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|Talion (standard:drama, 8571 words)|
|Author: MikeK||Added: May 28 2010||Views/Reads: 1635/1493||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Written in play form for a change - this is a story about an organization gone wrong, and now the founder is on the run from the feds.|
Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story JESS It's Talion. Do you see what it is? What it's become? Look here. (HE REACHES INTO HIS POCKET AND REMOVES A TATTERED PIECE OF NEWSPAPER AND READS FROM IT) "A Neo-Nazi, white supremacist organization bent on the violent overthrow of democratic government." MILES So what. Since when did you pay any attention to what the papers said? JESS Since I found out it is true. A month ago I wouldn't have believed it. But now. MILES Bull! You started Talion. You know what it's all about. Remember; The lex talionis: An eye for an eye. Every time some poor farmer got raped by the Feds or the big bankers you would create such a furor that they would hear you on Capitol Hill. You did that! You made those bastards take notice. You gave a voice to the little people. You can't tell me that some newsprint crap about Nazis and skinheads has ruined what you did. What Talion did. JESS Some voice! Oh I was damn good at organizing. So cock-sure of everything as soon as I got a little notoriety. I had no idea what the other groups were doing. Not `till I saw them firsthand. MILES And what is it that you found? That makes you want to disband the whole thing? JESS I told you. The newspapers are right. The only people who would help me dodge the Feds were those radical racist lunatics they write about. Picture this: A week ago I'm at a small farm in Oklahoma, deep underground, or so I think. My contact insists my presence and stature as founder of Talion be honored with a meeting to which I reluctantly agree. The night of this soiree' there must have been a hundred people milling around drinking and playing loud music on those portable radios. By way of introduction, I am announced over a bull-horn to the assemblage as the founder of Talion and, and I quote, "the one who blew away that shit-head up in North Dakota." Following this sterling recommendation is a kind of Bund rally, or more accurately a litany of injustices perpetrated by all Negroes, Jews, Catholics and foreign sons-of-bitches upon white Oklahomans. MILES Sounds like a lovely evening. JESS It wasn't quite as bad as I made it sound. Turns out that most of the people came for the dog fights they had afterwards. MILES Thank God. Still. You can't condemn a whole movement on the basis of one bad meeting. JESS No. But that was but a vignette. Repeated ad nauseam. You see those two guys that brought me in last night? Pillars of the community, wouldn't you say? I mean anyone with their expertise in cross-burning must be invaluable to the movement. Meatballs, Miles. Grade A certified meatballs. MILES No movement of this kind is going to be without it's radical fringe. You knew that, or at least you should have. When you started Talion you drew members from the Posse Comitatus and from the Order of Arms. And now you're disillusioned? I don't know what you wanted, or what you thought you were going to get. My God, man, you killed a Federal Marshal in a shoot out at a road block. Try and tell me that's not radical. JESS I. I never meant for that to happen. Not that way. MILES Does it matter now? You're the leader. You get the glory, and the responsibility. JESS I know. I'm not making excuses. MILES Then Talion lives. And you lead. JESS Goddamn Talion! And Goddamn leaders! And Goddamn all organizations that are not cloisters or monasteries! MILES Goddamn you! I've worked my ass off down here getting this thing organized. JESS Fine. Keep it. Only find another name for it. Talion is dead. MILES Bet me! You think we'll disband that easily? You haven't changed in thirty years. You remember that time outside that Vietnam village when you threw down your rifle, stripped off your uniform, and declared the war over. And who should happen along but Colonel Smith. He points you north and says that about two miles that way are the VC Regulars and if you can sell them on the idea we'll all go home. You have to know that things with that kind of inertia don't end on one mans say so. JESS Then help me, Miles. This is our baby. We conceived it and nurtured it. Help me rip it from the womb before it comes full term. Have not our great leaders told us we can abort life itself? Surely we can abort one little organization. MILES I don't believe this. You organized these people, you gave them hope. JESS I gave them nothing. A temporary euphoria, a little power and a few headlines. Better they should toke a little, or get drunk. Like we are now. MILES You're talking crazy. JESS Talking crazy? Talking crazy? I am crazy!! Look at me, Miles. I'm an old man. I should be sitting on a park bench feeding the pigeons. I should be having grandchildren to bounce on my knee. But no. I'm leading a banana revolution against the land of OZ! (LONG PAUSE) I need to be in a home someplace where they'll bring me fuzzy slippers and five hundred milligrams of Thorazine. MILES I don't remember you being so cynical. JESS I was never being hunted down before. Like a rabid dog. MILES So now we're wrong? We shouldn't stand up to someone because they're the government? JESS I'm tired, Miles. I don't care anymore. This shit sounds good in an editorial or a brochure. Who in the hell has the right, let alone the ability, to lead anyone? I was pissed because the government ripped me off, so I picked up a rifle and made some noise. MILES They have rifles. And we've both seen what they do with them. JESS That's their business, Miles. I don't give a damn what they do now. I've seen the other side. Millions of us have surrendered initiative and responsibility for political correctness, and we won't get it back in my lifetime. MILES All the more reason to strengthen Talion, not disband it. JESS All the more reason to leave it the hell alone. You want to make a difference? Stay home and take care of your people. And never join an organization! MILES You're strung out. Lets try and get some sleep. It will soon be light. JESS (TAKING A SMALL BOTTLE OF WHITE PILLS OUT OF HIS POCKET) Can't sleep. I don't think I've blinked since Fort Smith. (THEY SIT QUIET. MILES STARTS TO DOZE OFF) What happened to us? Where did we miss the boat? We didn't protest or run around smoking dope. Didn't we fight for our country? Didn't we pledge allegiance to every mother loving thing we could? (JESS STARTS TO NOD OFF BUT QUICKLY JERKS HIS HEAD UP) Why didn't they just leave us to hell alone? All we ever wanted was to be left alone. (LONG PAUSE) I'm over the edge, Miles. I don't think I can get back. (HE STARTS TO NOD OFF AGAIN BUT JUMPS UP, PICKS UP HIS RIFLE FROM THE CORNER AND GOES TO THE FRONT DOOR WHERE HE KICKS THE SCREEN OPEN AND FIRES SEVERAL SHOTS) OK You sons-of-bitches, here I am! Come and get me! (HE FIRES ANOTHER SHOT) A message from the emasculated sons of liberty! (MILES JUMPS UP AND GRABS JESS AS MARY COME IN) MARY What's all the shooting? Is he hurt? MILES (TAKES JESS OVER TO A DAY-BED AND GETS HIM TO LIE DOWN. HE TAKES THE RIFLE AND STANDS IT BACK IN THE CORNER) He's OK. A little drunk and a lot tired. MARY (PUTTING A BLANKET OVER JESS) Go on to bed. I'll sit with him for a while. MILES OK. I'll try and get in a nap. (GOES OUT) (MARY PULLS A CHAIR OVER BY JESS) JESS (TRYING TO GET UP) Got to get up. So much to do. MARY (HOLDING JESS LIGHTLY BY THE SHOULDERS) No. No. Lie back down, just for a moment. You don't have to sleep, just relax. Maybe a little nap. JESS Ah, Mary, still a vision of loveliness. MARY And you're still full of the blarney. I'm thirty pounds and almost as many years the other side of loveliness. Not that I mind the compliment. JESS I shouldn't be here. In your house I mean. (HE TRIES TO GET UP) MARY (PUSHING HIM BACK DOWN) Shhh. Shhh. I have been wondering the same thing myself of late. But here we are. Try and be quiet for a while. JESS (DRIFTING OFF) You understand. How is it that you women understand so much? So much without being told. I've been told so much BS lately. I don't understand any of it anymore. Not a goddamn bit.... / / / / / / / / / / SCENE 2 (IT'S EARLY MOURNING NOW AT THE FARMHOUSE. MILES IS STANDING AT THE FRONT DOOR LOOKING OUT ACROSS THE PORCH. THERE IS A NOISE FROM OUTSIDE AND JESS COMES IN FROM THE KITCHEN AND PICKS UP HIS RIFLE FROM THE CORNER) JESS What's all the commotion? MILES It's Stuart and Charlie back from town. They've got someone with them. (ANIMATED VOICES FROM OUTSIDE. A YOUNG MAN, MAYBE MID TO LATE TWENTIES AND DRESSED IN A NOW DIRTY SUIT AND TIE, PULLS THE SCREEN DOOR OPEN AND IS VIOLENTLY SHOVED INTO THE ROOM FOLLOWED BY TWO MEN. THE YOUNGER MAN, MILES' SON CHARLIE, IS EARLY TWENTIES AND THE OTHER MAN, STUART, IS LATE THIRTIES OR EARLY FOURTIES.) CHARLIE We got one, Jess. Stuart found him stumbling around in the brush! (HE SHOVES THE MAN IN THE SUIT HARD ONTO THE DAY BED) MILES Damnit Charlie, take it easy! No call for that. STUART (LETTING HIS RIFLE HANG BY THE SLING FROM HIS SHOULDER, ARMY STYLE) Thought I'd check that old logging road over east on our way back from town. I saw this sedan parked out in the open about half way up the hill and found him (POINTS TO THE AGENT ON THE DAY BED) hunkered down in the brush. Had to bring him along. He's FBI. (STUART TAKES A PAIR OF BINOCULARS OFF HIS BELT AND A WALLET OUT OF HIS POCKET AND LAYS THEM ON THE TABLE.) JESS Are you sure he was alone? STUART Didn't see anyone else. We took some time to look around. (HE TURNS TO CHARLIE WHO IS GLARING AT THE AGENT) You need to go get his car. Maybe you can take Candy with you; she can drive one of them. CHARLIE Probably have to wake her up. (GOES OVER TO THE STAIRS AND HOLLERS UP) Candy! Candy! Mel Gibson's here to see you. (GOES UP) MILES (TO STUART) What's it look like in town? STUART Not good. I saw two cars at the café with government plates. Word has it that the sheriff is on his way over. JESS Damn! I was afraid of this. MILES Everyone around here knows that old logging road. If he's the only one Stu saw they're not sure yet. JESS Maybe so, but it won't be long. (HE PICKS UP THE AGENT'S ID AND READS ALOUD) Mark Younger, special agent. (TO STUART) Did he have a weapon? STUART Yea. (HE TAKES A SHORT BARRELED REVOLVER OUT OF HIS POCKET AND PUTS IT ON THE TABLE WITH THE OTHER THINGS.) JESS (TO STUART) Keep an eye on him. (TO MILES) Let's have a look around. (THEY GO OUT) CHARLIE (COMING BACK DOWN FROM UPSTAIRS) I knew it. She could sleep through mortar fire. STUART You got those cuffs? CHARLIE Yea. (HE TAKES A PAIR OF HANDCUFFS OUT OF HIS POCKET AND GIVES THEM TO STUART) (CANDY COMES DOWN THE STAIRS. SHE'S A PRETTY GIRL ABOUT EIGHTEEN OR NINETEEN YEARS OLD) CANDY Hi Stu. (NOTICING THE AGENT) Oh, he's cute. Can I have him? CHARLIE Damnit to hell, Candy. Get your shoes on and let's go. CANDY (TO AGENT) You'll have to excuse Charlie. I tried to have Pa castrate him when he did the rest of the hogs. CHARLIE (TO SSUART) Can you just imagine, women in the army. By the time they find their clothes and get their make-up on the battle will be over. (CANDY MAKES AN OBSCENE GESTURE TO CHARLIE AND THEY GO OUT) MARK Is that your girl? STUART No. MARK She's a beauty. STUART I guess. MARK I can work a deal with you. We only want Kilgore. (STUART LOOKS AT HIM AND SHAKES HIS HEAD BUT DOESN'T REPLY) (MARY COMES IN FROM THE KITCHEN) MARY Hello, Stu. (NOTICING THE AGENT) Why hello. Who are you? STUART Hi, Mary MARK Ma'am. MARY (TO STUART) Have you eaten? Oh, of course not. You never do. Let me fix you something. I'll get coffee first. (TO AGENT) How about you? MARK Coffee, Ma'am. Thank you. (MARY GOES TO THE KITCHEN AND HE TURNS TO STUART) You look like you've been around. There is no use in bringing trouble down on these folks. Let me go and I'll see we take Kilgore without any harm to the others. There is a reward, you know. A pretty good one. STUART Save it. I'm not as dedicated as you might think; one cause is as good as another. But I'll put a bullet between you eyes before I'll sell someone out to you. Keep that in mind. (JESS AND MILES RETURN) See anything? MILES No. (TO JESS) I do wish you'd consider hiding out here. It's rough country to the north. No roads and Stu knows it better than any. JESS No, Miles. They have dogs. They'll bring in heat sensors, night-vision and all that other stuff. I'd be no match for them out there. STUART We can load up and head for Timberline. (THE AGENT PERKS UP AT THE MENTION OF TIMBERLINE) JESS No. I'd be there now but some of those stupid bastards that hit that armored car outside of Portland holed up there and the Feds found out about it. Last I heard they were under siege. MILES You sure? JESS I talked to Paul in Oklahoma. He's sure, and that's good enough for me. STUART Well, they haven't gone in yet. We'd have heard about it by now. It will take a small army to pry them out. JESS They have an army, Stuart. MARY (OPENING THE KITCHEN DOOR) Come on and eat something, Stu. (TO MILES) Send the kids in to eat when they get back. STUART Coming. (HE TAKES HIS RIFLE AND STANDS IT IN THE CORNER. HE PICKS UP THE HANDCUFFS AND STARTS TOWARD THE AGENT) JESS Never mind, Stuart. Go eat. (STUART GOES OUT TO THE KITCHEN. JESS MOTIONS FOR THE AGENT TO TAKE A SEAT AT THE TABLE OPPOSITE HIM) Sit down. (AS THE AGENT SITS DOWN HE EAGERLY EYES STUART'S RIFLE IN THE CORNER) Miles, move Stuart's rifle. God knows I don't need to shoot another one. Not a habit I need to cultivate. MARK You could let me take you in. JESS I suppose you know who I am? MARK Everyone in the country knows who you are. You killed a Marshal up in South Dakota. JESS (TOYING WITH THE AGENTS REVOLVER) Yea. Things kind of got out of hand. It was the deputies that started shooting. Next thing I knew there was glass and blood all over me and the wife. Then the Marshal is shooting at the car. I don't guess it makes any difference now. MARK They'll go easier on you if you give yourself up. JESS Easier? Easier than what? Can you keep me out of jail? MARK What do you expect? You killed a federal Marshal. Even if there were extenuating circumstances you would have to be in jail for some time. MILES I wouldn't listen to him much, Jess. He's barely weaned. JESS I can't go back to jail. Years ago I spent half a year. No, I won't go back. MARK (PUSHING) Some of these others could get hurt; or do hard time. JESS I know. I've got to get away from here. I can't. MARK (MISTAKENLY SENSING WEAKNESS) You're famous now. You could get one of those high dollar attorneys to defend you. If it was self defense you might get off altogether. You would be surprised what those. JESS (TO MILES) Do you believe this? He must be doing some of the drugs they confiscate. MARK Hey! I'm just doing my job. JESS (MORE AND MORE ANGRY) Doing your job! Doing your job!! All you federal sons-of-bitches are just doing your job. Look around you! How in the hell do you think you get decent folks like this involved in such goings on. They took my equipment for back taxes, which meant I couldn't work my land. And you want to know what was the worst part? The worst of all! The indifference. The complete government sponsored total lack of concern. Not mean or malicious. Just goddamn indifference! They were stomping my ass into the ground I couldn't work and they didn't care. They said they were sorry but they were just doing their jobs. MILES Take it easy, Jess. JESS Damn!! (HE JUMPS UP AND BANGS HIS FIST ON THE TABLE AND GETS IN THE AGENT'S FACE) What's my job, federal man? You tell me. Where do I fit in now? I'm a terrorist, right? What did that newspaper call me; A Neo-Nazi anti-government terrorist! (HE TAKES THE REVOLVER AND POINTS IT RIGHT BETWEEN THE AGENT'S EYES AND PULLS THE HAMMER BACK) Now I guess I'd just be doing my job if I splatter your young brains all over that wall!! (THE AGENT STARTS TO FAINT) Just doing my job. Nothing personal. MILES C'mon Jess, don't do that. MARK You're insane. JESS (LOWERS THE REVOLVER AND SITS DOWN) I'm an angry old man running out of room. Whatever I am or have become, I'm not a murderer. And these folks here aren't murderers. And that, government man, is why you're alive this minute. (NOISE FROM OUTSIDE. MILES LOOKS OUT AND THEN SITS BACK DOWN. - ENTER CHARLIE AND CANDY) CHARLIE We got the cars. No sign of anything else going on. (HE LOOKS AT THE AGENT SITTING AT THE TABLE) What's he doing at the table? We ought to take him out and shoot him like they did your boy, Jess. MILES Knock it off. Your mother has something for you to eat in the kitchen. CANDY Oh good, I'm starving. (LOOKING AT THE AGENT) You don't look so good. Are you all right? MARK Yes. I'm fine. CANDY Don't pay any attention to Charlie. He thinks cows piss well water. (GOES OUT TO THE KITCHEN) CHARLIE Well, he don't have to sit at the table like he was company or something. MILES (HANDS CHARLIE THE HANDCUFFS) Here, put him on the day-bed and go eat. (CHARLIE THROWS THE AGENT ON THE BED, CUFFS HIM TO IT, AND GOES OUT TO THE KITCHEN) (SCENE 2) (EVERYONE IS SITTING OR STANDING AROUND THE TABLE DRINKING COFFEE EXCEPT THE AGENT WHO IS SITTING ON THE FLOOR WITH HIS HANDS CUFFED TO THE RAIL OF THE BED. HE HAS HIS HEAD SLUMPED OVER ONE ARM, ASLEEP. CANDY COMES IN FROM THE KITCHEN WITH HER COFFEE AND GOES OVER TO THE AGENT) CHARLIE Damn it, Candy, get away from him. CANDY What's the matter with him? He couldn't have just gone to sleep like that, is he hurt? STUART I gave him a little something extra in his coffee. He'll be OK. CHARLIE You get away from him all the same! (TO THE OTHERS) I think she's come in heat. MARY Charles! That's no way to talk about your sister. I declare, there ought to be something you could give these kids so they wouldn't grow up so fast. CANDY (SITTING DOWN BY THE AGENT) There is Ma. Some of the girls at school take a pill they say keeps `em from growing at all. MARY Young lady! You're not so old I couldn't give you a wallop. CHARLIE Let me do it, Ma. Make us both feel better. CANDY Try it! But you had better hurry, Charlie. I think I hear cars coming, and helicopters and tanks and whatever else the FBI brings when some ignorant bastard kidnaps one of their agents. CHARLIE Bitch. MILES OK, you two. That's enough. Jess? JESS We don't have much time. Just a short meeting. CHARLIE We don't need a meeting, Jess. You stay right here and if those Feds show up we'll give them a fine reception. (HE GOES TO A CHEST ALONG THE WALL AND TAKES OUT A SHORT BARRELED RIFLE WITH A LONG CURVED CLIP.) CANDY Oh for the love of. Pa! Make him put that thing away. MARY Miles? CHARLIE An AK-47. She's a beauty, huh? Saved a whole year for it. This one's imported from Finland. (HE PUTS THE CLIP IN IT AND POINTS IT AT THE AGENT) Rattattat! CANDY Pa! MILES Charlie! Put it away. CHARLIE I am. (PUTS IT AWAY) Just wanted Jess to know we're ready. CANDY Ready? You're ready for a cross-bar suite. CHARLIE Shut up, Sis. Just shut up. You don't give a damn about anything except filling up what you're most often sitting on! This is serious business. CANDY Go screw a post! I ain't part of your goddamn revolution. MILES That's enough. Both of you! CANDY You're damn right, this is serious business. You think I don't care? I care enough not to want my ass shot off by some Fed looking for him. (POINTS TO JESS) He's the one killed a Marshall. You saw those pictures on the TV. You think this is some kind of game? They got half the lawmen in the county looking for him and here he sits, in our house! CHARLIE Why don't you scream a little louder? They can barely hear you in town. CANDY (SCREAMING) Calm down!! You listen to me, all of you. I've sat here in this house and heard enough bull-shit to fill in the valley. Look what you've done! Just think about what you've done, All of you! You've kidnapped an FBI agent and my sweet shit-for-brains brother wants to shoot it out with them right here in his own house. MILES Candy!! Get a grip. CANDY No, Pa. (SOBBING) Don't let it happen. We'll be just like him. (POINTING AT JESS) There won't be anywhere in the country we can hide. CHARLIE I knew she couldn't handle it. MARY (TAKES CANDY TO THE KITCHEN) Now, now. Come with me. JESS (TO STUART) Get my gear and load it in the car, would you? (STUART STARTS GATHERING UP HIS GEAR) (TO MILES) She's right, Miles. I'm not doing any of us any good staying here. CHARLIE Woa. Wait just a minute. You're not going to turn tail and run are you? They all talk about you like you are really something. A real leader. You're running scared. JESS Back off, kid! CHARLIE Hell I will. You old men, you talk big, but that's mostly all you do is talk. Ha! Talking and crapping. It all come to the same end. MILES Boy! You mind your mouth. CHARLIE I don't believe this. What did we join Talion for? Like you told me a thousand times, Pa, the white man that built this country is getting ripped off by the blacks and Jews and all those Wall street greedy sons-of-bitches all screwing this country right down the tubes. We got nothing. And what little we do get the tax man or one of these Feds comes to take it away. And now our great leader wants to have a meeting and then run away!! No more! I'm not running and I'm not afraid of them. And I don't need a meeting to know what to do. MILES Sometimes you have to retreat. CHARLIE Sometimes you have to stand. All we've done is retreat. No more! I'm not running, and I'm not afraid of them. And I don't need a meeting to know what to do. I'll just blow a couple of them away if they come around here with any of their government bullshit! JESS (TO CHARLIE) Sit down! CHARLIE I'm not going to. JESS (SHOVES CHARLIE DOWN) Sit down, I said. Of all the brainless ignorant stupid things. You're sister's right. You'd like to start a war right here in your own yard. You shouldn't breathe the same air we do. You're diseased. Is this what you joined Talion for? Or, God forbid, did Talion do this to you? Can you not see a difference between defending a way of life, with arms if necessary, and cold blooded killing? If you can't see the difference, Charlie, then the government ought to come and get you and put you away. CHARLIE Like you did that Marshal? Did you tell him you were defending a way of life before you blew his brains out? You see? That's what I mean. You old men want to justify everything. I say enough. I say you get right up in the Man's face and say `get out of my shit or I'll kill you!' (HE LOOKS AT THE AGENT) And if he don't, (HE MAKES A GUN WITH HIS FINGERS) pow!! JESS No use talking to you, kid. You've got no future. CHARLIE I've got a future. Better'n yours. JESS Yes, Charlie. Know what your future is? You'll piss down your leg when some Fed blows a hole in you. Or maybe you'll get by that and they'll throw you into prison `till you're an old man. You don't understand any of it yet because you're young and bullet proof, but without those meetings and all that talk you might as well stuff that rifle up your nose and pull the trigger. Save yourself and us a lot of grief. Have lots of meetings, kid. Talk it over real good `till you know exactly what you're doing. (HE GETS RIGHT IN CHARLIE'S FACE) Because when you pull back the bolt on that new rifle of yours there is no road back. (LOUDLY) Look at me, boy! I'm over fifty years old and what have I got to show for it? A hero? Your ass! A pigheaded old fool who took a smattering of independence and courage and molded it into something ludicrous. I don't have a home I can go to. My wife is a good woman in spite of me not because of me, and my son. Well, he's an idiot. Much like yourself. And I'm an item on the evening news. Someone folks hear about on the radio on their way to work. CHARLIE I'm not your boy. Don't take it out on me. JESS You are my boy, Charlie. You and a hundred like you I've seen from the Dakotas to the Gulf. You can use a rifle, but you probably can't spell it. You hate things you don't know anything about. Action. That's all you want. You'll lead a revolution or a parade. It is all the same to you. CHARLIE Pa, make him quit. I ain't going. MILES All right, go on outside and have a look around. (TO JESS) Take it easy, he's just a kid. JESS I know. Like my boy, Miles. All he wanted to do was shoot that damn rifle. Bea and I saw it coming, the way he would swagger around with that gun. He didn't want to learn anything, or be anything. He didn't want a job or a family. MILES Some kids just go their own way, Jess. JESS He's going to be tried for murder, Miles, and goddamn us; goddamn Talion for whatever part of that we caused. Pray for mercy, Miles, or for forgiveness, but never for justice. MARY (COMING IN FROM THE KITCHEN WITH CANDY FOLLOWING) What can we do now? MILES How about you and Candy fix some food for Jess and Stuart to take. JESS No. No. Just me. Don't go to a lot of trouble. (STUART COMES IN FROM OUTSIDE) STUART Everything's ready. We'll have to scout the road back as far as the highway. It's the only way in or out by car. JESS (TAKING CHARGE AGAIN) Good thinking, Stuart. I don't know where my mind is. Mary, just a couple of sandwiches will be fine. Miles, you and I and Stuart will check the road out to the highway. Charlie can keep an eye on the agent. (THEY ALL LEAVE) SCENE 3 (MAIN ROOM OF THE FARMHOUSE - THE AGENT IS ASLEEP SITTING ON THE FLOOR AND HANDCUFFED TO THE DAY BED - CANDY IS NEXT TO HIM AND CHARLIE IS PACING BACK AND FORTH) CHARLIE Son-of-a-bitch! Just when something is going to happen they run off and leave me to baby sit! (HE GOES TO THE CHEST AND TAKES OUT HIS AK-47 AND A CLIP) CANDY What are you doing? They told you to stay here and watch him. (CHARLIE PAYS NO ATTENTION TO CANDY BUT STARES AT THE AGENT - AFTER A SECOND HE WALKS OVER TO THE AGENT AND RAISES THE BUTT OF THE RIFLE TO STRIKE HIM - CANDY SCREAMS AND THROWS HERSELF ON THE AGENT TO PROTECT HIM) CHARLIE Damn you girl!! (HE LOWERS THE RIFLE) You're so damned attached to him you can stay and watch him! If he tries anything give a holler. (HE GRABS HER BY THE ARM AND SHOVES HER ONTO THE FLOOR BY THE AGENT) (MARY HEARS THE COMMOTION AND COMES IN FROM THE KITCHEN) MARY Charles! You let her go this instant. CHARLIE (IGNORING MARY - TO CANDY) Don't even think about doing anything stupid like letting him go. I won't be far and if I see him outside I'll kill him. (HE GOES OUT SLAMMING THE SCREEN) MARY Are you all right? CANDY Yes, Ma. (MARY GOES BACK TO THE KITCHEN - THE AGENT SHAKES HIMSELF AWAKE) Some day that Charlie is going to go to sleep and not wake up. MARK I can't believe I went to sleep. Did someone jump on me? CANDY That was me. You OK? MARK I think so. But why did.? CANDY Because my shit-head brother was about to mush your brains with the butt of his rifle. MARK God, what a zoo. I don't suppose you'd consider taking these cuffs off? CANDY No. If it were up to me I'd let you go. Hell, I'd go with you. (SHE LOOKS AROUND AND THEN SETTLES DOWN) I'd like to travel. I bet you travel a lot. MARK Quite a bit lately. CANDY Some day I'm going to visit different places. Places where people lead normal lives. Places where they don't spend all their time at meetings talking about how rotten the government is and how the Jews have all the money and the Blacks all the welfare. MARK Have you been to a lot of meetings? CANDY Not when I can help it. I'd never go to those things except sometimes they have them here. One time I bet there were fifty guys running all over the yard and the pasture, all carrying guns and wearing those camouflage outfits. What a pain. Poor Ma trying to take care of things, cooking and cleaning. To hear them tell it there's a revolution coming, but I never got that from the other kids when I was in school. My last year we had a girl transfer from Kansas City and she said she had never heard of such a thing. MARK Probable not. CANDY Well, you're a Fed. You know some of the government people in Washington, don't you? MARK (LAUGHING) I've been there. I wouldn't say I know any of them. CANDY Well, the one's that sent you down here, are they scared of a revolution? MARK No, Candy, there is no revolution. I came down here looking for Jess because he killed that Marshal. CANDY Maybe so. At any rate you're the one that got looked for and found. You guys ought to hire Stuart. MARK Is he your boy friend? CANDY No. I like him but Pa would never stand for that. Stu's a little crazy. MARK Well you're a very attractive young lady. CANDY Really? You're not just saying that `cause you're chained to the couch? MARK It can't hurt. CANDY (LOOKS AT HIS LEFT HAND) I don't see a ring. Are you chained to anything else? MARK I'm not married, if that's what you mean. CANDY Wonderful. You're not so bad looking; I'll have Ma call the preacher. If you marry me they might not kill you. MARK You do know how to hold a man's interest. And the preacher? He won't mind that I'm chained to the bed? CANDY Are you kidding? For a small fee and a couple of stiff belts our preacher would marry me to a giraffe. MARK I don't think I would care to live like this, though. Chained to our bed. CANDY I was counting on that. (THEY SIT QUIETLY FOR A MOMENT) MARK What's his last name? CANDY Who? MARK Stuart. CANDY Benning. MARK Is he from around here? CANDY You sure ask a lot of questions. MARK I know. It's a habit you get into working the way I do. CANDY Boy, I'll say. (SHE PAUSES) He was a soldier. MARK Stuart? CANDY Yes. He fought in that Viet Nam war with some rangers or special people. MARK Special Forces. CANDY Whatever. Charlie says he's got all kind of medals. MARK A real war hero? CANDY I guess. He won't talk about it but I heard Pa and Charlie talking one day. He grew up on a small farm north of here, across the Missouri line, and before he came back from the war they said his wife had taken up with one of the local sheriff deputies. They said it wasn't long after he got back that he got arrested by this same deputy on a drug charge. He made bail and wasn't out of jail a week before the deputy that arrested him is murdered. They found him hung upside down in a tree with his throat cut just like you'd bleed a hog. Everyone figured Stuart did it but I guess they couldn't prove anything. MARK And it doesn't frighten you? Having him around? CANDY He worked for Pa off and on quite a bit before I ever found out about it. He's different, but not scary. At least not to me. The only thing I could ever tell he was interested in is soldiering. If you watch him when they have those meetings he doesn't seem to care what they talk about. He usually goes out and guards the road. MARK People like Stuart and Jess are very dangerous. The ideas that they profess, and their willingness to act on them threaten all of us. CANDY Maybe so. But while you're chained up to this bed Charlie is the one I'd be looking out for. (NOISE FROM OUTSIDE - CANDY GETS UP AND LOOKS OUT THE DOOR) It's Charlie. (SHE TAKES THE AGENT'S REVOLVER OFF THE TABLE AND SITS BACK DOWN BESIDE THE AGENT) CHARLIE (COMING IN) They are all coming back in a hurry. Must have seen something. (LOOKING AT THE AGENT) He give you any trouble? CANDY No. (CHARLIE GOES INTO THE KITCHEN AS THE OTHERS COME IN) MILES (TO JESS AS THEY COME IN) No. Stuart knows his way around here as well as anyone. If he says you can't make it I'd believe him. JESS I'm sure you're right. I'm reaching. STUART (POSTING HIMSELF BY THE FRONT WINDOW) They'll bring the dogs. O'dell would volunteer them even if they didn't ask. And they'll have a chopper. (NOISE FROM OUTSIDE) Incoming. Looks like Sheriff McKinney. JESS Everybody down! Stay away from the windows. MILES (TO JESS) Hold on. (TO STUART) Is he alone? STUART Looks like it. MILES (TO JESS) He's OK. Probably wants to talk. (CHARLIE COMES IN FROM THE KITCHEN) CHARLIE What the. MILES (TO CHARLIE) Tell your mother to stay in the kitchen, and you stay with her. (TO CANDY) You too. McKINNEY (FROM OUTSIDE) Miles, you in there? MILES Yea. (HE MOTIONS TO CHARLIE AND CANDY TO GET INTO THE KITCHEN - CHARLIE GOES IN BUT CANDY DOESN'T MOVE) Be right out. McKINNEY (ALREADY AT THE DOOR) That's OK. I'll come in. (HE OPENS THE SCREEN DOOR AND COMES ON IN) I don't mind. (EVERYONE STARES AT THE DOOR EXCEPT STUART - IN ONE CONTINUOUS MOTION HE RELEASES THE SAFETY AND BRINGS HIS RIFLE UP LEVEL WITH THE SHERIFF'S CHEST) Oh, excuse me. I wondered if you didn't have company. (HE CASUALLY LOOKS STUART IN THE EYE) How are you, Stuart? STUART OK. McKINNEY (LOOKING AT JESS) You must be Kilgore? (TO MILES) I see you found the FBI agent. They told me they lost one. MILES I'm sorry about this, Jack. McKINNEY (SITTING DOWN) Mind if I sit for a minute. I'm dog tired what with all the goings on. JESS (PICKS UP HIS RIFLE AND AIMS IT AT THE SHERIFF - TO STUART) Take his pistol and toss it on the porch. McKINNEY (GIVING UP HIS GUN) Oh, yes, sorry about that. I don't even notice it anymore. Probably shouldn't even carry the damn thing. JESS What do you want? McKINNEY Well. We got us a situation here. What I want is to settle it the best way possible. The least amount of injury to life and limb. If you know what I mean? JESS That's fine, sheriff. Seems like we both want the same thing, so if you'll just get back in your car. McKINNEY (LOOKS HARD AT JESS BUT HIS VOICE IS SOFT) I can do that. Unfortunately that won't solve our problem. Out yonder I have all five of my deputies trying to slow down the fifty or so Federal people, Marshals, FBI agents and what not converging on this farm. Not to mention the assorted news people and bystanders that these kind of things generate. CHARLIE (COMING IN FROM THE KITCHEN) You go back and tell them we're ready, sheriff. First one of them that shows up here gets blasted! MILES (TO CHARLIE) Get back in the kitchen and watch the back! (CHARLIE DOESN'T MOVE) Now, damnit! (CHARLIE LEAVES MUMBLING TO HIMSELF) (TO McKINNEY) Sorry, Jack. How much time do we have? STUART (LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW) None. There are at least four guys with rifles out there now. (PAUSES) Make that five. McKINNEY Let me be honest with you, the Fed in charge seems like a real hard case. He's after Kilgore with a vengeance. So far he's tried to run over everyone he's come in contact with and as you know those boys do swing a heavy stick. At any rate he's coming in here with a small army and I think he means to end it here in whatever fashion it takes. MARK It's a guy named Billings, isn't it? McKINNEY You know him? MARK Only by reputation. Ex Marine, real spit and polish. Always looking for a way to put another notch in his resume. So they say. STUART (STILL LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW) I think we're going to hear from him any minute now. BILLINGS (FROM OUTSIDE USING A BULL HORN) You there! In the house. This is the FBI. All of you come out with your hands over your head. Do not attempt. I repeat, do not attempt to leave the house except by the front door with your hands up! McKINNEY Give me something, Miles. Let me take the woman and the kids out. (LOOKS AT JESS) How about it, Kilgore? You come out with me and it's all over. No one gets hurt. JESS I need time. OK, take the woman and the kids out. Come out now! You're surrounded. There is no escape! (FROM THE REAR OF THE HOUSE COMES THE SOUND OF AUTOMATIC RIFLE FIRE FOLLOWED BY SEVERAL ANSWERING SHOTS INTO THE HOUSE) MILES (RUSHING INTO THE KITCHEN) Charlie! Damnit Charlie, stop firing! McKINNEY (OPENS THE FRONT SCREEN AND STANDS IN THE DOORWAY) This is Sheriff McKinney! Hold your fire! (CRIES FROM OUTSIDE OF HOLD FIRE - MILES BRINGS CHARLIE INTO THE MAIN ROOM AND SITS HIM DOWN ON THE FLOOR AS HE TAKES HIS RIFLE AWAY) JESS OK, Sheriff. Tell them if they'll negotiate I'll release the family and just keep their agent. McKINNEY I'll try. (LOOKS AT CHARLIE) For God's sake no more shooting. (HE TURNS BACK TO THE FRONT) I'm coming out! Hold your fire! CHARLIE (STANDING UP) I ain't going anywhere. (HE REACHES FOR HIS RIFLE) JESS (HE POINTS HIS RIFLE AT CHARLIE AND FLICKS OFF THE SAFETY) Leave it! CHARLIE What? JESS If you touch that gun I'll drop you. CHARLIE Pa! I don't have. MILES Leave it, boy! He means it. JESS (TO STUART) Pick that up, will you? (STUART PICKS UP CHARLIE'S RIFLE AND STANDS IT IN THE CORNER NEXT TO HIM) (JESS GOES OVER BY THE KITCHEN) Mary. Come on out. Miles, Mary, I don't know what to say. I'm so sorry for what I've put you through. There is no point in you going any further with this. You take the kids and go. Tell them I held you hostage. It won't make any difference to me and they might go a little easier on you. McKINNEY (ON BULL HORN) This is Sheriff McKinney. We're coming in. We're unarmed. JESS Go ahead, Miles. You and Mary and the kids. (MILES NUDGES MARY AHEAD OF HIM - HE GRABS CHARLIE BY THE ARM) (TO CHARLIE) Good-bye Charlie. Try and grow up without killing anybody. CHARLIE You bastard! (MILES PUSHES CHARLIE OUT BEHIND MARY AND TURNS TO CANDY) CANDY I'm not going without him. (SHE LOOKS TO THE AGENT) MILES Don't be silly, girl. Let's go! (HE MOVES TO GRAB HER) CANDY (TAKES THE AGENT'S PISTOL FROM BEHIND HER BACK AND POINTS ITAT JESS) No! I'll kill him myself before I leave this man here to die. MARK Do like your father says. This is my job. CANDY (SHE COCKS THE PISTOL) No! I mean it. JESS (TO MILES) Damn! They're here. Go ahead, I'll get her out. (MILES, MARY AND CHARLIE GO OUT - CANDY PUTS THE PISTOL BACK BEHIND HER - SHERIFF McKINNEY AND BILLINGS COME IN AND STUART KEEPS HIS RIFLE ON THEM) BILLINGS (TO MARK) You OK? MARK So far. BILLINGS (TO JESS) What about the girl? JESS She stays; for the moment. BILLINGS That's not our deal. JESS OK, take her. BILLINGS (TO CANDY) Go on. It's all right, your family's waiting. CANDY (POINTING TO MARK) Not without him. BILLINGS What the hell?. JESS Beats all, don't it. McKINNEY Come on, Candy. CANDY No. BILLINGS Suit yourself. Kilgore, you can leave here under arrest or in a bag. Either way suits me just fine but time is running out. The news people will be here soon and I want this over before they turn it into a circus. JESS I know. All I want is to see my family. I would like a reasonable assurance that I can make bail. I feel like if I could explain what. BILLINGS Cut the crap, Kilgore. You shot a Marshal to death in cold blood and as far as I am concerned you gave up any consideration you had coming at that point. You and your backwoods running buddies ought to all be hung in the town square. McKINNEY (NOTICING JESS TURN RED AND FINGERING HIS RIFLE) And what about us backwoods sheriffs? JESS I've got hostages. Don't I get to make some demands? BILLINGS You want to walk out of this or not? You can't use the agent as a hostage; he knows that. The girl doesn't want to leave, fine. That's on her. McKINNEY Now wait just a minute. You and Kilgore settle this however you want among yourselves but you better see that that girl doesn't get hurt. She's got nothing to do with any of it. JESS (TO BILLINGS) You federal baboon. You don't give a damn about these people at all. (JESS PUTS THE BARREL OF HIS RIFLE UP UNDER THE CHIN OF BILLINGS) BILLINGS No more than you, Kilgore. MARK Billings, for heaven's sake! Talk to the man. Work this thing out. Don't walk away from this now. People will be killed. (HE PULLS AT THE CUFFS) Jess! Let me take you in. I'll stay with you, all the way back if you want. You can see your wife and your boy. I promise! BILLINGS (LOOKING AT HIS WATCH) Time's up. (TO McKINNEY) Let's go. (HE TURNS AND GOES OUT) McKINNEY (AS HE FOLLOWS BILLINGS OUT) Billings! For heaven's sake! Give it a little more time. MARK (SCREAMING) Billings! You son-of-a-bitch! Come back here!. Don't do this. (TO McKINNEY) McKinney, Shoot the bastard! JESS Save it, kid. I've been screaming at assholes like that for years. Won't do any good. The one's that give you a drivers license are just a nuisance but the ones that make the laws or the ones that sit on the bench. Luck of the draw I guess. (TO STUART) You got the key to those cuffs? STUART Yea. JESS (POINTING TO THE AGENT) Let him go. (STUART UNLOCKS THE CUFFS) (TO THE AGENT) You take the girl and get out of here. MARK Come with us. I meant what I said; I'll go with you. All the way back. JESS No good, kid. Not now. Thanks just the same. (MARK GRABS THE PISTOL AWAY FROM CANDY AND POINTS IT AT JESS) MARK You're coming with me, Jess. One way or another. Don't move that rifle. (CANDY JUMPS IN FRONT OF THE PISTOL) Candy! My God, girl, what are you doing? CANDY (SLOWLY TAKES THE PISTOL OUT OF MARK'S HAND AND GIVES IT TO JESS - SHE TURNS TO STUART WHO IS POINTING HIS RIFLE AT THE AGENT'S HEAD) Thanks Stu. MARK What the. CANDY What kept Stuart from killing you I'll never know. C'mon. (SHE PULLS THE AGENT WITH HER AS SHE GOES OUT THE DOOR) Don't shoot. We're coming out. MARK (TO JESS AS HE LEAVES) I'll talk to them. Try and work something out. JESS (SITS DOWN ON THE FLOOR OPPOSITE THE DOOR AND CHECKS HIS RIFLE) Go on Stuart. No use you being here now. (NO RESPONSE - STUART SETTLES IN ON THE FLOOR AND PEAKS OUT THE WINDOW) Come on Stuart. Get going. You know what's coming. STUART Yeah. I know. But I can deal with that. It's day to day living that terrifies me. I must have been born under the wrong sign or something. I know I'm a little crazy. JESS A man ought to be a little crazy. Else he'll start believing all the things he tells other folks he believes. BILLINGS (ON THE BULL HORN) In the house! You have two minutes to come out with your hands up. I repeat, two minutes. Throw down your weapons and come out. This is your last warning. STUART (MATTER-OF-FACTLY PICKING UP CHARLIE'S RIFLE AND CHECKING IT) You know what I'd really like to be? Robin Hood. Can you believe that? I'd like to rob rich people, the ones that have so much more than they could ever use. Catch them hunkered down over their stuff like a mother bird over her nest and just take it away from them and give it to some poor bastard sleeping on a park bench. (HE INSIRTS A CLIP, PULLS THE BOLT BACK AND CHECKS THE SAFETY) And just every once and a while have someone come by and say `Nice job, Stuart,' or maybe `You helped some folks get by and we appreciate it.' (HE GETS UP ON ONE KNEE AND AIMS OUT THE WINDOW) But I know that's a fairy tale. So I might just as well sweat it out here. JESS I'm not worth dying for. Already screwed up too many lives. Go on and get out. STUART To what, Jess? To where? What's out there for me? I'm a damn good soldier without a war. Was a time when what I did made a difference. A hell of a difference. And I was proud. Now I hear voices. Especially in the quiet times. Sometimes in the forest I shake my fist at God and tell Him to come and get me if He can. I ain't afraid of dying and He knows it. And I cuss Him too. For leaving me like this. I don't want to end up in some airport shooting people. JESS I don't want to do anything but go home. To my wife. To tell my boy. I'm so frightened. BILLINGS (ON THE BULL HORN) Come out now or. (THE ROOM EXPLODES WITH THE SOUND OF STUART'S RIFLE AND THE BULL HORN IS SILENCED) STUART (QUIETLY) And so the sheriff of Nottingham departed and all the kingdom rejoiced. Maybe they'll find a place for him at Arlington. (SHOTS FROM ALL SIDES - TEAR GAS THROUGH THE WINDOWS AND SMOKE AND FIRE AND FINALLY QUIET) VOICE They're dead. Let's get out of here. This place is going up like a match book. THE END 48 Tweet
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