|Inflating a Dog Screenplay
Chapter 17: To Bail Is to Inflate (in which Patti learns the awful truth)
by Eric Kraft
The screen rights are available.
|EXT. ABOARD ARCINELLA. THE NEXT FEW
DAYS. Peter is tired and glum, but Ella and Patti are full of energy and
They go over Arcinella, topside, from stem to stern, fixing her up, making her look elegant.
Now and then they burst into song to let off steam.
They paint her gleaming black and shining white.
While they are working abovedecks, Peter works below.
He swabs and scrubs. He cleans Arcinella’s engine as thoroughly as he can, as if that would do any good.
From time to time he brings an armload of something damp and dirty up from Arcinella’s innards. Patti and Ella wince at the sight of it and shrink away from it.
Surreptitiously, he bails the bilge. He bails into his cleaning bucket, and then throws the sudsy water overboard.
On a forward corner of the cabin, Patti and Ella nail a long pole, black, and from the top they fly a satin pennant, white, with EEE embroidered on it in black satin script.
Finally, they all stand onshore admiring Arcinella. She looks neat and elegant, trim and sound. Her pennant flutters in the stiffening breeze, straightens, and displays the initials EEE.
Eee?PETERElla’s Elegant Excursions, of course.PATTIEeeee.PETER
CUT TO:INT. THE LEROY FAMILY KITCHEN AND DINING ROOM. THE NIGHT BEFORE THE SHAKEDOWN CRUISE. Peter and Ella are nervous. Bert eats his meatloaf without a worry in the world.
Peter gets up from the table, and Bert spears the meatloaf he’s left on his plate.May I be excused?PETERYou haven’t finished.BERT(looks at Peter’s plate)He’s too nervous to eat. So am I.ELLAShakin’ in your shoes over the shakedown cruise?BERT(what a wit)Something like that. I thought I’d see if I can get into a handball game.PETERGo ahead, Peter.ELLA
CUT TO:EXT. THE LEROY BACK DOOR. Peter dashes out the door. At the first pay phone he dials Patti’s number. His hand is shaking, his heart is pounding, and his throat is dry.
Hello?PATTI (FROM THE PHONE)P-Patti?PETER(a tremor in his voice)Peter? What’s wrong? You sound upset.PATTI (FROM THE PHONE)I am. Can you meet me tonight, late?PETERSure. At Dudley’s?PATTI (FROM THE PHONE)No. I’ll wait outside your house.PETERVery mysterious. What’s this about?PATTI (FROM THE PHONE)It’s about Arcinella.PETERArcinella?PATTI (FROM THE PHONE)Yeah. She’s . . .PETERShe’s what?PATTI (FROM THE PHONE)She’s . . . I’ll tell you tonight.PETER
CUT TO:EXT. THE ROAD IN FRONT OF PATTI’S HOUSE. MIDNIGHT. The front door opens and Patti slips out, closes it carefully, and hurries to Peter’s side. They start walking.
So, what is it about Arcinella?PATTIHow far did I get on the phone?PETERYou said “She’s . . . ”PATTIShe’s . . . um . . .PETERSophisticated.PATTISophisticated?PETERYeah, now that she’s all dressed up and elegant, ready for a night on the town.PATTIOh. Right. But . . . um . . . what about beneath the surface?PETERHm?PATTIWhat about . . . well . . . her soul?PETERHer soul? Do boats have souls?PATTIWell . . . while I was working inside Arcinella, down in the hold, I felt that she was a soulful thing, a thing with a spirit, like something alive. We . . . we fixed her up . . . put a good face on her, so she looks as if she’s ready to go to a party, but the buoyancy’s escaping from her soul, and it’s being replaced by something else . . . so I’ve been trying to inflate her soul.PETERWhat?PATTII’ve been coming down here every night and inflating her.PETERInflating her?PATTIYes. You know, bailing.PETERHuh?PATTIA lot of people think only of the negative aspect of bailing — removing water. But I don’t look at it that way.PETERYou don’t?PATTINo. You see, bailing is an inflationary process; when we remove water from a bilge, we are simultaneously drawing air into the bilge.PETERI don’t really get . . .PATTINature, as you know, abhors a vacuum. So, when I evacuate the water from a bilge, I’ve made a space for Nature to fill, and she does fill it . . . with air. She blows the boat up.PETERWhat the heck are you getting at?PATTI(hands on her hips)She’s sinking.PETER
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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 author’s 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 doesn’t particularly resemble Peter Leroy—except, perhaps, for the smile.
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