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prize sheep and a story idea

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posted by Ty Siscoe alias fubuki on Monday 25th of October 2004 09:27:51 AM

here is a feel good story idea in rough outline sketch that i bounced around my head: story opens up with the ottoman army in flight from greece - a greasy bey governor orders the local treasury to be packed up and hauled back to turkey. he arranges for the convoy to be attacked by 'bandits', kills the loyal troops and has the gold dropped down an old olive orchard well and has the well capped, intending to come back. he has the 'bandit leader' kill his men and then treacherously kills the bandit. the bey is killed by a cutthroat on his way back to constantinople. the secret is lost. a greek peasant boy from a very poor but hard working (drastically drought parched) village stumbles upon the skeleton of the bandit leader and find the remains of a leather pouch with a dozen gold coins and vague directions to the well. the boy shows his friends and they start to squabble and fight over the coins. the honest father of one of the boy learns of the coins and takes it to the village elders. scene: the gold coins are in the center of a round table. 6 men sit around the table smoking, drinking coffee, and staring at the coin. each man has his own fantasy on what he would do with all the gold to himself. fantasies of casinos and fast girls, a grand villa on the coast, one elder sees himself as ari onasis with a fleet of ships (dont forget the signature glasses), a farmer imagines his favorite ewe witha pretty yellow bonnet in a field of bountiful clover, another elder (chubby and stupid) sees himself as great man getting deluxe service at a McDonalds, munching into a big mac. they think for several minutes then simultaneously burst out into a wild babble on what to do. the honest father, georgi, is quietly in love with the village widow, who wont give him the time of day. she makes a living making cheeses and seeling them in the market. she is very private and wont let anyone get emotionally close to her. georgi secretly spies on her while she milks her cow and always buys her cheese even though he has a full cupboard of her feta. the widow is walking her cow to a near stream to drink and the cow is run off the road and mortally wounded. quickly the villagers turn against each other as they plot to find the gold and take it for themselves. the quaint polite village turns into a den of vipers. the community collapses as everyone schemes to outhink and outwit there friends. a hermit shepherd that the village makes fun of sits on his hillside watching the machinations and shakes his head, talking to his flock that the villagers have lost their minds. scene: middle of the night in the village, mice scurry, wild cats chase the mice, stray dogs chase the cats. back doors slip open slightly and al the villagers scurry out on the sly to look for the gold. the hillsides are dotted with crisscrossing torches and lamps. when a pair of villagers bump into each other, they scowl angrily, curses the other's family and keep searching everyone has their own interpretation of the bandit leader's direction. over time, the landscape has subtly changed, landmarks have changed. the olive orchard where the well was located at razed by a big athens landowner in the 30s and no one remembers it except an old blind woman, who mentions it to georgi and his son when they help her with groceries. all the villagers are hunting for the gold. georgi is dismayed at the ruin of their world and wishes the gold fever would go away so things could go back to normal. georgi and nico often talk with the old shepherd who tells them that there is no gold out there. one villager get drunk with a cousin from Athens and boasts of the gold. the cousin is a small-time punk with cheap pretensions of being a gotti-like gangsta (loves talking like a 'joysey mobster' ) he takes some cronies to the village to find the gold. up in the hills they find one of the shepherd's lost sheep, kill it, and cook it. the shepherd witnesses this but knows he is powerless to stop them. he bides his time. georgi and niko (his son) figure out where the pivotal olive orchard was and set out to dig up the gold. the gangster sees them leave the village and follows them. they find the spot and start digging. the gangster watches from behind some rocks as they dig. georgi and nico dig and dig. finally, they uncover a lockbox over a large rock. as they kneel to open it, the gangster comes out with a pistol. he calls them dumb fucking peasants and waves them back from the lockbox. he tells them that he is going to dump their bodies in the same hole they just dug. he cocks the pistol and there is a shot. georgi and nico freeze and grimace, but they are unhurt. the gangster doubles over while looking past the two at the shepherd, who is standing there with an antique rifle. 'melina sends her regards' (melina being the slaughtered ewe of the patient shepherd). the shepherd puts down the rifle and nods nico and georgi back to the lockbox. he tells georgi to take the box if he wants but to understand that their lives will forever be changed if they open it. wealth is its own curse. georgi nods in agreement. he kicks hard at the lockbox. the rock under the lock box gives way and the box falls into the remains of the newly refound well and sinks. they all stand around the well and start smiling. this will save the village. the other villagers are brought to the well and they quickly come together to build a crude aqueduct. as they work together their animosities and schemeing melt away and the friendships and bonds resurface. georgi takes the single coin from the dead bandit and travels to the nearest big town. he finds a cattle dealer and finds out how much a breeding pair would cost to be delivered to the village. then he takes the coin to a dealer for exactly the amount he was quoted. scene: georgi enters the dealer's shop. a portly, bespectacled merchant is eating a sandwich. he pauses when georgi enters, looks him over and figures him for a lost hillybilly. he wipes mayo off his mouth and says says 'i have no work. thank you' and goes back to his sandwich. georgi looks the merchant over and figures him for a city slicker. georgi says 'are yu an honest man?' and looks at him with direct sincerity. the merchant is stunned by this and straightens up, takes off his glasses, thinks for a second and replies 'i try to be.' georgi weighs this and takes decides to take out the coin of his pocket. 'what is this worth?' the merchant takes the pieces and feels their heft, puts them on a scale, inspects the inscriptions, pulls out a handful of catalogs, scratches his head a couple of times, and quotes a price a few hundred drachma over what the cows would cost. georgi replies that he will only take 500 drachma - the exact cost of the cows and delivery. the dealer looks flabbergasted and shocked, shakes his head and pays georgi for the coins. scene: georgi and the widow are in her yard, she is scattering feed to her chickens, they are chatting amiably. a truck and trailer pulls up and a man delivers the cows. the widow is stunned and struggling to retain some composure. when the driver leaves she turns to georgi and says ' you think this is going to buy you a pillow on my bed??' georgi smiles, pats her hands and tells her 'i just want you to be happy' and starts to leave. he gets to the end of her yard when the widow calls to him and says ' why dont you get nico and come back for dinner.' scene: the shepherd is stirring a pot of stew in his cave abode. he is singing a lite peasant song to his flock and swigging off a bottle of ouzo. 'i told them there was no gold out there didnt i fellas? i tell the truth, huh?' he walks over to a pile of rags in a corner and kicks them, a sack of coins spills out and the shepherd chuckles to himself, 'there aint no gold out there.' scene: georgi, nico, and the widow are sitting at an outdoor table eating dinner, toasting retsina, smiling, the two cows are tethered together nearby, nuzzling each other.

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