Reality Not Withstanding

So this piece was originally submitted to the Great American Short Screen Play Contest on June 17th, 2012. It was very well received and I even won second place but had to decline the scholarship since it still was not enough to pay for classes (especially since I would have had to cut my hours down at work extremely in order to take them).


Still, I had a lot of fun writing it, it was a great experiment and experience and one day it will likely find itself in a full length script. Enjoy!



Reality Not Withstanding

by Kiri Callaghan


EXT. A PARK – EVENING


FADE IN ON A COUPLE WALKING BESIDE THE LAKE, WE JOIN THEM IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR CONVERSATION.


MARK, a charming young attorney, is walking side by side with a young pink-haired woman (ELLE). They are both dressed to the nines.


MARK


…It’s certainly nothing like television. You almost never end up defending someone who’s actually innocent. I’m not saying I don’t agree everyone deserves the right to representation… I just wish it wasn’t me that had to provide it half the time.


ELLE


So why do you do it?


MARK


Paycheck is a paycheck.


ELLE


I bet that’s what hookers tell themselves.


MARK laughs.


ELLE nudges his arm with her own.


ELLE


Thank you, again, for dinner.


MARK


Was it too much?


ELLE


Are you kidding? I cleaned my plate. It was like making up for all those months in college when all I had was cup o’ noodles.


MARK


(laughing)


No, I mean, was the restaurant too much? I’m never sure if a place is too fancy for a first date.


Elle crosses her arms subconsciously as the night chill starts to set in.


ELLE


Nah, it was nice. I liked it. I don’t get to be fancy too often. Gave me an excuse to try out my new dress.


MARK


You mean HAILEY COMET: SPACE DETECTIVE doesn’t have a cocktail hour?


ELLE


Surprisingly, no. Well, not officially, anyway. For a few of my co-stars, I think it’s the last five minutes before we’re needed on set.


MARK laughs and removes his coat, draping it over her shoulders.


ELLE


You’re not what I expected, though.


MARK


What were you expecting?


ELLE


I don’t know… A weirdo?


MARK


A weirdo?


ELLE


I don’t know a lot of grown men who’d recognize me out of costume!


MARK


You have very distinctive hair.


ELLE


It’s not natural.


MARK


(feigning shock)


You’re kidding.


(Beat)


Plus, my daughter’s crazy about your show, so your face is sort of all over her room.


ELLE stops walking abruptly.


MARK


Just her room. I promise I’m not a creepy stalker.


ELLE


You have a kid.


MARK


I do have a kid.


(beat)


Is that a problem?


ELLE


…Yeah. It’s a problem.


MARK


You don’t like kids?


ELLE


I love kids.


MARK


Then where’s the problem?


ELLE


Because I’m going to have to meet her eventually.


MARK


That’s a problem?


ELLE


Yeah, that’s big fucking problem.


MARK


She’s going to love you–she already loves you.


ELLE


No, she already loves Hailey.


MARK


What?


ELLE


What’s her name?


MARK


Amanda.


ELLE


And how old is Amanda?


MARK


She just turned five.


ELLE nods and looks out toward the lake.


ELLE


Did you ever have a hero when you were a kid? Someone you idolized?


MARK


Spider-man, I guess.


ELLE


When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with The Little Mermaid. I knew the songs by heart before I knew what even half the words meant. My mom made me an Ariel costume for Halloween and I wore that stupid red wig until it was ratty. My room was covered in shells and fish and every damn piece of merchandise you could think of. So when my seventh birthday rolled around and my mother announced we were going to Disneyland, I was… ecstatic.


MARK


(unsure)


Yeah, of course…


ELLE


And we went and it was wonderful and I got to meet Ariel and I felt like my little heart was going to burst. I’d never been so happy.


(beat)


But then later I saw Ariel after a parade and I snuck away from my parents to follow her back into the cast area. Do you have any idea what happens backstage at Disneyland?


MARK


No.


ELLE


Things a seven-year-old should never see.


MARK


…are you saying you’ll do unspeakable things in front of my daughter?


ELLE


Not intentionally.


MARK


What?


ELLE


No, I mean–I lost my hero that day. Ariel wasn’t Ariel–she was just some horny college kid trying to make ends meet between semesters. It was like realizing Santa wasn’t real all over again.


ELLE turns back to face MARK.


ELLE


Mark, I’m not an intergalactic pop star.


MARK


I know that.


ELLE


Amanda doesn’t. …And I can’t be the one who breaks that to her. She deserves that suspension of disbelief. And she finds out you’re dating her hero…


MARK


…then I’m banging the mermaid.


ELLE


Yeah…


MARK


We really can’t do this, can we?


ELLE


We really can’t.


MARK


But… Can’t we just see if this even had a chance before we write it off?


ELLE


And do what? Sneak around hoping she’s going to grow out of me? She’s five, my viewer base ranges four to fourteen.


MARK


Yeah, but…


ELLE


And I’m pretty sure you don’t want to lie to your own kid.


MARK sighs, feeling defeated.


MARK


No… I really don’t. Wow. This… Really sucks.


ELLE


I’m sorry.


MARK


No, you’re right. My daughter comes first.


ELLE


You’re a good dad.


MARK


I don’t know if I’d say that. I am still imagining doing unspeakable things to her hero. Reality not withstanding.


ELLE smiles and removes his coat from her shoulders. She holds it out to him.


MARK


So what now?


ELLE


Now you head back to your car and I call my friend to come pick me up and we go back to our lives pretending tonight never happened.


MARK


…No, I don’t like that. What are my other options?


ELLE pointedly looks at the coat in her hand which MARK finally takes.


ELLE


Good night, Mark. It would have been great to meet you.


Elle starts off down one path towards what looks like the main street.


MARK


I would have had a great time tonight.


ELLE turns around and smiles softly.


ELLE


Best date I never had.


CAMERA ZOOMS UNTIL BOTH OF THEM ARE AT THE EDGE OF EITHER SIDE OF THE FRAME, HIGHLIGHTING THE EMPTY SPACE BETWEEN THEM.


ELLE and MARK share a look before ELLE breaks the tension and walks out of frame.


MARK lingers and then turns back to walk the way they came, shoulders hunched, hands shoved in his suit jacket pockets, coat tucked under one arm.


FADE OUT



 

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Published on November 08, 2012 12:22
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