The Valley of the Tools Episode 23

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

In the Valley of the Tools Season 2 premiere, Rob is diagnosed with chronic bronchitis and enlists the help of a holistic healer he's fallen in line with, causing problems at the office and at home. Whitney has become a workaholic, staying late every night, so she doesn't know how to react when a director who flirts with her. Kevin flies in in his single-engine cessna to rescue McKenzie from a mental wellness camp in Utah so he can bring her back to Los Angeles.

 

THE VALLEY OF THE TOOLS

 

“A MINOR PLACE”

 

TV-MA DLS

 

“I’ve been to a minor place, and I can say I like its face. If I am gone with no trace, I will be in a minor place. Well I put the shoes in line. Separate the woman mine. As we do what we do fine. So victorious, so benign”

  • William Oldham

 

(We open on Rob putting his shirt on in a doctor’s office. The doctor’s office is relatively plain, save for a few pictures of the Doctor standing with his family in Tiananmen Square, and a few lamps that dim the light in the place for a more relaxing, stressful atmosphere. Rob has a coughing fit for a few beats. After he recovers, he stares at the photo of Dr. Choi in Beijing with his family. He examines the smiles on their faces. Rob stares at his Boston Celtics shirt for a moment and then his eyes wander to a Buddha lamp in the corner. He examines his smile. He takes a long look in a nearby mirror and inspects his face. He opens his mouth and extends his tongue. He wiggles it around. He hops from the examination table and starts doing push-ups when Dr. Choi walks in. He quickly hops up)

 

ROB: Sorry, Doc, just, you know, gotta keep the reps up, no matter what. All day, every day, can’t stop.

 

DR. CHOI: You shouldn’t over-exert yourself like that, Rob. Have a seat.

 

(Rob sits on the exam table)

 

ROB: I guess I could stand to knock it down to fourteen hours of exercise-

 

DR. CHOI: How many packs are we down to, Rob?

 

ROB: Half a pack in the morning, other half in the evening.

 

DR. CHOI: So, one pack a day? (Rob nods) How many drinks?

 

ROB: Just write “too many”.

 

(Dr. Choi writes that down)

 

DR. CHOI: Any exercise?

 

ROB: Not really.

 

DR. CHOI: I see. What about stress levels?

 

ROB: High. Entertainment industry is a bit hectic these days. The viewers out there are ravenous for more cutting-edge shows. (Rob cups his ear) If you listen close, you can hear them. Clamoring.

 

DR. CHOI: Rob, you just turned forty, right?

 

ROB: Yeah. About a month ago.

 

DR. CHOI: Well, I’ve said this every year for the past five, but it’s time to get serious about your health. Cutting down isn’t enough anymore. You have to taper off and then quit- tobacco at the very least, probably alcohol too. I can refer you to some groups.

 

ROB: I don’t need groups, Doctor, I’m a self-reliant man, I can get it done.

 

DR. CHOI: I’m just saying, smoking a pack a day is equivalent to breathing in Beijing air every day. (Dr. Choi points to the picture of him and his family in Beijing) Thank God I got outta there when I was four. (Beat) Bottom line is, the cough you were complaining about and the chest X-Ray shows no cancer-

 

ROB: Oh, thank God.

 

DR. CHOI: But you do appear to have a case of chronic bronchitis.

 

ROB: Oh, that doesn’t sound too bad, give me the pill to make it go away forever plea-

 

(Rob has a coughing fit)

 

DR. CHOI: Now, I would prescribe you a bronchodilator or steroids to treat this, but it would only be a band-aid.

 

ROB: So, what does that mean?

 

DR. CHOI: I want you to taper off cigarettes for the week, first 15, then 10, then 5, until you’re at zero. Go with that for a while and see how you feel. If you still have severe symptoms, then I’ll give you the bronchodilator or steroid spray, but I still want you to abstain from smoking as much as possible during this time.

 

ROB: Couldn’t I just find a Doctor who would give me the shit I need without strings attached?! You’re blue-ballin’ me here, Choi.

 

DR. CHOI: Yeah, you could find a GP in Los Angeles who would take a new patient before 2020, I’m sure of it.  (Rob sighs) Just try it. You’re Rob Altmire. Your career was in ruins a year ago and now look at you. On top of your game. You can do this.

 

(Rob smirks)

 

ROB: You know how to stroke the ol’ ego, Doc.

 

DR. CHOI: We’ll get you set up at the front.

 

(Dr. Choi walks out and Rob is left to himself. Cut to Whitney asleep on her desk, just as the sun is rising. She’s snoring loudly and then she shoots up and rubs her eyes)

 

WHITNEY: Ugh. (Whitney checks her phone. It says “6:04 AM Tuesday, June 4”. She sighs and puts her phone away) Fuck. (Whitney stands up and stretches. She takes off her top and throws it aside. She opens a drawer and grabs a fresh blouse and puts it on. She grabs deodorant out of the top drawer and applies it to her armpits. Cut to her walking into the break room. She starts raiding the snack cabinets. She takes out a packaged Cinnabon and devours it. Jump cut to her brewing coffee and then jump cut to her drinking it as she walks into her office. She puts the coffee on the coffee table and lies her head down on her couch. As she gets comfortable, she lets out a slight fart and closes her eyes. Cut to her suddenly being awoken by the office phone calling. Whitney runs to her desk and picks it up) Hello?

 

SECRETARY: Hi, Whitney, I have Thom Sherman for you.

 

WHITNEY: Go ahead.

 

THOM: Whitney?

 

WHITNEY: Yes, hi, Thom, isn’t it a great day to be business partners? We should do that for the foreseeable future-

 

THOM: Actually, Whitney, no. We’ve made a decision to bring AstroManda to another production company.

 

WHITNEY: Thom, listen, we continue to think AstroManda is better off and more cost-effective animated, and we’ve almost found someone who can draw-

 

THOM: I’m sorry, Whitney, but CBS has already decided on this. Best of luck to you.

 

WHITNEY: Thom- (He hangs up. Whitney slams the phone down on the receiver) GODDAMNIT!

 

(Alec walks in)

 

ALEC: Everything okay?

 

(Whitney sighs)

 

WHITNEY: What time is it?

 

ALEC: It’s 9:45.

 

WHITNEY: Shit, I need to get to work. Why did that call go directly to my office?

 

ALEC: I wasn’t here yet to take it.

 

WHITNEY: So you just got here?

 

ALEC: Yeah.

 

WHITNEY: Forty-five minutes late?

 

ALEC: That’s what’s up, yeah.

 

(Whitney shakes his head)

 

WHITNEY: Don’t do that again.

 

ALEC: My bad.

 

WHITNEY: Just go away.

 

ALEC: Cool.

 

(Alec walks away and Whitney sits at her desk and rubs her temples. Cut to Rob walking into Stone Productions, where a new preppy intern named Michael Chernoff is manning the reception desk. Rob stops by the desk)

 

ROB: What’s up, Chernoff?

 

MICHAEL: Morning, Mr. Altmire. (Michael stands up and hands Rob a coffee) I got your coffee, with cream and Splenda, and I cracked the window in your office so you can have your morning cigarette without going out into the heat.

 

(Rob smirks and takes the coffee)

 

ROB: Michael, you’re such a good kid, but please don’t go into my office when I’m not there. And this? (Rob takes a sip) …is actually great, sorry, I assumed you would’ve fucked something up. Don’t do it again!
 

MICHAEL: Yes, sir. Do what again?

 

ROB: IT! Now, back to work doing coverage on that slashfic, alright? (Michael nods and types furiously on his computer. Rob walks into his office and finds the window propped open. He puts his stuff on the desk and closes the window. He sits behind the desk and rubs his temples) NOEL!

 

(Noel rushes in)

 

NOEL: Yeah, Rob?

 

ROB: Go to the CVS and get me Advil, please.

 

NOEL: Sure thing! Can I get a drumstick too?

 

ROB: It’s your money, dude, whatever.

 

(Noel flashes a thumbs-up and scurries away. Whitney walks in and sits across from him)

 

WHITNEY: Bad news-

 

ROB: No, please, come in, sit down, piss and mark your territory while you’re at it!
 

WHITNEY: Whoa. What got up your ass?

 

ROB: Sorry, I just haven’t smoked all day. My Doctor told me to taper, but I’m going cold turkey.

 

WHITNEY: That’s not the way to do it.

 

ROB: But it’s faster, and has a lower chance of success, so I’m all for doing it this way.

 

(Whitney nods)

 

WHITNEY: Fantastic. Anyway, the bad news is they’re taking AstroManda away from us.

 

(Rob scoffs)

 

ROB: Because we want it to be animated?!

 

WHITNEY: Yes. And we can’t find a good voice actress-

 

ROB: (Shrill female voice) We must defeat the evil misogynists taking over planet tampon-

 

WHITNEY: STOP! Please!
 

ROB: How does that not work?

 

WHITNEY: It’s awful and sexist. They just don’t want AstroManda to be animated and they’re gonna fire us. It probably didn’t help that we could find someone who could draw.

 

ROB: Or someone who could make that shit look like it’s moving.

 

WHITNEY: Yeah.

 

(Rob sighs)

 

ROB: I picked the wrong day to quit smoking. (Rob sniffs) Have you showered? Ever?

 

WHITNEY: Well, I mean, not exactly, but I did put wet paper towels all over my body and lie down for fifteen minutes in the bathroom.

 

ROB: Did you stay here last night again?

 

WHITNEY: I…may have. Yes.

 

ROB: Whitney, if you’re gonna burn the midnight oil, we should at least see results for it. Not this shitshow you dropped in my lap!
 

WHITNEY: Rob, don’t talk to me like that, I’m your boss, remember?

 

ROB: I know, I know, I’m just…crabby without my nicotine.

 

WHITNEY: Well. Vape or something, because, I like you even less like this.

 

ROB: I LOVE me slightly less like this, believe me. But it’s good for my health. And I’m already starting to feel better-

 

(Rob starts hacking)

 

WHITNEY: Jesus!

 

ROB: Sorry.

 

WHITNEY: We can survive losing AstroManda but we need to cut back. (Whitney stands up) I’ll call an all-hands meeting for later today. The good news is, the Susan B. Anthony miniseries starts shooting today. I think some of us should visit the set.

 

ROB: It’s “Susan B. Trippin’”, remember?

 

(Whitney sighs)

 

WHITNEY: I’m trying not to. Christ, the compromises you have to make in this industry.

 

(Whitney heads for the door)

 

ROB: Stone. (Whitney turns to Rob) Go home and take a shower. I’ll have Chernoff direct your calls to me.

 

WHITNEY: Have him take a message.

 

ROB: Fine. But you can’t keep living here, girl! You gotta go out there and find chicks to French. Take a YOU-cation.

 

(Whitney smirks)

 

WHITNEY: Maybe I’ll adapt your work ethic and cut out at 4pm to go to appointments with your holistic healer.

 

ROB: Hey! Marianne has been very important to me.

 

(Whitney rolls her eyes and leaves. Cut to McKenzie sitting on a bench outside a camp called “Green River Mental Wellness Camp”, emblazoned on a sign arching over a brick entrance. Underneath the title is a slogan- “Good, Clean, Fun for your Dirty, Filthy Thoughts to Drown In”. McKenzie looks miserable as she lights a cigarette. A clean-cut, white counselor in a polo shirt walks over)

 

COUNSELOR: Oh, I’m sorry, Kenz, no smoking on the grounds!
 

MCKENZIE: My boyfriend is flying in to pick me up, so, I don’t really care about your Mormon fundamentalist rulebook.

 

COUNSELOR: What? You’re leaving? It’s only been a week or two!

 

MCKENZIE: Oh, I’m sorry, did you need me a little longer so I could become one of your many wives?

 

COUNSELOR: …There’s no reason to be nasty, Ms. Park.

 

MCKENZIE: You’ve deprived me of coffee and nicotine for two weeks, there’s more than enough reason.

 

COUNSELOR: What do you mean your boyfriend is “flying in”, by the way? (Quickly, a single-engine Cessna comes into view, making its descent and an incredibly loud noise, causing McKenzie and the Counselor to cover their ears as it lands and its propeller quiets) HOLY COW!
 

(Kevin jumps out wearing aviators. He walks over toward McKenzie and she jumps up and hugs him. He swings her around)

 

KEVIN: Is my girl Mormon yet or what?

 

COUNSELOR: Oh, we’re not religiously affiliated.

 

 (Kevin puts McKenzie down)

 

MCKENZIE: You just happen to disallow drinking, smoking and caffeine? And enforce going to bed in magic underwear?

 

COUNSELOR: …Yeah.

 

MCKENZIE: We’re leaving.

 

KEVIN: I trust that my 1500 dollars will be refunded?

 

COUNSELOR: If you found your experience unsatisfactory, you can take it up with the LDS Church in Salt Lake City-

 

KEVIN: I thought you weren’t religiously affiliated?

 

COUNSELOR: We aren’t, but we get all of our funding from them.

 

MCKENZIE: In what way is that not a religious affiliation?

 

COUNSELOR: Well, if we were a religious affiliated camp, we would’ve failed miserably, because you’re leaving this place, still Hell-bound.

 

(The counselor laughs as McKenzie and Kevin stare)

 

MCKENZIE: Let’s go, babe.

 

KEVIN: Cool. Have fun. But not too much fun! Wouldn’t want you to pass out from indulging in a bottle of Diet Coke or something crazy like that.

 

(Kevin winks and they both walk toward the plane and board. Cut to Kevin in the pilot’s seat and McKenzie in the passenger’s)

 

MCKENZIE: Thank God you got me away from that madness.

 

KEVIN: Sorry, I read great reviews. Should’ve noticed all the avatars were whit men in short-sleeved dress shirts.

 

(McKenzie chuckles)

 

MCKENZIE: It’s okay. I do hope we get our money back, though.

 

KEVIN: So, you don’t feel ANY better?

 

(Kevin starts the engine to the plane and begins flipping switches and checking gauges)

 

MCKENZIE: No. That mental wellness camp made me feel neither mentally well, nor…camped. We slept in one big bed, wearing our magic underwear, like we were Charlie Bucket’s parents or something, and none of these fucking dorks tried to suck or fuck or anything- they just slept all night going “caaaaaawww—me-me-me-me-me”-

 

(Kevin smiles as the plane begins taxiing down the field)

 

KEVIN: So it was 90% Mormon?

 

MCKENZIE: Definitely. Hated it. Ugh. I don’t even want to talk about it. I’m just glad to see you again-

 

(McKenzie puts her hand on Kevin’s, but he pulls away)

 

KEVIN: Hey, sorry, Kenz, I’m trying to take off here.

 

MCKENZIE: Oh, sorry.

 

(Kevin accelerates more)

 

KEVIN: It’s alright, I’m glad to see you again, too.

 

(McKenzie smiles and stares forward)

 

MCKENZIE: How’ve the last two weeks been for you?

 

(Kevin sighs)

 

KEVIN: Uhhhh, not too bad.

 

MCKENZIE: Anything happen?

 

(Kevin shakes his head “no”)

 

KEVIN: Nope. Not that I can think of.

 

(The plane finally ascends and shakes a bit)

 

MCKENZIE: Whoa. This is a little nerve-wracking.

 

KEVIN: I do it all the time. And I’ve only had a couple shots today.

 

MCKENZIE: Shut up. (Kevin smiles as they level out and begin flying smoothly) So, NOTHING of note happened in the past two weeks?

 

KEVIN: Nope.

 

MCKENZIE: Did you get your memory erased too? You always have some story about a douchey cashier or a cunty barista.

 

KEVIN: I would NEVER use that word. Around you, anyway.

 

MCKENZIE: But that’s always the implication.

 

KEVIN: Nothing happened, babe, to me, anyway. In world events, The Queen is “throwing shade” at Trump by honoring him with a state visit, we’re putting tariffs on Mexico and Pelosi is still trying to impeach the President without impeaching him.

 

MCKENZIE: I’m glad I was far away from any news coverage while I was here. The only news I got was loops of Mitt Romney speeches.

 

KEVIN: Ugh.

 

MCKENZIE: But you’re sure nothing happened? You wouldn’t hide anything from me?

 

KEVIN: No, why would you say think that?

 

MCKENZIE: I didn’t think you would, I was just asking.

 

KEVIN: Nothing happened, just drop it.

 

(McKenzie sighs)

 

MCKENZIE: Whatever.

 

(McKenzie looks out the window)

 

KEVIN: Have any trouble getting off work?

 

MCKENZIE: No? Why would I have trouble doing that?

 

KEVIN: I don’t know, Whitney’s a hard-ass sometimes-

 

MCKENZIE: But I don’t work in a sweat shop, I can take vacation days! Sucks I wasted them on this, though.

 

KEVIN: I SAID I WAS SORRY!
 

MCKENZIE: Jesus! I know! Don’t yell!

 

(Kevin sighs and pulls out a cigarette and puts it in his mouth)

 

KEVIN: Maybe we should get married, because it feels like we are already.

 

(McKenzie lights Kevin’s cigarette and puts her lighter away as he exhales the smoke)

 

MCKENZIE: I’m just pissy from the camp, don’t pay attention to me. Let’s just admire the sky for a while, okay?

 

KEVIN: Alright…

 

(Fifteen seconds of silence ensue. Then a bird slams into the window, splattering immediately and causing both of them to scream as the plane swerves and he wipes the bird carcass off. They finally stabilize)

 

MCKENZIE: FUCK!

 

KEVIN: GODDAMNIT!
 

(Cut to Rob sitting in his office, squeezing a stress ball over and over again while watching an ASMR video, of a young, white woman pouring sand into a bowl)

 

ASMR WOMAN: (Whispering) I think it’s nice to collect sand from the world’s greatest beaches, as a souvenir of wonderful times spent in places like these. (The woman sifts her hands through the sand) Feel so smooth against your finger-

 

ROB: URRGGHHH, THIS ISN’T WORKING!

 

(Rob exits out of the video and rubs his temples. Noel comes in)

 

NOEL: Rob, Marianne is here to see you.

 

ROB: Perfect! Send her in!
 

(Noel takes out a drumstick)

 

NOEL: I got you an extra by the way, if you want it-

 

ROB: Eat it or throw it away, Noel. Marianne!
 

(Marianne, a 50-year old woman with dirty blonde hair, long nails and a jeweled necklace, walks in as Noel nods and walks away. Rob stands up and hugs Marianne)

 

MARIANNE: Robert, how delightful it is to see you.

 

(Rob pats Marianne on the back and sits on his desk)

 

ROB: You came at the perfect time. Which is something woman often say to me, by the way.

 

MARIANNE: Very good, sweetheart.

 

ROB: Got diagnosed with chronic bronchitis. Doctor recommended I stop smoking and eventually use some sort of brontosaurus rex bullshit-

 

MARIANNE: Is that “brontosaurus rex bullshit” involve grinding up dinosaur bones and putting them in your smoothies?

 

ROB: No?

 

MARIANNE: Okay, well, then, you’ve got a bum doctor there, honey.

 

ROB: You think so?

 

MARIANNE: Here’s the legit way to deal with bronchitis. Let me smudge you, dear.

 

(Rob stands up and assumes a Vitruvian man posture)

 

ROB: Please, I need a good smudging right now.

 

(Marianne takes out a stick of herbs and minerals and lights the tip of it on fire. She waves the stick around Rob like she’s searching him for metals in the TSA screening line)

 

MARIANNE: Into this smoke, I release all energies that no longer serve me. All negativity that surrounds me, and all fears that limit me. So it is.

 

(Marianne blows the lit end of the stick out)

 

ROB: I can feel my bronchioles improving already. Wow.

 

MARIANNE: Well.

 

ROB: Marianne, you’re amazing.

 

MARIANNE: I simply harness the energy of the universe, I’m a vessel, honey. That’s all there is.

 

ROB: Will this cure my bronchitis?

 

MARIANNE: No, Rob, there’s also one other thing I think you should be drinking to rid your body of toxins- (Marianne puts an ancient-looking parchment on his desk for something called “Cleansing Tea”) and that’s this.

 

ROB: What’s in it?

 

MARIANNE: Oh, just some chamomile, ginger, hibiscus and a healthy dose of laxative properties. To really expel all the toxins that infest your body.

 

ROB: Great, I’ll go home and make it at lunch.

 

(Cut to Lilly standing outside of Rob’s bathroom, as she hears him loudly shitting)

 

LILLY: Oh, my God!
 

ROB: THIS IS GONNA BE BENEFICIAL, JUST YOU WAIT!
 

LILLY: Are you still listening to that Marianne woman!?

 

(Marianne walks in)

 

MARIANNE: He’s expelling toxins.

 

LILLY: He’s taken five shits in the past thirty minutes!
 

MARIANNE: That just means the tea is working.

 

LILLY: Okay, YOU KNOW WHAT, ROB? I DON’T WANT TO SEE THIS WOMAN AROUND ANYMORE!
 

(Rob comes out of the bathroom, sweat on his brow)

 

ROB: Lilly, what do you mean? She’s just trying to get me to improve myself, just like you’ve always wanted.

 

LILLY: No, she’s not! She’s feeding you ex-lax tea so you can shit fifty times a day! I don’t know WHY she wants to do that, but that’s what she’s done.

 

MARIANNE: I don’t think you understand; he’s expelling toxins-

 

LILLY: Shut up. Okay? I get your talking points. I don’t want this woman in our house anymore, she’s a bad influence on your life.

 

(Rob sighs)

 

ROB: Fine. Marianne, let’s go back to the office.

 

(Rob and Marianne walk out of the room, as Lilly throws up her hands. Cut to Whitney, Luther, Bonnie, Alec and Noel in the conference room, waiting)

 

BONNIE: …Can we just start, and if Rob comes, well, then whoop-dee-fuckin’-da?

 

NOEL: Sorry, just for my notes, what does it mean to “whoop-de-fuckin’-da”? Is it a porn thing?

 

(Bonnie glares at Noel)

 

WHITNEY: You’re right, let’s just start.

 

NOEL: Guys, I really think we should wait for Rob.

 

ALEC: That’s just because you’re his assistant, but he’s not here, so, beat it, scrub.

 

LUTHER: Guys. Relax. This rivalry is stupid.

 

NOEL: I’m perfectly willing to leave if he doesn’t show up- (Noel stands up just as Rob and Marianne walk in) oh, thank God!
 

(Noel sits down)

 

ROB: Sorry for the long lunch, you guys. (Rob sits down alongside Marianne) I lost most of it anyway.

 

NOEL: Thank God you’re here, I was so worried about not being included. Isn’t it interesting how interested humans are in being “in” on something? We create groups out of nothing just to be included-

 

WHITNEY: Shut up. Why is Marianne here?
 

MARIANNE: Oh, I’m just here to keep his positive energy levels high and his negative energy suppressed.

 

ROB: Think of her as a live-in nurse, but at work.

 

WHITNEY: Marianne should not be privy to these private, industry conversations, she hasn’t signed an NDA, how do we know she’s not a spy sent here for industrial sabotage?

 

ROB: Jesus, Whitney, this is AstroManda, not the North Korean nuclear program. Marianne’s a friend, she’ll be quiet.

 

MARIANNE: Absolutely.

 

LUTHER: Honestly, whatever, let’s just get on with this.

 

(Whitney sighs)

 

WHITNEY: Fine. I have good news and bad news. The Bad News is, we’ve lost AstroManda.

 

(The table groans. Rob slams his fist on the table)

 

ROB: GODDAMNIT!
 

WHITNEY: Rob, you already knew that.

 

ROB: I know! I’m sorry. Marianne, rub the healing oils on my back.

 

MARIANNE: Of course, honey.

 

(Marianne takes out a bowl of oils and starts rubbing them on Rob’s back from under his shirt, to everyone’s disgust)

 

LUTHER: We never should’ve sold CBS the rights.

 

WHITNEY: I thought it was worth it at the time, you know, to keep them on board. Plus, I was afraid the next deal with CBS would be worse and more…sexual, in nature.

 

BONNIE: I’ve banged Les Moonves, actually. Anyone want to hear about it?
 

NOEL: I’d love to.

 

BONNIE: Actually, never mind.

 

WHITNEY: ANYWAY. It’s not all bad news, we’ve just got to tighten our belts a little bit.

 

ALEC: Don’t fire me, man. Tara and I are living off Cheerios and Mountain Dew. We can’t even afford water.

 

BONNIE: Why don’t you just use the tap?

 

ALEC: Ew, LA tap water?

 

WHITNEY: But even bottled water isn’t as expensive as Mountain Dew.

 

ALEC: I have my preferences, just drop it.

 

ROB: What’s the good news?

 

(Marianne takes her hands out of Rob’s shirt and washes them with a rag)

 

WHITNEY: Yes, of course, the Susan B. Anthony miniseries- (Rob glares at Whitney, and she clears her throat) I mean, “Susan B. Trippin’” begins shooting today. We’ll go to the set this afternoon.

 

NOEL: YES! A real Hollywood set!
 

ROB: You worked on a Hollywood set, dude, you sat on my car to get to it.

 

NOEL: But this one, I EARNED, you know?

 

WHITNEY: You’re not going, actually. Creative personnel only.

 

NOEL: Oh.

 

MARIANNE: I’m sorry you’re disappointed, honey, would you like- (Marianne holds up a vial of white powder) some homeopathic medicine for your emotional anguish?

 

NOEL: Yes, yes, I would.

 

MARIANNE: Here you go.

 

(Marianne hands it to Noel)

 

BONNIE: What’s in that, flower bitch?

 

MARIANNE: Oh, mostly love. And sodium hydrogen carbonate.

 

LUTHER: That shit’s baking soda.

 

(Noel tries to bring it to his mouth, but Bonnie grabs his hands and he drops the vial)

 

BONNIE: No! No baking soda!
 

NOEL: BUT I WANT IT!
 

ROB: I wonder which production company they’ll go to next?

 

WHITNEY: I don’t know, but whichever it is, they’ll screw it up worse than we did. Maybe they’ll come back to us one day. And we’ll accept them even though THEY betrayed us. Because we’re weak. (Long silence) …I mean, we’re strong. I’m strong. Are we done here?

 

(Rob starts tapping on the table)

 

ROB: I don’t know, man, I feel I really need a cigarette, just give me a second-

 

(Rob stands up, but Marianne sits him back down)

 

MARIANNE: No, honey, free yourself from want. Here, you want some baking soda- I mean, homeopathic medicine?

 

ROB: No, just smudge me.

 

MARIANNE: Very well.

 

(Marianne takes out her herb stick and lights it on fire. Everyone audibly reacts)

 

WHITNEY: STOP THAT!
 

ROB: It’s just some herbs and spices, it’s not drugs!
 

WHITNEY: I didn’t think it was drugs!
 

ALEC: That would be way cooler if it was drugs.

 

(Marianne is scanning Rob’s body with it, as he closes his eyes and breathes deeply)

 

MARIANNE: That’s right, honey, just breathe for me.

 

(Marianne scans his body with it as the room watches, and she accidentally catches fire to a piece of paper on the desk)

 

MARIANNE: Oh, my goodness!
 

NOEL: OH NO!
 

BONNIE: PUT IT OUT! THAT’S THE PROP LIST FOR SUSAN B. TRIPPIN’!

 

(Rob smothers the fire with his suitcase)

 

ROB: See? See?! Everything’s fine!
 

WHITNEY: ROBERT! MY OFFICE, NOW!
 

ROB: Can I bring Marianne?

 

WHITNEY: OF-FUCKING-COURSE NOT!

 

ROB: I’ll be back, Marianne.

 

(Rob blows out the smudger)

 

MARIANNE: I’ll squeeze my lucky crystals for you.

 

(Rob hugs Marianne and leaves the room)

 

ALEC: Where are your lucky crystals?

 

MARIANNE: They’re glued to my vagina.

 

ALEC: Ugh.

 

BONNIE: Fuckin’ right, girl!

 

(Bonnie and Marianne high-five. Cut to Rob and Whitney in Whitney’s office)

 

WHITNEY: Rob, you gotta get rid of Marianne. She can’t be in the office anymore.

 

ROB: Why, because she- (Rob has a fifteen-second coughing fit. Whitney sits there, perturbed. Rob recovers) …makes me feel better?

 

WHITNEY: She almost set our conference room on fire.

 

ROB: Well, I’m not getting rid of her. In fact, I want her to be my new assistant.

 

WHITNEY: What?!

 

ROB: McKenzie’s creative chief now, I need a new assistant, Noel is just a placeholder.

 

WHITNEY: So, you wanna fire Noel?

 

ROB: No, don’t fire the kid, just demote him to intern again.

 

WHITNEY: I really don’t like this plan.

 

ROB: What are you gonna do, fire me over it? (Whitney squirms in her chair) That’s what I thought.

 

(Rob leaves. Cut to Whitney and McKenzie in the single-engine Cessna cockpit. McKenzie is smoking a cigarette and looking out the window)

 

MCKENZIE: …Is there like an aux cord I can have, or something?

 

KEVIN: No, unfortunately, even if we did, it’d probably be drowned out by the sound of the wind, whipping by at 200 miles per hour.

 

MCKENZIE: Oh, yeah. Do you have headphones? One of the Mormons crushed mine because they thought Satan was whispering secrets to me.

 

KEVIN: Nah, sorry, babe.

 

MCKENZIE: …Are you sure something’s not bothering you?

 

KEVIN: Well…it’s just that, my instruments are going a little haywire-

 

MCKENZIE: What? What are you talking about?

 

KEVIN: It’s probably nothing, it’s just that we’re a little bit off- (Kevin thrusts the plane forward and begins nose-diving) OH MY GOODNESS!
 

(McKenzie starts screaming)

 

MCKENZIE: OH MY GOD! HOLY FUCK, WHAT IS GOING ON!? MAKE IT STOP!!!

 

KEVIN: OH, MAN, I THINK OUR FLUX CAPACITOR GAVE OUT AND NOW WE’RE HEADED RIGHT FOR THE DESERT!!

 

MCKENZIE: HOLY SHIT! WAIT, FLUX CAPACITOR?!

 

(Kevin stabilizes the plane, with a shit-eating grin on his face)

 

KEVIN: I think it’s back online.

 

(McKenzie is furious. She pushes him)

 

MCKENZIE: FUCK YOU, KEVIN!
 

KEVIN: WHOA!

 

MCKENZIE: WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! THAT’S NOT FUNNY!

 

KEVIN: YOU’RE GONNA MAKE US CRASH FOR REAL IF YOU PUSH ME AGAIN!
 

MCKENZIE: WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT!?

 

KEVIN: I WAS JUST FUCKING AROUND!!

 

MCKENZIE: FUCK YOU, KEVIN! JESUS CHRIST! I THOUGHT WE WERE GONNA DIE!

 

(Kevin sighs)

 

KEVIN: I’m sorry, alright? I went too far.

 

MCKENZIE: Yes, you instilled me with vast amounts of mortal fear, I’d say you went a SCOCHE too far.

 

(Kevin sighs and lights himself a cigarette. Cut to Whitney, Bonnie and Luther walking onto the set of Susan B. Trippin’- it’s a zoo, full of stage hands carrying cables and props, a female director sitting in a chair overseeing everything. Cameras in position. A set dressed up like an upscale 19th century manor- except the two lead actresses, playing Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are wearing sun-glasses and Victorian dresses with slits down the middle. They’re sitting in rocking chairs and leaning over a coffee table covered in a collection of firearms)

 

WHITNEY: …Well…I signed off on this, so…

 

LUTHER: Set design is dope. Really historically authentic, until you get to the…guns.

 

BONNIE: I recognize some of these actors.

 

WHITNEY: It’s Facebook Watch, so we had to dig at the bottom of the barrel. So. That’s why. (Whitney walks over to the director, Danielle Shorten, a brunette in her mid-30s) Danielle, right?

 

DANIELLE: Yeah. Danielle Shorten. (Danielle shakes Whitney’s hand) I assume you’re Whitney?

 

WHITNEY: Yes, nice to meet you in person.

 

DANIELLE: The pleasure’s all over here. (They relinquish their handshake) Your skin is soft, do you moisturize?

 

WHITNEY: Uhhh, yeah, I, I try to, so, a couple notes I had, I know that Susan and Elizabeth are big, no-nonsense, action heroes, exacting revenge on powerful men and stuff, but are we sure they need sunglasses? It seems a bit TOO silly.

 

DANIELLE: I see what you’re saying, it’s a little bit over-the-top, but, it’s about empowering women. I mean, that’s why you hired me, right? (Danielle feels Whitney’s hand) Or were there, other reasons?

 

(Whitney sees Danielle’s hand on hers)

 

WHITNEY: Well, I mean, your resume was very, impressive, with all your work on Lifetime and Spring Breakers, so, look, I just want the sunglasses gone, okay? Nice to meet you.

 

(Whitney walks away with sweat beading down her forehead. Bonnie confronts her)

 

BONNIE: Girl. What the fuck was that?

 

WHITNEY: I don’t know, I panicked. I’m way out of practice.

 

BONNIE: She was practically licking your clit with her hand. Except, in this case, your clit was your hand.

 

WHITNEY: Gross.

 

BONNIE: I’m just saying, huge missed opportunity, Stone.

 

WHITNEY: Should I go back and talk to her-?

 

BONNIE: No, that would make it way more awkward. You gotta wait a while and then ask her out. Maybe for coffee. No! Sex!

 

WHITNEY: Coffee.

 

BONNIE: Coffee’s fine, yeah.

 

(Rob and Marianne walk on set)

 

ROB: Nobody get up, it’s just me and my assistant.

 

WHITNEY: Nobody was getting up.

 

ROB: Well. They should’ve.

 

MARIANNE: Everything going smoothly here?

 

WHITNEY: Yeah, for the most part.

 

ROB: I think so too.

 

MARIANNE: I’m not so sure.

 

ROB: Me neither.

 

BONNIE: Christ.

 

MARIANNE: There’s so much negative energy floating around here.

 

ROB: I can feel it. Leaves a foul taste in my mouth.

 

MARIANNE: Let’s go investigate further.

 

ROB: Let’s do it.

 

(Rob and Marianne walk away)

 

BONNIE: He is just under her thumb.

 

WHITNEY: I’ve never seen him this emasculated.

 

DANIELLE: QUIET ON SET! (Everyone turns attention to the actors on set) Three, two, one, ACTION!

 

(Susan B. Anthony sits down)

 

SUSAN: Liz. There’s no nice way to do this. Besides, haven’t we been nice long enough?

 

ELIZABETH: Susan, I don’t know, do we really need to resort to violence-

 

(Susan picks up a glock and loads it)

 

SUSAN: What are they gonna do!? Hit a dainty woman!?

 

(Elizabeth smiles ever so slightly)

 

ELIZABETH: You’re gonna have to teach me how to shoot that thing.

 

(Susan and Elizabeth laugh and pick up guns and start loading them)

 

DANIELLE: CUT! That’s good. Let’s move on to the scene where Susan and Elizabeth accidentally land on top of one another and start making out.

 

(Susan and Elizabeth nod and head backstage)

 

WHITNEY: Jesus, I compromised so much to get this made.

 

BONNIE: I’m sure it’ll be fine.

 

LUTHER: It’ll be better than fine.

 

 

(Cut to Marianne at the craft services table. She takes herbal laxatives out of her pocket and begins putting them into the finger-sandwiches and crab cakes. She smiles and walks over to the men’s bathroom, which Rob can be heard using)

 

MARIANNE: Honey, you almost done in there?!

 

ROB: NO! NOT EVERY TOXIN HAS BEEN EXPELLED YET, MY MUSE!
 

MARIANNE: Okay, I’ll wait right here, dear. I may need to distribute aroma stones in there once you’re done though-

 

ROB: YEP!
 

(Marianne nods. Cut to Danielle eating a sandwich by craft services. Whitney walks over)

 

WHITNEY: Hey.

 

DANIELLE: Hello.

 

WHITNEY: Um-

 

DANIELLE: Do you want a finger sandwich?

 

WHITNEY: No, I’m good. Look, I’m sorry for being weird earlier.

 

DANIELLE: Weird? You were being professional; I was being weird. I guess I just heard you were-

 

WHITNEY: No, I know. Trust me, I think you’re very, cute, it’s just that, ever since I broke up with my last girlfriend, I’ve been working non-stop, it’s like I’ve forgotten how to flirt and do courtship.

 

(Danielle snorts)

 

DANIELLE: Courtship? Is this the 19th century?

 

(Whitney laughs)

 

WHITNEY: …Yeah, see? I’m rusty at this. Apparently 120 years rusty.

 

DANIELLE: …Well?

 

WHITNEY: Do you want to get coffee tomorrow morning? To discuss…business?

 

(Danielle smiles)

 

DANIELLE: Show business?

 

WHITNEY: Yeah, exactly.

 

DANIELLE: I could do that.

 

WHITNEY: Cool. The Starbucks on 5020 Wilshire, around 7:30?

 

DANIELLE: Sure. (Danielle and Whitney shake hands) I should get back to it.

 

(Whitney smiles and nods as Danielle returns to the director’s seat. The actresses return to stage, but are doubled over and holding their stomachs)

 

SUSAN: Ohhhhh…. fuck….

 

DANIELLE: Francis? What is it?

 

FRANCIS: Just give me a moment.

 

ELIZABETH: Me too!
 

(Francis and Elizabeth rush to the women’s room and slam the door behind them. Suddenly, a multitude of stomachs in the room start making noise and cast and crew flock to the bathrooms. Whitney and Danielle are confused and look at each other. Danielle’s stomach makes noise too)

 

DANIELLE: Oh, fuck this.

 

(Danielle flocks to the women’s room and knocks over a few stage hands to get there. Whitney looks at Marianne)

 

WHITNEY: The fuck is going on?

 

MARIANNE: People’s bodies are being cleansed of toxins.

 

(Whitney’s jaw drops. Rob walks over)

 

ROB: I feel so cleansed.

 

MARIANNE: Look at how happy he is? Give her a smile.

 

(Rob smiles)

 

WHITNEY: YOU did this!? Whatever this is!?

 

ROB: Did what?

 

MARIANNE: Yes, I spread the healing laxatives.

 

ROB: To who? Everyone?

 

MARIANNE: The negative energy was rampant, dear.

 

ROB: Marianne, you can’t do that without telling them about it-

 

WHITNEY: Yeah, you can’t! Why did you agree to it?!

 

ROB: Because it’s genius!
 

WHITNEY: We have to scrap the day! Because of this! Because of your girlfriend here!
 

ROB: She’s NOT my girlfriend! Whitney, this is how rumors get started!

 

WHITNEY: Fine! But if you don’t fire her, I will.

 

(Whitney walks away. As chaos sounds in the bathrooms, Rob and Marianne look at one another)

 

ROB: …You shouldn’t have done that.

 

(Marianne squints)

 

MARIANNE: What’re you sayin’, darling?

 

ROB: You know I have to do what she says.

 

MARIANNE: …You’re gonna have to make up for this somehow. Otherwise karma gonna get you.

 

(Marianne walks away. Rob gulps. Cut to Kevin’s plane landing at a small airport on the outskirts of LA County. The plane taxis down the runway for a while until it come to a stop. McKenzie jumps out of the plane, but Kevin goes after her)

 

KEVIN: McKenzie!
 

MCKENZIE: What?!

 

(McKenzie turns to Kevin. Kevin sighs)

 

KEVIN: …I was just hired by Frontier.

 

MCKENZIE: …The Airline?

 

KEVIN: Yeah. That’s what I’ve been thinking about.

 

MCKENZIE: That’s what you’ve been keeping from me for the last couple hours.

 

KEVIN: You could put it like that, yes.

 

MCKENZIE: Frontier, isn’t that like, the Doctor Thunder of Airlines?

 

KEVIN: I would compare it more accurately to an LA city bus in the sky.

 

MCKENZIE: …I mean, that’s great, honey, but why would you hide it from me?

 

KEVIN: …It means I’ll be gone a lot. If I get two assignments back-to-back, I could be gone for weeks at a time.

 

MCKENZIE: …But…

 

KEVIN: But I only work two weeks per month, mind you. I could be back for weeks at a time, too, just, sitting on our couch and scratching my balls. Or having you do it.

 

MCKENZIE: …Is, that why I was sent to Utah? So you could have this interview with Frontier?

 

KEVIN: …I didn’t want you to be upset until I knew it was real.

 

MCKENZIE: I WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN UPSET! BUT NOW YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I AM!

 

(McKenzie storms off to a nearby car)

 

KEVIN: Kenz!

 

MCKENZIE: Just drive us home!

 

(McKenzie gets in the passenger’s seat and sits down)

 

KEVIN: That’s not even our car!

 

MCKENZIE: Just let me sit here.

 

(Cut to Rob smoking a cigarette on his bed as he watches Mark Mester on KTLA delivering the news)

 

MARK MESTER: Biden still leads the Democratic Primary, but Elizabeth Warren has surged in recent weeks, coming in third consistently in several polls, right behind Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

 

ROB: I love Liz, but where’s my girl Kamala? I gotta call her. (Rob takes out her phone and searches through his contacts) …Right, I gave her my number, but I guess she forgot to…text me. So I’d have hers. Innocent mistake.

 

(Marianne comes in from the bathroom and turns off the TV)

 

MARIANNE: Ready to make this up to me?

 

ROB: Close the door.

 

(Marianne walks over and closes the door. Rob takes off his shirt as Marianne gets on the bed. They start making out. “A Minor Place” by Bonnie “Prince” Billy begins playing. Cut to Whitney arriving back at the office. Alec pokes his head in and waves. Whitney nods at him as he leaves. Whitney takes out her phone and sets an alarm for 6:30 am, then puts her phone away and logs onto her computer. Cut to McKenzie and Kevin walking into their dark home. Kevin flips on the light and McKenzie crashes on the couch. Kevin stares at her. He goads her to get up off the couch and opens the door to their bedroom. McKenzie reluctantly walks into their bedroom and takes the bed. Kevin crashes onto their couch and tries to get comfortable, staring blankly at the ceiling. Cut to Rob and Marianne making love to Marianne and kissing her neck. She’s moaning)

 

MARIANNE: Robert…

 

(Cut to Whitney reading a script at her desk. She rubs her eyes and looks at her computer clock- it’s 2:03 AM. She yawns and walks over to her couch she pulls up a blanket and falls asleep. Cut to Rob and Marianne having sex, both of them nearing climax)

 

ROB: Marianne…

 

MARIANNE: Robert!

 

(The song suddenly cuts out, as they hear someone come in the house)

 

ROB: Shhhh.

 

MARIANNE: (Whispering) Is it her?

 

ROB: (Whispering) I think so…

 

(They wait nervously for several moments)

 

LILLY: (OS) I’M GOING TO BED!
 

(We hear a door shut offscreen. Rob and Marianne quietly laughing and keep having sex. Cut to Whitney waking up on her couch the next morning. She bolts up, in a confused state. She quickly rushes over to her desk. She picks up her phone and presses the home button, but it doesn’t do anything. Her phone’s dead. She checks her computer’s clock- it’s 8:45 AM. She angrily throws her phone across her office)

 

WHITNEY: GODDAMNIT!

 

(Cut to Danielle at the Starbucks. She looks around, grabs her purse and leaves. Cut to black)

 

THE END


Submitted: June 11, 2019

© Copyright 2021 NEONETWORK. All rights reserved.

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