Writing On Spec

An award caliber procrastinator discovers a new and dangerous pursuit to keep him from actually writing another script. Why another Blog? I love to talk screenwriting. I love to talk story. I live in Richmond, VA. It's almost easier to get produced than find another screenwriter here. We are the anti-LA.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Biff the Angel

This was a short I did for a party reading. Our writer's group had a group of actors come in, we'd serve food and cold read short scripts. Always liked this. Thought I'd share.

FADE IN:

EXT. SKY - DAY

A notebook falls.

EXT. CENTRAL PARK - NEW YORK - DAY

A BUM wrapped in newspaper sleeps peacefully on his park bench.

WHAP~! The notebook smacks the bum on the head.

BUM
Ouch! Who the..?

He looks around for the perpatrator. Finds nobody. Lying on the ground, however, is a notebook. Spiral bound. In large bold letters on the front it reads:

"Frequently Asked Questions"

He picks it up and opens the first page.

EXT. HEAVEN - DAY

Overcast. Big black clouds dull the otherwise bright, white fluffy clouds that constitute the ground.

BIFF, timid and unassuming, shuffles across white fluffy clouds. Whisps of cloud puff with each shuffle. He bears tiny wings on his back. His shirt is cut to allow them to protrude through the back.

Slung over his shoulder is a knapsack. The zipper is open and folders and papers hang precariously in the opening.

He stops to check his watch. Rolls his eyes as he remembers he doesn't have a watch anymore. He has a small sun dial on his wrist.

He holds it out to try and catch some ray of sunshine. The sun dial remains dull and listless. Biff shakes his head and continues his trek. A slip of paper slips out and flutters down through the clouds.

EXT. CENTRAL PARK - NEW YORK - DAY

POOF! A piece of paper materializes and gets tossed by the wind.

EXT. HEAVEN'S PARK - DAY

Full of gorgeous statues - unmarred by the earthen aviary constituants. A pond ripples in the center of the park. Lush trees rustle in a gentle breeze.

Sitting on a park bench is THE ARCHANGEL ELLIOTT. His huge wings flap quickly in agitation. He taps his foot. Checks his sun dial. Looks around the park. He spots Biff.

Biff plods through the park. Ignores all the grandeur around him. POOF! Elliott is standing beside him.

ELLIOTT
And just where have you been?

BIFF
Eh...

ELLIOTT
Do you know what time it is?

BIFF
Funny you should mention that.

ELLIOTT
I don't know what it is with you newbies. No manners. Couldn't send a thought that you'd be late?

BIFF
A thought?

ELLIOTT
You know, telekenesis.

BIFF
Yeah, right. Sorry, I wasn't thinking.

ELLIOTT
You can say that again. Now come on. I've got another orientation at three and the mornings almost gone as it is.

BIFF
Elliott?

ELLIOTT
Archangel Elliott.

BIFF
Sorry. Archangel Elliott? What time is it?

Elliott huffs. Thrusts his wrist out to show his sun dial.

ELLIOTT
One-fifteen. Didn't you read your fack? It's all in there.

A blank look crosses Biff's face.

BIFF
Err...yeah. It just hasn't all sunk in yet.

Elliott grabs Biff by the hand and begins to drag him along.

ELLIOTT
You'd think that He could do something about this disorientation thing for you newbies, you know?

BIFF
Huh?

Elliott sighs. Rolls his eyes.

ELLIOTT
Come on, now. We have a lot to do in the next hour.

EXT. PALACE - HEAVEN - DAY

A giant palace, rich in splendor stretches into the sky. Sculptured stone angels watch from the top of the building.

BIFF
Is this where He lives?

ELLIOTT
No, silly. This is John's place.

BIFF
THE John?

ELLIOTT
If you mean St. John, yes.

BIFF
Where does He live?

ELLIOTT
You didn't read your fack, did you?

BIFF
Yes, I did.

ELLIOTT
Remember, you're in heaven now. We don't take to lying here.

BIFF
Honest, I read the fuck.

ELLIOTT
Fack.

BIFF
Sorry.

Elliott shakes his head.

ELLIOTT
I'd like to know what I did to deserve this. You know I was in the same creation group as Gabriel. But do I get to manifest myself in bright lights and splendor? No, I'm doomed to orientations. What has he got that I haven't?

BIFF
Maybe it's your name.

ELLIOTT
What?

BIFF
The Archangel Elliott. It doesn't have the same ring to it as the Archangel Gabriel.

ELLIOTT
What would you know, you're still disoriented.

BIFF
Are all angels as mean as you?

ELLIOTT
Just shut-up and follow me.

Biff trudges after Elliott.

CUT TO:

EXT. PEARLY GATES - HEAVEN - DAY

The pearly gates. They really are pearly. Biff stands in awe. Elliott stands with his arms folded across his chest. Taps his foot rapidly.

ELLIOTT
Had enough?

BIFF
They're prettier that I ever imagined.

ELLIOTT
Do you have your questions ready?

BIFF
Oh, yeah. Thought about 'em all night.

ELLIOTT
(to himself)
Bet you did.

BIFF
I wanted to make sure I didn't waste any.

ELLIOTT
So what are they?

BIFF
I'm not telling you.

ELLIOTT
Please. Must we go through this? It's my job to make sure you ask appropriate questions.

BIFF
What kind of questions would be inappropriate?

Big sigh for Elliott - could this be any more tedious?

ELLIOTT
Things like, "why did you give me such a small penis?"

Biff checks his list. Elliott's eyes bulge at the idea that Biff may have written down that question.

Biff looks up. Smiles.

ELLIOTT
Well?

BIFF
Well what?

ELLIOTT
Is it on your list?

BIFF
That's none of your business.

ELLIOTT
Just read them out.

BIFF
They're personal.

Elliott grabs Biff by the throat and raises him into the air.

ELLIOTT
If you don't read me those questions, I swear I'll pluck every hair from your body one at a time.

BIFF
Wouldn't that hurt?

ELLIOTT
A lot.

BIFF
I didn't think you could feel pain in heaven.

Elliott reaches out and plucks a hair from Biff's arm.

BIFF
Ouch!

ELLIOTT
Care to begin reading?

BIFF
(reluctantly)
You promise you won't tell anyone?

Elliott pauses as he remembers:

CUT TO:

EXT. HEAVEN'S BAR - NIGHT (FLASHBACK)

Elliott sits at a table with several other angels tossing back a few brews. They're all laughing hysterically. Elliott composes himself for a moment. Wipes tears from his eyes.

ELLIOTT
Swear to Him. That was the guys' question. I almost popped a wing socket laughing.

CUT TO:

EXT. PEARLY GATES - HEAVEN - DAY

Elliott forms a solomn look. Sets Biff down and crosses his heart. He holds up three fingers in the Boy Scout signal.

ELLIOTT
Scout's honor.

BIFF
(hesitantly)
Okay. One - how come I always lose one sock in the wash? And where does it go?

ELLIOTT
That's two questions.

BIFF
Then I'll rephrase. What happens to the sock I always lose when I wash clothes.

ELLIOTT
You're serious?

BIFF
You never wondered?

ELLIOTT
I'm an angel. We don't wear socks.

BIFF
Don't your feet get cold?

ELLIOTT
In heaven?

BIFF
It never gets cold here?

ELLIOTT
(in disbelief)
It's heaven.

BIFF
I know, but-

ELLIOTT
(resigned)
This isn't sinking in, is it?

A blank look from Biff.

ELLIOTT
All right. Next question.

BIFF
What is the meaning of life.

ELLIOTT
I knew it. You haven't read the fack have you?

BIFF
Did too.

ELLIOTT
Did not.

BIFF
Prove it.

ELLIOTT
That's the first question in the fack.

BIFF
You keep talking about this fuck-

ELLIOTT
FACK.

BIFF
This fack thing.

ELLIOTT
Yes. It's very important that you have read it before you appear before Him.

BIFF
Exactly what is it?

ELLIOTT
Didn't you read any of the material that was given to you?

BIFF
I have a bit of a confession to make.
(beat)
I can't read.

ELLIOTT
Just a moment.

Poof! Elliott disappears. Biff looks around nervously.

BIFF
Hello? Archangel Elliott?

Poof! Elliott's back. His wings are a little singed. The bottom of his gown is on fire.

ELLIOTT
Sorry.

BIFF
(pointing to gown)
You're on fire.

Elliott looks down. Blows on the fire. It goes out.

ELLIOTT
Again. Sorry. I had something to say that He wouldn't really appreciate.

BIFF
You were going to explain the fack.

ELLIOTT
It's all the most frequently asked questions He receives. The F.A.Q. The fack.

BIFF
But that's faqueue.

ELLIOTT
It's pronounced fack. Just live with it.

Biff pulls his backpack off. Begins to dig into it.

BIFF
I've got everything you gave me right here.

Elliott peeks into the backpack.

ELLIOTT
Where's the FAQ?

BIFF
(digging)
It's here.

ELLIOTT
You lost it didn't you?

BIFF
Aren't we Mr. Positive?

FADE TO BLACK

GERALDO
Welcome to Geraldo. Today we have a gentlemen who claims to know the answer to the question on all our minds...what happens to the lost sock in the wash. The answer to this, the meaning of life, and many others when we return from this commercial break.

FADE OUT:

THE END

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