The Valley of the Tools Episode 42

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

The Mayor of Los Angeles shuts off Rob’s power after he finds out about his election night party, and he has to figure out how to repair his reputation. Luther’s mom tries to repair his relationship with his father when he and Evelyn visit for Thanksgiving. Evelyn assists Hannah with her hunt for a new house.

THE VALLEY OF THE TOOLS

 

“SWAY”

 

TV-MA DLS

 

“My face is the front of shop. My face is the real shop front. My shop is the face I front. I'm real when I shop my face. Artificial bloom. Hydroponic skin. Chemical release. Synthesize the real. Plastic surgery. Social dialect. Positive results. Documents of life”

  • Sophie Long

 

(We open on Rob waking up in bed. He looks over and sees Imogen is not there. He drags himself out of bed and stretches. Cut to Rob talking on his cell phone in his bathroom, sitting on the counter)

 

ROB: Yeah, I’m sorry, Kim. I wish we could be there, but with these cases blowing up-

 

KIMBERLY: (OS) Trust me, we wouldn’t have let you come over. Have a good Thanksgiving with Imogen.

 

ROB: Thanks, Kim. I hope you and Lee have a good one, too.

 

KIMBERLY: I’m glad you’re being responsible.

 

ROB: Yeah, Imogen and I have been super responsible. We know what’s at stake. Alright. I’ll let you go.

 

KIMBERLY: Love you, bye.

 

ROB: Bye. (Rob hangs up and walks over to the light switch near the door and flips it on. But no lights come on. He flips it on a few more times) The fuck? (Rob walks into the living room, and sees Imogen on the couch, using her phone) Hey- was there a power outage?

 

(Imogen puts her phone down)

 

IMOGEN: Not exactly. I just got a call from LADWP. Look at this shit!

 

(Imogen plays a YouTube video on her iPhone. We see Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti standing at a podium in the Mayor’s office, with a frizzy-haired ASL interpreter behind him, signing away. Garcetti removes his mask)

 

MAYOR GARCETTI: As you all know, COVID-19 cases have exploded in the city. We have taken numerous strong steps to keep Angelenos safe. That means, among other things, disallowing indoor AND outdoor dining throughout the city, and discouraging and disallowing mass gatherings of all forms. Unfortunately, some people have not abided by these rules. That is why I directed LADWP and the LAPD to alert me to instances where people repeatedly hold mass gatherings in their homes, so I may decide whether or not to shut off power to that property.

 

ROB: Wait.

 

MAYOR GARCETTI: We received reports of a mass gathering at the Bel Air home of a certain reality TV star in mid-August. We decided to take no action unless it happened again.

 

ROB: You can’t be serious!

 

MAYOR GARCETTI: Now that we’ve confirmed reports of a mass gathering at this same residence on Election Night, we have decided to take action. Power has been shut off at this lot. Any further gatherings will result in further action taken.

 

(Rob grips his head and sinks into the couch)

 

ROB: This is fucking bad.

 

IMOGEN: Yeah, this might ruin your stellar reputation.

 

REPORTER: (OS) Mr. Mayor, if at all possible, can you divulge the name of this certain reality TV star?

 

MAYOR GARCETTI: We choose not to.

 

ROB: Thank God!
 

MAYOR GARCETTI: Though, what we can say, is that he starred in Beauty and the BEASTliest, Penis Envy and other such reality programs in the 2010s.

 

ROB: Oh, holy shit!

 

REPORTER: (OS) I know this, I know this, ROB ALTMIRE?!

 

MAYOR GARCETTI: Yes, Robert Altmire. The person is Robert Altmire. 

 

(The ASL interpreter makes a disgusted face while spelling out Rob’s name with her hands)

 

ROB: What the fuck?! Even the ASL interpreter is getting in on the Altmire-bashing!!

 

IMOGEN: Here comes the kicker.

 

MAYOR GARCETTI: We shut off power to Robert Altmire’s residence at 2302 Stradella Road in Bel Air. (The ASL interpreter starts mock throwing up) That’s all you’re gonna get outta me, guys.

 

(Rob grabs the phone and closes the video)

 

ROB: We tested everyone beforehand! Made them quarantine for two weeks!!

 

IMOGEN: You better tell the public that, or they’re gonna see you as an older, flabbier version of Bryce Hall.

 

ROB: What do you mean, flabby?! (Rob lifts up his shirt, revealing a pouch of flab) It’s hanging out a little bit because of the holidays, but there’s a washboard under that cushion, goddamnit! (Cut to Rob in his office, on a Zoom call with his publicist June. June is in her apartment, still with the transparent glasses and blonde wig on) June, thanks so much for jumping on this call with me.

 

JUNE: Don’t act like this is casual, you haven’t reached out to me in well over two years.

 

ROB: But you’re still my publicist, aren’t you?

 

JUNE: No! I’m not! You stopped paying me!

 

ROB: Well. Regardless. I have a PR crisis on my hands. And I’m not talking about that time I accidentally burned a Puerto Rican flag at the Puerta Rican Day Parade.

 

JUNE: I think you’re thinking of an old Seinfeld episode.

 

ROB: Whatever I’m thinking of, my reputation as an upstanding philanthropist/sex guru/prophet is in jeopardy, thanks to Garcetti’s persecution of me.

 

JUNE: So, you see yourself as a martyr?

 

ROB: Well, yes, I guess you could say that has been added to my resume, sure.

 

JUNE: Try not to emphasize that. Let me just ask you some questions. Were there any precautions taken at these mass gathering events?

 

ROB: Yes! Everybody was required to test negative and quarantine for two weeks prior to both events.

 

JUNE: See? Good! That’s good spin. Are there any known cases that can be traced back to this event?

 

ROB: Absolutely not.

 

JUNE: Well, then. I know what we must do. Let’s organize a press conference…at the Ritz-Carlton.

 

(Cut to an establishing shot of “Ritz-Carlton Total Landscaping” in downtown Los Angeles. The slogan under the sign reads “To get the lawn you need, you gotta ‘Put on the Ritz’”. Cut to a conference room inside the business. The room is packed with local reporters, with only a few wearing masks. Rob is at a podium, flanked by June. A white board behind them reads “lawn mower with seating for the whole family??” and a sketch of a riding lawn mower with five total seats, featuring a dad in the front puffing on a pipe, a mother beside him holding a pie, and a little boy and a little girl in the back, the boy wields a toy truck and the girl holds a barbie. Rob and June are wearing masks)

 

ROB: Thank you guys so much for coming. Sorry, we meant to book the Ritz-Carlton hotel, but, mistakes happen. But hey, at least I know how to apply hair dye correctly.

 

REPORTER: (OS) Do you use hair dye-?

 

ROB: NO! (Rob takes off his mask and puts it in his pocket) Just so you know, we have our own ASL interpreter. Come in, Sandy.

 

(Sandy, a busty blonde, walks in and winks at Rob)

 

SANDY: Ready, Robert.

 

ROB: Isn’t she something? (Rob smirks) Alright, I am ready for your questions. (Sandy points at Rob’s mouth. An LA Times reporter raises her hand) Yes, L.A. Times?

 

L.A. TIMES: Rachel Bouchard, Los Angeles Times, uh, first of all, what is your interpreter doing?

 

SANDY: I’m pointing to Mr. Altmire’s mouth, so the deaf people know that they’ve gotta read his lips for this part.

 

RACHEL: Do you not know sign language?

 

SANDY: I know some of it, but I can’t be expected to know every word! I took a semester in High School, Jeez leweez.
 

ROB: Okay, guys, I’m answering the questions here, not Sandy.

 

RACHEL: Fine. Mr. Altmire, how can you defend the mass gatherings you held at your house in the midst of a worsening global pandemic?

 

ROB: Well, I think the Mayor went too far in this instance, Rachel. Ask anybody who attended either party, they were all required to test negative for COVID and then quarantine for two weeks before they even attended the party. (Mumbles in the crowd, as reporters type that down. A reporter raises their hand) Yes?

 

REPORTER: Hi, Gerald Coslin, Huffington Post. Did everyone at these parties honor their word?

 

ROB: Well. Yes. With only one exception. (Murmurs in the room) Come on, guys! My wife Imogen went to the mall. (More murmurs) Buy, guys! Come on! They all got tested again afterwards, and they all isolated while they waited for their test, and all the tests came back negative! (An older reporter in the back raises his hand) Yes, you in the back?

 

REPORTER: Liam Crumley, Cal State Long Beach student newspaper, first off, Sandy has been pointing this whole time and clearly doesn’t know any ASL at all, secondly, don’t you think this crowded, indoor press conference sends the wrong message, considering what you’ve been accused of?

 

(Rob and June look around the room. Rob strokes his chin)

 

ROB: …I mean, I guess I take your point-

 

(Trey Goodlatte runs in, maskless, holding a sign that says “CHAIRMAN GARCETTI CRUSHES LIBERTY!!!”)

 

TREY: GARCETTI IS A DICTATOR!!! THEY’RE USING COVID TO INSTALL TOTALITARIAN SOCIALIST RULE!!!

 

JUNE: Oh, shit.

 

RACHEL: Oh my God, isn’t that Colleen Diamond’s boyfriend!?!

 

(All the reporters take out their cameras and start snapping photos, and all the news cameras point that way as well, much to Rob and June’s horror. Sandy points to Trey’s mouth)

 

TREY: THERE IS A CONSPIRACY TO CRUSH FREEDOM-LOVING PATRIOTS, WHO JUST WANT TO PARTY! THAT IS A GOD-GIVEN RIGHT!! GARCETTI SHUT OFF MY POWER TO SHUT ME UP! BUT HERE I AM!  (Rob and June quickly whisk themselves away) SCREAMING AND SPITTING IN THE FACE OF TYRANNY!!!

 

(Cut to Rob driving his car down La Cienega. June is in the passenger seat, and Rob looks very pissed. The radio is on)

 

NPR: The Trump campaign has suffered a string of losses this week in its longshot attempt to overturn President-elect Biden’s victory, as the swing states of Georgia and Michigan have both certified their results, with more expected to come. Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell have alleged massive, widespread election fraud in public, but have alleged nothing of the sort in state courts. Trump suffered another setback in this attempt to steal the election from Biden when Trump agreed to allow his government to cooperate in the transition process to a Biden administration. Trump blasted Trump as a “Trump hater” on Twitter, but Trump has defended himself from Trump, saying he was simply “doing his duty” and that his allegiance is to the law, not Trump. But Sidney Powell shot back, saying Trump was attempting to steal the election from Trump. This is NPR.

 

(June turns down the radio)

 

JUNE: Listen, Rob, this is a minor setback- a hiccup, at best!

 

ROB: A hiccup!?

 

JUNE: We can salvage this!

 

ROB: We had a crowded, indoor press conference to defend ourselves from charges of irresponsibly handling COVID.

 

JUNE: The Ritz-Carlton hotel would’ve been indoors too!

 

ROB: And that ASL interpreter could’ve been hotter!

 

JUNE: …THAT was your big problem!?

 

ROB: Now everybody’s gonna think Trey and I are on the same side. Fuck this.

 

(Rob pulls over onto the side of the road, right near a Ralph’s)

 

JUNE: What are you doing?

 

ROB: You can walk home, June.

 

JUNE: Are you serious?!

 

ROB: Get an Uber or something! See if you can salvage their reputation. (June scoffs, undoes her seatbelt, and gets out. Rob speeds off. June flips him off aggressively, with both hands, and kicks dust everywhere. Cut to Rob pulling up to his garage. He presses his garage clicker and waits for the door to lift. He clicks it again. And again. Then his head falls onto the steering wheel and screams in frustration. He then gets a phone call. He checks his phone to see its Luther. He picks it up) What is it?

 

(Cut to Luther driving a sedan down the streets of Chicago, with an older black gentleman in the backseat of his car, with an ankle bracelet on that’s beeping wildly, ducked down beneath the back window, and peeking out nervously)

 

LUTHER: Yo, Rob, I just want you to know, that I may be on the lam for a while, so if I don’t come back to work after the break, that’s why.

 

(Cut back to Rob)

 

ROB: That’s great, Luther, but I can’t really talk right now.

 

LUTHER: (OS) Rob, just-

 

(Rob hangs up. Cut to Rob walking into his mansion. He closes the door, walks down the hallway and into the living room, where Imogen is reading “Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi. Imogen looks up)

 

IMOGEN: How’d the press conference go?

 

ROB: You didn’t watch?

 

IMOGEN: I would, but my phone died. And we have no internet.

 

ROB: We can’t even go to a Starbucks to get Wi-Fi, because they don’t let you stay in there! This is a violation of international human rights statutes, I think!

 

IMOGEN: So, how’d it go?!

 

ROB: Badly. (Rob plops down on the couch, and places Imogen’s legs on his lap) In fact, uh…I was thinking I could use some stress relief.

 

IMOGEN: There’s weed in the pantry, top shelf, right next to the Capri Suns.

 

ROB: No, I don’t want weed, I want…you.

 

(Imogen puts her book aside)

 

IMOGEN: Sure, why not, this book sucks anyway.

 

(Cut to Rob and Imogen, half-naked on their bed, making out. Rob goes for the bra clasp and tries to undo it. But he can’t seem to get a grip on it. He comes up for air)

 

ROB: Fuck.

 

IMOGEN: You have to look at it, it’s a precise motion. You need a surgeon’s hand.

 

ROB: My palms are sweaty, so it’s hard.

 

IMOGEN: Well, yeah, there’s no AC and it’s 80 degrees outside.  Turn on the fan.

 

ROB: Sure. Wait.

 

IMOGEN: Right, we can’t do that.

 

ROB: Fuck.

 

(Imogen sighs, and slips out of bed, wiping her brow)

 

IMOGEN: Forget it. I’ve lost it.

 

ROB: What?! Get it back! (Rob whistles) Come here, Imogen’s libido! Come here, girl!

 

IMOGEN: It’s not gonna happen.

 

(Imogen walks into the bathroom. Rob falls back onto the bed, his arms crossed)

 

ROB: Garcetti.

 

(Cut to Rob in the kitchen, waiting for his Keurig to dispense coffee into his TBS coffee cup. Imogen walks in and opens the fridge)

 

IMOGEN: It’s like, 4pm, Rob.

 

ROB: Yeah, well, I can’t use alcohol or tobacco, so I gotta have some drug.

 

IMOGEN: How many days clean are you?

 

ROB: When did the networks call the race for Biden?

 

IMOGEN: I don’t know, the 7th, I think?

 

ROB: Okay, when did Trump allow the transition to move forward?

 

IMOGEN: …Monday?

 

ROB: When did Garcetti shut off our power?

 

IMOGEN: Yesterday morning.

 

ROB: Okay, so about 32 hours. (Imogen shakes her head and grabs a Minute Maid out of the fridge. There’s a ring at the door. Imogen sits at the table, and Rob drifts to the foyer, and clicks the button on the intercom) Who is it?

 

TREY: (OS) It’s, uhhh, puppy sellers. We’re sellin’ puppers.

 

MAN’S VOICE: (OS) RUFF! RUFF!

 

(Long beat, as Rob considers this)

 

ROB: Okay, I’ll let you in.

 

(Rob presses the button to open the gate. Rob opens his door, and finds Trey and handsome, muscular and boyish 21-year old TikTok star Bryce Hall, walking onto Rob’s property maskless)

 

TREY: Hear us out, Rob!
 

ROB: WHOA! YOU DECEIVED ME! Where are the puppies, assholes?!

 

BRYCE: Dude, we got a proposal for you, bro.

 

(Trey and Bryce walk up to Rob, but Rob backs away, pulling a mask out of his pocket and putting it on)

 

ROB: Hey! Unless it’s an indecent proposal involving myself, Imogen, you, and NOT Trey, then fuck off! Also, Demi Moore would be a plus!

 

TREY: Listen, man, I know we’ve had our differences in the past. You fucked my girlfriend once.

 

ROB: Not just once.

 

(Rob winks. Imogen comes out)

 

IMOGEN: What the fuck are they doing here?!

 

BRYCE: We all have something in common. Confetti shut off our power because we like to party. Now, how’s that for demography and freedom in this country, huh?

 

TREY: Exactly, bro, my grandpa didn’t fight in the revolutionary war just for me to be repressed by the man. That’s why we’re asking you to join our fight to liberate L.A. from this tyrant, bro. Somebody needs to take a stand, bro. I’m serious, dude.

 

IMOGEN: Get the fuck out of here, you idiots. We tested people before our gatherings, you guys didn’t.

 

ROB: Hold on, Imogen, they may have a point.

 

IMOGEN: What?!

 

(Rob turns to Imogen)

 

ROB: Look at us! Sweating like pigs in our own home! Unable to watch TV, refrigerate our food or even fuck!

 

BRYCE: You guys need electricity to fuck?

 

IMOGEN: Yeah, I peg him with an vibrating dildo.

 

(Rob laughs gives off a loud, nervous, fake laugh and pats Imogen on the back)

 

ROB: Come on, stop messing around!

 

TREY: So, you in?

 

ROB: Garcetti’s gone too far. Let’s do this.

 

(Imogen sighs)

 

IMOGEN: You’re the most impressionable motherfucker I’ve ever met.

 

BRYCE: FUCK YEAH, DUDE!

 

(Trey and Bryce hold up their hands for high-fives)

 

TREY: PUT ‘ER THERE, BRUH!

 

ROB: Still not gonna touch you, guys.

 

(Trey and Bryce shrug and high-five one another. Imogen rolls her eyes and walks inside)

 

BRYCE: Let’s go plan our revolt…at the Sway House.

 

ROB: THE Sway House?!

 

BRYCE: The Sway House, baby.

 

ROB: What’s the Sway House?!

 

(“Fight for Your Right” by Beastie Boys comes on as we cut to a glamorous Bird’s Eye view of the Sway House- an enormous white mansion complete with rotund balconies, a pool and a pool house. We see a sweeping overview of young influencers hanging out around the pool, posing for videos and pictures, splashing one another, and drinking. Bryce pulls up to the driveway in his Model Y Tesla. Rob, Trey and Bryce emerge from it. Rob is the only one wearing a mask. Bryce pulls out his phone and they take a picture together for Instagram. Bryce and Trey sticking their tongues out, Rob pulling his mask down to do the same. Cut to Bryce leading Trey and Rob up the spiral stairs, which has a view of the pool, as the song fades out)

 

BRYCE: Yeah, dude, Trey and I have become besties these last couple months, been tryin’ to convince my management company to let him live here.

 

TREY: Colleen would love this fuckin’ place dude, she loves pools, ponds, lakes, tubs, any body of water, dude.

 

(They walk through glass doors into an upstairs game room, with couches, a TV and multiple game systems)

 

BRYCE: That’s why you got her that fish-themed shower curtain for her birthday, right, bro?

 

TREY: Yeah, bro, she ate that shit up, no lie.

 

BRYCE: That’s what’s up.

 

(Trey and Bryce dap each other up)

 

ROB: Urrrrggghhhh, I wanna dap you guys up so bad!

 

BRYCE: You’ll have the freedom to soon, my dude. But first, we gotta figure this shit out.

 

(They all sit down)

 

ROB: Goddamn, I wish I lived in a place like this when I was your age.

 

BRYCE: Where did you live when you were my age, Rob?

 

ROB: I lived in my boss’ attic, man. It cost like 900 a month, plus utilities. And utilities was a bucket of water to bathe with.

 

TREY: Dude, that’s fuckin’ SICK if you think about it, though!

 

BRYCE: That’s that humble beginnings shit! That’s that rags-to-riches ish!

 

ROB: You think so?

 

TREY: Yeah, dude, you can market that shit, easy.

 

BRYCE: I’ll hook you up with my manager.

 

ROB: You guys are so cool, you make me feel even younger than I already am.

 

TREY: We should get down to business, though, how are we gonna take down Garcetti?

 

ROB: Before we get started, the coffee I guzzled before we left went through me like a freight train, where’s your bathroom?

 

(Bryce and Trey trade looks)

 

BRYCE: Go down the hall, on the right.

 

ROB: Thanks, bro.

 

(Rob gets up and walks out of the game room. Bryce smiles deviously at Trey, who removes his phone from his pocket and starts texting someone. Cut to Rob walking down a hallway, over to a bathroom door. He sees the light is on, so he raps on the door. Cut to Josh Richards, another handsome TikToker on the other side, leaning against the door, all by himself)

 

JOSH: SORRY, BRO, I’M GETTIN’ HELLA DOME IN HERE!
 

ROB: Oh! Epic, dude! Sorry.

 

JOSH: OHHHH! BRO, I’M GONNA NUT!

 

(Cut to Rob walking back into the game room)

 

ROB: Your friend’s getting sucked off in there, where’s another bathroom?

 

BRYCE: That must be Josh, he’s such a little man-slut. Go upstairs, bro, teach that bowl who’s boss.

 

TREY: Hurry though, we gotta get this done.

 

ROB: Alright, no prob, bros.

 

(Rob smirks and walks upstairs. Cut to Colleen Diamond, naked, crouching behind a shower curtain, with her phone out. Cut to outside that shower curtain, in a pristine bathroom with marble counters and waterfall sinks. The shower curtain is decorated with pictures of fish. Rob walks in, lifts the toilet seat and starts pissing into it. Rob looks over and notices the fish on the shower curtain and furrows his brow. Cut to Colleen crouching behind the shower curtain. She turns on the water, the faucet starts spraying water, and she starts filming on her phone as she whips open the shower curtain. Rob is shocked, and throws himself against the wall, as he tries to get his pants up, but his dick is still visible as Colleen points her camera at him)

 

COLLEEN: OH MY GOD, ROB, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, I’M IN THE SHOWER?!?!?

 

ROB: WHAT THE FUCK!?

 

(Rob pulls up his pants and runs out of the bathroom. Colleen steps out of the shower and points the camera at herself)

 

COLLEEN: OH MY GOD! HE LITERALLY KNEW I WAS IN HERE AND HE CAME IN WITH HIS DICK OUT!

 

(Cut to Trey and Bryce in the game room downstairs. They’re smiling at one another)

 

TREY: You hear that scream? That scream is our ticket to money land.

 

(Trey and Bryce bump fists. Rob storms in and grabs Trey by the collar, and throws him against the wall)

 

BRYCE: HEY!
 

ROB: YOU STUPID, LITTLE SHIT-EATING TWAT! YOU SET ME UP!

 

(Trey pushes Rob off of him)

 

TREY: SERVES YOU RIGHT, ASSHOLE! YOU’VE MADE ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, NOW IT’S TIME FOR OUR PAYDAY!

 

ROB: You won’t get away with this! I’ll have an army of lawyers a mile long crush your empty fucking skull under their boot! URGH! You fucking dickhead, she interrupted me mid-piss too, and now I gotta hold it until I get home! (To Bryce) Unless? Do you think your friend finished in there?

 

BRYCE: Get the fuck outta here, bro.

 

(Rob spits at Trey’s feet and marches out of the room and heads downstairs. Colleen walks in, now clothed)

 

COLLEEN: How’d he take it?

 

TREY: Like a little bitch. But you did good.

 

(Colleen sighs)

 

COLLEEN: I feel pretty bad, Trey.

 

(Trey holds her to his chest)

 

TREY: Don’t feel bad, babe. He’s a bad guy, and now we can pay off our enormous credit card debt. Let’s get our lawyer on the phone, babe.

 

(Trey takes out his phone)

 

COLLEEN: Thanks for helping, Bryce.

 

BRYCE: Hey, man, anything for my boy. Now, if you’ll excuse me, we’ve gotta film Josh Richards cannonballing into the hot tub.

 

(Bryce pats Trey on the back and leaves. Cut to the Church of Scientology. We see Stephen Garamendi in his opulent office, shelves and desk made of hardwood, pictures of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology logos everywhere. Garamendi looks up as Rob enters wearing his mask and talking on the phone)

 

ROB: Sorry, Hannah, Imogen and I are happy with our current living situation. I gotta go. Bye.

 

(Rob hangs up and bows slightly to Stephen. Stephen puts on his mask and gets on his feet)

 

STEPHEN: My son, whatever is the matter?

 

(Rob takes a seat in front of Stephen’s desk. Stephen sits down)

 

ROB: You’ve probably seen the news, over the past day.

 

STEPHEN: Oh. Right. That’s very obviously what’s the matter.

 

ROB: A lot of lawyers out there want my head, so Trey and Colleen are getting a lot of pro bono work. They’re gonna try to bury me. (Rob shakes his head, despairingly) I just don’t know what to do.

 

STEPHEN: Well. First off, you take stock in the fact that God is watching over you. (Rob nods) He is infusing your Thetan with positive energy, which will keep you moving forward.

 

ROB: Of course, Stephen, I know that.

 

STEPHEN: But, uh. He’s not only doing that. He’s opening a door for you. (Stephen picks up his phone) He’s putting you one call away, from making this go away.

 

(Rob looks up, his brow in a furrow)

 

ROB: What do you mean?

 

(Stephen leans forward)

 

STEPHEN: We have methods, of making problems go away.

 

ROB: ...Ae you suggesting that we kill Trey Goodlatte and Colleen Diamond?

 

STEPHEN: What?!  No, no, I don’t mean that.

 

(Rob nods)

 

ROB: Okay, good.

 

STEPHEN: But we can make ‘em wish they were dead. (Rob is taken aback. Stephen sits back) They have a dog?

 

(Rob looks nervous)

 

ROB: ….Why…

 

STEPHEN: It’s just a question. If they don’t, that’s fine, we can find another angle. Ooh, do they have a gerbil?

 

(Stephen leans forward with excitement. Rob looks shaken and confused. Cut to Rob on a Zoom meeting with Whitney at his home office)

 

WHITNEY: Honestly, Robert, I don’t know how to thank you. Garamendi is carrying this company on his back!
 

ROB: Oh. Is he?

 

WHITNEY: Almost all of our projects except Alien AIDs are being financed, at least in part, by his cash. He even agreed to finance that movie no one wanted to be associated with! You know, “Failure: The Story of the Guy who didn’t Invent the Telephone”?

 

ROB: Oh. He jumped on that one, huh?

 

WHITNEY: Yes! He’s like Netflix on crack, wearing no panties, with a see-through bra, just putting out, saying yes to everything!

 

(Rob clears his throat)

 

ROB: Oh, God, you’re not making this any easier.

 

WHITNEY: What? (Whitney leans forward in a panic) What happened?! Did you bang his daughter or something?!

 

ROB: No! NO! I’m, leaving the church.

 

(Whitney buries her head in her hands)

 

WHITNEY: OH MY GOD, THAT’S SO MUCH WORSE!

 

ROB: How is that WORSE?!

 

WHITNEY: AT LEAST IF YOU BANGED HER, YOU COULD’VE MARRIED HER!!

 

ROB: What are you, Tywin Lannister?! Marrying me off for your own purposes?! Also, I AM ALREADY MARRIED!

 

(Whitney throws her hands down and shakes her head)

 

WHITNEY: Garamendi’s gonna cut us off. We’re dead in the water. (Whitney scoffs) It’s just a question of “when”?

 

ROB: Listen, Garamendi was offering to intimidate and harass Trey and Colleen for me! I think he was gonna poison their dog! If they had done! I can’t bear to be associated with an organization like that!
 

WHITNEY: Oh, so NOW you’re having pangs of conscience?! You never had any misgivings when I told you about the disappearance of Shelly Miscavige!

 

ROB: The LAPD said they contacted her!
 

WHITNEY: What, did they get her on the phone?! Did they receive a picture of her holding a newspaper?!

 

(Rob sighs)

 

ROB: …I’m leaving, Whitney. We’ll pull through, okay?

 

WHITNEY: Yeah. Thanks a fuckton for the sunny optimism, Robert.

 

(Whitney leaves the meeting. Rob takes a big sigh and leans back. Imogen walks in and puts her hand on his shoulder)

 

IMOGEN: I’m proud of you, Rob. (Rob kisses Imogen’s hand) …Can you help me study for my next audit?

 

ROB: You’re not leaving?!

 

(Imogen sighs)

 

IMOGEN: I just don’t like leaving things unaccomplished- oh, fuck it, fine, I’ll leave.

 

(Cut to a broadcast of KTLA 5 local news. Frank Buckley and Wendy Burch are at the news desk)

 

FRANK: That was a heartwarming story, Kim, thank you.

 

WENDY: How was that heartwarming, Frank, it was a story about an 8th grader renting out his locker space for students to hide their drugs in, so he can pay for his father’s leukemia treatment!

 

FRANK: It’s just good to see a son care about his old man. Things are…strained between Alex and I, right now.

 

WENDY: Yikes. (Wendy turns to another camera, and a graphic featuring Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and the words “ASSASSINATED” under him) Yesterday, Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in a road ambush in the city of Absard in the Tehran province of Iran. No one has claimed responsibility, but Israel is widely suspected to be behind the assassination. Iran says they will carry out retribution when “the time is right”, ideally when an American President is in office who won’t nuke the country and leave Biden to deal with the literal fallout.

 

(Cut over to Frank. The graphic over his shoulder shows a publicity photo of Rob winking at camera and holding a rose to his nose, and a yearbook photo of Colleen smiling, with Trey standing in the background, looking at his phone. The lower third reads “ALTMIRE CONTROVERSY ENDURES”)

 

FRANK: We have more news on former reality TV star and congressional candidate Robert Altmire, he has scheduled a press conference for 11am, where he will address the lawsuit filed against him by Trey Goodlatte and Colleen Diamond, where they allege that he walked in on Ms. Diamond while she was showering, with his member outside of his pants. They released what they claim to be video evidence of the event taking place, but the context surrounding the video is unclear. We’ll take that press conference live as soon as it starts. In related news- (The graphic shifts to pictures of GOP Representative Mike Garcia and State Assemblywoman Christy Smith and the lower third “Garcia holds stubborn lead in CA-25) the district Altmire ran for, against Assemblywoman Smith, appears to be sticking with the GOP for the time being. We’re not ready to call the race yet, but Garcia holds the lead.

 

(We cut to Wendy. Her graphic features an iceberg and the text “Ominous Climate Report”)

 

WENDY: In other news, a startling new climate report says that the Antarctic ice shelf could break apart by-

 

FRANK: Sorry to interrupt you, Wendy, but it looks like the Rob Altmire press conference is beginning, let’s go to that.

 

(Cut to Rob standing at a podium in the middle of a public park, wearing a mask. He is flanked by masked lawyers on both sides. A gaggle of news reporters stand in front of them, wearing masks)

 

ROB: I have a few announcements. First off, when it comes to the CA-25 race, just know, Simi Valley, that I told ya so. (Cameras click) Just saying. Anywho, before we comment on the Colleen Diamond situation, I want to announce a bit of personal news. I’ve decided to leave the Church of Scientology. (Cameras click furiously) When I informed them of this lawsuit Mr. Goodlatte and Ms. Diamond filed against me, they offered to intimidate and harass them, for me. (Murmurs) I, of course, declined, and I decided I could no longer be a part of an organization that does, to put it bluntly, fucked up shit.

 

WENDY: (OS) Damnit. We should’ve put it on a delay.

 

ROB: I’ve always put my personal values above all else. That’s why many people call me a martyr, of sorts. And just a side note- where is Shelly Miscavige?! Show her to us, already, it shouldn’t be that hard! (Rob clears his throat) Anyway. My lawyer James Cordic will fill you in on issues surrounding Colleen Diamond and Trey Goodlatte. James?

 

(James Cordic, a slightly plump lawyer with dirty blonde hair walks up to the podium, as Rob stands aside)

 

JAMES: My client, Robert Altmire, was the victim of a set-up. Mr. Goodlatte took advantage of Mr. Altmire’s trust, and then with the help of his girlfriend Ms. Diamond, set up a situation where they would film my client, literally, with his pants down. He was directed to the bathroom so he could relieve himself, only to find Ms. Diamond popping out of the shower naked, with her phone recording. We also believe Bryce Hall, a TikTok influencer and a friend of Mr. Goodlatte’s, was an accomplice. That is why we are filing a countersuit against all three of them.

 

ROB: HOW’S THAT TASTE?!

 

JAMES: Rob. Please.

 

ROB: NOT TOO GOOD, HUH?!

 

(Cut to Rob driving back home. He’s listening to NPR)

 

NPR: The Church of Scientology has pledged to file a defamation lawsuit against Mr. Altmire, which puts the Bel Air resident under an ever-growing mountain of litigation.

 

(Rob presses the clicker, opening the gate to his home. He pulls into the driveway, as the gate closes behind him, and gets out of his car. He walks up to his door, unlocks the door with his key, walks in, walks through the foyer, into the living room, and flips on the light. He sits on the couch, next to his napping wife, when he jumps to his feet and looks at the lightbulb. He smiles, sits down and places his wife’s head on his lap as she sleeps. He closes his eyes and leans back. Cut to Luther and Evelyn, both masked, emerging from Chicago O’Hare international airport, in the pick-up area. They are greeted by a taxi. They roll out luggage and the masked taxi driver comes out and stuffs the luggage into the boot of the vehicle. He then shuts the trunk door)

 

LUTHER: Thanks. (The taxi driver nods and gets in the driver’s seat. Luther and Evelyn pile into the taxi. There’s plexiglass between Luther, Evelyn and the taxi driver. They close the doors) 8517 South Eberhart, Chatham.

 

TAXI DRIVER: You got it.

 

(The taxi gets going)

 

EVELYN: Are you sure we’re doing the safest thing, here?

 

LUTHER: Yeah, my mom’s been quarantining, and so have we. We good.

 

EVELYN: We were inside a flying metal tube for three-and-a-half hours with fifty other people.

 

LUTHER: Yeah, but we were lookin’ like stormtroopers with the amount of masks and shields we were wearing.

 

EVELYN: Did you hear that the city of Los Angeles shut off Rob Altmire’s power, due to that Election Night party?

 

LUTHER: Hm. I know we attended that and all, but for some reason I feel like that serves him right. (Cut to Luther and Evelyn retrieving their luggage from the trunk of the taxi outside Luther’s mom’s house in Chatham. It is a small, quaint house with a narrow porch. Luther’s 58-year old mom Anita is standing on it, looking nervous. She’s pretty slim, with shoulder length hair, but the years have been not been kind, wrinkle-wise. Luther pulls out the last bag and stands it up. He takes out a few bills, walks over to the passenger’s side window, and hands them to the driver) Thanks so much!

 

TAXI DRIVER: Hope it was worth it.

 

(He drives away. Luther looks confused, and then turns to his mom)

 

LUTHER: Mom!

 

(She walks down onto the lawn)

 

ANITA: Hello, Luther. Hi, Evelyn.

 

EVELYN: It’s wonderful to meet you once again, Mrs. Moon.

 

ANITA: Yeah, same here.

 

LUTHER: What are we waiting for? Clear the way.

 

ANITA: Luther, um. There’s someone in there, you need to know about.

 

LUTHER: …Is it Jerry Franklin? ‘Cause I ain’t ready to forgive that dude. (To Evelyn) He splashed lemonade on my pants in fifth grade and told everyone I pissed myself. Cold-hearted motherfucker.

 

ANITA: No, honey, why don’t just come in? Prepare yourself. But come in.

 

(Luther shrugs, and him and Evelyn follow Anita into the house. Cut to Luther, Evelyn and Anita standing in the living room of the Moon household, which has shag carpeting and a wood paneling on the walls. Luther’s eyes are wide open. His luggage is on the floor. Evelyn looks confused)

 

LUTHER: …What the fuck…

 

(We pan over to see an older black man, the same one from the Robert-Luther phone call earlier on. He’s about 59 years old, he’s graying substantially, and the years have also not been kind to him. He’s sitting on a LA-Z Boy, staring at Luther and smoking a cigar)

 

DARRYL: …Is that any way to talk to your daddy?

 

LUTHER: …What are you, how are you-?

 

ANITA: There was a COVID-19 outbreak at the prison, so they furloughed a bunch of people. He’s under house arrest, until things calm down.

 

LUTHER: …Wow…

 

(Evelyn steps forward and nods her head)

 

EVELYN: It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Moon. I am your son’s significant other, Evelyn Prost.

 

DARRYL: Oh, I thought this was your agent or some shit. You datin’ a white girl, son?

 

EVELYN: Yes, sir, I am white. Though my mother often tells me there is Native American in our background, I have no hard proof on that.

 

(Luther steps out in front of Evelyn)

 

LUTHER: Hey, dad, listen, it’s…interesting, to see you again. But I think we need to talk in the kitchen if you don’t mind.

 

DARRYL: Nah, not at all. Gab away. Jeopardy’s about to come on, and I miss the shit out of Alex Trebek.

 

EVELYN: Actually, sir, Alex Trebek-

 

(Luther carries Evelyn and Anita into the kitchen, and closes the door behind him)

 

LUTHER: You couldn’t have called me about this shit before we flew out here?! “Hey Luther, head’s up, your gang-banging father you’ve barely seen in the past twenty-two years is gonna be here, maybe prepare yourself for the emotional turmoil that’s guaranteed to create, also bring a wine bottle opener, THANKS”!

 

EVELYN: We forgot to bring the bottle opener.

 

LUTHER: FUCK!

 

ANITA: Luther, PLEASE! You’re stressed out, I get that! But I knew if I told you, you wouldn’t come. I think this is a prime opportunity to work out your issues with your father.

 

LUTHER: I have nothing to say to him.

 

ANITA: He’s your father!

 

LUTHER: So, what?!

 

EVELYN: If I could offer a more pragmatic perspective, I posit that this trip will be unbearable unless you reconcile with your father, due to the constant tension and quarreling, thus, it’s in everybody’s best interest if you at least try to remedy the issues that you clearly have with him.

 

ANITA: See? My God, girl, you got a way with words.

 

EVELYN: I’ve been told that, thank you.

 

(Luther sighs and rubs his eyes)

 

LUTHER: …I guess you have a point. (Luther shakes his head) I’m outnumbered here anyway.

 

(Evelyn and Anita nod their heads “yes”. Cut to Darryl watching Jeopardy on the Moon household’s bulky early 2000s big screen TV. Alex Trebek is reading a question)

 

ALEX: “This single from the indie pop band ‘The Neighourhood’ peaked at number 37 on the Billboard charts in November 2015”. (Luther walks in and sits down, as a contestant on the show buzzes in) Yes, Kelly?

 

KELLY: What is “Daddy issues”?

 

ALEX: That is correct! 400 points for you.

 

LUTHER: Sorry I freaked out when I came in, dad. (Darryl shrugs and takes a puff of his cigar) So. Uh. You wanna hear what’s been going on with me?

DARRYL: Your mother told me, you work in Hollywood.

 

(Luther nods)

 

LUTHER: Yeah, I manage talent. (Darryl takes a puff of his cigar) I recently signed this rapper, named Pop Spiders-

 

DARRYL: It’s Jack the Ripper, you fuckin’ idiot!

 

ALEX: (OS) I’m sorry, the correct answer is, “what is Jack the Ripper”?

 

DARRYL: Who the fuck do they let on this show? I knew guys in the can who could do better. Illiterates who strangled their children to save them from the devil.

 

(Luther looks over at Evelyn and Anita standing in the kitchen, looking at the two of them surreptitiously)

 

LUTHER: …We’re about to release a sci-fi movie-

 

DARRYL & CONTESTANT ON TV: (Simultaneously) CAT STEVENS!

 

ALEX: (OS) Correct! 300 points for you.

 

(Luther throws up his hands and walks out of the room)

 

DARRYL: Could you grab me a whiskey while you in there, Luther?

 

(Cut to Anita putting the turkey in the oven. Evelyn and Luther are both having beers)

 

LUTHER: I tried. I did what you wanted. He’s not interested.

 

(Anita closes the oven door and sets the temperature)

 

ANITA: He’s probably just hurt you barely ever visited him!

 

LUTHER: I did a few times, in the…late 90s, and early 2000s. We bonded over how much we both dug Survivor.

 

(Anita turns to Luther)

 

ANITA: How many times did you visit him in the past twenty years?

 

(Luther sighs)

 

LUTHER: I visited him in ’01 so he’d sign a permission slip that you refused to sign. (To Evelyn) We were taking a field trip to a museum that specialized in nudes.

 

ANITA: And why didn’t you even stop by, after that?

 

LUTHER: He ruined my childhood! You know, when I was growing up, Evelyn, my dad was cleaning up so good, our house was the biggest and best on the block. I had a home theatre, everybody and their auntie would come over and kick it.

 

EVELYN: You would often hang out with people’s aunts?

 

LUTHER: Aunts make the best chili, and they would buy us beer, so fuck yeah.

 

ANITA: I never heard of this.

 

LUTHER: But as soon as my dad got picked up, the Feds seized most of our assets and we were back on food stamps. So, guess what happened to all my friends? Poof.

 

EVELYN: …That’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard, Luther.

 

(Luther nods)

 

LUTHER: Thanks, babe.

 

ANITA: But before all that, you two had good times! (Anita takes some plates out of the cupboard and puts them on the counter) Maybe I’ll bring that up. See if he gets misty-eyed.

 

LUTHER: I only saw my old man get misty-eyed once. When Biggie died. (Luther squints) Or maybe it was Princess Di, I can’t remember, those happened pretty close together.

 

(Cut to Luther, Evelyn, Anita and Darryl having Thanksgiving dinner in the dining room. Evelyn is piling mashed potatoes on her plate, Anita is eating bits of turkey, Luther is picking at his green beans. All the while Darryl is filling his wine glass to the brim)

 

DARRYL: That ought to do it.

 

(Darryl throws back the entire glass, and goes to pour again)

 

ANITA: Darryl, please, pace yourself.

 

DARRYL: I haven’t had wine this good in twenty-two years, woman, get off my back. (Darryl throws the wine back) That dude who strangled his kids made some quality toilet wine, but it was still only as good as say, a 2019 Barefoot Moscato.

 

EVELYN: The mashed potatoes are delightful, Mrs. Moon.

 

ANITA: Thank you, Evelyn.

 

EVELYN: However, the turkey is rather dry.

 

LUTHER: Alright, Evelyn, thanks for the feedback. (Luther pats her on the shoulder) Why wasn’t the child-strangler in an institution, dad?

 

DARRYL: I don’t know, maybe devils really was after his kids.

 

ANITA: Darryl, you remember when Luther was 14 and he almost beat you in that game of pick-up basketball?

 

LUTHER: Mom.

 

ANITA: What?! It’s a cute memory, you almost beat your old man!

 

LUTHER: But I didn’t, so it’s not a great story.

 

(Darryl slams on the table with his fist)

 

DARRYL: That was right in front of my niggas. I had to beat the fuck out of Bloodshot to make up for that shit.

 

LUTHER: You beat me!

 

DARRYL: YOU KNEW I HAD FUCKED UP MY BACK AND YOU TOOK ADVANTAGE!

 

(Luther stands up)

 

LUTHER: YOU SHOULD’VE BEEN PROUD THAT I ALMOST BEAT YOU, BUT YOU ONLY GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOURSELF!

 

EVELYN: Can you pass the rolls, Mrs. Moon?

 

ANITA: Sure.

 

(Anita passes the bowl of rolls to Evelyn)

 

DARRYL: Oh, so is THAT why you went almost twenty goddamn years without visiting? Is that YOUR excuse, nigga?

 

LUTHER: I only had friends because of YOU! When you went away, they went away. I resented you, okay?! Maybe you can understand considering the grudge you clearly hold against my ass!

 

(Darryl takes a deep breath and sits down. He looks shaken)

 

DARRYL: …All your friends?

 

(Luther sighs and sits down)

 

LUTHER: Not ALL of them. Most of them. (Beat, as Darryl stares at him) Okay, all of them.

 

DARRYL: Is that why you didn’t join a gang?

 

(Luther nods, a bit confused)

 

LUTHER: Partially, sure.

 

DARRYL: …I’m sorry, Luther.

 

(Darryl gets up and leaves the dining room. Luther’s eyes follow him with perplexed awe)

 

ANITA: Did we do it?!

 

EVELYN: I think we may have.

 

(They beam at one another. Luther gets up and leaves the room. Cut to Darryl smoking a blunt on the back porch. Luther comes out, with his hands in his pockets)

 

LUTHER: …Sorry for yelling.

 

DARRYL: Nah, I yelled too. It’s a’ight.

 

(Darryl offers Luther his blunt)

 

LUTHER: Thanks, but it’s probably not COVID safe to share slobbery blunts.

 

DARRYL: I don’t know if I believe in all that shit.

 

(Darryl takes another hit)

 

LUTHER: …You think they would’ve released a cold-hearted motherfucker like you if COVID wasn’t real?

 

(Darryl and Luther share a laugh. Darryl ashes his blunt)

 

DARRYL: You got a point, nigga. They got me on that RICO shit, and I don’t even get a parole hearing until ‘23.

 

LUTHER: Damn.

 

(Darryl looks over at Luther)

 

DARRYL: You know…the battery on this thing is almost out.

 

(Darryl points to his ankle bracelet)

 

LUTHER: How you know that?

 

DARRYL: I timed it out, from when I got it to the last battery change. They send an alert when it’s about to run out, but if we go before that, the signal will die, and I won’t be here for when they try to replace it.

 

LUTHER: …You want me to-?

 

DARRYL: That would more than make up for two decades of lost time, don’t ya figure?

 

(Luther stares at the ankle bracelet, taken aback. Cut to Luther in the front seat of his mom’s 2011 Honda Accord. Darryl is lying down in the backseat)

 

LUTHER: …You ready?

 

DARRYL: Get going.

 

(Luther takes a deep breath and pulls out of the driveway. He drives down the street, up to the stop sign at the neighborhood’s exit. The bracelet starts beeping loudly)

 

BRACELET: This is the monitoring center. You are not in your inclusion zone. You have two minutes to return, or an officer will be sent to apprehend you.

 

DARRYL: HAUL ASS!

 

(Luther makes a sharp turn onto the main road. Cut to Evelyn and Anita sharing a glass of wine in the kitchen at the Moon home)

 

ANITA: So do you still do real estate?

 

EVELYN: Yes, in addition to my duties at Stone Productions, I continue my work in real estate. I just got off the phone with my acquaintance Hannah Delaney, we’re planning on finding her a new home.

 

ANITA: That’s wonderful. I’ve heard homes and apartments are cheap, right now.

 

EVELYN: Yes. And yet, I’ve encountered many homeless people living out of my properties lately.

 

ANITA: Yeah, they’re not cheap enough for the homeless to afford.

 

EVELYN: I suppose not.

 

(Anita gets a call on her cell phone. She picks up)

 

ANITA: Hello? (Beat) What?!

 

(Cut to Luther driving down the streets of Chatham. The ankle monitor is beeping like mad, still, as Darryl nervously looks out the back window. Luther is on the phone)

 

LUTHER: Yo, Rob, I just want you to know, that I may be on the lam for a while, so if I don’t come back to work after the break, that’s why.

 

ROB: (OS) That’s great, Luther, but I can’t really talk right now.

 

LUTHER: Rob, just listen to me! I- (Luther looks at his phone. Rob hung up) Fuck.

 

(The beeping stops)

 

DARRYL: Oh shit! This thing ran out of juice! (Darryl claps his hands together excitedly) Goddamn, you know what this means? You and I are gonna set up somethin’ in Mexico, we gonna go under assumed names- I’ll be Marco, you be Polo, or some shit! We gonna have ourselves a casa, like a couple o’ rancheros- (Luther swallows his upper lip, showing a visage of concern as the camera pushes in on him) selling drugs, fuckin’ hoes, playing catch! Yeah, we gonna make up for lost time, my nigga, on God. Luther, you saved my life, you ain’t even know what you done, yet. (Luther makes a sharp U-Turn at a light, causing a few cars to screech to a halt and lay their horns) What the fuck are you doing, Luther?!

 

LUTHER: We goin’ back.

 

DARRYL: LIKE HELL WE ARE! You can’t pussy out now!

 

LUTHER: I ain’t throwin’ my life away for you, nigga.

 

DARRYL: The fuck you say to me!?

 

(Cut to Anita and Evelyn standing in front of the Moon household. Evelyn is smoking a cigarette nervously and Anita is grinding her teeth and pacing)

 

ANITA: Goddamnit, it couldn’t have been Luther who did this, right?!

 

EVELYN: If it was, I’m sure he’ll come to his senses soon.

 

ANITA: He better wise up before the police get here! Then it won’t matter how many A-list actors and musicians Luther’s signed, he’ll be just another black man to them!

 

EVELYN: …Right…A-list…

 

(Luther pulls up in the Honda accord. He gets out, and opens the door for his dad, who gets out and pushes Luther away)

 

ANITA: DARRYL!

 

DARRYL: YOU AIN’T NO SON OF MINE!

 

LUTHER: Don’t think much has changed then, dumbass.

 

(Darryl lunges at Luther, but Anita and Evelyn hold him back)

 

DARRYL: I’LL FUCKIN’ KILL YOU!

 

(A police car pulls up)

 

LUTHER: Just remember, you won’t be no father of mine if you snitch on your own son.

 

(Darryl looks over as a mustached, white Chicago cop with “Flannigan” stitched into his light blue uniform, emerges from the squad car. He puts his mask on as he moseys over to Darryl)

 

OFFICER FLANNIGAN: (Heavy Midwest accent) Alright, Darryl, what’s goin’ on here, huh?

 

LUTHER: He just went out for milk, officer. He thought he could be back in less than two minutes. I told him it was stupid, but he wouldn’t listen!

 

(Darryl seethes and glares over at Luther)

 

OFFICER FLANNIGAN: This true, Darryl?

 

(Darryl sighs heavily)

 

DARRYL: …Yeah.

 

OFFICER FLANNIGAN: Alright, well. This is your first offense, and you came back, so. I guess I’ll let you off with a warning.

 

DARRYL: Thank you.

 

(Flannigan goes to leave, but then turns back around)

 

OFFICER FLANNIGAN: Wait! Where’s the milk?

 

EVELYN: I drank it all, officer. To settle my stomach after consuming Mrs. Moon’s gravy, which was of questionable quality.

 

ANITA: Thank you for the constructive criticism, Evelyn.

 

(Flannigan shrugs)

 

OFFICER FLANNIGAN: Alright, then. Happy Thanksgiving, folks.

 

(Flannigan walks back to his squad car and drives away. Darryl spits at Luther’s feet, and walks back inside)

 

ANITA: Darryl!

 

(Anita goes after him. Evelyn looks over at Luther)

 

EVELYN: Why did you turn back?

 

LUTHER: …Let’s just say, I’ve heard him make promises before.

 

(Evelyn nods, walks over and leans her head on his shoulder. Cut to Hannah on the phone in her father’s dining room. Her father Carter and brother Marcus are hunched over the dining room table, a printed out 2020 electoral map before them)

 

HANNAH: Okay, so what’s the address?

 

CARTER: Okay, if they just appoint pro-Trump electors in Michigan, then that gets Biden down to 290.

 

MARCUS: Then all we gotta do is convince Georgia and Arizona to secede, win the civil war, and then BAM! Trump stays President!

 

(Carter and Marcus high-five)

 

HANNAH: No, trust me, I’m ready. I’ve gotta get the fuck out of here.

 

(Carter and Marcus chest bump. Cut to Evelyn opening the door to a wonderful, vast house in the Hollywood Hills. She’s wearing a Prost Realty mask as she leads Hannah, who’s also wearing a mask, into the foyer, with full view of a spiral staircase, an empty dining room and enormous kitchen)

 

EVELYN: This place is perfect for you. It’s inordinately expensive, but it fulfills all the other targets on your wish list. Spaciousness, laundry room, kitchenette-

 

HANNAH: That’s not a kitchenette, Evelyn, that’s a goddamn mega-kitchen!

 

EVELYN: You’re not pleased? We haven’t scratched the surface of this place, Hannah. Did you know Amy Winehouse DIED in this house? Not that Amy Winehouse, but still!

 

HANNAH: Evelyn, I can’t afford this place!
 

EVELYN: If you enlist six or seven roommates, I bet you could get it down to 1,200 a month, Ms. Delaney.

 

HANNAH: Where am I gonna get six or seven roommates, Evelyn!? Unless everyone at Stone Productions needs a place to live!

 

EVELYN: No, I’m quite sure we’re happy with our respective homes. (Hannah stares) Fine, let’s look at a more realistic option.

 

(Cut to a boarded-up bando on Rosecrans. It is decorated with graffiti, surrounded by litter- including an empty cradle on the front lawn. Cut to Evelyn and Hannah on the front stoop of this place, as two masked LAPD officers beat the front door in with a battering ram. After three tries, they bust the door down. They put the battering ram down and nod to Evelyn)

 

OFFICER: There you are, Ms. Prost.

 

EVELYN: Thank you, officer.

 

OFFICER: You’re welcome.

 

(The officers pick up their battering ram and leave. Evelyn walks in, ducks under the crime scene tape, as does Hannah, and shows off the living room, which is filthy, with strips of paint hanging from the walls, roaches scurrying every which way, and a disgusting, stained couch with one leg missing in the corner)

 

EVELYN: What we have here is a borderline crack den in Compton. But don’t worry about that, the investigation will wrap up soon. It’s five bedroom, bust mostly because homeless people tend to sleep in every room and most of them have squatter’s rights at this point.

 

(A homeless person can be seen sneaking through the nearby kitchen, chomping on a bag of Cheetos)

 

HOMELESS PERSON: What’s up.

 

(Hannah waves)

 

HANNAH: Evelyn, what the fuck. Every place you’ve shown me is either out of my price range, or on my shit list. I can tell when I’m being upsold. Show me a place that’s actually REASONABLE, or I’ll walk.

 

(Evelyn shrugs)

 

EVELYN: Fair enough. Follow me.

 

(Evelyn walks toward the front door. Hannah follows. Cut to an establishing shot of an apartment complex in Brentwood. Cut to inside an empty, one-bedroom unit. Evelyn walks in with Hannah)

 

EVELYN: As you can see, we hit all your targets- (Evelyn pats the kitchen counter) the kitchenette- (Evelyn walks over to the sliding glass doors leading to the balcony) a nice balcony, a wide-open living room. One bedroom, one bath, 2,000 dollars a month- and no squatters and/or complimentary indentured servants, exactly to your specifications.

 

HANNAH: It’s perfect! (Hannah opens the sliding glass door, and walks onto the balcony, leaning against the railing) I love this neighborhood, too. (Evelyn walks onto the balcony, lights a cigarette and slides her mask down to smoke it) I feel like I’ve been here before, actually.

 

(Evelyn blows smoke upwards)

 

EVELYN: Personally, I doubt you have.

 

(Hannah squints and looks in the distance)

 

HANNAH: Oh my God. I can see Whitney’s house from here.

 

(Evelyn angrily stubs out her cigarette)

 

EVELYN: Goddamnit.

 

(Hannah turns to Evelyn, angered)

 

HANNAH: Evelyn, why?!

 

EVELYN: Hannah, let me be honest with you.

 

HANNAH: That would be nice!

 

EVELYN: The only other listings I have in your price range, besides this one, are in West Hollywood and Compton. Guess where the one in West Hollywood is located?

 

(Hannah sighs)

 

HANNAH: …Crescent Heights?

 

EVELYN: Only a bra’s throw from Xandra Dyson’s apartment.

 

HANNAH: …Why don’t I just get another realtor?

 

EVELYN: Sure. Do you know of another one that will offer you a 75% discount?

 

(Hannah sighs and closes her eyes)

 

HANNAH: Goddamnit.

 

EVELYN: Who would you rather live near?

 

HANNAH: …I’ve got to make a call. (Cut to Hannah pacing around the empty living room while on the phone, as Evelyn smokes on the balcony) Dr. DeLouise, I don’t know what to do. If I knew what a Sophie’s choice was, I would say that this is one of those.

 

DR. DELOUISE: I thought you couldn’t afford to move?

 

HANNAH: I couldn’t, but now I’ve gotten my hands on that sweet, sweet Harry’s Razors money. Podcast ads are a racket.

 

DR. DELOUISE: (OS) Well, Hannah, I think you should do your best to avoid living near either one of these people.

 

HANNAH: I already have a podcast with Xandra, why don’t I just pick WeHo?!

 

DR. DELOUISE: (OS) Because then you’re in, even deeper. Rose didn’t swim down to the bottom of the ocean to sleep with Jack’s corpse. (Hannah is taken aback) Sorry, that sounded less insane in my head.

 

HANNAH: …Maybe I can get a bunch of roommates and rent that place in The Hills.

 

DR. DELOUISE: (OS) Yes! I think that’s the healthy decision here.

 

HANNAH: Thanks, Dr. DeLouise. I’ve gotta make some calls.

 

(Hannah hangs up and pulls up her list of contacts. Cut to Evelyn on the balcony, smoking a cigarette and scrolling through Twitter. She sees a tweet from @huffpost featuring pictures of Rob Altmire, Trey Goodlatte and Colleen Diamond, with the comment “Is there reason to be skeptical of the bombshell video from @treyncolleen incriminating @Altmire4CA25? No, writes contributor @gregdiaz69”. Evelyn scrolls past this, as Hannah walks back onto the balcony and leans onto the railing)

 

EVELYN: Well?

 

HANNAH: Can I have one of those?  (Evelyn takes out her pack, fishes out a cigarette and hands it to Hannah. She pulls down her mask, sticks it in her mouth, and allows Evelyn to light it. Hannah inhales, but then immediately starts violently hacking. Evelyn steps away from her and pulls up her mask. Hannah puts out the cigarette immediately and grips her knees as she moves through a coughing fit for approximately fifteen seconds. Hannah clears her throat and returns to leaning against the railing) I’ll take the place in Compton.

 

(Evelyn nods)

 

EVELYN: Excellent. I’ll see what I can do about the non-paying tenants.

 

HANNAH: One other thing, though. I want to be able to get that place in The Hills as soon as I can. But I’ll need a jumpstart in my career. Can you put in a good word for me with Luther?

 

EVELYN: …I find this deal acceptable. (Hannah and Evelyn bump elbows and look into the distance. Evelyn gets a text and takes a look at her phone) It appears that someone snatched up that place in The Hills.

 

(Hannah’s head falls onto the railing. “Faceshopping” by SOPHIE comes on as we cut to credits)

 

THE END


Submitted: December 05, 2020

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