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An Excerpt From "Summertime Blues:" Shutting Down Happy Chicken

7/31/2008 11:02:01 AM permalink

For the longest time I've jealously guarded my over the top, high school comedy.

I do so because, for over ten years now, I've been working on it, changing it, updating it, polishing it, and so on.

Not because it was BAD, but just to make it BETTER.

I finally got it *right* in the summer of 2005. Finding the hook was exceptionally difficult, yet all the jokes and sequences worked in the various drafts.

What follows is my favorite sequence, which I dreamed up back in 2000. I'd had some crazy notion of all the madness one could pull if they worked at a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

In high school I was the class clown, practical joker, loud mouth loony that Mania never has really experienced.

I wasn't afraid to wear bed sheets as togas every year. I made an ass out of myself at Cinco De Mayo in my 11'th grade year. (Which was caught on tape. It is the only thing I regret from high school)

But, these days, I've calmed down considerably...AND I HATE IT! I told one of my friends a few weeks ago "I can't do that stuff anymore. I have to work up the energy to be hyper these days."

Sad but true. And I'm facing 31. God I wish I was back in high school, simply because it really was the most fun I'd ever had.

(I should also dedicate this blast from the past to that brilliant madman Michael Xavier Maelstrom, you single handedly embody everything me and my friends would pull back in the mid 90's. One day I'll have to tell those stories here.

As for me, I must have gotten old, boring, and I probably complain way too much. Here's to you and to me embracing the madness again and drinking fresh wine from the fountain of youth in a Hooters glass.)

And without further ado, a scene from "Summertime Blues."


EXT. BILLY’S HOUSE - SAME MORNING

Harmony is arriving in her sports car. She knocks on the door. The sound of running feet accompany the door opening and Billy stepping out.

BILLY
Uh…Hi, Harmony.

HARMONY
Hi Billy. I was wondering if you wanted
to go see a movie today.

BILLY
(stunned)
Movie? Uh, yeah. I’d like to go see a
movie.
(then)
You do mean with you, don’t you? You
would be there with me, at the movie?

HARMONY
Well, yeah. So what do you say?

She smiles.

BILLY
Oh, yeah. Sure I’d love to go.

The telephone rings.


BILLY
Just let me get that. Don’t go anywhere.

HARMONY
Okay.

Harmony waits outside.

BILLY (OC)
Hello? Today? Now? But…okay.

We hear something being thrown and glass breaking.

BILLY (OC)
Shit!

Billy steps outside again, pissed.

HARMONY
Is something wrong?

BILLY
Yeah. That bastard down at Happy
Chicken wants me to come in this
morning. Unpaid overtime.

HARMONY
Unpaid? Can’t you do something about it?

BILLY
I’ve tried. The home office just laughs
at me, and no one listens to me about
this power abuse.

HARMONY
Why don’t you just quit?

BILLY
I can’t. I need a new car, desperately.

HARMONY
Well, get a different job.

BILLY
I’ve tried. Nobody’s hiring right now.

HARMONY
Well, I guess the movie will have to
wait. Call me when you’re off. Okay?

BILLY
Okay.

She waves as she leaves. Billy, pissed, goes back inside.

BILLY (OC)
Hello, Stephen? Yeah, meet me at the
bookstore in ten minutes.


EXT. BOOKSTORE - SAME MORNING

Stephen arrives at the bookstore and hops out of his car. Billy’s car is already here.


INT. BOOKSTORE - MOMENTS LATER

Stephen is looking through the aisles. Stephen keeps searching and finds Billy sitting in the floor, one book open in his lap.

STEPHEN
Okay, now what was so important I
come here?

BILLY
This.

He holds up the book for Stephen.

STEPHEN
(reading)
Evil Scheming For Fun And Vengeance?
(then)
Cool.

BILLY
Before the day is over, I’ll no longer
be a Happy Chicken employee.

STEPHEN
Dude, you’ve got the evil eye. What
are you planning?

BILLY
Something special. But first, I’ll need
you to pick up a few things and meet me
at Happy Chicken.

STEPHEN
And what happens then?

BILLY
We close down Happy Chicken by making
sure it fails its health and safety
examination.

STEPHEN
Ooh, now we’re talking.


INT. SUPERMARKET - LATE MORNING

Stephen is buying ketchup, a large knife, and a white apron.

CASHIER
Will this be all?


EXT. HAPPY CHICKEN - LATE MORNING

Billy is arriving, very slowly, in his broken down car. It dies and starts smoking as Billy manages to park.


INT. HAPPY CHICKEN - MOMENTS LATER

The Boss is here, and is looking everything over.

BOSS
We have one hour before the health and
safety inspection. I want you to go
over everything again, and if we’re
forced to close, you’re out of a job.
You hear me?

BILLY
(smiling)
I know. Don’t worry about a thing, boss,
I’ll take good care of everything.

BOSS
Good! Be sure that you do!

He storms out, leaving Billy alone. Billy goes over to the phone, and dials.

BILLY
Did you get everything, Stephen?

STEPHEN (OC)
Everything, dude. You sure about this?

BILLY
Very sure. Be here in thirty minutes.

STEPHEN (OC)
I’ll be there in five. I’m looking
forward to this one! Bye!

Billy hangs up, and goes to prepare.


EXT. HAPPY CHICKEN - AFTERNOON

Stephen arrives in the parking lot.


INT. HAPPY CHICKEN - CONTINUED

Billy looks outside as Stephen arrives.

BILLY
Showtime.


EXT. HAPPY CHICKEN - AFTERNOON

A stuffy INSPECTOR arrives on the scene in an official marked car. He carries a clipboard and goes inside.


INT. HAPPY CHICKEN - CONTINUED

The Inspector comes in.

INSPECTOR
I am the food and health inspector. Your
annual review will commence now. I trust
everything is in order.

BILLY
Yes. You’ll find everything is as it
should be.

INSPECTOR
Good. I’d like to examine the seating
area now.

BILLY
Of course. Go right ahead.

The Inspector does so, and Billy goes in the back where Stephen is getting ready. He’s got a feather pillow, a large meat cleaver, a live chicken in a cage, and he wears an apron.

STEPHEN
Ready dude. Just give the signal.

Billy gives the thumbs up, and goes back to the front.

INSPECTOR
This area would seem to be satisfactorily
clean.

BILLY
Thank you. Now would be a good time to
examine the restrooms, wouldn’t you
agree?

Billy has given the signal. Stephen releases the live chicken from the cage, and it scurries from the back to the eating area.

INSPECTOR
Yes. I do believe so.
(re: chicken)
What in God’s name is that?

BILLY
That? Oh that’s today’s special.

INSPECTOR
Today’s special?

STEPHEN
Where’d that little bastard get off to?

He comes out, waving the meat cleaver around.

INSPECTOR
Who are you?

STEPHEN
I’m the cook! Now, where’s my main
ingredient? Ah, there it is!

He runs over and picks up the chicken.

STEPHEN
I’ll teach you to run away from the
boiling pot of fun!

The Inspector is incensed. He furiously writes this down.

INSPECTOR
Is that young man really the chef?

BILLY
Oh, absolutely.

INSPECTOR
Is he aware that he is using a live
animal?

BILLY
Well, it ran away, so I’m sure he does.
Besides, he insists on fresh
ingredients.

In the back, Stephen is carefully placing the chicken back in its cage and putting it safely away.

STEPHEN (OC)
I’ll teach you to run away from me!

He slams the meat cleaver down on a wooden cutting board. Thump!

INSPECTOR
He’s not…he wouldn’t…is he?

BILLY
Bet your boots he would.

The Inspector furiously writes some more notes down.

STEPHEN (OC)
Don’t you peck me, you little bastard!

Another thump of meat cleaver on cutting board.

BILLY
Excuse me for a moment.

Billy goes in the back, and finds Stephen covering his knife in ketchup, and the apron as well. Billy picks up the feather pillow, tears it open, and starts throwing feathers out all over the place.

INSPECTOR
(re: feathers)
What is going on back there?

STEPHEN (OC)
He’s trying to run away with his one
good leg!

Another thump of meat cleaver on wooden cutting board, and then Stephen comes out looking like a madman, waving the meat cleaver around as it drips ketchup.

STEPHEN
Did you see the headless body come hopping
around out here on one leg?

The Inspector faints. Billy comes out, in maniacal fits of laughter.


EXT. HAPPY CHICKEN - MOMENTS LATER

The revived Inspector is running for his car. Stephen and Billy are running after him.

INSPECTOR
I’m shutting this establishment down!

BILLY
But why?

STEPHEN
Yes! Stay for the salad bar!

INSPECTOR
You’re insane!

The Inspector gets in, and drives off as fast as he can. Billy and Stephen share a high five.

Tags: summertime blues


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