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Cigarette Thieves
by Edward Washington (washington.edward.john@gmail.com)

Rated: R   Genre: Drama   User Review: *1/2

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.


ELMORE BROWN, a black teen sits at his desk - before him, an
overflowing ashtray and computer.
Smoke clouds rise in the dimly lit, shadowy room.
In one hand - a burning cigarette, in the other, a document,
he reads with concern.
                       ELMORE (VO)
Your major paper for this course
is due for submission in my office
Monday, December 12th by 7am.
Elmore nervously places the computer's mouse over the clock
in the toolbar - a popup appears stating "Sunday, December
11th, 10:05 PM".
He continues examining the document.
                       ELMORE (VO)
This paper should be 18-20 pages
and deal with at least five
readings from this course.
                       ELMORE (VO)
This paper will be worth 90% of
your overall course grade.
With a color drained face, he places the smoked cigarette
into the ashtray.
He nods his head - lighting up another one, as he continues
reading the academic syllabus.


DOCUMENT TEXT (in bold): "I cannot give an extension for
this assignment. Please be aware you must submit a hard
copy of your work on time for it to be graded so you receive
your course credit."
Shit. I'm fucked!
He immediately opens Microsoft's Word. While it loads, he
retrieves a textbook from a backpack at his side.
He continues smoking with the textbook haphazardly balanced
across his lap - highlighting text, flipping pages and
inputting text into Word.
With the cigarette almost finished, he has generated about a
page of text but most of it, highlighted by spell-check.
As he extinguishes the cigarette, interrupting his academic
progress, a Skype request from his father appears.
Man, not now...
Elmore declines the request and tries to resume with the
Word document but is again interrupted - this time with a
Skype Instant Message that pops-up.
He reads it.
                       ELMORE (VO)
Haven't heard from you in a while,
everything OK? Your mom wants to
know if she should get your old
room ready for your return?
He lights a new cigarette before writing his reply.
"Newportz: Busy now! I'm gonna pass everything & stay, OK?!
He closes the chat window, which immediately re-opens.
DaddyE: OK. Good. CUL.
He re-closes the chat window.


Good, you idiot.
He continues smoking, working with the textbook and the Word
On page four according to the document, Elmore extinguishes
the currently cigarette into the ashtray.
He reaches into the pack before him for a new one to
discover, none remain.
Stunned and in disbelief, he literally looks inside the box
to find only scattered crumbs.
Gotta be kidding me?!
He goes to the dresser's top drawer, removes a wallet, sits
down to open it and discovers it's empty (cash-wise).
Back at his desk, he looks online for his dad but he's
offline with an away message "Sleeping".
Freakin' great!
He tries to resume his assignment but emotionally can't -
preoccupied with the need for a cigarette.
Frustrated, he finally gets up and exits the room.
The television is on and his roommate Chris, is sitting back
on the sofa, watching Family Guy on DVD. His feet crossed
on-top of the nearby coffee table. Beer in hand. Empty
cans stacked before him.
Yo Chris... where's Buddy?


Buddy went home for the weekend.
Be back... he told me, Tuesday.
Why? What's up?!
Dire need of a cigarette...
Hey man. I know I don't talk to
you guys much and stay locked up
in my room but hear me out...
Chris puts down his beer, pauses the DVD and gives Elmore
his undivided attention.
I've been on academic probation
this semester. I doubt that's a
Anyway, so I've been limited to
two courses. Both must be passed
with a "C" or better or I'll be
academically terminated.
Shit is correct. Not meeting these
probation requirements will ban me
from this University for a period
of five years!
Fuck dude!


The problem is, I somehow forgot
about an assignment, for one of my
classes. A major assignment due
tomorrow. I fail this and it's
back home with the overly
Christian parents you met when
they moved me in... And with that
pressure to join the military.
That's not good, man.
Your telling me?!
Chris re-grabs his beer and takes a heavy sip.
I'm being real because I need to
ask a favor.
I hope I can help... shoot away.
Can I borrow, just three damn
bucks? Enough to buy me a pack of
something generic and get through
this hell of a night?
Chris empties the beer and adds it to the stack of cans
before him.
I'm penny-less, dude! Spent the
last of my spare change on the 12
pack of beast you see me killing
as we speak...
It's my problem dude, thanks
Elmore re-enters his room. Sits at the desk and angrily
minimizes the Word document on screen before him.
After staring at this overflowing ashtray, he gets up and
goes back into the dresser.


He removes a pack of rolling papers and sits back down.
He begins emptying the "butts" from the ashtray - they are
too short to re-smoke but contain minute amounts of tobacco
he removes just before the filters.
He eventually yields a pile of smoke darkened tobacco that
he rolls into a fresh cigarette using the last paper in his
He grins at his accomplishment before lighting it up.
He reacts with a violent cough from the harsh smoke of the
unfiltered cigarette.
I need a real cigarette, man,
Displeased, but continues taking drags/hits from the
This ain't working!
(Smoke) Dissolve to:
Chris' POV:
Slouched more-so on the couch - he watches Elmore exit his
room and lock the door.
Elmore is wearing an awkward raincoat, underneath a
backpack, with over-sized boots - puffing on the remainder
of his hand-rolled cigarette.
Don't even ask....
You smoking -- ?
Does it smell like - ? Come on,
this smells like ass...
Partying with Gordon Fisherman?


Shit's not funny! Look outside. I
have to go out in that to hunt
down a cigarette!
Good luck, in all seriousness...
Thanks. Problem is - one
cigarette won't do me shit. I
can't even ration one cig. through
the night. Whatever. My addiction
is deciding my moves and is in the
controller's seat.
Be smart. Your time is ticking,
Elmore stands outside the University dining hall, taking
cover, under the canopy, rainfalls, and next to him is a
three foot tall, cigarette dispenser.
He looks around, watching people, enter/exit.

The ones entering the building - glad to get out of the

The ones exiting - apply hoods, zip/button coats or expand
Elmore finds himself alone, takes out his phone and checks
the time.

"11:30 PM"
He re-tucks his phone - shielding it from the rain - looks
up and startled to see a dis-shelved, old man, approaching
wearing "homeless" plaid attire.
                       HOMELESS MAN
Don't mind do ya?
Huh? I'm just waiting for someone
to smoke... trying to bum one...


                       HOMELESS MAN
Fuck being a bum....
The man picks up the cigarette dispenser, upside downs it,
spilling cigarettes out.

Elmore watches quietly as the man bags them up and takes off
like a thief in the night.
Not a bad idea... Had I papers to
A female exits, busy talking with a friend.
                       GIRL #1
Damn rain!
Girl #2 puts her hood on, Girl #1 zips up her coat, which
doesn't have a hood.
                       GIRL #2
Don't forget the umbrella!
                       GIRL #1
Oh yeah...
Girl #1 removes a compacted umbrella from her pocket
standing at the top of the staircase. While doing so, a
wallet falls to the ground, unnoticed.
The girls - hooded up tightly and expanding the umbrella,
don't realize the wallet-loss.
They "bitch" about the terrible weather and all the work
they have for "finals", eventually proceeding down the
Elmore looks around, then doesn't hesitate to grab up the
fallen wallet before he himself, marches down the stairs.
After hesitating, Elmore walks from the lit street - moving
along the train tracks which continue across the road and
into a dark section behind a string of closed businesses -
total darkness until the next intersecting road about a half
mile ahead.


Elmore walks on, as he moves, stepping over muddy gravel,
along the tracks with light falling drizzle.
He hears noises from the parallel brush, scared, he
increases his speed. Continuing to hear noises,he advances
quicker and quickr, until reaching the next road

Thankful for the accompanying light, he can now see.

He crosses the road, after a car passes and walks along the
closed businesses and approaches "Shore Stop" - a
gas-station/convenience store that is certainly open.
Elmore enters.

He wipes the mud drenched boots on the purposely placed rug.

After removing his raincoat hood, he eyes the only employee.

He works a mop, next to a "wet floor sign".

After hearing the bell on the door / Elmore's entrance, he
drops the mop and advances to behind the counter.
And how can I help you?
A pack of Newports. Actually... a
Elmore releases the backpack from one shoulder, unzips the
lower portion and from within the girl's wallet (invisible
to the clerk), removes a folded wod of cash -- two twenties
and a ten.
Sure. Will that be it?
Yeap. But please confirm the
Elmore counts the cash below the counter as the employee
scans the box.


Elmore reads the total reflected on the cash register after
the carton is scanned.
Yes sir.
Elmore hands over the funds.
Barely enough...
The clerk returns Elmore's change.
Like a bag?
Nah. It's going right into my
Go to Salisbury?
Yeap, and hopefully, I graduate...
Why you say that?
It's a long story. Essentially, I
have an all-niter to pull off, a
20 page essay by the morning - if
not, I fail the class, and the
University's done with my ass.
Damn. Then what's your plan?
None. I'll HAVE TO move back home
and with that, non-stop pressure
from the 'rents to join the
I'll get through. Now that I got
my cigarettes... Running out was
my biggest roadblock.


Walking off the sidewalk - Elmore follows the tracks back
into the darkness.

Cigarette in mouth.
No more until I'm working.
He takes the opened pack from his pocket and places it back
into the carton box inside the backpack.
Inside his backpack, he takes notice of the girl's wallet.
Ditch that shit in the sewer...
He continues walking along the tracks, with his only light
source, the cigarette cherry and lights from the next road
intersection ahead.
Suddenly an old raspy voice - too close for comfort - calls
      (raised voice)
Elmore continues along faster, ignoring the man, scared.
The over-sized boots and immediate darkness prevent him from
A' I know you here me!
Elmore continues moving, not stopping.
It's slippery, man. Just hold
Elmore realizing the man is right behind him, confronts the
unseeable man.
I can't even see your ass, man!


I just saw and figured you could
bum me a cigarette? That's all...
Ok... ok...
Elmore takes the backpack off and unzips it.

The man activates a huge lighter giving amazing light and
revealing the carton, as Elmore takes a cigarette from the
opened pack.
Cut it. I'm good.
The man deactivates the lighter and Elmore puts the backpack
back on.

He extends the cigarette out to the partially visible
stranger in his presence.
The man hesitates to accept it, baffling Elmore.
Can I ask you something?
What?! I have to go! Here man...
Economy is bad. Times are tough...
I know that! And?! Shits no better
for me.
Can I get a pack?
Your asking for my whole pack?!
Just one pack.
What? No! All I have is a pack!
Elmore continues to extend and offer the cigarette to the
dark shadowy figure but growing tired and scared.


And Lord knows I need my pack.
Take this man... I have to go...
Why you going to lie to me?
What? I'm not. I'm trying to be
nice. But if you don't want it...
Elmore starts to walk off, cigarette in hand, along with his
still burning, when the man leaps for the backpack, knocking
both cigarettes out of Elmore's hands.

Elmore tries to run but cant even move being held and pulled
by the backpack.
I was trying to be nice... now,
give up the backpack!
Elmore scared to death, removes his arms from the bag's
straps - releasing it to the man with all it's contents.
A' I need this more than you,
believe me, son.
The man calmly walks off in the opposite direction of

Elmore realizing his loss, foolishly trails the man,
Please man. You win. Please, can I
just get one pack? I need to at
least get through the night...
I just wanted a pack... Get lost!
Elmore stops and watches the thief take off, his immediate
reaction is for a cigarette, he reaches and hopes there is
one, somewhere, but of course, none.
      (to himself)
Fucker! I hope he gets picked up
and busted with the girls wallet.


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From John Bradley Date 1/8/2013 *1/2
Use more discrition with your character introductions, don't worry so much about what they look like as what their "essence" is. Instead of "(VO)" it's "(V.O.)" For spec scripts, instead of saying "CLOSE UP - SOMETHING" just put SOMETHING then describe it on the line below, like this. You obviously have an understanding of script structure. Just keep studying, reading other screenplays, and editting.

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