|Inflating a Dog Screenplay
Chapter 17: The Arrogance of the Ignorant (in which Peter needs a bilge pump)
by Eric Kraft
The screen rights are available.
|EXT. ARCINELLA. MOMENTS LATER. Captain
Mac is out of earshot. Ella stands on the bulkhead with her hands
on her hips, looks out at Arcinella, and says .†.†.
Ella and Patti spring to work with mops and cleanser.Letís get to work!ELLAAye-aye, Captain Ella!PATTI
He goes below to the engine room and the dank hold.Peter, I think thatís your area, down there, the engine and all that.ELLA(pointing below)Aye-aye, Mom.PETER
CUT TO:INT. THE ENGINE ROOM. A COUPLE OF HOURS LATER. Peter is cleaning the engine with an old toothbrush. He becomes aware that the bilgewater has risen above the planking. It sloshes as the boat rocks. He touches the surface with his hand. It is half an inch or so above the decking. The boat is sinking.
Peter! Time to call it a day.ELLA (FROM ABOVE)Okay. Coming.PETER
CUT TO:EXT. ARCINELLA, ABOVE DECKS. Peter emerges, greasy, hiding the terrible secret.
You need a good scrubbing. Letís get you home and into a hot shower.ELLA
CUT TO:INT. PETERíS BEDROOM. LATE THAT NIGHT. Peter canít sleep.
He gets out of bed, dresses in the dark, makes his way down the stairs, avoiding the one that creaks, lets himself out of the house, and heads toward the docks at a brisk pace.
CUT TO:EXT. NIGHT. THE STRETCH OF THE BOLOTOMY WHERE ARCINELLA IS DOCKED. MINUTES LATER. As Peter comes along the bulkhead, he sees someone aboard Arcinella. He slips into the shadows. He sees that itís Captain Macomangus.
What is Captain Mac up to? He closes the hatch on the forward deck and steps onto the bulkhead. He glances around, furtively. He doesnít see Peter. Off he goes, on down the road.
Peter comes out of hiding and goes to Arcinella. He steps aboard and looks around to see if anything is missing. When he gets below he finds that the bilge has been pumped dry.
CUT TO:INT. PETERíS BEDROOM. THE NEXT NIGHT. LATE. Peter, dressed, listens at the door until Bert turns the TV off after the eleven oíclock news and goes to bed.
Then he creeps down the stairs, opens the back door very slowly and quietly, and slips out into the night.
CUT TO:EXT. A STREET IN BABBINGTON. Peter walks and runs through the sleeping town.
He arrives at Arcinellaís slip.After two or three nights, I came to understand what the captain was up to: he was bailing Arcinella, but he was pumping a little less water from her each night. He wanted it to seem that she had begun leaking only after that collision with the bulkhead, my fault.ADULT PETER (V. O.)
CUT TO:INT. ARCINELLAíS BILGE. Peter bails. He bails, and he bails. Itís slow and itís boring.
CUT TO:EXT. THE LODKOCHNIKOV HOUSE. THE NEXT MORNING. The house, a shack on pilings over the river, is just a short way from where Arcinella is berthed. Peter knocks. His friend RASKOL LODKOCHNIKOV (13, wiry, tough) opens the door and finds Peter standing in front of him. He folds his arms and leans back against the doorframe, frowning.
Raskol smirks and snorts and lets an awkward moment pass.I .†.†. um .†.†. I need some help .†.†.PETER
MR. LODKOCHNIKOV (40, short, squat, toughened by years on the bay) comes to the door and folds his arms in the same manner.Dad! Peterís here.RASKOL(calling into the house)Well, well, well.MR. LODKOCHNIKOV(from within)
MRS. LODKOCHNIKOV (40, short, squat, toughened by years of marriage to a bayman) appears.So youíve come to talk to us.MR. LODKOCHNIKOV (CONTíD.)Yeah.PETERMother! Peterís come to talk to us!MR. LODKOCHNIKOV(calling into the house)
THE TWO ERNIES (mid-twenties, bruisers) and their very sexy sister ARIANE appear and stand behind their stocky parents, folding their arms and smirking in the same way.Big Ernie! Little Ernie! Ariane! Peterís here to talk to us!MRS. LODKOCHNIKOV(calling into the house)
All six Lodkochnikovs emit nearly identical snorts.So you come to talk to us, Peter.BIG ERNIEYeah.PETERAbout Captain Macís old Arcinella.MRS. LODKOCHNIKOVAbout how old Arcinella is sinking.MR. LODKOCHNIKOVThatís right.PETER(surprised)Itís widely known, Peter.LITTLE ERNIEItís been widely known for some time.BIG ERNIEThe poor old thingís been on the way down for Ďbout a year now, Peter.MR. LODKOCHNIKOVWhat a jerk.PETER(feeling foolish)
The Lodkochnikovs, offended by Peterís not having consulted them, back into the house and shut the door on him.Why didnít you come to us before you bought the boat, Peter?MRS. LODKOCHNIKOV(hurt)Well, I .†.†. I donít know.PETERYes, you do. You do know why. .†.†.MRS. LODKOCHNIKOVI do?PETERYes. Youíve reached that age when you think you know more than you do.MRS. LODKOCHNIKOVYeah, Iíve been told that.PETERThe person who thinks he knows more than he does tends to ignore people who know what he doesnít.MRS. LODKOCHNIKOV(pause)Thatís the arrogance of the ignorant.Yeah.PETER(squirming)You were pig-headed.BIG ERNIEYou were a fool.LITTLE ERNIEYou can count on my boys to sum up a complex argument in a few words.MR. LODKOCHNIKOV(proudly)
But .†.†. could I borrow a bilge pump?PETER(weakly, to the door)
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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.
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