Into the Arms of Angels, Part 13 of 14

Desk

The thirteenth installment of my feature-length screenplay, ”Into the Arms of Angels” (© 2005, 2016) —

For Part 12, please click here.

For Part 1 and a glossary of screenwriting abbreviations, please click here.

Each installment concludes with a link to its successor.

 

INT. COUNTY DAIRY AND OTHER LOCATIONS – THE SAME DAY

MONTAGE

Otto speaks to Toby in the lobby of County Dairy.

Joe sits on the floor of a crowded airport departure lounge.

In her kitchen, Chris writes a note and leaves it on the table.  She exits the house and closes the door behind her.

A second flight attendant asks Joe, who juggles a laptop, Palm pilot, coffee cup, and stack of papers, to prepare for landing.

Joe’s cab driver from the Madison airport is a heavyset, German-looking man decked out in Green Bay Packers’ colors.  The driver recounts a lively story.  Joe grins in the back seat.

 

INT. KITCHEN AT JOE’S AND CHRIS’ HOME – THE SAME DAY

As Joe walks into the kitchen of his home, he spots Chris’ note on the table. Joe leaves his bag, walks to the table, and picks up the note.

 

NOTE

Welcome back, hon. I’m working 3P to 3A. See you when I get back at 4. Love – C

 

Joe reads the note and then replaces it on the table. After a few seconds, Joe turns and walks out of the house.

 

INT. THE LOBBY OF ST. MARY’S HOSPITAL – THE SAME DAY

The lobby of St. Mary’s Hospital is airy and uncrowded.

The entrance is in the southwest corner. A gift shop sits on the west side. On the east side is a semi-circular information desk staffed by an ASSISTANT (a slender 20-year-old male). Elevators are on the north wall, in the northeast corner.

Joe walks through automatic doors into the lobby. He takes a few steps and then stops to survey the room.

Joe walks up to the information desk.

 

JOE

Excuse me. Can I use that phone to call upstairs?

 

ASSISTANT

Sure, here ya go.

 

The assistant lifts a telephone from his desk and places it on the counter in front of Joe.

Joe dials a number and waits a few seconds for an answer.

JOE

Hi, can I talk to Chris Kleinschmidt, please? This is her husband.

 

Joe waits for about half a minute. He turns away from the desk and looks around. The assistant discreetly ignores him.

About eight feet away from Joe, a woman in her early sixties sits on a couch. A magazine rests in her lap, and she watches Joe. When Joe looks at her, she smiles.

Chris answers the phone.

JOE (CONT’D)

Hi, Chris, it’s me…Yeah, it all went smooth. No problems, at least nothing big. Yes, I found your note. Thanks for leaving it. Look, I’m downstairs… Well, I wanted to stop in…No, nothing’s wrong. The doctors said I’m fine. So…Uh-huh…Yes, ’til 3 AM…

 

Chris’ voice gradually becomes intelligible.

CHRIS (O.S.)

…Otto said he’d be talking to Toby yesterday. So everyone over at County knows you were sick; and speaking of such things –

 

JOE

Chris –

 

CHRIS (O.S.)

…our census is pretty high tonight, and we have three new admits –

 

JOE

Chris, I –

 

CHRIS (O.S.)

…I really ought to be getting back to my –

 

JOE

Chris, would you please come down? D’you think I’d visit a hospital today as a tourist?

 

CHRIS (O.S.)

I’ll be right there.

 

Chris replaces the receiver with a click.

Joe hangs up and stands with his hand on the receiver. He glances at the assistant and hands him the phone.

JOE

Thanks.

 

Joe walks across the lobby and sits on a couch near the woman who smiled at him.

A customer rings up a purchase in the gift shop.

An elderly man with a walker crosses the lobby with his wife.

The woman who smiled at Joe stands up and walks away.

A happily disoriented rural-looking man emerges from the gift shop with a pink Mylar balloon that reads, “It’s a Girl!” Joe watches the man with the balloon walk toward the elevators.

While tracking the man, Joe spots Chris. Chris stands six feet away from Joe. She has arrived without his having noticed.

Joe jumps to his feet and takes a few steps toward Chris.

 

CHRIS

You look thinner.

 

JOE

Oh, I ate pretty good, but they gave me only sugar water for a day or so – the tube in my arm, hooked up to some machine that kept playing Beethoven’s Fifth when it broke –

 

CHRIS

An IV.

 

JOE

Yeah. It was an IV.

 

The conversation stops.

JOE (CONT’D)

When I got there, to the hospital, they hooked me up to all kinds of – I don’t even know what-all, machines that were beeping, and skin patches, and wires, screens with all those little green curves –

 

CHRIS

They’re called traces.

 

JOE

What?

 

CHRIS

The curves – they’re called traces.

 

JOE

Oh, OK. God, do those machines freak me out! I’m so glad it’s over. I don’t know how you stand being around them all the time –

 

CHRIS

Joe, it’s my job.

 

JOE

Yeah, I guess it is. Better you than me.

 

CHRIS

I agree. Better I than you; and speaking of that –

 

JOE

Chris –

 

CHRIS

You’re feeling OK?

 

JOE

Um, yes.

 

CHRIS

Good. I’m glad that you’re back, and you’re better, and you’re home. Now I need to go –

 

JOE

Chris, please…

 

CHRIS

Otto told me what happened. With Bongo, and the rest. He told me you lost it. Out on a street, in public, for crying out loud!

 

JOE

Chris –

 

CHRIS

And you know, Joe, I can picture it. I’ve seen you like that before – shaking, and spouting off, with your face turning bright red –

 

JOE

Chris, listen.

 

CHRIS

I’m listening.

 

Joe remains silent. Chris turns toward the elevators.

CHRIS (CONT’D)

Joe, I have work to do –

 

JOE

Chris! Please don’t…

 

Chris turns to face Joe.

JOE (CONT’D)

I don’t want to lose you…I know that I have been difficult.

 

CHRIS

Yes, you have.

 

JOE

Chris, I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I wish I did. But please, if you can, please bear with me right now.

 

CHRIS

No one ever does know, do they?

 

JOE

Gabe didn’t.

 

Chris smiles faintly.

CHRIS

Joe, I really do need to go.

 

Chris steps again toward the elevators.

CHRIS (CONT’D)

I’ll be home by 4. You don’t need to –

 

JOE

Chris!

 

Chris gazes back toward Joe. Joe stares at her intensely.

CHRIS

I know. Right back at you.

 

Chris turns and walks calmly into an elevator.

 

INT. JOE’S AND CHRIS’ BEDROOM – THE NEXT MORNING (FRIDAY)

The bedroom curtains are brightly lit by the sun.

Joe awakens to find Chris “dead to the world” on his right. Propping himself on his elbow, Joe watches Chris sleep.

He strokes a few hairs off her forehead, leans forward, and gently kisses her temple. Joe then climbs out of the left side of the bed and leaves the room.

 

Please click here to read Part 14.

 

 

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