The Impossible Choice - that won't wait

The Impossible Choice - that won't wait.
Original script by Jon Teger

Uri and Dimitri are Ukrainian refugees struggling to survive in a war-torn, factory region occupied by Russian forces. Their plan to steal food and medicine to save their families is successful. But in the process, Uri gets careless. The men are seen, and chased by the authorities and their dogs. While fleeing with the stolen supplies, Uri is badly wounded by a stray bullet, meant only to scare them.

The scene begins after the men have stopped to catch their breath - deep inside an old, underground drain pipe, just beneath a manufacturing plant. It is getting dark. Uri is bleeding, and time is running out. They must decide on their next move. Should they stay hidden long enough to chance evading the police, yet perhaps risking Uri’s life – or leave sooner with a wounded and slowly moving Uri, and risk being caught or killed before reaching their destination.

[Low tone rumbles can be heard in the background, emanating from the industrial zone looming above where they are hiding. The Police and their dogs are closing in.]

Dimitri: [breathing heavily] Uri… sit here. Quickly! Put your hand on the wound, it should slow the bleeding. [angry] WHAT … what were you thinking?

Uri: [Groans / coughs.] I am sorry Dimitri. That was stupid of me to not wait longer. I am so hungry, I got careless.

Dimitri: Stop it. I am sorry Uri. Apologies won’t us right now. Yes, you are hungry… we are BOTH hungry. [chuckle] Fortunately… it is only YOU who are stupid. [laughs]

Uri: [laughs followed by more groans] What are we going to do? I am hurt very badly.

Dimitri: [heavy sigh] I don’t know. I… But we can’t stay here too long. You will die.

Uri: But Dimitri… if… we get caught and go to prison… we will BOTH die. You know what happened to Pashka. He did not last a week in that place.

Dimitri: Yes… our dear friend Pashka. He was too kind and peaceful to stay alive for very long in that… HELL.

[chuckle] YOU, on the other hand… could possibly last a YEAR or more. [laughs]

Uri: This is not funny, Dimitri! I know you are trying to get me to forget my pain… but time is not on our side. We MUST… CHOOSE… NOW!

Dimitri: Yes… AND, what does URI suggest, eh? Well… it IS YOUR life that hangs in the balance, my wounded comrade. And I suppose… wisdom, does favor the desperate man.

Uri: You won’t like what I say.

Dimitri: Try me! I think you know that if I am troubled by what I hear, [chuckle] I will not keep my feelings a secret. Though, I promise not to punch you this time.

Uri: [muted, strained chuckle] Thank you, my friend… for making me smile. You have always… given me that. THIS is what I have to say; YOU must leave… by yourself. I will only slow you down… It is the only way.

Dimitri: [interrupts / dismissive] … You know that I cannot do this! This wound has simply made you crazier than normal. Ok? Now… tell me something… not so crazy.

Uri: You have no choice, Dimitri… WE have no choice. Because without this bag of food… and the medicine… our families will starve! Our children will only get sicker by the day. You know this is true.

Dimitri: Maybe the police will not find us. They are not so smart either, you know.

Uri: ...Dimitri, do you not hear the dogs? They WILL find us… soon. And know this, my friend. Dogs have always liked ME better [laugh / cough]. So when they arrive, they will chew YOU up first, and I would have to sit here listening to your stupid screams… [laugh]

Dimitri: [laughs] Yes Uri… and I could never give you that satisfaction. I… I just don’t think…

Uri: [forcefully /almost angry] GO… NOW! And don’t look back Dimitri. Please? Just look forward to our families and our children. And… tell them not to worry. I… I am at peace knowing that their bellies are full… and in my final hours, I could help to keep them safe and warm. Now leave, my friend, before I change my mind… and call the dogs myself. [chuckle /groan]

Dimitri: Uri… I… I will not forget you. There are very few men such as you, old friend… who have lived long enough to find my respect. I am just sorry, Uri… that I could not have done more… to find yours. Goodbye Uri. [walks away slowly]

Uri: Goodbye Dimitri. And thank you, my dearest friend, for not punching me…
[chuckle / groan]

[As Dimitri escapes, the dogs close in on Uri - and the scene fades to black]