The sun rises over the farm. The cock crows.


Delbert enters the kitchen wearing an oversized Camel cigarette t-shirt, bleary-eyed and half awake.

                                Mom? Where are you?
                                                           (looks around)
                                This is weird.

A second later the backdoor opens and in steps Molly grinning widely.

                                Good morning, my son.

She kisses Delbert on the cheek. As she leans forward we see that her back is covered with straw. When Molly turns to make breakfast, Delbert sees it, too.

                                Mom, you've got straw on your back.

Molly, unable to see her own back though she tries, reaches around and brushes the straw off.

                                Well, what do you know about that.

Just then Joe enters, also smiling broadly.

                                Good morning, Bert. Good morning, Molly.

                                Good morning, Joe.

Delbert sees that Joe, too, has straw on his back.

                                Hey, what's with all this straw all over everybody?

Joe reaches back and finds straw.

                                What do you know about that?

Molly helps brush off Joe's back, then gets motherly to change the subject.

                                So, what do we want for breakfast here? This isn't
                                a restaurant, ya know.

                                What do you want, Joe?

                                Well, Bert, I'll tell ya; I like pancakes. How about

                                I like 'em, too, but she never makes 'em.

                                "She" is not good at making pancakes, OK? That's
                                why "she" doesn't make them.

Joe stands up.

                                I, however, make great pancakes. In fact, I can't
                                cook anything but pancakes.

                                Well, be my guest.

Joe steps up to the stove.

                                Stand back, spectators could get injured.

Molly sits down. She and Delbert exchange a skeptical look.


Everybody has part of a huge stack of pancakes left on their plate. They all look slightly nauseated.

                                They were good, though. Next time you don't
                                have to make so many.

                                No. Now I feel like Jo-Jo the Bloat Goat.

                                                           (smiles sadly)
                                Good Golly Miss Molly Polly.

                                Hey! I never got one. That's not fair.

                                OK. How about, "Bert, Bert, the Little Squirt?"

                                I don't like that one.

                                I never liked Jo-Jo the Bloat Goat. I don't think
                                you're supposed to like your nickname.

                                Yeah, I didn't really love Good Golly Miss Molly
                                Polly, for goodness sake. You take what you get.

                                So we all end up with nicknames we don't like?
                                That's stupid.

Delbert stands up and leaves. Joe and Molly look at each other and shrug. They see that Delbert's gone, then kiss. They speak with their noses touching, grinning at each other.


                                Morning. What are you going to do today?

                                Well, although I don't know much about it, I thought
                                I might take a look at the tractor and see if I can
                                get it running.

                                Good luck.

                                What about you?

                                I have a million things to do. But we have a date
                                tonight, right?


They kiss again.

                                Take Delbert with you.


                                Whatever his name is. See you at lunch.

They kiss yet again.


Joe comes out the front door.

                                Come on, Bert. Give me a hand.


A moment later Delbert comes out the front door. He and Joe walk off together.

                                Bert, Bert the Little Squirt.

                                                           (annoyed, but amused)
                                Don't say that!

                                Or what?

                                Or I'll get mad.

                                Uh-oh. Now I'm in trouble. Look out. Bert, Bert
                                the Little Squirt.

                                You're asking for it.

                                Asking for what?


Molly sorts the laundry, unfolding balled up socks, going through pockets. She picks up Joe's brown, dirty and bloody pants and smiles. Reaching into the pocket, Molly comes out with Joe's gold wedding band. Molly becomes so sad and depressed looking at the ring that she sits down on the floor and cries.


Joe and Delbert come walking up to the front of the house, covered with grease and grinning. Inexplicably, they find the front door locked. Suddenly, the door opens and Molly grabs Delbert's arm, yanking him inside.

                                Delbert! Get in here!

                                My name's Bert.

                                Your name is whatever I tell you it is! Now get in

She slams the door. Joe is befuddled.

                                What's going on?

The door reopens and Molly throws Joe's clothes in his face.

                                Wait a minute, don't forget this!

She throws his wedding ring at his chest. Joe recognizes it as it hits the porch. Molly slams the door as Joe picks up the ring.

                                What a minute, Molly, I can explain.

                                                           (through the window
                                                           in the door)
                                Oh, yeah? Go ahead.

                                Well . . . Uh . . .

                                Good explanation. Answer me this, are you at
                                least separated?

                                Well, no . . . Not actually, but spiritually.

                                Asshole! You took advantage of me -- your best
                                friend's widow! You're the lowest form of pond

                                Everything I said is true. My wife and I can't stand
                                each other. We should be divorced.

                                I should be happily married, but I'm not! Now
                                get lost! And leave Kevin's clothes there, you're
                                not worthy of them!

Molly grabs Delbert's arm and the two of them walk out of sight. Joe hangs his head. He then unbuckles the overalls and let's them drop around his ankles. Joe steps out of the overalls, then glances back at the wedding ring in his hand. What to do?

At that very moment a police helicopter appears over head, followed by two police cars with their flashers going, then three unmarked cars filled with Chief Dondero and the Agents. They are coming from everywhere.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                There he is.

Joe looks all around in a panic, then suddenly bolts. He runs out into the overgrown field.

Everyone gives chase: helicopter, police cars, and unmarked cars, all go out into the field after Joe.

Joe hauls ass in his skivvies and a shirt. He runs with all his might, like a hunted animal.

Molly and Delbert open the front door. With incredulous expressions they watch the chase.

Joe gets across the field, enters a wooded area, still sprinting he looks back and doesn't notice a thick, low-hanging branch coming up at head level -- WHACK!! -- Joe knocks himself senseless. The whole world goes white . . .



Chief Dondero and the four Agents step up to Molly and Delbert at the front of the house.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Mrs. Groves?

                                Yes. Who're you?

The Chief pulls out his badge.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                We're Secret Service, Ma'am. We guard the President.

                                You also stop counterfeiting, too, don't you?

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Yes, Ma'am, we do. We're a division of the Treasury

                                Is Joe a counterfeiter?

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                No, he's the President.

Molly and Delbert look at each other and speak simultaneously.

                                                                 MOLLY & DELBERT
                                Joe's the President?

They both burst out laughing.

                                That's the silliest thing I've ever heard. He wasn't
                                even wearing shoes when he came to the funeral.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                He'd stopped wearing shoes several weeks ago.
                                He's been under a lot of stress lately.

Joe's unconscious body is strapped to a gurney and loaded into the back of an ambulance.
The Chief and the Agents start to leave.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                You'll be debriefed, Mrs. Groves. Otherwise, we
                                apologize for the inconvenience.

Molly grabs the Chief's sleeve.

                                One thing . . . ?

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO

                                What's his relationship with the First lady like?

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                                           (looks around)
                                Between you, me, and the lamppost, theirs is
                                the marriage from hell. They don't even like
                                each other. Never have. It's all a front for the
                                media. It's sad, really. Joe's a first-rate guy.
                                I'm not enjoying watching him go through the
                                hell he's presently going through. Goodbye,
                                Mrs. Groves. I'm sorry about your husband.

                                Thank you.

The Chief leaves. Molly and Delbert watch him go, then turn and go inside.



Joe lies asleep in a hospital bed, his head bandaged, his beard thicker every time we see him. Both of Joe's hands are balled into fists. Sitting around the room reading magazines are: Henry Harrison, General Seaholm, Chief Dondero, and Nora, the First Lady.

Suddenly, Joe gasps loudly and snaps his eyes open.

Everybody in the room is startled and jumps. They all turn, look at Joe, then crowd in around his bed. The first one to speak is Chief Dondero.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Hey, Joe. How ya doin'?

                                OK, Chief, how're you?

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Better now. We were a little scared for a while there.

                                Are you sure you're all right, Mr. President?

                                I'm fine, Secretary of State Harrison. My head hurts
                                a bit.
                                                           (to General Seaholm)
                                General Seaholm. Keeping the country safe?

                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                Yes, sir.

                                                           (to Nora)
                                Nora, you look tired.

                                I am tired, Joe, but I'll sleep better now that I know
                                where you are. What's in your hand?

They all glance down at Joe's balled fist. Joe opens his hand revealing his wedding ring. Everybody smiles. Nora takes the ring out of Joe's hand and replaces it on his finger.

                                There. Now you won't lose it.

                                I didn't lose it.

                                Well, now you won't.

                                So, what's on the agenda?

                                The agenda right now, Mr. President, is for you to
                                get better.

Joe sits up.

                                I am better. What do you think this was all about?

                                But you should rest.

                                I'm rested. Really. How are the popularity polls

                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                Outstanding, sir. The highest they've been this entire

                                If they start to drop again, just smack me in the head
                                with the nearest heavy object.

Everybody laughs; he is better. Joe starts to take the bandage off his head.

                                Maybe you shouldn't do that.

                                Do I have any stitches or anything?

                                                           (shakes his head)

Joe takes off the bandage. There's a lump, which Joe touches, then winces.

                                It's a good thing I have a hard head.

Everyone chuckles and nods. Henry Harrison coughs.

                                Uh, Mr. President? You know, there is a huge
                                Republican rally in town tonight. If you made
                                an appearance I'm sure you'd bring down the house.

                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                You'd be a hero.

                                Elections are less than five months off, sir.

Joe considers it, then nods.

                                That's true. Time's getting short. Yes, I think that's
                                a fine idea.

Everyone smiles brightly. Harrison suddenly looks concerned.

                                And you'll shave, sir?

Joe reaches up and strokes his beard.

                                Yes, I'll shave. I'll wear shoes, too.

Harrison and General Seaholm both sigh happily.

                                We'll get right on it.

                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                Yes, sir.


Harrison and General Seaholm excitedly exit the room. Chief Dondero appears confused. Nora throws him a look saying, "Please leave." Chief Dondero leaves. Nora turns to Joe.

                                Why did you have your wedding ring in your

                                I didn't want to lose it.

                                That's nice, Joe. Ya know, I've been thinking a
                                lot about us lately. Things haven't gone so well
                                up until now, but maybe they can improve.

                                You think so, Nora?

                                Sure I do. What do you say we set aside some part
                                of each day to spend together? That way we could
                                talk and get to know each other. After a while, we
                                might even get over this sickening, bitter revulsion
                                we feel for one another. What do you think?

                                I think that's a fine idea, Nora. Have your assistant
                                set it up with my assistant, OK?

                                Oh, Joe, this'll be a new beginning.

Nora exits, all excited. Chief Dondero reenters, still looking quizzical.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Anything you need, Joe?

                                Yeah. Some clothes, shaving cream, and a razor.

Joe throws his legs over the side of the bed and stands up, somewhat woozy and wobbling. The Chief is right there to hold him up.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Slow down, will ya. What's the rush?

                                What's the rush? Chief, life's the rush. It's going
                                by so fast that before you know it it's over. You've
                                got to grab it with both hands and hold on 'cause it's
                                a bucking bronco. And if you don't pay attention,
                                you end up on your ass.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                                           (looks skeptical)
                                Joe, are you sure you're all right?

                                Never felt better, Chief. How about that razor?

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Take a shower and it will be here when you're done.


Joe walks into the bathroom and shuts the door. The Chief frowns, scratching the side of his head.



Joe rides in the back of a limousine with Harrison, General Seaholm, Chief Dondero, and Nora. Joe is in a suit and tie, shaved, and wearing shoes. He looks perfectly composed.

                                The news of your appearance tonight, sir, has caused
                                a tremendous sensation. All the TV networks have
                                decided to run it live.

Joe nods, impressed. General Seaholm takes a fat sheaf of papers from his briefcase.

                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                Now, about that twenty-fifth BEEZWACS surveillance
                                jet, sir. We still need your signature on this appropriation

                                                           (waves it off)
                                Later, General.

                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                But --

                                -- Later.

                                Now, about your upcoming schedule --

                                -- We'll talk about that later, too. Have you got my
                                speech for tonight.

Harrison reaches into his briefcase.

                                Yes, sir.
                                                           (hands Joe his speech)
                                Here. It's undoubtedly a better idea that you go over
                                this speech. These other matters will wait.

Joe reads his speech.

                                Yes, that's what I thought.

Nora leans forward.

                                My assistant spoke with your assistant and it seems
                                that Tuesdays at eleven are open for both of us, what
                                do you think?

                                                           (glances up; smiles)
                                That's fine, dear. I look forward to it.
                                                           (reads his speech; nods)

                                I wrote it myself, Mr. President.

                                Good job, Simon.

                                Thank you, sir.

Chief Dondero still wears his skeptical expression.


An enclosed, football-sized auditorium with an enormous parking lot jammed with cars. A banner outside the auditorium reads, "REPUBLICAN RALLY TONIGHT -- FREE NON-ALCOHOLIC BEER."


A huge crowd of silly-hatted Republicans mill around inside the auditorium. American flags fly everywhere. People hold up signs with names of states on them.


The Presidential seal adorns the podium. On chairs along the back of the stage are: Harrison, General Seaholm, Chief Dondero, Nora, and other notables. Joe stands in the wings, studying his speech. A TEXAS SENATOR presently addresses to the crowd.

                                                                 TEXAS SENATOR
                                                           (with a Texas accent)
                                . . . America must be strong to be gentle. America
                                must be strong to be kind. America must be strong
                                to be beneficent. America must be strong because
                                it just should, that's all. Not kind of strong, not sort
                                of strong, but really strong. Strong enough to vanquish
                                our enemies, and strike fear into the hearts of our
                                allies. Strong enough to reduce this planet to rubble
                                anytime we want. And not just once, but many times.
                                We need to be able to turn the rubble into smaller rubble.
                                And who is the man to lead us to this goal of strength?
                                Why, none other than our own President of the United
                                States. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you President Joseph
                                K. Burton!

The audience erupts into deafening applause. As Joe steps out on stage the audience goes even wilder. Harrison gives Joe the thumbs-up. Joe nods to him, then steps up to the podium. Joe stands there patiently waiting for the applause and cheers to die down. He takes his speech out of his pocket and sets it on the podium before him.

When the applause and cheering finally fade out, Joe continues to stand there, looking at the audience. After a minute, the silence starts to get uncomfortable. There are several loud coughs from the impatient audience. Joe glances back at Harrison, Seaholm, Dondero, and Nora, all breathless and wide-eyed in anticipation -- what's he up to? Joe turns back to the audience.

                                Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Republicans. It's good
                                to be able to stand up here tonight and speak to you.
                                                           (applause; Joe pauses)
                                Over the past week I haven't really been in a coma. I
                                ran away.

The audience hushes. Harrison and General Seaholm exchange a panicked look. Nora is shocked. Chief Dondero is completely interested.

                                That's right, I ran away. And I traveled across a small
                                part of this great country of ours. Up through Maryland,
                                West Virginia, and into Ohio, my home state. I was
                                going home to attend my best friend's funeral. He died
                                in prolonged misery due to lack of proper medical care.
                                And it was my fault. And it was your fault, too.

Harrison and General Seaholm are furious.

                                He's completely lost his mind!

                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                Should I shut him down?

                                                           (nods vigorously)
                                Yes! Shut him down! He's gonna blow the whole thing.

                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                                           (snaps to attention and salutes)
                                Yes, sir.

Joe continues to address the stunned crowd.

                                We need to keep our military strong, sure, but let's
                                not be crazy about it. Education is more important
                                than defense, everybody and their little brother should
                                know that. Without decent medical care for everyone
                                we are no better than a third world country. In Calcutta
                                they step over dead bodies; here, we step over the home-
                                less. It's not a big step from one to the other. The point
                                is not how to get the rich to pay less taxes, but how can
                                the general populace, including the poor, live better

People in the audience begin to boo at Joe. They yell things like:

                                Get lost! Take a hike!! Traitor!!!

General Seaholm steps up to the ENGINEER running the sound and light board.

                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                Are you controlling the sound and lights?


                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                I order you to shut everything down.

The Engineer is taken aback.

                                Oh, you do, huh?

                                                                 GENERAL SEAHOLM
                                Yes, I do! I'm General Artemus Seaholm, head of the
                                Joint Chiefs of Staff.

                                Are you really? Well, I did four years in the Marine
                                Corps, and when I was honorably discharged I vowed
                                to never take another order from an officer again in
                                my entire life. So you can just blow it out your barracks
                                bag, General!

The General is aghast.

Meanwhile, Joe's knocking 'em dead.

                                The goals that I now see as important are not the
                                goals of the Republican Party. I don't think they're
                                the goals of the Democratic party, either. So, I'm
                                not sure what to do. Be that as it may, I have decided
                                to unquestionably not run for President on the
                                Republican ticket.

Chief Dondero is totally impressed.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                You go, Joe.

However, everybody else in the whole auditorium is both outraged and shocked.

General Seaholm has brought the MANAGER with him up to the Engineer.

                                Shut it down.

                                All of it?

                                Yes, all of it.

The Engineer shrugs, does as he's told, and shuts off all the lights and sound in the entire auditorium.

Fifty thousand people are plunged into darkness and begin to bump into each other. We see a bright red ash glowing. SOMEONE yelps, exclaiming:

                                Hey, bud, watch it with that cigar.


                                                                 SOMEONE ELSE
                                Hey, you moron, you're spillin' beer down the back
                                of my neck.

In the darkness the Manager speaks:

                                All right, funny man, bring up the house lights.

The Engineer does as he's told; the house lights come up.

The podium is empty -- Joe's gone. A piece of confetti floats to the stage.

Harrison steps up to the bemused Chief.

                                Find him! This time I'll have him committed! You
                                hear me? Find him!

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Why? What good will it do you?

                                I didn't ask your opinion, Chief, just do your job and
                                find him! As Secretary of State I outrank you by so
                                much that it's incalculable. Now move!

The Chief nods sadly and starts to leave.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Yes, sir.


Chief Dondero exits the auditorium and steps up to his car.


The Chief gets into his car and finds a black wallet sitting on his dashboard. The Chief opens the wallet revealing the driver's license of Joseph K. Burton, smiling and squinting at us from the photo. Chief Dondero chuckles, shaking his head.

The four Agents step up to the Chief's car.

                                                                 AGENT #1
                                So, where do you want us to start looking now,

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Go home. All of you. Get a good night's sleep.

                                                                 AGENT #1
                                But what about finding the President?

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                The President doesn't need to be found. He's not
                                lost. Goodnight, gentlemen.

As the Chief drives away he tosses Joe's wallet on the empty seat beside him.

The four Agents are left helplessly behind.



Molly is hanging the laundry up to dry on the line. With the wind blowing her hair and the clothes, it's like an early American portrait. Delbert hoes the vegetable garden beside the house.

The mail truck pulls up to the mailbox down at the end of the long dirt driveway. Molly and Delbert both glance up, shading their eyes in the morning glare.

The mail truck drives away and there stands Joe, unshaven, smiling, but abashed.

A thankful smile fills Molly's face, causing her eyes to tear up. She looks to Delbert, who smiles back at her. Molly starts walking down the driveway.

Joe starts walking up the driveway. After a few steps they both begin to run. Molly and Joe meet halfway in a tight embrace. Joe takes off his wedding ring, shows it to Molly, then throws it as hard as he can into the field. Joe and Molly kiss.

Delbert watches from the house, leaning on his hoe and smiling.



It's a beautiful fall day at the Ohio State Fair. There are crowds, rides, booths, and corrals full of enormous pigs. The same female TV news reporter we saw at the beginning steps into our view.

                                                                 FEMALE REPORTER
                                                           (into camera)
                                As the elections near there are some very surprising
                                developments. As we all know, the Democratic
                                candidate, Senator Roger Thornhill, is presently in the
                                lead in the polls . . .

A photograph of a mid-forties, gray-templed, good-looking guy is super-imposed on the screen beside the reporter's face.

                                                                 FEMALE REPORTER
                                . . . Following a close second is the Republican candidate,
                                General Artemus Seaholm . . .

A photograph of General Seaholm at attention, his chin thrust forward, is super-imposed.

                                                                 FEMALE REPORTER
                                . . . However, the most interesting development of
                                recent days has been the homespun support for two
                                unlikely, Independent candidates running for office
                                under the banner of Teddy Roosevelt's long defunct,
                                Bull Moose Party . . .

Delbert looks very uncomfortable in a suit and tie. He stands beside Molly, who looks very pretty, wearing a dress. Beside her, with his arm around her is Joe, now wearing a full beard. He is dressed in a corduroy sport coat, blue jeans, and a knit tie. Joe gives Molly a kiss, musses up Delbert's freshly-combed hair, smiles, straightens his tie, then walks up the steps onto an outdoor stage.

Joe is met there by Luke Warmwater, also in a suit and tie. The two of them walk out onto the stage, met by loud applause and cheering. Sam, the old White House washroom attendant, is there, too. Joe and Luke smile, waving to the crowd. Behind them is a large poster with both Joe's and Luke's faces on it, which says, "VOTE BURTON/ WARMWATER -- THE BULL MOOSE PARTY CANDIDATES." Joe and Luke wave to the crowd and smile.

                                                                                                       FADE OUT:


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