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25: Gumshoe

The issue takes place a few days after the previous one. Clothing and outdoor scenes should reflect late October in Philadelphia.

Most narration in this issue is in the form of HARRY's first-person internal monologue, which should be indicated on-panel by a distinctive "type writer" lettering in keeping with his "genre". These captions will be marked in the script as "HARRY's monologue".

PAGE ONE. Three panels.

Panel 1

A panoramic view of the centre of Philadelphia -- gleaming, modern, high-rise buildings in the afternoon sunlight.

CAPTION:

Thursday 16 October 2014

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Philadelphia.

Panel 2

Now down at street level, we're looking at the facade of the Philadelphia Hailey Hotel, and like all Haileys it's a very up-market establishment.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

It's changed a lot since my last visit.

Panel 3

Inside the hotel (the reader will have to infer it's still the hotel -- unless there are clues like the hotel name on menus or something) we find HARRY sitting alone at the bar. It's a big room, very tastefully appointed, big leather couches, potted ferns, etc. HARRY is sitting on a bar stool, probably the only person to do so. He's wearing his raincoat with the collar turned up and has his fedora on the bar next to him. He has an empty whiskey glass in front of him and he's gazing at the giant flat-screen TV behind the bar (it doesn't matter what it's showing, a commercial or something).

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Of course, that was 70 years ago.

PAGE TWO. Five panels.

Panel 1

Close up on HARRY, his gaze still fixed on the TV in front of him.

VOICE (off-panel):

Sir? Sir?

Panel 2

HARRY looks at the speaker, who is a young barman.

BARMAN:

Sorry, sir. But you've been watching commercials for ten minutes. I asked if you wanted me to change the station?

Panel 3

HARRY looks back at the TV.

HARRY:

Yeah. No. Just get me another bourbon.

Panel 4

The barman has turned away to pour the drink. HARRY is reaching for his hat.

HARRY:

Forget it. I'll be leaving now.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I'm not comfortable in a place where a drink costs more than I used to make in a week.

Panel 5

He walks away from the bar, putting his hat on as he goes.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I guess I've skipped over 70 years of inflation.

PAGE THREE. Five panels.

Panel 1

HARRY is now on a city street. The road is packed with traffic and the sidewalk is teeming with people -- in a variety of weird and outlandish fashions (from Harry's 1950s; point of view).

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

They call it progress.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Electric engines in the cars make them run quieter.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

So they fill the silence with god-awful music blaring from every car, every store.

Panel 2

He passes the window of a TV store, the window display showing fifty different channels.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

You don't need to go to the movies anymore, they bring the movies right into your front room.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

And it's all garbage.

Panel 3

He passes a group of youths in full "Troll" regalia -- studded leather outfits with big metal spikes, make-up, tusk implants, the works. One of them has a music player under one arm.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

And don't even get me started on the kids. Need a bit of discipline knocking into them.

CAPTION (music):

DOOM DOOM BOOM DOOM

Panel 4

He's by a small door, sandwiched between a "Crunchy Munchy" burger bar and an "adult" video store. An unobtrusive sign reads, "Benny's" and an arrow points diagonally downwards through the door.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

In the science fiction magazines I read as kid, machines did everything so humans could slow down and relax.

Panel 5

He's walking down narrow stairs.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

In this century I've seen machines so clever they're like magic.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

So where's the goddamn slowing down and relaxing?

PAGE FOUR. One panel.

Panel 1

He's now at the bottom of the stairs and looking out into the basement room -- and it's a bar. A real, old-fashioned, "Cheers"-style bar. There should be a complete contrast to the Hailey bar. There's no chrome, just nice old (worn) wood panelling, coloured glass, subdued lighting. There is probably a TV but it's small and discrete. The guy behind the bar looks friendly rather than professional, and the few patrons are just... relaxing. I think this can be a full-page splash panel, to get the atmosphere across (and subliminally communicate a slower pace).

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Oh, thank heaven.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

It's still here.

PAGE FIVE. Four panels.

Panel 1

HARRY is settled on a bar stool. The barman is standing ready to serve him.

BARMAN:

Rough day, buddy?

HARRY:

You don't know the half of it. But it's good to find this place is still here. It's been a while.

BARMAN:

Yeah, we've been here forever. Some folks still like the personal touch. So—what can I get you?

HARRY:

Do you have anything like real beer here?

Panel 2

The barman is filling a beer glass.

BARMAN:

Engineered in the finest organic micro-brewery in Pennsylvania!

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I have no idea what he just said.

Panel 3

HARRY takes a swallow of beer.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

But it is the first real beer I've found in this century.

Panel 4

He is taking a folder-up newspaper out of his coat pocket. The barman, taking a hint, is moving away.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

And another thing—I want time to read my news, I don't want it shouted at me by a broad on a TV screen. Fella can't learn anything that way.

PAGE SIX. Four panels.

Panel 1

He's reading the paper.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

The President is an actor. Their sports heroes are junkies. We're fighting wars in places I can't even pronounce.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

And TV shows are the front page headlines.

Panel 2

He takes another drink of beer.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Welcome to the 21st century, Harry.

Panel 3

He bends his head back to the paper, now open at an interior page.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Now would you look at that?

Panel 4

And, indeed, we will look at it in this panel. The paper is open at a music commercial. It's a picture of a young (20-ish) woman, heavily made up. She has a very thin and too-pale face, exaggerated black eyes with streaks of black running down her face as if her mascara has (artistically) run, long black hair fanned out around her head -- well, you know the type, but exaggerate it by a decade. She's wearing black and has big, chunky, spiked, metal shoulder pads that look like part of some fantasy villain's idea of armour. In the background are some vaguely trollish figures beating drums. The copy, in a suitably doom-laden font, reads:

CRUSHING HEADS
The ALL NEW download from Vancouver's leading Troll sensations
GRANITE HEAD
Featuring SUZI G

Ok, stick with me here, this is all relevant. (Or will be, eventually.)

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

In my day, women put make-up on to make themselves more attractive. Not the other way around.

PAGE SEVEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

A scene shift to a big executive office. Behind the big executive desk sits a woman in a big executive business suit. She's in her 40s, short hair in a conservative style, little make-up or jewellery. This is KAREN JASEN, the mayor of Winnipeg, Canada, though I'm not sure how I'm going to convey that in dialogue without it being contrived. So she'll probably have to have a name plate on her desk or something. Anyway, she's leaning forward to speak into an intercom in this panel.

CAPTION:

Interlude.

JASEN:

No, tell her I won't see her—

VOICE (off-panel):

Too late.

CAPTION:

Winnipeg, Canada.

Panel 2

Now looking from a reverse angle, we see the person who has just entered the office -- and it's "SUZI G", the woman in the ad HARRY was reading. Her hair and make-up is less extreme, but still on the same theme. Her clothing is still black (and note that she must have long sleeves -- for reasons which aren't important right now) but she doesn't have the spiky shoulders. Oh, and she's looking quietly furious.

JASEN (off-panel):

I have nothing to say to you.

SUZI:

What the hell? Todd's missing and you won't listen to what I know?

Panel 3

Now the two women confront each other over the desk. Both are standing.

JASEN:

My son vanishing is not a new phenomenon. Not since he met you and—

SUZI:

That's bull and you know it! He's been that way since before I even met him.

SUZI:

And you can't blame him when you look at his family life—

Panel 4

Close-up on JASEN's furious face.

JASEN:

Who the hell are you to talk about my family like that?

SUZI (off-panel):

Someone who cares a lot more about your son than you do.

JASEN:

He'll be back when he runs out of money and needs a fix. He always is.

Panel 5

Now a close-up on SUZI, who is out-furiousing JASEN (and looks more scary because of the make-up).

SUZI:

Difference is, he's always been running away from you. But now—

SUZI:

—He's got no reason to run away from me.

PAGE EIGHT. Five panels.

Panel 1

SUZI has taken a sheet of paper (slightly crumpled) out of her pocket and is brandishing it at JASEN.

SUZI:

This is where he was last seen. And if you care about him, you'll have every cop in the city chasing them.

Panel 2

She's put the paper on the desk in front of JASEN, who is looking at it. (We don't need to show its content to readers, as the important points will be said in dialogue.)

JASEN:

The Temple of Unity? It's a charity group, they were in the city to—

SUZI:

They're a front for drugs and—

JASEN:

Oh and you'd know all about that, wouldn't you?

Panel 3

SUZI explodes. Not literally, figuratively. (Though with her age within the critical range for having a superhuman ability, you could be excused for assuming I meant literally).

SUZI:

Jesus!

SUZI:

Take the blinkers off! Read some news ferchristsake!

Panel 4

Close-up on JASEN, barely controlling her temper.

SUZI (off-panel):

Or are they paying you off, is that it?

JASEN:

Get. Out.

SUZI (off-panel):

Fine. Play it like that. I've got better places to be.

Panel 5

Still on JASEN (even though she's not doing anything different).

SUZI (off-panel):

I'll find him myself.

SFX (off-panel):

SLAM

PAGE NINE. Four panels.

Panel 1

A hotel suite. Pretty high-class, as it's a Hailey. FRED and SARA lounge on a couch, watching TV.

CAPTION:

Philadelphia.

FROM TV:

DOOM DOOM BOOM DOOM

FROM TV:

The all new download from Vancouver's leading Troll sensations—

SARA:

If she had any artistic integrity, she'd have tusk implants!

FRED:

Nah, you don't put tusks in a face like that.

Panel 2

SARA looks at FRED. He's still looking at the TV (which can be out of panel).

SARA:

You think she's cute?

FROM TV:

Granite Head featuring Suzi G

FRED:

Not really my type.

SARA:

What is your type?

FROM TV:

DOOM DOOM BOOM DOOM

Panel 3

SARA and FRED look at each other.

FROM TV:

DOOM DOOM BOOM DOOM

Panel 4

Wider view of the room, to show JAMES entering. (He's in civilian clothes.)

JAMES:

What's this?

PAGE TEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

JAMES has picked up the remote zapper and is pointing it at the TV.

JAMES:

There must be some news on—

FROM TV:

DOOM DOOM click

FROM TV:

—sea monsters in Atlantic City?

JAMES:

Ah!

FRED:

No, we weren't watching that at all.

Panel 2

This panel is a TV screen. There's a news reporter standing on a boardwalk, ocean behind her, microphone in hand, speaking.

FROM TV:

And it always happens on a Tuesday! For two weeks running, residents have reported sightings of inhuman figures rising from the waves.

Panel 3

Still showing the TV screen, but the picture has changed to show a grainy image of the SEA MONSTER we saw in ISSUE 23 PAGE 19 (humanoid, bigger than a man, with scaly green skin, festooned with weed-like growths, with big webbed feet, big webbed hands, and big bulbous yellow eyes).

FROM TV:

As this amateur video footage shows, the intruders are real enough.

Panel 4

Still using the panel as a TV screen, we're back to the reporter.

FROM TV:

But are they sea monsters, or simply an elaborate hoax?

FROM TV:

This is Tessa Sharpe for Brighter Media News. Back to you, Bob.

Panel 5

JAMES, SARA, and FRED watching the TV.

JAMES:

We need to get to Atlantic City before next Tuesday.

FRED:

How did I know that was coming?

PAGE ELEVEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Now we're back to HARRY's newspaper and looking at a page of advertisements, where a discrete box announces:

REGAL THEATRE TONITE
BOGART DOUBLE BILL
The Maltese Falcon / The Big Sleep

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Well hey, nice to see some other old friends are still around.

Panel 2

A view of HARRY at the bar, and he's beckoning the barman over while holding up the folded newspaper.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Maybe I'll even go. But business first.

BARMAN:

Same again?

HARRY:

Some information first. You seen this girl?

Panel 3

Now we see the page that HARRY is indicating. He's folded it in a way to draw attention to a photograph. It's of a pretty, young, blonde woman, and the caption reads "Sally Anderson: missing since Tuesday". There is more text but it doesn't have to be legible on the panel. The whole story takes up a very small amount of column space, as if it's not very important.

BARMAN (off-panel):

Uh—no, don't know her.

HARRY (off-panel):

Funny, because it says here that she worked at Benny's bar.

Panel 4

The BARMAN looks nervously at HARRY.

BARMAN:

You a cop?

HARRY:

No, just a family friend.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Close enough. I met her brother in a bar last night. Drinking himself silly because his sister had vanished and the cops weren't exactly falling over themselves to look.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I told him I charged $25 a day plus expenses. He thought it was a bargain.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Blasted inflation.

PAGE TWELVE. Four panels.

Panel 1

The paper is on the bar between HARRY and the BARMAN. The BARMAN is talking without actually looking at HARRY.

BARMAN:

Yeah. Uh, Sally, she hadn't been here long. She, uh, quit. Tuesday.

HARRY:

You know where she went?

BARMAN:

Out of town, maybe?

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

He's lying.

Panel 2

Close-up on HARRY's face, his eyes narrowed in thought.

5. CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Which makes this a lot more interesting than a runaway sister.

HARRY:

Who's the owner here? Maybe I can get a forwarding address?

Panel 3

The BARMAN gestures to a door in the corner of the room.

BARMAN:

Mister Danford, but you don't want—

Panel 4

HARRY is walking across the room towards the door. He's passing a table with several empty beer bottles, and we can see him "casually" picking up one of the bottles as he passes.

HARRY:

Oh, I do want.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I don't know why I took the case. I think my P.I. license expired fifty years ago.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

But with all the weirdness in my life since I "awoke"...

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I just needed to feel like I was doing something normal.

PAGE THIRTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

The office of SAM DANFORD. It's fairly small and non-descript, but looks well-lived-in. There is a couch in front of a TV, some old sports pictures on the walls, etc. Of course there are no windows, because the bar is in a basement. DANFORD sits behind the cluttered desk, feet up, reading a newspaper and smoking a cigar. He's middle-aged, slightly overweight, wearing an open-necked shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

HARRY has just entered the office.

HARRY:

I'm looking for Sally Anderson.

Panel 2

DANFORD has dropped the paper and is sitting upright in the chair.

DANFORD:

You a cop?

HARRY:

Do I look like a cop?

Panel 3

HARRY is now right up against the desk.

DANFORD:

If you're not a cop with a warrant you can get out.

HARRY:

Why would I need a warrant? You hiding something, Danford?

Panel 4

Close-up of DANFORD's hand moving across the desk towards a cluttered in-tray.

DANFORD (off-panel):

You don't want to piss me off. I got connections.

Panel 5

Same close-up view as the base of a beer bottle smashes down on DANFORD's hand!

DANFORD (off-panel):

I'm a big man around HE-YAHHH!

SFX:

Crack

PAGE FOURTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

A wider view shows DANFORD's face contorted with pain as HARRY pins his hand under the beer bottle.

HARRY:

Danford, I've pissed off mob bosses in at least three major cities.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

And that's just in this century.

HARRY:

You're strictly small potatoes.

Panel 2

With his free hand, HARRY moves some papers off the in-tray to reveal a shiny automatic pistol -- something flash like a 9mm Beretta.

HARRY:

Now what have we here?

Panel 3

HARRY is examining the pistol with a professional eye. DANFORD is nursing his injured hand.

HARRY:

You don't want one of these. Too liable to jam at a crucial moment.

HARRY:

I'll hang on to it for you.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

But only because Jerome threw my thirty-eight in the trash yesterday.

Panel 4

HARRY sits himself on a chair, facing DANFORD and not *quite* pointing the gun at him.

HARRY:

Now, what say you make like a canary?

PAGE FIFTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

Close-up on DANFORD's sweating face while he's talking. And I'm going to cop out here and not give the entire story in dialogue. Instead, I'll have HARRY summarise the essential points. Actually, this isn't lazy writing; it's conveying HARRY's way of cutting through waffle and obfuscations and getting to the crux of the matter. So there.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Danford has underworld business dealings. No surprise there. He's a small operator but with some big associates he can't afford to upset.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

So when his new barmaid, Sally Anderson, saw some things she wasn't supposed to and threatened to talk to the cops, he had to put her away.

Panel 2

HARRY is standing, pointing his finger at DANFORD in a "listen to me" kind of way. DANFORD has his hands up in a "don't hit me" sort of way. Again, we'll keep the dialogue silent.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

No, not put away permanently. He doesn't have the spine for that.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

He's holding her captive in a tenement building across town. Figures he'll let her go when his business is done and it's too late for her to blow the whistle.

Panel 3

We see HARRY's retreating back as he heads for the door.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I get the address off him. Promise him that I'll stop Sally from talking to the cops.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

He doesn't believe me of course.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

That's ok. I was lying.

Panel 4

Left alone, DANFORD picks up the desk phone.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I warn him not to call and alert his goons.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

He ignores me of course.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

That's ok. I was counting on it.

PAGE SIXTEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

A shabby apartment door with cracked and peeling paint. HARRY's hand, in close-up, knocks on it.

SFX:

knock knock

HARRY (off-panel):

Room service!

Panel 2

Same close-up view of the door. Bullets tear through the door where HARRY's hand was just knocking, throwing out splinters. LOTS of bullets. (The bullets are coming from the far side of the door -- i.e. somebody's shooting through it at HARRY.)

SFX:

braaaaaaaaaat

Panel 3

A wider view of the door, which stands in a corridor in a run-down apartment building. The door is now riddled with holes. HARRY is standing against the wall at the side of the door -- what, you thought he was stupid enough to stand in front of it and get shot? He has his own gun (oh, ok, DANFORD's gun) in his hand.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

What have they got in there? Tommy guns?

Panel 4

The door is open. A thug (big, muscular, unshaven, dirty t-shirt) looks out but doesn't look round the corner and see HARRY. The thug has a machine pistol (probably a 9mm Ingram MAC-11, the weapon of choice for thugs with delusions of grandeur). Well call him THUG 1, to avoid confusion with THUG 2 (who is still in the room).

THUG 1:

Ey! There's nobody—

PAGE SEVENTEEN. Three panels.

Panel 1

With the thug standing there like a dummy, HARRY's fist crunches into his face.

SFX:

crunch

Panel 2

HARRY steps into the doorway, gun held out to cover THUG 2, who is further back in the room. THUG 2 has a pistol (probably similar to HARRY's) in his hand but it's not pointing at HARRY. THUG 1 is collapsing to the floor in front of HARRY. He has dropped his gun to hold his nose (which is gushing blood).

HARRY:

Drop it!

THUG 1:

Owwwwwww!

Panel 3

THUG 2 has dropped his gun and has his hands up. HARRY covers him with his own gun, while kicking THUG 1's weapon away from him. This will be the main panel on the page, so we can now see the room better: it's a one-room apartment, a dump, minimal furniture (mostly just a TV, a bed, and a couple of chairs). Pizza boxes are on the chairs and SALLY ANDERSON is on the bed. She is handcuffed to the iron headboard, gagged, dirty, and looking very sorry for herself (though not obviously harmed).

No dialogue.

PAGE EIGHTEEN. Five panels.

Panel 1

HARRY bends over the bed and pulls SALLY's gag free. He's still covering the thugs with his pistol (though we don't need them in this panel).

HARRY:

Are you all right?

SALLY:

I'm dying for a pee.

HARRY:

Did they hurt you?

SALLY.:

No... nothing.

Panel 2

HARRY turns to face the thugs. (Maybe he can be looking right out of panel and pointing his gun at the reader. That seems dramatic.)

HARRY:

Scram.

Panel 3

Evidently they have scrammed, because he's now put his gun away and is devoting his full attention to Ms. ANDERSON.

HARRY:

Did you see where they kept the key?

SALLY:

In the tall one's pants.

HARRY:

Great.

Panel 4

HARRY takes a small leather pouch from a pocket.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

At least Jerome has never thrown away my lock picks.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

He probably doesn't realize what they are.

Panel 5

Close-up on HARRY working at the lock of the handcuffs with a small tool.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

That's how it works. Me, Jerome, Jesse, we all take over Paul's body when he lets us but we don't share a mind. We get a sense of what each other has been doing, but...

PAGE NINETEEN. Four panels.

Panel 1

HARRY is still in the apartment. He's sitting on the bed, examining the thug's Ingram. From this angle, we can see another door out of the room -- not the apartment's front door, another one. The door is ajar and SALLY's speech caption comes from it.

SALLY (from door):

Ahhh! God, that's better!

SALLY (from door):

I'm still going to the cops, you know.

SALLY (from door):

Especially now.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Pretty gutsy girl, to go through that without coming apart.

Panel 2

HARRY and SALLY (I've just realised how unfortunate that pairing of names is) are leaving the apartment through the bullet-riddled door. HARRY is putting his overcoat round her shoulders.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Sometimes it feels like I'm coming apart myself.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

But then, most mornings I wake up with no idea where I am.

Panel 3

HARRY and SALLY in the back of a cab. She's talking on a cell phone.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Hell of a way to live.

Panel 4

The cab is parked outside a police building (as we can probably tell from some convenient sign, and from the way police officers are entering and leaving, if not here then in the next couple of panels). HARRY is paying the cab driver. SALLY is out and looking round.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

But it beats the alternative.

PAGE TWENTY. Five panels.

Panel 1

SALLY is running towards a young man, similar enough to be her brother. HARRY's coat falls from her shoulders.

No dialogue.

Panel 2

She's hugging the brother while HARRY picks up his coat.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Family. It all comes down to family.

Panel 3

The brother is handing HARRY some bills. Yes, HARRY is accepting his payment. (Does this make him any less of a hero? Discuss.)

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

My last memory—of my real life—is of a dame in a hotel room.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Jerome's is of reuniting with his wife after a sea voyage.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Don't know about Jesse but I'll bet his last memory is of a woman.

Panel 4

SALLY kisses HARRY on the cheek.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Paul hasn't figured it out. He might have the Harvard education but he isn't used to piecing evidence together the way I am.

Panel 5

HARRY watches SALLY and her brother walk up the steps into the police headquarters.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

He explains it away with trick-cyclist mumbo-jumbo. Hypnotic regression. Give me a break.

PAGE TWENTY-ONE. One panel.

Panel 1

As night falls, HARRY is walking down the sidewalk, alone, deep in thought. This may as well be a single-panel page to get all the remaining exposition over with in one go.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

Paul isn't summoning me with mental tricks.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

He's my great grandson—or some such—and there's really a part of me in this body, the part I passed on to his great grandma.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I've got every right to be here.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

But I'll go to sleep tonight not knowing if I'll see the morning or not. Any one of them could wake up in control. Then I'm helpless until they need my skills again.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I hate being helpless.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I've come to dread going to sleep.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

But avoiding it only delays the inevitable.

PAGE TWENTY-TWO. Four panels.

Panel 1

Back in the hotel suite, JAMES, SARA, FRED, and CHI-YUN are gathered round a table. JAMES has a big road map unfolded. It's evidently night because the curtains are closed (if we can see them in this panel) and the lights are on.

SARA:

You know, the van does have route-planning software.

JAMES:

I like maps.

SARA:

You just don't like technology, do you?

4. JAMES:

I don't trust it, but—

Panel 2

We don't get to hear what the "but" was, because HARRY has entered the room. He's carrying his coat and hat, as if he's just come in from outside (which he has, of course). They all look at him.

JAMES:

Paul? Jerome?

HARRY:

Harry.

Panel 3

He's disappearing through another door, leaving them to talk to his back.

JAMES:

We're heading for Atlantic City tomorrow.

HARRY:

Spiffy.

JAMES:

Don't you want to hear why?

HARRY:

In the morning.

Panel 4

HARRY sits on the bed in his hotel bedroom. He's fully dressed and wide awake. There is probably a pot of coffee on the nightstand.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

I'll be here in the morning.

CAPTION (HARRY's monologue):

One day, I'll be here permanently.

Next issue: Patriots

Copyright © 2005, 2018 by David Meadows. All rights reserved.