Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Casualties

A nippy, grey autumn day. Leaves fall and swirl off trees, dew dripping off the surface of some of them. Few people are scattered throughout the park. A grandmotherly type shuffles along a pathway tugging a small dog on a leash.

She approaches and moves past a man sitting on a rusty park bench. As she passes, the man turns to regard the dog with an amused, kindly expression.

He is Mikhael, in his late-twenties, casually dressed but trendy in a fake leather jacket and fedora hat. Clutching a duffel bag, he proceeds to remove a tin food container and fork from inside it. He lifts open the lid, spearing the large chunks of brown, cream-doused meat.

As he’s about to take a mouthful, a young woman in a green sweater appears in front of him. She stands there, warily facing him. Her name is Amanda. Seeing her, his eyes light up and he struggles to chew on his food. She looks down at him, a look of undeniable disgust on her face.

He swallows, lump and shame beading down his throat in equal measures. She sits down on the bench, allowing for a considerable distance from him. As he gestures for her to take a bite of the food, she emphatically nods her head “no.”

MIKHAEL (with a Slavic Accent): Sorry, humm, how are you?
AMANDA: Good, you?
MIKHAEL (yawning and then eating – a feat): Gud.

He takes another bite.

AMANDA: Listen, I’m in a bit of a rush, so…

He gulps down his food, nearly choking on it.

MIKHAEL: Yea yea, sorry. I don’t have lots time in work so I eat now.

He closes the container and puts it away. He then turns to fully face her. Taking her in, he cracks a bittersweet smile. Noticing her slight shiver, he abruptly wedges himself out of his jacket.

MIKHAEL: Here, here.
AMANDA: I’m fine. Thanks.

He hands it to her, beaming as he does. Reluctantly, she takes it, putting it on. He gazes at her in his jacket, his face suffused with pride. She stares straight ahead.

MIKHAEL: You look beautiful, like all time.

She grins, adjusting her hair.

AMANDA: Yeah, well.
MIKHAEL: You sure you want to talk here? We can go my apartment? More comfortable.

She shakes her head “No.”

MIKHAEL: You sure? Restaurant maybe? Café?

She vehemently shakes her head “no.”

MIKHAEL: Across, there is -
AMANDA: No, no! Here’s fine.

Stricken, he looks down. She sighs, takes a breath, gathering her composure.

AMANDA: …I’m sorry. But like I told you on the phone, we gotta problem.

Expectantly, he gazes at her. She continues to stare straight ahead as she speaks. A brief, awkward pause ensues.

AMANDA: I’m pregnant.

He is stunned.

AMANDA: Which really sucks but what can we do.

His eyes glaze over.

AMANDA: So I thought you could help me find a doctor and we could split the costs.

She turns to look at him, waiting for a response. Slowly, he snaps out of his dumbstruck state.
Moved, his eyes well up as he stares at her.

MIKHAEL: Ah? You have…there.

He reaches to touch her stomach, drops are falling now. They stream down along with snot from his nose. He pulls out a handkerchief from his pocket and blows – hard and honking.

AMANDA: Yeah, not for long though.
MIKHAEL: What you mean, not for long?
AMANDA: Didn’t you hear what I said. I’m obviously not gonna have it. That’s not even in question. So…

He gasps, out of loss of what to do. Suddenly he lunges forward and up on his feet in a frantic, wildly strange movement.

AMANDA: Oh, Mikhael, please, you’re not gonna freak out again are you?

He clamors towards her and crouches down in front of her. He tries to grab her hand as she resolutely stuffs it into her pocket. She recoils further away on the bench.

AMANDA (continuing): Obviously you are.

He persists on trying to touch her as she shuns him. She looks around, mortified.

MIKHAEL: I love you.
AMANDA: No you don’t, you just think you do.

He looks confused.

MIKHAEL: What is the difference? I love you, I do I do.
AMANDA: Okay fine. But I don’t. You know I don’t.

He throws himself on the ground and starts to flail his arms about.

MIKHAEL: Why you send me to hell? Why?
AMANDA: Oh jeez, will you stop it! You are embarrassing me.

He mutters something unintelligible. She looks around and notices there’s a woman watching them from a distance. She smiles at the woman.

AMANDA: Will you please get up…People are looking. God, you make me feel like such a sadist.

He ignores her, continues to mutter to himself on the ground. Her cell phone rings. She picks it up.

AMANDA (quietly and sweetly): Hello… yeah I’m almost done. I’ll meet you in twenty minutes at the entrance. K’, k – bye.

Still on the ground, he looks up at her.

MIKHAEL: You leaving? Who is that?

He gets up and moves toward her. She looks scared.

AMANDA: Listen, as responsible adults we need to share responsibility and…
MIKHAEL: Responsibility, how can you talk it? You bring best news in life but to take it from me.
AMANDA: Oh, for God’s sake! No one is taking anything away from you. Now, be reasonable – don’t tell me you think I should have it.
MIKHAEL: Yes of course.
AMANDA: Okay, forget it, I knew this was a bad idea. I just thought I’d give you the benefit of the doubt.
MIKHAEL: What?

She gets up, starts to slip out of his jacket. As she hands it to him, he stares at her, questioningly.

AMANDA: Never mind. I gotta go.
MIKHAEL: Where? How…

She sighs.

AMANDA: Listen, I’m sorry if I hurt you. I wish you the best.
MIKHAEL: Who you meet now?
AMANDA: A friend.
MIKHAEL: A man?
AMANDA: What difference does it make…yes.

He grunts.

MIKHAEL: Already? Pregnant and already with other man.
AMANDA: What!
MIKHAEL: Slut!

Color drains from her face as she stares at him in disbelief.
Suddenly, her expression shifts; she can no longer contain herself.

AMANDA: You… You think I’d have your child? I’d be totally ashamed.

She saunters past him.

AMANDA: You’re so…selfish.

He watches her as she picks up her step, walking away.

1 comment:

Banno said...

A short film. Do you make films?