INT. SUNSET INN AGAIN—MADDIE’S ROOM DAY 1966

This is unfilmable. All of it.  It can’t be digitalized and recorded. Would you even want it to?  Better a dream.  Pictures in your mind.  With the sensations unscripted in negatives.  No edits.  No retakes.  The camera rolling both before and after the word action is even said.  Nothing rehearsed.  No tape on the floor in the illusion of a set to mark where the actors stood.  And the soundtrack isn’t put in later.  No kiss marks of cuts.  This is the avant garde.  Tracing a history of Dada to the language poets.  Parataxis.  So in this the reader is the camera.  You make the movie in your head.  In what is subordinate and insubordinate.  The images in how you connect them.  In how it constructs or deconstructs a conflict and a resolution.  And what is the conflict here?  You’ve traveled up the fire escape with Benjy.  You are in Maddie’s room.  You have walked through it to the balcony and so now you have a view.  But do you remember what you passed?  Do you remember seeing a bed?  And who was in it?  Who slept there?  Of course this could be shown in flashing images and how subliminal it becomes matters only to the increments of time between images.  What the eyes see and the mind comprehends.  All of it inverted.  Such as Marcus’s bible opened to the left.  And the cross…  You can see all this.  You can hear it.  Perhaps even smell it with a cultured taste that is almost tactile making it personal.  Giving you that bond where the hair rises on your skin in pleasure.  This a dream where when you wake up the conflict is resolved.  But is it?  Is it then?  Did you really awaken this way?  That is not the case with Benjy.  He did not awake to pillow talk.  Maddie already on the balcony looking out in a night gown at the dawn.  Smoking a cigarette without coffee.  Benjy has awakened alone in her bed.  And why he traveled from Sunset Dulcinea but a few short months from birth was more than just that primal urge to have her touch him.  More than just that dream of caress to our genitals overpowered by a smell.  Because maybe he wanted to beat somebody.  He wanted to beat his father.  As not the first in Maddie’s bed but the last.  The next man emasculating the former.  So perhaps this is the conflict.  As you’ve seen it so far in dialogue and images.  That need to be the next man that last man standing.  To see in the eyes of that former lover the surrender to dignity.  Gone soft and vanquished in sex.  You as the reader must make this meaning in your own mind and so perhaps picture it.  The meeting of a woman with a former lover and a current one.  And who is the manlier?  Who is taller with bigger hands more callused giving the tougher handshake?  Greeting you with a deeper voice?  Picture it as Benjy wanted to picture it.  His meeting with his father.  As if he owns it now.  Owns what’s between Maddie’s legs…  Perhaps this the conflict.  And as reader as purveyor on this drama shown as if on film but yet unfilmable you yearn for a resolution.  It’s what keeps you watching.  Knowing what you want to come next and waiting for it.  For you—you are the designer of the plot.  The sad thing outside of this outside of movies there hardly ever is this resolution—a focused answer to the justice in the story you seek.  No resolution.  Only regret.  This you must bear in the memory of each new day.  A past plot that haunts you because in its twists and turns the only ending it comes to is you.  You must end it.  And you end nothing except in how you bear what’s unresolved…  This why it’s unfilmable.  For these are mental scars that never heal.  These are technical difficulties.  And they don’t go away when you close your eyes.  You can never escape the psychology of sex.  Or man’s domination of a woman’s earth.  Your mind never stops even after the sensations have ended.  You have become your soul in this.  And so how would you like it?  How would you like it to end?

It is the end of March 1966.  Benjy has come home.  Come home to Hemphill.  Ostentatiously to deliver a message.  To the owner of Maddie’s room—Maddie’s boss—the owner of Sunset Inn Again.  David won’t be playing at the next Friday fish fry, the first of April.  He has obligations in New Orleans.  But really despite this peregrination for which Benjy volunteered what he really wants why he really has come is more of an introspection that can’t be filmed.  He wants to feel Maddie’s earthly hands again.  He wants to be told he is a man and by this admission by Maddie forgo the falsification of truly growing up.  In other words he wants to be lied to.  Something a film can’t really show by its very essence a lie.  Instead we have what’s already happened that hasn’t happened yet.  Benjy’s confrontation with Aaron.  A train going by.  The tree house that Texas Mountain Laurel on fire.  And Aaron’s body hanging from it.  The pages of David’s journal being torn out.  Page by page.  Lost in the flames…  And so now you see Benjy reading.  His father’s words.  You’re in Maddie’s room you see Benjy in Maddie’s bed, but then what you see is Benjy reading.  You see Benjy standing close to a tree on fire reading from his father’s journal the journal documenting the time period the years between 1955 and 1966.  He’s reading his father’s words and you hear them.

BENJY

(reading)

You are your truth and yet it is given to you in so many ways.  There comes a time when you realize you’ve been lied to and you must despise them.  You must despise the lies.  You must despise the lies and love the truth.  And this is no easy thing to do.  To love and hate at the same time…

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