Friday, March 22, 2013

Case Study No. 0866: Mike and Carlos (student library workers)

Conversation in the Library
On a boring day in the library two employees get in a heated debate about Denny's and how it's responsible for the decline of the American dream.
Tags: Library Comedy Conversation Short Film Independent
Added: 4 years ago
From: filmwiz23
Views: 538

Conversation in the Library
A Vignette by Paul Roland Bois

[scene opens behind the front desk of a college library, as a male student library worker walks in to find another male student library worker sitting at his work area and studying]
MIKE: Hello, Carlos.
CARLOS: Hey Mike, what's up?
MIKE: Eh, my rent's due, my girlfriend's a cheating whore, and I missed Seinfeld last night, you do the math.
CARLOS: Always negative, never cheerful. My advice, move to Paris and never look back.
MIKE: Hey Carlos, I'm just suffering from the typical effects of economic immobility.
CARLOS: You're in college. No economic immobility in that.
MIKE: My case in point, Carlos. Since when did college become the symbol of the anti-social stratification?
CARLOS: Whatever the hell that means ...
[Mike sighs, then looks up to see that "The Lion King" is playing on the television behind Carlos]
MIKE: Lion King, huh?
CARLOS: Yeah, sorry. It's the only thing we've got back there, other than documentaries on midwestern apple orchards.
MIKE: I see, I see ... Y'know something, Carlos? I think that this movie evokes a certain philosophical thought I never quite was able to grasp until now.
CARLOS: What're you talking about? The whole movie's philosophical.
MIKE: I'm not talking about the movie itself, I'm talking about what it makes me feel.
CARLOS: Okay, what does it make you feel?
MIKE: That in Africa, you're probably more fortunate if you get to be an animal than if you get to be a human.
CARLOS: [pause] A cartoon animal, maybe, but I wouldn't extend the generalization to the whole human race.
MIKE: No, I'm serious! If you get to be an animal, you don't have to suffer all the pointless economic turmoil and government genocide.
CARLOS: Well, in that case, you're probably better off being an animal, period.
MIKE: In most cases, yes. In the case of Donald Trump, no.
CARLOS: Why does he get off?
MIKE: Born lucky in a capitalist society.
CARLOS: So what's that say?
MIKE: That nowadays, success and comfort reach only to the fortunate few whose parents grant them their prizes and gifts. Ever heard of the Hollywood industry? I think so.
CARLOS: I sense some hostility.
MIKE: It's not like I'm speaking some foreign prophecy, Carlos! Just look at all the crap you hear about on the radio or, god forbid, the TV.
CARLOS: I don't watch TV, and radio's the fuckin' Antichrist ...
MIKE: Y'know, I sense even more hostility in that statement.
CARLOS: Long story. Keep going.
MIKE: The examples are everywhere, Carlos. It's fucking dog eat dog! Nepotism at its high, corruption's at its high, and all we can do is sit around and suck on it!
CARLOS: Words of the realists ...
MIKE: [pause] Aw goddammit Carlos, we gotta shelve those books.
[he gets up, but Carlos remains seated and points at his notebook]
CARLOS: How 'bout you shelve the books and I study?
MIKE: Oh, what? Come on, man! This is a good discussion here, why don't you humor me for a bit? Besides, I always do the shelving while you sit down in your stupid little books and you study!
CARLOS: [pause] Alright ...
MIKE: Alright, alright!
[he starts applauding Carlos as he gets up]
MIKE: Come on, way to show some enthusiasm!
CARLOS: But to interject my opinion, I think your argument's flawed ...
[they walk over and grab some books from the bookcart]
MIKE: Come on, man. All I'm saying is the American dream's a fading symbol of hard work amounting to something grander than our everyday lives.
[cut to the stacks area, as the two students are each carrying a pile of books]
CARLOS: How did we get on this topic?
MIKE: Something about jackrabbits in Africa ...
CARLOS: Well, you can't be serious. The American dream isn't fading. There's examples of it everywhere. I mean, just the other day, a restaurant opened down the street from my house.
MIKE: And then in another month, a new Denny's will open right across the street from it, only for the pathetic kick of shutting the poor bastard down!
[cut to two female students watching the conversation in amusement, then back to the student workers]
MIKE: Now Carlos, it's possible like most businesses, they might get a sympathy vibe in their veins and decide to buy the guy out ... and then another month goes by, you get two Denny's right across the street from each other! And then that, Carlos, is when the competition gets really tough, because it's dog eat dog after all the mutts get picked, and when that happens, the dogs start fucking themselves.
[he rolls his eyes, as the two begin shelving their books]
CARLOS: Yeah, but it's not like Denny's planned to shut him down. They just wanted to expand their location to ... a wider domestic audience. I mean, come on, every town needs a Denny's. It's like McDonald's. It makes children happy, hence the name "Happy Meal."
[the two end up on opposite ends of the same bookshelf, as Mike angrily puts down his stack of books and turns the corner to confront his co-worker]
MIKE: Hold on a second! You'd seriously go to a half-assed Denny's over a good old-fashioned hole in the wall?
[cut to a female student entering the library, then back to the student workers]
CARLOS: Gotta have my Grand Slams ...
MIKE: "Gotta have my Grand Slams?!" Gotta have my Grand Slams, Carlos?! Y'see, that's the problem that I'm talkin' about!
CARLOS: What? The fact that I prefer Gland Slam over some hole in the wall shlock made by some East Coast greaseball?
[cut to the female student looking at a sign on the wall ("Please ask for assistance, 30 cents per yard. Please do not tear off paper. Please ask TCC staff to cut paper for you. Thank you!"), then back to the student workers]
MIKE: No Carlos, no. The fact that your whole statement of purpose is a complete rip-off of the Corn Pops slogan!
CARLOS: So now we're bringing Corn Pops into this ...
MIKE: You're damn right I'm bringing Corn Pops into this! It's like you have no other creative way to prove me wrong, than to reference a cereal commercial slogan of all things! A fucking cereal commercial slogan, Carlos!
CARLOS: [sighs] Michael Rollins, you continue to astound me ...
MIKE: No no no, Carlos! This is no longer a simple-minded debate about personal preference. You've touched something here, you've opened the fucking wardrobe to Narnia--
[the female student enters the scene]
[they both turn and yell "What?!" to her]
FEMALE STUDENT: Think you guys could shut up for a second and come over and cut this for me?
MIKE: Aw fffffuck!
[he walks over to the front desk and grabs a pair of scissors, then turns to her with a condescending smile]
MIKE: Here, cut it yourself!
[he slams the scissors down in front of her, then walks back towards Carlos]
MIKE: No charge!
MIKE: Only in the afternoon!
[he turns his attention back to Carlos]
CARLOS: Now how the hell does me quoting Corn Pops and claiming I like Grand Slams have anything remotely to do with you blowing your top? No no, I really wanna fucking here this, lay it on me! I'm all ears and my lips are sealed!
MIKE: It's not the intent, Carlos, it's what it represents! That there are no opinions, that there is no variety. Just brand names and conglomerates.
[cut to a male student reading a book in the stacks, as he looks up to hear the conversation growing increasingly louder]
MIKE: [from off camera] It's the personification of the fucking oligarchy, it's complete and total ignorance!
[cut back to the student workers]
CARLOS: Oh, complete and total ignorance? Well now, Mister Fucking Anti-Social Stratification, here's Johnny! You come in here with your piss-poor attitude, your liberalism bullshit, and you expect me to bend over while you make me look like a heartless prick and you the patron saint of lost causes? Well, let me clue you in on a newsflash, bub!
[cut back to the male student peeking through the books on the shelf, trying to find the source of the argument]
CARLOS: [from off camera] My family's a victim of this so-called oligarchy you claim I represent!
[cut back to the student workers]
CARLOS: Just two months ago, my dad calls me and tells me that he can't pay my tuition anymore because a Wal-Mart is coming into town and replacing his movie store!
[cut to the female student using the scissors to cut some paper (while also listening to the conversation with a sad look on her face)]
CARLOS: [from off camera] So because of that, I now have to work twenty hours a week in this shit heap ...
[cut back to the student workers]
CARLOS: Six of which I have to listen to your pretentious ass complain about why you think it's wrong that I prefer Denny's over some Mom and Pop hole in the wall!
[the camera zooms in on the stunned expression on Mike's face]
CARLOS: As if there's some unwritten rule that states that those who eat at Denny's are the simpleminded, and those who eat at local shops are the intellectually superior! If I eat at Denny's, I eat at Denny's!
[cut back to the male student spying on them]
CARLOS: [from off camera] If I quote Corn Pops, I quote Corn Pops!
[cut back to the student workers]
CARLOS: I'll quote the whole fucking Kellogg company if it means shutting your whiny ass up! So here's a new one for you ...
[cut back to the male student, standing on a step stool to see over the bookshelf]
MALE STUDENT: [whispers] The fuck?
CARLOS: [from off camera] Why don't you follow your nose out of my business, and into your own miserable life you can't seem to shut up about?
[cut back to the female student, who suddenly laughs]
FEMALE STUDENT: That's Froot Loops!
[he turns and looks at her]
CARLOS: See? She knows what I'm talking about!
[quick cut back to the male student (who ends up falling backwards and pulling the books on the shelf down on top of him), then back to Mike and Carlos as they walk towards the female student]
CARLOS: Lemmee ask you something ... Where would you rather go, Denny's or a hole in the wall?
FEMALE STUDENT: Um, I'm a vegan, so neither.
CARLOS: See, Mike? An opposing opinion. Ain't this country great?
[he opens a door]
MIKE: Well, where the hell are you going?
CARLOS: I'm going on my break. Finish off on the books.
[he exits, as Mike (after pausing with a defeated look on his face) walks off camera]

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