Lough Mor Samuel Bollen
EXT LOUGH MOR SHORE. DAY. A grassy hill, below which lies a great body of water--the lough. A state sign, which reads COUNTY OF LOUGH MOR//NO POACHING. A short, dark POACHER walks up, grinning. He’s dressed for chilly weather and physical activity. He unzips his pants. A stream of piss rings against the sign. Chuckling in the BG. The poacher zips up and steps past the sign. We see that our hill is actually a CLIFF, with rocks and waves far below. the cliff continues higher on the poacher’s left. FROM BELOW: a shot of LOUGH MOR TOWER at the top of the cliff, the full moon hanging over it. The poacher’s nervous, but squares his jaw. He swings himself out onto the cliff face. He climbs a few handholds up and places a PITON, strapping himself in. The rock is shale-y and thin. A few feet up he sees what he’s looking for--an outcropping. Climbs up. His new foothold starts to give. He’s distracted--the foothold cracks-POACHER Ah, Christ! He begins to fall, but has a hand on the cliff. He scrabbles against the cliff face and with the help of his rope is able to haul his way up to the overhang. He looks over the edge. Jackpot--it’s a razorbill nest, with two sleeping birds lying inside. The poacher seizes the first by the neck and WRINGS it before stuffing the bird in his bag. The second stands up and begins to squawk. He grabs for it, but it totters back on the overhang, before retreating into the cave behind. The squawking steadily quiets, then is suddenly silenced. The poacher looks after it for a moment, puzzled, before looking down at the nest. A single brown-speckled egg lies inside, which he grabs. SUDDENLY--a sound like a DRAGON’S BELCH, from deep inside the cave. The poacher looks. A second burst of wind and sound, blowing the poacher’s hat off. A single razorbill feather comes floating out, falling over the poacher’s head...as he looks up, a third sound, loudest-WIDE: the poacher falling back off the cliff, into Lough Mor.
EXT DUBLIN AIRPORT. DAY. An American Airlines jet SCREAMS over us, touches down on the runway. EXT DUBLIN AIRPORT--RENTAL CAR LOT. DAY. BEN, late 20s, bookish hippy/hipster, comes trundling out of the airport and into the parking lot with a file box under his arm, rolling his suitcase with the other. He shoves the suitcase into the trunk of an old Nissan. FRED, also late 20s, with the look of a football hero just past his prime, drums on the hood of the car as Ben’s about to get in the backseat. FRED Benny. Today’s a beautiful day. BEN Why’s that, Fred? FRED Gang’s all here. This could be the big one. One that makes you, you and Val. Loch Ness monster. BEN It’s Lough Mor...and one one-armed kook does not a paper make. Fred holds up a copy of the GALWAY ENQUIRER, which has a picture of Lough Mor Tower with a Nessie cheesily superimposed. FRED Made this one. BEN I meant, like, an academic paper. FRED I got a good feeling. That’s all it takes in the stock game, my man. One good feeling. BEN I thought there was some math involved, or something. FRED Mere showmanship. This is the one.
3. BEN Yeah? The knockoff Nessie? We’re gonna break the case wide open? FRED Come on, man. What’s the worst that could happen? You and Val write some clickbait, shoot a couple videos. Get something on camera. Make a name for yourself, get some fellowships. Maybe even, you know, get a nice little Irish shaman girl to polish your knob? Ben rolls his eyes. The two of them get into the car. INT CAR. DAY. Fred sits in the driver’s seat, while Ben gets in the back, already crammed with stuff, and struggles with his box, which he eventually shoves between his legs. VAL, late 20s, a preppy academic, sits in the passenger seat, speed-reading a STACK of local newspapers. She pats Fred’s arm as he gets in, and we see her HUGE engagement ring. BEN They’re called druids here. VAL What are you two ladies arguing about? FRED Benny here’s poo-pooing the monster. And pussy. Val SNAPS him in the nose with a rolled up newspaper, lightning-quick. FRED Oh, fine. Wom-en. Ben is against the very concept of the female race. And somehow I’m the bad guy. VAL Say what you think, Ben. BEN It’s bullshit. The monster’s fucking bullshit. Lough Mor has more to offer than a knockoff Nessie hoax.
FRED Oh! The homunculus speaks for itself! He reaches back to ruffle Ben’s hair. FRED Look, Ben. A seven hundred year old ghost in a crusty old castle isn’t sexy. Ya know what’s sexy? Fresh leads. Sea monsters. Ya know what sexy does? VAL Sexy sells. FRED That’s right, babe. Fred starts the car. BEN Val, back me up here. Are we y’know, forgetting academic interest? Folk culture? Liberating the souls of the damned? Maybe? FRED Ben, buddy, not to burst your bubble, but I’m still not sure that was really an exorcism. Although the witchy goth girl was cute. BEN Wic-can. VAL Ben, I’ll be the first to admit the merits of scholarly discourse. And I’ll be the first of your eleven readers when whatever you write gets published in Folklore Quarterly. But you know, there’s more to life than cloistered scholarship. I mean, you gotta be a little flexible. BEN (fake coughing) Sellout!
VAL Yeah, yeah, fuck you too. FRED Hey this sellout’s footing half your bill, buddy! BEN Thirty Percent. And I’m paying that all back, Fred. FRED Yeah, yeah, on a professor’s salary, right? After you finish that PhD? You know, which you do after you get into a PhD program? After you apply to one? BEN (deflated--this was a little too far on Fred’s part) Yeah, you know. Something like that. FRED Here’s to something like that! Making shit happen since whenever. INT CAR. LATER. CLOSE on a news clipping. EAST COAST ACADEMICS EXORCISE SPOOK, on the cover of the COLORADO SPRINGS INDEPENDENT. We zoom out slightly to reveal that the newspaper is open on top of the box Ben brought in earlier, which sits between his knees-On Ben’s face: a wistful smile. He flips through some of the old folders, papers, magazines. Gives it up and looks out the window. It’s a wet, misty day in the Irish lowlands. Everything seems to glow green. Ben’s smile widens. FRED Christ, what a shithole. The reverie breaks. We stare straight ahead at the dripping windshield, the interminable road. Val’s moved onto what looks like some hardcore textbook reading. Fred rolls his shoulders. FRED Oof, baby I’m tight. Can you massage my traps a little bit here?
VAL (after a pause) Is that me, am I baby? FRED Yeah, you’re baby. VAL Baby’s busy. (beat) Besides, I’m next to you, the angle’s all wrong. FRED Benny? Help a brotha out. BEN (rolling his eyes) Fine. Ben drops the box and reaches for Fred’s shoulders. He continues gazing out the window, and the car passes a heavily wooded/ferned/foliaged entrance to a clearing. Time seems to slow down--There’s an IRISH WOLFHOUND sitting there, next to a WILD WOMAN with dreadlocks wearing a deerskin skirt. Ben blinks, hard, and the clearing the dog or the woman any more. Ben massage. He digs in his pocket for quickly throws one back. He blinks head.
whips by; we don’t see has stopped with the a small PILL BOTTLE and again and shakes his
FRED Ahem. BEN Massage is over, Fred. FRED Goddammit, I’m gonna have knots for days... EXT CAR. DAY The tiny beater knifes through the Irish countryside. It passes through a gap between two hillsides, and suddenly it’s revealed--Lough Mor.
EXT LOUGH MOR. DAY The town sits very low in the marsh. There’s one main road that runs for awhile then splits, the right branch leading to Lough Mor Fort, and the left leading to the docks/bay area of Lough Mor. The Lough itself extends beyond, a flat grey expanse. INT CAR. DAY. Ben is dazed. Val looks down into the town, points. VAL There’s a tavern-slash-inn down there. Only game in town, I think. Let’s check it out. Fred drives them down. INT BAR. DAY. MR SCRIBB, 50s, is the ornery proprietor of the LOUGH MOR INN. The place is dimly lit but well-maintained, with a visually pleasing all-wood interior. Scribb stands at the window, rag in hand, looking out the window. Everyone we meet from now on, unless noted otherwise, will have some flavor of Irish accent. MR SCRIBB Well, what the fuck. He walks to the bar, where a few drunks are dozing in their cups. MR SCRIBB Oi, boys. Wanna start payin off your tabs? He yanks some green, Saint Paddy’s day decorations from behind the bar. MR SCRIBB Let’s decorate the place for the Americans. INT BAR, EARLY EVENING. The gang steps in just as the rain starts outside with a CRACK of thunder.
8. FRED Well, this place ain’t so bad. MR SCRIBB (clearly ’putting on’ his Irishness) Glad you find it to your likin’. Mister Scribb, at your service. FRED Ah, Mister Scribb. Capital. I was wondering if I could procure a room for the night. Ah, and a round of Guinness for myself and my fellow-travelers. MR SCRIBB Ah, and what sort of travelers are you? Sport fishermen? (turning to Val) Movie stars? VAL Researchers. We heard about the sea monster. Have to say it piqued our interests. MR SCRIBB A lady scientist. I must say, that’s a new one on me. Ben rolls his eyes and sidles over to the bar. AOIFE Theatrics not doing it for you? AOIFE, early-20s, is the bartender of the Lough Mor Inn. Sharp, seemingly wise beyond her years. Doesn’t seem to fit the provincial setting. BEN Hah. No. AOIFE What’ll it be? American hipster sadboy. I’m going to say, Jack and Coke. Oh but wait, you’re abroad, so. Jameson. BEN Got any Kilbeggan? Aoife raises an eyebrow, mildly impressed. Digs around for the bottle.
AOIFE (pouring) Somebody’s done his research. Ben takes the drink and grimaces. BEN It’s my job. AOIFE Yeah? Student? BEN Used to be. Artist formerly known as. In exile. AOIFE (filling him up again) Ladies and gentlemen, we have a lightweight. BEN No, just, you know. Chemically unstable. Val and Scribb are in enthusiastic conversation. Fred is engaged in a rowdy game of darts with some local fishermen. FRED (sending a dart straight into the wall) Best two out of three! MR SCRIBB (to Val) Yes, well, the sea monster, it’s very exciting. One of our very own, so to speak. VAL We can well imagine. MR SCRIBB After all, without a little local flavor, how could our backwater hope to attract such a world-class beauty as yourself? Mr Scribb takes Val’s hand and kisses it. VAL Oh, Mr. Scribb, if I weren’t engaged...we’re certainly very (MORE)
VAL (cont’d) excited about the monster. It’s a wonderful story. Good for everyone involved, I’m sure. MR SCRIBB (turning to the door) Speak of the devil-Suddenly our POACHER from the opening bangs the bar door open, silhouetted by a CRACK of lightning behind him. He’s missing his left arm, we realize as he steps in, and the stump is swathed in dirty gauze. The whole bar turns with the lightning-crack and notices his entrance. MR SCRIBB Stumpy! What’ll it be. STUMPY Boyo, rotgut til my gut be rotten. I’ve got newspaper money to burn. A round all around! A few drunks cheer. BEN Who-AOIFE Stumpy--well, Fredericks. Stumpy’s a recent nickname. He’s, you know, the one who lost his arm to the sea beast? BEN Right. Huh, I kinda thought he was bullshit. AOIFE Well, he’s real. His story is bullshit. Notorious drunk, and a poacher. Or he was, before he became a celebrity. My bet? He got soused and dropped off the side of the Lough Mor cliffs. BEN Hmm. I buy it. Stumpy, a BRIMMING glass of red wine in hand, is already stumbling about the bar. Val’s chasing after him.
11. VAL But you’ve seen the beast, Mister Fredericks? STUMPY Aye missy. Took me arm clean off. A Nessie twice the size of Nessie herself, one dark night out on me fishing boat. VAL Could you give us a tour of the lough? Show us...where it happened. If it’s not too traumatic. STUMPY Perhaps...if I were incentivicated. Stumpy stumbles BACKWARDS into Fred, who catches him. FRED No expense, Stumpy my boy. No reasonable expense. AOIFE Down-to-earth people, your friends. BEN Yeah, well. It’s complicated. AOIFE Doesn’t seem that complicated. BEN Hmph. Mr. Scribb, briefly liberated from Val and Fred, notices Ben being standoffish and approaches the bar. Fred and Stumpy horse around in the background, as Val tries to tap some notes into her phone. MR SCRIBB Boyo, I don’t believe we’ve met. BEN (echoing him, but not quite with an Irish accent.) No, don’t believe we have, ol’ fella. MR SCRIBB (sticking out his hand) Mr. Scribb, at your service.
BEN (reluctantly taking it) Ben. MR SCRIBB And are you also a member of the free press? Chasing the sea monster? BEN That’s me. I’m uh, more of a traditionalist than my friends maybe. Looking into the ghost of the fort. Mr. Scribb immediately appears on guard, but speaks as if he hasn’t heard Ben right: MR SCRIBB Didn’t quite catch that, boyo? BEN The ghost, up at the fort? The entire bar quiets, stops to look at Ben. Val shoots Ben a look like, ’what the fuck did you just do?’ Ben looks back for some help from Aoife, but she seems to have ducked out. BEN Come on! The ghost. Of Lough Mor Fort? With the hundred-plus year pedigree? MR SCRIBB (dropping the cheery Irish grandpa bit) I think you’d better go. FRED (walking up) What’s up, Scribb baby? You’re not letting this downer down you are ya? MR SCRIBB Get out of my bar! FRED But we just got here!
13. VAL Fred. Let’s just go. FRED But our deposit! Scribb runs over to the bar, reaches behind, and pulls out a sawed-off baseball bat and starts swinging. MR SCRIBB Out! Out! Ben and Val put up their hands and back towards the door. Fred is also boisterously retreating-FRED I oughta snap this old man’s back over my knee! My bicep’s bigger than his head. VAL (at the door) Fred. Ben darts out first. EXT LOUGH MOR. NIGHT. It’s now dark, heavy rain. Ben walks quickly to the car. FRED (before he can get in) Ben! What the fuck did you say to him? VAL Fred, come on. BEN Come on guys, maybe we can spend the night in Galway. FRED Galway? Galway’s a hundred forty miles from here, Ben. Oh, but I forgot, you weren’t driving. Just staring out the fucking window. What the fuck did you say. BEN Nothing! Just, you know, said I was into the ghost, not the sea monster.
FRED Oh, your little ’Nessie is bullshit’ parade. I swear to fuckin Christ with your neghead bullshit-VAL Guys. Not helping. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t want to sleep in the car. Can we think of a conflict resolution here? FRED Yeah sure, why don’t we have Ben start knocking on doors telling everybody how much he admires their dusty old culture. Maybe some old fart will slob on your knob. BEN That’s really funny, Fred. (beat) There is the fort. FRED Oh, yeah, what can we, pitch a tent in the fireplace and hope no bats shit on us? VAL The bet... BEN Yeah the bet. There’s this standing thing with the warden of the fort. Anbody who can stay three nights in a row without, you know, ahem, going crazy or dying wins the warden’s salary for the year. Otherwise, you know, he keeps your, uh, personal effects. FRED Oh what’s that little footnote in the middle? Go crazy? Die? BEN Come on, Fred. Don’t tell me all of the sudden you believe in ghosts. Fred keeps his mean mug up for several seconds, all up in Ben’s grille. Then cracks a smile.
FRED You’re a cheeky motherfucker, you know that? Fred puts Ben in a headlock, ruffles his hair. They get in the car. EXT LOUGH MOR HILL. NIGHT. The gang drives up the road to the fort, which seems to go on for far too long. They pass, on a flat runoff to the left, a graveyard full of cherubs and Celtic crosses. The moon comes out from behind a cloud-INT CAR. NIGHT. BEN Where wolf? Ben waits for a response. Looks to Fred. Gets nothing. BEN There wolf. There castle. (beat) Come on guys. Young Frankenstein? (beat 2) Tough car. EXT LOUGH MOR. NIGHT. Cut from the car to the LOOMING TOWER. No discernible lights are on. Lightning CRACKS behind it. INT CAR. NIGHT. VAL We sure this is a good idea? FRED Sure we’re sure. Long as the boy wonder here don’t say nothing about no ghost. Ben pantomimes zipping his lips. They pull up by the tower with a hiss of gravel. VAL Okay. Rain in ten. Ready? BEN One...
FRED One two ten! EXT LOUGH MOR. NIGHT. He kicks the door open and runs for the fort’s entrance. They’re all soaked by the time they get to the tower anyway. There’s a slight overhang to take shelter under, but only enough to cover half of their bodies, and there’s constant jostling for position, esp. between Fred and Ben. FRED This motherfucker better have a jacuzzi. BEN I think I’d settle for running water. Maybe a nice clawfooted bath, you know, the kind that gets up and walks around while you’re in it. FRED That’s great, ya sicko. Maybe leave the talking to our designated negotiator here? Val gives him a thin-lipped smile. Fred SLAMS the old oak door with his ham-hand. An uncomfortable pause. Then just as Fred is rearing back again, the door cracks open slightly. WARDEN What, what is it, whaddyou want. VAL Hi, are you the warden of the fort? WARDEN I asked you first. VAL Well, we’re American. WARDEN I coulda told you that. VAL We’re researchers. Journalists.
17. FRED And stockbrokers. VAL (talking over him) Well we’re investigating the recent monster sitings. And we were wondering about your wager. WARDEN No. No, I don’t need any focken cameras in me home. Specially not those that’re lookin to make a mockery of Celtic culture. Fred and Val are silent. They’ve naturally edged to the front of the stoop, and Ben stands behind them, getting further drenched by the rain. WARDEN But what about you, boyo? BEN Me? WARDEN Yes, you. Yer not cut from the same bolt of cloth as these two nitwits. FRED Nitwits! Val shushes him. WARDEN So. Who’re you! BEN I’m nobody. WARDEN Oh, nobody. My mistake. I’ve only got two assholes on my porch. Good night. He begin to close the door. BEN The ghost! WARDEN (re-cracking the door) What?
BEN The ghost, I wanna know about the ghost, here at the fort. I’m an academic. That’s all I’m here for. WARDEN Who was the founder of the Irish Republican Brotherhood? BEN James Stephens. WARDEN Who single handedly defended Ulster from the kingdom of Connacht? BEN Cu Chulainn. FRED (aside) Koo-koo-kawhat? WARDEN Finally...and least importantly... BEN I’m not answering any questions about Finnegan’s Wake. WARDEN Heh-heh. You’re all right, kid. Come on in, Nobody the Academic. (as the whole crew starts to enter) Just you. BEN Please let my friends come, please. They’re not here to hurt anybody or mess with your shit. Stuff. And also you gotta let ’em in if you wanna honor your bet. I read the substatutes. WARDEN Well, come on in, ghost boy. And friends. (beat) The name’s Seamus.
LATER--INT FORT, DINING ROOM. NIGHT. The three friends plus Seamus sit around a round table in a small, homey kitchen. The crew is dog-wet, sits around some iffy potato stew. Seamus has a bottle of wine in front of him, which he gulps from liberally. SEAMUS None of you’s a lawyer, so I thought mayhap I could get away with a little chicanery. FRED Or legerdemain. SEAMUS (ignoring him) But since your friend here seem a little more versed than you two culture vultures, you’ll have room and board for three nights. This being the first. FRED Pretty easy terms, old man. SEAMUS Well they would be, if the place weren’t haunted. Fred starts to laugh, sees no one else is laughing with him. FRED Come on. Much clinking of silverware, gulping of soup. Seamus takes a swig from his wine bottle. VAL So um, how long have you been the warden, Seamus? SEAMUS Thirty-three, no...Thirty-seven years now. FRED Oh, fuck. SEAMUS Yeah, oh fuck.
20. VAL Any family? SEAMUS Sure. Once upon a time. VAL Sorry. More awkward eating. Ben gulps down a potato and starts choking. FRED Seamus. Mr. Warden. SEAMUS (with venom) Yes? FRED I feel we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot. Any interest in some duty-free? He pulls a bottle of Jameson out of his satchel. Seamus’s craggy face brightens. Slightly. CUT to later in the dinner: FRED (in the middle of a raucous story) And I’m comin’ down the stairs of this haunted fuckin’ shithole, right? Pants around my ankles, and trip smack into Ben here-VAL Who’s just been totally slimed-BEN Well we thought it was some mold, then found out it was maybe kinda animated-SEAMUS So when’d you exorcise the damned thing? BEN That wasn’t until later. Much later. An awkward beat.
FRED Seamus, d’you ever get like a, a druid in here? Clean the place out? With a little ghost duster? Mop? Broom? SEAMUS Many times. Sure. Nothing took. VAL What’s it manifest like? SEAMUS You’ll find out soon enough. Another pause. Fred looks at Val, nudges her. FRED Well sir maybe my fee-ance and I could uh, see for ourselves? SEAMUS Sure. Up the stairwell on the left. Exit Fred and Val. Seamus and Ben left looking dejected and uncomfortable. SEAMUS Well, m’boy, I am of a mind to get profoundly fucked up. BEN Right there with ya, warden. They each take a healthy shot of Jameson. DISSOLVE to a later shot of whiskey--each of them slumped, sweaty, drunk. SEAMUS And so, young Benjamin. I feel I am, so to speak, in love with a ghost. BEN Yeah, I think I’m in touch with that emotion. SEAMUS Metaphorically, of course.
BEN Of course. Metaphorically. INT FORT--STAIRWELL. NIGHT. Ben struggles up the stairs with his bag and soggy box of files. Collar askew, sweating, drenched, drunk. Stone steps up a winding staircase. Ben comes out on the landing, finally, where Val’s outside, moving the last of her stuff in. They’re framed uncomfortably close by the cramped landing. Ben sets his bag down but keeps the box. BEN Hey Val. VAL Hey Ben. BEN Hey. VAL Hey. BEN Uh, hey. So uh, where’s Fred? VAL He’s in the bathroom. Trimming his nose hairs. BEN Right uh, I hear that’s a trouble area. For some people. Val’s arms are crossed. She looks bemused, unimpressed. Ben drops his box atop his bag. BEN So I was going over old times with Seamus. VAL Yeah? You two angry old men hit it off? BEN Something like that. We got onto grad school. And uh, I was just thinking about that time at the grad bar, you know, in the summer. It was nice, wasn’t it?
He’s looking into her eyes with quiet desperation. Their faces inches apart, etc. BEN Wasn’t it? VAL Sure, Ben. He goes in for the kiss. She stops him, but not before they make the slightest contact. She steps back and laughs. VAL Well that was ballsier than you usually get. BEN Yeah, well. I’m drunker than I usually get. Val opens her bedroom door. Fred’s clipping his toenails on the edge of the bed. From what we can see over Ben’s shoulder, the place is pretty swank. VAL Go to sleep, Ben. She closes the door. BEN Easier said than done. Ben turns opens his door. INT. BEN’S ROOM. NIGHT. The room is barely enough to fit the twin-sized bed, with a tiny desk in an alcove by the window. Ben shoves himself comically into the room, with bags. We see that the room is DOMINATED by a floor-to-ceiling mirror at the foot of the bed. Ben looks at himself in the mirror. BEN (imitating his own high, whiny voice) Remember grad school? Nice, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it nice? He throws a punch at the old stone wall. Wall wins.
BEN Fuck! INT. FRED AND VAL’S ROOM. NIGHT. [does the mirror shake or something?] Fred is looking at himself, shirtless, in a more reasonably-sized mirror over the dresser, while Val sits cross-legged on the bed looking at her laptop. FRED Babe, am I looking small today? Do you think there’s maybe like a gym in town? VAL Well, ’babe,’ they barely have two-G internet...maybe there’s some rocks for you to throw around down at the docks. Oh, or maybe when the railroad comes through you can drive some spikes for them. Fred mimes swinging a sledgehammer. There’s a KNOCK against the wall from the other side (Ben) and the mirror shakes. [I may intercut the Ben punch scene and Fred’s sledgehammer thing so it’s more obvious one is causing the other.] FRED Whoa. He tries swinging again--no reaction. FRED Maybe this fuckin place is haunted after all. He comes back to sit on the bed, begins massaging Val’s shoulders. VAL I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. You need to ease up on Ben. Especially about the whole ghosthunting thing. FRED Oh come on. Come on. He always starts it! The monster’s bullshit. The monster’s bullshit. Plus, that’s like our whole back-and-forth thing. It’s banter, (MORE)
FRED (cont’d) baby. I know he don’t mean the shit, he knows I don’t. VAL Fred, Ben’s a little more serious than you might think. I mean I’ve known him longer than you. FRED Babe. Don’t tell me how to be bros with my bro. I got it. VAL Okay, well, the exterior character of your broness is a little negative. All I’m sayin. Especially on the thing in Colorado. I mean, he really thinks that was-FRED Right. Do you? VAL I dunno, poochie, I mean, don’t you? Something happened. FRED And what about this one? The sea monster? The ghost? VAL I really don’t know. FRED Come on. I mean the ghost especially. It’s obviously an old ass folk tale, the old man’s a crackpot. VAL Honey--I don’t know. There’s a story in it either way. Fred nuzzles her, and the two start making out. INT. BEN’S ROOM. NIGHT. Ben laying in bed, stares at his phone. In the background, doughy shrieky sounds of Fred and Val having sex. Text reads: DR. MENDELSOHN: NEED YOUR PAGES. CALL ME.
26. Tosses the phone away, digs out his pill bottle from his pocket, takes some. Puts in his earplugs and drifts off. LATER: Close on Ben’s blinking eyes. His pants around his ankles for some reason, hair a mess, etc. Squirms, smacks his lips, puts on his glasses. BEN Uh... We follow his gaze to the MIRROR, which now reflects a FLOATING GHOST WOMAN, dressed in turn-of-the-century garb. She’d be beautiful if it weren’t for the blood dribbling from her mouth and all down her throat. A barely audible exhalation coming from her--like a scream that’s lost its voice. Ben’s paralyzed--head barely pulled up, eyes wide and bloodshot. Shaking. INT FOYER. LATE MORNING. Ben comes down the staircase looking like a sleepy teenager, stretching, rubbing his eyes. He sees Seamus at the front door, who’s pulling on some hunting boots. SEAMUS Mornin’ boyo. BEN Fred and Val already--? SEAMUS Long gone, indeed. You’re a late sleeper. BEN Yeah...took me a while to fall asleep. SEAMUS Really. Seamus gets his shoes on, stands up. Looks like he’s ready to go out for a country romp. SEAMUS Well, there’s files in the basement. Records. Maybe they can get you started with your little project.
BEN Hey man. I’m finding that ghost. SEAMUS Sure you are. He turns to go, turns back. SEAMUS My recommendation? Start from the beginning, work your way up. Toodle-oo. Exit Seamus. INT KITCHEN. DAY. QUICK MONTAGE of Ben frying up some beans, franks, coffee, popping two of his pills. INT BASEMENT. DAY. Ben swings open a door onto a steep, narrow staircase. There’s an old-timey switch on the wall, which he presses. A bulb POPS over his head. BEN Oh, of course. Try the spooky basement. He starts walking down the stairs to the basement, where some low-wattage incandescent bulbs are coming on, casting orange light around the basement. It’s a dingy, damp room with no furniture but a toolbench, with a few rusted tools hanging above. The room is dominated by STACKS OF CRATES along the opposite wall. A bit of grey light comes in from a line of small windows high in the right side of the room. Ben walks up to the crates. He shoves the top of one stack aside, and looks at the top of one where it’s labeled with the year--77-78. Looks at at a few more. BEN Nothing newer than seventy-eight...awesome. Rolls over to the right side of the room. Dates get older--fifty-three, twenty-six, seventeen. BEN The beginning. Y’know a hundred years ago. Christ.
28. Ben drags out the first crate, tries yanking on the top with his fingers/fingernails, cuts himself. He goes over to the workbench, pulls out an rusty half a pair of garden shears, and pries the box open. Several huge LEDGERS lie in the box. He pulls one out and opens it on the table. It’s a shipping manifest--dates and quantities of imports--tomatoes, oil, whatever. He runs his finger down it and begins flipping through. We get a quick SUCCESSION OF SHOTS of Ben flipping through manifests. Doesn’t appear to be anything useful here. CUT to a shot of Ben, sitting on the basement floor, in a pile of shipping ledgers and looseleaf pages. He shrugs, pulls out an AIRPLANE BOTTLE of whiskey from a pajama pocket. Sits back and gets a faroff look in his eye. EXT HAUNTED HOUSE, COLORADO SPRINGS. DUSK. Ben and THE WICCAN MEDIUM--who looks strikingly similar to the woman Ben saw in the Irish woods earlier, if a little more small-town goth and less Pocahontas--sit on a sand dune, with the HAUNTED HOUSE burning in the BG. Fred and Val stand in front of the house, being interviewed by the local news, firemen and police swarming around them. BEN Well I never considered myself the photogenic type. (turning to the medium) They’ll probably want to get a clip of you, though. A little injection of authenticity. MEDIUM Yeah, yeah. Five seconds to say that the ghost was real, far out man. BEN (beat) It was real, wasn’t it? MEDIUM Well it wasn’t no fucking electrical fire. (beat) You know, you have a shine for this stuff, Ben. BEN Ach. Nah. I just read her journals. Saw she was as pissed off, underappreciated as I am. Big deal. Accidental empathy.
MEDIUM (bemused) Ben, you know how important that is? At the edge of human life, that’s all we have. Ben looks unserious, like he can’t believe how cheesy she is. BEN Come on. MEDIUM Ben that’s your friends talking. Getting in your head. Your cunty little coffee shop buddies saying you’re too cool for this shit. Guess what? You’re not. BEN Huh. I always thought I was cool. MEDIUM Aw, poor baby. She rubs his head. He worms his way into a kiss. She leans into it, then pulls back. MEDIUM Down boy. She gets up, brushes the sand off her dress. He gets up too. The dunes are behind them, extending back into the Rockies. MEDIUM Goodbye forever. She starts walking into the dunes, towards the Rockies. MEDIUM [shot] on Ben, the haunted house being put out behind him. BEN Yeah, that figures. INT BASEMENT. DAY. Ben sitting on the gloomy floor. Gray light streaming in.
EXT LOUGH MOR SHORE. DAY. Fred and Val walk down to the docks of Lough Mor. All of the boats seem to be tied up and bobbing. A crowd of FISHERMEN, REPORTERS, and TOURISTS are gathered around the main strip. Fred holds a mic’d camera and wears a fannypack, looking distinctly emasculated, while Val holds a notebook and tape recorder. VAL Wonder if we can find Stumpy up here. FRED That old coot? He ain’t gonna tell you anything new. VAL We just need a shot of him talking, Fred. As a setpiece. Stumpy’s leaning against a railing on the main walkway across the edge of the Loch, where most of the reporters and tourists are gathered, smoking a cigar and doing his best Captain Quint impression. VAL There he is. Before Fred and Val can get up there, a NEWS VAN peels up (dangerously) right next to the crowd. The sliding door FLIES open, and we see two sets of BOOTS hit the ground--we can almost hear the ’hup hup hup’ as the MALE CAMERAMAN and FEMALE REPORTER rush over to the railing to interview Stumpy. FEMALE REPORTER I’m Tasha Stringer, here with Mason Fredericks, the local man who was attacked in Lough Mor by what some folks are calling the Lough Mor Monster. Now, Mason, what’d you see. Val and Fred have stopped short. VAL Fuck, she’s British. FRED Is he bigger than me? (beat) Babe? He’s got a bigger camera...
Fred looks down at his comparatively tiny DSLR. VAL Come on. Let’s just get...let’s get an establishing shot and me doing a setup monologue. Val and Fred walk up to an empty spot on the railing. Val fixes her hair and launches into a polished intro-VAL I’m here in the hamlet of Lough Mor. Behind me is the inlet that is its namesake. Recently-Tasha and her cameraman have shifted slowly to the left, until she (and her strident British accent) are encroaching on Val and Fred’s shot. TASHA And so, what will today bring? Fishermen refuse to go out on the water. Will this puny town’s only local industry dry up? VAL Hey, you know there’s plenty of pier to go around here. Tasha pretends to misinterpret, walks up with her microphone. TASHA Aha, some American tourists are also on the scene. VAL No actually, we’re reporters, and you’re blocking our shot. CAMERAMAN We were here first. TASHA I’ve got it, Enis. (To Val) We were here first. And I’m afraid our network has a little more sway than whatever...rinky-dink operation you’re working with. FRED Hey, lady--
ENIS Oi, blokey blokerton. FRED Da fuck? VAL Look, Fred, let’s just--we’ll find a new shot, okay? It’s not worth it. TASHA Run along, Americans. Val and Fred walk off, Val leading the way to the SMALL SANDBAR off the end of the docks. It’s got a few small shrubs and trees and offers an unobstructed view of the lough. FRED Americans, what is that about? VAL Forget it, they’re dinosaurs. Fucking old media. FRED Damn straight.
First act of an original script, LOUGH MOR, following the adventures of a group of paranormal investigators in Ireland. Ben, our lovable-los...
Published on Sep 14, 2018
First act of an original script, LOUGH MOR, following the adventures of a group of paranormal investigators in Ireland. Ben, our lovable-los...