Penthouse in a Bag

Davis stood in the back corner of the convenience store, nervously eyeing the owner. She was old, an Asian woman, who probably didn’t care. Or maybe she did. Maybe she would lecture him and call his step-mother.

Heart pounding, he snapped the Penthouse from the rack and approached. The woman took the magazine, slid it into a paper bag and waited to be paid. Penthouse in a BagHe walked outside, pausing at the corner of the parking lot to slide the magazine into his pant leg.

“Hey.” His step-brother, Flynn, appeared behind him. “Can I see that after you’re done?”

Davis redid his shoelace. “Huh?”

“That Penthouse.”

Davis couldn’t understand how he had appeared, where he had come from. “Yeah, okay.”

It was a good issue, four pictorials, lipstick lesbians, the centerfold Pet leaning back with a cigarette in her hand. He took the magazine to Flynn and went back to his room, laying uneasily on his bed. He never spoke with Flynn. They had nothing to say to each other. And now this. Was this some kind of turning point? Would they talk about the naked women? Which was best? What they liked? What they did as they looked at them? What were they supposed to say? Penthouse in a BagThere was a knock. Davis sat up abruptly, crossing the room and opening the door to find the magazine, face down on the beige carpet, Flynn’s door closing down the hall.

An Essential Trilogy: Davis Drinks

Part One: So? Another? Three old friends sit at a bar. Davis finishes his drink and asks, “So? Another?” They nod.

Part Two: Not Drunk. Davis, alone at a bar with empty glasses all around, orders a drink. The bartender asks if he is all right. His reply is simply: “Not drunk.”

Part Three: Just One More. Davis stands at a bar. A remote wilderness can be seen out the window behind him. He calls out to the bartender, “Just one more.” He is refused.

Davis Trilogy Part Three: Baller

Baller: If the bugs don’t get you, insanity will.

Davis leaves behind his easy-going university lifestyle to journey into the Canadian wilderness and a summer job of planting trees.

The learning curve is painful; the mosquitoes and black flies are a constant plague, the weather is by turns baking hot and miserably wet, and the specter of snakes, bears and cougars lurk at every turn. Davis is barely able to make $5 a day at the outset, while his pot-smoking pal Max concedes immediate defeat, hiding in his tent. The sole respite to the torturous work is the communal hot tub where everyone strips naked to drink, pontificate and listen to killer music, all the while dreaming of a better day.

Davis toils on, slowly discovering an inner strength. The repetitive routine of planting trees puts him into a meditative state where he can consider his place in the world, made all the more poignant as he surveys the stripped and burned hillside juxtaposed against the stunning beauty of the surrounding mountains. 20140804_095349The crew finally gets a day off and celebrates their brief freedom in town with drunken antics, after which things take a number of turns for the worse, including Davis’ van getting wrecked. Davis grinds through his angst and exhaustion and, after a late-night rendezvous with the foreman’s girlfriend, goes back to town and gets into a conflict with a group of locals who accuse him of stealing their jobs. Elmer, a mysterious and spiritual planter Davis had only seen from afar, comes to the rescue by defeating their burly leader in an arm-wrestling duel.

Davis returns to work, relentlessly planting, breaking the camp’s record, shortly after which a forest fire appears on the horizon. The foreman insists that the crew stay to make as much money as possible, but Davis and his friends escape this madness by driving directly through the smoke and onto a music festival.

Davis Trilogy Part Two: Paint

Paint: Everything works out for the best. Or not.

Davis, atop an extension ladder as he scrapes paint from a gas station sign, loses his balance in a gust of wind. Hanging on for his life, he tries to reflect on the loss of his recently deceased father but just curses to himself instead until finally rescued. He drives off with a co-worker to the next job and they talk idly, neither one of them approaching the topic of the death of Davis’ father. Instead they banter on about to getting drugs and beer for that evening’s frat party.

They arrive at an office building and Davis zones out while he paints a back hallway, daydreaming in vivid detail the moment he arrived at the hospital to find his father dead. 20150820_162547Davis races off from his work, through campus, getting to his student radio show on time, while Ellen, a girl who Davis has had a crush on from afar, arrives as an intern. Davis blunders all attempts at communications, returns to his radio booth and drifts off again, remembering his final, painful visits with his father at the hospital. He finishes the radio show and shows up, already half drunk, at the frat party where his step-brother tells him that he is not wanted at their father’s funeral the next day.

High on mushrooms, Davis dissolves into a mess, blacking out and then wandering off until he runs into Ellen. He awkwardly blathers on about her beauty and then finally about his father, impulsively inviting her to the funeral before falling asleep on her couch. _mg_3062He wakes up late, and running across campus again, gets to the funeral at last moment where he sits in the back. Mr. Heaney, an old friend of his father’s, gives Davis life advice while sharing a bottle of scotch whiskey. Davis falls asleep, dreaming of his father, to wake as his step-family is leaving the church.

Davis returns to the gas station, back to the drudgery of scraping paint, when Ellen appears and offers to help.

Pictures of Paris with Nani

Davis visited his Nani when he came back from his summer in Paris. She marveled at his pictures, asking again and again where they were from.

“It’s Paris, Nani.” Phone 119“You were in Paris?”

“Yes, I was in Paris.”

“Oh, I’ve never been there.”

“You were there on your honeymoon.”

“Oh, I was?”

“Yes, Nani. You’ve been there many times.”

“Oh dear. I don’t remember that at all. I remember nothing.” She bent toward Davis and whispered. “I’m losing my memory.”

“That’s okay, Nani. Don’t worry about it.”

She turned to a picture of Ellen sitting on a tiny balcony with a wrought iron railing. “And who’s this? Is this me?”

“No. that’s Ellen, my girlfriend.”

“Ellen? I don’t know her.”

“She visited in the spring. We live together at school.”

“Oh, I see. She’s very pretty.” She looked at it again. “And where is this?”

“Paris, Nani.”

“Oh.” She turned to the next picture, Ellen completely naked on the bed.

The blood drained from Davis’ face as he reached over involuntarily. He had forgotten to take those ones out.

“Who is that?”

“Well…” He took the stack gently from her and sifted the next three images out – each more graphic than the next – and returned the remainder to his grandmother.

She considered Davis with her drifting, vacant eyes and then squinted at the images in her lap. “What’s this?”

“This is from a boat tour on the Seine.” Phone 130“Oh.” She peered at the picture of Ellen smiling, the Pont Neuf behind her. “And where is this?”


“You were in Paris?”

“Yes, for a few weeks.”

“I’ve never been there.”

“Yes, you have, Nani. You’ve been there many times.”

“I don’t remember that at all.”

“That’s okay.” He turned to the next picture.

“I have to go to the bathroom.”

Davis nodded. “Okay.”

“You have to help me.”

“I can do that.” He stood. “Ready? One, two, three.” He pulled her up from the couch.

She clung to him a moment, her head against his chest, and then peered into his face. “There’s no dignity in getting old. You just have to forget about that.”

“Paint” Screenplay: Fang Conflict Expunged

DAVIS lies half conscious on the porch of the frat house and stares up into the tree branches above. KATHRYN beside him, stroking his head."Paint" Screenplay: Fang Conflict ExpungedThe front door swings open. MAX, FANG, (KATHRYN’s ex-boyfriend), others behind come outside.

MAX (Seeing DAVIS and KATHRYN): Jesus, Davis.

FANG: What the fuck?

DAVIS struggles to get up but is too light-headed.

FANG (To KATHRYN): What is this?

KATHRYN (To FANG): What do you care?

DAVIS (Struggling to sit up) It’s not like…(Giving up) Shit.

FANG: (To DAVIS): You are such an asshole, such an asshole. (Pause) You’re a complete fucking failure, you know that?

DAVIS (Muttering): Hey, I just blacked out, man.

FANG (Jutting his jaw out, spittle forming at the corners of his mouth): There is no one more worthy of scorn than you. No one!

DAVIS notices the gathering crowd and sees ELLEN in the back. "Paint" Screenplay: Fang Conflict ExpungedFANG: (Turning, seeing ELLEN as well) You like her? Yeah?! You want to know something, man? You will never have her. You will never have anyone. You don’t deserve anyone! You will die alone.

DAVIS (To ELLEN): She’s not my girlfriend.

FANG: Why are you talking?! Why the fuck are you speaking?

DAVIS sees ELLEN leave as FANG steps toward him and slaps him in the face.

FANG: You are a stupid irrelevant fuck!

DAVIS: Holy shit, man. Calm down.

DAVIS tries to laugh but fails miserably as he feels the nausea well up again and falls back to stare up into the branches.

That Pain in the Ass Kid

DAVIS, a 16-year-old, delivers the newspaper to a grey stone house and then crosses a low slope onto the driveway of the next house. 20140914_112815A young boy, JESSE, is at the far end of the driveway near the back of the house. DAVIS glances at him, delivers the paper to the front door and continues to the next house.

JESSE (Coming around from the house): Hey!

DAVIS (Only half stopping): Hi.

JESSE: Since when have you been delivering our paper?

DAVIS (Still walking away): Since today.

JESSE: What’s your name?

DAVIS doesn’t answer him, delivering the paper to the next house. JESSE rides up on his bike beside DAVIS on the street. JESSE is 10 years old, thick dark hair, with chubby arms and a dirty striped shirt; he has a dog, a standard poodle, tied to his bike.20140914_112235

JESSE: What’s your name?

DAVIS (Frowning at the poodle tied to JESSE’s bike): Davis.

JESSE: My name’s Jesse.(Gesturing to the poodle) This is Silver.

DAVIS goes to the next house.

JESSE: Where do you live?

DAVIS: I don’t know. Up the street.

JESSE: You just move in?

DAVIS: I can’t talk, all right? I got to work.

JESSE: I’ve lived here my whole life.

DAVIS walks up the walkway to the next house and delivers the paper. When he looks back, he sees JESSE riding away fast, the dog desperately trying to keep up.

DISSOLVE TO: EXT. DAY. DAVIS delivers newspapers to the same houses on another bright sunny morning. 20140914_112328JESSE appears again, the dog still tied to his bike, from the same driveway.


DAVIS ignores him.

JESSE: I can deliver some, if you want.

DAVIS: No, thanks.

JESSE: I can do it.

DAVIS: I’m sure you can.

JESSE (Reaching for a paper from under DAVIS’ arm): I mean it.

DAVIS (Pulling away): It’s my job.

JESSE: I want to help.

DAVIS (Seeing a basketball net in JESSE’s backyard): Tell you what. I’ll play you 21.

JESSE: Okay!

DAVIS: You win, you can deliver papers with me. 20140914_112916JESSE:All right.

DAVIS (After a pause): I win, and you leave me alone

JESSE (Frowning): Okay.

They play. DAVIS wins and walks away. JESSE rides past him, over the front lawn, the poodle still desperately trying to keep up.