INT.  BILOXI BASE COMMANDER’S OFFICE—DAY

You see a man.  An old man.  Buzzed white hair and bald on the top.  In uniform—a Colonel’s uniform.  Sitting behind his desk, a large oak desk, papers piled on it neatly, a plaque front and center—reading: Col Antonin Popovitch.  Pictures on the wall.  Certificates and awards—decorations.  An American flag.  He’s looking out the window—the blinds open.  He’s just bit the end off a cigar.  He lights it, leaned back in his chair.  Large scruffy eyebrows.  Below his eyes—a glinty blue—musing…

POPOVITCH (V.O.)

I remember the Motherland.  My father.  When he’d come inside and sit at the kitchen table at summer dusk, his boots muddy from working the land, and he would smoke a cigar—lighting it on the stove…  “Know thyself, Mitri”…  He would say, using my Russian patronymic.  As if he was speaking to himself…  This how I learned of origins.  Mine and his.  The origins of where I came from, of who I was—what made me me…  Many years have passed since then, since sitting with my father as a boy.  Many years as a man and many years as an old man… And in thinking of my daughter maybe I know now what it meant.  Knowing yourself in your children.  Knowing yourself as a child.  In the habits formed then—the personality, the character…  And in knowing these origins, being aware of them in myself, I become as a child again, only now  with the knowledge of why I say what I say, do what I do…  And everything, everything is a surprise again…  A surprise without fear, for as a child you don’t know these things in fear—you don’t fear these surprises in yourself.  And it’s like a past that was and is, a past still happening—the future set.  In these responses I know in myself.  The surprise not in what happens—this foreseen from the past… no, the surprise is in being aware of it in myself, and seeing the outcome with this knowledge.  And I become… new…

INT. ROSIE’S BEDROOM—MISSISSIPPI, SUMMER 1937 DAY

A bed with no one in it.  Un-made.  The pillows scrunched where heads were.  The sheets and blankets pulled back by sleeping feet.  A window.  Soft sunlight coming in.  Shining on the headboard made out of brass.  Clothes on the floor.  Plates of eaten food on the nightstands.  A picture above the bed.  A blown-up portrait of a marijuana leaf. 

Now Rosie and David.  In the bed after.  Laying side by side.  Looking up.  David reaches over to the nightstand for a cigarette.  The ashtray there over-flowing.  He lights one for her and then one for himself.  Rosie looks fucked.  Fucked and wanting more.  A beautiful face wanting more.  Large eyes.  Her breasts showing.  And even though her body lies still it looks like it’s dancing.  The curves moving beneath the sheets.

DAVID

          Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m from here…

ROSIE

(taking a drag from her cigarette)

          What do you mean?

DAVID

          Like I’m a guest.  An unwanted guest.  And only some

          people are gracious…

 ROSIE

          It’s because you’re black…

DAVID

          That’s not it.

 ROSIE

          Do you think I know what you’re thinking?

DAVID

          Yes…

ROSIE

(Reaching over him to ash, kissing him)

          Well…  I don’t. 

DAVID

          Something’s going to happen…  That’s what it feels

          like.  Like something’s always going to happen…

ROSIE

          You wanna smoke some more weed?

DAVID

          No…

ROSIE

          Well…  I need to.  It helps me sleep.

DAVID

          It just makes me awake….

ROSIE

          You could drink…

DAVID

          I guess it’s just how it happens—what happens… after.  You feel naked. 

ROSIE

          You are naked.

DAVID

That’s what I mean…  And it’s not what I mean.  Can you see it?  Can you see it in my eyes?

ROSIE

          What am I looking for?

DAVID

A guest…  a guest just staying at a hotel…  And everybody knows I missed it.  I missed the check-out time…

ROSIE

(laughing, a laugh that makes you look at her)

Well maybe I should ask for a tip before it’s too late…

DAVID (V.O)

And it’s the same story, every story, all stories—the story—the story of a man who wanted more, and a girl who brings him down to her level…  For she danced in gardens.  That roadhouse Scratch owned.  Where I first learned.  Where I learned the Blues.  And I tasted the apple kiss of her bed.  A paradise.  A paradise I lost.  A paradise we lost…  When we knew.  When we knew we were naked.  I knew I was naked.  And she knew.  The difference—the story—the fact that she was okay with it…  And there is no end to how you come to live with that.

     INT. JAIL CELL—DAY

You see David through the bars.  He is sitting alone on his bunk.  He looks at the harmonica Johnny left on his bed.  He reaches over and grabs it, turning it over and over in his open hands.

     A FLASHBACK SEQUENCE—TRACED PICTURES COLORED IN

You see Nina as a girl.  Maybe five.  At an outside birthday party.  Blowing out candles on a cake…

Advertisements