Misunderstood

(some dialog included from the movie "Freedom Rules!") It was 1993, and Chuck Sands was throwing his traditional "4th of July" party at his house in San Pedro, California. His house was a 1940's two story bungalow on 40th St. at the end of the block on the cliff overlooking Cabrillo Beach. Crane’s local rock band Tragicomedy in which he sang and played bass for got the party going in the afternoon with a couple of sets. Soon it became dark and the crowd gathered in anticipation for the big firework show that the city was going to give in the harbor down below. As everyone awaited for the official firework display, the partygoers started doing a warm up act of their own. For every house on the block had people setting off all kinds of fireworks. This even though fireworks were officially outlawed in the city. There was even some dude on a rooftop who after running out of fireworks had resorted to lighting paper bags on fire and dropping them over the ledge. Even though the city finally started their show, the partygoers continued to create a fiery atmosphere of their own with every kind of firework known to mankind. Up to this point it had all been fun and games, but now there was a foreboding sense of danger in the air. Suddenly a motorcycle cop rode up and screeched his bike to a stop in the middle of the cul-de-sac. You could see his jaw drop in utter bewilderment at the spectacle of a street on fire with illegal fireworks going off in every direction. Right at that very moment, he came face to face with one of those fireworks as a screaming ball of fire descended in his direction. As the skyrocket approached the officer, he froze in fear and awaited his fate. The rocket then exploded a few inches behind his helmet. His reaction was immediate as he took off like a bat out of hell. After that violent act of provoking authority, I knew that it was now only a matter of time before we would see the return of the motorcycle cop accompanied by many of his buddies who would no doubt suggest that our party come to an end. I then went to the end of the street to look out over the ocean to get some fresh air, relax and enjoy the view away from the frenzy of the mayhem of fire. There I found a few other people doing the same. I then noticed a stoned male teen staggering toward the cliff.........

Stoned Male Teen - So, you want to see some kaleidoscopic colors? Ha! Ha! Check this out! (He then lights a pinwheel and throws it out over the cliff toward the ocean as it spins sparks out and lands in the bushes below catching them on fire. It's very windy so the fire rapidly climbs up the cliff toward the party.) Party-Goer 1 - I'm out of here! (He and some other people run down the street.) Party-Goer 2 - I'm calling the Fire Department! (He runs into the party house.) Crane - Oh no.... (Crane then jumps off the cliff landing about 20 feet below onto the slope and runs through the firewall. Crane is now dancing within the large towering fireball circle fanatically kicking dirt onto the fire. It takes awhile, but somehow Crane is able to stop the fire and puts it out. Exhausted he looks up to the top of the cliff and sees a police helicopter circling with it’s spotlight shinning on the party with the police on a loudspeaker saying, "The party's over, go home!" He then climbs to the top of the cliff. As he pulls his head up to the street level he notices Chuck talking to the firemen about the phone call made about a fire that now no longer exists. He also sees a line of police in full riot gear march by. People are running scared in every direction as sirens and screams are heard. He begins to look for another way to get to the party house as he slowly crawls along the edge of the cliff into a neighbor’s backyard. As he stands up he now finds himself staring into the barrel of the shotgun of Earl the neighbor.) Earl - Don’t move! Crane - Wait! Don’t shoot! Earl - If you don't move, I won't shoot! Crane - I got it! Earl - You think an old man like me is an easy target don't ya?! Crane - What?! I just finished putting out this.… Earl - Quiet! You damn kids think the world owes you something don’t ya? Crane - But I just…. Earl - You be coming over here all high on drugs from the party thinking maybe there’s something I can steal for my addiction.

Crane - What are you talking about? I don’t even do drugs. Earl - That’s because they’re doing you! Crane - But you don’t understand! Earl - Now move over there toward the door! (They both slowly walk to the backdoor where Earl grabs the phone and calls the police.) Yes, I’ve got a live burglar here for ya….uh huh…and hurry up! (he hangs up) Crane - I’m not a burglar! You've got it wrong man! Now if you’d just let me explain…. Earl - Oh, so now you’re the victim here? Crane - I give up. This is so ridiculous. (Crane starts to walk over to the cliff’s edge.) Earl - Hey! What do you think you’re doing? Crane - It’s time for me to go now. Bye. Earl - Hey kid, get back over here or…. Crane - Or else you’ll shoot me with your gun? Or should I wait for the police to come and put me in jail for no reason? Earl - You’re talking all crazy. Crane - I'm not going to put up with this nonsense anymore. I'm leaving! Earl - Where do you think you're going? Crane - You saw the movie Peter Pan didn’t you? Earl - Well sure. Guy - And you remember the scene where Tinker Bell shares some of her magic fairy dust with the kids which then let's them all fly don’t you? Earl - Oh yeah. Crane - Well, I saw Tinker Bell dancing on a sunflower at the party and she sprinkled some magic fairy dust on my head. And she said I can just fly away whenever I want to. Pretty cool huh? (Crane starts flapping his arms and

moves toward the edge of the cliff.) Earl - Come back here son, you can’t fly! It was just a movie! Mike the Policeman - Freeze! Don’t move! (The police have their guns drawn and pointed at Crane.) Earl - Be careful, he’s thinks he can fly! Tim the Policeman - Alright Boy, don’t be stupid, come away from the cliff! Crane - I will, only if you’ll listen to my side of the story. Mike - That’s why we’re here, we want to hear all about it. Crane - Well, alright then. (Crane walks away from the cliff and the police grab him, handcuff him and take him away and put him in the back of the squad car and begin to drive to the station.) Crane - So after finally putting out the fire, I climbed up to the top of the cliff. That’s when I see a bunch of you guys walking by with your billy clubs ready for action. Well, as you can imagine, I didn’t want any part of that scene so I tried to find another way to the house. That’s when I ended up in his backyard where he falsely accused me of being a burglar and threatened to shoot me with his gun! Is that outrageous or what? Mike - Yeah, that’s pretty outrageous. Tim - It sure is. Crane - You believe me don’t you? Tim - Of course we do. Crane - You sure don't sound like it. Mike - It really doesn't matter what we believe? Crane - It should. Tim - You can say whatever you want. The fact is you’re going downtown. Crane - Wait a second, I don’t remember you two ever reading me by rights? (The cops break out laughing.) Hey! I’ve got rights! This is America! Mike - Shut up! I’m not going to listen to some punk tell me what America is.

You’re just another ungrateful snot that doesn’t deserve any rights until you learn to respect other people's rights! Tim - Yeah, like the right not to have one's house broken into. Mike - That’s right! Crane - Look, I didn’t mess with anyone’s rights! But you’re sure messing with mine right now! Tim - Whatever, we’re not the one’s who will finally judge you. Guy - So tell it to the judge? Tim - You watch too much T. V. Mike - He was probably raised by a T. V....poor sad latch-key kid. Tim - He’s obviously got the "Angry Young Man Syndrome." Mike - With a total disrespect toward authority too! (Flashback of Crane being taken to the school principal Mr. Nelly's office about his questioning the teacher in class about the school curriculum.) Mr. Nelly - Have a seat son. (he motions to a chair) Would you like a sucker? (he motions to a sucker jar) Crane - No thank you. (Crane sits down.) Mr. Nelly - Suit yourself. Now, I know being dragged to the principal’s office isn’t fun, but we have a problem here. Your teacher tells me that you're constantly questioning the curriculum of the class. Crane - I only question the questions that don’t seem to make any sense. I mean, why bother with such nonsense? There seems to be a dumbing down of the American school system going on here. Why don't you ask us relevant questions that simulate our minds? We want to be challenged! Mr. Nelly - Ha, Ha, Ha! Don't you know that you’re suppose to just answer the questions? Don’t question the questions! Jeez! When you’re in school you got to do as you’re told, that’s how the system works. And it's the same thing when you go out into the workplace. I’ll let you in on a little secret, there’s no real thinking involved here, it’s mostly memorizing. You’re got to play by the rules if you expect to graduate. Sure, we’d all like to think we’re going to change the world and somehow make it a better place. But just between you

and me kid…the fact of the matter is…most of us really don’t. Does there really have to be a reason to why we exist? Crane - Well.... Mr. Nelly - No! We’re here because we are. That’s it! And we all do a pretty damn good job of going through life without the slightest clue of knowing exactly why. Crane - There's got to be more to it than that. Mr. Nelly - Yeah, we live or lives and then we die! You've got to realize that if you wonder why too much, you’ll just end up on the street like that bum on over there. (He points out the window to a laughing homeless man who is riding a little kiddy spaceship ride outside a supermarket.) I’m sure he started out thinking....I’m different, I’m special, I’ve got my hopes, my dreams. Like, someday I'm going to be an Astronaut or even President! That’s all pie in the sky bunk! He also probably said to himself I’m going to beat the system somehow, like by maybe winning the lotto or finding a treasure chest. Come on, get real! When you go to work you’ve got to give up your dreams! You think that when I was a boy I said, I know what I want to be when I grow-up...a "School Principal?" Ha! Give me a break! Crane - So what did you want to be when you grew-up? Mr. Nelly - I don't know...I forgot. Crane - That's just it, I don't want to forget. Mr. Nelly - Oh it doesn't matter one way or the other! And don’t blame me, I didn't make the rules up. That's just the way it is…..the way it is…..
by Richard Alan Krieger Copyright 2011

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