Thursday, December 13, 2012

Director's Commentary II

(Nighttime at the Yukinori household. XUM is again seated at a modest desk in his den dictating notes in his digital recorder. NAMIKO enters carrying a wide, flat, and worn cardboard box. XUM turns toward her, placing the recorder on the desk, forgetting to turn it off.)

NAMIKO: Hey, Xum. I was going through some old boxes for Goodwill donations, and look what I found.

XUM: My old manhua file! I wondered what happened to that.

(NAMIKO sets the box on the desk and starts picking out some yellowed, zipatone-crusted art pages.)

NAMIKO: You showed me a few pieces before, but I haven't seen everything. There actually isn't much here...

XUM: Well, the studio wouldn't let me keep much of the original art. I've got a bunch of semi-legible photocopies boxed away... somewhere. They did let me keep some sketches and thumbnails, and...

NAMIKO: And this.

(NAMIKO pulls out an A5-sized piece of watercolor paper in a mylar sleeve, which makes it the most prestine-looking piece in the box. XUM draws a breath.)

XUM: Oh, wow... "The Last Time I Saw Dan."

(XUM sits silently for a beat, looking at the india-ink image on the paper, his eyes drawn to the twin pools of green acryllics that are the focus of the piece. NAMIKO touches her husband's shoulder gingerly.)

NAMIKO: So when are you going to blog about that?

XUM: I already blogged about...

NAMIKO: ...the last time you had "seen and touched" Dan, I know. You know what I mean.

XUM: I don't know for sure what I saw at the Malaysian...

NAMIKO: I don't mean your near encounter with the... whatzit called? Pollyanna...?

XUM: Pontianak.

NAMIKO: Right. That's what you said it was.

XUM: To be clear, I didn't say I saw a pontianak for sure. The bomoh who cleansed the Malaysian Security Exchange Commission building said there was a pontianak there. What I saw was just a quick glance of...

NAMIKO: But who knows what would have happened if you didn't look away, and decided to follow...

XUM: Well, if it was a pontianak, I wouldn't be here now.

NAMIKO: You honestly believe that?

XUM: I do. Many people there believe it too. I remember the Malaysian government seriously discussing establishing laws to govern the use of "black magic." (A pause.) And there were a number of weird things happening in that building before the bomoh came. Elevators and lights going wonky, and the like. The bomoh said there were a number of other spirits making mischief in...

NAMIKO: (Laughter.)

XUM: What?

NAMIKO: You. (Her fingers make air quotes as she mimicks XUM's voice.) "Making mischief." I mean, who says that? (Laughter.)

XUM: I do.

NAMIKO: Mm-hmm. You sure do. (Her fingers lightly touch a corner of the drawing's plastic covering. Her voice now takes a serious tone.) I know why you are dodging my question, Xum... but you should really tell that story. I mean, that was an amazing thing you went through.

XUM: I... I'll think about it.

NAMIKO: Okay. (She smiles a wicked grin.) I don't suppose you are thinking of "making some mischief" with me right now?

XUM: Do you have to ask?

(XUM snaps off the recorder while NAMIKO snaps off the lights. CUT TO BLACK.)