A writer observes the goings-on in a cafe as he works.
A short script by
Michael D. Woods
Copyright 2003 Michael D. Woods
INT. CAFÉ- NIGHT
The door opens with the RINGING of a bell. The WRITER enters the empty café. He’s stereotypical as writers go; wearing a trenchcoat and fedora, cigarette hanging from his lips. In one hand he carries a typewriter case.
He stops in the doorway and sits the typewriter down. Languidly, the writer removes his coat and hat, hanging them each on a coat rack near the door.
The writer moves to the nearest booth, sits the typewriter case on the table and sits himself before it. He unloads thetypewriter and loads a piece of paper into it.
Coffee, coming up.
The writer nods. The waitress brings the drink and an ashtray over, sitting them on the table near the writer. The writer pays no attention to the waitress. He continues adjusting the typewriter.
Still blocked on that story of yours?
Again, the writer simply nods.
Too bad, hon’.
She smiles, turns and walks back to the counter.
Over black, we HEAR restaurant noises: whispered coversations, hushed laughter…
Over that, the monotonous striking of a typewriter key is heard, as we…
On a sheet of paper sitting in the typewriter. It fills the frame. Lines of the letter ‘I’ fill the page.
PULL BACK to reveal the writer. With cigarette in hand, he sits staring at the page. His other hand continues to tap the ‘I’ key over and over and over again.
He stops typing and rips the page from the typewriter in frustration.
As the writer rolls another page into the typewriter, the SOUNDS of activity catch his attention. He looks up with interest apparent on his face. He takes a long draw of his cigarette, then crushes it out in the ashtray.
The writer begins to write.
A MAN (we’ll call him SLACKS) is sitting at the counter, only the lower half of his body is seen. He’s dressed nicely: slacks, nice shoes- probably leather.
He taps his foot rhythmically to some inner music.
In the B.G., the men’s room door opens and WERNER, a nervous, nerd of a man, steps out. He shuffles across the room.
As Werner walks past one of the booths, BRAD, a tough-looking, college kid, grabs him by the arm.
Hey, man. You like my girl?
Brad motions toward RENEE. She’s a nice looking girl; not drop-dead gorgeous, but pretty enough to attract a wandering eye.
Renee giggles, pushes Brad playfully. She laughs all through the following exchange.
Fifty bucks, you can take her with you.
(beat. Looks at Renee)
Brad stares at Renee reverently.
Werner jerks his arm from Brad’s grip.
Brad is torn from his goddess-worship and climbs from the booth.
Whoa there, guy. I didn’t mean to ignore ya.
Werner moves to step around Brad. Brad intercepts him.
Come on, now. Just look at her. Fifty
dollars, my friend. A ten and two twenties,
five tens… Hell, a twenty and -
Brad stops and turns to Renee. He becomes more animated, getting into the game.
Hey, I know: Renee, show our friend here
your tits. He’ll like those.
(turns to Werner)
Ohh, they’re nice.
Werner tries to escape, again. Too slow.
(back to Renee)
Baby, show him your titties. Come on
now. Just open your shirt. Give him-
Renee stops laughing.
Werner looks over at Renee.
Renee sits up in her seat and pulls her shirt open.
Brad falls silent. He stands there, shocked.
Werner takes this opportunity and flees.
Brad moves to Renee, pushes her back to her seat and pulls her shirt closed.
What the hell was that?
You told me to show him my tits, so
I showed him my tits.
I was messing with the guy. I thought
you knew that.
At first, yeah. But, then you just kept
on and on. I started taking you seriously.
What, ‘oh,god’? Why’d you say it like
Brad ignores her for the moment. He motions for another cup of coffee.
waves him off as she stands at the writer’s table. She turns back to he writer.
Are you sure?
The writer shrugs, never taking his eyes from the paper as he types.
Awright, honey. I guess I’ll see-
The writer suddenly snatches the paper from the typewriter and balls it up viciously.
The waitress sneers and walks to another table.
Werner looks up at the waitress
Nothing, thank you.
But I haven’t asked if you wanted
Werner reacts as if he’s just been slapped. He drops his gaze to the table.
That’s okay. Don’t worry about it.
How ‘bout a soda? On the house?
Werner looks up and smiles timidly.
Thank you. Thank you.
Okay, then, be right back.
The waitress turns to leave, but then turns back to Werner.
Are you waiting for someone?
Is today the tenth?
The waitress looks perplexed, nods her head; yes.
(more to himself)
Yes, the tenth. I’m sure I had an
appointment here on the tenth.
The waitress shakes her head in befuddlement- he’s a weird one- as she walks away.
As the waitress walks away, someone else approaches Werner’s table. A MAN, dressed nicely in a blazer and tie, is seen only from the shoulders down.
Werner attempts to correct the man’s error, but the man pays no attention and continues speaking.
Mind if I sit?
The man takes the seat across from Werner.
We gotta chat, you and I.
BEAT. Werner stares. The man stares back.
Now, what are we gonna do? You seem
like a reasonable guy, Mr. Wormer.
My name’s Werner.
Sure, sure. As I was saying: our deal.
As the man speaks, he casually reaches into his jacket and pulls out a small mayonnaise jar. A goldfish swims lazily around inside. The man sits the jar on the table without comment.
Did you misunderstand the deal we had?
(eyes on fish)
Um… N-n-no, sir.
Then, what went wrong?
Werner doesn’t answer. He’s firmly focused on the fish in the jar.
Hello?! Could you please look at me
when I’m talking?
Werner looks up at him briefly, then, his eyes move right back to the fish.
Hey, Wormer! I want to know what
Did someone else make a mistake?
Werner begins to focus more on the fish and less on the man speaking. The man’s voice becomes slightly muffled.
MAN (cont. o.s.)
Did you almost get caught? You get
The man’s voice has faded completely out as Werner becomes totally focused on the goldfish.
Brad, you can be such a… a…
Such a FUCKING MAN, sometimes!
Renee’s voice snatches Werner’s attention from the fish. He looks away to see what all the shouting’s about.
The writer looks up briefly. His typing stops. Everything is quiet. Then, with a smile, the writer goes back to typing.
The waitress sits another cup of coffee on the writer’s table and moves quickly to the arguing couple.
Guys, guys. Let’s keep it down over
The waitress stands at the head of Brad and Renee’s table for a moment, then walks away.
A man? A man?! Is that the best you
could come up with?
Believe me, babe. That’s definitely the
There, see? You did it again. What do
you mean by that? Every time I say
something, you say, ‘Oh, God’. Oh, God.
It makes me feel stupid.
You said it, not me.
Is that what you mean? You think I’m
Well, I must be. I’m going out with you.
Can we not start this again? Okay?
For the last time, I don’t think you’re stupid.
Stupid enough to show her breasts to a
Brad turns around in his seat.
Hey, you, shut-
Brad pauses and turns back to Renee.
Yeah, Renee, that is pretty damn stupid.
Don’t you ‘Oh, God’ me.
Werner still sits across from the man, his fear physically noticeable at this point.
Young love. Ain’t it swell?
Werner suddenly becomes animated in his fear.
Sir? I’m sorry, it won’t happen again,
I’ll try again, get it right this time, you
Shush, Mr. Werner. It’s okay.
Werner watches the man as he moves from his seat to stand at the head of the table.
It’ll get done, and it will be done right.
The man reaches out as if to shake Werner’s hand. Werner hesitantly reaches out.
The man grabs Werner’s wrist, slams it down on the table. The man slides into the seat beside Werner. The man reaches into his jacket.
I’m sick and tired of being your puppet-
The man pulls his hand from his jacket. Slams his fist into Werner’s side.
--your puppy on a leash. I’ve had it
The man pulls his hand away from Werner, stands and walks away.
In the confusion, the mayo’ jar is knocked over. It rolls off the table, and SHATTERS O.S.
(louder, over Renee)
Renee, will you shut up long enough
for me to say something?
Werner sits there, quietly and calmly.
The writer stops typing, butts out a cigarette, turns his coffee cup up, then sits it back on the table.
He looks at the words on the paper rolled into the typewriter, then goes back to typing.
at the counter, steps down from his stool, and walks toward the men’s room. He passes Brad and Renee’s table and continues on into the restroom.
Renee sits expectantly across from Brad. Brad smiles, makes her wait.
I love you.
Renee sits there for a moment, then, gives in to his sacchrine smile and moves back to Brad’s side of the table. She kisses him.
I love you, too.
They go back to kissing.
Slacks steps from the restroom, passes Brad and Renee.
He walks past Werner’s booth. As he does, a red stain can be seen spreading into Werner’s shirt.
Werner slides over onto his side.
On the floor, the goldfish flops around in a pool of glass and water.
Slacks continues. The SOUNDS of typing grows steadily louder.
Slacks reaches the writer’s table and stops at the head of it. The typing stops.
The writer yanks the paper from the typewriter as he looks up at the man that stands before him.
Dramas present themselves in the
strangest places, aye?
The writer looks puzzled.
Slacks turns and walks away.
The man in slacks moves to the door and stops at the coat rack. He pulls the coat from it’s hook and puts it on. He lifts the hat and puts it atop his head. The man then bends down, grabs the handle of a typewriter case, lifts it.
The man in the slacks stands up-right and exits the café with a florish of bells.
CAMERA PANS around the café. The place is empty, except for a waitress standing behind the counter, smoking a cigarette as she reads a book.