Close Encounters Of The Schwah Kind

[Exterior shot of the West Honolulu Medical Center. A grand pan upwards takes in the building’s facade in all it’s glory. Ten stories high and doing alright. An equally slow pan back downwards, and we’re looking through the clear glass doors of the main entrance. All’s quiet on the western front, as there is very little activity (read: none) outside this house of healing. Suddenly, from out left, Devo Tremors strolls into view. We follow him inside as he pushes through the large glass doors and into the lobby.]

[He’s dressed a little neater than we’re used to, although not overdone. A pair of tan khaki pants and a maroon, button-up, collared shirt. His brown penny loafers squeak quietly as he shuffles across the tile floor towards the reception desk. In his arms is a fairly large bouquet of flowers. A large Hawaiian women in a white nurses uniform sits behind the counter, desperately trying to look busy. Words appear at the bottom of our screen.]

West Honolulu Medical Center / Thursday, May 6, 1999 / 6:39 am

[Inside the hospital is still rather quiet. No much activity at 6:30 in the morning. At least not in Hawaii. A few of the staff stand around the lobby looking impatient. Their 11 p.m. to 7 am shift is just about up and they’re waiting for their replacements to get into place. A stray patient wonders into view, I.V. drip rod in tow. The typical sounds of conversation and p.a. announcements is heard. Probably the same stock announcement that opens Queensryche’s “Operation Mindcrime” album and has appeared in hundreds of films and television programs since.]

[Devo reaches the counter and the large nurse, apparently happy for the distraction, shatters all myths about “unhelpful” hospital receptionists by offering a big smile and a polite greeting.]

Big Nurse: Aloha, sir. And how may I help you today.

Devo: I’m a… here to see a patient. Exene Schwahling.

[Props to the kid for not butchering the name.]

Big Nurse: Certainly. One moment.

[She consults her computer and apparently punches up the room assignment. Don’t ask how she knew how to spell it. It’s her job. Leave it at that.]

Big Nurse: Room 314, sir. Take the elevator to the third floor, take a right, two doors down on your left.

Devo: Thank you.

[Okay, so that wasn’t all that exciting. It’s set-up damnit. Now get over yourself. Anyway, we follow as Devo makes his way to the elevator and punches the button for the third floor. As we ride up, Devo breaks his usual pattern and shares a thought with the camera.]

Devo: Hi.

[There is no response from the camera man, and our view remains constant, aside from the herky jerky motions caused by the elevator. Remember, this is an NWC camera operator. This guy knows what he’s doing.]

Devo: I know you all are wondering what I’m doing here. Well, like, I’ve got something I need to take care of before I hit the road, you know. It’s just a thing.

[The motion of the elevator stops and with a loud *ping* the doors slide open. Devo exits and makes a left. He gets about two steps before, from behind, we see his right hand fly up and smack off his forehead accompanied by a mumbled “DOH!”. He turns around and makes his way down the hall now heading in the correct direction. As the camera pulls in behind him, we immediately see what one might call “an obstacle”. Standing outside the door to room 314 are the members of Doman Schwahling’s posse that were left behind to stand guard over Doman’s recuperating sister. They visibly tense up as they see Devo and the camera approaching.]

Hodge: What the [bleep] is he doing here? Hey, Brakas!

[From through the doorway comes Schwahling’s intrepid camera monkey, Sean Brakas, his own device resting heavily on his shoulder. He takes but a moment to survey the scene then switches the thing into gear. We at home are treated to a rather bizarre staredown between the two dueling recorders, as they circle each other in a pathetic “West Side Story” gang ritual. Finally, the NWC crew ends the macho showboating and resumes his place looking out over Devo’s shoulder.]

* * * * *

(The switchover from glam to grit via POV comes without a warning; it’s a bit distracting to suddenly go from watching Hodge and Brakas to a 16mm-grade view of Devo and his own NWC lensboy-lender. We’re now on the other side of the machismo tete’-a-tete’ between the two cameramen, as Sean wisely steps back before he gets his whole 120-lb. carcass whaled over.)

(Devo’s doing his best to explain himself in a congenial manner.. especially since Hodge is now looking like he wants to hurt something, arms dared out to either side of his hips.)

(Hodge) Are you tongue-tied, scrub? I asked what you’re -doing- here..

(Devo begs away, avoiding Hodge’s outward attempt to get up in his face with some fancy footwork. The mild chase is leading into a wider circle through the broad corridor, and eliciting some weird looks from the OR and ward staff, speckled in their white and green uniforms in the background.)

(Devo)
Hey, man, I like, just wanted to..

(Sean, as it seems, has gotten a bit overzealous in his time with the Schwahling siblings. Off-view, he blurts:)

(Brakas) He’s lapping for Khalid, man!

(Devo) No! I was just gonna, like..

(Hodge asserts a head-shake, stringy black scarecrow hair flailing back and forth. A smooth motion produces a toy that you can usually only order out-of-state, or maybe from The Sharper Image; a telescoping self-defense baton, the steel kind with the weighted lead end. A metallic snap and a swift
flick of the arm, and the weapon is extended like a switchblade, two and a half feet of three and a quarter-inch wide metal, polished to a Ferrari finish. Hodge swings it around in a menacing circle, as Devo stops his backpedaling, and hits the brakes alongside his cameraman.)

(Hodge) You know what’s funny? I like beating up little girls, too.. c’mere, bitch.

(Devo) I, like, just wanted to SEE her, man..

(Out of room, Tremors backs to the best defensive stance he can pull out of thin air, kind of a mix between something Ice T woulda pulled in ‘Breakin’ 2′, and some Karate Kid balancing tricks. It’s not easy with the flower arrangement demanding the attention of both arms. Hodge taunts him briefly with two fingers from his left hand, before winding up with the baton–)

(OSV Voice)
Do you guys mind? What the f(bleep) do I have to do to get some reading quiet around here?

(The frame doesn’t hit pause, it just looks like it. All eyes left, followed by Brakas’ adrenalized shudder of attention through the lens, to the inlaid door of Room 314. Exene, in a rather subdued turquoise smock, has emerged halfway into the hallway, leaning heavily on the doorjamb. A jerk back, and Hodge quickly snaps the baton back into its original, upright position, and stows it into his weathered trenchcoat. Just some stupid stammering from he and Tremors, to fill the void, but no -real- explanations given.)

(Exene) What do -you- want?

(Her expression is a confused mince of surprise and suspicion, as Brakas makes us seasick with a floatover back to Hodge, Tremors, and the NWC camera jockey. Hodge steps back, perhaps knowing better than to push the issue, and Devo suddenly realizes that she’s addressing him. Pointing to himself dumbly, eyebrows up.)

(Devo) I, like.. just.. ummm.. ah..

(The idyllic tension of the scene is broken by the unanticipated (Right) arrival of four hospital security guards–the kind of prickly rent-a-cops that arrive with a hand on their keys, and a hand on the butt of their sidearm. Instantly taking issue with Tremors and Hodge, the head one, some beefy character with a permanent sunburn and a 50-year-old hairline, grunts over at Exene.)

(Security #1) Is there a problem, here?

(Imaginably, given the cadre of bizarre freaks that have been hanging around this wing in a vigil for this pro-wrestling chick, the security is a bit biased in their readiness to bust someone’s face. Devo remains in an intelligent silence, while Hodge just stares at the floor, hands buried in the flowing pockets of his trench.)

(And.. jump, two, three, four, back to Exene’s side of the hallway. All eyes on her. After a tight jaw considers, she sighs off, and shakes her head.)

(Exene) No. C’mon in.

(Devo looks as shocked at the capitulation as Hodge does; both men’s heads snapping up in synchronicity. Not wasting any more film on stumbling attempts to talk, Tremors just gives the security and the Phreak a little ‘excuse me’ nod of the head, and hightails it through the invited opening of the door. The NWC’s camera slug goes sucking into the opened vortex, as well, but Sean gets stopped short as Exx slams it shut in the camera’s face.)

(Thud.)

(Things go goofy, as Sean recoils, shaking the rig in a clumsy effort to test the lens. No clanking or clinking, so, presumably, the three-ring sideshow known as the Schwahkumentry will go on.)

(Perhaps looking for something worth capturing, the shot drifts back to Hodge, who is still half-surrounded by the semicircle of hospital shirts. He folds his arms in a stale glare, before turning to return the perro aguayo look the head officer’s baking him with.)

(Hodge) What the hell are you looking at, fat boy?

* * * * *

[Back inside the room, courtesy of NWC camera man Nate Blarney, Devo Tremors’ personal shadow for the weeks leading up to AEL2. Exene, either unconscious or uncaring about her exposed backside, shuffles over to the bed and crawls back under the covers. She picks up her book, folds a corner page, and places it on the stand next to the bed. She then props herself up a bit in order to better “entertain” her guest. What happens next can best be described as “awkward”. Anyone hoping to see a cheery, emotional meeting between these two one-time combatants, will be badly disappointed. Without a word, Exene puts on her best “you’ve got two minutes and say your peace and get the hell out of here before I have the goon come and kick the ever loving life out of you, and oh yeah, this better be good” look. Devo meanwhile, has been standing like a schoolboy at the principals desk, eyes averted towards the ground, flowers hanging limply at his side. The silence is deafening.]

Exene: Well?…..

Devo: I uh… well I…. you know…

Exene: [rolling her eyes] Oh for God’s sake.

Devo: Look, I wanted to come and make sure you were all right, you know.

[There is no response from Exene. Just a continuation of laser like trance that emanates from her eyes.]

Devo: I’m sorry about Sunday, okay? Things should never have gotten that far.

Exene: Oh, spare me.

Devo: [interrupting with an almost angry, or perhaps frustrated tone] LOOK! This isn’t easy you know. I like, felt wicked guilty about the whole thing as it was. I ain’t never wrestled a girl before, especially one that was just powerbombed through a table.

[Some more shoulder tensing silence as Devo tries to regain control while Exene’s look of absolute disdain mellows slightly into a look of bemused interest. It’s hard to tell whether she finds the lad pathetically humorous, or if maybe, just maybe, his concern has managed to break through the first level of her gruff persona and touched something deep… oh hell, she probably just thinks he’s a geek. We all do.]

Devo: So I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t try and stop Khalid when he was kicking the… well, the stuffing out of you. And I’m sorry I took advantage of that and tried to beat you in the ring.

Exene: Uh huh.

Devo: I just get so caught up in doing well sometimes, that I like, well I forget my manners.

Exene: Manners? Jesus, man…

Devo: I know, I know. “It’s wrestling. Manners don’t have any place.” I’ve heard that speech before, you know. But the point is, I was raised to never hit a woman and what I did to you Sunday went way beyond, you know. Even if it was just in the spirit of competition. So I’m sorry.

Exene: Fine. Are you done?

Devo: Yes. Well… no. I also brought you these.

[He presents the small bouquet before Exene and places them on her lap. She maintains her current position, propped up, arms crossed, impatient look on her face. She makes no move to pick the flowers up. Heck, she doesn’t even so much as look at them, making her reply all the more cold.]

Exene: They’re great. Thanks.

[It’s hard to imagine someone could be that unemotional when presented with a gift, but sure enough, Exene Schwahling has mastered the art of insincerity, thanks, no doubt, to her brother. She continues to bore a hole through Devo, he himself is rooted the ground by a combination of embarrassment and shock.]

Devo: Um… you’re welcome. I guess I should be going. I got a plane to catch. I’m going to L.A., then St. Louis to meet my partner for the Hurricane Cup. Then we’re gonna head to Australia. I’ll tell your brother you say “hi”.

Exene: Yeah. You do that.

Devo: Well… goodbye.

[His attempts at a graceful exit are thwarted when he spins around quickly and throws his face right into our living rooms courtesy of an up close and personal meeting with the camera’s lens. There is a loud “OW!” that accompanies this little number, and as he pulls away, messaging his right cheek, we catch a glimpse of Exene snickering slightly. The camera turns to follow Devo out, but stops in the doorway for one last parting shot of Exene. Apparently, we’ve caught her unaware, because she is now staring down at the flowers on her lap. She reaches over with her right hand and grabs the bouquet, raising it to her nose for a quick whiff. She then turns to look out the window in a day-dreamy kind of way, and we see what we swear is a lonely teardrop making it’s way down her cheek.]

[Pre-requisite fade to black.]

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