sunrise

a short screenplay

after last week’s screenplay-formatted story, i thought i’d dust off this short script i wrote years ago. it’s not directly from Scripture, but i think you’ll see the Truth of Scripture in it.

enjoy.


FADE IN:

EXT. CAMP SITE - NIGHT

rain.

DAVID ZACHARY (24) throws a rope over a tree branch. he misses. again. miss. again. made it. he grabs the swinging free end of the rope and pulls it as a garbage bag slowly lifts into the air. halfway up, the bottom bursts, and water and garbage fall to the ground making a mess and splattering mud everywhere.

David dismisses the whole scene with a wave of his hand as he walks towards a small pup tent.

INT. PUP TENT - NIGHT

David enters the tent, soaking wet. his wife, MICHELLE (22), sits up in her sleeping bag.

MICHELLE

hey, cowboy. could you drip the other way please?

DAVID

hey, i’m not the one who wanted to put up the garbage.

MICHELLE

i was just joking with you. what is your problem?

DAVID

my problem? my problem is i’m soaking wet.

David starts to get undressed.

DAVID (CONT’D)

i just want to get out of these clothes.

MICHELLE

well, if you don’t put the garbage up like that, it will attract bears.

DAVID

there’s no bears around here.

MICHELLE

yes, there are. Becky and Barry said that--

DAVID

you know, since when Becky and Barry become the outdoors experts. i thought they lived in Cordova.

MICHELLE

well, they do a lot of outdoorsy stuff.

DAVID

oh yeah? like what? like riding the trolley? their idea of roughing it is going to Millington.

Michelle folds her arms. David continues to undress. then he notices.

DAVID (CONT’D)

what? oh, come on.

David sits beside her.

DAVID (CONT’D)

look, i’m sorry. i’m just really irritated right now. i’m soaking wet, the trash bag broke,...

MICHELLE

Broke?

DAVID

yeah, it filled up with water and wouldn’t hold the weight. i’ll take care of it in the morning.

MICHELLE

but the bears will--

DAVID

enough about the bears. trust me, there’s only one animal dumb enough to fool with garbage out in the rain.

Michelle stares at him. he runs his hand through her hair.

DAVID (CONT’D)

i’ll pick it up in the morning, okay? it’ll be fine.

David kisses her on the neck. she smiles a little. he kisses her again. he turn her face toward his. he’s about to kiss her lips when:

MICHELLE

you’re getting my sleeping bag wet.

David sighs and gets over to his sleeping bag where he continues to change clothes. Michelle rolls over away from him to go back to sleep.

DAVID
(to himself)

perfect.

INT. PUP TENT - EARLY MORNING

noises outside. rustling. clanking. David sits up. Michelle sits up, looks at David. i told you so.

EXT. CAMP SITE - EARLY MORNING

the rain has stopped. the sun has not yet risen.

David emerges from the tent in a backwards t-shirt and sweatpants. he makes a loud unintelligible noise. wild boar (off-camera) scurry away from the scene. tilt down to reveal the mess.

DAVID
(to himself)

perfect.

EXT. CAMP SITE - EARLY MORNING

David is on his knees picking up trash with Michelle. David stands and picks up the trash bag. a broken jar rips a side and it all spills back out again. David gives up, throwing the bag down on the ground.

MICHELLE

hey, we have to get this stuff up. they’ll come back with more of them.

DAVID

they’re not Sandpeople, Michelle. i scared them. they’re not coming back.

David reaches into the tent for his hat and sunglasses.

MICHELLE

where are you going?

DAVID

i’m going to go watch the sunrise.

MICHELLE

what about this mess? if a warden comes by and sees this he’ll fine us--

DAVID

would you stop worrying?

MICHELLE

Becky told me that when she and Barry--

DAVID

Becky, Barry, Becky, Barry! if they know so much, go camping with them next time.

silence.

DAVID (CONT’D)

i’ll be back in a few minutes. i don’t want to miss it this time.

Michelle tears up a little bit, but exerts her frustration into cleaning up the garbage.

EXT. MOUNTAIN TOP - EARLY MORNING

a MAN (42), wearing sunglasses, sits in a lawn chair. David walks up behind him putting on his sunglasses. David has acquired a “cane” along the way.

DAVID

morning.

MAN

good morning.

DAVID

you don’t mind if i join you, do you?

MAN

no, not at all.

David takes out a pocket knife and begins to whittle the end of it.

DAVID

you ever been here before?

MAN

almost every morning for the past twenty years.

DAVID

wow. well, i’m just on vacation and heard this was the sight to see.

MAN

it’s quite wonderful. my wife and i used to come up here as often as we were able.

DAVID

that’s great.

MAN

she was an English major, and i used to love listening to her poetic descriptions of everything that was happening.

DAVID

sounds very romantic.

MAN

oh, she was a very passionate lady. she passed away about 6 years ago. she had a rare cancer in her arm and chest.

David stops whittling.

DAVID

i’m… i’m very sorry.

awkward silence. the Man smiles.

MAN

it’s okay. i just thank God she went quickly.

more silence. David resumes the whittling.

DAVID

well, she sounds like a lovely woman.

MAN

oh, she was wonderful -- the most warm person you’d ever met. she had a real servant heart. when you talked to her, you could tell she was really listening. i mean people, strangers even, would just bask in her personality. and our time was very intimate. she really knew how to make me shine.

David has stopped again.

DAVID

you must miss her a lot.

MAN

it’s hard to miss someone who’s always with you.

David is not really sure what to say. suddenly the area is flooded with bright light. they are silent for a while just watching. the Man is peaceful. David is amazed.

DAVID

i don’t think i’ve ever seen anything like this before.

MAN

they don’t have the sun where you come from?

DAVID

well, ... not like this. this is just beautiful.

the Man puts his head down and picks at his fingers. David continues to stare. then he points.

DAVID (CONT’D)

look at that purple streak there to the left.

the Man looks up and points to the south side of the sky.

MAN

my favorite is the orange to the south.

David nods.

DAVID

very beautiful.

MAN

“marmalade rays sweeping across hills sprinkled of the hand of God, the maroon loaves of with trees and towns, buttered with people and their hopes and dreams.”

the Man smiles warmly.

DAVID

that’s very nice. your wife?

the Man nods his head. the two stare at the sunrise a little while longer.

MAN

it’s amazing the comfort we find in the mundane.

DAVID

this is hardly mundane. i’ve never seen anything like this.

MAN

and yet no matter where you are, the sun rises every morning, and spends the day doing the same thing it did yesterday.

David is silent.

MAN (CONT’D)

well, i must get on home. i have chores to do.

the Man stands up. David continues to stare at the sunrise.

DAVID

i think i’ll stick around here for a few more minutes.

MAN

well, it was nice talking with you. i hope you have a good vacation. enjoy your whittling.

the Man feels for the lawn chair, folds it up, and leans down and picks up a white cane with a red tip. he steps slowly toward the path behind them, feeling his way with the cane.

DAVID

wait a minute--

MAN

yes?

DAVID

...why do you come to watch the sunrise?

MAN

i don’t come to watch it. i come to feel its warmth.

David soaks it in.

MAN (CONT’D)

good day.

the Man turns back and continues down the path. David stares at Man tapping his way back down the mountain side. for the first time we see the sunrise behind David; it glows orange and purple, its fingers reaching out across the landscape.

David watches the man, then looks to his hands -- the knife and the stick.

EXT. CAMP SITE - MORNING

Michelle is finishing breakfast. the mess remains. she puts down her finished plate and bends down to start cleaning.

she reaches for the first piece of paper and a sharp stick jabs itself into the paper. Michelle looks up.

DAVID

hi.

MICHELLE

hi.

DAVID

i’m sorry.

MICHELLE

me too.

DAVID

i love you.

MICHELLE

i love you, too.

she stands. he hugs her and gives her a peck on the lips. she goes to clean up breakfast; David spears trash.

FADE TO BLACK.