"Frankie Thomas was a kid we all knew. A kid we picked on because he was fat and slow and lousy at kickball.”
It's summer, 1980. Children across the country play outside from sun up to sundown. In a small southern town, it's open season on FRANKIE THOMAS. The neighborhood “mean boys” JIMMER and TED have been bullying Frankie for as long as he can remember. Lately, it's grown more violent. Today, they're chasing him. When they catch him , despite his pleas, no one comes to help. Not even his friends, ANNIE and JEAN who fear the mean boys. The girls run away leaving Frankie to fend for himself. They make their way to the dump to watch hermitic proprietor, MR. DUNBAR set bags of trash on fire in the huge pit. It’s become a daily ritual for them. From the instant the Atlanta Child Murderer claimed his first victim, Dunbar’s strict security measures at the dump became the subject of instant suburban legend.
“In the summer of 1980, Frankie disappeared.”
As news stories of the murder victims fill the airwaves. The townspeople rally in their search for Frankie. They comb the woods and send divers to the bottoms of the county’s lakes. But there’s been no sign of Frankie for weeks. It’s become increasingly hopeless. People avoid MR.THOMAS who refuses to give up searching.
While Mr. Thomas searches, MRS. THOMAS’ grief has taken on a different form. She hasn’t stopped baking cookies since Frankie’s disappearance. The aroma tempts Annie and Jean to ask for a sample. Mrs. Thomas stands in the doorway mixing a bowl. But before the girls can ask, Mrs. Thomas informs them that “Frankie isn’t home” but she “expects him any minute.” A newscaster reports that another child’s body has been found. Mrs. Thomas instructs Jean to hurry home so she doesn’t go missing as well.
SHERIFF CLARK delivers the news to the Thomas’. The neighbors watch the scene helplessly. There were no signs of foul play or struggle. Just Frankie curled up in a ball as if waiting to be found. At the funeral, the church is packed with mourners. Mr. Dunbar wrings his hat in grief. He pays his respects to Frankie and then the family. The girls are close behind.
A few days after the funeral, the men in town gather outside Dunbar’s shack. Sheriff Clark and Mr. Thomas arrive together. Dunbar meets them on his porch. He hands Mr. Thomas a bottle of whiskey and a sledgehammer. Thomas downs a healthy swig. Dunbar leads the townsmen to the burn pit where a white refrigerator lays in shafts of moonlight. It’s Frankie’s refrigerator. Mr. Thomas slides down into the pit and slams the sledgehammer down on to the refrigerator repeatedly until his hands bleed. The men help him to the edge as Mr. Dunbar pours gasoline over the remains of the refrigerator and sets it ablaze.
After the arrest of Wayne Williams, the Atlanta child murderer and the Thomas’ moved away. That’s when the dare started. It went something like this: “Get to the dump late at night. Find an old refrigerator. Leave your friends outside. Close yourself in. And give yourself over to death.” The girls trade ghost stories as they camp out in Annie’s backyard. Their conversation turns to Frankie. Annie admits to Jean that she should have done more to make the mean boys stop. Jean tells her that she feels guilty too. Jimmer and Ted show up and ask the girls to go on the dare. Annie goes leaving Jean behind. The threesome find a refrigerator. Annie climbs in tying not give into her fear.
In his short academic career, Mr. Goyins holds the distinction of being the only student in Chapman University history to move directly from being a first-year undergraduate to the MFA Conservatory at Dodge College. He has supplemented his practical degree, Film Production with an emphasis in Directing, with extensive coursework in the MA Film Studies department. He maintains a 3.75 GPA in each discipline. The faculty has recognized his effort by naming him a Marion Knott Scholar in 2010 and again in 2012 with the nomination of The Dead Kid for the prestigious Princess Grace Foundation Grant. Mr. Goyins is the recipient of both the John Turp Scholarship for Outstanding Writing in the Humanities and the Hale Art Singer Foundation Writing Scholarship. Two of his latest short stories, Sun, Moon, Truth and Autumn have been published in the quarterly literary journal, Sanctuary! A non-fiction paper on Hitchcock and Surrealism is currently under peer review for publication in Unscripted Magazine.
Mr. Goyins has lectured at The Florida Film Festival and The American Literature Association on the subjects of film adaptation and Raymond Carver. He has tallied more than seventeen "Best Screenplay" awards from across the international film community and his adaptation of Carver’s After The Denim, starring Tom Bower (Crazy Heart, Nixon) and Karen Landry (Peaceful Warrior) marked his directorial debut. The film has screened at a number of film festivals, been shown on television and been picked up for distribution by Shorts International. Karen Landry won Best Actress at the Downbeach Film Festival for her role as Edith Packer in the film.
"Good Luck, Bad Fortune" - 2008 - Official Selection: Delray Beach Film Festival
“After The Denim” - 2010 - Official Selection: Bermuda Film Festival, Best Shorts Award, Downbeach Film Festival (Best Actress: Karen Landry), Faith Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, HollyShorts, Seattle Film Festival
“The Tailor’s Wife” - 2011
“Confessional” – 2012
“The Dead Kid” – 2012
"The Conversation", 2008
"Running", optioned by Quill and Camera, 2011
"The Hard Way” (dir. Travis Thomson), 2011
“Unplugged” (dir. Huseyin Basarici), 2012 “Faith and Other Weapons” (dir. Hanqin Lin), 2012