Written by Joe Janes
114 of 365
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!
HILARYDo we know each other?
RICKNo. Not at all.
HILLARYYou were smiling at me like you knew me.
RICKWas I? I was just smiling at you.
RICKI 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.
HILARYYep. (Looks around, notices others doing what he said, takes out her iPod.) That was my game plan.
RICKI 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?
HILARY480 hours a year.
RICKProbably a little less with sick days and holidays. But it’s more time than I spend with my family.
HILARYSo, you want to make some friends in that time?
RICKI 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.
(The train stops. Tammy gets on and immediately notices Hilary and Rick smiling at her. She sits, suspiciously.)
TAMMYLet me guess. Jehovah’s Witnesses? Save your breath. God and I are taking a break.
(Rick and Hilary laugh)
RICKWe’re not Jehovah Witnesses.
HILARYWe’re just smiling.
CHESTERI 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.
PHYLLISAh, hell. Me, too. I’ve been sitting here smiling to myself over you two, may as well join the party.
RICKYea! If there are other people doing it with me, then I’m officially not crazy.
(They all laugh.)
TAMMYI think my morning commute just got more interesting.
(They all laugh.)
CHESTERHey, look. Here comes somebody.
PHYLLISSmiles, everybody, smiles.
(Hubert the Homeless Guy comes in shuffling slowly with his head down and hand out.)
HUBERTExcuse 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. )
TAMMYOh, fuck you guys.
(She hands Hubert a dollar.)
TAMMY (continuing)Here’s a buck.
HUBERTYou have a lovely smile.
TAMMYFuck 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.)