Contemporary Clichés

Fiction by K.R. Martinak

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Gas Money

This is the screenplay I’ve been working on for several years. I took a long break from it to write “Playlist,” but I will finish it someday. This is the first seventy pages or so. Just like with everything else, I have it password protected because I want to sell it someday. Also just like everything else, it’s all on this one page, so you can read everything I have on it right here, but remember where you are so you can find your place later!

It’s a high school comedy around the likes of “Superbad.” It centers on four teenagers who commence to drive around all night, without a destination. In the course of all the fun and antics, they all learn something about themselves that changes them. Hope you all enjoy!

GAS MONEY

By

Kyle Martinak

EXT: STREETS AND CARS – NIGHT

“Have You Ever Seen The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival blares. Credits are shown, made up of license plate numbers and bumper stickers. A torn up, beaten in, rusted jalopy tootles along a somewhat busy street. The car is a faded red Chevy four-door. The town is a typical residential area for commuters to the big city. All the license plates are the standard Oregon plate: A lone fir tree. As the car roars, clearly straining to even accelerate, teenagers are heard laughing and babbling incoherently. Smoke rises from the exhaust of the Chevy, and the smoke envelopes the shot. The music fades down.

FADE TO:

EXT: SUBURBAN HIGH SCHOOL – DAY

A full shot of the clean and prosperous school. The stone sign reads: FIR GROVE HIGH SCHOOL. The tranquility of the afternoon is shattered by the same red, smoke-spewing Chevy roaring into the parking lot.

CUT TO:

INT: CLASSROOM – DAY

Students zone out as their teacher lectures them on The Odyssey. While some stare at the clock, which reads 3:15, others are content to stare into space until their eyes fall closed. Two students are focused on as the teacher drones on. A pleasant looking girl with short hair tries, halfheartedly, to take notes. The other is a stocky, disgruntled guy with wire-frame glasses and a camouflage jacket. He nears unconsciousness.

TEACHER

In fact, there are a number of times during this story that Odysseus has a chance to settle down, get comfortable, live like a king for the first time in over a decade. On the island of Circe, even, he decides to stay as a companion to Circe for over a year, and would have probably stayed there if his crew had not convinced him otherwise. Is there some form of symbolism there? Anyone? Mr. Miller?

The young man, CLARK, is jarred back to the moment.

CLARK

What? Symbolism?

TEACHER

Yes, Clark. Is there symbolism in Odysseus being tempted to abandon his voyage and stay with Circe, or Calypso, or in the land of the Phaeacians?

CLARK

I don’t think there’s any symbolism.

TEACHER

None? Okay. Explain that assumption, Clark.

CLARK

Well, Homer is performing this story over several days. If he started by saying that the voyage of Odysseus after the war was this monumental, epic, huge tale about a man struggling to return to his home and family, and how nothing will stand in his way, how would an audience react if on the third day, Homer just said, “Then he met some loony chick who said she liked his sword, so he stayed with her forever. The End.”

TEACHER

I think you’re taking this a bit too literally, Clark.

CLARK

I’m just saying, if I saw that movie, I’d demand a refund.

Freeze-frame on CLARK MILLER, and intro text spells his name out.

CUT TO:

INT: HIGH SCHOOL GYM – DAY

A group of teenagers play a spirited game of basketball with a crowd of their peers watching from the sidelines. Pan over to the coach, complete with whistle, high socks, and clipboard. He is staring with concentration at a smaller, less athletic teen, ROBIN, who is in mid-sentence. Robin wears a button-down shirt over a Van Halen tee, and a battered looking brown trilby hat.

ROBIN

So Bruce Wayne is the Dark Knight, not out of revenge for his parents’ deaths, but to strike fear into those who use fear as a weapon against the innocent. As a man, he’s powerless against corruption and indifference, but as a cold-blooded predator, he’s unstoppable.

COACH

It’s like the duality of man. He becomes one in order to protect his integrity as the other.

ROBIN

Yeah. I think you’re starting to dig it, Coach. Now, this weekend, I want you to read The Killing Joke, and on Monday, we’ll discuss the Joker in great detail.

Freeze-frame on ROBIN CRAIG, and the text introduces him.

CUT TO:

INT: CLASSROOM – DAY

The first classroom breaks into chaos as a thunderous bell sounds. Clark jumps up, looks the girl, STACY, in the eye, and silently points to the door. She is still packing her books and is being approached by a group of smiling girls.

STACY

Grab Hood and wait for me, okay?

Clark silently exits, and Stacy turns to acknowledge the girls.

STACY

Howdy.

DINA

Hey, Stacy. Um, we were wondering what you were doing this weekend. We’ve been meaning to invite you to our female appreciation book club for weeks, and tomorrow we were all going shopping for the Spring Dance.

STACY

Gee, that sounds like a blast, but I’m booked solid. Tonight, I’m going to listen to dirty jokes that demean female society while eating disgusting, greasy burgers that will go straight to my ass, and eventually I was going to shop for men’s tee-shirts to replace the ones I bought in Junior High.

Freeze-frame and intro on STACY GREEN.

CUT TO:

EXT: SCHOOL PARKING LOT – DAY

Clark, Robin, and Stacy convene at the building’s exit, just in time to receive a cacophony of honks from the Chevy beater. From their point of view, the shot closes in to frame the driver of the heap. J.P. wears aviator sunglasses and a huge smile.

J.P.

There you guys are. Come on, let’s do-it-to-it.

The three pile into the car, Clark in the passenger seat, Stacy behind him, and Robin behind J.P.

ROBIN

What’s up, J.P.?

J.P.

Not one hell of a lot. So, you guys learn anything good today?

CLARK

Calypso was a dirty whore.

ROBIN

My sexual peak will start in approximately two years.

STACY

Apparently, a purse has the ability to make me look slimmer.

J.P.

Oh, good. Than nothing has changed since I graduated.

Freeze-frame and intro on J.P. HOLLIS, the final member of the group. Revert back as a high school girl wanders over and bends down, shoving her head into the car.

TINA

J.P. Hollis? I thought that was you! Wow! How’ve you been?

J.P.

No complaints.

TINA

(to others) Hey, guys. So, what are all of you doing tonight?

J.P.

Probably just drive around, grab some food, stop somewhere to get some drinks. You know…

TINA

Well, I think there’s a party at Heath’s house tonight. BYOB.

J.P.

Yeah, well, we might stop by, then.

TINA

Cool. Way cool.

Clark, not able to contain his disgust with the conversation, decides to end it with a bad reference to “Dazed and Confused.”

CLARK

Alright, CHECK YA LATER!

With that, J.P. waves and the sputtering car rolls away, beating a hasty retreat. Tina is left standing by herself, confused, until Dina wanders over.

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – DAY

The four laugh over Clark’s reference. J.P. occasionally sips from a refillable X-TREME GULP.

J.P.

That was kind of harsh, X.

CLARK

I’m just saying, the day I “stop by Heath’s house for a party” is the day I sell my brain to science.

STACY

You wouldn’t get enough money from your brain to “BYOB.”

J.P.

Alright, give it a rest. Where to, people?

ROBIN

The comic shop!

At this suggestion, all three of the others wail in protest, screaming exaggerated death throws.

ROBIN

What? What’s the problem?

CLARK

Let’s stop by my place, stow our shit, and hit the trail.

J.P.

On the way.

FADE TO:

EXT: CLARK’S DRIVEWAY – DAY

The gang exits through the front door and gather around the grotesque Chevy, which is parked next to a meticulously clean late model Monte Carlo.

CLARK

I’m telling you, J.P., my parents are three hundred miles away, and won’t be back in town for three days.

J.P.

We are not discussing this, X.

CLARK

Who else is tired of being seen in this fucking death trap? You have the money, just get a new car this year, bro.

J.P.

What for? The Outcast is good for another two years minimum.

ROBIN

Dude, you should get a new car, and pick a green one. They say geniuses pick green.

J.P.

You know what else they say? They say that dumbass sophomores with no car should shut the hell up. And X, when did you start “being seen” at all?

STACY

Everybody shut the fuck up and get in the piece of shit car, we can go through this monumental debate when we get some food.

They all cram into their same seats. It becomes apparent that these seats were assigned a long time ago. J.P. turns the key, but the engine refuses to start up.

ALL

(cacophony of moans and vulgarity) Move it goddammit! Turn, you run-down Motherfucker! Let’s take the other fucking car! Sonovabitch!

CUT TO:

EXT: DRIVE-THRU – NIGHT

The four sit in the Outcast, which nestles up to the common static-filled microphone. It grows dark rapidly, Fall playing the cruel mistress role. They look annoyed at the sound of the burger-slinger’s voice. The cadence of his voice is over-scripted and monotone. These words are etched into his brain.

MICROPHONE

(under heavy static) Welcome to Hollywood Burger, would you like to try our new Stuntman Stinger, $3.99 for a limited time only?

This suggestion causes several sets of eyes to roll, and Clark makes a motion to strangle the unseen servant.

J.P.

Um, no thanks. I don’t know if Red Cross could scrape up the fund-idge for that. Eight of those, um, ninety-nine cent Studio burgers with cheese, and four, like, ice-waters.

MICROPHONE

Okay, anything else for you this evening?

J.P.

I think that’ll do it.

MICROPHONE

Thank you, that’ll be $7.92 at the window.

The car pulls up to the window and they await their cheap burgers. Clark grows annoyed.

CLARK

I swear to Christ, how would an average seventeen year old come up with four bucks for a burger? This place should be called Cornhole Burger, ‘cuz the average customer is getting fucked up the ass.

STACY

Graphic wording, there, bud.

The gang grabs the bag from a bewildered attendant, and the car rolls away from the green and yellow building.

CUT TO:

EXT: THE L.Z. – NIGHT

The car pulls into a vacant, unpaved lot behind a building that boasts, “LOCKETT STORAGE FACILITIES, Lockett up and lock it down!” This is the infamous L.Z., or Landing Zone. J.P. parks and the gang pull out the burgers.

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

Burgers are passed around, and chewed briskly. Robin begins to rummage around the backseat floor.

J.P.

I’ve gotta say, the L.Z. always did make a good pit stop locale.

CLARK

Ha! Pit stop, huh? I get ya, bro.

STACY

Goddammit, are you guys talking about extra-vehicular activity again?

J.P.

Damn right. The L.Z. has seen more rocket-propelled operations than NASA.

ROBIN

(still scouring the floor) Have you guys ever brought girls here at the same time on accident?

CLARK

Are you shitting me, Hood? We’ve got a way to prevent that. A simple coded text message will reserve privacy from each other’s buggery.

J.P.

All we’ve got to send is the words, “The L.Z. is hot, engaging Fire-ant Ocelot.”

ROBIN

The fuck does that mean?

CLARK

“Fire-ant Ocelot” is the code. F-O stands for Fuck Off.

ROBIN

Gotcha. (retrieving an old fast-food bag from the floor) Hey, J.P., what’s in this?

STACY

That’s the bag from last night.

ROBIN

Dude, sweet! I’ve still got onion rings in here!

STACY

(ignoring his grossness) So, what would you guys do if I brought some guy here?

CLARK

I’d bring the popcorn.

J.P.

I’d drive.

ROBIN

(in between onion rings) I’d sell tickets to the Junior High kids.

STACY

You guys are a real pack of sick sons of bitches.

ROBIN

(holding an onion ring to the light) Yeah, but if we weren’t, we wouldn’t entertain you so much.

J.P.

Alright. Let’s stop lollygagging around.

J.P. starts up the car, and begins pulling out of the lot. Robin continues examining the onion ring, and the car plunges into a random total silence. A few moments pass.

ROBIN

(inspecting the onion ring) Look, sir! Droids!

STACY

Every damn time.

CLARK

I will fucking kill you if I hear that shit once more.

CUT TO:

EXT: THEATER PARKING LOT – NIGHT

The Outcast pulls into a crowded parking lot. The multiplex is sprawling with people, and cars. A typical Friday night in Fir Grove. The group is heard talking.

ROBIN (o.s.)

Dude, I don’t have enough money for a movie.

STACY (o.s.)

Relax, I got ya.

J.P. (o.s.)

We’re not seeing a movie, guys. I’m just saying ‘hi’ to Danni.

The four get out of the car. Doors slam shut, sneakers scrape pavement. The camera frames the four, standing tall, almost heroic in their formation. Very abruptly, their ‘we rock hard’ expressions turn to confusion and disgust. Swing the camera around to a mass of people. In couples, groups, and large gaggles, these audience members all have one unified voice of outrage.

CLARK

The crap is this? I’m waiting for Charlton Heston to part the Dead fucking Sea!

J.P.

Red Sea, ya dope.

Still in formation, our heroes approach the box office, where a sign reads, “POWER SURGES HAVE CANCELLED ALL SCREENINGS, WE APOLOGIZE.” Behind the glass is a pretty girl with pure fatigue in her eyes and an employee shirt attempting to cover her ample bosom. One can only wonder how she hasn’t been fired over dress code violations.

J.P.

Danni, what the hell?

DANNI

Hey, guys. Don’t blame me. I don’t run this fucking place, I just take the money and give the tickets.

STACY

Calm your ass, we aren’t here to see any sequels, and that seems to be all you have anyway.

J.P.

When do you get off?

CLARK

(sniggering) Yeah, Danni. When do you get off? Heh.

DANNI

Before you ever will, that’s for damn sure. Oh, speaking of chicks that won’t sleep with you, I saw Trudy a few hours ago.

CLARK

Where?

DANNI

Here. She went to see that fucking Tim Burton flick just before the power crapped out.

CLARK

I was trying to call her since school let out, goddammit!

STACY

Oh, and Little Miss Voicemail has another excuse for not answering. Convenience.

At the mere use of the word ‘convenience,’ Robin, Stacy, and J.P. all perk up without warning.

ROBIN

Dance the dance of convenience.

At this command, the three hop into a mad dancing fit, and stop abruptly.

J.P.

Which reminds me, BERSERKER!

Robin, while rolling his eyes in annoyance, dances an obviously predetermined routine. After this digression, all three look over to Clark, remembering the situation.

CLARK

This is hogshit. She’s supposed to be my girlfriend, so what’s the malfunction?

DANNI

I don’t know, but I’ve got some nice, tedious forms to fill out and some pissed off people to deal with, so I’ll see you guys later.

FADE TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

Some time has passed, and the gang is cruising down a neighborhood street at about thirty.

J.P.

I wish Danni didn’t have to work.

STACY

Why, so she could come with us and you could stare at her all night?

J.P.

NO! I like Danni for her personality.

CLARK

(gesturing ‘breasts’ with his hands) I like Danni’s personality, too.

ROBIN

(Also gesturing) She does have a large set of…(realizing his error in words) ideas to discuss. What with her large personality and all.

STACY

I am going to slug the next asshole who uses the word personality in place of breasts.

This threat instills another long pause. The joke is in the air. It is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Finally, Robin takes the initiative.

ROBIN

You need more personality, Stace.

True to her word, Stacy plants her fist into Robin’s shoulder. The others crack up, and lose control. Their good time is lost, however, to a wail of a car horn.

J.P.

Aww, shit.

CLARK

(looking behind the Outcast) Who is that?

J.P.

It’s Rosemont.

Just as these words escape him, J.P. is nearly run off the road by a smaller pickup that rears up next to him. The truck has too many people inside, and the driver is Rosemont, who looks like just as much of an asshole as J.P.’s introduction implied. They both pause at a Stop sign.

ROSEMONT

WHAT’S HAPPENING, HOLLISTER?! HOW ABOUT A LITTLE SPRINT, EH?!

J.P.

No thanks, Rosie! Maybe some other time!

ROSEMONT

AWW, COME ON! WE GOT A PERFECT STRETCH! NO COPS CAMP THROUGH HERE!

CLARK

(leaning across J.P.) Don’t give up your day-job, Rosemuncher!

ROSEMONT

COME ON, HOLLISTER! STOP ROBBING THE CRADLE WITH TEENIE-GREENIE BACK THERE, AND FUCKING RACE!

Stacy turns away in embarrassment. The mere mention of her and J.P. as an item has triggered a never before seen longing in her face. Rosemont has unknowingly found the most cruel statement to affect Stacy Green, and it shows. J.P. is visibly livid. The gears turn in his head, and he is searching for the only way to possibly rattle Rosemont’s cage.

CLARK

Hell with it, bro. We’ll kill him later.

ROBIN

Seriously, J.P., let’s just take it easy. You aren’t one to do anything stupid.

J.P.

I’m not letting him get away with being an asshole. If I do, he’ll never learn.

CLARK

Two assholes don’t make a hero, sir.

STACY

Just forget it, J.P. This isn’t-

The comment is lost as both cars accelerate through the crosswalk. J.P.’s judgment has lost to his pride. Rosemont cackles wildly as his friends cheer him on. The gang in the Outcast is, in contrast, completely silent.

CUT TO:

EXT: SUBURBAN STREETS – NIGHT

Both vehicles start to roar with fourth-gear exuberance. It doesn’t matter how beaten up and ugly the vehicles are. They are chariots of glory, they whip past trees and signposts as if competing in some mythical arena. The front bumpers are focused on, as they nudge ahead of each other, winning and losing ground. Just as the Outcast comes into a victorious position, Rosemont screeches around a corner, running a stop sign and disappearing into suburban seclusion.

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

ROBIN

And, he’s going where?

STACY

To hell, I hope.

At this assessment, J.P. begins to slow his aging vessel, but not in time. As the car is still going forty and has just rolled past a police cruiser. The lawman activates his various gadgets and races after the red Chevy. As the four see and hear the most dreaded of noises a teen can hear, they all panic.

CLARK

FUCK, FUCK, FUCK! That slippery shit pulled out because he knew there was a cop up ahead. He did that on purpose, that sonovabitch!

J.P.

Relax, X. If we lose our heads than we’re really screwed.

STACY

Oh? So we’re not already screwed?

CUT TO:

EXT: SUBURBAN CURBSIDE – NIGHT

The car pulls over, crossing into the bike path and up against the curb. The cop parks as well, and exits into the chilly night air. He has that younger cop attitude about him. He’s looking for the action that childhood movies promised him, and yet he is always relaxed and polite, in a very annoying way. He approaches the window, which is already down. J.P. has his head in his hands.

OFFICER

Evening, everyone. (to J.P.) Sir, you have an idea why I pulled you over?

Through the events that follow, all past demeanor is gone. The ‘Teenage Wasteland’ bravado that reigned over the four has been replaced with a respectful and fearful sobriety.

J.P.

I was speeding.

OFFICER

Quite excessively. This is a twenty-five zone and you doubled that. Could I please see your license and registration?

J.P.

Yes sir. (to Clark) Uh, dude, it’s in there.

CLARK

(handing it over) Yeah, um, here. Here it is.

They produce both documents, and the Officer gingerly takes them both. He straightens.

OFFICER

Alright. Please excuse me a moment.

He stomps back to his cruiser with a weariness reserved for real criminals. The four teens breathe out perhaps half of their anxiety.

J.P.

I don’t think he’s that pissed.

ROBIN

Aren’t those the most severe ones?

CLARK

Jesus Christ, Hood, will you shut up!

J.P.

Cool it, goddammit. This is my fault, so it’s my problem.

STACY

Not if he decides to call everyone’s parents! I’ll be strung up by the ankles for this, all because you had to be a tough guy!

ROBIN

Seriously, J.P.! Who cares if that little stain said something fucked up about Stacy. This didn’t help!

STACY

(suddenly angry) Why is the thought of me with a guy so fucked up!?

J.P.

Shut it, here he comes.

The Officer returns, strolling, as if a desperate attempt to take up more time, and curb anymore mischief.

OFFICER

Could I please have everyone step slowly out of the car. Thanks.

The four obey, and line up along the length of the red jalopy. The Officer crosses his hands at his waist, as if silently judging his four subjects.

OFFICER

So, where we all headed tonight?

CLARK

Nowhere in particular.

J.P.

Not any specific spot.

OFFICER

Just kinda cruising around, looking for something to do?

STACY

Yep.

J.P.

That’s about it.

OFFICER

(to J.P.) Um, Julian, is it? May I call you that?

J.P.

Yes, sir.

OFFICER

Julian, can I be honest with you?

J.P.

Uh, yeah.

OFFICER

I see the four of you, I see generally good kids. I mean, I know what kind of activities go on, I know what kind of things are available to you. I see four of you just cruising around, and I have no real reason to believe that you’ve been drinking, doing drugs, or any kind of illegal shenanigans. Save for your driving. Now, I’m going to put all our cards on the table. I’m disappointed to see this kind of “Rebel Without a Cause” crap from the four of you. I expect it from others every day, but I have to say, It is a sad day in my life when the good kids are pulling dumb moves. It wakes me up in the middle of the night, and I ask myself, “What are the bad, dumb kids doing?” You get what I’m saying?

J.P.

Yes, sir.

OFFICER

There’s nothing wrong with driving around, having a good time. I understand what keeps you guys moving

on these streets. You think, “What’s waiting for me at home? What keeps me anchored in any given spot? I’ve got my friends and half a tank of gas.” I get that. Now let me give you all some advice for the record. Youth is something to enjoy, but the best part of your youth is the ability to look back on it when you’re old and jaded, the way I’m getting. Okay?

STACY

Yeah.

OFFICER

Now, Julian, let me give you in particular some advice, off the record. I saw that tassel on your mirror. You graduate last year?

J.P.

Yeah.

OFFICER

Going to college?

J.P.

Not yet.

OFFICER

Well, let me say this. You want to impress people? You want to prove that you can go farther than this town? Do it. Don’t think about doing it. Don’t put it off ’til later. Start proving it now, and avoid trying to prove something on the road. It’s how good people get hurt. Got it? Alright. Thanks for the cooperation, now go have some fun, and be safe.

He hands J.P. a yellow citation. Without another heartfelt word, the cop turns and strides away like he has accomplished something. The four begin processing what was said. They slowly climb back into their respective seats, but not before hearing the cop’s voice again.

OFFICER

(in their direction) Julian. Don’t forget what I said, now.

FADE TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

The group sits in a collective retrospection. What was the point of that race? They were usually the respectable young adults they tried to be. Soon, the meditative feeling is broken.

ROBIN

Anyone else need something to drink?

CUT TO:

EXT: MINI-MART – NIGHT

The car creeps into the convenience store parking lot. The four leap out, as if sailors glad to be on dry land again.

STACY

Is it just me, or was that cop a little ‘after-school special’?

CLARK

(fiddling with cell-phone) I don’t know, I never watched those specials. I was busy blowing shit up in my backyard. YOU BITCH!

ROBIN

Oh, what now?

CLARK

Fucking Trudy. She just texted me that she can’t go to Portland tomorrow.

J.P.

Jesus, you’ve got a one-track mind.

CUT TO:

INT: MINI-MART – NIGHT

Bright fluorescent lights highlight the gang as they split up and move to grab very different drinks. An annoyingly catchy Backstreet Boys song plays on the store speakers. Robin snatches a fancy glass bottle of draft rootbeer, while Clark reaches for a canister of Jolt Cola. J.P. refills his X-TREME cup. Stacy grabs a larger bottle of apple juice, and they all regroup at the counter. All four faces scan upward to the sound of the detestable music. J.P. pays the unseen clerk.

CLARK

Hood, pay for mine, would you? I’ll be outside.

J.P.

(finishing paying) Where’s X going?

STACY

He’s going outside to puke.

J.P.

Ah.

CUT TO:

EXT: MINI-MART – NIGHT

Drinks in hand, the four protagonists sit on the hood of the Outcast. It’s cold out, but a pleasant form of cold where the air seems fresher. Clark leans back as J.P. fires up the car stereo. The song is Tom Petty’s “Last Dance With Mary-Jane.”

CLARK

Thanks, bro. Now, I feel better.

ROBIN

Entertain this idea for a moment. If we were forced to be in a boy band, who would be who?

STACY

Elaborate, sir.

ROBIN

Like, I think J.P. would be the talent, you know. The guy who can actually sing, and the only one who would have a career later. X would be the tough guy with tattoos and street cred.

STACY

And you would be the cute baby-face who dresses the best.

ROBIN

Well, I’m more likely to be the guy the studio has to tweak the most.

J.P.

Right there. See? That’s why you have no girl, Hood. Girls like self-esteem, confidence.

ROBIN

Dude, I can’t be confident without sounding like an egotistical jerk. And what the hell justifies an ego from me?

CLARK

Your smooth shave?

ROBIN

Shut up, Clark!

STACY

Robin, deary, let me give you a woman’s opinion. You’re funny. You’re a geek, but in that cute way that women like. Like…like Steve Carell in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Except you aren’t forty.

ROBIN

Oh, that’s comforting.

STACY

Just, I don’t know, just fly casual when you’re near a group of girls. Don’t zero in on any one comment, just…

CLARK

Okay, okay. I think we’ve hammered enough advice into the man. He’ll figure it out. He always figures shit out.

The other three glance over to Clark in surprise. Words of wisdom are not his specialty.

ROBIN

As much as I appreciate the vote of confidence, where the deuce did that come from?

CLARK

I don’t know. I think this bullshit with Trudy is making me start to think. I mean, Hood, you’d be handling this problem way better than me. Hell, bro, you aren’t a little kid following us around anymore. Just do what you think works.

J.P., sensing the melodrama that threatens to spoil everyone’s good time, leaps to his feet, re-energized.

J.P.

Come on. Let’s go. Let’s go up to the hills and find some stars and shit. (pulling Clark up) Come on. Lift your luggage, you scurvy bastard!

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

The four are in the middle of a laughing fit. The atmosphere of the night has thankfully changed back to the meaningless fun that can carry friends away on a long night. Robin continues his joke with outlandish hand gestures and sporadic inflection on words, as he struggles to stop laughing.

ROBIN

SO…SO…SO MY GRANDPA LEANS OUT THE WINDOW AND GIVES THE GUY THE FINGER! AND…AND…AND WE SCREECH AWAY, JUST HAULING BALLS, AND…AND…AND MY GRANDPA SCREAMS “TAKE THAT YOU PIG-FUCKER!”

CLARK

AH-HA…heh, oh. Man, that’s what I shoulda said to that fucking cop!

STACY

Oh, yeah, Billy Badass! (mimicking Clark) I’da smacked dat motherfucker over da head wid a fucking tire-iron, and den I’da stole da guy’s car and-

J.P

Leave him alone.

STACY

Speaking of the cop, he brought up a good point. What are you gonna do about college, Mr. Hollis?

J.P.

I don’t know. It really depends on what a person wants to do in life.

ROBIN

So, what do you want to do?

J.P.

If I knew that, I’d be doing it.

STACY

You could always come to State with me.

J.P.

Yeah, and do what? Stand around picking my nose while you cure cancer or something?

CLARK

You want a career? Join the Navy. I guarantee you’d be the smartest guy there.

J.P.

Sounds lucrative, but no. I’d rather cut my nuts off than sell them to the U.S. Government for a couple years.

ROBIN

Save up some money, and open your own business. Like a…petting zoo or something. Clark’ll be your main attraction.

J.P.

Heh. Naw, I need to go to school probably. If anything, it just gives me another four years to figure something out. If there’s a better use for college, I’d like to hear it.

All of this has transpired and hit the mind of each person in the car. The real thought behind the conversation has been narrowed down to a simple idea: What should I do? Who cares. Just figure it out later. The usual silence follows, but casually, Robin again breaks the tension.

ROBIN

You know what you almost never see? A single pant. Always two there are.

All three of the others glance at him confused, and quietly concede the point. After all, it’s true.

CUT TO:

EXT: THE HILLS – NIGHT

The car zooms along a hillside, making its way up into the sticks. Just over the edge, the lights of Portland can be seen in the distance. One would find them beautiful, but would be too busy screaming in terror at the condition of the road. A mild rain envelopes the red car. The four are seen through the windows, which are dotted with rainwater.

STACY

I give up, J.P., where the hell are we?

J.P.

I heard this story at work about a cemetery up here.

ROBIN

Why are we going to a cemetery? I don’t want to go to a cemetery. What is there at a cemetery?

CLARK

What story?

J.P.

If you drive up here, park in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary, walk up, touch the statue, run back to the car, click on the headlights, and play Led Zeppelin as loud as you can, Mary will start dancing.

CLARK

Aw, horseshit.

J.P.

Who wants to give it a try? Oh come on, you guys, its either that or an hour of lunar geography with Professor Lack-beard (he jerks a thumb in Robin’s direction).

CUT TO:

EXT: GRAVEYARD – NIGHT

The car pulls through an open, rusted gate and proceeds into the graveyard. While the word ‘spooky’ is usually reserved for Scooby Doo, it works for this place. J.P. parks no less than ten yards away from the stone idol. The headlights shine on the flawless shape of “Dancing Mary.” Still viewed through the windows of the car, the four stare in wonder at her.

ROBIN

Okay…raise your hand if you just shat yourself.

CLARK

Still want to see her dance, sailor?

J.P.

Honestly? I think I’ve wanted to see something like this my whole life. Stace?

STACY

I’m with you. Hood? (pause) Robin?

ROBIN

Yeah. Let’s fucking do it.

CLARK

(opening his door) Well, if anything’s worth doing, it’s because of peer pressure.

They all exit the car and begin walking. They tread heavily, almost in slow motion. Soon, Stacy takes J.P.’s hand out of sheer need of comfort. He squeezes back, a look of concentration and curiosity across his brow. Another silence takes over, but this one is more of fear, reverence, and the feeling that this experience is worth experiencing. They reach the statue’s dais. All four look up into Mary’s eyes, as if to ask for adult answers to teenage questions.

CLARK

Well, what do we do? Just reach out and tag her like she’s home base?

ROBIN

Do we say anything?

STACY

Like what?

ROBIN

I don’t know. A Hail Mary would be appropriate.

Without another word being spoken, J.P. knows exactly what to do. He gently extracts himself from Stacy and approaches the idol. Solemnly, he reaches up with an outstretched palm and places his hand over Mary’s. Stacy joins him, placing her palm on Mary’s hip. Clark takes the other hip, and Robin takes the other hand in his. From a distance, they look like four children surrounding their mother, desperately seeking her attention and approval. All four remove their hands simultaneously.

STACY

(smiling) Now what?

J.P.

Now we run.

They take off. By the time they all reach the car, they are all huffing and puffing, not from physical fatigue, but from adrenaline. J.P. quickly reaches in and cranks the music up to full blast. Led Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore” settles a perfectly eerie feeling onto the event. They all look back to Mary.

STEREO

(Robert Plant) Oh! Dance in the dark night! Sing ’til the morning light!

As the song continues, the focus cuts back and forth. The statue. The four teens. Mary. The four friends. It becomes apparent that Mary will not budge. The song continues.

J.P.

Dammit.

CLARK

Well, what were you expecting?

J.P.

I don’t know. Something…something significant.

Camera stays fixed on the stone woman in the background, as all four of the forlorn teens scramble back into the car in the foreground. The music abruptly is killed, and the lights edge to the right. Mary is engulfed in darkness.

FADE TO:

EXT: GRASS FIELD – NIGHT

The Outcast sits uncomfortably, with lights on. The grass is shorter, and clearly wet, as all Oregon grass is. Stacy and J.P. lay side by side on the hood of the car, gazing into a night sky that remains untainted by city lights. They occasionally glance at one another, as if to announce their sexual tension to the world. Robin and Clark lay horizontally on the higher roof. They all feel the same about the starry night: who needs a drunken haze with this? “Strawberry Fields Forever” plays gently from the interior of the car.

ROBIN

I should have brought my camera.

J.P.

You always say that…but, yeah, you should have this time.

They resume the euphoric silence. Maybe five seconds pass with just them looking up, the soft beat, and a shot of the sky. Then, as if on purpose, Clark’s phone ruins the moment by ringing, his ringtone is Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper.”

CLARK

Aw, Jesus. (opening phone) A-hoy-hoy? Trudy? Baby, I can’t hear you. No, give me a second.

Clark hits the grass and begins walking and babbling into his phone. Without a word, the other three all stand slowly and trudge after him.

CLARK

Baby, why don’t you return any of my damn calls? No! No, I am not being controlling. Trudy, I thought we were going to hang out tonight, and go to Portland tomorrow. I have no idea, because I haven’t spoken to you since Thursday. I’m with them, yes, but where the hell are you? Huh?

As Clark continues this typical fight, the other three are engaged in different trains of thought. Robin sings a song, an obscure reference to “Stand By Me,” While J.P. and Stacy talk seriously and in hushed tones.

ROBIN

How far we may travel is the measure of a man!

STACY

So, seriously, what do you see in Danni?

J.P.

What do you see that’s so wrong with her?

STACY

I don’t know. She’s a bit young for you. She doesn’t like the same music or movies as you, she wouldn’t put up with the incessant cussing and Star Wars references that pop up with us…

J.P.

I thought you didn’t know.

ROBIN

A knight without armor in a savage land!

STACY

You could always do better.

CLARK

NO! Listen, baby, I just want to be with you, it’s Friday night!

J.P.

Right, but you could say that about anyone. I mean, Clark could do way better than Trudy, but he’s into her, that’s what’s really important.

STACY

So, you’re saying that you’re into Danni?

J.P.

I don’t know yet. I have to hang with her. I like her so far. I just need to find a casual date, so I can see why I dig her, if at all.

ROBIN

Paladin! Paladin!

J.P.

Enough about me and Danni, alright. It isn’t even a thing, yet. What about you? Digging anyone lately?

STACY

Forget it.

J.P.

Hold on, that’s a yes. Who? Whoooo?

STACY

Just forget it, Hollis!

CLARK

FINE! FUCK IT! (hanging up phone) Anyway, what’d I miss?

ROBIN

J.P. digs Danni, Stacy says he could do better. He asked Stace who she digs, and here we are.

CLARK

(Announcer voice) Last week, on Fir Grove Affairs! An affair to remember!

STACY

Eat shit.

CLARK

You first.

J.P.

Come on, Green, I bear my emotional birthday suit, here, now for the good of the clan, I think you better fess up.

STACY

Let it be!

CLARK

I whisper words of wisdom! Let it be! Let it be!

J.P.

Shut it, X. Stace, what’s your problem?

The conversation is curbed by a bird noise from off in the distance. All four turn to look in the noise’s direction to see…

CUT TO:

EXT: RAILROAD TRACKS – NIGHT

The old, rusted, and useless tracks stretch into a patch of bushes, and then into darkness. Ominous is the word they would all use.

ROBIN

Dare I even ask, (Scottish accent) That road there, where does that lead?

CLARK

One guess, dwarf.

J.P.

Hood, make a run back to the Outcast. Grab the boomsticks from the trunk.

ROBIN

Aye-aye.

Robin catches the keys that J.P. throws, and is off at a sprint. Clark pulls his jacket up from around his waist and over his shoulders. Stacy unconsciously reaches into her pockets.

J.P.

What do you think, X?

CLARK

I’m thinking there’s something rather Canadian about these tracks.

STACY

I was thinking the same thing.

Robin returns, carrying two aluminum baseball bats. He hands one to Clark and one to J.P. The four of them begin walking the path. They huddle close together. This exceeds the normal tomfoolery they are used to. This could get dangerous. The camera closes in on each of their faces. Clark, looking as threatening as he can. Robin, looking curious, as a younger child might. Stacy, looking pensive, trying to decide whether or not to show her fear. J.P., shouldering his bat, calm as if this were all a movie he was watching. The camera reverses to show the dark chasm of the track. Bushes, and further, trees, frame the tracks all the way into dark obscurity.

CLARK

It just occurred to me, what are we doing?

J.P.

Walking to Trudy’s house?

CLARK

Ha, ha, and free this month only, another ha.

A noise in the bushes. The four nearly jump out of their skin. Clark starts to let out threatening screeches. J.P. brandishes his bat with an animal protectiveness.

J.P.

WE ARE ARMED! WE ARE FUCKING ARMED!

CLARK

RRRAAAAHHHH! TRY IT! TRY SOMETHING, GODDAMMIT!

A bush rustles again, this time, it is no more than fifteen feet from them.

ROBIN

Run away!

They all do so, except J.P., who cracks his bat on the track several times. He raises the bat, thinking about wandering in after the disturbance. He decides against that, and lopes after the others.

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

The four, in their usual seats, sit exhausted. Through the windows, it becomes apparent that J.P. is speeding away from the last encounter with great haste.

ROBIN

Motion to end the creepy, middle-of-nowhere shenanigans for tonight.

STACY

Motion seconded.

J.P.

Motion passed.

STACY

What do you think that was?

CLARK

Whatever it was, I was this close to killing it.

J.P.

Settle down, slugger. Hey, what’s this Mickey Mouse bullshit?

They all look behind the car to see headlights in the distance.

J.P.

That asshole’s been following us since we left the hills.

CLARK

Cop, you think?

J.P.

I don’t know.

ROBIN

What happened to the ban on eerie shit?

J.P.

I’ve got an idea.

CUT TO:

EXT: NEIGHBORHOOD STREETS – NIGHT

The Outcast indeed has a follower, an SUV of mysterious description. The red beater’s lights go off, and J.P. pulls into an empty driveway. The SUV drives past as if not noticing.

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

All four watch the follower drive past, and breathe again.

J.P.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way.

CLARK

What a bunch of shit, man.

Camera stays inside the car, as J.P. starts it up and pulls back onto the street. Reverse the angle so the camera views out the windshield. They drive for a block or so, until they see the SUV, parked with its lights on.

STACY

What the hell is with this guy?

CUT TO:

EXT: NIEGHBORHOOD STREETS – NIGHT

The Outcast slowly rolls past the stationary vehicle. The windows are tainted black to make identification impossible. As soon as J.P. gets past the bigger car, he guns it, trying to put some space between them.

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

J.P.

I don’t know what this guy’s problem is, but he’s pissing me off!

With that, J.P. zooms left around a corner, then right. He has his engine whining in protest of the excessive speed. It becomes apparent that they have lost their tail. J.P. slows to the speed limit.

STACY

Jesus, what’s today, creepy asshole day?

FADE TO:

EXT: DRIVE THRU – NIGHT

After several off-centered encounters, the gang sits in front of another trusty Hollywood Burger menu.

MICROPHONE

Welcome to Hollywood Burger, would you like to try our new Stuntman Stinger, $3.99 for a limited time only?

J.P.

(thoroughly annoyed) No, I would not. We’d like four medium chocolate milkshakes, and that will do it. Nothing more.

MICROPHONE

Will that be everything this evening?

J.P.

Oh, for Christ’s sake, yes!

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

Each person receives a shake in a cheap paper cup. The fast-food clerk hands over a handful of change, napkins, and, for some reason, barbecue sauce.

J.P.

Hold on there, cowboy. We don’t require any dip-sauce.

CLERK

You…don’t?

J.P.

Well, we got four shakes, so, we don’t really need it, but, we’ll take it.

CLERK

(Suddenly very protective) Well, no. You don’t need it, so, I’ll put it back.

J.P.

Okay. Later, then.

CUT TO:

EXT: DRIVE THRU – NIGHT

The Outcast pulls away from the window, and the four can be heard laughing wildly off-screen. The car pulls a complete circle, ending right next to the menu screen again. J.P. rolls down the window, and all four are in hysterics.

MICROPHONE

Welcome to Hollywood Burger, would you like to try our new Stuntman Stinger, $3.99 for a limited time only?

J.P.

Um, naw, man, but could we have some barbecue sauce?

All four teens lose their composure, especially Robin, who doubles over in the back seat, wailing with exuberance. The clerk is heard giving an annoyed sigh, and voices his anger, job be damned.

MICROPHONE

You sons of bitches.

This outburst only triggers more laughter as the Outcast pulls out, past the window, and into the night.

FADE TO:

EXT: HIGHWAY – NIGHT

The car races through the late evening traffic, cutting between lanes and avoiding others at all costs. J.P. is fueled with a mighty second wind: he feels energized, even after a considerably eventful evening. He signals left and slides in that direction.

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

Close up on the gas gauge. The needle rests between a quarter of a tank and empty. Close up on J.P.’s eyes. They flash with sober perception. He knows what’s coming soon. His debate of pulling over is curtailed by the ringing of a cell phone. It plays “Invincible” by Pat Benatar. Stacy reaches for her back pocket hastily. The guys are all grins.

PHONE (BENATAR)

We can’t afford to be innocent! Stand up and face the enemy! It’s a do or die situation! We will be invincible!

CLARK

New ringtone, there, eh Molly Ringwald?

ROBIN

I just died a little. Stacy, why?

STACY

It’s Danni. I’ll put her on speaker, everyone shut up. (lifting phone to central location) Hey, Danni. What’s up?

PHONE (DANNI)

You still with those guys?

STACY

Yup, gotcha on speaker phone. Say hi, guys.

GUYS

Danni! Maarrgghh! Hi!

PHONE (DANNI)

Hello, boys. Y’all need to get your asses to Portland. Guess who’s playing at my brother’s work?

ROBIN

Some thirty-year-old teenagers called something edgy, like “Octane,” or “Injected.”

PHONE (DANNI)

No, Jesus, it’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers!

CLARK

Oh, bullshit.

PHONE (DANNI)

No fucking joke. I’m looking at them right now!

J.P.

What the fuck? What else are we gonna do?

STACY

We’re there, what’s the address?

PHONE (DANNI)

3117 Paris St. It’s called the Savage Swan.

STACY

Okay, we’ll try and make it.

PHONE (DANNI)

Great. Look, I gotta go, their playing my song. Bye.

Stacy flips the phone closed, and hopeful looks spread about the car, except J.P. isn’t optimistic about the gas problem.

STACY

Sounds like a blast in a half.

ROBIN

Yes, quite. I wonder what Danni’s song is?

CLARK

I’ll bet it’s “Around the World,” (mimes breasts) neh!

Very suddenly, the car lurches like an obese man in the throes of seizure. J.P. pumps the steering column to the left as if ringing a man’s neck. Stopping and killing the engine, everyone calms again.

ROBIN

What in the name of Alex P. Keaton was that about?

J.P.

Maybe I should’ve said something earlier. Like, “We’re fucked.”

CUT TO:

EXT: HIGHWAY SHOULDER – NIGHT

The four wayward travelers slam the doors shut and bundle up in response to the fall wind.

CLARK

I fucking knew it! I knew this tub of shit would be the death of us!

STACY

We’re still alive, dumbass.

ROBIN

You got a jug of gas in the trunk, J.P.?

J.P.

Negatory.

This facilitates a forlorn silence. For the first time ever, they finally had a destination. And for the first time, the ride is over.

ROBIN

If we miss that band, I’m going to be very pissed.

STACY

Well, let’s think. How far is the nearest gas station?

J.P.

Probably a good six miles.

CLARK

We’ve got phones, we could call triple-A.

J.P.

X, I’m not a triple-A member.

CLARK

You need a membership for that?

J.P.

SHIT! We don’t deserve this!

As the young driver laments this, a light Oregon rain, which would put other storms to shame, begins pelting them all. J.P.’s somewhat puffy hair is flattened, while Clark’s glasses are smeared with droplets.

J.P.

And I really don’t find this necessary, either.

STACY

Let me just call my dad.

ROBIN

Yeah, Stace. You tell him that you were out riding around on I-5 in a car full of guys. He’ll understand. He’s a real stand-up guy like that.

STACY

Alright. Who’s parents then?

CLARK

Mine are at the coast, like I told you.

STACY

Hood?

ROBIN

Nope, sorry. It’s “Date Night,” so their phones are off and they won’t be home until two A.M.

STACY

Dammit. J.P., could we call your mom?

J.P.

Uh, no. Even if she was home, she’d be too drunk.

STACY

You’re sure?

J.P.

It’s Friday, so, yeah. I’m sure.

STACY

Well, is it worth a try?

J.P.

No, Stacy! It is not worth a try! So we shouldn’t waste our time!

STACY

What is your problem?

J.P.

You don’t want to meet my mom, trust me! It’s not like she’s ready to meet any of my friends! What do you think, Stace, she isn’t an up-standing parent who’s gonna chaperone us to the fucking prom!

STACY

Fine, goddammit. Fine!

Without another word, Stacy begins walking off along the highway. Robin and Clark stare at the ground, unable to keep J.P.’s gaze. J.P. is furious with confusion.

J.P.

What is her problem?

CLARK

J.P., you can’t tell us that you didn’t know.

Just before Clark can go into details, his Iron Maiden ringtone is heard, and he whips out his phone, opens it, and begins shouting almost immediately.

CLARK

Trudy, baby, I’m in the middle of something. Can I call you back in like five? No! Oh, for Christ’s sake! Are you serious? NO! I’m not!

As he walks off to argue, J.P. loses some rage, and Robin continues where Clark left off.

ROBIN

Stacy likes you, J.P. She was going to ask you to the prom this year. Everyone knows. Even Rosemont and the girls at school. Everyone knew but you. It was easy enough to see, but you’re just too damn busy driving around, acting like you’re tough shit because you graduated. She doesn’t look at you like a friend, she looks at you as more. And the whole night she’s been trying to tell you that, but you’ve been scamming on Danni, street-racing, and treating her like she’s a guy. Jesus.

CLARK

No, you know what, call me when you grow up! (hanging up) Fuck! Well, did you tell him?

ROBIN

Yeah, I told him.

CLARK

Then what the hell? What’s your move, Cochise?

J.P.

I…I guess…we should start walking.

FADE TO:

EXT: HIGHWAY DITCH – NIGHT

Some time has passed. Stacy, still angry, walks a good twenty yards ahead of the boys. Everyone is tiring, and they have nearly no hope left in them. And all the while, cars and freight trucks zip by, ignoring the important adolescent events…

ROBIN

Is she gonna slow down any time soon?

J.P.

Free lesson, Hood: if you’re going to piss off a seventeen year old girl, don’t let it be a tomboy, and don’t let it be on the side of the interstate.

ROBIN

I’ll be sure to note that in my log.

J.P.

Why didn’t she just tell me?

CLARK

If women really wanted us to know as much as them, they’d tell us. They just want to see how smart we are, to see if they can teach us tricks.

ROBIN

What, roll over, play dead…get me a sandwich, bitch!

CLARK

Pretty much. I mean, shit, Trudy’s trying to get me to be her slave, and she’s doing that…what do you call it? Reverse psychiatry?

J.P.

Psychology.

CLARK

Oh. But she treats me like shit on purpose, just so I keep acting like I’m in the doghouse. That way, she’s always got leverage on me.

ROBIN

I don’t think that’s reverse psychology, but it does suck.

J.P.

Alright, so what do I do about Stacy?

ROBIN

That all depends. What do you want to do?

J.P.

I don’t know. I never thought about her that way. That’s a lie, I’ve always thought about her that way, but what am I supposed to do? Why is the fate of our relationship put on my shoulders?

CLARK

Who gives a shit?

J.P.

(calmed, taken aback) What?

CLARK

Are you honestly complaining about your situation? A great girl, that we’ve all admitted to each other that we would go out with in a second, likes you. What’s your big fucking dilemma?

J.P.

I don’t know if she’s what I want.

ROBIN

You never know if anything is what you want! And your brain starts working now? God, why don’t you just walk up there and talk this out with her?

J.P.

Well, how do I start that conversation? ‘Hey, I hear that you like me and I’m a total shit-for-brains because I didn’t notice’?

CLARK

Well, you wouldn’t be lying.

J.P. flips Clark the bird nonchalantly. Clark pantomimes grabbing it out of the air, knocking it on his head, and tossing it away, without missing a beat.

ROBIN

Look, whatever you say, you know certain facts. One of them is that, no matter what happens, you love her. Just the same way Clark and I do, and just the same way we all take care of each other. On top of that, all that ‘ruin our friendship’ stuff is pure bullshit, especially with us.

J.P.

(to Clark) What do you think?

CLARK

The same thing I always think…that we’re all rapidly turning into an episode of Dawson’s Creek.

ROBIN

Naw, we aren’t that good-looking.

CLARK

That’s true, those guys are unnaturally good-looking, aren’t they?

ROBIN

I blame the schools.

J.P.

Thanks guys, that’s really relevant right now.

CLARK

Oh, boo-fuckity-hoo. Just go talk to her.

J.P.

You know, if one of you was in this situation, I wouldn’t be treating you like shit.

ROBIN

Yeah, but we’re not. So, everything you say right now is just sounding like “Wank-wank-wankity-what-do-I-do-wank-wank.”

J.P.

Fine, fuck you, and fuck you.

J.P. storms off ahead. The two boys seem a bit miffed by this snub, until they look at each other, and realize that he finally stopped complaining and decided.

ROBIN

Well, that just seemed uncalled-for.

CLARK

I know. He keeps talking that way, and we should pull the car over!

BOTH

Waahh!

We cut to Stacy, who is bundled against the cold and walking in silence. J.P. catches up with her, and they walk for several seconds without saying a word. They both seem scared of losing the innocent tension that dominated their friendship, as it was what made the two of them different from other friends.

J.P.

So, um…I hear you like me and I’m a total shit-for-brains because I didn’t notice.

STACY

Sounds about right. What’re you gonna do about it?

J.P.

What do you suggest?

STACY

It doesn’t work that way.

J.P.

What?

STACY

A girl can’t confess that she likes a guy and then make the first move for him! You’re not a very smart guy.

J.P.

I take it back, maybe you should meet my mom.

STACY

Jesus. What do you think?

J.P.

I think this would have been more convenient last year, when…

STACY

What? When you kissed me and then pretended it didn’t fucking happen? Oh, you’re right, that’s much more romantic.

J.P.

Stace, what in hell do you want from me? We’ve been friends for like seven years, and now you want to be more? Now, when I don’t know how to look at you that way anymore?

STACY

I want you to do something about it. Kiss me, tell me to give up, just make one decision, J.P., for once!

At this ultimatum, a shady looking sedan pulls to the side of the lane and a window rolls down. The drive looks just as suspicious as his vehicle.

MOTORIST

Hey, honey. This guy giving you a hard time?

STACY

Beat it, man.

MOTORIST

Don’t talk like that. I’ll give you a ride, get you away from that creep, whaddyasay?

J.P.

Hey, cockshiner, this is my girlfriend.

J.P. puts his arm protectively around Stacy’s shoulder. She looks up at him suspiciously.

STACY

Quick decision, sailor.

J.P.

Come on, take a hike, asshole.

MOTORIST

Enjoy the night.

The car rolls away, and Stacy shrugs out of J.P.’s embrace.

STACY

I’ve got an idea. How about me and the guys go get the gas, and you stay behind, watch the car. Ponder your big quandary, and get back to me when you grow a fucking brain.

FADE TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

Some time has visibly passed. J.P. sits alone in his beloved vehicle, arms crossed like a sulking child who has been punished by Mother. His breath is visible in the night chill. He closes his eyes and shakes his head. Before long, he loses the calm, collected demeanor that holds together his charm. He plants his head into the steering column, touching off his car horn.

J.P.

Dammit! Dammit! Damn it all! This has got to be some sort of cosmic punishment.

With this suggestion, the youth turns his gaze upward, as many do, to the ceiling of the car. Though the padded ceiling is only a few inches above his head, J.P.’s eyes suggest that he stares through it, all the way toward the vengeful deity that has smote him emotionally.

J.P.

Okay, I get it. What’d I do this time? I’m a respectable guy, aren’t I? Sure, I don’t worship, but I certainly fear. That’s got to count for something.

This spiritual negotiation is halted by a heavy pound on the passenger window. J.P. rotates his gaze, resting on Clark’s blurry frame in the window.

CLARK

Open up, ya mook! I’m freezing balls out here!

CUT TO:

EXT: HIGHWAY SHOULDER – NIGHT

Exiting the car, J.P. narrows his eyes at his friend, who clutches a red jug of gasoline as Indiana Jones once held a golden idol. The confusion that keeps J.P. silent is the obvious question, where are Stacy and Robin?

CLARK

Call me a wise man, because I come bringing myrrh, and I had to follow the stars to find my way back to ya.

J.P.

X, myrrh is nowhere near gasoline. It’s some kinda reddish gum resin.

CLARK

Oh. I didn’t know that. Kinda makes you think what the hell a newborn baby needed with gum resin. Anyway, let’s get this wagon train a-movin’, partner.

J.P.

How come you’re alone? Where are the others?

CLARK

Stace thought it would be more practical if one of us came back, and we could pick them up on the way. By the way, you owe me twelve bucks for this. Ten for the gas, two for the can.

CUT TO:

INT: COFFEE SHOP – NIGHT

Stacy and Robin sit at the counter of a classic truck-stop coffee shop. All the other customers are large, middle-aged men wearing caps, and slurping black coffee. The two teens are visibly uncomfortable. Robin turns to his left, making eye-contact with the greasy, mustachioed man next to him.

ROBIN

Evening.

ROY

Evening.

ROBIN

Whatch’ya haulin’?

ROY

Miniature models…of cargo trucks, oddly enough.

ROBIN

Heh. That’s pretty good.

ROY

Thanks. You’re the first person to get the joke right off the bat. So, how about you? What brings you here?

ROBIN

Well, I don’t have a truck, but my friend here is carrying a lot of baggage.

ROY

Ha!

STACY

The hell did you just say?

ROBIN

Sorry, Stace, but I’m a little pissed that you had to go and spoil the night by turning it into a damn soap opera. We were all having fun, and now look at us. J.P. and Clark are on the side of the interstate, I’m talking to truckers, with excellent sense of humors, by the way…

ROY

(raising his mug) Takes one to know one, young squire, takes one to know one.

ROBIN

…and you’re sitting here, brooding like a spoiled harpy.

STACY

Harpy? Are you kidding me? What have I done to reach harpyhood? Excellent use of the word ‘brooding,’ though.

ROBIN

I applaud the use of the suffix

‘-hood,’ especially considering my nickname. I applaud that, but not your behavior. We were having a pretty decent time, and you turn it into a poorly written, paper-thin teen movie.

At this, Robin finds it necessary to turn, facing forward into the camera, with a wry grin out of a Mel Brooks film. Stacy follows his gaze and scrunches her face in annoyed confusion.

STACY

I give up. What are you doing?

ROBIN

Sorry, I always wanted to break the fourth wall. But, seriously, your little tantrum split us up. I don’t like splitting up. And on top of that, even if you drop the subject for the rest of the night, it’ll still be on J.P.’s mind, and obviously yours. You just became that chick.

STACY

I’m so sorry, Robby. I perform the equivalent of an emotional striptease, J.P. couldn’t care less, and I totally forgot that the only thing I should worry about is your precious good time.

ROBIN

Fine, call me the hypocrite, but ask yourself this: When did you turn into such a freaking…girl?

STACY

I AM a girl you dope!

ROBIN

That’s not what I mean, and you know it. You make fun of all those twits who read Vogue, and shop all weekend, and talk about how cute the guys are, but you’re acting like the Queen of Teen Emotion right now.

ROY

Might I interject?

ROBIN

Not really the time, sir.

ROY

I just wanted to say, I’ve got a daughter your age.

ROBIN

Yeah? Did she ever make a switcheroo from one-of-the-guys to Little Miss Mallrat?

ROY

You’re talking about a trucker’s daughter, boy. Of course she did. She wanted to go to London and be a…pro golfer, or…a writer. Something weird. She spent a year talking about it, every week at least. Pretty soon, she just took off. Wrong decision. She came back, tail between her legs, saying she made a mistake.

STACY

What does that have to do with me?

ROY

Well, you say this other kid…

ROBIN

J.P.

ROY

Right, J.P., doesn’t care that you like him. Believe me, he cares, just like I care about my daughter. I just never got the chance to process the London idea and hash it out with her, because she jumped to the conclusion that I wouldn’t help her. So, she failed.

STACY

Did she ever go back, after you talked it out?

ROY

No. She spent so much time talking to me about it, she picked up the family business.

STACY

She’s a trucker?

ROY

No, she does paperwork for me and my brother. You know, manifests, order forms, shipment information, logistics. Got her mother’s math skills.

ROBIN

Huh. (to Stacy) See? That’s what I’m talking about.

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

The neon signs of the coffee shop are seen through the windows. All four teens are reunited in their seats. J.P. turns the ignition key and his engine roars to life again, rejuvenated by the fresh gas. Robin tries to fuel the others with optimism.

ROBIN

All right, let’s get to that club. Punch it, Chewie.

CLARK

Hold the phone, Hood, J.P. is Chewie?

ROBIN

Well, no, but for the purpose of that comment he is. He is at the controls of our ship.

CLARK

Yeah, but in that respect, if he’s Chewie, who are all of us?

ROBIN

Didn’t we already go through this a billion times?

CLARK

Maybe, but indulge me.

ROBIN

Obviously, Stacy is Leia. And, if J.P. is restricted to Chewie…

CLARK

Well, he would make more sense as Han, wouldn’t he? His car, and everything.

ROBIN

Sure, but that makes us, who?

CLARK

Well, that would make me Lando.

ROBIN

What, are you kidding? You as Lando? You aren’t half as smooth as Lando.

CLARK

Then I’m Luke.

ROBIN

I’ll ignore that, because it’s ludicrous. If you’re Luke, who would I be, pray tell?

CLARK

Threepio?

ROBIN

I’M THREEPIO!? No, no, no, no, no, no, good sir, If anyone is Luke Skywalker, that’s me, J.P. is Han, Stacy is Leia, and you’re Chewie! You’re the copilot and Han’s right-hand man, and don’t dare try to tell me different!

Through this angry tirade, Clark has gone into a laughing fit. The entire conversation was lost on J.P. and Stacy, who refuse to join in the heckling of Robin. They sit silent, and the camera has focused on them the whole time.

CLARK

Dude, I love starting that shit with you, you look so pissed that you’re gonna have a stroke!

ROBIN

Don’t screw with me man. That’s, that’s like going up to a Buddhist and calling Buddha a wuss.

CLARK

Wasn’t Buddha a wuss?

This last exchange was in hope of drawing the other two into the conversation. A long pause for intellectual interjection hits, but none comes. Clark loses his patience.

CLARK

Hey, Hood, is it just me or are we in this car alone, here?

ROBIN

Serious, you two need to cut the crap and have some fun. That’s an order.

J.P.

(unspirited) Aye, aye, mon capitan.

ROBIN

X, if you would be so kind.

Clark manipulates the radio controls, bringing the high octave voice of Brad Delp, singing Boston’s “Hitch a Ride.” The four all perk up at the familiar tune, and smiles slowly cross their faces.

CUT TO:

EXT: HIGHWAY – NIGHT

Several shots of the red Chevy zooming through the fast lane. Their isn’t much for traffic anymore. The music continues. Soon, dull thuds are heard. They are irregular noises, and they don’t sound healthy. The four distinct voices begin to accompany this phenomenon.

J.P.

Oh, shit.

ROBIN

I can’t believe this.

STACY

Believe it. Just don’t look at me.

CLARK

I swear I’ll kill someone. This is just ridiculous.

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

While the dialogue may have suggested a serious problem with the car, it turns out that the four teens are smiling as the song continues. Quite suddenly, the thudding sound is explained, as Stacy pops the back of her hand against the ceiling of the car. All three boys follow suit in a stuttered fashion. Stacy chuckles.

STACY

Believe it now, Sonny-Jim?

ROBIN

I hate this game.

STACY

You wouldn’t hate it if we were playing for real. I’d be a little exposed.

ROBIN

You’d be out of your jacket. I’d be sans-trousers.

CLARK

And I wouldn’t be here, because I don’t want to see that…or lose my own dungarees.

ROBIN

How about you, J.P.?

J.P.

(directed at no one) I’ll fucking kill him!

ROBIN

Huh?

J.P.

Take a wild guess whose coming along the port side.

ROBIN

Wayne Newton.

Before Robin can be chastised for this remark, a familiar pickup, packed to the brim with teenagers, roars up to the driver-side of the car. Girls in the cargo bed scream with lame-brained delight, while white jock-like boys flash gangsta symbols in greeting. Rosemont, the sultan of this parade of jackasses, screams out in childish glee.

ROSEMONT

Hey y’all! You have a little trouble earlier?

J.P.

You could say that!

ROSEMONT

Well, hell! How about a second chance! What do you say, Jack? Like a shot at the title?

CLARK

NO! WE WOULDN’T! FUCK YOU AND EVERYONE WHO LOOKS LIKE YOU!

ROSEMONT

Now that’s not nice, Miller-Time!

PASSENGER

You got a problem, CHUCK?!

CLARK

Yeah, I’ve got a problem!

PASSENGER

(to Rosemont) Pull this bitch over.

CLARK

(to J.P.) Let me crack this guy’s melon open, bro.

J.P.

What happened to two assholes not making a hero?

CLARK

You got your proud man moment, tonight. And I get mine.

ROBIN

I haven’t had one, yet.

CLARK

You gotta be a man, first.

ROBIN

Up yours.

J.P.

We just got back on the road, X, and you want me to stop so you can brawl with some sasquatch?

CLARK

Yes, exactly.

CUT TO:

EXT: WAL-MART PARKING LOT – NIGHT

The parking lot is vast, and empty until the two teenage vehicles swing into it and park nearly thirty yards from each other. Doors fly open, and tennis shoes hit the asphalt. People leap down from the pick-up’s cargo bed, and the tailgate comes down. Girls continue to giggle as the four heroes approach.

J.P.

I can’t believe we’re entertaining this.

CLARK

Relax, Gandhi. All I’m going to do is make this guy blink, and we can get back on the road.

The groups square off, with Clark and his foe leering at each other, and Rosemont and J.P. doing the same. A particular girl sits on the hood of the truck and giggles louder than the rest. Stacy rolls her eyes at this. Silent tension and hostility is of course broken by…

ROBIN

Hey, Cindy!

He bolts off toward the tailgate party, spotting CINDY, a younger girl who’s holding a beer and slouching.

ROBIN

Just what are you doing in this pack of jack-offs?

CINDY

Bo brought me along.

ROBIN

Bo?

Cindy points to the behemoth that challenged Clark. Robin’s eyes widen. Focus returns to the conflict.

BO

So, what’s your problem, Four-Eyes, ‘cuz I’ll sure as hell fix it.

CLARK

Four-Eyes? I didn’t realize I was about to pecker-slap Vinnie Barbarino.

ROSEMONT

Boy, I hope you can find a pecker first, Miller-Time.

J.P.

Stay out of it, Rose-petal.

STACY

Y’all aren’t doing all of this to impress little old me, are you?

ROSEMONT

Keep talking, Hollister, and I’ll rip your goddamn teeth out!

STACY

I thought not.

As the tag-team verbal battle rages, Stacy skulks away to the Outcast. Robin and Cindy continue their banter.

ROBIN

Are you two dating, now?

CINDY

I guess this would be our first date, if we hadn’t met up at Heath’s house.

ROBIN

Jesus, why did you go to that gorilla cage?

CINDY

It’s Friday night, and I had nothing to do. The piece of shit movie theatre-

ROBIN

Yeah, I know. We were there. Still, why socialize with the yeti and his circus clown buddies?

CINDY

Hey, Bo might be gargantuan, drunk, sweaty, ridiculously stupid, and lack a certain tact when talking to women. On the plus side, though, he’s also marble-chiseled. I mean great-looking, like you read about.

ROBIN

Oh, horseshit. He looks like his cheese went and slipped off his cracker years ago. It’s the steroids. I blame the school, really.

Cindy laughs at this, and then drops her beer in disgust.

CINDY

Why the hell am I drinking this crap anyway? I don’t even like beer.

ROBIN

What do you like?

CINDY

Tea, mostly. My dad’s into the whole martial arts, Bushido code, purity stuff. So, that means I eat a lot of rice and drink a lot of tea.

ROBIN

Your dad is a martial artist? That’s…cool.

They break eye contact. Cindy winces in disgust at Bo, while Robin bites his lip at the news of her father.

CINDY

Oh, shit. That reminds me, I should have been home like ten minutes ago.

ROBIN

Oooh, good God, Cindy. You’re some kind of teenager, you know that?

She laughs again, and then we focus again on the fight.

CLARK

No! Fuck both of you!

BO

I’m this close to breaking your goddamn neck!

CLARK

Then do it, you stalling bastard! Just stop telling me that you’re going to do it!

This continues, but we pan down to their shoes. A horizontal pan takes us to the tailgate of the truck, and a pair of feet, decked out in pink nail polish, a toe ring, and flip-flops, hit the pavement. They are quickly followed by a spent cigarette. We follow the feet around the truck, and into the fray of the argument. Pan up to reveal TRUDY, wearing too much makeup and an amused smile.

TRUDY

So, what, I’m not invited to this little pow-wow?

CLARK

Trudy? Baby, what the living hell are you doing with these prick-faces?

TRUDY

Who are you, my gynecologist? I don’t have to tell you where I’ve been, asshole!

STACY

Elegant.

CLARK

I’ve been beating my head against a wall trying to talk to you, what is going on?

ROSEMONT

Hey, it ain’t my fault if you can’t keep your chick on a leash, Miller.

CLARK

Eat my ass, Rosemont. Trudy, talk to me for Christ’s sake. What is the problem?

TRUDY

The problem is you, Clark, you! I cannot go out with someone who constantly calls me, more than my mother, for the love of God, and hangs out all night with a pack of total losers!

CLARK

What the hell! You were normal yesterday! What the hell happened?

TRUDY

Okay, look, I’m seeing someone else, and I don’t want to see you. Is that clear enough?

She storms off, leaving Clark speechless. Bo retreats to the truck for a fresh beer, knowing that he won somehow. Robin approaches J.P. who looks close to starting in again with Rosemont.

ROBIN

Hey, bro. I hate to interrupt…whatever the hell it is I’m interrupting, but could I have the keys?

J.P.

What?

ROBIN

You see, Cindy, she needs a ride home, and she wants to get away from the retard brigade, so I told her that I could drive her home.

J.P.

Shit, Hood! Are you out of your mind?

ROBIN

Dude! She’s laughing at my jokes, and she’s dropping a ton of hints. I need the car, bro. More than I’ve needed anything from you.

J.P.

No! No, no, no, no! We can’t miss the Red Hot Chili Peppers!

ROBIN

It’s only ten. No one leaves a club until two, at least.

J.P.

Hood, you don’t have a license!

ROBIN

Oh, so I’m completely incompetent because those geniuses at the DMV haven’t given me a little card? Have you seen those idiots that run that joint?

J.P.

Yes, when I got my license, you jackass!

ROBIN

Come on, J.P.! She needs to get home, and I can get her there. I’d be her hero for a night. Just look at her.

They both glance over at Cindy, who swings her legs back and forth, eager to leave. She waves, and they both wave back, kind of nervously. Robin turns back to J.P. with a pleading, begging presence.

ROBIN

Give me the fucking keys!

J.P.

Shit. If I get my car back any different from how I gave it, I am going to kick you in the balls so hard, you’ll go blind. Do you understand me?

ROBIN

You are a gentleman, and a scholar. One day, I shall write a song about you.

J.P.

Yeah, yeah. Look get back quick, and meet us in that Denny’s over there, got it?

ROBIN

Got it!

Robin bounds away, toward Cindy, and Rosemont has stalked back to his truck. J.P. approaches Clark cautiously, and Stacy returns with jackets for all three of them.

STACY

Come on, boys. Let’s get away from these hooligan-wannabes.

J.P.

Dude, you okay?

CLARK

I need to take a piss.

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

Robin drives the Outcast with relative ease, but is careful to keep his eyes on the road at all times. Cindy sits in the passenger seat, popping a breath mint and spraying a tiny bit of perfume on her neck. She is smiling.

CINDY

So, Big Brother let you borrow the car. I have to say, I’m impressed, Robin.

ROBIN

Oh, I know. I feel like Toad when he just got Ron Howard’s wheels.

CINDY

Oh my God, you’ve actually seen American Graffiti?

ROBIN

Are you kidding, I love that flick. You’ve seen it?

CINDY

Why the hell do you think my parents named me Cindy?

ROBIN

You’re named after Cindy Williams? Holy shit, that’s awesome!

CINDY

Getting name compliments from a guy called Hood. That means a lot to me, I gotta tell you.

ROBIN

I don’t really like Robin or Hood. I wish my name was different, to tell you the truth. Of course, any guy named Bo, on the other hand…

CINDY

I know. I wondered that myself. Any guy whose name is less than three letters must have some blocked mental capacity. And sure, I was interested in the guy. But your best friend is named J.P., and that doesn’t strike you the same way?

ROBIN

Well, that at least stands for something. He just didn’t like catching shit for being named Julian Pierre.

CINDY

Okay, that is pretty bad.

ROBIN

Oh, Jesus. Don’t say a word about that. I’m not even supposed to know that.

CINDY

I can keep a secret if you can.

ROBIN

What secret?

CINDY

My curfew isn’t ten. It’s eleven-thirty.

ROBIN

Aha. The plot thickens.

They both chuckle, and Robin finally looks away from the road, to see her smile.

CUT TO:

INT: DENNY’S – NIGHT

J.P., Stacy, and Clark sit, sullen, in a booth. Stacy hides her face with a menu, while Clark just sighs. A waitress approaches, slightly groggy.

WAITRESS

Have you folks had time to decide?

J.P.

I’m just going to have a slice of berry pie, please.

WAITRESS

How about you, partner?

CLARK

What? Um, I’ll take a side order of fries.

WAITRESS

Darn good choice. And how about you, Peggy-Sue?

STACY

Well, does the brownie sundae have nuts in it?

WAITRESS

I believe it does, actually.

STACY

Oh, jeez. Well, I’ll just have a strawberry shake, then.

WAITRESS

Sorry, hon, we’re out of strawberry. We’ve got vanilla and chocolate, though.

STACY

Okay…then I think I’ll just have a coke.

WAITRESS

Is pepsi okay?

Stacy rolls her eyes up to the ceiling, flustered at this turn of events. J.P. suppresses a smile, and Clark relaxes a bit at this debacle.

STACY

I’ll just have a water, I think.

WAITRESS

Sorry about that, hon.

She takes the menus and leaves them to contemplate. How did things escalate to this point so quickly? Stacy and J.P. steal glances at Clark, unable to help, really.

CLARK

This sucks. I mean, I’ve had some nights that have sucked. I’ve had several that have totally sucked ass. But tonight sucks really hardcore. I mean, Hoover-style.

J.P.

I don’t know what to say, bro.

CLARK

There’s nothing to say, sir. Trudy’s gone, the car is gone, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are as good as gone, and what little pride we had left is in a big hurry to leave, too.

STACY

Well, what should we do?

CLARK

Well, when Hood gets back, we’ll head for Portland and try to catch Danni.

J.P.

What about Trudy?

CLARK

I don’t know. I wish I could get her away from those trouser-stains, so she would talk to me.

J.P.

Well, that kind of settles things. You gotta talk to her, then we gotta find her.

CLARK

I don’t want you guys to spend what’s left of the night trying to find those douche-bags again.

J.P.

Well, what the hell, they were headed towards Portland anyway. If we don’t find them by twelve-thirty then we can head to the Savage Swan.

STACY

We’re your friends, aren’t we? So your problem comes first. Plan approved. Now all we need is the damn car.

J.P.

Yeah. I wish he would hurry up. Now I really wish I hadn’t made him that promise.

CLARK

What promise?

J.P.

I promised Hood that I’d aid him in any way to get a girl, no questions asked, no hesitation. I sure as hell didn’t think he’d hold me to it.

CLARK

Heh. I blame myself.

STACY

I blame you, too.

CLARK

Good.

The waitress brings their orders, but in the process of placing the wares on the table she drops several of Clark’s fries onto the floor. She stalks away, muttering. Clark looks at the fries, very forlorn.

J.P.

Let ‘em go, man. Just let them go.

CLARK

But, dude. Scattered troops.

J.P.

She just has palsy, or Parkinson’s, or one of those things that makes fries disappear.

STACY

How is it that you guys are allowed to have the dumbest conversations ever conceived of, and I’m still the one that gets shit for bringing up girly stuff?

CLARK

Okay, number one, fuck you Stacy! Those fries could have been in my belly, and now they don’t get to fulfill their destiny! Number two, he-he-he, you just said ‘conceived,’ and number three-

STACY

Fuck you and your number three.

J.P.

Oh, snaps. I can feel the tension in the air.

CLARK

I know, when did Sandra Dee get so touchy?

STACY

Cheer up, assholes.

CUT TO:

INT: INSIDE THE OUTCAST – NIGHT

Robin and Cindy are laughing, as he drives into a more residential area. Cindy reaches for his hat, and manages to abduct it and place it on her own head.

ROBIN

Hey! Where’d my hat go?

CINDY

Oh, my goodness. It’s a mystery!

ROBIN

(noir voice) The mystery of the absent hat. I knew she knew more than she was letting me know. I knew that. But did she?

CINDY

You really are a goof, you know that?

ROBIN

Yeah. I leave myself reminders of that everyday.

CINDY

Oh, before I forget to ask, everyone wants to know what you and Coach Flanagan talk about during gym.

ROBIN

Heh, well, that’s classified.

CINDY

Classified?

ROBIN

Yeah, I’d tell you, but then you’d be captured by the communists, and they’d start torturing you, and your dad would get pissed, and there’s a kung-fu movie right there. It’d be a big mess, and I don’t want to get you involved.

CINDY

If you tell me, I’ll be your friend.

ROBIN

Absi-tively, posi-lutely not.

CINDY

Fine. Will you answer another question instead?

ROBIN

That would depend on what it is.

CINDY

Okay, here it comes: Can I call you Rob?

ROBIN

What? Oh, sure. Yeah, no problem.

CINDY

What’s up? Why’d you get so jumpy all of a sudden?

ROBIN

I thought you were going to ask me something else, that’s all.

CINDY

Hmm, well I’m sorry to disappoint.

ROBIN

No, you never disappoint. I mean, you didn’t, just now. I…um…

In an effort to shut up, Robin concentrates on his driving, and eventually parks in Cindy’s driveway.

CINDY

Heh, are you going to be okay?

ROBIN

Yeah, I’m fine. Great, in fact. Well, I’m always great. Goddammit, I mean, um…Fuck it. No more talking for me.

CINDY

Oh, good. I’ll talk for both of us.

In a classic attempt at humor, Cindy grabs a hold of Robin’s jaw and speaks for both of them, but her interpretation of this move is a bit different.

CINDY

So, Rob, how are doing right now? (Robin voice and jaw) I’m doing great, Cindy, just great! Except I really am not amused by this! And you’re really hurting my face! Please don’t touch me, you crack-whore!

They both break into a fit of laughs, and she drops her hand from his face. She removes his hat, and places it on the dash.

ROBIN

Hey, I never said to stop.

Her hand moves more delicately to his face, but she never gets another joke out, because Robin has closed the distance and kissed her. When they break, they both face forward, blankly. He nervously reaches for his hat, and replaces it on his shaggy head.

ROBIN

Um…about that, I, uh-

His explanation attempt is lost as Cindy grabs his jacket and pulls him back in for another kiss.

CUT TO:

EXT: DENNY’S PARKING LOT – NIGHT

J.P., Clark, and Stacy sit on a curb, staving off boredom any way possible. Clark repeatedly checks his phone as he and Stacy throw trivia questions at J.P.

STACY

How about, um…Emilio Estevez?

J.P.

Emilio Estevez was in “Stakeout” with Richard Dryfuss, who was in “Stand By Me” with River Phoenix, who was in “Indiana Jones” with Harrison Ford, who was in “The Fugitive” with Tommy Lee Jones, who was in “J.F.K.” with…

STACY

Kevin Bacon, shit. How many was that, five?

J.P.

(to Clark) You falling in love with your phone or something, man?

CLARK

I’m just checking if I got any messages.

STACY

Come on, dude. Don’t you dare call her, especially now.

J.P.

Just for that, you have to come up with the next one.

CLARK

Fine, how about Rodney Dangerfield?

J.P.

Damn. I could probably do this one better with a little more time, but off the top of my head…Dangerfield was in “Caddyshack” with…oh, shit! You know the chick with the bad Irish accent?

CLARK

Yeah?

J.P.

Wasn’t she the drunk chick in the shopping cart in “Animal House”?

CLARK

The one who shows her tits?

STACY

Oh, Jesus. Here we go.

J.P.

She was, and “Animal House” featured Kevin Bacon in his first role. Boom.

STACY

Is there something else we can do while we wait?

CLARK

Okay, name any actress.

STACY

Um, Kate Winslet.

CLARK

Boobs in “Titanic,” full frontal in “Quills”, and one other one, I can’t remember the name. Give me another one.

STACY

I hate boys.

J.P.

How about…Sarah Jessica Parker?

CLARK

If you aren’t going to take this seriously, dude-

STACY

I will stab you both right now. I swear to Christ.

A nasty silence for several seconds after this threat. Clark throws a pebble in idle impatience.

CLARK

It’s not very nice to swear to Christ, Stace.

This joke is met by a cuff to the back of Clark’s head.

CUT TO:

EXT: CINDY’S DRIVEWAY – NIGHT

The Outcast sits dead in the chilly night air. The windows are a bit fogged, and REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Loving You” accompanies the silhouettes of Robin and Cindy. We zoom in and spy on them through the windows. She is cuddled up close to him, and they look relaxed, yet tussled.

ROBIN

You should probably get inside.

CINDY

Yeah. I don’t really want to, though.

ROBIN

Well, you’re grounded anyway. It won’t help if he files a missing person’s report on top of that.

CINDY

True. I can’t believe we’ve been sitting here this long. You need to get the car back.

ROBIN

Yeah. Okay, well, we had better part ways.

CINDY

Hit the dusty trail.

They don’t stir a single inch. The song ends and a tape pops out of the cassette deck.

ROBIN

Are we moving yet?

CINDY

Nope.

ROBIN

Damn it all.

We zoom back out to show the entire car again. There seems to be movements within, but they aren’t too clear.

CINDY

I’ll call you. Hood.

ROBIN

Not if I call you first.

She exits the car, but sticks her head back in for the last word.

CINDY

You totally belong to me now.

She closes the door and walks away smiling. She waves over her shoulder. Robin starts up the car, with some level of difficulty, and then sails off into the night.

CUT TO:

INT: IN THE CAR – NIGHT

Robin drives with an air of total confidence and elation. He reaches down to turn on the radio. He flips through several stations of pop music before landing on “Talk Dirty to Me” by Poison. He sings along with a euphoric enthusiasm.

ROBIN

‘Cuz baby we’ll be, at the drive-in, in the old red Ford, behind the bushes, ‘til I’m screaming- SHIT!

He wrenches the steering wheel back and forth in an effort to keep J.P.’s pride and joy on the road.

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3 Responses to “Gas Money”

  1. CtotheJ said

    This one seems to be more a tribute to your friends then a movie script. Not much in the way of plot, just random scenes. I didn’t like Stacy, go figure lol It’s very 80’s movie-esque…….very 80’s movie.

  2. The King of Zing said

    What the dealio!!! I thought there would be an ending?!! You haven’t finished it yet?! Jeez! and I was really into it too! lol. Nah, but great script so far… I totally disagree with CtotheJ… Yeah, you can definitely tell that you probably based this off of similar experiences with friends, but I mean, what the hell movie isn’t based off of something that the writer experienced or wanted to experience? So yeah, that is my take on that. I really loved the scene in the Denny’s, Clark is definitely one of my favorite characters, along with oddly enough Rosemont… If I were to ever audition to be in this movie (hint hint) I would defnitely want to try out for the roles of Rosemont, or Clark, maybe Robin but I have the strangest feeling that, that character is your “vehicle”….lol. But yeah, I’m definitley liking this movie and as I said before on myspace it definitely does have a “That 70’s Show/American Grafitti/Dazed and Confused” type of feel to it, and I like how you make reference to the different films in your script, a nice nod. I like how the plot is thickening at a nice pace and picking up and then slowing back down… Just like some of those high school driving around nights do sometimes get… So it’s definitely realistic… Some of the scenes though are a little confusing like the railroad scene, how it goes from them hearing a bird to that is a little confusing… But all in all it is still something that high schoolers would do… I at first thought the scene with the legend about the Virgin Mary statue was more of “filler” than anything, but after thinking about it more, it makes more sense as I remember doing stuff like that… Stuff like going to cemetaries with friends just to be spooky and dumb… So yeah, definitely see the point of it now. But yeah, to make a long comment short, I definitely like where this script is going and I would like to see more of it, especially since my mind is so invested to finding out what happens now!!! So yeah, get on finishing this thing! lol.

  3. The King of Zing said

    Just another quick note… there also seems to be a dash of “Stand by Me” in your story as well… Which you also make reference to with a nod… You’re very good at making direct yet subtle nods to different movies that have inspired your work… I like that.

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