EXT. U-STORE-IT UNIT – LEXINGTON, KY – DAY
MITCH FIELDS, 49, stands behind an open 16-foot U-HAUL RENTAL TRUCK, peering into the loaded cavity. Mitch is tall and lanky but not slender, honest but not blunt, wandering but not homeless, and experienced but not wise.
We see some FURNITURE, several BOXES, a pair of BAR STOOLS, the end of a SMALL UPRIGHT PIANO, and a handful of POTTED PLANTS, all packed in, tight and efficient.
The late-summer sunshine has already warmed the asphalt beneath Mitch’s feet. Some distant ROAD NOISE floats in from the background to accent what may appear to be a moment of calmness.
His brow, dappled with beads of sweat mixed with dust, shows a tired but accomplished expression from underneath his well-worn BALL CAP.
He surveys the rows of concrete-block buildings, built to maximize the square footage on the lot while allowing efficient flow of trucks, minivans and gooseneck trailers.
He checks the time on his CELL PHONE – 11:17.
He takes the SUNGLASSES that hang from his similarly sweaty and dirty t-shirt and puts them on. He inserts EARBUDS into his hears and hits a button on the phone.
CUE MUSIC: FRANK SINATRA’S VERSION OF THEME FROM NEW YORK, NEW YORK.
He puts the phone in his pocket and pulls the rear door down, closing in the sum of material representations of his life. He puts a PADLOCK on the latch.
WIDE SHOT: TRUCK PULLING AWAY FROM THE STORAGE UNIT.
Start spreadin’ the news.
I’m leaving today.
I want to be a part of it.
New York, New York.
EXT. HIGHWAY – MOVING – DAY
The song continues as we see more SHOTS of the truck:
… ROLLING ONTO INTERSTATE-75
… THROUGH THE ROLLING HILLS OF NORTHERN KENTUCKY
INT. FRONT CAB OF U-HAUL TRUCK – CONTINUOUS
Mitch spies a RED-TAIL HAWK soaring high above him, just ahead. He leans forward to watch it through squinting eyes. He smiles.
EXT. HIGHWAY – MOVING – CONTINUOUS
The truck merges onto the PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE.
INT. FRONT CAB OF U-HAUL TRUCK – CONTINUOUS
Mitch drives the truck. The earbuds still pump Frank’s voice into his head as he sings along.
SINATRA / MITCH (SINGING)
These little-town blues
Are melting away.
I’m gonna make a brand new start of it
In old New York.
And… If I can make it there,
I’ll make it –
A RINGTONE cuts the music off abruptly.
He glances at the screen.
INSERT: CELL PHONE SHOWING CONTACT – “MOM”
He squeezes on the earbud cord to answer the call.
Well, how far have you got?
Almost to Harrisburg.
Oh, you’re making good time.
I got out sooner that I planned.
Couldn’t sleep and I figured
instead of laying there thinking
about it, I might as well get it
done. So I was there about four
thirty this morning.
Mitch notices another RED-TAIL HAWK perched on a tree branch off the side of the road as he passes by.
Well, you be careful. Don’t fall
I’m all caffeine’d up.
In that big truck.
It’s fine. This ain’t my first
I know. I’ve seen you drive them
things away before. You know.
Surely you’re not driving it all
the way through tonight.
No. I’m about to get off and find
a room here soon.
Good. I hope you can rest.
I can use it. Plus I want to drive
across the George Washington Bridge
in the clear light of day tomorrow.
Lord, I wouldn’t even know where
that is either.
I know, Mama. It’s alright.
EXT. MEXICAN RESTAURANT – RURAL PENNSYLVANIA – NIGHT
The U-Haul sits outside of the ‘Su Casa, Su Casa’ restaurant.
INT. MEXICAN RESTAURANT – RURAL PENNSYLVANIA – CONTINUOUS
Mitch sits at the bar eating dinner. No one else sits at the bar, and the darkened restaurant is nearly empty. A half-full Margarita glass complements the dish.
The TV above the bar displays a soccer match; the Spanish speaking announcer calls the match over the boisterous crowd.
He sips from the Margarita and tunes into the soccer match. The referee issues a red card to an enraged player. The offending player slings animated gestures at the referee as his teammates attempt to restrain him.
Mitch chuckles at the scene.
MAN’S VOICE (O.S.)
He’s in a mood, isn’t he?
Yes, he is. Hot blooded, I guess.
Mitch turns to find RON SMITH, early 60s. Ron is a bit heavy-set, but jolly in every aspect of his appearance. His smooth white hair frames his round, warm face. His voice is deep and velvety smooth, and with just the right amount of genuine Kentucky accent to put anyone at ease.
Just like the thoroughbreds. It’s
all about the blood.
I must have seen about a dozen
hawks today, so I figured it was
about time you showed up.
You know I’m never far away.
Please. I’m sure there are plenty
of other souls out here you’re
looking over. I’d imagine they
keep your dance card pretty full.
Not at all. You must be needing to
A little reassurance wouldn’t hurt.
When I was fresh out of college, I
was driving Senator Cooper around
eastern Kentucky with his campaign,
and – have I ever told this?
Only about a hundred times.
Ron flashes a gleaming smile.
It’s worth telling again. I was in
line for a staff job, either in
Lexington, or maybe even in
Washington. Life was all planned
out for me. But somewhere deep
down, I knew my future wouldn’t be
in politics, and it wouldn’t even
be in Kentucky. When I gave him my
resignation letter, he said
something that I’ll remember
You’re dead, Ron. All you have
left is ‘forever’.
It was both the easiest and yet the
hardest decision I ever made. And
he knew that. He shook my hand,
put his other hand on my shoulder
and said, “Ronnie, no matter where
you go, you know you’ll never get
that red clay off your boots.”
He was right. I brought a big
handful of that red Kentucky clay
all the way to Dallas and threw it
in the open grave before they
lowered you down into it.
I know. And I imagine he knew
you’d do that too, even back then.
Is this some kind of “time folds
back onto itself” thing?
You tell me. Is that what’s
bothering you? Time?
It’s been almost eight years.
Flew by, didn’t it?
Mitch shakes his head.
Shit, Ron. That seems like an entire
Then there’s your answer. How many
lifetimes are you going to get?
Only one more. Back to square one,
I wouldn’t say that. You’ve got a
couple of bright, beautiful squares
to show for it.
Yeah. Good squares.
And remember, they have their
lifetimes, too. In fact, they’re
both pretty good at it, so far.
It’s been a lot to overcome.
That’s what I miss so much about
being here: the challenges.
Yeah? Well, I’m up for a big one
now, my friend.
What’s a climber without a
Yeah. A good mountain.
Ron stands from the bar stool and moves to Mitch’s side. He places his left hand on Mitch’s shoulder.
I know you’re not a red-clay kind
of guy, but you have your own
version… or should I say, you
have two of them. And they’ll
always be on your boots.
Ron’s smile widens again, and he winks at Mitch.
WIDE SHOT OF THE BAR, and we see only Mitch sitting there, gazing off into the distance.
He picks up his cell phone and punches up the text-messaging app, which shows a previous group-message conversation with REBECCA and CHELSEA. He types up a message.
MITCH (VIA TEXT)
Good night, my sweet girls. Talk
to you soon.
And hits SEND.
INT. MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
The door opens from the outside, and Mitch enters, tosses his keys on the side table. We see his small suitcase and backpack on the bed, with a few items already unpacked and lying around.
NEXT: Mitch, in a t-shirt and pajama pants, brushes his teeth at the sink.
NEXT: He plops down on the bed, grabs the remote and turns on the TV. The movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry has just begun. He shows a slight smile of acceptance, maybe even peace, and he lets out an exhale which allows his shoulders to relax.
NEXT: The movie still plays, somewhere in the later half, and we see that Mitch has fallen asleep.
END OF SCENE