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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Two pages

I spent Friday and the weekend on “72 Virgins”, including some rewriting. I thought it might be instructive to post the original and the first rewrite pass. I won’t tell you which is which, however. Which do you like better?

A moment ago, Bassil set off a bomb among these people in a market. Franco is a cop. Havah is a mother, Albert is a senior citizen, and Julia is in high school. That’s all the set-up you need.

  • This room is painted a shade of gray exactly 50% black and 50% white. There’s one door, closed.
  • Bassil, Havah, Franco, Julia, and Albert mill around the room, stunned and confused.
  • Havah realizes she no longer holds children in her empty hands.
  • My children! Where are my children?
  • Havah breaks into hysterics.
  • In confusion, Bassil looks around.
  • (in Arabic)
  • Is this Paradise?
  • Albert cocks his head as if listening for something. He takes a step, slowly. He takes a second step, at normal speed. The mere action impresses him.
  • Franco gains his bearings, as do the others, save Havah. Julia consoles Havah, calms her enough to stop the hysterics.
  • Franco quickly surveys the room, pauses his gaze on Bassil.
  • Do I know you?
  • Bassil responds with a blank look. Franco shrugs it off, then goes to inspect the door.
  • Albert takes a third step, downright frisky. He smiles. He performs a brief dance step, then a deep knee bend.
  • Franco opens the door. It opens outward. Incredibly bright light floods into the room from whatever is on the other side.
  • Startled, Franco quickly slams the door shut.
  • Any theories on what just happened?
  • He gets nothing but blank stares. Bassil might look a little sheepish, perhaps even guilty. Albert glides around the room.
  • Don’t know what just happened, but I like it.

And the other version:

  • An empty gray room that appears to be an exact 50% mix of black and white. A single door resides in the middle of one of the walls.
  • Bassil, Havah, Franco, Julia and Albert stand at the opposite end of the room from the door.
  • Confusion, Bassil looks around.
  • Is this heaven?
  • Julia looks about wildly.
  • Havah glances down to her empty hands. Panic strikes.
  • The children. They were just here a moment ago.
  • Albert smiles as he stretches.
  • Don’t know what just happened, but I like it.
  • Albert performs a deep knee bend.
  • I haven’t not felt my arthritis in years.
  • Franco surveys the room and pauses as his gaze falls upon Bassil. He tilts his head to the side as if trying to recall something.
  • Do I know you?
  • Bassil evades the question with a blank look. Franco shrugs it off as the door attracts his focus.
  • Albert moves toward the door. Franco, curious, follows. As the pair reach it, the door opens.
  • Bright light bathes the room from the other side.
  • Startled, Franco quickly slams it shut. He turns to the group.
  • Anyone have an idea as to what just happened?
  • Blank stares transform into looks of deep concentration.

There you go. Discuss.

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