Romeo & the Beanos
an original screenplay by J. Thomas Wells
Back on the bus, Juliet has overcome her apprehensions and is singing with the crowd. The song fest begins to wind down. A young teenager across the aisle from Juliet leans over and asks, “What’s that in your bag?” He had obviously heard the little voices. She looks to Romeo who offers no help. So she blurts out, “Oh, they’re like Mexican jumping beans, but they sing.” “Wow, never seen that before.” Romeo chirps in, “Well they’re not from Mexico, they’re from Indonesia, different beans over there.” “I guess so, the boy says, “Well, they’ve got singing chipmunks, why not singing beans?” “Exactly.” nods Juliet.
The bus quiets down, some passengers are now sleeping. Romeo and Juliet make themselves comfortable for sleep. Juliet pulls a book from her backpack. “OK Mr. Romeo, I think it’s time we address your higher education”. The book she is holding is Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Romeo eyes the book and smiles. She reads aloud. But barely two paragraphs in and Romeo is fast asleep. She closes the book and turns off the reading light and snuggles up against his arm. High above the highway the large osprey glides through the clouds.
The bus passes through various landscapes as it crosses the country: The couple engage in playful banter between spontaneous songfests and readings from Romeo and Juliet in the evening. Juliet is a good coach and Romeo a good student. After a day and a night he’s starting to get the hang of it.
Juliet, “ Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake”. Romeo, “Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take. Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged”. Juliet, “Then have my lips the sin that they have took”. Romeo, “Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged! Give me my sin again”. Juliet, “You kiss by the book”. Romeo. “I think we missed a cue”. He leans to her and her to him. They tenderly kiss.
Their sacred moment is rudely shattered by the ring of Romeo’s cell phone. He looks at its screen in wide eyed then looks out the window then answers the phone, “Papa!, Oh, no, I missed my stop. No, I’m OK, I’m so sorry. Yes, yes, the next stop is LA. I’ll call you when I get there”.
Arriving in LA Juliet’s father meets the bus. She starts to introduce him to Romeo but he rudely cuts her off. “Picking up boys on the bus again!” He grabs her by the arm and drags her off, “Take a hike Romeo.” “How did you know his name?” Oh, you fell for that line?” Romeo stands dumfounded, they stay in eye contact as she is dragged off. With his hand he mimes “I’ll give you a call.” and then to himself, “if I had your number.” He stands there for a minute, trying to process all that’s happened. Then with some determination he turns and walks into the bustle of LA. Hanging from his backpack we see the two strands of green from his Starbucks apron. In the distance the large osprey wings across the sky.
In a modern, elegant house by the ocean in Laguna Beach, Juliet’s father is upbraiding her on her failing grades at college. Her mother is trying to soften his tirade. “And why did you take the bus? I sent you plane tickets.” Juliet, “A needeth to chill, to purge mine own f'rl'rn mind.” “And stop talking gibberish. Martha, whenever I try to have a serious talk with your daughter she talks like this. Speak English Juliet!” Martha, “That is English Harold. That’s the course she got a 4.0 on. She’s showing us what she’s learned ” Harold throws up his hands, “Jesus Christ!” and storms out. “I’m going to the golf course! Talk some sense into her if you can!” Martha, “Your father does love you Juliet. He just doesn’t express it very well.” Juliet, “If 't be true yond's his loveth what then his envy beest?” “Ease up girl, I’m on your side, you needn’t speaketh the King’s English with me.” Juliet hugs her mother. “Now what about this boy you met on the bus?” Juliet sighs and walks to the patio rail and looks longingly out over the ocean.