Sunset Blvd. Meets Telegraph Meets People’s Park – the Movie
(from stories in Berkeley Daily Planet, and Berkeley Reporter)
by Steed Dropout and Joe Gillis
July 28, 2012
Open on overview of Berkeley’s People’s Park.
Over the scene we now hear sirens. Now camera moves to street sign: TELEGRAPH AVE. Dark, and more dark, but we can see through.
Reporter’s voice: Yes, this is famous Telegraph Avenue scene of bloody riots in the sixties…near the grizzly murder last week of a beloved People’s Park dog — Dude. Park regulars with nowhere else to go because they’re homeless are calling “their” dog’s death — Murder.
Voice Over: This is People’s Park. It’s 1 a.m. That’s me down there, the good-looking but so dead dog with all the screaming people going nuts over me. People’s Park was to have been my dream — like your swimming pools and backyard barbecues.
To refuse truck. Sign on truck: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA REFUSE VEHICLE. Workers are hoisting a blanket-covered corpse on a pallet. At last minute corpse slips from pallet into truck’s refuse receptacle, and we see it is a tawny-coated dog.
At the dog morgue. The dog (first barks at other dead dogs who revive from supine poses, bark back) arises from death to address us. Dude is not quite translucent.
VO: a murder has been reported from People’s Park. You’ll read all about it in the late editions. But just who or what killed me? They’ll report it was a cop. Some will blame Gus, my owner for being drunk, and for not leashing me, or for not waking up and calming me when the cop approached.
You could have seen this one coming a mile away. Gus just couldn’t get it together. A lot of my human friends were fucked up that way. But we dogs, being amoral, wouldn’t see it that way. That’s one of many traits of humans we gladly skipped.
Lets go back about six months and find the day when it all started. (music: sounds of the sixties; photos of summer of love in montage.)
Inter title: SUMMER OF LOVE TODAY — GOLDEN GATE PARK, SF
Scene shift to Golden Gate Park, SF.
VO: I’m third from left sucking my mom’s teat. It’s a good teat. But the hard life of vagrants in Golden Gate Park is no suck on a teat. And its is brrrr-cold. I soon fell in with Gus, who, adopted me from a panhandler in the Haight who was even more fucked up than Gus.
Don’t get me wrong I love Gus to death, (barks with laughter). Who among you can say you are as close to anyone as we homeless companion dogs are to our masters. We eat together, sleep together twenty-four-seven.
BACK TO PEOPLE’S PARK. Dude and Gus are playing fetch the bone, frolicking around with a bunch of bedraggled street tramps. Dude is approaching other dogs in a loving, peace y’all way. Gus is drawing on a pint of rotgut.
“Be nice now, Dude,” Gus slurs. “We don’t want no troubles like they have in the Haight.”
VO: Gus always overplayed the be nice card. My mammy’s breed were watchdogs, and Pappy’s, she said, would kill for their masters. People can be nuts that way. But I went along and played nice. If I’d reached that cop’s throat before he nailed me, I wouldn’t be talking to you through this crummy movie.
On Telegraph. Gus and three street-tramp pals are sitting on “the ave,” panhandling.
Gus, has a cup on a string and pole and he’s propped a sign “Money To Get Stoned”
next to him. Dude is curled at his feet. A passer-by tosses a quarter at the dangling cup, missing and hitting one of the panhandlers.
Panhandler: “that which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger; nice try, though.”
Overview People’s Park. Zoom in on park regulations sign: CURFEW HOURS 10 p.m. — 6 a.m. Establish that park is deserted…
PAN to Gus. Park is deserted except for Gus, who is passed out near a drain pipe in the Park West end.
VO: Gus is drunk as usual, but I’m on the lookout.
PAN to Dude, who seems alert.
Scene Shifts to outer corner of park where a cop car pulls into a parking space…cop proceeds to sweep park, laterally, shining his flashlight up, down, sideways.
VO: Of all the gin joints in all the world, why does this cop have to pick mine? Where have I heard that?
Point of view shifts to cop. We follow cop to Gus, where cop shines light in Dude’s
VO: I wish he hadn’t done that.
Dude growls, bares fangs, barks, once, then launches in air aiming for the cop’s throat.
VO: now here we have a real failure to communicate. Where have I heard that? I don’t want to bark my own horn here, but I guess I showed all those peace and lovers what it means to have someone’s back. The pressure to be the sweet dog they wanted must have made me snap, but hey, I’m only a dog.
Point of view, Cop. Cop shoots Dude in shoulder and chest. FREEZE FRAME of Dude in Mid-air.
VO: Some smart-ass reporter called it bark-bark-bang-bang (bark-laughs). Was he thinking Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang, or just bing bom boom? Where have I heard that.
Oh…I’m about to die, if you really want to know about it.
Cop: Dude falls to the ground. Cop dons latex glove before checking Dude’s pulse. Calls for support.
A small crowd arrives, as Gus is just coming out of his drunken torpor.
Gus (crying and stammering) the cop just came up and killed my dog. Repeats.
VO: The cop killed your dog because you efed up. Now you get your “big scene.”
Joe Gillis writes by special arrangement with Celestial Productions and its CEO, G.O. Deity, known in the industry as GOD. Dude’s participation courtesy of Celestial. Dropout w/permission Berkeley Reporter. Thanks to all who participated.