Screenplay: Episode 1, Scene 6: Saturday Night

Chapter 6 Saturday Night

 

[INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE CHRIS’ APARTMENT]

(Christine stops outside the apartment door and fusses with her hair and clothes. Muffled music can be heard. Christine sniffs the air, giving the impression she smells pot and doesn’t mind. Christine closes her eyes and breathes before opening the door)

[INT. CHRIS’ APARTMENT]

(Pulsing experimental music covers Christine’s entrance. We see through a haze of smoke. Chris lounges in the living room with two wine-drinking couples – Lance and Rekha, Freida and Tim – passing a joint among them. Lance and Freida are debating but the words are not audible. Christine slides into place beside Chris.)

CHRIS: Look what the cat dragged in. Christine, meet Rekha, Lance, Freida and Tim.

(The other four acknowledge Christine. Rekha passes her the joint. Christine hesitates, then takes a drag. The effect hits her immediately. Christine passes the joint to Freida)

FREIDA: Thank you. So, as I was saying, Lance, the guy wants us to spend $28 bucks to read his apologies and agree that failure doesn’t matter because he learned.

LANCE: That’s what it’s about – we mess up, swallow our shame and try to be honest and methodical about figuring out what went wrong. That’s the data we use to build our models, so don’t we need people to reflect on it, write about it?

FREIDA: But really. Does he think he’s personally invented fire when he rubs two sticks together and burns down a village? All his findings are derivative of other people’s work that he just suddenly understood.

CHRIS: It’s how he brings it together and shows it in the field – that’s what I find interesting.

(Tim rubs Freida’s feet. Lance runs his fingers through Rekha’s hair. Everyone spaces out to the music)

REKHA: So where have you been tonight, Christine?

CHRIS: Christine spent the day at Timeless.

FREIDA: Where smart guys go to die.

TIM: Don’t be harsh, Freida.

FREIDA: That place, Timeless, is why Bashir didn’t get Associate Professor last year. I still can’t believe he married that…woman.

REKHA: He really seems to love her.

CHRIS: (laughs loudly) He’s gay, people. They both are. The whole thing is a sham.

REKHA: Maybe he feels it’s the best he can do

CHRIS: Mmm. You’re probably right

(Christine reacts to Chris’ unexpected submission. Christine watches Rekha evaluatively)

LANCE: Hey, maybe Trix is really a man. She looks kind of like a transvestite. That would explain a lot, like how her tits are never the same size twice.

CHRIS: No way. Do you really think she could hide a package in those outfits? She’s just a lesbian, no more, no less.

LANCE: Well, she somehow sunk her claws into our Bashir. It’s true that Trix is not exactly the university wife to help him get places.

FREIDA: Why not? It’s not like she’s uneducated. She did go to acrobat school.

CHRISTINE: Really?

(Christine seems immediately embarrassed at having expressed her interest.)

REKHA: Yes, actually. Trix’s parents defected from a touring acrobatic troupe before she was born. They started a training school in a warehouse to earn their living, and it became quite prestigious. Trix grew up there.

CHRISTINE: You know her, then?

REKHA: Yes, I have spent some time with Trix.

FREIDA: In any case, Professor D. called Timeless a waste hole, nowhere-land for research. He told Bashir, in front of me, that he should be applying his capacity to systemic global issues. You can’t deny that he’s slowed down our work so he can fiddle around on a guitar all day.

TIM: Bass.

CHRISTINE: So, Bash – he was at the University, but now he’s left?

LANCE: A sabbatical, or secondment? He got permission for a special project. Timeless is…I don’t know. Like an experimental lab, or a tribe he’s observing.

FREIDA: Didn’t you notice Trix’s minions at that sweat shop she calls a night club? She recruits kids with nowhere to go, indoctrinates them and exploits them, all for her deluded dreams of grandeur. I would have thought Bashir was smarter than to get sucked in. I’m not sure what he hopes to gain in this scenario. At least it bumps me up on the list for field placement.

REKHA: It’s not quite like that, Freida. They’re doing some good work. They’re changing the course of those young people’s lives.

CHRIS: To what end? And by what means?

REKHA: They take in boys with nowhere to sleep, and give them something meaningful to aspire to. They teach them basic trade skills and expose them to community.

CHRIS: Indoctrinating them into a cult? Exploiting them for their labour?

REKHA: Misgivings, to be sure, which is why the research is important, despite Professor DeLaney’s disparagement. There are many ways to be exploited on the streets. Timeless seems to me the best of them. Certainly no worse than the alternatives for anyone involved?

LANCE: Except Bashir.

CHRIS: Well they’re almost out of time one way or the other.

FREIDA: Why Chris, do you know something we don’t? I thought they were funded.

(Chris appears embarrassed by his slip. Christine watches Chris closely. Uncomfortable silence punctuated by a break in the music.)

REKHA: What took you to Timeless, Christine?

CHRIS: Christine wanted to see them play. She has a soft spot for showy rock-based electronic rebel-pop.

TIM: A closet Rush fan, no doubt.

LANCE: Aren’t we all?

(Christine stands awkwardly and excuses herself to the washroom. Christine seems spaced out and woozy.)

[INT. CHRIS’ APARTMENT, WASHROOM]

(Christine sits on the toilet with her head in her hands, then focuses on breathing deep, careful breaths. Overlay transparent animated sequence of thoughts and questions which are the tenuously trembling fluff on a dandelion stem, which Christine blows away as a wave of calming colours washes over her. The animation is not cartoon like, is very real, stark, almost black and white until the end. Christine’s phone buzzes several times, shaking her reverie.)

(Christine looks at her phone screen as the fourth and fifth of five lines of text come in. Christine hums “you are my sunshine” as she replies as PurC. Can translate some of the text speak through mumbled retorts.

Ethanalogy (onscreen): The other night dear

Ethanalogy (onscreen): As I lay sleeping

Ethanalogy (onscreen): I dreamt I held you in my arms

Ethanalogy(onscreen): When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken

Ethanalogy (onscreen): So I hung my head and I cried

(Note:several kinds of shots interspersed from here on, possibly through transparent overlays – shots of Christine reading and texting, shots of Ethan reading and texting, shots of the text itself in appropriate chunks, and quick-flash memories that build their history, including playing as a band at neighbourhood barbeques at age 10, garage bands progressing through high school, awkward sex at 15, playing bars, and setting up for an outdoor daytime third stage on a traveling show. A fight about being on the road. University and the Orchestra. Some of this could be playing in the background on the mirror or a window while she is texting. )

Note: Showing Ethan’s apartment can introduce some of these themes – pictures, diplomas, open photo album. This is the first time we see Ethan, and the vestiges of Christine he’s kept in his apartment. We could see his continued devotion through photo albums, computer screen saver. Could show the remnants of Christine’s Les Paul to show he’s less than truthful about the guitars. There is an opportunity to build their history through these shots without a lot of, or any, dialogue).

PurC (onscreen): Need my guitars

Ethanalogy (on screen): Sold

(Christine scoffs)

PurC (onscreen): haha

Ethanalogy (on screen): need my <3

PurC (onscreen): …

Ethanalogy (on screen): come get them

PurC (onscreen): send them

Ethanalogy (on screen): no $

PurC (onscreen): how much?

Ethanalogy (on screen): u find out

PurC (onscreen): ok

PurC (onscreen): i played td

Ethanalogy (onscreen): G4U

PurC (on screen): u ok?

Ethanalogy (onscreen): no

PurC (onscreen): u gonna b ok?

Ethanalogy (on screen): ?

PurC (onscreen): i’m sorry

Ethanalogy (on screen): come home

(Cut to Christine’s memory of a conversation with Ethan at their apartment. Christine enters the apartment. Ethan is on the laptop.)

CHRISTINE: Hey, so I was thinking, we should go down and play the open stage this weekend at Strangelove.

ETHAN: Yeah, okay, if Buzz can leave Tess alone with the baby. I’ll message him.

CHRISTINE: Whatcha working on?

ETHAN: I’m just looking at the teaching program. You know, for next year?

CHRISTINE: But we’re graduating! I thought…I mean, I want to get back to music.

ETHAN: What do you mean, get back? You’re in the graduate music program. You play in the school’s orchestra.

CHRISTINE: You know that’s not what I mean.

EHTAN: You can teach music, maybe inspire the next generation. It’s just another year, a backup in case things don’t work out. Think about it, Chrissy, a little house, summers off to bum around and play. It could be a nice life. But, you know, it’s just an idea.

(Animated sequence. Before her eyes, Christine sees Ethan’s hair recede in male pattern baldness. She sees his belly begin to grow a big beer belly, the features of his face grow puffy. He grows glasses on his face and a blackboard appears behind him. Ethan turns and explains long division in a warped voice, then turns back, wearing a black skull-and-crossbones apron and holding a spatula in front of a barbeque while children run around with water guns. The vision fades back to Ethan, but he looks smaller, duller than before the montage. NO GOOFINESS. This is a surreal, upsetting vision.)

(Back in real time, Christine rouses to a knock on the door.)

CHRISTINE: Just a minute, almost done!

TIM: No rush! Sorry to bother you.

(Christine fusses with her hair in the mirror, recognizing that the motorcycle ride left her very disheveled while the pot made her eyes red. Christine washes her hands, wipes them on her pants and opens the door. Christine and Tim pass each other awkwardly in the doorway)

TIM: So sorry, thank you.

[INT. CHRIS’ APARTMENT]

(Christine finds the party breaking up. Lance and Chris are looking at Chris’ computer. Freida and Rekha are bringing dishes to the kitchen area. )

CHRISTINE: Oh, don’t!

REKHA: No, no, of course we won’t leave you in a mess, Christine. You’re just settling in.

(Rekha touches Christine’s arm reassuringly, for longer than necessary. Christine brings a stray wine glass to the kitchen, moving awkwardly around the other women in the small space. Tim emerges from the bathroom. Tim and Freida head for the door. Chris follows. Tim sits on the ground, tying his shoes.)

TIM: So, I’ll see you Monday morning, Christine?

(Christine seems shocked and confused.)

CHRIS: I’m sorry, this is first time I’ve seen her all day. Christine, Tim says he has students for you Monday, if you want them.

TIM: Well, this week, anyway.

(Tim scrambles to his feet.)

TIM: Monday you’ll do the paperwork, a standard test, watch our video, you know, onboarding. If you’re ready we’ll record you and get your bio for the website, and that’s it. I’ll give you the client list and materials. You work out the schedule with them.

CHRISTINE: Teaching…guitar…for your…clients…?

TIM: Right! Exactly! I’m sure Chris mentioned I’m district branch manager for “Your Kinda Music.” Private in-home lessons for privileged children. Someone with your…pedigree, we won’t have trouble filling your schedule. You’ll be happy with your cut. Listen, I’ll tell you all about it Monday. Chris can give you directions, right Chris?

(Tim reaches out and shakes Chris’ hand. Freida bends down to kiss Christine on the cheek. As Christine pulls away, Freida goes for the opposite cheek, ending awkwardly. The women smile through it. Tim and Freida leave. Chris goes back to the computer with Lance. Christine stands, incredulous that he would walk away but not willing to call him back. Rekha watches Christine from the kitchen)

CHRIS: Lance, I was really hoping to show you this model I’ve been working on before you go – I’m a bit stuck and I need your brain.

REKHA: It’s late.

LANCE: Ten minutes, so I can sleep on it, ’K Hon? Christine?

(Christine agrees, moves to join Rekha in the kitchen. Rekha has removed her large diamond and wedding rings and placed them on the counter. Rekha is elbow deep in suds, washing dishes. Christine removes a folded tea towel from a drawer and begins drying dishes and putting them away.)

REKHA: I find myself wondering what you think of Trix, Christine.

CHRISTINE: Really?  I find myself wondering the same thing about you.

REKHA: I think that Trix is…something else entirely. She is so right, sometimes it feels wrong. It’s like something is missing but you can’t say what.

CHRISTINE: I don’t know her very well.

REKHA: Trix has a way of sucking people into her vortex. It’s an interesting experiment they’re doing, to be sure.

CHRISTINE: I think she has star potential.

REKHA: Oh, I never said I doubted that. It’s just a strange thing, youth outreach to create stardom for yourself. It sounds perhaps too much like a cult for some people’s taste.

CHRISTINE: Is that what they’re doing? It didn’t feel that way to me. Just, like a bunch of people interested in the same thing, loving music, getting ready for a show.

REKHA: Yes, it could just be so. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Will you play with them on Friday night?

CHRISTINE: I think so. I mean, I want to. It’s just…a lot to take on.

REKHA: You feel a little intimidated, perhaps?

CHRISTINE: Why do you say that? You don’t know me. Sorry.

REKHA: Anyone would be intimidated by Trix, Christine. I know that I am. She is larger than life. And this performance is no small thing. Maybe you are not aware of the buzz that already surrounds Friday’s show?

CHRISTINE: I’m not aware of much, I guess.

REKHA: Poor girl, you’re trying to drink the ocean! While you’re getting your bearings, may I suggest you be careful how involved you get with Timeless? Trix will always serve her purpose first, you know.

CHRISTINE: Isn’t everyone likely to serve their own purposes first?

REKHA: I suppose, to one extent or another. The thing I can’t help but wonder is this: if Friday’s big show is a success, what then? If Trix becomes world famous, out-selling the Beatles, will the young people who worked so hard to get her there come along for the ride, or be left in the dust?

CHRISTINE: I don’t know.

REKHA: Christine, I like you, I’m sorry to put you off. I don’t waste time. This is me. I will tell you what I see and think, and you can do what you want with it. I’m not saying you can’t have fun playing with the band. I just encourage you to pay attention. I mean it kindly.

CHRISTINE: I know. So how do you know Trix? Did you play with them?

REKHA: No, no, I don’t play anything well enough to inflict it on the public! I am finishing my psychology dissertation so I volunteered at Timeless, helped with outreach and provided individual counseling to the boys…clients. Bash brought me in.

CHRISTINE: You’re not still working there, though?

REKHA: No.

(Christine waits for an answer)

REKHA: I practice the discipline of psychology. Trix operates by her own belief systems. There were times when we seemed to work at cross-purposes with the clients. She didn’t see it that way – she claimed our approaches were complementary and she was not willing to bend. I felt I couldn’t continue.

(Christine hands Rekha a towel for her hands.)

CHRISTINE: Thanks for doing the dishes!

REKHA: Thanks for having us over. Chris is a special guy, we’re glad you’re here to take care of him.

(Lance and Chris approach the door at the same time as Rekha and Christine)

LANCE: You’ll enjoy working with Tim, Christine. He’s an interesting guy when you talk with him.

CHRIS: You mean when he can get a word in edgewise over Freida.

LANCE: It was nice to finally meet you, Christine.

(Lance leans in and hugs Christine. Rekha takes both Christine’s hands in her hands.)

REKHA: I can’t wait to see you perform on Friday!

CHRISTINE: Um, thanks…

(Chris reacts to hearing that Christine will play. Christine notices him react and seems anxious, guilty. Rekha and Lance leave. Christine seems to deflate and almost falls, half faint. Chris catches her and leads her to the bed.)

CHRIS: Poor little one, so tired.

CHRISTINE: I should brush my teeth.

CHRIS: Shh.

(Christine lies on the bed. Chris strokes her hair)

CHRISTINE: (sleepy) I almost forgot. Who’s Luca?

CHRIS: (mumbled) Of course.

(Chris walks around the room, agitated)

CHRIS: Luca was the sound technician at Timeless last year, before my sabbatical. You might as well know, since someone obviously told you. For awhile I thought I might be falling in love with her.

(Christine’s eyes shoot open.)

CHRISTINE: And now you don’t?

CHRIS: Now I don’t.

CHRISTINE: Because?

CHRIS: Because now I am in love with you, so I know better.

CHRISTINE: That’s nice and simple.

(Christine props herself up on her elbow)

CHRISTINE: Okay, so why did she leave?

CHRIS: It’s complicated, and it had nothing to do with me, anyway.

CHRISTINE: What does that mean, nothing to do with you? You tell me you were in love with someone before we met, well, okay, that happens. She left, and I’d like to know why.

CHRIS: Look, Luca’s a dyke, okay? I was the only idiot that couldn’t see it. She left for whatever reasons she left, and didn’t think twice about me or anyone else. Whatever we had was my imagination and it doesn’t even matter I’m not into that. Does that satisfy your curiosity?

CHRISTINE: Hey. Come here.

(Christine invites Chris in for a hug. Christine closes her eyes. “Behind her eyes” we see the memories of the day flash quickly by, gradually fading to black.)

(end of Episode 1)

 

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