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REST STOP CIGARETTE A scene by Stephanie Alison Walker JOE (41) sneaks a cigarette at a rest stop somewhere in Kansas. After a couple of beats, CINDY (41) appears. Caught. They lock eyes. Enough said. CINDY Lovely. (no response) Better hope the kids don't see you. (no response) I can't believe you're smoking. Where'd you even get that? (no response) Joe. JOE What? CINDY Where'd you get that cigarette? JOE Machine. CINDY You bought a pack? JOE --- CINDY Joe. JOE Cindy. Please. I'm losing my fucking mind. CINDY But a whole pack? You couldn't just bum one? JOE Bum one? From who? CINDY I don't know. A trucker. Another driver. There was an old lady smoking by the women's bathroom. I'm sure she would've given you a smoke. JOE A menthol or Virginia Slim. No thanks. CINDY Fine. But you could've-- JOE I didn't want to talk to anyone, okay. I just wanted to smoke in peace. (A few beats. Then...) CINDY (just can't help herself) So you're smoking again. JOE I'm having a smoke. CINDY I'm just trying to get this straight because the kids-- JOE Cindy, will you please just lay the fuck off?! (Silence. JOE takes a few drags. Relaxes. She watches. Then looks out at the scenery.) CINDY (a peace offering) It's nice here. Everyone always talks about how ugly it is. But I think it's pretty. The wheat fields. They're wheat, right? (Joe nods) The twins with Matty? (Joe nods) Where? JOE He took them to play over in the grass. CINDY In the grass? JOE They're fine. They're with Matty. Running around. Stretching their little legs. CINDY That's good. JOE Yep. CINDY How're we doing? Think we'll make it to St. Louis tonight? JOE If the kids sleep. CINDY No guarantee there. JOE I can't take another stretch like the last one. Tell you that right now. CINDY Want me to drive? I said I'll drive. JOE I'm fine. It's just the constant noise. CINDY I can't do anything about that. JOE Should've bought that DVD player. CINDY This again. JOE Well. CINDY Joe. JOE What? CINDY Don't. JOE I'm just saying/ CINDY (overlapping) We can't afford-- JOE It would've been a good investment. Keep me from losing my mind. CINDY I said we should have flown. JOE That we can't afford. CINDY But if it was just-- JOE Five plane tickets? CINDY You could have driven by yourself, I said. JOE We could have rented our own private plane. That would have been a much better scenario. Why didn't you suggest that? CINDY Joe. Don't. JOE Or a spaceship. We could colonize the moon while we're at it. CINDY (after a beat) Mars. JOE Mars? Seriously. Mars? CINDY No. You're right. The moon is a much more realistic option. JOE That's all I'm saying. To the moon. To the moon, Cindy. To the moon. CINDY Okay, okay. (They look at each other. Then laugh off the tension. Relief.) CINDY I heard Harry tell Matty he misses his bedroom. JOE What did Matty say? CINDY He said something about how great their room at Grandma and Grandpa's will be. But, I saw tears. JOE Matty? CINDY Yes. JOE Fuck. CINDY I know. (CINDY snatches the cigarette from JOE.) JOE Hey, come on! (CINDY takes a long drag. Exhales. Hands it back.) JOE See? CINDY Desperate times. JOE Exactly. CINDY Promise me. JOE What? CINDY It's all just temporary. JOE The smoking? CINDY That. Yes. JOE Yeah. CINDY And the rest? JOE I hope to God it is. I can't live with your parents forever. I just can't. CINDY People used to do it. That's how things used to be, you know. In other countries that's how they live. Generations under one roof. (beat) Not that I want to. I'm just saying... (off Joe's look) I know. Something will appear. Somehow this will turn out for the best. It will. JOE You keep saying that. CINDY I'm sorry if my optimism annoys you. (JOE takes his last drag, drops the butt on the ground and steps on it. Then leaves it there.) JOE It doesn't annoy me... CINDY I know it does. JOE It's just... CINDY Look...being a cynical grouch doesn't help anything. So why not try a little optimism. At least for the kids. JOE How did we ever get here? CINDY We just did. JOE It's just. If I'd seen it coming... CINDY It doesn't matter how we got here. It only matters how we'll get out. And never end up here again. But look... we have a place to live, three beautiful and healthy children and... JOE And what? CINDY Each other. That should be enough.(C) Copyright 2012
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