BY SHAYNA GLUCK LAZAREVICH
A young woman, dressed in
a white blouse, short skirt and high heals shoes, is running alone on an
isolated trail in the redwood forest. The woods are dark and she is seen
fleetingly from across a creek as her form passes quickly between the trees.
For a brief moment her face is seen; her skin is fair, her hair is dark.
Strands stick to her cheek as tears roll down her face smearing her
mascara. A thin strand of pearls is around her neck. Her eyes are
dark and intense. The SOUND of jets can be heard gradually getting louder.
She wipes her nose with the back of her hand, sobbing, then bows her head and then covers her face in her hands. The SOUND of the jets grow louder. She presses her hands against her face pulling her hair back at the sides and yells.
Her cry echoes through the forest. Her hands turn to clenched fists at the side of her head until her knuckles become white. The SOUND of the jets blast louder. JELENA momentarily sees an image of a chanting ORTHODOX PRIEST in a CHURCH and than a casket followed by images of bombed buildings, and dead bodies.
JELENA drops suddenly from view, leaving an empty trail. Stumbling is heard. Her foot catches on the foot of a tree. JELENA takes a violent fall. She screams and lands on her back while the SOUND of the jets, which are in fact cruise missiles, detonate in a thunderous explosion. JELENA’s winces in excruciating pain as she clutches at right ankle and moans. The explosions begin to subside and the distant SOUND of a runner’s footsteps can barely be heard. Jelena slowly becomes aware of the SOUND as it becomes louder and begins to look up. A tall, clean cut athletic man STEVE in a trendy T-shirt, shorts and running shoes is racing towards her. He’s wearing an expensive min-disc player, blasting music and unaware that JELENA is lying on the ground on a slope around a curve. STEVE is nearly on top of JELENA when he finally sees her. Running too fast to stop he leaps over her body sailing through the air.
Steve stumbles, slips and rolls beneath her on the slope towards the creek. His headphones fly off with the mini disc player and splash into the water. JELENA sits up holding her ankle and looks at STEVE. STEVE, is lying on his stomach, his face in the dirt.
STEVE sits up, rubbing his legs and arms.
right. Laying down in the middle of the goddamn trail where no one can
STEVE gets up and walks over to the creek looking for his mini-disc player. He sees his head phones floating in the water; cord it partially submerged attached to the mini-disc player lying among the rocks.
this is great.
know I bought this just three weeks ago.
STEVE wades into the creek and fishes out his mini-disc player. He opens it, turns it over and water spills out.
Three hundred dollars… I paid three hundred dollars for this.
STEVE glares at JELENA .
STEVE, noticing her heavy Slavic accent.
don’t know where the hell you’re from, but in this country we
don’t lie around in the middle of trails. Shit. Look at this
thing. Three hundred bucks!
Oh, I understand. I understand you probably don’t have the money to replace it
know. Replace. Buy—me—a—new—one. What do you do anyway.
Couldn’t be a secretary with that English. Probably a student. Right?
(speaking to herself)
Right. Ov course! That’s it, I try to explain.
JELENA staring back at STEVE
You…you…don’t listen. vhy to listen? Vhen already you know everything…Vhen you don’t—
You’d be pissed off too. You’re lying on the goddamn trail. I
nearly break my neck. And Three hundred bucks—gone!
STEVE waves the mini-disc at her.
I think you should pay at least half.
STEVES eyes follow the fall of her hair and then linger on the opening of JELENA’S blouse unbuttoned part way down her chest revealing the top of her breasts.
I’m sure we can work something out. Give me your number, so I know how to reach you.
JELENA’s gaze follows his to her chest. She looks up in sudden comprehension.
give me that shit. You’ve responsible for this
Responsible? It fell from your head, not mine. I owe you
I can’t help that you don’t look.
And let me make this clear. I’m not fooling around.
Oh sorry. My English. You know, is bad. Here. Let me say it again, more clear this time. You and your valk-min can GO-TO-HELL!
JELENA steps away from the tree, putting weight on her right foot. She shrieks and starts to fall. STEVE catches her in his arms.
down! Let me sit.
STEVE lowers her to the ground, and JELENA moans in pain clutching her ankle. STEVE looks at JELENA’S face and than her ankle.
Here. Here! Let me see.
Damn it. Will you just let me look at it?
JELENA leans back on her hands and lets him examine her ankle, wincing in pain. STEVE notices her high heels.
I suppose this is why you were on the ground.
STEVE looks at JELENA’S face and than down at his watch. He looks around and sees no one but huge red wood trees towering over them both. He take a deep breath and rubs his eyes.
EXT. TRAIL IN SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS—DAY
JELENA is limping on one foot, leaning on STEVE’S shoulder. STEVE looks at his watch impatiently. JELENA is turning her head away, occasionally wincing in pain. She is holding her shoes in her free hand.
So…where are you from?
JELENA remains silent.
It doesn’t matter.
JELENA turns her head away.
JELENA turns her head and looks STEVE in the eyes.
I am Serb.
Yes. From Kosovo-Methoija. Kosovo.
STEVE and JELENA walk a long a little further in silence. STEVE begins giving JELENA curious, studied looks.
So how do you feel…you know, about the atrocities, I mean, as a Serbian, the ethnic cleansing…the rapes. And Milosevic being tried for war crimes.
How do you know vhat happened, vhat really happened? I vas dhere! Kosovo vas my home…my home!
didn’t need to be there. I saw the reports, the pictures were
undeniable! Thousands of refugees, concentration camps. Like the
Germans, the Nazis in world war II.
Nazis! Oh yes, I remember dhat picture, the camp, vith starving man, in Bosnia. Yes your “undeniable” evidence against us. Fake.
Cut to actual footage of ITN reporters staging the concentration camp shot in a Bosnian refugee camp.
Sure. You’re telling me that was faked? Please.
Cut back to actual footage if ITN reporters staging the concentration camp scene.
You people. How can you deny it? The rapes, the killing, your fascist president. Another fucking Hitler!
Hey, save it-- your Milosevic propaganda. Everyone knows what happened.
They stop walking and their arguing continues.
people! Sick. We had to bomb. You were committing genocide! 100,000
Yes. Dhats right, that’s why many teams of forensic investigators couldn’t find those 100,000 bodies—those mass graves. All stories. For this you bombed our schools, our hospitals and factories—even churches!
people, need to accept what you did. What Milosevic did.
JELENA releases herself from STEVE’s hold by shoving him away and falling to the ground. She shrieks in pain. STEVE moves towards her.
Right. You can’t walk. We’ve got at least a mile to go. There’s no one around. You’re not going anywhere without me.
I’d rather crawl! Anyway, vee are animals belonging here on da ground. Right? Barbarians. You Americans much teach us, must show us how to be civilized—starve us with sanctions, bomb us with your missiles.
JELENA begins crawling away on all fours, her bare knees scraping on twigs and rocks. She winces in pain but keeps going.
You people are all nuts! Insane.
STEVE follows along behind towering over her.
Did you hear me? A mile. At least a mile. Look, I’ve about had enough. I don’t have time for whatever fucking point you’re trying to make.
STEVE walks around and stands in front of her head blocking her path.
Stop. I said stop!
JELENA moves to the right trying to pass, but STEVE continues to block her path. JELENA moves to the left, and STEVE blocks her again. JELENA looks through his legs at the path ahead. STEVE stares down at her.
said, no…No. Understand. Want my help or not, you’re getting it.
JELENA stares down at the dirt then at his running shoes.
Suddenly JELENA grabs him by the leg and ankle and sinks her teeth into his calf drawing blood. STEVE screams.
STEVE grabs his leg where he’s been bitten, feeling the wound with his fingers. When he sees the blood on his fingers he whirls around and kicks JELENA in the face, sending her hurling across the trail.
JELENA is lying in the dirt, rubbing her face. Her lip is bleeding. JELENA looks at the blood on her hand from her lip.
Tank you…. Tank you. I will remember always dhis lesson—taught so vell, finally I understand what this means, your word: tolerance.
Yes. You wouldn’t let me pass and I bit you. For dhis you kicked me in the face. I love America—so, so democratic—so free.
JELENA continues rubbing her face She starts shaking her head and than looks up STEVE who is rubbing his head nervously, his expression turning to bewilderment.
Hey…I'm sorry but...you
You know how many churches, Serbian churches have been destroyed since you, Americans “liberated” Kosovo? 100. 100 churches guarded, protected--vee were promised--by American and German, and Dutch soldiers. Many very old, some from medieval times.
Cut to montage of actual video of Orthodox churches desecrated and destroyed by explosives.
In one of those churches, beautiful old church, vas my father, my ta ta. He vas priest, Orthodox priest. Very near your new American base, huge base you put on our soil, in our country vith Burger King, and gym and bowling alleys and more guns and more bombs. Camp Bondsteel. Like small American city… One night he vas there, my ta ta, but the soldiers did not come, he stayed to protect it, but he vas blown up inside.
Cut to Priest swing incense from a golden chained holder in pray. Cut to shot of casket.
JELENA starts crawling away on again on hands and knees
(quietly, to herself)
He sent me here, my father, to study, to be safe. My mother escaped to Belgrade with younger brother. But never mind. You know the truth already…that vee are a violent people, who must be controlled…punished…told how to live…to vote…whom to have as president.
STEVE stares after her looking uncertain and confused. As JELENA crawls further away. She begins singing an old Serbian folk song for children, her eyes unfocused, lost in thought. Her lip is swollen, and bloodied. STEVE stands awhile and than begins to take a few tentative steps behind her. He looks at his hands and feet and then JELENA's legs dragging in the dirt on ground.
FADE TO BLACK