HAWKWORLD: "A Matter of Conscience" Part 2
© DC Comics
1 (SCHINDLER is shaking hands with HAWK, still flustered by his presence, as KLEIN makes the appropriate introductions.)
Schindler: Uhm... yes, well... you’re HAWKMAN, aren’t you?
Klein: Yeah. This’s Mel Schindler, of the B’NAI B’RITH ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE.
Hawk: Nice to meet you. Excuse me, but I’m not from around here... what’s a B’nai B’rith...?
2 (CLOSE-UP OF SCHINDLER, recovering his equalibrium as he speaks to Hawk.)
Schindler: Uh, yes... we’re an American Jewish service organization, involved in relief work and vocational training.
Schindler 2: I represent our Anti-Defamation League.
Hawk: I see. Do many people defame the B’nai B’rith, Mr. Schindler?
3 (SCHINDLER is looking at HAWK like he’s from another planet... which, in fact, he is. KLEIN is rolling his eyes to the heavens.)
Schindler: Not the group ITSELF, Mr.... er, Hawkman. Jews. And, yes, quite a few people do just that.
Schindler 2: Which is what I want to talk to YOU about, Lt. Klein. What are your people DOING about the vandalism of the memorial?
4 (CLOSE-UP of KLEIN as he reaches into his shirt pocket to extract a cigarette from the pack there. He looks tired.)
Klein: What’d you WANT from me, Schindler? Some loon takes a can of spray paint to the statue... no witnesses... no NOTHING.
Klein 2: All I CAN do is put a man on patrol in the park so it doesn’t happen again.
5 (SCHINDLER is angry, pointing a finger at KLEIN as HAWK looks on.)
Schindler: I thought you, of ALL people, would understand what vandalism of this sort MEANS. I suppose I was WRONG...
Klein: SAVE the GUILT okay? I KNOW... a damned sight BETTER than you--
6 (CLOSE-UP OF KLEIN, angrilly clamping his teeth down on the cigarette.)
Klein: -- But what I feel doesn’t mean SQUAT here. This sort of crap turns my stomach...
7 (CUT TO: to an ESTABLISHING SHOT of a small, tidy house on a street of similar houses, somewhere in SKOKIE. This is a heavily residential area of quiet streets lined with homes with their neat little patches of lawn out front. Very quiet, very nice... one of those ideal American communities in which to bring up the kiddies. Or live out your retirement years.)
Cap: “... But I can’t materialize a perp out of thin air with nothing to go on but my OUTRAGE...
1 (AROUND BACK of the house, by the back door to the kitchen: the light is on in the kitchen and, through the window, we can see old HIRAM moving past the window, carrying a dinner plate. On the wall of the house, we can see the shadows of three men moving towards the back door.)
Cap: “... And no matter how loud you HOWL for me to go rounding up the ‘USUAL suspects,’ I don’t PLAY that way--
2 (INSIDE THE HOUSE, in the kitchen, where HIRAM is just about to sit down at the small kitchen table to eat his dinner. His little dog is sitting on the floor beside the table, looking expectantly up at his master. HIRAM’S back is to the door, so he doesn’t see the silhouettes against the curtains on the kitchen door moving up towards the door.)
Cap: “-- So unless you’ve got some USEFUL information for me, you’re just WASTING my time...”
Hiram: STOP begging, Cassie. You have YOUR dinner, I have MINE.
3 (HIRAM is turning to look towards the kitchen door, brow furrowed, surprised. All he can see through the sheer curtains over the door’s window is a vague silhouette.)
Hiram: Eh? Who’s THERE...?
SFX: KNOK! KNOK!
4 (HIRAM is standing before the kitchen door, hesitant, unsure. The dog is sniffing at the bottom of the door.)
Hiram: I said, who’s there? I... I was just about to sit down to my dinner...
SFX: KNOK! KNOK! KNOK!
5 (Suddenly, a baseball bat is smashing through the door window, sending glass flying at HIRAM who is recoiling, covering his face with his arms in surprise.)
6 (Now the door itself is flying open, kicked in from the outside by a blackbooted foot.)
7 (Standing framed in the doorway are three skinhead Nazi punks, dressed in leather and denim, torn t-shirts, and liberally festooned with a wide variety of Nazi symbols. Mean as can be... and meanest of them is the leader, WILKS, who’s at the fore of the group, tapping his baseball bat on the palm of his hand, a nasty smile on his face, directed at the scared, shocked old man.)
Wilks: I got something for you to CHEW on, pops!
Hiram: M- my... god... what... WHAT do you WANT...?!
1 (WILKS, with his two goons right behind him, is stepping into the kitchen, pointing at old HIRAM with the baseball bat. HIRAM is backing away, frightened. The dog is snarling and growling at the skinheads.)
Wilks: Wanna TALK to you, old man. We HEARD what you said about us on the news. Didn’t like it.
Hiram: You... you get OUT of my house... right NOW, you HEAR me!
2 (FLASHBACK PANEL: HIRAM -- once as a teenager in the late-30s, early-40s -- is shielding his mother and sister from flying splinters as uniformed and heavily armed Nazis kick open the door to their apartment.)
3 (WILKS is poking HIRAM in the chest with the end of the bat, smiling coldly at the old man.)
Wilks: Not yet, Jew boy. Not till we discuss a few things... like your calling us ANIMALS. We think that’s real FUNNY--
Wilks 2: -- Coming outta a LOWER LIFE FORM like a JEW. Know what I mean?
Hiram: I... I KNOW... I know all ABOUT you... and your KIND...
4 (WILKS is looking over his shoulder at his two friends, smiling. He’s got HIRAM pinned against the wall now, holding the old man there with the end of the bat pressed against his chest.)
Wilks: Hear that? He knows us. That makes it EASY, don’t it?
Punk A: Yeah, Wilks. REAL easy.
Hiram: You... you’re a bunch of THUGS, you hear me?! You imitate a MONSTER... but HE couldn’t kill us all... YOU’LL never do it...
5 (WILKS is shouldering the baseball bat as he returns his gaze to old HIRAM, still smiling his cold-as-ice, hateful smile.)
Wilks: You gotta understand something here, Jew boy. Old Adolph-- he was on the RIGHT track, but he was TOO soft on all of you...
6 (Without warning, WILKS is swinging the bat, at old HIRAM, off panel.)
Wilks (burst): ... JUST TOO DAMNED SOFT!
Cap: “I find this whole situation AND your attitude DEPLORABLE...”
7 (CUT TO: back to the police station, where an irate SCHINDLER is storming away from a fed-up KLEIN and a slightly confused HAWK.)
Schindler: ... And you can be sure the mayor and the media’s going to hear about this, Lt. Klein. COUNT on it!
Klein: Yeah, give hizzoner a big WET one for me while you’re at it.
Hawk: What was that all about, Lt.?
1 (KLEIN is dropping his cigarette to the floor in disgust, shaking his head in annoyance.)
Klein: Ahh, just some LOCAL trouble. You know anything about World War II? The Nazis?
Hawk: Some. But that’s history, isn’t it?
2 (CLOSE-UP OF KLEIN, looking down at his feet as he speaks.)
Klein: Not around HERE it isn’t. Anyway, the short of it is, part of the Nazi gameplan was the eradication of the Jewish race...
Klein 2: ... Mostly in CONCENTRATION CAMPS-- extermination centers where they worked European Jews to the brink of death--
3 (TIGHT ON KLEIN’S foot, as he grinds out the cigarette with the toe of his shoe.)
Klein: -- Then gassing or shooting the one’s who didn’t drop from starvation or exhaustion... 6 MILLION Jewish victims... probably the SAME number of other ethnic or racial UNDESIRABLES...
4 (KLEIN, pain and sorrow showing on his face, is looking up at HAWK.)
Klein: But, you know, try as they might, some of their victims SURVIVED the camps... 45 years later, a lot of them live here in Skokie.
Hawk: I appreciate the history lesson, but I don’t understand what that’s got to do with TODAY.
5 (KLEIN is looking over at a uniformed COP, who’s calling to him from across the room.)
Klein: Because you don’t FORGET something like that...
Cop: LT.! We got a call in... ASSAULT-- victim’s that old guy who reported the vandalism at the Memorial.
Klein 2: HELL!
6 (KLEIN, pissed, is reaching inside his office, grabbing up his jacket from inside. HAWK is looking on, clearly not sure what’s going on here.)
Klein: I don’t like the VIBES I’m getting here, Hawkman. I gotta GO... want to tag along?
Hawk: If I won’t be in the way.
Klein 2: You WON’T be--
1 (CUT TO: an ESTABLISHING SHOT of HIRAM’S house. There are several police cars and an ambulance outside the house, cops all over the place, some keeping the curious neighbors back.)
Cap: “-- And you might just LEARN something about us Earth folk...”
From house: ... ASSAULT, my rosy butt! This is as far past assault as you can get--
2 (INSIDE, in HIRAM’S kitchen, which is full of cops and detectives, including KLEIN and HAWKMAN, as well as a DOCTOR and two emergency medical technicians. The DOCTOR is helping the emergency techs load the battered HIRAM on a stretcher. Some detectives are searching the room for evidence, taking pictures. The table is overturned, the kitchen pretty savagely vandalized, everything smashed up... and the walls and other surfaces covered with spray-painted graphetti: swastikas over a Jewish star, anti-Semitic slogans. KLEIN is surveying the damage, seething with suppressed rage.)
Klein: -- This is TERRORISM, plain and simple.
Klein 2: Bastards!
Hawk: This isn’t just ANOTHER case to you, is it?
3 (The ambulance technicians are lifting up the stretcher with HIRAM on it in the foreground. Beyond this we see KLEIN turning to look at HAWK.)
Klein: You think? Maybe it’s got something to do with my being Jewish, huh?
Hawk: Maybe. But ANY decent man’s going to feel outrage at such a crime, regardless of religious affiliation.
4 (CLOSE-UP OF KLEIN, barely restraining his rage as he bites down on the filter of a cigarette he’s putting in his mouth.)
Klein: Maybe... or maybe not ENOUGH people get angry enough.
Klein 2: I don’t know... I suppose it’s better where you come from?
5 (CLOSE-UP OF HAWK, not looking all too happy himself, looking down, avoiding KLEIN’S eyes.)
Hawk: Uhhh... no...
Hawk 2: No. In some ways, Lt. Klein, it’s a whole lot WORSE...
Cap: “I didn’t tell him about the places BELOW on Thanagar--
6 (CUT TO: an ESTABLISHING SHOT of the park and the Survivor’s Memorial statue. It’s dawn and the park is empty... except for the winged figure of HAWK standing before the statue.)
Cap: “-- The places where living, sentient beings are DISPOSED of once they’ve served their purposes.
Cap 2: “Thanagar’s policy of conquest, domination, and enslavement of alien races.
1 (Move in on HAWK, standing before the statue, grimly looking up at it.)
Cap: “Thanagarians accept it.
Cap 2: “It allows them their lives of luxury and ease.
2 (CLOSE-UP of HAWK, his face shadowed, sad.)
Cap: “If they don’t think about it, they don’t have to DO anything about it.
Cap 2: “And if the price of their privilege is the suffering of a few alien inferiors--
3 (HAWK is walking away from the statue, towards a public telephone that’s conveniently located on the edge of the park.)
Cap: “-- So be it. It’s nothing I can understand or accept... MY race JUSTIFIES the destruction of DIFFERENT species...
4 (SHOT OF THE STATUE.)
Cap: “... While Earthmen destroy their OWN. People whose ONLY difference is the shading of their skin or the gods they worship.
Cap 2: “It’s beyond insanity. BOTH our systems... sheer insanity.
5 (HAWK is at the phonebooth, dailing a number.)
Cap: “How... WHY do they erect monuments to the VICTIMS, rather than the victors, or those who SAVED them from their fates?
Cap 2: “I wish to hell someone could EXPLAIN it to me...”
6 (HAWK on the phone.)
Hawk: Let me speak to Lt. Klein, please.... Hello, Lt. Klein... no, I was just wondering if you had heard about Mr. Wyznowski...
Hawk 2: He’s conscious? That’s good news... yes... yes, thank you, lieutenant. Good-bye.
7 (HAWK is hanging up the telephone, looking back over at the statue)
Cap: “I suppose I’ll just have to find someone to ASK.” -- From Katar Hol’s Personal Journal
1 (CUT TO: an ESTABLISHING SHOT of a CHICAGO neighborhood saloon... kind of like Bucket of Suds, in a residential neighborhood, the next day.)
From bar: ... It was WAY cool, man! Should’a seen how that old man went down. Learned him to lip off, eh, Wilks?
2nd from bar: That’s the TRUTH, man...
2 (INSIDE THE BAR: a real redneck joint, specializing in beers and shots and sports events on the TV set over the bar. Majorly working class. Seated in the back around several tables are WILKS, his buddies from before, and a half dozen other skinheads, all gathered around to hear the story of beating up the old man from WILKS’S own mouth. Bottles of beer litter the table tops, cigarette butts overflow ashtrays, and the bartender and couple other customers are keeping away from the boys in the back.)
Wilks: ... Figure every 40, 50 years, you gotta beat some RESPECT into ‘em. Learn ‘em RESPECT for their white, Christian BETTERS!
Thug: Right ON, man!
Thug B: Sheeny bastard knows who’s boss NOW!
Wilks 2: Yeah, the old man got the message--
3 (TIGHT ON WILKS, looking mean and tough as his buddies look on, hanging on his every word.)
Wilks: -- But what about the REST of ‘em? Man, hitting that old man really opened my eyes.
Wilks 2: I mean, we TALK about the problem, but what’d we DO about it?
4 (WILKS is snarling, holding up a fist in front of his face.)
Wilks: We been slackin’ off something FIERCE, guys!
Wilks 2: Well, no more, y’understand? We’re gettin’ ACTIVE, dig? We’re going HUNTING--
5 (CUT TO: an ESTABLISHING SHOT of SKOKIE GENERAL HOSPITAL, early morning.)
Cap: “-- To put the fear of the WHITE MAN’S GOD into Jew town!”
From hospital: ... Mr. Wyznowski? I hope I’m not disturbing you, sir.
6 (INSIDE THE HOSPITAL: KATAR is standing in the doorway of a private hospital room where old HIRAM is laying in the bed. He’s pretty badly beat up, his face a mass of bruises, one eye swollen closed, bandages on his head, his right arm in a cast. A uniformed COP is stationed outside the door in the hallway.)
Hiram: What else do I have to do? No, no, come right in, Mr....?
Katar: HOL, Mr. Wyznowski. Katar Hol.
Hiram 2: You’re with the police, Mr. Hall?
7 (KATAR is standing awkwardly by HIRAM’S bedside.)
Katar: In a manner of speaking. But I’m not investigating your attack... not exactly. You see, I was there with the police at your house last night...
1 (HIRAM is smiling, pointing the finger on his good hand at KATAR.)
Katar: They tried explaining it to me. The REASON for the attack, I mean. I’m not from here, and...
Hiram: SURE... I THOUGHT you looked familiar! You’re that HAWK fella from outer space, no?
2 (KATAR is sitting down on the edge of the bed, where HIRAM is patting the bed.)
Katar: Yes, sir. I suppose that’s why I can’t quite understand WHY things are as they are.
Hiram: Sit down, sit down.
Hiram 2: Oy. To ME you came for those answers?
3 (HIRAM is smiling gently, patting KATAR’S knee.)
Hiram: Let me tell you something, Mr. Hawk-person... I’ve lived with such hatred all my life, and I couldn’t BEGIN to tell you WHY it exists.
4 (CLOSE-UP of HIRAM’S battered, bandaged face.)
Hiram: Don’t look so glum. Look, who can say why somebody hates? In 1938, I was a young man in Poland and I didn’t hate ANYBODY.
Hiram 2: Then Hitler and his Nazis came in and, suddenly, because I was a Jew, I was no good!
5 (FLASHBACK PANEL: It’s the early-40s and we see young HIRAM, gaunt, half-starved, wearing a ragged striped concentration camp uniform, one of many working with picks and shovels on a road or digging a ditch. They are all under the hostile guard of Nazi soldiers. HIRAM is glaring up at the nearest Nazi as he works.)
Cap: “They locked us in ghettos. They starved us. They whittled away our number. They sent us to their hellish camps...
Cap 2: “... And they taught me how to HATE. Sure, who wouldn’t hate them for exterminating my family, friends... my race?
6 (FLASHBACK: Inside the barbed wire of the concentration camp, a sympathetic teenage German boy in a uniform too large for him is passing the only slightly older HIRAM a hunk of bread.)
Cap: “But even then, not everything was so black and white. In the heart of hell, I found the occasional act of KINDNESS.”