EXT. BILOXI LIGHT—DAWN July 15th, 1941

Biloxi Light is a lighthouse adjacent to the Mississippi Sound of the Gulf of Mexico. The lighthouse has been kept by female keepers for more years than any other lighthouse in the United States.  It now stands in the middle of a 4 lane highway.  And as the sun comes up, police cars are parked on both sides of it.  The area cordoned off.  POLICE OFFICERS scouring the area.  Cars of NEWSPAPER REPORTERS are parked as well.  Men with cameras trying to take pictures.  Pictures of the naked body.  Pictures of Nina.  Her body lying spread-eagled at the lighthouse door.  A reporter named STARKS stands by the red tape.  He calls to an officer walking by.

 STARKS

          Hey, Olson!  What’s the word on the victim?

 OLSON

          No comment, Starks…  We’re waiting on the coroner.

 STARKS

          Come on, Olson!  You can give me something.

 OLSON

          A white female, mid-twenties.  Looks like death due

          to lacerations of the face.  Possibly beaten by a

          blunt instrument.  Her body’s been severed at the waist…

 STARKS

          Jesus!  Any suspects?

 OLSON

          I can’t say…  but we know who she is…

 STARKS

          Okay, Olson…  Come on help me make my beat…  Who is she?

 OLSON

          She’s Popovitch’s daughter…

 STARKS

(whistles under his breath)

          Shit—no telling! The base commander’s daughter?

 OLSON

          Yep…

 STARKS

          Anything else?

 

OLSON

          Yeah… it was almost like she was embalmed—the blood

          drained from the body…  and the lacerations, the

          lacerations to her face (hesitates)

 STARKS

          You can tell me, Olson.  You got no beef with my

          beat…

 OLSON

          It looks like the perp used a piece of broken glass.

          He slashed the face from the edges of the mouth to the

          ears…

 STARKS

          The Glasgow smile…

OLSON

          The what?

 STARKS

          The Chelsea grin…  I heard about in when I was over

          in England covering the bombings… an intimidation

          tactic used by street gangs…  makes the victim look

          like they’re smiling broadly…

 OLSON

          God…  I hope it’s not going to be one of those…

 STARKS

          Popovitch’s daughter?  Jesus!  Good luck in it not being!

The moon is still illuminated in the blue morning sky.  A full moon.  The sun is rising, taking away some of the moon’s brightness, making it just look white, a pale white orb in the colors of the dawn.  You see the lighthouse like your right next to it, looking up.  Looking up to the sky.  Like your Nina’s eyes.  And then you see her feet.  White feet…

 FADE OUT

             And now it’s what comes next—the next mind movie…  Everything happens for a reason.  Even regrets.  What works in repetition.  And what comes next is always the same—it’s what you want.  What you want sometimes without even knowing it.  Sometimes even seemingly a mistake…

            Nina Popovitch was murdered in the early morning hours of July 15th, 1941.  David Threnody and Johnny Tribout were already incarcerated.  Guests of the brig.  The accident the night before leaving them unharmed, including Nina—just slight bruises to the head.  Nina wasn’t taken into custody.  This where the dance comes in.  Her dance.  With the full moon that night.   For she had dated military men before.  Even priorly engaged—to an Army Air Corpsman—the son of a mortician.  The possible suspect to her murder—unsolved.  A bad love affair where both parties lost.  His death happening later.  In the China-Burma-India Theater of the war.

            The murder case was sensationalized in the news.  Reporters coming up with nicknames.  A memorial to the terror.  Fathers in terror for fear of their young daughters.  This the next movie, the next mind movie telling the story of Johnny Tribout, David Threnody’s friend—the story of Antonin Popovitch—Nina’s father…

      INT. JAIL CELL—DAY

 David and Johnny have already eaten breakfast.  Or at least tried to.  They’re interrupted.  By a GUARD at the bars.

 GUARD

          You’re wanted Johnny…  The base commander wants to

          see you…  You too Threnody.

 JOHNNY

(looking over at David)

          Here we go…

      The guard looks like he’s about to say something else,  but hesitates.  Johnny notices.

 JOHNNY

(smiling)

          What is it?  Are we going to be court-martialed?

          Drawn and quartered?  Hung at high noon?

 GUARD

          No… that’s not it…  You didn’t hear it from me…

 JOHNNY

(he stands and puts his hands on the bars)

What?

GUARD

          It’s Popovitch’s daughter…  Nina…  she’s dead.

 Johnny’s hands fall from the bars.  Expressions cross over his face.  Incredulity. An un-wanted smile.

 JOHNNY

          Come on!  You’re joking—right?

 GUARD

          No…  I’m afraid I’m not…  She’s been murdered.

Advertisements