Saturday, November 20

American Beauty


Angela, once again fully clothed, sits at the kitchen counter. She's eating a turkey sandwich.

ANGELA: Wow. I was starving.

Lester puts a jar of mayonnaise back in the refrigerator.

LESTER: Do you want me to make you another one?

ANGELA: No, no, no. I'm fine.

He turns to her and cocks an eyebrow.

LESTER: (concerned) You sure?

ANGELA: I mean, I'm still a little weirded out, but ... (sincerely) ... I feel better. Thanks.

A long beat, as Lester studies her. Then:

LESTER: How's Jane?

ANGELA: What do you mean?

LESTER: I mean, how's her life? Is she happy? Is she miserable? I'd really like to know, and she'd die before she'd ever tell me about it.

Angela shifts uncomfortably.

ANGELA: She's ... she's really happy. She thinks she's in love.

Angela rolls her eyes at how silly this notion is.

LESTER: (quietly) Good for her.

An awkward beat.

ANGELA: How are you?

LESTER: (smiles, taken aback) God, it's been a long time since anybody asked me that. (thinks about it) I'm great.

They just sit there, smiling at each other, then:

ANGELA: (suddenly) I've gotta go to the bathroom.

She crosses off. Lester watches her go, then stands there wondering why he should suddenly feel so content.

LESTER: (laughs) I'm great.

Something at the edge of the counter catches his eye, and he reaches for ...

CLOSE on a framed PHOTOGRAPH as he picks it up: It's the photo we saw earlier of him, Carolyn and Jane, taken several years ago at an amusement park. It's startling how happy they look.

Lester crosses to the kitchen table, where he sits and studies the photo. He suddenly seems older, more mature ... and then he smiles: the deep satisfied smile of a man who just now understands the punch line of a joke he heard long ago ...

LESTER: Man oh man ... (softly) Man oh man oh man ...

-- Alan Ball