HAWKWORLD: "A Matter of Conscience" Part 3
1 (BACK TO THE PRESENT, with a TIGHT-SHOT of HIRAM, smiling gently.)
Hiram: It wasn’t a lot, but... it was ENOUGH. Those acts helped sustain me, I think. Helped me SURVIVE.
Hiram 2: So I lived. I was liberated from the camps, I came to America...
2 (HIRAM is holding up his left arm, showing KATAR the camp number tattooed there.)
Hiram: ... Married... had children... a career... a LIFE... tried to put the horror BEHIND me. NEVER to forget it.
Hiram 2: But not let it rule my life with bitterness and MORE hatred.
3 (KATAR is looking a tad confused. HIRAM is still smiling gently, shrugging.)
Katar: Seven hells, man-- they BRANDED you like an animal. They tried to KILL you...
Katar 2: ... Their philosophical offspring came back last night to FINISH the job begun 50 years ago. How can you be so FORGIVING?
Hiram: How can I NOT?
4 (CUT TO: an ESTABLISHING SHOT of a synagogue somewhere in SKOKIE, in the dead of night. This is a fairly modern building, but obviously a synagogue, with a large, stylized Star of David over the entrance.)
Cap: “I’m not going to let the hate they’ve bred consume me as it does them...”
5 (WILKS and a horde of his skinhead buddies, in the dark of night, are leaping over the fence behind the synagogue, some carrying bats, others with cans of spray paint.)
6 (INSIDE THE SYNAGOGUE: the skinheads are busting through the back door, illuminating the interior with the beam from a flashlight one of them holds.)
1 (In the light of the flashlight, the skinheads are going about their nasty business, busting up the synagogue, vandalizing the place silly: tearing up prayer books, throwing around prayer shawls, etc. WILKS is in the foreground, working with a can of spraypaint on the wall.)
2 (Looking over WILKS’S shoulder as he spraypaints away like a demon. The message he’s spraying is a couple of swastikas and the words: “DEATH TO JEWS.”)
3 (CUT TO: several days later, with a TELEVISION-SCREEN SHAPED PANEL, showing a video of WILKS’S spray-painted handiwork. The words “WBBM 2 / FILE TAPE / CONGREGATION BETH ISRAEL” are super-imposed at the bottom of the screen.)
From TV (elec): ... In the week since the vandalism of the survivor’s monument and the Skokie synagogue, anti-Semitic incidents have been on the RISE in the normally peaceful suburban neighborhood.
4 (TELEVISION-SCREEN SHAPED PANEL: CUT TO, a medium-shot of WILKS standing in front of Skokie City Hall, looking mean and angry as he talks to the microphone being held in his face. Super-imposed at the bottom of the screen are the words: DARYLL WILKS / America First Party Leader.)
Wilks (elec): ... The authorities can say whatever they want, but they have no PROOF we had anything to do with those attacks... no reason to DENY us a PERMIT to march here in Skokie!
5 (TELEVISION-SCREEN SHAPED PANEL: CUT TO a medium shot of a slick looking LAWYER, standing in front of Skokie City Hall, talking into the microphone being held in his face. Super-imposed at the bottom of the screen are the words: WARREN HARRIS / ACLU.)
Lawyer (elec): ... Doesn’t matter WHAT they’re saying, who they might offend, it’s EVERY American’s constitutional right to speak out!
TV (elec): And so the controversy continues...
6 (PULL BACK to see we’re in LT. KLEIN’S office, seeing the above scenes on a small portable TV on top of a filing cabinet. KLEIN is switching off the set as HAWK stands there, looking pissed.)
TV (elec): ... As all Skokie waits for the court’s decision as to whether a group most area residents have labeled as NAZIS will be allowed to... KLIK!
Hawk: Seven devils! WHY is this even an ISSUE...?!
1 (KLEIN is at his desk now, holding up a paper, looking like he’s just sucked a bushel of lemons.)
Klein: Because that’s the AMERICAN way, my friend.
Klein 2: Besides, it’s a DONE DEAL. The court just decided in favor of those slimebuckets.
Hawk: They... WHAT?
2 (KLEIN is tossing the paper on the desk for HAWK to look at.)
Klein: This freedom of speech thing of ours’s a real bitch, ain’t it?
Hawk: I’ve read your constitution. It doesn’t say anything about lowlife hatemongers trampling on the rights of the majority!
3 (KLEIN is putting a cigarette between his lips.)
Klein: You’re wrong, pal. That’s exactly what it DOES say. How’s it go?...
Klein 2: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...
4 (CUT TO: the next day, on the streets of SKOKIE, along a neighborhood shopping district. The streets are lined with Skokie residents, most of them there to bitch, moan, and demonstrate against the Nazi/skinhead “march” scheduled to come down this way. There are people with signs and banners denouncing the Nazis. There are others, mostly older folks, in HIRAM’S age group, just observing. There are still others -- younger, members of the JDL, looking to kick some Nazi butts. There are also a good number of cops on hand, as well as TV and print journalists.)
Cap: “... Or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble...”
Cap 2: “Pretty much covers the whole ball of wax where those Nazis are concerned, doesn’t it?”
5 (In the crowd, on the sidewalk, is HIRAM, still bandaged and bruised, but better than when we last saw him. He’s in a wheelchair being pushed by a neighbor of his, old IDA BERKOWITZ. IDA looks concerned. HIRAM’S dog is on a leash which is tied to the arm of the wheelchair.)
Ida: Hiram, I don’t LIKE this. After what happened to you, WHY would you want to be here...?
Hiram: I TOLD you, Ida. I’m NOT going to HIDE from these thugs.
Ida 2: A DAY out of the hospital and you’re...
1 (Angling from behind HIRAM and IDA, looking out towards the street, past the police standing between the crowd and the street.)
Hiram: Ida, darling, I appreciate you watched my dog for me. I’m grateful you’re helping me out now...
2 (CUT TO: a shot, looking head on down the street at the first “line” of Nazis/skinheads marching down the street. They’re carrying a crudely, hand-lettered banner that reads “AMERICA FIRST/ARYIAN AMERICA FOR ARYIANS.”)
Cap: “... But if you want to stick your head in the sand like an ostrich, I wouldn’t tell you no...
3 (CUT TO: On a rooftop overlooking the street where the march is being held. There we see HAWK, standing, watching the proceedings down below with a wary eye, waiting for trouble... hoping for it so he can kick some Nazi butt as well!)
Cap: “... So don’t tell ME I shouldn’t stand up and be SEEN...”
Cap 2: “As soon as Lt. Klein told me the Nazis were to be allowed to march, I KNEW it would happen.
4 (CLOSE-UP of HAWK’S hand, gripping the butt of his weapon in its holster.)
Cap: “I HOPED it would. I WANTED the excuse.
Cap 2: “Constitutional rights are fine, in theory. But you have to draw the line SOMEWHERE.
5 (Looking down to the street, past HAWK, as he looks over the edge of the roof, as the Nazis/skinheads start to pass by below. The anti-Nazi demonstrators, waving their signs, booing, calling out insults, are being held to the sidewalk by the cops.)
Cap: “I’d found MY line.” -- From Katar Hol’s Personal Journal
From below: NAZIS GO HOME!
From below B: DROP DEAD!
From below C: BOO! WE DON’T WANT YOUR KIND!
6 (On the street, where HIRAM’S wheelchair is at the curb, the old man watching as the Nazis/skinheads parade by with Nazi banners and placards, shouting slogans with fists raised in the air. There are only a couple of dozen of them in the “parade.” IDA is standing behind the wheelchair, upset. The two old people are surrounded by angry, shouting younger people.)
Nazis (all): AYRIAN AMERICA FOR AYRIANS!
7 (CLOSE-UP of HIRAM, starting in surprise.)
1 (CLOSE-UP OF WILKS as he walks along with his skinhead buddies, shouting, waving their fists in the air. WILKS is glancing over to the side, looking startled.)
2 (HIRAM is half-rising from the wheelchair, pointing a shaking finger at the passing WILKS. IDA is upset, her hand on his shoulder, trying to get him to sit back down. One of the angry young JDL-types is next to HIRAM, looking at the old man.)
Hiram: Th- that’s HIM! HE’S the one who did this to me...!
Ida: Hiram... SHUSH! Don’t... don’t make TROUBLE!
JDL-Type: Wait... you saying that man ATTACKED you?
3 (The JDL-TYPE is turning to his loudly protesting companions who are standing around them, working himself -- and them -- into a frenzy. HIRAM is speaking up, trying to keep this situation from exploding into violence.)
Hiram: Ye- yes! But, please, I don’t want any...
JDL-Type: YOU HEAR THAT?! That Nazi BEAT on this old man... and NOW he’s laughing at him-- at ALL of us!
4 (One of the JDL-TYPE’S friends is hurtling something -- a bottle, a brick -- at WILKS and the other Nazis/skinheads, who are reacting to the tossed brickabrack, starting towards the sidewalk. The rest of the protesting JDL BOYS are starting towards the street, to push through the cops and head towards the marchers. All hell is starting to break loose... and HIRAM is in the middle of it, trying to get someone to hear him!)
JDL Boy (burst): GET ‘EM!
Hiram: N- no... DON’T! This ISN’T what I...
Wilks: SON OF A... they wanna PLAY!
5 (From his perch over the street on the roof, HAWK sees the shit hitting the fan below, the two groups starting towards one another at the same time...)
1 (The JDL BOYS, the Nazi/skinheads, and the COPS are all clashing, everybodying coming together with fists, protest signs, and nightsticks swinging. It’s riot time... and HAWK is diving off the roof to dive down to join the fray.)
2 (We move into the fray, close-in on the violence with everybody swinging at everyone else.)
3 (And HAWK dives into this violence, bashing one of the skinheads who’s about to crack a cop in the head with his placard in the face as he swoops by.)
4 (HAWK is whipping out his nunchaka as he swoops around to go after another skinhead who’s kicking one of the downed JDL BOYS.)
5 (HAWK is swinging the nunchaka, smashing one end into the skinhead’s chest, driving him back away from the downed JDL BOY.)
6 (CLOSE-UP OF HIRAM, looking in wide-eyed horror at what’s happening.)
Hiram (whisper): No...
1 (More violence, right up close, as a cop’s billyclub cracks across the back of a JDL BOY’S head.)
2 (HAWK is using his wings to batter some more skinhead punks.)
3 (HIRAM, with the same look of horror on his face as in the last shot of him, only now in a MEDIUM-SHOT of him, pulling away from out, out into the street so that we start to see some of the violence that’s causing his reaction.)
4 (More hitting, with HAWK dead in the middle of it, beating on one of the skinheads.)
5 (Now we’ve pulled back to another shot of HIRAM, this time in LONG-SHOT, the only still figure in this sea of violence, horrified by what’s going on around him as he gets up from the wheelchair, shaky.)
Hiram (burst): NO!
6 (HIRAM is pushing his way through battling protesters, towards HAWK, who’s comibg down from the sky, straight towards the fleeing WILKS.)
Hiram (burst): YOU CAN’T DO THIS... STOP IT! STOP!
7 (HAWK has grabbed WILKS by the arm, spinning him around, his fist cocked, ready to make a crater where WILKS’S face used to be. HIRAM is hobbling towards them, reaching out with his good hand to stop HAWK. The cops are starting to get the rest of the situation in hand, continuing to make progress throughout the rest of the story.)
Hiram (burst): STOP!
1 (HIRAM is grabbing HAWK, stopping him before he can deck WILKS. HAWK is looking at the upset old man while still holding on to WILKS.)
Hiram: My GOD, Hawkman... WHAT are you doing? Didn’t you hear ANYTHING I said to you?!
Hawk: This is DIFFERENT, Mr. Wyznowski! They STARTED it...
2 (HIRAM is shaking his head, looking older and sadder than ever.)
Hiram: They throw a punch... I retaliate... then they hit me... I hit back...
Hiram 2: WHERE does it end, Hawkman? When does the violence stop?
3 (HIRAM is pointing to the frightened WILKS, who the confused HAWK is still holding on to.)
Hiram: This one... he wants to TAUNT the victims of the HOLOCAUST with his hateful talk? LET him! I don’t have to LIKE what he says--
Hiram 2: -- But if I want to be able to say the things I believe, then I’ve got to acknowledge HIS right to do the same.
4 (HAWK is shaking WILKS in anger.)
Hawk: That doesn’t make SENSE. He can’t preach prejudice and hatred... that kind of talk means he’s given UP his rights!
Hiram: Because YOU don’t agree with him? Who made you... who made ANY of us judge?
5 (A cop is standing nearby, waiting to take WILKS out of HAWK’S hand, although HAWK isn’t quite ready to let him go. HIRAM is patting HAWK’S arm.)
Hawk: How can you STILL believe that after all that’s happened to you?
Hiram: How can I NOT?
Cap: “So many people on Earth remind me of the WORST I’ve seen on Thanagar.
6 (The cop is taking WILKS away. HIRAM is taking HAWK’S arm, so that HAWK can help him hobble back to his wheelchair.)
Cap: “But before I can dispair TOO deeply, I meet someone like Hiram Wyznowski. A victim who can find it in his heart to defend the victimizer.”
Hiram: So, you gonna help me back to my wheelchair or what...?
Cap 2: “Because it’s RIGHT... because it’s what he came to this country to find. It’s almost enough to JUSTIFY a faith in humanity...” -- From Katar Hol’s Personal Journal