The Truth of Things

(based off of a joke I heard ten years ago.)

INT. OFFICE BUILDING – DAY
ROGER stands in front of a desk, waiting for ELAINE to answer.  He’s a well built man, good looking but not dashing, just a normal guy.

NARRATOR
Let’s say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine.

Elaine sits at her desk, looking at Roger, thinking.  She is an attractive woman, almost out of Roger’s league.

NARRATOR
He asks her out to a movie –

Elaine nods her head.

NARRATOR
– she accepts –

EXT. MOVIE THEATER
Roger and Elaine come out of the movie theater.  She is hanging on his arm and they are both laughing.

NARRATOR
– and they have a pretty good time.  A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves.

EXT. RESTAURANT – NIGHT
Roger and Elaine are sitting outside, eating at a table and enjoying each other.

NARRATOR
They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

INT. ROGER’S NIGHTSTAND – DAY
Along with his lamp, clock, phone and watch, a picture of Elaine is on top of his nightstand.

INT. ELAINE’S OFFICE DESK – DAY
Next to her computer and coffee cup, a picture of her and Roger smiling resides in a frame.

EXT. ROAD – NIGHT
Roger’s car zooms along the street as he takes Elaine home after an evening of fun.

INT. CAR – NIGHT
Roger and Elaine sit chatting.

NARRATOR
And then one evening while they’re driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine.

ELAINE
Do you realize that, as of tonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?

Roger doesn’t seem to react.

NARRATOR
And then there is silence in the car.  And to Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence.  She thinks –

ELAINE (V.O.)
I wonder if it bothers him that I said that.  Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship.  Maybe he thinks I’m trying to crush him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want or isn’t sure of.

NARRATOR
And Roger is thinking –

ROGER (V.O.)
Wow.  Six months.

ELAINE (V.O.)
But I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship either.  Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I had time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are.  And where are we going?  Are we heading towards marriage?  Towards children?!  To a lifetime together?  Am I ready for that level of commitment?  Do I even know this person?

ROGER (V.O.)
So, that means it was . . . let’s see . . . February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s, which means –

The odometer reads a high number.

ROGER (V.O.)
– Whoa!  I am way overdue for an oil change.

Roger is looks down a little, and then looks out the window a little perturbed.

ELAINE (V.O.)
He’s upset.  I can see it on his face.  Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment.  Maybe he’s sensed, even before I sensed it, that I had reservations.  That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything, he’s afraid of being rejected.

ROGER (V.O.)
I’m going to have them look at the transmission again.  I don’t care what they say, it’s still not shifting right.  And they can’t blame it on the cold weather.  What cold weather?  It’s 87 degrees and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

Roger looks irritated.

ELAINE (V.O.)
He’s angry.  I’d be angry too.  I feel so guilty putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel.  I’m just not sure.

ROGER (V.O.)
They’ll probably say it’s only a 90-day warranty . . . fuckwads.

Elaine looks out the window at the passing street.  The sidewalks are empty.

ELAINE (V.O.)
Maybe I’m just too idealistic waiting for the knight to come riding up on his white horse, when sitting right next to me –

Roger is looks very upset, and he stares straight out in front of him and not paying attention to anything.

ELAINE (V.O.)
– a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with and truly care about and who seems to truly care about me; A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, romantic school girl fantasy.

Elaine looks down.

ROGER (V.O.)
They want what? Warranty?  I’ll give them one.  I’ll take my warranty and shove straight up their –

ELAINE
Roger?

ROGER
(startled)
What?

ELAINE
Don’t torture yourself like this.  Maybe I should have never . . . Oh God.  I feel so –

Elaine starts to sob.  Roger looks at her concerned, but confused.

ROGER
What?

ELAINE
I’m such a fool.  I mean, I know there’s no knight.  I really know that.  It’s silly.  There’s no knight, no horse.

ROGER
(puzzled)  There’s no horse?

ELAINE
You think I’m a fool, don’t you?

NARRATOR
And Roger says –

ROGER
No!

NARRATOR
– glad to finally know what the conversation was about.

ELAINE
It’s just that . . . I need some time.

Roger stops at a stop sign.

NARRATOR
With the victory of his sure answer fading quickly, Roger thinks fast for a safe response.

ROGER
Yes.

ELAINE
Oh Roger, do you really feel that way?

ROGER
What way?

ELAINE
That way about time?

ROGER
Oh.  (a beat)  Yes.

NARRATOR
Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to be very nervous about what she might say next –

Elaine turns to face him, her eyes watery.

NARRATOR
– especially if it involves a horse.

ELAINE
Thank you Roger.

ROGER
Thank you.

Roger, relieved but confused, starts to drive again.

EXT. ELAINE’S HOUSE – NIGHT
Roger drives up in the drive way and let’s her out.  She walks around to his side of the car.  He rolls down the window, and she kisses him, long and sweetly.  Then she goes to her front door and goes in, as Roger drives away.

INT. ELAINE’S BEDROOM – NIGHT
Elaine takes off her coat and lays down her purse.  Then she falls on her bed, grabs her pillow, hugs it and starts to sob.

NARRATOR
Roger takes Elaine home and when he leaves, she lies on her bed, conflicted and shaken, she weeps till dawn.

INT. ROGER’S LIVING ROOM – NIGHT
Roger, dressed in his pajamas, sits on his couch with a bag of chips and turns on the TV.

NARRATOR
When Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he has never heard of before.

Roger stops paying attention to the game, and just stares off into space, thinking hard.

NARRATOR
A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it.

Roger shakes his head and devotes his attention back to the TV.

INT. ELAINE’S KITCHEN TABLE – DAY
Elaine is sitting, with a cup of tea in her hands.

NARRATOR
The next day Elaine calls her closest friend –

FRIEND 1 sits at the kitchen table, setting down some cheesecake.

NARRATOR
– or perhaps two of them –

FRIEND 2 sits down next to Friend 1, setting down a plate of pepperoni, sliced cheese and crackers.  The three women sit at the table, eating, drinking tea and talking.

NARRATOR
– and they will talk about this situation for hours.  In great detail they will analyze everything that was said, going over it time and time again; Exploring every word, expression and gesture for nuances, considering every possible ramification.  They will continue to discuss the subject – off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.

INT. RACQUETBALL COURT – DAY
Roger and NORM play a heated game of racquetball.  Before his next serve, Roger pauses and looks at Norm.

NARRATOR
Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine’s, will pause just before serving, frown, and say –

ROGER
Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?

NARRATOR
And that is the difference between men and women.

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