THE ROAD WORRIER

 

(Coming soon to a multiplex and/or VCR near you)

Copyright 2000, Martin Azevedo


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1. Blank screen

TOBY (VOICEOVER)

Hi, I'm Toby.

We see a slide of a small town in Oregon.

TOBY (V.O.)

This is Pelham, Oregon, where I grew up. It rained a lot.

The slide changes. The word "Astronaut" appears in the middle of the screen.

TOBY (V.O.)

This is the list of career paths I considered as a child. I changed my mind frequently, so some things are on there twice. That's me on the right.

Names appear one by one, as Toby’s elementary school pictures accompany them:

Astronaut

Fireman

Baseball Player

Scientist

Hero

Astronaut

Astronaut/Fireman

Actor

Clown

Performing Mathematician

President

Baseball Player

Astrophysicist

Gourmet Chef

Television Personality

Beloved College Professor

Standup Comedian

Film Writer/Director

Songwriter/Musician/Comedian

Film Writer/Director/Songwriter

Actor/Writer/Director/Songwriter

Writer/Recording Engineer/Musician

Exotic Dancer/Statesman

Musician/Roller Coaster Designer

Writer/Singer/Comedian/President

Drama Therapist/Film Critic

Exotic Dancer/Writer/President

We see a slide of Portland, Oregon.

 

TOBY (VOICEOVER)

This is Portland, Oregon. I moved here to go to college, where I studied creative writing and Theater Arts. I was totally focused during school and graduated in only four years.

 

We see a slide of Toby’s Dad.

TOBY (V.O.)

This is my father. He assured me that professional writers never study writing in college and that I should study something practical and write about that, but after I flunked my cybernetics class twice I decided I'd rather disappoint him by doing something I enjoyed instead of something I hated.

TOBY (V.O.)

We see a slide of a crappy brown VW Rabbit.

TOBY (V.O.)

This is the car I’ve been driving since I started college. My parents loaned me seven hundred dollars to buy it. If it didn’t leak or smell bad, it would be a great car.

We see a slide of Eugene.

TOBY (V.O.)

This is Eugene Clavicle. I sort of knew him growing up and we went to college together. After college I stayed in Portland and rented a room from his grandmother, who was insane, and I started writing.

We see a slide of Eugene’s Grandmother.

TOBY (V.O.)

This is Eugene's grandmother. She filled her house with garbage and she never threw anything away.

We see a picture of a small town in Idaho.

TOBY (V.O.)

This is Clarendon, Idaho. I moved here after deciding that other people were a terrible distraction and I needed to be alone to focus on my writing.

We see a slide of Seattle.

TOBY (V.O.)

This is Seattle, Washington. I moved here three months later after I ran out of money and survived a bout of hyperactive anemic depression, which is a condition most people have never even heard of.

( shuffle backwards to first slide, then forwards.)

TOBY (V.O.)

Well, actually, first I moved back to Pelham, which was a big mistake, and then I moved to Seattle, so I could focus on my writing.

(We see Mel, standing live before the camera.)

TOBY (V.O.)

This is Mel. We're not like best, best friends, but she's the best friend I have in Seattle. She's the reason I haven't gone crazy while living here.

We see a picture of Chad.

TOBY (V.O.)

This is Mel's boyfriend Chad, whom I've never met because he lives in Sacramento.

We see television script: "The Last Supper — A Very Special Episode of Delivery Dog"

TOBY (V.O.)

This is the first script I ever sold. It's for an episode of Delivery Dog, which was a syndicated sitcom about a dog with a paper route. It was cancelled as they were filming the second season because the star of the show was hit by a truck. Their check bounced and I took it as a sign that I should concentrate on films.

We see a quick excerpt from Delivery Dog — a German Shepherd wearing a newspaper sack delivers papers, jumps over a fence, etc.

TOBY (V.O.)

I've done other freelance writing too, including seven film reviews in an Internet thing that paid by the word but they fired me when I refused to pretend to like any of the crappy movies they sent me to write about and again, I took it as a sign.

Toby’s list of jobs appears, one job title at a time beside a picture of Toby dressed for each job:

Newspaper Delivery Carrier

Newspaper Inserter

Newspaper Inserting Crew Forman

Food Service Cashier

Retail Merchandising Assistant

Customer Service Helper

Records Clerk

Microfilming Clerk

Backups Technician/Freelance Television Writer

Administrative Assistant/Clerk

Telephone Support Representative

Transitional Systems Consultant

Temporary Interim Administrative Records Clerk

Temporary Assistant Personnel Data Coordinator

Toby(V.o.)

This is the list of all the jobs I've had since I was a kid. I used to say I was a comedy writer but my right now I'd be happy to do anything where the job title actually describes what I do.

2. Int. Toby’s Office - day

We see Toby walking between walls of file drawers and cubicles; he sorts papers as he walks, filing papers in cabinets, followed by the camera like an astronaut on the Jupiter spaceship in 2001, A Space Odyssey. Otherworldly music plays. WE HEAR TOBY ON VOICEOVER.

TOBY (VOICEOVER):

My current job title is Temporary Assistant Personnel Data Coordinator for Dunham Harrison Incorporated. The title means I do everything they don't pay somebody else to do, which is a lot. The company's had some money problems, so they keep moving us back and forth between different floors of the same three buildings, like we're grazing cattle. It's hard to stay motivated when I know the company could vanish off the face of the Earth tomorrow and nobody who's not on the payroll would notice.

 

I've been temping here for two and a half years. They offered me three days' work and thirty months later I'm still here. My colleagues spend every lunch break worrying about their stock options and I’m expected to hold the department together five days a week without screaming or setting fire to anything.

So I tend to lose track of what I'm supposed to be doing. Like, in the middle of the day I'll suddenly realize I've left the building and I can't remember why, or I'm in a meeting and I'm not supposed to be there, that kinda thing. Today I spent forty minutes standing in the supply closet trying to remember what I'd gone there to get. And it was then that I had what I later realized was my first out-of-body experience. I looked at the supply closet and I saw all the possibilities of my life, sitting there, waiting for anybody in the department to sneak away from their desks and take as much as they wanted. And looking at the shelves, I couldn't remember what I'd come there for. Usually I'd just go back to my desk and sit down and suddenly I'd remember exactly what I'd left my cubicle to get, but that ritual had grown humiliating and for some reason today I was determined to stand there waiting to remember what I'd gone there for.

A flood of images are seen on the shelves of the supply closet - office supplies, money, music equipment, seductive women, etc. All the fantastic things Toby might have become or wanted appear, eerie and colorful, before his eyes as they search the shelves.

TOBY (V.O.)

So, forty minutes later I was still there.

 

mel (V.o.)

What happened after that?

toby (V.O.)

There was a commotion. It was right at the end of the day. Something was wrong. People were circling the halls. A tidal wave of layoffs had come. Two thirds of our department would be gone the next day. Two women were crying. Everyone was tense. I was furious. I felt like the prison break had happened while I was in the bathroom.

The next day, everyone looked like they were wearing invisible backpacks filled with lead. The day after that, everything was back to normal. The herd had been thinned and they all went back to grazing.

Clive cheerfully sorts papers at his desk. Tina opens mail in her cubicle. Freddie carefully works dutifully at his computer. We see Toby asleep on his desk, the phone receiver in his hand resting by his head like the suicide weapon. The voicemail lady continues - "For accounting, press 657; for disbursement, press 873; for retroactive, press 554; for processing, press 867…". Toby awakes as Clive knocks on his cubicle entrance. Clive speaks slowly, but with disturbing enthusiasm.

Clive

Hello Toby!

Toby

Hi, can I help you?

Clive

So have you seen where you're going to be sitting in the new building?

Toby

Oh. Uh, no.

Clive

They've posted the plans in the break room.

Toby

Oh. Cool.

Clive

So are you excited about the move?

Toby

Oh. Uh, sure.

Clive

I hear there'll be brand new carpets!

Toby

Mmm.

Clive

Oh, you haven't closed the old fiscal year on the database, have you?

Toby

No. Probably tomorrow.

Clive

Okay, I'll have to get some reports first. This afternoon.

Toby

I didn't see Tracy today -

Clive

No, she was laid off.

Toby

Oh. Is Bryce still around?

Clive

Oh, yeah. They'll never get rid of him.

 

Bryce walks down the hall. With every footstep he pushes forth a cold wave of bitterness and disgust. He finds Toby and Clive talking.

Clive

Clive - Good morning Bryce!

Bryce

Yeah, hi.

Clive

See you, Toby!

Toby

Uh.

Bryce

Toby, you're the expert on the fiscal database, correct?

Toby

Such as it is, yeah.

Bryce

Okay, good. Randy is going to need the backup of the data file for the past fiscal year from before the closure. Very important.

Toby

Absolutely.

Bryce

Good man. Uh - what's that thing on your monitor?

A bendable figure of a cartoon character sits atop Toby's monitor.

Toby

My bendable?

Bryce

Yeah - That shouldn't be there. We got directors on this floor.

We see Toby sitting in his parked car, writing in his journal.

Toby (V.O.)

I can't sleep nights anymore. I'm exhausted all day and when I get home I try to write and I wind up spending all night doing something else that doesn't get done. I'll clean my room for three hours and the mess just gets worse and worse. Then I go back to work and the whole thing starts again.

 

Lately I've been praying. Dear God. I really need your help. Please give me something to work with. Please give me a sign that I'm doing the right thing. Gimme a fucking break. You let Joe Esterhaus become the highest paid screenwriter on the face of planet Earth and I'm trying to produce work that means something and everything I write is pretentious and fake.

 

Please help me write better. And get me a girlfriend. Amen.

 

3. Int. A taqueria - Day

Toby and Mel talk while eating burritos.

Toby

I keep dreaming I'm at work. I spend hours every night doing all the same stuff I do during the day.

Mel

You're still a contractor?

Toby

Yeah.

Mel

You should keep track of the hours you spend dreaming and bill them for your time.

Toby

Then when I get to work, I'm exhausted.

Mel

Do you ever dream about anything else?

Toby

Every couple of weeks I dream I'm in bed with a woman who calls me "Emperor".

Mel

Is there sex happening?

Toby

No. We're always playing Scrabble, actually.

Mel

She calls you "Emperor."

Toby

Yeah. Waking up is very disappointing. Did I ever tell you about Eugene?

Mel

Who's Eugene?

Toby

A friend from like, eighth grade - we didn't go to the same school. I had a dream about him the other day.

Mel

What was the dream?

Toby

I don't remember. He was angry at me. So how was Sacramento?

Mel

Did you get my postcard?

Toby

No.

Mel

Well, call me after you get it.

Toby

Why?

Mel

'Cause I want to talk about some of the stuff I wrote about.

Toby

What'd you say in the postcard?

Mel

What would be the point of mailing you a postcard if I just told you everything it was going to say before you got it?

Toby

Well, if you wanted to discuss what you wrote on the card, you coulda just handed it to me when you got back and we could be talking about it now, instead of waiting a week for the card to arrive.

Mel

Don't you think it's more special if you get it in the mail?

Toby

It's more suspenseful.

Mel

Well, I hadn't expected to be back so early. I'm flying back next week to get my car. I had to leave it there.

Toby

Why'd you come back?

Mel

There was an emergency at work. I could have dealt with it remotely but I left my laptop at home. I was trying to get away from it.

Toby

That sucks.

Mel

Yeah.

Toby

Did you think about not coming back?

Mel

Problem is, I love my job.

Toby

You're the only person I know who does.

Mel

I'm sorry to hear that.

Toby

So is your boyfriend ever going to visit you here instead of you visiting him there?

Mel

His name is Ben.

Toby

I know.

Mel

We're talking about him coming out here when he completes his dissertation.

Toby

When's that?

Mel

Next June.

Toby

Hmm.

Mel

So, what was that thing you wanted to ask me about that you said you kept forgetting to ask me about?

TOBY

I don't remember.

MEL

Oh.

TOBY

It'll come back to me.

MEL

Are you still writing for the porn website?

TOBY

It's not porn. It's a fetish website.

MEL

Well, same thing.

TOBY

Nobody reads anything at a porn website.

MEL

Are you still writing for them?

TOBY

Well, I only wrote three pieces for them.

MEL

I thought you'd written more.

Toby

No. I just did a lot of research.

Mel

What kind of research?

Toby

Reading porn.

Mel

You're not as embarassed about it as you used to be.

Toby

I've crossed the threshhold where I don't care anymore. I don't even wait for all the women to leave the liquor store before I carry it to the register. Saves a lot of time.

 

 

4. Int. Toby’s room - Night

Toby is writing furiously in his journal.

TOBY (V.O.)

For the last three weeks I've eaten nothing but burritos and cereal and I haven't even thought about it. Every morning in the shower I see the seven empty shampoo bottles and I say I'm going to throw them away when I get out of the shower. Then the shower ends and - I don't know what happens. I just suddenly show up at work, like I've been on auto pilot. The shower is still full of empty shampoo bottles. I forgot my lunch at home. I always forget my lunch at home. Everything gets done exactly the same way every day, like I'm not even there. I wake up at home or on the bus and it feels like it's been weeks since I actually thought about something I did. Like my life's just happening without me. That reminds me - I need to buy shampoo.

 

My only consistent passion in life is the lust I harbor for my housemate Peggy. I'm not in love with her...I haven't been in love since Daphne six years ago and by the time I'd fallen in love with her we'd been broken up for four months and she was pregnant by somebody who owned a house. My interest in Peggy was different: it's exciting. Shallow. Irresponsible. It's exactly the kind of pointless thrill ride I've spent my life avoiding.

This is the first time I've written in my journal in two months. Yesterday was Sunday. I had all day to work on the screenplay. Instead I spent seven hours recording a new outgoing message for my answering machine…it starts out with Terry Gross interviewing me about my success, then it says the usual answering machine stuff in words sampled from TV commercials.

We hear Toby’s brief but spectacular message. As it ends, there's a knock on the door.

TOBY

COME IN.

Toby’s attractive housemate Peggy enters. She sews a seam on the skirt she's wearing as she speaks.

PEGGY

Hi. If a male voice calls, I’m not here, ok?

TOBY

Where are you?

PEGGY

I gave my number to this creepy guy at the show last night, so if he calls, tell him I'm out - or better yet, I don’t live here. It's the wrong number.

TOBY

You don't live here?

PEGGY

No.

Toby

Do I know who you are?

Peggy

You have no idea who I am.

The phone rings.

Peggy

Oh God, that's probably him.

Toby

Okay.

Peggy

Are you gonna answer it?

Toby

How do I ask who it is, without implying that you live here?

She picks up phone, hands it to Toby.

Toby

Hello? Wrong number.

He hangs up.

Peggy

Was that him?

toby

I hope so.

Peggy

How do you know that was him?

Toby

You said a male voice. You want me to ask him how he met you before I tell him I don't know who you are?

Peggy

Oh God, what if it was Ted?

Toby

It wasn't Ted.

Peggy

Okay. I gotta run. Thanks.

Toby

See ya.

Toby is now in bed, writing in journal:

Toby (V.O.)

All I can do is disappoint people. I just want to be part of the world. I just want to feel like a grownup.

 

I've taken to locking myself in the handicap restroom at work and trying to sleep. Sometimes I'll listen to Enya on my walkman and try to imagine I'm at a spa, lying naked by the hot tub, waiting for my massage. Today I didn't even lock the door, almost hoping I'd get caught and fired.

I dreamed about Eugene again last night. He's a friend from when I was a kid. He was angry at me about everything. He was angry at me because I can't sleep. He was angry because I hated my job. He was angry that I've been writing the same screenplay for seven years without finishing it.

 

 

5. INT. TOBY’S ROOM - NIGHT

There is a knock on the door.

Toby

Come in.

Sultry music starts as the door opens. Peggy enters wearing sexy lingerie.

Peggy

Toby?

Toby

Yeah.

Peggy

Did anybody call for me while I was out?

Toby

No, nobody called for you.

Peggy

Thanks.

Toby

Mmm.

Peggy

Toby?

Toby

Yeah?

Peggy

Can I hang out in here for a while?

Toby

...sure.

She wanders around the room and sits on his bed.

Toby

I like your...that thing you're wearing.

Peggy

(Smiling)

This? So…is Toby short for anything?

Toby

It's short for "Toby Determined at a later date".

Peggy

Toby, you are so funny.

Toby

On a good day.

Peggy

Aren't you warm?

(She starts to remove his shirt)

Toby

Yeah, I'm kinda warm.

Peggy

You look warm.

Toby

Yeah.

Peggy

It's very warm.

Toby

Yeah.

She caresses his face.

Peggy

Toby?

Toby

Yeah.

Peggy

Toby I want to tell you something.

Toby

Tell me.

Peggy

...one...eight...five... retroactive... six...eight... one... for billing...dial six two five...

Toby

Oh, God.

 

6. Int. Toby’s office - Day

Toby wakes up with a start at work, head on his desk, phone receiver in his hand. Of the many post-its stuck to his monitor, he pulls off one reading "Susan, 11 am", checks his watch and dashes from his seat.

Toby gingerly takes a seat in Susan’s office.

Susan

Could you close the door?

Toby

Sure.

Susan

So how are you feeling?

Toby

Suffering quietly. How are you?

Susan

I'll pull through. So, here's the news. George and Jean were so impressed with the way you handled their calendar issue that they called HR to get you a certificate of commendation for good customer service. I agreed - it was very well done. If you were a full-time employee, you'd be getting a day of vacation.

Toby

Oh. Great.

Susan

Well, not so fast. As you know, the reorganization came with a wave of layoffs on Monday. Now, normally, it would not be appropriate to hang onto a temp after a wave of layoffs.

Toby

I was wondering about that.

Susan

I'd convinced Bryce we should hang onto you because of your work with the database. Since Sandra left, you're our expert.

Toby

Uh-huh.

Susan

The problem is, when George and Jean found out you were a temp, they had a fit that we were holding onto you after the layoffs, 'cause Bill was coming down on them.

Toby

Uh-huh.

Susan

Now one thing I haven't told you. With the re-org, I'm going up to the tenth floor.

Toby

And what does that mean?

Susan

That means you'll be reporting to Bryce now.

Toby

I'm very happy to hear that.

Susan

Now hang in there. Listen, I know Bryce is not the most soft-spoken guy in the world, but he's in a bit of a pinch right now.

Toby

Over what?

Susan

Over you. He knows the department needs you, but he's got George and Jean on his back about the hiring freeze.

Toby

Uh huh.

Susan

Now, to appease everybody, Bryce has agreed to keep you on, provided that you wind up doing what Tamara was doing before the layoffs.

Toby

Instead of what I have been doing?

Susan

In addition to what you have been doing.

Toby

Huh.

Susan

I'm sorry to drop all this on you at once. I figured you could handle it.

Toby

Well, as long as I can keep embezzling funds from payroll, I’ll be okay.

Susan

I hope you’re kidding.

Toby

I’m kidding.

Susan

Couldn’t do it without you, Toby.

Toby

I’ll take your word for it.

 

7. Int. Taqueria - night

Toby and Mel are playing scrabble in a taqueria. They've just eaten burritos.

Toby

I'm thinking of becoming an alcoholic.

Mel

What would that accomplish?

Toby

I dunno. It would give me something to write about.

Mel

Why do you stay at your job?

Toby

'Cause they need me. It's nice to have one little part of my life where I'm not a complete fuckup.

Mel

Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but if they're laying everybody off, they don't need you.

Toby

I also get free photocopies. That's important to a writer.

Mel

You said you haven't written anything in months.

Toby

That's a technicality.

Mel

Well, I told you you should leave a year ago.

Toby

Let's change the subject.

Mel

You realize it's your turn.

Toby

I'm thinking. Can we do acronyms?

MEL

No. So what do you want to change the subject to?

Toby

How's your sex life?

Mel

It's great, when I'm in Sacramento.

Toby

So, how do you know when you're in love?

Mel

You want a real answer to that?

Toby

I asked.

Mel

You know the baseball scale?

Toby

What do you mean?

Mel

First base is kissing, second base is petting above the waist,

Toby

yeah.

Mel

...third base is below the waist, home run is intercourse.

Toby

Yeah.

Mel

Well, in my experience, love is when the game ends and you still want to play catch.

Toby

And that's the whole thing?

Mel

No, that's the short version. It's still you turn, y'know.

Toby

Your last move ruined what I was going to do. So can you be in love with more than one person at a time?

Mel

You mean can you do it or can you get away with it?

Toby

Is it possible?

Mel

Anything's possible.

Toby

Are you in love with Ben?

Mel

Oh yeah.

Toby

Do you think you could be in love with somebody else at the same time?

Mel

Who do you have in mind?

Toby

I'm just curious.

Mel

I've tried juggling before. Something always gets dropped. And too often it's me. So are there two women you've got your eye on?

Toby

No. Nobody, actually.

Mel

So why haven't you called Salina?

Toby

'Cause when you introduced us she thought I was an idiot.

Mel

Why do you say that?

Toby

'Cause all I could say to her was "cool" and "that sucks". Three hours together, that's all I could say. It was torture. I spent the whole time trying not to stare at her...breasts.

Mel

Well, for what it's worth, I've been telling her more about you.

Toby

Did you tell her how I look like John Cusack when I've had a good night's sleep?

MEL

I've never seen you after a good night's sleep.

Toby

You don't trust me?

MEL

I've been telling her more about you and she wants to go out with you again.

Toby

Mel. Thank you.

Mel

Just don't panic. Or stare at her breasts.

Toby

I'll do my best.

8. Int. Small movie theater - Night

We see two seats in a small theater. Toby and Salina enter frame and take those seats. Toby stands up again and the two of then move one seat to the left, out of frame. Toby stands up again and they move back to the original seats.

Toby

I kinda need to be sitting in the center.

Salina

Mmm-hmm.

Toby studies which seat is closer to the center.

Salina

Are you gonna need surveying equipment?

Toby

Do you think we could move up...two rows?

Salina

...sure.

They move up two rows, Toby carefully surveying the available seats again.

8A. ext. Toby’s Car - Night

Toby and Salina sit inside Toby's car, parked on a hill. Toby releases the brake and the car rolls forward.

Salina

Don't you want to turn the engine on before you start moving?

Toby

The starter needs replacing. Sometimes I need to get it rolling down a hill and pump start it.

Halfway down the hill, the engine starts up with a jolt.

Salina

Have you considered getting a new starter?

Toby

Yeah. I've got a new one. It's in the back.

Salina

Have you considered installing it in place of the broken one?

Toby looks at her.

A moment later - Toby's car is moving through traffic.

SALINA

Is that your car that smells like that?

Toby

The car ahead of us is burning oil.

Salina

Is it okay if I smoke?

Toby

Oh, I don't care.

Salina

I mean, is your car going to blow up if I light a match?

Toby

No. I burn incense in here sometimes.

Salina

You do?

Toby

Yeah. In the winter, the carpets get wet, and...

Salina

Oh. Mm-hmm.

LATER- inside Toby's car, parked on a hill. Toby turns off engine. They each keep seat belts on.

Toby

So why'd you leave San Diego?

Salina

I really don't want to talk about that.

Toby

Oh. So...do you have a middle name?

Salina

No.

Toby

You don't?

salina

I'm one of those people with no middle names. I get to explain that to everybody who asks.

Toby

Sorry.

Salina

It's okay. So is Toby short for something?

Toby

Toby determined at a later date.

Salina

Mm hmm.

Toby

That joke killed when I was in third grade.

Salina

Uh huh.

Toby

Mel told me you were a biochemist.

Salina

Yep.

Toby

So what does that involve doing?

Salina

I'm the cancer fairy.

Toby

Sorry, what?

Salina

I give cancer to laboratory rats. I'm the cancer fairy.

Toby

Oh. Do you like it?

Salina

Well, I'm fine with it, until I start believing in Karma or an afterlife.

Toby

Mmm.

Salina

I'm gonna get into psychopharmacology.

Toby

Uh huh. So do you sometimes find yourself sympathizing with the rats?

Salina

Well, rats will eat hair care products and human beings won't, so I can maintain an emotional distance.

Toby

Yeah. So how long did you live in San Diego?

Salina

Could we not talk about that?

Toby

Yeah. Sorry.

Salina

I just feel like I'm being interrogated.

Toby

I'm sorry.

Salina

Okay.

Toby

Actually, I've gotta get up early in the morning, so -

salina

Yeah, so do I.

(She takes off seatbelt.)

Toby

I'll let you out.

Salina

No, I'll let myself out.

Toby

No, you can’t unlock that door from the inside.

 

9. Int. Mel’s House - Night

Toby and Mel are talking at her house.

Toby

God, it was awful. She was... emotionally inaccessible.

Mel

You're going to say that every time I set you up with someone.

Toby

What I need is somebody who's enthusiastic about life and isn't afraid to share it with me. Passion is what life's all about. Most people can't deal with it.

Mel

So why do you attract so many emotionally inaccessible women?

Toby

I don't attract them. You set me up with them. If I attracted them, there wouldn't be a problem.

Mel

Uh-huh.

Toby

I mean, I really do like it when you set me up with people. It's like getting a Christmas present and I don't know what it is. It's really exciting. But...I'm sorry. It just always turns out to be socks.

Mel

I'm delighted to hear you feel that way about my friends.

Toby

You know what I mean.

Mel

I thought it would work with you and Salina.

Toby

Salina just...she needs to deal with her emotions differently.

Mel

Look, your problem was not that she was emotionally inaccessible. Your problem was that you agreed on the second date to see a documentary on female genital mutilation.

Toby

I thought it would inspire a meaningful conversation.

Mel

Second dates are not for meaningful conversation. Second dates are for reinforcing her belief that you’re not a rapist. Meaningful conversation requires intimacy. You build it up over time.

Toby

How much time?

Mel

Several dates.

Toby

Well we didn't really have a first date. Anyway, she picked the movie. If I’d said no, I would have looked like I was unable to sympathize with women’s issues.

Mel

You could have said you weren’t in the mood that night.

Toby

I didn’t think of that. Anyway, I don't want her to think I'm a typical guy.

Mel

Toby, I love you and I want you to be happy. I wish that was enough.

Toby

I need to leave. I need to not be here anymore.

Mel

You need to move?

Toby

There’s nothing here for me. There’s you, I’m sorry…but…

Mel

It's okay. You're depressed.

Toby

I’m not depressed. I’m too pro-active to be depressed. This is controlled suicidal mania.

Mel

So what are you going to do about it?

Toby

I don’t know.

Mel

Are you gonna be okay for another week?

Toby

I don't know.

Mel

Promise me you’re going to be okay. Toby, promise me —

Toby

I’ll be fine.

Mel

So what do you really want?

Toby

I really want to fuck my housemate Peggy.

Mel

Everyone wants to fuck your housemate Peggy.

Toby

You asked what I wanted.

Mel

Well, do you want to fuck her, or date her?

Toby

Let's assume they're related.

Mel

Have you told her how you feel about her?

Toby

I’ve made it very obvious.

Mel

But have you told her? In English? English is a very good language. You should consider using it to communicate once in a while. You’re a writer.

Toby

I haven’t been a writer for some time.

Mel

Well, maybe you should write something. Can you be a screenwriter in Seattle?

Toby

You can be a screenwriter anywhere. Do you think I should be in Hollywood?

Mel

I don't know. You're the expert. Where did you live when you sold the script for that TV show?

Toby

Well, I was in Pelham, but I had a friend who worked for the production company in Los Angeles.

Mel

So where's your friend now?

Toby

Oh, she joined a cult. Last I heard she was living in a biosphere.

10. Int. Toby’s office — Day

We see Bryce seething in his office.

TOBY (V.O.)

Bryce is one of those people who breathe loudly. I could hear him down the hall through the closed door. On one hand, it was strangely comforting to be around someone who hated the place more than I did. On the other hand, for the last twelve months I've been dreaming about work. And now, work is....him.

Toby wakes up with a start. His phone is ringing. He picks it up.

Toby

This is Toby. Yeah.

(Checks watch.)

I'll be in in a minute.

Toby enters Bryce's office.

Toby

You want the door closed?

Bryce

Of course.

Toby

What's up?

Bryce

First of all, I understand you've never been fingerprinted by the security department. I've made an appointment with you for tomorrow. A drug test is part of that procedure. Just letting you know.

Toby

Okay.

Bryce

Second. You’ve been telling the employees that the checks were mailed out accidentally.

Toby

Yeah. They've been asking about the amounts.

Bryce

Well, stop doing that. It makes us look bad.

Toby

Sorry, but if we tell them the checks were sent out accidentally, that means one person thought it was a good idea to send them out that way. If we say the checks were sent out on purpose, that means everybody thought it was a good idea. And everybody knows it was not a good idea.

Bryce

If we second-guess our own actions, it makes us look indecisive.

Toby

With all due respect, we're not second-guessing anything. We're saying we made a mistake.

Bryce

But we'd be making another mistake to acknowledge the first mistake.

Toby

Are you sure we're not making another mistake to be denying the first mistake?

Bryce

Yes I'm sure. Next item: Susan told me you never closed the fiscal year in the database. Is this correct?

Toby

It's actually transferring as we speak. I started the process before our meeting.

Bryce

So it wasn't done until today?

Toby

No. It'll be done this morning.

Bryce

Christ. And then you're going to catch up with the first two months of this year?

Toby

Yeah, we'll have to do that.

Bryce

Well, keep me appraised. And get the backup of the database before the change to Randy, A-sap.

toby

Right away.

Bryce picks up the phone and dials.

Bryce

God, I miss drinking.

Toby is back at his desk.

Toby (V.O.)

I thought the nightmare began when Bryce became my boss and I started dreaming about him every night. I'd already started buying alcohol in anticipation of the habit this was going to give me. But I hadn't expected this.

Toby stares panicked at his computer, clicking through a spreadsheet.

Toby

Oh God.

 

Toby (V.O.)

Closing the fiscal year had erased all the data. It wasn't archived. I hadn't backed it up. I'd destroyed the database.

The outdoor air is tranquil and warm. Toby lies, apparently naked but for walkman headphones, beside a hot tub. Peaceful new age music plays.

A gasp cuts through the soothing music. Toby's eyes snap open. He's lying on the floor of the handicap bathroom, listening to his walkman. Clive rushes through the door to his aid.

Clive

Oh my God - Toby, are you okay? Speak to me! Are you breathing?!?

 

11. Int. Toby’s room - Night

Toby writes in his journal.

Toby (V.O.)

I'm leaving. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm leaving.

Toby visits ATM and takes out as much money as he can from every card in his wallet.

 

Toby (V.O.)

There is a world beyond this one. A world where things make sense. I used to think I'd find it through writing. Now I don't know where it is. And for better or worse, I'm running out of places to look.

 

12. Int. Peggy’s bedroom - Night

Peggy lies across her bed typing on a laptop computer. She looks back toward her door to see Toby, who stands in the doorway.

Peggy

Yeah?

Toby

I’m moving out and I’m leaving Washington and I want to make love to you before I do.

Peggy

You’re moving out?

Toby

Yeah.

Peggy

When?

Toby

I don’t know.

Peggy

Well, do I need to start looking for another housemate?

Toby

I just said I wanted to have sex with you! I’ve wanted to for a long time!

Peggy

Well, this is a lot to hit me with! What do you want me to say?

Toby

Well you could start by acting surprised.

Peggy

Maybe I'm not surprised.

Toby

You're not surprised.

Peggy

You've made it pretty obvious.

Toby crosses his arms, rubs his brow.

Peggy

So is this, what, thirty days' notice?

Toby

Yeah. It's thirty days' notice.

Peggy

Okay. Do you know anybody who needs a room?

 

 

13. int. Toby’s bathroom - Night

Toby (V.O.)

I've decided to die.

Toby throws back the shower curtain and tosses out several empty shampoo bottles. He runs around in background throwing out other things.

Toby (V.O.)

I've spent my whole life writing without having anything to write about. I'm tired of looking at beautiful women whom I can't have. I’m tired of spending all my working at jobs that take all my time and leave me with nothing. All I ever wanted to be was a screenwriter. And…a director and performer. And a comedian. and a musician. And a fetish photographer, but if I can't be that...God, this has got to end.

 

14. Int. Toby’s room - Day

Peggy knocks on Toby's door. She knocks again. She tries the door. It swings open. Her face assumes a look of shock and horror. Toby's room is completely empty, but for a pile of white cardboard boxes in the middle of the room.

15. Ext. Lonely mountain road - Day

It’s early morning. Toby wakes up with a start. He’s been sleeping in his car, parked on a mountain road. Toby opens the car door and climbs out from under the sleeping bag, onto the pavement. He is disheveled - just woke up. His shoes are untied and his wallet is sticking an inch out of his back pocket. He bites into a powerbar, takes the last drink from a carton of soy milk and throws the empty carton and the powerbar back into the car. He pushes the sleeping bag away from the driver's seat and starts pushing the car down the road.

Toby (v.o.)

Day one. I’m free. Drove three hours last night, then pulled over and slept like…I hadn’t slept in weeks.

The road stretches on for about fifty feet and then slopes downward, curving into a steep mountain road that dips back up again at the bottom of the small valley. As the car rolls toward the slope, Toby's wallet falls onto the pavement and is now ten feet behind him, twenty dollar bills fluttering away. Toby turns his head and jumps back to grab the wallet, but then turns back to the car that's rolling away from him. He stands exactly between the rolling car and the emptying wallet, his head whipping back and forth, dashing back one step toward the distant wallet and stopping to leap one more step back toward the car, then back again. Finally he dashes back toward the rolling car, now gathering speed down the hill fifty feet away. Toby leaps in and the engine pounds to life with a bang.

16. ext. washington roadways — day

The car grinds over Washington roadways as we hear Toby’s words.

Toby (v.o.)

Already there have been unforeseen budget complications and the car is having some kinda emphysema problem that keeps it from going over 55 so the current plan is to stick to scenic county roads and keep moving whenever possible. I’ll make it to Northern Oregon tonight - I’ve got a friend there I can stay with. Meals have been cold soup in the car. No radio, no tapes. I’m kept awake and driven forward by a holy vision of a future only three days distant. And a few friends I’ve got to see along the way.

17. Ext. — Geek House - Day

Tony knocks on the door of a large Frat-style geek house in the woods. A chubby, expressionless young man opens the door.

Toby

Hey - is Tony here?

Guy

Tony?

Toby

Yeah, tall guy, black guy? Glasses?

Guy backs away from door, mumbles out to people in back room.

Guy

No, he's in Europe.

Toby

Oh, wow...do you know how long he's gonna be there?

Guy backs away from door again, calls out, and finally returns to Toby.

Guy

Nobody knows.

Toby

Uh, thanks...Hey, I'm an old roommate of his from Seattle, and I always used to crash with him after I moved...any chance I could just find a couch and just pass out for a while?

(guy stares blankly, face immobile)

Guy

Sure.

Toby walks through the house. Beer cans and dirty dishes cover every available space.

Toby (V.O.)

Tony used to have this very fancy stereo in the room we shared and once he came back after being away for the weekend and the stereo wouldn't work anymore, and that's when he stopped speaking to me. And we actually never did start speaking again so it's probably a good thing that he's in Europe.

It looks a typical geek house, which is like a frat house except there's a Linux server in the basement and Japanese anime videos on the shelves and whatever sex happens there tends to be imaginative and sorta creepy.

We see a downstairs bedroom door decorated with a set of bull horns. Muffled yelps can be heard from behind the door - a female voice gasps "Yes, there! There!" A modest male voice grunts "You don't own me!" You don't own me!" The sounds of breaking furniture can be heard as something bangs against the bedroom door, knocking down the bull horns. The cries of "Oh God, yes!" continue.

Toby (V.O.)

Dirty dishes and beer bottles covering every flat surface. Really, nothing had changed since the last time I'd been here eight years before. It looks like they're always cleaning up after a party. Except there is no party. And they're not cleaning up.

 

Several guys sit around a table drinking beer and playing "Magic The Gathering".

 

Guy

(Drunk)

This guy kept saying he wanted to kiss me and I said I was straight and he kept saying "You’re so homophobic", and I had like four guinesses, so after an hour of this, I finally kissed him. And he wouldn’t stop! I figured he’d leave me alone after that. So that's when I knew I was cute.

18. Ext. Toby’s car — day

Toby is again driving his car through scenic Northwestern roads.

Toby (v.o.)

Lemme tell you about Eugene. Eugene clavicle is a genius artist living in a form-fitting sarcophagus of neurotic apathy.

 

19. Int. Eugene’s room - day

We see Eugene reading a magazine next to a pile of magazines. His room is a mess. He tears an article out of the magazine and places it on a large pile of articles to one side.

Toby (V.O.)

He was the smartest person I knew growing up - he drew really really well and he read constantly and he wrote essays - recreationally - and he was very funny. When he was twelve years old he'd meditate while walking around in circles, which doesn't make sense when you hear me describe it but he was a GENIUS. It was scary how smart he was. In college we sorta did comedy together. I rented a room from his grandmother after college and then he moved into the room when I moved out. I don't know. I called him five years ago and he said he was going to leave when he was 'ready'. But he's never going to be 'ready'. Eugene really, really needs somebody to burn his house down.

Now he's 29 and he never leaves his grandmother's house. And the best I can say about his grandmother is that...she isn't nearly as bad as his parents.

19A. Ext. Eugene’s doorway - day

Eugene answers the door wearing a bathrobe and a Rush T-shirt.

Eugene

Toby!

Toby

Eugene!

Eugene

What are you doing here?

Toby

It's a long story. Can I come in?

Eugene

Yeah, I'll clear some space.

19b. Int. Eugene’s Grandmother’s House - Day

Inside Grandmother’s house. Eugene is constantly adjusting the fit of his robe.

Toby

Where's your grandmother?

Eugene

She's not here. She's at a Mensa meeting.

Toby

Oh.

We look across the walls, where every shelf and every flat surface is covered with neatly bound stacks of garbage - plastic bags by the score, years' worth of bottles waiting to be recycled, stacks and stacks and stacks of newspapers, boxes of magazines. Clean, unused dishes are stacked on the counters in the kitchen, overflowing out of the cabinets. Grocery bags full of brand new packages of toilet paper line the hallways. Five broken VCRs are stacked in one corner. Energy to lift mountains was wrongly funneled into building this cavern of shit.

Toby

Does all this stuff belong to your Grandmother?

Eugene

Yeah, it's all been here for a while.

Toby

She fixes VCRs?

Eugene

No, she just keeps them.

Toby

Does she have any VCRs that work?

Eugene

Yeah, on her desk.

Toby

Huh. So, Hi! Good to see you.

Eugene

Yeah, hi. Thanks for coming by.

Toby

So how's life in Portland?

Eugene

I hear it's nice.

Toby notices Eugene's enormous stack of books, arranged against the wall without shelves.

Toby

You ever think about putting up shelves?

Eugene

I keep thinking about it, but...you know, that'd be like a commitment to stay here.

Toby

You're not going to?

Eugene

I dunno. I'm sick of it. I'm ready to leave.

Toby

You are?

Eugene

Yeah. I just need to get away.

Toby

You said that five years ago.

Eugene

Yeah. I needed to get away five years ago too.

Toby

(Looking around)

Your grandmother ever heard of storage lockers?

Eugene

She’s got three of them.

Toby

What’s in them?

Eugene

Lower-priority stuff.

Toby

Hmm. So, what are you doing nowadays?

Eugene

Ehh, Just...I've been sorting through some stuff. Trying to get organized. What are you doing here?

Toby

I'm driving down the coast. Sorry for just dropping by. I just figured I haven't seen you in forever.

Eugene

That's okay. Where are you going?

Toby

Down South. Southern California. You been doing any writing?

Eugene

No, I've been meaning to. It's hard to get started.

Toby

Been drawing or anything?

Eugene

No. That stuff's in a box somewhere.

Toby

Why haven't you been writing?

Eugene

Why are you asking me that?

Toby

Sorry. I remember liking your writing. I was hoping you were still doing it.

Eugene

Haven't had time. I'm trying to avoid stress.

Toby

How long have you been living with your grandmother?

Eugene

Oh, don't make me think about that.

Toby

Sorry.

Eugene

Like, six months after college. I was doing phone support for think link for a while.

Toby

And you quit that to move here?

Eugene

I got burned out on people feeling abused by technology and taking it out on tech support people. It's like providing customer service for the apocolypse. Anyway, there's space for me here.

Toby

So have you been working here?

Eugene

Helping my grandmother out with stuff. That's my rent.

Toby

Mmm hmm.

Toby looks around, stands up.

Eugene

So...you came by for a reason.

toby

Yeah. Eugene...grab five things. I’m taking you to Los Angeles.

Eugene

What am I grabbing five things for?

Toby

We're going to Hollywood. Just like the Muppet Movie. We always talked about making movies. If you want to do it before you die, you need to come with me.

Eugene nervously jerks his head to the side a few times.

Eugene

That's a stupid plan.

Toby

I know. Grab five things. I'm kidnapping you.

Eugene

Oh! You're not kidding.(laughs)

Toby

No. We're leaving now.

Eugene

Toby, it doesn't work that way. Come on. I'd love to live in my own place here, but I can't afford it. And the class of people who can't afford to live in California makes a lot more money than the class of people who can't afford to live in Oregon.

Toby

We'll have to get crappy jobs for a while. I've got my computer in the car. We'll write scripts together. You know we can do that. Our main goal at first has to be to get attention.

Eugene

Where are we going to live?

Toby

We'll get a place. I've got some money. Not as much as I started out with, but what's important is that we get there. Nothing will happen unless we get there.

Eugene

Toby...good luck.

Toby

Eugene, you're coming with me. Come on.

Eugene

Toby, how long is your money going to last? A month? A week?

Toby

Look, I don't know what we're gonna wind up doing. Worst case scenario, we'll run out of money. Worst case scenario, we...turn to prostitution to make ends meet. At least then we can meet people and start networking.

The door slams in the background.

Eugene

That's my grandmother.

Eugene's 80-year-old grandmother enters the kitchecn, carrying two grocery bags filled with toilet paper. Toby and Eugene have joined her there.

Grandma

Hi! So are you moving back to Portland? Do you need a place to stay?

Toby

No, actually, I'm just on my way to L.A.

Grandma

Oh. Well, it's good to see you, Toby. You know there'll always be room for you here -

She hands the grocery bag to Eugene.

Grandma

...oh, can you put this in the hallway? It was on sale, I couldn't resist - so, were you going to be staying here tonight?

Toby

No, actually, I was just hoping to come by and be taking off right away. I gotta be going.

Grandma

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Have you had any soup? You need some soup.

Toby

Oh, but I was just leaving.

Grandma

I'll give you a couple of cans of soup. Do you like cookies? Everybody likes cookies. Have you eaten lunch yet? I'll get you some groceries for your trip.

Toby

Oh, thank you very much, but you don't...Grace, are these VCRs working?

Grandma

You know, they're not. Some of them are kindof rusty. I just hate to throw them away, you know.

Toby

'Cause this is gonna sound strange, but when I get to Southern California, I'm actually going to be working with some friends on a video installation at a gallery, and I noticed you had all these VCRs that you didn't seem to be using.

Grandma

Uh-huh.

Toby

And they're on a very very low budget. And I was actually wondering if you weren't using these VCRs, if this group could possibly make use of them.

Grandma

Can your friends fix them?

Toby

They're very good with things like that.

Grandma

Well, I was hoping they'd go to a good home. Do you want to take one of them?

Toby

Well, if you weren't going to be using any of them, actually, I was hoping my friends could use all of them.

Toby and Eugene are carrying the stack of VCRs out of the house.

Eugene

Which way is your car?

Toby

This way.

Eugene

You didn't tell me about your friends in Southern California.

Toby

I don't have any friends in Southern California.

Eugene

Huh?

Toby

Your grandmother is very sweet, but she's a sick woman. And now, she's a sweet sick woman with a little more available floor space.

They step up to a trash dumpster. Toby lifts back the lid and dumps three VCRs inside.

Eugene

What are you doing?

Toby

What you should have done five years ago.

Toby wrestles the two remaining VCRs away from Eugene.

Eugene

Toby, you're not going to change anything. She's just gonna fill up the space with something else.

Toby

That's not my problem.

Eugene

So what are you going to do now?

Toby

Leave.

Eugene

Why'd you leave Seattle? What can you do down there that you can't do up here? Really?

Toby

It's gonna sound stupid.

Eugene

You already sound stupid.

Toby

The only things we talked about as kids were movies and girls. We didn't even really talk about girls. We just talked about movies. We knew that's what we were going to do. Not because it was practical. It wasn't practical. We just knew that's what we were supposed to be doing. Now I don't even know what that feels like. What am I supposed to be doing? I don't know. What do I want to be doing? I barely know that anymore. I haven't written anything because nothing is worth writing about. Nothing feels necessary to me, and that's a really scary feeling. So I'm not going there because it makes sense to go there. I'm going there because nothing makes sense.

Eugene

That's rational.

Toby

Eugene...what if we get there and we find a secret? Something we can bring back here? I don't know, I'm sounding like an idiot.

Eugene

Toby...Why don't you stay at my grandmother's house, and we'll -

Toby

I am not going to stay at your grandmother's house. I'm sick of talking to you about this.

Eugene

Toby, you're making a mistake.

Toby

I can't learn from my mistakes if I'm not willing to make them.

Eugene

Bye.

Eugene and Toby walk in opposite directions. Eugene walks back into his house and down the hall. He steps into his room and looks around. The stack of magazines, the pile of newspapers and articles torn out of them. The stack of brand-new containers of toilet paper.

Toby starts his car and drives down the block. As the house shrinks into the background, the front door opens. Eugene dashes out and chases Toby down the block.

 

20. Toby’s Car - Day

Toby and Eugene load Eugene’s belongings into Toby’s car.

EUGENE

So why did I only get to bring five things?

TOBY

Anything we need, we can get where we're going. Anyway, look at your Grandmother. What happened to her could happen to you.

EUGENE

Well, look at all the shit you brought.

TOBY

Since I packed the car I've had a lot of time to meditate on the value of possessions.

EUGENE

I wouldn't have to be so free of my possessions if you were a little more free of your possessions.

The car is now moving. Toby and Eugene discuss their plans as they begin their journey.

Toby

I've wanted to do this since I was eight years old. Just drive. Just...abandon all that weight that had been holding me back, all that crap.

Eugene

Hmm.

Toby

I mean, I don’t feel like a boy. I haven’t felt like a boy since I turned twenty-seven and started buying my own pornography. But…I haven’t felt like a man either, y’know?

(pause)

So what are you thinking about?

EUGENE

Have you ever used one of those car vacumns in here?

Toby

Is it below the standard to which you're accustomed?

EUGENE

I dunno. It’s not often I’m inspired to clean someone else’s car.

Toby

You live in your grandmother’s house and you’re complaining about my car?

EUGENE

My grandmother collects garbage. She doesn’t haul it around everywhere she goes.

Toby

Your grandmother never leaves the house.

EUGENE

Yeah she does.

So are we going right to Hollywood?.

 

Toby

Remember Zoe Levin?

EUGENE

Yeah.

Toby

She lives in Humboldt. I think we can stop by there.

EUGENE

You gonna kidnap her too?

Toby

She can come with us if she wants to.

EUGENE

How many things are you gonna let her bring?

Toby

I just think it'd be good to see her. You and I both needed to leave the places we were. I don't know what her life will be like.

EUGENE

Is she married?

Toby

I don't think so.

 

 

21. Int. Café - Day

 

Toby sits at a table in a hip cafe', reading maps and looking around. Eugene steps in with sandiches for both of them. Several maps and pieces of paper, as well as Toby's journal, are on the table between them.

Eugene

Could you maybe not check out the ass of every single woman who walks by?

Toby

Sorry. I thought I was being sly.

Eugene

You weren't being sly. It's easily noticed.

Toby

Well, if somebody is offended at what I do, they're offended at me, not you.

Eugene

No, they're offended at us. It's guilt by assholsiation. They'll think we're a couple of construction workers. You gonna start whistling and grabbing your crotch?

Toby

See, I would have agreed with you, like a week ago. The world looks different to me now. I'm noticing colors now. Look at the ceiling - I notice ceilings now. I never noticed them before. And women, I feel like, suddenly appeared on the Earth a week ago. It's...just a beautiful, beautiful planet.

Eugene

And your plan is to intimidate it into submission one woman at a time?

Toby

That's not my plan.

So, are you...(laughs) would you say you're a leg man, a breast man, an ass man, what?

Eugene

I've never given it much thought.

TOBY

See, I never really thought about it until recently either. And I've never understood the ass thing anyway. I mean, I love a beautiful rear end, but at the same time it doesn't make sense to me that I'd be attracted to someone's rear end. I mean, breasts, that makes a certain amount of sense - there's the whole maternal thing. But the butt's just kinda there.

Eugene

Why would your attraction need to make sense to you? Why can't you just like what you like?

Toby

Well, yeah.

Eugene

I like someone with a nice face. I'm a face guy.

Toby points out the attractive, hip young woman behind the counter. She has a shaved head and tattoos and wears a flattering dress.

Toby

Now, see, I love that look.

Eugene

The girl behind the counter?

Toby

Yeah. I think she’s beautiful.

Eugene

She’s twelve!

Toby

Is not. She’s…I dunno.

Eugene

She’s a kid.

Toby

I can still look. Now, see I look at someone like her and I think, where were all the beautiful women with shaved heads and renaissance dresses when I was in high school?

Eugene

They were in kindergarten.

Toby

Mm-hmm. So do you want to do some driving? You can drive a stick, right?

Eugene

I don't like to drive.

Toby

Well, does that mean you can't drive? Maybe we can find an open road that we can stay on for a while. I'm sorry, I just haven't really slept.

Eugene

We could just not go anywhere for a while.

Toby

Well, the longer we're on the road, the more money it's gonna cost us. Unless you know someone we can stay with. I figure we'll get to Zoe's place soon enough.

Eugene

Have you called her?

Toby

I know where she lives, but I can't find her number anywhere. It's unlisted.

Eugene

Well, maybe she wouldn't want us just dropping in like this.

Toby

I think we'll be okay. So, can you drive?

Eugene

I can try.

 

22. Ext. Toby’s Car - Day

Eugene sits behind the wheel of the car, clutching the steering wheel with both hands. He lets go with his right hand and touches the top of the steering wheel, then the bottom, then puts his hand back in place. He does it again. And again. He looks in the rear view mirror and checks the hand brake to make sure it's off. He jerks his head back to look in the rear view mirror again and checks the hand brake again. He jerks his head back and forth several more times.

toby

You okay?

Eugene

I just get kinda nervous when I drive.

Toby

Do you want to turn the engine on?

Eugene starts rocking back and forth in his seat as he reaches to turn the key. His head still jerks right and left toward the mirror. He touches the top and bottom of the steering wheel with his right hand, over and over and over.

They’re back on the road. Toby is driving. Eugene has an open map of California on his lap.

Eugene

Sorry about that.

Toby

Oh, that's okay. I didn't know it would give you so much anxiety. So is it when you get nervous that you do the, uh...tic thing? With your head?

Eugene

Eh. Sometimes. When I'm pressured. It bugs people when they keep thinking I'm turning to speak to them.

Toby

Yeah. I'm surprised I haven't seen you do that before.

Eugene

Well, you've never seen me drive before.

Toby

So you do have your license, right? I mean I shouldn't have assumed -

Eugene

I got it in high school.

Toby

Eugene - you had a girlfriend in high school, right?

Eugene

No.

Toby

I remember you telling me about your girlfriend, you met her on vacation?

Eugene

Oh. "Beth"?

Toby

Yeah, Beth.

Eugene

Well...I kinda made her up.

Toby

You did?

Eugene

Yeah. You know, in high school, you want your story to parallel everybody else's.

Toby

Yeah. So...have you ever had a girlfriend?

(silence)

Hey, Eugene, you know...it's okay. Thing is, I just figure we need to be honest with one another. You know, whatever we say is fine. I mean, if we're gonna be together, we'll have to...know we can trust one another.

Eugene

Yeah, that'd be cool.

Toby

You're straight, right? I mean, it's okay either way, but I don't want to alienate you.

Eugene

I like girls, if that's what you mean.

Toby

Okay, sorry. So, have you ever had a car?

Eugene

No.

Toby

You do have your license, right? I mean, you weren't lying when you said -

Eugene

Yes, I've got my license.

Toby

Oh, okay. 'Cause my theory is, sex won’t happen until you own a car.

Eugene

Why won't sex happen until I have a car?

Toby

It's a personal control thing. It’s like accupuncture… you don't have to understand how it works. It just works.

Eugene

You know, it's not your job to solve my problems.

Toby

Sorry.

They drive a few more miles. Things are getting tense.

Toby

I cannot believe we are having this conversation!

Eugene

What do you mean?

Toby

How can that be your favorite movie? What does it accomplish that makes you think it's good?

Eugene

It's a simple fable that everybody can relate to. Plus it's funny. It's sweet.

Toby

The characters are paper thin, and nothing they do makes any sense, except as manipulative plot strategies. Okay, first, The Lieutenant - what's the Lieutenant's name?

Eugene

Lieutenant Dan.

Toby

Lieutenant Dan gets his legs blown off and his life falls into a sewer of degradation, but instead of being lonely and miserable, he suddenly becomes surrounded by girls and money, like he's a rock star. Second, we're given no reason to sympathize with anyone who doesn't love the protagonist, and meanwhile his girlfriend is surrounded by all these evil people and yet when she leaves, we're supposed to feel sorry for him instead of thinking they're both idiots, like caring for people who make your life miserable is somehow a more pure and virtuous way to live your life.

Eugene

I identified with the loneliness of the characters, I liked the unpredictable story, I thought Tom Hanks was really good. Look, it's nothing to get upset about.

Toby

I'm sorry, but...you know, we're going to be writing together, and that's your favorite movie? I'm just -

Eugene

So what do you think is a good movie?

Toby

Wait. I'm listening to the engine.

Eugene

What do you hear?

Toby

I think it's okay.

Eugene

You sure?

toby

Yeah, it's fine.

(pause)

The Muppet Movie! Now there’s a movie!

 

23. Ext. Shauna’s House - Day

Toby and Eugene knock on the door of a small house in Humboldt. Toby calls through the door.

Toby

ZOE?

Eugene

I don't think she's here.

Toby

I dunno. That's her car.

Toby tries to look through the peep-hole. Through the door we hear Toby knocking and calling Zoe. The inside of the door is bolted with several deadbolt locks and chains. Shauna looks out at them through the peephole and they converse through the closed door.

Toby

Hi - Zoe?

Shauna

Zoe's not here.

Toby

Hi - we're old friends of Zoe's.

Shauna

She's not here.

Eugene

Do you know if she's gonna be back soon?

Shauna

She's in India.

Toby

India?

Shauna

She's in India.

Toby

Well, I'm her friend Toby, and her friend Eugene and I came from Seattle - well, Eugene came from Oregon - so, are you a housemate of hers?

 

We hear the sounds of deadbolts unlocking. The door opens.

Shauna

Eugene Clavicle?

Eugene

Yeah.

shauna

I'm Shauna - Zoe's sister, remember?

Eugene

Shauna! Wow! You're not, like, ten years old!

Shauna

Yeah. We’re both real people now.

Eugene

Wow.

Toby

Well, we were looking for Zoe, 'cause we're on our way to Los Angeles, and we were hoping to see Zoe and maybe...crash here, if that's cool.

Shauna

You can't stay here.

Toby

You don't want us to stay here?

Shauna

I'm sorry - I can't sleep if there's someone else in the house.

Toby

Oh. Well, can we...

Eugene

Do you want us to leave?

Shauna

Oh, well, hang on. Do you wanna...well, do you know where you're going to stay tonight?

Eugene looks at Toby.

Toby

Well, if we're not gonna stay here, we probably gotta keep moving for another few hours.

Shauna

Do you need to leave right away?

 

24. Int. Shauna’s House - Day

Eugene, Shauna and Toby sit around the living room, batting a balloon back and forth as they talk.

Shauna

I'm not working for a temp agency. I'm working at a temp agency.

Eugene

You mean, you're a permanent employee of a temporary employment agency?

Shauna

Yeah.

Toby

Sounds like me.

Eugene

How long have you been there?

Shauna

Four months. So, how long are you going to be in Los Angeles?

Toby

We're moving there.

Shauna

You're moving there?

Toby

We are going to Hollywood to become famous screenwriters.

Shauna

Can I ask a delicate question?

Toby

I don't know, can you?

Shauna

Don't take this the wrong way, but is there such a thing as a famous screenwriter?

Toby

We're prepared to be the first.

Shauna

Did you study screenwriting in college?

Toby

Mostly I've just read a lot of Joseph Campbell.

shauna

Uh huh.

toby

I sold a TV script once.

shauna

Oh,cool. So,you guys have a bunch of money saved up?

Eugene

We're not that organized.

Toby

We've gotta hit the pavement running when we get there.

shauna

So are you gonna stay with friends while you're down there?

toby

Don't know anybody.

Shauna

And you've been planning this trip for how long?

Toby

'Trip' is probably the wrong word.

Eugene

So is 'Planning'.

Toby

What we're doing is more like skydiving.

Eugene

Without the parachute.

Shauna

Mm hmm.

shauna

Well, you know, I can kinda respect your adventurousness. It just sounds kinda crazy.

Toby

Gotta be crazy once in a while.

Shauna

No, I don't mean ha-ha crazy. I mean like bad-idea crazy.

(pause)

Toby

So what's your sister doing in India?

Shauna

She sent me a postcard saying she was learning to cope with her feelings of resentment toward suburban sprawl.

Toby

I always liked her.

Shauna

She's just being a tourist. Eugene, did you ever do anything with that comic book thing you used to write?

Eugene

I stopped doing it.

Shauna

You won, like, a national award for one of those.

Eugene

Yeah. That's when I stopped doing it.

Shauna

So why'd you stop?

Eugene

I don't know.

Toby

Eugene - we should probably be working on the car if we're not gonna be staying here.

Shauna

What do you have to do?

Toby

Mostly just gotta replace the starter.

Shauna

Does it have to be done now?

Toby

Yeah it does. I couldn't find a hill to park on.

Shauna

Do you both need to work on that?

Toby

What do you mean?

Shauna

Well, I need to return some videos and I don't like to walk down there by myself.

25. Ext. Humboldt Street - Twilight

Shauna and Eugene walk down the street in Humboldt. Shauna carries two rented videotapes.

Eugene

Wait 'til you see Toby's car. You'll love it.

Shauna

Why will I love it?

Eugene

'Cause it's hilarious.

Shauna

How is it hilarious?

Eugene

It's like a...rolling...sinus infection. It smells like wet shoes. It's disgusting.

Shauna

How endearing.

Eugene

So did you come to Humboldt 'cause of your sister?

Shauna

I came here...'cause of my ex-boyfriend.

Eugene

Did he live here already, or -

Shauna

He's never been here.

Eugene

Oh.

They walk past a produce stand outside the store.

Shauna

We were going pretty fast - like thirty miles an hour - and when I came down the back of my head hit the curb.

Eugene

Were you in the hospital?

Shauna

For a week. They wouldn't let me on the plane until it stablized.

Eugene

Can you smell anything?

Shauna

Everything smells like...garlic.

Eugene

Do you like garlic?

Shauna

I used to.

Eugene lifts an orange toward her.

Eugene

So this orange smells like garlic?

SHAUNA

You think you're gonna cure me?

EUGENE

Sorry.

SHAUNA

What's it smell like?

EUGENE

Smells like an orange.

SHAUNA

Well, tell me what it smells like.

Eugene smells the orange.

Shauna

It's sweet...(sniff)...it's sharp...smells like...someone peed on the sidewalk.

They walk through the small store.

Shauna

Do you trust Toby?

Eugene

What do you mean?

shauna

He strikes me as kinda flakey.

Eugene

He's the opposite of flakey. He's so ambitious he can't chew his food.

Shauna

See, that's what I'm talking about. He's ambitious but I worry that he's never going to do anything about it.

Eugene

He's doing something about it right now.

Shauna

What are you guys going to do when you get to Los Angeles?

Eugene

I'm tempted to say I don't care.

Shauna

Well, if you did care, what would you do when you got there?

Eugene

We're going to be writing some things together. We'll get jobs. I think we're going to do all that stuff we talked about doing when we were kids.

Shauna

Where will you live?

Eugene

We haven't gotten there yet.

Shauna

But you've gotta have a plan for where you're going to stay.

Eugene

I think the plan is to improvise.

Shauna

Improvising isn't something you plan. It's something you do when your plan falls through.

Eugene

We're doing this because all our plans already fell through.

Shauna

See, Eugene, I'm a little worried that Toby really hasn't thought through this. I'm worried he's going to drag you all the way down there and nothing's going to be any different from the way it was before you left.

Eugene

So you're worried that we'll run out of money and we'll get stuck in Los Angeles and wind up committing some crime of desperation, that whole kinda thing?

Shauna

That's kinda my fear, yes.

Eugene

That'd be different.

Shauna

Eugene...you don't want to go to Los Angeles.

Eugene

Yeah I do.

Shauna

Why?

Eugene

It's not Portland.

Shauna

Why don't you stay here? I mean...if you stayed in Humboldt, you could get a job at the University... and you could hang out with me.

Eugene

Why don't you come with us to L.A.?

Shauna

No.

Eugene

No what?

Shauna

I'm not going to go with you.

Eugene

Why not?

Shauna

For starters, if I die in a traffic accident, I don't want the obituary to describe the car I died in as "hilarious". Second, I think Toby took this trip to avoid dealing with his problems and I don't want to be with him when he stops moving and they run over him. Third, I believe in getting what you want by planning ahead. I've got a nice place to live here and I don't want to spend the next three months sleeping in an L.A. parking lot because Toby couldn't get published.

Eugene

Okay.

Shauna

So are you just gonna take off tonight?

Eugene

Yeah. Toby wants to head toward San Francisco tonight.

Shauna

How about you stay here and leave tomorrow morning?

Eugene

You mean stay at your place?

Shauna

Yeah. You can sleep in the living room.

Eugene

You changed your mind?

Shauna

I can do that.

26. Ext. Toby’s car - Twilight

Toby replaces the starter of his car and changes the oil.

 

27. Int. Shauna’s House - Night

 

All three are back in Shauna’s living room, eating take-out sushi. Shauna puts a small amount of wasabi on her dish and mixes it with soy sauce.

Shauna

The green stuff is called wasabi. You mix a little bit with soy sauce and you dip your sushi in it.

Eugene

Is it good?

Shauna

Yes it's good. I can’t believe you guys haven’t had sushi.

Toby and Eugene put a small amount of wasabi on their dishes and mix it with soy sauce.

Shauna

That's too much.

Toby

I like spicy food.

Shauna

So, Toby. And Eugene. I've been thinking.

Toby

What have you been thinking?

Shauna

I'd like to go with you guys on your trip.

(Eugene eats a piece of sushi loaded with wasabi and sputters furiously from its effect.)

Eugene

Cool.

Toby

You okay?

Eugene nods his head.

Toby

Huh. It's not like we're gonna be gone just for a weekend, you know.

Shauna

I know.

Toby

I mean, I don't know what's gonna happen on the trip.

Shauna

You don't want me to go.

Toby eats a piece of sushi with wasabi and sputters furiously from its effect.

Toby

Why do you want to go with us?

Shauna

Why are you going?

Toby

I asked you first.

Shauna

Tell me why you're going.

Toby

I'm going because I'm sick of avoiding responsibility. I'm sick of aiming low. So if I'm going to be a failure, I want to be the most miserable failure on Planet Earth. Now, if you want to go be spectacular failures with us, fine. But I don't know if that's what you want to do.

Shauna

Toby, you say you want to write screenplays. And I think you haven't even really tried to write screenplays. I don't know what you've been doing with your time, but you haven't been writing screenplays. So there must be another reason why you want to go. And I want to find out what that reason is.

Toby

Why do you want to find out what our reason is?

Shauna

Because there are a lot of things I don't know.

Toby

Can you drive a stick?

Shauna

Sortof but not really.

Toby

Huh. Eugene.

Eugene

Yeah?

Toby

How many things should we let her bring?

Eugene

Fifteen.

Shauna

FIFTEEN?

Toby

It's a small car.

Toby eats another piece of sushi loaded with wasabi.

Eugene

And we should throw away half of your shit.

Toby sputters furiously from the effects of the wasabi.

 

28. Ext. Toby’s Car - Day

It's the next morning. We see Shauna's face twisted with horror and regret. Toby's voice is heard from offscreen.

Toby (offscreen)

This car will do ninety when it’s tuned up.

Shauna

Sure, off a cliff.

Toby

The brakes are okay, the steering is fine. If it didn't leak, it'd be perfect.

Shauna

We're all going to die.

Shauna and Eugene get into Toby's car.

Toby

Someday, yeah. Let's get in.

Eugene is sitting in the passenger seat; Shauna in the back of the car.

shauna

Eugene, what's it smell like in here?

Eugene

It's better that you not know.

Shauna tries to open her car door as Toby takes his seat.

Shauna

This door is broken.

Toby

Yeah, it doesn't open from the inside. I'm sorry.

Shauna

Great. The rapemobile.

We see the car make its way from winding mountain roads to Bay Area highways.

Shauna is now sitting in the front seat. She reads an illuminating paragraph Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness. She closes the book.

Eugene

You gonna keep reading?

Shauna

I'm getting kinda carsick.

Eugene

I vote we stop for lunch.

The car rolls down Haight street in San Francisco.

Toby

Lemme know if anyplace looks good.

Eugene

The tattoo place looks good.

Shauna

Anyplace with a bathroom looks good.

Eugene

I vote we skip lunch and we all get matching tattoos.

Shauna

Toby, you should get your septum pierced.

Toby

Thanks, my septum has enough problems.

 

29. Int. — Restaurant - Day

Toby and Eugene are in a small restaurant in San Francisco. Shauna has gone to the restroom.

Eugene

I really like Shauna.

Toby

What are you going to do about it?

Eugene

I don't know.

Toby

I mean, I think you're doing okay the way you're doing. You seem to be having a good time together.

Eugene

Toby, how long is it going to take us to get to Los Angeles?

Toby

We can get there tomorrow night.

Eugene

What do you think she's going to do when she gets there?

Toby

Probably she's going to do whatever we do, and we don't know what we're gonna do yet.

Eugene

I think she's gonna take off.

Toby

How's she gonna take off?

Eugene

Toby, this isn't easy for her.

Toby

So you're worried that after coming all this way with us she's going to leave before anything happens with you two.

Eugene

Come on. She thinks you're nuts and she thinks I'm an idiot.

Toby

No, I think she thinks you’re an idiot too.

Eugene

Well, it's humiliating.

Toby

Have you told her how you feel?

Eugene

I think she's figured it out.

Toby

But have you told her? In English? English is a good language, you know.

Eugene

No, I haven't told her.

Toby

Well, then, you should tell her.

Eugene

Look I've been living at my grandmother's house for the last eight years. I wouldn't date a loser like me right now. And it's not like I have high standards.

Toby

Eugene, I think she likes you.

Eugene

I just don't need to alienate the first woman who's spoken to me in, like five years.

Toby

Alienate her? She adores you.

Eugene

Toby, I'm a geek. Not even a computer geek, just a geek. I spent my twenty-first birthday at a Dungeons and Dragons party. It was somebody else's party! She's not like that. There's a class conflict.

Toby

You don't live with your grandmother anymore. You live with me now. So you're not a geek. You're a vagrant. Pretty soon, you'll be a starving artist. You're moving up in the world.

Eugene

This is a novelty for her. When she gets her footing again, she's gonna forget she ever spoke to either one of us.

Toby

OK, lemme tell you how to make this work for you.

Eugene

And you're an expert?

Toby

I know one or two things. Anyway, you asked me, so just listen. If you hint that you're interested and make yourself available… anything could get in the way. Weather put her in the wrong mood, whatever. If you come right out and tell her…don’t even tell her, kiss her and see what she does. She may turn you down. Fine, who cares? She turned you down. You get to go off and live your life. She, on the other hand, if she turns you down, she will spend the rest of her life… wondering what would have happened if she had said yes. Y'see? If she strikes you down... you will only become more powerful than she can possibly imagine.

Eugene

And how do you know this?

Toby

It's been done to me.

Eugene

By who?

Toby

A few people.

Eugene

Shauna’s sister?

Toby

For one.

 

 

30. Ext. Car in Hotel Parking lot — Night

Eugene wakes up in the car. They’ve just stopped.

Eugene

Where are we?

Shauna

King City.

Toby

How about you two stay in the car, I'll say I'm getting a room for myself and my wife, then Eugene, you hang out by the car and Shauna and I will walk to the room, then I'll come back and you and I can come back to the room. Maybe, Shauna, if you give me your coat, we can pretend Eugene is you.

Eugene

Why don't Shauna and I get the room as a couple, then she'll come out to the car and get you.

Toby

Okay.

 

Eugene is walking in a circle in the hotel room, meditating. Toby and Shauna enter. Eugene, a bit embarrassed, picks up a comic book and heads into the bathroom.

Toby

Could you have taken any longer?

Shauna

The manager didn't speak English. It took a while.

Shauna converses with Eugene though the bathroom door.

Shauna

Eugene, what do you feel like for dinner?

Eugene opens the door and takes one step out.

Eugene

Look, I'd like to maintain the illusion that you can't hear what I'm doing in here, so could we postpone this conversation until I get out?

Shauna

Yeah.

Eugene re-enters the bathroom and closes the door.

Shauna walks over and sits on the bed with Toby. He's studying a map.

Shauna

Toby.

Eugene

Shauna.

Shauna

So what's the plan?

Toby

What do you mean?

Shauna

Do you plan to eat dinner at some point?

Toby

Oh, yeah - I figured we'd get something after we'd all cleaned up a bit.

Shauna

Oh, okay.

(Pause)

Toby.

Toby

Yep.

Shauna

Please don't take this the wrong way, but -

Toby

Everything you say to me starts with 'please don't take this the wrong way'.

Shauna

Could you let me and Eugene have the hotel room for a while?

Toby

How long's a while?

Shauna

Four hours.

Toby

Four hours?!?

Shauna

Okay, two hours. Plus half an hour for dinner.

Toby

What are you going to do?

Shauna

We're going to be alone.

Toby

They only gave us one key.

Shauna

We'll stay here.

Toby

Do you want to get food?

Shauna

We'll order pizza.

Toby

Fine.

Shauna

Now, don't get all pissy about it.

Toby

I'm just...hungry.

 

 

31. Int. Diner - Night

Toby sits in a diner writing bitterly in his journal.

Day three. I’m in a diner in the great empty middle of California. Every few minutes my car shakes like it’s going through methadone withdrawl. Come to think of it, so do I.

cut to:

Int. Hotel Room - NIght

Shauna is sitting on the floor, hugging a pillow.

Eugene

So what are you going to do when we get to Los Angeles?

shauna

I don't know.

eugene

Have you got money?

shauna

Sortof.

eugene

Have you got credit cards?

shauna

Not anymore.

eugene

You used to have them?

shauna

They're pretty much maxed out.

Eugene

(chuckle) I'm surprised you'd let that happen.

shauna

My ex-fiance' ran them up.

Eugene

Ex-fiance'?

shauna

It's a long story.

Eugene

He ran up your credit cards?

shauna

That's also a long story.

Eugene

You want to stick to short stories for the time being?

shauna

I think that would be a good idea.

Eugene

Okay.

shauna

Eugene, I want you to do something.

Eugene

What?

shauna

(difficult pause)

I want you to put your arms around me.

eugene

Like, standing up, or -

shauna

Yeah, let's stand up.

eugene

Is this what you want?

shauna

This is what I want.

eugene

Do you want to kiss or something?

shauna

I just want you to hold me and not do anything else.

eugene

Okay.

shauna

Just hold me.

eugene

Okay.

shauna

You don't have to do anything.

Eugene

Okay.

Shauna

You don't have to say anything.

Eugene

I won't say anything.

CUT TO:

Eugene is embracing Shauna, both lying fully dressed and motionless on the bed. Both are facing to the left and Eugene's arms are politely wrapped around Shauna.

Shauna

Eugene, what are most afraid of?

Eugene

Well...I was going to say rejection. But I think it's humiliation.

shauna

Well, humiliation is a form of rejection.

Eugene

Actually, no. Rejection is impersonal. Humiliation is usually about something you really did.

Shauna

Hmm.

Eugene

So what are you most afraid of?

Shauna

Toby's car.

Eugene

Besides that.

SHauna

Toby.

Eugene

You're not really afraid of Toby.

Shauna

Eugene, you're could be doing anything you want to be doing. You're really smart and you're really good at what you do. So why aren't you doing it?

Eugene

'Cause I haven't gotten my shit together.

Shauna

I think you're not doing it because if you did it the world would find out who you are, and you're afraid of that.

Eugene

Okay.

Shauna

I think Toby's brought you all this way without really wanting to change anything. Once he gets where he thinks he's going he's just gonna drive back.

Eugene

Why do you keep saying that?

Shauna

Because I like you.

Eugene

Why do you like me?

SHauna

(very quietly) I feel safe with you.

Eugene

Safe?

Shauna

I don't feel safe with most people.

Eugene

Is this the kind of safe where once you’ll done feeling safe for a while you’ll want to be with someone who

Shauna

Eugene, there’s no answer for that question.

Eugene

Well I don't know where Toby's going to wind up, but it's not going to be where he started. And I don't know where I'm gonna wind up either. But I think you're safe with me.

Shauna

Eugene?

Eugene

Yeah?

Shauna

I don't think Toby's car is going to make it to Los Angeles.

Eugene

Why would Toby keep going if he -

Shauna

Toby's an optimist. (pause)

CUT TO:

We see Toby, sitting in his car, resting his head against the window.

Toby (v.o.)

I suppose I’m glad that Eugene’s getting laid — I mean, that was kinda the whole idea of getting him out of his grandmother’s house. And I suppose Shauna needed it somehow too. I just wish they weren’t using my hotel room.

We see Toby sitting in car, resting head against side of car, checking his watch again.

CUT TO:

Eugene and Shauna are lying on the bed, still fully dressed. Shauna is wrapped in the blanket.

Shauna

I want to go home.

Eugene

That makes one of us.

Shauna

You should go to New York and publish your comic books.

Eugene

What if I don't like New York?

Shauna

Well you don't have to move there. Just meet some people and show them your stuff.

Eugene

Just walk around showing people my stuff.

shauna

Yeah.

Eugene

You know how when you were at a playground when you were a little kid and a bunch of big kids would come around and they'd kinda take over the playground and you had to leave? Like you were a member of a displaced tribe?

Shauna

Yeah.

Eugene

Well, I've found that most big cities are like playgrounds that have been overrun with big kids.

Shauna

Eugene, you're a big kid now.

Eugene

Well I'm an adult, but...you know, I'm not a big kid in the playground sense.

32. int. Hotel room - NighT

Toby returns to hotel room to find Eugene and Shauna alseep, fully clothed, under the covers.

33. int. Hotel room - day

Toby wakes up in the hotel room. The shower can be heard in the background. He turns back to see Eugene pulling a Rush T-shirt over his wet hair. A towel is draped over the chair.

 

34. Ext. Toby’s car on the road - Day

This scene is a building flurry of images - Toby looking in the rear-view mirror, the image in the mirror, the mess on the floor by people's feet, Eugene's face, Shauna arguing, etc. Eugene is drawing in the back seat.

Shauna

How much longer 'till we get there?

Toby

Probably tonight.

Shauna

You know you're only going 40.

Toby

Yeah.

Shauna

The speed limit is 65.

Toby

Engine's been acting weird.

Toby finishes peeling a banana. He drops the peel on the floor and takes a bite of the fruit.

Shauna

Wouldn't it be easier to put the peel in a trash bag?

Toby

We don't have a trash bag.

Shauna

You could start a trash bag.

Toby

I'm busy driving.

Shauna

If you put stuff in a trash bag, your car wouldn't be disgusting.

Toby

It is more important to drive safely than to start a trash bag while the car is moving.

Eugene

I've got a trash bag.

Toby

You've already got a trash bag?

Eugene

Yeah.

Shauna

Forget about the trash bag.

Toby

Sorry, nobody told me.

Shauna

Toby, look at this. Look at this. You know what this banana peel is? It's your whole life. Your whole life is this banana peel. Because you take it, you do half of whatever you're supposed to do with it, and then you drop it and go do something else and you forget about it. And you hope it will go away so you won't have to deal with it.

Toby

Excuse me for having priorities.

Shauna

You can't just drop things and hope they'll take care of themselves.

Toby

Shauna, I will throw away the banana peel when I'm not busy driving the car.

Shauna

No, you won't. You're going to just leave the banana peel on the floor of the car with all the rest of the garbage on the floor of your car.

Toby

The banana peel is not hurting anybody.

Shauna

Toby, we're not even talking about the banana peel.

Toby

No. We are. This conversation is about a banana peel.

Shauna

What we are talking about is your life. If you want to be a writer, if you want to be an artist, you need to come up with specific goals. You need to draw up a realistic schedule for what you want to accomplish and when you’re going to accomplish it.

Toby

I've already done that.

Shauna

When did you do it?

Toby

When I was fifteen.

Shauna

So what happened?

Toby

I graduated high school and ever since then I’ve been behind schedule.

Shauna

So instead of going about this in a realistic way, you try to drag other people into it so they can support your delusions.

Toby

I didn't drag Eugene into anything. I offered him a way to get out of the trap he was in. Anyway, Eugene, you think this trip is a good idea, don't you?

Eugene

Mostly, yeah.

Shauna

Eugene was escaping from his grandmother. He wasn't going to say no to you. And you really need somebody to say no to you.

TOBY

Lots of people have said no to me.

SHAUNA

You came out here with no plan. Nobody's going to just hand you a career just because you think you deserve one. You just need to come up with a small plan, something you can complete instead of getting halfway through it and changing direction.

TOBY

I just wanted to drive to Hollywood. That's my plan.

SHAUNA

What you need to go back to Seattle and get some money, take the time to complete a few screenplays in obscurity, and then make this trip from a position of stability.

TOBY

Eugene was in a position of stability. Are you saying he should have stayed there?

SHAUNA

You're only trying to rescue Eugene because it's easier to focus on him than to solve your own problems. Look at me when I'm talking to you!

TOBY

I'M DRIVING THE CAR!!

SHAUNA

What are you going to do when you get to L.A.?

TOBY

Look, of the three of us in the car, I'm the only one who actually left his house once in a while and you're saying I have a problem because I wanted to move to a new city and look for a better job. Is that bad? Did they teach you in Grad school that it's bad to move to where the jobs are?

SHAUNa

What exactly are you going to do when you get to Hollywood? Are you gonna temp?

TOBY

I'll pay the bills by temping and I'll spend the rest of the time writing.

SHAUNA

What are you going to write that you couldn't write in Seattle?

TOBY

I have a project I'm working on.

SHAUNA

Is it something that you're going to be able to sell and make some money, or are you going to temp for the rest of your life?

TOBY

It's very commercial.

SHAUNA

What is it?

TOBY

Okay...Well, it's going to sound stupid but they love stupid. When you give a pitch to an executive, you have to describe it concisely in terms of things that have worked before. So the story is, the movie Home Alone, set in a concentration camp. It's kinda got a historical angle, but it's got a family thing too. I think we can get funding from PBS.

SHAUNA

You think they'll buy that?

TOBY

I dunno.

SHAUNA

You think anybody will watch that?

TOBY

They'll have to find a really cute kid to play the -

SHAUNA

I think you need to go back home.

TOBY

I'm not going back home.

SHAUNA

Toby, you're an optimist. And being an optimist...is like wearing sunglasses. They're great when the sun is shining. But then it gets dark, and you have to take them off so you can see what's really there. You need to take your sunglasses off.

TOBY

Look, I didn't make this trip because I was optimistic.

SHAUNA

I think you did.

TOBY

My life before was killing me and I didn't want to cling to it just because it was there for me to cling to. Now, Eugene agreed with me about that. I don't know why you came with us. Why did you come with us?

SHAUNA

I came because -

TOBY

You came because you hated your life and I offered you a chance to escape.

SHAUNA

I came because I wanted to protect Eugene from you.

TOBY

Eugene doesn't need you to protect him from me. You shoulda been protecting him from his grandmother.

SHAUNA

Eugene - did you come with Toby because his plan sounded like a good idea or did you come because you needed to get away from your grandmother's house?

EUGENE

I don't know.

SHAUNA

You're sure you don't know.

EUGENE

Toby...living with my grandmother was bad but this is starting to look like a worse idea.

TOBY

So you want to go back.

EUGENE

Yes, I want to go back.

Toby signals and takes the offramp.

SHAUNA

Thank you for turning around.

TOBY

I'm not turning around.

EUGENE

Toby, what are you doing.

SHAUNA

Toby, your car is going to break down.

TOBY

No it's not.

Time passes. Shauna, now having taken off her sweater, rests her head in disgust.

Shauna

You realize this is illegal.

Toby

What?

Shauna

Kidnapping.

Toby looks at her.

Shauna

How far have we gone on this road?

Toby

A few hours.

Shauna

Are you going anywhere? Where are you going that your car's going to make it to? What if we break down here? There's nobody else on this road.

Eugene

Toby, I was a passenger with my grandmother. I don't want to be a passenger withyou. Please pull over and turn around.

35. Ext. Desert wasteland - Day

Car bounces to a dusty halt on the side of the road. Toby leaps out and opens up the hatch, using the bat to prop the hatch open. He pulls his sleeping bag and backpack out. Shauna and Eugene get out of the car.

Shauna

(Angry, then baffled)

TOBY! STOP IT - what are you doing?

Toby hands Shauna the car keys. She does not accept them.

Toby

Here. Take the car. Go back to Humboldt.

eugene

Toby. You're acting crazy. Now stop it.

Toby drops the keys.

toby

You want to go back, go back.

Shauna

Toby, your car won't make it back to Humboldt.

Toby

Then where do you want to go? Los Angeles? That's where I was going.

Shauna

You need to calm down.

TOBY

I AM CALM.

Toby backs up to the hatch as he speaks, knocking the bat out of the way. The hatch falls on his head. Furious, he grabs the bat and smashes in the back window of the car, beating the frame and smashing in the side windows. He smashes in the windshield. Shauna and Eugene scream at him repeatedly.

SHAUNA

TOBY! STOP!

EUGENE

TOBY, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?

Toby beats on the hood of the car, then drops the bat, dazed. Shauna and Eugene are silent. He looks around for a moment, then wanders away from the car and from Eugene and Shauna. They watch him walk. He trips over his own feet and collapses. Eugene and Shauna continue to watch him. He rolls over, leaps up and walks back to them.

Toby

Sorry for getting all worked up.

Shauna and Eugene are stunned.

Shauna

Toby, have you calmed down yet?

Toby

I think so.

Eugene

Hey, Toby, it's okay now.

Shauna

What do you mean it's okay? How the fuck are we gonna get home? Have we got any water?

Eugene

Come on. I don’t think we’ve left Southern California. We're probably three miles from an outlet mall.

Toby

We're not in California.

Eugene

When did we cross the state line?

Toby

A while back.

Eugene

How long ago?

Toby

A long time.

Eugene

Huh. So, Toby, I'm thinking you need to learn how to control your anger.

toby

I held out this long, didn’t I?

Shauna

Toby...

(She starts to cry angrily.)

Toby

I'm sorry I smashed the car.

Shauna

No, I'm glad you smashed the car. Did you have to do it in the middle of the FUCKING MOJAVE DESERT?

Eugene

Toby, can I have the key?

Toby feels in his pockets.

Toby

Who has the key?

Shauna

You had it.

Toby

I gave it to you.

Eugene

You dropped it.

Toby picks up the key from the ground, steps back to the car and pulls the driver's door open. He brushes the glass off the seat and sits down. He tries to start the car but it refuses to start.

 

Toby is now under the hood, working on the engine.

Shauna

What'd you do?

Toby

I don't know. It was already having problems. I think I cracked the distributor.

Shauna

Do you have a new one of those floating around in the back of your car?

Toby

Nope.

Shauna

I don't suppose either of you has a cel phone?

Eugene

Never needed one.

Shauna

How about sunscreen?

The men shake their heads.

Shauna

Did you bring any food?

Eugene

We've got snacks.

Shauna

So, do we walk, or wave down a car?

Eugene

Have we seen any cars since we've been on this road?

Shauna

Well, since it's such a lonely road, that will increase the chances that a passing car will stop for us.

Toby

I think you're being optimistic.

Shauna

So are we gonna walk, or are we gonna wait for a ride?

Eugene

How far are we from a city?

Toby

Pretty far. I think we oughta wait.

Shauna

And what if nobody comes?

Toby

I think we should wait.

Shauna is visibly upset.

Shauna

She wanders away from Toby and Eugene, stands and closes her eyes.

Toby

What are you doing? Shauna, what are you doing?

Shauna

I'm praying. Leave me the fuck alone.

 

Time passes. The three of them are sitting, watching the empty road.

EUgene

Toby, did you have any invisible friends growing up?

Toby

You mean like, imaginary friends?

Eugene

Yeah.

Toby

I was raised Catholic. I had an invisible parole officer.

Eugene

Do you gotta make jokes about everything?

Toby

I wasn’t joking.

Shauna

Would you still call yourself Catholic?

Toby

I'm in remission.

Shauna

So you're no longer Catholic?

Toby

Well, it's not like you can just stop being Catholic. All you can do is suppress it for a while.

So, were you really praying back there?

Shauna

Yes I was.

Toby

What were you asking for?

Shauna

You mean what was I saying in my prayer?

Toby

Yeah.

Shauna

Isn’t that kinda confidential?

Toby

Sorry, I didn’t think it would hurt to ask.

So can I ask what praying accomplishes for you?

Shauna

It's gonna sound stupid.

Toby

It's okay if it sounds stupid.

Shauna

It's okay with you if I sound stupid.

Toby

Why do you pray?

Shauna

It gives me hope.

Toby

It gives you hope?

Shauna

Yeah.

Toby

You mean, like an optimist has hope?

Shauna

What do you mean by that?

Toby

I just mean that maybe it pisses you off so much that I'm an optimist because you wish you could be an optimist yourself.

Shauna

It pisses me off that you're an optimist because we're stuck in the desert next to a car that doesn't work because you're a fucking optimist.

Toby

You've got a point.

Shauna

So why are we here? What exactly made you want to drive into the desert instead of just going to L.A.?

Toby

You've spent the last day and a half telling me why I shouldn't be driving to L.A.

Shauna

I didn't tell you to drive here.

Toby

Well, people don't always have reasons for the things they do.

Shauna

So,that's your answer.

(Pause)

You told us to leave you here. What were you going to do if we left you out here?

TOby

Pretty much what I'm doing right now.

Shauna

This is why you came out here?

Toby

I wanted to get away from you.

Shauna

Were you going to kill yourself?

Toby

I was not going to kill myself.

Eugene

Toby, what were you going to do out here alone?

Toby

You'd think it's stupid.

Eugene

What?

Toby

You ever see The Last Temptation of Christ?

Shauna

What about it?

Toby

That part where Jesus goes in the desert and draws a circle in the sand and waits for God to give him answers?

Shauna

You kidnapped us because of that?

Toby

No, I kidnapped you because you were pissing me off.

Eugene

So have you come up with any answers?

Toby

Well, the plan kinda changed when I…broke the car.

(Pause)

Eugene, do you ever pray?

Eugene

No.

Toby

Do you still do that thing you do, walking in the circle?

Eugene

I do a lot of things.

Toby

Would you say you're religious?

Eugene

I figured out that people get religious because they're lonely and isolated and religion just makes them more lonely and isolated.

Toby

I would say that's your grandmother's house that does that.

Eugene

Stop talking about my grandmother's house.

Shauna

So, Eugene, is that your answer to the question?

Eugene

(Chuckles)

It's gonna sound stupid.

Toby

Mmm hmm?

Eugene

The best way to describe it is to say I believe in The Force.

Toby

Like, Star Wars?

Eugene

Star Wars was the only movie to take religion seriously without trying to change the audience’s mind about anything.

Toby

So are you one of those people who believe that Empire Strikes Back is a better movie than Star Wars?

Eugene

No.

Toby

I'm glad to hear that.

Shauna

So guys, what do we do if a car doesn't come along?

Toby

Look, L.A. is that way, and Vegas is that way. Somebody will come along.

Eugene

Guys...I've got an idea.

Shauna

What is it?

Eugene

Toby came out here looking for answers. So maybe we should concentrate on finding some answers.

Shauna

Maybe we should concentrate on finding some water.

Eugene

This won't take long.

Eugene retrieves three pieces of paper and three pens from the car.

Eugene

We should probably be naked when we do this.

Shauna

Not unless you find me some sunscreen.

Eugene

Okay. Here's what's going on. We're out in the middle of the desert. Now, we have three choices. We can either stay here. Or we can find a way to get back to the same lives we were living before. Or we can find a way out of here...but not go back to where we came from.

Toby

(Looking around)

Uh huh.

Shauna

So what do we do?

Eugene

First, you figure out which of those three things you want to do.

Each of the three think about this.

Shauna

Then what?

Eugene

Okay, take a piece of paper. And write down three things you're leaving behind forever.

Eugene writes quickly, gets up and runs back to the car. He returns with a book of matches and a candle as the other two write. He lights the candle and places it between them.

Eugene

Okay. Toby - what's the first thing you wrote?

Toby

You first.

Eugene

Okay. The first thing I'm letting go of if my drawing table.

Toby

All that shit you keep around, you're getting rid of your drawing table?

Eugene

I never use it.

Toby

Well, you should use it. That's the one thing in your grandmother's house you should hang onto.

Eugene

I was thinking of ways to make my life different.

Shauna

Guys, stop arguing.

Toby

Sorry.

Eugene tears off one-third of his piece of paper and burns it.

Eugene

Goodbye, drawing table.

(pause)

So Toby, what's your first one?

Toby

(tearing paper)

I'm getting rid of my car.

Shauna applauds as Toby burns the paper.

Eugene

Shauna, what's yours?

Shauna carefully tears her paper and burns one section of it.

Eugene

What are you letting go of?

Shauna

I'm not gonna say it. I'm just gonna get let go of it.

Toby

Maybe you should talk about it.

Shauna

Eugene...you and I can talk about it later. When we get back. Okay?

Eugene

Okay.

Toby

Is that the way it's supposed to work?

Eugene

It's close enough.

Toby

Okay.

Eugene

My second thing is I'm gonna put up bookshelves.

Toby

You're never going to leave your grandmother's house.

Eugene

One thing at a time.

Toby

No - you've got one real problem in your life and this is a pivotal moment and you've got a chance to change everything and you're keeping everything the way it already is and making these little changes that aren't gonna do anything.

Eugene

Well, maybe the little changes will lead to big changes. What's your second one?

Toby tears his paper again.

toby

I'm not going to Hollywood.

Shauna

You're not?

Toby

Is that a problem?

Shauna

Well, you really wanted to go.

Toby

You've spent the last two days trying to talk me out of it and now you're disappointed that I'm not going?

Shauna

Toby, I wanted you to get there. I just...

Toby

What?

Shauna

I was afraid you'd do exactly what you're doing.

Toby

So none of us is going to change anything. We're all just going to go back to exactly what we were doing before.

(Pause)

Shauna, are you going to tell us what your second one is?

(Pause)

'Cause if you're not going to tell me about it, I don't see why we're doing this.

Shauna tears a piece off her paper and burns it.

Shauna

I'm letting go of my fear.

Eugene

How are you going to do that?

Shauna

I haven't figured that out yet.

(Pause)

Eugene, what's your last one?

Eugene

(Burning paper)

I'm going to get rid of all the magazines and newspapers in my room.

Toby

Eugene, I tried to write big, life-changing things down and you're cleaning your room. Is it gonna change anything if you clean your room?

Eugene

I think so.

Toby

Well, my third one is that I'm letting go of my obligation to solve anybody else's problems. So, you do what you want.

Shauna quietly applauds.

Toby

Shauna, what's yours?

Shauna

Anger.

She burns her last piece.

Toby

Good.

(pause)

So what do we do now?

Eugene

I think we're supposed to dance naked around the fire until sunrise.

Shauna

Jesus.

Eugene

It was just a thought.

Shauna

A car.

They leap up and run to the road, where a car is slowing down to meet them.

Toby

Hey, we really need a ride to a phone.

Driver

Well, I'm headed for Barstow. Who did that to your car?

Toby

I did.

We see passing scenes of desert and forest scenery. The sign announcing the Californa state line appears and is left behind. We see Shauna's face; she's sleeping, slumped against Eugene in the back of a car. We see Eugene's face. We see Toby , riding shotgun. We see Mel, who's driving them all home.

 

36. Int. Toby’s room - Day

EPILOGUE

Toby moves back into his old room.

Toby (V.O.)

Peggy let me move back into my old room. There's this weird vibe between us now, but I kinda like it.

We see Toby at a new job.

I've been temping at Staats, Chesluk and Fitzgerald for two weeks now. So far it's not bad. I'll give them another two weeks to give me benefits and a job title with meaningful verbs in it or I'll tell 'em to fuck off. I've come to believe that one of the tenets of spiritual purity involves paying for my own photocopies.

We see Toby back in his room, setting up a camera for a shot.

So after our trip...I'm finding that all that advice I gave to Eugene has helped tremendously, once I started taking it. I'm currenly working on a mediocre screenplay about a guy who starts his own fetish website. Of course I had to do some research...

Toby is taking photographs of a lovely young woman - Peggy, in fact - who's discreetly dressed in sexy rubber clothes and lashed to a computer chair.

Toby (v.o.)

It's a big challenge to stay on-task, but I've found that keeping it mediocre helps get the job done.

In fact I've come to the conclusion that chasing success is like tagging along on someone else's honeymoon. It's hard to explain. The more I was determined to get, the more I was willing to put up with all the stuff that prevented me from getting it.

I got an e-mail from Zoe... she heard all about trip. Now Shauna's talking about moving back to Portland and studying to be a guidance counselor. I guess she's still in touch with Eugene.

We see Shauna moving boxes into a new apartment.

He never answers my e-mails. I've been trying to get in touch with him...I know he's a good photographer, and I've had a couple ideas that I think might be very lucrative, if I can ever convince him to get off his ass and do something with his life. I mean, a year from today, who knows where he could be?

We see Eugene walking through Times Square, carrying his box of cartoon drawings. He looks bewildered, yet determined.