The Line: Tales from the UNO testing site

Will Provosty

Tulane University School of Medicine, MS3

May 13, 2020

New Orleans, Louisiana


[Car pulls up, two women in the car - driver and passenger. Driver wearing workout clothing, passenger in jeans and a t-shirt.]


PAN OUT, VIEW OF LONG SNAKE LINE OF CARS. AT LEAST 50 BUT LINE CONTINUES OUT OF CAMERA VIEW.


CAMERA MOVES DOWN TOWARD FRONT WINDSHIELD. CUT TO WIDE SHOT INSIDE CAR OF BOTH PASSENGERS.


DRIVER

Why’s it gotta be 80 degrees on a Sunday, don’t the lord know we gotta get tested? Driver leans forward to turn up AC. Passenger quickly swats driver’s hand.


PASSENGER

Just roll the windows down.


DRIVER

Fine.

Driver rolls down window.


DRIVER

You know my cousin had it.


PASSENGER

How do you know?


DRIVER

He got tested. Same place too. He had to wait five hours.


PASSENGER

Lord help me if I’m stuck in this line for five hours. It’s already been two.


DRIVER

He’s young though. You know who isn’t young? Me, and I was with him last weekend.


[Volunteer walks by, leans over and hands two masks to the people in the car.]


VOLUNTEER

If you wouldn’t mind please wear these. We are asking that all cars have their windows up until they reach the triage tent. Thank you.


[Volunteer walks away. Woman rolls up both windows. Women sit in silence for a few moments. Beads of sweat begin to appear on each of their faces.]


PASSENGER

The boy in that space suit must have been 15, what’s he doing out here?


DRIVER

Somebody’s gotta do it. I just want to get tested and get out of here. I haven’t had my breakfast yet and if I’m not home before 12 you know Mark will have eaten all the left overs.


PASSENGER

What symptoms did he have?


DRIVER

What?


PASSENGER

Your cousin, what symptoms did he have?


DRIVER

I think it was a fever but I’m not for sure because everyone knows his momma tells a good story.


[Passenger looks at the window.]


PASSENGER

It’s getting real hot in here. Turn it up just a little.


DRIVER

Oh now you want the AC on huh?


PASSENGER

They can’t test us if we’ve melted to the seat.


DRIVER

Don’t worry so much, I’ve still got my job at Rouse’s and you KNOW that place isn’t shutting down. Todd isn’t even making us wear masks.


PASSENGER

Pff Todd.... (spoken simultaneously as driver mentions Todd)


[Passenger continues to look out window, though makes a slight turn towards the driver.]


PASSENGER

They said it was just for a week, I’ll be back to work in a few days. I have to be.


[Passenger sits in silence. Driver wipes sweat off of her forehead with her shirt. Driver leans forward and turns up ac.]


DRIVER

Ahhh, thank the lord.


[Driver turns and smiles to passenger, passenger turns and smiles back.]


DRIVER

It’s fine, shouldn’t be too much longer we are almost to the tent. Why did you want to come so badly today? You never said.


PASSENGER

It’s just my mom.


[Expression leaves passenger’s face. She turns again to face the window.]


DRIVER

Oh. (beat) Yea, ya know I’m sure y’all will be fine. You just have to stay home that what the mayor says. She’s healthy too right?


PASSENGER

She’s an 86 year old with diabetes.


DRIVER

It’s gonna be fine... No one you know even has it.


[Passenger leans further away from driver. Camera angle changes to outside the passengers window. Tears begin to form from in her eyes. The car engine starts and pulls forward. Passenger quickly wipes tears from her eyes so that driver does not see. Passenger turns to face forward.]


PASSENGER

Let’s get you home to some food. You made pork chops last night too, huh? Mark better have saved me one or lord knows I’m gon’ whoop his ass.

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