Casino Downs5 March 2019
FADE IN. EXT. Bridge Underside, Casino Downs. Night.
A slender, green-tinted arm extends, casting a shadow over the amalgamated skyscrapers below. Its long, feeble fingers slowly wrap around the southern bridge as it tries to rip the rest of itself out of the black mirror on the side of the old casino.
The void spits out a head encased in a blue bob and a body with armour hugging its figure so tight that a single wrong movement could crush its bones. Its eyelids slowly rise revealing a hollow, red circle with a slight glimmer and its mouth parts.
(In a demonically deep and wavering tone) You don’t want to be by yourself, correct? Please, find me at your local Quickstop. I only cost 50 rupees.
It closes its mouth and winks towards the open skyline then recedes back into the wall like the bird of a cuckoo clock being drawn back into its cage. The woman remains behind the black mirror for 4 seconds before re-emerging and reaching out towards the bridge once again.
Doc is entranced by the seductiveness of the woman’s movement and his eyes lock on her fingers as they snake around the underside of the bridge. His pupils dilate. Saliva begins to drip from the corners of his mouth down onto his thick, grey beard and settle into the wrinkles hidden behind it.
A swift crack breaks the trance and Doc jumps to his feet and darts his head left to right. The crack echoes and bounces through the empty streets causing shrieks and screams amongst the underlings as they trample and claw each other desperately trying to reach the nearest manhole. Amongst the chaos, Doc looks through the woman’s transparent figure as a bullet buries a hollow tunnel straight through her chest and clips the tail of a whirlybird. His left eye twitches as the aircraft flails through the sky distorting the image of the woman.
Boss! We got one mate. Fucker’s down!
Skeggs and the boys look up in unison. They stuff their gear into their satchels and run towards Doc.
Mac is looking down at his feet, shifting a foot from side to side in a little artificial crevasse in the rubble. He squints his eyes and violently shakes his head in a petty attempt to scream the chiselled image of rubble and burning tires out of his head. He claws hands over his ears to muffle the congregate of chatter to his right, the clink of metal colliding with Earth to his left and the cacophony of distant drones and ambient hum of neon lights.
The boys pile into the broken aircraft like ants, ripping it apart and devouring the food supply but Mac just stands, watching individual specs of dirt rising into the air. The particles scatter and split amongst saturated, red lights seeping through holes and cracks in the underside of the bridge and clenches his fist. He squints, obscuring his vision of the bridge underside as the shadow of a memory flashes like a strobe light through his brain.
HARD CUT IN. MONTAGE. VARIOUS.
- A POV shot through the eyes of a vagabond dog following a trail of blood that leads to collection of viscera piled up on the banks of a river.
- A CRT TV displaying the 1982 film adaptation of Cannery Row sits on a table in front of a makeshift metallic bench. Deep focus as a mans arms and legs are restrained to the bench by leather straps. He jolts around as if he is unable to wake up from a nightmare.
- Low frame rate tracking shot of MAC following closely behind SKEGGS down the derelict streets of Casino Downs. MAC holds his head tight as if trying to keep it attached to his neck.
Rid the world of the traits we detest.
- POV shot of a cold, metallic pick entering a man’s nose and tickling at his brain.
CUT IN. EXT. Bridge Underside, Casino Downs. Night.
Mac appears distressed. Yet, his gaze still returns to Skeggs and the Boys. It always does.
He opens his eyes and glares at Skeggs who carelessly rests his entire weight on the bridges pillar as he himself pays no attention as his ‘boys’ rip apart the aircraft. Water rushes against his feet yet he pays no attention or care as clumps of dirt and mucus gather to form small, sticky walls that build up against his boots before being washed away. He cradles a compact, orange book in his hands as if trying to soak the words up with his eyes as he holds a tethered light to his mouth like a microphone over-exposing his cracked, pursed lips.
Skeggs clears his throat and holds his head high, mouthing the words on the page as if preparing to deliver a sermon. A wave of silence washes over the boys as they slowly turn their heads towards Skeggs who is now raising his left hand into the air, tightly clenching ‘Cannery Row’.
(Begins with a slight whisper) The wisdom offered by the intellectual cornerstone of Cannery Row will bring end to chaos through understanding of the human condition lest those who reject its words have their detestable traits removed.
(His voice grows more confident) Passage 2. Doc 5:17. It has always seemed strange to me… The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.
Mac’s attention detracts from Skeggs as his eyes throb, the irradiating light of the distant city climbing into each individual pore of his body and ripping his skin to shreds. He starts violently swaying his head once again as he rips the soggy Winnie from the corner of his mouth and throws it into the debris. However, the flow of water catches the end of it and rips it into the current pulling it down the muddy stream. A rusted, metal pipe covered in algae stops the adrift dart.
It washes up next to Doc who sits atop a pile of car tyres and unidentifiable scraps as he slowly whittles away at a scrap piece of timber. He places the knife against the wood and swiftly swipes forward in a smooth and consistent motion. As the shavings fall, the wood slowly begins to resemble a human effigy. A booming yet soothing voice emerges from the pile of rubble to the left of Doc.
What’s happening here boyos?
Not recognising the voice, Doc cautiously returned to his whittling but slowed his motions and acted with far more precision.
(With confidence and a slight tinge of aggression) Surely that isn’t Cannery Row I hear!
You know as well as I that the sibling-like rivalry chronicled in Otomo’s epic ‘Akira’ is a far greater model for human progression.
He freezes in place as a cold, pointy object is thrust against his throat.