Chapter 1, Scene 2: Park Avenue

INT. HOME DEPOT – ALLENTOWN, PA. – DAY

Mitch stands in front of a wide array of PAINT SWATCHES, comparing what seems like thousands of different colors, most of which look about the same.

The place is crowded with do-it-yourselfers, all loading up on materials for their Labor-Day projects.

Mitch takes a sampling of the swatches, and holds them up, trying to envision what it might look like on a wall. He even looks through a couple of the SUGGESTIVE BROCHURES, complete with their designer furniture.

       MITCH
(to himself)
Bedroom suits to sell the paint.
Paint to sell the bedroom suits.

After a bit more deliberation, still with no clear choice, he notices a tall, attractive woman at the end of the aisle helping a couple pick out their colors. This is KATE, mid 40s, with short auburn hair, and although she does not wear the typical orange HD apron, she’s clearly the paint expert.

Mitch casually makes his way down the aisle toward them, and gets close enough to overhear their conversation.

       KATE
(to the couple)
No, but if you just do one wall in
something like this…

She reaches for a swatch with shades of a salmon color.

       KATE (CONT’D)
… it won’t flood the room, and it
helps give it some depth, makes it
seem a bit bigger.

       PAINT CUSTOMER – WIFE
Oooh, I like that.

Her husband’s look of dismay signals that he’s not on board.

       PAINT CUSTOMER – HUSBAND
It’s pink.

       PAINT CUSTOMER – WIFE
You wouldn’t know ‘pink’ if it was
staring you in the face.

The husband is stunned with embarrassment.

Kate’s eyes grow wide and she blushes.

       MITCH
(to himself)
Ouch.

       PAINT CUSTOMER – WIFE
(to husband)
Oh, grow up.
(to Kate)
We’ll take that one.

       KATE
Okay, I’ll get that mixed up for
you.

Kate slides behind the counter and starts to enter the specs into the computer.

Mitch approaches her.

       MITCH
Can I be next on your list?

       KATE
Sure.

       MITCH
Don’t worry. I’m not looking for
anything pink.

Kate blushes again.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
Oh, that didn’t come out right.

Now Mitch blushes from embarrassment.

       KATE
It’s ok.

LATER:

Mitch and Kate look over a set of swatches spread across the counter.

       MITCH
Yeah, it’s just a bit clinical in
there right now… I mean, it feels
like a hospital room… in a mental
ward. And it makes it hard to
sleep in there.

       KATE
You need to have some earthy tone
to warm and soften that.

She points to several examples of greyish-taupe.

       MITCH
(still uncertain)
Yeah.

       KATE
If you stay with these others that
are too blue or even silver-looking,
it’s still going to feel cold.

He looks off in the distance to imagine it in his mind.

       MITCH
Actually, can I show you my
bedding?

       KATE
Excuse me?

       MITCH
Shit, I did it again… it’s been a
long day. I’m sorry. I have my
bedspread in the truck. Um… it’s
along story, but I think I can get
to it and bring it in.

Kate isn’t quite sure what to make of this guy, but her curious half-smile indicates she just might think he’s a charming goofball.

       KATE
Okay. I’ll be here.

He holds his hand up, giving her a ‘5’ signal.

       MITCH
Five minutes.

He takes off toward the exit.

EXT. HOME DEPOT – ALLENTOWN, PA. – DAY

Mitch lifts the rear door on the U-Haul truck. Once again, we see how fully it’s loaded.

He gets a look of “Hmmm… now where is that bedspread?”

He climbs into the back of the truck and starts moving things around, but it’s clear it’s not going to be that easy.

QUICK SHOTS from INSIDE THE TRUCK:

– He grabs a few BOXES to move them.

– He moves a SHELVING UNIT.

– He picks up one of the BAR STOOLS.

– He opens another BOX – no luck there.

– He struggles to slide the UPRIGHT PIANO to get around it.

WIDE SHOT OUTSIDE THE TRUCK: We now see a bunch of things sitting outside on the ground, making a small mess of the parking lot. We hear Mitch still moving stuff from inside the truck.

       MITCH (O.S.)
Ah-Hah!

He jumps out with a smokey-blue/silver-gray BEDSPREAD and starts back into the store, but then realizes he can’t leave all his stuff sitting out. He sets the bedspread down and begins re-loading the truck.

INT. HOME DEPOT – ALLENTOWN, PA. – DAY

Mitch approaches the paint counter again, carrying the bulky bedspread. Kate mixes some paint at the workstation. She sees him and breaks out with another laugh.

       KATE
Five minutes?

       MITCH
I didn’t say it would be five
consecutive minutes.

She rolls her eyes.

Mitch dumps the bedspread in a nearby empty shopping cart.

Kate takes a closer look at it.

       KATE
Yeah, this is really blue, but with
the silver accent in there, we can
warm that up a lot with this one.

She places a swatch of taupe on the bedspread.

       MITCH
Alright, I see that. Which one is
that?

       KATE
It’s called “Park Avenue”.

       MITCH
Oh, that’s an appropriate name.

       KATE
Why’s that?

       MITCH
I’m actually on my way to New York
City… moving there… got the
rental truck full of all my stuff.

Is that a hint of disappointment in Kate’s face?

       KATE
Wow… that’s a big move.

He smiles with an eager expression.

       MITCH
Yeah, the biggest.

       KATE
I’ll get this mixed up for you.

       MITCH
Okay, great. I’ve got a few more
things to pick up.

       KATE
I’ll be waiting for you here.

       MITCH
How long?

She hesitates for a bit, then holds her hand up showing ‘5’.

       KATE
Five minutes.

He chuckles.

       MITCH
Nice.

And he’s off toward another section of the store.

EXT. HOME DEPOT – ALLENTOWN, PA. – DAY

Mitch walks toward the truck pushing the shopping cart.

Along with a GALLON of PAINT and bedspread, he’s found a few items for his new place: a couple of strings of those old-school LIGHT BULBS on a long black cord (like restaurants hang on their patios); a new SHOWER CURTAIN; and some of those high-tech PLASTIC HANGING HOOKS that don’t put holes in the wall.

He loads it all into the truck and then takes a long, pensive look back at the front of the store.

He returns the cart to the rack in the middle of the lot, and looks again at the store, really pouring over something in his mind.

Finally, he decides and starts back toward the front of the store.

INT. HOME DEPOT – ALLENTOWN, PA. – DAY

Mitch arrives back at the paint counter, looking around for Kate, but can’t find her. He moves to the adjacent aisle and peers all the way down the aisle. Still nothing.

He moves over one more aisle, and sees her at the far end, looking through the stains and polyurethanes.

After another moment of deliberation, he approaches her.  Just as he gets close, she looks up and notices him, and smiles — a pleasant, unexpected-surprise kind of smile.

       KATE
Hey… Did you get your paint?

       MITCH
I did. I just wanted to say…
thanks again.

       KATE
No problem. Is that all?

He hesitates, and then does that thing where he tries to talk, but he also needs to swallow, and it’s all an awkward mess.  He finally gets it out.

       MITCH
Yeah. I think so.

She gives him another smile… more subtle, slight, and innocent.

       KATE
Good luck in the big city.

       MITCH
Thanks.

EXT. PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE – DAY

The truck chugs up the road.

INT. U-HAUL TRUCK – CAB – CONTINUOUS

Mitch drives. He’s still mulling over things in his head.

WIDE SHOT from outside the front of the truck: Mitch behind the wheel.  RON sits in the passenger seat.

BACK TO CAB:

       MITCH
Come on, Ron, she’s in Allentown.
That’s three hours from the city.

       RON
She liked you.

       MITCH
She likes selling paint.

       RON
You should have at least asked her
what her name was.

       MITCH
Her name is “Long-distance”.

       RON
No, it’s “Kate”.

       MITCH
Of course, you’d know that.

Ron pauses for dramatic effect.

       RON
She’s a lesbian, though.

       MITCH
Jesus, Ron. Then why are you
busting my chops?

       RON
It’s fun.

Mitch looks up, as if speaking directly to Heaven.

       MITCH
Can you send somebody else? That
Clarence fella, or maybe Shoeless
Joe Jackson? Hell, I’d even take
Ray Liotta.

He smiles back at Ron.

They both look ahead as the truck passes under the Welcome to New Jersey sign.

END OF SCENE

 

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3 thoughts on “Chapter 1, Scene 2: Park Avenue”

  1. You know how they say in dreams everyone is you? Fiction is like that too, I think. So glad you have yourself a guardian angel who knows the “Vote For Gene Synder” song AND how to spot a lesbian (always my favorite game on the subway). Miss you, baby, and oh, so proud.

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