Youth Transcend: Cara & Ethel

EXT. GAS STATION – grimy afternoon
Blisters fester on the melted asphalt. Sweat floods through their pores like waves, enveloping their tanned skin before plummeting to the concrete. Cars drone into their respective lanes. The traffic is heavy as the long weekend approaches. Gas prices are sure to rise in a matter of hours and everyone has to get their fill.
An elderly woman makes her way across the glistening pavement. She opens the door to a convenience store.
INT. SPEAK EASY – BASEMENT
Ethel (72), mosey’s down the spiral staircase. Clouds of angst layer the room fuelled by one, maybe two, cigarettes glowing high in the presence of absent light. A jazz band plays in the background against the mumbles of bitter patrons that sit still against plastered walls.
Cara (28), glares at the construction workers, gas attendants, and caravan Mum’s sitting, liberated. Ethel approaches the bar counter, slams the bell top with her index finger, her ring clanks loudly against the counter. The band begins playing a cover rendition of “Forever Young” by Alphaville.
ETHEL
– Afternoon.
Beat.
CARA
(Reluctantly)
Wha’d you want?
ETHEl
My usual.
Cara reaches beneath the bar counter for a glass. She fills a canister with ice, whiskey, and cranberries. Shakes the canister, drains liquid contents into the glass. She places it before Ethel who takes a sip.
ethel
(Glances at band)
Eh, these guys aren’t half bad. What do you think?
cara
They’re pedestrian.
ethel
(Takes a sip)
Oh, come now. Don’t be so harsh.
cara
Don’t tell me how to feel. You asked me my opinion so I gave it. Don’t patronize me if you don’t like it.
ethel
You’re too young to be bitter.
cara
No one’s ever too young to be bitter.
ethel
(Turns to the stage)
Well, I like them.
cara
Good for you.
Ethel scoffs.
cara
I don’t think you should come here anymore. People will start to think that you have a problem.
ethel
So let ‘em. Free will – It’s a magnificent thing.
cara
You’re not an addict.
ethel
Don’t let the cardigan fool you.
cara
It’s hot as hell. It’s not fooling anyone.
ethel
Doesn’t mean I can’t dress for the occasion.
cara
You’d let people make assumptions about you, even if they aren’t true?
ethel
I can’t stop people from thinking what they want. I can only encourage an alternative. What if I told you there was gasoline in that cup? Would you believe me?
CARA
No.
ETHEL
Why not?
CARA
– Because there isn’t.
ethel
– You think there isn’t.
cara
– I know there isn’t.
ethel
(Takes another swig)
You’re so boring.
cara
Sorry to disappoint.
ethel
I don’t believe that.
cara
People come here to die. It’s not something I’m particularly cheery about. They sit around in this dingy basement all day drinking and reminiscing about what could have been.
ethel
How can you be so sure?
cara
Open your eyes lady. There isn’t a soul in this place without a preordained casket.
ethel
I’m sure if you asked…
(Beat)
Aren’t you scared of death?
cara
No.
ethel
I think you should be. You won’t last forever in this place.
cara
I’ll last long enough to see you go.
ethel
Well isn’t that delightful.
cara
(Pours her another)
It’s my specialty.
Ethel glances back at the band.
ethel
Fantastic, aren’t they?
cara
Yeah, they’re magnificent.
The music fades out. Ethel lingers on the last set of bars — the glare from her eyes slowly fading as the lights dim.
cut to black.
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