Starboard Port by Thom Dunn
Current Revisions December 30, 2008
Thom Dunn 10 Westerly Street #1, Boston MA 02130 203.645.2073
EXT. GRASSY FIELD - AFTERNOON A cool autumn day in an open field, the grass blowing slightly in the wind. The soft babble of a distant creek might be heard. In the middle of the field towards upstage right sits a small Arc, with the loading ramp opened down to the ground. The boat is lavish in its design and decor, but still traditional-almost archaic or biblical-in appearance. Excess wood parts and scraps, along with various tools and a small stool, and strewn about-it is a workshop frozen in the middle of a project. KATIE and JOSH are both in their mid20s. Katie’s quirkiness and spunk is immediately apparent in her appearance-somewhat hippy, somewhat hip, somewhat punk, her hair is short, and she wears wild colors and designs and though she is dressed more for spring than the fall, it doesn’t seem to bother her. Josh is much more conservative by comparison--he is attractive, though somewhat generic, and dressed casually, with a hoodie or light jacket. Katie and Josh enter from the right. KATIE (motioning towards the boat) Well. Here it is. What do you think? It’s very...flamboyant.
JOSH Katie gives Josh an incredulous look.
...flamboyant? Well, no, I mean, like-
KATIE What, you think my boat is gay? You think it’s gonna flick its fucking wrist in your direction, what the fuck does that even mean, flamboyant? It’s a fucking boat! (beat) God, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t-that was out of line, I’m sorry. No, it’s okay, really-
KATIE No, I-I really need to work on-that, you know-
JOSH Seriously, it’s okay. Maybe you’re right, maybe flamboyant’s not the right word. It’s more...I don’t know...eccentric? (Katie gives him a look again) Cute? (Katie continues to stare silently) Idiosyncratic? Non-sequitur even! It’s just very...you. KATIE So you’re saying I look like a fucking boat. (Josh has no response to this) I’m kidding. This time. Mostly. Oh...
(beat) Well, either way, very Noah-an. KATIE See, now you’re just making shit up. JOSH No! It’s-I guess-Noah-esque would be the appropriateKATIE Josh, just say whatever it is that you’re trying to say. JOSH It’s very...Noah, like the arc guy. You know, two-by-two, animals and all that. I don’t know how to quantify the cultural whatever academia crap name of the appropriate art historical period relevance whatever. KATIE I think it’s just called “BCE.” Like, “Before Common Era”? Oh. Really? Really.
JOSH I thought that was “Before Christ”? KATIE No. You left out the “E.” Huhn.
(beat) “Before Christ Everything?” You know, like everything that happened before-
JOSH “Before Christ’s Era,” there we go! KATIE Nope. Although, “Biblical” would suffice. Are you saying it looks like a zoo? Katie and Josh both turn to look at the boat in this new light. Yeah.
KATIE Yeah. Yeah, I guess you’re kinda right. (she sits down on the ramp or the stool, leaving Josh standing alone) Not really big enough for that many animals though. I could get a puppy though. Ooh, or a snake! Or maybeA parrot?
KATIE Yeah, a parrot! That’d be cool. Keep me company. Though I guess that in the end it’s just like talking to yourself. JOSH Or you could bring another person along. That’d be nice. KATIE Yeah maybe. But what if you get sick of each other? Sure, there’s physically room enough, but once you’re out there on the water, man. You’re stuck with each other for the long haul. Keel haul, man. JOSH What does that-? (Katie shrugs and diverts her attention the boat) Yeah...
(beat) Um, Katie? If you don’t mind my asking-what do you plan on doing with this thing, with this arc? KATIE What do you mean? I’m gonna ride it. Or drive it. Or whatever verb you do with a boat.
KATIE How? I don’t know, how do you drive a boat? I’ll be the captain, or the navigator, or...or fucking first mate or whatever. JOSH Well normally, I think you’d steer it, or I guess drive, but you can’tKATIE Hey-Chicks can be mates, mate! JOSH I’m not saying you can’t be a mate! Let me finish a sentence for once! God! I’m saying...you built a boat in the middle of a field without any way to get it to the water. (beat) KATIE Dude, there’s a creek right over thereJOSH But you can’t take a boat this size on a-on a little creek! KATIE Okay, so I won’t take it on the creek. I didn’t realize you were so sensitive about water preservation. Katie, listen.
(staccato, punctuated) You can’t use a boat without water. That’s the whole point of a boat. You do realize this, yes? KATIE Man, whatever. I don’t even know the first place. I’ve spent like on this thing and I thought it’d I thought you’d appreciate it or you’d be popping my balloons all Popping your whatnow?
why I brought you here in six fucking months working be cool to share, you know? something. I didn’t think over the place.
KATIE My balloons, you know. Like, little thought balloons, like in cartoons when somebody’s thinking, or daydreaming, they got the detached little dots and they’re all poofy around the edges and then someone else-someone like you-comes along with a little needle a little something and then, bam! Popped. You popped the balloon.
I have no idea
JOSH what you’re talking about. Katie turns away angrily. Josh quickly realizes that his response was not the correct one
JOSH Look, I’m sorry if that’s what it seems like, but that’s not what I’m trying to do. Honest. I just wanted to know how you were going to take the boat out on the water-I don’t care if it’s with a dog or a cat or person or a-or a unicorn-take the boat out on the water and do whatever it is you want to do out there, if you’re currently landlocked without any major body of water for hundreds of miles. (Katie starts to respond but he cuts her off) And creeks don’t count. (She starts again) And neither do bathtubs. Or kitchen sinks, or any other witty little retort I’m sure that you’ll come up with. KATIE There’s water all around us. Forget it!
KATIE No, think about it. Human beings are made up of like twothirds water. The Earth is seventy percent water. Or maybe those facts are switched, I don’t know. But either way, that’s a lot of fucking water. JOSH So you’re going to ride people, is that what you’re going to do? KATIE Man, why do you gotta do that? That’s the kind of attitude that keeps these kind of things from ever being truly fucking realized. Who’s to say that I can’t take this boat through a meadow, or through a pasture, dirt, and find my way to the sea? Huh? JOSH Well, physicists, ecologists, rational humanKATIE Most of this shit is made up of water. Boats travel in water. Okay, sure, it’ll be a little slow for the first leg of the journey-I get that. Earth’s not as fluid as water. But it’s more than halfway there, don’t you get it?
JOSH Okay, Katie. Fine. Whatever. KATIE Listen, I appreciate the bravado sentiment, but I’m not gonna need someone to save my life this time. It’s totally sweet and all, but man, you gotta get over that. Get over it?
KATIE It was one fucking time! Obviously, you know, I’m glad you were there to pull me out, but Jesus Christ, that was like three years ago, man. I’m pretty sure I’ve learned how to swim since then JOSH Yeah but Katie, I just thinkKATIE Think what, that I’m a lousy swimmer? Hello! That’s what the boat’s for! Don’t chastise me because I almost drowned in that shit-infested eye-burning chlorinated cess of a pool you call a...pool. It was one time, you know? Whatever. I don’t need you there toJOSH Look, for the last time, I’m sorry I kissed you, alright? (beat) There. I said it. Sorry. We’ve been through this already. I probably shouldn’t have done it, you’re right, okay, but at the time it seemed...heroic. Romantic. Chivalrous, I don’t now. But it’s happened. It’s done. Whatever. I thought we’d moved on. This has nothing to do with us or with the flood you’re apparently waiting for. Silence. Katie refuses to look at him. JOSH Or the flood that’s apparently arrived. He finally tries to leave when: KATIE You know, there was a time I thought you’d make a great first mate. (beat) Thought you’d look cute with a little bandana tied around your head-goofy cute, you know, like you do-and you’d always be scrambling around to tie some knots or tighten ropes and shout out crazy words like “bow” and “aft,” and maybe-just maybe-every now and then a little “starboard port.”
KATIE I don’t know. You went all “Old-Man-And-The-Sea” on me. Jumped ship. JOSH I think you’re uh, you’re mixing your metaphors there. Again. Katie goes back to the boat and touches it, examining her handiwork with nostalgia and morose self-importance. Josh watches her for a moment, but ultimately shakes his head and walks away. Katie does not pay any attention to his departure and continues to check the boat for leaks and holes. KATIE She doesn’t look like much. Got a little wear and tear about her. But she’ll fly true. Nothing a little love can’t keep afloat. Katie puts one foot on the ramp to enter the boat, but stops herself and turns her head to follow Josh as he goes off into the distance. Once she’s satisfied (or not), she walks up the ramp into the boat as the lights fade END