Friday, December 5, 2008

The Magic Circus - Scene 13

Monk still looking down on page, sees a cluttered office, behind desk sits Joe the Monkey (JTM) in a crumpled seersucker suit, bow tie askew, hands in hair, elbows and eyes on desk. On chair in front of desk sits Bilge the Rat (BTR).

BTR – I’ve got it boss. I’ve got it. We just burn the place down and collect the insurance money. It’s been done before. Quick, painless, then bam, we’re off on some other adventure. Let’s face it, things look bleak; have you looked at the books lately?

JTM looks up and stares at BTR. Picks up book, waves it.

JTM – Bilge, you are a pig.

BTR (smiles) – Oh, you flatter me.

JTM – It’s no compliment.

BTR – No? Every pig I ever met was exceedingly smart, charming even, why I met this pig once, he was some pig, simply…radiant.

JTM looks at BTR

JTM – You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. My point, Bilge, is that your idea is not only evil and mean, it’s entirely impractical. Where would we all go? Think about Bruce! You rats can survive anywhere, but what about Nellie, the hyenas, Clarice, huh, it’s not like there’s some village that would welcome us like conquering heroes.

BTR – Right, right, boss, of course, yes, you’re right. Wally, especially, I mean that Wombat’s one spaced out piece of work. The Cap’n, well the Cap’n…

JTM – Let’s not talk about The Captain.

BTR – Sure, sure…

They sit in silence thinking.

BTR – I’ve got it! (thrusts claw in air)

JTM – What?

BTR – Are you listening?

JTM – Yes, yes, I’m listening

BTR – One word.


JTM – Yes…

BTR – Roller derby.

JTM – Roller Derby?

BTR – Yes, Roller Derby.

JTM – (shaking head) This is going to kill me (he lights cigarette).

BTR – Don’t worry, boss, don’t worry. I know what to do. OK? Don’t you worry.

JTM – Bilge, when someone tells me not to worry three times; I worry.

The silence between them is pierced by the shrieking of an eagle or some other bird of prey.

BTR stands up, backs out of the office, hands outstretched in a reassuring fashion.

BTR – OK. I’m not going to say “Don’t worry.” I won’t ever again. I’m just gonna go talk to the girls. You just concentrate on finances.

JTM is bent over the books, tries to wave him away with his cigarette. When BTR says “finances” though he looks up in frustration.

JTM – Well, it’s kind of hard with you talking like that.

BTR – OK, I’m not talking, no more talking…

JTM looks up again and thrusts his arms out in supplication.

BTR – Right, right. OK, Don’t…(Bilge stops himself, makes to lock his mouth with key, throws away imaginary key, and exits office)

Outside JTM’s office, it’s a circus. Animals everywhere. Bilge makes his way quickly through the crowd. Bilge sees Nellie the elephant, Bud the Dog (BTD) at his feet.

BTR – Nellie! Bud. Hey, I got one for you. There’s this mother and she wants a son so she goes to this lake.

BTD – Is this a Polish mother?

BTR - (stares then continues) No, just a regular mother.

BTD – What, Polish mothers aren’t regular?

BTR – And she asks the lake for a son…

Nellie – And it gives her the moon…

BTR – No. The lake sends a dog…

BTD – Not a Polish dog?!

Nellie – I won’t stand here and listen to you tell jokes about Polish dogs. You know I’m a vegetarian!

BTR – Oh, forget it. Why do I try? (walks briskly away)

BTD to Nellie – I keep telling people, I’M PRUSSIAN!

BTR scurries past a cage full of hyenas and one lion. A hyena is rolling an odd looking pair of dice. BTR stops abruptly and walks back. The hyena that rolled the dice picks up a playing card of some sort. BTR shouts suspiciously.

BTR – Harry! What’re ya’ doin’?

Harry – Playing a game. Do you want to play a game, Bilge?

BTR ignores him, turns to lion.

BTR – You OK, Lance? These guys aren’t cheating you?

Lance – Oh, no, Bilge, you needn’t fear. This is a splendid little game Joe invented. Just for entertainment, no wagering.

BTR – OK, good. (eyes Harry, takes a step, then stops, turns and asks) How do you play?

Lance – Oh, it’s jolly fun. Roll the dice, move around the board, pick up cards. So very fun.

BTR looks blankly at Lance. Then another hyena who’d had his back to Bilge turns and explains further.

The Other Hyena – The cards start a saying, we have to make up an ending; however many players laugh that’s how many points you get.

Harry – Watch. (he reads from the card) One for the money, two for the show…(thinks for a second) Roll the feline and grab his DOUGH!

The hyenas burst into uproarious laughter.

Lance – (not laughing) I don’t get it.

BTR shakes his head and scurries away, behind him you hear Lance faintly.

Lance – Why’s that funny, tell me. Honestly, you’re behaving like perfect beasts.

BTR scampers past a big trailer with the side flipped up revealing interior where a grungy koala plays with his guitar.

BTR – Mornin’ Cap’n.

Koala looks up, barely; raises eyebrow.

Koala - Mornin’ Bilge.

BTR keeps moving. Passes gigantic tank with a shark swimming in it. He ducks under the big tent and finds a dark corner where a group of female rats are sitting around a TV. Some are drying their eyes, sniffling. BTR grabs a rat in the rear by the shoulder.

BTR – Hey, Sheila, what’s all this about?

Sheila – Oh (sniff), RodenTV, MouseNation. It’s just getting good.

Gloria the Rat – (points at screen) that’s Hector, he’s the drug kingpin of the Western House of MouseNation, that’s his long lost sister, Rosie, they were separated in childhood when their father abandoned them.

A Different Rat – Rosie was forced into prostitution and has only now found help in Johnny, a vole leading the rebel alliance against the evil Eastern House of MouseNation.

Rat From Front – Will you shut your TRAP!

Sheila – Stick a sock in it, Susie!

Sheila turns back to Bilge who checks watch, nervously stamps his foot. Sheila continues more quietly.

Sheila – See, the East are house-mice, sophisticated elites, oppressing their distant cousins in the West, field mice and whatnot, riff-raff. But the Western Rebels have a mole…I’m speaking figuratively, of course…

BTR – (sighs) Of course.

Gloria – (continuing for Sheila) So the mole, who is really the son of Hector and Rosie’s long lost father who married the daughter of a powerful Eastern House politician. His son, half-brother to Hector and Rosie…

BTR – Yeah, I get it (interested now, pulls up a chair)

Sheila – (scoots chair close to Bilge, offers popcorn) That son, Martin, infiltrates the political establishment, makes allies with Generals in the military and these other crazy cats…(she pauses, Bilge waves her on to show he knows she’s speaking figuratively) to foment revolution and fight for their freedom.

BTR has been reaching into Sheila’s bag of popcorn, all of a sudden he catches himself, realizing he’s been distracted, grabs the popcorn and jumps up shouting.

BTR – NO! NO! Turn that TV OFF! This is real life, people! We have our own VERY SERIOUS DRAMAS TO WORRY ABOUT. (Walks through crowd) Where are your SKATES, HUH?! You, GLORIA, go find your helmet, and the rest of the gear. I want everyone on the TRACK in FIVE MINUTES!

There is murmuring and harrumphing. A cat hears the fracas and walks over.

BTR – Clarice! Good, you’re here. I need you to get these rats in line. If they aren’t in shape by Saturday, we are TOAST.

End scene

The Magic Circus - Scene 12

It’s dawn. Monk is back at the kitchen table. Bilge walks in wearing skivvies and nothing else, pours himself coffee. Monk looks up.

Monk – Jesus Christ!

Bilge – Don’ you blaspheme in here!

Monk – Just get some clothes on. I’m about to gag, must be empathy nausea, thinking of the horrors Clarice must have experienced.

Bilge – She’s comin’ down.

Monk – What?!

Bilge – Did I stutter?

Monk – You’re a prick, Bilge.

Bilge – Yeah.


Bilge – Hey, I looked at your stuff.

Monk looks up at Bilge.

Monk – Yeah?

Bilge – Yeah, it’s not bad.

Monk looks at Bilge.

Monk – So?


Bilge – Do you know what I do?

Monk – Besides repulse people?

Bilge – Yeah, besides that.

Monk – You’re in high-tech…some sort of computer stuff…a programmer.

Bilge looks at Monk

Monk – Developer?

Bilge – Computer animation.

Monk – Really?

Bilge – Yeah, really. I think we can make something out of this.

Bilge sits down next to Monk and picks up one of his pencils. This circus idea has been done, of course, but what hasn’t. We’ll just add a twist and make it better.

Monk looks sideways at Bilge.

Bilge – I’m not fuckin’ with you, I mean this, we’re lookin’ for good stuff. Ya got some cool characters, but what’s the story…

Monk – (haltingly) Well, it’s a circus…and…and it’s going to go out of business if they can’t make more money…

Bilge – Huh. We can’t let that happen.

Monk – No.

Bilge – Listen, Joe, I think we can make this work, let’s noodle this story and see what we can come up with.

Monk is speechless. Bilge stands, his bulging corpulence overflows his underwear.

Bilge – Now, I think I might clean meself up a bit, Clarice will be here in 45 minutes.

Monk opens his mouth to speak, but nothing comes out. Bilge leans over and pushes up Monk’s dropped jaw. He turns and walks away, the camera follows his near nude amble then pans back to Monk’s face, which he turns down to look at the page.

Bilge –(screaming to entire house) Okay, you filthy stinkin’ animals! Time to WAKE UP! Sheila on the way.

Kent – (from couch in living room) I thought you said her name was Clarice?!

End Scene

The Magic Circus - Scene 11

The boys arrive back at Bud’s Pasadena home, loudly. Storm into the kitchen and grab Monk, wrestle him onto the kitchen table. Bud preps for surgery, washes hands in sink with fanfare. Monk stops struggling, overpowered by Nel and Kent. Bilge pretends to be Bud’s nurse.

Bud – Nurse! Scalpel! Stat!

Bilge searches through a drawer.

Bilge – Where’s that sharp knife. (Pulls out spatula). Aunt Jemima Treatment, doctor?

Bud – No, I’m afraid this is a much more serious case.

Bilge pulls biggest knife out of a knife holder on the kitchen island and presents it to Bud.

Bud - (shaking head) No.

Bud examines Monk’s package pensively, hand on chin.

Bud – Hmm…yes, yes.

Nel (still holding Monk’s legs while Kent has Monk’s arms) – What’s your diagnosis, doctor?

Bud – It’s a very rare case, but I’ve seen it before. This man has no balls.

Bilge – The Ball Transplant Procedure, doc?

Bud – I’m afraid so, it’s his only hope.

Bud turns to Kent.

Bud – I’m gonna need the best you got, Cap’n.

Kent – Titleist?

Bud – What else?

Kent – Surlyn or Balata?

Bud – Balata, of course!

Bud looks down at Monk lying on the table.

Bud - Are you sure you're Junior's father?

Bud reaches down to unbuckle Monk’s belt. Monk fights and kicks out his legs from Nel’s grasp, spilling a beer onto his drawings. Monk struggles free, sees what’s happened, tries to shake beer off drawings, but throws the papers down in disgust.

Monk – Goddammit! YOU FUCKING CLOWNS!

He turns and stares down each of them.

Monk – The lot of you. Stupid Fucking Children.

Bud – We were just messin’..

Monk (in Bud’s face) – FUCK YOU!

Bud doesn’t say anything. Monk turns to leave.

Kent – Say it ain’t so, Joe. You don’t mean that…”

Nel – It’s the lack of beer talkin’.

Monk continues walking, heads to front door, opens it. Kent, following, shouts after him.

Kent – You can’t leave!

Monk continues down the front path of the house. Everyone follows.

Bilge (shouting after him) – All the plants will die!

The boys stand on the sidewalk watching as Monk walks away.

Bilge (shouting after him) - Don’t forget to write!

Monk throws up one arm not turning around, halfway down the block.

Nel (shoves Bilge) – Wanker!

The shove pushes him into the shrubbery.

Bilge (to shrubbery) – Baahh. You’re a hedge!

Bilge stands, adjusts himself, then shouts after Bud who is up the path nearly to his front door.

Bilge – Hey, Dr. Snip, these could do with a prune.

Bud – We have people for that.

They all walk inside. Down the street Monk turns the corner.

Inside, Kent picks up guitar, strums on living room couch. Bud takes off all his clothes and dives into the pool. Bilge and Nel go to the kitchen. Bilge picks up and leafs through the soggy pages.

Bilge – Ya’ know, these don’t suck.

Nel (opening beer) – High praise.

Bilge – No, fair dinkum’, we’ve been lookin’ for shit like this. Everyone’s got the next Sponge-fuckin-Bob, and that pufftah Mr. Giggle’s got the world’s knickers twisted. This is better than that.

Nel walks over to look.

Nel – It ain’t Jackson Pollack.

Bilge – Do you mean that in the good way?

Nel – Is there any other?

Nel walks away.

End scene

The Magic Circus - Scene 10

In van, Nel’s driving, Bud’s in passenger seat, he hears an unrecognizable (to audience) song on the stereo.

Bud – No. We’ve heard enough Cap’n music for one night.

Bud turns stereo to radio, the Rolling Stones come on, “I can’t get no satisfaction…”

Nel (looking ahead, driving) – What’s up with Monkeyboy?

Bud (sighs, turns down volume) – He didn’t want me to tell you guys…

Bilge (leaning forward from second row of seats, where he sits next to Kent) – But you are…

Bud – Yes, that’s the kind of friend I am.

Nel – Noble.

Bud – He was fired four months ago.

Nel – Oh.

Bud – Yeah, he’s kind of goin’ through a rough patch.

Nel – Ah.

A female voice comes from the GPS.

Gloria – Left turn, 200 feet.

Bud – What the hell?

Kent – That’s Gloria, our GPS Sheila.

Bud – Why didn’t you call her Sheila?

Kent – Kind of obvious, that, don’ ya’ think?

Bud – I suppose.

Squeeze comes on the radio, Cool for Cats.
They all listen, quiet and thoughtful for a moment.

Bud – It’s cool. The Monk always lands on his feet.

Nel – Like a cat.

Bilge – Or a kitten.

Kent – In a French maid’s uniform.

Bilge – With tassles.

End scene

The Magic Circus - Scene 9

At front door of house, which is now quiet inside as the Australians are outside at the van. Monk talks to Bud at the front door. From Monk’s perspective we see the Aussies horsing around, switching music, flipping through bits of songs on the radio. From Bud’s perspective he sees Monk and the now quiet, empty house.

Bud – You’re sure you don’t want to come?

Monk – Yeah, I’m sure, I’m kind of tired, all this sunlight, you know, the squinting’s worn me out.

Bud – It’s not the money? I’ll spot you…

Monk – No, no. I’m beat. And I have to call Mary.

Bud - Oh. Well. Have fun with that.

Monk – Thanks.

Bud turns and screams at the top of his lungs at the Aussies.

Bud – Turn that GALDARNED Music DOWN! People LIVE here, ya know!!

Monk shakes his head, looks down, laughs softly, then turns and shuts the door. He pulls his phone out of his pocket as he walks through the house back to the kitchen table where he sits down, sets phone next to his drawings, which are static. He stares at the phone, he stares at his drawings. He picks up a pencil and spins it on his finger. He looks at the phone. He slams the pencil down, picks up the phone and pushes buttons.

Phone rings in Redmond home. Junior answers.

Monk – Hey, Mookie.

Junior – Hey Dad.

Monk – How ya’ doin’

Junior – I’m fine.

Monk – How’s Mom.

Junior – She’s not happy.

Monk – Yeah, I know. Can I talk to her.


Junior – I don’t think she wants to talk to you right now.


Monk – Really?

Junior – Yeah. Really.


Monk – OK. Tell her I called.

Junior – OK.


Junior – Dad?

Monk – Yeah.

Junior – When are you coming home?

Monk – I’ll be home soon.


Junior – Dad?

Monk – Yeah.

Junior – You better be.

Monk – That bad?

Junior – Yeah.

Monk – OK. You be good.

Junior – You, too.


Monk – I love you.

Junior – ‘Love you, too.

They hang up. Monk goes back to his drawings.

End scene

The Magic Circus - Scene 8

Back at the house, it’s dark. Camera pans through house. Bilge lies on couch, flipping through channels. Kent is in the living room messing with his guitar. Monk is at the kitchen table drawing his Magic Circus characters while Nel and Bud talk to each other across the kitchen island from Monk.

Nel – Best. Sportsman. Ever. Full stop.

Bud – Babe Ruth?

Nel – Please…

Monk without looking up, shouts.

Monk – Barry Bonds.

Bud – Very funny. You go to school to get so funny, take funny classes from Professa’ McFunny…

Nel – Donald Bradman is the greatest cricket player of all time, his records dominate still. Untouchable. No other athlete in any sport so far exceeds all other competitors in their field.

Bud – No one gives a shit about cricket.

Nel – So American. You disappoint me. I would have thought our arrival on American soil 15 years ago would have hearkened a new era of global consciousness in you sorry lot.

Kent walks in strumming guitar, switches to “Glory, Glory Hallaleujah”

Nel – An era where puerile, myopic, self-absorbed high school students from the sprawling metropolis of Lodi, when exposed to the brilliant, open-minded, free-spirited whimsy imported from our Sunburned Country to yours…

Bilge has turned off TV and joined Kent swaying and humming along…”the truth is marching on…”

Nel - …that you somehow, some way could have expanded your world-view. Alas, no, it appears my fine American friends…

Bud walks across kitchen to stand near Monk who continues to draw, the page now shows the elephant looking a bit like Nel as he motions to other Magic Circus characters with his trunk.

Nel - …that our efforts in that regard have failed utterly. And miserably. Cling to your parochial pastimes, ignore the stunning array of cultural opportunities more enlightened lands have to offer.

Bud – Like Kylie Minogue.

Monk – Paul Hogan.

Bilge – Hey, hey, no need to be like that…

The room is divided into two camps. Americans on one side, Australians the other. Kent riffs a little Men at Work, “I come from the land Down Under…” walks the room playing guitar as Monk keeps drawing. Bilge now goes to the fridge for a beer. Kent switches to AC-DC’s Back in Black. Bud goes to the fridge for a beer, as well. Bud and Bilge stand together watching and listening as Kent rocks the room, plays some Paul Kelly. Monk, still sits at the table drawing, the page now shows a koala looking like Kent playing guitar. Kent breaks into a new, unrecognizable song, puzzled looks from Bilge and Nel. Nel shouts at Kent.

Nel – What’s that there, Cap’n?

Kent smiles, still playing.

Kent – Dunno. Somethin’ new, been makin’ it up.

Nel approaches, waving his arm.

Nel – Ladies and gentlemen, this is cre-A-tivity in ACTION. Rest your eyes on this striking hunk of humanity! Nel puts his hands on Kent’s shoulders causing Kent to fumble on the guitar.

Kent – Ahh, bugger.

Kent stops and takes off guitar.

Kent – Give us a beer, Bilge.

Bilge pulls a can of beer from the fridge and tosses it to Kent, then says to the room.

Bilge – Speakin’ of CULTCHA’ what say you boys to absorbing a bit of the local Va-RI-It-EYE?

Nel – What’d you have in mind?

Bilge – Oh, I dunno, maybe a peak at some native dance.

Looks at Bud

Bud – That can be arranged…

End scene

The Magic Circus - Scene 7

Outside an In-N-Out Burger, all eat with gusto except Monk who is picking at fries, dipping them in a huge mound of ketchup. Monk looks at Bilge.

Monk – You wanna tell him?

Bilge – No, you do it. You fucked her first.

Bud (mumbles with mouth full) – Dude, you ruined the ending…

Bilge (laughing) – Yeah, but he (points at Monk) ruined the beginning.

No talking. Street noise. They all continue eating except for Kent who looks from each to each.

Kent – That’s it?

Nel – What more do you need?

Kent – Heaps! Who is she? Where’s she from? How did you two meet her…heaps, there’s heaps more I need to know.

Bilge – What, are ya’ writin’ a book?

End scene