THE STORM AND THE FISHERMAN
A Short Screenplay by Christian Carvajal
Story by Flagship
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.
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.
No friggin' way!
Eddie'd have to do that one.
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.
He could draw.
Why Bert and Ernie, though?
Bert and Ernie were gay. Everybody knows
They did live in the same apartment.
Yeah, but so did you and Eddie.
Not in the same bedroom. Plus, they took
baths in front of each other, and Bert kept
trained pigeons. For Chrissakes, they had a toy box.
SHARKY (27), burly and somewhat frightening, looks through a
flash catalog with NIKKI (19). 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.
Yeah, I miss that g--
The three whirl to find ANDREA (23), tall and straitlaced,
in the doorway.
Did you just say "Eddie?"
He was--I'm sorry. Is there a--
--"Henry Dobbs, Junior" here?
No, I'm sorr--
Heh. I guess that'd be me.
Fung and Nikki look at him in surprise.
EXT. HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD - LATER
The Hollywood and Highland area near Grauman's Chinese. Sharky
and Andrea walk along the Boulevard.
So you're Andrea Hanley.
You say they call you 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.
It's a shame he had to, period.
You say Eddie never talked about me?
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.
He told me you were a scientist or
I am. I'm a chemist for TI.
Man, it's a crazy, mixed-up world. The
brother becomes a tattoo artist in
Hollywood, the sister mixes isotropes in
Just silicates, mostly.
Well, whatever. The point is...I guess
you must be in town for the funeral.
I know. I'll be there.
I have a tough time imagining Edward in a
suit. It wasn't like him.
Or me. Heh. Well, uh...Listen, I...
we've all been wonderin' about somethin'
in his will.
The tattoo. Yes. That's what I came to
talk to you about.
Is there someplace a little more quiet?
Yeah, my apartment's around the corner.
Sharky notices Andrea's worried look and laughs nervously.
Oh. Heh. Don't worry about me, ma'am.
I'm as harmless as Hello Kitty, I
EXT. HOLLYWOOD TERRACE APARTMENTS - STREET ENTRANCE - LATER
Sharky and Andrea step up on the porch. Sharky fishes for
This whole neighborhood seems dangerous
It is, a little.
Why would Edward, or you for that matter,
want to live here?
Sharky unlocks the front door.
Come on, I'll show you.
INT./EXT. HOLLYWOOD TERRACE APARTMENTS - FIFTH FLOOR
Ding. ELEVATOR DOORS slide open.
How many tattoos did Edward have, anyway?
"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.
Okay, but I--wait a minute. Is that what
I think it is?
Yes, ma'am, the Hollywood sign. And over
there's the Capital Records building.
I didn't even notice it in the cab coming
You were probably, like--
Yeah. The Arclight Cineramadome, the...
Sorry. I guess you'd prob'ly rather talk
about the Fisherman, huh?
Yes, I would, if you wouldn't mind.
The two lean against the southern rail. History and smog.
Well. As you know, he wanted you to have
it when he died.
The real tattoo. The skin. I knew he
shoulda had a lawyer read that part.
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.
Well, with all due respect, ma'am, that
tattoo was a work of art.
I don't see why you'd say that. You
didn't give it to him, did you?
No, ma'am, I sure didn't.
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
She rubs her eyes and gazes out at Los Angeles.
It's a shame is what it is, a wasted
Sharky leans on the railing beside her.
I don't think so. In fact, I know he
left his mark on tons of people.
Ha. Skulls and demons and anchors. No
offense, but I really don't consider that
his crowning achievement.
Okay, I'm sorry you feel that way.
He is silent a few more beats.
He got that tattoo in Japan. It's the
Nipponese word for "fisherman."
He was never in Japan.
Yeah, he was. About a year after he took
off from college. That's where I met
Eddie, as a matter of fact.
What on earth was he doing in Japan?
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.
I had no idea.
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.
Is that the same as Eddie's?
No, not exactly. This one says "Storm."
But I got mine the same day, the same
shop in Ito as his.
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?
No. It's kind of a long story, though.
You sure you want to hear it?
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
That wasn't who he was. He wanted to
come out here. It made him happy.
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.
Listen. I'd really like to tell you this
Yes, I'm sorry. Of course.
Nah, don't be sorry. I miss Eddie, too.
He was a wonderful man, just...so lost.
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.
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.
Heh. Yeah, that's him, all right. Fast
Eddie. We were tearin' up this bar on
the Sunset Strip.
He was drunk, of course.
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.
I'm sure he'd appreciate that.
She lifts another PICTURE:
Surprised by a flash, Eddie leans against a wall under
Japanese neon. Sleeveless T-shirt.
So this must be him in Japan.
Yeah, that was Tokyo, a couple o' nights
before I met him.
She looks closer.
You're right. He doesn't have that
Nah, he got that the night after the
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.
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.
Out of chaos comes order.
Exactly. And Eddie gets all excited, and
he turns to me and goes--
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
INT. SHARKY'S APARTMENT - RETURN TO SCENE
Andrea gets it.
Yeah. "That's what I want," he said,
"That would make me happy."
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--
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...
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.
He was doing what I do.
And he loved it. He was happy here.
That guy was an artist.
She gets up and paces around the small living room, really
looking at Eddie's work.
I mean it. He was.
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.
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.
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.
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
Oh, I--Listen, heh, it's okay.
I want to do it.
I want to give him exactly what he
wanted: No more storms without meaning.
Do you understand?
(after a beat)
Yes, ma'am, I do--I surely do.
Thank you, Sharky.
Hey, no problem. Heh.
No, I'm serious. Thank you for helping
me find my brother again. I'll take him
with me wherever I go.
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.
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
Andrea, who sits next to Sharky, isn't weeping. Rather, she
seems proud and defiant.
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.