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The Meat Wrapper
by Ryan Diminick (ryandiminick@gmail.com)

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Drama   User Review:

A day in the life of a supermarket employee.

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.


The scene opens on a CU of DANIEL FRANCIS' eyes as he
delivers a monologue. Throughout the monologue, the camera
zooms out, ultimately revealing him standing against his
car, cigarette in hand.
Life is an interesting thing. I
mean, if you think about it, it
really is. A lot of people don't
seem to think so. They say it's
pointless. It's unfair. Too hard.
I don't agree with that. That's
too simple of a viewpoint. You
have to look at the bigger
picture. As for me, I see it as a
journey. From birth, all of life
is one event after another,
leading us to our ultimate
destinations. Every decision we
make, every action taken is just
one step along the way. Honestly,
I think it's a shame. No one seems
to look at it that way. Then
again, who knows? Maybe they do.
Who am I to know? Hmm. I don't
know. What do you think?
As camera continues to pan out, a younger KID is revealed to
be standing near Daniel. By the end of Daniel's monologue,
the camera holds on a wide angle of the two. There is a
pause, with Daniel just looking at the kid.
Dude, I was just asking if I could
bum a cigarette.
The camera begins to zoom back in slowly on Daniel
throughout this exchange.
      (reaching into his
       pants pocket)
Oh right. Sorry about that.
He removes a pack of cigarettes from his pants pocket, takes
out one cigarette, hands it back to the kid, and returns the
pack to its respective pocket. As he does this, the kid
takes a dollar out of his own pocket.


Don't worry about it.
      (lights cigarette)
I don't know, man. Maybe you
should run for President or
Nah. It's not for me.
By now, the camera is fixed on a mid-shot of only Daniel and
remains here for the rest of the scene.
Thanks for the smoke.
No problem.
The kid is heard walking away OS. The scene then FADES OUT
to the black title screen.
Quick shots of the hustle and bustle of retail life. SERVICE
CUSTOMERS waiting on line. CUSTOMERS share laughs as they
pass each other. OTHERS are chatting with one another.

At the MEAT CASE, Daniel is bent over, straightening out the
mess on a bottom shelf. Once he's done, he stands up
straight and walks to the ENTRANCE TO THE MEAT ROOM. As he
nears the door, a cluster of FIVE INDIVIDUALS walk out of
the room. Daniel says goodbye to them as they leave. He
walks into the meat room.
Once in the meat room, Daniel walks past the AUTOMATIC MEAT
WRAPPER and looks out the ORDER WINDOW at the passing
CUSTOMERS. Behind him, at a BUTCHER'S TABLE, a middle-aged,
heavyset man, DENNIS, is cutting boneless pork.
      (still looking out
       at customers)
Thank God for that.


What's that?
The quiet. It always calms down
after the others leave.
Dennis puts down his KNIFE and looks in Daniel's direction.
Sure, it's quiet. But the chaos
just keeps on going. It never
changes. You know that. You saw
the meat case, how empty it is.
I did.
That's first shift for you. They
don't worry about cutting what we
need. They figure, "oh, second
shift will fix it for us." That's
why nothing's ever done. I'm
telling you, Dan, this is a great
place to work. It's a good job.
The thing that ruins it is the
It's the diffusion of
Call it what you want. I say it's
poor handling of tasks and pure
Dennis returns to his cutting as Daniel walks to the
ordering window and places his arms on top of it, ultimately
crossing them.
More quick shots of the supermarket environment. Mixed in
with these shots are ones of Daniel helping out different
customers. Some shots show him providing information to a
customer while holding a STEAK. Another shows him laughing
and engaging in conversation with another one.


Daniel is hand wrapping a beef roast when Dennis loudly
clears his throat.
You want to help that lovely young
lady at the counter or should I do
      (finishes wrapping)
Oh, please. I wouldn't want you to
stop what you were doing there.
I'm just saying.
Sure, why not?
Daniel takes off his LATEX GLOVES, throws them in the
nearest GARBAGE CAN, and replaces them with two new ones as
he heads to the ordering window. A middle-aged woman, LINDA
KNOWLTON, is standing at the counter, looking impatient.
You need help?
Yes, I was wondering if you happen
to carry any pineapple corers.
Pineapple corers?
As the conversation continues, Daniel exits the meat room
and makes his way onto the--
I'm actually not sure if we do. I
want to say yes. That may be in
Produce or somewhere else
entirely. If you want I can find
out for you.


May I ask why you don't know? I
mean, you do work here after all.
Yeah, I just work in meat. I don't
keep tabs on all the goings-on in
the store.
Well, how can you be of any help
to the customer if you don't know
Daniel laughs.
You're not serious, right?
Judging by her lack of reaction, he knows she's not.
You are serious. Okay, then. To be
honest, that sort of knowledge is
above my pay grade. Now, if I
were, say, a manager, then it
would be expected of me to have
knowledge of the full layout of
this store. And your question
would be valid. But I get paid to
come here and work in the meat
department. That's all. And
frankly, it's barely enough.
They just stand there for a few seconds, staring at each
other. Finally,
Forgive me, but I would think,
given your position, that you
would want to learn all there is
to this place. Move yourself up in
the world a little bit. Build a
Build a future? In this place?
Nah, that's not for me.
Well, sometimes life doesn't give
us a lot of options.


Daniel looks her up and down. By her dress, she's easily
placed at upper-middle class. Daniel laughs again.
How would you know? Judging by
first impression, you don't look
like someone who had to settle
She doesn't supply an answer or argument.
Listen, you don't know me. You
don't know my story. If you did,
you probably wouldn't be saying
these things. Nor would you be
talking to me at all in such a
condescending, high-and-mighty
I wasn't--
I would appreciate it if people
like you, up in your high horses,
would keep your mouths shut when
you came in here, and not spit out
what you think is good advice.
Because, honestly, you have no
idea what you're talking about.
All of us in here, that work for
these organizations, we work hard.
And without appreciation. We work
hard for those who never have.
Now, I'll tell you what. I'm going
to go find another associate who
knows whether or not we have
pineapple corers. Because that's
the kind of person I am.
Without waiting for a response from her, he walks away.
Daniel is sitting in the designated SMOKING AREA covered
with plastic glass. He's sitting on a bench, smoking a
cigarette, with earbuds in his ears. He's staring out into
space, at the busy environment of PATRONS AND CUSTOMERS as
they go about their activities.


A YOUNG COUPLE walk by the smoking hut. Each partner is
holding the hand of their YOUNG DAUGHTER, who is in-between
the two. They are all laughing. As they pass Daniel, the
daughter looks back at him. He looks at her and gives a
small smile. The family keeps on walking. As he watches them
walk away, the anxiety, desperation, depression, and all the
other dark emotions he's been feeling for awhile now come to
the surface.
Daniel enters the meat room and grabs his WHITE COAT from a
nail in the wall right next to the door. Before he puts it
on, a BEEPING SOUND comes from the PHONE hanging up on the
other side of the door. A second later, a MALE VOICE is
heard from the phone's SPEAKER. The voice belongs to GREG,
the assistant store manager.
Is Dan there?
I'm here.
Could you come upstairs for a
Daniel hangs his coat back up on the nail and exits the meat
The camera follows Daniel as he walks through the store,
through the HALLWAY that leads UPSTAIRS, up the STAIRS, and
to the DOOR of the MANAGER'S OFFICE. He knocks on it as he
simultaneously opens it.


You wanted to see me?
Greg is sitting at a DESK a few feet from the door. He's
motioning to a SEAT on the other side of the desk.
Dan. Come in. Have a seat.
Daniel closes the door behind him and sits down.
How's everything going with you?
Not bad. Can't complain.
I hear you on that. Even if you
wanted to complain, no one would
They share a laugh.
Look, the reason I called you up
here is because there's been a
Really? Against me?
I didn't want to believe it
either, but yes. A customer, Linda
Knowlton, said you were
disrespectful to her.
What? Was she at least respectful
enough to be specific?
She claimed that you gave her lip
on not being appreciated and that
you don't need to expand your
horizons within the store, or
something to that nature.


Oh, that one? That's right.
Really? She found it necessary to
mention all of that, huh?
Hey, Dan, I don't want to be
having this conversation any more
than you do. Trust me. But if
you're disrespectful to the
customers, they have the right to
say something.
Right, but what if they're
disrespectful to me? What, am I
just supposed to take it? That's
not right.
Right or not, it's your
responsibility as a store
associate to be courteous and
respectful to the customer. It's
one of the company's core values.
I know that, and I appreciate it.
But what matters to me is whether
or not it's right. I have no
problem being nice to people. In
fact, I find it to be rather
simple. But once somebody decides
to treat me poorly, I feel no
obligation to do so.
A pause.
I'm afraid, then, that we've come
to a crossroads. You're a great
worker, Dan. I think you're a very
great guy. But you have to follow
the rules. They're there for a
reason. Either you accept that and
you adhere to them going forward,
or I'm afraid this will have to be
the end of our professional
So wait, you're firing me over
something this stupid person said,
without me even able to defend


                       DANIEL (cont'd)
It's not personal, Dan. Believe
me. I'll tell you what. Why don't
you have off the rest of the day?
I'll have Dennis clean up. In the
meantime, you make the decision of
whether or not you want to stay
on. How does that sound?
Yeah, maybe that's a good idea.
I'll have an answer for you soon.
He gets up and exits the office.
Daniel is sitting at the COUNTER of a quiet, small DINER.
The establishment is almost empty save for a few PATRONS in
booths that line the wall opposite the counter. A MAN IN HIS
EARLY 70S is the only other patron sitting at the counter.
He and Daniel are at opposite ends of the counter.

Daniel is drinking coffee out of a MUG. A SERVER on the
other side of the counter walks up to him with CARAFE in
You want more coffee, hon?
Yes, please. Thank you.
She pours the coffee, smiling as she does so.
You work at the supermarket across
the street, don't you?
Yes, I do. Meat department.
I thought I recognized you. You
just let me know if you need
anything else.
Thank you. I appreciate it.


She walks away. Daniel goes back to his newly filled cup of
coffee. The man at the other end of the counter, JOHN, is
looking at him.
He has himself a good setup over
Daniel pays no mind to the man, unaware that he's the
intended recipient of this random comment.
      (to Daniel)
Daniel looks over at him.
I'm sorry. You talking to me?
That store where you work,
Shopper's Peak. I'm a good friend
of the owner, Ken Norton. He's set
that place up real nice.
Oh yeah? Yeah, he comes in the
store a lot, making sure it's in
good working order. He's a good
John gets off his stool and walks down to the other end.
I've known Kenny since he was a
teenager. My family and his go way
back. How do like working at the
John sits down on the stool closest to Daniel, resting his
arm on the counter.
It's okay. It works for now, what
with my schedule and all.
Good, good.
Daniel finishes his cup of coffee. Seeing this, the server


Done already? Want more?
Please. Thank you.
She pours more coffee into his mug and then walks away.
You're going to run the place dry.
I hope you're not driving.
Beats booze, I suppose.
      (raising his own
I'll drink to that.
      (sips coffee)
Seriously though, son, you've been
sitting here for the last half
hour just drinking coffee. You
going to eat something?
Nope. I'm not really hungry.
Bad day, huh?
How could you tell?
I've had my share. I know the
telltale signs.
Well, it wasn't so much as bad as,
I would have to say, enlightening.
Mind if I ask what happened?
No, not at all. Let's just say
that something I've been trying to
hold onto for a long time...I had
a rude awakening, to put it


We all have those moments. How we
come back from them...that's what
really matters.
I know. In retrospect, I suppose
it wasn't really something I
haven't gone through already. I
always come back. It's just that
you're told to be yourself. But
that's never good enough.
John doesn't respond, so Daniel continues.
It doesn't matter in the end. Just
work stuff. Lack of appreciation.
Anger over the customer is always
right mentality. Same old song and
Well, that's different. When
you're working, you kind of have
to put yourself in the back seat
and put the organization first. If
you want to continue being
employed, of course.
I have no problem with that at
all. I have my ideals. I believe
that we all need to take a back
seat at certain times when looking
at the bigger picture. But I also
believe that people...we don't
know each other like we think we
do. And so when you go up to
someone, and you think you know
his or her life story, you go up
and you try to say what's what.
But you're wrong. You're dead
wrong. And you earn the right to
be told how wrong you are.
I'm sorry, son, but I don't think
I follow you.
It doesn't matter. I don't mean
what I say half the time anyway.
My mind changes in the blink of an


                       DANIEL (cont'd)
Well, let me tell you something.
What's your name, son?
I'm John. I should've introduced
myself before. My apologies.
That's not a problem at all.
You know what I used to do, Dan? I
used to own all of the car
dealerships up and down Route 31.
Yes. And let me tell you what I
learned along the way. Now this
may be something you don't want to
hear, but it's important that you
do. At least, I believe it is.
What's that?
You need to keep your opinions to
yourself. You're not important. No
one in his or her own right is
important. That's a determination
that can only be made by others.
Know that. Internalize it. Because
in order to get by in this world,
you need to swallow your pride.
You need to know how to deal with
every sort of person imaginable.
You need to be able to know when
to take the hits, as well as when
it's time to fire back. You're a
young man. No one cares about you.
No one takes you seriously. Build
the thick skin. Take the hits. In
time, you'll realize that I'm


                       JOHN (cont'd)
Daniel begins to laugh.
What is it?
Well, as you've clearly just
pointed out, it doesn't matter.
But if you must know, it's just
like I just said. On one hand,
your speech has been the tipping
point of my tolerance for other
people's opinions. But on the
other hand, I know that you're
right. You're right and I'm wrong,
and I absolutely can't stand it.
It's not about being right or
wrong, Dan. It's merely about how
to get along in life.
Daniel finishes his cup of coffee.
I know. Listen, all things
considered, I do want to thank
you. You actually took the time
out to help me, to help a
stranger. You didn't have to. I
was rude and undeserving of your
help. I won't forget it.
Dan, if we don't help each other,
then what's the point of any of
Daniel doesn't say anything, but merely contemplates this
Daniel knocks on the door again as he enters the office.
Greg is sitting at his desk.


Dan. What's going on, bud?
Everything alright?
Daniel takes the seat on the opposite side of Greg's desk.
I've done some thinking,
and...I'll stick around. Whatever
it takes.
I see. Well, I'm glad to hear
that. May I ask what made you
reach your decision?
Instinct, I guess. Doesn't matter
in the end, really.
I figured you'd come around.
You're too smart to choose
I appreciate that. Actually, I was
thinking of apologizing to the
customer personally, if that's at
all possible.
Who, Linda? Sure, I think that can
be arranged. That'd be a noble
step on your part.
I guess I've realized I can be a
bit harsh without meaning to be.
You're in luck. Turns out she's a
frequent customer. She volunteers
for a lot of the community
organizations that do business
with us. I do believe we have her
contact info in our database.
What, call her? Wouldn't that be a
little weird?


I don't think she'd mind. Let me
just go find her information and
we'll get right down to it.
Greg gets up from his desk and walks over to a nearby filing
cabinet. As he does this, Daniel looks at a PICTURE of Greg
and his WIFE AND DAUGHTER that's on his desk. After a
minute, Greg returns to his desk with a sheet of paper.
Here it is. I'm telling you, why
we don't have this handled
electronically is beyond me.
Greg picks up his PHONE and dials the number. After a few
seconds of ringing, he begins to speak.
      (into phone)
Hello, is this Linda Knowlton?
Yes, hi, this is Greg Byers,
assistant store manager at
Shopper's Peak. You spoke with me
earlier this afternoon. Do you
There is a pause as she responds.
Well, the reason I'm calling this
evening is because of that
employee that we spoke of. He's
sitting with me right now. He has
something to say to you that I
believe you would like to hear.
Okay, here he is.
Greg hands the receiver over to Daniel, who begins to speak
into it.
Hello, Linda. This is Daniel, from
the meat department.
                       LINDA (OS)
Hi, Daniel.
Listen, I just wanted to
apologize. I realize I'm not
always the easiest person to talk
to. I sometimes just come out with


                       DANIEL (cont'd)
whatever it is I want to say at
the time. But that's not your
problem. It's mine. I want to say
I'm sorry that you were on the
receiving end of that for no
reason at all.
                       LINDA (OS)
I appreciate that, Daniel. It
takes a lot to admit when you are
wrong. Believe me. I've been there
many times. I'll tell you what.
You come to my house right now,
apologize to me in person, and
I'll forgive you.
Daniel doesn't answer right away. Finally--
                       LINDA (OS)
Very good. I'll give you my
Daniel grabs a pen and piece of paper and writes down her
Okay, Linda, very good. I'll see
you soon.
He hands the receiver back to Greg, who then hangs up the
You'll be seeing her soon?
Yeah, turns out I'm going to her
house now.
You comfortable with that?
I've actually done stranger
things. But I'll tell you what.
You have her information on file.
If you don't hear back from me in
three hours, call the cops. Just
to be safe.


You got it. And Dan, good luck.
Daniel's car turns onto a street that runs through a
well-to-do NEIGHBORHOOD. The houses in this development can
easily run at least $1 million.
Daniel has the PIECE OF PAPER containing Linda's address in
one hand as he scans the neighborhood.
Wow. Would you look at this place?
Daniel's car continues to slowly make its way through the
neighborhood. He passes two WALKERS who watch his car as it
drives by. The car continues on until it reaches a--
The car slowly makes its way around the cul-de-sac, the
driver's side of the car facing inward.
Daniel looks from the paper to the NUMBERS ON THE MAILBOXES.
A look of realization appears on his face as he realizes
he's getting close. His gaze fixes on one location as--
--the car stops just past a mailbox. The LIGHTS turn off,
followed by the CAR'S ENGINE.
Daniel removes his seat belt, double checks the piece of
paper, then sets it down. He opens the door.


Daniel steps out onto the pavement and closes the door
behind him. He stands there for a few seconds, observing his
surroundings without emotion. After he's done looking
around, he begins to walk up the nicely paved driveway.
Daniel reaches the FRONT DOOR and rings the DOORBELL. He
observes the nice LANDSCAPING. The door opens. Linda is
standing there wearing a GREEN BATHROBE and holding a GLASS
Hey, Linda.
Well, look at you, handsome. I was
beginning to think you wouldn't
show up.
I try to be a man of my word. Now
that I'm here, I'd like to
sincerely apologize. I know it may
not seem like much, but I'm truly
Don't worry about it, hon. I
forgave you when you called
initially. Water under the bridge,
as they say. You want to come in?
There's a pause, then--
Okay, sure.
Linda stands aside and motions him in.
Daniel enters, and Linda closes the door after him. He
immediately starts looking around at the place.
You want a drink? I have beer,
wine. I think there's some bourbon
left, but not much.


Beer's fine. Thanks.
She leads the way and he follows her into the--
Linda goes to the REFRIGERATOR, opens it, and pulls out a
BOTTLE OF BEER. She twists off the CAP, throws it away in
the GARBAGE CAN, and hands Daniel the bottle.
Here you go.
Thank you.
      (takes a sip)
This is a really nice house. How
long have you lived here?
About 15 years. My husband's in
real estate. He's away on business
at the moment.
Oh, okay.
The two stand in silence for a bit, drinking there
respective beverages. Then--
You must think there's something
off about me, huh? We only just
met a few hours ago under, I'm
sure you'll agree, not the best of
terms. And here we are, sharing a
drink in my home while my
husband's away.
I'll admit that I didn't exactly
see my day taking this kind of
turn. Then again this whole day's
been one for the books. But I
wouldn't say there's anything off
about you, as you put it.
Your parents never told you not to
go into strangers' houses?


Oh, believe me, they did. I guess
I've just come to see it as, if we
never open ourselves to strangers,
we'd never have any friends.
I'd have to agree with you on
that. So, are you saying that
we're friends now?
I'd say more so now than a few
hours ago.
After another pause containing silence and more drinking,
Linda turns to head to the GLASS DOOR leading outside.
Let's head out back.
At first hesitant, Daniel decides to follow her through the
open doorway.
The two are now walking along a RAISED PATIO. Daniel admires
the LAWN AND PATIO DECORATIONS, including a built-in STONE
This is really a nice setup you
have back here. I like the stones
you used.
Blue stone. Wait until you see the
pool up close.
The two walk out onto the lawn and onto a STONE SIDEWALK
that leads further back.
Is it one of those pools that gets
deeper as it goes along?
Yes. I try my best to get my laps
in everyday in the summer. It
helps to keep me in shape.


As they reach the pool, Linda rests her glass of wine along
the edge, sits down, then places her feet in the WATER.
Want to soak your feet? My husband
and I do this every night, with
drinks in our hands, nothing but
the cool water and beautiful
sunsets. And no problems. That's
the big thing. The most important
Daniel removes his SHOES AND SOCKS, places his beer along
the pool's edge, and sits down, placing his feet in the
It's a little chilly.
You just have to get used to it.
Drinking in silence, the two look out at the revealing
Wow, you're right. Look at that
You hear that? Quiet. Just
absolute quiet. It's like this
where I live, too.
Where's that, if you don't mind me
Not too far from here. About 15-20
minutes south.
Listen to you, all technical.


I like living rural. I love the
quiet. I just hope I can continue
to live that way down the road.
Why couldn't you?
I don't know.
May I ask why you got so upset
with me this afternoon?
I don't know. I didn't know you at
the time, and I guess I just
figured you didn't know me. The
way I saw it, you had no right
trying to give me life lessons.
I'm sorry to say it, but that's
just how I tend to look at things.
Nowadays, at least.
No, you're right. I do that a lot.
I guess when I see someone
struggling, I feel the need to
help them. It's the humanitarian
in me.
There's nothing wrong with that. I
guess I'm just tired of where I
am, you know? But then I remember
that it can always be worse. A lot
worse, in fact.
Yes, it can be. I remind myself of
that truth every day. I didn't
always have this glamorous-looking
life, if you can believe it.
Yeah. I have faith that you'll get
to where you're going, though. You
seem to have a good head on your
shoulders. And you're good with


                       LINDA (cont'd)
people, so you'll do just fine.
Thank you. I really appreciate
How's your beer? You all finished?
Just about.
Daniel finishes what's left of his beer.
You want another one?
I appreciate it, but I should
probably go. And if I know
anything about neighbors, they'll
be interested in why a young man
walked into your house.
They're nice people. But I want to
thank you again for coming by. It
really meant a lot.
Of course. Thank you for the beer
and the conversation. I'm sure
we'll see each other again soon,
probably in the store.
He stands up and grabs his shoes and socks.
You bet. Have a good night. And
you can leave the bottle. I'll
take care of it.
Thank you. You have a good night
as well.
Daniel gives one last look in her direction as he begins to
walk away.


Daniel is standing against his car, each hand filled with a
cup of coffee and cigarette, respectively. The parking lot
is busy with CARS parked all over the place. Daniel is

An individual approaches him. It's the KID from the first
scene. Still in the same clothes he was wearing before.
Yo, man. Funny seeing you here.
You got an extra cigarette I can
Daniel doesn't answer right away. He just stares at the kid.
No. I don't.
No problem, man. Thanks anyway.
He walks away.

Daniel goes back to contemplating, drinking coffee, and
smoking. After a few seconds,
Life truly is an interesting
He smiles.


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