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Literature Discussion -



Screenplay By Phillip Ghee (USA)

Chapter Twelve



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SCENE: A Dilapidated Block in an immigrant dominated section of town

 DeBaptise pulls up to what by appearances seems to be an abandoned house.
He knocks at the door. The door is opened by a young boy with an angry scowl. Colonial French is spoken and we follow the story via subscript.

 DeBaptise asks to speak to the Boukman. The boy does not acknowledge if there is such person there or not. He suspiciously looks at DeBaptise for some time then demands fifty dollars. DeBaptise follows the boy through the sparsely decorated and disheveled house. The boy leads him to a cellar. The cellar is cave like in appearance due to the interior walls and ceiling not being finished. It is illuminated by many candles yet still promotes a darkly atmosphere. At the end of the hallway is door, uncharacteristic of the type the type that should belong to such a house. It is a grand door, old and weathered, the style of which invokes Castilian Missionaries of the New World.  The door has several locks and latches and is secured at length with a heavy latch.  The boy yells a name towards the doors and then hurriedly makes his way back upstairs. A bloodshot eye peers at DeBaptise for sometime though the opening in the door. A key is finally passed through the slot in the door with the command (also in Colonial French) to open. DeBaptise enters and follows a wiry dreadlocked man to the far end of the room. Although more illuminated than the hall, the interior of the room is still gloomy and candlelit. DeBaptise passes pots and cauldrons, some obliviously filled to the brim with blood and floating eyeballs and other animal parts. The stench of the blood causes DeBaptise to wince.  The man takes a stoop and directs DeBaptise to take another. He says nothing and stares at him for some time as he plucks a chicken.

Colonial French with English subtitles


                                    “This Chicken is so puny, But what is a poor man to do”?

      (DeBaptise opens his wallet and withdraws another fifty dollar bill).


“This is too generous for lunch. So what do you want with me (pause)



                                    “Why do you call me Detective”?



                        “I saw the glimmer of something shiny and ornamental when you
                         opened your wallet. Perhaps a Badge of some type I think. I
pay all my bribes to the Health Department in a timely fashion
so you can’t be with them. There is bulge in your jacket, perhaps from a shoulder hoister. Your French is too! Well spoken for you to be a thug. It has all the echoes of having attended The Academy.
                        So who comes from the Academy whose position requires of?
                       of them to carry a gun? An Agent, a Policemen, a Military
                       Officer? You don’t have the posture of a Military man and I don’t 
           see in you that type of discipline. Your suit is expensive, too!
           expensive for a policeman’s salary and, forgive me Detective, you                                                    
                       have no sense of fashion, an agent, even an FBI agent would never
                       wear such a suit with rubber soles but, you detectives, always on
           the ready, to chase down a bad guy. Agents don’t run Detective
                       they are much too! stylish for that”.


“Maybe you should be the detective here?”

(DeBaptise extracts a picture from his pocket.  It is of Esemele in happier times. He hands it over to the man and looks to gage a reaction. DeBaptise says nothing and the man stares at the picture for some time exhibiting no reactionary gestures).


                        “AH! An affair of the heart, well she looks a little too young for you
                        Detective but, I do have a special brew that can win her heart.”

(Annoyed – he had hoped he would get some response of guilt or in the least, hesitation).

“NO! is not affair of the heart it is an affair of the dead, the murdered.”


                        “And just how should I be concerned?”


“She was stabbed and the marks made by the knife were most unusual. Forensics tells me that certain knives used in Makaya or Initiation rites
ceremonies are capable of making similar marks”.


“Forensics have become quite knowable on our affairs huh Detective?”

(ignoring the last statement)

“Do you have Makaya knives”?

 [The man reaches underneath the stoop and brings out a cloth draped sack. He unfurls the sack revealing an assortment of seven knives of varying shapes, lengths and degrees. DeBaptise looks at them. He then cautiously fondles several of the blades].


“Tell me Detective, at what age were you when they chose
 you to be an initiate?”

(Shocked. He slowly brings his hand up to mock turtle neck and moves the collar back up to its conciliatory height)

“That is not your concern and that is not why I am here”
 (he continues to view the knives).

“I will need to borrow these to conduct some test. I can get them back to you in a few days.”

(He goes once again for his wallet and fishes out a fifty dollar bill)


“You know BOUKMAN”




“Never call me that again.”


“My apologies. You know Detective; Some knives are made to kill the flesh.  And there are some knives that are meant to kill that which is already dead.  But deeper still, there are some knives that are meant to kill beyond death; they are meant to kill the soul.”


“I just want the knife that was used to kill an innocent, young and
beautiful girl.

 [Still not quite satisfied with the selection, DeBaptise continues to sample and eye the blades].



“Innocence is sometime a mask worn by that which is not Detective. Only the soul knows innocence

 (He reaches under his tunic and withdraws another knife, this one dagger-like).


[The detective eyes the newly produced blade with fear and admiration. He slowly reaches for it. This is the blade he wants. The Boukman can see it in his eyes].

“Let us leave now, quickly” Hastens the Boukman. They exit
the room. The Man makes great haste and applies urgency in securing and bolting the door. He informs DeBaptise that until that special knife is returned that his
vocation will be placed on hold and he requests an additional amount to cover
His lost wages. DeBaptise views the dramatics as more show than anything else.
DeBaptise stubbornly submits with an extra twenty. We followed DeBaptise as he
drives off.


We see DeBaptise pull up to a meat market and later leave the shop. An attendant is helping him haul away the split-side carcass of a full size pig. The two men work in unison to shift the purchase into the trunk of DeBaptise’s car.


Continued next week...


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