The Boy of the Lunar Grapefruits – Joel Ephraims


The University of Wollongong, North Wollongong

…A short film script dreamt in poetic reverie
While reading Federico Garcia Lorca’s
‘In the Garden of the Lunar Grapefruits’
In its Penguin Classics English translation
While moon drunk and trespassing
On the midnight University of Wollongong lawn
Sky-gazing with mind star-birth cinematic.
Written down on a cloudy afternoon on this poor suffering
Many million rich eyes diverted planet.
Three o’clock and raining…

Scene 1

Exterior Mt. Keira university entrance staircase. Night.
Effect―series of concentric ripples
Take focus over dark screen.
(Scene comes into focus languidly
From behind the ripples which continue
Conflicting for focus over its surface
Until the scene makes full focus.)
Continuous chirping of cicadas.
The staircase is shot from the top down.
A father and daughter are mid-way
Down the flight walking almost in slow-motion.
The father holds his daughter’s hand
And the dragon’s egg is crooked
Under his free arm with
A pale green unearthly shine.
The girl is barefoot and wears
A black summer dress.
The moon is full-risen above the staircase
And the scene is presented up-side down
So it appears that the father and daughter
Are descending into the moon…
… Momentarily picturing the girl
As Ophelia from Pan’s Labyrinth
And her father as Don Lockwood
From ‘Singing in the Rain’…
GARCIA LORCA (V.O.):
‘I have taken leave
Of the friends I love the most
And have set out
On a short dramatic journey.’
(Spoken in original Spanish with
English translation shown in subtitles).
Effect―series of concentric ripples
Take focus over darkening to dark screen.

Scene 2

Interior father’s office. Night.
…The Canadian dentist who bought
John Lennon’s molar runs
Into an old weather beaten wizard
While cross-country skiing in the Canadian Alps.
The wizard is Prospero who is actually
The historical Shakespeare
And who now lives in a technological
Headquarters hidden beneath
A snow capped mountain in the Alps.
Using Prospero’s magical clone technology
They free John Lennon from his molar prison
And rename him ‘Lenny’.
The dentist becomes a savage
After Prospero Shakespeare steals Lenny’s affection
From him and he wanders aimlessly
Humming the original John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’
Before freezing to death in the inhospitable cold.
His last whispers to the blank stare ice:
‘Formidable molars…petrified octopus…
Poisoned plums…inexplicable…alas!’…
A ram-shackled office on the third floor
Of a high rise building.
The walls are punctured with bullet holes.
A full moon’s light ghosts
The trajectory of the long ago scattered bullets.
Cobwebs like tufts of feathers on a malting bird.
There are movie posters stuck to the walls,
Glossy photographs of the moon
And Hubble telescope shots of deep space.
The posters are ripped and torn
To various degrees: Woody Allen’s
‘Star Dust Memories’, the Horsehead nebula,
The Apollo 11 craft after landing,
Park Chan Wook’s ‘Oldboy’,
Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’,
Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Night on Earth’,
Wes Anderson’s ‘The Life Aquatic,’
The Sea of Tranquillity,
The spiral arms of The Milky Way,
Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost in Translation’,
Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’.
In a far corner of the office
There is a telescope and a painting easel
Caked with old paint streaks.
The father sits at his paperwork strewn
Desk upon which also rests
A busted computer doubling as a pot plant
And a silver pistol with a hammer laid aside.
His daughter sits on the opposite side
Of the desk with the dragon’s egg
Shining pale on her lap.
GIRL: ‘Daddy, your giving me a grapefruit?’
FATHER: ‘No sweetie [glancing
At the cracked windows
And at his multiple time-zone
Water-proof watch]. It only looks
Like a grapefruit. [Pause].
It’s something your daddy
Wished he’d had a long time ago.’
GIRL: ‘But―’
[Cut off by sirens outside.]
FATHER: ‘This is a dragon’s egg.’
[Rushed footsteps in stairwell.
Room shaking, dust falling.]
FATHER: ‘Not just the egg
Of any old dragon, mind,
The egg of the most fiercesome
Dragon of all
[Police knock on door
Violently, violently shout Father’s name]
The Giant Dragon of Common Sense.’
Father looks more and more
Desperate. He gently grabs
His daughter by the shoulder.
FATHER: ‘Iv’e also left your
Daddy’s money, golfing set,
And the acre your daddy
Owns on the moon.’
[Police begin knocking door down
Shouting wildly. Dust falling.]
FATHER: ‘Don’t lose it sweetie.
No matter what happens,
Don’t lose the dragon’s egg!
[Almost hysterical].’
The father rushes his daughter
Into a connecting room and grabs
The silver pistol that lies beside
The hammer on his desk.
Just before the door is splintered CUT TO―
…Visiting my dad in Sydney
As a teenager and waiting in the lobby
Of the Energy Australia building
Watching a model electric train
Move through a scaled down version of the city.
Feeling out of place and frightened
By the traffic and conversing business men
Rushing behind the glass automatic doors outside.
Dad gives me a creased city map
With a big grin and guides me through
Traffic lights and tree isles
To the path that leads to the mossy stone
Hush hush part of the harbour…

Scene 3

Interior connecting room
Of father’s third floor office. Night.
Police shouting, indistinguishable, muffled.
Rapid gun fire and sinlge return
Fire of father’s silver pistol.
The girl falls to the floor
And unintentionally tosses
The egg hatched from the Giant Dragon
Of Common Sense out the agape
Third story window.
It makes a wide arch out
Into the moonlight.
Effect―freeze frame.
(The dragon’s egg hangs mid-air
Outside the office building
Seemingly floating beside the full moon.
The girl is frozen in an expression
Of bewilderment and terror.
Her hands grip her moon caught yellow hair.)
GARCIA LORCA (V.O.):
‘I’ll have to go through
An awful invisible fight before
I enter the garden.
Below my balcony a nightingale
And frog raise up a sleepy cross of sound.’
…Throwing water bombs
Made from condoms tied with teeth
In late adolescence at trick-or-treating
Children with my brother
Liam on Halloween.
Avoiding the really young ones
And girls except those that we know.
Aware of the emptiness
Surrounding the world…

Scene 4

Exterior University of Wollongong gardens
On the moon. Night.
Continuous chirping of cicadas.
Intermittent croaking of frogs.
The earth is visible
As a pale disc in the sky.
A nightingale flits past
The camera. The boy is dressed
Mostly in green, the girl
Mostly in black. Frog. Nightingale.
The boy sits under a lamp on the edge
Of the abandoned garden lawn
Reading Federico Garcia Lorca’s
‘In the Garden of the Lunar Grapefruits.’
He looks up occasionally
From the Penguin translated verse
At the pale earth in bewilderment.
In the centre of the lawn
Unseen by the boy
But in clear view is a silver mirror
Laid face up upon which sits
A satchel full of mysterious clothing.
The boy reads until he notices
Its unearthly shimmer.
He approaches tremulously
Over the freshly electric
Mowed grass and opens
The satchel to find a suit with
A large pale rose pinned
To its left shoulder.
GARCIA LORCA (V.O.):
‘On a silver mirror I find,
Long before dawn, the satchel
With the clothing I’ll need
For the exotic country
To which I’m heading.’
…Daniel de Filippo eating
Frozen Aeroplane jelly
From a Chinese takeaway container
While sitting on the lawn
By the pebbly miniature stream
Adjacent to where scene four
Will be filmed. He paints
Watercolour earths and moons
Testing colours to eventually Photoshop
Into the finished film.
Inside his left inner coat pocket
Is a charcoal sketch of a man
Collapsed into a bird bath
And a polished shoe horn…
The boy strips down
And puts on the mysterious suit
Complete with a set of shimmering underwear
While still suspiciously eyeing
The earth in the sky. He returns
To the lamp and resumes reading
Federico Garcia Lorca
When a golf ball collides
With the rose pinned to his chest
And he looks up startled.
…Nick Chlopicki lying naked
In his Castle Inn Dover bed
Like a lily on the clean sheet freshness
After sharing the past night
In a forest with blood hungry
Winged creatures. A lily floating
On the shadows of eternity
Smoking a cigarette bummed
From a frustrated woman who
Was leaning against a Coke-a-cola
Vending machine in the banana-skin
Smelling Castle Inn lobby…
BOY: ‘Who hit that!? [Pause] Hello!?’
GIRL: ‘Sorry. I’m sorry!’
The girl comes running across
The lawn with her father’s pack
Of golf clubs slung around her shoulder.
Her face is grimy and she is
Wearing the same black summer dress
She wore in earlier scenes
Though it is now slightly torn,
Mud-caked and ragged.
GIRL: ‘Are you hurt?’
BOY: ‘Um no I’m fine.’
She touches him where the ball hit
And curiously touches the rose on his lapel.
GIRL: ‘You’re sure?’
…Imagine the boy as a young
Clean-shaven athletic Prospero and
The girl as Hemmingway’s baby-blue-eyed
Granddaughter as she appeared
In Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’ but here
In high definition colour,
Woody Allen excuse me…
CLEAN-SHAVEN
ATHLETIC PROSPERO: ‘Yeah.’
HEMMINGWAY’S BABY-BLUE-EYED
GRANDDAUGHTER: ‘This is my father’s
Acre you know.’
BOY: ‘It is? I mean what?
I usually come here to read at night.
I mean the university.
It’s strange when no one’s here,
Like everything’s underwater.
Tonight I was just thinking what
It would be like if there was
A university on the moon when
[Points to the earth shimmering in the sky]
Apparently it was
Moved there. It feels like I should be
Dreaming but strangely enough
I know that I’m not. Even stranger
Than that somehow I don’t
Feel overly surprised about it.’
GIRL: ‘It’s all my fault [Pause] come on.’
The girl throws the golf clubs
Aside on the university lawn
And takes the dazed boy’s hand.
She pulls him across
The lawn and out of frame.
…Wander into a shopping mall
Hair salon seven years after the film is shot.
The actress who played the girl
Sits with her head under one of those
Helmets that looks like it’s sucking
Your brain up like a wind turbine
Into a hidden hair salon computer.
The actress has transformed into
A woman-sized nightingale
And has sleeked back all her feathers.
She reads Cosmopolitan with a
Glazed expression while
The beautician files her talons
And they exchange monotonous gossip
About tax evasion
And their boyfriend’s sports cars…

Scene 5

Exterior. Freeway to city. Night.
Cicadas chirp continuously.
The boy and girl walk beside
The freeway with their
Thumbs out towards the city
Which is visible as a clump
Of lights hanging in the distance.
Peculiarly the moon has switched
Places with the earth in the sky.
An escarpment curves around
Them like a dragon’s folded wing.
The girl leads the boy. A lime-and-white
EK Holden station wagon with
A detachable siren flaring on its roof pulls up.
Its front grill is like
A wide grimace before a plunge.
The boy and girl climb in
And then it continues towards the city.
We hear no dialogue but see
Only a silent exchange.
GARCIA LORCA (V.O.):
‘The tight, cold scent of sunrise
Beats weirdly on the huge
Escarpment we call night.’
…Jerking off in my parent’s
Spare room to the blonde beach babe
Who asked after my poetry collection
‘Through The Forest’
Walking sensuously in bikini
Into her grandparent’s
Cold War era bunker when
The metal shutters are down house.
O O Ah! Ah!…

Scene 6

Interior prison warden’s car. Night.
The female warden drives.
Her car key is attached
To a large ring from which scores
Of barnacled silver prison keys jangle.
The moon and city waltz
Separately in the rain and mud
Streaked windows like when
The heroic rescuer and the lost
Damsel bypass each other’s footsteps
Unknowingly and recurringly
In the scenes of a movie
As the prison warden’s lime-and-white Holden EK
Rushes forward with its wild siren flare.
MALE WARDEN: ‘I wonder
By whose art these wild waters roar.’
FEMALE WARDEN: The very rats
Instinctively have quit it.’
(Lines appropriated from
Miranda and Prospero’s dialogue
In William Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest.’)
…Man across the street pacing aimlessly
And shouting at pedestrians:
‘I once starred as a lab technician
In Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde can you help me!?…
‘I once starred as a lab technician
In Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde can you help me!?…

Scene 7

Exterior. Late night café in city street. Night.
Both the earth
And the moon are visible in the sky.
The café sits in front of
A high rise building at the top
Of which is a penthouse
Lit up with violet light.
A group of struggling artists are
Clustered together around the café tables.
They are each in a state of feverous
And frustrated artistic activity.
A flutist plays his flute with
Harsh and cacophonous melody.
A violinist saws at his violin
With the musical effect of a woodsman
Sawing down a tree. A visual artist
Paints a film director tangled
Up in reels of film negatives
While the paint runs of his easel.
The paint droplets transforming
Into colourful fish which then sit
Watchfully at his feet. A writer bashes
At a typewriter while the paper only burns
And emits clouds of violet smoke
Which takes the form of his angry family
Members before dispersing.
A photographer flashes his camera
Then transforms into a flock of owls
Which fly begrudgingly away
Toward the skyscraper treed horizon
Looking for the camera
Which dissolved away.
At the arrival of the prison warden’s Holden
The artists scurry away into the city
Like rats which sense the immanent sinking
Of a ship. Easels and paints go sailing.
Movie cameras shatter on the ground.
Coffee, musical instruments, bagels
And muffins are all scattered.
The prison warden’s Holden EK screeches
To a halt in front of the café.
The wardens catch only the flutist
By the arm who had lingered
For a moment too long to cram in
More risotto. The other musicians
Harsh melodies trail away
Into the lugubrious streets.
The female warden handcuffs the flutist
And ushers him into the back of
The Holden while the male warden pursues
The escaped prisoner artists.
A single violet light is visible
At the top of the high rise tower.
The girl leads the boy through its mud and rain
Streaked glass revolving doors.
…Irene Klotz Cape Canaveral:
A panel investigating an astronaut’s
Near drowning during a spacewalk
Outside the International Space Station
In July found that his spacesuit
Had leaked during an earlier outing,
Officials have said.
NASA diagnosed the earlier leak,
Believing the water found in the helmet
Of Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano on July nine
Was due to a ruptured drink bag…

Scene 8

Interior Federico Garcia Lorca’s
Penthouse apartment. Night.
Federico Garcia Lorca
Sits at his rosewood desk
In-between his bed and nightstand.
On the white walls are hung blueprints
Of multifarious objects from life.
Trains, buildings, women, clouds,
Flowers, limes, children,
Animals, balloons, gardens,
Trombones, oil lamps,
The moon, flutes, cars
And the sun for example.
On the nightstand
Sits a vase with roses, magnolias,
Sunflowers and irises.
Federico Garcia Lorca
Wears a nightgown
With a pale violet rose pinned
To the left breast and ultra-violet
Sunglasses which reflect moving
Landscapes as though they are sitting
In the luxurious compartment of a speeding
Train and not on the top floor
Of a high rise tower.
On the nightstand sits also a high school level
Grow your own crystal kit.
A silver sword is hung
On the wall above the bed
And reflects the same moving landscapes
As Garcia Lorca’s sunglasses
Upon its forged steel surface. Lined up
Against a panoramic window
On the opposite side of the room
Are wax sculptures of
Famous historical, cultural, scientific
And political figures to rival the most
Sophisticated wax museums of the globe
With their backs turned on the city.
GARCIA LORCA: ‘Greetings my dears.
My orange. My lemon’.
GIRL: Excuse me?
GARCIA LORCA: ‘Here, take your seats.’
The boy and girl sit
On pro-offered Wicker chairs
Facing Garcia Lorca’s
Desk and nightstand.
GARCIA LORCA: ‘How cold
The city looks tonight, no?
Here, from the bowl, have your fruits.’
(Garcia Lorca holds out a bowl
With chilled lemon and orange slices.)
GARCIA LORCA: ‘Look, so cold…
The eyes of all creatures pound like phosphorescent
Points against the wall of the future.’
(The lights of the city
Are visible through the panoramic
Rain and mud streaked window
Interrupted by the silhouettes
Of the fixed wax sculptures.)
GARCIA LORCA: ‘Yes, yes I know. Eat, look west.
Smile in your colours. Yes there.’
(Last line of dialogue timed to the
Boy and girl’s eating of the fruit.
The boy sucks a lemon slice placing
The whole slice in his mouth
So the skin is visible
Through his parted
Lips and the girl goes through the same
Motions with her slice of orange.)
GARCIA LORCA: ‘I will tell you
That thing you would know.’
[Spoken as the boy and girl return
The lemon and orange skins
From mouths to bowl.]
Effect―watercolour animation
Accompanies Federico Garcia Lorca’s narration
Through dialogue of his poem ‘Tree of Song.’
GARCIA LORCA: ‘A reed in voice and gesture
Again and again quivers forlorn
In yesterday’s breeze. [Pause, stanza break].
The girl, with a sigh, was trying to
Catch it but she always arrived
A minute too late. [Pause, stanza break].
O sun! Moon, O moon!
A minute too late. [Pause].
Sixty gray flowers trammelled her feet.
[Pause, stanza break].
She sees it swaying again and again
Innocent of flower and branch,
In yesterday’s breeze.’
…Picturing Chloe Higgins
With little upturned lip
Curve looking down at her
For work lunch-break at the
South Coast Writer’s Centre croissant.
Big green pineapple eyes
And black fringe hanging down
Like dark evening mists
Stirring above grand glass cinema
Rooftops in a parallel universe
Shakespearian Milan…
GARCIA LORCA: ‘Orange and lemon
Lemon and Orange.
That’s it. Your story.
Now please, like pebbles you must go.’
The boy and girl alight from their
Wicker chairs and walk bewildered
From the high-rise penthouse apartment.

Scene 9

Exterior streets of city. Night.
…A retelling of Sir Thomas Malory’s
Le Morte Darthur tales in black vernacular
In a mythical medieval contemporary
World setting. ‘My noble knight,’
Sir Lancelot say, ‘get you and your
White stead out o this ghetto nigger
Or King Arthur run at you
In his Rebooks with big dick Excalibur
He pulled from enchanted ice
Mother fucker and he call up
His nigger Merlin who go all crazy black magic
Shit on your unchivalrous ass!…
The male warden
Has returned to the café
After a fruitless search.
He paces up and down the street
While the female warden radios from
The lime-and-white Holden EK.
The male warden stops
Pacing when the boy and girl
Alight through the glass revolving doors.
He ushers them back
Into the Holden EK and they sit
Either side of the handcuffed flutist.
He clasps his silver flute in his lap
And a pale blue shine mysteriously emanates
From his closed right palm.
The prison wardens’ Holden rushes out
Into the mist ridden moon and Earth lit city night.
GARCIA LORVA (V.O):
‘A sharp and elegiac feeling
For things that haven’t been―
A bitter feeling that makes
Me travel toward this garden
That shimmers on its skyhigh praire.’
…Write the final paragraph of my
Unwritten novel and post it on
The Wollongong University Litsoc Facebook page:
‘Walking down Lavender Street kicking
Sucker-punched bent-in rusted Fanta can,
Silvia’s enchanted family mansion ominous
Floating in overcast stormy day shadow…

Scene 10

Exterior Mt. Keira university entrance staircase. Night.
….The dead shrivelled up
Cicada Daniel de Filippo and I found
On the wooden staircase
Railing scene scouting.
Dan lying prone on the stair platform
Looking down and thinking
Big moon floating through the trees upside down
Thoughts. Leaping up and together beholding
The risen Mars-like camera bulb eye
Of the cicada, marvelling, and Dan
Picking it up like a lost dreaming child
He’d found and placing it in his glasses case
Then offering me the last watermelon
Flavoured sour ghost drop…
Cicadas chirp continuously. Frogs croak intermittently.
The earth and not the moon
Is now visible in the sky.
The warden’s Lime-and-white Holden EK
Screeches to a stop on the same lawn
With the lamppost where the boy sat
Reading in the earlier scene.
The female warden radios for
The whereabouts of the escaped prisoner artists
Who remain at large and then
Both wardens exit the Holden through
The front side doors. Before they are ushered
Out by the wardens the flutist opens
His right palm revealing that the blue shine
Comes from one of the luminescent fish
Which the paint droplets had
Transformed into in front of the
Late night city café. He uses the fish
To miraculously unlock his handcuffs
And then secretly slides it
Into the boy’s hand
As they exit the Holden.
The flutist then pushes away
From the female warden’s clutch
And runs to freedom across the lamp
And Earth- lit university lawn playing shrill
And cacophonous melodies on his silver flute.
…Paul Chicharo volunteering to be the flutist
While wearing a Christmas shirt
in April holding a cider at the University of Wollongong
Litsoc workshop. Inside his well travelled satchel
Are wilderness maps and a green poetry
Scribbling book in which I drew a cartoonish
Big nosed version of his face
Now nestled up big nosed with
Bus stop girls and falling smoke stacks snoozing…
The male warden runs in wild pursuit
Of the flutist while the female warden lights herself
A Winfield menthol cigarette
And reclines in resignation
On the upholstered back seat of the Holden EK.
She lies phosphorescent under
The red dash light, her cigarette
Smoke shimmering like the confetti
Lights of a city seen from afar
Curling against the back windshield
Like a litter of city light smoke kittens
Suckling. The girl sits despondently in lotus position
Beside the golf clubs given to her by her Father
Before he was riddled with policemen bullets
For stealing the egg of the Giant Dragon of Common Sense.
Earth-light catches in her muddy
Yellow frizzed up hair.
The boy looks into his open palm
At the blue paint droplet
Fish and sees that it has sprouted
A pair of wobbly legs
And is looking up at him with big blue
Fish eyes earnestly. It jumps from his hand
Trailing paint droplets which momentarily flash
Minuscule movie scenes as they collide with
The damp university lawn
and then manoeuvres
Through the steel rim of the Holden’s closed boot.
Moments pass insignificantly and then
A pale green shine becomes visible through
The boots lock-jaw mouth.
The boy walks over and the boot
Pops open before his hand touches
The latch to reveal the lost dragon’s egg
That looks like just an ordinary
Grapefruit rolled out of a shopping bag and forgotten.
We move with the boy as he
Reaches to pick up the egg. We go over his shoulder
And look down into the boot which
Now houses the earlier scene
Of the university garden
On earth like a dragon foetus, puppet show,
Or nativity scene. We go over the boy’s shoulder
So that the garden in the boot takes the full frame
And then the boot dissolves entirely
So that we have returned
To the university garden on earth.
The boy has been transported
Back to this scene and sits as he was sitting
In scene four reading Federico Garcia Lorca
On the grass under the full risen moon and the lamp.
…Throwing cherry pits at the back of my
Little brother Kale’s then egg shaped head
At Greater Union Cinema Wollongong
While watching Wall-E…

Scene 11

Exterior university gardens. Night.
Cicadas chirp continuously. Frogs croak intermittently.
The boy is dressed in the same mostly green clothes
He was wearing in the earlier scene.
The egg of the Giant Dragon of Common Sense
Shines pale beside him on the grass
And both the Holden EK
And the mysterious satchel of clothing
Have disappeared.
A golf ball comes flying and collides
With the boy’s chest before rolling to rest
Beside the dragon’s egg shining on the grass.
The girl comes running across the lawn
Barefoot in her ragged black summer dress.
GIRL: ‘Sorry, I’m sorry!’
…A Japanese geologist in crocs
Walks through the university garden
With his competitive
Cinquain writing twin daughters.
They are pigging out on cinquain national championships
Winnings bought raspberry vanilla ice-cream.
‘Fingers and mouths don’t matter,
Just don’t get it on your evening dresses!’…

Scene 12

Exterior Mt. Keira university entrance staircase. Night.
Cicada’s chirp continuously.
The staircase is shotfrom the bottom up.
Father and daughter are midway
Down the flight
Walking almost in slow-motion.
The father carries his daughter in his arms.
She is curled up like a sickle moon
Holding the dragon’s egg against her belly.
The moon is a distant slick
Disappearing into the sunrise
Whose beginnings are visible as a swirling
Orange glow on the horizon.
GARCIA LORCA (V.O):
‘What was past stays filled with
Yellowing underbrush, orchards without
Any fruit, waterless rivers’.
Effect―series of concentric circles emanating
From dragon’s egg take focus over darkening screen.
…A motley and fantastical crew are
Assembled for late night banter one evening
At an inner city Starbucks.
BOY: ‘O friendly bird
What saw ye in the eclipse
Of ye grime bright wings?’
GRYPHON-BIRD:
‘I flyeth up not with their satellites and
Hurtful shooty things…