Readers Write In #151: The One With The Rosebud

Posted on March 28, 2020

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(by Amit Joki)

Author’s note: This was the script I had written and submitted to the Amazon Prime Originals when they were still accepting scripts. Obviously, it did not get selected. So I thought of publishing it in BR’s blog but he rightly suggested that the screenplay format would be difficult to read and asked me to make it a story if possible. So this is that story. It is a pilot for a sitcom I had imagined.

Alan had just been laid off from his work. It wasn’t a surprise though. Alan was what you’d call a wholesome arts person. He wanted to become an actor. He wanted to become a writer. He wanted to become a singer.

He never really stuck at one job, his mind constantly on the run. He always was fascinated by the cinema. It was one of the things that he’d gotten from his father.

Alan calls a cab. He has a bag full of bananas and a newspaper clipping with a property marked off. The cab driver greets him with a gentle nod.

He takes out his wallet to see how much he has left. The wallet itself is in a pretty bad shape. He peeks through the wallet and is embarrassed for there’s nothing more than a few cents. He had bought bananas with the little money he had.

The cab driver who’s been looking at Alan through the mirror finally asks, “Where should I drop you, sire?” Alan is flustered and he blurts, “My steps are ordered by the lord”.

The cab driver stares at him for a second and laughs it off. Phew. Alan looks at the newspaper clipping and sees he’s not that far away. Alan shouts, “Hey, wait a minute, I think I just dropped my weiner!”

The cab driver is taken aback. He gives Alan a bewildered look and goes, “What now?” Alan quips back, “You wouldn’t be asking that if it were yours, now, would you?”

The cab driver thinks it’s legit and brings the cab to a halt. Alan makes a quick jump out of the car and a few moments later, jumps back right in.  The cab driver curiously stares at Alan’s second base. Alan feels uncomfortable and says, “What are you looking at? You’ve got one of your own, why don’t you have a peek at it?”

The cab driver sighs. After a few minutes, the cab comes to an abrupt halt. Alan is visibly very concerned. The cab driver gets out of the cab and opens up the bonnet. Alan offers to help and after giving the battery a hard look says smugly, “That’s the engine. You may want to have a look at it” and is impressed with himself for having helped.

The cab driver goes completely bonkers over this suggestion but he is just exasperated and sighs.  Alan waves at his watch to gesture it’s really getting late and says, “Hey, I’ve still got a loooong way to go. Would you still want me to pay till now?” while nodding his head sideways fervently.

The cab driver half-heartedly says,  “Nah, I don’t charge for unfinished business”. Alan excitedly goes back to get his luggage. There’s a banana attached to the exhaust. Alan talks down to the banana, “You were a good banana. I am going to miss you.”

After a quick stroll, he reaches an open-house. There’s Janice. Alan is surprised, “You on to the same house huh?” Now, Janice is a nostalgic person. She gets silly but in a cutesy way and have I mentioned that she’s a bisexual? Well, she is.

Janice is quick to recognize Alan and she says, “You haven’t changed much from when you last pissed your pants!” Alan thinks to himself how does she still remember it and laughs awkwardly.

Janice says, “I am okay with sharing it if you are”. Alan is only too happy to have found a roommate, but his happy thoughts are cut short when Janice asks for the payment upfront. Alan awkwardly says, “Ladies first” and starts staring at Janice in an awkward manner.

Right at that point, both Janice and Alan hear something in the basement. A guy peeps from the basement and says enthusiastically, “Hey, look who we have here!”

Alan and Janice look at each other and then at the man in the basement. The guy recognizes he doesn’t know them and asks seriously,  “Okay, who DO we have here?”

Alan and Janice introduce themselves and they hear another person climbing up the basement stairs. She is sweating a bit. Alan quickly says to the guy with a huge grin, “Did you do her?”

The guy wanting to clear the air says,  “It’s not what you’re thinking” when the girl grabs up a baby from the staircase. Janice freaks out, “YES IT IS!”

The guy introduces himself as Paul and the girl to be Mindy, his sister. Alan is all worked up now in a childish sort of way, “Did you do the I-word?” There’s an awkward silence all around.

Paul introduces himself as a baby-sitter and Mindy lifts the baby up to prove it. Janice and Alan get it now. What were they thinking, surely a baby couldn’t come out so fast, pfft.

Anyway, Janice and Alan have made up their mind and they are liking it. “How about you guys?”

Paul and Mindy nod in agreement. Right at that moment, an old lady makes an appearance at the door. She’s walking so slow, she’s basically at rest to the naked eye. Mindy and Janice look at the guys annoyed. The guys look at the old lady to see if she picks speed, but seeing that not to be the case, they lift her over to the living room.

The old lady exclaims with a thick British accent, “Aren’t you dying to buy the house?” Paul goes, “Looks like it!” The old lady says, “That’ll be $50,000 for the house and everything in it”.

Alan goes completely bonkers, “NOW I AM DYING!” Janice asks the old lady, “Could you excuse us for a moment?” and the old lady abides and starts going out, barely. Janice and Mindy look at the guys and the guys promptly lift her out of the house.

Mindy announces, “The house is big. We all can be housemates if there isn’t any problem.” Janice agrees, “Burden shared is a less burden”.

Paul takes a small notebook from his pocket and starts writing that down, “That’s definitely going down into my quotable quotes” and winks at Janice who has no idea what’s going on.

Alan jumps in with a Morgan Freeman impression, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”  Janice and Mindy agree, “That settles it!”

They all try for an impromptu hug which awkwardly doesn’t happen and they give up. “I think the old lady can be brought in” Janice says.

Paul and Alan sigh but what choice do they have? While dropping her off, the old lady makes a saucy observation much to the surprise of others, “Alan, you just felt my butts, didn’t ya?” Alan is flabbergasted, “Ewwww, no.”

The old lady ruffles Alan’s hair and with a puppy face says, “All the sagging apart, I’ve still got it in me” and everyone except Alan goes, “Awwwww” Alan coughs and asks the old lady to start preparing the paperwork to which the old lady replies, “Promptly, sexy!”

Alan is confused, “What was that?” As she moves out nobody lifts her up and she takes all the time in the world. After an eternity, Paul says, “I think even if we could all pitch in $10,000, we would still be short.” Mindy agrees.

Alan beams, “I can chip in with $20,000”. Paul is curious, “How?” Alan happily replies, “My father just died”.

There’s indistinct chatter. Janice says, “That’s awful Alan!” Alan quickly clears the air, “Guys guys, I am sorry too that he kicked the bucket, but I got his will, that’s got to be worth something right?”

Everyone is interested now. “He always talked of leaving me with a lot”, Alan said. “Sure he was the stingiest guy you ever met, but that only means he was stashing it all away innit?”

People aren’t really sure that’s the case but nod in agreement just to humour him. Paul addresses the elephant in the room, “Did you read your will yet?” to which Alan goes, “No, but I WILL”.

Alan laughs thinking he’s made a great pun but no one is interested. “Anyways, here goes nothing” he says as he takes away a large envelope from under the bananas. The envelope is  labelled “WILL” in block letters. Everyone’s glued to know the contents of the will.

Alan dramatically says, “D-R-U-M R-O-L-L-S” and does an action of beating the drums as he opens the envelope. Out of it comes a very small piece of paper with a single word written over it. Alan’s suddenly completely sober as he says, “Rosebud.”

On the backside, there’s more – “Ye shall have what ye shall seek.” Everyone is visibly dejected but Mindy has other ideas. Her eyes gleam as she says, “Maybe it’s a Ruby!” Janice joins, “Yeah, rubies are red and a rosebud looks a lot like a gemstone!”

Paul is clearly unimpressed, “I think it might be memorabilia from the sets of Citizen Kane.” Alan is interested. “Yes, you know Citizen Kane! The Movie!? You know it starts with Kane’s dying words – Rosebud and finally they figure out what that means.”

Alan’s expressions aren’t really cheerful. Paul continues, “It’s his sledge!” at which point Alan throws his hands up in the air exclaiming, “Man am I fucked up!” Paul suddenly comes to the realization that it wasn’t actually interesting as he had made it to be.

Janice, wanting to cheer Alan up, explores the will further, “I think we have to dig deep.” Alan retorts, “How deep can you dig a word?” Janice gives up.

Meanwhile, Paul shouts from a toilet, “Guys, the toilet even has toilet paper!” Others sigh. Alan is fixated on the will. “What does the quote mean? Ye shall have what ye shall seek?”

Paul smugly replies, “I seek strippers.” Mindy interrupts, “When you were a child, did you want something that you couldn’t afford then?” Alan sheepishly replies, “Light Sabers?” Mindy sighs, “Forget it.”

The baby which was until now left in some desolate corner of the house utters its first words, “Ba-na-na”. Everyone goes “Awwwwww”. Janice goes near the baby, “That is SO NOT a banana” and snatches from the baby what looks like a dildo. Mindy says, “You don’t say!”

Alan and Paul are dejected. “This is insulting,” they say as Paul grabs it from Janice. Paul suddenly is curious, “Wait!” Alan is piqued, “What?” Paul continues, “Look,” and proceeds to insert his finger into the dildo and marvels when it starts to vibrate.

“It is a dildo AND a fleshlight at the same time!” Alan and Paul are as happy as Newton must have been when he discovered Gravity. Heck, even more, may be. Alan continues, “Imagine the possibilities!” Paul agrees, “The inventor of this thing should get a Booker prize!”

Mindy corrects him, “I think you mean Nobel prize.” Paul scoffs, “As if I don’t know it is noble.

Mindy sighs and gives up.

Meanwhile, the old lady is dressed in a white gown. She hands her divorce to Alan, “Here’s your paperwork, are you now happy darling?”

Mindy throws her hands up in the air, “Now we know!” Alan can’t believe it, “But this is your divorce! Why?” The old lady replies, “He’s bad in bed.” Alan quickly replies, “You’ve got the wrong idea”.

The old lady gasps, “Don’t tell me you’re bad in bed too!” Everyone takes a moment to let that sink in and Alan is so embarrassed his face looks like a tomato.”I meant the paperwork for the house!” he says.

The old lady retorts, “But you felt my ass up!” Paul wanting to mediate interrupts, “Hey, you know what, you can feel his ass up to get even.” Alan scorns.

The old lady dejected at Alan, now turns to Paul, “Not everyone gets to do me!” Paul clearly knowing where this is leading announces, “I am GAY!” The old lady is disappointed again, but she lights up, “Maybe I could set you up with my husband!”

Mindy interrupts timely, “Maybe we should just finish this deal?” Everyone nods fervently. Old lady is like, alright alright. She hands over the paperwork of the house after signing it while Paul is meddling with the two-way dildo.

The old lady calls up Paul. Paul wanting to escape from the clutches of the old lady says, “I have a date with a guy today, sorry!” The old lady is unimpressed, “You fool, that’s my dildo you’re diddling with!”

Paul awkwardly tosses it right up as soon as he hears about it. The old lady who until now was as slow as a snail runs to catch it and fumbles. Alan grabs her from behind and she bends over making it look like Alan is doing her. Paul has a huge grin while Mindy and Janice are like, “Get a room already!”

The old lady regains her composure and says to Alan apologetically, “Sorry, I don’t give second chances.” Alan scoffs. After the old lady leaves, Paul wants to clear the air, “I was kidding about me being gay, you know that right?” Others aren’t really sure they buy it.

Janice always on the point says, “We are still $20,000 short.” Alan again waves his will around, “Guys, you really are forgetful huh?” Janice interrupts, “Alan, we don’t know what Rosebud means!” Alan retorts, “but it’s got to be worth something!”

The baby having seen all this bickering starts crying. Janice says, “Paul, do something about the baby!” Paul smugly takes out a nipple from his pocket and inserts it right into the baby’s mouth. “That should keep him quiet.”

Suddenly, there’s a barking sound coming from the basement. Alan asks Paul, “You don’t happen to have another baby down there, do you?” Janice and Mindy are baffled at Alan’s question.

Alan retracts his question, “May be not. Don’t be so dramatic!” Everyone rushes to the basement. There’s a beautiful Golden Labrador lying under a similarly colored sack. Paul takes the sack off and out comes the dog. Alan notes, “There’s no collar.” Paul is quick to say, “What a shame, even I have one” as he points to his collar.

Everyone stares at Paul. Mindy petting the dog’s head says, “How could anyone leave such a cutie?” The dog starts licking her all over, “Alright alright,” she says as she gets away from it.

Paul makes an observation, “Where’s the belt that dogs wear around their necks?” Everyone sighs. Paul doesn’t know why everyone’s acting so weird.

Janice who’s been reading the contract says, “We’ve agreed to pay for the dog too!” as she points it in the contract. “It is in the Terms and Conditions.”

Paul goes, “Whoaaaa! That’s blasphemy right there! They never put important things there right?” Others sigh. Paul, fed up with being wrong sighs, “Oh man!”

Alan says, “Anyways, this dog’s got to have a name!” and Mindy says, “Tom” but the dog doesn’t respond. Janice chips in, “Jerry” and the dog doesn’t really respond, it is doing the opposite of responding. Alan mockingly says, “Why not try Winnie The Pooh?”

The dog which is sitting uninterested doesn’t seem to respond to any name. Paul says, “Maybe it is trained. Sit!” Paul continues, “See, it is sitting!” Others sigh. The dog was already sitting.

Paul tries, “Stand” but the dog continues to sit. Paul says, “Okay maybe it isn’t trained”. Janice says, “Maybe he fetches?” as she ruffles the dog’s hair and the dog promptly starts licking Janice’s face all over. Paul smugly says, “He sure does!”

Alan says, “Maybe he is hungry.” The dog which until now looked like it couldn’t care if the world was ending, suddenly jumps at the word hungry. Alan gets a banana from his bag and the dog devours it in no time.

Paul goes, “Do you know who else likes bananas?” Alan replies, “Minions?” Paul replies, “Nooo, me!” as he takes one banana from Alan. “But I always feel guilty when I am eating one” he says earnestly.

Alan asks,  “Why is that?” Paul replies, “You know with other fruits, you don’t have to take its clothes off.” he says as he starts peeling a banana, “whereas with a banana, I feel like I am stripping its clothes.” Everyone thinks it is weird but also is reasonable.

Alan trying to cheer up his mate says, “I don’t think the banana cares!” Paul says, “Really?” Mindy joins in, “Yes! Its destiny is to serve your stomach, totally naked!” Paul isn’t sure whether it is comforting or even more uncomfortable. Janice clears it all up, “You’re providing the banana, its salvation.” Paul is now sold on it. He won’t feel guilty about eating a banana anymore. He gobbles up the banana and is proud to have helped it attain salvation.

Alan begins, “Salvation reminds me of the will!” Janice asks, “Okay, what’s the earliest memory of your father?” Alan says sheepishly unsure whether or not to say it, “He, being crossdressed?” Paul broods, “Interesting!”

Mindy not wanting the awkwardness to continue anymore says, “Back to the rosebud!” when Paul has an idea, “What if it is not a Rosebud, but a Rosebed?”

Janice joins, “Yes, like a bed of roses!” Alan doesn’t like where it’s going, “That shouldn’t make any sense!” when Mindy suddenly says, “See see, the dog is hugging me!”

Everyone observes that the dog is indeed hugging Mindy’s legs. But the dog then does the unexpected. It starts humping Mindy. Mindy goes, “Ow! Ow! Get off you bad dog!”

Alan makes an observation, “Now we know why he was left” nodding his head. Paul remarks, “He’s such a humper!” The dog suddenly stops and looks at Paul. Janice exclaims, “Oh my God!”

Alan crosses his fingers and repeats, “Humper!” and the dog sees Alan and starts panting. Mindy says, “That’s one thing we’ve learned today!”

Alan is exasperated, “What we haven’t learned is about my WILL!” Paul comforts Alan, “Come on Alan!” and mockingly adds, “Ye shall have what ye shall seek!”

Alan figures, “Okay sorry guys, I may have been freaking out a little.” Mindy coughs emphasizing the word, “LITTLE”. Janice says, “We’ve got to figure out where each of us will stay!”

Alan and Paul nod in excitement. Janice and Mindy raise their hands fast and declare, “We will be living here.” Alan and Paul are miffed, “Where would we be living then?”

“Basement, I guess” Janice says. Alan is quick to retort, “This is cheating, you said we would D-I-S-C-U-S-S!” Alan empathetically agrees.

Mindy clarifies, “But we called it first.” Alan and Paul disagree vehemently. Alan says, “We are not children, now are we. Calling something is a child’s way of doing it. Let’s be adults about this.”

Paul is impressed. Mindy says, “Oh, but imagine this, if Janice and I were to be naked you guys could sneak up on us and catch us unaware”

Alan and Paul nod their heads slyly and run off to the basement. Mindy says to Janice, “Man are they gullible!” while Alan and Paul peek from the basement and laugh among themselves.

Alan notices, “Look, the baby is oozing something!” Paul being a babysitter corrects him, “That’s peeing, silly.” Alan retorts, “Why don’t you do something about it, the babysitter?”

Paul and Alan leave the basement and Paul picks up the baby and rips off the diaper. After that, Paul takes the baby to the washbasin and exposes the bum of the baby to the tap. “Mindy, are you just gonna look? Open the tap!”

Mindy promptly opens the tap. Paul shakes the baby front and back and sideways under the running water. After he does that, he swipes of the non-existent sweat from his forehead.

“Babysitting isn’t child’s play you guys!” Alan who’s watching this charade says, “I figured.”

Paul continues, “You know what should be on the Government’s agenda?” Everyone’s ears to what Paul has to say. “Every baby should be potty-trained by default.”

Others sigh. Suddenly there’s a knock on the door. Mindy goes, “Hello from the other side!” in reference to Adele’s song but others don’t find it relevant. Alan sighs and opens the door.

A guy in a suit asks, “Who’s Alan Travolta here?” Alan asks, “Who’s asking?” The guy in a suit is baffled, “Me?”  Others sigh. The guy in a suit introduces himself, “I am a lawyer. I am here regarding Alan Travolta’s will. Alan is all psyched up. “That’s me, that’s me!”

The lawyer hands over the actual will and takes leave. Others are sad but only until the lawyer leaves. Once he’s gone, everyone is as psyched as Alan and they jump in joy.

Alan opens the envelope. There’s a paper. Paul is quick to ask, “Is it a cheque?” Alan isn’t sure. The paper is actually rolled up and is very lengthy and the paper ends at Paul’s feet.

Paul takes up the paper, “What’s TL;DR?” Janice replies, “Too long; Didn’t read” Paul retorts, “You don’t have to be mean!” Others sigh.

Janice grabs the paper from Paul and reads the Tl;DR; “Rosebud is a metaphor of life”

Paul goes, “Meta-porn?” Janice sighs and continues, “At its initial stage, it doesn’t look beautiful, but with time it blossoms into the flower of love!”

Janice quickly takes note of everyone’s reactions. Alan is not in good spirits. She continues, “Son! I hereby leave you with this rosebud seeing which you can assure yourself that good times are ahead of you”

Janice then takes out a literal rosebud much to the dismay of everyone. Alan is freaking out, “I am the most fucked person in this world!” Paul interrupts with a grin, “You wish! Everyone knows I am the most fucked person, you can be the second.”

Others sigh. Mindy who is reading the whole of the paper asks, “Any way we can auction this speech off for $20,000?” Others stare at her. “I’ll take that as a yes.” Others continue staring at her even more, “Or a no. Whatever.”

Just then, two people running in from opposite directions stumble into the house. The guy asks, “Tell me that the open house hasn’t closed yet!” Janice says, “It has been, for the past hour.”

Alan gestures at the lack of money to Janice and she continues, “But we still may have room for 2 more housemates!” The two people introduce themselves. They are Barry and Jennifer.

Jennifer says, “We are grateful.”

Mindy interrupts, “It’s $10,000 each.” There’s awkward silence in the room when suddenly Humper comes and starts humping Jeniffer’s legs. Paul goes, “He’s a lot like me! He’s part of the house deal by the way.”

Janice says to Barry, “You’d be living downstairs.” Alan interrupts, “Scratch that. She means the basement.” Barry whispers to Alan and Paul, “How could you guys cede the ground?” Alan and Paul then whisper to Barry, “Imagine if the ladies are to be naked, we could sneak up on them and have a jolly good time!”

Barry looks at the ladies and laughs to himself and agrees to the deal. Jennifer asks Mindy and Janice, “Could they be more gullible?” to which they say, “Yeah we know.”

Jennifer takes a look around the house and finds the baby at a desolate corner. “Whose baby is it?” Paul answers, “I babysit it.” Jennifer asks, “What’s its name?” Paul goes blank. He doesn’t know the name of the baby.

Jennifer further queries Paul, “You sure you didn’t just kidnap the baby?” to which Paul retorts, “As if I don’t know that’s against the law!” Others sigh. Paul has got an idea though.

He goes up to the baby and says, “Humper!” The baby doesn’t respond. “Hmm. Guess it works only on dogs.” Others sigh. The baby suddenly starts crying.

Jennifer says, “Maybe he’s hungry!” Paul takes a note and reads, “What to do when a baby is hungry? “Breastfeed it.”

Paul then looks up to Janice, Mindy and Jennifer who are quite reluctant. Paul helplessly gesticulates at their breasts, “Come on, don’t be selfish! That milk’s gonna stagnate away!”

Janice says, “I think I saw a bottle of milk in the kitchen” and she proceeds to get it. As soon as she gets the bottle, Humper is all excited.

Alan and Barry don’t think it is a good idea to be giving that milk to the baby. Barry runs off, “I’ll buy the milk” and Paul tags along.

Alan says, “Guess I’ll take care of the baby!” A few minutes later, there’s a knock on the door.

It is the cab driver with Alan’s newspaper and a totally burnt banana. He is scowling. Alan shuts the door on him.