A Cyclic Choice – Act II

INT. KADEN’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Kaden fumbles at the lock of his apartment then stumbles in once it is open, giggling madly. He steps on a piece of crumbled paper laying just inside his apartment.

KADEN
What the fuck…?

He picks up the paper and smooths it out.

KADEN
How…?

Kaden closes his eyes and thinks back.

KADEN
That old man. What a fucker. Rubbing my face in it like a dog at a piss stain.

He crumbles up the paper in a fist and storms out of the apartment.

INT. APARTMENT HALLWAY
Kaden marches down the hallway to the last door at the end. He stares at the door for a few moments. There is a round, dark stain in the wood of the door like dried blood. Kaden pounds on it with the fist holding the rejection note. After a few moments of silence, he pounds again.

The door to Leonard’s apartment opens and the old man stands before Kaden dressed in a silk pajamas and a robe. He looks fresh, as if expecting visitors in the middle of the night. Leonard smiles at Kaden.

LEONARD
Kaden. You’re back.

Kaden blinks in surprise at hearing his name. Leonard nods to the letter.

LEONARD
Your name’s on the rejection letter.

Kaden flattens out the letter and holds it up as evidence.

KADEN
Why was this in my apartment?

LEONARD
Isn’t it yours?

KADEN
It was in the trash. That’s where you put things you don’t want.

LEONARD
Easy. I didn’t mean to offend. I thought it might inspire you.

KADEN
I don’t need this for inspiration.

A door down the hallway open and a man in briefs steps out.

MAN
What’re you two doing? Is three in the fucking morning.

Leonard gestures Kaden to come inside. The young man hesitates but enters the apartment at the old man’s insistence. The door down the hallway slams shut.

INT. LEONARD’S APARTMENT
Leonard’s apartment is a menagerie of old knick-knacks. There are pictures of old women and men in gold frames on side tables and pictures of young people in wedding dresses framed on the walls. Against the wall, in the same orientation as Kaden’s own, is a desk. It is clean and neat, with a tray of blank paper at the ready and a box of pens and pencils waiting to be used.

Leonard shuffles across the room and offers Kaden to take a seat on the sofa. Instead, Kaden stands.

LEONARD
I suppose you came about what I mentioned earlier.

KADEN
No, I came to throw this in your face.

LEONARD
Don’t.

Leonard walks into the kitchen and pours himself a glass of water.

LEONARD (CONT’D)
I know what you’re going through, Kaden. We’ve all been there. Dead-end job, career not going anywhere, getting low on cash. Water?

Kaden turns his back to the old man and inspects the pictures on the wall.

LEONARD (CONT’D)
It seems like a hard life. How do you keep going?

KADEN
It’s cathartic. Dumping everything in your head on a page. Even if its all bullshit.

LEONARD
Then what slows you down? What makes you go into stranger’s homes in the middle of the night?

Kaden scoffs.

KADEN
Shit, man, money. What else?

LEONARD
Money slows you down?

KADEN
It ain’t making it easier.

Leonard hands Kaden a glass of water.

LEONARD
You want to be famous. Making some money and getting recognition.

Kaden drinks the water.

KADEN
Well, shit, who doesn’t?

LEONARD
That’s right. But I told you I can help.

KADEN
How?

Leonard sits on the sofa and gestures for Kaden to do the same. Instead, the young man sits on the coffee table across from the old man.

LEONARD
There is a man. Lives down the hall. Wealthy beyond his means.

KADEN
Why is he in this shit-hole?

Leonard shrugs his shoulders.

LEONARD
Something to hide? The point is, he’s got money. I’ve met him. He’s a solitary man and not very likable. You two would get along.

Kaden scoffs.

LEONARD (CONT’D)
He keeps money in his apartment. Cash. Plenty of it, just lying about. Doesn’t believe in banks, he said.

KADEN
What does he do?

LEONARD
He doesn’t work for it himself. Takes it from others like a thief.

KADEN
Or a banker.

Leonard laughs.

LEONARD
Exactly.

KADEN
So what? I should ask him for money?

Leonard shakes his head.

LEONARD
Just take it.

KADEN
Yeah, right.

He takes a drink but Leonard just stares at Kaden as if made of stone.

KADEN (CONT’D)
You’re not serious.

LEONARD
Where are you getting your money now?

KADEN
I work. And my parents help a bit.

LEONARD
They’ve been supporting your writing career then?

KADEN
Not exactly.

LEONARD
I see. So they gave you some money for, what, education? And you’re using it to fund your dead-end writing career. Is that about the size of it?

Kaden drinks the water then sets the glass on the table and rises.

KADEN
Fuck you, old man.

LEONARD
His apartment is empty, except for the money.

Kaden looks hard at Leonard.

LEONARD
Do you want it?

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