Thursday, August 6, 2009

Week 29, Day 200 - “Thoughts Of A Dying Atheist”

“Thoughts Of A Dying Atheist”
Written by Joe Janes
8/6/09
200 of 365

CAST
Al, 40s
Sam, 30s
Nancy, 40s

(Lights up on Al alone in the cockpit of a commercial jet airliner. It is night and he is clearly having some difficulty staying awake. We can lightly hear the hum of the jet engines. Sam enters with coffee for both of them and takes the co-pilot seat next to Al. They sit in silence for a moment.)

SAM (looking out the side window)
Hey, Al. Ever wonder what it would be like to just… dive… into the ocean?

AL
Just like diving into any other water. Just saltier.

SAM
Oh, I know that. I’ve swam - swum? - in the ocean before. I meant from here. I think that would be a blast.

AL
It would probably kill you.

SAM
It’s water.

AL
It’s some physics bullshit. You ever just smack your hand on the surface of water? Or do a belly flop? Like that, but you may as well be jumping off a building and hitting concrete. More splat than splash.

SAM
Man. Physics. (Jokingly shakes his fist)

AL
Ever wonder what it would be like to dive the plane into the ocean? (He dips the steering wheel a bit and brings it back up.)

SAM (excited)
You did not just do that!

AL
This? (Does it again)

SAM
Oh, man! I’ve never seen anybody do that before. I’ve never done that before.

AL
Done what? This? (He does it again).

SAM
Ah! Let me! Let me!

AL
Hang on a second. (Al hits a switch and we hear a “bing.” He then picks up the PA microphone.) This is your captain speaking. We’ve run into some light turbulence. Please return to your seats and make sure your seat belts are fastened. Thank you. (He puts it back down.) All yours, Sam.

(Sam gets an excited look on his face. He grabs the steering wheel and goes into a nosedive.)

AL (continuing)
Pull up! Pull up!

SAM
I can’t! I don’t want to!

AL (pulling up on his wheel)
Pull up, Sam or we’re all going to die!

(They manage to get the plane leveled off. Sam is panting with excitement. Al is shaken.)

AL (continuing)
Cheese and eggs, Sam! You nearly got us killed. All 158 of us.

SAM
I know, I know. I’m sorry. Wasn’t it cool, though?

(Nancy the flight attendant enters. She looks disheveled.)

NANCY
What the fuck, gentlemen?

AL
Sorry, Nancy.

SAM
You okay?

NANCY
No, I’m not okay. I’m wearing milk, coffee and tomato juice. The cabin is filled with spilled drinks, snacks, vomit and tears. It’s going to be a nightmare to clean up.

(She lights a cigarette)

SAM
You’re not supposed to –

NANCY
Shut up, Sam. (She takes a big drag, sighs out the smoke, drops the cigarette and stomps it out.)

AL
Hey, Nancy, give ‘em all a complimentary round of drinks.

NANCY
Will do. After I have a few for myself.

(She exits.)

SAM
Pretty wild, huh?

AL
What?

SAM
All those lives in our hands. Every one of them thought they were going to die a moment ago.

AL
Me, too.

SAM
And then we made it all right. And gave them a free drink to boot.

AL
With great power comes great responsibility.

SAM
When we were heading down toward the ocean, breaking through the clouds, seeing the shimmer of the moon on the water, you know what I was thinking? Okay. This is it. Fine by me. It’s been a fun life. I had my turn. Thumbs up. Adios, amigos. What a great way to go. What were you thinking?

AL
Let’s see, what was I thinking? Oh, yeah. I was thinking, “Oh, fuck! Oh, fuck! Oh, fuck! Oh, fuck!” It’s one thing to dick around just a little bit, Sam, but you nearly got us killed playing chicken with the sea.

SAM
So, we die. There are billions of people on the planet. We would have made the news and been forgotten in a month. Life would continue without us.

AL
Life can continue without you, if you want. But not without me. I’m not done yet. I have a dog and two ex-wives to feed.

SAM
It was exciting, though, wasn’t it? Thought you were going to die and now you’re not. Bet everyone back there feels the same. Bet you’re wide awake now, too.

AL
That I am.

SAM
Want a refill on your coffee?

AL
I want you to go help Nancy and the crew clean up. I’ll be fine here.

SAM
You pissed at me?

AL
Yes.

SAM
Um. Okay. We’ll talk when I get back.

(Sam exits. Al picks up the PA.)

AL
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain. We sincerely apologize for the rough flight we’ve been having. It looks like we’ll be free and clear all the way in to Los Angeles. I’m going to turn off the “seat belt” sign and you can feel free to move about the cabin. And please enjoy a complimentary beverage on us.

(Al continues to fly. He thinks for a moment about nose-diving the plane. Thinks better of it and doesn’t. Lights fade.)

5 comments:

city said...

Whacked but I liked it! The sketches are great ... but I miss the commentary on the daily weirdness of life.

Joe Janes said...

For commentary, may I recommned...

http://donhall.blogspot.com

Chris Othic said...

Joe,

I really like this one, but something just feels off to me. Not sure what it is, but it started when Nancy came to the cabin. I wasn't sure of your intention with her, other than to bring in the info about what kind of damage they had caused in the cabin.

I think this scene might be better served just keeping it a relationship scene, and letting us wonder what is going on with the passengers, or maybe we just hear screams from backstage every time the pilots take the plane into a nosedive.

Joe Janes said...

Screams. Nice touch.

Nat Topping said...

I love "What the fuck, gentlemen?" Also, congrats on number 200!