Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Movie Script Ending

A Movie Script Ending is a piece of flash fiction from writer/English teacher, Leslie Hauser. This piece grew out of Leslie's novel, Wild Cherries, which she is now querying. She's currently working on a YA. After you read her story, go check out her blogTwitter, or Pinterest. Enjoy!

A Movie Script Ending
By Leslie Hauser

The plane was about to crash. Everyone around me, though, seemed oddly calm. Even Joe, who was seated next to me, seemed at ease. Joe’s been one of my closest friends since our days living in the dorms at Stanford, and he’s always been a laid back kind of guy. I would have figured, though, that something like our plane crashing would have brought about a bit more urgency. Apparently not.

Although mired in panic, I kept thinking how truly tragic this was, our crashing with only about twenty minutes left until we touched down in Austin. I was so close. So close. I’d almost made it to my new wonderful life. I was flying back to live with Joe. I’d just had my first book published and had a new agent and a publisher who was interested in another book from me. I’d just been reunited with my two closest friends—Joe and my other college best friend Claire. For once in my life I felt excited about the future and, well, happy. I was happy.

So of course the universe found this to be an appropriate time to end my life with a plane crash. With my run of bad luck, I could actually understand this cruel twist of fate. But what I couldn’t understand was the fact that everyone was so calm. Even the stewardess just casually strolled down the aisle saying, “Excuse me ma’am, please return your seat to the upright position. We’ll be crashing in just a moment.” Then she smiled and moved on to the next passenger. She was so calm.

Meanwhile, I was in a full sweat, bracing myself and straining my neck to look out the window to see what was going on. Unfortunately—or maybe fortunately—it was dark and much of Texas is rural, so I saw nothing but the pitch-blackness. I thought to myself, We are going to CRASH…doesn’t anybody care?

I was just about to tell Joe how much I was freaking out when I saw him take down his tray table.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I practically screamed at him. “You can’t put your tray table down. Everything has to be in its stowed position for the crash!”

Joe laughed and shook his head. “Oh Sam, always the rules follower.”

I guess he did have a point. We were all going to be road kill in a matter of minutes, so the tray table probably wasn’t going to make a difference. And as I was thrown forward in my seat, I knew it was going to be a matter of minutes or maybe even seconds.

Joe sensed it, too; I could see it in his eyes. “We have to act fast, otherwise it’s going to be too late,” he said as he reached for something in the green duffel bag at his feet.

“Act fast?” I asked. What the hell was he talking about? What in the world could we possibly do to avoid death? The only thing I could think of was that he might want to return the tray table to its closed position. Not having a tray table saw his stomach in half would possibly save his life.

But before I could respond, I saw him pull out a book from the green duffel bag. It was a Dr. Seuss book, Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? The one with the bright yellow cover. That’s how I know now which one it was, since it wasn’t like we actually had time to read a nice bedtime story before our death. He opened it up on the tray table and said, “Let’s go. We have to jump in now.”

We have to jump in now? I thought to myself. What the heck does that mean? “What do you mean? We can’t jump through a book,” I responded unsurely. I mean, we couldn’t. Could we?

“Yes we can. Just hold onto my hand,” Joe said calmly as he extended his had toward me. I hesitated, which prompted him to say, “Sam, we have to go now. It’s now or never.” Another jolt and I knew we were seconds from crashing into the ground, probably some rancher’s cattle field or cotton field. Or maybe grapefruit? I wondered. Didn’t I just have a Texas grapefruit for breakfast the other day? Lost in my agricultural reverie, I’d failed to see that Joe was still holding out his hand. “Trust me,” he said.

Another jerk of the plane and I knew that I would have to trust him; otherwise I’d be dead. So, as much as it scared my claustrophobic self to jump through an 8 ½ x 11 page—not to mention my confusion at how it would even be possible—I knew I’d have to do it. I unbuckled my seatbelt as Joe unbuckled his; then I grabbed his hand, and together we stood up and jumped into the book.

Somehow, I ended up standing in a deserted, hilly area. I’m not quite sure where I was nor how I had gotten through and out of the book. Or to be honest, how both Joe and I had fit through the page of the book together. Joe. I sensed suddenly that he was no longer with me. However, I became immediately aware that Reese Witherspoon was because I heard her sweet voice declare, “C’mon, Sam. We have to go now. That man is coming toward us.”

I looked in the direction of her outstretched finger and saw the sinister-looking man walking in our direction. Even from far away I could sense he was creepy, with his stringy brown hair and dark tattered clothing. But, where was Joe? “I can’t leave without Joe,” I told her. “I have to find him.”

“We will find him. Trust me.” She gave me that Elle Woods smile as she assured me. And I thought, She’s America’s sweetheart, of course I should trust her. “But we have to go now, before it’s too late,” she continued. I saw the man getting closer and knew she was right.

So, Reese and I ran in the opposite direction. I kept turning my head, seeing the man getting closer and closer. We finally made it to a town and walked toward a deserted strip mall. It was straight out of the 1970s, peppered with abandoned shops. The man was still after us. He was just walking, but quickly closing in on us. Tracking us. Hunting us. Or so it seemed.

So we dashed into a laundromat. Once inside, we ducked into a dressing room that was along the back wall. I probably should have wondered why there was a dressing room in a laundromat, but after the jump into the book and the appearance of Reese, I stopped being surprised by anything. The dressing rooms had brown saloon-style swinging doors on them that only covered a portion of the opening, and there was a bench on either side. We hopped up on the bench so he wouldn't see our feet, but we knew he was going to find us. We saw him walk by the front windows and we heard the slow, sinister squeak of the laundromat door.

At this point, across from us, on the opposite bench, appeared that same yellow-covered Dr. Seuss book Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? It was open to the inside back cover. As we sensed the man was closing in, Reese pointed to the book and whispered, "We have to jump in.” She wanted us to jump through the inside back cover. I hesitated. Again? I sighed. It was scary enough the first time. But in that instant of my hesitation, Reese had already jumped through. She jumped right into the inside back cover and was gone. She’d left without me. America’s sweetheart just left me here? I whimpered to myself. I heard the man's footsteps approaching, and I knew I had no choice but to follow. So I closed my eyes, held my breath, and jumped through the book just like Reese had and just like I had before.

When I opened my eyes, it was evening and I was out on a street. People were milling about everywhere. Celebrities. And next to me, pulling me along from person to person was Reese Witherspoon, dressed now in a fancy ball gown. I looked around and became conscious of the fact that we seemed to be at a movie premiere. Camera flashes hit us from every direction, and all around me on the red carpet were men and women in tuxedos and elegant gowns. Unfortunately, I was still in my gray hoodie and jeans, the same outfit I’d been wearing on the plane. Figures, even in a dream I can’t have the right clothes.

I was being pulled through the crowd by Reese and her bodyguard when suddenly the crowd parted, and Joe was standing in front of me. He was all cleaned up and wearing a tuxedo. I let go of Reese’s hand and ran to hug him. A desperate happiness filled me, seeing he’d made it out of the plane alive. “I told you we’d find him,” Reese said from behind me. Still clinging to Joe, I looked back to see her smiling. “Now c’mon, we have to get inside.” She motioned for us to follow her.

Joe smiled and made a joke about my attire. Then he put his arm around me and said, “See? Didn’t I say you could trust me?” I smiled as we walked into the movie theater, the cheers and flashbulbs growing dimmer and dimmer behind us.