Cortney Davis
Film Noir

(Lights go down. Scene fades in and voiceover begins.)

I’m standing by a pool somewhere in the land of childhood.

The pool is mysterious, dark, a bit run down, wind and wildness all around. It may be indoors or out. The water is deep.

There is something in the pool, under the water, a monster.

I’m folding beautiful paper birds, shaping them until they look real. But every time I bend to float them on the water, the monster rises up from beneath and pulls them under. I keep releasing the beautiful birds, and they keep disappearing. I look up and see my children.

(Camera pans to the other end of the pool. The distance between mother and children seems vast.)

My daughter wears a yellow bathing cap and suit. She looks like me at that age. Next to her stands my son, young and very blond. In spite of my screaming, Stop! Don’t go into the pool! my daughter walks in, smiling. She goes in deeper. The monster lunges up and I see its large mouth, its short square teeth.

(Screen goes black. Theater lights come up and the crowd leaves. A man and woman talk as they file out.)

“What was that supposed to be about?”

“I thought it had two levels of meaning. One, that the woman was unable to save herself, unable to go back to her own childhood and change whatever happened there. And two, that as a mother you are totally unable to protect your children. I mean, I couldn’t protect Jenny when she was dating that horrible what’s-his-name, remember?”

“I would have jumped into the water to save my children.”

“Are you kidding? You don’t even turn off the TV and talk to them!”

“How much did we pay for these tickets?”

“You know, I found it really interesting that the son was there but didn’t get enmeshed in whatever psychological stuff was going on.”

“Maybe he was smart. Anyway, why do you always have to look for hidden meanings? The woman was trying to float the birds and some fish kept eating them.”

“I think the only way to interpret this film is to see the daughter, the one going smilingly into danger, as the narrator’s inner child.”

“Inner child my ass. They should remake the ending. They should have the mother run around the pool, grab the daughter by the suit and pull her out of the water just in time.”

“But then it wouldn’t be so interesting.”

“Can’t we just go get something to eat? I’m starving.”

(Voices fade. The last person exits.)