Subconsciously – Chapter 1
Chapter 1 – Progression
(Lee Cohn is sprinting down a busy downtown Chicago sidewalk, coffee spilling out of the cup in one hand, her sister Shae speaking out of the phone in her other hand, flats slapping against concrete…)
LEE: It’s meat, bread, toppings. A hot dog is so a sandwich!
SHAE: Lee, you’re an idiot. Why are you breathing so hard?
LEE: Late for work. Nellie’s gonna kill me.
SHAE: What product are you shilling to the masses now?
LEE: I’m sort of between accounts right now. I’m trying to convince Nellie to put me on this new e-cigarette energy supplement thing; because it would mean a raise and a trip to London to try and get a soccer team sponsorship.
SHAE: Ugh, I’ve always wanted to go to London. Those accents. The men, the women, I don’t know who I’d wanna make out with first.
(Lee’s round doeful eyes dart up the street as she cuts across an intersection, ignoring the neon red hand telling her to stop. Blue lights flash behind her and Lee buckles over in heaving breaths as a squad car pulls up next to her…)
LEE: Shae, I gotta go. I have to get out of a jaywalking ticket.
SHAE: Lee, you’re an id–
(Lee hangs up, spills some coffee at her feet and tosses the cup as the officer steps out of his car…)
OFFICER: We in a hurry this morning, young lady?
LEE: Officer, I realize I ran through that red light and all and I know this is hard to believe; but I’m pregnant and my water just broke.
(Lee points at the spilled coffee puddle between her shoes and the officer frowns…)
OFFICER: Looks brown.
LEE: Officer, have you ever seen a woman’s water break? It’s always brown!
OFFICER: Oh, okay. But…you don’t look very pregnant.
LEE: Thank you, officer. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get to the hospital.
OFFICER: Well I can give you a ride, ma’am.
LEE: Oh no, that’s–
OFFICER: No, please. I insist.
(The officer gently helps Lee into his squad car and she lets out a resigned sigh…)
(Lee is on the phone with her boss Nellie Turano from a wheelchair at Chicago Presbyterian Hospital as the officer and nurses rush her inside…)
NELLIE: I have to get a call from the hospital that my employee is in labor? You don’t even tell me you’re pregnant? Well, I guess I can cancel the London trip.
LEE: No! I’ll get an abortion!
NELLIE: You will do no such thing, Lee Cohn. This child will change your life and fill your heart with new-found joy.
LEE: You hate your kids.
NELLIE: Well, yeah. They’re teenagers now. Teens suck. But babies! Oh, babies.
DOCTOR: (checking his notes outside the maternity ward) She doesn’t look pregnant.
OFFICER: She told me she does CrossFit.
LEE: Please don’t cancel the London trip, boss. I can sell e-Pocalypse energy e-cigarettes. We can get a football team sponsorship. This is the big break my career needs!
DOCTOR: You can’t travel in your condition, Ms., uh– (checks chart)
NELLIE: (hollers through receiver) Her name’s Cohn! Christ, do I have to come down there.
LEE: (slams wheelchair armrests, whining) I wanna go to London!
(Lee Cohn is in a hospital bed while Nellie Turano furiously clicks away on her Blackberry…)
NELLIE: What’s the word, Doc?
DOCTOR: Well, this is awkward. Ms. Cohn isn’t pregnant.
(Nellie turns to Lee fidgeting with her hospital bracelet and Lee holds her hands up defensively…)
LEE: I can explain.
(Nellie, the doctor and the police officer are all yelling at Lee, as she holds her hands over her ears and contorts her face trying to force out an insincere tear…)
NELLIE: You faked a pregnancy to get out of a jaywalking ticket?
DOCTOR: I have actual patients to take care of.
OFFICER: I was just gonna let you off with a warning.
(Lee pouts and bats her eyes at her boss…)
LEE: Now that I’m not pregnant, can I go to London and handle the e-Pocalypse account?
NELLIE: (world-weary sigh) If it will mean getting you out of my face for a few months, then fine.
(Lee leaps out of bed, her hospital gown fluttering up as the doctor and officer avert their eyes, and embraces Nellie…)
LEE: Thank you, thank you, thank you!
NELLIE: But no more lying.
LEE: I promise.
DOCTOR: Here’s your medical bill.
OFFICER: And here’s your jaywalking ticket.
(Lee’s eyes bulge as she reads the amounts and she looks up sheepishly at Nellie…)
LEE: Good thing I’m getting that raise.
NELLIE: (exiting the hospital room) Ha!
Send all hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org