I don’t always talk about records. Sometimes I do actual writing. Here is a short screenplay I wrote about a year ago. I apologize in regards to some of the formatting.
FADE IN: INT. HOME OFFICE - DAY
JEFF HENNIG, mid-twenties, gangly and sloppily dressed, sits typing on a computer. His son, RONNIE HENNIG, 5, with shoulder-length blonde hair and tall for his age, bounds into Jeff’s office. He wears a red-and-blue baseball uniform. In his hand is an Iron Man figure.
JEFF Hey buddy! Just hang tight a
Jeff rolls his office chair quickly past his son, tousling his hair in the process. Still seated, he pokes his head out of the door of his office.
JEFF Honey! I know it’s my turn to
drive but I’m really behind on this project, can you take Ronnie to practice today?
RENEE HENNIG, late twenties with olive-skin and the striking features of an actress, walks into Jeff’s office. She gives his chair a playful bump as she enters the room.
RENEE What’s up with my two men?
Ronnie bounces from foot-to-foot animatedly. He looks up at his mother.
RONNIE Mommy! Gotta go. Go go! Baseball!
RENEE Come on, monkey.
Renee shoots a sideways glance in Jeff’s direction as Ronnie yelps with delight.
JEFF Thanks honey. I’ll make dinner.
Chicken sound good?
RENEE AND RONNIE We love chicken!
CONTINUED: (2) 2.
Renee leads Ronnie out of Jeff’s office. Jeff can hear them rustling around in the living room. Jeff hears the door shut. He puts his head down and goes back to typing. Momentarily, he gets up and wanders into the living room. He sees that the front door is unlocked. He mumbles something to himself as he locks the door.
EXT. DRIVEWAY - DAY
The red Dodge minivan’s back window is covered with stickers, all superheroes in action poses, but the van still looks shiny and recent. Renee buckles Ronnie into the backseat. Renee shuts the back door and gets into the driver’s seat of the van.
INT. MINIVAN - DAY
The van moves quickly down the lightly trafficked four-lane road. Renee smiles, glancing at the scenery speeding by. Ronnie is in the backseat, playing with his Iron Man toy.
Ronnie’s toy slips out of his hands and rolls under the front passenger seat.
RENEE Looks like we’re gonna be early,
little man. EXT. HIGHWAY - CONTINUOUS
The minivan moves down the road as traffic passes by on the opposite side of the yellow dividing lines. A white Ford F-150 pickup truck approaches from the opposite lane. The truck suddenly crosses the centerline and hits the drivers side of the van. The minivan lifts slightly and then lands with a thud, rocking back and forth as it settles.
INT. KITCHEN - DAY
One year later, Jeff, now too-thin with visible bags under his eyes, sits down at a kitchen table across from Renee. Renee is still attractive despite the new visible lines on her face. She has a large scar running the length of her left forearm. Jeff drinks Diet Coke from a can. Renee has whiskey in a tumbler.
JEFF It’s early for that.
RENEE (slurred speech)
It’s cocktail hour somewhere.
JEFF You’re drinking too much lately. I
need to ask you something. RENEE
JEFF I never told you but the day of the
accident I noticed you forgot to lock the front door when you left.
RENEE What? Who cares? You were right
down the hall working.
JEFF It’s not that. It’s just...you get
forgetful when you’re rushed. Did you...
RENEE Did I what?
JEFF Did you forget to buckle Ronnie in?
RENEE Fuck you! I never forget to check
Jeff screws his face up, grabs his plate, and walks down the hallway into his office. Renee watches as Jeff retreats from the kitchen. Renee begins to weep quietly.
Jeff tosses his plate of food violently into the garbage can. Jeff sits down in front of his computer and begins typing.
INT. GUEST BEDROOM - NIGHT
The clock on the wall in Jeff’s bedroom shows 1:17 AM. Jeff is sitting up in bed staring at the clock. He stands up and exits the bedroom and walks down the hall to his son’s room.
CONTINUED: (2) 4.
Ronnie’s room has toys strewn about - a baseball bat close to the window, three different superhero figures on the brown lacquer 4-door dresser, and a still newish baseball glove on the nightstand next to the bed.
The bed is covered in Iron Man sheets and blankets. Ronnie’s Iron Man figure is on the bed close to the pillow, it’s left arm missing since the accident. Jeff sits down on the bed and runs his fingers over the figure.
The air crackles. The light coming in from the window dims. Jeff tilts his head up and down and side to side. All light disappears from the room. The area above the bed begins to glow a dull whitish-green.
JEFF I’m ready.
A shape takes recognizable form above the bed. It is Ronnie’s ghost. Jeff tilts his head upwards and stares into Ronnie’s face.
JEFF Why do you come to me? What does
Jeff is cut off by Ronnie, who picks up a book, and settles onto the bed next to Jeff. Ronnie points at words.
INSERT: "keep", "trying"
After a few moments of this, Ronnie disappears. Jeff, with a stunned look, lies down on the floor beside his son’s bed.
INT. MASTER BATHROOM - DAY
The next morning, Renee brushes her teeth. She bends over the sink to spit but suddenly stops. Her eyes jerk and she draws her head to the top of the mirror. She reaches her right hand out towards the mirror. She stands like that for a moment and then shakes her head. She goes to pick up her toothbrush but it is not by the sink where she left it. She looks around the bathroom and sees that the toothbrush is now in the brush holder. Renee’s confused
INT. KITCHEN - DAY Jeff and Renee are seated in the kitchen.
JEFF I called a counselor and explained
our situation. Maybe we should go talk to her?
RENEE Does it even matter? Nothing I do
is ever right.
JEFF She said we need to deal with our
grief. I just need to know if we can go back to the way we were.
RENEE I don’t know. Can we? You tell
me. Not going to call me a killer today?
JEFF That was once! I was hurt! I said
I was sorry. It was mean of me to say that.
You meant it. Don’t you think I’m hurt? Don’t you think I blame myself?
JEFF I don’t blame you.
You do! Renee turns away from Jeff.
JEFF I’m going for a walk.
Jeff exits the kitchen. Renee watches him leave, then begins to make a sandwich. Behind her, a fork that is sitting on the counter next to the stove lifts into the air and hovers. After a moment, it drops to the ground with a metallic clang. Renee spins around quickly, scanning the kitchen. She sees the fork on the floor and picks it up.
INT. GUEST BEDROOM - NIGHT
Jeff is sitting up in his bed, and turns to look at the green neon-backlit clock on the wall. The time reads 1:17 AM. Jeff stands up and exits the bedroom.
CONTINUED: (2) 6.
Jeff’s slippered feet make little noise in the hallway. Jeff pokes his head into his son’s room. He looks at the bed, not noticing that the Iron Man figure is gone. He then stares out Ronnie’s bedroom window at the tree outside for a moment, then continues towards the staircase.
Jeff opens up the cabinet above the refrigerator and takes out a bottle of whiskey, placing it onto the kitchen island. He opens the freezer and grabs the ice tray and places it on the island next to the bottle. He walks over to the cupboard next to the sink and takes out a tumbler. Walking back to the island, Jeff steps on something that makes him jump.
Ow! Son of a bitch!
Jeff puts the tumbler on the island. He bends down and picks something up off the floor. It’s his son’s Iron Man figure.
Jeff drops the figure onto Ronnie’s bed. Jeff lays down on his son’s bed.
INT. MASTER BEDROOM - DAY
Later that morning, Jeff walks into the master bedroom. Renee is sitting up in bed, reading.
JEFF No work today?
RENEE I took a sick day.
JEFF Another one?
Yes, another one. I’m doing some research.
JEFF What kind of research?
I’m looking for a divorce lawyer.
Jeff’s face contorts in concern and worry lines form on his forehead.
JEFF I don’t think we’re there yet.
Listen...Renee, has anything weird happened to you?
RENEE Like what?
RENEE I don’t know. Anything strange.
Renee’s face changes slightly. Her eyes darken.
RENEE There was something...no. What
aren’t you telling me?
JEFF Never mind.
INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT
That evening, Renee is in bed in the dark reading. The light from her iPad illuminates her face. She looks at the clock on the iPad and it reads 1:17 AM. She turns to put her iPad on the nightstand when Ronnie’s ghost materializes above her. Renee lays there stiff, staring up at the ghost hovering above her head.
JEFF (O.S.) What’s going on? Are you okay?
RENEE Jeff! Get in here, help me please!
Jeff crosses from the guest bedroom and stands in the door frame. Jeff looks at Renee and then follows her gaze upward. He sees Ronnie floating above Renee.
JEFF Renee, Renee. It’s Ok. This is
what I was trying to tell you about.
RENEE What do you mean, tried to tell me
JEFF About anything strange.
RENEE Uh-uh. No.
Renee bolts out of bed and runs past Jeff into the hallway. Jeff looks up at Ronnie.
Renee crumples in the corner. Jeff bends over her. Renee looks up at Jeff.
What is that? Did you see that?
JEFF Shh. I tried to tell you.
RENEE What? This is more than something
strange. Is that Ronnie?
Renee struggles in Jeff’s grip but Jeff leads her back into the bedroom. Ronnie has disappeared. Renee looks at Jeff in confusion. Jeff moves to hug his wife. Renee is stiff but then lets Jeff hug her.
INT. KITCHEN - DAY
Jeff and Renee sit at the kitchen table. The plates of food haven’t been touched. Renee looks sad and confused. Jeff looks contemplative.
JEFF I understand you have questions.
RENEE (growing agitated)
Questions? Like what? Like, "gosh Jeff, how long have you known our dead son was visiting our house at night?"
CONTINUED: (2) 9.
Renee violently pushes her plate of food away from her.
JEFF You would have said I was crazy.
RENEE I’m still not convinced you’re not.
How can I explain last night?
JEFF We could both go to Ronnie’s room
tonight. He always seems to appear at 1:17 AM.
RENEE Why my room last night?
JEFF I don’t know.
RENEE How many times have you seen him?
JEFF Does it matter?
JEFF Humor me. Tonight?
Renee stands up. As she does, her fork falls off the edge of the table onto the floor. Jeff stands up suddenly. The couple look at each other across the expanse of table.
JEFF You’re sure nothing strange has
happened to you? Renee turns and walks away from the table.
RENEE It was a fork! Let it go!
INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT
Jeff sits on the edge of Renee’s bed. The clock ticks over to show 1:17 AM. Jeff grabs Renee’s arm, and they both get up and walk out of the bedroom.
INT. RONNIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Jeff and Renee enter Ronnie’s room. Ronnie appears above his bed. He looks in the direction of his parents. He smiles. Jeff and Renee look up at their dead son with wonder and confusion. Ronnie floats downwards until his feet meet the floor, and holds out his hands. Jeff reaches for Ronnie’s left hand. Renee stands motionless.
JEFF Take his hand.
RENEE What’s going to happen?
JEFF Take it. Find out.
Jeff takes Renee’s hand and moves it towards Ronnie. Ronnie grabs her hand, and both Jeff and Renee go stiff.
INT. MINIVAN - DAY - FLASHBACK
It is the day of Renee and Ronnie’s accident, seen from Ronnie’s point of view. Ronnie is playing with his Iron Man figure, flying it around in front of his face. The car bumps slightly, and Ronnie drops the doll onto the floor of the van.
Ronnie unbuckles his seatbelt and hops off the seat onto the floor. He deftly grabs the doll from under the passenger front seat, tosses it up onto his seat, and begins climbing back onto his seat. He is working on getting his seat-belt back on. His hands slip.
RENEE Looks like we’re gonna be early,
Just then, the white Ford F-150 hits the van, which knocks Ronnie head-first into the passenger-side back window, which cracks from the impact.
RENEE (V.O.) (screams)
Oh god! No! BACK TO SCENE
Jeff turns from Ronnie and looks at Renee.
RENEE Oh, no, no, no.
JEFF I understand now.
RENEE Understand what?
JEFF It wasn’t your fault.
RENEE It was my fault! I’m his mother!
(sobbing) I was supposed to protect him!
Jeff opens his mouth and then shuts it again. Ronnie lets go of his parents’ hands. Renee’s voice hitches and she reaches her hands out to Ronnie, who is fading away.
RENEE No! Don’t go yet! Not now!
Ronnie fully fades away. Renee drops to her knees and begins to sob uncontrollably. Jeff kneels down and caresses her hair. Ronnie’s Iron Man figure has disappeared from his bed.
INT. RONNIE’S BEDROOM - DAY
Fourteen months later, Renee and Jeff are looking into a crib and smiling at a chubby infant girl dressed in pink. It is Ronnie’s bedroom but most of the room has been rearranged, and instead of Ronnie’s bed, the crib is now in the center of the room, beneath a picture of Ronnie in his baseball uniform. Renee leans into the crib to pick up the baby, removing the baby’s blanket as she does so. Renee stops suddenly and stares at her daughter. In the infant’s hand is Ronnie’s Iron Man figure with the missing left arm. Just then Jeff glances down and also sees the figure in his daughter’s hand. Renee hugs Jeff, then looks around the room and smiles.