Escape to Reality!

This is a ‘short’ I wrote back some years ago when I took a screen writing class at UNLV. It would have been a great class except our instuctor forgot to show up for one class and was late for several more. Apparently the fact that we paid $$ to be there and rearranged our schedules didn’t mean jack shit to him. He was BUSY! I even sent him an email complaining about his attitude and nonappearance but of course he didn’t respond. But back to the ‘short’, I never said I was a writer, I never claimed to be an editor, so if you want to read, please do, and if you have any comments, please leave them. And it’s copied and pasted from a FinalDraft format so forgive the additional spacing, etc.

ESCAPE TO REALITY

INT. – STEPS CLUB – DAY

Goodwill furniture, splendidly displayed in squalor, fills the center of the room. A bulletin board covered with inspirational notes and scriptures adorns the wall opposite the windows that provide a scenic view of the parking lot.

Six people sit/lounge/slouch around a table littered with cracked, stained mugs and an odd assortment of sweeteners and creamers complimented by coffee and doughnuts.

JERRIAN BANKS, a clean cut, Baby Boomer in a suit, holds the floor.

JERRIAN

Members and newcomers…welcome to the 10 a.m. session of Gamblers Anonymous here at Steps Club.

Jerrian’s immaculate grooming and no bullshit allowed here attitude holds everyone’s attention.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

Joe, send me a coffee with cream.

DIRK SCHROEDER pops open a creamer and milks it into a cup as he fills it with coffee, swirls it twice and slides it down the table to Jerrian.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

Whoa! How the hell did you learn to do that?

Dirk, a 25’ish lightning bolt packaged in human form, smiles broadly and starts to speak.

Jerrian waves him off.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

We’ll get to you in a minute. A few things on the agenda today.

Dirk toes the table leg, fidgets, and squirms in his chair; his fingers drum a staccato beat on his leg.Jerrian shuffles through papers on the table as he sips coffee.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

Steps Club will be closed for remodeling for the next 2 weeks. All meetings during that time will be held at Monte Vista Hospital or the Unity Club.

Jerrian looks at the group

.JERRIAN (cont’d)

Who will lead us in prayer?

SAM, a 60ish bum off the street that’s beat to death by life and bad choices, stands up. He nods and kneels to pray. Everyone except Dirk bows their head.

SAM

Father in heaven, forgive the weakness of our mortal flesh. Thank you for giving us the will to continue until you call us to your side…

DIRK

SHIT! What the hell does that mean?

THE GROUP – all talk at once, except Jerrian.

JERRIAN

Hey! HEY! Calm down everyone.

Jerrian slaps both hands down on the table. The group stops talking. Jerrian glares at Dirk.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

We follow the 12 Step Program here. Prayer is part of it.

DIRK

I came here because my girlfriend, Holly, insisted. If I wanted to go to Church, I’d go!

Jerrian circles the group and returns to his chair – his stare never leaves Dirk.

JERRIAN

Sam, take your seat…please.

Dirk jumps to his feet and gestures wildly.

DIRK

I’m Dirk. I bartend at The Hard Rock…you’ve all heard of it, right? Right! My girlfriend thinks I have a gambling problem but I don’t.

Dirk does a Moon Walk routine to a silent tune. He slides to his knees, raises his hands and pleads to the ceiling. He pouts a frown and wipes an invisible tear from his cheek as he pretends to sniffle.He jumps up and falls into a chair, grabs his stomach as he doubles over and laughs. His eyes dart to the faces of the group.

DIRK (cont’d)

It’s her fault I play machines. Maybe I should leave the bitch. What do you guys think?

The group – all talk at once. Jerrian raises his hands, his gaze never leaves Dirk. The group becomes silent.

JERRIAN

So you think it’s your girlfriend’s fault…what’s her name…Holly?

Dirk grabs a creamer, pops the top, and sucks it down. He grabs a doughnut, picks the chocolate icing from the top and throws it into one of the mugs and licks his fingers. He tears the doughnut in half and stuffs it into his mouth.

DIRK

Of course. If she hadn’t taken swing shift a year ago…see…I work days. I tried to tell her.

He crams the rest of the doughnut into his mouth; pours coffee into the cup with icing, swirls it, and gulps a mouthful.

Dirk chuckles, rolls his eyes, and gulps more coffee.

The group – all talk at once. Jerrian raises his hands.

DIRK (cont’d)

I only play machines once in awhile and I’m a winner.

JERRIAN

I’ll speak for the Group. You’re not ready for us…believe me…we aren’t ready for you.

Jerrian steps forward and extends his hand to Dirk.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

My name is Jerrian Banks. If you ever figure out whose fault it is…you call GA and they’ll put you in touch with me. Now I’m asking you to leave.

Dirk jumps up and knocks his chair over backwards.

The group jump to their feet and move towards Dirk – all talk at once.

DIRK

LOSERS! Everyone knows that winners never go to GA. You’re all a bunch of losers!

Dirk clenches his fists. His eyes narrow and he steps into fight position.

DIRK (cont’d)

When you’re all done feeling sorry for yourselves and whining to God, maybe you’ll admit your just losers!

Dirk does a quick jump-stomp at the group.

DIRK (cont’d)

BOO! B-O-O-O-!

The group starts to circle him. Jerrian jumps in front of Dirk.

JERRIAN

Leave – NOW!

Dirk sizes up Jerrian, hesitates…slowly backs up and stops at the door.

DIRK

Just look at all the marquees and billboards in Las Vegas – Winners Eat Free! They’ve already got your money, LOSERS!

Dirk kicks open the exit door and stomps out.

The Group relaxes – everyone sits down.

JERRIAN

Sam, thank you for the prayer.

SAM

You shouldn’t have given him your name.

JERRIAN

We’re here to help each other…

SAM

You’re going to be sorry.

EXT. JERRIAN’S CAR – NIGHT

Jerrian’s cell phone rings.

JERRIAN

Yes, this is Jerrian Banks. Humhhh…a month ago? Oh, Yes…Dirk Schroeder. Sure I remember. OK…the Denny’s on Sahara by Cimarron…sure 7:30.

INT. DENNYS RESTURANT – NIGHT

Jerrian sits in a booth; Dirk slides in opposite him. Dirk’s unshaven, shadow lined face and filthy clothes complete his nomination for the least likely to succeed.

DIRK

Thanks…

Jerrian fakes a gagging choke.

JERRIAN

Did you forget what a shower and soap were for?

DIRK

Holly’s gone. I can’t sleep and don’t want to go home.

A waitress appears. She grimaces at Dirk and steps closer to Jerrian as she sets down menus and water.

WAITRESS

Coffee – tea?

Dirk gives her a smile accompanied with a wink.

The waitress smiles at Jerrian and rolls her eyes at Dirk as she leaves.

DIRK

What the hell is her problem?

JERRIAN

Never mind her. What happened with Holly?

Dirk picks an ice cube out of his water glass and scrubs his face and hands with it. He dries himself with his and Jerrian’s napkins.

DIRK

Well, I borrowed an heirloom ring that belonged to her grandmother. I knew a machine that was due to hit. Someone else beat me to it. Talk about damn bad luck.

Jerrian scrutinizes Dirk as if he were a bug under glass.

DIRK (cont’d)

She found the pawn ticket in my pants…she even checks my clothes…like she can’t trust me. Can you believe it?

The waitress returns with coffee.

DIRK (cont’d)

I’d like steak rare, just knock its horns off, wipe its ass and put it on a plate. Eggs sunny side up and white toast.

Dirk laughs as he watches the waitress.

Jerrian clears his throat and smiles at the waitress.

JERRIAN

A Chicken Caesar Salad for me, please.

The waitress scribbles their order and stomps off.

Dirk begins a drumming sequence with both hands on the table top.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

If she could trust you, you and I wouldn’t be here, right?

DIRK

Aw-w-w, come on. I liked you immediately at the GA meeting. Destiny brought us together.

Jerrian pours cream into his coffee, slowly stirs it, and stares at Dirk.

JERRIAN

Before we go any further with this…quit the shit. Either we talk straight or I leave right now and you pay for your own meal.

Dirk breaks down. He puts his face in his hands and weeps.

DIRK

OK. Holly left. The rent’s due in a week. I’ve been off work for a week…going back tomorrow.

The waitress brings their food and refills their coffee cups.

Dirk wipes his face with his sleeve and attacks his food; it barely passes his teeth before it drops into his stomach.

JERRIAN

Off work, why? Slow down. You’ll choke to death or end up throwing up if you eat like that.

Jerrian eats slowly and watches as Dirk inhales every thing on his plate. Dirk pushes his plate aside, leans back and sighs.

DIRK

That was great, now where’s the main course? Just kidding…

Dirk picks at his teeth with his fingernails and chews what he captures.

DIRK (cont’d)

Can you believe it? As Holly was walking out the door and I was crying on my hands and knees, begging her not to go; she said ‘maybe you can find a machine that cares’. The bitch.

Jerrian pushes his unfinished salad aside.

JERRIAN

This name calling and denial have to stop right now. Got it? Either her name is Holly or Bitch, make up your mind.

Dirk grabs Jerrian’s salad and stuffs it into his mouth with his fingers.

Jerrian’s eyes narrow.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

I was finished with it, but thanks for asking?

Dirk, an eating machine, fires questions at Jerrian.

DIRK

So…you know all about me. What about you? Where do you work? Why did you end up at GA?

JERRIAN

I’m a family counselor at Big Brothers and Sisters.

DIRK

All your life?

JERRIAN

No…I used to be a cop.

Dirk stops chewing, mouth open, he stares at Jerrian.

DIRK

You, a cop? Mr. Business Suit? What happened?

JERRIAN

Life. Life happened.

Jerrian stirs his coffee and stares out the window.

DIRK

What the hell does that mean?

JERRIAN

I came from a wealthy family. I hated it…the money and rich snobs. I joined the Police Force just for the excitement…

Surprise rips across Jerrian’s face.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

I’ve never told anyone that…not even my wife.

Dirk leans towards Jerrian.

DIRK

Kind of like self-revelation…is that what it’s called? You’re married?

JERRIAN

Not anymore. I married a Police Detective. Georgia. I wanted her to leave the force after we got married. She ended up leaving me.

Dirk finishes the salad, shoves the bowl aside, wipes his face with his shirt sleeve and drums his fingers on the table top.

DIRK

Wow! She left you for that reason?

JERRIAN

That and she’d met someone else that understood her…another woman.

DIRK

My God! That’s sick.

Jerrian smiles.

JERRIAN

I thought so too – then. I left the force…long story, short ending.

Jerrian checks his watch and finishes the last of his coffee.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

I started shoveling all of my money into craps, blackjack, roulette, $5 machines, $25 machines. Hell the sky was the limit…no rush on Earth could cure what ailed me.

Jerrian checks his watch and stands up.

DIRK

What was that?

JERRIAN

I hated myself. Time to go. I’ll get the check. You’re going to work tomorrow, right?

Dirk chuckles and slaps the table.

DIRK

Hell yes I am.

Dirk yawns, stretches and drains his coffee cup.

DIRK (cont’d)

I’ll call you tomorrow…what are friends for if you can’t use them?

Dirk laughs long and loud.

DIRK (cont’d)

Get it?

JERRIAN

Correction, we’re establishing a friendship. Don’t get too comfortable.

Jerrian leaves a $5 tip on the table, picks up the check and goes to the cashier.

Dirk picks up the tip and stuffs it into his pants pocket, his eyes riveted on the cashier counting out change to Jerrian from a $100.

DIRK

I know it’s a lot to ask.

Jerrian’s eyebrows go up. He looks at Dirk while the cashier hands him change. He shrugs and holds out a $20 bill for Dirk.

EXT. JERRIAN’S CAR – DAY

Jerrian waits for his coffee at the Starbucks Drive Through. His cell phone rings.

JERRIAN

Yes? Oh..Dirk. Funny how ‘I’ll call you tomorrow’ turned into a week. What’s going on?

Jerrian pulls into traffic.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

You’re interrupting a great cup of coffee…what do you need?

Jerrian’s wrinkled brow turns into a frown.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

A ride to work…that’s pretty inconvenient. OK. Where do I pick you up?

EXT. JERRIAN’S CAR – DAY

A fresh, clean, uniformed Dirk bounces into the car and slams the door.

JERRIAN

Found that bar of soap and laundry detergent. Nice!

Jerrian pulls out into traffic and heads for the Hard Rock Cafe.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

What happened to your car?

DIRK

Sad as it is, it was repo’d. I called the bastards but they wouldn’t give me any more leeway. Either sleep in the car or pay the rent.

Dirk’s fingers drum to a silent tune against his knee.

DIRK (CONT’D)

Suppose you could pick me up tonight too…after work if it’s not too much trouble?

Dirk’s fingers pick up speed.

DIRK (cont’d)

If you can’t, you can’t…I understand.

Jerrian breaks to a hard stop in front of the Hard Rock. His eyes narrow as he turns and faces Dirk.

JERRIAN

Alright…I’ll be here at 6:30 p.m. R i g h t here.

EXT. JERRIAN’S CAR – NIGHT

Jerrian pulls to a stop at Dirk’s apartment house.

JERRIAN

So…you’ve been back to work a week now. How’s it going?

DIRK

Smooth! I’m starting to catch up.

JERRIAN

Time to think about a few things.

Dirk’s fingers drum the dash of Jerrian’s car.

DIRK

Like…

JERRIAN

GA meetings for one thing. That’s the best way to stay focused.

DIRK

Come on. We’re getting along so well don’t pull a Holly on me!

Jerrian turns and faces Dirk.

JERRIAN

You remind me a lot of me a long time ago but…

Dirk yawns and stretches as he opens the car door.

DIRK

Done? I’m beat.

JERRIAN

The other matter is finding a way to work. I can’t do this forever. Check out a carpool or bus system.

Dirk grabs Jerrian’s arm.

DIRK

You’ve saved my life. Being with you has made a big difference in how I feel about the world. Don’t screw it up for me now.

Jerrian looks out the window.

Dirk leaves. Jerrian sits and stares out the window.

EXT. JERRIAN’S CAR – NIGHT

JERRIAN

It’s been two weeks, Dirk.

Jerrian’s scowl sculpts a ravine across his forehead.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

Time for you to carpool or take a bus.

Dirk’s fingers run a keyboard up and down his thigh

.DIRK

I know…I’m trying. Just pick me up in the morning, please! I’ll find a way home tomorrow night.

JERRIAN

We’ve started to become friends. I like that. I feel bad but…

DIRK

Please! Just pick me up.

Jerrian sighs. His gaze never leaves the traffic floating by the window.

JERRIAN

OK!

EXT. JERRIAN’S CAR – DAY

Dirk runs out with 2 suitcases; shoves them into the back and jumps into the front seat.

JERRIAN

Hey! What’s going on?

DIRK

I’m really in trouble. I need a friend more now than ever before.

Jerrian turns abruptly to Dirk and turns back to the window. He mouths silent obscenities at the glass. Jerrian looks at his watch.

Dirk’s face twists with emotion; his fingers drum incessantly on his knee.

DIRK (cont’d)

I know…I know! You’re the only friend I have. I can’t go anywhere else.

Dirk pleads.

DIRK (cont’d)

How did you break out of gambling? Did you ever wish you were rich again?

Jerrian slams the car into gear; the tires squeal as the car leaps into the morning traffic.

JERRIAN

I don’t want money…it’s not a reason to exist. I escaped gambling by finding out what was eating me…when we have the best of every thing, we look for a way to screw it up. I did it brilliantly.

Dirk cowers in the seat. Fear runs across his face.

DIRK

I need a place to stay for a few days…if you could just think about it…

Jerrian glares at Dirk.

JERRIAN

What happened now? You were supposed to be figuring out another ride to work and now you need a place to stay?

Jerrian’s glare moves between Dirk and the street.

DIRK

I’m sorry. That damn loan shark is going to kill me.

Jerrian slams the car to a stop at the Hard Rock.

JERRIAN

Who the hell is he?

DIRK

It’s not he…it’s she…Maddy.

Jerrian’s attention snaps to Dirk.

JERRIAN

Maddy? Jesus…

Dirk sits up straight and watches Jerrian.

DIRK

You know her? She said she had a guy that would take my eye out with a spoon, cook it over an open flame and eat it while I watched with the only eye I had left, if I didn’t pay her.

Jerrian watches the traffic in his side view mirror.

JERRIAN

Maddy…you have Maddy talking to you…I’ll pick you up tonight. Now get the hell out of here!

DIRK

You know Maddy? How? Did you borrow from her?

Jerrian smiles and turns to Dirk.

JERRIAN

GET the hell out of here!

INT. JERRIAN’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Guest bedroom in a single story, moderately furnished, masculine pad in a quiet part of town.

Dirk throws his suitcases onto the bed, pops one open and digs through the contents. He finds an envelope with scotch tape on the edges, opens it and fans 3 lottery tickets.

DIRK

Look! I know one of them’s going to win the big one.

Jerrian exaggerates a huge yawn.

JERRIAN

That’s the kind of attitude that gets you broke and keeps you there.

DIRK

You tired?

JERRIAN

Yes…tired of everything.

Dirk drags a roll of scotch tape from the suitcase and enters the walk in closet. He tapes the envelope on the under side of the shelf and returns to Jerrian.

DIRK

When we split $86,000,000, you’ll have plenty of time to rest and relax.

Jerrian rolls his eyes and walks to the door.

JERRIAN

Yeah, when pigs can fly. Right now I’d settle for having my life back. Get some sleep.

INT.. JERRIAN’S CAR – DAY

Parked at a gas station, Dirk sits alone in the car with Jerrian’s wallet on the driver’s seat. Dirk rifles through it, takes some of the credit cards and cash and Driver’s License and slips them into his pocket and throws the wallet onto the seat.

Jerrian returns to the car, puts the wallet into his pocket and delivers Dirk to the Hard Rock.

DIRK

So do you still hang out with any cops?

JERRIAN

I have a few good friends on the force.

Dirk’s fingers drum his knee…the tempo changes as he speaks.

DIRK

You really think you can help me with that? She’s hell on wheels. The scariest bitch I’ve ever come across.

Jerrian turns and faces Dirk with raised eyebrows.

DIRK (cont’d)

What? You don’t believe me? You would if she was in your face.

JERRIAN

You mean Maddy? Maybe the term would be Bastard instead of Bitch…get going. I’ve got a lot to do today.

INT. GROCERY STORE – DAY

Jerrian unloads his shopping cart, checks his watch – it reads 2:45, and opens his wallet as he waits for the clerk to give him a total.

JERRIAN

Son of a Bitch! That dirty, sneaky, little bastard!

The clerk looks at Jerrian in shock.

Jerrian runs out of the store and fumbles his keys into the door of his car. He jumps in and dials a number. His breath comes in jagged spurts. His voice shakes through clenched teeth.

JERRIAN

Yeah, Gary…Jerrian here. Yeah…I know I’m supposed to meet you in an hour but the little creep I’ve been helping cleaned out my wallet this morning.

Jerrian bails out of the car and stomps around it.

JERRIAN

Yeah…his name is Dirk Schroeder, 25’ish, light brown hair, medium build.

Jerrian slams an open hand onto the trunk of the car.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

COME ON, Gary…I know that description fits half the world…you’re the cop so help me with this damn it!

Jerrian leans against the car. His breathing slows, his voice steadies.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

He worked at the Hard Rock…and to make it even better, he’s into Maddy. Yeah, I’m on my way home. I have to call the credit card companies.

INT. JERRIAN’S HOUSE – DAY

The phone rings.

JERRIAN

Hello. Hey, Gary, yeah…on my way to work. You got him? Less than 24 hours…that was fast. Sure…absolutely…H-e-l-l Y-e-s! I’ll be down for the paperwork. Thanks, Buddy.

EXT. JERRIAN’S CAR – NIGHT

The phone rings.

JERRIAN

Hello…Dirk?

Jerrian slams on the brakes and pulls to the side of the street. He shoves open the car door and leaps out…throws the cell phone into the seat and stomps around the car. He kicks a tire and beats the trunk with the sides of his fists. He stands facing the car and swears non-stop at his image in the window.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

Dirty little fucking freak…shit for brains asshole, dirt bag, low life, mother fucker…

He picks up the phone.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

Still there asshole?

He leans against the car.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

Yeah…so you were in jail for the last 10 days…good for you, you thieving, little fuck.

Jerrian slumps into the driver’s seat.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

So what do you want? Yeah…OK, I’ll bring your suitcases and meet you at the Bus Station in an hour.

Jerrian clears his throat and starts the car.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

If you twitch or even blink when you shouldn’t, you’ll wish you were facing Maddy instead of me…got it?

INT. BUS STATION – NIGHT

Jerrian enters the station carrying Dirk’s suitcases.

Dirk jumps up and waves. He shuffles from foot to foot, he signs a ‘time-out’, bows his head and looks at the floor. Dirk snivels as tears roll down his face.

DIRK

I know…I know I’ve been an idiot. You were my only friend…

DIRK (cont’d)

I can’t tell you how sorry I am…I know I can never make it up to you and you won’t forgive me. I am so sorry.

Jerrian drops the suitcases and clenches his fists…his jaw tightens and he grinds his teeth. His voice drops to a whisper.

JERRIAN

I want to take your head off right now. Be very careful what you say and how you say it.

Dirk sits down and motions for Jerrian to sit.

DIRK

Please…sit with me…right Now more than ever, I need someone to talk to…can we start over? Pretend that I just came into GA and you’re willing to help me?

Dirk looks at Jerrian through tear filled eyes.

DIRK (cont’d)

Please!

Dirk sits motionless, his gaze is fixed on Jerrian.

Jerrian stands over Dirk, his rigid stance dissolves.

JERRIAN

No drum solo today?

Jerrian looks at Dirk’s hands folded in his lap.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

What could that mean…

Jerrian takes a seat a few feet away from Dirk. Dirk puts his head into his hands and sobs.

DIRK

My mother’s dying of cancer. I called home tonight and she’s only got a few weeks to live. I’m an only child and my dad left years ago.

JERRIAN

I’m really sorry to hear that. I know it doesn’t help much but we’re dying from the day we’re born.

Dirk’s weeps uncontrollably.

DIRK

I’ve got somewhere to go and no way to get there. I know you hate me…I really need a bus ticket to Chicago.

Dirk wipes his tears and nose with his sleeve and looks at Jerrian.

DIRK (cont’d)

I promise I’ll pay you back. I’ll do anything to set things straight if you just help me one last time.

Jerrian sits back in his chair and watches Dirk through narrowed eyes.

DIRK (cont’d)

Please! Please…I’m begging you. I’ll get on my knees if it will soften your heart.

Jerrian gets up and walks out of the bus station. He stands outside and watches the traffic and people on the street. He returns to Dirk.

JERRIAN

I’d do almost anything to have my life back.

Jerrian goes to the counter and purchases a ticket.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

If I were in your position, I’d be on the bus that leaves here in an hour and I’d never come back.

Dirk jumps up and puts his hand out to Jerrian.

Jerrian pushes the ticket into Dirk’s hand. He silently washes his hands as he stares at Dirk

Tears flood down Dirk’s face.

DIRK

I’ll pay you back…

Jerrian abruptly leaves the station.

INT. JERRIAN’S HOUSE – LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

Jerrian lounges on the sofa in front of TV. He sips his coffee and channel surfs.

TELEVISION NEWS WOMAN

We’re at the airport with Dirk Schroeder, a local player that had really been down on his luck. Everything turned around for him last night when he hit the Megabucks jackpot.

Dirk preens and checks his collar. He spreads his left hand, which sports a diamond pinky ring, against his lapel.

TELEVISION NEWS WOMAN (cont’d)

How does it feel to hit the Megabucks?

DIRK ON TV

Talk about bad luck. Someone hit it in Reno just seconds before I hit it so mine was probably the smallest jackpot in Megabucks history.

TELEVISION NEWS WOMAN

Is it true you were leaving town and cashed in a bus ticket to play Megabucks?

DIRK ON TV

Absolutely. I knew I was going to win.

TELEVISION NEWS WOMAN

What are you going to do with the money?

DIRK ON TV

Just enjoy life. I deserve it.

Jerrian throws his coffee cup at the television and rages around the room.

JERRIAN

Fucking, lying, no good, piece of shit. What an idiot…I’m the idiot. Fucking lying jerk. Fucking thief…

Jerrian mimics Dirk.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

My mother’s dying. I’m broke. I need someone to talk to…I’ll pay you back.

INT. JERRIAN’S CAR – DAY

The cell phone rings.

JERRIAN

Hello…Dirk? Let me guess, you need something? Or you want to gloat? Or your mother needs a heart and you want mine? Or maybe you lost the diamond in your pinky ring and want to know the name of a good jeweler?

Jerrian hangs up. The phone rings.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

Yes, dirt bag? It is you…isn’t it?

Jerrian lays the phone on the seat. He pulls into a gas station.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

Still there? Sure you are you little freak. You want to take me to dinner? Le Cirque at Bellagio….you’ll explain everything then?

Jerrian’s narrowed eyes and frown disappear.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

It’s been two months since you left town…hell, why not…8 p.m. then? OK.

Jerrian hangs up and talks to the steering wheel as he drives.

JERRIAN

You should be broke by now and waiting for the next yearly installment of megabucks, jerk off. Don’t ask me for anything except rearranging your face.

INT. JERRIAN’S HOUSE – NIGHT

The door bell rings. Glass breaks…the lock clicks..the door swings open. Two silhouettes enter silently and move down the hall.

INT. GUEST BEDROOM – JERRIAN’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Dirk hits the light switch and walks into the closet, runs his fingers under the shelf; he stoops and looks underneath the shelf.

MADDY, a lean woman attired in GQ’s best, watches Dirk intently.

Dirk explodes out of the closet.

DIRK

Son of a Bitch! Those lottery tickets are gone.

MADDY

There’s nothing here, Dirk.

DIRK

I know…the asshole took it! He just stole $86,000,000 right out of my pocket. One of those tickets is the winner.

MADDY

No. I mean there’s nothing here…look around you. No furniture.

EXT. MADDY’S CAR – NIGHT

DIRK

Maybe he really did go to meet me.

MADDY

Maybe.

Dirk starts laughing.

DIRK

He’s easy. If he ordered, he’s still there. Mr. Good Guy. He wouldn’t leave without paying the bill.

Maddy punches Dirk in the side of the head.

MADDY

You’d better hope so.

Dirk and Maddy enter Le Cirque and are directed to Jerrian’s table.

JERRIAN

Maddy…how’s Georgia?

Maddy kicks out a chair and spins it around, straddling it, she leans over the back as she glares at Jerrian.

MADDY

She’s fine, asshole! She goes to sleep with a smile on her face every night.

Jerrian lifts a glass of wine and toasts Maddy.

JERRIAN

Good for you. Still together after all these years.

Jerrian eats his meal slowly.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

Sorry, but I didn’t wait. Wasn’t sure you’d make it Dirk. And Maddy…who’d ever have thought you’d show up here.

MADDY

Cut the crap, Jerrian. Where is it?

Jerrian’s eyebrows go up. He picks up his glass and sips.

JERRIAN

What?

Maddy stands up and places both hands on the table, she leans towards Jerrian.

MADDY

The envelope.

Jerrian laughs. He reaches into the breast pocket of his suit and pulls out Dirk’s envelope.

JERRIAN

This?

MADDY

Let’s have it.

Jerrian holds it out and Maddy grabs it from his fingers.

DIRK

That’s mine.

Dirk rips it from Maddy’s grasp.

JERRIAN

You’re right, Dirk. It really does belong to you.

Maddy glares at Jerrian.

MADDY

I always know how to find you, little man.

Jerrian continues to eat his meal.

JERRIAN

A few thoughts. I moved. All of my stuff is in storage and I’m leaving for the Congo in a few days. Do whatever you think is best after you open the envelope.

Maddy’s eyes send malevolent signals at Dirk.

MADDY

OPEN IT, DAMNIT!

Dirk rips open the envelope and pulls out a piece of paper. He reads aloud.

DIRK

Although you may be disappointed now, you will come to a time in your life that you are at peace with yourself. You will know then that this is the best thing that could have happened.

Dirk tries to scream but his mouth works without a sound.

Maddy grabs his arm and shakes him.

Dirk shakes…sobs rip from his throat.

DIRK (cont’d)

He gave it away. He mailed the lottery tickets to the Christian Children’s Fund.

Jerrian takes another bite of food and points his fork at Dirk.

JERRIAN

I’ve wondered what I would do if you didn’t show up. And Maddy? Well that is the icing on the cake.

Dirk crushes the paper.

MADDY

Meaning?

JERRIAN

Well…would I just keep the money? If not, who would I give it to? And how would I let Dirk know the donation had been made? I mean if he didn’t show up…

Dirk’s hands become fists as he stands up and leans across the table.

DIRK

You’re going to be sorry.

JERRIAN

I doubt it. I told you I still have friends on the force.

Jerrian points to the next table

JERRIAN (cont’d)

Say hello to my friend, Gary.

GARY toasts them with a glass of wine and stares directly at Dirk.

Dirk sits back down.

Jerrian stands up, looks from Dirk to Maddy, and back. He takes a sip from his wine glass.

JERRIAN (cont’d)

I wondered if I’d end up being like either of you if I kept the money… now I feel like the weight of the world has just shifted. I’ll leave you two alone. Great seeing both of you again.

DIRK

Wait! When did you mail the ticket?

JERRIAN

When I got your phone call. The best will come, Dirk. You’ll thank me some day. I’ve ordered food for you and Gary’s going to make sure you eat it and pay the bill before you leave here. Enjoy.

Jerrian bows and leaves the restaurant.

2 thoughts on “Escape to Reality!”

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