The Donahues Episode 279

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


Jennifer finds out she’s pregnant, and Ethan has the arduous job of convincing her to keep it, Rob tries to revitalize his career through a job at HQ Trivia, and Ryan, Alec & Tara bring their band
to the Regional Battle of The Bands in Boston.


THE DONAHUES

 

“IRIS”

 

TV-MA DLS

 

“Here comes long hair for the fair. No pay just take on the way. Those bastards stripped me bare in front of all those people”

  • Mark E. Smith

 

(Cut to Ryan, Alec, Tara, Clarissa and two 21-year old dudes sitting at a table in a Plattsburgh Karaoke bar called “Fork In The Road”. Everyone except Clarissa and the brown-haired 21-year old dude has a drink in front of them. There are also karaoke song books on the table. On stage, a middle-aged black guy in a cowboy hat is singing “Drinkin’ Problem” by Midland)

 

MIDDLE-AGED BLACK COWBOY: (Singing) People say I’ve got a drinkin’ problem, that ain’t no reason to stop- people sayin’ that I’ve hit rock bottom, just cause I’m livin’ on rocks!

 

RYAN: Please tell me he’s not going to get off the stage and start serenading someone.

 

ALEC: He’s Dave, of course he is.

 

CLARISSA: You guys know him?

 

RYAN: Yeah, he’s here all the time.

 

ALEC: Always trying to pick someone up. And always singing this goddamn song.

 

21-YEAR OLD BROWN-HAIRED GUY: What about that dude? What’s his story?

 

(Cut to a guy sitting in the back of the bar on his laptop, with a beer next to him)

 

RYAN: Well, Cameron, that’s Al. He thinks this is a Starbucks, apparently.

 

CLARISSA: He knows you can buy alcohol to keep at home, right?

 

RYAN: I guess not.

 

(Dave walks over to a woman at the bar, with his microphone)

 

DAVE: (Singing) They keep on talkin’, drawing conclusions. They call it a problem, I call it a solution! Just sitting here in all my grand illusions. They call it a problem, I call it a solution!

 

(The song ends and people applaud, as Dave hugs the woman he serenaded. Cut to the transgender woman running the karaoke program, as Dave hands her the microphone back)

 

TRANSGENDER WOMAN: Good job, Dave. If you just came in, this is Fork In The Road, upstate New York’s first & only Country Transgender Karaoke Bar, if you want to sign up for a song, sign up on the white board to my left. Our song books are right under there. If we don’t have a song you like, our suggestion box is right up your ass. (The bar hoots and hollers) Alec is next!

 

ALEC: Cool-

 

(Alec gets up)

 

TRANSGENDER WOMAN: But first I’m gonna go smoke a cig.

 

(She gets up and heads outside. Alec sits down)

 

ALEC: Damnit.

 

SHORT-HAIRED 21-YEAR OLD GUY: What are you singing again?

 

ALEC: “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls, Lawrence. Otherwise known as “the jam”.

 

RYAN: Ugh.

 

ALEC: Oh, I’m sorry, Ryan, do you have a problem?

 

RYAN: I do. (Ryan holds up the song book) Mark E. Smith died a few weeks ago, and there is not one song by The Fall in this fucking book.

 

CLARISSA: Ryan, nobody knows about your weirdo music.

 

RYAN: They should! He was a legend!

 

TARA: Go back to Bonnaroo with your bitch ass.

 

RYAN: Bonnaroo?

 

TARA: I’m just kidding!

 

CAMERON: Can I ask another question?

 

ALEC: You don’t have to ask whether you can ask questions, just do it.

 

CAMERON: How is Clarissa here when she’s not twenty-one-

 

RYAN: Shhhh. (Whispering) Quiet down. They don’t card here unless you order a drink.

 

CLARISSA: So, just pretend I’m a recovering alcoholic or something. And you guys are my really cruel friends, I guess.

 

ALEC: Yeah, pretend I’m a recovering alcoholic too.

 

 (Alec finishes his drink)

 

TARA: I try to.

 

(Alec gets up, as the transgender woman from earlier returns to her post)

 

TRANSGENDER WOMAN: Alec, you’re up!
 

(Alec gets on stage and grabs the microphone as the karaoke version of “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls cues up on the screen and on the speaker)

 

ALEC: (Singing) And I’d give up forever to touch you. Because I know that you feel me somehow. You’re the closest to Heaven I’ll ever be, and I don’t want to go home right now. And all I can taste is this moment- and all I can breathe is your life. Because sooner or later, it’s over. I just don’t want to miss you tonight. (Ryan, Tara, Cameron, Clarissa & Lawrence sing along to the hook) And I don’t want the world to see me! Because I don’t think that they’d understand! When everything’s made to be broken! I just want you to know who I am!
 

(Dave walks over to Tara, Cameron, Ryan, Clarissa & Lawrence)

 

DAVE: Is that your boyfriend?

 

TARA: Yes.

 

DAVE: I’ll be damned, y’all are so young.

 

LAWRENCE: Oh, come on, you couldn’t be much older than us, right? What are you, twenty-three? Twenty-four?

 

TARA: I know you’re not trying to, Lawrence, but you’re being a dick.

 

LAWRENCE: Oh, God, I’m sorry.

 

DAVE: No, it’s alright. I’m fifty-six.

 

(Dave lifts up his hat to reveal a head of gray hair. He then puts it back down)

 

CLARISSA: Where are you from?

 

DAVE: West Virginia. Where are you from, little lady? The Fountain o’ Youth?

 

TARA: Dave, she has a boyfriend.

 

RYAN: And, it’s me.

 

CAMERON: Also, bro, she’s nineteen- uhhh, mile away from home, so you can’t drive her home, because you’re drunk, and all that.

 

(Cameron smiles)

 

RYAN: …Yep, that’s what he meant to say.

 

(Cut to Clarissa in Ryan’s room, while Ryan packs a bag. She’s looking through his closet. She picks up a Death Note t-shirt off the ground)

 

CLARISSA: Oh, God.

 

(Ryan turns around)

 

RYAN: What?

 

(Clarissa throws the shirt on the bed)

 

CLARISSA: It’s just another one of Sarah’s shirts.

 

RYAN: Sorry, babe, but that’s bound to happen. She’s also left a lot of skin flakes and hair lying around.

 

CLARISSA: Ryan, why’d you bring me to Fork In The Road last night?
 

RYAN: …Because I want you to get to know my friends?

 

CLARISSA: You know I hate people though.

 

RYAN: I know that, and so do I, because people suck, but individuals, they can be alright. And those guys are bearable, to a significant degree.

 

CLARISSA: But who were those two randos?

 

RYAN: You mean Cameron and Lawrence? Cameron’s a new guitarist and Lawrence is a new singer. We thought we needed to go heavier for the competition tomorrow. And those two were the only ones willing to do it for the promise of future meals from Panera.

 

CLARISSA: And they trust you’ll follow through?

 

RYAN: Chuck Schumer trusts Mitch McConnell on DACA, so, pretty much anything goes.

 

CLARISSA: I’m just saying, I’m not good with strangers. You don’t have to force me into your friend group.

 

(Ryan puts his arms around Clarissa’s waist)

 

RYAN: But that’s where I want you.

 

(Ryan kisses her on the forehead. Clarissa smiles)

 

CLARISSA: We’ll talk about it. Good luck in Boston.

 

RYAN: Thanks. We probably won’t win, but, if we can keep Senseless Acts of Violence from getting to the finals again this year, I’ll take that.

 

CLARISSA: But you want to win, right?

 

RYAN: Yeah, sure, it’d be cool. (Cut to Ryan, Tara, Alec, Lawrence and Cameron in Alec’s truck. Alec is driving, Tara is in the passenger seat and Ryan, Lawrence and Cameron are sitting in the back) We better win this goddamn thing.

 

TARA: You’re just gonna jinx it.

 

RYAN: Think about what happens to the legacy of Green Museum if we fail?

 

ALEC: You mean the band we didn’t even name until last week?

 

RYAN: I’ll tell you what happens. We’ll release some shitty old EP nobody cares about, you and Alec will go to California, Lawrence will go to the Marines-

 

TARA: What?

 

RYAN: And Green Museum is done! Some exec at Deathwish will be wiping his ass with our record by Easter!
 

CAMERON: Why would he do that?

 

RYAN: To make a point!
 

CAMERON: About what?!

 

TARA: Listen, Ryan, I’m just going up there to have fun. If we have fun, the audience will have fun, and the judges will have fun. And maybe we’ll win! But we won’t if we put all this pressure on ourselves.

 

(Ryan sighs and sits back)

 

RYAN: Yeah, I suppose that’s true.

 

ALEC: Shit, why even do our set? Let’s just play “Iris”.

 

(Ryan, Cameron and Lawrence laugh)

 

LAWRENCE: (Singing) And I don’t want the world to see me! Because I don’t think that they’d understand!

 

TARA: Lawrence, since when are you going to The Marines?

 

LAWRENCE: I graduate in May, and then I’m off to basic. I want to serve my country, wherever they want to send me.

 

RYAN: That’s convenient, because the war starts right after the Winter Olympics are over.

 

LAWRENCE: No! It starts right after the Paralympics are over.

 

ALEC: I hope they don’t start a draft. I just graduated!

 

TARA: Can we pull over, Alec? I have to pee.

 

ALEC: Okay.

 

(Alec pulls over and parks in a 7-11 lot. They all get out. Cut to Alec buying a Monster Energy Drink inside the 7-11. Then cut to Alec getting back into the car, where Tara, Ryan, Lawrence and Cameron are waiting. Alec opens his Monster, and starts the car)

 

TARA: Alec, those are so bad for you, I wish you wouldn’t get them.

 

(Alec gets on the feeder road)

 

ALEC: I don’t drink them that often.

 

TARA: Yes you do, all the time.

 

ALEC: That doesn’t sound like me.

 

TARA: How much did you pay for that?
 

ALEC: Two bucks.

 

TARA: How about this? I’ll give you two dollars not to drink that. And I’ll throw it away.

 

ALEC: What? No. I bought it. I want it.

 

LAWRENCE: Well, this is awkward.

 

RYAN: Please don’t say things like that.

 

(The hook to “Iris” begins to play as the camera zooms out from the truck driving on the highway. The song fades as we cut to Ethan watching President Trump’s State of the Union Address on TV in his living room)

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have ENDED the war on American energy, and we have ENDED the war on beautiful, CLEAN COAL!
 

(Republicans applaud)

 

ETHAN: Can he talk about any object without treating it like it’s a woman?

 

(Jennifer walks out of the bathroom holding a pregnancy test)

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are now, very proudly, an exporter-

 

(Ethan mutes the TV)

 

JENNIFER: Did we really have to do this during the State of The Union?

 

ETHAN: We’ve already delayed too long. And I’ll take anything to interrupt this shit show.

 

JENNIFER: Well, you might want to go back to watching it after this. I’m pregnant.

 

(Ethan stands up)

 

ETHAN: Oh. Oh my God.

 

JENNIFER: Yep. This will truly be a nuclear family.

 

ETHAN: I, uh…I don’t know what to say.

 

JENNIFER: Do you want me to google the nearest Planned Parenthood or can you do it?

 

ETHAN: …What?

 

JENNIFER: Ethan, I never planned on having children. Ever. Especially not with someone I’ve been dating for only two months!

 

ETHAN: Jennifer, what are you saying? You’re a Republican!
 

JENNIFER: I’m a libertarian too, though. I don’t believe in the Government interfering with a woman’s body!

 

ETHAN: But I do!

 

JENNIFER: Wow.

 

ETHAN: Not in general, but on this issue, definitely! I’ll send a SWAT team to save that baby!

 

JENNIFER: Ethan, it’s a two-week old fetus. It can’t feel pain, or express its opinion about Lena Dunham. It’s a glob of cells.

 

ETHAN: IT’S A HUMAN LIFE! (Ethan puts his hands on her shoulders) This is your decision, but, you have to let me convince you to keep it.

 

JENNIFER: Ethan, think of the scandal of having a baby out of wedlock.

 

ETHAN: What is it, 1928? I bragged about having multiple sex partners when I ran for City Council! What’s MORE scandalous is if I knocked you up and you had an abortion, when I am AGAINST abortion. Have you ever heard of Tim Murphy?

 

JENNIFER: No?

 

ETHAN: Oh. Well, look him up. (Jennifer sighs, shakes her head and sits on the couch) …Get your coat, I wan to show you something.

 

(Jennifer looks up, confused. Cut to Ethan pulling up to an old, abandoned house. Ethan and Jennifer get out of the car)

 

JENNIFER: What is this? The whorehouse where you conceived Ryan?

 

ETHAN: Good guess, but no, this is where I grew up. (Cut to Ethan and Jennifer walking into the foyer. It’s empty, covered in trash, with boarded up windows) I used to watch TV- (Ethan points to the corner) right over there.

 

(Cut to August 1974, in that same room. Eight-year old Ethan is sitting in front of the TV while President Nixon speaks to the nation. Thirty-eight year old Leonard Donahue is sitting on the couch behind him, watching as well)

 

PRESIDENT NIXON: I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interests of America first. America needs a full-time President. And a full-time Congress. Particularly at this time, with problems we face at home and abroad, to continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President, and the Congress. In a period where our entire focus should be on peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home. Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford, will be sworn in as President, at that hour, in this office. As I recall the high hopes for America-

 

LEONARD: Goddamn. The hippies got him. They’ll get exactly what they want now. Gerald Ford.

 

ETHAN: Dad, this is boring, can we go and buy a couple cases of Tab for when Fred and Shane come over?!

 

LEONARD: You three drink way too much Tab. And I don’t like it since they took out all the lead.

 

(Ethan jumps up and starts pulling on Leonard’s sleeve)

 

ETHAN: Please, please, please, dad!?!? Please, can we go buy some Taaaaab!?

 

(Leonard slaps Ethan)

 

LEONARD: Stop it, boy!

 

(Ethan starts crying on the ground. Lynn walks in)

 

LYNN: What’s going on?! Did you hurt him?!
 

LEONARD: The boy’s out of control! He tried, to bite me, or he was going to!
 

LYNN: Oh, my. Let me call Dr. Wilson and set up an appointment.

 

ETHAN: Doctor?! I don’t need a Doctor!
 

LEONARD: He’s hysterical! He tried to kill me!
 

LYNN: Leonard, stop being dramatic.

 

(Lynn walks out of the room. Cut to Ethan sitting on wax paper in a Doctor’s office. Doctor Wilson is examining him as Leonard and Lynn stand by. There is an ashtray in the corner of the room with smoke emanating from it. Doctor Wilson has sideburns, and Leonard is wearing a wide, striped tie and brown suit while Lynn wears plaid pants and a turtleneck)

 

DOCTOR WILSON: Hmm. Ethan, open your mouth and say “ah” for me.

 

ETHAN: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

 

DOCTOR WILSON: CLOSE IT! (Ethan closes his mouth) Thank you.

 

ETHAN: Am I gonna die?

 

DOCTOR WILLSON: No, son. Unless, the Soviets attack us of course.

 

LYNN: Doctor!
 

DOCTOR WILSON: What? That’s a constant reality.

 

(Ethan stands up on the bed)

 

ETHAN: I WANT TO GO HOME ALREADY!!! There’s a SPACE MISSION waiting for me!
 

LEONARD: That’s it, you have to fix him, somehow, Doctor!

 

(Ethan puts his finger to his ear)

 

ETHAN: What’s that? Yes, Captain Kirk, I’m still trapped here until my parents drive me home.
 

LYNN: I don’t know, honey, this could just be a normal stage in a young boy’s life.

 

LEONARD: No, I was never this out of control growing up, except when I was in Disneyland, but I was twenty when I went there!

 

DOCTOR WILSON: There is something I can do.

 

LEONARD: Thank God! What is it?

 

DOCTOR WILSON: We don’t prescribe it very often, but…it’s called Ritalin.

 

(Leonard and Lynn lean forward. Cut to Ethan, now completely subdued, sitting on the carpet in front of the TV while a rerun of “Happy Days” plays. Leonard is smoking a cigarette behind him)

 

LEONARD: Are your little friends almost here, Ethan?

 

ETHAN: Uh-huh.

 

(Lynn comes in with two eight-year old boys, Shane and Fred)

 

LYNN: Look who’s here!
 

(Shane and Fred hold up water guns)

 

SHANE: Hey, Ethan! Fred and I loaded up these water guns with my dad’s scotch and we’re gonna spray it all over Ms. Edmund’s petunias! Are you in?

 

(Ethan slowly faces them, his visage despondent)

 

ETHAN: No, I think I want to catch Cronkite tonight, boys. See you in arithmetic, though.

 

(Shane and Fred furrow their brows and look at each other)

 

FRED: Oh. Okay.

 

SHANE: I guess we’ll just drink this stuff then.

 

LEONARD: Drink plenty of water, kids.

 

SHANE & FRED: Yes, Mr. Donahue.

 

(Lynn escorts them out, while Ethan turns to stare at the TV blankly. Cut to the present, where Ethan and Jennifer are staring at the part of the wall where the TV used to be)

 

JENNIFER: That’s a, sad story.

 

ETHAN: Yeah, I guess it wasn’t the greatest anecdote I could’ve given about child-rearing.

 

(Cut to Rob Altmire, in a robe, smoking a cigarette while watching the Jack-In-The-Box Super Bowl commercial featuring Marth Stewart in his living room. There are empty alcohol bottles strewn around as well as an overflowing ash tray. It depicts Jack In The Box being held by security as Martha Stewart stares at him on the set of a cooking show)

 

JACK IN THE BOX: What are you gonna do? Tuck me into bed? Read me a cook book? (Martha knocks off Jack’s nose) Oh! Oh my Gosh, I can’t smell! I can’t smell! What the (bleep)?!

 

(Rob picks up his phone and calls someone)

 

ROB: …John? John, listen to me, why the fuck does Martha Stewart get a goddamn career revitalization, but I don’t!? She went to fucking PRISON! Did I? No! Come to think of it, I’ve never had consequences for any of my actions, ever.

 

JOHN: (On the phone) Rob, have you been drinking?

 

ROB: Not as much as Bill Belichick will be tonight. And poor Tom Brady.

 

JOHN: He’s already won five Super Bowls, and his best friend is in the White House. He can take an L on this one. Plus, you know, Patriots still might win.

 

ROB: I sure hope so. Listen, John, I was playing this Trivia HQ thing earlier, and it gave me an idea. Can you come over?

 

(Cut to John sitting down next to Rob, on his couch. Rob is asleep, as Gatorade is poured on Doug Pederson on TV. John shakes Rob)

 

JOHN: Rob!

 

(Rob shoots up)

 

ROB: Ah! Oh my God, did the Pats win?

 

JOHN: No.

 

ROB: Damnit! Also, what took you so long?!

 

JOHN: Eagles fans turned over a couple cars on the 405.

 

ROB: Eagles Fans in…Los Angeles?

 

JOHN: Dude, apparently, they’re everywhere.

 

ROB: Whatever, just, listen. (Rob takes out his phone and opens up HQ Trivia on his phone) Shit, that’s right, there’s no game right now to show you. BUT! Here’s a video of how games typically go.

 

(Rob puts on a YouTube video of a Trivia HQ game. It depicts Scott Rogowsky, wearing a suit, in front of a colorful background)

 

SCOTT ROGOWSKY: How are you doing H-cuties, are you relaxed? Are you rested? Are you A-rrested? I sure hope not! Because they don’t allow phones in prison-

 

JOHN: Can we, get to the point here?

 

ROB: Sure, sure, hold on.

 

(Rob skips through some of the stuff)

 

SCOTT: Okay, first question- (A graphic featuring a question and three choices appears on screen) which of the following deities belongs to the Christian religion? A. Jesus. B. Buddha C. Joseph Smith.

 

(Rob pauses the video)

 

ROB: It’s a quiz show on your goddamn phone. And they often use guest hosts, who aren’t this limpdick. Am I crazy?

 

JOHN: Yes, but I don’t understand your question.

 

ROB: I could host this shit when Scotty Jewski over here is telling knock-knock jokes on cruise ships!
 

JOHN: Chill, with that shit.

 

ROB: It’s a low profile gig, that’s popular with millennials, which is good, because no one under forty watches reality shows. I’ll be unrecognizable! It’s the perfect formula for a career revitalization!
 

JOHN: Rob, you’ve been a disgraced actor for a month. It took Mel Gibson years to revitalize his career!

 

ROB: Yeah, but come on, he said some pretty anti-semitic remarks.

 

JOHN: YOU SAID SOMETHING ANTI-SEMITIC LESS THAN THIRTY SECONDS AGO!

 

ROB: HQ Trivia is opening up a West Coast studio. I’m gonna apply, whether you think it’s a good idea or not.

 

(John shakes his head, but then looks at Rob)

 

JOHN: I am sworn to serve you.

 

(Cut to Rob standing in front of a green screen, wearing a suit, while two men and a woman sit before him, with clipboards)

 

AUDITIONER: Go ahead and start whenever you’re ready, Mr. Altmire.

 

ROB: Hey H-cuties, H-cue balls, H-Cuba missile crises, H-Q-berts, H-Queens and H-Queengs! I am the one, the only, the not-at-all-lonely, ROBEEEEERT Altmire, and you’re playing Trivia HQ, the game show that’s broadcast live on your phone, so let’s get started, huh? I have to buy blow after this anyway-

 

AUDITIONER: Strike that.

 

ROB: Oh, sorry. Force of habit. Quite literally. (They laugh) Speaking of force of habit, may the Force Be With You, H-Qui-Gon-Jinns, as we answer twelve questions in order to win twenty-five hundred dollars, are you ready?

 

AUDITIONER 2: Hell yeah!

 

ROB: Good! Because I have a date after this- it’s…oh, God, guys, I don’t want to say this.

 

AUDITIONER: Hey, you’re doing great so far, don’t ruin it.

 

(Rob sighs)

 

ROB: I have a date after this. It’s with my bed. I think we might sleep together.

 

(They all stand and applaud Rob, as he bows. Cut to a lanky bald guy on stage at the Astute Fork. An audience of a few dozen look on, as a banner behind him reads “2018 BLOODFIST BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF NEW ENGLAND METAL”. A drum set, some guitars, amps and microphones are on stage as well)

 

LANKY MAN: Hello, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Ryan Hatch, and welcome to the 2018 Bloodfist Battle For the SOUL of New England METAL!!! (Cheers & applause) We’re going to keep it EDGY and ROCKIN’ tonight, please, just a reminder though, take your cigarettes outside, and do not break anything in here. Unless it’s a sweat! (Silence) …Anyway, please welcome, our first act, all the way from SUNY Plattsburgh, GREEN MUSEUM!!!

 

(Ryan Hatch runs off stage as Ryan, Tara, Lawrence, Cameron and Alec get on stage. Alec gets behind the drums, Tara & Cameron pick up guitars and Ryan and Lawrence bet behind microphones)

 

RYAN: Hey everybody, we are Green Museum, from Plattsburgh, New York, and we’re gonna do a set for you tonight. But first, let me just say, that if you’re the type to mosh, and hit people and kick people at shows like these, I implore you, feel free. This first song is called “Choice”.  (The band starts playing) There’s a, row boat, streaming down a mush field. There’s some, lightning striking where you can’t feel. I can’t, describe the feeling of a bald wheel. But I, can feel my blood begin to congeal.

 

RYAN & LAWRENCE: (Screaming) MY CHOICE MAKES ME! THE WORLD SHAKES ME! FORCED INTO A VACCUM OF NO FEELING, MY SKIN IS STRIPPED AS I’M CONGEALING, IS THERE ANYTHING WORTH SAVING?!?!

 

(Cut to Ryan, Lawrence, Tara, Alec and Cameron rushing backstage, as you hear the crowd outside cheering)

 

LAWRENCE: That went really well.

 

ALEC: Guys, we lit that bitch up.

 

TARA: Do you guys want to talk about it, or should we just go and watch the rest of the bands?

 

RYAN: What’s there to talk about? Creepier Jeff Bezos in the corner was head-banging the whole time.

 

CAMERON: That guy has the same first name as you do.

 

RYAN: …Yes, thank you, Cameron, I’m aware.

 

(Cut to Ryan, Cameron, Tara, Alec & Lawrence sitting in the audience as the last band, the “Deadly Partons” finish up)

 

LEAD SINGER: We’ve been the Deadly Partons from Bridgewater State, thank you!

 

(They leave the stage, and Ryan Hatch walks on stage)

 

RYAN HATCH: Thanks so much, Deadly Partons. My mother would roll over in her grave if she knew a metal band would be named after Dolly Parton. Of course, my mother’s not in a grave, she was actually spread all over this room. (The audience groans uncomfortably) Rest in peace, mama. Anyway, while we wait for the judges to deliberate, I wrote a long list of detailed questions- (He pulls out several pieces of paper) to ask each of our lead singers-

 

(Marla goes on stage and stands in front of Ryan Hatch)

 

MARLA: No need for that, we’ve decided. The Band that will move onto the final round, in the 2018 Bloodfist Battle For the Soul of New England Metal, is ironically a band that is not from New England, SUNY PLATTSBURGH’S VERY OWN GREEN MUSEUM!!!

 

(Green Museum excitedly gets up and starts hugging each other. Cut to all of them at the same burger place from TDEP261. They all have burgers in front of them- except for Tara, who has a basket of French fries)

 

RYAN: Remember, a year ago? When some of us were at this table, and it was the day after Inauguration Day, and we were scared?

 

CAMERON: I wasn’t that scared. I mean, we’re still here, right?

 

RYAN: Yeah, but the President just ordered a military parade be thrown in his honor. I’m sorry, I mean, “in the military’s honor”. “To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I”. A war which, I’m convinced Trump didn’t know about until he gave this order.

 

LAWRENCE: Listen, I’m going into the military. In a few months, I might have to be the one fighting off sarin gas to snap Kim Jong Un’s neck, and kick his dick in, in that order. I don’t want a military parade because of how, weird and dictatorial it is, but it’s not the first time it’s happened. We had military parades during the Cold War, every once in a while.

 

RYAN: Sure, but, we’re talking about Trump here. The missiles and tanks he’ll parade down Pennsylvania Avenue will literally make Freud rise from the dead and say “I told you so”. Plus, what about all the other scary stuff? Remember, it turns out he tried to fire Robert Mueller last summer.

 

LAWRENCE: And then there’s the Nunes memo, which turned out to be about as damning as a Fox News op-ed, but will nonetheless be held up as empirical proof that Trump is a nun.

 

RYAN: Devin fuckin’ Nunes. I’ve never seen so many dumb people try to protect other dumb people from very smart people.

 

(Alec looks at his phone)

 

ALEC: Oh, shit! Senseless Acts of Violence is out. They will not be in the finals.

 

TARA: Thank God. Honestly, even if we don’t win, I’ll just be glad Senseless Acts won’t win.

 

ALEC: Amen. Honestly, we should just cover “Iris” and peace out. Let some other group have it.

 

(They laugh)

 

RYAN: I’m up for it. Let’s go down in a blaze of glory. Who needs winning?

CAMERON: You know, it’s actually funny, I, uh…found a Patriots jersey, on a bench on campus, and I was like, well, I guess I should turn it to a Lost & Found or something, and I did, but I was like, you know, who wants to have one of those? You know, since they didn’t win. So.

 

ALEC: …Always a fan of your stories, Cameron.

 

(Cut to Green Museum on stage, for the finals)

 

RYAN: This song is called “Parapets”, and it’s dedicated to my girlfriend, Clarissa Rodriguez.

 

ALEC: And to my girlfriend, Tara Conner!
 

RYAN: Hey. Bro. One girlfriend at a time. Also, I should also dedicate this song to the memory of Mark. E. Smith. Okay, three, two, one, go! (They start playing, and after an extended intro, Ryan starts singing, in a similar manner to Mark E. Smith) I’m open to your evaluation. I find it easy to get lost in here! I’m open to your evaluation. It’s easy to get lost in the mirror! The parapets on high stand in judgment, casting shadows on my brow! I find it easy to get lost in here. I find it easy to get lost in here.

 

RYAN & LAWRENCE: I find it easy to get lost in here. I find it easy to get lost in the mirror.

 

RYAN: I see my best self in you. But I’m not sure my best self exists. I find it easy to get lost in here.  (Cut to the judges, sitting in the back, taking notes. One of them checks their phone. It reads “10:12 PM Saturday February 10”. We then pan up to the digital clock on the back wall, it now says “10:25 PM”. Cut to Ryan on stage, after finishing up a song. The crowd cheers) Thanks so much. Alright, we have one last song tonight, and it’s actually a cover of a Depraved Hallway Fern song, if you’ve ever heard of them. (The audience laughs) They’re not that good, but they have some jams. It’s called “He Was Useful”. Three, two, one-

 

ALEC: Ryan!

 

RYAN: What?

 

ALEC: I don’t… (whispering) I forgot the drum pattern to this song.

 

(Ryan turns away from the microphone)

 

RYAN: Really?!

 

ALEC: Yes, I’m sorry, I’ve gone blank.

 

RYAN: …Shit. (Ryan turns back to the microphone, as the audience talks amongst themselves, and judges whisper with each other) Sorry, about that, guys, we’re having some technical…difficulties, instead, we’re gonna play…

 

(Tara starts playing the opening guitar lead to “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Lawrence shrugs, and leans into the microphone, as Ryan hurriedly pulls up the lyrics on Genius, and Alec begins the slow-paced drumming)

 

LAWRENCE: (Singing) And I’d give up forever, to touch you. ‘Cause I know that you feel me somehow.

 

RYAN: (Singing) You’re the closest to Heaven, that I’ll ever be. And I don’t want to go home right now.

 

LAWRENCE: (Singing) And all I can taste is this moment. And all I can breathe is your life.

 

RYAN: (Singing) When sooner or later, it’s over. I just don’t want to miss you tonight!

 

(The audience gets on their feet to sing along)

 

RYAN, LAWENCE & THE AUDIENCE: (Singing) AND I DON’T WANT THE WORLD TO SEE ME! BECAUSE I DON’T THINK THAT THEY’D UNDERSTAND! WHEN EVERYTHING’S MADE TO BE BROKEN! I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW WHO I AM!

 

(Fade to a little bit later, when Ryan Hatch is on stage)

 

RYAN HATCH: Alright, guys, I have some stand-up planned for all of you while the Judges deliberate- (Clears throat) So, what about Bitcoin, huh? You know, I think-

 

(Marla runs on stage)

 

MARLA: We have the results.

 

RYAN HATCH: That’s cool, stick around after, and I’ll finish-

 

MARLA: Shut up. We had a lot of great bands here tonight. From a lot of great universities. But it came down to three. Keene State College’s own Bare In Mind. (They cheer) SUNY Plattsburgh’s own Green Museum. (They cheer) And of course Harvard’s own Gentleman Players of Loud Rock And Roll.

 

(Cut to a group of uptight college students wearing leather Harvard vests and bow-ties politely clapping)

 

HARVARD KID: Rock on.

 

(Cut back to Marla)

 

MARLA: But there can only be one that goes to Chicago. And that group is… (Cut to the members of Green Museum holding each other’s hands tight) …GREEN MUSEUM!!!! (Green Museum jump up. Ryan bro hugs Alec. Alec and Tara kiss. Lawrence and Cameron hug) YOU’RE GOING TO CHICAGO!!!

 

(Green Museum runs up on stage, hugging each other. Ryan and Alec wipe tears from their eyes)

 

ALEC: This is like, extinguishing a personal demon for me!
 

RYAN: I know.

 

TARA: We lost three years in a row!
 

RYAN: I know. But we did it this year! (Cut to Ryan outside the Astute Fork music venue. He is wearing a jacket while on the phone, as the rest of Green Museum speaks to other bands in the background) Babe, we did it!
 

CLARISSA: (On the phone) What?

 

RYAN: We’re going to Chicago, we won!

 

CLARISSA: Oh my God, that’s incredible!

 

RYAN: Isn’t it?! I am going to get WASTED tonight!

 

(Clarissa giggles)

 

CLARISSA: You deserve it! But, please, eat something first.

 

RYAN: If I can find a dark room, I will try.

 

(Cut to Ethan and Jennifer walking into an empty dining room. They see two homeless men having sex)

 

ETHAN: A lot of memories in this room, too.

 

JENNIFER: None with them, right?
 

(Ethan covers his eyes)

 

ETHAN: Oh, CHRIST! GET! (The homeless men run off) Once our child is in his teens, imagine the girl, or, I don’t know, sex-bot he will take home to dinner one night. Like my first girlfriend.

 

(Flashback to December 1980. 15-year old Ethan is sitting at the dinner table with a 15-year old blonde girl beside him. Forty-five year old Leonard, forty-three year old Lynn and 17-year old Allison Donahue are sitting at the table as well. There are Christmas decorations abounding, and a picture of President-elect Ronald Reagan on the wall. Allison’s face has smeared mascara)

 

LEONARD: Alright, it’s time to say grace. (They all hold hands and bow their heads) Dear Lord. We thank you for this bounty I paid for with my GODDAMN hard-earned money, that no one at this table appreciates.

 

LYNN: Hon, you blasphemed during grace.

 

LEONARD: And may Jesus be with us in everything we do, amen.

 

ETHAN, BLONDE GIRL, ALLISON & LYNN: Amen.

 

(They start eating)

 

LYNN: So, Carla, do you do any extracurricular activities or anything?

 

CARLA: Yeah, a little.

 

(Ethan chuckles)

 

ETHAN: She’s being modest, she does a ton. She sings, she dances, she plays the clarinet, I mean, she does it all.

 

LYNN: Oh, wow, very talented!
 

LEONARD: Yes, very. Hopefully you can find a career with talent like that.

 

CARLA: What do you mean?

 

LEONARD: I’m just saying, Reagan’s not gonna send a bunch of dancers to fight the Soviets, America needs spies, engineers, scientists-

 

ETHAN: Dad, there are plenty of people like that-

 

LEONARD: Not enough!

 

ETHAN: Dad, come on, Carla should do what she wants to do.

 

CARLA: Ethan, it’s fine, I see your dad’s point, but I just find dancing is what I’m passionate about.

 

ALLISON: Yeah, Ethan, women can be spies and scientists, stop being a chauvinist.

 

ETHAN: Allison, you think dad’s being a feminist right now?

 

ALLISON: Why not?

 

LEONARD: I’m just saying, Carla, have you ever seen Barbara Walters on TV?

 

CARLA: Of course.

 

LEONARD: She doesn’t have much in the brain department, but she knows how to read a prompter. So, if you can’t do a jig, you might want a job like that.

 

ALLISON: Okay, I take it back.

 

LYNN: Leonard, stop lecturing her.

 

LEONARD: I’m just saying, look at what happens to artistic types. They get shot! Look at John Lennon, just yesterday. I tell you, Ron Reagan knows better than to get shot!

 

(Carla starts tearing up)

 

ETHAN: Dad, you’ve upset her!
 

(Carla wipes her eyes with a table rag)

 

LEONARD: Oh, my goodness, I’m sorry, Carla, I didn’t mean to-

 

CARLA: Excuse me.

 

(Carla stands up and runs out of the room)

 

LEONARD: Jesus, I feel terrible. Let me go-

 

(Leonard gets up)

 

LYNN: Just leave her alone.

 

(Leonard slowly sits down. Ethan shakes his head)

 

LEONARD: Let her know I’m sorry.

 

ETHAN: …Okay, dad.

 

(Cut to Ethan and Carla sitting at a lunch table of Hansbay High School in January 1981)

 

CARLA: …Do you have something to tell me, Ethan?

 

ETHAN: …I’m afraid I do.

 

(Cut to Ethan and Jennifer in the dining room in 2018)

 

JENNIFER: You broke up with her!?

 

ETHAN: …Yeah, I did.

 

JENNIFER: Why?!

 

(Ethan sighs)

 

ETHAN: …I don’t know.

 

JENNIFER: …None of this is convincing so far. If these are the most convincing stories you can come up with, that’s scary.

 

ETHAN: …Let’s go back to the foyer, and I’ll tell you something.

 

(Jennifer follows Ethan. Cut to Whitney at the offices of BuzzFeed Los Angeles. She’s sitting at her desk, on the Trivia HQ app, waiting for the game to start. An article up on her computer reads “John Kelly Knew About Rob Porter Abuse Allegations For Months Before His Resignation”. Whitney taps her fingers on her desk)

 

WHITNEY: Come on…

 

(A woman comes by and sits on Whitney’s desk)

 

WOMAN: What’re you doing?

 

WHITNEY: It’s this live trivia game show app, Annabelle. I could win $2,500 dollars, if I’m the only one who gets all the questions right, of course. And if all the questions are about Friends, I’m confident it’ll happen.

 

ANNABELLE: Well, don’t be too long, we have to write about the top ten Jonah Hill memes of 2018, so far. That needs to be uploaded by the end of the day.

 

WHITNEY: I was thinking I could do a story about Rob Porter, I mean they let a serial abuser remain at the White House for months and months-

 

ANNABELLE: Whitney. The News Division does that garbage. You’re in the Fluff, Meme, Thinkpiece and all that garbage division.

 

(Annabelle points to a sign above the open-concept office that reads “Fluff, Meme, Thinkpiece & all that Garbage Division”)

 

WHITNEY: Then why’d I do the Rob Altmire story?

 

ANNABELLE: Because I hate him. But nobody knows who Rob Porter is! He’s not on TV constantly!
 

(HQ Trivia opens up to show Rob Altmire in a suit)

 

ROB: How are you, H-Cuties, H-Banjo Tooies and H-Shake Your Booties?

 

WHITNEY: Oh my God!
 

ANNABELLE: Is that Rob?!

 

ROB: It’s me, back from the dead, kinda like Jesus, honestly, Rob Altmire here! For HQ Trivia! But unlike Billy Mays, we’re not doing cocaine this afternoon, we are answering questions for COLD, HARD CASH! And like the cocaine Billy Mays ingested, the intensity of this game will give you a heart attack!
 

ANNABELLE: That is terrible taste.

 

WHITNEY: Can I do a story on how they’re already giving Rob another chance?!

 

ANNABELLE: Yes, but get started right away.

 

WHITNEY: Okay!

 

(Whitney looks at her phone)

 

ROB: The cash prize is 2,500 smackers, 2,500 haberdashers, 2,500 potato sackers, 2,500 nut crackers. Grocery sackers? I don’t goddamn know; 2,500 dollars is on the line.

 

(Annabelle throws her hand up)

 

WHITNEY: After this, okay?

 

(Cut to Rob in front of the green screen at HQ Trivia LA headquarters. A camera is trained on him)

 

ROB: First question, what year is it, right now? First questions are pretty easy, so, hopefully you’ve got this one. Okay, 457,000 people said 2018, but Jesus, 200,000 people said 2017. Guys, it’s been over a month into 2018, let’s get used to it.

 

(Cut to Rob outside the Trivia HQ building, lighting a cigarette while Rus Yusopov, the founder of HQ Trivia, speaks with him)

 

RUS: Great job, Robert, you’ve really brought brashness and edge to the app, and we desperately needed it.

 

(Rob exhales smoke and puts his lighter away)

 

ROB: It’s nothing, I just exude brass tacks and- what was the other word you used, edge?

 

RUS: Yes, but I, didn’t say “brass tacks”.

 

ROB: I’m pretty sure you did.

 

RUS: Anyway, let’s get down to brass tacks. We’re taking a risk here. We may get backlash for this.

 

ROB: I had consensual sex with an underling, it’s hardly unpardonable. I’m not Matt Lauer.

 

RUS: You know, we had to send Matt Lauer forty bucks the other week?

 

ROB: Ugh. Hey, I guess he has nothing else to do. (Cut to Rob on his computer in his living room. He is scrolling through Twitter. He sees a BuzzFeed article entitled “I Saw Rob Altmire On Trivia HQ. Now I’ve Resolve To Make Him Send Me Money” by Whitney Stone) Oh, fuck.

 

(Rus walks in)

 

RUS: Rob, what are you doing? It’s 7:15, the game starts at eight! We need get you to HQ HQ.

 

ROB: Whitney Stone is gonna try to win tonight, to embarrass me.

 

RUS: …I guess we’re gonna have to make those questions even harder.

 

(Cut to Whitney in her living room, looking at her phone while Rob hosts HQ Trivia. Hannah is sitting next to her, with her head on her shoulder)

 

ROB: Welcome to Trivia HQ, I’m Rob Altmire, filling in for Scott Ragowsky, who is probably at synagogue or something. I’m just kidding, he’s only culturally Jewish, so he’s at a comedy club tonight. Check him out there. My man! Anyway, you know how this works, twelve questions, if you answer one wrong, you’re eliminated. If you answer all twelve correctly, you win the cash prize. Twenty-five hundred blah blah blah, let’s play!

 

WHITNEY: Thank God. I hate hearing him speak.

 

ROB: First question is always pretty easy, so let’s get started. (The interface comes up displaying the question and the three answer options) Who was the ruling monarch of Prussia from 1770 to 1840? Frederick William III, Frederick William II or Frederick William I? You have ten seconds.

 

WHITNEY: What the hell!?

 

HANNAH: Ah. I see what he’s doing.

 

WHITNEY: What is it!?

 

HANNAH: I took history, I think it’s Freddy Wills the third.

 

(Whitney, at the last second, taps Frederick William III)

 

ROB: Time! Obviously, you all know that Frederick William III served from 1770 to 1840, they teach us that on the first day of class school, or whatever.

 

WHITNEY: YES!
 

(Whitney kisses Hannah, as It appears that 560,000 people got the question wrong)

 

ROB: Oh, wow! Savage question! That’s amazing, I’m surprised so many people missed that, you guys don’t know about Frederick William III? He tried to unify the Protestant churches, and homogenize their liturgy. So. (Rob sniffs) Let’s move on to Q2. (The interface appears) Which of these cinematographers worked on the 1940 British film Gaslight? Arthur Reed, Bernard Knowles, or Claude Friese-Greene?

 

WHITNEY: Jesus! How am I supposed to get this?! I haven’t even seen Titanic yet!
 

HANNAH: I don’t know what the answer is, but Bernard Knowles sounds right. He worked with Hitchcock.

 

(Whitney taps on Bernard Knowles)

 

ROB: Time! Okay, so, Arthur Reed worked on East Side Kids, Claude Friese-Greene worked on The Middle Watch, but it was Bernard Knowles who worked on Gaslight!

 

WHITNEY: Oh my God, Hannah, you’re a genius.

 

HANNAH: I’m just good at guessing.

 

ROB: Man, look who’s still in the game. (Rob chuckles, and pulls out a cigarette, which he then puts in his mouth, and lights) Let’s move onto Q3.

 

(He exhales the smoke. Cut to Ryan, Tara, Alec, Cameron and Lawrence standing in the back room of a house in Boston. They are surrounded by young, college students from MIT. They look somewhat fratty, but also somewhat punk rock. They are holding beers, and assorted drinks. A scratching post is nearby)

 

MIT STUDENT: You guys brought the house down, I’m glad you won.

 

RYAN: Thanks, appreciate it.

 

TARA: What’s your name, by the way?

 

MIT STUDENT: I’m Neil, we’re from Phi Kappa Death Death Destruction.

 

ALEC: That’s, quite a name.

 

NEIL: Yeah, we combine the proud traditions of frat brotherhood with the badass sound of black metal.

 

RYAN: Sounds great. Do you drink like black metal artists though? Like, where’s the Grey Goose and absinthe?

 

NEIL: I don’t know, but, uh, did you know there’s a cat in there?

 

(Neil points at the scratching post)

 

ALEC: Really? (Alec looks in the hole and the scratching post and sees a bottle of Smirnoff Ice) No, there’s a Smirnoff in there-

 

NEIL: YOU JUST GOT ICED!!

 

(They all start chanting “SUCK, SUCK, SUCK, SUCK”)

 

ALEC: What is-?

 

NEIL: Come on, now you have to drop to your knees and chug the whole thing!

 

ALEC: Okay!
 

(Alec gets on his knees and starts chugging)

 

CROWD: HE’S THIRTY YARDS OUT, HE’S TWENTY YARDS OUT, SUCK, SUCK, SUCK, SUCK!!!

 

(Alec finishes it, as people cheer. He puts the bottle back in the scratching post)

 

RYAN: Is that like, a frat thing?

 

NEIL: Yeah, how do you not know that?

 

RYAN: I’m not- I was never in a frat-

 

NEIL: Well, maybe that’s the problem!
 

(Another student puts his hand on Neil’s shoulder)

 

ANOTHER STUDENT: Whoa, Kemosabe, bring it in.

 

NEIL: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, just. Don’t disrespect the brotherhood.

 

RYAN: Noted.

 

(Cut to Ryan speaking with a woman in the dining room of the house, while the party continues around them, and music plays)

 

WOMAN: Ryan, right?

 

RYAN: Yes, what’s your name again?

 

WOMAN: Claire! I live here.
 

RYAN: Cool, cool. It’s a nice place!

 

CLAIRE: Thanks, I got it for cheap.

 

RYAN: Why? Ooh, did a person die here?

 

CLAIRE: No.

 

RYAN: Oh. Damnit.

 

CLAIRE: Three persons died here.

 

RYAN: Oh, shit, really?

 

CLAIRE: Yeah, this guy got fired, came home, and instead of telling his wife and child, he killed both of them, then himself.

 

RYAN: Oh my God. Where did that happen?

 

CLAIRE: I don’t know about the wife, but the kid was killed in my room.

 

RYAN: Do you ever see him-?

 

CLAIRE: All the time! He’s a nice kid.

 

RYAN: Do you mind if I, meet him?

 

CLAIRE: He’s a little shy about parties.

 

(Ryan laughs)

 

RYAN: Damnit.

 

(Cut to Tara and Cameron in the kitchen. Tara is holding vodka and fruit juice)

 

TARA: Are you sure you don’t want something, Cameron?

 

CAMERON: I mean, I don’t know, I guess I could have a little something. But, I’m just drunk on the high of winning, right now.

 

TARA: So, wait, are you drunk or high on winning?

 

CAMERON: I don’t know, both, I guess.

 

TARA: I’m making you something. (Tara pours fruit juice into a cup) Turn around.

 

CAMERON: …No!
 

TARA: Turn around, Cameron!!!

 

(Tara and Cameron both laugh, as Alec, Ryan and Lawrence come in, drunk. Ryan is holding a gin and tonic)

 

RYAN: I’m drinking a fuckin’ G&T right now. I’m like, someone’s grandma or some shit.

 

ALEC: Like, like a British grandma-

 

RYAN: Some rich person, for sure.

 

(Alec laughs)

 

LAWRENCE: (Brooklyn accent) We got a regular Bill Gates over here!

 

CAMERON: You know, Bill Gates is so rich, that if he dropped a $100 dollar bill, it’d be a poor use of his time to pick it back up. He’d just make it back plus fourteen bucks, instantly if he just didn’t bother.

 

TARA: Yeah, he’s very rich.

 

RYAN: Okay, okay, okay, do you think that if I paid him two hundred bucks, to rub my feet, he’d do it?

 

ALEC: Bill Gates?

 

RYAN: Yeah.

 

ALEC: No?!

 

RYAN: But it’s more than a hundred!!

 

CAMERON: Yeah, but, he makes 23,000 dollars a minute.

 

RYAN: Okay, would he rub my feet for $24,000?

 

ALEC: I don’t think anyone would rub your feet for any amount of money.

 

(Claire comes in)

 

CLAIRE: Oh my gosh, there are so many people here.

 

RYAN: This girl talks to dead people!
 

TARA: Really?

 

CLAIRE: Yes, but, that’s not my only supernatural talent. I also do hand readings. Does anyone want one?

 

ALEC: I’ll take a reading.

 

TARA: Are you sure?

 

ALEC: Yeah, babe, come on, it’s always good.

 

(Alec puts his hand out, and Claire holds it, while looking at it)

 

CLAIRE: Okay, let’s see, your life line is long, so you’ll live for many decades to come.

 

ALEC: Good to know.

 

CLAIRE: Your success line closely mirrors your love line, and there are interruptions to your love line in the future, and so, there are interruptions to your success line too.

 

(Tara awkwardly looks down)

 

ALEC: Okay.

 

CLAIRE: I would say that you’ll probably be less successful than your significant other.

 

LAWRENCE: Eek.

 

ALEC: That’s, way too real.

 

CLAIRE: Give me your other hand.

 

ALEC: No, I think I’m done.

 

(Alec pulls his hand away, Tara opens her purse)

 

TARA: How much was it?

 

ALEC: Tara, I can pay for it-

 

TARA: No, I’ve got it, babe-

 

CLAIRE: I’m not, charging for it.

 

(Tara closes her purse, as Alec rubs his temples)

 

LAWRENCE: Do me!
 

(Lawrence holds out his right hand. Claire grabs a hold of it)

 

CLAIRE: Your life line is short.

 

(Lawrence nods his head)

 

LAWRENCE: Goddamn Marines.

 

CLAIRE: I sense you’re going into the Marines?

 

LAWRENCE: Yes, I just said that.

 

CLAIRE: Your success line is short, mostly because your life line is short. Your love is line is also short.

 

LAWRENCE: …Let’s do the other hand.

 

(Claire switches to his left hand)

 

CLAIRE: So, your left hand shows where you will go if you change your path. Ah, you have a long life line, a long success line-

 

LAWRENCE: Thank God-

 

CLAIRE: Short love line still, though.

 

LAWRENCE: Oh. Well, thank you.

 

(Claire nods, and Lawrence steps back)

 

CLAIRE: Who’s next?

 

RYAN: I’ll go, I guess.

 

(Ryan steps forward and gives Claire his right hand)

 

CLAIRE: Okay, so you have a short life line-

 

RYAN: I could’ve told you that.

 

CLAIRE: Your success line is long, but your love line is short, and filled with interruptions.

 

RYAN: Really? I mean, I have a girlfriend-

 

CLAIRE: I know you do.

 

RYAN: Oh. Yes, of course.

 

CLAIRE: But you’re not really sure if you like her as much as she likes you.

 

RYAN: …I suppose you’re right, yeah.

 

CLAIRE: So you don’t know how long it will last.

 

(Tight shot on Ryan’s face)

 

RYAN: I mean…do you, do you ever really know?

 

CLAIRE: Hmmm…I sense that you wish for something. What is it?

 

(Ryan has an anxious look, and has tears in his eyes, as he looks offscreen)

 

RYAN: …I, I wish, I wish…I wish is was going somewhere-

 

(Ryan shakes his head and leaves the kitchen. Claire looks at the rest of Green Museum)

 

CLAIRE: …Sometimes, that happens.

 

(Tara starts to walk forward, but Alec grabs her shoulder)

 

ALEC: Just leave him. We’ll go in a second.

 

(Tara nods)

 

CAMERON: My turn?

 

(Cut to Ethan and Jennifer walking into the foyer of his old house)

 

ETHAN: Alright, I want you to close your eyes and imagine this next story.

 

JENNIFER: Ethan.

 

ETHAN: Just do it, okay? (Jennifer sighs and closes her eyes) So, it was 1984…

 

(Cut to 49-year old Leonard watching the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics on TV in his living room, as 18-year old Ethan walks in with luggage)

 

LEONARD: Of all the American cities to host the Olympics, why Los Angeles? Might as well have it in Moscow.

 

ETHAN: Well, dad, I’m about to drive to school.

 

(Leonard turns off the TV)

 

LEONARD: Drive? Son, I can drive you there. You know there’s crazy drunks on the road.

 

ETHAN: At 2pm?

 

LEONARD: I’ll be more specific, there’s A crazy drunk on the road. He’s your brother Paul.

 

ETHAN: I’ll be fine, dad. I need a car at Middlebury, you know.

 

LEONARD: To drive around hoochie mamas, huh?

 

ETHAN: …Right.

 

(Leonard stands up and puts his hands on Ethan’s shoulders)

 

LEONARD: …Let me tell you, something, Ethan. If there’s one piece of advice I can give you, it’s this. Success can blind a person to what’s really important. Never forget why you are here, on Earth. Why God put you here. It’s to love those around you.

 

(Ethan wipes away tears, and hugs his father. Cut to 2018, with Ethan and Jennifer hugging in the foyer)

 

ETHAN: …This is what I mean. Parenting is hard, but. It’s moments like this that make it worth it.

 

(Jennifer sniffs)

 

JENNIFER: …Okay, I’ll keep it.

 

(Cut to Rob hosting HQ Trivia. He’s sweaty, holding an ashtray full of cigarette butts, and his tie and collar are loosened)

 

ROB: Okay, we’ve only had one person in the game for the last four questions, but now we’ve come to the… (Rob gulps) final question. This is gonna be difficult. So difficult maybe we don’t have to give away any money tonight? Heh. (Rob takes a drag on his cigarette) Please. Anyway, here’s Q12. (Interface comes up with question) In Season 3 of the AMC series MAD MEN, Betty and her friends petition the Mayor of Ossining, New York, what is the Mayor’s name in that episode? A. Jesse Collyer, B. Steven Jackson, C. Andrew Johnson.

 

(Cut to Whitney and Hannah)

 

WHITNEY: Shit, that’s so obscure.

 

HANNAH: Wait, wait, hold on, it’s either Jackson or Johnson, I just have to remember what the plaque said-

 

WHITNEY: Are you serious, give me a name!?

 

HANNAH: JOHNSON!
 

(Whitney presses Andrew Johnson, just before time runs out)

 

ROB: Oh! And time is out- GODDAMNIT! (Whitney and Hannah scream with joy and kiss each other) I mean…hooray! We have a winner! They get ALL 2,500 dollars. Congratulations to…

 

WHITNEY: SAY MY NAME!
 

ROB: …Whitney Stone. Congrats.

 

WHITNEY: HAND DELIVER MY MONEY, BITCH!!
 

(Hannah and Whitney laugh)

 

ROB: …See you guys next time, bye.

 

(Rob walks offscreen. Cut to Tara driving Alec, Ryan, Lawrence and Cameron home. No one is talking, and they all look distant, and melancholy. “Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls is faintly playing over the radio. Eventually, Tara turns it down. Cut to black)

 

DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF MARK E. SMITH, 1957-2018

 

THE END


Submitted: February 22, 2018

© Copyright 2021 NEONETWORK. All rights reserved.

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