December 12 & 13: Vermillion County, NE
Vermillion County, NE
A motel in rural Nebraska, near a toxic waste dump.
CHARLOTTE, in full bridal regalia enters. She slams the door and leans against it, breathing a sigh of relief. She looks around the room, not sure what to do next.
A knock. CHARLOTTE freezes. Another knock.
CHARLOTTE: … Yes?
LOTTIE (O.S.): Miss Chrysanthemum?
CHARLOTTE: Not here.
LOTTIE: But I just saw you go in there. It’s Lottie? From the front desk?
Cautiously CHARLOTTE opens the door. LOTTIE, a woman in her fifties, comes in.
LOTTIE: I forgot to ask you. Franklin says if I don’t screw on my head, I’d forget that. At least that’s what I think he’s saying. Franklin hasn’t said a word since ’78 but there’s a lot that can be said with the eyes. We have long conversations. Two blinks is yes, one blink is no, three blinks is maybe and then blink blink pause blink is “turn the oven down”. For a while I was getting it confused with blink pause blink which is “I have to go to the bathroom”. It’s a complicated system but it just takes a little practice…
That’s a nice dress.
CHARLOTTE: Thank you. Did I leave something – – ?
LOTTIE: Gosh look at me chattering away. I forgot to ask you if wanted a wake up call. That’s what I was coming to ask.
LOTTIE: It’s not problem really. I’m on all night til 8am so it would be me and I don’t know about you but I find it so much nicer to wake up to a friendly voice than an alarm clock. Goodness, we start our days with BLEEP – BLEEP – BLEEP and then we wonder why there’s cancer and bad language?
CHARLOTTE: The alarm’s fine.
LOTTIE: Oh. Well if you’re sure.
CHARLOTTE: Was there something else?
LOTTIE: I couldn’t help noticing – you name is Charlotte. So’s mine. What are the odds do you think. A little place like this. Charlotte’s not a name you hear much anymore. Except for that pig movie. It was funny seeing my name in all the papers. I guess that’s what it’s like to be famous. Of course no one’s called me Charlotte since Franklin and me got married. You wouldn’t know it to look at me now but I used to be a looker. Had a waist this big. Franklin would call me Lottie Dahl – she was a famous girl around her- almost made it to Miss America 1964 until that horrible incident with the tractor, but Lottie just stuck. Do you ever go by Charla or Lottie or –
CHARLOTTE: Just Charlotte.
LOTTIE: I had a dress like that once… Look at me, taking up all your time. And I guess you have to get ready.
LOTTIE: For your wedding?
LOTTIE: And your bridesmaids are on their way.
CHARLOTTE: That isn’t possible.
LOTTIE: (Looking out the door) But there’s one coming right now. She’s wearing a corsage.
CHARLOTTE: What? No – – I’m not here.
LOTTIE: Wait – Miss –
CHARLOTTE locks herself into the bathroom.
REGINA barges in. She wears a very large lime green corsage and a bridesmaid’s dress.
LOTTIE: No she just goes by Charlotte –
REGINA: Who the fuck are you? Charlotte? I know you’re in here.
CHARLOTTE: (From the bathroom) Leave me alone!
LOTTIE: You can’t just barge into my guest’s room –
REGINA punches LOTTIE. LOTTIE collapses with a crash.
CHARLOTTE: What was that?
REGINA: Get your ass out here now Charlie. Or I’m ripping that door off its hinges –
CHARLOTTE: Just leave me alone.
REGINA: I’m going to count to three. One.
CHARLOTTE: I can’t do it. I don’t care how much money his family has.
REGINA: We had a deal. Two.
CHARLOTTE: I hate him.
REGINA: Two and a half.
CHARLOTTE: Tell them I got into a car accident and died – I don’t care.
REGINA: The Movement needs you.
CHARLOTTE: Regina pleeeeease – –
REGINA: Two and a third.
CHARLOTTE: Why can’t someone else do it.
REGINA: Two and a quarter. Three.
REGINA surges for the door as CHARLOTTE bursts out. REGINA tackles her onto the bed as CHARLOTTE struggles.
A person in a white hazmat suit comes to the door and watches the women wrestling.
Both women stop and stare at him.
REGINA: What the hell?
TODD: No – don’t stop.
CHARLOTTE: Brian? Are you worried your tuxedo’s going to get dirty?
REGINA: Who the hell are you?
TODD: Are there like cameras around or something?
CHARLOTTE: Did Brian send you? Tell him I don’t care what he says – seventeen is seventeen.
TODD sees LOTTIE unconscious on the floor.
CHARLOTTE: (Seeing LOTTIE) Oh God – what did you do to her?
TODD: (Shaking LOTTIE) Wake up – you gotta wake up –
REGINA: Don’t touch her til you tell us who you are.
CHARLOTTE: (To REGINA) What’s going on?
REGINA: That’s what I came to ask you.
TODD: What’d you do to her?
CHARLOTTE: Nothing. I don’t even know her –
TODD: Now I don’t know what to do.
REGINA: Could you take that mask off? It’s a little disconcerting.
TODD: The mask stays on.
CHARLOTTE: Who are you?
TODD: I should ask you the same thing.
CHARLOTTE: This is my room.
REGINA: Why? You’re supposed to be in the church. And you’ve got a room at the country club.
CHARLOTTE: Why are you knocking out old ladies?
TODD: You did this?
REGINA: She was getting in my way. This woman is supposed to be getting married right now. There’s a church full of people.
TODD: She didn’t do nothing to you.
REGINA: I don’t think you know who you’re dealing with.
CHARLOTTE: Is she breathing?
TODD: (To LOTTIE) Can you hear me? I’m here – I did it –
CHARLOTTE: Oh my God- oh my god oh my god –
REGINA: (To CHARLOTTE) Oh shut up. If anything happens to her it’s your fault.
CHARLOTTE: I didn’t touch her. She just barged in here and –
TODD: I thought for a minute you was making a film. Like a porno.
REGINA: You little –
REGINA lunges at TODD.
CHARLOTTE: Regina – stop you’ve already done enough damage –
REGINA has TODD in a headlock –
TODD: I wouldn’t do that if I was you.
REGINA: I don’t care who you are or why you’re wearing that stupid suit –
TODD: You really should let go of me
REGINA: If I don’t take her back to the church someone’s gonna get seriously hurt –
CHARLOTTE: Regina let go of him –
TODD: You’re gonna regret it if you don’t –
REGINA wrestles TODD. She holds him in a headlock.
REGINA: Don’t you threaten me. You don’t get to threaten me you freak – you
CHARLOTTE: Reggie – he can’t breathe –
TODD: (Pointing to his chest and gasping) My pocket – my pocket –
REGINA: He’s still talking that means he’s still breathing –
TODD: Pocket – pocket –
CHARLOTTE tackles REGINA, who keeps her grip on TODD.
CHARLOTTE: You bully – all my life you’ve bullied me around – you can’t –
REGINA: Charlotte get in the car and I’ll let him go –
CHARLOTTE: I’m not. I’m not going back –
TODD: (Flailing) Please – help –
CHARLOTTE: What is he saying?
Suddenly an alarm begins – it sounds like an air raid siren. They all stop. REGINA’s grip on TODD loosens.
LOTTIE wakes up.
TODD: Mom –
LOTTIE: Todd why’s that siren – ?
TODD: I got it Mom.
He takes a sealed vial of yellowish green liquid out of his chest pocket – the pocket he’s been pointing to.
LOTTIE: That’s my boy.
CHARLOTTE: What is that?
REGINA: What the hell – ?
LOTTIE: We’re saved Todders. We’re saved.
The all look at the vial as the siren blares. Blackout.