?

Log in

Outside · Opinion


Screenplay Part One

Recent Entries · Archive · Friends · Profile

* * *
Here's a script I've been working on for a couple of months.  I re-wrote it in a two day period last week, so please excuse any errors I may have typed in without catching.  Any comments are welcome, good or bad.  The dialogue can be changed, for the most part.  I'm not very confident in my dialogue writing skills.  When making movies, I usually let the actors read over the lines and then go with what they feel the character would do, as opposed to what I wrote down. 

Also, I have still been unable to come up with a damn title to this thing.  Any ideas are welcome.  I'll come back and fix the rest of the formatting later when I have more time.  Fixing this is slow, slow going. 

Also, it won't let me post the entire script, so here's part one.
FADE IN:

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE, DAY, CONTINUOUS.

We see a long stretch of train tracks, empty, barren.  Two long, lonely rails reaching out to the trees that line the horizon.  Everything is green, lush, full of life.  Yet it somehow seems lonesome.  The sound of dry weather flies is deafening, their hypnotic drone fading out and coming back in, the sound somehow helping convey the oppressive heat that has taken hold of this land.

The sound of the dry weather flies fades out as the sound of a train whistle enters the sound track.  It starts off distant, echoed, eerie.  It’s sound builds and builds until the train itself appears and roars by.
  
As the train is reaching its end, we see a close shot looking from one side of a road that the tracks cross.  We see the bottom half of a car under the train as it passes by.  When it fully passes, the car sits for a moment and then pulls over the tracks and drives by.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        CUT TO:
INT. CAR, DAY, CONTINUOUS.

Inside the car are two people.  A man wearing sunglasses and a blue windbreaker is driving.  A young man in military fatigues sits in the back.  Both are silent.

The young man in the back seat is John Ellison.  Johnny to the friends he’s left behind.  He’s in his mid-twenties, but war has made him older.  Older inside.  He sits in stoic silence in the back seat, looking out the window at a world he thought he’d never see again. 
He sees a big sign on the side of the road that has an American flag painted on it and the words “For God and Country” painted beside it.  It blows past him like the rest of the world around him.  He seems to not be looking at anything and taking it all in at the same time.
He’s going back home.  If home you can call it.  He doesn’t want to go back home, but he doesn’t have a choice.  He’s got to do this one last thing before it’s all over.

It’s been two years since he came back to America.  Two years lying in a VA hospital recovering from wounds sustained in combat, a mortar having gone off near him and nearly killing him.  The doctors got nearly everything out.  All but one piece, lodged deep, right near his heart.  Too close to dig out without killing him.  They’re sending him home to see his son one last time, letting the mortar piece do for itself what their surgery would do in turn.

It’s been five years since he saw his son.  Five years since he last saw the only thing left in the world that meant anything to him at all.  The one thing that forced him to hang on through his stay at the VA hospital. 

He wanted to see him and be with him and make sure he knew that he loved him, no matter what his mother told him.  He and his wife were never on good terms.  In fact, it’s never really been much of a marriage.  He hardly remembers now why they got married in the first place.  He remembers thinking he was in love with her when they were both far too young to even be considering the world love and it’s many fathoms.  He remembers proposing to her.  He remembers getting married.  He remembers making love to her.  He remembers the birth of their child, Jimmie.  But the one thing he can’t remember, no matter how hard he tries, is loving her.  Really loving her.  Not some bullshit notion he may have had when he was too young.  It’s like it was never there.

He knows that it will take time to get to know his son and convince him that he really loves him.  He knows his wife.  He knows that, after her visit to the VA hospital when she didn’t bring their son and he hadn’t talked to her at all, not even acknowledging her presence in the room, she filled their son’s head with her bullshit.

This is what he has to look forward to once he gets where he’s going.  A part of him just wishes to hell he could have just stayed at the VA hospital, never going back to what had once been his life, his home.  But he can’t do that.  He has to see his son before he dies.
   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        CUT TO:

EXT. TOWN, DAY, CONTINUOUS.

They enter John’s hometown.  It’s small and seems empty.  Once upon a time the town obviously had thrived, back in the old days when the cotton industry was turning out towns full of people as quick as the old boom towns in the west.  No one is on the streets.  Most of the people who live in the town work in the city thirty miles away.  Like all towns of its type, it’s dying.  The signs of decay brought on by grinding poverty cannot be covered by the window paintings supporting the towns school basketball team and the flickering signs of diners and hair salons.  It’s in the fabric of the community.  It will never leave until the town dies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            CUT TO:

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD, DAY, CONTINUOUS.

They drive through the town and out into the country.  They pull onto a gravel road and the car kicks up a giant cloud of dust behind it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               CUT TO:


INT. CAR, DAY, CONTINUOUS.

John’s expression changes to a look of almost dismay and he looks to the driver, who has still said nothing. 

                                                   JOHN
                                                Stop.

The driver looks up at him in the rear view mirror.  We cannot see his eyes through the sunglasses.  We have no idea what kind of expression is on his face.
   
                                                    DRIVER
                                                Excuse me?

                                                    JOHN
                                                Stop.

                                                    DRIVER
                                                You sick?

John puts his hand on the back of the front seat and leans toward the driver. 

                                                    JOHN
                                                Stop.

CUT TO:

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD, DAY, CONTINUOUS.

The car pulls over to the side of the road.  The dust cloud it had been kicking up catches up with it and surrounds it.

The back door on John’s side opens and he gets out.  He pulls his ruck sack out with him and closes the door.  The driver gets out and talks to him, obviously trying to get him back into the car.  We see this at a distance and can’t hear what he’s saying.  We just get the idea through seeing it.

The driver finally gives up and gets back into the car and backs up and turns around, which takes a few times before the car is fully turned around so that the driver can go back where he came from.

Through all of this, John walks toward the camera.  He has to walk.  The drive had kept his thoughts numb, much like they had been for the last two years.  He has to walk to think.  His thoughts are cloudy and he wants to clear his head a little a get himself ready for the shit storm he’s about to walk into. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            CUT TO:

EXT. ELLISON HOME, DAY.

His house sits much like it had when he left.  The trees are bigger and the paint seems lighter than it had the last time he saw it.  Someone has just mowed the grass.  The clippings are in small piles in various places around the yard.  A bigger pile is in the ditch by the road.  A trail of grass clippings leads from where a pile used to be to the bigger pile in the ditch.  Later the pile will be burned.

He takes everything in.  He notices that the car is gone.  Looks like no one is home.

He opens the storm door at the back of the house and gets the spare key out of a magnetic case stuck onto the inside of the door.  He walks back around to the front and slowly opens the door.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                CUT TO:

INT. ELLISON HOME, DAY.

No one is home.  This is good.  Even though he has walked for a few miles, his head is still cloudy and he has no idea what he’s going to say or do once he actually has to see his wife and child face to face and speak to them.  He hasn’t said much of anything in the last two years.  He’s a little worried that he can’t.

He walks through the house and notices that nearly every picture in the house is gone.  There are pictures of his wife, Helen and his son, Jimmy doing things and pictures of Helen’s family, but there aren’t any pictures with him in them anywhere.

Other than that, the house hasn’t changed much since he left.  Besides some more modern additions (a new recliner, a new television, etc), it’s exactly the same.  Helen has obviously tried to keep the place looking nice, but it’s age is showing.  Much like the town, it cannot be hidden.

He looks into his son’s room, at the toys scattered everywhere and he almost smiles and almost cries at the same time. 
He walks into the bedroom where Helen sleeps and puts his bag on the bed.  There aren’t any pictures of him in here, either.  He sits down on the edge of the bed and stares down at his boots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                CUT TO:

INT. ELLISON HOME, NIGHT, LATER.

We now see the entire family at the supper table.  They eat in complete silence.  A feeling of intense discomfort has settled around them, moving about like a shadow.  They eat in silence, the sound of knives and forks clinking against plates the only thing we hear.
 
The scene goes on for a while, getting more and more uncomfortable with each passing second.  No one even seems to make eye contact, save some flashing glances made offhand.

After supper, Helen washes the dishes.  They don’t have a dishwasher, so she has to wash them by hand.  John stands in the shadows between the living room and the kitchen.  He stands with one arm propped up agains the wall, leaning his weight upon it.  In the living room, Jimmie watches TV mindlessly.

Helen tucks Jimmie into bed while John watches from the doorway in silence.  She kisses him on the forehead and gets up to leave the room, pausing by the door until John moves completely out of the way so she can get through without touching him.

John steps into the room after she’s left, but he can’t go any further.  He doesn’t know what to do.  He’s been trained to kill people, not talk to them.  His only small talk has been machine guns and mortar shells.

Jimmie watches him nervously from the bed.  He doesn’t know what to make of this man he hasn’t seen in five years.  He doesn’t really remember him.  His mother has not left a good image of his father for him to look up to.  In fact, she hasn’t left any kind of image at all.
He used to look at pictures of his father and ask his mother about them and she’d tell him how much she loved him and how proud she was that he was over there fighting for their freedom in a strange, foreign land.

Truthfully, she’d never loved him, either.  Just like him, she’d married because of what she thought was love.  She had made a bad decision, but she couldn’t tell her son that.  Not until the whole thing at the hospital.  That sealed it for her.  She took all the pictures he was in and hid them in the work shed out back.  She took all of this things, as well and put them out in the shed with the pictures.

Jimmie asked where she had put them, but she wouldn’t say and told him he didn’t have a father.  He found them, though.  Found them and saved the things that he liked the best, hiding them in a special place.

His father is a hero to him, even though he doesn’t know him.  He just makes up stories for himself.  Problem is, he’s confused about his dad.  Especially after this first night together. 

The awkward silence, the brooding feeling in the air that was all wrong.  He knows that john is his dad and that he should love him, but he’s almost afraid to.  He knows he’s his father, but he feels no connection with him and it seems more like a stranger is in his house with him, an unknown intruder in his little world.

John doesn’t meet up to what Jimmie thought he was, so he doesn’t really know what to think about him.  He’s not the war hero who was going to come home all covered with muscles and war-paint, talking about how much he loved his country and how proud he was to fight for it and keep it free.  No Sgt. Rock here.  He’s just a man.  A troubled man that he can’t understand, can’t relate to at all.  He wants to get to know him and for them to be everything that a father and son should be, but there’s just too much distance between the two of them.
John stands for what feels like an uncomfortable amount of time before he can manage to speak to his son.

JOHN
Goodnight, kiddo.

As he leaves Jimmie’s room, he flicks the light off and slowly closes the door.  Their eyes meet for a moment as he closes the door.
John walks slowly back to his and Helen’s room.  She’s already in bed, lying on her side, her back to him.  He stares at her back for a few moments and then sits down on the bed in silence.  The room is dimly lit, almost dark.  One small lamp lights the room.

HELEN
Why did you have to come back?

John says nothing, simply stares down at his feet, much like he did when he first arrived.

HELEN (CONT’D)
Why couldn’t you have just died and left us alone?

CUT TO:

EXT. TOWN, DAY, CONTINUOUS.

The day is bright and it’s all flags and cheers.  We see a banner that has the emblem “Welcome Home Johnny” on it.

The whole town has come out to see the parade set up in John’s honor.  All the war veterans in town have come out in their old uniforms and everyone cheers and everyone’s proud of them.  Most of them are very old, grizzled old vets from wars long past, riding in the backs of cars and waving at the people as they go by.  They’ve done this hundreds of times.  It’s old hat to them.  It’s not any different from taking pills or going to the doctor for them.

But for John, it’s strange and meaningless.  He doesn’t really care about what any of these people think.  He sees them with their flags waving in the wind, but it doesn’t mean anything to him.  He sees their banners with his name on them, but that doesn’t man anything to him.  He hears them yelling out to him that they’re proud of him and all kinds of things, but none of it means a damn thing to him.
The people are out in throngs, the entire town clumped together on the main road.  They’re all laughing and eating funnel cake and having a good time, paying no heed to the state of the man they’re supposed to be honoring.  They don’t really care.  They’re just here to have fun and eat and get sun burns.

Helen and Jimmie are at the parade, as well, but she doesn’t care, either.  This whole thing is a big charade to her.  She’s only here because she knows the town expects her to be here.  She’s not here to support her so-called husband.

Two police officers are seen wandering about, looking bored and hot.  A man and a woman.  O'Connor and Thompson are their names.
During the parade, John rides in the back of a truck.  He looks horribly uncomfortable, his uniform seeming to close up around him, suffocating him.  The people are all cheering, throwing candy at him.  He’s jumpy.  This isn’t good.

O’connor and Thompson, seperated through most of the parade, taking care of their own different problems, people trying to get into fights, kids screwing things up, end up back together as the parade is rounding the corner at the end of the main street.

O’CONNOR
Having fun yet?

THOMPSON
Christ.  This is horrible.  I can’t believe we’re having to do this.

O'CONNOR
Get used to it.  They teamed you up with me.  This is what I do.

THOMPSON
Always?

O’CONNOR
Always.

THOMPSON
Great.

O’CONNOR
This?  This is nothing.  Just wait until you get to the fun stuff.  This is a cakewalk.  Wait till we get to watch over the annual elks club reunions.  Those are fun.  A bunch of drunk old men in funny hats.  They’ll have a field day with you.

THOMPSON
I think I can handle it.

She looks around at the people for a moment, taking it all in.  It’s just too much.

THOMPSON (CONT’D)
So, who’s the guy this thing’s about?

O'CONNOR
The soldier?  Hell, I don’t know.  We went to school together, I guess, but I don’t really remember him.  I know he’s been gone a while, though.
THOMPSON
He some kind of hero or something?  Win a medal?
O'CONNOR
I don’t think so.  Like I said, I don’t know shit about him.  You’d be better off talking to his wife, maybe.  I know he got wounded.
THOMPSON
Oh yeah?
O’CONNOR
Yeah.  Stepped on a mortar or something like that.  He’s been in a VA hospital for three years, I think.  Something like that.
The car John is riding in pulls to a stop and he gets down out of the back of the truck and is beset by a television news crew. 
The reporter is a make-up cute young woman with big brown hair named Kelly King.  She’s got a thick drawl.
KELLY KING
Hello, sir.  Kelly King, Action 9 News.  May we get a brief interview with you?
John stares blankly at her.  Without saying a single word, he turns and walks away from the group, disappearing into the crowd. 
THOMPSON
Did you see him in the parade?  He doesn’t look like he wants to be here. 
O'CONNOR
Would you?
THOMPSON
I don’t want to be here now and I’m just a cop.
O'CONNOR
Yeah.  I can’t imagine, gettin’ blown all to shit and stayin’ in some hospital for three years.  Hell, I don’t even like being in the hospital for a few hours.
THOMPSON
When’s the last time you went to the hospital?
O’CONNOR
As a patient or just a guest?
THOMPSON
Well, I never thought of it as being a guest at a hospital.  That’s an odd thought.  But, patient.  That’s what I meant.
O'CONNOR
Patient.  And it is a weird thought, now that you say that.
THOMPSON
What were you in for?
O'CONNOR
Kidney stone.
THOMPSON
Damn.  Did it hurt?
O'CONNOR
Does a bear shit in the woods?
THOMPSON
I hate that fucking saying.
O'CONNOR
You should.  It’s a stupid saying.
THOMPSON
Then why the hell did you say it?
O'CONNOR
I don’t know.  Don’t worry about it.
THOMPSON
I can see this is going to be a fun partnership.  I’ve only been here two months and I’m already regretting it.
O’CONNOR
Don’t back out on me now, Thompson.
THOMPSON
I didn’t say I was backing out.  Did I?
O'CONNOR
That’s what it sounded like to me.
John has managed to escape the news crew, but there is no way of relief, though.  Once in the crowd, people start slapping him on the back and shaking hands with him and telling him how proud they are of him and all the other useless shit that he doesn’t give a flying fuck about. 
The people are in way too close and he starts to panic.  The voices start to meld together and it’s loud and chaotic and it’s driving him nuts.  He has to put his hands over his ears, but that doesn’t do any good, so he slams his fists against his ears and yells.
O’connor notices the group of people ganging up around John.
O’CONNOR
Okay, let’s go do our job.  It’s gettin’ weird over there.
THOMPSON
Goddammit.
They walk over to the crowd to see what’s going on.
John pushes his way out of the crowd and into an empty parking lot where no one is standing and leans against a brick wall.
This is too much for him.  Just too much.  It takes everything he has not to start crying.  He looks up at the sky, but finds no solace there.  He finds nothing.  He only sees the sky, the clouds, the same goddamn things he saw when he was in the war.  The same clouds in the same sky over the same world. 
This thought makes him feel claustrophobic and it starts to take him back to a place where he really doesn’t want to go, so he forces himself to start walking.  He doesn’t know where he’s walking to, besides away, but he’s walking. 
CUT TO:
EXT. CEMETERY, DAY, CONTINUOUS.
John walks to the cemetery where his parents are buried without thinking about it.  This is where he is drawn.  The cemetery is well kept and little American flags are everywhere in honor of the 4th of July nearly a month ago.
He sits down on the grass and stares at their graves in silence.
CUT TO:
EXT. GAS STATION, TOWN, EVENING, LATER.
O’connor and Thompson are walking out of the gas station.  The parking lot is gravel, dark chat.  The gas station is small, but that’s how they like it in this town.  They serve food nightly.
O'Connor and Thompson have a ritual of going out to eat together after every shitty job they end up with.  Sometimes they eat in town and sometimes they go to the city to eat. 
THOMPSON
Thanks.  I needed that.
O'CONNOR
No problem.  I wish I could stay longer.  But you know how it is.
THOMPSON
No, I don’t.  Don’t want to.
O'CONNOR
You mean to tell me you’re not plannin’ on gettin’ hitched someday?  Pretty girl like you?
THOMPSON
I wasn’t fishing for compliments, but thanks and no, no I’m not.  I have no interest in marriage.  It’s a horrible, archaic ritual based around a religion I don’t give two shits about.
O’CONNOR
You’d better keep that to yourself.  That kinda talk’ll get you dumped into a river around here.  And I don’t mean to swim.
THOMPSON
Your Southern charm never fails to amuse me, O'Connor.
O'CONNOR
Thanks, I guess.
There’s a moment or two of silence.  O’connor is trying his best not to make eye contact with Thompson, who looks just as uncomfortable as he does.  She steps toward him just a bit, but his phone starts ringing.
O'CONNOR (CONT’D)
Shit.
He pulls his phone out of his pocket and answers it.
O'CONNOR (CONT’D)
(on the phone)
Hey, honey, I’m...  Look, I’m...
The person on the phone, his wife, hangs up on him.  In defeat, he puts his phone into his pocket and shakes his head.
O’CONNOR (CONT’D)
(more to himself)
Goddammit.
THOMPSON
You gonna be okay?
O'CONNOR
Nothing’s okay in this farce of a fucking relationship.
He turns and heads to his car.
O’CONNOR (CONT’D)
Come on if you want a ride home.
THOMPSON
You sure you’re gonna be okay?
O’CONNOR
Yeah.  Come on.
He doesn’t turn around to say this to her.  He just keeps walking to his car, his head hanging down in defeat.
CUT TO:
EXT. O'CONNOR’S HOUSE, NIGHT.
O'Connor’s car pulls into the driveway and sits there.  He can’t get out of the car yet.  He can’t bring himself to do it.  He just sits there, unable to move. 
CUT TO:
INT. O'CONNOR’S HOUSE, NIGHT, CONTINUOUS.
The inside of his house is better looking than John and Helen’s.  It’s a much newer house with much nicer things filling it. 
O’connor’s wife, Irene, late twenties, is sitting in the living room waiting for him.
IRENE
Where have you been?
O'CONNOR
Do we have to do this tonight?  It’s been a long day.
IRENE
Yes, we have to do this.  And I don’t want to hear about long days.  You were supposed to be there.
O'CONNOR
I have a job to do, sweetheart.
IRENE
Don’t pull that sweetheart shit on me.  You can get time off.  I think you just wanted to spend more time with her.
O’CONNOR
Oh, christ, Irene, will you let it be?  I tried to get the day off.  I really did.  Why can’t I convince you of this?  Ordell hates my guts and you know it.  I tried to get the time off and he wouldn’t give it to me.  That shit’s not up to me.  It’s up to him.
IRENE
Uh-huh.
O’CONNOR
Look, I’m sorry.  I really am.  How did it go?
IRENE
What do you care?
O’CONNOR
Oh, come on.  I’m sorry.  I mean it.  Tell me how it went?
IRENE
Bad.
O'Connor sighs and puts his arms around her.
O'CONNOR
It’s gonna be okay.  You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.
IRENE
Just gimmie a minute.
They continue holding each other for a few moments before they release each other.  Irene sits down on the couch.  O'Connor continues standing, walking around.
 IRENE (CONT’D)
I’m sorry.
O’CONNOR
It’s okay.  I’m the asshole here.
IRENE
No, you’re not.  It’s not your fault.  I just overreacted.  This, ugh, this has all been so stressful.
O'CONNOR
So it went bad at the doctor’s office?
IRENE
Yeah.
O'CONNOR
What’d he say this time?
IRENE
He said we might as well give up.
O'CONNOR
He said that?
IRENE
Yeah.
O'CONNOR
I’ve never liked that asshole.
IRENE
He’s just doing his job, Ralph.
O’CONNOR
That’s not doing his job.  That’s being a prick.
IRENE
He wasn’t being a prick about it.  He just told me we might as well just give up.
O’CONNOR
What did you say?
IRENE
To him?
O’CONNOR
Yeah.
IRENE
I told him that wasn’t an option, that we are not going to give up, because we both want a child.  Boy or girl, it doesn’t matter.
O'Connor doesn’t say anything for a moment.  He sits down on the floor by her feet.  He looks up at her.
O'CONNOR
What did he say to that?
IRENE
He said we should adopt.
O'CONNOR
Oh, christ.  How many times is he gonna bring that up?  Does he get some kind of fuckin’ paycheck from the goddamn adoption agency if he sends his patients to ‘em?
IRENE
I doubt it.  I told him we didn’t want to do that.  Told him we want our own child.
O'CONNOR
What’d he say to that?
IRENE
He said there isn’t anything wrong with adopting children and said it’s a very good thing.  He said, between the two of us, the world is overpopulated and these children need a home.
O’CONNOR
He said that?  What the fuck?  I’m gonna go down there tomorrow and give that cocksucker a piece of my goddamn mind.  That’s fucking bullshit.
IRENE
It’s okay, Ralph.  You don’t have to go John Wayne on me, here.
O'CONNOR
No, that’s bullshit.  He has no right saying something like that to you.  Being in a goddamn doctors office is unnerving enough.  Telling you that you can’t have a baby and that the world is over-fucking-populated is another.  That’s just un-fucking-ethical.
IRENE
He said we’re pretty much just wasting our time and money trying to do this.  He said if we just adopt, out problems would be over.
O’connor can’t believe what he’s hearing.  He buries his face into his hands.
O'CONNOR
I just can’t believe that fucking cocksucker would say something like that.  You’d think he’d be gung-fucking-ho about his patients trying out new drugs and spending all kinds of fucking money coming to see him all the time so he can pay for his goddamn yacht and his trips to goddamn fuck knows where with goddamn fuck knows who.
IRENE
I know.
O'CONNOR
I just can’t stand that.  It drives me nuts.  There’s too many people in the world.  Why should I let that fucking knee-jerk liberal asshole wearing a white jacket tell me how to live my fucking life?  What is he to us?  Who’s he to be so  high fuckin’ fallutin’ that he thinks he can have the unmitigated fuckin’ audacity to say somethin’ like that?
IRENE
I don’t know.  It’ll be okay.  Don’t let it get to you so much.  It bothers me.  How the hell do you think it makes me feel?  I’m the one who can’t have a fucking child here.  It’s not you that’s at fault.  It’s me.
O'CONNOR
Don’t say that. 
IRENE
Why not?  It’s fucking true.  Isn’t it?  And I’m doing my best to get through it and it’s really hard without you here and I’m a little more worried about THAT than I am about what some dick in a lab coat said.  It doesn’t bother me, it shouldn’t bother you.
O'CONNOR
But it does.  I have to deal with these goddamn knee-jerk fuckin’ liberals every goddamn day.  I can’t stand ‘em.  They’re the worst.  People like that doctor are the same kinda people who make sure the fuckin’ scumbags I work so hard to bust stay on the goddamn streets.  They piss and moan about crime problems, but as soon as we bust one of ‘em, they cry about their goddamn rights and they get out and they go back and start doing the same fuckin’ shit they were fuckin’ doing before.  People don’t fuckin’ change.  If you’re a scumbag when I bust you, you’re gonna be a scumbag when you get out.
IRENE
Maybe...  Maybe you should take some time off.  I think the stress is getting to you.
O'CONNOR
I can’t.  I don’t think they’d let me and if they did, I’d probably not have a fuckin’ job when I came back.  I need to be there as much as I fuckin’ can, because as soon as I’m gone, things go wrong again.  Even if it’s just a day or two, when I come back, it’s all been fucked up again.  If you give these fuckin’ cocksuckers an inch, they’ll take it fuckin’ all.  Not just a mile.  They’ll take it all.  And I can’t let them do that.
IRENE
Why?
O’CONNOR
Why what?
IRENE
Why can’t you just let it happen?  For god’s sake, Ralph, your goddamn pride is gonna get you killed one of these days.  I need you.  I don’t need you going fucking Serpico on me and getting yourself shot up by some fucking hoo-ha’s because of your goddamn stupid pride.
O’CONNOR
My pride?  Yeah, I guess it’s my pride.  Is it wrong to have pride in my fuckin’ town?  Is it wrong that it kills me to see this town get flushed further and further down the proverbial fuckin’ shitter every goddamn day?  My pride is the only thing keeping this fucking town from falling apart.
Irene doesn’t say anything to this.  She sighs and closes her eyes.  She leans back further into the couch.
O’CONNOR (CONT’D)
Look, I’m sorry.  I just get so goddamn mad thinking about the state of this fucking place.  I have to stay here.  I have to keep working.  If I leave it to these fuckin’ yahoo’s I work with, the town would eat itself alive within a fuckin’ month.
IRENE
That’s mighty presumptuous of you, Ralph.  You’re not exactly a saint yourself.
O'CONNOR
Oh, come on.  Just because I’ve cracked a few skulls, that doesn’t even put me on the same level as these scumfucks.
IRENE
Is that supposed to justify the things you’ve done?
O'CONNOR
Justify?  Of fuckin’ course it does!  How would it not?  I know I’ve been rough now and again, but sometimes you have to.  And it’s never been because I want to be an asshole.  I’ve never taken fuckin’ bribes.  I’ve never done anything wrong.  You think I like being fuckin’ violent?  Is that what you think?
IRENE
I don’t know sometimes.
O'CONNOR
Honey, please don’t say that.  I hate it that I have to do these things sometimes.  People these days, you have to beat  sense into them sometimes.  And yes, I do have pride in my fuckin’ town.  I know that this town can be something great.  I also know it’s a festering fuckin’ shit hole without much hope.  But I have hope.  And I have pride.  And I’m going to clean this town up.
Irene laughs.
O’CONNOR
What’s so funny?
IRENE
Do you want some spurs and a fucking horse, too?
O'CONNOR
What?
IRENE
This isn’t the old west, Ralph and you’re not John Wayne.
O'CONNOR
Goddammit, why the fuck do you keep bringing that up? 
IRENE
Because that’s how you’re acting.  You think you can just ride into town with the dust blowing around you, a badge and a gun glinting in the sunlight?  That’s not life.  That’s bullshit.
O'CONNOR
That’s pride.  Pride in everything I hold fucking dear to myself.
IRENE
Is your pride worth your saftey?  Is it worth mine?
O'CONNOR
What are you talking about?  Are you trying to say that I’m not going to take care of you?
IRENE
It’s you I’m worried about.
O'CONNOR
I can take care of myself.  Don’t worry about that.
IRENE
Look, I know what you’re trying to do and I’m proud of you, but I don’t understand it.  I know you’re trying to be a good person and clean up the town, but you’re gonna get yourself fuckin’ killed.  How can we have a family if you’re rotting in a box in the goddamn ground?
O'CONNOR
Look, I’ve just got to bring Ordell down.  I know he’s in on this.  If I can bring him down, it’ll be fine.  I’m just tired of being someone else’s fuckin’ dog.  Someone else’s fuckin’ pet.  I want to run my own fuckin’ life and I know I can fuckin’ do it.  We can do it.  You and I.
Irene is silent for a while.  She’s tired of this argument.  We get the feeling that this argument has been going on much longer than what we’ve seen.
IRENE
Yeah.  So, are you hungry?
O'Connor isn’t hungry at all, but he knows he can’t say that. 
O'CONNOR
Sure.

Current Mood:
sick
* * *