Thanks everybody for your suggestions. I decided to go with your idea Chef Troy about the couple experiencing the miscarriage. I liked keeping it simple - a minimum number of characters on a single setting. And I had a good mental picture of it from the get-go. The scene just flowed. (I let the story just go where it wanted to go, so it wasn’t exactly the situation you described, but that’s writing.)
I also particularly liked GuanoLad’s idea about the ghosts, but couldn’t quite get the ball rolling on that one. Gimme some time, I’ll work on it.
Here’s the scene. Whaddaya think?
INT. APARTMENT - AFTERNOON
A studio apartment. The front door is stage right, a kitchenette is stage left. A sofa-bed is center-stage. It’s a mess - clothes, books, and odds & ends are strewn everywhere. There are dirty dishes piled on the kitchenette counter.
We hear the sound of keys turning in the lock on the front door; The door swings open. JANE, a woman in her late 20s, enters. She looks harried and agitated. She plods through the door, fogetting to close it. She seems slightly dazed. She simply drops her purse on the floor and collapses on the sofa.
Jane has some papers, official-looking documents, clutched tightly in her hand. She gazes around her apartment distractedly, then looks at the papers as if just realizing she’s holding them. She crumples them up, tosses them to the floor, and covers her eyes with her hands and WHIMPERS slightly.
After a moment, she SIGHS, picks the papers up off the floor, smoothes them out and places them on a kitchen counter. She starts cleaning up her apartment - picking up clothes. She doesn’t realize the front door is ajar.
RANDY appears in the doorway. He’s in his early 30s, and is a classic Williamsburg hipster - beard, tattoos, skinny jeans & ties, etc. He has a package in his hand, but he’s holding it behind his back and we can’t see what it is.
Jane hasn’t noticed him yet. He smiles impishly. He sets his package down on the hallway floor, just outside the doorway. Then he tiptoes across the set towards Jane. He sneaks up right behind her and then -
Jane SCREAMS in surprise, and spins around. Randy LAUGHS. Jane punches him in the arm.
RANDY: Ow! That hurt.
JANE: Don’t ever do that again, Randy!
RANDY: C’mon, lighten up!
JANE: It’s not funny! And haven’t you ever heard of knocking?
RANDY: Haven’t you ever heard of SHUTTING THE DOOR, Jane?
Jane looks over, sees the door wide open. She GASPS in exasperation, stomps over to it and SLAMS it shut.
JANE: Where were you last night?
RANDY: Oh, you’re my keeper, huh? Now you’re that kind of girlfriend!
Randy LAUGHS, but Jane is clearly not amused.
RANDY: It was a joke, Jane, c’mon. I was just down the block at the Cider Mill. Christ, you’re in a mood.
JANE: Yeah, I’m in a mood, Randy! Why do you think that is? Deal with it.
She resumes cleaning up her apartment, ignoring Randy. Randy is flustered. He watches her, but doesn’t help out.
RANDY: Ok, look! Jane, (pause) Jane, can you PLEASE stop that and talk to me? We really need to talk!
Jane rolls her eyes, drops what she’s holding and stands there, hands on hips, glaring at Randy.
JANE: Fine, Randy. Let’s. TALK.
RANDY: Well, I can’t talk to you if you’re gonna be like that!
JANE: Really? How do you expect me to BE, Randy? After I - (she stops herself)
RANDY: After you what? No, wait, of course I know. I get it, all right? I really do. Jane…I’m sorry about how I reacted. But come on, it was a big surprise. I just wasn’t ready for it, when you told me about the…
JANE: About the BABY?
RANDY: Yeah. (Pause) The baby.
Jane shakes her head in exasperation. She turns, walks to the kitchenette and sinks into a chair, facing away from him.
RANDY: Jane, please, I’m trying to apologize. Look, I just wasn’t expecting it and I panicked! I’ve had time to think about it, and I talked it over with the guys…
Jane spins around to face him.
JANE: (Interrupting) “The guys??” You told people about it?
RANDY: Course I did! Just Ryan and Chad. Well, you didn’t expect to keep it a big secret, did you?
JANE: No, I guess not.
RANDY: I know I was…less than enthusiastic the other night. But I’ve thought it over now, and I’m gonna be a good father. I will. (LAUGHS) I love kids, you know that. It’ll be great having my own kid, our own kid. I already picked out a name for him - Ajax!!
RANDY: Yeah, he was an ancient king! It’s awesome!
Jane gets up and paces anxiously.
JANE: I don’t believe this.
RANDY: You can pick the name if it’s a girl.
JANE: And what about your “music career?” (She practically spits the words out.)
RANDY: What about it?
JANE: It was all you cared about the other night.
RANDY: I can still do it! You never did believe I could making a living at it, did you? (Pause) Ok, all right. I’ll get a day-job. Hell, I’ll work at a public school. I’ll be a music teacher. They’re practically begging people to be teachers nowadays, right?
JANE: I don’t think the school system takes applicants with drug dealing convictions.
RANDY: That was two years ago! It was only a little pot! And I only got probation.
JANE: You still smoke!
RANDY: I’m giving it up! For real, I’m quitting it! (Pause) I filled out an application at Starbucks, for Christ sake!
Jane stops pacing, faces him.
JANE: Oh my God, you’re serious.
RANDY: I know that sounds shitty, trying to support a kid on a Starbucks paycheck, but it’s something ain’t it? I’m gonna stop smoking pot, I’ll work days, I’ll change the kid’s fucking diapers! I wanna make it work!
Jane takes a deep breath, she suddenly can’t look Randy in the eye.
JANE: Randy, you should know-
RANDY: (Interrupting) No, wait! I wanna do this right, Jane. I swear to God, I wanna do this the right way.
Randy approaches her, he puts his hand out to touch her and she shrinks away from him.
JANE: Randy, please, I have to tell you –
RANDY: Lemme finish! If we’re gonna have a baby, I feel like we have to be a family. A real one. so –
JANE: Oh, no. Randy, don’t –
RANDY: You gotta let me get through this! I know there’s a certain way you gotta do this. I can’t afford a ring, but I can at least do it right.
He gets down on one knee.
RANDY: Jane, will you do me the honor of marrying–
JANE: I LOST THE BABY!
Long, awkward pause. Randy appears frozen. Jane gradually falls apart, leaning against the counter and SOBBING. Finally, Randy gets to his feet.
RANDY: No, you’re shitting me. You cannot be fucking serious. You are fucking shitting me!
Jane snatches the papers off the counter and thrusts them at him. He takes them and stares at them.
JANE: You don’t believe me? Here’s my hospital release form.
RANDY: (Reading)“Miscarriage…” Oh fuck.
JANE: I was in the Bellevue E.R. all last night. I only just got home before you walked in. I tried to call you a dozen times!
RANDY: (Weakly) I lost the charger for my phone.
They both stare into space for a moment, unable to look at each other.
RANDY: Jane, how…how could you let me go on like that??
RANDY: I’m fucking pouring my goddamn heart out to you, I’m down on one goddamn knee PROPOSING to you and you’re not even pregnant anymore?
JANE: Oh my GOD, Randy! Is that all you have to say? Is that really all you can think about, how embarrassed you are?
RANDY: You were gonna tell me! You were gonna blurt it out, but you stopped yourself! You just wanted to see me get all TWISTED, didn’t you? You wanted to see me sit there and kiss your ass and laugh!
JANE: You BASTARD!
Jane grabs a dish from the counter and flings it at him. He ducks, and the dish SMASHES against the wall.
JANE: Get out! Just get the hell out, you fucking childish loser! and if we see each other in the hallway, Don’t bother talking to me, don’t you even dare look at me!
Randy tosses the hospital release form on the floor. He stalks toward the front door.
RANDY: No problem at all, bitch! No problem at all!
He swings the door open, but stops suddenly. He sees his “package” that he’d left there.
RANDY: Oh, right.
He snatches it up and holds it out to show her, it’s a bouquet of roses.
RANDY: Bought these for you, to show you how I feel.
He tosses the roses across the room, they scatter across the floor.
RANDY: Happy fucking Valentine’s Day!
He exits, SLAMMING the door shut behind him.
Jane crumbles onto the sofa and SOBS for a moment. At last, she wipes her tears away, and once again gazes around her apartment.
JANE: Oh, what a mess!
She resumes cleaning up her apartment.