Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Crime And Punishment
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In Chapter 2 of FILLMORE, the Sims family sits down to breakfast, but when Clarence arrives late, his father confronts him about sneaking out of the house the night before to go see a blues band, and decides to teach the boy a lesson ...
EXT. CLARENCE’S FAMILY’S HOUSE - DAY
A big, extended family picnic in the back yard
on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon.
Fathers on one side shooting the shit,
on the other, gossiping. Children playing.
Tons of food on picnic tables
being enjoyed by all.
Clarence sits and listens to his father,
JOHN (30’s) a seven-foot-tall
giant of a man talking with his friends.
I taught him how to be a mason --
now he’s a supervisor, and
the white bastard just laid me off.
ZEKE (30’s) a friend, chimes in.
That happens all the time with colored folks.
We try and help someone out,
then they fuck us.
I don’t know how I’m gonna pay my bills.
I might have something for you
in a couple-a weeks.
Gotta big job comin’ up.
(looks at Clarence)
Sing us one of them songs.
This is supposed to be a party.
He hands Clarence a dollar.
Clarence GRABS it,
starts singing his heart out.
Well, lawdy Miss Clawdy --
INT. SCHOOL - DAY
At the end of a long corridor,
we see a TEACHER (40’s) a stout white woman
giving Idola the third degree.
It’s clear she’s really upset.
Idola nods, tries to calm her down.
EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - DAY
Idola and Clarence walk home.
And I had to leave work AGAIN
to come and get you.
When are you gonna LEARN?
The teacher said colored people
ain’t never gonna be worth anything.
I had to say somethin.’
She’s fulla shit.
She GRABS him by the arm.
Who do you think you are, cussin’ like that?
That’s why you’re always gettin’ in trouble.
They pass a CHAIN GANG
on the other side of the road.
Idola sees them.
Points a finger.
That’s what happens to colored folks
that sass white people.
INT. CLARENCE’S HOUSE - DAY
A fairly big place with rustic furniture.
John sits at the head of the table.
Mama’s at the other end.
His three BROTHERS and three SISTERS
sit around the table,
waiting to start breakfast.
Then we’ll start without him.
He looks at the family.
Clasps his hands.
Closes his eyes.
Bows his head.
They do the same.
Dear Father, thank you for
what we are to about receive --
Clarence RUNS into the room.
Goes to his chair. Sits down.
John gives him the evil eye.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
They start passing the food around.
John looks at Clarence.
Your momma tells me you snuck out again
last night and went to that JUKE JOINT.
I’m tryin’ to learn how to be a singer.
You can’t make no living being no damn SINGER.
If you keep on the path you’re on,
you’re gonna become a CRIMINAL.
Then that’s the path I’m gonna take,
and if that makes me a criminal,
then I’m gonna be the BEST.
I ain’t gonna be sayin’ yes, sir,
no, sir the rest of my life.
Go get me my BELT.
Clarence JUMPS out of his chair.
RUNS out of the room.
John BANGS the table with his fist.
(to the children)
GET HIM. If you DON’T CATCH HIM
it’ll be YOUR HIDES. GO, GO, GO --
The kids LEAP out of their chairs.
CHASE after him.
EXT. CLARENCE’S HOUSE - FRONT YARD - DAY
Clarence RUNS out the front door.
TEARS ASS across the yard toward the street.
His brothers and sisters CHASE AFTER HIM.
Slim RUNS into the woods across the street.
EXT. WOODED AREA - DAY
Clarence sits way up high in a tree.
Watches his brothers and sisters
run through the woods below trying to find him.
PUSH IN ON Clarence’s face. Smiling.
INT. CLARENCE’S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
Dark. Everyone’s in bed. A side window OPENS.
Clarence climbs in.
Quietly closes it.
Tip-toes toward his room.
INT. CLARENCE’S ROOM - NIGHT
Clarence’s three BROTHERS
are fast asleep in their beds.
Cowboy posters dot the walls.
Lash LaRue. Tom Mix. Gene Autry.
He carefully closes the door.
Tip-toes toward his bed.
The door suddenly OPENS.
John stands in the doorway,
a scary apparition in the shadows.
Holding a leather barber’s strap.
You think you’re slick.
I’m gonna teach you a lesson --
Poppa, PLEASE --
Come over here and take your whooping.
And tomorrow you’re gonna get a JOB.
I don’t care if it’s pickin’ cotton.
Keep you outta TROUBLE --