LIVING WITH THE LIES


A FILM

by

DANIEL REGION


When I was a kid I remember hearing adults say, `Did ya hear about so and so, he went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came back, just disappeared.' Nobody does that anymore.
~ Archer Campbell

IN BLACK - THE SOUND OF CONVERSATION AND LAUGHTER IS HEARD.

FADE IN:

INT. LARGE CITY APARTMENT - NIGHT

The BLUE T.V. screen light is the primary illumination. The laughter is that of the T.V. laugh track. We move along a wall, past assorted photos and momentos, in search of the inhabitants. Among them we see a framed newspaper ad for Classic Rock Radio Station WCFS. It is a series of nine still photos of a Disc Jockey Archer Campbell "On the Air". Printed at the bottom is the following. "If Paul Newman had a radio show, he'd take lessons from Archer Campbell." Next to it is a plaque inscribed, "Billboard Magazine 1989 Disc Jockey of the Year - Archer Campbell". Next, is a framed "Certificate of Excellence", from the Casting Society of America, awarded to Helen Campbell. Below that is a photo of Helen Campbell, behind her desk, receiving the certificate and congradulations from two handsome men. Prominently displayed on her desk is a "No Smoking" sign. Lastly, we pass a lovely wedding photo. We pan and find the wedding photo's principal players. They are watching a television Sit-Com. They are ARCHER and HELEN CAMPBELL. They do not sit together nor do they speak. We study them until their discomfort, displeasure and contempt at being in the same room with each other has crept under our skin. It is the feeling of being stuck in an overcrowded elevator on a humid July afternoon. Outside, it is raining. The TV program pauses for a commercial. Archer gets up and leaves the room.

ARCHER
I'm going out for a pack of cigarettes.

Helen does not respond or even seem to notice.

INT. APARTMENT HALLWAY - NIGHT

Archer removes a trench coat from the hall closet. Just as he puts it on the phone rings. He pauses to listen as Helen answers.

HELEN (O/S)
Hello. Hi. Yeah, he's here.

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT - ON ARCHER

Archer quietly goes to the bedroom extension and listens.

HELEN (V/O)
I don't know if I can get out.

MAN (V/O)
I really want to see you tonight, Helen.

HELEN (V/O)
I want to see you too. I'll think up some
excuse. Give me the number where you are. I'll
call you back in a few minutes.

Archer quietly returns the receiver to it's cradle. He goes to the dresser, removes his wedding band and puts it on the dresser. There is a photo in an old frame on the dresser. It is a photo of a ten year old boy standing next to a man in his sixties. The man wears a sombrero. He picks up the frame and pockets it. He opens a drawer, reaches his hand under the contents toward the rear of the drawer and comes up with a revolver. He closes the drawer and walks toward the living room.

EXT. ARCHERS APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT

Archer leaves the apartment building. And walks down the street. The rain has stopped for the moment. We see him from the POV of the interior of a car parked at the curb.

INT. CORNER DRUGSTORE - NIGHT

Archer enters. There are a few people shopping, two people at the counter drinking coffee and a girl at the register. Archer goes to the register. In the background the pay phone rings and one of the men drinking coffee hurries to answers it. He wears a rain coat and a hat. Archer doesn't notice. Archer buys four packs of cigarettes and a pack of Beemans gum. The counter girl smiles at him.

GIRL
Hi Archer, you on tonight?

ARCHER
No. Took the night off.

GIRL
Aww, that's too bad.

ARCHER
I'll be on tape.

GIRL
Oh, good. I get lonely when you're not on.

ARCHER
Thanks.


He pays, takes a book of matches and leaves. The man on the phone watches Archer leave.


EXT. CORNER DRUGSTORE - NIGHT

Archer exiting the store.


EXT. SIDEWALK - NIGHT

Archers feet walking. He stops and reaches into his pocket pulling out keys.


EXT. STREET - NIGHT ON KEYS

A key is inserted in a lock and turned. The trunk pops open.

EXT. STREET - NIGHT ON TRUNK

There is a suitcase in the trunk. Archer removes the revolver and photo from his pockets, puts them in the suitcase and closes the trunk.

INT. CAR - NIGHT

Archers hand inserts the key in the ignition.

EXT. ARCHERS CAR - NIGHT - ON EXHAUST PIPE

The car starts and pulls away.

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Archers car passes. The car is seen from the same INTERIOR CAR POV as before. After the car has passed, we pan away from the street to the apartment building.

INT. ARCHERS CAR - NIGHT

A pack of cigarettes is being tamped on the car dashboard.

INT. ARCHERS CAR - NIGHT

Archer opens the cigarettes and lights one. He uses matches not the car lighter. Archer checks his watch. It is 10:00pm. He turns on the radio. A song begins. It is Bob Dylan's Most of The Time. Archers voice is heard over the record intro.

ARCHER (V/O)
Howdy and good evening. This is Archer Campbell takin' the
night off and coming to you tonight through the magic of recording
tape, so no calls please. Ya know I don't even know what her
lips felt like on mine, most of the time. Here's Dylan.

The vocal begins as the song comes to full and continues to play.


EXT. ARCHERS CAR - NIGHT

Various shots with the city as a backdrop as Archer leaves town.


INT. ARCHERS CAR - NIGHT

Deep in thought, Archers cigarette has burned low. He opens the ashtray.


INT. ARCHERS CAR - NIGHT - ON ASHTRAY

The ashtray is empty. Archer snuffs out the cigarette.

INT. RADIO STATION - NIGHT - FLASHBACK

Archer is behind the mike. He wears earphones and is talking over the musical opening of a record.

ARCHER
It is the End of The Innocence,
baby. Don Henley gonna do ya.

He gives a hand signal to his engineer. The studio ON AIR light goes off and the sound of the record blasts from the monitor. He removes his earphones. A large RED LIGHT mounted next to a RED PHONE begins to FLASH. He turns down the monitor pot, causing the volume of the song to decrease considerably, and answers the red phone.

ARCHER
Studio. Archer Campbell.

HELEN (V/O)
It's me and I just had this great idea. Why don't you play a song for me.

ARCHER
What do you want to hear, Helen?

HELEN (V/O)
Marvin Gaye's, Let's Get It On would be appropriate. Guess.

ARCHER
Guess?

INT. HELEN CAMPBELL'S BEDROOM - NIGHT - FLASHBACK

Helen is in bed with someone, making love. She has the phone receiver at her ear.

HELEN
Guess who I'm in bed with, husband dear?

INT. RADIO STATION - NIGHT - FLASHBACK

Archer slams the receiver down. Grabs a couple tapes lying on the counter and throws them across the room.

INT. ARCHERS CAR - NIGHT - ASHTRAY DISSOLVE

The ashtray dissolves to the same ashtray now full. The music segues to: The Temptations, I Wish It Would Rain.


INT. ARCHERS CAR - NIGHT - ON ARCHER

He is getting tired. He rubs his eyes. IT IS RAINING AGAIN. He mumbles something to himself. He does this often, an old unconscious habit picked up after years of talking to himself in radio studios. The lights of a ROADSIDE DINER appear ahead. Archer pulls into the diner parking lot.


EXT. DINER AND PARKING LOT - NIGHT

Archer gets out of the car and approaches the diner.


INT. DINER - NIGHT

Archer enters and sits at the counter. He notices the clock on the wall behind the counter.


INT. DINER - NIGHT - ON CLOCK

The clock reads 10:57 pm. After a moment the minute hand starts to move forward until it reads 11:34 pm.


INT. DINER - NIGHT

Archer sits at the counter. He is just finishing the last bite of a piece of blueberry pie. He lights a cigarette, looks at the check and puts a tip on the counter. He sips the last of his coffee, goes to the register and pays the check. He helps himself to a couple mints from a dish sitting on the counter, and a book of matches from an adjacent basket and leaves.

EXT. DINER ENTRANCE - NIGHT

Archer exits the diner. He gets into his car and pulls away.

INT. ARCHERS CAR - NIGHT

Archer is now driving on a lonely country road. The rain has stopped, but the blacktop is still wet. He is tuning the radio. We see this and the road ahead. He is having some difficulty finding something he likes. Finally he settles on a station. Suddenly something appears in the headlights. Something is lying on the pavement. Archer swerves and misses it.

ARCHER
Shit! What the hell was that?

He continues down the road about a half mile, then pulls over. He thinks a moment. He looks in the rear view mirror and mumbles something to himself.


EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - NIGHT

Archer turns the car around and heads back.


EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - NIGHT

The cars headlights approach. The car stops with the headlights pointed in such a way that the body will be visible. But there is no body, it is gone. All that remains is a spot on the pavement shining under the headlights. He turns the ignition off.


EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - NIGHT - ANOTHER ANGLE

Archer gets out of the car and walks into the headlight's beam. It is very dark and very quiet. The only sounds are Archer's footsteps and the crickets. He goes to the spot and squats next to it. He touches it. It is blood, fresh blood. He surveys the scene and realizes that whatever was there had just been dragged off the road. He can see a path the body made in the tall grass as it had been dragged into a thickly wooded area maybe twenty yards away. There is a sound. The slight sound of leaves rustling then being silenced. Archer notices that the crickets have stopped chirping, that the only sound he hears is that of his heart pounding. He realizes suddenly that whatever dragged the body from the road must be watching him. He looks back at the car and is blinded by the lights. He stands slowly, feeling more alone than any time in his life, and backs cautiously toward the car.

INT. CAR - NIGHT

Archer gets in and turns the ignition. The engine turns slowly sounding as if it might not start. He stops.


ARCHER'S FACE as he looks around. His hand finds the headlight switch. He turns them off. It is very dark. Quickly he tries the ignition again. It grinds slowly at first then starts. He quickly turns on the headlights. In hurrying to do so he bumps the horn. It honks. This startles him and he jumps.

ARCHER
Shit!


He puts the car in gear and heads down the road in his original direction.


INT. CAR - NIGHT

Archer is driving fast now. He checks the rearview mirror, no one is following. He slows down. Then he realizes he's forgotten to check the back seat. He whirls to look. Nothing. Lights appear ahead. The lights of a small town.

EXT. MAIN STREET OF SMALL TOWN - NIGHT

The town is lifeless. The outstanding feature is a single bright neon sign exclaiming, VIC'S BAR. Archer pulls to the curb and turns off the engine. He is visibly shaken. He puts his hands over his face and leans forward against the steering wheel. After a moment he pops up realizing he has dozed off for several minutes. He shakes it off and gets out of the car.

INT. VIC'S BAR - NIGHT

Archer enters and surveys the bar. There are five or six locals sitting at the bar. There is a juke box and a half a dozen tables. He goes to the bar, pulls up a stool and lights a cigarette. After a moment the BARTENDER/OWNER wanders down to his end of the bar.

VIC
What'll it be?

ARCHER
Scotch. A double. Where's your bathroom?

VIC
In the back on the right.


Archer heads for the bathroom. There is a dark narrow hallway at the rear of the bar which leads to the back entrance. The rest rooms are located off this passageway. As Archer approaches, a woman in her early thirties leaves the ladies bathroom and appears from the darkness. She is very sexy in her simple RED DRESS. Returning to the bar, she and Archer pass in mid flight. There is something enigmatic, perhaps even suspicious in her presence. One of the locals is at the JUKE BOX. He punches some buttons.


INT. VIC'S - NIGHT - ON JUKE BOX

The chosen record is selected by the mechanical arm and put in position to play. The song plays. It is Hank Williams, "I'm So Lonesome I could Cry".


INT. VIC'S BAR - NIGHT - AT BAR

Archer returns to the bar, sits and takes a large drink. He removes a cigarette, taps it on the bar and puts it in his mouth. He grabs matches from the bar that read "Vic's Bar".

WOMAN
Mind if I bum a light?

The woman has leaned in next to him. He turns abruptly. Their eyes meet.

ARCHER
Not at all.

He lights her cigarette then his own. He watches her. She watches his hand.

WOMAN
Thanks.

ARCHER
You're welcome.


They each take a drink. He downs his. She drinks, pauses to look at him, then finishes hers.

ARCHER
Can I buy you a drink?

She studies him a moment.

WOMAN
Are you a nice guy?

ARCHER
Yes.

WOMAN
How do I know?

ARCHER
I've got kind eyes.

She smiles.

WOMAN
Yes, I guess you do. Okay, you can buy me a drink.

ARCHER
Can we get two more.


Vic comes and pours. Their eyes pretend to avoid, yet study each other. The scotch pours slowly from the bottle. When Vic has finished Archer holds up his glass to toast.

ARCHER
To...I don't know your name.

WOMAN
Angeline. Angeline Meyers. And you're?

ARCHER
Hayes. Richard Hayes.

ANGELINE
Pleased to meet you Mr. Hayes.

They clink glasses and drink, then we follow Angeline's glass as she sets it on the bar.

DISSOLVE TO:

CU of EMPTY GLASS. The neck of the scotch bottle appears and the liquor pours over the ice. It is liquid fog over rolling hills.

CUT TO:

ANGELINE'S MOUTH

She takes a drag off a shorter cigarette, exhales.

ANGELINE
Sometimes. When it's hot.


ARCHER'S EYES

He studies her, then smiles.

ARCHER
Yeah, me too.


EMPTY GLASS - ANOTHER ANGLE

The glass is being set on the bar.


DISSOLVE TO:

CU of EMPTY GLASS. The scotch bottle returns and fills the glass. The music segues to The Cowboy Junkies', "Where Are You Tonight."


ARCHER'S FINGERS gliding around the rim of his glass.

ARCHER (O/S)
Whenever I get the chance.


ANGELINE'S EYES

ANGELINE
Me too.


ARCHER'S CIGARETTES AND FINGERS

He slides a cigarette slowly out of the pack on the bar, without touching the pack.


ANGELINE'S MOUTH

She sips scotch and licks the drop of liquor that eases it's way down the side of her glass.


ARCHER'S EYES

ARCHER
You do that very well.


ANGELINE'S EYES

ANGELINE
Thank you.

TWO GLASSES BEING PLACED ON THE BAR

They are several inches apart.


DISSOLVE TO:

TWO GLASSES SIDE BY SIDE

The liquor bottle pours one, then glides over to the next.


ANGELINE AND ARCHER

They are sitting very close to one another. She laughs then picks up the glass and sips.

ANGELINE
That's funny, very funny. You're married aren't you.

ARCHER
Why do you say that?

ANGELINE
Because you are.

ARCHER
Was.

ANGELINE
What happened to her?

ARCHER
She's dead.

ANGELINE
Oh, sorry.

ARCHER
I'm just kidding. She's only dead in my mind.
I left her. How'd you know I'd been married?

ANGELINE
A woman can tell. Married men talk. They need to
talk to someone who'll listen. I have a friend who
only sees married men. She says, they're good
lovers because they need you, otherwise they'd be
home. I think she's right. Besides there's a little white
mark on your finger where you used to have
a wedding band. Pretty recent, huh?

ARCHER
Yeah. You see right through me, don't ya. You probably
know what color underwear I'm wearin'.

ANGELINE
I don't think you're wearing any. Are you a good lover?

ARCHER
Are you trying to seduce me?

ANGELINE
Didn't your mother tell you not to answer
a question with a question?

ARCHER
Yes. She did.

ANGELINE
So, are you?

ARCHER
When I need to be.


They look at each other a moment then, after her lead, move together into a kiss. It is a very gentle exploratory kiss. After the kiss she pulls back just far enough that their eyes will focus.

ANGELINE
I've been watching your hands. Sensitive
hands. A man who takes his time.

She kisses him again. This is a long kiss.


INT. VIC'S BAR - NIGHT - ANOTHER ANGLE OF THE KISS

The kiss as seen from the other end of the bar. Neither Vic nor the customers pay any attention.


Note: All material contained on this web site is ©Copyright Daniel Region 2003 and may not be used or reprinted in any form without the express permission of Mr. Region.

This site a creation of Blue Mesa Productions


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