Rick, A Sort of Scripty Prose Poem

FADE IN. INT. RICK’S FATHER, ONE BEDROOM APT., AFTERNOON. RICK stands above his dead father’s body that’s lying on its side on a mauve carpet. RICK (V.O). When I get up in the morning and swing my legs off the edge of the bed, lowering them carefully to the floor like they were the legs of a mannequin that needed balancing, I’m reminded of the way the wooden board in the woods behind our trailer when I was six, which was left to rot outside in the rain just before winter, by my father, had warped, and froze, becoming like a dead body you might see in a horror movie where the victim gets examined, its joints massaged a little, so that its limbs can be carefully lifted and lowered. Other than now, did my father’s legs ever stiffen like this? Did he ever compare that frozen board to the slow decline of his body? Is this metaphorical introspection what sons find themselves reduced to when they don’t want to think about their own mortality following the death of their fathers? Is this how fathers and sons hold each other up and nail themselves together finally, trying harder than life to stand for everything they ever wanted, he thought. OFFICER SHIRLEY enters the apartment through the front door holding a notebook and wearing gloves. She approaches RICK, writing something down as she approaches. OFFICER SHIRLEY Sorry for your loss, Sir. Is it okay that I ask you a few questions? RICK (V.O) This is the beginning of a crime thriller perhaps, where the detective arrives in a non-reactive manner, wielding gloves, crouches beside the victim in always sexy pants, not like me in my thrift store jeans too big for a clown, a flannel shirt three sizes too big hanging down over a muffin top and a belly of intramuscular stiffness, distended from a ginger ale alongside two salmon rolls too many at a local sushi bar, he thought. RICK Absolutely, Mam. OFFICER SHIRLEY You were the first one to find your father? RICK I found him like this. During the telephone call we had last night he seemed fine. He asked me to come over this morning. I knocked forever before something in me told me I should call the apartment caretakers and ask them to open the door. They unlocked it for me and I was the first to enter. RICK (V.O) Shall I mention that a moment ago I saw him shake his deadness off from his frozen fetal position on the floor and extend his arm about an inch, let’s call it an inch, toward the telephone handset he must have knocked over or dropped while trying to make a call to someone in his final moments? Maybe it was a trick of light, or maybe my brain is trying to make up for lost time by imagining him alive officer, he thought. RICK’S FATHER’S PUG bolts into the living room, having escaped one of the officers that had been keeping it distracted in the bedroom. It runs towards RICK and hops up and down and side to side like a rabbit while it looks up at him. RICK This must be a new dog. His last one was a dachshund, I think. OFFICER SHIRLEY Will you take it? RICK I’m not a pet guy. OFFICER SHIRLEY I understand. RICK (V.O) But what she doesn’t understand is that this is kind of a relief. In fact, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say I had a shot at getting out from behind the old man’s shadow now, and avoiding having to cover for him during all those times he’d embarrass himself with aimless behaviors a drunk teen might drive away on, in pursuit of a direction he’ll confuse for a lap dance. I’d never felt so safe, he thought. The PUG circles the dead body and looks up at RICK like he wants a treat for doing it. It scoots over by the slider and shits on the carpet, then scoots back over to where RICK is. RICK and OFFICER SHIRLEY look at each other and shake their heads (unamused). RICK bends down and pets the PUG on top of the head. RICK This is some sad shit, isn’t it buddy. The PUG yips and twirls once then looks up for another pet. RICK reaches down and picks it up and sets it on the couch. It jumps down immediately and pees on RICK’S father, then looks up at Rick for another pet. RICK turns to OFFICER SHIRLEY. RICK You want him? FADE OUT.

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