“ABLE” by Renee Ashley Baker



Renee Ashley Baker
(Copyright by Renee Ashley. All Rights Reserved)



STEELE DOORS LINE BOTH SIDES OF THE HALL. A middle aged man with a MUSTACHE AND GOATEE is walking the hall–going from door to door–PEERING inside each of the tiny square windows. He –has arrived at ROOM 9 and he takes the CLIPBOARD, from the nail on the wall, and HE READS. He then peers inside the white room. He Speaks: “Little Woman–playing in the street? Suicidal?”
WE SEE (inside Room 9): A WOMAN, with messy blonde hair, pulled on top of her head. She looks intelligent, she looks athletic, but we see that SHE IS ANGRY as she sits in A BIG WHITE ARM CHAIR. As he–DOCTOR GOATEE–moves onto the next room–onto the next window– the CAMERA STAYS ON HIM a second but– TURNS BACK– AND PEERS BACK INTO ROOM 9.
WE SEE–this time in Room 9–A MAN, dressed in ALL BLACK, now sitting in the BIG WHITE ARM CHAIR. We will call this man OUR GREEK NARRATOR. And– as he–THE NARRATOR –speaks (SINGS) our “story” unfolds…
As ROD SERLING would say: We are watching ABLE (prophetically and Biblically named) as she paces anxiously back and forth, back and forth, inside Room 9. We see her HOSPITAL GOWN wrapped tightly around her. With her scraggly hair tied on top of her head, she looks as if she should be smoking but we assume that smoking is NOT ALLOWED.
ABLE has been there–in that place–for two days. And– we can see on the wall in her room a CALENDAR–on which she has begun circling days. She has already circled day ONE and day TWO and she has drawn three exclamation points on the 30TH DAY. She has marked that 30TH day RELEASE DAY!
As each day passes–from day 2 to day 30 Able goes from one WHITE COATED INTERVIEWER TO THE NEXT. As each day passes she goes from one white coated ACTIVITY TO THE NEXT (making puzzles, sewing animals, thumbing through magazines, cutting up paper after marking them with “HER FEELINGS”.) She is painfully aware that her name –ABLE– probably pre-destined her for THIS PLACE. (It was her Biblically inclined mother who handed her that Bibically betrayed name “ABLE”….) As each day passes– she (Able) has been remembering –in bits and pieces–and in flashes–the past 30–THIRTY!–years of her life. (She remembers high school –that day during “track and field” when THEY–THE TWO MEN– first accosted her. She remembers ten years after that when these same TWO MEN began to single her out –accuse her–and argue with her. She remembers the last ten years -that these same TWO MEN no longer co-workers–have now become her “Fren-e-mies”. (She remembers the last thing these TWO MEN –in their Burberry trench coats– said to her “Stay Out Of Our Business Or We’ll KILL YOU !!!!”). And Able laughed, out loud, when she read the headline in that days newspaper (“CIA UNDER INVESTIGATION BY CONGRESS –OPIUM SMUGGLING OPERATION DISCLOSED”) Able laughed, out loud, when she saw, under the headline–their two pictures –her Frenemies (MUTT AND JEFF) .
DAY 30: IT IS RELEASE DAY. But will they in fact release her? She knows she has not been very “cooperative”. She has not been talking like Dr. Goatee wanted but she instead, has been stretching, stretching, stretching her hamstrings. Just like back in high school, in track and field, she has been putting her “swoosh clad foot” up on the wall and stretching, stretching, stretching her hamstrings…. She has been bending, bending, grasping her toes with her fingers and stretching some more.
Then– finally–she heard: “You’re Relased”.
It was Dr. Goatee standing in the room. ( His nurse standing behind him handing Able her “street” clothes)….
She wondered if she could STILL make it–(She wondered as she squinted into the bright sunlight).
She boards the city bus that had stopped directly in front of her and– as Able’s stop comes — she gets off. (THE NARRATOR EXITNG THE BUS RIGHT BEHIND HER.)
Able looks around, assured that nothing has changed since the last time she was there. The day that THEY (Dr. Goatee’s people) picked her up. And–just like that last time she put her NIKE CLAD FOOT up on the brick wall and began stretching–first one leg, then the other. She stands on both legs and jerks, POPS, her neck–first left then right. She lifts one knee to her shoulder then does the same for the other knee. She jumps, jumps, up and down in place. And–IGNORING THE NARRATOR STANDING BESIDE HER she gets into her “crouch” (her left arm swinging from side to side while her body rocks back and forth). Then –like before– right on time–on schedule–the LIGHT–THE TRAFFICK LIGHT TURNS RED. Able springs forward, she strides– then leaps– up on a yellow taxi (that is still in motion). She maneuvers this moving vehicle–like a GODDESS– and leaps onto a second yellow taxi. Super swift–she STEPS BACK DOWN ONTO THE GROUND right foot landing first. She sprints one maybe two steps, and BUMPS A STARTLED MUTT, she BREEZES PAST A STARTLED JEFF, and runs, RUNS, with all her might down the street. She weaves through the people–the foot traffick–that do NOT see her coming. She senses MUTT AND JEFF in pursuit –on her heels–but–they’ll never, never catch her, she’ll make sure of that. A bit further down the street–HE–HER TARGET–IS EXITING HIS LIMOUSINE. She holds onto (with dear life) the BROWN BAG that she SNATCHED FROM MUTT. As she reaches HER TARGET–the Saudi Sheik–she thrusts the BROWN BAG into his hand. She falls down–and locks both arms around the Sheik’s knee cap. (The Sheik’s bodyguards rush over but he waves them away). The Sheik opens the brown bag and takes out the Kodak film canister. He looks around –to see if anyone else has seen what just happened. The TWO MEN in the trench coats stare first at him then at the woman (ABLE) who is still clutching his knee.

VIEW VIDEO:  “PRESSURE”  (click link below)