Tender Bodies

Script by James Duesing, ©1999

The camera is moving up over a cross section of layers of earth. It passes solid rock, then dirt with rocks. Fossils begin to be seen in the dirt and then bones and partial skeletons. As we continue to move up a shrouded human form, possibly floating in a casket is passed. The camera reaches the surface of the earth and pauses. Written in the dirt are the words “Tender Bodies.”

The feet of a figure being chased run across the title.

The camera begins to move up again, through a foundation of a house and into a room where two figures are reclined and caressing.

Kisser is gently kissing the other figure’s cheek and side of face. Kisser softly kisses the ear. The ear slides off. Kisser picks it up and sticks it back on then gently kisses it again. The ear stays in place for a moment then falls off. Kisser picks up the ear and looks at it very puzzled, then takes a bite out of the ear. The ear crunches like a potato chip and the camera, moves to the right through the wall.

While passing through the wall we see the figure that ran across the title, named Other, in Silhouette. Other is not like the rest in this story, although he constructs himself so that he can usually pass among them without detection. Other seems to be running from some one.

The camera exits the house and moves up to a tree where a carnivorous bird-like creature is sitting on a branch. The Bird is watching Kisser through the window eat the ear. The Bird licks its lips in a way that suggests salivation.

There is a sound of rustling leaves. As The Bird looks to the right the perspective changes to reveal a delicate but muscular four-legged creature with translucent skin through which a heart can be seen beating. The creature, Faun, is eating berries off of a tree. There is a close up of Faun’s nose as it takes a deep sniff of a leaf then puts it’s teeth around the leaf, pulls it off the tree and chews it. There is a flash of light. Faun turns around to see a character holding a camera. The character with the camera is stepping closer. Faun is stepping away and realizes they are in the middle of a restaurant. As Faun walks by the patrons all stop eating. One patron is staring with mouth agape, holding a fork full of salad. The salad catches Faun’s eye. Faun smells it and begins to eat it off the fork. Seeing this the chef/owner finds a butcher knife and then comes running out of the kitchen with it. The knife comes slamming down on the dinner table just missing Faun. Faun runs out of the restaurant while the Chef struggles to dislodge the knife. The other appears running across a bridge then turns the corner by the restaurant in an attempt to hide. Once the knife is dislodged the Chef runs to the entrance of the restaurant and stands brandishing the knife making threatening sounds. The Chef notices the Other is standing next to the door to the restaurant. The Other is out of breath and looks exhausted. The chef is paranoid and immediately goes inside, closes the door and pulls the shade. The Chef then looks out through the side of the shade to see what the Other is doing.

The camera moves across the street to a window. Inside the window we see Kisser gently caressing a foot and leg. Kisser’s mouth gets close to the foot and takes a bite out of it.

The camera moves to the side of the house and we see the Other run down the alley and collapse amid the trashcans.

Kisser looks up.

The Bird flies by with a songbird in its throat.

In the alley Faun is licking the Other’s face. They are having a sad good bye. The Other runs a hand across fawn’s neck and falls back. Kisser appears at the end of the alley and fawn leaps away. Kisser runs down the alley, starts rooting through the trashcans and begins to drag the corpse out.

There is a sequence of images of travel. Putting a key in a car. Gas pedal being pushed. A wild ride where Kisser’s car smashes into another car the body is in the back seat of the convertible and flies into the back seat of convertible that he smashes into. Kisser then rams the car again and the body flops back into his car. A door knob opens. An elevator button is pushed.

Elevator doors open up into a party. There is a lot of activity. A woman is sitting unconscious in front of a cake. She is wearing a barrette. Her head is nodding with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. In the background three women in mini-skirts and bouffant hairdo’s are dancing in silhouette. A small character is looking at the cake, a larger more intimidating character moves in and the smaller one backs away. The larger character takes a bite out of the cake.

Kisser comes in the door of the party and immediately the pet poodle begins barking. Kisser looks at the poodle and growls but the dog continues barking. Kisser goes directly to the host. A bright green lizard crawls out of the hosts ear. The lizard jumps onto Kisser’s head and crawls in his ear. Kisser takes his little finger and rings it around inside his ear, then looks at his little finger while whispering something to the host. The host smiles, reaches in his pocket and gives kisser some money. The host is nodding his head in appreciation. The poodle has been barking non-stop all this time and nipping at Kisser’s leg. Kisser turns to the dog and in one fell swoop swallows it. The partygoers gasp turning in silent unison to look at Kisser. Kisser, standing with hand over mouth and wide eyes, lets out a burp. The crowd laughs and goes back to talking.

The host begins passing a whispered message around to specific others in the room.

On the other side of the room a character is under the table with a line attached to a canapé. Another character picks up the canapé, it has a hook in it and the character is whisked under the table by the mouth. No one seems to notice.

The host with a lantern then leads a group to an underground room. On a table in the room is the body of the Other. The room is small, dirty and dimly lit but there are cameras and monitors. The crowd is loud and vying for space to see. The host pulls out a rusty pocketknife and pierces the skin of the body. A puff of mist is released from the pierce and the onlookers react in amazement. As the host makes a wide incision and displays the internal organs the crowd is transfixed they crowd in and block the view of the viewer. A television monitor in the corner of the screen shows the Other’s face smiling. On screen he picks up a microphone and begins softly singing the tones: la la la la.

Kisser, who is right next to the body, gets so excited that he grabs the arm of the body and starts eating it. The crowd reacts violently and Kisser quickly takes the arm out of his mouth and puts it back down on the table, smoothing over it as if it were not scarred and looks around innocently.

A member of the crowd is holding a cat. Kisser makes eye contact with the cat and then makes kissing noises to attract it. The person next to Kisser is holding a magnifying glass and disturbed by this distraction. He gently smacks Kisser across the face and laughs while shaking his head. The cat jumps down across the table and the body and goes out the door. Kisser follows it into the night. Outside the door, in a stream of moonlight, Faun is eating the flowers in the window box. Kisser walks into the bushes. There is a figure in the bushes that Kisser begins to cuddle.

End Credits