An alcoholic veteran angers territorial locals when he drags his estranged son on a camping trip into the Appalachians.

GINSENG is a feature-length drama/thriller/horror screenplay by Josh Barkey. In 2015, it was a finalist in the Nashville Film Festival screenwriting competition.

Click THIS LINK to view a GINSENG promotional package, which includes character breakdowns and a synopsis of the story.

NOTE: The following excerpt contains harsh language. 

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RICK (30s) kneels on the edge of his driveway next to a boring, gray Corolla, clipping delicately at his ground-shrubbery with a small pair of GARDEN PRUNERS.

He hears a GRUNTING noise and looks up to see a fat little PUG-DOG squatting directly in front of him, on his lawn. 

Rick looks from the dog to the porch of the next house over, where his ALPHA-MALE NEIGHBOR stands with eyes pointedly averted as the Pug (his Pug) shits on Rick’s lawn.

The Neighbor chugs a Budweiser.

For a half-second we wonder what Rick will do... 

He goes back to his clipping.

The Pug finishes its business, wiping its butt across Rick's lawn (and dignity).


JERRY, a big, broken-down man in his 60s, hunches at a Formica table in old jeans and a threadbare jacket. There are take-out boxes strewn across the kitchen floor and counter.

Faint light through a grubby, curtainless window reveals the sweat beading on Jerry’s grizzled face. 

A dollar-store wall clock reads 7:01.

On the table in front of Jerry sits an old-school TELEPHONE. Next to it is a well-worn FORTY-FIVE CALIBER PISTOL.

Jerry reaches first for the phone, then redirects and picks up the Forty-five. He weighs it in his hand. Turns in his rickety chair.

Against the otherwise-bare wall is a wire-metal bird cage on a stand, and in the cage is a bright-blue PARAKEET. 

Jerry points the Forty-five at the parakeet.



Rick cringes at the sound of his fresh-slammed front door.

A FEMALE VOICE calls from deeper inside the house.

                         FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)

                Sorry. I, um--

                         FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
                Rick, I've asked you a thousand--
                Can you hear me?

Rick slumps into the 


He eyes the adjacent kitchen. Nervous.

                Yes. Sorry. It was an accident.
                The Wrights' dog was at it 
                again and I--

His Bangladeshi-American wife SADIA (30s) leans her head and shoulders into view.

                         FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
                It's after seven.

                I know.


                So you gonna call him, or what?

                Oh, yeah. Right. Got it.

Rick grabs the cordless HOUSE PHONE and sits at the table. He stares at the phone, then into the kitchen. 

Sadia has gone back to her cooking. 

Rick sets the phone on the table, hesitates, then FLICKS the antenna -- spinning it.


Jerry still points the gun at the little bird. His hand is shaking. Sweat's really pouring, now.

He lowers the gun to his knee.

He looks back at the wall clock: 7:04.

At his phone.


                Fuck you, Jerry.

Jerry again lifts the pistol. He aims at the bird (which, for all we know, is named "Jerry").


There's an EXPLOSION of feathers. The parakeet's pretty much GONE... just a poof-cloud of fluff, floating.

Jerry squints, watching the feathers drift toward the floor.

He holds the pose as his forearm again begins to shake.

His face is flushed. He does not look well. His corded arm-muscles bulge and ripple. A dark-purple vein pulses on his temple.

Jerry brings the pistol back, to press the tip of the barrel hard against his forehead. 

The shaking stops. He stills.

There's a hollow blankness written all over his face, and we just know he's really going to do it when...


The phone goes off, loudly, on the table next to him.


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Thanks for your interest!