Chapter 2, Scene 5: Back Home

INT. LAGUARDIA AIRPORT – GATE C3 – DAY

Mitch and Ron sit in the waiting area before Mitch boards his plane. Mitch’s BACKPACK is stacked on his rolling carry-on SUITCASE.

       RON
Pick me up something that you can only get in Kentucky.

       MITCH
Where are you going to keep it?

       RON
You’ll keep it for me.

       MITCH
I’m not building a shrine to Kentucky in my apartment.

       RON
What about all those pictures of your daughters?

       MITCH
That’s different.

An announcement over the PA:

       GATE AGENT (O.S.)
We’ll begin boarding flight forty-one sixty to Louisville shortly. Please make sure to have your boarding pass ready.

Mitch pulls up his boarding pass on his CELL PHONE.

       RON
The Cats played in Madison Square Garden the other night. That Monk kid is spectacular.

       MITCH
I must have missed that.

       RON
This side of you is… strange.

       MITCH
Because I don’t bleed blue anymore?

       RON
Nineteen ninety-three, Maui Invitational, against Arizona, who was ranked number one at the time

       MITCH
Ron.

       RON
We sat there in the Ultimate Sports Grill in Dallas and watched Jeff Brassow tip in the winning shot at the buzzer.

       MITCH
(smiles)
Yeah. But I had to stand on my chair so I could see the screen.  The place was nuts. God, what a rush that was.

       RON
That kind of attachment doesn’t die so easily.

       MITCH
Who said it was easy?

       RON
Pitino at Louisville, and Calipari at Kentucky. Is that it?

       MITCH
Not really. Let’s just say my connection with U.K. Basketball lost it’s luster after living in Lexington.

       RON
What luster are you going to lose by living in New York?

Mitch doesn’t answer.

After a beat, Ron changes the subject.

       RON (CONT’D)
Maybe some bourbon balls. I like those.

EXT. LOUISVILLE AIRPORT – TAXI STAND – CONTINUOUS

Mitch approaches the cab at the front of a short line. EARL, early 60s, white guy, gets out and takes Mitch’s luggage.

       EARL
Where you headed?

       MITCH
Pewee Valley. Oldham County.

       EARL
Did you leave home, or are you coming home?

       MITCH
Something like that.

INT. EARL’S CAB – MOVING – DAY

Mitch gazes out the window, seeing familiar landmarks along the Watterson Expressway.

… a sign for Bellarmine University — Mitch’s alma matter

… the Kaden Tower, a Frank-Lloyd-Wright-inspired building standing tall above the area around it — where Mitch once worked.

… the exit to Interstate 64, headed east toward Lexington.

… the Pewee Valley/LaGrange Road exit from Snyder Freeway

… and now we’re in Oldham County, riding along a narrow road in the country. They pass a small convenience store/gas station where a crew installs outdoor Christmas decorations.

       MITCH
Just over the next hill.

EXT. PEWEE VALLEY, KY NEIGHBORHOOD – DAY

The cab pulls into a subdivision, lined with upper-middle class homes, with good elbow room between the houses.

Canopies of tall trees surround each home. Most have dropped enough leaves to allow some rays of sunshine to penetrate their protective cover.

       MITCH
Hold on… stop here for a second.

The cab stops in front of a wide, rustic-looking house.  Weathered cedar siding and pair of tall, vaulted A-frame style sections with large windows give it a mountain-cabin feeling.

       EARL
Is this it?

       MITCH
No. Just give me a minute.

Mitch gazes at this house, looking over every detail from one end of the house to the other:

… the Japanese Maple at the front-right corner, which he planted many years ago

… the front door, with a beveled-glass center, surrounded by a dark-burgundy frame, which he painted

… through a large front window at the center, a custom light-fixture, made of wood, iron, and steel cables, which he designed and built

… then he lingers on the detached garage. The siding is less faded than the rest of the house, its roof shingles less worn and tattered, its trim paint less peeled. He stares at the double-sized garage door, as if by staring so intensely he could burn a hole right through it. Something inside that garage…

       EARL
Should I pull into the driveway?

       MITCH
No. Sorry. Two houses down on the left.

EXT. CARPENTERS’ HOUSE – PEWEE VALLEY, KY – DAY

The cab arrives at a country-style estate, much older and larger than Mitch’s more contemporary former home up the street.

INT. EARL’S CAB – CONTINUOUS

       EARL
Sixty-eight fifty.

       MITCH
Ouch… Jesus. Are you serious?

       EARL
Yes, sir.

Mitch hands him a CREDIT CARD.

       MITCH
A thirty minute cab ride from LaGuardia in New York is only forty bucks.

       EARL
Well, we ain’t in New York City.

He hands Mitch the RECEIPT and a PEN. Mitch adds a tip and signs.

INT. CARPENTERS’ HOUSE – PEWEE VALLEY, KY – DAY

FOYER:

Mitch opens the front door on his own.

       MITCH
Hello!

No one answers. He moves toward the back of the house.

IN THE KITCHEN:

ANN CARPENTER, 45, with her hair up in a pony-tail, runs a HAND MIXER through a bowlful of cooked potatoes. We also see the beginnings of a traditional Thanksgiving feast: a huge TURKEY, wrapped in foil, in a ROASTING PAN; an ANTIQUE SERVING DISH full of cranberry salad; a platter of roasted BRUSSELS SPROUTS, a sweet-potato CASSEROLE, etc…

With her back to the entrance to the kitchen, she’s fully engrossed in the task of mashing the potatoes.

Mitch enters.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
Knock, knock!

Ann jumps in her skin.

       ANN
Oh, my god!

Mitch laughs.

       ANN (CONT’D)
What the hell? I thought you were coming in later this afternoon.

       MITCH
Nope. Here I am.

She gives him a quick hug.

       ANN
It’s been crazy busy already.

       MITCH
Looks great. Thanks again for having us. And postponing your Thanksgiving dinner to today.

       ANN
Oh, it worked out fine. We went to Mark’s sister’s yesterday. Nice to let someone else do it all for a change.

       MITCH
Where is the man?

       ANN
Are you kidding? Working retail on Black Friday. He had to go in at four a.m. Won’t be back until seven. Ugh. When do your girls get here?

       MITCH
Five-thirty.

       ANN
That’s must have been what I was thinking… for when you were coming in. Well, you know where everything is. You’re not a guest anymore, you’re family, so you get treated like it… Basically take care of yourself.

They both smile at this warm and comfortable reality.

INT. REBECCA’S CAR – MOVING – DAY

Rebecca drives her reliable economy car with some hard-rock playing over the speakers. She wears a blue University of Kentucky SWEATSHIRT.

Chelsea sleeps in the front passenger seat, her neck bent to nearly a 90-degree angle.

They enter the Pewee Valley subdivision. Rebecca stops in front of the cedar-sided mountain chalet house she once lived in. She takes a long gaze at it, just like her old Dad had done.

She looks at Chelsea, tempted to wake her, but decides to not disturb her at this bittersweet moment.

LATER

They pull up in front of the Carpenters’ house.

Rebecca nudges her sister awake.

       REBECCA
Chelsea… we’re here.

Chelsea grumbles a bit.

       REBECCA (CONT’D)
You need to get your stuff.

       CHELSEA
I know. I will. I’m just so tired.

EXT. CARPENTERS’ HOUSE – PEWEE VALLEY, KY – CONTINUOUS

As Rebecca exits the car, Mitch bounds out the front door to greet them.

       MITCH
You’re here!

Rebecca grabs her bag from the trunk as Mitch hugs her — one of those “I haven’t seen you in weeks” hugs.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
How was the drive over?

       REBECCA
Boring. She slept the whole way.

       MITCH
That’s okay… you did a good job.

       REBECCA
Thanks.

Rebecca proceeds into the house.

Mitch opens the passenger door. Chelsea is still asleep. He squats down, gently touches her arm.

       MITCH
Hey Jack-rabbit.

She opens her eyes and yawns.

       CHELSEA
Hey Flapjacks.

       MITCH
It’s so great to see your pretty face.

Chelsea smiles.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
I hope you’re hungry. I think Ann got an ostrich by mistake.

       CHELSEA
That’s bad, Daddy.

       MITCH
Come on… you have to get out so I can get some hugs. Got a lot of catching up to do.

She rustles out of the car.

CUE MUSIC: Imagine Dragons: Every Night

       IMAGINE DRAGONS
I’m coming home to you.
Every night, every night, every night, every night.

INT. CARPENTERS’ HOUSE – NIGHT

The music continues over…

IN THE DINING ROOM:

Friends and family sit gathered around the large dining table, which is a collage of several tables stuck together to handle such a big group.

       IMAGINE DRAGONS
I’m the colorless sunrise
That’s never good enough
I’m the wind that’s in your head
It ruffles you up
You could find the reason
You could let me know
I won’t blame you
I’ll just turn and go

Ann and her husband MARK, Ann’s sister DEBRA and her boyfriend JACK sit with Mitch. All the teenagers: Rebecca and Chelsea, Ann’s daughters FRANCINE and DAPHNE, and Debra’s three kids hang out at the other end of the table.

Surrounded by plenty of laughter and free-flowing conversation, the adults catch up on the goings-on of life while the youngsters compare social-media feeds and relate them to their growing experiences.

LATER

The big plates have been cleared. A few empty dessert plates linger amidst a few empty wine GLASSES. The crew sits at the table playing CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY.

One of the girls reads an obnoxious response card, blushes beet-red, and the whole table erupts in laughter.

       IMAGINE DRAGONS (CONT’D)
I’m coming home to you
Every night, every night, every night, every night
Coming home to you
Every night, every night, every night, every night
My mind is made up
My feelings changed and
I’m coming home to you
Every night, every night, every night, every night

LATER

IN THE GAME ROOM:

The party has moved to the Carpenters’ front room, where Mitch and Rebecca play a game of pool. Mark and Ann play a game of DARTS.

Rebecca takes a shot at the pool table, which initially misses, but another random ball goes in. She looks at her Dad and smiles. He shakes his head, smiling, and she continues on to take another shot.

Chelsea, Francine, and Daphne bounce into the room, giggling like the teenage girls they are, and approach Ann, asking some question.

While Ann explains the details to Francine, Chelsea turns to look at Mitch, flashing a comfortable, happy smile.

       IMAGINE DRAGONS (CONT’D)
Search to find myself
And all I find is you
I could hardly stand myself
So what am I to you?
You could find a reason
You could let me know
I won’t blame you
I just didn’t go

With his family and friends gathered here, Mitch soaks in the love that permeates the room.

The music fades.

INT. GUEST ROOM – CARPENTER HOUSE – NIGHT

Mitch looks in on his daughters. Rebecca is curled into the bed under the blankets and sleeping soundly.

Chelsea, wearing her pajamas, sits at a desk, with a TEXTBOOK and NOTEBOOK open in front of her. A small LAMP gives her just enough light.

       MITCH
Hey… what are you doing?

       CHELSEA
I have so much homework.

       MITCH
Ugh… over Thanksgiving?

       CHELSEA
They don’t care about that.

       MITCH
That’s a drag. But I understand.

He leans down and gives her a kiss on her forehead.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
I’ll let you get back to it. Don’t be up too late, okay?

       CHELSEA
Tonight was fun.

       MITCH
Yeah.

       CHELSEA
It was like the old days.

       MITCH
I know.

       CHELSEA
Do you miss it?

       MITCH
Of course I do. But things change.  They changed a lot, even before the “old days”.

       CHELSEA
You mean… the older days.

       MITCH
Right.

       CHELSEA
Like, ancient old days.

       MITCH
Okay.

       CHELSEA
Before you cut your hair and grew a beard?

       MITCH
Hey… don’t push it.

       CHELSEA
Do you miss those days?

       MITCH
I miss watching a few minutes of TV with you before taking you to school in the morning. I miss doing laundry and having these tiny shirts and shorts and socks to fold. And I miss the hell out of tucking you in every night, and singing you songs, and telling you
“bear stories”. But I missed all those things for so long. Maybe now I just miss how much I used to miss them.

She closes her textbook and notebook.

       CHELSEA
Will you tell me a bear story now?

       MITCH
Sure… I think I can muster one up.

She climbs into bed. Mitch sits on the side next to her.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
Once upon a time, there was a bear named… Earl.

       CHELSEA
Earl.

       MITCH
Yeah. And Earl was a cab driver in New Bear City, and he drove the other bears around the city, all day. All kinds of bears… polar bears, grizzly bears, brown bears, black bears… Teddy bears, gummy bears

She laughs a little.

       MITCH (CONT’D)
Then one day, this young lady bear got into his cab, and her name was… Wilma.

       CHELSEA
Wilma? Really?

       MITCH
Yeah… I’m going with that. Well, Wilma was from the country and was visiting some family for Christmas.

       CHELSEA
Uh-huh.

       MITCH
She wanted to see all the city had to offer, all the Christmas decorations, so she asked Earl to give her a tour. They started at Rocka-Bear Center, and she went skating under the big tree, and the EmBear State Building, all lit up, and …

As Mitch continues to improvise the story, the music returns.

       IMAGINE DRAGONS
I’m coming home to you
Every night, every night, every night, every night
Coming home to you
Every night, every night, every night, every night

CROSS FADE:

EXT. LOUISVILLE AIRPORT – DEPARTURE DROP OFF – DAY

Mitch grabs his LUGGAGE from the back of Rebecca’s car.  Rebecca and Chelsea stand outside the car.

       MITCH
Twenty-six more days. I’m already counting them.

       CHELSEA
I’m so excited.

       REBECCA
I’ll be excited once I get through finals.

       MITCH
It’ll fly by. And then you’ll fly up, and we’ll be reunited at a different airport.

       CHELSEA
Newark.

       MITCH
Lovely Newark.

       REBECCA
Will we cab in from there?

       MITCH
Maybe. I’ll look at the train options.

       REBECCA
You know, Uber’s a lot cheaper.

       MITCH
I like ’em yellow… Old school.

       REBECCA
Like the short bus you rode as a kid.

       MITCH
Funny. You know, you used to be such a lovely child.

       REBECCA
Now I’m a lovely adult.

       MITCH
Yes, you are. You both are.

       CHELSEA
I don’t want to be an adult just yet.

       MITCH
I know, sweetie. You can be a kid all you want when you’re in New York.

He hugs them… now it’s the “I won’t see you for weeks” hug… hard to tell the difference.

EXT. LAGUARDIA AIRPORT – TAXI STAND – NIGHT

Mitch waits in the long line for a cab. MALIK, one of the taxi-stand attendants walks up and down the line, working to get folks on their way as quickly as possible.

       MALIK
Where to?

       MITCH
Upper West Side.

       MALIK
I got someone else for that up the line. You want to share? Split the fare?

       MITCH
Sure.

INT. NYC TAXI – MOVING – NIGHT

Mitch rides in the back with NANCY, 50s.

       NANCY
Were you visiting family for Thanksgiving?

       MITCH
Yeah. My daughters.

       NANCY
That has to be tough.

       MITCH
Tough to leave ’em. Time’s always way too short.

       NANCY
I’ll bet.

       MITCH
How about you?

       NANCY
Yeah, no kids, though. Just my brothers and their families. And it was NOT tough to leave them.  They live in their insulated world.  Never got out of Central Illinois.  Same jobs. Same Friday-night fish dinners. The same stories.

       MITCH
Yeah. That could the secret to happiness, though.

       NANCY
What? Boredom?

       MITCH
No. Knowing where you belong.

INT. MITCH’S APARTMENT

Mitch enters, dumps his BACKPACK on the couch along with a STACK OF MAIL.

He wheels his rolling LUGGAGE into his bedroom.

He returns to the couch, starts unpacking the backpack. He pulls out a small BOX of MAKER’S MARK BOURBON BALLS, plopping them down on the coffee table in front of the couch.

His cell phone dings from an incoming text message.

INSERT: CELL PHONE, with a text message from “Mom”

       MOM (VIA TEXT)
Did you make it back?

He types his response.

       MITCH (VIA TEXT)
Yep… I’m back home.

He looks at the box of bourbon balls, thinks about it for a second, then grabs them and opens the box.

He pops one of them in his mouth. As he chews, his expression shows just how delicious the damn things are.

His cell phone dings again from his Mom’s latest message.

       MOM (VIA TEXT)
HOME? Not a word you use often.

He types one more message.

       MITCH
Gotta start somewhere.

And our Imagine Dragons song returns:

       IMAGINE DRAGONS
No matter, no matter
No matter what we’re facing
It don’t matter, it don’t matter
‘Cause the reason that I’m here
Is the same through all these years
Not changing, not changing anything at all

I’m coming home to you (I’m coming home)
Every night, every night, every night, every night
Coming home to you (I’m coming home)
Every night, every night, every night, every night

END OF SCENE

 

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