MIDNIGHT RAMBLERS By Naughty Messiah

INT. CAFE - EVENING RUSTY, a mid 20s young man, sits at a table with a toothpick in his mouth. He has a sweater on and the sleeves cover his arms which are folded up close to his chest, looking out of the window, contemplating. He looks tired and worn out. In walks RICHARD, a cheerful, charming and handsome man, clothed in formals, notices Rusty from behind and goes and taps on his shoulder, then stands in front of him and looks at him, genuinely happy to meet him. RICHARD: If it isn’t the great Randall ’Rusty’ James. Hi Dick. They shake each others hands and hug. Clearly this is a meeting after a long time. Rusty does not share the level of excitement shown by Richard. RICHARD: Sorry I am late man, had to extend my meeting with the boss. (looks at his friend in disbelief) I dont believe it. I mean I see you sitting there and I still dont believe it. RUSTY: Its me alright. I thought this was the right time to see you again. How are you doing? RICHARD: How am I doing? You TELL me ! Its been a long time since you left man. I was stunned when I got your message. You just disappeared one fine day from our lives. I mean one day you were here with us chilling out after graduation and then the next day you are gone. I tried reaching you everywhere I could...I even tried your home but I got nothing. Cut to 4 long years later here and you.....you have a lot of “‘splainin’” to do (CHUCKLES PLAYFULLY) RUSTY:

2.

RUSTY: Yeah I didnt want anyone to know where I had gone. But why? RUSTY: Its complicated. Try me ! RUSTY: Well, I could try and give you a long-winded explanation about the importance of privacy and the psychological benefits of blocking out unnecessary influence but I will just stick to saying that what I did was no body else’s fuckin business. RICHARD: Whoa ! Ok dude. Calm down. We were just worried. So what were you doing? RUSTY is silent. He will not say sorry but his silence is apology enough. RUSTY: (feeling slightly better) So you still the ’working man’ huh? RICHARD: Yes I am. Still working. You know...making some money. RUSTY: Oh yeah? Rising in the corporate world? RICHARD: Yup. Funny you should say that because next week I am up for a performance review. And I am pretty sure that I am leading the competition for a promotion. RUSTY: You always were "leading the competition" (the condescending (MORE) RICHARD: RICHARD:

3. RUSTY: (cont’d) tone goes completely over Richard’s head). How is your charity work going on? You told me you had plans to sponsor a child’s education in Africa or something right? RICHARD: Oh yeah that is all going great. I got in touch with a couple of organisations and am working on the procedure. Its a great feeling man! I AM GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD ! RUSTY: Yeah, if you have the money to throw around why not eh? RICHARD: (Now taking offence and giving it back): Well its not exactly hard. You could also have done it you know - I did my homework when I graduated. I put in a lot of effort to find a job and once I got one I worked my ass off. And besides, how many times did I tell YOU to join me when I was applying for all those jobs instead of making those stupid videos. RUSTY: Hey at least I had a passion in life. And a dream to chase. I did what I liked instead of being clueless and doing what everyone else was doing. RICHARD: You haven’t changed one bit my friend. What have you been upto really? You were not in jail or anything right? (LAUGHS PLAYFULLY) RUSTY: Well...no. No. but I was living with my parents. RICHARD suddenly realizes just how bad the situation really is. Knowing Rusty’s nature, this could have been ugly. Silence.

4. RICHARD: I am sorry. I know it must have been hell. RUSTY knows that things are beyond repair. He gives up trying to explain. RICHARD’s phone starts ringing (insert specific ringtone). (speaks into the phone) Hey yeah. Yeah we are here. Come on over. RICHARD: Oh I forgot, I took the liberty of inviting a friend. She wanted to meet you as well. RUSTY: (suddenly taken aback)You DID WHAT? RICHARD: (firm but understanding): Ok buddy you need to calm down now. Its all cool. She knows everything. And she has nothing but sympathy and concern for you. RUSTY: Well thats even worse ! (calms down very slowly). Who is it? RICHARD: Ok this is the part where you have to promise you wont freak out. Its Maggie. I told her you were back. Maggie.... RICHARD: Maggie who you were going out with before you left. RUSTY: Maggie who I broke up with. That Maggie? You have GOT to be kidding me. RICHARD: No I am not. I need you to be calm now ok? I myself havent seen her for a while. She is coming through that door any minute. I need you to be cool. RUSTY:

5.

RUSTY shifts uncomfortably, slowly starts spacing out looking outside the window into the distance, then onto the silverware on the table. He is literally bursting at the seams with anger. RICHARD: Are you listening to me? Consumed by anger, Rusty now looks fixedly at the silverware on the table, breathing heavily now. Starts clenching his fists. Its a panic attack. RICHARD: (Notices the clenching of the fists, covers Rusty’s fists with his palms and speaks softly, more intimate) Dont go down that road again, my friend. It will only make things worse. Promise me you will keep your hands on the table and not break anything. RUSTY: I dont believe you...even after you know what I went thRusty slowly relaxes and unclenches his fists and lays his palm flat on the table. Richard notices a white bandage on Rusty’s wrist RICHARD: What’s that on your wrist? (suddenly gets distracted when he notices someone coming through the entrance) Ahh...there she is ! Maggie, Maggie May ! In walks MAGGIE, a mid 20s good looking , sprightly girl in good looking clothes, with a blazer on. Walks in, looks at the two and sits down next to Richard, to look at Rusty. No one speaks for a while. MAGGIE You know...I knew a guy once. A mad fellow. He was a rebel yes, he was wild at heart yes, he was crazy about certain things. And I loved him. Passionately. Unselfishly. (MORE)

6.

MAGGIE (cont’d) Unconditionally. And then one day...he decides I am not good enough for him and he walks. Like a coward. RUSTY: We have gone through this before Maggie. MAGGIE: Yes we have ! In a 5 minute conversation in a crowded graduation party full of drunk losers. Forgive me if I feel like I deserve a little more than that. Rusty has no voice now. The silence is awkward and painful. MAGGIE: Anyways, forget me. I got over you long time back. I didn’t come here for another explanation. In fact, I hate being anywhere near you anymore. I came here to see what you had to say about us...you, me and Richard. To know why you left us. More silence. Maggie looks outside the window into the distance and points) You remember that place next to the pond right Dick? Remember how we used to chill out there talking nonsense. RICHARD: I know. How can I forget that? We would walk all night blathering nonsense after drinking and then come there and crash. MAGGIE: Those were good times weren’t they? RICHARD: Sure. Hey wasn’t that were Rusty here told us about his life-long dream of making a big budget pornographic film with high profile actors when he made it big in Hollywood? (laughs hysterically)

7.

MAGGIE: Oh yeah. That was the dumbest, craziest, most stupidest idea for a life-long dream I have ever heard of. RUSTY: Well, you know, there was this one famous genius guy, a long time ago, who had a similar idea - craziness comes with genius, accept it. RICHARD: (curious) Who was it? The genius ? RUSTY: Doesn’t matter anyways. MAGGIE: My god look at that ego. Hey just because we don’t go crazy about pornography as an art-form doesn’t mean we are not sophisticated. RUSTY: It’s not ego Maggie. It’s just that all those moments, all those memories don’t mean anything anymore. We have all gone our separate ways and I am too tired, too fuckin worn out to go on thinking that those were true memories. For me those dont exist anymore. MAGGIE: What do you mean? You have given up your dreams? That doesn’t sound like you at all. RUSTY: I don’t know who I am anymore. And I don’t care. All I know is where I am going right now. RICHARD: Where is that? RUSTY: Into the unknown. Away from people, away from light.

8.

MAGGIE: Yes this make sense. That is you talking alright. Escapist extraordinaire. Rusty doesn’t say anything. He looks into the distance away from Maggie’s inquisitive but piercingly hateful glare. MAGGIE: I need to leave now. It was good meeting you both again. Richard, I will see you around, I guess. Rusty, I want you to know before you leave that you broke my heart. And it will never be the same for me again. I wanted to say that to your face, that’s why I came. Looks at Rusty. Is there ANYTHING you want to tell me? RUSTY: I am sorry. For everything. Goodbye. Maggie walks off without a word after that. Silence follows at the table. RICHARD: You should at least have told her the truth. RUSTY: You know what? I think she knows deep down. She knows me too well. RICHARD: What? Then what is the matter? RUSTY: Dick, just because you know why someone did something doesn’t mean you can forgive them. RICHARD: Yeah that is true. RUSTY: Just like I cant forgive you for abandoning me.

9. RICHARD: Wait..what do you mean abandon you? I thought I was the only friend who was with you while you were... RUSTY: Yes..the only friend...and you abandoned me and went your own way lusting after money and material comfort. RICHARD: Rusty...Are you out of your mind? Do you even hear yourself? RUSTY: You stood and watched as I crumbled in despair and loneliness, realizing everything we all went through was a lie. Then I had no choice but to erase everything from my mind and walk away from you all. Richard looks at Rusty in disbelief as realization strikes him point blank. RUSTY: That’s right. Now you know why I left. Because you betrayed me. And I trusted you. (voice breaking) Rusty gathers himself and starts speaking matter-of-factly. Anyway...I did not come here for a happy reunion if that’s what you thought. I came here to say good bye. To you. to everything. To all the memories. Forever. RICHARD: What are you going to do? RUSTY: I’ll tell you what I am going to do. I am going to walk out that door and never see you again. Maybe in another life but not this for sure. RICHARD: Don’t do this man...don’t leave me with this (Rusty gets up and looks at Richard before leaving)

10.

RUSTY: I hope you do well my friend. I sincerely hope you find happiness in whatever you do. But in the highly unlikely chance that you end up miserable and become a failure, know this - it will be because you ruined more than your life. You ruined a beautiful future for 3 good friends. Now go save your fuckin’ world ! Rusty walks out of the cafe as Richard stares in silence and contemplates. INT. OFFICE - MORNING Richard is coming towards the end of a presentation for a major deal. He is congratulated by all his colleagues and his superiors. Richard is smiling as he shakes their hand and thanks them all. He watches them leave the presentation room one by one until he is the last in the room. His smile fades slowly as he rests his hands on the huge table in the middle. He turns and slowly dims the light to the minimum and settles himself gloomily on the chair in the center. "What now?"

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