Rebel Treasure seventeenth post

Rebel Treasure seventeenth post

EXT. ANNAPOLIS HARBOR – DAY

Five vessels ride their anchors out in the Roads, tended by a flock of small boats plying back and forth, transporting soldiers and supplies to shore.

Three more vessels crowd the dock, each disgorging their contents into the mountains of cargo heaping up on the wharf. A line of freight wagons do their best to cart things away but it’s a losing battle.

U. S. NAVAL ACADEMY WHARF

Jimmy, attired in the uniform of the New York State militia, wanders among the hubbub and chaos of the wharf. At last he arrives at the object of his curiosity, the base of the gold ship.

At present, no workers are busy unloading her. About to take a step toward her empty gangplank, he stops and retreats when he notices Romeo and Lon at the top.

GANGPLANK OF THE GOLD SHIP

Lon turns to the CAPTAIN of the vessel and extends a hand in thanks.

LON
You’ve been most gracious, Captain.

CAPTAIN OF THE GOLD SHIP
Not at all, it was the least that one could do for a fellow officer. I wish you success, sir. Up with the Union, down with the rebels!

Lon smiles, bids him goodbye and he and Romeo begin their descent.

LON
I will head straight to the Helmsley Tavern and will meet you there later. Meanwhile you will be about your business?

ROMEO
Yes, suh. I will seek out the harbor master and offer–
(with a grin)
my services.

A STREET IN ANNAPOLIS
As Lon threads his way through the throng of people, Jimmy keeps him in view. Besides LABORERS and PEDDLERS, most are SOLDIERS like Jimmy, in a multitude of militia uniforms.

On the corner near Helmsley’s Tavern, Lon stops and wheels around. Jimmy pretends interest in a shop sign, when he looks back, Lon is nowhere in sight. Then, before he can take another step, he is seized violently from behind and spun around.

LON
(forcefully)
I’ve had enough of your sneaking–
(recognition dawns)
Jimmy! What the devil are you doing here? And in that uniform!

JIMMY
Oh. Hi, Lon. You know I’ve fallen on hard times when you find me in the garb of a soldier.

LON
What happened?

JIMMY
It wasn’t too long after you left that I bilged, failed the February exam.
(Lon sympathizes)
I wound up at my grandfather’s in Brooklyn, and then Sumter came along–

He looks downcast. Lon puts a comforting arm around his shoulder.

LON
Still have a hankering to be a pirate?

INT. HEMSLEY’S TAVERN
Lon enters with Jimmy and immediately encounters the PROPRIETOR.

LON
My name is Turner. Someone may have been asking for me.

Lon holds out his hand, and they grip one another’s wrist. The proprietor gives him a curt nod in reply.

PROPRIETOR
Yes. I’ll send for the gentlemen. You can wait for them in here.

He motions them into:

A PRIVATE ROOM – HELMSLEY TAVERN

JIMMY
So, I’ve told you all about me, where have you been these last few months?

LON
A-sailing the bounding main.

JIMMY
Ah! Checking out the gold ship!

LON
Among other things.

JESSE JAMES enters, a man of medium height and build. At first he is all smiles and cordiality until he notices the uniform that Jimmy is wearing. With that realization his hand drops and his smile twists into a scowl.

Before he can say a word, Louis Toussant follows him into the room. He swiftly crosses to his friends and initiates a round of back slapping. With this display, the older man relaxes his animosity.

LOUIS
Well I never thought I’d ever see you two again. And together too.

LON
(to Jesse)
You can rest at ease, sir. You’re among friends. Mister?

JESSE
You can call me Jesse. Jesse James from Tennessee.

LON
A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. James.

They exchange a wrist hand shake, and Lon introduces the others.

JESSE
Is the shipment really here?

LON
Yes, we accompanied it from Panama. But from here on in, it’s under a closer guard than we expected.
(looks at Jimmy)
But we’ve figured out some ways around it.

LOUIS
Do you have access to any arms?

Jimmy looks startled. Lon answers.

LON
They shouldn’t be necessary. Not the way we’ve planned it out.

JESSE
(pats his waistband)
Well, I’ve got us covered, if things get rough.

LON
I don’t think we have a worry, it should all go like clockwork.

[next pt 18]

Rebel Treasure twelfth post

Rebel Treasure twelfth post

ON THE USS CONSTITUTION – THE MAIN TRUCK
Fifty feet up on the main mast, Lon drapes his chest over the furled mainsail while walking the footrope that sways beneath it. Beside him his fellow midshipman JIMMY TRUEBLOOD mirrors his movements. In contrast to Lon, Jimmy is fair-haired and a little on the skinny side.

JIMMY
So far, I haven’t seen anything that I haven’t seen before.

LON
Yeah, things are just bigger than we’re used to.
(becomes serious, lowering
his voice)
So, are you resigning?

JIMMY
No. No reason to. My state ain’t got no slaves.

LON
Yeah. I guess California will stay put. Sometimes I think the rest of the country has gone crazy though.

JIMMY
Mississippi has gone out, are you resigning?

LON
No. I don’t want to. I’ve got four years invested here. Way I figure it what else am I fit for?

Jimmy looks about, then edges closer with a conspiratorial air.

JIMMY
If I couldn’t be in the Navy, I think I’d be a pirate.

LON
A pirate! You’re crazy. What could you steal these days?

JIMMY
(with a wink)
Haven’t you heard of the California gold ship?

Lon looks up with interest.

JIMMY (CON’T)
Once a year the San Francisco mint fills up a ship with the fruits of the California goldfields for transport across Panama to New York.

LON
Some fruit!

Lon’s gaze drops to the busy deck below. Little knots of plebes are scattered about performing various duties.
Acting midshipman LOUIS TOUSSAINT, a stocky young Creole with a massive tangle of jet black curls stops below them, sketch book in hand.

LON (CONT’D)
Hey, there’s Louis.

Jimmy hunkers down, trying to lower his profile.
No good. Louis looks up and catches sight of him. He shakes his fist, tosses his sketch-book to the deck and bolts for the ratlines. Jimmy moves as quickly off the yard as they can, warily eying the approach of his nemesis, and Lon follows.
They reach the cross-trees just as Louis does. Being first off the yard, Jimmy grabs a back-stay, leaps off into space and zips down the line to the deck below.
Lon coolly stays where he is, while Louis screams after Jimmy.

LOUIS
I’ll get you!

LON
(bars the way with his arm)
You’re making a mistake.

LOUIS
No! He did! I’m calling him out.

LON
Just what did he do to you?

Louis turns his furious face to him, plucking his knife from the small of his back.

LOUIS
Out of my way, I’m getting even…

LON
And I’m calling it even.
(pointing to his jaw)
For this.

With a finger, Lon traces a scar along his jawline.

LOUIS
That was an accident.

LON
And I’ll remind you that you said you’d make it up to me.

A sly smile splits the Creole’s face. There is a HALE from the deck. Louis returns his knife to its sheath.

LOUIS
You’re a brave man, Lon.

LON
Well, if you think so, I want another favor.

LOUIS
What’s that?

LON
Come join us, we’ll work together.

Louis bows his assent.
Lon returns the bow, then follows Jimmy’s route and zips down to the deck. Louis steps to where he had been and looks after him. He hesitates a minute, then returns via the ratlines.

ON THE USS CONSTITUTION – FORWARD DECK – LATER
The trio of Lon, Louis and Jimmy are mounted on the bulwark, sketching the arrangement of the chains. Just down from them a crew of plebes work the sling on the makeshift crane, bringing kegs of gunpowder on board.

JIMMY
(pointing to the kegs)
What do you suppose is the meaning of that?

LON
I heard it was just for practice.

LOUIS
Humpf! I think they mean to arm the ship and us.

JIMMY
(laughing)
You mean “Repel boarders” and “pass the ammunition?”

LOUIS
Go ahead and laugh. I hear two of  the forts down in my state were seized.

LON
That’s just a rumor.

LOUIS
If not now, for sure later. Maybe even here.

JIMMY
Are you going to resign?

LOUIS
Not yet. But as soon as my state goes…

JONAH, a burly petty officer steps up to Lon and puts his
knuckle to his forehead.

JONAH
By your leave, sir. The Lieutenant wishes to see you on the quarterdeck.

[next pt 13]