"CYCLES"

An Original Screenplay

By

Josh Becker

INT. SAN DIEGO BUS STATION - DAY

Superimposed title: "SAN DIEGO, MARCH 1946."

There are servicemen everywhere: Sailors, Marines and Air Force, all carrying duffel bags.  A Greyhound bus is loading with "New York" lit up on top.

INT. BUS - DAY

VIRGIL MOORE, a tough, square-jawed, muscular, twenty-four year old, Marine Sergeant, wearing dress greens, a stick match flicking in his teeth, gets on the bus.  Someone has a radio and Glenn Miller's "String Of Pearls" can be heard.  Virgil walks up the aisle.  His path is blocked by the back of a SAILOR telling a story to two other Sailors.  Virgil waits for a second, then pokes the guy in the back.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Hey!  Swab-jockey!  Scram before you get scuttled!

The Sailor turns and faces Virgil.

                                                                 SAILOR
                                Take it easy, gyrene.  War's over.

Virgil gives him an icy look, puts his finger against the guy's chest and pushes him aside.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Sez you.

Virgil walks past.  The three Sailors watch him go, then look at each other and raise their eyebrows.

The only seat left on the bus is beside another sailor: BUD HOOGENBOOM, a big, blond, twenty-three year old fellow with a beard, reading Astounding Stories Magazine.  Virgil finds the choice of seats unfortunate.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Hey, mate.  Mind if I sit here?

Bud looks up and shrugs.

                                                                 BUD
                                It's a free country, leatherneck.

Virgil sits down.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                That's what they tell me.

Bud holds out his hand.  A tattoo of a snake can be seen on his wrist running up under his sleeve.

                                                                 BUD
                                Bud Hoogenboom, Machinist Mate First Class.

Virgil hesitates for a moment, then sighs and shakes Bud's hand.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Virgil Moore, Gunnery Sergeant -- ex.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (nods)
                                Right.  Ex.  Me, too.  Ain't that a kick in the
                                teeth.  Where d'ya hail from, Virg?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Detroit.  How 'bout you?

                                                                 BUD
                                Toledo.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                We're neighbors.  Hey, I know what you wanna
                                see -- a picture of my sweetheart.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (not enthused)
                                I do?

Virgil pulls out a dog-eared, black and white shot of a very pretty, dark-haired girl in a bathing suit.  He shows it to Bud.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Sure you do.  Now I ask ya, is she is or is she
                                ain't a dream?

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (nods appreciatively)
                                She's a snappy lookin' dish all right.  What's she
                                doin' with a bum like you?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (grins)
                                She's screwy about me, can't live without me.  We're
                                gonna get married as soon as I get back.

                                                                 BUD
                                Must be nice.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                You got a gal waitin' for you?

Bud looks out the window, pain in his eyes.

                                                                 BUD
                                I got the ol' 'Dear John' when I was in the Coral
                                Sea.  But she don't mean it.  She can't.  I know the
                                guy she sent me over for -- went to high school
                                with him -- he's a bum.  4-F.  Get the picture?
                                She just has to've forgotten how much she likes
                                me, that's all.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (nods)
                                Course.  How could a dame like a guy that's 4-F?

Bud nods gravely, then suddenly perks up.

                                                                 BUD
                                You wanna see a picture of my real sweetheart?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (confused)
                                An Oriental gal?

Bud shakes his head, takes out a photo and shows it to Virgil.  It's of a motorcycle.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (proud)
                                Indian Four-four cylinders,1200cc's, electric
                                starter -- look out!  This honey'll never betray
                                me.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                My best buddy had a motorcycle.  We used to
                                ride it all the time before the thing.

                                                                 BUD
                                Really?  What kind?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                I dunno, but it sure went fast.



                                                                 BUD
                                                           (nods)
                                Yeah.  Ain't nothin' like goin' real fast on a bike.
                                Gets you right in the nuts . . . except goin' into
                                battle, that is.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (grins)
                                Right.  No more of that, though.
                                                           (they both nod and sigh)
                                Hey, Bud, do me a favor, will ya?

                                                                 BUD
                                What?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (points at Bud's arm)
                                Lemme see the rest of that tattoo.

Bud grins and rolls up both of his sleeves-his arms are completely covered with tattoos.  The snake on his wrist winds around the legs of a naked girl on his inner arm.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (grins)
                                What'sa matter? You run outta paper at sea?

Bud points out each tattoo and narrates.

                                                                 BUD
                                Saipan, Singapore, Manila, Okinawa, San Francisco,
                                Pusan, Yokohama.  I worked in the guts of a ship.
                                When I saw land it was worth noting.  You got any
                                tattoos there, Virg?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (nods)
                                Yeah. One.

Virgil rolls up his right sleeve.  He reveals the blue globe, anchor and "Semper Fi" of the Marine Corps.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                That's all I need.

                                                                 BUD
                                You got a lot of imagination there, Virg.  I bet you
                                saw some rugged shit, huh?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                I saw my share.  How 'bout you?


                                                                 BUD
                                I saw a lot of the inside of an engine room and a
                                lot of sweaty swabbies.  I was on three different
                                ships that went down . . . Saw a lot of my good
                                buddies go down.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (nods; painfully)
                                A couple of months ago in the Philippines I sent
                                out a patrol and my best buddy took it in the head.
                                He's alive, but . . .

Both of them go quiet for a moment, thinking.

                                                                 BUD
                                At least we knew what the hell we were doin' when
                                we got up in the morning.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (nods in agreement)
                                No shit.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. ALBUQUERQUE BUS STATION - NIGHT

Many hours later, in the middle of the night, the bus pulls into the station in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

INT. BUS - NIGHT

Bud's asleep and Virgil is reading "One Of Ours" By Willa Cather.  As people are getting back on the bus, a slim, attractive, young woman with long curly hair named LUANNE McMILLAN gets on.  There is a defiant, angry look on her face and a coldness in her eyes.  She sits down at a window, the seat beside her empty.

Virgil sees her and his eyes light up.  He shakes his hand like it's on fire.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (to himself)
                                Hubba-hubba.
                                                           (turns to Bud, but he's
                                                           asleep; Virgil shrugs)
                                Gotta leave this one to the Marines.

Virgil stands, straightens his uniform and casually saunters over to LuAnne.  He stands over her until she glances up.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Mind if I sit down?

LuAnne checks Virgil out with a cold appraisal and seemingly likes what she sees.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (smiles; sexy Texas drawl)
                                Now what would a rugged devil dog like you want
                                with a li'l ol' gal like me?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (grinning)
                                Ask me to sit down and we'll both find out.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                All right.  Would y'all like to set down?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                My pleasure.
                                                           (he sits)
                                Don't tell me, you're from Texas.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                How'd ch'all know?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                I'm a mind-reader.  Is that where you're goin'?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Yep.  You ever been there?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Nope.  But if all the gals look like you I oughta stop
                                and reconnoiter.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (grinning)
                                Are y'all makin' a pass at me, Sergeant?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (grins back)
                                Smart, too.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Well then, let's get to it.

LuAnne leans over and gives Virgil a big kiss.  Virgil can't believe it.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                You Texas gals don't kid around.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Some of 'em may, I don't.

Virgil grins and gives her a kiss back and soon they're seriously necking.

The bus driver sees them in the rear-view mirror and raises his eyebrows; everyone else is asleep.

LuAnne finally breaks away and laughs.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                My Daddy's a cop.  He wouldn't like this a'tall,
                                not that I rightly care.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (shrugs)
                                Daddy's gotta let go sometime.  You're old enough
                                to take care of yourself.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (grins)
                                That's what I think, but my Daddy says I gotta be
                                eighteen before I take care of myself.

Virgil straightens up and coughs.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                You're not eighteen yet?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (shakes her head)
                                Not 'til October.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (smiles)
                                Could've fooled me.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (grins)
                                I did.
                                                           (She puts her hand
                                                           on Virgil's arm)
                                Why don't ch'all just stay fooled 'til I get off in
                                Amarillo, that's purty soon.

Virgil thinks about it for a second, looks around and sees that everyone is asleep, then takes LuAnne in his arms and kisses her.  LuAnne's hand moves to Virgil's waistband and begins to slide under his belt.  Virgil's eyes pop open, then he grabs her wrist.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (whispers)
                                Why don't we just take a rain-check on that 'til,
                                say, October.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                When're you ever gonna see me again?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (grins)
                                Who knows?  It's a big world.  Anything can happen.

LuAnne suddenly grabs him and holds him tight, whispering in his ear.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (desperately)
                                Take me with you, Sergeant, wherever you're
                                goin'?  I don' care.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (pulls away; shocked)
                                What?

LuAnne's embarrassed, but goes on.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                I don't wanna go home.  I don't fit in there.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (chuckles)
                                I'm going back to my parents' house and they'd be
                                a little surprised if I brought you in.
                                                           (waves his hand)
                                Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad.  I brought home this underage
                                girl to live with me, is that okay?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (not kidding)
                                I was just kiddin'.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Why do you want to get away so bad?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                It don't matter.  Forget it.

Virgil tenderly touches LuAnne's cheek.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                I don't even know you, but if it was any other way
                                I'd do it.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Really?
                                                           (Virgil nods)
                                Kiss me, Sergeant.  Amarillo's just around the corner.

Virgil takes LuAnne in his arms and kisses her.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. AMARILLO BUS STATION - NIGHT

The bus pulls into the tiny station in Amarillo, Texas.  It's a little brick building with a few dusty old cars and a pick-up truck.

INT. BUS - NIGHT

LuAnne straightens her hair, gives Virgil a quick kiss and a conspiratorial smile, then stands to go.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Very nice makin' your acquaintance, Sergeant.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                I'm not a Sergeant anymore.  Just Virgil.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Aw right, Just Virgil.  My name's LuAnne.  Maybe
                                somehow somewhere we'll meet again.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Like I said, it's a big world, who knows?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (waves)
                                'Bye.

Virgil waves back and LuAnne hesitantly gets off the bus.  Virgil stands and goes back to his seat while watching LuAnne through the window.  He sits back down in his seat and Bud wakes up.  Virgil points to LuAnne.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Oh brother, now there's a hot little Texas tamale.
                                You'll never believe what I been up to.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (snorts)
                                I don't even wanna hear about it.

Bud goes back to his magazine.  Virgil watches through the window as LuAnne is met by a big guy in his forties wearing a Sheriff's uniform.  He is SHERIFF ALEX MCMILLAN.  LuAnne and the Sheriff don't look particularly pleased to see each other.  The Sheriff tosses LuAnne's suitcase into the back of a police car with "Shamrock, Texas, Sheriff" on the door.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (chuckles)
                                She wasn't lying.


                                                                 BUD
                                                           (doesn't look up)
                                Well, there's one for the books.  They oughta make
                                it a fuckin' holiday.

INT. POLICE CAR - NIGHT

The Police car pulls away from the bus station.  LuAnne and the Sheriff ride along is silence for a minute.  Finally . . .

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                Y'all didn't wanna believe me, but I tol' ya so.

The cold, defiant look has returned to LuAnne's face.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                All right, ya tol' me so.  So what?

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                So, if you'd a listened t' me ya coulda spared yourself
                                the time an trouble of goin' all the way t' Albuquerque.
                                I knew your Ma didn't want ya there, she tol' me so
                                when she left.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                I guess I jus' had t' find out for myself.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                I guess ya did.  I tell ya though, girl, I don't cotton
                                t' this runnin' away bidness.  Don't do it again.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Aw, Daddy, just lemme be.  I don' much feel like
                                talkin' right now.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                Ch'all don' need t' be talkin', ya need t' be listenin'.
                                From here on out when I tell ya somethin', I expect
                                ya t' do it.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Why?

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                Why?  'Cause I'm your Father an' I know what's right
                                for ya, that's why.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (defiant)
                                Ya do?  You know what's right for me?  I don' thank
                                y'all know what's right for yourself, let alone me.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                                           (suspicious)
                                What's that supposed t' mean?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (looks at him)
                                You know 'zactly what I mean.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                What?

LuAnne looks at him a long time.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (finally)
                                Aw right.  Whatever happened after that feller that
                                come into town last year an' spoke at the Goodfellers
                                Hall?

EXT. ROUTE 66 - NIGHT

The Sheriff's car swerves over to the side of the road and screeches to a halt.

INT. SHERIFF'S CAR - NIGHT

The Sheriff turns to LuAnne and the two of them glare right at each other.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                What're ya drivin' at here, girl?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Drivin' at?  All I know is that feller come ridin' into
                                town on his motorcycle spoutin' his kill-the-Nigras-
                                and-Jews talk and the next thang ya know ever'body's
                                actin' very peculiar.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                You get all this from your Mama?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Mama didn't tell me nothin'.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                So you got it yourself.  What of it?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                So, what Nigra or Jew got lynched?  Or was it one
                                of the Japs down to the relocation center?


                                                                 SHERIFF
                                Nobody got lynched, Nigra, Jew or Jap.  Ya don' know
                                what your talkin' about.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                I don't?  How come the next day the road out t' Salt
                                Crick got blocked off an nobody goes out there no
                                more?

The Sheriff suddenly gets very serious.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                I don' know where y'all got these silly notions of yours,
                                but you best clear your head of 'em right smart ! Your
                                dead wrong in what your sayin'!  I don' cotton t' bein'
                                accused of thangs by my own daughter, an' I won't have
                                no more of it, neither!  An another thang, young lady,
                                there ain't no point in your runnin' away no more.  Yer
                                Mama don' want'cha, ya gotta face up to that.  Like it or
                                not you're stuck with me.  Ya may not believe it, LuAnne,
                                but I do love ya.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (sighs; looks away)
                                I know ya do, Daddy.

The Sheriff nods, fine, it's all settled.  He turns the steering wheel.

EXT. ROUTE 66 - NIGHT

The Sheriff's car pulls back onto the road and drives away.

A moment later the bus comes roaring past.  It travels through the dark night up a lonely stretch of Texas two-lane.  The moaning and groaning of someone having a nightmare is heard.

INT. BUS - NIGHT

It's Bud.  His eyes are closed and he's in a sweat.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (asleep)
                                Get out!  You gotta get out!  Swim for it!  We're
                                goin' down!

Virgil is woken up by Bud's helpless appeals.  Virgil reaches over and shakes Bud's shoulder.  He wakes with a gasp, breathing hard, his eyes blank, not sure where he is.  Virgil keeps a tight grip on Bud's shoulder.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                It's okay, chum.  You're off the ship.  We're on a
                                Greyhound bus.  We're not goin' down.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (confused)
                                Huh?  What?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                We're goin' home.  The war's over.

Bud figures out where he is, sighs deeply and wipes the sweat from his brow.

                                                                 BUD
                                It sure ain't over in my head.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                You and me both, chum.  You and me both.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

INT. TOLEDO BUS STATION - DAY

Virgil and Bud both get off the bus in the Toledo Bus Station.  They arrive at a bus loading up marked "Detroit."

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                This is my bus.

Bud suddenly seems very nervous.

                                                                 BUD
                                Hey, what'dya say we go toss back a few?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (shakes his head)
                                I been waitin' three years for this bus.  I don't want to
                                miss it.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (nods)
                                Right.  You ever get back down here to Toledo, you
                                got my address, make sure and look me up.  I'll give
                                ya a ride on my Indian.

Virgil and Bud shake hands.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Sure thing.  And if you ever get up to Detroit...

They put on their hats, hoist their duffel bags and head off in different directions.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:


EXT. THE MOORE HOUSE - DAY

The Moore family home is a small brick house in a shaded, middle-class neighborhood.  A new, '46 Hudson sits in the driveway.

A Yellow cab pulls up in front of the house and Virgil gets out.  He swings his duffel bag up onto his shoulder, sighs and marches up to the door.  He's about to turn the doorknob, then stops and rings the bell.  A muffled voice from within says, "I'll get it."  A moment later the door is opened by JASON, Virgil's seventeen year old brother.  He's a tall, handsome kid with dark hair.  His eyes go wide like he's seeing a ghost.

                                                                 JASON
                                Mom!  Dad!  It's Virgil!

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (grinning)
                                Holy mackerel, look at you.  You're bigger'n me.
                                Come 'ere.

Virgil grabs Jason and hugs him.  They slap each other's backs.  When they step apart they marvel at one another.  Finally . . .

                                                                 JASON
                                                           (hollers)
                                Mom!  Dad!  It's Virgil!  He's home!

MR. & MRS. MOORE come running up.  Mr. Moore is holding the newspaper, Mrs. Moore is wiping her hands on her apron.  They are dark-haired, middle-aged, white, middle-class folks.  They both grab for Virgil at the same time.

                                                                 MR. MOORE
                                Virgil, my boy!

                                                                 MRS. MOORE
                                                           (crying)
                                Oh, Virgil!  Why didn't you call?

Virgil hugs them both and they both start to cry.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                I wanted to surprise you.

                                                                 MR. MOORE
                                Well, you sure did.

                                                                 MRS. MOORE
                                You might've given me a heart attack, too.

                                                                 MR. MOORE
                                Come in, son, come in.  The war's over and you're
                                finally home.

They all take hold of Virgil, pull him inside and shut the door.

INT. MOORE HOUSE/LIVING ROOM - EVENING

Virgil, Jason and Mr. Moore sit in the living room by the fireplace. Mr. Moore builds up the fire, Virgil sits smoking and Jason sits on the floor at his feet.

                                                                 JASON
                                                           (eager)
                                So, was it really as rugged as we kept hearing about?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (changing subjects)
                                So how 'bout those Tigers?  Think they've got a
                                chance of taking the series again this year?

Jason looks disappointed.  Mr. Moore nods.

                                                                 MR. MOORE
                                I think so.  They traded Rudy York to the Red Sox
                                and that Jew, Greenberg, wants more money, but
                                nobody can hit Newhouser's fast ball, so I think
                                we've got a good chance.  What do you think, Jason?

                                                                 JASON
                                I wanna hear about the war.

                                                                 MR. MOORE
                                Well maybe your brother doesn't want to talk about
                                it this minute.  Everything isn't always about what
                                you want, you know.

                                                                 JASON
                                All right, all right.  Don't blow a gasket.  It's just not
                                fair, that's all.  If I'd only been a year older I would've
                                made it.  I got rooked.

Virgil and his Dad exchange a look. Virgil grins, puts his hand on Jason's head and musses his hair.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                You wouldn't've liked it, Jas.  You gotta get up before
                                dawn and do what other people tell you to do.  It doesn't
                                sound like your style.

                                                                 JASON
                                                           (dead serious)
                                I'd of made a good soldier no matter what you both
                                think!  I'm not some spoiled kid, for Christ sake!



                                                                 MR. MOORE
                                                           (serious)
                                Watch your mouth.  I won't have swearing in this
                                house.

                                                                 JASON
                                Oh, all right.

The doorbell rings.  Virgil bolts to his feet.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                I'll get it.

He opens the door and there stands SHIRLEY, twenty pounds heavier and four years older than the bathing suit shot, but still a pretty girl.  Virgil isn't sure how to react.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Shirley?

                                                                 SHIRLEY
                                Virgil.  Don't you recognize me?

Virgil quickly gets past his initial shock, he is a Marine after all.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Of course I do.  Hi.

He grabs her in his arms and hugs her tight.

                                                                 SHIRLEY
                                I guess I've changed a little.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                So have I.  It's been a long time.

They hold each other tightly.

Mr. Moore taps Jason on the leg with his foot and nods his head toward the kitchen.  Jason makes a face like he doesn't want to go and his Dad kicks him a little harder.  They both go into the kitchen.

Virgil and Shirley pull back and look into each other's eyes.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                You can't imagine how many times I thought about
                                this.

                                                                 SHIRLEY
                                                           (breathless)
                                Yes, I can.  Oh, Virgil, hold me.

Virgil takes her back in his arms and holds her.  Shirley's eyes are closed and she sighs deeply. Virgil has his arms around her waist.  He opens his eyes and looks down -- there's a lot of her.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. LOWER-CLASS NEIGHBORHOOD - DAWN

The sun is just rising over a lower-class neighborhood in a hilly section outside Toledo.  The small, wooden, two-story houses are scattered around like blown refuse.  Old, rusted cars repose on a number of lawns with weeds growing through them.  The streets are rough dirt and gravel.

INT. THE HOOGENBOOM HOUSE/BUD'S BEDROOM - MORNING

Bud wakes up with a start, looking all around in a daze.  After a quick moment he realizes where he is -- his own bedroom.  It's the bedroom of a boy in high school, full of sports trophies and pennants.  Bud's feet stick off the end of the bed.  He rubs his aching, hung-over head, lights a cigarette and wonders . . .

                                                                 BUD
                                Maybe the war didn't happen.  Maybe it was all a
                                dream.

Bud looks down at the knuckles of his right hand and they're all skinned.  He gets out of bed and sees his Navy uniform nicely folded over a chair.

                                                                 BUD
                                No such luck.

He goes to the closet and takes out a white, button-down shirt.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (shakes his head)
                                Of all the crummy things to be -- a civilian.

He puts on the shirt, goes to button it and can't get the buttons to the holes.

                                                                 BUD
                                A big, crummy civilian.

INT. HOOGENBOOM KITCHEN - MORNING

Bud enters the little kitchen in his uniform.  His Father, MR. HOOGENBOOM, sits at the table reading the newspaper and his Mother, MRS. HOOGENBOOM, stands at the stove cooking.  She is thin, gray and old.

                                                                 BUD
                                Morning.

Mr. Hoogenboom lowers the paper and he really looks terrible: there are spots and blotches on his skin, his hair has fallen out in irregular clumps and he's so thin he's emaciated.  The sight of him shocks Bud.

                                                                 MR. HOOGENBOOM
                                                           (smiling; Dutch accent)
                                Goot mornink, Bud.  Welcome home.

Mrs. Hoogenboom turns around.

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                Welcome home, sweetheart.

His Mother gives him a big hug, then he takes his Father's bony hand and kisses him on the cheek.  Mrs. Hoogenboom sees the look in Bud's eyes.  Her look tells him to calm down, don't make a fuss.

                                                                 BUD
                                Something sure smells good.

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                Pancakes.  Your favorite.

Bud rubs his pounding head.

                                                                 BUD
                                Got any coffee?

                                                                 MR. HOOGENBOOM
                                Ah, you drink coffee now, eh?  You nefer liked it as a
                                boy.

                                                                 BUD
                                In the Navy nobody asks you what you like, they just
                                give it to you.  And you take it.

His Mother pours him a cup of coffee.  She raises a bottle of milk and Bud waves it away.  He takes a big slug of black coffee and sighs.  Both his parents watch him with great amusement.

                                                                 MR. HOOGENBOOM
                                You've grown into a bik man, Bud.  I'da nefer t'ought
                                you'd get so bik.  And wit da beart.  You look like my
                                Papa.

                                                                 BUD
                                I don't suppose we got any aspirins around here, huh?

Mrs. Hoogenboom reaches into a cupboard and takes out a bottle of aspirin.

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                You didn't used to take aspirins.

                                                                 BUD
                                I didn't used to have hangovers.

Bud tosses back three aspirins and washes them down with coffee.  His parents both shudder at the sight.



                                                                 BUD
                                I musta been a wreck when I got in last night 'cause
                                I don't remember comin' home.

                                                                 MR. HOOGENBOOM
                                You came in like it was da day hafter you left.  You chust
                                went right to your room and got into bet.

                                                                 BUD
                                Sorry.

Bud sits down at the table and his Mother serves him an enormous stack of pancakes.  Bud looks at them and tries not to gag.  His Mother helps by scooping a giant glob of butter on top.

                                                                 MR. HOOGENBOOM
                                Hey, dat's okay.  Da war's ofer, you got to celebrate.

Bud glances down at his skinned knuckles.

                                                                 BUD
                                Yeah, I guess I celebrated all right.  So, how are
                                you two?  How ya been?

They both shrug.

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                Oh, we've been all right.  It's been difficult, you know.
                                There's been a lot of shortages.

                                                                 MR. HOOGENBOOM
                                Dat's right.  No rubber for tires, no new cars-

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                -Very little meat, or eggs, or butter-

                                                                 MR. HOOGENBOOM
                                -And gasoline and motor oil was very hart to get.  It's
                                been very hart on us.

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                At times we just didn't know what we'd do.

Bud starts to laugh.  His parents are surprised at his reaction.

                                                                 MR. HOOGENBOOM
                                What's so funny?

                                                                 BUD
                                I guess us servicemen never bothered to think how
                                rough it was on all you civilians, particularly the
                                ones that were thousands of miles from the fighting.

This stops the conversation dead.

                                                                 BUD
                                I'm sorry.  I don't know what I'm saying.  I'm gonna
                                take a walk.

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                What about your breakfast?

                                                                 BUD
                                It looks great, Ma, I just can't eat it right now.  I'll see
                                ya in a little while.

Bud stands and leaves.  His parents look at each other and shake their heads.

EXT. THE HOOGENBOOM HOUSE - DAY

Bud gets outside and lights a cigarette.  He inhales deeply, looks back at the house and shrugs.  A moment later Mrs. Hoogenboom comes outside and walks up to him.

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                What's the matter, Bud?

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (concerned)
                                What's wrong with Dad?

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                What do you mean?  You've been gone a long time,
                                he's gotten older.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (shakes his head)
                                You've gotten older, he looks terrible.

Mrs. Hoogenboom's eyes quickly water up and she turns away.

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                Is it that bad?

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (shocked)
                                Mom, what's wrong?

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                He's got cancer.

                                                                 BUD
                                Of what?

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                Of everything.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (confused)
                                How can you get cancer of everything?

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                I don't know, but you can.  You remember Mr. Fischer?

                                                                 BUD
                                Sure.  Dad's friend from the factory?

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                                           (nods)
                                He got the same thing.  He died last year.  And Mr.
                                Treszewski?

                                                                 BUD
                                That's another friend of Dad's.

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                He's got it, too.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (confused)
                                But I don't understand.

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                Neither do we.  But don't say anything.  It won't help.
                                Promise me.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (hesitant)
                                . . . Okay.

His Mom hugs him and kisses him.

                                                                 MRS. HOOGENBOOM
                                It's good to have you home, Bud.  It's been very difficult
                                going through this by myself.

                                                                 BUD
                                I'm gonna take a walk, Ma.  I'll see ya in a while.

His Mom goes back in the house.  Bud walks over to the one-car garage and opens the door.  It's dark and jammed full of discarded junk: old bicycles, bald tires, broken lawn chairs.  Amidst all of the junk is a canvas tarp.  Bud yanks it back to reveal his Indian motor-cycle-dusty but gorgeous.



                                                                 BUD
                                                           (grinning)
                                Oh, baby.  Lookin' good.

He runs his hand over the red gas tank and beneath the layer of dust it shines.  Bud scrutinizes the dust on his hand and smears it around with his thumb, his eyes suddenly glazed with anger.

EXT. METROPOLITAN CLEANERS - DAY

Bud steps up to a storefront dry cleaners.  He looks through the window and sees his ex-girlfriend, BONNIE.  She is a slim, dishwater blonde.  She glances up, sees Bud and immediately gets nervous.  Bud goes inside.

INT. METROPOLITAN CLEANERS - DAY

Bud steps up to the counter, a very serious expression on his face.

                                                                 BUD
                                Just one question.  Why?

                                                                 BONNIE
                                Oh, Bud.  Don't be like this.

                                                                 BUD
                                Come on, give out with it.  Why?

                                                                 BONNIE
                                                           (sighs)
                                We were just too young when we started going out.
                                It's been a long time.  Arnie works across the street
                                and we just started seeing each other.  Things happen,
                                Bud.

                                                                 BUD
                                So then there's no chance for us to get back together
                                again?

                                                                 BONNIE
                                Bud, Arnie and I are getting married next month.

This hits Bud hard.  He turns to leave.

                                                                 BONNIE
                                When you meet Arnie again, I just know you'll like
                                him.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (sarcastic)
                                Yeah, good old Arnie.  I'm sure I'll like him a lot more
                                now that he stole my girl.


                                                                 BONNIE
                                Oh, come on, Bud, don't be like that.

                                                                 BUD
                                Don't be like what?  A sucker?
                                                           (furious)
                                You fuckin' betrayed me you bitch!  While I was away
                                at war!  That's the lowest thing a woman can do to a man!
                                There's no excuse!

                                                                 BONNIE
                                                           (offended)
                                Oh yeah?  Well, I never loved you and you never loved
                                me!  We were kids.
                                                           (looks around; whispers)
                                We never even slept together.  I'm sorry you had to go
                                away and fight for three years, but that's not my problem.
                                Don't get sore at me for what happened to you.

                                                                 BUD
                                Oh yeah, well fuck you!

                                                                 BONNIE
                                You're a loud-mouth fool, Bud.  Three years in the Navy
                                didn't do you any good at all.

                                                                 BUD
                                Drop dead!

Bud stomps out of the store and slams the door.

EXT. METROPOLITAN CLEANERS - DAY

When Bud gets outside he doesn't know which way to go.

                                                                 BUD
                                I got scrounged.  If I'd a been here she'd a grown to
                                love me.

Bud slowly wanders away.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

 

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