“Boxcar” by David-Matthew Barnes

A screenplay for a short film

Adapted from the one-act play

BOXCAR

EXT. AN ABANDONED TRAIN YARD; A SMALL AMERICAN TOWN – NIGHT

The night is providing a false sense of calm.

The hour is late.

Beyond a quiet, remote gas station is a cemetery for trains.

Stillness blankets the train yard. Empty, rusted rail cars litter the space, discarded and long forgotten.

Beyond the perimeter of a broken chain-link fence, the landscape is sparse and the horizon is endless. In the distance, a faint glow and flicker of lights indicates civilization exists in the form of a small town.

From opposite ends of the yard, two young men approach.

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“The Tall Grass” by Sharif Shakhshir

The tall grass grows
at the northern edge of the peninsula
where rodents scuttle like electricity.
Mom says, “There is evil out there:
monsters, thieves, gamblers,
and people who aim to gain from your failure.
But there are no badges of honor
for staying home.
The way a brush must leave the pallet
to make something great,
you must leave.

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“The Theatre Department” by Christine Stoddard

When you study acting as a biracial girl in the South,
            you will never portray Scarlett O’Hara,
            only ever Mammy
            because your program head does not think “protagonist”
            when she sees a mulatto.
You are an accessory, like the dogwoods that dot a plantation.

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