Wordcarpenter Books

Road Sailors Script 


 

  
First 25 pages of the screenplay: 

FADE IN:

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.

TRAPP (VO)

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 gently.

TRAPP (VO)

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.

SUBTITLE: Vancouver, British Columbia, Late August, 2003

INT. VANCOUVER AIRPORT - AFTERNOON

Trapp 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.

TRAPP (VO)

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.

INT. VANCOUVER AIRPORT LOBBY - AFTERNOON

He searches the lobby again but his twin intuition tells him there's been a change of plan.

TRAPP (VO)

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 Toronto.

TRAPP

Hi Mom. I'm in Canada. I just arrived.

MOTHER

That's wonderful dear. Welcome home.

TRAPP

Um, where's Remy?

MOTHER

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.

TRAPP

Why?

MOTHER

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.

TRAPP

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.

MOTHER

Remy should be arriving tonight.

TRAPP

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

TRAPP

Can you wait for a minute? Just leave the meter running.

The taxi driver nods and shoves it into park.

INT. MOBILE PHONE STORE - AFTERNOON

Trapp buys a mobile phone.

TRAPP (VO)

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.

EXT. GASTOWN - AFTERNOON

Trapp 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.

INT. CAMBIE STREET HOTEL - AFTERNOON

He 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.

MIKE

McFlynn!

TRAPP

Rourke baby!

MIKE

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.

TRAPP

Ah! Well my brother has just as much white as me.

Standing up, he gives his old university friend a bear hug.

MIKE

Didn't know what day you were coming.

TRAPP

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?

MIKE

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.

TRAPP

Mike, you graduated on the Dean's List from one of the best universities in Canada.

MIKE

C'est la vie. (beat) What happened to your eye?

He shakes his head slowly and feels self-conscious.

TRAPP

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 socket.

No damage to my eyesight though.

He looks away and watches the tattooed young people become louder.

MIKE

So what's your plan?

TRAPP

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.

  MIKE

Good land?

TRAPP

Don't know. Apparently there aren't any buildings on the property and a resident beaver has taken over.

MIKE

Beaver? Familiar theme: beavers wrecking things.

TRAPP

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.

MIKE

You can crash at my place as long as you like Trapp.

TRAPP

Thanks man.

MIKE

So what kind of place are you looking for?

TRAPP

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.

MIKE

Well, knowing you Trapp, you won't stop until you've found what you're looking for.

TRAPP

Yeah, it should be a good trip, though a quest like this seldom yields its intended results.

MIKE

You have enough savings to last you?

TRAPP

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.

MIKE

How is your brother these days?

Trapp straightens his posture a little.

TRAPP

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.

MIKE

Is he still as wild as he used to be?

The question puts him off a bit but he tries not to show it.

TRAPP

I'm not sure but I'll know after I hang with him a few weeks.

They both drink their beer and look out to the crowd that keeps on growing.

EXT. MIKE'S CONDOMINIUM - NIGHT

Back at Mike's San Francisco-style beach house that's surrounded by thick cedars, Mike removes a key from his key ring.

MIKE

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.

INT. 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. 

MIKE

This is where you can sleep. It's a big couch.

The thought of sleep makes him yawn.

TRAPP

It's noon the next day for me right now with the time change.

MIKE

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.

TRAPP

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?

  MIKE

It's nine forty-seven on my watch.

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.

TRAPP

This is your old friend Trapp McFlynn calling.

ALEXA

Trapper? Is that you?

TRAPP

Yeah, it's me. I'm in Vancouver actually. I'm staying with Mike Rourke right now over in Kitsalano.

ALEXA

You've finally come home?

TRAPP

Can I see you tomorrow? I'm heading up north to Prince George the next day to meet my brother. (beat)

ALEXA

Yes, I can see you tomorrow. Do you have a bike or access to a car?

TRAPP

Bike? (Mike nods when he looks at him). Yes. I have access to a mountain bike.

ALEXA

I'll see you tomorrow at two o'clock in English Bay by the Wharf.

Mike scrutinizes his face after he hangs up.

MIKE

Boy, that was pretty suave.

TRAPP

If I'm in Van, I have to see her. (beat) Is she married yet?

MIKE

She was engaged a couple of years ago but it didn't happen.

A 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.

FADE OUT

FADE IN

EXT. MIKE'S CONDOMINIUM - MORNING

After 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 Transportation.

INT. MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION - MORNING

Inside the government office is cool and empty. The woman behind the counter is shockingly obese.

TRAPP (VO)

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.

TRAPP (VO)

(confused)

I had seen this sign many times during the course of my years in communist China, but I become perplexed by the words ‘proletarian efficiency.'

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 LANGUAGE.

TRAPP (VO)

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 floor.

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.

TRAPP (VO)

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.

ALEXA

Where have you been?

The tone of her question has a disapproving, almost maternal tone. 

TRAPP

Many different shores and many new vistas.

People try to walk by them on the sidewalk so he suggests that they ride.

Follow me.

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.

ALEXA

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.

TRAPP

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 stressed.

TRAPP

How's your work these days? How's the photography?

ALEXA

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.

TRAPP

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.

ALEXA

Why? 

TRAPP

Because 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.

ALEXA

How is your brother Trapp? Is he OK or is he still drinking a lot?

TRAPP

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.

ALEXA

The last time you two were together you had a fight, didn't you?

TRAPP

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."

ALEXA

What was that?

TRAPP

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.

ALEXA

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.

ALEXA

Did you hear about Daphne?

TRAPP

No, I haven't spoken to her in years. (beat) How is she?

ALEXA

Getting married. I haven't met the guy but I'll be at the wedding. What about you? Any plans?

TRAPP

First I get the homestead, and then I can get married.

Trapp 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?

ALEXA

I'm opening a gallery there to benefit orphans from the civil war.

There is hope on her face as well as compassion.

TRAPP

Why?

ALEXA

Because they are in need and I can help them.

TRAPP

But why Kenya? What's your particular connection to Africa?

ALEXA

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.

TRAPP

What about marriage and having kids?

ALEXA

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.

TRAPP

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?

ALEXA

I know you care. (She reaches for his hand.)

TRAPP

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 winter months.

She looks warmly at him and puts a French fry into his mouth.

ALEXA

When are you leaving?

Trapp thinks about her question as he looks out to the ocean. He makes a decision.

TRAPP

Tomorrow. I'm going to take a bus up to Prince George in the morning.

They stand and embrace.

FADE OUT

FADE IN

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 that reads:

HELL'S CAVE 

TRAPP (VO)

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.

TRAPP (VO)

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 it.

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.

REMY

Trapp my brother! How're ya doinnn?

TRAPP

Remyyyyyy.

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.

REMY

You madman! All the way from Hong Kong. I didn't think you would come back after - what? - a decade? Nice one!

TRAPP

I'm back my brother. It's time to find a homestead.

REMY

I'll believe it when I see it.

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.

TRAPP

So that's what my beard looks like.

REMY

You like the duddy[1]?

Trapp laughs at a piece of the old language.

TRAPP (VO)

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 expression?

We reach his truck and Remy looks purposefully into the front seat.

REMY

Good doggie...

There is a fluffy-haired dog looking at them from the passenger seat.

TRAPP

You have a dog?

Remy keeps walking towards the back of the camper.

REMY

Yep. That's Blue. She's a medicine doggie.

He looks closely at the dog under the streetlight; the dog's hair has a blue hue.

TRAPP

It's blue.

REMY

That's why I named her Blue.

EXT. REMY'S CAMPER - NIGHT

Remy opens the back door and places Trapp's bags on the floor of his camper.

REMY

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

REMY

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.

TRAPP (VO)

I haven't heard that expression before but I immediately know what he means.

REMY

I'm low on cake and besides, I bought some plan Z.

TRAPP (VO)

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.

TRAPP

Good. Have you seen Uncle Peter's piece yet?

REMY

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.

REMY

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

TRAPP

I was thinking more in terms of a van.

REMY

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. Trust me.

TRAPP

But a pick-up truck? I don't know, man.

REMY

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.

REMY

To our journey.

TRAPP

To our quest to find a homestead.

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 years old.

TRAPP

I didn't think there were any buildings on the property.

REMY

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

REMY

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.

REMY

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.

TRAPP

The beaver pond?

REMY

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

REMY

I come here at night for the sunset.

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.

REMY

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.

TRAPP

Are there a lot of bears around here? (the oncoming night sends a spasm of cold down his back.)

REMY

You could say that. Black bears and Grizzlies, but I've only seen black bears so far.

TRAPP

(feeling 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?

REMY

I've dreamed of bears too.

TRAPP

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 it.

REMY

(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.

TRAPP

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.

REMY

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.

TRAPP

(still concerned)

So you're saying we're in a bear zone?

REMY

Oui.

TRAPP

So how do you protect yourself against possible bear attack?

REMY

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.

TRAPP

I should be warm enough in my tent, shouldn't I? My sleeping bag is effective up to five below.

REMY

(chuckles 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.

REMY

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.

TRAPP

Is it a friendly beaver? (beat)

REMY

Yes, it is a friendly beaver. And this is a healing pond.

TRAPP

(watching the ripples in the water)

Why? Why is it a healing pond?

REMY

Because when you look into the pond you see yourself.

TRAPP

Why is that healing?

REMY

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 own faults.

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.

TRAPP

(disturbed 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 roaming around.

REMY

Especially with such a close water source like this pond. You might think about getting yourself a dog.

TRAPP

(shivering)

Nice one. A dog. A bear protector. (he looks at Blue and feels the need for a protective dog.)

EXT. NEAR MAIN CABIN - NIGHT

With 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.

INT. MAIN CABIN - NIGHT

The 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.

TRAPP (VO)

Too bad, the cabin is past the point of recovery. The environment is dictating my hand more than I expected.

INT. 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.

TRAPP

What is that?

REMY

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.

TRAPP

(alarmed)

You sleep with that over you? That bear skull and the whole thing? The only thing missing from the bear rug are the claws.

REMY

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.

REMY

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.

TRAPP

(nodding)

That's what I am after: buying my piece with no mortgage.

REMY

So what do you think of the camper?

 TRAPP

More space than I thought.

REMY

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.

TRAPP

Warm enough?

REMY

I have an electric heater when it really gets cold, but my bearskin keeps me warm enough.

TRAPP

B.O. plenty of space.

REMY

(he chuckles 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.

TRAPP

I should have snagged some in Gastown last night. (beat) So what do you think about this place as a potential homestead?

REMY

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.

TRAPP (VO)

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.

TRAPP

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?

REMY

(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.

TRAPP

Atlantis? You're serious?

REMY

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.

TRAPP (VO)

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.

REMY

Whenever you give presents we, as Métis Indians, should always give a tobacco offering too.

TRAPP

Thanks Remy.

He starts to tie it onto his silver chain along with the amethyst hanging from a leather string already around his neck.

REMY

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 his eyes.

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.

FADE OUT

FADE IN

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 be warm.

TRAPP (VO)

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.

TRAPP (VO)

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 feet.

TRAPP

‘Morning.

REMY

(in the same tone)

'Morning. (beat) Coffee? I have some here.

TRAPP

Yes, nice one. In my tent I have-

REMY

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.

TRAPP

(deadpan)

That was close.

REMY

(Remy changes the subject, acting as if there was no spillage)

Good walk?

TRAPP

(Remy removes the mobile coffee filter)

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.

REMY

That's cool. Black?

TRAPP

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.

REMY

(looks at Trapp's soaking feet)

You need some decent boots.

TRAPP

(savoring the coffee)

Yes, boots are on my list. And that black Ford we saw yesterday. I think it may be a good call.

REMY

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.

TRAPP

(pulls out 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.

TRAPP

(remembering something)

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.

TRAPP

(handing him a cigarette)

I thought your ‘stache could use some kick on the sides there.

REMY

A bit of an Asterix piece. Thanks Trapp.

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.

EXT. 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.

REMY

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, approaches them.

MECHANIC

(with some bluster)

She's a good truck this one.

TRAPP

I hope so for that price.

MECHANIC

The camper is strong too.

TRAPP

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.

MECHANIC

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.

TRAPP

You're a mechanic here?

MECHANIC

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? 

TRAPP

Yeah, we're brothers.

REMY

We're twins who haven't seen each other for a long time until last night.

MECHANIC

(looks at them both, back and forth, nodding)

Brothers, yeah. Where are youse goin' then?

REMY

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.

MECHANIC

Atlin! Jeese. 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. It's handy.

REMY

To reach for beers.

 


[1] Please 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. 

 
  
 
 

  

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