Classic Clerks Script: An Analysis

86 min read

When it comes to classic American independent films, few compare to the cult Clerks. Written and directed by Kevin Smith in 1994, Clerks remains one of the most influential comedies in modern cinema. Its script exhibits a sharp wit and clever dialogue that continues to spark conversations almost 30 years after its release. This article will analyze how Smith’s script creates an iconic cult classic that stands out among other independent films.

Setting the Scene

Classic Clerks is a beloved classic that has been revered for its wit and ingenuity since it first released in 1994. Written, directed, and produced by Kevin Smith, the film follows two convenience store clerks on their mundane daily lives as they confront an array of awkward customers and surreal events. What makes this film so special is not only its frank dialogue but also its distinct visual style; Smith used the techniques of mise-en-scène to craft a unique narrative arc out of even the most innocuous scenes. This article will provide an overview of how Smith used mise-en-scene to create a memorable comedy experience with Classic Clerks.

The technique of mise-en-scene involves framing each scene with elements such as costume design, lighting, staging, and camera angles in order to set a certain tone for the audience.

Characterization

Characterization is a key component in any film, and the script for the 1994 classic movie Clerks is no exception. Written and directed by Kevin Smith, this cult classic highlights strong characterization through its two main characters – Dante Hicks and Randal Graves – and their interactions with other people throughout the movie.

Dante and Randal are portrayed as everyday guys who have a close enough friendship that they can rib each other without it becoming too serious. This relationship is further developed over time as we learn more about their individual personalities, background stories, motivations and worldviews. Their conversations form one of the most memorable aspects of this movie, as they banter back-and-forth in a humorous way while also providing insight into how they think about life’s bigger questions.

Plot Development

Plot Development is an integral part of the classic Clerks script. This analysis will explore how Kevin Smith created a unique and captivating story by taking a simple story archetype and moulding it into his own style of comedy.

Throughout the movie, we see characters with differing perspectives, intentions, and motivations. The plot revolves around Dante Hicks, who is stuck in his dead-end job as a clerk at a convenience store. His best friend Randal Graves serves as comic relief while also serving to propel the narrative forward with his outrageous behavior. By presenting two distinct points of view on similar events, Smith creates a humorous but meaningful conflict for Dante to resolve throughout the course of the movie.

We will also explore how Smith uses clever dialogue to build relationships between characters that added depth to their personalities and motivations which contribute greatly to the overall development of the plot.

Dialogue: Humor and Jargon

Dialogue is an essential part of any script, and the classic Clerks movie provides ample evidence of this. Written by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, Clerks takes a unique approach to its dialogue by combining humorous quips with difficult-to-understand jargon. This combination allows for a fresh perspective on traditional conversations between characters.

The use of humor helps to draw the audience in, creating an enjoyable experience that makes the film more memorable for viewers. Each joke serves as a reminder that the characters exist within a world similar to our own – filled with clever banter and witty puns. The jokes also help to lighten up what could otherwise be considered heavy scenes, keeping things lighthearted even during tense moments.

Themes & Cultural Impact

The classic 1994 movie Clerks by director Kevin Smith has become a cult classic. Written and directed by Smith, the film follows the lives of two men working in a convenience store and video rental shop. It also provides an insight into the day-to-day struggles of life in suburban America. The script for Clerks is filled with themes that have resonated with audiences for years, from friendship, love, mortality and responsibility to comedy. But it’s the cultural impact that truly makes this script stand out from all other films.

Clerks was revolutionary in its portrayal of young adults who are struggling with relationships, money issues and existentialism. Because of its frank dialogue and honest look at everyday life, it was groundbreaking for its time – something that hadn’t been seen before in movies like this one.

Clerks Script

“Clerks.”
by
Kevin Smith
INT: BEDROOM. EARLY-MORNING HOURS
A DOG sleeps on a neatly made bed.
A CLOCK reads twenty to six.
A SHELF OF BOOKS holds such classics as Dante’s Inferno, Beyond
Good and Evil, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Dark Knight
Returns. A FRAMED DIPLOMA, dusty and unkempt, hangs askew on
the wall. A snapshot of a girl is stuck in the corner, and a
bra weighs one end down. A PHONE sits quietly atop a bundle of
laundry. It suddenly explodes with a resounding ring-once,
twice, three times. A CLOSET DOOR swings open, and a half-clad
figure falls out. THE PHONE rings yet again, and a hand falls
upon the receiver, yanking it off the trash can, O.C. THE
RUMPLED FIGURE lays with his back to the camera, phone in hand.

FIGURE
(groggily)
Hello…What?…No, I don’t work
today…I’m playing hockey at two.
THE DOG yawns and shakes its head.

FIGURE (O.C.)
Why don’t you call Randal?… Because I’m
fucking tired….I just closed last
night….
(deep sigh)
Jesus…What time are you going to come
in?…Twelve…Be there be
twelve?…Swear…
A PICTURE OF A GIRL leans against a trophy. The picture is
decorated with a Play-Doh beard and mustache.

FIGURE (O.C.)
Swear you’ll be in by twelve and I’ll do
it….Twelve…Twelve or I walk.
THE PHONE RECEIVER slams into the cradle. THE RUMPLED FIGURE
slowly sits up and remains motionless. He musses his hair and
stands.
THE DOG stands and wags its tail. A hand pats its head. The
Rumpled Figure lays down on the bed. We now see his face. It is
the face of DANTE and this is Dante’s room; this is Dante’s
life. DANTE grabs the dog and wrestles it.

DANTE
Next time, I get the bed.
He releases the dog and sits up.

DANTE
(exhausted)
Shit.

CUT TO:
INT: BATHROOM. MINUTES LATER
A steaming shower fills the room. The dog licks water from the
toilet.

CUT TO:
INT: KITCHEN. MINUTES LATER
A towel-dressed DANTE opens the fridge and peers inside. He
grabs a half-empty gallon of milk and closes the door.

CUT TO:
INT: KITCHEN. SECONDS LATER
Chocolate milk mix is heaped into a tumbler. One scoop, two
scoops, three scoops, four scoops.

CUT TO:
INT: BEDROOM. A MINUTE LATER
DANTE gulps his breakfast while feeling inside the closet for
some clothes. Some chocolate milk spills on the floor. THE DOG
laps at the small puddle of chocolate milk.

CUT TO:
INT: HALLWAY. MINUTES LATER
DANTE’S feet are hastily covered. A hand grabs keys from atop a
VCR.

CUT TO:
EXT: DRIVEWAY. MINUTES LATER
A car backs out of the driveway and speeds down the street.

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. MORNING
The car pulls up, with a screech. Feet descend to the ground
from the open door. Keys jam into a lock and pop it open.

CUT TO:
DANTE lifts the metal shutter revealing the door. He opens it
and grabs two bundles of papers, throwing them inside the
store.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. MORNING
A very dark room barely lit by the daylight. Suddenly, the
lights flick on, revealing the glorious interior of the
convenience store. THE CAT looks at DANTE as he passes the
camera quickly. THE PAPER BUNDLE is snapped open with a knife.
Newspapers slam into the appropriate racks. One rack remains
empty. A coffee filter is placed in a metal pot. Ground coffee
follows, and the mix is shoved into place in the coffeemaker.
The switch is flicked and the machine comes to life. The empty
newspaper rack with the heading ASBURY PARK PRESS seems out of
place among all the other stacks of papers. DANTE rubs his chin
and stares, puzzled. He rolls his eyes as it occurs to him.

DANTE
Shit.
The register pops open, and a hand extracts a quarter.

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. MORNING
POV: NEWSPAPER MACHINE
Through murky glass and thin metal grating, we see DANTE
approach. He stops and drops a quarter in the slot. He pulls
the door down, finally allowing us a clear view as he reaches
toward the camera.
DANTE pulls a stack of newspapers from the Asbury Park Press
vending machine. He struggles to hold them all in one hand as
he lets the door slam shut. He turns to walk away, but the
sound of the quarter dropping into the change slot stops him.
He takes a step back to grab the coin.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. MORNING
The papers drop into the once-empty rack with a resounding
flop. The quarter drops back into the register drawer.

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. MORNING
DANTE tries to jam the key into the window shutter lock. He
looks down at it.

DANTE
Shit!
The lock is gummed up with gum or something hard and obtrusive
like gum, preventing the key from being inserted. DANTE looks
around and kicks the shutter angrily. The car trunk pops open
and a hand reaches inside, pulling out a folded white sheet.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. MORNING
A can of shoe polish is grabbed from the shelf. DANTE dips his
fingers into the shoe polish and writes large letters on the
unfurled sheet, leaning on the cooler.

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. MORNING
DANTE stands on a garbage can and tucks a corner of the sheet
under the awning. He jumps down. The banner reads I ASSURE YOU,
WE’RE OPEN. The door sign shifts from CLOSED to OPEN.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. MORNING
The clock reads 6:20. DANTE leans behind the counter, the
morning routine completed. He stares ahead, catatonic, then
drops his head in his hands. The day has begun.

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
The store, with its makeshift banner looming in the dim morning
hour, just after dawn. A car drives by.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
DANTE waits on a customer (ACTIVIST) buying coffee.

DANTE
Thanks. Have a good one.

ACTIVIST
Do you mind if I drink this here?

DANTE
Sure. Go ahead.
The ACTIVIST leans on a briefcase and drinks his coffee.
Another CUSTOMER leans in the door.

CUSTOMER
Are you open?

DANTE
Yeah.

CUSTOMER
Pack of cigarettes.

ACTIVIST
Are you sure?

CUSTOMER
Am I sure?

ACTIVIST
Are you sure?

CUSTOMER
Am I sure about what?

ACTIVIST
Do you really want to buy those cigarettes?

CUSTOMER
Are you serious?

ACTIVIST
How long have you been smoking?

CUSTOMER
(to DANTE)
What is this, a poll?

DANTE
Beats me.

ACTIVIST
How long have you been a smoker?

CUSTOMER
Since I was thirteen.
The ACTIVIST lifts his briefcase onto the counter. He opens it
and extracts a sickly-looking lung model.

ACTIVIST
I’d say you’re about nineteen, twenty, am I
right?

CUSTOMER
What the hell is that?

ACTIVIST
That’s your lung. By this time, your lung
looks like this.

CUSTOMER
You’re shittin’ me.

ACTIVIST
You think I’m shitting you…
The ACTIVIST hands him something from the briefcase.

CUSTOMER
What’s this?

ACTIVIST
It’s a trach ring. It’s what they install
in your throat when throat cancer takes
your voice box. This one came out of a
sixty-year-old man.

CUSTOMER
(drops ring)
Unnhh!

ACTIVIST
(picks up the ring)
He smoked until the day he died. Used to
put the cigarette in this thing and smoke
it that way.

DANTE
Excuse me, but…

ACTIVIST
This is where you’re heading. A cruddy
lung, smoking through a hole in your
throat. Do you really want that?

CUSTOMER
Well, if it’s already too late…

ACTIVIST
It’s never too late. Give those cigarettes
back now, and buy some gum instead.
(grabs nearby pack, reads)
Here. Chewlies Gum. Try this.

CUSTOMER
It’s not the same.

ACTIVIST
It’s cheaper than cigarettes. And it
certainly beats this.
Hands him a picture.

CUSTOMER
Jesus!

ACTIVIST
It’s a picture of a cancer-ridden lung.
Keep it.

CUSTOMER
(to DANTE)
I’ll just take the gum.

DANTE
Fifty-five.

ACTIVIST
You’ve made a wise choice. Keep up the good
work.
The CUSTOMER exits.

DANTE
Maybe you should take that coffee outside.

ACTIVIST
No, I think I’ll drink it in here, thanks.

DANTE
If you’re going to drink it in here, I’d
appreciate it if you’d not bother the
customers.

ACTIVIST
Okay. I’m sorry about that.
Another CUSTOMER comes up to the counter.

CUSTOMER
Pack of cigarettes.
(looks at model)
What’s that?

ACTIVIST
This? How long have you been smoking?

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
A blank wall. JAY steps into the frame, followed by SILENT BOB.
JAY pulls off his coat and swings it into the arms of SILENT
BOB. JAY then throws down with a makeshift slam dance, spinning
his arm and fake-hitting SILENT BOB.

JAY
WE NEED SOME TITS AND ASS! YEAH!
SILENT BOB lights a smoke.

JAY
I feel good today, Silent Bob. We’re gonna
make some money! And then you know what
we’re going to do? We’re going to go to
that party and get some pussy! I’m gonna
fuck this bitch, that bitch…
(Blue Velvet Hopper)
I’LL FUCK ANYTHING THAT MOVES!
SILENT BOB points to something off-screen.

JAY
(to O.C.)
What you looking at?! I’ll kick your
fucking ass!
(to SILENT BOB)
Doesn’t that motherfucker still owe me ten
bucks?
SILENT BOB nods.

JAY
Tonight, you and me are going off that
fucker’s head, and take out his fucking
soul! Remind me if he tries to buy
something from us, to cut it with leafs and
twigs…or fucking shit in the
motherfucker’s bag!
Some girls walk past. JAY smiles at them.

JAY
Wa sup sluts?
(to SILENT BOB)
Damn Silent Bob! You one rude motherfucker!
But you’re cute as hell.
(slowly drops to knees)
I wanna go down on you, and suckle you.
(makes blow job neck-jerks)
And then, I wanna line up three more guys,
and make like a circus seal…
JAY makes blow job faces down an imaginary line of guys,
looking quite like a performing seal. He throws a little
humming sound behind each nod. He then hops up quickly.

JAY
Ewwww! You fucking faggot! I fucking hate
guys!
(yelling)
I LOVE WOMEN!
(calmer)
Neh.
A GUY comes up to them.

GUY
You selling?

JAY
(all business)
I got hits, hash, weed, and later on I’ll
have ‘shrooms. We take cash, or stolen
MasterCard and Visa.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
A SMALL CROWD gathers around the ACTIVIST as he orates. It has
become something of a rally.

ACTIVIST
You’re spending what? Twenty, thirty
dollars a week on cigarettes.

LISTENER 1
Forty.

LISTENER 2
Fifty-three.

ACTIVIST
Fifty-three dollars. Would you pay someone
that much money every week to kill you?
Because that’s what you’re doing now, by
paying for the so-called privilege to
smoke!

LISTENER 3
We all gotta go sometime…

ACTIVIST
It’s that kind of mentality that allows
this cancer-producing industry to thrive.
Of course we’re all going to die someday,
but do we have to pay for it? Do we have to
actually throw hard-earned dollars on a
counter and say, “Please, please, Mister
Merchant of Death, sir; please sell me
something that will give me bad breath,
stink up my clothes, and fry my lungs.”

LISTENER 1
It’s not that easy to quit.

ACTIVIST
Of course it’s not; not when you have
people like this mindless cretin so happy
and willing to sell you nails for your
coffin!

DANTE
Hey, now wait a sec…

ACTIVIST
Now he’s going to launch into his rap about
how he’s just doing his job; following
orders. Friends, let me tell you about
another bunch of hate mongers that were
just following orders: they were called
Nazis, and they practically wiped a nation
of people from the Earth…just like
cigarettes are doing now! Cigarette smoking
is the new Holocaust, and those that
partake in the practice of smoking or sell
the wares that promote it are the Nazis of
the nineties! He doesn’t care how many
people die from it! He smiles as you pay
for your cancer sticks and says, “Have a
nice day.”

DANTE
I think you’d better leave now.

ACTIVIST
You want me to leave? Why? Because somebody
is telling it like it is? Somebody’s giving
these fine people a wake-up call?!

DANTE
You’re loitering in here, and causing a
disturbance.

ACTIVIST
You’re the disturbance, pal! And here…
(slaps a dollar on the counter)
I’m buying some…what’s this?…Chewlie’s
Gum. There. I’m no longer loitering. I’m a
customer, a customer engaged in a
discussion with other customers.

LISTENER 2
(to DANTE)
Yeah, now shut up so he can speak!

ACTIVIST
Oh, he’s scared now! He sees the threat we
present! He smells the changes coming, and
the loss of sales when the nonsmokers
finally demand satisfaction. We demand the
right to breathe cleaner air!

LISTENER 3
Yeah!

ACTIVIST
We’d rather chew our gum than embrace slow
death! Let’s abolish this heinous practice
of sucking poison, and if it means ruffling
the feathers of a convenience store idiot,
then so be it!

DANTE
That’s it, everybody out.

ACTIVIST
We’re not moving! We have a right, a
constitutional right, to assemble and be
heard!

DANTE
Yeah, but not in here.

ACTIVIST
What better place than this? To stamp it
out, you gotta start at the source!

DANTE
Like I’m responsible for all the smokers!

ACTIVIST
The ones in this town, yes! You encourage
their growth, their habit. You’re the
source in this area, and we’re going to
shut you down for good! For good, cancer-
merchant!
The small crowd begins to chant and jeer in DANTE’s face.

CROWD
Cancer merchant! Cancer merchant! Cancer
merchant!
VERONICA enters and surveys the mess. The CROWD throws
cigarettes at DANTE, pelting him in the face. Suddenly, a loud
blast is heard, and white powder explodes over the throng.
Everyone turns to face…
VERONICA as she stands in one of the freezer cases, holding a
fire extinguisher.

VERONICA
Who’s leading this mob?
The CROWD looks among themselves. Someone points to O.C.

SOMEONE
That guy.
The ACTIVIST carries his briefcase surreptitiously toward the
door.

VERONICA (O.C.)
Freeze.
VERONICA jumps off the freezer case, training the nozzle of the
extinguisher on the ACTIVIST.

VERONICA
Let’s see some credentials.
He reaches into his briefcase. She pokes the extinguisher
nozzle at him, warningly.

VERONICA
Slowly…
He pulls out a business card and hands it to her. She reads it.

VERONICA
You’re a Chewlie’s Gum representative?
He nods.

VERONICA
And you’re stirring up all this antismoking
sentiment to…what?…sell more gum?
He nods again.

VERONICA
(through gritted teeth)
Get out of here.
He quickly flees. She blasts him with more chemical as he
exits.

VERONICA
(to the crowd)
And you people: Don’t you have jobs to go
to? Get out of here and go commute.
The CROWD sheepishly exits, one by one, offering apologetic
glances. DANTE tries to regain his composure.
VERONICA watches the crowd disperse, disgusted.

VERONICA
You oughta be ashamed of yourselves. Easily
led automatons. Try thinking for yourself
before you pelt and innocent man with
cigarettes.
The last of the crowd exits. VERONICA sets the fire
extinguisher down next to DANTE. DANTE is sitting on the floor,
head in his folded arms.

VERONICA
It looked like Tiananmen Square in here for
a second.
DANTE is silent.

VERONICA
“Thank you, Veronica; you saved me from an
extremely ugly mob scene.”
DANTE remains silent.

VERONICA
(sits beside him)
Okay, champ. What’s wrong?
DANTE lifts his head and shoots her a disgusted look.

VERONICA
All right, stupid question. But don’t you
think you’re taking this a bit too hard?

DANTE
Too hard?! I don’t have enough indignities
in my life-people start throwing cigarettes
at me!

VERONICA
At least they weren’t lit.

DANTE
I hate this fucking place.

VERONICA
Then quit. You should be going to school
anyway…

DANTE
Please, Veronica. Last thing I need is a
lecture at this point.

VERONICA
All I’m saying is that if you’re unhappy
you should leave.

DANTE
I’m not even supposed to be here today!

VERONICA
I know. I stopped by your house and your
mom said you left at like six or something.

DANTE
The guy got sick and couldn’t come in.

VERONICA
Don’t you have a hockey game at two?

DANTE
Yes! And I’m going to play like shit
because I didn’t get a good night’s sleep!

VERONICA
Why did you agree to come in then?

DANTE
I’m only here until twelve, then I’m gone.
The boss is coming in.

VERONICA
Why don’t you open the shutters and get
some sunlight in here?

DANTE
Somebody jammed the locks with gum.

VERONICA
You’re kidding.

DANTE
Bunch of savages in this town.

VERONICA
You look bushed. What time did you get to
bed?

DANTE
I don’t know-like two-thirty, three.

VERONICA
What were you doing up so late?

DANTE
(skirting)
Hunhh? Nothing.

VERONICA
(persistent)
What were you doing?

DANTE
Nothing! Jesus! I gotta fight with you now?

VERONICA
Who’s fighting? Why are you so defensive?

DANTE
Who’s defensive? Just…Would you just hug
me?! All right? Your boyfriend was accosted
by an angry mob, and he needs to be hugged.
She stares at him.

DANTE
What? What is that?

VERONICA
She called you, didn’t she?

DANTE
Oh, be real! Would you…Would you please
hug me? I just went through a very
traumatic experience and I haven’t been
having the best day so far. Now come on.
VERONICA stares at him.

DANTE
What? What’s with that look?! I wasn’t
talking to anyone, especially her! Look at
you, being all sort of…I don’t
know…stand-offish.
VERONICA looks away.

DANTE
Fine. You don’t trust me, don’t hug me. I
see how it is. All right Pissy-pants, you
just go on being suspicious and quiet. I
don’t even want to hug you at this point.
VERONICA looks back at him.

DANTE
(pleadingly)
Give you a dollar?

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
A NOTE on the counter next to a small pile of money reads:
PLEASE LEAVE MONEY ON THE COUNTER. TAKE CHANGE WHEN APPLICABLE.
BE HONEST.
DANTE and VERONICA are slumped on the floor, behind the
counter. VERONICA holds DANTE in her arms, his head on her
chest. Change is heard hitting the counter.

DANTE
(to O.C. customer)
Thanks.
The door is heard opening and closing-a customer leaving.

VERONICA
How much money did you leave up there?

DANTE
Like three dollars in mixed change and a
couple of singles. People only get the
paper of coffee this time of morning.

VERONICA
You’re trusting.

DANTE
Why do you say that?

VERONICA
How do you know they’re taking the right
amount of change? Or even paying for what
they take?

DANTE
Theoretically, people see money on the
counter and nobody around, they think
they’re being watched.

VERONICA
Honesty through paranoia. Why do you smell
like shoe polish?

DANTE
I had to use shoe polish to make that sign.
The smell won’t come off.

VERONICA
Do you think anyone can see us down here?

DANTE
Why? You wanna have sex or something?

VERONICA
(sarcastic)
Ooh! Can we?!

DANTE
Really?

VERONICA
I was kidding.

DANTE
Yeah, right. You can’t get enough of me.

VERONICA
Typically male point of view.

DANTE
How do you figure?

VERONICA
You show some bedroom proficiency, and you
think you’re gods. What about what we do
for you?

DANTE
Women? Women, as lovers, are all basically
the same: they just have to be there.

VERONICA
“Be there?”

DANTE
Making a male climax is not all that
challenging: insert somewhere close and
preferably moist; thrust; repeat.

VERONICA
How flattering.

DANTE
Now, making a woman cum…therein lies a
challenge.

VERONICA
Oh, you think so?

DANTE
A girl makes a guy cum, it’s standard. A
guy makes a girl cum, it’s talent.

VERONICA
And I actually date you?

DANTE
Something wrong?

VERONICA
I’m insulted. Believe me, Don Juan, it
takes more than that to get a guy off. Just
“being there”-as you put it-is not enough.

DANTE
I touched a nerve.

VERONICA
I’m astonished to hear you trivialize my
role in our sex life.

DANTE
It wasn’t directed at you. I was making a
broad generalization.

VERONICA
You were making a generalization about
“broads!”

DANTE
These are my opinions based on my
experiences with the few women who were
good enough to sleep with me.

VERONICA
How many?

DANTE
How many what?

VERONICA
How many girls have you slept with?

DANTE
How many different girls? Didn’t we already
have this discussion once?

VERONICA
We might have; I don’t remember. How many?

DANTE
Including you?

VERONICA
It better be up to and including me.

DANTE
(pause to count)
Twelve.

VERONICA
You’ve slept with twelve different girls?

DANTE
Including you; yes.
Pause. She slaps him.

DANTE
What the hell was that for?

VERONICA
You’re a pig.

DANTE
Why’d you hit me?

VERONICA
Do you know how many different men I’ve had
sex with?

DANTE
Do I get to hit you after you tell me?

VERONICA
Three.

DANTE
Three?

VERONICA
Three including you.

DANTE
You’ve only had sex with three different
people?

VERONICA
I’m not the pig you are.

DANTE
Who?

VERONICA
You!

DANTE
No; who were the three, besides me?

VERONICA
John Franson and Rob Stanslyk.

DANTE
(with true admiration)
Wow. That’s great. That’s something to be
proud of.

VERONICA
I am. And that’s why you should feel like a
pig. You men make me sick. You’ll sleep
with anything that says yes.

DANTE
Animal, vegetable, or mineral.

VERONICA
Vegetable meaning paraplegic.

DANTE
They put up the least amount of struggle.

VERONICA
After dropping a bombshell like that, you
owe me. Big.

DANTE
All right. Name it.

VERONICA
I want you to come with me on Monday.

DANTE
Where?

VERONICA
To school. There’s a seminar about getting
back into a scholastic program after a
lapse in enrollment.

DANTE
Can’t we ever have a discussion without
that coming up?

VERONICA
It’s important to me, Dante. You have so
much potential that just goes to waste in
this pit. I wish you’d go back to school.

DANTE
Jesus, would you stop? You make my head
hurt when you talk about this.
VERONICA stands, letting DANTE’S head hit the floor.

DANTE
Shit! Why are we getting up?

VERONICA
Unlike you, I have a class in forty-five
minutes.
A handsome young man (WILLAM) is standing at the counter.
VERONICA reacts to him.

VERONICA
(surprised)
Willam!

WILLAM
Ronnie! How are you? You work here now?

VERONICA
(locks arms with DANTE)
No, I’m just visiting my man.
(to DANTE)
Dante, this is Willam Black.
(to WILLAM)
This is Dante Hicks, my boyfriend.

DANTE
How are you? Just the soda?

WILLAM
And a pack of cigarettes.
(to VERONICA; paying)
Are you still going to Seton Hall?

VERONICA
No, I transferred into Monmouth this year.
I was tired of missing him.
(squeezes DANTE’S arm)

WILLAM
Do you still talk to Sylvan?

VERONICA
I just talked to her on Monday. We still
hang out on weekends.

WILLAM
(leaving)
That’s cool. Well-you two lovebirds take it
easy, all right?

VERONICA
I will. Take it easy.

WILLAM
Bye.
(exits)

VERONICA
Bye
(to DANTE)
That was Snowball.

DANTE
Why do you call him that?

VERONICA
Sylvan made it up. It’s a blow job thing.

DANTE
What do you mean?

VERONICA
After he gets a blow job, he likes to have
the cum spit back into his mouth while
kissing. It’s called snowballing.

DANTE
He requested this?

VERONICA
He gets off on it.

DANTE
Sylvan can be talked into anything.

VERONICA
Why do you say that?

DANTE
Like you said-she snowballed him.

VERONICA
Sylvan? No; I snowballed him.

DANTE
Yeah, right.

VERONICA
I’m serious…
A moment of silence as DANTE’S chuckles fade to comprehension.

DANTE
You sucked that guy’s dick?

VERONICA
Yeah. How do you think I know he liked…

DANTE
(panicky)
But…but you said you only had sex with
three guys! You never mentioned him!

VERONICA
That’s because I never had sex with him!

DANTE
You sucked his dick!

VERONICA
We went out a few times. We didn’t have
sex, but we fooled around.

DANTE
(massive panic attack)
Oh my God! Why did you tell me you only
slept with three guys?

VERONICA
Because I did only sleep with three guys!
That doesn’t mean I didn’t just go with
people.

DANTE
Oh my God-I feel so nauseous…

VERONICA
I’m sorry, Dante. I thought you understood.

DANTE
I did understand! I understand that you
slept with three different guys, and that’s
all you said.

VERONICA
Please calm down.

DANTE
How many?

VERONICA
Dante…

DANTE
How many dicks have you sucked?!

VERONICA
Let it go…

DANTE
HOW MANY?

VERONICA
All right! Shut up a second and I’ll tell
you! Jesus! I didn’t freak like this when
you told me how many girls you fucked.

DANTE
This is different. This is important. How
many?!
She counts silently, using fingers as marks. DANTE waits on a
customer in the interim. VERONICA stops counting.

DANTE
Well…?

VERONICA
(half-mumbled)
Something like thirty-six.

DANTE
WHAT? SOMETHING LIKE THIRTY-SIX?

VERONICA
Lower your voice!

DANTE
What the hell is that anyway, “something
like thirty-six?” Does that include me?

VERONICA
Um. Thirty-seven.

DANTE
I’M THIRTY-SEVEN?

VERONICA
(walking away)
I’m going to class.

DANTE
Thirty-seven?!
(to CUSTOMER)
My girlfriend sucked thirty-seven dicks!

CUSTOMER
In a row?
DANTE chases VERONICA down and grabs her by the door.

DANTE
Hey! Where are you going?!

VERONICA
Hey listen, jerk! Until today you never
even knew how many guys I’d slept with,
because you never even asked. And then you
act all nonchalant about fucking twelve
different girls. Well, I never had sex with
twelve different guys!

DANTE
No, but you sucked enough dick!

VERONICA
Yeah, I went down on a few guys…

DANTE
A few?

VERONICA
…And one of those guys was you! The last
one, I might add, which-if you’re too
stupid to comprehendmeans that I’ve been
faithful to you since we met! All the other
guys I went with before I met you, so, if
you want to have a complex about it, go
ahead! But don’t look at me like I’m the
town whore, because you were plenty busy
yourself, before you met me!

DANTE
(a bit more rational)
Well…why did you have to suck their
dicks? Why didn’t you just sleep with them,
like any decent person?!

VERONICA
Because going down it’s a big deal! I used
to like a guy, we’d make out, and sooner or
later I’d go down on him. But I only had
sex with the guys I loved.

DANTE
I feel sick.

VERONICA
(holds him)
I love you. Don’t feel sick.

DANTE
Every time I kiss you now I’m going to
taste thirty-six other guys.
VERONICA violently lets go of him.

VERONICA
I’m going to school. Maybe later you’ll be
a bit more rational.

DANTE
(pause)
Thirty-seven. I just can’t…

VERONICA
Goodbye, Dante.
She exits in a huff. DANTE stands there in silence for a
moment. Then he swings the door open and yells out.

DANTE
Try not to suck any more dicks on your way
through the parking lot!
Two men who were walking in the opposite direction outside
double back and head in the direction. VERONICA went.

DANTE
HEY! HEY, YOU! GET BACK HERE!

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
A videocassette encased in the customary black box flips
repeatedly, held by an impatient grasp. The IMPATIENT CUSTOMER
glares at DANTE. Dante studies a copy of Paradise Lost, making
a strong attempt at not noticing the glare.

IMPATIENT CUSTOMER
(pissed off)
I thought that place was supposed to be
opened at eleven o’clock? It’s twenty
after!

DANTE
I called his house twice already. He should
be here soon.

IMPATIENT CUSTOMER
It’s not like it’s a demanding job. I’d
like to get paid to sit on my ass and watch
TV. The other day I walked in there and
that sonofabitch was sleeping.

DANTE
I’m sure he wasn’t sleeping.

IMPATIENT CUSTOMER
You calling me a liar?

DANTE
No; he was probably just resting his eyes.

IMPATIENT CUSTOMER
What the hell is that? Resting his eyes!
It’s not like he’s some goddamned air
traffic controller!

DANTE
Actually, that’s his night job.

IMPATIENT CUSTOMER
Such a wiseass. But go ahead. Crack wise.
That’s why you’re jockeying a register in
some fucking local convenience store
instead of doing an honest day’s work.
(tosses tape on counter)
I got no more time to bullshit around
waiting for that sonofabitch. You make sure
this gets back. The number’s eight-twelve-
Wynarski. And I wanted to get a damn movie,
too.

DANTE
If you’ll just tell me the title of your
rental choice, I’ll have him hold it for
you.

IMPATIENT CUSTOMER
(storming out)
Don’t hurt yourself. I’m going to Big
Choice Video instead.
He storms out. Dante lifts a ring of keys from the counter.

DANTE
(in a whisper)
You forgot your keys.
The half-filled trash can swallows the ring of keys.

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
Another VIDEO-ANXIOUS CUSTOMER leans against the video store
door. A hapless RANDAL drifts by and stops. He glances at the
door, peers inside, and gives the door a tug.

V.A. CUSTOMER
The guy ain’t here yet.

RANDAL
You’re kidding. It’s almost eleventhirty!

V.A. CUSTOMER
I know. I’ve been here since eleven.

RANDAL
(kicks the door)
Man! I hate it when I can’t rent videos!

V.A. CUSTOMER
I would’ve went to Big Choice, but the tape
I want is right there on the wall.

RANDAL
Which one?

V.A. CUSTOMER
Dental School.

RANDAL
You came for that too? That’s the movie I
came for.

V.A. CUSTOMER
I have first dibs.

RANDAL
Says who?

V.A. CUSTOMER
(suddenly snotty)
Says me. I’ve been here for half an hour.
I’d call that first dibs.

RANDAL
Ain’t gonna happen, my friend. I’m getting
that tape.

V.A. CUSTOMER
Like hell you are!

RANDAL
I’ll bet you twenty bucks you don’t get to
rent that tape.

V.A. CUSTOMER
Twenty bucks?

RANDAL
Twenty bucks.

V.A. CUSTOMER
All right, asshole, you’re on.
RANDAL walks away. The VERY ANXIOUS CUSTOMER stands like a
sentry at post. The IMPATIENT CUSTOMER storms up.

IMPATIENT CUSTOMER
You see a pair of keys lying around here
somewhere?

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
RANDAL dances in, attempting a soft-shoe routine. He sees DANTE
and stops dead, midshuffle.

DANTE
You’re late.

RANDAL
What the hell are you doing here? I thought
you were playing hockey at one.

DANTE
The boss called. Arthur fell ill.

RANDAL
Why are the shutters closed?

DANTE
Someone jammed gum in the locks.

RANDAL
Bunch of savages in this town.

DANTE
That’s what I said.

RANDAL
Shit, if I’d known you were working, I
would’ve come even later.
A pile of videocassettes is plopped onto the counter, with a
single key on top. RANDAL balances the pile of tapes on his
head.

RANDAL
What time do you have to stay till?

DANTE
He assured me that he’d be here by twelve.

RANDAL
What smells like shoe polish?

DANTE
Go open the sore.

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
The IMPATIENT CUSTOMER stops RANDAL.

IMPATIENT CUSTOMER
Hey-did you see a set of keys lying around
here?

RANDAL
(as Short-round)
No time for love, Doctor Jones!
RANDAL marches off. The IMPATIENT CUSTOMER stares after him.

IMPATIENT CUSTOMER
Fucking kids.
The VERY ANXIOUS CUSTOMER now sits on the ground, next to the
video store door. RANDAL balances his burden and shoves the key
into the lock. The VERY ANXIOUS CUSTOMER stares as RANDAL
enters the store. The door closes behind him, only to be held
ajar in a gentlemanly fashion a few moments later. RANDAL
smiles.

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CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
A coffee filter is shoved into the metal pan and someone heaps
ground coffee on it. We’ve seen this same routine before. DANTE
crosses back to his post, as RANDAL enters, tossing the key
into the air happily and catching it. He picks the cat up.

RANDAL
Some guy just came in refusing to pay late
fees. He said the store was closed for two
hours yesterday. I tore up his membership.

DANTE
Shocking abuse of authority.

RANDAL
I’m a firm believer in the philosophy of a
ruling class, especially since I rule.
(furtively)
Is the Pelican flying?

DANTE
Don’t screw with it. It makes us look
suspicious.

RANDAL
I can’t stand a voyeur. I’ll be back.
RANDAL heads toward the walk-in door.

CUT TO:
INT: BACK ROOM. DAY
POV: VCR
A far-away wall is the only thing we see, but mild gruntings
give away an ascension of sorts. RANDAL’S head rises into view,
as if he’s climbing a ladder. He stops and looks into the lens.
POV: RANDAL
The PELICAN is a VCR that’s hooked up to a surveillance camera.
It records quickly. A hand reaches into the frame and shuts it
off.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
RANDAL pulls a soda from the cooler.

RANDAL
Want something to drink? I’m buying.

DANTE (O.C.)
No, thanks.

RANDAL
Who was on your phone this morning at about
two-thirty? I was trying to call for a half
an hour.

DANTE (O.C.)
Why?

RANDAL
I wanted to use your car.
He walks by a row of snacks and grabs one without looking at
it.

RANDAL
Snake cake?
DANTE sits in his seat behind the register. RANDAL grabs a
paper and joins him behind the counter.

DANTE
You don’t want to know.

RANDAL
You called Caitlin again?

DANTE
She called me.

RANDAL
Did you tell Veronica?

DANTE
One fight a day with Veronica is about all
I can stomach, thanks.

RANDAL
What do you two fight about?

DANTE
I guess it’s not really fighting. She just
wants me to leave here, go back to school,
get some direction.

RANDAL
(opening paper)
I’ll bet the most frequent topic of
arguments is Caitlin Bree.

DANTE
You win.

RANDAL
I’m going to offer you some advice, my
friend: let the past be the past. Forget
Caitlin Bree. You’ve been with Veronica for
how long now?

DANTE
Seven months.

RANDAL
Chick’s nuts about you. How long did you
date Caitlin?

DANTE
Five years.

RANDAL
Chick only made you nuts. She cheated on
you how many times?

DANTE
Eight and a half.

RANDAL
(looks up from paper)
Eight and a half?

DANTE
Party at John K’s-senior year. I get
blitzed and pass out in his bedroom.
Caitlin comes in and dives all over me.

RANDAL
That’s cheating?

DANTE
In the middle of it, she calls me Brad.

RANDAL
She called you Brad?

DANTE
She called me Brad.

RANDAL
That’s not cheating. People say crazy shit
during sex. One time, I called this girl
“Mom.”

DANTE
I hit the lights and she freaks. Turns out
she thought I was Brad Michaelson.

RANDAL
What do you mean?

DANTE
She was supposed to meet Brad Michaelson in
a bedroom. She picked the wrong one. She
had no idea I was even at the party.

RANDAL
Oh, my God.

DANTE
Great story, isn’t it?

RANDAL
That girl was vile to you.

DANTE
Interesting postscript to that story: Do
you know who wound up going with Brad
Michaelson in the other dark bedroom?

RANDAL
Your mother.

DANTE
Allan Harris.

RANDAL
Chess team Allan Harris?!

DANTE
The two moved to Idaho together after
graduation. They raise sheep.

RANDAL
That’s frightening.

DANTE
It takes different strokes to move the
world.

RANDAL
In light of this lurid tale, I don’t see
how you could even romanticize your
relationship with Caitlin-she broke your
heart and inadvertently drove men to
deviant lifestyles.

DANTE
Because there was a lot of good in our
relationship.

RANDAL
Oh yeah.

DANTE
I’m serious. Aside from the cheating, we
were a great couple. That’s what high
school’s all about-algebra, bad lunch, and
infidelity.

RANDAL
You think things would be any different
now?

DANTE
They are. When she calls me now, she’s a
different person-she’s frightened and
vulnerable. She’s about to finish college
and enter the real world. That’s got to be
scary for anyone.

RANDAL
(suddenly recalling)
Oh shit, I’ve got to place an order.

DANTE
I’m talking to myself here.

RANDAL
No, no, I’m listening. She’s leaving
college, and…?

DANTE
…and she’s looking to me for support. And
I think that this is leading our
relationship to a new level.

RANDAL
What about Veronica?

DANTE
I think the arguments Veronica and I are
having are some kind of manifestation of a
subconscious desire to break away from her
so that I can pursue the possibility of a
more meaningful relationship with Caitlin.

RANDAL
Caitlin’s on the same wave-length?

DANTE
I think it’s safe to say yes.

RANDAL
Then I think all four of you had better sit
down and talk it over.

DANTE
All four?

RANDAL
You, Veronica, Caitlin…
(lays paper flat)
…and Caitlin’s fiancé.
THE HEADLINE of the engagement announcement reads, BREE TO WED
ASIAN DESIGN MAJOR.

CUT TO:
INT: VIDEO STORE. DAY
RANDAL dials the phone. He holds a list in his hand.

RANDAL
Yes, I’d like to place an order,
please…Thank you.
A MOTHER and her SMALL CHILD approach the counter.

MOTHER
Excuse me, but do you see videotapes?

RANDAL
What were you looking for?

MOTHER
(smiling)
It’s called Happy Scrappy-The Hero Pup.

SMALL CHILD
Happy Scrappy!

RANDAL
I’m on the phone with the distribution
house now. Let me make sure they have it.
What’s it called again?

MOTHER
Happy Scrappy-The Hero Pup.

SMALL CHILD
Happy Scrappy!

MOTHER
(more smiling)
She loves the tape.

RANDAL
Obviously.
(to phone)
Yes, hello; this is R.S.T. Video calling.
Customer number fourthree-five-zero-two-
nine. I’d like to place an order…Okay…
(reading from list)
I need one each of the following tapes:
Whisper in the Wind, To Each His Own, Put
it Where It Doesn’t Belong, My Pipes Need
Cleaning, All Tit-Fucking, Volume Eight, I
Need Your Cock, Ass-Worshipping RimJobbers,
My Cunt and Eight Shafts, Cum Clean, Cum-
Gargling Naked Sluts, Cum Buns Three,
Cumming in a Sock, Cum on Eileen, Huge
Black Cocks with Pearly White Cum, Slam It
Up My Too-Loose Ass, Ass Blasters in Outer
Space, Blowjobs by Betsy, Sucking Cock and
Cunt, Finger My Ass, Play with my Puss,
Three on a Dildo, Girls Who Crave Cock,
Girls Who Crave Cunt, Men Alone Two-The
K.Y. Connection, Pink Pussy Lips, and All
Holes Filled with Hard Cock. Oh, and…
(to MOTHER)
What was the name of that movie?

MOTHER
(nearly dazed)
Happy Scrappy-The Hero Pup.

RANDAL
(on phone)
And a copy of Happy Scrappy-The Hero
Pup…Okay, thanks.
(hangs up; to MOTHER)
Sixteen forty-nine. It’ll be here Monday.
Silence. Then…

SMALL CHILD
Cunt!

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
DANTE carries a litter box to be dumped. He pauses midstrike
and lays it on the ice cream chest. DANTE picks up the phone
and looks at the paper. He dials and waits.

DANTE
Yes, I’d like to check on a misprint in
today’s edition…Today’s edition…It says
“Bree to Wed Asian Design Major…No, no;
everything’s spelled fine. I just wanted to
know if the piece was a misprint…I don’t
know, like a typographical error or
something…
A CUSTOMER comes to the counter and waits. He looks at the
litter box. A black cat suddenly jumps into it and starts
pawing around.

DANTE (O.C.)
Maybe it’s supposed to be Caitlin Bray, or
Caitlin Bre, with one e…I’m a curious
party…A curious party…
DANTE on the phone:

DANTE
…I’m an ex-boyfriend…Well, it’s just
that we talk all the time, and she never
mentioned this engagement, which is why I’m
thinking maybe it’s a misprint…
The CUSTOMER watches as the cat takes a huge dump, leaning on
its haunches to accommodate the stinky load.

DANTE (O.C.)
…Are you sure?…Maybe there’s like a
vindictive printer working for you…
DANTE on the phone:

DANTE
Meaning like someone who maybe-I don’t know-
asked her out once and got shot down, and
his revenge is throwing this bogus article
in when the paper went to
press…Hello?…Hello?
DANTE hangs up. He looks at the paper ruefully, shaking his
head. He then sniffs the air.

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
JAY, SILENT BOB and OLAF lean against wall.

JAY
“Not in me.” That’s what she says. I gotta
pull out and spank it to get it on. So I
blow a nut on her belly, and I get out of
there, just as my uncle walks in. It was
such a close call. I tell you what, though,
I don’t care if she is my cousin, I’m gonna
knock those boots again tonight.
TWO GIRLS join them.

JAY
Oh shit, look who it is. The human vacuum.

GIRL 1
Scumbag. What are you doing?

JAY
Nothing. Just hanging out with Silent Bob
and his cousin.

GIRL 1
(to SILENT BOB)
He’s your cousin?

JAY
Check this out, he’s from Russia.

GIRL 1
No way.

JAY
I swear to God. Silent Bob, am I lying?
SILENT BOB shakes his head:

JAY
See? And Silent Bob never told a lie in his
life.

GIRL 2
What part of Russia?

JAY
I don’t fucking know. What am I, his
biographer?
(to OLAF)
Olaf, what part of Russia are you from?
OLAF looks quizzically at SILENT BOB.

SILENT BOB
(in Russian)
Home.

OLAF
(comprehending)
Moscow.

GIRL 1
He only speaks Russian?

JAY
He knows some English, but he can’t not
speak it good like we do.

GIRL 2
Is he staying here?

JAY
He’s moving to the big city next week. He
wants to be a metal singer.

GIRL 1
No way!

JAY
Swear.
(to OLAF)
Olaf, metal!
OLAF makes a metal face.

JAY
That’s his fucking metal face.
(to OLAF)
Olaf, girls nice?
OLAF looks the girls up and down.

OLAF
Skrelnick.

JAY
(laughs)
That’s fucked up.

GIRL 1
What did he say?

JAY
I don’t know, man. He’s a fucking
character.

GIRL 2
He really wants to play metal?

JAY
He’s got his own band in Moscow. It’s
called “Fuck Your Yankee Blue Jeans” or
something like that.

GIRL 1
That doesn’t sound metal.

JAY
You gotta hear him sing.
(to OLAF)
Olaf, “Berserker!”
OLAF laughs and shakes his head.

JAY
Come on, man, “Berserker!”

GIRL 2
Does he sing in English or Russian?

JAY
English.
(to OLAF)
Come on, “Berserker!” Girls think sexy.

OLAF
(relents)
Da. Da.

JAY
He’s gonna sing it. This is too funny.

OLAF
(in broken English)
MY LOVE FOR YOU IS LIKE A TRUCK BERSERKER!
WOULD YOU LIKE SOME MAKING FUCK? BERSERKER!

JAY
(laughing)
That’s fucking funny, man!

GIRL 1
Did he say “making fuck?”

JAY
Wait, there’s more.
(to OLAF)
Olaf: sing…
(makes pot-smoking face)

OLAF
(nods in understanding)
MY LOVE FOR YOU IS LIKE A ROCK
BERSERKER!WOULD YOU LIKE TO SMOKE SOME POT?
BERSERKER!
OLAF busts a crimson metal sneer and cackles deeply.

CUT TO:
INT: VIDEO STORE. DAY
RANDAL leans back in his chair, staring up at the TV. The theme
to Star Wars plays. He stands, points the remote, clicks the TV
off, and ponders.

CUT TO:
EXT: VIDEO STORE. DAY
RANDAL locks the door and walks away, while OLAF sings for the
small crowd.

OLAF
MY LOVE FOR YOU IS TICKING CLOCK
BERSERKER!WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUCK MY COCK?
BERSERKER!

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
DANTE is tugging at a can of Pringles potato chips. The can is
stuck on a MAN’S hand.

DANTE
You hold the counter and I’ll pull.

MAN
Usually I just turn the can upside down.

DANTE
(pulling)
Maybe we should soap your hand or
something.

MAN
(straining)
They oughta put some kind of warning on
these cans, like they do with cigarettes.

DANTE
I think it’s coming now…
The can pops off and DANTE staggers back a few steps. The man
rubs his hand.

MAN
Thanks. I thought I was gonna have to go to
the hospital.

DANTE
I’ll throw this out. Precautionary measure.

MAN
It stings a little.

DANTE
A word of advice: Sometimes it’s best to
let those hard to reach chips go.
DANTE steps behind the counter.

MAN
Thanks.
The MAN exits as RANDAL enters. DANTE throws the canister away.

DANTE
Do you know that article is accurate?
Caitlin’s really getting married!

RANDAL
You know what I just watched?

DANTE
Me pulling a can off some moron’s fist.

RANDAL
Return of the Jedi.

DANTE
Didn’t you hear me? Caitlin really is
getting married.

RANDAL
Which did you like better: Jedi or The
Empire Strikes Back.

DANTE
(exasperated)
Empire.

RANDAL
Blasphemy.

DANTE
Empire had the better ending: Luke gets his
hand cut off, and finds out Vader’s his
father; Han gets frozen and taken away by
Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. And
that’s life-a series of down endings. All
Jedi had was a bunch of Muppets.

RANDAL
There was something else going on in Jedi.
I never noticed it until today.
RANDAL follows DANTE as he cleans up around the store.

DANTE
What’s that?

RANDAL
All right, Vader’s boss…

DANTE
The Emperor.

RANDAL
Right, the Emperor. Now the Emperor is kind
of a spiritual figure, yes?

DANTE
How do you mean?

RANDAL
Well, he’s like the pope for the dark side
of the Force. He’s a holy man; a shaman,
kind of, albeit an evil one.

DANTE
I guess.

RANDAL
Now, he’s in charge of the Empire. The
Imperial government is under his control.
And the entire galaxy is under Imperial
rule.

DANTE
Yeah.

RANDAL
Then wouldn’t that logically mean that it’s
a theocracy? If the head of the Empire is a
priest of some sort, then it stands to
reason that the government is therefore one
based on religion.

DANTE
It would stand to reason, yes.

RANDAL
Hence, the Empire was a fascist theocracy,
and the rebel forces were therefore
battling religious persecution.

DANTE
More or less.

RANDAL
The only problem is that at no point in the
series did I ever hear Leia or any of the
rebels declare a particular religious
belief.

DANTE
I think they were Catholics.
A BLUE-COLLAR MAN half enters the door.

BLUE-COLLAR MAN
Are you open?

DANTE
Yeah. Come in.
He goes to the coffee machine and makes a cup of joe.

RANDAL
You know what else I noticed in Jedi?

DANTE
There’s more?

RANDAL
So they build another Death Star, right?

DANTE
Yeah.

RANDAL
Now the first one they built was completed
and fully operational before the Rebels
destroyed it.

DANTE
Luke blew it up. Give credit where it’s
due.

RANDAL
And the second one was still being built
when they blew it up.

DANTE
Compliments of Lando Calrissian.

RANDAL
Something just never sat right with me the
second time they destroyed it. I could
never put my finger on it-something just
wasn’t right.

DANTE
And you figured it out?

RANDAL
Well, the thing is, the first Death Star
was manned by the Imperial army-storm
troopers, dignitariesthe only people
onboard were Imperials.

DANTE
Basically.

RANDAL
So when they blew it up, no prob. Evil is
punished.

DANTE
And the second time around…?

RANDAL
The second time around, it wasn’t even
finished yet. They were still under
construction.

DANTE
So?

RANDAL
A construction job of that magnitude would
require a helluva lot more manpower than
the Imperial army had to offer. I’ll bet
there were independent contractors working
on that thing: plumbers, aluminum siders,
roofers.

DANTE
Not just Imperials, is what you’re getting
at.

RANDAL
Exactly. In order to get it built quickly
and quietly they’d hire anybody who could
do the job. Do you think the average storm
trooper knows how to install a toilet main?
All they know is killing and white
uniforms.

DANTE
All right, so even if independent
contractors are working on the Death Star,
why are you uneasy with its destruction?

RANDAL
All those innocent contractors hired to do
a job were killedcasualties of a war they
had nothing to do with.
(notices Dante’s confusion)
All right, look-you’re a roofer, and some
juicy government contract comes your way;
you got the wife and kids and the two-story
in suburbia-this is a government contract,
which means all sorts of benefits. All of a
sudden these left-wing militants blast you
with lasers and wipe out everyone within a
three-mile radius. You didn’t ask for that.
You have no personal politics. You’re just
trying to scrape out a living.
The BLUE-COLLAR MAN joins them.

BLUE-COLLAR MAN
Excuse me. I don’t mean to interrupt, but
what were you talking about?

RANDAL
The ending of Return of the Jedi.

DANTE
My friend is trying to convince me that any
contractors working on the uncompleted
Death Star were innocent victims when the
space station was destroyed by the rebels.

BLUE-COLLAR MAN
Well, I’m a contractor myself. I’m a
roofer…
(digs into pocket and produces
business card)
Dunn and Reddy Home Improvements. And
speaking as a roofer, I can say that a
roofer’s personal politics come heavily
into play when choosing jobs.

RANDAL
Like when?

BLUE-COLLAR MAN
Three months ago I was offered a job up in
the hills. A beautiful house with tons of
property. It was a simple reshingling job,
but I was told that if it was finished
within a day, my price would be doubled.
Then I realized whose house it was.

DANTE
Whose house was it?

BLUE-COLLAR MAN
Dominick Bambino’s.

RANDAL
“Babyface” Bambino? The gangster?

BLUE-COLLAR MAN
The same. The money was right, but the risk
was too big. I knew who he was, and based
on that, I passed the job on to a friend of
mine.

DANTE
Based on personal politics.

BLUE-COLLAR MAN
Right. And that week, the Foresci family
put a hit on Babyface’s house. My friend
was shot and killed. He wasn’t even
finished shingling.

RANDAL
No way!

BLUE-COLLAR MAN
(paying for coffee)
I’m alive because I knew there were risks
involved taking on that particular client.
My friend wasn’t so lucky.
(pauses to reflect)
You know, any contractor willing to work on
that Death Star knew the risks. If they
were killed, it was their own fault. A
roofer listens to this…
(taps his heart)
not his wallet.
The BLUE-COLLAR MAN exits. DANTE and RANDAL remain respectfully
quiet for a moment. An angry WOMAN opens the door and pokes her
head in.

WOMAN
Is that video store open or not?

CUT TO:
INT: VIDEO STORE. DAY
RANDAL reads a newspaper. An INDECISIVE CUSTOMER studies the
two rental choices she holds. She looks from one movie to the
other repeatedly.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
(attempting a solicit help)
They say so much, but they never tell you
if it’s any good.
RANDAL hardly stirs and continues to read his paper. The
INDECISIVE CUSTOMER half turns to see if her comment was even
heard. She tries again, but this time with a different
approach.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
Are either of these any good?
RANDAL continues to read. The INDECISIVE CUSTOMER tries harder,
then louder and more direct:

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
Sir!
RANDAL continues to read.

RANDAL
(flatly)
What.
The INDECISIVE CUSTOMER holds up her rental choices.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
(politely)
Are either of these any good?
RANDAL, as always, reads on.

RANDAL
(again, flatly)
I don’t watch movies.
The INDECISIVE CUSTOMER is a tad flabbergasted, but not put
off.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
Well, have you heard anything about either
of them?
RANDAL does his level best to not get involved.

RANDAL
(reading)
No.
The INDECISIVE CUSTOMER challenges him.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
(in disbelief)
You’ve never heard anybody say anything
about either movie?

RANDAL (O.C.)
I find it’s best to stay out of other
people’s affairs.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
(with a new determination)
Well, how about these two movies?
(holds up the same two)
RANDAL continues to read his paper, not looking up.

RANDAL
They suck.
The INDECISIVE CUSTOMER smirks smugly at RANDAL and his paper.
She has caught him.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
I just held up the same two movies. You’re
not even paying attention.

RANDAL
No, I wasn’t.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
I don’t think your manager would
appreciate…

RANDAL
(turning the page)
I don’t appreciate your ruse, ma’am.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
I beg your pardon!

RANDAL
(reading on)
Your ruse. Your cunning attempt to trick
me.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
(defending herself)
I only pointed out that you weren’t paying
any attention to what I was saying.

RANDAL
(turning page and reading)
I hope it feels good.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
You hope what feels good?

RANDAL
I hope it feels so good to be right. There
is nothing more exhilarating than pointing
out the shortcomings of others, is there?
The INDECISIVE CUSTOMER wears a face that belies utter
disbelief in the audacity of this most lackadaisical video
clerk. The unmoving newspaper illustrates the total disinterest
of the news-hungry RANDAL. The INDECISIVE CUSTOMER shakes her
head in disgust and throws the movies back onto the wall.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
(in a huff)
Well this is the last time I ever rent
here…

RANDAL
You’ll be missed.

INDECISIVE CUSTOMER
(losing it altogether)
Screw you!
She storms out. RANDAL is offended. He hops over the counter
and whips the door open.

RANDAL
(calling after her)
You’re not allowed to rent here anymore!
RANDAL closes the door and stands there, momentarily, totally
appalled by her exiting remark, then shakes his head.

RANDAL
Screw me!
He reaches behind the counter and grabs a ring of keys.
Exiting, he locks the door behind him from the outside, gives
it a tug to ensure its security, and storms off in the opposite
direction from the woman.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
DANTE is staring, open-mouthed, at something O.C. RANDAL hurls
the door open and immediately launches into his tirade.

RANDAL
You’ll never believe what this unruly
customer just said…

DANTE
(a hand up to urge him to hush)
Wait.

RANDAL
(looking around)
She’s in here?

DANTE
This guy is going through all of the eggs.
Look.
An ODD MAN sits on the floor, surrounded by cartons of eggs,
all opened. He grabs a carton from the cooler case, pops it
open, and examines each egg carefully.

DANTE (O.C.)
This has been going on for twenty minutes.
RANDAL and DANTE study the O.C. oddity.

RANDAL
What’s he looking for?

DANTE
He said he has to find a perfect dozen.

RANDAL
Perfect dozen.

DANTE
Each egg has to be perfect.

RANDAL
The quest isn’t going well?

DANTE
Obviously not. Look at all the cartons that
didn’t make the grade.
The ODD MAN holds an egg up to the light and studies it from
several different angles.

RANDAL (O.C.)
Why doesn’t he just mix and match?

DANTE
I told him that and he yelled at me.
RANDAL snickers at his friend.

RANDAL
What did he say?

DANTE
He said it was important to have standards.
He said nobody has pride anymore.

RANDAL
It’s not like you laid the eggs yourself.

DANTE
I’ll give him five more minutes then I’m
calling the cops. I don’t need this, man.
I’m not even supposed to be here today.
A SMOKER steps in.

SMOKER
Two packs of cigarettes.
Dante manages to break his study of the O.C. oddity and
searches for the smokes. The smoker glances at RANDAL and then
at the O.C. oddity.
The ODD MAN is spinning an egg on the floor. The SMOKER looks
at RANDAL.

RANDAL
(still staring at the ODD MAN)
I’m as puzzled as you.

SMOKER
(paying DANTE)
I’ve actually seen it before.

DANTE
You know him?

SMOKER
No, I’ve seen that behavior before. Looking
for the perfect carton of eggs, right?

RANDAL
(a bit astonished)
Yeah. How’d you know?

SMOKER
I’ll bet you a million bucks that the guy’s
a guidance counselor.

DANTE
Why do you say that?

SMOKER
I was in the Food City last year when the
same thing happened, different guy though.
Stock boy told me that the guy had been
looking through the eggs for like half an
hour, doing all sorts of endurance tests
and shit. I ask the kid how come nobody
called the manager, and he says it happens
twice a week, sometimes more.

RANDAL
Get out of here.

SMOKER
I kid you not. They call it Shell Shock.
Only happens with guidance counselors for
some reason. The kid said they used to make
a big deal about it, but there’s no point.
The ODD MAN places a handkerchief over an egg on the floor. He
quickly whisks the handkerchief away to reveal the egg still
sitting on the floor.

SMOKER (O.C.)
He said they always pay for whatever they
break and they never bother anybody.
DANTE, RANDAL and the SMOKER stare at the O.C. man.

DANTE
Why guidance counselors?

SMOKER
If your job served as little purpose as
theirs, wouldn’t you lose it, too?

RANDAL
Come to think of it, my guidance counselor
was kind of worthless.

SMOKER
(grabbing matches)
See? It’s important to have a job that
makes a difference, boys. That’s why I kill
Chinamen for the railroad.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
POV RANDAL: THE EMPTY COUNTER
And then a LITTLE GIRL comes into view, smiling and holding
money. She can’t be any more than five.

LITTLE GIRL
(innocently)
Can I have a pack of cigarettes?
RANDAL, without looking up from his magazine, completes the
transaction. THE LITTLE GIRL puts a cigarette in her mouth.
RANDAL hands her matches. DANTE returns to the counter as the
girl skips away. Dante holds a price gun.

DANTE
Did you ever notice all the prices end in
nine? Damn, that’s eerie.

RANDAL
You know how much money the average jizz-
mopper make per hour?

DANTE
What’s a jizz-mopper?

RANDAL
He’s the guy in those nudie-booth joints
who cleans up after each guy that jerks
off.

DANTE
Nudie booth?

RANDAL
Nudie booth. You’ve never been in a nudie
booth?

DANTE
I guess not.
A female CUSTOMER pops items onto the counter. DANTE rings her
up.

RANDAL
Oh, it’s great. You step into this little
booth and there’s this window between you
and this naked woman, and she puts on this
little show for like ten bucks.

DANTE
What kind of show?

RANDAL
Think of the weirdest, craziest shit you’d
like to see chicks do. These chicks do it
all. They insert things into any opening in
their body…any opening.
(to customer)
He’s led a very sheltered life.

DANTE
(indicating CUSTOMER)
Can we talk about this later?

RANDAL
The jizz-mopper’s job is to clean up the
booths afterward, because practically
everybody shoots a load against the window,
and I don’t know if you know or not, but
cum leaves streaks if you don’t clean it
right away.

CUSTOMER
(grabbing her bag, disgusted)
This is the last time I come to this place.

DANTE
Excuse me?

CUSTOMER
Using filthy language in front of the
customers…you should both get fired.

DANTE
We’re sorry, ma’am. We got a little carried
away.

CUSTOMER
Well, I don’t know if sorry can make up for
it. I found your remarks highly offensive.
The CUSTOMER stands silently, awaiting something.

RANDAL
Well, you think that’s offensive…
RANDAL flips open the magazine’s centerfold-a graphic picture
of a woman with her vaginal lips and anus spread wide open.

RANDAL
…then check this out. I think you can see
her kidneys.
RANDAL checks out the centerfold wistfully. DANTE frantically
apologizes to the rapidly exiting CUSTOMER.

DANTE
Ma’am, ma’am, I’m sorry! Please, wait a
second, ma’am…
The CUSTOMER is gone. DANTE’S pursuit stops at the counter.
DANTE turns on RANDAL.

DANTE
Why do you do things like that? You know
she’s going to come back and tell the boss.

RANDAL
Who cares? That lady’s an asshole.
Everybody that comes in here is way too
uptight. This job would be great if it
wasn’t for the fucking customers.

DANTE
I’m gonna hear it tomorrow.

RANDAL
You gotta loosen up, my friend. You’d feel
a hell of a lot better if you’d rip into
the occasional customer.

DANTE
What for? They don’t bother me if I don’t
bother them.

RANDAL
Liar! Tell me there aren’t customers that
annoy the piss out of you on a daily basis.

DANTE
There aren’t.

RANDAL
How can you lie like that? Why don’t you
vent? Vent your frustration. Come on, who
pisses you off?

DANTE
(reluctantly)
It’s not really anyone per se, it’s more of
separate groupings.

RANDAL
Let’s hear it.

DANTE
(pause)
The milkmaids.

RANDAL
The milkmaids?
INSERT: MILK HANDLER
A WOMAN pulls out gallon after gallon, looking deep into the
cooler for that perfect container of milk.

DANTE (O.C.)
The women that go through every gallon of
milk looking for a later date. As if
somewhere-beyond all the other gallons-is a
container of milk that won’t go bad for
like a decade.
END INSERT

RANDAL
You know who I can do without? I could do
without the people in the video store.

DANTE
Which ones?

RANDAL
All of them.
MONTAGE INSERT #1/VIDEO JERKS
A series of people addressing the camera, asking the dumb
questions.

FIRST
What would you get for a six-yearold boy
who chronically wets his bed?

SECOND
(in front of stocked new release
shelf)
Do you have any new movies in?

THIRD
Do you have that one with the guy who was
in that movie that was out last year?
END INSERT

RANDAL
And they never rent quality flicks; they
always pick the most intellectually devoid
movie on the rack.
MONTAGE INSERT #2/”Ooooh!…”
An identical series of customers finding their ideal choices.

FIRST
Ooooh! Home Alone!

SECOND
Ooooh! Hook!

THIRD
Ooooh! Navy Seals!
END INSERT
RANDAL
It’s like in order to join, they have to have an IQ less than
their shoe size.
DANTE
You think you get stupid questions? You should hear the barrage
of stupid questions I get.
MONTAGE INSERT #3/DUMB QUESTIONS
A series of people standing in various locations throughout the
convenience store, asking truly dumb questions.

FIRST
(holding coffee)
What do you mean there’s no ice? You mean
I’ve gotta drink this coffee hot?!

SECOND
(holding up item from clearly
marked $.99 display)
How much?

THIRD
(peeking in door)
Do you sell hubcaps?
END INSERT

RANDAL
See? You vented. Don’t you feel better now?

DANTE
No.

RANDAL
Why not?

DANTE
Because my ex-girlfriend is getting
married.

RANDAL
Jesus, you got a one-track mind. It’s
always Caitlin, Caitlin, Caitlin…

DANTE
(jerking head toward door)
Veronica!
DANTE gives RANDAL a shove to shut him up. VERONICA enters the
store, carrying books and something covered with aluminum foil.

VERONICA
What happened to home by twelve?
DANTE is suddenly by her side, taking the books from under her
arm.

DANTE
He still hasn’t shown up. Why aren’t you in
class?

VERONICA
Lit 101 got canceled, so I stopped home and
brought you some lunch.

DANTE
What is it?

VERONICA
Peanut butter and jelly with the crusts cut
off. What do you think it is? It’s lasagne.

DANTE
Really?
(kisses her forehead)
You’re the best.

VERONICA
I’m glad you’ve calmed down a bit.
(to RANDAL)
Hi, Randal.

RANDAL (O.C.)
(exaggeratively impressed)
Thirty-seven!

DANTE
(to O.C.)
Shut up!
(to VERONICA)
Yes, I’ve calmed down, I’m still not happy
about it, but I’ve been able to deal.
RANDAL makes loud slurping noises from O.C.

DANTE
(to O.C.)
Why don’t you go back to the video store?
RANDAL walks past the two, and pats VERONICA on the head. He
exits.

VERONICA
You had to tell him.

DANTE
I had to tell someone. He put it into
perspective.

VERONICA
What did he say?

DANTE
At least he wasn’t thirty-six.

VERONICA
And that made you feel better?

DANTE
And he said most of them are college guys,
I’ve never met or seen.

VERONICA
The ostrich syndrome: if you don’t see
it…

DANTE
…it isn’t there. Yes.

VERONICA
Thank you for being rational.

DANTE
Thank you for the lasagne.

VERONICA
You couldn’t get these shutters open?

DANTE
I called a locksmith and he said the
earliest he could get here it tomorrow.

VERONICA
Bummer, Well, I’ve gotta head back for the
one-thirty class.

DANTE
What time do you get finished?

VERONICA
Eight. But I have a sorority meeting till
nine, so I’ll be back before you close. Can
we go out and get some coffee?

DANTE
Sure.

VERONICA
Good.
(kisses him)
I’ll see you when you close, then. Enjoy
the lasagne.
She exits. DANTE leans against the magazine rack with his
lasagne, contemplative. RANDAL pops his head in and makes the
loud slurping noise again.

CUT TO:
INT: VIDEO STORE. DAY
RANDAL is recommending titles to potential customers.

RANDAL
All right, now if you’re really feeling
dangerous tonight, then Smokey and the
Bandit Three is the movie you must rent.

CUSTOMER
(studying box)
This doesn’t even have Burt Reynolds in it.

RANDAL
Hey, neither did ET; but that was a great
movie, right?
DANTE opens the door and leans in.

DANTE
Can you come next door? I gotta make a
phone call.

RANDAL
(to DANTE)
Smokey Three: thumbs up, am I right?

DANTE
The best Burtless movie ever made.
DANTE exits. RANDAL gives his customers the what-did-I-tellyou
look.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
THE CAT lies on the counter. Pull back to reveal RANDAL as he
rings up an order. The CUSTOMER pets the cat, smiling.

CUSTOMER
Awww, he’s so cute. What’s his name?

RANDAL
Lenin’s Tomb.
Dolly over to DANTE, on the phone.

DANTE
Hello, is Mr. Synder there? This is
Dante…Did he say if he was on his way
here?…Here…The convenience store…I
know, but the other guy called out this
morning and Mr. Synder asked me to cover
until he got here. He said he’d be here by
noon, but it’s one-thirty now, so
I…Excuse me…Vermont?!…No, that can’t
be; I talked to him this morning…He left
at what time?…He really went to
Vermont?…When the hell was someone going
to tell me?…He promised he was coming by
noon!…Jesus…When does he get
back?!…TUESDAY!…You’ve gotta be fucking
kidding me!…I’ve got a hockey game at
two, and the fucking shutters are jammed
closed, and he’s in Vermont?…I’m not even
supposed to be here today!!
(deep sigh)
So I’m stuck here till closing?…This is
just great…I just can’t believe…I’m
sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at
you…No…No, I’ll be all right…Well,
that’s all I can do, right?…Thanks.
He hangs up. RANDAL joins him.

RANDAL
Vermont?

DANTE
Can you believe this?!

RANDAL
He didn’t mention it when he called you
this morning?

DANTE
Not a fucking word! Slippery shit!

RANDAL
So, what-you’re stuck here all day?

DANTE
FUCK!

RANDAL
Why’d you apologize?

DANTE
What?

RANDAL
I heard you apologize. Why? You have every
right in the world to be mad.

DANTE
I know.

RANDAL
That seems to be the leitmotif in your
life; ever backing down.

DANTE
I don’t back down.

RANDAL
Yes, you do. You always back down. You
assume blame that isn’t yours, you come in
when called as opposed to enjoying your day
off, you buckle like a belt.

DANTE
You know what pisses me off the most?

RANDAL
The fact that I’m right about your
buckling?

DANTE
I’m going to miss the game.

RANDAL
Because you buckled.

DANTE
Would you shut the hell up with that shit?
It’s not helping.

RANDAL
Don’t yell at me, pal.

DANTE
Sorry.

RANDAL
See? There you go again.

DANTE
I can’t believe I’m going to miss the game!

RANDAL
At least we’re stuck here together.

DANTE
You’ve got a customer.
RANDAL walks away.

RANDAL (O.C.)
What? What do you want?!
DANTE shakes his head in frustration and picks up the phone
again.

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DANTE
Sanford? Dante…I can’t play today…I’m
stuck at work…I know I’m not scheduled,
but-just forget it. I can’t play…Neither
can Randal…He’s working too…
RANDAL comes back. DANTE rolls his eyes to the ceiling.

DANTE
(getting an idea)
Wait a second. Do we have to play at the
park?…Hold on…
(to RANDAL)
Do you feel limber?

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
TAPE is rolled around the top of a stick. Laces are pulled
tightly. An orange ball is slapped back and forth by a blade.
The HOCKEY PLAYERS fill the convenience store. Some sit on the
floor or lean against the coolers, but all are either preparing
or practicing. RANDAL enters, wearing his equipment. DANTE
skates to his side.

DANTE
(lifting his foot)
Pull my laces tighter.

RANDAL
(drops mitt and pulls laces)
I’ve gotta tell you, my friend: this is one
of the ballsiest moves I’ve ever been privy
to. I never would have thought you capable
of such blatant disregard of store policy.

DANTE
I told him I had a game today. It’s his own
fault.

RANDAL
No argument here. Insubordination rules.

DANTE
I just want to play hockey like I was
scheduled to.
SANFORD skates up and skids to a halt.

SANFORD
Dante, let me grab a Gatorade.

DANTE
If you grab a Gatorade, then everybody’s
going to grab one.

SANFORD
So?

DANTE
So? So nobody’s going to want to pay for
these Gatorades.

SANFORD
What do you care? Hey, what smells like
shoe polish?

DANTE
I’ve got a responsibility here. I can’t let
everybody grab free drinks.

SANFORD
What responsibility? You’re closing the
fucking store to play hockey.

RANDAL
He’s blunt, but he’s got a point.

DANTE
At least let me maintain some semblance of
managerial control here.

SANFORD
All I’m saying is if you’re going to be
insubordinate, you should go the full nine
and not pussy out when it comes to free
refreshments.

RANDAL
He’s right. As if we’re suddenly gonna have
a run on Gatorade.

SANFORD
Fuckin-A.

DANTE
All right. Jesus, you fuckers are pushy.

SANFORD
Hey man, I hear Caitlin’s marrying an Asian
drum major.

RANDAL
Design major.

DANTE
Can we not talk about this?

SANFORD
Fine by me. But you’re living in denial and
suppressing rage.
(skating away; to all)
Dante said we can all drink free Gatorade.
A laid-back hurrah is heard.

RANDAL
Are you gonna lock the store?

DANTE
I don’t know. You going to lock the video
store?

RANDAL
Look who you’re asking here. How’re we
gonna block off the street?

DANTE
We’re not playing in the street.

RANDAL
Then where’re we gonna play?

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
The sign on the door reads:
TEMPORARILY CLOSED. BE OPEN AFTER FIRST PERIOD.
The PLAYERS ascend a ladder adjacent to the door, one by one.
ON THE ROOF they jump off the ladder and skate around. More
players join them.
From across the street we get the full, odd perspective: a
store with many men gliding around on the roof.
On the roof DANTE skates and passes with another player.
REDDING stretches, leaning against the sign. RANDAL pulls his
mask on and slaps his glove, urging a shot. SANFORD skates in
and takes a shot, which RANDAL blocks. JAY and SILENT BOB deal
to a player: he drops money over the ledge and JAY throws up a
dime bag. DANTE holds a ball in the center of the court.

DANTE
Ready?
PLAYERS take positions. SANFORD comes to the center and holds
the ball in drop position. DANTE and REDDING face off, and the
ball is in play.
The game begins as the players engage in a savage ballet. Faces
are smashed with sticks, slide tackles are made, shots are
taken, CU’s of various players included.
INACTIVE PLAYERS call out encouragement and slander from the
sidelines. More game playing including both goalies getting
scored on and more face-offs.
Below, a CUSTOMER tugs on the convenience store door. He reads
the sign and then backs up into the street, attempting to peer
over the ledge. Above, the game continues.
Below, the CUSTOMER shifts from one foot to the other
impatiently. He grabs the ladder and quickly ascends.
Above, from over the ledge of the roof, we see the head of the
customer peek. Skating feet pass rapidly before him, and he
watches for a moment before calling out.

CUSTOMER
When’s this period over?

SOMEONE (O.C.)
Eight more minutes!

CUSTOMER
Are you shitting me? I want to get
cigarettes!
DANTE skids to the sidelines.

DANTE
(out of breath)
If you can just wait a few more minutes.

CUSTOMER
Fuck that! I’m gonna break my crazy neck on
this ladder!

SOMEONE (O.C.)
Dante! Where are you?!

CUSTOMER
He’s busy!
DANTE starts to skate away.

DANTE
I’ll be right back. It’s almost over.
He jumps back into the game.

CUSTOMER
What the fuck is this?! I want some
service!

DANTE (O.C.)
In a second!

CUSTOMER
Fuck in a second! This is…Look at you!
You can’t even pass!

DANTE (O.C.)
I can pass!

CUSTOMER
How ’bout covering point!? You suck!
DANTE skids back to the sidelines to address the CUSTOMER.

DANTE
Who are you to make assessments?

CUSTOMER
I’ll assess all I want!

SOMEONE (O.C.)
DANTE! ARE YOU IN OR OUT!

CUSTOMER
(to O.C. SOMEONE)
Don’t pass to this guy! He sucks!
(to DANTE)
You suck!

DANTE
Like you’re better!

CUSTOMER
I can whip your ass.
Below, a WOMAN pulls at the door. She peers into the store,
face against the glass.

DANTE (O.C.)
That’s easy to say from over here.

CUSTOMER (O.C.)
Give me a stick, pretty boy! I’ll knock
your fucking teeth out and pass all over
your ass.
The WOMAN backs up and, shielding her eyes, looks toward the
roof.

WOMAN
Is the convenience store open?
Above, DANTE and the CUSTOMER shout down at the O.C. WOMAN.

DANTE AND CUSTOMER
(simultaneously)
NO!

DANTE
(to CUSTOMER)
There’s a stick over there. You’re shooting
against the goal.
(to the court)
REDDING! COME OFF AND LET THIS FUCK ON!
A new face-off pits DANTE against the CUSTOMER. The ball drops
between the two and DANTE gets flattened. The CUSTOMER winds up
and takes a hard shot. The ball sails off the court, through
the air, and into a faraway yard. DANTE calls to the sidelines.

DANTE
Give me another ball.

SOMEONE (O.C.)
There are no more.

DANTE
What the fuck are you talking about? How
many balls did you bring?
SANFORD skates up to him.

SANFORD
(counting)
There was the orange ball…and the orange
ball.
DANTE scrambles to the edge and calls over.

DANTE
Are there any balls down there?!

JAY (O.C.)
‘Bout the biggest pair you ever seen!
NYNNE!!
DANTE looks around, hyperventilating.

DANTE
You only brought one ball?!

SANFORD
I thought Redding had like three balls!

REDDING (O.C.)
I thought Dante had the balls.

DANTE
Nobody has another ball?

SANFORD
Shit!

DANTE
We get…what…twelve minutes of game, and
it’s over? Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!!
(pause; rubs head)
I’m not even supposed to be here today!
DANTE skates off.

SANFORD
We still get free Gatorade, right?

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
DANTE standing on a ladder, replaces a fluorescent light. An
OLD MAN joins him at the foot of the ladder.

OLD MAN
Be careful.

DANTE
I’m trying.

OLD MAN
You know the insides of those are filled
with stuff that gives you cancer.

DANTE
So I’m told.

OLD MAN
I had a friend that used to chew glass for
a living. In the circus.
The light in place, DANTE descends the ladder and closes it.

DANTE
And he got cancer by chewing fluorescent
bulb glass…?

OLD MAN
No, he got hit by a bus.

DANTE
(confused)
Oh…Can I help you?

OLD MAN
Well, that depends. Do you have a bathroom?

DANTE
Um…yeah, but it’s for employees only.

OLD MAN
I understand, but can I use it. I’m not
that young anymore, so I’m kind of…you
know…incontinent.

DANTE
Uh…sure. Go ahead. It’s back through the
cooler.

OLD MAN
Thanks son. Say-what kind of toilet paper
you got back there?

DANTE
The white kind.

OLD MAN
I’m not asking about the color. I mean is
it rough or cottony?

DANTE
Actually, it is kind of rough.

OLD MAN
Rough, eh? Oh, that stuff rips hell out of
my hemorrhoids. Say, would you mind if I
took a roll of the soft stuff back there. I
see you sell the soft stuff.

DANTE
Yeah, but…

OLD MAN
Aw, c’mon boy. What’s the difference? You
said yourself the stuff that’s there now is
rough.

DANTE
Yeah, okay. Go ahead.

OLD MAN
Thanks son, you’re a lifesaver.
The OLD MAN walks off. DANTE heads back to the counter. The OLD
MAN returns.

OLD MAN
Say, young fella, you know I hate to bother
you again, but can I take a paper or
something back there…to read? It usually
takes me a while, and I like to read while
it’s going on.

DANTE
Jesus…go ahead.

OLD MAN
Thanks, young man. You’ve got a heart of
gold.
The OLD MAN sifts through some papers and a few magazines. He
comes back to the counter.

DANTE
You know, you probably could’ve been home,
already, in the time it’s taken you to get
in there.

OLD MAN
Can I trouble you for one of those
magazines?

DANTE
I said go ahead.

OLD MAN
No, I mean the ones there. Behind the
counter.
DANTE glances over and reacts.

DANTE
The porno mags?

OLD MAN
Yeah. I like the cartoons. They make me
laugh. They draw the biggest titties.

DANTE
(hands one to him)
Here. Now leave me alone.

OLD MAN
Uh, can I have the other one. The one below
this one. They show more in that one.
DANTE makes the switch.

OLD MAN
Thanks son. I appreciate this.
The OLD MAN walks off. We hear the back door open and close,
then the front door does the same. RANDAL joins DANTE.

RANDAL
Helluva game!

DANTE
One ball!! They come all the way here…I
close the damn store…for one ball!

RANDAL
Hockey’s hockey. At least we got to play.

DANTE
Randal, twelve minutes is not a game!
Jesus, it’s barely a warm-up!

RANDAL
Bitch, bitch, bitch. You want something to
drink?
(walking away)

DANTE
Gatorade.
Pause. Then…

RANDAL (O.C.)
What happened to all the Gatorade?

DANTE
Exactly. They drank it all.

RANDAL (O.C.)
After an exhausting game like that I can
believe it.

DANTE
(as RANDAL)
“It’s not like we’re gonna sell out.”
RANDAL comes back with drinks.

RANDAL
You know what Sanford told me?
(offering drink)

DANTE
I still can’t believe Caitlin’s getting
married.

RANDAL
Julie Dwyer died.

DANTE
Yeah, right.

RANDAL
No, I’m serious.
DANTE is visibly taken aback.

DANTE
Oh, my god.

RANDAL
Sanford’s brother dates her cousin. He
found out this morning.

DANTE
How? When?

RANDAL
Embolism in her brain. Yesterday.

DANTE
Jesus.

RANDAL
She was swimming at the YMCA pool when it
happened. Died midbackstroke.

DANTE
I haven’t seen her in almost two years.

RANDAL
Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t she one
of the illustrious twelve?

DANTE
Number six.

RANDAL
You’ve had sex with a dead person.

DANTE
I’m gonna go to her wake.

RANDAL
No, you’re not.

DANTE
Why not?

RANDAL
It’s today.

DANTE
What!?

RANDAL
Paulsen’s Funeral Parlor. The next show is
at four.

DANTE
Shit. What about tomorrow?

RANDAL
One night only. She’s buried in the
morning.

DANTE
You’ve gotta watch the store. I have to go
to this.

RANDAL
Wait, wait, wait. Has it occurred to you
that I might bereaved as well?

DANTE
You hardly knew her!

RANDAL
True, but do you know how many people are
going to be there? All of our old
classmates, to say the least.

DANTE
Stop it. This is beneath even you.

RANDAL
I’m not missing what’s probably going to be
the social event of the season.

DANTE
You hate people.

RANDAL
But I love gatherings. Isn’t it ironic?

DANTE
Don’t be an asshole. Somebody has to stay
with the store.

RANDAL
If you go, I go.

DANTE
She meant nothing to you!

RANDAL
She meant nothing to you either until I
told you she died.

DANTE
I’m not taking you to this funeral.

RANDAL
I’m going with you.

DANTE
I can’t close the store.

RANDAL
You just closed the store to play hockey on
the roof!

DANTE
Exactly, which means I can’t close it for
another hour so we can both go to a wake.

CUT TO:
INT CAR: DAY
DANTE drives with passenger RANDAL, their backs to the camera.

RANDAL
You were saying?

DANTE
Thanks for putting me in a tough spot.
You’re a good friend.
Silence. Then…

RANDAL
She was pretty young, hunhh?

DANTE
Twenty-two; same as us.

RANDAL
An embolism in a pool.

DANTE
An embarrassing way to die.

RANDAL
That’s nothing compared to how my cousin
Walter died.

DANTE
How’d he die?

RANDAL
Broke his neck.

DANTE
That’s embarrassing?

RANDAL
He broke his neck trying to suck his own
dick.
Absolute silence. Then…

DANTE
Shut the hell up.

RANDAL
Bible truth.

DANTE
Stop it.

RANDAL
I swear.

DANTE
Oh, my god.

RANDAL
Come on. Haven’t you ever tried to suck
your own dick?

DANTE
No!

RANDAL
Yeah sure. You’re so repressed.

DANTE
Because I never tried to suck my own dick?

RANDAL
No, because you won’t admit to it. As if a
guy’s a fucking pervert because he tries to
go down on himself. You’re as curious as
the rest of us, pal. You’ve tried it.

DANTE
Who found him?

RANDAL
My cousin? My aunt found him. On his bed,
doubled over himself with his legs on top.
Dick in his mouth. My aunt freaked out. It
was a mess.

DANTE
His dick was in his mouth?

RANDAL
Balls resting on his lips.

DANTE
He made it, hunhh?

RANDAL
Yeah, but at what a price.
Silence. Then…

DANTE
I could never reach.

RANDAL
Reach what?

DANTE
You know.

RANDAL
What, your dick?

DANTE
Yeah. Like you said, you know. I guess
everyone tries it, sooner of later.

RANDAL
I never tried it.
DANTE glares at RANDAL. Silence. Then…

RANDAL
Fucking pervert.

CUT TO:
EXT: FUNERAL PARLOR. DAY
DANTE and RANDAL walk up the path to the funeral parlor.

DANTE
I know it was a bad idea to close the
store.

RANDAL
Listen to you.

DANTE
I can’t help it. At least when we were
playing hockey outside, I could see if
anyone wanted to go in.

RANDAL
Nobody’s there. It’s four o’clock on a
Saturday. How many people ever come to the
store at four on a Saturday?

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
A MASSIVE CROWD is outside the store.

CUT TO:
EXT: FUNERAL PARLOR. DAY
DANTE and RANDAL run from the front door, closely chased by a
small crowd of angry mourners. Car locks are slammed down. The
car screams away. The pursuing crowd stands in the middle of
the street, shaking their fists, throwing things.

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. NIGHT
The car pulls up and RANDAL and DANTE get out. Absolutely
nobody is outside.

DANTE
(furious)
I can’t fucking believe you!!

RANDAL
I’m telling you, it wasn’t my fault!

DANTE
You knocked the fucking casket over, for
Chrissakes!

RANDAL
I was just leaning on it! It was an
accident!

DANTE
Does anyone ever knock over a casket on
purpose?

RANDAL
So the casket fell over! Big deal!

DANTE
Her fucking body fell out!

RANDAL
So they’ll put her back in! It’s not like
it’s gonna matter if she breaks something!

DANTE
(opening door)
Just…go! Go open the video store.

JAY (O.C.)
(mimicking)
Yeah! Open the video store!!

RANDAL
(to O.C.)
Shut the fuck up, junkie!
JAY enters the frame, right next to RANDAL. He aims his butt at
him and farts. RANDAL lunges for him. DANTE grabs RANDAL.

DANTE
(to RANDAL)
Go open the video store.

JAY
Yeah, you cock-smoking clerk.

DANTE
(to JAY)
How many times I gotta tell you not to deal
outside the store.

JAY
I’m not dealing.
A KID tugs at JAY’S shirt.

KID
You got anything, man?

JAY
Yeah, what do you want?
RANDAL heads to the video store. DANTE enters the convenience
store and slides the sign to OPEN. After a few seconds, the
IMPATIENT CUSTOMER (guy who lost his keys) appears, flashlight
in hand, scanning the ground.

IMPATIENT CUSTOMER
(to JAY)
Hey, did you see a set of keys lying around
here somewhere?

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. NIGHT
DANTE rearranges the milk. RANDAL joins him.

RANDAL
Let me borrow your car.

DANTE
I don’t want to talk to you.

RANDAL
Fine. Just lend me your car.

DANTE
Why should I loan you my car?

RANDAL
I want to rent a movie.

DANTE
(pause)
You want to rent a movie.
DANTE walks away, shaking his head.

RANDAL
What’s that for?

DANTE
You work in a video store!
They head back to the counter.

RANDAL
I work in a shitty video store. I want to
go to a good video store so I can rent a
good movie.

CUSTOMER
Are you open?

DANTE AND RANDAL
(simultaneously)
YES!
The CUSTOMER comes to the counter.

CUSTOMER
Pack of cigarettes.
(pets cat)
Cute cat. What’s its name?

RANDAL
Annoying Customer.
The CUSTOMER lets it sink in, and then leaves in a huff. DANTE
puts up cigarettes.

DANTE
Can you imagine being halfway decent to the
customers at least some of the time?

RANDAL
Let me borrow your car.

DANTE
(calmer)
May I be blunt with you?

RANDAL
If you must.

DANTE
We are employees of Quick Stop Convenience
and RST video, respectively. As such, we
have certain responsibilities whichthough
it may seem cruel and unusual-does include
manning our posts until closing.

RANDAL
I see. So playing hockey and attending
wakes-these practices are standard
operating procedure.

DANTE
There’s a difference. Those were
obligations. Obligations that could not
have been met at any later date. Now
renting videos-that’s just gratuitous, not
to mention illogical, considering you work
in a video store.
Another CUSTOMER leans in.

CUSTOMER
Are you open?

DANTE
(rolls his eyes)
Yes.

RANDAL
You know what? I don’t think I care for you
rationale.

DANTE
It’s going to have to do for now,
considering that it’s my car that’s up for
request.
(to CUSTOMER)
Can I help you?

CUSTOMER
Pack of cigarettes.

RANDAL
What’s your point?

DANTE
My point is that you’re a clerk, paid to do
a job. You can’t just do anything you want
while you’re working.

CUSTOMER
(reading tabloid)
“Space Alien Revealed as Head of Time
Warner; Reports Stock Increase.”
(to DANTE and RANDAL)
They print any kind of shit in these
papers.

DANTE
They certainly do. Two fifty-five.

RANDAL
So your argument is that title dictates
behavior?

DANTE
What?

RANDAL
The reasons you won’t let me borrow your
care is because I have a title and a job
description, and I’m supposed to follow it,
right?

DANTE
Exactly.

CUSTOMER
(interjecting)
I saw one, one time, that said the world
was ending the next week. Then in the next
week’s paper, they said we were
miraculously saved at the zero hour by a
Koala-fish mutant bird. Crazy shit.

RANDAL
(eyes the CUSTOMER, annoyed)
So I’m no more responsible for my own
decisions while I’m here at work than, say,
the Death Squad soldiers in Bosnia?

DANTE
That’s stretching it. You’re not being
asked to slay children or anything.

RANDAL
Not yet.
(sips water)

CUSTOMER
(again with the interjections)
And I remember this one time the damn paper
said…
RANDAL spits a mist of water at the customer, drenching him.
The man reacts violently, attempting to grab RANDAL from over
the counter. RANDAL makes no move, but remains untouched. DANTE
plays block.

CUSTOMER
I’M GONNA BREAK YOUR FUCKING HEAD! YOU
FUCKING JERKOFF!

DANTE
Sir! Sir, I’m sorry! He didn’t mean it! He
was trying to get me.

CUSTOMER
Well, he missed!

DANTE
I know. I’m sorry. Let me refund your
cigarette money, and we’ll call it even.

CUSTOMER
(considerably calmer; takes money)
This is the last time I ever come here.
(to RANDAL)
And if I ever see you again, I’m gonna
break your fucking head open!
The CUSTOMER leaves, wiping water from his face. RANDAL salutes
him.

DANTE
(angrily)
What the fuck did you do that for?

RANDAL
Two reasons: one, I hate when the people
can’t shut up about the stupid tabloid
headlines.

DANTE
Jesus!

RANDAL
And two, to make a point: title does not
dictate behavior.

DANTE
What?

RANDAL
If title dictated my behavior, as a clerk
serving the public, I wouldn’t be allowed
to spit a mouthful of water at that guy.
But I did, so my point is that people
dictate their own behavior. Hence, even
though I’m a clerk in this video store, I
choose to go rent videos at Big Choice.
(extends opened palm)
Agreed?

DANTE
(shakes his head; hands over keys)
You’re a danger to both the dead and the
living.

RANDAL
I like to think I’m a master of my own
destiny.

DANTE
Please, get the hell out of here.

RANDAL
I know I’m your hero.
RANDAL exits.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. DAY
DANTE waits on a customer (TRAINER). He lifts the gallon of
milk into a paper bag, letting out a slight grunt.

TRAINER
Sounds to me like somebody needs to hit the
gym.

DANTE
Excuse me?

TRAINER
I heard you strain when you put the milk in
the bag. That milk only weighs about seven
pounds.

DANTE
I didn’t strain. I sighed.

TRAINER
I don’t think so. That was a grunt; a deep
inhalation of oxygen to aid in the
stretching of muscles. I’m a trainer. I
know what that sound signifies: you’re out
of shape.

DANTE
I don’t think so.

TRAINER
Oh, I do. You made the same noise when you
reached across the counter for my cash.
Your muscles are thin and sadly
underutilized.

DANTE
They are not.

TRAINER
Yes, they are. You’re out of shape.

DANTE
What are you talking about? There’s no fat
on this body.

TRAINER
No fat, but no tone either. You don’t get
enough exercise.
A female customer (HEATHER) leans in the doorway.

HEATHER
Are you open?

DANTE
Yes.

HEATHER
(grabs a paper)
Just the paper.

DANTE
(to HEATHER)
Thirty-fire.

TRAINER
(to HEATHER)
Let me ask you a question: Do you think
this guy’s out of shape?

HEATHER
(studies DANTE)
I don’t know. I can’t really tell from
here.

TRAINER
He is.

DANTE
I am not.

TRAINER
How much can you bench?

DANTE
I don’t know.

HEATHER
(studying DANTE)
I’d say about sixty, seventy-tops.

DANTE
I know I can bench more than that!

TRAINER
I think the lady called it.

HEATHER
My ex-boyfriend was about his height, but
he was much bulkier. He could bench two-
fifty, three hundred easy.

TRAINER
I do about three-fifty, four.

HEATHER
No way!

TRAINER
(rolling up sleeve)
Feel that.

HEATHER
That’s tight. Solid.

TRAINER
Now feel his.
(to DANTE)
Roll up your sleeve, chief.

DANTE
Oh for God’s sake!

TRAINER
See? You’re ashamed. You know you’re out of
shape. Take my card. I can help you tone
that body up in no time. Get you on an
aerobics and free-weights program.
A SUITED MAN carrying a notebook comes to the counter.

SUITED MAN
You open?

DANTE
(to MAN)
Yes.
(to TRAINER)
I’m not out of shape.

SUITED MAN
Excuse me, but have you been here all day?

DANTE
What?

HEATHER
(still studying DANTE)
He’s got those love handles.

DANTE
(to HEATHER)
I don’t have love handles.

SUITED MAN
Were you working here at about four
o’clock?

DANTE
I’ve been here since six o’clock this
morning. Why?

TRAINER
(to HEATHER)
It’s probably from being around all this
food every day.

HEATHER
Oh, I know. If I had to work here all day,
I’d be bloated and out of shape, too.

DANTE
I’m not out of shape!

SUITED MAN
Can I have your name please?

DANTE
Dante Hicks. Why? What is this about?
The SUITED MAN scribbles in his notebook.

HEATHER
You’re Dante Hicks? Oh my God! I didn’t
even recognize you!

TRAINER
Because he’s out of shape.

DANTE
Do I know you?

HEATHER
You remember Alyssa Jones? She hung out
with…

DANTE
Caitlin Bree. Yeah?

HEATHER
I’m her sister.

DANTE
You’re Alyssa’s sister? Heather?

HEATHER
Yep. I remember you got caught in my
parents’ room with Caitlin once.

TRAINER
Did you say Caitlin Bree?

DANTE
Yeah.

TRAINER
Pretty girl, about this girl’s height-dark
hair-gorgeous body?

DANTE
Yeah?

TRAINER
And your name is Dante Hicks? You went to
high school with her? You played hockey?

DANTE
How do you know that?

TRAINER
Oh man! Hey, you still going out with her?

DANTE
No, she’s getting married.

TRAINER
To you?

HEATHER
To an Asian design major.

TRAINER
Shit!
(to DANTE)
Don’t take this the wrong way, but I used
to fuck her.

DANTE
What?

TRAINER
While you two were dating in high school.
We’re talking four, five years ago, back
when I drove a Trans-Am.

HEATHER
Oh my God! You’re Rick Derris?

TRAINER
Yeah!

DANTE
You know him?

HEATHER
Caitlin used to talk about him all the
time.

TRAINER
Really?

HEATHER
Oh yeah. You were the built older guy with
the black Trans and the big…

DANTE
Wait a second!
(to TRAINER)
You used to sleep with Caitlin Bree? While
I was dating her?

TRAINER
All the time. That girl was like a rabbit.

DANTE
I…I don’t believe this…

HEATHER
(to TRAINER)
I still remember Caitlin telling us about
that time you two went to that motel-the
one with the mirrors and the hot tub in the
room.

DANTE
THE GLADES MOTEL?

TRAINER
Holy shit! She told you about that!
(to DANTE)
Buddy of mine worked there. Said he watched
the whole thing. They used to film people
at that hotel; nobody knew about it.

HEATHER
She said one time you set up a tent on the
beach and you guys did it in the middle of
this big rainstorm.

DANTE
What? When? When did all this shit happen?

TRAINER
Hey man, that was a long time ago. Don’t
let it get to you.

HEATHER
I’m surprised you never found out about it,
Dante. Everybody in school knew-even in my
class.

DANTE
Jesus Christ, what next?
The SUITED MAN rips a piece of paper out of his notebook and
hands it to DANTE.

SUITED MAN
Here you go.

DANTE
What’s this?

SUITED MAN
A fine, for five hundred dollars.

DANTE
WHAT?

TRAINER
Five hundred bucks? What for?

SUITED MAN
For violation of New Jersey Statute Section
Two A, number one-seventy slash fifty-one:
Any person who sells or makes available
tobacco or tobacco-related products to
persons under the age of eighteen is
regarded as disorderly.

DANTE
What are you talking about?

SUITED MAN
According to the NJAC-the New Jersey
Administrative Code, section eighteen,
five, slash twelve point five-a fine of no
less than two hundred and fifty dollars is
to be leveled against any person reported
selling cigarettes to a minor.

DANTE
I didn’t do that!

SUITED MAN
You said you were here all day?

DANTE
Yeah, but I didn’t sell cigarettes to any
kids!

SUITED MAN
An angry mother called the state division
of taxation and complained that the man
working at Quick Stop Convenience sold her
five-year-old daughter cigarettes today at
around four o’clock. Division of taxation
calls the State Board of Health, and they
send me down here to issue a fine. You say
you were working all day, hence the fine is
yours. It’s doubled due to the incredibly
young age of the child.

DANTE
But I didn’t sell cigarettes to any kid!

TRAINER
To a five-year-old kid? What a scumbag!

HEATHER
That’s sick, Dante.

DANTE
I didn’t sell cigarettes to any kids! I
swear!

SUITED MAN
The due date is on the bottom. This summons
cannot be contested in any court of law.
Failure to remit before the due date will
result in a charge of criminal negligence,
and a warrant will be issued for your
arrest. Have a nice day.
The SUITED MAN exits, with DANTE trying to follow.

DANTE
But I didn’t sell cigarettes to any kids!
Hey!

TRAINER
(takes back the card)
Forget it. I don’t want to deal with a guy
that sells cigarettes to a five-year-old.
(to HEATHER)
Can I offer you a ride somewhere?

HEATHER
Sure. How about the beach?

TRAINER
I like the way you think.
The two exit. DANTE, alone, studies his summons. He rubs his
forehead.

DANTE
Jesus! What next?

VOICE (O.C.)
Dante?
DANTE spins, angrily.

DANTE
What?
His expression softens.

DANTE
Caitlin?

CUT TO:
EXT: VIDEO STORE. NIGHT
JAY deals with a customer as SILENT BOB looks on.

JAY
That’s the price, my brother.

JOHN
Yo, I don’t have that kind of cash.

JAY
For this kind of hash, you need that kind
of cash.

JOHN
How long you gonna be here?

JAY
Till ten. Then I’m going to John K’s party.

JOHN
You’re gonna be at John K’s party?

JAY
(to SILENT BOB)
My man is deaf.
(yelling)
I’M GOING TO JOHN K’S PARTY!
(quieter)
Neh.

JOHN
Yo, don’t sell all that. ‘Cause I’m gonna
get the cash and buy it from you at John
K’s. You’re gonna bring it, right?

JAY
The only place I don’t bring my drugs is
church. And that ain’t till Sunday morning.

JOHN
Yo. I’ll see you at that party.
(puts his hand up to be slapped)
I’ll see you there?

JAY
(reluctantly slapping hands)
I’ll see you there.
JOHN leaves. JAY turns to SILENT BOB.

JAY
It’s motherfuckers like that who give
recreational drug users a bag name.
(suddenly spotting someone O.C.)
HEY BABY! YOU EVER HAD YOUR ASSHOLE LICKED?

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. NIGHT
DANTE and CAITLIN are embracing very tightly. We hold on them
for a few seconds, just to let it sink in. Then…

DANTE
When did you get back?

CAITLIN
Just now.

DANTE
My God. I haven’t seen you since…
(he hugs her again)

CAITLIN
Dante. You’ve got a customer.
DANTE hops behind the counter. A customer pays for something
while DANTE continues to talk.

CAITLIN
I just saw Alyssa’s little sister outside.
She was with Rick Derris.

DANTE
Let’s not talk about that. How’d you get
home?

CAITLIN
Train. It took eight hours.

DANTE
I can’t believe you’re here.
Another customer comes to the counter.

CUSTOMER
Excuse me, do you have…

DANTE
(to CUSTOMER)
To the back, above the oil.
(to CAITLIN)
How long are you staying?

CAITLIN
Until Monday. Then I have to take the train
back.
Yet another customer comes to the counter.

CUSTOMER
Pack of cigarettes.
(to CAITLIN)
Congratulations. I saw that announcement in
today’s paper.
(to DANTE)
She’s marrying an Asian design major.

DANTE
So I’m told.

CUT TO:
EXT: VIDEO STORE. NIGHT
JAY and SILENT BOB lean against the wall.

JAY
Man, it’s fucking slow.
SILENT BOB walks out of the frame, leaving JAY alone against
the wall. He comes back a few seconds later, carrying a miniWalkman with ten-watt speakers. He sets it down on the ground
and turns it on. House music starts playing. Jaypossessed by
the beat-breaks into an impromptu dance, in which he makes
suggestive and often lewd moves. SILENT BOB leans against the
wall.

CUT TO:
INT: VIDEO STORE. NIGHT
On counter.

CAITLIN
You’re just going to lock the store like
that?

DANTE
I want to talk to you about something, and
I don’t want to be disturbed.

CAITLIN
You saw it?

DANTE
Very dramatic, I thought.

CAITLIN
It’s not what you think.

DANTE
What, it’s worse? You’re pregnant with an
Asian design major’s child?

CAITLIN
I’m not pregnant.

DANTE
Were you going to tell me or just send me
an invitation?

CAITLIN
I was going to tell you. But then we were
getting along so well, I didn’t want to
mess it up.

DANTE
You could’ve broke it to me gently, you
know; at least started by telling me you
had a boyfriend. I told you I have a
girlfriend.

CAITLIN
I know, I’m sorry. But when we started
talking…it’s like I forgot I had a
boyfriend. And then he proposed last
month…

DANTE
And you said yes?

CAITLIN
Well…kind of, sort of?

DANTE
Is that what they teach you at that school
of yours? Kind of, sort of? Everyone knows
about this except me! Do you know how
humiliating that is?

CAITLIN
I would’ve told you, and you would have
stopped calling, like a baby.

DANTE
How do you know that?

CAITLIN
Because I know you. You prefer drastic
measures to rational ones.

DANTE
So you’re really getting married?

CAITLIN
No.

DANTE
No, you’re not really getting married?

CAITLIN
The story goes like this: He proposed, and
I told him I had to think about it, and he
insisted I wear the ring anyway. Then my
mother told the paper we were engaged.

DANTE
How like her.

CAITLIN
Then my mother called me this morning and
told me the announcement was in the paper.
That’s when I hopped the train to come back
here, because I knew you’d be a wreck.

DANTE
Thanks for the vote of confidence.

CAITLIN
Was I right?

DANTE
Wreck is a harsh term. Disturbed is more
like it. Mildly disturbed even.

CAITLIN
I love a macho façade. It’s such a turn-on.
(sniffing air)
What smells like shoe polish?

DANTE
And you came here to what? To comfort me?

CAITLIN
The last thing I needed was for you to
think I was hiding something from you.

DANTE
But you were.

CAITLIN
No, I wasn’t. Not really. I told you’d I’d
been seeing other people.

DANTE
Yeah, but not seriously. Christ, you’re
ready to walk down the aisle-I’d say that
constitutes something more than just seeing
somebody.

CAITLIN
I’m giving him his ring back.

DANTE
What?

CAITLIN
I don’t want to marry him. I don’t want to
get married now. I’m on the verge of
graduation. I want to go to grad school
after this. And then I want to start a
career. I don’t want to be a wife first,
and then have to worry about when I” going
to fit in all of the other stuff. I’ve come
way too far and studied too hard to let my
education go to waste as a housewife. And I
know that’s what I’d become. Sang’s already
signed with a major firm, and he’s going to
be pulling a huge salary, which would give
me no reason to work, and he’s so
traditional anyway…

DANTE
Sang? His name is a past tense?

CAITLIN
Stop it. He’s a nice guy.

DANTE
If he’s so nice, why aren’t you going to
marry him?

CAITLIN
I just told you.

DANTE
There’s more, isn’t there?

CAITLIN
Why, Mr. Hicks-whatever do you mean?

DANTE
Tell me I don’t have something to do with
it.

CAITLIN
You don’t have anything to do with it.

DANTE
You lie.

CAITLIN
Look how full of yourself you are.

DANTE
I just believe in giving credit where
credit is due. And I believe that I’m the
impetus behind your failure to wed.

CAITLIN
If I’m so nuts about you, then why am I
having sex with an Asian design major?

DANTE
Jesus, you’re caustic.

CAITLIN
I had to bring you down from that cloud you
were floating on. When I say I don’t want
to get married, I mean just that. I don’t
want to marry anybody. Not for years.

DANTE
So who’s asking? I don’t want to marry you.

CAITLIN
Good. Stay in that frame of mind.

DANTE
Buy can we date?

CAITLIN
I’m sure Sang and-Veronica?-would like
that.

DANTE
We could introduce them. They might hit it
off.

CAITLIN
You’re serious. You want to date again.

DANTE
I would like to be your boyfriend, yes.

CAITLIN
It’s just the shock of seeing me after
three years. Believe me, you’ll get over
it.

DANTE
Give me a bit more credit. I think it’s
time we got back together, you know. I’m
more mature, you’re more mature, you’re
finishing college, I’m already in the job
market…

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CAITLIN
You work in a market, all right.

DANTE
Cute. Tell me you wouldn’t want to go out
again. After all the talking we’ve been
doing.

CAITLIN
The key word here is talk, Dante. I think
the idea, the conception of us dating is
more idyllic than what actually happens
when we date.

DANTE
So…what? So we should just make pretend
over the phone that we’re dating?

CAITLIN
I don’t know. Maybe we should just see what
happens.

DANTE
Let me take you out tonight.

CAITLIN
You mean, on a date?

DANTE
Yes. A real date. Dinner and a movie.

CAITLIN
The Dante Hicks Dinner and a Movie Date. I
think I’ve been on that one before.

DANTE
You have a better suggestion?

CAITLIN
How about the Caitlin Bree Walk on the
Boardwalk, Then Get Naked Somewhere Kind of
Private Date?

DANTE
I hear that’s a rather popular date.

CAITLIN
(hits him)
Jerk. Here I am, throwing myself at you,
succumbing to your wily charms, and you
call me a slut, in so many words.

DANTE
What about Sing?

CAITLIN
Sang.

DANTE
Sang.

CAITLIN
He’s not invited.

DANTE
He’s your fiancé.

CAITLIN
I offer you my body and you offer me
semantics? He’s just a boyfriend, Dante,
and in case you haven’t gotten the drift of
why I came all the way here from Ohio, I’m
about to become single again. And yes-let
me placate your ego-you are the inspiration
for this bold and momentous decision, for
which I’ll probably be ostracized at both
school and home. You ask me who I choose, I
choose you.

DANTE
So what are you saying?

CAITLIN
You’re such an asshole.

DANTE
I’m just kidding.

CAITLIN
I can already tell this isn’t going to
work.

DANTE
I’ll ask Randal to close up for mewhen he
gets back.

CAITLIN
Where’d he go? I’d have thought he’d be at
your side, like an obedient lapdog.

DANTE
He went to rent a movie, but he hasn’t
gotten back yet. Ah, screw it; I’ll just
lock the store up and leave him a note.

CAITLIN
You’re too responsible. But no. I have to
go home first. They don’t even know I left
school. And I should break the
disengagement news to my mother, which is
going to cause quite a row, considering she
loves Sang.

DANTE
Who doesn’t?

CAITLIN
Well, me I guess.
(gathering herself to go)
So, I shall take my leave of you, but I
will return in a little while, at which
time-yes-I would love to go for dinner and
a movie with you.

DANTE
What happened to the walk and the
nakedness?

CAITLIN
I’m easy, but I’m not that easy.
(she kisses his cheek)
See you later, handsome.
DANTE watches her leave. He then explodes in jubilance.

DANTE
YES!

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. NIGHT
DANTE looks ahead, dreamily, half-spinning in his chair. RANDAL
enters carrying videos.

RANDAL
Get to work.

DANTE
(takes videos)
What’d you rent?
(reads)
Best of Both Worlds?

RANDAL
Hermaphroditic porn. Starlets with both
organs. You should see the box: Beautiful
women with dicks that put mine to shame.

DANTE
And this is what you rented?

RANDAL
I like to expand my horizons.

DANTE
I got fined for selling cigarettes to a
minor.

RANDAL
No way!

DANTE
Five hundred dollars.

RANDAL
You’re bullshitting.
DANTE hands him the summons. RANDAL reads it.

RANDAL
I didn’t think they even enforced this.

DANTE
(points to himself)
Living proof.

RANDAL
I thought you never sold cigarettes to
kids.

DANTE
I don’t; you did.

RANDAL
(pause)
Really?

DANTE
Little girl. Maybe five years old?

RANDAL
(taken aback)
Holy shit. That girl?

DANTE
As opposed to the hundreds of other
children you let buy cigarettes whenever
you work here.

RANDAL
Then how come you got the fine?

DANTE
Because I’m here.

RANDAL
(incredulous)
You’re lying.

DANTE
I swear. I couldn’t make this kind of hell
up.

RANDAL
Then why aren’t you like screaming at me
right now?

DANTE
Because I’m happy.

RANDAL
You’re happy?

DANTE
I’m happy.

RANDAL
You’re happy to get a fine?

DANTE
No. I’m happy because Caitlin came to see
me.

RANDAL
Now I know you’re lying.

DANTE
I’m not. She just left.

RANDAL
What did she say?

DANTE
She’s not going to marry that guy. She went
home to tell her mother.

RANDAL
You’re kidding.

DANTE
I’m not.

RANDAL
(takes it in for a moment)
Wow. You’ve had quite an evening.

DANTE
She went home, she’s getting ready, and
we’re going out.

RANDAL
I feel so ineffectual. Is there anything I
can do for you?

DANTE
Watch the store while I go home and change.

RANDAL
What happened to title dictates behavior?

DANTE
This is my way of spitting water at life.

RANDAL
(suddenly aware)
Hey, what about Veronica?

DANTE
No! Don’t bring it up. I don’t want to
think about that now. Let me enjoy this
hour of bliss. I’ll think about all of that
later. In the meantime, nobody mentions the
V word.

RANDAL
You’re a snake.

DANTE
In my absence, try not to sell cigarettes
to any newborns.

RANDAL
You want me to bring the VCR over here so
we can watch this?

DANTE
I might be leaving early to go out with
Caitlin, in which case you’ll have to close
the store tonight.

RANDAL
All right, but you’re missing out. Chicks
with dicks.

DANTE
(puts cats on counter)
I’ll read the book.
DANTE exits. A CUSTOMER comes back to the counter. He pets the
cat.

CUSTOMER
Cute cat. What’s his name.

RANDAL
Peptic ulcer.

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. NIGHT
JAY and SILENT BOB watch as DANTE passes. A small group of
burners are poised around the store door. JAY carefully writes
on a large piece of paper, using a thick marker. SILENT BOB
hands him the scissors. JAY slowly cuts the large piece of
paper. SILENT BOB hands him the tape. JAY snaps off a few
pieces, and plasters the sign to the convenience store door. It
is a large word balloon, and it reads I EAT COCK! Once in
place, he raps on the window. RANDAL looks out, his face
adjacent to the word balloon, making it appear as if he is
saying he eats cock. The small group laughs hysterically.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. NIGHT
CAITLIN enters, carrying an overnight bag. RANDAL is watching
his porno. The porno is loud and lewd. CAITLIN stares.

CAITLIN
Randal Graves-scourge of the video renter.

RANDAL
Ladies and gentleman, Mrs. Asian Design
Major herself: Caitlin Bree!

CAITLIN
You saw that article? God, isn’t it awful?
My mother sent that in.

RANDAL
I take it she likes the guy.

CAITLIN
You’d think she was marrying him. What are
you watching?

RANDAL
Children’s programming. What did your mom
say when you told her you weren’t engaged
anymore?

CAITLIN
She said not to come home until graduation.

RANDAL
Wow, you got thrown out? For Dante?

CAITLIN
What can I say? He does weird things to me.

RANDAL
Can I watch?

CAITLIN
You can hold me down.

RANDAL
Can I join in?

CAITLIN
You might be let down. I’m not a
hermaphrodite.

RANDAL
Few are. So what makes you think you can
maintain a relationship with Dante this
time around?

CAITLIN
A woman’s intuition. Something in me says
it’s time to give the old boy a serious
try.

RANDAL
Wow. Hey, I was just about to order some
dinner. You eat Chinese, right?

CAITLIN
Dick.

RANDAL
Exactly.

CAITLIN
So where is he?

RANDAL
He went home to change for the big date.

CAITLIN
God, isn’t he great?

RANDAL
(indicating TV)
No, this is great.

CAITLIN
Can I use the bathroom?

RANDAL
There’s no light back there.

CAITLIN
Why aren’t there any lights?

RANDAL
Well, there are, but for some reason they
stop working at fivefourteen every night.

CAITLIN
You’re kidding.

RANDAL
Nobody can figure it out. And the boss
doesn’t want to pay the electrician to fix
it, because the electrician owes money to
the video store.

CAITLIN
Such a sordid state of affair.

RANDAL
And I’m caught in the middle-torn between
my loyalty for the boss, and my desire to
piss with the light on.

CAITLIN
I’ll try to manage.
She heads toward the back.

RANDAL
Hey Caitlin…
(cautionary)
Break his heart again this time, and I’ll
kill you. Nothing personal.

CAITLIN
You’re very protective of him, Randal. You
always have been.

RANDAL
Territoriality. He was mine first.

CAITLIN
(rubs his head)
Awww. That was so cute.
She kisses his forehead and walks away. The MOTHER and SMALL
CHILD (Happy Scrappy) come to the counter.

MOTHER
(oblivious of the TV)
A pack of cigarettes.
The SMALL CHILD points at the TV screen.

SMALL CHILD
Cunt!

CUT TO:
EXT: CONVENIENCE STORE. NIGHT
RANDAL studies the I EAT COCK word balloon. DANTE enters.

DANTE
Who eats cock?

RANDAL
Bunch of savages in this town.
(recalling)
Hey, Caitlin’s in the back. You might want
to see if she’s okay; she’s been back there
a long time.

DANTE
There’s no lights back there.

RANDAL
I told her that. She said she didn’t need
any. Why don’t you join her, man. Make a
little bathroom bam-bam.

DANTE
I love your sexy talk. It’s
so…kindergarten: Poo-poo; wee-wee.

RANDAL
Fuck you.
The cooler down is heard opening. CAITLIN walks lazily down the
convenience store aisle. She looks very satisfied. DANTE and
RANDAL regard her curiously. She joins them, latching on to
DANTE’s arm, lovingly.

CAITLIN
How’d you get here so fast?

DANTE
I left like an hour ago.

CAITLIN
(regards him curiously)
Do you always talk weird after you violate
women?
RANDAL and DANTE stare at CAITLIN, confused.

RANDAL
Maybe the Asian design major slipped her
some opium?

DANTE
Could be.

CAITLIN
(hugging DANTE)
Promise me it’ll always be like that.

DANTE
Like what?

CAITLIN
When you just lie perfectly still and let
me do everything.

DANTE
Um…okay.

RANDAL
Am I missing something here?

CAITLIN
I went back there, and Dante was already
waiting for me.

RANDAL
He was?

CAITLIN
It was so cool. He didn’t say a word. He
was just…ready, you know? And we didn’t
kiss or talk or anything. He just sat there
and let me do all the work.

RANDAL
(to DANTE)
You dog! I didn’t see you go back there.
DANTE is bewildered.

CAITLIN
And the fact that there weren’t any lights
made it so…
(she lets out a growl and hugs
DANTE)
God! That was so great!

DANTE
(quietly)
It wasn’t me.

CAITLIN
(laughing it off)
Yeah, right. Who was it: Randal?

DANTE
(to RANDAL)
Was it you?

RANDAL
I was here the whole time.

CAITLIN
(half-laughing)
You two better quit it.

DANTE
I’m serious.

CAITLIN
(beat)
We didn’t just have sex in the bathroom?

DANTE
No.
Everyone is silent. Then…

CAITLIN
Stop this. This isn’t funny.

DANTE
I’m not kidding. I just got back from
outside.

CAITLIN
(covering her chest)
This isn’t fucking funny, Dante!

DANTE
I’m not fooling around!
(to RANDAL)
Who went back there?

RANDAL
Nobody! I swear!

CAITLIN
I feel nauseous.

DANTE
Are you sure somebody was back there?

CAITLIN
(hits DANTE)
I didn’t just fuck myself! Jesus, I’m going
to be sick!

RANDAL
You just fucked a total stranger?

DANTE
Shut the fuck up!

CAITLIN
I can’t believe this! I feel faint…

DANTE
(to RANDAL)
Call the police.

RANDAL
Why?

CAITLIN
No, don’t!

DANTE
There’s a strange man in our bathroom, and
he just raped Caitlin!

CAITLIN
(weakly)
Oh God…

RANDAL
She said she did all the work.

DANTE
WOULD YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP?
(pause)
WHO THE FUCK IS IN THE BATHROOM?

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. LATER
THE OLD MAN’S FACE is serene, almost happy, as he lies on a
stretcher. (Same OLD MAN who took a porn mag to the bathroom.)

CORONER (O.C.)
Who is he?
The body bag zipper is pulled closed. DANTE, the CORONER, and
RANDAL stand around the stretcher-bound body bag. The CORONER
takes notes.

DANTE
I don’t know. He just came in and asked to
use the bathroom.

CORONER
What time was this?

DANTE
Um…I don’t know.
(to RANDAL)
What time did hockey end?

RANDAL
Around three or something.

DANTE
What time did we go to the funeral?

RANDAL
I think four.

CORONER
Wait a second? Who was working here today?

DANTE
Just me.

CORONER
I thought you just said you played hockey
and went to a funeral.

DANTE
We did.

CORONER
Then who operated the store?

DANTE
Nobody. It was closed.

CORONER
With this guy locked in?

DANTE
Everything happened at once. I guess I
forgot he was back there.
Ambulance attendants join them.

ATTENDANT 1
Can we take this now?

CORONER
Go ahead.
The stretcher is wheeled out. Midway down the body bag,
something protrudes, pushing the bag up. It is an erection.
RANDAL stares at it.

DANTE
Was he alive when…Caitlin…

CORONER
No. I place the time of death at about
three-twenty.

RANDAL
Then how could she…you know…

CORONER
The body can maintain an erection after
expiration. Sometimes for hours. Did he
have the adult magazine when he came in?

DANTE
No. I gave it to him.
RANDAL and the CORONER stare in disbelief.

DANTE
Well he asked me for it!

CORONER
(continuing)
I can’t say for certain until we get him
back to the lab, but my guess is he was
masturbating, his heart seized and he died.
That’s when the girl found him.
(sniffing the air)
Something smells like shoe polish.

RANDAL
(to CORONER)
This has gotta be the weirdest thing you’ve
ever been called in on.

CORONER
(writing)
Actually, I once had to tag a kid that
broke his neck trying to put his mouth on
his penis.
RANDAL looks down, anonymously.

DANTE
What about Caitlin?

CORONER
Shock trauma. She’s going to need years of
therapy after this. My question is, How did
she come to have sex with the dead man?

DANTE
She thought it was me.
The CORONER stares at DANTE.

CORONER
What kind of convenience store do you run
here?
He exits. DANTE and RANDAL stare at the floor.

RANDAL
(beat)
Do you think he was talking about my
cousin?

CUT TO:
EXT: VIDEO STORE. NIGHT
CAITLIN sits in the back of the ambulance, a blanket draped
over her shoulders. An attendant takes her blood pressure. The
doors are closed and the vehicle speeds away. JAY and SILENT
BOB lean against the wall. JAY eats sugar out of a box.

JAY
I knew one of those motherfuckers was gonna
kill somebody one day.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. NIGHT
A jar of salsa is invaded by a large corn chip. Once in the
condiment, the corn chip resembles a surfacing shark fin.
Fingers poke at it, bringing it to life-swimming menacingly to
and fro across the jar.

RANDAL (O.C.)
(mumbling Jaws theme)
Da-dum! Da-dum! Da-dum! DA-DUM! DADUM! DA-
DUM!
DANTE and RANDAL are on a freezer case. RANDAL pushes this chip
around the jar of salsa. DANTE stares up at the ceiling,
oblivious.

RANDAL
Salsa shark.
DANTE says nothing.

RANDAL
(as Brody)
“We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
DANTE says even less than nothing.

RANDAL
(as Quint)
“Man goes into the cage; cage goes into the
salsa; shark’s in the salsa; our shark.”
DANTE…you know.

RANDAL
(angry)
What? What’s with you? You haven’t said
anything for like twenty minutes. What the
hell is your problem?

DANTE
This life.

RANDAL
This life?

DANTE
Why do I have this life?

RANDAL
Have some chips; you’ll feel better.

DANTE
I’m stuck in this pit, earning less than
slave wages, working on my day off, dealing
with every backward fuck on the planet, the
goddam steel shutters are locked all day, I
smell like shoe polish, I’ve got an ex-
girlfriend who’s catatonic after fucking a
dead guy, and my present girlfriend has
sucked thirty-six dicks.

RANDAL
Thirty-seven.

DANTE
My life is in the shitter right about now,
so if you don’t mind, I’d like to stew a
bit.

CUSTOMER (O.C.)
You open?

RANDAL
Yeah.
RANDAL hops off the freezer case and steps O.C.

RANDAL (O.C.)
That’s all bullshit. You know what the real
problem here is?

DANTE
I was born.
RANDAL comes back.

RANDAL
You should shit or get off the pot.

DANTE
I should shit or get off the pot.

RANDAL
Yeah, you should shit or get off the pot.

DANTE
What are you talking about?

RANDAL
I’m talking about this thing you
have…this inability to improve your
situation in life.

DANTE
Fuck you.

RANDAL
It’s true. You’ll sit there and blame life
for dealing a cruddy hand, never once
accepting the responsibility for the way
your situation is.

DANTE
What responsibility?

RANDAL
All right, if you hate this job and the
people, and the fact that you have to come
in on your day off, then quit.

DANTE
As if it’s that easy.

RANDAL
It is. You just up and quit. There are
other jobs, and they pay better money.
You’re bound to be qualified for at least
one of them. So what’s stopping you?

DANTE
Leave me alone.

RANDAL
You’re comfortable. This is a life of
convenience for you, and any attempt to
change it would shatter the pathetic
microcosm you’ve fashioned for yourself.

DANTE
Oh, like your life’s any better?

RANDAL
I’m satisfied with my situation for now.
You don’t hear me bitching. You, on the
other hand, have been bitching all day.

DANTE
Thank you. Why don’t you go back to the
video store?

RANDAL
It’s the same thing with Veronica.

DANTE
Leave her out of this.

RANDAL
You date Veronica because she’s low
maintenance and because it’s convenient.
Meanwhile, all you ever do is talk about
Caitlin. You carry a torch for a girl you
dated in high school-in high school for
God’s sake! You’re twenty-two!

DANTE
Leave me alone.

RANDAL
If you want Caitlin, then face Veronica,
tell her, and be with Caitlin. If you want
Veronica, be with Veronica. But don’t pine
for one and fuck the other. Man, if you
weren’t such a fucking coward…

DANTE
…If I wasn’t such a fucking coward.
(chuckles)
It must be so great to be able to simplify
everything the way you do.

RANDAL
Am I right or what?

DANTE
You’re wrong. Things happened today, okay?
Things that probably ruined my chances with
Caitlin.

RANDAL
What? The dead guy? She’ll get over fucking
the dead guy. Shit, my mom’s been fucking a
dead guy for thirty years; I call him Dad.

DANTE
Caitlin and I can’t be together. It’s
impossible.

RANDAL
Melodrama coming from you seems about as
natural as an oral bowel movement.

DANTE
What do you want me to say? Yes, I suppose
some of the things you’re saying may be
true. But that’s the way things are; it’s
not going to change.

RANDAL
Make them change.

DANTE
I can’t, all right! Jesus, would you leave
me alone? I can’t make changes like that in
my life. If I could, I would-but I don’t
have the ability to risk comfortable
situations on the big money and the
fabulous prizes.

RANDAL
Who’re you kidding? You can so.

DANTE
Jesus H. Christ, I can’t!

RANDAL
So you’ll continue being miserable all the
time, just because you don’t have the guts
to face change?

DANTE
(sadly)
My mother told me once that when I as
three, my potty lid was closed, and instead
of lifting it, I chose to shit my pants.

RANDAL
Lovely story.

DANTE
Point is-I’m not the kind of person that
disrupts things in order to shit
comfortably.
DANTE crosses O.C. RANDAL appears contemplative.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. NIGHT
DANTE repairs ripped dollar bills, taping them back together.
JAY enters with SILENT BOB and claps his hands.

JAY
(singing)
Noinch, noinch, noinch-smoking weed,
smoking weed! Doing coke! Drinking beers!
(to DANTE)
A pack of wraps, my good man. It’s time to
kick back, drink some beers, and smoke some
weed!

DANTE
Done poisoning the youth for the day?

JAY
Hell yes, whatever that means. Now I’m
gonna head over to Atlantic, drink some
beers, get ripped, andplease God-get laid.
(pulls out money)
E-Z Wider, one-and-a-halfs.

DANTE
One seventy-nine.

JAY
(to SILENT BOB)
Pay the good man.
(to DANTE)
Don’t you close soon?

DANTE
A half hour.

JAY
We get off about the same time every night.
We should hang out. You get high?

DANTE
I should start.

JAY
Wanna come to this party tonight? There’s
gonna be some pussy there, man!

DANTE
With you? I don’t think so.

JAY
Listen to you. Oh shit. “Oh, I don’t hang
out with drug dealers.”

DANTE
Nothing personal.
SILENT BOB hands weed to JAY.

JAY
I work, just like you. You’re more of a
crook than I am, dude.

DANTE
How do you figure…HEY! You can’t roll a
joint in here!

JAY
(rolling a joint)
Relax brother. What I mean is that you sell
the stuff in this store at the highest
prices around. A dollar seventy-nine for
wraps-what’s that shit?

DANTE
It’s not my store.

JAY
And these aren’t my drugs-I just sell them.

DANTE
The difference is you exploit a weakness.

JAY
What’s that mean?

DANTE
You sell to people that can’t stay away
from an addiction.

JAY
All right. How much is Pepsi here?

DANTE
A dollar sixty-nine, plus tax.

JAY
At Food City it’s ninety-nine cents, plus
tax.

DANTE
So.

JAY
So why do you sell it for so much more?
I’ll tell you why-because people come here
and they’re like “A dollar eighty for soda?
I should get it at Food City. But I don’t
feel like driving there. I’ll just buy it
here so I don’t have to drive up there.”
That’s exploiting a weakness, too, isn’t
it?

DANTE
I can’t believe you just rolled a joint in
here.

JAY
Hey, man, what happened with that old guy?

DANTE
He died in the bathroom.

JAY
That’s fucked up. Yo, I heard he was
jerkin’ off.

DANTE
I don’t know. I wasn’t watching.

JAY
Probably saw that Caitlin chick. I know I
felt like beatin’ it when I saw her.
(pantomimes sex)
Come here, bitch! You like this? Is this
what you want? Hunhh?

DANTE
Knock it off. That used to be my
girlfriend.

JAY
You used to go out with her?

DANTE
We were going to start again, I think.

JAY
Don’t you already have a girlfriend?

DANTE
Veronica.

JAY
Is she that girl who’s down here all the
time? She came here today carrying a plate
of food.

DANTE
Lasagne.

JAY
And what-you were gonna dump her to date
that Caitlin chick?

DANTE
Maybe.

JAY
I don’t know dude. That Caitlin chick’s
nice. But I see that Veronica girl doing
shit for you all the time. She brings you
food, she rubs your back…Didn’t I see her
change your tire one day?

DANTE
I jacked the car up. All she did was loosen
the nuts and put the tire on.

JAY
Damn. She sure goes out of her way.

DANTE
She’s my girlfriend.

JAY
I’ve had girlfriends, but all they wanted
from me was weed and shit.
(beat)
Shit, my grandma used to say, “Which is
better: a good plate with nothing on it…”
No, wait. I fucked up. She said “What’s a
goodlooking plate with nothing on it?”

DANTE
Meaning?

JAY
I don’t know. She was senile and shit. Used
to piss herself all the time. C’mon Silent
Bob.
Exit JAY. SILENT BOB stands there.

SILENT BOB
You know, there’s a million finelooking
women in the world, but they don’t all
bring you lasagne at work. Most of them
just cheat on you.
SILENT BOB leaves. DANTE shuts his eyes tightly and rubs the
bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger, as if in deep
concentration. He suddenly snaps his eyes open.

DANTE
(nearly surprised)
He’s right. I love her.

CUT TO:
INT: VIDEO STORE. NIGHT
RANDAL has a heart-to-heart with VERONICA.

RANDAL
So that’s it. He doesn’t love you anymore.
He loves Caitlin.
VERONICA stares, dumbfounded.

VERONICA
And…he told you all of this?

RANDAL
Pretty much. All except the latent
homosexuality part-that’s just my theory.

VERONICA
I…I don’t know what to say.

RANDAL
Don’t hold it against him. He just never
got Caitlin out of his system. It’s not
your fault. It’s Dante.
(beat)
I don’t know thing one about chicks. Do you
want to cry or something? I can leave.

VERONICA
I’m not sad.

RANDAL
You’re not?

VERONICA
No, I’m more furious. I’m pissed off. I
feel like he’s been killing time while he
tries to grow the balls to tell me how he
really feels, and then he can’t even do it!
He has his friend do it for him!

RANDAL
He didn’t ask me to…

VERONICA
After all that I’ve done for that fuck! And
he wants to be with that slut? Fine! He can
have his slut!

RANDAL
Um, do you think you can give me a lift
home tonight?

VERONICA
(oblivious of RANDAL)
I’m going to have a word with that asshole.
VERONICA storms out.

RANDAL
Wait! Veronica…I don’t think…
RANDAL stares after her. A customer stands nearby.

RANDAL
(to customer)
What am I worried about? He’ll probably be
glad I started the ball rolling. All he
ever did was complain about her anyway. I’m
just looking out for his best interests. I
mean, that’s what a friend does, am I
right? I did him a favor.

CUSTOMER
(sees box on counter)
Oooh! Navy Seals!

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. NIGHT
DANTE is on the ground holding his knee. VERONICA stands above
him.

DANTE
What the fuck did you do that for?

VERONICA
If you didn’t want to go out with me
anymore, why didn’t you just say it?
Instead, you pussyfoot around and see that
slut behind my back!

DANTE
What’re you talking about?

VERONICA
(kicks him)
You’ve been talking to her on the phone for
weeks!

DANTE
It was only a few times…

VERONICA
And then you pull that shit this morning,
freaking out because I’ve gone down on a
couple guys!

DANTE
A couple…?

VERONICA
(throws purse at him)
I’m not the one trying to patch things up
with my ex, sneaking around behind your
back! And if you think that thirty-seven
dicks are a lot, then just wait, mister:
I’m going to put the hookers in Times
Square to shame with all the guys I go down
on now!

DANTE
Would you let me explain…

VERONICA
Explain what? How you were waiting until
the time was right, and then you were going
to dump me for her?

DANTE
(getting up)
Veronica…I…it’s not like that
anymore…I mean, it was never really like
that…
VERONICA kicks him in the other leg. DANTE goes down, yelling
in pain.

VERONICA
You’re damn right it’s not like that!
Because I won’t let it be like that! You
want your slut? Fine! The slut is yours!

DANTE
I don’t want Caitlin…

VERONICA
You don’t know what you want, but I’m not
going to sit here anymore holding your hand
until you figure it out! I’ve encouraged
you to get out of this fucking dump and go
back to school, to take charge of your life
and find direction. I even transferred so
maybe you would be more inclined to go back
to college if I was with you. Everyone said
it was a stupid move, but I didn’t care
because I loved you and wanted to see you
pull yourself out of this senseless funk
you’ve been in since that whore dumped you,
oh so many years ago. And now you want to
go back to her so she can fuck you over
some more?

DANTE
I don’t want to go back with her…

VERONICA
Of course not; not now! You’re caught, and
now you’re trying to snake out of doing
what you wanted to do. Well, I won’t let
you. I want you to follow through on this,
just so you can find out what a fucking
idiot you are. And when she dumps you again-
and she will, Dante, I promise you that-
when she dumps you again, I want to laugh
at you, right in your face, just so you
realize that that was what you gave up our
relationship for!
(grabs her purse)
I’m just glad Randal had the balls to tell
me, since you couldn’t.

DANTE
(weakly)
Randal…?

VERONICA
And having him tell me…that was just the
weakest move ever. You’re spineless.

DANTE
Veronica, I love you…

VERONICA
Fuck you.
VERONICA exits. DANTE lies on the floor alone.

CUT TO:
EXT: VIDEO STORE. NIGHT
RANDAL exits and locks the door behind him.

CUT TO:
INT: CONVENIENCE STORE. NIGHT
Tight on RANDAL’S face as he steps inside.

RANDAL
Dante?
Hands clasp around his throat and yank him out of the frame.
DANTE throttles RANDAL, choking him to the ground. RANDAL
throws his fists into DANTE’S midriff, throwing him back into
the magazine rack. RANDAL jumps to his feet as DANTE comes at
him again. RANDAL tumbles into the cakes as Entenman’s products
scatter beneath and around him. He grabs a pound cake and hits
DANTE in the head with it, using the opportunity to scurry down
the middle aisle. DANTE leaps at his feet, and RANDAL grabs the
shelves, knocking aspirin over until RANDAL-shrieking-sprays
something in DANTE’S face. DANTE paws at his eyes. RANDAL grabs
Italian bread and smacks it into DANTE’S face as he rushes him
blindly. DANTE chases him out of the frame. M&M’s scatter
wildly across the empty floor, and the ruckus is heard O.C.

CUT TO:
DANTE and RANDAL later, out of breath, on the floor. RANDAL
sits up against the candy rack, rubbing his neck. DANTE lies on
the floor, bacon held against a sort of crushed cookies, ripped-
open candies, broken bread, and other damaged goods.

RANDAL
How’s your eye?

DANTE
(reluctantly)
The swelling’s not so bad. But the FDS
stings.
(then)
How’s your neck?

RANDAL
It’s hard to swallow.
They are both silent. Then…

RANDAL
You didn’t have to choke me.

DANTE
Why the fuck did you tell Veronica that I
was going to dump her for Caitlin?

RANDAL
I thought I was doing you a favor.

DANTE
Thanks.

RANDAL
You were saying how you couldn’t initiate
change yourself, so I figured I’d help you
out.

DANTE
Jesus.
Silence. Then…

RANDAL
You still didn’t have to choke me.

DANTE
Oh please! I’m surprised I didn’t kill you.

RANDAL
Why do you say that?

DANTE
Why do I say that? Randal…forget it.

RANDAL
No, really. What did I do that was so
wrong?

DANTE
What don’t you do? Randal, sometimes it
seems like the only reason you come to work
is to make my life miserable.

RANDAL
How do you figure?

DANTE
What time did you get to work today?

RANDAL
Like ten after.

DANTE
You were over half an hour late. Then all
you do is come over here.

RANDAL
To talk to you.

DANTE
Which means the video store is ostensibly
closed.

RANDAL
It’s not like I’m miles away.

DANTE
Unless you’re out renting videos at other
video stores.

RANDAL
Hermaphrodites! I rented it so we could
watch it together!

DANTE
You get my slapped with a fine, you fight
with the customers and I have to patch
everything up. You get us chased out of a
funeral by violating a corpse. To top it
all off, you ruin my relationship. What’s
your encore? Do you anally rape my mother
while pouring sugar in my gas tank?
(sighs)
You know what the real tragedy is? I’m not
even supposed to be here today!

RANDAL
(suddenly outraged)
Fuck you. Fuck you, pal. Listen to you
trying to pass the buck again. I’m the
source of all your misery. Who closed the
store to play hockey? Who closed the store
to attend a wake? Who tried to win back an
exgirlfriend without even discussing how he
felt with his present one? You wanna blame
somebody, blame yourself.
(beat, as DANTE)
“I’m not even supposed to be here today.”
(whips stuff at DANTE)
You sound like an asshole. Whose choice was
it to be here today? Nobody twisted your
arm. You’re here today of your own
violation, my friend. But you’d like to
believe that the weight of the world rests
on your shoulders-that the store would
crumble if Dante wasn’t here. Well, I got
news for you, jerk: This store would
survive without you. Without me either. All
you do is overcompensate for having what’s
basically a monkey’s job: You push fucking
buttons. Any moron can waltz in here and do
our jobs, but you’re obsessed with making
it seem so much more fucking important, so
much more epic than it really is. You work
in a convenience store, Dante. And badly, I
might add. And I work in a shitty video
store. Badly, as well.
(beat)
You know, that guy Jay’s got it right-he
has no delusions about what he does. Us? We
like to make ourselves seem so much better
than the people that come in here, just
looking to pick up a paper or-God forbid-
cigarettes. We look down on them, as it
we’re so advanced. Well, if we’re so
fucking advanced, then what are we doing
working here?
RANDAL gets up, leaving DANTE to contemplate his strong words
alone.

CUT TO:
DANTE and RANDAL silently clean up, backs to each other.

CUT TO:
DANTE places a mop in the corner. RANDAL pulls on his coat.

RANDAL
I threw out the stuff that got broken. The
floor looks clean.

DANTE
You need a ride?

RANDAL
(looks out door)
Got one. Just pulled up.
They stand in silence. Then…

DANTE
Do you work tomorrow?

RANDAL
Same time. What about you?

DANTE
I’m calling out. Going to hit the hospital-
see how Caitlin is. Then try to see
Veronica.

RANDAL
You wanna grab something to eat tomorrow
night…after I get out of here?

DANTE
I’ll call you. Let you know.

RANDAL
All right. Good luck with Veronica. If you
want, I can talk to her, you know, and
explain…

DANTE
No thanks. I’ll take care of it. We’ve got
a lot of shit to talk about.

RANDAL
Helluva day.

DANTE
To say the least.

RANDAL
Do you need a hug or something? ‘Cause I
would have no hang-ups about hugging
you…you know, you being a guy and all.
Just don’t knead my ass when you do it.

DANTE
Get the fuck outta here already.

RANDAL
I’m gone. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
RANDAL exits. A second later, he reenters and tosses DANTE the
sheet-sign.

RANDAL
You’re closed.
He exits. DANTE pushes the sign over from Open to Closed.
DANTE climbs behind the counter. He pops the register open and
starts counting the drawer out. The door is heard opening.
POV JOHN: DANTE counting out the register, not looking up.

DANTE
What’d you forget something?
(looks up, surprised)
Oh. I’m sorry, we’re closed.
A gunshot blasts out. DANTE flies back, his chest exploding. He
stares ahead and slumps to the floor.
JOHN walks behind the counter, stepping over DANTE’S body on
the floor, and takes the money out of the register. He grabs a
paper bag and jams the money in it. He grabs handfuls of
change, shoves it in his pocket, and then quickly exits the
frame. DANTE continues to lie on the floor.
CREDITS
Credits end, and the door is heard opening. A customer comes to
the counter and stands there. He waits, looks around for a
clerk, looks down the aisles.

CUSTOMER
Hello? Little help?
No reply. He looks around again, and glances at the door to
make sure nobody’s coming in. Then he reaches behind the
counter and grabs a pack of cigarettes. He leaves.

THE END

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