Anathema Pt. 8
INT. IN THE CAR OUTSIDE THE BORDER STATION. NOT QUITE DAWN.
Thad is driving the car very hard as GUN SHOTS ring out in
the background and smoke grenades fill the darkness with a
thick fog. Jack reaches into his pocket and produces the
Canadian’s pipe. He places the pipe draw between his lips
and proceeds to light it and begin smoking. Thad looks at
Jack through the rear-view mirror and CHUCKLES. Jess is
leaned over against her door, using the window as a
headrest. Thad elbows Jess in the arm gently. Jess looks at
Thad inquisitively and Thad motions toward Jack with his
head. Jess turns to look at Jack who is sitting in the back
leisurely, smiling away and smoking the Canadian’s pipe.
Jess looks confused. Jess turns her head sharply to Thad.
Thad smiles and nods his head. Jack keeps on staring into
oblivion, smiling. Jess turns back in her seat, facing
You really are a scoundrel, ya know
Jack continues puffing away on the pipe and grinning as if
he’s just played the funniest practical joke anyone ever
saw. Thad and Jess are both smiling and shaking their heads.
The moment passes and Thad begins to show his fatigue behind
the wheel by yawning. Jess lays her head back against the
window and closes her eyes. The road continues on ahead of
them, the dawn somewhere to the East, creeping over the
INT. CAR JUST OUTSIDE A SMALL GAS STATION. NEARLY DAWN.
The car is parked outside of a small gas station. Inside the
car, Jess is asleep against her window and Jack has propped
himself against some of the stuff in the backseat and has
fallen asleep as well. The driver’s seat is empty. It’s
still early — maybe 4 or 5 A.M. The only people up and about
are FARMERS and FIRST SHIFT WORKERS from a local factory.
Thad OPENS THE DRIVER’S SIDE DOOR and sits a thermos full of
fresh coffee in-between the front seats and then pulls a box
of donuts off of the car roof and sits them on the dash
before sticking the keys in the ignition. Jack instinctively
wakes up and cranes his head in-between the front seats.
Thad doesn’t even acknowledge Jack’s action, he simply
reaches into the box of donuts while unfolding a map with
his other hand. Thad grabs out a donut and stuffs it into
Jack’s mouth without looking. This action looks like a
practiced ritual — they get along like Dick and Jane. Jack
takes hold of the donut and lays back down. Thad studies the
map for a moment before he STARTS THE CAR and SHIFTS into
INT. CAR ON THE HIGHWAY. THE VERY EDGE OF DAWN.
Out of the windshield, past Thad’s arm holding coffee, the
early morning sky reveals a sign that says “Niagara Falls”.
The car follows the direction signaled by the sign.
EXT. NIAGARA FALLS BLUFFS. DAWN.
The car pulls up to a small parking lot positioned on the
bluffs of one of the falls. Thad nudges Jess awake and she
WAKES WITH A STARTLE. Thad motions for her to look out the
window at where they are. Jack is already awake and has made
his way out of the car and is digging in the back for a lawn
chair that he quickly produces. While Thad and Jess make
their way out of the car and toward the open trunk, Jack
sets up his lawn chair toward the front of the car and sits
down. Jack reaches into his pocket for his smokes and
produces the Canadian’s pipe. Jack looks into the pipe and
then BLOWS OUT THE STEM, blowing a puff of ashy dust into
the air. Jack does a “whatever” face and tosses the pipe
away into the the grass somewhere. Thad and Jess bring their
chairs from the trunk and set them up next to Jack’s. Thad
is pouring coffee from the thermos into small cups. Thad
passes a cup of coffee for Jack to Jess at the same time as
Jack passes the cigarettes for Thad to Jess. Jess crosses
over her arms and hands each of the men what the other one
had passed. The coffee and cigarettes get distributed to all
three. The trio sit, watching the sun slowly rise over the
top of the falls. Thad assumes a philosophical persona.
Ya know, this sunrise is kind of
like the allegorical culmination
It’s a sunrise, Thad. Nobody needs
your exposition for a sunrise.
Thad bites his lip slightly without looking at Jess and then
The trio sit there for a moment, just drinking coffee,
smoking cigarettes, and taking in what they all know to be
the most beautiful sunrise they have ever seen.
A little while later, the trio find their cups empty and
their cigarettes down to the nub. Thad turns to Jess.
Well, now’s as good a time as any,
I guess. Do you have the zip-lock
with the note and the money?
Jess nods and reaches into her coat, producing a gallon-size
zip-lock bag with a hand-written letter and an envelope in
it. Thad nods. Jack looks over.
Quick question — who gets to hold
Well, I was just gonna hold on to
I’m just asking cause of the whole
riot thing or whatever. I just
wanna make sure they know who’s who
Well, maybe I should just hold on
to it, I mean, just so nobody comes
along and steals my corpse or
Ok, maybe we should just… wait a
second, “steals your corpse”,
really? That’s your bid for
carrying the bag?
Happens all the time. You wash up
on shore naked and pirates come and
steal your body… they do stuff to
Thad shakes his head in frustrated disbelief.
…uhn… We’re at Niagara Falls,
I’m pretty sure we’re safe from
You never know, you just never
Somehow, I’m still amazed when you
say crazy shit.
You say crazy, I say genius — we’ll
agree to disagree.
Thad rolls his eyes and looks at his watch.
They should be here any moment
now… maybe they hit traffic on
Jess and Jack nod their heads. Jack’s face lights up.
Wait! What time is it?
Ten twenty-three. A full eight
minutes later than I had expected
them to get here. Maybe they got a
Yes! I’ll be right back!
Jack RUNS off screen. Thad hardly notices, still trying to
figure out why their pursuers are running late. Jess watches
Jack’s off-screen activities with happy curiosity. After a
moment, Jack re-enters the frame rolling a very large cask
in front of him. Jess elbows Thad to get his attention. Thad
looks at Jack and his giant cask curiously. Jack seems very
proud his giant cask.
It’s the biggest one they make,
it’ll even fit three people!
It does seem rather large. How, may
I ask, did you know there was a
cask shop up here?
Well, when you said we were going
to Niagara I was still planning on
killing myself, so the whole barrel
over the falls routine fit into
that pretty well. They open at ten
fifteen on the weekend. You sparked
(slightly put off)
Happy to have helped.
I’m assuming you intend for us to
get in the barrel with you?
Exactly! And then when they show
up, we just rock ourselves over the
edge and fall to our deaths in
Jess shrugs in acceptance of Jack’s plan. Thad doesn’t look
thrilled, but smiles anyway.
I guess it’s better than being
tortured… very well, let’s get it
to the ledge.
EXT. INSIDE THE BARREL. 10:27 A.M
The trio sit inside the barrel as a MOTORCADE OF CARS ARRIVE
at the scene. CAR DOORS OPEN and SOLDIERS SURROUND THE
BARREL at a distance of fifty feet away.
My mom’s gonna get a kick outta
I think your mother might be a
little preoccupied with the fact
that you’ve taken part in a group
Eh, she knows I’m a mess. At least
I didn’t knock anybody up!
That’s a valid point! Honey, we
didn’t get knocked up either -
pretty good, right?
Thad CHUCKLES and then SHUSHES Jess and Jack. They all
strain to hear what’s going on. A POLITICAL EXTREMIST SHOUTS
into a megaphone.
Egalitarian leaders of the
terrorist cell SubVersus: You have
been charged with the assassination
of Father Sam, our one true leader.
You will now be brutally tortured
and shot for your offenses.
Surrender willingly and we promise
not to waterboard you.
Alright, you guys ready?
Jess and Jack nod with pretend confidence.
Ok, let’s go.
Jess closes her eyes and bows her head. The men show
Dear God, please forgive us for
littering and please let the
clean-up people get all our stuff
out of the water so no little ducks
choke on it…
Thad opens an eye to see if Jess is done.
Oh ya, and please forgive Thad for
leaving the trunk open and running
down the battery for whatever
homeless person decides to live in
Amen. P.S. Please keep the
corpse-stealing pirates away from
my corpse, I’ve got garlic in my
pockets, but it never hurts to
Jess winks up at the sky.
Again with the pirates! By the way,
garlic is for vampires, not
You don’t know, you didn’t even
know they existed a minute ago.
Jack begins reverently.
Dear God or higher power,
Thad and Jess stop arguing and look at Jack.
If it is your will, please allow my
body to strike a very sharp rock on
our way down, preferably hitting me
in the head or upper spine, killing
me instantly. If it happens to be
your will that I make it to the
water alive, please let the impact
kill me so that I don’t have to
drown. Your will be done, in a
manner that closely resembles my
Um, excuse me terrorists: we would
very much like it if you could come
Thad rolls his eyes and rushes Jess and Jack.
Ok, ready 1,2…
Wait, you didn’t say a prayer!
Thad looks impatient.
You know, I don’t think God takes a
whole lot of requests for people
participating in group suicides.
Jess does a puppy dog face to Thad. Thad rolls his eyes.
Fine. Dear God: sorry I fucked up,
I won’t do it again, that’s for
Thaddeus! Is that how your mother
taught you to pray?!
Thad SWALLOWS HARD and SIGHS.
Dear Father in heaven,
Thad looks over at Jess for approval. Jess smiles and nods.
Please forgive us for what we are
about to do. We’ve lost our way. We
live in a world that doesn’t give a
What?! It says “damn” like a
hundred times in the bible!
Jess frowns in disapproval.
We live in a world that doesn’t
Thad looks at Jess for approval again.
I’ve done a lot of bad things in my
life, but I tried to do my best and
nothing ever seemed to pan out.
Please be with our families and
console them, and please give them
some kind of way to understand what
we did and why. More than anything,
Lord, I ask that you would make the
world a better place after we’re
gone. A place where you don’t get
screwed so much and a place where
you get rewarded for working hard
and keeping your nose clean. Thank
you for Jess and Jack… I guess
that life really isn’t worth living
without good people by your side
and these two are a couple of the
best you’ve ever made… In your
infinite wisdom and mercy, please
grant us a quick and relatively
pain-free death. In the name of
your Son, amen.
They all open their eyes. Jess and Jack smile at Thad.
That was beautiful, Thad.
No joke, man. Good prayer.
Thad leans in and kisses Jess. Jack looks sad that he has no
one to kiss, so Thad leans in and Eskimo kisses with him -
the one where you rub your noses together. They ALL CHUCKLE
and take a DEEP BREATH.
Jess and Jack nod seriously.
Jack, you start the countdown.
Why are they counting? Why are you
The trio rock back and forth, ROCKING THE BARREL up on its
Oh shit! They’re gonna drop that
atom bomb they’re in into the
falls! Everybody get back in the
The Political Extremist and the Soldiers all RUN back to
their cars. The barrel is ready to tip over.
Here we go!
The barrel finally tips past the breaking point and cascades
over the cliff, down the falls.
EXT. BOTTOM OF THE FALLS. 10:30 A.M.
The Falls rage in the near background as the giant barrel
floats away from the chaos, bobbing up and down in the small
waves. The giant barrel begins to tip over, revealing the
motionless trio still inside. The barrel slowly tips too far
and starts filling with icy cold water. Thad and Jess AWAKE
WITH A STARTLE and recoil from the cold water. In trying to
move away from the water, Thad and Jess squish into Jack,
waking him up. Jack WAKES UP GENTLY, assuming he would be
awakened by the Almighty on some pleasant celestial plane.
Jack quickly realizes that he is not quite dead yet and that
they are all in danger of drowning inside the capsizing
Aw, fuck this! I didn’t survive the
Falls just to drown ten feet from
Jack quickly swims out of the barrel and Jess and Thad
follow. The trio swim up to the shore and collapse onto the
beach lying next to each other. They lie there for a moment
in silence with blank expressions.
Ya know… I don’t think I wanna
kill myself any more.
Thad and Jess both look at Jack. Jack’s expression slowly
turns into a smile and Thad and Jess both start LAUGHING.
Thad takes a DEEP BREATH.
I could really go for some seafood
right now — somethin’ with some big
ass tentacles on it! I think
there’s a crab shack right down the
beach a ways.
I’m in. As long as they have rum,
lots and lots of rum!
The trio stand up haggardly. Thad stands in the middle,
wrapping his arms around Jess and Jack’s shoulders. They
start the long walk down the beach toward the highway.
I really need to find better
friends, you guys are always
getting me in trouble.
Just stop talking. By the way,
you’re paying for lunch.
I don’t even like seafood…
Well Jack… it’s like the wise man
once said, life sucks and then you
They all LAUGH. The trio continue walking down the beach in
their warm embrace. On a nearby bench, a SCHOLARLY MAN with
glasses setting at the end of his nose is sleeping soundly
with a paperback copy of Votaire’s “Candide” spread open
across his belly.