Friday, December 28, 2007

Counterbalance

COUNTERBALANCE

A Short Film

FADE IN

EXT. SMALL NORTH EASTERN COLLEGE CAMPUS – A SPRING AFTERNOON

Various groupings of college kids walk around and head off to their private corners on a Friday afternoon.

ANGLE ON: LARGE BRICK BUILDING, a few writers, artists and misfits stand outside, smoking cigarettes, reading depressing novels and contemplating existence.

MARSHALL and ALICE walk out of the building, having just finished class. Both are in their early twenties and lost in the their own crippled versions of what their college experiences have been up to this point. Marshall is the somewhat quiet, perceptive, sarcastic type, while Alice is bright and full of life adding somewhat of a counterbalance. They are friends.

MARSHALL
Jesus, thank God it’s over.

ALICE
Another wasted hour of my life.

MARSHALL
Yeah, tell me about it. If I could calculate the amount of impure thoughts I have on a daily basis in America Lit, out of shear boredom, I think I would most likely have to go to confession every day for a year just to make up for it.

Alice reaches into her purse and pulls out a pack of cigarettes. She lights one as the two walk away from the building, around campus, eventually ending up on the sidewalk of the small town they live in.

ALICE
Well that sounds like quite the moral dilemma Marshal.

MARSHALL
You have no idea.

ALICE
I pretty much just thought about the weekend.

MARSHALL
Oh yeah? How’d that go for you?

ALICE
It’s probably gonna be another one of those things that’s better to think about rather than, ya know, actually live.

MARSHALL
Well, I can understand that.

ALICE
Yeah, that’s the sad thing. You’re one of the few people who can.

MARSHALL
Uh huh…

ALICE
So who were you thinking about?

MARSHALL
What?

ALICE
The impure thoughts. Who were you thinking about?

MARSHALL
Who do you think Alice?

ALICE
Jesus Christ, is there ever gonna be a day where we walk home from class and don’t talk about your whole Nadine thing?

MARSHALL
I don’t think so, no.

ALICE
Well, I figured I’d ask anyway.

MARSHALL
Okay.

ALICE
So was it just her or was there anything else?

MARSHALL
There was that one girl who was wearing that white low-cut thing today, you could totally see the majority of her boob, and then the nipples were starting to perk up a little, that occupied about five minutes or so.

ALICE
Well that’s progress. Her name’s Wendy, I think.

MARSHALL
Oh, well maybe I should have invited Wendy to that party tonight.

ALICE
Somehow I have a feeling she already has other plans.

MARSHALL
Well whatever. No shame in subtle denial, right?

ALICE
I’m not answering that.

MARSHALL
Good. It’s probably better that way.

ALICE
Yeah, so uh… I’m not really looking forward to tonight at all.

MARSHALL
Yeah, well me neither.

ALICE
No, but I mean, that’s normal for you. Me on the other hand, I’m usually a little more optimistic.

MARSHALL
Well, what’s the deal?

ALICE
I don’t know. I think the whole Bruce thing is starting to get to me again.

MARSHALL
Really? Why?

ALICE
I don’t know. It just is. I mean, he called last night, asked what I was doing this weekend.

MARSHALL
What did you say?

ALICE
I said I was going home, that I hadn’t seen my parents in awhile.

MARSHALL
Well that was resourceful of you.

ALICE
Yeah, I know. I deserve some kind of an award for that performance.

MARSHALL
Well so what’s gonna happen if the two of you drunkenly run into each other tonight on the streets of our shitty little college town?

ALICE
I don’t know. I’ll come up with something good. Either that, or I’ll sleep with him.

MARSHALL
Ya know, as your friend, I’m gonna say that that’s probably a bad idea.

ALICE
Whatever. We never listen to each other’s advice anyways.

MARSHALL
That’s true.

ALICE
But man, it’s so fucking weird talking to him now, like even on the phone. I mean, after six months of thinking about how entirely fucked our entire relationship was, I still don’t know what to say, and I don’t really see myself getting over it anytime soon.

MARSHALL
Well, join the club.

ALICE
No offense Marshal, but my whole Bruce situation is slightly more complicated than your mediocre Nadine infatuation.

MARSHALL
Really? Ya think so? I’d say mine’s way worse.

ALICE
Oh yeah, why’s that?

MARSHALL
Well you don’t really have to see Bruce anywhere. I mean, he functions on a completely different social plane. Me, on the other hand, I have to pretend like everything’s completely cool with Nadine, despite the fact that both of us know things are shitty.

ALICE
Well things are shitty for you. She just has to deal with the fact that you’re in love with her. That’s not too complicated.

MARSHALL
No, you’re right, normally that’s not too complicated. When the person has to deal with me being in love with them… Well that makes it more complicated, doesn’t it?

ALICE
Yeah, I guess you’re right. You somehow manage to make puppy love turn into a twenty-four seven headache.

MARSHALL
Yeah, well that’s your misguided opinion on the whole situation, but whatever. I mean, it’s not a big deal. I’ll just show up tonight, fully ripped, say a few choice phrases that subtlety hint at how I really feel, before getting too drunk to function, and walking home, to sleep alone, just me and my fucked-up thoughts on the entire human race.

ALICE
Well when you break it down to that, why are you even going out tonight?

MARSHALL
I don’t know. What the hell else am I gonna do Alice?

ALICE
Good point.
(Beat)
Ya know, I think you and I just need temporary solutions to our shitty relationship problems.

MARSHALL
Yeah, well what would those be, I mean, other than suicide, which had been contemplated in-between thoughts of Nadine and what’s her names boobs?

ALICE
Wendy.

MARSHALL
Yeah, that’s right.

ALICE
Anyway, we just need to jump into things. Like we need to find attractive people that we’re sort of into and just start a relationship, and then when it all falls apart, we can blame it on our impulsiveness or call it a rebound.

MARSHALL
I think that’s what you need to do. I need to figure out the whole Nadine thing in my own unique, overly idealistic way.

ALICE
Man, I hate to tell you how bad it’s gonna hurt when you realize it’s not gonna go anywhere Marshall.

MARSHALL
Well whatever. We don’t listen to each other anyway, remember?

ALICE
Yeah, yeah…

MARSHALL
I think maybe… I mean, this is a big hypothetical here, but maybe we need to meet and start dating people who don’t know the same people we know.

ALICE
Yeah, I could see how that would make sense.

MARSHALL
I mean, I just need to meet somebody who doesn’t like any of the same things and who isn’t very likeable.

ALICE
Well that shouldn’t be too hard.

MARSHALL
Yeah, probably not. Of course, the whole thing with bringing somebody in who doesn’t fit with the group, is that no one will like her. I mean, if I meet some random girl and fall in love, the second I bring her to a party with our friends, everyone’s just gonna talk shit.

ALICE
Well that’s what we all do.

MARSHALL
Yeah, I know. I’m just saying, it’s highly unlikely that anybody will like her in the least bit, and I mean, it’s not like it’d be you or anybody’s fault, it’s just a part of our nature to completely shun all those outsiders.

ALICE
We’re like the Amish or something.

MARSHALL
Yeah, exactly.

ALICE
I don’t completely buy into your particular brand of bullshit here Marshall.

MARSHALL
Why not?

ALICE
Because if you met somebody who was truly spectacular then I’m sure me and the majority of our friends would like her.

MARSHALL
Chas might like her, but you and all the other females I know would probably talk about how slutty she looks, or how stupid she is, or how she doesn’t know about some band, anything ridiculous like that.

ALICE
Man, you honestly don’t have any faith in my ability to judge other women?

MARSHALL
No, not really. I mean, all girls secretly hate each other. It’s like a proven fact. All that women’s liberation bullshit was just to get their pictures on the front page, because they love to look at themselves.

ALICE
You really are a different kind of asshole this afternoon.

MARSHALL
I’m sorry. I know you buy into all of that, I’m just saying that I can’t date a girl I don’t know already, because I already see it not working out with all our friends.

ALICE
Yeah, well maybe you’re right. I don’t know, though. I mean, do you think Nadine would instantly hate your hypothetical outsider girlfriend?

MARSHALL
I would hope so.

ALICE
Man, I shouldn’t have asked.

MARSHALL
Yeah, I know.

ALICE
Well what if I started dating some guy you didn’t know? Would you instantly hate him?

MARSHALL
I doubt it. Just so long, as he was a bro and not some mega-douche.

ALICE
Well how did you feel about Bruce?

MARSHALL
I don’t think I can sum up into words the level of douchebag Bruce was and most likely still is.

ALICE
Well, okay. Point made.
(Beat)
So I’m pretty sure Hunter’s coming tonight.

MARSHALL
Yeah, I know. He called Chas yesterday.

ALICE
So how are you gonna handle all that?

MARSHALL
You just have to ask, huh?

ALICE
Well there is the whole him and Nadine thing too.

MARSHALL
Yeah, I know. Fuck man, I don’t know… I guess, I’ll figure it out. I mean, maybe I’ll keep my head on straighter than usual tonight.

ALICE
Yeah, or you’ll end up doing something trippy with Chas before you go to the party.

MARSHALL
Well whatever works.

ALICE
Ya know, Hunter’s your friend. You should probably just talk to him about the whole thing.

MARSHALL
No, ya see, that’s where you’re sort of wrong. Hunter and I aren’t really good friends anymore. I mean, well… Chas and I are friends because we both got over the idea of liking and fighting over the same girl around sixth grade. Hunter doesn’t really ever learn, though.

ALICE
Well I suppose I should just let that one lie then.

MARSHALL
That’s probably the best thing you can do.

ALICE
Okay.

Both are quiet for a few seconds.

MARSHALL
It’s just that… Well ya see, the whole fucking thing with Hunter is that he’s somewhat socially awkward, so anytime we’re at parties or something, the only way he can really maintain is to make other people feel more socially awkward than, more specifically, me.

ALICE
Like you’re not socially awkward without him Marshall.

MARSHALL
No, I admit, I am. I’m just saying that it doesn’t help when somebody else adds to it. Give me a few beers, a couple of bong hits, I’m fine. I mean, I can handle socializing with Nadine at that point, but then add Hunter to the mix, and I can already foresee the entire night being fucked beyond belief.

ALICE
Well, I have no advice to even attempt to offer you at this point.

MARSHALL
That’s good. I would call that progress.

ALICE
Yeah, I guess so.

MARSHALL
Ya know, you shouldn’t have problems finding somebody slightly worth it tonight, though. I mean, there are gonna be tons of guys you sort of know who wanna jump your bones at the party.

ALICE
Well thanks, that almost makes me feel better.

MARSHALL
All I’m saying is, how are any of those guys different from Bruce?

ALICE
I don’t know. Bruce pretended like he cared better than most of the others.

MARSHALL
Well shit… I don’t know how I’m supposed to respond to that.

ALICE
Don’t worry about it. We’ll figure all of this bullshit out eventually.

MARSHALL
Yeah, you’re probably right.

Marshall and Alice stop on a corner of the sidewalk.

ALICE
Well, I live this way.

MARSHALL
Yeah, okay, well uh… I guess I’ll see ya tonight.

ALICE
But we probably won’t talk much.

MARSHALL
Well yeah, I mean, not if things work out.

ALICE
I’ll think of mediocre topics of conversation between now and then Marshall.

MARSHALL
Yeah alright, me too.

ALICE
Bye.

MARSHALL
Yeah, I’ll see ya.

Marshall and Alice walk off in opposite directions as “Give It a Day” by Pavement starts to play in the background.

FADE OUT

THE END

2 comments:

Kendra said...

let's see some cul de sac

Kendra said...

let's see some cul de sac