The Valley of the Tools Episode 9

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


Rob visits his ailing step-father, Whitney suspects her parents have been secretly living in her house while she’s been gone, and the Compton gang-bangers go after Luther at work

Submitted: June 28, 2018

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Submitted: June 28, 2018

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THE VALLEY OF THE TOOLS

 

“FLATLINE”

 

TV-MA L

 

“Uninformed unit, forlorn regime. Metamorph me into done for at last. At least until my present shore has passed. Why me? Why me? Why me?”

  • Stefan Burnett

 

(We open on an auditorium in Boston Middle School, circa November 1991. A 56-year old Joe Altmire and 49-year old Kay Altmire are sitting amongst an audience of other parents at a spelling bee. A banner above the stage reads “Boston Middle School Spelling Bee ‘91”. Joe looks over at Kay and taps his watch)

 

JOE: When will this be over?

 

KAY: It’s almost over, come on, you have nowhere to be.

 

JOE: I guess watching my Patriots beat the Bills doesn’t count.

 

KAY: Yes, that doesn’t count, look, Rob might actually win this thing, look, here he comes!
 

(Cut to twelve-year old Rob walking up to the microphone. He is wearing a polo shirt, slacks and tennis shoes, he’s generally very goody two shoes looking. Only one other student remains. Cut to the judges, two uptight bald men and an older lady wearing formal wear)

 

JUDGE: Mr. Altmire. Your word is “loquaciousness”.

 

ROB: Loquaciousness…could you use it in a sentence?

 

JUDGE: Loquaciousness. “Rob’s loquaciousness on the subject of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles destroyed the conversation for everyone else”. Loquaciousness.

 

ROB: …Loquaciousness. L-O-Q-U-A-C-O-U-S-N-E-S-S, loquaciousness?

 

(The Judge slams his fist on the desk and smiles)

 

JUDGE: YES! YOU GOT IT WRONG! (Judge composes himself) I’m afraid that’s incorrect.

 

(Cut to Joe and Kay. Kay tilts her head with disappointment, while Joe shakes his head and grimaces)

 

KAY: So close. He did good, though.

 

JOE: There’s nothing but shame in second place.

 

KAY: Jesus, Joseph.

 

(Cut to Rob bowing and walking off stage, as his opponent, some blonde, blue-eyed whiz kid jump up and down. The audience is roaring with applause, except for Kay, who is sitting next to Joe as he loudly applauds for the winner)

 

JOE: GO WINNERS!!!

 

(Cut to Rob sitting in the back of the car as Joe drives him and Kay home)

 

RADIO: Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury died today due to complications from acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The singer was forty-five years old. In sports news, the New England Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills at Foxboro Stadium this evening. The score was 16-13.

 

JOE: Oh! Perfect! I missed that.

 

ROB: I’m sorry you had to come see me fail instead, dad.

 

JOE: I forgive you.

 

KAY: Joseph!
 

JOE: What? In life, there’s no points for ALMOST winning! If that were the case, Dukakis would be Vice President right now.

 

KAY: He lost in a LANDSLIDE! Rob was one letter off, why can’t you be proud of him!?!

 

JOE: Because THAT’S encouraging failure, Kay! What don’t you understand about that?? (Joe starts crying) Oh, HERE we go!
 

(Kay reaches into the back seat and rubs Rob’s leg)

 

KAY: Shhh, baby, it’s okay.

 

JOE: I’m not gonna give into emotional manipulation!

 

ROB: YOU ONLY HATE ME BECAUSE I’M NOT YOUR KID!
 

JOE: WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST SAY TO ME!?

 

KAY: Joe, don’t- (Joe angrily pulls into a McDonald’s parking lot and gets out of the car) JOE!!!

 

JOE: COME HERE, YOU LITTLE SHIT! (Joe throws open the back seat and pulls a screaming, crying twelve-year old Rob out of the car) YOU DON’T TALK TO ME LIKE THAT, GOT IT?!

 

ROB: FUCK YOU!
 

(Rob spits in Joe’s face, as Kay runs up to him. Joe punches Rob, sending him flying back into the car)

 

KAY: JOE!!!

 

JOE: STAY OUT OF THIS, KAY!!!

 

(Kay pushes Joe)

 

KAY: PUNCH ME! HUH!? (Kay pats her right cheek) TEACH ME A LESSON LIKE YOU TAUGHT OUR TWELVE-YEAR OLD SON!

 

(A teenage McDonald’s employee walks up to them)

 

MCDONALD’S EMPLOYEE: Excuse me, this isn’t a parking space-

 

JOE: FUCK OFF!
 

MCDONALD’S EMPLOYEE: Uh-huh.

 

(The employee walks off. Joe simmers down a bit and gets back into the driver’s seat. Kay gets in the back seat with Rob and holds him as he sobs softly into her shoulder)

 

JOE: …I’m sorry I lost my temper.

 

KAY: Just shut up and drive.

 

(Joe starts the car and pulls out of the parking lot. Flash forward almost twenty-seven years, to late June 2018. Rob, Whitney, Bonnie, McKenzie and Hannah are sitting around the conference room table that has a conference call device in the middle)

 

ROB: Okay, thank you, guys!

 

WHITNEY: Thanks.

 

EXECUTIVE: (On the phone) No problem, we’ll keep in touch.

 

ROB: Bye. (Rob hangs up) That went well.

 

WHITNEY: Yeah, definitely.

 

BONNIE: But it’s Facebook. I didn’t know they had a streaming service and now I wish I didn’t.

 

ROB: It’s not ideal, but we did get started, like, two weeks ago.

 

HANNAH: But who will watch a Susan B. Anthony miniseries on Facebook’s streaming service?

 

ROB: People who are old as she is that think computers are exclusively for using Facebook anyway?

 

HANNAH: Fair point.

 

WHITNEY: Okay, Rob, you should begin the wine and dining offensive with the Facebook people-

 

ROB: Okay. (Rob gets a call. He checks his phone, it’s Kimberly) Hm. I should take this, hold on.

 

WHITNEY: Alright.

 

(Rob stands up and steps out of the conference room. He answers the phone)

 

ROB: Hello?

 

KIMBERLY: (On the phone) Rob.

 

ROB: What is it?

 

KIMBERLY: Dad’s taken a turn for the worse.

 

ROB: Your dad.

 

KIMBERLY: Rob!
 

ROB: Sorry.

 

KIMBERLY: We think you should get up here, he won’t be around much longer.

 

(Rob sighs)

 

ROB: …I’ll be there. But only for you guys. Not him.

 

KIMBERLY: …Okay.

 

(Rob hangs up. He walks back into the conference room)

 

WHITNEY: And remember, McKenzie, interrupt whatever I’m doing if MGM calls, I don’t care if I’m saving someone’s life, understood?

 

MCKENZIE: Got ya!

 

WHITNEY: Great.

 

ROB: I’m afraid I won’t be able to join you in wooing Facebook.

 

WHITNEY: Why?

 

ROB: Some old man who raised me is dying, so I have to go up to Vermont, and look at him. Even though someone could just send me a Snapchat or something.

 

WHITNEY: Oh. Sorry to hear that.

 

ROB: I’m not. Bonnie, as long as I’m gone, you don’t have to be here either. See you guys.

 

(Rob exits the conference room)

 

BONNIE: …Is it in poor taste that I’m pretty psyched about this?

 

(Cut to Lilly at her work, her feet on the desk, talking to her co-worker)

 

LILLY: What if we just…gave cigarettes to babies?

 

MIDDLE-AGED CO-WORKER: Very funny.

 

LILLY: Do you ever have nightmares, Steve?

 

STEVE: No, I sleep very well. Why?

 

(Rob comes in)

 

ROB: Lilly.

 

(Lilly stands up)

 

LILLY: Rob, what are you doing here? We can’t give you any more free cigs.

 

ROB: It’s not that, it’s just- wait, really? Aw. (Rob shakes his head) Anyway, I need to take a trip to see my dying stepfather, and well…I don’t want to do it alone.

 

LILLY: …You want me to tag along to see some old man die?

 

ROB: …It’s Vermont. We could see a Ben & Jerry’s factory while we’re there.

 

(Lilly shrugs her shoulders)

 

LILLY: Okay. Steve?

 

STEVE: Go ahead, you crazy kids.

 

LILLY: Don’t call us that, but, thanks.

 

(Lilly and Rob leave together. Cut to Whitney walking into her house. She walks into the living room and finds that a Netflix Jeff Dunham comedy special, featuring his ventriloquist dummy Achmed the dead terrorist, is paused on the TV)

 

WHITNEY: …What the hell? (Whitney walks over to her fridge, and sees the absolute dearth of food, and the empty rings of beer) Where did? HANNAH!

 

(Hannah comes in, wearing a towel)

 

HANNAH: What is it?

 

(Whitney pops up and closes the fridge)

 

WHITNEY: Did you eat enough food and drink enough beer for two obese people today?

 

HANNAH: No, I actually forgot to eat today. Why?

 

WHITNEY: Somebody cleaned us out. The beer is gone, the TV dinners have been devoured, the eggs are all gone? Which is weird, because I don’t see any signs of a struggle. There are no dirty pans or anything.

 

HANNAH: Is it possible a very neat coyote broke in here and ate our eggs?

 

(Whitney closes the door)

 

WHITNEY: Were you watching Jeff Dunham?

 

HANNAH: Who is that?

 

WHITNEY: He’s this guy.

 

(Whitney un-pauses the Jeff Dunham comedy special)

 

JEFF DUNHAM: Hey, Achmed, what do you think of the Muslim Ban?

 

ACHMED: Oh, I love it!
 

JEFF: Really? Why?

 

ACHMED: Because we need more Muslim bands! What if we want to bomb Coachella?!

 

(The audience laughs, as Jeff makes a face)

 

JEFF: No, Achmed, the Muslim BAN.

 

ACHMED: Oh, the ban! No, I don’t like that, because my kind represents an existential threat to American culture and if they know what’s good for them they will exterminate me-

 

(Whitney pauses it again)

 

HANNAH: Thanks, I get the picture. No, I was not watching that.

 

WHITNEY: Someone was. Do you think…?

 

HANNAH: What? Them? But how?

 

WHITNEY: What do you mean, “but, how”? They must’ve broken in. When we were hard up for cash, we cased houses sometimes. Hell, we cased the Governor’s mansion once.

 

HANNAH: Huh. Well. If it happens again, we’ll call the police.

 

WHITNEY: Yeah. I guess so. I hope it’s my parents, because otherwise we probably won’t wake up tomorrow morning.

 

HANNAH: Goodnight, love.

 

(Hannah kisses Whitney and walks upstairs. Cut to Whitney and Hannah walking into Altmire-Stone the next day)

 

WHITNEY: So, if Sarah Sanders walked into this office right now, would you serve her?

 

HANNAH: Serve her what? We don’t serve food-

 

(Whitney and Hannah stop at reception)

 

WHITNEY: Like, if she asked for coffee.

 

HANNAH: Why would the White House Press Secretary travel well over 2,000 miles to get coffee from our office?
 

WHITNEY: Maybe she has a meeting with us.

 

HANNAH: WHY DOES SHE HAVE A MEETING WITH US?!
 

WHITNEY: SEAN SPICER IS GONNA GET A TALK SHOW, WHO THE FUCK KNOWS?!

 

(Ryan covers his ears and recoils)

 

RYAN: Hey, I’m all for girl power and stuff, but could you guys not break the sound barrier when you speak?

 

WHITNEY: Oh, calm down, pussy.

 

RYAN: Wow.

 

WHITNEY: Remember, if MGM calls, stop what I’m doing. Even if-

 

RYAN: You’re saving someone’s life, I got it.

 

WHITNEY: Good boy.

 

(Whitney kisses Hannah on the cheek and walks into her office. Hannah walks into the creative lounge. Cut to the second floor of Whitney’s house, in the game room. The entrance to the attic bursts open, and the ladder folds out. A dirty Jerome and Liz climb down)

 

JEROME: Finally, they’re gone!
 

LIZ: I swear, Jerome, the worst part is hearing them commit unholy sins every night.

 

JEROME: They haven’t seen the light, like us, what can ya say?

 

(Jerome gets on the ground and helps Liz down. Cut to Jerome pouring a huge glass of whiskey for himself in Whitney’s kitchen while Liz puts George Strait on full blast through Whitney’s stereo system)

 

LIZ: (Singing along) Our love is unconditional! We knew it from the start!
 

JEROME: DAMN STRAIGHT! (Jerome takes his whiskey like a shot) ANOTHER!

 

(Jerome pours himself another one)

 

LIZ: (Singing along) I can see it in your eyes! You can feel it in my heart!

 

(Jerome marches over to Liz and starts dancing with her)

 

LIZ & JEROME: (Singing together) From here on after, let’s stay the way we are right now!

 

LIZ: (Talking) Isn’t George Strait way better than that shit Whitney listens to? What’s it called?

 

JEROME: George GAY!

 

(They both cackle with laughter)
 

LIZ: (Serious) I think it’s George Michael actually.

 

JEROME: Oh yeah. That dead bastard.

 

LIZ: I actually kind of like him.

 

JEROME: Yeah, me too.

 

(Cut to Rainstorm, the banger from VTEP7, sitting around a table in the trap house with  Ricardo and two black bangers. Rainstorm is exhaling smoke from a blunt as Ricardo plays the “knife game” with his hand. Rainstorm stares at him as he does it)

 

RAINSTORM: ….Nigga, what the fuck is you doin’ to my table?!

 

(Ricardo puts the knife down)

 

RICARDO: Sorry, bro.

 

RAINSTORM: This is oak, nigga. (Rainstorm pulls Ricardo by his ear) This costs more than yo’ fuckin’ life!

 

(Rainstorm pushes him back and drags on his blunt)

 

BANGER: Is oak that expensive?

 

RAINSTORM: Shut the fuck up, Naruto, shit.

 

(Naruto shrugs)

 

NARUTO: Sorry.

 

(Rainstorm stands up. A Latino banger enters the trap house and locks the door behind him)

 

BANGER 2: Bad news-

 

RAINSTORM: Nigga, wipe yo’ fuckin’ feet before you come up in my trap house.

 

BANGER 2: Oh, sorry.

 

(The banger goes back and wipes his feet on the welcome mat outside. The welcome mat reads “Not a Trap House, a Trap Home”. He comes back in and closes the door)

 

RAINSTORM: Proceed, Lupe.

 

LUPE: Jeff got picked up. He’s goin’ to jail.

 

RICARDO: Shit.

 

RAINSTORM: Man, what the fuck? First it was that old white dude Clay, and now this dude?! Eventually one of them is gonna give us up! And then we’re fucked! What do you want the Weathermen to be known for, huh!? Other than our embarrassing-ass name?! People gettin’ picked up?

 

RICARDO: Is the answer “no”?

 

RAINSTORM: Motherfucker, YES! We need more men out there working corners who got a head on they shoulders! What happened to that, uh, one dude that Richie brought in? What was his name?

 

NARUTO: Rodney, I think.

 

RAINSTORM: Yeah, what happened to him? He was smart as fuck! Let me call up Richie.

 

(Rainstorm takes out his flip phone and punches in the number. Cut to Richie in the shower, singing TLC’s “Waterfalls”, when he notices his phone is vibrating. He peeks from behind the shower curtain and sees Rainstorm is calling. He shrieks, rushes out of his shower and picks up)

 

RICHIE: Yo, what up, dawg, how you been, you good?

 

RAINSTORM: (On the phone) Bro, you ask me how I am three times in two seconds, chill.

 

RICHIE: My bad.

 

(Cut back to Rainstorm)

 

RAINSTORM: What happened to Rodney?

 

(Cut back to Richie, who is now in a towel and sitting on his bed)

 

RICHIE: Who? Oh, you mean Luther-

 

RAINSTORM: (On the phone) Wait, what?

 

RICHIE: Uh, yeah, sorry, his real name is Luther.

 

RAINSTORM: This motherfucker lied to me?

 

RICHIE: He didn’t mean it like that, he was just-

 

RAINSTORM: What happened to him!?

 

RICHIE: He decided against joining, that’s it.

 

RAINSTORM: That’s IT? He ain’t even think to give us a call to inform us of his decision?! Where he work instead?!

 

RICHIE: He took a job at this place called Altmire-Stone, it’s a production company-

 

RAINSTORM: Ah, he thinks he’s better than us, huh?

 

RICHIE: No, bro, it ain’t like that-

 

(Rainstorm hangs up. Cut back to Rainstorm)

 

RAINSTORM: This motherfucker thinks he’s better than us.

 

RICARDO: Asshole.

 

LUPE: Fucker.

 

RAINSTORM: We gonna show him how much better he is, a’ight?

 

(Everyone hurrahs in agreement)

 

RICARDO: …So we are conceding he’s better than us?

 

(Rainstorm kicks Ricardo in the chest, sending his chair flying backwards. Cut to Ryan sitting behind reception, looking very bored while reading a script. He listlessly turns the page as Rainstorm, Naruto, Ricardo and Lupe walk in and intimidatingly stand before reception)

 

RAINSTORM: We here to see Luther, please.

 

RYAN: Why? Do you want to kill him?

 

(Rainstorm shrugs)

 

RAINSTORM: Yeah. We been thinkin’ about it.

 

(Beat. Ryan nods)

 

RYAN: I’ll see if he’s interested. (Ryan walks into the creative lounge, where Luther, Miles and Hannah are typing away on their laptops. He closes the door behind them) Luther, a bunch of scary big men are here to see you.

 

MILES: I’ll be the judge of that-

 

(Miles stands up, Ryan waves him off)

 

RYAN: It’s not like that, it’s for real, these guys are bangers.

 

(A look of horror befalls Luther’s face)

 

LUTHER: What?

 

RYAN: What the fuck are you involved with, dude?
 

LUTHER: Shit. (Luther sits on his desk) Did they have umbrella tattoos on their chests?

 

RYAN: They’re wearing shirts, dude, I don’t know.

 

LUTHER: They’re wearing shirts? That’s a good sign. Actually, shit, I have no idea why that’s a good sign. FUCK!

 

RYAN: Shhh, I’ll just say you’re not here, okay?!

 

HANNAH: How do they know you?

 

LUTHER: It’s a long story, just go tell ‘em.

 

RYAN: Okay. (Ryan walks out of the creative lounge and into the lobby) Silly me, I thought Luther was here, but he’s not, so, you guys want to come back later?

 

RAINSTORM: Nigga, we heard his panicked cries in there.

 

RYAN: Ah.

 

(Whitney walks out of her office)

 

WHITNEY: Are you guys looking for Level 1 Entertainment? Because they’re right down the hall.

 

RAINSTORM: We can wait this nigga out. (Rainstorm, Lupe, Naruto and Ricardo all sit down in the waiting area. Naruto and Ricardo put their feet on the coffee table) Get yo’ feet off that fuckin’ table, that shit’s disrespectful!

 

(Naruto and Ricardo quickly take their feet off the table)

 

WHITNEY: …Thanks. (Turns to Ryan) What’s going on? (Cut to Whitney, Luther and McKenzie in Whitney’s office) So, they’re here to kill you?

 

LUTHER: Maybe not, but they’re gonna beat the shit out of me at the very least.

 

WHITNEY: We should call the police-

 

LUTHER: NO! (Whitney stares at Luther) That’ll make me a target for life!

 

MCKENZIE: Plus, the police might arrest you too. (Luther looks at McKenzie) Just sayin’.

 

(Cut to Rob and Lilly walking into the hospice wing of the UVM Medical Center. They see Kimberly hugging a distraught Kaley, while Kirk and Kay stand by with grim visages. They turn to Rob and Lilly)

 

ROB: Yo. How are things?

 

KAY: Great, Rob, thanks for asking.

 

ROB: …Sorry. This is my girlfriend Lilly, by the way.

 

(They all sheepishly wave at Lilly)

 

KIMBERLY: Hi.

 

KALEY: Nice to meet you.

 

ROB: How is he?

 

KIMBERLY: He used to be in-and-out, now he’s just out. It’s like he’s died already.

 

KALEY: Don’t SAY things like that, he’s going to be fine!

 

ROB: Kaley, he’s in hospice.

 

KALEY: People have come back from hospice- JESUS came back from hospice!
 

KIRK: If there’s one thing the Romans were known for, it was excellent palliative care.

 

KIMBERLY: Okay, guys, let’s be adults about this. Rob, come here, we haven’t even hugged yet.

 

(Rob hugs Kimberly)

 

ROB: I’m sorry, Kim.

 

KIMBERLY: Me too. (Kimberly relinquishes her grasp) Want to go see him?

 

ROB: …I guess.

 

LILLY: Do you want me to wait here?

 

ROB: No, go ahead and come with.

 

(Rob, Lilly and Kimberly walk into Joe’s hospice room)

 

KIRK: I can’t believe he brought a plus one to this hospice party.

 

KALEY: I know, right?! Clay’s not here, but Little Miss Sourpuss is.

 

KIRK: How do you know she’s a sourpuss?

 

KALEY: She’s not even smiling, she wears a scowl.

 

KIRK: She’s at a hospital, Kaley.

 

(Cut to Rob, Lilly and Kimberly standing before Joe’s hospital bed. Joe is asleep, hooked up to an electrocardiogram and an IV providing him fluids. Rob looks uncomfortable)

 

KIMBERLY: I hate to see him like this.

 

ROB: Do you think he’s pretending to be asleep?

 

LILLY: Rob.

 

KIMBERLY: Rob, he may not even remember who you are.

 

(A nurse, late 20s, Latina, comes in with a name tag that says “Chloe”. She checks out his chart)

 

CHLOE: How’s he doing?

 

KIMBERLY: He’s been asleep for a couple hours.

 

CHLOE: I want to track the progression of his dementia; would you mind waking him up?

 

ROB: Sure. JOE! WAKE UP!
 

KIMBERLY: Rob!

 

(Joe opens his eyes)

 

JOE: Wha…what is going on?

 

KIMBERLY: Dad, your stepson is here to see you. And… (Kimberly looks at Lilly) this woman, too.

 

LILLY: Thanks.

 

CHLOE: Mr. Altmire, do you have any children?

 

JOE: …Yes…

 

CHLOE: What are their names?

 

JOE: …Kimberly… (Kimberly does a “jackpot” movement) …and Clay…

 

ROB: Of all the kids for him to remember.

 

CHLOE: Is that it?

 

JOE: …Uh-huh.

 

LILLY: At least you, Kaley and Kirk are all in the same boat.

 

(Joe points at Rob)

 

JOE: …Brad?

 

ROB: …Excuse me?

 

JOE: Brad, and…Kay? (Joe sits up in bed and points at the two) Brad and Kay, what are you doing here?!

 

(The electrocardiogram speeds up)

 

ROB: Who’s Brad?!

 

JOE: How dare you two.

 

CHLOE: He’s just confused.

 

ROB: Yeah, no shit! But he doesn’t think I’m Brad Bird! Who is Brad?!

 

JOE: LEAVE! Before I get too worked up!
 

CHLOE: You’re already worked up, you guys should go.

 

LILLY: Yep.

 

(Lilly and Kimberly corral a confused Rob out of there. Rob walks up to Kay in the waiting area)

 

ROB: Mom, who’s Brad?!

 

(Kay looks thrown off)

 

KAY: …Brad? I don’t know a Brad.

 

ROB: Your husband just called me “Brad”. WHO IS BRAD!?

 

KAY: I don’t know, honey, he’s a confused old man, maybe it’s a war buddy of his that died.

 

ROB: Then why did he call Lilly your name?

 

KAY: …Do you guys want to go to that Tex Mex place?

 

KIRK: I’m up for that.

 

(Cut to Rob, Kay, Kirk, Lilly, Kimberly and Kaley sitting at a table in a kitschy Tex-Mex place called “Moe’s Southwest Grill”. They all have waters, except for Rob, who has a beer on the table. He takes a sip of it, as they sit in the awkward silence)

 

KIMBERLY: …So, Lilly, what do you do?

 

LILLY: Oh, I…work at a bar.

 

KAY: Explains how you know Rob.

 

ROB: Thanks, Kay. Although, you are right.

 

KIMBERLY: Are you a bartender?

 

LILLY: …Not exactly.

 

ROB: Think worse.

 

KAY: I wish Clay. That poor dumbass. It’s a shame he can’t be around to see his father before he dies.

 

(Rob clears his throat)

 

ROB: …It’s a shame I’ll never be able to see my father before he dies.

 

(They all look at him)

 

KAY: …Could you guys give Rob and I a minute?

 

KIRK: You want us to-?

 

KAY: Stand outside, yes. (Kirk nods and everyone but Rob and Kay get up and walk towards the door) You really want to know who it is?

 

ROB: Yes. I’m ready.

 

KAY: …His name is Brad Lamborn. I met him at a Grateful Dead show in the summer of 1978.

 

ROB: Okay, that’s all I need to know-

 

KAY: We made love in a tent.

 

ROB: Jesus.

 

KAY: And that’s how we got you.

 

ROB: Thanks for that. Do you know where he is?

 

KAY: No idea. He could be dead for all I know. He was a musician. He may still live in Boston.

 

ROB: Okay. Thanks, mom. (Rob stands up) I would stay for lunch, but, I seemed to have lost my appetite for some reason. I’ll see you later.

 

(Rob walks out of the restaurant. Cut to Max Kisbye, the Vice President of Television Production at MGM, sitting in his office, on the phone)

 

MAX: If you could smuggle that puma into the U.S. by Thursday, I’d really appreciate it. And be sure to tranquilize it before you release it into my basement. Thanks, Manny. (Max hangs up, and he then checks a piece of paper) DOROTHY, COULD YOU GET WHITNEY STONE ON THE HORN, PLEASE?

 

DOROTHY: YES, MR. KISBYE!

 

(Cut to Ryan leaning against the reception desk, talking to the Weathermen)

 

RYAN: So, have you guys killed a bunch of people or anything?

 

RAINSTORM: Why? You wearin’ a wire?

 

RYAN: No, no! Of course not! (Ryan lifts up his shirt, showing his hard nipples) See? Nothing.

 

(Ryan puts his shirt down)

 

RAINSTORM: Why yo’ nipples hard?

 

RYAN: I’m just very into crime shows and stuff, so I’m interested. Just between us, how many people have you killed?

 

(The phone rings. The display reads “MGM”. Ryan picks it up and hangs up. Cut to Max Kisbye’s assistant Dorothy in her office. She puts down the phone, puzzled. She runs into Max’s office)

 

DOROTHY: They hung up, or it got disconnected. Or something.

 

MAX: Huh. Try again.

 

DOROTHY: That was my third time.

 

(Max furrows her brow)

 

MAX: That’s strange. I wanted to talk to her about the Susan B. Anthony miniseries, and whether we could make her fight crime. She seemed eager to talk about it. (Dorothy shrugs) Do you have her cell number?

 

DOROTHY: No. I have her home address, if you want that. (Max tilts his head) We dated a few years ago.

 

MAX: Huh. Okay, I can take a long lunch, text me the address.

 

DOROTHY: Yes, sir.

 

(Dorothy walks back to her office as Max sits down behind his desk. Cut to Jerome and Liz watching FOX News through a live stream on their laptop, which is hooked up to the TV. Bret Baier is on)

 

BRET BAIER: Last night, the fourth most powerful Democrat in the House of Representatives, Congressman Joe Crowley, was defeated in his district by a YOUNG, LATINA, DEMOCRATIC, SOCIALIST. Who, according to sources, has a name. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

 

JEROME: Wow. The Democrats are becoming communist!

 

LIZ: And brown.

 

JEROME: Like Chairman Mao!

 

LIZ: And woman!
 

JEROME: Like Chairman Mao!

 

(The “Fox News Alert” graphic plays)

BRET BAIER: This is a FOX News Alert, this just came into the newsroom, Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative Justice with a reputation as a maverick, has announced he is stepping down from the Supreme Court at the end of July. This gives President Trump a prime opportunity to harden the Supreme Court’s 5-4 majority for decades to come. This comes one day after Kennedy voted with the majority in a 5-4 case upholding the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries. What a brave end to brave career. Goodnight, sweet prince.

 

JEROME: (Enthusiastic) Oh, shit! (There is a knock on the door, whispering) Oh, shit.

 

LIZ: (Whispering) Did you lock the door?

 

JEROME: (Whispering) No, I left it unlocked after I went out for chewing tobacco!

 

(Jerome holds up a can of snuff as the knock comes again)

 

MAX: (Offscreen) Hello?

 

(He rings the doorbell twice)

 

LIZ: (Whispering) Let’s get our asses upstairs.

 

(Liz and Jerome rush upstairs, climb into the attic, and close the door behind them. Cut to Max at the front door. He hears the noise from inside)

 

MAX: What the hell? It sounds like someone is there. (Max opens the door) It’s unlocked. (Max walks in, through the foyer and into the living room) Hello? Ms. Stone? It’s Max Kisbye from MGM. Are you there? (He sees FOX News on the TV. He looks at the address written on a stained cocktail napkin in his pocket) I swear this is right. (He hears commotion upstairs. He walks upstairs and hears frantic whispers coming from the attic) HELLO?! Who are you people!?

 

(Jerome and Liz bursts out of the attic and rush down the ladder)

 

JEROME: COME HERE!
 

(Max screams, and Liz covers his mouth as they over power him, take him up into the attic, and put him on a chair. Liz closes the door, as Jerome keeps him in the chair)

 

MAX: WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING?!

 

LIZ: Tie him up! Put something in his mouth, all these Hollywood types do is talk, talk, talk-

 

MAX: DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO THE HELL I AM-

 

(Jerome takes a gag and puts it in his mouth)

 

JEROME: You ain’t wanna know why we have that.

 

(Liz and Jerome laugh as Max lets out muffled screams. Jerome and Liz then tie Max up)

 

LIZ: While we got him, we may as well have a little fun.

 

JEROME: Yeah, what do Hollywood liberals hate the most?

 

LIZ: America.

 

JEROME: More specific.

 

LIZ: Baseball. Guns. Apple pie.

 

JEROME: There you go. (Jerome takes out a gun, causing Max to scream) Calm down, pansy, I ain’t gonna hurt ya. (Jerome puts an apple on his head) Hopefully.

 

(Jerome stands in front of Max and aims at the apple, as Max screams)

 

LIZ: If you scream, the apple’s gonna fall off and he’s gonna have to shoot it. You don’t want that.

 

(Max stops screaming and starts heavy breathing, and sweating)

 

MAX: Here we go.

 

(Max aims the firearm at the apple. Max screams. Cut to Luther, McKenzie and Whitney in Whitney’s office. Luther is on the couch, rubbing his temples. Whitney is sitting behind her desk with her feet on the table, thinking. McKenzie is tapping her fingers on the arm rest)

 

MCKENZIE: …We could… (They all look at her) sorry, I was just trying to fill the silence. I have no ideas.

 

LUTHER: Come on, just start spittin’ ‘em out, no bad ideas.

 

MCKENZIE: I feel like saying that inevitably leads to bad ideas.

 

WHITNEY: We could put a fake mustache on you and say you’re a wealthy client of ours named…uh, shit, Kenz, help me out?

 

MCKENZIE: Carlton Banks!
 

(Whitney claps her hand and takes her legs off the desk)

 

WHITNEY: Perfect!
 

MCKENZIE: I love that show.

 

LUTHER: Thanks, guys. My life is at stake, but we have time for a joke.

 

MCKENZIE: I’m sorry, Luther. (McKenzie walks over, sits next to Luther, and puts her hand on his shoulder) I don’t mean to victim blame here, but, why do you know these people?

 

WHITNEY: I’ve been wondering the same thing.

 

LUTHER: I don’t know these people, a friend of mine introduced me to him.

 

MCKENZIE: Sounds like a lame friend to me.

 

LUTHER: Don’t talk to me like I’m a kid!

 

MCKENZIE: Sorry.

 

LUTHER: He said these people sold stuff, and I was desperate for cash, so I met with ‘em, but I didn’t do anything. I guess that’s why he’s tripping, I don’t know.

 

MCKENZIE: Are you sure you didn’t call him a punk-ass or something?

 

LUTHER: No, I didn’t do shit!
 

(Cut to Ryan speaking with the weathermen. Ricardo is on his feet)

 

RICARDO: THAT MOTHAFUCKA INSULTED MY TATTOO!!

 

RYAN: Hey, man! I think it’s awesome!

 

RAINSTORM: You fuckin’ liar, that’s a horrible fuckin’ tattoo.

 

(Ricardo sits down and crosses his arms in anger)

 

RYAN: I…agree. Listen-

 

RAINSTORM: No, YOU LISTEN! We won’t sit here and be placated by yo’ ass, you just tryin’ to protect yo’ token black friend.

 

RYAN: I have another black friend, his name is Alan-

 

RAINSTORM: I don’t know the dude.

 

RYAN: I didn’t think you would-

 

RAINSTORM: Sure you didn’t.

 

(Cut to McKenzie standing in front of Luther and Whitney, who are sitting on the couch)

 

MCKENZIE: (British accent) I submit this to you, sir, our fraught hostilities serve neither of our interests. For we are in broad daylight with many witnesses. If you were to thrust a knife in my chest, or pop a cap in mine head, you’d have to do the same to everyone here, and-

 

LUTHER: I have so many questions. First off, we shouldn’t be giving him ideas like that, that shit’s not gonna work out, also, why the hell do I have a British accent in this scenario?

 

MCKENZIE: I’m sorry, would you rather me do, like, a black voice?

 

LUTHER: No!
 

WHITNEY: Please don’t make me hire a Human Resources director. McKenzie, are you just trying to impress us with your acting chops?

 

MCKENZIE: I’m not saying it was far from my mind, but helping Luther was the primary goal. Why? Were you impressed?

 

LUTHER: That’s it, I know what to do.

 

(Luther opens the window and looks down. Whitney springs up)

 

WHITNEY: Luther, what the hell are you doing!?

 

MCKENZIE: Great idea! (McKenzie takes out a pack of American Spirits) I’ve been trapped in this office for over an hour and I need a smoke break bad.

 

LUTHER: There’s gotta be some way I can careen down the building to escape. Or at least cry for help to passing strangers.

 

WHITNEY: We’re on the third floor though, you’ll break your leg or something!
 

LUTHER: We’re on the second floor!
 

WHITNEY: Yeah, but there’s a lobby.

 

LUTHER: DOESN’T COUNT!
 

WHITNEY: Stop, yelling!
 

(Cut to Ryan sitting in the waiting area smoking a blunt with the Weathermen. He releases the smoke and hands it to Naruto)

 

RYAN: That’s good shit. What Columbian cartel did you get that from?

 

NARUTO: We got this shit from a vending machine in West Hollywood, nigga.

 

RYAN: Oh.

 

RAINSTORM: That’s what I’m sayin’, man, ever since they legalized, we had to expand to other types of product.

 

RYAN: Like, what, for example?

 

LUPE: Stimulants, mostly. Coke, crack, molly-

 

RYAN: Molly?

 

LUPE: Yeah. You heard?

 

(Ryan smiles)

 

RYAN: Yeah, I’ve heard of molly.

 

(Cut to Luther looking out the window while McKenzie sits on the window sill and smokes. Whitney looks on)

 

LUTHER: HELP!

 

WHITNEY: SHHHH! They could hear you!
 

PASSERBY: (Offscreen) Should we call the police?!

 

LUTHER: NO! Don’t call the police! (Luther shuts the window) Shit.

 

WHITNEY: McKenzie, put that out.

 

MCKENZIE: They’re smoking weed out there!
 

WHITNEY: Luther, why’d you get involved with these people?!

 

LUTHER: Whitney, you don’t know what it’s like, okay?! To waste years in Hollywood, lookin’ for somethin’, anything to do, having no money, having no job security. Shit gets desperate, so back off.

 

(Whitney sighs)

 

WHITNEY: I’m sorry.

 

LUTHER: The fuck are we gonna do?

 

(Ryan comes in)

 

RYAN: Guys?

 

WHITNEY: What is it?

 

RYAN: I’ve struck a deal. (They all squint in confusion. Cut to Whitney, McKenzie, Luther, Ryan and the Weathermen standing in the lobby. Luther and Rainstorm are facing each other, with Ryan standing in between them) Okay. So, to reiterate the accords of this deal, I will become a regular customer of Mr. Rainstorm’s, in exchange for the Weathermen leaving you alone.

 

RAINSTORM: And all I ask is that he looks me in my fuckin’ eyes.

 

(Luther looks up)

 

LUTHER: Nigga, I’m lookin’.

 

(Rainstorm gets in Luther’s face)

 

RAINSTORM: You WEAK. You SOFT. You sent yo’ faggot-ass cousin out here to fight your battles for you.

 

RYAN: Guys! Hold on!
 

LUTHER: Nigga, I ain’t know he was cuttin’ this deal. Back the fuck off before I make you back off.

 

RYAN: Rainstorm, we had a deal. (Rainstorm slowly backs off, maintaining his piercing stare on Luther) Now, shake on it.

 

LUTHER: Fine. We gots a 6 o’clock with Sean Penn anyway.

 

(Luther reluctantly extends his hand. Rainstorm looks around and shakes it. Off a close-up of that handshake, we cut to Rob driving with Lilly in the passenger seat, late at night)

 

NPR: President Trump said at a rally earlier today that Justice Kennedy chose to retire because he “trusted him” to make the right choice regarding his successor. And, I, guess, Trump is right about that. (The commentator breathes deeply) He trusted him. Wow. Okay. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is downplaying the importance of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory last night over Joe Crowley, who was once seen as a potential future Speaker of the House-

 

ROB: Can we-?

 

(Rob changes the channel to a hip hop station)

 

LILLY: Oh, so, you get to control the radio now?

 

ROB: Are you mad?

 

LILLY: No, I guess not. Fuck! Why can’t I be mad at you for something?!

 

ROB: Because I just need to see my dad! Okay?! The Brad Lamborn who owns “Deckhead Records” in Boston has to be him.

 

LILLY: Why? Because it has a stupid-ass name?

 

ROB: Exactly!

 

LILLY: Right. Well. Why exactly do you want to find your dad? Besides the run-of-the-mill daddy issues stuff? Because I swear to Christ, I’m gonna fall asleep if you pull that shit.

 

(Rob takes a beat, puts his hand on Lilly’s leg)

 

ROB: I want to see him before he dies. Today, I looked at my fake father dying, and…I felt nothing. (Beat, as Rob wipes tears from his eyes) And then I thought about my real father dying without having ever met me, and I, I can’t…

 

(Lilly puts her hand on Rob’s shoulder)

 

LILLY: I get it.

 

(Rob rubs his eyes)

 

ROB: Goddamnit, what the hell is wrong with me? (Cut to Rob and Lilly walking down a street in Boston in broad daylight. Rob is looking at the GPS on his phone, as they come up on Deckhead Records, a tiny little record store) Here! Here it is!
 

LILLY: Perfect.

 

(Rob and Lilly walk into this tiny little record store with “Indie Rock”, “Punk” “Hip Hop”, “Soul” and “Pre-80s Country- that good stuff”. They walk up to bleach blonde young surfer bro at the counter)

 

SURFER BRO: (Boston accent) Hey, what can I do for ya?

 

LILLY: You are the first surfer bro I’ve ever met with a Boston accent.

 

ROB: We’re looking for Brad Lamborn, does he work here?

 

SURFER BRO: Ayy, what’s it to ya?!

 

ROB: We’re, uh…collections agents. (Lilly shoots him a look- “what?”) Yes, I’m agent Tilden Katz, and this is-

 

LILLY: Uhh- Katz Tilden.

 

(Lilly shrugs)

 

ROB: Weird coincidence. Where is Mr. Lamborn?

 

SURFER BRO: He’s not here. (The surfer bro surreptitiously starts texting Brad “DON’T COME BACK. COLLECTIONS AGENTS R HERE”) I don’t know when he’s gonna- (Brad, who is a grubby old white guy with sunglasses, oversized clothes and long black hair, shows up in the window, carrying a forty in his hands. He checks his phone but sees the text too late. The Surfer Bro gestures for him to run, as Rob and Lilly turn around) Oh, look, there he’s not!
 

ROB: THERE HE IS! (Brad starts running. Rob and Lilly run out of the store and chase him. They chase him down the street) HEY! KATZ COLLECTIONS, STOP RIGHT THERE!
 

LILLY: You’re way too into this!

 

(Brad knocks over a trash can in front of Rob and Lilly, but they avoid it, and chase him down a dead-end alley. They corner him at the end of the valley, and he sits down on the ground and puts his hands up)

 

ROB: Jesus- (Rob takes a second to catch his breath, and then coughs) You’re fast as fuck for an old person!
 

BRAD: I ran track in high school, man, sunk my college professor in darts once too.

 

ROB: You went to college?

 

BRAD: I took a semester at community, but dropped out because it was, uh, too easy.

 

(Rob looks disappointed)

 

ROB: Oh.

 

BRAD: Man, I know you want that seven grand, but I don’t got the dough, man, but I can do other stuff for ya. Not like, sex stuff, but I will give you this rare beanie baby I got for my daughter’s birthday- (Brad pulls out a rare “Princess Diana Beanie Baby”) It’s a Princess Diana edition purple bear. You can have it, probably go for a lot.

 

ROB: …You have a daughter- (Rob regains his composure) no, all that matters is your debts. So, as a down payment, just, give me what you have.

 

BRAD: Oh, uh… (Brad takes a ten dollar bill out of his wallet) I have a ten.

 

ROB: Give it here. (Brad hands it to Rob and he shoves it in his pocket) We’ll keep in touch-

 

LILLY: TILDEN! Can I talk to you a moment? (To Brad) Stay there.

 

(Brad nods. Lilly takes Rob aside)

 

LILLY: (Whispering) Why aren’t you revealing-

 

ROB: (Whispering) Shhh, do you see this guy? He’s pathetic. I can’t do it, I just can’t. (Lilly nods) I’m just trying to leave.

 

LILLY: (Whispering) Okay…but, if you just accept that ten dollars because he thinks you’re an agent, you’re basically robbing him.

 

(Beat)

 

ROB: Good point. (Rob and Lilly turn back to him) You know what we’ve decided? (Rob throws the ten dollars at Brad’s feet) Keep your money, lowlife. We’re accepting nothing but the full dinero. We’ll be back for you! (Rob turns around, leaving Brad confused. Rob turn back, takes Brad’s forty) And I’m taking this!
 

(Lilly throws up her arms as the two of them walk away from a very puzzled Brad. Cut to Whitney and Hannah walking into the Stone household. All the tell-tale signs of Jerome and Liz are still there, including a FOX News livestream)

 

WHITNEY: Son of a bitch.

 

(Whitney and Hannah run into the living room, and Whitney turns off FOX News)

 

HANNAH: Is that cigars, bourbon and beef jerky I smell? Yeah, it’s them.

 

(Whitney nods, but then hears muffled screams from the attic)

 

WHITNEY: What in the fuck? (Whitney and Hannah venture upstairs, and hear the screaming coming from the attic. They frantically pull down the door and climb up the ladder to find Max Kisbye with a target painted on his bare chest, tied up, as Jerome lines up his shots with darts. They all turn around and see Whitney and Hannah, who are shocked) WHAT IN THE FUCK!? (Whitney looks at Max) MAX KISBYE?! (Max nods frantically) UN-GAG HIM! My God, do you have any idea how powerful this guy is?!
 

(Jerome reluctantly ungags him)

 

MAX: YOUR INSANE PARENTS HAVE TIED ME UP AND HAVE NOW TURNED INTO JIGSAW!!!

 

JEROME: Was I the only one who loved all those movies?

 

WHITNEY: SHUT UP! LET HIM GO NOW!
 

(Jerome sighs and unties him. Max backs away from all of them)

 

MAX: I TRIED TO GO TO YOUR HOUSE BECAUSE YOU WOULDN’T ANSWER THE PHONE!

 

WHITNEY: Answer the phone? I didn’t get any- oh, right. Damnit, Ryan, I said “even if I’m saving a life”, which I happened to be doing, but come on, that makes it all the more important to follow precise orders.

 

MAX: I’m calling the police-

 

WHITNEY: Let me, sir- (Whitney goes over to Max) I am so sorry about this, my parents are actually insane.

 

LIZ: He’s being a bitch about it, we were just messing with him.

 

WHITNEY: See!? (Whitney makes the 911 call) Yes. There was a kidnapping situation at 4412 Halldale Avenue, in Inglewood.

 

LIZ: YOU WOULD CALL THE POLICE ON YOUR OWN PARENTS?!
 

WHITNEY: (To Liz) Yes. (To police) They’re coming? Perfect. Thank you. (To Max) Can you just reassure me that this won’t affect any potential deals we may or may not have brewing?

 

MAX: NO! No, I am not in the mood to reassure you of ANYTHING.

 

WHITNEY: I, guess that’s, fair.

 

(Cut to police hauling Jerome and Liz into a cop car as Whitney, Hannah and Max watch. Max is wearing a blanket)

 

JEROME: ONCE WE GET OUT, WHITNEY! YOU’LL FEEL THE VENGEANCE OF PARENTHOOD!
 

LIZ: I WILL PUT YOU BACK IN!

 

(The police officer finally stuffs them in the car, closes the door, gets in the driver’s seat and drives away. Whitney turns to Max)

 

WHITNEY: We’ll talk later, right?

 

(Max glares and walks away. Whitney looks down. Hannah hugs her, as she cries into her shoulder. Cut to Joe in his hospital room, asleep, late at night. He jolts around a little in his sleep, snorts a few times, then goes limp. His electrocardiogram goes flat. We zoom in on the flatline, until we fade to black, with the flatline sound remaining)

 

THE END


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