Emmett

Emmett

A bookshop attendant in his fifties is finalising things in the shop for the day as closing time is approaching.

Through the window we see a young man pull up outside the shop on a bike.

He comes into the bookshop looking slightly rushed, and asks the attendant if he has a certain book. The attendant says "Yes we do, it's a bestseller", and turns to get it. The young man's gaze turns to the books around him, seeing a book about the sixties, he picks it up and looks at the cover, which is picture of someone in traditional sixties gear, flares, peace medallion, long hair and fingers making the peace symbol.

Just at this point the attendant returns, the young man laughs whilst putting the book down and says "drugged out hippies" in a mocking voice.

The bookshop attendant offers the young man the book he had requested and says, "Don't like them eh?". The young man in a confident voice says "Wearing flares was never going to change the world was it?", trailing off with another self confident short laugh whilst handing the attendant some money. The attendant contemplates him for a moment, looks him in the eye, and as he gives him his change says in a soft voice "I don't think that's what the sixties were about, I don't think it was really about the fashion or drugs or even the music, I think that's a media charicature of the sixties". "What do you think they were about then?", says the young man. "Well I'm no spokesperson for the times but I think it started with the idea that conformity is not morality". "Ahh ok" says the young man, his brow crinkling in thought, "Conformity isn't morality eh? Well I guess I don't really know that much about the sixties", he picks up the book with the fancy-dress hippies on the cover, "Maybe I should buy this book and give it a read then".

"Actually" the attendant says, "I think I have a better book here, it might help change your frame of reference about the sixties, it's about a man called Emmett Grogan". He takes a book from under the counter and hands it to the guy. The guy contemplates the cover and says, "Ringolevio". He looks at back of the book and says "OK, so how much". "Actually you can just have a read then bring it back if you want.....or not, up to you", says the attendant. "Oh" says the guy a little confused, "Great" he says with a smile and heads for the door, "Thanks". The attendant gives him a parting smile.

It is windy outside. The young man braces against it and heads to his bike. Putting the books in his back pannier bag, with Ringolevio on top, he begins to ride off.

He hasn't gone far when as he is riding he is forced by a car alongside him to ride over a pothole, and whilst he is completely oblivious the jolt knocks Ringolevio out of his bag, and it hits the road in such a way that the binding is broken and the pages float everywhere. Into trees, along gutters, onto the pavement, and some just keep blowing away to who knows where.

It is dark, it is late, no-one is walking on the streets. The book is now dispersed.

Early morning. A well dressed business woman in her forties is leaving for work. In the front of her house she sees the spot where the book lies, a large number of the pages strewn around. She looks around as if searching for a culprit, or someone who's responsibility it is to clean up the papers. Seeing nobody she picks up a piece and looks at it, looking for some clue as to it's origin. The look on her face changes, and the following words jump out at her:

"We see a change that has to be made, we don't ask or demand that someone else make it happen. We just fucking well make it happen."

It means something to her, she looks back at the pages on the ground, then she reads it again. She looks around her at the street which now has a bit of early morning life, shopkeepers, people off to work, delivery trucks, all going about their business. She has one last look at the piece of paper, rolls up her sleeves, crouches down and starts picking up the pages of Ringolevio on the ground. She looks at some of the pages as she puts them deliberately into her handbag. In the background the bookseller is opening up his shop for the day.

A young man's father is yelling at him from outside his bedroom door. In vain he restlessly tries to ignore him by putting the pillow over his head. Finally he gives up and jumps out of his bed. He quickly puts on some clothes, grabs a bag from the floor. The shouting from outside is now accompanied by knocking, the young man ignores it, opens his window, and exits.

He jogs a short distance, until he is satisfied he has exited the world of his parents influence and escaped into the world where people have less emotional hold over him. He continues walking, and after a while comes to an alleyway in which some other youths are sitting. He approaches them and they are sitting surrounded by paint cans and breathing out of soft drink containers. Their eyes glazed, their heads lolling, a gaze the only acknowledgement of his existence as he sits down and takes some paint out of his bag.

He is just starting to spray some paint into a container when a piece of paper flutters into his leg. He picks up the piece of paper and looks at it, he reads and starts to think. He looks at the paint can in his hand, he looks hard at his friends, he reads the piece of paper again, then gets up and walks to the wall across from them.

Slowly, reading from the page, he spray paints a sentence on the wall.

"The only ones to discover the grin of the skeleton were those that had reached rock bottom and got up"

He turns to look at his friends, even the ones looking his way are too out of it to comprehend what he is doing. He shakes his head and says "I am getting up". With the piece of paper still in his hand, he starts to run.

A woman is yelling at her children as they prepare for school. They are young, they look frightened, her anger makes them more nervous as they try to rush into their clothes and find their school things. The young boy has chosen some clothes that are dirty in his haste, this makes the mother even angrier as she scolds him for it. She drags him quickly by the arm to his room and throwing clothes around searches for something else for him to wear. She grabs something and tells him to put it on. She goes back out into the kitchen where the slightly older girl is watching in silence, holding her school things and a doll, trying her best to be a small target for her mothers wrath. Her little brother comes out of his room and silently she takes his hand.

The mother is fumbling around in her purse, looking for something, keys perhaps. She grabs a pack of cigarettes, sunglasses and then she rushes for the door. The children hold back, half averting their gaze to avoid attention, half watching for instructions they might miss and create further anger. She beckons them to the door, they go through and she tries to shut it quickly behind herself, however she gets her handbag caught and with further cursing she frees it. She sees the little girl still has her doll, she says "Leave that here" and takes it quickly from her hand letting it fall to the floor. They start down the stairs, they rush past two older women sitting on the balcony at the front of their building. The women turn to watch them in a cold disapproving manner.

As they come out onto the street a bus is passing them, she yells at it to stop but it continues, she curses at it. The children stand looking at her, still silent, still afraid, fearing the next moment. The mother turns around, she sees the older women staring blankly at them in silence. In her moment of frustration she yells at them, "Don't you have anything better to do?". They keep staring impassively, and the mother turns to look at her children.

At that moment a piece of paper blows along the street and the little girl picks it up. She reads it and holds it out to her mother. Her mother takes it and screws it up saying "Don't pick things up off the street", and throws it aside without looking at it. The piece of paper lands on the steps of their building not far from where the old ladies are sitting. The mother takes her daughters hand and they walk off in a chain with the brother still holding his sisters hand and trying to keep up.

The older ladies look after them with an air of contempt. One says "That family are the ruin of this block". The other nods whilst standing up "I see the mother bringing home different men all the time". She picks up the crumpled piece of paper saying "Throwing their rubbish around". Her friend picks up a tray with a tea set on it and starts to go inside. The other carefully uncrumples the piece of paper and reads a sentence from it.

"They didn't waste their efforts in games which kill time, deaden awareness and brutalize feeling"

She thinks for a moment, she smoothes some more creases out of the paper and then reads again. She says half to herself, "The children deserve a chance though". The lady inside says "What was that?". "Oh nothing" she replies. She notices the little girls doll lying on the ground near their door, its clothes in bad shape. She goes and picks it up. "More tea" says the other lady from the door, "Oh, Yes, yes that would be lovely" she says looking at the doll.

The boy is running and sees a bit of graffiti on a wall saying "Kate is a slut". He stops and reads it. He takes out a white and a purple spray can and changes it to "Kate is a lover awaiting release". The postman sees him and yells "Eh, what are you doing?", the boy dashes off.

A few moments later he is running past the porch where the old ladies are, still with the piece of paper in his hand. He almost knocks over a business woman and after apologising to her he recognises that she is picking up pieces of paper like the one he has, he has no time to stop though so keeps on running. The business woman, who's hair is losing its previous perfection, looks down the street and sees that there are still many pages to pick up. She gets out her phone and dials. "Ian, I won't be in today, hold all my messages...no everythings fine...ok thanks". Whilst she is on the phone the old lady walks down her steps and hands her the piece of paper she had picked up before, and smiles at her.

The young man writes another line from the book onto a concrete wall.

"We are all innocent - We are all felons".

The old ladies are sewing a new outfit for the doll. They are chatting and talking, very differently from how they were before. "Do you like this blue?" says one, "Perfect" says the other. The postman delivers some mail, sees them talking happily and it brings a smile to his face, "Good morning ladies" he says as he moves on. They wave replies.

The business lady, her jacket now off, is still picking up pieces of paper, she has most of the book now. A young woman dressed in a societally inappropriate way (goth, revealingly, alternative etc) is waiting for a bus. The bus stop she is waiting at has an ad for something with a beautiful half naked woman on it.

She sees what the business lady is doing and sees some pieces of paper beneath her feet, so she picks them up and hands them to her. The business lady smiles and says "Thank you". "Was this your book?" the young woman asks. "No, no, I don't know who's it is, I'm just trying to put it back together". "Oh", says the young woman a little confused "Well my bus isn't for a few minutes so I can give you a hand". "That would be lovely" says the lady and they both proceed to pick up more pages.

"So going out are we", asks the lady. "Yes, out clubbing". "Ah we used to call it going out to a dance. So do you make friends when you are out?" the lady asks. "No, not usually. You go with friends. Though you do meet people, mainly guys trying to pick you up". "Oh", says the lady, "that's sad isn't it?". The young woman says , "No I don't think so". "Well you are still young and beautiful" says the lady. The young woman looks confused, she picks up a piece of paper and a sentence catches her eye :

"They searched for brothers and sisters, not friends"

The mother and her children come walking down the street. The mother is carrying their shopping, and the little boy is also carrying a bag. Just as they get outside the apartment the little boys bag breaks. The mother says something short and sharp, and the children freeze looking fearful. The mothers mood relents and she says in an accepting voice "Well let's pick it up then" and the feared storm is dissipated. They all help pick up the loose groceries, and the little boy goes inside with them, followed by the mother. They don't acknowledge the two ladies cheerfully saying their goodbyes on the balcony.

The little girl coming up the stairs, immediately notices her doll. She cautiously picks it up wondering what has happened to it, she looks at its bright new clothes. She looks first a little confused and then breaks out into a genuine wide smile, happily she clutches her doll tightly and skips into the house saying "Mum look...".

The young kid is painting once again, this time over the bus stop advertisement of a half naked woman. Again he reads from the piece of paper, and writes :

"Something that was neither beauty nor truth, only a plaster false face"

As he is finishing it someone from the bus company sees him and gives chase. He runs again. As he is running he sees the business woman and the girl putting the pieces of paper back together in the correct order. He stops quickly and hands her his piece of paper. Because of this the bus company worker almost catches him, but he is off again and away back home.

The young woman has finished helping and comes back to the bustop, she looks at the defaced advertisement and smiles. The young guy from the beginning rides across in front of her and pulls up outside the bookshop again.

The same attendant is once again closing up for the night. "Hey I'm glad I caught you. Remember me? You lent me that book yesterday". He takes some money out of his pocket offering it to the attendant saying "I'm afraid I lost it, you must let me give you something for it". "No, no thats alright" says the attendant, "it was freely given, so you were free to return it, free to keep or lose it, destroy it, whatever". "Oh", says the guy not quite understanding, "Well thanks anyway, hopefully I find another copy sometime".

The young man goes back out onto the street and starts to get his bike ready. The business woman (who after her day is looking a little less well dressed than at the start) crouches down to pick up the last page she can find, which happens to be the title page, and she puts it on the front of the book which is held together by a large rubber band. It is as one again as it will ever be. The young man, only half looking at her whilst picking up his helmet, mistakes her for a homeless person crouched on the ground and realising he still has the money he offered the bookseller in his hand, gives it to her.

The bookshop attendant comes out of the shop and starts closing up. The young man turns to look at him whilst putting his helmet on. The business lady puts the money inside the book, and with a smile silently puts the reunited book into his bikes pannier bag without the young man realising. She gets up and walks away fixing her hair and clothes.

"Thanks again", the young man says as he gets on his bike, "Oh I've forgotten the name of the book, what was it again?".

"Ringolevio" says the attendant with a smile.

Fade out as the attendant walks down the street and the young guy rides his bike out of shot.

by Cameron

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