Punch Drunk

Dust Clouds

Punch Drunk

SCENE 1

WE HEAR STATIC FROM A RECORD PLAYER NEEDLE. A BEAT DROPS ON A HIP-HOP JAZZ FUSION TRACK. THE INSTRUMENTAL IS CONTINUOUS. THERE IS A BELL THAT DONGS INTERMITTENTLY.

CHARLES- I was near dead... Water logged and rotting, right between two old battleships, in South Philadelphia. I wasn't even aware of where—who I was... I just kept having an annoying dong ringing in my ears. Flashes of a man—a large man dunking me in water... somewhere... I see men- and women in suits... I'm among them and we're voting... There was a map-a city map, the waterways... The waterways were important, and then... I can't remember... That ringing... Sonorous ringing... Clanging. Banging! Ahhhh! My head... Stop! Stop it! I just wanted to stop it! My mind flashes images of reporters thrusting microphones in my face. I start sweating and I feel nauseous and I start to remember... I remember that the dressing on the salad tasted funny and... Ahhh! That bell. Someone, anyone, silence that bell! Another flash and I see a man, dressed as a sanitation worker. Noticed his boots were spit shined and everything went black. I hear a voice saying one word... lobby. Ahhh! My head! And my ears fill with fluid increasing the pressure on my forehead and... I lost it. Lost it all... What was I thinking? What was I seeing? I lost it all! I know I lost something but I don't know what... and I see that large, strong man again. I rush at him—cause I'm thinking—I'm thinking that if I get close enough, I can hit him. I can hurt him and Ahhhh! I feel a burning sensation through my shoulder. My mind flashes again. The bell gets louder and louder. I see casino lights, laughing faces, cigar smoke and I'm suddenly on my knees. My thighs burn with the same ferocity as my shoulder and I hear a voice telling me to dive... Ahhhh! That bell! Then I saw moonlight shimmering close to me but when I reached toward it, I realized water was all around me... and everything went black again... Blacker than a thousand shadows in an alley at midnight. Pitch black! I was alone save the —clanging bell, penetrating like a power drill, piercing my skull until... I couldn't breathe. The last thing I saw— daylight and a woman. She spoke to me but I couldn't understand a word she said... I was numb, freezing and exhausted... Ahhhh!

END OF SCENE.

SCENE 2

WE HEAR THE GENTLE RISE AND CREST OF RIVER WATER. BIRDS CHIRPING. FOOTSTEPS. VOICES DISTANT BUT WE CAN HEAR THE CONVERSATION AS THEY COME CLOSER. ONE VOICE, THE CAPTAIN'S IS DISTINCTLY FEMALE.

SAILOR 1- Hmph! Just because we're closin' the Navy Yard the vagrants think it's their playground.

SAILOR 2- Ain't but one this time!

CAPTAIN DUNN- Funny, how you two are worried about the vagrants.

A STRONG BREEZE.

You have your orders. Pick up all the trash around the parameter!

BOTH SAILORS- Yes sir, ma'am sir!

CAPTAIN DUNN- And the next time you wanna disrespect someone make sure they're not an officer.

BOTH SAILORS- Yes sir, ma'am sir!

MARCHING OFF.

CHARLES- UHHHHHHHHGH...

APPROACHING FOOTSTEPS.

CAPTAIN DUNN- This is a restricted area. I'm afraid I'm gonna have to ask you to leave.

PAUSE.

Hey! Did you hea—

A MAN THROWING UP.

Disgusti—oh my God! Help! Help! Help!

FOOTSTEPS RUNNING AWAY.

END OF SCENE.

SCENE 3

MUSICAL TRANSITION. WE HEAR CLASSICAL MUSIC SPILLING OUT OF HEADPHONES. HEAVY FOOTSTEPS ECHO OFF OF STONE FLOORING.

JOE- Ezekiel!

PAUSE.

- Ezekiel! You didn't bring me my newspaper.

WE HEAR SOMEONE TAKING OFF HEADPHONES. THE MUSIC SPILLS OUT LOUDER.

EZEKIEL- Did you say something Lord Joseph?

JOE- My paper... And it's Joe. Not Lord Joseph. Not Joseph, lad. Just Joe... And keep those headphones off.

THE CRACKLE OF THE NEWSPAPER.

EZEKIEL- Yes... Papa Joe.

HEAVY FOOTSTEPS WALKING AWAY CLASSICAL MUSIC FADES. O'HARA- Papa Joe... I actually like that...

SMACKS NEWSPAPER IN HIS HAND.

Now let's see... local politics...

PAPER UNFOLDING.

Aye! Here we are. "The luck of The Irish finds money pot in Sweden. "

HE CHUCKLES.

Former Police Commissioner, and current Mayor of Philadelphia, Joseph O'Hara, shows the business prowess of a titan and protective spirit of a father...

A SIP OF TEA.

- Ah... Papa Joe, as this writer refers to him—aye, there it is in print!—has brokered a deal with the private Swedish ship builder, Krausencropter.

ANOTHER SIP OF TEA.

The 400 million dollar move is sure to create hundreds of jobs particularly for the labor unions...

DOORBELL.

Oh for St. Patty's bloomers... Who-

HEAVY FOOTSTEPS APPROACH.

EZEKIEL- Councilman Dust, Papa Joe. -

JOE- Show him in.

EZEKIEL- Right that way.

LIGHTER FOOTSTEPS APPROACH.

JOE- Thank you Ezekiel... That 'll be all, laddie.

HEAVY FOOTSTEPS AWAY.

Tea Charles?

CHARLES- No, thank you. Joe-

JOE- Did you see the paper?

CHARLES- Yes. That's—

JOE- Business prowess of a titan! I love how that sounds.

CHARLES- Well it's—

JOE- And, the protective spirit of a father, ha ha!

A SIP OF TEA.

CHARLES- Brilliant. But Joe—

JOE- In time, the Delaware River and the Schukill will be business magnets.

CHARLES- Joe—

JOE- The unions are in good shape. Cruises out of Philadelphia, riverboat tours to different parts of Fairmount Park—

CHARLES- Joe, Joe... Joe!

PAUSE.

JOE- Lad?

CHARLES- Your celebration is all well and good, but I'm afraid it might be premature.

JOE- What do you mean, premature?

A SIP OF TEA.

CHARLES- Well you see, Joe, my Constituency is grossly under represented in the labor unions, and they make up forty five percent of the city's populace. So while—

JOE- You want everybody happy, laddie?

CHARLES- If possible.

JOE- I see... And this couldn't wait until we got to council to discuss?

PAUSE. ANOTHER SIP OF TEA.

CHARLES- With all due respect, Joe, we've known each other for a long time. And, I've never known you to be underhanded, so as a friend—

JOE- Friendships and business relationships make strange bed fellows.

ANOTHER SIP OF TEA.

CHARLES- Yes but, Joe—

JOE- This conversation is off the record, I assume?

CHARLES- Yes I—

JOE- Good. Then off the record, I'll say this... Build a lobby.

CHARLES- A lobby?

JOE- Yes. Organize a group of your constituents. Put pressure on the council.

CHARLES- But I can't—

JOE- Charles, Charles, Charles. You're intelligent—probably the brightest mind on the council. Be creative...

A GRANDFATHER CLOCK BELL DONGS.

I'm afraid this meeting has to be concluded. Ezekiel will see you out. Ezekiel!

HEAVY FOOTSTEPS APPROACH.

EZEKIEL- Yes Papa Joe?

JOE- Kindly show the Councilman out.

EZEKIEL- Yes Papa Joe.

CHARLES- So that's it? You won't even hear me out?

JOE- I understand that the issue is pressing for you, but unfortunately, laddie, in politics pressing matters are plenty and I cannot give them all my attention.

CHARLES- But I thought—

JOE- Thoughts are things of danger, like sand in gale force winds, Charles. Ezekiel.

EZEKIEL- Councilman...

CHARLES- I know the way out.

LIGHTER FOOTSTEPS AWAY.

JOE- Idealists.

END OF SCENE.

SCENE 4

TRANSITION MUSIC.

CHARLES- That was one year ago, so I'm told. For me, time is... confused. The last thing I remember was...

A FLATLINE SIGNAL. LONG PAUSE. SIGNAL BEEPS.

CHARLES- Hahh! Hugh!

CLICK OF A SMALL DOCTOR'S LIGHT.

CHARLES- Next thing I knew, I was here.

DR. HUIRT- Well, you'll be happy to know your eyes are clear. Lumped up pretty bad but at least you can see.

CHARLES- Captain obvious.

BOTH MEN LAUGH.

CHARLES- Ouch!

DR. HUIRT- Cracked ribs, a surgically repaired lung removed three bullets, one from your shoulder and one from each thigh- ya been here for four days—

CHARLES- You didn't tell—

DR. HUIRT- I didn't tell anybody anything. Hippocratic oath and all. But, the woman who found you-

CHARLES- Awe sh—

DR. HUIRT- She's something else. Yo—

CHARLES- Does she know who—

DR. HUIRT- Relax! She didn't ask any questions. Media came on a hunch. Said someone had tipped them that a city official had bought it down at the Navy Yard...

CHARLES- Awe man! And what happened?

DR. HUIRT- You need to rest.

CHARLES- So, you gonna leave me hangin like that?

DR. HUIRT- Yeah, that way you have to listen to me.

CHARLES- You're a cold man.

BOTH MEN LAUGH.

DR. HUIRT- Chaz, you can't keep this up- I can't keep this up. I know what those kids meant to you, but you don't know what you're dealing with!

CHARLES- Yeah. You're probably right.

DR. HUIRT- Probably... You were an inch away from dying, man!

CHARLES- And you're the best surgeon on the planet.

DR. HUIRT- And I don't want the blemish on my career to be that I couldn't save my brother.

AN ALARM.

I gotta go. She turned them away... All of them.

FOOTSTEPS RUSHING AWAY. AMBIENT SOUNDS AND VOICES IN A RUSH.

CHARLES- Great.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Hi.

SMOOTH JAZZY MUSICAL TRANSITION.

CHARLES- She said the two letter version of the word. But one look that face that body- that smile... She was describing how I felt.

Floating on a dream cloud reflected in her eyes/

My pride challenged joy to a fist fight and met demise/

I couldn't disguise it/

I think she realized it/

I was gone...

CAPTAIN DUNN- Uh, hello...

A RECORD SCRATCHES TO A HALT.

CHARLES- Oh, excuse my—Ow!

CAPTAIN DUNN- Careful.

CLOTHES RUFFLE. SHE HELPS HIM SIT UP.

CHARLES- Uuuuuuuungh! Hello! Cugh! Cugh! Cugh! Ahhhhh!

CAPTAIN DUNN- Well, I guess I don't have to ask how you're feeling. CHARLES BREATHES HARD.

CHARLES- Who are—

CAPTAIN DUNN- I should be asking you

CHARLES- How did you—

CAPTAIN DUNN- Not important.

CHARLES- Not impo—

CAPTAIN DUNN- Who did this to—

CHARLES- Wait, wait, wait. I don't get a name?

PAUSE. SHE SIGHS.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Cherie. Captain, Cherie Dunn, U.S. Navy. Special investigations... And, I'm a bit of a boxing nut.

CHARLES- I don't bo—

CAPTAIN DUNN- Oh ho ho ho, I watch everything. Championship boxing on NBC, HBO, Showtime- ESPN2, you name it. I saw you spar with Jamie "Sandman" Shaw. Then I saw you again on the HBO doc on Braheen "Thunderbolt" Johnson- when you punished him in sparring sessions! Left hook to the body! Then upstairs and right uppercut! That really got his attention.

CHARLES- I don't know what you're talk-

CAPTAIN DUNN- I've heard of trainers raising—even adopting their fighters as sons, but never heard of it with sparring partners.

PAUSE.

CHARLES- Uh, yeah. I think you have me confused with—ahhhhhh!

CAPTAIN DUNN- What is it? What's wrong?

Note: a slash (/) followed by brackets ({}) indicates characters speaking at the same time.

CHARLES- My head. Feels like/ {A million tacks sticking me in the temple. }

CAPTAIN DUNN- {A million tacks sticking you in the temple.}

PAUSE.

CHARLES- What? Why are you staring at me like that?

PAUSE.

No that doesn't mean...

CAPTAIN DUNN- Charles "The Arc-angel" Dust... I'm a big fan! Why don't you fight? I mean, Jamie and Braheen are—

CHARLES- Were!

CAPTAIN DUNN- What?

CHARLES- Were! Jamie and Braheen were...

CAPTAIN DUNN- What do you mean were?

CHARLES- We were about to start training camp. Jamie for the Issacar fight and Braheen for—

CAPTAIN DUNN- The Brockhalter fight. They were fighting on the same card.

CHARLES- Right. We were gonna train in the Poconos, but Jamie had his last class that day and Ah! Braheen was testing for his pilot's license. So, instead of going up together I decided I'd meet them up there.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Okay, but...

CHARLES- But they never showed up. One day turned into two and by the third day I knew something was wrong.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Why?

CHARLES- Jamie loves the mountains and Braheen is never late. Never... Not even by a minute. Everything has to be in sync for him. He's high functioning on the Asperger's spectrum.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Oh?

CHARLES- Yeah. Every time we train, I introduce new angles and different combinations. He's got a photographic memory—and he's really sensitive to time and rhythm you know, musical. That's why his footwork is so good. Everything with him is timing and memory, memory and timing. Get something by him once and he never forgets it... Forgot it...

CAPTAIN DUNN- That's why he gets—got, better every round!

SILENCE.

CHARLES- Yeah. I keep kickin' myself. The biggest bout for both of them and they disappear.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Yeah. That is weird.

CHARLES- I hope he's got his watch.

PAUSE.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Watch? How long ago was this?

CHARLES- At least- Ah! Awe man, I gotta lay down.

CAPTAIN DUNN- You do that.

FOOTSTEPS WALKING AWAY.

CHARLES- Wait. Dr. Huirt said you got rid of the media.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Uh huh.

CHARLES- How?

CAPTAIN DUNN- I told them...

SHE WHISPERS IN HIS EAR.

CHARLES- Oh!

FOOTSTEPS WALKING AWAY.

END OF SCENE.

SCENE 5

A PHONE RINGS THREE TIMES.

CAPTAIN DUNN- U. S. Navy special Investigations...

PAUSE.

This is Captain Dunn.

PAUSE.

And who might you be?

WE HEAR A PEN WRITING.

Detective Forrest Hamilton Philly P.D... Um hm. Um hm... You say you're a friend of Mr. Dust.

PAUSE.

Sure... Um hm. Um hm. Okay bu—

PAUSE.

Yes. I have email.

FINGERS TYPING ON A KEYBOARD.

I'm there. Just waiting for the Image to co—

PAUSE.

Now that does change things...

PAUSE.

Yes. 1613 Walnut St. black Kangol navy blue hoodie. Got it.

PHONE HANGING UP.

A PRINTER. RUSTLING OF PAPER.

Hmm.

END OF SCENE.

SCENE 6

BUSY STREET SOUNDS. A DOOR LATCH. A TINKLING BELL. TO HERSELF.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Black kangol and blue hoodie... Oh, back there. This better be worth it.

FOOTSTEPS IN SNEAKERS. AMBIENT VOICES IN CONVERSATION CONTINUOUS. SIZZLE FROM A GRILL.

THE COOK- Number 135!

ORDER BELL.

MAN- Over here!

A RUFFLE OF CLOTHES. A BUMP.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Oh, excuse me...

TWO MORE FOOTSTEPS.

Crowded place.

FORREST- Busy-ness means less attention to your business, ya-mean... PAUSE. Have a seat.

CAPTAIN DUNN- I'd rather stand.

FORREST- Cautious. I like dat. But standin's only gonna defeat the purpose.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Purpose. Tell me about that.

FORREST STARTS RAPPING. A HUSH COMES OVER THE RESTAURANT.

FORREST- The luck of the Irish/

Is the dread of the nation/

Dark souls I fish/

Like farm land irrigation/

I'm like water—

CAPTAIN DUNN- Hey!—

FORREST- I gush and rush/

CAPTAIN DUNN- Hush!—

FORREST- Push out the impurities/

CAPTAIN DUNN- What are yo—

FORREST- Callin out injustice like my name's Euripedes/

CAPTAIN DUNN- Okay.

FORREST- Why I do this You say wha- wha- what you say?/

CAPTAIN DUNN- Okay... I'll sit!

FORREST- Cause when My words unfurl/

Like it's planned/ I'm the man/

I always get the girl/

A ROUND OF APPLAUSE. SOMEONE WHISTLES. WE HEAR HER SIT. SHE CLAPS SLOWLY BEHIND THE CROWD. AMBIENT VOICES RESUME.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Cute.

FORREST- My Mama always said as much. Nice to know you agree.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Arrogance is not sexy.

FORREST- And sass is?

PAUSE. PAPER SLIDING OUT OF AN ENVELOPE.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Okay so, what am I looking at here?

FORREST- It's the Navy yard.

CAPTAIN DUNN- I can see that! I mean who are these men?

FORREST- Those two, there work for Krausencropter. Problem is that company is based in Sweden but not run by Swedes.

CAPTAIN DUNN- What?

FORREST- Shhhh! You see the other four guys?

CAPTAIN DUNN- Yeah?

FORREST- Look at their arms.

CAPTAIN DUNN- They all have the same tattoo.

FORREST- And, in the exact same spot on their right arms.

CAPTAIN DUNN- So they're connected to something.

FORREST- Bingo.

PULLING PAPERS OUT OF AN ENVELOPE.

It's an Irish symbol. Celtic in origin. Synonymous with the Iron Age of the 11th century B.C. The meaning of it, literally is "Iron Man."

CAPTAIN DUNN- So?

PULLS ANOTHER PAPER OUT.

FORREST- See this?

CAPTAIN DUNN- Is that some kind of mythical god?

FORREST- Gaul. Much of what the cult that believed in him and worshipped is unknown. But, what we do know is, the believers in Gaul, practiced Galia, a form of idol worship. They made iron images...

CAPTAIN DUNN- So what?

FORREST- The believers were also fierce warriors. Forgers of iron weapons, and over time, builders of impenetrable ships.

CAPTAIN DUNN- And...

FORREST- And, according to legend, they were practitioners of witchcraft. Pharmacia...

CAPTAIN DUNN- Mixing of potions and making drugs.

FORREST- Yes. The priests would give each warrior their own supply of a powdery substance that made them impervious to pain. Literally Iron men.

CAPTAIN DUNN- So wait, you want me to believe all of this has something to do with Charles?

FORREST- It has everything to do with him... and you.

CAPTAIN DUNN- This is crazy. I don't bel—

FORREST- Shhh! Look, take the pictures and let it sink in.

WE HEAR PAPER RUSTLING INTO AN ENVELOPE. SHE GETS UP IN A RUSH.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Keep it. I thought you were a detective, not Indiana Jones. Good luck on your quest to find the temple of doom.

QUICK FOOTSTEPS AWAY.

END OF SCENE.

SCENE 7

CROWD NOISE LINGERS. FADES INTO THE SOUND OF A TRAINER CALLING OUT PUNCH COMMANDS FOLLOWED BY THE SNAP OF THE PUNCHES HITTING FOCUS MITS.

MITCH- That's it. Be sure to snap the jab just like that. All right let's get his gloves on.

ROCK MUSIC SPILLING OUT OF HEADPHONES. HEAVY FOOTSTEPS APPROACH.

A VOICE WHISPERS.

OBIE- The master has perfected the art of war.

MITCH- There will be no loss today.

WE HEAR A RUSTLING OF FABRIC. AN EXCHANGE OF A POUCH HAND TO HAND.

OBIE- Compliments of the master. Iron men never relent.

ROCK MUSIC FADES AS HEAVY FOOTSTEPS MOVE AWAY.

TRANSITION MUSIC. CROWD NOISE. FOOTSTEPS AND VOICES.

DR. HUIRT- He's starting to rest comfortably. Not complaining as much about his head.

CAPTAIN DUNN- That's good.

DR. HUIRT- He told me how much you were into boxing. I didn't know you were into it like this.

CAPTAIN DUNN- I was a Navy brat. My dad was a Vice Admiral and he boxed when he was a sailor. Fought until he became a Captain... Had a 27—0 record too. The Admiral had to threaten his rank for him to give it up. THEY BOTH LAUGH. THEY SIT.

DR. HUIRT- Wow! But I know that's not why you brought me here.

CAPTAIN DUNN- No... Do you know a Detective Forrest Hamilton?

DR. HUIRT- Foham? Yeah! That's my man!

CAPTAIN DUNN- Foham?

DR. HUIRT- It's a play on words. He's like my brother but his name is Forrest. And he had this fascination with Cadillac Broughams. We were kids and it just stuck. He's a genius.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Or mad.

DR. HUIRT- Why do you say that?

CAPTAIN DUNN- He contacted me earlier today. Started talking about Celtic myths, the European Iron Age and witchcraft and trying to say it all had something to do with what happened to Charles... And he said it had something to do with me...

DR. HUIRT- Hmmm. Well if he—

CAPTAIN DUNN- Wait! They're about to start.

A PUBLIC ADDRESS ANNOUNCER.

ANNOUNCER- Ladies and gentleman! Welcome to The Armory Arena, in West Philadelphia, for a night of Blue Chip Boxing! Tonight, we present 10 rounds of exciting boxing action, starting with the middle weight division. Featuring two up and coming middle weight bruisers. This is war! CROWD ROAR. Fighting out of the blue corner...

CAPTAIN DUNN- He's pretty good.

ANNOUNCER- Phillip " The Black Viper" Hall!

CROWD ROAR AND APPLAUSE.

ANNOUNCER- And fighting out of the red corner...

CAPTAIN DUNN- Pass me the binoculars, please.

HANDS HER THE BINOCULARS.

Oh my God...

DR. HUIRT- What?

CAPTAIN DUNN- I don't belie—No! What's that hanging from his nos—

DR. HUIRT- Cherie what's wrong?

ANNOUNCER- Ian "The Iron Man" MacAteer!

AN ERUPTION OF BOOS.

CAPTAIN DUNN- Iron man? the tattoos- that's the fourth guy—the shipping company what the... I gotta go—but enjoy the fights. DR. HUIRT—But we jus—

FOOTSTEPS RUNNING AWAY. TRANSITION MUSIC.

END OF SCENE.

SCENE 8

WE HEAR THE SOUND OF RHYTHMIC BREATHING. RUNNING FOOTSTEPS CONTINUOUS.

CHARLES- Eight months of healing. Reeling in pain. I still can't put it all together. Memory is like a million fragmented puzzle pieces. Jamie and Braheen are still gone. Aside from Forrest there's no help from Philadelphia P.D. in finding them either... I have to fill in the void. I have to remember. And I need to get to the bottom of what happened to my boys. For so long I prepared them for how life would test them. So now this is my test. It's my responsibility. Now, I train, now I investigate, now I legislate and I fight! Answer the ahhh!

A BELL DONGS.

END OF EPISODE 1.

fact or fiction
Andre N Jones
Andre N Jones
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