Don’t Leave Me Now

FADE IN:

INT. DORM ROOM — NIGHT

We are introduced to a stereotypical college male dorm room: the walls are adorned with tattered posters of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album cover art, a periodic table categorizing global beers rather than chemical elements, a John Belushi Animal House COLLEGE poster, and the Pulp Fiction film cover art; a collection of previously worn clothes and empty beer, bottom-shelf beer cans are strewn around the room; a trash can near the door is overflowing with receipts and brown, grease-ridden paper bags from cheap-grub restaurants; and a bookshelf — void of books — is pressed against the rear wall, filled instead with movie and video game cases.

The current resident of the room, DAVID, a hurriedly washed and dressed twenty year old, is slumped over himself in the center of a bean bag chair, an Xbox One controller tightly gripped between his hands, and dribble hanging from the edge of his mouth as he is too concerned with the current split-screen game that is displayed on his television. Controlling the second half of the split-screen is EDGAR, an athleisurely dressed, decently groomed twenty year old with heavy eyelids and swollen cheeks, his back pressed against the edge of the bed’s frame, who is equally as focused on the battle at hand. The two of them are spastically mashing at the buttons on their controllers, hardly saying a word to one another besides expletives.

The sounds of explosions, gunfire, and blood curdling screams in English, German, and Russian are emitted from the television.

DAVID: (With furrowed brows) You SONOFABITCH!

EDGAR: (Jollily laughing) Take that, dude!

The sound of a triumphant orchestra begins playing, a resonating chord elucidating that the match has ended.

EDGAR: Ah! Add another win to the book.

DAVE: (Tossing his controller to the side) Ah, every time. I swear!

EDGAR: Well, man – (stretching his arms out and yawning) I’ve got to be on my way. Work to do and practice in the morning.

Dave becomes sullen while Edgar stands.

DAVE: (Disappointed) Ah…you can’t stay for one more?

EDGAR: Sorry, dude, I’ve got stuff I need to do.

DAVE: (Excessively sorrowful) Oh…alright. Sure.

EDGAR: (Stopping mid-motion while grabbing his bag) What is it?

DAVE: (Sunken brows and producing a pout) I don’t know…I just…nothing.

EDGAR: Okay, man. Well, I’ll be on my w—

DAVE: (Hanging his head) I’m really depressed.

EDGAR: (Adjusting his backpack) Oh, well…I’m sorry to hear that, Dave.

DAVE: (Closing his eyes) Yeah. It’s been tough — y’know — being alone lately.

EDGAR: (Motioning his weight towards the door) I know what you mean. I deal with that at times too. (His eyes slowly turn away from Dave and towards the door.)

DAVE: (Soft yet percussive) I’m going to k-kill myself.

EDGAR: (Immediately stopping) Woah. What?

DAVE: (Noticeably depressed) I’m — I’m — going to kill myself.

EDGAR: What? If I leave?

DAVE: (Leaning back with his arms behind his head) Yeah…I mean, not because of you leaving. I’m just – y’know – sad. I don’t want to be alone. In case…

EDGAR: (Breathing deeply) Christ. I didn’t even know. (Placing his bag down) Do you want to talk about it? (Sitting back against the edge of the bed.)

DAVE: (Slyly relieved) No. I’d rather — y’know — not think about it.

DAVE picks up his controller and starts a new match, looking over at EDGAR. \

EDGAR picks up his controller, the two of them now silently returning to their match and swearing fest.

CUT TO:

EXT. COLLEGE CAMPUS QUAD — DAY

The midday sun is washing over campus, bringing the student body to life. In between or during classes, students are out on the main quad either smoking, chatting, tossing around a frisbee, napping on a thin, cotton blanket, kicking around a hacky sack, or tanning in little-to-no clothing. Towards the edge of the quad, partially shaded by an oak tree, are DAVE, EDGAR, MARIA, a raspy voiced, soft spoken, partially tattooed, caramel haired twenty year old brunette, and RITA, a twenty year old blonde with glaring blue eyes, and with a visage constantly struck with a look of peculiarity and inquisitiveness. The four of them are sitting quadrilaterally, leaning back in a variety of positions while seated, the palms of their hands supporting their weight.

MARIA: (Pointing at EDGAR) You always say that!

Laughter ensues between them all.

EDGAR: (Between choked laughs) I don’t know. Is it wrong that I believe that?

RITA: (Her left eyebrow is lifted along its outer edge, per usual) I would say so. That’s rather harsh for you to say that of her. Unfair, actually.

EDGAR: I know. I know. It’s just — (Throwing his arms behind his head) — she can really be a bore at times.

MARIA: (Loud and sarcastically) Oh, she just wants to spend time with me. She actually wants to hang out, not just screw around. UGH. Do you hear yourself?!

EDGAR’s face is turning beet red while the others laugh at him.

DAVE: C’mon, EDGAR. I’d kill to have a girl like that. So what if she likes you. What’s wrong with that?

EDGAR: Ugh. I know. There’s nothing wrong with it, I suppose. (Looking down at his phone.) Oh, shit. It’s almost 2. I need to start making my way over to Williams.

MARIA: Oh, no. Me too.

RITA: Ah, I wish we could just stay out here. It’s so nice out today!

EDGAR: I agree.

EDGAR, RITA, and MARIA are all beginning to pick up their collective, scattered items.

DAVE: (Suddenly depressed) Yeah. I don’t want to leave either.

RITA: It’s a shame that we still have classes with such nice weather.

RITA, MARIA, and EDGAR all laugh at this. DAVE lets out a slight chuckle.

DAVE: It’d be nice to spend more time together.

None of them respond to this as they continue to collect their things.

DAVE: I mean…with such beautiful weather, I could never imagine a better day than today.

RITA rolls her eyes, looking at EDGAR, knowing where this is going (as EDGAR had told the two of them about his previous, recent interactions with DAVE).

MARIA: (Pensively) Is everything okay, DAVE?

DAVE: I mean — y’know — it’s just…if today was my last day on Earth, I could be okay with that.

EDGAR: (Briefly muttering something to himself) Well, it doesn’t have to be, DAVE. There will be many more days like this one.

RITA: Exactly. We can do this again sometime soon!

DAVE: (With a sour expression) Soon — huh. Soon. That’s an idea. Soon

MARIA: (Noticeably concerned) What is it, DAVE?

DAVE: (Quietly and reserved) It’s just — y’know — I’ve been thinking about…offing myself lately. I haven’t felt this happy in awhile. I couldn’t imagine it…getting better.

MARIA and RITA look at one another, concerned for DAVE in this moment. EDGAR, visibly frustrated, attempts to mask his discontent for DAVE’s continued antics. The three give in to DAVE, sitting back on the grass, placing their things behind them. DAVE’s face shifts from its somber mood back into a state of contentedness.

EDGAR: (Frustrated) Sooo…

CUT TO:

INT. NURSING HOME — MIDDAY

It is now sixty years in the future. The sight is the interior of a nursing home apartment. Small trinkets line the apartment, furniture and technology is sparse, and in the sole, dimly lit bedroom lays EDGAR, his athletic frame worn thin – his mouth and jaw gaunt even among the loose, age-ridden skin; his eyes now rather pale and void of much life. He is covered by a loose, heavy flannel blanket that is draped over his legs and midriff.

Into the room walks DAVE, still a walking garbage bag of a human, but surprisingly spry for his old age — the opposite of EDGAR’s current state.

DAVE approaches EDGAR’s bedside.

DAVE: How’s it going, ED?

EDGAR: (Staring at the ceiling, screaming expletives within his head) Oh, y’know, dying.

DAVE: That’s rough.

EDGAR: (Briefly looking at DAVE with pure malice, then returning his gaze back to the pale, off-white ceiling.) Yeah. It is.

DAVE: I was wondering if you wanted to play some chess? Figured we could spend some time together. (A smile stretches between the skin folds of his face.)

EDGAR: (Closing his eyes briefly, using most of his energy to do so) Not today, DAVE. I just want to sleep. I’m feeling rather weak today.

DAVE: (Immediately depressed) Oh. I see. I get that.

EDGAR: (Loudly sighing) What is it, DAVE?

DAVE: It’s just that…I could really use an activity to get my mind off — (his voice trails)

EDGAR: (Sighing again. You can hear the phlegm in his throat.) Off what, DAVE?

DAVE: Well, since you asked — ever since Margaret died, I’ve been feeling rather…useless.

EDGAR’s fingers begin digging into the cloth of the blanket.

EDGAR: (Annoyed) Mhm.

DAVE: I can hardly live without her. And — y’know — I’m thinking of…(his voice trails again.)

EDGAR: (Embittered and sarcastic) Thinking of what, DAVE?

DAVE: Y-know – (now talking with his hands, making a swiping motion with his hands) Killing myself.

There is a dense silence in the air for at least a minute. Neither of the men move or speak. Neither so as much cough.

DAVE:  (Melancholy) So, I guess I’ll just go then.

DAVE looks defeated. He begins to turn on his heel, walking with dramatic intent. His movements are deliberate and exact, seeking the absolute attention of EDGAR, making him weigh his possible blame for DAVE’s “oncoming” actions.

EDGAR sighs deeply. He begins to hoist himself up in his bed, which takes him a rather long time. As he gets the weight of his chest over his groin, he violently coughs, spitting up blood onto the sleeve of his napping shirt. He looks towards DAVE, showing him his sleeve, and DAVE shows little reaction, still feeling nothing but misery for himself.

EDGAR: (apathetic and defeated) Fine. Did you bring the board with you?

DAVE: (Ecstatic.) I did! Let me just get it from my car.

DAVE quickly scuttles from the room, leaving EDGAR. EDGAR lays down, resting his head back onto the pillow and staring at the ceiling. He reaches his hand up to his throat, pressing his forefinger and middle finger towards his jugular, feeling for a pulse. He notices that his pulse is much higher than normal.

As DAVE ecstatically reenters the room, chessboard in hand, EDGAR thinks to himself, “I’m still breathing. Unfortunately.”

FADE TO BLACK

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