Lounge

Matthew Lederman

7/30/90

INT. HOTEL LOUNGE. NIGHT.

MARY KAY Evans sits at the bar of the Marriott Hotel next to the Convention Center in Charleston, West Virginia. She is in her late thirties, slim, with very blonde, very styled hair. The makeup on her cheeks and eyes contrasts sharply with her pale skin, making her look cadaverous. John DOLE sits on the bar stool beside her. He is around fifty. He wears a brown suit, white shirt and green necktie. He is red-faced and paunchy and rocking gently back and forth on his stool. He blinks his glassy eyes often, squinting at Mary Kay when she is not looking at him. She tries to keep him in sight of the corner of her eye, turning her head to the side when he rocks back out of the range of her peripheral vision. The bar is a free- standing square in the center of overplanted area set on an elevated stage along one wall of a restaurant. A few tables line the edge of the platform. An empty dance floor is on the lower level. A man and two women occupy one table in the restaurant. The rest are already set for breakfast. One waitress and two busboys lean against the wall watching the three remaining diners. Six men sit at the bar. Two groups of two talking. Two men, drinking alone, staring into the darkness. Thin music hangs in the background. A television is on with no sound.

MARY KAY

(smiling shyly)

Are you staying in Charleston long?

DOLE

Couple of days.

MARY KAY

I hope you're having a good time.

DOLE

Not bad. You live here?

MARY KAY

My whole life.

DOLE

Anything to do around here?

MARY KAY

There could be.

Dole signals the bartender to make them each another drink. MARY ANNE Evans enters the bar. She is in her early twenties. She has very blonde hair, wears a tight skirt and high heels. She wears thick makeup that accents the scars left by bad skin in adolescence. She looks at the people at the bar, spots Mary Kay and sneers. Mary Kay looks up, sees Mary Anne and frowns. She turns quickly back to John Dole and smiles.

MARY KAY

My name is Mary Kay.

DOLE

Bob.

Mary Anne looks around the bar and strides over to a stool beside two men. He heels click noisily, easily audible over the music. The two men are wearing identical dark blue suits and white shirts. The older man wears a red tie, the younger wears blue. Frank ASH, the nearer to Mary Anne, is about forty. Mark CRANSTON is about thirty. Ash is lecturing Cranston sternly, jabbing the air in front of him with his index finger. Cranston nods, unsmiling, his eyes fixed on the finger.

MARY ANNE Is this seat taken?

Ash spins around, his finger frozen in front of Cranston, then smiles.

ASH

(leering)

No. Please take it.

Ash turns back to Cranston, frowns and starts shaking his finger.

ASH

(continuing)

And if that son of a bitch ever....

Ash stops suddenly, grins, looks around the bar at the empty seats and rolls his eyes at Cranston, with a slight jerk of his head toward Mary Anne. Cranston looks past Ash over at Mary Anne, raises one eyebrow and shrugs. Ash swivels around to face Mary Anne. She is watching Mary Kay and Dole, directly across the bar. She frowns seriously. Mary Kay talks in an animated manner, looking straight at Dole's chin, laughing, giggling and touching his arm tentatively.

ASH

(continuing)

Hi. My name is Frank. This is Mark.

MARY ANNE

(feigning surprise theatrically)

Oh. Hi. My name is Mary.

ASH

Can I get you a drink?

MARY ANNE

Well... I'm really waiting for someone....

ASH

(shrugs)

OK.

Ash starts to turn back to Cranston.

MARY ANNE

(quickly)

Maybe just one.

Ash spins back to her, smiles and waves to the bartender.

ASH

Another round. And give her one, too.

The bartender looks at Mary Anne.

MARY ANNE

(to the bartender)

Tom Collins.

(to Ash)

Thank you, Frank.

Mary Kay is still speaking excitedly to Dole. Dole says little, nodding periodically, looking down her blouse.

MARY KAY

Anyway, her guy took up with another girl, some local trash, you know the kind, and then when the accident happened she took him back and the other girl took up with some man, a colored fellow, not from around here, and no one heard from her until he died and the other girl wanted the insurance money....

DOLE

Insurance money?

MARY KAY

(patiently)

The company and the union have insurance for everyone.

DOLE

(businesslike, pompously)

Who was the beneficiary on the policy?

MARY KAY

(incredulous)

Now how would I know that?

Mary Anne has moved over closer to Ash. She leans against him and giggles. Cranston rolls his eyes and looks around the bar.

CRANSTON

I really got to get some sleep....

ASH

(scoffing)

What for?

MARY ANNE

(quickly)

It was so nice to meet you, Luke.

CRANSTON

(to Mary Anne)

It was nice to meet you, too, Betty Liz.

(to Ash)

Because I was up early and worked hard all day and drank too much tonight and I gotta do the same tomorrow. Good night.

ASH

(sneering)

Yeah.

Cranston drops some bills on the bar, nods to Mary Anne and Ash and walks away. Mary Kay watches him across the bar, turning her head to follow him out the door. Mary Anne leans over onto Ash's arm and looks up into his eyes.

MARY ANNE

(quietly)

Do you have any coke?

ASH

What?

MARY ANNE

You know. Cocaine.

ASH

No. I don't.

MARY ANNE

(frowning)

That's alright.

(smiling suddenly)

I know where we can get some.

ASH

So do I. But not in this state.

MARY ANNE

(in an reassuring tone)

Nearby.

ASH

What about your friend?

MARY ANNE

What?

ASH

Your friend? The one you were waiting for?

Mary Anne glances at the bracelets on her left wrist.

MARY ANNE

Oh, forget her.

ASH

OK. But, let's have another drink first.

Ash takes a long drink and waves to the bartender. Mary Kay rubs up against Dole, still talking excitedly, touching his arm and his shoulder for emphasis, but looking across the bar at Mary Anne.

MARY KAY

There's a big lawsuit now, you know, for negligence or something like that, and the girl with the colored fellow said that the money should be hers cause she had his baby and the money should go to it. It wasn't his baby, of course, but it wasn't colored or it didn't look colored, anyway, so they had another legal thing, like a lawsuit but different, and no one knows who's going to get the money in the end....

DOLE

If there is any....

MARY KAY

(vehemently)

There's money. The company killed him and they got money.

Mary Anne has her hand on Ash's forearm. She digs her long red nails into his sleeve for emphasis.

MARY ANNE

Well, his mother was bothering her and the baby. She kept saying that it was a black man's baby but that wasn't true. She didn't, you know what, with the black man. He was just a friend. And he was a real nice guy. Not like a lot of the white trash around here. After the accident, a lot of his friends came around and hit on her. Got so she couldn't even set in a bar without one of them going after her. Anyway, his mother started threatening them and stuff. The poor girl had to go and get herself a court order but that didn't help neither.

ASH

So what happened?

MARY ANNE

I don't know. The judge, the court, they haven't decided yet. I guess once they figure how much money to give, then they got to say who gets it.

ASH

What happened to the baby?

MARY ANNE

(sadly)

She still got it.

Mary Anne finishes her drink with one loud gulp.

MARY ANNE

(continuing)

You want to go?

ASH

Yeah. I guess.

MARY ANNE

You got money?

Ash nods solemnly. Mary Kay sips her drink. She looks up at Dole.

MARY KAY

(quietly)

I'll follow you upstairs.

DOLE

I need a... a...

Mary Kay pats her purse.

MARY KAY

I got one.

Dole pays the check, nods and stumbles out of the bar. Mary Kay finishes her drink, gets up and follows him. Ash stands up and digs in his pocket. Mary Anne starts toward the door. Dole stops at the door and turns around drunkenly, squinting into the darkness, looking for Mary Kay. The two women meet at the door, stop and glare at each other. Dole watches the women. Ash stops a few feet short of them and watches also.

MARY ANNE

(hissing)

Don't you even want to see Mary Alice?

MARY KAY

(whispering angrily)

Not alive.

MARY ANNE

(louder)

She's your granddaughter.

MARY KAY

No, she ain't.

Ash takes a step toward the two women, nods politely at Mary Kay and smiles quickly at Mary Anne. Mary Kay smiles sweetly at Ash, turns and walks over to Dole, slipping her arm through his, claiming him. Mary Anne smiles at Ash, slips her arm through his and turns to Mary Kay and sneers. Mary Kay drags Dole out through the door. Mary drags Ash out behind them.

Copyright 2005 Matthew Lederman. All rights reserved
Contact: matt@matthewlederman.com