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The Boat (A Tale of Survival)
by Jarrett Ksiazek (jarrettekjl@verizon.net)

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Drama   User Review:
NOT YET
RATED

When four men become stranded in a lifeboat following the destruction of their ship, they must combat their individual demons and work together in order to survive.


This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.



FADE IN:

EXT. FLORIDA COAST (OPEN OCEAN) 1930'S - DAY
                                                            
A group of four men are seen sitting in a small white boat
in the middle of the ocean. Their eyes are gazing forward,
and are fastened upon the foaming waves sweeping towards
them. These men are the last survivors of a dreadful
explosion which sunk the ship they were on.
                                                            
One of the men; a overweight sweaty fellow, squatted in the
bottom and looked with both eyes at the six inches of
gunwale which separated him from the ocean. His sleeves were
rolled over his fat forearms, and the two flaps of his
unbuttoned vest dangled as he bent to bail out the boat.
This was the former cook onboard the ship.
                                                            
                       COOK
"Gawd! That was a narrow clip!"
                                                            
Another one of the men, this one tall and strong, begins
steering with one of the two oars in the boat. It was a thin
little oar and it seemed often ready to snap. This man was a
soldier.
                                                            
The third man, who was well dressed and of middle eastern
descent, is pulling at the other oar, watching the waves.
This was the former correspondent onboard the ship.
                                                            
The fourth and final man, is lying on the boat's bow with a
deep gash across his right leg. He is dressed in a navy blue
vest and pants with naval insignias over it. He has a neatly
trimmed graying beard and his skin is browned and leathery
from years of sun exposure. This is the former captain.
                                                            
The captain, from across the boat yells out to the oiler.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Keep 'er a little more south,
Billie"
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
'A little more south,' sir"
                                                            
The captain then puts his head down so that his face is
touching the bottom of the boat.
                                                            
                       NARRATOR
The captain is buried in that
profound dejection and
indifference which comes,
temporarily at least, to even the
bravest and most enduring when,
            (MORE)

2.

                       NARRATOR (cont'd)
willy nilly, the firm fails,the
army loses, or in this case, the
ship goes down. The mind of the
master of a vessel is rooted deep
in the timbers of her, though he
commanded for a day or a decade,
and this captain had on him the
stern impression of a scene in the
greys of dawn of seven turned
faces, and later a stump of a
top-mast with a white ball on it
that slashed to and fro at the
waves, went low and lower, and
down. From this point on, there is
something strange in his voice.
Although steady, it was, deep with
mourning, and of a quality beyond
oration or tears.
                                                            
The boat prances and rears, before plunging like a braying
horse as each wave crashes around the vessel. A stream of
foamy seawater races across the deck, engulfing all four
members of the boat in a frothy mixture.
                                                            
All four of the men are at the mercy of the ocean.
                                                            
 
EXT. OCEAN - EVENING
                                                            
The amber colored sunset slowly sinks into the blue ocean.
                                                            
In the wan light, the faces of the men are grey. Their eyes
glinted in strange ways as they gaze steadily astern.
                                                            
                       COOK
"It sure is rather beautiful. The
sunset on the open ocean."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"If you like such things."
                                                            
                       COOK
"Well sure I do." It's not
everyday you see a sunset as
beautiful and peaceful as this
one."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"I don't think peaceful is the
right term to use in describing
THIS sunset."
                                                            

3.

The cook puts his head down. Ashamed of what he said.
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"There's a house of refuge just
north of the Mosquito Inlet
Lighthouse. When they see us,
they'll come off in their boat and
pick us up."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"As soon as who sees us?"
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"The crew."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Houses of refuge don't have
crews. From what I understand they
are only places where clothes and
grub are stored for the benefit of
shipwrecked people. They don't
carry crews."
                                                            
                       COOK
"Oh yes they do!"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"And how would you know?"
                                                            
                       COOK
"Well,.... they should have one
anyway right?"
                                                            
No response from anyone.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Well we're not there anyhow, so I
guess there's no way of knowing
for sure."
                                                            
This ends the conversation between the men.
                                                            
 
EXT. OCEAN - NIGHT
                                                            
The boat continues to be bounced from the top of each wave.
The wind is tears through the hair of the hatless men, and
as the craft plopped her stern down again the spray splashes
past them.
                                                            
FADE TO BLACK
                                                            
 

4.

EXT. BOAT - DAY
                                                            
The four men are busy rowing and navigating their lonely
boat through the vast open ocean.
                                                            
                       COOK
"Bully good thing it's an onshore
wind." If not where would we be?
Wouldn't have a show!"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"That's right."
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
Nods in approval.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
      (Chuckling)
"Do you think we've got much of a
show now boys?"
                                                            
The three men become silent over this, save for a trifle of
hemming and hawing.
                                                            
                       NARRATOR
To express any particular optimism
at this time they felt to be
childish and stupid, but they all
doubtless possessed this sense of
the situation in their mind. A
young man thinks doggedly at such
times. On the other hand, the
ethics of their condition was
decidedly against any open
suggestion of hopelessness. So
they were silent.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Oh well. We'll get ashore
alright."
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"Yea. If the wind holds!"
                                                            
                       COOK
"Yes! If we don't catch hell in
the surf!"
                                                            
A Canton flannel seagull flies over the heads of the men.
It's black eyes were wistfully fixed upon the soldier's.
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"Ugly brute!"
                                                            

5.

                       COOK
"Hey!"
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"Not you, the bird!" It looks as
if it was made with a jack knife!"
                                                            
The bird stares ominously from atop the Captain's head
towards the three men.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (laughing)
"You know, in ancient Rome, fowl
were considered harbingers of
death and destruction. In this
case, I believe the ancients knew
more than we did!"
                                                            
The soldier and the diplomat begin to row once more. They
sit together in the same seat, and each rowed an oar. Then
the oiler took both oars; then the correspondent took both
oars; then the oiler; then the correspondent. They rowed and
they rowed.....
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Look out now! Steady there!"
                                                            
A wave crashes over the boat soaking everyone on board.
                                                            
Brown mats of seaweed are strewn over the boat following the
wave crash.
                                                            
                       COOK
"Seaweed is a sign land is near,
right captain?"
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Yes. One shouldn't be too far off
shore when they encounter
seaweed."
                                                            
The captain, reared cautiously on the bow, after the dingey
soared on a great swell. His eyes suddenly become very wide.
He points frantically in front of him.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"I see a light-house!"
                                                            
This jump starts the three men into a frenzy.
                                                            
                       COOK
"Where?"
                                                            

6.

                       SOLDIER
"Yes, where is it!?"
                                                            
The captain points straight out in front of him.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"It was right there! Just West of
us! I could see it when the boat
rose on the wave!"
                                                            
                       COOK
"I don't see it."
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"Neither do I."
                                                            
The diplomat is still rowing and strains to look over the
men.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"I can't see a damn thing either!"
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Well than turn around, and when
the next wave lifts us look West."
                                                            
A wave lifts the boat up. The diplomat looks West.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"See it?"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"No, I didn't see anything."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Look again!"
                                                            
At the top of another wave, the correspondent did as he was
bid, and this time his eyes chanced on a small still thing
on the edge of the swaying horizon. It was precisely like
the point of a pin. It is a lighthouse!
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"I see it!"
                                                            
                       COOK
"I see it too!"
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"Me too!"
                                                            
The camera focuses on the barely visible lighthouse in the
distance. It is awfully far off.
                                                            

7.

                       DIPLOMAT
"Think we'll make it captain?"
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"If this wind holds and the boat
don't swamp, we can't do much else
but hope."
                                                            
The little boat, lifted by each towering sea, and splashed
viciously by the crests, made progress that in the absence
of seaweed was not apparent to those in her. She seemed just
a wee thing wallowing, miraculously top-up, at the mercy of
five oceans. Occasionally, a great spread of water, like
white flames, swarmed into her.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Bail her cook!"
                                                            
                       COOK
"My name is George sir."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Well bail her out then George!"
                                                            
                       COOK
      (Joyfully)
"All right captain!"
                                                            
NARRATION
                                                            
                       NARRATOR
It would be difficult to describe
the subtle brotherhood of men that
was here established on the seas.
No one said that it was so. No one
mentioned it. But it dwelt in the
boat, and each man felt it warm
him. They were a captain, an
oiler, a cook, and a
correspondent, and they were
friends, friends in a more
curiously iron-bound degree than
may be common. The hurt captain,
lying against the water-jar in the
bow, spoke always in a low voice
and calmly, but he could never
command a more ready and swiftly
obedient crew than the motley
three of the dingey. It was more
than a mere recognition of what
was best for the common safety.
There was surely in it a quality
that was personal and heartfelt.
And after this devotion to the
            (MORE)

8.

                       NARRATOR (cont'd)
commander of the boat there was
this comradeship that the
correspondent, for instance, who
had been taught to be cynical of
men, knew even at the time was the
best experience of his life. But
no one said that it was so. No one
mentioned it.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"I wish we had a sail."
                                                            
The captain looks towards the direction of the lighthouse
intently, his years of sea training coming to his head at
once, trying to figure out the best possible way to make it
to shore.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"We could try my overcoat on the
end of an oar and give you two
boys a chance to rest."
                                                            
The cook and the correspondent rush from their rowing
positions to hold their makeshift mast and spread wide the
overcoat.
                                                            
This "sail" surprisingly begins to take in wind and moves
the boat ever closer towards the lighthouse.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Well if I didn't know any better
I'd say we are looking at the
coast of New Smyrna.I coasted up
and down this shore often in
schooners back in the day."
                                                            
The wind slowly dies away. The oiler and the Diplomat take
the oars again.
                                                            
Various montages of the men rowing and the sea and sky are
shown. As this occurs we hear the narrator's omnipotent
voice.
                                                            
NARRATION
                                                            
                       NARRATOR
"Shipwrecks are _ propos_ of
nothing. If men could only train
for them and have them occur when
the men had reached pink
condition, there would be less
drowning at sea. Of the four in
the dingey none had slept any time
            (MORE)

9.

                       NARRATOR (cont'd)
worth mentioning for two days and
two nights previous to embarking
in the dingey, and in the
excitement of clambering about the
deck of a foundering ship they had
also forgotten to eat heartily.
For these reasons, and for others,
neither the oiler nor the
correspondent was fond of rowing
at this time. The correspondent
wondered ingenuously how in the
name of all that was sane could
there be people who thought it
amusing to row a boat. It was not
an amusement; it was a diabolical
punishment, and even a genius of
mental aberrations could never
conclude that it was anything but
a horror to the muscles and a
crime against the back. He
mentioned to the boat in general
how the amusement of rowing struck
him, and the weary-faced oiler
smiled in full sympathy.
Previously to the foundering, by
the way, the oiler had worked
double-watch in the engine-room of
the ship."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Take her easy now boys, don't
spend yourselves!"
                                                            
                       COOK
"Aye Captain!"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Aye Captain!"
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"If we have to run a surf you'll
need all your strength, because
we'll sure have to swim for it.
Take your time!"
                                                            
Slowly we see the land rising from the sea. From a black
line it becomes a line of black and a line of white, trees
and sand.
                                                            
The captain peers towards shore.
                                                            

10.

                       CAPTAIN
"I can make out a house on shore
lads!"
                                                            
                       COOK
"That must be the house of refuge!
I told you all there was one!
They'll see us before long and
come out after us, you'll see!"
                                                            
The camera focuses in on the ever closer lighthouse, rearing
high in the distance.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"The keeper ought to be able to
make us out now, if he's looking
through a glass. He'll notify the
life-saving people."
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"None of those other boats could
have got ashore to give word of
the wreck, else the lifeboat would
be out hunting us!"
                                                            
Slowly and beautifully the land loomed out of the sea. The
wind came again. It had veered from the north-east to the
south-east. Finally, a new sound struck the ears of the men
in the boat. It was the low thunder of the surf on the
shore.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"We'll never be able to make the
lighthouse now!"
                                                            
The captain gazes out into the sea. He is at war now, not
with beast or man, but with mother nature herself.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Swing her head a little more
north Billie."
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"A little more north sir."
                                                            
The little boat turned her nose once more down the wind, and
all but the oarsman watched the shore grow. Under the
influence of this expansion doubt and direful apprehension
was leaving the minds of the men. The management of the boat
was still most absorbing, but it could not prevent a quiet
cheerfulness. In an hour, perhaps, they would be ashore.
                                                            

11.

A wave passes over the ship soaking the four men again. The
correspondent thought that he had been drenched to the skin,
but happening to feel in the top pocket of his coat finds
eight cigars. Four of them were soaked with sea-water; four
were perfectly scathless.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"All right gentleman what do you
say we take a puff of what's to
come once we reach shore!"
                                                            
The correspondent hands out the cigars.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (Between rows)
"Alright, does anyone have a
lighter?"
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"I have a pair right here."
                                                            
The captain reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small
tin holder which ironically carries four matches.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Make them count boys!"
                                                            
We see all of the men lighting and then puffing at the big
cigars while rowing.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Cook, er, I mean George. There
doesn't seem to be any signs of
life around you house of refuge."
                                                            
                       COOK
"No....funny. They must not see
us."
                                                            
A broad stretch of lowly coast lay before the eyes of the
men. It was of dunes topped with dark vegetation. The roar
of the surf was plain, and sometimes they could see the
white lip of a wave as it spun up the beach. A tiny house
was blocked out black upon the sky. Southward, the slim
lighthouse lifted its little grey length.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"They must have seen us by now."
                                                            
The camera focuses on the tiny house on the beach. There is
no sign of life anywhere. The camera switches back to the
men on the boat, all have looks of frustration and sadness
etched on their faces.
                                                            

12.

                       CAPTAIN
      (solemnly)
"Well, I suppose we'll have to
make a try for land ourselves. If
we stay out here to long none of
us will have the strength to swim
after the boat swamps."
                                                            
The oiler, who was at the oars, begins to turn the boat
straight for the shore. There was a sudden tightening of
muscle. There was some thinking.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"If we all don't get ashore.....
                                                            
The captain takes a look at all the men on the boat.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"If we all don't get to shore, I
suppose you fellows know where to
send news of my resignation as a
seamen?"
                                                            
                       COOK
"Don't say that captain. If we
were meant to die we would have
gone down in the explosion that
destroyed the ship."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Yes, if there is a fair and
loving God, than why would he get
us this far only to let us die a
watery grave while gazing upon the
sand and trees he created?
                                                            
These words seem to uplift the mood of everyone including
the captain.
                                                            
The billows that came at this time were more formidable.
They seemed always just about to break and roll over the
little boat in a turmoil of foam. There was a preparatory
and long growl in the speech of them. No mind unused to the
sea would have concluded that the boat could ascend these
sheer heights in time. The shore was still afar. The oiler
was a wily surfman.
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"Boys she won't live three minutes
more! Captain! shall I take her
out to sea?"
                                                            

13.

The captain looks longingly towards shore. We see a close-up
of his face, he is a beaten, wore out man.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
      (emotionly)
"Yes, go ahead!"
                                                            
The oiler, by a series of quick miracles, and fast and
steady oarsmanship, turned the boat in the middle of the
surf and took her safely to sea again fighting the waves all
the way.
                                                            
There was a considerable silence as the boat bumped over the
furrowed sea to deeper water. Then somebody in gloom spoke.
                                                            
                       COOK
"Well, anyhow, they must have seen
us from the shore by now."
                                                            
No one says a word.
                                                            
We see a flock of sea gulls flying in a slanting flight up
the wind toward the grey desolate east. A squall, marked by
dingy clouds, and clouds brick-red, like smoke from a
burning building, appeared from the south-east.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (sarcastically)
"What do you think of those life
saving people? Aint they peaches?"
                                                            
                       COOK
"Funny they haven't seen us."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Oh yea? Well maybe they think
we're out here for sport! Maybe
they think we're fishin? Maybe
they think we're a bunch of damned
fools!"
                                                            
 
EXT. OCEAN - AFTERNOON
                                                            
It was a long afternoon. A changed tide tried to force them
southward, but the wind and wave said northward. Far ahead,
where coast-line, sea, and sky formed their mighty angle,
there were little dots which seemedto indicate a city on the
shore.
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"St. Augustine?"
                                                            

14.

                       CAPTAIN
      (shaking his head)
"No. Were too near Mosquito
Inlet."
                                                            
We see in a series of montage takes the oiler rowing, and
then the correspondent rowing. Then the oiler rowed. With
each cut back and forth to the two men, the looks on their
faces become more haggard and strained.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Did you ever like to row Billie?"
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
      (smiling)
"No. Hang it!"
                                                            
All of a sudden the captain's eyes light up. The camera
(from the captains point of view) focuses on a distant
object on the shore line. The object is moving!
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"There's a man on shore!"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Where?"
                                                            
The captain points towards shore.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"There! See him? See him!"
                                                            
The three men look in the direction the captain is pointing.
                                                            
                       COOK
"Yes, sure! He's walking along!"
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"Now he's stopped. Look! He's
facing us!"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"He's waving at us!"
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"So he is! By thunder!"
                                                            
                       COOK
"Ah, now we're all right! Now
we're all right! There'll be a
boat here for us in half-an-hour."
                                                            

15.

                       SOLDIER
"He's running. He's going up to
that house there."
                                                            
The camera focuses on the beach. The beach seems lower than
the sea, and it required a searching glance to discern the
little black figure. The captain saw a floating stick and
they rowed to it. A bath-towel was by some weird chance in
the boat, and, tying this on the stick, the captain waved
it. The oarsman did not dare turn his head, so he was
obliged to ask questions.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"What's he doing now?"
                                                            
                       COOK
"he's standing still again. He's
looking, I think.....There he goes
again. Toward the house....Now
he's stopped again."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Is he waving at us?"
                                                            
                       COOK
"No, not now! He was though."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Look! Here comes another man!"
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"He's running."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Look at him go, would you."
                                                            
We see from the men's point of view the man on the beach. He
has met up with the other faster moving man who we find out
is on a bicycle.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Why, he's on a bicycle. Now he's
met the other man. They're both
waving at us. Look!"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Here comes something up the
beach."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"What the devil is that thing?"
                                                            

16.

                       COOK
"It looks like a boat."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"No, it's not a boat."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Well what is it then?"
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"It looks like a car."
                                                            
The camera zooms in to reveal that it is in fact a car
driving up the beach. The car is a convertible and there are
multiple people driving in it.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"It is a car! There are people in
it, quick, draw their attention!"
                                                            
The four men begin to hoot and holler like maniacs. The
oiler, being the biggest and tallest of the men begins to
wave the captain's jacket high over his head.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"That's it, Look! There's a fellow
waving a little black flag. He's
standing up on a car seat."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"That ain't his flag it's his coat
isn't it?
                                                            
                       COOK
"So it is. It's his coat. He's
taken it off and is waving it
around his head."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"What's that idiot with the coat
doing? What he signaling anyhow?"
                                                            
                       COOK
"It looks as if he were trying to
tell us to go north. There must be
a life saving station up there."
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"No! He thinks we're fishing. Just
giving us a merry hand. See?
                                                            

17.

                       COOK
"Well I wish I could make
something out of those signals.
What do you suppose he means?"
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"He don't mean anything. He's just
playing."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Well if he'd just signal us to
try the surf again, or to go out
to sea and wait, or to go north,
or go south, or go
anywhere!.....There would be some
reason to it. But look at him. He
just stands there and keeps his
coat revolving like a wheel. The
ass!"
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"There come more people!"
                                                            
The camera focuses in on the beach where we see two more
cars make their way across the sand. The cars are full of
people.
                                                            
                       COOK
"Now that's quite a mob."
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"That fellow is still waving his
coat."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"He must think we like to see him
do that. Why don't he quit it?"
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"I don't know. I think he is
trying to make us go north. It
must be that there's a lifesaving
station there somewhere."
                                                            
                       COOK
"Say, he aint tired yet. look at
him wave."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Wonder how long he can keep that
up. He's been revolving his coat
ever since he caught sight of us.
He's an idiot. Why aren't they
            (MORE)

18.

                       DIPLOMAT (cont'd)
getting men to bring a boat out?"
                                                            
                       COOK
"They'll have a boat out here for
us in less than no time, now that
they've seen us."
                                                            
A faint yellow tone comes into the sky over the low land.
The shadows on the sea slowly deepened. The wind bore
coldness with it, and the men begin to shiver.
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
      (shivering)
"Holy smoke! If we keep on
monkeying around out here all
night...."
                                                            
                       COOK
"Oh, we'll never have to stay here
all night! Don't you worry.
They've seen us now...... and it
won't be long before they'll come
chasing out after us."
                                                            
 
EXT. BOAT - EVENING
                                                            
The shore and the man waving the coat fades into the
distance.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"I'd like to catch the chump who
waved the coat. I feel like
punching him in the face, just for
luck."
                                                            
                       COOK
"Why? What did he do?"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Nothing, but he just seemed so
damned cheerful."
                                                            
The land has vanished, save only for the sound of distant
surf.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Keep her head up! Keep her head
up!"
                                                            

19.

                       SOLDIER
      (weakly)
"I didn't fight the huns to take
orders fro a drunken washed up old
man!."
                                                            
We see the cook's head is on a tilt. He looks at the water
under his nose deep in thought.
                                                            
                       COOK
      (dreamfully)
"Billie. What kind of pie do you
like best?"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (agitated)
"Pie?!"
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
      (agitated)
"Pie?!"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Don't talk about those things,
blast you!"
                                                            
                       COOK
"Well, I was just thinking about
ham sandwiches, and...."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"All of you just shut up! There is
no need to talk about such
things."
                                                            
The captain pauses his speech and thinks for a moment.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Do a man good to think positively
now and than."
                                                            
 
EXT. OCEAN - NIGHT
                                                            
A night on the sea in an open boat is a long night. As
darkness settled finally, the shine of the light, lifting
from the sea in the south, changed to full gold. On the
northern horizon a new light appeared, a small bluish gleam
on the edge of the waters. These two lights were the
furniture of the world. Otherwise there was nothing but
waves.
                                                            

20.

The oiler and the correspondent are seen rowing late into
the night. It is a cold night and we can see their breath as
a mist coming out of their mouths.
                                                            
The oiler turns to the correspondent who is lying on the bat
floor, trying to sleep.
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"Will you take over the rowing for
a little while?"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (grogily)
"Sure Billie."
                                                            
The correspondent takes over rowing.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"By the way, my name is Benjamin."
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
      (smiling)
It's funny how we've been on the
water for so long, yet we just are
asking each other simple
questions. Imagine that."
                                                            
The particular violence of the sea had ceased. The waves
came without snarling. The obligation of the man at the oars
was to keep the boat headed so that the tilt of the rollers
would not capsize her, and to preserve her from filling when
the crests rushed past. The black waves were silent and hard
to be seen in the darkness. Often one was almost upon the
boat before the oarsman was aware.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Captain, shall I keep her making
for that north light, sir?"
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Yes. Keep it about two points off
the port bow."
                                                            
The correspondent, as he is rowing, looks down at the two
men sleeping under-foot. The cook's arm was around the
oiler's shoulders, and, with their fragmentary clothing and
haggard faces, they were the babes of the sea, a grotesque
rendering of the old babes in the wood.
                                                            
We see that the cook has tied a life-belt around himself in
order to get even the warmth which this clumsy cork
contrivance could donate, and he seemed almost stove-like

21.

when a rower, whose teeth invariably chattered wildly as
soon as he ceased his labor, dropped down to sleep.
                                                            
A sudden rogue wave sweeps onto the boat, waking everyone up
immediately. They are all drenched in seawater.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"I'm awfully sorry everyone. Damn
this ocean!"
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"That's alright old boy."
                                                            
Everyone save the correspondent lays back down. There is a
good inch of water at the bottom of the boat now, making
staying dry an impossibility.
                                                            
Presently it seemed that even the captain dozed, and the
correspondent thought that he was the one man afloat on all
the oceans. The wind had a voice as it came over the waves,
and it was sadder than the end.
                                                            
There was a long, loud swishing astern of the boat, and a
gleaming trail of phosphorescence, like blue flame, was
furrowed on the black waters. It might have been made by a
monstrous knife. Then there came a stillness, while the
correspondent breathed with the open mouth and looked at the
sea.
                                                            
Suddenly there was another swish and another long flash of
bluish light, and this time it was alongside the boat, and
might almost have been reached with an oar. The
correspondent saw an enormous fin speed like a shadow
through the water, hurling the crystalline spray and leaving
the long glowing trail. It's a shark!
                                                            
We see the correspondent look over his shoulder towards the
captain, who was sleeping. He then stares at the oiler and
cook who are also sound asleep next to one another.
                                                            
The shark circles the boat, making soft splashes as its tail
fin hits the side of the boat.
                                                            
NARRATION
                                                            
"But the thing did not then leave the vicinity of the boat.
Ahead or astern, on one side or the other, at intervals long
or short, fled the long sparkling streak, and there was to
be heard the whirroo of the dark fin. The speed and power of
the thing was greatly to be admired. It cut the water like a
gigantic and keen projectile."
                                                            

22.

We see the correspondent huddled up and staring over the
side of the boat at the shark.
                                                            
NARRATION
                                                            
"The presence of this biding thing did not affect the man
with the same horror that it would if he had been a
picnicker. He simply looked at the sea dully and swore in an
undertone. Nevertheless, it is true that he did not wish to
be alone. He wished one of his companions to awaken by
chance and keep him company with it. But the captain hung
motionless over the water-jar, and the oiler and the cook in
the bottom of the boat were plunged in slumber."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (talking to self)
"If I am going to die tonight.
Than why would a God in heaven
wait till now to finish me off?"
                                                            
Correspondent pauses his rant.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (Looking up
       towards heaven)
"If you're up there and hear me
than you know that it would be an
abomination to let us die. After
we have come so close....An
abomination I tell you!"
                                                            
The correspondent begins to tear up.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (studdering)
"I thought you were a loving, just
God..... do you really care less
if we all live or die? Is this
just some sort of unstoppable
cycle we all must go through?"
                                                            
The correspondent's emotion turns to anger.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (Looking towards
       heaven)
"Answer me!"
                                                            
There is no answer. The three men are still sleeping even
after that outburst.
                                                            

23.

                       DIPLOMAT
      (emotional)
"If you are there.... please help
us. If not for my sake, than
theirs."
                                                            
To chime the notes of his emotion, a verse mysteriously
entered the correspondent's head. He had even forgotten that
he had forgotten this verse, but it suddenly was in his
mind.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (muttering to
       himself)
"A soldier of the Legion lay dying
in Algiers,There was a lack of
woman's nursing, there was dearth
of woman's tears; But a comrade
stood beside him, and he took that
comrade's hand, And he said: 'I
shall never see my own, my native
land.'"
                                                            
 
EXT. ALGERIAN DESERT - DAY
                                                            
The diplomat is lying his hands on a wounded soldier, blood
is shooting from the soldier's chest and flowing through the
hands of the correspondent.
                                                            
We see in the far Algerian distance, a city of low square
forms is set against the sky.
                                                            
FLASHBACK ENDS
                                                            
 
EXT. BOAT - MORNING
                                                            
The captain, now awake in the bow of the boat, moves and
sits erect on his water-jar.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Pretty long night."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"I know."
                                                            
The captain looks towards the shore.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Those life-saving people are
really taking their time."
                                                            

24.

                       DIPLOMAT
      (lyingly)
"I guess so."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Did you see that shark playing
around?"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Yea, I saw him. He was a big
fellow all right. I wish I knew
you were awake."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
      (chuckling)
"Barely is the key word."
                                                            
The Oiler and the Cook wake up after hearing the
conversation.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Oh Billie! Right on cue. Say do
you mind if you take over rowing
for a bit? My back is sore."
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"Sure, no problem."
                                                            
The diplomat lies down and falls asleep.
                                                            
 
EXT. OCEAN - EVENING
                                                            
It is now night and the boat is farther out to sea.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"George. Take one of the oars at
the stern and keep the boat facing
the sea."
                                                            
                       COOK
"Yes captain."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"And George, if you should hear
the thunder of the surf, call
out!"
                                                            
                       COOK
"Yes sir."
                                                            

25.

                       CAPTAIN
      (talking to oiler
       and correspondent)
"We'll give you boys a chance to
get into shape again.'
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Thank you sir."
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"Thanks Captain."
                                                            
The correspondent and the oiler begin to lie down.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (talking to oiler)
"I'm not sure how much more of
this I can take."
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"We have to be strong. Only the
strongest will come out of this
alive."
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Or the luckiest."
                                                            
With that the two men fall asleep. Just above water level
another shark circles around the boat.
                                                            
As the boat caroused on the waves, spray occasionally bumped
over the side and gave them a fresh soaking, but this had no
power to break their repose.The ominous slash of the wind
and the water affected them as it would have affected
mummies.
                                                            
                       COOK
      (reluctantly)
"Boys... I guess one of you had
better take her to sea again."
                                                            
This awakens the Diplomat.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"What!? Oh, ok, move over then."
                                                            
As he was rowing, the captain gave him some
whisky-and-water, and this steadied the chills out of him.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
      (Handing
       correspondent
       bottle of whisky)
"I was saving this for a special
            (MORE)

26.

                       CAPTAIN (cont'd)
occasion. I guess you need it more
than I do wouldn't you say?"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (Takes a drink)
"Thanks captain. That was the
finest drink of whiskey I ever
had."
                                                            
The captain smiles.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
I'll tell you though, if I ever
get to shore and anyone shows me
even a picture of an oar!...."
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
      (finishing
       sentence)
"I'd sock him in the face!"
                                                            
                       COOK
      (jockingly)
"I'd skewer him!"
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"I'd put him out here on a boat by
himself. That will teach him!"
                                                            
Everyone laughs.
                                                            
 
EXT. BOAT - MORNING
                                                            
We zoom in on the face of the correspondent who is sleeping.
The correspondent open his eyes to witness the morning
finally appearing, in its splendor, with a sky of pure blue,
and the sunlight flamed on the tips of the waves.
                                                            
The camera then shows a shot of the distant dunes which were
set with many little black cottages, and a tall white
windmill reared above them. No man, nor dog, nor bicycle
appeared on the beach. The cottages might have formed a
deserted village. The Correspondent sees this though and
quickly awakens the others.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"Wake up! Wake up! We have neared
civilization!"
                                                            
Everyone awakens and peers out the boat to look at this
sight.
                                                            

27.

                       CAPTAIN
"Good God! It looks like a town!"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (excitedly)
"It is a town! We have been
delivered!"
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"I don't see anyone though."
                                                            
                       COOK
"Me neither."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Well, if no help is coming, we
might better try a run through the
surf right away. If we stay out
here much longer we will be too
weak to do anything for ourselves
at all."
                                                            
The others look at one another before nodding their heads in
agreement.
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
"We're with you Captain. Let's go
home boys!"
                                                            
With that word, everyone on the boat began to prepare for
the battle that was to come. Nature, the very wrath and
manifestation of God, vs. Man.
                                                            
The boat heads for the beach.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Now, boys. The boat is going to
flip, nothing can be done about
that. All we can do is to work her
in as far as possible, and then
when she flips, pile out and swim
for the beach. Keep cool now, and
don't jump until she flips!"
                                                            
The oiler takes the oars. We see him scanning the surf.
                                                            
                       SOLDIER
"Captain, I think I'd better bring
her about, and keep her head-on to
the seas and bring her in."
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"All right Billie. Back her In!"
                                                            

28.

The oiler swings the boat towards shore. It is here that we
get a glimpse of the pounding, monstrous surf that awaits
the men as they near shore.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
      (looking at the
       surf)
"We won't get in very close."
                                                            
A montage of shots of the men getting pounded and soaked by
wave after wave commences. The men have the look of
determination on their faces though.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Steady boys! Remember, to jump as
far away from the boat when she
rolls!"
                                                            
                       EVERYONE
"Yes sir!"
                                                            
The boat slides up a massive wave, leaping at the furious
top, bouncing over it, before swinging down the long back of
the wave. Some water had been shipped and the cook bailed
it out.
                                                            
But the next crest crashed also. The tumbling, boiling flood
of white water caught the boat and whirled it almost
perpendicular. Water swarmed in from all sides. The
correspondent had his hands on the gunwale at his time, and
when the water entered at that place he swiftly withdrew
his fingers, as if he objected to wetting them. The little
boat, drunken with this weight of water, reeled and snuggled
deeper into the sea.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Bail her out!"
                                                            
A monstrous wave begins to take form, bearing down on the
boat.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Now boys, this one will do us in
for sure. Remember to jump clear
of the boat!"
                                                            
The third wave moved forward, huge, furious, implacable. It
fairly swallowed the boat, and almost simultaneously the men
tumbled into the sea. A piece of lifebelt had lain in the
bottom of the boat, and as the correspondent went overboard
he held this to his chest with his left hand.
                                                            

29.

The January water was icy, and he reflected immediately that
it was colder than he had expected to find it on the coast
of Florida. This appeared to his dazed mind as a fact
important enough to be noted at the time. The coldness of
the water was sad; it was tragic. This fact was somehow so
mixed and confused with his opinion of his own situation
that it seemed almost a proper reason for tears. The water
was cold.
                                                            
The correspondent reaches the surface. He is conscious of
little but the noisy water. He sees his companions in the
sea. The oiler is ahead in the race. He was swimming
strongly and rapidly. Off to the correspondent's left, the
cook's great white and corked back bulged out of the water,
and in the rear the captain was hanging with his one good
hand to the keel of the overturned boat.
                                                            
The correspondent continues to swim, the life preserver
nestled underneath him. It is a long way to shore still and
the current was brutally difficult.
                                                            
We see the cook swimming much farther to the left, the
captain is calling to him.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"Turn over on your back George!
Turn over and use the oar!"
                                                            
                       COOK
"Ok sir!"
                                                            
The cook turned on his back, and, paddling with an
oar, went ahead as if he were a canoe.
                                                            
We see the boat to the left of the correspondent with the
captain clinging with one hand to the keel. He looks like a
man raising himself to look over a board fence, if it were
not for the extraordinary gymnastics of the boat.
                                                            
The correspondent is now fighting a rip current which is
threatening to take him back to sea. The correspondent
knowing this, begins to swim horizontal to the shore, before
finally escaping its pull.
                                                            
Through a foggy lens we see a man running along the shore
carrying a life preserver. He is undressing with remarkable
speed. Coat, trousers, shirt, everything flew magically off
him. As the man approaches we see that after stripping down,
the man is still wearing what was considered a bathing suit
at the time. This man is one of the first lifeguards.
                                                            

30.

                       LIFEGUARD
      (calling to
       correspondent)
"Hold on sir I'm coming!"
                                                            
                       DIPLOMAT
      (pointing towards
       the struggling
       captain)
"Get him first, I can make it from
here!"
                                                            
The lifeguard swims towards the captain with powerful
strokes. He finally reaches the captain and puts the life
preserver around him before heading towards the cook to do
the same.
                                                            
We see the correspondent arriving in water that reached only
to his waist, but his condition did not enable him to stand
for more than a moment. Each wave knocked him into a heap,
and the under-tow pulled at him.
                                                            
 
EXT. BEACH - MORNING
                                                            
By this time the lifeguard had pulled both the captain and
cook to shore. All three of the men are exhausted.
                                                            
                       CAPTAIN
"You're an angel sent from God
himself sir."
                                                            
The lifeguard, too tired to speak reaches out his hand in a
cordial shake.
                                                            
Suddenly the lifeguard cries out.
                                                            
                       LIFEGUARD
      (pointing)
"What's that?"
                                                            
The oiler lies face down in the water. His forehead touched
sand that was periodically, between each wave, clear of the
sea. He was dead.
                                                            
The correspondent staggers up the short incline that
separates the water from the beach, before collapsing onto
the sand.
                                                            
The correspondent looks to his right and sees the captain
and cook both being attended to by the lifeguard. This
brings a faint smile to his face.
                                                            

31.

                       DIPLOMAT
      (weakly)
"We made it."
                                                            
The beach begins to become quickly being populated with men
with blankets, clothes, and flasks, and women with
coffeepots and all the remedies sacred to their minds.
                                                            
                                         THE SCENE FADES TO
BLACK
                                                            
 
EXT. BEACH - NIGHT
                                                            
The camera focuses on the crashing waves on the now desolate
beach. From this view the ocean has a mystical serene
quality to it.
                                                            
NARRATION
                                                            
"When it came night, the white waves paced to and fro in the
moonlight, and the wind brought the sound of the great sea's
voice to the men on shore, and they felt that they could
then be interpreters."
                                                            


FADE OUT.


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