The Valley of the Tools Episode 38

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

Rob is tasked with selling a project to a distributor, but the distributors’ strict adherence to Scientology gets in the way. McKenzie finds herself on the other side of her boyfriend’s increasingly pathetic melancholy since he lost his job and needs to whip him into shape without invalidating his feelings. Miles tries to teach Whitney how to name-drop.

THE VALLEY OF THE TOOLS

 

“SKY FALLING”

 

TV-MA LS

 

“Shake the money, shake the money, shake the money tree. Leave the city, leave the city, leave the city be. So terrified of anything that makes you whole, you whole. Make your living selling promises that you forget. Put your head between the horror and a parapet. Your body's gonna levitate above the wall, the wall

  • Jonathan Higgs

 

(We start with a shot of a smoky, orange-tinted Los Angeles sky. We pan down to see Rob sitting on a lawn chair on his front lawn. He’s drinking a Coca-Cola while looking at it. Imogen walks outside)

 

IMOGEN: Rob!

 

ROB: What’s up.

 

IMOGEN: Come inside, the air out here isn’t healthy to breathe.

 

ROB: I smoked for twenty years, I can handle it.

 

IMOGEN: Right, and you quit, so you could stop sucking toxic smoke into your lungs, so, continue to not do that, please.

 

ROB: You’re basically missing the natural disaster equivalent of a blood moon, but fine, I have work to do anyway.

 

(Rob gets up and folds his lawn chair. Rob carries it toward the front door, as Imogen follows)

 

IMOGEN: Doesn’t this freak you out?

 

(Rob opens the front door, and lets Imogen inside)

 

ROB: Freak me out?

 

IMOGEN: These wildfires, I feel like we’re just getting a taste of what to come.

 

(Rob closes the door)

 

ROB: And what’s to come?

 

IMOGEN: Climate change. The end of the world.

 

ROB: Biden’s up 8 points in the polls, Imogen, we won’t have to deal with this for long.

 

(Rob walks into the living room and sits down on the couch)

 

IMOGEN: He doesn’t even support a ban on fracking!

 

ROB: So, you think Trump would be better?

 

IMOGEN: No, just because I criticize Biden doesn’t mean I’m praising Trump, that’s a childish way of viewing things.

 

ROB: Stop being a fart-face and just vote for Biden, and everything will be fine.

 

(Imogen sighs)

 

IMOGEN: …Jesus, sometimes I almost wish I believed in God, so I could pray to him.

 

(Imogen walks into the master bedroom. Rob shrugs and gets on his feet. Cut to Rob in the middle of a Zoom meeting with the usual suspects at Stone Productions- including Miles)

 

MCKENZIE: This script, is essentially about a guy who gets into this horrible car accident, where he’s bisected at the waist, after he runs into a deer, who is also bisected. But they’re able to save the man’s life by, sowing the man’s torso on top of the deer’s lower half, and he essentially becomes an artificial centaur. So, I think we can safely set this aside-

 

ROB: Fuck no we can’t, are you kidding?!

 

MILES: That’s sick as Hell.

 

LUTHER: Let’s produce that shit.

 

MCKENZIE: …Whitney? I’m being bombarded by the boys.

 

(Whitney clears her throat)

 

WHITNEY: …Seems like it’d be up Miles’ alley, let’s at least get a second reading on it. Everybody should have it read by this time next week.

 

(McKenzie sighs)

 

ROB: What happens after he becomes a centaur?

 

MCKENZIE: He just, frolics around the forest eating leaves, basically!

 

ROB: We could easily change that.

 

LUTHER: Yeah, the idea at its core is sick.

 

WHITNEY: Rob.

 

ROB: Yeah?

 

(Whitney holds up the agenda and points at “Return to Tomorrow” by Stephen Garamendi)

 

WHITNEY: Did you have an intern edit the agenda? You know we’ve passed on this script already, right?!

 

ROB: Yes, and I don’t know why Nico did that, but-

 

MCKENZIE: Wow.

 

ROB: BUT I’m glad an intern had the balls to do that, even though it’s clearly out-of-line, and he should be reprimanded for it, because, I think we were too fast to dismiss this script. It’s well-done.

 

MCKENZIE: I don’t know of any major distributors who would be interested in this, Robert, we’ve been over this. Anything based off the works of L. Ron Hubbard is just gonna be characterized as Scientologist propaganda.

 

WHITNEY: And even ignoring that, I don’t want to be involved with someone like Stephen Garamendi, he is DIRECTLY involved with Church of Scientology, which is an S-C-A-M, scam.

 

ROB: Listen, I’m not a scientologist, but am I the only one who’s a little offended that Whitney would discriminate against a religious group like this?

 

WHITNEY: Oh, for Christ’s sake-

 

ROB: What’s next? Do you want a travel ban for people from Scientologist-majority countries?!

 

WHITNEY: There are no such countries, Robert, most of them are here in L.A. and even THEY don’t constitute anywhere near a majority.

 

ROB: Fine! Fine, if you don’t want to jump on this, that’s okay, but we should at least humor him, because this motherfucker is loaded. If we tickled his balls enough, we could easily get a big heaping of money that could go toward financing Susan B. Trippin’ Season two, if we’re able to shop it around to another network.

 

MCKENZIE: That’s a good point.

 

WHITNEY: How much money does this guy got?

 

ROB: It’s into the hundreds of millions. Apparently, Scientology pays well.

 

WHITNEY: Right, ‘cause it’s a scam.

 

ROB: Scam or not, it can’t hurt to butter this guy up.

 

(Whitney nods)

 

WHITNEY: Fine. Praise his script, but tell him it’s not “on-brand” for us, and then get to brown-nosing.

 

ROB: I’ll schedule an outdoor lunch. Noel, schedule an outdoor lunch.

 

NOEL: I’ll have my mom make PB&Js.

 

ROB: Wha- no. At an outdoor diner. We’re not having a picnic.

 

NOEL: Sorry. Gotcha.

 

(Noel writes that down)

 

WHITNEY: Next up, “Come on, Jennifer, I know you’re sleeping with Bobert”. What the fuck is that title- anyway, McKenzie, did you get to this?

 

MCKENZIE: No, I didn’t, I’ll have it read by next week.

 

WHITNEY: You said that last week.

 

MCKENZIE: Well, sorry, the title made me think it was probably a pass, plus, I’ve been buried trying to get Alien AIDs sold to a distributor, since Rob fumbled the ball on that.

 

ROB: Whoa! Way to throw me under the bus!

 

MCKENZIE: Well, you threw an unpaid intern under the bus a few minutes ago, so, karma’s a bitch.

 

WHITNEY: Just please, have it done as soon as possible.

 

MCKENZIE: I will. But, lately, I feel like I’ve been biting off more than I can chew, or rather, you’ve been force-feeding me gum, which I cannot chew.

 

WHITNEY: We’re in dire times. We can’t afford to hire any extra help, and we can’t trust interns with this stuff. No offense, Alec.

 

ALEC: I’ve not been an intern for a while, now.

 

WHITNEY: Luther, did you get a chance to read “The Royal Lenin Balls”?

 

LUTHER: Yeah, that’s a pass.

 

WHITNEY: Great, that concludes read recaps, shall we go to active agenda items?

 

MILES: I have a sex worker coming over, so I’ll go first. (Everyone groans) Oh my God, what is this, the 50s?!

 

WHITNEY: No, please, go on.

 

MILES: I’ve been polling documentary financiers and distributors about #ProjectPeru, but let’s just say I don’t have a great reputation among documentary filmmakers.

 

MCKENZIE: You don’t say?

 

WHITNEY: Right, I should’ve anticipated that.

 

MILES: There are textbooks on documentary ethics, and there’s an entire chapter devoted to me.

 

MCKENZIE: Oh shit, that’s right!! THAT’S where I saw “The Long Boobs of Central Africa”.

 

LUTHER: Oh shit, that was you?

 

MILES: Why, did you also see it in film school?

 

LUTHER: Yeah, I, uh…must’ve audited a class when I was…thirteen…

 

MILES: Anyway, I think it’d be better if you started making these calls, Whitney.

 

WHITNEY: You’re probably right. Let’s get together and make that happen.

 

MILES: Sounds good to me. (Doorbell rings) Oh, I know who that is.

 

(Everyone groans)

 

ROB: Gross.

 

MILES: Relax! It’s just my pizza. (Miles looks out his window) Actually, no, it is a sex worker. See you, guys!

 

(Miles logs off the meeting as everyone groans. Cut to Rob sitting at an outside table on Vermont Avenue, outside the diner Fred 62. He’s wearing a mask, but a waiter in a face shield brings over a cup of coffee)

 

WAITER: There you are.

 

ROB: Thanks.

 

WAITER: If you prefer not to take your mask down, I can funnel the coffee into your bloodstream.

 

ROB: Um. I’m good. Thanks.

 

(Waiter nods and walks away. He pulls down his mask and sips the coffee. Stephen Garamendi, a lightly tanned, middle-aged man with well-groomed hair, wearing a polo shirt and khakis, and of course a mask with the symbol of scientology on it, walks over and nods to Rob. He rises to his feet)

 

STEPHEN: Nice to finally meet you in the flesh, please, take a seat.

 

ROB: It’s an honor, thank you.

 

(Rob and Stephen both sit down. The waiter walks over)

 

WAITER: Can I get you something?

 

STEPHEN: Just water, thank you. I know Tom Cruise.

 

(Waiter nods)

 

WAITER: …Okay, then. Be right back.

 

(Waiter gets on his away. Rob takes out Stephen’s script)

 

ROB: So, we love your script at Stone Productions.

 

STEPHEN: But it’s not “on-brand” for you.

 

ROB: …Yeah, how did you-?

 

STEPHEN: I’ve had this conversation too many times to count.

 

ROB: How many times?

 

STEPHEN: Exactly seven.

 

ROB: Hmm.

 

STEPHEN: But listen, I’m a practical man. I concern myself with reality, not fantasy, just like Xenu, the leader of the Galactic Confederacy, before me.

 

ROB: Right.

 

STEPHEN: So, I know why you came today. I have a lot of purchase papers, known by your kind as “money”.

 

ROB: My kind?

 

STEPHEN: Non-scientologists.

 

ROB: Well, I would be lying if I said your money had even once crossed my mind. But now that you mention it, you could do a lot of good for our bottom line if you put some of it up. Think of it as a charitable contribution to a struggling production company.

 

STEPHEN: Just send the scripts, and as long as you don’t criticize the church, I’ll sign off on anything. You could send me a remake of “Two Girls, One Cup” and I’d sign off on it.

 

(Stephen laughs)

 

ROB: Tight, dude. Glad to have a caveat-free arrangement with you.

 

(Rob extends his elbow for a bump, but Stephen holds up his hand)

 

STEPHEN: One caveat.

 

ROB: Go ahead.

 

STEPHEN: Accompany me to Church, huh?

 

ROB: Sure- right now?

 

(Stephen snaps his fingers, and a black SUV labeled “Church of Scientology” pulls up right next to them)

 

STEPHEN: Never a better moment, than now. (Stephen throws down ten bucks on the table) Come with me.

 

(Stephen stands up and opens the Scientology van, revealing a comfortable interior with leather seats and champagne flutes. Rob throws down ten bucks and gets up)

 

ROB: My mom said not to get into vans with strangers, but. You sir are not merely a stranger. You’re a stranger who has a lot of money. I’m in.

 

(Rob jumps into the van)

 

STEPHEN: That’s my boy.

 

(Stephen jumps in. The waiter comes over with Stephen’s water)

 

WAITER: Wait, sir, you forgot your- (The van door closes, and they drive off) damnit! (Waiter regards the ten-dollar bill) Did he pay for his water?

 

(The waiter takes both ten dollar bills and moves on. Cut to McKenzie sitting in her home office. She’s on her phone, speaking with someone)

 

MCKENZIE: Yes. Uh-huh. (Beat) Yes, well, I think- uh-huh. Trust me, I’ve tried to get Miles to remove “AIDs” from the title for a long time, but if it makes you feel any better, Miles is gay. It doesn’t? Well, I hope we can continue to talk… hello? (McKenzie looks at her phone. It’s on the home screen) Motherfucker.

 

(McKenzie puts her phone down and buries her face in her hands. She reaches for her pack of American spirits and pulls out a single cigarette. She gets up and walks out of her room. Cut to the living room. We open on a close-up shot of an overflowing ashtray on the coffee table. There are numerous empty beer cans surrounding it, and we pan up to see Kevin glued to the couch, wearing pajamas, his eyes bloodshot as he’s watching “This Old House” on the Smart TV. A pile of pizza boxes are stacked next to him. He’s barely clinging to a burning cigarette in his right hand)

 

MAN’S VOICE ON TV: The faucets blew up in my face.

 

WOMAN: Right.

 

MAN: Turns out, the supply was turned way up- so it forced the valve.

 

(McKenzie walks into the living room, as Kevin starts to drift off)

 

MCKENZIE: Son of a bitch.

 

(Kevin jolts awake, as McKenzie comes over and grabs the cigarette out of his hand)

 

KEVIN: What is it?

 

(McKenzie extinguishes the cigarette in the ashtray, which she then picks up)

 

MCKENZIE: You’re gonna start a fire for Christ’s sake.

 

KEVIN: Sorry.

 

(McKenzie throws the ashtray on the coffee table)

 

MCKENZIE: You better have this shit cleaned up by the time I get back in here- and watch something more stimulating than This Old House, for once.

 

(McKenzie walks toward the door to the porch)

 

KEVIN: Okay, just give me a second.

 

(McKenzie slams the door behind her. Kevin immediately falls back asleep. Cut to McKenzie sitting in the backyard, smoking a cigarette, walking back and forth while on the phone)

 

MCKENZIE: No, I assure you, it has nothing to do with real, historical slavery. (Beat) Or, modern-day slavery, or wage slavery, it’s not a goddamn Michael Moore documentary, it’s a stupid fucking movie about aliens having sex- I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to curse. (McKenzie looks at her phone. They hung up) Of course. (McKenzie hears the sound of flash photography. She furrows her brow and walks inside. She sees three LAPD officers standing around Kevin, who’s still asleep on the couch. Two photo journalists are snapping photos with huge, clunky old cameras) The fuck!?

 

(Officer Prescott walks over to McKenzie)

 

OFFICER PRESCOTT: Did you know this man?

 

MCKENZIE: YES! I live with this man, I STILL know this man!

 

OFFICER PRESCOTT: Neighbors reported a smell. I’m so sorry.

 

MCKENZIE: About what?! That he hasn’t showered in a week!? I appreciate your sentiment, actually-

 

(McKenzie moves past Officer Prescott, but another cop, Officer Gonzalez, gets in her way)

 

OFFICER GONZALEZ: I’m sorry, ma’am, you can’t touch the body.

 

MCKENZIE: For Christ’s sake, he’s not dead! He’s just a lazy, depressed piece of shit! Let me prove it!

 

(The journalist snaps another photo of Kevin)

 

JOURNALIST: (Inexplicable trans-Atlantic accent) What shall the headline be, Officer? “Man Dead for Weeks Before Discovered by Cops with His TV Still On”?

 

FEMALE JOURNALIST: (Trans-Atlantic accent) “Live-in Sweetheart is the Prime Suspect”?

 

MCKENZIE: What is with the old-timey accents and those massive, anachronistic cameras?! Just let me prove he’s alive! (Kevin stirs a little bit, lets out a fart) See!? KEVIN!

 

(Kevin opens his eyes and sees all the cops and journalists)

 

KEVIN: …Listen, we were young, and it was a quiet, dark road, and Matt was the one driving-

 

(McKenzie gets past the police officer and sits next to Kevin, placing her hands on his shoulders)

 

MCKENZIE: Shhhhhh, baby, stop talking, they just thought you were dead.

 

KEVIN: Oh. I wish.

 

OFFICER PRESCOTT: Our mistake, sir. But, please take a shower.

 

MCKENZIE: Great. All pigs may now leave the premises.

 

(The LAPD officers grumble as they start to funnel out)

 

JOURNALIST: Can we still run the story?

 

MCKENZIE: No!

 

(The journalist pouts, and the two of them walk out. Kevin starts crying, and McKenzie embraces him)

 

KEVIN: WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

 

MCKENZIE: Shhhh, it’s okay, Kevin…you’re just depressed…

 

KEVIN: CAN YOU HELP ME SHOWER, PLEASE?!

 

(Cut to Kevin and McKenzie, naked in the shower. Kevin is sobbing in the corner, while McKenzie scrubs him with a sponge as the water is sprayed on them. Cut to Miles, wearing a mask, walking into Whitney’s home office. Whitney stands up, also wearing a mask)

 

MILES: Am I far enough away?

 

WHITNEY: Never. But I thought it better to do this in-person, regardless. Have a seat.

 

(Miles sits down, as does Whitney)

 

MILES: I prepared some talking points for you to follow.

 

(Miles takes out a broken off piece of cardboard with sharpie scribblings on it and puts it on Whitney’s desk)

 

WHITNEY: Did you steal this from a homeless person?

 

MILES: Yeah, I don’t keep any paper at the house, so I borrowed this from Robin. Remember Robin? The homeless Satanist we hired? God, what a misfire that was.

 

WHITNEY: That was pretty bad, yeah. Anywho, are you ready?

 

MILES: Let’s make these cold calls.

 

(Whitney takes out her phone and dials a number)

 

WHITNEY: (Whispering) This is Edward Plumm, wealthy producer in the Palisades. Real geezer.

 

MILES: (Whispering) You should’ve told me before dialing-

 

WHITNEY: That’s a good point-

 

EDWARD: (On the phone) Hello?

 

WHITNEY: Edward! What a pleasure, this is Whitney Stone, at Stone Productions.

 

EDWARD: Stone Productions? You mean Altmire-Stone Productions?

 

WHITNEY: Same company, we just changed our name recently…two years ago. So, how are you tonight?

 

EDWARD: I don’t have a lot of time, so please, go on.

 

WHITNEY: I can call you at a better time if you’d like-

 

EDWARD: No, I mean, I don’t have a lot of time to live. So, get on with it.

 

WHITNEY: Of course! Mr. Plumm, we’re currently going forward with a documentary about the indigenous tribes of the Peruvian Amazon, and when I was thinking about who would be a great producer on this, yours is the first name that popped into my mind.

 

EDWARD: Who’s the director?

 

WHITNEY: Well. (She looks at Miles. He shrugs) He’s a bit of an unknown.

 

EDWARD: I know everyone who’s ever lived. Tojo. Churchill. Mussolini. Everyone.

 

(Miles raises his hand and mouths “out with it”)

 

WHITNEY: You heard of Miles Grothman? (Dial tone) Fuck.

 

(Whitney puts the phone away)

 

MILES: Well. That smarts.

 

WHITNEY: If it makes you feel any better, dial tone shouldn’t have come on that fast, he must’ve hung up before I even told him.

 

(Whitney slams her phone on the receiver)

 

MILES: …I think the problem is, you’re not wowing them. You’ve got to make them think that you’re somebody, not just some 20-year old begging for an unpaid internship.

 

WHITNEY: And how do I do that?

 

MILES: Let me demonstrate.

 

(Miles picks up the phone and dials a number)

 

WHITNEY: Who are you even calling?

 

ARAM: (On the phone) This is Aram?

 

MILES: This XYZ Films?

 

ARAM: Yep? Who’s this?

 

MILES: Aram, this is Miles, I’m Malkovich’s friend!

 

ARAM: John Malkovich?

 

MILES: Yeah, I ran into you at that party, well over a year ago!

 

ARAM: The one with the-?

 

MILES: Yeah, exactly, that one.

 

(Miles’ eyes dart around)

 

ARAM: Cool, man, what can I do for you?

 

MILES: I have this Peru Documentary, and we need some help financing this shit.

 

ARAM: Well, we’re not really in a position to do that, but I can reach out to Maxime, see if he knows anyone.

 

MILES: Sure thing.

 

ARAM: I forget, what’s your last name, again?

 

MILES: …Grothman. (Dial tone) Well, fuck. (Miles hangs up the phone) But you get the idea. Let’s see if you can do it.

 

(Cut to the Scientology van pulling up to a Church of Scientology- this large, white building with a major pillar in front of it. The doors open, and Rob and Stephen jump out with champagne flutes in their hands)

 

STEPHEN: Thank you, Derrick!

 

(Derrick drives away as the doors start to close automatically. Stephen finishes his champagne)

 

ROB: Again, I don’t drink.

 

STEPHEN: Fine, I’ll take yours.

 

(Stephen gulps it and he throws both of the flutes on the pavement, shattering them)

 

ROB: Whoa!

 

STEPHEN: Worry not, new members clean those up for us.

 

(A bunch of Scientology members wearing gray cloaks run over and start picking up the pieces of glass with their bare hands. Stephen leads Rob toward the Church)

 

ROB: Really?

 

STEPHEN: Unless they’re celebrities! Don’t worry about that. (Stephen leads Rob into the building. Cut to this grand, marble lobby with a smiley woman at the front desk and a grand staircase leading upstairs) Trust me, with the possible exception of the Catholic Church, there is not a religion more opulent, or that gets away with more, than the Church of Scientology.

 

ROB: You guys know how to live large. (Rob nods at the receptionist) What’s up?

 

STEPHEN: Don’t talk to her.

 

ROB: …Okay.

 

STEPHEN: Follow me if you would. (Rob and Stephen hike up the stairs. Stephen leads Rob down a hallway, lined by framed pictures of significant figures in Scientology. Stephen stops at a portrait of L. Ron Hubbard) L. Ron Hubbard hatched from an egg that crashed to Earth, on the 11th of March, 1911.

 

ROB: Why didn’t the egg break up in the atmosphere?

 

STEPHEN: Oh, Robert- (Rob squeezes Rob’s cheeks) you’ll learn to stop asking questions like that soon enough.

 

ROB: Try not to touch me, by the way, given everything that’s going on.

 

STEPHEN: Moving on. (Stephen moves on to a picture of L. Ron Hubbard as a young Boy Scout, covered in patches) When he was in Boy Scouts in the mid-20s, he won every single badge there was to win. Fly-fishing, sitting still-fishing, walkin’ fishing, and of course, Hottest Boy.

 

ROB: Talented kid.

 

(Stephen moves on to a picture of L. Ron Hubbard writing)

 

STEPHEN: After commanding ships in the Navy during World War II, and personally killing Hitler-

 

ROB: Wait, didn’t Hitler kill himself?

 

STEPHEN: He convinced him to.

 

ROB: …Alright…

 

STEPHEN: After the war, he became the best science fiction writer of all time.

 

ROB: I dug on “Return to Tomorrow”, though I had never read science fiction, or even a book, before.

 

STEPHEN: Well, you couldn’t have picked a better place to start. Follow me.

 

(Stephen opens a nearby door and leads Rob into a dark room. He flips on the light and reveals a room full of little desks with E-Meters on them, a 7’1 statue of L. Ron Hubbard in the center of the room, with a TV embedded in the statue, around the crotch area)

 

ROB: Wow. Hubbard was even taller than me, and I thought that to be impossible.

 

STEPHEN: He was 7’1, and don’t let Google or anyone else tell you otherwise. (Stephen gets in front of Rob) If you want to truly know the history and the beliefs of our Church, get down on your knees and watch this video.

 

(Rob furrows his brow, but then looks down at the TV in Hubbard’s crotch area, gets down on his knees, until his face is at eye-level with Hubbard’s crotch TV. Stephen turns on the TV, and a video starts playing. We see L. Ron Hubbard preaching from an altar in the mid-50s)

 

NARRATOR: The Church of Scientology was founded in December 1953 by L. Ron Hubbard, in order to spread the word about the origin of human existence, and the concept of dianetics. You see- (We cut to a shot of amorphous spirits floating around in space) humanity started when a group of spirits called “Thetans”, were sick and tired of the monotony of everyday life. They decided to create the Heavens and the Earth as their own personal playground- (We see the Thetans putting construction hats on and building the Heavens and the Earth) but they needed physical vessels in order to enjoy the fruit of their labors. Thus, they created human beings- (The Thetas construct naked human bodies and jump into them. They then all run through a field together and playfully shove each other and wrestle) But, as time went on, human vessels lived and died- (The Thetans rapidly grow old and die, and then other Thetans push out babies to replace them, as the sun rises and sets over and over behind them) over and over again, so many times, that they forgot they were Thetans at all. (All the humans, now wearing raggedy clothes and standing in a field, shrug their shoulders) This is where all emotional and physical problems originate from. The Human mind became polluted with engrams- (We zoom in on an X-Ray view of a human mind. A series of hollering Native-coded square shapes with feathers and red marks under their eyes invade the human mind) These cause negative emotions such as sadness- (As he lists each emotion, the word he mentions flies onto the screen dramatically) anxiety, anger, skepticism, and worst of all, critical thinking. (The words break apart, and the man holds his head in pain, as the engrams chant gibberish like stereotypical Indian-Americans) It takes a process called Dianetics- (The human is forced into a chair by a long cartoon arm, and he’s hooked up to an E-meter) to rid yourself of these engrams. That’s where we come in. (The logo of Scientology pops up) Ask any of our auditors about how YOU can rid yourself of engrams and become a spiritually fulfilled Thetan. Get a consultation, for the low, low price of 5,000 dollars.

 

(Stephen turns off the TV)

 

STEPHEN: But for you, Rob? (Rob stands up and faces Stephen) I’ll give you one for only $500.

 

ROB: Stephen, listen, this is all very intriguing. Honestly, it makes a lot of sense. I feel like….maybe the reason I think so highly of myself is because I was the LEADER of the Thetans or something.

 

STEPHEN: Yes! I feel the same way.

 

ROB: Yeah, well, I mean, maybe you were my VP or something, but regardless, it makes a lot of sense. I do feel like I have been troubled by Teddy Grahams or whatever they were called-

 

STEPHEN: Engrams.

 

ROB: Right. But… (Rob shrugs) even though I was raised Roman Catholic, I’ve never really felt, connected to religion.

 

STEPHEN: Neither was I, boy. But then, at age twenty, in the depths of my addiction to caffeine, I picked up a copy of Dianetics. (Stephen hands Rob a copy of L. Ron Hubbard’s “Dianetics”) Read this. Get back to me. And then maybe you’ll change your mind about all this.

 

(Rob looks down at the book, then up at Stephen)

 

ROB: I suppose we’ll see. I’ll send you some scripts.

 

(Rob offers his elbow. Stephen bumps it with his own. Cut to the inside of Rob’s fridge. Imogen opens it and grabs a Tupperware container with fruit salad in it. Rob is standing behind her)

 

IMOGEN: Rob, you can’t be serious about this.

 

(She closes the fridge and looks at Rob as she clicks open the Tupperware container full of fruit salad)

 

ROB: They actually have a theory about the origin of humankind! I’ve never seen that before!

 

IMOGEN: You weren’t taught evolution? Even in hyper-Catholic Boston, that seems like something they would teach!

 

ROB: Yeah, but even that doesn’t explain where we came from! What?! We just GREW from the ground, like eggs?!

 

IMOGEN: Like eggs?!?!

 

ROB: No! We were extraterrestrial spirits, and if I just get audited, I can cleanse myself of these cravings for booze, and tobacco and, and, the impulse to be an asshole!

 

(Imogen dumps the fruit salad on a plate)

 

IMOGEN: Rob, remember Marianne?

 

(Rob furrows his brow)

 

ROB: Yeah, what do you know about her?

 

IMOGEN: I just know that she had her hooks in you for a while.

 

ROB: Who the fuck told you about her?!

 

IMOGEN: Don’t take that tone with me!

 

(Rob takes a second to breathe)

 

ROB: Sorry. Let me ask, if I may, who the fuck told you about her?

 

IMOGEN: Some of your coworkers, but I’m not gonna throw anyone under the bus.

 

ROB: But by doing that, you’re throwing them all under the bus?

 

IMOGEN: Correct.

 

(Rob scoffs)

 

ROB: I’m only doing this to get Stephen’s money, you know that.

 

(Rob walks back towards their bedroom)

 

IMOGEN: Are you!?

 

(Cut to McKenzie walking into her bedroom, to see Kevin sleeping in their bed. McKenzie walks over and tears the covers off of Kevin)

 

KEVIN: Fuck! What are you doing?! (McKenzie opens the shades) Agh! My lily-white skin!

 

MCKENZIE: Your lily-white ASS has an interview with the Transportation Security Administration.

 

KEVIN: What?!

 

MCKENZIE: Remember, my girlfriend Sara works over there. She got you an interview.

 

KEVIN: Is this girlfriend a “friend-girlfriend” or a “college lover” type girlfriend?

 

MCKENZIE: This girlfriend is your future boss, type girlfriend. Although she better not become your actual girlfriend…

 

KEVIN: Come on! Cheap shot!

 

MCKENZIE: Interview’s in several hours, you better prepare.

 

KEVIN: Several HOURS?!

 

MCKENZIE: Somebody quit on their second day, something about a “toxic workplace”, so they need someone new fast.

 

KEVIN: Yeah, well that makes sense! You realize TSA sucks ass, right?! People would also see how far I’ve fallen!

 

MCKENZIE: Well, maybe if I send them footage of you in the past few weeks, it will seem like a relative improvement, babe. Come ooooon. (McKenzie sits next to Kevin in the bed) TSA could be fun! Looking at X-rays of bags all day, throwing away stuff, being at least thirty pounds overweight, which you’re already working on.

 

KEVIN: You realize if I worked at TSA, Trump would technically be my boss, right? Sorry I don’t want to work for a fascist.

 

(McKenzie pinches Kevin’s cheek)

 

MCKENZIE: You can take him down from the inside, honey. Now, get up.

 

(McKenzie slips out of bed. Cut to McKenzie straightening Kevin’s tie in the bathroom)

 

KEVIN: …It’s tightened.

 

(McKenzie lets go of it)

 

MCKENZIE: Sorry.

 

KEVIN: Did you get all the bloodshot out of my eyes?

 

(McKenzie looks into his eyes)

 

MCKENZIE: Most of it. They’ll probably just think whatever’s left is from the, toxic air outside.

 

(Kevin nods)

 

KEVIN: Right.

 

MCKENZIE: Good luck.

 

(McKenzie kisses Kevin)

 

KEVIN: Thanks. I love you.

 

MCKENZIE: I love you, too.

 

(Kevin grabs his jacket, and leaves the room, but adds a wink just before he leaves. McKenzie smiles. Cut to Kevin pulling up into the airport parking garage, in his car. He finds a space, stops the car, and pulls a handle out of his pocket. He takes a long pull. He then pours some into his hands and dabs some on his neck likes its cologne. He then takes another long pull, puts on his mask, and gets out of the car. Cut to Kevin walking into a TSA supervisor’s office. The TSA supervisor is a young, heavyset Latina woman sitting behind a desk and of course, wearing a mask. Kevin stumbles in and offers his hand)

 

TSA SUPERVISOR: Um.

 

KEVIN: Oh! My bad. (Kevin rolls his eyes and sits down) I forgot we were in antifa-land.

 

TSA SUPERVISOR: You’re Mr. Jacobson?

 

KEVIN: Yeah, or “Mx. Jacobson” for all the snowflakes out there. You’re Lucia?

 

LUCIA: …Yeah…weren’t you a pilot at Frontier?

 

KEVIN: Yeah, until they sacked my ass due to the China Virus hoax. (Kevin points at a bowl of candy on Lucia’s desk) Do you mind?

 

LUCIA: Yes, I do.

 

KEVIN: Whatever.

 

LUCIA: Do you get along with people, generally?

 

KEVIN: Yeah, I’m a big joker. When I was a pilot, I pulled some sick hijacking pranks, you wouldn’t believe.

 

LUCIA: Yeah, we generally caution against that. Or rather, expressly forbid it.

 

KEVIN: Hey, it always got more laughs than screams.

 

LUCIA: So, being an ex-pilot, you must have a lot of experience with the ins-and-outs of airport security?

 

KEVIN: Yeah, but I have even more experience in…

 

(Kevin gives a start and looks away. Lucia leans forward)

 

LUCIA: …In?

 

KEVIN: Sorry, I was, uh…I’m trying to sabotage this interview, but I realized halfway through that last sentence, that that’s not an excuse to sexually harass somebody.

 

LUCIA: …Kevin, you’re wasting my fuckin’ time, right now.

 

KEVIN: Alright, see ya. (Kevin gets up. Cut to McKenzie standing in the backyard, puffing on a cigarette, clearly pissed off. Kevin walks into the backyard, with his tie undone) I’m back.

 

MCKENZIE: …How’d it go?

 

(Kevin walks over and stands beside her, and extends his hand expectantly)

 

KEVIN: I thought it went okay, but we’ll see. (McKenzie takes a drag of the cigarette, throws it on the ground and stomps it out) Oh.

 

(McKenzie turns to Kevin)

 

MCKENZIE: I just got off the phone with Sara. Everyone knows your interview went so bad that they’re putting you on a watchlist.

 

(McKenzie marches away from Kevin)

 

KEVIN: Kenz!

 

(McKenzie turns to him)

 

MCKENZIE: Why would you do that?!

 

KEVIN: Kenz, I did this for you, I don’t wanna work at TSA, I don’t wanna have anything to do with airports right now!!

 

MCKENZIE: Where do you wanna work then, Kevin, huh? Why don’t you illuminate me?! And DON’T say testing video games for Valve!
 

KEVIN: That would be a GREAT job!

 

MCKENZIE: Fine, my attempt to demean you didn’t work, but, realistically, what do you want to do?

 

KEVIN: …I want my girlfriend to be the boss of me. (McKenzie furrows her brow) Sexually, and professionally.

 

MCKENZIE: …You want a job at Stone Productions?

 

KEVIN: Why not? I could be your assistant! I could work right alongside you, here at home!

 

MCKENZIE: Why not? Because it’s a depression, that’s why not! Whitney could only afford to feed you in expired soup cans!

 

KEVIN: At least talk to her about it.

 

(McKenzie sighs)

 

MCKENZIE: I’ll try. (McKenzie rubs her eye) Come on, let’s go back inside, this air is killing me.

 

KEVIN: Okay. Thanks. Tell her she can pay me minimum wage.

 

MCKENZIE: Alright, come on, let’s have some dignity here.

 

(Kevin gets on his knees)

 

KEVIN: I WILL BE THE RUG UNDERNEATH HER FOOTSTOOL, IF SHE REQUIRES!

 

(Cut to Miles walking into Whitney’s office, wearing a mask and holding a cup of coffee)

 

MILES: Did you take the night to formulate a strategy?

 

WHITNEY: Oh yeah, I think so. I watched a Wes Anderson movie last night and ate a whole block of cheese, so I knew I was gonna have weird dreams, and those weird dreams were gonna involve a fuckton of celebrities. It won’t even really be lying when I drop these names. In a way, Ed Norton did help me push a limousine full of my extended family members into the Pacific Ocean.

 

MILES: I like it! Maybe don’t mention that particularly, anecdote, though.

 

WHITNEY: Don’t worry, I got this. (Whitney picks up her office phone and dials a number) I’m calling Jim Cantor at ICM, he has rich-ass parents-

 

MILES: Again, you gotta tell me these things before you dial-

 

WHITNEY: Sorry, I keep forgetting-

 

JIM: (On the phone) Hello?

 

WHITNEY: Jim! How the hell are ya? It’s Whitney Stone at Stone Productions.

 

JIM: Oh, right, of course. Nice to hear from you, Whitney. I’m gonna jump on a call in a few minutes, how can I help you?

 

WHITNEY: Well, I remember a few months ago, I was in the Australian outback, having coffee with Tilda Swinton and Willem Dafoe, talking about how important travel is, and after I helped Willem wrestle a kangaroo who was pretending to be my cousin, I realized-

 

JIM: Hold up.

 

WHITNEY: What’s that, Jim?

 

JIM: Tilda is a good friend of mine, she doesn’t drink coffee. It upsets her stomach.

 

WHITNEY: Oh, well, maybe it was tea-

 

(Miles tenses up)

 

JIM: Also, I know for a fact that Willem Defoe can’t wrestle a kangaroo!

 

WHITNEY: Well, Jim, maybe it was a barracuda-

 

(Whitney shrugs and flashes eyes of panic at Miles)

 

MILES: (Whispering) That’s a fish!

 

JIM: The fish!?

 

WHITNEY: NO! Sorry, I always confuse barracudas with… (Miles shrugs) giraffes.

 

(Miles shakes his head)

 

JIM: I don’t appreciate being lied to. Lose this number. In a bet. With THE DEVIL.

 

(Jim hangs up. Whitney hears the dial tone and hangs up herself)

 

WHITNEY: ...Was that a weird way of telling me to go to Hell?

 

MILES: Yeah, I guess so.

 

WHITNEY: Why would I gamble away a phone number?

 

MILES: I don’t know.

 

WHITNEY: What’d I do wrong?!

 

MILES: …You made a rookie mistake. But it’s my fault for not giving you a heads-up about this potential pitfall.

 

WHITNEY: How was I supposed to know he knew Tilda and Willem?

 

MILES: Always do extensive research, first off. I can help you with that, when Rob and I ran that club, I collected a lot of blackmail on the celebrity patrons.

 

WHITNEY: Holy shit.

 

MILES: Secondly, honey, try to make your stories unfalsifiable. Say that Tilda and Willem were blackout drunk, they wouldn’t even remember. Or maybe- it was twenty years ago, they probably CAN’T even remember!

 

WHITNEY: You realize I’m 29, right?

 

MILES: More than twenty years ago, last time I checked.

 

WHITNEY: What?!

 

MILES: Put your story in your own voice. But let’s- (Whitney reaches for the phone) STOP!

 

WHITNEY: Hmm?

 

MILES: Just, back your hand away from the phone.

 

WHITNEY: I need to dial the next number, is all.

 

MILES: I understand, but just, don’t. Let’s chart out your story first.

 

WHITNEY: We should at least order pizza.

 

MILES: Fine.

 

(Whitney dials a number and it starts ringing)

 

WHITNEY: (Whispering) What do you want?

 

(Miles rubs his eyes)

 

MILES: Oh, my God…

 

(Cut to a Stone Productions Sales-Content meeting on Zoom, featuring everyone at the company besides the interns, and including Miles. Miles and Whitney are eating pizza. Rob looks pissed)

 

WHITNEY: (Mouth full) Alright, guys… (Chewing) Evelyn, did you get a chance to read “The Last Sioux Chef”?

 

EVELYN: Yes, and from a sales perspective, I cannot imagine why anyone would buy distribution rights for this metaphorical piece of horrid filth.

 

ROB: Can I just interrupt a woman to say something really important?

 

WHITNEY: I’d rather you didn’t.

 

EVELYN: Actually, go ahead, I was done.

 

ROB: I don’t mean to create drama.

 

MCKENZIE: Are you sure about that?

 

ROB: I didn’t create this drama! I’ve heard that someone, or perhaps multiple people, or perhaps worse, a formal grouping of people- or even WORSE-

 

WHITNEY: Get to the point, we only have ten minutes left on this Zoom!

 

MCKENZIE: Just get a subscription, Whitney!

 

WHITNEY: Money is tight!! Okay!?

 

ROB: One of you told my wife about Marianne.

 

(A general unease falls over the Zoom chat)

 

MCKENZIE: No offense, Rob, but you hadn’t told her that on your own?

 

ROB: No, I don’t need to share every single detail of my life story with everyone all the time.

 

LUTHER: You do that with us.

 

ROB: Only the parts that make me look good! GODDAMNIT, people, don’t you know how this works?!

 

WHITNEY: Calm down.

 

ROB: Who said it?! Who was the one who told Imogen?! (Everyone looks around for a second, but then Whitney raises her hand, exactly as soon as McKenzie does. Then, Evelyn, Luther, Miles, Alec and Noel follow suit) Oh, for fuck’s sake! Alec, when would you have even had the opportunity to tell her?!

 

ALEC: I mean, I talked to her at your party, and there was an awkward silence. So, I brought it up, but she told me that she already heard it from like, four other people.

 

(Rob sighs)

 

MCKENZIE: Why did this not come up until now, Rob?

 

ROB: …Stephen wants me to be a scientologist. (Everyone groans) So, she likened it to that, whole situation. Whatever happened there.

 

MILES: Hey, you got pulled into a cult. It happens to the best of us. It’s happening to me, right now. Except I’m doing the pulling.

 

(Miles winks)

 

WHITNEY: Rob, Scientology is a rip-off, and a dangerous cult.

 

MILES: And not a fun sex cult, either.

 

WHITNEY: You have to take so many classes, that it’s basically a college that charges you a fuckton and doesn’t actually give you anything for it.

 

NOEL: So, college.

 

WHITNEY: Right.

 

ROB: Listen, guys, I’m playing this guy like a fuckin’ oboe. You see. (Rob stands up, until only his crotch is on camera) He’s gonna finance so many of our movies by the end of this, you’ll think his name was Harvey Weinstein.

 

 MCKENZIE: Speaking of which, you’re currently flashing your crotch at all of us.

 

ROB: Oh, my bad. (Rob sits down) I keep forgetting I’m not in the office. Anyway. I can handle this Garamendi dude.

 

WHITNEY: …Evelyn, go with Rob, make sure he doesn’t fall for Garamendi’s bullshit.

 

ROB: Thank God.

 

EVELYN: This is a good idea. I should be there anyway, since I head financing, but also, I know a scam when I see one.

 

LUTHER: Evelyn used to buy ice cream sandwiches from ice cream trucks, throw them in the freezer, and then sell them to the kids who missed the truck at a 500% mark-up.

 

EVELYN: What can I say, I have a head for business.

 

(Cut to Whitney and Miles in her office. Whitney is typing on her computer, finishes with a couple grand keystrokes, then lies back)

 

WHITNEY: I think this is perfect.

 

MILES: Let me see. (Whitney turns the monitor to him. He skims it) Oh, Whitney, you deceive with the best of ‘em.

 

WHITNEY: Thank you.

 

(Whitney dials a number and puts it to her ear. Cut to a balding producer, with a tight purple dress shirt, three buttons unbuttoned, chest hair, and chains, sitting in his home office. He gets a call and picks it up. Intercut between them)

 

PRODUCER: (New York accent) Yeah?

 

WHITNEY: What’s up, Chuck? It’s Whitney Stone at Stone Productions.

 

CHUCK: Oh yeah, the broad from the movie business.

 

(Whitney desperately holds her tongue. Miles mouths “move on”)

 

WHITNEY: Right. One of the few women in entertainment. Anyway. A few months ago, I was getting blackout drunk with Elisabeth Moss, and she mentioned that she never worked with a better, more respectful…person, than you.

 

CHUCK: You know Elisabeth?

 

WHITNEY: Yes. (Miles tips his hand back and forth like “ehhhh”) Or. We’ve met.

 

CHUCK: Well, she’s a great gal. It’s awesome she’s had such a fruitful career, considering, you know- (Chuck gestures at his face) everything up here.

 

WHITNEY: Uh-huh. Well, anyway, right before Elisabeth Moss vomited into the well whiskey, she told me I should hit you up.

 

CHUCK: What a weird thing to do. Well, listen, any friend of Elisabeth Moss is a friend of mine. We even share dentists! I keep telling him to bottle her breath for me, but the old bastard never remembers.

 

(Chuck laughs)

 

MILES: (Whispering) Power through.

 

WHITNEY: You ever heard of the Peruvian Amazon?

 

(Miles gives her a thumbs-up)

 

CHUCK: Nope. But I’m intrigued!

 

(Cut to McKenzie walking up to Whitney’s house with a mask on. She knocks on the door. Whitney opens the door, with her mask pulled up, holding a glass of champagne)

 

WHITNEY: McKenzie?

 

MILES: (OS) Whitney! Where’s the whip cream!? I want to BLAST that shit in my champagne!

 

MCKENZIE: You wanna meet in the backyard?

 

(Whitney nods and closes the door. Cut to McKenzie sitting on the patio. Whitney walks out and sits across from her)

 

WHITNEY: This couldn’t be on Zoom?

 

MCKENZIE: Zoom is so impersonal. I like face-to-face communication.

 

WHITNEY: So does COVID.

 

MCKENZIE: We’re outside, I think we’re good. I haven’t seen you in months.

 

WHITNEY: You haven’t seen me in month. So, what’s up?

 

(McKenzie sighs and rests her chin on her hand)

 

MCKENZIE: …I’ve been drowning in work recently-

 

WHITNEY: Kenz, come on. What are you, Peggy Olsen from Mad Men? Played by Elisabeth Moss? This is not the right time to ask for a raise.

 

MCKENZIE: No, I need an assistant.

 

WHITNEY: What money will we pay him with?!

 

MCKENZIE: He’s a desperate, sad boy with no sense of his own worth, so you can pay him as little as the law allows.

 

WHITNEY: …You have someone in mind?

 

MCKENZIE: …Kevin’s been out of work for six months. It’s destroyed him. The police thought he was dead.

 

WHITNEY: …Are you sure he’s not? Maybe you just haven’t let go, yet.

 

(McKenzie chuckles)

 

MCKENZIE: Please, just, if it’s really about money, you can pay me a little less.

 

WHITNEY: No, no. (Beat) The well-being of our loved ones affects work performance. Part of why I’m glad I don’t have loved ones. (Whitney stands up, McKenzie does shortly thereafter) He can start at $25 an hour.

 

MCKENZIE: Whitney, I would hug you if it wouldn’t risk your health, thank you so much! UGH! You’re an angel. I mean it.

 

WHITNEY: You’re welcome, but he can’t have the free snacks or free coffee.

 

MCKENZIE: …Our offices have been closed for months?

 

WHITNEY: Oh, fuck, you’re right. How do I offset this?

 

(Whitney looks down, talking to herself under her breath. She drifts back inside without a word, as McKenzie’s eyes follow her. Cut to Stephen leading masked Rob and Evelyn into the room with the Hubbard statue and E-meters)

 

STEPHEN: Please, come in, have a seat. (Rob and Evelyn sit down at the E-meter booths and face Stephen as he sits in a spare chair in the middle of the room) “Pop a squat” as the Indians might say- you know, Hubbard felt so bad for the Indians, all their spirituality, and yet they were still so poor and so weak. (Stephen gives a “tut, tut, tut”) Luckily for you guys, you have the opportunity to cleanse yourselves of engrams for free, as part of our professional relationship.

 

ROB: But at some point in the program, money is involved, right?

 

STEPHEN: Yes. It’s required that you purchase every book ever written by L. Ron Hubbard.

 

EVELYN: That is potentially a lot of money, Robert. Maybe we should keep this strictly business.

 

ROB: Well, I mean, I can afford some books-

 

STEPHEN: It’s about $4,000 for all twelve books, but you gotta remember, you have to buy the updated versions too.

 

EVELYN: What’s that?

 

STEPHEN: Oftentimes, even though Mr. Hubbard abandoned his vessel in 1986, he’ll still send us edits he wants to make to his books. So, you’ll often be required to buy the updated versions.

 

EVELYN: Holy shit.

 

ROB: Can I get the audio books? I like to read while I’m doing dishes, and stuff.

 

STEPHEN: Uhhhhh… (Stephen points at Rob) Yes! You can! We’ll get started on those. But also, you gotta buy all the physical books, too.

 

EVELYN: Anything else?!

 

STEPHEN: You gotta buy audio of his lectures, donate to our causes when we ask of it, and it’s very much required that you purchase Hubbard’s attempts at a Manga. And we haven’t even gotten to the classes, yet!

 

ROB: But you’re saying I’ll achieve spiritual health after all this?

 

STEPHEN: Yes! (Stephen puts his hand on Rob’s shoulder) Robert, the moment you feel it, you’ll never want to go back to your old life.

 

ROB: Wow. All this time, I’ve been trying to buy a bunch of shit to fulfill myself spiritually, who knew I was just buying the wrong shit?

 

EVELYN: Can we get the E-Meter tests already!?

 

(Rob looks at Evelyn)

 

ROB: Evelyn?

 

(Evelyn pulls Rob aside)

 

EVELYN: (Whispering) Rob, I love to thwart swindles as much as the next woman, but sometimes a grift’s too good, and you gotta get on the other side of it. You watch, I’ll outrank this joker in a year’s time.

 

ROB: (Whispering) Okay, but remember, we’re still trying to get his money.

 

EVELYN: (Whispering) Oh, yes, I know. A nice mutual grifting.

 

(Rob and Evelyn swing back around and face Stephen)

 

ROB: We’re ready for the E-meter.

 

STEPHEN: First off, if you ever become members, just remember, secret secrets are no fun, secret secrets hurt someone- and are expressly forbidden for you to have under the rules of Scientology.

 

ROB: There are some things I’d like to get off my chest, anyway. Oftentimes, I’ll shame people for not watching classic TV shows that I haven’t watched either.

 

EVELYN: Like Arrested Development?

 

ROB: (Nervous) No, I’ve uh- I’ve seen that. There’s always money in the banana stan, and all that.

 

STEPHEN: And that’s what this audit is for. But. Before we do that. Just know something… (Stephen leans forward) We generally encourage you to limit contact with your non-scientologist friends and relatives. You know Long-term.

 

ROB: …But my wife is, not a scientologist, none of my friends, family or co-workers are, either.

 

STEPHEN: …Well. There are things you can do about that.

 

(Stephen smiles a sickening smile. Cut to Whitney in her living room, with Miles. They’re drinking wine now, and giggling. Whitney is wiping a tear from her eye)

 

WHITNEY: Oh my God, Jagger liked to put WHAT up his ass?!

 

(Miles laughs)

 

MILES: I can’t remember!
 

 

WHITNEY: Oh! Oh? (Whitney gets a text, and she checks her phone) That’s weird.

 

MILES: What is it?

 

WHITNEY: Rob wants everyone in the company to meet him at Echo Park. Something about Garamendi.

 

MILES: Guess he really rung those pockets out.

 

WHITNEY: Yeah, or else they’re serving Kool-Aid. Let’s go.

 

(Whitney and Miles get up. Cut to McKenzie leading Kevin down the hallway outside her office)

 

MCKENZIE: I got something for you. (McKenzie opens the door to the spare bedroom. The bed has been pushed the far wall, and there’s a small desk, typewriter and a secretary’s skirt and blouse hanging on the chair) Welcome to the secretary’s pool.

 

(Kevin tears up)

 

KEVIN: Thank you, Kenz.

 

(Kevin starts sobbing, gets down on his knees and hugs McKenzie’s legs)

 

MCKENZIE: Oh, hey. It’s okay, baby.

 

KEVIN: THANK YOU, MCKENZIE!!!

 

(McKenzie rubs his head)

 

MCKENZIE: Yep. No problem. (McKenzie gets a text on her phone and checks it) That’s weird. Hey, I’ve gotta go, so. (Kevin keeps sobbing) Kevin, off.

 

(Kevin lets go and throws his hands up)

 

KEVIN: Right. Please. Go ahead. Love you.

 

MCKENZIE: Love you, too.

 

(McKenzie leaves. Kevin creeps into the spare bedroom and walks over and strokes the pencil skirt. Cut to Rob, Evelyn and Stephen, wearing masks, standing in the middle of Vista Hermosa Park, in Echo Park, surrounded by a stand of trees. There are little tables with E-meters set up, connected to mobile batteries. Rob is now wearing a nice suit. Whitney, Miles, McKenzie and Luther walk over in a group)

 

EVELYN: Hello, one and all, I am a scientologist now.

 

LUTHER: Wait, no you’re not, right? You’re not?

 

WHITNEY: What the hell happened!?

 

ROB: Guys, relax. (Rob steps forward) Don’t take this religious transformation with alarm. For this is good news.

 

(Whitney steps to Stephen)

 

WHITNEY: WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM!?

 

STEPHEN: My Xenu, nothing! I simply let him discover the big L in the sky on his own.

 

ROB: Whitney, please, this was my choice. And soon it will be all of yours.

 

(They all look around and grumble)

 

LUTHER: I’m not gonna become a scientologist! I don’t give a shit how much money this guy has!

 

STEPHEN: At least get yourself audited, CLEANSE those engrams.

 

LUTHER: Evelyn, why are you listening to this smiley fuck?

 

EVELYN: This “smiley fuck” as you callously refer to him, is my ticket to Easy Street- which is a street that leads RIGHT to the Big L himself!
 

(Evelyn blinks hard at Luther)

 

WHITNEY: What was that?

 

LUTHER: That’s how she winks.

 

ROB: Please, everyone, pay attention. I’ve been on a journey, these last two years. I’ve tried to become more respectful of women, more respectful of myself, and… (Rob shifts his stance slightly and looks down) I’ve realized that despite my bluster, I can’t handle everything all on my own. That’s why I have my friends.

 

MCKENZIE: Awww.

 

ROB: But friends can’t do much.

 

MCKENZIE: Oh.

 

ROB: That’s why I turn to- what’s the deity we believe in?

 

STEPHEN: It’s- uh, it’s God. It’s just God.

 

ROB: Okay. Not God Tron, or something? That’d be sick.

 

STEPHEN: We let you come to your own conclusions on that.

 

ROB: I’ve turned to God Tron. Or. I’ll workshop the name. The point is, I want my friends to join me in this awakening, so please, help yourself to an E-meter, and any number of these- (Several auditors in black suits, wearing broad smiles, emerge from bushes) auditors will guide you in your journey.

 

EVELYN: You can Venmo us later.

 

WHITNEY: Alright, ENOUGH! (Whitney steps up to Stephen) SHOVE THESE E-METERS UP YOUR ASSHOLE, YOU SCAMMING HUXTER!

 

(Rob steps in)

 

ROB: Whitney! DON’T!

 

WHITNEY: NO, ROBERT! I thought this might happen, that’s why I had someone hid in a bush, too! IMOGEN!?

 

(Imogen emerges from a bush and pulls a branch out of her hair)

 

IMOGEN: Goddamn, that’s so unnecessary. (Imogen walks over to Rob) Rob, what the hell!? You’re really doing this?

 

ROB: Imogen, please be respectful in front of Mr. Garamendi. Stephen, this is my wife, Imogen Deckland.

 

STEPHEN: Such a pleasure to meet you. I have a wife too, but she doesn’t come out of her house much these days.

 

IMOGEN: Well. Great. I’ll just talk to my husband if you don’t mind. (To Rob) Rob. Do you really believe in this religion? Or- (Whispering) are you just buttering this guy up still?!

 

ROB: Imogen, please, my sweet. (Rob hugs Imogen, and whispers) I’m on the long con, baby, and I need you at my side for this.

 

(Rob relinquishes his hug. Imogen turns around. She takes a deep breath)

 

IMOGEN: …Okay, I’ll join, too.

 

(Gasps)

 

WHITNEY: What?!

 

STEPHEN: Happy day!

 

ROB: YES!

 

(Rob kisses Imogen passionately)

 

WHITNEY: WHY?!

 

(Imogen faces Whitney)

 

IMOGEN: My father is a con artist, too. I mean. On an unrelated note, my father is a con artist. I’ve learned to go along with things. Plus. Look up. (Whitney looks up. Then, everyone looks up. They see smoke clouds hovering in the sky) The sky is falling. Gotta choose between nihilism or blind faith.

 

ROB: And we choose both.

 

(Rob smiles and kisses her again, as Stephen applauds)

 

STEPHEN: How joyous! (To Whitney) Ms. Stone, you simply must join us! In fact, everybody, get an audit!

 

(Whitney holds up her fist, signaling “stop” to her employees)

 

WHITNEY: Hold.

 

LUTHER: Are we soldiers now?

 

MCKENZIE: The fuck is going on?

 

WHITNEY: How much money are you gonna put up, asshole?

 

STEPHEN: $50 million.

 

(Whitney’s eyes widen)

 

WHITNEY: Fifty…what?

 

STEPHEN: IF everyone gets audited.

 

(Whitney shakes her head)

 

WHITNEY: No. As their employer, I can’t tell them to subscribe to a particular religion or not.

 

STEPHEN: Fine. Cover the cost of their audit if they choose to get it on their own.

 

(Whitney sighs)

 

WHITNEY: …Fine. And you can use Rob as your mascot. But our deal is OFF, if you try to separate him from his non-scientologist friends, you got it?

 

STEPHEN: The deal where I give you a ton of my own money is off if I do that? Well, okay, tough but fair.  (Whitney rolls her eyes) One more favor, though. (Whitney perks up) There’s been an ugly rumor going around about one of our prominent church members, Elisabeth Moss, they’re saying she’s a raging alcoholic.

 

(Whitney gets nervous)

 

WHITNEY: OH. Right, she’s a member…

 

STEPHEN: Yes, so, anyway, if you could use your clout to counter that ugliness, that’d be great. Find the person who started that trash, too. Because they’re in need of a good shunning.

 

(Whitney nods nervously)

 

WHITNEY: Yep. Will do. Alright. I’m going back home, you maniacs can do what you like.

 

(Whitney runs away. Everyone else remains in shock. Rob kisses Imogen, and then leads the way to her E-meter)

 

ROB: (Australian accent) Put that shrimp ass on that barbie!

 

(Imogen smirks and sits down, as Stephen hands her two silver handles, and flips a switch. Close up on the switch as we cut to credits, accompanied by the song “Brainchild” by Everything Everything)

 

THE END


Submitted: September 18, 2020

© Copyright 2021 NEONETWORK. All rights reserved.

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