EXT. BUSY VICTORIA HARBOUR HONG KONG - DAY
Boats and ferries cross the waterway as Trapp
McFlynn saunters to a pier to wait for another ferry to Lamma Island. Loads of
people walk along the long walkways of Hong Kong's labyrinth of pedestrian
overpasses and the cars speeding underneath as everyone keeps a firm upper lip
on their long walks home. A motorcyclist stops at the Lamma pier and arks his
bike beside others, covered in dust blankets for their protection.
EXT. LAMMA ISLAND - NIGHT
Trapp McFlynn walks into the dark, unlit trail
leading to his home in Pak Kok Village, 30 minutes away from where the night
ferry dumps its passengers. He carries a knapsack full of books and a sweater,
dangling off his right shoulder. His stride lengthens as it hits the first
incline to the hidden bay, where he runs downs to sea level before he climbs a
long steep corner. He eventually arrives covered in sweat, pants soaked through
and water dripping like a facet from the tip of his nose. Every so often he
shakes his head to get a dangling drop off the tip of his nose.
Extremism in all its forms can always be
justified by a partial mind. In my case, life in Hong Kong had become more than
a little unbalanced during the last few years. Instead of simply walking to
work, as I had done my first year teaching at the university, I now was forced
to take three ferries to work, five in all if you include the trip home. At
night there was the 30-minute walk through the jungle that meant shirts and
pants soaking wet from sweat. Rent on Hong Kong Island was too expensive for me
so I had moved to cheaper accommodation off island. The change had sucked away
all my free time. Sure I read more on the ferries, but spending three hours a
day in transit was no way to go through life. Slowly my life in Hong Kong had
become clockwork routine where freedom was something to be squeezed in once in
a while on a weekend. I had left Canada to escape the claustrophobia of routine
and high taxes of an encroaching Big Brother socialist state in the hope of
finding more freedom under the lazy palm trees of the Far East, but just as day
turns into night, my life morphed into a nine-to-five regularity in a city that
has the highest density in the world and a climate that's akin to living in a
toaster. The crowded streets of Hong Kong had become a rugby scrum.
EXT. ON THE MORNING FERRY - DAY
Trapp sits in a ferry squished against the side
of the port side. He strains to get a peek at the boat traffic but instead
buries his head in a book and strokes his droopy moustache. He shuffles off the
ferry looking inhibited and paralyzed by the volume of bodies that surround
him, all going in different directions and all in a rush. He rubs his right eye
A bad eye injury finally forced me to the
breaking point. Enough was enough. I needed out. And so it was that I decided
not to renew my contract at the University of Hong Kong where I taught, and end
my time as an expatriate in the Far East. So I designed a plan to return to
Canada to find myself a little writer's cabin to finish a book about China I
had started. And in order to find a good place, I asked my identical twin
brother Remy to help me in my search.
EXT. VANCOUVER AIRPORT - AFTERNOON
Planes land on a sunny morning into Vancouver.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Late August,
VANCOUVER AIRPORT - AFTERNOON
walks down the corridors of the Vancouver International Airport. He can't help
looking for all the crowds that simply aren't there. When he stops at the
custom's line there are only two people standing in line. Behind the uniformed
customs official there's a sign on the wall. With his bad eye still recovering,
he squints at the sign but it's blurry.
Because of the inertia of living in China, I
half expect it to say: COMRADES! DO
NOT SPIT ON THE FLOOR.
Walking through customs to the airport lobby he
quickly scans the lobby but doesn't see his brother Remy. People look at his
unusual appearance, creased pants and layers of sweaters and ponytail that has
many strands dangling. To escape their stares, he takes a seat at a bar in the
foyer, orders a Bloody Mary and savors the feeling of being back in Canada.
VANCOUVER AIRPORT LOBBY - AFTERNOON
He searches the lobby again but his twin
intuition tells him there's been a change of plan.
Since Remy lives on Indian
time, expecting him to be here at exactly this time on this day after driving
across Canada from Manitoba is wishful thinking. As a precaution to this I had
contacted an old university friend Mike Rourke.
He finds a phone booth on the other side of the
foyer - one of those old red British jobs - and calls Mike. No answer. He
leaves a message on his answering machine telling him he'll be at the Cambie
Street Hostel in Gastown and to meet him there. Then he dials his mother in
Hi Mom. I'm in Canada. I just arrived.
That's wonderful dear.
Um, where's Remy?
He said he was going to stay in Prince George
instead of going all the way to Vancouver and that he would meet you there.
Did you know that Uncle Peter has land in Prince
George? And that it's for sale? He thought you should see it because you may be
able to get it for a good price. And he said that since you two will be going
north, he thought you should meet him there.
But Prince George? It's
in the middle of BC!
Trapp can hear her lighting a cigarette in the
silence that follows. He knows what's going through her mind: she's afraid
there will be a disagreement between him and Remy, so he eases up and tugs at
his moustache in thought. She tells him a bit about the property as he watches
well-dressed people milling around the airport.
Remy should be arriving
OK, I'll get myself up
to Prince George as soon as I can.
He says good-bye, pays for his drink and
purchases a map of British Columbia before getting a taxi.
EXT. VANCOUVER - AFTERNOON
The streets of Vancouver are empty compared to
Hong Kong. He's stunned at how clean and spacious it is. When he sees a store
that sells mobile phones, he tells the driver to stop.
INT. TAXI - AFTERNOON
Can you wait for a
minute? Just leave the meter running.
taxi driver nods and shoves it into park.
MOBILE PHONE STORE - AFTERNOON
buys a mobile phone.
I wonder how painful it's going to be to buy a
phone here in Canada. A simple transaction is a nightmare in China, with
questions ranging from ID card number to height, blood type and yearly income.
I give Mike's address as my current mailing address so I can register for phone
service. I buy a hundred dollars worth of credit that I hope will last me three
months though I don't think the search will be longer than a couple of weeks.
GASTOWN - AFTERNOON
arrives at the Cambie Street Hostel where he goes into the high-ceilinged
tavern that is at least as old as the Canadian Pacific Railway. It smells of
beer and its large tables are scarred from years of imbibing, but he feels
right at home.
CAMBIE STREET HOTEL - AFTERNOON
places his bags at his feet under the bar. Once seated, he looks around but his
eyes are not as good as they used to be. Groups of people in their early
twenties stand around in clusters smoking cigarettes showing off their tattoos.
An old-timer swaggers past me looking at all the body art with suspicion and
contempt as if they are trespassing on his own property. Trapp calls the bus
station to find out departure times to Prince George, and just as he returns
Mike Rourke walks in.
Look at all that white
hair on your head!
Mike Rourke has lost 20 pounds of beer muscle
since Trapp had seen him last. The clear eyes are the same, but it looks as if
he's now carved from wood.
Ah! Well my brother has
just as much white as me.
Standing up, he gives his old university friend
a bear hug.
Didn't know what day you
I haven't been online for a couple of weeks. I
sent all my stuff in boxes two weeks ago so I've been living out of a suitcase
since then. The friend I was staying with didn't have an Internet connection.
But hey, I'm here. And you're here, so let me get you a pint my friend.
He orders a round of beer.
The last I remember you
were a waiter so what are you doing now?
I'm still a waiter. (beat) Naw, the
money's good so it's OK for now. I mean it's not so bad. I don't mind being a
waiter; it's good for now.
Mike, you graduated on the Dean's List from one
of the best universities in Canada.
C'est la vie. (beat) What happened to your eye?
He shakes his head slowly and feels self-conscious.
Ah, it's nothing really. I had an eye injury
about six months ago. It's still healing from three fractures.
He points to the broken bones around his orbital
No damage to my eyesight
He looks away and watches the tattooed young
people become louder.
So what's your plan?
Well, I'm back to look for a writer's cabin so I
can finish my book. Right now my brother Remy is on his way to Prince George
where I'll meet him. My uncle has 16 acres for sale just outside of Prince
George, so I think we'll begin looking for property there.
Don't know. Apparently there aren't any
buildings on the property and a resident beaver has taken over.
Beaver? Familiar theme: beavers wrecking things.
We'll check out my uncle's
piece of land. From there, if we don't like his property I guess we'll keep on
looking around in the mountains until I find something I like. There's a bus
leaving every morning at 8:30 arriving at 8:30 at night, so I may take the bus
to Prince George in a day or two.
You can crash at my place as long as you like
So what kind of place are you looking for?
I want something a bit rustic in the country. I
need something that's good enough to live in cheaply and in peace, so I can
finish my book. I just don't know how far I'm gonna have to go to get what I'm
looking for, especially if I want to make it a cash deal. I don't qualify for a
mortgage because I'm not working right now.
Well, knowing you Trapp, you won't stop until
you've found what you're looking for.
Yeah, it should be a good trip, though a quest
like this seldom yields its intended results.
You have enough savings to last you?
I hope to freelance for a while for a newspaper
in Hong Kong and in the meantime live off bark and water with maybe some rice.
How is your brother these days?
straightens his posture a little.
It'll be good to hang out with him again. He's
driven across the country so many times that he knows it like the back of his
hand. I think he can help me find a good spot. Besides, we're overdue for a
good road trip.
Is he still as wild as
he used to be?
question puts him off a bit but he tries not to show it.
I'm not sure but I'll know after I hang with him
a few weeks.
both drink their beer and look out to the crowd that keeps on growing.
CONDOMINIUM - NIGHT
at Mike's San Francisco-style beach house that's surrounded by thick cedars,
Mike removes a key from his key ring.
This is your house key. I'm leaving in the
morning - at five. I'm giving it to you now so I don't forget.
MIKE'S CONDOMINIUM - NIGHT
They walk into a large room with an oversized television
and mammoth couch. A speed bike leans against a far wall beside the kitchen
table, and there's a mountain bike out on the porch.
This is where you can
sleep. It's a big couch.
The thought of sleep makes him yawn.
It's noon the next day for me right now with the
We're overdue, you and I. Twelve, fifteen years
or something. But it's as if we saw each other last week.
Mike hands him a cold beer.
I want to call Alexa Morgan while I'm here. I
have twelve forty-nine on my watch. What time is it here in Vancouver?
It's nine forty-seven on
Trapp adjusts his watch and then dials Alexa,
another old university friend who he hasn't seen since he passed through
Vancouver on his way to the Far East seven years ago.
This is your old friend
Trapp McFlynn calling.
Trapper? Is that you?
Yeah, it's me. I'm in Vancouver actually. I'm
staying with Mike Rourke right now over in Kitsalano.
You've finally come
Can I see you tomorrow? I'm heading up north to
Prince George the next day to meet my brother. (beat)
Yes, I can see you tomorrow. Do you have a bike
or access to a car?
Bike? (Mike nods when he looks at him).
Yes. I have access to a mountain bike.
I'll see you tomorrow at
two o'clock in English Bay by the Wharf.
Mike scrutinizes his face after he hangs up.
Boy, that was pretty suave.
If I'm in Van, I have to
see her. (beat) Is she married yet?
She was engaged a couple
of years ago but it didn't happen.
shot of excitement runs through Trapp but then he reminds himself that Alexa is
the kind of girl who always seems to have a boyfriend.
CONDOMINIUM - MORNING
finishing the pot of coffee, Trapp puts on my motorcycle windbreaker and takes
Mike's mountain bike down the front steps and cycles along the empty side
streets that are designated with bike lanes. Crossing the Burrard Street
Bridge, he enters English Bay and rides the bike path to the Ministry of
OF TRANSPORTATION - MORNING
the government office is cool and empty. The woman behind the counter is
My driver's license had expired a year before so
renewing it is vital in order for me to purchase a vehicle for my cabin search.
The woman points to another counter where he can
renew his license. Walking there he glances at a sign behind her. He reads it:
COMRADES, STATE YOUR BUSINESS BRIEFLY.
PROLETARIAN EFFICIENCY IS THE DISCIPLINE
OF PEACETIME REVOLUTIONARY CONSTRUCTION.
I had seen this sign many times during the
course of my years in communist China, but I become perplexed by the words
When he looks closer at the sign with his
eyeglasses on, he sees that it reads:
IN ORDER TO FOSTER AN ENVIRONMENT OF MUTUAL RESPECT,
THE MINISTRY OF
TRANSPORTATION WILL NOT ACCEPT
OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOUR OR THE USE OF COARSE
I must say I don't remember signs like this
being here ten years ago, but at least it isn't a crowded room with spit on the
In five minutes Trapp has renewed his license is
given a temporary card that is valid for three months.
EXT. VANCOUVER - AFTERNOON
Outside the transportation office he cycles to
English Bay where he sees Alexa stopping on the corner in front of The Wharf.
She looks the same but
something is different in her demeanor.
EXT. ENGLISH BAY -AFTERNOON
When he pulls up on his bike, they are both
smiling and speechless as they embrace. Then she looks at him deliberately,
seeing new lines on his face and perhaps his bad eye. Alexa's hand reaches out
to the front of his shirt and pulls him towards her.
Where have you been?
The tone of her question has a disapproving,
almost maternal tone.
Many different shores
and many new vistas.
People try to walk by them on the sidewalk so he
suggests that they ride.
EXT. STANLEY PARK -AFTERNOON
He leads the way down the shaded side street
that runs parallel to Stanley Park where he jumps the curb, pedals past
pedestrians walking slowly and then finds the slender bike trail leading into
the park. Alexa follows him at a reasonable speed and has to pass a cluster of
roller-bladers and a family of Chinese walking with baby strollers along the
shoreline. Soon they find peace beyond the rowing club past the old cannon on
the east side of Stanley Park. On one of the fields there is a game of cricket
being played, so they dismount and find a place to watch from the boundary of
the pitch. The grass is covered with Canadian goose shit.
EXT. CRICKET MATCH -AFTERNOON
All the players are South-Asian, looking sharp
wearing the requisite whites in front of the Tudor clubhouse on the hill behind
the wicket keeper.
So what are you going to
do now, mister super-traveler of the world?
The smile on her face is girlish and her shirt
flutters in the salty breeze. Her light brown hair is like a curtain of silk
and her eyes sparkle in the sun looking like the ocean. If anything, her beauty
has become more pronounced after seven years.
Find my writer's retreat in the woods where
you'll come and live with me to help skin beaver pelts. (beat) I will
need leather garments for this excursion.
A blush appears on her cheeks, but as she turns
her head to the cricket match there's a strain on her brow. Trapp strokes his
droopy moustache and wonders why someone as beautiful as Alexa would be
How's your work these days? How's the photography?
It's going well. I'm
about to open a new gallery in Kenya.
The words stay there in the stirring coastal
air. For a moment everything is quiet under the afternoon sky, but it's
interrupted by the crack of a cricket bat, followed by a roar of clapping. Both
of them look over at the batters running between the wickets when we see the
ball rumbling fast along the ground towards us. The ball hits an incongruity on
the field that causes it to veer directly towards them but Trapp doesn't move.
With Alexa directly behind him, he calmly raises his hand and catches the ball
when it's officially out of play.
Is this yours?
Trapp stands up to throw it to a player who in
turn throws it to the wicket keeper.
You want to hit Lion's
Gate Bridge? I want to see that lighthouse.
the Lion's Gate Bridge is the western gate on the medicine wheel in North
America, or so my brother told me at the Sundance last summer.
How is your brother Trapp? Is he OK or is he still drinking a lot?
He's all right but I haven't seen him in a
while. But that's part of this journey: to find a home and to get to know my
twin brother again. It's been way too long since we've hung out for a long
period of time.
The last time you two
were together you had a fight, didn't you?
Good memory, but that was a while ago now - over
seven years. Water under the bridge. Speaking of which...
They pick up their bikes and leave for the other
side of the park.
EXT. LION'S GATE BRIDGE - AFTERNOON
At the foot of the bridge he dismounts, and
pulls out a leather pouch full of tobacco that Remy gave him. Taking out a
pinch of tobacco, he holds it up to the sun and closes his eyes and offers a
prayer. He places the tobacco at the foot of the bridge and says "Amen."
What was that?
I just offered tobacco to the spirits of the
western gate. It helps keep the negative away. It's always respectful to offer
tobacco because it's a conduit to the Creator.
Her face is blank, so he turns away and looks at
the boats sailing west to the Pacific Ocean.
You haven't been here in
nearly ten years and you know that and I don't?
She shakes her head and walks to her bike.
EXT. WEST SIDE OF STANLEY PARK - AFTERNOON
After they round the western tip past the jagged
rocks, they stop for fish and chips on the beach in English Bay. They sit at a
table on the patio.
Did you hear about Daphne?
No, I haven't spoken to
her in years. (beat) How is she?
Getting married. I haven't met the guy but I'll
be at the wedding. What about you? Any plans?
First I get the homestead, and then I can get
looks at her meaningfully in the eye until the sound of children playing near
and a bouncing ball causes him to look away.
You're going off to
Africa to do what exactly?
I'm opening a gallery
there to benefit orphans from the civil war.
There is hope on her face as well as compassion.
Because they are in need
and I can help them.
But why Kenya? What's your particular connection
I've always liked Kenya and there are starving
children there. (She says it to him as if he has not understood her.)
It's a project I'll see through.
What about marriage and having kids?
What about them? Why have kids with all these
starving children in Somalia and Kenya. I can help. I'm not doing anything here
so why not go make a difference in a place that really needs it? Canadians are
well provided for in the general scheme of things. I just think having kids is
selfish when others don't have enough to eat. So I don't think I want to have
kids. The world is overpopulated.
So you want to spend your last years in your
thirties in disease-ridden Africa where it's very likely you'll pick up malaria
or parasite that will last for the rest of your life?
I know you care. (She
reaches for his hand.)
I still think you should come stay with me in my
writer's retreat to help me skin the deer I'll need for my food during the
She looks warmly at him and puts a French fry
into his mouth.
When are you leaving?
Trapp thinks about her question as he looks out
to the ocean. He makes a decision.
Tomorrow. I'm going to
take a bus up to Prince George in the morning.
They stand and embrace.
EXT. BUS STATION - MORNING
In the morning he sips coffee from his thermos
while sitting on a bench at the bus station, watching latecomers arrive. They
stand impatiently stuffing their mouths with fast food and doughnuts and cups
of coffee the size of a pint. He buries his head in Pierre Burton's The Last
Spike for the journey to central BC. Trapp is the last to board the bus but
finds a free double seat behind a young girl with headphones blaring music from
a Sony Walkman. The bus departs and his road trip begins.
EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - MORNING
The bus moves through Abbotsford and Chilliwack
east along the Trans-Canada Highway to Hope where we turn north onto Highway 97
up the Fraser River Canyon where it follows railroad tracks. Through tunnels
around Yale, they pass Spuzzum there's an old sign for an approaching tunnel
Yale was a railroad town built in 1882. And
during that time Yale BC had more saloons per acre than any place in the world.
The bus is suddenly lost in darkness as they
drive through the side of the mountain along the canyon. Only the light at the
end of the tunnel can be seen and the only thing he can hear is the sound of
the canyon winds urgently whispering through the cracks in the windows.
It was this part of
track that had the highest death rate of anywhere in Canada.
They pass through Lytton where the railway
tracks cross the mountain cliff that is an awesome display of civil engineering,
passing through 17 tunnels. Vertical rock cliffs have protruding lips of
tunnelled track overhanging the swift-moving ice-blue water scarred by past
avalanches and rockslides. Bulwarks and railings hold steel tracks against the
canyon wall. The cliffs change dramatically from straight vertical drops to
slightly angled grades that are covered with sand-colored soil where pine trees
grow in unlikely places. Some of the sixty-odd wooden trestles holding the
track to the cliffs look so decrepit that they would fall if I threw a stone at
EXT. PRINCE GEORGE - NIGHT
When the bus finally reaches the welcome sign to
Prince George, Trapp can immediately smell the pollution in the air. He could
see three pulp-and-paper mills spewing thick smoke out of massive smoke stacks
a few hundred meters from the roadside on the outskirts of the town.
EXT. PRINCE GEORGE BUS STATION - NIGHT
He spots Remy walking along the sidewalk. Trapp
can tell from his loping gait and worn-out denims and long hair that it's him.
Seeing the bus arrive, Remy quickens his pace as he crosses the street. Trapp
is the last passenger to exit the bus. There, just outside of the scrum in
front of the luggage compartments, Remy is smiling. "Heyyyyyyy," they both say
at the same time and embrace as brothers do.
Trapp my brother! How're ya doinnn?
They both laugh as they look at each other, Remy
with his full-grown beard and his Indian beads around his neck, and Trapp with
his Nietzchean moustache and ponytail. Remy is slapping him on the back and
grabbing his shoulder and pushing and pulling him. It isn't really a bear hug -
he sort of manhandles Trapp like a bear would a cub.
You madman! All the way from Hong Kong. I didn't
think you would come back after - what? - a decade? Nice one!
I'm back my brother.
It's time to find a homestead.
I'll believe it when I
His hands look huge when he picks up Trapp's big
bag from the luggage compartment. He stands there transfixed at his identical
twin brother after so much time. There is a long scar on his face that runs
into his full beard.
So that's what my beard
You like the duddy?
Trapp laughs at a piece of the old language.
It's strange how much one word can do for memory
recall. Ten years just like that. Who else is there in the world who knows that
reach his truck and Remy looks purposefully into the front seat.
is a fluffy-haired dog looking at them from the passenger seat.
You have a dog?
Remy keeps walking towards the back of the
Yep. That's Blue. She's
a medicine doggie.
looks closely at the dog under the streetlight; the dog's hair has a blue hue.
That's why I named her
EXT. REMY'S CAMPER - NIGHT
Remy opens the back door and places Trapp's bags
on the floor of his camper.
Picked her up in Manitoba after the Sundance
last summer. Best dog I've ever had. Bought her for 50 bucks from an Indian. She's
a gooooood doggie.
Remy closes the door of the camper and secures
it with a small bungee cord. Trapp sits beside Blue in the passenger seat, who
is frantically wagging her tail and licking his face, excited to see a face so
similar to her master.
INT. REMY'S CAMPER - NIGHT
So I was thinking we could go to Uncle Pete's
land instead of going to a bar. Too much testicular
atrophy here in PG.
I haven't heard that
expression before but I immediately know what he means.
I'm low on cake
and besides, I bought some plan Z.
It has been seven years since I heard any of the plans. Identical twins are known to
create their own secret language and Remy and I are no different. We have plans for almost every letter of the
alphabet. And here is Remy using one of the plans
as if it were just another word that everyone in the world knows. Weird after
so many years.
Good. Have you seen Uncle Peter's piece yet?
I stayed there last night in my camper. Cold as
a witches' tit up here and it's only the first of September. But it was strange
experience. I had some unusual dreams last night and this morning I woke up
with the driest tongue I've ever had in my life - and that's saying a lot.
Always relishing a sense for the dramatic, he
thinks Remy is exaggerating so he shakes his head and waves his hand,
dismissing it as hyperbole.
You'll see, pilgrim.
EXT. PRINCE GEORGE - NIGHT
We pass a camper and pick-up truck with a ‘FOR
SALE' sign in its window.
See that truck? (pointing) I've checked
it out. It looks very solid and the camper's the same as mine - the best that
exists for mobile living. But it's a Ford. And you know how I feel about Fords.
(beat) It's an ‘87 or '88 and it's all ready to go. You don't need to
get it certified here in BC unlike Ontario, so you can buy it as is as long as she runs. Very unsick.
INT. REMY'S PICK-UP TRUCK - NIGHT
I was thinking more in
terms of a van.
Hmmmm... Not sure if a van is the right caliber
for the terrain we'll face mon frere.
Pick-ups are the best road buggies.
But a pick-up truck? I
don't know, man.
You've been in Hong Kong too long my brother. I
know what you mean because that's what I thought: I'd never buy a pick-up
truck. But a pick-up is really the only suitable
vehicle for the real Canada that
we'll be seeing. And listen, the guy selling it is a mechanic. This road buggy
has good tires and suspension. He's asking three grand though, for both truck
and camper combo. But if you can take the
hack with the cake, then you'll have yourself your own home on wheels.
It'll be better than sleeping in a van or in a tent.
Once they're out of the city of Prince George,
Remy reaches into a case of beer below his radio, pulls out a bottle and hands
Trapp a beer. Then he opens one for himself.
To our journey.
To our quest to find a
They clink bottles and drink looking ahead with
a twinkle of mischief in their eyes.
EXT. PRINCE GEORGE - NIGHT
Surrounded by mountains, their uncle Peter's
property is separated from his neighbor by a mountain stream running through a
thick patch of forest. Along the foot of the mountain there is a big field that
has a few years' worth of hay to harvest and several broken-down wooden barns
behind a cluster of trees protecting a wood cabin. The buildings look a hundred
I didn't think there were any buildings on the
There are actually. There are six or seven
buildings but they're all derelict. Most of the barns have been submerged by
the beaver pond.
Remy pulls into the driveway under overhanging
branches of birch that protect the entrance. The roof on the main cabin is full
of holes and part of a wall has been dismantled. He can see Trapp looking at
the cabin in hope that it can be salvaged.
EXT. UNCLE PETER'S PROPERTY - NIGHT
It's pretty harsh actually. (jabbing his
thumb towards the cabin.) It's full of mildew and mould. There's stuff
growing out of the floors.
He parks behind the cabin next to a blown-down
shed. It looks as if no one has been here in a decade. Weeds dominate the
property and there are planks of wood strewn across the land haphazardly behind
the main cabin.
It's a pretty big 16 acres. It goes all the way
over there to the trees. (he points to where the tree line stops at the base
of the small mountain.) To that mountain over there and then to the edge of
this overgrown pond."
When Trapp gets out of the truck he sees a pond
overtaking the main barn, partly submerged in water.
The beaver pond?
Yeah, I'll show you.
They grab a couple of beers and go through the
pine and cedar trees to a trail that he has made in the last two days. There is
so much foliage that they're completely protected from cars driving along the
road. The property with its forest is a world unto itself. Ducking through a
cluster of shrubs, they reach the beaver pond where there are two identical
birch trees right beside the water.
EXT. BEAVER POND - NIGHT
I come here at night for
They sit there both looking at the pond and the
setting sun in the west. Trapp is overwhelmed; they have ten years to catch up
on. Looking at Remy he can see he is experiencing the same overload.
The resident beaver swims around and flaps its
tail to talk with me. There's a beaver dam at the end of the pond right on the
edge of the property. It's flooded the land and taken those sheds with it. Too
bad we don't have a canoe.
The water is so calm that in a canoe they could
glide across it with one stroke of the paddle. They hear coyotes in the trees
by the foot of the mountain and all sorts of other sounds that Trapp can't
distinguish. A deep fear in him stirs.
Are there a lot of bears around here? (the
oncoming night sends a spasm of cold down his back.)
You could say that. Black bears and Grizzlies,
but I've only seen black bears so far.
exposed beside the pond)
You know that I don't have many fears, but there
is one animal that scares me more than anything else and it's the bear. I don't
know why. I can't explain it. I had this dream once when I was teaching in
Taiwan of you and me running away from a bear. Did I ever tell you that dream?
I've dreamed of bears too.
In my dream we are running away from a big black
bear. As it's catching up with you, I run over to the bear so it begins to
chase me instead. When it's gaining on me I find a mountain bike on the hill so
I hop on the bike and pedal down the hill. You are safe but the bear is now
determined to get me. As the bear is catching up to me, I pass across the
border onto American soil and the bear stops - then I woke up. It was so vivid
I wrote it down and gave it to my students to study. I even gave them a test on
(looks out at the pond looking
for the beaver)
That's interesting because bears are one of my
totem animals. Bears are heavy-duty medicine. I'm a black bear. That's why I
need my space. I have no fear of them. Since you've dreamt of a bear, it's an
animal that will protect you, not harm you.
I mean, are bears common here? There weren't any in Hong Kong. Over there I had to
watch for bamboo snakes and six-inch spiders.
You don't have to worry about snakes and spiders
in these parts. It's different here. Canada is like Africa if you look at it
from a west-as-south and the east-as-north perspective. Different terrain,
different climates, different wild animals and even different peoples in the
different geographic time zones, just like Africa. But one can only really know
this by living a semi-nomadic life, like the life I live.
So you're saying we're in a bear zone?
So how do you protect yourself against possible
Blue has on occasion protected me from wild
game. And if you plan to go bushwhacking
then you need some sort of buffer against running into dangerous mammalia.
We're right in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and the Coastal Mountains
cowboy. Prince George is in a plateau in the middle of two mountain ranges.
We're something like 6000 feet above sea level right now. It's barely out of
August and it may go down to zero tonight.
I should be warm enough in my tent, shouldn't I?
My sleeping bag is effective up to five below.
and shakes his head a little)
You should get a rig like mine. In a couple of
weeks it's going to be too cold to sleep outside in a tent. Trust me. This
isn't Hong Kong.
Suddenly there's a loud THWAHMP! from the pond.
There's the beaver
saying hello. He knows we're here.
He looks at Remy who is at home in Nature. With
his full-grown beard, Kodiak boots, worked-in denims and Indian leather jacket,
Remy looks like a Mountain Man.
Is it a friendly beaver?
Yes, it is a friendly
beaver. And this is a healing pond.
the ripples in the water)
Why? Why is it a healing
Because when you look into the pond you see
Why is that healing?
A mirror shows you that he who attacks the
mirror also attacks himself. Soon the attacker will reap what he has sown
because the attacker is showing his own shortcomings and therefore can see his
He looks questioningly at Remy and then at the
pond. Trapp can see his reflection only a little since the sun is now behind the
mountains. He pulls at the handles of his moustache.
by the coyotes in the woods)
Well, with beavers and wolves and waterfalls and
wilderness all over the place, there must be bears around. Suddenly I'm not
liking the idea of sleeping outside in my tent up here if there are bears
Especially with such a close water source like
this pond. You might think about getting yourself a dog.
Nice one. A dog. A bear protector. (he looks at Blue and feels the need for a
NEAR MAIN CABIN - NIGHT
the sun now completely out of sight for the day, they walk back through the
birch and pine along the trail to the driveway and open more beer. Trapp pulls
out his tent and sleeping bag and throw them on the grass near the cabin, just
out of sight of Remy's camper. But first, perhaps as procrastination, he gets
his flashlight to check out the abandoned main cabin.
CABIN - NIGHT
floor of the cabin is wet. Part of the roof is exposed to the sky and there is
a large pile of saw dust in the corner of the main room where part of the wall
is missing. There's an old, torn-apart couch that has mould. The other two
rooms are both covered with debris.
Too bad, the cabin is past the point of
recovery. The environment is dictating my hand more than I expected.
REMY'S CAMPER - NIGHT
When Trapp's done pitching his tent, he goes to
Remy's camper. There are talismans and beads and crystals adorning the walls
and countertop. His eyes take a moment to register what he is looking at when
he looks at Remy's bed.
What is that?
It's my bear rug. I use
it to sleep when it gets really cold.
In the semi-darkness Trapp sees a large
black-haired blanket and bear head complete with teeth.
You sleep with that over you? That bear skull
and the whole thing? The only thing missing from the bear rug are the claws.
It protects me from the negative. As I said, the
bear is one of my totem animals. It's medicine for me. Here...
Remy reaches out and rolls his bear rug back to
the far end of his bed, and then he puts his pillow gently on top of the bear's
head. For some reason it helps Trapp relax.
Sit down brother. Make yourself comfortable.
This is my home. Bought and paid for, no mortgage. I guess you could say I'm
the only one in the family who completely owns their own home.
Thinking it's a joke he chuckles, but then
realize it's a simple statement of fact.
That's what I am after:
buying my piece with no mortgage.
So what do you think of the camper?
More space than I thought.
These campers are designed for pick-up trucks.
It sleeps four: two up there in the loft above the driver's seat and two here
where the table goes. I took out the table and sleep here all the time. I like
to keep it open like this.
The loft is packed with boxes and Indian
regalia. One side of his camper is a long kitchen counter with a dry sink and
cupboards. There's even a closet.
I have an electric heater when it really gets
cold, but my bearskin keeps me warm enough.
B.O. plenty of space.
at the use of twinspeak and then begins rolling a smoke.)
I met this guy down at the saloon the other night
who was selling some plan W so I stocked up on my supply.
I should have snagged some in Gastown last
night. (beat) So what do you think about this place as a potential
It's too cold here, man. And there's the air
issue. You'll see in the morning. (he senses Trapp dismissing the pollution
suggestion as hyperbole.) I'll bet you ten bucks you'll wake up with the
driest tongue in the history of mankind.
He uses the same words I usually use: in the history of mankind. It gives me a weird sensation as I don't
think we have ever used those words between us before. It's an expression I
began to use when living in the Philippines five years ago.
I'll take that bet
cowboy. Ten bucks, you're on.
They shake hands to make it binding. There's
nothing more solid than a handshake between identical twins.
So then where are you
thinking is a good place for the homestead?
(lights the joint and
thinks for a few seconds.)
I'm thinking the land with the best geomancy in this country is in northern
BC, near the Yukon in a place called Atlin. It's where the Indians believe
Atlantis was once located before the Great Flood.
Atlantis? You're serious?
Yeah, and it's called Atlin. Weird eh? And since the magnetic force from the North Pole
is so strong up there, any electronic eavesdropping or surveillance from
satellites won't have the ability to track me. I have an electronic device in
my arm you know. (coyotes growl in the distance and the wind knocks at the
camper door.) Atlin is where I think we'll find the retreat we're looking
for. It's like a natural jamming force that comes from the magnetic pole and it
throws off any electronic forces. My research shows that northern BC and the
Yukon are the only areas in North America that one can live free of modern
spying devices like satellites. I should be able to heal better up there.
Remy gets up and picks out a turquoise bead from
an abalone shell on the counter.
Ah, I almost forgot. This is a gift for you.
It's a turquoise rock that will give you the power of eloquence.
For a second I'm not sure if giving me a rock is
a joke, but I am solemn as I accept it.
He also hands Trapp a cigarette.
Whenever you give presents we, as Métis Indians,
should always give a tobacco offering too.
He starts to tie it onto his silver chain along
with the amethyst hanging from a leather string already around his neck.
Wait. I should smudge it
first before you put it on.
He takes out some dried sage from beside a pile
of plants lying in the dry sink and neatly slides two fingers up the stalk of a
sage branch. All the leaves end up between his two fingers, which he drops into
another abalone shell beside the sink. Remy repeats this action again with a
second branch and then takes his lighter and ignites the sage. Thick, fragrant
smoke rises from the shell and quickly covers me in a cloud of sage smoke. Remy
takes an eagle wing and begins to brush the smoke at me. A light shines from
Hold out your arms.
He smudges him around the head and then finally
my feet before he does it again to my back. Only then, when the camper is
filled with smoke, is his new turquoise rock ready to go on the chain around
his neck. When they finally sit down, they can hardly see each other through
the smoke in the candlelight, but they can both hear each other laughing.
EXT. TENT - MORNING
Outside his tent in the morning, Trapp stands
with his arms wrapped around himself as tight as he can. The cold has
penetrated deep inside his bones, clinging to that thing in him that needs to
I had forgotten how cold it can get in the
mountains at night in Canada. I'm used to sweating under green ferns and palm
trees on the semi-tropical islands of Asia. Last night I needed every inch of
my sleeping bag to keep from shivering, but worse is my tongue. It's as dry and
coarse as sandpaper.
He's jumping up and down in front of his tent to
warm up as he desperately tries to get saliva on his tongue. His tongue is so
dry that it almost cracks when he moves it. He takes out his wallet and removes
a ten-dollar bill, placing it in his front pocket.
EXT. FIELD - MORNING
In the intense morning sunlight so far up in the
Rocky Mountains, he puts on his sunglasses and watches crows the size of small
dogs fly across the sky towards the forest on the other side of the open field.
The tall grass with the morning dew soaks his hiking shoes and socks before he
walks 50 yards. The sun pierces the sheen of dew and blasts the cold from
flaxen grass that brings life to hibernating wildlife and hope to those who
live off the land. The smell is fresh and green and good.
He reaches the dense forest at the far end of
the field where the stream runs down the mountain, and he peers into the
darkness where the land slopes away. Sounds of stirring wildlife reach his ears
that unleash his imagination. He shivers and then lets out a sound, something
less than a scream.
I know the shiver is not from the cold but from
my irrational fear of bears. I need a bear protector. What's to stop a black
bear from coming out of the woods right now?
EXT. REMY'S CAMPER - MORING
He returns to his tent where Remy is sitting
outside his camper with a mug of steaming coffee in his hand and his dog at his
the same tone)
'Morning. (beat) Coffee? I have some
Yes, nice one. In my tent I have-
It's OK. I have a mug here for you.
Remy steps into his camper and returns with a
big mug and a small filter on top of it, full of fresh coffee grounds. He hands
it to Trapp and then pours hot water from a large blue kettle, but he purposely
fills it up to the rim so that if Trapp shakes or moves even a little, the hot
water will fall on his fingers. Trapp begins to laugh because the water is
right at the maximum limit. His laughter makes the meniscus tremble and then
spill over the rim, which makes Remy laugh. Trapp's careful to angle the filter
to one side so the boiling water doesn't burn his hand.
That was close.
(Remy changes the
subject, acting as if there was no spillage)
(Remy removes the mobile
Yeah, good until I got to that forest edge over
there. Thought I heard bears. I've been developing a nice bear phobia quite
well over the last 12 hours.
That's cool. Black?
I usually take it with milk but in the bush I'll
take it black. (beat) And yes, the bears I fear are black bears but I'm
not too fond of brown bears either.
at Trapp's soaking feet)
You need some decent boots.
Yes, boots are on my list. And that black Ford
we saw yesterday. I think it may be a good call.
It looks like a good rig. If you have enough coin,
we should see it today. It would be a wise hard good to snag.
the ten-dollar bill and hand it to Remy)
You were right about the dry tongue. (places the
bill squarely in his hand, adhering to the strict code of conduct between
twins) Driest tongue in the history of mankind, I'll say!
They laugh and then both turn towards the sun
that is slowly emerging over the beaver pond. Trapp is surprised to see Remy
remove almost the exact same prescription sunglasses as him from his breast
pocket and put them on.
This is for you brother. The real McCoy. (hands
Remy a small comb) It's a Chinese moustache comb made of sandalwood with
teeth that smell of finely cut wood.
Trapp pulls out his, which is identical, and
demonstrate the preferred brushing technique on his bushy moustache. When Remy
tries it the handlebars on his moustache immediately become fluffy.
him a cigarette)
I thought your ‘stache
could use some kick on the sides
bit of an Asterix piece. Thanks Trapp.
Let's go see that Ford pick-up. (beat)
Another night in my tent and I think I'll pull some sort of muscle.
COUNTRYSIDE - MORNING
Driving the truck past the pulp-and-paper mills
towards Prince George, Remy rubs his chin and looks all around him soaking up
the greenery, talking, pointing, patting his dog while there's a grin on his
face that he can't wipe off. His arm fits comfortably into the armrest by his
right elbow. A cigarette dangles from his lips between outbursts of words. His
hand flails when he talks. He drives slowly - so slowly that almost everyone
who is behind him passes them. But this doesn't bother Remy. He acts as if they
don't exist, unless they tailgate. That's when he flips up his rear-view mirror
and cuts his speed down to almost half until they pass. He ignores the honks
that come as if they are quacks from a duck in a nearby lake, still preoccupied
with the ten things in his mind he's juggling: the conversation with Trapp,
patting his dog, humming to the music from the radio, changing lanes,
navigating back to Prince George, sipping coffee from his mug, keeping the
truck in the middle of the lane, smoking a cigarette as if that were the only
thing he was doing.
EXT. MECHANIC'S GARAGE - MORNING
They pull into the parking lot where the black
Ford is for sale and walk to the Ford. Both twins have the same loping gait:
they both sort of skids their ass along the pavement, moving their eyes along a
level horizontal plane as if pulled by an invisible wire.
He points to the chassis looking at wires
underneath the truck that I don't know anything about.
If you get this buggy we can really cruise, man.
With a map and go juice we can go
anywhere in these rigs. Seriously. Think about it: anywhere.
Trapp feels the bug immediately: that itch to
get the damn truck and hit the road with Remy. The mechanic, a massive man,
She's a good truck this one.
I hope so for that
The camper is strong too.
A bit of rust. (he
points at the door)
The mechanic looks a bit offended, and then
proceeds with the demeanor of a parent speaking to a child.
This is a Ford
half-ton pick-up. It's the biggest selling pick-up truck in history. All old
Ford's rust, you know that. But the body is as strong as they come for a
twenty-year-old truck. (he points to the suspension) Tight suspension, I
did that myself. And sturdy Goodrich tires. Put them on six months ago.
He spoke with the pride of a mechanic. He saw
not a hunk of metal but a work of art.
You're a mechanic here?
I work on my cars, yeah. I run a fleet of taxis.
(gestures towards a half-dozen yellow cars) I own the place. Where are
you two from? Brothers' aren't you?
Yeah, we're brothers.
We're twins who haven't
seen each other for a long time until last night.
(looks at them both, back
and forth, nodding)
yeah. Where are youse goin' then?
Smithers and maybe out
to Prince Rupert or maybe up to Atlin in the north.
The way Remy says it shows he doesn't think the
mechanic will know where Atlin is.
That's a fair ways from here. But no problem. This truck will get you there.
She's designed for these roads. She'll take youse up to the Yukon no problem.
And here, look at the camper. I made it bigger last summer, because. (puts
his hand around his bulging gut, which hangs over his waistline) I like my
space. I cut down the size of the table to give me more room in the kitchen.
To reach for beers.
consult the twin-speak glossary of terms at the end of this book. Whenever a
twin word is used, a subtitle explaining it's meaning should appear at the
bottom of the screen.