(The opening pages)
We begin in an all-night McDonald’s. ESTELLE and WARREN at separate tables.
FOUR NARRATORS appear
Our story takes place on a summer night in Chicago, between 10 PM and dawn. If you’ve ever been in Chicago on a summer night, you know what its like.
Especially when a full moon makes a sidewalk of silver on the lake, when a cool breeze takes the sting out of the air, and when a sky filled with stars makes you feel like you’re falling up into them.
On nights like this, the ordinary rules of the universe often disappear and odd things happen.
Warren Spencer is having this kind of night, although he doesn’t know it yet. He’s come to the McDonald’s on Clark near Fullerton because — well, you’ll find out why later.
There’s a woman at a nearby table. Watch out for her. She may not be what she seems.
(LIGHTS SHIFT to focus on scene. WARREN stares at his burger. ESTELLE watches him. Then,)
Hey. Mister. You, with the Cubs hat.
(HE notices her)
What do you think happens after we die?
You read the bible, you hear the preachers, you see movies with Brad Pitt and people like that, but I wonder if anybody really KNOWS, do you know what I mean?
It’s not like anybody ever came BACK, is it? Sure, people think they hear voices – there’s this woman I read about, she swore up and down that Beethoven was sending her symphonies. He kept singing in her ear. “Write this, write that —
(To the tune of the opening of the 5th?)
blah blah blah,blah,” – but he never said anything about what it was like. Me, I would’ve said, “Ludvig, enough with the music already, tell me is God really a man or maybe like a dog or something.” What do you think?
... Do I know you?
I’m Estelle Singerman. Now you do. So if you were a cocker spaniel, wouldn’t God to you be a bigger cocker spaniel? But then, if you allow that, you think maybe cockroaches have a god too? And how do they pray to it?
... You know, I’m not really --, I’d just as soon be alone here,
Yeah, sure. But could I ask a favor anyhow?
All those fries, they plug up your pipes like cement. Especially a big serving like that, they’ll kill you.
Bad cholesterol; it’s slow poison.
There are worse ways to go, I’m sure.
(SHE comes over to his table with her orange juice and sits.)
So are you gonna finish them all yourself or you mind if I had a small handful?