|Inflating a Dog Screenplay
Chapter 16: No Harm Done, Most Likely (in which Peter takes the wheel)
by Eric Kraft
The screen rights are available.
|INT. PETERíS UPSTAIRS BEDROOM.
Peter is lying in bed awake, trying to compose a song about Patti, based
Got a gal, named Patti .†.†.PETER(singing, badly)
CUT TO:EXT. VERY EARLY THE NEXT MORNING. Ella and Peter drive to Pattiís, pick her up, and drive on to Captain Macís. The town is quiet, but it holds the thrill of possibility.
CUT TO:EXT. THE CREEK WHERE ARCINELLA IS DOCKED. Ella, Peter, and Patti step aboard Arcinella. Captain Mac greets them.
CUT TO:EXT. BOLOTOMY BAY. Itís a pleasant trip. Arcinella purrs. The captain guides her with a steady hand. The bay is calm and flat. Picturesque ducks swim beside the boat, then .†.†.
He throttles down, steps away from the wheel, and lets Arcinella drift. Ella recognizes her cue. She hands him a check for the balance due, and the boat is hers.Well, old girl, time to say goodbye.CAPTAIN MAC(addressing Arcinella)
He turns a questioning look toward Ella, who turns it toward Peter, who looks to Patti.Whoís going to take her in?CAPTAIN MAC(pocketing the check)
He nudges it a bit, and Arcinella begins to move forward.Would you like to take her in, Patti?PETER(hoping to get out of it)I wouldnít have any idea what I was doing. Iíd probably wreck everything.PATTIHere we go, lad. Take the wheel.CAPTAIN MAC(grips Peterís shoulder)Aye, Capí.PETER(muttering)This hereís the throttle.CAPTAIN MAC
Peter does, and he finds it easy. Nothing to it.Well, steer her toward town, lad.CAPTAIN MAC (CONTíD.)
Peter reaches for the throttle.This lever is your gearshift handle.CAPTAIN MAC (CONTíD.)(confidentially)The old galís got a few peculiarities, and this hereís one of them.(pointing to a pedal)Thatís another. Thatís her clutch.Ah-ha.PETERWhen my father put the Studebaker engine in her, he put the transmission in, too, so she drives her prop through first and reverse. When you bring her into the slip youíre going to need to set your throttle down so sheís just kind of chugging along .†.†.CAPTAIN MAC
He turns away for a moment, hiding a grin.You probably donít want to do that now.CAPTAIN MAC (CONTíD.)I was just, um, checking the setting.PETERWhen the time comes, youíre going to want to have her just chugging along, but you wonít want her to stall.CAPTAIN MACNo. Of course not.PETER(chuckling, the old hand)Then when youíre at the slip, youíll want to shift into reverse.CAPTAIN MACReverse?PETERTo retard her forward motion.CAPTAIN MACOh, sure. Of course.PETERYou want to slow her down enough so she glides on into the slip sweet and easy and just kisses the bulkhead.CAPTAIN MAC
When Peter judges that he is near enough to the slip to throttle down, he does, until the engine seems just this side of stalling. So far, so good.Treat her gentle, boy.CAPTAIN MAC (CONTíD.)
But he realizes that Arcinella is moving toward the bulkhead with reckless haste. Time to shift into reverse.
The clutch is a pedal projecting through the floorboards. Peter puts his foot on it and presses. It doesnít move at all. He stands on it. With the clutch in, he shifts into reverse. Arcinella races on toward the bulkhead. Peter knows that he has to release the clutch in a smooth manner, but, as the sweat begins to run into his eyes, he realizes that he canít do that, since heís standing on the pedal. Better to do something than nothing, he thinks, and steps off the clutch pedal.
Arcinella shudders, seems to hesitate for a moment, then with a sound like a sigh she stalls, and in the silence glides smack into the bulkhead. When she hits it, all hands grab for something to keep themselves from going overboard, then she shudders and rebounds toward the opposite bank.
CUT TO:EXT. ARCINELLA. A FEW MINUTES LATER. With Peter standing glum and mute in the bow, ready to take a line ashore when they are close enough, Captain Mac brings her in sweet and easy.
CUT TO:EXT. THE DOCK. A FEW MINUTES LATER. All are safely ashore.
Thereís been no harm done, most likely. .†.†. Of course, I canít say for sure that there hasnít, and I canít take responsibility if there has.CAPTAIN MAC(while Peter squirms)
THIRTY SECONDS OF
Here are a couple of swell ideas from Eric Kraft's vivacious publicist, Candi Lee Manning.
You'll find more swell ideas from Candi Lee here.
Tip the author.
You can toss a little something Kraft's way through the Amazon.com Honor System or PayPal.
Copyright © 2001 by Eric
The screenplay for Inflating a Dog is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogues, settings, and businesses portrayed in it are products of the authorís imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this teleplay may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.
The illustration at the top of the page is an adaptation of an illustration by Stewart Rouse that first appeared on the cover of the August 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions. The boy at the controls of the aerocycle doesnít particularly resemble Peter Leroyóexcept, perhaps, for the smile.
Add yourself to our e-mailing list.
We'll send you notifications of site updates, new serials, and Eric Kraft's public lectures and readings. Just fill in this form and click the send-it button.