“Larry, June, And The Year Of The Cat” — A Screenplay, Part Four

Posted: February 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Entire contents trademarked TM and copyrighted(c) by Ryan Carey, 2013. That means if you want to reproduce or use this material for any reason, you have to ask me real nice.

CUT TO :

INT. – BAR – NIGHT

LARRY is up on stage now, a small raised platform about a step up from the main floor of the table area in the bar. His computerized karaoke machine, teleprompter, microphone, and pull-down screen are all fully set up. The room itself is a bit more crowded, with just a few of the  tables empty, and most of the stools at the bar now occupied. The air is fairly heavy with smoke, and LARRY coughs and clears his throat as he begins speaking into the microphone.

LARRY (into microphone) : Gooooooood evening, ladies and gentlemen! It’s a real pleasure to be with you tonight here at Ronnie’s. This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this here at this fine establishment, so we’re hoping for a good night and most of all we want everybody to cut loose, not worry about making a fool of yourself, and have a good time.

There is a smattering of polite applause across the room.

LARRY(into microphone) CON’T: Thanks, you’re too damn kind. Now, if you’ll notice, there’s some song books, pencils, and cards spread hopefully kinda evenly around the room, and the way it works if you haven’t done this before is you just find a song you like, write down the number next to it in the book along with your name on one of the little cards with one of the little pencils, come on up and hand me the card, and we’ll get you up here ASAP. Get in early ‘cuz it almost always ends up gettin’ too busy to get everyone in towards the end, and I know you all wanna have something to record on your cell phones and slap up on YouTube later.

Polite laughter is heard throughout the room.

LARRY (into microphone) CON’T: Anybody got the guts to be first to give it a go? Anybody?

(Long pause)

LARRY(into microphone) CON’T: Bueller?

(Another pause)

LARRY(into microphone) CON’T : Bueller?

(Another pause)

LARRY(into microphone) CON’T: Bueller?

A final, somewhat lengthy pause as Larry scans the room, locking eyes with a number of patrons and doing “come on up here” nudging gestures with his arm. With still no takers to be found, he resumes his monologue into the microphone.

LARRY (into microphone) CON’T: Alright, guess it’s gonna be down to me to get this little shindig started. Hopefully in a drink or two at least a few of ya will find the courage to come on up here and wow yer friends and neighbors with a talent they never knew ya had.

LARRY queues up a song on the machine, and as the lyrics pop up on the screen behind him, he sings along with the teleprompter.

LARRY (singing) CON’T : On the south side of Chicago, in the baddest part o’ town, well if you go down there, you better just beware of a man named Leroy Brown!

FADE OUT

FADE IN :

INT . – BAR – NIGHT

Some moments later,  LARRY, still singing, at this point a number of bar patrons having joined in.

LARRY (and assorted PATRONS) : — but if there’s nothin’ shakin’ come this here Juuuuuuuulyyyy — I’m gonna roll myself up — in a big ball — and die!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Myyyyyy myyyyyyyyyy!

Drunken applause and laughter fill the room above a handful of chattering voices.

LARRY (into microphone) CON’T: Alright, folks, thank you so much! And our first victim tonight looks like it’s gonna be — I mean, please welcome to the stage —(unfolding the card in his hand) , Earl, who’s gonna be gracing us with his rendition of a favorite from none other than The King Himself!

EARL, a late-30s, somewhat sharply-dressed , professional-looking type approaches the stage with drunken gusto, and eagerly takes the mic from LARRY’s hand as LARRY queues up the proper song on the machine. In a moment, the lyrics begin to pop up on the screen and EARL commences singing.

EARL : Lord almighty, feel my temperature risin’ —

FADE OUT

FADE IN :

INT. – BAR – NIGHT

LARRY is back onstage, taking the microphone from EARL’s hand as EARL finishes up his number, hips gesticulating wildly in his best Elvis impersonation.

LARRY (into microphone) : Alright, live from Split Rock, Wisconsin, by way of Memphis, that was Earl!!!!!!!!!!!

Loud applause throughout the room.

LARRY (into microphone) CON’T: Okay! Take a cue from our friend Earl here and just (making a crazy face and affecting an exaggerated voice) let it alllllllllllllllllll hang out!!!!!!!

More applause circles the room.

LARRY (into microphone) CON’T : (opening up another sheet of paper in his hand) Okay, next up we’ve got Frank! Come on up here and take it away, Frank!

FRANK, a mid-to-late-40s, rather unkempt-looking, bushy-bearded man with a huge, “Cat In The Hat”-style top-hat take the microphone from LARRY, as LARRY queues up the machine. As the beginning instrumental intro of Al Stewart’s “Year Of The Cat” fills the room, LARRY makes his way over to the bar.

LARRY (to BARTENDER) : Man, what’s with this guy’s hat?

BARTENDER : No clue. Never seen ‘im without it, though. He shows up around here for a week or two this time every year. None of the motel or B&B folks have ever seen ‘im stay at their place. For all I know he might pitch a tent out in the woods. Never even knew his name was Frank before.

At this point JUNE, a reasonably-attractive, and modestly-dressed woman seated next to the spot where LARRY is standing at the bar, politely interjects herself into the conversation.

JUNE : I see him most morning from my porch, walking along the river. Never waves or says hi or anything, just seems to keep to himself.

BARTENDER : Hey, June, looking good. When’d you get here?

JUNE : Minute or two ago. Snuck in while you had your back turned.

The BARTENDER nods toward LARRY to make introductions.

BARTENDER : June, this is Larry, the karaoke guy in from Minneapolis.

LARRY extends a handshake towards her in greeting.

BARTENDER CON’T : Larry, this is June. One o’ them artistic types  I  warned ya about.

LARRY : Pleased to know you, June the artist.

JUNE : Likewise, Larry the lounge lizard.

LARRY reaches in his shirt pocket for a cigarette.

LARRY : Been called worse.

(turns to address BARTENDER)

LARRY CON’T : Wanna hook me up with another?

BARTENDER (filling beer glass from tap) : Already on it.

JUNE (addressing LARRY) : This one’s kinda long for a karaoke number, isn’t it?

LARRY : Why do you think I’m over here gettin’ a  beer? (pauses) Seriously, though, they cut out most of the instrumental stuff in the middle, get it down to a few minutes.

JUNE : Too bad. I always kinda liked this song.

LARRY : Yeah, I dunno. Al Stewart’s voice was always a little bit — nasal, I guess, for my tastes. And he drops one too many movie metaphors right off the bat. “On a morning from a Bogart movie — you go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre” —- alla that.

JUNE : I never pay much attention to the lyrics. The music in this one just kinda takes me — (pauses) — takes me someplace else, I guess. (pauses) For a few minutes, anyway. (pauses again, smiling) Or less, if it’s the karaoke version.

LARRY : Spoken like a true artist. It’s weird, though.

JUNE : What is?

LARRY : If you never pay attention to the lyrics, then maybe you’re going somewhere else in your mind other than where the singer intended.

JUNE : Well, screw him. I can go wherever I want with it, don’t have to follow his roadmap.

LARRY : So I guess you’re sorta making it your own song, then, in a way.

JUNE : Not really. I didn’t write it. I’m just interpreting someone else’s work in my own way. That’s art for ya, isn’t it?

LARRY : Explain.

JUNE : Well, once you out it out there, you’ve got no control over what anyone else does with it. If I make, say, a vase that I think looks really lovely with a flower arrangement in it and somebody buys it and takes it home and fills it with — I dunno, doggie treats — then my (makes air-quotes) “intentions as an artist” are pretty much out the window, aren’t they?

LARRY flicks his lighter on.

LARRY CON’T : Mind if I —?

JUNE : Go ahead. I’ve already got cancer.

LARRY pauses, frozen in his tracks, clearly taken aback.

JUNE : I’m lying, I do that sometimes.

BARTENDER( interjecting himself back into the conversation) : They don’t have ball-busting where Larry’s from.

JUNE : Minneapolis? You live in town or the ‘burbs?

LARRY(now smoking) : In town, couple blocks from Lake Nokomis. You know it?

JUNE : Sure. Seems like a civilized place, I thought ball-busting would have made it there by now.

LARRY : Scandinavians. We’re slow on the uptake and notoriously literal.

JUNE : Well, get with it. You’re in a cheesehead bar now.

LARRY (turning his head back toward the stage) : Speaking of getting with it —

JUNE : Wow, they do cut these songs short.

LARRY : Gonna try your hand at it later?

JUNE : Doubtful. But you’ve got a few hours to persuade me. I hustled off four pieces today, and I’m determined to spend half my take in this very bar.

LARRY : Pieces?

JUNE : Pottery’s my gig. Almost never sell anything on a Friday. Sure sign it’s going to be a good weekend.

LARRY : Maybe so. Maybe so.

LARRY bounds quickly back up to the stage just as the song is ending.

LARRY (into microphone) CON’T : Alright, thank you, Frank! Don’t know about that hat, but you sure can sing!

FRANK shoots him a glance as though he’s offended, as polite applause peppers the room.

FADE OUT

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