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Seated on one of the stools in front of the counter is Paula, a frequent customer. Paula Who’s that? Him walking u Jim to the door? !hat’s Jackson.
Paula He looks like an old-fashioned news a er deli"er# bo# in that hat. Jim He alwa#s wears it. $ind of his look, % su ose.
Paula How do #ou know him, does he come here often? Jim % see him when %’m working nights a lot. Wh# so man# questions, #ou interested? Paula He doesn’t reall# seem m# t# e, but he looks so familiar. Jackson walks u to the counter. &inner Jim lans tonight Jackson? Jackson 'o? Jim (h, #ou’re here earlier than usual is all. Woke u Jackson earlier than usual.
Jim What’re #ou ha"ing then?
Jackson !wo o"er-eas# eggs, steak as the meat. Wheat toast. )lack coffee. Jim !hat’s what % like about #ou, #ou alwa#s know what #ou want. Jackson nods and slides the uno ened menu to Jim to be taken. Jim goes back into the kitchen area. Paula swi"els her chair towards Jackson. Paula %’m sorr#, but #ou look "er# familiar to me. Ha"e we met? Jackson %t’s ossible. Paula *ou don’t talk too much, do #ou? Jackson +arel# see the oint. Paula Well, wh#’s that? Jackson Just don’t. Paula *ou know, ,ust ,udging b# #our outfit, it kind of seems like #ou’d be more talkati"e. Jackson Sorr# to disa oint. Jim returns from the kitchen. He looks at the coffee machine and icks u an almost em t# ot. He looks at Jackson, who sees the stale coffee and nods, raising his mug for Jim to our the coffee into. Paula Well, %’m ,ust sa#ing because #ou kind of look like a newsie.
Jim finishes ouring the coffee with a worried look on. Jackson Well then read all about this. -# bod# language and m# "erbal language are both tr#ing to tell #ou that %’d rather not talk right now. Jim Jackson? -a#be #ou want to mo"e to a different seat? Jackson % like this seat fine, Jim. %t’s the seat ad,acent % ha"e a roblem with. Paula %’m ,ust tr#ing to be friendl#, % didn’t mean to cause an# roblems. Paula turns to look at Jackson more closel#. Paula % ,ust can’t get o"er wh# #ou look so familiar to me. Jackson Well % don’t recogni.e #ou. %’m not here looking for a friend or to drudge u old memories. Just the steak and eggs. Jim -which are coming right u / Paula, % know #ou mean well, but % think it might be best if #ou mo"ed to one of the booths. Paula ...0ka#. Sorr# to ha"e bothered #ou, and Jim % didn’t mean an# trouble. Jim % know, that’s alright. Which table would #ou like? %’ll to #our coffee off once this ot’s done brewing in a minute or so. Paula oints to a table, icks u her bag, and walks o"er to the corner booth. Jackson (muttering) thanks.
Jim 0f course. Jackson &o % got enough time for a smoke before m# order’s read#? Jim 1hh, #eah. *ou should. Jackson nods and ulls his cigarettes out of his coat ocket while he ushes the front door o en. Jim makes his wa# to Paula’s table to re-fill her coffee. Jim &id #ou need an#thing else then? Paula is staring out the window with a furrowed brow towards Jackson. Paula Hm? 0h, #es. 2ould % ha"e a o #seed bagel toasted with cream cheese? Seriousl#, what’s his stor# though? % ,ust know %’"e seen him before, % remember his face. Jackson goes behind the counter and uts a bagel in the toaster. He grabs a washcloth wi es down the counter while talking to Paula. Jim His name is Jackson 2age. Heck, % thought e"er#one in town knew his stor#. He was quite the o ular kid back in the da#. Paula Him? % mean, he doesn’t seem "er# friendl#. Jim )ack then he was a lot different. He was the nicest kid #ou’d e"er meet. $ind of kid that would sing h#mns to the old-folks at the hos ital who missed sunda# ser"ice. He knew e"er#one’s name and had an arm like a damn cannon.
Paula !hat sounds like ,ust about the o osite of the un leasant man outside. Jim See, that’s the thing. He kind of is the o osite of who he used to be. 0nl# thing is, he doesn’t remember that kid. What do #ou mean, what ha Paula ened to him that made him forget? late,
Jim grabs the bagel, uts it on a and walks it to Paula’s table.
Jim He got in a reall# bad accident. &runk dri"er hit him running through a red light one night. (irbag didn’t de lo# and he hits his head right on the dash. He went into a coma, and when he came out of it, &oc said he’d suffered so much brain damage that it seemed to affect his ersonalit#. So he ,ust woke u Paula and was a com letel# different erson?
Jim 3rom reco"er# to right now, Jackson is who he’s been. Paula Wait...He used to ha"e kinda long hair and went b# Jackie? Jim *ou’"e met him % take it? Paula *eah, we met through a friend of mine back in college, but e"er#thing about him is ,ust so different. His ersonalit#, his name, hell his osture. Jim %t took some getting used to for sure. 3or e"er#one e4ce t him at least. !his new Jackie, Jackson, he didn’t seem to ha"e an# interest in re-gaining his ast life. He didn’t remember an#thing and didn’t seem to want to. He works nights in construction, so he comes in for breakfast, goes to work, and goes to slee mostl#.
Paula !hat’s so sad. % feel like % should --ost Jim eo le do. (lwa#s without luck. Paula *ou think there’s no oint?
Jim Sorr# to sa# so, but not reall#. %ronicall# enough, he’s kind of become roof to e"er#one in town that some eo le ,ust can’t change. Paula 1nless the# get hit in the head so hard the# go into a coma? Jim 3or instance. ( bell dings from the kitchen. Jim !here’s the man’s food. Holler if #ou need an#thing. Jim returns to the kitchen as we see Jackson scra e the cigarette butt on the wall and re-enter through the glass doors. Paula checks her hone disa ointedl#, and drinks from her mug while the minute hand on the clock mo"es 56 minutes "er# quickl#. Int - Jim’s Diner - 15 minutes later Paula grabs her bag to lea"e as she sees Jackson get u the same. !he two walk outside. EXT - Jim’s Diner - Day Jackson walks back to the same s ot outside, cigarette in his mouth. Paula walks u to him. Paula 7ot a light? to do
She ulls a cigarette out of her bag and looks at him while holding the cigarette between her li s. He obliges and gi"es her the lighter. She lights and then gi"es it back. She leans back ne4t to him. Jackson sidles awa# from her. Paula *ou know, % don’t mean to anno# #ou. %t’s ,ust - well, % talked to Jim and he told me about the accident. % reali.ed %’d actuall# met #ou before that ha ened. Jackson 8sigh8 9ook, % get this kind of thing too much. Please - can we not? Paula Well at least #ou said !he two sit there smoking, Paula occasionall# looking o"er. Paula Just one question, do #ou e"er want to talk to an#one? 'ot ,ust about the accident, but % mean, #ou’re ,ust alwa#s this solitar#? How does that not dri"e #ou cra.#? Jackson !here are things that % still en,o#, the com an# of others isn’t one of them. -ostl# because the#’re eo le who want me to be who % used to, and % don’t ha"e the will or the abilit# to e"en feign the ersona of Jackie an#more. Paula Hmm. Well wh# not ,ust mo"e to a new town? Jackson Peo le here know what % like, the# mostly know not to bother me. %’"e got a rett# set routine. lease.
Paula % wish % could be content with such a sim le routine. % need more ad"enture. % guess that’s wh# % was the first customer at the diner this morning.
Paula waits for an inquisiti"e res onse from Jackson, when it doesn’t come she continues on. Paula % thought me and this gu# were kind of...an item, and he ended u getting a call from his i!e this morning. He left the hotel room so quick and % was so shocked % ,ust had to get out of there. So now here % am a cou le towns o"er with no wa# of getting back. Jackson (mum"les) 8sigh8 Sorr# to hear that. Paula So was %. 9ook, %’"e icked u on the fact that #ou don’t want to talk to me. )ut is there an# chance #ou would be able to gi"e me a ride back to m# lace? 0r at least somewhere % can catch a cab from? Jackson e4tinguishes his cigarette, walks to his car, gets in and turns the engine o"er. Paula waits for some sign that she ma# enter. Jackson rolls down the window. Jackson Put that shit out before #ou get in. Paula dis oses of the smoldering butt and gets in. INT - Jackson’s #ar - Day Jackson Where’d #ou sa# #ou li"ed? Paula %t’s not too far, right off -ain St. in +o"er :alle#. &o #ou need mone# for gas? % ha"e a 6 on me. Jackson is silent. Paula 0h, % forgot about the 5; in m# ocket, would that be more a ro riate? % don’t reall# know how good of mileage #ou get in this thing. What kind of car is this?
Jackson ’<= -ercedes. Put #our mone# awa#. Paula (re #ou sure? Jackson nods. !he two continue to sit in silence before Jackson turns on the cassette la#er. Paula Who is this? %t’s rett# good. Jackson %t’s me. % write in m# s are time. Paula 3itting that there are no words, then. Jackson smirks. Paula 0h m# god. &id % ,ust cause a smile? Jackson Well if #ou did, #ou made it fade ,ust as quick. $ind of e"ens out, karmicall# s eaking. Paula &o #ou belie"e in karma? Jackson 'ah, ,ust making small talk. Paula Small talk doesn’t seem to be #our st#le? Jackson 'ormall# isn’t. Paula la#ing music? *ou e"er tr# to li"e?
So how long ha"e #ou been Jackson shakes his head no.
Paula *eah, % guess that makes sense. *ou do it more for #ourself, but then wh# record it at all? Jackson !o not forget. Paula So is all of the music #ou make with guitars, drums and ke#boards? Jackson Horns, electronic sam les, % can mi4 it u a little.
Paula Well thanks for letting me hear it. Jackson +adio doesn’t work for shit and the#’re the onl# ta es % ha"e in here. Paula (h. !he two sit, ,ust listening. Paula stares out the window. Paula *eah, #ou’re ,ust going to want to go down -ain through the ne4t two lights, and take a right on the third. -# house will be the third on the right. Jackson So a right here? Paula *u , this is the one. !hank #ou so much for this. Jackson nods. Paula finds a en in her mess# urse and scrawls something on a iece of a er. She laces it on the dash. Paula
%f #ou e"er want to, feel free to call me some time. *ou’re not as grum # and cold as #ou like to let on. !hanks again. Jackson looks at the iece of then at Paula as she gets out and walks into her house. EXT - Paula’s $ouse - %I& 'ne a er,
Paula checks her mail and retrie"es the en"elo es from her mailbo4. She sto s at her doorste and sees a ackage without a return address. She o ens it and sees a cassette with a note attached >% wrote l#rics for this one.? She smiles as she walks inside. 3ade to black.
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