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The Monk
by Bobby Keyes (painter55@yahoo.com)

Rated: G   Genre: Comedy   User Review: ***1/2
A 10 minute short about a new monk at the monastery who doesn't quite get it.


This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.



THE MONK

FADE IN:

EXT. GOTHIC STYLE MONASTERY - DAY
                                                            
A taxi drives smoothly along the curved driveway of the
gray-stone Gothic-style Monastery. Monks in brown frocks
work silently in the surrounding flower gardens. The taxi
stops at the orate entrance and MONK JEREMY, 25 years old,
slender, dark hair, youthful, gets out holding small
suitcase. He walks energetically up the stairs and into the
building.
                                                            
 
INT. ABBOTT'S OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
ABBOTT JOHN stands looking out at the gardens bathed
morning sunshine outside his walnut paneled first floor
office window. The 65 year old, paunchy, balding man is the
Senior Abbott of a gothic-styled monastery. He draws
leisurely on a cigarette.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
God, what a beautiful day.
                                                            
Knocking at the ABBOTT'S closed office door.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (slightly frantic)
Yes? One moment, please.
                                                            
Abbott tries to put out the cigarette in a desk drawer
ashtray.
                                                            
SECRETARY TOM, milquetoast, pale complexion, black haired,
mid-forties assistant to Abbott John opens the office door
and pokes his head in.
                                                            
                       SECRETARY TOM
It's just me, John. Open the
window when you you light up.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
Is he here?
                                                            
                       SECRETARY TOM
      (Snidely)
He looks happy.
                                                            

2.

                       ABBOTT JOHN
Well, didn't we all on our first
day? Give me a minute to clear
this smoke. I'll come out to get
him.
                                                            
 
INT. GRAND FOYER OF MONASTERY - DAY
                                                            
The Abbott and Secretary enter wearing the traditional
monk's habiliments of hooded brown frocks. MONK JEREMY is
staring in awe at the ornate ceiling of the foyer. His small
suitcase lays at his feet.
                                                            
                       SECRETARY TOM
      (to Jeremy)
Father Jeremy, let me introduce
our Senior Abbott, Father John
Miller.
      (to Abbott)
Father Jeremy Ford.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (warmly)
Welcome, Jeremy! So glad you've
come to live with us. God will
guide you here.
                                                            
Abbott and Monk shake hands
                                                            
                       MONK JEREMY
Father, er, Abbott Miller, yes,
I'm so grateful to be here. The
grounds are fabulous - the gardens
- and these paintings...
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
Some of the many wonders of our
order. We are blessed by many
patrons, and by God, too. Come,
let's speak in my office.
                                                            
Secretary Tom gestures for them all to walk back into the
Abbott's office.
                                                            
 
INT. ABBOTTS OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
Monk Jeremy and Abbott John enter. Abbott sits behind his
desk, Secretary Tom closes the door. Jeremy stands reading
book titles from the bookshelves lining the office wall.
                                                            

3.

                       ABBOTT JOHN
Take a seat, young man. You will
have lots of time here to read
books. You may even write one
while you are here.
                                                            
Jeremy sits down in the plush armchair facing Abbott across
the desk.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
We have a few things to talk
about. Talking indeed. You won't
be talking again after today for
along while. Better get it all out
now while you can.
                                                            
                       MONK JEREMY
      (puzzled)
Sir?
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
We are a silent order here.
                                                            
                       MONK JEREMY
      (alert)
Oh, yes, I know. Talking. 'Talking
interferes with contemplation'.
You wrote that. I have read both
of your books.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
Actually, I said "talking
contaminates contemplation." No
matter though, you understand the
idea.

We're a silent order, but not a
lazy order. You will work, eat,
and sleep here year round. And
pray. And be happy, God willing.

Each year on the anniversary of
your arrival to our Order, I call
you here to speak with me. Once a
year, you can tell me, and only
me, how you are doing as a monk.
It will be your 'confession' of a
sort.
                                                            

4.

                       MONK JEREMY
I've been well advised of life
here at the Monastery. I look
forward to it all. Eat, sleep,
work. Prayer. No need for talking!
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (laughing)
Yes! All a man ever needs!
Welcome! Welcome!
                                                            
They stand and shake hands. Laughing, the Abbott's arm
around Monk's shoulder, they admire the beautiful sunlit
gardens outside the Abbott's office window.
                                                            
 
EXT. A GARDEN - DAY
                                                            
SOME MONTHS LATER.
                                                            
A sweltering sun sizzles and small insects buzz over the
monastery vegetable garden. Jeremy leans on a garden hoe,
mopping sweat off his sunburned face with a white
handkerchief. Other monks work silently around him in the
garden. A nearby monk looks up to see Jeremy resting,
suggesting silently that Monk get back to work. Jeremy
smiles, and slowly starts hoeing again.
                                                            
 
INT. CHAPEL - NIGHT
                                                            
Pious ORGAN MUSIC fills the dimly lit chapel. Jeremy walks
down the aisle of the chapel, genuflects and kneels in a
pew. Another monk tends the candles near the alter. Jeremy
clasps his over the pew railing in front of him. Wincing,
he reveals blisters on his hands.
                                                            
                       MONK JEREMY
      (Whispering)
Work.
                                                            
 
INT. ABBOTT'S OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
ONE YEAR AFTER MONK ARRIVES AT THE MONASTERY
                                                            
Abbott John is seated at his large desk with a cigarette
burning in the ashtray sitting inside the open desk drawer.
Clouds at a distance portend a rain storm through the
Abbott's window. A knock at the office door startles Abbott.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
Yes?
                                                            

5.

                       SECRETARY TOM (O.S.)
Brother Jeremy is here.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
Wait a second.
                                                            
Abbott stabs on the cigarette in the ashtray and closes the
desk drawer. He opens the office door and waves Monk in.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
Come in, come in! I've been
expecting you.
                                                            
Jeremy walks into the office waving away the wisps of
lingering cigarette smoke. Abbott stands near the window
watching the gathering clouds.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
A whole year since we stood here
last. My, my, how time flies! Have
seat!Speak! Tell me about your
first year here.
                                                            
Jeremy slumps into the large plush chair in front of
Abbott's desk, obviously enjoying the comfort of the chair.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (fatherly)
Take your time. We value time
here. One whole year. A few words.
Make them count, my boy.
                                                            
The Abbott sits down at his desk. Jeremy nestles in the the
chair, inspecting at his rough calloused hands.
                                                            
                       MONK JEREMY
      (Wearily)
The work here is hard!
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (Sympathetically)
I understand. Work makes us
strong. Be strong, my boy. Now
return to your labors. Until next
year! God go with you!
                                                            
Abbott ushers Jeremy out of the office. Secretary Tom walks
in and sits down in the plush chair.
                                                            
                       SECRETARY TOM
You should buy me a chair this
good.
                                                            

6.

                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (Laughingly)
Why? So you won't get a sore butt
while you 'work' all day shuffling
papers?
                                                            
Abbott sits down in his overstuffed office chair and leans
back, clasping his hands behind his head. Secretary oozes
into the plush chair across the desk.
                                                            
                       SECRETARY TOM
      (facetiously)
Do you have any papers for me to
shuffle today?
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (Laughing)
No! Now get out!
                                                            
 
INT. MONASTERY CAFETERIA - NIGHT
                                                            
SOME MONTHS LATER
                                                            
Jeremy is seated at a dinner table with other monks eating.
Monk chews slowly while the other monks eat heartily. Monk
raises his napkin and surreptitiously spits out his food
into the napkin. He wipes his mouth to cover the act, then
calmly pushes his plate away. He stands up and walks out of
the cafeteria. Other monks pay him no attention as they
continue to eat in silence.
                                                            
 
EXT. THE GARDEN - NIGHT
                                                            
Jeremy slinks through the tall rows of pea vines and tomato
bushes. He bends over and yanks up a fresh carrot and wipes
it off with the hem of his frock,devouring the still dirty
carrot ravenously. He pulls up another carrot and slinks out
of sight through the dark garden.
                                                            
                       MONK JEREMY
      (Mumbling)
Food.
                                                            
 
INT. ABBOTT'S OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
TWO YEARS SINCE MONK CAME TO THE MONASTERY
                                                            

7.

Abbott walks into the office and fumbles for a pack of
cigarettes folded into his frock. He lights a cigarette and
leafs through a stack of papers on his desk. A distant peal
of THUNDER presages a thunderstorm brewing outside.
                                                            
                       SECRETARY TOM (O.S.)
Close the door.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (Wise cracking)
Start smoking.
                                                            
Abbott starts to close the office door when Jeremy stumbles
weakly into the Secretary's station outside the Abbott's
office. Secretary is seated at his desk with a napkin tied
around his neck eating fried chicken. He starts up out of
his chair to assist Jeremy, but Jeremy waves him back.
Jeremy stumbles into the Abbott's office. Abbott closes the
door behind them.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
My boy, are you O.K.? Sit down.
What's the matter?
                                                            
Jeremy sags into the plush chair in front of the Abbott's
desk. Abbott stands beside Jeremy, hand on his shoulder.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
I had you scheduled to see me
later today anyway. It's your
second year anniversary here at
the Monastary. Take your time.
                                                            
                       MONK JEREMY
      (thin voiced)
Two words to describe year two:
Food bad.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
My boy, you should eat! Judging by
your bony shoulder, I can tell you
have missed a few meals. No wonder
you're so weak.
                                                            
Jeremy stands up, steadying himself on the back of the plush
chair in front of the Abbott's desk. He walks slowly out of
the office and takes a piece of fried chicken off the
Secretary's plate. Jeremy disappears down the hallway
munching on the chicken. Abbott pats his own fat stomach,
and shakes his head in dismay.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
Bad food? Indeed!
                                                            

8.

Secretary licks his greasy fingers, and wipes his chin with
the napkin tied around his neck.
                                                            
                       SECRETARY TOM
      (to Abbott)
Want some chicken?
                                                            
 
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
A FEW MONTHS LATER
                                                            
Jeremy's head pokes out of the bed covers. He rolls one way
and then the other, pounding his head on the pillow to
soften it. He throws off the covers, and sits up on the side
of the bed in his underwear rubbing his face with both
hands.

Jeremy's ROOMMATE is sleeping in a similar bed across the
room snoring loudly and farting. Fatigue overcomes Jeremy,
and he slumps over toward the foot end of his bed and falls
asleep.
                                                            
 
INT. CHAPEL - NIGHT
                                                            
ANOTHER NIGHT SOME TIME LATER
                                                            
Jeremy is kneeling a pew in the chapel, his head bowed.
Another monk walks by in the aisle and notices that he is
not praying, but fast asleep. The other monk pokes Jeremy to
wake him up. Jeremy tips over, waking himself up.
                                                            
                       MONK JEREMY
      (Fatigued)
Sleep.
                                                            
 
INT. ABBOTT'S OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
THREE YEARS AFTER MONK'S ARRIVAL AT THE MONASTERY
                                                            
Abbott is asleep at his desk. A soft knocking on the closed
office door rouses him from his nap. Rain is pelting the
window and wind is blowing the trees outside as heavy
thunderstorm takes shape over the monastery.
                                                            
                       SECRETARY TOM (O.S.)
John? John? It's almost time for
Jeremy's third year review. He
should be here any minute. Wake
up.
                                                            

9.

Abbott stands up and stretches. Yawning.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
Let me know when he gets here.
                                                            
Secretary ushers Jeremy in to Abbott's office a few minutes
later. Jeremy walks slowly and falls into the plush chair in
front of Abbott's desk.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
Hello, Jeremy! So good....
                                                            
Abbott stops mid-sentence noticing that Jeremy is sound
asleep in the chair.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (to Monk)
Ahem! My boy, wake up!
      (to Secretary Tom)
Tom, bring Jeremy something cold
to drink. Something refreshing.
The poor man is exhausted!
                                                            
                       MONK JEREMY
      (Very Tired)
Bed. Hard.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
What's that? Your bed is hard? Oh,
so you haven't been sleeping well
lately?
                                                            
Secretary Tom arrives with a cold glass of water for Jeremy.
Jeremy takes the glass and sips.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
Take Jeremy back to his room, Tom.
He's so exhausted he can barely
keep his head up. We can talk some
other day.
                                                            
Secretary helps Jeremy out of the plush chair and supports
him by the arm as they walk out of the Abbott's office.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (Musing)
Now where was I? Oh, yes.
Ahhh.....
                                                            
Abbott leans back in his desk chair, closes his eyes, and
drifts off to sleep.
                                                            
 

10.

INT. ABBOTT'S OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
FOUR YEAR SINCE MONK CAME TO THE MONASTERY
                                                            
A violent thunderstorm rages outside. LOUD THUNDER does not
disturb Abbott who is sound asleep at his desk. An empty
plate and drinking glass sit on a stack of papers on his
desktop. A strong knocking at the door jolts him awake. He
grabs up some of the papers and starts shuffling through
them.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (irritably)
What is it now, Tom. I can't
finish this...
                                                            
The office door bangs open, revealing Jeremy dressed in
civilian clothes, holding a small suitcase in one hand. He
is disheveled, soaking wet, and appears extremely weary.
Secretary follows behind Jeremy, exasperated over the forced
intrusion on the Abbott's privacy.
                                                            
                       SECRETARY TOM
      (Irate to Jeremy)
You can't just barge in there!
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (Sternly)
Brother Jeremy! What are you
doing?
      (Calmer)
Tom, it's O.K. Leave Jeremy and me
alone for a minute.
                                                            
Secretary closes the door reluctantly, peering through the
crack until the door closes. Jeremy walks slowly to the
window. He sighs deeply. Abbott stares up at Jeremy.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
Jeremy, I've never seen you so
upset. You've been here, what now,
four years? I've seen you weary,
hungry, tired, but never so upset.
What's wrong?
                                                            
Jeremy stares at the Abbott, pleading with his eyes for
permission to speak aloud.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
Oh. Speak, You may speak, my son.
Speak.
                                                            

11.

A long tense silence ensues. Jeremy stares at the Abbott
with bleary eyes, then he stares blankly out of the window,
oblivious of the storm. Secretary enters. The Abbott stands
up.
                                                            
                       SECRETARY TOM
      (Cautiously)
Is everything O.K. here?
                                                            
                       MONK JEREMY
      (Abruptly, loudly)
I QUIT!!
                                                            
A stunned silence ensues. Abbott and Secretary exchanges
glances of disbelief and puzzlement.
                                                            
A BOOMING CLAP OF THUNDER and BOLT OF LIGHTNING from the
raging thunderstorm outside rattles the window.
                                                            
Abbott is jolted down into his desk chair. He lights a
cigarette with trembling hands. Secretary is shocked, mouth
agape at the emotional explosion. Jeremy stands rigid and
defiant by the window challenging Abbott.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (Incredulous)
Quit? Quit!? You want to leave the
order?
                                                            
A beat.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (Resigned)
OK. Fine. Fine. Go ahead and quit.
                                                            
Abbott exhales a large plume of smoke in Jeremy's direction.
                                                            
                       ABBOTT JOHN
      (Peevishly)
All you've done anyway since
you've been here is complain,
complain, complain!
                                                            


THE END


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From Jake Griswold Date 6/21/2005 ***1/2
I liked it. It was pretty funny. I enjoyed the fact that he only said two words everytime he went to see the Abbott. It took me a while to catch on that the Abbot/Secretary's behavior always contrasted what the Monk did. The only suggestion I would give you is to make it short as possible. The ending is clever and humorous, but it's not huge. If you make each year quick and fast-moving, your audience will catch on more, and it will seem short and clever movie instead of a dragged-out and excessive.


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