Saturday, September 27, 2008

The War of 1812


The War of 1812


[CAMERA… While the credits are rolling, the camera pans across a desk. The desk is messy. On it as permanent features are: a half empty cup of black coffee, an ashtray with cigarette butts spilling over onto the desk, a baseball, a paper mache vase made by a child with plastic flowers in it, several framed pictures containing members of a family, a computer, a monitor running a screen saver, a Save the Seals button, a couple of pens, a laundry receipt, and a clear plastic candy wrapper. Photographs of the main characters of our drama are paper-clipped to folders scattered across the desk. One folder is open. The main character David Faster smiles at the camera. The page opposite is marked up in red ink.

[MUSIC… a harmonica piece in the vein of the Rockford Files plays in the background. Overheard is a taped audio message from the School Board describing Mr. Faster’s supply teaching assignment for that day.

“Mr. Faster. Your assignment today is Our Lady of Lourdes School. You will be replacing Miss Rodriguez’s grade 11 History class. The children are studying the American Civil War. Please have Daniel O’Toole empty his pockets before he enters the class. The metal detectors have been disabled for the last two weeks.”

[CAMERA… After the credits have appeared the screen cuts to white and then slowly copy begins to roll up the screen:

“Government has too long been left

the sole responsibility for the education

of the young people of our province.

The private sector has a role to play

in the future of our nation.

Where better to mould the minds, skills and souls

of our children than in the market place.

The future is too precious to do any less.”

Assistant to the Deputy

Minister of Education

Province of Ontario, 1995


[CAMERA… Shot of opening title:


FADE to white. CUT to a very tight shot of David Faster’s face. The picture is granular, a black and white image. As David talks the camera slowly pulls back showing that he is in a jail cell and sitting on the edge of his cot. He is wearing a bright orange jail outfit. There are no other colours. The lighting should be stark, making Faster look gaunt and washed out. He is leaning forward, his elbows resting on his knees, smoking a cigarette, looking into the camera.

FASTER: “I was not an attractive child. My head was too big. Clamps were used at birth to bring me into this cruel coil. My head looked like a cheap cigar. My head was so big that for the first six months I wore a brace on my neck. But, I ain’t looking for sympathy. My ears stuck out. My parents tried everything to keep them flat including head-bands, chewing gum, and super glue. I suffered from motion sickness. Every time I stepped on a bus, I tossed my lunch. I was the only kid at my school to be banned by the transit system. But, I ain’t looking for sympathy. I had buck teeth. Kids called me Bugs. My father had to take a second job on Saturdays to pay the orthodontist bills. Maybe that’s why he ran out on us. But, I ain’t looking for sympathy. Posture is the mirror of the soul, Mums liked to say. A curved spine reflects a deceitful and slovenly character. People don’t trust the round shouldered. Maybe if I’d had those braces when I was a kid, things would have turned out differently. But, I ain’t looking for excuses. I’ve been put here in this cell to be rehabilitated and rehabilitation begins with the truth. Mums said the truth would set you free. Or at least get you an early parole. Mums was right. She was always right.”

[CAMERA… There is a pause as Faster continues to stare out at us. Off camera someone clears their throat.

FASTER: “The truth is I hate kids. Always have. Hated the little bastards since I was a kid myself. That should have been a clue. Let’s be honest. Most people hate kids. And the ones that hate kids the most are parents. With good reason. But no one admits it. When they’re babies they keep you up half the night. As toddlers they shit on you or anything else in their sights. They don’t call it the terrible twos for nothing. When they’re six years old children become a joy. For about 15 minutes. For the next four years they know everything. Those are the good years. And then the Dark Age begins. Twelve years old and filled with attitude. And it lasts for a decade. I’m never surprised by reports of child abuse. I’m surprised that there is not more of it. Not that I would know. I never had children. Never wanted any. So why did I enter the fulfilling field of education?”

[CAMERA… Faster glances at something or someone off camera.

FASTER: “How was I to know that my decline would begin with my employment at Marvellous Educational Supplies and Services? How does anyone know? At Marvellous we supplied paper, and pencils, desks and staplers, and other necessities to the school boards. I worked in the warehouse, shipping and receiving. And I loved it. Except for the receiving. And the shipping. I have a bad back. But the hours were good. And there were some nice cubby holes in the warehouse where you could catch some valuable sack time. But, I was too ambitious. It blinded me. Earlier this year a minor government official in the Ministry of Education asked our chairman and CEO to organize the part time and long term placement of supply teachers in South West Ontario. The government wanted to privatize all their services and Marvellous Educational Supplies and Services seemed to be the ideal firm to pick up the slack. There was a shortage of qualified replacements in education. I was asked if I wanted to lend assistance. My application said that I was a college graduate. Why not, I thought, take a job babysitting no neck monsters. It beat my pay in shipping and receiving. And how difficult could it be? I should have read the fine print. There was no shortage of supply teachers in the big city. The need was in the tiny hamlets and towns scattered throughout the province. What young man in his prime wants to leave the Greater Metropolitan Toronto Area for the wilderness? There was all that useless open space out there. And the air out there was clean. I love car exhaust. There’s nothing like the rush you get from a black cloud of bus exhaust. And then there was the tranquility of nature. What is life without the symphony of streetcars, air-conditioners, and ambulance sirens? But I was in too deep. Mums made me realize that supply teaching was a marvelous opportunity to advance my prospects. Mums was always right about such things. This time she was wrong.”

[CAMERA… CUT from Faster sitting in his cell to a shot of a ceiling fan moving slowly around.

CUT to a shot from the ceiling down at Mums laying out clothes on a bed and carefully packing them in an open suitcase. Faster sits in a chair in the corner of the room.

CUT to a CLOSE UP of Mums face, red lip stick, a mole with tufts of hair jutting out, thin wrinkled lips wiggling.

MUMS: “Remember David to change your underwear daily. One can’t be too careful. God forgive that you should be in an accident and someone should find stains on your underwear. And mosquito lotion. They had a documentary about the West Nile Virus on the CBC. Peter Mansbridge looked very concerned. And I’ve made you a lunch. Don’t eat in restaurants. No one washes their hands. And don’t drink the water. Remember Walkerton. Use bottle water. And gargle. No one likes bad breath. And floss. But not in public. And above all don’t talk to strange women with queer accents.”

[CAMERA… CUT back to Faster in his jail cell.

FASTER: “Ron Howl, my supervisor, worked out a detailed briefing for me which I attempted to read on the bus. I vomited on the fine print. Completely illegible. There was also a top secret package I was asked to carry. Under no circumstances was I to open it. Someone would be there on my arrival to receive the package.”

[CAMERA… CUT to a shot at the bus terminal, by the open doors of a bus. Mums is hugging Faster. He has his head in her purse. He is vomiting.

CUT to a man in the background smiling. It is Lewis.

CUT to Faster wiping his mouth with his tie. He glances behind him and spots Lewis smiling at him.

FASTER: “Look at the man mums. Doesn’t he look queer?”

[CAMERA… CUT to Mums glancing behind them. She too spots Lewis. He winks at her. She smiles and nods her head.

MUMS: “Life is queer, dear, if you let it.”

[CAMERA… CUT to Faster in his cell staring out at the camera. FADE to white.



[CAMERA… Shot of title:


FADE to white. CUT to post card of a bus terminal.

CUT to long shot of cab pulling up to a curb in front of station. Everything is played out in slapstick. There is no dialogue.

CUT to Faster dragging a huge suitcase out of the trunk of the cab. The driver stands on the curb, his arms crossed. He refuses to help gesturing to his ailing back. Mums stands next to the cab driver chatting and laughing.

CUT to long shot of Faster dragging his bag through the automatic doors that keep opening and shutting on him smacking his bag. Mums stands to one side inside the station, hands on her hips like a drill sergeant barking out orders. Finally Faster makes it through the doors and he drags his bag across the floor of the bus terminal toward a ticket booth. The station is crowded and Faster cannot take a direct route but twists and turns his way across the floor like a computer game. Mums points out directions. During this struggle there are several announcements over the public address system which neither Faster nor anyone else in the terminal appears to hear.

First announcement:

Greyhound Dh43 from Waterloo has been delayed.

There is no cause for alarm.

Officials of Greyhound are currently negotiating with the hijacker.

Family and relatives are advised to return home

and watch for full details on CITY News at six o’clock.

CUT to Faster and Mums at the ticket booth. The agent points upstairs to the second floor. Mums takes a swipe at the agent with her purse. Faster drags Mums away from the booth. She takes a swipe at Faster.

CUT to Faster dragging his suitcase over to an escalator. Faster places his suitcase on the escalator. He takes out a handkerchief to wipe his forehead. Mums starts yelling at Faster and pointing to his suitcase now half way up the escalator. Faster runs up the escalator. As he is about to reach the suitcase it slides back down the escalator. Mums is at the bottom of the escalator.

CUT to a look of terror on Mums face. The suitcase bouncing down the escalator smacks into Mums flattening her. Faster helps Mums to her feet. She pushes him away and takes a swipe at him with her purse.

Second announcement:

Greycoach 123 to London, Ontario has been delayed.

Would the driver of Greycoach 123 please report to Personnel.

It’s a boy, Jack.

CUT to Faster and Mums on the second floor at the ticket booth. The ticket agent is shaking his head and pointing to his watch. Mums is yelling at the agent. As she goes to take a swing at him, Faster grabs her arm. Mums turns on Faster and yells at him. Mums turns to agent. He points downstairs.

CUT to Faster and Mums at the top of the down escalator. Faster steps aside and lets Mums get on first. Mums steps on the escalator. Before Faster can step on the escalator his trousers catch onto the rail. Faster tugs on his trousers but they will not be released. He puts the suitcase on the top step of the escalator and uses both his hands to unhook his pants. The suitcase moves down the escalator. Mums reaches the bottom of the escalator. She turns around. The suitcase now half way down the escalator, tumbles off its step and bounces down the rest of the steps.

CUT of Faster still tugging away at his trousers.

CUT to look of terror on Mums face. The suitcase tumbles down the escalator and wipes Mums out.

CUT to expression of panic on Faster’s face as he looks up and sees the suitcase knocking Mums out.

CUT to Faster’s pants ripping.

CUT to Faster racing down the escalator, his trouser leg ripped to shreds. Faster trips and tumbles down the escalator landing on Mums already flattened out on the floor.

Third announcement:

Calling David Faster.

This is the last call for Greycoach 507 to Guelph.

FADE to white.



[CAMERA… Shot of title:


FADE to white. CUT to shot of Faster stepping off the bus. When Faster arrives, one of Sandman’s assistants, a Miss Leigh, is there to meet him.

CUT to shot of Faster dragging his bag out of the luggage hold under the bus. The driver stands to one side, gesturing to his back. Faster drags his bag to one side.

CUT to Miss Leigh stepping up and introducing herself to Faster

MISS LEIGH: “Hello. Are you David Faster from Toronto?

[CAMERA… CLOSE UP of Faster raising his eyebrows and smiling. Faster perceives himself as a charming ladies man. Confident in his maleness, Faster adjusts his tie, and winks at the camera.

FASTER: “Yes I am. In the flesh. Of one mind. All hands on deck and how do you do?

[CAMERA…a series of alternating CLOSE-UPS between Faster and Miss Leigh.

MISS LEIGH: “I’m fine thank you. Is there something wrong with your eyes?”

FASTER: “You mean the twinkle?”

MISS LEIGH: “Do you have dust in your eyes? We could go to a drug store and get you eye drops. It’s very painful for me to watch anyone suffer. Mr. Sandman calls it a weakness in my character. He sent me to pick you up. I’m Vivien Leigh. Mr. Sandman regrets that he could not be here himself to welcome you to Guelph. Unfortunately he is out of the country at the time. How was your trip?”

FASTER: “I was sick as a dog. Maybe it was the food at the terminal in Toronto.”

MISS LEIGH: “We could pick up some Gravol while we get you eye drops.”

FASTER: “I’d like to get to the school. This is my first on-call and I don’t want to be late.”

MISS LEIGH laughs: “Don’t worry about that. We have plenty of time. Did you bring the package?”

FASTER nods: “It’s in my suitcase. Somewhere. I’d look for it here but it could make quite a mess.”

MISS LEIGH: “That’s alright. I’ll send your luggage to the motel after we drop you off at your school. You can give it to me later.”

FASTER: “Motel? There’s been some kind of misunderstanding. I was only supposed to come to Guelph for one day.”

[CAMERA…MISS LEIGH steps into the street and hales a cab. Faster drags his suitcase along the ground behind him.

MISS LEIGH: “You’ve been misled, Mr. Faster. You may be gone from Toronto for as much a month.”

FASTER: “A month! That’s not possible. Mums will be horribly upset. Who will take out the garbage?”



[CAMERA… Shot of title:


FADE to white… LONG SHOT from street of cab pulling up to the curb. The driver gets out and opens the trunk for Faster. The two men lift Faster’s bag and drop it in the trunk. As Faster is about to get in the back seat of the car with Miss Leigh, they are joined by a the same queer fellow Faster had spotted at the bus terminal in Toronto. Lewis tips his hat. Alternating CLOSE UPS between Lewis, Faster, and Miss Leigh. Lewis taps the shoulder of the cab driver and informs him of his destination.

LEWIS: “Very kind of you to let me share the cab with you. Full marks. Here on holidays with the wife? Lots to see in good old Guelph if you’ve got five minutes.”

FASTER: “Miss Leigh is not my wife.”

[CAMERA… Lewis leers at Miss Leigh then winks at Faster.

LEWIS: “Very good old chap! Nothing like a little romp in good old Guelph! Nothing like it I say.”

[CAMERA… The cab moves off. Leaning over Miss Leigh, Lewis places his hand on her knee, as he speaks in a low serious tone to Faster.

LEWIS: “So you’re going to supply teach in good old Guelph.”

FASTER: “How did you know that?”

LEWIS squeezing Miss Leigh’s knee amorously: “I always wanted to be a teacher. God’s work! Imagine having the power to shape young minds. A full grip on the throat of the future. As a teacher one can really make a difference in this crusty old world. Plus, you get the summers off. What a life, eh? I couldn’t get into teacher’s college. Something about a situation! I never touched those kids! Now they’ve got a restraining order. Can you imagine that? A bloody restraining order. I won’t give into them. I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction!”

FASTER: “Situation?”

LEWIS: “I’m in women’s underwear. The Imperial Lingerie Company of Greater Windsor. Twenty-five years catering to the bottom line. Say your name is Faster. Knew some Fasters in Toledo, Ohio. Tragic story. Wife was injured in a car accident. Sucked right under one of those sixteen wheelers. Completely shaved off her scalp. Miracle she survived. They had to graft hair from other parts of her body. Threw out her curling iron if you catch my meaning, eh Faster!”

FASTER: “I never told you my name.”

LEWIS: “What kind of delicates is the little woman here wearing? Purely a professional interest, I can assure you.”

FASTER: “Miss Leigh is not my wife.”

LEWIS: “You said that already.”

MISS LEIGH: “I don’t wear underwear.”

[CAMERA… There is a long pregnant pause. Faster’s face turns red. The smile on Lewis’s face dissolves into a deep swallow. Miss Leigh smiles coyly. The cab driver sneaks a peak in his rear view mirror. Taking his eyes off the road he manages to swerve at the last minute just missing an old lady pulling a grocery cart across the street. Lewis is pushed across Miss Leigh, his hand sliding up her leg. CLOSE UP of Miss Leigh, her eyes suddenly round.

LEWIS: “Pardon, as the French say.”


LEWIS: “I say, is that healthy? Aren’t you afraid of catching a draft of cold?”

MISS LEIGH: “I always keep the door shut.”

LEWIS: “Splendid. From a purely self-interest point of view, I hope that doesn’t catch on. I’ll be out of a job.”

[CAMERA… Lewis laughs. Faster and Miss Leigh do not join him. There is another pregnant pause.

LEWIS: “I hope I’m not being too personal Miss Leigh, but are you from Stockholm?”

MISS LEIGH: “Minneapolis.”

LEWIS: “Ah, the northern lights! I’m very interested in the Swedish mind. All that meditation and spiritual rot. Quite fascinating if you don’t mind my saying. Did you know that seventy five percent of the world believes in reincarnation and yet only five percent practice recycling? Well, here’s my stop.”

[CAMERA… Lewis taps the cab driver on the shoulder. The cab pulls over to the curb. Lewis gets out. Once outside Lewis tips his hat to Miss Leigh and Faster.

LEWIS: “Perhaps we’ll meet again. It’s a small town.”

[CAMERA… CUT to the cab moving away from the curb and Lewis standing waving goodbye.

CUT to Faster and Miss Leigh in the cab.

MISS LEIGH: “I’ve seen that face before. I just can’t place it.”

FASTER: “Me too but I don’t know where. Queer fellow. But I won’t forget him again. He stuck us for the ride.”



[CAMERA… Shot of title:


FADE to white… CUT to classroom. David Faster stands in front of class filled with students. He clears his throat. Turning to the blackboard he writes his name on the blackboard. The chalk breaks. He bends to pick it up and one of the students rips a piece of paper. Faster believes his trousers have ripped. Rising he blushes. The students break out into laughter. Faster reaches behind to check out his trousers. More laughter. Faster glares out at the class. The laugher subsides. He takes out an attendance sheet from his pocket.

FASTER: “April Chernak.”

There is no response.

FASTER: “Is April here. April is absent. Lawrence Peterson.”

There is no response.

FASTER: “Lawrence is absent. Mary Shay.”

Again, there is no response.

FASTER: “Mary is absent.”

Jack Nile, Abraham Stowkowski, Marianne Oduro. Name after name is greeted with silence.

FASTER: “You can’t all be absent.”

[CAMERA… CUT to classroom door opening. A middle-aged man dressed in a gray suit and a bow tie steps into the room. He looks at Faster.

CUT to Faster. Sweat running down his forehead. The silent class watches as the middle-aged man steps to the front of the room. He walks over to Faster and whispers in his ear.

MIDDLE-AGED MAN: “You’ve got the wrong classroom.”

FASTER blushes: “Oh.”

[CAMERA… follows Faster as he walks across the silent room, opens the door and steps into the hall.

CUT to shot of Faster in the hallway closing the door of the classroom. Laughter breaks out in the classroom behind him.



[CAMERA… Shot of title:


FADE to white…LONG SHOT of a taxi pulling up to the entrance of a motel. Faster steps out of the cab and walks toward the entrance to the motel. MEDIUM SHOT from inside the motel of Faster stepping up to a counter. CLOSE UP of a small hand bell on the desk. MEDIUM SHOT of Faster ringing the bell. From a back room a MOTEL CLERK steps. He is a large ugly man, a bent back, his arms swinging at his side. His brown jacket sleeves are too short. His trousers are three or four inches too short. His brown socks, who have lost their elasticity, fall down over his shoes. His face is large, his jaw jutting out. His eyes are large and he wears a permanent five o’clock shadow. His teeth are sparkling white and perfectly proportioned.

MOTEL CLERK: “May I help you, sir?”

FASTER: “Yes. I hope so. I have a reservation. My name is David Faster.”

The clerk checks a book in front of him on the counter.

MOTEL CLERK: “Ah, yes. Mr. David Foster. A lovely young Swedish woman booked you a room earlier this afternoon.”

FASTER: “It’s Faster.”

MOTEL CLERK: “The young lady said it was Foster. Perhaps I misunderstood her. She had a very queer accent. Sign here please.”

[CAMERA…The clerk turns the book around and hands Faster a pen. Faster signs his name.

FASTER: “Swedish.”

MOTEL CLERK: “Excuse me?”

FASTER: “Her accent. She is Swedish.”

MOTEL CLERK: “Is that so?”

FASTER: “She dropped a suitcase off.”

MOTEL CLERK: “Yes, she did.”

[CAMERA… The clerk points to Faster’s suitcase waiting off to one side.

FASTER: “Could you have the suitcase brought to my room?”

MOTEL CLERK: “Certainly.”

[CAMERA… The clerk rings a bell behind him. Faster waits. Several minutes pass. The clerk in the meantime has turned around and grabbed a key. He hands it to Faster. Faster plays with the key for a few moments. The motel clerk smiles. Faster looks around the office at the posters and pictures on the wall. The motel clerk clears his throat. Faster looks at the clerk, a smile of impatience on his face. When no porter arrives, the clerk roars with laughter, shaking his head with delight.

MOTEL CLERK: “That works every time.”

FASTER: “What works?”

MOTEL CLERK: “I’m the porter.”

[CAMERA… Still chuckling the motel clerk steps out from behind the counter and easily lifts the suitcase. He leads Faster out of the office and down a sidewalk along the motel. He stops at room 211.

MOTEL CLERK: “The key, sir.”

[CAMERA… Faster hands the key to the clerk who puts down the suitcase and opens the door. Faster steps inside the room. The clerk follows with the suitcase.

FASTER: “Very square. I like square rooms. Comforting. We are a species that likes our rectangles.”

MOTEL CLERK: “There is a cash bar in the bedside table. Long distance calls are added to your bill. Use the phone to call for room service. Dial 9 then 6.”

FASTER: “I like the red walls. It’s different. Nothing wrong with being different. One must be flexible, mums always says. That’s a nice painting. Is it one of the Group of Seven?”

[CAMERA… The clerk shrugs. He moves around the room, switching on lights, a radio, air-conditioning, the television.

MOTEL CLERK: “There’s a special station for soft and hard core adult entertainment. Tonight we’re running a series of old I Love Lucy shows. I love that little Ricky. A real fire plug. Don’t have any children of my own. I had a dog named Jack. Good company at night. The boss made me get rid of Jack. Jack was family, but he kept pissing on the rugs. Gave him to my friend, Jesus. He owns a Chinese restaurant around the corner. Good food. I recommend the ribs. Haven’t seen Jack recently at the restaurant. Jesus said he was around somewhere. Behind you is the bathroom with all the modern conveniences. We put one of those fancy French bidets next to the toilet. Wonderful to soak your feet in after a long day. Watch out for the hot water tap. It comes off in your hand sometimes. You like girls?”

FASTER: “I appreciate female company.”

MOTEL CLERK: “Management doesn’t allow female guests in your room after eleven. Unless of course you want to pay for double occupancy.”

FASTER: “Kind of fagged out tonight. It’s been a long day. I’d like to take a warm bath and retire.”

[CAMERA… The clerk hands Faster his key, then waits, his hand still out. Faster looks up at the clerk for several minutes. The clerk waits patiently. A smile comes over Faster as he reaches into his pocket for a tip. He hands the clerk a quarter. The clerk looks at the tip disdainfully and flips it onto the bed. He turns and leaves the room, slamming the door behind him. Faster shrugs his shoulder, turns and picks the quarter off the bed and pockets it. He laughs.

FASTER: “It works every time.”



[CAMERA… Shot of title:


FADE to white… LONG SHOT - David Faster stands in front of a class of high school students. He is shuffling some papers on the desk in front of him. He glances at a lesson plan. Stepping out from behind the desk Faster walks down the middle of a row of desks.

FASTER: “Can anyone tell me the causes of the War of 1812?”

[CAMERA… There is silence. Faster points to a young lady near him. She has braces on her teeth and long stringy hair.

GIRL WITH BRACES: “I don’t answer questions. Mrs. Rodriguez doesn’t make me answer questions.”

FASTER: “Why is that?”

GIRL WITH BRACES: “Cause I never know the answer. I get nervous. Mrs. Rodriguez has talked to my mother and she knows.”

[CAMERA… Faster smiles uncomfortably. All the students are looking down at their desks. Faster taps on the desk of a young man with spiked hair. The boy looks up.

BOY WITH SPIKED HAIR: “I guess someone was pissed off.”

FASTER: “Anyone else?”

[CAMERA… A boy with a shaved head puts up his hand. Faster nods toward the boy.

BOY WITH SHAVED HEAD: “Are you an undercover cop?”



[CAMERA… Shot of title:


FADE to white…MEDIUM SHOT – David Faster unpacks his bags. He lifts a pair of thermal underwear from his bag. FADE to white… LONG SHOT – David Faster pacing around his room uncertain as to what he should do next. FADE to white… MEDIUM SHOT of Faster on the phone… SPLIT SCREEN with the person on the other end of line.

RECEPTION: “Can you turn that damn thing down! I can hardly hear myself think. Jesus, you’d think you were all deaf! Yes, can I help you?”

FASTER: “This is David Faster…”

RECEPTION: “What! Could you speak up please!”

FASTER: “I’m calling from room 211.”

RECEPTION: “Jesus Christ Almighty, Albert! You forgot to put mustard on my pastrami. You know how dry this rye is without mustard. Don’t you look at me like that!”

FASTER: “My bedside light doesn’t work.”


FASTER: “My bedside light…”

RECEPTION: “I’m not telling you again. Turn that thing down. I am trying to have a conversation with a guest.”

FASTER: “I’d like to get my bedside light fixed.”

RECEPTION: “What’s wrong with it?”

FASTER: “It doesn’t work.”

RECEPTION: “Now don’t you take that attitude with me, sir. I’ve got enough to handle with this gang here without putting up with any abuse…”

[CAMERA… receptionist bites down on a pastrami sandwich. Faster looks at telephone.

FASTER: “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear your last remark. There must be interference on the line. The switch on the light is very hot and I can’t turn the light off. I can’t sleep with a light on.”

RECEPTIONIST: “Pull out the plug, sir.”

FASTER: “Pull out the plug?”

RECEPTIONIST: “Yes, pull out the plug.”

FASTER: “Oh. Thank you.”

[CAMERA… FADE to white… Faster picking up the phone. SPLIT SCREEN again.

FASTER: “This is David Faster in Room 211.”

RECEPTIONIST: “Faster. Room 211.”

FASTER: “It’s quieter now.”

RECEPTIONIST: “Yes. They went out for beer. How can I help you, sir?”

FASTER: “I unpacked my suitcase but there aren’t enough hangers in the closet. I simply must have more hangers.”


FASTER: “Yes. And there’s only one small towel in the washroom.”

RECEPTIONIST: “Only one small towel, sir?”

FASTER: “Yes. I wanted to have a shower but there isn’t any hot water.”

RECEPTIONIST: “No hot water. Then why are you worried about small towels?”


RECEPTIONIST: “It’s those girls in room 120 next to you. They’ve used all the hot water again. I warned them. You can’t imagine how many ways I have warned them. You’re not the first to complain. I can assure you of that, sir. No one can offer a satisfactory explanation to me why every one of their customers needs to have a shower. It’s a shame, a terrible shame. It really is. But, we’re all in the same boat, sir. So let’s make the best of it, shall we? All I can suggest is that you wait until the hot water tanks warm up again, a couple of hours from now or first thing in the morning. The girls never had clients in the morning. Not since dear old Mr. Johnson passed on, bless his soul. I was very fond of Mr. Johnson…”

[CAMERA…the receptionist sniffles and blows her nose

RECEPTIONIST: “I’m sorry sir, the wounds are still too fresh. I can’t talk anymore.”

[CAMERA… FADE to white. Faster picks up the telephone. SPLIT SCREEN.

FASTER: “This is David Faster in…

RECEPTIONIST: “… in room 211. What do you want now?”

FASTER: “I’d like to place a long distance call to Toronto.”

RECEPTIONIST: “Sure you do. But that raises a bit of a problem. We only have the one line and like I say the girls are expecting calls and we don’t like to tie up the line.”

FASTER: “But I need to make a call.”

RECEPTIONIST: “I’m sure you do, Faster. But these girls are trying to eke out a living. And I think that takes some precedence over your personal desires. We all have to make sacrifices. Was there anything else?”

FASTER: “I may be getting a call in the morning. It’s very important that I receive it. It’s about work.”

RECEPTIONIST: “Call in the morning. Well, I don’t see any problem there.”

FASTER: “You won’t forget about my hangers will you? And towels? And pillows?”

RECEPTIONIST: “You didn’t mention pillows.”

FASTER: “I’ve only got one pillow. I simply must have four pillows.”

RECEPTIONIST: “Four pillows! What kind of establishment do you think we’re running here, sir? You’re not planning on having a party, are you, Faster? We can’t allow you to have overnight guests. That is why you are restricted to one pillow. You can not imagine how people of your ilk will abuse that privilege.”

FASTER: “But…”

RECEPTIONIST: “If we give you more than one pillow, everyone in the motel will be asking for extras. Those are the rules, Faster. Without rules, society would disintegrate. Chaos would rule. Are you an anarchist, Faster?”

FASTER: “I just need a couple more pillows. I have post nasal drip and I must keep my head elevated.”

RECEPTIONIST: “Why don’t you roll up the rug, Faster?”

FASTER: “The rug?”

RECEPTIONIST: “And place the shower curtain under you. We don’t want your mucous all over our sheets.”

FASTER: “Could I have some food send over? I’m starving. I haven’t eaten since this morning.”

RECEPTIONIST: “I’m sorry. The kitchen closed not five minutes ago. The chef goes to bingo Monday evenings.”

FASTER: “I don’t think I can make it until morning.”

RECEPTIONIST: “I could send you a sandwich. Half a sandwich. Pastrami on rye. We’re out of mustard.”



[CAMERA… Shot of title:


FADE to white… LONG SHOT - Faster sitting behind a teacher’s desk at the front of a classroom. Students are quietly working away at questions that have been written on the blackboard. A student with spiked hair puts up his hand. Faster looks up from the textbook he has been reading.

FASTER: “Yes, Lauren.”


FASTER: “What do you want, Laura?”

LAURA: “Can I go to the washroom?”


LAURA: “No?”

FASTER: “You’ve already been to the washroom three times. I think it’s time you did some work.”

LAURA: “I’ve got diarrhea.”



[CAMERA… Shot of title:



FADE to white… This scene should be shot from very low and up at an angle so that the ceiling is in each shot. This gives the characters the look of giants. The ceiling should appear to be only a few inches above their heads. There is light coming in from a window making the characters appear to be dissolving in shadows and bright light. LONG SHOT from the corner of room with Bill Marvellous center stage, smoking a cigar, sitting in his chair, feet propped up on his desk, while Ron Howl paces back and forth in front of his desk. There is a look of smug amusement on Bill Marvellous’s face.

MARVELLOUS: “Harry, Harry, Harry!”

HOWL: “The name is Ron, Bill. Ron Howl”

MARVELLOUS: “Of course it is. Just messing with you, Harry.”

HOWL: “What?”

MARVELLOUS: “Lighten up, my good friend. What happened to that light hearted spirit we at Marvellous Educational Supplies and Services have come to know and love? Eh? What happened to your sense of humour, Harry?”

[CAMERA… CLOSE UP of Ron Howl. His black pupils are dissolving in the whites of his eyes. He turns his eyes like a gun on his partner.

HOWL: “Lighten up! Don’t you think that I’d like to lighten up? I am being buried beneath a mountain of debt. Who renovates a new house? Five thousand dollars a month for the mortgage. The wife wasn’t satisfied with two washrooms. We needed three. We could have rented a Johnny-on-the-spot and put it in the garage. And three teenagers. The closest thing I get to a smile is a sneer. In the house three months and we’re short of closet space. We don’t wash clothes in our house; we buy new ones. Two of those kids have braces. Do you have any idea what orthodontists are pulling down these days? Six figures. Building empires out of bridges. And the girl refuses to brush her teeth. It takes three of us to hold down the little bitch while we floss her teeth. And the wife wants to entertain. Entertain! What’s the point of having a huge new home, the wife argues, if we don’t show it off. The wife rented a guy to play a few tunes on the piano. Two hundred dollars a song! I lost a small fortune in encores. Classical music. That’s what he advertised. Everything was Montavoni. And my youngest son has become a born again Christian. Walks around the house naked. Gave all his clothes to the Goodwill. The clothes I bought. Brand name labels. The homeless are better dressed than I am.”

MARVELLOUS: “Calm down, Harry. You’re working yourself into a heart attack.”

HOWL: “It’s Ron for Christ’s sake. We can’t afford this Sandman Project. It’s too damn risky and I’m in no position to take a bath. Last week, the wife bought a hot tub. I told her, Phyllis, this isn’t California. This is Canada. We use the bathtub. You should see my water bills. Any more surprises from her and I swear, Bill, I’ll kill her. I’ll strangle Phyllis with my bare hands. And now this Sandman Project. What do we know about this – Sandman?”

MARVELLOUS EXAMINING HIS CIGAR: “Sandman has been doing business in Guelph since the war.”

HOWL: “What, the war of 1812?”

MARVELLOUS: “The guy is smooth, Harry. No one has laid a glove on him. Not a touch of scandal. Not even a parking ticket. He is a man you cannot help but admire. A man’s man. Besides, we didn’t get to where we are now without taking some chances. Life is filled with risk.”

HOWL: “I don’t like it, Bill. We were doing very well skimming off money from school supplies. Less lead in the pencils. Shorter rulers. One ply toilet paper. But this… Something fishy about it. I’ve got a nose for these things, Bill, and this has disaster written all over it. Trafficking drugs using supply teachers? I don’t like it. An operation like this is only good as long as you can keep it a secret. And how long will it be until the other bosses find out about it and want a piece of the action?”

MARVELLOUS: “Which is why we’re sending this kid Faster out on a test run.”

HOWL: “Who is this Faster? What do we know about him?”

MARVELLOUS: “I’ve known his mother for years. She got some smarts and some of them must have rubbed off on the boy. Hell, I didn’t even know she had a kid.”

[CAMERA… MEDIUM SHOT of Howl falling into a seat opposite Marvellous. CLOSE UP of Howl.

HOWL SMILES: “I really admire you, Bill. Always have every base covered. Never lose your cool. Always in control.

[CAMERA… CLOSE UP of Marvellous and then alternating close ups between the two men.

MARVELLOUS: “Thank you, Harry. But you see there is nothing to worry about. The kid, Faster, knows absolutely nothing about what he’s getting into. If the worst happens and someone lands on him, nothing will fall back on us. We’ll claim he was free lancing.”

HOWL: “You didn’t tell him anything?”

MARVELLOUS: “Nothing.”

HOWL: “Nothing.”


[CAMERA… LONG SHOT of Howl and Marvellous breaking out into laughter. Alternating CLOSE UPS of Marvellous then Howl laughing. CLOSE UPS of their mouths. Rapidly increasing cuts between the two mouths laughing. Laughter growing louder and louder with each cut. CUT to black and silence.



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