A short film about a young woman’s struggle to do her job when it comes at the price of another.
INT. MCDONALD’S – Day
AVA, a 20 year-old McDonald’s employee, stands behind the counter and chews bubble gum. Her boss, CLARICE, approaches and shoves her shoulder. She stumbles into the counter.
Don’t you have work to be doing?
I thought I was working.
I don’t pay you to stand there
doing nothing. Go wipe off the
tables or something.
Ava takes a rag from her apron pocket. Clarice blocks her.
And while you’re at it, throw out
that hobo. This isn’t a charity.
Clarice moves out of the way, and Ava steps out from behind the counter. She sees JARED, a middle-aged man in layers of old, dirty clothing. He slumps in the corner of a booth.
Ava begins wiping down a table across the restaurant from Jared. She looks back at the counter and sees Clarice jerk her head in Jared’s direction. Ava quits cleaning the booth and walks up to Jared. She twists her rag in her hands.
Sir, are you planning on buying
Jared quickly wipes a pile of coins, a few pennies and a dime, off the table and puts them away in his coat pocket.
I’m just trying to get out of the
cold. It’s freezing out there.
I’m sorry, but if you aren’t going
to buy anything I’m afraid I have
to ask you to leave. That’s
Maybe you could spare some change
then? I’m just a little short.
I’m sorry, but-
You guys get free meals, right?
Yes, but- Look, we aren’t allowed
to- we can’t give them away. Not
to people like you, anyways.
Ava looks over her shoulder and sees that Clarice is gone. She starts thoroughly wiping off the table next to Jared’s.
People like me?
People who can’t pay.
So it’s not really free, if it’s
only for people who can pay.
I guess you could say that.
Yet they call it a “free” market.
I flunked economics, so I wouldn’t
I flunked economics too.
They both laugh. Ava quickly glances at the counter to see Clarice staring at her, arms crossed. She stops laughing.
I’m Jared, by the way.
Nice to meet you, Ava.
Ava checks the counter and sees Clarice coming toward them. She quickly steps up to Jared again, stopping her boss.
Look, Jared, I’d love to help you,
but unless you can buy something I
can’t let you stay.
Jared looks over and sees Clarice hovering nearby. He removes the coins from his pocket and holds them out.
This is all I’ve got.
Ava takes the coins from him and weighs them in her hand.
Well, it’s something. Can you wait
outside? I’ll see what I can do.
Jared stands up to leave and Ava marches up to the counter.
I told you to throw him out.
He’s leaving, isn’t he?
Clarice looks at the booth to see it empty. Jared’s gone.
Well, I’ll be damned.
Ava steps up to the cash register and plugs in a few items. The cash box pops open and she drops the coins inside.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m taking
my lunch break.
EXT. OUTSIDE THE MCDONALD’S – DAY
Ava brings a McDonald’s bag over to Jared and sets it down. He looks up at her. His eyes water. He rips the bag open, grabs a burger, unwraps it, and takes a bite. They smile.