Story and teleplay by Roger Freed
INTERIOR Mike’s Room 5 AM
Camera looks down on Mike sleeping in bed. He is enraptured in a dream. The camera shows his fantasy of skiing through snow bedecked forests on a sunny, crisp day. We hear a disembodied voice over.
(SLIGHTLY DROLL) Michael Ernst, manager of the Hostel Orleans, 812 Richelin
Ave, New Orleans is wallowing in a dream, a dream of wintery fineness born of
the lands of the far north where he was born and lived out his childhood. We
could keep on peeping in on his private dreamworld and bore you to the point of
changing the channel, but we don’t want to do that. So, now, it is time for Mike to
Wake up and check in with reality, a reality he doesn’t especially like, but one that
THE DOORBELL SCREAMS. MIKE SITS STRAIGHT UP IN BED. HE GRABS THE CLOCK, THROWS IT TO ONE SITE GROGGILY. HE RUSHES INTO HIS PANTS AND T SHIRT AND RUNS DOWN STAIRS.
EXTERIOR- MIKE OPENS THE DOOR AND THERE ARE A SMILING PAIR OF 20-ISH GIRLS OUTSIDE.
(AUSTRALIAN ACCENT) Hi! We wanted to check in!
(Groggily and incredulous at the same time) Can you read English!
Of course we can! We’re Australian!
(flustered, but making his sarcasm subtle) I won’t hold that against you.
THE GIRLS LOOK AT EACH OTHER IN MILD CONFUSION
(HE TAPS THE SIGN NEXT TO THE DOOR. IT STATES “CHECK IN IS FROM 8 AM TO NOON AND 5 PM TO 9 PM. THE GIRLS READ IT, THEN LOOK AT EACH OTHER, THEN BACK AT HIM)
(LOOKS AT HER WATCH) Isn’t it 8 AM now?
That is LA time…….
(ACTING COY) Couldn’t you let us in early?
(HE REACHES INTO THE OFFICE, GRABS A CARD AND HANDS IT TO THEM) Calcutta Hostel downtown. They are happy to let anyone and everyone in day or night who have cash to make up for the ones they scared away the night before. I am sure they’ll be happy to see you! Goodnight… (HE STARTS TO CLOSE THE DOOR)
But……..but …….it is wet out!
Welcome to New Orleans! The rain washes the booze smell away! It is God’s way of reminding us that He is still around and loves us! It downtown is too far away, feel free to crash here on the porch and catch some sleep WHILE I GO IN AND CATCH UP ON MINE THAT I’M MISSING OUT ON! (HE GOES IN AND SLAMS THE DOOR SHUT)
THE GIRLS LOOK AT EACH OTHER AND RING THE BELL AGAIN. MIKE’S HAND REACHES OUT AND RIPS THE DOORBELL OFF ITS MOUNTING. HE GOES UPSTAIRS AND NOSEDIVES INTO BED.
INT. MIKE’S BEDROOM 7:30 AM
THE ALARM GOES OFF WAKING MIKE UP. HE SIDEARMS IT.
INT. HOSTEL OFFICE 7:45 AM
KWANTZY, THE SOUTH AFRICAN BLACK ASSISTANT MANAGER IS ALREADY BRIGHT EYED AND BUSHY TAILED AT WORK.
Good morning sir!
No, it isn’t! And you don’t have to call me Sir!
What time is it?
10 minutes until opening!
Oh, man! Let me rest up until then! (HE LEANS HIS HEAD AGAINST THE DOOR AND SNOOZES. THE CLOCK SHOWS 8 AM AND PEOPLE START RAPPING ON THE DOOR. MIKE HOLDS HIS HEAD FROM THE PAINFUL REVERBERATION FROM THE KNOCKING. HE OPENS THE DOOR AND SEES A SEA OF FACES EAGER TO CHECK IN. HE QUICKLY CLOSES IT AGAIN.) I am not ready for this! (HE TAKES A DEEP BREATH) Kwantzy, give me a bit of Zulu wisdom to handle this!
(HE PONDERS A MOMENT) Midday break is only four hours away!
(HE GLANCES AT HIM WITH MIXED EMOTIONS, THEN TURNS BACK TO FACE THE HORDES) That’s not good enough, but it will have to do.(HE THROWS OPEN THE DOOR. THE PEOPLE PILE IN. THEY ARE OF ALL NATIONALITIES, CULTURES AND PERSONALITIES. THEY TEND TO BE YOUNG, ROUGH CLOTHED WITH BACKPACKS AND BOOTS AND REEK OF INDIVIDUALISM AND ADVENTURE AND LATER IN THE EVENING OF BOOZE TOO. THEIR GEAR RUNS THE GAMUT FROM CASTOFF POLISH BACKPACKS TO EXPENSIVE NORTH FACE JACKETS.)
Good day and welcome to the Hostel Orleans. I am the manager Micheal and this is my trusty sidekick Kwantzy. (KWANTZY GIVES HIM A QUESTIONING SIDE GLANCE) er… I mean assistant…I need to start out by reading you our rules….(MANY IN THE CROWD START TO MOAN) First off..
Can’t we just go on and forget this and get on with getting a bed? I just hitchhiked from Nevada and haven’t slept well in two days!
Just lean against the German guy in the corner and take a snooze. It will be over before you know it.
THE NEW ZEALANDER AND THE GERMAN LOOK AT EACH OTHER PERPLEXED.
OK, here is the story- bunk rooms are strictly male or female. Guys, you cannot go into the women’s dorm unless you are wearing a wig and panties!
Like you wear under yours? (MUCH LAUGHTER)
(HE IGNORES THE COMMENT) Moving on (EMPHATIC) NO alcohol in the hostel! (MANY GROANS) I know this is New Orleans and everyone able to reach up to a counter drinks, but not here.
We’ll all dry up and blow away!
(HALF UNDER HIS BREATH) I wish……..I need to inform you that if you got to booze around, then do it in the bars and the gutters like everyone else in this town. And a word on drugs NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! That’s simple enough English that everyone should understand….
What about breathing? Is that forbidden too? Also, I speak Flemish!
No, but I can arrange a pillow pressed down on your face in the middle of the night if you like. Also, please use the hostel linen and not your own sleeping gear.
Why is that?
To avoid bedbugs and lice.
I am not afraid of them.
No, I suppose you would bite them back.
There is a community kitchen on the right side of the house. Please remember to clean up after yourselves. Also, please don’t cook with curry. I have an allergy to it.
(THE GROUPS ALL MUMBLE AMONGST THEMSELVES TO REMEMBER TO BUY CURRY AT THE STORE)
OK, everyone please sign in. (THEY MASS IN) Wait a minute! WAit a minute! One at a time! And sho me your hostel cards! People start shoving cards at him. (HE TAKES ONE) OK, you’re in room 4, bed 3B…OK (TAKES ANOTHER) You’re in the girl’s dormitory downstairs, room 2 bed 2A. (TAKES ANOTHER CARD) What is this?
MIDDLE EASTERN TEENAGER
It is my hostel card.
It looks like it is made out of weeds!
MIDDLE EASTERN TEENAGER
It is! We don’t have any trees in my country.
(LOOKS SKEPTICAL, BUT ACCEPTS IT) Room 3, bed 5A.
Can you take Euros?
I just can’t give you anything back for them.
(THE FRENCHMAN LOOKS AT HIM ASTOUNDED)
(HE REACHES OUT, PULLS HIS HAND BACK AND THERE IS A TOILET PAPER ROLL IN IT. HE LOOKS OVER AND SEE THAT IT IS THE CUBAN CLEANER, COCO, HANDING IT TO HIM.)
Ohh, yo will get usted mas!
(SMILES) Gracias! (SHE LEAVES).
OK, next! (HE TAKES A CARD AND LOOKS AT IT) What country is this?
It is from Uzbekistan.
Is this written in Russian? Do you speak Russian there?
They don’t give us much choice.
Oh,……well…….That must be a difficult language to learn.
Yes, I have practiced it my whole life.
(MIKE LOOKS AT HIM BEFUDDLED, THEN GOES BACK TO THE CARDS.)
Second Act will follow as soon as I get it retyped.
Yes, this is a threat………