Thursday, 27 August 2020

The Prison Visitor

  

 The End  

  By Rose McGrath

black coffee


Characters
Jim: is the newly employed art teacher to D wing, HMP Bristol. He’s a widow and is trying to put his life back together after his wife died.
Lewis: is a prisoner, a street artist, and a reformed drug addict.
1. INT. Day - Classroom, D Wing - HMP Bristol  
LEWIS in his mid-twenties, tall and thin.
The stage is set up as a classroom. A flip chart is visible with a few posters on the wall.
An inmate is sitting at a desk.
JIM appears on the stage carrying a folder and an art book in his hand.
JIM sits down opposite the inmate.
JIM
I'm Jim, Jim Green, the new wing art teacher. The Governor tells me you're a street artist.
Lewis looks Jim up and down.
LEWIS
If you know, why you asking?
JIM
I've seen some of your sketches.
LewIS
So, you know that I'm good.
JIM
The Governor wants a mural painted outside his office.
LEWIS
That's not my thing?
JIM
So why are you here then?
LEWIS
I d’know, wanted something to do. A mural - art to me is free expression.

You could bring me some girly magazines, top shelf stuff, so I could improve my skills.

 JiM
I'm aware of the rules, Lewis.
LewIS
I suppose it beats drawing the view from my cell.

Jim opens his folder.
Lewis sits back in the chair with his arms folded.
LEWIS (CONT'D)
You ever been on a train to Waterloo station?
Jim nods.
Lewis (CONT'D)
You know the red brick building before the trains get into the platforms.
JIM
Yes, I think so.
LEWIS
There's a massive picture of Popeye, smoking a spliff. That's mine.
JIM
I'm impressed. That's like a national landmark.
LeWIS
Took me fucking ages.
JiM
Have you ever worked on canvas?
LEWIS
Naah, I ain't some rich kid who's been to art school. The street is my canvas. I like passers-by to stop in their tracks when they see my art.
Fag - you got one?

JIM
No, I don't.
LEWIS
I suppose you're veggie too.
silence.
LEWIS (CONT'D)
You get me some decent gear and I'll think about it.
JIM
Jim shouts Guard.
The stage goes black.

Cut TO:

2. Int - Jim's House - Night
The side of the stage is set as a living room. A small settee, fireplace, a rug by the fire and a lamp. A picture of a lady is in a frame on the mantelpiece.
Jim is standing by the fireplace, looking at the picture.  Then he takes the picture off the mantelpiece and holds it in his hand.
JIM
I put out two mugs again this morning Annie. I should throw them all away and just keep one.

Remember your first exhibition. You were so worried that nobody would come. How wrong you were. We opened the door and there they were queuing.

Pause.
JIM (CONT'D)
The inmates are going to be a challenge. I hate the smell of the place, the endless red tape, and the lost souls. I should have said no to Jeff, but he's your brother.
Jim paces up and down.

If it gets me close to the truth, it will be worth it.
Jim touches the picture.
JIM (CONT'D)

 I've got a big day tomorrow, so I'll say good night my darling.
Jim turns off the light and walks off the stage.

3. INT. Day - Classroom, D Wing - HMP Bristol
Jim is in the classroom, sitting at a desk. He has pictures of street scenes put up around the room. Lewis comes onto the stage with bruises on his face and cuts on his hands.
Lewis slowly sits down at a desk.
LEWIS
You came back then?
Jim looks up from his sketch book at Lewis.
Jim
What happened to your face?
LewIS
(Aggressively) I ran into a door.
Jim sits down opposite Lewis.
Jim
You all right then?
LewIS
Yea, great. What do you want me to do? 
JIM
Make a start on the faces. Jeff, I mean the Governor wants a collage of faces. Something striking that he can show visitors. It might look good for the parole board.
LewIS
Right.

Jim
Do you feel you're ready to move on, start again?
LEWIS
You don't make plans here - just survive. You got a family?
Jim
Once.
Pause.
Jim (CONT'D)
She was snatched away from me.

LEWIS
I had a girl, JODY. Got me to draw bigger and bolder pictures you know on the side of buildings.  She used to nick the aerosol cans from Halfords for me. (smiling to himself). But she wanted to know where I was 24/7 and who I was with. She wouldn't stop nagging.  So, I made her stop.
JIM
You need to love and protect women not...Did you hurt her?
LEWIS
That's my business.
JIM
Maybe your sins are coming back to haunt you?

LEWIS
Think what you like, mate. I don't give a toss.
JIM
Jim says "you bastard" under his breath.

JIM (CONT'D)
Go on, start sketching out the outlines of the faces, we don't have all day. 
LEWIS
Ok, who rattled your cage. Here will this do.
Jim looks at Lewis sketch book.
JIM
That's good.
LEWIS
Maybe guilt is eating me up. I d'know. But after lights out, I listen to me music. But when I close my eyes she comes.
JIM
Who?

LewIS
I see this woman running from room to room. Her hands are covering her face. Blood seeps through the cracks in her fingers. When she takes her hands away, I see the terror in her eyes as she tries to wipe the blood away, but more and more blood drips out from a cut in her head. I hear voices in the background then a gunshot. I see her lifeless body being rolled up in a rug. There's two of them; I can't make out their faces. I see the rug being chucked over a cliff hitting the sides of the rocks then dropping down to the cove - all in slow motion.

I get medication from the doc now, but she's always there.
Jim, looks away, trying to hold back the tears in his eyes.
Pause.
JIM
I don't know what to say. It might be better to deal head on with your fears.

Jim gets up from his chair and walks around avoiding looking at Lewis.
LEWIS
Most of the time I was off my face on smack. I've done things I'm not proud of for a few quid. Maybe I went to her house?
Lewis smiles to himself. Placing his hands on the table showing the cuts on his knuckles.
LEWIS (CONT'D)
They get in your face here. Tried to take my music, that's like taking your woman.
I've had dope in my body for so long. Now I'm coming off it, I see the fucked-up existence that I live in.
Jim looks at the pictures in Lewis's sketch pad.

JiM
Where's the girl from your dreams? I thought you would have drawn a picture of her?
Lewis
Naah.
Lewis takes a pause.
Lewis (CONT'D)
I've been thinking of things I want to do before I die. Like have a family and own a Porsche. I'd like to see my mum and dad. I've always given them grief. Maybe I'll write them a letter.

I asked the lads on the wing - they want their faces in a beach scene. Give them something nice to look at. You know, with palm trees and coconuts, white sand, and a clear blue sea. Oh, and lots of girls with big tits and a big ass playing beach volleyball.
JIM
No girls.
LEWIS
Not much of a beach scene without girls.
Jim
So, Lewis, have you ever been to an artist's studio?
LEWIS
Yeah, I've been to an art exhibition. Seen Tracey Emin's Bed, weird.
JIM
You ever been to an artist studio in Hampton Lucy?
Lewis drops his pencil on the floor. 
LeWIS
You sound like the Old Bill. I thought we were here to work on the collage Jim?
Jim
You sure you never met my wife? 
LEWIS
I d'know.
A bell rings.
LEWIS (CONT'D)
Lunch time I'm off.



4. INT. Day - Outside Governor's Office
Lewis is sketching outlines of some of faces from his notebook on a wall outside the Governor's office.
The mural shows a beach with faces in the palm trees peering out.
Jim comes on stage. 
Jim
It's taking shape Lewis.
LeWIS
It's like the old days but without it pissing down with rain or birds crapping on me. I got time now; my parole's been turned down.
Jim speaks with gritted teeth.
JIM
Sorry to hear that, why?
LeWIS
The Old Bill came visiting. Think I had something to do with an unsolved murder down by the cove.

Lewis starts to laugh.
LEWIS (CONT'D)
My so-called mate gave them my name. Stashed a painting from a robbery in his shed. Silly idiot should have got rid of it.
Jim
Did they have a picture of the painting? 
Lewis stares at Jim and feels uneasy.

LewIS
I don't fucking remember.
Jim stands up and stares frantically at the outlines of faces that Lewis is working on.
Jim
I only see the men on the wing. Where's the woman from your dreams? You said that you would draw her?

LEWIS
I put her in the palm trees.

Jim leans on the canvas in shock, full of rage he walks over to Lewis and grabs him.
Jim
That was my house you broke into. You took my Annie away from me.
LewIS
I was off my head on smack.
JIM
It must have been great, partying for weeks when you sold my Annie's paintings. You gave her no compassion, just left her to rot at the bottom of the cove.
Jim raises his voice.
JIM (CONT'D)
She was flesh and blood and you treated her like she was nothing. You want your nightmare to end Lewis? Well, I'm here to end it for you.
Jim pulls out a knife and stabs Lewis in the stomach. Lewis falls to the ground. 
Lewis holding his stomach. Talking in a low voice.
LEWIS
The gun was only to scare her. She wouldn't stop screaming. I hit her to shut her up. We went from room to room looking for stuff to sell. She managed to crawl to the front door. I didn't know the gun was loaded. I heard a bang. JAKE SHOT HER.
Jim with the knife still in his hand stabs himself, then slumps down on the floor next to Lewis and drags a picture out of his pocket.
JIM
It's been a long time coming, Annie, but I got the truth. We will be together again.
In the background the sound of the alarm is heard.
                    The End

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