The Valley of the Tools Episode 6

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


Rob meets a girl at a bar who promotes cigarette brands, gains an interest in her, and tries to track down where she works. McKenzie has an awkward moment with Whitney when she calls out her leg
scars, and a new intern shows up at The Box, and has trouble adjusting to the people he works for.

Submitted: June 08, 2018

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Submitted: June 08, 2018

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THE VALLEY OF THE TOOLS

 

“CATATONIA”

 

TV-MA DLV

 

“I journey through the desert, of the mind, with no hope. I follow. I drift along the ocean, dead life boats in the sun. Pleasantly caving in, I come undone”

  • Josh Homme

 

(We start with a close-up shot of Rob’s hands putting ice into a glass. Then a jump cut to him pouring Johnnie Walker Red into the glass, and handing it off to Miles, as we zoom out to reveal the two of them in Whitney’s kitchen, with a party going on in the next room)

 

MILES: Johnnie Walker Red? What are you, rich?

 

ROB: Yes. I make like- (Miles takes the glass, and Rob pours himself a glass) eight million a year, after taxes.

 

MILES: Is that true?

 

ROB: I mean, no, but, you believed it.

 

MILES: No, I didn’t.

 

ROB: Sure.

 

(Bonnie walks in)

 

BONNIE: I think that was a successful premiere, huh, boys?

 

ROB: It definitely convinced ME women were people.

 

MILES: And I’m sure I’ll get there. (Bonnie elbows Miles in the side) Agh!

 

BONNIE: Anything going on after?

 

ROB: Why, Whitney’s house isn’t exciting enough? We got- (Rob opens the fridge, and looks) prune juice, oat meal, Vitamin Waters, old, unused spinach containers. Who wouldn’t want to party here? Better yet, let’s throw a rager at an old folk’s home.

 

(Whitney comes in, with McKenzie following behind)

 

WHITNEY: Why are we looking through my fridge?

 

BONNIE: Seeing if you have any severed male penises preserved in there.

 

WHITNEY: That would obviously go in the freezer, Bonnie. (Rob opens the freezer) Don’t check the-

 

(Whitney sighs)

 

ROB: Just Lean Cuisines and, peanut butter?

 

WHITNEY: Hannah sleep walks.

 

MCKENZIE: I heard rumblings of an after-party, or something?

 

ROB: Yeah, there are some bars in Santa Monica I’ve thought about checking out. Who’s down?

 

WHITNEY: Santa Monica? We’re in Brentwood, that’s like twenty minutes away.

 

ROB: Well, I drove from Bel Air for this, so, I feel like I’ve been… (Whitney glares at him) privileged. To have this opportunity.

 

MCKENZIE: I wouldn’t mind going to Santa Monica, it’s pretty over there, and the bars are cool.

 

ROB: Who’s down?

 

MILES: Me, all the way.

 

BONNIE: Sure.

 

ROB: Whit?

 

WHITNEY: Hannah and I are tired, we’ll probably- (Whitney looks down, and glances at scars on McKenzie’s legs) whoa, what happened there, Kenzie?

 

MCKENZIE: What?

 

WHITNEY: On your legs, the scars? What happened?

 

(McKenzie looks embarrassed, as she looks at her scars)

 

MCKENZIE: Uh, it’s- it’s nothing. Should we go to-?

 

WHITNEY: Did you get hurt?

 

(McKenzie looks annoyed)

 

MCKENZIE: We should go to Circle, it has half-off wells.

 

ROB: Sounds good!

 

(Rob, Bonnie, McKenzie and Miles begin to leave, as Rob stares disapprovingly at Whitney. Cut to Rob, Bonnie, McKenzie and Miles sitting at a table within The Circle bar, each of them with a drink)

 

MILES: I think my eye for directing was, titillating. And that’s the point after all, isn’t it?
 

BONNIE: As long as it’s titillating to women besides Whitney and Hannah, then, yes.

 

ROB: Do you think Whitney and Hannah are the only lesbians?

 

BONNIE: They’re the least lesbian lesbians I’ve ever seen.

 

MCKENZIE: They also have no tact.

 

(McKenzie finishes her cocktail)

 

ROB: So, now we’re having this conversation.

 

MCKENZIE: That was so rude to call me out like that!
 

MILES: I don’t think she knew what she was calling out, hon.

 

MCKENZIE: Even if you don’t, couldn’t she tell I was uncomfortable with the subject? Instead, she put me in display like I was on the rack, in medieval times.

 

MILES: Yeah, and she’s whipping you, and stretching you, and your clothes start to rip off, oh, I gotta write this down.

 

(Miles takes out a pen and starts writing on a napkin)

 

ROB: I’m sure she didn’t mean it.

 

MCKENZIE: I knew I shouldn’t wear shorts in the summer, but I look cute as hell in them.

 

BONNIE: That’s for damn sure.

 

MCKENZIE: Thank you! (Bonnie and McKenzie high five. Rob gets up, and motions towards his mouth, and points outside) Yeah, sure.

 

(McKenzie gets up, and grabs her purse)

 

ROB: We’ll be right back, guys.

 

MILES: I won’t tell Kevin.

 

(McKenzie hits Miles in the shoulder)

 

MCKENZIE: Shut up, we’re smoking.

 

(Rob and McKenzie walk outside, as Miles laughs)

 

BONNIE: How are you not straight?

 

MILES: I really don’t know.

 

(Miles takes a sip of his drink. Cut to McKenzie and Rob in the outside portion of the bar, smoking cigarettes and talking)

 

ROB: …So, how are you and Kevin?

 

(McKenzie nods, and takes a puff)

 

MCKENZIE: We’re good. We’re recovering.

 

ROB: I’m sorry I didn’t-

 

MCKENZIE: You don’t have to explain. It was weird to ask.

 

ROB: Yeah.

 

MCKENZIE: …How are you and…?

 

ROB: …Are you waiting for me to fill in the blank?

 

MCKENZIE: Yes.

 

ROB: There is no name.

 

MCKENZIE: I’m sorry about that.

 

ROB: After Danna, there’s been flings here and there, but it’s like, no one wants to be with me, long-term, you know? I’m like a boy toy, one and done. A fantastic boy toy, don’t get me wrong, I’m talking McDonald’s Playhouse level, but still, a boy toy.

 

(McKenzie chuckles)

 

MCKENZIE: I came back to those a lot, growing up.

 

ROB: …Damnit, I did too.

 

MCKENZIE: I’m sorry. Someone will come along.

 

(A woman walks up to Rob and McKenzie wearing an American Spirits promotional T-shirt, and carrying coupons and a bag of American Spirit packs)

 

WOMAN: Hi, I’m Lilly from American Spirits, can I ask y’all a few questions?

 

ROB: Sure.

 

LILLY: What brand do you guys smoke?

 

(McKenzie pulls a pack of American Spirit yellows from her purse)

 

MCKENZIE: I’m with you.

 

LILLY: Awesome. Here’s a coupon for a free pack next time you buy two.

 

(Lilly hands McKenzie a coupon)

 

MCKENZIE: Oh, cool! Now I can afford to go up to two packs a day!
 

ROB: For, one day, though, right?

 

LILLY: And what’s your brand?

 

ROB: I’m Marlboro Golds.

 

LILLY: Cool, well, if you change your mind, here’s a coupon right here, one free pack of Spirits if you buy two. (Lilly gives Rob the coupon) American Spirits are all-natural, organic, no additives, gluten-free, vegan-

 

ROB: Sounds healthy.

 

LILLY: We are legally obligated to disagree, but you are entitled to your opinion.

 

ROB: Your name’s Lilly?

 

LILLY: Yeah. So, we’re doing this thing-

 

ROB: That’s a really pretty name.

 

LILLY: Yeah, well, you want to flirt with my mom then, because that was her call. So, a hundred and fifty packs of American Spirits in LA County have a Golden Ticket in them, that’ll get you a special prize-

 

ROB: Listen, I’m pretty attached to my Golds, but, I’ll switch if I can have your number.

 

(Lilly sighs)

 

LILLY: …I don’t think that’s worth it. Enjoy yourselves, guys.

 

(Lilly walks away, and Rob turns back to McKenzie)

 

MCKENZIE: …Ouch.

 

ROB: I tried.

 

MCKENZIE: You should’ve, tried less hard.

 

ROB: She’s really cute, though. Seems like a very strong type of girl.

 

(Rob throws his cigarette down, and extinguishes it with his foot)

 

MCKENZIE: You’ll probably see her again.

 

ROB: …Yeah. I will.

 

(The song “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode begins playing as we cut to a car driving through Santa Monica. The car turns onto Hart Street, and parks in front of a small little home. We cut to a shot of a boot stepping out of the car. The camera then pans up to show Ryan Donahue standing there, wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket. He turns off the car, and the song goes away. He closes the door, as an older woman emerges from the house)

 

OLDER WOMAN: (Australian accent) You must be Ryan!
 

RYAN: That’s right. (Ryan shakes her hand) You must be Leslie.

 

LESLIE: That’s what I’ve been led to believe.

 

(Ryan smirks)

 

RYAN: …That’s funny.

 

LESLIE: …Thank you. Let me give you the tour-

 

RYAN: Because who really knows why they are, after all is said and done.

 

LESLIE: Do you want me to give you the tour, or is this gonna take a while?

 

RYAN: …Sorry, go ahead.

 

(Leslie leads Ryan over to the trash cans)

 

LESLIE: Santa Monica is almost entirely recycling, and I’m not just talking about reboots and sequels.

 

RYAN: Funny again. I like that.

 

LESLIE: Honey, you suffocate fun when you say things like that.

 

RYAN: I’ve been accused of far worse.

 

(Cut to Leslie walking Ryan to a separate, three-room building located in their backyard. She opens up one of the three doors, and Ryan beholds a carpeted room with a Queen-size bed, rustic wooden furniture, and shelving complete with old scripts and footage)

 

LESLIE: This will be your room.

 

(Ryan and Leslie walk in)

 

RYAN: Not bad. Does it have AC?

 

LESLIE: No. It’s California, you don’t really need AC.

 

RYAN: I don’t really NEED water, but I drink it anyway. (Beat) I’m sorry, that was rude, I appreciate this a lot.

 

LESLIE: You do need water, love.

 

(Ryan stares at the bins sitting upon the shelves)

 

RYAN: What are these?

 

LESLIE: My husband Lewis is a director, these are the scripts to some of our pictures.

 

(Ryan reads one)

 

RYAN: The Avengers? Are you sure you directed that one?

 

LESLIE: No, it’s a different Avengers. It’s a 1993 film about five nerds who get revenge on their bullies.

 

RYAN: …So, kinda like Revenge of the Nerds?

 

LESLIE: Alright, enjoy yourself, and let me know if you need anything.

 

(Leslie abruptly leaves, as Ryan puts his things down. Cut to Ryan walking down the street of Santa Monica, right next to a roadway. A group of punks drive by, and one of them leers out the window)

 

PUNK: FUCK YOU, MOTHERFUCKER!

 

RYAN: (Startled) AGGH!!
 

(The punks crack up, as the car speeds away. Ryan looks pissed, as he continues walking. Cut to Ryan walking into a coffee shop by the name of “Urth Caffee”, a very hippy-dippy shop, with a bored, disinterested barista at the counter)

 

BARISTA: Welcome to Urth, what can I get for you?

 

RYAN: Could I get a very large black coffee?

 

BARISTA: We don’t have a “very large” size, sir, we have thimble, neutral, and plus-sized.

 

RYAN: …Okay, plus-sized then?

 

(Barista takes out a medium coffee cup)

 

BARISTA: That’ll be eight dollars.

 

(Ryan sighs, and pulls out his wallet. Cut to a few days later, we see Ryan’s alarm on his phone go off, it’s the song “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” by Behemoth. Ryan turns off the alarm, and his phone reads “Monday. June 4, 8:00 AM”. Ryan is shown dragging himself out of bed. Then, we see him showering. Cut to him running out of the bathroom, which is on the other side of the courtyard, accessible from the main house. He runs back towards room wearing a towel and holding his clothes. He shuts the door behind him)

 

RYAN: I hope they didn’t see that… (Cut to Ryan buttoning up a black dress shirt, and slipping on black skinny jeans, and black shoes. He’s seen straightening his hair, and taking out his lip piercings. He checks himself out in the mirror) This slick motherfucker is about to tear Southern Lord a new horn implant. (Cut to Ryan driving his car on the 405, waiting in traffic while head-banging to “The Power of Independent Trucking” by Big Black. Cut to Ryan’s car pulling up to Southern Lord’s building in LA. Cut to a shot of him parking, checking his face out in the mirror, and then whipping his hair aside, as he exits the car. He walks up to the building, whips open the door, and closes it behind him. Before him is an office space decorated with black and red, punk & satanic symbols, numerous Metal posters, and of course, a receptionist desk, phones, computers, and offices) Hello?

 

(A gruff-looking man in his late forties emerges from an officer, donning a black beard, long black hair, and a Goatsnake t-shirt and jeans)

 

GREG: New intern?

 

RYAN: Yeah.

 

GREG: Welcome to your first day! You’re fired.

 

(Greg walks back towards his office, but Ryan looks perplexed)

 

RYAN: Wait, what?!

 

(Greg turns around)

 

GREG: I’m sorry, little bro, but the court ordered us to shut down our internship program. Too many abuse allegations. (Greg scoffs) Some pussies can’t handle a little hazing with goat nuts drenched in blood dangling over their desks for an entire day.

 

RYAN: Wait, no, no, no, you made me drive all the way from New York State! It was a week-long, fucking, thing! I had to spend time at a hotel in fucking Ohio! I can’t go back now!
 

GREG: Sorry, man, the decisions came down today. Clear out.

 

(Greg walks back into his office and shuts the door. Ryan, astonished, leaves the building. Cut to Ryan staring in the mirror in his room)

 

RYAN: …Fuck am I supposed to do? (Muttering) Can’t go back to Plattsburgh, do I try to find a job here? (Ryan rubs his temples) Maybe I’ll ask Leslie. (Ryan leaves his cottage, and walks over to the main house. He walks up the stairs to the back door, and enters the kitchen, just as Leslie is entering wearing a towel, with her breasts exposed) Oh, MY GOD! (Ryan quickly runs out, as Leslie screams) I’m so sorry!
 

LESLIE: (Offscreen) It’s quite alright! I’ll be available in a minute.

 

(Ryan sighs)

 

RYAN: (Muttering) I am really making a great first impression, aren’t I?

 

(Ryan shakes his head and walks out to the front of the house. He watches as an old man waters his garden across the street, while listening to a radio that sits upon his stoop)

 

RADIO: President Trump tweeted today that many “legal scholars” agree that he has the absolute right to pardon himself, adding that he won’t need to because he hasn’t done anything wrong. Senator Cruz of Texas responded to this blatant attack on the rule of law with a brave, eighteen seconds of silence, before saying the self-pardon is, quote, “not a constitutional issue I’ve studied”. We’ll be right back with more news, right after this commercial break.

 

ANNOUNCER: (On Radio) Hey there, California! On FOX, this Thursday, primetime starts ANYTIME! The second episode of the new hit reality series THE BOX come at your face at 4pm Pacific, 7pm Eastern! Leave work early, unless you’re too much of a PUSSY! The Box! Only on FOX!

 

(Ryan furrows his brow)

 

RYAN: That’s right! My half-brother lives in LA, and he has that stupid reality show. I could- oh, God. (Ryan’s face is overcome with dread) I could get a job on that show.

 

(Cut to McKenzie in the passenger seat of Rob’s car. She is drunk, and looking out the window with a calm reverie)

 

ROB: We’re almost at your place.

 

MCKENZIE: Goodie.

 

(Rob pulls up to her house)

 

ROB: Do you need help getting inside?

 

MCKENZIE: I’m a, woman. First and FOREMOST!

 

ROB: I know, but- (McKenzie opens the door, and falls out of the car) oh, God.

 

(Rob gets out of the car, and goes to the other side, to help McKenzie up, but McKenzie pushes Rob away)

 

MCKENZIE: Get LOST! TARTARSAUCE!
 

ROB: Kenzie, I just want to- you’re really drunk-

 

MCKENZIE: And you’re not?!

 

ROB: I took it easy tonight, only six doubles and three beers.

 

(Kevin comes out of their house, wearing a robe and PJs)

 

KEVIN: Hey, what are you doing?!

 

MCKENZIE: Kevin! Kevin, come here!
 

ROB: I’m trying to get her up!
 

KEVIN: How drunk did she get!?

 

ROB: As drunk as she wanted to, man!

 

KEVIN: Just leave!

 

(Kevin takes McKenzie in his arms)

 

MCKENZIE: Ahhh, you’re my magic carpet, baby! (She makes finger guns) Boom! Ba-da-bing!
 

(Kevin carries McKenzie inside, as Rob furrows his brow. He gets into his car, looks back at their house, as Kevin closes the door, and drives away. Cut to Kevin carrying her into their bedroom. He precariously flips on the light with his chin, carries McKenzie over to the bed, and plops her upon it. McKenzie quickly gets under the covers)

 

KEVIN: …Can I, uh…? Sleep with you tonight?

 

MCKENZIE: …No, baby, I’m sorry, you can’t.

 

(McKenzie starts sobbing. Kevin sits down next to her, and holds her rubs her head)

 

KEVIN: Shhhh, it’s okay, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it. I love you, okay?

 

MCKENZIE: I love you too…

 

(Kevin kisses McKenzie on the forehead, and he grabs a pillow, and exits the room with it in tow. Cut to him lying down on the couch, with a blanket and pillow, and closing his eyes, as we can still hear McKenzie sobbing in the next room. Time lapse to the morning, with McKenzie’s sobbing eventually fading away. Kevin gets up, stretches, rubs his eyes, and grabs his cell phone. He makes a call)

 

KEVIN: Hello? Hi. Yes, Mr. Meadows, I’m afraid I can’t come in again today, still feeling very unwell. Uh-huh. Yeah, I told you it was a one-day cold thing, but I think it mutated into, like, Ebola of the mouth. I better steer clear, Chieftain. Alright. See you next week. Bye.

 

(Kevin hangs up and walks into McKenzie’s bedroom. McKenzie is sitting there, staring at the ceiling, with watery eyes)

 

MCKENZIE: …I’m broken.

 

KEVIN: …Kenz, no you’re not.

 

MCKENZIE: Beyond repair.

 

KEVIN: Kenz, come here.

 

MCKENZIE: I can’t move.

 

KEVIN: You have a press event today, you could get fired if you don’t go.

 

MCKENZIE: Oh, what a relief that would be.

 

KEVIN: McKenzie.

 

MCKENZIE: They wouldn’t have to deal with this, frosty cunt walking around set all day.

 

KEVIN: Alright, here we go.

 

(Kevin physically picks up McKenzie from her bed, and she provides no resistance. He places her on the counter of their bathroom, and takes off her shirt. He then unclasps her bra, as she stares glassily forward. Jump cut to a naked Kevin picking up a naked McKenzie from the bathroom counter and taking her towards the shower. Their clothes are strewn every which way. Cut to Kevin keeping McKenzie upright in the shower, as water pours upon them. She is quietly sobbing. Kevin is dour-faced. Cut to McKenzie dressed in a cute flannel and cardigan, complete with a beanie, sitting at their dinner table, looking dead inside, as Kevin brews her coffee. He takes the cup of coffee over to her and places it on the table)

 

MCKENZIE: …Thank you…

 

KEVIN: Can you drink it?

 

(McKenzie nods no. Kevin sighs, walks behind her, and puts the coffee up to her mouth so she can sip it. She sips it, and Kevin puts the coffee down)

 

MCKENZIE: …You’re so good to me…

 

KEVIN: Uh-huh.

 

(Kevin takes out a pack of American Spirit Yellows, and packs them with his hand)

 

MCKENZIE: I don’t deserve it…

 

KEVIN: Shhhh. (Kevin takes out a cigarette, lights it, and puts it in McKenzie’s mouth) Inhale. (McKenzie inhales the smoke) Release.

 

(McKenzie exhales the smoke, and Kevin removes the cigarette from her mouth for a moment, to bring the coffee to her lips. Cut to Kevin driving McKenzie, as NPR is broadcast over the radio)

 

NPR: Live from Washington, this is NPR News, I’m Jack Spear. The European Union, Canada and Mexico are condemning Washington’s recent tariffs against them, calling them “illegal” and “unacceptable”. Canada, the EU, and Mexico are all expected to retaliate with tariffs of their own, on products such as bourbon, motorcycles, steaks, vodka, water bottles, and fraudulent Universities. (Beat) President Trump pardoned conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza yesterday. D’Souza plead guilty to campaign finance violations and served jail time, but many in the conservative movement believe he was the target of the Obama administration’s selective prosecution. Trump is also considering pardons and commutations for Martha Stewart and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, because…who the fuck knows? This is NPR.

 

(Cut to Kevin and McKenzie holding hands, as they walk into a studio complete with a green screen, cameras, and four chairs. Hannah and Bonnie are sitting on two of them, and a female reporter for Wired magazine is sitting on the other)

 

KEVIN: Sorry we’re late.

 

HANNAH: We weren’t waiting for YOU, Mr. “I have a penis”.

 

(Bonnie and Hannah fist bump, as Kevin helps a despondent McKenzie onto the chair. A stage hand affixes a lavalier mic to McKenzie’s lapel)

 

WIRED REPORTER: I’m Flo, by the way, McKenzie.

 

(The reporter waves, as McKenzie settles down, and Kevin steps out of the shot. McKenzie does not respond)

 

FLO: O-kay, then.

 

BONNIE: Are you alright, McKenzie?

 

KEVIN: She’s fine! Just go.

 

(The cameraman moves into position)

 

CAMERMAN: Three, two, one, action!

 

(McKenzie immediately perks up, and smiles)
 

FLO: Hi, I’m Flo Capuano, for Wired, and we are excited to have three of the baddest bitches on TV today, the cast of the new, feminist-oriented reality show on FOX, “The Box”. Thanks for joining me, gals.

 

HANNAH: Thanks for-

 

MCKENZIE: Thanks so much for having us, Flo, I love your hair, by the way.

 

FLO: Oh. Thank you. I just had it done.

 

MCKENZIE: It looks like you emerged from the womb like that, so, you had me fooled.

 

(Flo chuckles)

 

FLO: Thank you. You’ve very kind. So, just as a question for all of you, what was it like working on a show that had, you know, a fair amount of controversy attached to it? Due to its goal, and also, the people working on it?

 

HANNAH: I think-

 

MCKENZIE: It was a lot of fun. Everyone on set is very special, and even though we’re competing, there’s still love there. (McKenzie puts her hand on Bonnie’s hand) A deep bond.

 

(Cut to Kevin watching, looking somewhat puzzled)

 

BONNIE: …Yeah, I guess I agree with that.

 

FLO: …That’s great to hear, how did Rob Altmire behave on set?

 

MCKENZIE: He’s a surprisingly nice guy, I think he’s learned a lot in recent months-

 

(An older, overweight producer with a mustache steps on set)

 

PRODUCER: Hold on, Ms. Park, your lavalier stopped working, so you’re gonna need to speak up. (McKenzie freezes in horror) …Ms. Park?

 

HANNAH: McKenzie? Honey? Are you alright?

 

(Kevin looks concerned. Flo looks toward him)

 

FLO: Do you-?

 

(Kevin runs up on stage)

 

KEVIN: We have to go. Thanks for having her. (Kevin looks toward the camera) Check me out, I’m on SoundCloud.

 

(Kevin picks up McKenzie and carries her off stage, as Bonnie, Hannah and Flo look shocked and concerned. Cut to Rob walking into a convenience store and going up to the counter)

 

ROB: Could I get five packs of American Spirits?

 

CASHIER: Dude, this is California, that’s like forty bucks worth of cigs.

 

ROB: Why are you arguing with me?

 

CASHIER: Alright.

 

(Cashier takes five packs of American Spirits and puts them on the counter, as Rob takes out his wallet. Cut to Rob getting into his car, and opening up the first pack. He packs with his hand)

 

ROB: Shit. (He opens up the next pack, and nothing comes out. He opens up the next one, and a golden ticket falls out) YES! (Rob laughs maniacally, as he puts a Spirit in his mouth, lights it, and leans back, but then he coughs a bunch) AGH! That organic Native handiwork is NOT doin’ it for me! (Cut to Rob on the computer in his home, looking up “Reynolds American Tobacco Direct Marketing Division Los Angeles”. He finds a picture of a non-descript building in Culver City) Bingo.

 

(Cut to Rob’s car pulling up to this non-descript building. He gets out of the car, walks up to the run-down brick building, and knocks on the door. A middle-aged man going through a coughing fit answers. Rob waits for the couching fit to subside)

 

MIDDLE AGED MAN: Can I- (He has another coughing fit, and then clears his throat) help you?

 

ROB: Yeah, I was looking for- (The man coughs another couple of times) …I need to see Lilly. She works here, no?

 

MIDDLE AGED MAN: Yes, she does. (Yelling) LILLY! Someone’s here for you!
 

(The middle-aged man walks away, and Lilly walks to the doorway)

 

LILLY: Oh, God.

 

ROB: Relax! I don’t want your number, I’m just here to claim my prize.

 

(Rob takes out the golden ticket and hands it to Lilly)

 

LILLY: Ah. Congrats.

 

ROB: Thanks. Took a lot of hard work.

 

LILLY: No, it just took a lot of money and alveoli damage. Come in.

 

(Rob comes in, to see a cramped little office, with a window open, and fans sputtering about everywhere. Lilly sits down behind her desk)

 

ROB: No photos on your desk? Of say, a husband or boyfriend? Or, you know, mom and dad?

 

LILLY: I don’t like to think about my mom staring at me while I sell poison. Now, just shut up, and take your prize. (Lilly pulls a can of American Spirit snuff) Free snuff for a year. This is your first one.

 

(Rob picks up the can and looks at it)

 

ROB: Thank you. (Rob throws the can into a nearby trash can, which makes Lilly chortle) Would you like to go out with me?

 

LILLY: …Heh. I could use a funny story. Why not? But after that, I’m not interested.

 

ROB: Understood. Tuesday night at eight?

 

LILLY: Sure.

 

ROB: Where do you live?

 

LILLY: For our purposes, I live here.

 

ROB: Deal.

 

(Rob and Lilly shake hands. Cut to Rob and Lilly walking over to a table for two at a fancy steak restaurant. Rob pulls out the seat for Lilly. Lilly stares at Rob for a second, and reluctantly sits down. Rob then sits across from her. They’re both wearing “I Voted” stickers)

 

LILLY: To be honest with you, I wouldn’t peg you for a person who votes.

 

ROB: You probably wouldn’t peg me for a person who runs for office either. And yet I did.

 

LILLY: For what?

 

ROB: CA-25. Had to drop out because…anyway, who did you vote for?

 

LILLY: Governor or Senate?

 

ROB: Both.

 

LILLY: Newsom for Governor, Hartson for Senate. You?

 

ROB: Newsom for Governor, but Feinstein for Senate. Dianne and I are good friends.

 

LILLY: Really?

 

ROB: Yeah. We have long phone convos, on the regular. I’m basically an informal adviser.

 

LILLY: That must be why she sucks so much.

 

(Rob chuckles)

 

ROB: It’s gonna be her and KDL, apparently.

 

(A waiter with a nametag reading “Brian” comes over)
 

BRIAN: Hi, guys, welcome to Carlito’s, I’ll be your waiter, today, can I interest you in a wine list?

 

ROB: Yes, I’ll take one.

 

LILLY: I’ll take two.

 

BRIAN: Two, wine lists?

 

LILLY: Two bottles of wine. 2017 Zinfandel if you have it. I’m gonna need it.

 

(Brian nods)

 

BRIAN: Okay, do you still need a wine list, Mr. Altmire?

 

ROB: No, I’ll have what she’s having.

 

BRIAN: Great. I’ll give you a few minutes to decide.

 

(Brian leaves)

 

LILLY: He knew your name? How often do you go here?

 

ROB: Never. Lilly, I’m, uh, I’m kind of very famous.

 

LILLY: Oh, Jesus. Do you voice someone on Rick & Morty or something?

 

ROB: No, but I wish, I love that show!
 

LILLY: Of course.

 

ROB: I was on a bunch of reality shows back in the day, and now I work behind the scenes on one. It’s on FOX.

 

LILLY: Well, that’s a respectable line of work.

 

ROB: …Do you want to take that back?

 

LILLY: Eh- I know. That was dumb. I’m not- (Lilly sighs) it’s temporary, I graduated with a philosophy degree from UCLA, and I found this was an easy way to earn money, and I don’t intend on staying.

 

ROB: Do you at least smoke? (Lilly stays silent and looks at Rob) You don’t smoke?!
 

LILLY: It’s really bad for you.

 

ROB: Trust me, I know.

 

LILLY: I didn’t know we were here to shame me for my moral decision-making!
 

ROB: We’re not. We all have shame to live with. I’m not judging you. Even though, you’re clearly judging me FOR smoking.

 

LILLY: Well, if you know it’s bad for you, why do you do it?

 

ROB: I figure…I like smoking, and I feel like if I quit smoking, I’m not being true to myself. It’s like the regrettable arm tattoo I got in 2012 says- (Rob pulls down his sleeve to reveal a “YOLO” tattoo on his lower arm. Lilly laughs, as he rolls his sleeve back up) I got fired from the best job I ever had because of my shitty decisions. I feel I’ve improved as a person, and yet, bullshit rumors still swirl about, and people still hate me. But I don’t hate me, and as long as I have that, I feel like, you know, fuck ‘em. Fuck everything.

 

(Lilly nods)

 

LILLY: I guess I can get behind that. Are you gonna use that when you run for Congress again?

 

(Rob chuckles. Cut to Rob pulling up to Lilly’s apartment building. Lilly turns to Rob)

 

ROB: Thanks for directing me your actual residence.

 

LILLY: I already regret it.

 

ROB: Come on. You had a good time.

 

(Lilly sighs)

 

LILLY: Yeah, I guess.

 

ROB: Can we do it again next week?

 

(Lilly nods, and gets out of the car. She walks over to the driver’s side and looks at Rob)

 

LILLY: I swear, if this date caused Netflix to promote your shows on my account, I’m gonna be pissed.

 

(Rob chuckles)

 

ROB: Nope, I was kicked off all the streaming services, so you don’t need to worry about that.

 

LILLY: Oh. Goodnight.

 

(Lilly walks towards her apartment, as Rob drives away. Cut to Rob asleep in his bed the next morning, a half-smile upon his face. A knock is heard at the door, and Rob slowly opens his eyes, and checks his phone on his bedside table. The time reads Wednesday, June 6, 8:37 AM”. The knock continues. Rob sits up and stretches. He lethargically grabs his robe and exits his bedroom. He saunters to his front door, as the knocking continues)

 

ROB: Alright! ALRIGHT! Christ.

 

(Rob opens the door and sees Ryan standing there)

 

RYAN: …I really hoped you wouldn’t answer.

 

ROB: Oh my God, Ryan, what are you doing here?

 

RYAN: I… (Ryan sighs) I need a job.

 

(Rob chuckles)

 

ROB: Come in.

 

(Ryan enters, and Rob closes the door)

 

RYAN: I’m serious, I moved to LA for an internship, but they shut down the program, and now I need a reason to stay.

 

(Rob walks to his counter and grabs a pack of American Spirits)

 

ROB: You want to work for me?

 

RYAN: No, not particularly. But I don’t have a lot of options. (Rob puts a cigarette in his mouth, lights it and exhales smoke, then setting his lighter down) Come on. It’s my birthday today, you know?

 

ROB: How old?

 

RYAN: Twenty-three.

 

ROB: I turned thirty-nine in April. Nobody gave me shit.

 

RYAN: I, doubt that.

 

ROB: …Does it have to be paid? I don’t want to give you money.

 

RYAN: Hell no, my internship at Southern Lord wasn’t paid.

 

ROB: Alright, then I can do that. But you can’t live here.

 

RYAN: (Sarcastically) Oh no, but where will I catch second-hand syphilis?

 

ROB: Well, nowhere, because that’s not a thing. (Scared) R-right? (Ryan rolls his eyes) Also, I want you to call me “Boss Man”.

 

RYAN: No!

 

ROB: YES! Yes, I insist on this!

 

(Ryan furrows his brow)

 

RYAN: Wha- ….I? (Sigh) Alright, boss man, whatever you say.

 

ROB: (Boston accent) You’re damn right, Junior!

 

(Rob chomps on his cigarette and puts it out)

 

RYAN: I feel so dirty.

 

ROB: Get used to that, you’ll be working for a porn star, a pedo-stache’d queer and the most bipolar woman on the planet.

 

(Rob goes to his fridge and takes out a bottle of whiskey. Ryan shakes his head, and leaves. Cut to Ryan sitting behind the reception desk with a big “ALTMIRE-STONE PRODUCTIONS” sign behind him. Whitney comes in)

 

WHITNEY: Hey, is McKenzie here yet?

 

RYAN: Who is that?

 

WHITNEY: Cool. Who are you?

 

RYAN: I’m- (Ryan stands up) Ryan, I’m the new intern Rob hired.

 

WHITNEY: Why?

 

RYAN: I’m, uh, his, half-nephew.

 

WHITNEY: Oh. I guess I should show you the ropes.

 

RYAN: Okay.

 

WHITNEY: The set is located on the floor right below us, we’re a partner with 21st Century Fox, don’t speak unless spoken to, always decide whether Rob is sober enough before you follow any of his orders, and don’t get in our way if you want to live. I’ll be in my office, let me know the MINUTE McKenzie arrives.

 

(Whitney walks into her office and closes the door. Ryan sits back, and takes out his phone)

 

RYAN: Still don’t who the fuck that is.

 

(Noel walks over to Ryan)

 

NOEL: Ay-o! New guy! Fresh meat alert RE-OH! RE-OH!

 

(Noel plays the air horn sound effect on his phone)

 

RYAN: …Hi.

 

NOEL: Name is Noel, and yours?

 

(Noel extends his hand, Ryan limply shakes it)

 

RYAN: Ryan.

 

NOEL: That’s an awesome name, must be why everybody has it! (Noel slaps Ryan on the back) It’s been awesome talking to you, but I gotta fetch Mr. Grothman’s cheese Danish.

 

(Noel walks away)

 

RYAN: Who the hell are all these people!?

 

(Bonnie walks into the office, and goes up to reception)

 

BONNIE: New intern?

 

RYAN: Yeah-

 

BONNIE: You see this mug right here, motherfucker?

 

(Bonnie holds up a mug with “The Box” logo)

 

RYAN: …Yeah?

 

BONNIE: Notice anything incompatible?

 

RYAN: Wha-?

 

BONNIE: IT’S A RIGHT-HANDED MUG! I AM LEFT HANDED! (Bonnie slams it on the counter) FIX IT!

 

(Bonnie storms off. Ryan looks around, takes out a flask, and takes a swig. Then, Kevin and McKenzie walk in, holding hands. McKenzie is wearing a pair of sunglasses, and has a cigarette hanging out of her mouth)

 

RYAN: Um, boss person? I have a feeling that McKenzie person you told me about is here!
 

(Whitney walks out of her office)

 

WHITNEY: McKenzie?! (Whitney walks up to McKenzie) What the hell are you doing!? Take that outside!

 

(McKenzie takes the cigarette out of her mouth and blows it in Whitney’s face, before putting it out on the ground)

 

MCKENZIE: I’m ready to be used, Ms. Stone.

 

(McKenzie walks out of the room)

 

WHITNEY: MCKENZIE, GET BACK HERE!
 

KEVIN: Whitney, calm down.

 

WHITNEY: That was insubordination! I should FIRE her for that!
 

KEVIN: Whitney, WHITNEY! (Whispering) She’s going through a severe period of clinical depression, okay? I have to literally CARRY this bitch most places!

 

(Ryan sits up in his chair, as his interest is peaked)

 

WHITNEY: Oh, my Gosh. I’m sorry, I didn’t know.

 

KEVIN: Also…she’s really pissed at you for calling out her leg scars at the premiere party.

 

WHITNEY: Why? What happened to her- ohhhhh… how did I not put that together? (Whitney shakes her head) Are you saying I triggered this? I did this to her?

 

KEVIN: Uh…no, not entirely, you know what? Let’s go into your office.

 

(Kevin and Whitney walk into Whitney’s office, and Kevin shuts the door, and turns to Whitney)

 

WHITNEY: What is it?

 

(Kevin sighs)

 

KEVIN: On May 30th, 2006, McKenzie’s PE coach at Palms Middle School brought her into his office, under the pretense that he was gonna show her his new Motorola Razr, but instead, the- (Kevin bites his lip) motherfucker turned up Gnarls Barkeley’s “Crazy” so nobody could hear her scream as he molested her.

 

WHITNEY: Oh, my God. That’s a tragic and, oddly period-specific story.

 

KEVIN: He was this, fat, mustached fucker. Anyway, the twelfth anniversary was last Wednesday, and…a lot of things get her down, but none more than this.

 

WHITNEY: …I can imagine why. How long does it last, usually?

 

KEVIN: …I never really know. It can go on for a few days, sometimes months. She’d been doing well the last several months.

 

WHITNEY: I should apologize to her.

 

KEVIN: Yeah. Whenever you can, I think she’d like that.

 

WHITNEY: Thanks for telling me this, Kevin. You’re good for taking care of her.

 

KEVIN: …I know.

 

(Kevin leaves the office. Cut to the set. Miles is sitting in his director’s chair, as the stage is being set up. Ryan brings over a cake that says “Miles” on it)

 

RYAN: Here’s the, cake, you wanted.

 

MILES: Thanks, sonny. (Miles takes the cake) What, no knife?

 

RYAN: Right, hold on.

 

(Ryan walks away, and runs into Bonnie)

 

BONNIE: Intern!
 

RYAN: Hi, excuse me-

 

(Ryan tries to leave, but Bonnie blocks his path with her hand, and pulls him back around)

 

BONNIE: Uh uh, no, no, kid. I haven’t gotten that left-handed mug yet. And you know how mama gets when she doesn’t have her left-handed mug.

 

RYAN: I met you, today.

 

(Bonnie grabs Ryan’s cheek)

 

BONNIE: Get your adorable, hairless self to a mug shop. A.S.A.P, or I will snap a bitch’s neck, and I won’t say who. Do you want that on your conscience?

 

RYAN: …No-

 

BONNIE: Good.

 

RYAN: What money-

 

BONNIE: Company credit card. Got it?

 

(Bonnie pats Ryan’s cheek and walks away. Ryan sighs, and walks into the office. He knocks on Whitney’s door)

 

WHITNEY: Come in.

 

(Ryan comes in. Whitney is looking over papers)

 

RYAN: Can I get a company credit card? Bonnie wants me to run an errand.

 

(Whitney looks up)

 

WHITNEY: Well, I want you to not.

 

RYAN: …I’m good with that. What do I tell Bonnie?

 

WHITNEY: Tell her we have no money, and she can buy her own, what? Switchblade?

 

RYAN: I don’t think she needs one of those. While we’re on the subject, though-

(Ryan sits down in front of Whitney’s desk)

 

WHITNEY: Stand up.

 

(Ryan stands up)

 

RYAN: Can I be reimbursed for a cake?

 

WHITNEY: Christ. (Whitney takes off her glasses) Miles? (Ryan nods) Jesus, everyone here thinks the interns are their own personal piggy bank!
 

RYAN: Maybe you could, make an announcement, tell people we aren’t, send out a memo?

 

WHITNEY: No, people already think I’m a huge bitch. You’re gonna have to tell them that.

 

RYAN: …How does Noel do it? He’s an especially noxious form of “nice”, and yet, nobody orders him around.

 

(Whitney closes a folder)

 

WHITNEY: You’re gonna have to ask him that, Riley.

 

RYAN: Ryan.

 

(Whitney stands up)

 

WHITNEY: I have to go.

 

(Whitney walks past Ryan, who sighs dejectedly. Cut to Whitney on set, flanked by Rob and Miles, watching as the cameras set up their shot, and the make-up people touch up Bonnie’s face. McKenzie, Hannah, Judy and Sidra are standing beside Bonnie, in front of the large “Box” structure)

 

BONNIE: We ready to go?

 

MILES: Whenever you’re ready. (Bonnie nods) Three, two, one, action!

 

BONNIE: Welcome, to The Box! I’m your host, Bonnie Backlash, and I’m here with this season’s contestants, McKenzie Park, Hannah Delaney, Judy Cross, and Sidra Seif. Congratulations, Judy, on your victory last week. How do you feel?

 

JUDY: I’m just really thankful for Jesus, he came in clutch with that W. Shout out to JC!

 

BONNIE: Congrats again. And Sidra, how is your scalp?

 

SIDRA: She ripped off a part of my fucking scalp!
 

BONNIE: Ooh, girl, your salty tongue is gonna get us cancelled. Alright, McKenzie, you got out earlier than expected, what will your strategy be for this week?

 

MCKENZIE: Well, I don’t want to give it away, but, let’s just say, look out.

 

MILES: Cut. McKenzie, honey, let’s say that with a little more- (McKenzie freezes in terror) HMMPH! You know? Act like your- is she okay?

 

(Whitney looks over to Kevin)

 

WHITNEY: What happened?

 

(Kevin runs over to her)

 

KEVIN: (Whispering) It’s Miles, he looks like the coach.

 

WHITNEY: Shit. (To Miles) Miles, take five.

 

MILES: What?

 

WHITNEY: I SAID “TAKE FIVE”! (Miles furrows his brow, gets up and walks out of the room, as Whitney takes her seat in the director’s chair) McKenzie, honey, I’m sorry for calling you out at the party about the leg scars thing, and also, I’m sorry for doing that right now, at this very moment, I didn’t know. I apologize. And I know you can do this. You are a smart, beautiful, talented angel. Miles is gone. Just take a deep breath, and focus.

 

(McKenzie takes a deep breath, as everyone lies in anticipation. Then, she passes out, thankfully being caught by Hannah)

 

ROB: Damn. Nice pep talk, though.

 

WHITNEY: Fuck you.

 

(Kevin comes on stage, grabs McKenzie and carries her out of the studio. Cut to Ryan and Noel watching from the back of the room. Ryan turns to Noel)

 

NOEL: I hope she’ll be okay.

 

RYAN: …Noel, how do I deal with these people?

 

NOEL: You don’t. If they have stupid demands, don’t follow them. They’ll respect you more that way.

 

RYAN: …But you-

 

NOEL: I do it with charm. (Noel smiles) But that’s not your style. Find your own, I say.

 

(Noel pats Ryan on the back and walks away. Rob comes over)

 

ROB: We’re delaying the shoot while McKenzie recovers, but we still need B-roll. Could you get me a glass of water?

 

RYAN: Sure.

 

(Ryan walks into a nearby bathroom, leans against the sink, and starts scrolling through Instagram. Cut to Rob pulling up to his house, as one police car drives away, and another remains, with an LAPD officer standing beside it. Rob frantically gets out of the car)

 

ROB: Whoa, what the hell’s going on?

 

(The officer walks up to Rob)

 

OFFICER: Sir, do you know Clay Altmire?

 

ROB: Yeah, he’s my half-brother, why?!

 

OFFICER: Well. I’m sorry, sir, but he’s been arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to sell.

 

(Rob closes his eyes)

 

ROB: What?

 

OFFICER: Yes, we’re gonna hold him for twenty-four hours before he can get a hearing before a judge.

 

(Rob shakes his head)

 

ROB: He just got out of prison.

 

OFFICER: I’m sorry. You can’t just sell coke to Jeff Flake like that.

 

(The officer pats Rob on the back, and gets into his police car)

 

ROB: Yeah, I guess- wait, Jeff Flake!? (The officer drives away) Like, the Senator?! WHAT WAS HE DOING IN LOS ANGELES?!

 

(Cut to Rob walking into a bar and sitting down on a stool. A bartender comes over)
 

BARTENDER: Hey, Rob, what can I get you?

 

ROB: Please pretend like you don’t know me, for one.

 

BARTENDER: …Okay, hey, there? What can I get you?

 

ROB: Vodka cranberry, double.

 

(Rob hands the bartender his card)

 

BARTENDER: Open or closed?

 

ROB: OOopen, for Christ’s sake.

 

(The Bartender swipes the card. Cut to Rob sitting at a table on the bar’s patio, outside, alone, smoking a cigarette with a few empty glasses in front of him, save for a half full Whiskey Coke. Various bargoers are milling around, socializing, as Rob drunkenly stares into the distance. Behind him, barely in focus, in the distance, is Lisa from VTEP5, sitting by herself, stewing. Rob takes another drag as a fresh-faced twenty-one-year-old with dirty blonde hair and a USC shirt sits in front of him)

 

TWENTY-ONE-YEAR-OLD: Hey. Aren’t you Rob, from-?

 

ROB: Your favorite reality show? (Rob chuckles) Hell yeah. What you want?

 

TWENTY-ONE-YEAR-OLD: I’m Patty, I’m a junior at USC. And I was wondering- (Patty places her hand on Rob’s hand) if you, wanted to see what my dorm looks like?

 

(Rob smiles)

 

ROB: (Slurring) I wonder if it looks different from the dorms at Boston, University.

 

PATTY: Is that a real-?

 

ROB: I don’t know, I never went to college-

 

PATTY: Let’s go.

 

ROB: Okay. (Rob and Patty both get up, with their arms around each other, walking towards the exit. But Rob stops dead in his tracks when he sees Lilly, holding her American Spirit promo material, staring at him) Lilly.

 

PATTY: Who’s this bitch?

 

(Rob takes his hands off Patty)

 

ROB: Go away.

 

PATTY: Ugh!
 

(Patty storms off. Lilly shakes his head and begins to walk away, but Rob runs and grabs her by the shoulder, turning her towards him)

 

ROB: Lilly, just listen!
 

LILLY: No, I’m not even mad at you! I’m mad at myself for going out with a 40-year old man who wears shirts that are three sizes too big for him!

 

ROB: Thirty-nine, and, I’m sorry, Lilly, I’m just- I’m drunk, and, I didn’t think we were exclusive-

 

LILLY: We aren’t! So there’s no reason to worry! Go and fuck the college freshman, you just don’t need to worry about that date you have with an adult next week. (Lilly begins to walk away again, but Rob grabs her, and she turns back around) WHAT?!

 

ROB: I had a, bad day. Okay? My brother’s going to prison. For a long time. I’m sorry.

 

(Lilly rolls her eyes and storms off. Rob stands there and rubs his eyes with frustration. Patty comes over and puts her hand on his shoulder)

 

PATTY: Now that she’s out of the picture-

 

ROB: If you say another word, I’ll blacklist you.

 

(Patty quickly turns around and rushes off. Cut to Rob drunkenly stumbling into his darkened house. He closes the door, is about to lock it, but catches his breath for a second, forgets, and stumbles over to the couch, and falls into it. He kicks off his shoes, and they land with a thud by the door. A time lapse sequence puts us an hour later. Rob is in peaceful slumber, when Lisa creeps in holding a bowie knife)

 

LISA: (Whispering) You two, and three-timing FUCKER. I’ll show you to talk to women besides me. (Lisa creeps closer to Rob raising the knife high in the air) You’ll look great on my mantle. Right next to Mike Meyers, the injury attorney in Century City!

 

(Lisa is about to stab Rob to death, when she is knocked out by a blow to the head from a stool. As she falls, Lilly is revealed, brandishing the stool. Lisa is knocked out cold. Rob wakes up)

 

ROB: Whoa, what the fu-what is going on? Lilly?

 

LILLY: I came in, this crazy bitch was trying to kill you.

 

(Lilly drops the stool, and Rob looks to see Lilly knocked out cold)

 

ROB: Oh.

 

(Rob, in shock, looks back up at Lilly)

 

LILLY: …If you come to our date next week, you’re a bitch.

 

(Lilly rushes out of the house, and Rob smiles. He then takes out his phone and dials “911”. Cut to Kevin walking up to McKenzie’s room, holding a tray with a steaming bowl of soup on it)

 

KEVIN: McKenzie? I’ve got a very hot breakfast, here, babe- (Kevin opens the door with his back, but turns around and sees McKenzie is not in the bed) …Kenzie? (Kevin puts down the soup, and checks the bathroom, which is empty) Kenzie?!

 

(Cut to the front office of Palms Middle School. A middle-aged woman looks up from a computer as a human figure walks in)

 

RECEPTIONIST: Can I help you?

 

(Reverse shot reveals the figure is McKenzie)

 

MCKENZIE: Yeah, does Coach Pingree still work here?

(Cut to black)

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF ANTHONY BOURDAIN, 1956-2018

 

NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE: 1-800-273-8255

 

THE END


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