NUTMEG: Mars & Gustav

EXT. FOOTBALL FIELD, BLEACHERS – RAINY DAY
A group of children run amuck on a sparse football field, mud and rain soaking through their uniforms and cleats.
MARS (35) patiently watches her son at play. He runs in the opposite direction, away from his target, amused by an invisible creature unapparent to everyone else. The ball flies into his view. He kicks, misses.
MARS
Nice try Hon!
(Forces smile, claps, waves)
He waves back gleefully.
GUSTAV (36) approaches the bench. He watches as his daughter rips off her own jacket and flings it to the ground. She runs onto the field, her jacket drowns in a nearby puddle. He shakes his head in defeat.
GUSTAV
Hey.
MARS
Hiya.
MARS
Didn’t think you were gonna make it.
GUSTAV
Neither did I,
(sits),
until I managed to bribe pre- dinner gummy bears into a hard enough bargain.
MARS
Ah, well, you haven’t missed a thing. They’re still nil – nil.
GUSTAV
Great –
(Leaps up)
no, not that way! The other way, kick it the other way! [Eases back down]
MARS
(Smirks)
It takes practice.
She offers him popcorn. He reaches into her bag, grabs a handful.
GUSTAV
 (Pops a kernel in his mouth)
How’s he doing?
MARS
Fine, most days. He’s still a little slower than all the others, but I don’t think he minds. As long as I’ve got a smile on my face, it doesn’t seem to matter.
For a moment, they get lost in the action of the game. Gustav pops another kernel into his mouth.
GUSTAV
And Jon, where is he?
MARS
You mean Atlas,
(turns attention back to the field)
 oh, he’s working double over time, as usual.
Gustav nods, focuses on the miniature action unravelling before him.
MARS
And Luce, is she…?
GUSTAV
– Retching what’s left of her liver into Dr. Mendelsohn’s toilet bowl,
(pops a kernel in his mouth),
yeah.
MARS
I thought her stay was permanent?
GUSTAV
It was, but a shortage of beds makes her sober vacation circumstantial. They know our situation, she’s got a home. Her housemates don’t.
MARS
And that’s cause to chuck her out, just like that?
GUSTAV
That’s how the system works.
MARS
What if she relapses? What then?
GUSTAV
I’ll be on my own,
(pops a kernel in his mouth, turns attention to the field)
again.
Together, they watch as Gustav’s daughter sprints across the field, trips over her feet.
Mars’ son advances to her side, lifts her up. She runs ahead. With difficulty, he follows after her.
GUSTAV
I’m sorry, she’s –
MARS
(Raises hand)
Don’t apologize, its fine. They’re just kids.
Beat.
GUSTAV
Luce was fifteen, when she had her.
MARS
Yeah, I remember.
GUSTAV
Fucking disaster…
(tosses the remainder of kernels, one by one, towards the field).
MARS
Hey, you WEREN’T alone.
GUSTAV
Luce cared more about what was at the bottom of her Guinness more than any – anything else.
MARS
You can’t keep blaming her –
Beat. A yelp is heard. On the field where Gustav’s daughter lays in a heap. Perturbed, she stares at him waiting for a response. He rises.
MARS
Don’t. She’ll never learn.
GUSTAV
I can’t just sit here!
MARS
You can,
(rises, wraps arms around his)
 and you will.
Together, they watch her hands flail wildly into the air; her feet fly back and forth. Then in a split second, she rises back to her feet, makes an attempt at the football that whisks past her. Mars releases her hold on him. In an instant, he turns, embraces her tightly. He buries her face in her neck, tears raging down his cheeks.
GUSTAV
She’s,
(soft),
she’s all I’VE got.
He squeezes her tighter.
MARS
Yeah, I know.
A whistle sounds, they separate.
GUSTAV
(Close)
I should,
(wipes the tears from his eyes)
grab her things.
They hold each other’s gaze as the field clears. Their children stand at opposite goal posts, waiting. Mars steps forward, turns, only slightly.
MARS
Take care, Gus.
He nods.
MARS
(glances at the field)
 of her too.
He forces a smile as they leave the field in opposite directions.
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