BUDS

By

Josh Becker
&
Paul Harris



EXT. WOODED COURT - DAY

TITLE SEQUENCE:

A blacktop road runs through a densely wooded area.  The sun beams through the leaves of the trees, dappling the ground with shimmering spots of light.  A blue Honda CRX comes driving up the road toward us, goes around a cul-de-sac and parks at the far side of the court.

Sitting in the driver's seat with the window open is JAY BENNETT, a handsome, square-jawed man of thirty-four with short, dark hair and a mustache.  He takes a pack of generic, Best Buy, 100mm cigarettes out of his shirt pocket, shakes one out, breaks off the filter, lights up and starts to cough.  Jay hocks a big loogy out the window.

Jay sits there for a second in contemplative silence, his smoke rising into the clear air.  Finally, Jay turns and looks all around: right, left, front, back -- nothing.

INT. JAY'S CAR - DAY

Jay shrugs, reaches into his pocket and removes a bag of weed and a pack of Zig-zag rolling papers.  Jay pulls out a restaurant change tray from beside his seat, sets it on his lap, takes a fat bud out of the bag and drops it on the tray.

Jay begins the rolling process.  He breaks the bud up and tosses the stem into the ashtray.  He pulls a rolling paper out of the pack, puts an extra fold in it, sets the paper between the index and middle fingers of his left hand, scoops up the weed with the flap of the Zig-zag pack and dumps it into the paper.  With both thumbs he rolls the bottom of the paper upward, brings the gummed edge to his tongue, licks it, gives it one more roll and twists the ends.  He holds up the completed, symmetrical, well-rolled joint and admires his handiwork.

Jay looks all around one more time, then lights the joint and takes a big hit.  He blows out the smoke slowly and smiles contentedly.

END TITLE SEQUENCE:

Out of nowhere, PETE HERMAN, a thirty-two year old fellow with shoulder-length dark hair, a Van Dyke beard and mustache and round glasses, pops up at Jay's window and says . . .

                                                                 PETE
                                Boo!

Jay jumps in his seat and screams.

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (gasps)
                                Good God!  Don't do that!

                                                                 PETE
                                                           (laughing)
                                Sucker.

Pete goes around to the passenger door and gets in.  Jay hands Pete the joint and he takes a hit.

                                                                 JAY
                                Someday I'm gonna have a heart attack and die,
                                then you'll be sorry.

                                                                 PETE
                                It'll be revenge for all the times you've beat me up.

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (confused)
                                When did I ever beat you up?

                                                                 PETE
                                When we were kids you used to always beat me up.
                                You were a bully.

                                                                 JAY
                                I was not a bully and I never beat you up.

                                                                 PETE
                                Yes, you did.

                                                                 JAY
                                No, I didn't.  I may have pushed you around a little
                                bit, which you undoubtedly deserved, but that's it.

                                                                 PETE
                                Do you remember for a fact not beating me up?

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (hesitates)
                                Well . . . Not for a fact.  But I just wasn't like that.

                                                                                                       CUT TO:


INT. JAY'S CAR (WINTER) - NIGHT

It's now night and winter.  Huge flakes of snow are drifting down from the sky.  Pete and Jay sit in their same positions, still smoking a joint, but now they wear winter coats and hats.  The car windows are completely steamed up.

                                                                 PETE
                                                           (philosophically)
                                The memory is not so clear to the one who does the
                                beating as to the one who is beaten.

                                                                 JAY
                                Who are you?  Charlie Chan?  Come on already.
                                You're such a little weasel. I push you once when
                                you were ten and you haven't stopped bitching about
                                it for twenty-five years.  Isn't there some sort of
                                statute of limitations?  Seven years?  Fourteen years?

                                                                 PETE
                                I just want you to own up to it, that's all.

                                                                 JAY
                                Why?

                                                                 PETE
                                For the sake of truth.

                                                                 JAY
                                Get outta town.  What do you care about the truth?
                                People ask you what you do and you tell 'em you're a
                                comic book artist.  How many drawings you sold to
                                comic books?

                                                                 PETE
                                That's not the point.

                                                                 JAY
                                It's not?  What is?

                                                                 PETE
                                The point is that I draw comics.  I don't have to sell
                                'em to make it real.

                                                                 JAY
                                On what planet?  Sunev?

                                                                                                       CUT TO:

EXT. JAY'S CAR (AUTUMN) - DAY

Pete and Jay are in the their same positions in the car, both wearing windbreakers.  Dead leaves cover the ground and blow past the car.

                                                                 PETE
                                Sunev.  That's Venus backward.  I saw that Stooges.
                                That's the one where they eat clamshells and wash
                                them down with battery acid.

They both take another hit and go silent for a moment.  Both of them look like they're thinking about something.  Pete looks down at the roach in his hand; it's out.

                                                                 PETE
                                And another thing . . . Women don't have a sense of
                                humor.

                                                                 JAY
                                I'll second that, they sure can't tell jokes.

                                                                 PETE
                                Or remember them.

                                                                 JAY
                                That's for sure.  But we men are expected to
                                be amusing and charming on dates.  Tell jokes,
                                be funny.


                                                                 PETE
                                I can't stand women that need to be amused.

                                                                 JAY
                                But if I want to get laid, I have to transform
                                into someone else.  It's creepy.  Luckily,
                                alcohol does help.

                                                                 PETE
                                And it's like that whole thing about how when
                                women say "no" when they really mean "yes,"
                                except when they don't.

                                                                 JAY
                                Right.
                                                           (thinks)
                                Uh . . . What were we talking just about?

                                                                                                       CUT TO:

INT. JAY'S CAR (SUMMER) - DAY

Pete and Jay, same positions as always, now in t-shirts.  The trees out the windows are now thick with leaves.

                                                                 PETE
                                When?

                                                                 JAY
                                Before this.

                                                                 PETE
                                Women.

                                                                 JAY
                                No, before that.

                                                                 PETE
                                                           (laughs)
                                How am I supposed to know?
                                                           (remembering)
                                Oh, did you get my shit?

                                                                 JAY
                                Yeah.

Jay reaches into his pocket, takes out a baggy of marijuana and hands it to Pete.

                                                                 PETE
                                How much was it?

                                                                 JAY
                                Uh . . . It was seventy-five.

Pete takes the bag and hands Jay the money.

                                                                 PETE
                                Isn't that more than it was before?  I've only got
                                sixty-five.

                                                                 JAY
                                Yeah, it's gone up.  You already owe me five,
                                so that's fifteen bucks you owe me?

                                                                 PETE
                                Sorry.  I'll get it to you next week.

Jay hands Pete the change tray and rolling papers.

                                                                 JAY
                                That's O.K.  Here, impress me with your weed.
                                So, you going to Kaye's party Sunday afternoon?

                                                                 PETE
                                Can't.  I'm working.  How 'bout you?

Pete starts to roll one up.  He clearly doesn't know how to roll and tears the paper.

                                                                 JAY
                                Yeah.  Sure.  I'll go after the Piston game.  Can't
                                be enough parties as far as I'm concerned.  When
                                you get to be this age and still single, you gotta
                                have a mechanism for meeting the bodacious babes.
                                Parties are it.


                                                                 PETE
                                                           (snaps his fingers)
                                Oh, shit!

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (surprised)
                                What?

                                                                 PETE
                                I bet Jennifer Moore's gonna be there.

                                                                 JAY
                                Who?

                                                                 PETE
                                Jennifer Moore.  You've met her.

Pete now has a little rolling machine in his lap.  He turns it, pops out the joint and it falls apart -- he forgot to lick the paper.  Pete frowns.

                                                                 JAY
                                I have?

                                                                 PETE
                                Yeah.  At Kaye's last party.  I think you'd met her
                                before that, too.

                                                                 JAY
                                I did?

                                                                 PETE
                                Don't you remember?  At Kaye's party I was talking
                                to her and I introduced you.  You gotta remember
                                'cause she's a 100% bona fide knockout.  Dark hair,
                                beautiful eyes, perfect body, great tits, terrific smile.

Jay doesn't remember anything.

                                                                 JAY
                                Sure.  Of course I do.

Pete hands Jay a loaded pipe.

                                                                 PETE
                                Just thinking about her is making me pop a woody.


                                                                 JAY
                                All two inches of it?

                                                                 PETE
                                It may be small, but it's insatiable.
                                                           (disappointed)
                                I'm really pissed I can't be there, I'd love to get
                                something going with her.  If I could just get a
                                woman like her, my life would be all right.  I
                                tried calling and her line was disconnected.  I
                                called the new one from the recording and it was
                                some weird foreign guy.  Damn!

                                                                 JAY
                                Call in sick.

                                                                 PETE
                                I can't, I'm filling in for someone else.  Crap!

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (guffaws)
                                Shit detail at the gas station.  You know, Pete,
                                may well be the least ambitious person I've ever
                                met.

                                                                 PETE
                                That may be, but I have ambitions to go out with
                                Jennifer Moore, so do me a favor, will you?  If
                                you see her, hands off, O.K.?  I'm gonna track
                                her down.

                                                                 JAY
                                Fine, whatever.  But I'm gonna go to this party and
                                I'm gonna have a great time.  See, I used to have a
                                bad time at parties, but luckily, now I'm older and
                                more mature and I know how to comport myself
                                public-wise . . .



EXT. KAYE'S YARD - DAY

A backyard barbecue party is going on.  People are eating chicken, burgers and hot dogs on paper plates, drinking beer, laughing and having a fine old time.

Our view starts to move back and we realize that we're seeing the backyard through a window.  As we continue pulling back we find ourselves in . . .

INT. KAYE'S LIVING ROOM - DAY

. . . Kaye's living room where we see Jay sitting in an easy chair looking forlorn and depressed, a beer in one hand, a cigarette in the other.  The living room is deserted except for one other person, a good-looking blonde, GINA, who looks more unhappy than Jay, and scowls at the floor.

Jay looks over his shoulder, out the window, at the party outside.  He turns back, looks at Gina and smiles.  Gina glances back at Jay and sneers.  Jay gives her an "excuse me" look and takes a big slug of beer.

Suddenly, a really great looking girl comes walking through the front door.  Long black hair, black leather jacket, black leather skirt, black stockings, high heels and radiating a sense of wildness; a drunken abandon.

She steps into the living room and scans the premises.  She and Gina look right at each other, but
neither says a word.  They just stare.  Gina finally looks away, continuing to scowl.

The wild, dark-haired girl turns her gaze on Jay who is looking right at her.  She has a mole on her cheek.  They stare into each other's eyes, daring one another to look away.  Slowly, they both begin to smile.  Jay finally blinks, but doesn't look away.

She steps forward until she is looming over Jay and she's only 5' 2".  She swings one of her feet over his legs and is now standing directly over him, all the while holding his smiling gaze.  She slowly lowers herself onto his lap.  She is JENNIFER MOORE.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                Remember me?

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (grinning)
                                Sure.

Jen leans closer to his face, smirking.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                From where?

Jay considers this for a moment.

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (improvising)
                                Marseille, during the war.  You wore blue, the
                                Germans wore gray.

She smiles and leans even closer.  Their noses are touching.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                You have no idea, do you?

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (straining)
                                Burton Elementary School?

She moves her face slightly back and forth, indicating "no."

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (shrugs)
                                Who cares?

He kisses her.  It's a first-rate, lengthy kiss, too.  Their lips separate, but their faces remain together.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                You still don't know who I am?

                                                                 JAY
                                Would the kiss have reminded me?

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                No.

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (shrugs again)
                                It's the Alzheimer's, I forget sometimes.

Jen shakes her head in amazement.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                We met at Bill's house.

                                                                 JAY
                                Bill?

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                Bertelli.

Jay doesn't remember her and he can't hide it.

                                                                 JAY
                                Oh, Bill Bertelli's.  Sure.  Now I remember you.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                                           (amazed)
                                No you don't.  You're lying.

                                                                 JAY
                                Well, I remember Bill.  'Course I've known him
                                for most of my life.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                We met again right here at Kaye's last party.

                                                                 JAY
                                Really?

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                My God, I always thought I left more of an im-
                                pression than this.

                                                                 JAY
                                My short-term memory is shot.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                This was a year ago.

                                                                 JAY
                                My long-term's not so great, either.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                Well, we have met.  I don't want you thinking I
                                always walk up to strange men at parties and sit
                                on their laps.


                                                                 JAY
                                Just starting tonight, huh?

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                Why don't we go out.

                                                                 JAY
                                Let's go.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                Another night.  I've got something I've got to do now.
                                                           (she glances over at
                                                           Gina, then back)
                                This week.

Jen takes Jay's pen out of his pocket, uncaps it, takes hold of Jay's wrist and writes her number on his hand. "555-3738."  Jay looks at his hand.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                Now don't wash your hand.

                                                                 JAY
                                It's O.K., I never do.

Jen puts the pen back into Jay's pocket.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                Call me.

                                                                 JAY
                                I will.  Nice meeting you.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                We've already met.

                                                                 JAY
                                I meant, again.

Jen stands up.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                'Bye.

Jen turns and walks right out of the party, teetering on her high heels.

Jay takes a deep breath, sighs and smiles happily.  He looks up at Gina, who is still scowling, looking directly at him.

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (grinning)
                                How about you, beautiful?  What are you doing
                                tonight?

                                                                 GINA
                                                           (finally smiles and points)
                                Your pen's leaking.

Jay glances down and sees a black spot of ink on his shirt under his pocket.  He pulls out his pen and the cap is on the wrong side.

                                                                 JAY
                                Oh, shit!

Gina wears a self-satisfied smirk.

Jay tries wiping the ink spot with a napkin, but it's really no use.  A thought hits Jay.

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (to himself)
                                I didn't get her name.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. WOODED STREET - DAY

It's a beautiful summer day: sunshine, blue sky and singing birds.  Pete and Jay are taking a walk.  Jay is smoking a cigarette.

                                                                 JAY
                                Man oh man, smell that fresh air.

Jay takes a hit of his cigarette, starts to cough and hocks a goober.  Pete points.

                                                                 PETE
                                Oh, look.  Part of your lungs.


                                                                 JAY
                                                           (waves his hand)
                                I got more.

                                                                 PETE
                                So, how was Kaye's party?

                                                                 JAY
                                It was pretty good.

                                                                 PETE
                                You have a nice time?

                                                                 JAY
                                Yeah, great.

                                                                 PETE
                                See anyone interesting?

                                                                 JAY
                                Yeah, this really terrific babe just came up, sat
                                down on my lap and asked me out.

                                                                 PETE
                                No shit?  You gonna call her?

                                                                 JAY
                                Sure.  I mean, I guess so.

                                                                 PETE
                                You see Jennifer Moore there?

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (pause)
                                Who?

                                                                 PETE
                                Jennifer Moore.  Don't you remember, I told you
                                about her.

                                                                 JAY
                                I remember you telling me, but I don't know who
                                she is.

                                                                 PETE
                                I introduced you to her.

                                                                 JAY
                                I know you said you did, I just don't remember it
                                happening.

                                                                 PETE
                                Man, you must have a brain tumor or something,
                                you can't remember anything.  Black hair, really
                                cute, about five-two?

Jay remembers her.

                                                                 JAY
                                A little mole on her cheek?

                                                                 PETE
                                                           (lights up)
                                Yeah, that's her..

Now Jay realizes he's stepped into it.

                                                                 JAY
                                Uh . . . An earring in her nose and a tattoo of a
                                flower on her shoulder?

                                                                 PETE
                                                           (smile fades)
                                No, that's not her.

                                                                 JAY
                                Oh, I guess I didn't see her.  What's the big deal
                                here, anyway?

                                                                 PETE
                                Her phone's disconnected.  I can't get in touch
                                with her.  I'm just interested in how she's doing
                                and where she's living.  I called Kaye this morning
                                and she said she didn't see her either.  I guess she
                                wasn't there.

                                                                 JAY
                                I guess not.

                                                                 PETE
                                That's too bad.

                                                                 JAY
                                Yeah, it is.

Jay looks away.

INT. JAY'S KITCHEN - DAY

Jay sits at the kitchen table drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette, reading Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and taking notes.  Jay suddenly shuts the book and looks at his hand, which is streaked with grease and filthy, the smeared phone number still visible.  He grins, picks up the phone and dials.  Jay coughs and composes himself.  There is a pause, then Jen answers.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Hello?

                                                                 JAY
                                Hi.  Jennifer?

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                Yes.  Who is this?

                                                                 JAY
                                It's Jay.  From the party.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                Oh, yeah.  Sure.  How are you?

                                                                 JAY
                                Great.  You?

                                                                  JENNIFER
                                Great.  What's up?

                                                                 JAY
                                Not much.  Wanna go out tonight?

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                Tonight?  Sure, what time?


                                                                 JAY
                                Eight o'clock?

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                O.K.

                                                                 JAY
                                Great.  What's your address?

Jay grabs a pen, can't find paper and writes on his grimy hand.

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                2636 Virginia.
                                                           (there's a voice in the B.G.)
                                What?  Hold on.
                                                           (Jen speaks to someone else)
                                No, it's not long distance.  I'll be off in a minute.
                                                           (into phone)
                                Hi, I'm back.

                                                                 JAY
                                So, I'll see you at eight, then, Jenny --

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                -- I don't like to be called Jenny.

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (frowns)
                                Sorry.  Is Jen O.K.?

                                                                 JENNIFER
                                Fine.


                                                                 JAY
                                All right, Jen, see you at eight.

                                                                 JEN
                                I don't mean to be bitchy, I just don't like Jenny.

                                                                 JAY
                                That's O.K.  Not a problem.


                                                                 JEN
                                I'll see ya.  Thanks for calling.

                                                                 JAY
                                My pleasure.  'Bye.

He hangs up.  The second the receiver is back down the phone rings.  Jay answers and it's Pete.

                                                                 JAY
                                Hello?

                                                                 PETE
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Hi.  We still on for the movie tonight?

                                                                 JAY
                                                           (hesitates)
                                . . . Uh, I can't make it tonight.  My Gramma
                                just called and she's not feeling real well, so I'm
                                gonna go see her.  How about Tuesday?

                                                                 PETE
                                Tuesday's cool.  I'll see ya then.  Hope your
                                Gramma feels better.

                                                                 JAY
                                Thanks.  See ya.

Jay hangs up looking tortured and a guilty.  He thinks about it for a second, then waves his hand.

                                                                 JAY
                                Ah . . . fuck it.  What am I gonna wear?

Jay exits the kitchen.

INT. JAY'S GARAGE - NIGHT

Jay steps out the door into the garage wearing tight black jeans, black cowboy boots, a long sleeve shirt, a black and white, herringbone sport coat and a thin black tie.  He pulls his pants up, his jacket down, unzips his fly, reaches in and pulls his shirttails tight.

Jay gets in his car, puts in the key, turns it and gets a click and nothing else.  His face drops.


                                                                 JAY
                                Oh no.

Jay tries it a few more times and still gets nothing but clicks.

                                                                 JAY
                                Shit!

He gets out of the car and opens the hood.  He starts to putter around in the engine, then looks down and sees that not only does he have grease all over his hands, he's got it on his sleeves.

                                                                 JAY
                                Oh, Goddamnit anyway!

Pissed, but moving on, Jay goes back into the engine.

                                                                 JAY
                                Ah ha, there it is.

He reaches deeper in, then suddenly the engine starts and there is the -- ZZZING!! -- of something caught in the fan.  Jay jerks his hand out and does a James Brown spin on one foot.

                                                                 JAY
                                Son of a fucking bitch!!!

He looks down at his hand and sees his finger gushing blood.

                                                                 JAY
                                Oh, great!  Fantastic!

Jay slams the hood closed, goes to take a step and his coat tail is caught.

Jay gets in the car and wraps his finger in an old napkin.

 

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