“Ants” by Greg W. Lyons

FADE IN:

EXT. PARKING LOT – NIGHT

An empty parking lot with a lone streetlight that partially covers the area. Just beyond the parking lot is a jungle gym and a baseball diamond.The park is secluded.

At the edge of the park is a fence, and beyond the fence are the woods.

A car is parked just out of reach of the streetlight.

DUSTIN and RACHEL sit in the car.

DUSTIN: just turned 16 and has entered the world of cars and girls. He’s awkward, although attractive and boyishly charming.

RACHEL: Life has made her older than her years suggest, but she hopes playing the game will lead to something special and cure the emptiness within.

DUSTIN (O.S.)
I done that before.

INT. CAR – NIGHT

Dustin turns and faces her.

(Beat.)

He looks back out the front window. The jungle gym is visible.

DUSTIN
Like this one time, I had this soldier ant.

He pinches his fingers together and shows RACHEL, as if the ant was there right now.

He gestures to exaggerate.

DUSTIN
You know, those big black ants.

(Beat.)

He grabs the steering wheel at the ten and two position.

DUSTIN
And

His hands slide back and forth on the wheel.    

DUSTIN
And I wanted to see how she’d move without a leg.

Rachel’s bare legs protrude from her skirt. Her toenails are painted with rainbow glitter, and she’s wearing big wooden heels and an ankle bracelet.

Dustin continues to tell the story.

DUSTIN
So, I ripped off one and put her back down on the concrete.

He looks down at his own legs. He rubs his thighs.

DUSTIN
Did you know soldier ants are female?

(Beat.)

Rachel nods in agreement, her hair bouncing as well.

DUSTIN
Yeah. (Beat.) But she walked fine, like she knew she was missing a leg.

He shakes his head.

DUSTIN
Of course she knew, but like compensated for it. No surprise, no trouble, as if she was born that way.

Rachel twists toward Dustin, and she places her hands on the gearbox between them.

He twists toward her, but gets stuck on his seat belt, then unfastens it and continues.

DUSTIN
So, I wanted to see how she’d react with another leg gone.

He gestures with both hands, drawing a diagram of an ant’s anatomy.

DUSTIN
At first, I took this leg, opposite from the first one. They have six legs, did you know that?
(Beat.)
But it just evened things out, so then I removed them all from one side.

He gestures the plucking of each leg, pretending he is holding the ant.

DUSTIN
So when I put her back down…

Dustin moves his hand with the imaginary ant to her bare thigh.

DUSTIN Just circles.

He moves his finger in circles on her thigh.

Dustin stops. He places his whole hand on her thigh. They lock eyes.

(Beat.)

Dustin pulls back to his seat.

DUSTIN
So then I had the great idea to see what she would do if she had no legs at all.

He looks down at his own lap and hands, as if the ant was there again.

DUSTIN
But when I put her down again, she moved. She was moving with her pincers.

Dustin makes pincers with his fingers.

DUSTIN
She was biting the ground and pulling herself forward.

Dustin mimics the motion in slow motion to Rachel; there’s a long pause between words.

DUSTIN
So, I ripped off her head.

Rachel bursts into laughter. Her glasses nearly fall off her face.                                                    

Dustin retreats back into his seat.

DUSTIN
Why are you laughing?

This is the first time we see Rachel’s entire body.

RACHEL
‘Cause. Heh. The way you said it.

DUSTIN
The way I said it?

RACHEL
You said when the ant was moving its pincers.

She playfully motions toward Dustin with both hands like pincers trying to pinch him.

She energetically pretends to take Dustin’s head with the following words.

RACHEL
You just
(Beat.)
ripped off its head!

(Beat.)

DUSTIN
I don’t think it’s funny.

(Beat.)

Rachel looks out the passenger window.

RACHEL
The way you said it. “I ripped off its head ’cause it was still moving!”

Dustin grabs the keys that are dangling in the ignition.

DUSTIN
But that’s not why I did it.

Rachel tilts her head.

RACHEL
Why’d you do it then?

DUSTIN
‘Cause.                               

He looks outside the driver side window. He sees the jungle gym and the woods. Rachel sees him turned away, staring into the night.

(Beat.)

RACHEL
Well, it wasn’t funny. That’s true. But the way you said it was. (snickers)

Dustin presses his foot on the break and turns the key in the ignition.

Rachel slides over and puts a hand on his thigh.

EXT. PARKING LOT – NIGHT

The car’s brake lights are bright red.

Here is a parking lot of a secluded park. A fence delineates the park boundaries, and beyond the fence are woods.

One streetlight and a car with two red lights shine in this lot.

Then, the reverse lights turn on, two white lights. The car backs up. Then stops. Both red and white lights shine in the darkness.

The reverse lights go out; the brake lights go out; we look up to the sky.

No stars.

FADE OUT


Greg W. Lyons lives in Oakland with his wife, and he has publications in various electronic and print poetry journals, such as Concis, Northern Licking Review, Oberon and Diverse Voices Quarterly, among others. He also writes screenplays and shorts, which have been awarded at various film festivals, such as LaCineFest and MASSIFF. More information, including other creative and professional writing samples, can be found at his personal website.

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