Saturday, May 20, 2017

sam and willow: tucson 1

We meet Sam in his fine SUV at the train tracks to open the movie.

Plenty of time in the cabin with Sam as the train clatters by to take note of the tricked-out high-tech nature of what will be hereafter referred to as "the truck." Those paying attention will note the time of day on Sam's handsome watch - his left hand at high noon on the steering wheel - and on the clock on the console.

The passing of the train jiggles the golf ball-sized soccer ball that hangs from the rearview mirror.

The freight train passes, the crossing arm raises, Sam drives on.

This is not the last time we'll visit this crossing.

The gas station and Tom's exchange with the 20-year-old who notes the soccer ball. She has a soccer scholarship at a university to be determined. In fact, she's on her way home for the summer. She leaves.

Sam cruising Tucson's "Miracle Mile." He drives almost too slowly. Pedestrians along the sidewalks, a few of which are women dressed to attract looks, a couple of whom look straight back at Sam.

One of two Tucscon police officers parked in their cruiser notes on the "slow poke" that is Sam's SUV.

Sam locks eyes with a young woman then notes the flashing lights in the rearview. He pulls over.

The officers run Sam's out-of-state plates. The info comes back. One of the officers recognizes Sam.

Sam waiting. Waiting. We see in the side mirror an officer get out of the cruiser and approach the window.

Officer: Good evening.

Sam: Good evening, officer.

Officer: Looks like you're trying hard to not get a speeding ticket.

Sam: Was I going too slow?

Officer: Little bit.

Sam: My identification is in the console. Registration's in the glove compartment.

Officer: I know who you are.

Sam looks at him, then back to straight ahead.

Officer: Staying in town tonight or passing through?

Sam: The Saguaro. On my way their now.

Officer (Sgt. Juarez) nods, looks around.

Officer: I hear that's nice.

Sam: Never been there.

Officer: Hanging around awhile?

Sam: I don't know.

Officer: Day at a time.

Sam: Yessir.

Officer: This street isn't what it used to be, mister ______.

Sam: I read that.

Officer: Where were you last night?

Sam: Alpine, Texas.

Officer nods.

Officer: Drive safe, Sam.

Sam: Yessir.

Officer: Juarez.

Sam: Sergeant Juarez. Thanks.

Juarez offers a quick salute. Sam nods. The officer walks back to the cruiser.

Juarez's partner in the passenger seat as Juarez approaches, gets in, buckles up, takes a look at the picture on one of the cruiser's computers, the picture his partner is staring at.

The picture of a 17-year-old girl smiling back at the camera. (Spoiler alert: this is Sam's two years-missing daughter.)

Juarez: Would you mind losing that?

Partner (Jones): Lost.

Partner minimizes screen. Call comes in on the radio. Shooting on North Oracle Road. Partner "rogers that," off they go tires screeching, engine revving, siren wailing. Officer Jones gives Sam a look as they speed by the truck.

Sam watches the cruiser leave. The siren fades. Sam stares ahead, startled when he turns to see a woman of perhaps 30 having approached the front passenger side window. She's street-beat, tattered jeans, shoes like flat tires, torn blouse over stained t-shirt, hair on the wild side, backpack, fatigue and sadness owning her face and look in her eyes. Scabs. A snake tattoo on her neck.

She looks one way then the other up and down the sidewalk then knocks against the window. Sam presses a button, down slides the window.

Woman: I know a place. Over by the park.

Sam fishes his wallet from the console, three twenties from the wallet - all the while the woman wide-eyed - and hands them to her. She stares at the money, quickly pocketing it, then at Sam while he fishes a blanket from behind the front passenger seat.

He hands it to her through the window.

They stare at each other.

Sam: Sweet dreams, sweetheart.

He starts the engine. She backs away.

Woman: Thank you, sir.

Sam: Sam.

Woman: Goodnight, Sam. God bless.

Sam: What's your name?

Woman: Becky.

Sam: God bless you too, Becky.

Woman nods.

Woman: Bye, Sam.

Sam: Bye, Becky.

He checks the rear view and driver's side mirror, pulls into traffic, drives away.

Becky watches him leave, then continues along her way.


Sam at the bar, The Hotel Saguaro.   

Damn near drunk. Laptop and whiskey.

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