Green River

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INT. DAY — Aboard the passenger train California Zephyr en route. Conductor approaches Cathal, also known as Charley, who offers up his ticket. Conductor punches, places in overhead clip.


Conductor: Green River? You want off at Green River?

Cathal (who clearly has an Irish accent): Well, yah, I do.

Conductor: You sure you want off at Green River, Utah?

Cathal: Well, yah, I do.

Conductor: Nobody ever gets off at Green River. There’s nothing there.

Cathal: Well, whyizzat?

Conductor: Water tank for old steam engines is why it’s even on the map of the line. You know someone in Green River?

Cathal: Nope

Conductor: Forty years working this route, can’t say as I remember anybody request gettin’ off at Green River.

Cathal: I had to pick a stop on my Amtrak International Rail ticket. Green River sounded good.

Conductor: Yah, I know it ain’t like Eurail where you can get on and off as you please. But here, you want me to make a minor adjustment. Let you off in Salt Lake?

Cathal: No, it’s okay. It’ll do. I’ll be the first. I like small towns. I’ll find a hotel before the sun goes down.




Conductor: Walk perpendicular to the tracks, not parallel. You oughta run into something if you go that way.


EX. DAY — EVENING. — Cathal on train platform which is abandoned. Boarded up doors and windows, no one working, no cars in the parking lot. Cathal sees the highway, in the distance a gas station. Resigning himself he hefts his back pack and, with a book in one hand — we read the title: “At Swim-Two-Birds” by Flann O’Brien — sets out for the distant destination.


EX. EVENING — Gas station is next to a single story clapboard building with a sign: Ray’s Place — Bar/Eats


INT. DIMLY LIT — Five rough hewn men in various stages of drinking are in heated conversation shouting at one another from different places in the room: Two are at the bar, two are at a pool table, one is coming out of the restroom yelling.


Restroom Guy: Aw shuddup you Clod. This state ain’t gonna Californicate and legalize smoking dope fer fun. No way. Never happen.

Bar Guy One: Nope. Not on your life.

Bar Guy Two (lowers beer bottle to speak): Well, hell no.


INT. DIMLY LIT — Cathal enters as Restroom Guy goes behind bar. He is the Bar Tender and turns alertly toward the newcomer.


Bar Tender: Can I do you for?

Pool Player One stops mid-shot to stand upright and stare.

Cathal (bewildered): Well, er, I uh, were looking for directions to a motel and maybe get something to eat.

Pool Player Two: Yer not from round here, are yuh?

Cathal (affably): Good guess.

Pool Player One: Australia?

Cathal walks toward Player One with outstretched hand, they shake: Cathal.

Pool Player One: Richard. Dick. (Quizzically) Kawl?

Cathal: Ca-hal. Spelt C-A-T-H-A-L. Ireland. Laois. (Approaches Pool Player Two, shakes) Cathal.

Pool Player Two: I cain’t say that. How ’bout I call you Charley?

Cathal: That’s good. Right by me. Charley it is.

Bar Tender: Charley want a drink?

Cathal: Sign said eat. Got a menu?

Bar Tender (produces sheet of paper): Burgers and hot dogs. Take yer pick.

Cathal (approaches, pulls back a barstool, sits): Sounds great! (Peruses menu for a few seconds) Cheeseburger it is, then. And a pint of Guinness, if you please.

Bar Tender: Sorry sonny. Nothing foreign and nothing on tap, only bottled beer here.

Bar Tender sweeps an arm past a varied row of domestic beer on display. Cathal picks one. Cheeseburger, bottle of beer is served. No glass for the beer. Pool game resumes, guys at other end of bar talking, but in more subdued tones. Bar Tender remains nearby.

Cathal (between bites): There a hotel or bed ’n’ breakfast nearby I might try?

Bar Tender: Sorry sonny. None of that sort of place around here. Best we can offer is a night at the twenty-eight spot.

Cathal: Twenty-eight spot?

Bar Tender: Motel. That’s the nightly rate, twenty-eight dollars. The Spot is what it’s called on account of it’s the one spot on the road you can stop between here and Crescent Junction. Locals call it the No Tell Motel. You want I can call Mayleen see if they have a room for you.

Cathal: Yah. I’d like that if you would. Thanks.

Pool Player Two: Hey Charley. You shoot pool?

Cathal (walks over to the table): Bookets. Pockets big as bookets.

Pool Player Two: I’m tired of beatin’ Huck over there, how about you and me shoot a game?

They have time for one quick game in which Cathal first must hear the rules.

Pool Player Two: We play bar rules. Call shots, not pockets. No fouls except if you drop the cue ball and then you shoot from the kitchen, behind the head string. Call all shots unless it’s obvious. Eight ball has to go clean, not off another ball. If I sink a ball on the break, I keep it.

Cathal: No ball in hand?

Pool Player Two: Naw, no fouls. Drop the cue, shoot from behind the line. Got it?

Cathal: Got it.

All watch as Player Two breaks. As the game progresses, all are impressed as Cathal demonstrates Irish proficiency on the table. He wins.

A huge man in Levis, cowboy boots, brown leather coat with leather arm fringe a foot long, wearing a black Stetson on his head and a wide black handlebar moustache occupies the doorway for several seconds until the game is done.

Moses: You the feller needs a place to stay the night?

Cathal: Yah, at’s me.

Moses: Grab yer things yer coming with me.


INT. NIGHT — Motel guest registration. Woman behind the counter. A child of eight or nine stands beside her. Woman slides Cathal’s credit card.


Mayleen: Checkout’s eleven ayem unless you’re staying more than one night. How many nights?

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