Amazing Grace – A Pale Horse

CUT TO: 

INT. RANNI’S APARTMENT – DAY 

Ranni is sitting in her living room on a laptop talking to Grace on speaker.  Grace is behind the counter in the occult shop poking around. 

AMAZING GRACE 

She said the four horsemen are going to ride, that’s some apocalypse shit.  What kind of computer network did you install for these people? 

RANNI 

A custom industrial control system.  The kind of thing you would find in a manufacturing plant. 

AMAZING GRACE 

So what, they’re going to open the dams the flood the city? 

RANNI 

There’s not enough water in the reservoir to drown a rat, we’ve been in a drought for ten years. 

AMAZING GRACE 

So what are they trying to do? 

RANNI 

How should I know? 

AMAZING GRACE 

You installed the damn thing didn’t you?! 

RANNI 

I just set up some hardware and ran some cables, I didn’t configure anything.  I have no idea what they wanted it for. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Can’t you hack in?   

RANNI 

Hack in to what?  What does that even mean? 

AMAZING GRACE 

I don’t know, can’t you connect to my phone and then I plug something into something here and then you find a big folder that says evil plans or something? 

RANNI 

Is that a serious suggestion? 

AMAZING GRACE 

You’re the expert, you tell me!  A woman just burned to death right in front of me rather than tell me anything but the store didn’t catch on fire which means it’s warded.  Which mean whatever’s here is pretty damn important to their plan. 

RANNI 

Warded with magic? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Yes Ranni, warded with magic. 

 RANNI

Well I don’t know!  Magic wasn’t real until yesterday for me! 

AMAZING GRACE 

Okay, so it’s a control system, can’t you scan for whatever they’re controlling?  Or signals coming from the store? 

RANNI 

Scan how?  Scan what?  Like in Star Trek?  What are you talking about? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Jesus Christ Ranni, give me something here. 

RANNI 

Maybe if . . .  

AMAZING GRACE

Hey, shut up for a minute will you?

RANNI

Rude.

Grace grabs a cable and follows it around the corner into a small cluttered office.  She opens a drawer in a desk covered with cables and wires.  Inside is a bizarre and nonsensical-looking array of carved bits of obsidian, human bones wrapped in copper wire, and a complete human skull held together with silver wire, connected to a wireless router with several vials of blood on it.

AMAZING GRACE

(clucking her tongue)

Right so when you were installing this network system computer thing how many skulls did you use?

RANNI

(alarmed)

What?

AMAZING GRACE

I’m going to assume that means zero.

RANNI

Maybe I should come down there

AMAZING GRACE 

Nah, don’t come here, the police will be here soon.  I’ll figure it out. 

Grace slips her phone away and repeats the sequence from Dash’s apartment.  She floats off the ground and her eyes turn blue.  This time though she smiles.

AMAZING GRACE

(otherworldly voice effect)

Gotcha fucker.

We hear police sirens as Grace floats back to the ground.  She closes her eyes, chants quietly for a moment and slowly turns translucent like the Predator.  She walks out the front of the store as the police sirens get louder.   

Police cars appear as Grace is walking down the sidewalk.  Eventually she realizes that there’s a policeman following her, not running or asking her to stop, just following.

AMAZING GRACE

(voice reverb like she’s talking through a fan)

Shit can you see me?

The policeman holds up his hand and it transforms into a blade like the T-1000 in Terminator 2.

AMAZING GRACE

(voice returns to normal as she appears fully again)

You’re not a real peace officer are you?

He lunges at her with the blade and she sways back Matrix style, falling on her ass in the process.  She trips him as he stabs at her and they have a brief ground-fight.  Grace eventually choking him out with a triangle.

AMAZING GRACE

(coughing and dusting off her shabby clothes)

Jesus, how many of you magic assassins are there in this deal?

CUT TO: 

INT. 3-2-1 ACTION! PRODUCTIONS – DAY 

Messy office with various movie posters on the walls, think Bowfinger or Harry’s office in Get Shorty.   Sitting at a cluttered desk is FRANCES SEWARD, think Anna Kendrick or Alison Brie.  Standing in front of her are two gratuitously topless women making out.  Hard.  Frances half-rises in surprise as Grace comes out of the bathroom. 

FRANCES 

This is a closed set! 

AMAZING GRACE 

This isn’t a set this is an office. 

FRANCES 

Well this is a closed office then. 

GRATITIOUSLY TOPLESS WOMAN 

(looking at a script) 

Are there new pages?  Where are we? 

AMAZING GRACE 

(slapping her on the back, jiggle physics) 

You got the part! 

OTHER GRATITITIOUSLY TOPLESS WOMAN 

What about me?

AMAZING GRACE 

You got the part too!  Now beat it. 

FRANCES 

(still halfway crouching awkwardly) 

Hey you can’t just barge in here and . . . 

AMAZING GRACE 

(pulls up chair across from Frances the woman get dressed and leave) 

Sure looks like I can because I’m doing it right now.  You should probably sit down, your calves have to be burning.

(looks around) 

I know that I’m not one to throw stones when it comes to conformity, but this is an odd sanctum for a magician. 

FRANCES 

I have no idea what you’re talking about. 

(Grace points a finger at her and zaps her with a little spark) 

Ow!  My nipple! 

AMAZING GRACE 

Yeah, I have good aim.  Look I’m magic, you’re magic, let’s skip over that part and get to the part where you tell me what the fuck you did at that Raven and whatever occult shop with your bailing wire and human bones and pieces of the true cross or whatever. 

FRANCES 

(goes pale) 

How did you . . .  

AMAZING GRACE  

(wiggles fingers, sparkling with magic energy) 

A little bit of this. 

FRANCES 

Look, I needed the money. 

AMAZING GRACE 

That’s a question about the human condition they’ve been debating for years isn’t it?  Do we really need money?  Society might be better without it eh?  But then how would gross poor people get what’s coming to them?  It’s tricky.  I don’t care about the why honey bunny, I want to know about the what. 

FRANCES 

You know how wi-fi works? 

AMAZING GRACE 

No 

FRANCES 

Well I did like that, only for magic. 

AMAZING GRACE 

That doesn’t make any sense. 

FRANCES 

(annoyed) 

You asked, I told you. 

AMAZING GRACE 

What would whatever you did be used for? 

FRANCES 

Working magic at a distance. 

AMAZING GRACE 

You don’t need a computer system for that. 

FRANCES 

(more annoyed) 

Look, what I did is installed a talisman for the wireless signals from the network system to help carry magical energy, most likely to remotely control a techno-magic device.  Several devices probably based on the power it was capable of handling.

AMAZING GRACE 

I’ve never heard of anything like that. 

FRANCES 

Well now you have.  Would you please leave, I have a lot of work to do today. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Yes, very important stuff going on here.  Who hired you? 

FRANCES 

I can’t tell you that. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(with a hard look) 

Oh, I bet you can. 

FRANCES 

I can’t actually, spell of silence, beat on me all you want and I can’t say anything. Since we’re both (air quotes) magic you know about that.

AMAZING GRACE 

You can cast a spell of silence? 

FRANCES 

No but the person that hired me can.  I can’t do shit.  I’m just trying to make movies here.  I want no part of your ugly magic world. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(looking around disdainfully) 

Sure, you just sit in your crappy office keeping to yourself and making bomb detonators for blood magic cults.  You’re not involved. 

FRANCES 

You don’t know what it’s for! 

AMAZING GRACE 

Neither do you do you?  I bet you didn’t ask.  You knew though, you knew.  So this is what you do with your gift huh?  The sacred gift of magic has been given to you and what?  You use it to mindfuck some thirsty blondes from Nebraska into working for scale?  To get some low rent wannabe bigshot moron to sink all their car dealership money into making Slime Planet Five? 

FRANCES 

(sneers) 

Oh what, with great power comes great responsibility?  Thanks Spider-Man.  Don’t waste my time with that tired shit, get the hell out of my office. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Magic is a sacred calling, it is our responsibility to . . .  

FRANCES 

Give me a fucking break.  Do you expect every person without magic to be a cop?  Or a firefighter?  Or join the military?  Everyone has the power to do something, but no one gives them shit for not giving all their money to charity or bringing a homeless person to live with them.  I don’t owe the world anything more than anyone else just because I have some very minor powers.  We’re not special because we can do a few tricks, were just people.  You do not have a sacred duty to protect the world.  Do you understand how arrogant that is?  How delusion you sound?  You are not the sword in the darkness, you are not a superhero, you’re just a sad lonely woman trying to make yourself feel important. 

AMAZING GRACE 

I’m a person who’s trying to help! 

FRANCES 

(waves arm) 

Go then, go help everyone and leave me alone. 

(cutting off Graces next remark) 

You want to call me a coward?  Fine, I’m a coward!  It’s easy for you to say that, look at you and look at me?  What I am going to do about anything?  How am I going to stop anyone from doing anything? 

AMAZING GRACE 

You don’t have to engage in a rooftop struggle to the death with anyone, you have magic! 

FRANCES 

Yeah, you definitely don’t look like you’re been in a bunch of fights.  I can’t anything.  My magic is weak.  Unless you think I can fight crime by making lightbulbs flicker or fucking up someone’s router. 

AMAZING GRACE 

I can teach you, I can . . .  

FRANCES 

I don’t want to learn from you!  I’m not like you.  I’m just trying to make my way in the world. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(stubborn) 

You have an obligation, you . . .  

FRANCES 

To what?  Get myself killed because you watch too many action movies? To run around like an idiot until they shoot me down like a dog?

AMAZING GRACE 

Yes.  That’s what we do.  We use our abilities to protect those that don’t until we die from it.  Yes. 

FRANCES 

(shake head) 

You are in insane

AMAZING GRACE 

And you made a bomb. 

FRANCES 

(disgusted) 

Well here we are then, I’m the evil supervillain and you’re the hero.  You’ve got me dead to rights.  What are you going to do?  Beat the shit out of me?  Banish me to the Phantom Zone?  What’s it going to be “hero”? 

AMAZING GRACE 

(thinks) 

Probably what I should do is break all the bones in your hands and feet.  I don’t know how to cut someone off from magic, I know that spell exists but I don’t think anyone has had the juice to pull it off for hundreds of years.   But the bone thing would probably stop you for a while at least. 

October 31, 1973 – Tu ne m’aimeras pas quand je suis en colère

I don’t know much about comic books, because I am not a pale friendless virgin.  Granted I am a little pale right now, and my only friends are a fish and a giant lizard, but I assure you I’ve had TONS of sex.  Tons.  I’ve done ALL the stuff.  One time after a show (and a couple beers and joints), my drummer kept asking everyone how Superman flies faster.  He said “I understand that Superman can fly, but how does he fly faster?”  I asked him “how do you walker faster?  You just do it”.  But he couldn’t stop obsessing about it.  If you’re going to be bothered about something in comics why not “how does Superman fly at all?” 

But also who even cares about comics?  We have real people that can fly.  Angel, before the commies murdered her, has been around for a while and she can (could) fly at like Mach 700.  Surely the science nerds must have studied how she did it.  I mean, what was going on there?  She didn’t have wings or rocket flames coming out of her ass.  And how did she accelerate so fast?  If you go from zero to

800 mphs in .01 seconds, shouldn’t that set the air on fire and start a chain reaction of nuclear implosions that would break the world into three easy pieces?  How is it that she can (could) fly at full speed into a giant commie robot and not get annihilated?  Is she made out of diamonds or some other harder thing?  Where is the science of superpowers? 

If I punch something harder than Jell-O with even a fraction of my mighty strength without having a super-support structure of super dense muscles and bones as strong as freeway onramps, my arm and shoulder should explode like my dad’s head when I told him I needed to go on the pill or else he needed to start an abortion fund for me.  But it doesn’t happen.  Somehow I can punch things without that happening.  Although if I punch something hard, I still rip the skin off my knuckles and it hurts.  That makes no sense.   

I should have thrown something at Mr. Maori, who I will now start calling the Flyin Hawaiian even though he does not fly and is not Hawaiian.   Instead I went for a double handed shove to the stomach (which was about at shoulder level for me because he’s torching huge, also I’m going to start saying torching, try to get that going as slang) which may not sound like much, but remember how strong I am.  It would have been like getting hit with a car.  At least.  Unfortunately, this time I was not catching him by surprise with a coke machine to the nose.  I lunged at him and he caught my arm, which instantly broke in his grip – my arm, I mean.  You see, this is what I am talking about.  If I put 88 million pounds of pressure on my limbs everything is fine, but this joker grabs me and my bones snap like my mom’s brain when I asked her “so what’s the deal with sex anyway?”  Explain that smart guy.   

I’d never been badly hurt before, not really.  One time when I was trying to get on the bus, a drunk driver slammed into the side of the bus and I fell back into sidewalk and bruised my tailbone.  That hurt pretty bad.  But getting my forearm crushed by a giant non-Hawaiian pacific islander was significantly more painful than that.  It probably made things worse that I was being held in the air by that self-same shattered limb which was therefore bearing all my weight.  Trim and sylphlike though I may be.   

If you had asked me “Ela how do you think you would react to being badly injured?” after I called the cops on you for blatantly threatening me, I would have thought about it.  And I don’t know what the answer would have been.  But I am surprised by my actual reaction.  I got angry.  Very angry.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been more angry in my life.  The dull stabbing pain of my constant headaches was blown out of my mind by a white-hot poker of rage being plunged into my cortex (or whatever).  You’re going to break my arm?  Me?  Ela?  I had a top forty hit! 

It doesn’t make much sense either, because I already knew they were there to kill me.   If I was going to get angry, I should have already been angry about that.  The attempted murdering of me.  But for some reason I didn’t feel the blind rage until the non-Flyin non-Hawaiian broke my arm.  I guess that made it real in the way that having a knife thrown at my head or a whip around my neck didn’t.  El Hombre Gigante was holding me in such a way that I couldn’t reach his body, his arms were long you see, so instead in my rage I kicked him in the elbow.  I think you’re supposed to bend your toes back when you kick someone but I didn’t – I felt the tips of my toes hitting him right on the pointy part of the elbow that gets all dry and rough in the winter.  On other people I mean, I take care of my skin.

Unlike me, the New Zealander Brickman is super tough, but I am as strong as twenty strong men, so his arm still went the other way.  I hurt my toes too.  It was like the worst midnight walk to the bathroom toe-stubbing ever.  I yelped more than he did, he just grunted as he became suddenly and irrevocably double jointed.  He did drop me, and in my state of pissed offness, I moved forward and kicked him in the stomach – which was really something because as I said he was like 8 feet tall.  I had to jump like one of those karate dorks in their white pajamas.   

My foot went into his body.  Which was gross.  Remember that episode of I Love Lucy where she was stomping grapes?  It was like that.  Only with a guy’s guts.  And it was a real problem for me because my foot got stuck and I fell backwards.  I believe I remarked something like –  

“Ah god, my fucking ankle!” 

Making matters worse El Strongo Ligero fell over, on account of someone just collapsed his diaphragm with her foot, and since that was my foot stuck in his lower intestines I was dragged down also, with my ankle getting twisted like some kind of metaphor.  I think I said something like –  

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Fuck me!” 

All this happened in about six seconds.  What I’ve learned is that fighting isn’t like in the movies – it’s over quick one way or the other.  Six seconds is a long time in certain contexts though.  Veronica was approaching, intent on finishing me off with her stupid Samurai sword after carelessly parking her motorcycle in the bedroom and getting oil all over the carpet.

I held up my hands desperately “Wait, wait, doesn’t your boss want to kill me himself?” 

“No.” 

She came at me with her outdated weaponry and I levered up the two-thousand-pound man with my legs to block her angle of head cutoffery.  When you’re that heavy, how can you even walk around in a place like this?  If he stood on one leg, wouldn’t he crash right through the floor?  He groaned as his murder buddy accidentally (?) slashed him across the back.  I groaned as well, not even from the pain in my ankle, which was bad enough, but mostly from my arm – I had to brace myself against the floor to lever him up.  Somehow that hurt worse. 

I kicked the big man off my foot finally, at Veronica, but she dodged up and over him like a demented cheerleader leaping over a guy in a mascot costume.  Remember when Joey Fisher said that she and Eric O’Hallerhan had sex inside the Lancer costume during a game?  Bullshit.  There’s no way you could fit two people inside there.  She’s such a liar.  I think she’s a nurse in an old folks home now.   

I crab scrambled backwards with one arm and leg as best as I could and grabbed the space-gun I had discarded earlier with my non-broken arm.  Well, the hand on that arm.  You know what I mean.  I pointed it at the leaping swordswoman but there wasn’t even a trigger as far as I could tell.  Why is alien technology so hard to use?!   

“Gun, kill her!” 

I commanded, but it didn’t do anything.  She came at me with an unnecessary leaping downward slash (it did look cool) and I flipped the big metal case Captain Stars and Stripes Forever kept all his alien stuff in at her with my good foot.  I expected it to cut her in half, which seemed like the kind of stupid thing that would happen, but instead it banged off her like when Wille Pastrano bricked that free throw when he had a chance to win the state title.  I had a lot of money on that game.

I threw the gun at her, and even with a left handed toss it hit her square in the face, but it didn’t do anything.  It was made out of some kind of dumb alien plastic that weighed nothing – it was like throwing a whiffle ball.  I flipped the couch at her but she dodged that too – she’s a slippery one she is.  I grabbed Mr. America’s alien belt, my intention was to try and beat her with it like a chain, but when I touched it, it seemed to wrap around my upper thigh of its own accord (kind of like my manager at the Dairy Queen when I was 17).  Next thing I know, I’m hanging in the air halfway upside down.  Have you ever suddenly been weightless?  It’s not a good feeling.  I puked instantly.  Which is crazy in and of itself.  I’ve never gone from zero to puke spray in zero seconds flat.  Usually it takes a while to work up a good ralphing.  

The ceilings in The Goodwood (heehee) Park Hotel are high, but not that high.  I don’t know if she did it on purpose or if it’s just what happened because I was bouncing along in the air unpredictably, but Veronica whipped her sword around in an upward motion and the very tip of the blade sliced right through my left nipple.  And let me tell you, that HURTS.  I swear for one second that hurt worse than breaking my arm or dislocating my ankle. 

“Belt, fly me away!  God damn it!” 

That second part is when nothing happened.  Veronica did a little jump-jump-jump move where she vaulted off the wall and would have cut me in half like a magician’s assistant (except for real with blood and dying) if there suddenly wasn’t a force field around me.  After her cut slammed into invisible energy, she landed like a gymnast (by which I mean ably, not like she smiled and threw her hands up in the air for the judges) and regarded me curiously.   

I managed to awkwardly flip myself around to face the ceiling and pull myself along to the window.  I was terrified that I would just float away into the air and up and up until I suffocated in the ionosphere (or whatever) so I kept a firm grip on the façade of the building as I pulled myself out the window.  I tell you this, out of the many terrifying things I experienced in the last forty seconds, hanging in mid-air clinging to the side of a building feeling like I was falling UP, was the worst.  Veronica peered out the window up at me as I spider-crawled my way up to the roof feeling like I was hanging from a rope around my leg attached to a space shuttle blasting off. 

“Whelp, now what?” I said to myself.  And to any helpful ghosts, forgotten ancient gods, or invisible super people that might be nearby.  You never know.