|Inflating a Dog Screenplay
Chapter 29: Selling Arcinella (in which three guys buy a dream)
by Eric Kraft
The screen rights are available.
|EXT. DAY. ARCINELLA’S SLIP.
Peter and Patti pace the deck. We hear the sound of vehicles approaching.
Alternating closeups of Peter and Patti, registering surprise. They
are seeing something they hadn’t expected.
CUT TO:EXT. DAY. THE ROAD ALONGSIDE ARCINELLA’S SLIP. We see what Peter and Patti see. Three vans are pulling up: Mr. Yummy’s baked-goods van, an ice-cream van, and a milkman’s delivery van. Mr. Yummy and his partners hop out of their vans eagerly. They converge on the ice-cream van and extract a huge cooler that they carry, with difficulty, aboard Arcinella.
Dave makes his way gingerly along the deck to the cabin, fumbles with the latch, and crouches to crawl below. He spends some time looking at the engine and wiggling its wires and belts. Then he begins inching forward, picking up whatever he finds and putting it back down, making as much noise as he can to show that he’s on the job.Welcome aboard.PETERMy partners . . . Sam and Dave.MR. YUMMYWe brought lunch.SAM(shows the cooler of beer)Are you the one who knows boats, Sam?PETER(hopefully)That would be Dave.SAM(opening a beer)I expect you’ll want to get into her.PETER(to Dave)Right.DAVE(somewhat reluctantly)
Sam and Mr. Yummy and open two more beers.What do you say, Dave?PETER(from above)Looks good to me.DAVE(with a shrug)
CUT TO:EXT. DAY. BOLOTOMY RIVER. Peter guides Arcinella with a steady hand, heading toward the bay.
CUT TO:EXT. DAY. THE OPEN BAY. Rain begins to fall straight down. Sam, Dave, and Mr. Yummy respond with a beery version of a child’s idea of an Indian rain dance. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning strikes just a few yards off Arcinella’s bow. Sam, Dave, and Mr. Yummy jump straight up in the air and dash into the wheelhouse, where Peter and Patti are.
CUT TO:INT. DAY. ARCINELLA’S CROWDED WHEELHOUSE. Sam, Dave, and Mr. Yummy are singing “The Wiffenpoof Song,” with Patti and Peter adding doo-wop flourishes.
He makes a clumsy attempt to get everyone in one beery hug. Peter and Patti exchange a guilty glance, then look away.Y’know, we’re gonna call this boat Three Guys . . . ’cause we’re three guys . . . but we ought to call it Freedom . . . ’cause from now on, we’re our own bosses. No more working for somebody else. We’re on our own! It’s a dream come true.MR. YUMMY(drunk and sentimental)
He steps away from the wheel and lets Arcinella drift. The three guys don’t recognize their cue at first. Then Mr. Yummy realizes what’s expected of him, pulls a check from his pocket, and flourishes it. The others follow suit. Peter hands over a certificate of ownership. Mr. Yummy waves it in the air, whoops, and pours beer on Sam’s head.Well, old girl, time to say goodbye.PETER(throttling down, addressing Arcinella)
He turns a look toward Mr. Yummy, who turns it toward Sam.Who’s going to take her into her slip?PETER(pocketing the checks)
Dave reluctantly does as he is told.Hey, not me. I don’t know how to drive a boat. I’d probably wreck the thing. Dave’s the one who knows boats.SAMHere we go, Dave.PETER(commandingly)Take the wheel.
He nudges it, and Arcinella begins to move forward.This is the throttle.PETER
Well, steer her toward town, Dave.PETER
CUT TO:EXT. DAY. ARCINELLA ON THE BAY. The rain stops, and the day begins to brighten, though it’s still cloudy. Mr. Yummy, Sam, and Patti emerge from the wheelhouse. Mr. Yummy and Sam immediately head for the beer cooler.
CUT TO:INT. ARCINELLA’S WHEELHOUSE.
Dave reaches for the throttle.Arcinella’s got a few peculiarities.PETER(man to man)Ah-ha.DAVEShe drives her prop through the gearbox from an old Studebaker Champion, so when you bring her into the slip . . . you want to throttle down so she’s just kind of chugging along . . .PETER
Peter turns away for a moment. He would rather not be doing this, but he presses on, giving Dave a pat on the shoulder.Not yet, Dave.PETERNo, no. Of course not.DAVEThen you’ll want to shift into reverse.PETERReverse?DAVETo retard her forward motion.PETEROh, sure. Of course.DAVEYou want her to glide in sweet and slow and just barely kiss the bulkhead.PETER
Treat her gentle.PETER
CUT TO:EXT. DAY. ARCINELLA’S DECK. Peter emerges from the wheelhouse and joins the group on deck. He accepts a beer from Mr. Yummy. Arcinella approaches her slip.
CUT TO:Dave in the wheelhouse, reaching toward the throttle, trying to decide when to throttle down. His hand trembles. He’s sweating. He throttles down a bit. Arcinella continues toward the bulkhead with undiminished speed. Dave eyes the shift lever, then the clutch. He steps on the clutch, finds it stiff, stands on it to depress it, and with the clutch in, shifts into reverse. Arcinella races on. Dave steps off the clutch pedal. Arcinella shudders, hesitates, then stalls, and silently glides toward the bulkhead.
CUT TO;EXT. ON DECK. All begin to realize what’s happening.
Impulsively, desperately, he reaches out for a piling. He throws his arms around it and tries to brace his feet to slow the boat, but the momentum is too great and he is swept from the deck and left clinging to the pole.Hey! She’s gonna . . . somebody . . .MR. YUMMY
Arcinella strikes the bulkhead, shakes herself like a wet dog, then rebounds. Peter dashes into the wheelhouse, restarts the engine, and, with Dave standing glumly beside him, brings her in sweet and slow, and doesn’t even touch the bulkhead.
CUT TO:EXT. A FEW MINUTES LATER. ONSHORE. All stand looking at Arcinella.
She looks okay. I doubt that you’ve done her any real harm. . . . Of course, I can’t say for sure that you haven’t, and I can’t take responsibility if you have.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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