This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
May 30th, 2006
Andrew Yakovlev A.Yakovlev@mac.com (646)415-2245
EXT. DESERT - DAY We fade in on a barren desert, a landscape shaped by gypsum dunes, punctuated by solitary boulders and scattered trees. A sequence of wide shots ends in an undulating, heat distorted composition with two distant figures moving in a line parallel to the horizon. The mirage materializes, and indeed, it is two human beings - BARTEL THE DOWSER and his son, BARTEL JUNIOR. The kid is toting a shovel and BARTEL SR has two dowsing rods in his hands. They are looking for water. The slow procession seems timeless and generational. Two dowsing rods, held by old withered hands, intersect over a spot no different then any other. BARTEL stops, takes the shovel and plants it firmly in the ground. The boy comes up pulls the shovel out and starts digging. The title comes up “THE DOWSER” FADE OUT EXT. DESERT - DAY (TEN YEARS LATER) BARTEL JR, now a young man, climbs out of a circular well pit. His clothes are wet and he is holding a shovel smeared with mud. BARTEL SR, an old man, is resting in the shade of a tree. BARTEL JR walks over, shakes him. His father doesn’t respond, the spirit has passed on. FADE OUT EXT. DESERT - DAY BARTEL JR is putting the last stones around the well. He notices a shadow and turns around. Before him is a broad man in a sheriff’s uniform, TOM SHERRY, an imposing presence of authority. SHERRY stares the young man down. TOM SHERRY You the dowser? BARTEL motions to a burial mound of small boulders a yards away. BARTEL I’m his son... The sheriff walks over to the grave. There’s a small board, with BARTEL PRITCHARD SR carved in, hanging on a shovel - the improvised headstone. few
TOM SHERRY That’s a shame. BARTEL drops a bucket into the well. It makes an echoing SPLASH. When the bucket fully drowns in the dark water he pulls up and out of the abyss. Thirsty? BARTEL
The sheriff drinks, then the kid drinks. TOM SHERRY I'm the sheriff from over in Aden, we're dry as a bone and I came looking for your old man. We cut to a long shot of the landscape, the well, the two men, the burial mound. We hold as the two figures stand still as if waiting, then move off. The camera takes off revealing the expansive landscape of arid sand. EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY - DAY The Sheriff’s Plymouth glides down a one lane highway. Inside SHERRY and BARTEL. BARTEL is gazing out the rolled down window. SHERRY about to say something stops short, then comes up with TOM SHERRY This is it. The car turns off the highway and onto a barely paved road. EXT. ADEN - DAY Aden is a rundown, withered settlement ruled by dust. Rusted and dilapidated buildings represent a gas station, a general store, diner, police station, etc. Sand is flowing out of a broken pump, it’s picked up by the wind and scattered across the stretch of the main road. In the distance we see the approach of the Sheriff’s vehicle. Gradually, the town begins to awaken. We hear some SIGNS of life: a creaking DOOR, a handheld RADIO playing an oldie, the BARK of a dog. A raggedy CHILD runs across the main road from one building to another. A slovenly WOMAN opens the windows and looks out.
The car pulls into town and dominates the shot. A pause, and SHERRY and BARTEL get out. More people come out and gawk at the new arrival. BARTEL looks at the people too. All have the countenance that matches their surroundings. Their expressions are dry, their clothes made more of dust then cotton. MARIE stands out, while most of the women are sunburnt, she’s more fair, but in a sickly way. BARTEL Well, might as well get to it. TOM SHERRY Suppose so. (screams) Luke! Leroy! No response. TOM SHERRY (cont’d) Luke and Leroy get over here! Two teens run out. Brothers LUKE and LEROY, messy and in overalls. TOM SHERRY (cont’d) They’ll help you dig when you strike water. LUKE (to PRITCHARD) You Bartel the Dowser? BARTEL I’m his son... TOM SHERRY (addressing everybody) BARTEL passed on. This is here is BARTEL Junior, the new dowser. EXT. EDGE OF ADEN - DAY At the gas station’s back lot BARTEL rummages around abandoned rusted junk. He finds a length of aluminum wire. After folding it back and forth a few times, he breaks the wire and gets two segments, which in turn he bends into two L shaped dowsing rods. He studies the land. The town is on the edge of a desert, his best bet since on the other side are the rolling rocky hills. The dowsing rods are going back and forth in BARTEL’s hands. On occasion they intersect, on occasion diverge.
4. The kid is having trouble calibrating them, they don’t want to be still. He concentrates and they center in a parallel line and then, staying parallel, point in a consistent direction towards the sun. BARTEL looks into the face of the burning star and then takes off in its direction. As he’s walking around the expanse of the edge, we go back to the town, it’s quite and deserted. FADE OUT EXT. EDGE OF ADED - DAY BARTEL is now joined by LUKE and LEROY who are following him a few paces back with restrained curiosity. They both have shovels and on occasion they whisper to each other and guffaw, they’re not taking the situation as seriously as the young dowser. BARTEL is breaking sweat in hard concentration the rods just don’t want to obey his novice hands. Suddenly he stops, the rods have crossed and firmly hold their position as if glued. LUKE and LEROY run up to him. He takes one of their shovels and plants it firmly in the ground. BARTEL We’ll take turns. Luke, you go first. LUKE comes up spits on his hands, rubs them, grabs the shovel and starts going at it. A digging montage follows: the three young men taking turns, the desert fighting the sky. The hole gets deeper. Next to it accumulates a mound of dirt and clay. LEROY is digging now, his shovel hits something with a THUD, it’s not water. He gives out a YELP and scrambles out. LUKE and BARTEL peer into the hole. LUKE Is the water under there? BARTEL You better run along and fetch the Sheriff.
EXT. EDGE OF ADEN - NOON Oh Jesus. TOM SHERRY
He’s standing on the edge, looking in. Takes off his hat. Oh Jesus. TOM SHERRY (cont’d)
He gives the DOWSER a look. Peers into the hole again. TOM SHERRY (cont’d) We better get Marie on down here. EXT. EDGE OF ADEN - NOON The townsfolk have gathered en masse. They’re burning holes into the dowser. MARIE pushes through the mob. Runs up and looks into the pit, she YELLS. She looks for support, but people avert their eyes from her. Well... MARIE starts crying. MARIE That’s not me. It’s not me. She runs up to a face in the crowd, hysterical. MARIE (cont’d) That’s not me, it can’t be me. I’m here, I’m here with you. That’s not me. MARIE comes up to BARTEL. MARIE (cont’d) This is a joke. This is a misunderstanding. That’s not me in there. That’s not. I’m not...it can’t... The horror of realization, the shock makes her wilt. We cut to a long wide shot. The mob, the mound, the desert, MARIE’s fragile figure dashing about frantically. TOM SHERRY
6. The sun’s scorching distorts the composition, the figures melt into the heat of the undulating waves - a fading desert mirage. A drop of rain falls on BARTEL. He looks up into the sky. It THUNDERS in reply. Rain starts coming down more heavily. It falls on the town, it falls on the ground turning it to mud. The dowser is left by himself - the SHERIFF, MARIE, LUKE and LEROY, TOWNSFOLK have disappeared. Water flows down a rusty pipe and accumulates in a barrel. The downpour doesn’t let up, it feels like from now on it will rain forever until the whole world is flooded. BARTEL is getting soaked standing next to the grave pit. Rain falls, the young man existing alone on the edge of an empty ghost town. FADE OUT THE END.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.