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Relief-A Short Film
FADE IN: INT. COFFEE SHOP-MID-DAY
The coffee shop is mostly empty except for a rather plump man, in his mid twenties sitting at the counter eating a slice of chocolate cake he doesn’t need, a middle aged woman at a table nearest the front store window reading a newspaper, and a young girl sitting at a table near the back of the shop. The young girl has her hands clasped together on top of the table and she stares straight ahead at nothing in particular. After a moment she squints her eyes and tightens her hands as she comes to terms with something negative internally. She glances over at the plump man now stuffing his face with a humongous bite of cake before staring ahead again. The young girl is NOLA. She is fifteen. She is small, her face tiny and round. Her lips are pursed tightly. Her red hair is pulled into a very loose, high pony tail. She is wearing a white t-shirt and short-length overalls and converse. Beside her on the table is a clip on nametag that reads ‘Hi! I’m Nola. How can I help today?’ The entire shop is silent except for the clinking of the plump man’s silverware and a fan on the counter.
Some people are born to be jackasses.
Nola begins to tap her foot underneath the table. Each tap is deliberate and forceful. She doesn’t move anything else in her body. The only sounds are still the fan, the silverware clinking, and her foot. A fly flies around the guy at the counter, it buzzes loudly in his ear and he starts to swat at it with his fork. The fly goes away and he quickly begins to romance the cake once again.
Huge. Fat. Face-stuffing jackasses.
The fly returns to the man, who is on his last few bites, and buzzes around his head. He picks up his fork with cake still on it and tries to swat the fly. The cake flies off of the fork onto various areas of the counter. The woman reading the newspaper looks up at the man several times to see what he is doing but quickly looks back down each time after only a few seconds. Nola doesn’t change her body position, her foot still tapping steadily, her face still fixed. After a moment her foot taps become louder. The fly continues to fly around the man, who makes exaggerative sounds of effort. The fly lands on the top of the man’s bald head. He sits the fork down carefully and swats the top of his head quickly and forcefully in sync with the tapping of Nola’s foot. She stops tapping her foot as soon as the man hits his head but does not move anything else. The man smashes the fly right on top of his head, looks at his hand, wipes it on his shirt, then picks up his last bite with the same hand and throws it into his mouth. He takes a large gulp of the water he has in front of him and sighs in satisfaction. Nola squints her eyes again but doesn’t move.
With uncanny abilities in the art of jackassery.
The man finishes off the water and pushes his dishes away forcefully. Possibly with a sense of self accomplishment, self aware-ness of his gluttonous ways, and pride thereof.
Which is closely related to idiocy.
The woman with the newspaper raises her eyebrows and folds the newspaper down. She clears her throat, gathers her things and begins to walk out. As she passes the counter she reaches in her bag, pulls out a stick of gum, halves it, and sits one half on the counter without looking at the man. She unwraps the other half, pops it in her mouth and exits the store.
Of course we have the subtle jackass, too.
Nola watches her leave and follows her with her eyes until she is out of sight. The man at the counter looks at the gum for no longer than a second before he shrugs and pops it into his mouth. He slides his dirty hands across his tattered pants before standing up and stretching. He smacks loudly on the gum and reaches into his pocket, pulls out a crumpled five and two one dollar bills. He places them on the table and slowly makes his way out of the store. Nola watches him and cocks her head to the side, her lips no longer pursed but her body still stiff. The man wobbles along the street, his appearance comparable to the Pillsbury doughboy. Nola watches him until he is no longer visible.
She begins to tap her foot again and glances over at a clock behind the counter. 3:11. The ticking of the clock gets louder and is in sync with her foot tapping. She lets out a slow breath as she closes her eyes. She sits for a long moment, tapping, and the only audible sounds are the clock, her foot, and the fan. She tightens her already closed eyes, takes a deep breath and opens her eyes. She looks at the clock again, which reads 3:13. She stops tapping her foot, stands up, goes behind the counter and takes the clock down. She takes the batteries out and rolls them in her hand for a moment before throwing them in a trash can behind the counter. She puts the clock back up on the wall and goes back over to the table and sits again, cautiously, staring straight ahead. A man wearing an apron walks in from behind the counter through a door, he is sweating and looks as if he has been working a long time. Nola doesn’t move. He comes out and looks at the empty store. He looks at the wall to check the time. He stares at the clock for a moment then takes it down.
Nola, where are the batteries?
Nola doesn’t look up. She begins to tap her foot again and smiles.
Well, then there are jackasses…. like me.
(Muffled in the background)
Hey Nola! Where are the batteries?
Fitz and Dizzyspells begins playing as the camera zooms out. Nola continues to tap her foot and smile. The cook puts the clock down and walks back through the door, obviously agitated and still mumbling.