Street Song

Screen black.
Sounds of traffic.
Fade in to city street at night.
Cut to traffic lamp turning green to red.
Cut to other shots of the city at night.
Cut to a MERMAID, lying in the middle of a street in a desolate neighborhood. The only light coming from streetlamps.
The MERMAID’S body twitches and spasms. Her breathing is intensely labored.
Close-up on her face before we cut to a shot that includes a MAN, early twenties, in the frame. He is squatting next to her.
MAN
Do you want me to hold your hand?
MERMAID
Yes.
MAN holds her hand.
MAN
I’m so sorry. I wish there was something I could do.
MERMAID
I know.
MAN
There’s got to be something I can do.
(bolts upright)
Somebody, help! Help!
MERMAID
Please, stop screaming. I don’t want the last thing I hear before I die is you screaming.
MAN
I’m sorry, I just . . . I don’t want you to go.
MERMAID
I know you don’t.
MAN
This is so fucked up. I don’t even know why you came here. Why did you have to come here?
MERMAID
I wanted to see you.
MAN
But why?
MERMAID
Would you please just sit down and hold my hand? We don’t have much time left.
MAN sits down, holds her hand.
(Silence)
MERMAID
You know what looks so beautiful right now?
MAN
What?
MERMAID
That telephone wire, behind you, way way up there.
MAN turns to look at the telephone wire.
MAN
I don’t get it.
MERMAID
What?
MAN
What’s so beautiful about it?
MERMAID
It looks like a perfect line that’s running through the night. Like some line that goes from one end of night to the other.
MAN looks again.
MAN
You shouldn’t talk so much. Save your breath.
MERMAID
There’s nothing to save. I’m going. That’s how it is. That’s what’s going to happen.
MAN
Don’t say that.
MERMAID
But it’s true.
MAN
Will I . . . do you think I’ll ever see you again?
MERMAID
I don’t think they let humans into mermaid heaven.
MERMAID smiles.
MAN
I . . . I feel like I should be doing something.
MERMAID
You are doing something. You’re staying with me, and holding my hand.
MAN
But I can save you!
MERMAID
How?
MAN
I can . . . I’ll carry you to the sea.
MERMAID
There is no sea.
MAN
There isn’t?
MERMAID
Not anymore.
(beat)
The sea is a dream. Remember?
MAN
I . . . no.
(repeating softly)
The sea is a dream.
(beat)
Why did you come here?
MERMAID
Love. I came for love.
MAN
And now you’re dying.
MERMAID
And now I’m dying.
MAN
I’m sorry.
MERMAID
It’s not your fault.
(Silence)
MAN
You’re so stupid.
(hand smoothing her cheek)
I love you. I don’t want you to go.
MERMAID
Such a little boy, always.
MERMAID’S breathing grows even more labored.
MERMAID
Would you do something for me?
MAN
Of course, anything.
MERMAID
Sing me a song.
MAN
A song?
MERMAID
Sing me a song, yes. Please.
MAN
What do you want me to sing?
MERMAID
Surprise me.
MAN
(singing)
I’d like to be . . . under the sea . . . in an Octopus’s Garden . . .  in the shade.
MERMAID
(wheezing laugh)
You’re a sadistic bastard.
MAN
(smiling)
I know, I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it. Okay.
(singing)
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are gray, you’ll never know dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.
Camera slowly zooms out and away from the MAN and MERMAID who we see, together, in the street.
As the camera continues to zoom out, we see the street as an isolated, darkened strip surrounded by a teeming, bustling, electric, lighted city at night.
Screen fades to black.
Sounds of traffic segueing into closing classical piece.

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About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of two novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale and Raking the Dust, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at johnbiscello.blogspot.com. Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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