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The Storm and the Fisherman

THE STORM AND THE FISHERMAN
A Short Screenplay by Christian Carvajal
Story by Flagship

FADE IN:

INT. TATTOO PARLOR - "SERPENT'S KISS" - DAY

Flash artwork on the walls, including a nicely rendered pic
of dolphins bowriding before a tall ship. Autoclaves. Tattoo
machines. As we pan across the artwork with TITLES
superimposed, we hear the voices of the two employees and one
semi-customer currently in the shop.

SHARKY (O.S.)
So this gay guy comes in and wants a
tattoo of Bert and Ernie in leather
jackets and hats, leanin' on each other
like the Village People.

NIKKI (O.S.)
No friggin' way!

FUNG (O.S.)
(female)
Eddie'd have to do that one.

SHARKY (O.S.)
You're damn right he did. And I gotta
hand it to the bastard, that was one
hell of a sweet tattoo, if you're
into that sort of thing.

FUNG (O.S.)
He could draw.

NIKKI (O.S.)
Why Bert and Ernie, though?

FUNG (O.S.)
Bert and Ernie were gay. Everybody knows
that!

NIKKI (O.S.)
(confused as always)
Nuh-uh, they were not! That's just
stupid.

SHARKY (O.S.)
They did live in the same apartment.

NIKKI (O.S.)
Yeah, but so did you and Eddie.

SHARKY (O.S.)
Not in the same bedroom. Plus, they took
baths in front of each other, and Bert
kept trained pigeons. They had a toy
box, for Chrissakes. They were as gay as
a Maypole dance.

SHARKY (27), burly and somewhat frightening, looks through a
flash catalog with NIKKI (19). Nikki is what tattoo artists
call a "shop whore." Heavily inked, she hangs out in the
shop even when she's not getting yet another tattoo. FUNG
(24), the shop's newest employee, pokes at a fast food salad.

NIKKI
Friggin' Eddie.

SHARKY
Yeah, I miss that g--

ANDREA (O.S.)
Excuse me.

The three whirl to find ANDREA (23), tall and straight-laced,
in the doorway.

ANDREA (CONT'D)
Did you just say "Eddie?"

NIKKI
Yeah, so?

ANDREA
He was--I'm sorry. Is there a--
(checking notes)
--"Henry Dobbs, Junior" here?

FUNG
No, I'm sorr--

SHARKY
Yeah.
(embarrassed)
Heh. I guess that'd be me.

Fung and Nikki look at him in surprise.

CUT TO:

EXT. HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD - LATER

The Hollywood and Highland area near Grauman's Chinese. Sharky
and Andrea walk along the Boulevard.

SHARKY
So you're Andrea Hanley.

ANDREA
(nodding)
You say they call you Sharky?

SHARKY
They do if they know what's good for 'em.
Man...I can't believe I'm finally talking
to Eddie's sister. It's a shame he had
to...well...for that to happen.

ANDREA
It's a shame he had to, period.

SHARKY
You say Eddie never talked about me?

ANDREA
Mr.--Sharky, we barely talked at all
after he left KU five years ago. I mean,
he called, and there were Christmas and
birthday cards and that sort of thing,
but we didn't have much in common. I
loved him, though, more than I can say.

SHARKY
He told me you were a scientist or
somethin'.

ANDREA
I am. I'm a chemist for TI.

SHARKY
Man, it's a crazy, mixed-up world. The
brother becomes a tattoo artist in
Hollywood, the sister mixes isotropes in
Texas.

ANDREA
(smiling slightly)
Just silicates, mostly.

SHARKY
Well, whatever. The point is...I guess
you must be in town for the funeral.

ANDREA
Tomorrow.

SHARKY
I know. I'll be there.

ANDREA
I have a tough time imagining Edward in a
suit. It wasn't like him.

SHARKY
Or me. Heh. Well, uh...Listen, I...
we've all been wonderin' about somethin'
in his will.

ANDREA
The tattoo. Yes. That's what I came to
talk to you about.
(looking around)
Is there someplace a little more quiet?

SHARKY
Yeah, my apartment's around the corner.

Sharky notices Andrea's worried look and laughs nervously.

SHARKY (CONT'D)
Oh. Heh. Don't worry about me, ma'am.
I'm as harmless as Hello Kitty, I
promise.

CUT TO:

EXT. HOLLYWOOD TERRACE APARTMENTS - STREET ENTRANCE - LATER

Sharky and Andrea step up on the porch. Sharky fishes for
his key.

ANDREA
This whole neighborhood seems dangerous
to me.

SHARKY
It is, a little.

ANDREA
Why would Edward, or you for that matter,
want to live here?

Sharky unlocks the front door.

SHARKY
(seriously)
Come on, I'll show you.

CUT TO:

INT./EXT. HOLLYWOOD TERRACE APARTMENTS - FIFTH FLOOR

Ding. ELEVATOR DOORS slide open.

ANDREA
How many tattoos did Edward have, anyway?

SHARKY
(amused)
"Edward?" I think seven or eight, but
the Fisherman was definitely his
favorite. Right this way, please.

He leads her out onto the roof. From here all of Hollywood
is visible and inspiring.

ANDREA
Okay, but I--wait a minute. Is that what
I think it is?

SHARKY
Yes, ma'am, the Hollywood sign. And over
there's the Capital Records building.

ANDREA
I didn't even notice it in the cab coming
over.

SHARKY
You were probably, like--

ANDREA
Preoccupied.

SHARKY
Yeah. The Arclight Cineramadome, the...
(sighing)
Sorry. I guess you'd prob'ly rather talk
about the Fisherman, huh?

ANDREA
Yes, I would, if you wouldn't mind.

The two lean against the southern rail. History and smog.

ANDREA (CONT'D)
Well. As you know, he wanted you to have
it when he died.

SHARKY
The real tattoo. The skin. I knew he
shoulda had a lawyer read that part.

ANDREA
It'll never hold up. You can't just cut
a piece of skin off a body and then frame
it like a work of art in California.

SHARKY
Well, with all due respect, ma'am, that
tattoo was a work of art.

ANDREA
I don't see why you'd say that. You
didn't give it to him, did you?

SHARKY
No, ma'am, I sure didn't.

ANDREA
See, that's exactly what I could never
understand about Edward. It's just some
Japanese thing he picked up somewhere,
like everything else he ever did. He
didn't have any direction in life, and
now he'll never have the chance to leave
his mark.

She rubs her eyes and gazes out at Los Angeles.

ANDREA (CONT'D)
It's a shame is what it is, a wasted
life.

Sharky leans on the railing beside her.

SHARKY
I don't think so. In fact, I know he
left his mark on tons of people.

ANDREA
Ha. Skulls and demons and anchors. No
offense, but I really don't consider that
his crowning achievement.

SHARKY
(miffed)
Okay, I'm sorry you feel that way.

He is silent a few more beats.

SHARKY (CONT'D)
Japan.

ANDREA
What?

SHARKY
He got that tattoo in Japan. It's the
Nipponese word for "fisherman."

ANDREA
He was never in Japan.

SHARKY
Yeah, he was. About a year after he took
off from college. That's where I met
Eddie, as a matter of fact.

ANDREA
What on earth was he doing in Japan?

SHARKY
He was seein' the world, same as me. I
went with friends--You can make good
money, believe it or not, drawin' skulls
and demons on people. He was spending
his half of the trust fund in Europe and
Asia. Crazy Eddie.

ANDREA
I had no idea.

SHARKY
That tattoo is important. There's a
reason why he wanted me to have it.

Sharky lifts his sleeve. He also has a Japanese TATTOO.

ANDREA
Is that the same as Eddie's?

SHARKY
No, not exactly. This one says "Storm."
But I got mine the same day, the same
shop in Ito as his.

ANDREA
Why the Storm? Why the Fisherman?
Edward never fished. Or did he change
that way, too? What, did he devote his
life to Jesus or something?

SHARKY
No. It's kind of a long story, though.
You sure you want to hear it?

ANDREA
(emotional)
I want to know why my brother is in
Hollywood, Sharky, not closer to home. I
want to know why he felt the need to die
on some lunatic freeway instead of living
to a ripe old age with a wife and three
kids.

SHARKY
That wasn't who he was. He wanted to
come out here. It made him happy.

ANDREA
Well, I simply cannot see how. Some
fisherman. The only river in fifty miles
is made out of concrete. Eddie--

She's on the verge of tears, remembering. He awkwardly
reaches out and touches her shoulder. She flinches but lets
him make contact.

SHARKY
Listen. I'd really like to tell you this
story, okay?

ANDREA
Yes, I'm sorry. Of course.

SHARKY
Nah, don't be sorry. I miss Eddie, too.

ANDREA
He was a wonderful man, just...so lost.

SHARKY
Yeah, well, that's what I want to tell
you about. Come on, let's go downstairs.
I've got some pictures to show you while
I tell this.

She nods, and they head back to his apartment.

CUT TO:

INT. SHARKY'S APARTMENT - LATER

A typical Gen-X apartment in Hollywood, with plenty of art
(both good and bad) on the walls. Sharky hands Andrea a BOX
of memorabilia and pictures, then a can of soda. He pops one
open for himself as Andrea lifts a PICTURE:

It's EDDIE (24), tall and tattooed, laughing and dancing on a
balcony table outside Red Rock Saloon. A younger Sharky
grins up at him, hoisting a brew.

SHARKY
Heh. Yeah, that's him, all right. Fast
Eddie. We were tearin' up this bar on
the Sunset Strip.

ANDREA
He was drunk, of course.

SHARKY
Nah, but most likely I was, back then.
He got me past that. I owe him like
crazy--Man, I don't say this too often,
but I loved that guy.

ANDREA
I'm sure he'd appreciate that.

SHARKY
Heh.

She lifts another PICTURE:

Surprised by a flash, Eddie leans against a wall under
Japanese neon. Sleeveless T-shirt.

ANDREA
So this must be him in Japan.

SHARKY
Yeah, that was Tokyo, a couple o' nights
before I met him.

She looks closer.

ANDREA
You're right. He doesn't have that
fisherman tattoo.

SHARKY
Nah, he got that the night after the
storm.
See, we were both in Ito, and this huge
storm blew up. Incredible storm, damn
near hurricane bad. Wind blowin' so hard
you could barely stand up. Windows
breakin'--I was scared outta my ass.
People died in this storm. So I followed
the locals to a storm shelter, and Eddie
was there, all freaked out 'cause nobody
spoke English and he didn't know what to
do. Kids were screamin', everything was
crazy. You couldn't see your hand in
front of your face. Eddie and I wound up
kinda huddled together. We both thought
we were gonna die.

Sharky notices Andrea is listening intently. Uncomfortable
about the emotions he's displaying in telling the story, he
pauses for a beat.

SHARKY (CONT'D)
Heh. Well, anyway, the sun comes up next
morning, and we walk outside into a
combat zone. Trees have fallen over. A
car flipped. People diggin' their
families out--Eddie and I helped with
that as much as we could. There were
pieces of the town all over the ocean,
drifting back and forth. And right in
the middle of this, all these fishermen
appear, and they set up like everything's
fine and start fishin'. I couldn't
believe how calm they all were after a
beating like that. So we go over and
find a fisherman who speaks English, and
he tells us after a storm, all these fish
get forced into the bay. The fishing's
great, so in the big picture, all the
craziness of a storm makes a whole new
bunch of life.

ANDREA
Out of chaos comes order.

SHARKY
Exactly. And Eddie gets all excited, and
he turns to me and goes--

CUT TO:

EXT. ROCKY BEACH - MORNING

Eddie in the flesh, talking to a quiet, tired-looking Sharky.
We hear both Eddie and Sharky's voices.

EDDIE AND SHARKY (O.S.)
This is what I want to do. I want to
reach into madness and pull out meaning.
I want to give people some kinda hook to
help 'em understand confusion, or love
or...you know, craziness, human
craziness, these uncontrollable forces of
nature--

CUT TO:

INT. SHARKY'S APARTMENT - RETURN TO SCENE

Andrea gets it.

ANDREA
Emotion.

SHARKY
Yeah. "That's what I want," he said,
"That would make me happy."

ANDREA
But he chose the wrong way, Sharky.
That's what I do, find the order in
complexity and chaos. I'm a scientist.
He was just some--

SHARKY
Artist. He was an artist, Andrea.
That means so much. You gotta
understand. Me, I'm a tracer, and I know
it. But Eddie, man, he really had a
gift. People all around the country were
into his work. He said, "Sharky, you're
this crazy force of nature yourself." I
used to be a tagger, see, that's how I
got my name. I never planned one damn
thing in my life, but he loved that. He
said, "Sharky, you're the Storm." And he
was like that Fisherman, pullin' life
outta madness. That's why he wanted me
to have that tattoo, see? And that's why
I really wish there was some way we could
save it. I know it's gross, but...
(near tears)
Man, it's gonna be some kinda sin to have
the storm without the fisherman.

There is a brief silence. Andrea pulls out another PICTURE:

Eddie and Sharky grin and flex their biceps. On their arms,
new and bright, are the Storm and the Fisherman.

ANDREA
(moved)
He was doing what I do.

SHARKY
And he loved it. He was happy here.
That guy was an artist.

ANDREA
An artist.

She gets up and paces around the small living room, really
looking at Eddie's work.

SHARKY
I mean it. He was.

ANDREA
I believe you. I can see his work all
over this apartment--but he didn't bother
telling me or explaining because he
didn't think I would ever understand.

Sharky starts to respond, then shrugs.

SHARKY
I don't know, but nah...I don't think so.
I think maybe he just wasn't as proud of
himself as we were of him.

ANDREA
When our mom and dad died, Edward and I
became very close. And when he suddenly
dropped out of KU in the middle of a
semester, I was devastated. I missed him
so much. I can't believe I never told
him how much he had--how much order he
brought to my own life.

SHARKY
I--

ANDREA
Damnit.

She's overwhelmed by emotion. Sharky gingerly reaches over
and touches her arm. She jerks away. Sharky slumps--

Then Andrea steps into his chest, and he holds her as she
weeps.

SHARKY
Oh, I--Listen, heh, it's okay.

ANDREA
I want to do it.

SHARKY
(beg pardon?)
Do what?

ANDREA
I want to give him exactly what he
wanted: No more storms without meaning.
Do you understand?

SHARKY
(after a beat)
Yes, ma'am, I do--I surely do.

ANDREA
Thank you, Sharky.

SHARKY
Hey, no problem. Heh.

ANDREA
No, I'm serious. Thank you for helping
me find my brother again. I'll take him
with me wherever I go.

CUT TO:

INT. EDDIE'S FUNERAL - THE NEXT DAY

Sharky looks uncomfortable in his rented black suit. Fung
sits behind him, tugging at her dress and squeezing his
shoulder. A CLERGYMAN speaks from O.C.

CLERGYMAN (O.S.)
Beyond the need to love and worship God,
the Bible itself reveals little about the
meaning of life. All we have, then, are
the opinions of humans on this sad
occasion. So "To be what we are"--Robert
Louis Stevenson--"and to become what we
are capable of becoming, is the only end
in life."

Andrea, who sits next to Sharky, isn't weeping. Rather, she
seems proud and defiant.

CLERGYMAN (O.S.)
Or this, from Rabbi Zalman Schachter
Shalomi: "My daughter once asked me,
"Abba, when you're asleep, you can wake
up, right?" I said yes. She said, "When
you're awake, can you wake up even more?"
Soul is when we awaken even more." So is
art. So is love.

She reaches over, very tenderly, and clutches Sharky's left
hand. She wears a sleeveless black dress, and on her right
arm, a BANDAGE...

PUSH IN SLOWLY:

...with THE FISHERMAN, once again come to life, barely
visible beneath it.

FADE OUT.

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