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Comatose Joe
by Brian Bara (Prospero761@gmail.com)

Rated: R   Genre: Comedy   User Review: ****
A madcap buddy comedy in which a young playwright, having just awoken from a two year coma, is car-jacked by a magician's assistant on the run, leading everyone the playwright knows on a mad chase across Pennsylvania, towards a destiny none of them could forsee.

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.


A crisp day in late fall. Students scurry across the quad;
books under their arms and in backpacks. A clock tower plays
Westminster chimes.

STEVE WARNER, 22, and JOE LANAHAN, 22, are walking; talking
intently. Both are under-dressed for the weather, wearing
t-shirts, shorts and sandals. The camera pulls in to a tight
CU of JOE and freezes to a still shot.
                       JOE (V.O.)
Thatís me, Joe Lanahan. Young,
naÔve and out to change the world.
Boy, was I stupid. Anyway, you are
about to see the start of what be-
came the second strangest thing
that ever happened to me.
The camera pans to still CU of Steve
                       JOE (V.O. cont'd)
Thatís Steve. One of my best
friends since we were freshmen
roommates. He was there for most
of what happened. Well, some of
what happened. Youíll see.
The camera pulls back out to include both young men and the
action resumes.
Youíre not actually nervous, are
A little. I hear Isaacsí personal
critiques can be pretty brutal.
Dude, you got nothing to worry a-
bout. Itís a funny play.
Well, WE think itís funny.


Steve stops walking and turns to Joe.
Arenít you supposed to write for
yourself, first?
In theory and principal, yes...
Joey, Iíve been in enough of your
plays to know the good ones from
the bad ones. Remember ďIíll Be
Home for Ramadan?Ē
Iíd rather not, thank you.
Thatís what Iím saying. After that
you wrote ďCarel Kapek in Hell.Ē
I was the only one who A: got it,
and B: thought it was funny.
That's because you're the only
person I know who has actually
been in a production of "R.U.R."
So I guess youíve forgotten all
about ďThrough the Looking Glass,
DarklyĒ or ďVirgin Sacrifice.Ē
People hated ďVirgin Sacrifice.Ē
Your mother hated ďVirgin Sac-
rifice,Ē because you used it to
come out. Everyone else loved it.
They were both great plays. Look,
all Iím saying is, youíre a damned
good playwright, when you set your
mind to it. This is... well,
different, from your other stuff.
But that doesnít make it any less


Thank you, Doctor Phil.
In the distance, DONNY MARX, 21, is yelling at them, running
toward them.
      (Calling out)
Yo, guys! Wait up!
Still shot on Donny.
                       JOE (V.O.)
Thatís Donny Marx. He and his
brother Dean were part of it, too.
Or rather, they will be. Okay, I
promise to stop confusing you.
Just watch.
The action resumes
      (To Steve)
Great, here comes Flo Ziegfeld,
Dude, keep your analogies up to
date, would you? What, were you
born in nineteen-oh-two or some-
thing? Besides, Donny may be
stupid, but his family has money,
so be nice to him.
Donny has caught up with them. He is flashily overdressed.
Whatís up?
Joeís on his way to Isaacsí pri-
vate critique of the new play.


The one about the TV station?
Funny shit, man.
Whatever. Maybe.
Where were you guys, last night?
Last night?
My place? Me and Dean had some
kick-ass weed and a case. You
were supposed to come over and
bring that Peter Jackson DVD.
I had to finish a paper.
I had my own weed and a better TV.
Besides, your brother is a pig. It
makes me sick to be around him.
Dude, I told you; heís got issues
with the whole showering thing.
Heís workin on it.

And does he have issues with chew-
ing with his mouth shut, too? Or
changing his underwear once in a
      (The Diplomat)
I gotta go. If youíre more than
three minutes late for an appoint-
ment, Isaacs locks his door and
you have to reschedule.


Iíll catch you at home, bro.
Joe heads off.
      (To Steve)
So what are you up to, now?
Iím finished for the day. Iím
going home to get high and watch
cartoons with the sound off while
I listen to Pink Floyd.
Steve begins to walk away.
You are fuckin weird, man.
      (Under his breath)
Yeah, but at least Iím not stupid,
A childrenís birthday party is taking place. The yard is
festooned with streamers, balloons and banners. A dozen or
so children run about the yard as parents take photos and
chase after them.

The Birthday Boy, TAYLOR, is playing Pin the Tail on the
Donkey. After Taylor places his tail, TAYLORíS DAD, calls
them all to attention.
                       TAYLOR'S DAD
Okay, everybody! Gather around.
The magicianís here!


The children all gather in a semi-circle in front of a small
platform that has been set up with a curtained backdrop.
There is a puff of smoke and... nothing. Everyone laughs.

Behind the backdrop, SZANDOR, 30's, is tangled up in a rope
of scarves, quietly cursing.
                       TAYLOR'S DAD
Um... hello?
The curtain moves violently as Szandor struggles to free
himself. Suddenly, he falls through the curtain onto the
stage. Everyone laughs.

Finally untangling the mess, Szandor stands and tries to
recover, laughing nervously.
And who says I donít know how to
make an entrance?
He straightens his tux and clears his throat.
                       SZANDOR (cnt'd)
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and
girls, prepare to be amazed. I am
Szandor the Great and I am here to
demonstrate feats of prestidigi-
tation, legerdemain, and fakir
levitation! I give you, ĎThe Ghost
He produces a silver ball and a red silk handkerchief and
proceeds to perform the old routine, quite well. The
children and parents all applaud.
                       SZANDOR (cont'd)
Thank you. And now, a little some-
thing I like to call ĎOn the Wings
of the Dove.í
He raises his arms and in his right hand produces a dove. He
reaches into his pocket and removes a silk, which he shakes
to reveal a birdcage, into which he places the dove. He
raises his arms again, but nothing happens.

He looks puzzled. He repeats the gesture, placing more
emphasis on his hand movement.

This time he produces a dove which apparently had been
crushed during his fall. Its bloodied, mangled body falls to


the stage with a THUD and the children and women scream.

CU on Szandor's puzzled face.
Taylorís Dad and Szandor are arguing.
                       TAYLOR'S DAD
If you think Iím paying you any-
thing after you traumatized those
poor kids and ruined my sonís
birthday, you got another think
coming, pal!
Look, I drove for forty-five min-
utes to get here. I spent another
hour setting up. I lost one of my
best birds out there. You think I
wanted to traumatize those kids? I
could have kept going. I could
have fixed it! You were the one
who rushed to get me inside. We
had a contract, PAL!
Szandor jabs his finger into Taylorís Dadís chest.
                       TAYLOR'S DAD
So fuckiní sue me for it! Now get
you and your shit outta my house,
before I call the cops! And if you
ever touch me again, Iíll break
your fuckin finger off and shove
it up your ass, pal!
Taylor's Dad storms off. Szandor stares at him, his face

We hear a door open and the sounds of crying children being

With a cry of rage and frustration, Szandor spins around and
bangs his fist on the counter. He slowly realizes that his
fist has come down in front of a knife block. He pulls out
the butcher knife and examines his reflection in it. He
notices the reflection of the birthday cake on the table
behind him. He turns and plunges the knife into the cake,
again and again, destroying it.


Books; a desk and two chairs; film and theatre posters; a
Dali print; shelves of video cassettes, DVDs and film

Joe is seated across from PROFESSOR ISAACS, 60ís, trying to
defend his latest assignment: the script which Isaacs holds
in his hands.
I am deeply disappointed, Mr.
Lanahan. This play is garbage!
Peurile, unfunny garbage!
How can you say this is garbage,
Dr. Isaacs? I really worked very
hard on this piece.
I can say itís garbage, because it
is. No one writes this kind of
play and expects it to be taken
But itís a comedy, for cripeís
Not a very funny one, Mr. Lanahan.
This is just a series of black-
out sketches, tied loosely togeth-
er by a cheap gimmick. No one does
television parodies on stage, 'for
cripeís sake!'
Maybe itís time they did. I just
think that if you gave it a second
I have already looked at it too
many times, thank you! Here...


Isaacs takes the script from Joe and skims through it, until
he finds what he wants. Joe looks on, anxiously.
                       ISAACS (cont'd)
What's this? This commercial paro-
dy for a restaurant called 'Barna-
by's Trout Shoot...'
      (Quoting, proudly)
'Where the elite meet to shoot
trout in a tank!
Itís stupid!
It's funny!
And this reality game show...
ĎWho Wants to Be a Hollywood Ho?í
Not only is this lesbian character
named Miss Fishbreath...
Joe laughs, in spite of himself. Isaacs glares at him.
                       ISAACS (cont'd)
Sheís auditioning for the lead in
a biography of John Wayne!
She thinks he used to be a woman
because his name was Marion. It's
It's offensive!
John Cleese and Graham Chapman got
rich on this kind of stuff!


Sadly, Mr. Lanahan, you are nei-
ther John Cleese nor Graham Chap-
man. Youíre not even a Zucker
The critique remains the same. I
do hope you have better work ahead
of you, Mr. Lanahan. Especially if
you expect to actually earn a
Mastersí degree in this program.
Isaacs tosses the script back at Joe, who catches it and
leaves, morosely, as Isaacs disgustedly picks up another
script to read.
A standard grad studentís apartment living room, filled with
miss-matched furniture; a TV; stereo; video game system and

Steve sits on a tatty old sofa, smoking from an enormous
bong and watching cartoons.

The door opens and Joe enters, carrying the script. He flops
down on the couch next to Steve. Without taking his eyes off
the TV, Steve hands the bong to Joe, who takes a long, deep
hit and immediately expels it, choking.
Yeah, thatís some primo smoke,
      (Still coughing)
Tastes like dirty, wet socks, dip-
ped in creosote!
They sit in silence for a moment. Joe takes another hit,
coughing less this time.


Quick cut to a bizarre and violent cartoon from the 30ís on
the TV.
                       STEVE (O.S.)
                       JOE (O.S.)
So what?
                       STEVE (O.S.)
So Iím guessing he didnít like the
Quick cut back to Joe and Steve on the couch, surrounded by
a wreath of smoke. They continue to stare at the screen
without looking at each other.
He said it was Ďpuerile, unfunny
garbage.í He said he expected my
work to improve if I wanted my de-
gree. That old fuck!
That ancient fossil wouldnít know
funny if it bit him in the ass!
No, heís only got a PhD....
That play is a riot, man. Iím not
the only one that thinks so, eith-
er. Donny and Dean loved it.
Donny and Dean are half-retarded.
And you're my best friend; you're
SUPPOSED to say you liked it.
Come on. You know Iíd be honest a-
bout it. I think itís fuckiní hil-
Joe takes another hit off the bong, passes it back to Steve
and stands.

Steve finally looks at him.


Where you goiní?
To get drunk. Alone.
Have fun, dude.
Joe leaves as Steve takes another hit, and turns up the
volume, snorting and giggling at the cartoon.
There are few patrons. Joe sits at the end of the bar,
nursing a beer and leafing through the script.

Every once in a while, Joe stops to look at Isaacsí red,
felt-penned notes. Huge passages are circled with comments
such as ďNauseating!Ē ďRepulsiveĒ ďNOT Funny!!Ē ďChildishĒ
and ďStupidĒ written in large, block letters.

The man sitting next to him, ORIEL DESTIN, leans in.
I hope you wrote the comments and
not the play.
I wish. Itís my first full-length
play as a graduate student and the
professor hated it.
Guess thatís as good a reason to
drink as any. Bottoms up. Iíll buy
the next round.
Oh, thanks, but...
But nothing! Come on. I insist
that you let me buy you a drink. I
hate drinking alone.
      (After a beat)
What the hell? So do I!


There ya go! Nameís Oriel, by the
way. Oriel Destin.
Joe. Joe Lanahan.
Pleased to meet you, Joe Lanahan.
They shake hands and Oriel signals the bartender for another
That's quite an interesting name,
you got there. I have to warn you
that it may end up in one of my
plays, some day.
That would be fun, I think. What
kinds of plays do you write?
A seedy neighborhood. Two thugs, DARIUS and SWEET, stand on
the corner, talking. Darius carries a briefcase.
Sweet, you sure dis stuff is good?
Man, I tole you, dis shit is da
bomb! Wait Ďtil you taste it, D.
Well, where the fuck he be?
He late, I guess.
No shit!
Down the street, a dark van turns the corner and makes its
way toward the two men.
Here comes míman, now.


The van pulls up alongside them. Szandor is driving.

Sweet approaches the driverís side window as Szandor rolls
down the window.
      (To Szandor)
You late, man.
Had a little problem with a guy
who owed me some money.
You got it?
Yeah. You got the cash?
Sweet signals to Darius, who comes over and opens the
briefcase for Szandor. It is filled with cash. Darius closes
the case and hands it to Sweet, who passes it through the
window to Szandor.
      (Gesturing w/thumb)
In the back.
Darius and Sweet move to the back of the van. Szandor opens
the door from the inside to reveal that the van is filled
with an assortment of weapons and several boxes. He lifts
one of the boxes to the two men.

Suddenly, Sweet stands and pulls a gun out of one pocket and
a badge out of the other.
      (In full cop mode)
Police. Youíre under arrest, ass-
Darius takes off, running.

Szandor throws the box, knocking Sweet back. The box breaks
open, spilling several kilos of marijuana onto the street.

Without closing the door, Szandor races up front and throws
the van into gear, taking off with a great SQUEAL of tires.

Sweet pulls out a radio.


      (Into radio)
Suspect is headed north on Spring
Street. Black van with rear doors
open. I repeat, suspect is headed
north on Spring.
From around the corner come several patrol cars, sirens and
lights blazing. They begin to chase after the van.
As before, Oriel and Joe sit at the bar, talking.

Joe is quite drunk, while Oriel appears completely sober,
despite the number of empties in front of him.
So, you want to be rich and famous
like Neil Simon?
That would be nice, yeah. I mean,
thatís not why I write, though.
So why do you?
I just want to tell stories. En-
tertain some people. Get stuff off
my chest. I want to make art.
Ah... the ever-elusive Ďart.í
Ever-elusive? No, artís not e-
lusive. You have to dig a little
to find it sometimes, but itís
there if youíre willing to look
for it.
Joe moves to make an emphatic gesture and nearly falls off
his stool.
Whoa! You alright there, Joe?


Yeah, Iím okay. Guess Iíve had e-
nough. I should get going.
You want me to call you a cab?
Nah, I walked here. I'm sure I can
walk back. Sir, itís been a plea-
Here too, son. Here too.
They shake hands and Joe staggers toward the door. Oriel
watches him go, smiling.

The camera follows Joe as he leaves the bar and goes out
into the street, the wind pulling the door open for him.
Joe stops to light a cigarette. In the distance, we can hear
a siren and tires shrieking.

The wind tears the cigarette from Joe's lips, and without
thinking, he steps off the curb after it, just as the black
van comes screeching around the corner.

Cut to a woman coming out of the bar and screaming as tires
squeal and a thud is heard.



Slowly the bright white softens into an ECU of Joe's eyes.
Joe's eyes open, blinking twice and then slowly look left,
right, up and down. The camera pulls back to slowly reveal
the rest of Joe's face... on a pillow... on a hospital
The room is cheery and brightly decorated. Joe wears
pajamas, rather than a hospital gown.

Joe's hand gropes for the call button. He can find none. He
tries to sit up, but gets dizzy and falls back. He takes a


few breaths and tries again, slowly. He scans the room.

No TV; no phone; no flowers, balloons or cards. An IV stand
is next to the bed and a heart monitor BEEPS softly.

Joe tries to call out, but all he can manage is a hoarse
croak at first.

Hello? Hello, Nurse? Hello?!
CU of a wall phone, ringing. An immaculately and elaborately
manicured womanís hand, wearing many rings, picks up the
receiver. The camera stays on the phone as we hear the woman
                       LORRAINE (O.S.)
Hello?... Yes, this is she...
What? What? When? Oh my God! Iíll
be right there!
Joe is seated up in bed, a NURSE taking his blood pressure
and temperature.

DR. TANNER enters the room, and takes the chart from the
foot of the bed. The Nurse leaves.
      (Looking at chart)
Hello, Joe. Iím Dr. Tanner.
What happened?
Weíll get to that. I just have a
few questions for you, first.
Whatís your full name?
Tanner shines a penlight in Joe's eyes.


Joseph Aaron Michael Lanahan.
And your date of birth?
Tanner writes on Joe's chart and then takes his pulse.
January eighteenth, nineteen
Motherís maiden name?
Maxwell. Look, whatís all this got
to do with what happened?
Joe, whatís the last thing you re-
I remember... I remember that Pro-
fessor Isaacs hated my play and I
was mad. I went home... and then I
think I went to a bar...
Is that all?
Jesus! Did I drink that much?
No, no. Nothing like that. Joe,
there was an accident. You were
Hurt? How bad? I donít feel...
Joe. Youíve got to listen very
carefully to what Iím about to
say. Now, this may difficult for
you to understand at first, but


                       TANNER (cont'd)
Iím afraid youíve been in a coma
for almost two years.
LORRAINE LANAHAN bursts into the room. She is a smartly
dressed woman in her late forties. Her hair is precisely
coiffed and her makeup is perfect. Her shoes, nails, bag and
jewelry all match her tailored outfit.
Joe? Joe! Oh, itís true!
Lorraine rushes to the bed and embraces Joe.
Oh, Joe! I thought weíd lost you,
forever, son.
      (To Lorraine)
Mrs. Lanahan, please. Heís just
now taking all this in.
      (To Tanner)
What happened?
      (To ceiling)
Thank You, God. Thank You.
Mom, please. Iím trying to talk to
the doctor, here.
      (To Joe)
You were hit by a van. It was a
high speed chase. You had seven-
teen broken bones, a punctured
lung and a severe concussion. We
don't know why you took so long to
wake up. Your brain healed a long
time ago, along with the rest of


                       TANNER (cont'd)
your body.
So I was just... unconscious for
two years? Why didnít someone just
throw some cold water on my face,
for Godís sake?!
It wasnít that simple, Joe.
And the driver? The one that hit
They never got him.
It doesnít matter, Joe. Youíre a-
wake now. And youíll be coming
Well, eventually. We have some
tests weíll want to run; and Joeís
going to need some physical ther-
apy to get those muscles used to
working again.
CU on Joe. Tanner and Lorraine continue to talk, but their
voices have dropped to the background as we hear Joeís
                       JOE (V.O.)
Two years? I wonder what the hell
has been happening?
Seated at the desk is Donny Marx. He is reviewing a spread
sheet of box-office receipts.

Across from Donny is DEAN MARX, his younger brother and
business partner, reading a copy of BACKSTAGE.


The phone RINGS. Both of them ignore it.

Donny peers over his spreadsheet and clears his throat,
noisily. Dean folds down the paper and peers back at his
brother. The phone RINGS again. Donny sets down the
spreadsheet and stares at Dean. Dean folds the paper up and
goes back to reading. Donny picks up a pen off the desk and
hurls it hard enough to break the paper.
Hey, asshole! What the hell did
you do that for?
Hey, asshole! Why the hell donít
you answer the phone?
Alright, already!
Dean answers the phone.
      (Into phone)
MBE Productions. How can I help
He listens, his eyes widening.
                       DEAN (cont'd)
      (Into phone)
Holy shit! You kiddin me? Holy
shit! When? Yeah, Iíll tell him.
Holy shit!
Dean hangs up the phone and looks at Donny, who is now
leaning across the desk in anticipation. Dean grins broadly.
Joe woke up.
Holy shit! You kiddin me?


Swear to God.
Holy shit! When?
This morning. Steve says heís
talkin and everything. Ainít it
Holy shit! No, Dean, it ain't all
that great.
Course, it is, Donny. Joeís awake.
It may be great for Joe, but itís
shit for us, Dean.
Whadda ya mean?
Joe woke up. Heíll be gettin outta
the hospital.
Heís gonna want his royalties,
now. All of them. We wonít be
able to skim no more...
No more money...?
Exactly! We gotta think, fast!
Yeah, but shouldnít we go see him?



For once, youíre right, little
brother. We should go see him.
An attractively landscaped physical rehab center.
SUBTITLE: Two Days Later

Joe sits at a table, flexing a rubber ball in his hand,
while CARTER, a physical therapist, takes notes.
Iím impressed. For someone whoís
been completely inactive for al-
most two years, youíre doing quite
Thanks. But will I be able to play
the violin?
Old joke. Bad, old joke.
Carter produces a pen and a pad.
Think youíre up to trying some
I guess. What would you like me to
How about just your signature?
Joe takes the pen and pad.


Uh... sure. Okay.
He signs the first blank page and hands the pad back to
                       JOE (cont'd)
How's that?
Great. Now could you add ďTo my
good friend, Carter,Ē above it?

Well, Iím a big fan.
What the hell are you talking
My wife and I have seen your play,
twice now. Itís really very funny.
What play? What are you talking
'Channel Sixty-Nine.' You ARE Joe
Lanahan, arenít you?
Joe sits, stunned.
Yeah, that's... that's me, al-
The room is now filled with flowers, cards, balloons and
stuffed animals. A TV plays silently in a corner.


Joe sits in bed, Donny & Dean on either side of him. Dean
awkwardly holds a vase of flowers, a bouquet of balloons, a
heart-shaped box of candy and a large stuffed animal. Every
now and then he adjusts the items in his arms, trying not to
drop them.
      (In mid-sentence)
...so, when we heard your in-
surance was runnin out, we called
Steve and asked him what he
thought we should do to raise some
money to help pay your expenses.
Iím guessing Steve thought it was
a fine idea to use 'Channel Sixty-
Nine' as a fund raiser.
Everybody did. We thought weíd
maybe make a couple a thou. No
one really expected what happen-
Sixteen MONTHS?
And countin. There are three dif-
ferent groups of producers that
want to bring it to New York. You
are a big hit, Joey.
Iíve been awake for a week. You
think someone would have told me.
I guess your Mom was too caught up
in the fact that you were finally
awake. We all were. Anyway, we're
awful glad you are awake. Ain't
we, Dean?
In a final, last attempt to keep hold of everything, Dean
loses his grip. The balloons spring up to the ceiling as the
vase, candy and stuffed animal CRASH to the floor. Dean of
course, reaches for the balloons, first. He slowly realizes
that Donny and Joe are staring at him.


Oops! Sorry.
Dean bends down to pick the items up off the floor.
I canít wait to see it.
And we canít wait for you to.
Dean, rising up from picking up the items on the floor,
strikes his head against the bed rail.
Oops! Sorry,
SUBTITLE: Six Weeks Later

Joe is in a wheelchair. Lorraine stands beside him as an
ORDERLY wheels him toward the car waiting at the curb.

Lorraine is dressed, as always, to the nines. She lights a
a cigarette and opens the door to the car, as the Orderly
helps Joe get in.
Lorraineís car comes to a stop in the driveway.

Joe gets out of the car and stares at the house like heís
never seen it before.
Whatís a matter, Joe?
Nothing. Itís just... weird, going
home. I mean... well, not weird,
just... I donít know. A few weeks
ago, it was fall of Two Thousand
and Five. Now... well... now...


Donít obsess on time. Remember
what the doctors said. Itís not
like you were out for decades. Not
all that much has changed.
She opens her door and starts to climb out of the car.
                       LORRAINE (cont'd)
I got your room all fixed up nice
for you.
Joe opens the door into the room. A crowd yells ďSurprise!Ē
There are balloons and confetti, gifts and a giant banner
that reads: ďWelcome Home, Joe!Ē Joeís friends and
supporters surround him.


The party continues on.

Joe is seated on the sofa between Donny and Dean,
uncomfortably listening to Donnyís rantings. Donny smokes
incessantly, blowing smoke in Joeís face. Dean clumsily
holds a mug and a pitcher of beer, desperately trying not to
spill the beer as he pours glass after glass for himself and
his brother.

Joe canít decide whether to be amused or disgusted by their
behavior and nods politely, as though talking to a child.
So I said to Isaacs, 'Of course
itís a hit; itís funny, jackass!'
Donny and Dean both bray in delight.

Joe looks up and sees Steve across the room, watching and
shaking his head.
Uh, excuse me, boys. I gotta see a
man about a horse
Joe stands and moves toward Steve.


      (To Joe)
Yer gettiní a horse?
Joe crosses to Steve, who is smirking at him.

Out of the corner of his eye, Joe sees a man who looks
familiar. It is Oriel Destin, but just as Joe sees him,
PENNY, an attractive young woman of about 25, steps in front
of Joe.
Hi. I just wanted to thank you.
Excuse me?
Oh, duh! Of course. Iím Penny.
Penny Dandridge. Iím in the show.
The show?
Your show. 'Channel Sixty-Nine.'
Oh. Yeah.
I play Miss Fishbreath, Enid Duo-
denum, Mrs. Pachyderm and Sally
Winfrey Williams.
How Ďbout that?
Anyway, I just wanted to tell you
thanks for writing such a funny
Um... yeah. Sure. Youíre wel-
come...I guess.
He looks around uncomfortably and sees Steve practically
crying in laughter.


                       JOE (cont'd)
      (Forgetting her
Look... um...
Penny. Like the Beatles song?
Joe stares helplessly at her, shaking his head and squinting
his eyes uncomprehendingly.
                       PENNY (cont'd)
ĎPenny Lane?í Hello...?
      (Desperate to get
Oh. Yeah. Penny. Look, Penny, I...
uh... really have to talk to my,
uh, friend right now. Nice meeting
Yeah. Real nice. Say, I hear that
yer gay. That true? ĎCause I bet I
can fix that for ya.
Horrified, Joe pulls away from a confused Penny and finally
reaches Steve.
She wants you, dude.
Yeah, along with every other syco-
phant and leech in the place.
Tweedledee and Tweedledumber have
anything interesting to say?
No, but I bet you have plenty.
What makes you say that, boy-o?
Because Iíve been awake for al-
most two months, and this is the
first time Iíve seen your face.


                       JOE (cont'd)
I know. And Iím sorry. And the
truth is, I feel guilty as hell.
I shouldnít have let you go drink-
ing by yourself, man. I should've
made you stay home, get stoned and
watch 'Forbidden Planet' or 'Plan
Nine from Outer Space' while we
smoked our brains out and ate Dor-
itos until we puked.
Steve... it was fate. So I was a-
sleep for almost two years. What
did I miss? Let's see...
"Spider-Man Three" and Paris
Hilton's jail term; Michael
Jackson's trial; last year's
Oscars and Tonys. hmmm... what
else? Oh, yeah! My play is a major
hit, on its way to a New York
venue! And my best friend couldn't
visit me once while I was in the
Hey! That's not fair! I visited. I
visited plenty! The first few
weeks, I was there every fucking
day, man! Ask your Mom!
Oh? Oh, fine! I was only worth a
few weeks of concern?
No, no! Youíve got it wrong, Joe.
Do I? You hurt me, man. I thought
you were my best friend.


Damnit! Listen to me!
Joe, knowing heís being hard on his friend, lets up.
                       STEVE (cont'd)
It was... it was so hard, man,
just sitting there and watching.
The machines beeped. You breathed.
You sighed. Once in a while, you
moved. The first time you did, we
all got excited; me, your mom, the
doctors... Then you did it a hun-
dred more times, without any
change. I came and read plays to
you. You didnít blink. You slept.
I played you your favorite CDs. I
read both ĎAliceí books to you.
You never changed. You never...
woke up. I... I lost faith, Joey.
Iím so sorry, man. So sorry. I
hope you can forgive me.
Joe looks at Steve, taking in everything he has said. After
a moment, he smiles.
Who put the Brainiac Brothers in
charge of running 'Channel Sixty-
I think they did that on their
own. I may have suggested the
whole idea, though. I told you I
thought it was funny. I just had
no idea how funny it really was...
Weíre going.
What? When?
But it's sold out for weeks...


Iím guessing the author should be
able to get seats to his own
      (Suddenly nervous)
Yeah, sure... sure. I'll have
Donny arrange for tickets.
On stage, actors are doing a scene from "Channel 69." One
actor is dressed as a DOCTOR. The other is Penny, as MRS.
PACHYDERM, wearing a rubber elephant's trunk strapped over
her nose. Soap opera music plays under.

The audience HOWLS uproarisously at every joke.
Do you honestly feel that breast
enhancement will improve your
self-esteem, Missus Pachyderm?
The audience ROARS.
                       MRS. PACHYDERM
Well, do you have any other sug-
gestions, Doctor?
Well, have you considered rhino-
plasty? Itís all the rage these
                       MRS. PACHYDERM
Rhinoplasty?!? I already have an
elephantís trunk for a nose! And
now you want to put a horn in the
middle of my forehead?
The audience SCREAMS in hysterics.

Joe sits, watching stone-faced as Steve watches him,
nervously. The audience ROARS again and Joe squirms
uncomfortably in his seat.


I really wrote this piece of shit?
ĎFraid so, Bud.
And people really think this piece
of shit is funny?
I told you...
Cut to:
Joe and Steve are seated opposite each other in a booth.
Steve voraciously devours an omlette. Joe stirs a French
fry, absently tracing patterns in a puddle of ketchup.
I know what you told me, Steve.
Itís funny. Okay. Big deal! But
what does it mean?
It doesnít have to mean anything,
Joe. Itís just supposed to make
people laugh. Nonsense for the
sake of nonsense? Lewis Carroll?
Monty Python? Any of this ringing
a bell in that damaged brain of
I know. I understand that. But
what if I never woke up? What
if I had been killed in that acci-
dent? 'Channel Sixty-Nine' would
be all I left behind. My entire
legacy left in a mindless, medi-
ocre TV parody.
So... what? Your biological clock
is going off and you want kids?


Yes, thatís it! Thatís it exactly!
No, moron! I have to write a new
play. A better play. A serious
Ooh... Be afraid... be very a-
Joe sits at the desk and turns on the PC, cracking his
knuckles and flexing his hands as it boots up. He opens
a file and stares for a moment at the blank screen. His
fingers skim the keyboard.

He frowns. He stands up, stretches his back and shoulders
and takes a few deep breaths.

He sits again and looks at the screen. He reduces the window
and opens "Solitaire." He begins to play a hand, feels
guilty and closes it, restoring the other file.


Joe sits in the chair with his back to the PC, throwing
wadded paper balls into a trashcan in the corner. Joe plays
air guitar to a Pink Floyd song. Joe types away at the
keyboard. CU of the monitor screen. The first stanza of
"Jabberwocky" is typed over and over again.

Joe stands up in disgust, dismissing the PC with a wave of
his hand. He leaves the room, shutting off the light.
The glow of the monitor lights the room.

The camera slowly moves in to a CU of the cursor blinking at
the top of a blank document.
Lorraine is bustling about the kitchen, preparing dinner.
The kitchenette is set for two. She tastes her sauce one
last time and calls out.
Joe, honey! Dinnerís ready!
Joe enters and sits with little enthusiasm.


I made your favorite; spaghetti.
Gee, thanks. I love your spa-
ghetti, Mom.
She sets a plateful down in front of him. Two gigantic
meatballs stare up at him from a plate of linguine marinara.
Lorraine sets down a plate for herself and sits.
So, how was your day?
It sucked.
Aww, sweetie! I'm sorry. It'll
get better.
They eat in silence for a moment.
Got any cheese?
Cheese. You know. Parmesan or Ro-
mano? Grated cheese?
Oh. I donít know. Look in the
fridge. I didnít... well I didnít
do much grocery shopping while...
while you were... I guess I ate
out a lot...
Oh. Thatís okay.
They eat in silence again.


So, I forgot to tell you. I got a
call the other day...
It was from the producers of 'Live
with Regis and Kelly...'
But you havenít even heard...
No, Mom. I donít need to hear. Iím
not going to trot myself out on
television like some kind of a
No one ever said you were a freak,
I know that. But it seems kind
of... shameless, you know?
I just thought it would be good
publicity for the show.
The show doesnít need publicity,
Okay, okay. Iím just trying to
help you out.


I know you are, Mom. And I appre-
ciate it, really. But, no! No talk
shows, thank you.
They continue to eat in silence.
Joe sits at the PC, staring at the blank screen.

A cigarette smolders in the ashtray on the desk.

There is a knock at the door and Lorraine enters.
Howís it going?
Iím going to bed.
You need anything before I do?
No thanks, Mom.
Joe, honey...
Donít push, Joe. Itíll come. Give
it time. And when did you start
smoking again, young man?
Last night. After I saw the show.


Lorraine comes over and kisses him on the head, then hugs
him tightly.
Youíve only been home a few days,
Joe. I know you want to write, but
if you push, it isnít going to
happen. Get some rest.
I will.
Lorraine turns to leave.
                       JOE (cont'd)
      (Turning to him)
Yes, Joe?
She smiles and leaves.

Joe turns back to the PC and begins to type. He yawns
deeply. His head begins to nod.

Dissolve to:
A morning talk show set. Two co-hosts sit in silhouette as
the announcer speaks.

Theme MUSIC plays.
                       ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
And now, itís time for 'Wake Up!'
with your hosts, Steve and Penny!
Lights up to reveal Steve and Penny sitting in the chairs,
as talk show hosts, looking very artificial and plastic. The
set is garish and bizarre.

The camera moves in. Steve wears a plastic suit and wig,
while Penny is dressed in a pink sweater set and pearls. Her
hair is shellacked into an enormous bouffant. They both grin


mindlessly into the camera.

MUSIC fades out.
Good morning everyone and welcome
to 'Wake Up! with Steve and Pen-
ny.' We have quite a show for you
today, donít we, Penny?
You bet we do, Steve. Alan Thicke
is here, all the way from Holly-
wood, to tell us all about his
latest movie, on Lifetime TV, 'Who
Ate Mom?'
And, just when you thought it was
safe to go back into the kitchen,
Martha Stewart is here to share
some composting tips with us.
Plus, wildlife expert Joan Embry
is here to show us all how to
whelp a wild dingo!
The audience laughs and applauds, as Steve and Penny smile,
But first, we have a special
guest. He's written a hit play,
survived a nasty accident and just
woken up from a two-year coma!
Please welcome the 'Wake Up!'
Freak of the Week, Joe Lanahan!
Music. Joe is pushed on stage, looking uncomfortable and

A stage hand comes on and pushes Joe toward the chair that
has appeared between Steve and Penny. Joe sits, and
immediately begins to sweat bullets.

Music out.


Welcome, Joe Lanahan. You donít
know me, but do you wanna see my
tits, anyway?
The audience laughs as Joe looks at her like a deer caught
in headlights.
So, Joe. I hear you came back from
the dead to find you had a hit
play on your hands.
CU on Joe, looking terrified, his face covered in sweat.
Penny begins to unbutton her sweater.
Gee, is it... is it hot in here?
No, but it's hot in here!
So, what unfunny piece of shit
have you got for us next, Joe?
      (Indicating Penny)
What... what is she doing?
I can make you like girls, Joe. I
promise I can...
Well, before you give Penny your
answer, Joe, letís bring out your
sainted mother, Lorraine.
There is a burst of MUSIC and APPLAUSE. Joe looks out, but
sees no one in the audience.

Lorraine enters, grotesquely made up, her blood-red nails
freakishly long and curled; her hair a wild mane.


She takes a seat next to Joe and begins to paw at him with
the nails. Joe tries to escape, but finds that his wrists
and ankles are manacled to his seat.

Penny has completely removed her sweater to reveal a lacy
bra which barely contains her breasts.
So Lorraine, do you think I can
change Joeyís mind about boinking
Penny stands and begins to wriggle out of her skirt.
      (Harsh and boorish)
If you canít, honey, I donít know
who can! Ha!
Any plans for more kids, Lorraine,
or is one freak enough?
Well, Steve, after we had Joe, his
Dad and I called it quits in the
marriage. So unless I find some-
one to give me some lovin, there
wonít be nuthin in the oven! Ha!
      (To Joe)
Hey, Joe! Why donít you give Penny
there, a twirl? Come on, make me a
grandma! Ha-ha-ha-ha!
Steve, Penny and the audience all laugh maniacally.

Penny continues to disrobe while Lorraine waves her wild
nails in Joeís face and Steve holds up a big sign that says
ďFREAK!!!Ē with an arrow pointing at Joe.
Joe wakes up gasping, the imprint of the keyboard on his

He looks around, orients himself and then focuses on
a pack of cigarettes on the desk. Reaching for it, he finds


it empty.
The light comes on and the door to the house opens. Joe
enters the garage, JINGLING his keys. He opens the car, gets
in and starts it up as the garage door opens.
Joe pulls up, parks and gets out of the car.
Joe waits at the counter as very bad Muzak plays.

In front of Joe, Oriel is buying several porn magazines, but
Joe doesnít recognize him.

Behind Joe, an attractive blonde woman (CANDI) in a trench
coat, nervously shifts her weight from foot to foot.

Joe pays for his cigarettes and leaves. The camera follows
him out.
Joe stops by the trash can, opens his cigarettes and
disposes of the wrappers. He takes out his keys. He is just
about to open the car when GUNFIRE is heard from inside.
Holy shit!
Candi comes out of the store, brandishing a gun, a paper
sack and a coffee. She sees Joe and points the gun at him.
Open the car!
Please, donít shoot.


Open the car, let me in and drive.
Then I wonít have to shoot you.
Joe opens the car, and gets in behind the wheel. Candi gets
into the passengerís side.
Now drive!
Anywhere! Just go!
Joe starts the car, throws it into gear and peels out of the
parking lot.

Joe is driving, trying to keep his eyes on the road, the
mirrors and the gun.
Look, why donít I just pull over
and you take the car, okay?
Did I say you could talk to me?
What's your name?
Joe, huh? Yeah. You look like you
could be a Joe.
She looks out through the rear window to see if they are
being followed.


Listen... you didnít... uh...
      (Mocking his tone)
Didnít... uh, what?
You didnít shoot that clerk, did
And so what if I did?
I mean, what if he has a family?
Look, Joe. We all got problems.
But if itíll make you feel better,
no, I didnít. I shot the surveil-
lance camera.
Oh. Good.
They drive on in silence for a moment.
So what do you care about the
clerk, anyway? I think Iíd be
worried about getting shot,
Iím not afraid of you. Iíve been
dead, already.
Oh great! I car-jacked a looney!
No. I mean... Well, until about
two months ago, I was in a coma.
No shit?


No shit.
Candi shifts in her seat, and her coat falls open, exposing
a sequined leotard underneath.

Joe looks at her shoes; elaborate stiletto heels.
                       JOE (cont'd)
Fancy outfit to wear to a robbery,
donít you think?
Candi looks down and pulls the coat tight around her again.
      (Gesturing w/gun)
You never mind about that! Just
      (After a moment)
I may need gas, if you plan on go-
ing far.
Weíll cross that bridge when we
get to it.
Joeís car pulls up to a pump.
If I even think youíre trying to
ask for help...
She pulls the hammer back on the gun with a loud CLICK.
The ATTENDANT makes his way to Joeís car. Joe rolls down his
Yes, sir?


Fill it with regular, please.
Cash or credit?
Credit, please.
NO! Cash, please. Iíll pay for it,
The Attendant walks back and begins to pump the gas.
                       CANDI (cont'd)
Pretty slick, Slick!
What do you mean?
If you use your credit card, they
can track our movements. Iím not
as stupid as I look.
In fact, youíre smarter than I
am, because that never even cross-
ed my mind. I just knew I only had
ten bucks on me.
Yeah, like I believe you.
Really. Itís true. I told you, Iím
not afraid of you. I just donít
get you.
What do you mean?
I mean, why is an attractive,
obviously intelligent woman
robbing convenience stores and
car-jacking people?


Itís a long story, Joe.
Looks like Iím going to have some
time on my hands.
I donít even know where to start.
How about with your name?
Itís Candi. With an i.
Okay, Candi with an i. And now
maybe youíd like to explain why
Iíve been car-jacked by a woman in
a sequined leotard. I donít think
Iíve ever heard of anyone running
AWAY from the circus.
Candi laughs and then starts to cry.
                       JOE (cont'd)
Oh, hey. I... I didnít mean to up-
set you. Iím sorry.
No, itís not your fault. I... Iím
in a terrible mess, and I have no
idea how to get myself out of it.
Two heads are better than one, as
they say. Why donít you try and
tell me about your terrible mess?
Ever hear of Szandor the Great?
Joe shakes his head.
                       CANDI (cont)
His real name is Barry Schlitz-
stein, but who's going to
hire Schlitzstein the Great,
right? Anyway, he's... he WAS...


                       CANDI (cont'd)
my husband. We were working the
Taj in A.C....
Dissolve to:
Szandor and Candi are on stage. Szandor wears an elaborate
magicianís costume. Candi is dressed in her sequined
leotard, fishnet stockings and a feathered head dress.
                       CANDI (V.O.)
Barryís a magician. A good one,
too. Not a great one, but a good
one. Sometimes he gets frustrated
and I guess he has a temper. Weíd
been playing a lot of birthday
parties, just to make ends meet,
ya know?
Szandor throws hundreds of cards into the air, seemingly
from nowhere. The audience applauds politely.

A large, elaborately painted cabinet is brought on stage.
                       CANDI (V.O. cont'd)
Anyway, it was the last show of
our third night in AC. Everything
had gone pretty well and I was
thinking things might actually be
turning around. Then... it happen-
                       JOE (V.O.)
What happened?
Onstage, Szandor has placed Candi inside the cabinet. A
gigantic circular saw has been brought on.

Szandor starts the blade spinning and throws a cabbage at
it, chopping the cabbage to pieces. Szandor begins to lower
the blade toward the box.
                       CANDI (V.O.)
I couldnít help it. I didnít
have a chance to warm up before
the show...


The blade draws closer to the box.
                       JOE (V.O.)
WHAT happened?
                       CANDI (V.O.)
I got a very painful cramp in my
Candiís leg springs out, knocking a hole through the side of
the box, revealing that her legs are not the same as those
hanging out of the other end.

Cut to:
Szandor is seen, slapping Candi around. We can hear cursing
and threats and the sound of his SLAPS over Candi's CRIES of
                       CANDI (V.O. cont'd)
He wouldnít listen. He wouldnít
let me explain... He just kept
hitting me and calling me names!
Szandor hits Candi hard enough to send her flying across the

Candi picks a gun up from on top of a nearby trunk.
                       CANDI (V.O. cont'd)
I picked up the gun he always has
with him. He laughed at me.
Szandor laughs. Candi fires and Szandor falls, striking the
back of his head against the corner of the nightstand.
                       CANDI (V.O. cont'd)
I... I fired at him. He fell. I
ran. End of story.


Candi and Joe sit in a booth, a mostly devoured pizza and
two half-empty mugs of beer in front of them.

Joe looks at her, thinking.
Did you check to see if he was
really dead?
I just ran. I got in the car and
drove until I ran out of gas. Then
I walked.
When was this?
Yesterday... No... The day before.
I think... It's all kind of
Letís assume heís dead, then. Itís
justifiable homicide. Or self-
defense, at least. I think you
should go to the police, Candi.
I can't. They'd never believe me.
I have a bit of a past.
We all have a past. How bad can it
I didnít always run with the best
of crowds, you know? Before I met
Barry, I was sort of a biker
Behind the bar, the BARTENDER turns on the TV. A news report
is on.
                       TV REPORTER
Police in Bucks County are looking
for this woman in connection with
a convenience store robbery and


                       TV REPORTER (cont'd)
possible car-jacking earlier this
A video still from the convenience store shows a blurry
image of Candi waiting in line behind Joe. Candiís head has
been digitally highlighted.
                       TV REPORTER (cont'd)
The woman is described as blonde,
five foot ten, about one hundred
and twenty pounds. She is con-
sidered armed and dangerous.
A hundred and fifteen pounds,
thank you!
Damn! We'd better get out of here
before someone recognizes you.
Szandor sits in his room, watching TV and drinking whiskey
from a bottle, nursing a lump on the back of his head with
an ice bag.

The same news report we have seen in the bar comes on.

Szandor stands up grinning, and switches off the TV.
Joeís car drives past the camera.
So, where to?
I have sister in Cleveland.
Ohio? Look, thatís a bit...


There is a loud THUMP from the right side of the car.
                       JOE (cont'd)
What the hell was that?
I think we hit something.
Joeís car slows and turns around, slowly heading back
towards the camera.
I donít see anything. If it was
an animal, it couldnít have been
hurt too badly. Come on, letís go.
We need a place to stay tonight.
And we have to find you something
else to wear.
      (Sliding closer)
Youíve been so nice to me, Joe.
Iíd like to be nice to you, too.
Um... Candi... thereís something
you should know...
Aw, shit! Youíre gay, arenít you?
Damnit! The nice ones are always
gay! Or married... or both!
Gee, never heard that before...
Yeah. Whatever. Sorry. Stress
makes me a little crazy, ya know?


Yeah. I know. Me too. Friends?
Friends. Yeah. I'd like that. I
could use a friend right about
Joeís car turns back around and heads down the road.

Fade to:
Lorraine is making breakfast. She sets the table and calls
      (Calling out)
Joe! Breakfast!
She places the food on the table and calls Joe again.
                       LORRAINE (cont'd)
Come on, sleepy! Letís go! Your
eggs are getting cold.
After a moment, she rises; the camera following her upstairs
to Joeís room. She knocks on the door.
                       LORRAINE (cont'd)
Joe? Are you getting up? Are you
okay? Do you feel alright? Joe?
She opens the door to find the bed empty.
Joe and Candi come out of their room. Candi notices
something on the car.
      (Pointing at car)
Joe, what is that?
Joe gets closer to find that a bat has impaled itself on the
car's radio antenna.


      (Examining it)
It looks like a bat. Thatís what
we must have hit last night.
Itís disgusting!
Yeah, it is.
Joe unlocks the car and opens the door to let Candi get in.
Aren't you going to get rid of it?
Iím not touching that thing! Bats
carry all kinds of diseases.
So youíre just going to leave it
Itíll come off eventually. Letís
go. Thereís gotta be a Walmart
around here, somewhere.
Oh, thatís real inconspicuous,
driving around with a bat impaled
on your antenna.
So, take it off.
Candi approaches the bat, trepidatiously.

She looks around and finds a stick on the ground.

She wedges the end of the stick between the bat and the car
when Joe grabs her from behind.
Look out!!
Candi screams and jumps, dropping the stick.


You asshole! And I thought you
were a nice guy.
And I thought you were a bad
Oh, screw it! Leave the damned
thing where it is.
They get in the car and pull out of the parking lot.
The phone RINGS and Steve appears, rumpled and still half
asleep. He stumbles to the phone and answers it.
      (Into phone)
Yeah? What? No, Mrs. Lanahan, Joe
isn't here. Why? No. No. Look,
donít panic. Iím sure heís fine.
Yes, if I hear from him, Iíll tell
him to call you. Alright. Bye.
He hangs up and sleepily turns on the TV. The news is on.
                       TV REPORTER
      (On television)
And police are still looking for
this woman in connection with a
robbery at a Bucks County con-
venience store last night.
Candi's picture is shown.
                       TV REPORTER (cont'd)
      (On television)
She has been identified as Candi
Schlitzstein, wife and assistant
to missing magician, Szandor the
Steve laughs and changes the channel to Cartoon Network.


Now magiciansí assistants are rob-
bing Seven-Elevens? The world is
going to hell.
The phone RINGS again.
                       STEVE (con't)
Two calls before nine? Donít
people have any sense of decency
He lets the answering machine pick up. We hear his message.
                       STEVE (V.O.)
      (On machine)
Hey, loser! I canít get to the
phone. If Iím not ducking you,
Iíll call you back. If you hang up
without leaving a message, I will
hunt you down and gut you like a
The machine BEEPS. We hear Joe's voice.
                       JOE (V.O.)
      (On machine)
Dude, wake up!
Steve grabs the receiver and turns off the answering

The screen splits to show both Joe and Steve. Joe is on his
cell-phone, driving.
      (Into phone)
Where the hell are you, man? Your
Momís freakin out.
      (Into phone)
Iím fine. And I want you to tell
her that, too.


      (Into phone)
So why donít you call her your-
      (Into phone)
Itís complicated. Just tell her
that Iím fine and Iíll be back in
a few days.
      (Into phone)
Youíre sure?
      (Into phone)
Iím sure.
      (Into phone)
Okay, man. Whatever you say.
      (Into phone)
I gotta go. Bye.
Joeís half of the screen closes. Steve hangs up and begins
to dial.
Great. Now Iím a goddamned messen-
ger service!
Joe closes his cell-phone and puts it back in his pocket.
      (To Candi)
Alright, letís go get you some new
clothes and a new hair color. The
motel manager said thereís a Wal-
mart about three miles...
Suddenly, Candi screams.


He looks at Candi who is pointing out the windshield, her
mouth open in horror.

The camera follows her finger to look through the

The bat, its wings caught in the updraft of the carís
movement, has begun slide up the antenna.

Joe laughs hysterically.
                       JOE (cont'd)
Now thereís something you donít
see every day.
Thatís disgusting!
Itís funny! You canít make this
kind of stuff up.
I thought... I thought maybe it...
      (Laughing harder)
Came back to life?
Silly, huh?
Trust me, dead is dead.
Well, I guess you should know.
Cars rush by an Atlantic City Expressway sign.
Szandor is driving, grimly clutching the steering wheel and
watching the road signs.


Szandor's car exits the highway. The exit sign reads " To
I-195 West, Trenton."
As before, Donny sits behind the desk while Dean sits
opposite. Donny is busily shredding documents while Dean
reads a comic book.

Donny finishes shredding and looks at his brother in
disgust. Finally, he picks up a paper-clip and rubber band
and shoots Dean in the forehead with it.
Hey! What the hellíd you do that
for? You coulda taken my eye out!
How the hell old are you?
Look at you. Youíre one of the
producers of the hottest ticket in
town, and you sit around the off-
ice, reading comic books!
So? I like comics. If Ang Lee can
direct ďHulk,Ē thereís no reason I
canít read ďThe Magnificent Meph-
And a lame comic, to boot! Why
canít you read ďBladeĒ or ďX-Men,Ē
at least? What the hell kind of
superhero is a magician? What does
he do, throw bunnies and little
paper bouquets at his enemies?
No, stupid. He creates elaborate
illusions that lure the villains
into his ďLabyrinth of Justice.Ē


                       DEAN (cont'd)
Uh-huh. Ooh... Iím scared!
The phone RINGS and they stare at one another in a showdown.
After the third RING, Donny can't take any more and he
answers, glaring at Dean as he speaks.
      (Into phone)
Marx Brothers Entertainment.
                       LORRAINE (V.O.)
Donny, itís Lorraine Lanahan.
      (Into phone)
Hey there! I was just going to
call you.
                       LORRAINE (V.O.)
You havenít heard from Joe, by any
chance, have you?
      (Into phone)
Today? No. Why?
                       LORRAINE (V.O.)
I... I donít know, Donny. I think
he... well, I donít what to think.
      (Into phone)
Whoa. What's wrong? Start from the
Joe sits in the car, waiting.
Candi is bent over, drying her hair under a hand dryer. She
wears jeans and a black tank top.


CU of the trash can, where pieces of long blonde hair lie.

Candi stands and shakes out her hair.

The camera angle changes to show her from the front. Her
hair is now a short, black bob. The front of her tank top is
studded with rhinestone stars, moons and suns.
Candi comes out of the restroom, walks to the car and gets
Wow! You look like Catherine Zeta
Jones in ďChicago.Ē
That cinches it. You are most def-
initely gay!
Joe laughs and starts the car.
Steve sits on the sofa, smoking a bong and watching a
vampire movie on TV.

Steve laughs as the hero explains how vampires are actually
the undead.

There is a POUNDING at the door.
Go away, Mrs. Wertman! There is
nothing on fire! Iím just making
Thai food again!
The POUNDING continues. Steve sighs, sets down the bong and
goes to the door. The pounding goes on.
                       STEVE (cont'd)
Alright, already! Who is it?


      (Through the door)
Mister Warner? FBI. Open the door,
      (To himself)
Oh, shit!
He frantically runs to hide the bong and sprays
air-freshener about the room.
                       STEVE (con't)
      (To the door)
Just a minute! Iím not dressed!
Steve pulls off his t-shirt and goes to the door. He begins
to pull it back over his head as he opens the door, making
it look like he was just finishing dressing.

DAN MCKAY, 40ís, a typical G-MAN, stands at the door,
displaying his badge.
Is there a problem, Officer...?
Agent. Special Agent Dan McKay.
Iím looking for Joe Lanahan.
Heís not here.
      (Putting badge
Have you seen or heard from him
      (A bit confused)
He called me this morning. Look,
whatís this about?
Did he say where he was?


No. He just said he was fine and
heíd be back in a few days
Did he say if anyone was with him
or why he left?
No. Please, whatís going on?
Did he mention where he might be
No! Listen, are you going to tell
me what...
Mr. Lanahanís car was identified
by a convenience store clerk. A
woman robbed the store, then took
off with someone who fits your
friendís description, in a car
registered to his mother.
No. Thereís some kind of mistake.
IF Joe did something like that,
and thatís VERY unlikely, itís be-
cause he was forced to.
Frankly, Mr. Warner, thatís exact-
ly what weíre worried about.
McKay hands Steve a business card. It reads: Special Agent
D. McKay. FBI. 215-555-8282
                       MCKAY (cont'd)
If you hear from him, Iíd appre-
ciate it if youíd give me a call.


Oh, and Mister Warner?
Mountain Spring doesnít really
work. You should try an air fil-
ter or maybe even burn some in-
Steve is stunned for a moment, but then recovers.
Uh... thanks. Iíll call you if I
hear from Joe.
You do that, Mister Warner. And
keep yourself out of trouble, as
well. Bye now.
McKay turns to leave as Steve closes the door. Steve leans
his back against the door and heaves a sigh of relief.
Aw, shit! What the hell have you
gotten yourself into this time,
He goes back to the sofa, pulls the bong from its hiding
place, and continues to smoke.
We are in an office very similar to the one we have seen,
though there are quite a few obvious differences.

The perspective seems to be off-kilter, as though everything
were tilted in different directions.

The film posters have become ads for pornographic films; the
books have been replaced with TV Guides and bound copies of
comic books and Mad magazines; the Dali print shows


perfectly normal watches and clocks.

Oriel Destin sits in the professor's chair.

Joe, his hair slicked back, his shirt collar buttoned and a
pocket protector full of pens, sits sheepishly across from
Now this is real drama, Mister
Lanahan. I can actually relate to
      (Nasal, nerdy
Really? I'm glad you like it. I
spent two years researching.
And it shows... it shows. But I
have to ask you one question.
Yes, sir?
Do you really expect anyone to pay
money to see this drivel?
Joe shrinks back into his seat as Oriel morphs into a
five-headed monster. Monstrous parody heads of Lorraine,
Steve, Isaacs, Penny and Tanner all speak at once, repeating
their lines over and over until they become a roar.
      (Monster voice)
Regis and Kelly. Regis and Kelly.
Regis and Kelly...
      (Monster voice)
Itís my fault, dude. Itís my
fault, dude. Itís my fault...
      (Monster voice)
Puerile, unfunny garbage! Puerile,
unfunny garbage! Puerile, unfunny


                       ISAACS (cont'd)
      (Monster voice)
Bet I can fix that for ya! Bet I
can fix that for ya! Bet I can fix
that for ya...
      (Monster voice)
Youíve been in a coma for almost
two years. Youíve been in a coma
for almost two years. Youíve been
in a coma...
Joe holds his hands against his ears and is about to scream
when the voices stop and Szandor enters in full magicianís
regalia, a mask covering most of his face.
      (A cartoon
By the powers of the Old Ones, I
bid you be gone, dragon!
Szandor waves his wand and the monster dissolves into a
cloud of smoke which dissipates into space.

The camera pulls back to find Joe, looking normal, and
Szandor; both apparently standing on nothing, surrounded by
millions of stars.
      (Normal voice)
Youíre supposed to be dead.
So are you. Things are never what
they seem to be and rarely what
they are supposed to be.
Oh, how original. The magician
in a dream speaks in riddles. Iíd
get an ďFĒ if put that in one of
my plays.


That wasnít a riddle. It was an
ironic turn of phrase.
It was a cheap clichť. No wonder
she shot you. And why are you
wearing that stupid mask? Afraid
Iíll be able to identify you?
This is your dream. You've never
seen me, so your subconscious gave
me the mask. Besides, don't you
know anything about Freud? Every-
one in your dreams is really just
a manifestation of yourself.
I was never a big fan of Freud.
Jung! Now there was a psychol-
You donít get it, do you?
Get what?
And you never will. Not unless you
wake up, boy!
What the hell are you talking a-
Wake up, Joe. Wake up! Wake up
Joe. Wake up... wake up...
Candi is in the driverís seat, shaking a sleeping Joe,
desperately trying to wake him.


Wake up, Joe! Wake up!
She grabs a bottle of water and splashes his face with it.
He wakes with a sputter.
What the hell did you do that for?
Weíre stuck, Joe.
The car, Joe. Itís stalled and I
canít get it started.
Well, you probably flooded it. Let
it sit for a few minutes.
Well, thatís the other problem.
Whatís the other problem?
Close by, a train WHISTLE blows. Joe looks out the side

Joeís POV Ė train tracks stretch out from under the car to
the horizon. In the distance, a cyclopean headlight grows as
the train gets closer.
We donít exactly have a few min-
Fuck me! Get out of the car!
He begins to unbuckle his seatbelt and frantically claw at
the door handle.
                       JOE (cont'd)
Candi, get out of the car!


Candi scrambles out of the car, but Joeís door wonít open.
The train gets closer and the whistle louder.

Joe struggles with the door. Finally, he slides across the
seat and out the driverís side door.
Joe and Candi run away from the tracks and stand to watch as
the freight train smashes into the car, pushing it along
until it reaches a nearby bridge, where the wreckage falls
off into the river below.
Great! Thatís just fucking terri-
fic! How the hell did that happen?
I kind of... got lost. The roads
are real dark around here. I
thought I was following the
tracks. Next thing I knew, we
were stalled out ON the tracks.
Well, I hope youíre ready to walk.
They begin to trudge off in the dark, toward the road.
Lorraine sits on the sofa, nervously watching the news,
Donny and Dean on either side of her. Donny holds Lorraineís
hand, comfortingly, while Dean eats noisily from a huge bowl
of popcorn, shoveling handfuls at a time into his mouth.

The camera moves in to a CU of the TV screen.
                       NEWS ANCHOR
More information now on the
so-called 'Lady Robber.'
Candiís photo appears behind the Anchor.
                       NEWS ANCHOR (cont'd)
Police are now searching for this


Joeís photo takes Candiís place.
                       NEWS ANCHOR (cont'd)
...playwright Joe Lanahan, who,
you may remember, made a miracle
recovery from a coma just a few
months ago. Lanahanís car was i-
dentified by convenience store
manager, Ahmed Bhat...
A photo of the CLERK takes the place of Joeís photo.
                       NEWS ANCHOR (cont'd)
...as the vehicle Candi Schlitz-
stein used to make her getaway.
It is not known if Lanahan...
Joeís photo again.
                       NEWS ANCHOR (cont'd)
...whose play, ďChannel Sixty-
Nine,Ē has become a cult favorite
here in town, is working with
Schlitzstein, or was taken by
force. Schlitzsteinís husband,
magician ĎSzandor the Great,í has
not been seen since the coupleís
last performance in Atlantic City
earlier this week. Authorities
fear the worst.
The TV is shut off and the picture reduces to a white dot in
the middle of the screen. The camera pulls out to reveal...
Szandor lies on the bed, the TV remote in his hand. He
smiles evilly and then rises, heading for the door.
Joe and Candi are sneaking into the barn.
Iím not so sure this is a good i-
dea, Candi.


Candi shushes him as she steps inside the barn.
Joe and Candi are very quietly moving about the dark barn,
trying to steal a horse and buggy.

They have just gotten the horse out of its stall when the
far door opens, revealing a very large AMISH MAN, holding a
lantern above his head.

Joe and Candi stand, looking like two children who just got
caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

Panicked, Joe screams and SLAPS the horse's rump, sending
the horse charging at the Amish Man.
Joe and Candi run from out of one end of the barn, while the
Amish Man, chased by the horse, runs out of the other.

Cut to:
      (Breathing hard)
Do you... see... him?
      (Breathing hard)
No... I think... heís too busy...
trying... to catch... his horse.
Thatís... good.
Heíll... call... the police.
      (Catching her
No phone.
      (Catching his
How... how do you know that?


Amish... No phones... Heíll have
to go in to file a report. But I
bet he doesnít.
Why not?
That's a working farm, Joe. He has
too much to do to waste time fill-
ing out police reports when no
real harm was done.
I hope... youíre right.
It wouldnít be the first time.
Joe extends his elbow to Candi.
Well... shall we?
Candi loops her arm through his.
They begin to walk and after a few steps, break out into the
ďWeíre Off to See the WizardĒ dance.

Dissolve to:
Joe and Candi are slowly dragging their feet as they walk.
Suddenly, Candi sits down on the blacktop.
Thatís it! Iím not walking another
We canít just sit here and wait
for a bus. I donít think they run
out here. And take those damned
heels off, for Godís sake! Itís a
miracle you havenít broken an an-
kle in those things.


                       JOE (cont'd)
We have been walking for three
hours. My feet hurt; my back
hurts; I'm tired; I'm hungry and
I need a shower so badly I would
kick a baby to get one. But right
now, all I want is ten minutes to
sit here on the side of the road
and not walk!
She takes off her shoes and throws them into the weeds along
side the road, rubbing her feet.

Joe sighs heavily and sits beside her. They are quiet for a
moment, looking up and down the empty road.
                       CANDI (cont'd)
I'm sorry I wrecked the car.
Itís just a thing.
Unfortunately, a necessary thing.
They sit in silence for a moment again. Joe looks down the
road and sees the glint of the sun in a windshield.
Somebodyís coming.
Joe points and they watch the car approach, standing when it
gets near.

It's a junker, driven by a man (POPE) with a dog sitting in
the front seat.

Joe waves him down and the car stops. Joe leans in to talk
to the driver and we see that the dog is stuffed.
Do you think you can you help us
out with a ride, sir?


      (Eyeing them over)
You two look like you been in some
kinda trouble.
We were... robbed. Our car and our
money were stolen.
Well, poop in a monkeyís hat!
Thatís terrible!
If you could find it in your heart
to give us a lift to the nearest
town, weíd appreciate it.
Dunno. Have to see what Cooter
Pope pulls the stuffed dog close to him and whispers in his
ear. He then "listens" to what the dog has to "say."

Joe looks back at Candi who shakes her head and spins her
finger around her ear.
Cooter thinks yer safe. Says ya
smell safe, anyway. I guess itís
alright, sílong as ya donít mind
sittin in the back.
Joe looks at Candi again, who shrugs as if to say ďWhy not?Ē
and they both climb in the back.
      (Whispering to Joe)
Poop in a monkeyís hat?!
Joe shrugs, mystified.


Thanks, mister. Iím Jo... Jonah.
And this is... Carrie.
Ya kin call me Pope. Most folks
We really appreciate it, sir.
So where was you folks headed when
you was robbed?
Candi and Joe answer simultaneously.
San Francisco.
They glance at one another, then simultaneously again:
San Francisco.
Pope looks at them, confused.
Phoenix to visit her folks and
then San Francisco to visit mine.
Pope smiles and nods, winking.
You two eloped, din'cha?
Candi stifles a laugh.
Uh... something like that, yeah.


My first wife an me eloped. We was
seventeen. Got married in Vegas.
Iím headed west, míself, ya know.
Be happy ta take ya with me. Most
a yer way, anyway. Iím takin
Cooter here ta see the Grand Can-
yon! Ainít that right, boy? Whoís
a good boy? You are! Yes, you are!
He degenerates into baby talk as he rubs the dogís ears and
blows kisses at it.

Joe and Candi, though not exactly frightened, are a bit
Really, that wonít be necessary,
sir... uh... Pope. The next town
will be fine.
Nonsense! Me an Cooter kin use the
Do you mind if I ask you a ques-
Seein as ya jest did, I sípose
Why are you taking Cooter to see
the Grand Canyon?
ĎCause he ainít never seen it!
Everbody ought ta see the Grand
Canyon, Miss. Even if heís a dog!
He cackles, puts the car in gear and drives off.


The remains of Joeís car are being hauled out of the river
as a team of police divers stands by.

The camera pans to where a field reporter, RHEA ST. JAMES,
is standing with a microphone, talking to a TV camera.
Authorities are refusing to
confirm or deny whether the car
you see being pulled from the
Susquehanna behind me, actually
belongs to playwright Joe Lanahan,
who it is now believed has been
kidnapped by 'Lady Robber,' Candi
Szandor sits at the counter, eating breakfast and watching
the news report.
                       RHEA (cont'd)
      (On TV)
Earlier, I managed to speak with
the engineer of the train that hit
this car last night.
The live feed switches to a taped interview with the
I blew the whistle long before I
even saw the car. I guess it was
stalled. Next thing I know, I see
two people get out and run and
then... blammo!
Back to live feed.
Weíll have more on this continuing
story at noon. Reporting live,
this is Rhea Saint James, for
Channel Eight News.
Szandor smiles, throws money on the counter and leaves.


Donny and Dean occupy their usual seats, while Lorraine sits
in a third chair and Steve stands. Dean is chewing gum,
popping it loudly.
Steven, if you had any idea where
Joe was, you would tell us, right?
Mrs. Lanahan, I already told you
and the FBI, I donít know where
he is. He called me yesterday
morning and asked me to tell you
that he was fine and he'd be home
soon. Thatís all I know.
Thatís funny, you bein his best
friend and all. I would think he
wouldíve told you where he was
goin, at least.
And exactly what is your role in
this interrogation, Donny?
Letís just say that Dean and I
have a vested interest in Joeís
      (Popping his gum)
Look, you two morons can sit
there and play 'Sopranos' all
you want. I donít know where Joe
is. And even if I did, I would
tell the FBI before I told you two
Dean pops his gum again. Donny shoots him a look of


Steve looks at the two of them, shaking his head in
disbelief. He starts to leave and turns to Lorraine.
Mrs. Lanahan, I am sorry. I really
donít know where Joe is. But heís
a big boy. He can take care of
himself. I have a feeling this
whole thing is just a big misun-
Thank you, Steven.
And Iíd suggest that you stay as
far away from Larry and Curly
here, as you can.
Steve exits.

Dean looks at Donny.
Hey! Was he talkin about us?
What do you think, ass?
Hope Iím Curly.
Dean pops the gum again and Donny throws a stapler at him.
Popeís car is parked at the side of the road. Joe and Candi
lean against the trunk, sharing a cigarette.
Do you think weíll be okay?
What, with Pope? Sure. Heís harm-
less. A little weird -- okay, a
lot weird -- but heís harmless.


No, I meant... do you think weíll
get to Cleveland without...
Getting caught?
Candi nods.
                       JOE (cont'd)
I have no idea. But you know what?
I am having the time of my life.
Iím a writer. I live vicariously
through the characters I create.
Now, Iím actually having a real
adventure of my own. Who wouldnít
be having a great time?
Pope emerges from the woods at the side of road, carrying
the dog in his arms.
Wooo-eee! Poor ole Cooter had ta
go real bad!
Candi looks at Joe, who winks in response.

Pope tosses his keys at Joe, who catches them.
                       POPE (con't)
Jonah, you wouldnít mind drivin
fer a while, soís me and Cooter
kin get a nap, would ya?
Not at all.
      (To Candi)
You donít mind movin up front, do
ya Missy?


Oh, no. Thatís fine. The back seat
makes me carsick, anyway.
They climb into the car and Joe drives off down the road.
An OLD WOMAN stands at the side of the road, next to a
mailbox. On a leash wrapped tightly around her hand, an
enormous Great Dane sits beside her.

Szandor drives up and rolls down his window.
Excuse me, maíam...
                       OLD WOMAN
You ainít Jesse.
      (Slightly confused)
No ma'am, I'm not.
                       OLD WOMAN
Then whereís ma mail?
Excuse me?
                       OLD WOMAN
Been waitin all mornin fer ma
mail. You got it?
No maíam, I don't. I just stopped
to ask some direc...
                       OLD WOMAN
Then get the hell outta here!
But I just wanted to ask some...
                       OLD WOMAN
If you ainít got ma mail, I donít
you want ya here! Now get out or


                       OLD WOMAN (cont'd)
Iíll call the cops!
Hey, fuck you, bitch!
Szandor peels out down the road.

With a loud bark, the Great Dane chases after the car,
pulling the Old Woman up into the air, perpendicular to the
ground, and out of the frame.
The wreckage has been cleared. Policemen and reporters mill
about. McKay and a STATE TROOPER are walking away from the
If your car was hit by a train,
whatís the first thing youíd do?
Call the police.
No, I mean if you were Candi
Schlitzstein, whatís the first
thing you would do?
Find another ride?
Steve is smoking a joint and packing clothes and toiletries
into a backpack. He picks up the bong and is about to place
it into the backpack when he realizes there is still water
in it. He looks around and spots a sickly looking rubber
plant on top of the TV. He shrugs and dumps the bong water
into the plant.
      (To plant)
Bon appetite!


He shoves the bong into the backpack and heads for the door.
Donít worry, Joe. I wonít let you
down again!
He looks about to see if he has forgotten anything and then
leaves, locking the door behind him.
Donny comes out of the front door, holding it open for
Lorraine. As she passes, he lets go and it closes on Dean,
who is carrying a pile of suitcases. We hear the crash as
the suitcases fall.
      (Behind door)
Aw, crap!
Donny follows Lorraine to her car.
Really Donny, itís awfully nice of
you boys to offer to come with me.
I wouldíve hated to make this trip
all alone.
Our pleasure, Missus Lanahan.
Lorraine, please. My mother-in-law
was Missus Lanahan.
Alright... Lorraine.
Much better.
      (Opening trunk)
You can put those right in here,
They both turn to where they assume Dean is standing.
                       LORRAINE (cont'd)


That moron!
Donny storms back to the house and opens the door where he
finds Dean trying to pick up the suitcases and failing
miserably. Donny reaches down and grabs one.
      (To Dean)
What is your problem?
I was tryin to pick Ďem up, but
they kep fallin.
"I was tryin to pick Ďem up, but
they kep fallin." Letís go, bone-
They carry the bags to the car and put them in the trunk.

Lorraine unlocks the doors and gets in the driverís side.

Both Donny and Dean try to get into the front passengerís
seat. Donny gives Dean a look, and Dean backs down, getting
in the back.

Lorraine starts the car and backs down the drive.
Pope is asleep in the back seat, his arms wrapped around the
dog. Joe is driving with Candi in the seat next to him,
trying to decipher a map.
Who the hell drew this map, Moses?
What makes you say that?
I-Ninety-Five isnít on it, for one
Oh man, that is not good.


Well, there's supposed to be a
small town a couple of miles a-
head. We can probably get some-
thing to eat, at least.
Whatís it called?
Okay then. Manning, here we come.
There is a loud BANG and Joe loses control of the wheel. The
car skids into a ditch and Joe hits his head on the steering
wheel, bloodying his forehead.

Joe turns to Candi, who has somehow managed to tear her tank
You okay?
I think so. Youíre bleeding,
They look in the back seat, where Pope snores away. The dog,
however, has broken a leg which hangs, literally, by a
thread; stuffing pouring out onto the seat.
                       CANDI (cont'd)
What happened, anyway?
A blowout, I think. These tires
are probably originals.
They carefully get out of the car to examine the situation.
The front left tire has practically disintegrated.

Joe opens the trunk only to find it filled with bags of
Purina Monkey Chow.


Joe and Candi look at one another.
I donít really think I want to
Me neither.
Joe lifts out the bags of Monkey Chow, to find that the
spare tire is missing.
Guess weíre walking again. Do you
want to wake him up, or should I?
State police are setting up a roadblock. McKay stands by,
talking into a cell phone.
      (Into phone)
I donít care, Frank. I said, I
donít care. I have the situation
firmly in hand... I know that,
Frank. Nothing has changed, Frank.
Things may have taken an unexpect-
ed little turn or two, but the
goal remains the same. You leave
that all up to me.
The TROOPER approaches.
                       MCKAY (cont'd)
      (Into phone)
Hang on, Frank.
      (To Trooper)
The last of the road blocks are
up. If theyíre on any major state
roads, weíll catch em.
Thanks, Trooper.
      (Into phone)
Frank, you still there? Listen, I


                       MCKAY (cont'd)
gotta go. Iíll check in with you
when I get to Manning.
McKay closes the phone and puts it in his pocket.
      (To Trooper)
Trooper, do you know where I can I
get a decent cup of real coffee?
Szandorís car slows to a stop. Szandor gets out and walks to
the side of the road where he bends down to pick something
up. He stands and we see that he holds one of Candiís shoes
in his hands. He looks down the road, grinning.
The Old Woman stands by her mailbox, her arm in a cast and
sling. In her other hand, she clutches a leash with a
miniature Doberman at the end.

Steveís car approaches and stops. Steve rolls his window

The dog begins to bark frantically, jumping and running
ĎScuse me, maíam...
                       OLD WOMAN
Did ya bring ma mail?
                       OLD WOMAN
Did ya bring ma mail?
Well, no maíam. I just...
                       OLD WOMAN
Then git the hell outta here!


But I just wanted to ask...
                       OLD WOMAN
What the hell do I look like, the
Shell Answer Man? Now git the hell
out or Iíll call the cops on ya!
Okay, okay! Take a pill, lady!
He pulls away.

The Old Lady turns to leave, but the dog has wrapped its
leash around her legs and she falls flat on her face with a
loud THUD.
A large wooden sign reads: ďWELCOME TO MANNING Ė THE NICEST

Joe, Candi and Pope walk wearily past the sign.

The camera follows them into the town, which has obviously
seen better days.
      (Looking about)
Ever read any Stephen King?
I love his stuff.
This look a little like ďChildren
of the CornĒ to you?
Eww. Now that you mention it...
Whatís ďChildren of the Corn?Ē


Itís a short story about a town
where all the kids become members
of a cult and kill all the adults.
I think I seen something like that
in a movie once.
Yeah, it was a movie, too.
Iíd have bashed the little bug-
gersí heads in an fed Ďem to the
Joe and Candi look at one another wide-eyed, but say

Joe takes another look at the deserted town.
Where the hell is everyone?
They walk a little further and in the distance, they can
hear the sounds of a crowd.

They turn the corner and find themselves in the middle of a

The lead float has a large banner that reads: 'MANNING

Everyone in town is either in the parade or watching it.

A CHILD in the crowd notices them standing there and points.
Hey! Look, everybody!
Everyone turns to look at the three of them as the parade
comes to a dead halt.

There is an awkward silence as the camera pans over the
amazed faces of the residents of Manning.

Finally, the camera comes around to Joe, Candi and Pope.


      (Very casual)
Uh... hi.
Lorraine is driving, with Donny in the seat beside her and
Dean in the back.

Dean is playing with a hand-held video game which gets
increasingly louder as the scene progresses.
      (To Donny)
What makes you think theyíre head-
ed for West Virginia?
Iíve been monitoring the police
bands. It seems like everyone is
concentrating on this small town
just north of the West Virginia
border. I think sheís making him
go to Mexico with her.
Well, sure. If you were on the run
from the FBI, where would you go?
I'm sure I have no idea. First of
all, I would never be on the run
from the FBI. Secondly, I think I
would be hiding in the last place
anyone would be looking for me.
Deanís video game is getting louder.

Donny shoots an annoyed glance his way.

Dean, caught up in the game, doesnít see it and continues
playing, laughing and whooping as he does so.


Well, maybe not, but all I kept
hearing said theyíre headed to
And if they donít show up there?
I still say theyíre going to Mexi-
Isnít Canada closer?
Deanís game begins to emit high pitched RINGS and WHISTLES.
                       VIDEO GAME
Warning! Danger Level Five! Warn-
ing! Warning! Danger Level Five!
Warning! Warning!
Donny reaches back, grabs the game from Dean and hurls it
out the window without missing a beat.

It is smashed into a million pieces on the road before Dean
even realizes what has happened
Harder to extradite people from
And you know this because...?
Half the people in the show have
been on ĎLaw and Orderí at least
      (To Donny)
You owe me fifty bucks, asshole!
Ah, yer muthah!


Wouldnít that be your mother, too,
What? Oh. Yeah. I never thought
about it like that. Shit.
      (To Dean)
I take it back.
Lorraine rolls her eyes.
The crowd continues to stare at Joe, Candi and Pope.
We, uh... we had a flat.
The crowd stares.
                       JOE (cont'd)
I donít suppose thereís a gas sta-
tion open today, Is there?
      (Whispering to Joe)
Whatís their problem?
      (Whispering back)
Youíre not helping.
The crowd begins to part and a man in mechanicís overalls
steps forward. The embroidered name above his pocket reads
ďLuke.Ē His face is dirty and unshaven; he wears his hair in
a messy mullet; his overalls are spotted and greasy; black
dirt cakes his fingernails and he speaks with an almost
Southern drawl. It is, however, Oriel Destin. He grins
If yaíll kin wait Ďtill after the
pírade, Ahíll be happy ta replace
yer tahre fer ya.


Guess we donít really have much of
a choice, do we?
Oriel turns to the crowd.
Well, whatíre yaíll waitin on,
The festivities resume as Joe, Candi and Pope move up onto
the sidewalk.

The high school marching band strikes up a horrendously bad
arrangement of a pop song and then proceeds to mangle it,
even more.
Wished I brought Cooter. One thing
that dog loves, itís a parade.
Joe and Candi try not to laugh.
McKay is talking into his cell phone as he drives.
Yeah, Frank, I got it. I heard...
Yes. About another half hour, I
think. Damned GPS canít get a
decent signal out here. As soon
as I get there. I will.
He puts the phone away and sees something at the far end of
the road.
The Old Woman, her arm still in cast and sling but now
sporting a black eye and tape across the bridge of her nose,
stands at the side of the road, holding a cat in her good

McKayís car pulls up along side of her. He rolls down the


window and shows her his badge.
Afternoon, Maíam. Special Agent
Dan McKay, FBI.
                       OLD WOMAN
You here about the mail?
Why, yes. Yes I am. What seems to
be the problem with your mail?
                       OLD WOMAN
Ainít got it fer three days.
I see. Tell me, have you seen any
suspicious looking types around
here lately?
                       OLD WOMAN
Two other fellers come through
just today. They wasnít here ta
bring ma mail, though.
Really? Can you describe them for
                       OLD WOMAN
One was a older fella. Black hair
an one oí them Billy goat beards.
Grey hair by his ears. Looked like
'The Magnificent Mephisto.'
I see. And the other one?
                       OLD WOMAN
A hippie type, younger fella. His
whole car stank like when ma
grandson says heís makin Thai


Did you happen to notice which way
they were headed?
                       OLD WOMAN
They both took tíward Manning.
Thank you, maíam.
He pulls away as the Old Woman yells after him.
                       OLD WOMAN
Hey!! Whereís ma goddamn mail?!
The cat, startled by her scream, leaps from her arms and
onto her head. Flailing her good arm, the Old Woman runs
about, both she and the cat screaming, until she runs into a
tree. She immediately falls flat on her back and the cat
nonchalantly wanders away.
The parade continues, ridiculously long for such a small
town. Shriners drive by in tiny cars; another horribly
out-of-tune marching band performs a Sousa march; a float
with the high school Homecoming Queen and her court.

A clown is approaching where Joe, Candi and Pope are

Suddenly, a squirrel monkey climbs up from the clownís back,
onto his shoulder.

Pope gets quite excited and nearly knocks Joe down to get to
the clown.

Joe watches as Pope talks excitedly to the monkey, and then
Joe looks at Candi.
Well, Iíll be a monkeyís uncle!
Yeah, but will you poop in its
They both laugh and go back to watching the parade. Pope
follows the clown, who is now trying to avoid Pope.


Two men in the parade carry a banner which reads: ďManning
Volunteer Fire Company Number 1,Ē followed by a fire truck.
Sitting high up on the truck is a particularly good-looking
young FIREMAN.

Joe nudges Candi and nods toward the truck.
Now he could put my fire out any-
time heíd like.
Bet he knows how to use his hose,
The Fireman looks directly at Joe, smiles broadly and then
Did you see that? He was checking
you out!
No way, He was winking at you.
I wish. He definitely gave you the
once over, Shakespeare.
Now I KNOW youíre crazy.
They laugh again and continue watching the parade.

The camera pans past them and into the crowd of onlookers,
finally coming to a stop on Szandor who wears a pair of dark
glasses and is looking directly at Joe and Candi.
Lorraineís car pulls up to where the Old Woman is sitting in
a wheelchair.

The Old Woman now has two black eyes and a bandage over a
huge purple lump on her forehead. The Great Dane, miniature
Doberman and cat sit beside her.


Lorraine rolls her window down.
Can you tell me where...
When the Old Woman speaks, we see that she is also now
missing a tooth.
                       OLD WOMAN
                       OLD WOMAN
NO! Yíainít got ma mail, I ainít
tellin ya nuthin!
Lorraine looks at Donny who shrugs and spins his finger
around his ear.
Okay, then.
Lorraine pulls away and the Old Woman watches as the car
drives off. A bird swoops down and defecates copiously on
the Old Womanís head.
McKayís car approaches Popeís abandoned wreck.

McKay stops and gets out to examine it. He looks in the
trunk, puzzled by the bags of Monkey Chow.

He checks out the back seat and pulls the stuffed dog out.
He pulls the dogís collar off and examines the tag,
revealing the following information: ďNAME: Cooter. OWNER:
Carl W. Pope. ADDRESS: RD #4, Meyers, PA.Ē
Aw, shit.
He throws the collar to the ground and gets back in his car,
pulling out and heading toward Manning.


Szandor slowly makes his way through the crowd, making sure
that Candi doesnít see him.

Pope is still occupied by the monkey, while Candi and Joe
watch the parade.
Steveís car pulls up next to the sign. Steve looks about,
then hears the sound of the parade. He parks the car and
begins to make his way toward the parade.
Iím coming, bud!
Szandor is about 20 yards away when Candi notices him
skulking through the crowd. She squints and looks closely.
Oh my God!
Itís Barry. Heís not dead.
Right over...
She points, but has lost Szandor in the crowd again.
                       CANDI (cont'd)
Iím sure it was him.
Come on.
Joe takes her hand and pulls her into the crowd, which has
begun to follow the parade down the street and around the


Lorraineís car pulls into town.
Hey, isnít that Steveís car?
I think so.
Whatís HE doing here?
Same thing we are, I guess.
As they watch, the parade turns the corner and comes into
Come on, boys.
She parks the car and gets out, walking toward the parade.
Whyíre we goin to a parade?
      (Smacks Dean's
Letís go, numb-nuts!
Steve searches the crowd for Joe.

Szandor searches the crowd for Candi.

Candi and Joe search the crowd for Szandor.
      (To Candi)
Whatís he look like?


Um... Six feet tall, dark hair.
Heís wearing sunglasses and a
bright blue shirt.
Joe scans the crowd and realizes that almost everyone is
wearing sunglasses and red, white and blue, or combinations
Okay. Letís just keep moving. If
you see him, holler.
Oh, donít worry about that. Iíll
scream bloody murder.
Szandor skulks through the crowd. He now wears his full
magicianís regalia. He reaches into his waistband and pulls
out a gun, then does a hand maneuver, dropping a dagger from
his sleeve into his other palm.

The parade turns another corner into an open field where a
carnival has been set up. The crowd begins to disperse into
the carnival.

Joe looks at the rides on the midway and has an idea.
Come on, I have an idea.
Joe grabs Candiís hand and they run to get in line for the
double Skywheel.

Lorraine, Donny and Dean have now caught up with the crowd.
How are we going to find them in
a crowd like this?
Lorraine looks about the midway and then grabs Donnyís hand.
Come on, I have an idea.
Lorraine pulls Donny away.

Dean is purchasing a hot dog, and just as he is about to
bite into it, Donny returns to pull him along and Deanís hot


dog falls to the ground.
Hey, ass! Iím hungry!
Donny drags Dean away.

Pope, now carrying the monkey on his shoulder, scans the

Steve walks the midway and seeing the Skywheel, gets an

Szandor walks the midway, scanning the crowd. He looks up
and sees Joe and Candi getting on the Skywheel.

The CARNY closes and locks the safety bar on the Skywheel
gondola where Joe and Candi are now seated.

The camera stays on them as the wheel goes up to allow the
next passengers on.
I donít know about this, Joe.
Why? Whatís wrong?
Iíve just never really been good
with heights.
Oh, now you tell me...
The wheel moves up again and Candi gives a little shriek.
                       JOE (cont'd)
Well, just... just close your
Then how will I be able to look
for Barry?
Lorraine, Donny, Dean and Steve all arrive at the Skywheel;
Dean and Steve practically bumping into one another.


What the... what are you doing
here? And what are you still doing
hanging around with the Brothers
The Skywheel begins to move full-tilt and Candi screams in a
particularly piercing hysterical pitch, causing everyone
around to look up.

CU on Steve as he looks up.

CU on Lorraine as she looks up.

CU on Pope as he looks up.

Two Shot on Donny and Dean as they look up.

CU on Szandor as he looks up.

The rest of the crowd laughs and goes back to whatever they
were doing.

Lorraine begins to wave frantically at Joe.
      (Calling out)
Joe! Joe! Mommyís here, Joe!
CU of Joe, staring down in horror.
Oh my God!
Candi, who has her eyes firmly squeezed shut, gets an even
more panicked look on face.
      (Starting to panic)
What?! Whatís ĎOh my God?í
Itís... my mother.
Pope walks the midway, feeding funnel cake to the monkey
which is now perched on his shoulder, as he watches the
crowd closely.

Steve turns to Donny, smacking the back of his head.


What kind of an idiot are you,
bringing his mother here? This
Candi woman is supposed to be arm-
ed and dangerous.
Steven! I was coming with or with-
out the boys. Donny thought that I
would be safer if they came along.
      (To Lorraine)
Youíd be safer in a tank of starv-
ing pirhana.
A shot rings out, but the noise of the carnival all but
covers it and most people ignore it.

CU on Szandor, grinning madly. The camera pulls back to show
him putting the smoking gun back into his pocket.

Suddenly the screams from the Skywheel become hysterical.

The camera turns around and dollies to the Carny, who lies
slumped over the control box, a small hole soaking blood
into his t-shirt.

The camera pans up to the Skywheel, which is moving
unusually fast.

Joe and Candi clutch each other and the safety bar in

CU on Lorraine, screaming.

CU on Steve, agape.

Two Shot on Donny and Dean. Donny stares in horror. Dean has
been shoveling handfuls of popcorn into his mouth, but he
now stares as well, popcorn spilling from his open mouth.

Szandor begins running toward the Skywheel.

CU on a bolt that is holding Joe and Candiís gondola onto
the Skywheel. We hear the CREAKING stress of the metal as
the Skywheel spins. The bolt is beginning to bend and come

Another CARNY has reached the control panel. Pulling Carny


#1 out of the way, he presses a series of buttons and the
Skywheel begins to slow down.

Other carnies arrive and take Carny #1 away.

CU on the bolt which is just about to snap.

The Skywheel slows and stops, almost perpendicular to the
ground, with Joe and Candi suspended out over the crowd.

Many riders are still screaming. Candi is shaking and
literally too scared to scream, her face pressed tightly
into Joeís chest. Joe cradles her head with his free hand.
Shh. Itís alright. It stopped.
Weíre going to be fine.
Szandor has reached the Skywheel and has begun to climb it,
the dagger clutched in his teeth.

CU on the bolt, which slips out about half way, jolting the
gondola. Both Joe and Candi scream, as does the horrified
crowd below.

Pope is talking earnestly to the monkey, though we cannot
hear what he is saying.

The monkey suddenly scampers down off his shoulder and along
the midway, leaping from booth to booth; onto peopleís heads
and swinging from the lights and banners strung about;
heading for the Skywheel.

An ambulance and fire truck have begun to press through the

The fire truck maneuvers under the Skywheel so its ladder
can be extended to Joe and Candiís gondola.

Szandor has reached the arm of the Skywheel and begins to
climb out, towards Joe and Candi.

The Skywheel has begun to shake as Szandor climbs across.
      (Eyes still closed)
Whatís that? Why are we shaking?
Joe looks back and sees Szandor moving toward them.


Aw, shit! I think... Candi, your
husband is climbing on the Sky-
That asshole never had any damned
common sense!
Lorraine grabs Donny.
Donny, do something!
Yeah, Donny, do something!
Dean sees Szandor climbing on the Skywheel and points
Look! Look! Itís Mephisto! Donít
worry, Missus Lanahan. Joeís safe,
now! Mephisto will save him.
Donny, Steve and Lorraine look up at Szandor.
      (Very confused)
What the fuck...?
Szandor steps off the arm and onto the wheel.

CU on the bolt, which slides a bit more.

A news helicopter and a police helicopter have begun to
circle overhead.

The fire truckís ladder has come to rest just below the
The ladderís here, Candi. Theyíre
coming to get us off.
Two firemen begin to climb up the ladder.

The bolt SNAPS and the gondola jerks again and bangs into


the ladder, causing the Firemen to grab on tightly.

Candi shrieks.

The crowd screams.

CU on Pope as he watches intently.

The gondola hangs by one side. Szandor is almost at the

Desperately, Joe looks about for something with which to
defend himself.

Joe sees the butt of the gun sticking out of Candiís purse
and reaches for it, just as Szandor makes his way onto the

The bolt breaks off and the gondola jerks hard, nearly
sending Szandor off.

Joe cocks the pistol and takes aim.
      (To Joe, laughing)
You donít have the balls, boy!
Joe aims the gun at Szandor and closes his eyes.

Just as Joe is about to fire, the monkey jumps onto
Szandorís head, covering Szandor's eyes with its paws.

CU on Pope as he grins triumphantly.

Szandor panics and, trying to pull the monkey off his head,
lets got of the gondola.

The monkey leaps onto the wheel as Szandor plummets to the
ground, screaming.

CU on Joe as he looks down, grimacing.
      (Eyes still closed)
What was that?! What happened?!
He... Szandor fell.
The firemen arrive at the top of the ladder.

Joe helps Candi out of the gondola and into the arms of one
of them, who carries her down.


The remaining Fireman extends his hand to Joe. It is the
Fireman from the parade, who is smiling broadly at him.
Donít worry, Iíve got you.
Oh, Iím not worried about that at
Below, McKay pushes his way through the crowd, flashing his
badge at the police to join other agents and the EMS crew
working on Szandor.

An FBI AGENT looks up at McKay.
                       FBI AGENT
Nice of you to join us, Agent
Better late than never. Is it him?
An EMT looks up at McKay and shakes his head.
Great. Just great.
As Candi is led off the fire truck, the Trooper places her
in handcuffs.

Joe and the Fireman come off next, both smiling happily.
Lorraine rushes to Joe and crushes him against her.
Oh my God! Thank God! I thought
Iíd lost you again!
      (Pulling her away)
Please, maíam. Give him some air.
The Fireman pries Lorraine off of Joe and leads Joe away
toward the ambulance.


Speechless, Lorraine can only watch them walk away.

McKay approaches the Trooper who is about to place Candi
into his car.
Iíll take over, Trooper.
McKay leads Candi to where the Fireman is administering
oxygen to Joe. He takes out his badge and shows it to Joe.
      (To Joe)
Glad you're okay, Joe.
Me too. But... why is the FBI...?
They were following me.
      (Shaking Joe's
Special Agent Dan McKay. Weíve
been after Barry Schlitzstein for
some time now.
You mean... wait, Iím confused.
When Candi went off the deep end,
we knew he would try to follow
her. You were an unfortunate addi-
tion to the equation that none of
us could have forseen.
What were you after him for?
You name it. Arms, drugs, illegal
aliens. A magician's equipment
is particularly well-suited for
smuggling any number of things.


And Candi? Whatís going to happen
to her? Was she part of this?
She had no idea. Weíll cut her a
deal on the robbery charges. She
wonít serve more than a year or
two in a minimum security facil-
Thereíre a couple of things that I
donít understand.
Such as...?
Why did Szandor... um, Barry,
Letís just say you have friends in
high places.
Lorraine, Steve, Donny and Dean have gotten as close as the
police will let them to Joe.
                       MCKAY (cont'd)
Go tell your Mom that youíre okay.
Oh, and, Iíd get this firemanís
number, if I were you.
McKay starts to lead Candi away.
      (To McKay)
They stop and turn to look at him.
                       JOE (cont'd)
Candi, I want to tell your story.
What do you mean?


A movie. Youíve had a hell of a
life. Especially this last week.
What do you say?
Do I get a cut?
Iíll make sure you get a very nice
paycheck out of it.
Youíre on.
McKay leads Candi away as Pope approaches Joe.
You alright, boy?
Fine. No, Iím lying. Iím not fine.
But Iíll live.
That magician was one bad monkey.
Yeah, he sure was.
Glad you and the lady are okay.
Me too.
Still headin fer Phoenix?
Actually, I think Iíll be heading
home now.
Probíly a good idea.