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Palcoscenico

2020 Visions: “La Tormenta”

(part 1) ©1996 J. Delano

SCENE ONE (3pp)

Characters

CLAUDE. Haitian — sleazy crime-cartel franchisee. About thirty. Never seems to sweat. Wears cheap mirror shades and some kind of ‘voodoo’ medallion. Black shorts and jacket worn over naked torso. Black combat boots. Shoulder holster under jacket. Slightly fat, but dangerous.

MADONNA. Hispanic — elderly overweight sloppy female. Tight grubby knee-length shorts. Sweaty vest — crucifix. Drinks cola from a bottle — smokes cigarillo. Barefoot.

JACK. Anglo — female, forty. Slim, sleek, athletic muscularity, close to six feet tall. When she’s out of the tank and dressed for the street, Jack looks pretty cool. Jack projects an ambivalent gender style. She has a louche, elegant, boyish femininity — moves well. She’s not really ‘mannish’, but a long way from ‘pure woman’ I imagine her wearing a light-weight linen suit — white, jacket and pants — loose-fitting, stylish — low-heeled shoes — dark glasses over brown eyes. Her hair is dark, combed back slick, and she has an unostentatious, but noticeable, natural fine pencil mustache. Her features are strong — face good-looking, but kind of hard. Jack is kind of a freak in Florida Nueva where, publicly at least, ‘gray’ sexualities are not expressed. Jack habitually carries a weapon concealed in her clothes — a compact but efficient pepper-spray gun. Jack often makes people uncomfortable with her presence. She is confident — abrasive sometimes — and very self-contained. She hates to be touched. She is, of course, a licensed Private Investigator. (Do you think she’d look good in a Panama, like her dad in the New York stories?)

Location: Jack is in a backroom of sleazy Claude’s virtual fun emporium. She is enjoying a session of on-line virtual/remote sex. I imagine her floating inside some kind of ‘flotation tank’. I guess she wears some kind of helmet and skin-suit, from which wires run from major nerve centers, combining into an umbilicus, eventually connecting her to a big stack of computer shit somewhere nearby. I guess she rolls and wriggles about in the suspension liquid as if in physical sexual contact with her remote partner. The flotation tank will be enclosed, so as to offer an illusion of privacy — but maybe by peering in through an inspection window, we can glimpse Jack in a weird red glow. (If you can think of a more realistic interpretation of virtual hardware, please feel free to adapt this.)

The main thing I want to avoid is making this set-up clinical and ultra-modern, sci-fi, hi-tech. It’s a sleazy underground illegal operation. The backroom has the ambiance and decor of a low-rent bordello. Most of its clientele will generally be male (although all sexualities can be accommodated virtually). The technology is complex and state of the art, but is not housed in gleaming sterile cabinets, but on shelves and benches in a cramped, curtained alcove. There is a liquor and drug-vending machine in a corner. The air is smoky from the black cigarillos smoked by Claude and the sex-tank ‘maid’, Madonna.

Claude’s establishment is generally low-rent, and situated in a low-rise ‘mall’ on the edge of one of the flooded barrios (so much on the edge that the water laps a dock built along the back wall). There is a small boat with an outboard motor tied to this dock — and a nearby sign juts from the water, showing a crude illustration of alligator jaws chewing a stick-figure child.

There is a satellite dish on the roof of Claude’s shabby building. A neon sign names it: CLAUDE’S PARADISO ELECTRONICO. The building is open along one verandah wall. Scruffy male youths spill out, clustered around a group of cheesy motor scooters — others are inside playing video games and virtual reality machines. A big goon stands nearby, chewing, dangling a big billy club. There are no girls. Trash blows around, floats on the shallow lagoon that spreads towards the flooded barrio. The light is weird — bright, but hazy, big clouds growing into big sky from horizon.


PAGE ONE

We start inside the sex-tank backroom.

panel one

Page-width. Establish interior of backroom. In mid left f/g, Claude stands, slightly stooped, as if looking into flotation tank (enclosed, smallish and low) through some sort of inspection window in the access hatch. A red glow emanates from this window. Claude holds a smoking cigarillo between his lips. Umbilical cabling runs from the computer, looped across crude hangers above head height, to the curtained alcove in the background. The curtains are currently open, revealing the array of computer hardware (which looks decidedly jury-rigged) and swaying fat-legged on her swivel chair, swigging from cola bottle, Madonna. Claude is holding a set of headphones up to one ear. The spring cable of these runs — stretched tight — back to the alcove technology. The words are those of Jack’s on-line lover and issue from the headset. The bizarre phraseology is to give us a marker we may recognize when Hector repeats it at the end of the story (in case you think I’ve gone over the edge).

HEADSET : OOOH… CONFESS ME, PADRE MANOS CALIENTE… DISCOVER MY SINS.

HEADSET : SI, SI… EXAMINE ME. EXPOSE ME…


panel two

Pull in for close shot on Claude as he peers into the red interior beyond the glass. Looking with him, we can maybe see the vague shape of Jack’s upper half, floating in the murky tank. Just a slim figure in a wet-suit with lots of wires looping from it, wearing a ‘helmet’ which masks her eyes, but leaves her mouth visible, so we can see her thin mustache. Her mouth is open as she mouths instructions to her on-line love slave.

Claude no longer has the cigarillo in his mouth. We can just see the tip of his wet tongue poking lasciviously from between his faintly smirking lips.

JACK : QUIET NOW, MI RATON BONITA…

JACK : SHUT THAT SLUTTY MOUTH, AND LET ME GET YOU THERE.

panel three

Cut away. Madonna in f/g now, leaning forward to tap at a keyboard, dripping ash into it, looking up at a screen showing program information, or similar. Claude is looking towards us from the b/g — still holding the headset, looking slightly incredulous, pointing to the tank with his cigarillo.

CLAUDE : HAH! THAT LIVE MEAT SHE FUCKIN’, OR IS THIS A SIM?

MADONNA : REAL TIME ACTION, PAPA… HER REGULAR FRIDAY DATE.

panel four

Inside the tank with Jack, as she moans and arches her body — snarling and flexing her hands like claws in our f/g — ruby-illuminated liquid slopping. We can see out of the window be’ind her. Claude staring in — Madonna somewhere in the b/g beyond.

JACK : UUHH… UNHH…

CLAUDE : SOUND LIKE SHE GETTIN’ CLOSE, TO YOU?

MADONNA : RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, CLAUDE.


panel five

Close on Claude’s maliciously grinning face — red-reflecting mirror-shades — white-marble gravestone teeth.

CLAUDE : BON! CUT THE SICK BITCH OFF!

Questo è un estratto dallo script di “2020 Visions” gentilmente concessoci da J. Delano. La sceneggiatura è tratta dal secondo story arc della serie. 2020 è una maxi serie di dodici numeri pubblicata dalla DC Comics.

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