THE SALAD TRUCK
Twelve-page one-off comic script.
Written by David Tulloch
This story is set in a near-future Green utopia where a teenage boy trying to impress a girl finds himself up against the Green utopian principles that he's grown up with.
The panel breakdowns are just suggestions. Feel free to play with the panel divisions and page layouts.
Billy, our hero, hears something while sitting in his room. From outside there are chimes playing, like the chimes of an ice cream truck playing 'Greensleeves'. Billy is about sixteen, average boy. He dresses plainly, as do all the children in this story, in natural dyed hemp clothing. His room is minimalist, with little in the way of materialism or consumerism, but there are a few band posters and other acts of self-expression. There's also a poster with the phrase "Everyone must make sacrifices for a Healthy Society". This phrase will crop up over and over. It is the popular slogan of the Green government that is running the society.
(Chimes still playing from outside): "daa da da da-da da da daa ... "
Billy running out the room ...
(Chimes still playing from outside): "da-da daa da da ..."
... and Billy running out his front door toward ...
(Chimes still playing from outside): "da-da daa da da ... "
... The Salad Truck. The Salad Truck is this future's ice cream truck. It fills the same niche. On warm days the Salad Truck drives around the green suburban streets with its chimes playing to attract the middle-class children to come out and spend their pocket money on a nice cooling and refreshing snack. So imagine an ice cream truck with all the dessert imagery replaced with vegetables. Maybe a giant rotating Tomato on the top? Sticks of celery painted at the corners? A happy, singing lettuce? Go nuts (warning, may contain nuts).
This title frame should show Billy slowing his run as he realizes he will not make it to the front of the queue anytime soon. There is already a crowd of local kids, most of them younger than Billy, gathered in front of the Salad Truck. The truck itself should be the focus of the panel.
See the panel descriptions below for the kinds of neighborhood kids. I feel I've burdened you with enough description for one panel.
Billy waits, somewhat impatiently, at the back of the queue behind the younger kids. The Salad Truck man serves out salads to the kids as they order. He has a uniform with a silly hat, and a forced smile.
Near the front of the queue are two twins who are arguing. Behind them is a young girl who is trying to act all important and grown-up by saying 'bad' words, and a few others who don't get to say anything.
Twin1: "The Waldorf is the best."
Twin2: "Are you crazy? The Bean is awesome."
Little Girl: "Bean makes you fart."
The twins hold up the line. The little girl rabbiting on to no-one in particular. Billy getting anxious as he waits impatiently.
Twin1: "I'm not sharing a Bean."
Twin2: "Well, I'm not sharing a Waldorf."
Little Girl: "I'm going to have a Green with extra dressing."
Billy: "Just get both."
Twin1: "We don't have enough for both."
Little Girl: "Lots of extra dressing."
Billy: "Here, how much do you need?"
Twin1: "Just fifty cents."
Twin2: "Thanks, Billy."
Billy finally makes it to the Salad truck. He is the final customer for this stop, but he is nervous because he's not actually here for salad.
Nervous Billy trying to say a code phrase.
Salad Truck man: "What can I get you?"
Billy: "Um ... a, err, ... a Salad Nicoise."
The Salad Truck man looks closely at Billy, as Billy didn't quite say the code phrase.
Salad Truck man: "That's not on the menu, kid."
Billy remembers the extra code words.
Billy: "Oh ... with extra croutons. A Salad Nicoise with extra croutons."
Salad Truck man: "Okay, kid. You got the money?"
Billy piling a large amount of money in folded, crumpled, sweaty notes.
Billy: "Sure, sure. I've got it all."
The Salad Truck man's hand taking the money across the counter, while his other hand pushes/holds a small paper bag that contains some illegal items. The hands should be in that almost cliched drug-deal position, of making sure you have a firm grip on the cash, while only just giving up the baggy.
However, it's not what you might think. I won't say what here, so you'll have to read ahead, but the illegal substance is a little odd.
Billy: "Sorry, the notes are all a bit ... damp."
Salad Truck man: "No problem, kid ... "
The Salad Truck man smiling, Billy looking with awe at the little paper bag he has just purchased.
Salad Truck man: " ... everyone must make sacrifices for a Healthy Society."
Billy's house in the evening. The passage of time suggested by the change in light. Speech bubbles from the house.
(from house): "Where are you off to?"
(from house): "To Joe's. He's got a new game."
Billy going out the door to his house into the evening. A voice from inside the house, and Billy turns his head to reply. Billy does not have a coat.
(from inside): "Okay. But take a coat. It's getting cold."
Billy: "I've got one."
Billy walking on, not replying to one last comment from within.
(from house): "And don't be late."
Billy walking down the street.
Billy's hand in his pocket, pulling out the little bag just a little.
Billy smiling in close up as he walks on.
Billy arrives at a house that is having a party. Lots of kids around his age. No adults.
Billy is greeted by a friend, but he pays little attention.
Freind: "Billy! You made it."
Billy: "Yeah. Is Laurie here?"
Friend: "Haven't seen her. You bring anything good?"
Friend: "Maybe? What does that mean?"
Billy: "I have to find Laurie."
Billy wanders off into the party.
Friend: "Okay, okay. Jeez."
Billy wandering through the party, looking for a specific someone. There are kids talking with each other, but none are smoking or drinking.
Billy finds Laurie sitting in a 'sharing circle' of other kids and joins in.
A girl glimpsed through the bodies of others ... this is Laurie. She is sitting on the floor with some other kids in a 'sharing circle'; a concept that will be explained as we go.
We can see the circle of kids a bit better now, as Billy moves closer. One of the kids, a boy called Philip, is holding a clove cigarette. Yup, this is a world where a clove cigarette is top-notch contraband.
Laurie: "Hey Billy. Come join us."
Philip, the boy holding the clove cigarette, offers it to Billy, who has sat down near him.
Philip: "Want a drag?"
Billy: "What is it?"
Philip acts all cool and knowedgable.
Philip: "A cigarette, green arse."
Billy: "I know, but what kind?"
A girl further round in the circle speaks up.
Clove girl: "It's one of grandmother's. It's clove."
Clove girl: "She's got a special prescription. She was addicted to tobacco in the old days and they say she never got over the physiological something or other."
Billy is now holding the clove.
Billy: "Won't she miss them?"
Clove girl: "Nah. She's got packets and packets. She won't miss one."
The clove girl makes a joke using the standard phrase of this green utopian society. The kids all laugh.
Clove girl: "Besides, everyone must make sacrifices for a Healthy Society."
Happy kids sharing the clove in their circle, which is dwindling fast.
The clove is now all gone.
Laurie: "What'll we do now?"
Philip: "I've got some alcohol."
The previous statement has really impressed the circle. They all look impressed, and Philip looks proud.
Clove girl: "Really?"
Philip is holding up a prescription bottle full of liquid. It's not a large bottle, and this is going to lead to some disappointment in the following frames. The prescription bottle label can be readable if you like. Something natural, but not homeopathic.
Philip: "Elderflower wine. My uncle still makes it sometimes. I sneaked a little out in an empty medicine bottle."
Philip holding up the small bottle. Some of the circle voicing concern for the amount.
Laurie: "There's not much."
Other: "How're we gonna divide it?"
Series of small frames to end the page. Philip is looking a bit angry. He has unscrewed the lid and is holding it up to his mouth.
Philip: "This is too good for you losers."
Philip gulps is down in one go.
Philip tries to act cool, but fails.
Philip: "Ahhh, sweet ... (hack, choke)"
Philip coughs and chokes.
Philip: (hack, cough).
Laurie and Billy walking through the party together. You can have all sorts of seemingly innocent activities in the background if you like. Kids eating fatty foods, or playing with something plastic, or anything that would be illegal in a strict Green society.
Billy is guiding Laurie through the party, heading for a door. He's taking her outside to be alone.
Billy: "Served him right, choking like that."
Laurie: "Thanks for coming."
Billy: "Thanks for inviting me."
Laurie makes a comment that Billy takes badly. He looks crestfallen.
Laurie: "Well, Nells said to invite everyone."
Laurie takes pity on him, and smiles ...
Laurie: "I didn't mean it like that, silly Billy."
Laurie kisses him.
Billy is all perked up now.
Billy: "I've got something to show you."
Start with a panel of the night sky. Lots of stars.
(from off panel, below): "My Dad says that when he was young you couldn't see as many stars."
Laurie and Billy looking up at the sky while standing outside the party house.
Laurie: "'Cause of the pollution and wasteful city lights?"
We can see that they are holding hands.
Laurie: "What do you think it was like then?"
Billy: "I dunno. Same as now, but just dirtier I guess. Less regulated."
Billy is building up to his big reveal.
Billy: "Did you bring anything tonight?"
Laurie: "Nah, I couldn’t pinch anything off the olds. Did you?"
Billy presents the open baggie for Laurie to see. The bag is full of ...
Billy: "Sure did."
Laurie: "Wow! Are those what I think they are?"
... Jellybeans. Close up of the bag contents
"Yup. Jellybeans. Twenty five of them. Do you want one?"
Laurie all excited.
"Hell yeah! But shouldn’t we share them with the others."
Billy: "I dunno. I mean, after what Philip did ... "
Billy has a plan ...
Billy: "I was thinking we could just share them between us."
Laurie also has a plan. She leads him by the hand.
Laurie: "I know where we can go."
Laurie and Billy at a children's playground with an adventure fort/climbing area.
Laurie leading Billy to a vertical ladder part of the adventure fort.
Laurie: "I saw it on the way over. I used to play here when I was a little kid."
Laurie climbing the ladder ahead of Billy, who watches her intently.
Billy climbing up after her.
(from above): "I hear the black ones are the best."
Billy and Laurie together at the top of the kid's playground fort. Billy looking through the baggie.
Billy: "There's only one black one. You better have it."
Laurie: "I have an idea."
Laurie placing the black jelly between between her teeth.
Laurie pulling Billy in for a kiss ...
Their mouths lock together ... Billy's eyes wide.
Billy closing his eyes in the kiss.
A black frame with a speech bubble.
(unknown): "Wake up!"
The fuzzy vision as Billy opens his sleepy eyes. He has a sugar hangover. Billy's little brother is trying to wake him up. We are back in Billy's room the next morning.
Brother: "Wake up, Billy!"
Billy gets himself dressed, picking up a tee-shirt from the floor, pulling on some jeans ... looking at himself in the mirror, combing his hair with his hands .... while his little brother hassles him. Make sure the poster with the slogan is at least partially visible in some panels.
Brother: "Dad's waiting for you downstairs."
"Did I forget to turn the compost again?"
Billy has a bad taste in his mouth and a headache.
Brother: "He's lost fifty dollars ... grilled me for half an hour last night ... now it's your turn. And they both want to know where you were last night."
Billy: "I was at Joe's."
Brother: "No you weren't. Dad called them."
"You took the fifty, didn't you? And from the look of it you were doing something bad last night."
"You've already been in trouble this month. They'll send you for re-ed if you're not careful."
Billy: "You know something, little brother. I don't care ... "
" ... Everyone has to make sacrifices for a Healthy Society."