10.31.2011

Myth & The Modern Man*

FADE IN:

EXT. A UNIVERSITY LIBRARY -- DAY

The large CLOCK TOWER of the library commands the sky. Its antique stone face and iron hands stand firm at 8:15. Clouds rapidly roll in behind it and the sky darkens reflecting hues of the sunset on some far off horizon. The hands remain at 8:15.

EXT. A UNIVERSITY LAMP POST -- DUSK

The beginning of the Campus Square's sidewalk flows among large manicured trees and shrubbery.

The LAMP POSTS guarding the way begin to awaken.

The concrete path introduces the The Old Lab, then makes its way to The Science Hall then passes The Student's Center. Finally, it reaches the DOORS of the huge provincial Canton Library.

INT. FRONT STUDY OF THE LIBRARY -- DUSK

The FOOTSTEPS of DR. LIST, 65, a well regarded historian and philosopher, echo off the walls of the vast room as she enters. Her warm demeanor makes her popular among students as well as staff. It is no different now as she approaches MEG, 20, an attractive student in her class.

DR. LIST
Have you been waiting long?

MEG
(relieved to see her)
No. I just got here. It's quiet. Is it always this quiet?

DR. LIST
Yes, I'm afraid so. This wing has seen its grander days.

Dr. List takes in the vastness of the room.

DR. LIST
Come, it's too dark here. Let's sit in what sunlight's left.

Meg gathers up her things then follows Dr. List towards large arched windows hovering over worn leather and oak furniture. In this quaint area, the sunlight casts its rays into the shadows of the bookcases and falls to the floor allowing the dust that stirs to settle with it.

DR. LIST
Here should do, Meg.

Meg takes a seat on the nearest sofa and immediately opens her book. Dr. List studies the grid of light on the wooden floor. She admires it from various angles.

DR. LIST
It is beautiful. The pattern of light and dark. It looks as though it's been
painted on the floor.

She walks in front of it and her shadow breaks the pattern.

DR. LIST
But it is an illusion.

Meg is not concerned with the pattern.

MEG
It's no illusion that I'm flunking your class, Dr. List.

Dr. List steps back and the pattern is restored.

DR. LIST
In 32 years, I have yet to fail a student.

MEG
(not impressed)
Great, I'll be the first.

DR. LIST
(amused)
I did poorly in a class once?

She finds a chair near Meg and relaxes into it.

MEG
You?

DR. LIST
You could drop.

MEG
It's too late.

Dr. List sits up with her full attention on Meg.

DR. LIST
Why did you take my class? What interested you in "Myth and the Modern
Man?"

MEG
Really?

DR. LIST
(lightly)
Yes, your reality.

MEG
Ben took it and loved it.

DR. LIST
Ben?

MEG
My fiance.

Dr. List gets up and follows the light to a bookcase.

DR. LIST
Edenfield?

MEG
Yes.
(flashing the ring)
We just got engaged.
(She moves it into the light making it sparkle)
He surprised me. It was so romantic. I didn't expect it.

DR. LIST
I bet you were very surprised.

MEG
(Admiring the ring from various angles)
Oh yes, Dr. List, I keep replaying the moment over and over in my mind. It's
like life is just falling into place --

DR. LIST
Except for my class?

MEG
Yes.

DR. LIST
Ben was one of my favorite students. Is he practicing?

MEG
Yes. He loves it. He's at Clark, Davis and Fife. They are all very good
attorneys.

DR. LIST
He would have made a great historian. He did very well in this philosophy
class, too. If I remember correctly, he was quite taken with Hegel.

Meg stops in the center of the grid but continues to admire the ring.

MEG
(finding this humorous)
Hegel? He's doing so well I don't think he thinks of Hegel.

DR. LIST
Perhaps.
(beat)
And you?

Meg focuses her attention on Dr. List, confused.

DR. LIST
What do you think of Hegel?

Meg returns to the sofa and plops down on it.

MEG
I think I overslept that day.

DR. LIST
(laughing)
I think so, too.

Meg makes herself very comfortable.

MEG
Needless to say, I've been thick in planning.

DR. LIST
Next Spring?

MEG
Of course. After graduation, if I graduate.

DR. LIST
If?

MEG
Yours isn't the only class I'm failing. Dr. Malta is no help whatsoever! I met
with him earlier today and I might as well have been talking to the floor.

The GRID on the floor begins to disappear as the sky darkens.

DR. LIST (OS)
He won't help you?

MEG (OS)
I made a fool of myself begging. It was still no use. He's never liked me. I
didn't have a chance in that class.

Dr. List nods.

MEG
Now he thinks I belong in a looney ward or something.

DR. LIST
I see.

MEG
(hopeful)
But I knew you would understand.

DR. LIST
Please, hand me your book.

Meg does and Dr. List flips to the INDEX. She studies if for a moment.

DR. LIST
There is a book we should find.

Closing the book, she hands it back to Meg and motions her to follow.

MEG
(relieved)
I knew you would help me!

Meg gathers her things and hurries to catch up.

INT. ALCOVE -- SAME

Dr. List hits a light switches that exposes a narrow set of stairs. She climbs and Meg follows.

INT. WEST WING OF LIBRARY - SAME

Dust rises from books shoved and crowded into shelves as they move through the narrow isles. Dr. List intently searches the shelves as she goes.

DR. LIST
It's here somewhere.

MEG
I've never been up here.

DR. LIST
Really?
(pausing her search)
If you go farther down, there's the stairwell that leads up to the study in the
clock tower.

MEG
Seems like Ben mentioned that.

DR. LIST
It's a wonderful place to think.

Dr. List pulls out a book and examines it. Meg COUGHS at the dust but Dr. List doesn't notice. Dr. List puts the book back.

DR. LIST
I would bet he spent a great deal of time studying up there.

Dr. List continues to hunt through the books.

MEG
I don't know. He doesn't like heights --

Dr. List leans to one side attempting to read titles.

DR. LIST
(to herself)
Where is it?

Meg glances at the titles of the books and pulls one out then replaces it.

MEG
-- especially after what Sara Jennings did.

DR. LIST
Sara?

MEG
That girl that jumped. He knew her.

DR. LIST
How tragic.

MEG
He said she was always a little high strung. Different --

DR. LIST
(with pity)
Such an irrational thing. You know there was an...
(thrilled)
Ah, here we go!

Dr. List yanks a book from the shelf.

DR. LIST
An historical essay on his marriage to Marie von Tucher.

MEG
Who?

DR. LIST
Hegel.

MEG
And Marie. Right. A marriage of great minds no doubt.

DR. LIST
Actually,
(beat)
I do doubt that they were any kind of match. But he woo-ed her, from my
understanding. His only irrational act from what I can tell.

Dr. List moves through the narrow bookcases but glances through the book.

DR. LIST
Yes. Frankly, I can't understand it.

She stops at a wrought-iron winding stairwell leading upward. Meg catches up.

MEG
Dr. List, I can't flunk your class!

Dr. List ascends the steps.

DR. LIST
Don't panic. No one flunks my class. We need to think.

Meg follows her.

MEG
(innocently)
What about an incomplete?

DR. LIST
Never a good strategy, Meg. There are deadlines for reasons. Only a few
can handle crossing those lines. Most just hang themselves with it. You
need to finish what you start.

MEG
Life doesn't always let you, Dr. List. There are things that are out of our
control sometimes.

DR. LIST
(offended)
Yes, I know. I think your grade is one of them.

Dr. List hands Meg the book. Meg's not sure what to do with it. Dr. List steps down and descends the steps.

MEG
Where are you going?

DR. LIST
Meg, let's call it a night. We'll sleep on it and talk tomorrow.

Meg grabs her arm. Dr. List abruptly turns to her, startled.

MEG
Sleep? I can't sleep. Dr. List, you have to help me. What am I supposed to
do if you don't help me?

DR. LIST
(burdened)
Tell me, Meg, what did I do wrong?

Meg collects herself though not sure how to answer.

MEG
What do you mean?

Dr. List restrains her desperation.

DR. LIST
Why was I not able to teach you? What was it? Enlighten me?

Meg scans her mind for the right answers.

MEG
(helpless)
I can't! All I know is -- it feels like my whole life is riding on this grade. You
have to help me. If not for me, than Ben. He won't want me. He can't marry
a failure.

DR. LIST
(agreeing)
No one wants failure.

MEG
Then you understand?

DR. LIST
I do.

Meg pulls her back to the stairwell.

MEG
(begging)
Please, think. Please.

INT. THE WINDING STAIRWELL - SAME

They climb.

INT. TOWER - SAME

The stairwell opens into a small area with comfortable sofas and end tables that are arranged on both sides of a wooden door. Books lay stacked and open on one of the tables.

MEG
Is this the tower?

DR. LIST
Yes.

MEG
I imagined something different.

DR. LIST
How so?

MEG
I don't know.

Dr. List takes a seat next to the door.

DR. LIST
What do you know, Meg?

Meg perches on a chair next to her confused by the question.

MEG
Dr. List?

DR. LIST
(to herself)
It shouldn't be this hard.

MEG
I just didn't do the work.

DR. LIST
You didn't even try to do the work.

MEG
I guess --

DR. LIST
No guessing. It's not good enough.

MEG
(pouting)
It comes easy for you and Ben.

DR. LIST
That's an illusion. Do you think this is easy for me?

MEG
I'm just asking for help.

DR. LIST
You are asking me to validate your carelessness for my hard work, aren't
you?

Meg looks at her, speechless.

DR. LIST
Early in my career, I had students walk all over me not giving damn at all.

MEG
I didn't mean to --

Dr. List holds up her hand to shield herself from the apology.

DR. LIST
I entered as an up-and-coming young professor at a prestigious university.
But it was not real. I left a failure; a fool. It's easy to be the fool, isn't Meg?

Meg agrees.

DR. LIST
I was lucky to get this position with my reputation. I told myself it would be
different here. I would be different.

MEG
(impatient)
Look, Dr. List, tell me, please, what I can do? I never meant to make you
feel like --

DR. LIST
You can relax.

Dr. List breathes in to calm herself. She gathers her thoughts and suddenly becomes the personable professor the campus has come to love.

DR. LIST
(smiling)
Just be Nothing for a moment. You're not going to flunk.

MEG
I'm not?

DR. LIST
No. I won't let you. Just relax.

Meg melts into her chair.

MEG
Thank you. But how...

DR. LIST
Shhh...I'm thinking.

Meg quiets. She looks around and finally gets up and moves to the door. Meg opens the door without much effort and stands next to it. A soft breeze has made its way into the room rustling the pages of a book.

MEG
(whispering)
The balcony.

The thin balcony is only large enough for one person. It is encased by an old wrought iron fence that is
waist high.

EXT. TOWER'S BALCONY -- NIGHT

Darkness has gently fallen upon the CAMPUS.

DR. LIST (OS)
Who said, "In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe...

LAMP POSTS intermingle with TREES that dwarf them.

DR. LIST (OS)
...and enough shadows to blind those who don't?"

INT. TOWER -- SAME

Meg's curiosity moves her closer to the balcony.

MEG
(mesmerized by the view)
Janaro?

DR. LIST
(jovial dismay)
Oh, no, no, no, Meg. Pascal.

Meg moves closer. She hesitates.

MEG
(daring)
Ben would never step out there.

DR. LIST
Faith before fear. You must always have faith...

Meg braves the heights and steps onto the thin ledge.

DR. LIST
...until it no longer serves you.

MEG
I wonder if that's that what happened?

She turns to look at Dr. List.

MEG
The girl? Did she lose faith? Do you think that is why she jumped?

DR. LIST
Who? Sara?
(beat)
Or Ellen?

MEG
It happened before?

DR. LIST
Years ago.

Meg turns back to the landscape.

DR. LIST
History has a way of repeating itself, Meg.

MEG
Why do you think?

DR. LIST
Because we refuse to look closely at it. We don't seek out the patterns of
what is real; what is illusion.

MEG
There wasn't enough light for them to see a way out?

DR. LIST
Something like that.

Meg starts to step back into the study.

MEG
Honestly, it's just creepy to me.

Dr. List leans against the narrow doorway blocking it.

DR. LIST
I'll tell you something creepy.

Meg, startled, steps back out.

DR. LIST
I knew them both.

MEG
(cautiously)
From "Myth and the Modern Man?"

Dr. List nods then the words pour delicately out of her mouth.

DR. LIST
They weren't very good students either.

Meg's face surges with horrified understanding.

FADE TO BLACK

!!!HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!


Commentary: I have NO idea where this story came from. One day I sat down to write and 3 hours later it was written, rewritten and on its way to a contest.

I love old Alfred Hitchcock movies where most of the horror or suspense is imbued in the mind of the observer rather than visually and gratuitously stripped from the imagination.

It was fun to write though the 'womanist' in me struggled a little. I felt like I was writing of the paradox between two stereotypes. But I gave myself permission to just let what flowed to flow. And...

...that's all there is to know. Ha...

*© 2005 AndiWritesAgain

10.17.2011

In Power


she was not seeking power
she was looking only to love all things ceaselessly

~ unconditionally ~

and in that search, Power joined her

10.09.2011

Music Grandma Used to Play



I had forgotten how much I loved this song.