"THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION"
EXT. AMAZONIA - SUNSET
Subtitle: Amazonia 1960.
A Ceremonial House in the upper reaches of the Amazon basin,
"ceremonial house" being a euphemism for a raised platform
covered by a thatched roof. In the distance, the sun slants
low over an unending expanse of verdant jungle.
A half dozen HIPPIE EXPATS sit around a low rough hewn table.
Atop the table of Heaven an earthen bowl, decorated with
multi-colored scenes and fantastic creatures, is circled by
ETHAN RANKIN, 20, and VINCE GARWOOD, 19, the two American
expats, wear jeans, sandals, T-shirts and long hair. Their
skin has a dull bluish color, the result of residue of a
purification bath. Trance music, constant, evolving, ripples
below the surface.
The expats look one to the other as the SHAMAN, an elderly
mestivo, ladles a brownish brew from the bowl into the
individual cups. His assistant, DON MACITA, 36, helps him.
Ethan and Vince's expressions fluctuate from nervous to
Each cradles his cup in his hands as the Shaman, dispensing
the "tea," starts to sing an ancient icaros, a ritual chant,
the melody which will accompany them on their journey.
On a pre-arranged signal, each of the ceremonialists drinks
the brew in one sustained swallow.
TIMECUT. NIGHT: the hippie expats are scattered to the far
reaches of the Ceremonial House, each barfing and shitting
(off camera, hopefully) their insides out.
Vince, wobbly, crawls to where Ethan lies:
How are you?
Ethan's countenance changes: his face becomes placid, his
Oh, Jesus, oh my God...
INSIDE ETHAN'S MIND'S EYE: he shoots at sling-shot speed
across the jungle canopy, trailing stars and clouds to his
right and left; then, rapidly approaching from the horizon,
a giant iridescent speckled SERPENT zooms into view, its
Inside we fly, whirling through the serpent like passengers
on an animistic roller coaster, until, twisting and turning,
the light grows bright and bursts into a kaleidoscope of
Subtitle: Mexico City, 2001.
INT. RAVE CLUB - NIGHT
The rainbow of colored light comes from dozens of flashing
bulbs reflecting off a disco ball. Trance music cross-
dissolves into techno with a Latin beat.
Below, a throbbing mass of kids gyrate and thrash.
Amid the mass of sweating ecstatic Mexicanos, RUSSELL RANKIN,
26, hops from one partner to the next. Russ' unkempt hair
and club clothes can't disguise what he is: American,
intellectual, middle class -- a student on permanent foreign
The music grows discordant, off. Russell looks around:
something seems wrong.
He stops dancing, stares, anxious.
He's growing paranoid. Is it the drugs? No, is it the music,
an earthquake? No.
He pushes his way toward the "Salida." A FRIEND, noticing
the expression of Russ' face, calls to him:
Russ, where you going?
I've got to go! Something's wrong!
I don't know.
Chill, come on, we'll go someplace.
No, I've got to go home.
Russ elbows his way outside.
INT. MEXICO CITY - NIGHT
Russ, in a panic, throws clothes into a duffel bag in his
hostel like residence.
The walls are decorated with third world agit-prop,
psychedelic posters and Pre-Raphaelite prints.
INT. MEXICO CITY AIRPORT - NIGHT
Just a few stranded travelers; otherwise, empty rows of
geometric chairs. Russ leans over the counter of the only
airline still open:
I need to get to Portland, Oregon,
US, on the next flight possible, the
There wouldn't be anything until
morning. Six o'clock.
Put me on it. I have cash.
Russell pulls all the money he has out of his pocket.
Do you have a passport?
(pulls it out)
INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
An institutionally plain classroom. HUME (HUGH) RANKIN, 30,
stands before a mixed audience: male, female, older, younger,
Rankin, angular, clean cut, wears a white shirt with a silk
tie. If he and his brother Russell could be put in boxes, he
would be "straight," and Russ would be "hip," although, in
fact, neither can be so simply defined.
In the back sits Vince Garwood, now 60, wearing professorial
jacket and tie.
It's not a class per se, as indicated by the fact that some
listeners drink coffee, some are dressed in soiled work
clothes, others business outfits. Hume speaks:
...I've been through this with each
of you individually, but now,
collectively, we have the joint
opportunity to air any concerns or
anxieties. This DMT --
dimethyltryptamine -- trial is the
first such study to be approved by
the FDA, so forgive us if we err on
the side of caution. We have chosen
DMT as the pioneer psychotropic
compound for several reasons: it
naturally occurs in the body, evident
in such states as schizophrenia and
manic depression. To the extent that
we can understand why Serotonin is
affected by DMT, we might unlock
some of the mysteries for such
disabling disorders. Second, it is
an intense drug. The visions will be
strong. Third, it's short acting.
It's in and out fast. Should anyone
have an unpleasant experience, at
least it will be over quickly. All
of you have previous experiences
with psychedelic drugs, some extensive
experience. This will be a much more
controlled environment. 1.0 mg/kg of
dimethyltryptamine will be injected
intramuscularly, not smoked as is
the usual practice. This retards the
speed at which the drug becomes
effective, but it's the only way to
be sure everyone receives the same
dosage. You've all signed the informed
consent forms, but I wanted to take
this opportunity to invite your
friends and relatives to an open
forum. If anyone has any questions,
please ask. If anyone has second
thoughts about being a trial subject,
you may withdraw your consent at any
An awkward seat-shifting. No one wants to appear unhip. The
GIRLFRIEND of one of the trial participants half-raises her
Have you taken
Since 1970 dimethyltryptamine, along
with virtually every other
hallucinogen, has been a Schedule I
drug, meaning that any unauthorized
use is a crime. I do not break the
law. But yes, I have taken DMT,
inhaled and intramuscular, outside
the country and in legally approved
situations. Is it dangerous? Only if
you fear death by astonishment.
Because you will be astonished. I
have zero qualms about administering
or using this substance.
An OLDER MAN raises his hand:
There are those, and I'm not one of
them, who say this program is just
an excuse for recreational drug use.
Nervous laughter. The audience is predominantly and
I don't like the word "recreational."
It implies something trivial. Vision-
inducing plants are functional, and
have been for hundreds, maybe
thousands of years. They teach us
about ourselves. A DMT voyage, like
any trip, is instructional. You will
return knowing more about the world
around you and the world inside you.
The purpose of the trial is not
recreational, it is scientific.
INT. CORRIDOR/OFFICE - DAY
Hume and Vince Garwood walk along the hallway leading from
the classroom. Participants small talk in the background.
What do you think?
You mean were there any "spies,"
members of Fifth Estate? No, it was
cool. You did good.
It's such a delicate balance. You
want to be open and candid -- we
have nothing to hide; on the other
hand, we all know the devastating
effects too much publicity have had
on this type of research.
I particularly liked the line about
not breaking the law.
Hume chuckles as Garwood stops at his office, opens the door.
Inside it's a rat's nest of books, papers and ethographic
souvenirs. Framed pictures of Emmanuel Swedenborg, William
Blake and Aldous Huxley hang between the windows.
When do you start?
Monday. You going to be there for
the first trials?
Ten a.m. At the clinic.
Okay. Again, good work.
They nod goodbye as Garwood closes the door.
EXT. HUME HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON
Hume drives his green Camry through the leafy South Park
streets surrounding the university.
He slows, turns into the driveway of his 20's "California
cottage" house. Portland, the Martha Stewart of American
cities, enforces zoning regulations to preserve the quaint
nature of its older neighborhoods.
On the front steps sits Russell Rankin, unshaven, duffel bag
at his side.
It takes Hume, getting out of the car, a moment to recognize
Russ, is that you? Russell?
Russ gets up, sheepishly slouches over to his brother who
Jeez, six months without a boo or a
bah, now -- it's great to see you.
What's going on?
I just felt... I wanted to come home.
Well, come in. Meet Allison...
I guess she's not home yet. Come on
in. You want a beer or a soda or
Hugh pulls out his house keys as they walk up the steps.
Water. I'm thirsty from the plane.
INT. LIVING ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON
Russ looks around the room: sofa, mismatched chairs, dining
table stacked high with books -- furnishings familiar to
anyone who has spent an extended period in grad school. A
Haitian painting depicting a voodoo ceremony hangs in the
One corner of the room has been sectioned off. A wooden Buddha
in the Padmasana position sits on a covered pedestal, before
it, a meditation mat and between the mat and Buddha, incense
censors and joss sticks.
Hume returns from the kitchen bearing a glass of water. Russ
gulps the water, sighs. There's something on his mind.
Okay, brother, com'on, out with it.
It's hard to explain.
Are you in trouble?
No. I was in a club the other night,
well, last night, in Mexico City,
that's where I've been living, getting
into Indian culture and all that and
I got this feeling, this very strong
feeling, that something was wrong.
That someone was in danger --
You had a panic attack.
I had a premonition.
Is Mom all right?
You should have called.
I wanted to see her. Is she all right?
You all right?
Russ nods. Hugh sighs, confirms his brother's fears:
There may be a reoccurrence of the
cancer. In her lungs.
Russell emits a noise; he knew it:
Let's go see her.
I'll call. We'll drop by tomorrow.
We could go now.
Tomorrow afternoon. I've got to have
some time to prepare her. You two
didn't exactly leave on the best of
You need some rest. And a shave.
INT. MOTHER'S LIVING ROOM - DAY
Freshly cut flowers in a vase; the boys' gift to their mother.
EVANGELINE RANKIN, 59, Russell and Hume's mother, cradles a
cup of coffee. The decor is middle-brow, but not cheesy (tansu
chest, prints by local artists, etc.).
Evangeline, a bit gaunt, exhibits the healthy glow associated
with the Northwest's outdoor culture. She wears a shiny gold
Hume and Russell, also holding cups of coffee, sit on the
edges of their matching upholstered chairs. The mood is more
formal than one would expect of a family "reunion."
No, Mom, I'm fine.
It's from Kona.
(off their reactions)
Were you out this morning, power-
Yes, with Judy, but these days it's
more walk than power. In fact, we
turned back after fifteen minutes.
Awkward beat: no one wants to bring up her failing medical
Are you planning to stay long?
A couple of days at least. We'll see
what happens. It's good to see you.
Hume sets his coffee down, gets up:
I gotta go see a man about a dog.
He heads for the bathroom. Evangeline and Russ smile; this
is an old family expression.
You were in Mexico City?
The American University?
Well, it isn't a school in the formal
sense. It's a group of young scholars
with sympathetic interests --
Like a commune?
We wouldn't use that term.
And these sympathetic interests,
what are they?
Indigenous American cultures. Pre-
Columbian societies. Tribal
organizations, tribal rites --
You mean peyote. You're talking about
Oh my God.
It's nothing to be ashamed of. What
do you think Hume does at the
University, at the clinic?
Her reply is sharp, censorious -- and full of denial:
He's a bio-chemist.
He does drug research.
He has a Ph.D.
Russ rolls his eyes. Her tone turns angry:
Everything that has gone wrong with
this family can be traced directly
back to drugs.
Mom, stop. Just stop.
Drugs have been the death of this
Russ, already on tender hooks, reaches the end of his proper
No wonder Dad left you. Jesus Christ.
Tell me, has he ever been in touch
with you in, what, twenty years?
She starts to cry. Hume, returning, overhearing Russ'
conversation, groans: he should have never left them alone.
Evangeline turns to Hume:
He hasn't changed. He's always looking
for trouble, he goes to jail --
Mom, it was petty larceny --
He was never in jail. He was on
Every time I see him I see his father.
Russ, fed up, stands up:
I don't blame him.
Hume grabs his brother by the arm and, shooting his mother a
hard look, escorts Russ to the front door.
She lives in worst case scenario-
Mom, I'll call you.
EXT. MOTHER'S HOUSE - DAY
They emerge from the proper middle-class home. Hume, keeping
Russell moving, heads toward the Camry.
I don't know why I came back. What
was I thinking? It was a bad idea.
BAM! They run smack into a thirtiesh GARDENER:
Asshole! Why don't you look were the
fuck you're going?
Hume throws an apologetic look at the Gardener ("It's
nothing"), continues toward the car.
INT. HUME DINING ROOM - NIGHT
Hume, Russ, and ALLISON sit around the empty dinner plates,
sip tea, wine. Allison, 25, is the model of intelligent
hipness: attractive, long-hair tied in a ponytail, wearing a
loose plaid shirt.
...I was trying to teach my students
about life. I said to them, "The
only way you can be sure you are
loved for yourself and not for money
or sex, is if you are unattractive
and poor." But then I explained it's
very hard to be loved if you are
That makes love practically
They need to know what they're up
They laugh. Allison turns to Russ:
Hume's talked about you a lot, and I
have to say, I haven't been
Yeah, I really fucked up today.
You should go back, not tomorrow,
but soon, and apologize.
That's one point of view.
Allison shakes a cigarette from a pack, lights up. Russ looks
to Hume; she explains:
Hume doesn't approve of artificially
One makes certain concessions for
You want one?
Nah. But you know, of course,
marijuana is also carcinogenic.
Allison starts to stack the plates.
Here, let us help you.
Russ reaches over to assist his brother.
EXT. HUME FRONT PORCH - NIGHT
Hume and Russell sit on the front steps sipping Chardonnay.
Night crickets are interrupted by the sound of the occasional
To be honest, I'd sort of come to
the end of my interest in mescaline.
Mostly just getting stoned.
That's what you were doing in that
club? When you had the panic attack?
It's an interesting drug. There's
important work being done on Ecstacy
at John Hopkins, in Barcelona:
neuroendocrine effects, vasopressin
What are you into?
We're starting a trial on DMT.
The harmalines? Hoo boy. The heavy
stuff. How you get away with that?
Cause I'm a good boy.
How can you put up with it? All the
shit you have to deal with in this
Somebody's got to stay and fight the
good fight. The best labs are here,
the best scientists are here -- you
do work in this country and the
scientific community has to take it
seriously. Besides, with the internet,
everybody is connected now. You know
the organization MAPS?
Through MAPS now we're in constant
contact with research all around the
world: Spain, Finland, Brazil. It's
not like it used to be.
Good old Hume Rankin.
Don't mock me bro.
Things are going to change. It's too
important not to change.
Psilocybin, that's where I realized
I wanted to be, but I just wasn't...
well, I just I was scared. The big
drugs, the See God drugs, that's
what it's all about.
This extraordinary imagery we all
have within us. These things,
unworldly things, that just appear.
Where do they come from? What are
they trying to say?
The old dilemma. You open those doors
of perception, what happens? Do you
see this world more clearly or do
you come in contact with another
Does the inside come out or does the
Outside come in?
The Freud/Jung dilemma.
It's not politically correct, and
I'll deny I've said this if you repeat
it, but I believe there's a parallel
world of awareness that these plants
give us access to. It may be the way
primitive man first became aware of
the spiritual world.
"Jesus was a plant."
(responding in kind)
I deny it. I never said that.
So, this DMT trial, you got everyone
You can't fit one more in?
You got a bunch of Portland Deadheads
signed up for this trial and you're
going to interview them silly.
Wouldn't it be better to have one
subject who has studied psychotropic
affect, who's personal history is
intimately conjoined with your own,
someone with whom you can truly
discuss the results of the trip?
You want in?
Can you swing it?
Yeah. If you don't advertise.
Tell me one thing, Professor Rankin.
Do you, ah, offer Mileage Plus?
INT. HAMBURGER KING - DAY
Russell fills out a form under the MANAGER'S watchful eye.
The Manager can't help but notice Russ' overqualifications.
We have an Advancement Program.
Not really, I'm between situations.
I need short term employment. I don't
want to be a burden on my friends.
We have an investment in training
It's a counter position.
This is a service-intensive
Mr. Banks, I've worked in the fast
food business. I seek only to be a
diligent employee. I understand
EXT. HEAD SHOP - DAY
The local drug paraphernalia, radical press, vinyl oldies,
Heavy Metal store.
INT. HEAD SHOP - DAY
Russ steps over to the counter, approaches an eighteen year-
old head in a KORN T-SHIRT.
Wistelm. "Chuckie Wisdom."
Oh yeah, Chuckie. No, nah, I don't
I used to hang here.
He got busted -- or maybe not, I'm
not sure. That was before my time.
How long you been here?
You're Russ Rankin, right?
I'm Joe. I came here, like before I
had this, like job -- you're heavy,
you were like a major dope dude huh?
(calls to unseen
Hey, this is Russ Rankin.
Russ changes his mind about coming here:
My name's Bob.
A TEENAGE FEMALE EMPLOYEE, tattooed, huge breasted under a
Marley shirt, walks over.
I was just looking for Chuckie Wisdom.
Hey, it's nothing. Groove on.
He walks off.
You find him, tell him I got some
crabs of his.
INT. CLINIC - DAY
Russell, with three other trial participants, walks down a
severe hospital corridor with Hume and two ASSISTANTS.
Russ, looking at the patient rooms, the white walls, the
brutal machinery of modern medicine, turns to Hume:
And they wonder why people have bad
The setting isn't what it should be,
but it's important to operate in a
clinical environment. Anyway, the
"set," the mind set, is more important
than the physical setting.
INT. TRIAL CLINICAL LAB - DAY
Russ and the other volunteers sit in leisure chairs in a
white-walled room. Each, sleeves rolled up, has a blood
pressure cuff and IV attached to one arm, a double-valve
blood needle to the other. EKG wires extend from under their
The Assistant draws blood from each of the participants as
Hume, wearing a blue button down collar shirt with a dark
tie, lowers the lights on a rheostat.
We will, during the duration of the
trial, approximately twenty minutes,
draw blood at regular intervals as
well as check pupil diameters --
none of which will effect your
experience. If anything, it will
provide a comforting connection to
the real world of the clinic. Are
there any questions?
No questions. The volunteers are prepared, even eager. Hume
steps back to five video cameras, one trained on each of the
participants, checks if they are running: all red lights
Hume steps away, looks as the door opens: Garwood enters the
Relax your muscles, let the tension
flow from your bodies and: pay
Hume gives the signal: the Assistants move from one
participant to the next, opening the IV valves, letting the
saline/DMT mix flow into the tubes. The Assistants withdraw,
pick up their clipboards, sit on folding chairs, one against
EKG machines: heart rates slow.
Trance music, first a faint echo, grows louder; the drug
starts to take effect: Russell's eyes slowly close as the
camera goes through the eyelid, into his mydriatic (dilated)
Author's Note: There are several extended trip sequences in
the script. Although I will sketch the rudimentary stages of
each trip, words are inadequate to describe a multi-layered
constantly morphing hallucinogenic experience. Although the
trip descriptions necessarily fall into linear, logical
patterns, the final screen images should be much more free-
flowing and imagistic. A better reference would be by the
computer graphic "trip" videos put out by Sony Music Video
(with titles like "Odyssey Into the Mind's Eye," "Luminous
Visions" and "Ancient Alien"). The effects that can be created
by cutting edge computer graphics are, as the saying goes,
IN RUSS' MIND'S EYE: the geometric lines of the room collide,
fall away as we tumble, into the vortex, through the twisting
tube to the other side.
It's falling away...
The sound of crinkling cellphone, a rising tone, then,
suddenly, out of the tunnel the world explodes in splintering
mandalas of pink, red, and orange. It is as Mircea Eliade
wrote about the religious experience, "a complete rupture of
the mundane plain."
The kaleidoscope of splintered colors trails like a fleeting
firebird giving way to an undulating SEA OF SERENITY.
Off to the left, in the distance, lies the Ice Country, but
we're not going there. A flock of strangely colored birds
glide below, their trills merging with the music like a choir.
We pass the waterfall where dead souls bathe.
The effect is not unlike that of a child observing a three-
ring circus: so much is happening, so much that we've never
seen before, all of it simultaneous -- and all of it so
astonishing. There's no way to absorb it all. One only watches
with slack-jawed wonder.
IN THE CLINIC: Hume watches as an Assistant takes Russ' blood
pressure. Russell sits unmoving, lost in time and space.
IN HIS MIND'S EYE: a HIGH PLAIN appears in the distance;
approaching, it's green and welcoming. On the horizon, an
eerie light glows.
Small creatures scramble across the plain as we land. As
they approach we realize these are the ELVES, miniature
mutating folk radiating joy and playfulness. They're all
The grass grows tall, soon we're in an ancient overgrown
FORREST. The elves lead us through the darkening wood.
A panther watches from a tree limb, his eyes piercing trees.
The music darkens, an ominous mood wells from the Earth's
But the elves still seem happy and we follow, moving quicker
Out of the forest, on the valley floor, sits the SAUCER, the
source of the eerie glow. The silver skin pulsates like a
living being. This is where the elves have been leading us --
but now, suddenly they're gone.
The door to the saucer opens; a blue warmth radiates from
within. A human silhouette appears in the doorway. We draw
The silhouette is Evangeline, her arms across her stomach.
She pulls back her hands, revealing an open wound. Her hands
are red with blood.
IN THE CLINIC: Russ shifts in his chair anxiously. It's as
if he's trying to get out of his body without standing up.
Hume checks the EKG monitor; Russ' heart rate increases.
IN HIS MIND'S EYE: Evangeline extends her hand, leads us
inside. The music, still hypnotic, has taken on a frightening
Nine Inch Nails quality.
Inside the saucer we're led from room to room. Shifting planes
of shades of blue surround us. The floors seem liquid at our
feet. He hears a TV show, "Jeopardy." Alex Trebek says "The
Taj Mahal, Solomon's Palace and Billy Joel's beach house all
have this in common."
Evangeline takes us to where a thirty year-old man stands
wearing dark old jeans and a T-shirt. Hanging from one hand
is a blood dripping butcher knife. This is the MURDERER.
IN THE CLINIC: Russ squirms. Hume checks his watch; it's
been eighteen minutes. One of the other participants opens
his eyes, says something to one of the Assistants.
IN RUSS' MIND'S EYE: The murderer lifts his other hand. From
his fingers tangles Evangeline's gold cross. He presses the
cross into our palm.
We fall into the WHIRLPOOL.
IN THE CLINIC: Russell awakens, frightened, trembling, his
face beaded with sweat. Hume kneels beside him. Russ attempts
to speak, but cannot.
He looks at the EKG monitor, double-checks with the Assistant
who is taking Russ' pulse, checking his pupil dilation. She
indicates Russ is fine.
We have to go to mother's house.
We can't do that. You're not fully
down yet. We'll go in a while.
No, we've got to go now.
Hume attempts to calm him, but now Russ is on his feet,
pulling the EKG sensors from his chest, blood pressure cuff
from his arm. He starts for the exit.
I'll go on my own.
Russ breaks free from the Assistant's attempt to restrain
him, heads for the exit. Hume calls after:
No, no, I'll take you. Let's get
Hume throws a perplexed backward glance to Garwood as he
INT./EXT. HUME'S CAR - DAY
Russ, wearing his street shirt, rides shotgun as Hume
negotiates the Camry though a Portland suburban subdivision.
Russ' eyes are focused on the road ahead. Classic rock plays
on the FM.
Turn it off.
It takes Hume a moment to understand what his brother means.
He clicks off the stereo.
What happened? What's this all about?
You're just going to sit there? I
mean, what can be so bad? You're not
going to create a scene are you?
They turn a corner: the house appears. Russ tenses.
Hume pulls into the drive, parks behind their mother's van.
They get out, walk to the front door.
At the door: Hume rings the chimes. No answer. Rings again.
The brothers look to each other. Hume turns the knob: it's
The door swings open. They step inside --
INT. MOTHER'S HOUSE - DAY
Everything appears normal, everything as it was the day
before. Russ and Hume walk into the living room.
Day old cut flowers in their vase.
Russell relaxes. Maybe it's nothing after all. Then, from
the TV room, he HEARS A SOUND which sends a chill up his
Alex Trebek's voice echoes from the den: "The Taj Mahal,
Solomon's Palace and Billy Joel's beach house have this in
common." Buzzer sound. "Yes, Mike." Russ turns his head,
catching TV Mike as he replies: "They were all built for
Russ, now fearful, notices red stains on the carpet as they
proceed. The bedroom door is ajar. It hits Hume: something
is very wrong:
Russell pushes the bedroom door open, revealing a horrific
Evangeline, her stomach sliced open, her hands cut with
defensive wounds, her breast repeatedly punctured, lies beside
the bed. Everywhere, the room shows signs of a struggle: a
lamp knocked over, chair askew, coverlet half off the
Hume resists the impulse to rush to his mother's side. Russ,
his head in his hands, sobs.
Don't touch anything. It's a crime
scene. Mother, Mom, Mom...
Hume steps closer.
I'm going to another room, call 911.
Are you all right? I mean, to deal
with the police and whatever. I could
drive you home, come back and call.
No, I'm all right. I'm down. Go ahead
I saw it.
EXT. MOTHER'S HOUSE - DAY
Paramedics wheel the gurney carrying Evangeline's body bag
to an awaiting EMS vehicle. Police cars are parked at every
which angle. Crime scene tape fences off the front yard as
officers hold back curious onlookers and media crew.
INT. LIVING ROOM - AFTERNOON
Hume and Russ sit on the chairs they occupied the day before.
Across from them is Homicide Detective LAWRENCE, 40, a veteran
of such situations.
Police and M.E. technicians go through the house with orderly
precision, collecting evidence. Glancing time to time at the
victim's sons, the technicians work as silently as possible.
...I'll be in touch tomorrow, Dr.
Rankin, but you touched nothing?
The front door, we walked here, here,
there -- otherwise, nothing. I used
the phone in the den.
We were here yesterday. That's why
we came back. We had an argument.
We came to see Mom and, well, you
know, the usual parent-child stuff.
We wanted to patch it up.
That's why you were together?
And your father?
My father and my mother broke up
twenty... one years ago. She hasn't
seen him since.
Where is he now?
I don't know.
Is there anything, you can think
about it, was there anything unusual,
anything that might give us a
direction to pursue?
She was sick. She had lung cancer.
She had a mastectomy, but the cancer
How is this relevant?
It isn't. But, I mean, what kind of
person kills a dying woman?
EXT. HUME'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Incense burns at the foot of the shrine. Blue TV light
flickers from a TV across the room.
Hume, Russell and Allison, somber, sit watching the videotape
of Russ' trip. Hume holds a stapled EKG of Russ' minute-by-
ON SCREEN: Russell, EKG wires under his smock, IV and cuff
on his arm, lies quiescent on the Clinic lounge chair.
(watching the video)
The grass grew and it was like a
forest, a jungle, there was a
...the elves lead me out of the
There's a lot of literature on elves.
Terry McKenna had a thing about them.
Spirit escorts to the Other World.
(watching himself on
There, there, it's starting. I see
the saucer. I see the light. Blue
light. She's there.
ON SCREEN: Russ, turning his seat, says: "Mom."
(back in house)
Heart rate elevating. Blood pressure
She takes me to him. I can see him
clearly. I see him in every detail.
Allison reaches over, touches Russ.
ON SCREEN: Russ, squirming, saying: "Stop, stop."
He places her cross in my hand.
ON SCREEN: Hume kneels beside Russ. The trip is over. Russell,
sweating, opens his eyes.
Twenty-one minutes, EKG, blood
pressure returning to normal.
ON SCREEN: Hume and Russell exit frame. The screen returns
to static. Allison, using the remote, clicks off the TV.
Russ sighs deeply. Silence.
I... do you believe me?
Russ turns to a reluctant Hume. He extends his right arm,
holds out his hand, which he has kept balled up, both here
and in his mother's house, opens his hand, uncurls the
fingers, reveals his palm: there, on the tender part of his
palm, is a BURN MARK of a cross, the exact size of his
mother's gold cross.
They stare without response.
Russ, wiping his wet eyes, stands:
I'm going to bed.
He walks away. Allison waits until Russ' door closes.
Do you believe him?
Yes, I do, but...
I don't know what it means.
INT. LAWRENCE'S CUBICLE - DAY
Russell sits beside Detective Lawrence.
What do you mean, no new developments?
Mr. Rankin, your mother's murder...
occurred thirty-four hours ago.
Believe me, this is a high profile
crime. We are employing every resource
at our disposal-the forensic results,
a lot of it is still coming through.
But the evidence, witnesses, somebody
must have seen something...
Russ' intensity can't help but pique the Detective's interest.
We've canvassed the neighborhood,
we're going back, re-interviewing --
gone out on the news shows, I'm sure
you've seen them. When's the funeral?
Day after tomorrow.
I spoke with your father.
In England. That's where he lives. I
was going to have him interviewed
there, but he's decided to return
for the funeral.
Russell falls silent, not knowing what to say or feel.
You mean he didn't tell you?
INT. GARWOOD'S OFFICE - DAY
Vince Garwood, wearing a tweed jacket and tie, turning a
small Incan god in his hands, sits at his desk across from
The desk is stacked with research papers; the shelves lined
with books on chemistry and psychedelic experience. A chart
on one wall shows the chemical structure of various drugs:
TMA, MDMA, Mescaline, LSD, etc. A framed photo of Garwood
and Ethan Rankin as young men sits on the bookshelf.
I've heard and read a thousand trip
stories, I've been to a hundred
conferences, but I've never heard
anything like this. Glossolalia,
time and space travel, hyperspace
healing, eschatological hysteria,
material transformation, phone calls
to the dead, being devoured by giant
cats -- but not this. Are you going
to write it up?
I haven't decided what to do. You're
the first one I've told.
This whole thing has freaked him.
Apart from that, he's fine. Hell,
it's freaked me. It's hard to grieve
properly with this other stuff hanging
over our heads.
I understand. I wish I could put it
in context for you.
I know this is not something we
discuss, but have you been in contact
with my father?
The police located him. He's going
to come back for the memorial service.
Doesn't that strike you as odd?
(refers to Incan God)
These were once high-tech.
And you've never heard from him,
No, but thinking back, everything
about your father was odd. There are
two paradigms for work in this field.
There are Huxleyites, who believe
psychotropic drugs are for the
prepared few. There are those like
Tim Leary who are popularizers, who
want everyone to turn on. I'm a
Huxleyite, Ethan was a Learyist and
he got terribly burned for it. Leary
didn't mind when they turned him
into a clown, in fact, he got off on
it; but not Ethan. He couldn't stand
the ridicule, the rejection, the
cheapening of his ideas. He turned
his back on the whole thing. I don't
know what your mother told you, but
I think this was underneath the
problems Ethan and Evangeline were
EXT. FT. STEVENS STATE PARK - DAY
Fort Stevens State Park, formerly a military reservation,
sits on a picturesque finger of land between the Columbia
River and the Pacific Ocean.
Friends and family of Evangeline Rankin stand under an open
tent. Her smiling photograph rests on a stand to one side of
the tent; opposite is a table for refreshments.
The conservatively dressed mourners stand in ranks as a
nondenominational MINISTER releases her ashes to the wind
and sea. The words "Evangeline Rankin" permeate the fog of
A lone trumpeter plays "I Shall be Lifted Up."
Hume, Russ, and Allison watch beside Ethan Rankin, now 61,
wearing what can best be described as "gentleman farmer"
attire. Vince Garwood and his WIFE stands a row back.
Russ glances at his palm: the cross burn mark is faint, almost
TIMECUT: The bar is open. Friends and family mill about,
chat quietly, sip wine, coffee and Perrier.
Ethan, avoiding Garwood, joins Hume and Russ. Allison watches
as they step away from the others, view the great confluence
That was very moving. She was a good
woman. Better than I deserved. I'm
glad I came.
I'm glad you did too. Dad.
Ethan reacts with a self-deprecatory smile:
I can't say I've been much of a
I'm going back to Britain tonight.
This takes the boys by surprise.
Can't you stay a bit longer?
I almost came back five, six years
ago, but I did some checking.
You're involved in psychedelics,
I went to the library, looked you
up. Read some of the articles you've
written. How in God's name did you
end up in that field? Tell me.
Well, I was pre-med. I wanted to be
a doctor, just like you. I got
interested in brain function, how
neurotransmitters react, why certain
alkaloids effect the brain as they
do, which then of course led to
psychotropic drugs which led me here.
Just like you.
Psychedelics ruined my life and
they'll ruin yours too. Ruined my
reputation, ruined my marriage, ruined
my self-esteem. I have a new life
now and I want no contact with this
(hard: to Hume)
Get out, Hume. Get out before it
ruins your life.
(to both: voice
Maybe we'll meet again. We'll see.
Russ and Hume watch as their father, fighting back emotions,
walks a half dozen steps away, stares out at the ocean.
Hume turns to his brother, stunned:
Yeah, well, what do you expect from
a man who names his sons after British
INT./EXT. HUME'S CAR - DAY
Hume drives his brother and Allison back to Portland.
Russell thinking, then:
I still see him. I can see him as
clear as I see you.
The one inside the saucer?
Hume starts to reply, stops.
I think we have to do something about
it. What if he's a known psychopath?
What if he's killing someone else in
some other city right now?
What do you propose?
Well, since I have the image so clear
in my mind, we could go to the police,
to Detective Lawrence. I'm sure they
have a sketch artist, you know, a
sketch kit, then they could take the
murder's face, see if anybody
But what if he's not the murderer?
What if it's just somebody you saw
somewhere and incorporated into you
Well, then he'll have an alibi, right?
(Hume looks unconvinced)
Hume, I think this is a real person.
We have a moral obligation to help
catch him. We have an obligation to
INT. HUME DINING ROOM - NIGHT
Russ and Hume, in the darkened room, lean across the table
facing each other. The conversation continues from the
Okay, we'll do it. We'll call Lawrence
in the morning. But we've got to
have the story straight. Russ states
the "official" version:
During the DMT trial I had a vision.
I saw Mom bloody, I saw the murderer
standing beside her, holding a bloody
butcher knife. Afterwards, we went
over to her house and found her dead.
Don't tell him about the elves.
Whatever you do, don't tell him about
the flying saucer.
INT. POLICE LAB - DAY
Russ leans beside a female POLICE SKETCH ARTIST working on a
On the screen a face emerges from the many possibilities.
I would say the eyes... show me some
additional eye choices.
She brings up a screen full of white male eye matches; he
picks one. She adds the new eyes -- much better. Almost an
exact replication of the Murderer's face. Spooky. And
Now the skin color...
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM - DAY
A utilitarian space: four walls, three chairs and a metal
table. Lawrence, in a casual mood, sits across from the
brothers. In front of him is the open case file, Russ'
statement and the computer-generated sketch of the Murderer.
You know that expression, "I've seen
it all?" Remind me not to use it
Thanks for coming by. I thought it
would be good to go over it with
both of you.
(indicates photo sketch)
Is this a good resemblance?
He is, of course, trying to catch Hume unawares.
I would have no idea. I was not
It's very good. Almost exact.
I'll pass it around, very discretely,
of course, given the circumstances.
See if it gets a hit. I don't think
broad dissemination is well-advised.
I checked with your department at
the University. Everything about the
drug trial is apparently on the up
and up. There won't be any negative
I think this is him. This is the
killer. And he's real. I believe
that, I can't tell you why.
Why can't you tell me?
It's not that I won't tell you, it's
just that my reasons are more
intuitive than rational.
Lawrence's beeper goes off. He checks it, turns to Russ:
I hope you're not planning on
participating in any additional
No, sir, I'm not.
It's not that Lawrence is dense or insensitive, but he's
from another mindset. The Detective pages through Russ'
Okay, let me go through this again.
This DMT trip. Let's back up to the
point where you encounter the "self-
transforming machine elves."
Hume looks at Russ incredulously:
You told him about the elves?
Russell, defensive, replies to Hume:
I had to. Otherwise it wouldn't make
any sense. How else could I explain
how I got to the saucer?
(even more incredulous)
You told him about the flying saucer?
EXT. HUME HOUSE - NIGHT
Hume's Camry, his mother's van parked in the driveway.
INT. HUME HOUSE - NIGHT
A single light burns. Hume, his legs folded in the lotus
position, meditates before the shrine. He repeats softly,
"Om mani pene hung, om mani pene hung..."
INT. HAMBURGER KING - DAY
Russ, wearing his Hamburger King shirt, his Hamburger King
cap, his "Russell" name tag, takes orders from a gaggle of
high school students.
INT. CLINIC - DAY
Hume, Garwood and the Assistants collect EKG data, videotapes
and notes after another DMT trial. A few participants linger,
talking amongst themselves.
Russ steps silently in, raps his knuckles on the door jam:
You about done?
Give me twenty minutes. I'll meet
you downstairs in the snack shop.
Russ nods, waves to Garwood, walks away.
INT. CLINIC SNACK SHOP - DAY
They share coffee and soda water at a table in the upscale
snack shop: designer coffee selection, croissants and scones,
vegetarian wraps and snacks.
The police have unsealed Mom's house.
We have to arrange the disposition
of her possessions.
How's the trial going?
No more freak-outs?
I've been thinking.
No kidding. Me too.
The police aren't doing anything. I
can't say I blame them, not after
that fiasco with Detective Lawrence.
I mean, we came off like a comedy
You've spoken with Lawrence?
I don't have to. Murders like this
are solved in seventy-two hours --
or not at all. Or at least not until
the killer makes a mistake. It's
been over a week. There's nothing in
the papers, on the news.
What makes me think you have something
in mind? You want me to get a copy
of the sketch? You want to circulate
No, not that.
The murderer exists up here.
(points to his head)
So does, I imagine, his identity --
or at least, clues to his identity.
There's only one way to access that
information. That is to return to
the scene of the identification.
Learn more about him.
To take another trip.
There's no way Garwood would let you
back into the trial.
I know. Besides, I don't want to
trip at the Clinic. That setting is
not good -- I'll do it at your place.
I'll smoke the DMT, not inject it.
Mix a little Syrian rue to extend
it. That way the experience will be
Drug use is based on loss of control.
Drug laws are created by those who
are terrified by loss of control --
You're preaching to the choir.
You're telling me you can't get DMT
crystals? This is the Pacific
Northwest, man. We're in the fucking
epicenter of drug consciousness. You
don't even have to go through the
Or I should get it on my own?
What do you think will happen?
When you trip?
I'm going back, Hume. He won't avoid
me. You know how the hallucinatory
mind works: you say the word "blue"
and you see more shades of blue than
you ever imagined. I'll call him,
he'll appear -- and when I meet him,
I'll find out more about him.
Something we can use.
Hume exhales, sips his water.
There's no other way.
If you do it --
I don't think you should do it alone.
I'd have to come with you.
You want to meet him?
I wouldn't mind.
Is that a yes?
But you'll think about it?
I'll think about it.
INT. HUME HOUSE - NIGHT
The "setting" has been prepared: two mats, low indirect
lighting, a mounted camcorder.
Russ, wearing shorts and a baggy T-shirt, sits on one of the
mats. Hume, similarly dressed, places a Goa Trance CD in the
stereo as Allison labels a video tape, puts it in the
Hume takes the Haitian voodoo ceremony painting off the dining
room wall, turns it, places it on the floor, face to the
I'd hate to look at that and up in
I opted to go without any carrier.
That way the effect will be strongest
and shortest. I think twenty minutes
is more than enough.
Hume carries a box containing a glass pipe, a small vial of
pale pink powder, herbs, a strainer and a small kitchen knife
to where Russ sits, places it on the floor, sits beside Russ.
Trance music -- mantra undulations laid over a gentle techno
throb -- plays softly.
Is the designated driver ready?
Why is it the boys get to have all
Allison checks through the camcorder -- the wide-angle lens
encompasses both brothers -- presses "record." The red light
glows. She sits beside the brothers as Hume places DMT powder
in the bowl of the glass pipe.
If you make an object, you say it
first, then I'll repeat it.
Hume strikes a match, lights the powder, inhaling deeply.
Hume reacts to the harsh chemical smoke as he passes the
pipe to Russell. Russ inhales, sets the pipe down, closes
Hume, feeling the onrush of drug effect, looks over to
The crackling, the rising tone AND THEY'RE OFF. Alan Watts
described the DMT experience as "being fired out of the muzzle
of an atomic cannon."
Note: although this is primarily Russ' trip, at times we'll
see both visions simultaneously on a split-screen.
The camera snap zooms into each of their foreheads, throwing
out, in diptych, three time/space tunnels as they tumble
into the multi-colored VORTEX.
The two simultaneously tumbling tunnels grow progressively
white until they merge, the entire screen luminescent, Russ'
face double exposed beneath: this is his vision.
We fly across water, jewel-like crystals reflecting off its
surface. To our right the promontory at Ft. Stevens State
Park approaches, its earth heaving up, morphing into rolling
humps in a DESERT, which now surrounds us.
Except it's liquid. The hump continues to grow, morphing
snake-like across the surface below.
No, penis-like. In fact everything is SEXUALIZED. The trailing
clouds are breasts, buttocks, crotches, nipples.
The screen caught between male and female imagery, separate
yet intermixing. Vagina, penis; flower, serpent; yin, yang.
THROUGH THE CAMCORDER: Russ and Hume lying side by side.
Russ, left hand feeling his erection, reaches with the other
hand, touches Allison's leg, which protrudes into frame. She
removes his hand, places it on his side.
IN RUSS' MIND: traveling through a world composed of moving
body parts: hands, fingers, eyes, arms, yet human like some
multi-limbed Hindu deity. Angel wings flap past as, somewhere,
a woman speaks to herself.
Ganesh and the angel, now embracing, break off into a separate
screen, vanish in the distance as the screens reemerge. A
hand waves goodbye.
Russ has forgotten the purpose of his voyage. He says:
Transforming machine elves.
And they appear, at first in the far distance, tiny specks
on a VAST PLAIN of green.
We approach. The topography feels familiar: we've been here
before. It's the high plain from the clinic trip. Below
mutating elves, bouncing colored balls, wave and smile.
To our left, the waterfall where dead souls bathe, ahead: a
THROUGH THE CAMCORDER: Russ and Hume, side by side. Russell,
Open the door.
IN RUSS' MIND: the elves, at our sides, fall away as the
music grows more troubling, the SAUCER more imminent.
Evangeline is at the door, bleeding, but we have no time for
her. Inside the saucer we wander through a maze of
multilayered blue light. Alex Trebek's voice echoes from a
TV speaker: "The Taj Mahal, Solomon's Palace and Billy Joel's
beach house have this in common."
Russell's voice trails across the screen in colored patterns:
Show yourself. I want to see you.
Suddenly, as if from vapor, the Murderer materializes, wearing
old jeans and a T-shirt. In one hand is the bloody butcher
knife, in the other is Evangeline's cross.
THROUGH THE CAMCORDER:
What is your name?
Hume, recognizing Russ' voice, repeats the incantation:
Murderer, what is your name?
IN RUSS' MIND: the Murderer prepares to raise his hand, but
it is not the hand bearing the cross -- it is the hand holding
The Murderer steps forward, SLASHING THE KNIFE repeatedly
toward us, into us. We hear a scream.
THROUGH THE CAMCORDER: Hume screams as Russ, straddling him,
STABS his stomach and sides, with the kitchen knife.
IN THE LIVING ROOM: Allison bolts across frame in a blur,
screams as she pushes Russ off Hume, onto the floor beside.
Allison takes Russ' T-shirt, presses it on Hume's stomach,
attempting to help him. Hume, groggy, watches.
Russ, becoming aware of what's happened -- seeing Hume, seeing
his hands, seeing the knife -- retreats, frightened, across
INT./EXT. CAR - NIGHT
The Camry swerves wildly as it careens around a corner,
regains control, speeds down a residential street.
Allison, at the wheel, drives as best she can given her
In the back seat, Russ cradles Hume in his arms. Hume's side
and stomach are wrapped in bath towels; here and there blood
INT. EMERGENCY ROOM - NIGHT
Allison, Hume and Russell burst through the door as one:
Hume, his towels nearly soaked through with blood, supported
by Russ and Allison.
We need help. Somebody, please!
Heads turn. An ORDERLY rushes over to help Hume while a NURSE
fetches a gurney.
Everything is going to be all right.
The Orderly and Nurse place Hume on the gurney as ANOTHER
NURSE says to Allison:
We need some information about him.
A uniformed OFFICER and a print JOURNALIST, standing together,
watch from the waiting room. The Journalist has his note pad
Isn't that... isn't that the Rankin
boys, the ones whose mother was
Allison speaks to the Nurse as Russ watches the Orderly remove
the bloody towels:
...not allergic to any medications,
Hume, Hume Rankin...
FADE TO BLACK:
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY
FADE IN: a "below the fold" newspaper headline reads: "Sons
of Murder Victim Involved in Stabbing" and, in smaller
typeface, "Acid Trip Alleged." The newspaper lies on a small
table beside a vase of flowers and hospital pamphlet ("When
Hume rests in a private room, an IV connected to the back of
his hand. Allison, wearing a Fair Isle sweater, sits on a
chair beside, reading.
Hume opens his eyes. Allison, noticing this, stands beside
I didn't hear you come in.
How are you feeling?
A few more days and you'll be able
to go home.
Non-life threatening wounds, but,
Jesus, they hurt.
Garwood visited yesterday.
That was nice. What did he say?
It was what he didn't say.
What didn't he say?
He's under pressure. The whole
department is under scrutiny. I
offered to resign but he turned me
No, what it means is that it will
look better for the University if
they fire me.
She touches his head, straightens his hair.
I visited Russell in jail.
You hid the videotapes?
God, what a mess.
He's fallen inside himself. He's
You told him I don't blame him?
But that's not the problem. The
problem is that he blames himself.
INT. INTERROGATION ROOM - DAY
Russell, wearing a blue prison jumpsuit, sits across from
Detective Lawrence and District Attorney VANTIL.
Russ' hands rest on the table. He can hardly bear to look
them in the eyes.
We in the DA's office have been back
and forth about this whole thing. I
know I said some pretty strong things
before, but we've reconsidered.
Russell speaks in a small, broken voice:
I haven't asked for leniency.
I don't know if the District
Attorney's office wants to prosecute
the son of a recently murdered woman
who's killer is still on the loose.
(looks at Lawrence)
Especially when there is no
complainant, no reliable witnesses.
No hard evidence.
I've spoken with the judge. I'm going
to propose community service and
probation, providing you enter a
court-administered program of therapy.
Any infraction, any contact with
illegal drugs, and you'll be right
back in here.
My drug taking days are over. No
more tripping for Russ Rankin.
You were trying to catch your mother's
murderer in hyperspace -- do you
realize how crazy that sounds?
We're going to get you some help.
Any developments in the murder
Nothing from the sketch?
You know what scares me the most,
even more than stabbing my brother?
It's the fear that this murderer is
a product of my own projection. That
I created him out of my own anger at
my mother, that I took on his form
and I killed her.
VanTil looks at Lawrence: this boy does need help.
It's fortunate you have such a good
alibi at the time of her death.
EXT. POLICE STATION - DAY
Hume, Allison and Russell exit the station, walk to the
parking lot. Hume, still sore, gets behind the wheel.
Allison and Russ squeeze in; they drive off.
INT./EXT. CAR - DAY
Hume and Allison are up front, Russ in back. Hume relaxes,
happy to be out of the hospital.
Allison told me about the University.
I'm so --
Please, Russ, I said no more
apologies. Just stop apologizing.
I can find another job, even if it's
sorting specimens somewhere. Or real
estate. What do you think? Think I'd
make a good realtor?
I know these guys who have started
up a medical web site.
That sounds good.
Yeah, from hyperspace to cyberspace.
EXT. HUME HOUSE - NIGHT
Camry on the drive. Trance music plays from inside.
INT. HUME HOUSE - NIGHT
Insert of TV, the trip video: Russ, Allison and Hume lie on
the mats. Goa Trance plays over.
Hume, coming in the back door, hears the TV, walks into the
living room where Russ sits watching the trip video.
On screen: Allison removes Russ' hand from her leg, places
it at his side.
Hume walks over to the video player, ejects the tape. The
screen goes to static.
Where did you find this? I'm going
to lock it up.
Hume turns off the TV.
You're not going to get better
He starts to walk away.
How am I going to get better?
EXT. HUME HOUSE - NIGHT
Russell sits on the front steps, lost in thought. Allison
opens the door, steps out on the porch, sits beside him. She
takes our a cigarette, lights it. She offers:
For a moment they just sit looking straight ahead, enjoying
This is where we were sitting.
Me and Hume. We were sitting here,
just like this, listening to the
crickets, sipping wine. That's when
I convinced him to let me in on the
DMT trial. That's how it all started.
If we could only go back...
(she doesn't respond)
Look, ah during the trip?
Did you and I, did I... was there
You were aroused. You touched me.
No. You thought we did?
The trip was very... sensual. You
were part of it. Did you tell Hume?
I wouldn't want him to think, you
know, his brother and his girlfriend --
Psychedelics have a strong sexual
component. You know that.
I didn't have a sister. I've never
understood women, what makes them
I don't even know what makes them
But it was good, right? It felt good?
This is supposed to help me?
There's so much denial going on around
here, I think somebody ought to tell
the truth. I've never heard of therapy
that claimed that denial was the
doorway to health.
Yeah, it felt good. I took a puff,
my arms and legs fell off, the floor
gave way and the world opened up.
Until, of course, the very end. That
wasn't good at all.
Well then, think about the good. Not
Ally, I like you. I think you're
fabulous, but I don't want you to
I like you too. I love you. But it's
Hume I want to give my life to. Why
can't both things be true?
He lets this sink in.
I was wondering...
Do you have any sisters?
She laughs, responds with a mock drawl:
No, I'm the only one.
MONTAGE: Life goes on as usual, over music, something by a
contemporary psychedelic group, such as Flying Saucer Attack
INT. HAMBURGER KING - DAY
Russell, wearing his uniform, yaks it up with a couple of
INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
Allison lectures her high school students. On the blackboard
behind her in bold capitals: "Nineteenth Century Literature --
why is it relevant?" and I killed her.
INT. OFFICE HIGH RISE - DAY
Hume works at a computer cubicle, open texts stacked on his
desk. A wall logo behind reads: "medicalanalysts.com."
INT. CLINIC - DAY
Garwood and the Assistants prepare participants for a drug
EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY
Community service: Russ, strung alongside the roadway with a
half dozen other orange-suited miscreants, picks up litter,
stuffs it into a sack.
INT. THERAPIST'S OFFICE - DAY
Russell, seated, listens while JUDITH SALBERG, the court-
appointed therapist, speaks.
INT. HUME HOUSE - NIGHT
Hume meditates: "Om mani..."
INT. MOTHER'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Hume, Allison and Russell pack Evangeline's possessions into
cardboard boxes, saving some items, discarding others.
Hume comes across photos of the young Ethan and Evangeline
Rankin standing in front of their modest home, some alone,
some proudly displaying newborn sons.
Hume passes the photos to Russ, who, after looking, hands
them to Allison.
INT. POLICE CUBICLE - DAY
Detective Lawrence, on the phone, answers a question from a
EXT. FT. STEVENS POINT - DAY
Russell stands on the escarpment where his mother's ashes
were strewn, where his father turned away to watch the
confluence of waters.
INT. HUME HOUSE - EVENING
The doorbell rings. Hume walks to the door, opens it: there,
standing in the failing light, is MIGUEL CHINDOY, an aging
hippie, long braided hair, wearing a ruana, the short blanket
favored by South American peasants.
I'm Miguel Chindoy.
I've read about the events surrounding
you and your brother. I've come to
help. I have had twenty years of
shamanic experience. I believe I can
Excuse me, who told you to come here?
I am a shaman.
I'm a scholar. What do you want?
I've come to offer my services. To
help your brother through this
difficult and necessary passage.
Mr. Chindoy, thank you and fuck you.
Or is that Senor Chindoy?
(checks car in driveway)
So, Senor, get your ass back in your
rental car and leave us alone.
Hume closes the door on Chindoy.
EXT. COLLEGE BAR - DAY
A beer and TV sports joint on the University strip.
INT. COLLEGE BAR - DAY
University rowdies cheer a sporting event on wall-mounted
televisions as Hume and Garwood, tucked into a quiet corner,
sip draft beer.
"Miguel Chindoy." His real name is
Michael Kamen. Born in Brooklyn,
1946. Poster child for burnout.
Brilliant student, apparently, but
then, arrested, discredited, etcetera.
Eight fries short of a Happy Meal.
We all talk the psychedelic talk,
spiel the psychedelic evangelism,
but there are people who are lost,
destroyed. We don't like to admit
it, but it's true.
They keep trying to contact me. I've
sent back my University mail, I
changed my mail address, but this is
the first time someone's tried to
track me down.
I'm sorry about the way it came down.
It was improper, inhumane, and I was
part of it --
You had to do what you had to do. I
don't judge you.
Don't play the saint.
I'm not. I probably would have done
the same thing if I were in your
I just hate having to be the one,
the proprietor of conservative
government sanctioned values.
I'm working for an internet company,
I'm making some money for a change.
Maybe it was meant to be.
The trial is going to be great.
I wanted to ask about that.
We've enough test subjects to start
collating the results. The final
paper -- that's a year off -- could
be quite important. I want to submit
it to Lancet. I know that sounds
like a fantasy...
How is he?
Everyone says he's getting better,
but I don't think so. He's in therapy.
The blind leading the mind.
I've spent a lot of time with him.
You've spoken with the therapist?
Dr. Salberg? She says he's had a
You believe that?
I don't know.
INT. THERAPIST'S OFFICE - LATE DAY
Russell sits across from Dr. Salberg, 45, sincere. A Jungian
mandala hangs on the wall behind her -- right next to the
photo of Sigmund Freud.
...it's hard to put into words.
It seems to me that at every turn,
you seek to avoid the underlying
Which underlying issues? Okay, let
me put it in terms you can understand.
I assumed another form and killed my
mother. I fucked my brother's
girlfriend, then tried to kill him.
Is that Oedipal enough for you? That's
just what I mean. Whenever this comes
up, you automatically assume this
metaphysical weight, strap it on
your shoulders like some Herculean
backpack with the implication that
you're guilty and there's nothing
you can do about it. You did not
fuck your brother's sister. You did
not kill your mother.
Russell falls silent.
Somebody killed her.
But not you.
No, I guess not.
Have you been taking your medication?
It's been three weeks. You should
feel something. Can you detect any
You still have suicidal feelings?
I would like to change your
medication. It's an exploratory
She picks up a script pad, starts to write:
Prozac is a relatively mild drug. A
friend of mine calls it the penicillin
of psychiatry. It's not working and,
frankly, I only hoped it would. I
want to try something else...
INT. HUME HOUSE - AFTERNOON
Hume, followed by Allison, opens the front door and, setting
down his keys, reacts with shock at what he sees: the house
has been trashed, burglarized.
He looks around: furniture tossed this way and that. The
Buddha toppled over, the shrine desecrated.
My God, Hume...
She picks up the video player which has been tossed to the
floor. They stand in a sea of discarded books.
Hume goes into the KITCHEN.
The refrigerator door is open, the cabinets exposed. There
he sees, amid the maliciously discarded food supplies and
dining utensils, a once locked cabinet, now chopped open,
its lock ripped out.
Hume examines the cabinet -- its contents tossed hither and
What is it?
I locked it here.
The video tape. The trip tape.
INT./EXT. VAN - NIGHT
Russell, driving home, listens to rap on the car radio.
The music distorts. Russell feels something strange. He looks
side to side. It suddenly feels like he's driving too fast.
He slows his mother's van to a crawl, turns off the radio.
He sees something darting in the distance, something in the
trees between one house and the next.
Russ pulls the van to the curb, stops. Shuts off the engine.
He gets out of the van, closes the door.
Looking apprehensively, he steps forward...
Then he sees him: THE MURDERER, the Murderer from the blue
light saucer, tucked behind a distant tree. The Murderer
scans the landscape.
Russ devises a method of escape. If he dashes to the right,
hides behind a tree, then slips between two houses, he can
avoid the Murderer.
He runs. He escapes.
Ahead: Hume's house. He's home.
EXT. HUME HOUSE - NIGHT
Russ, composing himself, walks up the steps.
INT. HUME HOUSE - NIGHT
Russell enters to find Hume and Allison cleaning up the living
room mess. Russ attempts to appear the voice of reason:
Jesus, what happened?
We were burglarized.
Some creep broke in. That's how.
What'd he take?
I don't know. We're still looking.
Russ looks at the toppled Buddha:
Why would he do that?
I don't know what's missing. Nothing
valuable. We didn't have anything
It's my fault. Ever since --
Would you fucking get off that!
Hume replaces the Buddha on its pedestal as Russ drifts into
the kitchen. He calls out:
What's with this guy? He's got a
thing for Special K and Wheat Thins?
Hume and Allison join him in the KITCHEN. Russ, suddenly
pale, points to the splintered kitchen cabinet.
What was taken?
What do you mean?
From the cabinet. The locked cabinet.
They are reluctant to answer.
That's where I'd put the tape.
From the trip.
Russ starts manically pacing:
He's found us, he knows we're onto
Russ, stop it!
You think it's some sort of joke,
right? Well, fuck both of you! He
knows about all of us, he knows about
the police sketch, he knows
everything! It's evidence. Lock the
doors! We've got to get some guns,
protect ourselves. He wants to kill
us, because we know who he is!
Allison goes over to Russ, attempts to hold him:
We'll sort it out in the morning.
I'll call the police.
Right, like they're going to do
There's been no real damage.
You're exhausted. You look fried.
Now is not the time to jump to
Her embrace calms him.
Yeah, I suppose.
I don't know what gets into me.
Are you all right? We can take you
No, no, I'm just tired, worn to the
bone. Every little thing, I don't
know why, sets me off.
You need sleep.
I know, I know.
Hume looks out the window, toward the driveway and street.
Where's Mom's van?
It ran out of gas. I left it several
(off Hume's puzzled
I walked. I'll get it in the morning.
You're going to be all right?
I'm fine. I just need some sleep.
He starts for his room.
You want me to help clean up?
We got it under control.
Russ nods, staggers away. Hume and Allison look at each other
as he walks off.
EXT. HUME HOUSE - MORNING
Allison, outside, waits at the curb as a friend stops her
car. She gets in, the car drives off.
INT. HUME HOUSE - MORNING
Hume and Russ, at the kitchen table, finish morning coffee,
peruse a scattered newspaper. Russ, resigned, sets down his
Well, I guess I better go track down
the car, pick up some gas.
Hume, checking his watch, watches Russ exit. The door slams.
Assured he is in the house alone, Hume stands and -- checking
the window -- walks to his brother's guest room.
Hume looks around his BROTHER'S ROOM. Where to start?
Everything seems normal: Russ' dirty clothes thrown into a
corner, bed sheets unmade, a book (Stephen Wright's Non Zero)
overturned on the bed table beside an empty glass.
Recently recovered photos of his mother, father, himself and
Russell on the bureau. These cause Hume to hesitate, but he
continues: opening drawers, going through the closet, looking
under the bed.
And there, under the bed, hidden, he finds it: the trip video
His fears confirmed: it was Russ who "broke in," trashed the
house, desecrated the shrine, stole the video from the kitchen
EXT. HIGH SCHOOL - AFTERNOON
Hume watches, waits as high-schoolers stream from the two
Then Allison appears, walking beside a fellow teacher, joking.
She sees Hume beside the Camry, walks over, embraces him:
What a surprise. You're my "crossing
I love you.
Oh, that feels good. I love you too.
Get in the car.
She, sensing something of import, opens the passenger door,
INT. CAR - DAY
They sit in the Camry. Hume makes no attempt to start the
car. She waits apprehensively.
I searched Russ' room. I found the
There can be no other explanation.
It was Russ. He broke into the house,
he trashed everything.
He claimed it was the murderer.
You know what this means.
He's no longer in control.
He's my brother. I love him.
He needs help.
Fuck help. I know about the help
Is he in danger?
What should I do?
No, that wasn't like a casual
question. That was a real question.
Is he in danger? Are we in danger
from him? Can he hurt us?
I don't know.
EXT. HAMBURGER KING - DAY
A fast food joint in a row of fast food joints.
INT. HAMBURGER KING - DAY
Slow day: a few workers, moms and kids.
Russell, cap and name tag in place, flirts with a pretty,
intellectual COED. He holds up a french fry:
The french fry. My occipital lobe
sees it, my temporal lobe says "yum,"
my parietal lobe says, "I'll eat
it," my prefrontal lobe says, "I'll
bite it," my motor cortex does so...
(takes bite of french
...my somesthesic cortex supervises
and my brain is thrilled.
My brother taught me that.
But I don't eat fried food.
To each her own.
You're a strange sort of guy to be
working at a place like this.
Well, I'm working my way up to middle
I'm working my way up to a grilled
chicken sandwich and a diet coke.
That we can do.
Russ turns to order a grilled chicken sandwich, turns and
smiles at the Coed. Then he sees: past the Coed, past the
brightly colored tables, moms and kids, through the window,
lurking outside, wearing old jeans and clean T-shirt, the
MURDERER beside a four-wheel drive pickup. It's a face he
knows well, one he can't forget.
The Murderer walks toward the entrance, turning his head, as
if looking for someone.
Russ turns his head away, says "I'll be right back" to a
fellow worker as he scoots into the kitchen area. The Coed,
He ducks out a side door, circles surreptitiously along the
SIDE OF THE BUILDING. Peeking around the corner, he sees the
Murderer just standing there by the concrete table and chairs,
hands on hips, looking around.
The Murderer, turning his back to Russ, decides to go inside.
Russ inches closer, following him.
The Murderer ENTERS Hamburger King. Russ slips through the
door behind him.
The Murderer scans the room: he's looking for someone.
Russell makes his move. Taking a running start, he charges
toward the Murderer, tackles him at the waist, drives him
against a chair, then onto the floor.
Russ is now atop the Murderer, turning him over. Patrons
stop mid sentence, mid meal, look speechlessly -- as if in a
slow motion dream.
Russell pummels the Murderer's face, blow after blow after
A child screams.
A male employee and two patrons rush over. They pull Russ
off the Murderer.
The Murderer's face is bruised, starting to bleed. He is
terrified, BUT: he is not the Murderer.
In fact, it's not even a man. It's a woman.
Commotion, chaos. Someone calls out, "Call the police."
Russ, restrained by the employee and patrons, looks at the
"Murderer." He can't understand how his face transformed
into this bloodied female visage.
INT. THERAPIST'S OFFICE - DAY
Hume and Allison sit across from Salberg.
They initially gave him haloperidol --
It's out of my hands, Dr. Rankin.
It's not my case. It's up to the
staff at the psychiatric hospital.
But I would imagine they would
prescribe orally administered
Thorazine, at least until they can
be sure he's not a danger to himself
I'm sorry I wasn't of more help. I
knew he was delusional but I didn't
think he was hallucinational. He
Of course he sees things. Just because
they put him in an institution doesn't
mean he's going to stop seeing things.
He has deeply unresolved issues
concerning his father -- and his
mother. And you.
And Thorazine is going to fix that?
Thorazine will block the
hallucinations, but, in all the
literature, it's never proven
effective against delusions.
In other words, he'll still believe
in his delusions, he just won't see
Yes. But, as I said, it's no longer
Have you ever considered this: Russ,
because of his use of psychedelics,
has passed through the doors of
perception, gained access to another
reality and for one reason or another
is unable to integrate this reality
with his present state?
Allison gives Hume a look, places her hand on his arm -- now
he's sounding crazy.
That's called schizophrenia. And
it's not treatable.
EXT. PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTE - DAY
A bucolic campus setting belied by a sign reading, "Glenview
INT. VISITING ROOM - DAY
A day has passed. Allison and Hume visit Russell, wearing
institutional whites, in an artificially "homey" room.
Russ struggles to have a normal conversation, counteracting
the effects of the Thorazine like a wrestler in a hold. He
sips from a glass of water:
You can smoke here, you know. It's
ironic. In all of Portland, there's
no place you can have a smoke, but
here it's all right. I guess they
figure we got nothing to lose.
No, I'm fine Russ.
I'm trying to help you, but
unfortunately, you've fallen into
the great maw of the legal system.
We've hired a lawyer, a psychiatric
It's all paperwork and bullshit. If
I had a prayer, it would be, "God,
let me never fall prey to the US
criminal justice system."
You must not lose faith. We're here
for you. You are loved.
Russ' hands tremble. He restrains them.
It's just these side effects, these --
what's the word?
Yeah, that and the dry mouth.
I want to be normal.
The murderer. I can't get out of
here. He must have figured out by
now where I am. I'm not exactly
protected in here. He could slip in,
you know, wearing a uniform, find
me, kill me.
I don't know if it's possible, but
you need to make an effort. The mind
is an extraordinarily powerful organ.
You can, Russ, if you apply your
mind, wipe all the events surrounding
Mom's murder out of your mind. You
can make the murderer disappear.
Russell, not responding to his brother's plea, sips water,
I think time is a thing. It's not an
abstraction. Time not only changes,
but there are different kinds of
Russ, this is interesting but it is
not where we should be concentrating
An INSTITUTIONAL AID sticks his head into the room, withdraws.
I guess that's a hint.
(looks at bare wrist)
If I had a watch, I could tell you.
They must have some exciting activity
Russ motions Hume close, speaks into his ear:
Get me out of here. He's going to
find me. He's going to kill me.
Hume kisses his brother on the cheek, stands.
Ally, when you get outside and into
the car, do me a favor.
Smoke a cigarette for me. That's
what's nice about being crazy. You
smoke out there, I can taste it in
She smiles, nods.
EXT. GARWOOD'S HOUSE - DAY
Hume and Vince Garwood stand outside a pleasant post-war
home in South Park. Garwood's wife works in a bricked-off
Let's take a walk. There's a little
park up the way. I find that when
something really heavy is weighing
on you, it's good to walk.
They nod to Vince's wife, head down the sidewalk.
I'm losing my brother. They got him
on Thorazine. It's all maintenance
crap. His mind is melting.
I have contacts at Glenview, people
I've consulted with over the years.
I've asked about Russ.
You know you grow up with a brother,
all that sibling shit, you don't
think much about it. Of course we
were close, not having a father, but
I never realized how much I loved
him until all this happened.
I've been thinking about it too, in
ways that probably go far and beyond
what you're thinking. Ways that go
back to your father, to the very
reason I got involved in this
discipline. You know how it is in
this dreadful field. You get into
psychedelic drugs, you have to be
prepared to give everything else up.
The medical establishment turns its
back on you, any hopes you had of
wealth are gone; of the people who
take you seriously, half are fucking
crazy. You do it because you believe
in it. You believe that this sad
planet, if there is any hope for it
all, its hope lies in some primal
reconnection with psychotropic plants.
Every religion, you trace it back,
you find a bunch of primordial men
sitting around a campfire chewing
I went to see your brother.
Yeah. I mean, off the record. I feel
They reach a small pocket park, sit on a bench.
What do you think?
Are you prepared to hear what I really
At this point, I'm prepared for about
Your brother has had what others
would call a "psychotic break," and
it's not a condition that's going to
be improved by conventional medication
or therapy. I see no hope in that
We're losing him.
This has caused me to go back through
the literature, tests, theories. I
guess what I'm proposing is
"Psychedelic therapy." No one's done
that for years. It's been discredited.
It was not discredited. It was
criminalized. Extraordinary things
were being accomplished, Stanislav
Grof, Humphrey Osmond, but then came
the anti-establishment movement, the
popularization of LSD and the Big
Crackdown. Psycholytic therapy just
stopped. No one wanted to lose their
This is what happened to my father?
There is a Shaman down the Amazon
from Iquitos, near the
Peruvian/Columbian border, Don Macita.
He works with the ayahuasca vine.
Your father and I tripped with him
many years ago. We correspond from
time to time. His books of imagery
are essentially the same as what
Russ describes. He's been doing this
all his life. He works in the jungle,
using the old ways, which is the
best way to experience these primal
drugs. It's the only way to ingest
heroic doses of psychedelics -- in
their natural context. It has the
added benefit of being legal.
If you're talking about ayahuasca,
the mother of all harmala alkaloids,
I'd say, oral dose, five, six hundred
milligrams. I'd have to talk to Don
That's life threatening.
There are different ways to mix the
actual brew, which then effects the
nature of the journey. I don't think
we should wait. Much longer, it may
be too late.
Wait a second. You're assuming I've
already signed onto this "back to
the jungle" scheme.
I would need your support.
I'm sorry. You don't have it.
INT. RUSSELL'S ROOM - NIGHT
Russ, shivering, sits squeezed into the corner of his room.
Sweat beads his forehead, his pupils are dilated.
Every noise from outside, from the corridor, from the rooms
above is magnified in his mind. He is struggling to hold on
to his sanity.
EXT. HUME HOME - NIGHT
Just a normal house on a normal block.
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
Light filters in from a street lamp. Hume and Allison lie in
each other's arms. It's as if they must hold on to each other
for dear life because they're all they have left.
There was an inmate at a prison for
the criminally insane and he told an
interviewer, "It's easy to make the
cops think you're crazy. All you
have to do is act crazy all the time."
She laughs. He kisses her.
I wonder if the same is true about
sanity. All you have to do is pretend
you're sane all the time.
In that case, you've got me fooled.
There is such a thin tissue separating
one reality from another, from here
and now to somewhere else and some
other time. Somewhere this is not
happening to us, but we are here and
it is now and it is happening.
(looks to ceiling)
When we had the wake, when we
distributed my mother's ashes, my
father came over and spoke to me. He
said, "Psychedelics ruined my life
and they'll ruin yours."
Father knows best.
Hume emits a short derisive snort.
What did Garwood want?
What do you mean?
He called, you went over.
It was nothing.
EXT. PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTE - DAY
Hume and Allison turn up the leafy drive. Several police
cars are parked out front.
They park, pass the police cars, head inside.
INT. PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTE - DAY
Hume and Allison step up to the main reception desk, speak
to a RECEPTIONIST in a white uniform.
I'm Dr. Rankin. We have a two o'clock
visitation with Russ Rankin.
Just a moment.
They wait as the Receptionist speaks into the phone. The
entrance area is designed to be hospitable, but, looking
closer, one realizes that beneath the benign surface is a
high security institution: multiple locks, triple depth glass.
The corridor door opens with a buzz. A hospital ADMINISTRATOR
and a uniformed POLICE OFFICER approach them.
They realize something is wrong with Russ. They greet:
What's happened? It's Russ, isn't
I'm Dr. Fielding.
We've been trying to reach you.
We were running errands.
Don't you have a cell phone?
We don't like cell phones.
The Administrator lets this (her attitude) pass:
I'm afraid, ah, we can't find your
What do you mean, "can't find him?"
He's in a lock down ward.
At morning call, the attendant brought
him breakfast. The room was empty.
Could he be hiding in the building
Security is going through every room,
We are interviewing the staff. Someone
let him out. There's no other
explanation. You haven't heard from
Any idea where he might be?
EXT. GARWOOD'S HOUSE - DAY
Hume rings the Garwood doorbell. Mrs. Garwood answers.
I need to speak to Vince. I tried at
I don't understand.
There was a phone call. Somebody at
a conference dropped out and they
asked Vince to fill it. He packed,
grabbed his passport and headed for
INT. HUME HOUSE - NIGHT
Music plays over as Hume, pulling the curtains, looks out
the front window at an unmarked police car across the street
with two PLAINCLOTHESMAN sitting in front.
He turns back into the room, walks over to Allison. He speaks
softly, telling her about Garwood.
EXT. DETECTIVE AGENCY - DAY
The sign on the window reads: "Lennon's: We'll Find It" with
a cartoon of a detective type holding an oversized magnifying
Through the window: Hume and LENNON, 30, lean over a computer
manned by a teenager computer NERD.
INT. DETECTIVE AGENCY - DAY
Lennon speaks as they look at the screen:
It took a bit of doing. Your friend
didn't go direct. Portland to Mexico
City, re-ticket to Bogota, to Quito,
Any other passengers? I mean any
passenger on the same flights with
(to computer Nerd)
Can you do that?
(the Nerd goes to
Used to be, in the day, you had
expenses, man hours, gumshoes, now
it's just a computer and a teenager
with a knack to hack.
Here's a reappearing name for the
first two flights. "John Russell."
Garwood's voice starts over as the Nerd continues to work:
To the people of the Amazon basin,
all life is determined by countless
spirits and beings who live "on the
other side." It is essential for
their own survival to be able to
enter that world and interact with
those spirits to secure well-being
for oneself and one's family...
INT. IQUITOS COFFEE SHOP - DAY
Garwood and Russell sit in a coffee/snack shop in Iquitos, a
frontier jungle city of 350,000 inhabitants in Southeastern
Outside, along the single-story streets, motokars (motorcycle
taxis), emit clouds of pollutants as they pass. Inside,
mestivo kids, wearing Nikes and NBA T-shirts, play X-men
combat video games. Not exactly one's preconception of
Garwood continues speaking as Russ sips coffee, bites from a
...They get this protection through
the ayahuasca ceremony. The
preparations, drinking the brew, the
visions, the assistance of an
ayahuasquero, a shaman. Huasca means
vine, aya means souls or dead people,
so it's the vine of the dead or the
vine of the spirits...
EXT. HUME HOUSE - DAY
Hume and Allison, wearing jeans, nylon jackets, hiking boots
and backpacks, exit, nod to the Plainclothesmen in the car
across the street, get into the Camry and drive off.
Hume's voice over picks up where Garwood's left off:
...it's in the elite company of the
most powerful naturally occurring
psychotropic drugs, the harmaline
alkaloids: ayahuasca, psilocybin,
yage, iboga. DMT is the active
ingredient in ayahuasca. Chacruna, a
natural MAO inhibitor, makes it orally
active, extends the effect. It's
essentially a very long DMT trip...
INT. PORTLAND AIRPORT - DAY
They stand at the American Airlines counter.
...nothing prepares you for it. It's
the great unknown. The drug looks
inside you and takes you there. The
Jungian maps don't apply. Your chakras
are of no use. It's a big forest and
there are no markers on the trees.
INT. AIRPORT WAITING AREA - DAY
Allison, sitting next to Hume, asks:
No. That's the reason I support
naturally occurring psychedelics. If
they were dangerous, their use
wouldn't have endured this long.
But is it dangerous for Russell?
EXT. THE AMAZON - DAY
Vince and Russ sit in a canopied river boat as it putt-putts
down river. Around them sit mestivo peasants, a tourist couple
and a local business type.
Garwood's voice over resumes:
Don Macita, the shaman we will meet,
he's over seventy now, has a camp in
the jungle. He believes the body is
full of toxins and these toxins will
emerge as demons unless purged. The
preparations include four days of
cleansing, external and internal,
diet and meditation. It involves a
sort of mud bath, drinking a diuretic
tree sap, oye, eating yucca and rice.
Russ turns to Garwood, says:
But I thought the ayahuasca brew is
It is. The first couple hours, "la
purga," is vomiting and shitting.
The visions will start at this time.
You're taking this?
We both are.
EXT. IQUITOS AIRPORT - DAY
Hume and Allison, tired, emerge into bright Amazonian sun. A
line of motokars vie for their attention. Garwood's voice
We will use this period to concentrate
on our goals. We will define your
areas of conflict, define the person
you want to be when the journey
EXT. IQUITOS - DAY
Hume and Allison stand in Plaza de Armas, approach likely
strangers, struggle with their Spanish, get replies.
...At first you will feel like you're
dying. You'll have to endure this.
That's what the drug is about: dying
EXT. DON MACITA'S CAMP - DAY
Garwood and Russell approach the Amazonian encampment. It's
virtually unchanged from forty years before. The Ceremonial
House stands in the distance.
And, ahead, beside the river, the small figure of Don Macita.
...You will enter the wholeness of
being. You will feel a satisfaction
like you've never known...
Don Macita turns, looks. Vince waves to him.
EXT. LA BOULEVARD/IQUITOS - DAY
Hume and Allison negotiate with a guide on the riverside
walk. Charter boats wait.
...First come the patterns, then
plants, then animals, then fantastic
architecture, the little people,
they are guides -- and, at some point,
the serpent. Don't be afraid. He is
EXT. AMAZON - DAY
Hume and Allison ride down the river.
...and the end, well, it will be
idiosyncratic. It will be what you
EXT. ENCAMPMENT - DAY
Vince and Russell stand, nude, as huito, a bluish fruit pulp
mixed with clay, is poured, rubbed over their bodies by Don
Macita and his native ASSISTANT. The same blue that caked
Garwood years before.
...The brew is made by mixing crushed
ayahuasca vine with alternating layers
of chacruna leaves and boiling them...
EXT. JUNGLE - DAY
Garwood, Russ and others watch as Don Macita, 77, selects a
section of the climbing ayahuasca vine, instructs his
Assistant which portion to cut with his machete.
...the duration, including the
purging, will last six to eight hours,
although the intensity will slack
off after four or five hours.
EXT. ENCAMPMENT RIVERSIDE - DAY
Hume and Allison step off the river boat, look around. A
path leads to the Ceremonial Hut, the open MAIN HOUSE hung
EXT. CEREMONIAL HOUSE - DAY
Garwood and Russell watch as Don Macita and his Assistant
prepare the ayahuasca brew: crushing strips of vine, laying
them in an old metal pot.
Atop the small table, like forty years before, sits the
ceremonial bowl, its sides painted and repainted over the
years with fantastic imagery, rainbow bands of brightly
colored unreal creatures.
Hume and Allison approach. Garwood greets them
What are you doing here?
Same thing you're doing here.
(to Don Macita)
Don Macita, this is Hume Rankin,
Russ' brother I told you about.
Hume exchanges greetings with Don Macita as Russ walks over,
whom, he in turn greets. Hume turns to Vince, speaks softly,
We need to talk.
Allison, taking the hint, says to Russell:
Show me around.
EXT. ENCAMPMENT RIVERSIDE - DAY
They stand at the edge of the Amazon, brown slow-flowing
water, perhaps fifty meters wide. Around them, the jungle
vibrates with life.
What you've done is illegal. I could
report you. You could go to jail.
If that has to be, it has to be.
Just wait until we've done what we
can for Russ. There's a program.
You absolutely baffle me.
Garwood glances to the Main House where Allison and Russell
I've done a lot of things I regret
in my life, and a lot of the things
I regret involve your family. When
your father was vilified, when the
witch hunt hit, he came to me for
support and I turned my back on him.
I protected my position. He left the
country, left his family. I took the
easy way when letting them fire you.
Now this. I feel my life is defined
by the sadness in your family. I
believe I can help your brother. He
was dying in there.
It's so good you're here.
To help Don Macita.
You're tripping as well?
I wasn't sure before, but now I am.
I want to apologize to your father.
His spirit is all around here. Come,
you've got to talk to Don Macita.
We'll go over the counseling --
Don't you think I ought to talk to
EXT. MAIN HOUSE - DAY
Hume and Russell sit inside the hammock strung house.
Generations of visitors have left inscriptions and painted
mystic, hallucinatory symbols (the Third Eye, the Serpent)
on the beams and benches.
I brought along your meds, just in
You're kidding. That stuff is poison.
It's poison for the brain.
I know, I know, I just felt it would
be irresponsible not to. I didn't
know what condition you would be in.
That last night in the sanitarium, I
was holding on, just barely,
concentrating every atom in my body
to remain sane, like those kids in
"Nightmare on Elm Street" trying not
to sleep. Then I heard the door open --
he had come for me, the murderer,
but it was Professor Garwood.
How are you now?
All this cleansing and my
conversations with Don Macita have
cleared my mind. Everything is now
directed toward the journey. I am
prepared. I want to do this.
Hume gives his brother a loving look, then a big embrace,
which is returned and held.
You're not going in anger?
Remember this journey you're taking,
this drug, what it's doing it's doing
for your benefit. Pay attention. It
wants to help you.
You know how I like to say they're
not recreational drugs? That's not
true. They are recreational. Re-
creational. You must re-create your
life. Remake it, heal it.
(Russ nods again)
If you get lost, if you get
frightened, if you're in danger,
repeat the mantra. If you hear me
saying, "Om mani pene hung," you'll
know that I'm with you, you're not
Hume reaches in his pocket and hands Russ a small souvenir
replica of an elf-like Incan god, much like the one Garwood
had in his office.
Russ, take this. I bought this in
Iquitos. It didn't cost anything.
It's supposed to bring good luck.
Russ tucks it into his pocket:
If only it were that easy.
EXT. CEREMONIAL HOUSE - SUNSET
Garwood and Russell, wearing white ceremonial ruanas, sit
where Vince sat with Russ' father years before. Don Macita
ladles out the ayauasca brew into two cups on the table. One
cup contains almost twice as much brew as the other.
Don Macita blows purifying smoke on Garwood and Russell.
Allison and Hume sit to the side. He puts his arm around her
Russ looks at his fingernails: they are rimmed blue from the
Don Macita places the cup with the larger dose in Russell's
hands, the other in Vince's, then steps and begins to sing
the soft, lilting icaros: "Maimandara shamuirimum, Yana puma
TIMECUT. Night. Garwood and Russell both bent over a long
basin, vomiting. "La Purga."
Russ watches his vomit as the camera zooms toward his eyeball,
enters his myriatic pupil.
INSIDE RUSS' MIND: his vomit emerges as blood, covering the
floor, liquefying it. In the blood swim thousands of vibrating
The characteristic crackle, the rising hum (DMT particles
crashing into the brain's synapses) as the worms, animated
like sperm, jump bullet-like from the bloody below, pierce
The voyage has begun.
Russell's pupil expands, revealing the vast geography of
Space first appears as GEOMETRIC FORMS, revolving
These quickly assume vegetable form, an inviting cardinal
red CHRYSANTHEMUM, its petals beckoning, becoming a white
Into the blossom we fly, its core opening onto the JUNGLE
We fly over the jungle, compelling images filling our field
of vision: birds unlike any ever beheld, rippling trees and
fauna, indistinguishable creatures in the undergrowth.
To our left: the waterfall where dead souls bathe.
We are the panther. We know this because we hear the panther's
heart beating, hear its paws pounding the earth's surface,
see its paws before us.
We dive toward the surface. Into the jungle the panther
But it is not a jungle, it is an OCEAN and we are under the
water now, swimming shark-like alongside pink dolphins and
glowing fish of the deep. Great primordial creatures, sea
monsters extinct for eons, pass.
We burst from the ocean Atlantis-like into a realm of RUINED
PALACES and LABYRINTHINE CITIES. Empty unpopulated empires
rise and fall.
African mud cities become Palantine temples; pyramids become
Throughout melodies mix with the music, snippets of sound
contemporary and archaic. A guitar riff from the Fifties, a
bit of Beethoven, third world instruments.
Then, for a moment, above the ruins: a cascade of ADVERTISING
IMAGERY: the pop culture of signs, slogans and logos rushing
In the ruined cities, we enter the HALL OF ANCESTORS. We see
our shadow before us, morphing the history of earth's life
forms: sea-going, reptilian, mammalian, ape-like, humanoid.
The ancestors are stacked in high-rise rows to our right and
left. All of mankind's faces, Neanderthal, Homo-sapien,
yellow, white, black -- some surprised, some merely curious --
morphing one to the other like falling dominos.
At the top level, we notice, are the gods -- primitive,
ancient unrecognizable divinities yielding to more familiar
figures: the Egyptian hierarchy, the Greek pantheon, Nordic
gods and goddesses, the manifestations of Buddha, the Hindu
cosmology, Mohammed and his followers, Christ and the saints --
yet, looking closer, we see they are in pain, all writhing
like crucified Jesuses. Not gods, daemons.
We grow frightened:
Hume, Hume... om mani...
IN THE CEREMONIAL HOUSE: Hume cradles his brother, repeating
HUME AND RUSSELL
...pene hung, om mani pene hung...
INSIDE RUSS' MIND: we burst from the Hall of Ancestors, fly
over a great SAVANNA.
There we see them, first as mottled dots, growing larger as
we near: the self-transforming machine elves.
And they see us. Recognizing our approach, they emit a
communal joyful "ahh." The sound's after-image sails across
the savanna like a green shooting star, trailed by a
chartreuse neon echo image.
The elves bounce brightly colored balls or are brightly
colored balls. It's hard to tell, because they constantly
transform into the balls, back into themselves. Garwood's
They are guides.
Saucers fly in a flurry overhead like comets: oval shaped,
then chrysanthemum, then lotus, then oval again.
Coming closer, walking amongst the elves, they offer us gifts:
they toss their colored balls, which, as they touch us, turn
into extraordinary objects: iridescent Faberge eggs, morphed
by the sound of their voices into essences whom, it seems,
are ideas themselves.
It feels wonderful.
All of which distracts us from a distant specter approaching
at warp speed: the great speckled serpent. Time motion clouds,
speed overhead, transforming the savanna into an endless
It's the rapacious serpent from Ethan Rankin's jungle trip.
The serpent's jaws open wide, revealing rows of razor-sharp
teeth, a crimson red mouth.
Om mani pene hung...
We try to escape but cannot. We plunge past the teeth, down
the esophagus, into the belly of the beast -- the "animistic
roller coaster ride."
IN THE CEREMONIAL HOUSE: Hume and Don Macita sit beside Russ.
Where are you?
INSIDE RUSS' MIND: down and down we tumble, past reptilian
ribs and pulsing organs.
We suddenly emerge amidst a blaze of color, not in a Mexico
City rave club, but in a blue throbbing room. We are in the
Multi-dimensional walls of mutating shades of blue surround
us. Up, down, right, left, each indiscernible from the other.
Alex Trebek's voice: "The Taj Mahal, Solomon's Palace and
Billy Joel's beach house all have this in common."
Growing, in the distance, a woman lying on a hospital bed --
is she being operated on or giving birth? We know it's our
mother, but do not say that word.
A heavy metal grate falls before us, keeping the woman out
The Murderer materializes through the grate, wearing, as
before, jeans and a T-shirt.
His face, however, seems different: cruel, mean, distorted.
In his hands he tosses two balls: the miniature heads of
Hume and Russell.
The Murderer's eyes ooze puss, blood drips from his ears and
nostrils. His expression is demonic.
Behind him, through the grate, the hospital room, now red,
is a torture chamber: a Boschian tableau of medieval pain
The woman in the hospital bed lies next to wretched creatures
on racks and wheels. Black hooded inquisitors lean over her
chest, employ instruments of torture.
The Murderer squeezes the miniature heads as his own head
swivels, Exorcist-like, on his base. He is now Ethan, insects
crawling from every facial orifice.
In his hands the knife and cross.
We are terrified. The music is terrifying: discordant noise
and a cacophony of angry indistinguishable voices. In the
distance, Hume's voice struggles to be heard:
Om mani pene hung...
And also, somewhere in the music, a repeat of an earlier
voice: "What is your name?" We try to repeat the mantra, but
the words come out wrong.
Ethan's head swiveling again, revealing our own image, Russ'
face, who is now, suddenly upon us, knife upraised, slashing,
Russ' chest opens, he is inside us.
We stand in a HALL OF MIRRORS, our image reflected over and
over again. We are The Murderer, we are Ethan.
And behind us, in every duplicating reflection, behind the
iron grate, the red chamber of horrors -- and a woman's
Our reflection stands at the door, preventing entry.
A tug at our side: it's one of the smiling elves. He offers
us a colored ball. We look again, the elf is gone.
The brightly colored ball glows, continually morphing human
and animal images, ancient and contemporary.
We throw the ball at our reflection, hitting first one
reflection, then the others in a rippling chain effect.
Our image transforms into an angry mass of wasps, which,
buzzing, fly away, diminishing in size until they are nothing
more than faint gold crosses in the distance.
The cacophony subsides, a voice emerges from the chaos:
They were all built for love.
The grate lifts with a Mozartian cresendo. The torture chamber
is again shifting shades of blue.
We walk to the hospital bed, pull back the sheet which covers
the woman on the bed.
Her chest is exposed X-ray-like: ribs, a beating heart and
lungs. And, in one lung, a diseased black cancerous clump,
crawling with maggots.
We reach in, forcefully yank out the clump, toss it heavenward
where it bursts into brightly geometric forms, flies away.
The woman on the bed -- she is our mother -- smiles:
A blue dot appears on her forehead like a Third Eye. Music
welcomes us as we move toward the dot until it fills our
field of vision.
We hyper-zoom into the blue dot, earth. Recognizable
configurations appear, North America, the Pacific Northwest,
Oregon, Portland, downtown...
Until the dot is nothing but a large human eye.
INT. CLINIC - DAY
Lights come up on a reostat. Hume, wearing a blue button
down collar shirt with a dark tie, in the lounge chair.
An Assistant extracts the IV line from Russ' arm prepares to
remove the EKG sensors.
Garwood steps over as the Assistant goes to help another
participant in the DMT trial.
How do you feel?
It takes a moment for Russ to orient himself.
How was it?
That's the amazing thing. Every
experience is absolutely unique.
Russ, still somewhat stunned, stands, says to Hume:
Let's go over to Mom's house. I want
to apologize for that stunt I pulled
the other day.
You're still groggy. And you've got
to do the questionaire.
Yeah, but after.
EXT. MOTHER'S HOUSE - DAY
The Camry and van in the drive.
INT. MOTHER'S LIVING ROOM - DAY
Day old cut flowers sit in a vase.
Evangeline, Hume and Russell sit across from each other,
cradling cups of Kona coffee.
"Jeopardy" plays on the TV in another room.
It's so amazing you came over. I was
just getting ready to call you.
It's hard to explain.
Dr. Klein called. He had gotten the
latest x-rays. I didn't understand.
I called him back to be sure. He
The tumor is diminishing. It's
responding to treatment. It's almost
The boys stand, embrace her jointly.
HUME AND RUSSELL
I'm so happy.
I love you boys.
I can't wait to tell Ally.
Russ reacts to a particularly loud burst of applause from
How can you stand to have that thing
on all the time?
It's just background noise. It's
Russ steps into the DEN, turns off the TV, interrupting Alex
Russ feels something in his jeans, reaches in his pocket,
pulls out a small replica of an elf-like Incan god. He doesn't
know quite what to make of it.
Then he looks at his fingernails: they are rimmed pale blue
with a clay-like substance.
Hearing his mother's voice, he returns to the LIVING ROOM.
Come, boys, sit with me a while.
Just hold my hands.
They sit beside her, take her hands.
Let's enjoy what we have while we
have it. Reality is so fragile.
in memory of
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