Shipwrecked

EXT. OPEN OCEAN - DAY ARTEMIO and RICK sit together in a small rowboat, floating in the middle of the ocean. A rusty machete sits at their feet. ARTEMIO Well, it seems we have exhausted all other avenues... yes. How unfortunate that it should come to this. RICK I’d say it’s damn worse than unfortunate. ARTEMIO Yes, one could come to that conclusion, especially from your point of view. But I always was an incurable optimist. RICK From my point of view? What you mean "from my point of view"? You’ve been stuck here for God knows how long too! No coast guard, no rescue- ARTEMIO No food. RICK There ain’t no more food? ARTEMIO No my friend, the food has been consumed. RICK You gotta be kidding. ARTEMIO I do not kid. RICK Jesus. Now we’re screwed. I said it before, when the ship sank, but I mean it now. We are screwed. ARTEMIO Not necessarily... Artemio picks up the machete, and runs his finger along the tip, testing the sharpness. RICK (Cautious) What you mean? Artemio places the machete back down, between the two of them. ARTEMIO It’s quite simple, my friend. I’ve had ample time to think on this, and I’m sorry, but it isn’t pleasant. RICK What exactly are you saying? ARTEMIO My dear friend, I will be hungry, and your limbs can fix that. RICK What! You can’t... EAT me! ARTEMIO My friend, we have no other choice. RICK But... but I gotta eat too! I gotta say in this! What’s stopping me from grabbing that knife and cutting you up for dinner!? Answer that! ARTEMIO Ah, here is the dilemma. Which of us deserves to live? I propose we handle this like civilized men. I wish to convince you that I am deserving of life, if only for a little while longer. RICK And then I get to convince you? ARTEMIO Of course, my friend. We are gentlemen, what is accorded to me, must, by order of courtesy, be accorded to you as well. RICK But what’s to stop you from just stabbing me to death and ending it? ARTEMIO And what’s to stop you? We have nothing here in this open water, nothing but our word, our word as gentlemen that we will not prematurely take up this knife against one another. No, my friend, that would break our agreement, and, incidentally, be murder. RICK Or course it’s murder! It’s all murder. What we are discussing is murder. What else could it be? ARTEMIO No no, you misunderstand. If one of us picks up this knife before both of us have been sufficiently convinced of the victor in our verbal sparring, that would be murder. If we are both convinced beyond all reasonable doubt of the winner, well, that is a different matter entirely. Think of it as... assisted suicide, which is a very accepted practice in some countries, mind you. RICK So, you’re saying if I win, and you know I win, and I know I win, you’ll let me stab you? ARTEMIO Quite right, my friend. And vice versa of course. RICK (Unsure) Of course... They both look down at the machete laying between them. RICK The knife stays right there, until one of us wins. If you even look at it weird, I’ll gut you. I... I won’t think twice! ARTEMIO I would have it no other way! Well then, shall we begin? RICK Wait. ARTEMIO What is it? RICK How do we know who goes first? ARTEMIO When is your birthday? RICK What? Why? ARTEMIO When is your birthday? RICK June 6th, 1973 ARTEMIO Ah, it appears I have the advantage in age. I was born on November the 8th, 1969. I will proceed first. RICK Wait. ARTEMIO (Annoyed) What is it? RICK How do I know that’s your real birthday? ARTEMIO My word, my friend. You must trust my word. Now, is that everything? RICK I guess. ARTEMIO Good! Then I will begin. Now, as you can no doubt ascertain by my speech, my manner, and my erect posture, I have lived a life of some reasonable affluence. RICK (Unsure) Yeah. ARTEMIO And I have accumulated a considerable amount of wealth, most of which I spend on my wife and children- yes I do have those, and the rest, after an appropriate amount has been taken out for my own needs, goes towards various charities. More often than not, I am the biggest donor to these foundations of the stricken. You see, more people than just myself rely on my survival. I am absolutely indispensable to many young orphans’ and cancer patients’ lives. Imagine then, if I were to expire here. How many people would suffer? Not to mention all the respected colleagues of mine: doctors, scientists, businessmen, whose friendship I have come to cultivate, would be absolutely devastated at my loss. RICK I get it. All your fancy words, you’re part of the, what do they call it on TV... the one percent! I shoulda known. A rich bitch. ARTEMIO Yes my friend! Exactly! And permit me to say, that as part of this one percent of the population, I am much more rare and valuable to it than men of the 99, of which you sadly happen to be a part of. I am the Siberian Tiger, a nearly extinct, majestic species vital to the beauty of this planet. You, my friend, are a pigeon. RICK I’ve worked hard to get where I am! You know how hard it was to get a job cooking on that liner? And now look at me, sitting here debating whether I’m the menu. No. You’ve had your say, and now it’s my turn. ARTEMIO (Bored) Very well, my friend, continue. RICK Umm, ok. I uh, I was never nobody important. I grew up kinda poor. Not real poor, but like, kinda. We had enough to eat most days, but not much more than that. I finished high school, which was a great thing to my pop, who never got past 5th grade. ARTEMIO (Not listening) Hmm yes I can imagine. RICK And I started as a fry cook at a fast food joint. Nothing special. I just cooked a lot at home as a kid, learned from my ma. Fast forward a few years, and through a series of coincidences, a guy I knew from high school wound up in my joint while I happened to be on break. We got to talking, and turns out he worked for this cruise line. Got me an interview and I got a job cooking. Best thing to happen to me. Worked a couple months and then this happened. I got no kids, no girlfriend... never had the time. But I got dreams, and I want to open up my own place. Not fancy like, more of a diner for people on hard times. Affordable, but quality. ARTEMIO Yes, very admirable. Have you had your say? RICK Sure, I guess that’s me. ARTEMIO Well then, I think it’s clear to both of us who the victor here is. How would you like this to unfold? Would you like to turn around or close your eyes? Would you rather I slice the throat or the wrists? RICK What? ARTEMIO My friend, I am the winner. RICK Says who!? ARTEMIO Why, I’m sure it’s clear to both of us. RICK Hey now, slow down. I never said anything! I don’t agree. You gotta do better than that if I’m to lay down and let you carve me up like a piece of pork! I’m not convinced! ARTEMIO (Shocked) You’re not? RICK No. ARTEMIO How is it possible that you are not absolutely convinced of my importance? No one has ever said ’no’ to me before. RICK I’m saying it. ARTEMIO But surely you cannot hope, even in your wildest dreams to compare to me. I have dined with kings and presidents. I have seen the eight wonders of the world. I have lived in palaces and mansions. I have explored the Great Pyramids. I have been to space and played backgammon in zero gravity. RICK But- ARTEMIO I have given speeches at Ivy League Universities. I have had movie stars attend my birthday celebrations. I have government officials tip their hats to me when we pass at the club. I once achieved a perfect round in a game of golf. I have swum with Killer Whales. I have watched icebergs split apart in the Arctic. I have swum the entire Amazon River upstream. RICK Wait- ARTEMIO I have faced down a Grizzly Bear with nothing but a pocket knife. I have brought down elephants with one bullet in the Safari. I have slept with wolves in the wilds of Vancouver. I have flown faster than the speed of sound. I have- RICK ENOUGH! Look! A ship! A rescue ship! That way, look! Rick gestures wildly behind Artemio who turns round to look. With Artemio looking away, Rick snatches the machete and grabs one of Artemio’s wrists, slicing it vertically. Artemio falls back into the boat. ARTEMIO Ah! RICK (Scared) I... it’s done. ARTEMIO (Weakly) I have... I have cruised the world on ocean liners. I have been shipwrecked in the middle of the ocean. I have had my wrists cut by knives and lived... are you not convinced? RICK You’ve lived more than anyone I know. Yeah. I’m convinced. ARTEMIO I knew you would... see reason. Artemio slumps into the boat and closes his eyes. Rick regards him for signs of life. Nothing. RICK (To himself) Least you never had to eat nobody. Rick grimly picks up the machete and raises it over his head to swing. THE END.

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