The Valley of the Tools Episode 4

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


Rob, in a state of depression over his break-up with Dana, is very late for shoot day, and has to assert his value to the show. Backlash Bonnie feuds with Miles over how sexy she should be as the
host. Luther asks for an advance on his check, to prevent being evicted.

Submitted: May 17, 2018

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Submitted: May 17, 2018

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THE VALLEY OF THE TOOLS

 

“SHOOT DAY”

 

TV-MA DL

 

“This is America. Don’t catch you slippin’ up! Don’t catch you slippin’ up! Look what I’m whippin’ up! Look how I’m geekin’ up. I’m so fitted! I’m on gucci! I’m so pretty! I’m gonna get it. Watch me move! This a celly, that’s a tool”

  • Donald Glover

 

(Open on a shot of the Mojave Desert. An arid wind blows, as we cut to a close-up of a lizard on the ground, scurrying with tenacity. He scurries past a sunburnt hand on the ground. We tilt up to see Rob, with scratches on his face, and his eyes closed, wearing ripped jeans, and a sweat-soaked shirt, along with a baseball cap. He rubs his eyes, and stands up, precariously. He looks down at the sand, and sees tired tracks going forward. He shakes his head and starts walking. A balled up newspaper blows past, and Rob picks it up. He sees it’s the Los Angeles Times, and the cover story is “Trump Pulls U.S. Out of Iran Nuclear Deal, Isolating America From Its Allies- Iran Says Deal In Danger”)

 

ROB: …I can’t be that far away, I guess. This is like a week old. (Rob throws the paper on the ground, and smells his pits) The fuck was I doing last night? (He continues walking) I must’ve gotten really fucked up, and…left in the desert, for some reason. (Rob pats around for his pockets) Damnit. (Rob pulls out his wallet) They left my wallet, but took my cigarettes? (He puts his wallet back, and takes out his cell phone. He sees it’s Thursday, May 17th at 10:47 AM) FUCK! It’s shoot day! (Rob starts running, but quickly stops, and begins coughing with his hands on his knees) AGH! GODDAMNIT! (He stands up, looks at his phone, and sees it has no bars. He puts it back in his pocket) Ugh. (He keeps walking. Cut to a bird’s eye shot of him walking, as light desert folk instrumentals play. Cut to later, as he continues trekking through the desert, he happens upon a dirt trail) Okay, there may be some intelligent life forms around here. I mean, relatively speaking.

 

(A shaggy-haired thirteen-year old comes by on a bicycle, and Rob flags him down, and he stops)

 

THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD: What do you want?

 

ROB: Man, I need some water, I woke up a few miles back, and I am parched. Can I maybe have a sip of your canteen?

 

THIRTEEN-YEAR OLD: Oh, this?

 

(He holds up the canteen)

 

ROB: …Yeah.

 

THIRTEEN-YEAR OLD: Sounds like this is a transaction, then.

 

ROB: What?

 

THIRTEEN-YEAR OLD: How much you puttin’ up for this agua, hombre?

 

ROB: …What’s your name, kid?

 

THIRTEEN-YEAR OLD: Clayden.

 

ROB: Clayton?

 

CLAYDEN: No, Clayden. C-L-A-Y-D-E-N.

 

(Rob shakes his head)

 

ROB: I hate that. Listen, Clayden, here’s- (Rob takes ten dollars out of his wallet) a Hamilton, alright? (Clayden takes the money) Go buy some meth, or whatever you desert people do.

 

(Clayden hands Rob the canteen, and he takes a big, long gulp)

 

CLAYDEN: Hey, man, that’s enough!
 

(Rob hands Clayden the canteen back)

 

ROB: Hmm, nice and warm, like I like it.

 

CLAYDEN: Are we done?

 

ROB: Give me the bike.

 

CLAYDEN: Fuck off!

 

ROB: Come on, I’ll give you- (Rob takes out five one hundred-dollar bills) five hundred for it.

 

CLAYDEN: …Seven-hundred.

 

ROB: …Are you kidding me, dude? You could buy TWO of your shitty bikes for five-hundred dollars! And have enough money leftover for your meth habit!
 

CLAYDEN: See ya, bro.

 

(Clayden starts riding away, and Rob turns around)

 

ROB: Wait!

 

(Rob lunges forward and grabs the back wheel, sending Clayden flying back, and landing on Rob’s chest)

 

CLAYDEN: FUCK!

 

ROB: AGH!

 

(Rob pushes Clayden off him)

 

CLAYDEN: THE FUCK, DUDE!?

 

(Rob stands up)

 

ROB: FINE! HERE’S SEVEN HUNDRED!

 

(Rob throws seven hundred dollars in the air, and Clayden quickly gathers them, while Rob mounts his bicycle)

 

CLAYDEN: Why do you carry so much cash?

 

ROB: I’m FAMOUS! (Rob starts riding away. Cut to a little bit later, as an exhausted Rob continues riding a bike through the desert. He gets a call from Whitney and is surprised he has reception. He quickly answers, as he continues riding) Hello?

 

(Cut to Whitney standing in front of a set, with a huge red box, equipped with a door, placed in the middle of it. A sign that reads “THE BOX” hangs in the right corner of the set. Numerous stage hands scurry about frantically, as lighting and sound equipment is set up in the background)

 

WHITNEY: Where the FUCK are you!?

 

ROB: (On the phone) Is something the matter?

 

WHITNEY: Shut up! You’re like, TWO hours late! On the first day of shooting!

 

(Cut to the desert)
 

ROB: I’m sorry, I’ve been on a bit of a bender since Dana and I broke up, so I ended up, bruised, hung over, and abandoned in the desert.

 

WHITNEY: Are you- what the fuck? How did that happen!?

 

ROB: I don’t know, but the last thing I remember is, I was talking to this shady guy at a bar, and he recommended a drink to me, and I did not take his recommendation, I ignored it. And then nothing.

 

WHITNEY: Jesus, well, you need to get over here!
 

ROB: I will, I’m biking towards LA right now.

 

WHITNEY: BIKING!?

 

ROB: Yeah, so, hold tight. I just gotta gather my friends and figure out the timeline of what happened last night-

 

WHITNEY: Shut up! This is a disaster! We’ll have to pick up the whole day!
 

ROB: Then just start without me!

 

WHITNEY: Wait, really?

 

ROB: No, because then that makes me seem unimportant, hold tight, I’ll bike even faster!
 

(Rob hangs up, and we cut back to Whitney)

 

WHITNEY: URRGHHH!

 

(Whitney rolls her eyes, and puts her phone in her pocket. Whitney walks off screen, and we cut to Backlash Bonnie walking in, wearing a bright blue pantsuit. She walks onto the main stage, in front of the box, and looks over at Miles, who is seated in the director’s chair)

 

BONNIE: Is this where you want me?

 

MILES: I’m sure you’ve been asked that a lot in your career.

 

BONNIE: Let’s go ahead and agree that no more of those jokes are to be made.

 

MILES: I’m gay, so it’s alright!
 

BONNIE: No. Do you want me here?

 

(Miles stands up)

 

MILES: Yeah, that works, buttercup, but let’s talk about the- (Miles gestures around his torso) situation right here.

 

BONNIE: …Why would we talk about your beer belly?

 

MILES: No, Bonnie, you’re dressed like you’re in Hillary Clinton’s Bedtime Playset.

 

BONNIE: Well, this is a feminist show, or whatever, right?

 

MILES: Yeah, but come on, give the fellas and the lesbians somethin’ to see at home, it’s called “female sexual empowerment”, and that’s feminist enough.

 

BONNIE: Miles, we can’t settle for “feminist enough”! The whole purpose of this show is to say “fuck you” to the male gaze, and I can’t bank on my sexuality forever if I want to be taken seriously!
 

MILES: We can, give you glasses, and, maybe an apple or something? To make you look more distinguished? And a pencil skirt?

 

BONNIE: You’re just making me a sexy librarian.

 

MILES: Or a sexy Prime Minister!
 

(Whitney walks over)

 

WHITNEY: Don’t even bother, Rob’s not gonna be here for a little while, take a break.

 

MILES: What? But we’re on a schedule!

 

WHITNEY: Miles, I know you pump out forty films a year, but at FOX, we own the stages, we don’t need to stick to a strict schedule. Now, go devour craft services like you always do.

 

MILES: Don’t make assumptions, Whitney, it’s not you.

 

(Miles walks away)

 

WHITNEY: He’s walking right towards craft services!

 

BONNIE: What do you think, Whitney, should I go sexy or frigid?

 

WHITNEY: I think that’s a false choice.

 

(Bonnie scoffs)
 

BONNIE: NONE of you are helpful!! (Bonnie storms off. Cut to Bonnie walking into her dressing room. She goes over to a rack of different outfits and start rifling through them. She takes out a skin-tight, black spandex suit, with multiple gaping holes, and a tiny pink vest) I guess if I wore a few layers this would cover most of my genitalia.

 

(A balding man in a track suit walks in)

 

BALDING MAN: That’s what I like to hear.

 

(Bonnie turns around)

 

BONNIE: Oh my God, what do you want, Jeremiah?

 

JEREMIAH: That’s “Mushy Mouth Saunders” to you, Ms. Backlash.

 

(Bonnie starts touching up her make-up in the mirror)

 

BONNIE: I’ve told you, that’s a shitty-ass porn director name.

 

JEREMIAH: It’ll never be as gross as “Ron Jeremy”.

 

BONNIE: True. But it still sucks.

 

JEREMIAH: I mutter, and I mumble, it’s my thing. At least I don’t do it because I have a dick in my mouth.

 

(Jeremiah chuckles and walks over to Bonnie)

 

BONNIE: Jesus, you’re fucking gross. What are you doing here?

 

JEREMIAH: Wishing you luck with your TV career. It’s a hell of a jump.

 

BONNIE: Yeah, and you had nothing to do with it.

 

JEREMIAH: It’s not exactly a safety net though, sweetheart.

 

BONNIE: The fuck does that mean?

 

JEREMIAH: It means- (Jeremiah leans into whisper) This fucker will be Brooklyn Nine-Nine’d in exactly two months!

 

BONNIE: Cancelled, and then picked up by NBC?

 

JEREMIAH: Shit, did that happen? Okay, fine, it’ll be…McCain’d in two months.

 

BONNIE: He’s not dead yet, and that’s super mean!
 

JEREMIAH: Don’t you DARE leak this conversation!
 

BONNIE: To who!?

 

JEREMIAH: Bonnie, whenever you’re done here, I have a film you’ll love to fuck in. It’s called- (He takes out a script with the cover page “Jesus And The Seven Nipples”) “Jesus and The Seven Nipples”.

 

BONNIE: Go away, I’m not acting in that shit anymore, this won’t be cancelled. Also, “seven nipples”?! What, are there three women with two tits and one woman with a single tit?

 

JEREMIAH: I guess you’ll have to find out!
 

(Bonne slams her fist on the counter, stands up and points toward the door)

 

BONNIE: LEAVE!!

 

JEREMIAH: Alright, but you know you’ll never delete MY number.

 

(Jeremiah pats Bonnie on the head, and leaves. Bonnie throws a comb against the wall in frustration. Cut to Luther sitting in Ronnie’s diner, across from a light skinned black guy with a polo shirt on. Tara comes over with an order pad and pen)

 

TARA: Are you guys ready?

 

LUTHER: Yeah-

 

LIGHT SKINNED BLACK GUY: Yes, I’ll have a grilled tilapia with the softest potatoes you can mash, along with a Caesar salad and a glass of lukewarm water. (To Luther) I have sensitive teeth.

 

TARA: Okay, and you?

 

LUTHER: Yeah, I’ll have eggs, pancakes, and sausage.

 

LIGHT SKINNED BLACK GUY: Ooh, Luther, that’s gonna be Hell on your digestion.

 

LUTHER: It would be Hell on your digestion, Bill.

 

(Bill chuckles nervously)

 

TARA: Any coffee?

 

LUTHER: Yes.

 

BILL: No, thank you.

 

TARA: It’ll be right out.

 

(Tara walks away)

 

BILL: By the by, I go by “William” now. Just so you know.

 

LUTHER: And why is that?

 

BILL: It’s for showbiz, it’s no big deal. But, go ahead, you told me you had some news?

 

LUTHER: Yeah, I got on a reality show, it’s gonna be on FOX this summer.

 

BILL: Oh, wow, good for you, man.

 

LUTHER: Thanks, it’s really-

 

BILL: I have good news too, I have been offered the leading role in the biopic of Ma Rainey.

 

(Luther looks confused, as Tara comes over and puts a coffee cup down, and pours Luther some coffee)

 

LUTHER: Thanks. (Tara nods and walks away) Wasn’t Ma Rainey a woman?

 

BILL: Yes, they are taking some creative liberties with it, to be sure. I’m actually called “Pa Rainey”. The studio is convinced hiring a person of color for the role is good enough.

 

LUTHER: I don’t think LA will agree, man.

 

BILL: They will once they see it. But, uh, good for you, for the, cooking show you got on.

 

LUTHER: Reality show.

 

BILL: Yeah, what is it?

 

LUTHER: It’s The Box, it’s basically a competition-

 

BILL: Cool, I love that.

 

(Luther stares at Bill, annoyed. Cut to Luther driving home in his 2004 Toyota Camry, listening to “This is America” by Childish Gambino on his stereo. Cut to him parking outside his apartment building. He gets out of his car, and the car door falls off its hinges. Luther violently shakes his head and stomps on the ground)

 

LUTHER: FUCK! (Cut to Luther walking to his apartment door, D12, and finding a paper that reads “EVICTION NOTICE: May 14, 2018, Luther Moon, 748 S Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014, You are hereby notified that you currently owe $823 in past due rent and late charges. The rent past due covers the periods from April 11th to May 11th. Late charges are in the amount of $823. This is a demand for payment. You must pay the full amount owed that is stated in this notice within the next 2 days. If you fail to make full payment of the amount due, your right of possession to the property will be terminated and eviction proceedings will begin immediately. Only full payment of the amount owed will prevent the termination of your lease. No partial payments will be accepted without the written consent of the landlord. Pay rent immediately to: Daniel Oliver, address: 2802 St. George Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90027, phone number: 323-671-4545”) The hell!?

 

(Luther pulls out his cell phone, and calls the number on the sheet. He then puts the phone to his ear. Cut to Daniel Oliver, a middle-aged, pudgy white guy, relaxing by his pool. He gets a phone call, and listlessly answers it)

 

DANIEL: Hello?

 

LUTHER: (On the phone) Daniel, it’s Luther, from 12D.

 

DANIEL: Oh, good, how are you, Luther?

 

LUTHER: Not good, man, I have an eviction notice on my door, saying I owe over eight-hundred dollars, but the bank pays my rent automatically!

 

DANIEL: Well, you had insufficient funds, it turns out. The bank only payed $127 of what you owed.

 

LUTHER: What?

 

DANIEL: You have two days. No exceptions.

 

(Daniel hangs up, and Luther walks slack-jawed into his apartment, and closes the door. He puts the phone in his pocket)

 

LUTHER: Shit. That’s right. Rob made me quit Lothario’s to get away from Carter, and I got my last paycheck on the 1st.  Usually I’d get paid again today, and…damnit. (Luther sits down on his couch, and rubs his temples with his fingers. He then checks the time on his phone) Shit, I have to get to set.

 

(Cut to Luther trying to quickly tape his door back to his car. He stands back for a second, as it holds, but then it falls off again. He growls, and takes out his phone to call an Uber. Cut to the Uber dropping him off at the studio. He walks in, and sees everyone scrambling around set. Whitney walks over to him with a clipboard)

 

WHITNEY: Why are you late?!

 

LUTHER: I’m sorry, Whitney, I’ve had a son of a bitch of a day.

 

WHITNEY: You think I haven’t?! Rob isn’t even here, so we can’t even do shit!

 

LUTHER: Then I guess it doesn’t matter that I was late?

 

(Whitney sighs)

 

WHITNEY: I guess not.

 

LUTHER: Whit, can I talk to you?

 

WHITNEY: We’re talking right now.

 

LUTHER: But, in private?

 

WHITNEY: There’s no one around, just spit it out, Moon.

 

(Miles walks over)

 

MILES: You guys better stop talking so much or people are gonna think you’re fucking.

 

WHITNEY: Go away forever, Miles.

 

MILES: Gotcha.

 

(Miles walks away)

 

LUTHER: Since Rob made me quit Lothario’s, I have no money for rent, so I was wondering if I could get an advance on my paycheck, because my sorry ass is about to be evicted as hell!

 

WHITNEY: You’re not supposed to be paid until the end of the month, Luther, if you ask for your payment now, it’s a loan.

 

LUTHER: I’ll pay it back, even if I have to sell my car. Although it’s not worth much now.

 

WHITNEY: What’s wrong with your car?
 

LUTHER: Ever had your door fell off?

 

WHITNEY: No.

 

LUTHER: That’s right, I forgot you have white privilege.

 

WHITNEY: Luther, I wish you the best, but I can’t help you. If you get evicted, feel free to…not stay with me, because my insane parents are staying with me right now, and they would not like someone who looks like you, no offense. Sorry for the false hope. Maybe ask around?

 

(Whitney pats Luther on the back and walks away, as Luther looks down, disappointed. He then walks outside for a moment and breathes in some fresh air. He looks across the street and sees a store with a sign reading “FAST CASH PAYDAY LOANS RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW”. He bites his upper lip. Cut to Whitney speaking with a curly-haired man in glasses and a suit, near the set. They are reviewing paperwork on a clipboard)

 

LAWYER: So, basically, the contestants must sign these waivers promising not to sue if they overheat and die in the box.

 

WHITNEY: Is that a distinct possibility?

 

LAWYER: I guess the viewers will have to find out!
 

(The lawyer smiles creepily)

 

WHITNEY: …We’re not gonna use that as a selling point, are we?

 

(Bonnie walks over to Whitney)

 

BONNIE: You call THIS a feminist show?! All my costumes are some variation of “slutty”! Slutty nurse, slutty magician, slutty librarian, slutty stripper, slutty SLUT! If I’m not up there dressed like a goddamn handmaid, then I QUIT!
 

(Bonnie walks away, as Whitney sighs. Hannah comes over)

 

HANNAH: Miles has eaten all the cheese at craft services, and now, all there’s left is processed ham and gummy bears! I’m on a DIET, you know!? Jesus! Fix it, please!
 

(Hannah walks away)

 

WHITNEY: Babe, come back! Christ, it’s like the moment they enter a studio, they just become divas!
 

(McKenzie comes over)

 

MCKENZIE: Whitney, you’re doing a great job, and you’re amazing. Can I hug you?

 

WHITNEY: NOT NOW, MCKENZIE!
 

(McKenzie recoils, and walks away. Whitney takes out her cell phone. Cut to an exhausted Rob riding the bike through the Mojave. He stops for a second to catch his breath)

 

ROB: …Why… (panting) …why does smoke feel so good in my lungs? (Rob gets a call from Whitney, he begrudgingly answers) Hello?

 

WHITNEY: (On the phone) Rob, are you almost here? The actors and actresses are making demands, and I can’t handle it by myself!
 

ROB: Tell them to feast on dicks, whatever they are!
 

WHITNEY: Rob, Luther wants a pay advance, Hannah wants more food, Bonnie wants more conservative clothing- it never ends with these people!
 

ROB: I’m against all of that! Except for Hannah’s thing, that girl is a stick.

 

WHITNEY: Rob, why did you make Luther leave his job? What was gonna happen? The tabloids were gonna find out that Carter screwed McKenzie behind Kevin’s back because, what? Luther works there?

 

ROB: I- I don’t- I don’t know, I just get paranoid because of what you did to destroy my career.

 

WHITNEY: You destroyed it yourself!
 

ROB: I know, I know, I know, just, forgive me if I’m a little bit overly cautious, alright?

 

WHITNEY: You may have destroyed Luther’s life. He’s being evicted.

 

ROB: …Goddamnit. I’ll be there as soon as I can.

 

(Rob hangs up and keeps biking. But then, suddenly, a truck comes by, and stops. Excited, Rob gets off the bike, and taps on the window. A gruff, rugged man wearing a cowboy hat rolls up the window)

 

COWBOY: You look like you’re lost.

 

ROB: Yes, sir. Can you drive me to Los Angeles?

 

COWBOY: Los Angeles? I don’t usually head that-a-way, but I guess I can make an exception for ya.

 

ROB: You’re going that direction right now?

 

COWBOY: That’s only because my estranged son lives there, alright? Get in.

 

ROB: Can I put my bike in the truck bed?

 

COWBOY: You mean that bike with the spider-man design on it?

 

ROB: That’s the one.

 

COWBOY: Go ahead.

 

(Rob walks over, picks up the bike, and puts it in the truck bed. Cut to Rob sitting in the passenger seat of the Cowboy’s truck)

 

ROB: …What’s your name, again?

 

COWBOY: Lloyd. Put ‘er there, son. (Lloyd extends his hand, and Rob shakes it. He then places his hand back on the steering wheel. He takes out an Altoids container, and opens it to reveal hand-rolled cigarettes) Hand-rolled cigarette?

 

ROB: My God, you’re a lifesaver. I mean, not literally, in fact, you’re the opposite, just let me have one.

 

(Rob takes a hand-rolled cigarette and puts it in his mouth, and pulls a spider-man themed Bic lighter)

 

LLOYD: Whoa, whoa, no! Son, don’t use, yet another spider man themed, object to light your cigarette!

 

ROB: I didn’t know I had a spider man obsession until this moment.

 

(Lloyd hands him a matchbox)

 

LLOYD: That’s how a real man lights their cigarette.

 

(Rob strikes the match and lights his cigarette. He blows out the match and inhales on his cigarette)

 

ROB: That does taste more natural, and I assume it’s healthier.

 

LLOYD: …Right. I mean, I don’t know, I don’t do modern technology too much, you know? I ain’t got a cellular telephone, or a personal computer, or a television. I just got my truck, my hand-rolled cigarettes, and my dog.

 

ROB: Where’s your dog?

 

LLOYD: My wife took him in the divorce. Damn bitch.

 

ROB: Sorry to hear that. But, still, it sounds bitchin’ to be off the grid. Don’t have to worry about the Iran, North Korea, Israel murdering all those protestors in Gaza, you don’t have to worry about Trump-

 

LLOYD: Trump? Like, The Apprentice guy?

 

ROB: …Sorry, how long have you been off the grid?

 

LLOYD: About three years. Why?

 

ROB: …No reason.

 

(Lloyd lights one of his hand-rolled cigarettes, and exhales the smoke)

 

LLOYD: …You’re that guy who TBS fired, right?

 

ROB: Are you shitting me!? You don’t know about President Trump, but you know about me getting fired from TBS?!

 

LLOYD: I listen to entertainment radio sometimes- wait, did you say President Trump!?

 

ROB: So you’re saying you recognized me FROM the radio!?

 

LLOYD: They described you.

 

ROB: Horse shit! Damnit, I was enjoying anonymity! And not being dogged by all the bullshit mistakes of my past!

 

LLOYD: My daddy always said, “if you don’t like what they’re saying, change the-“ wait, how did that dude even get nominated?!

 

ROB: There was a shitty field of candidates, just listen to me, alright? I’m tired of the spotlight, it’s only brought me misery.

 

LLOYD: I don’t really know ya too well, Rob, but it seems to me like you love it.

 

ROB: …Well, then it’s an abusive relationship. And I should know something about that! I dated Charisma Carpenter for three weeks!

 

LLOYD: Oh, from Buffy?

 

ROB: You watched Buffy?

 

LLOYD: I told you, I have an estranged son.

 

ROB: Just drop me off in LA, please.

 

(Cut to McKenzie in her dressing room, practicing her singing voice in front of the mirror, while Kevin sits on a bean bag chair in the corner of the room)

 

MCKENZIE: (Singing) Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men? Do Re, Mi, Fa, So, La Ti, Dooooo!

 

KEVIN: Is there any singing in this reality show?

 

MCKENZIE: No, but I just want to be prepared for all scenarios.

 

KEVIN: Is it awkward between you and Rob since he, you know, rejected our offer?

 

MCKENZIE: We haven’t seen each other too much. Honestly, it was dumb. There were a lot of other people we should’ve considered instead.

 

(Bonnie walks in)

 

KEVIN: Speak of the Devil.

 

BONNIE: McKenzie, can I talk to you for a minute?

 

(McKenzie turns around)

 

MCKENZIE: Of course, sweetheart, babe, do you mind?

 

KEVIN: Why am I “babe” and not “sweetheart”?

 

(McKenzie points towards the door with her head. Kevin sighs, gets up and walks towards the exit, as McKenzie blows him a kiss. He catches it, and closes the door)

 

MCKENZIE: What’s up?

 

BONNIE: What do I have to do to be taken seriously by people around here? Miles is queer, and even he treats me like a piece of meat!
 

MCKENZIE: Queer?

 

BONNIE: Sorry, I thought that was PC now?

 

MCKENZIE: Not in that context, honey.

 

BONNIE: Fuck. My bad.

 

MCKENZIE: Bonnie, this is a reality show about feminism founded by a privileged white lesbian and an egotistical reality show veteran, being directed by a sleazy exploitation jockey. There was bound to be a ton of blind spots.

 

BONNIE: I’m used to all that shit, Kenzie, I once did a Buffy-themed porno, where I was Willow and I had sex with Giles.

 

MCKENZIE: Oh my God, can you send me that? I love Buffy.

 

BONNIE: You watched Buffy?

 

MCKENZIE: Hell yeah! Who played Giles?

 

BONNIE: Anthony Head, the real Giles, actually. He doesn’t get a lot of work these days.

 

MCKENZIE: You had sex with Anthony Head?

 

BONNIE: It was simulated! Because he’s old now.

 

MCKENZIE: Bonnie, you just need to decide whether to own your sexuality or run away from it. Be true to yourself. Are you inherently sexual, or, was that just for porn?

 

BONNIE: …I…I lost my virginity at fifteen. And, I had a lot of shame, because I thought it was far too early, and it was with someone who I didn’t love. A shithead named Trent.

 

MCKENZIE: That’s all I need to know about him.

 

BONNIE: He was a fucking loser who would steal things from my house, just for the thrill of it.

 

MCKENZIE: But you can tell me more if you, want.

 

BONNIE: After we broke up, I didn’t have sex for five years, basically not until Mushy Mouth Saunders discovered me on the casting couch and put me in my first porno.

 

MCKENZIE: What was that called?

 

(Bonnie sighs)

 

BONNIE: “Excuse me, Mr. Johnson, There’s an Ass Here to See You”.

 

MCKENZIE: …Were you a secretary?

 

BONNIE: Yep. (Bonnie takes off her glasses and seductively chews on them. McKenzie smirks, as she puts them back on) But I left those toadfuckers behind to have a real career. And now I feel like Mushy Mouth Saunders is trying to pull me back in. Mostly because he literally came into my dressing room and tried to drag me out of it.

 

MCKENZIE: What makes you think being sexual is a bad thing?

 

BONNIE: What made you think the Angela Merkel hairstyle was a good decision? (McKenzie furrows her brow) Sorry, I lash out when confronted.

 

MCKENZIE: I’m not confronting you.

 

(Bonnie pulls out her pocket knife)

 

BONNIE: DON’T TOUCH ME! (Bonnie puts the knife away) Agh! Stop it, Marla, stop it.

 

MCKENZIE: Marla?

 

BONNIE: That’s my real name.

 

MCKENZIE: Well then, Marla… (McKenzie holds Bonnie’s hand) go out there, dressed sexy as Hell, and be the girl that everyone wants but can’t have. That’s who you are.

 

(Bonnie nods)

 

BONNIE: I haven’t had a relationship in twelve years, so, yeah, that’s who I am.

 

MCKENZIE: ‘Atta, girl.

 

(Whitney comes in)

 

WHITNEY: We can’t wait any longer, we’re gonna start without Rob.

 

(Bonnie looks at McKenzie)

 

MCKENZIE: Go.

 

(Bonnie walks past Whitney)

 

WHITNEY: What’s her deal?

 

(McKenzie takes out a pack of American Spirits)

 

MCKENZIE: She’s doing what she wants to do.

 

(McKenzie pulls a cigarette out the box and puts it in her mouth, and walks past Whitney too)

 

WHITNEY: …Why do I feel like I should fire someone and put their head on a pike for all to see?

 

(Cut to Bonnie walking into her dressing room, and rifling through all her clothes. She then looks over and notices a vase full of flowers on her dresser, with a note that reads “From Jeremiah”. She walks over and picks up the card, and opens it. It reads “Sorry for my rudeness. I am happy for you. Let’s meet at Hilton Checkers Downtown, room 18A, and we can celebrate. -Jeremiah”. Bonnie throws the card to the side, and walks over to the end of her rack of clothes. She rifles some more until she discovers something the viewer can’t see)

 

BONNIE: …Oh, this is perfect.

 

(Cut to Luther walking into the Payday Loans place. It is a colorful interior with sickeningly yellow walls, multiple fans, and smiling sleaze-bags parading around while talking to impoverished people. A mustached man in a yellow blazer walks up to Luther)

 

PAYDAY LOAN SALESMAN: Hi there, how are you, can I call you- what’s your name?

 

LUTHER: Uh, it’s Luther.

 

PAYDAY LOAN SALESMAN: My name’s Luther too, dude, man we have so much in common already!

 

LUTHER: Your nametag says “Riley”-

 

RILEY: Does it?! (He tears the nametag off) Wrong again, nametag department! (Riley laughs) That bitch Tina doesn’t have a brain in her body, why don’t you sit down? (Luther is led to a desk, and he sits down on front of it, as Riley sits down behind it, and pulls up something on his computer) What’s your full name, my man?

 

LUTHER: Luther Jackson Moon.

 

RILEY: Luther Jackson Moon, what a name!

 

LUTHER: Yeah, my middle name is “Jackson” because of Jesse Jackson, my dad was a big fan of him.

 

RILEY: He was a funky dude. Hey, have you ever done a thumb war?

 

(Riley extends his in a thumb war formation)

 

LUTHER: Nah, dude, I’m not trying to play with you like that.

 

RILEY: I’m just givin’ you the business, old timer! (Riley laughs) So, I looked up your credit history, and your score is 572, so, not SUPER spic-and-span, so we’re going to have to say- YES! (Riley laughs) WE GOT YA! I couldn’t believe the look on your face!
 

LUTHER: I did not have a look. Listen, what are the parameters of this loan? I need over eight-hundred dollars.

 

RILEY: Not a problem! You have a steady source of income, right?

 

LUTHER: Yeah-

 

RILEY: Okay, then you’ll write us a check, we’ll give you the cash, and we won’t cash that check until you get paid! With a ton of interest, of course!

 

LUTHER: What if I can’t-

 

RILEY: GREAT question! If you can’t afford that, we’ll simply set up another payday loan for you, and everything will be RIGHT as rain, try not to think about it too much- do you want some mints?!

 

(Riley throws up a ton of dinner mints. Cut to Luther walking out of the Payday loan place. He sees a black guy smoking a cigarette)

 

LUTHER: No shit?

 

BLACK GUY: Damn, Luther, is that you?

 

LUTHER: What up, Richie?

 

(Luther and Richie bro-hug, and then look at one another)

 

RICHIE: What the hell you doin’ here? Gettin’ a payday loan?

 

LUTHER: Nah, bro, it’s a scam. And let me tell you something, white people are way too happy to be alive.

 

(Richie laughs)

 

RICHIE: It’s ‘cause they ain’t go no struggle.

 

LUTHER: When’d you move to LA, Richie?

 

RICHIE: Like six months ago.

 

LUTHER: You like it?

 

RICHIE: Nigga, what do you think? I’m here, aren’t I?

 

LUTHER: You right. Did you get a payday loan?

 

RICHIE: Nah, I saw right through those motherfuckers. Decided to stick to what I did in Chicago.

 

LUTHER: Dude, we have niggas gettin’ arrested at Starbucks for sitting down, you should be careful about that shit.

 

RICHIE: Well, man, I would sell weed, but it’s legal here.

 

LUTHER: Damn shame.

 

RICHIE: We was all clamorin’ for it, and now it’s like our livelihood has been eliminated. (Richie puts out his cigarette with his foot) If you need money, you should try it, man.

 

LUTHER: Man, I ain’t tryin’ to do all that. I’m gonna be on TV soon.

 

RICHIE: I heard about that. And yet your broke ass is still here. I’m just sayin’, if you need quick cash, I got the hook-up.

 

LUTHER: I appreciate it, man, but I’m good.

 

RICHIE: Okay.

 

LUTHER: Alright, man, I’m gonna head out, good to see ya.

 

RICHIE: A’ight.

 

(Luther and Richie fist bump, and Luther turns away, but freezes for a second, and turns back)

 

LUTHER: …But, hey, let me get your number, because, we, uh, could kick it some time.

 

(Richie smirks)

 

RICHIE: I see you, player, hold up.

 

(Richie takes out a business card and hands it to Luther)

 

LUTHER: Nigga, you have a business card?

 

RICHIE: Bro, it’s professional, and discreet! What do you want me to do?

 

LUTHER: It says, “Powder Consultant”!

 

(Luther and Richie both laugh)

 

RICHIE: I don’t have a fuckin’ marketing team to work that shit over, blood!

 

(Cut to Luther walking onto the set, as people scramble around. Whitney and Miles walk up to him)

 

WHITNEY: Thank God you’re back!
 

LUTHER: Are we filming now? Is Rob here?

 

MILES: No, but we need some beefcake for the cameras. A little sneak peek of what the women get when they win. But I think we’re all winners, looking at what you got.

 

WHITNEY: Get dressed.

 

LUTHER: Okay, but I don’t need him to be ogling me.

 

WHITNEY: Miles, control yourself.

 

MILES: It’s my way of getting over my break-up, okay?! (Cut to camera people filming shots of a shirtless Luther, wearing a speedo, flexing in front of a green screen, looking a little melancholy, and distracted) And for the purposes of time on television, we have the beef cake already pre-baked for everyone!

 

WHITNEY: I know this is super hypocritical for me to say, Luther, but smile more!

 

(Luther nods)

 

LUTHER: A’ight.

 

(Luther forces a smile, but the camera closes in on his clearly worried face. Cut to Lloyd’s truck pulling up to his Los Angeles home. Rob gets out of the car, and hands Lloyd a hundred-dollar bill)

 

ROB: For your trouble.

 

LLOYD: No need. Gold is my currency.

 

(Lloyd opens his glovebox to reveal several gold bars)

 

ROB: …Yeah, I think I’ll keep this too.

 

(Rob puts his hundred dollar bill back in his pocket, and runs inside his house. Cut to him in the shower, beating one out in the shower, quickly brushing his teeth, putting on a fresh set of clothes, first a shirt that says “FBI- Female Body Inspector”, then jump cut to him wearing a proud “PROUD MENNINIST” shirt, until he finally gets it right with a “PROUD (Male) FEMINIST” shirt. He bolts out the door of his house, gets in his car, and drives)

 

NPR: President Trump has pledged to help the Chinese phone maker ZTE as part of trade negotiations with the country, saying that, quote, “too many jobs in China have been lost”.

 

ROB: Damnit, I knew as soon as Don Blankenship lost, the China people would begin to take over again. Fuck, I need cigarettes. (Rob pulls into a 7-11, gets out, and enters the store. He runs up to the counter, and an 18-year old with black hair, olive skin, and a big smile, gets right behind him) Could I get a pack of Marlboro Golds, please?

 

CASHIER: Sure. (The cashier grabs a pack of Marlboro golds and lies them on the counter) I.D.?

 

(Rob sighs, and hands the cashier his I.D.)

 

ROB: Do I look under twenty-one?

 

CASHIER: 1979, was that over twenty-one years ago?

 

ROB: Dude, yes!

 

CASHIER: Wow, that’s crazy, that doesn’t seem like it was that long ago.

 

ROB: Dude, I have to go, do you mind? (The cashier shrugs his shoulders, and Rob hands him eight dollars) Keep the change.

 

(Rob turns around and gets accosted by the 18-year old waiting in line behind him)

 

EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD: Hey! I’m Noel, I recognize you from TV! I’m your biggest fan!
 

ROB: That’s great, listen, I have to go to a shoot-

 

NOEL: That’s amazing, Mr. Altmire, what are you shooting!?

 

ROB: A reality show, I really have to leave-

 

NOEL: It’s cool, can I come?

 

ROB: No, no, you cannot come!

 

NOEL: Rob, you don’t understand, I’ve been watching your stuff for years, it’s so fun! I just love the idea of sitting down with a couple friends, and being able to share a communal experience, of just, turning your mind off and watching a dumb reality show, it really highlights the need for-

 

ROB: You don’t understand, I don’t have time for this! I’m sorry! Goodbye! (Rob takes his cigarettes, and goes to his car. Noel rushes outside and hops on Rob’s hood) What the hell are you-!?

 

NOEL: Come on, Mr. Altmire, haven’t you ever tried to catch a break in the industry!? Just let me come!
 

ROB: Kid, this is not the way to do it! You’re not giving me an option, you’re on my fucking hood!
 

NOEL: Exactly, I’m not giving you an option, how is that not the way to do it?!

 

(Rob sighs, and shakes his head)
 

ROB: Just get in!
 

(Noel brims with enthusiasm as he slides over and enters Rob’s car, as Rob does the same on the driver’s side. They back out, and drive away. Cut to Rob and Noel walking into the studio, just as Luther is walking off the stage, and putting his shirt back on)

 

MILES: CUT! That’s good!

 

(Whitney sees Rob and Noel, and walks over there)

 

WHITNEY: Hey, Rob.

 

ROB: Hey, let’s get started!
 

WHITNEY: We started, as you can clearly see. We couldn’t wait forever! You were four hours late! (Whitney points to Noel) Who the hell is this? A long-lost illegitimate son of yours?

 

NOEL: I wish!
 

ROB: This is Noel, he beat me into submission with his pleas for a job.

 

NOEL: I’ve been a fan of Rob since the beginning, I always thought, now that’s a cool guy who wants everyone to know it.

 

ROB: SHH! (To Whitney) Now, why did you start without me?! Can I at least address some of the demands you said the actors were having?

 

WHITNEY: I mean, I guess you can try.

 

ROB: Okay, keep an eye on him. (Rob walks into Hannah’s dressing room. She’s sitting in front of her dressing room mirror, in a flannel and overalls outfit, listening to the “Laurel/Yanny” audio clip on her phone) Hey, Hannah-

 

HANNAH: Oh, hey, Rob, you’re here.

 

ROB: Yeah, you said you had a-

 

HANNAH: Do you hear “Laurel” or “Yanny”?

 

ROB: What?

 

HANNAH: In this clip, do you hear “Laurel” or “Yanny”?

 

(Hannah plays the clip)

 

ROB: I hear “Laurel”, why?

 

HANNAH: Because I hear Yanny! Oh my Gosh, this is so fun.

 

ROB: Great, so onto more important things, namely, me saving the day, Whitney told me you had a problem with craft services?

 

HANNAH: Yeah, it was Miles’ fault, but it was fine, we all pitched in for Jimmy John’s.

 

(Rob shakes his head)
 

ROB: Fuck. (Rob leaves the room, and a confused Hannah starts listening to the audio clip again. Cut to Luther thumbing through the script in a corner of the studio. Rob walks over to him) Luther, my man, I heard you’re having some financial troubles, tell me how I can save the day.

 

(Luther looks up from his script)

 

LUTHER: You could not force me to quit my job for no reason, for starters, but oh, you already did that.

 

ROB: Luther, I’m sorry, man, I just didn’t want to look bad-

 

LUTHER: YOU didn’t want to look bad? Well, that’ll be great solace to me when I’m in the fuckin’ soup kitchen line.

 

ROB: Luther, I can help you out if you want-

 

LUTHER: Nah, dude, I can take care of myself. And I suggest you do the same.

 

(Rob sighs)

 

ROB: …So, do you hear “Laurel” or “Yanny”?

 

LUTHER: Go away.

 

ROB: Alright. (Rob walks away. As he walks, Bonnie walks out of her dressing room wearing a tiny leather jacket, a low-cut shirt, 90’s jeans, and holding a cross) Bonnie! There you are! You said you wanted more conservative clothing, right? I’ll get you a fuckin’ madrassa if that’s what you want!
 

BONNIE: A madrassa is not an article of clothing, Rob. And don’t worry, I’ve got this covered.

 

(Bonnie walks on stage, in front of the box, and the cameras turn towards her. Cut to Miles, sitting on his director’s chair, with Whitney standing behind him)

 

MILES: ACTION!
 

(Rob runs over and stands behind Whitney and crosses his arms authoritatively. Cut to Bonnie on stage, facing the camera)

 

BONNIE: WELCOME! What you are about to see is a competition between four of the smartest, strongest, and most independents women you’ve ever seen. They will be trapped, inside an uncomfortable box, solving puzzles, puzzling riddles, and riddling conundrums. Four go in. One comes out. And you will meet them in a moment. But first, I have something to say.

 

(Cut to Miles, Whitney and Rob)

 

MILES: She’s off-script.

 

WHITNEY: Who wrote this script, by the way? It’s bad!
 

ROB: I think your girlfriend is the head writer, Whit.

 

WHITNEY: …Oh yeah.

 

(Rob pats her back. Cut back to Bonnie)

 

BONNIE: Mushy Mouth Saunders, or should I say, Jeremiah Saunders, you creepy prick. You may be watching from the Hilton Hotel tonight, waiting for me, but I have one thing to say to you. (Bonnie throws her leather jacket and cross aside, and uses her hands to accentuate her figure) You can’t have this. You made me screw Giles on camera six years ago, but let me tell you, I’m not Willow anymore. (Bonnie picks up her cross) I’m The Slayer. (Bonnie takes a deep breath) With that being said, let’s bring out our contestants-

 

MILES: CUT!

 

BONNIE: What?! That was perfect!

 

MILES: Sweetheart, this isn’t airing later tonight, you know that, right?

 

(Bonnie throws her cross aside)

 

BONNIE: …Oh. Can we air it later tonight as a promo?

 

WHITNEY: No!

 

(Rob smiles)

 

ROB: Why can’t we?

 

WHITNEY: Why the hell would we?! Calling out some random pornographer for no reason?

 

ROB: it’s not “no reason”, we would be calling out a powerful man for exploiting the female body for profit, it’s everything we stand for!
 

WHITNEY: I mean, yeah, but…she didn’t even say anything about the time the show airs, or-

 

ROB: Bonnie, do that, go!
 

BONNIE: Catch The Box Thursday nights at 7 Eastern, 4PM pacific, only on FOX!

 

ROB: See, there you go!
 

CAMERA MAN: I wasn’t rolling.

 

ROB: Then ROLL, next time! Christ!

 

MILES: I don’t know, Mushy Mouth Saunders is a great pornographer, you know I went scuba diving with him and El Chapo back in ’96, my God, what a rush.

 

WHITNEY: No, I see Rob’s point, it would get a lot of media attention, and that’s what we need right now.

 

ROB: Exactly.

 

WHITNEY: Alright, Bonnie, do the promo line again.

 

MILES: Alright, ROLLING! ACTION!
 

BONNIE: Catch my box, this Thursday at- ah, fuck.

 

MILES: CUT!

 

ROB: See, this is why you should’ve rolled the first time! (To Whitney) Can I fire him!?

 

WHITNEY: No!

 

(Cut to Rob, Whitney, Bonnie, Hannah, Miles and Luther walking out of the building, now that it’s nighttime)

 

WHITNEY: Good shoot day, everyone, see you guys tomorrow.

 

(Various farewells ensue, as Whitney and Hannah walk one way, Miles walks another way, and Luther walks yet another way, and Rob and Bonnie depart together, walking side by side)

 

BONNIE: Goddamn, I can’t wait to get home and guzzle wine until I pass out in my bathtub.

 

ROB: We must think alike, you and me.

 

BONNIE: Thanks for advocating for me, by the way.

 

ROB: No problem, I love Buffy. You know, I dated Charisma Carpenter for three weeks.

 

BONNIE: Really? She never mentions when we get brunch.

 

ROB: Uh, now that I think about it, it could’ve been that we got coffee, twice.

 

(Rob and Bonnie get to Bonnie’s car, parked on the street)

 

BONNIE: I better go before this gets too sad.

 

ROB: Have you never exaggerated just for the hell of it?

 

BONNIE: I’m pretty sure stuff like that is why people think Trump will personally lift North Korea’s nukes, split the Pacific, and carry them on his back to Washington.

 

ROB: When in reality, the meeting might not even happen?

 

BONNIE: Yeah.

 

ROB: I don’t know, sometimes embellishment can help. But, what do I know about maintaining a public image? I nearly destroyed mine, and I can’t stop letting people down.

 

BONNIE: Rob, you were absent for four hours on one day, but if they really thought you were useless, they would get rid of you. You and Whitney had this idea, it’s your guys’ show. Don’t forget that.

 

ROB: …And?

 

BONNIE: …Ugh, any more dick-stroking and I might catch a carpal tunnel, so I’m gonna go.

 

(Bonnie turns around)

 

ROB: Bonnie. (Bonnie turns back) Thanks.

 

(Rob puts his hand on Bonnie’s shoulder. Bonnie smiles and gets in her car, as Rob walks away. Cut to Luther driving home)

 

NPR: NPR news from Washington, I’m Lakshmi Singh. The United States Senate has confirmed Gina Haspel to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Haspel attracted controversy for overseeing a CIA black site in Thailand where torture took place. The vote was 54-45, with six Democrats joining most Republicans to support Haspel, because, according to sources, resistance is futile. In other news, the President’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is attracting further controversy for allegedly selling access to President Trump during the transition-

 

(Luther parks, and turns off his radio. He gets out, and starts rubbing his eyes as he walks towards his apartment building. He stops and takes the business card from earlier out of his pocket. It says “Richard Rogers- Powder Consultant- Call 213-787-1048”. He stares at it for a second, and then Clayden, from earlier, zooms by on a new bike, catching Luther off guard)

 

LUTHER: JESUS! (A wad of about $500 fell off the bike, and Luther looks at it, and picks it up) Hey! You-

 

(Clayden is long gone, and Luther looks at the money. “This is America” by Childish Gambino starts playing, as he stuffs the money in his pocket, and quickly walks into his apartment building. Cut to him, placing the money, along with around three-hundred dollars of his own money, into an envelope, with his landlord’s address on it. He casually walks out of the apartment, and we cut to Mushy Mouth Saunders, sitting in a Hilton hotel room, watching, with his jaw dropped, as Bonnie trashes him on national television. Cut to sand pouring out of a shoe, onto the balcony of Rob’s home, as he sits on a beach chair. He finishes pouring the sand out, and throws the shoe aside, and lies back for a second. But then, he jumps up and starts dancing, as the camera zooms out through his sliding glass doorway. Cut to black, as credits roll, and the song continues playing)

 

THE END


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