“The Little Things”
a short Joe Pitt comic
by Bill Simmon
Author’s note: This is a 10-page comic script I wrote a few years ago based on an old role-playing game character I created in the 90s. This story is a companion piece to Disturbance at 124 Sycamore, which is a story I wrote back in 2014 featuring the same character.
PAGE 1 (5 panels)
Long horizontal rectangle stretching across the top of the page. Image of a diner at night from outside looking in, perhaps referencing the famous Hopper painting. In the window we can see only a couple of customers, a waitress, a fry cook. Outside it’s raining. The neon and fluorescent glow of the diner is a stark contrast to the gloomy, rainy night.
“THE LITTLE THINGS”
WRITTEN BY BILL SIMMON
Layout note: the following 4 panels will form a roughly even grid below the top panel.
EXT. CU on a salt shaker and part of a ketchup bottle on a diner table. Other items may also be partially in view: plate with a burger and fries, a cup of black coffee, a zippo lighter, napkin dispenser, diner menu, Half finished crossword puzzle and a stubby pencil, etc.
CAPTION: “It’s the little things…” Who said that? Someone famous. Damn right. Little things.
Captions note: All of the captions in this story should appear as hand- written script on torn pieces of lined yellow legal paper, as though we are seeing torn-out remnants of Pitt’s journal.
Angle on Pitt. He’s sitting, crunched into a diner booth by the window, facing the front door. He is a large man — thick — who appears to be in his mid 40s. Square jaw, stubble, short, dark hair, flecked with grey. He wears a trench coat and fedora hat. Under his open coat, we can see he’s also wearing a shirt and tie. He could be a detective out of a 1940s pulp novel. Pitt’s eyes remain in the shadow of his fedora.
Pit is holding his burger, which is large and greasy and oozing toppings and cheese. He is looking at it. Considering it.
CAPTION: Like a nice rare burger. In my old life I used to like my burgers well done. Now I have a thing for rare meat. Really rare. I haven’t brought myself to actually chow down on a raw steak — I guess cuz I’d look ridiculous doing it — but I wouldn’t put it past me.
Profile CU of Pitt as he takes an enormous bite of the cheeseburger. The rain pelts the diner window next to him.
CAPTION: My taster is all weird now. Things I used to love — ice cream, beer, potato salad — it’s like I can’t taste that stuff anymore. Not like this burger. This I can taste.
High angle, looking down on a cup of black coffee in front of Pitt.
CAPTION: And coffee. Black coffee.
PAGE 2 (5 panels)
CU of Pitt as he sips from his coffee cup, his mouth stained from the burger.
CAPTION: Jesus, I wish I could smoke.
A view of the diner from over Pitt’s shoulder. His coffee is still in his hand. We can see another patron reading a newspaper and the fry cook behind the counter working. The front door is in the distance.
CAPTION: Sometime in the last 50 years some knucklehead passed a law that says you can’t smoke in restaurants in this city. Smoking while you drink your coffee is a human right. It’s in the god damned Constitution. Or it oughta be.
These are all in a row and feature Pitt fidgeting with his Zippo. Panel 3 can be a MCU of Pitt from table-height as he flicks the Zippo open. Panel 4 is a bit tighter on the lighter as he flips it closed. Panel 5 is very tight on the lighter as he flips it open again.
SFX: FLICK, CHUNK, FLICK
CAPTIONS: The feeling of my Luckys in my shirt pocket is comforting. Knowing I’m just half a burger away from taking this coffee to-go and having my real meal out on the sidewalk. That’ll be nice. Coffee and cigarette out in the rain like some goddamned hobo.
PAGE 3 (5 panels)
Layout note: Each of these panels is a long, horizontal rectangle across the page.
Angle on the FRY COOK as he places a plate on the counter.
Fry cook: ORDER UP!
CAPTION: I like it here. It’s my routine. Gotta have a routine.
Angle on Pitt as he considers his burger in his hands.
CAPTION: It’s comforting to know the cook knows how you like your burger. It feels like home — the same booth…
Shot of another patron sipping a milkshake.
CAPTION: same tastes…
Shot of burgers frying on the grill SFX: SIZZLE
CAPTION: same sounds…
CU of the WAITRESS as she pushes her hair back behind her ear. We see her in profile. She’s young, thin, with dark hair, a long neck and delicate features. She fairly glows.
CAPTION: …same sights.
PAGE 4 (6 panels)
We see over Pitt’s shoulder as he watches the waitress. She is behind the counter ringing out a customer at the register.
Angle on Pitt as he silently watches. We see his eyes now for the first time. He looks lonely, wistful. He dabs his mouth with his napkin.
CU of waitress from Pitt’s POV. She is smiling.
Waitress: Have a good night, Barney.
EXT. CU of the bells above the front door ringing as the door opens.
CU of Pitt’s eyes as they track right to the door.
Angle on the front door as TOMMY comes in. He’s in his 20s. Tattoos, piercings, a few scars, junky-thin. Clothes are rough. Circles under his eyes.
Tommy: Hey babe.
PAGE 5 (5 panels)
Layout note: Interspersed with these panels can be a couple of shots of Pitt looking on silently. Maybe taking a sip of coffee nonchalantly.
PANEL 1 (across top of page)
Pitt’s POV: Tommy is at the register. Waitress looks upset.
Waitress: Tommy, whatr’r you doin’ here?
Tommy: What? Can’t I come visit my girl at work?
Waitress: I ain’t your girl no more. We talked about…
Angle on Tommy. He slams his hand down on the counter hard.
Tommy: You talked about it. I didn’t agree to shit!
Angle on the fry cook who cautiously approaches.
Fry cook: Hey Tommy, c’mon. This isn’t the place for this.
Profile of Tommy, who has drawn his blade and is pointing it at the fry cook.
Tommy: You stay out of this, grease monkey. This is between me and her.
PANEL 5 (across bottom of page)
Pitt’s POV: Waitress opens the register and holds out some cash.
Waitress: Tommy, just take some of my tip money. You can pay me back later. Just go, alright? I’ll meet you later.
PAGE 6 (6 panels)
Angle on Tommy. He takes the money from the waitress. He looks calmer.
Tommy: yeah, okay. I’ma be out late. I come by your place later, you better be there, you here?
Angle on Waitress. Tears are welling up.
Waitress: Okay, Tommy. Whatever you say. I’ll see ya later.
CU of the bells above the front door ringing as Tommy exits.
CU of Pitt watching the door.
CU of the waitress putting her face in her hands and sobbing.
CU of Pitt’s eyes as they turn to observe the waitress.
PAGE 7 (3 panels)
EXT. CU of a $20 bill being placed on a $7 check for a burger and coffee.
2-shot of the Fry cook and waitress behind the counter. The Waitress is holding her face in her hand. The fry cook is reaching out to her, trying to comfort her. Pitt is entering the frame as he steps away from his booth.
Fry cook: Shelly. Can I… is there anything I can…
Same shot as above except this time Pitt is on the other side of the frame, exiting, tipping his hat as he passes. The fry cook looks put off.
Waitress: Just fuck off, Drew.
PAGE 8 (5 panels)
PANEL 1 (across top of page)
Low angle on Pitt. He is standing outside of the diner now in the rain. He’s grabbing his pack of Luckys.
CAPTION: When you have a routine, you get used to things.
Layout note: Panels 2–4 are in a row and depict a single street scene. Panel 2 shows the left side of the street, panel 4 shows the right side. Pitt will cross through each panel as he crosses the street.
Profile on Pitt as he strides across the street, packing his Luckys in his hand
SFX: PACK PACK
CAPTION: You get to know your surroundings.
Pitt continues to walk. Now he has drawn out a cigarette from the pack.
CAPTION: You get to know your neighbors.
On the far side of the street, under an awning, is a group of young thugs huddled together. Tommy is among them. Pitt approaches. Now the cigarette is in his mouth.
CAPTION: You get to know where they spend their time…
PANEL 5 (across bottom of page)
The group of thugs are buying and selling drugs. Tommy is there, spending the waitress’ money on meth. We see Pitt as he is passing Tommy. His shoulder knocks Tommy hard and drugs and money go flying.
Tommy: ‘da fuck?
PAGE 9 (5 panels, all long horizontals across the page)
Close on Pitt’s face as he strides away from the scene. Over his shoulder, Tommy is wielding his blade and furious. He seethes at Pitt.
Tommy: Watch where the fuck you’re going, old man!
Low angle from behind Tommy as he lunges forward, knife in hand, ready to gut Pitt. Pitt spins to face him.
2-shot of Pitt and Tommy. Pitt has grabbed Tommy’s knife-arm and is pulling him in close. The knife is falling limply from Tommy’s hand. Pitt’s eyes are glowing with the fires of Hell.
Pitt pulls Tommy very close now so their faces are inches apart. Pitt stares into Tommy’s now-terrified eyes.
CAPTION: …and you get to know what they’re afraid of.
Pitt has spun away from Tommy and begun to walk away. Tommy falls to his knees, ashen faced.
Tommy: Oh god!
PAGE 10 (3 panels)
Tommy is tearing at his own flesh. Scratching and clawing. His friends are backing away from him in fear.
Tommy: Oh god, get ’em offa me. Jesus. Get ’em offa me!
Angle on Pitt’s face as he strides away — the horrible scene in the distance behind him. He is lighting his Lucky with his Zippo.
Tommy: OMG, etc.
Same shot as above but Pitt is farther from the scene now and he’s exhaling cigarette smoke.
CAPTION: It’s the little things.