CHAPTER 2 “thinking of you”
INTERIOR DAVID’S HOSPITAL ROOM – DAY
David and Pedro ENTER.
Here we are, at last. (then sarcastically) Sorry, it’s not nice to see you back.
Home sweet home. It may not be pretty, but it’s mine.
David glances around at the familiar surroundings — all of his ‘stuff’ is in its usual place — PHOTOS of friends, family, and some of his many wilderness adventures scotch-taped to the walls or in frames on the nightstand; all of it sharing space with the usual hospital amenities — water pitcher, spit tray, box of paper hankies. A LARGE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS stands centerpiece on the nightstand, somewhat incongruous with the rest of the drab atmosphere.
The old place hasn’t changed much. It never does.
I’m sure you’ll find everything still just the way you hate it.
Pedro helps David stand out of the wheelchair and up into his hospital bed, then EXITS as NURSE CINDY ENTERS, as always a twinkle in her eyes.
Well, if it isn’t my favorite curmudgeon. How are we today, David?
I don’t know how ‘we’ are. I, on the other hand, am doing lousy. How you been, Cindy?
She leans over and tucks the blankets in around David, then begins to hook him up to an IV DRIP, HEART MONITOR and OXYGEN TANK. David cant help but follow her with his eyes as she moves around the bed as he searches for his next teasing line.
Never been better.
Ooh, these sheets are cold. What-say you climb on in here with me and help warm it up a bit?
NURSE CINDY (returns the tease)
Calm down, lover boy. You’re gong to need a lot more breath before you’re ready to take on this!
Oh well, it never hurts to ask. It might kill me, but I’d die with a smile on my face. You know, an opportunity missed…
NURSE CINDY (laughs)
You just get some rest. Let me know if you need anything.
I just did!
Cindy waves, winks then turns down the room lights and EXITS the room.
Alone now in the shadowy room, David clasps the oxygen mask to his face, lying on his side, gazing laconically out the window — more depressed than he wants to let on. Outside the window, a SPRING MONSOON drenches the Arizona desert, complete with LIGHTNING and THUNDER. RIVULETS OF RAINWATER stream down the windowpane, reflecting off David’s face and the drab walls and furnishings of the hospital room — and the bouquet of flowers. Beside the bouquet is a ‘THINKING OF YOU’ GREETING CARD, with a PHOTOGRAPH of some people, mugging and waving into the camera. Scrawled across the bottom of the photo, ‘Best Wishes from the gang at Spelling Shipping’ and the SIGNATURES of everyone in the picture. David smiles, fondly remembering…
Warner Hollywood Studios, Hollywood, California, 1984 (Flashback)
The aging stucco buildings harken back to a more glamorous era of Hollywood history, now looking even more dismal in a rare DOWNPOURING OF RAIN. Cars and MOVIE EQUIPMENT TRUCKS splash through the narrow alleyways between the buildings and sound stages. David negotiates the precarious traffic on a battered STUDIO BIKE, its metal handlebar basket loaded with several large GOLDBERG MOVIE REEL CASES. His features are mostly concealed by an oversized YELLOW RAIN SLICKER, which flaps in the wind but makes David a blaze of yellow in the deep gray gloom. David pulls up in front of a single-story bungalow-like extension off a larger building, a SIGN PLATE on the battered front door reading ‘Aaron Spelling Productions Shipping’.
Inside a hive of activity, the single room jammed with several EDITING WORK BENCHES where ASSISTANT EDITORS busily sync dailies. CODING MACHINES click-clack noisily with their monotonous, steady cadence, printing numbers on the edges of thousand-foot reels of film. ASSISTANTS rummage shelves lined with BOXES OF STOCK FILM, while others ransack SUPPLY CABINETS for EDITORIAL SUPPLIES. PEOPLE come and go for coffee and snacks. PHONES RING INCESSANTLY on a half a dozen desks manned by frenetic POST PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS. The walls are plastered with MOVIE, TELEVISION and ROCK POSTERS and PHOTOS OF STARS, as well as CLIPBOARDS with schedules and work orders.
David comes in the door, dripping and staggering with the weight of the huge film cans. In his yellow slicker he looks like a comical version of ‘Old Man and the Sea’. He deposits the cans beside the desk of MARK, thirty-something, a kindly Neil Young look-alike — the frenzied head of the department. He motions to David, as he talks into the phone propped on his shoulder, while he reads and signs work orders, all at the same time.
He just came in. I’ll get him right on it.(hangs up the phone and continues) Thanks, David. Now if you can get those ‘Love Boat’ dailies over to screening room two; they’re waiting for them.
— indicating a large awkward CARDBOARD BOX containing five or so THOUSAND-FOOT REELS each of picture and sound dailies. TIM, an assistant editor with an attitude and a Brian Schwimmer haircut, hollers at David from across the room.
Hey, Apprentice, Shut the door!!. It’s freezing in here!
David closes the door. He smiles good-naturedly to Mark.
Then we need those video cassettes of the latest cut of the next episode of ‘Dynasty’ delivered to the executive offices.
He bends down to pick up the heavy box, then suddenly DOUBLES OVER with a fit of DEEP, HEAVY COUGHING. He sinks to the floor, holding his chest, his eyes lolling about in their sockets. Mark and several others jump to help him.
Are you all right?
DAVID (waves him off) then (laughing at himself)
Yeah. I’m fine. Boy, it’s amazing how you take little things like breathing for granted, until you can’t do it.
He gets up and hoists the box, but SEVERAL REELS spill out onto the floor. SUE (20’s), an attractive blond assistant editor places the reels into the box for David. She tucks a PLASTIC TARP over the box, to protect it from the rain.
Sue smiles, holds his eyes for a second. David shyly turns and walks out the door. He likes Sue, she is the new girl in town having just arrived after graduating from a Miami University film program.
TIM (calling after him tauntingly)
Hurry up. And don’t let the film get wet!
WENDY (30’s), the impish FILM LIBRARIAN with her stark black hair stalking across oversized glasses; a sly twinkle in her eyes, mockingly chimes in:
Oh, yes David. By all means. Don’t worry about your personal health and safety. Just make sure those millionaires don’t have to wait too long to see their precious dailies.
(then, jabbing Tim teasingly in the ribs) Come on, dude. Give him a break!
As we look back through the rain, Sue watches out the window; David places the unwieldy box into the handlebar basket on his bike, then unsteadily pedals off through the rain. Tim steps up beside her.
He’ll probably make it back in two or three hours.
Go screw yourself, Tim. He does the best that he can.
What do you fuss over him so much for? Don’t tell me you’re sweet on that barn door?
If you have to ask, you’ll never understand. He’s got something you will never have.
Oh –? Like what? Cystic fibrosis? He can keep that!
She walks away, leaving the obtuse Tim standing there, thinking he has just been insulted, but not sure.
INTERIOR WARNER STUDIOS, EXECS BUILDING – LATER (FLASHBACK CONTINUED)
A long corridor of EXPENSIVE WOODEN DOORS concealing lavish executive suites of the Spelling producers. David, still in his rain slicker, waddles down the hall, carrying an unwieldy stack of THREE-QUARTER INCH VIDEO CASSETTES.
David gives each door a quick knock and enters. He hands a cassette to the EXE IVE SECRETARY, smiling and addressing each one by name. As he nears the end of the hallway, he is again overcome by the urge to cough. He ENTERS one more office, hands CHERYL, the young attractive RECEPTIONIST a cassette.
DAVID (choking back the cough)
Here you are, Cheryl. The latest Dynasty cut.
Thanks, David. (then, re his obvious discomfort) Are you all right?
He manages a quick thumbs-up, then hurries out the door.
In the hallway, David gets two or three steps, then suddenly COLLAPSES to the floor in a VIOLENT FIT OF COUGHING. The video cassettes flying off in all directions. As he slowly recovers, lying with his back against the wall in the long corridor, he looks up to see HEADS POKING OUT OF EVERY DOORWAY, staring at him.
DAVID’S APARTMENT, NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA (FLASHBACK CONTINUED)
Later that same night, a one-bedroom apartment by the theaters on Lankersham Boulevard above a small record shop. David plods up the stairs and in the front door of his small brown wood paneled and shag carpeted apartment, exhausted, his chest aching. He goes over to his board-and-cinder-block bookshelves and turns on his stereo, finds the Eagles singing ‘Take It To The Limit’. He cranks it up, SINGS ALONG with the music.
DAVID (singing along)
All alone at the end of the evening –
When the bright lights have all disappeared…
The singing is too much for David. His chest starts to heave, and he rushes into the bathroom retching and coughing as a large globule of thick, greenish-yellow mucous shoots into the sink. He steadies himself on the edge of the sink. He slowly lifts his blood shot eyes to the mirror, stares at himself.
EAGLES Record (background)
When you’re looking for your freedom Nobody seems to care
You can’t find the door Can’t find it anywhere …
He slowly lifts a hand to the mirror, spreads his fingers. There is a rather froglike MEMBRANOUS PATCH OF SKIN between each finger. Almost in a state of wonder, David spends a moment, just staring at himself, and his peculiar hand as the song finishes. With a deep sigh, he turns off the light and heads back to the living room.
David collapses onto the couch, opposite the speakers of the blaring music. He opens a beautifully hand carved WOODEN BOX on the coffee table. Takes out a neatly-rolled MARIJUANA JOINT; he looks at it a moment, then he puts it in his mouth and LIGHTS UP. Sitting back luxuriantly on the couch David draws deeply upon the joint. His eyes slowly roll closed, allowing the blaring music and dope to do their work.
EAGLES Record (continuing)
Take it to the limit, One more time.