All the World's a Stage

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

Gary Coupland's entire working life has involved making movies. He has been forced to live in a retirement home by his children. He refuses to give up on his desire to make another movie. Those around Gary don't think it's possible. None of them know Gary. He is capable of more than any of them realize.

Gary Coupland opens his eyes to see another day at the retirement home. On the walls of his room are several posters of movies he has made during his career. He was known for making B films. He worked as an actor, director, producer, and every type of job required on a film set. Gary's movies were never huge blockbusters. They were films with small budgets and unknown actors. His films never won him an Academy Award. Gary always told anyone who would listen that many of the biggest names in Hollywood have been in at least one of his movies.

The retirement home is a nice place, but Gary struggles to not hate it. People are nice, but they aren't actors or producers. They aren't egocentric directors or confused technical people trying to do their job on a minimal budget. He misses the stress and excitement of making a film. Garry refuses to give up making movies. He is determined to make another one sooner than later. His faithful fans will be shocked when he makes this happen. It is just a matter of time.

Gary decides to stop sharing his ideas for making future movies with people around him. When he does this, people smirk and laugh. His son and daughter simply give him their condescending smiles. They give him false hope and fake praise. His children put him in the retirement home to control his money. He is sure of it. They will all be shocked when his next movie is released. Gary can't wait for this to happen. Until then, he has to be patient. Unfortunately, it is not a skill he had mastered during his life. Sometimes he is unable to control his sarcastic wit or his desire to try to get what he wants no matter what. Gary is known for finding ways to make these personality traits work to his benefit.

 

********

 

“How are you doing Mr. Coupland? I hope you are having a good day.”

It is nurse Doris. Gary has seen her do many jobs around the retirement home. He believes her greatest contribution to the home is annoying him until he wants to scream. Gary believes any person this perky and positive all the time has a mental defect or is doing drugs. Not the cheap stuff, the expensive kind.

“Doris, what drugs are you on today? Nobody could be as happy as you are unless they are doing something illegal. You can tell me. I won't tell a soul,” says Gary.

“Now Mr. Coupland, that's not nice. I'm just a person who loves life.”

“What a bunch of crap. You're a person who loves getting wasted. That would explain your behavior. What do you do when you stub your toe or get a bruise from stepping on one of your child's toys? Do you say 'Oh gee, I'm so lucky to be feeling pain? It lets me know I'm alive another day to annoy that Coupland guy at the retirement home.' Is that what you say?”

“Mr. Coupland, you're being mean again. There is no reason to pick on me. I'm simply here to help get your clothes ready for the day and make sure you get down to the dining hall.”

“News flash druggie Doris, I don't need help to pick out my clothes or getting down to the dining hall. I can get dressed, pee, eat, and do other amazing things like brush my teeth, comb my hair all by myself. I've done it a few times over the years, and they're skills I've mastered. Quit trying to justify your job by doing things that don't need to be done. Have you considered checking yourself into rehab?”

The happy expression Doris has suddenly become one of anger.

“I'll wait for you outside.”

Doris quickly leaves the room. Gary smiles and tells himself it's starting to be a good day. She reminds him of a drug-addicted woman from a movie he made called Addicted and Clueless. Ironically, the main female character's name was also Doris. Gary thinks to himself how life can be ironic.

 

********

 

Gary walks into the retirement home's dining area. He sits down at his assigned seat and smiles at Ed Parker who is sitting across from him. Gary decides to make a few comments about how Ed is thin. He likes how Ed can only say one word when he gets upset. Gary is determined to find a way to have fun during his breakfast time.

“Hey, Ed how are you doing this morning? I had trouble sleeping last night. The walls here are so thin.”

Ed slams his hands on the table and points at Gary.

“Don't you start with me. I'm not going to put up with it.”

“I guess my jokes are wearing thin on you.”

“Every morning it's the same thing. You come down here, sit across from me, and say things about me being skinny. So, I'm skinny.”

“That's not true. I was sick a few days last week, so I was unable to come down here and make comments about you being skinny. Get it right, will you?”

Ed sighs and shakes his head. Just then a person comes over and puts down food in front of Gary and Ed. Gary has a bowl of oatmeal and Ed has a plate of scrambled eggs, sausage, and toast. After looking at his oatmeal, Gary gets the attention of the girl who gave them the food.

“Excuse me, what exactly is this?” says Gary.

“Mr. Coupland, that's your breakfast,” says the girl.

“No, what you gave skinny Eddie is breakfast. What you gave me is gerbil food. I'm shocked you don't take me out to a field and have me graze next to cows and goats for my breakfast. Why don't you take this back and get me some real food for my breakfast.”

“I'm sorry Mr. Coupland. That is what is on the menu for you. I'm sure you know you're on a diet because of your health.”

“A diet yes, being starved to feed the ego of some deranged members of the medical profession, no. I need a real breakfast.”

The girl laughs and walks away. This is when Ed begins to laugh. He is smiling and says, “Ah, I bet you wish you were thin now.”

Gary's eyes close slightly as he is getting angry. He points to something behind Ed and yells, “Look, the young college girls who volunteer here have shown up in bikinis.”

Ed turns around and Gary puts his oatmeal in front of Ed and takes the place of scrambled eggs and sausages. He begins quickly eating. When Ed turns back around, he says, “You are blind, they are not there.”

He notices Gary eating his breakfast and grabs it, Gary tries to hold on to the plate of food.

“Hey, ah, you, oh, give, ah food, me, now,” yells Ed.

“Hey, I'm doing this to help you keep your thin figure. Too bad it won't help you with your speech problems.”

As the two men are pulling on the plate, food is falling on the table but neither man is giving up. They suddenly hear a woman scream, “That is enough. Both of you put that plate of food down.”

When Ed and Gary look up, Mrs. Loufes is standing there. Gary calls her Nurse Ratched. She motions for a girl to come to the table.

“I'm going to get Mr. Parker a new plate of food. Mr. Coupland, you need to eat your oatmeal.”

Gary stands up.

“That's okay Nurse Ratched, I'm done.”

“My name is Mrs. Loufes.”

“Whatever.”

Gary slowly walks out of the dining room struggling not to laugh. Mrs. Loufes reminds him of the main character in one of his movies called Diabolical Nurse.

 

********

Sitting in his room, Gary is looking out of the window. Suddenly, he smiles and says, “There's my Guy.”

Gary opens the window and a man in his early thirties wearing a security uniform is standing there. His name is Howard. He hands Gary a bag from a local fast-food restaurant. Gary smiles and takes it. He then hands Howard money.

“The breakfast sandwich, potato patties, coffee, and a cream cheese danish are all there. What should I bring you for dinner?” says Howard.

“You are a gift from heaven my friend. For dinner, you can surprise me. We need to go and spend some time in the room tonight. Same time as usual?”

“Yes, sir, I will come in, and we will then go to the room.”

“Excellent.”

Gary closes the window and begins to devour his new breakfast. When he is done, he puts the wrappers inside the bag. Gary then takes the bag, goes to another window, and opens it. He expertly tosses the bag into a dumpster located behind the retirement home's kitchen area. Gary thinks to himself that if he didn't hate being in this place so much, he might actually like it.

 

********

 

Gary is in the retirement home's exercise facility. It is a large open space with several physical therapists working individually with the retirement home residents. Gary is looking at an attractive girl who is young and blonde. Her name is Crystal. She is his physical therapist for the day. He can't stop smiling at her.

“Mr. Coupland, I thought today we would do some work with a chair,” says Crystal.

“Hey, when a young, pretty girl like you tells a guy she wants to do some work with a chair, he could get the wrong idea,” says Gary.

“Are we going to be rude today or are we going to be able to get some work done?”

“I think the kind of work I want to do, and the kind of work you want me to do, are two very different things. I'm in a good mood, so I'll do what you say.”

“You can stop the rude comments.”

“I don't think of them as rude comments. I think of them as a testament to your beauty and my sincere admiration for your success at being an extremely attractive female. Congratulations on that achievement. You should be in movies. I've made a lot of movies, so I should know.”

During the next hour, Crystal tries to get Gary to exercise, and he can't stop looking at her. He does minimal exercise and continues to make comments about her looks and tells her jokes. Finally, the hour is over.

“Our time is up Mr. Coupland. It's time for you to return to your room.”

“Ah, parting is such sweet sorry. Until next time, mon amour.”

Gary goes to the door, turns, and blows Crystal a kiss before leaving. She waits a while and then goes to the door. Crystal leaves the exercise facility and goes down a long hallway. She goes to a door labeled as 'Staff Only' and goes through it. Crystal is in another long hallway. She walks down to the door at the end. When Crystal opens it, she is suddenly in the open area of a rather large mansion. She goes over to a desk and sits down, removes her blonde wig, puts cream on her face, and begins removing her makeup. Two people in their fifties walk up behind her. They are Gary's son and daughter. Their names are Elaine and Thomas.

“How is he today?” asks Elaine.

“Oh, he's the usual. Making things as difficult as ever. Please remind me again why you are paying me to play the role of a physical therapist for your father.”

“We appreciate you and all the actors making this possible. Our father has been asked to leave at least a half dozen retirement homes. We didn't know what to do with him since he refuses to live with either one of us since our mother died. So, this old hospital set seemed to be the perfect situation. It was built behind our house for one of his movies. He thinks he's in a retirement home and can misbehave as much as he likes. I think he enjoys it,” says Thomas.

“I hope you aren't planning on quitting. It is so difficult to keep actors for this project,” says Elaine.

Crystal stands up. She is now a brunette with brown eyes. Crystal puts on her coat and slings her purse over her shoulder.

“No, but he does make things interesting. I'll see you tomorrow.”

Elaine says, “Thanks, see you tomorrow.”

Crystal makes her way through the stately mansion filled with impressive antiques to the front door and leaves.

 

********

 

There is a knock on Gary's door. When he opens it, Howard is standing there wearing a security guard uniform.

“The coast is clear, Mr. Coupland. We can go to the room,” says Howard.

Gary walks out, carefully closes his door, and walks down the hall behind Howard. They get to a point at the end of the hallway where there doesn't appear anything but a wall. Howard opens a panel and pulls a lever. A part of the wall opens inward to a room. Gary and Howard go inside.

The room is filled with movie editing equipment. Gary sits down in a chair in front of a large screen and turns on a computer.

“Did you get a chance to download my latest moments in the dining hall and exercise room?” says Gary.

Howard responds, “Yes, it is in there.”

“How about my latest interaction with dingy Doris?”

“I have that as well. You've placed the cameras in the perfect spots to record you.”

“Oh, it's nothing. You just have to be aware of what the camera is seeing.”

Gary reaches underneath the desk and pulls out a bottle of whiskey. He pours some in a nearby plastic glass.

“Would you care to have a bit?”

“Yes, but let me get settled first, so we can start working.”

“Suit yourself.”

Gary downs the whiskey in the plastic glass and pours himself some more.

“Mr. Coupland, how did all of this get started? This is the craziest acting job I've ever had. I do appreciate the many roles you've given me in your movies. This is just very different.”

“This got started because my kids think I'm an idiot. They actually believed they could take me to a hospital set I built behind my house, and that I am so far gone between the ears, I would believe it is a real retirement home. Well, I'm not an idiot. I know more about this set than they could imagine. I figured I could put some cameras around where nobody can see and use the footage to make a pretty good movie.”

Howard laughs and takes a plastic cup, pours himself some whiskey, and sits down next to Gary. He holds out his plastic cup toward Gary.

“To my friend Gary Coupland. There never will be another movie maker quite like you.”

Gary takes his plastic glass filled with whiskey and touches it to the one in Howard's hand.

“To my friend Howard. We both know when it comes to movies that all the world's a stage and the show must go on.”

The two men then drink their whiskey and focus their attention on the computer screen. They both work for hours editing Gary's next movie. It will be a surprise when it gets released. Gary thinks it could be one of the best movies he's ever made. He is thinking of calling it Rogue Retirement Home Resident.

 

 

The End

 


Submitted: October 22, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Nevidomo Istoriya. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Ann Sepino

This was great! A double plot twist, just like the doctor ordered! I had a feeling that the first one would happen, but the second was a complete surprise. Congrats for putting out such an amazing story. :)

Wed, October 28th, 2020 4:29am

Author
Reply

Thank you for your comment.

Wed, October 28th, 2020 4:42am

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