99

 

FADE IN:

102       INT. FALK RESIDENCE — NIGHT — EXTREME CLOSEUP

on Rockefeller’s hand, recomposing Suzette’s insensate features, shutting her mouth and eyes lest rigor mortis preserve their dazed expression.

 

 103       SERIES OF SHOTS

A)    Rockefeller, guiding flaccid female limbs into a smock that he adjusts around an unresponsive torso.

B)    Rockefeller, corpse in arms, carries it from the house and stows it in his vehicle—passenger-side seatbelts used to secure its upright position.

C)    Waves catch moonlight far below, high tide in retreat through agitated breakers.

D)     Like a doll with disjointed extremities flailing the night-sky, a lifeless body falls.

E)     Kneeling, chin pressed flush against his breastbone, Rockefeller weeps.

CUT TO:

 

104       INT. PALACE / THE PRINCE’S DEN — DAWN — CLOSE SHOT

            on ashes in a hearth gone gray from consumed kindling.

ANGLE ON Sheik Hadithah, slumped in a high-backed chair, flesh tone dark as dung. Stiff with cold and death, he looks mummified (tanned and cured as his nephew's abandoned collection of hides).

ZOOM IN on an incandescent EYE, still faintly aglow, tattooed on the Sheik’s emaciated index finger.

            MATCH CUT TO:

 

105       EXT. OVERLOOKING SERENITY PARK WEST / LAPTOP - DAY - CLOSE UP

on a picnic table where a mini-module's screen displays an incandescent EYE.

ZOOM IN on caption:

“EYE” AM A MILLIPEDE. ATTEMPT TO REMOVE ME AND WATCH MY ERASER-MODE WIPE CLEAN YOUR HARD DRIVES. “EYE” CAN BE ERADICATED ONLY BY AN ANTIDOTE WHOSE CODE WILL BE IMPARTED ONCE YOUR CONTRACT IS FULFILLED.

Caption fades, the EYE looking evermore conspicuous as CAMERA PULLS BACK to witness Dad O’Rourke accessing various applications, flustered to find the icon, front and centre, in each and every one.

 

106       O’ROURKE’S P.O.V. — THE COMPLEX

Shifting focus from monitor to living quarters off in the distance, we CLOSE ON one unit in particular.

 

107       INT. STUY-REM’S ROOM (WHITE) — MED. TWO SHOT

Nana, seated at Stuy-Rem’s bedside, rises and turns, making as if to leave. Based on her expression, she is on the brink of tears.

STUYVESANT

We didn’t mean to imply you were auctioned off to the highest bidder; our WOLFFMÜLLER WEBSITE was launched without profits in mind. It just so happened Hadithah found it, emailed, and offered to fund further research. Suddenly I had a patron, you a legal guardian, and everyone lived happily ever after.

(beat)

You are a happy person, are you not?

 

NANA

(turning back to face him)

I cannot say exactly what I am. An experiment to you, a freak to countless others, a novel source of sexual gratification to a murdered brother’s son; what I am to myself, at the moment, I cannot define.

(beat)

And you? Are you happy to reside here in a home for the...?

 

STUYVESANT

Bona fide psychotic? It has its benefits.

 

NANA

Name two.

 

STUYVESANT

It has exposed my traitorous 'son.' It has served to reunite me with my long-lost 'daughter'—if, that is, you would condescend to help me by expressing your chagrin at finding daddy-dearest, eccentric though he is, committed to this glorified mad-hatter hoosegow.

 

108       CLOSE SHOT — NANA

            looking pensive as she considers his request and its possible implications.

 

 109      ANGLE ON — STUYVESANT

            the pleading in his eyes remarkably sincere.

 

110       P.O.V. — STUY-REM

In the same room (now PERIWINKLE BLUE), we SEE Nana framed by Stuyvesant-Left and Remington-Right—their twin heads cocked at anxiously obtuse angles—awaiting Nana's decision.

MATCH CUT TO:

 

111       INT. ART MUSEUM (GEORGES POMPIDOU, PARIS) — DAY — CLOSE SHOT

on CURATOR identically framed by twin heads (cast in bronze) indicating that the sculpture should be moved a trifle left.

In the b.g. other pieces, many of them draped, await formal mounting.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

112       EXT/INT. VEHICLE ON HIGHWAY 88 — DAY — AERIAL SHOT

We SEE Joanna’s pink Mercedes, sometimes obscured by a canopy of evergreen trees, as it cruises along a winding road.

Inside the car, P.O.V. through its windshield, we approach a sign that reads:
YOU ARE LEAVING CALIFORNIA.

JOANNA

Are you sure you’re up for this?

(beat)

I mean, really, Sam, I’ll understand if you want to call it off.

(beat)

I mean, two for the price of one may not be such a...

Sam, unfastening his seatbelt, leans over, lifts Joanna's blouse, and plants a sloppy kiss on her slightly bulging belly.

Lodged between her waist and the leather-wrapped steering wheel, his head obstructs her motion, his bristly chin arousing a ticklish laugh.

P.O.V. through the windshield, we SEE another sign that reads:
WELCOME TO NEVADA

MATCH CUT TO:

 

113       INT/EXT. VEHICLE IN REST AREA — DAY — CLOSE UP — ROCKEFELLER

lying with his head in the same position (as Sam’s sans Joanna's lap), steering wheel to his right, awakens.

We SEE through the windshield a sign that reads:
OCEAN VISTA
under which another sign reads:
NO OVERNIGHT PARKING.

Exiting the car, Rockefeller retraces his predawn steps to a bluff overlooking Cook Strait, where he leans and sneaks an apprehensive peek at the churning surf below.

Except for some driftwood beached on a slender crescent of sand, he sees nothing but rugged coastline.

Wind making flags of his tousled hair also agitates the grief still welled in his guilt-stricken eyes.             

DISSOLVE TO:

 

114       P.O.V. O’ROURKE (THROUGH BINOCULARS) — CLOSE SHOT

on Nana as she emerges from Stuy-Rem’s living quarters, pauses once, takes a fortifying breath, then continues with measured steps.

Proceeding toward a parking lot designated ‘VISITORS," she abruptly changes direction and heads instead to a module housing the “OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATION."           

DISSOLVE TO:

 

115       INT. MOVING VEHICLE — DAY — CLOSEUP — ROCKEFELLER

as seen head-on through the windshield, angst transformed into vengeance, grief replaced by rage.

 

116       MONTAGE

A)    Suzette suspended supine over a stretch of moonlit sea, skin aglow like nacre in a surrealistic midnight.

B)    Flames consuming an effigy—young revealing old, Fell revealing Rem—layers blister, peel, and blacken into darkness.

C)    Disks—giant Petri dishes mounted on a wall like clocks displaying time zones—pulse with organs and body parts appallingly out-of-context.

D)    Submerged in a vat of fluid thick as mucous—coif like blond kelp bracketing features lewd yet abidingly innocent, ripe yet teasingly immature—a child-size female flaunts her hairless sex with peek-a-boo allure.

E)    Suzette, afloat face down, bobs in a tranquil tide pool, sodden smock adhering to proportions bloated and grotesque, crabs, gulls, fish, and a team of uniformed authorities eyeing her remains from various vantage points.

 

117       BACK TO SCENE

Rockefeller’s bloodshot eyes, refocusing, stare at the road ahead; resolution grim, he mechanically drives.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

118       P.O.V. O’ROURKE (THROUGH BINOCULARS) — CLOSE SHOT

on vehicle as it clears Serenity Park West security and bounces over speed-bumps, disregarding signs.

Screeching to a halt, the car disgorges its driver (Rockefeller) who hastens to Stuy-Rem’s module and disappears inside.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

119       INT. OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATION - MED. TWO SHOT - NANA AND DOCTOR GRANT

DOCTOR GRANT

We’ll need verification of your relationship, of course, before Mr. Falk can be released into your custody. Your being older than his son would give you precedence. Though I caution you again; Remington is ill. He’s schizophrenic, and, of late, afflicted with Tardive Dyskinesia; you noticed, I assume, those grimaces he makes?

 

NANA

None while I was there.

 

DOCTOR GRANT

Oh?

(beat)

Depression is another major factor. You’re aware of the Falk Foundation fire?

(beat)

No?

(beat)

You do know that Remington ran a laboratory manufacturing organs for people needing transplants?

 

NANA

Yes.

 

DOCTOR GRANT

That entire facility burned to the ground recently, after which your father became nearly catatonic.

(beat)

Have you any background in mental health, Miss Wolffmüller?

 

NANA

I do not question your diagnosis, Doctor. Nor do I dispute that my father’s idiosyncrasies cast doubt on his ability to cope unattended. At issue, I believe, is self-determination. His has been usurped—evidently by my half-brother.

 

DOCTOR GRANT

Seconded by your father’s own solicitor.

 

NANA

Swayed, I have been told, by you and Rockefeller both.

 

DOCTOR GRANT

All of us are in agreement, true, that your father needs therapy.

 

NANA

For which he cannot pay—or pay for very much longer. The lab and everything in it, alas, was uninsured.

 

DOCTOR GRANT

But you said you weren’t...

 

NANA

You asked if I was aware; I made no reply. Rockefeller is a student. I am a struggling artist. Neither of us, I should think, is prepared to bear the burden of this institution’s fees in future, though I will be responsible for costs incurred thus far.

(beat)

With regard to my legitimacy, what need I produce—other than my father’s sworn statement that I am, indeed, his heir, and an affidavit from his solicitor to that effect, which I am willing to secure?

(beat)

Oh, and lest there be confusion, half-brother Rockefeller knows nothing of my existence. Mr. Falk was Mr. Wolffmüller before his son was born.

 

DOCTOR GRANT

That certainly would explain our background check going back no further than twenty-two years.

(beat)

Let’s go talk to Remington together. With any luck, we can clear things up right now.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

120       INT. STUY-REM’S ROOM (PERIWINKLE BLUE) — MED. TWO SHOT

Rockefeller, seething with anger, stands at the foot of his 'father's' cranked-upright bed, framed by Stuyvesant-left and Remington-right.

VOICE OVER

 

(STUY-REM)

He’s worked himself into quite a state.

Certainly has: fists clenched, jaws set, brows like wings of a seagull struggling to get airborne.

Remember his tantrums?

Motherless-ness will do that.

Ours was a happier upbringing, I admit.

We always had each other.

Think Suzette’s dead?

She must be; look at his 'look.'

Cried and cried his eyes out, I’d say. For what?

A pet.

A specimen.

A means to an inconclusive end.

Thanks to the firebug here.

He has only himself to blame.

Though he does appear disposed...

...to hold us responsible.

Typical.

Understandable, given the circumstances.

 

121       CLOSE ON

Rockefeller, whose glance for an instant gravitates left to right, then focuses front and centre—as the ROOM TRANSFORMS FROM PERIWINKLE BLUE TO WHITE-ON-WHITE.

ROCKEFELLER

You could have saved her. You could have helped me. Instead you let her die.

 

STUY-REM

If it’s any consolation, Suzette’s 'conclusion' was foregone once outside the lab.

 

ROCKEFELLER

I don’t believe you.

 

STUY-REM

What have you done with the body, if you don't mind our asking?

 

ROCKEFELLER

I buried her at sea.

 

STUY-REM

Chucked her into the harbor, eh? Mind telling us where?

 

ROCKEFELLER

What’s the difference; she’s gone.

 

STUY-REM

What goes around comes around; chances are she’ll eventually wash ashore. Ejaculate any evidence that might be found incriminating?

 

ROCKEFELLER

You’re sick; you know that?

 

STUY-REM

Certifiably. You, on the other hand, are as healthy as a necrophiliac—sex with Ms Nguyen much like sex with a cadaver.

 

ROCKEFELLER

How would you know!?

 

STUY-REM

Truth is I wouldn’t. Never touched her—sexually, that is. The hypersensitivity engineered into your 'beloved' was intended to ensure she felt no pain. Suzette had heightened pleasure centers not for our amusement but to spare her undue suffering as an experimental test subject. Trust me, Rockefeller, most laboratory guinea pigs fare a whole lot worse.

(beat)

Except, of course, those raped by hormone-driven co-eds; not what one expects from a son—let alone one’s clone.

 

ROCKEFELLER

One’s what?

 

122       ANGLE ON — ENTRANCE

            as panels part to admit Doctor Grant followed by Nana Wolffmüller.

 

123       ANGLE ON — ROCKEFELLER

gaping in disbelief—that quickly turns to horror.

CLOSE SHOT as he backs into a corner of the (PERIWINKLE BLUE) room, leans against the walls’ juncture and sinks into a fetal position, hugging his knees, eyes transfixed by this 'resurrected specter'...

... like and yet so unlike the woman who just expired, whose lungs refused to borrow breath from his and function independently, whose lips went slack then cold, inured, immune to resuscitating kisses, whose heart, at last, divorced itself from pumping and left his own to break...

... as do his nerves, conscience overloaded with a trauma-skewed reality he endeavors to evade, codifying details in the form of mental shorthand that deletes those most upsetting while causing him to suffer his psyche's brusque divide.

VOICE OVER

(ROCKEFELLER)

This ‘clone’ business, for example; Rem made that up.

Sure he did.

Trying to discredit us.

“Who committed whom” is the doubt he hopes to raise.

"Call me Rem, not Dad," he has insisted for as long as memory serves.

Clever.

Devilish.

Devious; the man is downright maniacal.

Utterly mad.

Hired himself an accomplice.

Dead ringer.

Hoping to delude us.

To make us think that she...

She's not; she can't be.

... is Suzette come back to life...

Eyes aren’t even the same.

... so we'll look mad.

And he'll be seen as rational.

Ha!

Yes; "ha," indeed.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Rockefeller’s face is a dumb show of demented mirth, his laughter silent as a mime’s, his pallor likewise Pierrot-ish, his histrionic posture as static as an outtake from some vintage silent film. Henceforth his will be a black-and-white perception with consciousness gone gray, that is to say foggy, his mind confined to a self-sequestered realm of everlasting twilight...

... whereas Remington sobriquet Stuyvesant—well-accustomed to duplicity, well-adjusted when relieved of pharmaceutical intervention—hopes to gain through Nana a second chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of genetically engineered “improvements," Nana's ploy vis-à-vis his alleged lapsed insurance policy a nimble-witted fib, Doctor Grant’s regard for profit margin a guarantor of freedom / discharge / official leave to go once 'daughter' has been cleared to assume 'dear-old-dad's' legal guardianship...

... an irony far from lost on the orphaned, intersexed girl, whose quest for roots has unearthed tendrils in a plot of compound soil, satisfied that her existential advent had elements arguably noble—intentional, at any rate, which is more than can be said for the bulk of Mankind’s spawn; she at least was bred for a purpose (as was her prototype), namely graft-quality skin, stem cells of which found themselves abducted, then whimsically revised, making Nana Wolffmüller the anomaly she became—was and is and proud of it, irrespective characters bent on her exploitation, mind and body sound (no matter 'concocted') plus educated, talented, and fincially independent ...

... attributes denied to look-alike Suzette—whose ignominious end concludes a marginal subsistence, reliant upon machines and machinations while terminally vulnerable, her tide-pool-stranded carcass gaffed and gingerly hauled ashore, DNA cross-referenced, one match established but summarily ruled out (a woman in her forties very much alive and residing in Aix-en-Provence, France), photo in the newspaper prompting no one’s recognition save his whose job it is or was to execute her replica...

... Dad O’Rourke pronouncing the resemblance "close enough"—ambiguous genitalia present or unaccounted for (and certainly inaccessible, barring entry to the morgue), close enough to claim, confirm, and corroborate that the dirty deed got done, with Dad (by proxy, in private) willing to take the blame (for which a Catholic priest will exact an unexpected penance, forbidding Dad, on pain of excommunication, from drinking another drop), and willing to take the credit for the sake of his computer...

... held hostage by a cadaver in the Himalaya Mountains, spring’s thaw apt to grant the frozen Sheik neither reprimand nor clemency...

... Samuel and Joanna, meanwhile, exchanging wedding vows at the Good Shepherd Nuptial Chapel in Carson City, Nevada, unbridled Eros ushered into hope, faith, and chastity, holy love corralling its earthier variations—without inhibiting naughty tongues from spicing up a smooch that sets the chapel record for passionate duration, keeping minister, witnesses, and God Almighty waiting with a near-unanimous blush; what the Lord hath joined let no man pull asunder...

... similar sentiments ratified by Brotherhood Eye, to which the Prince is provisionally inducted, his initiation staged outdoors (with the Karnak Temple floodlit in the background), loyalty, camaraderie, and secrecy pledged to a group whose hold on the Royal Family’s fortune proves tentacular and austere, ‘with us or against us’ their tacit ultimatum—his penchant for collecting pelts (especially those of endangered species) an Achilles Heel compounded by the Prince’s predilection for a genus typically loathe to have its hide excised, converted into lampshades or upholstery or accessories like the one he wears enveloping his scrotum, a sling of sorts cut and sewn from mute Hermione’s excised labia.

DISSOLVE TO:

 

124       INT. ART MUSEUM (PARIS) - DAY - VISITOR’S P.O.V. (SUBJECTIVE CAMERA)

We HEAR laughter, a distinctive ‘HA, HA, HA’ that blurts then blends with a hubbub whose source is nowhere evident, the gallery nearly empty, thus it is echoes from the previous (opening) night that linger and resound as the VISITOR ventures forth, pausing at each sculpture to reflect upon its qualities, read its title, allow associations to tripwire fellow-feeling as we SEE an outstretched hand come into the frame and reach toward a hogtied form seemingly held in thrall by rapturous pleasure-pain...

VOICE OVER

(THE PRINCE)

Nana, come. Let me introduce you to some very influential people.

            ... whose torque and bold distortion capture a fleeting euphoria...

VOICE OVER

(THE PRINCE)

Gentlemen, may I present the artist herself—alias the one who got away—my late uncle’s fabulous find and multitalented protégé.

... whose parts are warm to the touch despite their bronze constitution, as if the hollow casting were actual flesh-and-blood pulsating (under palm) in fond remembrance of her who served as model...

            INSERT label reading: GARDER LE SILENCE

MOVING along with the Visitor, we HEAR high heels, and SEE the outstretched hand retracted on approach to another sculpture, breasts this time misshapen by leather thongs conforming to pre-carved grooves, nipples almost flush to the bosom's bulging globules, agony with ecstasy once again equated... 

            INSERT label reading: SACHER-MASOCH DÉCOLLETAGE

VOICE OVER

(O'ROURKE)

Jeanne Claude, I presume?

 

VOICE OVER

(NANA)

Dad O’Rourke?!

 

VOICE OVER

(O'ROURKE)

At your service, though I do believe my duty has been discharged. Flo, meet Nana Wolffmüller, sponsor of our trip and this shindig’s guest of honor.

... inspiring the empathetic Visitor to cover her own chest...

 

125       ANGLE ON

Visitor’s antique-lace bodice eclipsed by crisscrossed hands with picture perfect skin—middle age regardless—fingers elegantly tapered, nails trimly manicured, knuckles smooth as sand dunes.

 

126       P.O.V. VISITOR

recommencing her measured stroll through the exhibition hall, stopping at what appears to be a point of departure...

VOICE OVER

(STUY-REM)

Not much improvement, which is why I left him in Wellington with a private nurse. Still, I’m glad he’s home—'father' and 'son' reunited—thanks to you, in large part, for helping me get re-established once sprung from that 'booby hatch.'

 

INSERT label reading: LES GÉMEAUX

... we SEE a pair of heads joined by a single collarbone and cat's-cradle-like hinge, the faces notably similar if not quite identical...

VOICE OVER

(STUY-REM)

Nothing too controversial, illegal, or patently obscene—though I do have a brand new protocol for germ-line “therapeutics." "Recipes for mutation," they might be better termed, since humans curing Humanity will likely never happen.

... their expressions a duet of subjectivity-objectivity, of harmony tinged with dissonance, outspokenness held in check, balanced in effect yet ominously off-kilter.

CURATOR

(OS)

Nana?

(beat)

You forgot something? I thought...

 

127       PULL BACK

to show the Visitor from behind and the Curator looking at her quizzically, then, as the former turns, with utter amazement.

             

128       ANGLE ON

Visitor, dressed in Parisian garb replete with red beret set at a haughty angle, her forty-something figure both petite and youthfully preserved, her lightly made-up features pronouncedly Eurasian, her every aspect a ringer (albeit older, more mature) for the sculptress herself.

VISITOR

Oui?

 

129       ANGLE ON

Curator, bemused but apologetic.

CURATOR

Excuse moi, Madam.

(beat)

Excuse moi.

 

 

130       P.O.V. VISITOR (SUBJECTIVE CAMERA)

Resuming her protracted tour through the one-man/woman show, the Visitor takes her time... and, in due course, her leave—signing the gallery’s guest book upon departure.

131       ZOOM IN

on guest book and the name just entered on a newly turned blank page which reads:
Yvette Nguyen

FADE OUT.

 

Fini

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