INT: A CAR
GARY is driving BEN, his infant son, around the neighborhood, trying to get him to go to sleep.
Shhh shhh shh, kid, take a nap already.
(In a sing-song voice)
Go to sleep, go to sleep, please oh god, kid, go to sleep.
(Looking blearily out the window as he goes)
There's uh the Johnsons' store. Belongs to Tim now, who is an enormous tool, by the way. He once pantsed me in gym class, in high school. I swear he never grew up.
Don't tell your mother I said 'tool.'
Also, go to sleep, please. Ugh.
Everything looks like a bed. Especially the snow. Look at that pristine bank right there—it's practically a pillow-top. You're not going to remember snow, Ben, because as soon as I put in for that transfer we're moving someplace temperate. Like Seattle. They've never even heard of snow there. If I have one piece of advice to you, it's never mess around with snow. My dad, your grandpa-geez—lived here his whole life. He could make a car skate on ice like it was the effing Olympics. Don't tell your mom I said 'effing,' either, okay?
(Checks over his shoulder. The baby has stopped crying)
Aw, you like hearing about your grandpa? Or maybe you like moving and keeping warm. That makes you like me, I guess. If I have one piece of advice, it's always be moving. Don't be one of those people who live in a small town their whole lives. You know, I'm not even going to let you. I'm going to raise you in Seattle. Or L.A. even, if your mother will let me, which she will not.
She's the only reason I came back here, Benny Boy. I was going to be one of the ones who got away, who got out. I've been to England, did you know that? Well, you will. Went to college and everything and just…came back here. I don't even know why.
Except that your mom loves this town. We're coming up on the place we met; it's right around this corner here. No worries if you can't see it yet. It's a tree. Just a tree. But it's a big one—one of those kinds with low-slung, mossy branches you sit and read in when you're a kid because you think it looks cool but it's actually the worst kind of uncomfortable. You'll understand someday. I hope. I'm sure they have trees in Seattle.
(Looks perturbed at the thought that there might not be trees there)
Well, anyway, if I have one piece of advice to you, it's that you should always talk to pretty girls reading in trees. They're romantic, effervescent things. They don't need to travel to live exciting lives in different countries. And if they're nice girls who read, they'll share their string cheese with you and offer you a branch.
(The car idles for a long moment before the baby begins to make noises and then he puts the car into gear and keeps driving. After a moment, with some consternation)
Well, it's not like we won't visit. Your grandma will kill me if we don't. And you should see this place in the summer—thunder and lightning storms like you wouldn't believe. And fireflies at night on the back porch…I'm not sure they have fireflies on the West Coast. If they don't it'd be a damn shame.
Don't tell your mother I said—
(Looks back and realizes the baby is asleep)
Hey, good work, kiddo. If I have one piece of advice, it's always get sleep while you can. And let me have some too. And brush your teeth and learn to floss better than I do and wear sunscreen and watch for ticks in grassy fields and make friendships that last a lifetime and always have Sunday brunch with your mother if you can.
This is why you can't grow up in a small town. Either you never leave or you always find yourself coming back.