Screenplay By Phillip Ghee (USA)
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Meanwhile, back at the college, we are shown vignettes of Professor Easton and Braxton spending more time together. They are both avid sportsmen and - being the social butterfly - Braxton makes a fine companion for the many Gala’s and Social Functions attended by and sometime hosted by Professor Easton. Braxton is usually a hit at all these events and is much coveted by ladies in attendance, even by the elder crowd. In spite of their new found friendship /Mentorship, in the scholastic world, we still are shown vignettes of a less than studious Braxton nodding off in class and in study hall.
We are shown vignettes of studious Jared as he continues to pursue his studies and future vocation. His propensity for compassion is shown by his volunteering at the University’s Outreach Center which among other things, also lends itself to the At- Risk Youth Center DeBaptise is involved in.
Although still not assigned to the Paper Mill Murder case, we find DeBaptise is
being drawn in, a nagging itch causing him to take more and more interest in the case. We see him examining post mortem photographs of the unique and definitive cuts made to the victim. He even has enlargement prints made of specific photos showing the cut markings. He knows he has seen markings similar to these before.
At his home, DeBaptise hesitantly makes his way towards an attic. Once in the attic we find a steamer trunk hidden in the far area of the room. DeBaptise prepares to open the trunk but stops abruptly; he crosses himself, much in manner of practitioners of Catholicism in Central America. He now proceeds to open the trunk. He withdraws from the trunk items and props not generally known to the American audience. He also removes from the trunk a tattered and worn portfolio of sorts. As he flips through the pages we are shown documents, some of which appear to be faded and blood-stained. We are entreated to photographs of cigar smoking women, photos of elder men poised around decapitated animals and ritualistic masks. We see photos of topless woman, eyes bulging, caught frozen in time in the midst of a frenzied trance-induced dance. The photo that DeBaptise stares at the longest is that of a young boy surrounded by the trappings of what obviously is some ceremony of rites. The boy is dressed in white robes and turban. The elders surrounding him are in decorative attire. Squatting beside the boy in the photo is what appears to be a malnourished elder, clothed only in a loin cloth. He holds in his hands two dagger-like long knives. As DeBaptise stands transfixed looking at the photo; his hand ventures up to his neck, he instinctively rubs a scar on his lower neck. The camera zooms in to find a marking, not exact, but similar to that which we saw earlier on one of the enlarged post mortem prints DeBaptise had made.
Camera pans as we follow DeBaptise driving into a shopping district. Many of the signs are in bi-lingual Creole-French and English. DeBaptise enters a small restaurant.
The atmosphere is lively and jovial. A group of men seated at the front trade colloquial barbs with the owner. The owner, upon spotting DeBaptise, welcomes the retreat from the verbal sparing.
(Spoken in local dialect Creole-French with English subtitles)
“So what’s this now, you only before come see us on Holiday and Funeral.
Maybe you’re too! ashamed of your bone wearing native relatives.
(He gives DeBaptise a playful shove)
“Come Here Boy; Let me get you a nice seat away from these monkeys”.
(He points to the men and the insults playfully fly again).
“Uncle Monde, You know with all the business of the city life, I can hardly find time….
“No need to explain yourself, Jean Boy, that’s just what we old folks do”
(He seats DeBaptise at a corner table and rushes one of his workers to bring him a menu).
After thoughtful consideration DeBaptise attempts to order a tradition localized dish but when he attempts to pronounce it he stutters. This sends the old man into hysterics.
See you can no longer even speak your home tongue, you better start coming here for breakfast everyday and I will teach you all over again (he recites a song used for teaching children how to ask for things. Both men laugh)
“Nephew you know I don’t disown my past, it just whenever I think back to Haiti … “
(Absentmindedly, his hand draws up to his neck)
“I keep going back to those two years that…”
Don’t Nephew; don’t go there, its OK. I know, I never forgave you Mother for letting That Houngenikon, take you and keep you up there in the jungle with those people, those Damn devils.
He pats DeBaptise on the shoulders and starts off for the kitchen but not before noticing the top most portion of the scar, just above DeBaptise’s collar. He shakes his head in frustration.
“Are they here Uncle”?
The man stops, the menu falls from his hand. He stares at DeBaptise
“No nephew, you belong to God now, you have no part with them.”
“It is not that Uncle, I need to find some information, and it’s Police Business”.
“I hear talk, I think there is a house in over in Echo Park, ask the blind man”
(He points to a pan handler who sits on a stoop across the street)