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Henry Collins By Andrew Huggins

drewhugg@stu.aii.edu


INT. SMALL BEDROOM - MORNING HENRY COLLINS, a well built, thirty year old man lays in his bed, sleeping. His eyes open and he rolls over, looking at his alarm clock. The clock reads "6:59." He stares at the clock until it sounds at 7:00, then rhythmically hits it as if he is used to this routine. Henry stands and begins to get dressed. He puts on a white, collared dress shirt and black dress pants. He wears a pair of weathered dog tags that move in and out of visibility as he puts on his clothes. INT. KITCHEN - MORNING He walks out of his bedroom and into a kitchen area, pausing briefly to press the button on his phone’s answering machine. He makes a bowl of cereal while a message plays: "Henry. It’s Dad. Doctor Greer called me yesterday. Says you’ve stopped showing up for your sessions. Just wanted to make sure everything is okay. Please go. It’s good for you." Henry is virtually expressionless as he eats his bowl of cereal, alone. EXT. HENRY’S HOUSE - MORNING Henry opens his front door carrying a brief case. He locks the door and begins to walk down a sidewalk leading away from the house. CUT TO: EXT. SIDEWALK - DAY Henry appears emotionless as he continues to walk down the sidewalk. A playground looms in the distance, built slightly off the path of the sidewalk. A group of children are laughing and playing on the playground as Henry is walking past. They begin to sing "Humpty Dumpty" in unison: "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, All the King’s horses and all the King’s men, Couldn’t put Humpty together again" As the children begin to sing "Humpty Dumpty" for a second time, Henry is visibly anxious. (CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

2.

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall." Henry hears the sound of automatic rifles firing. "Humpty Dumpty had a great fall." Henry hears screaming and the various sounds produced by intense, physical pain. "All the King’s horses and all the King’s men." Henry hears soldiers screaming for a medic. He reaches for his dog tags and begins to rub them. "Couldn’t put Humpty together again!" Henry pulls on his dog tags as he hears the sputters of a dying soldier. CUT TO: INT. OFFICE BUILDING - DAY Henry sits at his desk while he shuffles through paperwork. He appears exasperated and confused. He gets up from his desk and exits his cubicle. He walks into the break room and approaches the coffee machine. He lazily begins to pour himself a cup of coffee. As he pours, he spills some onto his hand and shirt. He frustratedly attempts to clean himself. As Henry walks out of the break room he sees a LARGE MUSCULAR MAN and a very attractive female talking in the distance. The man is making hand gestures while the female laughs. The man looks over at Henry and calls to him. LARGE MUSCULAR MAN Ain’t that right Collins? Henry stops walking and looks over at the man. HENRY What’s that? LARGE MUSCULAR MAN (cocky) You were in the service! You know how it is! Right between the eyes, right? The man points to his forehead. Henry’s face transforms from anxious to angry. He says nothing. (CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

3.

LARGE MUSCULAR MAN What? Didn’t get any kills over in the desert? Henry pierces the man with his gaze. He keeps his eyes on the man’s, says nothing, then turns to walk. The large muscular man turns to look at the attractive female. LARGE MUSCULAR MAN What? Henry sits down at his desk and begins to attack the unfinished paperwork. He is making progress, then suddenly stops. He rubs his dog tags as the man’s words echo in his mind: "You were in the service!" "Right between the eyes, right?" He drops his pen and gets up from his chair. CUT TO: INT. PSYCHIATRIST’S OFFICE LOBBY - MID DAY Henry, unkempt and rattled, approaches the RECEPTIONIST. She looks up at him with kind, welcoming eyes. RECEPTIONIST Hi there. How can I help you? HENRY Hi. Is Doctor Greer available? RECEPTIONIST What’s the name, sir? HENRY Henry Collins. RECEPTIONIST One moment, please. The receptionist picks up the phone on her desk. RECEPTIONIST (CONT’D) I have a "Henry Collins" here, Doctor Greer. She listens.

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

4.

RECEPTIONIST (CONT’D) Okay. I’ll send him in. She shifts her focus back to Henry. RECEPTIONIST (CONT’D) He has a few minutes. You can go in. Henry attempts a smile. HENRY Thank you. INT. DOCTOR GREER’S OFFICE - MID DAY Henry knocks on the door to the office. DOCTOR GREER (O.S) Come in. Henry slowly opens the door then carefully closes it. DOCTOR GREER, a middle aged female, sits behind a large, wooden desk. DOCTOR GREER (CONT’D) Henry. It’s good to see you. Doctor Greer stands up and extends her hand towards Henry. HENRY You too, Doctor. Henry clasps his hand around Doctor Greer’s. His hand is rough and worn, while the doctor’s is fair and smooth. Both sit down. DOCTOR GREER I’ve been hoping you would come back to your sessions, Henry. We were making good progress. HENRY I know. I’ve just been busy. Doctor Greer shifts her facial expression from welcoming to quizzical. DOCTOR GREER But you’re not too busy now to come see me at eleven o’clock on a weekday? (CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

5.

Henry looks around the office trying to find something to focus on other than the doctor. DOCTOR GREER (CONT’D) Something must be bothering you, Henry. Should we continue where we last left off? Henry sits back in his chair and looks at Doctor Greer. HENRY I’d like to try. DOCTOR GREER (smiling) Tell me whatever you’d like. As you know, I’m a fairly good listener. HENRY It’s difficult to express with something as simple as words. I’m not even sure what it is, really. Doctor Greer crosses her legs and studies Henry. Henry leans forward in his chair playing aimlessly with his hands. HENRY (CONT’D) I’ve told you about the combat. About what I’ve seen. What I’ve done. I live with the image of that boy in my eyes whether I’m awake or asleep. I can justify killing men. Men that have bathed in sin. Men that are trying to kill me. Henry pauses and exhales. HENRY (CONT’D) But not children. Not a boy. Not a boy who’s only sin was obeying his father’s orders or shooting a gun because it was the only thing he ever knew. A boy who never had the chance to truly make his own decision. And never will. Henry stares at the floor in silence. DOCTOR GREER Henry, you were doing what you were told. You can’t hold yourself responsible for something you perceive as horrible simply based (MORE) (CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

6. DOCTOR GREER (cont’d) off of assumptions. The boy could have been fully aware of what he was doing and wanted to kill you with every fiber of his being. HENRY (yelling) I’ll never know! No one will ever know what he was or wasn’t! Because of me! Because I killed him...

Henry appears dazed and distraught. Doctor Greer sits up and leans her elbows on the desk. DOCTOR GREER The only way I can see you accepting what has happened in your past is with a head on confrontation. You must meet this problem on its own terms. Henry refocuses his attention on Dr. Greer. DOCTOR GREER (CONT’D) Is there something specific that you can do that will help you confront this? An action or gesture that may relieve some of this pain? Henry appears to be deep in thought. HENRY They’re might be. Henry stands up. Doctor Greer looks puzzled but stands to meet Henry. DOCTOR GREER If there anything else I can do for you? HENRY No. Thank you for your time, Doctor. Henry and Doctor Greer shake hands. Henry walks towards the door. Doctor Greer calls after him. DOCTOR GREER How about we don’t wait so long until your next visit, huh? Henry turns back to look at Doctor Greer and smiles faintly. (CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

7.

HENRY Sure thing. CUT TO: EXT. PLAYGROUND - EVENING The playground appears peaceful and is uninhabited. Henry looks at the playground with familiarity, then approaches the playground equipment with caution. He wanders aimlessly about the equipment as if waiting for something to happen. As he lazily drifts in and out of the equipment, he sees a half buried bag beneath the slide. He appears curious as he bends down to pick it up. He takes the bag, sits down on the slide, and begins to sift through its contents. Henry looks inside the bag and retrieves a toy gun. He studies the gun, then holds it carefully in his right hand. He playfully but precisely alternates cocking the gun and pulling the trigger. Henry sets the gun down on the ground and returns to the bag. He pulls out an old red and white cowboy hat, styled like a child’s from the 1950s. He turns the hat over in his hands then puts it on his head. Henry reaches back into the bag, and his hand emerges with a toy soldier action figure. He chuckles softly as he inspects the toy with his hands. He moves the soldier’s arms and legs back and forth, losing himself in the moment. OLD HOMELESS MAN (O.S) Hey! Henry looks up from the toy, startled. There is an OLD HOMELESS MAN standing no more than twenty feet away, looking intently upon him. Henry begins to stand up. OLD HOMELESS MAN (CONT’D) Don’t get up. The homeless man begins to walk towards Henry. OLD HOMELESS MAN (CONT’D) You look harmless enough. Least it doesn’t seem like you mean to steal my things. Henry looks dumbfounded.

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

8.

HENRY I’m sorry? OLD HOMELESS MAN (CONT’D) My things! All the stuff in the bag! Looks like you’re havin’ a right fun time on my behalf. The homeless man smirks. Henry relaxes a little bit. HENRY Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize... OLD HOMELESS MAN (interrupting) It’s alright, son. Thought I’d hidden my bag well enough down there, but it looks like I was mistaken. The homeless man sits down next to Henry. Henry realizes he is still wearing the cowboy hat and holding the action figure. He looks embarrassed. The homeless man studies him. OLD HOMELESS MAN (CONT’D) What’s your name son? HENRY Henry. OLD HOMELESS MAN Well, Henry. Couldn’t help but notice the tags. HENRY What’s that? OLD HOMELESS MAN Dog tags. How long you serve? HENRY Oh. Ten years. The homeless man whistles. OLD HOMELESS MAN Where were you stationed? HENRY Iraq mostly.

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

9.

OLD HOMELESS MAN Pointless what’s been goin’ on over there. Ain’t our fight. Henry looks agitated. HENRY It was my fight for ten years. OLD HOMELESS MAN Oh, I don’t demean your service. It’s hard, I know it is. HENRY You served? OLD HOMELESS MAN (facetious) Vietnam. Enlisted when I was eighteen, to fight for my country. Glory, honor, pride. The man stares blankly in front of him. OLD HOMELESS MAN (CONT’D) First night of combat I stopped carin’ about any of that. All that mattered is that we had each other’s backs. I may look like I don’t know a damn thing, but I can assure you I know at least some of what you’ve been through. I don’t dare speculate on what another man’s fought for. That’s between him and a higher power. But I know what it’s like. HENRY (passioante) I fought for honor. But I also fought for my brothers. Now none of it matters. OLD HOMELESS MAN It always matter, son. HENRY Why? Death wins every battle. Every war. Unjustified death of the young and innocent.

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

10.

OLD HOMELESS MAN Son, death is everywhere. You ain’t gonna beat it. Hell, justifyin’ it’s even harder! HENRY Well, it doesn’t matter anymore. OLD HOMELESS MAN Let me give you some advice. Don’t abandon that part of your past. It haunts you all the worse. HENRY I can’t abandon it. I want to. But I can’t. OLD HOMELESS MAN Whatever happened to you over there is part of who you are, Henry. You won’t change that by tryin’ to forget about it. You CAN change how you perceive things. I hated it. Every minute of it. And I hate what we’re doin’ now even more. But I was a part of it in ’Nam and you were a part of it in the desert. Those memories will never leave you. Trust me. But you can accept them and find peace. Henry studies the homeless man. HENRY Doesn’t it bother you? The death...the pain? OLD HOMELESS MAN Son, it always bothers me. Most folks assume by the looks of me that I’ve had a rough life. The homeless man spits. OLD HOMELESS MAN (CONT’D) They’ll never know what my life has been like. Only those of us who’ve seen what we’ve seen will know. HENRY I suppose you’re right.

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

11.

OLD HOMELESS MAN You just have to find some peace somewhere. In anything that’ll have you. A moment of silence passes between the two men. Henry looks at the homeless man as if for the first time and notices a necklace with a cross hanging around his neck. The homeless man stands up. OLD HOMELESS MAN (CONT’D) (smiling) Well, Henry. I’ll be takin’ my stuff back now. HENRY Oh. Sorry. Here. Henry helps the homeless man gather the contents of his bag. OLD HOMELESS MAN You’ll find it, son. Just look for it, and you’ll find it. HENRY (skeptical) Thanks...can I give you a couple dollars? OLD HOMELESS MAN Nah, no need. It’s not every day that I get to talk to someone who will really listen. God bless, Henry. The homeless man turns and walks away. Henry watches him disappear in the distance. He remains seated on the slide in silence. A few moments pass, and a group of young children appear in the distance. The children laugh and begin to run towards the playground. As they arrive at the playground, one of the children separates himself from the others. It appears as if the other children are excluding him. Henry sits and watches for a few moments as the separated CHILD sits down on a swing while the other children play together. Henry begins to make his way towards the child with caution. The child looks up as Henry nears the swing set.


12.

EXT. SWINGSET - EVENING CHILD (suspicious) Who are you? HENRY (stuttering slightly) Hello. My name’s Henry. CHILD (cautiously) I’m Dylan. Henry stops walking and stands awkwardly in front of the swing set. HENRY (nervously) Why aren’t you playing with the other kids, Dylan? Dylan looks at the ground as he smoothly but slowly swings back and forth. DYLAN I don’t think they want me to. Henry looks over at the other children playing in the distance. HENRY Why would you say that? DYLAN They just laugh at me sometimes. Make fun of me. Henry pauses while his facial expression indicates that he is searching for words. He sits down on the swing next to Dylan and puts his hands in his pockets. He looks at the ground and swings slowly, the same as Dylan. HENRY (CONT’D) Sometimes other people just don’t really understand you, I guess. They only think about what they want to think about. Dylan looks up at Henry as they swing.

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

13.

DYLAN I don’t understand why everyone can’t understand each other. HENRY I guess some people just don’t know how. If they don’t understand you, you have to let them get to know you. DYLAN I try to join in. But they mostly just laugh. It’s not fair. HENRY I’m sorry, Dylan. I know how you feel. I wish I could help. Henry and Dylan swing in silence for a few seconds. Dylan looks over at Henry and notices his dog tags underneath his shirt. DYLAN What’s that? Dylan points to Henry’s shirt. Henry looks down and notices his dog tags showing through his shirt. HENRY I got these while I was in the military. They call them dog tags. Dylan looks excited and curious. DYLAN Really? What are they for? Henry pauses to search for the correct words. HENRY They’re used for identification. DYLAN Can I see ’em? HENRY Sure. Henry undoes his tags with care and hands them to Dylan. Dylan takes them with excitement and begins to pour his eyes over the details in the tags.

(CONTINUED)


CONTINUED:

14.

DYLAN Wow...these are really cool. Henry looks at Dylan as he worships the tags. He looks to the tags then back at Dylan. HENRY They’re yours. Dylan instinctively clasps his hands tightly around the tags. DYLAN Really? Henry takes his hands out of his pockets and grabs a hold of the chains leading up from the swings. HENRY (smiling) Sure. You should go show them to the other kids. I think they’d like them. Dylan looks immensely pleased. He gets up from his swing and begins to run over to the where the other kids are playing. He doesn’t get far before he turns back around towards Henry. DYLAN (beaming) Thanks! Henry smiles back at Dylan as he still swings slowly back and forth. He watches Dylan join the other children and present the dog tags. The children look impressed and begin to pass them around like a trophy, scrambling to hold them. Henry appears pleased and at peace as he sits alone on the swing.


"Henry Collins"