A local newsman reports the who, what, where, when and how of a racial murder, but what about the why? Is he prepared for the consequences of trying to answer the why?
MY TOWN: SYNOPSIS: “A mystery is a problem that encroaches upon itself because the questioner becomes the object of the question.” (Gabriel Marcel)
BACKSTORY. MY TOWN is based upon an actual racial murder in my town, Chico, California. The court decision--diminished capacity because of drugs and alcohol--provided a socially-acceptable, rational explanation. The three youths were jailed
The screenplay varies between past and present, real and the surreal. THE THRE are a frightening amalgam of the three human, individual killers, who demand a re-viewing of the racial murder. 1. LEROI, the black janitor, sweeps the newspaper offices. THE THREE confront him. LEROI assumes he knows them: the three killers. But they’re not! They live in the shadows. 2. LEROI realizes they can’t be the killers. They’re locked up! THE THREEE CONINUE TO MOCK HIM. 3. ONE MONTH EARLIER. GEORGE realizes he met the young man, JOHNNY (actual Jimmy) working in gas station. 4. GEORGE details finding out about the murder. 5. THE THREE keep interposing, challenging. Does GEORGE really know this town? His town? 6. PRESENT. JOE STIMSON, a newspaper colleague, says this is a big story, one that’s going to get GEORGE a promotion of the “big leagues”: New York Times, etc. 7. WALLY, George’s boss, reinforces that this is a “big story,” an “exclusive.” 8. PAST. JOHNNY doesn’t want to wear his hearing aid. Not attractive to girls. 9. PARESENT. JOE continues telling GEORGE that this story will propel his career. JOE crudely suggests JOHNNY was up to something bad. 10. PAST. Reenactment of the three killers—SCHMIDT, BLANCHARD (female), and FARRELL—looking for some fun. 11. JOHNNY walking home talking about a girl he was hoping to meet. 12. The three killers see him. Confrontation leads to killing. 13. PRESENT. GEORGE wants to talk to JOHNN’S MOTHER. She refuses. She knows why JOHNNY died: “My boy’s skin was his death.” Challenges GEORGE: “You paper gonna let you write that?” 14. She refuses to give George a simple answer to her son’s killing. Challenging: “Answer’s out there, waitin’ for you, if you is ready go lookin’ for it,” 15. TWO WEEKS LATER. JOE suggests the killing is already past news. All answered—unless GEOREGE has a new angle. 16. GEORGE looks to LEROI to help. Refuses. No simple answer. GEORGE has to go deeper. 17. Court case attracted a lot of national news reporters. Even they tire of the case. 18. THE THREE challenge GEORGE. “Ain’t nobpdy left but you and us. They got their answer, keep ‘em happy, but you ain’t got yours.” 19. GEORGE envisions to railroad track. Tries to warn JOHNNY about the three killers. 20. Suddenly all freezes. THE THREE turn on GEORGE, threatening him. GEORGE tries to protect himself, says he knows who they are. 21. THE THREE laugh. GEORGE wanted answers. Real answers. Is he truly ready for the truth? 22. THE THREE prepare to reenact the killing with GEORGE as the victim. 23. GEORGE, in panic, resorts to his “truth”: “No, no! Don’t shoot! It’s not me you want. Look at me! I’m white, not black! White!’ 24. THE THREE roar with laughter. GEROGE is on the road to the real truth! 25. It is left for LEROI to sum up. Life is just digging deeper and deeper, hoping to find the pieces and put them together.
I love to explore and write, in serious and comic forms, stories of those who, through choice or happenstance, find themselves strangers in a strange land (or even in their own land).