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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Episode 3

Episode 3
FADE IN:

EXT. – DAY Glade
Sitting in the middle of lush green grass is a phone booth type kiosk. A placard to one side reads, “Ilearn is the Eway to get back to homeroom.” A picture of kids in a classroom wearing headphones and smiling at the teacher.

NARRATOR (VOICE OVER)
Previously on “Through the Cracks” Eddie our intrepid hero decided to think outside the boxcar and disembark the train of educational clich├ęs. We join him in a wooded glade.

Eddie walks cautiously to the kiosk and open the door. Directly in front of him is a computer monitor and keyboard. A pair of headphones rest on a hook next to a palm print shaped piece of glass. Eddie approaches and places his right hand on the cold piece of glass. A soothing voice intones. ..

Computer
Name Edward Ungarth Kashun, through the cracks on 11 Nov. 2006. Grade Point Average 1.17. Attendance 72%. Age 16. Estimated time of completion 3.5 years. Go class of ’10.

Eddie pulls his hand back suddenly as if he had been shocked.

(continuing)
Please put on the headphones your individualized, computerized, back-to-basics lesson is about to begin. Please read all of the questions carefully and answer to the best of your ability. Your scores will automatically be tabulated and aggregated. We will then generated an electronic data sheet for your teacher so that she may make sure that you are on the right e-pathway. You may begin.

Eddie grabs the headphones.

(continuing)
The following selection was design so as to not offend anyone.

“The Age of the Dinosaur” flashes on the screen, and Eddie scrolls through text that is occasionally highlighted with illustrations of veloci-raptors. He answers a few questions such as “Which of the following would best describe the theme of this passage.”

(continuing)
Congratulations! You have completed level one. While the teacher exams the e-data you will be rewarded with a short educational game. During this simulation you must curtail human activity so as to prevent the reoccurrence of the ice age that led to the mass extinction of many animals. While doing so you must shoot any asteroids that may crash into the earth causing catastrophic climate change.

Eddie decides to not only shoot any asteroids that may enter the atmosphere, but he also takes a few shots at big industry polluters and some guy who refuses to take public transportation.

(continuing)
It has been determined that you must repeat level one. You missed question 2,5,6,9, and 15. Please review your answers and try again.

Eddie rapidly answers the questions in random fashion and resumes shooting asteroids. Suddenly he hears a pounding on the door. Peering outside he sees a dirt water blonde kid with drooping eyes and a slight acne problem.

Kid
Hey man, it’s my turn.

Eddie
Who are you?

Kid
I’m Lex, level 3 Super Reader, and it is my turn.

Eddie
How did you get to level 3? This stupid machine is forcing me to repeat level one.

Lex
I don’t know. I think it has something to do with destroying asteroids.

Eddie
I thought it was about reading?

Lex
It is but if you take it enough you eventually figure out the right answer and you get to shoot more asteroids.

Eddie
I thought if I passed level one then I could go back to my homeroom.

Lex
It all depends on where you start. If you are only one grade level behind then you only have to pass level 1, but the farther behind you are the more time you have to spend here.

Eddie
But the reading is so boring.

Lex
That’s because they think you are so dumb. If you want you can look at some of the other programs over there.

Lex points at a pile of 5-¼ inch floppy discs, brightly colored file boxes, CD ROMs, and even a reel-to-reel tape machine. At the bottom of the heap were a boy and a girl. The boy had a deep cut on his head.

Eddie
Who are they?

Lex
Oh them? That’s Jack and Jill. You can go talk to them. I need to keep blasting away at my reading levels.

Eddie ambles over to the to crumpled children.

Eddie
What happened to you guys?

Jack
I fell down and broke my crown.

Jill
And, I came tumbling after.

Eddie
What were you doing at the top of the hill?

Jack
I was seeking knowledge. I was going to put it in this pail.

Jill
I tried to tell him that education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

Jack
Yeah that is what the conductor said, but I didn’t buy it. That guy was crazy.

Eddie had stopped paying attention. Under a pile of abandoned reading assessments he had found a pamphlet entitled “No Child Left Behind.”

(continuing)
Don’t worry about that pamphlet.

Eddie
Huh? What?

Jill
That pamphlet. It is just a bunch of silly nonsense. There is a cult down here that thinks that if we just believe deeply enough that we will all magically ascend in the year 2014.

Eddie
Why would they think that?

Jill
I don’t know. Something about a burning bush told them.

Eddie
Where can I find this cult?

Jill
Most of them hang out to the east in a village surrounding The Ivory Tower.

Jill points the way through a briar patch, and Eddie heads off in that direction.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Episode 2

"This Train is bound for Nowhere"
FADE IN:
ext. Desert. day.
Isolated wesern train depot in the distance. Train pulls in trailing steam and dust. Eddie has been traveling for a long time. He is hungry and thirsty.
As he nears the train he sees that it consists of several types of cars. Coal cars, box cars, dining cars, passenger cars, etc.
A conductor is taking tickets from a line of children boarding one of the passenger cars.

Eddie
(coughing)Excuse me. Where is this train going?

Conductor
This here is the Train of Thought. It goes straight through The Cracks with stops at every level of education.

Eddie
Where can I get a ticket?

Conductor
Choice is your ticket to education. You must choose to succeed.

Eddie
Alright fine. I Choose to board this Train of Thought.

Conductor
Now you’re on the right track

Int. passenger car- DAY
Eddie cautiously steps into the first passenger car he sees. The view out the windows is decidedly different than the desert scene he had just left. Each window depicts a serene natural local. In one there is a multi-hued sunset. In another is a steep snow covered mountain. Another depicts a field of blooming flowers. Eddie is particularly intrigued by the last window in which he could see a beautiful spiraling galaxy.

Albert
Isn’t it beautiful? You know, Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Eddie
Huh?

Albert
Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Eddie
Uh huh.

Eddie moves to an empty seat near the end of the train. Across the aisle is a cat hanging from the curtain rod.

Cat
Hang in there.

Eddie
Okay, I’ll do that.

Eddie looks down trying to avoid eye contact.

Conductor
Tickets please; thank you; Tickets please.

Eddie
I thought you said all I had to do was choose to board the train.

Conductor
Only the educated are free.

Eddie
It’s not my fault. I fell through the cracks. How am I suppose to get educated if I can’t get back?

Conductor
Like umbrellas, minds only function when opened.

Eddie
My mind is opened; now fill it.

Conductor
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

Eddie
Then light the fire. Get this thing going.

Conductor
Let your flame light the fire in all people. Knowledge is power.

Eddie
Can we get this train moving?

Conductor
Think outside the box.

Eddie
I’m not in a box; I am on a train. Sam I Am.

Conductor
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.

Eddie
I don’t need to find myself. I need to find my way home.

Conductor
You can’t change the tide, but you can learn to swim.

Eddie
Learn to swim? We are in the middle of the freakin’ desert. Where am I going to swim?

Conductor
You don’t fail until you quit.

Eddie
Quit? We haven’t even started. I’m going to get out of here.

Conductor
You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.

Eddie
You guys are all wrong. You said that this Train of Thought could get me out of here, but you’ve offered nothing but trite sayings.

Conductor
It is never right to do wrong, and never wrong to do right; It is always right to do right and always wrong to do wrong.

Eddie
Does that even make sense?

Conductor
Everyone is special in their own way.

Eddie stands ready to leave.

Conductor
Here have this bookmark.

It is a picture a giant question mark floating on a stellar background. It states “The meaning of life is to give life meaning.”
Eddie begins to run. Slipping on piles of laminated posters, bookmarks and book covers. Leaping from the train he lands face down. Looking up with a beard of sand he sees the same cat from the train.

Cat
Hang in there, Eddie

Fade Out