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This is your first scene. Last edited by NathanAshley, two years ago. 0 comments. More scene info.

fade in

NathanAshley - two years ago

ext. saigon army base - day

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COLONEL GRIFFON stands with arms crossed at the foot of a helipad. Several SOLDIERS relax behind him, in varying states of sweat and undress. A helicopter approaches. Griffon clicks a radio on.

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Griffon

CAVIL, he's here.

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CAVIL

On my way now, sir.

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The helicopter lands. DAVID exits. Griffon immediately stomps up to him. The helicopter's blades are still slowing down.

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Griffon

Stand to, soldier!

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David removes the headset.

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Kristin

Pardon?

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Griffon

I said get your shit upright! You are in the presence of a superior officer who is already half-past done with your shit!

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David calmly unloads two bags from the helicopter.

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David

Mm. Colonel Griffon, I presume?

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David shoulders past him. Griffon's brow furrows.

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Griffon

Did you not hear me, boy?

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David strolls towards the entrance to the central command building. Griffon's soldiers block him. David turns around. The helicopter's noises finally settle.

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Griffon (CONT'D)

I don't care what color beret you wear. You're on my base. Now! Do you have business on my base?

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David eyes Griffon.

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Soldier #1

He likes to put the fear of God in ya, don't he?

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Soldier #2

Come on, man. Just follow procedure and there won't be trouble.

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David waits a moment. Then, he drops his bags and snaps a salute.

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David

Captain David Kristin, reporting for medical duties, sir!

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David whips a slip of paper out from his breast pocket.

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soldier #1

Ha, Kristin's a girl's name.

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David

I have orders to attend to a particular CHARLIE CUSHING. If someone could show me to his room, I'd be very grateful.

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Griffon storms up to David and takes the orders. He reads over them. He crumples them and looks back up at David.

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Griffon

You'll get to see the boy, don't worry. But answer me one thing first, and don't think about bullshittin' me: What's a clinical psychiatrist doin' with the Green Berets? And who the hell are you to pick that boy's brain?

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David goes to take the orders back from Griffon. Both of them clasp the piece of paper between them.

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David

That, sir, is classified.

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Griffon's eyes are wide with fury. He pushes the orders back at David. He then kicks both of David's bags over to the Soldiers.

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Griffon

Gentlemen, take these and prepare Captain Kristin's accommodations. He and I are going to visit Corporal Cushing.

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cut to:

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int. medical tent - day

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David

I hope you're not keeping him in here...

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Griffon

Quiet. There's real medicine going on in here. Not your phony-baloney "psychiatry".

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David

Actually, the science is called "psychology", and if it's so phony then I'd be interested in your opinion of what's wrong with Corporal Cushing.

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Griffon whips around to face David. His teeth are gritted.

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Griffon

Okay, I can play your game, Captain... Battle fatigue.

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David

Battle fatigue?

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Griffon

Yes, battle fatigue. The boy's a perfect physical specimen, it's just exhaustion that's got him acting all wrong.

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David

And that's your scientific prognosis?

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Griffon

Spare me the fast talk, Captain. I know my men. I've seen 'em laugh and smile more than their own mothers. I've also seen 'em kill, rage and hate like no one's ever dreamed. They go out, they fight, they come back. It's a process, mechanical, and I make sure they're damn good at it. If Corporal Cushing was a loon, he woulda cracked on his first mission. But he didn't, Captain. The last one just took the wind outta his sails, that's all.

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David

And what exactly was the "last one", Colonel?

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Griffon sighs.

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Griffon

You'll find out. But not from me.

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cut to:

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Int. Command building, colonel's quarters - day

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David and Griffon navigate the Command Building up to its highest room on its highest floor. Griffon produces a key ring.

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David

An interesting choice of confinement. Your own private quarters, I presume?

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Griffon

Yeah, what about it?

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David

Nothing. It's almost noble is all.

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Griffon

It ain't nothin'.

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int. colonel's quarters - day

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Darkness covers the room. Griffon puts a finger to the light switch.

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Griffon

Corporal, I'm turning on the lights. There's an officer here to meet you.

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Cushing

Colonel, please don't. I like the dark.

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Griffon

Don't be a baby, son.

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Griffon turns the lights on. There's a ruckus as Cushing hides under the Colonel's desk.

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David

Really, Colonel?

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Griffon

Don't be a pussy, Corporal! You're in the presence of a Green Beret. Now stand to!

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Cushing

No!

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Griffon

Wha- Corporal. I understand you're in a peculiar state right now...

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Cushing rises violently from under the desk. He is shirtless, his knuckles are cracked and bleeding, and he bares a scar across his bald head.

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Cushing

Fuck your Army, sir.

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Griffon sighs. David steps forwards and offers his hand to Cushing.

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David

Hello Corporal Cushing, I'm Captain David Kristin. I was-

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Cushing lurches away from David.

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Cushing

Oh God, I'm sorry Captain, I'm so sorry. God, I'm...

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Cushing stumbles away from the desk, finds his shirt and pulls it on, then turns around and salutes.

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Cushing (CONT'D)

Corporal Cushing, service number 52 414 745, 11th Infantry Battalion. Uh... S-sole survivor.

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David holds out his hand and approaches. Cushing looks uneasy.

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David

Good day, Cushing. I'm David, a psychologist with the Green Berets. I've been assigned to evaluate your mental state.

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Griffon

He's here to call you a pussy and tell you everything's alright, Corporal.

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David

Colonel, may I do my job?

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Cushing

Colonel Griffon, sir, it's alright. I know I'm not right. You know it too, or you would if you just listened. If you knew what I saw.

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David smiles at Griffon, then goes to sit down with Cushing.

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David

Do you feel that what you witnessed out there is relevant to your current state? Is it important to-

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Cushing

No, you misunderstand, Captain.

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Cushing sits down with David. He looks him straight in the eyes.

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Cushing (CONT'D)

It's not what I saw out there that has me hiding in the dark and tearing my clothes off in my sleep. It's what I see in here. Every night when I fall asleep I see it.

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David

What is it, Corporal? What do you see in your sleep?

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cushing

I see... A river. And I see dead men walking down it.

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cut to:

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ext. river of the dead - night

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Cushing stands dazed, thigh-high in a murky grey river. Men with wounds of varying levels of severity shamble past him as he stands still, looking around at their faces.

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cushing (O.S.)

I see the men I fought with. Donahue, who got bit by a snake. Jones, who stepped on a landmine. And then men I don't recognize. Shot, stabbed, crushed... If they can't see, they stumble around, pulled by some current I can't feel. If they can't walk, they drag themselves or get swept away... And at the very end, I see them melt into the same grey that makes up that river of the damned. I watch as my friends, brothers, everyone, get dissolved into nothingness!

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cut to:

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int. colonel's quarters - day

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Cushing

Is that what you came here to treat, Captain? Can you pull me free from that river I walk every night?

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David

I think I can, but I may need a little help from you, if that's alright.

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Cushing

We'll see. And Colonel?

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Griffon

Yeah, son?

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Cushing

Could you turn off that light?

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The Colonel grimaces.

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cut to:

NathanAshley - two years ago
Session Last edited by NathanAshley, two years ago. 0 comments. More scene info.

int. colonel's quarters - night

NathanAshley - two years ago
Dream Last edited by NathanAshley, two years ago. 0 comments. More scene info.

ext. Abstract - End of the River - Indeterminate

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David

Why am I here?

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Cushing

Because you came here, remember? You arrived of your own free will, a consequence of your conscious choices.

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David

I don't understand. What is this? Is this real? Are you the real Corporal Cushing, or an illusion created by my mind?

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Cushing

Such distinctions are inconsequential here. The mouth of the River, where the current pushes out death to make it live and pulls in life to make it die. It is the limbo you come to time and again, sometimes without knowing it.

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David

No, such things don't exist. This is a dream. I am hallucinating based on what I've observed in these last days.

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Cushing

Believe what you will. It makes no difference. Humans exist to walk this River. There is no greater meaning. Existence was a glitch in the natural entropy of things. Of the infinite possible configurations of human being, only the smallest imaginable percentage has actually existed. The greater majority of possibilities never even make it to the womb; they're snuffed out in the realm of possibility, comfortable in formless non-existence.

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David

What are you talking about? I should wake up. This is not a healthy dream to have.

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Cushing

There's only one way out of here, Captain. I think you're smart enough to figure it out.

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David sees the River before him.

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David

That line of thought solves nothing.

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Cushing

Then why are you here? Why is it the solution you always come back to? I believe you must argue in the affirmative, Captain, for why you choose to continue existing when there are reason innumerable for why such a performance is irrational, unnatural and, most of all, offensive.

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David

"Offensive"? What is the meaning of that word?

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Cushing

I said you were here as a consequence of your actions. I suppose I was half lying... Did you choose to exist?

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David

What? No, no one-

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Cushing

Exactly. You didn't step into this mortal coil, you were brought into it. You lost the lottery, and your prize is pain, confusion and toil. You are the result of a rape, and with every breath you take you validate that rape.

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David

My father was not-!

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Cushing

No, he didn't rape your mother. But he forced you to exist without your consent. How irrational must he have been to assume existence was justified in that microcosmic moment of pleasure he felt before impregnating your mother.

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David

Shut up... I've had enough. I want to wake up!

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Cushing

And when you reproduce, you'll do the same. You'll poke another hole in probability, and from it eek another tormentuous existence.

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David

Probability... You want to talk probability?

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Cushing

Of course, I invite you!

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David

Who is to say that I won't wake up tomorrow immortal, with God-like powers?

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Cushing

Such a hypothetical only exists to serve the most desperate mind.

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David

Oh, does it? Then I guess it suits me quite well, because if I truly exist in the existential toil you describe, then I certainly am of desperate mind! As a matter of fact, desperation seems to be the most rational way to approach my situation!

NathanAshley - two years ago 3 versions.