Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Preview of My Screenplay

If you've been a follower of Rants of a Diva for awhile, you may have noticed that posting has been a bit lax during the last year or so. Yeah, sorry about that. But, rest assured, there is a good reason for my absence: I've been working on my first screenplay! Titled The Single One, it's about a part-time alcoholic in his mid-20's, wasting away in retail hell, who finds himself involved in a love triangle with guys much older and younger than him. As you can probably tell, it's based in part on my life (My favorite joke for awhile when people asked if I was basing it on my life was to reply, "No! The character is 25. I'm only 23!" Now that I'm approaching 25, that joke isn't so funny anymore). I'm not completely finished yet--I have to rewrite the climactic homage to The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer--but I figured that after 18 months, I have to share something with those of you who may or may not be sick to death of hearing me yammer on and on about it on Twitter. So, I present you with the first scene(s) of The Single One. Enjoy and let me know what you think!




A picturesque spring morning. BIRDS CHIRP gaily. Little children are on the parking lot playing hopscotch. Another child is riding around on a tricycle.

BEN BRONZE, full-time retail worker, part-time alcoholic in his mid-20's, walks out of his townhouse. Dressed in his work uniform of red polo and ink-stained khakis, he takes one step into the sunlight and winces.

BEN: Ugh. Sunlight.

Ben steps onto the sidewalk. Before he can take more than a couple steps, the little kid on the tricycle zooms past, unaware that he has just cut Ben off. Ben doesn't say anything, but he looks like he is suppressing the urge to flip over the kid's tricycle.
Finally, Ben gets to his car. He puts it in reverse and begins to move when he notices that the kids playing hopscotch are directly behind his car.

BEN: Fucking monsters.

He HONKS the HORN aggressively. The kids look up and begrudgingly move. Ben pulls out and drives off.

Ben pauses at Bullseye's front doors. He looks up at the store's sign and sighs.


Ben walks up to his lane and turns on the light.

BEN: I can help whoever is next on lane --

He looks up at the lane light.

BEN: Six.


Ben looks on in bewilderment as a customer throws cash at him like a stripper.


Another customer, busy texting on her phone, hands Ben her credit card. She does not notice that her hand is resting on the card reader.

BEN: Er, you can slide your card right there.


"$31.97" appears on the register. Agitated, Ben looks on as an OLD LADY takes every piece of change out of her piece.

OLD LADY: I can never find a penny when I need one!

Ben fakes a smile and nods.

OLD LADY: Thank goodness there's no one behind me!


Ben's lane is deserted. He steps in front of it to attract another customer. An OLD MAN quickly approaches.

OLD MAN: You look bored!

Ben fakes a smile to the old man's face but rolls his eyes as soon as he turns away.


BEN Your total is $198.75. Would you like to open a credit --

The customer, a MIDDLE-AGED MAN, quickly interjects.



A YOUNG MAN begins unloading his shopping cart onto the belt. When he finds an item he doesn't want, he shoves it in various places around the checklane: on the ground, in the candy, on top of the pop coolers. Ben watches in morbid curiosity.

BEN: I'll take anything you don't want.

The Young Man sets his last item on the belt.

YOUNG MAN: I'm good now, thanks!


Ben stares vacantly in space as a MIDDLE-AGED ACADEMIC begins unloading his cart.


Ben looks up in recognition.

BEN: Hi, Dr. Peters.

PETERS (MIDDLE-AGED ACADEMIC): Nice to see you. Are you doing okay?

BEN: Yeah.

PETERS: When do you finish up your Master's?

BEN: I'm already done. I finished a couple years ago.

PETERS: Oh. (beat) Are you sure you're doing okay?

Wordlessly, Ben nods and hands him the receipt. Dr. Peters walks away with a wave. Ben slumps over his register, his head buried in his hands.

GABBY (O.S.): If you got stabbed by an angry customer, I am not cleaning that mess up. I don't get paid enough.

Ben looks up and sees GABBY, sassy, mid-20's, take no prisoners. He picks himself up and sighs.

BEN: I should be so lucky.

Gabby slides into the lane next to him.

GABBY: At least you'd get out of this shithole for a few hours.

A nauseatingly lovey-dovey couple wanders through Ben's lane on the way to the exit. Hands intertwined, they stop repeatedly to kiss each other. Ben rolls his eyes at the display.

GABBY: Someone's a bitter queen early today.

BEN: I'm not bitter. I just don't want their heterosexual lovefest thrown in my face.

GABBY: You'd act the same way. If you could find an interested man, that is.

BEN: I'm waiting for a man who has all the best features of the One Direction boys: Louis's wit, Harry's dimples, Niall's innocence, Liam's seriousness and Zayn's dreaminess. Sigh.

Throughout this speech, Gabby rolls her eyes as if she's heard this all before.

GABBY: No wonder you're alone.

BEN:'s your relationship going?

GABBY: I'm not so sure, actually. Ron hasn't been responding to my texts lately. We haven't seen each other much in the past week. He said he has choir practice every night. Then, when we do spend time together, he can't even look me in the eye.

BEN: You don't think...

Gabby nods.

GABBY: What in the hell else could it be? It's a church choir. They sing one damn hymn during service!

BEN: If you need me to help you catch him with his pants down, I'm totally there. I don't even care if we end up in jail. You're the Mammy to my Scarlett, the Morgan Freeman to my Jessica Tandy, the Viola Davis to my Emma Stone. You're the sassy, wise black person to my crazy white lady.

GABBY: And I thought that would be offensive.

RYAN, the jovial store manager, approaches Gabby's lane. He speaks into a walkie.

RYAN: Yeah, I have her right here. (to Gabby) They're asking for you on the walkie.

Gabby takes the walkie from Ryan.

GABBY: This is Gabby.

WOMAN (V.O.): Are you at the checklanes?


WOMAN (V.O.): Good. Stay there.

Gabby and Ben share a look of confusion. Ben ultimately shrugs his shoulders.

In front of the checklanes, a small group of people dressed in flashy choir robes appear. One of them carries a boombox and presses play. The beginning of Beyonce's "Love on Top" is heard. The choir members begin to sing and snap along with the song. More choir members, marching single file, walk through the lanes on either side of Ben and Gabby.

BEN: What the fuck is going on?

Gabby shakes her head. Out of nowhere, RON, a "tall drink of water," appears in front of the choir holding a microphone.

RON: "Honey, honey, I can see the stars all the way from here. Can't you see the glow on the window pane? I can feel the sun whenever you're here. Every time you touch me I just melt away."

Angrily, Gabby steps out from her lane and walks toward Ron.

GABBY: Ron! What the hell are you doing?

In reply, he simply smiles, grabs her hand and pulls her toward the middle of the scene.

RON: "Now everybody asks me why I'm smiling out from ear to ear. Nothing's perfect, but it's worth it after fighting through my tears. And finally you put me first!"

Gabby stands around, not quite sure what to do, feeling like a fool. Finally, Ron stops singing as the choir continues to produce background music.

RON: Gabby, I love you with all my heart. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.

As he gets down on one knee, he pulls an object out of his pocket: a ring box.

BEN & GABBY: Oh my God.

RON: Gabby, will you marry me?


They embrace and start kissing. The choir sings the chorus.

CHOIR: "Baby, it's you. You're the one I love. You're the one I need. You're the only thing I see. C'mon, baby, it's you. You're the one that gives it all. You're the one that always calls. When I need you, everything stops. Finally, you put my love on top!"

All Ben can do at this scene is stare, his jaw hanging wide open.

BEN: What?