The Avengers: Caribbean Cruise Adventure (A Fanfiction Screenplay Part 3)

The Avengers: Caribbean Cruise Adventure (2015)

The Avengers: Caribbean Cruise Adventure (2015)

Act Two: Perceptions

Scene One – A Map

Interior – Cruise ship corridor, main control deck, lounge

Two cruise ship personnel in uniform come out of a door.  Both of the crew members are shorter. Tony and Steve are waiting for them in the hall.  Steve and Tony make quick work of knocking out their opponents. They drag the unconscious bodies back into the room from which they came. Tony and Steve then exit the same room now wearing the personnel uniforms. Tony’s uniform fits perfectly, but Steve’s pants are way too small for him. There’s a good 4 inches of leg showing between his socks and pants   He walks with an odd gate.

Tony: You alright, Captain?

Steve (tugging near his crotch): Yeah. I’ll be fine…in a minute.

Tony: That’s what you get for being tall and handsome.

Steve: I don’t understand. Clothes always fit in the movies.

Tony: Just hide behind me if someone comes. No one wants to see that.

Steve:  Shut up!  I’m sick of…

Steve grabs Tony by the throat and shoves him against the wall.

Steve:  Shut your damn mouth now.  If you mess up this mission…Let’s just say I don’t care what punishments Fury can come up with, but if this virus escapes…If you’re the one that screws it up, I will deal with you myself.

He releases Tony who shrugs him away.  Steve and Tony reach a locked door labeled “Control Room.”  There’s a card scanner to the side of the door. Tony searches his pockets and pulls out the personnel’s identity card. Looks at it.

Tony: Thank you…Wallis Becker.

He slides the card in the reader. A green light flashes on and Steve opens the door a crack.

Steve: There’s just one guy in there.

Tony: I’ll go in. Hopefully he won’t notice that I’m not Wallis. You wait out here and keep watch, Skinny Britches. Crow if someone’s coming.

Steve: Crow?

Tony puts on the crew members hat and walks inside. The door closes and Steve looks back and forth down the corridor.

Inside, Tony nods at the man at the control panel who looks up at his entrance.

Tony: How’s it goin’?

The man turns back to his work and Tony starts rifling through different things. He opens different cupboards and drawers.

Tony: Hey, do you know where I could find a…

Three large men walk in from another adjoining room.

Man: You’re not Wallis.

Tony: A map!

Tony yanks open one last compartment which is filled with blueprints. He grabs all of them.

In the hallway, Steve hears a number of bangs and shouts. He looks concerned, but doesn’t try to open the door. Tony emerges from the room into the corridor where Steve is standing. His hat is missing, his hair is mussed, and he has blood on his face. He still clutches the blueprints under one arm.

Tony: Crow!

The two men start running through the ship. The ship’s crew pursues them. They keep running. They knock things over as they go to trip up their followers. One of them goes down. Tony tears open a door which blocks the hallway behind them. The personnel run straight into it and one of them is knocked out. Tony and Steve rush into the ship’s bar and lounge which is full of people. They hide in the crowd and try to catch their breaths.

Steve: I think we got ‘em. Did you still have the maps?

Tony (whacking Steve with the blueprints): Yeah.

Steve: Let’s try to blend in.

Steve picks up an empty glass from a table just for appearances. Tony does the same. They move through the lounge. Nodding and smiling at the people they encounter. By the bar, they knock into Violet who is wearing a little black dress now. She looks at the cut on Tony’s head and then Steve’s too short pants.

Violet: Whoa.

Steve: They shrunk in the wash, ma’am.

Tony: Don’t mind him. He’s had one too many.

Violet: That’s okay. Laundry can be tricky. I turned all my clothes pink once. You never know. You might start a new fashion trend. You gentleman like some new drinks?

She grins at Steve.

Steve: No. Thank you, miss. We would love to, but we have other duties that we should get back to.

Tony: I might take you up on that later though. Tomorrow? Same time, same place?

Steve pulls Tony away toward the door when something stops them.

Scene Two – Fight

Interior – Lounge

Sly is at the bar getting a drink. Loki approaches him from behind and rips him away from his stool.

Loki: Who are you and why are you watching me?

Sly: I don’t know what you mean. I don’t know you. Security!

Flashback:  Sly and his wife are having lunch at a restaurant in New York City.  They are sitting at a table outside with a green umbrella over them.  They lean in close to each other, laughing and talking.  Sly feeds her a bit of his lunch from a fork.  The next moment, people around them are screaming.    Strange alien beast fly over their heads shooting at people as they scatter.  Sly grabs his wife’s hand and pulls her toward the restaurant.  A crushed car comes rolling at them from off-screen.  The car hits Sly’s wife and she is pinned underneath it.  She’s still alive.  He cries out to her and goes towards her.  Above them Loki and Thor are fighting at the top of Stark Tower.  The giant “K” gets blasted off of the building and falls.  The “K” lands between Sly and his wife, wreckage blocking his way to her.  Sly has to watch his wife die from a distance.  Another hover craft zooms over him.  On it is not an alien, but Loki.The-Avengers-Climax-Loki-the-avengers-34726348-1920-1080

Back on the cruise ship Loki punches Sly.  Sly falls to the ground and Loki pulls him back up again. Loki squeezes his throat. People around him yelp.

Loki: Do that again and I will make you wish you’d never seen this ship.  My brother’s friends will find you conveniently unconscious on the floor.

Sly:  And they would just let you go in the process?  How fast can you run?  How strong are you against Captain American and Ironman?  How clever do you need to be without your magic powers?

Loki presses in closer to Sly.

Loki:  What do you know?  How do you know I don’t want to be caught?

Sly:  You don’t.  I took your powers.  You don’t want to be caught until you get them back.  Not now.  You’ll wait until the right time.  And you won’t kill me until you know how to get them back.  Here they come.  So what now, Loki?

From across the lounge: Steve and Tony watch the two men’s encounter.

Steve: Is that…?

Tony: I think it is.

Steve: Loki.

Tony lunges forward at Sly and Loki.  Hearing his name, Loki looks over at Steve, loosening his hold on Sly. Sly twists out of Loki’s grasps.

Steve:  Tony!

Steve tries to stop his friend from attacking, but is too late.  Tony hits Loki with the empty glass he’s carrying.  Sly steps back, rubbing his throat.

Sly:  This man attacked me for no reason!  He should be locked up and taken off the ship!

Loki, Steve, and Tony continue to fight.

Violet:  Wait!  Stop!  Security is on the way.  Argh, men.  Stop hurting each other!

Violet throws her drink into the middle of the group.  Glass shatters onto all three of them.  Loki breaks free from the group and escapes through the crowd.  Security guards arrive and put handcuffs on Steve and Tony.

Scene Three – Speculations

Interior – Bruce’s cabin

Thor watches as Bruce conducts an experiment at a table that involves a Bunsen burner, beakers, a stop watch, and data sheets on a laptop.

Thor:  Is any of your memory coming back?

Bruce:  Do I remember that if something ticks me off I’ll turn into what Tony refers to as “a big, green rage monster”?  I still don’t remember how we got here on this ship though.  You?

Thor:  I come from a different planet.

Thor looks over Bruce’s shoulder.

Bruce:  Yes.  And shouldn’t you be planning sieges to unite your realms or something?

Thor:  Sorry.

Thor steps back.

Thor:  I do not blame you for misjudging me.  My people are great warriors, yes.  But we also value knowledge.  My father gave up his own eye for it.  I respect your profession.  Jane –

Bruce:  I appreciate your interest, but let’s just stop right there.  If you must know, I’ve taken the information from the files we were given on the zombie virus and I’m trying to figure some things out about how the virus might have been developed.  Now, I need to concentrate.

Bruce drips a liquid into the beaker with a pipette.

Tony and Steve enter Bruce’s cabin. They have lost the uniforms they’d been wearing.  Tony flops the blueprints out onto the table covering Bruce’s own papers.  Bruce flinches, squeezing all the liquid from the pipette into the beaker all at once.  He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath to try to calm himself.

Tony: We got plans of the ship.

Bruce: I see that.

Steve: What’re you working on, Dr. Frankenstein?

Tony: Hey, don’t talk to him like that.

Steve: Why shouldn’t I? You would do it.

Bruce: Ok, guys. Let’s just sit and talk.

Steve: No. I want to know why it’s okay for him to be an asshole to everyone, but as soon as anyone else tries to give him shit, he’s all righteous.

Tony: I can’t help that I’m such an awesome badass. But you shouldn’t take out your jealous rage on the doc here.

Bruce: Stop. Just stop it. You don’t want to make me angry.

Steve sits down and the others follow suit.

Bruce: What happened? What’s this really about?

Steve: We got the blueprints, but were pursued. We ended up at the lounge and lost our tail. Then Mr. Badass thinks it’s a good idea to start a fight. Security kicked us out of the bar. The guards have been given our id’s and photos in case we ever decide to go back there again.

Bruce: You got banished?

He looks at Tony.

Bruce: From the ship’s bar?

Steve: And now, thanks to Tony, our targets have access to a part of the ship we don’t. An extra advantage for the enemy. Plus our identities have gotten out to the ship’s security. They’ll be on to us for the rest of this trip.

Tony (to Bruce): If you saw what I’d seen, you would’ve done the same thing. It wasn’t just a fight, anyhow. It was Loki.

There’s silence while the men in the room look at Thor.

Bruce: What’d you mean? Loki’s floating around somewhere in the back alleys of the cosmos making connections with alien crime lords and who knows what else. But he certainly isn’t going on a family vacation cruise liner.

Thor: Where is he now? 

Steve: It was him. You don’t mistake someone’s identity when you’ve seen them do what Loki’s done. He was with some other guy too. They both got away.

Thor: Who was this other man?

Tony: We don’t know.  He said that Loki just attacked him for no reason.  They didn’t look like they were friends.

Steve: Loki doesn’t have friends.

Bruce: So the real question is: Is the enemy of Loki our friend? Is this mystery guy Zhivkov’s friend? Or the thief we’re looking for?

Steve: You think Loki and Zhivkov are connected? Maybe Loki is the thief?

Thor:  No matter if Loki and Zhivkov are allies, this man Loki attacked is important.  The man lied to you.  Loki does not attack for no reason.  If we find out who the man is, we will be able to find out why my brother is on this ship.

Steve: I think that it’s safe to say that an enemy of Loki is, unless we have evidence otherwise, our friend. We need to divide the ship into sections so we can split up and do a search for Zhivkov and our new mystery man.

Steve spreads out the blueprints.

Steve:  Thor, you take the ballroom/dining room and this surrounding area.  Bruce, you can have the lower decks in the bow area and the smaller auditorium here.  Tony, gets the stern lower decks…excluding the lounge.  I’ll take the upper decks and outdoor areas.

He looks around for confirmations or challenges.

Scene Four – Karaoke

Interior – Ship’s lounge – Three days before virus outbreak

Violet is on a stage singing karaoke. She has picked the song I’m the Only One by Melissa Etheridge. She is a little out of tune, but the passion for the song is there.

Violet (singing): Please baby can’t you see, I’m trying to explain. I’ve been here before and I’m locking the door and I’m not going back again. Her eyes and arms and skin won’t make it go away. You’ll wake up tomorrow and wrestle the sorrow that holds you down today.

View expands to include the bar where Tony is sitting in a disguise. He is wearing a fedora and sunglasses. He takes a drink and glances over towards Violet.

Violet (singing): But I’m the only one who’ll walk across the fire for you.

She points randomly at no one into the crowd of drunken listeners and dancers. A man hoots thinking that he’s been specifically chosen. Loki is there, eyeing Tony.   He glances behind himself when Violet points, and raises an eyebrow.

Violet (singing): I’m the only one who’ll drown in my desire for you. It’s only fear that makes you run, the demons that you’re hiding from, when all your promises are gone. I’m the only one.

She finishes the song. Tony takes another drink. She joins him at the bar.

Tony: Nice Singing.

Violet: Thanks. Do I know you?

Tony: Maybe.

Violet: You were here the other night in uniform. I saw what happened. You’re lucky you didn’t get your nose busted up or something. I always wondered what that would be like. What would I look like with a broken nose?

She turns towards him, waiting for an answer.

Tony: Like yourself. I don’t think I am who you think I am.

Violet: Yes you are. You wanted to have a drink with me tonight, so let’s have a drink. Same time, same place, remember?

Tony looks at the bar tender who is busy at the other end of the bar.

Tony: Don’t say anything.  I’m here against orders, but somebody has to do the dirty work.  And what you said…drinks.  Maybe you can help. I’m looking for this guy. Have you seen him?

He slides a picture of Zhivkov across the counter to her.

Violet: Ooo. Are you a detective? FBI? Undercover.

Tony: Yeah. You could say that.

Violet: I haven’t seen him, but I’ll keep an eye out. He’s got nice hair. What should I do if I see him?

Tony: Call me.

He gives her his calling card. She reads it, flips it over and reads the back.

Violet: Stark Industries. Ironman. Okay. Let’s drink. My dad always said I was good at making friends, but he never wanted to be mine. So, Ironman, let’s be friends. To fathers.

Tony: To fathers.

They clink their glasses together. There’s a time-lapse in which they are drinking and the two of them appear somewhat drunker. Violet isn’t as drunk as Tony. She’s been conserving her drinks.

Tony: How are you still sober?

Violet: Practice. Hey, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we sing a song together and while we’re at it, we can both search the crowd for your guy?

Tony: I don’t think that’s the best idea for me. I’m a wanted man.

Violet: Oh, come on.  You seem like such a confident man.  Or maybe that’s the problem?…  Besides, what are they gonna do if someone recognizes you? Clap you in handcuffs and make you walk the plank? You disobey orders, but you won’t sing a little song?  You’re scared.

Tony (jokingly): No. I’m not scared. I just want people to like me. And they wouldn’t like me if I got up and sang at them. The ‘O captain, my captain’ guy I was with the other night would really not like that. I don’t want anyone to know who I am, right now. That’s all. And karaoke is…kinda girly.

Violet: It’s not girly at all.

Tony: You’re a girl. A damn pretty one.

Violet: You’re just saying that.  Who cares if they like you or not? You say you’re not afraid, but here you are hiding your identity behind a costume. If people shoot you down, you have all the more reason to stand up strong for who you really are.

Silence then drunken ramblings.

Tony: You’re not the only one with daddy issues. If this boat had a daddy, it would have issues. You know, I remember something now. Drink is helpful. (To his whiskey) Thank you. I came here on a time machine from the future. Fury said I couldn’t have my suit. It’s not right, SHIELD. I don’t like it. I just want to make it right. So many things my daddy did. How can I make it right, if I don’t have my superhero suit?

Violet: You’re from the future. What’s it like? Wait. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know what kind of alien takes over the world. Surprises are better. Ironman. That’s you’re superhero name. (She looks at Tony’s card again.) If your dad did so many bad things, how are you going to put it right if no one knows who you are? If you operate under an alias, does it matter if you put things right? An apology doesn’t mean anything, if people don’t know who it comes from.

Tony: They do know who I am. See the card. Both names.

Violet: And yet there’s this.

She reaches up to take Tony’s hat off. He grabs the hat and secures it against his head.

Violet: So what. You started a fight in here. You’re human even if you don’t want to be. You can’t change anything – people can’t like you for who you are – if you’re hiding. But see here, we’re friends. I like you anyway. Costume on or costume off.

She takes his fedora and this time he lets her. She stands up and tosses it over the crowd. A young man catches it and puts it on his head. Violet takes Tony’s sunglasses and sticks them on top of her own head.

Violet:   Now, come on. What song do you want to sing?

Tony: Ladies choice.

Cut to: Tony and Violet on stage together with microphones singing Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash.

Tony: It’s always tease, tease, tease. You’re happy when I’m on my knees. One day is fine, and next is black. So if you want me off your back, come on and let me know. Should I stay or should I go?

He sings more tentatively as he is busy skimming the crowd. He keeps singing as the camera focuses in on Sly who was spying on them for Fury. Sly is worming his way closer to Loki, but Tony doesn’t spot Loki.

Tony (whispers): I think I know that guy. SHIELD. (To Violet) This is girly. Why’d we pick this song?

Violet (to Tony): You didn’t want to pick it.

Violet: Should I stay or should I go, now? Should I stay or should I go, now? If I go there will be trouble. And if I stay there will be double. So come on and let me know.

Loki is scowling at Violet and Tony as they dance together while they sing. Violet is wearing his sunglasses now and they face each other on stage.

Tony and Violet: Split!

Scene Five – Let’s Dance

Interior – The ship’s huge ballroom – Two days before virus outbreak

There is live music and the place is full of people dancing. Violet dances enthusiastically by herself at the edge of the crowd. People clear a space for her so that she stands alone. Thor makes his way through the dancers, looking at each person to see if they are Zhivkov or Sly. He is not even pretending to dance or blend in as he moves past Violet. He examines her from a distance and she sees him staring at her.

Violet: Hey! Would you like to dance with me?

He puts up a hand to decline and then changes his mind. He goes over to her and begins swaying back and forth. Thor tries to copy the moves of another guy nearby. He looks at the guy instead of at Violet.

Violet (laughs): You’re good!

He looks at her questioningly.

Violet: I mean it!

Thor: In my…country we dance only at certain festivities. Weddings and rituals for our ancestors. But our dances are much different from yours. They are a bit more…orderly.

Violet: Oh, where are you from? No, let me guess. Finland? Netherlands? Australia? Greenland? Germany? Antarctica?

He shakes his head after each question as they continue to dance.

Thor: No, no. It is a place far away that I do not think you would know. Have you by any chance seen these men?

He shows her a picture of Zhivkov and one of Sly. She points at Sly.

Violet: He was at the bar while I singing karaoke. But he wasn’t doing anything. Just hanging around. You must know the hiding man.  I mean Ironman.

Thor: He is my friend. My name is Thor.  The man in this picture, Sly, works for the same …company – I think is the word – that I work for.  But he was not asked to come on this mission with us.  We believe he is a double agent.  If he speaks to you, you should not believe what he says.

Violet: I’ll watch out for him.  You know I had dinner the other night with a man who was also named after a Norse god.

Thor:  Loki.  He ate dinner with you?

Violet:  How did you know who I was talking about?

Thor:  He is my brother, but the last time I saw him, he was imprisoned in our dungeons.

Violet steps away from him.

Violet: Your family keeps your brother in their own personal jail?

Thor: It is not what you think. His cell is as finely furnished as any chamber on this ship. Loki is immeasurably evil and feels no remorse for any of his actions. He is cruel, treacherous, and holds childish grudges.

Violet: Perhaps because you lock him in his bedroom as if he were a naughty child you are ashamed of.

Thor: You do not know him as I do. He is in the dungeon not only to keep him from causing trouble, but also because I wish to protect him from himself and from the world.

Violet: First of all, no, I don’t know him well. He’s different, cold and distant, yes, but I tend to judge people by my own experiences. Not by what the world wants me to think of them. Secondly, how does what you just said make you any less sadistic than your brother? You’re like an evil stepmother and it doesn’t suit you.

Thor: That is the problem.  I do not want to be his mother.

Violet: Then treat Loki like an equal and not like a princess locked in a tower. You say you love him, but here you are on vacation with him – in the same space as this boat – and yet he is completely alone and you are off running around with your other friends. You say he is cruel and hateful and yet you take no responsibility for your own actions towards him.  No wonder he hates women, when you treat him like one and act like it’s your righteous privilege.  Do you ever think about what it would be like to be outcast by your own family?

Thor: He deserves what he has gotten. He turned on us.

Violet: I don’t doubt that. But it still doesn’t mean that it’s right to pretend like nothing’s happened when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings. You could tell him you’re sorry for what’s happened, even if you can’t change it.

Thor: He would not listen.

Violet: Not to you maybe. I’m an outside party, and perhaps you need mediator.

Thor: Why would you do that?

Violet: I know what it’s like to have family conflict. I judge fairly. I have emotions beyond happy and macho. And I do what I want.

Thor nods.

Thor: I must leave you now.

Exit Thor. Violet goes back to dancing and jumping around on her own. She whoops when the band finishes the song they’re playing, clapping her hands above her head.  Loki watches his brother walk away.  The song Believe by Mumford & Sons plays.

Say something, say something,

Something like you love me

Less you wanna move away

From the noise of this place.

Enter Loki. Violet sees him and he approaches her.  He nods once at her.

Violet: Hello. You have a striking face, you know. It stands out in a crowd. I mean that in a good way.

Loki: I can’t believe you enjoy this.

He gestures to the crowd.

Violet: Why wouldn’t I?  It’s freedom.  Anonymity.  I can be whoever I want to be in a dancing crowd and nobody cares because we’re all people having fun.  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be someone else?  Here’s your chance.

He looks at his hands which have been drained of their magical powers to disguise him.

Loki: No. Be one of these idiots?

Violet: I will take your initial disbelief that I would be here as a compliment, since it means you don’t include me with “these idiots.” Thank you, Loki. You’re very kind.

He snorts and looks around.

Loki: They don’t think, they just do whatever they’ve been told to do.

Violet: And of course there’s never been a time in your life when you’ve wanted not to think.  To just do something, strangle someone or laugh out loud.  Absolutely not. You could have never wanted that freedom before either.

Loki: You mock me. My brother has made you his friend and turned you against me.

Violet: Your brother…is an acquaintance of mine who I think has good intentions towards you. They’ve just been put into practice in unfortunate ways. He seems like he can be quick to anger, and yet there is an innocent charm to him that perhaps makes him more dangerous to women like me.

Loki: He’s nothing but a stupid, human-loving oaf.

Violet: Maybe. But like I told him, I tend to use my own experiences when judging people instead of thinking whatever I’ve been told to think.

They stand in silence.

Violet: I believe Thor would like to get along with you, but I don’t think he’s done a very good job at showing it. Perhaps he doesn’t know how to treat you. Perhaps he needs your help. I’d like to help you.

Loki: Then you’re wasting your time. Thor has made his choice. I’ve made mine.

Violet: I’m getting tired of this crap. Let’s dance.

Loki: No.

Violet: Okay.

She disappears into the mass of dancers.  For once more in his life, Loki is left alone.

Scene Six – Attention Seeker

Interior – Ballroom

Loki tears through the crowd, ripping men from their dance partners.  He punches one man in the face and his date screams.  People start looking at him and paying attention to what he’s doing.  He drags the yelling woman out of his way by her hair.  Then he knees another man in crotch before kicking him to the floor.  He knocks another woman’s legs out from underneath her.  She shrieks.  He realizes a good portion of the room is now looking at him.  His lips part in a satisfied smile as he glances around at the fear in the room around him, wondering if Violet is watching.  Hoping that she is looking and is terrified by him.

He doesn’t see Sly come up from behind him.  Sly injects something into the back of Loki’s neck.  Loki drops to the ground unconscious.

Sly:  Security.  I’m security.  Everyone stay calm.  Is everyone okay? 

No one responds.  The disheveled and bleeding crowd stares back at him like he must be joking.

Sly:  This man will be taken into secure confinement and released to authorities when we make the next port.

He drags Loki from the room.

Scene Seven – Prisoner

Interior – Storeroom

Sly pulls Loki into a storeroom and ties him up with a cord.  There’s a cargo container inside.  Sly opens the lid of the container and shoves Loki inside.  The container is small enough that Loki is stuck in the fetal position with his knees pressed against his chest.

Sly:  That injection should knock you out until tomorrow.  Then I’ll pay your little girlfriend a visit.

Scene Eight – Brain Magic

Interior – Magic show in small auditorium – One day before virus outbreak

The magician produces a wind blowing throughout the room.  A small sailboat is carried through the air on the breeze, returning a woman’s gold earrings to her which she never knew were missing.  She removes them from the boat with a gasp.

Violet:  You’ve got to be kidding me.

She walks around trying to get back to her seat with a new long island ice tea in her hand.  The liquid splashes out onto Bruce Banner’s sleeve.  He brushes at the wet spot with a napkin.

Bruce:  You’re tellin’ me.

Violet:  I’m sorry.  I feel like I’ve been running into people ever since I got on this boat.  Must have balance issues…Sea legs.

Bruce:  Why don’t you sit here?

Violet:  Oh, thank you.

She takes the empty seat at his table.  He doesn’t clap as the magician bows and the crowd cheers.

Violet:  I take it you don’t like magic?

Bruce:  It’s kind of against my beliefs.  If you have any scrap of logic in your brain, you can figure how the tricks are done.  It’s not magic to me.  It’s a puzzle. 

He looks around the room.

Violet:  And you’re looking for someone.  Are you friends with Thor and Ironman?  What’s your name?  The Puzzler?

Bruce:  I like it, but no.  You can call me Bruce.

The magician appears to be walking on the ceiling.

Violet:  Do you think he feels like he’s in The Poseidon Adventure?  What if he’s the right way and we’re wrong?

Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, film (1979)

Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, film (1979)

Bruce: Yup.  Magic is all about perspective.  Are you looking in the right direction at the right time?  Everything is about perspective really.  Ever heard the phrase, “It’s all in your head”?

Violet: Do you think I’ve lived in a barrel my whole life?

Bruce:  Sorry.  You never know.

Violet:  Are you suggesting that if you could change your mind, you could convince yourself that magic was real?

Bruce:  Why would I want to do that?

Violet:  Could I change my self-identity like the white lady who told everyone she was African-American and then believed it was true?  What about other abstract things like love, hate, or anger?  Could you can convince yourself that you love someone?

Bruce:  You could, but it would be difficult and possibly take years for the feeling or lack of the feeling to be genuine.  You would have to have a very strong will.  Theoretically, if you tried hard enough you could control all your emotions with your head.

Violet:  That seems like magic to me.  Also, if you still haven’t found this guy, don’t you think you’ve been looking in all the wrong places?  If I wanted to hide on a cruise ship, I wouldn’t go to a magic show or a bar.  I would stay in my room as much as I could. 

Bruce:  But then we wouldn’t be able to do all these fun things on our vacation.  You can’t be vigilant all the time.

 Scene Nine – Intruder

Interior – Corridor, Violet’s cabin

Sly picks the lock on the door to Violet’s cabin.  He goes inside.  The door slides open and Sly’s form is outlined by the lights outside the room.  Inside is darkness.  He moves further into the room.  There’s a bed where Violet is fast asleep.  He watches her for a minute to see how soundly she sleeps.

Sly (aside):  The zombie virus is within my grasp.  I just have to waiting for the right time.  At the last minute, I’ll switch out the machine’s cartridge containing the virus with a harmless one.  Then I will steal the real cartridge and bring it back to SHIELD.

He approaches Violet as she sleeps.  He starts to reach out to brush her hair off her forehead, but then stops.  Instead he kneels down at the head of the bed so that their faces are level.  He scoots her nightstand away from the wall, revealing an electrical outlet where Violet’s phone is charging up.  He takes out a screwdriver and removes the outlet cover.

Sly (to Violet)I’ve seen you with Loki.  Are you helping him?  But you were also with Tony, Bruce, and Steve. Could you possibly be another double agent?

He rises and then does run his hand down the side of her face.

Sly (aside): Not while I’m around.  There’s only room for one villain in this story.  If she’s not a double agent, then she’s Loki’s friend.  Loki killed my wife in New York, anyone who calls herself his friend deserves to die.

He takes a small device from his coat and acts like he showing it to the sleeping Violet.

Sly (to Violet):  See this?  It contains just enough of the virus to infect a single person.  I’ve chosen you to be the first host.  It’s an honor!  I’ll just leave it for you when you unplug your phone in the morning.  Then you will go around infecting all of your new little Avenger friends.  But Loki is mine, of course. 

He snatches the device away.

Sly (aside): Fury can have the virus if he wants it, but not until it’s done its work here.

He turns back to install the device into Violet’s outlet.  Sly leaves as quietly as he came.  When Violet’s door clicks shut, she jumps out of bed and tip-toes to the hallway.  She peers down the corridor and glimpses Sly turning the corner.  She follows Sly to the storage room where Loki is being kept.

Thank you to Marvel, Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, and all the other writers, directors, and creative minds/hands involved in producing such a large number of enjoyable films.  And of course the actors: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Hiddleston, and Chris Hemsworth.

Coping with My Longing for Literature

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  I’ve been visiting some of my old college friends in Eugene, OR.  Since I’ve gotten back from that vacation, I’ve had to pick my roommate up at Spokane International Airport which is two hours away from here.  Then I’ve had to start packing up all of belongings for moving back to Indiana.  My official move date is this Thursday, so I’ve been a little bit busy.  I’m picking up my father from Spokane Airport that Thursday.  We’re renting a U-Haul truck, towing my car behind that, and then driving from Idaho to Indiana.  Sounds like another great adventure.  I haven’t had much free time for reading or writing.  Most of my noveling materials have been packed away.  My books are also all boxed up.  That is except for my trusty Complete Works of Shakespeare.  I’m still trying to read that any chance I get.  There will be more posts on Shakespeare here soon enough.

Because I haven’t been able to read or write, I have instead been watching movies with a literary bent.  I will recommend some of them to you now.  The Hours is a unique film adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s book Mrs. Dalloway The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a Forest Gump like story based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  The Woman in Black is a film that features the star from the Harry Potter movie series, Daniel Radcliffe.  This film is also based on a book by Susan Hill and in some ways is similar to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (Piece of randomness: Another thing about Radcliffe is that he kind of looks like Marcus Mumford of the band Mumford & Sons.  This band also relates to literature having songs inspired by John Steinbeck and Shakespeare.)  My absolute favorite literary movie that I’ve recently seen is Oscar And Lucinda, starring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett.  The book of the same name is by Peter Carey.  These were all very good movies that will satisfy your literary pinings if you are away from books for too long.

Adventures in Improv Noveling: Quantity over Quality

I’m here to explain a bit more about my last few posts and where my ideas for the writing are coming from.

First of all I was bored.  I have less than two months left until I’m moving from Idaho back to Indiana.  So the question was:  What am I going to do with that time?  The answer is participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, which is a version of National Novel Writing Month(Nov.) held during June.  What I have to do is write 1, 667 words of a novel everyday.  That way by the end of the month you have a 50,000 word novel.  That’s what I’m posting for you to read right now.

The point of Camp NaNoWriMo is that you get your ideas out, write like mad, and don’t care how bad/silly the result is.   This is a fantastic experience and everyday is a surprise.  I’m no longer bored! Hurray!

The idea for my novel stems from TV shows, a cat, a book, and Norse mythology.  I’m currently really into the television series Fairly Legal which is about two strong women trying to run a law firm.  The show made me want to write more chick lit. (my first NaNoWriMo novel was chick lit.)  The show also contains motifs/themes dealing with money, privilege, and social class.  So then I thought why not make my female protagonist come from a horribly rich family.  But what if she hated being rich and being privileged?  She gives up the life of ease.  There was the beginning of my character.  Then I thought that she needed some quirky things about her like Kate, the female protagonist on Fairly Legal.  I made my character live in the attic of a townhouse which is also occupied by a huge Latino family.  My character also works two part-time jobs – one at a musical instrument store and one at a coffee shop.  I also thought she needed a cat.

For a long time I had the idea of including a super-intelligent cat in a story.  The cat would be named Norn because that just sounded like a cool name.  I did more research on the name and found that it came from Norse mythology.  A Norn is a woman who weaves the fates and futures of people.  They are also seen as witches who give blessings and skills to newborn babies.  I thought that was interesting so I decided that my female protagonist should also kind of be like a Norn.  She has visions about what people’s fates are going to be and this might allow her to shape those fates.  Then there had to be more of an explanation for why she had these visions so I decided to make her have a mental illness that drove her apart from her rich family as well.

I wanted to use the visions as a way of creating tension and problems in the plot.  I had also been watching this show with my roommate called The Haunted on Animal Planet.  This is a paranormal show based on the phenomenon that animals have a keener sense of spirits/demons/occult than humans.  The show talks a lot about shadow people.  One woman supposedly saw a shadow person in her mind while she was meditating.  That’s interesting so I borrowed that for my story too.  Going along with spooky things, I’m reading a book called House of Leaves by Mark Danielewsky.  Parts of the book examine the effects of darkness or absolute nothingness on the human psyche.  One of the narrators in the book deals with mental illness.  In a way I’ve been using the book as a guide on how to write an authentic mentally ill character.

Now to go back to Norse mythology.  I did some more research and found that Norse gods are pretty much like a big, messed up family.  Perfect.  I’m taking my female protagonist rich and powerful family and have each family member correspond to a Norse god/goddess.  This takes the idea of privilege to an extreme that I liked.  Yeah, the story may seem kind of ridiculous this way, but I like ridiculous.  The female protagonist’s father is Odin and her brothers are Thor and so forth.  The only difference from the mythology is that the protagonist has a step mother.  The drama with her family eventually comes down to an expensive/powerful heirloom that’s gone missing.  A murder gets her involved with her family again when they’re trying to get back this heirloom.  Norse mythology also has a number or creatures.  One creature is Fenrir, a great big wolf.  Fenrir has a corresponding character in my novel also.  This character’s name is Fenton and he’s a rich young man who owns a theater.  He becomes my protagonist’s love interest.  All he does is make sure that his low-life employees are doing their jobs.  He’s never been to any type of performance before – he just runs the place from a distance.  He gets involved in the story because the murder occurs outside his theater.  Fenton’s character also connects back to the character of Ben Grogan from Fairly Legal.

Anyhow, in Norse legends there are several prophecies that indicate a type of final judgement.  This is called Ragnarok.  During Ragnarok there will be a great battle between the gods and the giant people.  Many of the gods will be destroyed.  The chain holding Fenrir will at this time break.  Fenrir will kill Odin and then one of Odin sons will avenge their father by killing Fenrir.  Putting this legend into my story will create much excitement and drama at the end.

I have all these ideas, but the main problem is getting from one place in the story to another.  Other than have this big picture that I’ve described to you, I have no idea what will happen in my story from day to day.  Each time I add my 1,667  words, I do not plan ahead what I’ll be writing about.  I just make it up as I go along.  This is exciting and adventurous, but also makes me feel insecure about my writing.  Will I get in all the details that I wanted to include?  What if I end up with incomplete subplots?  Right now I feel like the story is dragging on and needs to go places faster, but then I think that I still have over 44,000 words to write.  Maybe it’s best to take the plot slow and make sure I get down all the details I want.  I do need at least 50,000 words, but it’s okay if I end up with more than that.  I can also go back and take things out or add things later.  I keep telling myself it’s no big deal.  I’m improvising and improvisation hardly ever turns out perfectly.  The point of this project is to keep me entertained and to produce a large chunk of writing which will probably need lots of revision later.

I hope you enjoy reading my imrov novel found in a series of posts entitled Camp NaNoWriMo.

Image from: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/campnano

Literary Look-Alikes – Colin Meloy, Chick Lit, and Satire

First of all, you might be wondering how in the world this is related to literature besides the fact that Colin Meloy is an author.  Well, in this post we’ll also see how themes in chick lit. appear in television and how Meloy’s literary theatricality is seen in other pop culture.

Colin Meloy is the author of the Wildwood series for young adults.  The book tells the story of two kids who have adventures in a mysterious forest near Portland, OR.  Inside the wood, they make many friends and enemies – some human and some animal.  Before publishing the book, Meloy formed the indie folk band called The Decemberists.    Meloy’s songs are very literary based and I think he’s been mostly inspired by romantic and Victorian British literature.  His songs also borrow a great deal from British folk ballads.  Over the years, Meloy has done a lot to turn his appearance into a type of literary related icon that in a way represents the genre of songs he writes.

Lately I’ve been hit by a couple of new characters in film that resemble Meloy and what Meloy has achieved as an artist.  Of course I was excited about it and wanted to share my discovery somewhere and with people I wouldn’t care if I never got a response from.  I think my friends and family have gotten tired of hearing about Colin Meloy so that’s why I’m telling you about my silly discoveries.

The first Colin Meloy look-alike is actor Ryan Johnson.  Meloy is on the left in the photo and Johnson on the right.  As you can see, the men have very similar face shapes and also similar chin and mouth shapes.  Even their outfits seem to be the same in these images!

Johnson is an Australian actor currently cast as the character Ben Grogan in the television series Fairly Legal.   He’s had numerous parts in other TV shows and on the Australian stage.  I have watched Fairly Legal several times and have to say that I approve of the show.  The series borrows themes from the chick lit. genre and features two career driven women.  Both of these women are intelligent and loving at the same time.  The show documents the challenges they face with balancing romance and advancing their careers in a law office.  The character of Ben Grogan presents one of these challenges.  The women use any means available to females in the professional world to do what they know is right.  This creativity often adds goofiness and humor to the show.  All of these things are big portions of what chick lit. is meant to be.  I know this doesn’t have anything to do with Meloy, but this TV series shows us how the genre of chick lit. has grown into something much more than easy-to-read novels with pink covers.  Chick lit. is a genre that has been looked down upon by the academic world, however it has become a large part of our culture.  For that reason, I think chick lit. is worth looking at in an academic setting.  It can tell us a lot about how our society views the lives of modern women.  I’m not afraid to say that I am an academic and I love chick lit.  If you also like chick lit., I recommend watching the television series Fairly Legal.

The other look-alike that I’ve discovered is not quite as pronounced as the first.  It’s more of a likeness in character and theatricality.  Meloy was pretty theatrical in his earlier years because his music was so literary.  Many of The Decemberists’ photo shoots involved creative period make-up and costuming to go along with the stories they told in their songs.  What makes these photos and costumes theatrical is that they are not meant to be taken seriously.  They are in a way meant to be satirical and picaresque – much like the novel Don Quixote is a picaresque and satirical version of a medieval romance.

Anyhow, Last weekend I went to go see the film Dark Shadows starring Johnny Depp.   Depp plays the role of Barnabas Collins, a vampire from the 1700’s.  Barnabas is locked inside of his coffin and wakes up in 1970’s still wearing his 200-year-old get-up and sporting his old-fashioned mannerisms.  In the same way that Meloy satirizes themes from different literary periods, Dark Shadows satirizes the literary genre of Gothic romance.  This similarity can also be seen in a similarity of appearances of Meloy and Depp as Barnabas.

Here on the left we see Meloy wearing a sombrero with his face done up in make-up.  On the right we see Depp as Barnabas and with similar theatrical make-up.

Here we see Meloy on the left and Depp on the right wearing similar period outfits which satirize a certain literary/historical time period.  These images show us how the literary picaresque like that in Don Quixote is still present in our culture and still manages to be rather entertaining.  Thank you to Colin Meloy for indirectly bringing these examples of lit. in pop culture to light.

Of Lit and Love In Alabama

I had a great time on vacation in Florida with my family.  On our way back up to Indiana, we stopped in Monroeville, AL the hometown of Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird) and Truman Capote (author of In Cold Blood and much more).  The two authors grew up on the same street and soon became good friends.  They both inspired each others’ stories.  The character of Dill from To Kill a Mockingbird is thought to be based on Truman Capote.  In addition, Lee was a big help to Capote in his research for In Cold Blood.

Lee’s fictional town of Maycomb, AL in To Kill a Mockingbird is very similar to Monroeville.  In the 1930’s – when Lee and Capote were children – the town was made up of a single square with the courthouse at its center.  The streets were all dirt roads lined with large oak trees.  Surrounding the courthouse were other businesses such as the post office,  drug stores, newspaper office, café, and offices for doctors, dentists, and lawyers.  All of these places are mentioned in Lee’s novel.  Lee also claims to have had a neighbor similar to Boo Radley who left gifts for children inside of an old tree.

Today the main attraction of Monroeville is the courthouse which was originally built in 1903 (pictured below).  Inside you’ll find a museum with lots of good information about Harper Lee and Truman Capote.  There is also a gift shop where visitors can purchase copies of the authors’ books.  It’s a yearly tradition for a stage production of To Kill Mockingbird to be performed outside and inside the building.  The first act is performed outside and the second act takes place in the courtroom.  Make sure to reserve tickets in advance if you’re interested in going.  It supposedly sells out very quickly.

The inside of the courtroom was used as a model for the court scene in the To Kill a Mockingbird movie starring Gregory Peck as Atticus.  While you’re in Monroeville you can see the site of the Wee Diner where Peck ate and did research for his role in the film.  The courtroom is pictured below (you see my dad sitting in the back of the room and then to the left in the last image).

I purchased my own copy of Lee’s novel at the gift shop and reread it.  It was required reading for my high school freshmen English course.  I didn’t remember a thing about the book and I blame myself and my teacher for that.  All I remembered is that we spent two class periods watching Ivanhoe (mentioned about once in the book) and that one of my classmates got us all in trouble for laughing at the medieval apparel.  Reading the book now, I realize just how fantastic it is and how the ideas of race Lee expresses are still current and meaningful in our society.  Lee does an incredible job in getting into the minds of children and I’m planning to borrow some of her ideas about kids for my own stories.  In addition, it wasn’t too long before I had a super crush on Atticus Finch.  He’s truly one of the only literary characters that I’ve ever fallen for so this is big.  I know it would’ve screwed up the plot, but I just kept wondering why none of his single, female neighbors never even tried to snatch him up.  I guess women had different opinions and expectations back then.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite quotes from Atticus. :)  (Pardon me for the use of the n-word.  It’s part of the book and in its own way an important, if unfortunate, part of history.  I’m not using it as a racial slur.)

“‘Scout,’ said Atticus, “nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don’t mean anything – like snot-nose.  It’s hard to explain – ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring Negroes over and above themselves.  It’s slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody.’

‘You aren’t really a nigger-lover, then, are you?’

‘I certainly am.  I do my best to love everybody… I’m hard put sometimes – baby, it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name.  It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.  So don’t let Mrs. Dubose get you down.  She has enough troubles of her own.'”

(Atticus talking to Jem about Mrs. Dubose) “‘She had her own views about things, a lot different from mine, maybe… son, I told you that if you hadn’t lost your head I’d have made you go read to her.  I wanted you to see something about her – I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.  It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.  You rarely win, but sometimes you do.  Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her.  According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody.  She was the bravest person I ever knew.'”

“‘If you had been on that jury, son, and eleven other boys like you, Tom would be a free man.’ said Atticus.  ‘So far nothing in your life has interfered with your reasoning process.  Those are twelve reasonable men in everyday life, Tom’s jury, but you saw something come between them and reason.  You saw the same thing that night in front of the jail.  When that crew went away, they didn’t go as reasonable men, they went because we were there.  There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads – they couldn’t be fair if they tried.  In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins.'”

“‘As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men everyday of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.'”