Dust Bowl – Chapter 12
The great Dust Bowl of the 1930′s strikes and Oklahoman Woody Loggins and his Mexican friend Pepe pack up shop and head West.
Chapter 12 – Do Re Mi
(Woody Loggins is being interrogated by detectives at the Los Angeles Police Department after the attempted assassination of President Herbert Hoover…)
Det. Faulk: I gotta tell ya Mr. Loggins, it’s not looking good. First you’re institutionalized after assaulting the President’s chief of staff and now the very day you’re released from the county asylum the President is shot.
Woody: You don’t understand, I only tackled the chief of staff because I thought he was an island cannibal because of my Huntington’s. I got nothing against the President. I mean, of course, he did shut down my farm and force me into abject poverty. But I don’t really follow politics.
(Detectives Faulk & Schette share a glance and Woody audibly gulps…)
(President Hoover is being pushed in a wheelchair by his chief of staff Reginald Thorngood, preparing for the first Presidential debate as assembled media look on from below the stage…)
Reporter: Mr. President, are you concerned it could be perceived that you are mocking Governor Roosevelt’s condition by appearing at this debate in a wheelchair?
Hoover: I was fucking shot, you piece of–
(Thorngood spins Hoover’s wheelchair around and steps in front…)
Thorngood: President Hoover is taking this debate very seriously. He is here to show the American people that he cares for their health and well-being over his own.
(Hoover turns his wheelchair back around and bumps into the back of Thorngood’s legs, pushing him out of the way…)
Hoover: Look you jackals, I’m not here to mock Roosevelt. His policies do that for him. I’m here to win this debate and get this country back on its feet. (glances down at limp useless legs) …so to speak.
Det. Schette: Just admit it, you sonuvabitch! You shot the President! Confess! Confesssssssssss!
(Det. Schette’s partner Det. Faulk pushes Schette’s finger out of Woody’s face and has him take a seat to cool off. Faulk sits down across from Woody with a calming smile…)
Faulk: Why don’t you just admit it and this can all be over, huh? The chips are stacked against you enough as it is.
Woody: But you don’t have any evidence. You don’t even have the gun!
Schette: (stands up, paces) Circumstantial. You probably threw it away.
Faulk: Look. Somebody shot the President. Whether it was you or someone else doesn’t really matter at this point. The White House wants this investigation wrapped up today. You’re an Okie. You got no job, no cash, no hope. In federal prison you’ll get three square meals a day and a roof over your head.
Woody: That does actually sound pretty–wait, what am I saying. No! I didn’t do it!
Faulk: (turns to his partner) Whaddya think, Schette?
Schette: Sounds like a confession to me, Faulk.
(President Hoover and Governor Roosevelt are seated in their wheelchairs onstage for the first Presidential debate for the assembled media, citizens and radio listeners at home…)
Hoover: Mr. Roosevelt would have you believe that this so-called “Dust Bowl” was man-made. That the machines of man are killing our country. Well I say that the machines of man are what built this country. It’s called progress, Mr. Roosevelt. Ever heard of it?
(Hoover turns to FDR with a smug grin and Roosevelt rolls his eyes…)
Roosevelt: There’s a difference between progress and the raping of our land, Mr. President.
Hoover: (wheels toward FDR) You calling me a rapist, bro? You callin’ me a rapist, bro!
(The Presidential candidates’ wheels get locked together and they struggle to separate themselves…)
Roosevelt: Can you just–
Hoover: Well, I know. Lemme get this–
Roosevelt: Just back up a little.
Hoover: Look, I’m gonna turn this way and you–
(Roosevelt finally pushes Hoover away and across the stage and reaches into his pocket…)
Roosevelt: I didn’t want to do this, but you’ve left me no choice. (holds up a syringe) The President gave me polio.
(Flashbulbs ricochet around the auditorium as Hoover’s face goes sallow…)
(Back in Los Angeles County Federal Prison, Woody is discussing his escape plans with a seagull perched on his barred jailhouse window…)
Woody: So how we doin’ this, Gully? Explosion, knock a wall down? Dress like a guard and just walk out?
Seagull: You’re losing your mind, Woody Loggins. The Huntington’s is eating your brain. The walls between reality and hallucination have been permanently toppled.
Woody: (scratches chin, raises eyebrow) A tunnel, eh?
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