Left or Right

by Alex Sarris

Short Film
Email: landfocus229@gmail.com

An eccentric lawyer takes refuge from a hurricane in an unusual beat-up hotel. His perception of good and evil is distorted, as everything is not as it seems.

 

 

 

 

Left or Right

 

By  Alex Sarris

 

 

 

 

Current Revisions by Alex Sarris 7 November 2012

 

 

 

 

ALEX SARRIS
PO Box 325 Mount Hawthorn Perth WA Australia 6915 Email: landfocus229@gmail.com

Copyright (c) 2012 This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.

FADE IN:

INT. CAR - NIGHT

MARK (42) short, balding and overweight, wears a suit, loosens his tie.

He drives a BMW along a dark deserted country road.
The rain pelts down on a partially fogged windscreen, the wiper blades struggle to clear the water.

The muffled sound of the radio is heard over the incessant rainfall.

A street sign appears SAN FRANCISCO 300 MILES, he rubs his tired eyes.

MARK
Shit, four hours.
The radio music stops, Mark turns the volume up.
RADIO (V.O.)
A severe high level weather warning is in place for California as hurricane Magdalen approaches.

MARK
Christ, that’s all I need.
RADIO (V.O.)
Wind gusts of up to one hundred miles per hour are expected.

MARK
Just my friggin’ luck.
RADIO (V.O.)
It is recommended that all travellers seek refuge indoors as the storm is expected to hit within the next hour.

Music plays on the radio, Mark turns the volume down.
MARK
(angry) Jesus.

A pale faced WOMAN (70) dressed in Amish clothes, suddenly appears on the road ahead, he slams his foot on the brake pedal, stops short.

Her grey hair partially covered by a bonnet. She waves her index finger left to right.

 

MARK (CONT’D)
Mom. Not again.
She vanishes, Mark rubs his eyes.
He takes a deep breath, removes a cigarette from a pack on the dash, puts it in his mouth, lights it.

Inhales deeply, blows smoke upwards. Continues.
A street sign, TOWN OF PEARLY, THREE MILES.
He grabs the map from the passenger seat, juggles it above the steering wheel.

MARK (CONT’D)
Never saw that on the map.
Frustrated he crumbles the map and tosses it back. Takes another drag of his cigarette.
Continues.
A street sign --- WELCOME TO TOWN OF PEARLY.
Rain ceases.
He slows down as the town lights appear.
A number of motels and hotels line this deserted street.
A black cat stops on the road ahead of him, it turns, looks at Mark, continues across his path.

Mark shakes his head.
MARK (CONT’D)
Just my luck.
He drives past several motels that displays a NO VACANCY neon signs.

MARK (CONT’D)
Jesus, has to be one room vacant in this shit hole.

Towards the end of town a VACANCY neon sign flashes, he pulls into the car park, gets out of the car.

EXT. CAR PARK - NIGHT

Mark throws the cigarette butt onto the wet asphalt, stomps it out with his shiny black leather shoe.

 

Presses his key FOB, the BMW beeps as the indicator light flashes once. He pockets the keys.

Mark pauses, looks around, a rundown hotel in dire need of a coat of paint.

MARK
Great, another ten dollar a night joint.

A dilapidated sign PEARL ATE HOTEL, letters missing. He laughs.
MARK (CONT’D)
Pearl must have been some hungry broad.
(laughs)
She should’ve finished it off.
A door is visible in the distance, RECEPTION sign prominent, he proceeds towards it.

Mark steps into a water filled pothole.
MARK (CONT’D)
Fuck.
He stops, shakes his wet leg.
Continues towards the door, water oozes from his shoe.
Damaged Christmas lights flash intermittently above the patchy door.

Mark opens the door, enters. The hotel disappears.

EXT. PADDOCK - NIGHT

The BMW is parked in a bare paddock, crickets can be heard.

INT. RECEPTION - NIGHT

A few travel brochures, plastered on a pinup board. Above the board, a gold and red foil MERRY CHRISTMAS sign.

A caged window dominates the far wall, steel bars are decorated with Christmas tinsel.

Mark approaches the window, water oozes from his shoe, a wet trail behind him.

A sign above the bars --- PEARLY GATES RECEPTION, he looks up and smirks.

 

MARK
(whispers)
Shit. Where the hell am I?
A man JESS (37) stands behind the bars, long brown hair and piercing blue eyes, he looks holy.

MARK (CONT’D)
I wanna room for the night.
Mark hands his business card through the steel bars, Jess grabs it, head down, he reads it.

JESS
You’re a lawyer.
MARK
Yeah.
(pause)
Do you have deluxe rooms?
Jess smirks.

JESS
We have two types, good or bad, kind or evil, Heaven or Hell.

Mark looks confused as he peers towards the door.
MARK
(reluctantly) I’ll take Heaven.

JESS
That’s for me to decide.
Mark laughs in disbelief.
MARK
This must be some sort of joke. Where are the hidden cameras? Did my wife phone you?

Confused, Mark scratches his head.
JESS
What do you mean?
The smirk is wiped of Marks face, he looks towards the door, takes one step back.

JESS (CONT’D)
You can only have a Heaven room if you have something that symbolizes Christmas.

Mark thinks, reaches into his suit pocket, removes a pair of red lacy knickers and holds them high.

 

Jess looks shocked.

 

JESS (CONT’D)

(angry)
How does this symbolize Christmas?
MARK
It’s Carol’s.
A stamp hits a form --- HELL --- diagonally across the page in red.

INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT

Mark walks along a dark hallway, reaches a T-Junction, a sign, HEAVEN arrow left, HELL arrow right.

He looks to the left, thinks, goes right.
MARK
(laughs)
At least this place will be warmer.

INT. WAITING ROOM - NIGHT

The room resembles a night club, colored flashing disco lights, fog, people crowded together dancing, music blaring.

Men in suits, prostitutes and drug dealers fill the room. Mark stops, looks around.
A well dressed MATTHEW (46) stands nearby, they eyeball one another, smile.

MARK
Hi, I’m Mark.
Mark extends his hand, Matthew reciprocates.
MATTHEW
Matthew. How’s it goin?
MARK
Well, could be somewhere else.
MATTHEW
Why? This place is pumpin’, look at the hot chicks.

They both turn their heads towards a group of girls in short skirts.

MATTHEW (CONT’D)
What do ya do for a crust?

 

MARK
I’m a Lawyer.
MATTHEW
Me too. So are those guys.
Matthew points in the direction of a group of balding, overweight well dressed men.

MARK
The guy at the front desk was a bit stiff.

MATTHEW
Yeah, he told me lawyers automatically came here.

MARK

Really?

MATTHEW

I scored the VIP treatment, my uncle runs this joint.

MARK
Lucky you.
A scantily clad cocktail WAITRESS (24) approaches, a tray of fancy cocktails in hand, they take one, she walks off.

Mark eyeballs her set of pins.
MARK (CONT’D)
How is this Hell? It’s Heaven.
MATTHEW
I hear this room is to calm us down, the next room is suppose to be the real Hell.

Matthew laughs, they both smile and attempt uncoordinated dance moves.

INT. BEDROOM - MORNING

A solitary white decorates this angelic room, the softness of the bed resembles clouds.

Mark sleeps comfortably on a bed of shiny white satin, he hugs the pillow.

In a deep sleep, he smiles with pleasure.
A female LUCINDA (35) appears, she wears black tight jeans and a black blouse.

 

LUCINDA
(yelling)
Get up you lazy shit.
A startled Mark, eyes wide open, sits up.
LUCINDA (CONT’D)
(yelling)
Do you think you’re going to sleep all fuck’n day.

Mark shakes his head side to side, fear in his eyes.
LUCINDA (CONT’D)
(yelling)
The house needs cleaning, the bathroom’s a mess. You’re useless.

Mark raises his eyebrows.
LUCINDA (CONT’D)
(yelling)
Serves you right for going out and gettin’ hammered with your mates.

MARK

Yes Dear.

FADE OUT:

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