A Short Scene, an Exercise.

INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT

GREG (44) sits at the kitchen table in a white shirt and boxers. He’s not moving, just staring ahead. We hear a door creaking somewhere in the house and then footsteps down the stairs. Greg is unaffected. FRANK (46) enters the kitchen, also wearing a white shirt and boxers.

FRANK

Hi Greg.

GREG

Hello Frank.

Frank walks up to the fridge, takes out a milk carton and poors himself a glass. He turns to Greg with the full glass in his hand.

FRANK

You want some?

GREG

Nah, I’m good.

Frank drinks half the glass in one go, and pours a refill, before putting the carton back in the fridge. He walks around the table and leans against the sink, accross from Greg.

FRANK

Do you know why you’re here, Greg?

GREG

What do you mean? I live here.

FRANK

Of course. I know. I mean--

Greg is a little confused. Frank takes a sip of his milk.

FRANK

I mean. Do you know why you are here?

GREG

Did you just have some existential nightmare, Frank? Did you forget to take your meds?

Frank smiles.

FRANK

Let’s just take a few steps back here, shall we, Greg?

GREG

Ehh. Okay...

FRANK

Just a couple of minutes ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and I noticed I was a little thirsty. So I got up, left my room, came down the stairs and entered the kitchen to get something to drink. Are you with me?

GREG

I guess.

FRANK

You don’t guess, Gregg. Now, when I entered the kitchen, you were sitting in that chair over there, where you’re still sitting right now, yes?

GREG

Yah. So what’s the--

FRANK

Let me ask you this, Greg. Do you have any idea why you were here, sitting in this chair, when I entered the kitchen?

Greg slowly realises he doesn’t. It scares him.

GREG

Is it-- Am I-- Am I sleepwalking?

FRANK

No, you’re not sleepwalking. (beat) You want that glass of milk now, don’t you?

GREG

I do.

Frank puts his glass on the table and walks up to the fridge. He pours a glass for Greg, walks back and hands him the glass. Frank sits down across from him as Greg drinks. Greg seems confused.

FRANK

So do you?

GREG

Do I what?

FRANK

Do you know why you are here?

Greg slowly starts panicking as he can’t figure out the answer.

GREG

I dont. I mean-- I just don’t. Why would you even ask me that? (beat) Is there something wrong with me?

FRANK

Don’t worry, Greg, you’re okay. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you.

Greg’s anxiety is slowly fading. He takes a sip.

FRANK

So, no idea why you were sitting in the kitchen, right?

GREG

Nope. Are we done here?

FRANK

I guess it’s just one of those things you do on autopilot. You know, like when you get to work and you just can’t remember driving there?

GREG

I guess it is.

Frank leans back in the kitchen chair. He studies Greg.

FRANK

So, tell me what your bedroom looks like.

GREG

What do you mean ‘what my bedroom looks like’? You’ve been there.

FRANK

I know, just tell me. What’s in your room? Is there a closet?

GREG

I-- I guess...

FRANK

You guess? You guess there is a closet in your room? Do you mean to tell me you don’t even know if there is a closet in your own bedroom?

Greg is back up to full panic now.

GREG

What the hell, Frank. What’s going on here? What are you doing?

FRANK

You tell me, Greg. What is going on? You don’t know why you are here, you don’t know what your room looks like. Hell, what do you know?

Frank starts smiling at Greg. Greg’s panic turns into frustration.

GREG

Fuck you, Frank. Is this some sort of cruel joke?

FRANK

Relax, Greg. It’s okay. I told you it’s okay. I’m just having a little fun, is all.

GREG

Well, it’s not really funny to me, asshole.

FRANK

I’m sorry, you’re right. I’m just-- I’m being cruel right now. I’m really sorry. Honestly.

Greg settles down as Frank takes a sip.

FRANK

There’s just-- I need to-- I want to tell you something.

GREG

What?

FRANK

I wrote you, Greg.

GREG

What’s that supposed to mean? You ‘wrote’ me? Did you write something on me?

Greg checks his arms and legs. Nothing.

FRANK

As a matter of fact, I’m still writing you right now.

GREG

Seriously man, you better start explaining yourself, or I’m going to have you committed.

Frank smiles.

FRANK

I’m a writer, Greg. I write movies, and I write the characters in those movies. And right now, you are a character I’m writing. It’s just a short scene, an exercise. That’s why you don’t know what your room looks like. You don’t need to know what it looks like, it’s not relevant to the story. Well, one could argue that it is now. But. You know.

GREG

Fuck you. You’re insane, man.

FRANK

Am I?

Greg gets up, turns to the fridge, takes out the milk and refills Frank’s glass before putting the carton back and sitting down.

FRANK

Why did you just do that, Greg? Did you really want to refill my glass? Or did I just write that?

GREG

Yeah, whatever, idiot. I have free will.

FRANK

Of course you do. Who’d wanna see a movie where all characters are just boring robots? They want to believe in you, Greg. That’s why I write you to be just like a real person. Except you’re not.

GREG

That’s it. I’m calling Doctor Hensley. She’s gonna have to come get you.

FRANK

How are you going to do that, Greg, when you don’t even know where the phone is?

Greg looks around. There is fear in his eyes. He gets up and nervously walks around the kitchen, looking for the phone. Frank sits calmly at the kitchen table. Greg can’t find the phone, so he leaves the kitchen to search in the hall.

Frank sits calmly at the kitchen table and takes a sip from his milk, as Greg’s footsteps slowly fade away.

Frank smiles, finishes his glass, gets up, puts the empty glass in the sink and leaves the kitchen. We hear him climbing the stairs and closing his bedroom door.

FADE OUT: