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Scene: The next day, the students are all hunched over their desks at school writing furiously.
Sidney: (Whispers.) Hey, Danny!
They both look down as they realize Captain Lancaster is watching.
Capt. Lancaster: You two boys. (Everyone looks around.) Stand up.(Danny and Sidney don’t move.) Morgan. Smith. Up. (They reluctantly stand.) Now, what were you whispering about, hmm?
Danny: Nothing, sir.
Capt. Lancaster: You were cheating.
Danny: No, sir.
Capt. Lancaster: You were cheating. Come out here, both of you.
They walk slowly to the front as Lancaster gets down his cane from a special case.
Capt. Lancaster: Smith? Here. Hold out your hand.
Danny: I was not cheating, sir.
Capt. Lancaster: Boys who whisper during exams are cheating as far as I’m concerned. Hold out your hand.
Danny holds out his palm and Lancaster whacks it with the cane. The class gasps. Danny stumbles with his hand between his legs.
Capt. Lancaster: Smith, I haven’t finished yet.
With tears in his eyes, Danny straightens and holds out his hand again. Captain Lancaster raises his arm to strike.
Mr. Snoddy: Captain Lancaster! I’d like a word with you. Immediately, if you please.
Lancaster follows Snoddy out of the classroom, while the other students gather around Danny and help him to his desk.
Scene: In Mr. Snoddy’s office.
Mr. Snoddy: Captain Lancaster, I thought I made it crystal clear when I appointed you that I will not tolerate any form of corporal punishment in my school.
Capt. Lancaster: I was perfectly within my rights. The boys were cheating.
Mr. Snoddy: Oh, were they? Were they, indeed?
Mr. Snoddy walks over to the classroom.
Mr. Snoddy: Danny? (He gestures for Danny and Sidney to come out in the hall.) The rest of you sit down. Sit down. Try and be good. (He closes the door and addresses the boys.) Now then, on your word of honor, were either of you cheating just now? (Captain Lancaster watches from the office doorway.) Danny?
Danny: No, sir.
Mr. Snoddy: Sidney?
Sidney: No, sir.
Mr. Snoddy: All right. Back to class. (He ushers them back to their classroom.) Captain Lancaster, if I catch you using the cane ever again in my school you’ll be out on your ear. Is that understood? Is that understood, sir?
Capt. Lancaster: Yes, sir.
Mr. Snoddy: Good, sir. (Lancaster goes back to his class.)
Scene: That afternoon, Danny comes home and goes to the garage. His father is in the pit working on a car.
Danny: Hello Dad.
William: Hello Dan. (He bangs on a nut that’s stuck and hurts his hand.) Ow! Damn this nut.
Danny: Try this one. (Goes to hand him a wrench but changes hands to hide his injured one.)
William: What’s the matter with your hand? (Danny doesn’t answer, so he grabs it and opens it up. He sees the ugly red mark.) Who did this? Who did this, Danny?
William: Was it Lancaster?
Danny: He thought me and Sid were cheating.
William: Cheating. You. Right. (He jumps out of the pit.)
Danny: Where are you going?
William: I’m gonna see this Captain Lancaster.
Danny: (Danny jumps up.) Dad, please don’t! Please!
William: (Starting to put on his coat.) And I’m going to beat the living daylights out of him.
Danny: Please don’t. It’ll only make everything worse.
William: It’ll make him stop and think before he lays a hand on a child again. I guarantee that.
Danny: I’ll hate you if you do it.
Danny: You’ve always taught me to fight my own battles. You’ve always said…
William: I’m sorry Danny. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. You’re right. You’re right. I’m all angry inside and when people get like that, it just… comes out. I want to get even with Hazell and I can’t. (He goes to get a drink of water.) I have this dream… You know the shooting season starts on Saturday?
William: Well, they’ll all be up there. All be up at Hazell’s. All the local bigwigs and the toffs down from London. Oh, they don’t give a fig for Hazell, but they know his fields will be crawling with pheasants. That’s all they care about. (Leaning forward conspiratorially.) But what if… it wasn’t?
Danny: But what if what wasn’t?
William: What if there wasn’t a pheasant in sight? Nothing. (Danny laughs.) What if someone had poached the lot? It’d make him the laughingstock of the county? He’d never show his face ’round here again.
Danny: It’s a fantastic idea!
William: Yeah. Trouble is, no one can poach six or seven hundred pheasants. (Sadly.) It’s impossible.
Scene: In the gypsy caravan that night, Danny is making some tea and notices the bottle of sleeping pills on the shelf above him.
He takes down the bottle and looks at it. He remembers Doc saying: “This is to… make you sleep.” William comes in and joins him.
Danny: Dad? I think I’ve had an idea.