Chapter 1, Scene 3: George Washington Bridge

EXT. MANHATTAN SKYLINE – DAY

A FAR-AWAY LONG SHOT of the City.

CUE MUSIC: Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind

The drone-mounted camera moves toward the city, starting with the STATUE OF LIBERTY, then pushes past her toward the southern tip of MANHATTAN with the FREEDOM TOWER proudly reaching to the sky.

The drone moves over the downtown financial district showcasing other giants of American commerce.

       B. JOEL (SINGING)
(over action)
Some folks like to get away
Take a holiday from the neighborhood,
Hop a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood.
But I’m takin’ a Greyhound on the Hudson River line;
I’m in a New York state of mind

The camera pans to the north, and we catch a glimpse of other iconic landmarks… the CHRYSLER BUILDING, the EMPIRE STATE BUILDING, and ROCKEFELLER CENTER.

It continues its northern track, passing mid-town and the colossally bright screens of TIMES SQUARE.

Next into view is the vast green “ocean” of CENTRAL PARK, bordered on all sides by the “sails and tall masts of moored ships”.

       B. JOEL (SINGING) (CONT’D)
(over action)
I’ve seen all the movie stars
In their fancy cars and their limousines,
Been high in the Rockys under the evergreens.
I know what I’m needin’,
And I don’t want to waste more time.
I’m in a New York state of mind

Still moving north, the camera begins a 360-degree sweep, starting to the right:

… covering the BRONX in the distance

… then over to QUEENS and LAGUARDIA airport

… back toward the southeast and BROOKLYN

… and once again the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan.

       B. JOEL (SINGING) (CONT’D)
(over action)
It was so easy livin’ day by day,
Out of touch with the rhythm and blues.
But now I need a little give and take:
The New York Times, the Daily News.
It comes down to reality,
And it’s fine with me cause I’ve let it slide.
I don’t care if it’s Chinatown or on Riverside.
I don’t have any reasons,
I left them all behind.
I’m in a New York state of mind

The camera spans over the Hudson River to the urban landscape of New Jersey before returning to focus on its target: THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE.

We push in, and as the bridge gets closer and closer, we see the crowded roadway stacked with lines of CARS and TRUCKS on the New Jersey side waiting to pay the toll and cross into the northern tip of Manhattan.

The drone glides down over these vehicles moving deeper into the waiting line.

Soon, we notice the familiar facade of a U-Haul truck, and eventually our seasoned traveler, Mitch, bright-eyed at the wheel.

END MUSIC

INT. U-HAUL TRUCK – CAB – CONTINUOUS

Mitch examines the wide spread of ROAD SIGNS that direct traffic.

SHOTS OF:

– One sign that says: “Upper Level” with arrows to the left, and the “E-Z Pass” logo.

– Another sign says: “Lower Level” with arrows to the right, and both the “E-Z Pass” and “Cash” logos.

He sets the turn signal to the right and looks into the right side mirror.

EXT. GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE – CONTINUOUS

The truck makes its way to the right, having to nudge into the adjacent lane, cutting in front of another car as traffic slowly rolls forward.

INT. U-HAUL TRUCK – CAB – CONTINUOUS

Mitch cranes his neck to try to see what’s going on in the mirror.

A loud HONK from the other car’s horn blares.

       MITCH
Sorry! I can’t see shit in this thing.

EXT. GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE – CONTINUOUS

The truck finally moves fully across another lane and passes under the ‘Lower Level’ sign. It veers down the ramp toward a bank of toll booths.

Still in the left-most lane, Mitch pulls up to the toll booth, and smiles embarrassingly at the TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT, a chunky woman in her 20s.

She looks straight out of the booth, back toward the approaching traffic, and doesn’t look at Mitch. She speaks loudly into a SPEAKER PHONE with a Jamaican accent.

       TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT
Truck on de Lower Level!

       MITCH
Are you talking to me?

       TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT
(to Mitch)
You can’t cross on dis level.

       MITCH
I’m sorry, I didn’t realize –

       TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT
– You have to go on de upper level.

       MITCH
And how do I do that?

She points to the right side of the road.

       TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT
You see dat Haz-Mat sign dere?

Mitch turns to see a red square on a wall, next to a driveway that leads away from the toll plaza — all the way across six lanes of traffic.

       MITCH
Over there?

       TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT
Yes.

       MITCH
How am I supposed to get over there?

       TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT
Drive dat ting.

He shakes his head and starts to hand her a TWENTY DOLLAR BILL for the toll. She doesn’t take it.

       TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT (CONT’D)
You pay on de upper level.

Mitch pulls forward a few feet. The truck clears the toll booth, and he turns hard right, once again nudging his way across the heavy traffic, nearly at a 90-degree angle.

A symphony of HONKS erupt from all the cars he cuts off.

He moves at a snail’s pace, unable to see what’s coming at him from his right because of the size of the truck.

       MITCH
I’m coming through, people!!

WIDE SHOT: The truck inches its way through a quagmire of angry drivers.

Finally, he gets to the edge of the toll plaza, clear of the traffic and into the alley the Haz-Mat sign points toward.

After weaving through more turns, he ascends to an entrance to the UPPER LEVEL. He merges into a line waiting for the toll booth two hundred yards ahead.

INT. U-HAUL TRUCK – CAB – CONTINUOUS

Mitch looks back to Heaven

       MITCH
I’ll bet you’re enjoying this, aren’t you, Ronnie.

LATER

Mitch at the toll booth. TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT 2, another Jamaican lady, much taller and thinner, looks at him and starts laughing.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
I see my reputation precedes me.

       TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT 2
Oh, yes. Entertaining, you are.

       MITCH
Thanks.

He hands her the twenty.

       TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT 2
Dat’s forty-two dollar.

       MITCH
What? I thought it was fifteen.

       TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT 2
Truck cost twenty-one per axle.

Mitch reaches into his pocket. He pulls out another twenty.  He reaches into another pocket… nothing.

       MITCH
All I have is forty.

       TOLL BOOTH ATTENDANT 2
I do the forty. Two dollar worth the show.

He hands her the cash. He drives away from the toll plaza and onto the bridge.

He lets out a huge sigh, having survived the ordeal.

       MITCH
I’m going to be so fucking glad to get out of this truck.

Just at that moment, he passes under the sign for the “New York State Line”.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere.

EXT. NEW YORK CITY STREETS – MANHATTAN – DAY

The truck makes its way down Riverside Drive along Riverside Park, bordering the Hudson River.

Moving south past the upper 160s, Mitch notices the mostly-tattered buildings to his left along side this part of Riverside Drive.

The street is stuffed with PARKED CARS all along both sides.

Crowds of people enjoy the Labor Day holiday in the park, with BLANKETS, PICNIC TABLES, CHARCOAL GRILLS, and plenty of kids and dogs running around.

The sun lingers just above the horizon across the river into New Jersey, signaling the impending close to the holiday, and Mitch’s long haul.

As Mitch gets below 120th street, the condition of the buildings and the overall feel of the area make a noticeable improvement. He finally crosses 100th street, and turns left onto 95th street.

       MITCH
Ah… home, sweet home.

But in similar fashion, the street is lined with cars, crammed into every available square foot of space.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
Uh-oh.

He eases up 95th Street, hoping for a break, but there’s nothing available.

He tours around the adjacent streets: down West End Avenue, back on 93rd Street to Riverside Drive, up 94th Street, even up to Amsterdam and along 96th Street.

Nothing.

He returns to 95th street, in front of his apartment building, and pulls over to the right side of the passable street, just inches from the parked cars. He puts the truck into park, turns it off, and activates THE FLASHERS.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
Okay… we wait.

EXT. 95TH STREET – MANHATTAN – NIGHT

3 hours later. Mitch’s hunch that many of these parked cars would be leaving from the Labor Day festivities was clearly wrong.

The truck still sits there, flashers shining on the street signs ahead.

       MITCH (O.S.)
That sounds like fun.

INT. U-HAUL TRUCK – CAB – CONTINUOUS

Mitch, with his EARBUDS in, talks on the PHONE.

INSERT: Cell phone with active call to REBECCA

       REBECCA (VIA PHONE)
It was so hype. Of course, most of the kids there were stoned, but what do you expect when you’re holding a pancake breakfast at midnight on a Friday for a bunch of college kids.

       MITCH
We had White Castles for that.

       REBECCA
That’s just gross.

       MITCH
No way. The grease and all the other carcinogens combat the alcohol.

       REBECCA
And you were allowed to father children.

       MITCH
Hey… you turned out okay, I mean, for a UK student, at least.

       REBECCA
Hey!

He laughs.

       MITCH
You know I’m teasing.

       REBECCA
Yeah, it’s Gucci.

A short pause.

       MITCH
Hey, guess what?

       REBECCA
What?

       MITCH
You’re in college now.

       REBECCA
I know.

Mitch can feel her beaming on the other side of the phone.

       MITCH
So… how does it feel?

       REBECCA
It sort of feels like — you know when you ride in a car for a long time, and then you stop and get out and stretch, and it’s like you’re stretching your arms and legs for the first time in your life.

Mitch looks at his legs, still in the same cramped position they’ve been in for the last few hours. Then he looks around at his new neighborhood.

       MITCH
I think I can relate.

       REBECCA
It’s kind of like that.

       MITCH
Well, you were born to be a grown-up.

She sighs a little bit, like that resonates deeply.

       REBECCA
Thanks.

The moment lingers just a bit.

       REBECCA (CONT’D)
So you’re just sitting in the
truck?

       MITCH
Yeah… no parking spots anywhere
nearby, especially for this beast.

       REBECCA
So what are you going to do?

       MITCH
The only thing I can, sit here with my flashers on until my realtor gets here at eight-thirty in the morning.

       REBECCA
All night?

       MITCH
Yeah. I can’t leave it unattended or I’ll get a New York Ticket.

       REBECCA
What’s a New York Ticket?

       MITCH
The same as any other parking ticket, except three-times as expensive, and the fact that they’ll write the ticket at three o’clock in the morning.

       REBECCA
Wow. Sleeping in the truck.  Sounds like something a bunch of college kids would do.

       MITCH
All part of the adventure, or as
you would say… It’s “Gootchie”.

CROSS FADE

EXT. 95TH STREET – MANHATTAN – NIGHT

Another WIDE-SHOT OF THE TRUCK, unmoved, but much later.

Cars pass carefully in the narrow space still available.

A short Asian man on a BICYCLE rolls down the street toward the truck. He wears a bicycle HELMET and a bright orange VEST over his t-shirt. On the back of this bike, in a CARGO BASKET is a PAPER BAG wrapped in a PLASTIC BAG.

INT. U-HAUL TRUCK – CAB – CONTINUOUS

Mitch leans against the door, with his legs stretched out to the passenger seat. The window is rolled down, letting in the sounds and smells of the city.

He checks the time on his phone.

INSERT SHOT OF PHONE: showing the time as 11:14 pm.

Mitch watches the guy on the bike get closer, then stop, dismount the bike and grab the bag from the cargo basket. He starts to enter the building near where Mitch is parked.

       MITCH
Hey!

The delivery guy pays no attention.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
Hey! Delivery guy!

The guy stops and turns back to Mitch.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
You from Opai Thai?

The guy looks at the ticket stapled to the bag.

       DELIVERY GUY
Meeetch?

       MITCH
That’s me.

The guy brings the food over and hands it to Mitch through the window of the truck.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
We’re all set, right? I paid
online.

       DELIVERY GUY
Yeah.

And the guy takes off as quickly as he arrived.

Mitch takes the FOOD out of the bag, finds a BOTTLE OF WATER, and opens it and guzzles some of that.

He finds a pair of chopsticks and digs into the Pad Thai.

       MITCH
Oh, sweet Lord, this is so good.

END OF SCENE

gw-bridge-2

 

 

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