The Date – Short Form Screenplay

The Date By Jordan-Ashley Barney
Date: 10/12/2015
Genre: Comedy
FADE IN:
INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT
RAYANNE(late 20s) is bending over in her walk-in closet
looking at a collection of high heeled shoes.
She grabs a pair of the highest and pointiest heels. She
holds them in her hand and stares at them intently.
She sets them down and her hand glides to and hovers over a
pair of more conservative heels.
Hesitating, she picks up the higher heels and puts them on.
She walks over to her vanity mirror to finish applying
makeup. Putting on a pair of fake eyelashes.
She walks over to full body mirror and turns around several
times with a look of apprehension on her face.
A cellphone starts RINGING. She wobbles over to pick it up.
                    RAYANNE
               (beat)
          Any minute. I’m nervous. It’s been
          years since I had a first date.
Apartment BUZZER goes off.
                    RAYANNE
          Oh, shit! He’s here..gotta go. Bye.
She walks over to the intercom and presses the button.
                    RAYANNE
          Be right down!
INT. RAYANNE’S FRONT DOOR - NIGHT
Rayanne opens the door of the apartment building and sees
MATT(late 20s), dark hair, tall and very well dressed.
                    RAYANNE
          Hello Matt!
                    MATT
          Hey Rayanne! I got us a reservation at this 
          great French restaurant.
                    RAYANNE
          Oh..that’s great. I’ve never been to a French restaurant.
EXT. CITY - NIGHT
They start walking towards the car as their conversation
continues. He opens the door for her and she gets in.
                    MATT
          Seriously? I lived in Paris for a year before I came back to
          Northwestern.
                    RAYANNE
          Really? Wow..that’s..um..that’s amazing.
                    MATT
          Yeah! I wanted to have some foreign experience 
         before getting my PhD. I thought it would broaden 
         my mind. Have you done much traveling?
                    RAYANNE
          Uh, no not really. 
                 (sarcastically)
          No broadening for me...HA..HA..HA.
Matt does not laugh. Rayanne nervously fidgets.
                    MATT
          So what did you think of Dr. Hodgen’s class on Wednesday?
                    RAYANNE
          He was so tough on that poor Donald kid. What an ass!
                  Am I right??!!
                    MATT
          Hodgens is my favorite professor.
                    RAYANNE
          Oh, god! I am so sorry...
They are silent as they pull up to the French restaurant.
INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT
They are sitting at a small table for two with a tall candle
in the middle. They are each holding menus.
She looks up and down from the menu to Matt and back to the
menu. She opens her mouth and closes it again.
A waiter comes by the table.
                    MATT
          Bonsoir Monsieur, je voudrais un verre de vin rouge 
          et le Blanquette de veau.
                    WAITER
          Et pour vous madame?
                    RAYANNE
               (Looking extremely worried)
          Uh...can I get the Tripes à la mode de Caen.
              (said with a horrible accent)
Rayanne takes a sip of water and looks towards the front
door.
She sees a man there with a tall and thin woman. Her eyes
start to widen and she starts breathing heavily.
                    MATT
          Are you alright, Rayanne?
He starts to turn his head to look back at the door. But she
jumps slightly out of her seat and grabs his arm.
                    RAYANNE
          No! No, don’t turn around...it’s my ex...
 W-we didn’t end well. I don’t want to run into him. I might-
She starts to get up while Matt is still looking bewildered.
But the man is already too close for her to make a run for
it. She proceeds to duck down right underneath the table.
Matt’s eyes widen as he realizes what she is doing. He tries
to act nonchalantly as Rayanne’s ex and his date pass by.
When they have passed the table cloth starts to rustle and
there is suddenly a big BOOM. The sound of Rayanne’s head
hitting the table.
She gets back into her seat. While still rubbing her head.
Her hair ruffled.
Matt looks worriedly over at her.
                    MATT
          What was that all about?
                    RAYANNE
          Oh..uhm..it’s a long story.

(beat)

                    RAYANNE
          So..what kind of movies do ya like?
Rayanne perks up. He looks slightly baffled.
                    MATT
          Well, I don’t have much time for 
            films with school and work.
                    RAYANNE
          That’s too bad! I love movies. I always 
              watch Dirty Dancing when I
             am having a bad day. Patrick 
          Swayze always makes me feel better.
                    MATT
          Oh, I haven’t seen that. I guess I
           never really got into watching
          films. I have always been more
          focused on academia.
                    RAYANNE
          Right of course. Very good of you..
A moment of time passes as they sit in silence, Rayanne
visibly uncomfortable and Matt perturbed.
                    RAYANNE
          Oh! Great! Look our food is here.
The waiter sets down both plates. Matt’s veal and a plate
set in front of Rayanne that is covered with what looks a
bit like intestines.
                    RAYANNE
               (Whispering)
             What is this exactly?
                    MATT
          Tripe..you ordered the tripe.
                    RAYANNE
          Of course I did..of course I did..
            Can I try a bit of your’s?
                    MATT
               (awkwardly)
                   Sure..
She leans over to take a bite of Matt’s food with her fork.
As she leans, her right fake eyelash comes loose and falls
into his wine.
She gasps. Matt’s eyes widen and he sits frozen.
                   RAYANNE
          Oh jesus, that is so incredibly
            embarrassing! I am so sorry.
Matt is still just sitting there, stunned. She leans over
again to try and grab the eyelash out of the glass.
                    RAYANNE
          Here I can get it..
Her hair touches the candle on table and catches fire.
                    RAYANNE
          HOLY SHIT!!!
Matt jumps up and frantically grabs her glass of water and
throws it over her head.
Rayanne is squatting over her chair at the table with
singed, smoking, and damp hair.
The water has caused her make up to run and her left fake
eyelash is hanging slightly sideways only half attached.
                    RAYANNE
          I think I’d like to go home now.
INT. CAR - NIGHT
Rayanne is still slightly damp and Matt is straight
faced. It is dead silent.
INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT
Rayanne’s apartment door SLAMS as she closes it behind
her. She hobbles to her closet.
She closes the door for a second and then comes out wearing
a pair of baggy sweatpants and an over sized t-shirt.
She walks straight to the kitchen, grabs a box of Oreos and
a bottle of vodka.
She puts in a DVD and lies on her couch.
She curls up with a blanket on the couch as the beginning
credits of DIRTY DANCING play on her television screen.
THE END

The Persian Rug

When a young man smiles with sincerity it can lift your spirits in a way that nothing else on this earth can. It makes you feel powerful and free and lovely. There is no reason for it but you feel it anyway, and it feels good. Of course I am thinking of a specific young man and a very particular night. I am not sure whether this holds true for other young men on other nights since I only ever remember the one.

The last time I saw this young man was in October. I was his friend but I loved him. And of course it was the type of love that wasn’t the friend-type. I knew he didn’t feel the same way. Don’t ask me how I knew. I knew. I was driving in my beat up 1990 Chevy station wagon on the I-355 towards downtown Chicago. His house was on the North side of Chicago in the Lakeview district. As I drove I recalled the last time I saw him. I ran into him in the cafeteria at school back in August. I was so surprised to see him because he had already graduated. I hugged him and his embrace felt like an old song that takes you back to the exact moment when you first heard it. Jesus, I guess that’s a bit cheesy, isn’t it? I tend to be like that. Now he was turning twenty-three and I was on my way to his birthday party. The nerves that swelled within me were absolutely nothing like butterflies in my stomach…rather like ants crawling through my veins.

I parked across the street from his small and sort of shitty house. Taking a deep breath I got out of my car and walked up the front steps. I knocked on the door and waited as I heard the chattering of voices and the clinking of glasses. He opened the door and his eyes lit up when he saw me. And every inch of me warmed as I forgot about those pesky ants.

“Oh my god, you came,” he smiled. The young man pulled me in for a hug and the embrace did the same damn magic it always used to, nearly making me forget my own fucking name this time. “Happy birthday!” I said as I tried to force my eyes to be a little bit duller so he wouldn’t suspect the nature of my affection. I stepped past the doorframe and pulled off my overlarge wool coat. “Want a drink?” he crowed. He led me past a few other people I probably should’ve known but didn’t and into the kitchen where there was an assortment of liquors and mixers along with beer and the like. He asked what I wanted and I said I’ll have a rum and coke. I only picked that because that’s what he was drinking at the time. I am such an ass sometimes.

I sipped my drink as I tried to make small talk with another girl who went to our university. She seemed amiable and even a bit interesting but I was still always frightfully aware of where the young man was in the room. It felt as if I had some sort of weird detection device in my brain, it would say “where is he?” “oh there he is, five feet and two centimeters to the north west.” As the evening continued I contemplated my resurfacing feelings. I knew I still had cared for him but this was a lot worse than I had imagined. When we were in school together just a few short months before that night he was in a relationship with a girl named Emily. I always remember that name. It’s the most annoying name in the world.

I decided to down the next drink a lot more quickly hoping that I would either gain more confidence or just forget my damn feelings entirely. The hour became later and inhibitions became smaller and the music became louder. Before I knew it we were all dancing in the middle of the living room with the couches pushed aside. The floor felt like it had fallen out from underneath me but everyone was somehow still stable. I remember looking down. There was a large Persian rug underneath my feet, whether there was a floor underneath that rug or not I didn’t know.

The music quieted. I sat on the floor still breathing heavily from the dancing. A few people went into the kitchen, a few went out onto the deck, and few went to the basement to smoke some pot. I looked up from my drink to find the young man sitting across from me on the floor. I quickly looked down at the Persian rug as if trying to read some secret message left for me in the design. There wasn’t one there. A few moments passed in the silence as I realized we were completely

alone. I remember at that point evaluating what state of mind I was in. I had around three or four rum and cokes, I couldn’t quite remember how many…but it wasn’t so bad. Wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t talk to him. But talk to him about what? What did I really want to say?

I looked up at him and he looked into my eyes. That was one of the things I really liked about him: the way he would look at me..well anyone probably because he was just that kind of person. He would look at you and in that moment you were the most important thing. He could still do it just as he had back in August even though I could tell from his disposition that he was slightly more drunk than I was. I opened my mouth to speak, “You were saying earlier that you had a really tough summer. What happened?” His eyes flashed with pain and he said “Oh, that. Yeah well you remember Emily right?” Oh boy do I remember Emily! But I just nodded my head. “Me and her broke up but it was really messy. Kind of all over the place.” I could see in his face that it still wrecked him when he thought about it. Suddenly what I felt didn’t seem as important anymore. I just cared about him and his hurt. Of course, that didn’t last very long just like all my moments of selflessness that I constantly build up into grand gestures that don’t actually play out. But during this moment I tried to draw his slightly unfocused eyes back to me then said “I am really sorry about that. I really am, I wish there was something I could do to help.”

We sat there in silence a bit longer. I started fiddling with the fringe on the edge of the Persian. “I really miss seeing you around since I graduated” he said. I raised my head but it felt all foggy for the rush of emotion. “Yeah, yeah. I-I miss you too” I whispered.

Something inside me broke then and I just didn’t care about the consequences anymore. I don’t know if it was the liquor or the dancing or the simple fact that I knew what the response would be and I was at peace with it. “The thing is..all last semester..you know, while you were with..Emily, um…I had feelings for you.”

I looked down from his eyes then and waited in the silence. I wanted a moment to myself before I looked at him again. In that moment I expected everything yet nothing at all from him at the same time. I looked up. His unfocused eyes came into focus and he responded. “Wow, really? Thanks!”

WHAT DID THAT MEAN? “Thanks.” I kept repeating it over and over again in my head until it didn’t even sound like a real word anymore. He was drunk. I should have known. I mean I knew he wasn’t going to be in love with me or anything. But I didn’t think of the fact that he was drunk at the time and might not even be able to respond properly. I expected a “I’m so sorry, I care about you so much but as a friend.” Yeah, that would be shitty but it would be clear and sad like a romantic movie about unrequited love. Then I could’ve cried over my tragedy-stricken broken heart. But “THANKS”.

I then forced a half smile as a few of his other friends came back in from the deck. I retreated into my mind for the remainder of the party. Things are always prettier in my mind. I think of young men, their smiles and the words I imagine they will speak.

The party started quieting down and at about one a.m. I grabbed my coat to leave. The young man walked over and hugged me goodbye. I gripped his shoulders tightly trying to remind myself that he was real and what I felt for him wasn’t completely made up like the other idealistic thoughts in my head. I knew at that moment I would never see him again and I was sad. I climbed into my Chevy and started driving home.

When I think back to that night, I still think in pretty words. I think about young men’s smiles and the feeling that comes from loving someone. I also dwell on the heart break that occurs when that young man doesn’t return love. That might be foolish. It might make me sound like a pedantic sap talking about smiles and unrequited love. But, honestly, I’d rather be foolish than say “thanks”.