Competition

EXT. OUTSIDE OF INDIAN RESTAURANT(S)- NIGHT
Three friends in their early 20s, MIKE, SARAH, and LIZZY,
are gathered together outside of three different Indian
restaurants that occupy the same building. Two are up a set
of stairs and one is downstairs. They are all competing for
customers. Each restaurant has overwhelming flashing neon
lights and one representative standing in the doorway,
wearing a baggy suit and sporting a thick Indian accent.
MIKE
 (on the phone)
Sounds good! See you in a minute.
Happy birthday, man!
Mike hangs up the phone.
LIZZY
What’d he say?
MIKE
He said we should grab a table.
He’ll be here soon.
MAN 1
 (to the group)
You want to see a menu?
MAN 2
We have best food.

MAN 3
You come to my restaurant? Very good!
 SARAH
(to her friends)
Which one did Jamie want us to meet
at?
MIKE
Shit... I don’t know. I thought
they were all the same. I guess
I’ll text him.
Mike pulls his phone back out and begins texting.
MAN 1
You come to my restaurant. No wait.
We seat you now!
MAN 2
We seat you now too: our food much better. 
LIZZY
We’re actually waiting for a fri--
MAN 3
We seat you now and give you free drinks! 
SARAH
That actually sounds pretty good...
MAN 1
We give you free drinks too! Our
music much better.
MIKE
 (reading from phone)
Ugh, he says he doesn’t care. I
guess it’s up to us...
All three representatives perk up at the opportunity and
take a predatory step closer towards the group.
MAN 2
Look! We have more lights!
He flips a switch and the neon lights now begin to flash
chaotically. An epileptic’s nightmare.
MAN 3
Our lights are brighter!
He too flips a switch and the lights become blindingly
bright.
MAN 1
Our electric bill is higher! We pay
ConEd hundreds!
MIKE
I don’t know how much that factors
into our decision...
MAN 3
You eat here, your meal comes with
free dessert.
LIZZY
Aww, that might be nice for Jamie’s
birthday.
MAN 1
You eat here, your meal comes with
free massage.

Man 2
You eat here, your meal comes with 
free trip to India.
SARAH
That’s certainly authentic...
MAN 1
You choose my restaurant; 
entertainment much better.
He takes beanbags out of his pocket and begins to juggle.
MIKE
That’s pretty impressive.
 
Man 3 reaches behind the door and pulls out a basket and a
recorder. He begins snake charming.
LIZZY 
Woah! 
Man 2 goes inside for a moment and returns with a large
sword which he begins to swallow.
SARAH
Holy shit.
MAN 1
We give you discount!
MAN 2
I let you borrow my car!
MAN 3
I give you my son.
A small boy comes out of the restaurant, also wearing an
ill-fitting suit. He apprehensively holds his father’s hand.

LIZZY
Aww!

MIKE
Wait, what?!
LIZZY
He’s so cute! How old is he?
MAN 3
Five years old. Say hi, Aarav.
AARAV
 (waving shyly)
You are my dad now? Please, dad,
come to eat at this restaurant.
MAN 2
I have son too! Only three years. 
Much younger. You come here?
Aarav scampers off.
MIKE
This is getting really ridiculous...
MAN 1
You come here, we give you puppy--
MAN 2
 (interrupting)
You come here, we give you lifetime
supply of Fanta Orange Soda--
MAN 3
You come here, we give you free healthcare! 
MAN 1
I sing for you?
He begins to warm up.
MAN 2
I dance for you!
He busts a move.
MAN 3
I sacrifice myself for you!
He lights himself on fire. Off-screen screams followed by
silence. Everyone is shocked. Long beat.
JAMIE
 (panting)
Hey guys! Sorry I’m late.
He looks around, slowly picking up on the weird atmosphere.
After another long beat--

JAMIE CONT’D
Uh, you guys wanna get Chinese?