INT. LADIES TOILET. OFFICE. DAY. 1.
From behind a locked cubicle door, audible sniffs and sobs. Someone in there (EVE, 35) is talking on the phone. EVE is struggling a bit to be understood. Words get lost in her crying. Sentences cut up by snotty chokes.
EVE (INTO PHONE)
I can’t. I just can’t… Well, fuck, of course I can – I’m not a (sniff) moron, but I just–
The person on the other end of the phone (ADAM, 35) says something predictable but reassuring…
It’s not forever. Everyone has to start somewhere.
EVE sits on the toilet, skirt hitched up, pants and tights round her knees, her brow furrowed in response to ADAM’s platitudes. She’s holding the phone to her ear with one hand. The other is dabbing at her drippy nose with toilet roll. She bunches up the snotty tissues. Nervous and anxious, she fidgets with the them – flicking at bits and making tiny little tears in them with her fingernails… Her face is obscured as she speaks into the handset, just the top of her head visible. She wobbles around on the toilet.
EVE (ON PHONE)
I know this. I – of course I know it! B-but…
ADAM cuts her sentence short before the rest of it has a chance to blurt out. He’s heard it before. He’s heard it pretty much every day for the last 6 months.
ADAM (ON PHONE/O.S)
(joking/mocking) B-b-b… But. What? But you thought you would come here and be a big shot in… five minutes?
EVE’s eyes widen, her mouth gapes open. She lets out a ‘huff’ of huffy air.
EVE (ON PHONE)
EVE blinks hard in disbelief, shocked by ADAM’s lack of sympathy.
ADAM (ON PHONE/O.S)
What, like, ‘be discovered’ as some incredible talent? When is that ever the way?
ADAM, realising he’s maybe been a bit harsh here, tries to end on an upbeat note – but fails.
Thanks. Thanks for that.
EVE drops the soggy bunched up tissue ball behind her bare bum into the toilet. Sniffling, she tugs at the roll but struggles to tear off a fresh strip. It’s a difficult manoeuvre to perform one handed. She tries briefly to prop the mobile phone between her chin and her shoulder then remembers that time her friend did that and wound up hoovering piss out of her speaker hole.
Cut to ADAM.
INT. HOME OFFICE. DAY. 1.
ADAM sits at a desk in front of a big Apple Mac. He’s been editing or designing something. He’s leaning back in a big old vintage leather office chair. Feet on the desk. Snazzy socks. This is a super-stylish but incredibly tiny and cluttered home office. Smart design/typography/art books are stacked around on the desk, on the floor and on a nearby bookcase. There’s a shelf above the Mac that seems to be home to a community of robots and a selection of other oddball collectibles.
Cut back and forth between EVE speaking in the OFFICE BATHROOM and ADAM listening in the HOME OFFICE…
EVE (ON PHONE)
I just thought… I came here to shine, Adam.
ADAM curls his lip and silently makes a funny face into his handset. Who really says shit like that? Fuck…
I want people to know I can do things, proper things. I’m here doing stuff I’m no good at. Every day.
ADAM sits upright in his office chair.
So – people should just… give a shit about you? Right… (sarcastically). What have you shown them?
Don’t speak to me like I’m scared of hard work. (sob) I cleaned toilets for money, Adam. (sob) Nothing is beneath me. I’m saying this is breaking me. (sob, sob, sob) That’s what I’m saying.
EVE’s voice breaks up. Her words transmit in and out of audibility, quivering. This is The Absolute Truth. ADAM leans forward into his desk, loses sympathy.
It’s breaking you? Working in an office is breaking you?!
EVE shrinks into herself, her shoulders round and sad. She regrets telling ADAM The Absolute Truth.
EVE (pulling herself together a little)
I KNOW everyone has to start somewhere… I’ve been stuck on the fringes of ‘somewhere’ for ten years though, Adam. Ten years! Maybe it’s me… Maybe I’m just–
ADAM has had enough. He snaps.
Maybe if you gave yourself half a chance…
EVE bangs the side of her head off the cubicle wall 1, 2, 3 times over
Maybe if you allowed yourself to…
I was flourishing at HOME, Adam. ‘Flourishing’, or whatever. I got fucking fan mail! When have you ever had fan mail? I was starting to DO it – but then…
And here it comes.
Maybe if you looked at things positively – just once, once! – and stopped sabotaging every fucking good thing you’ve got, then–
EVE hangs up with an angry press of the red button. The phone goes dead in ADAM’s ear. Raging, EVE stops crying, sucks the tears back into her eyes. ADAM puts the phone down. Exasperated. EVE blows her nose. Gross. She stands up, puts herself back together – pants up, tights up. She smooths her clothes. She chucks the last of the tissue balls in the toilet, waves her hands over the flush sensor (several times before it works) then unlocks and opens the cubicle door.
As EVE paces with purpose from the cubicle to the sink, the bathroom door swings open. Through it bursts a concerned MARGE (44). MARGE is EVE’s colleague. She’s American – from the south somewhere. MARGE wouldn’t seem out of place behind the counter of an airstream diner in a 70s trucker movie. Motherly, worldly-wise, straight talking – and gloriously trashy.
Ohmygodohmygod, hun. What’s wrong? You alright? What has HAPPENED to you?
It takes MARGE quite a long time to drawl out a sentence. She is wearing a purple wrap-over dress. Her big mumsy boobs are gaping out a bit, her red hair is piled loosely on top of her head. She looks at the back of EVE’s head and gestures with her arms…
You were there – you were right there – with the sugar bowl and the ‘lil milk jug? And then, well…, you just… whoosh!
EVE is hunched over the sink. She’s (part pretending) to wash her hands. She keeps washing and she keeps rinsing. She avoids making eye contact with MARGE. With eyes transfixed on the grotty plughole…
I’m fine. Really.
EVE’s eyes dart up from the plughole momentarily to look to MARGE in the mirror.
Bad day, huh? Oh, you’ll see… You’ll see soon enough. I just know it, hun. Everyone has to start somewhere. You’ve a whole life yet. You’ll spend just a teeny tiny moment of it doing…this!
MARGE gestures at EVE. EVE can’t tell whether ‘this!’ means crying in the bathroom or working as an office clerk.
Bigger and better – onward and upward. That’s the spirit, hun!
Whole life? Whole life?! Marge, I am thirtyfive. In five years? I will be 40. 40, Marge! I will be 40. And I will be here. Hoovering, probably. I mean, vacuuming, sorry. Vacuuming. I’ll be fucking vacuuming.
EVE pauses. Thinks. Wishes she was smoking a cigarette.
(aside) Maybe I should start a cleaning blog…
EVE stares at herself in the mirror. She takes a moment to ponder what was initially intended as a throwaway, smart arsed remark. A cleaning blog. Maybe not such a stupid idea…
Confessions of a Cleaner? Underachievers Are Us…? Baby You Were Born To Run – open bracket (EVE makes bracket gesture with her arm) Errands – close bracket (EVE makes a bracket gesture with her other arm).
She’s lost MARGE.
35? Well, I’ll be… What’s your secret?
EVE (Still thinking about her silly blog idea and continuing her list of possible titles)
Life Begins At 40…?
EVE snaps out of her blog thoughts.
Ugly Betty. She was young. That doe-eyed girl from The Devil Wears Prada? She was young… I have at least ten years on both those people.
EVE talks to MARGE via her reflection in the mirror. She grips on to the sides of the sink – grips on tight, swaying backwards and forwards ever so slightly.
You don’t have to be nice to me, Marge. You don’t even know me.
EVE’s eyes are puffy and her face is blotchy. She feels uneasy that someone she’s not known long is most likely making all sorts of judgements about her based on this crying in the bathroom stuff.
Marge, I don’t do this sort of stuff. This…crying in the bathroom stuff. Really. I’m not that girl.
MARGE tilts her head to one side, sympathetically.
My friends? They wouldn’t recognise me.
EVE points to her temporarily deformed puffed up face.
You don’t need to be embarrassed, hun. We’ve all done it, had those days… Better out than in.
Marge, I don’t have trapped wind.
A little smile appears across one side of EVE’s face. MARGE thinks EVE’s funny. EVE thinks MARGE is too. EVE dries her hands on her skirt, rubs away a few clumps of dislodged eye liner and pats her hairdo down. She (finally) spins round to look at MARGE in the face.
EVE takes a deep breath in.
Right, Ms. Marjory. Enough. Is. Enough.
EVE opens the bathroom door. She stands up unnaturally straight and takes one highly exaggerated, comedy, straight-legged step outside into the corridor.
That’s it, hun. Put on a happy face… And a funny walk… Whatever. Show ‘em what you’ve got.
INT. OFFICE BUILDING CORRIDOR. DAY 1.
EVE does her funny walk down the corridor. Stops at the office door, turns the handle, flares her nostrils and thrusts the door open with a melodramatic toss of her hair.
> > >
So this story goes on for another 21 pages. In the end, Eve suffers some kind of breakdown. The breakdown plays out in a comedy fashion, I suppose. But it’s really not funny. This is my first attempt at writing a script. It’s messy and it’s mixed up and naive and stupid and a bit shit. Some things about it are just plain wrong. I have so much work to do. But I love it.
P.S I just quit my job.