Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Week 17, Day 114 - "Smile"

“Smile”
Written by Joe Janes
5/12/09
114 of 365

CAST:
Rick, 40s
Tammy, 20s
Hilary, 20s
Chester, 60s
Phyllis, 20s
Hubert the Homeless Guy, 30s

(Lights up on Rick sitting on a commuter train in the morning. The train has stopped and people are getting on. He is smiling and trying to make eye contact with people. Chester walks by, ignoring him, and sits. Phyllis walks by, ignoring him, and sits. Hilary gets on, notices him, and sits down not far from him. He is still smiling at her. She smiles back.)

RICK (relieved)
Oh, thank you!

HILARY
Do we know each other?

RICK
No. Not at all.

HILLARY
You were smiling at me like you knew me.

RICK
Was I? I was just smiling at you.

HILARY
Oh.

RICK
I ride this train every day. People plug in to their iPods and their newspapers and everyone avoids eye contact and just simply chatting with one another.

HILARY
Yep. (Looks around, notices others doing what he said, takes out her iPod.) That was my game plan.

RICK
I did the math. I spend two hours a day on the train during the week. Ten hours a week, Forty hours a month, see where I’m going?

HILARY
480 hours a year.

RICK
Probably a little less with sick days and holidays. But it’s more time than I spend with my family.

HILARY
So, you want to make some friends in that time?

RICK
I just don’t want to be dead. I’ll have plenty of time to be dead after I die. I want to feel alive and let other people around me know I’m alive. And, it's kind of fun. Try it.

HILARY
Okay.

(The train stops. Tammy gets on and immediately notices Hilary and Rick smiling at her. She sits, suspiciously.)

TAMMY
Let me guess. Jehovah’s Witnesses? Save your breath. God and I are taking a break.

(Rick and Hilary laugh)

RICK
We’re not Jehovah Witnesses.

HILARY
We’re just smiling.

TAMMY
How weird.

CHESTER
I like it. I think it’s a great idea. I’ve seen all of you on the train before, but ain’t none if us ever said hello or swapped a smile. You all seem like good people, so, why not? I’m going to start smiling at everyone, too.

PHYLLIS
Ah, hell. Me, too. I’ve been sitting here smiling to myself over you two, may as well join the party.

RICK
Yea! If there are other people doing it with me, then I’m officially not crazy.

(They all laugh.)

TAMMY
I think my morning commute just got more interesting.

(They all laugh.)

CHESTER
Hey, look. Here comes somebody.

PHYLLIS
Smiles, everybody, smiles.

(Hubert the Homeless Guy comes in shuffling slowly with his head down and hand out.)

HUBERT
Excuse me, everyone. I am homeless and I am hungry. Any change you can spare would be greatly appreciated.

(He looks up and sees that they are all looking at him smiling. Slowly, one-by-one, their smiles melt and their heads go to newspapers, books and iPods, away from Hubert. Tammy is still smiling but then notices that everyone else has turned away. )

TAMMY
Oh, fuck you guys.

(She hands Hubert a dollar.)

TAMMY (continuing)
Here’s a buck.

HUBERT
You have a lovely smile.

TAMMY
Fuck you, too. I mean… Thanks.

(Hubert walks off. Tammy glowers at the others as they steal glances at her and one another. She rolls her eyes and starts reading a newspaper. Lights fade.)

3 comments:

Henri D said...

I'm only going to say this once...Joe Janes, stop following me to working and writing down everything I do to fuck with people! That's me time! (following me to the bathroom for me time is still permissible)

nescopo-n-state of influence from having to much nes-cafe

Chris Othic said...

I love the ending. I think it needs one more beat before the ending, though. It seems like everyone is a little too eager to get in on the fun. I'd like to see maybe one more beat of someone reacting awkwardly to a train full of people smiling at them, which I think is part of the game of the scene.

Anonymous said...

Joe,

I like this alot, and agree with Chris's comment above. Keep up the good work, kiddo!

MJ