I am… I am but the star dust that tumbles I am but the twig that snaps beneath your umbels…

The Glass Tank

Penquin's house by ana traina ~ 2007 ~

This is an excerpt from my screenplay, entitled, “The Glass Tank”.  I hope you enjoy!

A brief synopsis ~ JACK ROBES seems to have everything, a beautiful house, wife and three beautiful boys.  Yet he struggles with a failed career ( once a very promising physicist at MIT) and a drug addiction. Then one day, just when Jack thought he couldn’t get any lower and on the verge of ending it all, CLAIR, a woman who is beautiful, independent, mysterious and full of life, appears at his front door…  While their tragic pasts intertwine, JACK finds himself on a downward spiral, gasping for air… He searches for a way out, his fragile reality is shattered, and CLAIR is the only one who can piece it back together.

INT. PENGUIN HOUSE – CENTRAL PARK ZOO
Jack and all the kids sit, in the dark, huddled together watching the penguins strut their stuff. Cary gets up and runs over and body slams the glass.

CARY
(laughing hardily)
Look at that guy, he’s so funny.

They all laugh at Cary.

JOHN
You used to come here when you were a kid?

JACK
Yeah… I lived just around the corner. It was my special place.

JOHN
How come?

JACK
Questions, questions, you got a lot of questions…

MARK
Tell us dad…

JACK
… Cause I read this book once…

JOHN
What book?

JACK
It was called Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

CARY
What happens to Mr. Popper…

JACK
Well, Mr. Popper was a man who struggled to be something more. He was a simple house painter who had never left his hometown, even for vacation. But he couldn’t, you see, because he had a family to support and a business to take of care of.  But Mr. Popper had a dream of being an explorer like the great Admiral Drake and travel to places like the Antarctica…

Jack does not blink as he watches his shoe-less MOTHER walk into the penguin’s tank and then recklessly plunge into the icy water…
The penguins noisily scatter in a tizzy and a huff… Yet able to get on with their day on shore.

At first Jack’s MOTHER seems peaceful as moon vines begin to grow, wrapping and tangling their tentacles around her abandoned body.

Then realizing that she is caught, she begins to struggle for survival…

Jack is a lone witness as she loses her fight for life, and tiny bubbles escape her nostrils… She gasps, frozen in death’s icy grip… She lifelessly floats, inside the glass tank…

The penguins are mournfully silent.

MARK
And?

Mark taps Jack’s shoulder… Jack blinks… and she’s gone. Just the whimsical penguins remain in their merry gossip and their wonderfully comical play…

JACK
And… Sometimes people go away.

John taps Jack’s arm.

JOHN
And?

Jack squeezes Mark and John…

JACK
And sometimes people die even when you want them to stay with you for ever and…

Jack kisses John’s forehead.

JOHN
Ever…

JACK
But Mr. Popper was always true to his dream… and never, never, never gave up — and one day, after many years, and all his troubles, and after countless letters to his hero —

MARK
He went, right?  To Antarctica?

JACK
Yep.

JOHN
Is that when you first got the idea to be a scientist?

JACK
I think so.

MARK
How many pages was this book?

JACK
Oh, it was a pretty good sized book.

MARK
Like how many pages would you say?

JACK
Oh… a hundred and sixty-eight…?

MARK
That’s five more than my Greek Mythology book?

Cary body slams the glass again.

CARY
I’m hungry.

JACK
Me too. Let’s go.

They all stand holding hands and walk outside…

EXT. CENTRAL PARK ZOO
The sun is setting. The clock starts to chime…

JACK
Hey, let’s go watch the clock…

They all quickly run over to the clock, they stare up at it as it chimes it’s last chime for six o’clock.

MARK
Now that’s cool.

They toodle around the park. They pass the little lake where you sail the toy boats. They pass Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter…

JACK
Hey guys we have to go this way if we want to get something to eat.

They all turn and start walking.

INT. TAVERN ON THE GREEN – NIGHT
The kids are finishing up their meal with a whole mess of desserts. Cary has chocolate everywhere as usual and is pretty happy about it. Jack looks out the window, past his reflection to the twinkling tree lights. A huge bubble forms in the air, inside we see Clair dancing… The bubble bursts and the image of Clair shatters, liberating her very essence into the air as violet smoke.

CARY
It’s like Christmas here… I love Christmas.

Jack smiles to himself.

JACK
I have a friend who hates Christmas… can you believe that…

CARY
He must be like the Grinch’s cousin…

Jack coughs with amusement.

MARK
Dad, did you know that John has a girlfriend —

JOHN
She’s just a friend.

Cary takes some of Mark’s dessert.

MARK
She wants to go dancing with you.

JOHN
So.

MARK
And kiss you all up…

Cary takes some of John’s dessert.

JOHN
Jealous?

CARY
(clapping his hands)
Yeah lots of kisses. I like kisses.

MARK
No… Dad, I don’t think I want to marry Mom anymore when I grow up…

JACK
Well, that’s a very healthy choice.

Cary farts.

CARY
What?… It smells so fresh —

Jack takes a napkin, dips it in water and wipes Cary’s face.

JACK
Shhh…

JOHN
Dad, are you ever going to go back to being a scientist?

Jack shifts in his chair.

JACK
I’m going to try, I’m going to try really hard.

JOHN
Yes!

Jack plunges his spoon into Cary’s ice cream, and eats it with gusto.

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