Original Author: Sherman Alexie
Script adapter: Theresa Huang / spring, 1998
(Time: 30 minutes)
John Smith: an Indian man aged 27, who adopted by a white family.
Father Duncan: an Indian priest who baptized John.
Daniel Smith: John's foster father.
Foreman: a white man
(One day when John was 6 years old. Father Ducan brought him to the Chapel of the North American Martyrs in Seattle. John starred the stained glass reproduction of Jesuits being martyred by Indian.)
Father Ducan: Beautiful, isn't it?
(John didn't say anything, just thinking.)
Father Ducan: There's a myth, a story, that the blood of those Jesuits was used to stain the glass, but who knows if it's true. We Jesuits love to tell stories.
John: Why did the Indians kill them?
Father Ducan: They wanted to kick the white people out of America. Since the priests were the leaders, they were the first to be killed.
John: But you're a priest.
Father Ducan: Yes, I am.
John: Did the white people leave?
Father ducan: Some of them did. But more came.
John: It didn't work!
Father Ducan: No.
John: Why didn't the Indians kill all the white people?
Father Ducan: They didn't have the heart for it.
John: But didn't white people kill most the Indians?
Father Ducan: Yes, they did.
John: Was Jesus an Indian?
Father Ducan: He wasn't an Indian, but he should have been.
John: Why did they do that to Jesus?
Father Ducan: He died so that we may live forever.
Father Ducan: forever.
John: Did those priests die like Jesus? Did they die like Jesus?
Father Ducan: John, you see these window? You see all of this? It's what is happening inside me right now.
(John and Father Ducan starred up at the glass together. The rain began to beat against the window, creating an illusion of movement on the stained faces of the murderous Indians and martyred Jesuit.)
(John is a sophomore. He played basketball because his father Daniel had been a star player in his school. They play the basketball in front of the house.)
Daniel: You need to get your hand behind the ball when you shoot.
John: Like this?
(Daniel said calmly, he never yelled to John. He put his hand on John's shoulder.)
Daniel: John, you know, the all-Indian basketball tournament is going to be held at Indian Heritage High School tomorrow, I got two tickets.
John: Ah! Really? Good, I love to go, pa!
(Daniel and John sit on the bench in the Indian Heritage gym.)
Daniel: Watch Arnold, John. Look at him, look at that guy plays.
John: (Look at his father) I wonder they are real Indian, pa, (John looks all the audiences and lowers his head) Look at these guys, laughing and jokes, it's not the Indian I've known, pa, where is Father Duncan?
Daniel: John, I'm glad you ask me, I thought you'd never ask after his leaving. Father Duncan went to far-away place, no one knows where it is, some said he now is in the desert.
John: I miss him so much. He told me a lot about the real Indian. Pa, why he left without any words?
Daniel: I don't know; only God knows. Son, tell me, what's your plan in your life?
John: I don't want to go to university, pa, (now John seems look more and more exciting...) I read an article about a group of Mohawk Indian steel workers in New York, you know, I want to be one of them. They make me feel the real Indian.
Daniel: A worker on a skyscraper? (a little surprise)
John: Yap, on a skyscraper. Pa, you are an architect, and I build your building, isn't it a good idea?
(John is 27 years old. He is a young construction worker with long black hair, tucked under a hard hat. He is a quiet and efficient worker. Now he is eating his lunch alone on the fortieth floor when he heard the inner voices again. John swallowed the last of his cold coffee and gently set the thermos down. He cupped his hands to his ears. Now the soft why-why-why sound appeared, Father Duncan is in the back of the stage wearing the leather sandals brushed against the sand on his long walk through the desert, from the right to the left, and go out from the left side.)
John: Oh! Father Ducan! Father Ducan!
(And then John heard another sound of water, like the bubble of the baptismal fountain as Father Ducan dipped him into the water. And then there were sudden sirens and explosion or the rumble of a large crowd in an empty room. The sounds combined specially for him with violin, bass guitar, piano, harmonica and drums. But now he felt a sharp pain in his lower back, like a burning. He does not feel very comfortable.)
(John stood up and waving his arms in the air.)
The foreman: Hey, chief, what you doing? Trying to land a plane?
(The foreman is standing in the elevator a few feet away. )
The foreman: Well, what's up?
John: On my break... (John lowered his arms.)
The foreman: Well, lunch is over. Get in. We need you down on thirty-three.
(John thought the foreman brought the music and the heat. He looks this short white man with a protruding belly and big arms, an ugly man with a bulbous nose and weak nose and weak chin, though his eyes are a striking blue. John knows if he were a real Indian, he could have called the wind, he could have called a crosscutting wind that would've sliced through the fortieth floor, pulled the white foreman out of the elevator, and sent him over the edge of the building. In his head, John could see the foreman hanging from the fortieth floor, and then John pushed the foreman.)
The foreman: Help me! (shouted)
(John is reaching down from the floor to take the foreman's wrists in his hand.)
The foreman: Jesus! Pull me up! Let's go, chief. We ain't go all day. We need you on thirty-three. (Foreman speaks loud but friendly.)
(John stepped into the elevator; the foreman pulled the gate shut and pressed the button for the thirty-three floors. Neither talked on the way down. John could feel the tension in his stomach as the elevator made its short journey. He fought against the music.)
The foreman: Chuck needs your help.
(John looked where the foreman pointed. The thirty-three floors were a controlled mess. John's metal against metal, finally he couldn't control himself, he raised the hammer and brought it down again, he rubbed his eyes and then raised the hammer again. He killed the foreman, he put a pair of crossed feathers on the victim's chest.)