HORACE & DORIS
INT. APARTMENT BATHROOM - 11:00PM
A MAN stands in front of the bathroom mirror with his head down. He looks at himself.
MAN: Hey can we talk? I...
He trails off and looks at the sink, then tries again.
MAN (CONT’D): I need to talk - I’d like to talk.
He mutters to himself. His voice FADES OUT.
INT. APARTMENT BEDROOM - 3:30AM
The man lays awake with a woman in bed. His name is HORACE and her name is DORIS. They are both twenty-six. Doris’ head rests on Horace’s chest. She listens to his heartbeat.
DORIS: When were you born?
DORIS: Then I can’t wish you happy birthday yet.
Horace checks the nightstand clock - 3:34AM.
Doris glances at the muted television. A rerun of The Bachelorette is on. Doris groans to herself.
DORIS (CONT’D): Tck. He doesn’t want you, Carol! I swear this show would be over in two episodes if these ladies could take a hint. HORACE They’ve gotta make a show.
DORIS: But it’s reality TV - where’s the reality?
Horace looks at the clock again.
DORIS (CONT’D): Whatsa matter?
HORACE: Nothing - I think I’m gonna go for a walk.
DORIS: This late? You’re looking to get get mugged.
Horace smirks and throws his legs off the bed.
DORIS (CONT’D): Can I come?
EXT. NYC SIDEWALKS - 4:00AM
The couple walks down the cold sidewalk, bundled up against the November frigidity. Doris’ arm is locked around Horace’s. They walk in and out of streetlit patches.
HORACE (CONT’D): I think we’re lost.
Doris’ mouth opens in panic.
HORACE (CONT’D): (monotone) Just kidding.
DORIS: (slapping Horace’s arm) Tch. I’m freezing.
HORACE: I told you to grab a second coat.
DORIS: I would’ve but you were in such a hurry, already out the door.
HORACE: I was just waiting in the hallway. Do you want my jacket?
DORIS: Tck. No, then you’ll be freezing. Just tell me where we’re going. Hopefully somewhere close... And warm.
HORACE: I wanted to walk.
DORIS: Walk. Right. Okay.
Moments of silence except for their footsteps.
DORIS (CONT’D): I think I have frostbite.
Horace breathes heavily out of his nose; it’s visible in the air. He scans the street.
HORACE: There’s a diner.
DORIS: Great idea. Warmth, food, warm food. Let’s-a-go.
INT. DINER - 4:30AM
The diner is mostly empty. Horace and Doris are seated at a booth. Doris takes off her scarf.
A waitress walks over. DORIS (CONT’D) Two coffees with milk-
HORACE: I’ll have a green tea.
DORIS: Hah, fan-cyy.
HORACE: (through a slight smirk) S’just tea. DORIS Make it two green teas then.
WAITRESS: Sure thing.
Doris breathes into her hands and rubs them together.
DORIS: So, what do you want to do today?
Horace doesn’t look up at her.
HORACE: I’m not really sure.
DORIS: Is everything alright? Last year you wanted to skydive off the Eiffel Tower and this year you’re “not sure”? HORACE It was Freedom Tower. That’s like, three blocks from here.
DORIS: I was exaggerating.
The waitress brings over two green teas.
DORIS (CONT’D): Ooo, tea. (bad English accent) Can we have some bis-cuits?
Horace blows hot air. HORACE Some toast, please.
WAITRESS: Be right back.
She walks off and the couple sips their tea. Doris burns her tongue a little. DORIS You know - these coasters, these plates-
HORACE: The saucer? DORIS These saucers didn’t always just carry drinks. People used to pour the tea or coffee onto the saucer, to cool it down y’know, and drink from it.
He taps the table in nervous rhythm with his finger.
DORIS: Are you sure you’re okay?
HORACE: Yeah, I just...
He sighs and puts his hands in his jacket pockets.
HORACE (CONT’D): ...I forgot my cigarettes.
DORIS: That’s all? Because I can buy them from behind the register.
HORACE: When we leave.
They sip in silence. The waitress puts two plates of toast and biscuits on the table.
WAITRESS: Anything else?
DORIS: (bad English accent) Good for now - thanks, love.
The waitress leaves the table. Horace is in a trance.
HORACE: One time, when I was five or six, I couldn’t sleep for the life of me, but it was bedtime and my parents were kind of strict about that on school nights. It must’ve been like three o’clock and my eyes wouldn’t stay shut.
Doris listens intently while carefully sipping tea.
HORACE (CONT’D): I could hear murmuring and laughing from downstairs through the floor, so I tiptoed down the steps. If they were angry, I was ready to protest. “I can’t sleep,” is all I said. They patted the seat in between them and I sat. Just like that I’d joined the club. (MORE)
HORACE (CONT’D): Bedtime suddenly didn’t matter - things were alive and moving and I could be too. I fell asleep without even realizing it. I’ve loved this time of day ever since.
DORIS: Well, you were born at six A.M. Maybe that has something to do with it.
He stacks three pieces of buttery toast and takes a bite.
HORACE (CONT’D): (swallowing) It seems - so mundane, but I remember it vividly. I can’t seem to forget stuff like that.
DORIS: And I can’t remember what we had for dinner last night.
Horace half-smiles and sips tea.
HORACE: What time is it?
DORIS: (checking watch) Five after five.
She yawns loudly.
DORIS (CONT’D): I gotta pee.
She jolts up from the booth.
HOLD on Horace chewing toast with a blank stare.
INT. DINER BATHROOM - 5:10AM
Doris washes her hands, checks her teeth, and runs a wet hand through her hair. A heart with “A + J Forever” is crossed out next to the mirror. Doris purses her lips.
INT. DINER - 5:15AM
Doris looks at her booth from the bathroom door. Horace has one hand covering his face.
She walks back and sits down. When Horace looks up at her, his eyes are just red enough to be noticeable.
DORIS: Were you crying?
HORACE: I yawned.
Doris looks into her unfinished cup.
DORIS: I’m ready to go.
He downs his cup of tea and slides out of the booth, placing a couple of crumpled dollar bills on the table.
The couple approaches the register. Doris is antsy.
HORACE (CONT’D): A Marlboro.
The cashier puts the pack down. Doris grabs a candy bar and places it on the counter next to it.
HORACE (CONT’D): And that.
EXT. NYC SIDEWALKS/PARK - 5:42AM
Horace walks several paces ahead of Doris.
DORIS: Where are we going?
Horace pretends not to hear the question. He leads her into a dimly-lit park, muttering to himself, practicing his lines.
He finds a bench under a tall light and sits. Doris follows but stands there for a moment.
DORIS (CONT’D): Oh - he wants to get stabbed in the park for his birthday.
She pauses and finally takes a seat at the other end, a confused puss on her face, shivering from the cold.
Horace takes out his pack of cigarettes and tears the cellophane. He lights a CIGARETTE, puffs on it, then passes it to Doris.
HORACE: What was your life like a week before you met me?
Doris takes a drag and a second to think.
DORIS: Gosh. I don’t remember. I was still working at S-Mart. I had more time...to do nothing. To be by myself. I liked it. I like this more.
She passes the cigarette. Horace gives a heavy sigh.
HORACE: I think we...try something different.
He drops the cigarette on the ground and presses his heel into it. He runs a hand through his hair.
DORIS: Yeah.(AND THEN) Marlboro isn’t doing it for me anymore.
Horace swallows hard, eyes to the floor.
Doris rubs her hands together and checks her watch.
DORIS (CONT’D): Happy birthday.
She slides closer to Horace on the bench and kisses him. Her head nestles against his shoulder.
Fixated on the squashed cigarette, Horace’s eyes glisten. He kisses Doris on the head.
The duo sits quietly on the bench as snow falls. Morning sunlight bleeds through the leafless trees.