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Liz McFarland

Wearing giant boots of jellyfish.

27

30

Roscoe and the Mrs.

I have never done anything like this  before! Wee!

My  finished version is on a google doc here: 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1o9M-mjJHC1KpgYoAMx0WJawhjbby8Bfo2HlluVBCaxc/edit?usp=sh

Rationale: I chose the Purkapiles from the Spoon River Anthology as I felt like the idea of having a wife that knows that her husband was bored and wandering but refused to let him out of the marriage was interesting. I wanted to take just a glimpse of that so I didn't focus my project on the peoms literally. I also found the idea of pirate stealing him away as kind of funny and could work as a comic element to my screenplay.  

My logline: A husband feels trapped in his marriage and is saved by a pirate, a night out, and his all knowing wife. 

The original poems:

Roscoe Purkapile

SHE loved me.

Oh! how she loved me I never had a chance to escape

From the day she first saw me.

But then after we were married I thought

She might prove her mortality and let me out,

Or she might divorce me. But few die, none resign.

Then I ran away and was gone a year on a lark.

But she never complained. She said all would be well

That I would return. And I did return.

I told her that while taking a row in a boat

I had been captured near Van Buren Street

By pirates on Lake Michigan,

And kept in chains, so I could not write her.

She cried and kissed me, and said it was cruel,

Outrageous, inhuman! I then concluded our marriage

Was a divine dispensation

And could not be dissolved,

Except by death.

I was right. 

 

Mrs. Purkapile

HE ran away and was gone for a year.

When he came home he told me the silly story

Of being kidnapped by pirates on Lake Michigan

And kept in chains so he could not write me.

I pretended to believe it, though I knew very well

What he was doing, and that he met

The milliner, Mrs. Williams, now and then

When she went to the city to buy goods, as she said.

But a promise is a promise

And marriage is marriage,

And out of respect for my own character

I refused to be drawn into a divorce

By the scheme of a husband who had merely grown tired

Of his marital vow and duty

 

My pretty much finished version is  on a google doc here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1o9M-mjJHC1KpgYoAMx0WJawhjbby8Bfo2HlluVBCaxc/edit?usp=sharing

Older unformatted draft:

ROSCOE VOICEOVER:

  I never had a chance.

CUT TO LITTLE GIRL, SWEET SMILING, TWELVE YEARS OLD OR SO.

ROSCOE voiceover images of her growing and their early stages of dating to their marriage, their town, families, an idealistic future in quick shots.

ROSCOE (VOICEOVER)

SHE LOVED ME. I GUESS I REALLY NEVER HAD A CHANCE NOT TO LOVE HER BACK. SHE WAS PRETTY, SMART, EVERYONE LIKED HER…I MEAN WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE. WE WERE YOUNG, FROM A SMALL TOWN AND SHE SEEMED TO BE PERFECTLY NORMAL, WONDERFUL AND SHE LOVED ME. BUT THEN....

ROSCOE IN A CHAIR, MID-TWENTIES, SITTING IN FRONT OF A TV WITH A BEER.

ROSCOE

 I never had a chance. 

{VOICE OF MRS. PURKAPILE}

 Do you need anything? I am running to the store?

ROSCOE 

Nah, I’m good, thanks.

   {DOOR CLOSES} STILL FOCUSED ON HIM. 

He looks around and stands up. He races to the bedroom and packs up a bunch of random clothing and items.

                VOICEOVER WHILE PACKING

ROSCOE 

I am done. I am just going to leave. I am going to leave and she’ll never find me. I can just start over! I can have adventures! A life of excitement and I could... I could...…..{trails off) 

Gets in his car- a small sedan with items strewn about.

ROSCOE

I am free… I can just leave! Why did I not do this sooner!! (smiling singing to the radio in his car and then his expression changes to bewilderment)

Comes to a stop, looks around at the scene in front of him.

ROSCOE

What the fuck?  {mesmerized} 

HE SEES A MAN IN FULL PIRATE COSTUME ARGUING WITH A MAN IN THE STREET. LOOKS LIKE A FENDER BENDER CAUSED A HEATED ARGUMENT. THE CARS ARE BLOCKING THE ROAD BUT NOT MAJORLY DAMAGED. A SMALL CROWD OF ONLOOKERS IS GATHERING ON THE STREET. 

CAPTAIN

 I didn’t fucking run the light! You were on your goddamn phone! Your light turned red!

 

DRIVER

I was not on my phone and I am calling my lawyer you have no right to scream at me, little pirate man. {Irritated, but shaky} Jesus Christ…. {holds up phone to his ear} Rebecca, call my attorney I just got in an accident….Jesus Christ.

CAPTAIN:

{yelling} An accident? That’s what you call this? There’s not even a scratch, you asshat! {screaming into the phone next to Driver’s ear} There’s. Not. Even. A. Scratch. {mocking tone} Jesus Christ.

DRIVER:

{pushes Captain} Back off, pirate- I am warning you….

CAPTAIN:

 Or what? What? You gonna punch me for bumping your car because you weren't paying attention? Seriously? You are lucky I was or we’d both be dead, you idiot! Get back in your fucking car {grabs Driver’s phone and throws it into the car} and go about your merry fucking way, sir. Was that gracious enough?

DRIVER

  {confused, shaky} Fine, fuck you, weirdo pirate. {nervously gets into his car}

Captain smoothes out his clothes and waves and bows to the small crowd and notices Roscoe in his car. He leans over looking into the window and walks over to the car. 

CAPTAIN

Roscoe? Roscoe? Hey, remember me?

ROSCOE

 {confused, shaking his head} Uhhhhh….. {looks around as if Captain is talking to someone else}

CAPTAIN

 Dude, Pull over there, you got a minute? Long time no see.

ROSCOE pulls over. He still seems confused. He gets out and the CAPTAIN waves him over to the bar on the corner. They both go in. 

Roscoe still looks confused. Sits down at the bar next to Captain. BARTENDER at the bar fiddling with bar items. 

CAPTAIN

 {to the Bartender} Can we get two draft beers… (in a pirate voice)something dark and stormy, yar… (chuckling)

BARTENDER seems unimpressed and gets them beers.

 CAPTAIN

It’s me. Dorian….Dorian Williams… from high school?  Everyone calls me Captain now though… you know…cuz I am a pirate…Yar! {his own awkward laughter}

ROSCOE

What? High school? A pirate? This is totally fucked up {looking around embarrassed].

CAPTAIN

I know, right? I was on my way from work when that asshole hit me, well sorta hit me… anyway, I work at that cheesy pirate bar, you know, the one downtown?

ROSCOE

There’s a pirate bar downtown? Why?

CAPTAIN

It’s dumb, but pays well there, matey. {waggles his eyebrows}

ROSCOE

I’m sorry but I don’t remember you in high school and I really should go- this is incredibly weird. I was just on my way out of to….

CAPTAIN

I was in the band? You know the drums? You were always with that girl… what’s her name…pretty brunette? Didn't you get married, bro? Anyway, I was in your chem class sophomore year and you let me borrow your notes a few times. Thanks again man, sheesh that class was a bitch. It’s cool that you don’t remember, but where are you going?

ROSCOE

{trying to process} What? Chemistry? (pause) Seriously?   {pause} Where am I going? Oh, um, I am going to leave. I guess I hadn't gotten very far in my planning, just working on the leaving.

Captain orders drinks by pointing at his beer.

ROSCOE 

I guess I am not sure where to go really. I just can’t take it here anymore. This stupid, fucking stupid, town. My stupid fucking boring wife. I want to meet someone else. I want to just get out of here and not be with her.

 

CAPTAIN

Woah, is she really terrible? What’s her name again? Mrs. Purkapile now, eh? (elbows him) Sure she’s happy about taking that name on…. I mean, what’s the problem?

Rosscoe’s phone buzzes, he looks at it and groans. 

ROSCOE

That’s her. Shit. It’s been like an hour and she’s already calling to see where I am.

CAPTAIN

So…. The problem?

ROSCOE

I don’t know, man. I mean, she’s beautiful and she’s loved me since we met in the 7th grade. She’s the only girl I ever saw. I mean like saw, like no else ever mattered. But recently I have gotten so tired of just....her. I feel trapped. I feel like I will never get a break from her. So today I just packed up my car when she went out to the store and decided I would leave.

CAPTAIN

Huh. Just like that.

ROSCOE

Yup. Just like that.

CAPTAIN

So you got bored and now you’re leaving. 

ROSCOE

Well not bored really, just…. Trapped.

CAPTAIN

AKA bored.

ROSCOE

I mean yeah but no…I just need some excitement. 

CAPTAIN:

Hmmm. Ok. {takes the glass and throws it against the wall on the other side of the bar, it shatters loudly, someone yells}

ROSCOE

What the fuck, man? Why did you do that?

CAPTAIN

I didn't really think about it. Thought it’d be exciting.

BARTENDER

Okay, pirate that’s enough get the hell outta my bar and that glass costs 20 bucks.

CAPTAIN:

(in a pirate voice)It's cool, mate. Here’s the cost and fer the beers…no harm no foul. (returns a regular voice) C'mon Roscoe, let’s get outta here. It’s pretty fucking lame anyway. 

THEY ARE STANDING ON THE STREET.

`ROSCOE 

{embarrassed, shaken} Why did you do that? He could've called the cops.

CAPTAIN  

Yup. But he didn’t. It was exciting. 

ROSCOE

No it wasn’t it was ridiculous!

CAPTAIN

Potato, po-tah-to.

ROSCOE 

Ok, you are totally fucked up dude. I am going to go now. It was, uh, nice, bumping into you and all but I am going to be on my way.

CAPTAIN

Oh, C’mon man! You are leaving your wife! Live a little! Stop being so uptight!

ROSCOE

Yeah, I don’t want to end up in jail!

 Roscoa starts to walk away towards his car. Captain follows.

CAPTAIN

We won't go to jail! Well you won't anyway. I might... the night is young. 

ROSCOE

(as he starts to open his car door) Wow. (opens his car door and gets in)

CAPTAIN

(pressing his face to the driver's side window) Come on, man. Let's have some fun.

Phone buzzes again and Roscoe looks down and then up at the Captain with his face pressed to the window. Captain's making faces.

CAPTAIN

Alright man. It was nice seeing you. (slowly starts to walk away)

ROSCOE

Wait. (seeming resigned) Ok. Where to, man? 

CAPTAIN

Alright! Let's go check out that place over there. Have you been there? Really nice place. Very exciting.

ROSCOE

(flatly)I haven't been there and I am sure it's fabulous.

They walk toward a bar with bright lights outside, very clubby looking. 

Roscoe enters the bar and the Captain gets some drinks.

CUT TO LOTS OF SHOTS OF THEM DRINKING, LAUGHING, DANCING, MAKING OUT WITH WOMEN, CLUB VISUALS, ALL IN RAPID SUCCESSION. TIME ELAPSES. PRETTY BRUNETTE (WHO IS ACTUALLY MRS. PURKAPILE WALKS IN AND SITS AT THE BAR)

CAPTAIN

(to a pretty brunette in cheesy pirate voice) Well, hello there fair maiden.

BRUNETTE (MRS. PURKPILE)

Hi. (looks at him and half smiles)

CAPTAIN

Can I buy ye a drink? 

MRS. PURKAPILE

Sure. Gin and tonic. (looking around for ROSCOE)

CAPTAIN

(orders drink with a wave)So are you here alone? 

MRS. PURKAPILE

Yeah, actually. (keeps looking around though)

CAPTAIN

You seem nervous,m'lady. Does  me pirate ways make ye nervous? (laughs)

MRS. PURKAPILE

(chuckles) Not exactly. But really why a pirate? I mean aren't zombies more in fashion right now? Or some kind of vampire?

CAPTAIN

Zombies! Ugh... all decaying and stuff. Nah, the pirate has it good! Rum, gold, big ships... wenches.... (waggles eyebrows)

MRS. PURKAPILE

(rolls her eyes but smiles)

They continue talking closely at the bar and Roscoe is drunkenly dancing with other women. 

NEXT MORNING IN CAPTAIN'S APARTMENT

ROSCOE IS ON THE FLOOR AND EVERYTHING COMES INTO FOCUS AS HE LOOKS AROUND. A GENERALLY TIDY, SMALL APARTMENT, THE PIRATE PASSED OUT, BOTTLES, AND FOOD LAYING ABOUT THAT SEEM OUT OF PLACE. 

ROSCOE pulls himself up and looks at his phone, which now has a shattered screen. It reads 15 missed calls and text messages. 

He stumbles up, gets some water, and turns on the TV as slowly starts to drink some water and take an aspirin. 

The Captain shifts around behind him. as he sits in front of the TV.

CAPTAIN

Morning. I am still drunk I think. 

ROSCOE

Yeah, fun night. (flatly)

CAPTAIN

I met this amazing woman last night. She was so cute. Smart, funny... man I don't think I even got her number. (looks through his phone)

ROSCOE

(watching TV) I don't remember much of what I did. I think I was dancing.

CAPTAIN

If you can call that dancing. Look. (holds up a selfie of him and Mrs. Purkapile) This is the girl. I gotta get her number. She was amazing. 

ROSCOE

(grabs the phone) What the fuck, man? Is this some kind of sick joke?

CAPTAIN

(grabs phone back and looks confused)Huh?

ROSCOE

That's my WIFE! What is wrong with you? Did you fucking touch her? I will kill you, pirate! (fuming he gets up and begins to pace)

CAPTAIN

(sitting still looking stunned) I, I didn't know. Wow. She looks so different from high school. She's amazing. Why would you want to leave her? 

ROSCOE

I don't! What the hell is wrong with you?

CAPTAIN

I thought you were tired of being married? I thought you wanted to leave her?

ROSCOE

Not to have her run off with some fucking pirate!

CAPTAIN

Woah, man. I am sorry. I didn't know. Like I said she didn't give her number or anything.I don't think I...didn't even get her name...I... (trails off, confused)

ROSCOE

(gets up and starts to leave) I am leaving. Going home. To MY wife. (slams the door)

THE DOOR OPENS TO HIS HOUSE

Mrs. Purkapile is sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. Looks like she has been crying. ROSCOE sits down next to her.

ROSCOE

Hey.

MRS. PURKAPILE

Hey.

ROSCOE

Why were you at the bar last night? Seriously chatting with that pirate! What got into you?

MRS. PURKAPILE

I don't know. I guess I just needed a night out. Nothing happened. 

ROSCOE

You're godammned right nothing happened. I will kill him! Trying to flirt with my wife. (very agitated but resigned)Well, I guess everyone needs a night out. (kisses her on the forehead and starts to walk to the other room.

Close up on her face as he walks away. She is grinning. 

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