The Toy Train
A story that symbolizes so many things; the feeling of being trapped, of being a controlled minority. Of not being treated fair and being misunderstood. Of loss and learning. Of dark times. Of realistic endings; nothing in life is fair. There will always be a dark past or a haunting that will linger on one’s shoulder. But it is the ability to continue on that makes the difference. That ability could open your world to something new. Even when that ability is hard to find, it is always worth it.
Have two different scene playing at once. One of a LITTLE GIRL playing with a toy train set, her MOTHER standing above her, wearing all black, talking (we only see them mouthing words) to the STORE MANAGER. The girl has a short blonder bob, with a blue ribbon in her hair. She is wearing a blue gingham pattern dress, and shiny shoes.
The other of a toy sitting on one of the train sitting pews. The toy has a soldier’s hat and uniform.
BRIGHTER LIGHTING ON: scene of the little girl playing with the toy train.
LITTLE GIRL Mother? Can I get this?
MOTHER Don’t interrupt me, child. I’m talking.
LITTLE GIRL But—
MOTHER No buts.
LIGHTING DIMS AND FADES TO OTHER SCENE: scene of the toy solider.
The SOLDIER stands, wobblily. Mildly confused.
He fumbles over.
The SOLDIER mouths more curses, as the lighting fades back to the little girl and the toy train.
LITTLE GIRL Mother, can I put it on the track?
MOTHER I’m talking.
LITTLE GIRL Mother?
MOTHER Ask me later.
The LITTLE GIRL puts the train on a nearby track set. It is one in a continuous circle, a few extra pieces attached to it to create a more lively piece. She presses a button and the train begins.
SWAP to the scene with the SOLDIER.
The SOLDIER is rubbing his head (from a headache) when the train begins to move. The SOLDIER wobbles again, as he moves to a nearby window, one hand against the glass, another on a seat beside them.
SWAP back to the scene of the LITTLE GIRL.
Her face lightens as the train begins the accelerate, and race around, again and again and again.
LITTLE GIRL Mother! Mother, look!
MOTHER Not. Now. Girl.
The LITTLE GIRL’S face saddens, but re-focuses on the train still circling the train. She takes a closer look at the train. Peering into the train. Her eyes widened, and lighten.
LITTLE GIRL Hello little Soldier. How do you do? Do you like your little train?
SWAP scenes again. We now see the SOLDIER trying to sit down on the train pew, when he gets frightened by the booming of the LITTLE GIRL’S voice. Her eyes are seen through the train window. Their chest is heaving; a panic attack.
The train rounds a corner and the SOLDIER falls over again. He hits his head and remain unconscious.
SWAP scenes again. The MOTHER is finishing up her conversation, and the LITTLE GIRL’S attention remains fixated on the train, trying to capture as much in as she can; trying to see the SOLDIER again. The MOTHER catches her on the LITTLE GIRL with her head almost touching the train as it drives past.
MOTHER Girl! Get up!
LITTLE GIRL (Not moving)
MOTHER I told you no buts. And I will not have that dress be ruined.
LITTLE GIRL Yes Mother.
She gets up, hurriedly and a little upset.
LITTLE GIRL Mother?
LITTLE GIRL May I have this train and it’s set track?
MOTHER Why on Earth would you want that? And straighten your back – no man will love a woman who slouches.
LITTLE GIRL (Straightening her back)
May I please have this train and it’s set track?
Though the MOTHER heavily disagrees with the LITTLE GIRL, she unwillingly gives in.
MOTHER Fine. But don’t come complaining to me in thirty when you aren’t married, live in a box and work in a club full of rapists and cruel businessmen.
The LITTLE GIRL begins to bounce in excitement, barely listening to her MOTHER, as she stands, finds and drags the STORE MANAGER – who is very overwhelmed; they never wanted to work with kids.
So, we’re getting that one.
She points at the train and it’s track. Her wallet in her hand, and fumbling money, we can see the STORE MANAGER’S eyes light up at the sight of cash or credit. They begin to nod vigorously.
MANAGER (Practically drooling)
Yeah, yeah. Sure…
LITTLE GIRL Thank you Mother! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
SWAP scenes. The soldier begins to wake. Shaking his head, trying to configure whats going on. Wait… he just needs to adjust his soldier’s hat – sight is necessary. He wobbles as he stands.
SOLDIER Whoa. Whoa. Holy…
He wobbles and falls again. We hear the girl’s interpretation of the noises a train would produce. The SOLDIER is confused, and still wobbly.
SOLDIER … Shit.
He looks around. The windows change scenery constantly – a mix of blurred green, blue and browns. The LITTLE GIRL’S voice gets hazy, and is mixed with her MOTHER’S blurred shouting. When the shouting dies down, the SCENES SWAP.
We see the LITTLE GIRL, in her room. Cluttered with a bed, a closet, and various toys on the ground. Mainly the ones her mother bought her; dolls, uncompleted sewing kits and fake food. Pushing them aside, the LITTLE GIRL puts her new train track on the ground in front of her.
LITTLE GIRL Look little Soldier. Your new home.
She lifts the train up, trying to show the SOLDIER her room. And, act as if the train was still on it’s tracks.
LITTLE GIRL I hope you love it!
We hear the MOTHER storming towards the LITTLE GIRL’S room.
MOTHER (O.S) Bath time. And stop playing with that retched train.
LITTLE GIRL But, mother! I can’t let the train stop. The people won’t get home if the train stops.
MOTHER (O.S) Go to the bath. Now.
SWAP scenes. The SOLDIER is still confused. The train noises the LITTLE GIRL is making is barely audible. And then suddenly, the SOLDIER is being thrown across the train and fumbles over and over again. He grunts by the force moving him about.
SWAP scenes. The girl is sitting in a bubble bath. Playing with her train. Her MOTHER sits on a stool beside her, her sleeves rolled up, past her elbows, and sponge in her hand. Her MOTHER isn’t impressed the LITTLE GIRL is still playing with her train.
MOTHER Stop playing with that piece of plastic, girl!
LITTLE GIRL But, mother! A train never stops. Not until it takes the people home. It has to get to the next station to get them home.
MOTHER No man will love a woman who plays with little trains in the bath.
LITTLE GIRL Then when I am older I won’t need a man, cause I will make trains. The big ones that hold could hold the whole town!
MOTHER Stop thinking such madness. Your father wouldn’t approve.
LITTLE GIRL But—
MOTHER I. Said. No. Buts.
The MOTHER grabs her daughter’s train in anger, not caring at the LITTLE GIRL’S cries or begging to give it back. The MOTHER’S face is stone-cold.
I think the train has reached it’s destination.
The MOTHER plunges the train in the bath, holding it there for a while – trying to make a point. The LITTLE GIRL is in such shock, she is still. Tears falling down her cheeks, hopelessness and hurt painting her face.
MOTHER (Angrily whispering)
If it hadn’t reached the destination before, it has now, girl.
The MOTHER storms away, leaving the train under water and dropping the sponge in the bath. After a few seconds, the LITTLE GIRL bursts into tears. As she intensely sobs, she searches for her train. When she finally finds it, her crying settles
LITTLE GIRL Oh, Mr Soldier! I’m so sorry. I—
She flips the train about, looking for the SOLDIER. Horror flicks her face, as she hasn’t seen him.
LITTLE GIRL (Weakly)
She begins to panic, flipping the train quickly, barely looking. Her voice begins to crack
LITTLE GIRL No… NO!
She brings the train close to her chest, hugging it.
LITTLE GIRL (Whispers)
She pulls her head under the water, still holding the train tight.
SWAP scenes. But this time, it’s not the SOLDIER’S scene. It’s the MOTHER, cooking in the kitchen, a dining table close by that is already set for two. She places the food on the table next to her. After she’s all organised, she stands. And waits a short moment. A confused and worried expression settles on her face.
MOTHER (Under her breath)
That girl should’ve finished her bath.
Mildly annoyed, the MOTHER walks across the stage, transiting from one scene to the other – both alight now. And we see the top of the LITTLE GIRL’S head – she had drowned herself. Her MOTHER, in utter shock and pain, staggers towards her dead daughter.
MOTHER No… Please…
The beginning of a sob sounds, as the MOTHER falls to the ground, her hand braced against the bath.
MOTHER (Through tears)
No, no, no… Please… No…
The curtains close; the end.