Empire and Nationhood

The sources used by Mary Ann Heiss in Empire and Nationhood are successful in providing credible background for her statements regarding British and American sentiments during the Iranian Oil dispute. The lack of sources from Iran means that it is a largely a two, instead of three sided account of the events. She creates a detailed picture of the negotiations from a western viewpoint using largely the correspondences of Great Britain and the United States while the viewpoint of the Iranians is pieced together from secondary sources and public announcements. The cultural bias of the western representatives is commented on, so although there is a record of Iranian negotiations, they are biased and often indignant descriptions by diplomats.
The overview of the Anglo-Iranian Oil crisis draws on many secondary works and a few books or articles written by people involved or living in Iran at the time. The secondary works are for the most part written by western historians whose titles do not suggest an evenly balanced perspective. For example the official history of the British Petroleum Company is cited a few times and many of the books are primarily concerned with the cold war. Iran was certainly important in the cold war but focusing on it might tend to show the perspectives of those fighting the war rather than that of Iran, which was a chess piece in the games being played between the US and the USSR.
The sources that contribute to the descriptions of the strained relations leading up to the rise of the nationalization movement and the rise of Mossadeq are a mix of British and American correspondences and books concerning the rise of Mossadeq and the political situation in Iran before him. This chapter, “too little too late” shows the greatest balance between eastern and western sources used. The difference is that the sources from the Middle Eastern perspective are written long after the events took place while correspondence on the part of the western diplomats give a more accurate sense of the feeling at the time. Authors whose names indicate Middle Eastern heritage are significant because they are referenced sparingly once Mossadeq is prime minister. This may have something to do with the secrecy Mossadeq afforded himself once in office. Also, the remainder of the book is largely an account of the negotiations between Mossadeq and representatives of England and the US. This means that presently we can look at the negotiations because there is a record of the internal consultations on the western end but we do not know the full extent of the pressure and constraints put on Mossadeq by political entities and public opinion. A dispatch from the state department to someone involved with debating Mossadeq on a key point shows the reasoning behind the American position while the reasoning behind the Iranian posture can only be guessed at.
Another reason for the one sidedness of the documentation is that for the most part, it was a Prime Minister talking to a diplomat who is already biased against the PM. Mossadeq had the power to make concessions so the political motivations behind his actions have to be derived from the situation in Iran. We have such a good record of the western motivations because American and British agents were constantly conferring with each other and their respective governments. It is unlikely that Mossadeq communicated with his advisors in writing and probably kept the details of his situation secret.
An important factor with regard to documentation that is not discussed in the book is the fact the Tehran at this time was chock full of spies. Channels of communication are never one hundred percent secure so information that was considered sensitive would be unlikely to be sent by telegraph for example. The author demonstrates the general fears of the US with regard to soviet interactions in Iran, but the specific threats, real or perceived, are not revealed. The author mentions documents relating to the MI-6 and CIA inspired coup that are withheld but only touches upon why the US thought the USSR would automatically take power in Iran if the economy were to fail. There is certainly logic behind the containment policy in Iran but because there is little mention of popular Iranian sentiment regarding communism aside from the actions of the Tudeh party, the policy seems to stem mainly from American paranoia.
The only primary sources that voice the position of Iran are the Correspondences between his/her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the Persian government, and related documents (concerning the oil Industry in Persia, February 1951 to September 1951) (Concerning the joint Anglo-American proposal for a settlement of the oil dispute, August 1952 to October 1952) The problem with these sources is that they were most likely documents that could be made public and were, if it suited a political aim. Most of the negotiations were done without the public knowledge or proposals were made informally at first with the reaction often eliminating the need to present them formally. What we can see in these formal documents are the last ditch efforts by Briton to save face by standing behind proposals they knew would be rejected.
It is clear that the United States was integral in the dispute between the Iranian Government, the AIOC and the British Government but the records taken from the national Archives verses the ones taken from the Public Record Office show that the available American records are more concise and therefore less accurate. The documents from the Public Record Office in England include minutes, memorandums and other immediate sources. These kinds of sources, if unaltered, are likely to be the most accurate and the most revealing. The record of the Secretary of Defense should in contrast be far less revealing and is certainly not cited as frequently as the Foreign Office correspondence. These American sources are not likely to contain information that could be considered inflammatory. That is to say that the United States would not be likely to make information public that could add to the hatred of the US by Iran.
The author does a satisfactory job of filling in the blanks created by the lack of Iranian primary sources. She gives a reasonable assessment of the political situation in Iran based on western perceptions that were probably fairly accurate because of the strategic concerns in Iran. The memoirs of Mossadeq may have helped to explain some of the pressures he faced in Iran but even a person’s memory of their own actions cannot be trusted as fact. While the author does not attempt to analyze individual Iranian sentiment for lack of material, it would seems possible to find a primary source written by an Iranian who was not Mossadeq or the Shah. She does a good job showing the shift from British to American domination of the Iranian oil as well as their reactions to the nationalist movement.

Review Bibiography

International History Review v. 21 no. 4 (Dec. 1999). Mejcher, Helmut, reviewerhttp://metaquest.bc.edu:4000/sfx_local?sid=HWW:ACIT&genre=article&pid=%3Can%3E199901501686015%3C%2Fan%3E&aulast=Amuzegar&aufirst=Jahangir&issn=0026-3141&title=The+Middle+East+Journal&stitle=Middle+East+J&atitle=Empire+and+nationhood+(Book+Review)&volume=53&issue=1&spage=138&epage=140&date=1999&ssn=winter—There was an error with the Factiva server when I tried to print this review before class but I had read it with the paper.
Diplomatic History v. 23 no. 3 (Summ 1999). Hoffman, Elizabeth Cobbs, reviewer. http://www.blackwellsynergy.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0145-2096&date=1999&volume=23&issue=3&spage=559

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Homeboy by Malcolm X

Homeboy—Malcolm X

I read Homeboy by Malcolm X and though I recognize this essay as part of his autobiography, it is a very compelling essay that stands on its own quite well. There are several aspects of this essay that gave it significance as both a commentary on the writer’s own frame of mind at this time and the community he was immersed in.

The first thing that struck me about the essay was the structure of the descriptions and the way the author superimposes his views on the situation in hindsight. This would be an entirely different essay if he had tried to be detached about the experiences. For instance, when he is describing his first conk, we see first how excited he was and the pride he felt at the time despite the painful procedure, “Going to lay on that first conk? The drugstore man asked me. I proudly told him, grinning, Right!” (p.189) Following this excited description, however, Malcolm reflects on how “ridiculous” and stupid he was and goes on to explain the rational behind the procedure as he saw it at the time of the writing. There is a very powerful juxtaposition between his description of buying the ingredients proudly and his final opinion on the conk, that it was his “first really big step towards self-degradation”. (p.191)

From his description of Boston from a country boy’s point of view, we get a compelling picture of his place in the world at that time. He shows the inner conflicts between the alluring and what might have been considered the proper place according to his aunt. The end of the essay brings his actions together with the shame he feels and by doing so creates a significant and powerful self reflection.

Tell Me what you think

This is an experiment…

1. Review the theoretical underpinnings of persuasive messages in relation to specific audiences, taking into account at least three of the following constructs: agenda setting, diffusion of innovation, central and peripheral processing, cognitive dissonance, source credibility, reasoned action, two-step flow, selectivity, expectancy-value and fear appeals.  As a writer/producer, which basic model would you use in developing political advertising for your candidate targeted at the general public.  Justify your selection.

 

2. The media landscape has certainly changed in the last few years. A dramatic example of this is the way non-fiction films are distributed.  Ten years ago there were only a few places where independent producers might sell their documentaries. Today there are many more outlets.  What are these new opportunities? Describe at least three case studies of non-fiction films that have profited from these new avenues of distribution.

 

3. Programming is what attracts audiences to television but advertising is the primary means of revenue generation for most networks and stations.  In a situation when 1) specific broadcast programming is attacked for containing too much “skin and sin” by traditional family values groups, 2) advertisers are inundated with thousands of email, letters and telephone calls to stop buying commercial time by concerned family group followers and 3) some advertisers withdraw, is this a triumph for the television audience, a chilling effect on broadcast TV creativity, or a step towards censorship and bland programming?   Assume each of these perspectives and cite evidence from previous program histories to explicate how these electronic media issues evolved, were resolved and continue to coexist.

 

4. In November 2007, the Writers Guild of America went on strike after its members and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers failed to negotiate a deal.  What are (were) the issues at stake in this conflict?  Trace the history of this conflict between these two groups and the consequent effects on television viewing audiences and new programming development.  How will this strike inform the future of new media and old media, and how will it affect you as someone who will be working in the industry as a) a writer, and b) a studio or network executive?

 

5.  In the coming years Cable TV will face very real competition from the telephone companies for customers. Give the competitive advantages of each industry and the efforts both have made in Congress and at the FCC to deal with perceived inequities in the competitive landscape.

 

6. The utilization of new and different media platforms — web streaming, mobiphones and the like — to deliver television programming has given rise to “anytime, anywhere, media measurement.” This system purports to track in-home and out-of-home viewing, Internet and phone TV usage, as well as traditional television viewing.  In addition, commercial ratings or audience viewership levels during the commercial breaks are now available to advertisers.

A)    What improvements does this system of audience measurement represent over the traditional ratings system?  

B)    How would producers, programmers and advertisers benefit from the new audience measurements?

C)    What are some of the concerns critics have raised and how can these be addressed?

 

7.  “American TV is dangerous to our children’s health.”   Scientific studies have shown that children who spend the most time with television are also those who are more likely to be overweight.  Children who watch television violence are more likely to behave in harmful ways towards others and become less empathetic.  You are testifying on behalf of television writers and producers before a congressional subcommittee intent on refining policy to protect the health of our nation’s children.  How would you address these findings in the face of existing legislation and offer solutions to parents, assurances to policy makers as well as a sound bite for the next news cycle?

 


8.  Screenwriter William Goldman, a two-time Academy Award winner, has long preached that “screenplays are structure.” What is he talking about? 

A) If he’s referring to a particular story-telling model, describe that in detail.

B) If there are multiple models, what are the most influential ones and how do they differ?

C) And how has story structure evolved through the centuries?

Use examples from the 2008 Oscar nominees to illustrate your points.

 

9.  Think about this: Today you can watch movies on your video iPod.  You can also watch TV on your cell phone.  Through global marketing you can catch the release of the latest big studio film in Shanghai, China the same day as in Syracuse, New York (probably a few days earlier).  The social media network, Facebook on which you used to post pictures for your friends is now valued at $15 billion. 

 

During your year at Newhouse, the media environment will continue to change dramatically. These changes may come from some new technology or an economic or policy shift. For example, if you’re reading the papers and the trades, you know that ABC News and Facebook have teamed up to develop a new tool to facilitate political debate coverage and interactivity on the social networking site;  the major TV networks continue to offer streaming video of their programs, and advertisers are using “skins,” “overlays” or “bugs” to promote their products and services online.

 

If you’re bright, flexible and entrepreneurial, you’ll find ways to make your career in any number of these future transformations. Even better, you should be smart enough to anticipate and take advantage of such changes before they (or you) are history. This is your chance to begin the birth of a future transformation that will bear your name.

 

Write a proposal for your new concept. What is it? What makes it unique? How does it take advantage of existing or new technologies, economies and/or policies? Specify what research you will do to determine if there is an audience and market. What legal and regulatory issues will you have to be aware of? Who are the people or institutions you need to convince this is the greatest thing since the iPod? Who are the people or institutions you don’t want to know about your idea until it’s a reality and why? Describe how this concept will ripple through the media environment or how it might have an impact on only a specialized niche.

 

An important part of your answer will be a personal inventory assessment: what talents, skills, knowledge, etc. that you possess make it possible for you to actuate this concept? Be realistic; if you’re not Steve Wozniak, recognize that and plan to hire him as a consultant. But if your idea is “television for housebound cats”, be-up front about your special understanding of the feline spirit.

 

10. In the book “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman, referring to a program called “Higglytown Heroes” being produced for the Disney Channel by Wild Brain, an animation studio in San Francisco, Wild Brain CEO Scott Hyten remarked about how the all-American show was being produced by an all-world supply chain —  The recording session is located near the artist, usually in New York or L.A., the design and direction is done in San Francisco, the writers network in from their homes (Florida, London, New York, Chicago, L.A., and San Francisco), and the animation of the characters is done in Bangalore 

(India).  These interactive recording/writing/animation sessions allow us to record an artist for an entire show in less than half a day, including unlimited takes and rewrites.

            Given the increasing trend in production toward on-line collaboration using work flow software, discuss the impact of such a trend on established television production methods and financing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The answers will come after a time.

-Alex

Irish Famine story–2002

                                                The Blight                                          

 

Arriving in Liverpool in December of 1850, I realized that an objective account of a few Irish emigrants would be impossible, so affected was I by the suffering I saw there.  Nevertheless, a weepy emotional account of the situation there would be of no use to anyone due the already widespread accounts of suffering.  It would be more advantageous to examine the causes of this mass exodus by having a few of the famished recount the path that led them to the docks of Liverpool.  Setting foot on the docks proved to be fruitless in my endeavor because the urgency of the people’s situation was such that conversation was nearly impossible.  When the ship sailed, however, I saw that a few of the people I had previously seen clamoring for a berth remained on land and so I simply captured their attention with an offer of supper. The following accounts show how all levels of society were enormously affected by the famine and the English reaction.

            The first person to relate their story (through my interpreter) was a young woman whose appearance did not have the vestiges of starvation.  It was soon revealed that Siobhan Lawler was a descendant of the middlemen tenants who had previously gone between the landowners and farmers.  One could infer that the young lady’s ancestors once owned their own land in Ireland. Her grandfather was reduced to a tenant farmer around 1817 and was active in the secret agrarian societies thereafter.[1] It was her family’s membership in these societies that instilled a strong anti-English sentiment in Siobhan. 

Siobhan was raised in Westport where her family was relatively well off relative to the majority of Irish society.  In addition to growing potatoes, they raised pigs and sheep and were also involved in the linen trade before the demand for Irish cloth disappeared.[2] Though usually reliant on the potato for daily nourishment, the Lawlers were not hit as hard as most when the first potato crop failed.  Pre famine, the family Lawler had opposed the poor law, citing the conditions of the workhouses as inhumane.  When the famine began to take its toll, however, all efforts were directed towards survival.  This is a common tale among the survivors because when hunger reaches certain intensity, it dominates all other thoughts, save death.  There is generally no will to protest in the face of nature and the most common result is a strong anger towards those who will not help, the English.  A strong undercurrent to Siobhan’s account is a tradition of blaming the English for the Irish plight. 

            The third time the “blight” or decaying smell rose from the ground, Siobhan lost her faith in God to save her and the people she knew.  As more and more neighbors fled to workhouses or for parts unknown, the family had to choose between staying put and hoping for some charitable relief effort to come about before being forced off the land or take a chance on a new location.  Not believing anyone would save them it was decided that two of Siobhan’s brothers would travel to New York and eventually the rest of the family would follow.  This brings to mind the when I first saw Siobhan, kissing her brother as he boarded the ship on the Liverpool dock.  An intelligent girl, Siobhan should get along in England until she can join her brothers in the new world.  Siobhan’s tale in not a common one because the vast majority of rural Irish farmers were not nearly well off enough to survive the famine so unscathed.  Nonetheless, although Siobhan is closemouthed about the death she was undoubtedly witnessed to, one only has to look in her eyes to see that she has suffered greatly along with the rest of the country.

            The other account I shall relate is that of James Conley, a man whose experience of the famine is as disturbing as it is miraculous.  The story does by no means have an optimistic tone to it but his ordeal has convinced him that even the English are powerless to halt the famine. This is not to say James holds the English unaccountable, simply that the magnitude of the disaster precludes salvation by legislation or even direct charity.  This is in contrast to Siobhan who strongly disapproved of English practices in general.  He is the only surviving member of his family and has robbed an Englishman in order to book passage to America.  His appearance is one of a sick man and is unsettling at times to look at, the image of a corpse telling the story of his death.

James was born in county Cork where his family of Mother, Father, three sisters and two brothers, along with a few chickens, lived in a hut on the land where they grew potatoes and some grain. The family’s daily nourishment consisted of little more than

Milk and potatoes and while this diet does provide adequate sustenance, there were no consistent alternatives to this diet available. [3]  When the first crop failed, the Conley family tried to save some of the grain for their own consumption but their actions were discovered and they were kicked off the land.  For the large number of people in similar situations the most hopeful course of action would be to find sanctuary in a workhouse.  Given the general conditions of these workhouses, sanctuary would hardly be a fitting description but the feeling was that it might be better than starving by the side of the road.  When in 1846 the public works were shut down, James left the workhouse after having witnessed the death of his parents and two sisters.  James and the remaining survivors of the workhouse actually found some luck in the form of Quakers.  The Quakers had organized charitable effort that in the county Cork took the form of soup kitchens.[4]  If not for these soup kitchens James would have most likely died because after being released from the workhouse, he contracted yellow fever.  At a time and place where starvation and malnutrition were rampant, a disease like this should have been a death sentence.  He describes how people fled from him and refused to aid him in any attempt at recovery. Fortunately, a priest he had known from childhood agreed to bring him soup while he was still alive.  After his recovery, James was unable to find his remaining siblings and decided based on rumors that moving northeast would yield a better chance for work.[5]  Finding no more legitimate work than in Cork, James joined a gang of thieves who robbed food caravans and farms.  His gang was encouraged to join the Irish confederation fighting the English laws but few joined, hunger being more important than political aims for most peasants.[6]  With growing English reports of food theft and resulting English police presence, James left the gang and was able to survive on turnips stolen from the local farmers still able to plant.  After nearly being killed by angry landowners, he returned to a workhouse in 1850.  Being relatively more fit than most others in the workhouse, he is able to survive and amazingly find his way to the east coast of Ireland.  Stowing away on a ship bound for Liverpool, James arrived a whisper away from death.

            Siobhan and James both tell their stories in what can only be described as shell shock or “post-traumatic stress” despite the differences in their stories.  The important difference between them is their attitudes about what caused the famine.  Siobhan maintains that the situation is the fault of the English who created an oppressive system and then did not take responsibility when that system was damaged.  James, perhaps influenced by the English Quakers, rests most of the blame on God’s shoulders though recognizing insufficient aid on the part of the British.   Despite their different beliefs about the causes of the famine and the comparative harshness of their tales, neither seems able to distance themselves from the disaster.

 


[1] Grey, Peter. The Irish Famine. P.25

[2] Grey p.133

[3] Grey p.130

[4] Grey p.54

[5] Grey p.94

[6] Grey p.75

The Codmans of Charlestown and Brookline, 1637-1929

codman-pointI read an excerpt from the book “The Codmans of Charlestown and Brookline, 1637-1929” by Cora Codman Wolcott. This essay was in a small bound book called “On the One Hundredth Anniversary of Codman Point”  This is not accomplished through any direct line of reasoning or persuasion but her remarks about visitors to the summer estate gives the reader very clear insights as to the perspective of my family at the time.
Recalling her experiences as a young adult in 1860, when the family started to settle the land that would later become know as Codman’s point allows the reader to get a more complete view of the family and their perspective because the author does not have strong opinions at that age. She lets the action of her relatives reveal their motivations. “It was quite a sight to see the president fishing off the point in a little dinghy while our schooner nearly toppled his tiny craft”. The reader understands without ever being told directly, the status of the family and their influence as well as the manner in which they view others. The tone of the piece is almost offhand as she describes things that seem absurd to a person reading in 2006. “Going to the point was always an adventure, we brought only one butler and one nanny and we had to reuse our napkins on occasion.” The author was most effective at being subtle while still getting a message across, a recognized talent of any Boston blue blood.

Dr. Death by Jonathan Kellerman–Treatment and selected scenes

Dr. Death could be made into a feature length film but the story and the number of characters make the book more suitable for a crime drama episode.               The main characters are Alex the narrator and his friend and colleague on the homicide squad, Milo. Alex is a physiologist who does consulting work with the LAPD.  A “doctor” Mate resembling Jack Kevorkian has been brutally murdered and cut to pieces and Milo has caught the case.  There are three main suspects in the crime: Richard Doss, a prominent businessman whose wife was killed by Mate. A serial killer called Michael Burke whose existence is introduced by an FBI agent Fusco. Mate’s son Donny, who is a homeless criminal type. The killer is Michael burke, who “discovered” the body of Dr. Mate. He is killed by agent Fusco before being arrested. The story begins with Alex and Milo examining the scene where Mate was murdered, a parking lot on a deserted road. They spend a good deal of time examining the scene where they talk about the mind and motivations of the killer. The scene is chaotic, with CSI type people running around.  They also interview the people who found the body, one of whom turns out to be the killer.  This is a brief interview because the “witness” is not a suspect until near the end.We see the other side of Alex’s professional life after this as he talks to an old patient Richard Doss who needs counseling for his daughter.  Richard Doss is immediately a suspect in the story because Mate killed his wife and he was extremely angry.  Doss is bossy and obnoxious and very happy to hear Mate has been killed.            Since the story revolves around the search for Mate’s killer, it would be effective to have a montage of the research Alex does on Mate.  We discover that Mate was an attention seeker and might have killed for personal satisfaction rather than for moral reasons.There is a growing tension between Alex and Milo concerning Doss because Alex wants to keep his patients confidentiality and Milo thinks he is a prime suspect.The second suspect is introduced by a visit to Mate’s house where the landlady reports a bum sneaking in.  Mate’s previously unknown wife is near the house and tells Alex and Milo about her son with Mate, who might be hostile towards his father. The son Donny is now a suspect and his whereabouts are unknown.An FBI agent Fusco contacts Alex and Milo and says he has something that could help their investigation.  They all meet at a coffee shop where the agent gives the pair a large folder on a Michael Burke.  The FBI man acts strangely and we don’t know why at this point.  According to Fusco, the killer is probably Burke, who has been a serial killer for a long time and many of his victims were similar to the patients of Dr. Mate. Both Doss and Donny Mate become more suspicious as the story progresses. Doss becomes a more suspicious character because of the therapy Alex has with his daughter, who reveals how unbalanced her father is. Donny becomes more suspicious when they find a gruesome painting done by him at his father’s house.During a therapy session with Doss’s daughter, Doss is arrested for hiring someone to kill Mate.  A former employee made a deal with the police and told them that Doss hired him to kill Mate.  The former employee did not go through with it but the detective thinks he may have tried again.Finally looking through the file agent Fusco gave him, Alex finds a clue that makes it seem very likely that Michael Burke is the killer. Alex sees a hypodermic needle in an old crime scene photo that matches one found at the scene of Mate’s murder.Alex has a meeting with Doss, who claims that he did hire someone to kill mate but that when that didn’t happen, he didn’t attempt it a second time. We don’t know if he is lying at this point.Mate’s son appears, beaten up and taken to an LA hospital. The man is mentally unstable and a drug addict but an intense questioning session with Alex reveals that he probably did not kill his father.  He wanted to but he didn’t get the chance.While searching for the elusive lawyer of Mate, Alex stumbles upon the dead bodies of the lawyer and a friend of Mate. They are tied to a tree and are carved up just like Dr. Mate and the victims of Michael Burke.  At this point it is pretty clear that the person from Fusco’s files is the person who killed Mate.  Milo believes that Burke was a covert assistant to Dr. Mate, which would explain why he killed the lawyer also.  There is a problem with agent Fusco because when Alex calls the FBI to talk to the agent, two other FBI agents tell him that agent Fusco has gone AWOL and is under investigation.  It appears that Fusco believes Michael Burke killed his daughter and has taken the case too personally.With this new information in mind, Alex and Milo take another look as Fusco’s file to find a fresh lead.  Through discussions about the motivations of the killer, Alex notices a similarity in the descriptions and statements of the people who found many of the victims.  One statement in particular catches his attention and we get a flashback to the witness at the scene of mate’s murder.  Alex has solved the case but the killer is still out there. Alex and Milo can’t find anything on the killer so they go searching for a lead on the girls he was with. They manage to locate the girl’s sister who tells them how creepy her sister’s boyfriend is and a few places they might be able to locate her.Milo and Alex go on the search immediately because they believe that Michael Burke is planning to kill the girl.  Eventually they trace her car to a remote cabin in the woods and they approach the place with caution.They sneak up and spy on the cabin where they see the killer and the girl.  It appears that the killer is planning another murder and just as Milo is about to jump out and arrest Burke, he is killed by a sniper rifle.  The killer of Burke is assumed to be the renegade FBI man Fusco.

The case has been solved and Alex and Milo return to write their reports on the serial killer Michael Burke. Richard Doss goes to jail for the attempt to hire someone to kill mate and the other suspects are released.  Special agent Fusco has taken revenge and is not captured or proven to be the shooter.

 

Scene I

 

FADE IN:

 

EXT PARKING LOT WITH VAN AND ORANGE CAR   DAY

 

MILO is sitting on hood of orange car and ALEX pulls into parking lot in own car.

 

MILO

Alex.

 

ALEX

Big guy.

Going cowboy?

 

MILO

My Georgia O’Keeffe period.

 

Milo laughs and turns to look at van

 

ALEX

No attempt to conceal.

 

Milo shrugs and walks to the van

 

MILO

We know where the van came from.

The rental sticker traces back to an avis in Tarzana,

Mate rented it last Friday, got the weekend rate.

 

ALEX

Preparing for another mercy mission?

 

MILO

That’s what he uses vans for, but so far

no one has come forth claiming mate stood

him up.

 

ALEX

I’m surprised the companies still rent to him.

 

MILO

They probably don’t. The paperwork was done

by an Alice Zoghbie, a right to die activist who

is out of the country as of Saturday.

 

ALEX

She rented the van and split the next day?

 

MILO

Apparently. I called her and the machine said she

Will be back in a week. She’s on my to do list.

(taps notepad)

 

ALEX

I wonder why Mate never bought a van.

 

MILO

From what I’ve seen so far he was cheap.

He’s got a budget car and a barren apartment,

He used to use cheap motels.

 

ALEX (nodding)

He liked to leave the bodies on the bed for

The maids to find. I saw him on TV defending

 himself, saying the setting doesn’t matter.

 

MILO (suspiciously)

You’ve been following Mate’s career?

 

ALEX

Didn’t have to, he wasn’t exactly media shy.

Any tracks of other cars nearby?

 

Milo shakes his head

 

ALEX

So you’re wondering if the killer drove

Up with Mate.

 

MILO

Or parked farther down the road, or

Left no tracks, or forensics missed something,

I mean no one even noticed the damned

Van and its been sitting here for hours.

 

ALEX

What about shoe prints?

 

MILO

Just the people who found the van.

 

ALEX

What’s the time of death estimate?

 

MILO (looking at watch)

Between one and four am, Mate

was found just after sunrise.

 

ALEX

The paper said the people who

found him were hikers, they sure were

up early.

 

MILO

Couple of yuppies walking the dog,

 they were headed up the dirt road when they

noticed the van.

 

ALEX

Any other people come by? There is a large housing

development nearby.

 

MILO

High-priced development. Guess the rich

get to sleep in.

 

ALEX

There might be someone else we missed.

 

MILO

Its possible but how many cars have you seen

on this road?

 

Alex turns and looks at deserted road

 

MILO

And even if someone saw the van there

is no reason to stop and look inside, it just doesn’t stand out

 

ALEX

It stood out to the yuppies.

 

MILO

Their dog wouldn’t stop barking at it

so they went and looked and I think its

 safe to say they won’t be taking this path

again.

 

ALEX

That bad?

 

MILO

Dr. Mate was hooked up to his own machine.

 

ALEX

The Humanitron.

 

MILO

Yeah I figured the machine would be high tech but

it looks like a failed grade school science project.

 

ALEX

It worked.

 

MILO

It worked fine fifty times and that’s what I

have to go on, fifty potentially angry families.

I have a long list.

 

ALEX

Maybe Mate hooked himself up to

the machine

 

MILO

The machine was just for show, the

killer carved him like a turkey and Mate

probably bled to death during the cutting.

 

ALEX

Lord.

 

MILO

He was castrated and there were eight other cuts

using a scalpel or scissors, Squares, like the killer

was playing around.

           

ALEX

Proud of himself. He preformed surgery

and it sounds like a mess. Are you sure

there’s no blood outside the van? (looking around)

 

MILO

Not one speck, this guy was extremely careful.

 

ALEX

The killer wanted the body to be found, he

left everything in the open, like he is saying look at what I did.

What was the body position?

MILO

Laying on his back head near the front seat.

 

ALEX

Mate prepares the van, the killer uses it.

What a power trip.

 

MILO (after thinking for a minute)

There’s something that needs to be kept quiet,

the killer left a note nailed to Mate’s sternum

“Happy traveling, you sick bastard.”

     

Scene II

 

INT PSYCHOLOGIST OFFICE   DAY:

 

ERIC and Alex are sitting in chairs facing each other.  Eric looks at boards games

 

ERIC

 Hey lets play candyland, see who gets to the

 top of the mountain first.

 

ALEX

Nothing wrong with having a sweet life.

 

ERIC (emotional)

Everything’s a punch line with you, making

your fucking point. Well thanks for the

fuckin insight doc!

 

The intercom buzzes and the receptionist comes on.

 

RECEPTIONIST

Sorry for interrupting you but we have a problem out here.

   

INT WAITING ROOM:

 

RICHARD and STACY are standing next to two cops, KORN and DEMETRI as Alex and Eric enter.

  

RICHARD

These two gentlemen are waiting to take me to the police station

 

KORN

Hey doc, nice place.

 

RICHARD (mad)

You know him!

 

ALEX

What’s going on?

 

KORN

Like Mr. Doss said, we’re taking him in.

 

ALEX

For what?

 

KORN

Questioning.

 

ALEX

In regards to?

 

DEMETRI

This is not your business. We interrupted you

so Eric can take his sister home.

 

STACY

Daddy?

 

Richard looks away and doesn’t answer.

 

RICHARD

First I’m calling my lawyer.

 

KORN (sighing)

Fine.

  

RICHARD

This is Richard Doss, please get max on the line…

Whats that? When?… ok its really important  that

I talk to him…No no I can’t get into it right now,

 just call him in aspen…I’ll be at the west LA police

station.

 

DEMETRI

Let’s get going.

 

Scene III

 

EXT RURAL ROADSIDE WITH ONE CAR PARKED NEXT TO MAILBOX

 

ALEX and MILO are standing next to the car looking up the driveway.

 

MILO

No sense announcing ourselves, lets

 see if we can get a view of the cabin.

 

CUT TO: EXT PATH COMING THROUGH FOREST LEADING TO VIEW OF CABIN WITH TWO CARS IN FRONT

 

Alex and Milo crouch behind some bushes with a view of the cars and the front door of the cabin.

 

CUT TO: SHOT OF CABIN WINDOW WITH TWO PEOPLE MOVING AROUND.

 

MILO

                        Separate cars…

 

ALEX

Maybe she is going to work early.

 

                                                MILO

                       

                        He might have evidence here so I can’t

 mess up the search warrant.  Maybe we

should back off for now.

 

                        ALEX

                        She might be in danger.

 

PAUL ULRICH comes out of the door with coffee in hand. He walks over to the car and pops the trunk, pulling out a black bag.

 

                                                MILO

                        Not good.

 

CUT TO: CU OF PAUL AS HE IS SHOT IN THE CHEST

 

Two more shots and Paul is down on the ground. Milo jumps out of the bushes with gun drawn and looks around franticly.

 

                                                ALEX (whispers)

                        Fusco.

 

FADE OUT