Silicon Prairie

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


FADE IN:

EXT. OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT

Seattle. Cold, drizzly, late. Chrome and glass office tower in older part of downtown. People can be seen inside, still working in this sterile island of light.

EXT. DOWNTOWN SIDEWALK - NIGHT

Across from offices. Barely out of the rain, FIRE HORSE squats on his haunches. He is a coarse-featured Lakota dressed in a hip-length parka, jeans, working cowboy boots. He is watching the chrome and glass building. Without taking his eyes from it, he removes a cigarette lighter from one pocket and something that looks like bits of grass from the other. He brings the grass up to his nose and, crushing it, inhales deeply. Just as a HOMELESS person comes along, Fire Horse lights the blades of grass with his lighter, smoke rising into his face. The homeless person stops in front of Fire Horse, not too close.

HOMELESS
Smells good, man. What is it?

Fire Horse inhales the smoke rising past him.

HORSE
Sweetgrass. Keeps God on my side.

HOMELESS
Sure, man. What kind of god?

Fire Horse does not answer and walks across the quiet street to a silver Porsche parked in the no-parking space in front of the chrome and glass entry doors. He sprinkles the remains of the sweetgrass on the hood of the car. Fire Horse turns from the Porsche just as a police car swings into view. He ignores it, walking back slowly across the street. The cruiser slows. Fire Horse turns and stops as the car comes near him. He watches the patrolman watching him. As the car comes abreast of him, Fire Horse strikes fire with the lighter he holds at his side. The patrolman is startled, then embarrassed; the cruiser passes away down the street. Fire Horse steps up on the curb beside the homeless man.

HOMELESS (CONT'D)
I'll be going now. I don't want to be around when your prayer gets answered.

Fire Horse smiles at him and resumes his place out of the rain, squatting on his haunches.

INT. DOORS'S OFFICES - NIGHT

Office of SCOTT DOORS. He is in his middle thirties, dressed in expensive slacks, polo shirt, four-hundred dollar shoes. He goes to the office door and hollers at the first person he sees.

DOORS
Babu, come here!

BABU is from Southern India, professional, obsequious. Doors treats him like cheap hired help.

BABU
Yes, sir.

DOORS
Get Deep, Shivani, everybody. Conference in Battle Stations in twenty minutes. I want everyone ready to walk through their part of the next forty-eight hours. And who is that?

Doors points to a man sitting on the edge of a desk by the entrance to this suite of offices.

BABU
That is Chris, Shivani's good friend.

DOORS
Get him the hell out of here. No one comes in these offices that doesn't have flesh in the game. Battle Stations in twenty. And get Starbuck's up here - no decaf.

Doors turns away.

BABU
Yes, Scott.

Babu moves toward CHRIS.

BABU (CONT'D)
Oh, Chris. Chris, I am very sorry. But you must wait outside for now. A very important meeting.

CHRIS
Sure, Babu. Tell Shivani I'm going home then. I can guess how late she'll be now.

BABU
Oh, yes. All of us. Very late. I must get coffee.

EXT. SEATTLE FREEWAY - NIGHT

A beat-up, old Buick four-door approaches downtown on the freeway.

INT. BUICK - NIGHT

WILLOW LANCE is driving and MEDICINE RATTLE is in the passenger seat. Willow is a woman in her early thirties, pretty - but not in the fashionable white way, pea coat, jeans, boots. Rattle is in his late twenties, open-faced, hair in two braids, old Carhart blanket jacket, work pants, boots. The Buick moves off the freeway into downtown as they argue.

RATTLE
No. What I mean is that I don't even see how what we are doing is Indian.

WILLOW
(Impatient.)         
What is that supposed to mean?

RATTLE
I mean that sometimes we kill federal agents in shoot-outs and sometimes we kill each other with drunk drivers. But we don't do this to people. If we were Comanche, maybe we could grab some wasichu and torture him to take his power. But we are Lakota. So I don't--

WILLOW
(Contemptuously.)         
What you don't believe is that you are actually going to do what you agreed to.

Rattle falls silent.

WILLOW (CONT'D)
This isn't some historic Indian thing. This is about my sister. Right now. About all our women. What do they do to every woman that goes to the BIA hospital for a difficult birth?

Rattle doesn't answer.

WILLOW (CONT'D)
Answer me!

RATTLE
They--

WILLOW
They spay us. Like dogs. The less Indians the better, right?
(Louder.)         
Right?

Rattle looks like he would rather have stayed home as Willow pulls the car over to the curb of a dark side street.

WILLOW (CONT'D)
Help us. Or get out. Decide.

RATTLE
(Tries to make a joke.)         
It's a long way back to the Rosebud.

WILLOW
Take the bus!

Rattle gives in, is contrite.

RATTLE
Okay. Let's go help Fire Horse.

Willow pulls back into the street.

WILLOW
This isn't for Fire Horse. This is for all of us.

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - NIGHT

Battle Stations conference room. Too small for anyone to be very far away from Doors. Most of those present are from India, others are Chinese, Russian, Anglo. The Indians are neatly dressed; the Chinese cheaply dressed but clean, Russians and Anglos bohemian. Some sit with their arms crossed; some are backed against the walls. Doors stands at one end of the table, laptop open.

DOORS
(Angry.)         
The latest build is what?

RUSSIAN
(Unperturbed.)         
Toast. It does not build.

Doors response builds in vehemence and contempt.

DOORS
This is the build that fixes everyone's problems. This software is the heart of our cellphone.

He holds up a pretty little phone.

DOORS (CONT'D)
Let me remind you. This is the phone that stays online for ten days at a stretch. This is the cellphone that will make your fortunes. This is the cellphone that will break Motorola and Nokia and any other wannabes. This cellphone relies on software that must be perfect. In forty-eight hours. Because in forty-eight hours we IPO.

Doors drops the phone into his jacket pocket.

BABU
I am sure we can fix it very quickly.

RUSSIAN
We must find the break.

DOORS
The break? The break?

BABU
In the makefiles. Deep made them all very consistent.

DOORS
Did Deep make them consistent? Did he make them all pretty for the public offering? Deep? Did you make extra work for all these friends of yours?

EXT. OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT

The Buick pulls up and parks by Fire Horse. Willow Lance and Medicine Rattle get out.

RATTLE
(To Horse.)         
You ready?

HORSE
I've been ready.

WILLOW
Is he still there?

HORSE
He's inside. Unlock the trunk.

Willow unlocks the trunk.

RATTLE
(To Willow.)         
Where should I wait?

WILLOW
I want you--

HORSE
(Cutting her off.)         
I want you to wait here. In the shadows. Stop him if he gets past me.

WILLOW
(To Horse.)         
Wait--

HORSE
(To Willow.)         
Go inside. Look like you're waiting on your boyfriend. Don't look at him as he comes out.

Willow looks like she doesn't like being told what to do. Then she turns and walks across the street. Medicine Rattle moves back into the shadows. Fire Horse follows Willow Lance across the street.

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - NIGHT

Doors is staring at Deep.

DEEP
I can find it. I can stay late.

DOORS
You can stay late. You can stay all night! I have to meet with two of our venture capital people before I go home tonight. I want to know when the build is good. Babu can page me.

Doors slaps his laptop closed, hard enough to make people wince.

DOORS (CONT'D)
I'm out of here. Battle Stations at eight in the morning. Good night.

Doors heads out of the room.

BABU
Good night, sir.

ALL
Good night.

RUSSIAN
(Sadly, to the Anglos.)         
So much for Quake Three. I was looking forward to fragging you.

The handful of non-Orientals shake their heads in agreement.

EXT. OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT

The street is quiet. Medicine Rattle is in the shadows on the far side. Willow Lance is in the bright lobby. Fire Horse squats outside, near the door.

INT. LOBBY - NIGHT

Doors comes out of the elevator, crosses the lobby. He looks at Willow Lance, who turns away from him. He leaves the building.

EXT. OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT

Doors comes out of the building.

HORSE
Hey, man. Got twenty-three cents?

DOORS
(Contemptuous.)         
Hardly.

Fire Horse rises and grabs Doors by the coat. Fire Horse is large and fairly scary-looking.

HORSE
How 'bout if I say please?

Fear gives Doors some strength. He twists free, shoving Fire Horse away, and darts back into the building.

INT. LOBBY - NIGHT

As Doors rushes into the lobby, he comes face-to-face with Willow Lance, who holds a large handgun pointed at his face. She is so clearly willing to shoot him that he comes to a stop, focused on the gun. Willow Lance moves him back toward the door as Fire Horse joins them. Doors opens his mouth.

HORSE
Go ahead and holler.

Doors sees that Fire Horse holds a folding hunting knife with an ugly four- or five-inch blade in his lowered hand. Doors allows himself to be taken back through the doors.

EXT. OFFICE BUILDING - NIGHT

The three come out of the building.

HORSE
(To Doors, quietly.)         
Hey, this is your Porsche, right?

Doors turns. Fire Horse grabs him and slams him onto the silver car's roof. Doors falls off, onto the street.

WILLOW
(Incredulous.)         
What are you doing?

A low-slung car on thin tires stops next to the fallen Doors. Horse moves around the Porsche as the electric windows of the new car lower. Inside are four or five young Chicanos.

FIRST CHICANO
Nice throw, man. I think you dented his car.

Doors is barely able to orient himself. Fire Horse looks at the Chicanos.

SECOND CHICANO
Hit him again, amigo. He looks like a man who's getting what he deserves.

Fire Horse smiles and drags Doors to his feet.

THIRD CHICANO
Hey, those are good shoes he's wearing. Got to get those shoes.

He moves to get out of the car.


Screenplay truncated at 500 lines.