Where Eagles' Dare

Nicholas Platt

 

Sc. 5   LEIF stands under a tree. He is wearing a raincoat and boots.
REED enters, wearing the same.

LEIF
You’re late.

REED
I had to cross at Puttyville and
walk. With the bridge out, there’s
no other way. How about you?

LEIF opens his raincoat, revealing a pair of Speedos.
 

LEIF
I swam.

REED
Damn. You could have drowned.

LEIF

I did. But I banged my head on a
rock and came to at the last
moment.

REED
I’m impressed, but also terrified.
I look at you, there in your
Speedo, and think now my chances of
dying have risen exponentially.

LEIF
I wouldn’t say exponentially— but
definitely substantially. This is
no small task. We are rescuing a
Sector. We are rescuing a Region.
We are rescuing a Company. We hold
its fate in our talons. Now, if you
are not up to that task, you can
leave now, and resume your life of
quiet desperation. Of sticky notes
and cruising the Internet
mindlessly until the next pointless
phone call comes in.

They stand and stare at each other.
 

REED
Who said anything about going
anywhere?

LEIF
Good. Mackintosh should be here any
minute.

REED
Amazing. And to think he is
severely brain-damaged.

LEIF puts a finger to his lips.
 

LEIF
Shhhhh. He doesn’t know about that
part—if he did, I doubt I could
have convinced him to escape from
the locked ward at the hospital.

REED
Couldn’t we have just visited him?

LEIF
He insisted.

REED
I thought you insisted.

LEIF
Well, I insisted, too. We both
insisted. Insistence was a strong
theme in our discussion.

A man in a white hospital gown enters. This is MACKINTOSH.
 

MACKINTOSH
Hello.

LEIF
Mackintosh. Good of you to come.

REED
Hi.

LEIF
And how was the journey?

MACKINTOSH
Delightful once I got beyond the
perimeter fence. It’s quite
invigorating being hunted. And fun.
They use live ammo!

LEIF
Good man. Let’s commence with the
briefing.

MACKINTOSH
Let me draw you a picture.

MACKINTOSH takes a stick, and begins drawing in the mud.
 

MACKINTOSH
I apologize if this is a bit off,
but my skull was crushed ever so
slightly on the left side.

MACKINTOSH points at the various shapes he has drawn in the mud.
 

MACKINTOSH
These are the Japanese facilities.
This is the bridge over the Ki-Cho-
Wachee. And this is the Indian.

LEIF
The Indian.

MACKINTOSH
Chief Chief, I call him. The Chief
Chief. He has a proper Indian name
but I forgot it after my skull was
crushed ever so slightly on the
right side.

REED
You mean the left side.

MACKINTOSH
Well, actually both sides.

LEIF
What about this Indian?

MACKINTOSH
What about him? He’s key to this
whole thing.

LEIF
Right, then. We’ll bribe him.

MACKINTOSH
He doesn’t want money. He wants
love. He’s terribly lonely.

LEIF
A shopping bag full of cash can put
love in a man’s heart. Rather
quickly.

MACKINTOSH
He’s very sad. The river is flooded
with his tears. It’s an attention-getting
exercise.

LEIF
So, let me get this straight.
Everything boils down to a
depressed Indian?

MACKINTOSH
In a word, yes. The good news is
that if you just hang with him,
that can go a long way. Tell a few
jokes. Hold his hand. Just show
that you care. That’s what I was
doing. Until I fell off the bridge
and, you know, jiggled my brain.

REED
Wow. But you seem okay.

MACKINTOSH
I’m better than okay. I’m...

Several beats. He seems to have lost his train of thought.
 

MACKINTOSH
...Marvelous.

LEIF
Where can we find the Indian?

MACKINTOSH
That’s going to be tough. He’s
quite private.

LEIF
But he wants companionship.

MACKINTOSH
Yes, but not anybody. He’s picky.
He has high standards. He doesn’t
just hang out with anybody.

LEIF
I can hang out with him.

MACKINTOSH
I don’t think so. You’re not his
type. But, the tall fellow. He
might hang out with you.

REED
Me?

MACKINTOSH
Yes, you. You have a kind face. And
you’re quite tall. He’s partial to
tall people.

LEIF
Fine. Take us to the Indian. Reed
will soothe him with his kind face
and gangly physique. I will wait
outside.

MACKINTOSH
I can’t come. Chief Chief thinks
I’m dead. That I died for him and
that I run with the Ghost Buffalo
now. It would be a shock and
frankly an anti-climax for him to
see me, alive, in a smock, covered
with mud.

LEIF
Right. Tell us where to go.

MACKINTOSH draws a complicated diagram in the mud.
 

MACKINTOSH
And you want to go here. And then
there. And then here. And then
there, again. Do you follow?

REED
I think so...

MACKINTOSH

And following that, you want to go
here, by way of there, and back to
here.

LEIF
Great. We’re all set.

MACKINTOSH
One last thing. Chief Chief may not
be an Indian.

LEIF
Who is an Indian these days?

MACKINTOSH
Precisely.

MACKINTOSH claws at his chest and collapses to the ground.

REED leans down, and MACKINTOSH whispers into his ear.
 

LEIF
What did he say?

REED
Something about it being Chili
Night at the hospital.

LEIF and REED stare down at MACKINTOSH, who is now stone still.
 

LEIF
Look at him. He’s extremely dead.

REED
Now he REALLY roams with the Ghost
Buffalo .

LEIF
Running around outdoors at all
hours in a drafty smock. He was
asking for trouble.

REED
I feel bad. He’d be getting a
rubdown now and watching cartoons
if we hadn’t lured him out into
this cruel, cold world.

LEIF
He died with his boots on. Or
rather, his smock on. That’s all
that matters. Now quick, let’s bury
him before the hounds and
helicopters arrive.

Sc. 6
 

REED and LEIF stand solemnly on either side of a large pile
of leaves.

 

LEIF
Well, that will have to do. Who
knew the water table was so high in
these parts.

REED
It’s really kind of pretty. They
should bury more people under
leaves.

LEIF
I would like to say something.

REED
I don’t think that would be a good
idea.

LEIF
Have a heart, man. This is

Mackintosh’s sendoff. The only one
he’ll ever get.

REED
Oh, I thought you meant say
something to the authorities.

LEIF clears his throat.
 

LEIF
He was a good man and a loyal
servant to our firm. He made
Ambassador’s Club three times, and
Golden Circle twice. He was current
on all his credit cards. He loved
his mother.

REED
Do you think?

LEIF
It’s a safe presumption.

REED
Amen.

LEIF
Do you wish to say something, as
his successor?

REED
Mack, I wished I’d known you before
you were brain-damaged. I’m sure
you were much more coherent. I’ll
try to do you proud. And I’ll work
like hell to avoid your fate,
running around the countryside in
a dirty hospital dress, foaming at
the mouth, fleeing a vicious posse
of...

LEIF
That’s enough. Via con dios,
Brother Mackintosh.

LEIF crosses himself.
 

LEIF
Okay, Eagle. Time to soar. Let’s go
catch us an Injun.

They exit.
 

 
Nicholas Platt, Jr. is a journalist by training who has spent the last two decades pursuing entrepreneurial ventures in media and now finance. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and family.