Pitch the LAMB: Home for the Holidays, Act 1

Mable: Well, here we are… Neo, before we go in and you meet them, there is something you should know about my family…

Neo: Nothing would surprise me anymore, or any more (than I’ve been surprised before). What, your family doesn’t know that we’re “together”? They don’t know that I’m of an ethnic, gender, or species persuasion to which they are not partial?

Mable: No, it’s not that at all. It’s not always about you, Neo. You’re not always the one. The family… We’re… You know… We’re all…

Neo: What? Russian spies? Aliens? Aliens without proper documentation? Cannibals? Does this have anything to do with that gigantic stone foot in the front yard?

Mable: Well, it’s…

Michelle, opening the front door from inside: Hey, Sis, you’re here! Is this the new guy? Hi, new guy!… Hey, Mom! Mable is home! Don’t mind us, new guy. We’re decorating for the holidays, and… Hey, Mom! Why does the tree smell like the sewer?

Mabel: Everybody, this is Neo…

Mom: Hi, Mabel! Hi, Neo! Michelle, Honey, the tree doesn’t smell. I mean, it does smell. It smells like a tree. The sewer thing, that’s just your condition.  Sinus infection can cause it. Or impacted, fungus-riddled boogers. An infected tooth could do it. Or various medications. Brain tumor. Cranial radiation therapy. Or that Oliver Sachs disease with the long name I forget.

Dad: Hi, Mabel! Hi, Neo! Sachs makes that stuff up. He’s on the New Yorker payroll.

Cousin Francis: Hi, Mable. Hi, Neo. Geez, you’re here just in time. I’ve got to go find a plastic Jesus, but it’s nuts out there. These holidays are so screwed up, I’ll be glad when they’re over.

Mom: I got groped by an elf at the mall this morning.

Michelle: I got fondled by a drunk Santa. Accomplished exactly nothing.

Mom: I thought you got the gift for dad. You promised. You’re usually the only one I can trust around here.

Uncle Joe: Hi, Mable. Hi, Neo. Mazie, relax. I got the gift for him.

Mable: Why is Michelle the only one you can trust? You always preferred Michelle over me, Mother! I’m home two minutes…

Mom: Don’t start. I can trust you, too, but like you say, you’ve been home two minutes. In fact, come over here. Quick! Help me… with…(ugh)… this…(grunt)… turkey… Hold on, dammit! Pull it down! Neo, grab it by the wattles!

Michelle: What about gifts for the rest of us? For under the tree? The mall is closing in an hour!

Mom: The mall is always closing in an hour. And it’s always dark out.

Michelle: And Cousin Francis is a lot younger than on her last visit.

Dad: And I think the dog  just ate Mable’s head.

Mom: Oh, no. Are we all dead again and don’t know it?

Dad: I hate that trope.

Michelle: Nah, this is the one where we’re not dead. We’re all just waiting to be born again.

Francis: Eww! I hate that one worse! I hate getting born.

Mable: You hate it! What about me? My last three I had narrow-hipped women.

Uncle Joe: I was a month late and breech. No picnic. Not to mention the circumcision.

Mable: It’s the caul I hate.

Michelle: At least you’ll have your head back.

Dad: Well, the good news is, we won’t have to worry about turkey and the tree next Christmas. We’ll all be on the tit.

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My entry in The /Filmcast’s Scott Pilgrim: Worst Ex-boyfriend contest

College. Senior year. November, the week before Thanksgiving vacation. Friday. I’m going to pop the question Sunday night at dinner, at Chico’s Restaurant. I’ve got the ring. It’s going to be a surprise.

Friday afternoon my girlfriend tells me that an old friend is going to stop by the campus. She’d like to spend Friday evening “catching up” with him. Afterward, would it be ok if he spent the night in my dorm room, since my roommate would be away for the weekend?

Who is this guy, this old friend, I asked her? Nobody, she said. Nobody important. Just a guy she used to know.

So that night she went out with him and I went out drinking with my buddies. They asked me why I didn’t go along with my girlfriend and the guy. I said, well… I… she didn’t ask me. The guy’s name was Brad. I never saw him that night. When I got back to my room, I was stinking drunk. My roommate’s bed was empty.

Saturday morning I woke up with a terrible hangover. Brad lay in the other bed under a sheet, hands behind his head, looking over at me.

“Nice picture,” he said, indicating a photo on my desk that I had taken of my girlfriend. She signed it for me with love and kisses.

“She sent me a copy, too,” he said. “So, you’re a friend of Katy’s?”

I felt awful and it seemed stupid to tell him that Katy was my girlfriend. How was it that Katy hadn’t told him the night before, anyway? I didn’t answer him.

Then he got out of bed. Had to be a foot taller than me, blond, handsome, and, naked as he was, I could see that he was big as a horse. It was hard to take my eyes off that thing. I got up, grabbed my clothes, headed down the hall to the showers, and never went back to my room. A guy pointed out Brad’s Porsche in the parking lot.

At breakfast in the Union, I asked Katy how often she had gone out with Brad. For how long?

“Freshman and sophomore years,” she said. The two years that I was in community college, before we met.

I asked her what Brad did now.

“After graduation, he went to work for Senator Smith. They say he’s going to rise high in the government as he gets older… But, Honey, you’ll be a big success, too, whatever you decide to do.”

I’ve changed majors three times. To get my degree, I have to take classes this summer after our class graduates. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. When Katy and I go on a date off-campus, we have to take the bus. My parents are on food stamps.

I didn’t see Katy again Saturday. I stayed up late Saturday night but Brad didn’t show. However, when I woke in the morning, he was there in my roommate’s bed. I didn’t see Katy all day Sunday, so in the evening I lurked in the trees outside her dorm. She came up the walk alone at twilight, her hair and clothing disheveled, with a strange look on her face that I couldn’t interpret. I waited in the trees but she didn’t come out again and I finally gave up and went back to my dorm. Brad didn’t return to the room Sunday night.

Monday morning, he was gone.

Pitch the LAMB – Mystery

SCENE FROM MY SCREENPLAY-IN-PROGRESS, “THE DEATH OF AMY LAMB”

[A foggy night in London. Carriages clatter past. A large Edwardian house in affluent Hedgerow. A brass plate beside the door reads “Sir R. A. Wolfe.” A cloaked figure hammers the door-knocker, which is shaped like a ram’s head with huge curling horns.

BAM! BAM! BAM!

[The door swings open. Sir Wolfe stands against the light in his evening coat and slippers, a glass of sangria in his hand. Confronting him is Dr. Shepherd, DD, Th.D., J.C.L. ]

Sir Wolfe: “Odd time of night to be making house calls, Doctor.”

Shepherd: “Let me in, you fool!”

[Wolfe stands aside. The Abbot pushes in, bustling like a border collie that has lost a member of his flock. His curly hair is wet and smells of lanolin. He rounds on Wolfe, who strokes his muttonchops.]

Shepherd [barking, as he rips off his Fleece]: “Where is she?”

Wolfe: “To whom do you refer?”

Shepherd: “Don’t get foxy with me! You’re holding back, Ricardo! By God, I’ll give you a lick you won’t forget!… I ask you again. Where is she?”

Wolfe [sheepishly, but with a wolfish grin]: “Calm eweself, my dear Clifford, haw haw. Why so worried about such a small loss… What was the value of the item? ”

Shepherd [growling, big face red]: “Item? Item! That’s how you think of her?… I warn you, Ricardo, I’ve just climbed your back wall and looked over it. You’ve got a hole dug back there. A hole that looks very like a shallow grave. Something smells fishy and it’s not the tuna casserole… Hold on! Wait a minute! By all that’s holy, Ricardo! That’s lamb stew I smell! With mint, bay leaf, and rosemary. It can’t be anything else! Why dig a grave for the wooly remnants that must be bagged up even now in your waste receptacle?… No wonder there are never any suspects. No wonder the clues do not add up… You’ve eaten the suspects. And the clues… By the pipes of Saint Cuthbert, I can still find fingerprints, you know. On your cleavers, your boning knives, your crockpot!”

Wolfe:   “Fingerprints? There are no fingerprints, you fool! How many of your precious flock have fingers? By the traps of Saint Eustachius, I believe they sheared your brain along with your body last time round.”

Shepherd: “Bah! Baaaa! Baaaaaaaa! Lies! All lies! How come there is no body? I’m no lamb in the woods!”

Wolfe [as he approaches Shepherd with a Little Bo Peep staff gripped in his lupine paws, while the doctor chases his tail in agitation]: “You are correct, Clifford, you big red fool. Ms Lamb wasn’t just an item on my menu. She was the pièce de résistance. The grave, Doctor, is not for Amy Lamb, but for he who did not nip at her heels with wit sufficient to keep her safe in his flock…”

[A yelp and a howl, followed by the well-known sounds of a gentleman’s dessert being served in the library.]

Pitch the LAMB – Buddy Flicks

JOURNEY INTO THE CAVE

Scene 1

[Fixture, Iowa]

[Brad and Alvin, in their twenties, buddies from birth. Brad, the wild one, disappeared a year ago; now, he’s back. Alvin, the quiet one, married with kids, works at the Toaster Paper Company. “Paper you can wipe with.”]

[Alvin’s threadbare apartment in his grandparent’s basement. Alvin’s parents died in a paper accident when he was a child. Brad, already strapping and unpredictable at the age of four, pulled Alvin to safety just before the lavatory pulp could engulf him.]

[The two have been drinking. Empty bottles of foreign origin, Popopny Regurgany, litter the worn carpet, comingling with toys that appear to be the playthings of children either challenged or missing body parts. Brad’s well-traveled backpack gapes open on a love seat, a Nepalese bong thrusting rigidly out through its zipper, at least eleven inches in length.]

Brad (pacing): Come on, man! You owe me! Remember that… I saved your life, dude!

Alvin (moaning): Ohhhh… I think the walls are moving…

Brad: Leslie. That’s your problem right there. What I should have done, I should have saved you from that bitch. She’s ten times worse than any damned runaway roll of toilet paper.

Fred (drunkenly): Ohhhh… Am  I standing up? Are we there yet? What are we doing? Did we forget something…?

Brad (shaking his head and pulling out the bong): Drinks. You could never handle ’em. Even as a little kid. And yeah, we forgot something. We forgot to give you a m****r-f*****g life.

[Door opens. Leslie enters with three young children.]

Brad: Well, look who just walked in…

Leslie (surveying the room, with special attention to the bong and the empty bottles): What the hell are you doing here?

Brad: And I’m glad to see you too. You haven’t changed. Still hot. Still the bitch.

Leslie: When you disappeared, I prayed you’d stay gone. No such luck. So what are you doing here? Besides losing that bong right now, I mean. Don’t make me ask you again.

[Her color rises, but it’s not the red flush of anger, which makes the cheeks glow hot – it’s that other flush, the royal flush, which causes the hidden cheeks to encarnate like self-heating pillows.]

Brad: I’m making a proposal to my buddy, that’s what I’m doing. To my oldest friend. A proposal that you’re interrupting, by the way.

[Leslie cocks an eyebrow.]

Brad: Road trip.

[His gaze begins racking up misdemeanor points on a road trip of its own, over and around the landscape of Leslie’s curves.]

Leslie (snorting, but with her eyes running up and down Brad’s body like mice with hot feet): That ain’t gonna happen.

Brad: Come  on, baby. It’s the chance of a lifetime here. Aztec gold. All we’ve got to do is go down there and grab it. But I can’t do it alone. Look at Alvin. He’s a f*****g mess. We’ve got to get him out of here, out of this apartment, out of his job, out of f*****g Fixture. We’ve got to give him something to live for, something Aztec besides Montezuma’s Revenge. We’ve got to f*****g save his life!

[Now Brad’s eyes are running like rodents, too, only more like rats than mice.]

Brad: You know I would do the same for you… Baby…

[His cellphone rings in his back pocket. He pulls it out and takes the call, turning away.]

Brad (in a low voice): Yeah. Yeah. Almost. Just me and my buddy. And maybe some baggage… Don’t worry about that, Shakespeare. Who’s going to know?

[He looks at Leslie over Alvin’s prone, sweating, twitching, hairy, pale, nerdy body, at Leslie, the three kids grouped around her trim ankles, down there in the shade cast by her high breasts way up under a tight white sweater, three little kids like toadstools growing out of the roots of her legs, which go all the way up, the two adults sliding into an eyeball-lock that causes the space between them to throb.]

Brad (into the phone): Yeah. Buddies on a road trip. That’s the plan. A little booze, a little blow, a little sharing. Yeah, especially the sharing. With a big fat climax right at the end.

[Scene]     (06/18/10)