Archive for February, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran, Part 1 (continued)

February 27, 2008

Henry and Indy relax for a moment.  The traffic outside the diner’s window causes both of them to gaze out, wistfully.  Angela begins to grow anxious, she looks from one to the other.

                                         ANGELA

Hello?  Am I missing something here?  What’s the secret?

Indy turns to look at Angela.

                                         INDIANA JONES (solemnly)

That’s just it, Angela, it is a secret.  No one knows the location of Shangri La, it exists only through legend.

                                         HENRY

No one, that is… until now.

                                         INDIANA JONES

He doesn’t exactly spell it out for us, Dad!

                                         HENRY

But he does give us a clue.  The Dance of Aldebaran.  It just so happens Aldebaran will be very busy in the coming months.  You need to make that trip.

                                         ANGELA

What trip?  Indy, what is this all about?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Back in ’33 a plane full of refugees was escaping from a local revolt in Baskul.  On board was the British statesman, Robert Conway and several others, including Alex.  The plane was apparently diverted from it’s rescue and was last seen heading west into the Himalayas, mostly uncharted territory.

                                         ANGELA

Robert Conway!  It’s been years since I’ve heard that name!

                                         HENRY

Hmm… you and everyone else.  But finding Alex could help us discover what happened to Conway.

                                         INDIANA JONES

And that could create great political clout in the ending of this war, if HE is still alive.

                                         HENRY

Conway was well respected by all the world leaders, a true hero and a diplomatic genius.

                                         ANGELA (to Indy)

What do you propose?  Earlier you said you were at work confirming something?

Indy makes a hasty look at Henry who simply shrugs.

                                         HENRY

She’s in it now.

                                         INDIANA JONES

No thanks to you… okay, here it is.  Last night while we were at the observatory Dad made the remark about something happening “once in a blue moon.”  Aldebaran is on course to line up with the moon later this Spring.  Not just with the moon, but for the first time in a couple of centuries it lines up with the planets Venus and Saturn, making a line pointing down to the Earth.  Alex said to “descend into the Valley…”  I think Aldebaran must point to it in it’s “dance” with the moon and planets.  Follow the line of dissension; you’ll likely descend into the Valley of the Blue Moon.

Angela is momentarily speechless, while Henry is excited.

                                         HENRY

I wish I were going with you two!

                                         ANGELA

Us two?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Dad thought that since you were betrothed to Alex you might like to try to find him with me but I…

                                         ANGELA

Of course I would, that’s marvelous idea!

                                         INDIANA JONES 

But the Himalayas are mountains, it would involve a lot of climbing and cold! very cold!  And then there’s the war…

                                        ANGELA

Oh yes, the war…  Roosevelt says we are winning the war.

                                        HENRY

He does, indeed.

                                         INDIANA JONES

…and the traveling, pretty risky… the terrain is not very hospitable and I’d have difficulty managing to get through in one piece myself, let alone having a woman along!

                                         HENRY

I hear they have re-opened the Orient Express; it goes all the way to Kathmandu… or is it Delhi?

                                         INDIANA JONES

You’re not helping the situation, Dad!

Angela gathers her belongings and rises to leave.

                                         ANGELA

I’ll begin packing, Henry, you make the arrangements.

                                         HENRY (beaming)

Done!

She turns to Indy as if in afterthought.

                                         ANGELA

… and YOU had better think about taking something warm!  You’re no spring chicken, you know!

Angela exits the diner leaving Henry to sheepishly grin at Indy.

                                         HENRY

I still think she likes you.

FADE

EXTERIOR DAY.  A HARBOR ON THE EASTERN SEABOARD.  There is a montage of activity.  Cargo being loaded… people milling about, shaking hands and saying goodbyes.  Confetti.  Music.  Indy and Angela are walking up the gangway to board a Trans Atlantic ocean liner.

                                        INDIANA JONES

I still don’t think this is a good idea!

                                        ANGELA

I hope you get seasick!

MONTAGE: the ship sails.  Seamen work fore and aft.  Passengers mill about.  Later inside the ship.  Indy and Angela find their separate staterooms.  Indy enters his room and falls upon the bed.  Angela enters her room and finds the bathroom mirror, then crosses over and opens the door adjoining their rooms.  She looks in at Indy, who is flat on his back staring up at the ceiling.

                                        ANGELA

Do we need to keep this locked?

                                        INDIANA JONES

From which side?

Angela slams the door, then bows her head in afterthought.  Soon there comes a light knock.  She backs away silently, picks up a suitcase, throws it on the bed and hurriedly begins unpacking it.

                                         ANGELA (sweetly)

Yes?

The door opens and Indy peeks in.  Angela keeps her back turned away.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Look, I’ve been thinking… maybe we should call a truce.  Obviously we are going to be travelling together for quite awhile… we might as well try and get along.

                                         ANGELA (pleased at first, but turning with a passive face)

Yes, of course.  You are right.  A truce then!  (pause, more pleasantly)  Won’t you come in?

                                         INDIANA JONES (remaining at the door)

No, not right now… thanks, I have some un-packing to do myself.  But what say later on we take a stroll up on deck, maybe a little dinner?

                                        ANGELA (smiling)

I’d like that, Indy.

                                        INDIANA JONES

Shall we make it about seven?

                                        ANGELA

Seven.

Indy closes the door briefly then slightly knocks and opens it again.

                                         INDIANA JONES

I’m glad you’re here.

The door closes.  Angela sits down at the corner of her bed and smiles to herself. 

EXTERIOR OF THE SHIP.  LATER THAT NIGHT.  OUT ON DECK.  Dressed in evening attire Indy and Angela are strolling the outer deck, passing other couples and taking in the night air.  Indy greets one man standing alone as they walk past.  A few feet later they stop at the rail and look out at the water shimmering in the moonlight.  It is a cool night, they walk arm in arm.

                                         INDIANA JONES

You look radiant.

                                         ANGELA

Thank you, kind sir.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Have you given any thought to what will happen when we find Alex?  There must be a million things you’ll want to tell him.

                                         ANGELA

No, I haven’t… I don’t think it has totally sunken in yet.

Indy gives a look of mild surprise, which amuses Angela.

                                         ANGELA

I mean, I’ll be glad to see him, of course.  But a lot can happen in 12 years.  People change.  I don’t expect he’ll be the same person he was, no more than I am now…  given the time and the war and all… well, things do change, don’t they?

Indy says nothing, he looks out at the moon’s reflecting in the water.

                                        ANGELA

What about you?  you were friends, have things changed?

Indy looks at Angela.

                                        INDIANA JONES

Some things never change.

They begin to walk again, slowly.

                                         ANGELA

I mean, we grow… sometimes we grow apart… we want other things… 

Indy turns to Angela and takes her in his arms.  They kiss.

                                        INDIANA JONES

Some things never change… I didn’t want you to go on this trip because I didn’t want things to change back to where they were before Alex left.  With him being gone at least I had a chance… I could hope that some day… given enough time…

                                         ANGELA

Indy, it’s been 12 years!  What took you so long?

                                        INDIANA JONES

I didn’t want to rush you.

They kiss again.  Indy looks lovingly into Angela’s face.

                                        INDIANA JONES

You haven’t changed a bit, Alex will see that right off.

                                        ANGELA

Oh, but I have… and he WILL see that right off.

                                        INDIANA JONES

No, you’re more beautiful than ever.  Tonight you could out shine the moon.

                                         ANGELA (giggling)

Or maybe you’ve had a little too much moonshine.

                                         INDIANA JONES

You intoxicate me.

They move to embrace but Indy stops short.  A funny look comes to his face.  He moves away to the ship’s rail and looks out at the bright, full moon.

                                         ANGELA

Still not enough time has past?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I guess I can’t stop thinking about how it was with Alex and you.

Angela moves closer to Indy.

                                         ANGELA

I stopped thinking of it a long time ago.

Indy and Angela leave the railing and begin their walk again.  After a few steps Indy looks over his shoulder, but says nothing.  A short while later they round a corner and come upon a group of sailors having a smoke.  Indy greets the men and then approaches one, pulling him off to the side leaving Angela with the other sailors.  CUT TO:  The shadow of another man, a STALKER, is coming up from around the corner that Indy and Angela had just turned.  Entering into the light he sees Indy and Angela standing towards the bow with their backs turned towards him.  Just as he steps back so as not to be noticed, a pair of hands reach out and grab him by the lapels, pulling him around the corner and into the light.  The hands slam the man against the wall, in full view of the sailors.  It is Indy, wearing a sailor’s pea-coat.  Angela and the sailor Indy approached both turn away from the rail and face the others.

                                         INDIANA JONES (shouting)

Why are you following us?

The man is obviously confused and startled, he lets out a yelp.

                                         INDIANA JONES (drawing back his fist and preparing to strike the man)

Who are you and why are you following us?

                                         STALKER

I wasn’t following anyone!

The sailors and Angela rush up to restrain Indy and separate the two men.  The OFFICER OF THE DAY appears.

                                         O.D.

Here now!  What’s the meaning of all this?

                                         STALKER

My name is Horace Zelle.  This man tried to assault me!

                                         INDIANA JONES (freeing Zelle with a brush off)

He’s been following us up and down the deck, I wanted to know why.

                                         O.D.

Did you strike this man?

                                         INDIANA JONES

No!  I was trying…

                                         ZELLE

He grabbed me!  He would have struck me if these men hadn’t intervened!  I want him arrested!

                                         O.D.

Hold on you… (to the sailors)  What’s the story here, men?

                                         ANGELA (interrupting)

Please sir!  Let me explain!  I’m afraid my fiancee’ is extremely jealous!  He imagines every man is following me.  (she smiles provocatively)  Though I can’t imagine why…

The sailors begin to whoop it up.  The Officer of the Day looks her up and down then turns to Indy, who smiles sheepishly and shrugs.

                                         O.D. (wryly)

No, I can’t imagine why…

                                         INDIANA JONES

Nor can I…

The Officer of the Day turns to Zelle, who is not amused.

                                         O.D.

How about you, Mister… no harm done, hey?

He begins brushing Zelle off with his hand while one of the sailors hands him his hat.

                                         ZELLE

No harm done, indeed!  I’m going to notify the Captain about this!  I want that man kept away from me!

                                         O.D.

I’ll make out a report in the morning sir, you can swear out your complaint then.  Meanwhile, let’s break it up here, boys.  Get back to your posts, there’s a war going on!  And Miss, take your lover boy here back to his room before he starts any more trouble.

                                         ANGELA

Oh, thank you, officer!  I promise he won’t be any more trouble tonight.  (she winks) G’night!

                                         INDIANA JONES (smiling to all)

No more trouble… g’night!

They turn to leave, the sailor that posed as Indy taps him on the shoulder to exchange their coats.  Then he tips his hat to Angela in full view of the Officer of the Day and Zelle.

                                         SAILOR

It was a real pleasure, ma’am.

                                         ANGELA

Oh, how sweet!

Indy gives the sailor a double take, feigns jealousy then smiles broadly as they turn and walk back towards their cabins.  The sailors head off in the opposite direction, exchanging barbs with the one that posed as Indy.  The Officer of the Day hangs back with Zelle until all have passed from sight.

                                         O.D.

That was close, be more careful next time.

                                         ZELLE (not as timid sounding as before, but sinister)

The next time he touches me, I will kill him.

                                         O.D.

Stay out of sight and don’t be an idiot!  He won’t lead us anywhere if he knows you are following.  After we learn what we need to know… THEN you can kill him.

                                         ZELLE

It will be my pleasure!  (wiping his mouth with anticipation)  As will she!

FADE INTO NIGHT.

END OF PART ONE. 

                                        

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Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran, Part 1 (continued)

February 26, 2008

CUT TO:  Indy makes his way down the hallway to the university president’s office.   A  receptionist, ELEANOR, greets him as he enters the outer office. 

                                         ELEANOR

Good afternoon, Dr. Jones.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Good afternoon, Eleanor, is the old man in?

                                          ELEANOR

You know you are the only one who gets away with calling him that?

                                          INDIANA JONES

I’ve paid my dues, Eleanor… and done my time.

                                          ELEANOR (flirtatious)

And you are no worse for the wear… (smiles)  enter at you own risk!

                                         INDIANA JONES (reaching for the door)

I’m like an old shoe, Eleanor, my tongue may be tied but I can still kick his butt!

                                         ELEANOR

I wouldn’t bet on it!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Smart girl.

Indy enters into the president’s office.  There is a large desk in front of him and the man seated behind it has the back of his swivel chair to him.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Mr. President?

The president of the university swirls around delicately like a child on a carousel; it is Indy’s father, Henry Jones, Sr.

                                         HENRY

Junior!

Indy hurriedly closes the door behind him and strides up to the desk.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Dad, I’ve asked you not to call me that, especially not here!

Henry looks around innocently.

                                         HENRY

But there’s nobody else here.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Dad…

                                          HENRY

Ahem… Mr. President, if you don’t mind… and hold on.  (Henry presses his intercom button.)  Miss Eleanor?

                                         ELEANOR (through the intercom)

Yes, Mr. President?

                                         HENRY (smiles at Indy upon hearing his title)

Be a dear and hold my calls, I don’t want to be disturbed for a while…

                                         ELEANOR (through the intercom)

Of course, Doctor… will that be all?

                                         HENRY

Yes, thank you.

Henry turns his attention to Indy.

                                         HENRY

Lovely girl, that Eleanor, don’t you think?

Indy nods his head in agreement.

                                         HENRY

Now… where were we?

                                         INDIANA JONES

You were saying I should call you “Mr. President.”

                                         HENRY

Oh yes, quite… I think you should, yes.

                                         INDIANA JONES

I thought you said you didn’t like the sound of that, it made you seem like a pompous ass or some vain ceremonialist… you said.

                                         HENRY

I like the sound when YOU say it.  But if it makes you feel better you may call me, “Dr. Jones.”

                                          INDIANA JONES (muttering)

Why do I even try?

                                         HENRY

Hmm…?  You were saying, Jun… er, Dr. Jones?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Now look, Dad… it’s going to get awful redundant having me calling you and you calling me “Dr. Jones.”

                                         HENRY

Really?  I rather like it… and it’s MR. President.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Alright… alright, when we are alone… call me… whatever you like…

                                         HENRY

Good!  Now… what can I do for you?

Indy walks around to the side of the desk and produces the piece of paper that he had read from earlier to Marcus.  He turns around and leans at the desk with his arms folded.

                                         INDIANA JONES

I have a rather queer feeling about this one.  This note from Lovett, it’s uncanny but I’ve felt at odds with myself ever since I received it.

                                         HENRY

How do you mean?

                                          INDIANA JONES

There has got to be more to the message than meets the eye, I just can’t get the sense of it, my brain seems scrambled.

                                          HENRY

You may be right… you may be a little too close to this one, after all… Lovett was a competitor.

                                          INDIANA JONES

Competitor?

                                         HENRY

Hmm… yes, with you know… the Dean of Women…

                                         INDIANA JONES

Angela?

                                          HENRY

Exactly… there may be just a twinge of conscience there.

                                         INDIANA JONES

And for what reason?  She was betrothed to Lovett before he left for Europe…

                                         HENRY

Only to make you jealous.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Oh, I’m not going to get dragged into this conversation again…

                                         HENRY

Look… all I’m saying is that for as many years as he has been gone you have done nothing to rectify the situation.

                                         INDIANA JONES

What situation…?  She was to marry Alex when he returned…

                                         HENRY

What woman becomes betrothed to a man who will leave her and spend several months traipsing across Europe looking for fossils while his rival spends time alone with her half a world away?

                                         INDIANA JONES

He was my best friend, Dad!

                                         HENRY

Oh… we’re back to that again?  (rises up from his chair and walks around to where Indy is leaning and places his hands on his shoulders, smiling broadly)  All’s fair in love and war.  She cares for you, always has.  She’s been employed at this university since her graduation just to be near you and still you cling to some vain loyalty 12 years past.

                                         INDIANA JONES

My friendship is not bound to either time or space.  Besides, her father has been a key alumni for just as many years.  Did you ever consider her desire to honor his memory here?

Henry relaxes his arms back to his side and walks away shaking his head.  He looks up at a portrait hanging on the wall clasping his hands behind his back.

                                         HENRY

I suppose there is some merit in that, there ARE children who do honor their parents… hold their position in high esteem, respect their opinions… 

Indy stands and walks to his father, placing an arm across his back.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Dad… I am quite fond of Angela, but it would be impossible… look at our age difference!

                                          HENRY

You are the same age as Lovett.  And besides, when you are 108 and she’s 98 it won’t make that much difference.

                                          INDIANA JONES

The gap is a little wider than that, I’m afraid.

                                         HENRY

If I were just a bit younger I might give you and Alex both a run for your money!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Hmmm… that never stopped you before.  Look, Dad… Angela and I have an extensive history and I would do anything for her but…

                                         HENRY

Good!  Then it’s settled!  And I didn’t know you were involved with Elsa, besides… the attraction was merely physical.

Indy winces at the recollection while Henry makes his way back to his desk, sits down and begins shuffling papers.  Indy does a double take.

                                         INDIANA JONES

What Dad?  What’s settled?

                                         HENRY

You are taking Angela to find Alex.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Dad, are you nuts?

                                         HENRY

I don’t think so.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Even if I could go I wouldn’t take her!

                                         HENRY

Could go?

                                         INDIANA JONES (rubbing the ache in his neck)

I was kinda thinking I’d stick closer to the University, there is a war going on, you know.

                                         HENRY

There is?

He continues shuffling for a moment longer, Indy has returned to standing in front of the desk with his hands braced and leaning forward to face Henry.

                                         INDIANA JONES

There is!  And I was thinking that… well, the Philippines was a very close call.  (He begins to rub his ear.)

                                         HENRY (looking up and seeing him)

Oh that!  They make those out of rubber now, almost as good as the original.  Look!  I think I  figured out what Alex was trying to tell us!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Us? (he looks at the paper again) You have?  What do you make of it?

Henry scribbles a note on a piece of paper and shows it to Indy, it reads:

MEET ME TONIGHT AT THE OBSERVATORY.  SAY NOTHING NOW, THESE WALLS MAY HAVE EARS

                                         HENRY (continuing as he writes)

Yes, this R.S.V.P. thing, I’d say it’s an invitation, alright.  I think you and Angela should go on a trip together and I think I know where.

                                         INDIANA JONES

You do?

Henry puts his finger to his lips.  CUT TO: Outside the president office in the reception area, Eleanor is listening via the intercom and jotting down notes.

                                         HENRY (through the intercom)

Yes, tomorrow at breakfast I’ll tell you all about it.

FADE.

INT. THE UNIVERSITY OBSERVATORY.  NIGHT.  Henry is anxiously waiting inside as Indy arrives.  Together they make their way up the stairs as Henry begins an explanation of his behavior in his office earlier that day.

                                         HENRY (low whispering tone)

I couldn’t talk freely earlier, I’m sure my office is bugged.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Bugged?  Why on earth…?  Dad, you’re the president of Mid-Western University, why would anyone want to bug your office?

                                         HENRY

I’d say the reason has more to do with your exploits than anything I’ve done.  Besides… there is a war going on, you know.  I checked into it.

                                         INDIANA JONES

So I’ve heard… what are we doing here?  Watching for Messerschmitts?

Henry stops mid-step.

                                         HENRY

That’s not funny, Junior.  There are powers at work right here on our own soil that seek to undermine our government.  One cannot be too careful… if I am right about this, it could be the greatest discovery since…

Henry pauses, searching through his mind…

                                         INDIANA JONES

Since the Holy Grail?

                                         HENRY

The potential of this could be even greater than the Grail!

They reach the top of the staircase and enter where the massive telescope is housed.  An ASSISTANT greets them.

                                         ASSISTANT

Good evening, Dr. Jones and, er… Dr. Jones!  The location you requested is in full view.

                                        HENRY

Thank you.  Will you excuse us, please?  (the assistant leaves)  Junior, I want you to take a look at this.

Indy steps up to the eyepiece and peers in for a moment, then looks up and steps back, giving a little shrug.  Henry, indignant over Indy’s complacent attitude, steps up and takes a look for himself.  He then looks up at Indy.

                                         HENRY

Is that all you have to say?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Is that all I ha…  Dad, it’s a star!  a very bright, shiny star.  But the sky is full of them!

                                         HENRY

Not just any star, it’s your star!

                                         INDIANA JONES

My star?  Dad, I appreciate the sentimentality but…

                                         HENRY

Junior!  Not YOUR star, THE star!  The Star of Aldebaran!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Aldebaran!

                                         HENRY

Yes!

Indy rushes to the telescope and looks through it again.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Dad, how did you know?  When did you find out?

Indy looks up to Henry with a renewed admiration and respect for his father.

                                         HENRY

I remembered a recent issue of Sky and Telescope magazine mentioning Aldebaran and it’s alignment with the moon.  Did you know that there will be a blue moon in 1945?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Wait!  That might explain it!

                                         HENRY

Explain what?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I don’t know… THIS!  The Dance of Aldebaran!

Both men step down away from the telescope, excited.

                                         HENRY

Aldebaran means “the Follower” in Arabic, it follows the Pleiades Constellation.  Perhaps it is a code for what you should do.  Following it may lead you to Alex.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Hmm… the Pleiades… also known as the Seven Sisters.

The two men make their way towards the stairs and begin their descent.

                                         HENRY

Aldebaran  is part of the constellation of Taurus the Bull, he is the 13th brightest star in the heavens.

                                         INDIANA JONES (stopping)

13th?

                                         HENRY

It holds no significance, Junior, only a number.  He is the eye of the bull.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Who is?

                                         HENRY

Aldebaran!  What have we been talking about?  Aldebaran is the eye of Taurus the Bull, from the Zodiac!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Bulls-eye!

They stop and look at each other.

                                         HENRY

Bulls-eye?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Aldebaran… bulls-eye!  Lovett WAS trying to speak to us in code!

Indy removes the piece of paper from his pocket and begins to quickly read it through.  He stops, folds it back up and returns it to his pocket.

                                         HENRY

What is it?

                                         INDIANA JONES

There must be some kind of urgency or danger…

                                         HENRY

Well… he sends it “R.S.V.P.  ASAP…”

They are down the stairs and outside of the observatory now.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Yes, he does… please respond… as soon as possible.

                                         HENRY

Which could be interpreted, “Come quickly!”

                                         INDIANA JONES

Yes it could!  Dad, were you serious about that trip?

                                         HENRY

With Angela?  Yes, of course!

                                         INDIANA JONES

NOT with Angela!  Lovett’s life may depend on me getting there right away!

                                         HENRY

Junior, just where are you going?  There is no map, no directions… which way is THERE?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I’ll let you know tomorrow!  At breakfast!

They separate in front of the observatory.  Unknown to them the assistant is watching from an upstairs window.

INT.  A CLASSIC DINER.  DAY.  Indy enters to find Henry already seated in a booth reading the newspaper.  Indy motions to the server that he’ll have a cup of coffee and then turns his attention to his father, sitting down across from him.

                                         INDIANA JONES (after sitting un-noticed for several moments)

How ’bout that game?

Henry looks over the page, apparently noticing Indy has arrived for the first time.

                                         HENRY

Junior!… how ’bout what game?

Indy smiles and shakes his head.  The waitress brings over Indy’s coffee and he begins doctoring it.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Something came to me last night at the observatory that I had to confirm before I could tell you…

Just then a smartly dressed and attractive woman comes up to their booth and slides in next to Henry.

                                         HENRY

Angela!  Good morning!  … ravishingly beautiful at such an hour, how do you do it?

                                          ANGELA (laughing)

I keep in the company of nearsighted old men!  Good morning, Indy.

                                         INDIANA JONES (obviously displeased)

G’morning

                                         HENRY (putting aside his newspaper, addressing Indy)

I took the liberty of asking Miss Santamaria to join us for breakfast, I hope you don’t mind?

                                         INDIANA JONES (innocently)

No, not at all.

                                         HENRY

I thought it best that you two get accustomed to being together as soon as possible.

                                         ANGELA

Yes, Henry tells me that you have some news about Alex?  Who would have thought after all this time?  Where on earth was he?

Indy is not at all comfortable with Angela sitting in on the conversation.

                                         HENRY

Yes, Junior… and what were you going to say about confirming something?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Dad, this isn’t going to work.  I have to investigate this myself, I work better alone.

                                         HENRY

Hmm… since when?  (turning to Angela)  Junior thinks he knows where Alex is.  He received a note from him yesterday that was rather vague but… 

                                         INDIANA JONES

…BUT he intends to work it out in his own due time.

                                         ANGELA

Indy, that’s incredible!  A message from Alex!  He is alive then?

                                          INDIANA JONES

As of two weeks ago, he was.

Indy reaches inside his coat pocket and produces the note from Alex and hands it to Angela.  She reads the note carefully.  Indy gives Henry a glare that is returned with a comical wink and grin. 

                                         ANGELA

The Dance of Aldebaran?    Please R.S.V.P.?  He hasn’t mentioned a thing about where he is or what had become of him for the last 12 years!

                                         HENRY

Almost as if it were of no consequence.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Typical.

Indy returns the note to his pocket.  Angela and Henry sit with their eyes fixed on Indy, who takes to drinking his coffee.  An uncomfortable moment passes that Indy is soaking up but Henry is persistent in his silent goading.  Finally Indy sets his cup down.

                                         INDIANA JONES

I think I know where Alex is.

                                         HENRY

That’s what we’ve been waiting to hear!

                                         INDIANA JONES

It’s not what the note says, but what it doesn’t say.  The Currier gave me  a verbal addendum upon delivery, which didn’t make sense until last night when Dad and I went to the observatory.

                                         HENRY

Verbal addendum?

                                         ANGELA

Observatory? 

                                         INDIANA JONES

Yes, Alex writes about Aldebaran.  Dad pointed out that it is a star in the constellation of Taurus.  He also mentioned a blue moon will appear this year.  The Currier gave me a message verbally that accompanied the delivery of Alex’s note.

                                         HENRY

What sort of message?

                                          INDIANA JONES

More like a phrase.  “Descend into the Valley of the Blue Moon.”

Angela is puzzled but Henry is excited.  He pounds his fist on the table with enthusiasm.

                                         HENRY

He’s in Shangri La!

                                         INDIANA JONES

I knew you would come to that conclusion.

                                         ANGELA

Where exactly IS Shangri La?

(to be continued…)

                                      

                             

Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran, Part 1 (continued)

February 22, 2008

EXT. SOMEWHERE IN THE HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINS. NIGHT. The camera reveals a cabin crusted with snow and ice. The moon is full and reflects off of the landscape. Gradually the moon climbs to where an aquamarine aura is momentarily seen in the distant horizon, then it disappears. CUT TO: INTERIOR OF CABIN. The camera shows gear stacked against the wall, along with weapons and supplies. A flag bearing a swastika is among the items shown. Men are huddled around a stove that is set in the middle of the room, they are disgruntled and weary. Conversing in low tones and grunts, finally one stands and approaches the stove, the others fall silent. This one is an officer. He finds a coffee pot then pours the hot liquid into a mug.

                                         FIRST VOICE (off camera)

The moon is full tonight, Captain.

The officer nods a response but does not look to identify who has spoken. He holds his steaming cup as though it strengthens him.

                                         SECOND VOICE (off camera)

As it has been for the last six months we have been here.

Again, the Captain chooses not to identify who the speaker is.

                                         THIRD VOICE (off camera)

We have failed, as the others before us have failed.

The third voice seems to arouse the Captain, but still he does not address anyone in particular.

                                         CAPTAIN

Out Furor will not concede defeat, we must not concede defeat! If we fail others will take our place to the glory of the Fatherland!

                                         THIRD VOICE (off camera)

We are no closer than we have ever been! This place does not exist, we die for nothing!

The men are emboldened by the darkness, they murmur their support of the last voice and are restless. The Captain seems oblivious to their insubordination, he answers as if in a dream.

                                         CAPTAIN

It is here, Lieutenant; our information is accurate, of that you can be sure. But as with every treasure, the value is often appraised by it’s difficulty to be found.

The Captain lights a cigarette from a nearby hanging kerosene lamp, takes a thoughtful draw into his lungs and then unhooks the lantern and slowly allows it’s light to flash across the faces of the men accustomed to the dark. They wince, partly because of the light, partly from being exposed by the light. One man stands and approaches the Captain, who has replaced the lantern and returned to gazing into the stove’s fire. This one is an officer as well, though younger. He is not as controlled as the Captain and speaks disrespectfully.

                                         LIEUTENANT (3rd voice)

Accurate? We started out with more than 20 men, now there are 12 of us. Instead of prolonging life these mountains take it away! Who would place Utopia in the midst of this forsaken region? God would not be so cruel! We should leave, return to our homeland and our families!

                                         CAPTAIN

And what would you return with, Lieutenant Shueller? No proof, only fear? What honor is that for your friends and fallen comrades, your family and homeland?

                                         SHUELLER

At least I would be alive. (a murmur of agreement from the shadows)

From the darkness steps another man, dressed as a CIVILIAN. He raises his hands to the warmth of the fire. His presence makes the Lieutenant uneasy.

                                         CIVILIAN

You speak of God, Lieutenant? As if God would conceal anything from our glorious Furor? If we live, we live to serve the Furor and should we die, it is to the glory of our Fatherland! Or have you forgotten this, Lieutenant Shueller?

Shueller shakes his head and is sullen. The Captain turns his eyes to the civilian.

                                         CAPTAIN

We are all tired, PROFESSOR STROMBURG, all of us. I’m sure the Lieutenant meant no disrespect to our Furor.

                                         PROFESSOR

Tired, Captain? or half out of your mind with fear? Consumed by it, reeking of it, to the point of hysterics because we are about to unveil a power you cannot possibly comprehend?

                                         SHUELLER

I fear no man! Least of all you, Stromburg. Our Furor’s interest in this place does not bother me in the least! Though I am sure he has been blinded by those wild stories of yours! Superstitions and myths you have made him believe that go against human reason and nature. Man living hundreds of years in a paradise hidden in these mountains, ha! But I am not so easily convinced.

Professor Stromburg begins turning his hands while rubbing them near the warmth of the stove. The aquamarine stone of a ring glistens. He is amused at the younger man’s rantings.

                                         PROFESSOR

I am not interested in your convictions, aside from your loyalty to our cause. You close your mind to the possibility of things much grander then you could imagine and so you are a fool, as the world is full of so many fools. Shangri La exists. As each of us dreams of a better place, so it must exist. And we are close, foolish one, we are very close to finding it.

                                         SHUELLER

Just so many words! Words that killed three of us this morning! Words that will kill us all if we don’t go back! You chase a dream, a myth! Men will only continue to die trying to prove it!

The Captain now moves to stand between the two men, he is fully alert now and in full command.

                                         CAPTAIN

Then we die, Lieutenant, to the last man if necessary.

                                         SHUELLER

Is your loyalty so blind?

                                         CAPTAIN

I am a soldier, Lieutenant, as are you. (turning to face the darkness) As are we all! (facing Shueller) We serve the Furor, our duty is to the Fatherland. Our search is for it’s success for generations to come.

                                         SHUELLER

Can there be any glory in dying in these mountains, a thousand miles away from our homeland?

                                         STROMBURG

We Germans must adjust to many climates, Lieutenant, because the glory of Germany will be know worldwide.

The Lieutenant moves back into the shadows with the other men and sits down again. Professor Stromburg seems amused by the conversations outcome.

                                         STROMBURG

I will forget your words, Lieutenant Shueller, I will forgive your slander and tolerate your ignorance. Perhaps you will live to see and be convinced, perhaps not. But one thing remains certain, Shangri La will be found, it is our destiny!

                                         CAPTAIN (turning back to gaze at the fire)

Let us hope we are not too late.

The Captain then turns back into the shadows and sits down, leaving Professor Stromburg alone by the light of the lantern. The Professor rubs his hands with the warmth of the stove, then as if by discovery, removes the ring with the blue stone and examines it lovingly.

                                         STROMBURG (whispering)

Eternal life can never come too late, CAPTAIN VON HAUS

Kissing the ring he returns it to his finger then smiles wistfully into the coals of the fire.

FADE.

MID-WESTERN UNIVERSITY. DAY. STUDENT ACTIVITY ON CAMPUS. CUT TO: A CLASSROOM IN PROGRESS

A discussion between Indy and one of his students is interrupted by a bell, the students rise and file out. As they exit they meet headlong into an older gentleman, MARCUS, a colleague of Indy’s and a close friend. In the hallway a janitor is seen entering the adjoining room as Marcus enters and the students are leaving. Once inside and alone with Indy, Marcus is bubbling over with enthusiasm. Indy is clearing off the blackboard.

                                         MARCUS

Henry! Henry, is it true?

Indy turns around to see his old friend. He raises his fingers to his lips, gestures to Marcus to sit down then steps out into the hall to look up and down to see if anyone is out there. Satisfied that they are alone, Indy walks back in and closes the door. Marcus is anxiously waiting.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Marcus!

                                         MARCUS

Henry, is it true? I’m about to bust! I can hardly believe it after all these years!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Easy, Marcus, this can’t be leaked out, at least… not yet!

                                         MARCUS

Then it is true?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I received the note by Currier this morning. No one else knows except Dad, and now, of course… you.

                                         MARCUS (amused)

Your Father never could keep a secret!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Well… he’s kept one, so far.

                                         MARCUS

Oh yes, The Cup of the Christ! He’s a better man because of that one drink, let me tell you.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Yes… well, we’d have all done well to drink from that cup, Marcus.

He rolls his neck and rubs the back, like he’s ridding himself of a cramp.

                                         MARCUS

Hmmm… Yes, well… what of it, then? What of the note? Could it really be him after all these years?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Alexander P. Lovett.

                                         MARCUS

Lovett, Henry! After all this time, is it really possible?

                                         INDIANA JONES

It would appear so, Marcus. It was dated less than two weeks ago.

                                         MARCUS

And what of the crash… ? and the others, did he mention what happened to the others?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Presumed crash, Marcus, there never was any proof of that.

                                         MARCUS

But what else could have happened, Henry after all this time? What was the message? How did Lovett explain over 10 years of silence?

Indy moves away from behind his desk and walks around in front of it, sitting on it’s top and leaning closer to Marcus.

                                         INDIANA JONES

That’s just it, Marcus, he didn’t explain… he didn’t really say anything out of the ordinary.

                                         MARCUS

Didn’t say anything….? Well, what about IN the ordinary? Henry, people don’t just drop off the face of the Earth for a dozen years and then make contact acting as if nothing has happened to them!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Alexander P. Lovett does. Marcus, are you forgetting who we’re dealing with?

Marcus sits back and muses for a moment, then nods in agreement.

                                         MARCUS

Quite the pair, you two were!

                                         INDIANA JONES

He’s the one that got me started in all this.

                                         MARCUS

But YOU stayed, he left and didn’t say a word.

                                         INDIANA JONES

That was a long time ago, Marcus.

                                         MARCUS

But still, Henry… communicating with you after all this time and the note says nothing?

Indy has started pacing about in front of Marcus and as his friend finishes his question, Indy stops as in afterthought, reaches inside his coat pocket and produces a piece of paper.

                                         INDIANA JONES

It isn’t even a message, really, more like a post card… or no, like an invitation.

                                         MARCUS

A post card! How like him! eh…, what kind of an invitation? Henry! Are you going to tell me what Alex says or aren’t you?

                                         INDIANA JONES (reading from the paper)

Having a lovely time, wish you were here. Signed A. P. Lovett.

                                         MARCUS

Having a lovely time?… What? that’s it? There’s nothing else?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Well, you know Lovett, everything is LOVELY WITH LOVETT!

                                         MARCUS

Oh yes, I’d quite forgotten that little bit of odd humor. But Henry, that is all he’s said?

                                         INDIANA JONES

That’s about it… and the date… February 14th, 1945

                                         MARCUS

Valentine’s Day!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Oh, yes… I hadn’t made that connection.

                                         MARCUS (puzzled)

But…, you’d said it was like an invitation?

Indy leaves his desk and walks towards the window, peering out past the trees on campus, off into the sky…

                                         INDIANA JONES

I was leading up to the last part… He writes something familiar to me and yet I can’t quite place it.

                                         MARCUS

Henry! Why are you being so vague? What has Lovett said to you that has you so melancholy?

Indy turns away from the window and returns to standing in front of Marcus then leans back on his desk top again.

                                         INDIANA JONES

He said, “Would like you to attend the Dance of Aldebaran. Please R.S.V.P. ASAP.”

Marcus is momentarily speechless, like he is absorbing what Indy has just told him.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Marcus.

                                         MARCUS (after a long pause)

Yes?

                                         INDIANA JONES

There is one more thing, not from the note, but more like a verbal addendum… given to me by the Currier.

                                         MARCUS

Verbal? Henry, I don’t understand. You’ve received a note from a man presumed dead for the past dozen years who asks you to attend some shindig but adds something only spoken to you by the Currier? Good Heavens, could this become any more bizarre?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I’m afraid it could.

                                         MARCUS

Well, now I’m not sure I want to know… (sustained pause.) Oh Henry, of course I do! What on earth did the Currier tell you?

                                         INDIANA JONES (looking off towards the window)

What on earth, indeed… more like where on earth… It wasn’t that I was being told anything, but more like a phrase I’d dimly heard in the past but never thought I’d have it said to me in earnest.

Marcus is on the edge of his seat, Indy is having a hard time composing himself and is bracing for the reaction of his friend.

                                         INDIANA JONES

“Descend into the Valley of the Blue Moon.”

                                         MARCUS

Descend? How? From where?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I don’t know, that’s all there is to it.

                                         MARCUS

Odd. Do you suppose he is talking about this dance of Mr. Al-de-bu-ran?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Aldebaran, Marcus. I don’t know… there is so much about this note that seems familiar but I can’t seem to get a handle on it.

                                         MARCUS

I suppose you’ll have to go to the University on this one.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Yes… and I thought the Philippines would be my last…

                                         MARCUS

Retire, Henry?

                                         INDIANA JONES

No, Marcus, just tired. I had told the board and the President that I wanted to spend more time on campus. It really is a younger man’s game. Last time out I think I discovered that the hard way. (begins rubbing his neck and then runs his thumb around the scar behind his ear.)

                                         MARCUS

Hmmm… speaking of the President, how is the old boy?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Ornery as ever!

                                         MARCUS

But I’m sure he was tickled to hear about Lovett!

                                         INDIANA JONES

So tickled that he won’t let me sit this one out. Guess I’d best shuffle on up to the Grand Pooba’s office.

Indy rises to go and Marcus stands with him, touching Indy on his elbow.

                                         MARCUS

It was good news, Henry, knowing Alex is still alive. What a story he’ll have to tell, eh?

Indy pats his friend on the shoulder as he opens the door, enabling them to leave.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Lovett never had difficulty telling a story, Marcus. Knowing whether to believe it, now that was the difficult part.

Both men leave the classroom and head out into the hall, closing the door behind them. The door adjoining to the next room opens and the janitor peers out, thoughtfully holding pen and paper in hand.

(to be continued…)

Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran, Part 1

February 20, 2008

London, England. Early 1990’s

INT. A HOTEL. NIGHT.

Open with the camera panning a handbill from top to bottom with the announcement of “Archaeological Technique and Advancement of the Nineties: Is the Future in the Past?” As the list of speakers is scanned, towards the bottom is one name that the reader lingers on momentarily, Dr. Henry Jones, ret. Then the camera pulls back revealing an elegant easel, braided ropes leading to a dining hall and finally a lush and busy lobby. A voice is heard off camera, gradually the volume is increased as the camera pulls back to display the magnificence of the hotel.

                                         V.O.

… and that is why this new world, techno gadgetry is no match for honest to goodness work! Get your hands dirty! Follow your gut instincts, not some blasted computer print out from an infra-red camera perched miles high in a satellite! Archaeology has always been about getting the feel of the land and the ancient people you are involved with. It is like a romancing, a love affair, if you will.

CUT TO: A man is standing at the podium of a convention hall, the banquet has been well under way and it is obvious that the guests are tired. It is an elderly INDIANA JONES dressed in a rumpled suit and wearing an eye patch. His silvery hair and the lines on his face show he has led a long, fulfilling life. He is pounding his fist on the podium which sends the sound system screeching. The banqueters are amused at the speakers subsequent uneasiness. Another MAN, smartly dressed, is warmly tapping him on the shoulder as a signal that he time has come to end his speech. He cuts in front of the microphone.

                                         MAN

And it is my gut feeling that this ancient people is about to call it a night! (Laughter from the audience) Thank you, Dr. Jones, who visits us all the way from Midwestern University, U.S.A! (Applause)

                                         INDIANA JONES

Hmmfph!

Leaving the podium and turning towards his seat Dr. Jones looks out into the audience and squints but cannot see clearly. He shakes his head and finds his seat then sits down. The chairman is thanking the hotel and the sponsors of the evening, there is more applause and laughter. The camera pans the crowd of conventioneers and finally rests on two middle aged oriental men. They are standing towards the rear and privately talking amongst themselves. CUT TO: Several people gather their belongings and stand to shake hands at the speakers table, patting each other on the back and exchanging little barbs. Dr. Jones is sitting alone murmuring to himself.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Young punks, let that machinery do their thinking for them!

He looks out at the audience again, as if searching. The camera does a brief montage of the banquet hall guests breaking up then returns to the spot where the two men were talking, this time they are joined by a third man wearing a straw hat. He is also a middle aged oriental. The other two men slightly bow to show him respect. They all have their eyes on Indy.

CUT TO: Indiana Jones rises slowly, placing his trademark fedora on his head and gathers his top coat. The chairman makes his way to him and shakes his hand enthusiastically. He is cordial and makes his excuses then turns to leave. CUT TO: Conventioneers are thinning out as Indiana Jones leaves the banquet hall. A man steps out from behind the billboard easel as Indiana Jones walks past. It is one of the orientals, who merely stands and watches as Indy makes his way towards the front desk to inquire of any messages. The desk clerk informs him there are none; he turns for the elevator, stops and sees another of the orientals, the FIRST MAN, standing nearby. He backs up slightly and pauses…

                                         INDIANA JONES (murmuring)

My enemies have passed through the generations to confront me.

Another look and the man has gone, Indy cautiously makes his way to the elevator, waits and then enters when it arrives.

                                         ELEVATOR OPERATOR

Up, sir?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Hmmfph!

The elevator doors close.

FADE

EXT. OUTSIDE THE HOTEL. DAY. Dr. Jones is leaving his posh surroundings in favor of visiting a corner vendor for coffee and a pastry. He meets an elderly VENDOR who greets him warmly.

                                         VENDOR

G’morning, Yank!

                                         INDIANA JONES

What’ new in the world, Nigel?

                                         VENDOR

Well, it appears you Yanks are at it again, I’d say. Drug half the world in with you to boot!

                                         INDIANA JONES (confused)

It’s a bit early, Nigel. What exactly are we Yanks up to?

                                         VENDOR

Why, it’s war, of course! Desert Shield has turned into a full blown, bloody war! You mean you weren’t aware?

He hands Indy a London Times with the headline, Operation: Desert Storm. Indy is incredulous.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Nigel, I was not aware.

CUT TO: From behind the figure of a man comes into view, it is the same STRAW HAT from the previous night. One of his companions approaches from the opposite side.

                                         VENDOR (noticing STRAW HAT)

Well, what will be yours this morning, lad?

Indy looks up from reading the newspaper and is startled when he recognizes the men have him surrounded. Dropping the paper on the sidewalk he hastens towards the hotel. STRAW HAT comes from where he stood, bends and picks up the paper, stands to read the headline and smiles.

                                         FIRST MAN

Dr. Jones!

Indy’s pace quickens but he is having difficulty with his stride. The men begin to follow.

                                         STRAW HAT

Dr. Jones! Wait!

Indy continues to hurry briefly stops alongside of a building to catch his breath then presses on. The men are gaining on him.

                                         STRAW HAT

Dr. Jones! Dr. Jones! Indy! Wait!

Indy pauses when he hears his nickname, but then clutches his chest and falls to the pavement, unconscious. The shadows of the men cross over and darken his face.

FADE

INT. A PRIVATE STUDY. DAY. A hand takes hold of a fountain pen and begins writing.

February 14th, 1945.  Dear Henry, Having a lovely time, wish you were here. Would like you to attend the Dance of Aldebaran. Please R.S.V.P. ASAP. Sincerely, A. P. Lovett

The hand lies the pen down and then picks up the note as if to pause to read it. The other hand’s fingers are drumming absentmindedly on the table top and then they reach for a letter opener fashioned after a small sword. The fingers toy with the handle for a moment as the note is placed back on the table…

FADE

INT. A BAMBOO HUT. DAY. The Philippines, 1944

The side view of a military uniform with a sword in place, a man’s hand is resting on the handle, fingers drumming lightly. A Japanese OFFICER is slowly pacing around a PRISONER bound to an upright post sunk into the dirt floor of a thatch and bamboo hut. There are other soldiers present watching the OFFICER drilling the PRISONER.

                                         OFFICER

Who are you, why are you here?

The prisoner mutters beneath his breath, head down, seemingly exhausted. His back is to the camera.

                                         OFFICER (yelling)

WHO ARE YOU? WHY ARE YOU HERE?

                                         PRISONER

I’m an archaeologist.

                                         OFFICER

You are with Mac Arthur?

                                         PRISONER

No, I’m not…I’ve already told you…

                                         OFFICER (slapping the prisoner)

You lie! You are a spy sent to map our defenses! Where is Mac Arthur?

INDIANA JONES reacts to the slap on his face.

                                         OFFICER

Would you like to know how we make lying American dogs talk?

The Japanese officer draws his sword and places the tip to his prisoner’s throat. The blade point lightly goes from ear to ear on the prisoner, stopping at the second ear.

                                         INDIANA JONES

I can only tell you what I’ve already told you. I’m an archaeologist; my name is Henry Jones, Dr. Henry Jones. I’m on an expedition for a private university.

                                         OFFICER

University? I attended an American university. I went to UCLA, that is why I speak English so good. (laughs) So tell me, Dr. Jones, are you not aware that there is a war going on?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I’m aware.

                                         OFFICER

Why would American archaeologists come to Luzon Island when they are certain to meet only death and destruction?

                                         INDIANA JONES

That is exactly why I AM here, to find something before the entire island is destroyed.

                                         OFFICER

And this something that you search for, would it be treasure? gold perhaps?

He turns to his soldiers and says in Japanese, “This man is a treasure hunter!” and they all laugh.

                                         INDIANA JONES

No, no not gold, well…. I dunno maybe… it’s the scepter of Rajah Saliman. He ruled the island before the Spanish arrived.

                                         OFFICER

Scepter?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Miguel Lopez de Legaspi gave it to him in 1571, supposedly to guarantee his ruler-ship of Luzon Island. Of course, then the cannonballs started flying… it’s supposed to be buried here!

                                         OFFICER

This treasure… it contains gold and jewels? diamonds perhaps?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I’m not sure…

                                         OFFICER

Then you are a liar, Dr. Jones! You are a spy for Mac Arthur! You will tell me what I want to know! (in Japanese, “Fix bayonets!”)

The soldiers immediately attach their bayonets to their rifles and then snap to attention.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Mac Arthur isn’t within 500 miles of here!

                                         OFFICER (in Japanese)

Surround and cover him!

The soldiers obey and aim their bayonet points at Indy’s midsection. The Officer’s sword begins to draw blood from slicing at Indy’s ear.

                                         OFFICER

You will tell us Mac Arthur’s position or you will die… slowly and without honor, Dr. Jones!

                                         INDIANA JONES

I can’t tell you what I don’t know, for chrissake! You’re wasting your…

Just then an explosion is heard and the soldiers are startled, machine gun fire is nearby. The soldiers and their officer run to te window as more explosions are drawing nearer. They begin firing out the window. “It’s the Americans!” The sound of the battle draws louder as the Japanese officer turns his attention to Indy.

                                         OFFICER (screaming at his prisoner)

Spy!

He raises his sword and turns to rush towards Indy but in that instant the explosion of a mortar round erupts into the hut, taking a portion of the exterior wall where the soldiers and their officer had been returning fire. The impact throws Indy flat on his back, dislodging the post from the ground. Debris is scattered everywhere and as the smoke clears the soldiers are dead. The officer is wounded. Indy comes around and struggles to his feet, cradling the butt end of the post in his tightly clasped hands. He bends over in an attempt to throw the post off but he is still loosely bound to it and cannot free himself completely. The officer comes to, realizes what has happened and reaches for hi sword. Both men stand and face each other, the post Indy is carrying sticks several feet above his head. The officer moves in for a better position.

                                         OFFICER

It would appear, Dr. Jones, that you will die without honor after all!

He lashes out with his sword but misses, Indy staggers beneath the weight of his post that is throwing him off balance. The officer strikes out at him again, the blade glances off of the post as Indy again evades him. Finally cornered, Indy appears helpless, The officer moves forward to the kill, measures the distance with the length of his sword. He pauses to smile and ceremonially bow then draws back for a vicious thrust. Indy suddenly realizes his post has a greater length than that of the sword so he quickly “bows” to the officer, striking him on top of his head and rendering him painfully unconscious.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Touche’

He falls to the ground and allows the post to roll off from behind him. Freeing his hands from the rope, he places one hand to his ear. He looks wide eyed at the blood from it, and then drops into the corner exhausted. CUT TO: Outside the bamboo hut and the aftermath of the battle, Indy is standing with his hands free while American soldiers are securing the compound. Other POW’s have been released and they are making their way to medical personnel. Indy begins walking in the direction of the other prisoners until he is intercepted by an Army CORPORAL.

                                         CORPORAL

Dr. Jones?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Yes?

                                         CORPORAL

Dr. Henry Jones

                                         INDIANA JONES (annoyed)

Yes.

                                         CORPORAL

Sir, the commander has requested you accompany me.

                                         INDIANA JONES

What?… what for?

                                         CORPORAL

Sir, we are still trying to verify your reasons for being on Luzon Island at this time. Meanwhile, please consider yourself a guest of the United States Army.

Two Military Policemen flank either side of Indy as an escort.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Verify my reasons…? Look, I’m an archaeologist from Mid-Western University. I’m an American. I’m searching for an artifact, a relic that is 400 years old, which I hope to discover before this entire island is blown to the bottom of the Pacific. What else is there to verify?

                                         CORPORAL

I’m sorry, sir, I have my orders. Aren’t you aware that there’s a war going on?

                                         INDIANA JONES (muttering)

I’m aware.

Just then a cry comes out from one of the soldiers searching through the rubble of the bamboo hut. Other soldiers quickly gather around. One of the men shouts over to the Corporal.

                                         SOLDIER

Corporal, you’d better check this out!

Leaving Indy with the M.P.s, the Corporal trots over to the area where the mortar round struck the hut. After a few moments of examination he motions to Indy.

                                         CORPORAL

Er, uh… Dr. Jones, could you come here for a moment, please?

CUT TO: Indy and the M.P.s walk over to the spot where the Corporal has squatted outside the mortar’s crater, the other soldiers part to either side as he approaches to see the remains of a skeleton with the rotting garb of an island emperor, still half buried in the side wall. Cradled in the bony fingers is a bejeweled scepter protruding through the dirt. Someone whistles softly while Indy reaches out to softly touch the prize.

                                         INDIANA JONES

The scepter of Rajah Saliman!

Indy is grinning with astonishment as the Corporal shakes his hand and the others slap him on the back. In the background a military Jeep pulls up carrying two soldiers with sub-machine guns, a driver and a Mac Arthur looking figure. He steps out and after briefly looking over the compound he approaches the group surrounding Indy, who is still marveling over his find.

                                         GENERAL

Dr. Henry Jones?

                                         INDIANA JONES (without looking behind him, exasperated)

YES!

Standing up and turning to face his addressor, Indy realizes to whom he had been speaking to and grins sheepishly.

FADE

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO HARBOR. DAY. A military skiff approaches the shore carrying two men, an ENSIGN and Indy.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Ah, it’s good to be back in the States!

                                         ENSIGN

Where you back from?

                                         INDIANA JONES (rubbing a pain in the back of his neck)

The Philippines

                                         ENSIGN

That hot bed? What were you doing there?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I’m an archaeologist.

The skiff arrives at the dock ans is greeted by more seamen.

                                         ENSIGN

What would Mac Arthur want with an archaeologist?

                                         INDIANA JONES

No, you don’t understand. I wasn’t with the Army, I was on an expedition for a University.

Indy is disembarking as he speaks, the seamen tie off the craft, Indy steps up on the dock and offers a salute.

                                         ENSIGN

Expedition? University? Are you guys crazy? Aren’t you aware that there’s a war going on?

                                         INDIANA JONES (walking away, miffed)

I’m aware.

FADE

(to be continued…)

Free Indy

February 17, 2008

May 22, a date that will live in… well, the Indiana Jones’ series history.

That is the release date of the much anticipated sequel to the Indiana Jones trilogy, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Like everyone else, I am a huge fan… but I have to add this asterisk.

I wrote my own Indiana Jones screenplay some time ago. I don’t know the premise of the new sequel, it doesn’t matter… this one would stand on it’s own.

Much of the Indiana Jones fervor had died down back when I contemplated my story and I thought I knew why. I had an idea that I wanted to submit to somebody, ANYBODY to keep the franchise going. Not that it needed my help, because fans of the hero have survived nearly two decades awaiting this upcoming adventure. But because I was so enthralled with the character that I didn’t want to see him fade into oblivion, I wrote mine.

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Try as I might I couldn’t get anywhere with my idea. Lucasfilms rejected me with the utmost courtesy because my request for a review came unsolicited. I can appreciate that. These days everybody has an idea, everybody has a screenplay and everybody thinks their idea has been plagiarized and wants to sue. I just wanted to give Indy a way out and I think I have succeeded.

I’m glad they finally agreed on a story, but I think mine would be better…

First, I would like to thank Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford for coming together once again for this next (last?) go round with the beloved character of Indiana Jones.

Second, I would like to apologize to Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford for what I am about to do, i.e. publish my own screenplay on this blog.

and now the disclaimer….

________________________________

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THE FOLLOWING SCREENPLAY IS AN UNAUTHORIZED WORK. IT IS NOT SANCTIONED, APPROVED OR CONDONED BY LUCASFILMS, STEVEN SPIELBERG, GEORGE LUCAS OR HARRISON FORD. IT IS A WORK OF FICTION AND OFFERED FREELY AND WITHOUT COMPENSATION. IT IS INTENDED FOR THE PRIVATE USE OF THE READERS OF THIS BLOG AND ANY UNAUTHORIZED DUPLICATION IS PROHIBITED.

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_______________________________

That being said….

I offered the following as an introduction on my original screenplay.

.

Introducing Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran.

This script and its inquiry were rejected by Lucasfilms 3 times without being read. I wrote it on a lark because I believed that the character deserved more than the “grow old and die” ending that was painted for him in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

Indy was a hero in a time when the world needed heroes, but that hour never seems to pass for his audience. Larger than life characters need more than to succumb to the frailties of mere mortals. We want them to always be there; ready to emerge once again whenever they are needed. It is my hope that this story will give fans of Indy’s the satisfaction of knowing that no matter what, heroes live on.

For continuity it would be helpful if the reader was familiar with the Indiana Jones trilogy as well as the characters from the book, “Lost Horizon” by James Hilton and/or the movie starring Ronald Colman.

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I will offer Part 1 on Wednesday the 20th (the date of the 20th has been good to me as of late 😉 ) and will continue on with the remainder of the story until it’s completion. If you are a fan of the franchise I hope you will feel I have done the character justice. If you are not, my readership has just been knocked down substantially… which usually happens when I do this sort of thing.

I just hope I don’t get sued.

peace.

Economic Stimulus Plan

February 13, 2008

I have my own take on a new economic stimulus plan which I shall henceforth refer to as my own ESP.

My own ESP would be non-partisan and not favor any political clime or agenda but just put the oomph needed to jump start the nation into a production frenzy that would rival the golden age of industry.

First of all we would have to come to grips with the fact that, yes Virginia, there is a recession and then get King George to admit it. For more information on Bush’s approval rating check out:  http://americanresearchgroup.com/economy/  Then the road to recovery would get off to a fast start because people would know what they have to do, i.e. spend money.

How will people know what to do if we keep tip toeing around the obvious? My dictionary says a recession is quote: difficult economic conditions. I might go out on a limb here by asking this but, isn’t that what we have now? Unless, of course, you are Exxon-Mobil. You remember Exxon? the sign of the double cross?

During the last recorded quarter Exxon-Mobil reported a 40 billion dollar profit while the rest of the world struggled with high gas prices and higher fuel bills. Exxon-Mobil only supplies about 3% of the world’s oil. So I did a little quick math:

3% @ 40 bil = 13.333 bil per 1% profit for 1 quarter.

Now if we go with a more conservative quarterly profit, say a measly 10 billion, that would equal 3.333 bil per 1%. For ease of argument lets just say each 1% of the supplied world’s oil reaped 3 bil per 1%. Are you with me so far? That would mean that, on a conservative estimate based on 3 bil per 1% of the world’s supplied oil there was a gross profit of 300 billion dollars for one quarter. A quarter is 1/4 of the year so as we continue on that train of thought, 300 bil x 4 equals $1,200,000,000,000. That’s one trillion, two hundred billion dollars profit for the year 2007 based on my conservative estimate.

Yikes.

Okay, hmm… how do I know this is accurate? I don’t… it could be more. IT COULD BE MORE!!!

So what does this have to do with my own ESP? Well, you don’t have to have extra sensory perception to know that the future looks bleak when people don’t have money to spend and thus keep our economy afloat.

The economic package that just got passed by the United States Congress was for 160 billion dollars. About a 100 goes out in rebate checks and the rest will be in the form of tax breaks for businesses. Businesses like Exxon-Mobil? I don’t know. My friend Keith (yeah, the one from the Hemingway stories… you thought I made that stuff up, didn’t you?) says that the oil companies have to make a large profit otherwise there is no incentive for them to go out and get the oil. More on that later….

To me all this talk about billions and trillions and daffodil-ions gets me all numb with numbers to where my head hurts. But then I remembered something I read on the Internet (it was on there, you have to believe it) having to do with the number… one billion. It said…

A billion seconds ago it was 1959

A billion minutes ago it was the time of Christ

A billion hours ago it was the Stone Age

So a billion, even though the word is thrown about by politicians like so much loose change, is actually a large number. A billion dollars is a lot of money to us poor folk. But is 160 billion enough? and is it going to the right people? If one industry in one fiscal year earns $1,200,000,000,000 dollars, I’m thinking 160 billion is just a drop in the bucket. And we need big help fast. So here is the plan…

Give people MORE money to spend, but not just any people. Give money to the people that will spend it.

1) I say give vast amounts of money to teenagers. They don’t have a plan for the future because they are young and feel they have all the time in the world to make more money. So an extra million now could just be blown on X-Boxes and musical downloads, pizza, movies and automobiles with fancy rims and $300 tires. Teenagers have their whole life ahead of them and would have plenty of time to work on their second million later on.

2) Give vast amounts of money to retired persons. They’ve earned it, they’ll spend it. Why hand it over to greedy children who ungratefully go about their business and ignore the needs of their elders? Grandparents need revenge and would gleefully spend a million dollars without giving it a second thought. What have they got to lose? They’ll be dead in a few years anyway. So they’ll buy Viagra and go on cruises, they’ll go sightseeing and buy RVs, they’ll play golf and buy polyester. They’ll spend a million dollars like there is no tomorrow because, for them, there may not be.

3) Give vast amounts of money to homosexuals. Imagine the influx of known gays and lesbians there would be if each one were to receive a million dollars just for making the declaration? The closets would be cleaned out across the country. They’d spend their money with wild abandon on things like clothes, fine wine, music and jewelry. Art galleries would thrive. Money spent on remodel projects would flood into the construction industry and the housing market would once again boom.

4) Give vast amounts of money to poor minorities. A million dollars spent on family needs like shoes and medicine, clothes and food, housing and transportation. A million dollars to spend on education, a million dollars to spend on being treated equally, a million dollars to spend for the rest of us to feel fair and just. Yes, minorities would spend their money and help the economy, too.

5) Don’t give money to anyone else.

There, that wasn’t too hard. 100 billion dollars would equal 100,000 millionaires! 1 trillion dollars would equal 1,000, 000 millionaires! Imagine the impact that would have on our economy if it was put into the proper hands. But it won’t happen that way. 100 billion dollars will be doled out like food stamps. People will line up in rebate soup kitchens and that 100 billion will trickle and fade, hardly making a ripple.

Oh, and the logic behind oil companies having to make large profits otherwise there would be no incentive to produce more oil is bunk. Those people need gas to drive back and forth to work, too. Think of these other large corporations like pharmaceuticals and insurance companies. What kind of world would we have if they operated like that?

Besides, I go to work and I don’t receive vast profits. Give me a million dollars, I promise I’ll spend it.

My own ESP says you’ll thank me later…

peace.

My dog Sam, conclusion

February 9, 2008

We never did see Sam again, or found out what happened to him. 

Enough people hated Sam so that it was not unthinkable that he might have been shot or poisoned.  I always figured he was too smart to get hit by a car or fall into some trap.  And we knew that if there was any way for Sam to return to us, he would have…

That is unless…

We had settled on Sand Road by the time Sam had gone.  Perhaps he felt his usefulness was used up.  The breaking in time to coming to accept the old neighborhood had expired.  In fact, when any of my sisters or I think of home these days, the gray house is what we picture because we lived there longer than any other home we have known. 

I have visited Sand Road recently, it is remarkable how much of it remains virtually the same.  It is still a rough and tumble, washboard style of thoroughfare.  There are many of the houses I knew down on the “lower” road.  The Iowa River still gently meanders along it’s banks as soothing as a lullaby.  The ghosts of the past still haunt my memories as I stand out looking at the old neighborhood.

 The cornfield behind where my house was has now been turned into a softball diamond.  The city annexed the property and made the “upper“ portion of the Sand Road respectable now.  A real life field of dreams…

The open ended garage we used to stand in to wait for our bus is gone, as well as many of the houses that were on the way to the old bus stop.  Our house is gone, too.  Now a large pump house stands exactly where that tired, gray house once stood.     

I haven`t thought about what happened to Sam for a long time.  Maybe God saw fit to have him mosey on to another neighborhood, to adopt some other family and find his way into another little boy’s heart.  I`d like to think so, anyway.  Sam is like so many super heroes I can think of; timeless, ageless, and forever etched in my family`s lore.

And each of my siblings have their own memories of Sam and that gray house, my mother and the old neighborhood.  Life on the Sand Road wasn`t what we would wish to live over again, but one we shared and enjoy reminiscing on whenever we get together.  Separated by the miles, cultures and politics that sometimes comes with age, we`ll  start swapping stories about our family`s heritage, and then be united again on the Sand Road.  During those warms thoughts of the past talk of Sam usually comes up.

Not that we had him; but for a time, Sam had us… and that made the difference between ownership and companionship.  Because he really wasn`t just my dog. 

That night of the brawl and the dramatic rescue, I realized the situation I was in and living was not a personal affront to me, but a situation that my family collectively endured.  The fact that my mother loved that dog provided his biggest miracle for me to recognize.  We were all in this together; these circumstances not by choice, these miseries we had to live through the best we could, this meager existance that we shared with our dog.  Not my dog, but our dog.

Our dog… Sam.  

My dog Sam, Part 9

February 6, 2008

The next day Sam made a trip to the veterinarian in order to get patched up.  After taking one look at his wounds, the vet insisted Sam be kept and observed for rabies as a precaution.  We knew Sam wasn’t infected but left him anyway, thinking it best to go with the recommendation of a professional. 

My sister went to retrieve Sam a few days later and said that when he was brought out of the kennel he seemed despondent and broken.  But as soon as he recognized her Sam leaped up and came to life, happy to be going home again.  All the way back to the gray house Sam submissively rode with his head on her lap. 

Sam favored his leg all winter and into the spring, staying close by the house but not changing his even temperament.  He was irate all the time, anxiously awaiting fairer weather and feeling claustrophobic or too close to people.  Sam became more of a loner after that night of mayhem in our yard.  Even when his leg became fully mended, running with the boys didn’t seem to appeal to him much anymore.  But that didn’t keep him from travelling up and down the road with apparent aloofness towards four and two legged creatures both great and small.  And that did not alter the perception of him being a bad dog to the rest of our neighbors, because Sam was used to having things his own way.

One time I was walking with Sam down the “lower” road and there was a dog tied up in his yard barking at us and straining at his rope.  Sam and I moved along minding our own business but this dog was insistent, barking and swiping at the air with his front paws, jerking at his restraint like he couldn’t contain himself and needed to confront my dog.  Suddenly the clip on the collar broke and this dog was catapulted toward us with such a velocity that it seemed to startle him.  He stopped short of the road and stood silently looking at us like his bluff had just been called.  Sam didn’t even seem to notice the mutt, so confident was he that we strode on without missing a beat.  That dog stayed put until we were well down the road… then started barking again.

Sam left us one day and didn’t come back.  Naturally we didn’t think much of it at first because he continued to leave and come back at his leisure, we sort of came to expect it.  But this time he was gone for awhile and I became worried that something had happened to him.  Perhaps one of the neighbors had made good on his threat or Sam had another run in with the roving band of n’er-do-wells that he’d once been associated with.

My grandfather never seemed to get rattled with Sam even though Sam barked at him whenever he pulled up with that dreaded lawnmower.  Maybe Sam didn’t like the idea of his master being forced into hard labor and was giving me a chance to make a jail break run, or perhaps it was the loud, invasive contraption that spit out grass clippings at Sam when ever he got too close that got him riled.  Whatever the case, my grandfather essentially just ignored Sam and after a while Sam more or less tolerated the loud, pollution machine that disrupted his Saturday. 

One early morning my grandfather arrived to kick off the Springtime servitude of lawn mowing and asked me if it was my dog he had seen up where the road forked, the animal had apparently just been hit by a car.  With my blood pounding in my ears I ran up the lane and out onto the road.  Sure enough, from where I stood I could make out the shape of a dog stretched out in the dust.  “Sam!” I called out and rushed to where my dog had been thrown.

As I approached the form appeared to be lifeless and my heart sank.  “Sam!” I choked, and his tail stirred.  Getting nearer I realized it was not Sam dying in the dirt, but his nemesis, Frankie.  Frankie never could resist chasing every car that sped past him.  This time either the driver had purposely swerved to hit him (which given the pillars of our community was not unheard of ) or Frankie had somehow gotten himself caught under the wheel and crushed.  What ever the case, when I found him he was barely alive.

I stopped short and took a long look at the dog I had feared since I first set foot on the Sand Road.  His eyes rolled back to look at me while he panted short, labored breaths.   I stooped down to get closer and Frankie let out a soft growl. 

“Easy, Frankie.”  I said and reached out to pet him.  Helpless in that position Frankie closed his eyes as my hand brushed the top of his head for several strokes.  I spoke as soothingly as I could, trying to calm him and work up the courage to move my hands down his body.  Gently I slid my arms under and lifted him up, causing him to whine for a moment and lightly convulse, I knew I didn’t have much time.

I stood up and began carrying him down to the “lower” road as droplets of blood started to fall from Frankie’s mouth.  Down the road I walked, Frankie’s head bobbing to the rhythm of my footsteps.  I made it towards the end of the road, turned up a mixed sand and gravel driveway then rapped on the front door of the room addition that was attached to a mobile home with my foot. 

The sassy girl came to the door and seeing me with Frankie screamed for her father, who quickly appeared behind her.  I stepped back and brought Frankie down into the grass, realizing that he had died along the way to his home.  The girl reached down and hugged her dog, cradling his head in her arms then began rocking back and forth.  She wept uncontrollably as her father stood with clenched fists and looked as if he was getting ready to punch me. Quickly I explained to her dad how my grandfather had seen Frankie up on the road and sent me to see if it was my dog Sam.

I don’t know if I have ever seen the sassy girl’s father without alcohol on his breath, but his face was grim that day.  He reached out finally and sadly shook my hand, thanking me for bringing Frankie back.  His daughter never looked up, by then her sobs were buried in the fur of her dead pet.

I walked home feeling badly for Frankie’s owners.  Life on the Sand Road was hard enough without having to have the one bright spot in your world taken from you.  There aren’t too many luxuries  that blow our way.  We make do with stuff that others might ridicule or scoff at.  Little things that we take great pleasure in like skipping stones across the river or a tire swing lazily swaying from a tall tree branch.  Frankie wasn’t much to look at but he carried with him the love of a little girl who felt important and in control when he walked alongside of her.  The same way that I felt when I walked with Sam.

I reached our lane and looked up at the spot where I had found Frankie.  I was relieved that it was not Sam that I had found but at the same time my heart ached at the wondering of where he might have gone.  I sat on the steps leading to our front porch and thought about Frankie’s meanness and the fights he had been in with my dog.  I remembered our first encounter on the road and the times after when Frankie would be chasing me home or up a tree to avoid being bitten by him.  I never did discover how Frankie had lost that hind leg of his, and reasoned that was probably why he had become so mean in the first place. 

And then, for no earthly reason that I could think of… I started to cry.   

My dog Sam, Part 8

February 3, 2008

Fall is my most favorite time of the year.  Autumn on the Sand Road transforms the area from a dusty, ramshackle river side community to a crisp and breezy avenue  shaded with majestic oaks, maples, spruce, pines and birches.  Squirrels jump from tree to tree, chattering their instructions to each other, busy in preparation for the coming winter.  Birds congregate in the branches above; counting heads, working out flight formations and picking squadron leaders, making ready for their migration south.  Any of a dozen places could have easily made a Norman Rockwell setting with myriads of colors blended onto the painter’s palette.  During the splendor of Autumn, it is difficult to walk down the Sand Road and not feel connected to the river, the people and the land.  The sweltering summer has passed.  Winter is reaching with it’s willowy fingers.  Bringing with it the last hurrah of the harvest, Autumn is a blend of blessed relief and reflective angst. 

Sam was gone again.  It got to where we didn’t think too much about it for the first few days.  He’d arrive all strung out and tired from his romp with the gang; eat, sleep and lay low for awhile.  Then one day someone would ask, “Have you seen Sam?” and then we’d all be on alert trying to recall where we’d seen him last and when.  But he always came back. 

The evening of Sam’s second run in with Frankie was a night like any other night.  It was cold outside, enough for frosting the pumpkins and reminding us why we dreaded the approaching barren and brittle winter months.  It seemed we could never prepare for it. Our house was a drafty old barn with a propane gas heater in the basement and a silver 300 gallon above ground container that sat in the back yard like a Sherman tank.  The furnace had one main duct that ran up the center of the house with a couple of floor registers that kicked out nothing but psychological warmth.  Dead winter snows would find us huddled near the main vent.  Since we usually hung our clothes outside to dry, (rendering them a musty odor when winter dictated we hang them in the basement) often times clothing that had to be worn to school the next day would get draped over a chair in hopes that it’d be dry by morning.  It was not uncommon for me to wear jeans that still had a damp waistband and inside pockets to school.

I was sitting at the kitchen table doing homework, it was long past dark.  Mom had finished doing dishes and was preparing coffee, her favorite beverage.  My mother drank gallons of coffee morning, noon and night and then couldn’t figure out why she didn’t sleep when the time came to retire.  I remember we were having light conversation about something when from the outside we could hear a commotion, familiar sounds I couldn’t quite place. 

Through the crisp, night air came the reverberations of the domesticated wild.  Yelps, screeches, barking and vicious growls clawed their way unto my ears.  But not from one or two dogs, the pandemonium was a collage of excitement, anger, rage and fear from an array of different voices.  Flipping on the outside light, I ran out the front door and onto the porch. 

From the solitary security light stuck in the middle of our yard I could see a group of dogs, at least eight or more encircling a couple of fighters that were ripping and tearing at each other while the onlookers clamored for their blood.  The carousel swirled through our yard and zig-zagged it’s way towards our porch where I was standing.  As the gnawing agitation came within a dozen feet of me, the light from the porch  illuminated the proximity of our yard.  At the top of the steps I could see the dogs that were in the nucleus and causing all the ruckus.  One was the size and shape of a German Shepherd.  He was being backed up and put on the defensive by a smaller dog, an enraged and fearless animal.  This canine was fighting for his life with all the grit and purpose of a champion gladiator that knew he was in a death match.  A brute that though lacking in size fought with heart and sheer guts.   A cur hopelessly outnumbered but brave until the end. 

My dog.  My dog, Sam.

In the thick of the other contenders was Frankie.  While Sam was taking on the frontal assault of the Shepherd, Frankie the coward attacked Sam’s flanks and latched on to one of his limbs.  The Shepherd clamped down on a tuft of Sam’s neck and between them they pulled and tugged on Sam like he was a rag doll.  The circling mass of hyenas would nip and rip at Sam in rapid succession, causing his attention to shift and dart to respond to another chomp, each bite, every tear. 

I knew that they were set on killing him, and in that moment my heart stopped as I watched my pet valiantly try to make his way home; to the sanctuary of his tree, the solitude of our porch, the arms of our love and the protection that he had never required from us before.  Until now.

But it only took one resuscitating heartbeat and I was in the thick of the fight with Sam.  Kicking, swinging and screaming at the top of my lungs I jumped in at Frankie first and placed a toe hard against his ribs.   I could feel the other dogs teeth on my pant cuffs pulling at me, biting at the back of my legs through my jeans and grabbing onto my arms, ripping my shirt. 

The noise from those dogs was deafening and disoriented me, making my counterattack unbalanced.  Before I knew it I was on the ground.  Sam, emboldened by my arrival and subsequent fall, struck back at each dog that lurched in my direction.  But the confusion only lasted for an instant.  The Shepherd and Frankie worked around me, clamoring to get at Sam while I fought off the rest of the battling brood.  Sam struggled to protect me and defend himself at the same time.  It was hopeless and desperate, but Sam had the heart of a lion.  He was king of the Sand Road pride and not going down while he still had life in him. 

We were surrounded by chaos.  With both panic and fury I fought like another animal, swinging wildly at the dancing descendants of primordial wolves.  I don’t know how long we lasted; kicking, screaming, biting and barking but finally above all the commotion I heard another sound, the sound of relief.  The sound of re-enforcements, like the cavalry in the nick of time,  the marines leading the charge with gung ho bravado.  All this and more at the hands of an unlikely ally.

My mother was yelling, “Get out of here!” and swinging her broom, thwacking the Shepherd on the head then following through like she was wielding an axe at the rest of the startled mutts. Whatever her efforts; between that, my cursing and windmill flailing of arms with Sam’s courageous determination, the dogs scattered. 

It was all I could do to hold Sam back to keep him from running after them, but afterwards he allowed me to pick him up and carry him inside… exhausted, but alive.  Sam’s front leg had been chewed and bloodied just above the paw clear up to the joint, nothing but mangled fur and raw meat.  His ears had been ripped with chunks removed and Sam’s face had several gashes in it.  As I laid him on the kitchen floor Sam licked at my hand as if his only concern was my well being. 

My mother had grabbed some dish cloths, wet them down and begun dabbing the blood off Sam’s fur.  She was crying for him and I realized then she might have loved our pet as much as I did.  Sam had given us all something to hold on to, a status of sorts that even my mom recognized.  He was the family hero.  Sam had made a mark on our little corner of the world and asked nothing back from us, because he required naught.    And now as we tended to his injuries we feared that Sam’s light was dimming.

Sam caught his breath after resting for a while.  Soon he got up and stood by the front door wanting out.  Try as I might to get him to lay back down on our make shift bed there on the kitchen floor, Sam was insistent.  

I went to the front door, Sam hobbled through onto the porch.  With my mother standing at the entry to the house I crossed the porch and opened the screen door.  Sam pushed past me to stand at the top of the steps and peer out into the night.  He breathed deeply a couple of times through his nostrils.  Then came the sound I recalled hearing for the first time not so long ago when we came to form our friendship.  Sam let out a low, long and loud howl of defiance… hurled at the ghosts of darkness. 

“He just had to let them know he was still here, didn’t he?”  My mother mused.