Take Eight (A short screenplay)

FADE IN:
INT. BEDROOM – L.A., PRESENT TIME – MORNING
BEER BOTTLES & USED NEEDLES are strewn around the floor.

RENATO, 32, hungover, hits alarm clock, and gets up frantically, looking at phone.
TEXT that says “Left without you, find another way there.” Renato groans, gets out of empty bed.
He is showing signs of aging mostly in his bloodshot eyes, wearing boxers.
Renato clumsily puts on sunglasses, dark jeans, & a black blazer over a gray shirt; turns off TV playing reruns of a show starring a much younger Renato.

EXT. DOWNTOWN L.A. – FOGGY MORNING.

Renato stumbles down street, smoking a cigarette. He waves to sweeping shop owner.

SHOP OWNER, an old man, groans and turns away from Renato.

A SMALL GROUP OF FANS whisper across the street. One walks over and asks Renaldo for an autograph.

FAN runs back over to group.

FAN (mouthing): So retro.


INT. LOCAL COFFEE SHOP, – STILL MORNING.
In a SPARSE CROWD, Renato orders black coffee.  
BARISTA, an older woman, uses one finger to tap her temple.
Renato sighs and takes off his sunglasses. He looks around the room cautiously, then sits down at the coffee bar.

CELEBRITY, who looks an awful lot like a younger Renato, walks into coffee shop.

PAPARAZZI,one photographer & one journalist, immediately get up from a table and hound celebrity.

Renato rolls his eyes and groans, puts his sunglasses back on, takes coffee, and leaves angrily.

EXT. SOMEWHAT CROWDED STREET, – MORNING

Renato is walking, lights up another cigarette. He starts walking across the street, hotter than before.
A speeding car almost hits Renato, honking at him.
Renato is alarmed, but then flips the car off, remembering to puff his cigarette concurrently.  
Renato runs across to the other side, stands & looks at crosswalk he’s at. He sees a church.

CUT TO: – CONTINUOUS 

a small sign reading “Alcoholics Anonymous – Sundays at 9 AM.”

EXT. BAR – LATER

Renato is standing there, looking in the window.
Sparse crowd is inside, faint music is playing.  

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET. – SAME DAY

Renato holds his cigarette in his mouth and looks at his phone. It reads 12:05 PM. There is a picture of a young girl smiling with a backpack on, slightly resembling Renaldo.
Renato sighs and downs the rest of his coffee. He walks towards the bar, throwing away his coffee in a trash can by the door. He takes one last deep puff of his cigarette while grabbing the door. He hears the bartender LAUGH loudly. Renato stops & looks up.

RENATO’S POV: through a window into the bar. A small TV is playing Renato’s old show, the same one that was playing on his own TV earlier that a.m.

BACK TO SCENE

Renato, looking through window, lets go of the door; mouths “Fuck.”

He takes a step back, throwing his cigarette down and putting it out with his feet.

Renato looks over to the church, frowning.
Two people walk into church, nudging each other in a friendly manner and smiling.
Renato puts his hands in his jean pockets, empty-handed.
Renato sighs and walks towards the church as the church bells ring to signify it is 2 PM.

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Flee

body vibrates more than usual and everything inside is too much for skin to hold. blood bursts out of veins at 100 miles per hour. eyes bulge out of sockets because they just keep growing and looking around and moving moving moving. heart beats so fast and so suddenly that it might run out of steam at any moment. orchestras and concerts and operas and raves all take place inside, ear pleading for bad weather to call the events off. when it all gets too much, every organ flees the chaos of the vibrations inside and, suddenly, an empty vessel.

still ceramic piece, body does not vibrate at all. a rock, knowing that a river is gliding over, but not really feeling the water at all. the hyperactive dragonfly has turned into the stone it dances around. no heartbeat, not like heart that was once going so fast that it was going to jump right out like a frog onto the next lily pad.

Banishment

Birth

She awoke like a freshly born rose and had no knowledge that she had ever been asleep. Laying down on the fresh grass, the woman made out a light blue backdrop above her, decorated with floating white clouds peacefully sailing across their ocean. She moved her head slightly to see a vibrant red bird, flying across this blue painting. She slowly rose, bending her legs, on this ground that held her down. She looked at her hands, carefully moving each finger. The scene all around her was completely new, but felt like home. She implicitly understood all the rules of this world that she put into, her mind was already home to wisdom before she awoke into life. She looked over the landscape and felt the beauty from each corner. A rabbit hopped innocently over to her and rested beside her feet. Its fur felt familiar to the woman and she reached down and picked the rabbit up with care. The rabbit had no fear of the woman, for the humans did no harm to the animals. The rabbit nestled into the woman’s hands and the woman kept it tight in her arms, as she made eye contact with a fox hiding in the tall grass, not very far from where the woman and the rabbit stood. She shook her head softly and the fox understood, turning away from the woman and rabbit, returning to its home, showing grace towards the woman that held grace inherently.

Decision

As the woman stood alone at the edge of paradise and overlooked the gathering group of animals before her, the birds sang their sorrowful goodbye. The woman looked across the garden that she was born into, the family of animals that she had grown with, all that she belonged to. The tiger looked into her eyes with confusion. She stared back into his irises until he understood, and then the tiger sat down and heaved a sigh. The sigh sent the family of bunnies that had gathered to say farewell away into the grass. She watched the tiger as his eyes changed. Those eyes no longer trusted her, no longer loved her. They now turned black at the sight of her, as she had turned black with that one fateful step into darkness. She felt the pang of regret once again, as she saw the tiger turn away and hide from this human that he no longer felt akin to. Now she knew that he was beast, and now he knew that she saw him as such. She could never again see him as he was made, but as he is now. The woman painfully turned away, wiped the tears from her eyes, and walked into the storm that was ready to envelope her.

The Black Hole
Suddenly she was falling. The thunder sent its crescendo, bouncing off the walls surrounding this black hole she had fallen into. The storm’s final bolt of lightning blinded her eyes, turning her world to black. She continued falling, feeling more and more pain as she descended farther into the hole, and away from her beloved paradise. Her limbs felt weak and her insides tossed and turned with the rotating of her body in this whirlpool of darkness. She was kept directly in the center, so her body never touched the deathly sides of this hole. She had been holding a rose when she entered this cylinder storm, but now she could not feel nor see the flower. All was black around her, beneath her, and above her. The first touch of darkness had been felt inside of her, and now she was seeing it take form in her world.

to be continued…