Saturday, February 13, 2016

Short Story - Snowball Plight

Snowball Plight
words: 1183

[1] INTERIOR. TYPICAL BIG BOX STORE - ENTRANCE. MORNING.

Close shot on the wheel of a shopping cart as it rolls across the floor. It squeaks with every full rotation. CLYDE shakes his head, wondering how he always gets that one noisy cart. The noise of the wheel is miniscule in a store bustling with patrons and carts.
CLYDE is average looking, wearing neat, non-descript clothing and a dark ball cap pulled low. CLYDE moves towards the back of the store with purpose.

[2] INTERIOR. TYPICAL BIG BOX STORE - CAMPING SUPPLIES AISLE.

CLYDE scans the empty aisle. A tarp, duct tape, thick gloves, water bottles, protein bars, and latex tubing fills his cart. CLYDE picks up parachute cord, thumbing through different coils of length. CLYDE grabs a 50’ and 20’ length in each hand, mentally weighing them. CLYDE finally throws the 50’ length in the cart, and rounds the corner of the aisle, his cart coming face to face with another cart, JIM and JANE behind it.

[3] INTERIOR. TYPICAL BIG BOX STORE.

CLYDE instinctively backs up, looking away and down. JIM and JANE are a chipper young couple, enjoying their weekend mornings shopping for decorations to adorn their year old house. CLYDE doesn’t escape.

JIM:
Clyde? Hey how are you?

JANE:
Are you okay? We missed you at the party last night.

CLYDE adjusts his hat, raising the brim on his forehead. He looks back and forth, forcing a smile.

CLYDE:
I had a bit of car trouble. Timing, right?

JIM:
What happened?

CLYDE:
Oh, it was the, uh, alternator. Well battery too. What can you do?
Sorry I missed the party. Don’t forget to invite me next time.

JANE:
That’s a shame. Did you get it fixed?

CLYDE:
Yeah, good to go now. I got it fixed last night. How was your party?

CLYDE hopes this would close the conversation. CLYDE shifted his weight, ready to push his cart around JIM and JANE as the conversation concludes. A voice calls out behind CLYDE.

BRAD (O.S.):
Jim! Jane!

[4] INTERIOR. TYPICAL BIG BOX STORE.

Before CLYDE could wheel away, BRAD pins him in with a cart. BRAD is wearing blue scrubs, faint, dark circles under his eyes.

BRAD:
Oh, hey Clyde. I almost didn’t recognize you with the cap. What’s up?

CLYDE:
Not much.

BRAD turns to JIM and JANE as CLYDE slowly inches away.

BRAD:
Sorry I missed your party. I had to work the late shift and I didn’t want to show up
for just an hour. I wouldn’t have wanted to go into work after that.

JIM and JANE (nodding):
We understand, did you just get off shift?

BRAD:
Yeah, and of course I’m here picking up a few things.
I just can’t get away from this place.

BRAD turns to CLYDE just as CLYDE thinks he may be clear.

BRAD:
How’d you enjoy the movie? What did you see?

JIM and JANE turn to CLYDE, quizzical expressions.

JANE:
It must have been a busy night.

[5] EXTERIOR. MOVIE THEATER PARKING LOT. NIGHT

Long shot of CLYDE jogging across the street from his car, the theater marquee in the background.

CLYDE (O.S.)
I didn’t go to the movies, I had some car trouble.

[6] INTERIOR. TYPICAL BIG BOX STORE.

BRAD (CONT’D)(stifling a yawn):
Oh. You sure? It looked like you and your car.

BRAD turns to JIM and JANE and back to CLYDE. CLYDE takes a deep breath, leaning towards JIM and JANE.

CLYDE:
I’m sorry. I thought Allison might be at the party. We had kind of a thing. (beat)
I wanted to avoid the awkwardness.

JANE (skeptical):
Allison? I can’t believe she didn’t tell me. When did it...

CLYDE (puzzled):
Allison? (beat) Oh, sorry. I meant Amy. Sorry. I just… welll...
I didn’t want to say anything, for both of our sakes.

JANE smiles sweetly, giving CLYDE’s arm a squeeze. JIM nods solemnly.

JANE:
I’m sorry, I didn’t know you two were…

CLYDE:
It didn’t last long. Bad idea.

JIM:
She wasn’t even there. You could have come.

CLYDE:
Should of asked. I just… I’m trying to forget it. And I did all that worrying for nothing.

BRAD shifts his cart out of the aisle, the wheels screeching to allow a family of four to pass.

BRAD:
What was wrong with your car?

CLYDE:
Alternator, well battery. It’s fixed now.

JIM:
So you did have car trouble?


[7] EXTERIOR. DRIVEWAY. NIGHT
CLYDE is searching for something in the trunk of his car. We can’t see what.

CLYDE (V.O.):
Yeah, just my luck.

CLYDE slams the trunk and jogs to a nearby door. CLYDE shuts the door and we see him peeking through the blinds.

BRAD (V.O.):
Did you get it fixed?

CLYDE (V.O.):
Yeah, I limped to the auto store. Didn’t think I’d make it.

[8] INTERIOR. TYPICAL BIG BOX STORE.

CLYDE’s weight shifts from one leg to the other, tired of being detained.

BRAD:
Did you get the core exchange? For the battery?

CLYDE:
What?

BRAD:
Core exchange, they buy back the dead battery.

CLYDE:
Oh, yeah. Yeah,yeah. Did that.

CLYDE pulls out his cell phone to check the time, sighing loudly.

CLYDE:
I’ve got to get going.

CLYDE adjusts his hat and backs up his cart a few inches, hoping he can extricate himself. JIM puts a hand on the cart, looking at CLYDE’s items for the first time.

JIM:
That’s a crazy assortment of stuff you’ve got. A tarp, duct tape, rope, latex tubing… I didn’t know you were an outdoorsman. What else are you getting?

JIM laughs a little too loudly. CLYDE laughs nervously. BRAD stretches for a better look.

CLYDE:
Yeah…. Well i’m not. No that’s for my brother. My friends brother.
He’s into that stuff and all.

JANE:
Is it his birthday?

CLYDE:
Yeah, my brother and I are going in.

BRAD:
So your alternator. It didn’t completely die?

CLYDE:
Huh?

BRAD:
When my alternator went bad I was stranded on the side of the road.
Happened to me twice. You made it to the auto store like that?

CLYDE:
Just barely. Didn’t think I’d make it. Good thing i was close.

JIM:
Where does you brothers friend live?

CLYDE wants to flip out. What does it matter he thinks to himself. JANE’s phone interrupts the pending explosion. A jingle emitting from her purse. JANE looks at her phone.

JANE:
Huh.

JIM:
What is it?

JANE:
Nobody has seen Dana. Carol is looking for her. Said she went to the movies last night.
She seems worried.

JIM:
That was only yesterday. Dana could be sleeping it off or her phone died.
How can you tell she’s worried?

JANE:
Because her message says, ‘I’m worried.’

BRAD:
I’m sure she’s okay. You know Dana, right Clyde?

CLYDE:
I think so. I’m sure I’ve seen her around.

CLYDE wheels his cart around, ignoring the next aisle. He has enough supplies. It’s time to leave.

CLYDE:
Maybe she’s just tied up or something. I’m sure she’ll turn up.

It was the first truthful thing CLYDE had said that day.
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