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Miller H Caldwell

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Whitesands
By Miller H Caldwell
Posted: Saturday, November 15, 2008
Last edited: Saturday, November 15, 2008
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Miller H Caldwell
· Rose is dead
· Take the Lead Chapter 3
· Take the Lead
· Take The Lead
· Palestine
· Chapter 3 The Parrot's Tale
· Chapter 8 The story Continues
           >> View all 123
Whitesands is an area of beauty in Dumfries by the river Nith. This is where the action takes place. It's a guess who dun it!

                                                WHITESANDS


FADE IN
EXT WHITESANDS DUMFRIES DAY


Elderly man (DEREK) walks slowly with his stick along by Deer Park. He feels a sharp pain in his calf. He stops, bends down to rub it and sees a conker roll away from him. He looks around him. He sees nothing and continues to walk. He finds a bench and sits down. He rubs his leg again.


INT CHARNLEY WOOD RESIDENTIAL NURSING HOME DAY


Residents sit around the walls in high chairs. Residential staff move around bringing tea to residents.


ELDERLY LADY

Derek not back yet?
NURSE

He’s gone for a walk by the river, he’ll be back for tea.


EXT DEER PARK SEAT DAY


Derek feels a sharp pain in the back of his neck. Another conker falls and rolls off the bench. He gets up. He turns the bench over, kneels down and pretends his stick is a rifle and he is in a trench. He waits. A police man approaches.


PC RENNIE


What are we doing here old boy? What’s your name?

DEREK
Sniper Derek. Get down, quick, you’ll get shot.

PC RENNIE
Seen the enemy have you?

DEREK
I said get down. That’s an order!

PC Rennie bends down beside Derek. He eyes him up.

PC RENNIE
Been to the pub then Derek?

Derek turns towards the policeman. He frowns at him.

DEREK

For God’s sake keep your head down and shut up or you’ll get shot.

PC Rennie notices a trickle of blood coming from Derek’s leg.

PC RENNIE
You’re bleeding!

DEREK
I know. I was shot.

PC RENNIE
When?

DEREK
Five minutes ago.

PC RENNIE
Let me call an ambulance.

DEREK
No. Not necessary.

PC RENNIE
Then let me call for reinforcements?

DEREK
Can you?

PC Rennie uses his mobile phone and codes for assistance.

PC RENNIE
Delta Charlie 237 to Orange. Deer Park Whitesands. Tango Hotel required cautious 30 repeat 30 Over.


Derek gets up and his rifle is now a walking stick. He leaves his barricade and walks normally back along Deer Park.


PC RENNIE (CONT’D)
Hey Derek! Don’t leave me.


DEREK
Got to get back now.


Derek walks away. PC Rennie stands up rubs his head and calls his radio


PC RENNIE
Delta Charlie 237 to Orange. Abort repeat, abort.


INT LOREBURN POLICE STATION  DAY


Duty Sergeant ROY ARMSTRONG is on duty. Enter ALICE PHELPS with her dog, DIRK.

SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
Good afternoon, madam. Can I help you?


ALICE PHELPS
You can indeed. My dog, Dirk has been shot!


Sergeant Armstrong peers over the charge desk, looks at the dog for a moment, then looks at Alice.

SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
Shot? Looks OK to me.

ALICE PHELPS
Sergeant, I assure you my dog was shot.


Sergeant is rather impatient with this woman.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
You are telling me that that dog on the ground has been shot?


ALICE PHELPS
You are now taking me seriously.


Sergeant Armstrong opens a pad of paper, takes a pencil from his tunic pocket, licks the lead and sighs. PC Rennie enters the Police Station.

SERGEANT ARMSTRONG

So where did this happen?


ALICE PHELPS
In Dock Park.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
When?


ALICE PHELPS
This afternoon.


Sergeant Armstrong is increasingly frustrated by this interview.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
What time?


ALICE PHELPS
About three thirty.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
And that’s when ....Birk was shot?


ALICE PHELPS
Yes, when DIRK was shot.


PC Rennie steps forward with a concern in his voice.


PC RENNIE
Excuse me. Did you hear a gun?


ALICE PHELPS
No.


PC RENNIE
Did you see what hit your dog?


Sergeant Armstrong resents the constable’s intervention.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
I am taking this enquiry Constable, if you don’t mind.


PC RENNIE
Just a minute Sarge, one more question. What hit your dog?


ALICE PHELPS
A conker, it was a conker.

PC Rennie smiles. He looks at his Sergeant.

PC RENNIE
Sarge, we’ve got a silent sniper in town.


Sergeant Armstrong raises his eye brows, Alice smiles a sense of being taken seriously at last, PC Rennie places his tongue in his cheek in a thoughtful pose nodding his head and Dirk wags his tail.


EXT NEXT MORNING DEER PARK DAY

Party of Council workers are sweeping up leaves and conkers. Others are up trees cutting off branches with conkers on it. Uniformed police search the area for clues.


INT CHARNLEY WOOD RESIDENTIAL HOME  DAY


Derek walks along a corridor with his stick. From a door on the left an eye is seen. As he approaches the door, it closes firmly.


INT CHARNLEY WOOD RESIDENTIAL HOME RECEPTION DESK DAY


On the reception desk is the Dumfries Standard. The heading is SNIPER LOOSE IN DUMFRIES. Derek picks it up and sits down amongst other residents.


DEREK
It’s a war zone I tell you.

MALE RESIDENT
What’s that Derek?


DEREK
Chief Constable is asking people if anyone knows a sniper before a death occurs.


MALE RESIDENT
Death of cold if you ask me.


Derek throws him a cold stare.

DEREK
Just because you’ve not been shot.


MALE RESIDENT
No, not for a long time. Anyway I read that paper earlier. The Chief Constable thinks it will end with the end of the conker season. (Laughs)

EXT WHITESANDS DUMFRIES DAY


From behind a garden wall we see a trajectory of conkers arcing towards the Nith. Many conkers land in the Nith scaring away seagulls. A man observes the source of the conkers more closely by walking towards the source but he can not see over the garden wall. He telephones.


(CUT TO)
INT LOREBURN POLICE STATION DAY


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG

Good Morning. Dumfries Police how can I help you?....yes...conkers! Where.....when.....and you are? Thank you sir we’ll attend to it right away.
Sergeant Armstrong replaces the telephone and opens an internal door. He pokes his head into the corridor and shouts.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG (CONT’D)
PC Rennie. Lets go!


EXT LOREBURN POLICE STATION DAY


In addition to the sergeant and PC Rennie two extra policemen are in the car as it sets off from the Police Station to the Whitesands. They park outside the house identified with the high wall. All four police officers leave the car and walk smartly to the front door and ring the bell. After a few moments the door opens and a young woman RUTH answers the door.


RUTH
Oh my god. What’s happened?


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
We thought you might be able to tell us. Who lives here?


RUTH
Well this was my father’s house. He died four weeks ago. I’m here to sort things, you know, before I can sell it.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
Sorry to hear that. So whose helping you?


RUTH
Nobody. I’m a single Mum. It’s just me and Sammy, my son.

SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
Then I think we had better have a word with your child.


RUTH
With Sammy?


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
Yes. Sammy. Is he in?


RUTH
Of course he’s in. He’s only three you know?


Sergeant Armstrong turns towards his men. They all look wide eyed and bewildered.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
Right men, search the garden. I’ll speak to Sammy.


The officers turn and disappear. Sergeant Armstrong takes off his hat and enters the house. He finds Sammy in a play pen in the kitchen playing with bricks making a tower.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG (CONT’D)
And there’s nobody else in the house?


RUTH
Sergeant I live in Birmingham with my partner and he’s there. You can phone him if you like. Sammy and I are the only ones here. Can you tell me what this is about?


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
We’ve had reports of someone firing conkers at people and animals. They seem to be coming from the direction of your garden.


RUTH
Well if they are, they are intruding. Unless you suspect me! That’s just ridiculous. I’m here to clear up and go as soon as I can then get the property on the market. 


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
Yes, I understand. I’ll leave you to it. I’m sorry to have disturbed you.

Sergeant Armstrong shakes Ruth’s hand.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG (CONT’D)
Bye Sammy.
SAMMY

Bye Mr. Policeman.


Sergeant Armstrong stops, looks at Sammy and hesitates then smiles at him and departs.


EXT SIDE ROAD BY WHITESANDS DAY


Sergeant Armstrong returns to the car and sits in the driver’s seat. All other officers are already seated in the car.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
What a flipping waste of time.


PC RENNIE
Ummm...not such a waste of time. Guess what we found?


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
What?


PC Rennie holds up two bags. One a bag of conkers and in the other a sling.


PC RENNIE
Should get some DNA or finger prints from this.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
Oh yes, some progress.


The car moves off with Sergeant Armstrong smiling from ear to ear.
(Cut to)
INT PLAYPEN SAMMY’S HOUSE DAY


Sammy has a rubber band. He fires a brick at the tower he’s made. It crashes down.

INT POLICE LABORATORY DUMFRIES  DAY


White coated Police staff lean over benches with the catapult and sticky tapes recording finger tips.


(CUT TO)
INT LOREBURN POLICE STATION DAY


Sergeant Armstrong is at the front desk reading a paper. The door opens and a white coated staff member from forensics approaches with a large brown envelope.


FORECSIC SCIENTIST
Here’s the catapult report Sergeant.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
Any good is it?


FORECSIC SCIENTIST
Oh yes. We’ve got the culprit but you might as well shred the report.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
What do you mean?


FORECSIC SCIENTIST
It’s a very small hand. Under four year old I’d say.


Sergeant Armstrong throws his eyes heaven word, then smiles.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
Too young to report but I wonder.......


INT INTERVIEW SUITE LOREBURN POLICE STATION  DAY


Coffee is being poured by Sergeant ARMSTRONG into three cups. Child Psychologist RORY BARNES and the Reverend SIMON HART are seated.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG (CONT’D)

I’ve called this meeting to shed some light on a delicate matter. What the heck can I do with a three year old offender?


REVEREND SIMON HART

The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.
RORY BARNES


With respect, it is more often the beginning of a psychiatric disorder.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG

Poles apart are we?


RORY BARNES
I believe that it is moral instruction that makes the child bad. I find that when I smash the moral instruction a bad boy has received, he becomes a good boy.


REVEREND SIMON HART
Preposterous! That give us the right to do what we want and not heed the responsibility.


RORY BARNES
There may indeed be a case for adults. But there is no case whatever for the moral instruction of children. To ask a child to be unselfish is wrong. Altruism comes later-comes naturally- if the child is not taught to be unselfish.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
You mean by suppressing the child’s selfishness, the mother is fixing that selfishness forever?


RORY BARNES
Exactly.


REVEREND SIMON HART
I’m coming from a different angle. Man is a sinner by birth. The Church says, “If you sin, you shall be punished.


RORY BARNES
Yes, the parent takes this cue from the Church and says, “If you do that again, I’ll punish you.” Both Church and Parent strive to elevate by imposing fear. As a psychologist we know that to invest a child with fear, in any form, is harmful.


REVEREND SIMON HART
Mmmm....I’m afraid I cannot claim to understand your training but by the same token to suggest a solution for one so young....I really don’t know.


RORY BARNES
But maybe we can both agree that a chid will learn what is right and what is wrong in good time - provided he is not pressured.


REVEREND SIMON HART
And what is good time?


RORY BARNES
The age of criminal responsibility varies but this child is only three!


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
And on Friday he’ll go back home to Birmingham with his mother.


REVEREND SIMON HART
Well that should solve the community’s concern.


RORY BARNES
The conker season is over.


SERGEANT ARMSTRONG
Gentlemen, I’ve got to reassure Derek. The War is not over for him yet.


RORY BARNES
For some, it never is. 
                                                 THE END


Web Site: Whitesands  


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Books by
Miller H Caldwell



Take The Lead

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The Parrot's Tale





Lawrence the Lion seeks Work

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Jim's Retiring Collection

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Miss Martha Douglas

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Chaz the Friendly Crocodile





The Martha Douglas Story




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