FATHER’S DAY AND THE WALL OF SORROW

This saddest Father’s Day ever, President Trump seeks to shift blame to Democrats for the horrific separation of Mexican children from their families even though his GOP controls both the House and Senate. I’ve channeled my outrage into this fictional short screenplay to help convey the pain of these poor innocents.

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 3.13.52 PM
Photo by John Moore

FATHER’S DAY AND THE WALL OF SORROW

By Ken Sheetz

INT. PANEL TRUCK (MOVING) – DAY

TINA MUNOZ, 4 years old, cries deeply into a tattered baby blanket. Her wailing is nearly drowned out by the dozen other MEXICAN CHILDREN.

BETTY, 30s, an overweight American social worker with a kind face, places her pudgy hands over her ears to try to block out the overwhelming grief that fills the panel truck’s interior. Curly Red hair matted to her head, Betty picks up her cell phone and shouts to be heard over the din of the agonized kids.

BETTY

Gods mercy! Still no AC back here! Isn’t it bad enough we ripped these babies from their family on Father’s day of all days?

Betty does her best to listen to the DRIVER, a middle aged Texan, on the phone.

DRIVER (VO/ Voice over)

Ma’am, I swear to God AGAIN there ain’t nothin’ we can do.

BETTY

Pull into a gas station and get this AC fixed!  It must be 120 degrees back here!

DRIVER (VO)

Sorry. I ain’t authorized to make no kinda stops.

BETTY:

Do you want dead children on you hands, Mister… what’s your name?

DRIVER (VO)

Mister none of your damn business! What’s broke is broke! Now, with all due respect, Betty, do your God damn job and I’ll do mine. Get them little brats shut up!

Driver hangs up on Betty. In despair, she looks around at the 13 wailing children and chooses one, Tina, to take into a consoling hug.

BETTY (In Spanish)

I’m so sorry, little one. Can you tell me your name?

Tina welcomes the embrace of Betty.

TINA (In English)

I am Tina. Tina Munoz. What’s your name, nice lady?

BETTY

Betty! You speak English so well little one!

TINA

Mama teached me ’cause we go to America; land of the free.

Betty’s sad expression shows Tina’s words have cracked in her professional demeanor. At a loss for words, Betty strokes Tina’s sweaty hair.

TINA

When do I see Mama and Papa again?

BETTY

I could lie, child, and tell you “soon”. But I want to prepare you for the sad fact I don’t —

A 5 year old boy with a bowl haircut, ROBERTO, faints to the panel truck’s floor. Tina dives to his side.

TINA

Roberto! He’s my brother!

Roberto’s eyes flutter back into his head as he goes into a racking seizure.

Betty’s fingers tremble as she dials the cell phone to reach the driver, who silently answers.

BETTY

(being as sweet as possible)

Driver? Hi.  I am so sorry if I sounded cross before. I don’t blame you for all this. But we’ve got a serious problem on our hands. A little boy, no more than four or five, is having heat stroke convulsions. If we don’t get him fresh air and hydration soon — Hello?

Betty curses under her breath as the driver cuts off the call.

As the panel truck pulls to a red light Betty eyes the side door latch.

BETTY

Fuck it.

Betty punches in her key code access and pulls open the panel truck’s side door. A heavenly breeze passes through the panel truck. Roberto gasps in fresh air, calming instantly.

An 11 year-old Mexican boy darts out the door and, quick as a deer, vanishes into the hedges.

Before anymore children can escape an angry Boarder Patrol AGENT, Mexican/American, 30s, appears at the door, brandishing a submachine gun, impending violence on his face.

AGENT (In Spanish)

All of you! Sit the fuck down!

Agent slams the panel truck door shut in Betty’s face before she can utter a word.

EXT. ARMY BASE GATES – DAY

Betty wipes tears mixed with sweat as the Mexican children, clothes soaked to their beautiful brown skin, hop from the panel truck.

Last off, Roberto leans on Tina. They slowly make their way from the panel truck, the little duo scurry to Betty and burry their faces in her soft but sweat soaked dress.

Agent spins angrily on Betty.

AGENT

I only count twelve!

BETTY (trying not to sound proud)

One got away.

AGENT

You shoulda told me, bitch!

BETTY

I tried to before you slammed the door in my face, you disgusting traitor to you own people!

Agent slightly hangs his head slightly, properly shame.

Driver appears and blows a hocker on the ground in disgust at Betty’s feet.

DRIVER

God damned liberals. You got no part in God’s work.

BETTY

I’ll have you know I am an ordained minister, you Trump loving boob!

Driver lunges for Betty. Tina and Roberto scream.

But Agent restrains Driver in the nick of time.

AGENT

Cool your jets, amigo. She’ll get hers when they find out she let one of the illegals escape.

Driver spits at Betty again, this time in her face, and hops back in his panel truck.

DRIVER

Ha! Got me another load of wetback brats to pick up anyways!

BETTY

That’s right. Help Trump build his wall off sorrow!

Flummoxed beyond words, Driver races off the panel truck in a cloud of dust.

WOMAN WITH PURPLE PLASTIC GLOVES, Black, 20s, kindly gestures to Betty to allow her take Tina and Robert through the Army Base gates.

Betty ignores her and turns warily to Agent.

BETTY

Can I please come with them? Get them settled in?

Agent grimly shakes his head “no” and motions to the Woman With Purple Plastic Gloves to get to it.  She manages to send Betty a sympathetic look as she pries the weaker Roberto looses of Betty.

Tina gives Betty a last hug and dejectedly follows her big brother, the only family member she has left in the world, through the army base gates accompanied by the Woman With Purple Plastic Gloves and the Agent, doing his best not to show his self hatred.

Betty sobs into her pudgy hands as she watches the kids vanish into the Army camp.

Passing wall she spots a plaque on commemorating the internment of the Japanese in World War II, Betty falls to her knees, her sorrow watering the desert.

BETTY (sobbing at the plaque)

Happy Father’s day…

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 6.16.11 PM

THE END

What’s happening today, tearing children literally from the arms of parents illegally entering America, is worse than our cruelty to the Japanese Americans of WWII. Then, at least, Japanese families suffered together.

Please share our fictional account of the horrors being inflicted on these all to real innocent Mexican children, bound to be scarred for life. Only by touching people’s hearts can this American tragedy end.

And if you’d like to contribute a little something to producing this as short film please send your donation to PayPal.

THE MEANEST THING ANYONE EVER SAID TO A KID

By Ken Sheetz

FirefoxScreenSnapz028It is 1960, Bay View Wisconsin. Our fuzzy miniature grey Poodle named Lacy, licks 8-year-old me, giving me love like a crazy. Lacy already has some tumors.  She dies sadly, years later, taking on the cancer of our family. A poodle Jesus. But for now I am basking in her very lively lick kisses. I can’t contain my little boy giggles and shout, “Lacy loves me!”

A dear relative, who will remain anonymous, one that never likes seeing me happy, like happiness is something to fear, says clucking their tongue disapprovingly, “Ken, Ken, Ken. You think that dog licking is love?”

“Um, yeah,” I say already dreading the meanness that I know is coming.

My dear relative grins, like they are addressing the village idiot, and looms near my little face, their breath wreaking of cigarette smoke, and says dryly, “Wrong, Kenny boy. Dogs just lick people for the salt on their skin.”

“Feels like love to me!” I say, tears welling. Lacy feels the tension growing in me and tries to lick away my pain.

My dear relative smells my pain and laughs crazily as they deliver their words like a death blow, “Love? From a poodle? Ha! Animals don’t have souls, so they don’t love, except salt. Dogs love salt! Ha ha ha!”

Eight-year-old me has no words. The dear relative sickly relishes the shock on my little boy face. I begin to shake with sorrow and rage at what’s been stolen from me, the love of every animal on planet earth. A word knife is lodged deep in my heart. I shove Lacy off my lap and run bawling to my room to the taunting laughter of the dear relative.

Well, it’s 2014 now. I am a lot wiser. I call bullshit, dear relative. I feel sorry you could not feel love and found it needed to shut my heart like yours. For decades you succeeded. Today I am grown now, awakened and grown wise in the power of love.

POODLE POWER!

So in today’s meditation I send you, dear relative, loving Lacy doggie licks. Lick, lick, lick. Back across time and space, straight to your frozen heart. I see the licking love of our tormented brave family dog Lacy upon your heart. She is a brave furry little hero who your inner guardians are helpless against as she scoots between their legs, effortlessly dodging swords.

You are stunned, dear relative. Penetrated to your frozen core as Lacy runs about your ice caked heart. The poodle darts so fast her grey fur ignites with the flame of love. Barking and licking, she flies so fast she is a streak of fiery love. Crack! The ice about your heart is helpless as the polar ice caps today’s neglect of humanity is wreaking our world. Your heart thaws rapidly. Spring dawns in your wintery soul.

Your hateful side is stranded on a iceberg in an azure ocean. You are a red polar bear trapped by Lacy’s love. The iceberg becomes too small and you fall, roaring the last of your hatred as a new inner ocean of Lacy’s bliss and love drowns the last of your bitterness.

Tugged to safely to shore by the impossibly strong tiny soggy poodle, dear relative, you stagger to your feet on the beach of love, new color in your face. Lacy, job happily done, barks good-bye and zooms back into to her tortured 1960 body and returns to licking the eight-year-old me and you say in wonder…

“I am so sorry, Kenneth. Forgive me. Yes, doggies love salt on our skin, but I see now – oh how I see – that’s their reward for giving love so freely and selflessly!”

You run to join us on the couch, kissing me with love as Lacy licks us both.

THE END

20131125_1652471