ElderCare

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


This play takes place in 2036. It is very funny and a satire on our present problems with older people and healthcare issues. Your can find two video “book trailers” for this story on
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myhC8iTYT4k and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPgtoWv71eo.

Submitted: May 30, 2018

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Submitted: May 30, 2018

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                ELDERCARE
                by
                Michael T. Hertz
This is a play with a minimum of
five actors (three men and two
women). The actors play multiple
parts and also provide narration.
In the center of the stage is a
screen, which has pictures of
important scenery, as noted.

CHARACTERS

ROGER
SUSIE
MATT
MARGE
VERY OLD WOMAN
STAN
ABLE
ABLE’S GRANDDAUGHTER (BAKER)
PAYROLL CLERK
HARRY
JANIE
DISPATCH CHIEF
DR. FRAKBAK
OLD WIZENED WOMAN
DRUMMOND
ROBOT #1
ROBOT #2
ROGER OLD
WOMAN TAXI DRIVER
POT BELLIED MAN
JERICHO AGENT
HIS WIFE
JUDGE
LAWYER
                       ROGER ENTERS THE STAGE
             ROGER
My name is Roger Hawkins, and this is my
story.  It starts on June 2, 2036, a beautiful
late spring day, on Lafayette Street in
Manhattan. There’s a courthouse that has
hunched there since 1960. The cool of the day
masks the well-predicted warming of the earth,
and the city awaits  the swelter of summer
with dread. Traffic crawls.
Pedestrians stride ten deep down the concrete
sidewalks: phones clamped to heads, EarPOPs
stuffed in ears, music echoing from
storefronts,  chat murmuring, zombie movement.
Everyone does everything to block out the sum
and substance of everyday.
                       SUSIE, MATT and MARGE ENTER
                       THE STAGE
             ROGER
By the curb, oblivious to angry honks, a
Volvza Camion is unloading boxes of ersatz
coffee in  front of a Starbuxx. Behind the
truck, someone’s cleverly managed to cram one
of those little triwheel ToyHon eXpods – cute
as a bug, green with red pintail stripes,
electric, and barely big enough to  hold two
adults on starvation diets. A small group
huddles around the car. SUSIE, pert and
pretty,  maybe thirty-two, gives a good-bye
hug to nerdy MATT. Motherly MARGE looks on.
Susie’s  mascara is dripping, and Marge
comforts her.
             SUSIE
It’s all going to work out, isn’t it?
                       She dabs at the gray tears
                       dribbling down her cheek.  Then she
                       hawks an embarrassed laugh.
                       MATT (six-two with two left feet)
                       tries to pat her  reassuringly –
                       several times, in fact, but his
                       tender movements make it look like
                       he’s burping a  baby.
                       MARGE snickers slightly at
                       his efforts.
             MARGE
Oh, well, Matt, it’s the thought that counts.
(Susie keeps  sniveling) He was my friend,
too, Susie.
                       Matt squeezes Susie’s hand, then
                       adjusts his specs. (The specs are
                       antiques from 2012. No one  wears
                       specs these days except geezers or
                       geeques like Matt).

SUSIE

Of course!

               MATT
Take care of him, will you?
             ROGER
She clutches Matt to her gelicone breasts
almost as if she’s afraid to release him, for
once the hugs and tears are over, it’s off on
her new journey she must go.
                       Surrendering to emulation, Marge
                       contributes a fourth pat to Susie’s
                       shoulder.
             MARGE
You drive  carefully, sweetie.
             ROGER
Everything they do or say is captured on a
monitor overhead. Like sequins, monitors
button Manhattan. Everything’s on screen.
Everything, everyone, everywhere and
everywhen.
Finally, the last hand is touched and the last
pat patted. As they depart, there’s that
awkwardness of people who know each other more
than slightly but not deeply enough. Susie
slips behind the multihued wheel of the little
eXpod. Matt gently closes the door behind her.
The autolock clicks. She’s so nervous that her
fingers fumble the dashboard codes, but
finally  she gets it right and the car starts.
She pulls away from the curb and waves. Behind
her, Marge  and Matt fade into the cloud of
people.  The mayhem of busses, trucks and
taxis suck her up as  it slows her down. But
she’s on her way.
Susie clicks on her Flexbox, and the beautiful
tones of “Rhapsody in Blue” fills the ToyHon,
smothering the crowded ugliness outside. She
dries her eyes a final time, draws a deep,
deep  breath and sighs.
             SUSIE
Everything’s going to be just fine. You’ll
see. Childhood is a wonderful time, Roger.
Adults work too hard and worry too much. We’ve
both done too much of that.  Now we’ll just
have love and  affection. No pressure, right?
You’ll see.

3.

             ROGER
Let’s go back a few months.  To
April 1, 2036 on Long Island, New York. The
super speed elevated Long Island XpressWay
screams with  cars a quarter of a kilometer
north, but the SonarBlok wall muffles the
sound so that you’d hardly know it. And -- big
surprise -- amid the cram of glass and steel
is a verdant lane, and down at the far  end of
lies a manicured suburban home. Behind the
manicured home is a  backyard, full of well-
tended, graceful flowers. The early blooms
sprinkle themselves all over the yard: lilies,
budding roses, petunias. A VERY OLD WOMAN
(well past 100) shuffles in a broad-brimmed
hat and garden gloves, carrying shiny flower
shears. Despite her age, she’s still an
active member of the Garden Club of East
Dulwych, and heads towards the most colorful
splotch of chrysanthemums, just a few feet
outside her tidy little home.
                       (MARGE plays the VERY OLD WOMAN)
             VERY OLD WOMAN
Oh, yes, my pretties.
             ROGER
She coos, bowing creakily towards the flowers,
studying the ones she  wants to harvest. Her
long fingers caress the tender petals in the
warmth of spring.
No monitors out here. One might believe there
is only nature, sheltered from the bitter,
raucous, nasty, modern world. But no --
unfortunately that world is going to intrude.
Distantly  behind the Very Old Woman,
someone’s sneaks across the golden garden,
dashing in skin-tight  all black clothing:
running suit, jogging shoes, baseball cap with
red initial “B” across the brim. Me.
             SUSIE
Roger turns away from the Very Old Woman
briefly. His hand drops to his belt and draws
his dispatcher out from under his jacket. It
looks like a soldering gun made from
translucent  plastic. Sloshing inside the
handle there’s clear liquid known commonly as
Lestia SAP, delicate but deadly. Stories
concerning this untraceable poison usually
give readers of spy thrillers frissons of
delicious anticipation.

4.

             MATT
He grips the dispatcher handle with precision,
like a surgeon. The dispatcher is his scalpel
–  his primary work tool. Roger knows what
he’s doing. Even so, a drop of perspiration
beads on his nose while the petunias waltz in
a light breeze. Soundlessly, Roger jacks juice
from the Likwid8R handle to the launch pin.
As he does so, the slightest smirk plays on
his lips.  He  turns back towards the Very Old
Woman.  She’s bending over the flowers,
tottering just a bit. Roger is all ready to
go.  He’s just starting to make his move but
there, right in front, between the Very Old
Woman and him—there’s something.
             SUSIE
Someone else is sneaking—someone lanky,
hawklike, in skintight-black-running-suit-
jogging- shoes-baseball-cap-with-B-on-the-
brim. dressed just like Roger, right down to
the clear plastic  Likwid8R with the frisson-
causing liquid.  That lanky someone comes up
behind the Very Old  Woman, Likwid8R set to
drill, as Roger shouts—
             ROGER
Hey!  Stan!  What’re you doing?
             SUSIE
And he doesn’t wait for an answer but starts
running furiously, bounds ferociously across
the  yard, grabs Stan’s shoulder, spins him
around, jams his Likwid8R into Stan’s ribs,
and—
             MATT
The Very Old Woman drops her flowers.  She’s
well-preserved, and the instinct of self-
preservation is plainly well-preserved in her
as well.  So she knows what’s happening.
             STAN
She’s on the open list,  Roger.  I checked.
             SUSIE
She stands completely still, like a rabbit
watching wolves joined in combat.  Stan aims
his Likwid8R at Roger and Roger points his
Likwid8R at Stan.
             ROGER
The rules! (Roger is close to frothing at the
mouth as spittle flies.)
                (MORE)

5.

             ROGER (CONT’D)
The rules say she’s mine!
             SUSIE
Their faces are so close together that their
mouths are only millimeters apart.  They know
each  other.  They loathe each other.  And
while they bicker, the Very Old Woman shuffles
unnoticed,  step step step step, towards the
tidy little door to her tidy little house.
             STAN
What damned rules? (Stan screams, his knuckles
white around his Likwid8R).
             ROGER
I got her lined. Matt gave her to me!  Okay?
             STAN
Matt! He’s a newbie!  What does he know?
                       In their rage, anger and
                       frustration they mash noses.

SLAM!

             SUSIE
At the sound Stan and Roger spin in opposite
directions towards the door of the tidy little
house.  But too late—the Very Old Woman has
gotten clean away.
             ROGER
Fuck you, Stan.
Roger brandishes his Likwid8R at
his nemesis.
Stan smirks, dancing back.  He
keeps his own weapon leveled at
Roger.
             STAN
Fuck yourself, Roger.  Want to know who
changed the rules? (Stan wipes his hand across
his mouth as the answer spews out.)  You did.
                       Like an Old West desperado, Stan
                       spins his Likwid8R around his
                       forefinger before he trots away,
                       fading quickly from view.

6.

             SUSIE
Roger stands stock still, angry in  the
beautiful garden amid the breeze-tossed
flowers, the tidy house behind him.  Finally
Roger  shakes his head, shoving his Likwid8R
into his pocket.  He kicks his heel at a rock
and then  stomps away from the house, back to
the road, past an old man hidden in the
bushes, never  seeing him.
                       (MATT plays ABLE).
             SUSIE
When he’s gone, the old man comes out.  His
name is Able, and he’s well beyond 100.  He’s
wearing a blue beret, a well-cut blue military
jacket and sharply pressed pants, along with
highly polished, leather shoes. He carries a
cane, on which are binoculars fitted with a
powerful  camera, and he rolls through the
scene that just played out before him in the
garden by Roger, Stan, and the Very Old Woman.
             ABLE
Interesting. Baker, my dear, you are so right.
Roger Hawkins and Stan Marker are perfect for
what we want.
             SUSIE
The Very Old Woman is still hidden inside her
home.  Able strides out to the road. and
continues his walk away from the tidy house
and beautiful garden, in the direction of the
muffled screams of the super speed highway
traffic drifting past the SonarBlok.
His walk is almost a strut -- head high, chin
down, one arm clasped behind his back, the
other  holding the cane which he wields with a
vibrant hand  As he marches along he  comes to
a  stone wall.
             MARGE
He stops and scans carefully up and down the
road. Eight kilometers off are the skyscrapers
of  Oyster Bay and East Norwich, but the
buildings closer than that don’t mar the
vista. Unlike virtually every other place in
New York there are no monitors capturing
pictures of  whomever is walking down the
road.  Able touches his left forefinger to his
lip before  raising his cane to eye level.
There’s a small window screen butted to the
cane’s side.  He  pokes once or twice at the
screen.

7.

Good.

ABLE

MARGE

He aims the cane handle at
the wall.
Spluck!
It’s a graffitti blaster,  He manoeuvres it
over the face of the wall, creating the
following  statement:
             ABLE
Population, when unchecked, increases in a
geometrical ratio. Food only increases in an
arithmetical ratio.
Thomas Malthus (1766 - 1843)
             MARGE
Able steps back, admires his handiwork, folds
the graffitti blaster back into the cane, and
then  continues his way down the road.
                       (SUSIE plays BAKER)
             STAN
That evening, the old man is sitting in their
apartment on 52nd  Street near his great-
granddaughter, the economist.
             ABLE
About thirty  years ago, I read somewhere that
by the year 2036, the average age at death in
economically developed countries would be 108
years old.
             STAN
They’re resting on comfortable couches in the
apartment they share.  It’s a small Manhattan
apartment, filled with computers and—because
the old  man loves them—books.  His great-
granddaughter’s a woman about thirty, with
luxuriant red  hair and piercing blue eyes.
             BAKER
Really, Great Grandpapa.  That was mighty
prescient of someone.
             ABLE
Yeah—I told a lot of people that.  Those are
words to remember, and they came true.
             BAKER
And what did people say back then?

8.

             ABLE
They said, ‘What do I care?’
             BAKER
Well, I guess that’s understandable. Back
then,  2036 was a long ways away, and they
didn’t know if they’d be alive or  dead by
now.
             ABLE
I don’t know if I’ll be alive or dead next
year—but I keep caring, right?  The future
world is a  world we’re helping to make, everY
moment that we’re here.
             BAKER
Did you follow up on Roger Hawkins?
             ABLE
I did. (He chuckles.) The new loverboy.  And
Stan, the old loverboy.
             BAKER
(Laughing) Don’t call them that.  It’s not
fair to Susie.
             ABLE
I’m just teasing, dear.
             STAN
So then he tells her about the run-in between
Roger and Stan.
              BAKER
There’s a piece of luck! Do you think the
Malthusians and the AARF will fund the
project?
             ABLE
(Tapping his head) I think so.  In a really
strange, unpredictable way, things are coming
together very quickly, aren’t they?
                       ABLE AND BAKER EXIT.  ENTER ROGER.
                       THE OTHERS FOLLOW HIM OUT.
             ROGER
The New York City subway is criss-crossed with
escalators of chromium  and brass, plastic and
rubber, tarnished with broken tiles, grime and
soot.  Like the surface  streets, the
escalator is packed with people, riding like
zombies in a muttering silence.

(MORE)

9.

             ROGER (CONT’D)
This is  where I’m riding upwards from the
trains to the street.
             SUSIE
There’s a glowing LCD sign overhead, reading
April 1, 2036, 09:06:31.  The seconds swirl by
on the digital clock: 09:06:32, 33, 34, 35.
Overhead there’s one of the ubiquitous
monitors that button Manhattan like sequins.
It shows Roger sliding up the escalator, along
with the zombie people going up the escalator
and down the escalator.  Most of the people
are  old, old, old: hobbling, in wheelchairs
(some with plastic domes for oxygen), some in
chairs  that ride suspended a few inches off
the ground.  And everywhere is the lapping
murmur of a  thousand voices, the distant
whoosh of trains flowing in and out of the
station, and the faint  click-clack-click of
the escalator.
             STAN
Along the escalator wall LCD pictures form,
dissolve, shift, reappear: brightly colored
ads, like  electronic flowers. A large plastic
penis springs from a patch of hyacinths.
             MARGE
“When Passion  Calls, Use VIGORO”.
             STAN
An elderly man’s face grins atop a steroid
bodybuilder’s torso.
             MARGE
“You  can be YOUNG again with NATURIX!”
             STAN
An old woman in an velveteen evening dress
allows  the  sneaking glimpse of what’s
underneath.
             MATT
“SECURIPAD: Wear With Confidence; No  Leaks!”
             SUSIE
A passionate couple in their eighties smooch
in bed.
“Singles Over 70”.

MARGE

10.

             STAN
There are  hi-tech car ads, ads for ocular
implants, grinning models holding up cans of
juice, and a lingerie ad.
             SUSIE
“Style?  I’m 100, but I still got it!”
             ROGER
Like most of the people on the escalator, most
of the
models in the ads are well beyond the far side
of 70. And there’s graffiti everywhere:
             MARGE
“Gimme shelter.”
             STAN
“Call Betty, Veronica, Archie and Jughead  for
a quadra-hot time.”
             MATT
”Misery is the mechanism that balances human
requirements and available resources.  –
Thomas Malthus (1766-1834)”
             SUSIE
“Save Methuselah!”
             MATT
Roger hikes the last few escalator stairs and
stalks down the hallway towards an exit sign.
Off  to the side a woman (she must be at least
120) sits with a cup on the ground and a
handwritten  sign.
             MARGE
“PLEASE HELP.  MY 401(k) RAN OUT 30

YEARS AGO.”

             MATT
Above her, a monitor flashes, “U.S. BIRTHRATE
DECLINES FOR 12TH STRAIGHT  YEAR.”
             STAN
Roger ignores all this mayhem swirling about
him, intent on stewing in his Stan- inspired
anger.
             SUSIE
A grizzled black musician (a youthful 80),
wearing black leather pants and a spiked metal
neck  piece, plucks riffs from an electric

guitar.

(MORE)

11.

             SUSIE (CONT’D)
His shirt reads “Rap – A Blast From The Past.”
His  instrument case is open at his feet, a
few crumpled bills inside.
             STAN
Hey, my man, now here’s  something classic by
the great Lenny Kravitz. “Standing here, got
no beer, really queer, fightin’ fear”
             SUSIE
A much younger woman (she’s 50)  digs into her
purse, bends over and tosses cash into the
musician’s case.  Having done her good  deed,
she stands -- only to find that Roger’s in her
face.
             ROGER
Don’t encourage him, damn it!
             STAN
Whassamatter, dude? Off that lady!  Somehow
you don’t  dig fine, old timey music?
             ROGER
Yeah, I do – I just hate the old timey living
dead, pal! (He  flicks him the finger.) Go
fuck yourself!
                       (Then he spins on his heel and
                       stamps away.)
             MARGE
No one else takes the least notice of this
confrontation except for the old man wearing
his army  beret, He’s sitting on a bench,
watching.  Letters on the back of his blue
jacket spell out  “AARF.”
             SUSIE
Able aims his cane handle and secretly takes a
photo of the departing Roger, gets  slowly to
his feet, smiles to himself and walks, stiffly
but confidently.
             STAN
More monitors.  More headlines: “Congress
Raises Social Security Retirement Age to 87”
             SUSIE
American Association of Retired Folk Pickets

White House

12.

             MARGE
Nature Update: the Alaskan  Moose is Extinct –
Sarah Palin Shoots The Last One.
             STAN
This may be the modern world but  the  60’s
are still here: a geezer dressed in tie-dyed
hippy clothes gallantly holds a door open for
an  ancient crone in peace symbols and beads.
She gives a flip of the shells hanging around
her  saggy neck.
             MARGE
Thanks, studley.
             MATT
 Right on, babe.
Roger pushes her aside and barges
through.  The crone’s cane goes
flying as she  topples to the
ground. The geezer tries to help
her up.  She struggles to glimpse
Roger.
             MARGE
Fuck you, asshole! I was protesting the Bush
War when you were in diapers!
             ROGER
I wouldn’t even dignify her cry with

an answer.

              STAN
So he bolts out the subway door, donning dark
shades as he does.  The cool of  the day
masks  the predicted warming of the earth.
Even though it’s only April, the temperature
regularly  soars  into the 80’s, and the city
awaits the swelter of summer with dread.
Without a close look, no one could see anyone
under seventy in the crowded street.
             SUSIE
Roger charges down the sidewalk packed with
oldsters stumbling along. A solid row of
geezers  lines the edge of the sidewalk by the
buildings, each senior armed with a tin cup
and a sign. Pleas for money, food, shelter, or
insurance coverage.  One wears a football
jacket which reads  across the back, “Stand Up
For Elder Rights.”  Another has a crest which
says, “Believe in  Methuseluh.”

(MORE)

13.

             SUSIE (CONT’D)
Meanwhile, a wild cacophony of sounds engulfs
the street: people yakking,  jackhammers
whapping, cranes ratcheting overhead, jets
zooming in the sky, horns blaring.  Traffic
crawls. The traffic is bumper to bumper to
bumper everywhere, with vehicles  marooned in
perpetual petrification. A young woman in
mirrored silk shorts and a see-through halter
pushes a shiny, armored baby  carriage.  Just
behind her is her beefy bodyguard.  His hat
reads,
             STAN
“Mother Patrol.”
             SUSIE
The oldsters  shuffle and scurry to avoid him,
parting like the Red Sea around her and her
muscle.  Just ahead  there are two buildings:
the Michael Moore Memorial Muckraking Museum,
and BFD Health Insurance.  Roger races into
the BFD building.
             MATT
The expanse inside the insurance building
arches up, church-like, into the hush of a
morgue. To the rear of the huge, stone floor
the doors of an elevator verge on closing.
Roger spots the  closing, sprints, then vaults
past two old women in wheel chairs who are
angling to get a ride. He blocks them,
squeezing himself into the last open slot in
an elevator packed with the elderly.
                       ALL THE OTHERS ARE PACKED
                       AROUND ROGER
             MATT
Before he arrived the elevator passengers were
gabbing noisily.  As soon as he enters, they
fall  totally quiet.  The elevator doors fold
closed in dutiful silence.
Stolid Roger stands a head taller than the
crowd of shriveled hunch-backs.  The oldsters
hack  and wheeze, but no one says a
recognizable word, as the elevator dings
mournfully at every  floor.  Finally, it
slows, stops, and the doors shush open.  Roger
bolts.
                       (MARGE plays the CLERK).

14.

             STAN
There’s another monitor.  It shows Roger as he
dashes from the elevator into the plastic
corridor  and down to a door marked “Payroll
Office.”  That door, too,  slides open,
revealing the payroll  clerk: fat, forty, and
bored.  Roger enters and she’s alone with him.
Her chubby finger beckons.

Card.

CLERK

             STAN
Roger whips out his wallet, removes his pay
card, and slides it across the counter at her.
She  picks it up, her fingers encased in a
disposable sanitized glove.  The clerk flicks
the card  expertly  and shoves it into a slot
in the terminal at the counter.
             CLERK
OK, Mr. Hawkins.  Hmm . . .
             STAN
The clerk casually presses buttons.  The
terminal hums, clicks, reads, chiggers, and
coughs  back the card.  She glances at it.
The card glows red with electronic digits.
             CLERK
$2,300,000. That’s a nice few bucks, Mr.
Hawkins.  Busy workweek, huh? (She shoves the
card back at him with an expression melding a
sneer and a grin.)  Don’t spend  it all in one
place.
             ROGER
If you say. Only, don’t you figure 62% has
already been spent?
             CLERK
The 62% being what exactly?
             ROGER
(Roger sticks his card into his wallet.)
Social security.  Medicare.  Medicaid.
ElderCare.  Senior  Transport. WheelMeals.
HostelStay.  BuryRights.  See, 62% is what
Uncle Sam and New York  State together steal
from my pay and yours.  And for what, huh?

Tell me.

CLERK

15.

             STAN
She shifts her bulk.  On her shirt is an
animated button with a bouncing chubbums,
cheerfully announcing that she’s a member of
the Obesity Club of Queens.
             ROGER
To take care of the old farts.  Get

the picture?

             CLERK
(The clerk’s lips break into a slow Cheshire
smile.)  Oh, I get it.  You’re a dispatcher,
right?
             ROGER
You got it.
             CLERK
It shows. (She lowers her voice several
notches.) You do private jobs, maybe?
             ROGER
(Roger frowns.  He already knows what’s
coming.)  You trying to collect an inheritance
or -- ?
             CLERK
Something like that. (She hesitates)  Let’s
just say I’ve got someone I’d  like to
see . . .

Dead?

ROGER

             CLERK
(She coughs carefully) Whatever.
             ROGER
Dead isn’t just a whatever. (Roger leans in
slightly.) How old’s this person?
             CLERK
My mother-in-law? (She examines her nails.)

Say,. . . .

             ROGER
In other words, you’re talking murder.
             CLERK
(With a nervous laugh.) Ain’t that what you do

for a living?

16.

             ROGER
(With a growl) They gotta be at least 95
before I can touch ‘em.
             CLERK
Oh, I didn’t know –
             ROGER
Don’t they teach you people nothing?  I’m a
dispatcher.  Not a murderer.  Get it?  There’s
a big difference. (He’s in her face.)  Got it?
             CLERK
(She shrinks immediately from feisty, fat and
forty to a cringing blob.)  No.  Yes.  No.
             ROGER
Well, listen -- here it is. I obey the law.
                       (And on this moral note, he leaves
                       in high dudgeon.)
             SUSIE
There’s another monitor.  This one’s outside
the Payroll Office, and it shows Roger as he
strides  away down the corridor.  But as he
rounds the corner, heading for Matt’s office,
Stan is coming  out Matt’s door.  Fortunately,
Stan is focused straight ahead.  Roger steps
back, out of sight. Stan glances in his
direction, doesn’t see Roger, and keeps
walking the other way.  Roger waits  until
Stan’s gone.
             MARGE
Inside his office, Matt is hard at work,
peering  into his computer monitor. He’s tall
with two left feet, and in a crowd he’s the
only geeque with glasses.  With the sound of
someone coming in, he swivels around.
             MATT
Hi, Roger.
             ROGER
(Roger mumbles in reply.) Yeah, yeah.
                       Matt swings back to the screen.
             MATT
I see you did fifteen this week.

Yeah.

ROGER

17.

             MATT
And you get 25 bonus points, too,  my man.
Ties your personal  record.  Congratulations
are certainly in order.
             ROGER
It shoulda been sixteen.
             MATT
Well, sure.
             ROGER
Except Stan screwed me up.
             MATT
Yeah, well. . . . He claims he’s  shooting for
the BFD  record.
             ROGER
At my expense.
             MATT
Trying to prove something to someone, I guess.
             ROGER
That’s his problem.
             MATT
So -- what d’you say we get to next week’s
list? (Pause)
Stan’s problem is jealousy.
             ROGER
Who cares? (Pause)  Of what?
             MATT
Guess. (When Roger doesn’t, Matt  levels a
forefinger at him.)

Me?

ROGER

             MATT
Bingo.  Listen, I’m not your boss; I’m not
Stan’s boss. I’m  just another guy who works
here.  But I don’t want anything happening to
either of you.
             ROGER
Yeah, you’re just starting out here, and that
would look bad on your record.
             MATT
So maybe stay out of his way, okay?

(MORE)

18.

             MATT (CONT’D)
        ROGER
Tell him to stay out of mine. I had a big
score lined up.  I had the juice all  jacked.
But Stan strolled in and tried to take it from
me.
             MATT
(Matt tents his fingers and concentrates
before answering.)  He says the Old Lady was
on the open list.
             ROGER
What’s that supposed to mean?  It’s just
chicken-shit.
             MATT
I looked. She was free list.
             ROGER
Listen, I don’t care. No BFD dispatcher horns
in on a buddy’s score.
             MATT
Since when is Stan your buddy?
             ROGER
We’re on the same team. It’s the one, big
unwritten rule.
             MATT
Look, this isn’t an easy business.  When the
elders started  living longer and longer, they
became too numerous for the rest of us to
support.
             ROGER
Yeah, but ---
             MATT
So okay. They had to be thinned  out somehow.
Laws got changed.  Now elders can’t vote past
the age of 100, and someone  dreamed up
dispatchers, like you, like Stan, and all the
others.  All the elders over 100 went on  the
open list.
             ROGER
That isn’t how I heard it.
             MATT
Go read Public Law 24-67009.  I did.

(MORE)

19.

             MATT (CONT’D)
They used to call dispatchers the Palin Death
Squad,  but that was years ago -- hey, she’s
really old hat.  The insurance lobby sneaked
dispatchers into the law, and they’ve been
there ever since.
             ROGER
BFD has its own list,  doesn’t it?
             MATT
Sure.  Every health insurance company can have
one.  The lobbyists earned their money on
that one.  A geezer turns 95, we put them on
it.  I use BFD’s list for assignments.  You’re
exclusive on yours; Stan can’t touch them, you
can’t touch his.  But we also get the
government  subsidy money for anyone over 100;
it boosts the death rate.  You’re both
licensed to do them,  but they’re on the open
list.  I put The Old Woman on your assignment,
but she was still open list. Understand?

Yeah.

ROGER

             MATT
So -- how ‘bout some old timers for you to
take care of? How about twenty?  You’re in
great shape to handle that, Roger, right?
             SUSIE
He retrieves a chip and extends it towards
Roger.  Roger takes it like a morose  child
and clicks the chip into his wrist computer.
             MATT
What else?
             ROGER
I’m running a little low on juice.
             MATT
Boy, gotta have that juice. (Pause) Check
your ‘patcher.  It’s taken care of. (Pause)
This is just a job, Roger.  Don’t let all this
stuff get to you.  Okay?
             ROGER
(Dourly)  Yeah.
             MATT
No, I mean it.  Okay?

20.

             ROGER
Stuff doesn’t get to me.
             MATT
You know what my job is?
             MATT
You’re my handler. Just like the last one I
had. I know that.
             MATT
Right.  Yours, and Stan’s, Bob’s, Bill’s.
About ten of you.
             ROGER
All dispatchers.
             MATT
(Matt sighs.)  Right.  And every one of you a

prima donna.

             ROGER
That’s what you need to be a good dispatcher.
             MATT
You’re right.  And what do you think you’ve
got to do to be a good handler?
             ROGER
I’ve never thought about it.  What?
             MATT
You’ve got to be there for the
dispatcher.  See?

Sure.

ROGER

             MATT
Something’s eating you, Roger. It’s not hard

to see. Stan.

ROGER

             MATT
No, no, no. (Matt waves his hand and shakes
his head.) Something inside you – more
important than Stan.  Something that really
needs to get out.  Something you’ve got to
face but don’t want to.

Bullshit.

ROGER

21.

             MATT
You got a girlfriend to talk to?
             ROGER
What’s that got to do with it?
Trust me.
I got one
Does she have a name?
MATT
ROGER
MATT

ROGER

Susie.
Do you tell Susie what’s bugging you?

Sometimes.

Talk to her more often.  It’ll help.  I
guarantee it.  Oh, yeah, I have to remind you.
Tomorrow’s the annual reorientation for you.
             ROGER
Shit!  I hate that crap.
             MATT
Everyone does.  But we gotta have it.  It’s in
the regulations, to make sure we’re doing our
jobs right.
             ROGER
Those regulations are crap, too.  Sitting,
listening to some lame-brained egghead go on
and on  about why we have dispatchers.  Why
don’t they ask me about it?  I can tell ‘em.
             MATT
It just goes with the job.  And – don’t worry,
Stan’s going to be in the audience, too.  Try
to  keep your hands off him.

Yeah.

ROGER

MATT
ROGER
MATT
             MATT
The woman who’s speaking is one the economists
from upstair.  Name’s Baker something.
                (MORE)

22.

             MATT (CONT’D)
I’ve heard her, she’s pretty good.
             ROGER
I can’t wait.
             MARGE
After leaving Matt’s office, Roger goes
upstairs and continues stewing at his barren
desk in his  tiny cubicle on the fifty-second
floor of the BFD building, staring at his own
computer screen. The cubicle has no photos,
paintings, or colors.  Or windows, for that
matter.  Messy stacks of  paper are the only
decoration.  Roger pecks out a message on his
keyboard.
He punches in a phone number on his computer.
It dials automatically.  A phone rings
distantly.  Somewhere in Florida, a beefy,
square-faced man of seventy-nine, looking
vaguely  like Roger, appears on Roger’s
monitor. He’s sitting with a drink in his hand
at an outdoor table with a palm tree in the
background.  He’s slightly deaf, but when he
finally hears the  phone, he latches onto it.
             HARRY
Hello?  Whozzit?
             ROGER
It’s me, Dad -- Roger.
             JANIE
Who is it, Harry?
(STAN plays HARRY; SUSIE
plays JANIE)
             HARRY
(Harry takes a long pull on his drink, then
waves dismissively.)  It’s your son, Janie.
             ROGER
I’m your son, Dad.
             JANIE
He’s your son, Harry.
             HARRY
Yeah, okay -- I get it. You don’t both have to
tell me.
Isn’t that your third drink today?

JANIE

23.

             HARRY
So? (Harry takes a defiant pull from his
glass.) Why’s he calling?
             ROGER
I’m just calling to say hello.
             HARRY
You want to talk alone to your mother, right?
             JANIE
He loves you. He’s your son, calling to

say hello.

             HARRY
(Into the phone). But what you really want to
do is talk alone to your  mother, right?
Talk alone to your mother.  Not talk to
me, right?
                       Janie reaches for the phone.
             JANIE
Let me talk to him.
             HARRY
Here. See?  I’m giving your mother the phone.
(He thrusts  the  phone at Janie and, drink in
hand, wanders off towards the beach.)
             ROGER
What’s the matter with him?
             JANIE
He’s your father, dear.  You know what

he’s like.

             ROGER
Yes, I do.  But I never know why he’s

like that.

(Fade out on ROGER and JANIE; light
up on SUSIE).
             MARGE
The woman Roger calls Susie has the same sort
of  tiny cubicle Roger has, with the same sort
of digital clock but she’s decorated her space
with flowers,  sweet colors, and lots and lots
of pictures of children.  There’s hardly a
paper there.  Susie types  very, very, very
fast.
As the phone rings, her monitor screen
dissolves to a picture of a smiling baby.

(MORE)

24.

             MARGE (CONT’D)
Then Stan  appears on the screen.  Susie
watches him. He peers forward, sitting online,
waiting for Susie  to pick up.  The phone
keeps ringing.  Susie reaches to connect with
him but then slowly draws  her hand back.
             STAN
Come on, Susie.  I know you’re there.
             MARGE
Annoyed, Susie punches a button.  Susie’s
recording comes on with a brief sprinkle of
tinkling music box before it says, “Susie’s
not here right now.  Please leave a message.”
             STAN
Son of a bitch.
             MARGE
The screen goes blank as he disconnects.  The
happy baby bobs back up on Susie’s monitor
screen.
Susie gets up and glances at her reflection in
the small mirror on the wall.  It’s a pretty
reflection of a woman in her late 20’s with
pink skin, red lips, arched amber eyebrows and
blond  hair.  She pulls out her lipstick and
primps her lips.
             MATT
As she works on herself, Marge, another  nurse
and a candidate for her local Obesity Club,
sticks her head inside the cubicle.
             MARGE
Plans this  evening with Stan?
             SUSIE
No more Stan, Marge.

Not ever?

MARGE

             SUSIE
I’ve decided.  He’s off my list.
             MARGE
Oooo!  Such a big list, too!
(Susie keeps working on her mouth.
She smacks her lips together and
admires them briefly.)

25.

             SUSIE
Roger’s taking me to Leopold’s.
             MARGE
Really?  I didn’t even know Roger was

a worthy.

             SUSIE
Well, if you knew me better . . . Roger’s
definitely in the running.
             MARGE
Oh, my.  Second date?

Fifth.

SUSIE

Marge waggles five fingers in
the air.
             MARGE
My, my, I really am behind the times!
I’m impressed.
             SUSIE
You should be.
             MARGE
Fifth date. (Marge arches her eyebrows
suggestively.)  Time for the Back Room?
             SUSIE
You just could be right.
             MARGE
While you’re having fun down at Leopold’s,
what excitement’s left here for  those of us
on swing shift?
             SUSIE
You could watch No. 0560 on Level 4.
             MARGE
He was bad yesterday.
             SUSIE
Badder today.
             MARGE
Are you getting serious with him?
                       Susie gives prim fluff to her hair.

26.

             SUSIE
I try not to date the patients -- even on

Level 4.

             MARGE
Ha!  Ha!  I mean Roger, Miss Dude.
             SUSIE
I could get serious.
             MARGE
With Roger?
Susie cocks her head.
             SUSIE
Why not? We’d make good babies together, don’t

you think?

             MARGE
You’re really in dreamland, sweetie.  I’ve
seen your Roger once.
             SUSIE
Dreaming’s good.  I’m old-fashioned that way.
             MARGE
Yeah, or just plain crazy.
             STAN
Back in his own cubicle, Roger still sits at
his barren desk, hen-peck typing.  There’s a
Pepsi7Coca on his desk. He leans over and
sucks on his straw.  It makes a gurgling,
empty  sound.  He types some more.  The
digital clock reading moves rapidly from
16:59:59 to  17:00:00.  As it changes, the
typing stops.
Roger’s cubicle is suddenly empty.  The empty
glass sits rocking with the straw sticking out
of  it.
             STAN
The old man who took Roger’s picture on Long
Island and down in the subway is walking  down
the crowded street, ignoring the panhandlers.
He’s wearing the same army beret and the  same
jacket with “AARF” on the back, and he’s
speaking into his cane, which has a Codex
signal scrambler.  He’s following someone.
             ABLE
Baker, do you copy?

27.

             STAN
Elsewhere in the city there’s his great-
granddaughter.  Like her forebear her back’s
straight and  her walk is almost a march, and
she’s following someone, too, but she’s in
civvies.
             BAKER
10-4, Able.  I’m watching Elvis.
             ABLE
Good, I’m with John Lennon.  Stay with him.
             BAKER
10-4 .  How are things going?
             ABLE
The AARF is on board, and the Malthusians are
just about ready to pop, duckie.
             BAKER
Now we’re cooking, Great Grandpapa.
             MATT
Leopold’s Bar is on the tenth floor of what
used to be the United Nations building.  Now
it’s been  turned into lofts, flashy bistros
and bars.  The bar has subdued lighting.  In
the depths of the  darkened room is the LCD
which says 17:35:34. Over the bar a lighted
sign reads: Leopold’s -- No Old Fogies
Allowed.
The monitor on the wall  shows Roger sitting
across from Susie, hands cradled around his
glass.  Susie peers at him.
             SUSIE
So -- what is it?

ROGER

Nothing.
No, really. Spit it out.

SUSIE

                       Roger sighs.
I can’t say anything to my father.

ROGER

Roger raises his hand and then lets
it drop, shaking his head.

28.

             SUSIE
(Eagerly) You called him?
             ROGER
Tried to.  Yeah.
             SUSIE
Good for you!  That’s what we talked
about, right?
             SUSIE
We could talk about it some more. Whenever you
want. (Pause) I mean, if you want to.
                       (Roger finally shakes his head.)
             ROGER
Could instead we – umm?
             SUSIE
Visit the Back Room?
                       (Roger has the grace to nod
                       sheepishly.  Susie clenches her
                       jaw.)
             SUSIE
That’s all you can think about  when
we’re together?
             ROGER
It’s been a really tough  week, Susie.

Uh huh.

SUSIE

             ROGER
Tried to talk with my Dad.
             SUSIE
(Sarcastically) Oh, good!
             ROGER
It didn’t help me feel good.
             SUSIE
I really think you need to talk to me about
him some more, don’t you?  About you and him?
About why things are the way they are between
the two of you?
             ROGER
Maybe. But I’ve got needs.  Other needs.

29.

             SUSIE
Don’t we all?
             ROGER
Aren’t they the same?  Yours and mine?
             SUSIE
Some of them yes.  Many no.
             ROGER
This has really been a shitty day, all around.
             MATT
Susie gets ready to repeat again her litany
about Harry but stops herself.  Guilt pains
her to see  Roger so sad and forlorn.  She’s
thinks about him and about herself.
Philosophy washes over  her.  Or perhaps it’s
a waft of human pheromones.
             SUSIE
(To herself) Why not make happiness for both
of us? (Aloud) I think. (Pause).  (To herself)
Besides, I have needs, too.
                       Roger raises his head
                       questioningly.  She perks up some
                       more.
             SUSIE
I think today’s your lucky day.
                       She sashays slightly towards the
                       rear of the bar room and does a
                       pirouette.
             ROGER
 Why’s that?
             SUSIE
Because today it’s yes.

Yes??

ROGER

             SUSIE
 The Back Room’s this way, right?
                       Roger grabs his drink and follows
                       at half a gallop.
             MATT
Down the back hallway of Leopold’s, there’s a

row of doors.

(MORE)

30.

             MATT (CONT’D)
Each has a sign reading, “The  Back Room.”
The first door they pass says, “IN USE.”  So
they go on.  The second door says,  “WELCOME,
ENTER.” Susie opens the door and peers in.

It’s good.

SUSIE

             MATT
She goes in.  The  walls are beige plastic.
There’s a bed, freshly made with two plump
pillows.  There’s a night  stand and not much
else except, of course, a monitor. Roger
follows her in. As soon as they’re both
inside, the monitor on the wall behind the bed
blinks on to show a man and woman kissing
passionately in bed.  They aren’t old fogies
or geezers – just maybe  thirtyish.  While
they stimulate their genitalia, an
enthusiastic voice booms (to music of a lusty
but tasteful sort)
             MARGE
Sex on your mind?  Don’t fight the traffic!
Don’t fight the urge! Come in,  come on, or
just plain come; give in to your erotic whim.
Our beds are soft, romantic, and fully  ready
right now to satisfy your every need.
             SUSIE
Pay for it, please.  Make it shut up.

Right.

ROGER

             MARGE
Welcome. Please deposit $50,000 for the first

30 minutes.

             MARGE
 Have fun!
Roger  swipes the card.
Roger pulls out his credit card.
             MATT
Susie strips off her sweater.  Her bra, molded
from shiny beige plastic, matches the walls.
Pulling out his Likwid8R, Roger eyes her bra
appreciatively.

31.

             ROGER
Wish the old farts could see you  in that
thing. They’d croak. (He pats his Likwid8R.)
It’d save me the trouble of  using this on
‘em.
             SUSIE
Stop calling them that. It  makes me wonder

about you.

             ROGER
What do you call them at the ElderCare?
             SUSIE
Customers.  Patients.
             ROGER
Like the ones stacked up in the basement?
             MATT
Roger starts to pull off his pants.  He’s
somewhat  clumsy about it, hopping around on
one foot.
             SUSIE
A nurse tries to show respect for
human beings.
                       Roger keeps hopping.
             ROGER
I’m lucky that’s not in my job description.
             SUSIE
How about scum like your friends at HQ

Health Care?

             ROGER
(Still hopping) What friends?  They’re
competition, damn it!
             SUSIE
They caught HQ bribing Dr. Mollinart.

For what?

ROGER

             SUSIE
To get him to knock off the patients.  Then HQ
won’t have to pay to take care of them.
                       Hop!  Hop!  Roger falls down.

32.

             ROGER
Damn it!  (But he finally gets his pants off.)
                       Susie cuddles in the bed.
             SUSIE
Hmmm, this is starting to fit my needs very
nicely after all.

Oh, yeah!

ROGER

She pulls him down towards her and
kisses him to make him shut up.
Roger finally comes to  his senses.
He tosses the sock and reaches for
her roughly.  Susie pulls away.
             SUSIE
Ouch!  Gently with me, okay?
                       Roger pulls back.
             ROGER
Sorry.  My job’s tough enough without the
competition trying to get me laid  off.
Roger starts working on his socks.
             ROGER
What’re they trying to do -- boost the minimum
death rate under the table?
             SUSIE
Come on, baby, be sweet.  Let’s not talk shop.
                       She holds out her hands to beckon
                       him into bed. Roger clutches a
                       sock, still pondering the
                       situation.
             ROGER
They bribe the docs, jack up the death rate.
Then who needs dispatchers?
             SUSIE
I do, sweetie.  Come’re!
                       Roger ignores her.
             ROGER
Everyone’s down on my job!

33.

             SUSIE
Ahem. Yoohoo.
He stops cuddling with her and
zones out again, considering his
situation.
ROGER
Oh, sure, sure.
They revert to love-making
momentarily.  Roger nuzzles Susie.
             SUSIE
My job is to keep them alive.  Yours is to
dispatch them.  And here we  are in bed
together.
             ROGER
What’s wrong with that?
             SUSIE
Nothing -- especially when you  (she licks her
lips) keep your mind on your work here and
forget your dispatching job and do things like
that.
             ROGER
Dispatchers are sort of your thing, aren’t

they, babe?

             SUSIE
You’re my sort of thing, sweetie.
             MATT
They smile at one another as they disappear
under the  sheets.
Later, they’re half dressed, with Susie
buttoning her blouse and frowning.
             SUSIE
You said  dispatchers were my thing.  You were
thinking that because Stan dispatches, too?
                       Roger picks up his Likwid8R and
                       hefts it.
             ROGER
Yeah, I guess. You think about him at all?
             SUSIE
Sometimes.  Until today.

34.

And?

ROGER

             SUSIE
He got to be a whole lot different from what I
thought he was  when we started out dating.
             ROGER
What about me?
             SUSIE
You can be sweet.  Stan’s -- well -- (She
grimaces a shiver.)  That’s  why I dumped him.
             ROGER
He hates me.
             SUSIE
You don’t know the half of it.  Being a
dispatcher is what he was born to do.
             MATT
Behind them, the screen blinks on, showing the
tooth-paste smiley couple in bed together.
             MARGE
Want more healthy, life-enhancing sexual
activity? Just deposit $25,000 for an
additional thirty minutes of zesty activity.
             ROGER
Oh, shut up.  Come on, Susie.  We’re going.
             MARGE
Susie and Roger leave Leopold’s on a pink
cloud and walk together hand-in-hand down the
sidewalk.  The city’s the same as ever.
Oldsters sit scrunched at the sides of
buildings with  cups at their feet.  Susie
tries not to look at them as she strolls by.
             SUSIE
The dispatchers get the  poor ones.  The rich
ones have life insurance to protect them.
             MARGE
Roger doesn’t notice Able standing to side,
although Susie does.  He’s watching them.  He
spent an hour waiting for them to come out.
Meanwhile, he took part of that time to use
his  graffiti blaster, writing:

35.

             ABLE
The power of population is indefinitely
greater than the power in the earth to produce
subsistence for man.
Thomas Malthus (1766 - 1843)
             ROGER
It’s a dog eat dog world, right?
                       Susie gazes into the sky, high
                       above the tallest building.
             SUSIE
I’d like to go somewhere far from  this world.
             MARGE
She stops to window shop at a store front
travel agency called “Bon Voyage”.  A  placard
shows two oldsters at the beach, smiling and
waving.  Both are in wheelchairs with  oxygen
tanks. Roger touches her shoulder.
             ROGER
Uh huh.  Like where?
             SUSIE
A desert island, maybe.
             MARGE
An old couple totters by.  The back of the
man’s jacket says, “Insured by MexLife,” with
a  picture of tough guy in a sombrero under
the slogan.
             ROGER
No such thing any more.  Every island in the
world’s got at least ten people on it.
             MATT
An armored car chugs by with a sign on its
side, “Wee Tots Nursery Service.”
             SUSIE
Even more, I’d like to have a baby.  Maybe
that way, someone will take care of me  when I
get old.    Wouldn’t you just love to have a
baby, sweet cakes?
             ROGER
I’d like to think I could.

Susie glows.

36.

             ROGER
But I can’t afford a kid.  You can’t, either.
             MATT
They pass a LCD advertisement, showing a
smiling woman holding up a baby.  Metal plate
covers the baby completely except for its
face.  The ad reads. “Your baby’s safe in
Armor-All.”
             SUSIE
We could have one together.  Really!  Between
the two of us,  Roger, we earn plenty.
             ROGER
Susie, that’s just wishful thinking.
                       Susie folds her arms over
                       her chest.
             SUSIE
No, it isn’t.
             ROGER
Think about it:  We work and work, and where
does it all go?  What do we get to keep?
Everything we earn pays to keep the old farts
in  diapers.
                       (SUSIE plays THE VERY OLD WOMAN
                       and JANIE)
             MATT
It’s the same backyard of the manicured Long
Island home, full of beautiful flowers.  The
Very  Old Woman in broad-brimmed hat and
garden gloves stands over a patch of flowers.
Behind  her, Roger sneaks across the garden,
Likwid8R in hand.  Before he can get close to
her, Stan  comes running in towards the Very
Old Woman. Roger rushes forward.
             ROGER
Stan!  Get the fuck  away!
             MATT
Stan doesn’t listen.  His arm circles the Very
Old Woman’s shoulder, and he jerks her around,
grinding the Likwid8R into her back.  There’s
a sucking sound as Stan discharges his
Likwid8R.  Without a sound, the Very Old Woman
collapses in a heap. Stan dances away from
her and Roger.

37.

             STAN
Open list!  Open List!
             MATT
Roger rushes up to the Very Old Woman and
falls to his knees, dropping his own Likwid8R.
He sees her face.  It’s his mother.

Mom! Mom!

ROGER

             MATT
Harry comes waddling across the yard, holding
his phone to his ear.  He holds the phone out
towards his wife.  “Janie, I think it’s your
son, okay?”

Gah!

ROGER

             STAN
It’s night, and Roger’s own voice wakes him
from his nightmare in a cold sweat.  The room
is  dark, with only bits of light leaking in
from the bathroom.  The clock next to the bed
whizzes  4:06:13, 14, 15. Roger sits up
partially, then flops back down and throws his
arm over his eyes.
             MARGE
The night was far different at 10:25 p.m. on
September 5, 2003.  Harry was  back home from
the army for just  a short while.  In his
underwear, he brushed his teeth.  Janie,
wearing a low- cut negligee and a come-hither
look, stuck her head in the door to tell him
baby Roger was  asleep.  Harry spat noisily,
nodding.
             HARRY
It’s about time the kid went to sleep.
             JANIE
I’ll be waiting.
             MARGE
She repaired to the bed.
             STAN
Harry hulked momentarily in the doorway
between the bedroom and the bathroom.  His
Army  uniform hung prominently on a hanger
near the door.

38.

             HARRY
Mmm This is good!
             MARGE
Janie giggled from the bed.  But as Harry
crossed the room to the bed, he stopped and
picked  up his drink, sitting on a dresser.
             JANIE
(Whispering) Come on, you don’t need that!
             MARRY
I want it. (He drains the glass as he stumbles
towards the bed.)
             JANIE
Just once I’d like to kiss you, not
Jack Daniels.
Harry rushes for the bed and starts
a clumsy caress.
             HARRY
We’re both here to love you, Janie!
             JANIE
God, do  you have to go back next
week already?
             HARRY
That’s the fucking army for you.
             JANIE
I worry about you.  Are they going to send you
to  Iraq? If something happened to you, what
would I do?  And little Roger –
             HARRY
Can’t we forget him for tonight?
             JANIE
He’s my baby!
             HARRY
I’m your lover!
             JANIE
Shh!  You’ll wake him.
             JANIE
There he is.
An instant later, there’s a yowl
from the next room.

39.

             HARRY
Come’n, we’ve got  grown-up things to do here.
             JANIE
Shh!  Wait!
             STAN
They both held still: she was all ears towards
the baby, while Harry silently  pawed her
flesh.  She grabbed his wrist.  As they held
their position, the sounds in the  background
died to a hiccup and a whimper.
             HARRY
False alarm.
             MARGE
He peeled her hand off his wrist and moved in
confidently  for the Big Kiss.  Just then,
baby Roger nearly screeched.  Startled, Janie
sat up, slamming her  head into Harry’s jaw.
             HARRY
Oww!  Fuck!
             JANIE
Roger! Sweetie!
             HARRY
Damn that kid.
Janie sprang from the bed and
dashed for the baby.
Harry sprawled on the bed, holding
his painful mouth.
(STAN plays the DISPATCH CHIEF;
SUSIE plays BAKER)
             MARGE
The morning after his nightmare, Roger goes
down to Arena 5 on the third floor of the BFD
Building.  At least fifty dispatchers are
milling around, all dressed in black uniforms,
and Roger  knows many of them.  But he only
keeps his eye on one of them.  Stan.  He has a
sneaking  suspicion that Stan’s returning the
compliment.
The Dispatch Chief raps the podium.

40.

             DISPATCH CHIEF
Ladies and Gentlemen, one of the legal
requirements for  your job is that you attend
a reorientation once annually. I can tell that
it’s not something that cheers you up. We’ve
passed out copies of the program, and I will
say that the  speakers are darned good, even
though most of them are BFD employees.  So I
think we should  start.  Baker McReady?
             BAKER
Thanks, Chief Garner.  I’m an economist by
trade,  and it’s my job to explain to you in
layperson’s terms why there are dispatchers.
Some of you  may have heard this speech
before, but I’ll try to add enough new stuff
to make it interesting  even if you have.  In
the early 1970’s, a book was published
entitled, The Limits To Growth, a report of
the Club of Rome’s project on the predicament
of  mankind. Its conclusions were really
stunning. It was ultimately published in 30
languages and  sold over 30 million copies.
According to a  computer model, very
sophisticated for the 1960’s, the world would
ultimately run out of many key resources quite
soon. These limits would  become the
‘ultimate’ predicament of mankind.
When each of us as an individual decides to
buy something, we first consider the price.
Yet  society as a whole has accepted the idea
of continual growth in population and
production  without adding up the final
reckoning.
About 30 years ago – 40 years after the Club
of Rome study – a team of M.I.T. scientists,
with  the aid of a newer, greater computer,
completed a study of the future.  Assuming
that then- present growth continued, their
inescapable conclusions were beyond anyone’s
grimmest fears.  Possibly within as little as
70 years, our social and economic system would
collapse unless  drastic changes were made
very soon.
Since that time,  the population of the United
States has gone up without stop.  The live
birth rate has actually  dropped, but the
combination of senior citizens living longer
and longer lives combined with  normal
immigration, legal and illegal, has pushed the
American population to 6oo million,  twice
what it was 30 years ago.
Immigrants provide cheap labor the U.S. has
found it can’t do without.

(MORE)

41.

             BAKER (CONT’D)
So, until someone can  figure out a better way
to maintain our national population within
reasonable bounds, you as  dispatchers are the
people in the front line – the protectors of
our national security –  the people  who make
our American way of life possible.  You help
to keep our population in check,  eliminating
the unproductive as Congress has authorized.
             MATT
The morning after his his reorientation, Roger
sits stoop-shouldered on a train station
bench. There’s a crowd of oldsters near where
the train comes in.  Above his head, a woman
of about  50 speaks from a monitor.
             SUSIE
“I used to look like this.”  The monitor shows
a picture of her  looking around 90 years old.
“But thanks to Dr. G.G. Frakbak, I look young,
vibrant, sexy, and  alive.”  Her picture
morphs back to her younger self.  “You can,
too!”
                       (STAN plays DR. FRAKBAK)
             MATT
Dr. Frakbak, wearing wrap around shades, a lab
coat, and a grey-flecked pony-tail, flashes
on,  the epitome of  medical business.
             SUSIE
Just call for an appointment at
212-564-345-999-567-7855. I’ll repeat that
number  –  212-564-345-999-567-7855.”
             MATT
As the message repeats, a silver bullet train
speeds into the station and slides to a stop.
The  oldsters trudge on, and Roger follows.
At the other end of the car, another man steps
on, too.
             MARGE
All the seats on the train are taken.
Everyone else on the train is seventy-five or
over.  Some of  them sleep.  Some talk to
their neighbors.  One or two stare at Roger.
None speak to him. Roger has to remain
standing while the train starts up and rocks
along.

(MORE)

42.

             MARGE (CONT’D)
At the far end of the car  the last man to
board the train -- Able, once again  in beret
and blue jacket –  sits and watches  Roger out
of the corner of his eye.  Most of the time he
sits listening to old Benny Goodman  MP12
recordings on his cane.
             STAN
The trip to Montauk Point City goes quickly.
Roger gets off the train with a clutch of
other  passengers, all of whom start hobbling
down the platform.  There’s some graffiti on
the wall.
             SUSIE
One says, “All Power To Methuseleh.”
             MARGE
Another says, “Support reform! Vote AARF! -
American Association of Retired Folks”  Roger
strides purposefully down the platform.  At a
distance, Able follows him slowly.
             STAN
This is the far end of Long Island.  In the
old days, it was sparsely built, with sand
dunes nearly  100 miles from Manhattan.  Now,
the dunes hold row upon row of tract houses.
             SUSIE
Roger takes a cab out to a little residential
neighborhood.  He pays off the cabbie
($20,000) and walks down 2045 Street until he
gets to number 67681, a little, gingerbready
house with  flowers near the door.  Roger
saunters by, eyeing the house as he heads down
the street  beside  the picket fence.  He goes
down to the end of the block, turns around and
passes number 67681  in the other direction.
There’s no one on the street.  There’s a
monitor, but it appears to be  focused for the
moment on a different house.  No. 67681 looks
quiet.  He goes by one more  time, carefully
but surreptitiously.  Then he vaults the fence
into the yard.
             MATT
He moves swiftly across the yard to the back
of the house.  No one sees him.  In the shadow
of  the little house, he pulls out his
Likwid8R and tries the handle of the back
door.  It opens.  He  slips in.

43.

             MARGE
The inside of the house has muted lighting.
Flowery wallpaper, wainscoting and old
furniture  decorate the interior.  Roger
creeps through the house.  He reaches the
bedroom,  peers in, his  Likwid8R at the
ready.  At the far wall is a bed holding a
motionless, wizened old woman. Roger can hear
her hoarse, shallow breathing.
             MATT
Roger walks carefully towards the bed,
fingering the Likwid8R.  He gets closer and
closer.  All  the time, his gaze is fixed on a
crucifix over the woman’s head.  He hears
nothing but her  breathing and his own
footsteps.  He hefts the Likwid8R.
             STAN
He arrives at the foot of the bed.  He looks
at the woman.  He glances at the crucifix.  He
jacks  juice into the Likwid8R and gets ready,
licking his lips.  As usual, there’s a bead of
perspiration  on his nose.  Then his gaze
shift right, next to the crucifix.

Shit!

ROGER

             STAN
There’s a small, framed document.  It reads
“Jericho Life.”
He stares at it, backs up, turns on his heel
and charges through the house, out the back
door,  across the yard and over the white
picket fence.  As soon as he’s safe on the
street, he’s  punching numbers on his cell
phone, and when he connects, he boils up on
the screen,  shouting.
             ROGER
I came all the way out here.  The ass end of
Long Island, damn it!
             MATT
Yeah, I see. Mrs. Gustafson?
             ROGER
Yeah, Violet Gustafson, 115 years old, 67681
North 2045th Street, Montauk Point City, New
York.
             MATT
Oh, I see.  She had –

44.

             ROGER
A policy!  I’m sneaking through her house,
I’ve got the Likwid8R out and juiced, and
she’s
zonked on the bed, I’m about to nail her, then
I look at her wall and right next to her
crucifix up  there is a big honking Jericho
Life policy.
             MATT
I’m sorry.  I don’t know how that happened.
             ROGER
You’re sorry? Easy for you to say, man, you’re
on salary.  I get only 25% when one of these
aborts.  And here I am out at the shit end of
nowhere, and my next job’s over in Jersey, for
God’s Sake!
             MATT
No, just a minute, Roger, I can make it up

to you.

             ROGER
Aw, forget it, I gotta catch the astroglide to
Jersey in fifteen minutes if I wanna do my
other gig today.
             MATT
No, listen, Roger, there’s another job, just
came up, and it’s out where you  are.  South
Montauk!
             ROGER
You jerking me?
             MATT
No!  Here, I’m transzamming the info to you
right now!  Karl P. Drummond, 5333 Hadden
Road, South Montauk, Long Island.  Bonus
money, too.

Really?

ROGER

             MATT
He’s 123 years old.  That’s a 10 point bonus.

Really!

ROGER

(MATT plays DRUMMOND; SUSIE and
MARGE play the two robots)

45.

              STAN
The Drummond Mansion is a hundred feet across
the front, with a gigantic portico for an
entryway and a turret at each of the four
corners of the building.  It squats like an
armored tank  behind heavy wrought iron
fencing, dark and foreboding in the moonlight.
Roger stands in the  shadows, whispering into
his cell phone.  The gloomy street is
deserted.  The setting is eerie,  and–
             ROGER
This guy must be loaded!  He’s got to have
policy protection.
             MATT
I checked.  He doesn’t.
             ROGER
Look again.
             MATT
I looked again.  Trust me -- he’s open list,
but  otherwise it’s a clean job.  Aren’t you
going to thank me?
             ROGER
Okay.  Thank you.  But listen, buddy.

MATT

Yeah?
You’re great.

Thanks.

ROGER
 MATT
ROGER
And I’ll wring your scrawny little neck if
anything goes wrong.
             STAN
Roger sneaks from the shadows through the
streetlight before climbing over the fence to
the  lawn of the Drummond House.  The moon
glows over the entire scene.  Roger scuttles
across  the grass to the door of the mansion.
He finds himself at the side door of the
mansion and takes  out his electronic jimmy.
Clouds skitter across the face of the moon,
casting weird shadows  over the landscape.

46.

             MARGE
The jimmy works.  The door swings open.  Roger
scurries in.  From the shadows, Able watches
Roger enter.
             SUSIE
Once inside, Roger re-latches the door and
slinks down a dark passageway.  The house has
the  creepy feel of a haunted house.  Eerie
light glows from some of the furniture, and
the pictures  on the wall seem to be lit from
the back.
             ROGER
My eyes go down to my cell phone. The screen
shows a map of the house with a small  “x” in
one of the rooms and a blinking light moving
slowly across the map face, tracking my
progress through the house.
I mount the stairs.  Moonlight filters through
glass and casts shadows over me.  I  arrive at
the top.  Now the blinking light (me) is very
close to the “x” (Drummond).
Standing in the hallway close to Drummond’s
bedroom, I pull out my Likwid8R and  jack
juice into it.  I take a deep breath and creep
cautiously towards the  bedroom.
As I enter, there’s a big bed with a glowing
canopy.  Karl Drummond, withered and  frail,
lies in the bed with the covers drawn up, only
his face and arms showing.  I sidle across the
room, Likwid8R at the ready. I get closer and
closer.  There’s a slight glow  around the
bed. I bring up the Likwid8R towards Drummond
but --, just as I reach the  bed
             STAN
ALARM BELLS CLANG and LIGHTS FLASH from every
wall and corner of the room, and an ELECTRIC
SHOCK TASERS Roger down his entire body.

Eeiiyy!

ROGER

             STAN
Roger’s Likwid8R squirts from his hand onto
the floor.  Roger stands, paralyzed.  From two
sides of the room, metallic hulks clump across
the floor towards him.  Metal hands  clamp
onto his arms and hoist him into the air.
Drummond sits up in bed, his face gleeful.
             DRUMMOND
What do we have here?

47.

                       Two huge, ungainly robots hold
                       Roger in the air.  Each holds one
                       of his arms.
             DRUMMOND
A dispatcher! A cowardly, conniving

dispatcher!

                       (The clanging of the alarm bells
                       stops but the lights still flash.)
             DRUMMOND
How do you like my inventions, Mr. Dispatcher?
How do you like my – (he stabs at a button  on
a remote in his hand, zapping more electricity
into Roger) electronic barbed wire?

Eeiiyyow!

Nifty, hey?

ROGER
 DRUMMOND
             ROGER
Let me go!  I’m just doing my job!  I’ll call

the cops!

                       Drummond presses another button on
                       the remote.  The robots shake Roger
                       like a doll.  Roger’s  cell phone
                       flies into the air and tumbles onto
                       the bed.  Drummond picks it up
                       thoughtfully and  clicks it off.
             DRUMMOND
Oops!  Guess you’ve just been disconnected.
             ROGER
Give me that back!
             DRUMMOND
Call me about it.  Later.  Meanwhile, you’ve
got places to go.
             STAN
On tank-tracks the robots clank in tandem
towards the bedroom door, dangling Roger
aloft, one  on each arm.  However, when they
reach the door, both try to go through
simultaneously.  They  can’t.  The alarm bells
start clanging again and the lights are still
flashing.  The robots back up. Grimacing and
cursing under his breath, Drummond jabs at
some buttons.

48.

             DRUMMOND
Okay, Robot #1,  you’ll let go and Robot #2,
you’ll take him through by yourself.
                       The alarm bells and lights stop.

Hey! Damn!

ROGER
DRUMMOND
STAN
Robot #1 lets go of Roger’s arm.
Unfortunately, so does Robot #2.
Roger falls to the floor.

THUD.

Drummond tries to punch more buttons.  The two
robots pivot and reach for Roger. Roger rolls
right between them and the robots collide with
a

CLONG!

             DRUMMOND
Double damn!
              STAN
Roger jumps up and runs through the bedroom
door out into the hallway.  Meanwhile, the
robots back up.
             DRUMMOND
Triple damn!
             STAN
Eyebrows flapping, he pokes at his remote.
Robot #1 spins and  hauls steel ass towards
the door, with Robot #2 trailing along behind.
But Roger sees the  robots coming and races
for the stairs. Alarm bells clang and lights
flash down the hallway and all over the house.
On one wall, a  policeman doll  pops up,
blowing a whistle.  On another wall, a soldier
doll pops up, leveling  binoculars at Roger.
Roger reaches the stairs, jumps onto the
bannister and slides down.  As he  slithers
down, little dolls pop up along the wall
besides him, spying on him.  When he reaches
the bend in the stairs, he slips over the side
of bannister and down to the next level of
stairs,  then dashes for the bottom.

(MORE)

49.

             STAN (CONT’D)
Meanwhile, the two robots are after him.  They
roar CLANK-CLANK through the hallway. They
reach the stairway and roar CLUMP-CLUMP-CLUMP
down the stairs.  Roger runs  towards the back
door.  As he approaches a niche, one of the
pictures on the wall blossoms  into  a monitor
showing Drummond’s face.
             DRUMMOND
You don’t really think you’re going to get out
of here,  do you?
             STAN
Drummond stabs a button on his remote  Ahead
of Roger, an unseen door slides down like a
knife, blocking his path.  Roger slides to a
halt.

Oh, shit!

ROGER

             DRUMMOND
Shit, indeed!
             STAN
Roger swivels each way.  Robot #1 is bearing
down on him.  Roger grabs a chair within
reach, pitches it at the oncoming robot, and
races off to the right.
As Roger runs down the passageway, a steel
extension arm with a clown hand slams from the
right hand wall, just missing him in an
attempt to pin him. On the monitor Drummond
keeps  pushing buttons on his remote.
             DRUMMOND
Take that!  And that!  And that!
             STAN
Then ahead of Roger as he runs, a twin arm-
and-hand slams across from the left wall at
knee  level.  Roger jumps and gets over it.
Another clown arm slams at shoulder level from
the right,  along with another one from the
left.  He ducks and rolls under them.  Behind
him, the arms  whip back into the wall as the
robots roll towards him.  Roger runs right
past a picture that  becomes a monitor and
shows Drummond jabbing at the receiver in his
hand.
             DRUMMOND
You’re trapped now, Dispatcher!

50.

             STAN
But Roger keeps running.  He side-steps bear
traps, leapfrogs booby traps, jumps over
swinging  bats and under swinging gates, and
is just about to escape when, as he reaches
the end of the  final passageway, cage walls
shoot up from the floor and down from the
ceiling, snaring him.
Now Roger is inside the cage, hands rattling
the bars.  The robots are just outside,
scowling
with metal teeth.  The alarm bells stop and
the lights dim.
             DRUMMOND
Oh, yes – there you are.  Where I want you!
All rightee. Now, we just open the door
carefully -- there.
             STAN
The front doors of the cage slam open like
French doors, to the right and left, as the
robots  reach in simultaneously.  Each grabs
one of Roger’s arms and, hoisting him off the
floor, yanks  him out into the passageway.
             ROGER
Hey!  Lemme go! Where are you taking me?
             DRUMMOND
Ever wonder what it’s like being old – really,

really old?

             STAN
The robots lug Roger into a creepy laboratory,
replete with giant, glowing lights and large,
bubbling test tubes. At one end is a giant
box, sprouting electric wires and LCD meters.
Drummond’s face, grinning and waggling his
eyebrows, appears in a frame above the box.
             DRUMMOND
You’re just about to find out!
             STAN
The robots haul Roger to the box and dump him
in.  The doors to the box smash shut. Roger is
crammed into the box.  Lights inside flash on
and off with pulsating sounds, throwing  Roger
into anguish.  Even as he writhes, a tiny
monitor in the corner of the box flashes on,
showing Drummond’s leer.

51.

              ROGER
Let me out!?
             DRUMMOND
Happy landings!
             STAN
Drummond smiles, as the skin on Roger’s face
starts to ripple and  everything turns black.
                       (Dark horrifying music)
             MARGE
Baker stands in an alleyway somewhere in
Manhattan, speaking into her Codex.
             BAKER
Come in, Able.  I’m still with John Lennon.
             ABLE
I’m outside Inspector Gadget’s house.  He just
nailed  Elvis for us.

Great.

BAKER

             ABLE
I’ll say.  You stick with John Lennon; he’s
going to move really soon.
             BAKER
Has Dr. F. told you what he’s going to do?
             ABLE
No – but the man is only interested in money.
That we’ve got now.
             MARGE
Able is really feeling feisty.  So feisty, in
fact, that he hauls up his cane, turns on his
graffiti  blaster and smears this on
Drummond’s wall:
             ABLE
The young, by unfair combinations, contribute
frequently to prolong a season of distress
among  the old.
Thomas Malthus (1766 - 1843)
             MARGE
There’s a monitor in the hallway in front of
Roger’s apartment.  The next morning the
monitor  shows Susie walking down the hallway.
The apartment door is slightly open.

(MORE)

52.

             MARGE (CONT’D)
Susie peers  around the corner.

Roger?

SUSIE

             MARGE
Someone says something indecipherable from the
bedroom in  back.  Susie enters and shuts the
door.
             SUSIE
Roger, where are you?
             ROGER
(Groaning) Back here.
             SUSIE
Roger,  are you --?” Roger!  Omigod!  Omigod!
Roger!  What happened?
             MARGE
Huddled in his bed, Roger has drawn the sheets
up nearly to his face.  But his protective
posture can’t hide his forehead.  It’s old and
wrinkled.  His pate is nearly bald and
sprinkled  with liver spots and white clumps
of hair.  Everything about Roger says he’s 108
years old.  He  holds up a hand.
             ROGER
I woke up -- and my hands were like this!
             MARGE
“This” is a gnarled claw.
             SUSIE
Where?  How?
             MARGE
Susie suppresses an obvious desire to hurl.
             ROGER
I haven’t had the courage to look in

the mirror.

             MARGE
There’s a buzz from the monitor on the wall by
Roger’s bed and Matt’s image appears.
             MATT
Roger, I got your message!  What -- ??

53.

             ROGER
Drummond did this to me. Matt, what am I going

to do?

             MARGE
Susie approaches the bed slowly.  Apparently
repelled but fascinated, she reaches slowly
towards Roger’s face.
             SUSIE
Are you really that old?
             MARGE
She almost touches his forehead when Roger
pushes her hand away.
             ROGER
I am not that old!  Please, someone needs to

fix me!

             MATT
Fix you?  No one can do that!  And how could
you pay for it,  anyway? Your health insurance
won’t pay for plastic surgery, man!
             SUSIE
Matt, this is on the job injury.  He’s
entitled to workers’ comp,  right?
             MATT
Gosh, maybe. I’m looking at  Roger’s records
now and –  how did you do this, Roger?

Do what?

ROGER

             MATT
Well, look at what it says right here in your
personnel record: you’re 108 years old.
             ROGER
No!  No! That’s a lie!
             SUSIE
Feels about right, Roger.  Your skin says
you’re 108 years old.
             MATT
Didn’t they do a background check?
Roger’s so distracted that Susie
manages to touch his cheek.  Roger
flinches. Susie pulls her hand
away.

54.

             ROGER
I am not a geezer!
             MATT
Maybe you were just kidding yourself?
             SUSIE
Kidding himself?  How’s that?
             MATT
I don’t know.  Maybe – amnesia?  Supposed he
just seemed young but now he’s starting to
look his real age?
             SUSIE
I’ve been to bed with this guy, Matt!  I’ve
got medical training.  I’ve seen his schlong.
Two  days ago it wasn’t 108 years old.
             ROGER
Drummond did this!
             MATT
But it says right here on the computer. I’m
telling you, Roger, you’re 108  years old!
             ROGER
You’re no help!
             MARGE
Roger grabs the remote from his bed and
presses a button.  Matt blinks off  the
screen.  Roger tries to hurl the remote, but
he lacks the strength –  it just PLOPS on the
bed.  Frustrated, he buries his head in his
hands.
             ROGER
What’m I going to do?!
             SUSIE
There’s a doctor at the ElderCare I know about

             ROGER
A doctor?  You mean –
             SUSIE
I don’t know.  Maybe. Dr. G.G. Frakbak.  He’s
got a lab at our  facility.
             ROGER
He’s just experimenting or what?

55.

              SUSIE
He’s –  strange.

Oh, hell!

ROGER

             SUSIE
No, no –  he knows what he’s doing.  He’s
working on some project with the AARF.
             ROGER
The retired folks association?  They’re
ultras!  They’re Malthusians!
             SUSIE
Xtreme Rejuvenation.

What – ?

ROGER

             SUSIE
That’s what it’s called.  Frakbak’s project.
Xtreme Rejuvenation  It’s supposed to get
people young again.
             ROGER
Omigod!  Does it work?
             SUSIE
Margie told me Frakbak’s improving all

the time.

             ROGER
What’s that supposed to mean?
             SUSIE
Really, Roger, I don’t know much about him.  I
have to go to the Facility.  I’ll ask Frakbak,
okay?
             ROGER
Please, yes!  Dear God!  Do it!
                       (Roger seems nearly in tears,
                       rolling himself into a fetal
                       position.)
                       Susie heads for the door.
             SUSIE
You wait right here, okay?
                       The front door of the
                       apartment slams.

56.

             ROGER
Do you think I’m going anywhere looking

like this?!

             MARGE
Roger uncurls himself and crawls out of bed.
He’s barefoot, wearing a ratty tee-shirt and
torn  underwear. He’s completely hunched over
and can barely walk.  He hobbles to the
bathroom. He goes to the mirror and stares.
In the mirror he sees a man who’s like his own
father  – at  age 108.

Dad???

ROGER

             MARGE
Roger’s hand stretches towards the mirror, his
face horror-stricken.  Terrified, he  slowly
examines his hand.  It’s wrinkled, almost
crippled-looking.  From somewhere, another
voice says
                       (ROGER plays both ROGER YOUNG and
                       ROGER OLD; but two actors may play
                       these roles).
             ROGER YOUNG
Yeah, you got old –  so you’re just like Dad.
             MARGE
Roger stares into the mirror again.  Only this
time, he sees himself the way he was before
Drummond changed him.  The way he looked when
he was 30. As the older Roger gapes into  the
mirror, his younger image stares right back at
him.
Roger looks down again, touching himself.  The
younger Roger says
             ROGER YOUNG
Yeah, Dad was locked inside you all the time
-- just busting to get  out!
             MARGE
Startled, Roger returns again to the mirror.
Ever so slowly his younger image fades from
view,  and his own older face –  Dad’s old
face – gawks back at him.  With trembling
fingers, he reaches for the bathroom tap.  He
has to strain to get the faucet on, but
finally he gets the water running.  His hand
shakes as he reaches with his glass for the
water.

(MORE)

57.

             MARGE (CONT’D)
The water  sloshes in the glass, and he nearly
drops it as he carries the glass up to his
trembling lips.  He  slurps the water.
             DRUMMOND
So, how d’you like being your own Dad,

Dispatcher?

             MARGE
Roger drops the glass.  It crashes to the
floor.  Roger skirts the smashed glass and the
puddle of  water as though they’re poison.
Then he stumbles back into the bedroom, where
he finds  Drummond’s face filling the monitor
screen.
             DRUMMOND
And it feels good to be old, huh?
             ROGER OLD
I’m not old, Drummond.  And my Dad’s

not, either.

             DRUMMOND
So be in denial.  Do I care?  Computers don’t
lie. Of course, some of us know how to  feed
them new information.
             ROGER OLD
You hacked into my BFD file, you bastard.
             DRUMMOND
Does it matter? Look in the mirror.  The truth
shall set you free.  Anyway, you’re high on
the  list of some bright, eager dispatcher out
there.

What?!

ROGER OLD

             DRUMMOND
Sure – the minimum death rate’s climbing up,
up, up, right?  BFD and all the other health
insurance companies are still out to lower the
odds, right?
             ROGER OLD
But I’m not . . . .
             DRUMMOND
Roger, get over it.  Let it all hang out.
You’re 108 years  old.

58.

             ROGER OLD
I’m not . . .
             DRUMMOND
Just look at you! Throw out that chest!  Be
proud of it!  You’re one of  us!

No! No!

ROGER OLD

             DRUMMOND
And you can’t protect yourself by buying a
life insurance policy.  They’re really
expensive. Too bad, huh?  Besides, you’re
already on the short list.
             MARGE
Drummond grins.  The screen splits.  Drummond
is on one side and Stan is on the other.

Stan!

ROGER OLD

             DRUMMOND
You’re on Slammin’ Stan’s list now, boyo.
(Drummond triggers his finger to emphasize his
point.) Numero uno.  With a squirt of Lestia.
        MARGE
Roger tries to run to his closet to get his
clothes.  But his legs – the ones that
yesterday could  dash up subway stairs at
racetrack speed – can barely move.  They
tangle, he stumbles, and  halfway across the
room, he crashes  to his knees. He tries to
haul himself up by grabbing  onto  a chair but
can’t make it.  He sags to the floor and
starts to cry.
Someone’s standing over him.
             ROGER YOUNG
Stop whining and get up!
             MARGE
As Roger squints up from the floor, there’s a
much younger man towering over him, hands on
hips.  Roger blinks in the harsh light.
             ROGER OLD
Who?  What -- what -- ?
             MARGE
“Stop babbling,” comes the reply.

59.

             ROGER YOUNG
Stan’s on his way. You’ve got to get out of
here before he arrives.
             MARGE
Roger tries to move.  He pushes his hands
against the floor, but they can barely bring
him to a  sitting position.  He gathers his
legs together to stand, then topples slightly
and ends up on his  knees.  His knees feel
like two spindly sticks of wood attached to
his thighs.  “I can’t.”
             ROGER YOUNG
I hate you geezers. Dad’s completely useless.
And so are you.
             MARGE
Roger struggles.  There’s a chair just a few
feet away, and he crawls to it and pulls
himself up,  inch by painful inch.

Get up!

ROGER YOUNG

             MARGE
Even holding onto the chair, Roger teeters,
his feet wobbly, his legs barely able to hold
him.
             ROGER YOUNG
Get up, Dad, or I’ll kick you right in your

bony ass!

             MARGE
Roger  barely makes it.  He stands, holding
himself erect, panting.  He recognizes his
tormentor  -- knows that body, that face, that
sneer.  It’s he -- Roger –--  himself as he
was before  Drummond.
             ROGER OLD
Why do you hate me, Roger?
             ROGER YOUNG
Go put on some clothes.
             MARGE
Roger Old edges his way to the closet.  He
snags a pair of pants from a hanger and then a
shirt. Then he edges carefully back to the
bed.  “Oh, God!”  Every movement’s a struggle.
He  manages to haul one arm through a shirt
sleeve, then the other.

60.

             ROGER OLD
Can’t you give me a hand?
             ROGER YOUNG
Who do you think you’re talking to?

You!

ROGER OLD

             ROGER YOUNG
Your brain’s addled, Dad.
             MARGE
Roger Old’s fingers fumble with buttons.  The
first.  The second.  He lets his hands drop
and  stops doing the buttons.
             ROGER OLD
What’s the use?
             ROGER YOUNG
I’m not letting you give up, old man.  Put on
your  goddamn trousers!
             MARGE
Roger Old slowly reaches for the trousers.
How he does it he can hardly remember, but
eventually he’s got on his clothes.
             STAN
On the monitor in the hallway, the door to
Roger’s apartment swings inward slowly.  Roger
Old, fully but sloppily clothed edges out of
the apartment and into the hallway.  He closes
the  door,  shuffles down the hall towards the
elevator, staying close to the wall, his hand
tracing  along the wall to catch himself
should he start to fall.
             MARGE
Just outside the apartment door, Roger Young
watches him go.
             ROGER YOUNG
You look like shit.
             STAN
Roger Old reaches the elevator.  He presses
the “down” button.  The elevator door opens.
Roger Young’s standing inside.

Going down?

ROGER YOUNG

61.

             MARGE
Roger Old shuffles into the elevator. He waits
for Roger Young to push the button.
             ROGER YOUNG
Waiting for something?
             ROGER OLD
You push it.  I’m too tired.
             ROGER YOUNG
Don’t you get it yet?
             ROGER OLD
(Shouting) Get what?
             ROGER YOUNG
I can’t do anything. See?  I’m just a figment
of your imagination.
(END OF ACT I, in case an
Intermission seems advisable).
              MARGE
On the main floor, the door to the elevator
opens.  Roger Old muddles out and drags
towards  the door.  Roger Young stands inside
the elevator, watching him go.
Outside the BFD Building, Roger Old shambles
along as quickly as he can.  At the sidewalk,
he  hesitates, first starting right and then
turning and going left.  He ignores
everything, even the  monitor overhead, where
there’s a runway showing female models with
fantastic, wild hair and  multi-colored
clothes.  Every model’s over 60. Finally,
Roger Old looks directly where he’s  going.
Roger Young stands in front of him.
             ROGER OLD
Get out of my way!
             MARGE
Roger Young places a hand on his chest

and pushes.

             ROGER YOUNG
The subway’s in the other direction, old  man.

Oh.

ROGER OLD

62.

             MARGE
Roger Old turns around and heads the other
way.  Roger Young shakes his head.
             SUSIE
Another monitor announces, “Shrine to Our Lady
of Madonna Dedicated.” Right next door to
Mount Rushmore’s four presidents, the face of
singer Madonna is carved into a neighboring
mountainside.
             MARGE
Roger Old straggles by the monitor.  There’s a
burst of tinkling music.  He stops and starts
patting his pockets.  Roger Young stands in
front of him again.
             ROGER YOUNG
Your cell phone is in your left  pants pocket.
Right where Drummond dumped it.
             MARGE
Roger Old fumbles for the phone and manages to

get it out.

             ROGER OLD
Hello? Hello?
             SUSIE
Roger, I’ve got great news!

What? What?

ROGER OLD

             SUSIE
I told Dr. Frakbak what happened.  Here, I
filmed what he told me.
             MARGE
Susie runs her clip of Dr.  Frakbak over the
cellphone.  He’s garbed in his trade-mark,
wraparound shades, a white lab  coat, and
sporting a gray ponytail.  He takes a brief
glance at a clipboard.  When he speaks, it’s
always majestically, pompously, and
unemotionally.
                       (STAN plays DR. FRAKBAK)
             FRAKBAK
All of us grow old in the same natural way.
Our cells change, they grow old, they die.
It’s a  very natural and attenuated process.

(MORE)

63.

             FRAKBAK (CONT’D)
The aging process  causes a gradual loss of
cell elasticity.  On the other hand, Roger
Hawkins seems to have aged  by expeditious
transmogrification.  As a result, he has
become what I would call exponentially old.
             SUSIE
Great, huh?
             ROGER OLD
What did he mean?
             SUSIE
I’m not entirely sure.

Oh, great!

ROGER YOUNG

             SUSIE
But I think he meant you’d be a good
candidate.  Isn’t that wonderful?
              ROGER OLD
I’m not running for Congress!
             SUSIE
Wait – there’s more.
             FRAKBAK
Because a device aged Roger Hawkins
artificially, these special circumstances
almost certainly will enhance the Xtreme
Rejuvenation paradigm.  Variance to the
methodology will vastly ameliorate the
eventual positive results.
             ROGER YOUNG
No shit, Sherlock! Can’t the man talk English?
             ROGER OLD
Susie, what does he  mean?  Is it something
good or something bad?  Please!
             SUSIE
Look, it doesn’t matter.  He’s really excited!
That’s what counts.
             FRAKBAK
This is a giant breakthrough with  tremendous
opportunities for scientific advance.  And,
best of all, I’ll be getting substantial new
funding to continue my vitally important work.

64.

             ROGER OLD
 Do I really want to do this?
             ROGER YOUNG
So you really want to stay the way you

are now?

             ROGER OLD
Do I prefer to be old and alive?  Over being
young and dead? What do you think?
             SUSIE
Who are you talking to, Roger?

ROGER OLD

Uh.

Roger? Is everything okay?
             ROGER YOUNG
Trust me.  In a couple of hours, Stan’ll  find
you.  Will that make you happy?
Never mind.
How can you stay alive if Stan wants you dead?

Roger?

SUSIE

ROGER YOUNG
ROGER OLD
SUSIE
             ROGER OLD
 When can Frakbak see me?
             SUSIE
Tomorrow.  Morning.  Early.
             ROGER OLD
Not before then?
                       Susie shakes her head.
             SUSIE
No, he already has another operation lined up
for this evening.
             ROGER OLD
Susie, I’m on Stan’s dispatch list. I’ve got
to hide somewhere.

65.

             SUSIE
Can’t your friend Matt do something

about Stan?

             ROGER OLD
I don’t know!
             ROGER YOUNG
(Muttering) Can’t she hide you at the
ElderCare facility?
             ROGER OLD
Can’t you hide me? Please?
             SUSIE
I can stick you on Level 4 tonight -- you’ll
be safe there.  But I can’t sneak you in
before  10:30 p.m..  Can you stay out of
Stan’s way until then?
             ROGER OLD
Can I do that?
             ROGER YOUNG
How do I know?!
             SUSIE
Come around to the south side entrance at ten
o’clock, okay?
             STAN
Roger Young brushes through a line of
pedestrian towards the street and emits a
piercing  whistle.

Taxi!

ROGER YOUNG

          (MARGE plays the TAXI DRIVER)
          STAN
          Roger Old limps around.  A taxi
          comes cruising up and stops in
          front of him.  The driver’s a
          black woman in dreadlocks, like
          Whoopie Goldberg.  She eyeballs
          Roger Old.
             TAXI DRIVER
You want a  cab or you just standing around
here for the fun of it?
             STAN
The back door of the cab swings open like a
maw.  Roger Young’s sitting in the back seat.
                (MORE)

66.

             STAN (CONT’D)
He  beckons to Roger Old.
             ROGER YOUNG
So come on!  Get in.
             STAN
Roger Old peers in at the cab driver.
             ROGER OLD
Did you hear me whistle?
             TAXI DRIVER
No.  I saw you standing like a jerk.  You
getting in the cab or not?
             STAN
Roger Old scrunches in the back seat.  Roger
Young sprawls in the back seat.  Roger Old
keeps  talking on his cell.
             ROGER OLD
Susie, I never told you this.

What?

SUSIE

             ROGER OLD
I love you, Susie.
             SUSIE
I’m glad, Roger.
             STAN
The Driver punches a button and the starting
fare of $15,000 flashes in red LCD behind the
front seat.  Her face appears on a monitor
mounted on the partition between the front and
back  of the taxi.

Where to?

TAX DRIVER

             ROGER OLD
I’m going to get young again, Susie.
             TAXI DRIVER
We’re all going to get young.  Soon’s we stop
getting old.  Hey, man,  let’s waste no time,
where’re we going?

67.

             ROGER YOUNG
Tell her to head downtown to 12th and
Broadway.  We gotta go!
             ROGER OLD
When I do, you’ll get your baby.

Really?

SUSIE

             ROGER OLD
Yes.  Yes, I promise.
             SUSIE
(Tears in her eyes) You’re not just

saying that?

             TAXI DRIVER
Listen, I don’t know where to go until  you

tell me.

             STAN
Roger Young pokes Roger Old in the ribs.
Roger Old grimaces.
             ROGER OLD
12th and Broadway.
             STAN
Grumbling, the Driver eases out into traffic.
             SUSIE
Oh, Roger! You really want a baby, too?
             TAXI DRIVER
Hey, wanting don’t mean getting!

Yes.

ROGER OLD

             TAXI DRIVER
You’re going to have a baby??
             SUSIE
You feel up to it?
             ROGER OLD
I’m going to get young again!

Geez louise.

TAXI DRIVER

          The Driver rolls her eyes and
          shakes her head.

68.

Don’t worry!

ROGER OLD

             STAN
Roger Old starts to hang up.  He turns to

Roger Young.

             ROGER OLD
Where do you think  Stan is?
             SUSIE
Stay away from Stan!
             TAXI DRIVER
Never heard of him.
             ROGER YOUNG
Don’t keep talking to me, or the driver’ll
think you’re nuts.
             TAXI DRIVER
Who’s this Stan?
             ROGER YOUNG
Let’s just get out of here.
             SUSIE
The taxi chugs through heavy traffic as it
heads south.  The cabs and busses are eight
across  and  move like molasses.  The
pedestrians are ten across and move like wet
granola.  The two  Rogers just sit glumly as
the driver maneuvers the cab, muttering under
her breath.
On the monitor inside the cab, ads flash by to
pass the time.  For instance:
             MATT
Dentures Wearing  Out?  Try Chromium Plated
Jaws2!” (showing an old man with a steely-
mouthed smile) and “Jericho Life Insurance:
Swift, Sure Protection” (featuring a black
suited thug-type with stove- pipe arms folded
across a barrel chest).
             ROGER YOUNG
Why’d you tell her I love her?
             ROGER OLD
I told her I love her.
             ROGER YOUNG
Shut up. Don’t say anything okay, just listen.
Susie thinks you’re me.
                (MORE)

69.

             ROGER YOUNG (CONT’D)
Why’d you tell her I want a baby?  What makes
you so sure?  I’m not  sure.  Okay? Think
about it, okay? Don’t commit me!
             ROGER OLD
Can I answer that?
             MATT
Where are you, Roger?
 The cell phone rings.
Roger Young nods.  It’s Matt.
             ROGER YOUNG
Don’t tell him.
             ROGER OLD
(Whispering) Why not?

MATT

Roger?

I’m – in a cab.

             MATT
That I can tell.
             ROGER YOUNG
Is Stan really after me?
             ROGER OLD
Is Stan really after me?
             MATT
On a dispatch?
Huh?
He might let it slip to Stan.

Right.

ROGER OLD

 ROGER YOUNG
MATT
ROGER OLD
             MATT
I don’t think so –  listen, I told him to lay
low; AARF is  after him.
             ROGER OLD
You’re kidding!

70.

             MATT
For real. Stan started upping his body count
last week, and -- bam! -- AARF  slapped him on
their most wanted list.
             ROGER OLD
That’s a relief.
             MATT
Not for Stan, though -- good gravy! He’s been
reassigned!
To what?
To dispatch you!

Uh oh.

ROGER YOUNG

ROGER OLD
MATT
ROGER YOUNG
Can’t Matt get him off the case?
             MATT
What can they be thinking about?  I mean,
Stan’s valuable  property!  He should be off
the streets for awhile.
             ROGER OLD
Where’s Stan now?
             MATT
Last place was -- mid-town Manhattan.
Heading  south.
             ROGER OLD
Matt, Stan never has liked me.
             MATT
No kidding.  When you put the moves on Susie,
you went on his drop dead list.  If you know
what I mean?
             ROGER OLD
Can’t you get him re-assigned?
             MATT
I’ll look. (Pause) Would you look at --
There’s a block on re- assignment.
             ROGER YOUNG
He can’t change it.

71.

             ROGER OLD
Can you talk to George upstairs?
             MATT
Sure.  Right.  I mean, the AARF’s after him.
He’s a valuable employee.  He  shouldn’t be on
the street!
             ROGER OLD
(Whispering) Can you talk to someone upstairs
before Stan kills me?
             SUSIE
The cab suddenly veers from the traffic and
coasts to a stop at the curb.  The driver
turns and  confronts Roger Old.

Ride’s over.

TAXI DRIVER

             ROGER OLD
This isn’t 12th and Broadway.
             TAXI DRIVER
It sure is right now. You paying  me extra to
decorate my cab with blood?

But --

ROGER OLD

             TAXI DRIVER
Out.  If this Stan guy’s coming after you, you
ain’t gonna be here.
             SUSIE
Roger Old hesitates.  The Driver doesn’t.  She
hits a button.  Slowly, inexorably, the street
side of the cab sweeps across the back seat,
pushing Roger Old and Roger Young out of  the
cab and – BUMP! – onto the sidewalk.  Both
Rogers Old and Young lie sprawled on the
pavement.  The passenger door crashes shut.
                       The Driver leans towards them.
             TAXI DRIVER
Lemme see.  $35,000 for the ride. Here’s

your wallet.

She  dangles the wallet for a
moment between two pudgy fingers
before flipping it out onto the
sidewalk.

72.

             ROGER OLD
You expect me to pay after that?
              TAXI DRIVER
Don’t worry, you’ve already paid.   (She holds
up Roger’s card, then slings it casually after
the  wallet.)  Thanks for the nice tip you
included, too.  And have a beautiful day.
             SUSIE
The taxi pulls away. Matt squints out at Roger
from the cell phone screen.
             MATT
You okay, Roger?
             ROGER OLD
Matt, please talk to George!

Okay.

MATT

             SUSIE
Roger Young hoists Roger Old to his feet.
Roger Old sways unsteadily.
             ROGER OLD
I’m not going to get  very far walking.
             ROGER YOUNG
It’s a big city.  He won’t find you easily.
             SUSIE
There’s a monitor in a nearby store window:
NBC/CBS/ABC NEWSFLASH: George W. Bush Library
Burns. Both books destroyed.
             ROGER OLD
You’re right.  He won’t find me easily. But
where are we going?
             DRUMMOND
Nowhere fast.
             SUSIE
Roger Old slowly looks down at his cell phone.
Drummond is sneering up at him.
             DRUMMOND
You’re on 22nd and Eighth.

What?

ROGER YOUNG

73.

             DRUMMOND
And -- let me see -- Stan’s about ten blocks
away, I think.
             ROGER YOUNG
The phone -- he’s using it to trace you!

Toss it!

             SUSIE
Roger Old winds up and tries to heave the cell
phone.  It goes about four feet and bounces on
the sidewalk.  From the sidewalk, Drummond
says
             DRUMMOND
Throw it a little harder next time, Roger.
             SUSIE
Roger Young grabs Roger Old by the arm.
             ROGER YOUNG
Let’s go, let’s go.  We can’t stay here!
                       (Roger Old abandons the phone and
                       starts stumbling away, Roger Young
                       leading him on. Drummond keeps
                       squawking from the cell phone on
                       the sidewalk.)
             DRUMMOND
You won’t make it!  Stan’s  only eight blocks

away, dummy!

             SUSIE
It seems like an eternity that they suffer
verbal abuse from Drummond, but eventually
they  duck into an alleyway.  Even in the
alleyway the noises of the city follow them.
Roger Old  puffs and pants.  Roger Young’s
halfway up the alley.  He turns, arms akimbo.
Roger Old stops lifting his feet.
             ROGER OLD
I’m -- going to keel over right here.
             ROGER YOUNG
(Practically screaming) Stan’ll get you.
             ROGER OLD
(Puffing) I don’t care. Wait’ll you get old
like me.  We’ll see how you like it.

74.

             ROGER YOUNG
At the rate you’re  going, both of us’ll be
dead long before that happens.
             ROGER OLD
I don’t care.

Well, I do!

ROGER YOUNG

             SUSIE
There’s a flight of stairs leading down to the
basement of a building.  Roger Young descends
them.  He points.
             ROGER YOUNG
Down here! Come on!
             SUSIE
Roger Old still shakes his head.  Roger Young
runs up the stairs, seizes Roger Old’s arm and
yanks him forward.  Roger Old stumbles a bit
but moves towards the stairway as he tries to
shake him off.
             ROGER OLD
For someone my mind made up, you’ve got a
pretty strong grip there!
             ROGER YOUNG
You’ve just got a good imagination.
             SUSIE
They go down the stairway together and stand
at the doorway.
             ROGER YOUNG
Open the door.
             STAN
Roger Old opens the door with a shaky hand.
The two Rogers slip through and close the door
behind them.  It’s a long hallway with dim
lighting and no monitors.  They start to march
forward.  One set of footsteps echoes on the
concrete floor.  Roger Old looks about.
             ROGER OLD
Where are  we?
             ROGER YOUNG
Just keep walking.

75.

             MARGE
They continue to trudge forward.  There’s no
noise here except the sound of one set of
footsteps.  There are no signs and only a few
lights above their heads.  There’s no one else
in  the corridor. However, on one wall,
there’s a “Kilroy Was Here” cartoon, below
which it says  in squiggly writing
             MATT
“DISPATCH THE DISPATCHERS -- JOIN AARF!”  And
next to it, in  graffiti blaster: “The
perpetual tendency of the race of man to
increase beyond the means of
subsistence is one of the general laws of
animated nature, which we can have no reason
to  expect to change.  Thomas Malthus
(1766-1834).”
             SUSIE
Roger Old still hobbles, and Roger Young walks
hands in pockets, slightly slumped.
They pass a monitor that reads: “Happy
Birthday to Eddie Murphy 74, Russell Crowe 71,
Renee Zellweger 76, Dan Akroyd 84, Shaquille
O’Neal 63, Paris Hilton 54.“ They reach
another door.

Open it.

ROGER YOUNG

             MARGE
Roger Old opens it.  It’s a door to the past.
             STAN
A backyard.  A young boy -- Roger -- stands
holding a baseball.  His head hangs down.
Roger’s Dad, Harry, much younger than in 2036,
pounds his fist into a baseball mitt.
             HARRY
Okay,  Roger, let’s try this one more time.
Throw the ball here -- to me.  Not over there!
Right. Okay, let’s go.
             SUSIE
Roger goes into a windup and lets it go.  The
ball doesn’t even reach Harry.
             HARRY
No, no, no -- you’re throwing like a girl!
(He swings around, holding his hands to his
head.) I give up!  Janie, I can’t teach your
son a thing.  He’s hopeless!(

(MORE)

76.

             HARRY (CONT’D)
He throws his mitt on the  ground, leans down
and picks up a glass off the lawn.)  Janie,
I’m going back in the house,  okay?  I’ve got
better things to do.  He can’t throw anything!
             MARGE
He takes a drink.  A deep drink, designed to
drown out his deep disappointment in his son.
Suddenly, a hard-thrown baseball smacks him in
the back of the head, making him spill his
drink.
             HARRY
Ow! (He rubs head.)  Roger -- you’re a klutz!
             SUSIE
The past fades into a faint pink haze.  The
two Rogers face another door.

Open it.

ROGER YOUNG
          Roger Old opens it.
             MARGE
Behind the door, Harry  is older now.  The
stultifying glare of the television plays over
his face  as he stares at it.  A somewhat
older Roger licks his lips, waiting for a
break in the action on the  tube, afraid to
interrupt.  Finally:
             ROGER YOUNG
Can I have the keys to the car, Dad?
             MARGE
His father’s eyes remain focused on the
television, as he raises his glass to his lips
and drinks.

ROGER YOUNG

Yes.

I thought I decided you weren’t going to get
the car this week.
Dad?
Did you finish cleaning up the kitchen?
HARRY
ROGER YOUNG
HARRY

77.

             ROGER YOUNG
(Almost stammering). That was last week. You
promised I could this week.
             JANIE
You did, Harry.
             HARRY
Shut up, Janie.  I’m talking to the boy. (He
sips, then reaches slowly, slowly, slowly
towards  his pockets.  After a long moment):
Here.  (The keys jingle.) Don’t bring it back
all dented,  ‘kay?

Thanks.

          Roger snatches up the keys.
ROGER YOUNG
          Harry is still looking at the
          television.
ROGER YOUNG
HARRY
ROGER YOUNG
Uh -- Dad?
What now?
Can I have maybe twenty bucks?
                       The drink goes to his father’s
                       lips, then down.
             HARRY
Go earn it yourself, you lazy slob.
             MARGE
Another doorway faces the two Rogers.
             ROGER YOUNG
Well? Open it!
             ROGER OLD
Why can’t we just stay here until I can go

see Susie?

             ROGER YOUNG
Just open it.
             ROGER OLD
I don’t have to listen to you.  All you are is

me, anyway.

78.

             ROGER YOUNG
We’ve got to go out, or else Stan’ll have us
trapped here like rats.
             ROGER OLD
Why do you care? You hate me, you hate Dad,
you hate all old  people.
             ROGER YOUNG
Ha!  You hate Dad, too.  You’ve got to.

You’re me!

             ROGER OLD
I’m older and different.  Do you remember when
you were  a kid?
             ROGER YOUNG
I’ve tried to block it all out.
             ROGER OLD
I’ve got all those memories.
             ROGER YOUNG
Like when Dad beat me with a belt!
             ROGER OLD
Yeah, I remember.
             ROGER YOUNG
When he got drunk and twisted my arm around –
             ROGER OLD
Dad’s a jerk.

Right on.

ROGER YOUNG

             ROGER OLD
I’ve forgiven him.
             ROGER YOUNG
Huh?  How?  Why?
             ROGER OLD
Getting old’s a bitch, but it helps in some
ways.  I also know I love Susie.  Why don’t
you?
             ROGER YOUNG
I do love her.
             ROGER OLD
Then admit it.  Tell her.
Roger Young goes shifty-eyed.

79.

I will.

ROGER YOUNG

             ROGER OLD
But you never say it.  You’re the one she
wants!  Right?

I guess so.

ROGER YOUNG

             ROGER OLD
You know she does.  Say it.  You don’t have to
keep  trying to be like Dad!
                       Roger Old reaches and yanks
                       the door.
             MARGE
The birds are singing, and the sun shines on
green trees and verdant fields.  Harry and
Janie,  looking much younger, stroll together
happily along a country lane  with a very
young Roger  between them.  Slowly, the three
figures change to become Roger Young, Susie,
and another  little boy.  They appear happy
and smiling as they amble along the road.
              SUSIE
The two Rogers stand in a doorway.  The city
whirls in a cyclone of activity before them.
To  each side of them are oldsters, sitting,
hunched over, or lying down, some with cups or
bowls in  front of them, others just there
doing nothing.  The traffic is six lanes
across, jam-packed, as are  the sidewalks.
Everything is complete  confusion.
Now what?
Let’s go.
ROGER OLD
ROGER YOUNG
MARGE
They lumber out into the mob of oldsters
plodding along.  Beggars wave bowls at them.
Musicians scrape at violins and pluck
aimlessly at out-of-tune guitars.  Merchants
hawk food  (“Get ‘em now!  Fresh avocados from
the Yucatan!”), trinkets, and everything from
cell phones
to vacations in Antarctica.  On one wall, a
monitor announces:

80.

             MATT
President Brittany Spears dedicates Arnold
Shwartzeneggar Monument on Capitol Mall.
             SUSIE
Roger Young freezes and grabs Roger Old.
Another monitor nearby shows someone standing,
talking into his cell phone.

It’s Stan!

Where is he?

ROGER YOUNG
          Roger Old looks every which way.

ROGER OLD

             ROGER YOUNG
There!  Across the street!
             ROGER OLD
What’ll we do?
                       Roger Young hunches over.
             ROGER YOUNG
Follow me!  Try to blend in!
             MARGE
He ducks and weaves into the  crowd.  Roger
Old follows, emulating the hobbling of the
mass surrounding him.  On the  monitor, Stan
folds away his cell phone, scans all around
himself,  then starts moving.
Roger Old peers up.
             ROGER OLD
Has he seen us?
             SUSIE
Another monitor shows the sidewalk where the
two Rogers are positioned.  Suddenly, a
cartoon  “flying finger” flies in from off-
screen and points to where the Rogers are.
Underneath, it  shrieks:
             MATT
HERE THEY ARE, STAN!
             ROGER YOUNG
Oh, damn!  It’s Drummond!

81.

             SUSIE
Roger Young hangs onto Roger Old and drags him
through the  crowd over to a line of taxis.
             ROGER YOUNG
Come on, get in the cab!
             MARGE
Still crouching, Roger Old opens the door.
Now sitting on the back seat, Roger Young
reaches  to haul Roger Old into the cab.
             ROGER YOUNG
Tell him to drive to 5300 Flatbush Avenue

in Brooklyn.

             SUSIE
Roger Old is splayed on the floor of the cab
and can barely pull the door shut.
             ROGER OLD
5300 Flatbush in Brooklyn. Where’s Stan?
             MARGE
The cab lurches forward as Roger Young huddles
with Roger Old. Roger Young raises his head to
peek out the back window.
             ROGER OLD
Get down!  He’ll see you!
             ROGER YOUNG
He can’t see me!  Only you can see me! Okay?
             TAXI DRIVER
Who you talking about?  Oh, you mean that guy
running back there?
             ROGER YOUNG
Keep your head turned.  We’ve got the same
driver who threw us  out last time!
             SUSIE
Jammed in on all sides with traffic, the cab
moves at the pace of an exhausted jogger.
About  fifty feet back, Stan is running grimly
on the roofs of cars and taxis towards them.
The back of  Roger Old’s head pops up as he
looks back at the steaming Stan.
             TAXI DRIVER
Hey!  Don’t I know you?

82.

             MARGE
With a trembling hand, Roger Old offers his
card to the Driver.
             ROGER OLD
Please!  Just lose him.  I’ll tip you

$50,000.”

             TAXI DRIVER
Hey, you pay me, no problem. I love

a challenge!

             SUSIE
The taxi edges towards the center of the
traffic, where the cars are moving faster.
Behind the  cab Stan is still running over the
cars.  The Rogers lie low, barely showing
their heads over the  back seat of the taxi.
The Driver grins furiously, honking her horn.
             TAXI DRIVER
Hey, see?  We’re starting  to pull away!  Haul
out that $50,000 brother!
             MARGE
The light in front turns red.  Almost
immediately, Able steps from the curb.  Gone
are the blue  jumpsuit, the beret, and the
“AARF” patches.  Instead, he’s dressed as a
panhandling  windshield washer, and he squirts
washer spray on the taxi windshield and begins
wiping at the  glass.
             TAXI DRIVER
Hey!  You!  Off There!
             ABLE
Don’t worry.  I’m licensed, see? Just a
thousand bucks, okay? Cheap!
             SUSIE
Meanwhile, as seen through the rear window of
the taxi, Stan is sprinting ever closer over
the  jammed-up cars.  Pleading, Roger Old
leans out the taxi window towards Able.
             ROGER OLD
Please get off  the window!  I’m in a

real hurry!

             ABLE
Hey, not to worry.  I’ll finish before the
light changes!  Promise!

83.

             MARGE
Able squirts and wipes  frantically. As he
does, he reaches into his pocket and clamps a
magnetic tracer onto the taxi  roof.  Finally,
he stands aside with a flourish.
             ABLE
See?  All done!  Pay me!
             SUSIE
The light flashes green.  The Driver tromps on
the gas and the taxi pulls away, leaving Able
at  the curb.
             ABLE
Hey! What about my money?
             MARGE
Above Able is a monitor showing an aerial view
of the street. A “flying finger” comes in from
the side of the screen, pointing at the taxi.
The text underneath reads:
             DRUMMOND
They’re pulling away, Stan!
             MARGE
Stan is still running grimly over the tops of
the cars.  Ahead of him the taxi with the
Rogers  inside is clearly getting away from
him.  Stan suddenly squats on the roof of a
FordGMChrysler he’s on and leans over to
confront the driver, a short, potbellied man
with a  small mustache.  Next to him is his
short, potbellied wife.  Stan’s head and hands
appear  upside down in the front window, and
he’s holding his official identification
badge.  “Stop the
car!  I’m a dispatcher with BFD Insurance.”
The car driver stares.
             DRIVER
What the -- ?
             STAN
This is an official carjacking!
             DRIVER
It’s official, Martha.  I gotta pull

over, right?

(MATT plays the DRIVER; SUSIE plays
the WIFE)

84.

             WIFE
I’ve never heard of such a thing.
             STAN
(Pointing to his ID) Pull over!  I need

your car!

        DRIVER
I’m gonna ask Traffic Control what I
should do.
             MARGE
The monitor blinks.  A man with a smile on his
face and a badge pinned to his shirt appears.
It’s Drummond.
                       (That’s right.  MATT plays both the
                       DRIVER and DRUMMOND.  Why not?)
             DRUMMOND
Traffic Control.  Can I help you?
             DRIVER
Yeah -- listen, I’ve got this guy on the roof
of my car.  Says he’s a dispatcher with an
insurance company. Name’s -- uh -- Stan
Marker. Says he needs my car.
             DRUMMOND
Section 34 of the Traffic Code states that an
insurance  dispatcher can requisition a
private vehicle on official business.

Oh.

DRIVER

             WIFE
Does that mean -- ?
             DRUMMOND
Yes, ma’am.  He may take your vehicle.

Oh. Oh.

WIFE
DRIVER
MARGE
The driver steps on the brakes.  Hard.
Stan shoots off the roof of the FordGMChrysler
and lands SPLAT! in the street.

(MORE)

85.

             MARGE (CONT’D)
A moment  later the driver and his wife are
standing by the door of the car.
             DRIVER
I’m sorry I stopped so fast,  okay?
             MARGE
Stan is in the driver’s seat.  The
FordGMChrysler spurts forward.
             DRIVER
When will I get my car back?!
              MARGE
Inside the FordGMChrysler, Stan drives grimly.
His hands are cut and bleeding, his jacket is
dirty and rumpled, and his face has a big
bruise on his right cheek.
             STAN
Stupid, stupid, stupid!  Okay, where are they?
             SUSIE
Along lower Broadway, the traffic moves
relatively briskly.  There are lots of taxis –
including  the one holding the two Rogers, who
keep peering out the back window.
             ROGER OLD
Do you see him?

No.

ROGER YOUNG

             TAXI DRIVER
See?  We lost him.  Flatbush, here we come!
             SUSIE
But further up Broadway, Stan rolls down the
street in his commandeered FordGMChrysler.
Half the time he’s looking at the street and
the other half at the monitor on the dash,
where the  picture changes to an aerial shot.
Once again, the “flying finger” swoops down
and skewers  the Taxi-of-the-2-Rogers.  The
text below announces:
             DRUMMOND
Stan: they’re heading for Brooklyn!
                       (Stan smiles ominously as he looks
                       up from the monitor.)

86.

             STAN
I know a few shortcuts.
             MARGE
He  steers his hijacked car off the crowded
avenue and cuts along a narrow little
alleyway.
Meanwhile, further down in Lower Manhattan,
the taxi with the Rogers wends its way through
heavy traffic towards the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Rogers, bored with progress, watch the
monitor.
             SUSIE
Anna Nicole Smith and Pamela Anderson
Appointed To Joint Professorship of Sexual
Mores at Harvard University.
Tom Cruz/Nicole Kidman Marry Again: Third
Time’s  The Charm!
             TAXI DRIVER
Well, no hide nor hair of the guy since we
left him half an hour  ago, right?  And here
we go over the Brooklyn Bridge to Flatbush!
             ROGER OLD
I haven’t seen him, either.
             ROGER YOUNG
Only one problem.
             ROGER OLD
Do you have to be so negative?
             ROGER YOUNG
If he catches up to us on the bridge, there’s
no place to run.
             SUSIE
At least a half hour later, finally they’re up
on the Brooklyn Bridge.  The bridge has been
expanded. Now it’s 16 lanes across, with
traffic bumper-to-bumper.  Above the bridge,
the sky is crammed with helicopters, planes,
and  personal flying machines.  Below the
bridge, the water churns with watercraft, from
huge  tankers and freight barges to tiny
boats.
             ROGER OLD
When do you think we’ll be off the bridge?
             SUSIE
The fare reads $162,000, and the Driver says

87.

             TAXI DRIVER
Hey, it’s rush hour, they’re repairing Lane 2,
and I see where they’ve got a breakdown in
Lane 15 – an hour holdup ain’t unusual, right?
                       (Roger Young’s shielding his eyes
                       with his right hand.)
             ROGER YOUNGYOUNG
I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
             SUSIE
Not far from the taxi across several lanes of
traffic, all standing in unmoving lines, is a
familiar  car:  the FordGMChrysler that Stan
hijacked.  It’s only about fifty feet away
from the taxi, but  the interior is empty.
The monitor, however, is on.  It shows a
close-up of the bridge and a  finger pointing
and BLINKING ON AND OFF. Back to the taxi and
the Driver.
             TAXI DRIVER
Traffic’s gonna go any minute!
             SUSIE
Except now the right passenger door is open,
and Stan’s right in the open doorway.
             STAN
Then you  won’t mind if I hitch a ride

with you.

             SUSIE
Stan pushes his way in, slamming the door, and
sweeps Roger Old onto the floor. Roger Young
crouches off to the side.
             STAN
Well, so look at you, Roger. (Stan giggles.)
Who would have ever thought it?
             ROGER OLD
Thought what?
             STAN
That things would turn out this way.  Bet you
didn’t when you made your play for Susie!
(Stan reaches for his Likwid8R.) You know, I
really like my work, Roger.  Terrific job
satisfaction, know what I mean?  But this is
one time when I’m going to just love my job.

88.

             SUSIE
He  jacks juice into the Likwid8R with a look
of almost erotic pleasure.  Then the Taxi
Driver’s face pops up in the monitor.
             TAXI DRIVER
Well, here we go, finally –  hey, Buddy,
where’d  you come from?
                       Stan hastily hides the Likwid8R
                       under his arm.
             STAN
I got invited.  You watch the road, huh?
             TAXI DRIVER
Don’t go telling me how to do my job, okay?
The rules don’t allow picking up passengers
during the  ride.
             STAN
I’ll make it up to you.  Okay?
             SUSIE
The Driver stops the taxi and turns around to
face Stan.  Immediately, horns start beeping
behind them and cars start to move more
quickly by on the left side of the cab.
             TAXI DRIVER
Just a minute. You the one what was running
after the cab back on  Broadway, right?

So?

STAN

             TAXI DRIVER
And what was that about, Brother?
             STAN
I had to speak with this gentleman here.
             TAXI DRIVER
I don’t think I want you in here.  (She
glances over at Roger Old.)  I don’t think he
wants you  in here, either.
                       (Roger Old shakes his head.)
             TAXI DRIVER
I’m afraid I gotta ask you to leave the cab.

89.

             SUSIE
Traffic moves  ever more quickly in the lane
to the left hand side of the taxi.  There are
no cars  in front of the taxi.  A large blue
truck edges out from behind the taxi and
blocks the traffic on  the right hand side.
All the other lanes of traffic are moving.
             STAN
Listen, I’ve got important business here.
             TAXI DRIVER
Leave. The. Cab. Please.
             STAN
(Crossing his arms) Nope.
             SUSIE
In response, the Driver slaps a button on the
front panel.
Instead of swinging open, the right hand side
door of the Taxi slides up.  Just as before,
the left  hand side of the Taxi sweeps the
seat clean, shoving Stan out of the cab.  The
two Rogers are  left cowering inside on the
floor.  As Stan falls outside the taxi, an
engine roars loudly, and a  large, foreboding
vehicle passes close to the right side of cab.
The hydraulic sweeper retracts  inside the
cab.  Roger Old and Roger Young crawl to the
door.  They peer out the still open  doorway
and look down at Stan, prostrate on the road.
The large blue truck which was behind  the
taxi is stopped just ahead and to the right of
the cab.  Large white letters on the back of
the  blue truck spell out “AARF.”
All the traffic moves except for the lanes
blocked by the taxi and the AARF truck.

Stan?

ROGER OLD

             SUSIE
Stan’s body is only about five feet away.
There’s a big tire mark crushed across his
chest.
             STAN
Too bad for you, Roger.  I got a policy. From
Jericho.  (Stan sounds like he’s laughing,
then choking.  Then croaking)
             MARGE
Matt sits working at his computer.

(MORE)

90.

             MARGE (CONT’D)
The phone rings.  Roger Old’s picture flashes
up on his  screen.  Matt nearly jumps out of
his seat.
             MATT
Roger!  You okay?

Stan’s dead.

ROGER OLD

             MATT
They told me. They told  me you killed him.
Why’d you do it, Roger?

I didn’t --

ROGER OLD

             MATT
It was pointless!  He was too young!  Don’t
you see? It didn’t help the  statistics!
             ROGER OLD
This isn’t about statistics, Matt.
             MATT
They can’t find the taxi driver.  Or you.
Where are you?
             ROGER OLD
I can’t tell you yet.  Matt, did Stan have a
life insurance policy?
             MATT
Only old people need life insurance policies.
             ROGER OLD
Could you please check? If he had a policy,
and the insurance company thinks I  had
anything to do with his dying at all –
             MATT
Yeah, let me check here.  (Matt pushes
buttons). And here.  (Matt pushes more
buttons). And here . . . Well, I’ll be.

What?

ROGER OLD

             MATT
Yeah, he had a policy. (Matt sighs,
almost sadly.)

91.

Who with?

ROGER OLD

             MATT
I’m really, really sorry Roger.
             ROGER OLD
Was it with – ?
             SUSIE
In the night, the Jericho Life Insurance Tower
looms, black and ugly, looking like a tower of
doom, searchlights gleaming from every floor
as well as the roof.  At the base of the
tower, four  insurance agents, dressed in
suits of black plastic, mount into a
glidemobile.  Each of them  wears wraparound
shades.
             ROGER OLD
(Sniveling) They’ll be after me.
             MATT
I’m afraid so.
             SUSIE
The monitor in the Jericho Life glidemobile
shows a split screen, with Stan on one side
and  Roger Old on the other.
             ROGER OLD
If they ever catch me, I’m dead.
             MATT
I’m afraid so.
             SUSIE
In a deserted parking lot, a large blue truck
with “AARF” painted on the back is parked off
in a  corner.  Two dark figures work with a
dark canopy to cover over the white letters.
Inside, Able  is dressed in his beret.
             ABLE
Like it or not, now you’re one of us,

Mr. Hawkins.

             ROGER OLD
I’m afraid so.
             TAXI DRIVER
Hey, Roger’s an old guy, but I’m a hot chick.
How can I be one of you?

92.

             STAN
Able and Baker both stand tall and erect
wearing blue coveralls and black jumpboots.
             BAKER
You can’t.  But we had to bring you along for
your own good.
             ABLE
Jericho Life will come after Roger, because
they think he killed Stan. But if they  ever
catch up with Roger, they’ll be after you,
too.
             TAXI DRIVER
Just my luck. I knew I shouldn’ta driven you
that  second time.
             STAN
Roger Young stands off to the side.
             ROGER YOUNG
What’re they going to do with you?  Ask them.

Uh . . .

ROGER OLD

             ABLE
You’re probably wondering what we’re going to

do with you.

             ROGER OLD
You took the words right out of my mouth.
             TAXI DRIVER
What about me?
              BAKER
Later.  Please.
             ABLE
(To Roger Old) If you were young, we’d be
hunting you the way we hunted Stan.
             ROGER YOUNG
Well, that’s a compliment, anyway.
             ABLE
Our job is to dispatch the dispatchers.
(The Taxi Driver throws up her
hands and seats herself
resignedly.)

93.

             ROGER OLD
I’m a dispatcher.
             BAKER
Yes. But we need you alive to help Dr. Frakbak
with his research.
             ROGER OLD
You need me as a guinea pig?

Exactly.

ABLE

             ROGER OLD
Maybe I don’t want to be one.
             ROGER YOUNGYOUNG
Hey!  Just a minute! I want you to be a

guinea pig!

             BAKER
You don’t have much choice, Mr. Hawkins.
             ROGER OLD
What about Drummond? If he can make people
old, why can’t he help Frakbak make people
young?
             ABLE
So far, he hasn’t been helpful at all.
             ROGER OLD
Well, maybe I should wait.
             ABLE
Why don’t you look at this?
             SUSIE
There’s a monitor hanging from the ceiling of
the truck.  Able swings it around.  The four
Jericho Life agents are parked in their
glidemobile somewhere in Central Park.  Two of
them  are on cell phones, one is working on a
laptop, and one is at the wheel.  One of the
agents says,
             STAN
He’s been traced to 18th Street and the West
Side Highway.
             ABLE
That’s where we were up to about half an

hour ago.

94.

             SUSIE
The driver in the glidemobile starts up and
heads towards 18th Street.
                       (Able, Baker, the Rogers and the
                       taxi driver all sit in silence for
                       a moment.)
             BAKER
Let me tell you some things, Roger. Maybe I
can convince you to do your part.
             ROGER OLD
By becoming a human experiment?
             BAKER
We’re all a bit of that. That’s because there
are too many of  us.

Us?

ROGER OLD

             BAKER
People.  Population.  Ever hear of
Thomas Malthus?
                       (Roger Old shakes his head.)
             ABLE
He was an English philosopher – died about 200
years ago.  Basically, what he said is that
the number of people on earth expand faster
than the ability to feed, cloth, and house
them. Eventually, you get poverty and disease,
and that cuts down the population.  Then it
starts all  over again.
             ROGER OLD
Sounds grim.  What’s that got to do with me?
             BAKER
It’s what’s been happening all over the
planet.  Particularly the past 30 years or so.
As a  dispatcher, you’re a big part of the
cutting down of the population.
             ROGER OLD
That’s what you told us at the BFD
reorientation. A dispatcher’s job is to cut
down the non-productive population.
             BAKER
I’m glad someone was listening.

(MORE)

95.

             BAKER (CONT’D)
That’s what I said, and it’s true, but I don’t
believe that’s the  way it should be.
             ABLE
The way it should be is that old people like
me should enjoy their goddamn golden years.
             BAKER
Yes, Great Grandpapa. You see, Roger, that’s
the big problem.  If there are more  and more
old people, you need more and more young
people to support them.  And that just
increases the population.
             ABLE
It’s just what Malthus said two centuries ago.
‘The immediate cause of the  increase of
population is the excess of the births above
deaths; and the rate of increase, or the
period of doubling, depends upon the
proportion which the excess of the births
above the  deaths bears to the population.’
             BAKER
Right now, the birth rate is down.   But
without the dispatchers, the death rate  would
go way, way down, and the population would
shoot up even faster than it’s been doing.
             ROGER OLD
So I get to keep my job?
             BAKER
I’m surprised you’d still want it. What my
great-grandfather and I are hoping  is that
there’s a better way to keep the population
down.  To stabilize it.

Like what?

ROGER YOUNG

             ABLE
For instance, if old people could be made
young again, we’d have fewer old  people and
more young people, all at once – without
having an increase in population.  The
problem would be solved.

Oh.

ROGER OLD

             BAKER
That’s why you’ll be seeing Dr.

(MORE)

96.

             BAKER (CONT’D)
Frakbak at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning.
             STAN
Inside her cubicle, Susie’s pondering over
paperwork.  The baby’s gurgling from her
monitor. Marge sticks her head inside the
cubicle.
             MARGE
Security says that your loverman is downstairs
with an  escort.
             SUSIE
Oh, thanks –
             MARGE
Isn’t he a little wrinkled for you?
             SUSIE
Oh, shut up, Marge!
                       Marge starts laughing.
             STAN
The ElderCare Facility sprawls over about four
acres and looks like a minimum security
prison.
The blue truck is parked to one side of the
facility.  Roger Young leans against the
truck. Beyond him, Susie and Marge have Roger
Old in a wheelchair. Able and Baker talk to
Susie.
             ABLE
We’ll leave him with you, but we’ll be
standing security against Jericho.
             SUSIE
Don’t worry. I know just where to put him
until Doctor Frakbak can see him.
             STAN
Susie and Marge wheel Roger Old towards the
facility.  Roger Young trundles after them.
             MARGE
Where does he go?
             SUSIE
On the 4th Level.  Number 4-0316.
             MARGE
He don’t look like a Level 4.

97.

             SUSIE
That’s why no one’ll look for him there.
             STAN
Level 4 is a giant cavern of a room, lined
with rows and rows of huge, steel cabinets
with semi- opaque glass fronts.  The cabinets
are ten feet wide, 4 feet deep and thirty feet
high, with  twenty glass fronts on a side.
They are collected in groups of twenty
cabinets, with ten on each  side, with the
twenty cabinets welded together into a giant
steel box.  A narrow corridor eight  feet
across separates each group from the other.
There are twenty groups in an agglomeration
four by five.
             MATT
The light is very muted, with long shadows.
The corridors are nearly black. However,
yellow strips light the floor, and lighted
stripes run along the outlines of each group
of  cabinets.  The numbers of the glass fronts
run from 4-0001 through 4-8000.  Each number
is  lighted, so that the numbers glow through
the darkness.  As they shunt down the
corridor, pools  of light come on
automatically, so that as Susie, Marge, and
the Rogers proceed, they’re always  entering,
inside of, or leaving a pool of light.  The
lights go off automatically as soon as they
leave the area.
Marge stops and points.
             MARGE
Number 4-0316.
             STAN
She goes to the keypad on the side of the
cabinet  and touches numbers on the keypad.
High above, a mechanism clanks into action.  A
steel  drawer slides out and then slowly drops
down the side of the cabinet.  The drawer
comes down,  down, and down, until finally it
remains suspended about three feet above the
floor.  She  presses  a button on the side of
the drawer.  The top of the drawer opens like
the top of a casket.
             MATT
Inside is a shriveled, ancient woman.  Only a
piece of silky, white plastic masks her body.
Her  head lies face up.  There are earphones

on her head.

(MORE)

98.

             MATT (CONT’D)
Music from Brahams “Requiem” floats  faintly
from the earphones.  On the inside cover of
the drawer is an LED screen, showing
constantly changing vital signs on a chart.
             SUSIE
I don’t understand.  She shouldn’t be here.
             MARGE
She’s got a MexLife Policy.  Why shouldn’t she
be here? She went in  here at 0215 today.
             SUSIE
Damn!  I should have reserved the slot!
             ROGER YOUNG
(Pounding his forehead) Oh, great!
             MARGE
(Pointing up) Look!
             MATT
On the next cabinet over, a red light is
pulsating on one of the slots.  Susie strides
over to see. She goes over to the cabinet
keypad and taps some numbers. The  drawer with
the pulsating red light slides open and starts
coming down.
             SUSIE
Put the other one  back.
             STAN
Marge touches the buttons on the first drawer
to close it, and then pushes buttons on the
keypad  to get the drawer to go back up and
slide into place.  Meanwhile, the second
drawer has come  down and sits with its red
light pulsating.  Susie touches the side of
the drawer, and the top  opens.  Inside is an
ancient man, wearing similar headphones,
playing the same music.  Only,  the green
vital signs on the LED screen on the inside of
his cover are completely flat and  unmoving.
             SUSIE
He just died. How lucky can we get? (She turns
to Marge.)  See if you can find another
drawer.

Okay.

MARGE

99.

             MATT
She runs down the corridor into the dark.
Roger Old looks down into the drawer.
             ROGER OLD
I’m going –  in there?
             SUSIE
Yes, until tomorrow morning –  when Frakbak

can see you.

             ROGER YOUNG
It’s going to be mighty cramped with two of us
in that thing.
             MATT
Susie pushes some more button.  Retractable
legs with wheels come down from the bottom of
the drawer, lifting it off the mechanism that
carried it down the side of the cabinet.  She
also  closes the cover of the drawer.
             STAN
Down at the end far end of corridor where
Marge disappeared, she returns driving a small
forklift that carries another drawer.
             MATT
Susie pushes the drawer containing the ancient
man off to the side.  Then Marge maneuvers the
forklift and deposits the new drawer onto the
cabinet lifting arms.  Susie pushes the
buttons to  open the top of the new drawer.
             SUSIE
Okay, Roger, get in.
             STAN
Roger Old gets up from the wheelchair and
looks inside the box.  It’s basically empty,
except  for wires and tubes strapped to the
side, and a set of headphones.  He turns.
             ROGER OLD
At least do I get a  choice of music?
                       (Bluegrass music)
             MATT
Roger Old is lying in the drawer, with the
earphones over his head.  There’s bluegrass
music,  ringing in his head.

100.

             STAN
Roger Young is standing by one of the
cabinets, playing a banjo.
             MATT
Now the top drawer to the drawer is shut.
             STAN
Roger Young still plays the banjo.
             MATT
The drawer is on the floor.  Then a quarter of
the way up.  Then halfway up.  Then sliding
back  into place.  Then in place.
             STAN
Roger Young is now playing a guitar along with

the music.

             SUSIE
The four Jericho Life agents in their
glidemobile are tooling down the highway.  Two
of them  are on cell phones, one is working on
a laptop, one is driving.
             MATT
Drummond’s face appears on a monitor.  He
grins and waggles his eyebrows.
             STAN
Roger Young plays the guitar.
             SUSIE
Susie works in her cubicle, typing something.
             MARGE
Roger Old is in the drawer, his eyes closed,
earphones on his head. Outside. the stars
wheel in a flaming arc  across the sky above
the ElderCare Facility.
             SUSIE
Roger Young plays the string bass along with
the bluegrass music.
             STAN
Susie gets up from her chair and quick-steps
from her cubicle down the hall to a door,
which  she enters.  The sign by the door
reads: “Dr. G. G. Frakbak”.  Susie hands
Frakbak a clipboard  with papers.  He looks at
her, then looks briefly at the papers.  He
jots a note, hands her back  the clipboard,
taps his watch.

101.

             MARGE
She smiles.  He doesn’t.
             ROGER YOUNGYOUNG
Roger Young plays the string bass.
             STAN
A wedding: Susie is standing at the altar,
Marge at her side.  Susie wears a wedding
gown,  Marge a matron of honor dress.  Next to
them are Roger Old, Roger Young, and Matt, all
in  tuxedos.  Roger Old lifts Susie’s veil.
He kisses her.  Then Roger Young kisses her.
Roger’s Father and Roger’s Mother are sitting
at a table with drinks.  They raise the drinks
in  salutation and congratulation.
             MARGE
Able and Baker stand by their truck.  Able has
his cane binoculars to his eyes, scanning the
horizon.  The stars dim, and dawn shows
imperceptibly by the ElderCare Facility.
             STAN
The four Jericho Life agents stand by their
glidemobile.  Two are talking into cell
phones, and  two are scanning with binoculars.
             MATT
Roger Young plays a harmonica along with

the music.

             STAN
Susie is in a hospital bed, Marge at her side.
Susie is holding a baby.  She looks up and
smiles. Roger Old and Roger Young look down at
her, smiling at the baby.
             ROGER OLD
Roger Old is lying in the drawer with
earphones on.  The bluegrass plays on.
             MARGE
Susie and Marge roll an empty wheelchair along

the hall.

             STAN
Able is speaking into a cell phone as Baker
drives the truck.
             MARGE
Susie and Marge are in the massive elevator
with the empty wheelchair.

102.

             MATT
Roger Young belts it out on the harmonica.
             STAN
Susie and Marge roll up to the cabinets on
Level 4. Outside, the sun rises over the
ElderCare Facility.
                       There’s no more bluegrass.
             STAN
Roger Old lies in the drawer.
             SUSIE
Roger!  Roger!

Huh?

ROGER OLD

             MATT
Susie and Marge hover over Roger Old.  The
drawer is open.  Susie reaches down and takes
off  the earphones.  Roger opens his eyes.
             SUSIE
(Softly) Time to go.
             STAN
Roger Young sits on a chair, looking bored.
Roger Old sits up in bed, wearing a hospital
gown.
             ROGER OLD
Just another hour.  Just another hour.  Do I
really want to do this?
             ROGER YOUNG
Yes! How many times have we been through this?
Jericho’s still after you.
             ROGER OLD
We can’t be sure of that!
             STAN
There’s a knock at the door.  Neither of them
say anything.
             ROGER YOUNG
Either get up or tell them to come in.

Come in.

ROGER OLD

103.

             SUSIE
Able opens the door and leans in.
             ABLE
I’m right outside if you need me, Roger.
             ROGER OLD
Thanks -- uh.  Have you seen anyone
from Jericho?
             ABLE
They’re looking for you.  Trust me.
                       Roger Old grabs his head in angst.
             ROGER OLD
I don’t know what to do!
             ROGER YOUNG
There’s nothing to do.  Just wait!
             SUSIE
They don’t have to wait long.  Outside there’s
a sudden sound.
             STAN
THWOCK!  Roger Young stands up quickly.
             ROGER YOUNG
What was that?
                       (MATT plays the JERICHO AGENT)
             STAN
The door opens.  Able pitches face forward
into the room.  Before either Roger can move,
a  Jericho Agent steps into the room.  He
kicks Able’s legs aside, closes the door and
locks it.
             JERICHO AGENT
We’ve got business, Mr. Hawkins.
                       Roger Old scrunches himself smaller
                       in the bed.
             ROGER OLD
I didn’t do it.  Really, I didn’t.
             JERICHO AGENT
Didn’t do what, Mr. Hawkins?
             ROGER OLD
I didn’t kill Stan.

104.

             SUSIE
The agent hauls out his cell phone and aims it
at a monitor on the wall.  The monitor blinks
on,  showing Stan lying bleeding in the road.
             JERICHO AGENT
Pictures don’t lie.
             STAN
The monitor shows Ronald Old,  peering out of
the taxi, with Stan’s body lying on the bridge
roadway in the foreground.
             ROGER OLD
It was an accident!
             JERICHO AGENT
Wrong.  You threw him out of the cab, so the
AARF could murder him.

ROGER OLD

Oh, shit!

You had a motive.
             ROGER OLD
No.  I didn’t!
             JERICHO AGENT
You wanted him out of the way so you could

have Susie.

             STAN
Roger Young rolls his eyes.
I didn’t.
In the corner of the room Roger Young says

Oh, shit!

ROGER YOUNG

SUSIE
ROGER YOUNG
JERICHO AGENT
             ROGER OLD
But she didn’t want Stan!  She wanted me!
             MARGE
Now the monitor shows a picture of Susie and
Stan laughing together over drinks.  In the
background a sign that reads, “Leopold’s -- No
Old Fogies Allowed.”

105.

             JERICHO AGENT
You knew you were too old for her.   She
wanted a younger man.
             MARGE
Now the monitor shows the Back Room at
Leopold’s, with Stan and Susie romping in bed.
             ROGER OLD
That was taken last year.
             MARGE
Slowly, the monitor focuses on a date down in
the corner of the screen: 23 MAR 2036
             JERICHO AGENT
It was taken at Leopold’s last week.
             MARGE
Roger Young shakes his head with disbelief.

Oh, shit!

ROGER YOUNG

             JERICHO AGENT
Pictures don’t lie.
             SUSIE
The monitor blinks off.
                       Roger Old breathes heavily.
             ROGER OLD
What are you going to do?
             STAN
The agent stands like a tough guy with his
Likwid8R in his right hand.  He taps it
against his  left palm.
             JERICHO AGENT
What do you think?  What’s a suitable

punishment?

                       Roger Old starts to cry.
             ROGER OLD
God, I cannot believe this. (He wipes his
eyes, then becomes angry.) All right: if
you’re going to do it, then just get it over
with!  Do it now.  Dispatch me!

106.

             STAN
The agent grimly jacks juice into his
Likwid8R.  He moves glacially, pointing the
Likwid8R until he’s standing above Roger Old.
             JERICHO AGENT
It’ll be a pleasure.
             SUSIE
The agent lowers the muzzle of the  Likwid8R
until it’s touching the center of Roger Old’s
forehead. Roger Old closes his eyes. So does
Roger Young. There’s a long, long pause.
             JERICHO AGENT
And I wish I could. (The agent smiles
wickedly.)  But it’s just not my job.
                       He shoves the  Likwid8R back in his
                       pocket and folds his arms,
                       chuckling.
                       The agent removes his shades and
                       sticks one tip winningly into his
                       mouth.
             JERICHO AGENT
I guess you don’t  recognize me, huh?

No, I don’t.

ROGER OLD

             JERICHO AGENT
Well, why would you?  I’m lookin’ that good!
(The agent waggles his eyebrows.)
             ROGER YOUNG
No shit, it’s – !
             ROGER OLD
You’re – you’re –
             JERICHO AGENT
That’s right, Roger. My name is Karl P.
Drummond.  And I’ve just had  Xtreme
Rejuvenation. (He preens.) Well, what do you
think?  Pretty hot, huh?
             ROGER OLD
You mean, it really worked?
             JERICHO AGENT
Like it?  I’m just getting used to myself.

(He smiles.)

(MORE)

107.

             JERICHO AGENT (CONT’D)
I’m thinking about introducing myself  to
Susie.  She’s one great babe, right?  I mean,
isn’t she?
             ROGER YOUNG
Now just a minute –
             JERICHO AGENT
But nah, why waste my time?  For my first dame
in fifty years, I can be a whole lot choosier,
right?
             ROGER OLD
Now just a minute –
             JERICHO AGENT
Well, I think I’ll just be moseying.  Got to
call into  Jericho Life.  I figure their
dispatchers’ll be here in about -- oh, five
minutes or so.  Ta ta.
             STAN
He  unlocks the door with a deft flick of the
wrist. Behind him Able -- somewhat the worse
for wear -- stands and confronts him.
             ABLE
Where do you think you’re going, Drummond?
             JERICHO AGENT
Oh, it’s the AARF hotshot.  How’re you going
to stop me?  No  weapon, and you’re about --
umm -- 80 years older than me, right?  (He
gestures with a “bring  it on.”) Try me, Pops.
             ABLE
I don’t need to.
             JERICHO AGENT
No?  (Drummond flicks his shades, puts them
back on and lovingly adjusts them.) Then I’ll
just be getting along, okay?
                       Able looks at his watch.
                       ABLE
                       You’re just another one of Dr.
                       Frakbak’s little mistakes.
             JERICHO AGENT
What the hell do you mean? What kind

of mistake?

108.

                       Able holds up his right hand and
                       starts counting down on his
                       fingers.
             ABLE
Well, I’m thinking thaT in 5 -- something -- 4
-- will happen -- 3 -- which’ll show you -- 2
-- what I mean --
             STAN
Drummond’s expression turns from anger to
worry to horror as suddenly his entire body
starts  to shake and then --
His body dissolves into a putrid mess and
collapses to the floor, with his clothes
falling un a  disheveled heap on top of the
pile. His shades fall and bounce on the floor.
Able shakes his  head.
             ABLE
All of Frakbak’s operations end up just like
that.  Eventually.
             STAN
Roger Old and Roger Young look down, aghast.
             ABLE
Drummond just lasted the longest.
             STAN
The door opens.  Susie and Marge bring in the

wheelchair.

             SUSIE
(Cheerfully) Time for Dr. Frakbak, Roger.
                       Marge sees what’s left of Drummond.
             MARGE
What the hell is that?
             ABLE
A little medical mishap.
             SUSIE
The operation -- last night?
             ABLE
Right.  Karl Drummond.
             SUSIE
Dr. Frakbak didn’t tell me who –

109.

             ABLE
We were hoping Drummond might have some
special information to help Frakbak. Too bad
he didn’t know his ass from a hot rock.
                       Roger Old sits in bed, clutching
                       the sheets.
             ROGER OLD
I don’t care what  any of you say.  DON’T LET
HIM TOUCH ME!  I’M NOT GOING TO HAVE AN
OPERATION!  I’M NOT GOING TO HAVE AN
OPERATION!
              SUSIE
In Dr. Frakbak’s operating room stands Dr.
Frakbak. He’s a crazy cross between Dr.
Strangelove and Dr. Phil:  pompous, unctuous,
deep and golden-toned.
             FRAKBAK
Yes, of course, Mr.  Hawkins.  It’s
experimental.  Experimental medicine always
has its risks.  I can’t promise you  perfect
results, but I can promise you that I’ll be
using every bit of my thirty years of medical
experience and skill.  And -- let me just
repeat -- you are in a unique position not
just to bring  success to your own situation,
but to help millions and millions of other
people.  Remember the  explorer Ponce de Leon?
He tried to find the fountain of youth.  You,
Mr. Hawkins, may be the  person who brings the
fountain of youth to the entire world.
             MARGE
Frakbak is speaking from a giant monitor.
Roger Old is lying on an operating bed, under
a  large operating lamp.  Along the side are
bubbling tubes, wires, and dials, bearing an
unmistakable yet unfortunate resemblance to
Drummond’s laboratory.  Roger Young stands
behind the bed.  Susie and Able and Baker sit
on chairs.
             SUSIE
Explain to Roger what expeditious
transmogrification means, Dr. Frakbak.
             FRAKBAK
All right.  All of us grow old in the same
natural way.  Our cells change,  they grow
old, they die.  It’s a lengthy process.  As a
result, there’s a lack of elasticity.

(MORE)

110.

             FRAKBAK (CONT’D)
Now,  Drummond -- who never really understood
the science of his own invention -- stumbled
upon a  method of expeditious
transmogrification.  As a result, when he did
his experiment on you, he  modified the cells
in your body over an extremely concentrated
time period.
             ABLE
And Drummond told you about this?
             FRAKBAK
Correct.  The man was a genius.  At the same
time, he was an absolute looney.
                       ROGER YOUNG
                       Amen.
             FRAKBAK
He refused to write anything down, which is a
pity.  But he told me enough so that I’ve been
able to take his findings and come up with a
brilliant new twist on everything I’ve done
before. Everything.  I worked it all out this
morning.  This is the latest thing, and this
time it’s going to   be the greatest.  I can
see it all very, very clearly.

See what?

ROGER OLD

             FRAKBAK
For you, long life as a youthful
person.  Happiness.
             SUSIE
Yes, and a baby!
             FRAKBAK
Right.  And, for me, of course, a Nobel Prize
in Medicine. A few billion dollars in patents.
So, that’s the  plan.  What do you
say, Mr. Hawkins?
             ROGER OLD
I say it’s my ass that’s on the line.
             FRAKBAK
True, true. On the other hand, if you don’t
get young pretty quickly  somehow -- Jericho
Life will be putting your ass on the line
anyway.

111.

                                                      112.
                       Susie leans over to Roger Old.
             SUSIE
Roger, you’re 108 years old.  Your health is
shot.  You can hardly walk.  And this is your
chance to have a wonderful life.  With me,
Roger.  Roger, I  promise you.  I will make in
wonderful.
             MARGE
Roger Old looks at her.  Susie is nearly
transformed with passion.  Then he turns to
Roger  Young.
             ROGER OLD
What do you think?
             ROGER YOUNG
I want to get back the way we both were.
             ROGER OLD
You’re going to love Susie, right? And
her baby?
I promise.

ROGER YOUNG

          Music: Pasadobles of Spain
          (bullfighting music)
             MARGE
In his prep room, Dr. Frakbak scrubs up.  Like
a prima donna bullfighter suiting up, he dons
green  gown, gloves, and hat. In the operating
room, a nurse carefully lays out rows and rows
of  scalpels, forceps and other tools.  Lights
are cleaned.  Anesthesia rolls in.  Finally,
they wheel Roger Old in on a dolly.  His eyes
are closed.  Roger Young accompanies him,
holding his  hand.
             ROGER YOUNG
You’re OK, right?
             ROGER OLD
I’m scared shitless.
             MARGE
Roger Old squeezes Roger Young’s hand.
             ROGER YOUNG
Good luck, buddy.
             SUSIE
The anesthetist materializes above Roger Old.
He sticks a needle in Roger Old’s arm.  The
drip starts through the needle.  Roger Young
appears by his side.  As Roger Old goes under,
Roger Young fades slowly from view, finally
blending and merging with Roger Old’s body.
Roger Old’s face is at peace.
             MARGE
On his Florida patio, Roger’s Father Harry is
sitting at a beach table under a palm tree,
drinking a pina colada.  He’s talking on a
cell phone.
             HARRY
Yeah.  Well, I’m sorry about that.  Yeah, well
I’m his  Dad, sure I am.  And my wife’s his
Mom.
             JANIE
Of course I’m his Mom, Harry.
             HARRY
She acknowledges she’s his mother, okay?
             MARGE
In his office, Matt’s on the telephone,
talking to Roger’s mother and father.
             MATT
Well, it’s very  hard for him to ask for
assistance, you understand?
             HARRY
Well, it’s equally hard for us to give it,
see?  I’m 79, you understand?  I’m  retired.
             JANIE
And none too soon, either.
             HARRY
I’m glad I’m retired.  Lucky, in fact -- just

last year.

             JANIE
Early, too.
             HARRY
Yes, thank you.  But since I’m retired,
there’s only so much money to go around.
             MATT
Well, he got rejuvenated.

(MORE)

113.

             MATT (CONT’D)
He got made younger.
             HARRY
He’s only 35. Why should be want to be made
younger? Just a  minute. (He cups the phone
and speaks to his wife.)  What should I say to
this guy?
             JANIE
If Roger needs our help, we’ll help him.
             HARRY
The least he can do is call us himself. (He
uncups the phone.) Listen, I know you’re
trying to  be a friend to Roger -- yes, I do
appreciate it -- but if he needs our help,
please tell him to call  us himself?  Thank
you.  Yes, good-bye.
                       He hangs up.  He takes a slow drink
                       of his pina colada.
             HARRY
I’ve never understood that son of  yours,
Janie.  Didn’t I teach him anything?
                       (MARGE plays the LAWYER, ROGER
                       plays the JUDGE).
             STAN
In New York City, a courtroom is in session.
The clerk calls the next case, the Application
of Susan McDonald.  The judge speaks:
             JUDGE
All right.  Ms. Johnson?
              MARGE
Thank you, your honor.  My client is Susan
McDonald.  Do you have the report there?
             JUDGE
Yes, I have the report.
             MARGE
Let me summarize it for the court.
             STAN
The lawyer’s voice fades away, and the outside
noises of traffic and airplanes, the courtroom
sounds of people talking in low undertones,
takes over.  As her lawyer speaks, Susie sits
and daydreams.

(MORE)

114.

             STAN (CONT’D)
A soft smile  plays around her lips.  She
seems entirely happy and at peace.
                       Judge taps his gavel.
             JUDGE
Thank you, Ms. Johnson.  Application approved.
             MARGE
Thank you, your honor.
             STAN
Out in the hallway, Susie huddles with her
attorney, Ms. Johnson.  Matt hurries to catch
up with  them.
             MATT
So, is it all done?
Susie comes over and gives him
a hug.
             SUSIE
Yes, all done.  Where is he?
             MATT
Marge has him outside.
             SUSIE
My lawyer will file the order tomorrow, and
we’ll get it back in a  week.  And that’s it.
             STAN
Matt and Susie start heading down the hallway
to leave the building.
             MATT
He’s fine.  Really, he is.
             SUSIE
Well, I don’t like to be away too long.
             MATT
You’re driving to Boston right now?
             SUSIE
To see my parents.
             STAN
Outside the courthouse by the curb, oblivious
to angry honks, a Volvza Camion is unloading
boxes of ersatz coffee in front of a Starbuxx.

(MORE)

115.

             STAN (CONT’D)
Behind the truck, someone’s cleverly managed
to cram in a little  triwheel ToyHon eXpod  –
cute as a bug green with red pintail stripes,
electric, and barely big  enough for two
adults on starvation diets.  A small group
huddles around the car: Susie, Matt  and
Marge. Susie gives a good-bye hug to nerdy
Matt.  Motherly Marge looks on.  Susie’s
mascara is dripping, and Marge comforts her.
             SUSIE
It’s all going to work out, isn’t it? (Susie
dabs at the  gray tears dribbling down her
cheek).
                       Matt gives her a clumsy hug.  Marge
                       snickers slightly.
             MARGE
Oh, well, Matt, it’s the thought that counts.
                       Susie keeps sniveling.  Matt
                       squeezes her hand, then adjusts his
                       specs.
             MATT
He was my friend, too,  Susie.  Take care of
him, will you?

Of course!

SUSIE

Matt takes her hand.
             MATT
I’m sorry the operation didn’t turn out just

as planned.

             SUSIE
Oh, no! It was perfect for Roger and

me. Really!

             MATT
Well, it didn’t come out the way we’d

all hoped.

             MARGE
We’re glad you’re happy.
                       Susie wipes the last of her tears.

116.

Oh, I am!

SUSIE

             STAN
Now Susie is in her little Xpod behind the
wheel.  She waves at the group that came to
see her  off, and they all wave back as they
fade into the distance.
             SUSIE
Everything’s going to be just fine.

You’ll see.

             STAN
In his BFD uniform, Roger lies  placidly,
listening to Susie.
             SUSIE
Childhood is a wonderful time.  Adults work
too hard and worry  too much.  We’ve both done
too much of that.
             STAN
There is a different Roger in the  tiny back
seat of the Xpod.  He’s only 10 months old,
and he’s lying in a car bassinet holding a
blanket, sucking his thumb, looking utterly
content – dressed all in BFD black.
             SUSIE
Now we’ll just have love and affection.  No
pressure, right?  You’ll see.  We’ll drive  to
Boston, see my parents.  They’ll just love
you, Roger.  Remember how you promised me a
baby?  Who would have thought.
             MARGE
There’s another tear on her cheek but she
keeps driving, looking very happy.

117.


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