The Valley of the Tools Episode 24

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

Rob and Marianne's affair begins to interfere with his work, causing his co-workers to become concerned for his health. Luther grows tired of his coworkers hating him for testifying against Ryan, so he throws a party to bury the hatchet. Hannah and Xandra try out for the same television role and wait for the callback.

 

THE VALLEY OF THE TOOLS

 

“RED LETTER”

 

TV-MA DLS

 

“But I let you down! Swollen and small is where you'll find me now, with that silver stripping off from my tongue you're tearing out. And you'll never hear me talk”

  • Jeff Mangum

 

(We start with Lilly sitting behind the counter at a 7-11, scrolling through her phone. A blonde male walks in and rings the call bell. Lilly looks up, irritated)

 

LILLY: I see you, dude.

 

BLONDE MALE: Can I get 70 bucks on pump 7?

 

LILLY: That’s, way too much gas, that would overflow your tank.

 

BLONDE MALE: Did I ask for your opinion, Lilly? (Lilly sighs and punches a few buttons on the register) Also, could I get a pack of American Spirits? I’m gonna smoke them by the gas tank.

 

LILLY: Sure. (Lilly takes a pack of American Spirits and puts them on the counter) ID? (The man shows her his ID) Okay. That’ll be seventy-eight bucks.

 

(The dude hands Lilly his credit card)

 

BLONDE MALE: My number’s written on the back, by the way.

 

(The man winks. Lilly sighs and swipes the card. Cut to Rob lying in bed with Marianne. He opens his eyes and checks his phone. It’s 9:30 AM on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019)

 

ROB: Damnit.

 

MARIANNE: What’s troubling you?

 

ROB: I’m late for work.

 

MARIANNE: Just stay. Work is bad for your stress levels anyhow, darling. Stress kills billions every year, you know that.

 

(Rob sits up)

 

ROB: I don’t even have time for breakfast.

 

MARIANNE: Just have one of the powders from my purse and hop in the shower.

 

ROB: Okay. Thanks. (Rob grabs a vial of powder from Marianne’s purse and pours it down his throat. Rob swallows) My God, that’s tough to get down.

 

MARIANNE: Life’s tougher without it, my dear. (Rob puts on his underwear and gets up) I’ll burn some incense and cleanse the room of negative energy.

 

(Marianne takes out a stick of what appears to be incense and lights it)

 

ROB: What’s that?

 

MARIANNE: it’s incense. Ordered it straight from Italy.

 

ROB: Looks like a stick of uncooked spaghetti.

 

MARIANNE: Trust me, it’s not.

 

(Rob smiles)

 

ROB: I do trust you.

 

(Rob kisses Marianne and walks into the bathroom. Cut to Rob walking into the office. He arrives at reception to find Michael Chernoff. Whitney, McKenzie, Luther and a burn-out writer are in a meeting in the conference room)

 

MICHAEL: Morning, Mr. Altmire. You have a mighty glow this morning, I must say.

 

ROB: Don’t be a kiss-ass, Chernoff. Hey, how long has this been meeting been going on?

 

MICHAEL: First of all, I want to apologize if I came off as a sycophant-

 

ROB: Just shut up and tell me.

 

MICHAEL: About an hour and a half.

 

ROB: Not too late for daddy to pop in.

 

(Rob slams the table and turns toward the conference room, but Whitney, McKenzie, Bonnie, Luther and the plaid-wearing, bearded writer are exiting and shaking hands)

 

WHITNEY: I think that was really productive.

 

LUTHER: Yeah, way more productive than usual.

 

WHITNEY: Okay, that’s enough Luther.

 

(Luther furrows his brow)

 

WRITER: I look forward to working with you guys on this-

 

(Rob extends his hand)

 

ROB: Robert Altmire, Head of Development.

 

WRITER: Oh. (The writer shakes Rob’s hand) Neil Weiland, former writer on Riverdale.

 

ROB: Ah. Well. A lot better stuff than that cooking up here.

 

WHITNEY: EQUALLY good stuff. Michael? Do you want to validate Mr. Weiland’s parking?

 

MICHAEL: Yes! Of course. (Michael takes out a parking validation and hands it to Neil) Also, got you a hot chocolate- (Michael pulls out a hot chocolate) as a token of our appreciation-

 

WHITNEY: I don’t know where you got that or why, but it’s 85 degrees outside, so put it away.

 

MICHAEL: Yes, ma’am.

 

(Michael puts the hot chocolate away)

 

NEIL: Great to meet you guys. Talk soon.

 

MCKENZIE: Have a great one.

 

(Neil leaves. Luther and McKenzie walk back to the creative lounge)

 

WHITNEY: Can I talk to you in your office?

 

ROB: Sure thing.

 

(Rob and Whitney walk into Rob’s office. Whitney closes the door as Rob sits down)

 

WHITNEY: You were an hour and a half late. And you missed a very important meeting.

 

ROB: About what?

 

WHITNEY: We’re considering that guy for the writing team on BeBitched! (Rob furrows his brow. Whitney sighs) The gritty Bewitched reboot where Endora murders Samantha’s husband in a Satanic ritual and she sets out for revenge?

 

ROB: Riiiiight, that one. My bad.

 

WHITNEY: Where were you?

 

ROB: Let’s just say, Marianne kept me up last night.

 

(Rob smiles)

 

WHITNEY: …Really?

 

ROB: Yeah.

 

WHITNEY: And how does Lilly feel about that?

 

ROB: We’re basically broken up, don’t worry about her.

 

WHITNEY: Does she know that? (Rob falls silent and shrugs) Well, you haven’t changed. Look, you personal life is immaterial to me-

 

ROB: That fucking hurts to hear. You know, the tabloids used to keep track of my every UTI, you know that?

 

WHITNEY: UTI? You’re a dude, how many UTIs have you had?

 

ROB: My POINT is, you should care about my personal life.

 

WHITNEY: Fine. Marianne may not work for you anymore, but her effect on your personal life is starting to effect your work. Get her out of your hair or your job may be in jeopardy. (Beat) By the way, you look terrible.

 

ROB: Yeah, the new diet she has me on is...light on the “physical” part of food. I’m using my other senses to garner nutrition. (Rob takes out a Magic Eye picture) This, for example, is lunch.

 

(Whitney rolls her eyes and leaves Rob’s office. Rob puts away the Magic Eye and starts rubbing his temples. Cut to McKenzie, Bonnie and Luther in the creative lounge)

 

MCKENZIE: Alright team, we lost AstroManda, so we need new ideas to fill the void. And since Whitney and Rob have rejected my idea for a Hairspray miniseries, I turn to you guys.

 

BONNIE: How would a Hairspray miniseries work?

 

MCKENZIE: This time she becomes famous for twerking and rallies against transgender bathroom laws.

 

BONNIE: Got it. That would be really bad.

 

LUTHER: Shit, I need to see what that movie’s all about. Actually, no I don’t.

 

MCKENZIE: Well, Luther, I’m not surprised you’ve never seen it, because you know very little about the industry you claim to be a part of. (Luther furrows his brow) Bonnie, any ideas?

 

BONNIE: Yeah, I was thinking something crazy, like, I don’t know, a cross between Fifty Shades of Gray and 127 Hours-

 

MCKENZIE: Okay!

 

BONNIE: Where, like, two people get their arms struck in a rock formation-

 

MCKENZIE: Ooh, meet-cute style! I like it!
 

BONNIE: Yeah! And they fuck each other out of boredom while they’re stuck there together.

 

MCKENZIE: Oooh, romantic!
 

BONNIE: Also, they eventually saw each other’s arms off.

 

LUTHER: Sorry, they just coincidentally both got stuck in the same one-in-a-million situation, at the same time, right next to each other?

 

BONNIE: Well, shit, Moon, if you have something better, go the fuck ahead.

 

LUTHER: A’ight, cool, I do. You know Samurai movies?

 

MCKENZIE: Vaguely.

 

LUTHER: Well, this is like one of them, except, it’s a whole series about black female Samurais protecting their children from street violence-

 

MCKENZIE: Wow. Cultural appropriation much?

 

BONNIE: Also, way to throw “female” in there just to placate us. I bet you’d MUCH prefer WHITE male samurais.

 

LUTHER: Why would I prefer-?!

 

MCKENZIE: I’ll write down Bonnie’s idea, and if you ever have a real idea, just let us know, Luther.

 

LUTHER: No, wait, hold up! What’s with all the hate? Why you guys been acting like this the last few weeks?

 

BONNIE: Dude, are you thick? I mean, clearly you are, but, up there?

 

LUTHER: Come on.

 

BONNIE: You testified against Ryan. He’s our friend.

 

LUTHER: Y’all knew him for like two months.

 

MCKENZIE: But he was a part of the Stone Productions family. He was like my edgy little brother who I wanted to give sage advice to. And I would’ve, had the opportunity presented itself.

 

LUTHER: Don’t you have an actual little brother?

 

MCKENZIE: Yeah, but Troy’s not edgy, he’s just, a scrawny nerd. Which is great! But if you’re gonna be scrawny, you should at least be gay to make things interesting.

 

BONNIE: Definitely.

 

MCKENZIE: And he’s not, so.

 

LUTHER: Well, everything I stood on that stand was the truth. So. I don’t know what to tell you guys. (Luther stands up) I’m not gonna apologize for doing the right thing. (Sigh) I’m gonna take an early lunch.

 

(Luther walks out of the room)

 

BONNIE: So, your brother’s straight?

 

MCKENZIE: Yeah! It’s like, it’s 2019, grow up already. Ever heard of the Kinsey scale?

 

(Cut to Luther and Evelyn sitting at an outdoor café on Wilshire. Luther is poking at an omelet while Evelyn is effortlessly chowing down on a hamburger)

 

LUTHER: …You enjoyin’ that?

 

(Evelyn puts it down)

 

EVELYN: it’s excellent. I suppose that omelet is of inferior quality?

 

LUTHER: Nah, it’s great. I just can’t eat right now.

 

EVELYN: Are you still receiving torrents of abuse from your co-workers?

 

LUTHER: it’s not “abuse”, it’s just them being assholes all the time.

 

EVELYN: Sounds like abuse.

 

LUTHER: Well, it’s not the dictionary definition.

 

EVELYN: Luther. From what I’ve inferred from my time living in Los Angeles, the most effective way to return to a person and/or group of people’s good graces is to throw a festivity, or as the underprivileged youth in Compton would say, “kick it” with them.

 

LUTHER: You know, I was one of those under-privileged youth. Except in Chicago. Now I’m just an under-privileged, middle-aged, black dude. Whose co-workers hate him.

 

EVELYN: But not BECAUSE you’re black.

 

LUTHER: That doesn’t make me feel better.

 

EVELYN: Think about it, Luther, you weren’t always underprivileged. When your dad was rich from all the illegal narcotics he trafficked in, what did he do to cheer himself up?

 

LUTHER: Break one of his henchman’s legs.

 

EVELYN: But, what else?

 

LUTHER: He threw parties.

 

EVELYN: Exactly.

 

(Luther sighs)

 

LUTHER: Alright. Let’s do it. When should it be?

 

EVELYN: There’s no time like the present. Let’s hold it tonight, at our place.

 

LUTHER: Tonight? That’s pretty short notice, isn’t it?

 

EVELYN: Do you really think you can handle a few more days of this?

 

(Luther slowly shakes his head. Cut to Hannah and Xandra lying on their bed, spread out, half-naked. There are empty and half-empty bottles of alcohol on their respective night stands, stamped out joints and cigarettes all over their floor and a blouse swinging on their fan. Their phones go off simultaneously, and they spring up, aggravated)

 

HANNAH: Oh, my Christ.

 

XANDRA: What the fuck is that? Tell her to shut the fuck up.

 

HANNAH: Hold on. (Hannah takes her phone and turns off the alarm) Shit. Your alarm is going off still. Why did we think we needed two alarms?

 

XANDRA: Hold up. (Xandra turns off her alarm) Alright. I slapped this bitch and now she’ll behave.

 

HANNAH: Why did we party so much the night before an audition?

 

XANDRA: We were celebrating, babe. Celebrating the fact that we, got the audition.

 

(Hannah slinks out of bed)

 

HANNAH: Let’s get ready.

 

(Xandra lays her head down)

 

XANDRA: Just a few more minutes.

 

HANNAH: No, Xandra- (Hannah rolls over to Xandra and shakes her) bitch, wake up!
 

XANDRA: Noooo!!! (Hannah shakes her more and Xandra starts giggling. They then kiss. Cut to Hannah driving as Xandra sits in the front seat. They’re both dressed nicely, Xandra with a red top and low neck, Hannah with a purple top a little more buttoned up. But you can see the exhaustion in their eyes as Hannah sucks down a cup of coffee from McDonald’s. Xandra munches on French fries. “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X is playing on the radio. Xandra is bobbing her head along and humming the song. Hannah turns the radio down) Hey, what the hell?

 

HANNAH: I heard that song so many times last night, and every decibel is pain right now.

 

XANDRA: You just have shitty tolerance.

 

HANNAH: I think it’s just the stuff I mixed. What’s the phrase? Liquor before coke, you’re good, bloke, coke before liquor, you’re fucked in the ass?

 

XANDRA: Something like that.

 

HANNAH: This song isn’t even good.

 

XANDRA: It’s great, that’s why they put it in the Top 50.

 

HANNAH: Who is “they”?

 

XANDRA: The fuckin’ people, I don’t know! They know what they’re doing.

 

(Hannah chuckles and shakes her head. Hannah puts her hand on Xandra’s knee)

 

HANNAH: Just know that, it doesn’t matter who gets the part, neither of us will be mad. We’ll be happy for whoever gets it.

 

XANDRA: Unless it’s neither of us. I will slit a bitch’s tires.

 

HANNAH: How’d you prepare?

 

XANDRA: Preparation’s no good, betch, looks fake. Gotta go in cold.

 

(Hannah shakes her head “no”)

 

HANNAH: Can’t argue with that logic.

 

(Cut to Xandra and Hannah sitting in the waiting room. Behind them, the backsplash says “CBS Studios”. Hannah is rubbing her temples. Xandra rubs her back)

 

XANDRA: Come on, it couldn’t have been that bad.

 

HANNAH: You had a hot tub full of Hennessey.

 

XANDRA: Yeah, and it was gross. What a waste of Hennessey. Sounded like a good idea when I pitched it.

 

HANNAH: Yeah.

 

XANDRA: What about you guys, nervous?

 

(Pan over to Colleen and Trey sitting opposite to them. Trey now has a ponytail and a sunburn; Colleen has a spray tan and contour make-up)

 

COLLEEN: Not even a little.

 

TREY: My baby could get on SNL if she wanted to.

 

COLLEEN: But I don’t.

 

TREY: She doesn’t.

 

COLLEEN: Women can’t be funny unless they’re fat.

 

TREY: I taught her well.

 

XANDRA: …The fuck are you talking about?

 

HANNAH: Just, don’t engage with Colleen and Trey, alright?

 

XANDRA: You know these two?

 

HANNAH: Let’s just say my former boss knows Colleen very well.

 

COLLEEN: You’re gonna have to be more specific, which former boss?

 

(Xandra shakes her head and Hannah squirms uncomfortably in her chair.  A balding man in a tie pokes his head out of a door)

 

BALDING MAN: Hannah Delaney?

 

XANDRA: Blow those fatass execs away, alright, betch?

 

HANNAH: Alright, but, careful, they can probably hear you, babe.

 

(Hannah and Xandra make out for a few seconds)
 

TREY: Holy shit, that’s hot.

 

(Hannah smiles and walks into the casting room)

 

XANDRA: Never ever look at me ever, Chad.

 

TREY: My name’s Trey.

 

XANDRA: Sure, but you’re Chad.

 

(Cut to Rob sitting in his office with his head in his hands. Noel pokes his head in)

 

NOEL: Hey, Boss-man, just a reminder, Stan Fessenden and Olivia Shaw are coming in at two for a meeting on BeBitched.

 

ROB: Yeah. I know.

 

NOEL: If you don’t mind me asking…will you be up for it?

 

(Rob lifts his head and slaps the table)

 

ROB: Goddamn right, I will. Marianne said that if the Magic Eye wasn’t enough to make it through lunch, I could have a “secret concoction” of hers. (Rob lifts up a portable bottle with dry, crusty flakes polluting the bottom) Finally got it down fifteen minutes ago, feel great.

 

NOEL: Awesome! You know, I just want to thank you for re-hiring me after you fired Marianne-

 

ROB: Please leave right now.

 

NOEL: My pleasure!
 

(Noel leaves as Rob puts his head on the desk and massages the back of it. Cut to McKenzie talking to Michael at reception)

 

MCKENZIE: That’s so cool! You saw Les Mis live?

 

MICHAEL: Yes! I did. It stars- (Michael looks at his computer) Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway!

 

MCKENZIE: Wait, so, you saw the movie? You didn’t see the actual musical live?

 

MICHAEL: The movie? Yes! There’s a movie!
 

MCKENZIE: Uh-huh.

 

(Luther walks over)

 

LUTHER: Yo, Park, you get my e-vite?

 

MCKENZIE: Do, people still use that word?

 

LUTHER: Did you get it or not?

 

MCKENZIE: What is it for?

 

LUTHER: I’m having a party at my place, tonight. We’re gonna be playing the Hamilton soundtrack and maybe a little Les Mis, you know, for people to dance to.

 

MCKENZIE: That doesn’t really seem like…you, Luther.

 

LUTHER: What you mean? I love that shit. (Bonnie and Whitney walk into reception area) What about you guys? Did you get my e-vite? Bonnie, there’s gonna be old boxing matches playing on the TV!
 

BONNIE: Oh, shit, really?

 

LUTHER: And Whitney, there’s gonna be…work.

 

WHITNEY: I don’t think I can make a party tonight, Luther, it’s really short notice.

 

BONNIE: Yeah, because you totally would’ve gone, otherwise, Whitney, you’re a huge fan of fun. (Whitney glares at Bonnie) That being said, I can’t go. Gotta stay home and watch Detective Pikachu with Noel.

 

LUTHER: You couldn’t even bother to make up an excuse? What about you, McKenzie, you ain’t said “no” yet.

 

MCKENZIE: Luther, it sounds like you just added stuff that we like so you could pull us in-

 

LUTHER: Real sorry about that, want you guys to enjoy yourselves, my bad!

 

MCKENZIE: I can’t, tonight.

 

LUTHER: Why? Is Kevin back from Dallas?

 

MCKENZIE: I mean…no.

 

(Olivia and Stan walk in, a pair of frumpy twenty-somethings with laptop bags and thick-rimmed glasses)

 

OLIVIA: Hey!

 

STAN: Nice to meet all of you.

 

(They exchange handshakes)

 

WHITNEY: Great to meet you guys. Let’s meet up in the conference room. Rob?

 

(Rob painstakingly opens the door to his office and walks over to Olivia and Stan)

 

ROB: What’s up, my bros before hoes? (Rob shakes his head) Sorry, that doesn’t make sense. Let’s go in the conference room.

 

STAN: Oh, okay then.

 

(They all funnel into the conference room. Cut to all of them sitting around the conference room table)

 

WHITNEY: So, we’re really excited about this idea. With the success of Netflix’s dark take on Sabrina, we think it’s long overdue for a gritty reboot of Bewitched.

 

BONNIE: And we think it should be called “BeBitched”. I came up with that.

 

(McKenzie slides over a redesigned logo, Bewitched but with a more gothic design)

 

MCKENZIE: And I came up with a logo.

 

OLIVIA: I like it.

 

ROB: I, also, like it. (Rob wipes sweat from his brow) The idea. In general. You know, it’s like… (Rob takes a second to breathe) it’s like Netflix’s Sabrina reboot, but…it’s…ours.

 

(Rob gulps as everyone in the room stares at him)

 

STAN: …Right. (Beat) Um. Anyway, we’re excited to tackle it. We were wondering though, is “BeBitched” the best name-

 

(Rob keels over and throws up on the carpet, eliciting gasps from the room)

 

OLIVIA: Jesus Christ.

 

(Whitney and McKenzie run over to assist him)

 

MCKENZIE: Oh my God, are you okay?

 

WHITNEY: Do you need to go to the hospital?

 

ROB: The fuck do you think!?

 

(Rob vomits more)

 

BONNIE: For CHRIST’S SAKES, SOMEONE GET HIM A TRASH CAN!
 

(Cut to Rob waking up in a hospital bed, surrounded by everyone from Stone Productions)

 

ROB: Did Whitney poison me?

 

WHITNEY: No. Marianne poisoned you.

 

ROB: No, she wouldn’t do that to me.

 

WHITNEY: Robert. Listen to me. Listen to US. Marianne is bad news. We blew that meeting because of that crap she fed you. Noel told us about it.

 

NOEL: It just happened to come up during an awkward pause in conversation, I didn’t mean-

 

MCKENZIE: The point is, Marianne’s not good for you. And I don’t think she’s good for you and Lilly either.

 

(Rob sighs)

 

ROB: …On one hand, she is the exclusive reason that I’m sick, tired, vomiting and shitting all the time. On the other hand-

 

LUTHER: There’s no “other hand”, my dude.

 

ROB: She is GREAT at having sex with me. (Groans) Okay, okay, I get it, I get it, I won’t…I’ll break things off with her. Are you happy?

 

WHITNEY: Will you really?

 

ROB: Well…she kinda just appears wherever I go, so…it’ll be difficult.

 

LUTHER: That’s no problem, Roberto! I’m havin’ a kickback at my place tonight, you can just stop by! Not have to worry about psycho Mary finding you.

 

ROB: Oh, really? What’s gonna be there?

 

LUTHER: Booze and drugs.

 

ROB: I’m in.

 

LUTHER: And you’ll all come, right?

 

(Everyone groans in agreement, except for Michael)

 

MICHAEL: Oh my God, invited to a work party my first month on the job! What a treat!

 

(Cut to Luther’s party. Alec and Noel are playing Smash Bros, Bonnie is intently watching boxing on TV, McKenzie is cracking open a bottle of champagne with Rob, Whitney is in the corner, next to a water cooler, drinking a beer and talking to Michael, while Luther and Evelyn sit on their couch and watch it all happen. The opening track to Hamilton is playing. Cut to Rob and McKenzie. Rob pours McKenzie a glass of champagne)

 

ROB: There you are, a little bit of bubbly for the bubbliest bitch I know. (McKenzie smiles and takes a sip) And sometimes the most downtrodden, despondent bitch I know.

 

MCKENZIE: Next time, Rob, just stop while you’re ahead.

 

ROB: How is all that, by the way?

 

MCKENZIE: I don’t know. It’s been shitty. Kevin being gone all the time.

 

ROB: It’s a high-status career, though, flying a plane.

 

MCKENZIE: It’s with Frontier Airlines.

 

ROB: Fair point.

 

MCKENZIE: I’m happy for him, but flying was cooler when he was doing it for fun. We’d fly wherever we wanted! But now that we have a way to pay for the fuel, it’s just…different.

 

(Rob takes a sip of his champagne)

 

ROB: Remember our first date?

 

MCKENZIE: …I do…

 

ROB: I picked you up in a Monster Truck my friend from the Staples Center let me borrow, and you were super impressed.

 

MCKENZIE: We were immediately pulled over because those aren’t street legal.

 

ROB: But, we still found time to have sex in it-

 

MCKENZIE: Okay, Rob. That’s enough, alright?

 

(Rob shrugs)

 

ROB: Sorry. But it’s not like you and Kevin have object to my penis before… (McKenzie walks away. Rob sighs and sips his champagne. Lilly walks in. Rob walks over) You made it!
 

LILLY: Yeah. (Lilly takes out a coupon book) I couldn’t get anything last minute, so I brought a tobacco coupon book. Anyone here smoke? Besides you?

 

(Evelyn walks over)

 

EVELYN: I’ll accept this generous gift, thank you.

 

(Evelyn grabs it from Lilly and walks away. Luther walks over)

 

LUTHER: Lilly! I didn’t know you were coming, tell me, what’s your biggest interest?

 

ROB: She’s already here, Luther, give it a rest.

 

LILLY: How long do I have to be here?

 

ROB: As long as you want, babe.

 

(Rob takes Lilly by the arm and walks toward the mini bar. Luther walks over to the TV and grabs a copy of the Godfather Trilogy)

 

LUTHER: Alright, heads-up, everyone, this is a BIT of a movie night, so for those of you who want to, we’ll be watching The Godfather Trilogy in this room.

 

EVELYN: Luther.

 

LUTHER: Obviously, these are classic movies, except for the last one, but, watching just the first two movies of a trilogy is fucking madness, so, we’ll have to force that one down.

 

EVELYN: Luther. People are here to have fun. Not watch nine hours’ worth of movies without talking.

 

MCKENZIE: Yeah, I agree, that would take up like, the whole party and then some.

 

LUTHER: Well, there’s an outside if you don’t want to.

 

EVELYN: Why don’t we table that, Luther? Let me instead inform you kind gentlemen and ladies about- (Evelyn takes out pamphlets) an exciting Real Estate opportunity, they are constructing new condominiums in Century City, and the good news is, they’re fireproof. Fire literally can’t burn them.

 

LUTHER: Evelyn. People don’t wanna hear a real estate presentation either.

 

EVELYN: I really think I see some interested faces.

 

BONNIE: You don’t.

 

LUTHER: A’ight, fuck it, everyone just go back to having fun.

 

EVELYN: Luther, I am a businesswoman and I have an apartment full of marks I can exploit. Can you let me work?

 

LUTHER: Please don’t call my co-workers “marks”. Let’s just let this shit happen naturally, okay?

 

(Evelyn sighs and walks away. Cut to Noel and Alec playing Smash Brothers. Noel is playing Ice Climbers while Alec plays Meta Knight. Noel dies for the last time with Alec’s final smash)

 

ALEC: Got you.

 

NOEL: Damnit! (Noel puts the controller down) The problem is, Ice Climbers are one unit comprised of two, if I had one person handling the right side of the controller and with me handling the left side, we would have optimized our performance.

 

ALEC: Really doubt it. Want to play again?

 

(Luther walks over)

 

LUTHER: Hol’ up, I got next! Who lost?

 

NOEL: I did. Go ahead.

 

(Noel hands the controller to Luther)

 

LUTHER: Thanks.

 

(Luther sits down)

 

ALEC: Ever played before?

 

LUTHER: Yeah, I got little cousins. Always kick their asses.

 

(Luther picks Donkey Kong and Alec picks Captain Falcon. They play Final Destination. They fight for a little while normally, until Luther starts pounding the ground in one place. Now, every time Captain Falcon approaches, he gets damage)

 

ALEC: Dude. Can you not?

 

LUTHER: It’s called strategy, my nigga. (Alec glares at him) Sorry.

 

ALEC: This isn’t strategy, this is just spamming.

 

LUTHER: What’s that?

 

ALEC: Spamming, it’s where you just do the same move over and over again to avoid actually fighting someone- can you stop it!?

 

LUTHER: Not my fault you don’t know how to play the game.

 

ALEC: Oh my God.

 

(Alec throws the controller and rushes off. Luther lowers the controller and looks down, dejected)

 

LUTHER: Awesome…

 

(Cut to Hannah walking into the room. Three casting executives, two female, one male, sit behind a desk. Hannah positions herself in front of them and clears her throat)

 

HANNAH: Hi. I’m Hannah Delaney, 25 years old, based here in Los Angeles, California.

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: Great, we know who you are and where you live, sweetheart, want to take a crack at this script?

 

(The director hands her a script. Hannah takes it with a smile)

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: I’ll be Commander Chauvin and you can be Astromanda.

 

HANNAH: Great.

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: (Deep voice) Astromanda, this asteroid belt is so chock full of obstacles, not even I could navigate it. How are you, a woman, supposed to navigate all those obstacles?

 

HANNAH: (Eager voice) I’ve been navigating obstacles- (Hannah stumbles a little bit) oh. Sorry.

 

CASTING DIRECTOR 2: You okay?
 

HANNAH: Yes. Just need a second. Long night.

 

(Hannah chuckles)

 

CASTING DIRECTOR 2: Take your time.

 

(Hannah clocks Xandra’s headshot on the table and takes a deep breath as she makes eye contact with it)

 

HANNAH: Okay. Ready.

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: (Deep voice) Astromanda, this asteroid belt is so chock full of obstacles, not even I could navigate it. How are you, a woman, supposed to navigate all those obstacles?

 

HANNAH: (High-pitched and confident) I’ve been navigating obstacles all my life, Commander. And right now, that includes you. So you can let us die, or get out of the way.

 

(The casting directors nod their heads)

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: We’ll let you know.

 

HANNAH: Thank you so much!

 

(Hannah shakes their hands and leaves. Cut to Hannah sitting right next to Xandra)

 

XANDRA: How’d it go?

 

HANNAH: Really good, I think.

 

XANDRA: We’ll see about that. Because I’m about to fuck up the game.

 

HANNAH: You go do it.

 

(Hannah and Xandra kiss. The Casting Director pokes his head out)

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: Xandra Dyson?

 

(Xandra gets up and walks confidently into the room. Cut to the casting director handing her the script)

 

XANDRA: Thanks for the guideline. Let’s see if we can’t fuck with it a little bit.

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: You can word things slightly differently, if you want, just feel it out, but you should mostly stick to the script.

 

XANDRA: We’ll see. (Xandra closes her eyes for a second) It’s bright as fuck in here, can we dim the lights?

 

CASTING DIRECTOR 2: I don’t think they dim; they just turn off and on.

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: Ready? (Xandra nods. Deep voice) Astromanda, this asteroid belt is so chock full of obstacles, not even I could navigate it. How are you, a woman, supposed to navigate all those obstacles?

 

XANDRA: Listen, fuck-o, I’ve been navigating obstacles my whole life, you’re not the first, you won’t be the last, but right now, you need to GTFO and let me do my job. Pig.

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: Whoa, we can’t say “fuck-o”, it’s a kid’s show.

 

XANDRA: Alright, how about “bucko”?

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: Um, sure=

 

XANDRA: Or, “Ball Suck-O”.

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: Well. We’ll let you know.

 

XANDRA: Cool. You guys rule, by the way. Follow me on Insta, @XandraDyson, it’s lit. (Xandra flashes the peace sign as she leaves. Xandra meets Hannah outside) Let’s plan for a sad party and a happy party, let’s go.

 

HANNAH: Sad party includes?

 

XANDRA: Uppers first, then downers.

 

HANNAH: Happy party?

 

XANDRA: Downers first, then uppers.

 

HANNAH: Got it.

 

(Xandra and Hannah hold hands as they walk out of the waiting room. Cut to the casting directors in front of Colleen. Trey is sitting behind her)

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: Sir, you can’t be here for this.

 

COLLEEN: He’s with me, and I refuse to audition if he’s not here.

 

TREY: She needs me. I sleep under her desk at work.

 

COLLEEN: We are one.

 

(Casting director sighs)

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: Fine. (Deep voice) Astromanda, this asteroid belt is so chock full of obstacles, not even I could navigate it. How are you, a woman, supposed to navigate all those obstacles?

 

COLLEEN: Fine, you can do it, prick.

 

TREY: You tell ‘em, babe. But let him do it, though, because the man knows what he’s doing.

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: Okay, please leave.

 

(Cut to Luther standing next to Bonnie as they watch the 2005 match Diego Corrales VS. Jose Luis Castillo on Luther’s TV)

 

LUTHER: Hey, Bonnie, you want to bet on this fight?

 

BONNIE: Luther.

 

LUTHER: I bet on Corrales.

 

BONNIE: Luther, I know the outcomes of all these fights you’re playing, so there’s no reason to bet on them. And yes, Corrales does win. So, congrats.

 

LUTHER: I didn’t know that, though-

 

BONNIE: Ugh.

 

(Bonnie walks away. Cut to Luther walking up to Whitney at the water cooler)

 

LUTHER: What’s up, Stone?

 

WHITNEY: You seriously brought in a water cooler for me?

 

LUTHER: Yeah, I figure, your work is your life and all that.

 

WHITNEY: We don’t even have a water cooler at the office.

 

LUTHER: Well, if you don’t like it, why you hangin’ out here?

 

WHITNEY: I’m thirsty! I’m the DD just in case Rob gets too drunk and no one else wants to drive him home.

 

LUTHER: Well, his girl is here.

 

WHITNEY: “His girl” has a name, and Lilly’s probably gonna get wasted just so she can stand being here.

 

(McKenzie walks over)

 

MCKENZIE: Are you serious? Cats?! Cats is the worst.

 

LUTHER: I don’t that many musicals, alright?!

 

(Evelyn walks over holding a board game called “Curtains For The Dodo”)

 

EVELYN: Attention everyone, though this party has comprised mostly of drinking and passive aggression so far, I am here to bring us all together with a board game.

 

LILLY: Oh, perfect.

 

ROB: Let’s be open-minded, Lilly, what are the rules?

 

EVELYN: It’s really quite simple. Each player will get an endangered species card, Dodo, Tasmanian Tiger, Passenger Pigeon, etcetera, and the goal of the game is not to become extinct. Some players will be hunters, some will be conservationists. Now, there are twelve different types of hunters and conservationists-

 

(Groans)

 

BONNIE: That is an insane amount.

 

EVELYN: Well, this game is for twelve players or more, so, I’m excited I finally have enough people to play it.

 

MCKENZIE: So YOU have never played it?

 

EVELYN: No, this will be a learning process for all of us. Now, each type of hunter and conservationist has a very specific set of rules applied to them-

 

ROB: Hold up. How do you know who’s won? How do we know who’s survived long enough without going extinct?

 

EVELYN: There is no “ending” to this game, per se, it just ends when everyone gives up on it.

 

(Exasperated sighs)

 

LUTHER: Babe, let’s not play the super-complicated game, everyone’s too drunk to even play Candyland right now.

 

EVELYN: I just want everyone to have a good time, Luther, I don’t know what you want.

 

LUTHER: Why don’t we play charades? That’s a good, simple game.

 

EVELYN: Ugh. Fine.

 

(Evelyn throws the game down and pulls out a pack of cigarettes and walks outside)

 

LUTHER: Does somebody have a hat and a buncha little pieces of paper?

 

(Noel pulls off his hat and tiny pieces of paper fall out)

 

NOEL: I came prepared!

 

(Cut to Noel shaking his cap full of papers around and picking one)

 

NOEL: Okay, this guy used to have a show on NBC-

 

MICHAEL: JAY LENO!
 

NOEL: No, it was a reality show-

 

ROB: ROBERT ALTMIRE!
 

LUTHER: Dude, you weren’t on NBC-

 

ROB: Sorry, I thought you said “TBS”.

 

LILLY: No, you didn’t.

 

NOEL: He has a dumb catchphrase? Stupid hair?

 

BONNIE: Gordon Ramsey?

 

NOEL: No, that’s FOX. He’s trying to get us into a war with Iran right now!

 

MCKENZIE: Donald Trump?

 

NOEL: YES!

 

(Noel takes another paper)

 

WHITNEY: Dude, why didn’t you just say “President of the United States”?

 

(Cut to Lilly and Rob as the charades game falls into the background)

 

ROB: Hey, are you alright?

 

LILLY: I’m fine.

 

ROB: It’s just that, and I’m not great at reading women, but it seems like you’re pissed.

 

LILLY: I just don’t want to be here.

 

ROB: I need a DD, is all. (Lilly glares at Rob) And, your company is totally dope. It’s the dopest, dopest dope I ever smoked.

 

LILLY: Dear God, stop talking.

 

MICHAEL: WILLY WONKA!

 

(Cut to Julia Villeneuve, one of the interns, holding her phone, using her digital stopwatch)

 

JULIA: Time!
 

(Noel throws the paper down)

 

NOEL: Ah, dang it! It was Kobe Bryant. What a wonderful diversity of interests we have in here!

 

(Noel sits down as Bonnie gets up and walks over to the hat)

 

BONNIE: Alright, Julia, let’s do this.

 

JULIA: Go.

 

(Bonnie picks out a piece of paper)

 

BONNIE: He’s a creepy racist who loved working with James Eastland and Strom Thurmond to oppose integration bussing-

 

WHITNEY: George Wallace?

 

BONNIE: Close!
 

LUTHER: It’s Joe Biden.

 

BONNIE: Bingo! (Bonnie throws down the paper and picks up another one) Okay, this is a really famous painting of some dude screaming-

 

ROB: MONA LISA!

 

BONNIE: What!?

 

ROB: She’s silently screaming, trust me.

 

LILLY: She’s smirking.

 

BONNIE: No, it’s a really famous painting of a dude with no hair and no features giving his best O-Face-

 

(Marianne appears in the counter)

 

MARIANNE: American Gothic!

 

(Everyone screams)

 

BONNIE: Where in the FUCK did you come from!?

 

JULIA: Time!

 

ROB: Marianne. How did you find me?!

 

MARIANNE: It was spiritual intuition, Robert, honey. (Marianne walks over to Rob and puts her hands on his shoulders) We are connected, cosmically.

 

ROB: Did you follow my car?

 

MARIANNE: No, I followed Lilly’s car.

 

(Lilly stands up)

 

LILLY: What the fuck is going on here?

 

MARIANNE: It’s time, Rob. Tell her.

 

ROB: There’s…nothing to tell.

 

MARIANNE: Rob. Come on. It’s just us.

 

WHITNEY: No…there’s literally so many people in here.

 

ROB: Marianne, please.

 

(Lilly shakes her head)

 

LILLY: Fuck this, man.

 

(Lilly marches out of the apartment)

 

ROB: LILLY! (Rob gets away from Marianne and follows her outside. Cut to Lilly walking toward her car as Rob runs after her) Lilly, please listen-

 

(Lilly turns to Rob)

 

LILLY: NO, YOU LISTEN!
 

(Rob leans in, but then raises his eyebrows)

 

ROB: Go ahead?

 

LILLY: Sorry, I didn’t have anything to say.

 

(Lilly wipes away tears)

 

ROB: Then I’ll start. (Sigh) I haven’t felt the spark for months. Maybe we should’ve caught the hint when we started sleeping in separate bedrooms.

 

LILLY: I moved in with you after I lost my job, if you had a problem with that, you should’ve said something!
 

ROB: I DON’T have a problem with that! But I just don’t think either of us want to drag this out any longer!
 

LILLY: Yeah, two exes living together, that’s a recipe for success.

 

ROB: Is it any better being a couple who have fallen out of love?!

 

LILLY: The LEAST you could do is keep your infidelities discreet! And with someone less than 100!

 

ROB: I didn’t mean for you to find out like this-

 

LILLY: I KNEW! BUT I DIDN’T WANT TO BE EMBARASSED LIKE THAT! IN FRONT OF EVERYONE!
 

ROB: …I didn’t want you to either. Marianne has problems.

 

LILLY: Well…clearly not as many as I do. (Beat) See you at home, asshole.

 

(Lilly gets in her car and drives away. Marianne comes outside and tries to hug Rob, but he squirms away from her)

 

ROB: Stop it. I’m going home. (Rob stumbles over to his car and gets in the front seat and starts up the engine. He accelerates and knocks over a bunch of trash cans. He stops the car and gets out) Can you get Whitney?

 

(Cut back to the party. Luther gets up and picks a piece of paper from the hat)

 

LUTHER: A’ight, this dude was famous, he had a murder trial where he was found not guilty-

 

MCKENZIE: RYAN DONAHUE!
 

LUTHER: What?! No, it was like in the nineties, he was a famous football player-

 

NOEL: OJ Simpson.

 

LUTHER: Yes! (Luther picks up another piece of paper) Okay, this dude was a famous traitor-

 

WHITNEY: LUTHER MOON!
 

LUTHER: Jesus Christ, NO! During the Revolutionary War!
 

BONNIE: GIANT DICK ARNOLD!
 

LUTHER: What?! Really close, but, no.

 

BONNIE: Sorry, that’s what we called him in the Revolutionary War porno we shot.

 

WHITNEY: Benedict Arnold.

 

LUTHER: Yes! (Luther picks up another piece of paper) A’ight, a lotta people think this dude was framed- oh, for fuck’s sake.

 

EVERYONE: RYAN DONAHUE!
 

JULIA: Time!

 

LUTHER: It was Adnan Syed.

 

WHITNEY: Oh, for fuck’s sake, that guy is guilty. Unlike Ryan Donahue, who is innocent. But you don’t see people starting podcasts about it!

 

LUTHER: A’ight, you guys think you’re clever? Let’s talk about it, elephant in the room!
 

MICHAEL: Oh, I don’t know what’s going on.

 

LUTHER: Nobody cares. Listen. I did what I thought was right. I have nothing against Ryan, I just, I saw what I saw. I ain’t gonna apologize for it.

 

ALEC: Just because some gangster trying to get the heat off himself said it, doesn’t mean it’s true, man. You could’ve sent one of my best friends to prison for the rest of his life.

 

LUTHER: The nigga didn’t know I was listening!

 

EVELYN: We never should’ve broken into that apartment to begin with. It has created a cascade of chaos and discord, things which I am unaccustomed to.

 

WHITNEY: Yeah, that was really weird.

 

LUTHER: Hey, well, we’re in the apartment where Ashton was killed, why don’t you guys do some detective work and figure shit out for yourself?

 

(Alec plucks a carpet strand off the grand)

 

ALEC: Oh, what’s this? Look at that! Rainstorm did it. Case closed.

 

(Luther sighs and sits down)

 

LUTHER: …When I was thirteen, my dad was a drug lord in Chicago. He got real rich. But he had a lotta enemies. There was this dude who kept swiping his customers and intruding in on his territory. Had him smoked. I went downstairs one night to get a drumstick from the fridge, and I saw my dad dragging the body into the house. He made me swear on my momma that I’d never tell no one. And when the authorities questioned me about it…I didn’t. I didn’t tell them. My dad still went to jail though, so it accomplished nothing. (Beat) I guess that’s why I testified against Ryan. I wanted to have another chance to do the right thing. And maybe Rainstorm was lying. But I just don’t think he was. And if that means we can’t be friends, then, Whitney, you might as well fire my ass. ‘Cause I can’t stand this any longer.

 

(Whitney ponders this a second and stands up)

 

WHITNEY: Guys. I think it’s time to give Luther a break. If any of us had creepily snuck into another person’s house and overheard something like he did, then who knows? Maybe we would’ve turned on a friend. So let’s give him a break.

 

(They all groan in agreement)

 

LUTHER: Thanks, Stone.

 

WHITNEY: On one condition. You can’t air any of our dirty laundry.

 

BONNIE: YEAH! Like, for example, you can’t tell anyone about the time I shivved a kid in Juvy for poking a hole in my vase and making it blow up in the kiln!

 

LUTHER: But, you, just, aired that-

 

NOEL: You can’t say a word about the time I ran over a squirrel and felt so guilty that I stuffed it and slept with it for a year!

 

LUTHER: Ugh, I hope you mean you slept beside it-

 

NOEL: Yes!

 

MCKENZIE: Don’t you DARE open your mouth about the time Kevin and I went viral and tried to intrude on two people’s privacy to exploit it for own personal gain, which is something that Kevin tells me happened during the period of time that the electroshock therapy erased my memory of!
 

LUTHER: Yeah, everyone already knows that. And it was pretty bad.

 

WHITNEY: Honestly, I forgot about it. Your fifteen minutes was more like five.

 

LUTHER: Look, I won’t tell anybody’s dirty laundry, okay? You don’t seem to be too concerned about airing it anyway.

 

MICHAEL: Luckily, I don’t have any diryt laundry!
 

JULIA: Please shut up, Michael.

 

LUTHER: Great. We’re all friends again. (Luther picks up his beer) To my “Day Ones”.

 

(Everyone picks up their drinks and toast)

 

WHITNEY: To my “Day-ums”?

 

MICHAEL: “Onions”?

 

ALEC: It’s “Day Ones”, okay? Jesus. White people, am I right, Luther?

 

LUTHER: Yeah.

 

(They all drink. Cut to the casting directors having a meeting in a board room)

 

 

CASTING DIRECTOR: Personally, I think one woman stood out amongst the rest.

 

CASTING DIRECTOR 2: Who’s that, Clarence?

 

CLARENCE: This one- (Clarence holds up a picture of Hannah Delaney) right here. She’s only had a brief stint on a reality show, but she really gave life to the character. Confidence, strength, a little vulnerability. Don’t you agree, Tyra?

 

TYRA: I do. But…are you also doing this because she’s Whitney Stone’s ex?

 

CLARENCE: …Maybe a little bit. (The room laughs) But am I wrong?

 

TYRA: No, you’re right. She did really well. More than I can say for what’s-her-name- what was it, Iliana?

 

ILIANA: Colleen Diamond?

 

TYRA: Yeah, her, but also that other one.

 

ILIANA: Oh, Xandra Dyson.

 

TYRA: Yeah, she was really off the rails. A “hospitalization for exhaustion” waiting to happen.

 

ILIANA: …I think she could fight in somehow, though. (They all look at her) She wasn’t right for AstroManda. But maybe…AstroManda can have a darker counterpart.

 

(They all lean in. Cut to Hannah and Xandra having dinner. Xandra knocks back a glass of red wine like it’s nothing)

 

HANNAH: Babe, slow down. We might get the news tonight, who knows?

 

XANDRA: If that Colleen chick was our only competition, we’ll do just fine.

 

HANNAH: She wasn’t. I’m sure they got Jenna Fischer to do it, so she can redefine herself as not just being “Pam from The Office” anymore.

 

XANDRA: Pam was a hottie. Until she got pregnant.

 

HANNAH: She wasn’t pregnant, the whole time?

 

XANDRA: I know, but I don’t like pregnant bitches.

 

(Hannah chuckles and shakes her head.  Hannah gets a call and she answers it)

 

HANNAH: Hello? (Listening) Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Oh my God. THAT’S AMAZING!

 

XANDRA: What?! What is it!?

 

HANNAH: Yes, of course, I’ll remain in touch with you too! THANK YOU SO MUCH! (Hannah hangs up) OH MY GOD!
 

XANDRA: What?! Did you get the part?!

 

HANNAH: WE BOTH GOT THE PART!

 

XANDRA: …WHAT?!

 

HANNAH: I’m AstroManda, and they created a part specifically for you!

 

(Xandra sits back in shock)

 

XANDRA: Well, fuck this dinner, we’re eating drugs tonight.

 

(Xandra and Hannah giddily get up and leave. Cut to Evelyn positioning herself on their fuck-swing, bare naked, in front of Luther)

 

EVELYN: You won them over. Now win me over again.

 

(Luther nods. He pulls down his pants and begins fucking her. Cut to Hannah sitting on Xandra’s couch, in the midst of a wild party full of people. Xandra is being held upside down as she does a keg stand. People are chanting. Hannah smiles as she’s lowered)

 

XANDRA: WOOOOOO! I’M GONNA BE ON TV, BITCHES! PREPARE TO BE FORGOTTEN!

 

(Some guy hands Whitney a mirror with a line of cocaine on it and a straw)

 

HANNAH: Thanks.

 

(Hannah snorts the cocaine off of it and sniffs repeatedly after wiggles her nose. Xandra gets on the couch and starts making out with Hannah as the crowded party cheers and applauds. Cut to Rob and Lilly entering the foyer of their home at the same time. They stare at each other. Cut to Hannah and Xandra making out. Cut to Rob and Lilly staring. Cut to Luther and Evelyn fucking. Cut to Rob and Lilly staring. Cut to Hannah and Xandra making out underwater in their pool. Cut to Luther finishing and falling onto the ground. Cut to Rob and Lilly staring. Cut to Hannah and Xandra sitting beside each other poolside, holding hands and clinking champagne glasses. Cut to Evelyn getting off the fuck-swing and seeing Luther lying on the ground. She shakes her head fishes a cigarette out of her pants nearby and lights it as she gets in bed. Cut to Lilly and Rob staring at each other. Finally, they break off into their separate bedrooms and close the doors behind them. Cut to Whitney walking into Stone Productions the next morning. She picks up the Trade Journals as Michael stands up enthusiastically)

 

MICHAEL: Morning, Ms. Stone!
 

WHITNEY: Yep.

 

(Whitney walks into her office and cracks open Deadline Hollywood. She flips through a few articles until she clocks one, featuring pictures of Hannah Delaney and Xandra Dyson- “RELATIVE UNKNOWNS HANNAH DELANEY AND XANDRA DYSON CAST IN ASTROMANDA TV ADAPTATION”. Whitney drops the magazine. She backs up in her chair and covers her eyes and starts screaming bloody murder. Quickly, Alec bursts in the office, along with McKenzie, Bonnie and Luther. Cut to black)

 

THE END


Submitted: June 24, 2019

© Copyright 2021 NEONETWORK. All rights reserved.

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