Whirlwind of Her Fury

By R. Earle Harris
All rights reserved (c) 2015 (rearleharris@tuxfamily.org)


FADE IN:

arabic

Title Over:
                On December 27, 1900, Carry Nation singlehandedly 
                destroyed the beautiful Hotel Carey Annex. It 
                was the finest bar west of the Mississippi, 
                catering only to the finest drunks. She took 
                a hatchet to it and her hatchetation was monumental. 
                So was Ms. Nation. This is her story. 

FADE IN:

Full Screen: Picture of Carry Nation, all in black with axe in hand, in her sixties, at the height of her fame.

CARRY (V.O.)
(A strong, old voice.)         
This is how you remember me. In my day, I was more famous than Amelia Jenks Bloomer and her britches or Mary Baker Eddy and her book. God made me his voice of temperance and I became a bulldog at the heels of Jesus, barking at what he hated. But if I was great, God formed that greatness out of sinful clay, for in the beginning I was a sinner - just like you.

EXT. HOUSE - DAY

SUPER: 1853

Rural Kentucky. Southern plantation home. Downstairs, adults singing. Outside, children playing.

SUPER: Our bulldog was a bad little puppy.

INT. HOUSE - DAY

Upstairs, sweet, seven-year-old CARRY Nation (nee Moore) rifling drawers for cash. Carry's father GEORGE Moore can be heard below as he steps outside.

GEORGE (O.S.)
Come in, Carry. We're leaving. Where's Carry?

CHILD(O.S.)
She went inside.

GEORGE(O.S.)
Inside?

Carry frantically puts all back in order and heads downstairs.

INT. HOUSE - DAY

Carry comes downstairs, as if just awakened from a nap. George waits below.

CARRY
I just woke up, papa.

GEORGE
Your mother's in the carriage, Carry. Won't do to keep her waiting.

CARRY
No, papa.

EXT. HOUSE - DAY

Carry's mother, THE QUEEN (who believed herself to be Queen Victoria) waits in the carriage wearing a crown of crystal. Large carriage, plush crimson upholstery, matching dapple grey mares. Coachman, high silk hat,black boy in mufti to open gates, liveried outrider each side of the wagon. Up in front a large black man, Big Bill, in scarlet hunting coat, blasts away on a hunting horn.

INT. CARRIAGE - DAY

George and Carry enter the carriage. Royal entourage heads for home.

THE QUEEN
George?

GEORGE
Yes, my dear?

THE QUEEN
It was all very well to visit with the Buchanans. But I wished to see the king of Belgium.

GEORGE
We can't find him, my dear. He appears to have moved.

THE QUEEN
Stop the coach!

GEORGE
Your majesty?

THE QUEEN
And hand me my sword.

EXT. FARM - DAY

Three farmers in the field. Queen marches over and knights two of the farmers. She crosses to the third and startles him. Seeing her sword, farmer defends himself, knocking the queen on her backside. Queen shrieks with indignation.

INT. CARRIAGE - DAY

George leans out the window.

GEORGE
You'd best go get Queen Victoria, Bill.

EXT. FARM - DAY

Big Bill intervenes, saving the farmer from her wrath.

INT. CARRIAGE - DAY

The Queen is bundled back into the carriage.

GEORGE
You are frightening your subjects, my dear.

THE QUEEN
Treasonous! I'll strip him of his estates.

GEORGE
My dear, he'll only sue to have them back at the next assizes.

THE QUEEN
Not if I hang him first.

They ride in silence a moment to settle the Queen.

GEORGE
I was thinking, dear, that it's time Carry moved into the house. She's getting old to be always with the slaves.

CARRY
Oh, yes, papa. Please let me move into the big house. I love Aunt Eliza, but I'm so tired of sleeping with Uncle Josh.

THE QUEEN
Not until she's eight, George. And see to Uncle Josh.

EXT. FARM - DAY

Modest house for the Moores, barns, workshops, beautiful gardens, and the longhouse for the slaves divided up into small rooms. Each slave family crowds gets one room.

CARRY (V.O.)
I was eight years old before I ever ate at the white table in my father's home. I lived with Aunt Eliza and Uncle Josh in the longhouse until I was twelve.

EXT. FARM - DAY

The Moore's arrive home. The Queen is still angry.

GEORGE
Come in, dear, and we'll settle your nerves with a julep.

The Queen relents.

THE QUEEN
You are so kind to me.

Upon the Moores' going inside, Carry runs off to the longhouse.

INT. LONGHOUSE - DAY

AUNT LIZA welcomes Carry.

CARRY
I'm back, Aunt Liza. We visited the Buchanans. Their house was full of money.

Carry gives Eliza the afternoon's proceeds.

AUNT ELIZA
Oh child, this will be Sunday dinner. Every longhouse needs a girl child like you.

Eliza and Carry hug.

CARRY
I'll be in the graveyard.

AUNT ELIZA
Come back by dark, child. Don't you miss dinner.

CARRY
What's for dinner?

AUNT ELIZA
I expect chicken.

EXT. GRAVEYARD - DAY

Graves above ground, carved stone lids. Carry is stretched prone on one, tracing the letters with her finger.

CARRY (V.O.)
My mother's gardens were beautiful. And I would often go down to the river to swim. But I loved our peaceful graveyard most of all. It was there I first felt close to God. And it was there I would hope and hope to speak with the angels.

EXT. LONGHOUSE - NIGHT

Around dusk. UNLCE JOSH is a manic, little bantam-weight.

UNCLE JOSH
Where is that girl?

AUNT ELIZA
She'll be along.

Carry appears, returning from the graveyard.

UNCLE JOSH
(To Carry. Feigning fright.)         
Cal. Cal, come quick, girl. It's crowed at me. It's crowed!

Josh takes Carry to the chicken coop and points out a tasty-looking hen.

UNCLE JOSH (CONT'D)
That's the one, Cal. When a hen crows like a boy-rooster it means death is a-coming to someone who hears it. You've got to kill it, Cal. Don't let the Devil any closer.

Carry looks as if she is almost, but not quite, onto Josh's scam.

INT. LONGHOUSE - NIGHT

Carry and Josh enter with a dead chicken.

UNCLE JOSH
Liza, Liza, the Devil is weaker tonight. Look here, a crowing hen.

AUNT ELIZA
Well, let me have it. The child looks famished.

INT. INT LONGHOUSE - NIGHT

Happy shot of chicken dinner.

INT. LONGHOUSE - NIGHT

Large common room, fireplace. The slaves are relaxing and laughing and scaring themselves with stories of Hell and its torments. They are speaking a pigeon of English and their native African. {[}Improvise.{]} Aunt Eliza, in a plain chair, shivering delightedly to the stories, holds a sleeping Carry.

CARRY (V.O.)
I owe much to the colored people and never want to live where there are none of the Negro race. It was their spiritual outlook that I inherited, that made me expect God's presence in my life.

EXT. CHURCH - DAY

Rural Kentucky church.

INT. CHURCH - DAY

Pews for whites, pews for slaves. Black choir and the black pews singing Let Us Sit Down and Chat With the Angels, standing and swaying in song. Carry, twelve years old, is pale. All this energy is moving her with it and frightening her. She holds herself down in her chair by her dress to keep from rising.

AUNT ELIZA
Are you all right, child?

Carry is clearly not alright.

CARRY
Yes.

AUNT ELIZA
Come along, child.

Eliza leads her to the doors at the rear, smiling at the Moores in reassurance.

EXT. CHURCH - DAY

Beautiful rural setting along the river. Storm rolling in on the far horizon.

AUNT ELIZA
The spirit is moving you, Carry. Don't be afraid of nothing. You just listen to it. All right, child?

CARRY
All right.

AUNT ELIZA
Can you come back in?

Carry shakes her head no.

AUNT ELIZA (CONT'D)
Then you just go over there and rest in the shade. I'm going back in with the spirit.

Carry goes over to the trees. Then, seeing no one around, she walks off into the woods.

EXT. GRAVEYARD - DAY

Evening is coming on. Carry lies on a grave, sobbing.

CARRY
Oh God, Oh God... Oh, please...

Angels, the kind a young, nineteenth-century, girl would see, appear around her.

CARRY (CONT'D)
Oh. I have waited for you so long.

EXT. WOODS - NIGHT

Dark, summer thunderstorm. A bustling of men, black and white, with torches and lanterns.

MAN
Here! Over here with that wagon!

OTHER MAN
Tell Moore! We found his daughter! She's alive!

One carries Carry, wrapped in a big coat. They lift her into a wagon and hold up a tarp to keep the rain off.

INT. HOUSE - NIGHT

Bedroom in the Moore house. The family, black and white, are gathered by the bed, all at a respectful distance from the queen in her crystal crown.

DOCTOR
Come with me, George.

GEORGE
Wait here, my dear.

INT. HALL - NIGHT

Doctor is taking George aside as they leave Carry's room.

DOCTOR
It's not good, George. She has consumption of the bowels.

GEORGE
What does that mean?

DOCTOR
It means months of bedrest. And prayer.

INT. HOUSE - DAY

Same beautiful farm house.

SUPER: 1861

Through a window we see Carry still bed-ridden.

SUPER: The bulldog has met her Maker.

INT. HOUSE - DAY

Carry, now fifteen, lies in her bed. The windows are open and sunlight streams in.

CARRY (V.O.)
I was more than months in bed. I was years in bed. God had sent his angels unto me and now he was chastising me. To my father, I repented of my sins, confessing my years of stealing. But fearing my father's anger, I made no mention of giving my ill-gotten gains to Aunt Eliza and Uncle Josh. Soon, God sent his minister to me, to show me the way.

INT. HOUSE - DAY

Screenplay truncated at 500 lines.