ON THE ROAD TO MEMPHIS

by Patricia Keiller

Short Film
Email: [email protected]

ON THE ROAD TO MEMPHIS
BY
PATRICIA ULETILOVIC
FADE IN:-
EXT. A DESERTED ROAD ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF MEMPHIS NIGHT
It is late one evening on a lonely highway,just outside
Memphis.MATTHEW RILEY,an Englishman in his mid-thirties,
is driving back to his hotel in a hired car.It is raining
heavily,and visibility is extremely poor.Suddenly a YOUNG
MAN appears from the shadows,and stands right in front of
the on-coming car.MATTHEW swerves in order to avoid
hitting the YOUNG MAN.The car screeches to a halt,and
MATTHEW winds down his window.The young man approaches
the car.The street lighting on this stretch of road is so
poor that MATTHEW can only make out the YOUNG MAN'S
outline,his features cannot be seen.But from the YOUNG
MAN'S voice and demeanor,he would appear to be about
twenty five.MATTHEW winds down his window.The YOUNG MAN
bends down slightly to look in through the window.He is
still in shadow,and cannot be seen clearly.
MATTHEW
I..I'm sorry...I just didn't see
you!You came out of nowhere.
YOUNG MAN
It's okay mister,I'm fine.
MATTHEW
It's a dreadful night.Would you
like a lift into town?
YOUNG MAN
If you're heading into town,I
sure would appreciate a ride home.
MATTHEW opens the back door of the car.The YOUNG MAN
climbs into the back passenger seat.(On the front
passenger seat there is a brief case,a lap top
computer,and a bundle of papers).Once the YOUNG MAN has
climbed in,the car sets off.
YOUNG MAN
You ain't from these parts
are you?
MATTHEW
No,I'm English.I'm here on
business.
YOUNG MAN
I've always wanted to visit
England.
MATTHEW
Why don't you?
YOUNG MAN
Mostly,it's work commitments
that are preventing me from
going abroad much at the moment.
Maybe one day I'll get round to
going.(PAUSES)Say,did you say
you were here on business?
MATTHEW
Yes,that's right.I haven't had
much time for sightseeing,although
I have been to Gracelands.Actually
I'm not a big Elvis fan.I think
it's something my wife,Brenda
would have enjoyed more.She
couldn't come on this trip with me.
My boss was willing to pay for my
expenses,but not for the wife and
children,and we couldn't afford
to finance the trip ourselves.
So Brenda's at home with the kids.
YOUNG MAN
It's a shame your wife and kids
couldn't come with you.
MATTHEW
Yeah,I really miss not having
them with me.What's made it worse
is that we had a massive row the
day before I left for the States,
and when I speak to Brenda now on
the phone there's this distance
between us,a sort of awkwardness.
(PAUSES)I'm sorry,I don't usually
go telling perfect strangers about
my personal life.
YOUNG MAN
Hey,it's okay.I ain't gonna tell
anybody your personal business.
Anyhow I reckon,keeping things
inside of you like a volcano
that's about to explode ain't good
for you.I had a hell of a lot of
arguements with my wife when we were
together.
MATTHEW
You were married?
YOUNG MAN
Yes,I was,but you seem kind of
surprised.Don't I look the type,or
something?
MATTHEW
Actually,I'm guessing your age
from the sound of your voice.And
from the sound of your voice,
you sound young.
YOUNG MAN
Too young to have loved,and
lost,you mean?
MATTHEW
Something like that.But you
know the street lighting is
virtually non-existant at the
moment and I'm having trouble
seeing you,or anything else
properly right now.This torrential
rain must have sent down some
power cables,I suppose.
YOUNG MAN
I'm not as young as I sound.
MATTHEW
What was your wife like?
YOUNG MAN
She was,and still is,the
prettiest girl you ever saw.
And she wasn't just pretty,she
had something else...class,I
suppose you would call it.
MATTHEW
It sounds to me like you're
still in love with her.
YOUNG MAN
I'll always love her.
MATTHEW
Perhaps there's still hope
that you might get back
together,if that's how you
feel about her.
YOUNG MAN
No,I've lost her forever..
forever(SIGHS AND PAUSES).
What is your wife,Brenda,like?
MATTHEW
She's not what most people
would call beautiful I suppose,
Although she's beautiful to me.
Brenda's my best friend.I value
what she thinks,Brenda possesses
a sort of inner wisdom.She's very
rarely wrong about things.I trust
her judgement.I wouldn't know
what to do without her.
YOUNG MAN
I envy your close relationship.
MATTHEW
We did have a close relationship
once,but just lately,I've felt
as if it's all slipping away.It's
a combination of things really.
We both have stressful jobs.
Mine involves very long hours.
When I get home from work the
last thing I feel like doing is
talking.Even when we do find
time to be together,we're
concentrating so much on the
children and their needs,that we
find we have very little time,
or energy left over for ourselves.
YOUNG MAN
Well,I still think it doesn't sound
too serious to me.Nothing that
can't be fixed anyway.You just
need to work on your relationship
a bit more.
MATTHEW
That's easier said than done.
YOUNG MAN
I know it ain't easy,but you've
got to show her that you care,
that you're not taking her for
granted,that you haven't forgotten
about her needs and wishes.In
your heart she's still special
and beautiful,but you've got
to show her that your love for
her isn't dead.
MATTHEW
But what about Brenda?She's
just as guilty as I am of
letting things slide away,of
not talking,or showing her
feelings.
YOUNG MAN
That maybe so,but you've got
to take hold of the situation
before the thing that makes
your relationship unique and
precious dies.(PAUSES)I should
know.I loved my wife,and yet
she ended up leaving me.If I'm
honest,I can't say I blame her
for going.I didn't spend enough
time with her.Even when we were
together there always seemed to
be other people around.I didn't
pay enough attention to her,I
didn't show her that I cared.
MATTHEW
You sound full of regret.
YOUNG MAN
I have a lot of regrets in my
life.That's just one of them.
(PAUSES)You can let me out here.
The car has driven up to a huge white building with
ornate gates.It is GRACELANDS.MATTHEW looks up at the
building surprised.
MATTHEW
But this is Gracelands!I
thought you said to give you
a lift home.
YOUNG MAN
This is my home.
The light from the building now illuminates the figure of
the YOUNG MAN stepping out of the car.As he turns to face
MATTHEW,his face can be seen clearly for the first
time.The YOUNG MAN is ELVIS aged about twenty-fiveish.
ELVIS(YOUNG MAN)
(SMILING AND WAVING TO MATTHEW)
Good bye Matthew.You take care,
do you hear me!
As he says this, ELVIS begins to fade away.MATTHEW is
left staring in shock at the empty space where ELVIS once
stood.Fade out to the music of Are you lonesome tonight?'
FADE OUT:-

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