Tengukuri...Copyrighted in the US 2023

Synopsis: Mason Neely, journalist, Judo prodigy, travels to Japan in search of a centuries old Ninja village with niece Mikki in tow. In the journey he learns about the power of the journey itself.
Genre: Drama
Original Story by: Darin Pearson


“FIND MY WAY” Looking in a window, into a dark urban apartment. The camera seems to enter through the window and walk in. A man lies face down on a queen bed, the covers are on the floor, with a rather comfortable looking blue heeler on top of them. While the man is wearing only black brief style underwear, it is hard to entirely tell that this is a man. Long dark hair and feminine features confuse people often. As he begins to wake, we see a more muscular and masculine side of him. This is Mason Neely. Mason is a 40 year old accomplished independent journalist, martial arts nerd, and slightly psychotic single man. He is kind, but quick tempered. He is tenacious or selfish, but never at the same time. He is longing for something, searching for something. His quest often borders insanity and obsessive compulsion. Most of the time, he is grounded, present to others and quick witted. As he gets up from the bed he stretches and gently kicks into the air as if well rehearsed ballet. In this moment you realize that he must be a fighter. He walks through the dark, mumbling to the dog and gets to the kitchen table. There he picks up a scrap of paper with the words “Tengukuri Village” written in red ink. It feels like a mysterious moment.

A pair of sweats, and tank top lay draped across a chair back at the table, he puts them on steps in to flip flops as he leashes the dog and walks out the front door of what we see now is an urban apartment. As the black door shuts, the camera stays on it. We get the chance to look around the room at accolades, pictures, martial arts weapons and other personal displays. It is unclear whether this is grown vanity or an adolescent attempt at self validation.


Mason, now fully dressed in warm clothing is quickly walking down the street with a cup of coffee or tea in his gloved hands. He is focused, briefly smiling at the people he passes on the street. He walks in to a bank and as the door closes behind him we read: Peoples Bank of Seattle.


Mason slows his walk to a strut, as if to be noticed in the bank. There is a slight peacock energy to him. From over his shoulder we see he is walking toward a very professional looking and quite beautiful woman in her mid 30’s sitting at a desk. The name plate on her desk reads: Meghan Neely - Loan Officer. This is Mason’s sister. She looks past her computer and sees him, flashing a mischievous grin.


What’s up buttercup? (Chuckling)


Ho - lee sh*t. Please tell me you remember everything that old man said last night?


I was pretty sure you were gonna wander off to the airport with that old man last night. You were in love!

Mason looks around, slightly uncomfortable now.


I’m not surprised you don’t remember much. You were havin’ a real good time! Oh and

thank you for calling Mikki when you were drunk. She’s excited to go to Japan with you.

Mason grimaces, unclear if Meghan was being serious or not.


I do love me some old Japanese men, especially when they tell me tall tales about entire villages of Ninja, basically trapped in time.


Ya. Whatever. It was fun.

She looks at him, more serious now, with questioning eyes.




We both know you have to go. You’ve already bit in to this.

The conversation turns more serious


I don’t know Meg. It was a night out, ya know? I can’t run off to Japan right now chasing something like this. It’s crazy, and honestly, if I go and it’s not true - and I’m saying right now that I don’t believe it at all - I think that would be a disappointment I don’t really want to be involved in. May the idea of Tengukuri Village be ever in my heart. I definitely don’t need to go all the way to Japan just to insult a bunch of old farmers. I could probably insult old farmers up in Mount Vernon or something.


Ya. You sounded so different last night. You were so excited. And actually you seemed to really like that old man. I thought you really, at least wanted to believe him. I guess it was just a night out, huh? Dad would have wanted you to go. You’ve worked so hard in this world. Last time you were in Japan was kinda hard, I know, but you still want to love it there. Really think about this Mase. Is that mine?

Meghan eyeballs the coffee.


Oh sh*t. Ya. Here you go little sister. How’s Mikki? She mad at her drunk uncle? Her druncle?


Ya right, you can do no wrong sir. You and Princess don’t be late tonight. Lee doesn’t like her anyways, so make a better impression to start the night with. K??


Your boyfriend’s a p*ssy Meg.

Mason gets up to leave and goes around Meghan’s desk, there we see pictures of the two with their father probably ten years earlier. The three of them all are wearing Judo gis and holding different martial arts weapons. We focus on the picture while we see them hug but only from the waste down. Mason holds a bo.


I’m coming to see my girls, not impress that douche waffle.


Be nice, and I love you.

Mason turns to walk out, not the peacock he was when he strolled in. He quickly says goodbye to some of Meghan’s coworkers, a more fake smile now. Out the bank door he goes, and we watch another door close behind him, as we are left to wonder.


Mason is eating an apple and throwing a ball for Delilah the blue heeler. He is clearly distracted. Daydreaming about going to Japan to locate an ancient, off grid ninja training camp. He feels crazy and cheap for even considering it. His memory from the night before is nothing more than snapshots. He wonders where the old man came from to begin with. His phone rings in his pocket. A ball in one hand and apple in the other, he mistakenly throws the apple and puts the dog’s ball in his mouth.

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Darin Pearson

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Submitted by Sayless79 on August 12, 2023

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