Screenplay - Pushing Leaves Towards the Sun


by Mark L Berry©2009

Based on the novel Pushing Leaves Towards the Sun
(along with its 11 song original soundtrack)
by Mark L Berry

____________________________________________________________


FADE IN:

EXT. DRIVEWAY IN COS COB, CONNECTICUTMIDDAY

Sound of tires screeching echo against the 3-story townhouse as a dark red Jeep quickly locks up its brakes and stops backing out. A bright yellow motorcycle swerves and stops next to it after avoiding a collision.

The Jeep Driver is BILLY

Now I see why you painted that bike so bright, Oso. You’re one lucky S.O.B. that I didn’t back right on over you. This is an off-road vehicle, after all. You’d be like a speed bump.

The unfazed rider, OSO, is dressed in a blue BMW padded jacket, jeans, and black boots. He raises the face shield to his black helmet to speak.

OSO

I just got my personalized license plate. “PHX” for Phoenix. Thanks for looking up the three-letter identifier for me Billy.

BILLY

No sweat. You did bring that bike back from the dead. You’re quite the grease monkey. I could use your help keeping this machine running. I barely got it started and I need to get it up to speed to recharge the battery.

OSO

No problemo amigo. I skipped breakfast and I’m starving. Got time for an early lunch?

BILLY

Sure thing. I’ll race you to Kassi’s Diner. Loser buys.

OSO

I could use one last free hot meal before camping tonight. This glorious machine cleaned out my wallet, but it’s sooo worth it.

Oso pats his gas tank with pride while Billy turns the wheel and eases in front of the bike, facing the lawn that is way overdue to be cut.

BILLY

Ok, three-two-GO!

Billy hits the gas and cuts across the grass for an unfair head start. Oso answers Billy’s getaway by revving his engine up to 4500 rpm and then letting go of the clutch. The knobby rear on/off road tire spin before digging in. The BMW R80 G/S lurches sideways as it accelerates on the edge of control.



CUT TO:

EXT. 2 AND 4-LANE TOWN STREETSSAME DAY

Oso catches up with Billy a couple of blocks later. Billy is stuck behind a car at a stoplight. Oso pulls up next to him, laughs and points an accusing finger.

OSO

No way is that beach buggy of yours going to beat my bike, even though you’re cheating.

BILLY

If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying!

OSO

No more games and no more shortcuts. This is a race, not a chase. Let me know if my taillight is working after the street light turns green.

BILLY

You ain’t seen nothing yet. I hope you brought a credit card.

Billy looks for pedestrian traffic, turns the wheel, and drives his right two tires up over the sidewalk. He squeezes past the car in front of him and makes a right turn on red. Next, he accelerates through the speed limit just as fast as his six cylinders allow with the pedal to the floor. Oso hops the curb slowly, using both feet for balance, and then races down the sidewalk after Billy. Chase scene ensues with Billy about to be the winner approaching the Diner.



CUT TO:

EXT. KASSI’S DINER PARKING LOT ENTRANCEMIDDAY

Oso turns early, through the lot of a small group of stores, and hops a curb as fast as he dares while almost spilling the motorcycle. He barely stops right in front of Billy’s Jeep before the entrance as they both pull in from different directions.

BILLY

I win. I made it into the lot before you did, even with your death defying entrance.

Oso dismounts and blocks Billy from entering the diner.

OSO

The first one inside is the winner, mi loco amigo. This is going to be the best burger I’ve tasted all year because you’re buying it.

BILLY

Where did you learn to hop a curb like that? I thought you were going down for sure. Blood and teeth wouldn’t make a very good lunch.

OSO

I’ve done a lot of riding, mostly mini bikes as a kid, but those were the first curbs that I’ve hopped. I really have no money so I had to beat you and you’re the one who made this an adventure race rather than a speed run.

BILLY

Well, at least I had fun. I’ll race you back after lunch to see who has to buy the beer for the lake.



CUT TO:

INT. PAYPHONE INSIDE THE FALLOUT SHELTER NIGHTCLUBLATE AFTERNOON

Nightclub is a large open area with a stage in back and bar along the length of one side wall. “When Doves Cry” by Prince plays in the background. The phones are along the opposite wall along with seating areas and doors to offices. Billy drops a dime in the payphone and sticks a finger in his other ear to hear the phone better. We hear the automated operator over the club’s 1980’s background music.

(O.S.) AUTOMATED OPERATOR

Please insert one dollar and thirty five cents for the first three minutes.

Billy grudgingly complies, complaining while the phone rings on the other end.

BILLY

You’re robbing me, bitch. Connecticut is just across the measly Byram River.

We hear Oso as a new off stage voice answer the phone.

(O.S.) OSO

Hey-lo.

BILLY

Amigo. I’m screwed. Totally sorry but I can’t go fishing this weekend. I’m so bummed.

(O.S.) OSO

You have to work?

BILLY

Fucking Gordo. Dipping in the till is the quickest way to get canned anywhere. Now I’m stuck on a double shift. And, I have to pick up the slack until he’s replaced.

(O.S.) OSO

Bonehead move for Gordo, bro. He should have known better, but it works out for you. What kind of raise comes from this battlefield promo, amigo?

BILLY

Time-and-a-half this weekend for covering the extra shifts. Not sure after that. I may become the new assistant manager or stay just the highly qualified, indispensable assistant I’ve always been, but I did get Derek to throw in a few extra bucks to string me along until Monday.

(O.S.) OSO

The Shelter is toast without you.

BILLY

Tell me about it.

(O.S.) AUTOMATED OPERATOR

You have two minutes remaining.

(O.S.) OSO

We can do the cabin next weekend, maybe add some hiking along the Appalachian Trail. The thru-hikers should be coming through soon.

BILLY

Oso, you’re way too understanding. I’d be pissed off if you cancelled on me at the last min…

(O.S.) OSO

You’d get over it. Besides, I’ll catch more fish without your yakking and making me fish your beer cans out of the lake.

Billy hums a bar of the James Bond suspense music through which the auto operator chimes in again.

(O.S.) AUTOMATED OPERATOR

You have one minute remaining.

BILLY

Fuck Off!

(O.S.) OSO

What?!

BILLY

Not you amigo. You’d think a fist full of change would get us an uninterrupted phone call. I want to strangle that automated bitch.

(O.S.) OSO

Oh. Gotcha.

BILLY

Speaking of women, maybe you can talk Barbara Bach into taking my place, or Lois Chiles, or both. You can have more fun without me I’m sure.

(O.S.) OSO

You’re the ‘Bond Girl’ fanatic, Billy. Besides, Lindy would get jealous and there’s no extra room on my bike. I’ll have to carry my own gear, since now we won’t be riding up together in your Jeep.
(sarcastically)
You can have them choppered in if it makes you feel less guilty.

BILLY (smiling)

I think the chopper is busy this weekend. Have a good time, sorry again for bailing out. I’ll make it up to you, I swear. We’ll head up to the lake together soon.

(O.S.) OSO

Pura Vida!

Billy hangs up, and before he can let go of the receiver the payphone rings. He picks it back up.

BILLY

“Oso, you still there?”

(O.S.) AUTOMATED OPERATOR

Please insert ten cents more for overtime

BILLY

Bite me, bitch!

Billy Slams down the receiver.



CUT TO:

EXT. ANOTHER DRIVEWAYSAME DAY

Oso hangs up the phone—seen through the kitchen window. He exits the side of the house with supplies and packs them into his motorcycle’s saddlebags for a weekend at the lake.

OSO (to himself)

A three-quarter moon already up in the still-blue sky—tonight is going to be a good night for riding, and for fishing.

Oso checks to see if he has enough money in his wallet and stops to stare at a picture of LINDY, the girl who was crying in the hospital scene. He smiles and kisses both the picture and the tape, then loads the latter into his yellow Sony Walkman and presses “Play.” (Original song from the novel) “One Down and Four Up” begins as Oso shifts through the gears and starts his ride to the lake.



CUT TO:

INT. INSIDE OSO’S MOTORCYCLE HELMET VISORSAME DAY

Oso’s face Reflects in the helmet visor along with the road sliding by while the song is playing.

FADE TO:

INT. INSIDE OSO’S MOTORCYCLE HELMET VISORNEW VISUAL

New projection inside the helmet visor of Lindy and Billy performing “One Down and Four Up” on stage at The Fallout Shelter.

FADE TO:

INT. INSIDE OSO’S MOTORCYCLE HELMET VISORORIGINAL VISUAL

Previous projection inside the helmet visor of Oso’s reflection and the road ahead as he approaches a red light with a church to his right (as the song nears its end).
Oso downshifts and cuts sharply off the road and briefly stands as he hops the curb, cutting behind the church to avoid the red light. He rounds the church through its parking lot, approaches the crossroad, and looks left for approaching traffic. Seeing none, the visor-view returns to the road ahead as Oso attempts to exit via the parking lot entrance. A chain across the entrance, seen too late into the setting sun, hits the headlight, rises up over the plexiglass front fairing, and catches Oso violently by the neck. Camera jerks and bounces then stops facing the sky with Oso’s lifeless expression reflected in the glass. Blood starts to drip out of his mouth and the camera fades to black as the song ends.



CUT TO:

INT. HOSPITAL WAITING ROOMNIGHT

An older HISPANIC COUPLE in their late 50’s hold each other while they both fight back tears. Sitting in a vinyl chair is a 20-ish GIRL with long dark hair openly crying into her hands. Billy reads from a piece of paper while a DOCTOR is walking away from the group tight lipped and staring down at the ground.

BILLY

The chain struck the headlight and rode up the quarter fairing, cleared the top of the tinted Plexiglas with a snap, and connected under Roberto, a.k.a. Oso, Acevedo’s chin strap, fatally separating the rider from his motorcycle.
(pause)
All those times we raced, fuck, fuck, fuck!

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

—-TWO YEARS LATER—-

FADE OUT:



CUT TO:

INT: CLOSE-UP IN BEDROOMMORNING

Alarm clock suddenly blares as 09:30 lights up. Billy moans as he struggles to wake.

BILLY

What the fuck, over?
(pause)
Ahhh, Pain. Ah yes, I earned this skull-crusher mixing liquors again last night.
I’ve gotta learn to stay the course on just one distilled flavor from now on.

Billy tries to roll over and out of bed but his arm is stuck. He rolls back and pulls the covers partway down with his free hand revealing a beautiful 20-ish naked GIRL with long chestnut hair. She is still partially covered in bright splotches of paint on her bare skin which has also rubbed off on the sheets.

BILLY

Well there little lady, where did I find you?
(pause, no reply)
Apparently you’re in no hurry to wrestle your way back into the real world. Why the Hell am I?

Billy extricates his arm from under the naked girl and sits on the side of his bed with his aching head in his hands.

BILLY

Hmmm, breakfast, breakfast, breakfast. Something about breakfast.
(pause)
Oh shit, I’m supposed to meet Lindy. Bitch must have set the alarm, damn her.

Billy gets up and steps over paint stained towels and a couple paintbrushes as he stumbles into the adjoining small bathroom.



CUT TO:

INT: BATHROOMSAME DAY

He steps over to the toilet and holds himself up by leaning across it and bracing against the far wall. A sign inches from his face reads:
PILOTS WITH SHORT PITOT TUBES OR LOW MANIFOLD PRESSURE PLEASE TAXI CLOSE.

Close-up of Billy’s face as he moves to the sink and drinks directly from the faucet before looking at himself in the mirror. He appears older with a scruffy face and shows signs of heavy drinking. Looking down the mirror we see a note written in toothpaste:
3 ASPIRIN, KASSI’S—10, C.A.Y.A.

Billy steps to the doorway back to his room and inspects the GIRL still lying there asleep.

BILLY

Euro-gal, now I remember… a little.
(pause)
I better leave you a real note, the pencil and paper kind. At least someone around here is getting to sleep-in this morning.
(pause)
I wonder if you’re dreaming in English or German; probably both. Hey, maybe I can speak German in your dreams. That would be totally cool. Achtung!



CUT TO:


  1. Mark,
    Congratulations!!!
    I see all the ingredients for success, coming together.
    All the best to you!

    — Gil Bernal    Saturday, April 04, 2009    #


  2. WOW Mark, mighty impressed with your Literature inspirations. I guess its time I buy the first book. I keep saying I am going too. Hope you are well. I know you are busy, Peace brother!
    Wendy
    Ps. I will be looking forward to make it to the famous MLB party this year!

    — Wendy Milot    Saturday, April 04, 2009    #


  3. Congrats sir!!

    XOXO,

    Danielle

    — Danielle Correll    Saturday, April 04, 2009    #


  4. Good luck!

    — William Madden    Saturday, April 04, 2009    #


  5. Mark, is it not amazing when we tap into resources we never thought of in terms of ourself? We are very proud of what you have accomplished, and we know especially in your case the addage is true “no pain, no gain” you are doing it!
    Even in the most dire economic moment there are those who find a niche and are successful, you are going to be one of those.
    Congratulations
    Besos y un fuerte abrazo
    Lynne and Ben

    — Lynne Padilla    Saturday, April 04, 2009    #


  6. Mark,

    Keep up the great work!!!! When are you getting to Dallas?

    — danny pharo    Saturday, April 04, 2009    #


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