CAMERA as we enter an oblong cul-de-sac, empty save for a fluid-filled tank built-in at its opposite end where a ceiling-to-floor, wall-to-wall container (like an undersea aquarium) preserves, as we CLOSE ON thick plate glass, a pale-to-colorless prototype.

CLOSE SHOT of little girl (judging by her size and face), bald and elsewhere hairless (except for eyebrows and lashes), scaled-down figure womanly, waist like an hourglass, with fully developed breasts and over-developed pubes—as evidenced by their lewdly protuberant labia.

CUT TO:

 

86        INT. AUDITORIUM / STAGE  —  WIDE ANGLE  —  OCTET

For their grand finale, the Mini-Minions squat en masse over equidistant cue balls, eight of which are placed upon the floor with a footlight shined on each.

Hovering just above, hairless genitalia distend prehensile lips.

CLOSEUP on cue ball, as flaps-of-flesh clutch the highly polished surface and pluck it like a toadstool.

PULL BACK as all eight nymphs stand upright, cue balls still engaged by their suction-cup-like laps.

SHEIK HADITHAH

A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words. A Mini-Minion, Gentlemen, is worth her weight in bullion.

CUT TO:

 

87         INT/EXT. LABORATORY  —  DOLLY SHOT  —  ROCKEFELLER

backing from the chamber with a look of abject horror, we FOLLOW him on a rampage of acting-out destruction.

 

88         SERIES OF SHOTS

A)    Flasks smash.

B)    Specimens spill across the floor.

C)    Equipment topples.

D)    PCs tumble.

E)    Cables, ripped from their moorings, hang like disembodied veins.

F)    Wires, detached from complex apparatus, sizzle, spark, short-circuit.

G)    Fumes combust as an acid-bath of chemicals mixes in the turmoil.

Outside, angling toward the parking lot, Rockefeller carries Suzette slung over his shoulder,

loads her into the backseat of a car,

climbs behind the wheel,

and speeds into the night,

the premises left in flames.

CUT TO:

 

89         INT/EXT. STUDIO APARTMENT / SAN FRANCISCO - EXTREME CLOSEUP

on Samuel Blumenthal’s post-coital face, an aftermath of bliss inundating his features,

his doggy-fashion posture grown limp and relaxed,

his movements slowed to a mild reverberation of rough-and-tumble thrusting,

the ass his diaphragm moulds like a life-cast sinking beneath his weight.

PULL BACK from the couple, their bed, and the third floor window to a vantage point beyond.

CUT TO:

 

90         INT. SERENITY PARK WEST / LOUNGE  — NIGHT — ESTABLISHING

At first glance, patients look like patrons at some upscale hotel bar. Most are dressed respectably, some quite stylishly. A few, however, wear hospital gowns, one of whom sits in a wheelchair positioned before an unobtrusive plasma television.

CLOSE ON TV screen and a late-night news broadcast. With a REPORTER (f.g) and an enormous fire (b.g.) we SEE:

REPORTER

... lack of windows, the brick building fired like a kiln before the first of four alarms finally sounded...

REVERSE ANGLE ON Stuy-Rem, wheelchair-bound, his features eerily lit by the picture tube’s incandescent imagery. 

REPORTER (O.S.)

(continuing)

... no way of knowing yet if anyone was trapped inside...

CLOSEUP on Stuy-Rem’s face (free at the moment from its ongoing fits of uncontrolled grimaces), inclining—first to the left / then to the right—as he speaks to himself in a voice that alternates correspondingly.

STUY-REM

"Ladybug / Ladybug / fly away / home / your house / is on fire / your children / will burn."

 

REPORTER (O.S.)

... arson not initially suspected but the cause, Chief Sloan confirmed, is under investigation...

CUT TO:

 

91        INT. PALACE / PRINCE’S DEN  —  NIGHT  —  CLOSE SHOT  —  HEARTH

Smoldering embers cast a jack-o-lantern glow.

REVERSE ANGLE on Nana seated in a throne-like chair, stroking the Prince’s hair, his head in her lap.

 

THE PRINCE

So you see, dear Nana, we are very much alike in our ostentatious exile. Isolated, in other words, you by dint of my uncle’s boundless wealth, me by his boundless thirst for power. Where we two differ is with regard to the length of our respective banishment; mine indefinite—though the Sheik's reign as our family's undisputed Head relies on his longevity; yours about to end—if contracts indeed are honored.

(beat)

Not that you need worry; my uncle's having arranged your Paris exhibition is a reassuring sign. Unlike most of your past and present peers, you are the Sheik's fondest 'acquisition.' In truth, I think he begrudges me your presence—less because he wants you for himself, more because your attributes are a boon of sorts to me.

(beat)

Though pleasure has been twisted by my uncle into a furtive form of punishment.

CUT TO:

 

92        INT. HOTEL ROOM / PICTURE WINDOW  —  NIGHT  —  WELLINGTON

to the east, is partially obscured by smoke, gun-gray plumes extinguishing streetlights at the vanguard of a wide-ranging fire.

PULL BACK to reveal a bed's rumpled counterpane replete with fully-packed luggage.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

93         INT. HOTEL / BAR  —  CLOSEUP  —  THREE-FINGER SHOT OF LIQUOR

  hoisted by Dad O'Rourke in a bottoms-up salute for mission accomplished.

 

94         ANGLE ON  —  O’ROURKE

  as he savors every ounce on its way to his alcoholic’s bloodstream.

 

95         MONTAGE

A)    Frisbee-size Petri dish of skin on which has grown a beating human heart.

B)    Dialysis machine connected to a womblike see-through sack—fetus afloat inside.

C)    Specimens smoldering then vaporized by white-hot heat.

D)    Calipers dilating a vulva allowing penetration by long, translucent tubes.

E)    Baby’s ambiguous genitalia replete with hypertrophic clitoris, rudimentary testicles, and normally-formed vagina.

F)    Young girl lying in a coma, head swathed in bandages.

G)    Anesthetized calico cat, reflexively flinching with a scalpel’s quick incision.

We HEAR (O.S.) a meow.

CUT TO:

 

96         INT. SERENITY PARK WEST / LOUNGE  -  NIGHT - CLOSE SHOT - CAT

  as it bounds from the carpet into Stuy-Rem’s lap and curls into a ball.

 

97         MED. SHOT  —  STUY-REM / CAT / AND WHEELCHAIR

Absentmindedly, face expressionless, gazing at the...

INSERT turned-off television,

... Stuy-Rem pets the cat.

In the silence, we HEAR it purr.

MATCH CUT TO:

 

98         INT. PALACE / PRINCE’S DEN  —  CLOSE SHOT  —  NANA

curled up in a throne-like chair, sonorous SOUND of purring audible in her throat, one hand dangling over the lushly cushioned upholstery like a predator’s lazy paw,

beside which, head tilted back with thorax exposed, rests the slumbering Prince.

EXTREME CLOSEUP on his steadily pulsing jugular.

PAN down slowly between his open shirt front (buttons torn away or hanging by fragile threads) to the alabaster paleness of his abdomen (waxing / waning with each protracted breath) to the glittering bush of curls his unfastened sarong frames (flecks of spim like sequins refracting dawn’s early light) to the phallus likewise glistening (luminously glazed) its trunk-like folds collapsed, glans retracted, manly magnitude shrunk to the dimensions of a boy (innocent, in repose, if guilty of penetration).

Nana’s purr, grown LOUDER, DEEPER, RASPIER breaks into a snarl.

 

99         SPFX:

  Female morphing into feline, she bounds from the leather chair.

 

100       SUBJECTIVE CAMERA  —  LEOPARD’S P.O.V.

  as it moves with fluid stealth, sniffing at various artifacts.

 

101       SERIES OF SHOTS

A)    Black and white striped stool.

We HEAR a whinny.

INSERT (STOCK) — Fallen onto its back, hooves flailing through up-churned dust, a zebra snorts its last.

B)    Hollow-leg umbrella holder.

We HEAR a trumpet.

INSERT (STOCK) — Legs shot out from under it, an elephant topples heavily.

C)    Briefcase.

We HEAR a growl.

INSERT (STOCK) — Crocodile, spinning in a lengthwise pirouette, has its thrashing entrails skewered.

D)    Good luck charm.

We HEAR a squeak.

INSERT (STOCK) — Chopped off with a cleaver, a rabbit's foot lies beside its twitching host.

E)    Dappled slippers.

We HEAR a yelp.

INSERT (STOCK) — Bludgeoned with a club, a sea lion pup pukes blood onto arctic ice and snow.

F)    Lampshade.

We HEAR a muffled scream.

INSERT — Nose and mouth taped shut, a crucified woman, panic-stricken, suffocates.

ZOOM IN on the Prince’s laid-bare neck, its unprotected artery pulsing hypnotically.

Close enough to bite it, the panting leopard growls.

FADE TO:

 
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