Brilliant movie idea (Part 6 of 10)
(A few years back I started to write an odd/comedic movie idea down. Every day I would add a small scene and see where it went. It went nowhere. Now it is going nowhere again because I’m on vacation this week and need to fill up the days. Plus, there has been an uptick of Hollywood-types nosing around the website and I’d like to make it perfectly clear that I’m NOT blockbuster material. Enjoy.)
“The only good thing about this situation is that I no longer have to worry about breaking up with my boyfriend” said Jennifer, desperate to find something positive to talk about. She and Samantha had traded their obligatory list of loved ones that weren’t responding to calls or texts and the conversation just got more morose from there.
Luckily Bruce, Jennifer’s neighbors dog, had provided a few comic comments as he explored his new found freedom. Sprinting away from the girls only to return when it became apparent to him that they would not chase him. The look of hurt in his eyes seemed about the last funny thing they would be witnessing.
“I sort of feel like a snob but when I realized he was one of those people that watched American Idol and the thirty other knockoffs that featured empty-headed contestants who should be singing at bowling alleys and Holiday Inns judged by a generic mix of empty-headed judges, male and female and black and white, who had somewhere along the way decided to trade whatever tiny bit of credibility they had gathered in the careers for a chance to sit in front of an audience of empty-headed fans and piss all over or exalt the aforementioned empty-headed contestants” Jennifer paused to take a breath “I realized that I couldn’t date him anymore. I couldn’t contribute to the dumbing down of the culture.”
That was a lot to take in for Samantha. Her jaw sank about an inch every five seconds of Jennifer’s rant so by the end it was almost unhinged.
“I would walk into the room and he’d be sitting there watching this crap and I was just so unattracted to him.”
Samantha was attempting to snap her jaw into place and she heard an audible pop in her ears as she did so.
“Plus … he used to wear a scarf all the time. When it wasn’t winter.”
Clearly that was what did it for Samantha.
“Good riddance!” she added.
Samantha debated whether or not to inquire about her feelings about other reality television shows like The Bachelor and Survivor but thought better of it. She’d hate to join Jennifer’s boyfriend in the discard pile.
Pivoting quickly, without losing the lighthearted mood (said sarcastically) that Jennifer had put them in, Samantha wondered aloud where they knew each other from. They briefly stared at each other. (You might wonder why a writer would be sarcastic in the middle of his own story and you’d be right. It serves no purpose. My apologies)
“Did you ever work at SugarHouse Casino?” Jennifer finally said.
“Did you go to Temple” she tried again.
“No, but I went to a lot of parties there. An old boyfriend went there so he’d take me to them.”
“That’s where I know you from. You dated Clay.”
“That’s it!” said Samantha, suddenly realizing where she’d met Jennifer. Jennifer had dated Clay before she did. Although dated might be a strong word. It was college, everyone dated everyone at some time or another.
“Wow, that was a long time ago. I can’t believe I remembered you. Or you remembered me.” Jennifer let out a small satisfied sigh and smiled.
“I guess he’s gone to.” The smile faded.
As if to answer that very question her phone rang and you’ll never in a million years guess who it was.
She answered then turned to Samantha. “I was wrong” she giggled despite herself, “It’s Clay.”
“That is so weird” was all Samantha could get out.
You won’t be hearing much about April.
April, who was as blonde, younger, petite and perky as any of the others, had been a one night stand during Clay’s post-graduation, pre-career days spent at local bars and night clubs. Clay would eventually remember her and add her to the growing list he’d started in his head. He would unsure of the spelling of her last name which would make efforts to locate her difficult.
That would not be the biggest difficulty he’d have in contacting her.
The biggest difficulty would be that she was on a red eye from Los Angeles to Newark when the big moment happened. She’d been sleeping at the time but the thunder was so loud it woke her up.
It took her a few seconds to realize what all the other seats on the airplane were now vacant. In fact, it was only after absentmindedly looking around that she noticed. There hadn’t been a lot of people on the flight but not a single person was odd.
She pressed the call button to summon a stewardess but none materialized.
She got up and walked to the front of the plane.
She laughed to herself.
She knocked on the door where the pilots were sequestered and nobody answered.
After checking the bathrooms she looked in the overhead compartments, assuming that everyone had decided to cram themselves in there for the remainder of the trip.
Much to her surprise, there was nobody in them.
For four hours she alternately paced up and down the aisle and sat staring out the window. She knew that some airlines had experimented with pilotless aircraft but she had a feeling this wasn’t one of them.
She was right.
At some point she flew over Philadelphia, not knowing enough to curse the penis that was living down there and had put her in this scenario in the first place.
Eventually the plane started to make some unhealthy noises.
For four minutes she fell to the ground all alone, crying the whole way.
You know how girls get when they are plummeting to their death.
It was dark and the conversations were getting harder to come by between Denise and Abby. They had agreed to drive until Pittsburgh and then find someone to sleep.
The idea of pulling into a major city and sleeping anywhere they wanted had a certain appeal to both of them. Being unfamiliar with Pittsburgh they didn’t know what the fanciest hotel was but you can be sure they’d find it and take the penthouse suite.
After an hour of silence Abby finally spoke up.
“Do you think that, maybe … Clay is God?”
To go from silence to that question made Denise produce a sound somewhere between a laugh and a snort.
“No. I don’t think Clay is God.”
“Think about it though” Abby said in a tone that made it clear that had been thinking about it. “Everyone disappears except for Clay and his wife and two of his ex girlfriends. Doesn’t it seem like we’re being called home … on some level?”
“No” said Denise in a tone that made it clear that the idea of Clay being God was right up there with helping elephants escape from zoos.
“So how do you explain it?”
“I can’t. None of it makes sense. I keep thinking that I’ll wake up in my own bed and this whole day will have been some dumb dream.”
Abby was just getting warmed up. “Well, it’s our job to figure it out now. Everything happens for a reason.”
It’s at this point that both of them realized that the everything that was happening was Pittsburgh was glowing. The reason? It was on fire.
I don’t mean to overstate it, the entire thing wasn’t burning, but a couple significantly large buildings were alight and they seemed to be encouraging the structures around them to join in the fun.
Abby slowed the car on the bridge leading into the city and turned to Denise with a questioning expression. Sort of how a dog looks at you when he’s not sure whether it’s dinner time or not.
Denise looked back at her with the expression a bird usually makes before it shits on your car.
Finally she dropped her (blank) bird face and said “I don’t think sleeping in a burning city is a great idea. Of course, I could call Clay and see if he can use his mystical powers to put it out for us.”
She immediately regretted saying it and wondered to herself why she enjoyed being such a dick to Abby. Maybe it was the vegan thing.
Abby was fascinated with the scene in front of her. Knowing there was nobody at risk she felt a sort of rush at seeing a large building going up in flames. That was until there was an explosion somewhere out of sight that they both felt more than heard.
A dull thud somewhere in the city, behind the burning building. Suddenly a new plume of black smoke started to make happy little clouds as if Bob Ross had been put in charge of redecorating hell. A charming charcoal backdrop to the growing orange and red highlights.
On cue Abby asked “Do you believe in God?”
“God God or Clay God?”
“Either or. Something bigger. Timeless.”
It was the perfect time for Denise to make amends and pretend to mull the question over. The truth is that she’s a hard atheist but given the fact that she was sitting on bridge watching a vacant Pittsburgh burn it might be time for her to revaluate things anyway.
So she did.
“Nope. We die and turn to dust and nothing we do in this life makes any difference.”
“What about this life?” Abby asked with a heavy emphasis on the word this. She looked around to emphasize her point.
“You know what we need to do? Find a roadside hotel and see if we can sleep this off. If, Clay forbid, we wake up and we’re still here and things haven’t gone back to normal, we can go shopping.” Denise suggested.
“That sounds good. I’m sure there are a ton of outlet malls between here and Philly.” Abby put the car back in drive and missed all the exits into the city.
“You’ll be ok if we have to do a little breaking and entering?” asked Denise.
“Of course. Who’s going to arrest us? In fact, I taught myself how to hot wire cars so if we find a particularly fortified store I can just drive a car into the front of it.”
“Seemed to work alright at the zoo” said Denise with a wink.
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