St George and the Dragon

St George and the Dragon

I recently came across an old computer file on my PC, and realized it was the second draft of my first screen play.
The following is the first sequence that was dropped when I completely revised the next draft, switching the protagonist from George Whitefield to a young fatherless chimneysweep.
It is based upon a true incident in the life of the 18th Century Evangelist. Hope you enjoy it.

(Apologies in advance for the odd look to the formatting. I have not yet found a fix on WordPress).

FADE IN:

EXT.  A SCOTTISH MOOR – DAY   (1741)

Two figures on horseback crawl at a snail’s pace across the empty moor.

IAN

I dinna think you shoulda given money to that
there widow, Mr. Whitefield.

GEORGE

Come now, Ian, if the good Lord makes us aware of someone
in distress we should  relieve them.

GEORGE AND IAN

The young clergyman and his older companion slow their mounts as the road at this point steepens.

IAN

I be a-thinkin’ that four shilling would ha’ done for her.
Perhaps three e’en.

GEORGE

Her creditor was suing for a guinea and six. Less would
not gain back her furniture for her.

IAN

So she said.

They stop and dismount to lead their horses up the hill.

AT THE TOP OF THE HILL

A HIGHWAYMAN sits astride a horse keeping watch from behind an outcropping. He has a fine tricorn hat and lace at his throat, but his coat is faded and tattered. His hand rests on one of two pistols jammed in his belt.

HALFWAY UP THE HILL

George and Ian stop to rest.

IAN
(Panting)

Did ye ever stop and think of the debt you were
a-owing yerself?

GEORGE

The thought of that debt never leaves me.

IAN

And it never will if you persist in giving money away. Ye wit well,
the Lord commands us to be good stewards.

Ian picks up the reins of his steed and walks it onward. George remains at a standstill and casts his eyes up to heaven.

GEORGE
(In a low voice)

Vindicate me, O Lord.

TOP OF THE HILL

The highwayman backs his mount deeper into the cover of the outcropping. The horse snorts and paws the ground.

He puts a steadying hand to her muzzle.

He screws his face up in the effort to hear his approaching prey.

George and Ian crest the hill and draw near to his hiding place.

He takes the reins in his teeth and with his pistols at the ready, kicks his mount into action.

The highwayman at once blocks their path, drops the reins and shouts:

HIGHWAYMAN
(With larcenous relish)

Stand and deliver.

George and Ian stand beside their mounts stupid with surprise.

HIGHWAYMAN

Give me your purses.

George draws his purse out.

It falls with a TINKLE at the feet of the highwayman’s horse.

HIGHWAYMAN

Damn your eyes.  Pick that up and give it me proper.

George walks over, picks it up and hands it to the highwayman.

HIGHWAYMAN
(To Ian)

I’ll have yours, and be quick about it.

Ian grudgingly takes out his purse and hands it to George who passes it up to the highwayman.

GEORGE

Will you spare us the price of a meal?

HIGHWAYMAN
(Laughs coarsely)

No, but I’m much obliged for the price of mine.

The highwayman spurs his horse around and gallops away.

A LITTLE FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD

George’s face, wreathed in a smile, beams at his friend.

GEORGE

It’s much better that our widow has the money
than that outlaw, wouldn’t you say?

Ian GRUMBLES an assent.

At the SOUND OF HOOVES they both look round. It’s the highwayman again.

George and Ian huddle behind their horses. The highwayman charges to a stop.

HIGHWAYMAN

I’ve decided that you will oblige me by trading coats.

George takes off his coat and hands it up to the highwayman.

GEORGE

You have much more need of the coat of righteousness.

HIGHWAYMAN

Save your sermons, parson.

The highwayman puts on the fine coat and tosses down his tattered one, turns his horse and gallops off.

LATER

On the road now nearing a village, George pulls the tattered coat closer about him to ward off the cold. The pair rides on in silence.

Ian turns his head at the SOUND OF GALLOPING HOOVES.

IAN

It’s him, again!  Ride for your life!

George and Ian kick their horses into a gallop, and streak towards the village.  The highwayman BELLOWS in anger at them to stop.

George and Ian reach the village and the highwayman, reins in his horse and shakes his fist in rage. Then turns and flees back down the road.

THE VILLAGE

The village’s single street is empty, only by the curl of smoke from each of the chimneys do we know that the village is inhabited.

George and Ian stand beside their mounts to catch their breath.

IAN

I was sure he was a-meaning to kill us that time.

GEORGE

Aye. Thank the Lord we were so close to this village.

Ian eyes his companion with a wry smile.

IAN

You look a very scarecrow, Mr. Whitefield.

George lifts the hem of the coat, and feels the heft of a considerable weight.

He tears at the lining of the hem and takes out a small but heavy sack.

GEORGE

Bless my soul, Ian, will you look at this.

George pours the contents out into the palm of his hand.

IAN

Gold?

GEORGE

Aye!  It must have been what he came back for. With this I
can get some material to send to my orphans for winter clothes.

IAN

But…but..

GEORGE

I know..I know.. It could be used to pay the debt. But this
falls very short of what the orphanage owes and is
remarkably close to what the material will cost.

IAN

You’ll be returning to London without repaying that debt?

CUT TO:

The title sequence follows as the conversation continues against the backdrop of London.

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]

The first draft of my play “The OutR daRk” is now finished.

I will put it aside for awhile, put it out to a few friends, take some notes, and after deciding what needs to be changed, I’ll tackle a second draft.

I’m also looking to have a dramatic reading that should be helpful in the process.

Meanwhile, I will be moving ahead on a screenplay – I need to choose between two. Then another play, a musical.

RWOz2

RWOz2

Rebel Treasure third post

Rebel Treasure third post

 INT. THE GATES’ HOME – NIGHT

The door opens and a column of light illumines the parquet floor. Ben strides in with determination , leaving Abigail to follow. She flips the light switch and looks anxiously after the retreating form of her husband.

BENS DEN

Ben heads straight to the bookshelf. He grabs the desk lamp, flicks it on, and twists the neck to direct the beam at a high shelf. He extracts a book that rests in a plastic bag atop several standing volumes.

He place it on the desk and redirects the lamp there and sits down.

Abigail slips into the room. While sliding the volume out of the plastic bag, he notices her.

                                                          BEN
Hon, go on to bed. I’m going to be up awhile.

She crosses to the desk.

                                                         ABIGAIL
Just one thing.

                                                        BEN
Are you going to nag?

                                                        ABIGAIL
Who me?  How could I compete with the monkey on your back?

                                                        BEN
That obvious?

                                                        ABIGAIL
Just remember you’re teaching in the morning.

                                                       BEN
(Holds up the book)
Alonzo’s journal. I’m just going to refresh my memory.

She turns to leave, but pause at the door.

                                                      ABIGAIL
If you think it makes a good bedtime story, why don’t you come read it to me, Daddy?

                                                      BEN
(Already absorbed)
Uh huh.

THE GATES’ KITCHEN – NEXT MORNING

Ben, outfitted in professorial garb, hovers over a griddle, sizzling with bacon and eggs. Satisfied that they’re done, he lifts the griddle and splits the contents between two plates.

                                                     BEN
Come and get it!

Abigail enters, dressed for the day, and takes a seat. He places her plate before her, and fetches his plate and a pot of coffee before sitting. He leans over the table and busses her cheek.

                                                    BEN
Good morning, wife!

                                                    ABIGAIL
Good morning, husband! Learn anything?

                                                    BEN
Alonzo wrote mostly mundane stuff dealing with his day to day doings as a rep for a Mississippi River freight company.

                                                    ABIGAIL
(Disappointed)
Oh.

                                                    BEN
But he did belong to the K.C.G.

                                                    ABIGAIL
The secret society that had a lot to do with the South seceding?

                                                    BEN
The very one, the Knights of the Golden Circle. After the war they went underground.

                                                    ABIGAIL
Plotting another war?

                                                   BEN
(Nodding)
Lon stated flat out that they were acquiring gold, silver, and weapons in vast quantities and stashing them in a whole string of depositories that they had established across the South and Southwest.

                                                   ABIGAIL
Any indication of where?

                                                   BEN
No. It seems that Lon did not leave the K.G.C. on good terms. He set up a few repositories of his own. I’m hoping to dig one of them up.

Her face a question mark, Abigail looks up from her breakfast.

For answer, Ben slides the open journal over to her. A stub of a page pokes out from between the other leaves.

                                                 BEN
I’m going to call my cousin Toby, who lives in the ancestral house, and ask if he can check for the missing page. It just might be a map.

                                                ABIGAIL
Cousin Toby? Just how many relatives have you got stashed away that I don’t know about?

                                                BEN
I don’t know. A dozen, maybe. Yes, a dozen at least in Oklahoma.

                                                ABIGAIL
I don’t understand, are you giving up on this submarine of yours, and going treasure hunting?

                                                BEN
Not at all. A log has never been found for the CSS Gray Whale. I’m betting that he put it with the rest of his valuables.

[next pt 4]