Drink to Remember

* Adapted from a short story by the talented Jonathan Robb *

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

ANNIE (40, disheveled, dirty) enters her kitchen. It’s as flithy as she as except for one exception, surprisingly clean jars of all shapes and sizes line every surface. Behind her comes DREW (25, average looking, slightly chubby, glasses). Annie nods towards a chair as they enter the kitchen. Drew lifts a stack of old catalogues from it and sits, perched on the edge of the chair. Into the silence Annie turns on an old plastic kettle.

DREW
Oh, I’m fine. No coffee, thank you.

ANNIE
I wasn’t offering.

Annie sits in her chair and lights a cigarette studying the man with an intense gaze.

DREW
I’m Drew by the way.

ANNIE
Okay.

Beat.

DREW
(In a rush)
I met this guy at the pub. I mean, that’s why I’m here. I told him about…well, he said you had helped him. He couldn’t tell me with what, he seemed a bit confused by all that, but he said you did away with something that had been troubling him. Is that right? Is that what you do?

Annie shrugs.

ANNIE
I take memories, if that’s what you’re getting at. Do you have a memory for me?

DREW
I have something I’d rather not remember, yes. Something, I’m done with.

Drew rubs his eyes under his glasses.

DREW (CONT’D)
So do you hypnotise me? I’ve heard of that. Or hit me over the head, something like that?

ANNIE
Something like that.

DREW
How much will it cost then?

ANNIE
You don’t need to give me any money. I do it for the fun. Now, tell me about her.

DREW
I didn’t say there was a girl.

ANNIE
Oh, shut up. There’s always a girl. Now start talking.

DREW
What do you need to know?

ANNIE
What do you want to forget?

DREW
Everything.

ANNIE
Then tell me everything.

Drew lets out a long sigh

DREW
Her name’s Beth. Bethany, but…Beth. Anyway. We dated for two years. She is…I loved her. I mean really loved her. I’d never really before. Not really.

A little smile crosses his face.

DREW (CONT’D)
I remember the first time I realised I loved her. She was wearing a Big Bird costume. Stupid, really, but she looked incredible.

Annie grunts and nods at the right points throughout his story. The kettle roars and then switches off with a click.

Drew keeps up his narrative as Annie stands and looks around at her jars, considering each one. She reaches up and pulls down a larger pickle jar from one of her shelves and studies it.

With a nod she grabs the kettle and half fills the jar with the boiling water. She cleans the jar then places it onto the table, pushing some other jars out of the way in the process to make space. Drew looks up at her and she waves her hand for him to continue.

DREW (CONT’D)
I was fine, I mean, I was happy enough, but she started getting real distant. Little things, like sitting apart from me on the couch. She didn’t have any energy, was always too tired to go to the movies or see friends. And I tried to make it better. I tried. I cooked her meals, brought her gifts, but the more love I heaped on her the more she pulled away.

Drew gives a bitter laugh.

DREW (CONT’D)
She said later that I was drowning her in affection. Like it was a bad thing. Then one day she said it was over. Apparently she had stopped loving me. She said it wasn’t me, wasn’t anything I had done. She had just stopped loving me. Off, like switching off a switch. I can’t think of anything worse she could have said. If it was something I’d said or done or hadn’t done, well, I could work on that. But it was just me. Who I am. She didn’t love me.

Annie drags her chair over in front of Drew and sits to face him. She gives him a quick, fake consoling smile as he looks at her.

DREW (CONT’D)
Two years of my life, of our life, and now it’s done and I can’t deal with it. She’s gone but I keep reaching for her. Waiting for her to walk through the door and smile at me. It’s like someone’s scooped a chunk out of me and I have to keep going, pretending I don’t notice, that I’m okay.

ANNIE
I know the feeling.

Drew slumps back in his chair, face vacant, lost in memories. Annie watches him. She starts to whisper low and melodious words as she slides the large jar from the table onto her lap. The words pick up pace.

Drew sucks in a big sigh and shudders, lost.

Annie cuts off her words and punches Drew in the sternum, hard. Drew folds over. He looks up at Annie, pale and confused, with a string of thick drool hanging from his mouth. Annie sticks the jar under his chin and catches the drool in it just as it falls. She looks at the worm of drool sitting in the bottom of the jar with temptation. Rainbows flash across the drool.

ANNIE (CONT’D)
It’s okay, boy, don’t hold it back. Let it out.

Drew’s face spasms in pain.

ANNIE (CONT’D)
You don’t want her anymore. Let it out.

Drew curls over holding his abdomen, neck taunt and face red. A burst of the clear, shimmery liquid gushes from his mouth into the jar. He spasms over and over as he vomits out the thick fluid.

After a few moments he is done. Annie’s eyes are fixed on the jar and its contents.

ANNIE (CONT’D)
There you go. Better isn’t it? Don’t you feel better having gotten rid of that pain?

Drew raises his head, tears running from his red eyes.

DREW
Where am I?

Annie pushes the now full jar on to the table with delicate care.

ANNIE
You’re at Annie’s. But you’re done. It’s time for you to go.

DREW
Done what?

ANNIE
Forgotten.

Annie shepherds Drew up and out of the kitchen. Rainbows continue to flash through the large jars contents.

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