A fun little project to demonstrate the use of subtext.
Laurie Ashbourne Sacks
The formatting online isn’t great so if you’d rather download it CLICK HERE.
FADE IN: INT. NEWS STUDIO SOUNDSTAGE - DAY IN PROGRESS: an infamous cable news program presents opposing sides of a political ‘interview’. A female conservative professional, (40’s) sits at a high- gloss table. She struggles to remain unflappable despite a malfunctioning earpiece. ON-SCREEN ID: MAUREEN COLLINS / REPUBLICAN PARTY CONSULTANT Next to Maureen is a fit, bald and genuinely happy man also in his 40’s. Though professionally dressed, most would choose him to have a beer with over Maureen. ON-SCREEN ID: WILLIAM MATHESON / DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONSULTANT The ANCHOR, (30’s) a buzz-cut man that looks like a bowling team capatain sits across from them. He’s stuffed into a suit that presents maturity but in general he seems constipated. MAUREEN (taps earpiece) ... the tea bag people (correcting) The tea party people are doing... Matheson CRACKS UP at her guffaw, she brushes him off to recover. MAUREEN They are doing what the American people... MATHESON (laughing over) Sorry. Matheson can’t help but chuckle on her every other word. For some reason this makes her push her earpiece even more. MAUREEN This is a teachable moment... MATHESON (jovial) Sorry, but it goes to prove, just because you take the name of a movement that was successful during the birth of our nation, it doesn’t mean you have the sense to use it. Maureen yanks the earpiece off, tosses it across the high gloss surface. She spins her chair until her back faces (news) camera and hops down. ANCHOR Maureen, William, Thank you. I imagine this debate will continue well beyond the congressional recess. Matheson fights back his giggles. Maureen turns toward him and stomps her heel. Her teeth block her angry spurts of breath. EXT. VIRGINIA ESTATE - DAY A heavily tinted S.U.V. enters the circular drive and continues around back before screeching to a stop outside a multi-car garage. Government issued Virginia tags read: BI PRTISN William Matheson jumps from the driver seat and runs into the massive expanse of grass. He stops over a large chocolate lab that’s clearly dead. Matheson whips his head around frantic. Maureen catches up, her heels clogged with divets. MAUREEN No! All you had to do this morning was crate him. MATHESON He’s a dog not a criminal. MAUREEN Thanks to that rationale, he’s dead... Shit, Devin will be home in two hours. EXT. VIRGINIA ESTATE - LATER Maureen and Matheson dig the dog’s grave. His half is much deeper as she struggles in her heels. They fling dirt with each word. MATHESON I wish you’d let me handle this. MAUREEN I did. Dig, we’ve got a half an hour. He walks out a measurement of the dogs length, then does the same walk along the gravesite and nods. MATHESON He was such a sweet dog. MAUREEN I swear he could live on those treats Devin gave... Matheson purses his lips trying not to make a note of her guffaw. She gives him a hard stare and raises her shovel in his direction. MATHESON I could use a treat, Oreo? He pulls a snack bag out of his suit, in it 2 Oreos remain. MAUREEN Food? At a time like this? MATHESON Not food, an Oreo. She flings a scoop of dirt onto his side of the hole. MAUREEN Do you eat it? MATHESON Everything’s not so black and white. MAUREEN Oreo’s are. He takes a cookie and separates it. Pointing his tongue like Gene Simmons, he penetrates the cream, it’s orgasmic. He voraciously chomps on the cookie sides, exhales like he needs a cigarette. He turns on the euphoric charm, hands her the other cookie as he finishes the hole. She grabs it with force. MAUREEN That is not the right way to eat an Oreo. (biting) They should be enjoyed as a logical cohesive unit. He gives a ‘whatever’ glance, climbs out and grabs the dog’s hind legs, drags him. He lines the dogs body up with the long side of the grave. Perfect length. They each stand by an end and squat to push. MATHESON It’s the Dunkers who drive me insane. MAUREEN But, they consume it right. They roll the dog into the hole so his backside hits bottom. He rests his hands on her waist and pulls her close. MATHESON Who knew a cookie could spark such passion. They turn to look at the dog. It’s body snug in the hole. But his stiff legs stick straight above ground by about 10 inches. They both push on the legs -- which don’t give -- stiff as wood. Maureen looks at her watch. MAUREEN You have five minutes. I don’t do double stuff. She hands him his shovel and walks off. INT. COLLINS/MATHESON HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON DEVIN MATHESON, (10) enters home from school. He dumps his backpack in the hall, a step later he tosses his jacket toward a chair, misses. Every step another article is shed... KITCHEN - Devin enters, barefoot, tee shirt untucked. He opens the fridge and stares. Maureen stands at the powder room door watching him. She takes a deep breath and shakes her head to an automated wide- eyed smile that comes with her years of on-air practice. She’s on. MAUREEN Hi Sweetie, you’re home from school already? House recess started today so your father and I are both here too. How was your recess? Can I get you a snack? Devin turns from his refrigerator induced trance. He slaps a gallon of milk on the counter and plops onto a stool. DEVIN Sure. How ‘bout some Oreos? Maureen’s knees buckle as she holds back tears of irony. MAUREEN (back to ‘on’) Of course. She moves to the pantry and pulls out the cookies. MAUREEN Your dad and I were just discussing how good and wholesome these are. She stacks them onto a small plate with a little too much care then sets the plate in front of Devin. She slides a gentle hand over his shoulder, contemplates how to break THE news. MAUREEN Silly me. I forgot to get you a glass. She turns toward the cabinets. Devin picks up a cookie and considers it. Maureen returns, pours the milk. MAUREEN Devin, honey, when we came home... Devin twists the two black cookies apart and caresses the creme filling with his tongue. Maureen drops the gallon of milk. Bawls hysterically. FADE TO BLACK.