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Alphonse Redux III

DAD (ALPHONSE)

INT DAD’S APARTMENT – NIGHT
Opening shot from above.  The apartment is mostly dark – maybe just a lamp in the corner is on.  Everything is pretty thrashed – it’s clear that there’s been a fight here.  Now, DAD is lying on his back, propped up a little bit against the couch.  He is a young man, probably not yet 30.  He wears jeans and an ironic t shirt.  A short sword protudes from his chest.  The carpet around him starting to pool with blood.  His eyes are wide, staring blankly ahead.  His mouth hangs open a little, and his breathing can be heard – a wet wheezing.  ALPHONSE is sitting on the ground a few feet away, looking at his old man.

ALPHONSE
You know, this didn’t go at all how I thought it would.

DAD rolls his eyes over to look at ALPHONSE.

ALPHONSE (CONT’D)
I mean, yeah, this is how it was going to end – I knew that.  But I was thinking we’d get to talk a little first, you know?  It just all happened so fast.  Not that I’m apologizing.  Life is tough.  You do what you have to, and sometimes, people get hurt.  You taught me that.  I get that.  But there’s a lot you haven’t heard, and I kind of wanted to tell you about it.

DAD coughs a little, blood trickles out of his mouth.

ALPHONSE (CONT’D)
Don’t worry, I’m not gonna get all moralistic.  I understand where you were coming from.  Mom is hot, or
at least she was hot, once upon a time.  You guys were drunk, and juiced up to boot on that special concoction that jump-started yours truly.  When you got the call about the stork, what were you supposed to do?  Marry a junkie slut, settle down and raise a family?  I mean, if it’d been me, I probably would have done the same
thing.  Hang up, move on, let the guys at the clinic clean up the mess.

Close on ALPHONSE, who looks away. His voice drops from its chipper patter.  Then, as he begins to speak…

CUT TO:
FLASHBACK
Needle going into MOM’S arm.  Stuff being injected is black – Frankenstein, the synthetic drug that makes ALPHONSE into what he is:  a super-baby with an in-utero psychic link to Mom, so that he can see her dreams.  Maybe follow drug molecules, CSI-style, as they interact with cells of the ALPHONSE zygote, follow electrical signals in the embryonic brain as they spark to life, then cut to fetal ALPHONSE, one eye snapping open as he hangs suspended in darkness.

ALPHONSE (V.O.)
But it wasn’t me who got that phone call.  It was you.  And I was the mess they couldn’t quite clean up.  Oh, boy, was I a mess.  That was some special stuff you fed her.  Did you know that as soon as she found out about me, she started dreaming about me?  And did you know that I had a front-row seat for that nightmare show? My own personal world of early educational programming, starring me.  And the best part?  We went into reruns after the first damn episode.  Every single night, the same damn thing.

CUT TO:
INT DAD’S APARTMENT – NIGHT
ALPHONSE looks over at DAD, sees that DAD’S eyes are starting to close as he loses blood.  ALPHONSE gives DAD a little kick, jolting him awake.

ALPHONSE
Hey, you listening?  Yeah, I know – other people’s dreams are always boring.  But stay with me, because I think you’ll like this one.  You’re in it, too.

CUT TO:
FLASHBACK
Start with swirling, dreamlike mass of faces and memories:  Mom, Dad, fetus.  Except fetus is wrong somehow – it’s a threat, a parasite, a problem.  Then, as ALPHONSE speaks, we get images:  fetus pursuing MOM down a dead-end alley.  Fetus throwing chains around MOM fashioned from its own umbilical cord, binding himself to her so that she can’t even crawl away.  And then, a miserable, terrified MOM making the decision to summon THE MACHINE from the comic book:  a nightmare of robotic arms holding surgical instruments, a huge suction tube, a holding tank full of fetal body parts.  In short, MOM’S anxiety-formed image of the equipment involved in an abortion.

ALPHONSE (V.O.)
Like I said, you weren’t the star of the show, Pop.  That was me.  I was the one chasing her down.  I was the one putting her in chains.  I was the one who ruined her life.  And I was the one she sent to the machine.  She was terrified every time, miserable about what she was doing.  But she still did it, every time.

THE MACHINE advances.  ALPHONSE the dream fetus stops his pursuit of MOM and turns to face MACHINE.  Then DREAM ALPHONSE looks to one side and spies dream DAD standing in the shadows, watching.

ALPHONSE (V.O.)
And every time, you just stood there in the shadows, watching.  Like you weren’t supposed to rush in and save me.  Like you weren’t even supposed to care.  Like you weren’t my goddamned father.

CUT TO:
INT DAD’S APARTMENT – NIGHT
ALPHONSE has, while he was speaking, gotten up and gotten in DAD’S face – that’s how we see him now.  But as he finishes his sentence, he relaxes a little, backs off a step, gets philosophical.

ALPHONSE
It would have been one thing if you’d tried to kill me.  Like that Greek dude – Saturn.  The one who ate his kids so that they wouldn’t rise up and take over.

CUT TO:
Crudely animated vision of Goya’s “Cronus Devouring His Son.”

CUT TO:
INT DAD’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

ALPHONSE
That I could understand, maybe even respect.  But you didn’t try to kill me.  You didn’t try to do anything.

CUT TO:
FLASHBACK
THE MACHINE seizes ALPHONSE, begins to ready to kill him.  ALPHONSE looks again to DAD, silently screaming for him.  Dad doesn’t move, doesn’t blink.  THE MACHINE begins work on ALPHONSE, we can be as clean or as graphic as people think best.

ALPHONSE (V.O.)
Every time, the machine would start in on me, and it would be horrible, and just before it sucked me into that tank full of little bits of heads and hands and everything else, she’d wake up.

CUT TO:
FLASHBACK – MOM’S HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
MOM waking up in a sweat in her filthy, awful hotel room.  MOM curling into a ball on the bed, weeping.  MOM reaching for needle, plunging it into arm, eyes rolling back, pupils dilating.  Cut to interior shot of ALPHONSE, eyes rolling back, pupils dilating.

ALPHONSE (V.O.)
And then she’d reach for the needle.  Of course, by then, she wasn’t using the fancy stuff you gave her, the stuff that made me so very special.  By then, she was using regular old heroin, and so I was using regular old heroin, too.  That was a trip.  I still need to hit up every day or so.  But you don’t need to hear about that.

CUT TO:
INT DAD’S APARTMENT – NIGHT
ALPHONSE is standing now, starting to pace.  DAD is looking near death.

ALPHONSE
Hell, you don’t need to hear about any of this.  It’s not doing you any good.  And you know what?  It’s not doing me any good either.  I thought it would help to let you know that I sympathized – but then, I’m not the one with a sword in my chest, so what does that even mean, really?

CUT TO:
FLASHBACK – DAD’S APARTMENT
As ALPHONSE speaks, we see what happened here a few minutes ago.  At “confront my demons,” we see ALPHONSE surprising DAD in his apartment, sword drawn.  At “work it out,” we see DAD making for the door, only to have ALPHONSE leap in front of it with unnerving speed.  At “share my pain,” we see ALPHONSE slashing DAD’S arm.  At “get some closure,” we see ALPHONSE sliding sword into DAD’S chest.

ALPHONSE (V.O.)
I thought if I could express to you how I feel – you know, confront my demons, work it out, share my pain, get some closure –

CUT TO:
INT DAD’S APARTMENT – NIGHT
ALPHONSE slumps a little.

ALPHONSE
Well, I thought it would help somehow.  But now I’m here with you, Dad, and we’ve been through all that, and I’ve even gotten to say what I wanted to say, and I have to tell you, I don’t feel any better.  Really, I don’t feel much of anything at all.  It’s a letdown, you know?  You spend all this time dreaming of something, and then you get to the place where your dream comes true and – you realize it just doesn’t matter.

Camera holds on DAD’S face.  He is dead now.

ALPHONSE (CONT’D)
Still, it isn’t all bad news.  I’ve learned something here today, and that’s a good thing.  I’ve learned that I’ve been focusing my energies in the wrong direction.  I’ve been obsessing over that vision of you, standing there in her dream, just watching as I got fed to the machine.  You abandoned me when I needed you most, and that was bad, but now I see the larger truth, the real problem:  you weren’t the one handing me over.

Camera pulls back to show ALPHONSE moving over to DAD,
planting a foot on his chest, and pulling out sword while he
talks.

ALPHONSE (CONT’D)
It’s so obvious, I’m almost embarrassed to admit it.  I can’t beleive that it’s only now, after our whole deal has been taken care of, that I am able to see what it is that I need to do.

ALPHONSE wipes the blood from his sword.

ALPHONSE (CONT’D)
I need to go see Mom.
END.