Lou’s Deli
By
Josh Becker

EXT. LOU’S DELI – DAY

Lou’s Deli is a ratty little storefront establishment in a crappy part of town.

INT. LOU’S DELI – DAY

The inside of the small deli is as dingy as the outside. There’s a deli counter full of corned beef, pastrami, tongue and various other deli foods. Behind the counter is a thin, long-faced man of 78 named LOU GARFINKLE who is busily wrapping corned beef in white paper. Also behind the counter, slicing pastrami, is a tall, slightly heavyset, 45-year-old man named GARY GARKINKLE. Standing in front of counter is an older black WOMAN awaiting her order.

                                                                 LOU
                                                           (to Gary)
                                Hey, hotshot, you ever gonna finish slicing
                                that pastrami?

                                                                 GARY
                                Take it easy, Pop, I’m just about done.

                                                                 LOU
                                                           (to the Woman)
                                He’s slow as molasses in January.
                                                           (to Gary)
                                What’s a matter? Afraid you’ll slice your
                                thumb off.

                                                                 GARY
                                                           (patiently)
                                Just give it a rest, OK?

                                                                 LOU
                                                           (aggravated)
                                Give it a rest? You’re the one taking a
                                rest. How ‘bout you put a little coal in
                                the boiler and get a move on.

Gary puts the white paper-wrapped pastrami on the counter next to the other wrapped package.

                                                                 GARY
                                That’ll be $14.99.

The Woman goes into her pocketbook, takes out a credit card and hands it to Gary. Gary gets a pained expression on his face and turns to Lou. Lou says to the Woman . . .

                                                                 LOU
                                We don’t take credit cards.

                                                                 WOMAN
                                This is a debit card.

                                                                 LOU
                                We don’t take those either.

                                                                 WOMAN
                                Well, I don’t have any cash on me.

Lou shrugs and takes back the two packages.

                                                                 LOU
                                That’s how it goes.

                                                                 WOMAN
                                                           (offended)
                                Oh, that’s ridiculous.


The Woman turns and walks away. Gary calls after her.

                                                                 GARY
                                There’s an ATM at the gas station
                                across the street.

But the Woman is gone. Gary shakes his head and loudly sighs.

                                                                 LOU
                                What’s with the sighing? I’m not paying
                                those goddamn fees to the credit card
                                companies and the banks. The hell with
                                them!

                                                                 GARY
                                Dad, we have to get with the 21st century.
                                Everybody takes debit and credit cards
                                now. We’re losing business.

                                                                 LOU
                                                           (angry)
                                I won’t pay the damn fees, and since I’m
                                Lou, and this is still Lou’s Deli, I’ll make
                                the rules! Got it, you little pisher?

                                                                 GARY
                                Dad, I’m a 45-year-old man. I have a
                                wife and two kids in college, and I could
                                do with making some more money. A
                                few updates wouldn’t hurt this place.
                                Good god, we don’t even have a micro-
                                wave oven.

                                                                 LOU
                                Don’t tell me how to run my business.
                                40 years I’ve been here and I think I
                                know what I’m doing, thank you very
                                much. I don’t like modern things and
                                I won’t have anything to do with ‘em.

Gary shakes his head and sighs again. Just then Lou’s face twists into a knot of pain. He grabs the left side of his chest.

                                                                 LOU
                                Oy gevult!

                                                                 GARY
                                Dad? What’s happening?

Lou doesn’t answer; he can’t. He gasps for air, then begins to collapse. Gary catches him before he hits the floor.

EXT. ST. JOSEPH MERCY HOSPITAL – DAY

St. Joseph Mercy Hospital is a large, six-story building with an enclosed walkway bridge spanning Woodward Ave.

INT. ST. JOSEPH MERCY HOSPITAL / WAITING ROOM – DAY

Gary sits in the waiting room drinking a cup of coffee. A male DOCTOR in his early 40s in a white coat and holding a file enters and steps up to Gary.

                                                                 DOCTOR
                                Mr. Garfinkle?

Gary stands up.

                                                                 GARY
                                Yes, that’s me.

                                                                 DOCTOR
                                Your father is fine.

                                                                 GARY
                                                           (relieved)
                                Oh, thank god.

                                                                 DOCTOR
                                However, he does have arrhythmia,
                                meaning his heart won’t beat properly.
                                He’ll need to have a pacemaker implanted
                                in his chest.

                                                                 GARY
                                Is it a difficult operation?

                                                                 DOCTOR
                                                           (shakes his head)
                                No, not at all. It will be implanted
                                right under the skin of his chest, with
                                contacts running into the heart. It gives
                                off constant little electrical impulses
                                that keep the heart beating in its proper
                                rhythm. Pacemakers are very sophisticated
                                these days. The battery will last up to
                                seven years. They do, however, still
                                have a few drawbacks, but they’re working
                                those out, too. Otherwise, they’re entirely
                                safe. Your father will be just like he was
                                before.

                                                                 GARY
                                                           (somewhat ironically)
                                Excellent.

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – DAY

Lou is in a hospital bed in a hospital room with an IV line running into the back of his hand, as well as an EKG and an EEG attached to him. Gary enters the room.

                                                                 GARY
                                Hi, Dad.

                                                                 LOU
                                Well, it’s the little pisher. Run the
                                business into the dirt yet?

Gary sits down in the one chair.

                                                                 GARY
                                No, not yet.

                                                                 LOU
                                Well, will miracles never cease? You
                                sure?

                                                                 GARY
                                Yeah, I’m sure. How do you feel.

                                                                 LOU
                                Full of piss and vinegar. I can’t wait to
                                get outta this damn bed and get back to
                                work. You miss me?

                                                                 GARY
                                                           (insincere)
                                Very much.

                                                                 LOU
                                Baloney! Don’t kid a kidder. You
                                were hoping I’d die so you could take
                                over, right? Go ahead, admit it.

                                                                 GARY
                                It’s not true.

                                                                 LOU
                                Yeah? Little pisher. I’ve got more
                                experience in my baby finger than
                                you’ll ever have.

                                                                 GARY
                                                           (weary)
                                I’m sure you do.
                                                           (stands)
                                I’ve gotta go.

                                                                 LOU
                                You just got here.

                                                                 GARY
                                Rebecca’s waiting for me. The kids are
                                coming in from school and we’re all going
                                out to dinner.

                                                                 LOU
                                They can’t come by and see their grandpa?

                                                                 GARY
                                We’ll all come by tomorrow. That’s why
                                they’re coming in. To see you.

                                                                 LOU
                                Fine, what do I care. I’ll just be here by
                                myself eating the slop they call food. Don’t
                                worry about me.

                                                                 GARY
                                OK, I won’t. ‘Bye, Dad. See you tomorrow.

                                                                 LOU
                                Yeah, yeah, whatever.

Gary leaves with a look of exasperation on his face.

EXT. LOU’S DELI – DAY

A taxi cab pulls up in front of Lou’s Deli. The back door opens and Lou steps out holding a suitcase. He goes into the deli.

INT. LOU’S DELI – DAY

Gary is behind the counter wrapping sliced meat in white paper. He looks up and sees Lou enter.

                                                                 GARY
                                                           (surprised)
                                Dad, what are you doing here?

                                                                 LOU
                                I own the place.

                                                                 GARY
                                But I was going to come and pick you
                                up in an hour.

                                                                 LOU
                                I could grow old die waiting for you.

                                                                 GARY
                                How do you feel?

                                                                 LOU
                                Better than ever. I’m gonna live another
                                twenty years.

At which point Lou’s eyes grow wide, he grabs his chest, gasps, then collapses in a heap on the floor. Gary runs to him.

                                                                 GARY
                                Dad? Dad? Oh, dear god!

EXT. CEMETARY – DAY

A funeral service is going on. Ten people, including Gary, his wife, their two grown sons, and various others, as well as a RABBI, stand around the grave looking bereaved. The Rabbi invokes the Jewish funeral prayers.

                                                                 RABBI
                                                           (in Hebrew)
                                The Jewish funeral prayers . . .
                                                           (Vayisk-adal, vayisk-adash . . .)

The casket is lowered into the grave. After everyone leaves two workmen shovel dirt into the grave.

INT. COFFIN – NIGHT

A waxy-looking Lou Garfinkle lies in the buried coffin, dead, his hands folded over his chest. We are seeing his left side. Our view moves closer to his side, below his bent left elbow.

INT. INSIDE LOU’S CHEST – NIGHT

We can see the pacemaker implanted in Lou’s chest which looks kind of like an iPod. We follow the wires that run from the pacemaker through the chest cavity and into Lou’s dead heart. The pacemaker keeps regularly emitting electrical impulses accompanied by little bzzzt noises each time. One electrical impulse after another after another . . .

EXT. SKY – NIGHT

The full moon races across the dark night sky.

EXT. SKY – DAY

The sun races across a bright blue sky.

EXT. SKY – NIGHT

The full moon races across the dark night sky yet again.

EXT. CEMETARY / GRAVE – NIGHT

The shadow of the headstone cast by the bright moonlight spins around in a circle as the night quickly goes by.

INT. INSIDE LOU’S CHEST – NIGHT

Suddenly, Lou’s dead heart contracts, like a fist opening and closing. Then it contracts again, then again. Soon Lou’s heart is beating again at full strength.

INT. COFFIN – NIGHT

Lou’s eyes open and they’re entirely white. His folded hands drop to his sides as he begins to gasp and cough. He then begins to pound on the lid of the coffin. He pounds and punches and kicks, growling as he exerts himself.

EXT. CEMETARY / GRAVE – NIGHT

The dirt on top of the grave begins to shift. Soon a divot appears in the dirt, which grows wider and deeper as the dirt slides down into the hole.

A shaking, withered, bony, dirt-smeared old hand rises up out of the dirt. The fingers flex as the hand opens and closes. Then another hand pushes it’s way up through the dirt. Next, the reanimated corpse of Lou Garfinkle sits up out of the dirt. His face and his clothes are completely filthy and smeared with dirt. He shakily stands up, then slowly leaves the gravesite.

EXT. CEMETARY – NIGHT

The full moon shines brightly over the cemetery illuminating the headstones. Zombie Lou staggers across the cemetery weaving his between the headstones.

EXT. LOU’S DELI – NIGHT

Lou steps up in front of his deli, only the sign has been changed and now it’s “Gary’s Deli.” Lou’s mouth drops open in shock. He looks around to see if maybe he’s in the wrong place, but he isn’t. Lou opens the door and goes inside.

INT. LOU’S (GARY’S) DELI – NIGHT

Lou steps inside the deli and looks around—it’s entirely different. There are tablecloths on the tables, cute little lamps, all new pictures on the wall, and beyond all of that, customers. Lou has an expression of pure horror.

Behind the deli counter is Gary, as well as another employee, both turned away busily slicing meat. Several customers are lined up and crowding around the counter, inspecting the various types of meat. Just as Lou steps up to the counter a CUSTOMER asks . . .

                                                                 CUSTOMER
                                Do you take credit cards?

                                                                 GARY
                                Of course we do.

                                                                 CUSTOMER
                                Could you please heat that corned beef
                                up for me?

                                                                 GARY
                                                           (still facing away)
                                Not a problem.

Gary puts the corned beef in the new microwave oven and pushes the on button, which beeps.

Lou’s eyes widen in intense horror and pain as his pacemaker begins to short out. Sparks come out of his shirt.

Gary and everybody else all turn and watch, their faces a study in terror.

Lou gasps, falls to the floor and this time he really and truly dies. Smoke rises from his burned shirt and fried pacemaker.

FADE OUT

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