EXT. VARIOUS OUTDOOR LOCATIONS – DAY
We hear RACHEL’s (female, 24, former it-girl) voice over scenes from her young adult life. Rachel with friends, boyfriends, family, in her apartment, at graduation, etc.
I don’t mean to sound conceited, but I have a great life. I have a family that loves me and who I love. I have an education, a healthy social life, a sweet ass 12th floor apartment with a view. South-facing windows. I’m happy, and I have a lot to be happy about. Sometimes I’ll just be walking around, and from the way people look at me, I can tell that they envy me. I don’t blame them. I can’t change the fact that I’m conventionally attractive, and have great people skills, and graduated cum laude from Syracuse. I’m very lucky, and I know that. I’m grateful for it. And-
INT. THERAPY OFFICE – DAY
Rachel sits across from a THERAPIST (female, 60s, over Rachel’s shit but being professional about it) in a chic, smart-casual ensemble. She plays with the frill texture on the edge of her chair.
I’m happy. Most importantly… I’m happy.
Right. You mentioned.
Do you ever get people who just… don’t need therapy?
I would posit that everyone can benefit from therapy.
Sure. (beat.) Are you just saying that because I make you money?
Well, seeing as this is your…
The therapist takes a quick glance at her clipboard.
…fourth free consultation within our practice, we are actually losing money off of you. (beat.) So no.
INT. SUBWAY – DAY
Rachel sits on the subway, using her phone. She’s on LinkedIn, scrolling through jobs. She hits the one-click “easy-apply” for any and all listings with the option. Junior Analyst in Boulder, CO Apply. Client Services Representative in San Diego, CA? Apply. Marketing Intern in Jersey City, NJ? Her thumb hovers over the button. Rachel ignores the job rejections in her DMs. She clicks over and attempts to edit her profile: “Rachel Sooner – B.A. in Communications.”
SMASH CUT TO:
INT. OFFICE DEPOT – DAY – FLASHBACK
Rachel and her DAD (50s, very dad-like) shop for school supplies.
Communications is SO useful, what do you mean?
Rachel picks up pens and highlighters.
What are we doing right now?
Rachel’s Dad looks at her blankly. A beat. Rachel air-writes with the neon bright highlighter.
(a split second later)
INT. SUBWAY – DAY
Rachel tries to message a recruiter, but the feature is blocked because she doesn’t have a premium account. She clicks “Free Trial,” but a window pops up saying she’s exhausted her free trial.
Still using her phone, Rachel exits the subway car along with dozens of other passengers. Not paying attention, Rachel bumps into a MAN handing out singular roses to strangers.
Dude, what the fuck?
EXT. CITY STREETS – DAY
Rachel emerges from the subway exit. Her phone rings as she begins walking home.
(from the phone)
Yes, Mom. You called me.
Did you get my text?
No, I’m not on my phone all the time. Why’d you text me if you were just gonna call?
Your Aunt Diana’s store is hiring in Hoboken.
I don’t want to work for Aunt Diana in Hoboken.
You’re looking for a job, aren’t you? I sent you a job.
I’m interviewing right now.
Rachel. You need to get a job.
Mom, I’m working on it. I’m literally interviewing.
Rachel pauses in front of a Starbucks. Mom babbles incomprehensibly on the phone.
…Rachel? Do you understand?
She doesn’t need Starbucks. Rachel keeps walking.
INT. RACHEL’S APARTMENT – LIVING ROOM – DAY
Rachel enters and immediately tosses her bag and shoes to the side. Her apartment is stylish and modern, but unkept.
Things are different now. With me and your dad, and the Long Island house… Things are different. Money is different.
Rachel thumbs through the mail. Rent notice. Utility bill. Anthropologie Catalog. Amazon package. She puts it back.Problems for later. Rachel starts walking offscreen.
So this is very important, you know?
Rachel walks back onscreen and grabs the package.
INT. RACHEL’S BEDROOM – DAY
Rachel enters her similarly unkept bedroom and sheds her coat and her socks. She rips open the package. It’s a phone mount. She puts it back into the package.
And we love you and of course we support you-
-and will always support you in anyway that we can…
Rachel collapses onto her bed and hugs her battered purple gorilla stuffed animal.
But we can’t do everything, okay honey? It’s time to grow up. You’re not a child anymore.
Rachel leaps to her feet, sending the purple gorilla tumbling.
I KNOW! Obviously, I know.
INT. RACHEL’S BEDROOM – MID DAY
Rachel lies in bed, pants off, watching TikTok. She is hugging her purple gorilla and eating Twizzlers. After a moment, Rachel sits up, kind of dazed. She looks at the time, and then takes in the mess that is her room. She grabs her phone and begins texting.
INT. RACHEL’S APARTMENT – EVENING
BEAUTIFUL FRIENDS pour into the apartment. It’s loud — people are talking and laughing and music is playing. Rachel goes around hugging and greeting people.
(to another friend)
Hi! Help yourself.
Someone busts out the alcohol.
Rachel and her friends rip shots.
MATCH CUT TO:
INT. HIBACHI RESTAURANT – NIGHT
Rachel and her friends take Sake Bombs over dinner.
MATCH CUT TO:
INT. NIGHTCLUB – NIGHT
Rachel and her friends (fewer than before) take shots at the bar.
Rachel and her friends hit the dance floor.
Rachel and friends return to the dance floor with drinks in hand.
Rachel is dancing when a DUDE BRO (late 20s, suit and tie) approaches from behind. She starts grinding into him. After a while of dancing together, she turns to face him. A beat.
Rachel (dancing poorly) looks to her crew (dancing poorly)
(making eating gestures)
Is anybody else hungry?
INT. MCDONALD’S – NIGHT
Rachel and a friend gorge on fish filets and fries at a nearly-empty McDonald’s. Rachel gets Sweet n’ Sour sauce in her hair.
INT. MCDONALD’S RESTROOM – NIGHT
Rachel loads up on shitty foam soap and attempts to rinse the stick out of her hair. After giving it her best, Rachel catches her reflection in the mirror. Her waterproof eyeliner is hanging on by a thread. Rachel messes with her hair part.
INT. MCDONALD’S RESTROOM STALL – NIGHT
Rachel sits on the toilet, on LinkedIn on her phone. There are more DMs than before. She deletes rejection messages one by one. Rachel puts her phone down to wipe when it starts buzzing. Unknown caller, from… San Diego, CA? Wait a second-
INT. MCDONALD’S RESTROOM – NIGHT
Rachel excitedly emerges from the stall, on the phone. She tosses a wad of toilet paper in the trash.
(on the phone)
H- Oh- You answered! At this hour I thought I’d be leaving a voicemail.
Oh, well, you know! Haha.
(silently, to herself)
What?? Are you saying???
I am calling from Eon Solutions to follow up on an application we received… for our Client Services position?… Does that sound right?
Yes! Yes. That’s right.
Could you please confirm your email for me?
Yes! It’s email@example.com, that’s R-A-C-
Sorry, did you say your name was Rachel Sooner?
Ah, gosh. I’m so sorry- I’m looking for an R. Sours. I apologize about that. See- this is why we need an assistant!
Oh. It’s okay. Right. Haha.
Well, I am so sorry, truly, and thank you for the correction. You have a great night, okay? Buh-Bye.
Rachel lowers the phone from her ear. She spends an exasperated moment with her reflection. She looks worn.
INT. MCDONALD’S – NIGHT
Rachel emerges from the restroom. Her friend is passed out, face-down in fries and sauce.
INT. NIGHT CLUB – PAST MIDNIGHT
Rachel walks into the club on a mission.
Rachel orders two tequila shots. She downs them both.
Rachel tears up the dance floor. She tosses her jacket across the room.
Rachel is on stage with the DJ, belligerently trying to get some spins in.
Rachel talks to the Dude Bro.
(slurring over the music)
So what do you do anyway?
Rachel and Dude Bro sloppily make out.
EXT. RACHEL’S APARTMENT – SUNRISE
Rachel, still drunk, stumbles out of the cab.
(to the driver)
Yeah no, this is fine. Keep the change.
She shuts the car door and walk-of-shames it across the street to her apartment.
INT. RACHEL’S APARTMENT – SUNRISE
Rachel kicks off her shoes again, more quietly this time. She looks disheveled in her chic clothes.
INT. RACHEL’S BATHROOM – SUNRISE
Rachel wipes off her already-smeared makeup in the mirror. She keeps washing her hands but can’t manage to make them feel clean. When her makeup is all off, she stares at her reflection. She looks beautiful and tired and sad. Rachel looks down at herself and her wrinkled, sweaty clothes. She adjusts her boobs. Rachel reaches in her bra and pulls out a sticky, sweaty business card.
Minh Pham is a 22 year-old queer Vietnamese American and recent graduate of Virginia Tech. She is a professional consultant from Northern Virginia, who writes in the evenings after long days of toiling away in the corporate machine. Minh has a passion for comedy, and the stories she wishes she could have had when she was younger.
More of Minh’s Work in Mixed Mag:
“Make a Move” a SHORT screenplay (Issue 9)