Saturday, June 25, 2011

Jamie Lee

I love posting samples of my writing online, so where better to do it than my own blog? Here is a sample of a story/screenplay I submitted to the New York Film Academy during my application process. This story, labeled Jamie Lee, and along with others was part of my creative portfolio. Since my acceptance to the filmmaking program, I've decided that out of all my stories and screenplay ideas, this is the one that has gathered most of my attention. I hope you like what you read. You might be seeing it in theaters one day!

     There was a suspect, two detectives, a nurse and a doctor inside the interrogation room. On the other side of the one-way mirror, there were two police officers and a video camera to record the interrogation. Along the table inside of the interrogation room were pictures of murdered victims. A man and a woman had been killed. Sitting across from the detectives was a man. The suspect in the murder case. The man remained sitting completely still. He didn’t look to the photos on the table. He didn’t look at the detectives or the nurse and doctor. He only looked straight ahead at the one-way mirror. He didn’t have to be a cop to know that they were recording him.
Smoke filled the room from a half smoked cigarette sitting in the ashtray on the table. When the smoke reached the suspects nose, he glanced at the ashtray.
“Would you like one?” Detective Foreman asked the suspect.
He said nothing. As much as he wanted a cigarette, he wouldn’t ask for one. He looked back to the one-way mirror. The detectives studied him for a moment and then exchanged glances with the doctor. The man’s face was battered. A welt was above his right eye. His lip was cut, along with the side of his face. He’d needed stitches just to stop the bleeding. Scratches were along his neck. They’d been cleaned with antiseptic to avoid infection. Human fingernails contained so many different types of bacteria, the doctor had told him while cleaning his wounds.
“Billy…” Detective Gordon said while outstretching his hand to the suspect. “Where is Jamie Lee Preston?”
Billy’s eyes fluttered for a moment. He looked away from the one-way mirror and looked at Detective Gordon. “Jamie Lee?” Billy asked. 
The detectives became tense. They exchanged eager glances and moved closer to the table. It was the first time he’d spoken since being taken into custody. When he smiled slightly and even chuckled, the detectives became unnerved.
“Jamie’s at the hospital,” Billy said. “Or maybe at the bar. It’s hard to tell with Jamie…what she’s doing.”
Detective Foreman grabbed his half smoked cigarette from the ashtray and tapped the filter a bit before bringing it to his lips. He took a long drag and grabbed a photo of a brutally murdered man from the table. After a few moments of studying the picture, he turned it so Billy could see.
“Do you know this man, Billy?” Detective Foreman asked.
Billy’s eyes drifted from the one-mirror once more and scanned the photo. After a few moments, he sighed and shut his eyes. “Yes.”
“Who is he?” Detective Foreman asked.
“That’s Doctor Townsend,” Billy said after a few moments of staring at the detective. It was as if it hurt him to release the identity of the man in the picture.
Detective Foreman nodded and set the photo back onto the table. “He was found in a ditch on the side of the road. His neck was broken and his throat was cut open,” the detective said.
“What would be the purpose in that?” Billy asked.
Detective Foreman took another drag of his cigarette but never took his eyes from Billy. After a couple of moments, Detective Gordon scooted a photo of the murdered woman closer to Billy.
“Do you know this woman?” Detective Gordon asked.
Billy’s eyes fell to the photo in front of him. It was difficult to identify people when they were dead. They didn’t look like regular people. Their skin was blue, and their eyes were vacant. They reminded him of mannequin’s. Billy swallowed hard and looked back at the detective. He was sick of looking at dead people. “No,” Billy said. “I’ve never seen her before.”
“So you’re not aware of the connection between the victims?” Detective Gordon asked.
Billy opened his mouth to speak but he hesitated. When he looked back to the table, Detective Gordon leaned further up in his seat. He knew something, the detective could tell. 
“Do you have something you should be telling us?” Detective Gordon asked.
“I’ve…never seen that woman before, but…I know who she is,” Billy said. He looked back at the detectives. “That’s Doctor Townsend’s fiancĂ©e.”
“If you’ve never seen her before then how do you know who she is?” Detective Foreman asked while putting his cigarette out in the ashtray completely.
“Jamie told me about her. It…only makes sense that it would be her,” Billy said. He looked at the detectives once more. His eyes were glossy, as if he were going to cry. “Jamie’s not a bad person,” he said. “She’s just…lost right now, and…she needs help. She’s…she’s had a hard life.”
Detective Gordon grabbed a file from his briefcase and leaned further back in his chair. He opened the file and started reading through the papers, flipping through the pages while he did. “You’re from New Jersey, right, Billy?” Detective Gordon asked.
Billy paused. He didn’t see how it was relevant. “Yes.”
“How do you know Jamie Preston?” Detective Gordon asked.
Billy’s eyes drifted away from the detective and back to the table in front of him. He sighed. “We’re childhood friends. I’ve known Jamie for…fifteen years. She’s my best friend.”
“How did the two of you meet?” Detective Gordon asked.
“She moved in down the street from me when we were ten. There weren’t many kids on our block so she and I got really close,” Billy said. “We’ve been through everything together, but she…really had a tough life.”
“What do you mean?” Detective Foreman asked.
Billy winced while a tear fell from his eye and streaked down his cheek. It was painful to think about the past. “Her father was a drunk. He’d come home from the bar and…beat up on Jamie and her mom. Jamie, he’d…he’d do worse things to Jamie.”
“Worse things?” Detective Gordon asked. “What kinds of things?”
“Like have a little too much fun during bath time kinds of things,” Billy said.
“Did she ever call the police or…tell her mother?” Detective Gordon asked.
Billy nodded. “Her mother knew,” he said. “She wouldn’t call the cops though. She was afraid of what her father would do to her.”
“And she told you these things?” Detective Foreman asked. “The things her father did to her?”
Billy nodded. Another tear fell from his eye and onto the table.
“Why didn’t you call the police?” Detective Foreman asked.
“She made me promise I wouldn’t. So I didn’t. All I could do was…be a friend to her,” he said. “She used to…sneak over to my house late at night after it happened. And…I’d be a friend to her,” Billy said.
“What do you mean?” Detective Foreman asked.
Billy studied the man for a bit. After a couple moments, his eyes narrowed. “We were kids, Detective, nothing happened. She would just sleep next to me.” Billy looked away from the detective and glanced at the photos of the dead bodies on the table. He swallowed hard. “She used to tell me that…she only felt safe in my arms.”
“The two of you were pretty close then, weren’t you?” Detective Gordon asked.
“Are,” Billy said. “We are close. I know she…kind of snapped, but…who wouldn’t?” Billy asked. “After what she’s seen.”
“You mean her father being killed?” Detective Gordon asked.
Billy nodded. “When we were thirteen. I remember that day so well because…we were riding our bikes near the train tracks. Jamie hurried to leave the neighborhood because her father would be home soon.” Billy shook his head. “We never expected to see him coming as we were leaving, but…that drunk fuck smashed head on into another car and…flames…” Billy swallowed hard. “I felt like I was burning alive, that’s how hot it was.”
“So her father was killed in the crash?” Detective Gordon asked.
Billy shrugged. “You could say that. The fire’s what got him. I remember him reaching for us, yelling for us to get help, but…Jamie never moved. I kept looking back and forth between her and the fire, but she…never looked away from the fire. She sat on her bike and watched her father burn to death that day. Not once did she cry.”
“That’s pretty traumatizing for two thirteen year olds to witness,” Detective Gordon said.
“Tell me about it,” Billy said. “I had nightmares for weeks after that.” Billy snickered. “But even though it was traumatizing, it was probably…the best thing that happened to Jamie.”
“I would say so,” Detective Forman said.
“So things got better for her after he father died,” Detective Gordon said.
“Not right after, but eventually,” Billy said. “About a month after the wreck, her mother killed herself. It happened one night when Jamie was over at my house. When she went home the next morning, her mom was hanging from the second floor balcony.”
“What happened to Jamie after that?” Detective Gordon asked.
Billy sighed. He thought for a moment. As if the thought of a teenage Jamie brightened his day, he smiled. “She was…in and out of foster homes for awhile, but…she ran away from them a lot.”
“Where’d she go?” Detective Gordon asked.
“My house,” Billy said. “My parents never saw her, they would have called the police. It got to the point where…Jamie would disappear and the cops would just show up at my house because they knew she’d be there.”
“Why’d she keep going back if she knew she’d be caught?” Detective Gordon asked.
Billy shook his head. “It wasn’t about getting away. She wanted to see me, and…I wanted to see her.”
“Then what happened?” Detective Foreman asked while lighting another cigarette. When the match went out, he threw it in the ashtray and took a long drag. “The two of you have managed to stay close throughout the years. How old are you?” he asked with smoke bellowing out of his mouth.
“Twenty-five,” Billy said.
“Did she stay around?” Detective Foreman asked.
Billy nodded. “After a few years of bouncing around in foster care, yeah, she stayed around. A family out in Camden adopted her.”
“So she would come and visit you?” Detective Gordon asked.
Billy nodded. “Only when we graduated high school did we grow apart,” he said. “I mean, I got into art school and…she applied to nursing school.”
“How were things in high school?” Detective Gordon asked.
Billy shrugged. “I don’t know, we didn’t go to the same school, and she rarely wanted to talk about it. Every once and awhile she’d tell me about some asshole who she’d slept with, but it never lasted for long.”
“Why’s that?” Detective Foreman asked.
“Because Jamie is a different brand of female,” Billy said. “You have to be a certain type of guy to appreciate her and to understand…why she is the way she is.”
“How is she?” Detective Gordon asked.
“Different. She’s a loner. She doesn’t care for getting dressed up and going out on the town,” Billy said. “She’s not like other girls.”
Detective Gordon glanced at his partner. The small interrogation room was filling with cigarette smoke from the amount of cigarettes that had been smoked in the short amount of time.
“Billy,” Detective Gordon spoke calmly while placing his hand on the table as if reaching out to the suspect. “Have you and Jamie Lee Preston ever had…carnal relations?”
Billy was quiet for a moment. After a couple of seconds, he smirked. “If you ask her, she’d say no.”
“What do you say?” Detective Foreman asked.
“Yes,” he said while focusing on the Detective. “Yes we have. It wasn’t until recently, but…after the first time…I couldn’t…” he shook his head. His eyes were watering more noticeably.
“You couldn’t what?” Detective Gordon asked calmly.
Billy let out a quivering breath. “I love Jamie, but she…she was different. Something was wrong with her, and…she wouldn’t listen to me. She has this…personality that takes over, you know? These…moods where she’s a completely different person. She becomes…reckless and dangerous.”
“Dangerous?” Detective Gordon asked.
“It never used to happen before,” Billy said. “I don’t know what triggered it, but…she was going to get herself into trouble.”
Detective Gordon scooted his chair closer to the table and took a pen out from inside his jacket pocket. He pulled a yellow pad of paper out of his briefcase and started writing something at the top. It was something that Billy wasn’t concerned with. “Okay, Billy,” the detective spoke, catching his attention once more. “Why don’t you tell us what happened. Start from the beginning and end with yesterday afternoon.”
“You want the whole story or just…Jamie’s relationship with the doc?” Billy asked. “The whole story might take awhile.”
“Just tell us the whole story from your perspective,” Detective Gordon said.
Billy glanced to the pack of cigarettes on the table once more. Detective Foreman watched Billy eyeing the cigarettes, licking his lips while he did.
“Would you like one now?” Detective Foreman asked.
Billy glanced at him. When Detective Foreman pushed them across the table to where Billy could reach, he raised his cuffed hand to the pack. Detective Gordon waited patiently for his partner to reach across the table and light the cigarette for Billy. After the first drag, Billy removed the cigarette from his mouth, exhaled, and chuckled while studying the cigarette.
“You know, you’re probably the second person I’ve ever met in this world who smokes American Spirits,” he said.
“Who’s the first?” Detective Foreman asked while lowering himself back into his chair.
“Me,” Billy said after taking another drag.
“Billy, go ahead and start from the beginning,” Detective Gordon said.
“The beginning?” Billy asked. “It’s kind of hard to think of when the beginning was.”
“When did you notice things were different in your mind?” Detective Gordon asked.
Billy thought for a moment. “It was…two months ago. Jamie was spending most of her time working at the hospital as a med tech, and the rest of her time was spent doing nursing school in New Jersey. I was working at a music store in downtown Newark. The art school thing was a bust from the beginning. Jamie and I, we sort of fell into a routine. She’d work, go to school. I’d work, go party, and then go pass out at her house. Things played out like that for a while. 
She always asked me why I’d crash at her house when my apartment was so much closer to the bars. To be honest, it was because I didn’t like the idea of her living in that part of town by herself. Within a month of her living in that shitty ass townhouse, she was robbed. Since then, me and my friends would hang out over there a lot. Even when she was at work or at class. Just to make sure nothing happened while she was gone.”