SCREENPLAY- LOOK AWAY
Open INT on Boy Scout patrol, troop 19, Minneapolis, reciting the Scout Law and oath*. include MICHAEL age 11,GEORGE age 12 and scoutmaster WILL. They continue recitation in background as scene moves to EXT San Francisco about 1964; then to outline map of San Francisco 1981, and two subsequent maps, revealing numbers and locations of AIDS cases. 1981: 127 cases; 1984 1027 cases; 1996 20,756 cases.
INT BEDROOM EVENING. 1986 San Francisco Castro district.
noises of oxygen generator motor and O2 moisturizer
bubbling. Furniture sparse. A bookshelf. chair and table
with four battered brown spiral notebooks on top. IV stand,
2 bags of infusion, piggybacked. Hospital type wheeled
over-bed table. toilet commode. Bedside table with two pill
bottles on top, and bedpan, urine collector below. empty
wheelchair. Walker. TV on but with only a blank grainy screen
and static no signal.
GEORGE OLSEN of age mid 50’s with obvious severe
wasting illness sitting in recliner. Oxygen by nasal prong. IV. Breathes with effort. wet productive cough, spits into
Kleenex and pokes it at a paper bag. Is looking at blank TV
when MICHAEL MORSE same age medium
build, balding. enters carrying a tray with soda
crackers, a pitcher of water, glass, and soup.
Here. You look like you need this.
(waves him off, looks away and
speaks at the window shade.)
I can’t talk much let alone eat.
I’ve never heard of pneumo-whatzit.
Pneumocystis. Pneumonia but they
can fix it. A week maybe. Or three. Who knows. I won’t
live long either way.
Why? What is it, why didn’t you
Didn’t want to talk about it. Now I
do; In need to. I’m too sick not to. Or you can read it.
(waves at table, notebooks.)
In those notebooks. They go back a
I don’t read. It’s against my religion. Why can’t you just tell me?
What religion! You’re religious sausage. But I’ll try to tell you. The notebooks there, and my death, can speak for themselves. Res ipsa loquitor.
Shit.You always were a nerdy bastard! Your Death! I was shocked to hear from you after so many years, and were so sick. All I knew is you were a stock broker in San Francisco. Merrill Lynch? But OK I’ll read it. But for now eat something. What’d you write about? I didn’t know you liked to write.
(Picks up the notebooks and opens one.)
I don’t. Wrote what we all know but never speak of.
All know? Who all?
Don’t act dumb. It’s me, George! I know you know. You know I know. I know you know I know you know. Or something like that!
MICHAEL ( Looks away, slightly uncomfortable, and shifts focus of the conversation.) OK never mind for now. Eat. Let me read.