Living Room

Everything we do on this planet has expectations in one way, shape, or form. Deviate from that, and everything starts to fall off the rails. What happens when we keep pushing against that barrier? On the brink of an alcohol/drug-induced bender, the main character feels herself slipping further and further away from the habitual norm of society’s day-to-day life. The question is, is this so wrong? In “Living Room,” we explore what it means to have these sexual, political, and social transgressions in today’s climate.

OVER BLACK

Sounds of shuffling, sniffling, and snorting.

A phone rings. More shuffling.

FADE IN:

INT. BATHROOM – DAY

A woman, SASHA SALADINO (28), frozen, stares into the mirror.

SASHA

Shit.

SMASH TO BLACK:

LIVING – ROOM

FADE IN:

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

CHRYON: SASHA SALADINO

Sasha is frantically rooting through the cupboards, tearing everything apart.

She yanks out a drawer, shattering the contents all over the floor. She rummages through the debris, finding nothing.

SASHA

Shit, shit, fuck, shit!

Her phone vibrates uncontrollably on the kitchen counter. She picks it up and looks at the caller ID: JOHN SALADINO.

SASHA (CONT’D)

Fuck.

FADE TO BLACK:

Photo by Daria Sannikova from Pexels

FADE IN:

INT. CAM’S BEDROOM – DAY

Dazing sunlight shoots through the window and the room is a disaster: beer cans, clothes, blankets, and more are scattered.

Sasha pulls her dress back down as CAM (27) pulls up his pants. She turns to him — kissing him.

CAM

(pulling away)

Hey, you okay?

SASHA

How — why would he do something like that?

Pulling away further —

CAM

Who? What?

SASHA

Can I tell you what he did? Can I tell you?

CAM

(not taking seriously)

Please, the suspense is killing me.

SASHA

You know how I’m supposed to be getting married tomorrow?

Total newsflash for Cam, completely separated now.

CAM

Uh — no. You didn’t —

SASHA

Believe you me, I definitely told you last night.

CAM

I think I’d remember something like that.

SASHA

Okay, I’m telling you now. I’m getting married tomorrow — supposed to be getting married tomorrow.

CAM

So you’re not?

SASHA

Let’s get back on track, Cameron. The phone call.

CAM

Right-right-right.

SASHA

So, my little brother John —

EXT. GAS STATION – DAY – FLASHBACK

CHRYON: JOHN SALADINO

JOHN SALADINO (24) is pumping gas into his 4-door sedan as he speaks into his phone. It’s a warm, windy day.

JOHN

It’s taken me a while, but, ya know, with Dad gone and all that, not having someone to walk you down the aisle…

(beat)

I had a whirlwind of a night.

(beat)

What I’m trying to say is that I’ll be there.

(beat)

Love you, Sash. Seriously.

John hangs up, then scans the gas station. He’s actually excited for something — he’s the sort that generally lacks excitement.

He breathes a sigh of fresh relief.

INT. BEDROOM – DAY – PRESENT

Cam licks his fingers and rubs it on the counter to his side — leftover cocaine residue — he gummies it.

CAM

So he’s heading here as we speak, and you have zero intention of actually going. Why is he heading there anyways? And you two had a falling out?

SASHA

We did. He’s, shall we say, communicatively challenged.

(then)

He’s great though. Between the two of us, he’s the good one.

Cam digests the sentiment — no words. He reaches to gummie more.

CAM

Well-so, what’s next?

Sasha pulls his hand towards her, before he has the chance gummie, and very seductively sucks his finger.

CAM (CONT’D)

A scene from nature in its rawest form.

She moves from his finger to his lips. They kiss.

SASHA

Why’re you so sweaty?

Sasha touches the sweat covered bedsheet — unnerved.

CAM

Same reason you were ravaging through my cupboards like a maniac…cocaine plus sex equals hell-a-vated heartbeat.

SASHA

Mhm — mhm — since when did you learn how to do basic math?

(off his smile)

Just beam me up, Scottie.

CAM

Star trek references? I think I’m in love.

SASHA

Just don’t propose. I’ll flake on you too.

She playfully shoves him. Cam double-takes the counter, though he already knows the answer.

CAM

(Re: Scottie)

We’re out, Captain.

INT. LIVING ROOM – DAY

Sasha paces back and forth, waiting for the other end of the phone to be answered.

SASHA

Hey Ozzie, oh my god. It’s your girl.

(listening)

You know me so well, but no judging.

Sasha laughs at something Ozzie said. She grabs a bottle of whiskey from the cupboard.

SASHA (CONT’D)

You’re too sweet for your own good. I’ll see you — soon, yeah? No rush. Or do. Totally your call. Mhm. BYE.

She hangs up. Breathes a sigh of relief — the Saladino sigh of relief.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

Sasha slips back into bed, handing a glass of whiskey to Cam, keeping the bottle to herself. They clink the bottle and the glass together, and take a sip.

CAM

Just shooting for no sleep at all, ay?

SASHA

I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

CAM

At this rate, you might get your wish sooner rather than later.

SASHA

Experiences and feelings. You think you’re complex?

CAM

I’m an idealist, so, yeah.

SASHA

Explain.

CAM

Dewey-eyed, moonstruck, uncharacteristically hopeful even. Somebody who lives in the here and the now. Forever present because who knows when it’ll end or when we’ll forget where we began.

SASHA

What does that make me?

CAM

A tragedy in a tube top.

SASHA

Good one.

Shot Sequence: A beat as they run out of things to discuss. It appears they don’t know each other all that well — emphasis on the awkward.

SASHA (CONT’D)

I don’t think I’ve ever been so anxious to see someone I didn’t want to.

CAM

Who? Your dealer?

SASHA

Ozzie is a bit into me.

CAM

(hiding under blanket)

Hm. Is he in love with you?

SASHA

More like infatuated, probably.

CAM

Ah, the long suffering. Word.

SASHA

He’s just a kid. Plus, you’re the one that’s in love with me.

CAM

How lucky and fortunate you are.

Sasha shakes her head — the shit that comes out of Cam’s mouth —

Loud knocks sound from the door to the apartment. Sasha jumps up!

CAM (CONT’D)

Fuck, that was fast.

SASHA

Told you he likes me.

EXT. CAR – DAY

John’s car glides along the rural pavement. Quiet. Abysmal wide openness of the plain fields.

PRE-LAP: Subtle VIBRATION of tires on road.

Photo by Moussa Idrissi from Pexels

INT. LIVING ROOM – DAY

Dead silence. Awkward silence. OZZIE (21) and Cam sit across from each other twiddling their thumbs. Ozzie is a meek-looking fellow, and doesn’t look like the typical drug dealer, but something about him is off.

Sasha emerges with a third glass of whiskey and hands it to Ozzie.

OZZIE

Oh no. None for me.

Sasha is aghast.

SASHA

What? How come?

OZZIE

When I set my mind on something, I put everything I have into it.

SASHA

(puppy eyes)

It would make me really happy if you had a drink with me and Cam.

OZZIE

No, really, it’s fine.

SASHA

HAVE…A DRINK… Please.

OZZIE

SASHA

Do I look like someone who’s bursting at the seems? Grasping at the straws of life?

OZZIE

(hardly believable)

Nah, you look great, Sash

SASHA

Don’t you dare lie to me.

OZZIE

Ya know, what the hell, poor me a glass.

Cam doesn’t try to hide his reaction over how easily Ozzie gave in. Ozzie notices. Sasha hands Ozzie his glass.

Ozzie regards Cam. Eyes Cam coldly.

CAM

I always say what I mean and do what I say.

OZZIE

A real thinker.

CAM

(tapping head)

Hunt the good stuff, amigo. And you’re holding the good stuff.

OZZIE

Yeah, well, I don’t wanna be.

Sasha is watching these two dysfunctional human-beings bicker. More than content, she begins singing but no one listens.

CAM

Why’s that?

OZZIE

I hate selling drugs. I don’t even do this junk, but somehow I walked into it. And somehow it’s become my only source of revenue. It’s fucked.

CAM

But, like…is it good?

OZZIE

It’s made by someone who’s made it his business to know it’s tricks and seams. It’ll reflect your own character.

CAM

Then what’re we waiting for?!

Ozzie turns his attention back to Sasha, her singing.

She stops.

SASHA

That’s tough, Ozz. But at least you’re making me happy.

CAM

Right. Worse things than selling drugs.

OZZIE

Why’re you guys still goin, anyways? Been raging through the night?

SASHA

Maybe.

OZZIE

Why?

SASHA

Ever curl so deep into the fetal position that you drop, drop, drop into the deep depths of the psyche, only to realize that the darkness is comforting.

Silent beat.

CAM

And this is why we do drugs.

OZZIE

Reasonable. Makes sense.

Ozzie lines out a clump of cocaine and splits it into two different lines.

Cam, excited, moves from the couch to the table. Propped up on his knees, he awaits his turn.

OZZIE (CONT’D)

(surprised)

Oh, you wanted one?

CAM

(more surprised)

You said YOU don’t do IT.

OZZIE

I’m naturally lit, man. That’s what this city is so fuck-all-famous for.

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy from Pexels

Sasha drops down to the table and, without hesitation, rips a thick line of the powdery substance.

Cam and Ozzie are taken aback — they respect her — but she could give a fuck about their respect.

Series of shots:

– Sasha snorts a line like a pro.

– Cam snorts a line and giggles.

– Ozzie snorts a line, and couldn’t be more amateur.

– Cam tries kickflipping on the carpet — eats shit instead.

– John, inside of his car, still on the road.

PRE-LAP: Louder than before, VIBRATION of tires on road.

INT. LIVING ROOM – LATER

OZZIE

(to Sasha)

So, the weird darkness sentiment aside, why’re you going so hard?

Sasha, curled up on the couch, stares into the ground, silent.

CAM

Tomorrow evening, she was to join her significant other in holy matrimony. The setting is —

SASHA

The setting is a world where you don’t tell other people my business.

OZZIE

(to Cam)

She’s seriously getting married?

SASHA

Hey, I’m right here. We can stop with the third-person narration.

OZZIE

You’re getting married?

SASHA

I don’t know.

OZZIE

Why would you get married?

SASHA

Asking myself the same thing.

OZZIE

Let me rephrase: why wouldn’t you get married?

Cam gummies the table, but Ozzie waves him off, annoyed.

SASHA

For starters, he makes little noises. Pecking away at my sanity. You’d think, an aged and weathered man, as he is, would keep to himself. Fussing about in the kitchen — post-coital cuddling — spooning. Mornings are even worse, waking to his disgusting noises. I can’t bring myself to even think about how I can get through the day, feeding my man with a complete facade. I can be normal, but not to the extent that he clearly wants.

OZZIE

Wow, you’re awful.

SASHA

Excuse me?

Beat.

OZZIE

Does he hurt you?

SASHA

No, of course not.

OZZIE

Does he care for you?

SASHA

I guess, yeah.

OZZIE

Is he sweet, nice, kind, or any other derivative of the word?

SASHA

Most of those, yeah.

OZZIE

Do you love him?

This snags Cam’s full attention.

SASHA

I love him like I love vanilla ice cream.

OZZIE

So this runaround is unnecessary. Sounds like he’s enough.

SASHA

What if I’m not enough?

CAM

You’re so enough, b—

Cam abruptly pauses — Sasha’s gaze says: You don’t know shit about me.

OZZIE

(to Cam)

Not your turn, mustache.

(to Sasha)

Do you make him smile?

Sasha pauses for a beat, remembering something — a warm memory perhaps — her face brightens.

SASHA

Without even trying.

OZZIE

So quit with the impetuous bullshit.

SASHA

Using big words again.

OZZIE

Stop rapid-firing with your decision making. It’s without thought or care.

In tight for a Beat as Sasha:

– Pull Back

– Glances at Ozzie, maybe seeing him for what he truly is.

– Glances at Cam, god knows what he’s thinking.

– Looks somewhere within herself, perhaps thinking of her nameless fiancé, but probably not — SOUND of tires rolling down the road resurface.

Sasha gets up.

SASHA

Awesome. I think I’ll, A-uh, pack a bag.

Sasha exits the room.

Photo by Anete L?si?a on Unsplash

INT. BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

Sasha frantically packs a bag, picking up articles of clothing from random piles of clothes. Is she going home, hitting the road, or what?!

She freezes for a second — on the wall are photo’s of her…living life — living as she willed it.

INT. LIVING ROOM – CONTINUOUS

OZZIE

I don’t have time for this.

CAM

You have time for her, don’t you?

Ozzie stands up to leave —

CAM (CONT’D)

Aren’t you forgetting something?

OZZIE

What?

CAM

(looking at the table)

The drugs.

OZZIE

I’m going to the bathroom.

CAM

Oh, okay. Yeah. After that.

Ozzie heads for the bathroom.

CAM (CONT’D)

Have fun!

(then)

Jackass.

INT. BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

Sasha tweaks the last bit of her makeup.

She combs her hair. Quickly content with the end result.

INT. LIVING ROOM – MOMENTS LATER

Sasha finds Cam alone in the living room.

SASHA

Where’s Ozzie?

Cam points to the bathroom. Cam is sulking over Sasha’s decision to leave.

Sasha sighs.

CAM

Shouldn’t I be the one sighing that famous Saladino sigh?

SASHA

We’ve known each other for a day. Come on.

CAM

Well, it was a really long day. And night. You’re crazy.

SASHA

(sarcastic as fuck)

I am. I shouldn’t have incorporated you into my crisis. Can you forgive me?

CAM

You joke, but I forgive, time and time again. When you forgive someone, you think you have power, but really it’s weakness. And the more you forgive, the weaker you become. One day, I’ll probably just be a cold, hard soul. Flapping his sad wings through an empty sky.

SASHA

You really think that?

CAM

Nah. I’m full of shit. I’m glad to have been apart of your “existential crisis.” As long as you’re truly going to be happy. Like, actually.

SASHA

I think I will be.

CAM

Can’t go breaking my heart on an “I think.”

Beat.

SASHA

Are you going to be okay?

Cam shrugs — it is what it is.

CAM

I’ll make it.

SASHA

Take it easy on the blow? I’m not one to say you might have a problem, but one that could say, might say that you have a problem.

Cam shrugs again. Sasha moves to him, laying down on top of him.

Sasha turns her face towards his but he doesn’t flinch. She kisses him softly. They hug tightly.

EXT/INT. CAR – DAY

John’s car comes to a stop at an empty stoplight. Ever quiet.

The stoplight — RED.

PRE-LAP: CLICK.

INT. LIVING ROOM – DAY

Cam and Sasha are still holding each other in a tight embrace.

OZZIE

I guess that’s my cue…

Sasha jolts herself off Cam and towards Ozzie. She hugs him too, but he’s caught off guard.

He reluctantly accepts the warm embrace.

SASHA

Thanks.

OZZIE

Don’t mention it.

Ozzie tosses a small bag of cocaine onto the table.

SASHA

Not for that. For asking the right questions. For listening.

Cam, in the background, picks up the bag and begins lining a few out.

CAM

How much you want for this? On top of what we already did.

OZZIE

Nothing. Lady’s getting married. Celebrate — on me.

EXT. HIKING TRAIL – DAY – FLASHBACK

CHRYON: CAMERON TATE

This California hiking trail is radiant and glistening under the blissful sun. We follow Cam as he jogs shirtless. He’s running out of breath when he sees a park bench up ahead.

He stops and takes a seat. Next to him is a woman we don’t see. All we can tell is that she is reading a book. Cam pulls his phone out to kill the time.

POP. A pebble hits him in the face. What. The. Fuck? He looks over to find our Sasha — calm and collected, reading her book.

Photo by Doug Kelley on Unsplash

CAM

Did you just throw a rock at me?

She turns to Cam, apparently bewildered. Selling the “I don’t know what you’re talking about” expression.

SASHA

No? Why would I throw a rock at you?

CAM

Good point. Sorry.

Cam scans his surroundings. There is no one else around him, but whatever. He let’s it go.

POP. Another rock hits him. Sasha can barely contain her laughter this time.

CAM (CONT’D)

All right, are you a child?

SASHA

(keeping it together)

I couldn’t possibly know what you mean.

As Cam is staring right at her, she throws another pebble at his face. Sasha, in the cutest way possible —

SASHA (CONT’D)

Sorry?

CAM

Must be a terrible book if you’d rather throw rocks at strangers.

SASHA

Stranger. Singular. Just you.

CAM

Don’t I feel special.

(then)

What’re you reading?

Sasha is silent for a beat. She clears her throat.

SASHA

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

CAM

Your social skills are a bit off, aren’t they?

She throws another pebble at his face.

CAM (CONT’D)

That’s one way to communicate, sure.

SASHA

It’s a line from this book. Jane Austen.

CAM

Well, at least that’s reassuring.

SASHA

What is?

CAM

Thought you were taking the man and wife thing seriously.

SASHA

Maybe that’s why I read it. Maybe I am taking it seriously.

CAM

What’d you mean?

SASHA

Nothing.

(then)

Hey, you like vodka?

CAM

Deflecting — all right. But I mean, I would also be deflecting if I didn’t admit to you, right now, that I would love some vodka.

Sasha beams up and hands him the hidden pint-sized vodka. As Cam takes a hearty gulp, Sasha takes in Cam’s shoulder tattoo.

SASHA

Is that what I think it is?

CAM

What?

SASHA

Holden Caulfield?

CAM

Oh, my tattoo? Yeah. Big Salinger guy.

CAM (CONT’D)

A lot of people think his stuff is too whiney and pretentious, but for me, it makes me comfortable to feel, like, shitty about things. Things aren’t always good, and that’s okay. It’d be fucked up if things were always grand and peachy.

(beat)

Since I’m opening up to someone I just met — your turn — why Austen? Why did you read me that line?

SASHA

Funny story, actually. It’s kind of fitting to my current situation.

CAM

Which is?

SASHA

Well, I’ve got a little too much going on in my head right now. Haven’t been able to think clearly for a while now. So, I do what I always do and I collect some booze and blow, a good book, and I find a little corner. It’s a beautiful day and I still can’t find a moment to reflect. I’m too clogged up. And then here you are. Sweaty and dorky and all, sitting right here. And I have the biggest urge to throw pebbles at you. I don’t know how, but I just knew that you would respond exactly the way you did. The kicker is, this whole time my head’s been clear. For the first time in a long time.

Cam is taken aback. Smitten if you will. He sips the vodka again.

CAM

Did you say you had —

(whispering)

BLOW?

Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels

INT. LIVING ROOM – BACK TO PRESENT

Ozzie lines more cocaine on the table. For some reason, he seems more eager than earlier.

In the corner of the room, Cam reaches for his guitar.

OZZIE

Don’t you fucking dare.

CAM

DICK.

Beat.

SASHA

(to Ozzie)

We should pay you. I should pay you.

OZZIE

It’s a gift. Don’t be ridiculous. You’re taking the sacred vows of eternity. In no fucking sensible reality are you changing my mind.

Cam pleads, through puppy eyes, for Sasha to drop it.

She does.

OZZIE (CONT’D)

I don’t actually mind slinging this shit.

CAM

(feigning)

No.

OZZIE

(continuing)

I say it for the reaction. The bafflement in others. The sheer humility that escapes most, makes me bitter. I enjoy being bitter because it’s real. It’s an authentic emotion. Everyone’s so god-damned phony — being able to see people for what they really are — I like that. To see through.

Very awkward beat.

CAM

How old are you?

No answer.

SASHA

Can you see through me, Oz?

OZZIE

I didn’t mean —

SASHA

What’d you see?

OZZIE

Please. Let’s just do thi —

SASHA

Freud’s bitter little brother for one second and scared the next? Speak up.

OZZIE

I can’t.

SASHA

Then why so bitter?

OZZIE

(snapping)

Really?! What kind of guy drops everything, bright and early in the morning, to come sell a small bag of drugs to a random girl?

SASHA

I’m not a random girl.

OZZIE

Exactly.

(then)

I’m bitter because you’re with this guy. I’m bitter cause you’re getting married. I’m bitter because you’re fucking and loving two guys while I watch.

SASHA

And this gives you a right? An entitlement to something?

OZZIE

Yes! No. Fuck, I don’t know. It’s too easy to pin the blame on Daddy not loving you enough, or something along those lines…but you’re clearly always looking for some sort of validation. Either you’re a slutty free soul or…need to grow the fuck up.

CAM

Talk to her like that again and I’ll break your fucking legs.

OZZIE

(pretentiously)

I think I’ll just go. How’s that?

CAM

Uh, yeah — ya think?

OZZIE

Fuck you.

CAM

(winking)

She already is.

Leaving the blow on the table, Ozzie moves towards the door.

CAM (CONT’D)

Aren’t you forgetting something, Mr. Scene explosion?

OZZIE

Bittersweet or not, still a wedding present.

Sasha stops Ozzie from leaving, and without saying a word, stuffs cash into his pocket. Ozzie doesn’t have the courage to stop her.

Ozzie leaves, slamming the door.

Beat.

SASHA

What happened?

CAM

Think I blacked out.

SASHA

Shut the fuck up.

CAM

Okay.

(then)

We both know what’s happening.

SASHA

What?

CAM

You’re going to walk into your room and you’re going to grab that bag you packed. And you’re going to get married, and your little brother, John Saladino, is going to walk you down the aisle because that’s what love makes you do.

Photo by Essow Kedelina from Pexels

EXT. APARTMENT – DAY

Camera: Building Rooftop

Ozzie smokes a cigarette, out on the stoop.

He pulls an oddly colored baggy out of his pocket and stares at it.

INT. BATHRROOM – FLASHBACK

CHRYON: OSBOURNE MIRANDA

We’re back to the very moment Sasha was packing a bag. We hear Cam saying something non-sensical in the background.

Ozzie, in the bathroom, pulls the weird, unknown baggie out and mixes the contents in with the cocaine — lacing it.

SASHA (O.S.)

(sarcastic as fuck)

I am. I shouldn’t have incorporated you into my crisis. Can you forgive me?

CAM (O.S.)

You joke, but I forgive, time and time again. When you forgive someone, you think you have power, but really it’s weakness. And the more you forgive, the weaker you become. One day, I’ll probably just be a cold, hard soul. Flapping his sad wings through an empty sky.

SASHA (O.S.)

You really think that?

Ozzie slips the new mixture back into his pocket.

He smacks himself in the face and smiles. In the mirror, we see that what he’s doing is purely self-indulgent. And he’s okay with that.

Ozzie steps out.

INT. LIVING ROOM – BACK TO PRESENT

Cam leans against the front door, and Sasha is outside of it.

CAM

How long’s the drive?

SASHA

28 hours.

CAM

You haven’t slept. You look like me — hell. Can I help?

SASHA

How could you possibly help?

CAM

(holding up drugs)

Ehhhhh, line for the road? LINES — ehhhhhh.

SASHA

Is this your version of goodbye?

CAM

I think I should save my romantic gestures for someone that’ll stay.

SASHA

We had fun though, didn’t we?

CAM

Yeah.

(then)

Line for the road?

She bites her lip.

EXT. HIKING TRAIL – LATE DAY – FLASHBACK

From the beginning to the end of the scene, we HEAR John’s car slowly ACCELERATE until it becomes OVERBEARING — JARRING.

Sasha and Cam walk and talk as the sun sets in the distance. They talk, smile, and laugh as they pass the vodka back and forth. We can’t hear them but it looks like goodbye.

They each exit the opposite end of the frame before — Sasha speed-walks back into the frame and out the other end, in the direction of Cam.

SMASH TO BLACK:

OVER BLACK:

SOUND of door SLAMMING.

FADE OUT:


Jon-Alexander Genson is half Mexican and was raised in Antioch, Illinois, just outside of Chicago and Milwaukee by his Mexican-immigrant mother. He grew up with a fascination for literature, film, and television. He spent six years in the United States Army as Military Police while attending Illinois State University where he majored in Creative Writing. His passion for the entertainment industry was realized during his deployment to Guantanamo Bay where he worked detainee operations. He started working as an intern with Park Artists Group and Aperture Entertainment before moving on to Sheree Guitar Entertainment as an Executive Assistant in January 2020.

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