Half Hour Comedy
By Leo Du Lac
1. INT. DAY LIVING ROOM WITH A FIREPLACE
Golfing is RICH?S only enjoyment, if one disregards drinking and sleeping.
To MARTHA his wife, golfing is a way of Rich avoiding his duties around the home.
Rich is seated on the couch, his feet on and old chair, a cigar in his mouth and a bag of golf clubs across his big stomach. Rich is waiting for his friend Mr. Eagle to show up for a golfing engagement.
Martha is leafing through a home-improvement magazine. We might see the front page, a beautiful barbecue then - How-To-Projects.
Rich, I think we should build a barbecue.
The cigar falls out of his mouth
Oh no_ What?
I'm supposed to go golfing with Baldie.
You know Mr. Eagle. (a beat as he turns to his wife)
Or did you garble that message so he wouldn't show?
Martha looks intently into the magazine to avoid
answering or looking at Rich. Her facial expressions
lead us to believe that she is trying to keep the two apart.
Golfing_We're going to build a barbecue.
I have a rematch with Mr. Eagle.
You're always golfing with Mr. Baldie
Why do you want a barbecue?
To keep up with the neighbors?
I have a better reason than that.
To keep abreast of the times.
I want a barbecue to match that
cook hat and apron I bough you, for your birthday.
You can forget the barbecue. I returned that silly get-up,
for golf clubs.
(miffed at Rich)
No sentimental value.
I exchanged them for golf clubs.
I'll get you another outfit.
Keeping up with the neighbors
doesn't mean I have to have a hat and apron.
I bought it for you, it should have
meant something to you.
I thought I looked silly in it.
Martha raises the magazine up and taps on it.
Here's a do-it-yourself project,
guaranteed to bring a couple closer
together. How to build a barbecue.
Yeah I know, made easy for beginners.
END OF TEASER
INT. DAY LIVING ROOM
Martha is leaning over showing Rich the picture of a beautiful barbecue in color, gracing the page of a slick magazine.
You read the article. I know
you have great talent for this kind of work.
Rich gives Martha a slow burn. Then staring into space, anticipating the work involved in building a barbecue, he allows the cigar in his mouth fall into his shirt pocket. He has his feet on an old chair, as he starts to get up it collapses. He throws his golf clubs over his shoulder.
I'm going golfing. I'll build the barbecue
when I get back. I need exercise.
(butters up to Rich) (sweetly)
Building a barbecue is exercise.
Martha smiles coyly into Rich's face and he frowns back.
(to his wife's face)
Golfing exercise, exercise with distinction.
Martha looks dejected for a beat.
Exercise is exercise. Its time
you fixed something around this house
(pointing to the broken chair.)
You break twice as many things as you fix.
Rich throws his golf clubs on the couch.
It won't take long to fix that chair.
Rich picks up the chair, walks over to
the fireplace and throws it in. Martha is indignant.
She pulls two golf clubs from Rich's bag,
violently breaks them over her knee and
throws them into the fireplace.
(standing in front of Rich,
as if she had just read an
article on woman's lib)
I just learned to fix golf clubs.
Rich looks daggers at Martha as he does a slow burn.
Smoke starts rolling out of Rich's pocket. He begins
to feel the heat of the cigar and begins to squirm.
Martha as she looks at Rich's pocket, smoke billowing
out of his pocket.
You are going to have to learn
to control your temper. You're
so angry, you are smoking.
I think I have heartburn. I need a tum.
It's caused from you breaking my
golf clubs, trying to discipline me like a little kid.
By now Rich is jumping around in pain.
Smoke billow from his shirt pocket.
I may have to see a doctor. When Martha finally decides
her husband is on fire, she grabs a vase of flowers from
the mantle and dumps the contents in Rich's pocket.
Steam billows up from his pocket as he jumps around.
Rich pulls the flowers from his pocket while doing a slow burn. Then he pulls a limp cigar from his pocket. After he squeezes the water out of the cigar it is again straight. When he puts the cigar in his mouth, it goes limp. He finally pins it on the mantle to dry out.
(as Rich pins his cigar to the mantle.)
Stingy. Why don't you buy a new cigar.
I wasn't born rich.
Rich fishes in his pocket and brings out two more limp cigars. Rich wrings the water out of them and pins the two cigars to the mantle. Then he turns and looks dejectedly at Martha.
Tell me honestly. Why didn't Bald
Eagle show up?
Martha is reluctant to say. She might implicate herself.
Rich's golf clubs are sitting on the couch. While waiting for an answer from Martha, he sits back ponderously on the couch. There is a loud crunch. Rich rises part way up and pulls out half a club. He pulls the bag out trying to determine the extent of damage.
You did it again. Now you can't go golfing.
Rich gets up. He slowly dumps out the contents of the bag. The clubs fall out one after the other. They are all broken into two pieces. Martha happily picks up the clubs and throws them into the fireplace. Rich sits on the couch to moan the loss of his clubs. Martha goes over and sits on his lap to cheer him up.
It's a good omen.
(looks at his wife)
What do you mean a mean it's a good omen?
Now we can build the barbecue.
You don't have any more clubs.
Rich gets up and walks over to a closet, opens the door and out rolls hundreds of clubs. Martha nearly fades away.
Promise me you will never allow
your clubs to come between us again.
(a smirk on his face)
At least not in bed.
At least, that's a start. Now
let's build the barbecue.
You win the jellybean.
I'm going over and tell Eve.
3. INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY
Martha is sitting, waiting for Eve to bring her a cup of coffee. Eve enters from the kitchen carrying a tray with two cups, cream and sugar.
(setting the tray on coffee table)
What do you have to brag about today?
(gives Eve a queer look.)
Richard agreed to build us a barbecue.
I admire Rich, at least he tries.
Jim never builds anything. He
always calls in a contractor.
Martha takes her coffee. She smiles happily, pleased with her husband. The two sip coffee.
Did he say when he would build the barbecue?
MARTHA (that gives Martha cause to wander)
Today, I suppose.
Especially if you slap him.
Martha is putting more sugar in her coffee, but looks at Eve with indignation.
Are you getting better at it or
are you trying the break the habit?
(in a superior tone)
I'm working on the habit.
I didn't come over here to be insulted.
I came over here to brag about our new barbecue.
I'd rather see it than hear about
it. I bet Rich is golfing by now.
That causes Martha to get up and look out the window.
(she sees nothing)
He said he had to get several
sacks of cement.
CUT TO: INT. RICH'S HALLWAY - DAY
Rich has his golf bag over his shoulder; he is humming a tune as he skips over to the closet. From a key on a long chain he unlocks a door and starts to fill his bag with new golf clubs as they tumble out of the closet. There are hundreds of them. Rich fills his bag selecting each club carefully. This time he is choosing iron so they will not break or burn. When the bag is full; he literally dances out of the room.
5. INT. EVE'S LIVING ROOM - DAY
Eve is holding the curtain aside looking into Rich's back yard. She turns to Martha, still sipping her coffee.
Where are you going to put the barbecue?
Next to the swimming pool.
Eve, holding the curtain aside, is able to see a beautiful expanse of blue water. Then Rich comes out of the house. The back door slams and Rich comes around the side of the house with the golf clubs over his shoulder. Eve turns to Martha.
Rich didn?t say when he was going to build
(pondering a beat)
He just went out the back door with his
Martha puts her cup down, jumps from the chair and hurries to the window, sees
Rich with his new set of clubs,
(calling to Rich)
You promised to build that barbecue!
Rich is looking up at Martha.
(smugly, a cigar in his mouth)
I didn't say when.
(screaming out the window)
Richard, wait for me!
Martha as she rushes from the window to the back door and exits.
6. EXT. RICH'S BACK YARD - DAY
Rich instinctively does the opposite of what his wife suggests. Still looking up at the window where his wife just disappeared, he rushes for the swinging gate leading out of the yard. Richard has the clubs adjusted sideways across his chest; he automatically shoves the gate open with his left hand. He looks up at the window again and lunges through the gate. There is a loud crunch as the clubs fail to go through the gate.
The gates swings open, but Rich is surprised that his clubs failed to go through the gate.
Rich is set back on his derriere, the clubs in a V shape around his neck.
The gate swings back striking Rich, smashing the cigar into his face, knocking him onto his back. He finally sits up with a groan.
Martha comes running from the front of the house. She gives the gate a good shove.
Wait for me, Richard.
The gate knocks Richard over again. Martha hurries through the gate, stepping over Rich. The cigar is again smashed into Rich's face. He looks beat, but Martha compliments him for waiting for her, oblivious of what she has done.
(putting her arms around her husband)
Rich gives his wife a pained look, pulls the spiral cigar from his mouth and tires to straighten it out. Martha helps remove the clubs from the bag. This time they are irons and all have a pronounced V shape. Rich gets up, an annoyed expression on his face as Martha happily throws the clubs aside, one at a time.
Now we can build our barbecue.
Martha looks expectantly at her husband for an answer.
Not tomorrow, today.
LAPS OF TIME
A delivery truck dumps a pile of brick, cement and a mortar box, Then moves forward and dumps a pile of sand.
Rich is dragging the mortar box through the gate. It is unnecessarily large and we do not see Rich as he walks, the mortar box over his back. A sack of cement is in Rich's path and he stumbles over that, falls and is covered by the box.
Martha goes through the gate to the back yard. She is dressed in work clothes and is happily humming a tune. Working with her husband is her life. Martha is puzzled when she does not see Rich.
Rich is no-where in-sight, but there is a slight movement of the mortar box.
Rich this is no time to hide from me.
Martha throws up her hand and goes back through the gate for a sack of cement, where several are piled. Martha picks up a sack of cement and staggers for the gate.
So we can read on the sack, Net weight 94 lb.
Martha from the rear as she staggers through the gate, gives the gate a shove with her derriere.
Rich is recovering. The mortar box is moving, getting up.
Martha as she staggers toward the mortar box. She is gasping for breath and drops the sack on the box. The box caves in under the weight of the cement. We hear a loud groan, emanating from under the box. The box moves upward for a beat then sags again.
Martha as she stands exhausted looking around for Rich.
(in a loud voice)
Rich, you come back here, this instant!
Martha is bushed and sags heavily onto the mortar box..
Martha relaxes looking at her fingernails, scraping on them, polishing them.
The box wiggles, Martha catches her balance. There is a large groan from under the box as it moves upward. Martha and the sack of cement rising.
Martha spreads out to keep from falling off the box. The sack of cement slides down. Martha is afraid she will fall. Martha hangs onto the box for dear life.
Martha spreads out hanging on. The box swings round once and Martha screams again. The box tilts and Martha falls onto the ground. The sack of cement gradually falls off and onto her. The sack breaks and a puff of powdery dust fills the air.
Rich finally frees himself from the box and is standing there as Martha wipes her eyes.
Rich, can't you be serious.
Who is playing jokes on whom?
You were sitting on me.
LAPSE OF TIME END ACT ONE
Richard has sand and cement in the box and is chopping it with a hoe. Martha is watching him, a beatific smile on her face. She is proud of her husband. Everything is proceeding according to plan. Martha has the do-it-yourself book in her hand and is reading.
It says to add water next.
Bring me the hose.
Martha heads for the gate.
Rich had a golf club in one hand and a hoe in the other. He puts a ball on the mound of sand and cement. Rich is ready to hit the ball when Martha comes with the hose. Martha hands Rich the hose. He drops the hoe, but can't take the hose until he hits the ball. Somewhat distracted, he swings too low and both are encompassed in a cloud of cement dust. The two stand there wiping their eyes. Martha recovers first. She takes the golf club. Holding it behind herself, she surreptitiously drops it into the pool. Then Rich takes the hose.
Turn it on when I holler.
Rich takes another golf ball from his pocket. He places it on the mound of dry mortar. Then he looks for his club. The club is floating in the pool.
Rich fishes for his club from the pool.
Rich has the ball on the mound of dry cement and is ready to hit the ball. He limbers up for a good swing.
(ready to swing)
Four the water comes on just as Richard hits the ball. The hose as it rises like a hypnotized cobra no matter where Rich turns he is sprayed.
The ball bounces off one wall, then another.
Turn off the water.
Rich is jumping around trying to avoid the spray from the hose.
Turn it off.
Rich has his mouth open and the ball bounces in his direction and he catches it in his mouth. A hole in one. Rich finally picks up the hose. His mouth is puckered up, the ball stuck in his mouth,
Martha sticks her head over the fence to survey the situation. Richard throws the hose in her direction and squirts her.
Martha comes back into the yard. The ball is still stuck in Richard's mouth. He stands there, gesturing toward his mouth. His mouth is puckered up funny and Martha thinks he wants a kiss.
This is no time to get mushy.
(musing a beat)
Do-it-yourself projects does bring a
family closer together in a hurry.
Rich is still pointing to his mouth. Martha grabs him and gives him a worthwhile kiss.
When Martha releases Rich, she stands there, flabbergasted for a beat.
Martha has the ball in her mouth. She stands there looking bug-eyed trying the spit the ball out. When at last she has the ball in her hand, she gives it a hard throw. The ball goes bouncing around the enclosure.
Richard grabs the hoe and starts to mix the mortar. Martha turns her back to him and starts to walk away. The bouncing ball hits her on the rear.
Martha turns and slaps Richard.
(to Rch, with indignation)
How dare you hit me when we were
getting along so nicely.
I believe you could slap this barbecue
together without me.
Why fight, let's get on with the project.
Why don't you go into the house, so
I can build this thing in peace?
You'll go golfing.
(holding up his hand)
Then I'll go visit Eve.
I trust you.
7. INT. EVE'S LIVING ROOM -DAY.
Martha and Eve are comfortably seated. They are both sipping coffee. Martha is happy about her barbecue, but Eve has misgivings.
I think bragging makes you feel
more sure that you are going to
have a barbecue.
At least he is working.
I'll bet he's getting about as much done as you are.
Eve walks to the window to prove her point.
Richard is stretched out on a chaise lounge. There is a tall glass on a stand beside him. He is resting, his eyes closed and there are sound effects as he snores. Bouser is also asleep in the shade next to his lounge.
Come take a look. Ambition personified.
Martha goes to see. Looking out the window, she shakes her head in disbelief.
I guess I better go help him.
EXT. RICH BACK YARD -DAY.
Martha has a wheelbarrow loading it with bricks. She piles on one brick after another. The wheelbarrow is full but she keeps stacking on more bricks. She looks at the load, then piles a few more bricks onto the barrow until it can't hold another brick. Martha grabs the barrow by the handles. She lifts upward. It doesn't move. She looks to see if the barrow might be anchored to the ground. She grabs hold of the handles again, but the barrow will not move. She spreads out her legs and gives a steady hard pull upward.
Grunts as she strains.
Finally the handles move upward a few inches and she staggers toward the gate. She hits the gate with the barrow and it flies open. She staggers through then backward to keep her balance. The gate swings back, and hits Martha on the derriere. Martha is thrown off balance. To keep the barrow from tipping over she stumbles forward hurriedly. As Martha comes to the edge of the pool she stops, but the barrow doesn't stop. Martha louses control of the barrow and it goes into the pool with a splash.
Richard on a chaise lounge next to the pool is deluged with water.
The bricks are floating in the pool. Richard deluged with water comes up with a jump. He wipes his face and instinctively reaches for his golf club. Martha exhausted, tumbles onto the chaise lounge where Richard got up. She is lying face down. Richard yawns, with a beer, to lackadaisical to know what is happening. He reaches in his pocket for a golf ball, which he puts on the edge of the pool. He reaches for his club and hits the ball hard. It bounces off the block wall and goes wild. The ball hits Martha on the rump. Richard doesn't know where the ball is. He is too sleepy to care. He reaches in his pocket for another ball.
Martha has the ball that hit her and is about to hit Richard with it. Then decides that would not necessarily bring the two closer together, gives the ball a hard throw. It bounces off the fence, and hits Richard on the forehead. He is overcome and sits back on Martha. She gives Rich a shove. He is looking into the pool where he is about to land.
Rich is struggling to keep from falling into the pool. To save himself, he grabs hold of the chaise lounge where Martha is resting. The lounge tips over. Richard only gets one foot in the water. Martha gives Rich an understanding look.
Do you think we'll ever get this barbecue built?
Rome wasn't built in a day.
I think it's time I rested while you
bring the brick.
END ACT TWO
Rich has an arm full of bricks. He is stacking on more, while he already has more than he can carry. The bricks start to fall off. Richard walks to the gate. He pulls it open and walks through. Loaded down with bricks, Rich is slow and the gate hits him in the rear. Martha is still stretched out on the chaise lounge. Like Rich, she has a newspaper over her face and is resting peacefully.
Rich is thrown off balance by the gate and stumbles along losing his load. Some of the bricks fall into the pool, deluging her with water and some of the bricks fall onto her. Martha gets up and walks stiff-legged toward the house. She turns to Rich.
Richard, I don't think you're trying
to get along with me.
You're the one who started this,
with that silly apron for my birthday.
I'm going to get you another one
soon as the barbecue is built.
That might slow me down.
You couldn't get any slower.
LAPS OF TIME:
The barbecue is partially laid up. Rich has Martha's spatula in his hand in place of a brick-layers' trowel. He dips the spatula into the mortar box, reaches for a brick and puts a little cement on the end of the brick; he shoves it in place against the last brick. Rich repeats the process and stands back to admire his work. His bag of clubs are leaning against one corner of the unfinished barbecue. Rich reaches for a club. He places a ball on the last brick he laid up. Rich maneuvers in position. He swings hard and knocks Martha is doing her bit. She has a skimmer fishing the floating bricks from the pool. As she lifts the bricks out of the water she places them in a pile beside the barbecue.
Several bricks have floated beyond Martha's reach. Bouser is standing there.
Fetch, Bouser. Fetch!
Bouser jumps into the pool and brings back a brick. He jumps out of the pool , shakes water on both Martha and Rich. Martha takes the brick and points to another brick in the pool.
Rich stops laying brick and rubs his stomach.
I think it's time for lunch.
Rich has Martha's spatula and she wants it back.
I need the spatula to fix lunch.
With a big smile, Rich hurriedly hands the spatula to Martha. RICH
I can always rest.
Rich sits back on his chaise lounge and Martha goes to the house with the spatula, looking back at Rich wandering if she is doing the right thing leaving him to rest. Martha exits.
The bag of golf clubs is within reach. Rich takes a club, feels it, then getting up, he holds his back as if he had put in a hard day at work. He places a ball on a small stack of bricks and gets ready to swing at the ball.
Martha sticks her head out the window; she is holding a dish pan and a large wooden spoon. She hits the pan with the spoon causing a clatter.
Unnerved by the clatter of the pan, Rich hits the ball. It goes wild, hits Martha's pan and bounces into the house.
Lunch is ready.
Martha drops the dish pan and slams the window shut in self- preservation.
Rich hits another ball, it bounces into the pool. Balls are precious to Rich and he watches it intently as it rolls along to the bottom of the pool.
While eyeing the ball, Rich starts for the house and walks through the mortar box filled with mixed cement. Then as he walks toward the house, he leaves a trail of muddy tracks.
Martha opens the back door for rich. She stands there and looks at Rich's muddy feet and catches her breath.
You can't come into the house with
those muddy shoes. Wait right there.
Martha slams the door on Rich. He stands there waiting.
(calls out to Martha)
I won't allow you in the house.
You're dangerous and your shoes are a mess.
Then bring me some food.
At the mention of food, big friendly Bouser appears, ready for his share of anything to eat. Rich pets the dog.
(calls to his wife)
I can't eat out here. Bouser
will eat everything before I get one bite.
The door suddenly opens and Martha hands out a paper plate heaped with food. Rich reaches for the plate, but Bouser is too fast. Martha drops the plate and Bouser gobbles up the food.
Go to the window.
Martha is, at the kitchen window where she hands Rich a sack with food in it.
Martha, you didn?t wash the spatula
There?s sand in my sandwich!
8. INT. RICH LIVING ROOM DAY
Martha is sitting by herself reading a Do-it-yourself book while sipping a cup of tea.
The doorbell rings. Martha hurries to the door.
Mr. Eagle is there pushing on the door bell. He is dressed for golfing, a middle-aged man, completely bald. When Martha opens the door, she almost slams it in his face, but he puts his foot in the door stopping her.
You can't keep two avid golfers
apart any longer.
Reluctantly, Martha opens the door and Mr. Eagle enters.
I haven't seen Rich for so long
I'm thinking of reporting him
to the Bureau of Missing Persons.
He's building a barbecue and is so happy.
He doesn't want to go golfing until it is completed.
Mr. Eagle walks over to the window looking out on the back yard.
Rich is asleep on the chaise lounge, a paper over his face and stomach. There are several cans of beer on the uncompleted barbecue and empty cans scattered around.
(as he turns to Martha)
I think he's working too hard.
I think I better help him.
A beatific smile spreads over Martha's face.
Oh, would you please help him,
9. EXT. NEAR THE BARBECUE-DAY
There are now two chaise lounges around the pool. Rich and Mr. Eagle are both asleep. There are several bottles and glasses on a little stand between the chaise lounges. Both men are snoring.
Martha enters the scene to see how the work is progressing. She has two bricklayer trowels, one in each hand.
(loud indignant voice)
I though you came out here to help Rich. The two men rise up looking sleepy.
I am helping Rich doing just as much as he is.
helping him sleep.
(pointing to the bottles)
You wouldn't want him to drink all of that by himself.
The two men are working on the barbecue. Mr. Eagle is an expert and the work goes along at a good pace. Each has a beer in his left hand. With his right hand, Mr. Eagle piles some cement on the barbecue. Rich slams a brick on the cement. They repeat this and then each takes a drink of beer. The camera might speed up so the work is completed immediately.
The two men stand back to admire the completed project. They are now ready to go golfing, with Martha's blessing.
Rich goes to retrieve his clubs, the bag leaning against the barbecue. He yanks, the strap imbedded in the cement at the bottom where the first brick was laid up. He gives a tug on the bag, it doesn't move, but the strap stretches. Rich looks at Mr. Eagle.
I guess I cemented the strap in.
No problem. I'll help you pull.
The two give a yank on the bag and the whole barbecue moves.
I'll hold up the barbecue while you pull.
Mr. Eagle is holding up the barbecue while Rich gives a hard pull on the bag of clubs. He literally walks away. The strap stretches, imbedded into the barbecue. Rich is walking around the pool, the strap still stretching.
Mr. Eagle is holding the barbecue up. It is leaning. Rich can go no farther a tree is in the way. Rich give one last yank. One brick comes loose and hits him in the chest. He momentarily collapses.
Oh my heart.
Then Rich recovers.
When the brick turns loose the barbecue settles back intact. The two stand back to survey their handiwork, it still has a pronounced lean to the left.
(calling toward the house)
Martha, come see our masterpiece.
Martha leans out the window with her do-it-yourself book in hand.
Oh darling, I'm so proud of you.
If you can build a barbecue, you can build anything.
She waves her book expressing great delight, while Rich looks dejected.
Martha comes running out the back door. Rich says to her.
Now we can go golfing.
You deserve to go golfing.
Martha walks over to Rich.
I must give you a great big hug.
Her arms thrown out, Martha is looking up to Rich instead of where she is going. She steps into the mortar box, hugging Rich while she is standing in the mortar.
Mr. Eagle is standing there watching.
Like Martha says, do-it-yourself
projects do bring a family together. (a beat)
That book you have is only for men,
but only women buy it.
Richard looks down and sees Martha is standing in the mortar.
(afraid of repercussions)
I hate to rush off like this, but we're
a week late on our golfing engagement.
Martha looks at her feet as she steps out of the mortar. She is perturbed but resigned to her fate.
You just run along. I want to invite Eve
Over to see what you can do.
9. EXT. STREET-DAY
Rich throws his golf clubs in the back of his pickup. Rich leaves the tailgate down and he and Mr. Eagle get into the pickup.
We have to get out of here before
she thinks up another project.
Don't invite me over for a barbecue.
I don't want my wife to see what we can do.
They enter a busy boulevard. A truck is coming and wants to pass, he toots his horn. Rich shakes his fist at the man. Another truck is coming. The first truck pulls in front of Rich. Rich is forced to move out in a hurry to be out of the way of the oncoming truck. He guns the vehicle, the wheels squeal. His clubs slide out onto the street in front of the oncoming truck.
I think you clubs slid out onto the street.
Rich slows the car in a hurry, the brakes squeal. Then we hear a loud crunch. Then we see the mess of broken golf clubs in the street. They might all be wood this time, just a bunch of kindling.
END OF ACT THREE
10. INT. RICH RESIDENCE- NIGHT
Rich and Martha are sitting on the same couch relaxing.
How do you feel after you?re big
As if I'd worked for twenty-four
Over Rich's shoulder we are able to read what he is reading.
GOLF CLUBS WHOLESALE.
Martha is looking at her do-it-yourself magazine. Rich is smoking his cigar as she looks at him. Her darlin