Monday, May 11, 2009

The Fugitive Generation (conclusion)


Jim is standing at the INTERSTATE HIGHWAY ENTRANCE with his duffel bag and guitar case. He has his thumb out. A fancy 1972 car, driven by a short-haired, mustached white man, pulls up beside Jim. CAR DRIVER, 27, is dressed in a suit and tie.

CAR DRIVER: I’m heading all the way to New York City. Need a ride?

JIM: That’ll help a lot.

CAR DRIVER: You can put your bag and guitar on the back seat.

Car Driver unlocks the passenger door. Jim puts guitar case and duffel bag on back seat and sits in front passenger seat.


The car moves along Interstate Highway as Car Driver and Jim converse.

CAR DRIVER: Where you heading to?

JIM: East. To Philadelphia.

CAR DRIVER: Why Philadelphia?

JIM: It’s a big city. There might be more work there than in Ann Arbor…Are you from New York City?

CAR DRIVER: No. I actually live in Providence now. But I have to go to some bull-shit meetings in New York City for a few days.

Car Driver hands Jim book of matches and a joint.

CAR DRIVER (CONT’D): Let’s smoke a joint.


Car Driver and Jim are both smiling and stoned. CAR DRIVER shares joint with Jim.

CAR DRIVER: I bet you’d never guess what I do for a living.

Jim smiles.

JIM: I imagine you’re some kind of a traveling salesman.

Car Driver laughs.

CAR DRIVER: No. I’m not a traveling salesman…I’m an FBI agent.

Jim starts coughing. Then he starts to laugh.

JIM: An FBI agent? You’re kidding!

Both the Car Driver and Jim giggle.

CAR DRIVER: No, it’s true. I thought you’d get a kick out of finding out that you’ve been sharing a joint with an FBI agent.

JIM: How did you end up working for the FBI? Aren’t they a little too straight for you?

CAR DRIVER: They paid my tuition to go to Harvard. So I’m obligated to work for them for five years after graduation.

JIM: Like an indentured servant, huh?

CAR DRIVER: That’s right. So I’m counting the days until I can quit.

JIM: What kind of things do they have you do?

CAR DRIVER: They use me around college campuses mostly. To bust student drug dealers. I just finished busting the student who was the big dealer in the dorms at Michigan State in Lansing. But now the Bureau wants me to hunt for the Weather fugitives. That’s why I have to go to these bull-shit meetings in New York City.

Jim smiles.

JIM: Well, I imagine you can have more fun in New York City at night than in Lansing, Michigan, at least.

CAR DRIVER: Yeah. I guess that’s one way of looking at it. But you don’t get as much free pot when you’re assigned to political cases as you do when you’re busting drug dealers.


It’s shortly after sunrise. Sign above the service lane has one arrow pointing left under the words: “To New York City.” Another arrow on the sign points under the words: “To Philadelphia.” Jim gets out of the car, carrying his guitar case and duffel bag, and waves goodbye. Car Driver waves back and drives his car towards the highway lane that leads to New York City. Jim takes a deep breath.


It’s later in the morning. Jim is standing at the Interstate Highway Entrance, in front of a sign which says “To New York City,” his finger out. A used 1968 Volkswagen car, with two women in it, stops. The VOLKSWAGEN PASSENGER, 19, smiles at Jim.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSENGER: How far do you need to go?

JIM: New York City.

The Volkswagen Passenger looks at the VOLKSWAGEN DRIVER, 20, who nods her head.


She opens the passenger door and gets out. Jim puts his guitar case and duffel bag in the back seat and sits there. The Volkswagen Passenger gets back into the car and shuts the door.


JIM: Where in New York City do you live?

VOLKSWAGEN PASSENGER: On the Upper West Side. We both go to Barnard.

Jim laughs.

JIM: I know some people who went to Barnard. I used to go to Columbia.

Volkswagen Passenger laughs.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSENGER: You went to Columbia?

JIM: Yeah. In the late Sixties I did. But it seems like that was a very long time ago. Because now we’ve all become a generation of freaks. And a generation of fugitives from the Death Culture. That’s why we’re called “The Fugitive Generation.”


The Volkswagen car continues moving toward Manhattan.



The Fugitive Generation (xxiv)


Write-On Supervisor sits behind desk across from Jim.

WRITE-ON SUPERVISOR: I’m glad you got paid for that dissertation. ‘Cause we decided to shut down our office here. There’s not enough business for us in Ann Arbor year-round to compare to what we earn from the Harvard students in Cambridge.

JIM: That’s too bad. I don’t know what I’ll do to get money here now.

WRITE-ON SUPERVISOR: Move out of Ann Arbor. Go to the West Coast. Or go to the East Coast. Go to Cambridge. The auto plants ain’t hiring in Michigan anymore. So you sure ain’t gonna find work in Michigan these days.


Jim is reading want ad section of newspaper, while sitting on the mattress. There’s a knock on the door. Jim stands up and walks toward door.

JIM: Who is it?

LANDLORD (V.O.): It’s the landlord.

Jim opens door. Landlord stands opposite Jim.

LANDLORD (CONT’D): Do you have the rent for August? This is the second month in a row that you’ve been late on the rent.

JIM: I’m having trouble coming up with it this month.

LANDLORD: Well, if you don’t get it to me by August 31, I want you out of the room by September 1. Understand?

JIM: I’ll do my best.


Clean-shaven FAST FOOD RESTAURANT MANAGER looks over Jim’s application inside restaurant, as Jim stands nearby. Then he glances at Jim and shakes his head.


GROCERY STORE MANAGER shakes his head at Jim.


BOOKSTORE MANAGER shakes his head at Jim.


Jim walks across campus.


Jim looks at a mirror. Then he starts to cut and shave off his beard. He also cuts off his long hair. He now looks more like the high school graduation picture of the clean-shaven Greenberg that Kelly showed Mr. & Mrs. Bernstein in Bronx.


Well-dressed women, each between 20 and 24 years of age, are sitting in the office. Clean-shaven and short-haired Jim is now wearing a sport jacket, tie and dress shirt. He hands an application to OFFICE TEMP RECEPTIONIST. She looks over the application. Then she shakes her head and Jim leaves the office.


Still dressed-up, Jim stands in front of door marked “LIBRARY PERSONNEL OFFICE.”


LIBRARY PERSONNEL INTERVIEWER looks at Jim’s application. Then she shakes her head.


Jim stands in front of door marked “University of Michigan Personnel.”


U. OF MICHIGAN INTERVIEWER, 28, is white woman who wears dress. She looks at Jim’s application, while sitting behind her desk.

U. OF MICHIGAN INTERVIEWER: We have a dormitory receptionist position that you might be qualified for on our North Campus. Have you ever done that kind of work before?

JIM: (quickly makes up cover story) The clerk-typist job I had at Kent State for two years involved a few hours of receptionist work each day. I had to meet and greet the students who were being surveyed by the sociology department. And keep track of their completed questionnaires.

U. OF MICHIGAN INTERVIEWER: I see. Would you be able to go up to the North Campus this afternoon and speak with Mr. Landry about the job?

JIM: (smiles) Yes, I would.

U. of Michigan Interviewer writes some information on a piece of paper and hands it to Jim.


MR. LANDRY, 48, is a white man who wears a suit and tie. He sits behind desk opposite Jim.

MR. LANDRY: Well, I’d love to hire you for the position. But we’re under intense pressure to hire “a minority person.”

JIM: Oh. The personnel office didn’t mention that. If it had, I wouldn’t have bothered coming to speak with you.


Jim is again dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. His hair is longer and he looks more unshaven. Jim enters bank.


Jim hands his bankbook to TELLER, 22, a well-dressed white woman.

JIM: I’d like to close my bank account now.

Teller looks at the bankbook, hands Jim paper to sign and buts bankbook through machine. She counts out $59.30 in bills and change and hands money and voided bankbook to Jim.

TELLER: Have a good day!


While carrying his duffel bag and guitar case, Jim bumps into Joey, as Joey is leaving bathroom. Joey glances at Jim and smiles.

JOEY: Time to move on, huh?

JIM: Yeah. It’s too hard to find work in Ann Arbor these days.

JOEY: I imagine it would be for somebody like you. The straights don’t want to hire anymore freaks in Ann Arbor. It’s a good thing for me that Ann Arbor still has a lot of students with rich parents. Otherwise I wouldn’t have much of a market around here anymore…Where you heading to now?

JIM: The West Coast. California, I hope.

JOEY: That’s a good scene to go to. If things hadn’t worked out for me here, I might have ended up in California myself.

JIM: Well, I gotta get going now, since it’s a long hitch to the West Coast. Maybe we’ll bump into each other again someday in California.

JOEY: (smiles) Who knows?

Jim glances at Joey.

JIM: It’s been good knowing you, brother.

Jim then pats Joey on the shoulder and walks toward stairs.

JOEY: Keep the faith, brother!

The Fugitive Generation (xxiii)


Marlene is sitting stretched out on the mattress on the floor, with her dress on, but her shoes off. Jim is sitting on the floor of the room, shoes off, holding his guitar and glancing at a piece of paper in front of him.

JIM: It’s called “Marlene’s Song.”

Jim sings in a very tender style.

JIM (CONT’D): (sings)

Oh, you’ve won my heart
With your softness
Kind, gentle, blond-haired
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene, Marlene,
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene.

It’s been so long
Since I felt love
Compassionate, soulful
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene, Marlene
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene.

I’m a working-class lover
You’re the fairest I see
I got sisters and brothers
You’re the one most like me.

There’s a sudden sound of a guitar string breaking.

JIM (CONT’D): Shit! A guitar string broke.

Jim continues singing and attempting to continue accompany himself on the guitar, despite the broken string. The guitar accompaniment sounds more off-key and less harmonious with his singing. Marlene looks touched. Jim sings softer, almost in a whisper. But in an intense way.

JIM (CONT’D): (sings)

Hearing your voice
Feeling you close
Makes me just think of
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene, Marlene,
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene.

Watching you shine
Moves me inside
Wanting to just kiss
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene, Marlene,
Marlene, Marlene, Marlene…

During the last verse, Marlene has moved closer to Jim. As he finishes the verse, she interrupts his singing by starting to kiss him passionately at the same time she takes his guitar out of his hand. Jim responds to her kisses and hugging. The alarm clock on the floor indicates it is 9 o’clock.


The alarm clock indicates it is 1 o’clock. Both undressed now, Marlene and Jim are sleeping together on the mattress.


The alarm clock indicates it’s 8:30. Marlene now has all her clothes back on and is sitting on the front of the mattress. Jim is still half-asleep on the mattress, when he reaches over for Marlene. Not feeling her next to him, Jim opens up his eyes.

JIM: Dressed already, Marlene? What time is it?

Marlene looks at the clock.

MARLENE: It’s 8:30. I have to pack today.

JIM: Do you want me to help you pack?

Jim stands up and quickly gets dressed.

MARLENE: No. You don’t have to.

Jim sits down next to Marlene on the mattress.

JIM: How about some breakfast together before you pack?

MARLENE: No. I really have to get going, Jim.

JIM: Oh. I hope you enjoyed our little trip last night.

MARLENE: It was a great trip, Jim…But you shouldn’t have fallen in love with me.

JIM: Why not? It was obviously destiny that brought us together. And I’m still madly in love with you, Marlene.

MARLENE: That’s the point. You must think that I’m heartless. But I’m not sure it could work out between us in the long run. I still have a year left of school. I have to think about this over the summer. It’s too sudden for me.

JIM: (tenderly) I don’t think you’re heartless, honey...You’re probably right. You’ll end up suffering if you get more involved with me. Once I get paid off for the dissertation, I can’t see any way I can make money in Ann Arbor. Since it looks like the ghostwriting place is going out of business. So I’ll probably be gone anyway when you get back in the fall.

MARLENE: It can’t be that bad. I’m sure you’ll find something else.

JIM: I don’t know, Marlene. Nobody wants my folk songs. Nobody pays me or you for being anti-war activists. And the Death Culture won’t give me any money, unless I agree to be a 9-to-5 slave.

MARLENE: Something’s bound to turn up somewhere.

JIM: But not in Ann Arbor. I don’t mind living at a subsistence level in Ann Arbor if I have absolute freedom and can work with you to stop the War. But the Death Culture wants somebody like me dead. Because I have moral objections to fitting into its imperialist system like a good robot. I can’t see how I can survive in the long-run, unless there’s a Revolution.

MARLENE: I wish I knew what the answer was for you, Jim. But I don’t even know what’s going to happen to me once I’m out of school. I have no answers for myself yet, other than to work to stop the War.

JIM: Well, enough of this down talk, Marlene. Maybe something will work out. You gave me new hope this spring and you’ve been a great inspiration for me this spring. So even if I’m not here in Ann Arbor when you get back in the fall, I’ll always remember you.

MARLENE: Don’t lose heart, Jim. I’m sure something will come up in Ann Arbor for you.

Marlene and Jim each stand up.

JIM: Well, I guess it’s time to say goodbye, Marlene.

Jim kisses Marlene and he begins to cry for a few seconds.

JIM (CONT’D): I’m sorry for getting emotional about you leaving, Marlene…It must be the after-effects of the mescaline trip.

Marlene holds Jim for a second and kisses him goodbye. Then she pulls back from him.

MARLENE: Until the fall, Jim!

JIM: Have a great time at the summer camp, Marlene!

Marlene walks out of the room and closes the door. Jim starts to weep.


Jim is standing in the lobby with a large manila envelope in his hand. A woman PhD CANDIDATE, 43, wearing slacks and blouse, approaches him.

PhD CANDIDATE: Are you Jim Wilson?

JIM: (smiles) Yes I am.

PhD CANDIDATE: Let’s go up to my room and talk. I’m staying for the night in the Student Union building.

JIM: Here? I didn’t know they had hotel rooms in the Student Union Building.

PhD CANDIDATE: They have a floor of them. Follow me.

Jim follows PhD Candidate to a stairway in lobby.


PhD Candidate is looking at a thick manuscript.

PhD CANDIDATE: It looks fine to me. It looks like you did a good job.

JIM: I thought you’d like it.

PhD Candidate writes out check and hands it to Jim.

PhD CANIDATE: I’ve very grateful to you. You saved me a lot of time.

Jim looks over the check.

JIM: It was a pleasure doing business with you.

The Fugitive Generation (xxii)


Joey and Jim meet in hall.

JOEY: What’s happening, brother?

JIM: I still have spring fever.

JOEY: Yeah, I know what you mean. You might like to do some of this with a friend.

Joey hands Jim four tabs of mescaline.

JIM: What is it?

JOEY: Just some extra mescaline I’m giving away for free.

JIM: You sure you don’t want me to pay you something?

JOEY: (smiles) I made a lot of bread this spring. Especially at that big anti-war demo. I don’t need any of your money. Catch you later!

Joey heads downstairs. Jim returns to his room.


Jim puts three of the tabs in his guitar case. He swallows the fourth tab and leaves his room.


Jim retraces his first walk of the winter around the campus with a big smile on his face. Every twenty yards some freak student says “hi” to him and smiles. Jim walks through the campus, past the Diag political rallying space in front of the graduate library, smiling and saying “hi” to numerous smiling freak students.


Marlene is walking towards Downtown Ann Arbor. Jim is walking in opposite direction. They notice each other.

JIM: Marlene! You’re just the person I was hoping to bump into. I tried calling you a few times. But nobody answered.

MARLENE: I’ve been staying over at Roger’s a lot.

JIM: Oh…Are you staying around Ann Arbor this summer?

MARLENE: No. I got a job as a camp counselor in Vermont. I need to earn money this summer.

JIM: When are you leaving town?

MARLENE: Next week. First I’ll stay with my parents for a few weeks. Then I go off to Vermont the third week in June.

JIM: I’ll really miss you. How about going out together Saturday night, since we won’t be seeing each other for awhile?

MARLENE: Aren’t you seeing Rachel anymore?

JIM: She’s down in Columbus with her parents for the summer. So we’re not really involved with each other anymore.

MARLENE: Oh. I didn’t know she was away for the summer already.

JIM: Can I meet you at your house? Maybe at about seven? We can drop some mescaline I just got. And go out for dinner. And hang out in my room a little. (smiles) A little going away party for you.

MARLENE: (smiles) That sounds like it might be fun. I’ll see you Saturday night at seven, then.


Jim rings bell. Door slowly opens. Jim looks surprised for an instant. Then he smiles. Marlene is standing in front of him in low-cut dress, looking very glamorous in a more traditional way. Marlene smiles, while Jim quickly glances at her.


JIM: Wow! You look as beautiful in a dress as you do in khaki pants.

MARLENE: Yeah. That’s why they elected me Queen of the Prom in high school. Come on in.

Jim walks into the apartment. Marlene follows him, closing the door behind her.


Marlene’s studio apartment is sparsely furnished. A lot of books are on shelves. A dinette table is in center of apartment and a single bed is in corner. On the wall are a lot of anti-war posters with pictures of Indochinese people.

Jim takes two tabs from his pocket.

JIM: Here’s the mescaline I said I’d bring. I’ve been wanting to trip with you ever since we met, Marlene.

Jim hands a tab to Marlene, as she smiles.

MARLENE: I figured you did.

Marlene goes to the kitchenette sink and fills up a glass of water. She puts the mescaline tab in her mouth and takes a sip from the glass. Marlene then hands the glass to Jim, who sips from it as he swallows his tab.

MARLENE (CONT’D): I’m glad I’m seeing you before I leave Ann Arbor.

JIM: Are you ready for dinner yet?

MARLENE: I’m ready if you are.

Marlene opens the door and turns off the lights, as she and Jim leave her apartment.


Marlene and Jim walk side by side, talking to each other in an animated way and laughing a lot. Every ten yards, some student who knows Marlene waves to her and smiles, and Marlene waves and smiles back. Eventually, Marlene and Jim reach a restaurant next to a movie theatre. They enter the restaurant.


The mescaline is beginning to have some effect. Marlene and Jim’s eyes look more stoned, as they each giggle more while finishing desert.

JIM: I’m really starting to feel it now, Marlene. How about going back to my room and I’ll play you some of my songs on my guitar? You might like the one I wrote for you.

MARLENE: A song for me?

JIM: (laughs) Yeah. A love song.

Marlene laughs.

MARLENE: I’m starting to really feel it now, too. I suppose we should go back to your room.