The Smith family reunion...sort of.
Open in a cramped, coffee-and-folding-chairs break room. ROGER is struggling to hear the newscaster over the sound of running water. A toilet flushes, and JEREMY twirls out of the employee restroom past a hostess on her way to the coffee pot.
JEREMY: Yeah, baby. Strut your stuff.
The hostess ignores him, while ROGER ups the volume on the television set in an effort to catch the last few words of the news report.
NEWSCASTER: --stunning turn of events, McEvilbad refused legal counsel and requested to act as his own attorney, a move that may prove--
JEREMY: Roger, the frickin' toilet's clogged again!
JEREMY: So? So get off your lazy behind and plunge that sucker!
ROGER: That's not my job.
JEREMY: Right, I'm sorry, I forgot - YOUR job is to sit in the break room all day moping 'cause Suzie so-and-so dumped you for a fish doctor.
ROGER: Okay, first of all, I'm a valet. All right? I'm not a janitor, I'm not a maid, and I'm not a plumber. And she's not a 'fish doctor'. She's a marine biologist.
JEREMY: Wait, 'she'? (Laughing) Oh, man!
ROGER: Secondly...secondly, I'm entitled to an total of sixty minutes a day for food and bathroom breaks. How I choose to spend it is my business. Don't you have people to check in?
JEREMY: Ha-ha. Rooms are all booked for the stupid reunion. Half the family's Swedish or Norwegian or something. Buncha nine-foot-tall Vikings from Minnesota.
ROGER: And so many bicyclists. Why do they even pay me?
Enter MISTER FONG, manager, slamming the break room door behind him. A loud crash can be heard just outside in the hallway.
MISTER FONG: Why do I even pay you two?
MISTER FONG: What? You know what. I just walked through a lobby full of sun-burned Norwegians waiting for someone to open the dining hall!
ROGER: It's noon.
MISTER FONG: I know.
ROGER: The kitchen staff doesn't even come in until four.
MISTER FONG: I know!
JEREMY: So what's the problem?
MISTER FONG: The problem is I've got five tons of Scandinavian meat sizzling in my lobby like a bunch of overcooked lobsters, my sidewalk has become a used bike shop, and every damn toilet, sink, and drinking fountain in this whole damned place is backed up, broken, or unusable. Okay? And two of my perfectly able-bodied employees are sitting in the break room watching soaps and daytime talkshows.
ROGER: It's the news.
MISTER FONG: Whatever. Get the keys and open the dining hall! Park the bicycles under a tree somewhere! And unclog the damn toilets!
ROGER & JEREMY: Not my job.
ROGER: Well, the toilet thing. You want me to park bicycles?
MISTER FONG: Just...carry them out to the back or something.
ROGER: No tips or anything.
MISTER FONG: You are maybe ten seconds from getting fired.
ROGER: Right, boss. Parking the bikes.
MISTER FONG: Planter, go get the plunger...
JEREMY: I think we should open the dining hall, sir. Vikings are notorious d-bags when they're hungry.
MISTER FONG sighs, and prepares to speak again when JEREMY dashes for the key rack. He snatches up the dining hall keys, but stops as something on the nearby table catches his eye.
MISTER FONG: What now, Jeremy?
JEREMY: I...got a text message from my father.
JEREMY picks his phone up from the table to read the message. His face curls up in horror as MISTER FONG stomps in frustration and moves to snatch the keys from his hand.
JEREMY: It says...he says my mother had a stroke. She's dead.
MISTER FONG: Oh, no. Not this time, Planter. You're getting that plunger, and you're going right to-
JEREMY: She's being buried tomorrow morning.
MISTER FONG: Sh- what?
Quick cut to ROGER and MISTER FONG in the parking lot. ROGER is piling bicycles in a corner by the dumpster.
ROGER: Isn't that a little soon?
MISTER FONG: Maybe the Old Man's not a big fan of wakes. That doesn't matter right now, Rodney.
MISTER FONG: Right. What matters is I've got Rachel handling the early diners, Mort's covering with the cocktails until the bartender gets here, and I still need someone to fix the damn toilets.
MISTER FONG: Don't. Don't start.
ROGER: My lunch break-
MISTER FONG: Shush.
ROGER: -it's not even-
MISTER FONG: No more breaks for you! Not until I can refill the water coolers!
We follow ROGER to the employee bathroom. He turns one faucet knob, then the other, but nothing comes out. He stares blankly at the hissing sink for a moment, then exits the restroom and heads back to his television. The news is over, but a familiar face greets him in the break room - SUZIE, his ex-girlfriend, is standing in the doorway.
SUZIE: I was half-hoping I wouldn't find you here.
ROGER passes her in the doorway, snatching the master keyring for all the rooms on his way out.
ROGER: Don't you have interviews to do?
SUZIE: Trisha's doing one of those pre-taped things for the evening news. She's much better at those than I am.
A beat passes as they walk together down the hall, stopping at every other door to check the bathroom sinks.
ROGER: So her name's Trisha. Huh.
ROGER: Nothing, just...
ROGER: I expected something else is all. But Doctor Trisha-
SUZIE: Look, that's not what I came here to talk about. I wanted to...I wanted to apologize.
ROGER: For what?
SUZIE: For how we ended things.
ROGER: Ended what?
SUZIE: Things. You know, us.
ROGER: What about us?
SUZIE: Do you really have to do that?
ROGER: Do what?
SUZIE: That! That thing you do, where you act oblivious to the conversation until whoever you're talking to shuts up!
ROGER: I haven't the slightest idea what you mean.
SUZIE: I'm not just going to give up and walk away, you know.
ROGER: That's funny. I could've sworn you already did.
SUZIE fumes as ROGER hurries along, turning the faucet knobs in each and every bathroom, hearing the same hiss, and rushing out to the next room. Hesitant, she chooses her words carefully in her mind before stomping after him in the corridor.
SUZIE: You know, this is why it didn't work out between me and you. You always had to have the last word. Always had to make some stupid little crack at the end of every argument, every conversation-
ROGER: You seemed poised to break that perfect streak, too...and then you came here. Why was that, again?
SUZIE: Look. I know you took my penguin caller. I need it back.
ROGER: Penguin- what? Do I look like some sort of petty thief to you? Why on Earth would I want something like that? What is that, even? I don't know.
SUZIE: Oh, come on. My penguin caller. My penguin caller! The little whistle...kazoo...thing? I know you have it. I saw you playing with it last week while I was cleaning out the garage.
ROGER: That was two weeks ago. And you came all the way down here to demand I give your bird harmonica back?
SUZIE: It's fifteen minutes away! And it's not a harmonica, it's a penguin caller. It's important, Roger. I need it back.
ROGER: Well, I don't have it! Can't you buy one, or...I don't know, make one yourself or something?
SUZIE: This one is special. Trisha lent it to me and she's going to-
ROGER: Oh, so it's Doctor Trisha's! That explains everything. So how long have you two been playing kazoo together?
SUZIE: Ugh! Just give me the damn thing and I'll-
ROGER exits the last room, the faucet still hissing as he pockets the key ring. SUZIE catches sight of the penguin caller poking out of his pocket and dives for it. ROGER runs, and a chase ensues down the hall back towards the break room. MISTER FONG appears at the opposite end of the hall, moving to meet ROGER at the break room entrance just as he's tackled through it by SUZIE. MISTER FONG stands stunned at the doorway as the clattering of falling chairs and coffee pots is heard coming from inside.
SUZIE: You little liar! Give it to me! Give it to me now!
ROGER: Please, dear! This is neither the time nor the place!
MISTER FONG interrupts, storming through the doorway to see ROGER pinned to the floor surrounded by chairs and coffee cups, a small kazoo-like device poking out between his lips. SUZIE looks up, a deranged look in her eyes, and practically growls at the inn manager.
MISTER FONG: I uh...I just got off the phone with the Fire Marshall, Roger.
ROGER looks up, choking as SUZIE's hand tightens around his neck.
MISTER FONG: He says they were running some drills a few blocks down with the fire hydrants, and there might be a few water pressure problems for a couple of hours. You know, little hiccups, no big deal. What's that hissing sound?
Just then, the pressure surges back through the pipelines, and the hissing of the inn sinks turns into a high-pitched squeal.
ROGER, SUZIE, and MISTER FONG look around in fear and confusion as the squeal gives way to popping- distant and faint at first, but soon enough it grows louder and closer until the popping becomes a full-on explosion. Cut to a random television set, as the NEWSCASTER interrupts a daytime talk show with a special bulletin.
NEWSCASTER: We interrupt this afternoon's episode of "The Tyra Show" with terrible, albeit strangely amusing news. It seems southern California has been hit by what experts are calling a miniature tsunami, triggered by a rare but not uncommon meeting of warm and cool air currents just above what appears to be a budget inn. The damage seems to be centered solely around the area of this establishment, and while human casualties have yet to be reported, witnesses claim to have heard a large animal crying out amidst the carnage. Local wildlife experts confirm the call to be avian in origin, with one claiming, quote, "It sounds like a giant fucking penguin."
We'll be following this story as it develops, but now here's Phil with a AccuCast weather report. Phil?
Created: Jan 03, 2010Document Media