It’s A Twist


Maybe I could add a subplot about a lemonade-stand turf war...

Maybe I could add a subplot about a lemonade-stand turf war…

I sat down to write a chase scene, just for practice. I’d gotten the idea from watching a police chase on the news that lasted for over an hour. I recall thinking at the time that I’d just completed three years of school to try to learn how to tell a story with that kind of suspense.  Police chases happen a lot in Los Angeles. California’s three strikes law makes the third strike come with heavy penalties, so there seems to be an “in-for-a-penny-in-for-a-pound” mentality behind running: if you’re going to get hit with a heavy penalty, you might as well make a run for it.

Anyway, so I had this idea that I’d write out a chase scene [loosely] based upon the chase that I saw on television. First the character (unimaginatively named “Chase”) steals a pizza from a pizza restaurant. Then she steals a car. Then she proceeds to drive all around the Greater Los Angeles Area enjoying her pizza. And then my scene took on a life of it’s own. Suddenly she discovers there’s a baby in the car- because, of course. Then she gets off the highway and cruises through neighborhoods trying to find a place to drop the baby off and ends up having a bizarrely political conversation with some kids running a lemonade stand and trades the baby for a pitcher of lemonade while the kids parlay the transaction into the easy hashtag headline #HeroKidsSaveBaby.

Here’s an excerpt:

INT. CAYENNE – DAY

The kid is SCREAMING hysterically without stopping. Chase is gripping the steering wheel with both white-knuckled hands.

CHASE
This wasn’t part of the plan, kid!

She turns up the radio to top volume, still cruising along at a sedate pace. She sees a railroad crossing. The gates are just beginning to come down, but she is able to slip across safely- the Highway Patrol troopers are trapped on the other side of the crossing. The helicopter is still overhead.

Chase turns into a suburban neighborhood. It is quiet and well maintained. A pair of kids are manning a lemonade stand. Chase pulls up and stops.

CHASE
How much for a lemonade?
KID #1
Five dollars.
CHASE
Five dollars for a lemonade?
KID #1
You see any other lemonade stands around here?
CHASE
I don’t have any money. How about a trade?
KID #2
What you got?
CHASE
I got Dr Pepper.
KID #1
If you got Dr Pepper, why do you want a lemonade?
CHASE
Because it tastes different.

The kids look at each other. This actually kinda makes sense.

KID #2
I don’t like Dr Pepper.

KID #1
I don’t like your FACE.
CHASE
How about pizza?
KID #2
We don’t take food from strangers.
KID #1
What kind of pizza?
CHASE
Meat lovers supreme.
KID #2
I don’t eat meat.
KID #1
That’s cuz your mom’s a pussy.
KID #2
Your Mom is a Republican.
CHASE
HEY! OK no pizza. You want to be on TV?

The kids look at each other.

(CUT TO)

The Cayenne drives away revealing that Chase has taken the ENTIRE PITCHER of lemonade and left the car seat with the still screaming baby on the sidewalk between the two kids.

Kid#1 pulls down the Lemonade sign. Moments later, the police cruisers pull up and Kid#2 is holding up a sign saying: “HERO KIDS SAVE BABY”.

That wasn’t what I expected at all.

I suppose that it is fun to discover unexpected plot twists that exist in your own mind, but at the same time, it is a little disconcerting to realize that no matter what your intentions, when you sit down to write, you can never really know what is going to come out of it. This has been happening to me a lot lately: when I do sit down to write, it goes off into unusual directions which makes it difficult for me to find any through-line which makes it difficult for me to gain any traction. But I’m trying.

 

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 16, 2016.

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