Middle of Somewhere

By R. Earle Harris
All rights reserved (c) 2015 (rearleharris@tuxfamily.org)


FADE IN:

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Steve Forbert's Something's Got A Hold On Me begins. KARL, mid-thirties, sips coffee, and looks out the kitchen window he stands beside.

EXT. DRIVEWAY - DAY

Wrecked red Ford pickup on one side of driveway. Looks bad enough someone could have died in it. Still barely drivable.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Karl shakes his head.

KARL
Nice truck.

Karl sips, looks at other half of driveway.

EXT. DRIVEWAY - DAY

Even older blue Ford LTD. Blue has to be inferred from what isn't ruined of the paint job.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Karl shakes his head.

KARL
Nice car.

STEPHANIE, Karl's teenage daughter, enters kitchen, kisses him on cheek, looks out window.

EXT. DRIVEWAY - DAY

Grim wrecked pickup.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Karl waits for daughter to speak.

STEPHANIE
Dad. You promised.

KARL
Promised what, Stephanie?

STEPHANIE
Don't do that. You promised to lose that truck.

KARL
No. Well. I know.

He turns from the window.

KARL (CONT'D)
Cereal? You need to eat.

STEPHANIE
Don't change the subject.

They sit down to bowls of Lucky Charms.

KARL
Okay. I'm sorry. But that was our good truck. I guess I'll get the LTD repainted first.

STEPHANIE
So it isn't so disreputable?

KARL
Big word?

STEPHANIE
You taught me to read.

KARL
My mistake.

STEPHANIE
And when you paint the rust bucket--

KARL
Bouquet.

STEPHANIE
--you'll lose the truck. Right?

KARL
Well. I don't ... Okay. Right.

EXT. TOWN - DAY

Schoolday morning in middle-of-nowhere Wyoming town.

EXT. SCHOOL - DAY

LTD pulls up, cross traffic, in front of school.

EXT. LTD - DAY

Karl waits while Stephanie gets out.

STEPHANIE
Here comes the principal, Dad. See you.

KARL
Be good, Steff!

PRINCIPAL, stiff unpleasant woman, approaches.

PRINCIPAL
You can't park like that! You're facing the wrong way.

KARL
I'm leaving.

PRINCIPAL
And your daughter. She's smoking!

KARL
Sounds evil.

PRINCIPAL
It's illegal. She's underage. Someone's buying her cigarettes.

KARL
No they're not. She's stealing mine. But I've got to go. Got to paint my car.

PRINCIPAL
I remember you, Robert. You've always had these rusted out old cars. And girls. You've always had girls in the backseat. You're the one got that Martin girl pregnant, would have been fifteen, twenty-some years ago. She was a lovely girl -- until you got hold of her. She's still a single mother, no one to help her with that child all these years. And--

KARL
Ma'am. My name is Karl. I got here three years ago and the only woman I ever got pregnant was my wife. My daughter smokes because she's trying to figure out how to grow up. And I can't help her there because I haven't grown up yet myself. Now if you'll let go of my window, I've got to paint my car.

She frowns at the rust bucket.

PRINCIPAL
See that you do.

EXT. KEN'S - DAY

Old gas station. Grimy. Sign: Jesus is Lord - Wrecking and Repair.

EXT. KEN'S - DAY

Karl pulls up in front. KEN, long-hair, balding, unshaven, waves. Small sign behind him says: Cars Wrecked and Repaired.

EXT. KEN'S - DAY

Karl climbs out.

KEN
Sorry, Karl. I'm booked solid.

EXT. KEN'S DRIVE - DAY

There are maybe three cars waiting to be worked on.

EXT. KEN'S - DAY

Karl shakes his head.

KARL
Morning, Ken. You'd better hope I'm bringing you business. Yours never looked sorrier.

KEN
No way. I'm right straight out. Never busier.

KARL
You're down to skin and bones.

Ken looks down at himself.

KEN
I can afford groceries. So, you bringing me some business?

KARL
Came to get your advice.

KEN
You trying to starve me? What am I supposed to do for a living in this town?

KARL
You'll be okay. You've never been busier.

KEN
Hey. I've got three cars here. And two of them are mine. How 'bout a rebuild?

KARL
A rebuilt what?

KEN
Motor? Transmission? Self-esteem? How 'bout it?

KARL
I just need your advice.

KEN
You want some coffee?

KARL
Sure.

EXT. KEN'S - DAY

Rear of garage. Weeds. Wrecked cars. Two lawn chairs with a warped and weathered coffee table. Ken pours fancy coffee.

KEN
I could'a made you a latte.

KARL
This is fine. Really.

They sit.

KEN
So what wisdom were you hoping to squeeze from this turnip today?

KARL
It's about my car--

KEN
It should be about your truck.

KARL
You leave my truck out of this.

KEN
Where you're concerned, my truck advice is better than my car advice.

KARL
Everyone thinks they have good truck advice for me. Starts up first thing every morning.

KEN
You should listen to your daughter.

KARL
Can I ask you my car question?

KEN
I don't know. Sure. Shoot.

KARL
I've got to paint my car.

KEN
And you need a color choice?

KARL
Blue. My car is blue.

KEN
Was blue. It's more or less mottled now. Brownish, kind of sewage-ie.

KARL
It's a mottled blue. But I'm going to make it solid blue again. A solid blue.

KEN
Glad I could help.

KARL
You haven't helped yet.

KEN
That's because you need--

KARL
Don't mention my truck. Just let me get my question out. Then we can talk about something else while we finish our expressos.

KEN
Es-pressos.

KARL
Espressos. Milli regretti.

KEN
Ah. Bene, bene. Tutti bene. And your question, my son?

KARL
You know anyone in town I can trust to paint my car?

KEN
Trust ... to paint that car?

KARL
I'm attached to that car. My daughter was conceived in the back of it.

KEN
You know, Missy Martin's daughter was too. Way back when.

KARL
Not in the back of my car.

KEN
No, no. But in the back of one very like it.

KARL
I've heard about that. A car painter?

KEN
I think he was just a high school boy.

KARL
I wasn't asking about Missy and her lost virginity--

KEN
I don't think she ever found it.

KARL
--I was asking about my car.

KEN
Buddy.

KARL
Took her viginity?

KEN
Buddy could paint your car. I never did find out who got Missy that way.

KARL
Buddy?

KEN
Buddy as in Buddy's Septic Sucker.

KARL
Could paint my car with what?

KEN
No, no. Cleaning septic systems is his vocation. Painting cars is a sideline.

KARL
Is he any good?

KEN
Heck, yes. He's my brother-in-law.

EXT. BUDDY'S - DAY

House, barn, corral, garage. Wooden sign: Let Buddy Suck Your Septic -- It'll Lighten Your Load.


Screenplay truncated at 500 lines.