Sunday, March 8, 2009

Week Seven, Day Forty-Nine - “Belmont"

“Belmont”
Written by Joe Janes
3/8/09
49 of 365

CAST:
Jim, late 40s
Sarah, late 30s

(Lights up on the Belmont “L” train stop in Chicago. It is a Sunday morning before 10am in July. Jim and Sarah are on the platform. Jim sits on one end of a wooden, backless bench. Sarah, wearing a short skirt, paces back and forth. Her heels make a loud sound when she walks. JIM has a bag of groceries from Whole Foods next to him on the bench.)


SARAH
This sucks.

JIM (startled)
Yes. Yes, it does. My chocolate covered bananas are melting.

SARAH
It’s July and I’m freezing.

JIM
And, yet, my bananas are melting. I even gave myself an hour. I don’t think I’ve ever waited so long for the Red Line.

SARAH
I’m waiting for the Brown Line. It’s my first day at a new job.

JIM
Really? What time were you supposed to be there?

SARAH
10am.

JIM
Downtown? You’re going to be late.

SARAH
I know.

JIM
You would have been late any way.

SARAH
What do you mean?

JIM
Even if the trains were running on time, you would have been late. You’ve only been up here about five minutes. With construction, takes about thirty minutes to get downtown.

SARAH
I tried to get up on time.

JIM
I used to have that problem.

SARAH
What did you do?

JIM
I bought two alarm clocks. One near the bed and one that I have to get out of bed to turn off?

SARAH
I think using one alarm clock would be a step in the right direction for me.

JIM
You should probably call your new employer.

SARAH
Or I should just say fuck it. Take it as a sign from the universe.

JIM
I don’t think the universe had much to do with you oversleeping. That’s more of a sign from you that you don’t want the job.

SARAH
It’s retail. I can’t stand fuckin’ retail. Shit pay and creepy managers younger than me watching my every move.

JIM
You should probably call them and tell them you’ll be late.

SARAH
My phone died.

JIM
Use mine.

SARAH
I’ll give the train a few more minutes. You have the day off?

JIM
It’s Sunday.

SARAH
Sunday. So, you and all the normal people sleep in or go to church. Do family stuff.

JIM
Or shop. Do you want one of these bananas? They’re not very good melted. Even when you re-freeze them, they’re off.


SARAH
Let me see that box. Organic and vegan. Five bucks for a box of four? Dude, it’s just a banana on a stick.

JIM
Try one. They’re good. (She does)

SARAH
That is good. Thanks. This is my breakfast.

JIM
I’ve had worse things for breakfast.

SARAH
My name’s Sarah.

JIM
Jim.

SARAH
Thanks for the cold banana, Jim.

JIM
You are welcome, Sarah.

SARAH
You look pretty together. That’s a nice watch.

JIM
Oh, thanks. It was a gift. I’d never buy myself something like this.

SARAH
What do you do for a living, Jim?

JIM
I’m an administrator at a small music school.

SARAH
That pay a lot?

JIM
Not enough to keep me rolling in chocolate-covered bananas. My partner is an architect. He’s the real moneymaker.

SARAH
Ah, the secret of living. Finding the right sugar daddy.

JIM
David would probably agree with you, but I love my job. I was doing it before we met. I just lucked out.

(Sarah throws what’s left of her banana away and walks as far away as she can get from Jim. She holds onto a railing.)

SARAH
Wow. I hate you.

JIM
Did I do something wrong?

SARAH
Really, I hate you.

JIM
You don’t even know me.

SARAH
Oh, I know you. You get everything handed to you. Nice watches and chocolate-covered bananas. You live in a really nice condo. All your furniture is either antique or Ikea. All you have to do is take it up the ass every once in awhile.

JIM
Wow. (Jim, shaken, sits back down for a moment and then walks back towards Sarah.) You have no idea. You have no ideas what it’s like. You think it’s all nice? Whenever David is remotely cold to me, I wonder, is this it? Is this when he kicks me out? Because he can. He owns everything. Everything.

SARAH
Then he really is your sugar daddy.

JIM
I love him. I thought he loved me. He fucks around. I’ve tried to get him to stop. I try to make him happy. These fucking bananas aren’t even for me. They’re for him. He loves them. And I paid for them out of my own money.


(Jim sits down. Sarah makes her way over to him.)

SARAH
I’m a jerk. I’m afraid you caught me on a particularly bitter morning. Woke up staring down the barrel of the rest of my life. This isn’t how I thought things would turn out for me. I’ve got the sugar, no daddy. Nice guy, Craig. But I doubt he’ll ever be anyone’s daddy. Unless it’s out of wedlock. And even then, she better have money of her own.

JIM
Sounds like a nice guy.

SARAH
I’m getting what I expected. Never date an artist. Or marry one. That lesson’s been learned, too. I was his sugar daddy. Bastard still owes me $4,000 that I’ll never see. That jerk went from being someone whose entire life I revolved around and now, we don’t even speak. Haven’t seen him in years. If I saw him on the L, I’d probably pretend I didn’t see him and let the moment roll on by. I could use some lucking out. In money and love.

JIM
Sorry to hear all that.

SARAH
Whatever. I’m not here to cry on your shoulder, Jim. Or, I was, then you started crying.

JIM
I’ll survive. Always do. Just haven’t had to worry about it in so long. So, you’re an artist?

SARAH
I’m an actress pushing 40.

JIM
Have I ever seen you in anything?

SARAH
Have you ever seen a play where the ticket price was less than $20?

JIM
Oh, I doubt it.

SARAH
Then you haven’t seen me in anything. Sorry.

JIM
I must seem like a real snob to you.

SARAH
No. You seem like a real normal person to me.

JIM
Do you do a lot of plays?

SARAH
I get cast. I just don’t get paid. And I didn’t plan to have some other skill set to fall back on at 40. There’s no future in what I want to do and I’m not qualified to do anything else, except retail. And waitressing, which kills my feet and gave me carpel tunnel. “Do what you love and the money will follow” is bullshit. Or it’s following way behind me and will catch up to me after I’m dead.

JIM
Look, it’s none of my business, but it’s clear you don’t want this new job. Why put yourself in a situation that will make you unhappy?

SARAH
Can I borrow your phone?

JIM
Here.

(She takes out a scrap of paper and calls)


SARAH
Hi, is Meghan there? Meghan, hi, it’s Sarah. …I’m really sorry. I didn’t plan for construction on the L. …I’ve been waiting for a train for 45 minutes. …Yeah, 45 minutes. You believe it? It’s insane. …Well, as soon as it gets here, I’m only 20 minutes away. …That’s very, very nice of you. I’ll see you as soon as I get there. (Hands phone to Jim) Thanks.

JIM
What will you be selling?

SARAH
My soul, apparently.

(They hear the train coming.)

JIM
Finally.

SARAH
Well, thank fucking God, Brown Line. Thank you for sharing your bananas, Jim.

JIM
Thank you for sharing your company, Sarah. Things will work out for you. I like you.

SARAH
You know what? That’s good to hear. My first day on a new job, and my boyfriend didn’t even wake up to say good-bye to me. I appreciate what you just said. It’s like my mom seeing me off to school, or something. Thank you.

JIM
You’re welcome. Glad I could support the arts.

(Lights fade.)

1 comment:

Paul said...

Wow. Gonna take a while to process this one. Very nice slice-of-life -- but a little too broad, if only because I know these two people all too well.