Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Forays in Fiction: Weird Sisters and Script Frenzy

William Rimmer's Three Weird Sisters
Wow time just got away from me today.  I've been so rapt (pun intended) up in my script I nearly forgot to post.

I wanted to provide an excerpt from the pages I adapted today but I don't know how to make script format in Blogger so I'm going to go post the excerpt on my profile at Script Frenzy where, last year at least, they preserved the format in their platform.

Here's the link to where that excerpt will live once I get it posted.  If it isn't there yet check back later.  It is interesting to compare the two versions side by side.

Meanwhile I am providing her the excerpt from my short story Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities which I'm adapting to film script.  The one story isn't going to be enough so I'll proceed on to Making Ragdoll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes when I've completed Of Cats.  Both stories feature the same three characters who I think of as my three weird sisters and the events in Rag Doll Babies take place a few weeks after Of Cats.

The reason for that will be made clear in the following excerpt

I've posted the entirety of both stories in serial outtakes before and the links to them can  be found here.


[Previous to this scene Faye had fainted in the back seat of her Chevy Belaire driven by her twin sister Julia and a passing state patrol car had escorted them to this diner where Faye had been brought in by the female officer and provided with a bowl of ice water and a rag by the waitress to cool her face and neck.  Meanwhile Julia and Faye's sister-in-law Wilma had remained outside to secure the car


This scene opens with Julia and Wilma arriving at Faye's table inside]

 “Well, land’s sakes Sister!  Looks like you’ve taken a shower with your clothes on.  Did that meter-maid have to throw water in your face to revive you?”
    “Really, Julia, you exaggerate.”  Faye lifted the cloth from her face.  “Try it.  It’s quite refreshing.
    “Thanks just the same, I’ll pass.”  Julia pushed the bowl of ice water away and slid into the booth beside Faye.  “A nice tall wine-cooler over ice is the ticket for me.  What an invention!  Even the name sounds refreshing.”
    “It will be the ticket for you all right.”  Wilma dabbed at a film of sweat on her lip with a fresh linen handkerchief.  “A ticket for drinking and driving, most likely.  As you are already called to the attention of the police it seems an unwise choice.”
    “Oh shwise, shmise!  A wine cooler has less alcohol in it than that cough syrup you swig.”
    “That is a prescription.  But you digress.  Driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law.”
    Faye was relieved to see the waitress approach. Those two could continue such exchanges endlessly, unsheathing insults like cats spoiling for a fight--or settling on ones lap to sleep.
    “I’ve orders to give you ladies first class service.”  The girl flashed a grin at Faye and with casual brushes at errant, rusty-hued tresses said, “At your command m’lady.”  Pad and pencil ready in exaggerated pose she deferred to Faye with elevated brow.
    Faye ducked her head to hide another blush, stammering her order for a cola and chocolate-cream pie.  What is it with these insinuating winks and grins implying non-existent alliances?  She only half-heard Wilma order unsweetened iced-tea, an unadorned bagel; Julia request cottage-cheese, fruit cocktail and the wine cooler she’d likely been jesting about before Wilma’s lecture.
    “So’s you know who to ask for, my name’s Sandra.  I work this here section.”  She encompassed the nearby tables with a wave and brushed at her hair again.  “It’s quiet now, but the dinner crowd’ll be here soon.  Be busy then.  But you ladies got my undivided.  Just wave.”  She gathered up Faye and Cassie’s iced-tea glasses and the bowl of ice water in which Faye had deposited the cloth.  With swift swipes of a damp rag, condensation rings from the glasses and splatters from the compress vanished.
    In Sandra’s absence Faye focused on the view out the window, afraid Julia or Wilma might see her discomposure and twit her.  Squinting at the sun-flashes off passing wind-shields, she recognized the Chevy by its distinctive outline rather than its garish color scheme, for glare reduced the purple to muddy gray.  A disparity kept her eyes straying to its silhouette--ah, no reflections of people or buildings on its windows as on other cars along the curb.
    “The windows are down!”  She turned toward Julia in alarm.
    “But of course!”  Julia replied.  “Who wants to return to that oven on wheels to the aroma of baked cat?”
    “A crack would have sufficed.”  Wilma said.
    “Toasted cat.  Roasted cat.  What’s to choose?”  Julia pulled the front of her tank-top out and fanned herself vigorously with a Nickel, a local want-ad paper she had picked up at the entrance where they were displayed under a sign proclaiming ‘FREE’ in foot-high letters.
    “But Sister, it’s inviting passersby to help themselves.”
    “Don’t be silly.  We’ve got clear line-of-sight.  If anyone did abscond with one of our fancy-sacks, how far could they get?  Relax!”  She gave Faye’s knee a constraining pat.
    Faye subsided into her corner, her ration of defiance spent.  She devoted attention to the Chevy, alert for any potentially suspicious move made by occasional passersby.  The trickle of late afternoon customers seeking refreshment and relief from the heat soon became a torrent, spilling off from the five-o’clock flood of pedestrians rushing by outside, impeding Faye’s view of the car--her brief glimpses abruptly cut off by pieces of bodies, purses, brief-cases, shopping bags.  She squirmed in her seat, leaned a smidgen left, right, craned her neck until it ached, all but stood on the seat to keep the car in sight.  By the time Sandra returned all moves had begun to look potentially suspicious so she was glad for an excuse to relax her vigil.
    Her view funneled between elbow and waist of an angular woman at a leisured amble amidst the hastening home-goers.  Faye watched her, intrigued by incongruities reminiscent of ‘What’s wrong with this picture?’ games.  Spike-heeled sandals slowed her pace without detracting from the dancer’s grace of her carriage.  Golden curls cascaded down her back to pool in the hood of a knee-length black rain cape.  The cape, flung over the shoulder to free the right arm which supported a large canvas bag and held aloft an umbrella, flaunted a lining aglow in the sultry light with the hew of fresh blood.
    With rain-cape and umbrella on a warm, evening identified as the incongruity, Faye turned back to the Chevy.  But something niggled, fidgeting her eyes to the puzzling woman, whose progress was marked by the black umbrella displaying a pentagram delineated in a silvery substance that shot light-arrows into incautious eyes.  Like the last word of a crossword puzzle she couldn’t get because the clue wasn’t in her repertoire, the inconsistency continued to elude her.  Resigned, she shifted focus only to see the solution.
    As is usual when a woman of striking self-possession walks through a crowd with the svelte grace of a cat, many admiring glances were cast her way, but only from behind-those facing her kept their eyes carefully averted, except for one small child who gazed up at her with riveted awe in spite of admonishing tugs on the arm.
    Solving one puzzle created another.  Her insatiable need to watch people was shameless, but so seldom did she leave the seclusion of the estate, she must soak up sights and sound to savor in the solitude of long, somnolent evenings.  The novel and unique drew her, provided threads of exquisite mystery for weaving numinous dreams.  This woman would wander wondrous dreamscapes-forever faceless and eternally ethereal.
    Feeling regret nigh on mourning when she lost sight of the woman, Faye turned to her pie for consolation until Julia nudged her and jabbed her fork at the window.  “Will you look at that!”
    Faye looked and there was her mystery woman--cape, heels and umbrella, but now the umbrella was closed and dangling from it…
    “My bag!  The cat!”  Faye jumped to her feet, knocked her knee against the table, jarring the dishes into a jittery dance. X
    “She poked that umbrella in there, pretty as you please and out came the bag.  And staring straight ahead all the while too.  Cucumber-cool.”  Julia slapped the table and cutlery chuckled in counterpoint.  “She cased the car, walked by it three times.  I wish I could see her face when she finds out what she’s bagged!”
    “Aren’t you going to do anything?”  Faye was frantic.
    “What’s to do?  She hasn’t got anything valuable.  Let it be.  It’ll learn her a lesson.”  She ignored Faye’s attempts to get by.
    “One should not make a scene in public.”  Wilma cautioned.
    “Who’s afraid of a scene?”  I’d show you a scene alright if it’d been my boots she’d hooked.  Look, she’s coming this way.  I do believe she’s going to walk right in.”  Julia laughed
    Aghast, Faye watched the woman walk in, peer about, come right at them, and seat herself in a booth across the aisle.  The riotous curls framed an ancient face from which peered searing blue eyes like sapphires embedded in a walnut.  Withered lips parted over teeth like fine, white porcelain as she queried the empty air and nodded sagely at the answer.
    “Let me go talk to her.”  Faye begged an un-budging Julia.
    “Leave her be.  I gotta see this.”  Julia said.
    “It’s not polite to stare.” Wilma proclaimed.
    “It’s not polite to steal either.”  Julia said as Sandra brought coffee to the woman’s table and poured it without exchanging a word with her.  “Ah.  She’s a regular.”
    “Ladies.”  Sandra turned to them.  “Anything I can do you for?”
    “We’re fine.”  Julia answered, her eyes fixed on the woman.
    Sandra leaned close to whisper, “That’s Estelle Starr, a bit dotty but harmless.  Used to be a performer of some kind.  Shows up in Westmont last year and we took to watching out for her, but in such a way as saves her pride.  She’s partial to riding the bus ‘tween here and Vancouver.  Folk’s here drop tokens and coins in odd places she’s apt to be.  Fancies herself a witch.  Always muttering in rhyme and talking to invisible friends.”
    They watched Estelle’s animated conversation with her unseen seatmate, drawn by its dramatic expressiveness.  Julia’s mouth twitched with barely restrained hilarity and Wilma’s lips pursed with pent remonstrance.  Faye, quivering with indignation at her enforced impotence, had a mind to push Julia off her seat.  Such desecration!  All to satisfy Julia’s whim and sooth Wilma’s wounded propriety.
    “Westmont attracts her kind.”  Sandra went on.  “Ekcentrics, ya know?  We got a passel here abouts.  We’re partial to ‘em I guess.  One runs a cat ranch up on the ridge, drives this hotrod my kid brother drools over.  She’s a raycluse, doesn’t come to town much.  Even so stories of her doings would fill a library.  And if they’re all true she must be ancient cause my gramma tells some she heard as a girl…”
    Her attention riveted on Estelle Starr and the bag, Faye was barely cognizant of Sandra’s chatter.  Her feet fairly itched to march over there so she could spew out the words of accusation and condemnation that flooded her mind.  But helpless against the concerted front of Julia’s determination to be entertained and Wilma’s studied obliviousness, outrage withered and she sank in her seat with a sigh.  She filled her mouth with chocolate to calm herself as she watched Estelle fondle the bag--patting it and smoothing its creases.  Mesmerized by these motions Faye missed the moment she parted the lips of the bag to peer in.
   
    “There she goes.”  Julia’s voice conveyed a smug and eager expectancy.  Sandra broke off in mid-sentence and turned toward Estelle, briefly blocking Faye’s view.  Then with an exclamation of concern she was hurrying to aid a swooning Estelle as Julia gasped between exultant giggles, “Did you…ever see such…a sight for sore eyes!  It was better than I’d hoped!”
    At Fay’s incredulous, “For shame, Sister!”  Julia chocked back the giggles and managed to look chagrined.
    As Sandra rose from a recumbent Estelle to rush off, stuttering something about blood, paramedics, police and a Halloween Gagger Estelle stirred, muttering hectically.  Stray phrases reached their ears.  ‘…gouts of blood…the bloody business…wicked dreams abuse the curtained sleep...craft celebrates pale…offerings…”
    “Methinks the lady suffers pangs of morbid guilt.”  Julia said.
    “As well she should for such mangling of Macbeth.” said Wilma.
    “Ah, our star speaks lofty words.”  Julia chortled.
    Estelle, struggling to sit saw her bloody hand and moaned.  “What hands are here?…Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?  No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red.”  She commenced rubbing her hands together as if under a faucet.
    “The wine of life is drawn.”  Julia intoned, baiting her.
    Estelle turned sharply with widened eyes, encouraging Julia’s merciless taunting:  “We the three weird sisters be.  Let us meet and question this most bloody piece of work, to know it further.  Was there warrant in that theft?”
    “Fears and scruples shake us.  In the great hand of God I stand.”  Estelle clutched the ill-got bag with defiant courage.
    “Your cruelty shames me Sister, have you no mercy?”
    “Fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty!  Make thick my blood, stop up the access and passage to remorse.  That no compunctions shake my purpose.”  Julia intoned.
    Wilma winced, “If you must misappropriate the lines, at least refrain from misquoting them.”
    “Thou marvel’st at my words, but hold thee still, things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.”
    During this exchange, Estelle dared again to peek in the bag.  Her shriek quelled the incipient quarrel.  “Avaunt!  And quit my sight!  Let the earth hide thee!  Thy blood is cold.”
    Julia meowed like a tortured cat.  “Thrice the brindled cat hath mew’d.  it will have blood, they say, blood will have blood.”  Her voice became a cadenced growl.  “Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and caldron bubble.”  At the sound of sirens wailing in the distance Julia chanted:  “By the pricking of my thumbs something wicked this way comes.”  Then to preempt further protestation from Faye or Wilma she turned to them with:  “I am in blood stepped’ in so far that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.”
    Estelle was again agitating her hands. “Will these hands ne’er be clean?…Here’s the smell of the blood still.  All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”
    “Now does she feel her secret thievery sticking on her hands.”  Julia mocked, not hiding her glee with this impromptu game.
    Estelle trembled at the sound of approaching sirens, moaning, “How isn’t with me, when every noise appalls me?…Make all our trumpets speak; give them all breath those clamorous harbingers of blood and death…Out, out, brief candle!”  so saying she once more swooned.
    “Now you’ve done it Julia.”  Faye remonstrated.
    “Thou canst not say I did it.  Never shake thy gory locks at me.”  Julia shot back.
    Sandra returned, ushering in the paramedics.  “Still out poor thing?  What a shame.  You ladies may want to stay put for a bit.  The press is swarming out there.  They got word of another Halloween Gagger incident already.”

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