… The Interlude (SCRIPT)

Wild_Dreams

DISCLAIMER: ALL CHARACTERS AND LOCATIONS IN THIS STORY ARE IMAGINARY AND ANY SIMILARITY IS JUST CO-INCIDENTAL.

(… THE INTERLUDE : SCRIPT FOR SHORT FILM)

Fade Out from Darkness.

The sound of an engine, passing traffic. Inside a car.

INT. MOVING CAR – NIGHT

Suburban streets flash by passenger side window. Tarun is staring blankly through the glass. He is 37, tall, slim. A buzz from his jacket brings him back to his senses. He takes out the vibrating mobile handset, checks caller ID. He looks across at the driver: Ajay (35, slighter figure, Bearded) meets the glance. The phone continues to vibrate.

EXT. PASSING BY (STREET) – NIGHT

On the roadside is Ajay’s car; a slightly battered, Hyundai Santro, 2004 model. Ajay looks through the wind screen (Camera Follows); lights from a suburb at the end of the green. Tarun has his phone tucked to ear, but the hiss of traffic overwhelms his voice.

INT. PARKED CAR – NIGHT

Ajay looks out at Tarun, but cannot hear him. Tarun shakes his head, kicking the ground beneath his feet. His expression widens, an abject palm sticking out. Lips spell out a phonetic response, jabbing hand gestures to make the point. He screws his face up with his free hand – shakes his head, repeats no, no, no. The routine of a face-to-face row spilling over to a phone call.

INT. MOVING CAR – NIGHT

The car pulls in to the driveway of a suburban, semi-detached house. Car stops, handbrake. Engine dies. A female watcher is silhouetted in the window, her arms folded pensively.

INT. SUBURBAN SEMI, LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

Tarun and Ajay stand beside each other, staring at furnishings. The door is closed, but Leena’s screams can still be heard.

Leena (O.S.):-

(distant) Fucking shit-head bastard!

Ajay:-

The bookcase. Is that a Godrej or-

Tarun:-

That’s a Zuari. Godrej has more discrete shelf holes. But Zuari has more options and accessories. That one has the extra shelf extension.

(Ajay nods affirmatively. The sound of SMASHING DISHES. )

Ajay:-

Finally got cutlery sorted then?

Tarun:-

Ceramic dinner set, yeah. Better than the plastic plates we had for house warming.

(Leena (37) bursts in, leaving a heavy suitcase lodged in the doorway. She is pretty but her face is twisted into a mask of rage. She brushes past Tarun, pulls a picture of an elderly woman from the mantel, casually knocking a piece of crockery onto the ground. She slips the picture in her handbag, then approaches Ajay, takes both his hands, looks in his eyes and says with utter sincerity.)

Leena:-

You know he is an idiot?

(She leaves and tugs the suitcase outside. Silence, no eye contact between the two friends. Then)

Ajay:-

The sofa-

Tarun:-

Oh yeah I completely forgot, the sofa. It’s also a Zuari original from Malaysia.

Ajay:-

(repeating) Zuari.

Leena (O.S.):-

(distant) Useless lover. God! Fucking useless in bed.

EXT. SUBURBAN SEMI, DRIVEWAY – NIGHT

With effort, like an ant pushing an oversize piece of food, Leena get her suitcase in the trunk of the car. She gets in the front passenger seat. Waits. Ajay slowly emerges with Tarun holding the door behind him.

Tarun:-

Make sure you see her to Seema’s door.

Ajay:-

I’ll give you a call after.

Tarun:-

Thanks Aji, you’re a good mate, just take care of her.

(Looking concerned)

And maybe later …

Leena leans over and holds down the horn, the blare of horn silencing them.

INT. MOVING CAR – NIGHT

Ajay driving. Leena passenger side, struggling to light a cigarette with a disposable lighter. Her agitated fingers can’t make the mechanism work. Ajay’s tone is slightly superficial.

Ajay:-

You know, I thought… I thought you guys were good.

(He pops the car lighter, holds it up to her cigarette. She holds both his hands to steady it… she lights, inhales.)

Ajay:-

Maybe some time apart is a good idea. Distance makes the heart, and all that.

(She spits out a ‘Smoke-ring’. Drags on her left-hand held cigarette)

Ajay:-

It’d be a shame, you know.(Inhales)… to lose that. A real shame.

Leena:-

What makes you think I have any interest in returning to that slithering asshole’s bed?

(With the last word she makes eye contact. )

Ajay:-

You see? He-he-he (Superficial laughter) That’s original. Guy’s really got to get under your skin to be called that.

(Despite her anger, Leena smiles, shakes her head.)

Leena:-

You can think whatever you like.

(He observes her carefully. Then pointing to her finger)

Ajay:-

If it’s finished, why you are still wearing it?

(She follows his gaze to her hand. She lifts it as if inspecting for cuts after a fall. Gold ring on ring finger. She takes the cigarette between her lips, winds down the window. Cold air fills the car. She slips off her ring and throws it out the gap. Winds up the window again. Ajay slows down and pulls over. The car stops. Leena stares dead ahead, not saying anything. She puffs on the cigarette.)

Leena:-

What are you doing? Keep driving.

Ajay looks uneasy though calm – brotherhood of men is at the fore, but Leena seems resolute. He pulls out, moves ahead. Leena keeps gaze fixed to the distant horizon.

Leena:-

What .. ?

Silence. A long silence.

EXT. ROADSIDE GRASS – NIGHT

Ajay and Leena sweep flashlights over the grass. Beams strafe each other. A beam finds a glint of gold. Ajay dips, picks up the ring. Gives it to Leena. Leena’s shoulders sink in relief. She puts arm around him and kisses his cheek in appreciation. Then his mouth. He breaks it, leaning out of reach – who would like to risk kissing a hot-head! He puts his hand over her lips and shakes his head.

INT. MOVING CAR – NIGHT

Leena smoking passenger side, calmer now, staring blankly at the road ahead.

Leena:-

Did you know he cheated on me?

Ajay:-

What makes you think that?

Leena:-

I went through his text SMSs.

Ajay:-

That’s not very nice.

Leena:-

Nor is fucking a girl up the arse… and not having the courtesy to respond to her messages.

Ajay:-

(incredulous)

He didn’t reply?

Leena:-

(Makes lips in a oh! Pulling her Cellphone out and looking at the blank screen. Murmuring to herself)

Tarun? Why haven’t you called? I thought we were special.

(drags cigarette and now talking to Ajay)

He’s a guy, I married a guy, I didn’t marry a monk. If he slips up sometimes… all I ask is that he covers his fucking tracks.

(looks at him)

You know what I mean?

(She runs a hand between his legs. He reaches down and un-clamps her.)

Ajay:-

Leena… we agreed…

Leena:-

That was then. This. This is now.

She forces her hand down between his legs, begins moving her hand up and down. He takes her hand off, but she snaps it down again as soon as his hands go to the wheel.

Ajay:-

For God’s sake, I’m driving.

Leena:-

Better stop then.

EXT. ROADSIDE GREEN – NIGHT

The car pulls over at an unlit, gravel parking area overlooking the green. an ideal spot; it has tree cover to the road.

INT. PARKED CAR – NIGHT

Ajay forces the brake pedal. Leena’s seat belt snaps off and she lunges at him. She slides on top of him. His face shies away, so her lips finds his cheek, his neck. Then she grips his face with both hands and kisses him repeatedly on the lips. His body is still, not reciprocating. She gently slides up and down on top of him. A hot woman is the biggest aphrodisiac! Slowly, he tenderly responds. Now, he kisses her hungrily, undoing his seat belt, their lips parting for a second as it passes between them. He claws at her top, lifting it up. Her pale skin and bra… The touch and smell is not unknown to her. She lets him kiss her breasts, her arms wrapping over his head. She looks vacantly aside… She sees something by the window. Fear in her eyes. Leena taps Ajay’s shoulder. He shirks her hand, continuing at her breasts.

Leena:-

Stop, stop.

Ajay:-

What is it?

(He follow her eye-line to the steamed window behind them.)

A figure in a torn clothes( about 45) is standing outside, holding a begging bowl in hands. Leena dismounts from Ajay. She pulls down her top tightly.

EXT. ROADSIDE GREEN – NIGHT

Ajay closes the door, stands up straight. He is now facing off with intruder, opposite, hands in pockets. He doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere in a hurry. intruder slowly pulls his hand away from bowl… points at Leena through the steamed glass of the car.

Intruder:-

Ma’am I haven’t had food for last two days.

(Leena still unable to come out of fear points at Ajay)

Ajay:-

What?

Intruder:-

Sir, can I have a rupee please?

Ajay:-

You mean you are a…

(He looks around. Bursts out laughing.)

Intruder:-

Wait a sec – sir…

(swallows his saliva in)

… Oh God I’m so sorry. I have four small kids to feed

Ajay:-

No – No, don’t worry, I’m not going to shoe you away.

Intruder:-

I would never do this if I thought – I mean – I thought – it was strange, you know? Couple here on the roadside, because this place is a stopover usually on weekends. … but, ..but otherwise this place is not safe sir!

Ajay:-

Well, we are leaving anyway.

(Hands him a ten rupee note)

INT. MOVING CAR – NIGHT

Back on the road.

Leena is fuming, arms pressed to chest.

Leena:-

I can’t believe you talked to that pervert.

Ajay:-

Seemed like a reasonable guy.

Leena:-

A real man would not have used words.

(A long pause. Leena’s arms loosen from her side. Her hands drop to her thighs. Still uneasy, one finds a shoulder to cling onto. Her eyes become lively and unfocused.)

Leena:-

Are we going to yours?

(He looks at her.)

Ajay:-

You’re staying at Seema’s.

Leena:-

Well yeah, but… I just thought…

Sound of knocking on door.

EXT. SEEMA’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Ajay and Leena wait outside a front door. Seema (38) answers. She wears a sleeveless blouse and long dress. Even in her bare feet, she is taller than Leena. She immediately clamps arms around Leena and gives a big solidarity hug. Leena sobs deeply into Seema’s bosom. Seema mimes a sad pout at Ajay, who smiles.

INT. SEEMA’S HOUSE, HALLWAY – NIGHT

Leena’s suitcase placed midway outside a bedroom. From the bathroom, the sound of a shower.

INT. SEEMA’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

Modern framed prints on the walls. Ethnic art on the mantle. Bookcase full of art books. Some taste, some money, some junk. Seema and Ajay on the sofa. Seema is rolling a joint.

Seema:-

You think this split is final for her?

Ajay:-

I think the one before the last one.

(They laugh morbidly. )

Seema:-

Who hit the ejector seat?

Ajay:-

Leena says, She.

Seema:-

She would, wouldn’t she?

Ajay:-

(Shrugs)

Tarun seems pretty distraught.

Seema:-

Funny. Always thought it would be him doing the ejecting. She is very, very high maintenance type.

Ajay:-

Tell me about it.

A door closes upstairs. Footsteps on the landing. (Hushed tones)

Seema:-

Who’s she staying with?

Ajay:-

(confused)

Why? You. She’s staying with you.

Seema:-

Couple of nights, sure, but this isn’t the hotel. This, I am sure, she knows.

INT. SEEMA’S HOUSE, BEDROOM – NIGHT

Leena is drying and combing her hair in dressing gown. A knock on the open door – Ajay pushes through. She ignores it and him. He steps through, closes door gently behind. He sees the wardrobe is open, a couple of outfits inside. The suitcase is otherwise unpacked.

Ajay:-

Leena.

(She continues straightening her hair.)

Ajay:-

… Leena.

(No response.)

Ajay:-

You can’t stay with me.

(Suddenly she drops the comb and races to him, begins pounding him with the side of her fists, each swearword a thump. )

Leena:-

You fucking bastard you! You fucking, fucking, bastard…

(He takes it. Her punches weaken, and she breaks into sobbing, arms resting on his chest, head dipped. Ajay puts his hands over her shoulder and rubs her back, soothingly…)

Leena:-

I’m useless, fucking useless at everything… useless at men…

Ajay:-

No you’re not. Shh. Listen. You’re not. You’re great – look at me.

(She looks up)

You’re a great person. And nobody knows that better than You and Tarun.

Leena:-

(Sobbing)

He won’t take me back, Aji. I fucked everything up for nothing.

Ajay:-

One phone call, babe. Just tell him how you feel now.

INT. PARKED CAR – NIGHT

Ajay watches Leena pace the roadside, mobile pressed to ear. She sniffs and wipes her eyes with the palm of her hand as she speaks in a dim, intimated whisper. The whole world could have gone dark for her; the only thing that matters is the voice on the other end of the phone. She nods and breaks into smiles and tears.

EXT. SUBURBAN SEMI, DRIVEWAY – NIGHT

Passenger door slams as Leena rushes up the driveway into Tarun’s arms. Ajay gets out of the car, hangs around uselessly. He watches them kiss, instantly familiar though, idling in circles as they make their way inside, never looking back. The front door closes, leaving Ajay alone. He steps out onto the road, ingesting the atmosphere. The sound of crickets and the night ambiance becomes increasingly noticeable as he looks around the estate. He looks up.

curtained front rooms dimly leaking sound from the television news bulletin. Spotless family cars parked outside the garage on show. endless front entrance conservatories and hanging baskets. Satellite TV dishes and aerials pointing into the starry night. manicured lawns extending to infinity.

The ambiance reaches a CRESCENDO – then CUTS OUT.

Ajay shivers, braces his jacket. Turns to the car.

INT. PARKED CAR – NIGHT

The ignition key turns. Engine raves on start.

Fades Into Darkness

THE END

~ by Dr. Sanjeev Kumar on October 2, 2009.

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