Saturday, November 29, 2014

Jill Trent, Science Sleuth in "Truth or Dare" (part 2)

As I mentioned previously, I wrote a comics script a few months ago for the blog Superdames, a site devoted to celebrating female heroes, of Comic's Golden Age.  The site is compiling an anthology of new stories featuring one of these heroes, a beautiful and brilliant detective named Jill Trent, who creates amazing inventions to solve crimes.  My script was not one of the few chosen, alas, but I'm sharing it here.

In the first part, JILL TRENT and her friend DAISY SMYTHE are visiting a colleague, DR. WILLIAM MOULTON MARSTON, a psychologist who has done important work in developing the polygraph, (as well as being the creator of Wonder Woman, but we don't specifically mention that).

Dr. Marston isn't in at the moment, but Jill and Daisy meet his wife, ELIZABETH and their friend OLIVE.  Suddenly, a couple of THUGS barge into the house.  They have been sent to grab an expert on lie detectors.  Jill claims that she is "W.M. Marston" in order to protect the others and agrees to go with the thugs, but insists she be allowed to take some equipment from her car along with her.

Daisy is worried, but Jill assures her that she has a plan...

And now, the thrilling conclusion::


ACTION:  Inside the THUG’s car.  THUG #2 is driving.  Behind him, in the back seat, we see JILL, with a blindfold over her eyes.  THUG #1 is seated next to her with his gun drawn, just in case she decides to get funny.

1 JILL:  So, why do you palookas need a polygraph expert anyway?

2 THUG #1:  You’ll find out soon enough!

3 THUG #2:  I thought she was an expert on lie detectors! 

4 THUG #1:  Shaddap, dope!

ACTION:  Inside a warehouse.  JILL’s blindfold has been removed, and the THUGS are escorting her – none too gently – into the presence of BOSS KREZNIK, a tall, broad-shouldered gangster in an expensive, well-tailored suit.  KREZNIK addresses his THUGS angrily.

5 JILL:  (thought balloon):  My, my!  Boss Kreznik!  He’s wanted for questioning about that bank robbery last week!

6 KREZNIK:  What in blazes?  I told you lugs to get Doc Marston!

7 THUG #1:  This is Marston, boss!

ACTION:  JILL faces KREZNIK, putting up a bold front.  KREZNIK eyes her skeptically, clenching a cigar in his teeth.

8 JILL:  I usually publish under a male pseudonym, because some people don’t think a woman can know anything about science.  If you agree, you can take me home and find another expert.

9 KREZNIK:  Keep yer shirt on, toots!

ACTION:  Close up of KREZNIK, grim and threatening.  He jerks his thumb in the direction a group of other THUGS standing behind him..  (Two of them we’ve met; there is also a HANDSOME one and a WEASELLY-FACED one)

10 KREZNIK:  It’s like this.  Last week, my boys pulled a bank job and took 300 grand.  Thing is, 50 grand of that went missing!  Someone’s been skimming my take!

11 KREZNIK:  Naturally, they all deny it.  So I want you to hook ‘em up to a lie detector and see which ones are telling the truth!

ACTION:  JILL turns to head toward the exit.  KREZNIK smirks, standing with his arms folded.

12 JILL:  I’ll just need to get my equipment.  I had your boys bring it in their car…

13 KREZNIK:  No need for that, toots!

ACTION:  KREZNIK gestures proudly to a polygraph machine set up behind some wooden crates.  (I included some links to visual references at the end, but since real polygraphs are rather small, we might want to make this bigger and more intimidating; say, the size of a photocopier).  JILL puts her hand to her cheek in dismay.

14 KREZNIK:  I already got the lie detector!  I had my boys swipe it from the D.A.’s office this morning!

ACTION:  JILL explaining thing, trying to be as persuasive and logical as possible.  KREZNIK reacts with anger and frustration

15 JILL:  You have to understand; a polygraph doesn’t actually detect lies; it detects changes in the body, like increased heart rate or sweaty palms, which often accompany lying.  But those changes could simply mean that the subject is nervous!

16 KREZNIK:  Then that gizmo’s useless!

16 JILL:  Not quite!  I can modify your polygraph so that it analyzes the parts of the brain where lies are created!


ACTION:  JILL is crouching next to the polygraph, connecting it to a couple other devices which are in boxes so that their exact purpose is not clear.

1 CAPTION:  Soon…

2 JILL:  (thought balloon):  What a load of banana oil!  But they bought it!

3 JILL:  (thought):  Hooking up this wire recorder to the polygraph should provide some nice evidence for the police – If I can get out of here!

4 JILL:  (thought):  I just hope my other gadget works!

ACTION:  JILL has finished tinkering with the polygraph.  She gestures towards the chair next to it, inviting KREZNIK to have a seat.  KREZNIK stands with his arms folded and seems amused.

5 JILL:  Before I test your men, I want to calibrate the machine; have a different person make some truthful and false statements to make sure it’s operating properly.

6 JILL:  Would you like to do the honors?

7 KREZNIK:  Ha hah!  I have a better idea, toots!

ACTION:  Close-up of JILL, looking shocked

8 KREZNIK: (off-panel):  You can be the guinea pig!

ACTION:  Similar to the splash panel on Page 1, although perhaps a bit less dramatic.  JILL is sitting in the seat next to the polygraph; (a regular chair, not an electric chair).  A cuff is around her arm to measure her blood pressure, and a band is around her head with electrodes attached to the machine.  She looks apprehensive.  A WEASELLY-looking thug is monitoring the polygraph needle.  KREZNIK stands over JILL, holding a microphone attached to the machine.

9 KREZNIK:  Let’s see how this works.  We’ll start off with a simple question.  What is your name?

ACTION:  Close-up of JILL in the chair. Her eyes are shut and her brow furrowed in concentration.

10 JILL:  My name… my name is… Jill Trent!

ACTION:  KREZNIK is startled.  He did not expect her to say that!  In the foreground, WEASEL watches the line drawn by the polygraph needle spike.

11 KREZNIK:  What?  The Science Sleuth?

12 WEASEL:  No, Boss!  Lookit the needle!  The machine says she’s lying!

ACTION:  Tight close-up of JILL allowing herself a sphinx-like smile.

13 JILL:  (thought balloon):  Actually the machine says I’m nervous!  But since they think I was lying, now I can relax!

ACTION:  Scene in the Marston living room.  DAISY is operating  a RADIO SET while ELIZABETH and OLIVE stand around her.

14 CAPTION:  Meanwhile, at the Marston home:

15 RADIO:  (spiky radio balloon):  Ha ha.  That’s right.  Really, I’m Doctor Marston.  You kidnapped me to help you recover the money you stole from the bank.

16 RADIO:  (radio balloon):  I know all that!  Let’s get on with it!

17 DAISY:  I don’t know how Jill set up that radio transmitter right under their noses, but if she can stay on the air, I can pin-point their location!


ACTION:  Now a HANDSOME THUG with a Clark Gable mustache is in the seat hooked up to the polygraph.  The polygraph needle is again spiking as HANDSOME flirts with JILL, who is seated by the machine and holding  the microphone.  Behind them, KREZNIK is pulling his hair in frustration

1 CAPTION:  Back at the Warehouse

2 HANDSOME:  Sure, doll, I’d be glad to tell you about the bank job.  You doin’ anything later?

3 KREZNIK:  Nuts!  This isn’t getting us anywhere!  I think you’re stalling for time!

ACTION:  THUGS #1&2 burst into the room, frightened.  KREZNIK is so startled he drops the cigar from his teeth.  In the foreground, we see JILL in close-up, smiling!

4 THUG #2:  Boss!  The cops just showed up!  This place is surrounded!

ACTION:  KREZNIK is in the process of pulling a gun on JILL, but she clocks him with a sock to the jaw.

5 KREZNIK:  You did this somehow, you filthy little --


7 JILL:  Never underestimate a scientistOr a woman,  “Toots”!

ACTION:  The POLICE are here and arresting KREZNIK and his THUGS and putting them in handcuffs.  A POLICE DETECTIVE, dapperly-dressed, handsome, but a bit condescending, chats with JILL as DAISY stands nearby.

8 DETECTIVE:  This was one of your crazier stunts, Trent!  Broadcasting the crook’s confessions on the Police car radio band!

9 JILL:  It got you here, didn’t it?

ACTION:  A more intimate panel of JILL talking to DAISY.  DAISY laughs.

10 JILL:  I’m sorry I put you through all that worry, Daisy.  It must have been terrible waiting to hear from me.

11 DAISY:  That’s all right, Jill!  I’ve thought of a way you can make it up to me!

12 DAISY:  Y’see, while I was waiting, I was reading some of Dr. Marston’s funnybooks

ACTION:  Circular panel, suggesting an “iris out”.  Close-up of JILL and DAISY, not directly facing each other, but glancing in each other’s direction.  JILL has a look of surprise on her face.  DAISY has a mischievous smile, and she holds a coiled lasso in her hands.

13 DAISY:  You were right; he does have some interesting ideas!

14 CAPTION:  Fin

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