Fiction logo

SOUVENIR MAN

by Brendan McGlynn about a year ago in Script
Report Story

Short Script Doomsday Diary

THE SOUVENIR MAN

EXT. MOJAVE DESERT - EVENING

The SOUVENIR MAN (Late 50’s, but his face looks to have weathered another decade) walks.

Dressed in a stovepipe hat and a long patchwork coat with overflowing pockets. Each of his steps rattles with beads and bones.

Following dutifully behind is SANCHO, the Mule. Bulging saddlebags and overstuffed packs weigh the animal down. A tattered banner strapped to his side reads, “THE SOUVENIR MAN. WHAT ONCE WAS CAN BE YOURS.”

The Souvenir Man peers over his shoulder at the horizon.

EXT. MOJAVE DESERT HORIZON - CONTINUOUS

A silhouette stumbles against the terminator between scorched land and iridescent sky. The figure follows the Souvenir Man’s trail.

SOUVENIR MAN "Soon, Sancho. Time to drop food? I remember bitter apples. I’d be half-starved by now. "

The Souvenir Man rummages in a saddlebag dropping into the dust at his feet a few half-rotten apples and a canteen.

SOUVENIR MAN (CONT’D) "Don’t worry, Sancho. These apples won’t waste. I’ll find them. Always do. Now, get on. Get! I want to be ready when I get to New Reno."

EXT. NEW RENO - NIGHT

A City made of nylon tents, leather lean-tos, cardboard boxes, and dugouts in the earth acting as shelters in name only.

An AUDIENCE of refugee families crowds the Souvenir Man. Scattered like jewels across blankets are displayed various questionable junk and knickKnacks.

SOUVENIR MAN "That’s right, my fellow Americans! Our shared past for sale! Those hopes, dreams, wants, desires, lost in the great apocalypse of spirit. You wake every morning struggling for food, water, shelter, clothing, the basic necessities of life! But are you living! Why eat? Why drink? Why live if your life isn’t alive with dreams, desire, hope? Keepsakes, mementos, souvenirs, these are the things that spark life into the world once lost. Hold your memories close to your heart, don’t end living in your thoughts, instead share them with your children, so they can know that the world you left for them can be better. And even if you haven’t the memory, if you haven't been there, or done this or that thing, hark! The souvenir will hold that place in your heart as a wish to be true. I wish that you can go there, do this, and be that person again. You can have wants again! You can have desires again! Hope! Everything here before you is solid gold hope! Give yourself a sake to keep! Take this, this, this scrap of paper. "

The Souvenir Man plucks a crumpled plane ticket off the blanket and holds it up to the firelight.

SOUVENIR MAN (CONT’D) "A slip torn from someone’s life, saved all these years. A boarding pass for flight 641 US Air out of LAX, Los Angeles, California-I-A to Honolulu, Hawaii! Imagine flying on a giant metal bird over clean green waters to those Honolulu girls in their Honolulu skirts and Honolulu lays. A dream, you say? A fantasy? A voyage you never took, never had the chance to take, never even thought about the possibility of, not until today, this night, right now as I just put it in front you! Showing you this little scrap of paper sets your mind free to imagine what once was, or what could be! In your mind, the girls are dancing, the pork is cooking, the torches juggling, what’s that? A ukelele being tuned? Right now, your mind’s own eye sees it clearer than the memory of your face in a mirror! Holding this ticket, your imagination has solid tangible evidence of the dream’s existence, even if its existence is beyond your reach! Keep the hope of going there alive! And, for a small price, each time you pull this from your pocket, you can relive that dream of the Honolulu bodies swaying in the Honolulu breeze as if you had gone there yourself."

The Souvenir Man bends and plucks car keys from the blanket.

SOUVENIR MAN (CONT’D) "Car keys! Car keys that unlock a Ford Mustang! A muscled motorized juggernaut of freedom! Holding these keys, you can almost hear the ROAR of the engine, the call of the open road, miles traveled in moments! These keys unlock the memory of America itself! Escape! Escape the dread of your life, and truly live the life of your dreams! That’s the power of souvenirs!"

VOICE (O.S.) "What about a real escape to the past?"

Choking down the last of an apple, MINARD, 30 years old but a hard life etched another ten years on this man who could be an identical but much younger twin to the Souvenir Man. He pushes through the crowd and tosses an empty canteen at the Souvenir Man’s feet.

MINARD "Not just in your head! But real. Real! I’ve come a long way, Souvenir Man. "

SOUVENIR MAN "Yes, I know."

MINARD "I’ve come to leave. I, I need. I must get back. I, I can’t live on memories. I can’t live now."

SOUVENIR MAN "You don’t need to go back, you want to go back. What you need is to accept the Now. You need to get that this is the way it is and learn to cherish your memories of what was. To truly live in this world, now, you must keep hope alive in your mind now, and live life better!"

MINARD "Don’t! Don’t! Don’t try to con me, man! Don’t sell me any of that shit! I know. You’ve been there. To the past. Admit it!"

SOUVENIR MAN "Yes, in a way. I have."

MINARD "No, no, not in a memory! You go there and come back! Whenever you want! That scrap of paper! Those keys! They’re new! Look at them, every one! When’s the last time any of you have seen a piece of paper this clean? This intact? "

Minard grabs a random item of the blanket and holds it up. Dangling from his fist, a heart-shaped locket gleams in the camp light.

MINARD "Look at this! Look!"

SOUVENIR MAN "Yes, look."

MINARD "And you’ve..."

SOUVENIR MAN "Look. Look at it. At the locket! Look!"

Minard looks at the locket dangling from his hand for the first time.

SOUVENIR MAN (O.S.) "Is it not familiar? Is not everything on this blanket familiar?

With a shaking hand Minard cups the locket, fumbles with it, then flips it open, inside is...

EXT. CLOSEUP LOCKET - (CONTINUIOUS)

...a picture of a HAWIAN WOMAN (30’s wistful happy look) stares up from the locket.

EXT. NEW RENO - (CONTINUOUS)

Minard pulls the exact same locket from under his shirt, dangling around his neck. He flips his open and compares them.

EXT. CLOSEUP LOCKET - (CONTINUOUS)

The two lockets are identical, the photos in them, identical.

EXT. NEW RENO - (CONTINUOUS)

Minard weeps as Souvenir Man begins to showcase his items.

SOUVENIR MAN "It’s your name on the boarding pass. Or should I say our name? That’s our poor belated wife, there. The car keys? We owned that mustang. Everything, everything here, are our souvenirs. Niagara Falls snow globe, Eiffel Tower, wristwatch, coffee mug, look, look here, the deed to our home! Look! Look. Scraps and bits of our life, our memories."

MINARD "Bastard."

SOUVENIR MAN "And this revolver, here, it’s the same one you’re about to draw."

MINARD "No. Stop."

Minard pulls out a revolver from his coat. It matches the one laying on the blanket along with the other knick-knacks. The AUDIENCE scatters at the sight of the gun.

SOUVENIR MAN "You don’t want to use that."

MINARD "What I want is the one souviner you don't put up for sale. I know. I heard the stories. I checked, followed, I saw what you found during your time in the desert! Give it to me."

SOUVENIR MAN "I know what you want. I’ve walked in our shoes. You want to leave this place, this time. I wanted that long ago. But you can’t, Minard. You have to accept this place. Find a way to remember the past, not re-live it. What I found out there is a curse, not a blessing. It's probibly what started it all, if you can find the start. You don’t want to do this."

MINARD "Don’t tell me what I want!

The gun goes off.

The Souvenir Man falls dead onto his souvenirs, scattering memories into the sand.

Sancho looks on without comment.

MINARD (CONT’D) "It’s mine! Now I can go back! Do you hear me, Souvenir Man? I can go back and see her again! Be with her again!"

Minard kneels and rummages through the Souvenir Man’s pockets while the audience gathers around the edges of the torchlight.

Minard finds what he’s looking for and staggers to his feet.

MINARD (CONT’D) "Halia, I’m coming back, Halia!"

In his hand, a small globe with a soft glow emanating from its center.

MINARD (CONT’D) "Goodbye, goodbye all you tired, you poor, you huddled masses! Halia! I’m coming back!"

With a crack of thunder and a flash of light, Minard is gone.

The Audience swarms the scene, snatching the scattered memories out from under the dead Souvenir Man.

: FADE TO WHITE

EXT. HONOLULU HAWAII - EVENING

A Honolulu breeze blows over a Honolulu beach as two walk hand and hand in the surf. HALIA (The woman from the Locket) and Minard, (now much younger, but still his face is weathered with age.) There are torches lining the beach, in the background, HOULA DANCERS entertain a busy hotel bar to the SOUND of a ukulele.

Halia stops and turns to look at Minard, shock on her face.

HALIA "Minard, your face, what’s happened?"

MINARD "I’ve come back."

MINARD holds up the orb in his hand.

THUNDER or a sound louder than thunder makes the couple turn to the horizon. Behind them, SCREAMING is heard as people evacuate the hotel bar.

EXT. HONOLULU HAWAII OCEAN HORIZON- CONTINUOUS

The calm waters of the Pacific Ocean are boiling like Acid, as the sky turns IRRODICENT.

Minard pulls Halia tight to him as another SOUND louder than THUNDER fills the night

: CUT TO WHITE

: FADE FROM WHITE

EXT. MOJAVE DESERT - EVENING

The Souviner Man walks. Each step he takes rattles with the sounds of beads and bones.

Following dutifully behind is a mule with saddlebags, bulging packs, and a tattered banner.

Once again, the Souvenir Man turns and looks to the Horizon.

EXT. MOJAVE DESERT HORIZON - CONTINUOUS

Something moves on the horizon. The figure of a man is following the same trail the Souvenir Man is walking.

EXT. MOJAVE DESERT - CONTINUOUS

SOUVENIR MAN "Damn me. Damn me, Sancho. Here I come again. Looking for the Souvenir Man. Looking for this."

The Souvenir Man pulls the glowing orb out of his pocket. ALIEN LETTERS embossed on its surface.

SOUVENIR MAN (CONT’D) "I should drop this along with the apples, no? I have some wisdom for you, little Mule. Hell is yourself. I’d be half-starved by now."

Souvenier Man drops some rotting apples and a canteen into the ashes at his feet and walks away

: FADE TO WHITE

Script

About the author

Brendan McGlynn

3-2-1, liftoff! Major Rick felt the g-force as his rocket lost control. Ricky tossed his plastic toy in the air and caught it just in time.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments

There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.