Friday, August 17, 2007

Nice Day For An Earthquake




FADE IN:

EXT. HOME -- EVENING

A dark faded green door is illuminated by a small porch light. An arm slowly extends into frame knocking firm on the door. The arm extends back out of sight.

An older woman's voice calls out in Spanish.

WOMAN'S VOICE
(In Spanish)
Just a minute...coming.

The arm extends back out knocking on the door again.

Footsteps from inside the house approach the door.

The door finally opens revealing ELENA, a Mexican woman in her late fifties, early sixties. Her smile is warm and inviting. Slowly, her smile begins to fall to a frown; she stares at the individual standing at front of her. She turns away. Her eyes fill with tears.

She opens the door wider for the individual to step into the house.

A man walks into the house. He pauses before going in and hugs this woman. The woman appears emotionless and withdrawn.

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

INT. SHOWER -- CONTINUOUS

A beard is drenched in water. Water swirls around the man's feet mixing with a few soap suds just before being sucked down the drain. His hand moves shampoo through his hair. He closes his eyes as the water moves down his face.

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

INT. BEDROOM -- CONTINUOUS

VICTOR HERNANDEZ sits on the edge of a small twin bed. A towel is wrapped around his waist. Victor is short and slightly over weight with short curly brown hair. His freshly shaven face gives a younger appearance. He looks around the bedroom examining his surroundings. Baseball posters hang on the walls. He notices small trophies sitting on a small bookshelf along with some family photos.

Over a dresser, he notices several calendars tacked to the wall.

Victor stands from the bed and walks to the dresser. He begins to thumbs through the pages of a 1998 calendar. He stops at February 13th. A thick red X mark starts on the 13th and is followed by a red line that continues on through every year and every day. The word MISSING is written above the 13th.

Victor slides open the top dresser drawer. Inside he sees underwear and white t-shirts all folded and clean. He takes one pair of each putting them on the bed behind him. He goes down the drawer and pulls out some blue jeans.

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

EXT. BACK YARD -- AFTERNOON

Elena's hand moves slowly towards a bright colored rose as she trims it. Elena has a tragic and strong sense about her. Her hand slowly moves up touching the petals very gently. She wears a straw hat that shades her face.

In the window above her Victor watches Elena work in the garden. Elena doesn't notice her son observing her.

ELENA (V.O.)
(SPANISH)
His hair is so long. He looks fat.

INT. HOME -- AFTERNOON

Victor, now freshly cleaned up and dressed in clean clothes, observes his mother in the garden from the service porch. An old grandfather clock is heard ticking off in the distance.

VICTOR (V.O.)
She looks so old. Since when does she garden?

Victor taps on the glass. Elena doesn't respond. She continues to work in garden.

Elena clips a rose from its stem.

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

INT. KITCHEN -- EVENING

Elena cooks carne asada in a large pan. A metal spatula moves in and turns the meat every now and then. The kitchen is small but very clean. A large spice rack is mounted against the wall above the stove.

Elena hums to herself as she cooks.

Victor walks into the kitchen watching his mother as she cooks.

ELENA
(SPANISH)
Hungry?

Elena doesn't look up to Victor. She stays focused on the food in the pan. Victor sits down at a small dinner table pushed up against a wall. A small picture of Jesus hangs on the wall next to table.

VICTOR
Smells good.

Elena doesn't turn around she still stays focused on the pan.

ELENA (V.O.)
(SPANISH)
Has that changed? Why is he smiling?

Victor stands up and walks over beside his mother.

VICTOR
I still like it. Still my favorite.

ELENA
(SPANISH)
Well, that's nice to hear.

Victor looks at his mother and watches as she avoids looking at him.

Elena puts the food onto a plate. She then opens the lid to a pot and scoops out some Spanish rice and beans putting some on the plate. Elena hands Victor the plate.

ELENA
(SPANISH)
Here.

Victor takes the plate from his mother.

VICTOR
Thanks.

A cat jumps onto the kitchen table. Elena claps her hands trying to scare the cat away.

ELENA
(SPANISH)
You know better. No walking on the counter tops.

The cat jumps off the counter and runs away.

Victor looks up to his mother who avoids looking at him.

VICTOR
Mom...

She takes her apron off setting it on the kitchen counter. She walks out of the kitchen.

Victor sits alone at the table. It's silent except for a small clock that's mounted above the kitchen sink.

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

INT. LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT

Elena sits in the living room alone. She knits. Her fingers curve around and over her knitting needles as she finishes a blanket.

From the kitchen, Victor slowly walks out into the living room. He sits on a small chair next to his mother.

He looks over to her and watches her knitting away. He then turns and looks out a window. A few cats are nestled in window sill looking outside.

Victor looks back to his mother. He notices his shoelaces are untied and bends down to tie them. A small beads of sweat begin to cluster on Victors forehead.

VICTOR
You have a few more cats then before?

Elena continues to ignore her son.

ELENA
Almost done with this blanket.

She holds up part of what she was working on.

Victor looks up at it.

VICTOR
Looks great. Ah...how long have you been working on it?

Elena doesn't answer. She goes back to knitting.

ELENA
(In Spanish)
What do you want from me?

Victor looks to the floor uncomfortable by the question? He pauses for a moment squirming and fidgeting in his seat.

Victor looks up from the floor at his mother.

Just as he's about to say something to his mother, a tremendous SCREECH of a car tire cuts through the moment followed by a HORRIBLE SOUND OF A CAR CRASH fromoutside. This sound startles both of them.

VICTOR
God!

Elena makes the sign of the cross over her, but still focuses down to her knitting.

ELENA
(SPANISH)
Stop signs. I told them many times to put a stop sign in at that corner.

Suddenly, there is a loud pounding on the front door. Startled, they both jump out of their seats.

VICTOR
WHAT THE HELL!!!

Elena puts down her knitting.

Suddenly, the front door flies open.

MYRTLE SANDERSON slams the door closed behind her. She appears to be in her forties in business clothes. Her blondish brown hair is all disheveled. She looks a mess.

VICTOR
Can we help you?

Her breath is frantic. Her words are unintelligible. She talks in half phrases and is in a panic. She crouches down onto the floor for a moment as if she's trying to regain her balance.

MYRTLE
OH MY GOSH!!! Oh MY!!! GOD!! I.. Ohh My GOSH!!

Myrtle red in the face looks around, panics runs off down the hall screaming locking herself in the bathroom.

Victor stands up.

ELENA
(SPANISH)
Whose that crazy lady?!

VICTOR
I don't know?

Victor runs down the hall to the bathroom door.

ELENA
(SPANISH)
I'm going to call the police!

VICTOR
Ma, Just calm down.

INT. NEXT TO BATHROOM DOOR -- CONTINUOUS

Victor starts pounding on the bathroom door.

Myrtle can be heard sobbing. She lets out a loud wail every so often.

VICTOR
Are you okay?

MYRTLE
(Crying)
Go away! Go Away!

VICTOR
Are you hurt? Were you in that accident?

MYRTLE
(hysterical)
The lines! The lines! I couldn't...

VICTOR
What!? Take a deep breath.

MYRTLE
I couldn't see the lines...the road...I couldn't see them.

Victor gets down on his knees and tries to look underneath the bathroom door. He can only partly make out her leg.

VICTOR
What lines?

MYRTLE
The road...you know the lines in the road. I couldn't see them...and I..

VICTOR
Crashed?

Elena yells from somewhere in the house.

ELENA
(SPANISH)
What does she want?

VICTOR
Ma! Please.

Victor tries to look under the door. A movement of shadows under the door jam can be seen.

VICTOR
Hello in there.

Quite.

Then.

Myrtle lets out a sobbing cry.

MYRTLE
(Sobbing)
MY CAT!!!

Her breathing becomes loud and erratic.

VICTOR
Whoa! What...your cat?

MYRTLE
MY Cat...Herman! Herman.

Elena peeks around a door from another room to take a look at what was going on.

MYRTLE
I...I..he...was gone.

VICTOR
Gone?

MYRTLE
It was a week...or...a month..

Elena walks in closer.

ELENA
(SPANISH)
Cats do that.

VICTOR
He ran away?

MYRTLE
(Sobbing)
But he came BACK!!! He came Back.

Elena is even closer to Victor now. She stands in the doorway next to her son looking down onto him.

ELENA
(SPANISH)
They DO have a way of always coming home. To eat? To shit!

VICTOR
Mom.

Victor looks up to his mother meeting her stern gaze.

MYRTLE
He was gone! Then he came back.

Slowly Elena bends down next to her son. Victor smiles and then mouths "I'm sorry" to Elena.

ELENA
Hun, what's the problem? The kitty came back, right?

Myrtle lets out a loud scream. Elena and Victor jump.

MYRTLE
NO! Oh God! No!
(Beat)
I...RAN OVER HIM!!

Victor looks down from the door just has his cat walks over to him.

VICTOR
(To the Cat)
Go on, get outta here.

MYRTLE
What?

VICTOR
No not you.. My cat...I mean... Never mind.

He pushes the cat away.

VICTOR
Ready to come out?

Silence falls over the bathroom.

Elena and Victor both look at each other concerned.

VICTOR
(SPANISH Whispering)
What do you think?

Elena shrugs.

ELENA
(SPANISH Whisper)
Should I call 911?

Victor shakes his head "no".

They start to hear something that sounds like sanding.

VICTOR
(Whispering)
What's that?

Elena taps on the door.

ELENA
(In English)
Honey, you okay in there?

The sanding gets a bit louder.

MYRTLE
Do you have any nail polish?

ELENA
(In English)
What was that?

MYRTLE
Polish. I found your nail file. I hope you don't mind?

Victor lets out a half laugh and tries to cover the sound. Elena hits her son playfully on the head.

ELENA
(In English)
Ah, sure dear. I have some polish on the left hand cabinet in the little basket.

The sound of some shuffling through cabinets can be heard. Elena lovingly pats her son's back trying to stop from laughing at the situation.

ELENA
(In English)
You find it?

MYRTLE
Oh yes..thanks.. I love this red...I had a bottle of this. I love this brand.

ELENA
Good. Good.

Victor and Elena both laugh at the situation.

VICTOR
Ready to come out Myrtle?

MYRTLE
One sec.

They both press their ears against the bathroom door when the sound of the toilet flushing breaks the silence.

The door suddenly opens.

Myrtle stands in the doorway smiling, her hands fanning back and fourth trying to dry her nails. She looks down to Elena and Victor who are still crouched next to the door.

MYRTLE
Hi.

Elena and Victor both stand up next to her.

ELENA
You OK dear?

VICTOR
Do you need anything?

They both try to console her.

Myrtle stops and ponders the question.

MYRTLE
Well, I am a bit thirsty.

Elena gives Myrtle a little pat on the arm.

ELENA
Well let me see what we have.

Victor takes Myrtle over to the dining room table while Elena goes into the kitchen.

VICTOR
Here, sit here.

INT. DINING ROOM -- CONTINUOUS

Victor slides out a chair for Myrtle to sit.

MYRTLE
Thank you. You're both so kind.

Myrtle looks around the room.

MYRTLE
Oh, what a nice dining room. I love the colors.

Elena calls out to Myrtle from the kitchen.

ELENA (O.S.)
Water, milk or some tea?

Myrtle thinks for a moment.

MYRTLE
Some hot tea would be very nice, thank you.

ELENA (O.S.)
No problem dear.

Victor sits down next to Myrtle at the table. An awkward moment sets in as Victor watches Myrtle look around the room.

MYRTLE
Your home is very warm.

VICTOR
Well, it's my mother's home. But thanks.

Elena walks into the dining room with a pot of hot water and some mugs. Several tea bags protrude out of the lid of the tea pot.

ELENA
Here we go.

Elena sets the pot in the middle of the table. Elena pours tea into three mugs. She hands a mug to Myrtle.

MYRTLE
Oh, thank you.

Elena and Victor sit staring at Myrtle as she comfortably sips her tea.

Victor and Elena both glance towards one another.

Myrtle takes another long slurping sip of her tea.

ELENA
(Encouragingly)
So...You probably want to get your car taken care of?

Myrtle nods her head as she puts down the cup of tea.

MYRTLE
You know, I was thinking of redecorating my living room. And I love what you guys did. Although you know I'm not spanish but I love the style. It's very retro.

Elena and Victor both look at each other trying to make heads or tails of Myrtle.

Victor stands from the table and Elena follows her lead. Myrtle notices them both standing looking at her.

MYRTLE
Oh. Geesh, what time is it? Really ought to be going.

Myrtle suddenly lets out a loud Beverly Sills-styleoperatic, note.

Frightened by Myrtles sudden outburst, Elena grabs her son's arm.

ELENA
(In Spanish)
Crazy white woman.

Myrtle finishes her operatic note and then smiles and stands from the table.

MYRTLE
Well, I guess I should get going?

INT. HOME/FRONT DOOR -- CONTINUOUS

Victor and Elena walk Myrtle to the front door.

Myrtle turns and hugs both of them at the same time squeezing Victor and Elena together.

MYRTLE
Thank you. I feel much better. You made me realize things about myself that I never knew.

VICTOR
(Being squished)
We did? Glad we could help.

ELENA
Ouch! Your welcome.

Myrtle releases them and they both fall back and away from her. Myrtle opens the screen door and steps out onto the porch.

Elena and Victor move to the doorway. Their backs are to us as they wave to Myrtle.

ELENA & VICTOR
Bye!

VICTOR
Don't crash into anything.

ELENA
Victor!

Victor looks over to his mother and smiles. Victor reaches over and gently holds his mother's hand.


THE END

(C)WGAw1222068



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