The Conductor - An Excerpt

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Peter, a NYC train conductor, discusses infidelity with his wife, Millie.

An excerpt from The Conductor, a screenplay, by Allen Henriquez.

Copyright © by Allen Henriquez

Submitted: May 12, 2014

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Submitted: May 12, 2014

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INT. PETE'S HOUSE/FRONT ENTRANCE/RICHMOND HILL, QUEENS - NIGHT


Pete enters the house with his bag and a grocery bag in his hand.  He drops the work bag, looks around the house and walks into the kitchen.
 

INT. PETE'S HOUSE/KITCHEN - NIGHT
 

Pete in casual clothes is cutting up vegetables on a board for a salad.  He stops for a moment and goes to the broiler portion of the oven and opens it to check on a steak he is cooking.  He uses a large fork to turn the steak over.  Pete then closes the oven after hearing voices outside of his house.
 

EXT. STREET IN FRONT OF PETE'S HOUSE - NIGHT
 

Millie is standing near the curb having just exited a black sedan laughing.


Pete gracefully exits the house, stealthily walking to the front of the sidewalk.


Millie is startled by his quiet swiftness as she turns around with a look of surprise.


Pete moves past her to get a clear view of the driver.  Pete walks around to the driver's side of the vehicle and observes Kelly Washington.  The smile leaves Kelly's face.  The two men stare at one another.
 

Millie's smile is gone.
 

PETE
Now I see the reason for your continual urging that I do overtime.
 

MILLIE
You were scheduled for some tonight.
 

PETE
I switched with someone at the last minute.
 

Kelly opens the door of the car and slowly steps out.
 

A smile crosses Millie's face.  The two, Millie and Kelly, stare at Pete, while he looks from one to the other.
 

KELLY
So what do we do now?
 

Pete stares into Kelly's eyes, then Millie's, after which he walks toward the house.
 

PETE
Do whatever you were going to do if you haven't done it already, just not in the house.  I've got a steak I don't want to burn.
 

Pete walks back inside as the two, Millie and Kelly, stare at him.  The door closes behind him.


INT. PETE'S HOUSE/KITCHEN - NIGHT
 

Pete is checking the steak in the broiler.
 

Millie walks arrogantly into the kitchen.  She opens the refrigerator and takes out a bottle of beer.  She twists the off the top and slowly sips while watching Pete cook.
 

MILLIE
If you burn it, it'll probably taste better.
 

Pete ignores Millie and continues to check and then turn the steak.
 

Millie takes a sip of beer.
 

Pete takes the pan of steak out of the broiler, placing it on top of the stove.
 

MILLIE
So, let me ask you.  What do you do when you're not riding the rails?
 

PETE
You mean not being the door opening motherfucker that I am?
 

Millie smiles.
 

PETE
I read, do the Times crossword puzzle and drink ice cold cream sodas.
 

MILLIE
Wow, all that?
 

(Silence.)
 

Pete cuts up the steak, placing a portion on a plate.
 

MILLIE
Do you do those all at once or separately?
 

Pete doesn't reply as he puts salad on the plate with the steak.
 

MILLIE (CONT’D)
You know I'm not seeing other men to hurt you.  I just want to enjoy my life while I'm still young.
 

Pete takes the plate to the kitchen table.
 

PETE
Is it youth that's to blame? If that's why, then for lack of it you should stop.
 

Pete then eats while Millie smiles.
 

MILLIE
Where's the baked potato?
 

Millie walks over to the stove, and looks over the food carefully.  She then picks up a plate.
 

MILLIE
So I'm a masochist.
 

Millie puts salad and steak on the plate, along with a knife and fork.  She carries her beer with her and sits down across from Pete.
 

MILLIE (CONT’D)
When you were a kid, did you play in the playground with the other boys and girls?
 

PETE
No, I played hooky, smoked cigar-ettes and threw dice.
 

MILLIE
Lost your taste for fun now?
 

PETE
I grew out of it.
 

MILLIE
I'm growing into it.
 

PETE
Yes, I see.
 

MILLIE
What are you saving your energy for? Are you going to have it saved for some time after life?
 

PETE
I don't have your brilliance.
 

MILLIE
Meaning what?
 

PETE
The capacity to do whatever I want and not worry about who it hurts.  There has to be a balance.
 

MILLIE
Or what?
 

PETE
You fall.
 

MILLIE
You fall, you get back up.
 

PETE
Not if you go too far.  There's no climbing back.
 

Millie is silent.
 

PETE
So fun is falling from grace with what? God, the heavens, the deep blue sea?
 

Millie smiles and eats more food from her plate.
 

MILLIE
You didn't do a bad job on this steak.
 

PETE
Maybe I'm becoming a better cook?
 

MILLIE
No.  I think it's me getting used to your incompetence.
 

PETE
Speaking of quality.  How are you enjoying your fling with Kelly Washington, is he competent?
 

MILLIE
When it's only a few weeks old it has a certain newness to it.
 

PETE
So new is the key word?
 

MILLIE
Perhaps.  But new doesn't last.  The brightness dulls everyday.
 

PETE
Enjoy it while there's illum-ination.
 

MILLIE
Are you angry?
 

PETE
If I had the energy I'd kill you both.
 

MILLIE
Oh, really?
 

PETE
Yes, but I think the lack of it comes from not giving a damn anymore.
 

MILLIE
So now you don't give a damn? Very interesting.
 

Pete doesn't reply, instead he gets up from the table and goes to the refrigerator.
 

Millie sips her beer, deep in thought.
 

Pete removes two beers from the refrigerator, opening one and putting  the other in front of Millie.
 

MILLIE
(with a look of surprise)
Thanks.
 

Pete still standing sips his beer.
 

PETE
So what is it? Why are you behaving like this?
 

Millie washes down the food in her mouth with the last bit of her first beer.
 

MILLIE
It's not really about you…When we got married the sky was brighter then.
 

The two are then left to their thoughts, remembering and seeing the truth of themselves presently.  They both take sips of beer.  Millie opens the new bottle in front of her.
 

PETE
Why can't we take a trip to Europe, ride down the Seine?
 

MILLIE
I don't know?
 

Millie takes another sip of beer.
 

MILLIE (CONT’D)
Maybe that's all too logical, too conventional for me.
 

PETE
So fucking up the marriage, and sleeping with my co-workers feels better?
 

Millie looks at Pete for a moment and considers his remark.
 

PETE (CONT’D)
I can't stop you from what you're doing, but the sleeping around won't make you any younger or happier.
 

The thoughtful and worn face of Millie is seen.
 

PETE (CONT’D)
Maybe if I wasn't so dull you might be happier?
 

Millie looks at him then takes a sip of beer.
 

PETE (CONT’D)
You think maybe if we would've had children?
 

Millie looks at him in disgust.
 

MILLIE
Please.

 

 


© Copyright 2019 Allen Henriquez. All rights reserved.

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