Todd sits on the one hard, wooden chair surrounded by empty beer cans and booze bottles.  He hasn't shaved in a couple of days and wears only gym shorts.  He is smashed and holds a glass of scotch.  He takes a sip and winces.  The phone rings and he answers it.



                                Laura.  Of all the people.

                                How are you?  We haven't spoken in a long

Todd's eyes glaze with hurt and anger.

                                Yeah, well... I got tired of calling.  You never
                                call back.  And you never really wanted to talk
                                anyway, so why bother?

                                I wanted to talk, I just couldn't think of what to
                                say.  Long distance calls make me nervous.

                                I was paying.

                                Even still.

                                So, do you know what you want to say now?

                                ...I miss you.

                                Ah.  You miss me.  Isn't that nice.  Well it just
                                so happens I'm past missing you.  It hurt a lot,
                                but I got over it.

                                You did?

                                You have to, otherwise it destroys you.

                                Are you drunk?

                                What of it?

                                We'll talk another time.

                                Oh, sure we will.  And I'll just sit next to my
                                phone waiting for you to call.  And you do
                                the same.

                                                           (very seriously)
                                Todd?  What's happened to you?

                                I left the little town and came to the big city.  I
                                see the future and it's ugly.

                                I'll call you.

                                Right.  Give everyone my best.

                                I will.  Bye.

She hangs up.  Todd doesn't.  He speaks into the dead receiver.

                                See ya.  So long.  Maybe our next life.

He drops the receiver on the floor.  He staggers out of the chair and goes to the kitchen.  He comes back with a plastic liter size Coke bottle full of water and goes out the front door.


Todd steps outside and the bright sun blinds his bloodshot, bleary eyes.

                                                           (to himself)
                                The L-word?  For Christ sake what kind
                                of relationship could it've been if we had
                                to say shit like that?  I was kidding myself.

Todd hears a door open near the back of the courtyard.  He sees George step out of an apartment, followed by Chris with the thin blonde hair.  Next comes a federal MARSHAL with a piece of paper in his hand.  He escorts Chris up the walk.

                                You understand that if you try to come
                                back into this apartment you're trespassing
                                and can be arrested.

                                But I've got nowhere to go.  I've got no money.

                                You ever hear of planning ahead?

                                But I've got a job, I just don't make enough

                                Get a better job, or another job.  I worked
                                two jobs for years.

                                But what about my stuff?

                                                           (cuts in)
                                When you pay me what you owe me you
                                can have it back.  Nice and simple.

The Marshal let's go of Chris down at the sidewalk, then opens the door to his brown government car.

                                Don't go back there without paying.  You
                                don't want me coming back here.  Got it?


The Marshal drives away.  Chris sits down on the step, puts his face into his hands and begins to cry.

Todd stands over his scraggily little plants and glances at Chris.

                                You say you've got a job?

                                Yeah.  At a video store.  But I only make
                                minimum wage.  After taxes that's $150 a
                                week.  Rent's $600.  If I only didn't have to

                                Uh... What if you move in with me?

Chris is surprised and not entirely sure what Todd means.

                                Are you gay?

                                No.  It's just that that way we'd only have
                                to come up with $300 a month each.

                                That would be great.  I'm not gay either.


                                Thanks.  You're saving my life.

                                I'll get a key made.  Just try to stay out
                                of my face, OK?  And you damn well better
                                pay your half of the rent.

                                I will.

Todd sprinkles water from the Coke bottle onto the plants.  They're just barely hanging on.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


Todd stands behind the counter wearing a blue and white outfit with "AM/PM" on the breast.  His eyes are bloodshot and glazed.  Beside him stands the owner of the store, MR. CHOI, a pissed-off Korean man.

                                                                 MR. CHOI
                                These magazines behind the counter nobody
                                gets to look at unless they buy 'em.  Got it?


                                                                 MR. CHOI
                                Somebody asks for a hotdog, you make it.
                                Don't let anyone make their own.  Got it?


                                                                 MR. CHOI
                                Most important.  Don't let anyone steal anything.
                                Stop 'em.  Understand?


                                                                 MR. CHOI
                                Okay.  I'll see you at eight in the morning.  Don't
                                screw up, this store is my life.  Understand?

                                I understand.

Mr. Choi takes his jacket and leaves.

Todd looks around and shrugs.  This isn't so bad.  He takes a Sports Illustrated Magazine from the rack, sits on a stool and flips through it.

A group of five 11 and 12 year old kids come into the store and play the video games.  As soon as the games start bleeping the kids begin yelling and pushing each other.  Todd looks up, but doesn't say anything.

Then a huge BIKER with long hair, a beard and a black leather jacket steps up to the counter.  He points at the magazines behind Todd.

                                Lemme see the Easy Rider Magazine.

                                Uh... You can't look at those magazines,
                                you have to buy 'em.

The Biker's eyes narrow and a sneer crosses his face.

                                How'm I supposed t' know if I wanna buy
                                it if I aint looked at it?

                                I don't know.  Those are the rules.  I didn't
                                make 'em.

                                                           (leaning forward; intense)
                                Lemme see the magazine, creep!

                                Yes, sir.

Todd gets the Easy Rider Magazine and hands it to the Biker.

A male and female JUNKIE come stumbling in, their eyes halfway rolled up into their skulls.  They zig-zag their way to the slurpee machine and proceed to make a total mess: dropping cups and straws, overflowing the slurpees and leaving the stuff running.  Todd goes over to help them.

The front door opens and three ROCKER CHICKS in black leather, tight skirts, torn black stockings and army boots come into the store shrieking loudly.  They go directly to the hotdogs and begin making them themselves.  Todd sees this.

                                                           (to himself)
                                Oh, man.
                                                           (to junkies)
                                Excuse me.

Todd goes over to the Rocker Chicks.

                                Sorry.  I have to make these for you.

                                                                 R.C #1
                                Hey, cram it!

                                Yeah, we got it handled here.

                                No, really, let me.

                                Get lost!

Rocker Chick #3 throws her ketchupy hotdog on the floor, then the other two follow suit.  They all shriek with laughter and run out of the store.

Todd sighs and gets down on the floor to clean up the mess.  He glances up into the convex mirror in the corner and sees the kids from the video games filling their pockets with candy.  Todd stands and goes over to them.

                                Put that candy back, or pay for it.

                                                                 KID #1
                                Oh, yeah?


The kid pushes Todd over another kid whose on all fours behind him.  Todd falls on his back.  The kids dash out of the store.  Todd gets up rubbing the back of his head.


He glances over at the junkies who have the slurpee machine just pouring out onto the floor.  Todd runs over and turns the thing off.  He points at the overflowing cup.

                                You gonna buy this?

Both junkies look at the cup, then at Todd and shake their heads.

                                It won't get green enough.

                                Then leave it alone.  It won't get any greener.

The two junkies stumble away.

Todd goes back to the counter, finds the Biker gone and the cover of the Easy Rider Magazine crumpled and torn.

                                Holy shit.

Todd tries to flatten it back out.  At which point a Mexican street gang of six guys enters.  Right behind them is an old black HOMELESS man.  The gang spreads out around the store speaking in Spanish.  The Homeless man comes up to the counter.

                                D'you sell single cigarettes?

Todd glances around the counter, then shakes his head.

                                It doesn't look like it.

The Homeless man takes a handful of change out of his pocket and spreads it out over the counter.

                                How many cigarettes can I get for this?

                                A pack of cigarettes is $2.35.

                                I don't think I have that much.
                                Five, ten, eleven, twelve...

Todd looks from mirror to mirror and sees that all of the gang members are stealing stuff from every aisle.  The Junkies are messing with the coffeemakers and steaming coffee is streaming onto the floor near to where the hotdogs are.  The Homeless man keeps counting.

                                ...Twenty-one, twenty-two...

Todd stands there feeling utterly helpless.  One more of his reality lines has snapped.  He's having a swirling, drowning sensation and is becoming short of breath.  Everything's going around and around and around...


...The swirling stops on Todd's apartment door marked one.  Todd steps up holding a brown bag with a bottle in it.  He tries to open his door and it's locked.

                                                           (through door)

There's no answer.  Todd takes out his keys and unlocks the door.


Todd opens the door and finds his apartment has been cleaned out.  Everything is gone, including the sheets from the bed and the telephone.  Todd's eyes are wide with shock.  And then a bigger panic hits him.

                                Oh, no!  My comic books!

He dashes to the closet.  It is completely empty, no clothes, no shoes, no comic books.  Snap!  There's another one.

And then there's the ridiculously loud sound of a chainsaw buzzing like it's right in Todd's living room.  Todd turns around with an insane, unhinged look like he's suddenly in a horror movie.

He goes to the window, opens it and sees...


Mexican workers are cutting down the hedges on the front lawn with chainsaws.  Other workers are tearing out the grass with hoes and yet another is ripping Todd's plants out by hand.  Todd watches from the window.

                                What're you doing?

The MEXICAN worker whose tearing out his plants looks up at him and smiles with bad teeth.

                                Landlord don't want to pay gardeners no
                                more.  We put in nice bricks instead.

The swarm of workers continues to decimate the lawn.  The worker beneath the window throws Todd's handful of dead, uprooted plants into the central pile of refuse.

Todd is hyperventilating through a knotted face and clenched teeth.  He glances up just in time to see a parking enforcement officer putting a ticket under his windshield wiper.

That's it.  All his lines to reality have snapped.  Todd turns back inside.

The apartment starts to spin and he grabs the back of the chair for support.  It won't hold him.  The pain and despair are too heavy and drive him to his knees.  A moan wells up inside him, like that of a half dead animal, then bursts forth.  It rises in octaves until it alters into a howl, then a full-fledged scream.

There's pounding on the wall, followed by the angry voice of his neighbor.

                                                                 NEIGHBOR (O.S.)
                                Shut up in there, you asshole!

It's like someone shoved a red hot poker up Todd's ass.  He jumps to his feet and starts pounding and kicking the wall.

                                No!  You shut up!  I'll kick this fuckin' wall down
                                and rip off your fuckin' head, you cocksucker!

There's no response from his neighbor and Todd finally stops.  He turns around and his eyes are closed.  His face twitching in various spots.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


Todd sits in his straight-backed wooden chair, his eyes burning, a plastic half gallon bottle of generic vodka gripped tightly in his hand.  Our view goes around his empty apartment awash in empty beer cans, booze bottles and Doritoes bags, we pass the window and see that Todd's car is getting the boot...

...The spinning speeds up as a cacophony of sound is heard: the Jewish boys in their brass band playing "Hatikva" off key, little children screaming, a girl in another apartment chanting "Nom yo ho ren gyeh kyo" so quickly that it sounds like a swarm of bees buzzing...

...As our view passes the window it is now night.  A TV is playing a sitcom with loud canned laughter, a baby is screaming, people in another apartment are having loud sex...

                                                                 MALE SEX VOICE (O.S.)
                                Oh, baby, yeah, do it, baby...

                                                                 MALE SEX VOICE #2 (O.S.)
                                                           (low and upset)
                                Don't call me baby, Goddamnit!

...And someone down the way farts and farts, long ripping ones, then a helicopter hovers overhead, it's spotlight beams on illuminating the whole room.  Todd lies on the bed in his wrinkled, sweat stained brown suit, empty bottles around him, his mouth open and his eyes unfocused...

...Night becomes day, dogs bark, phones ring, engines rev, little kids scream...

...Our view moves closer and closer to Todd to his bloodshot eyes, then into his pupil...

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


The bright sun glistens off the surface of Lake Huron and illuminates the little town of Cheboygan.

A hunk of ice cracks loose from the shore and floats out into the lake.

Clumps of snow drop off the limbs of the trees.

Snow melts in the sun and forms puddles.

Water runs out of gutters and drain pipes.

Time lapse: buds push their way through the soil and twist their way out from the ends of branches.


We see the canoe hanging from the ceiling, then our view moves down to a small table off to the side where Laura and Aly are seated, drinks on the table, a cigarette burning in the ashtray.

                                                           (depressed & a bit drunk)
                                ...They were saying on the news that they
                                used to believe that the highest suicide rate
                                was over the Christmas holidays, but they
                                now realize it's really right now, in the spring,
                                and they were saying that they couldn't figure
                                out why and I suddenly got so depressed.
                                Why?  I mean, it's so obvious.  It's mating
                                season.  If you're not mating then you don't
                                know why you exist.  Don't you think?

Aly looks at Laura with a pissed off expression.

                                You know what?  You're really an idiot.

This surprises Laura.  She was expecting sympathy.

                                What?  Why?

                                Because you sent Todd away, that's why.

                                I sent him away?  He got a job.

                                Bullshit.  You sent him away.  And he really
                                liked you.  And now you're sitting here bitching
                                about it's mating season and you're depressed?
                                I'm your friend, but, honestly, fuck you!

Laura is really shocked.

                                I sent him away?  I was just being careful.

                                I should've stolen him away from you when
                                I had the chance.  And there were a few.
                                And anytime I mentioned your name he
                                would just looked hurt.

Laura looks like she's going to cry.

                                Really?  I didn't mean it.  It's just that I was
                                already married-

                                -For a year, when you were twenty-two.

                                Right.  And it didn't work out.

                                But that's not fair.  He didn't do that, someone
                                else did.  You're holding things against him
                                that he didn't do.

                                You're right.

                                Are you any happier now that he's gone?


                                Are you happier with him or without him?

                                That's exactly how he put it.

                                Well?  Isn't that the point?

                                I guess it is.  I'm happier with him.  No
                                question about it.

                                Then you're an idiot.

                                Yes, I am.

                                When was the last time you heard from

                                Not for a while.  And the last time we talked
                                he was as cold as I've ever heard him.  It was
                                like it wasn't him.  He was mean.

                                Congratulations.  You may have lost him

                                What have I done?


The shades are pulled down so it's kind of dark inside.  Someone's pounding at the door, followed by muffled voices.  A key turns in the lock and the door opens letting in bright sunlight.  A beam of light widens across Todd who is sitting on the floor wrapped in his dirty, yellow blanket.  He has a beard and his eyes are bloodshot and squinting from the light.  Two silhouettes stand in the doorway. They step inside.

It is George and the Marshal who holds a piece of paper in his hand.

                                Todd Holman?


                                I have an eviction notice here issued by Judge
                                O'Keefe in the county of Los Angeles.  If you
                                do not vacate these premises immediately of
                                your own accord, I am empowered to evict you
                                forcibly.  Will you leave?

Todd slowly rises to his feet clutching the blanket, several beer cans clatter to the floor.  He is wearing his wrinkled brown suit.

                                If you return to these premises you will be
                                trespassing and libel to arrest, a fine and
                                possibly imprisonment.  Do you understand?

Todd walks past them directly out the door.


The Marshall accompanies Todd to the edge of the property at the sidewalk.  The front of the building is now completely landscaped in bricks, not a hint of foliage anywhere.  A tow truck has just finished hooking up to the front of Todd's car, then tows it away.  Todd doesn't even blink.  The Marshall looks at Todd and shakes his head sadly.  He gets into his car and drives away.  Todd sits down on the curb, the yellow blanket around his shoulders.  He watches as George leads two Mexican workmen into the apartment.

A group of five, ten-year old Jewish boys with yamulkas walk past on the sidewalk holding a basketball.  They all look at Todd, then keep talking and continue past.

The Mexican workers come out of the apartment carrying loaded trash bags which they toss on the curb beside Todd.

George returns leading a prospective TENANT, a twenty-five year old boy with dark hair holding a guitar case.

                                It's a lovely area, central to everything.  This
                                is a nice, quiet street and the apartment, if I
                                do say so myself, is very fairly priced at $650
                                a month.

The prospective tenant simply glances inside then turns to George.

                                I'll take it.

Todd rises to his feet.  He pulls the yellow blanket tightly around his shoulders and walks slowly away.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


The leaves on the trees around Laura's old house are all budding and green.  We can hear the sound of a phone ringing from within the receiver.


Laura stands in the living room with the phone to her ear.  It finally connects with a pre-recorded OPERATOR's voice.

                                                                 OPERATOR (V.O.)
                                I'm sorry, the number you have dialed, 9-3-1-
                                0-8-2-5, has been disconnected.  No new number
                                is available.  9-3-1-0-8-2-5 has been dis-

Laura hangs up with a distraught expression.  She thinks for a second, then pick up the phone and redials.  She gets a live, INFORMATION OPERATOR.

                                                                 INFO OP (O.S.)
                                What city, please?


                                                                 INFO OP

                                May I please have the number of Decade 31
                                Realty?  The main office.

                                                                 INFO OP
                                Thank you.
                                                           (she is connected to a recording)
                                The number is ...area code 2-1-3, 4-6-5-9-0-0-0...

Laura hangs up and redials.  A DECADE 31 OPERATOR answers.

                                                                 DECADE 31 OP (O.S.)
                                Decade 31 Realty, may I help you?

                                I'd like to speak to Todd Holman, please.  He's
                                a salesman.

                                                                 DECADE 31 OP
                                I'll connect you with the sales department.

The phone clicks, then rings and is answered by a salesman named JOHN BORASKI.

                                Sales, John Boraski speaking.

                                Hi, I'm looking for Todd Holman.  He's a sales-
                                man there.

                                Todd Holman?  Hold on.
                                                           (he sets the phone down and
                                                           we can hear him call out)
                                Anybody know a Todd Holman?  I got a lady that
                                says he works here.

                                He used to be up at Golden Hills.  He got
                                shit-canned in January, if I'm not mistaken.

Laura is shocked.

                                Say it louder, why don'tcha.
                                                           (to Laura)
                                I'm sorry, Ma'am, Todd Holman is no longer
                                employed here.

                                Thank you.

She hangs up.  She stands there looking disturbed.

                                                           (to herself)
                                That's three months.

Laura goes to the closet and puts on her coat.


Mr. and Mrs. Holman are busy as bees in their backyard ripping out dead plants, tilling the soil and replanting.

Laura walks up frowning.  Mr. and Mrs. Holman get the vibes immediately and stop what they're doing.

                                Have you spoken with Todd recently?

Mr. and Mrs. Holman look at each other and both shake their heads.

                                                                 MRS. H
                                No.  Not for quite a while.

                                How long?

                                                                 MRS. H
                                Uh... Maybe two months.  Why?

                                                                 MR. H
                                Yeah, why?

                                Well, I just called his number and its been
                                                           (Mr. and Mrs. Holman
                                                           both nod; very concerned)
                                So I called Decade 31 in L.A. and he hasn't
                                worked there since January.

Now Mr. and Mrs. Holman look as disturbed as Laura.

                                                                 MR. H
                                So then what did you do?

                                I came here.

                                                                 MR. H

                                                                 MRS. H
                                Well, who can we call?  What can we do?

                                Maybe he left a forwarding address with his
                                landlord.  He hasn't gotten a new phone 'cause
                                it didn't give a new number on the message,
                                just that it's disconnected.

                                                                 MR. H
                                We've got his address, or his old address, we
                                can talk to the landlord.


There's a beat as they all think.

                                I'm gonna go there.

                                                                 MR. H.
                                Me, too.
                                                           (turns to his wife)
                                Why don't you stay, these flights are gonna
                                be really expensive since we're booking them
                                so late.

                                                                 MRS. H
                                Okay.  I'll call the airlines.

The all turn and walk rapidly toward the house.

                                I'll pay for my own flight.

                                                                 MR. H
                                Oh no you won't.  And I don't want to hear
                                anymore about it.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


At the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Orange St. is The Chinese Theater with its flashing lights and loads of tourists clogging the forecourt.  Todd comes around the corner looking a sight: he's long unshaven, his hair is messed up and dirty, his clothes are filthy and his eyes are glazed, bloodshot and unfocused.  He's drinking a Miller Tall-Boy from the can.  A black and white L.A. police cruiser pulls up beside him and keeps pace.  The COP speaks to him through the open window.

                                Hey, you!

Todd just keeps walking, totally oblivious.  The Cop takes the portable spotlight and shines it in Todd's face.  For a second Todd starts blinking, unsure of what's so bright.  Finally, it gets his attention.  He stops and turns.

                                Yeah, you.
                                                           (the Cop gets out of the
                                                           car and steps up to Todd)
                                No drinkin' in the street.  It's gotta be in a

The Cop takes Todd's beer and pours it into the gutter.  Todd watches entirely unconcerned.  The Cop sets the empty can on the curb.

                                You got anything to say?

                                That's littering.

The Cop looks Todd straight in the face and pokes him squarely in the chest.

                                You makin' trouble?
                                                           (Todd shakes his head)
                                I didn't think so.

The Cop gets back in the car and drives away.

Todd goes over to the can, puts his foot on top and crushes it.  He puts the crushed can in his pocket.  He looks around, then steps up to a garbage can and digs around.  He comes up with a McDonald's bag.  He empties it out, reaches into his other pocket and takes out a pint of scotch.  He puts the scotch in the bag, takes a sip and walks away.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


A small, Northwest Airlines 20-seat prop plane revs it's rotors.  It begins taxiing down the runway.


Laura sits at the window looking out, Mr. Holman is beside her.  As they build speed and a lot of vibration, Laura turns to Mr. Holman smiling weakly.

                                I've never been up in a plane before.

                                                                 MR. H
                                Really?  How'd you manage that in this
                                day and age?

                                I just never went anywhere.

The plane takes off.  Laura's eyes widen and she gulps.

                                It's kind of like a big elevator.

                                                                 MR. H
                                                           (he looks away and sighs)
                                You know, I've always expected something
                                like this from Todd.

                                You have?  Why?

                                                                 MR. H
                                Well, he never got into any trouble at all.  His
                                older brother, Roger, was always in trouble.
                                I think as a response Todd never did anything
                                wrong.  And he was always smiling and in a
                                good mood.  It's always made me a little nervous,
                                like he was just storing everything up, waiting
                                to blow.

                                I know what you mean.

                                                                 MR. H
                                Todd's never had any worries, or vices, or bad
                                habits.  It's unnatural.

                                He drinks.

                                                                 MR. H
                                What?  What do you mean?

                                I mean, he drinks.  Alcohol.

                                                                 MR. H
                                Well, so do I.

                                So do I.  But we drink out in the open.  Todd
                                hides it.  And he'd drink in the morning.

                                                                 MR. H
                                How do you know?

                                When I'd kiss him.  He thought he was hiding
                                it with mints.  He also sleeps very badly.  He
                                gets up all night long.  It's the alcohol.

Mr. Holman is really shocked by this information.

                                                                 MR. H
                                For how long?

                                At least since we started going out.  That was
                                almost two years ago.

                                                                 MR. H
                                I had no idea.  Did you say something to him?

                                                           (shakes her head)

                                                                 MR. H
                                Why not?

                                I didn't think it was my business.

                                                                 MR. H
                                Whose business was it?

Laura turns and looks back out the window.

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