Take the Mass Pike

(The episode starts with ZOE driving on the mass pike. She has music playing and sings along with the radio as she drives. The atmosphere is casual and comfortable as she goes.)

GPS

Stay on Route 90 West for eight miles. 

ZOE

Can do! 

(The car revs as she speeds up and closes her windows.)

ZOE

Yessss…oh sweet freedom, blessed release from that AWFUL JOB!

(She laughs gleefully.)

ZOE 

Alright…next exit I’ll hop off and grab some gas and lunch. Then forty minutes until home and my own bed! 

(The song fades out into another, more depressing song.

ZOE

Nope, not that song! Nothing but happiness and the open road here! 

(The phone cuts out with a loud zapping noise.)

ZOE

What the FUCK!

(She’s driving in a staticky fog that disappears almost immediately. ZOE wrenches the car over to the breakdown lane and puts it in park.)

ZOE (stressed)

Oh my god, oh my god, did my car just get struck by lightning or something? 

(She pulls her phone off the holder and it burns her with a quick sizzle)

ZOE

AHH!

(She drops the phone.)

ZOE 

My phone is completely fried. 

(She groans and falls back in the seat.)

ZOE

Damn it. Oh well, at least my car is running fine. I’ll just…I’ll just head home and figure it out there. 

(She puts the car in drive and pulls back onto the highway as the scene fades out still with some crackle.)

(The scene fades back in some time later as ZOE is driving. The car is silent except for her breathing.)

ZOE

This is ridiculous, it’s definitely been more than eight miles by now. Where is that exit? And how are there possibly not any other cars on the road right now? It’s four o’clock in the afternoon.”

(She pauses)

ZOE

At least, I think it is. My car’s clock seems to be affected too. 

(She drives for a moment in uneasy silence. Then she flips on the radio.)

ZOE

I need some music.

(The music that comes out is staticky and eerie, almost otherworldly and with a touch of menace. ZOE lets it play for a second, then switches the channel. It continues to be that same music as she goes through the entire dial.)

ZOE

What. The Fuck?

(Her gas bell dings.)

ZOE

Shit. I need the exit. Or…or at least a rest stop. I’ll pay the markup on gas. Just…

(She shuts off the radio.)

ZOE

I just need to keep moving.

(The scene fades out to the sound of her car driving.)

(The scene fades back in on the car driving. Clearly a fair amount of time has passed, but it hasn’t run out of gas.)

(ZOE sounds defeated as she speaks.)

ZOE

It’s been hours and I haven’t seen the exit. I couldn’t have missed it. I’ve driven the mass pike at least a hundred times. I should be home by now. But I’m still driving. It’s just trees and rock faces. Occasional green highway signs I can’t really read, but they’re never for the upcoming exit. My car should have died so long ago but it’s still going.

(She flips on the radio, which is still playing the menacing music.)

ZOE

AND THEN THERE’S FUCKING THAT!

(She shuts it off and sighs.)

ZOE

It’s that lightning or whatever it was. It did something to the Mass Pike. 

(She drives in silence for a second.)

ZOE

Wait, is that…

(She starts laughing, a giddy, relieved sound.)

ZOE

A rest stop! Oh thank God, those McDonald’s arches have never looked so beautiful!

(She jerks the car over to the right lane and pulls off into the parking lot.)

ZOE

Wow, this place is packed. Everyone must be dealing with the same thing. Oh, a parking spot.

(She pulls into the spot and shuts off her car. Then she gets out and closes the door. There’s a short silence and you can hear her open the door to the rest stop. She stops for a beat, calmly closes it, and walks back to her car without a word. She then opens the car door, climbs in, and closes it.)

ZOE (unsettlingly calm)

Nope. Nope nope nope.

(She backs out of the parking space.)

ZOE

And of course there’s no gas pumps. Not that it matters at all. None of it matters, really.

(She sighs.)

ZOE

Well. I guess it’s time to keep going.

(She pulls back onto the highway as the scene ends.)

(The final scene begins with the staticky music playing as ZOE drives. ZOE laughs over it, a wild, free sound. The car is speeding, impossibly fast. It’s been years.)

ZOE (gone somewhat feral over the years on the road)

Give me that open road, baby! Let’s see what she brings!

(The episode ends with the engine revving, then her laughter and the music fading out.)

END