Scene

Bubble

Flight


Brett Walpole

JUMPING SHIP

EXT. BOAT - DAY


Charlie returns with flowers in her hair. They unmoor the boat, push off and get underway. Mark walks by in the other direction walking his dog. Mark waves and Ryan waves back.


MARK (V.O.)


Yeah, alright man, you've done good. She's fine Ryan, could do a lot worse, better than those scrubbers we used to pick up on leave. American, mmm... I bet she tastes sweet as a Pepsi Cola. And a hippy too, she'll be getting her crystals out and wanting to read your aura next.


CHARLIE

So what's the plan?


RYAN


Time we moved on, explore more of the river. You never really know what's round the next corner.


CHARLIE

True.


RYAN


Maybe you'd like to take the tiller for a while, I'll show you the ropes.


CHARLIE


Imagine, me and a real soldier, who also appears to be a sailor, wants me to take his tiller and show me his ropes!


RYAN


Ah, give me a break.


Ryan shows Charlie how to steer the boat.


RYAN (CONT’D)


Left, right, really gentle and sensitive. There's a slight lag between when you steer and when she turns.


CHARLIE

I got it.


RYAN


Ok, I can just sit back and watch this poetry in motion whilst slugging on a old one.


He takes a lager from an ice box, opens it and drinks.


CHARLIE


Tell me something cool about the forces.


RYAN


You sure? I don't think there's much that's cool about it.


CHARLIE


I'm super interested, you can skip the gory bits.


RYAN


It's all about orders and upping the ante when it comes to facing your fears.


CHARLIE


Chain of command, can't question that in the heat of the moment.


RYAN


Yeah, but at some point you begin to ask who's giving the orders to the man at the top.


CHARLIE

Or the woman.


RYAN


That's just plain scary.


CHARLIE

Let's just say the power behind the power.


Ryan is casual and off hand as he speaks, as if he's seen it all before and doesn't really care anymore. He just looks around, drinking his lager.


RYAN


Mmm... Cut to the chase, soon you see action, you're being shot at, bullets all over the shop.


CHARLIE


Just like in the movies.


RYAN


Well, no, not really, you're not in a cinema no one's eating popcorn, and your friend next to you isn't being blown to pieces, body parts everywhere.


CHARLIE

Ooo, gross.


RYAN

Then you descend into a kind of accelerated insanity, with no limits.


CHARLIE

How does it end?


RYAN

It doesn't. I was signed off as unfit for purpose, damaged goods, not right upstairs, the war continues, it's just... internalised.


CHARLIE

What was your diagnosis?


RYAN


They've got lots of names for it; post traumatic stress disorder covers a multitude of malfunctions. I hate labels. For me it was psychotic episodes, insomnia then, when you do get some sleep, nightmares that don't stop when you wake up.


CHARLIE

I see, worse than a movie then.


RYAN

You can walk out of a movie. Throw in some hallucinations and feelings of persecution and you get the picture.


CHARLIE

How do you feel now?


RYAN

Processed.


CHARLIE

Like a product?


RYAN

Oh, I'm human alright, I'm in touch with my emotions, I'm a regular citizen, just tightly packed with an assortment of mixed nuts.


Ryan taps his head with his knuckles.


RYAN (CONT’D)

After the hospital they gave me some money but the best things are the drugs. I'm in a state of constant bliss, I might as well be American!


CHARLIE


I'll be having some of those.


RYAN

Absolutely not, my mixed nuts, my drugs.
 Ryan taps his head again.


CHARLIE

How long since they cleared you from the hospital? He counts on his fingers.


RYAN

Er... It was three days ago.


CHARLIE


Three... So you... I mean you...


RYAN

That's it, I figured I needed a holiday, so far so good, it's, what's the word... tranquil.



INT. BOAT - DAY


Charlie is drumming on the table with a pair of chopsticks whilst listening to music on her headphones. Ryan is in the galley finishing a pile of washing up. The last item is a large chopping knife which he cleans and dries. The drumming is becoming faster and more intense. Ryan looks over to an oblivious Charlie as he plays with the knife balancing it with the point on the palm of one hand, turning it with the other, light reflecting from its blade. Charlie is lost in the music drumming frantically in rhythm. Ryan takes an orange, placing it on a chopping board and cuts it into smaller and smaller pieces until there is nothing left but a pulpy mess. The chopsticks up close are blurred with their speed. Ryan walks slowly over, carrying the knife and chopping board, lifts one ear of her headphones, making Charlie jump, and whispers in her ear through clenched teeth.


RYAN


Would you be so kind as to stop what you are doing?


CHARLIE

Oh, sorry, was it... bothering you?


RYAN

Just a tiny little bit.


CHARLIE

No problem.


RYAN

Would you care for some fresh orange?


Ryan offers the board but Charlie shakes her head at the mess on it.


CHARLIE

No, no thank you, I'm good.


She puts the chopsticks down carefully together on the table.