Thursday, August 10, 2017



Open with a James Bond-like theme.

Prologue …
A mental hospital. James Thurber and Harold enter.
Harold: So, James, how are you’s doin tuday.
James Thurber: Pretty good, even if I do drink floor polish for stomach bitters and get into other comic situations.
Harold: That latest girl they brought in sure looks messed up. I wish I’da bin here when she arrived instead with the penguins at Harvard.
Dr. Thurber: Still playing golf with nuns, are you?
Harold: Yup. (Sighs) She had a pharmacy in her veins. Was sure tough cutting through that display of chocolate bars te get te her coronary artery.
Dr. Thurber: Is that her in the room we’re in front of now?
Harold: Yup.
Dr. Thurber: Do you think we should go in there and pick her up off the floor?
Harold: Huh, maybe.

Scene 1
Isolation F Ward. Danny wakes up and opens her eyes. Her head takes off from her body, flies around the room and settles back down on her neck. Danny is wearing a shirt with a horrible-looking monster on it and the words RUN FROM THE RIVERWOOD MONSTER. She slides toward the door, reaches up and tries to open it.
Danny: It’s stuck. Come on, door, open. Open. … Oh wait, it’s locked.
Ray Manzurik: Hey. Are you in there or what? Danielle Webster? Are you Danielle Ireen Webster?
Danny: Can I get out now?
Ray Manzurik: Just shut up and answer the question. Are you Danielle Ireen Webster?
Danny: Oh, yes. Who are you?
Ray Manzurik: My name’s Ray Manzurik. I’m your door.
Danny: Oh.
Ray Manzurik: So how nuts are you?
Danny: No, I just, I, too much vodka, accidentally. I thought it was water.
Ray Manzurik: Yeah, right. Well, anyway, I gotta go. Listen kid, don’t fight it or they’ll nail you. See you in about a day. Stay loose.
(Danny tries to pull herself up the wall. Suddenly, a hurricane occurs. )

Scene 2
The infirmary. A nurse wheels Danny in.
Nurse: Due to cutbacks, we had to fire all our physicians. The physicals are all done by machine.
(The nurse turns on the machine.)
Machine: Welcome to your physical! Do you have an irregular heartbeat?
Danny: I don’t know. I don’t think so.
Machine: Do you have any tropical diseases in your blood stream?
Danny: How should I know that?
Machine: Try again.
Danny: I don’t know.
Machine: You have successfully passed your physical.
(Yolanda Briggs enters.)
Yolanda Brigs: Afternoon, honey. My name’s Yolanda L. Briggs.
Danny: What does the L stand for?
Yolanda: I like Elle Magazine so much I decided to change my middle name to L. Come with me.

Scene 3
Outside Room 322. Yolanda pounds on the room door with one hand and then opens it.
Allison Hilary McKenzie: Hey, yo, what’s up?
Yolanda: Yeah, as if you didn’t already know.  Welcome to your new home, darling, your new, permanent home. (Danny gets a shocked look on her face) Just kiddin. Now I’m going to leave you two alone to discuss the state of Russia’s economy or whatever it is girls talk about at sleepovers these days. (She hands Danny a piece of paper) This is your life for the next three days. After that, you get a new sheet for every single day telling you where to go, when to eat and when to go to bed. Officially, it’s so you can concentrate on getting better, but what are the realistic chances that’s going to happen? After all, the goal of any institution is not to teach people how to function in society, but how to live in the institution.
(Yolanda exits.)
Allison: (Looking at Danny’s schedule) Let’s see, you have one on one in twenty minutes … with Thurber! Oh my gosh, they gave you the grand pooba. Richardson’s famous but Thurber is like, out of this world. He likes to start off with the photo albums, which is actually kind of difficult since he’s nearly blind as a bat. Yo, Danny, you with me? Hello. You got one on one with Thurber in twenty minutes. Hey, daddy’s girl, snap out of it. (Danny shoves Allison up against the dresser) OK, maybe I deserved that. (She shoves Danny against the wall. A picture frame containing a woodcut of The Lady Of The Lake falls and the glass shatters) Well, I’ve got honours Spanish. Remember, you go up one floor to room 405. Talk to Thurber. In fact, ask for the photo album straight off. If you can’t think of anything to say, just make something up. Got that?
(Danny nods. Allison exits.)
Danny: Well, I guess King Arthur’s never gonna go looking for the Holy Grail now.

Scene 4
James Thurber’s office. Danny enters.
Dr. Thurber: Come in, Danielle, sorry, Danny, come in. Welcome. Make yourself comfortable. (Thurber’s office is disorganized. Books, magazines, files, and fast food wrappers cover every surface) Sit, um, sit somewhere, preferably not on the fast food wrappers. Do you have any question about any aspect of being here?
Danny: Why do you have a picture of a giant tangereen in your office?
Dr. Thurber: What! I have a picture of a giant tangereen in my office? (Danny nods) That’s supposed to be a picture of my children. The other staff must have played a practical joke on me, again.
Danny: Speaking of pictures, could we take a look at the photo album?
Dr. Thurber: Of course. I believe that in certain circumstances, a patient’s family photos can help the patient find things they weren’t even looking for. Catch!
(He picks up the photo album and throws it at Danny. It lands in her lap, catching her by surprise. She begins to flip through it.)
Danny: Dr. Thurber, these appear to be photos of your family’s vacation to Florida.
Dr. Thurber: Shoot! Another practical joke. (Shrugs) Well, perhaps you could just tell me some repressed memories, perhaps some involving vacations or family outings.
Danny: When I was five we went to the Statue Of Liberty, to, sort of, climb up, you know.
Flashback …
The ferry. Mark, Sandra, Danny, and Kelly are standing on the ferry, headed toward the Statue Of Liberty.
Sandra Webster: I am enjoying this pleasant family time we are having together.
(Danny and Kelly nod.)
Mark Webster: Ah, the Statue Of Liberty, symbol of freedom, the sum total of everything that makes this country great.
Young Man: Yeah, built in 1883 by a French sculptor who was a free mason, the woman with the torch and the cup symbolizing an important aspect of Greek mythology.
Mark: Listen you punk, I don’t want to hear that kind of talk.
Young Man: I assure you it’s all true, sir.
Mark: I know it’s true but I don’t want to hear it.
(He pulls a kibab skewer out of his pocket and stabs the young man. The young man pulls a skewer out of his pocket and stabs back. They begin to fight.)
Present …
Dr. Thurber: Danny, Danny. (He walks over and takes Danny’s pulse) Normal. Where did you go?

Flashback …
Scene 5
The woods. Danny and Kelly are running through the woods and jumping over downed tree trunks. Danny jumps over three tree trunks and clears them.
Kelly: Warrior princesses.
Danny: Amazing Amazon.coms.
(Kelly trips over a tree trunk.)
Kelly: A dragon hath got me, yo. Please help me to vanquish it and stuff.
(Danny and Kelly fight a pitched battle with the tree trunk.)
Danny: We have vanquished the horrible dragon. We have done killed our foe deader’n a hammer.
Kelly: Am I not, like, totally stupendous, fellow warrior.
Danny: Yeah, you’re a miracle in motion all right.
Kelly: I can do anything, except most things because Daddy says I’m too stupid and clumsy.
Danny: Well, we must get back home or we shall be late for the recital tonight.

Scene 6
The auditorium. The Webster family is sitting in the front row with all the other families who have children performing in the recital.
Sandra Webster: I still don’t know if it was a good idea to insist Danny play tonight. The doctor did say she had that malignant brain tumour.
Mark: She’s just faking.
(Jessica Rupert finishes singing “Tennesie Waltz.”
Anncr: Next, Danielle Webster playing Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony.”
(Danny gets up, walks onstage, sits down at the piano and begins to play. CCR bursts through the stage door and begins to play “Ramble Tamble.”)
John Fogerty: Thank you, St. Louis.
(Danny walks offstage. Her father punches her in the head.)

Present …
Scene 7
The conference room. The inmates of C ward are sitting around the table. Dr. Thurber and Eugenia Montclaire are standing at the front of the room.
Dr. Thurber: For our lecturer for this Career Day, I am honoured to present Ms. Eugenia Montclaire.
Eugenia Montclaire: Thank you. I run a photography equipment distribution company. Today, I intend to tell you exactly what is involved in running a photography equipment distribution company. Not that it really matters since you’re just a bunch of juvenile delinquent mental patients who don’t have a hope of even getting out of here much less amounting to anything.

Scene 8
Danny and Allison’s room. Danny and Allison are sitting on their beds.
Allison: Hey, Danny, I got a present for you.
Danny: Really?
(Allison opens a drawer, pulls something out and hands it to Danny.)
Allison: It’s a prescription pad. You just write whatever kind of drugs you want on their, take it to the pharmacist when we go out on errand’s night, and she’ll hook you up with whatever you want.
Danny: Oh, thank you, Allison. Some good times are in store for me!

Flashback …
Scene 9
The woods. Danny and Kelly are standing by a tree.
Kelly: Danny, can we do the purifying ritual at the stream?
Danny: No. We must get home straightway or they shall have our butts.
Kelly: Please. Please, Danny, with sugar and liver and broccoli on top!
Danny: OK. OK. Just a few minutes.
(They run through the woods.)
Kelly: It’s running. The stream’s still there. I can hear it.
Danny: Brilliant hearing. I guess that’s why you’re captain.
Kelly: Now all we have to do is walk across this patch of rusty nails.
(They begin walking across the nails.)
Together: Ow. Ow. Ow.
Danny: OK, let’s get ready to be purified.
(They wade into the stream and then wade back out.)
Kelly: I’m starving.
Danny: Me, too.
(They stretch out on the grass, lying perfectly back to back.)
Kelly: OK?
Danny: Perfect.
Kelly: What do we got?
Danny: One package of melting Maltezers. Also, three packages of Rainbow Skittles to be washed down by a family-size pack of liquid Snickers.
Kelly: I have apples, bread and cheese. Tell me about Yuris.
Danny: Not today.
Kelly: Please, please, please. We won’t be playing it tomorrow and we didn’t really play it today. I won’t ask for anything else.
Danny: OK, OK. Yuris is the personification of evil. His robe is like pearlised clouds, but also irradescent blue, because it is a different colour on either side. It is always misting around him, because of his hair spray, for he has the 80’s hair jelling thing happening still. Yuris floats, though he never leaves the ground. This is because of all the coffee in his system. And Yuris has no hair anywhere on his body.
Kelly: I know just exactly what you mean, like a Chinese person.
Danny: Yes, exactly. Let’s eat.
Kelly: Good idea.
(They try to eat but can’t open their mouths.)

Present …
Scene 10
The TV room. Danny, Allison and Kevin are watching TV.
Allison: So, what’s this movie that’s coming up called?
Danny: It’s called The Choppers. It stars Art Hall Jr. and Mary Anne Gayba.
Allison: You make it sound so exciting.
Danny: It is. (Gets really excited) A one million dollar a year racket. He first stole a peanut butter sandwich when he was six years old. Now he’ll steal anything he can carry or load on a truck. (Sirens are heard on the TV) Ohhh, here come the sirens. Run, Art, baby. Run.

Scene 11
The conference room. Dr. Thurber is at the front of the room. Danny, Allison, Kevin, Jared, Bobby, Janice, and the others are sitting around the table, silently.
Dr. Thurber: So, does anyone have any insights at all today?
Danny: I do. I do.
Dr.  Thurber: Good, Danny. Go ahead and share them.
Danny: Well, the game was a means of disassociation. Suraya is the personification of good, representing Kelly. Yuris represents me. I feel I am bad because I could never please Daddy. Also, I just remember Kelly actually died in a traffic accident the night after we played the game for the last time, and I feel responsible because Mom and I went in a separate car, and I feel like if I could have been with her I could have protected her or at least went with her.
(She bursts out crying.)
Bobby: Um, Doc, I hate to cut this short but Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy are on in a couple minutes.
Dr. Thurber: Right. You are dismissed.

Scene 12
The TV room. Bobby and some other patients are watching TV.
Pat Sajack: Ok, any time you’re ready … you can pick your first letter.
Contestant: I don’t know. I can’t decide which letter to choose.
Pat Sajack: Oh for goodness sake, lady, find out the ten most common consonants in the English language and keep picking them. When you get the chance to buy a vowel, buy the letter e. That applies to most of the puzzles we’ve had on here in the past twenty years. ****!
(Jeopardy comes on.)
Alex Trebek: And we have to take a commercial break. Halfway through the Jeopardy round, John is at minus 200, Susan is at minus 500 and Vanessa is at minus 1000. We’ll be back after this.

Scene 13
Outside the infirmary. Allison is pacing up and down the hall. Yolanda is standing just outside the door to the infirmary.
A.H.M.: Yolanda, can’t you do something?
Yolanda: Best for her just to let it all out.
Allison: But this is nuts, even for someone who’s nuts.
Yolanda: Now baby girl, just think of it. She ain’t cried since she was four years old. All that abuse. All that pent-up emotion.
Allison: Anyway, Jared, Kevin and I are gonna walk out the front door and start a new life. Look the other way, OK?
Yolanda: Sure thing.
(A nurse walks by and enters the infirmary. Danny is lying on the bed furthest from the door. Sandra Webster is sitting in a chair, staring at Danny intently.)
Nurse: You want liquid pizza?
(Danny gulps it down.)
Danny: All better now.
Sandra: Oh sweetheart, wonderful. I’ve brought you some of your favourite dishes from when you were a child: pizza, cheese fries and fake Jell-O. I used to give them to you after your father would abuse you.
(Danny goes into a coma.)

Closing credits.

Based on “The Game” by Teresa Toten.

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