The Porter (2022) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

See you next week.
These sons-of-bitches act like they got a right to little we got.
I should get going.
I'm late for my revival meeting as it is, and Gwen's gonna have a fit.
You sure you don't wanna stay with us? Or with me? Zeke, can you make sure that my husband stays out of trouble tonight? Don't I always? Courtesy of Popsy, with apologies.
Thank you darling.
You wanna dance with me? Yes.
You missed a great service last night.
Mhm, I'm sure I'll miss the next one too.
How did I give my heart away to such a heathen? Well, as I recall, Mrs.
Massey, last time I hear you shout God, wasn't a church in sight.
Hey Junior, how late you planning on making me? Ms.
Good morning, Zeke.
Henry's waiting outside.
Alright Teddy, come and say goodbye to your daddy.
Listen, I'll bring home a little extra for the roof.
Come on.
I didn't realize married folks still had romance.
How 'bout you get yourself a wife and come back to me on that Zeke.
Well I am waiting for that one special lady.
I mean, we can't all be as lucky as Junior Massey.
Not luck me brotha, just skill.
Henry, you getting paid to wait there? - Hey! - Come on! When folks see you read that, they gonna get ideas about your ideas.
Randolph knows what's what.
He really changed things for the Negro workers.
S'why I'm going to take the engineer's test.
We cover their ass all the time and don't get a dime for it.
Figure I might as well give it a shot.
And you think they just gon' walk in there and let you take it, huh? Randolph says the company can't deny me taking it.
Says if they try we'd have cause for legal action.
You gotta see the world with the sun up Henry, okay?! Hey, what he mean to say is, white folk get real ugly when they see a Negro aim to go from the boy to a man.
Learned that the hard way.
Winny! Get this stock tip to Anderson in car 6.
Some of them are spotted like a leopard, pink and black.
Thank you kindly, sir.
Listen to me, you take that test and don't you fail.
Helm, any improvement? Enter.
My colon is still trying to tear its way out.
You know, I I know oysters don't agree with me, but damned if I can't stop eating them.
Well next time I'll draw the line at three orders, sir.
In the meantime, I have something that should help.
Bacon fat.
Old trench remedy.
Soldiers used to use the grease from the tins.
You served? Yes sir.
Well I know they made light of you second battalion boys, but we can hardly fight a war without somebody clearing a path.
I couldn't agree more sir.
However, I was infantry.
I hope this should clear out the fire in no time.
US Customs Supervisor: Have your passports ready! Have your passports ready.
US customs.
Ah, that luggage belongs to General Consul Helm.
US Customs.
He's unwell right now but I'll be sure to tell him you rifled through his things.
Perhaps you'd like to tell him yourself? Yes ma'am, I'm gonna get these in your car.
This way, ma'am.
Right this way.
This gentlemen will get these in your car.
Porter, your tip! I gotta vet it Junior, you know that.
For waterin' down or switched labels or any other thing.
You might not stoop to it, but the fella that sold it to you coulda.
What if I told you I had a buyer lookin' for an increase on your regular inventory? What kinda increase? Fifty bottles.
This buyer's your regular? Not exactly, no.
So he's your friend? Well, I-I wouldn't say that.
But you vouch for him.
You'd trust him with your life if it came down to it.
That's why you asked me to trust you with mine? Six bottles.
Don't you want a better life for your boy than you got? Bobby if you ever talk about my son again, I'll rip your heart out where you fucking stand! What the fuck is wrong you with you?! Just think on it Jun! Fifty bottles a run? Grown-up money! I don't know how he got that piece of glass.
I-I try to keep my eyes on him but he's quicker than people think.
No one is blaming you, Rose.
This might sting a little.
Ten drops with water, twice a day.
And I'll be back next week to check on Isaac.
He-he won't be here.
They got a spot for him in Kingston.
The asylum? Boys like ours, they need more help than we know how to give.
They just see life through different windows.
I know you mean well Marlene but we could collect more if we didn't spend extra time at each house.
They don't have anyone else to help them.
Well, you try explaining that to Eli when we get to the office.
I don't expect we can compete with the likes of New York.
The UNIA is about improving the lives of Negroes everywhere.
And we're proud to do our part.
It's just the folks on our route seem to need extra care.
If we could bring the training that the Black Cross Nurses get in New York to Saint Antoine You are absolutely free to pursue that training in New York, Sister Massey.
Encouraged even.
But we have to be fiscally diligent.
The UNIA has its own factories, printing presses, newspapers, volunteers second to none.
But if we are ever to restore the Negro to their rightful place, it's gonna take every penny.
Even the ones that are hard to come by.
I look forward to telling Brother Garvey about your efforts at the upcoming convention.
Now, as you can see, we have spared no expense in our renovations.
Finest Parisian fabrics, gold accents from Egypt and of course, round the clock porter service at the push of a button.
Yes sir.
How can I be of service? When you invest in CC Rail, you can be sure you've made a sound investment in the future.
Miller! My investors are melting in here.
Fix it! Right away, sir.
Local papers here! Local papers! Get your pictures, news, read all about it! Engineer's a union job, Henry.
Maybe it's time we get in the union then.
Oh, you think you're the first person to think of that idea? How you think we came up with the Welfare Committee? So what, we just accept it? You better bury that book, Henry.
The President of the damn railroad is sweating through his suit in there.
Ice needs a reload, now! The CCR Handbook's firm on that being a six man job, sir.
Maybe some of the men from the kitchen they could lend a hand.
Got all the hands you're gonna get boy.
Get it done.
Last call for the L Train leaving on platform 4.
Last call for the L Train leaving on platform 4.
Junior say how long he'd be? Does he ever? Come on now Henry.
Them union boys don't have to take this shit.
Here, hang this up.
Come on Henry! Come here.
Alright, come on.
Hand it, boy.
Here, here.
All right.
All this complaining "it's too hot", how long you think before they're gripin' it's too cold? Get it! Get it! Okay Henry, lets get this ice down! Keep it steady! - Winn, you ready? - Uh huh.
Henry you got it steady? Yeah.
Alright, here we go! Keep it tight, Win! I can't hold it! Henry, come on.
Henry! Winn go get some help! GO! Henry.
There just wasn't enough hands.
You should have waited.
Should've made him wait.
F-for what? Them white workers to get off their ass or for Dinger to fire us all? Well fired is a whole lot better than dead ain't it.
So this is my fault? You got three years to his one.
Three fucking years! You know better! You should've stopped him from going up there.
Yeah and where the hell were you, huh? Hmm? Running off on one of your schemes because Junior Massey is too damn proud to put his hand out for tips! Zeke, Dinger wants to see you on the train.
Excuse me just a moment.
Miller said you wanted to see me, sir? William Edwards.
I understand you're the top man on my train.
Well I can't rightly say where I fall on the scale, but I've been known to keep a cool head sir.
They have to bring the body this way and we can't afford any upset.
Just keep them away from the windows.
Give them whatever they need to stay happy.
I'll make sure that they're comfortable, sir.
And I want liquor flowing like a river in here.
If they can forget their own names, no chance they'll remember all this.
Well I would reconsider the river, sir.
Lewis and Mr.
Brenner were guests some time ago.
Both devout Mormons if I recall from our last conversation.
Now as shrewd an investment as this railway is, they'd count the liquor as a strike against you, sir.
Miller said you had a mind like a steel trap.
A blessing and a curse I'm afraid.
Well alright, dry the river.
I, um I know you were close to the boy, so, uh, make sure this gets to his people.
Porters, items missing from the common area: three bars soap, pack of Chesterfields, and a jar of pickled onions from the lounge car.
Miller, you know very well that passengers take those things all the time.
To be split equally amongst you then.
And a demerit for Mr.
Brown for poor conduct.
Massey, two blankets missing from your car.
Three-fifty apiece makes seven, to be deducted from your paycheque.
Why didn't you make the white boys help? Three men on a job for six, what'd you think would happen? Watch yourself, Mr.
Right, because you don't give a shit.
Okay, two demerits.
Boss had to stay cool and the train had to leave on time Three demerits! So to hell with the nigger had to die to make it happen! There has to be some consideration for grief.
Sir, you have passengers of prominence that insist on Junior alone.
That kind of disappointment can be quite costly to the company.
One demerit left, Mr.
Seems that you have some careful treading to do.
Dance with me.
What's going on? Henry's dead and the railroad sent his family a bill for the uniform.
Fucking uniform! Bobby, it's me.
Let's get that grown-up money.
Welcome Junior.
I need fifty bottles of whiskey Popsy.
Just like that, eh? Just like that.
Who's your buyer? Nobody in competition with you, so no worries there, eh.
Them kind of numbers people are gonna notice.
Sometimes it's a dangerous thing to be seen.
I'm a porter, Popsy.
The most invisible man on the earth.
You forgot Junior, that I'm not the type of Negro that constables care to tolerate.
Comes out I'm supplying a smuggler, I will go broke paying to keep this place open.
I won't get caught.
Everybody says that 'til they do.
I'm not everybody.
Heard about Henry.
How you doing? Can you supply me or not? Yeah, I'll get your liquor.
But you promise me something.
This starts to smell funny, you get out, you hear me? This whole world that you're trying to get into, that is the one formula.
Knowing when to be a bull-headed Negro motherfucker.
And when not to be.
Well, I'll certainly try.
Put in ice! Oh no! Run! Got some, uh, Scotch Pepper.
Oh you know I love me some Scotch Pepper I got some carrots, got some cabbage.
Mighty impressive.
I've got some aloe.
Aloe, that's very Sister Marlene, Sister Gwen! Thank you so much for answering the call.
Not everyone's equipped for this sort of thing.
Hey there Henry.
The railroad billed his family for the uniform he died in.
So, it looks like the Association is gonna have to step up and cover his funeral costs since we're the only family he's got.
Ah, would that we could, Sister Massey.
But our resources are stretched thin as it is.
So, nothing.
That's what you're offering this boy.
And I would say that the loan of our two finest nurses is a generous offering indeed.
Well, there's his true colours on display.
That's all right, Gwen.
That man ain't seen a shade of mine yet.
Grant him eternal rest.
The light perpetual, shine upon him.
May his soul and the souls of all the departed rest in peace, amen.
Henry's things.
Didn't want the landlady throwing them out.
Excuse me.
Excuse me, ma'am? Dianne, see about getting me some lunch will you? Ah, Mr.
Ah, Zeke Garrett.
I met you on your train to Chicago.
I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time sir? The steel trap.
Have a seat Mr Garrett.
Edwards, this is a growing company, and on all accounts a very profitable one.
And I believe we porters play no small part in that.
But good men shouldn't have to die to make this company great.
There needs to be a change here, sir.
Garrett, I must say your timing is fortuitous.
Renovation plans for that line will make side-loading doors the standard for cooling cars.
No more risky climbs.
Your young porter Henry.
His name was Henry.
Henry's untimely passing has only spurred on our efforts.
I've instructed the Welfare Committee to let your fellow porters know, change is on the way.
That's just one small part, sir.
The porters have chipped in what they could, but there's still costs outstanding, his uniform Where were you recruited from Garrett? Here.
Right after the war, sir.
No, I remember that bunch, handpicked most of them myself.
I-I was in Wales when that first group started here.
So you were there for the riots? No.
I was halfway home by then, leg injury.
That was some nasty business.
Good to know you weren't one of the agitators.
But to your primary concern Mr.
Garrett, change takes time.
If that's not something you're willing to wait for, feel free to turn in your uniform to any of the men standing in line to wear it.
Thank you for your time Mr.
I know it's a valuable commodity.
Go through the porter contracts, see if you can find one for Ezekiel Garrett.
Beer please.
Beer? Thought you tycoon types had fancier taste.
Not really.
Money's just easy to spend when it's not yours.
Don't think this tip will turn into an hourly wage later.
I don't want that kind of girl.
I want to know what kind of girl you are.
Can I see you later? I'm so sorry about Henry.
Why do people keep saying that to me? We weren't married or nothing.
If you need some time off I'm sure Popsy'd give it to you.
And I could cover your part as long as you need me to just just say the word.
I know who you are Lucy-Mae.
Corinne, I never meant it as a You think I'm out front just because I'm cream and you're coffee.
I'm better Lucy.
You wanna get off the back row, try a little talent.
But leave Henry out of it! You all alone in this great big house? Feels that way.
Father has me in this whole other wing so he doesn't have to look at my face.
Uh uh.
This voice is my ticket to New York.
I'm not about to burn it with smoke.
If New York is the goal, what are you doing here? Every dream has a price.
Stardust is fine, but B-squad doesn't get noticed.
I could help with that.
I make my own way.
I'm the same.
Least I would be if my father would just give me a chance.
Master Edward, dinner is served.
You don't need to send the help to fetch me, I know what time dinner is.
Well then perhaps you could show some respect and act on it.
Apologies, Father.
I will certainly aim to improve.
No I can't.
What do you mean you can't give me credit? I always pay my bill.
Sorry, I can't.
Okay? I got him.
Oh, merci.
I can pay you back next week.
I got myself a little part-time job until the railroad Don't worry about the money.
But there's something else you can do for me.
That part-time job you work is at the ice factory, right? Yeah.
How much a special delivery run for these days? Wha the fuck you up to? All passengers continuing on to the United States, have your passports ready.
Is there a problem George? The man you trust with your life doesn't know how to tell time, huh? I told you! Junior, this here Chuck Monnastes.
In the cooling system, huh? That's real innovative.
You think of that yourself? Junior's no dummy.
He'll think you out from under your hat.
Alright, I'll give you two dollars a bottle.
We agreed on four.
Now we disagree.
Come on, Chuck.
Four's fair now.
Hey Bobby? Shut up.
If I drive away, what are you gonna do? You can't sit out here with it, you'll be in jail by hour's end.
So unless you wanna freeze it back up and smuggle it home, two seems fair.
You can get this one right here for two.
But these cost four.
There it is.
There's that simian brain taking over.
Chuck, we supposed to make a delivery.
Can we just get this done? Oh.
Alright, fine, fine.
Two-fifty, alright? Stop making an ass of yourself.
Two-fifty, Bobby.
This motherfucker wants to give me two-fifty! Listen crackerjack, there's some real basic math you're failing to grasp here, alright? Bobby.
Fine, alright! Fine, four dollars.
Four apiece for the ones that are left you fucking lunatic.
You're a real cocky coon, aren'tcha? Well, I hope it was worth it.
It was worth every penny, crackerjack.
Bobby take care of your man here.
For all the weight and worry we place on this thing called life it's simply a chapter, a moment, a vapour, visible only for a sliver of time.
And while we may sorrow, we hold no fear of death, for we know death has already been defeated.
What hurts us, can heal us.
But the pain that divides us, need not defeat us.
Yes Lord, praise the Lord! Lord knows.
We are broken sometimes.
We are struggling sometimes.
Sometimes we are angry at the God we feel has left us to languish.
But we are family, and what we are, what we've always been is hope.
We are here, and we are hope.
To Henry.
Welcome home brother.
I spoke to the big boss.
I think he knows about Kinmel.
Not everything, but, but not nothin'.
Well whatever he thinks he knows, we don't give him a reason to look any further.
You got it? Alright.
Lance you out here? Lets have a warm welcome for our comrade Mr.
Philip Randolph.
The history of the labour movement in North America proves the employing class recognizes no race lines.
They will exploit a white man as readily as a black man.
They will exploit women as readily as men.
Unions are not based upon race lines, but upon class lines.
In organization there is strength.
Look, I got no say on where and how you live your life but let's be clear Bobby, outside of Chicago you and I ain't fuckin' familiar.
You understand me? Do not be deceived, I am not the enemy here.
And yet I have been called "the most dangerous Negro in America".
Unity is our ammunition! I'm sorry Junior.
Bobby! Hands up, Bolsheviks!
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