The Valley of the Tools Episode 25

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

Rob and Lilly attempt to save their relationship, but Evelyn's story about Rob's ancestor inspires doubt. Miles' club falters and he is forced to reach out to Stone Productions and get back to doing what he does best- making terrible films. Noel begins to suspect Bonnie is doing porn again.

 

THE VALLEY OF THE TOOLS

 

“THE BIG ONE”

 

TV-MA DLS

 

“Original sin, genetic fate. Revolutions, spinning plates. It's important to stay informed. The commentary to comment on. Oh, and no one ever really knows you and life is brief, so I've heard, but what's that gotta do with this black hole and me?

  • Josh Tillman

 

(We start with Rob, shirtless, lounging by the pool on the morning of July 4th. He sucks on a cigarette and expels the smoke from his mouth while scrolling through his phone. Lilly walks outside wearing a bathing suit and holding a margarita. She sits on a lounge chair near Rob’s)

 

ROB: Come here.

 

LILLY: I will if I want to.

 

ROB: Do you want to? (Lilly looks over at Rob and smirks) I know what that means. I can read that face.

 

(Lilly walks over and sits on Rob’s lap)

 

LILLY: I’m here. What do you want?

 

ROB: I want you. And you alone.

 

LILLY: Really?

 

ROB: Hey! If we’re gonna salvage this, we gotta be honest about what we want.

 

(Lilly shrugs)

 

LILLY: That’s uncharacteristically mature.

 

ROB: I’m trying.

 

(Lilly and Rob start kissing, but then a slow-moving, rolling earthquake hits and they both stop and look around)

 

LILLY: Oh, shit.

 

ROB: Relax. It’s just an earthquake.

 

LILLY: I know what it is!
 

(Rob holds Lilly)

 

ROB: I can protect you, Lillian.

 

(The water in the pool violently sloshes around)

 

LILLY: Rob!

 

(Lilly detaches from Rob)

 

ROB: It’s still going?

 

LILLY: I haven’t experienced one of these in a while.

 

ROB: Is this the big one?

 

LILLY: I don’t know…

 

(The earthquake subsides)

 

ROB: I’ve lived here for five years, I’ve never experienced an earthquake, that was so terrifying.

 

LILLY: It was the first one in a long time, I think.

 

ROB: Let’s have sex to get over this trauma. (Lilly sighs, gets up and walks away) Lilly! COME ON!

 

(Cut to Rob walking into work the next day. Rob looks tired and depressed as Michael stands up to greet him)

 

MICHAEL: Morning, Mr. Altmire! You feel the quake yesterday morning?

 

(Rob stops by Michael’s desk and picks up the LA Times and looks through it)

 

ROB: No, shithead, I thought it was the ice cream truck.

 

MICHAEL: Oh, well, sorry, it’s just that, I’m not from California, so- (Rob walks toward his office) I had never experienced- (Rob’s door shuts behind him, as Michael sits down) …an earthquake. (Evelyn walks in and Michael jumps up) Hi there! Can I help you?

 

EVELYN: Be seated.

 

MICHAEL: Yes, ma’am.

 

(Michael sits down)

 

EVELYN: Is Alec Washburn present or indisposed?

 

(Luther walks in)

 

LUTHER: Luther Moon, present as fuck.

 

EVELYN: I didn’t call for you, but it’s nice to see you, my significant other.

 

(Alec walks in)

 

ALEC: Hey, Evelyn.

 

(Evelyn shakes Alec’s hand)

 

EVELYN: That is who I’m really here to see. You feel the seismic event yesterday?

 

ALEC: Yeah, I was streaming on Twitch. Made for some good content.

 

EVELYN: I’m glad something good came of it.

 

MICHAEL: Sometimes great things come in disguises.

 

ALEC: Shut up, man.

 

MICHAEL: Yes!

 

EVELYN: Shall we?

 

ALEC: Yeah.

 

LUTHER: And we’ll meet up afterward?

 

EVELYN: Yes, honey.

 

(Evelyn kisses Luther and Alec and she walk into the break room. Cut to the break room, where Alec and Evelyn are talking)

 

ALEC: So, Tara and I want a new place. Maybe somewhere in Van Nuys.

 

EVELYN: What’s your price range?

 

ALEC: We want to rent, obviously. Maybe 1200 a month?

 

EVELYN: So, a minimum of 1200 a month?

 

ALEC: No, that’s our ceiling.

 

(Evelyn grits her teeth)

 

EVELYN: I’m not sure I can successfully facilitate that for you, Mr. Washburn. But there are plenty of other options, like renting out a rich person’s closet and paying through indentured servitude and sleeping on a park bench for only 800 a month, plus amenities.

 

ALEC: What would be the amenities in that situation?

 

EVELYN: Blowjobs from men with no teeth.

 

ALEC: Oh. (Rob walks in and opens the fridge) You feel it yesterday, Alt-man?

 

ROB: Why do people keep asking me that? (Rob takes a canned mojito out of the fridge and opens it) Who didn’t feel it?

 

ALEC: Where did you get that? I want it.

 

(McKenzie walks in)

 

MCKENZIE: I was listening to Tyler The Creator’s “Earfquake” when it struck.

 

EVELYN: (Skeptical) Were you really?

 

MCKENZIE: I mean…no. But I was listening to “Glitter” by Tyler The Creator. So, it’s like…I was listening to a guy with a song about an Earthquake.

 

ROB: Top quality, story, Park.

 

MCKENZIE: Now, hold on! I have another one. My great, great grandfather, Willard Park, died in the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

 

EVELYN: Interesting.

 

LUTHER: You know how?

 

MCKENZIE: Crushed by a piano. He delivered them for a living, he would lift them to second-floor apartments by rope.

 

LUTHER: …Was the piano…moved by the quake?

 

MCKENZIE: …From the records my dad showed me, they’re not sure if his death was directly caused by the quake, or just happened, shortly before or shortly after the quake. If that makes sense.

 

LUTHER: Gotcha. You know, Evelyn’s an amateur genealogist.

 

ROB: No way?

 

EVELYN: Oh. Well, yes, I am. I am extremely proficient in researching people’s family history. I did Luther’s.

 

ROB: What’s your family history, Luther?

 

LUTHER: …My family were slaves from The Congo-

 

(Everyone squirms around uncomfortably)

 

ROB: Right.

 

LUTHER: We were sold from plantation to plantation for a couple centuries, until we were freed after the Civil War.

 

ROB: See? Every story has a happy ending.

 

LUTHER: We were free to become share-croppers to pay off our debts.

 

ROB: Oh. That’s… (Long awkward silence) well, anyhow, I want to know my family history.

 

MCKENZIE: Me too.

 

(Whitney and Bonnie in)

 

WHITNEY: Family history?

 

EVELYN: I’m an amateur genealogist. Look, if you guys want your family history’s done, I can do it.

 

WHITNEY: Yeah, that’d be fun. Like a fun, end-of-the-day bonding activity.

 

MCKENZIE: Would you do that?

 

EVELYN: I am completely amenable to that suggestion, just everyone venmo me fifty dollars and I will get started.

 

BONNIE: Fifty bucks?

 

EVELYN: Well, to get it done by the end of the day, it’s a lot of intense time and labor. It’s only fair.

 

(Everyone sighs, shrugs and pulls out their phones, except for Luther)

 

LUTHER: You can’t just hustle my friends like this, Eve.

 

EVELYN: They are paying for a service!

 

ALEC: Are we gonna get back to my apartment search, or-?

 

(Cut to Whitney sitting behind her desk, across from her is a balding accountant with a potbelly, handing her a stapled financial report. Robert is sitting alongside Whitney’s desk too, looking disconnected. Alec and Noel are taking notes in the background)

 

DEVON: Essentially, the revenue you were going to get from AstroManda increased the value of your company, and now that you’ve lost one of your biggest shows, you need to start getting new ones, and fast. It’s all laid out in the report-

 

WHITNEY: Which I read in its entirety this morning.

 

DEVON: As I’m sure Mr. Altmire did-

 

ROB: I, skimmed it. I was too busy reading the Mueller Report, which might be a BIT more important.

 

ALEC: You didn’t read the Mueller report-

 

ROB: I downloaded the audio book and let it play while doing other things.

 

ALEC: What other things?

 

ROB: Listening to music.

 

DEVON: The point is, your long-term profitability will be affected by the loss of AstroManda, if you don’t start picking up new projects. So, pound the pavement, don’t discriminate, get any project you can, big or small.

 

WHITNEY: We still have Susan B. Trippin’.

 

DEVON: It’s a miniseries, it’s not as profitable as AstroManda would’ve been.

 

WHITNEY: Fair enough. Thanks so much for doing this, Mr. Hunt.

 

DEVON: Please. Call me Devon. (Whitney, Devon and Rob stand up. They shake his hand as he waves and heads for the door, but he stops short) One more thing. You should hire a CFO. It’ll keep things in order enough to where you don’t have to call guys like me.

 

ROB: Why don’t we hire you?

 

DEVON: I’m flattered, but I’m retiring to the Bahamas. Want to spend the rest of my life having sex with my wife.

 

WHITNEY: Ah. Lovely.

 

DEVON: It will be.

 

(Devon gives a thumbs-up and leaves)

 

ROB: I wonder who he’s married to. Noel, find that out.

 

NOEL: Yes, sir. Do you want pictures?

 

ROB: Only if she’s hot, which, let’s be honest, is a pretty remote possibility.

 

WHITNEY: How do you still work here?

 

(Rob shrugs)

 

ROB: Don’t blame me, you’re the boss.

 

WHITNEY: Just pound the pavement for shows, okay?

 

(Rob salutes Whitney)

 

ROB: Aye, aye.

 

(Rob leaves. Cut to Miles cleaning glasses at Shortsight. Club patronage is very sparse. Two men are fencing with dildoes on a raise platform above everything, and they seem very worn out in their pink fencing outfits. Miles sighs as he finishes cleaning his last glass. Cut to Miles on the phone with someone in his cramped back office)

 

MILES: …So what are you saying?

 

ACCOUNTANT: (On the phone) Unless your current level of patronage shoots up by an unprecedented amount, and soon, Shortsight will be out of money within six months. (Miles taps nervously on his desk for a beat) Miles?

 

MILES: Within six months or six months minimum?

 

ACCOUNTANT: Six months maximum.

 

MILES: …Fuck you.

 

ACCOUNTANT: What-

 

(Miles hangs up and throws his phone on the desk angrily. After a few beats, we hear a sexual moan offscreen)

 

XANDRA: (OS) Yo! Is anyone here?!

 

(Miles perks up and runs over to see Hannah and Xandra at the bar)

 

MILES: Oh, holy shit! Hannah, Xandra, how are you?

 

XANDRA: Don’t pretend like you don’t know, Miley, we’re here all the time.

 

HANNAH: Forever stanning Shortsight.

 

MILES: That’s true, just not usually on a Friday afternoon.

 

XANDRA: Well, we just got back from shooting AstroManda in Phoenix, so we’re celebrating our first scenes as professional actresses.

 

HANNAH: We couldn’t wait until nighttime. Or at least, she couldn’t.

 

XANDRA: You’re goddamn right.

 

MILES: The usual for both of you?

 

HANNAH: Yep.

 

(Miles begins making a Cosmo for Xandra and a Whiskey-Pepsi for Hannah. While he’s doing that, one of the dildo fencers takes off his helmet and looks down at Miles)

 

DILDO FENCER: Miles, can we stop!? Barely anyone’s here and we’re exhausted-

 

MILES: WE HAVE COMPANY! DON’T BE RUDE! FIGHT! FIGHT!
 

(The Dildo Fencer goes right back to it as Miles serves Hannah and Xandra their drinks)

 

HANNAH: They can stop if they’re tired, I don’t mind-

 

MILES: They’re just being drama queens. Instead of the regular queens they’re supposed to be.

 

XANDRA: Miles, you’re literally my favorite person.

 

MILES: And you two are my favorite customers!

 

HANNAH: And your only, right now. I know it’s only 2pm, but aren’t there usually a few homeless gays crowding these stools right about now?

 

MILES: Business has been…slow. Because of a series of local shootings, bum fights and baby-throwing contests.

 

HANNAH: Jesus.

 

MILES: But we’ll recover. Because Miles Grothman never stays limp. He always gets his nut.

 

XANDRA: Saaaaame! (Xandra finishes her drink) Another one.

 

(Miles makes her another Cosmo)

 

HANNAH: Tell him, babe, about how we watched one of his old movies.

 

XANDRA: Oh yeah! We watched “Revenge of The Cheerleaders” the other night- holy shit. It’s so funny.

 

MILES: Oh yeah, I have the vaguest memory of that movie. Remind me what happens?

 

HANNAH: The Football team impregnates the entire cheerleading squad, and as revenge, they have their abortions performed on field, and then all the bloody fetuses escape and do a musical number. Holy shit. That’s so disturbing, how high were we when we watched that?

 

XANDRA: Not high enough.

 

(Xandra cracks up)

 

MILES: Huh. You guys liked it, huh?

 

HANNAH: In a very, “holy shit what is happening” way, yes.

 

(Miles ponders this. One of the dildo fencers looks down at him)

 

DILDO FENCER: Man, I gotta take a five-

 

MILES: THEN DEFEAT YOUR OPPONENT!

 

(Cut to Noel and Bonnie walking into Amoeba Music on Sunset Boulevard. Cut to inside, as they walk through the massive and bustling vinyl, CD and DVD store)

 

NOEL: I love this place. I hope Whitney doesn’t mind us taking this long lunch.

 

BONNIE: I really doubt she’ll come out of her office anyway.

 

NOEL: A place like this, man, it’s like a church for secular people. These shelves are the pews, those shirts are the holy garbs, and I’m the Jesus.

 

BONNIE: Then who am I? One of Jesus’ prostitutes?

 

NOEL: If you want to be. No shame in sex work! (Bonnie smirks and rolls her eyes as they both start sorting through records. Noel finds Vampire Weekend’s Contra) Oh, I LOVE this album!
 

BONNIE: Of course you do. But I don’t recognize, any of this shit. Who the fuck is this- (Bonnie holds up a record entitled “DEPRAVED HALLWAY FERN- TELEVISING CREMATIONS” which depicts a father and mother watching a human being burn in a cremation chamber) for example?

 

NOEL: It’s in the wrong place alphabetically, first of all. Oh, wait. (Noel looks at the records) No, mine is.

 

(A bro with a shaved head comes up next to them and starts sorting through records)

 

BRO: Whoa. Are you-?

 

NOEL: Noel Masterson, yes, cool to meet you, man-

 

(Noel extends his hand)

 

BRO: No, this chick. (He points to Bonnie) You’re Bonnie Backlash! From the internet!

 

BONNIE: Dude, just leave us alone, okay?

 

BRO: I know it’s you, you have that shoulder tattoo!

 

(He points to a tattoo on Bonnie’s shoulder depicting a masturbating angel)

 

NOEL: Shoulder tattoo?

 

BONNIE: HEY! (Bonnie turns to the bro) Leave us the fuck alone, or you’ll see your dick on my mantle in the next porno you watch! Get the fuck outta here!
 

(Bro scoffs)

 

BRO: Rude bitch.

 

(He walks away as Bonnie turns back to the records and sorts through them)

 

BONNIE: Fuckin’ creep.

 

NOEL: How did he recognize your tattoo? You’ve only had that for a few months.

 

BONNIE: He probably saw a more recent picture of me or something.

 

NOEL: But what picture? Have you had a publicity photo taken in the last few months?

 

(Bonnie turns to Noel)

 

BONNIE: What’s with the interrogation?

 

NOEL: …Nothing. I’m sorry.

 

(Noel and Bonnie return to sorting through records in uncomfortable silence. Cut to Rob in his office, reading a script. A knock comes at the door)

 

ROB: Come in. (Lilly comes in, and Rob puts the script down and stands up) Oh, hey, it’s Lilly! What brings you over here, babe?

 

(Rob walks over and kisses her)

 

LILLY: I felt shitty about yesterday. So, I got us tickets to a show tonight.

 

(Lilly holds up two printed-out tickets)

 

ROB: Cool, what is it, like, Hamilton? Or, The Mindy Project or something?

 

LILLY: That last one’s not a live show, no, this is an Improv show at UCB Franklin.

 

ROB: Oh. Improv, awesome! I love it. Let’s do it.

 

LILLY: You know much about improv?

 

ROB: This dude from the club where I used to bounce forced me to go to his improv show once?

 

LILLY: Trust me, it’s much better than that. These are professionals, not attention-seeking dipshits. Or. At least, they’re professional attention-seeking dipshits.

 

ROB: Awesome. Can’t wait.

 

(Lilly and Rob kiss. Noel walks in, clearly pissed)

 

NOEL: Evelyn has that thing. In the conference room.

 

ROB: Wow, Noel. You’re not donning a shit-eating grin. What happened?

 

NOEL: We’re about to get started, come or don’t.

 

(Noel leaves. Rob and Lilly smile and look at each other)

 

LILLY: I’ll see you and your body later.

 

ROB: Bet you’re jealous you don’t get to see my body all the time.

 

(Lilly laughs and cranes her neck to look at his computer)

 

LILLY: Yeah, your desktop background is just your six-pack.

 

ROB: Okay, well, we don’t need to focus on that.

 

LILLY: The picture’s like six years old.

 

ROB: I’ll see you tonight, okay?

 

(Lilly chuckles, kisses Rob and leaves. Rob exits his office as Lilly waves goodbye and leaves the office. Rob walks into the conference room, where McKenzie, Evelyn, Luther, Whitney, Bonnie, Noel and Alec are seated. Evelyn has a sizeable stack of papers in front of her)

 

EVELYN: This took me all day. And I appreciate the trust you put in me by venmoing ahead of time. That is not a risk I would’ve taken, if I’m being honest. Especially when dealing with me.

 

WHITNEY: I regret it already.

 

LUTHER: Alright, get to it, babe.

 

EVELYN: Alright then. I’ll be brief. Alec Washburn.

 

ALEC: Yep.

 

EVELYN: Your family owned a popular chain of brothels and casinos in the wild west during the late 19th century-

 

ALEC: That’s super tight.

 

EVELYN: They all failed, and eventually, your ancestor Rodney Washburn cheated at craps and was castrated by the club owner in front of all his former lovers out of retribution.

 

ALEC: Oh…that’s less tight.

 

EVELYN: Whitney, your family actually owned Luther’s family.

 

WHITNEY: Holy shit. (Whitney backs up from the table) I think I’m gonna be sick.

 

EVELYN: It’s super interesting, actually, your great great great grandmother said in her will that she didn’t want any of her slaves freed after she died, and the only reason your family moved to West Virginia is because slavery was abolished and there was more money in coal.

 

WHITNEY: I am so, so sorry, Luther.

 

LUTHER: Whitney, it’s not your fault. It’s just something you’ve benefitted from your entire life.

 

(Whitney rushes out of the room)

 

ROB: I dodged a bullet there.

 

EVELYN: Shall we continue?

 

MCKENZIE: I’m 100% down to stop.

 

EVELYN: Kenzie, yours isn’t too bad, your family moved here from Canada during the Gold Rush, actually struck gold, got rich-

 

MCKENZIE: Oh, cool.

 

EVELYN: So they started a railroad company where they paid Chinese immigrants almost nothing to spend 20 hours a day laying track.

 

MCKENZIE: That is bad. That is actually very bad, Evelyn.

 

EVELYN: Well. There are no Asian people here to be offended, so, no harm, no foul.

 

LUTHER: That’s just because we haven’t hired any Asian people. I assure everyone, that was not intentional.

 

EVELYN: Bonnie, I couldn’t find any records of the “Backlash” family, are you sure you are not extraterrestrial in origin? I’ve watched YouTube videos about this.

 

BONNIE: No, Evelyn-

 

EVELYN: Maybe you are a time traveler?

 

BONNIE: Evelyn, Bonnie Backlash is not my real name- you know what, never mind.

 

EVELYN: Alec, your family helped found the Boy Scouts-

 

NOEL: That’s neat.

 

EVELYN: But then they were exiled to the Girl Scouts.

 

NOEL: That’s, fine. That’s better, actually, because they have Girl Scout Cookies, so, I win. Plus, women are more patient and understanding.

 

ROB: Come on, do me!
 

EVELYN: Rob, I’d like to go forth more comprehensively on yours. Your family history is remarkable.

 

ROB: Let’s go.

 

EVELYN: Your Great Great Uncle Franklin…perished, on the Titanic.

 

(Gasps fill the room)

 

ROB: …Holy fuck…

 

EVELYN: Get comfortable, this story is gonna be good.

 

(Cut to Miles sitting at a table at Starbucks, drinking his third coffee, as his hands shake and he nervously looks around. A barista comes over with a fourth coffee)

 

BARISTA: I don’t know who you’re looking for, man, but I don’t think they’re coming.

 

MILES: I texted this producer if he could meet me and he said “maybe”! Where the hell is he?!

 

BARISTA: …I don’t know, but look, we don’t usually do table service here, so. If you want more coffee, you’re gonna have to come up to the counter.

 

MILES: How dare you!?! I got a bum foot, you know!
 

BARISTA: Then shouldn’t you have, like, a wheelchair, or cane or something?

 

MILES: Just give it.

 

(Miles swipes the coffee away from the barista as she walks away. He takes out his phone and scrolls through his contact list. He finds McKenzie and his finger hovers over her number. He goes for it. Cut to Evelyn’s genealogy meeting. McKenzie gets a call and sees that it’s Miles, but she presses “ignore”)

 

EVELYN: I have something very special with me. (Evelyn takes out a very old, faded diary) The diary of Franklin Altmire, Titanic victim.

 

(They all gasp)

 

ROB: I’m sure he would’ve preferred the term “journal”, but, let’s get into it.

 

WHITNEY: Did that not go down with the Titanic?

 

EVELYN: His lover took it with her onto the lifeboats.

 

ROB: She took his diary but not him. (Scoffs) Women.

 

WHITNEY: I thought it was a journal?

 

(Evelyn cracks open the book)

 

EVELYN: In April 1912-

 

(We flashback to a 40-year old man named Franklin Altmire, wearing a newsboy cap, a black cloth jacket, a workman’s collar and good bit of stubble, accompanied by a beautiful young redhead named Roxanne, a 33-year old woman with rosy cheeks, a plain dress and done-up red hair, boarding the Titanic in April 1912. A stream of other men and women in period attire are boarding behind them)

 

ROXANNE: (Irish accent) Do ya figure they’ll let us into the main ballroom?

 

FRANKLIN: (Irish accent) No, my lass, we gotta stay down in steerage with the dregs. But don’t worry your pretty little head, we’ll make our own fun. Some of a sexual nature.

 

(Roxanne giggles as she and Franklin descend into the bottom reaches of the ship. Cut to Franklin and Roxanne sharing beers with a number of other Irish immigrants. Numerous Irish immigrants are dancing ethnic dances in the corner of the room)

 

IRISH IMMIGRANT: To seeking a new and better life in the U-S-A! For men, women and children alike!

 

FRANKLIN: Cheers!
 

(Franklin and Roxanne clink their beer glasses with the other immigrants. Suddenly, in walks a brunette woman named Lauren Flannery, wearing a frilly dress and sun hat. She walks over to a bearded ruffian holding a stein of beer and starts talking to him)

 

ROXANNE: Oh, dear.

 

FRANKLIN: What is it?

 

ROXANNE: Is that not Lauren Flannery?

 

FRANKLIN: Oh, Christ on a bike!

 

ROXANNE: What’s she doing here?

 

FRANKLIN: Probably whorin’, state of her.

 

ROXANNE: She prolly is, that strumpet.

 

FRANKLIN: She’s a pretty whore, though.

 

(Roxanne punches Franklin’s shoulder)

 

ROXANNE: Ya pox! Why don’t you go over there and open-mouth kiss ‘er in front of me?

 

FRANKLIN: I would never, me lady, I just think objectively, she’s a beautiful lass.

 

ROXANNE: You’re a langer, I’m done with yas.

 

(Roxanne gets up and Franklin gets up and grabs her shoulder)

 

FRANKLIN: Don’t be like that, love. I got no feelings for her, swear on me life.

 

(Roxanne turns to Franklin)

 

ROXANNE: Prove it.

 

(Franklin looks over at her enjoying a beer while chatting with the ruffian from earlier)

 

FRANKLIN: I will. I’ll go challenger her to a duel.

 

ROXANNE: Wha- (Franklin begins walking away) Frankie, that doesn’t make a lick o’ sense-

 

(Franklin walks over to Lauren)

 

FRANKLIN: Lauren.

 

LAUREN: Frankie, ‘ow ya doin’, ya scag? It’s been years, never woulda expected to see you on the Titanic!

 

FRANKLIN: I challenge you to a duel, Flannery. I trust ya have a gun stashed somewhere.

 

(The Ruffian looks at Franklin, perplexed, as does Lauren)

 

LAUREN: Queer joke, lad.

 

FRANKLIN: It’s not joke, miss. Ya upset my lass, now we duel.

 

(Ruffian turns to Franklin)

 

RUFFIAN: Gotta get through me, ya wagon.

 

(Franklin freezes but then throws a punch, but he’s hopeless in the fight, as the far bigger ruffian decks him out)

 

ROXANNE: FRANKLIN!

 

(Franklin gets up holding his bleeding nose)

 

FRANKLIN: Give your lass a gun and have her duel me like a man!

 

RUFFIAN: FUCK OFF!
 

(A Titanic guard runs in and breaks up the two)

 

TITANIC GUARD: (British accent) What’s happened here?

 

RUFFIAN: This asshole was threatening to duel my lass, that’s what!
 

ROXANNE: Go easy on him, officer!
 

TITANIC GUARD: SHUT UP! Let’s go, three hours in the brig!
 

(The Guard takes Franklin away)

 

FRANKLIN: FUCK OFF YA LIMEY BASTARD!

 

(Roxanne throws up her hands and cries. Cut to present day, as Evelyn is reading this to the Stone Productions staff)

 

EVELYN: “So then this beef-eatin’ brit took me to the brig where I cried and pulled me pud for three hours straight”.

 

ROB: This dude did not have the Altmire gift of spinning an unflattering story to make yourself look better.

 

MCKENZIE: Well, it is his personal diary.

 

(Evelyn clears her throat)

 

EVELYN: Please don’t interrupt. (Everyone, a little thrown off, nods and lets her go forward) “When I got out..”

 

(Cut to Roxanne looking off the bow of the ship late at night. Franklin walks out onto the bow and clears his throat. Roxanne looks behind her. Franklin gets on his knee and pulls out a flower)

 

FRANKLIN: Ms. Shanahan, could you find it in your cold, dark heart to forgive a wee fool like me-self?

 

ROXANNE: You’re a damned fool, Franklin. How are we supposed to make it in New York City if we can’t go a whole boat ride without ya getting’ yourself thrown behind bars?

 

FRANKLIN: …I don’t know, Roxanne. (Franklin steps closer and embraces her) But I do know I’ll make so much dosh making shirtwaist that I can buy ye a new dress! (Roxanne smiles and kisses Franklin. Suddenly, they hear a loud scraping noise and a great bit of commotion) What in the bleedin’ hell was that?

 

ROXANNE: Doesn’t sound good.

 

(They both run off. Cut to Roxanne and Franklin looking on as chaos envelops the ship. Titanic officers are barking orders at frightened women and children, to board boats that are being readied to descend into the cold sea. Men stand by watching with utter fear barely disguised by stoicism. Many smoke pipes. Franklin is one of them)

 

TITANIC OFFICER: WOMEN AND CHILDREN ONLY! MEN WILL BE EVACUATED LAST! NO EXCEPTIONS!

 

ROXANNE: I better go, Franklin.

 

(Franklin turns to Roxanne)

 

FRANKLIN: No, Roxanne, let’s wait. Let’s wait until we can both get on a boat. It’d be much more romantic that way.

 

ROXANNE: But, what if they run out of boats, we could both die!
 

FRANKLIN: Then we’d die together. How romantic is that? (Roxanne scoffs and slaps Franklin) Assault.

 

ROXANNE: You selfish gombeen! You’d rather we both die, than I survive alone? Without you? I tell ya, just because this disaster’s struck us, doesn’t mean things are all right between us. No need to pretend that’s so. I’m catchin’ a lifeboat. Hopefully I’ll be seein’ ya.

 

(Roxanne begins walking away)

 

FRANKLIN: ROXANNE- (Franklin grabs Roxanne’s shoulder, but she pushes him away and jumps onto a lifeboat as it’s being lowered into the sea. Franklin stares forward in disbelief) I’M COMIN’ ROXANNE!

 

(Franklin attempts to jump over the side and into the lifeboat, but petty officers restrain him)

 

PETTY OFFICER: WOMEN AND CHILDREN ONLY, YOU COWARD!
 

(The officer pushes Franklin back. Franklin takes out his diary)

 

FRANKLIN: MAKE SURE I’M REMEMBERED, ROXANNE!

 

(Franklin casts the diary into the boat, and it hits an old woman on the head)

 

OLD WOMAN: OW!

 

(Roxanne picks it up, intrigued)

 

FRANKLIN: Sorry about that!
 

(Cut back to present day, as Evelyn closes the book)

 

EVELYN: That’s that, as far as his diary goes.

 

ROB: Thank God, that man does not reflect on my family very well-

 

EVELYN: Luckily, there are survivor accounts of his actions thereafter, in this book- (Evelyn holds up a book) “The Most Craven Man on the Titanic” by Edward Gross.

 

ROB: Oh. Cool…

 

(Cut back to the Titanic. Franklin looks over and sees Lauren Hargrove getting into a boat while the ruffian from earlier watches)

 

FRANKLIN: LAUREN!
 

(Franklin runs past a man smoking a cigar)

 

MAN: Hm. I should take not of this event.

 

(Franklin runs over to Lauren as she’s stepping foot into the lifeboat)

 

FRANKLIN: LAUREN, MY SWEET! LET ME ON YOUR LIFEBOAT!

 

LAUREN: FUCK OFF, FRANKLIN!
 

(The Ruffian grabs ahold of Franklin)

 

RUFFIAN: You leave her alone, ya bastard!
 

(Franklin pushes the ruffian off of him and kicks him right in the nuts, taking him down. He then gets on top of him and starts wailing on his face)

 

FRANKLIN: HA HA! TAKE THIS, YOU FILTHY SLAG! NOT SO TOUGH NOW, ARE YA? (The Ruffian is knocked out. Franklin stands up and raises his hands) Franklin Altmire’s victorious! What ya think about that- (Franklin turns to where Lauren’s boat was. It’s gone) Lauren-Lauren!? (Franklin looks over the side. Lauren’s boat is sailing off) Goddamnit! (Franklin turns from the side) …No choice but to do what I do best, I suppose…

 

(Cut to Franklin in his cabin, crying and masturbating, as the room quickly fills with water. Cut to outside his cabin, as a petty officer walks by and hears him)

 

PETTY OFFICER: …This’ll be a funny story if I get out of here alive.

 

(Petty officer walks away. Cut to Roxanne in the lifeboat, watching the Titanic disappear into the water, as over a thousand haunting screams sound out. She wipes away tears. Cut back to Evelyn in modern day Los Angeles, closing the book)

 

EVELYN: There, that’s the story.

 

ROB: Jesus, that’s bleak.

 

EVELYN: Well, there is one more thing that might surprise you. Roxanne Shanahan is still alive today, 127 years young.

 

WHITNEY: No, she’s not.

 

ROB: Wait, are you for real?

 

WHITNEY: There is literally no way that is true, no human has ever lived that long!
 

LUTHER: Eve, don’t do this.

 

EVELYN: No, Roxanne, come in!
 

(A 70-year old homeless woman comes in, carrying grocery bags)

 

HOMELESS WOMAN: Hello!
 

(The whole room groans)

 

LUTHER: For fuck’s sake, Evelyn.

 

EVELYN: Don’t be rude to our guest! Have a seat, young woman. Look, she even purchased groceries for everyone.

 

(The homeless woman sits down)

 

WHITNEY: Oh, come on, these are new chairs.

 

MCKENZIE: Evelyn, where did you find this woman? What have you promised her?

 

ROB: Very unlikely that’s Roxanne.

 

WHITNEY: Rob, it’s IMPOSSIBLE.

 

EVELYN: We can do a quick Q&A, but it’ll cost all of you 50 bucks.

 

(Luther gets up and puts his hands on the woman’s shoulder)

 

LUTHER: Let’s find you a shelter, huh?

 

HOMELESS WOMAN: I was promised lunch!
 

(McKenzie gets up and gives the woman ten dollars, which she immediately takes)

 

MCKENZIE: Best of luck to you.

 

(Luther and the homeless woman leave)

 

EVELYN: Wow. You deprived yourselves of that enlightening experience, congratulations.

 

BONNIE: Well. That was fun. But Noel and I have a date.

 

NOEL: Yep! Isn’t it great love always gives you something to look forward to?

 

BONNIE: Noel, we don’t have time for this. Let’s head out.

 

NOEL: Got it.

 

(Bonnie and Noel leave, just as everyone else is starting to get up, except for Rob, who just sits staring forward. Cut to Bonnie and Noel at a dimly lit restaurant. Bonnie finishes a second glass of wine)

 

BONNIE: Oh. Damnit, that’s already gone, huh?

 

NOEL: Yep. Can you give me a sip?

 

BONNIE: I don’t want to get kicked out, kiddo.

 

NOEL: Just tell them you’re my mom.

 

BONNIE: Please don’t say shit like that.

 

(Noel chuckles as he sips a glass of coke)

 

NOEL: Don’t worry, I’ll be twenty-one next year and I’ll be able to drink.

 

BONNIE: Yeah, unless the Nazis in Sacramento raise the age for that, too. Gonna have to be 35 to buy Diet Coke pretty soon if the Nanny State gets it way.

 

(Noel laughs as the waitress comes over)

 

WAITRESS: Are we ready?

 

BONNIE: Yeah, I’ll have the mushroom burger with a side of fries, please.

 

WAITRESS: Wonderful, and you?

 

NOEL: I’ll have the cheeseburger from the kid’s menu. (Bonnie sighs) Sorry, it’s cheaper and Rob doesn’t pay me much.

 

WAITRESS: Would you like apple sauce or apple slices with that?

 

(Noel shakes his head)

 

NOEL: Neither, please.

 

WAITRESS: Great. That’ll be right out.

 

(Waitress walks away. Cut to that night, Bonnie and Noel in bed. Bonnie is eating chips while watching something on her iPad. Noel scoots over to her and starts kissing her neck. Bonnie takes out her headphones)

 

BONNIE: Noel.

 

(Noel backs off)

 

NOEL: What?

 

BONNIE: Not tonight, okay? I’m tired.

 

(Noel sighs)

 

NOEL: Alright. (Beat) I’m gonna go make a sandwich.

 

(Noel takes his laptop with him and leaves the room)

 

BONNIE: Are you gonna look up how to make a sandwich?

 

(Cut to Noel in the bathroom, watching porn on his laptop with headphones. He takes out his hard dick and starts jerking off as he says a man take a blonde woman from behind. But eventually, he stops dead in his tracks and pauses the video. He sees Bonnie’s tattoo on the woman’s shoulder)

 

NOEL: OH MY GOD! (Cut to Noel walking, pants back on, with the laptop on the screenshot) What the hell is this?!

 

(Noel puts the laptop on the bed. Bonnie clocks it)

 

BONNIE: Noel, it is too late at night for this-

 

NOEL: IT’S 7:30!

 

BONNIE: Okay, FINE! I’M DOING PORN AGAIN! You know, I don’t get paid that much either, but you get to order a burger off the kid’s menu and I can’t do porn!?

 

NOEL: I DIDN’T FUCK THE CHEESEBURGER!

 

BONNIE: HEY! SHUT IT! DON’T TALK TO ME THAT WAY!
 

NOEL: THIS IS CHEATING!
 

BONNIE: IT’S PORN! HOW OLD ARE YOU?! Oh right, you’re twenty.

 

NOEL: How is it not cheating?!

 

BONNIE: It’s like acting! Clark Gable wasn’t cheating on Carole Lambard when he kissed Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind!

 

NOEL: WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?!

 

BONNIE: Of course.

 

NOEL: This isn’t acting the sex isn’t simulated, you’re REALLY having sex with these people!
 

BONNIE: Look, I gotsta pay the bills! I’m good at this, I have a fanbase, and if you don’t like it, you can leave.

 

NOEL: GREAT! I WILL!
 

(Noel grabs his laptop and leaves. Bonnie tosses her iPad aside and covers her face. Cut to McKenzie in her living room, smoking a cigarette while sorting through Netflix. She gets a notification on her phone from The LA Times- “Biden’s Lead Slips- Warren and Harris Surge Post-Debate, and oh yeah, Bernie is still in second but whatever”. McKenzie dismisses the alert and goes to her missed calls. She sees Miles’ name and calls him back. Cut to Miles resting his head on his fist behind his bar. There are a few more people there, but it’s still a pretty sparse attendance for a Friday night. He gets the call and quickly answers it. Intercut between Miles and McKenzie)

 

MILES: McKenzie!!

 

MCKENZIE: Miles! What’s up?

 

MILES: I have a movie idea. Let’s meet.

 

MCKENZIE: …Where and when?

 

MILES: …Is Whitney still working?

 

MCKENZIE: …Almost certainly.

 

(Cut to McKenzie and Miles sitting in front of Whitney in her office at around 7:45 PM)

 

WHITNEY: So, why is this happening?

 

MCKENZIE: You told us to get any project, and here I am, with a project.

 

WHITNEY: Yeah, but…I didn’t think I needed to say this was a little beyond the line of what I would accept.

 

MCKENZIE: Just hear him out. It’s interesting.

 

(Miles scoots up)

 

MILES: Imagine. You’re on a planet that’s had 80% of its population wiped out by a rare form of AIDs that presents with open sores on the face that secrete green goo-

 

WHITNEY: Jesus Christ.

 

MILES: The planet needs to be repopulated, so a platoon of sexy alien man-sluts goes around whipping people to get them to fuck, fuck and fuck more!

 

WHITNEY: Already done listening to this!
 

MILES: WHITNEY! Look. Let me just be straight-up with you. My club is failing. We’ll be out of money very soon. You can make whatever changes you want to the film, honestly. (Beat) Except for the sexy alien man-sluts, that’s non-negotiable.

 

MCKENZIE: Honestly, that’s the best part of THIS and any movie ever.

 

MILES: Just let me be a client. I need to go back to what I do best. Making shitty, ridiculous movies to make a buck.

 

(Whitney sighs)

 

WHITNEY: I can make any changes I want?

 

MILES: Yes! Except for the sexy alien man-sluts.

 

WHITNEY: Got it. (Beat) No hard feelings about CBS?

 

MILES: …No, none at all.

 

WHITNEY: …I told you to get me whatever you could. We’re in business, Mr. Grothman.

 

(Whitney and Miles shake hands)

 

MILES: You won’t regret this.

 

WHITNEY: I already do.

 

(Whitney sits back. Noel runs in)

 

NOEL: I knew you’d be here! (Noel looks at Miles and McKenzie) McKenzie? Miles?! What are you...anyway, Whitney, I have a question to ask you.

 

WHITNEY: What is it?

 

NOEL: Can Bonnie have a raise? She’s having to, you know, do porn again to make money and I don’t think she should have to do that-

 

MCKENZIE: What?

 

MILES: No way? Good for her!
 

WHITNEY: Did she send you to do this?

 

NOEL: No, I just, I feel like this is the right thing to do.

 

WHITNEY: …It’s not. You’ve seriously violated her trust, especially by telling us she’s doing porn again.

 

NOEL: …I mean-

 

WHITNEY: Money’s tight, Noel. Now please leave.

 

NOEL: Please don’t tell-

 

WHITNEY: Go.

 

(Noel sighs and walks out)

 

WHITNEY: You guys should go, too. I have some work to catch up on.

 

MCKENZIE: You mean after that vacation you took?

 

(Whitney glares at McKenzie. McKenzie puts up her hands- “my bad”. She leaves with Miles. Cut to Rob driving Lilly down the road alongside the beach in Santa Monica. NPR is playing)

 

NPR: After President Trump made history last week by becoming the first President to step foot in North Korea and meet with Kim Jong-Un, rumors are circulating that the Administration will accept a testing and development freeze, rather than pushing for denuclearization. But National Security Advisor John Bolton pushed back on this report, saying there should be “consequences” for the journalist that reported it. This, a part of their ongoing efforts to distinguish themselves from the North Korean regime. In other news, yesterday’s Earthquake in South California has sparked concerns about “The Big One”-

 

(Rob turns down the news)

 

ROB: Did you hear Harris is gaining ground? Damn, I hope she kicks Biden’ ass.

 

LILLY: Anybody would be better than Biden.

 

ROB: We’re friends, ya know, Kamala and I.

 

LILLY: You guys met at a party once, I wouldn’t exactly say you’re friends-

 

ROB: We keep in touch, though.

 

LILLY: When’s the last time you spoke with her?

 

ROB: Oh, here we are. (Rob parks and Lilly and he both get out of the car. Cut to Rob and Lilly holding hands, walking across the beach) …I never get tired of living here, ya know? Look at all this. Look at all we have.

 

LILLY: …Eh. I could see living somewhere else.

 

(Rob looks at Lilly as she keeps walking. Rob stops and brings Lilly close. He starts making out with her. She gives in for a few seconds, but as soon as she comes up for air, Lilly slips off her shoes and walks onto the wet part of the sand, as the tide comes in. She spreads her arms and takes in the wind. Rob stays back and looks at her. A tear comes down his cheek. He closes his eyes. Suddenly, the second Northridge Earthquake strikes. Immediately, Rob and Lilly stand in defensive positions and look around, and commotion occurs on the beach as well. This quake is more powerful, so Lilly and Rob get on the ground. Lilly looks at Rob and Rob looks back at her and shrugs. Cut to McKenzie and Miles in the parking garage, McKenzie is on the ground, covering her head. Miles is just standing there as the quake occurs. Cut to Noel parked on the side of the road, covering his head and crying as the quake shakes everything around him. Cut to Bonnie watching TV on her iPad. She takes off her headphones for a second, looks arounds, rolls her eyes, and goes back to watching TV on her iPad. Cut back to Rob and Lilly. The earthquake ends. They look at each other. Rob looks down, shakes his head and walks away as Lilly looks back toward the horizon. “Holy Shit” by Father John Misty begins playing. Cut to Rob smoking a cigarette on his balcony as Lilly carries boxes out of her bedroom. Cut to McKenzie walking into her house, and then her bedroom, where she finds an empty bed. She sighs and collapses into it. Cut to Whitney using a dustpan to sweep up a broken glass cup. She looks up to a loose ceiling tile directly above her chair. Cut to Miles taking the lens cap off a camera in a bedroom. We slowly zoom out to see Noel and Bonnie on their bed, naked. Noel puts on a condom and looks to Miles and gives a thumbs-up. Miles gives it right back. Bonnie smiles and they both start having sex. Miles watches them as they do this and smiles. The song ends, as we cut to a Stone Productions meeting on Monday, July 8th. McKenzie, Rob, Whitney, Miles, Bonnie, Luther, Noel, Evelyn and Alec are in the board room)

 

WHITNEY: Hey, everyone. Hope you had a good weekend. (Everyone groans) Great. I wanted to have this All-Hands meeting because there are obviously some major changes here at the company. First off, Miles Grothman here is a new client of ours.

 

ROB: Are you serious?!

 

WHITNEY: Yes, we’re gonna make his stupid movie about gay aliens or whatever. It’s a project! We need as many as we can get.

 

ROB: This dude is not trustworthy! We fired him from this company once already!
 

MILES: Well, I won’t be working for you, you’ll be working for me.

 

ROB: Well, he also betrayed me on Shortsight! Doesn’t that matter!?

 

WHITNEY: Rob, the decision has been made.

 

ROB: Great! So what’s even the point of me working here?!

 

WHITNEY: …Do you wanna have that conversation?

 

(Rob sighs and crosses his arms)

 

ROB: No.

 

WHITNEY: Great. In other news, despite some of her questionable actions last Friday, I’ve decided to hire Evelyn Prost as our Chief Financial Officer.

 

(Evelyn smiles as Luther pats her on the back)

 

ROB: How is she qualified for that?!
 

EVELYN: I double-majored in Real Estate and accounting at the University of California, Irvine.

 

LUTHER: And I recommended her.

 

ROB: But she gave us some stupid-ass story, she probably made up, about some prick she calls my ancestor- who, by the way, isn’t even related to me! Because the man who raised me didn’t conceive me! So! Sorry about your theory about how I’m a shitty guy and a jerk, but, but, YOU’RE the jerk.

 

WHITNEY: ROB. Stop this.

 

(Rob stands up)

 

ROB: …I need a second.

 

(Rob takes out a pack of cigarettes and leaves. McKenzie leans forward)

 

MCKENZIE: I think Lilly broke up with him over the weekend.

 

BONNIE: That didn’t already happen?

 

WHITNEY: Amazingly not. Alright, anything else?

 

ALEC: Where were you guys during the earthquake?

 

WHITNEY: I was…at a club.

 

(Whitney clears her throat)

 

EVELYN: I read that this is just the beginning. We are way overdue for a major, destructive earthquake on San Andreas fault. There hasn’t been an earthquake on the Los Angeles portion of the San Andreas since 1680. Living in Los Angeles is essentially playing Russian Roulette.

 

(There is a long, uneasy silence in the room. Whitney claps)

 

WHITNEY: Back to work!

 

(Cut to Rob standing on his balcony, smoking a cigarette during the daytime. He looks at the cigarette and sees the American Spirit symbol on it. He shrugs)

 

ROB: Eh.

 

(Rob throws the cigarette into his pool below. Cut to black on an underwater shot of the cigarette landing in the water and being extinguished)

 

THE END


Submitted: July 10, 2019

© Copyright 2021 NEONETWORK. All rights reserved.

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