Coward is copyrighted by the author and is not to be used or modified without permission. All rights reserved.
INT. ROOM – FRAMED PICTURE - DAYLIGHT
The wedding picture of John and Mary fills the screen. They look happy, except for the sadness in John's eyes. In the background, we faintly hear the wedding music. A male hand reaches out and lightly touches the face of his wife. At that instant, the Mary in the picture morphs into Jane and John's face changes in response. He now positively radiates joy and his eyes sparkle with love.
Jane looks everything the vision she was; she is. I walk by her and our eyes lock, exchanging reciprocating, easy smiles as natural as breathing. Well, I did see her naked and you know what they say about public speaking and confidence.
Then I crush her. I tear my eyes away and rip the smile from my lips. I walk away from my true love and her bloody, broken body. Few years of happiness, one fatal car wreck, followed by lifetime of soul crushing, unending agony - no thanks. I am a coward.
I know not far past her is Mary, sitting on the bench. I square my shoulders and walk towards the rest of my life. I tell myself over and over not to look back. I know Jane will see us talking and it will hurt her. I can't think of that now; I have to do what is right for me.
And there she is: my future wife Mary. Not close to Jane but she does come with a lifetime no-pain warranty, together “till death do us part” and I get to go first. I will not be alone again. What a bargain! I will take it.
I walk up to Mary and she looks at me, measuring me, no doubt mentally sorting thru her rolodex of witty, well-rehearsed “I am not interested” lines. I hit her with one she can't resist: the simple truth. I tell her, amiably
Hi, I'm John and I'm a coward.
Mary laughs, thinking it a pickup line. Must be the right one to her; the one she was waiting for all her life. And me? I come with it, the extra percent advertised on the outside of a box, promising 25% more product or some such nonsense. Buy my pickup line and get me for free! Don't wait, supplies are very limited!
Once sold, she does not need to know the truth. As for me: I don't need to think about the other. I can be happy with her, I tell myself. And in time I will come to believe it. Better a happy coward than a heartbroken hero.
The picture changes back to its original state and the hand is withdrawn. We fade to black.
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