ANYWHERE BUT HERE
(Registered with Writers Guild, west)

i

Twenty years ago, in rural Mississippi: Blues musician Jamie Robinson, a 21 year old guitar phenom, has always been attracted to his niece Griselda, now 16 years of age. Griselda is a pious Christian girl. One night, after a bar gig, Jamie, drunk, takes advantage of Griselda. A blend of shame and forgiveness causes Griselda to discuss the incident with no one. When her family sees she is pregnant, Griselda still refuses to name the father. She carries the baby to term, and when her son Sebastian is born, Griselda calls him “a gift from God.”

Jamie, beside himself with humiliation and rage, talks too much one night to his college-educated sister Elizabeth, who interprets Jamie’s rant as a plan to murder Sebastian. Elizabeth, who once went on an anthropology department-sponsored trip to Mexico’s Tarahumara Mountains, tells Griselda of the plot to murder Sebastian, and tells her niece that she can hide them both with a man and his wife, whom Elizabeth befriended on her journey, in northern Mexico. Griselda, who has never been out of Mississippi, refuses to leave. Elizabeth prevails upon Griselda to allow her to take Sebastian to the Tarahumara Mountains, above Copper Canyon, a geological wonder that is deeper than America’s Grand Canyon.

ii

Fausto Calaveras is the village curandero. He and his wife Anastacia operate an herbal store and pharmacy in Bahuichivo, located on the edge of the Canon del Cobre. Fausto plays several indigenous instruments, from the big huehuetl drum to the smallest of ocarinas.

One night, Elizabeth Robinson appears at their door with the infant Sebastian. Using her basic Spanish, combined with Fausto’s rudimentary English, she explains the situation and begs Fausto and his wife to shelter Sebastian. Fausto studies the young boy and sees something hidden, and to his liking. He agrees to raise Sebastian.

iii

Fifteen years later: Griselda has a series of revelatory dreams about Sebastian. She can only confide about them to Elizabeth. Griselda believes her son is a nascent holy man. Her dreams depict Sebastian going on vision quests, playing musical instruments, and running with bad men. She is especially fearful when she dreams that Sebastian is in a Mexican jail. In one dream of a vision quest, Griselda sees Sebastian naked, lying on his back atop a hill, in a lightning storm.

Jamie, now married and in his late thirties, has been pursuing his musical career. Guided by manager Evan McEwan, he’s a regional celebrity poised for a national breakout.

iv

Three years later: 18 year old Sebastian Calaveras (as he calls himself) is spotted by Evan McEwan (on a rare vacation) playing guitar and several other instruments in a band in a Chihuahua bar. Sebastian also sings like a bruised angel. McEwan, beside himself with excitement, invites Sebastian to come to America to record some demos.

v

While Jamie Robinson’s blues-based career has plateau’d, Sebastian’s ascent is just beginning. He causes a sensation in New York City when, costumed as Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent from Aztec mythology, Sebastian and his band astound the jaded audience with a musical blend that combines elements of blues, indigenous Mexican music, and classic rock and roll in a synergy Sebastian calls “the New Weird Order.”

Sebastian Calaveras and Jamie Robinson meet after the concert in Evan McEwan’s hotel room, where McEwan is hosting an impromptu party. Jamie and Sebastian are drawn inevitably into a competition, under the pretense of swapping songs. Jamie plays a blues he’s written called Prodigal Son. Sebastian destroys Jamie with his new composition, No Country for Old Men:

This is no country for old men. Do not be a paltry  thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick. Soul, clap your hands and sing!

   Standing in God’s holy fire,
   Fastened to a dying animal, you are sick with desire.

This is no country for old men. Do not be a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick. Soul, clap your hands and sing!

   Sail on, old man, to Byzantium,
   And sing of what is past. I’ll sing of what’s to come.

This is no country for old men. Do not be a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick. Soul, clap your hands and sing!

Also at the party is Jamie Robinson’s teen-aged daughter Dauphine. The attraction between Dauphine and Sebastian is instantaneous and electric. Along with everyone else in the room, Jamie Robinson sees the volatile attraction, but he’s too devastated and drunk to do anything about it.

Sebastian’s multi-platinum selling debut release, The New Weird Order, is nominated for several music industry awards. Sebastian shocks the world by saying that because music is not a competitive sport, he will not accept any awards given to him. His statement is so graciously written and delivered that he fosters no resentment from fans or music insiders. They love him all the more.

vi

Sebastian and Dauphine go to Mexico, and in a ceremony officiated by Fausto Calaveras, they are married. Dauphine gives Sebastian a sacred family heirloom, a generations old wedding ring made of polished iron.

When they return to America, Dauphine wants a proper American wedding. Before they can marry, they must get a blood test. Because Dauphine is the daughter of a prominent musician, and because Sebastian is a rising star, a tabloid reporter named Rick McGovern bribes the lab technician to run a DNA test on both blood samples as part of an extensive in-depth article on “the royal couple.” The reporter is shocked by the news that the young husband and his wife share significant percentages of DNA. For $20,000 more, the lab technician agrees to interpret the findings for McGovern, who senses he’s on the verge of a huge story. The lab technician tells the reporter that Sebastian and Dauphine share a common parent.

After the tabloid prints McGovern’s findings, the media go into a feeding frenzy while Sebastian contacts Fausto and asks him if he can explain what is going on. Fausto gives Sebastian the name of Elizabeth Robinson. Sebastian contacts Elizabeth in Mississippi. She invites Sebastian and Dauphine, unwavering in her love for Sebastian, to the Delta country as guests of the family.

vii

Elizabeth welcomes the young couple into their home. Sitting in the darkened parlor off the main room is Griselda, rocking in a chair, listening to old Great Depression 78s (songs also found on the famous Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music) on a gramophone.

Over tea, Elizabeth discusses how happy the family was when they heard her brother’s daughter had married such a talented young man as Sebastian. She sees the iron ring on Sebastian’s left hand and tells him that it once belonged to a general in the Confederate Army.

Their visit is interrupted by cries from the parlor. Elizabeth excuses herself, then appears in the doorway with Griselda, who is now blind, her eyes covered by thick cataracts. “Is that my boy?” she asks. Sebastian is mightily confused.

“I believe so,” says Elizabeth, leading Griselda across the room to Sebastian.

viii

During dinner, as Elizabeth and Griselda attempt to tell the story of Sebastian’s patrimony to him and his new bride, the phone rings incessantly. The local media, and many of the area’s music fans, have heard a rumor that Sebastian Calaveras and his wife are in town. Through Elizabeth, Sebastian begs for private time, but through her tells a caller that he will give a free concert the following Saturday.

That night, in a second storey bedroom, Dauphine swears to Sebastian that nothing shall tear them asunder.

The next morning, as Sebastian and Dauphine walk hand-in-hand over the rolling hills, rain starts to fall in scattered drops. Lightning crackles in the distance. Sebastian explains to Dauphine that when he lived in Mexico he went on a vision quest, and during a thunderstorm he undressed and lay naked on a hilltop as part of a purification ritual. Dauphine replies that though Sebastian is the purest man she’s ever known, he might benefit by having the grime of the recent days washed away.

A half-mile away, in a grove of trees on the high side of a hill, binocular-wielding Rick McGovern and a photographer with an impossibly long camera lens spy on the couple. As they watch Sebastian undress, McGovern says, “Are you getting this? Be sure you get this!” as the camera clicks away, and webs of lightning lace the darkened sky.

ix

The ritual must be conducted in virtual solitude. Sebastian, naked in the now driving rain, waves Dauphine away. The rain pelts the glistening young man, who is reciting words in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Sebastian looks at Dauphine, sending a profound love her way, then lifts his left hand to contemplate his shiny iron wedding ring.

A bolt of lightning cuts the sky and delivers millions of volts into Sebastian’s iron wedding ring.

Griselda sobs as she runs toward the smoking body.

A half-mile away, McGovern and his photographer, still snapping photos, are spellbound. “I don’t believe it,” says the photographer. Staring hard into his binoculars, McGovern whispers, “Where the fuck they go?”

We see the hilltop, empty now except for some smoldering grass.

x

As Rick McGovern answers questions from a TV interviewer, we hear his voiceover as we see young people laying wreaths at impromptu memorial sites that have sprung up all over the Americas: “No, Larry, they were never found. The photos show the lightning striking him, and his wife running toward him, and then she’s cradling him, and then…they were gone. The Internet’s wild with rumors. Sebastian and Dauphine have been sighted in places as diverse as Belize, the Andes Mountains, and Kashmir. He reportedly left vaults bursting with unreleased material. Blues musican Jamie Robinson, his biological father and the executor of the Sebastian Calaveras estate, has sworn the songs will never be released. This may, however, be just a ploy, as the bidding wars begin.”

Copyright 2007  NADJA PRODUCTIONS  Reinaldo Garcia
October 20-25, 2007  Rancho San Clemente-Monterey, CA

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