The Valley of the Tools Episode 39

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

Rob has to attract the interest of a financier with daddy issues but has trouble doing so. Hannah tries to get closure with Xandra. Luther, in his new capacity as head of talent management, tries to sign rapper Pop Spiders while trying to ignore his personal distaste for his music.

THE VALLEY OF THE TOOLS

 

“CLOSURE”

 

TV-MA DLS

 

“My God’s face is made of mirrors. My God’s face looks like my father’s”

  • Kevin Barry

 

(We open on a shot of Rob’s hands grabbing onto a pair of silver handles. Then cut to a shot of Stephen Garamendi’s hand flipping a switch on an E-meter. Zoom out to reveal Stephen and Rob, both masked and sitting in an E-meter testing center within the Church of Scientology)

 

STEPHEN: Are you ready?

 

ROB: I didn’t do nothin, copper! (Laughs) Yeah, I’m ready.

 

STEPHEN: Great. (An office phone rings behind him. Rob winces at the annoying, high-pitched ringtone) Sorry, hold on. (Stephen answers) Hello? N- no, hold on, Clark, I don’t want to play Among Us right now, I’m busy. Text me next time. (He hangs up) Sorry, new phone system we just installed.

 

ROB: It’s alright. I never get to be the Impostor, either.

 

STEPHEN: Let’s just make sure this thing is working, I’ll use a control question. (Stephen shrugs) Did you have inappropriate relations with a subordinate named Colleen Diamond on the set of Beauty and the BEASTliest which ultimately led to your termination by TBS and your subsequent career at a supposedly feminist film & TV production company?

 

ROB: …Yes…

 

(The meter’s dial swings to the right)

 

STEPHEN: Looks like that’s the truth. Okay. This thing is working.

 

ROB: Fantastic. You could’ve just asked me about my shirt or something-

 

STEPHEN: So. Think of this as like, confession.

 

ROB: Oh. I was raised catholic, I can understand that.

 

STEPHEN: For instance. (Stephen shrugs) What’s the most shameful thing you’ve ever done? (Stephen takes out a big notepad and an oversized pen) Just out of curiosity.

 

ROB: …Well. (Rob gulps) When I was eleven of twelve, I took money from my dad’s wallet, to go buy crystal.

 

STEPHEN: …Crystal meth?

 

ROB: Crystal Pepsi. But we called it crystal in Boston. Got involved with some really weird people, as a result…

 

STEPHEN: …That’s your most shameful thing? Stealing from your dad when you were a tween?

 

ROB: I mean…obviously, there’s other stuff, but. I always felt bad about that, because he raised me, you know?

 

STEPHEN: Cool, cool. Ever have any sexual fantasies about your dad?

 

ROB: What? No.

 

(Rob shakes that off)

 

STEPHEN: Okay. (Cut to a shot of Stephen’s notepad. It reads “Possible deep dark secrets” and lists “bestiality fetish, scat fetish, killed a hooker, helped bury a hooker someone else killed, is gay and incest fetish”. “Is gay” is crossed out and “not a big deal anymore” is written beside it. He crosses out “incest fetish”) Go on.

 

ROB: …I hated my fuckin’ dad. I mean, he’s not my real dad, but he raised me with my mom. He looked at me, like, he wished that I would just disappear into thin air.

 

(Beat)

 

STEPHEN: I’m sorry about that.

 

ROB: …But, um, I could’ve been a better stepson, definitely. (Rob clears his throat) You know, we have a potential client at a distributor, his name is Stephen Farris, and the dude is hella sensitive. If anything about dads, or fathers, or father figures, or even the Founding Fathers, my high school R&B group, comes up, he just gets emotional.

 

STEPHEN: …What about your real father, any sexual fantasies about him?

 

ROB: No! What is that, what are you doing!?

 

STEPHEN: Sorry, we just wanna make sure that you…don’t…fuck your dad.

 

ROB: Don’t worry about that! Okay?

 

STEPHEN: You had an R&B group in High School? Called “The Founding Fathers”!?

 

ROB: Yeah, we made nothing but pure love songs, baby. (Whispers) Mostly about my relationship with my teacher!

 

(Rob winks. Stephen excitedly writes that down)

 

STEPHEN: Listen, Rob. All these negative emotions, surrounding your father, the real one and the fake one, that’s your human vessel trying to make you miserable. You need to remember that you’re a Thetan, deep down inside. And that’s what matters.

 

ROB: …So what should I do?

 

STEPHEN: Embrace it! Running back to your father won’t do any good. The Church is your father, now.

 

(Rob furrows his brow)

 

ROB: Are you saying, (Bad “Captain Phillips” pirate accent) “you are da captain now”?

 

(Stephen narrows his eyes, and holds Rob’s hand)

 

STEPHEN: Precisely.

 

(Cut to Rob and Imogen sitting in their living room, later that day, watching President Trump and Vice President Biden debate on MSNBC at Hofstra University in Hartford, Connecticut. Chris Wallace of FOX News is moderating)

 

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue. The issue is, the American people should speak! You should go out and vote! You’re in- voting now. Vote, and let your Senators know how strongly you feel-

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Are you gonna pack the court?

 

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Let- vote now. Make-

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Are you gonna pack the court?

 

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Sure you in fact let people know, your Senators-

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: He doesn’t want to answer the question.

 

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I’m not gonna answer the question, because-

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Why don’t you wanna answer that question?

 

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: The question, the question is-

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: You want to put a lot of new Supreme Court Justices-

 

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: The question-

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Radical left- who is your-

 

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Would you shut up, man?

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Listen! Who is on your list, Joe?

 

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: This is so-

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Who is on your list?

 

CHRIS: Alright, gentlemen! I think- we’ve ended this-

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: This is- this is so unpresidential!

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: He’s gonna pack the court-

 

CHRIS: We have end- no, no-

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And he’s not gonna give a list.

 

CHRIS: We have ended this segment, we’re gonna move on to the second segment.

 

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That was really a, productive segment, wasn’t it? (Chris Wallace chuckles. Biden turns toward the President and flaps his hand like it’s a puppet) Keep yappin’, man.

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: The people understand, Joe.

 

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: They sure do.

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Forty-seven years, you’ve done nothing, they understand.

 

(Rob and Imogen are sitting on the couch, their eyes wide open. Rob is squeezing Imogen’s hand)

 

IMOGEN: Rob.

 

ROB: I know. It’s fucking insane.

 

IMOGEN: Rob!

 

ROB: What is happening!?

 

IMOGEN: Rob, you’re hurting me!

 

ROB: Oh! (Rob lets go of Imogen’s hand) Sorry, babe.

 

IMOGEN: What did I tell you about the “babe” thing?

 

ROB: You said- (Bad Australian accent) “call me ‘your little ‘roo’” instead?

IMOGEN: No. I said don’t do it.

 

ROB: Oh. That’s right.

 

(Cut to Rob in his office the next morning, having a Zoom call with a guy named Peter Farris. He’s a white guy in his early 40s with salt-and-pepper at the sides and a locket around his neck)

 

PETER: I know the debate was chaotic last night, but I think Biden did a good job at differentiating himself from this, Marxist that Trump wants people to believe he is.

 

ROB: For sure. When Biden said, “I don’t support the Green New Deal”, I felt like I could hear Republican voters marching to the polls to vote for Biden.

 

PETER: And those Bernie voters? They’re probably still gonna vote for him, right?

 

ROB: Sure. Probably. And if not, who cares?

 

PETER: Right.

 

ROB: Honestly, I’m still devastated about The Notorious RBG. I can’t believe Trump gets to replace her. Biggie Smalls is probably rolling over in his grave.

 

PETER: Yeah, but at least Trump will probably win after this. Trump was acting like such a dick the entire time.

 

ROB: I thought it was touching when Biden defended his son Hunter when Trump brought up his drug problem.

 

PETER: Yeah, I, uh- (Peter wipes away a tear) not all of us have fathers as loving as Joe Biden-

 

(Rob panics)

 

ROB: Oh, uh, God, anyway, have you read Alien AIDs and Human Slaves?

 

(Peter blows his nose with a tissue, and puts it aside)

 

PETER: Yeah, I read it.

 

ROB: It’s a lot of fun, and we have capital we need for it. Unfortunately, my friend Stephen Garamendi doesn’t want to be associated with this particular project, so we’re shopping it around. What are your thoughts?

 

PETER: Well. If I’m being honest. I sometimes have trouble reading stories about space travel.

 

(Rob cautiously nods)

 

ROB: …Because you don’t like science fiction?

 

PETER: Well. It’s just that… (Peter opens his locket. It shows a picture of his father in a space suit on one half, and a picture of the moon on the other) my dad left for a moon mission when I was eight, and he never came back.

 

(Peter starts crying. Rob starts tearing up, too)

 

ROB: Fuck. I’m sorry, um, other than that… Jesus, what is wrong with me?

 

(Rob wipes his tears aside)

 

PETER: MY MOM SAYS HE’S STILL THERE, BUT I DON’T BELIEVE HER! (Rob grinds his teeth furiously, trying to hold back tears) I SAW THE RECEIPT FOR HIM GETTING THESE PICTURES DONE! AND THE SPACE SUIT!

 

(Cut to Rob in a Zoom meeting with the entire company, plus Miles and now McKenzie’s secretary Kevin. However, the interns are not present. McKenzie is holding up a model plane)

 

MCKENZIE: So, this is a Cessna 172, right, Kevin?

 

KEVIN: Yep. That’s a fit bird, right there.

 

MCKENZIE: Kevin put this together, last night. Whole house smells like glue and paint, but. (McKenzie smirks reluctantly) I’m proud of him.

 

WHITNEY: That’s great, Kenz. How’s he working out, secretary-wise?

 

MCKENZIE: Well, check this out.

 

(McKenzie claps her hands)

 

KEVIN: Thanks, babe.

 

MCKENZIE: You’re welcome.

 

(Whitney squints)

 

WHITNEY: Wha…he didn’t bring you anything?

 

KEVIN: No, she was just applauding me for a job well done.

 

WHITNEY: Okay, but are you gonna actually perform a secretarial function?

 

KEVIN: Maybe later tonight!

 

(Kevin laughs, but everyone else groans)

 

MCKENZIE: We’re together, guys, it’s not inappropriate.

 

LUTHER: Definitely still is.

 

ROB: Okay, can we move on? I want to talk about my shit.

 

WHITNEY: We actually have a few things to get to first-

 

ROB: I have a bachelor party to get to, so let’s skip to mine, okay?

 

LUTHER: You have a Bachelor party to get to at one in the afternoon?

 

MCKENZIE: You shouldn’t be going to a bachelor party at all, during COVID, especially on a work day.

 

ROB: It was a LIE! OKAY?! LET ME GO! I WANNA GO!

 

WHITNEY: FINE! Get on with it.

 

ROB: Thanks. (Rob smiles) This guy at Magnetic Distributing, I can’t court him on my own. The guy’s too sensitive.

 

WHITNEY: What do you mean, sensitive?

 

ROB: Let’s just say, he has daddy issues that would make Snuffleupagus blush.

 

KEVIN: Snuffleupagus? Did Snuffleupagus have daddy issues?

 

EVELYN: I believe I remember that, actually. Snuffleupagus was best friends with Mr. Bird, only because he saw him as a father figure.

 

WHITNEY: I think Rob means Oedipus.

 

ROB: Right! Oedipus.

 

KEVIN: So he wants to fuck his mom?

 

ROB: NO! I mean, I don’t know, but just forget the Oedipus thing! Christ!  (Rob takes a deep breath) I can’t talk to him without thinking about my own dads. Then suddenly, I get teared up. (Rob starts tearing up) Um. Fuck.

 

MCKENZIE: Awww. Rob. Let it out.

 

(Rob rubs his eyes)

 

ROB: No, no, I’m good, I’m good. Probably just a, fly flew into my eye…

 

KEVIN: A fly, flew IN to your eye?

 

(Rob composes himself)

 

ROB: I need someone at my side who doesn’t have daddy issues. Just so they can step in if thing go sour.

 

WHITNEY: Well, my dad’s a selfish, freeloading hick from West Virginia, so I’m outta the running, y’all. (Whitney tenses up) Oh my God, I haven’t said “y’all” in two years!

 

ROB: What about you, Kenz?

 

MCKENZIE: No, my dad and I aren’t on good terms. He has the spine of a paraplegic jellyfish- not to be ableist, or…anti-sea creature, because they are beautiful.

 

KEVIN: Definitely, Kenz and I watched Planet Earth last night, jellyfish are the shit.

 

MCKENZIE: Anyway, he never stands up to me when my mom berates me, so we don’t talk much.

 

ROB: Okay, then. Luther?

 

LUTHER: My dad’s in jail man.

 

ROB: Fuck. (Rob shrugs) What about you, Evelyn?

 

EVELYN: My dad is on a trip. He embarked on it 28 years ago, and he should be getting back soon.

 

ROB: Holy shit. Does anybody here NOT have daddy issues?!

 

(They all look at one another)

 

WHITNEY: Miles?

 

MILES: I’m gay, of course I have daddy issues.

 

WHITNEY: Damnit.

 

ROB: Alec?! NOEL!?

 

NOEL: My married, divorced and remarried by mom seven times throughout my life.

 

ALEC: And my dad thinks I’m wasting my life.

 

ROB: FUCK! How are we even gonna do this?!

 

WHITNEY: What about the interns?

 

(Rob narrows his eyes)

 

ROB: …Get Nico in here.

 

MCKENZIE: I’ll text him.

 

(McKenzie takes out her phone and sends a text. Immediately, Nico pops into the Zoom call)

 

NICO: Yes?! How can I be of service?!

 

ROB: Jesus!

 

MCKENZIE: You must’ve been staring at our text thread!

 

ROB: Nico, tell me. What’s your relationship with your father like?

 

NICO: It’s um, amicable. W-why? D-did my dad call? Am I in trouble?!

 

ROB: No! Nico, no. You’re going to be accompanying yours truly, to a meeting with a potential business partner of ours. (Rob smiles)

 

NICO: Oh, my goodness! I’m s-s-so honored! Thank you!

 

ROB: Great, go tell all your friends, we’ll talk details later. (Nico immediately leaves the meeting) He’s a good kid.

 

(Cut to Hannah sitting in her bed, staring at the ceiling. Her room is full of different colored lights, purples, pinks and blues. She turns onto her side, and she sees a promotional poster for AstroManda on the wall. It features Hannah Delaney as AstroManda in her spacesuit, with an A emblem in the middle, wielding a laser gun decorated with the symbol for the female sex. She’s in the middle of space and has a sly smile upon her face. Xandra as The Internalizer, is floating in the background wearing her cyborg outfit with a mechanical eye and robotic fingers. The tagline reads “THIS FALL- REMEMBER, THAT SHE NEEDS HER SPACE”. Hannah looks at the poster, as she slips her fingers down into her sweatpants. She closes her eyes as she starts to stimulate herself. Then suddenly, she hears a masculine scream from downstairs. Her eyes pop open, and she removes her hand from her sweatpants and jumps up from the bed. Cut to Hannah walking down the stairs. She sees her father Carter and her brother Marcus in oddly anachronistic workout clothes- super short gym shorts and tank tops. Marcus is benching 200 pounds, while Carter is spotting him)

 

CARTER: COME ON, YOU PUSSY! JUST ONE MORE REP! LET’S GO!

 

MARCUS: URGGGHHHHHhh!!!!!!

 

HANNAH: Jesus!

 

(Carter kneels down and screams in Marcus’ ear, as Marcus lowers the weights to his chest)

 

CARTER: YOU ARE NOTHING! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! YOU’RE A PILE OF RABBIT SHIT THAT A HORSE STEPPED IN! AND THEN TRACKED INTO THE HOUSE! AND THEN MADE THE HORSE MOTHER CLEAN IT ALL UP! (Marcus screams as he lifts the weight and settles the weight onto the hooks) YES! THAT’S MY SON!

 

(Marcus sits up, as Carter sits behind him and pats him on both shoulders)

 

MARCUS: I’M NOT RABBIT SHIT, DAD!

 

CARTER: Relax, it was just to motivate you.

 

HANNAH: What the hell are you guys wearing?!

 

CARTER: This is what men wore to work out in my day. Not these sissy pansy onesies they wear these days.

 

HANNAH: Onesies?! Have you ever been to a gym?!

 

(Marcus looks at Hannah)

 

MARCUS: Hannah, leave us alone!! This is bonding time!

 

(Hannah sighs and shakes her head. She walks down the stairs and heads out the backdoor and into the backyard. She sits on a patio chair and gives a deep sigh)

 

HANNAH: I need to get the fuck out of here.

 

(Cut to Hannah in her room, having a Zoom session with a woman named Dr. DeLouise, a heavyset woman in her early 50s, with curly black hair)

 

DR. DELOUISE: So, you say you want to “get the frick out of here”, what does that mean, exactly?

 

HANNAH: I said get the FUCK out of here.

 

DR. DELOUISE: Do you want to move?

 

HANNAH: No, I don’t have enough money to move.

 

(Dr. DeLouise shrugs)

 

DR. DELOUISE: Then what do you mean by “getting the F-U-C-K out of here”?

 

(Hannah stirs in her seat)

 

HANNAH: …I need to vent to somebody, that’s what I need.

 

DR. DELOUISE: Isn’t that this is for?

 

HANNAH: No! I need to vent to a friend, who will agree with me, and just let me talk without challenging me! I don’t have anybody like that here, not even my sister. She’s always trying to set me up, with Jesus.

 

DR. DELOUISE: I can be a casual friend. Um. (Dr. DeLouise picks up a Starbucks drink and sips on it, adopts a casual affectation, a valley girl accent and a shrug of the shoulders) What’s up, girl? Talk to me.

 

HANNAH: Stop. I need to, contact somebody, I’m going insane here.

 

(Dr. DeLouise puts down her drink)

 

DR. DELOUISE: Fine, Hannah. But. I don’t want you to use this as an excuse to reignite old flames with, toxic people.

 

(Hannah calmly nods)

 

HANNAH: Understood.

 

(Hannah continues nodding, and DeLouise begins to nod as well. Hannah narrows her eyes at Dr. DeLouise. DeLouise narrows her eyes at Hannah. They begin nodding in a more exaggerated fashion, as their eyes grow wider and wider)

 

DR. DELOUISE: So, we agree.

 

HANNAH: Yeeeeeeees.

 

(They continue nodding, their eyes ever more distrustful. Cut to a Zoom meeting between, Luther, Evelyn, McKenzie and of course, Kevin)

 

EVELYN: Listen, as we all know, there’s an economic depression out there. Every bit of profit counts. That is why Luther has been hard at work signing talent. Name some of our highest profile clients, Luther.

 

(Luther looks down)

 

LUTHER: …Bonnie Backlash, Corey Feldman, Michael Jace-

 

KEVIN: Wait. The guy from The Shield who ended up killing his wife?

 

LUTHER: HE CAN STILL DO VOICE WORK! (Luther composes himself) Sorry. Plus, the uh, guy who sings out his ass.

 

KEVIN: What a murderer’s row of talent.

 

(Evelyn laughs. Everyone looks shocked, except for Kevin)

 

EVELYN: Good jest, Kevin. Alright, let’s move on.

 

MCKENZIE: The fuck.

 

(McKenzie DMs Luther “wtf? I didn’t know she could laugh!”)

 

EVELYN: We figured that musicians would be a smart choice, considering they can record albums while remaining socially distant.

 

(Luther responds “me neither”, and then looks up)

 

LUTHER: Yeah, but musicians ain’t biting. Except for Corey Feldman, but he came to me, not the other way around.

 

MCKENZIE: You know, I heard that rapper Pop Spiders was just dropped by CAA.

 

KEVIN: Really?

 

LUTHER: Ugh. Not him.

 

EVELYN: Who is this, Mr. Spiders?

 

MCKENZIE: This rapper that got some hype off a few singles six years ago, but notoriously, he’s delayed his debut album year after year. At one point, he promised it would come in the mid-2020s. That’s why CAA dropped him.

 

LUTHER: Then why the fuck would we sign him!? If he doesn’t release shit?!

 

MCKENZIE: Because he’s high-profile and probably desperate.

 

EVELYN: Luther doesn’t want to do this because Pop Spiders does not meet his standards for a musician.

 

LUTHER: I just think we can do better!
 

MCKENZIE: Luther, come on. No, we can’t. Contact his office, have him over for a socially distanced drink. Let’s sign someone already.

 

(Luther sighs)

 

LUTHER: Fine.

 

EVELYN: Alright. Meeting adjourned. Goodbye, Kevin.

 

KEVIN: See ya, Evelyn.

 

MCKENZIE: What the fu-

 

(Evelyn ends the meeting. Cut to Evelyn and Luther’s kitchen. Evelyn hoists a bucket of ice onto the counter, and places two bottles of Cristal into it. Luther stands by)

 

LUTHER: Jesus Christ, Evelyn, those bottles are like, $300 a pop!
 

(Evelyn turns toward Luther)

 

EVELYN: Luther, I’ve studied mid-2000s rap music videos extensively, and this is the king of thing that rap artists like Mr. Spiders values.

 

LUTHER: He’s not a rapper from the mid-200s, he’s a trap rapper from the, mid-2010s.

 

EVELYN: For instance. (Evelyn walks into the living room. Luther follows her. She goes up to their Samsung Smart TV) What, would you reckon, is this the width of this television?

 

(Luther shrugs)

 

LUTHER: I don’t know, fifty inches?

 

EVELYN: Wrong. (Evelyn pulls out a tape measure and stretches it across the length of the TV) It’s forty-three inches. Or, about 109 centimeters. Compiling screenshots from rap videos, I have ascertained that- (Evelyn walks over to the coffee table and picks up a pile of screenshots of TVs from rap videos) the average width of a television in these videos sixty inches. Therefore, we need to purchase a new television before Mr. Spiders comes over.

 

LUTHER: EVELYN! We ain’t gonna spend $600 on a new TV just to dazzle Pop Spiders!

 

EVELYN: But Luther, I already purchased- (Evelyn takes out a set of Rolexes from the coffee table’s drawer) this set of Rolexes!

 

LUTHER: Oh my God, we’re returning them!

 

EVELYN: I used my own money, Luther.

 

(Luther sighs and sits down on the couch)

 

LUTHER: Fine. Do what you want. But we’re hiding them, I don’t wanna come off like we’re pandering to him.

 

(Evelyn puts the watches up)

 

EVELYN: …Fine. But don’t blame me if he’s upset.

 

LUTHER: He won’t be upset! Come on.

 

(Cut to Luther and Evelyn, wearing masks, opening the door and finding a skinny, young black dude wearing sunglasses, numerous chains, a buttoned-down shirt, a light blue suit jacket and black jeans)

 

POP SPIDERS: How ya doin’ man?

 

(Pop Spiders extends his hand)

 

LUTHER: Nice to meet you, but we’re not shaking hands right now, sorry.

 

POP SPIDERS: Oh, you right, you right. Hold up. (Pop Spiders takes a gold jewel-encrusted mask out of his jacket and straps it on) We ready?

 

(Luther makes way for Pop Spiders. He walks in and sees a bowl of chips and several two-liter bottles of Coke, Sprite and Dr. Pepper on the coffee table. Luther and Evelyn walk in behind him)

 

LUTHER: Go ahead and have a seat, Pop.

 

(Pop Spiders looks at the coffee table and throws up his hands)

 

POP SPIDERS: The fuck is this?

 

(Luther looks confused)

 

LUTHER: Uh-

 

EVELYN: I think I have what you’re looking for, Mr. Spiders.

 

(Evelyn walks into the kitchen. Pop Spiders sits down on the couch, and Luther sits in the loveseat across from him)

 

POP: Real name’s Gary Poindexter, but I like “Mr. Spiders”, appreciate ya. (Evelyn walks in holding two bottles of Cristal. Pop jumps up and claps his hands together) That’s what I’m fuckin’ talkin’ about!

 

(Evelyn hands the Cristal to Pop Spiders)

 

EVELYN: You do the honor, Mr. Spiders.

 

POP: You got it, girl.

 

(Pop Spiders pops the Cristal, and suds get everywhere)

 

LUTHER: Oh, man, that’s new carpeting.

 

POP SPIDERS: WOOOOO! This that GOOD SHIT!

 

(Evelyn smiles and sticks her hand in the air awkwardly)

 

EVELYN: Woo, indeed!

 

(Luther rubs his temples. Cut to Rob and Nico, wearing their masks, sitting on a bench in the park. Nico is wearing a suit jacket, slacks and a blue tie. Rob is wearing a big Boston Bruins shirt and a baseball cap)

 

NICO: …So, do you want me to say anything, if things don’t go awry?

 

ROB: If you wanna say anything, just be sure to reiterate something I just said. Using your own words.

 

NICO: Okay. So only go off on my own if he gets emotional about his dad?

 

ROB: Or if you sense that I’m uncomfortable.  (Nico nods) Here he comes.

 

(Peter walks over, wearing his mask and bumps elbows with Rob)

 

PETER: Nice to see you, Rob.

 

ROB: Same here, Peter.

 

(Peter looks at Nico)

 

PETER: Who’s this svelte young man?

 

NICO: I’m Nico Polachek, sir.

 

ROB: He’s a consultant with us.

 

PETER: What does he consult you about? Minecraft? (Peter laughs and offers his elbow) I’m just kidding, kid. Nice to meet you.

 

(Nico bumps Peter’s elbow. They all sit down on the bench)

 

ROB: So, listen, I thought maybe some stuff is lost in translation over Zoom. That’s why I wanted to meet in person.

 

NICO: Zoom stuff can often be lost in translation, so we agreed that we should meet in person.

 

(Rob and Peter glare at Nico)

 

PETER: Hold on, Rob, I’m still confused about this young man right here. You say he’s a consultant?

 

ROB: Yeah, well, uh. Technically. We consult with him.

 

NICO: I’m an intern, sir.

 

PETER: Why’d you bring an intern here?

 

ROB: You know why? (Rob pats Nico on the back) Because he’s a rising star, that’s why. Someday we’ll all be working for him. (Nico beams) Except for me, I will be his boss and your boss. Okay, shall we move on?

 

NICO: Let’s move on.

 

(Rob nods)

 

ROB: Right. So, Alien AIDs and Human Slaves reads bad, but the international market is starved for films right now.

 

NICO: The global market is very much in need of new films, and we can provide that.

 

(Rob flashes a glance at Nico)

 

PETER: At best, we can do a limited deal for Western Europe. But otherwise, what you’re asking for is untenable.

 

NICO: If I could just jump in here-

 

ROB: TO SAY, that you should really consider the potential for a franchise of films here, space epics are all the rage right now. Or. Maybe not right now, but they could be again.

 

PETER: Let the kid finish. You say he’s a rising star, I’m ready to stare into the sun. Go ahead, Nico.

 

(Nico nods and clears his throat)

 

NICO: Personally, I think traditional methods of movie distribution are obsolete. People aren’t going to theatres much right now, but it was on the decline before the pandemic too. I don’t think it’s gonna return to normal after the pandemic. Selling to streaming platforms first may be the best course of action.

 

PETER: Where the FUCK do you get off?!

 

(Nico looks petrified)

 

NICO: Oh, no.

 

ROB: Peter, relax!

 

(Peter stands up and points at Nico)

 

PETER: My dad used to take me to the movies EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND! WE WOULD SHARE POPCORN, AND SODAS, AND MY DAD WOULD PRETEND TO GRAB THE ACTRESSES’ TITS! IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! HOW FUCKIN’ DARE YOU TRY TO TAKE THAT AWAY FROM THE WORLD!

 

(Rob stands up)

 

ROB: Nico is more than willing to apologize, I’m sure-

 

PETER: APOLOGIZE TO THIS, COCKSUCKER!
 

(Peter grabs his junk and storms off. Nico stands up)

 

NICO: FELLAS, I’M SORRY!

 

ROB: Look what the fuck you did! I told you, no talking unless shit went south! Did you apologize to his balls by the way?!

 

NICO: I’m sorry I let you down, Rob. I guess I got a jolt of confidence when you said I was a rising star.

 

(Rob sighs)

 

ROB: God, you fuckin’ film majors. I need to go wash all this desperation off. Then we’re gonna go pay a visit to Whitney’s house.

 

NICO: Wait. What?! (Rob walks over to a half-naked homeless guy showering in the sprinklers. Rob stands in front of the sprinklers, takes off his shirt and spreads his arms out. The homeless guy looks confused, and ambles away. Cut to Rob’s car pulling up to Whitney’s house. Rob and Nico get out, and Rob marches Nico up to the front door. He knocks upon it. Whitney answers, with her mask on. Rob marches Nico inside. Cut to Nico on his knees in front of Whitney, who’s sitting behind the desk in her home office. Rob is standing behind Nico) Please, Ms. Stone, it’ll never happen again! You don’t need to fire me! It costs nothing to employ me!!!

 

WHITNEY: Don’t I buy his lunches every Friday, Robert?

 

ROB: From what I remember, that’s correct, Whitney.

 

NICO: PLEASE! I can go without! I go without lunch most weekdays anyway!

 

(Whitney gets up and stands in front of her desk)

 

WHITNEY: …Don’t worry, Nico. This has been a mock execution. (Nico breathes a sigh of relief) Just go back to being timid, please.

 

NICO: Y-y-y-yes, ma’am.

 

WHITNEY: Get the fuck out of here.

 

(Nico nods, gets up and runs out of Whitney’s house. Rob shrugs)

 

ROB: I cannot get through to this guy. I’m amazed he got the job he has now, how did he get through the interview without calling the interviewer “dad”?

 

WHITNEY: From what I’ve heard, they gave it to him out of pity.

 

ROB: Hm. I guess I can see that.

 

(Whitney furrows her brow and looks down)

 

WHITNEY: Wait a minute. Why are we even running away from this? (Rob looks up at Whitney quizzically) Why don’t we lean into it?

 

(Cut to Rob brushing his teeth in the mirror, wearing pajama pants and no shirt. Imogen walks in, wearing a tank top and pajama pants)

 

IMOGEN: A group therapy session?

 

ROB: Yeah. (Rob spits the toothpaste into the sink, sprays the water to push it down, turns off the water and takes Imogen in his arms) We figure, if we all have daddy issues, we might as well bond over it. Then, maybe that bond will turn into cash.

 

IMOGEN: The basis of any good relationship.

 

ROB: It’s why I married you.

 

IMOGEN: Because of my lack of cash?

 

ROB: Right.

 

(Imogen smirks)

 

IMOGEN: What about you and your dad? You ever gonna contact him?

 

(Rob sighs and let go of Imogen, walking back into the bedroom)

 

ROB: Fuck that guy. He’s a piece of shit.

 

IMOGEN: No, I’m talking about your biological dad.

 

(Rob turns to Imogen)

 

ROB: I didn’t think you were my deceased dad.

 

(Imogen shakes her head)

 

IMOGEN: Forget I said anything. (Imogen walks over to her side of the bed and check her phone) HOLY SHIT!

 

ROB: What?

 

(Imogen smiles widely and looks up at Rob)

 

IMOGEN: The President has COVID!

 

(Rob gives a big laugh)

 

ROB: Goddamn, where’s the virgin champagne?!

 

(Cut to Hannah on a Zoom call with McKenzie)

 

HANNAH: Come on, McKenzie, let’s meet up at one of those outdoor diners, or one of those outdoor night clubs or something.

 

MCKENZIE: Outdoor night clubs?

 

HANNAH: Yeah, those people who dance in the park.

 

MCKENZIE: That’s a cult, Hannah.

 

(Hannah pulls down her sleeve, hiding a tattoo of a one-eyed jellyfish)

 

HANNAH: Right, I know.

 

MCKENZIE: I’m way too busy dealing with Kevin’s….pathologies, right now.

 

(Kevin walks in wearing a skirt, glasses and a white blouse)

 

KEVIN: Perrier doesn’t sell glass bottles anymore, you want me to settle for plastic, or contact another sparkling water distributor?

 

MCKENZIE: Just, go to the grocery store and buy whatever sparking water you want, okay?

 

KEVIN: Will do, Ms. Park.

 

(Kevin walks out)

 

HANNAH: Is he, uh-?

 

MCKENZIE: No, he’s just, um. Having a bit of a psychological break. Trust me, this is not that. Rain check, okay?

 

HANNAH: Sure thing. Good luck.

 

(Hannah leaves the Zoom call. She puts her head in her hands. She takes out her phone and brings up Xandra’s contact. Her thumb hovers over the call button. Cut to Xandra in her kitchen, pouring herself a vodka soda. She downs all of it and walks to her couch and collapses onto it. Her apartment is as always, a total mess. Her phone starts ringing. It’s a phone number she doesn’t recognize. She answers)

 

XANDRA: For the last time, we played Among Us for ten hours yesterday, no more!

 

(Cut to Hannah on a landline phone in her room)

 

HANNAH: Xandra?

 

(Intercut between Hannah and Xandra. Xandra sits up)

 

XANDRA: Hannah!? What phone are you using?! Girl, were you kidnapped?! Say “no” for yes and “yes” for no!

 

HANNAH: No! I mean-

 

XANDRA: Oh, my gooood-

 

HANNAH: I mean, yes?! I wasn’t kidnapped! I’m using my dad’s landline just in case my therapist asks to see my call log.

 

XANDRA: Your dad still has a landline?

 

HANNAH: Yeah, he likes to sexually harass telemarketers.

 

XANDRA: Your dad SUCKS.

 

HANNAH: I know. Can you talk?

 

XANDRA: Yeah, I can talk, Jesus, of course I can talk with you. What’s up?

 

HANNAH: …I’m so goddamn bored. I’m so tired of my fucking dad, and my brother.

 

XANDRA: Why don’t you tell them the fuck off?

 

HANNAH: We were raised to respect father and brother.

 

XANDRA: …What about mother?

 

HANNAH: We were raised to believe that women didn’t deserve respect.

 

XANDRA: Oh, my God.

 

HANNAH: What do I do?

 

XANDRA: Why don’t you move?

 

HANNAH: Well, I ran out of that AstroManda money. Mostly because we spent it on-

 

XANDRA: Cocaine.

 

HANNAH: Yeah.

 

XANDRA: Come on, you must’ve had money left over?

 

HANNAH: Yeah, I spent that on rehab.

 

XANDRA: Right. That’s so lame, I never had that expense.

 

HANNAH: You did, Xandra, it was court-ordered.

 

XANDRA:  Yeah, but you went off and did extra credit. (Xandra scoffs) I turned in my homework, went home and forgot everything I learned. Threw an “just got out of rehab” party, complete with booze, coke and weed. But then that COVID shit hit, ruined everything.

 

HANNAH: …Maybe you should do another semester, Xandra.

 

XANDRA: I don’t fuck with all that. Me and rehab ain’t friends. She’s toxic.

 

(Hannah sighs)

 

HANNAH: …How did you pull me in, like you did? How did we happen?

 

XANDRA: You really want to get into that?

 

HANNAH: I think I do.

 

XANDRA: …You never lived, before me. (Beat) In school, you kept your lunch in little compartments in your lunch box, by food group.

 

HANNAH: It was efficient.

 

XANDRA: I threw a handful of gummy worms into a plastic bag. This is who we are, babe. We are different. And that’s beautiful.

 

HANNAH: But you showed me the other side.

 

XANDRA: And you became infatuated with it. With me, too, but with IT.

 

(Hannah shakes her head)

 

HANNAH: So where did it all go wrong?

 

(Xandra chuckles)

 

XANDRA: Oh my God, girl, you really want to get into this?

 

HANNAH: I really do.

 

(Xandra smirks)

 

XANDRA: Okay, let’s do it. (Hannah nods) Can I do a quick bump before we start?

 

HANNAH: Whatever helps jog your memory, I guess.

 

(Cut to an All-Hands Zoom meeting for Stone Productions. Luther is looking at his phone)

 

LUTHER: Yo, Trump’s headed to Walter Reed.

 

WHITNEY: I can’t believe this, he made fun of Biden for wearing a mask three days ago!

 

ROB: Thankfully, despite the fact Trump yelled all over Biden, his mouth didn’t catch any of the droplets. He tested negative.

 

LUTHER: Thank God, I want a Pence V. Biden election, not a Pence V. Harris election.

 

MCKENZIE: Guys, come on, as much as we don’t like the President, we shouldn’t be wishing for his death-

 

(McKenzie starts cracking up, as does everyone else)

 

WHITNEY: Oh, McKenzie, you really had us going there for a second. (Whitney wipes a tear from her eye) Goddamn. Alright, let’s get started. Luther, how’d the meeting with Pop Spiders go?

 

LUTHER: Well, it’s been a day since it happened, but I’ll recap it right now, for you. But I’ll get a lot more specific and vivid after a certain point.

 

EVELYN: I wanted to greet him with Cristal and Rolexes, but Luther objected.

 

LUTHER: Turns out, that’s what he wanted, though. Egg on my face.

 

EVELYN: Then he began to- what’s the term again, Luther?

 

LUTHER: Bust rhymes. Okay, now I’ll get more vivid.

 

(Flashback to Pop Spiders standing in front of Luther and Evelyn, who are sitting on the couch in their living room)

 

POP SPIDERS: (Rapping) I come first because I’m the mane. You come last, like my last name. Bitch, you a car, stay in your lane. I’m hot like a barbecue chicken wing! Bitch, fuck cheese, I got bread yo! Fuck with me, and you bound to get spread, though! My bitch in time-out, she a bad hoe! (Luther winces) She gave me that pussy like Petco! I’m like a boner, I go harder! I’ll cut yo’ ass like my barber! Don’t you dare fuck my daughter! (Pop Spiders pulls a picture from his wallet of an 8-year old Asian girl) I’m a thug, like Barbara Walters! (He puts his hands up) That’s what I got.

 

(Evelyn smiles and claps her hands. Luther claps his hands slowly and reluctantly)

 

EVELYN: That was brilliant, Mr. Spiders, that’s gonna be on your next album?

 

POP SPIDERS: Yeah, for sure. What you think, Luther?

 

LUTHER: I liked it, man. It was, really…cutting-edge.

 

POP SPIDERS: Y’all got the taste I’m looking for in a talent agency. But here’s the thing- and CAA jumped up my dick about this- I want a big-ass concert next month, closest place that allows it.

 

(Cut back to the Zoom meeting)

 

EVELYN: It was at this point, that Luther and I were confronted with a moral dilemma.

 

LUTHER: I was confronted with a moral dilemma, you jumped on it immediately.

 

(Back to the flashback. Luther and Evelyn are standing in the living room, looking out the window to the backyard, where Pop Spiders is smoking a joint. Evelyn is smoking a cigarette, and they both have their masks pulled down)

 

EVELYN: This is ridiculous. You’re not opposed to this because of the concert, you’re opposed to this because you think you’re above representing Pop Spiders.

 

LUTHER: The fuck are you talking about? I’m the one who’s ass is on the line here, why wouldn’t I want to pull in as much business as possible?! I’m just concerned about okaying a super spreader event.

 

EVELYN: We can require masks. Capacity limits. Sanitizer stations.

 

LUTHER: He just said he wants mud wrestling, wet T-shirt contests, open grinding, kissing booths, buffets, and for some reason, CPR demonstrations before and after the show.

 

EVELYN: In case somebody becomes incapacitated!

 

LUTHER: There’s no way this dude is going to be reasonable about this.

 

EVELYN: You’re just so judgmental of people.

 

LUTHER: What do you mean?!

 

EVELYN: I know you still judge me about my father.

 

LUTHER: Because your dad’s a cop? Evelyn, my dad’s a criminal, I got no place to judge! I just want you to recognize that he abandoned y’all, and he doesn’t deserve to be forgiven for it.

 

EVELYN: Who says I forgave him?!

 

(Evelyn and Luther lock into a stare. Evelyn breaks it and takes a drag of her cigarette)

 

LUTHER: Let’s not talk about it.

 

(A light bulb goes off in Evelyn’s mind)

 

EVELYN: Oh my. That’s the perfect solution.

 

LUTHER: What is?

 

(They watch as Pop Spiders throws his joint into a bird bath, causing the birds to fly away. He begins to walk back inside)

 

EVELYN: We won’t talk about it.

 

(Cut back to the All-Hands Zoom meeting)

 

LUTHER: So, without further ado, please welcome, the newest and highest-profile client yet on our roster, Mr. Pop Spiders. Whitney, would you mind admitting him, he’s in the waiting room.

 

WHITNEY: No, he’s not.

 

LUTHER: Fuck. I told him 1pm.

 

WHITNEY: It’s 1:30.

 

LUTHER: Yeah, because I knew he’d be late!

 

WHITNEY: Oh wait, there he is.

 

(Pop Spiders pops up)

 

POP SPIDERS: What’s good, y’all.

 

WHITNEY: Welcome aboard, Pop.

 

ALEC: I’m a huge fan, can’t wait for your new album.

 

LUTHER: What’s our deal, by the way, Pop?

 

POP: No concert until that new album out.

 

LUTHER: And when is that?

 

POP: TBD.

 

ROB: Well done.

 

POP: What do ya mean?

 

LUTHER: Nothing, Pop. Thanks for stopping by.

 

POP: I charge an appearance fee, so. Y’all can all pitch in if you want.

 

LUTHER: Not doing that, you pay us. See ya, Pop.

 

POP: Whatever, dude. Shit.

 

(Pop leaves the meeting)

 

KEVIN: Good thinking, Evelyn.

 

(Evelyn laughs)

 

EVELYN: Thanks, Kevin.

 

LUTHER: What was funny about that?

 

ROB: Whitney, are we ready now?

 

WHITNEY: Execute.

 

MCKENZIE: What is happening?

 

EVELYN: Nothing, McKenzie, don’t be so paranoid.

 

MCKENZIE: I’m not asking you! And what are you talking about?!

 

(Peter Farris joins the meeting)

 

PETER: What’s this all about?

 

ROB: Peter, we’ve noticed you have some daddy issues.

 

PETER: What? (Peter laughs) That’s ridiculous.

 

ROB: Nick Farris.

 

(Peter tears up)

 

PETER: What about him!?

 

ROB: Peter. You’re not alone. We all have daddy issues.

 

WHITNEY: Literally all of us. I don’t know how it happened.

 

ROB: My real dad’s an abusive piece of shit. My stepdad hated me, and now he’s dead. Whitney’s dad is a selfish hick, McKenzie’s dad is a cowardly intellectual, Evelyn’s dad is a deadbeat cop, Luther’s dad is in prison, Miles’ dad is straight- everybody here knows what you’re going through.

 

KEVIN: My dad and I actually have a great relationship-

 

ROB: Shut up, Kevin.

 

EVELYN: DON’T TALK TO HIM LIKE THAT!

 

(Everyone turns their attention to Evelyn, totally shocked. Evelyn bows her head)

 

EVELYN: I don’t like rudeness, is all.

 

(McKenzie looks extremely uncomfortable. Kevin takes a gulp)

 

ROB: …Anyway. We feel your pain, man. Anything you want to talk about, let it out here.

 

(Peter takes a deep breath)

 

PETER: Well…I-I-I guess I get emotional, because, I never really felt like I…was valued. And…

 

(Peter breaks down into tears. Rob closes his eyes, as tears emanate from his eyes as well. Whitney desperately tries to hold back the tears, but she eventually gives in. Miles breaks down. Luther starts crying into his hands. Evelyn looks around, confused. Alec leaves the meeting)

 

MCKENZIE: Kevin, mute your mic.

 

(Kevin mutes his mic, and then McKenzie mutes hers. McKenzie walks into Kevin’s office and starts yelling at him. The two have an argument on camera while everyone else cries their guts out. Cut to Rob in his kitchen, pouring himself a glass of sweet tea. Imogen is sitting at the dinner table, studying Scientology books)

 

ROB: And just like that, we have a distributor.

 

IMOGEN: (Muted) Great.

 

(Rob puts his tea down)

 

ROB: …I’ve been thinking that I should call my dad.

 

IMOGEN: Good job.

 

(Rob looks at Imogen)

 

ROB: On what? Thinking about calling my dad?

 

(Imogen sighs and looks up)

 

IMOGEN: Sorry, babe, it’s just, these goddamn books they make you study.

 

ROB: I’ve just been reading the SparkNotes.

 

IMOGEN: Listen, if we’re gonna lean into this, we should lean in all the way. Why are we doing this, otherwise?

 

ROB: For money.

 

IMOGEN: Yeah, and he’s only gonna give you more money, if you lean in.

 

ROB: I’m leaning in! I’m leaning in so far, I might fall over, into his lap. I’m going to see him right now.

 

IMOGEN: Okay, good.

 

(Rob nods, and walks out of the kitchen. Imogen looks after him as he goes. Cut to Rob sitting across from Stephen in his office. They’re both wearing masks)

 

STEPHEN: I have to say, Robert, I don’t think this is a good idea.

 

ROB: Why not? I know he’s a bad dude, but maybe he’s gotten his life together, using that money I gave him. I’ve known a ton of people in L.A. who had nothing, as soon as they made it big and got a of money, they became better people. Without exception.

 

STEPHEN: But you have to realize Robert, your father Brad is an outsider. When we associate with outsiders, it weakens our faith. Does that make sense?

 

ROB: …What about the people at work?

 

STEPHEN: That’s just you making that cheese, fam. But outside of that, you have to keep outsiders at an arm’s length. We got Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Elisabeth Moss and Shelly Miscavige locked up somewhere, why would you need anyone else?

 

(Rob nods solemnly)

 

ROB: Wait, what was that last part?

 

STEPHEN: What last part? There wasn’t a last part.

 

(Cut to Hannah on a therapy session over Zoom. Dr. DeLouise is staring at her. Hannah is avoiding her gaze)

 

HANNAH: …You can judge me all you want. We had a great conversation. It gave me a lot of closure. We’re meeting at her apartment, tomorrow. NOTHING romantic is gonna happen. We could just, both use some personal connection.

 

DR. DELOUISE: I’m never judging you, Hannah. But I want to warn you, you’ve told me about Xandra’s toxic behavior in the past. And her habit of giving you toxic substances.

 

HANNAH: I know how to deal with her. Trust me on this.

 

(Cut to Xandra opening the front door of her apartment. She sees Hannah standing there, wearing her mask. Xandra is of course, also wearing a mask)

 

XANDRA: Come in!

 

(Hannah walks in and Xandra shuts the door. Hannah notices Xandra’s apartment is immaculate)

 

HANNAH: Holy shit. Did you purchase a vacuum or something?

 

XANDRA: This place gonna be famous, so I had to give it a glow-up.

 

HANNAH: What do you mean?

 

XANDRA: Let me show you.

 

(Xandra leads Hannah into the spare bedroom. She flips the lights on, and Hannah sees a table outfitted with two professional-grade podcast microphones on flexible arms, complete with recording equipment and a laptop open to sound editing & recording software. There is a plexiglass divider in the middle of the table. On the wall, there is a framed, professionally designed logo for something called “Closure”- red lettering, all caps, with the letters fading as the word goes on. Hannah looks confused)

 

HANNAH: What the hell is this?

 

XANDRA: This, is where we’re gonna record our new podcast.

 

(Hannah squints)

 

HANNAH: What new podcast!?

 

(Xandra walks over to the other side of the plexiglass divider and sits down in front of the mic)

 

XANDRA: I realized after our conversation the other day, that convo was the shit. That convo was that primo Columbian shit, that twenty-something white girl hipsters line up for around the block, between going to brunch and going to their therapist’s office.

 

HANNAH: Can you only understand concepts through the lens of cocaine?

 

XANDRA: I’m just saying, we had a really important conversation about closure. It’s the kind of conversation that most people can relate to. Think about the kind of hype a podcast hosted by two exes would generate, especially two famous actresses.

 

HANNAH: Famous? Relax.

 

XANDRA: Semi-famous.

 

(Hannah sighs)

 

HANNAH: I don’t know.

 

XANDRA: Come on, I already got a sponsor! Practice this ad read.

 

(Xandra hands her a piece of paper. Hannah looks at it and clears her throat)

 

HANNAH: “Breaking up is hard. Sometimes the depression causes you to binge on snacks. But you can put those Cheetos aside, because NatureBox has healthy snacks delivered right to your-“ (Hannah throw the paper down) are you fucking kidding me with this shit!?

 

XANDRA: What?!

 

HANNAH: You know, my shrink told me I shouldn’t come running back to you, why the fuck didn’t I listen to her? I guess, for a second, I thought you weren’t just trying to use me. But don’t worry, knowing you, I know you’ll have a new ex before long.

 

(Hannah storms out of the room. Xandra stands up)

 

XANDRA: Hannah, it’s not like that!

 

(Xandra sinks back into her seat and rubs her temple. Cut to Rob driving his car on the 405, he’s listening to “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & The News on the radio)

 

ROB: (Singing) You don’t need money, you don’t need fame. You don’t need no credit card to ride this train. It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes, but it might just save your life- WHAT THE FUCK!? (Rob pulls over to the side of the road and gets out. He’s scratching his head, in confusion) Fuck Stephen, I can call whoever the fuck I want. (Rob takes out his phone) I’m doing this for the money, I keep forgetting that!

 

(Rob brings up Brad in his contacts and calls the number. He gets back in his car. But the “disconnected number” tone plays)

 

AUTOMATED MESSAGE: The number you are trying to reach has been disconnected, or is no longer in service-

 

(Rob hangs up. He puts his phone away. After a few moments of quiet contemplation, he starts up his car and gets back on the highway. Cut to Rob sitting near the pool, smoking a cigarette. Imogen walks outside)

 

IMOGEN: Hey, what the hell are you doing?

 

ROB: …Sorry. I called my dad, his number’s been disconnected.

 

(Imogen walks over and sits next to him)

 

IMOGEN: He probably just changed numbers. To avoid debt collectors. And aggrieved exes. And maybe hitmen. Not you.

 

ROB: …I gave him $70,000, what did he do with it?!

 

IMOGEN: …I think you can answer that for yourself, babe.

 

ROB: More importantly, though, why the fuck did I let the Church of Scientology FORBID me from calling him, at first?

 

IMOGEN: …Do you want me to go there?

 

ROB: Yes, go ahead.

 

IMOGEN: …You’re maybe a little impressionable?

 

ROB: …I really wish you hadn’t gone there.

 

IMOGEN: Sorry, Rob. (Imogen takes his cigarette and throws it in the pool) No more slip-ups. (Beat) Maybe we need to set some boundaries with the Church.

 

ROB: Yes, I agree. You know what church had some boundaries? The Catholic Church! That’s where I came from.

 

(Imogen desperately tries to bite her tongue)

 

IMOGEN: …Yes, they’re, um. Well known for respecting boundaries. Okay. See you inside.

 

(Imogen walks inside. Cut to Hannah on the phone in her backyard)

 

HANNAH: So, I guess you were right.

 

DR. DELOUISE: (On the phone) First of all, Hannah. Three sessions in one week is really too much, I can’t keep squeezing you in like this.

 

HANNAH: Sorry.

 

DR. DELOUISE: Secondly, yeah, it’s kinda fucked up, but. I’d listen to that.

 

HANNAH: Excuse me?

 

DR. DELOUISE: I feel like if you were able to set some boundaries with her, you could do this. I think the podcast would blow up. It’s such a cool idea. This could be great for your career. (Hannah is dumbfounded) Oh my God, could I be a guest?!

 

HANNAH: …I guess if it made enough money, I could move out of this shithole.

 

DR. DELOUISE: Thursdays are usually good for me. You?

 

(Cut to Hannah knocking on Xandra’s door, wearing her mask. Xandra opens up, with her mask hanging down, and her eyes bloodshot and nostril inflamed red)

 

XANDRA: What are you- (Xandra quickly puts her mask up) What are you doing here?

 

(Hannah walks past Xandra and finds her apartment has returned to its previous level of filth. She turns to Xandra)

 

HANNAH: HOW!?

 

XANDRA: What the fuck do you want?!

 

(Hannah pulls a contract out of her pocket and hands it to Xandra)

 

HANNAH: Remember Jeff Cohen? He drafted that up for me.

 

(Xandra takes a look at it)

 

XANDRA: Our old lawyer?

 

HANNAH: Yes. You can review it on your own time, but it basically says that we have to donate a portion of the ad revenue to suicide prevention charities, I don’t do ad reads, and the effort to, examine the process of closure has to be, genuine. Though, that part is less legally enforceable. If I feel it any point that it’s not, I will pull out.

 

(Xandra looks up at Hannah)

 

XANDRA: …Look at you, red. I’d like to think I had something to do with this ballsiness, but. I think this is all you.

 

HANNAH: It is. Do you agree?

 

XANDRA: Do you have a pen?  Wait. I have one. (Xandra takes a straw out of her pocket and tries to write with it. But then she looks at it more closely) Fuck.

 

(Cut to Stephen Garamendi working in his office. He gets a phone call on his office phone. He answers)

 

STEPHEN: Hello?

 

(Cut to Rob, who’s sitting in his living room and talking on the phone. Intercut between them)

 

ROB: Listen, Stephen. I don’t like how our conversation went today.

 

STEPHEN: Was it temperature? Sorry about that, our AC went out.

 

ROB: No, it wasn’t that. My body actually regulates its temperature with a preternatural precision, so that wasn’t the problem.

 

STEPHEN: Then, what’s bothering you, Rob?

 

ROB: You don’t get to tell me who I associate with. That’s not what I’m about. I don’t tell you where to buy your weird suits.

 

(Stephen nods)

 

STEPHEN: You’re right, I’m sorry.

 

ROB: So, suck on that, Garamendi- wait, what?

 

STEPHEN: I shouldn’t have tried to control who you associate with. I’m sorry.

 

ROB: …Well, thank you. I still look forward to working with you.

 

STEPHEN: Absolutely, me as well. Have a good night.

 

(Stephen hangs up. Rob hangs up, and smirks. Cut to Stephen in his office. He smiles deviously. Cut to Brad Lamborn, wearing a velvet robe, and standing in the foyer of a huge mansion, on a cell phone)

 

BRAD: What the hell do you mean, I must not have paid?! I pay my phone bill every month! (Beat) Oh, a new company runs the local provider now?! Okay, give me these cocksuckers’ names, then!

 

(Zoom out to find a van outside Brad’s house. The van has “GARAMENDI TELECOMMUNICATIONS INC”, accompanied by a Xenu type mascot, and a phone number. Cut to black)

 

DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF CHAD LACKEY, 1997-2020

 

THE END


Submitted: October 07, 2020

© Copyright 2021 NEONETWORK. All rights reserved.

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