The Waiting Place
“Its brilliance is in making me care about beaten people who can see their entire lives running away from them…” – Warren Ellis
Written by Sean Kelley McKeever.
Eisner award-winner Sean Kelley McKeever composes The Waiting Place—where people come together in the smallest of places and dream of one day moving on to bigger things.
Jeffery and his family have just moved to Northern Plains: a small town where the only things to do on a Friday night involve going to the bar if you’re twenty-one, or to an empty field if you aren’t. To say Jeffery is less than pleased would be an understatement. For this theater geek to leave a big city and a beautiful girlfriend, only to come to backwater USA for his senior year in high school is not his idea of a good time. But things start to look up when he meets a girl just as interested in the stage as him: the young, beautiful, and naïve Jill.
Jill, fourteen and fresh to Northern Plains High School, is picture perfect. She’s blonde and popular and has a bedroom covered in pink and frills. It only makes sense that she would go for the blonde, charming, and popular Jeffery. Except she doesn’t. She turns to the boy from the wrong side of the tracks; a senior whose past-times involve starting fights in the boys’ bathroom, buying weed from local drug dealers, and hunting at dusk with his deadbeat dad and upbeat younger brother. It’s not a happy match to say the least. And when things get rough, she may be driven to an irrevocable dark place.
After seeing poor Jeffery get denied by Jill at a field party, Lora gives the rejected boy a slug of her whiskey. She’s everything Jill is not—a social outcast known for being easy on the eyes as well in the sheets. It’s a simple decision for her to sleep with Jeffery to make him feel better—she likes sex, what of it? It’s an act that has consequences of the familial kind, but it’s consequences Lora doesn’t feel like sharing. Not because she doesn’t like Jeffery—just the opposite. More than anything, Lora wants someone to stay with her just because they care. And until she’s sure Jeffery fits that bill, she’s keeping her lips shut.
All this high school drama unfolds around Scott, a twenty-four-year-old video store clerk who often supplies the booze for underage parties. He connects with Jeffery through a mutual love of acting, mentors Jill (the video store’s newest employee), and bonds with Lora—the only one willing to tell it to him straight. A few years ago, Scott made a series of bad decisions that have continued to haunt him. He broke up with the only girl he ever loved, he dropped out of college, and he got drawn back to the small town he always swore to leave. And now, he’s caught in between wanting to make friends and a home in the town he hates, and leaving everything behind to chase his lost love and dreams.
In The Waiting Place, small town America is seen in decline through the eyes of young people whose dreams and disenfranchisement compete in equal measure for their future. Can they achieve their dreams within the confines of the small town’s social shackles? Or are they doomed to wistful “what ifs?”