"The Winds of Fate"


Josh Becker

Story By:
Josh Becker
Bruce Campbell

                                                                                                       FADE IN:


Smoke rises from the chimney of a small house into the gray sky.  A strong winter winds whips up the snow covered residential street sending snowflakes into swirls and eddies.

A superimposed title reads: "FERNDALE, MICHIGAN - U.S.A."


MIKE KELSY, a stocky, tall, well-built kid of nineteen with brown hair, is awakened by the cacophony of his brothers and sisters and Mother and Father all yelling at one another upstairs.  He opens one eye and sees that it is 7:50 a.m.  He looks up to the creaking ceiling above.

                                Go to school already . . .

Mike draws his covers tighter around his body and pulls himself into a ball.  The minutes pass and suddenly there is sweet silence.  Mike sighs and begins sliding back into the warm comfort of sleep . . .

                                                           (O.S.; bellowing)
                                Mike!  Get your Goddamn ass out of bed!

Mike's eyes snap open. It is 7:59.

                                                           (calling out)

                                Because I said so!

                                But I've got a half hour to sleep.

                                No you don't.  Get your ass up here.

Mike sighs and shakes his head.

                                No rest for the weary.

As he gets out of bed we see that he is a big dude-6'2", 190 pounds and muscular.  He puts his bathrobe on over his sweat pants and shirt, dashes across the freezing basement and up the stairs.


His FATHER sits at the kitchen table drinking coffee and smoking a Pall Mall.  The TV is on with a news report about the escalating violence in Togo is mentioned.  Mike's MOTHER stands at the sink doing dishes. Mike walks past them to the bathroom door, however before he can get inside his Father stops him.

                                I want to talk to you.

                                Let me take a shower first.

                                I want to talk to you now.

Mike rolls his eyes.

                                It can't wait for five minutes?


                                All right.  What?

                                I want you to move out.

                                Is that it?



Mike's Father tucks the morning newspaper under his arm and moves out of the room without looking up.  Mike looks down and sees that his hands are shaking.  He turns to his Mother at the sink.

                                What's the problem?  I take up a small corner of
                                the basement where no one else wants to live.  I'm
                                gone all day at work and I'm usually out in the
                                evening until everyone's asleep.

                                Dear, you have to understand that your Father is
                                under a lot of pressure these days.

                                Yeah, but why can't I stay here?  I kick in for food
                                and rent.

                                I guess your Father feels it's time for you to move
                                on.  With six of you kids, this early retirement thing
                                was a little unexpected.

                                Where can I possibly go?  He knows I don't have
                                any money.

There is an uncomfortable silence.

                                I don't know.

She sees an envelope on the counter and hands it to Mike anything to change the subject.

                                This came for you yesterday.
                                                           (Mike looks at it numbly)
                                What do you want for breakfast?

Mike glances into the living room at his Father who is scowling at the newspaper.  He shakes his head.

                                No thanks, mom.  I'll have some coffee at work.

Mike goes into the bathroom.  Mike's mother turns back to the sink, sniffles and shakes her head.



We move slowly toward the map and into the western portion of the country.  Between Ivory Coast and Nigeria are three thin little countries: Ghana, Togo and Benin.  We move toward Togo, then into the city of Lome.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


A superimposed title reads: "LOME, TOGO, WESTERN AFRICA."

Rows of cardboard and tin huts bake in the blistering African sun.  A dry, hot wind blows dust along a one lane dirt road.  Black women wearing flowered shifts carry bundles on their heads and carry babies.  Flies swarm everywhere.  A number of cooking fires in this squalid area send wispy streams of smoke into the air.

A Land Rover comes driving through the little settlement and kicks up a cloud of dust.


Behind the wheel is JULIUS THORNSBY.  He is a tall, thin man wearing round, wire-rimmed glasses.  His face is tan and he is dressed in khaki pants and a white shirt.

He is listening to the car radio.  The broadcast is in Togolese, a very foreign sounding guttural language, but Julius' reactions indicate that he understands what he's hearing.  On the seat next to him is a well read copy of "The London Times" newspaper, slightly yellowed by the sun and a year-end financial report of a company called Commonwealth Mineral.


Thornsby's Land Rover passes a small harbor with little wooden fishing boats and a crumbling dock.C It turns right, away from the ocean, heading into town.


Downtown Lome is eight blocks long and entirely located on one street - Koronga Boulevard, although it's not a boulevard.  No building in Lome is taller than three stories.  The Land Rover he is forced to stop at a traffic jam.

                                                           (surprised; British accent)
                                A traffic tie-up?  In Lome?

As he inches forward, along with a number of ox carts and push wagons, he finally sees the problem.


GOVERNMENT SOLDIERS, dressed in camouflage fatigues with UZI submachine guns, have A LINE OF MEN up against a wall and are frisking them.


Julius doesn't take the incident too seriously.  He picks Up The London Times and begins reading it.


Suddenly, ONE OF THE REBELS grabs one of the soldier's guns and begins spraying automatic weapon fire indiscriminately in all directions.  Several soldiers drop with bullet wounds, as does an ox in front of Julius' car.


SMASH!! - A bullet slams into his windshield and goes out through the roof.  Julius dives to the floor of his car.  From this vantage point he hears a deafening volley of automatic weapon fire, and then silence.


When Thornsby is finally able to drive past, he sees the dead bodies of the rebels being dragged off.


Julius' Land Rover pulls up in front of a one-story office building.  A sign out front reads "Commonwealth Mineral -Togo Headquarters."


Julius unlocks the door to the office and tosses his things on the desk.  A name plate on the desk reads "Julius Thornsby - District Manager."  He immediately picks up the telephone and dials.

                                                           (into telephone)
                                This is Julius Thornsby calling for Sir Robert Densmore
                                from Lome, Togo, western Africa.  I need to speak to him
                                rather urgently.

                                                                                                       CUT TO:

A superimposed title reads, "LONDON, ENGLAND."

A tall, modern sky scraper looms above a number of the other tall buildings along the Thames River.


At the entrance of the building is a highly polished marble sign that reads: "Commonwealth Mineral - World Headquarters."


SIR ROBERT DENSMORE is the president of Commonwealth Mineral and his office is on the 30th floor.  He is forty-five, is handsome with sharp features, and has streaks of gray at his temples.  He punches a button on his phone and picks up the receiver.

                                Yes, Julius, what do you need?

                                I just called to tell you that hostilities are heating
                                up here, sir.

                                It's always been rather hostile there, Julius.  What

                                I Just saw what I believe was a group of rebel insurgents
                                gunned down by government troops.  One of the rebels
                                grabbed a weapon from one of the soldiers and began
                                shooting in all directions before he himself was killed.

                                Yes, Julius.  What do you make of this?

                                It's not that a bullet went through my windscreen, Sir
                                Robert, it's the attitude of the rebel.  He didn't seem to
                                care if he died.

                                Yes, you were perfectly right to call.  But General Nkrumah
                                has been ruling for quite some time.  Do you think he's
                                finally gotten too greedy?

                                He can't get any more greedy than he is, sir, he already has
                                everything.  The people are starving and he lives like an
                                ancient king.  I just felt it was my duty to keep you abreast
                                of the situation.

                                Perfectly right, Julius.  Let's put plan Alpha into effect.
                                Let's plan to get all Commonwealth Mineral liquid assets
                                out of Togo.  When's the next airlift?

                                Next Wednesday, sir.  I'll have to go to the diamond mine
                                at Bassari, which is right near the border of Burkina.  Not
                                the friendliest spot around.

                                Do what you have to.  Hopefully things should hold till
                                Wednesday.  Thank you for your astute observations,
                                Julius.  I appreciate it. Cheery by.

                                So long, Sir Robert.

Julius hangs up feeling quite good with himself.

As soon as Sir Robert hangs up with Julius, he immediately pushes the intercom button on his phone.

                                Get me Undersecretary Donald Wolfitt at the British
                                Embassy in Lome, Togo, please.

                                Yes, Sir Robert.

                                                                                                       CUT TO:


The British Embassy is located at the northern end of Koronga Blvd. in downtown Lome.  It is entirely surrounded by a ten foot plaster and stone wall topped by barbed wire.  At the wrought iron gates stand two short black soldiers in khaki uniforms holding M-1 carbines.


Undersecretary DONALD WOLFITT sits at his desk doing paperwork.  He is a blond, mustached man of fifty wearing a conservative three-piece suit.  His phone rings and he answers it.

                                                           (into telephone)
                                Hello, Undersecretary Wolfitt speaking.

                                Hello, Donald.  This is Sir Robert Densmore calling
                                from London.

                                Sir Robert.  How nice to hear from you.  What can I
                                do for you?

                                I'm just curious about the general condition in Togo,
                                Donald.  How would you summarize it?

                                Perfectly normal, Sir.  Maybe a bit hotter than usual,
                                but these things have to rise to the surface now and

                                But nothing to get concerned about?

                                No, not at all.  A few border skirmishes don't add up
                                to very much.

                                Well, thank you, Donald.  Just checking, you know.

                                Of course, Sir Robert.  Only natural.

                                Give my best to Sir Ian and Lady Anne, would you?

                                Of course.


Sir Robert disconnects.  He glances out at the heavy gray clouds hanging ominously over the Thames.

                                                           (to himself)
                                Border skirmishes, too.  It may be hotter than Juluis
                                even thinks.  Good man, that.

He pushes the intercom button and gets his secretary.

                                Yes, Sir Robert?

                                Please contact Randall Grubb in El Paso, Texas and
                                Leopold Bourguiba in Accra, Ghana.  Inform them
                                that Togo has gone to code Alpha.  But first, please
                                get me Captain Krasker at the airport.

                                                                                                       CUT TO:

Commercial jets stream in and out of Heathrow Airport.  At the back of the airport, behind the
commercial terminals, are the smaller business and private hangers.  One of the hangers has "Commonwealth Mineral" painted on the side in blue.


In the hanger is a 20 passenger twin-engine jet with "Commonwealth Mineral" painted on the side in blue.

At a desk near the door sit two men in white jump suits with "Commonwealth Mineral" printed on the back.  They are both drinking mugs of steaming tea and playing cards.  One of the man wears a pilot's hat, smokes a long thin cigar and has bushy red hair and eyebrows.  He is CAPTAIN KRASKER.  The phone on the desk rings and he answers it, his eyes stay on his cards.

                                                           (into telephone)
                                Commonwealth Mineral.  Captain Krasker

                                Hold for Sir Robert Densmore, please.

Krasker puts his hand of cards face down on the desk and pays attention.  Densmore comes on the line.

                                Hello, Chris.

                                Bobby?  What a pleasure.  What do you need?

                                Togo's on code Alpha.  Beta could be upon us at
                                any moment.  Better get the jet fueled and an inter-
                                esting flight plan devised.

                                Well, well, well, Bobby boy, it's been a jolly long
                                time since we've had one of these.

                                We don't have it yet, Chris, and let's just bloody well
                                hope we don't get it.

                                You can hope for it not to happen, but as for me, this
                                is the kind of thing I wait for.  All the rest is just sitting

                                Are you implying that I'm no longer a man of action?

                                A man of action?  Bobby, you haven't moved off your
                                bum in ten years.

                                Yes, well I've made quite a lot of money for not moving
                                off my bum!

                                Indeed you have.  A lot more than me.  But if Togo moves
                                to code Beta, whose going in?  You or me?

                                Well, we'll just see, now won't we?

                                                           (blowing smoke)
                                Indeed we will.


Sir Robert disconnects the phone, sits back and lights a cigarette.  He looks out his window at the Misty Thames River and sighs.  He blows a stream of smoke against the window where it strikes the glass and curls back on itself.



Mike sits in his car in front of the house letting the engine warm up.  It's an enormous gold, 1974 Chrysler New Yorker.  A total rust-bucket.  Mike wears a green and white Ferndale High Letter jacket.


Mike blows on his frozen hands.  It's probably zero degrees and all the car's windows are covered with two inches of snow making the interior of the car seem like a dark cave.

The blasting defroster and heater begin to warm and Mike stops shaking.


He gets out and hastily brushes the icy snow off his windows by hand - he hasn't got a scraper.


He hops back in and puts it in gear.  It stalls.  It starts right up then stalls again.


It starts right up again.  Mike revs it hard and shifts into drive.


The New Yorker jerks forward onto the icy street, fishtailing out of control.  He hits the brakes and slides to a stop on the other side of the street.
The dashboard lights up red.  The engine has stalled again.

                                The only thing that works in this crappy car is
                                the heater, and it won't go off!


Tel Twelve Mall is the standardest of shopping malls.  There is a K-Mart on the left side and a Montgomery Ward on the right.  The mall is in the middle.

Lobby Hobby camera store is located in the very front of the mall and it faces out to the parking lot.  Mike's New Yorker pulls into the lot and parks.


Mike steps into the warm store shivering and shaking his head.

                                My car stalled four times.

The three men sitting behind the counter all laugh at him.  This is their running joke.  They are: ART, the manager, a short, bald-headed, bespectacled man of sixty; KEVIN, an ugly kid of twenty with bad skin, crooked yellow teeth, uncombed hair, wearing a dirty tan polyester suit, and; JAKE, a handsome, well-groomed young man of twenty-five with a short beard.  He looks very yuppie in his V-neck sweater.  He looks up from reading a book.

                                                           (puffing on a cigarette)
                                You drive the biggest piece of junk in Michigan.
                                Possibly in all of America.

Mike takes off his coat and goes for the coffee machine.

                                It has to be blown up.  Just having it crushed
                                won't do.

Kevin steps up next to him at the Mr. Coffee. Mike winces at Kevin's pungent aroma. To his deep consternation Kevin moves even closer to confide in him.

                                Hey!  Thank God it's Friday, huh?
                                Mike smiles and steps away.

                                Yeah, right, Kev.  Far out.

Mike steps over to Jake and sits on the stool beside him, behind the counter with the processed slides and prints in their yellow bags.

Mike takes a letter out of his pocket, but doesn't open it.  Jake sees it.

                                Is that from your friend in the Army?

                                Air Force - yeah it is.
                                Did I ever tell you about Stan and I on the
                                wrestling team?

Mike still doesn't open the letter.

                                Yeah, you have.  Plenty.  You and he were
                                state champs.  Your big moment of glory.  Christ,
                                what it must be like to be washed up at the rip old
                                age of nineteen?  Well, let's see what he's up to.
                                Open the letter.

Mike nods and opens the letter.  It's a short note wrapped around a single color photograph.

                                                                 MIKE & JAKE
                                                           (reading together)
                                Mike old buddy, are you freezing your ass off?  It's
                                hot here in San Antonio.  You just wouldn't believe
                                this place, I sure can't.  Keep in touch, dickface.

The photograph is of Stan, a blond, square-jawed guy in a sharp looking Air Force uniform.  His has his arm around a really beautiful dark-haired girl.  They're both smiling and holding beers.  Coronas.  And they're standing out in the sun.

Mike wraps the letter back around the picture and puts it back in the envelope.  This he puts in his pocket.  He looks out the window at the snow-covered parking lot.

                                So, how's that camera repair course coming

                                It's all right, but why am I doing it?  There's no
                                repair department here, or in any of the Lobby
                                Hobby stores.

                                Who says you've got to work for Lobby Hobby?
                                Run the business out of your house.

Mike shakes his head.

                                I don't have a house.

                                Your car's big enough, run it out of there.

They both laugh.  Art cuts in.

                                All right, enough jawing.  Let's get to work.  I
                                want all those filters in that case moved to that
                                case.  Move it.

Art goes into the back room.  Kevin goes over and starts taking little boxes out of a display case.  Mike and Jake remain where they are. Mike sighs.

                                I'm heading in the wrong direction, Jake.  This is
                                a dead end.  I only went to work at Lobby Hobby
                                because the main store is around the block from
                                my house.  I figured I could walk to work and not
                                have to drive my piece of junk car, which sucks up
                                every spare dollar I have.  So what happens?  I immed-
                                iately get transfered here, eleven miles away.

With that they both go over and help Kevin.



Later that day, Jake and Kevin watch as Art tries to bully a LADY into buying the Nikon in his hand.

                                The Nikon is the finest camera produced in

Jake and Kevin laugh behind their hands.

                                I don't know.  I feel like I've seen that same
                                camera cheaper somewhere else.

                                Yeah, like everywhere.

                                That's not possible.  We have the lowest price on
                                this camera anywhere in town.  Here, let me show
                                it to you with a telephoto lens.

He takes off the 50mm lens and begins screwing in a telephoto - the wrong way.  Kevin and Jake snicker.  Art keeps putting it in the wrong way and of course it won't stay in place.  He grows infuriated, but still won't twist the other way.  The lady is losing interest quickly.

Mike steps out of the back room, watches Art for one second and immediately sees the problem.

                                You're twisting it the wrong way.

Art twists it the wrong way again, lets go of the telephoto lens and it drops off the camera to the floor.  The sound it -makes hitting the floor makes everyone's spine straighten.  Art gets furious.

                                Now look what you've made me do!

Mike can't believe what he's just heard.

                                What I made you do?

                                That's right!  I was doing just fine until you told
                                me to turn it the wrong way!  Now look what's
                                happened. well, you'll just have to pay for it.

Jake and Kevin watch with rapt interest.  Mike's mouth opens with no sound coming out.  His face grows quickly hot and red.  He begins to shake.

                                Are you insane?  I'm not paying for that?

                                Oh yes you are!

                                I can't pay for the gas to get here, you want
                                me to pay for a three hundred dollar lens that
                                you broke?  You're serious?

                                You bet I am!

Mike looks momentarily deadly.

                                Now way!  Not in a million years!

Art is shaking with rage.

                                Oh yeah?  Then you're fired!

                                Oh yeah?  Then fuck you!

Jake and Kevin burst out laughing.  Mike turns and takes a bow.

Art stomps into his office and slams the door.  Jake and Kevin step over and and shake Mike's hand and slap him on the back.

                                Well, buddy, ask and ye shall receive.  You
                                wanted a change in your life and you got it.

As Mike lights one of Jake's cigarettes he sees that his hand is trembling.  He smiles and nods.

                                I sure have.



It's a bright sunny freezing cold winter day.  Mike comes walking in the store


Mike walks into the store with a broad smile on his face.

                                Guess what guys?

Kevin guesses.

                                You got another job?


                                You got a new car?

                                Nope . . . I joined the Air Force.

This brings a sincere look of shock to both Jake and Kevin's faces.



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