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Monday, September 05, 2005

Hand of God (Installment 1)

Installment #1: Darkness, Reign O’er Me

It is dusk and a sheer gray veil of mist covers the business district of a town. As the United States flag watches and wavers over the area, cars scramble to get to their destinations, as it appears to be the end of the workday. Only the street and traffic lights remain illuminated to serve as guides for those who must be out and about. With the exception of the required EXIT signs and perhaps some hall lights, the buildings are unlit and will remain void of the usual commotion and transactions promoted by members of the business world until the next working day. Even while the night crew is emptying trash and vacuuming carpets, the stillness of the place spreads like a bush fire. You can just imagine the darkness invading and occupying the offices, corridors, and stairways of all the buildings.

Like the shutting of your eyes at bedtime, the business district calls it a day.

As the phantom-like camera leads us up a hill to what seems to be a more residential area (notice how the different type of street lights and the trees are more focal), we get a glimpse of perhaps one of the last people scurrying on her way and out of the mist before an imminent storm approaches. Abruptly, a sudden flash of lightning accompanied by a loud crackle of thunder alerts us to the force of nature capable of great damage with one strike of its hand. So, just like a foghorn that provides mariners with an audible warning of dangers that may lay ahead, the burst of thunder signals the nearness of the storm.

Then again, it could be a roar from the darkness.

Now let the story begin…

The camera zooms in on a wide-eyed young man who is sitting behind the steering wheel of a car, presumably engaged in a conversation with someone. His tone resembles ‘the voice of reason’ as he utters that what “they” having been doing is wrong. His approach is mature, indeed, as he attempts to advance a hint to his alleged accomplice.
But, he is given no response.

As the rain continues to fall and saturate the surroundings outside his car, he pauses momentarily as if coaching himself to remain composed. Then in a restrained, deliberate voice he states that it might be better if “we” just call it quits.

The approach is a bit more direct this time, but still, not a word from his accomplice.

On his third attempt, tension generates from his voice as if he just realized that… “People are getting hurt!” At this time, the rain persists and noisily taps on the windows of his car as if saying, “ I’ve been waiting long enough.”
His thoughts seem to tumble around throughout his head like those plastic lotto balls in that air bubble thing. His breathing becomes heavier and he bawls out in a terrified, desperate voice, “I don’t want to do this anymore!”
But, ugh! Still no response!

Then the camera pans back and slowly scans the car.
Oh my! That’s when we discover that there’s no one else in the car with him!

The unseen conversant is ravenous for something and only this young man will be able to satisfy that hunger. Once again he finds himself succumbing to the orders of the voice in the darkness…like a habit that is just too difficult to break. Curiously, he is persuaded very easily. And like an obedient soldier, he awaits the command of when to go.
Our young man is as ready as he’s going to be. He pulls the hood of his jacket over his head, grabs a red toolbox, and emerges from the car into the dark and dreary storm. Two flashes of lightning strike (possibly an intentional foreshadowing) as he gets out of the car and struts up the steps that lead to someone’s home.

From the car to the door of the apartment, the teeming rain pelts down on him perhaps keeping him hypnotized to complete his task.

Evidently, our crafty boy seems to have prepared very well for this assignment. It is extremely impressive how he knows which house he’s looking for since there are no apparent numbers or letters on or near the front door.
His eyes fixed and ready, our determined soldier gently knocks on the door. A woman’s voice is heard questioning who was there. With toolbox in hand, he deceitfully replies that the landlord, Mr. Miniasian, sent him.

Obviously, knowing the landlord’s name on this stormy night was as good as having a key to her home because she effortlessly opened the door to this youthful sounding stranger.

As a means of raising her comfort level, our cunning guy informs her that the landlord is his uncle and that he sometimes helps him out after school. She becomes concerned and inquires if some kind of problem has occurred.
After all, why else would the landlord send a worker to her home during a torrential storm? The answer…showerheads!
Of course! He was sent to install a new showerhead at no extra charge to her!
(Hey, didn’t anyone ever warn her about taking goodies from strangers?)

Appearing a little irritated, she wonders why her landlord will change the showerhead, but not take care of the leak in her dishwasher that’s been occurring for a month. So, what does she do? She lets him in on one condition. He has to take care of her dishwasher first.
Never make a deal with a stranger!

Meanwhile, I bet he’s thinking, “Man…this job really S%&#S!”

Inside the kitchen, our young Mr. Fix-It considers moving the dishwasher out from under the counter. By the tone of his voice, our girl senses his inexperience with this handy work and, with a sweet sensitivity, asks him if he was new at this. Maybe she begins to feel a little remorse for putting him in an awkward position to do a job he was not prepared to do. She also probably realizes that he is just a good kid trying to earn a few extra bucks.

(Hmm…we know things aren’t always as they seem. Sure, he does seem sweet and innocent, but so did Damien in The Omen! Maybe that’s why we don’t see any numbers on the front door…I say we do a scalp check!)

As he begins to fidget through the toolbox, the woman attempts to reassure him that she didn’t mean to ruin his day by having him make this compromise. While she is speaking, he seems to become preoccupied with something.
Oddly, his eyes go astray as that ominous, only-meant-for-him voice speaks again. The young Mr. Fix-It utters, “What?” almost as in disbelief. Slightly startled, the woman promptly responds with a return “What?” as she is probably wondering to whom and what he is talking about.

After fussing through his toolbox again, he slowly turns (step by step) with a weird glare in his eyes. He draws a little more than two feet of metal tape measure from the dispenser and as if at the point of no return he says, “I’m gonna need some help.”

Three clicks of a camera. Three flashes of red…no doubt, intentionally designed to lead us into the next scene where we find the woman dead on her kitchen floor. Our young Mr. Fix- It is nowhere to be found. The brutal deed is done.

Police are swarming all around in their latex gloves looking for evidence.
As a police photographer captures scenes of the crime, an investigator concludes that she was strangled with the tape measure. There is an investigator leafing through a book searching for information that would put them on an evidence trail to find the murderer.
The camera focuses in on a page that says, “God is Nowhere” written in red. He calls over to Detective Krantz (finally we have a name for one of the characters) to come view what appears to be the woman’s journal.
As they continue to leaf through the journal together, they come across a pencil drawn portrait of a rather handsome looking dude. (Hmm…not too sure the artist captured his soft side here.)
The camera pans down to reveal the name printed below the portrait…PAUL CALLAN.
Detective Krantz asks, “Who the hell is Paul Callan?”
(I’m guessin’ he hasn’t heard about this blogsite.)

I don’t think his ears stick out like that, do you?

My Thoughts…

When I signed up to host this episode, I recognized the daunting challenge that lay before me and like others I wondered if I could keep up with the standard that has been established here. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I found myself completely at a standstill on where to start. The “Hand of God” has a pretty intense deep structure; and, there was no way to rush through any of it. So, after viewing the episode repeatedly, I finally figured out my first installment.

After reading, rereading, and rewriting this installment, I thought the installments should share a title because the theme continued to flow throughout the entire episode. One evening, my 16-year-old son was listening to The Who and Roger Daltrey was bellowing out “Love, Reign O’er Me.” “That’s it!” I thought. “That’s exactly what is happening here with the darkness… it emerges from the mist to reign over a person.”
Hence, the title… Darkness, Reign O’er Me.
PS…please don’t fret, just setting the mood here, plenty of Skeeter to come!
Your Thoughts…
  • What types of conflicts do you think the young man is experiencing as he sits behind the steering wheel of the car?
  • Why is it that he becomes submissive to the voice that only he is able to hear?