Drunkard's Stagger: A Message In A Bottle
Based on the Drunkard's Walk fanfic cycle
(created by Robert M. Schroeck)
Exerpted from "The Unauthorized Drunkard's Walk" DVD, deleted scenes section.
OPENING SCENE: A fairly ordinary modern bedroom. It is dark outside the windows.
MAGGIE "SHADOWALKER" Sangnoir enters the shot and sits on the bed, looking dejected and just worn out. She removes her sunglasses and sets them on the nightstand beside the bed, before reachig out to:
CLOSE-UP SHOT: Maggie's fingers lightly running over the face of what looks like an incredibly detailed but unpainted pewter figurine that is recognizably DOUGLAS Q "LOONY TUNES" SANGNOIR, striking heroic pose with trademark grin.
MAGGIE (pulls her hand back, appears ready to cry): Doug, where are you? All this time without so much as a clue, or a sign... I know I'm supposed to be stronger than this, but I just feel... like I'm at the end of my rope. Like I'm running out of faith.
MAGGIE curls up on the bed still facing the figurine, but there is nothing about her body language that suggests relief or rest.
MAGGIE (faintly): I need... something....
CUT TO: DOUG's sleeping face, a split second before his eyes fly open and he sits up violently, eyes wild and chest heaving as if he's been running for his life.
DOUG looks around wildly for a moment, clearly disoriented, before violently throwing aside his sleeping bag and scrambling towards his parked motorcycle and snatching his slung helmet. The longer shot establishes that he his somewhere outdoors, wooded. It is night and the dying remnants of a small campfire flicker nearby.
DOUG seizes his helmet in both hands like a drowning man grabbing a life preserver, and stops suddenly looking confused, as if he doesn't know what to do with it now that he has it. His confused expression slips into one of smoldering rage building towards ignition.
DOUG (venomous intensity): Damn you. I'd say 'God damn you,' but that would be recursive, now wouldn't it? She needs me. I don't know how I know, but I know. You screw with my life, okay, fine, I'm a big boy, I'll deal. But she needs me, and she's being left hanging [builds to a full shout] BECAUSE OF YOU!
DOUG stands, shaking with helpless rage and clenching his helmet in both hands with a white-knuckled grip as a faint breeze plays with his hair... and nothing happens. His rage slowly, gradually, crumbles towards something more like the beginnings of despair, and he slumps physically in parallel.
DOUG (not quite broken, but close): I can't do a thing... and you don't care. You don't—
DOUG twitches suddenly, eyes showing a spark of something not quite daring to be hope. He drops onto his knees and raises his helmet like a man about to experience a sacrament.
CLOSE-UP SHOT of Doug's face as his eyes close.
DOUG (Japanese): Belldandy-sama, please hear me. My beloved needs me, and I am helpless to respond. Please... not for my sake but for hers, I beg of—
ZOOM SHOT: A faintly translucent slender feminine finger brushes lightly across his lips. His eyes snap open as:
BELLDANDY (faint, as from a distance, and with hints of her Overself Voice): Never beg, Doug-san. It ill befits one I would call a friend. What I may do is sadly limited, but all that I can, I will — you need merely ask.
DOUG (obviously considering and discarding several all-too-obvious requests in sequence): I... I don't know. I can't reach her from here....
BELLDANDY (OS, very slightly amused): But her voice reached you, did it not?
DOUG (light bulb figuratively bursting over his head): Of course! Bell, can you—
MEDIUM SHOT: Doug looks thunderstruck.
DOUG (slowly): ...you wouldn't have had anything to do with that, would you?
BELLDANDY, still offscreen, merely hums. Fans of late-80s rock might recognize a particular snatch from Van Halen's "Feels so Good" DOUG grins crookedly.
DOUG: Riiiight. Gotcha.
Doug's hands play across his helmet almost of their own accord. The keypad door opens and the retractable speakers extend.
ZOOM SHOT: Doug's finger taps out a selection code on the keypad, and pauses over the "Execute" key.
CLOSE-UP SHOT: as DOUG looks up, expression grateful.
DOUG (quietly): Thank you.
BELLDANDY "sings" something that sounds more like music than words, fading slowly away.
DOUG hits "Execute". The music starts, and the shot DISSOLVES in an anime-style SHOWER OF WHITE FEATHERS....
To show MAGGIE, in the same pose we saw her last, but now fast asleep and smiling very faintly in her sleep, looking overall like someone who's had a thousand tons of stress and worry taken away.
Credits and Acknowledgements
"Douglas Q. Sangnoir," "Looney Toons", "The Loon" and any representations thereof are copyright by and trademarks of Robert M. Schroeck, and are used with his permission.
"The Warriors", "Warriors' World", "Warriors International" and "Warriors Alpha" are all jointly-held trademarks of The Warriors Group.
The Drunkard's Walk fanfic cycle was created by Robert M. Schroeck, and is used with his permission.
Oh! My Goddess, and the goddess Belldandy, are copyright by and trademarks of Kosuke Fujishima, KISS and Kodansha Ltd., and are used without permission.
Comments From The Author
Been MP3ing a lot of my old 80s rock (cassette tapes, argh!), and this one was an old favorite — one that I could actually get my parents and my little sisters to enjoy in the car along with me (actually, my father showed a surprising liking for Belinda Carlisle tunes, surprising since he didn't seem to like anything but Glen Campbell before...). Anyway, "Leave a Light On" got onto my MP3 player and I think it liked it, because it keeps popping up in my "random" shuffle. And it's always struck me as having a very powerful resonance with Doug's situation on the Walk — I toyed with and discarded at least a dozen "message in a bottle" scenarios.
Ever since the scene in DW5 where Belldandy swears an utterly binding blood oath to always be honest with Doug, just to give him something to believe in when he's at the end of his rope, I've always thought that she would almost certainly hear him, wherever he was, if he called for her desperately enough. After all, her Overself is one of the Three steering him along this path. And if I was Bell's Overself, I wouldn't keep her from hearing someone she thinks of as a friend. Would you?
Why does Maggie have a figurine of Doug? Guesswork on my part, but I'm thinking that, given her unique "vision," she might use something like that in place of a photograph for her most cherished people.