|This material is copyrighted © 1990 by Tom Alexander.    Plagiarism of any kind will result in prosecution.    Enjoy!|
PALE BOY by Tom Alexander FADE IN: BEGIN MAIN TITLE AND CREDITS OVER BLACK WEATHER MAN (V.O.) (slight Texas accent) ...and it's the third week of the heat wave that is just about to fry everything in sight. If you're hoping for things to cool off next week, I suggest you leave the state. Let's take a look at the satellite and as you can see there ain't cloud to be found anywhere... THE CREDITS CONTINUE OVER THE NEXT SCENE AS WE... DISSOLVE TO: INT. KITCHEN - EVENING BEATRICE ANDERSON, young, pretty and nine months pregnant, ignores the portable TV set displaying the weather man, and instead continues her systematic search for a meat tenderizer. She looks at the piece of meat on the counter lying beside a cookbook featuring a chicken fried steak recipe. The oil filled frying pan on the stove next to it begins to boil. BEATRICE (muttering to herself) Tenderizer... tenderizer... Beatrice waddles across the floor, bumping into an ironing board as she steps over MAX, a black and white collie. The dog, bored with Beatrice's mallet search, nods off under the ironing board. Suddenly a spark of ingenuity hits her and she zooms past the refrigerator and out to the garage. ON THE REFRIGERATOR DOOR is a wedding snapshot of a pregnant Beatrice stuck next to a sonogram showing her unborn child. An arrow points to the unborn child's genitalia asking the question "Where's the Beef?" Beatrice emerges from the garage carrying a ballpeen hammer and BEATS the steak into submission. She then plops the flattened steak into a bowl of flour before tossing it into the frying pan. The steak CRACKLES and POPS in the boiling oil as grease splatters everywhere. Beatrice jumps back and bumps into the ironing board knocking the iron off and onto a sleeping Max. The dog YELPS. BEATRICE Sorry, Max. The pan of grease catches fire quickly filling the kitchen with smoke. Beatrice tries to remain calm. The smoke alarm BLARES. She goes over to the sink and fills a large glass of water. Fortunately, common sense takes hold before she can splash the small inferno. BEATRICE What am I doing? She fishes around in a drawer for an oven mitt and pan lid. Finding both, she quickly places the lid over the burning grease snuffing the fire out instantly. She stands in front of the stove victorious. END OF OPENING CREDITS INT. FRONT DOOR HALLWAY - EVENING ROB ANDERSON is greeted by a BLARING alarm, an excited dog and a lot of smoke as he enters carrying a brown paper sack. Rob's not exactly a yuppy (but give him a few years). ROB Honey, you okay? BEATRICE (O.S.) No problem. ROB (to Max) Is she cooking again? Rob walks down the hallway to the smoke alarm. He takes off the cover and pulls out the battery. ROB (silencing the machine) Ahh, Shut up! INT. KITCHEN - EVENING Rob enters the smoke filled kitchen and surveys the mess. ROB Honey, I'm home. BEATRICE Hi, dear, how was work? They kiss and Beatrice returns to her salvage operation. ROB What was it? BEATRICE Chicken Fried Steak. ROB Oh, great. Chicken Fried Steak, Fried Chicken, Fried fish, Fried okra, geez, it's like a state policy. Beatrice motions to the paper sack Rob sets on the table. BEATRICE What's in the bag? ROB Chinese food. Beatrice holds up the charred chicken fried steak. BEATRICE What am I suppose to do with this? ROB (whistling) Max? Here, boy. BEATRICE You can't give it to a dog. ROB What do you mean? You were going to give it to me. BEATRICE Yeah well, you're insured. ROB Thanks a lot. Beatrice cuts up the steak as Rob pulls small cartons from the paper bag. BEATRICE Where did you get the Chinese? ROB Lone Star. BEATRICE Where we bought the car? ROB No, Lone Star Chinese. That's the other thing, everything down here is called Lone Star. Lone Star Chinese, Lone Star Chevrolet, Lone Star Doughnuts, Lone Star this, Lone Star that. Beatrice gives the chunks of chicken fried steak to Max. BEATRICE I wish I knew you were going to bring home dinner, I wouldn't have wasted money on this steak. ROB I'm sorry. I guess I should have called but I thought I'd make it an early birthday surprise. Instead of breakfast in bed, dinner in a box. BEATRICE (tasting the food) Does this have MSG? ROB (whining) I don't know. INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT Rob gets ready for bed while Beatrice talks on the phone. BEATRICE Oh that's great. I can sure use the company. Rob is fine. They're keeping him busy. I do not have a twang. Maybe in a few more months I'll be saying (Texas drawl) "I reckon so", and "I'm fixin' to do this", or "looky over yonder" (starting to laugh) But I still talk like a Yankee... A severe cramp causes Beatrice to stop in mid-sentence. Rob, brushing his teeth, leans in from the bathroom. He looks at his wife, "you okay?". She nods she's all right. BEATRICE Yes, I'm fine. Just a cramp. How late can a baby be? Yes, I know I was two weeks late. Yes, I know it was terribly painful for you. Yes, I know it caused a great deal of resentment which you later took out on me in my adolescent years. Yes, you did. You did, mother. You just won't admit it. Alright already. I love you. Tell Pop I love him, also. See y'all real soon. Bye. Rob joins her in bed where he reads "Dress for Success", while Beatrice picks up the latest offering from Stephen King. ROB What did they have to say? BEATRICE Wished me a Happy Birthday. Dad's got some vacation time coming so they'll be here after I have the baby. ROB Great. And your grandmother? BEATRICE No, mom's got someone to look after her while they're here. ROB Oh, whatever. About your birthday? BEATRICE I want to lose 30 pounds. ROB (pointing to her stomach) The hard way? BEATRICE (amused) You got it. ROB Why don't I just get a rolling pin and we'll pop that sucker on out. BEATRICE Rob! I just want to hurry up and have this thing and get on with our lives. ROB Yeah, I want to have this Thang also. BEATRICE You know what I mean. Rob turns out the light. BEATRICE I love you. ROB I love you, too, honey Bea. FADE TO: INT. BEDROOM - MORNING Beatrice buries herself deeper in the covers, trying to escape the sounds of breakfast preparations (BACON SIZZLING, ELECTRIC JUICER). She hears a dull BUBBLE sound, the kind a water cooler makes when it passes gas. She hears it again, BUBBALOOP! and realizes that the sound is coming from within the room. She pokes her head up and tries to trace the noise. BUBBALOOP!, her eyes lock onto a large oval shaped blob in the corner of the room near the window. The thing shudders, BUBBALOOP! Beatrice's awareness of her surroundings escalates and with it her fear of the blob in the corner. She attempts to call out. BUBBALOOP! Rob barges into the room and throws open the curtains letting the morning sun shine in. ROB Are we going to sleep all day? Rob exits briefly, leaving Beatrice alone with the thing in the corner. The illumination from the window reveals the object to be more egg-shaped with a translucent membrane that wobbles from something shadowy moving inside. Rob bounds back in this time carrying a large breakfast tray which he places in front of Beatrice. ROB How's my little queen Bea doing? Is um' up for some breakfast? Got your favorite? Pork flesh and Chicken embryos. Mmmm Mmmm! Beatrice, confused, looks at her husband and then at the thing in the corner. Rob follows her eyeline. ROB Holy smokes! Look at the size of that guy. Rob examines the large egg up close. A cotton mouth Beatrice shows a bizarre mixture of confusion and fear. ROB Now that's a 30 pounder! Rob touches the sweaty membrane wall. The thing pulsates. ROB Hey! It kicked me! (pressing his head into the membrane wall) Man O man, look at the arms on that sucker. He's going to make one helluva quarter-back... BEATRICE (sluggishly) It's a girl. ROB A minor technicality. Beatrice is apprehensive about her husband being so close to the thing. Rob looks at her with reassurance. Suddenly, a hand bursts from the egg and throttles Rob as murky reddish brown fluid gushes out of the tear in the membrane. INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT Beatrice bolts upright from her nightmare in a cold sweat. She quickly scans the room, making sure reality has returned. A dampness between her legs causes her to pull back the covers which reveals a large reddish brown stain. Her water has broken. Fighting back panic, she awakens Rob. BEATRICE (firmly) Honey, it's time. ROB (sleepy) Huh? I got three more hours... BEATRICE (her voice rising) My water has broken, get up now or I'll kill you. Rob snaps to. He jumps from bed in a panic and steps on Max who was sleeping beside the bed. The dog YELPS. ROB Sorry, Max. Rob sees the blood stain on the sheets. ROB Oh, God! Oh, God! What do you need? BEATRICE Get dressed and get me to the hospital, now. ROB Right! What should I wear? BEATRICE (out of control) Goddamn it! Put some clothes on and get me to the hospital. INT. HOSPITAL O.R. - DAWN Beatrice lies on the delivery table with her legs strung up in stirrups. A NURSE finishes stringing a curtain across her mid- section while DOCTOR OVERTON crouches down at one end of the operating table like a catcher at home plate. NURSE Finished prepping for C, Doctor. DR. OVERTON Great. Now where's our sandman? The ANESTHETIST walks in behind Dr. Overton. ANESTHETIST Right behind you, Bruce. (headed toward Beatrice) Howdy, Ma'am, How you doing? BEATRICE (through deep breaths) Lousy. ANESTHETIST Know the feeling. BEATRICE Did you see my husband out there? ANESTHETIST Skinny guy with his head in a trash can? BEATRICE That's him. ANESTHETIST Stress get to him? BEATRICE Chinese food; too much MSG. ANESTHETIST OOOh, I hate that. How come your not sick? BEATRICE (strained) I've been sick for nine months. Guess I'm used to it. Dr. Overton looks over the curtain at the anesthetist. DR. OVERTON (perturbed) You guys ready down there? ANESTHETIST (to Dr. Overton) Ready, Bruce. (to Beatrice) Someone must have an early tee time. DR. OVERTON Knock her out. ANESTHETIST Relax, honey. First one? DR. OVERTON No. BEATRICE Yes. The Nurse looks at Dr. Overton quizzically. Overton shakes his head and frowns. ANESTHETIST Just relax. Deep breaths. Excellent. Beatrice puffs off into unconsciousness. FADE TO: INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - MORNING Beatrice half asleep, is vaguely aware of her husband's conversation with Dr. Overton and the morning news broadcast of yesterday's heated debate between pro-choice and anti- abortion activists. ROB As far as the surgery goes, is there anything special I need to do? DR. OVERTON Nahh, she'll be okay. Cesareans are so routine nowadays that there are hardly ever any complications. Her biggest problem was her high blood pressure. ROB Our old doctor said that the pregnancy caused the high blood pressure. DR. OVERTON Right. It happens in some cases, which is why we put her out completely instead of using an epidural. ROB How long is she going to be out? DR. OVERTON (looking at his watch) Ought to be coming around... They turn and see Beatrice staring glassy-eyed at them. ROB Hey, Birthday girl, you okay? BEATRICE (mumbly) Thirsty. Rob rushes over to her night stand and feeds her a straw of water as Dr. Overton takes her pulse. ROB How long will she be laid up? DR. OVERTON She'll be sore some for the next month or so, but I can give her some pain killers and fix her up just fine. Beatrice gains more of her senses as she sucks on the straw. The TV plugs a promo for today's "Donahue" - the subject is "Women Who Kill Their Babies". BEATRICE Where's the baby? A NURSE walks in carrying the baby. DR. OVERTON Speak of the Devil, here she is now. The Nurse gives the newborn to Beatrice. Everyone gushes. ROB Man O' man, look at the arms on that sucker. He's going to make one helluva quarter-back... NURSE (surprised at Rob) It's a girl. ROB A minor technicality. Beatrice has a sense of deja vu as she cuddles the baby. DR. OVERTON What's her name? ROB Sam. BEATRICE Short for Samantha. DR. OVERTON Well, good luck, easy parts done, now you've got to raise the silly thing. As the Nurse and Dr. Overton leave, Beatrice glimpses a PALE BOY, sevenish, staring in at her from the hallway. His dark eyes and almost white skin cause a chill to run up Bea's spine as the door swings closed. ROB Honey, I think we've done something good here. Beatrice, troubled, returns her attention to Rob and the baby. FADE TO: INT. ROB'S OFFICE - MORNING Rob carries a briefcase and a newspaper through the a massive maze of cubicles. He reaches his small office and immediately gets down to business by putting his feet up on his desk and reading the newspaper. GEORGE HARBINGER, a co-worker currently running an electric shaver over his face, pokes his head over the wall. GEORGE What no cigars? ROB Hey come on it's been two weeks. GEORGE Uh-oh, party's over. ROB Why are you here so early? GEORGE Early?! I never left. Things are starting to get tight around here. ROB Excuse me? GEORGE We're a government contractor, right? ROB Yeah, so? GEORGE (pointing at newspaper) Can you read, Robbie? Rob sees the headlines, "Congress Slashes Defense Budget". GEORGE Peace is breaking out all over the place. It's a sick world. ROB Man, I don't need this. My wife just had a baby. MALCOLM BIDLEMAN, Rob's boss, enters the cubicle. MALCOLM Morning, Anderson. You got that Norcom proposal finished yet? ROB I'm waiting on some figures from processing, and I should have a draft to you tomorrow... MALCOLM Tomorrow! Listen, I know you just had a baby but I need you to get your priorities back in order. ROB I'll see if I can't get it to you this afternoon. MALCOLM I'd appreciate it. So how are they? ROB Bea and the baby? Fine. Bea's folks are visiting from out of town... MALCOLM Good. That should take a load off your shoulders. (to George) George, that Honeywell bid.... GEORGE Already on your desk, MB. MALCOLM Good work, George. Remind me to keep you around. Malcolm turns and stalks away as a cheshire grinning George sinks beneath the wall of his cubicle. INT. NURSERY - DAY Samantha CRIES relentlessly in the excessively decorated nursery. Beatrice tries to soothe her baby while her mother, MILLY KNAVISH, enters behind her. MILLY Who's crying in here? BEATRICE Someone who needed changing--again. MILLY Fun isn't it? Don't worry you'll get used to it. And then they become teenagers. BEATRICE How do you keep from going crazy? MILLY Marry a comedian, speaking of which when does Rob get home? BEATRICE He called; said he might be late. MILLY Leaving you here all by yourself. BEATRICE What do you think you're doing here? MILLY Honey, we can't stay forever. Daddy's got to work, and I've got to take care of your grandmother. JACK KNAVISH, Beatrice's father, lumbers into the room. JACK What's going on in here. How's my grandson. BEATRICE Granddaughter, dad. JACK Still. Damn, you did it once before. But no, had to go and have a girl. MILLY Jack, why don't you go watch TV. JACK Just thought I'd come and visit; wanted to make sure no one raffled off the baby. Milly gives Jack the evil eye. The air is thick with tension. Beatrice isn't sure what's going on and avoids the issue by... BEATRICE I'm going to check on my rice. Beatrice leaves and Jack follows but stops abruptly when Milly grabs him by the ear. MILLY Keep it up, Jack Knavish. Keep shooting your mouth off and I swear to God I'm gonna stick a fist in it. JACK Oh, she knows I was just kiddin'. MILLY You can be such an ass. Milly storms out of the room leaving Jack with a sore ear. INT. LIVING ROOM - EVENING Jack, planted in an easy chair, sips a beer and watches TV. "Geraldo" is on and the subject of today's show is "Mass Murderers, Serial Killers, and Satanic Cults - Are They Destroying America?" Mr. Rivera moderates the heated discussion concerning the morality of capital punishment. Rob trudges through the front door, looking overworked and stressed out. Max runs to greet him. JACK Howdy, partner, rough day on the range? ROB Evening, Jack. What's happening? BEATRICE (O.S.) (from the kitchen) Hi, Hon. How was work? ROB Busy. Where's Granny? MILLY (O.S.) (also from the kitchen) Don't call me Granny. Jack smiles at Rob; male bonding at its best. Rob picks up the daily newspaper and plants himself next to Jack. ROB What are we watching? JACK Geraldo. ROB No "People's Court"? JACK Hell, they could use a People's Court on this one. They're talking about serial killers getting out of the electric chair. On the TV, Geraldo starts badgering one of his guests, MILTON FISK, whose caption reads "Lawyer who Represents Mass Murderers." JACK I know that son of a bitch. (calling out to kitchen) Hey, Milly. They're talking about our favorite foster parent. Milly wanders in with a beer that she offers to Rob. MILLY You say something, Jack? JACK You remember ol' Ernie, don't you? Milly glances at the TV set and is visibly upset at the site of Milton Fisk. She looks to see if Rob notices her concern. MILLY Dinner's about ready, boys. Absorbed in his newspaper, Rob doesn't note Milly's distress. Milly, fuming, glares at Jack. Jack looks back, "What'd I do?" INT. DINING ROOM - NIGHT Rob, Jack, Beatrice, and Milly finish their desserts. ROB Milly, I do believe this is my favorite dessert. MILLY Why, thank you, Robbie. I was afraid it wasn't going to make it. Rob looks at Milly, then at Beatrice questioningly. BEATRICE Electricity went out again. ROB How long? BEATRICE About an hour. JACK Heats up pretty quick around here. ROB Welcome to the Last Outpost to Hell. JACK What's the problem? Can't these people keep the power running? ROB They're still building in the neighborhood and every so often they cut through a line. MILLY What are your neighbors like, Rob? Rob and Beatrice exchange guilty glances. ROB Well... we really haven't met any of our neighbors. BEATRICE We used to go on walks in the evenings, say "hi" to whoever we ran into... ROB Not very many people have moved into this part of the development, so the ones we've run into have always lived a few streets away... BEATRICE And I've been busy getting the nursery in order, and Rob is settling into his new job. Jack and Milly are concerned. MILLY (suggesting) I guess if there is an emergency you can call 911. JACK If the phone works. ROB We haven't had much of a problem with the phone. Beatrice starts to clear the table. Her mother offers to help but she motions for her to stay seated. BEATRICE Really, and the people we have met here have been pretty nice. JACK Yeah? Ted Bundy was nice. MILLY (warning) Jack. JACK I don't suppose you guys have any sort of protection? Jack points his fingers like a gun. Rob shakes his head. MILLY Maybe they don't want a gun, Jack. JACK Well, if they're going to shack up out here in the wilderness you'd better be prepared for when inbred Charlie comes knocking at the door waving an ax... MILLY Jack, shut up. Rob, amused by his in-laws, smiles at Beatrice as she returns from the kitchen and continues clearing. JACK I'm sorry honey but when they start letting mass murderers get away with mass murdering I feel a little vulnerable. BEATRICE What are they talking about? ROB Geraldo was doing a show on serial killers. You know, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Captain Crunch. JACK Speaking of which, you remember Milton Fisk? BEATRICE No, should I. MILLY (disturbed) Jack, it's been a long time. JACK What, it was seven years ago... MILLY (angry) Jack! She doesn't remember. Now drop it. There is a tense moment of silence. Milly is royally pissed off at her husband. Beatrice doesn't seem to notice anything and continues to clear the table. Rob is confused as hell. ROB Yep. Like I said, great dessert. Good pork chops too, Hon. BEATRICE (O.S.) (from the kitchen) Thanks. Can you get the rest of the dishes? ROB You bet. INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT Rob sets a load of dishes by the sink next to Beatrice. ROB Boy, what got into your folks? BEATRICE What do you mean? ROB What do you mean, "what do you mean?" BEATRICE Oh, they just get on each other's nerves after awhile. ROB Well, I think I'll go get the rest of the silverware before your mother sticks a fork in your dad's throat. Rob exits as Beatrice mindlessly washes the dishes. She peers out through the window and gets lost in thought staring into the darkness. Without warning, just outside the window, the Pale Boy's face appears out of the black void. Beatrice SCREAMS. A loud CRASH from behind her causes her to spin away from the window. Rob, startled by her scream, had dropped a water glass he had just cleared from the table. ROB What's the matter!? BEATRICE I thought I saw someone outside. Beatrice turns back to the window; no one is there. Jack and Milly come into the kitchen. ROB Careful, I dropped a glass. Milly steps over the broken glass to comfort Beatrice. MILLY Are you okay, Honey? BEATRICE I'm fine. I just saw a neighborhood boy. ROB I'll take a look outside. Rob goes out the back door. Jack squats down and starts picking up some of the bigger chunks of glass. BEATRICE I'll get that, Dad. Beatrice gets a broom and finishes the job. JACK I'm telling you, you guys need some protection out here. BEATRICE Thanks, Dad, but the last thing I need to do is to go around shooting children. Rob returns and helps his wife with the broken glass. ROB Well, whoever it was, you probably scared him as much as he scared you. JACK I was just telling your wife here that she needs some protection if she's going to be out here by herself. MILLY What Jack meant to say was we're leaving tomorrow. BEATRICE (disappointed) I thought you were staying to the end of the week. MILLY No, your Grandmother is not feeling well. I think she might be catching a cold. JACK Came on kind of sudden didn't it? Milly turns towards Jack and away from Rob and Beatrice. She looks at Jack with daggers in her eyes. MILLY And Jack has to get back to work. JACK (near death) Yeah, I, uh... got some business to take care of. INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT Rob sleeps soundly in bed while Beatrice tosses and turns. She abruptly stops, her eyes open and she is shocked to awareness by the Pale Boy standing right next to here in bed. BEATRICE (almost whispering) Who are you? What are you doing here? PALE BOY I'm looking for my sister. BEATRICE Your sister is not here. PALE BOY You're lying. BEATRICE No, I'm not. I don't even know who your sister is. PALE BOY (accusing) You're a bad mother. BEATRICE (distressed) No, I'm not. How can you say that? Who are you? Rob grumbles and turns over in his sleep. Beatrice glances over to her husband. When she turns back, the Pale Boy is gone. Beatrice gets out of bed and steps on Max, sending him YELPING into the hall. Rob springs awake. ROB What!? What's the matter? BEATRICE Nothing. I stepped on the dog. ROB Good. Rob falls back to sleep immediately, leaving a troubled Beatrice alone and awake. She slowly begins to CRY. FADE OUT.
Well that's it for the first act. This is what I call a slow burn psychological mystery. Like Rosemary's Baby or The Birds, slow to get started but by the end you're mentally devastated. If you're interested in knowing what happens next or you have any comments please shoot me an e-mail.
And thanks for reading.
And thanks for reading.