THE SEDUCTION OF "SIR"

A SHORT FILM

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

(in order of appearance)

  • SIR

male, 40s-60s, masculine, intelligent, pensive, bearded (until the final scene)

  • THE MESMERIST

male, 40s-60s, penetrating eyes, clean-shaven, light, unplaceable "East European" accent

  • LONG HAIR

male, 30, fashionably dressed, long-haired,bearded

  • SHORT-HAIRED YOUNG LADY

mid-20s, handsome features, innocent eyes

  • IMPUDENT YOUNG MAN

mid-20s, handsome features, malevolent eyes

  • THE SHOOTER

male, mid 20s-30s

  • THE VICTIM

male, mid 20s-30s

  • 12-18 PARTYGOERS

male/female, 20s and 30s

Nota Bene:

SIR and THE MESMERIST are played by the same actor.

SHORT-HAIRED YOUNG LADY and IMPUDENT YOUNG MAN are played by the same actor.

THE SHOOTER and the VICTIM are identical twins. They are played by the same set of twins as those at the party, but these two sets of twins, while identical, are clearly distinguishable by personality.


INT. -- A LIVING ROOM IN A RENTED MIDDLE CLASS HOME, PERHAPS GRAD STUDENT DIGS OR THAT OF A YOUNG MARRIED COUPLE

F/IN

A party where trendy 20- and 30-somethings celebrate. There is no allusion to what is celebrated. The attendees are enjoying themselves. General camaraderie and good feeling all around.

An older man, SIR, mid-50s, standing, watches them, almost as if from a distance, with curious amusement, but not quite with comprehension. He appears to be above it all but still somehow attracted to it. His tie and jacket places him in another decade. His relationship to the younger people is unclear. They are courteous, but not particularly mindful of him. One or two of the young people, including LONG HAIR, a male in fashionable 3-piece suit (very GQ), with beautiful long hair and beard, seem to know him and chat briefly, making polite small talk. SIR is not diffident, but seems to resist what both puzzles and attracts him. He appears to be an outsider, looking in; but he considers himself the insider.

SIR is not the focus of the partygoers' attention; he is the focus of the camera. The camera looks at the scene either from his perspective (displaying that which he sees) or from a perspective where his reaction is apparent. The camera is never too close to faces to infringe upon the characters' privacy or that of the audience. In these indoor shots, the camera is either still and silent, or moves with stealth and by infinitesimal degrees.

In one continuous shot, SIR moves from room to room leisurely, pausing to watch the goings-on: a game of Twister, chats about boyfriends, a young lady fooling around on a guitar while an attention hog pretends to sing opera. Some imbibe. A group of three passes around a joint in the bathroom. The camera takes its time with these scenes.

We then find SIR in spectacles, seated in a comfortable chair with an old leatherbound book, sipping and savoring whiskey from Baccarat crystal. SIR hears an uproar of laughter coming from the Living room. He ignores it, at first, and is unperturbed. After a time, the laughter attracts his attention away from the book, which he gently places on the desk. Curious as to its origin, although hesitant, he moves into the living room to see an odd looking older male, fashionably dressed (again, very GQ) with a turban on his head holding a gold pocket watch by its fob. Giggling partygoers surround the MESMERIST. SIR enters to see a SHORT HAIRED YOUNG LADY, eyes open but in a trance, begin to bark like a dog and then, upon the MESMERIST'S command, jump up from her chair to dance, as in a chassé.

SHORT HAIRED YOUNG LADY

(smiling radiantly, laughing effusively)

Toasted Cheese Sandwich. Toasted Cheese Sandwich!

The crowd giggles.

MESMERIST

Quiet, please! This is serious business.

You have no idea!

The gigglers quiet down, some confused by the vehemence of this last utterance.

MESMERIST

(he smiles, to palliate them)

I will now bring Miss out of her trance and she will have no recollection of her having been a Schnauzer who has told the world her secret food desire.

MESMERIST claps two times, twice. SHORT HAIRED YOUNG LADY blinks her eyes as if awakening from a deep sleep.

SHORT HAIRED YOUNG LADY

Hello. Well, when are you going to start?

The crowd bursts into applause, much to SHORT HAIRED YOUNG LADY's consternation.

SHORT HAIRED YOUNG LADY

What do you mean? What's happened?

Her female identical twin friends move her away from the MESMERIST and happily tell her of the results of this grand party trick.

SIR coughs involuntarily. MESMERIST looks up at him. The stare at each other for several seconds.

MESMERIST

A volunteer? (pause) Sir?

SIR displays shock and fear in his eyes momentarily, but then hides it with a comely smile.

SIR

(with a calmness that betrays concern) I think not.

MESMERIST

(with subtle malice) I see.

The partygoers' eyes betray an awareness of a struggle taking place between the two older men.

SIR

I am too experienced in the world to fall

for something like this.

MESMERIST

I see.

The MESMERIST smiles knowingly to himself.

MESMERIST

Who's next? I have to earn my money, don't I? (He laughs.)

MESMERIST turns to the partygoers, for whom the tension has thus been lifted, who continue with their giggling chatter.

SIR, discomfited, turns, pauses, turns again, walks towards and out of the front door onto the porch, sits on the brick steps. He notices the brilliant sky, gazes at it with what becomes longing.

The two identical males of the party interrupt his reverie, burst out the screen door, bouncing down the steps and joking. One throws the car keys to the other.

IDENTICAL TWIN 1

I love you! You are so funny!

IDENTICAL TWIN 2

Well, dude, so are you!

IDENTICAL TWIN 1

So, what do you want to get?

IDENTICAL TWIN 2

Fried chicken, I think.

IDENTICAL TWIN 1 and 2 (TOGETHER)

NO! TOASTED CHEESE SANDWICHES!

They laugh. We hear them get in their car and drive off.

SIR is not amused. He frowns, concern spreading over his face.

SMASHCUT

INT -- SIR'S HOME, UPPER MIDDLE CLASS, MID-MORNING. A WELL TO DO AESTHETICALLY PLEASING HOME, BUT NOT LUXURIOUS. A SCHOLAR'S SANCTUARY, PERHAPS.

Some time has passed. SIR is alone. The home is clearly empty but for him. We hear his steps lightly echo, we hear the sounds around the house. The camera follows him into the kitchen to make breakfast, into the bathroom as he shaves, looking in mirror, folding laundry and doing chores. SIR suddenly drops the laundry basket and stands in the middle of the living room. The camera very slowly zooms in to his face. It becomes clear to the viewer that something turbulent roils within him.

The camera gradually zooms in to his face. Superimposed upon his face (the outline of which is just barely seen), images appear: a violent waterfall, WWI soldiers going over the top, an older motherly-looking woman in a homely dress, a desert scene of absolute quiet. These scenes fade out and the image of his head comes to the fore.

Hearing birds, he goes to the window and looks out at the sky above. The camera follows his gaze to linger on the sky's azure brilliance.

F/OUT

SMASHCUT

EXT. -- PARK

SIR walks through a park, carrying paper bundles by their handles on either side, perhaps coming home from the grocery store. The day is sunny, placid, like a lazy Saturday afternoon. Children play on the park playsets in the distance. SIR appears to be deep in thought.

SIR approaches the IMPUDENT YOUNG MAN, seated on a park bench. IMPUDENT YOUNG MAN, hair slicked back, in leather jacket and torn jeans, sits on bench in a pose of studied lassitude. Their eyes meet. SIR stops, with bags still in his hands, glaring.

SIR

You... I could swear I've seen you before.

IMPUDENT YOUNG MAN

Get lost, old man.

SIR

You were at the party.

IMPUDENT YOUNG MAN

You're out of your mind.

SIR

(dropping his bags)

You're the dancer. You're not a boy! You're a girl!!

IMPUDENT YOUNG MAN

(pulling a switchblade from his jacket)

I'll fuck you up, old fool! You don't touch me!!

SIR suddenly seems to come to, picks up his bags and begins walking away, stunned. SIR walks out of frame. IMPUDENT YOUNG MAN follows SIR with his eyes. When SIR is out of frame, IMPUDENT YOUNG MAN returns the switchblade to his jacket and returns to his original pose, as if nothing has happened.

CONTINUOUS ACTION

EXT. -- COMMERCIAL AREA INTERSECTION, SIDEWALK

SIR arrives at an intersection, still ruminating. Suddenly, he is surprised, looking forth and back at THE SHOOTER and THE VICTIM, identical twins, one dressed elegantly, the other in leather, arguing on the side walk. What they say is unintelligble, but the argument escalates as SIR continues, slower, towards them. THE VICTIM punches THE SHOOTER in the face, knocking the shooter down and momentarily stunning him. THE SHOOTER walks to his car from which he pulls a silver handgun. THE SHOOTER strides over to THE VICTIM. SIR stands but 10 ft away and unable to move. THE SHOOTER aims his weapon at THE VICTIM. THE VICTIM, shocked at the turn of events, does not turn to flee, but instead kneels and begs for his life. The words of the man begging for mercy are not comprehensible. THE SHOOTER is silent. THE SHOOTER fires a bullet into his head. THE VICTIM collapses. We see the shooting and SIR observe it in the same frame. THE SHOOTER rages at THE VICTIM, spits at his corpse. Moments after this travesty, SIR involuntarily drops his bags. THE SHOOTER turns to SIR, having heard the bag fall to the ground, weapon at his side, and only then does THE SHOOTER's face register the horror, mixed with the fulfilling pleasure of the consummation of his rage, of what he has done. THE SHOOTER drops the weapon, runs to his car, drives off. SIR remains in position, jaw dropped, stunned, the camera slowly zooming up to his face, as sirens begin to be heard off camera.

F/OUT

INT. -- THE OFFICE OF THE MESMERIST, BLAND, CORPORATE, MUCH LIKE ANY DENTIST OFFICE

LONG HAIR sits with SIR in a waiting room. The MESMERIST enters, sans turban, in a designer sweat suit. He glances at LONG HAIR and does not look at SIR.

MESMERIST

(with a cool, almost bored malevolence

that one might misinterpret as humor)

I came as soon as I got your call, young man.

LONG HAIR

Oh, ok. That's cool.

MESMERIST

(walking towards the office)

Follow me.

LONG HAIR and SIR follow him into an office. MESMERIST throws his keys on his desk. We see his gold watch and gaudy jewelry.

MESMERIST

Sit.

LONG HAIR and SIR sit.

MESMERIST

And?

LONG HAIR

Well, he's interested.

MESMERIST sits.

MESMERIST

(knowingly)

I see. And you're here why?

LONG HAIR

Um. He wants me as a witness.

MESMERIST and SIR have locked eyes upon one another.

MESMERIST

(smiling, to SIR)

Do you think something untoward will be imparted

to you in your soporific state?

SIR

I just want a witness.

MESMERIST

(as he picks up his gold watch)

Of course, you do. As you wish.

Almost imperceptibly MESMERIST raises his right hand in front and to the side of his face. SIR's eyes take in the hand and then return focus to MESMERIST's eyes.

SIR

The money?

MESMERIST

You will pay eventually. And you will follow all of my instructions, yes? You must not resist me, you know.

SIR

Resist?

MESMERIST (powerfully)

You know very well what I mean.

SIR is silent, eyes feaful, face weary. Ultimately he is cowed. His face demonstrates a kind of weary acceptance. It is as if the final curtain has dropped. He knows what is about to happen.

SIR

Yes.

MESMERIST

(to no one in particular)

You see, he is already under my influence.

THE MESMERIST snaps his fingers, but SIR does not respond.

MESMERIST

(With subtle gluttony)

I do not even need this gaudy prop! (Puts down watch.) And this is a man who thought himself impervious to my will. The arrogance.

(with malevolence, but still matter-of-factly, to LONG HAIR, but without looking at him) Get out.

MESMERIST and SIR stare into each other's eyes, the MESMERIST with what might be humorous contempt, boding ill; SIR apparently passive and weary, as LONG HAIR looks on puzzled and slightly frightened.

MESMERIST

Get out.

LONG HAIR looks back and forth as if to see whether he has been evicted as well. Both SIR and LONG HAIR get up at once, SIR without expression, LONG HAIR surprised at this coincidence. They leave. The MESMERIST walks to the window, looks at the sky, laughs disdainfully to himself, as if denying the sky itself. looks at his watch with the confidence of one who knows the future.

SMASHCUT

EXT. -- SIR'S HOME

SIR sits alone in his comfy chair. The window is wide open. The brilliant sky appears through it. Sound of the birds in the yard, a dog barks. His beard has been shaved and his hair is closely cropped. He wears pajamas that could pass for the garment worn by concentration camp prisoners.

Clearly, something awful is going through his head. Camera pans down to a silver revolver in his hand. It appears to be the same model of revolver used by THE SHOOTER. Tears well up in his eyes. He places the weapon about six inches from his head, with his finger on the trigger. SIR pulls the trigger. We cut away before hearing the sound of a gun's retort.

SMASHCUT

INT. -- THE OFFICE OF THE MESMERIST

THE MESMERIST sits focusing his concentration on a silver bullet standing upright at his desk. His expresses a self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement. He laughs. He claps his hands two times, twice.

SMASHCUT

EXT. -- SIR'S HOME, BACK PORCH

We hear the click of the firing mechanism. There is no bullet shot. Instead, a flag that reads "BANG!" pops out of the barrel. SIR, perplexed, looks at the gun and, holding it in front of him at a lazy angle, fires several more times. He lets the gun drop to the floor as the wide-eyed realization of his hypnosis spreads over his face. He begins to laugh, then to cry, then to laugh while crying.

F/IN

EXT. -- FRONT STOOP OF SIR'S HOME.

Some time has passed. Abruptly, LONG HAIR banging on front door with urgency.

LONG HAIR

Sir. SIR!!

SMASHCUT

INT. -- SIR'S HOME

The room is empty. Out of focus, we see SIR open the front door, LONG HAIR rush in, they embrace as they comfort one another. The camera moves toward the open window, through it, panning up to the brilliant azure sky.

F/OUT

FINIS

Copyright (C) 2014-16 Richard Kuslan All Rights Reserved