|Inflating a Dog Screenplay
Chapter 20: Whack It (in which Mr. Lodkochnikov lends a hand)
by Eric Kraft
The screen rights are available.
|INT. PETERíS BEDROOM. Peter is dressing
in a captainís whites, a costume that Ella has improvised.
CUT TO:INT. THE LIVING ROOM. Ella, wearing a raincoat, sweeps into the room. Bert is sitting in his chair drinking a beer and watching television. Peter, also wearing a raincoat, hurries down the stairs and joins her.
They hurry off.Weíre off, Bert. Wish us luck.ELLAYeah. Good luck.BERT(hardly looking, grunting)
Is it raining?BERT (CONTíD.)(after theyíve left)
CUT TO:EXT. PATTIíS HOUSE. When Ella pulls up, Patti, also wearing a raincoat, runs to the car and slides in beside Peter, breathless with anticipation. Ella drives off.
CUT TO:EXT. THE DOCK. They board Arcinella. Patti and Ella shed their raincoats. They are dazzling in slinky white satin gowns. They get to work abovedecks.
Peter goes into the wheelhouse. He presses the starter button. From the engine room, we hear a dull metallic click, nothing more.
He presses the button again. Another click.
He presses the button again. Not even a click.Third timeís the charm.PETER(to himself)
He goes below, looks at the engine, wiggles its wires.
He goes back to the wheelhouse. He presses the starter button, and nothing happens, nothing at all.
Panic is setting in. He hurries below.
He squats there, staring at Arcinellaís engine.
Peter looks through a porthole and sees Mr. Lodkochnikov.Evening, ladies. Donít you look nice.MR. LODKOCHNIKOV(from the quayside)Why, thank you, sir.ELLA(coyly, playing a belle)
Mr. Lodkochnikov lumbers aboard.Whereís young Peter?MR. LODKOCHNIKOVBelow, getting ready for our shakedown cruise.ELLAI havenít been aboard Arcinella for a very long time. Do you suppose I might have permission?MR. LODKOCHNIKOVOh .†.†. why, of course.ELLA(a little awkwardly)
Patti giggles.Very nice .†.†. very, very nice.MR. LODKOCHNIKOV(appreciately, taking in the fresh paint and the slinky gowns)
Mr. Lodkochnikov makes his way until he is beside Peter.Mind if I take a gander at the old galís innards?MR. LODKOCHNIKOV (CONTíD.)Not at all. And tell Peter to hurry up. The sunís starting to set.ELLA
A moment passes; Mr. Lodkochnikov says nothing.Want some help?MR. LODKOCHNIKOV(in a whisper)Yeah. .†.†. Thanks.PETER(with a sigh of relief)Iíd say that .†.†. the pinion gear on your starter motor is not engaging the rack on the flywheel.MR. LODKOCHNIKOV(matter-of-factly)Of course! .†.†. Anything we can do?PETER(as if he knows)Oh, sure.MR. LODKOCHNIKOV
He rummages arund and comes up with a rusty old hatchet.What?PETERWell, Mac used to whack her with a hatchet. Didnít he leave the hatchet?MR. LODKOCHNIKOVThe hatchet? Yeah. He left a hatchet.PETER
Peter gives the end of the starter motor a timid whack.You give a couple of whacks on the starter motor .†.†. not too hard .†.†. but enough of a whack to free up the shaft and get it to engage.MR. LODKOCHNIKOVUh-huh.PETERDo that.MR. LODKOCHNIKOVWhat?PETERHit it.MR. LODKOCHNIKOV
Peter gives it a harder whack, and heís rewarded with a metallic clunk that means success. Mr. Lodkochnikov smiles. Peter scrambles back to the wheelhouse, presses the button, and the engine starts. Ella and Patti cheer.Whack her!MR. LODKOCHNIKOV
CUT TO:EXT. ABOVEDECKS. Mr. Lodkochnikov makes his way through the wheelhouse and seems to be headed for shore.
Patti leads him by the hand to a deck chair in the bow.Wonít you accompany us?ELLA(formally, graciously)Oh, I couldnít .†.†. I .†.†.MR. LODKOCHNIKOV(awkwardly, embarrassed)Please.ELLAYou can stand in for the customers.PATTI(enthusiastically)Iím not very elegant.MR. LODKOCHNIKOV(looking at his callused baymanís hands)Tonight .†.†. you are.ELLA
CUT TO:EXT. THE BOLOTOMY RIVER. MINUTES LATER. With Mr. Lodkochnikov sitting in the chair drinking champagne, Arcinella glides through the stillness of the evening and its fading light.
Ella and Patti provide attentive service, offering him little sandwiches, pouring champagne into his glass.
At one wonderful moment, Patti and Ella slip into the wheelhouse, and all three stand together in the little cabin, savoring the sweet smell of their coming success.
They return to work.People are going to love this .†.†.PATTIDo you really think so?ELLAOh, yeah. Itís going to blow them up. Itís going to change this town. Everythingís going to be much more elegant from now on.PATTIWhere should we go?PETERAnywhere you like. Sheís in your hands.ELLA(blithely)
Peter turns Arcinella toward the west.
The sun sets, and the stars come out, but the glow in the sky silhouettes Mr. Lodkochnikov in his deck chair, where he sits smoking, looking at the stars, the very picture of an elegant excursionist and a satisfied customer.
CUT TO:EXT. ARCINELLAíS SLIP. LATER. Peter brings her in perfectly.
He kisses the hands of Patti and Ella, salutes Peter, and leaves for home. Peter, Ella, and Patti watch him walk away for a moment, then silently turn to cleaning up.It has been a lovely excursion .†.†. the stars .†.†. the champagne .†.†. the beautiful ladies .†.†. the steady hand at the helm .†.†. everything.MR. LODKOCHNIKOV(heaving a contented sigh)
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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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