Posted by: steveonfilm | April 29, 2008

Writing Sample: Moving On

I was asked by someone to post up a writing sample from Moving On…so, Mark, hope this is what you were looking for:

INT. GREG’S HOUSE – KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

Greg pours out two bottles of vodka into the sink. He tosses the bottles into the full trash can.
He exits through the front door, trash bag in hand.

EXT. GREG’S HOUSE – FRONT PORCH – CONTINUOUS

Greg comes face to face with Jefferson, who was about to knock on Greg’s door.

GREG
What do you want?

Greg tries to walk past Jefferson, but is blocked.

JEFFERSON
We need to talk about your lawn.

GREG
Now’s not a good time.

Greg tries to move past him again, but is unsuccessful.

JEFFERSON
You either talk about it now, or we fine you.

Greg smirks.

GREG
(to himself)
I can’t believe–
(to Jefferson)
–You know, if you weren’t a sixty year old man.

Greg attempts to walk past again but Jefferson grabs his trash bag.

JEFFERSON
You’re not going anywhere until you do something about your lawn.

Greg fights for control over the trash bag.

GREG
Give me this.

JEFFERSON
Your yard is against code.

GREG
Let go of the bag.

The bottles inside clank during the struggle.

GREG (CONT’D)
Jefferson, let go of the fucking bag!

Greg yanks the trash bag back and it rips. Trash falls. Bottles smash. Liquor splatters. Needles fall to the ground.

Jefferson looks astounded.

Greg closes is eyes and sighs. The secrets out. He kneels down and starts to clean up.

GREG (CONT’D)
I haven’t been here to mow my lawn because I’ve been in fucking rehab. There, you happy?

Greg looks up at Jefferson who is slowly backing up.

GREG (CONT’D)
You fucking happy now cocksucker?

Jefferson hurries off down the street.

EXT. GREG’S FRONT PORCH – THIRTY MINUTES LATER

Greg is sweeping up some glass shards. A squad car pulls up. Greg stands and dumps the glass into a small trash can.

A young BEAT COP (mid 20s) gets out, saunters up to the front porch.

BEAT COP
Mr. Penzowski?

Greg stands up, setting the broom aside.

GREG
Officer.

BEAT COP
We received a call from a mister–

The Beat Cop checks his pad.

BEAT COP (CONT’D)
A mister Jefferson Miller. He says that you assaulted him in a drug induced rage. Do you know what this is all about?

Greg smiles and shakes his head.

GREG
I can’t believe this.

BEAT COP
I’m sorry, was there something amusing about that?

GREG
You don’t know Jefferson.

BEAT COP
Sir, are you under the influence of any form of narcotics or alcohol?

GREG
No, I’m not under any — Did he tell you that?

BEAT COP
–I’ll ask the questions.

Greg stops. Now isn’t the time to argue with a cop.

GREG
Fine.

BEAT COP
Can you explain what Mr. Miller might have misconstrued as a–

He checks his pad again.

BEAT COP (CONT’D)
–drug induced rage?

GREG
We had an argument on my porch. Over a bag of trash.

BEAT COP
A bag of trash?

GREG
Yeah. It got ripped open. Trash fell out. That was about the extent of it.

BEAT COP
I see.

The Beat Cop looks over Greg, then checks his pad again.

BEAT COP (CONT’D)
Would you mind if I look in your garbage sir?

Greg takes a step back, moving out of the way.

GREG
Yeah. Fine. Whatever.

The Cop looks through and notices bottles, a pipe, some crumpled plastic sandwich bags. He looks over at Greg.

GREG (CONT’D)
I just got back from rehab. Throwing this stuff out is part of what I have to do to move on.

The Beat Cop nods and tuns the trash can over, dumping everything out onto the porch again.

GREG (CONT’D)
I just cleaned that up–

The Beat Cop looks up. Greg takes the cue and shuts up. The Beat Cop sifts through the trash with a pen.

BEAT COP
Drugs are a serious thing. I’m happy to see you’ve sought treatment prior to your court date.

Satisfied, the beat cop stands.

GREG
You know about that?

The Beat Cop taps his pad.

BEAT COP
Try to keep things quiet around here. My neighborhood is full of retirees. I know how cranky they can get.

The Beat Cop nods with a subtle grin. Greg relaxes.

BEAT COP (CONT’D)
Next time you and Mr. Miller decide to have an dispute, do it at the home owners meeting, okay? Have a good night Mr. Penzowski.

The Beat Cop walks down the driveway. Greg breathes a sigh of relief. That was close.

INT. GREG’S HOUSE – KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

On the kitchen counter is Greg’s red plastic drug box. It’s open. Had the cop looked, he’d have found plenty of fresh needles and heroin.

INT. DAVID’S HOUSE – BEDROOM – DAY

It’s quiet, and dim. A muted TV has a fishing show on. David is laying in bed, his face pale, he has a noticeable wheeze while be breathes. Greg sits on a chair next to the bed.

DAVID
Marshall get you cleaned up?

GREG
Yeah.

DAVID
Good. That’s good.

A beat.

DAVID (CONT’D)
I’m sorry I lost my temper. I’ve regretted that since you left.

He smiles.

DAVID (CONT’D)
I’m glad I got to tell you.

GREG
Don’t worry about it.

David takes a deep breath.

DAVID
Promise me something.

GREG
Sure Dave.

David swallows. Talking is hard for him.

DAVID
Let go.

Greg looks at David. Even on his deathbed David’s face is full of ease.

DAVID (CONT’D)
Remember the past, but live for the present.

Greg smiles.

GREG
I’ll do my best.

David pats Greg’s hand.

DAVID
Good.

A beat.

DAVID (CONT’D)
I was wrong you know.

Greg looks confused.

DAVID (CONT’D)
The cancer was just bad luck. My fate was to bring you and Salim together.

Greg isn’t sure he believes him.

GREG
I’m not sure thats–

David pats Greg on the hand again.

DAVID
I always loved fishing.

David smiles at Greg, then looks up at the TV. David’s too tired to talk anymore.

EXT. CEMETARY – DAY
A hundred or so people are gathered at the cemetary for David’s funeral. A large picture of David is near the coffin. Flowers are everywhere. Greg and Salim sit in the last row.

David’s grave is next to that of his son, Scott.

A priest is giving David’s eulogy. We move through the crowd as the Priest speaks.

PRIEST
It has been said that the loss of a parent can be one of life’s most traumatic experiences. It has been said the loss of a child is the other.

We stop on Greg and Salim.

PRIEST (CONT’D)
David Pollack experienced both of these tragedies. A normal man would have given up, withdrawn, and resisted the life set before him.

Susan and Natalie. Both crying.

PRIEST (CONT’D)
David Pollack was no ordinary man. And it is for the celebration of his great life that we… family… friends… have gathered here.

Greg adjusts his glasses as the wind blows.

PRIEST (CONT’D)
For David, life wasn’t a journey into the unknown, it was an acceptance of the fate God offered to him.

EXT. CEMETARY PARKING LOT – AFTER THE FUNERAL

Salim and Greg are walking to their cars. Other people from the funeral are driving off.

GREG
Salim, are you technically allowed to be at something like this?

SALIM
A funeral?

GREG
Well, a Christian one.

Salim smiles softly.

SALIM
I believe Allah would make an exception to attend the funeral of a friend, Muslim or otherwise.

They arrive at Salim’s car.

GREG
You hungry? I know where to get a killer piece of apple pie. Always helps me when I’m down.

INT. ROADSIDE DINER – DAY

A nondescript diner on the side of the road. Salim and Greg sit at a table eating apple pie. The red vinyl seats are crudely covered by red duct tape in spots.

A few locals seated at the bar, but otherwise it’s just Greg and Salim. Occasionally, Salim is tossed an odd, suspicious, glance from the wait staff and patrons.

Greg takes a bite of his pie, mulling something over.

GREG
Alright, how about this? What if you are stuck on an island and there is nothing to eat but pork? Would you get, I don’t know, sent to hell or something?

Salim laughs softly.

SALIM
The Qur’an says “But if one is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Good try.

GREG
So, Muslim’s don’t hate pigs?

SALIM
No, Allah tells us that all creatures have a purpose, a pig is no different. Muhammad encouraged all Muslims to be kind to animals, even pigs.

Salim sips his water.

SALIM (CONT’D)
Do you have any beliefs?

GREG
What, like God?

Salim nods.

GREG (CONT’D)
Maybe, I don’t know, I guess, I mean, I’m spiritual, but don’t subscribe to the whole-
(finger quotes)
-God has a plan thing.

SALIM
Do you not believe God has a purpose for you?

GREG
No. I think that an all powerful omnipotent being has more important things to attend to than the daily life of some meaningless trash like me.

SALIM
I believe Allah has a purpose for me, as he has a purpose for you. Our role is to figure out that purpose and follow Allah’s will.

GREG
Is that from the Qur’an?

Greg takes a bite of his pie.

SALIM
No, that is from me.

GREG
Okay, alright, if that’s true, have you figured out what your role is?

Salim nods.

SALIM
I have.

GREG
And?

SALIM
I believe it is to help you move on from the loss of your son.

Greg looks a bit let down from Salim’s answer.

GREG
That’s it?

SALIM
That is it.

GREG
And how about our sons? Their purpose was to get blown up?

Salim is getting tired of Greg’s tone.

SALIM
I have to believe that Allah had a reason for the three of them to be together at that time. Perhaps there is more to it. Perhaps not.

GREG
And that’s supposed to be enough?

SALIM
It is the basis for all of Islam, to accept and surrender yourself to the will of Allah. For me, that is enough. For you, you will need to find that answer in yourself.

Salim places his napkin on the table and gets up.

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