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FADE IN: EXT. PUNCHLINES COMEDY CLUB – NIGHT The club is shoved between two dark buildings. A small marquee reads “Open Mic Night.” INT. PUNCHLINES COMEDY CLUB – MAIN ROOM Small tables sporadically fill the dimly lit main floor. Waiters and waitresses scurry between the tables. BACKSTAGE A dark, cramped backstage echoes with crowd laughter. Timid, ordinary JAMES RATHE, 28, sweats bullets. He peeks through the curtain. STAGE A thirtysomething FEMALE COMEDIAN struts around the stage. She cracks jokes with a cocky demeanor. FEMALE COMEDIAN …and my husband whines, whines, whines that I’m being a pessimist. He goes ‘Don’t you ever see the glass as half full?’ So I grab his penis and shove it into a shot glass. Turns out, the glass really is half empty. The crowd erupts in laughter. BACKSTAGE James checks his watch. JAMES Damn it, Brandon. Where are you? INT. HOSPITAL – NIGHT Nurses and doctors push through the hallway with charts and medical equipment. One patient room has the window covered and blocked.

INT. PATIENT’S ROOM A heart monitor beeps steadily. The lights are dim and the blinds are closed. BRANDON (O.S.) I love your body. I love your smooth curves and soft skin. I know it’s not right but I can barely contain myself. Attractive, 30-year-old BRANDON VOLE’s face is beet red and sweaty. He stares down intently. BRANDON I’m going to touch you now. And I want you to touch me. Brandon’s head slowly leans down. Brandon’s watch alarm shrieks with a beep. BRANDON Times up. Pale, eighty-year-old GERTRUDE lays in anticipation on her bed. GERTRUDE No, come on! Brandon places the beat up book he’s been reading from, “Search for Lust Treasures” onto the table. He resets his watch and stands. BRANDON Next time. I gotta run. You stay sexy. Brandon winks and rushes out the door. GERTRUDE Blue balled again. INT. HOSPITAL LOBBY Brandon races to the exit with his jacket over his shoulder.

Sexy, young NURSE LANEY steps in front of Brandon, stopping him dead in his tracks. BRANDON Laney, looking great! Kind of in a rush. Brandon dekes to pass Laney. NURSE LANEY Too busy for me? BRANDON No. Well, maybe a little. Laney reaches to caress Brandon’s shoulder. NURSE LANEY You promised me another physical exam, Doctor Love. Brandon slips between Nurse Laney and the door. BRANDON You’ll just have to make an appointment. Brandon squeezes by and rushes out the door. Nurse Laney’s gaze stays on Brandon. INT. PUNCHLINES COMEDY CLUB – BACKSTAGE Laughter echoes all around James. He fumbles with note cards. JAMES Forget it. James backs towards the exit. An EMCEE’s hand reaches over James’ shoulder. EMCEE You’re up. Let’s go. The emcee brushes by James. James’ nervousness waterfalls in sweat.

INT. MAIN ROOM STEPHANIE WILLIAMS, an intimating but pretty thirtysomething, wafts her shiny brunette hair. She sips from a beer. The young men sitting around her should be hitting on her but they fearfully avoid eye contact. Brandon slides into the seat next to Stephanie. He winks at a passing waitress. STEPHANIE Brandon. BRANDON Satan. STEPHANIE You’re late. No slutty date? BRANDON It’s great to see you too, Steph. Night off from the vet’s office? Puppy castration market down? STEPHANIE A neutering joke, cute. You should stop by my office; we could do a favor for women everywhere. Stephanie snips her fingers together like scissors. INT. STAGE James runs out from behind a curtain. The crowd appeases him with small applause. JAMES Thank you, thanks for coming out. James squints at the ominous crowd. He spots Brandon and Stephanie. JAMES I love classical music. Beethoven is one of the best. Am I right?

The young crowd doesn’t respond. JAMES When Beethoven found out that he was deaf, you know what he said? He said ‘What? I can’t hear you.’ The crowd gives a generous chuckle. Brandon whispers to a waitress. Stephanie rolls her eyes. JAMES Poor composers, though. Beethoven was deaf, Bach was blind. Is the next great one going to be impotent?! The crowd is almost completely silent. James is frozen in place. A SCRUFFY HECKLER belts out a cough. JAMES Bless you. SCRUFFY HECKLER It was a cough, asshole. The audience chuckles at the confrontation. Stephanie spins to face the heckler. STEPHANIE Hey, you want to shut up? The heckler tosses an empty beer cup at Stephanie. Brandon bats the cup back at the heckler. BRANDON Hey, you wanna stop before I rip that Chia Pet-lookin’ beard off your face? Confused, the heckler backs down. Brandon rolls his hand at James. BRANDON Proceed.

The crowd laughs at Brandon and the heckler. JAMES Awesome, I love riot themed nights. Ha. The crowd immediately stops laughing. James grimaces under the bright lights. INT. THE DIVE BAR - NIGHT A few scattered patrons populate the smokey bar. James leans on a small table. Stephanie wraps her hand around James’ shoulder. Brandon slams four bottles of beer on the table. BRANDON Oh, did you want one? JAMES Funny. You should have been up there. STEPHANIE It wasn’t that bad. JAMES I think eulogies get more laughs than me. BRANDON You should get a topless assistant. JAMES I’m not a magician. STEPHANIE You just have to keep going up there. JAMES I’m pretty sure I’m getting worse with experience. I don’t get it, I used to be good.

STEPHANIE Yeah, in the senior talent show. A decade ago. BRANDON James, forget all that. You just had a bad night. You need to fire the narrow arrow. Leave it to me. Brandon nods to a pretty blonde at the bar. JAMES No, please. Not again. Stephanie throws on her jacket. STEPHANIE That’s my cue to leave. James, be careful he doesn’t get any of his crabs on you. BRANDON Better than your fleas. Stephanie shakes her head in disgust. Brandon drags James to the bar. Brandon leans on the bar next to a beautiful, BLONDE woman. She daintily sips red wine. James awkwardly stands behind Brandon. WINO BLONDE May I help you? BRANDON You sure can. I’ve been having a problem with my plumbing at home. WINO BLONDE I think you need to call a plumber. BRANDON What I really need is someone who can clean my pipes. The blonde is slightly disgusted.

WINO BLONDE Did you really expect that awful line to work? BRANDON I figured, since opposites attract, a disgusting line was perfectly opposite your angelic presence. The blonde tries to control her slightly drunk emotions but cracks a smile and nods. WINO BLONDE Okay, I’ll bite. Let me powder my nose and we’ll get out of here. The blonde caresses Brandon’s leg and heads to the bathroom. JAMES I don’t understand at all how that just happened. BRANDON You have to have balls. JAMES Of course. Used to be chivalry, now its balls. BRANDON Alright, let’s complete the deal. JAMES No, you don’t have… Brandon leaves James and struts down the bar. He sits next to an obviously DRUNK girl. JAMES (to himself) No way. Please, no. The drunken girl shakes her head and looks uninterested in what Brandon is saying.

JAMES That’s right, shake him off. You don’t want to meet his awkward friend. The drunken girl bursts out with laughter. Brandon shoots a smile at James. JAMES Damn it. EXT. THE DIVE BAR – PARKING LOT Brandon hangs his arm around the blonde. They stumble toward his car. BRANDON Good luck tonight. The blonde laughs as she and Brandon jump into Brandon’s car. James wistfully watches Brandon and the blonde speed away. JAMES Do you want to go back to my place or… The drunken girl rests on James’ shoulder. She lets out a gravely snore. JAMES Comatose. Great. INT. JAMES’ APARTMENT James flicks on the lights. The ceiling and walls have cracks. The furniture and appliances are antique versions of modern technology. Rats love this place. DRUNKY Ugh, gross. The drunken girl plops down onto the couch. She lets out a nauseous groan as she surveys the room. James places a glass of water, a towel, and a bucket in front of the couch.

DRUNKY What the hell is all that for? JAMES Sanitation. DRUNKY So, what do you do? JAMES I am a comedian, actually. DRUNKY What do you do for real work? JAMES Just that. How about you? DRUNKY V.P. of Marketing. JAMES Well, that’s not intimidating. The drunken girl reaches to slide off her top. DRUNKY So, where we doing this? She unsteadily stands up. JAMES Oh boy. How about we take it slow? How about a VHS tape. Have you seen Aladdin? DRUNKY You’re shutting me down? Oh, this is rich, unlike you. Ugh, what a crap hole. She stumbles towards the door. JAMES Hey, wait…I… James scampers over to cut her off at the door.

JAMES (quickly) I have a problem with my plumbing. Can you clean my pipes? The drunken girl sneers and knees James in the groin. James collapses with a pathetic groan. DRUNKY Good luck with your pipes now, loser. She crashes through the door and slams it shut behind her. James delicately covers his crotch. INT. JAMES’ APARTMENT – DAY James sleeps over the arm of his couch. A bag of ice is duct taped to his crotch. The phone rings from across the room. James falls off of the couch and onto the floor. He winces in pain but manages to reach the phone. BRANDON (V.O.) Ask me how my one night stand went. JAMES How did your one night stand go? BRANDON Let’s just say it might turn into to a two night stand. So, you do her? JAMES Brandon, Listen. You need to get me drugs or something from the hospital. BRANDON Damn, she looked clean. JAMES No, I tried your stupid plumbing line and she kneed me in the balls. I think she burst one of them.

BRANDON You might want to hit up the hospital. JAMES I can’t afford that. You owe me. BRANDON Fine, I’ll snag some meds from work. You ought to be more careful. JAMES Yeah, I’ll remember that the next time you stick me with an alcohol soaked drunk. James’ eye catches the clock on the wall. JAMES Shit, I have to meet my parents for lunch. BRANDON That time of the month. Tell your mom I said ‘Sup.’ EXT. CAFÉ – DAY The café sits on a peaceful street corner. Customers congregate near a group of tables on the sidewalk. James’ mother and father, MARIE and HAROLD, are WASP, properly dressed 60-year-olds. They each have alcoholic drinks in front of them. Several empty glasses cover the table. James sits across from his parents. HAROLD You’re cut off. Completely. JAMES What, why? HAROLD You need to stop sucking from our financial teat.

James grimaces at Harold’s turn of phrase. Marie begins to cry and shoves her face into Harold’s arms. HAROLD Jesus Christ, are you happy now? I’m not going to hear the end of this for at least a week. JAMES I’m sorry? I don’t… why is she crying? HAROLD She’s crying because her little pride and joy is a bum. JAMES You can’t do this to me now. I need it. Marie snaps out of her crying episode and turns sweet. MARIE What about a job? That temp position? HAROLD Marie, he dropped that six months ago. Even I know that. JAMES I’ve been doing my stand up. MARIE Is that some sort of wheelchair support group? JAMES No, mom. Stand up comedy. MARIE Oh, that’s cute. Harold snorts and takes a healthy swig from his drink. MARIE What? I think it’s a nice little hobby. What’s your real job?

JAMES That is my job. MARIE That’s what we mean. You have to stop this silliness and find a real job. JAMES My silliness? You’re the ones starting with the drinks at noon. HAROLD Starting? MARIE No more fighting! I’m sorry James, but one more month of freeloading and that’s it. Harold. Marie shoots to her feet and pulls Harold up with her. JAMES One month? HAROLD But my drink. MARIE We have so much more at home. Harold salvages one last swig from his drink. MARIE It’s okay, James; you’re not a total embarrassment. Harold and Marie dramatically walk away. James is left stupefied as the waiter drops off the check. EXT. COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE – DAY The quaint clerk’s office sits on a busy street. James and Brandon walk side by side through a large crowd. A protest rages in the background.

BRANDON So, you’re officially a bum now. A hobo. JAMES Officially BRANDON Don’t worry. You don’t need them anyway. JAMES Yeah, all that money they were giving me was really slowing me down. I’m completely screwed. BRANDON You could always move in with me. JAMES Not this again. BRANDON I’m just saying it could help you financially. And we’d have a kickass time. Emphasis on the ass. JAMES Maybe, but that only helps me with rent. I have a mountain of debt, no health insurance; how do people afford all of this? James and Brandon stop at the county clerk’s entrance. BRANDON What are we doing here? JAMES My new landlord says he needs my actual birth certificate. Does that sound normal? BRANDON Hmmmm, no, not really. INT. COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE

A policeman guards the small, quiet office. Three sets of couples sit in the waiting area. CLAIRE BRIANS, a thirty something with glasses and a quirky demeanor, works behind a counter. A pair of BROTHERS stands at Claire’s counter with a pile of folders under each of their arms. CLAIRE I’m sorry, but you need a picture I.D. to apply for the process server position. BIG BROTHER But my face is right here. SMALL BROTHER It’s true. That’s what he really looks like. CLAIRE I’m sorry. I can’t accept this. The two brothers trudge away through the waiting area. Claire dolefully drops her shoulders. The measly, 40-year-old NERDY COUNTY CLERK strolls by Claire’s counter. NERDY COUNTY CLERK Good work, Claire. CLAIRE I just hate disappointing people. NERDY COUNTY CLERK All part of working for the government. I’m taking my break now. Watch the counter. Claire reaches for her bag. NERDY COUNTY CLERK I’ll be back in an hour. And Claire; no doodling. Thanks, hun.

The clerk heads toward the break room. Claire sees other workers busy themselves. She sneaks out a small sketch book and doodles. Claire is interrupted by a loud ruckus at the main entrance. James protects his crotch from Brandon. JAMES Stop, stop it. They’re already sensitive Claire’s attention is drawn towards James. She drops her sketch book and smiles. Brandon and James approach Claire’s counter. James catches eyes with Claire. BRANDON Brandon Vole. Always a pleasure to meet a wonderful lady. CLAIRE How do you know I’m so wonderful? BRANDON I read minds… and hearts. JAMES Sorry, he’s an idiot. I need to get a copy of my birth certificate. CLAIRE Sure, I just need your I.D. and for you to fill this out. James fumbles with his I.D. and hands it to Claire. James watches Claire disappear into a backroom. Brandon eyes a brochure rack. He focuses on marriage brochures. One of them is a same sex marriage brochure. BRANDON Check it out. They’re living the dream. Claire pops up at the counter and stares at James with an inquisitive look.

CLAIRE Oh my gosh, are you two… JAMES (shouts) What? No! No, we’re not… we don’t do each other like that. James fumbles with the pen and paperwork. Claire takes the forms. BRANDON Actually, I have a few questions. JAMES No you don’t. BRANDON What’s the deal with same sex marriage? How would you… do it? CLAIRE Well, since same-sex marriage is legal in this state, it’s just like a normal marriage: marriage license, ceremony. BRANDON That’s it? There isn’t, like, a sex test? Claire and James stare at Brandon. CLAIRE Proof of sex is not necessary. Claire hands James a manila folder. JAMES That’s enough, James. Thank you for the birth certificate. I’m James by the way. CLAIRE Is ‘by the way’ your last name or just a fancy title? Claire snorts and laughs. James joins her in laughter.

The laughter awkwardly fades to silence. JAMES Well, it was nice meeting you… CLAIRE .. Oh yeah, totally. Ha, bye. Claire waves as Brandon pulls James toward the door. EXT. BRANDON’S HOUSE - DAY Brandon’s house sits in a typical suburban neighborhood. Brandon pulls into the driveway and explodes out of his car. BRANDON Paper. Need the paper. Brandon runs inside his house. James limps out of his car. JAMES Hey! You kind of forgot to drop me off! INT. BRANDON’S HOUSE James waddles through the front door. Brandon’s home is filled with sports memorabilia, movies, and video games. James searches for Brandon. James checks the messy bedroom. Nothing. The billiard room. Nothing. BATHROOM James finds Brandon rifling through a newspaper. JAMES What are you doing? BRANDON Where is it? Classifieds… obituaries… Ah! Bam.

Brandon hands James the engagements/wedding announcement section. Brandon points to a small wedding announcement. JAMES (reads) Lee and Jen to marry next month. So what? BRANDON Jen used to work at the hospital. She got fired for letting pervs into the morgue. JAMES Wow, very exciting. Can I go home now? BRANDON She came into work the other day to pick up a check and starts bragging about getting married. I know this girl… really, really well. I banged her. She’s a total gold digger. This dude she’s marrying is loaded. JAMES And what am I supposed to do about that? BRANDON I got the gold. You do the digging. JAMES Digging, what? Brandon eyes up James. James looks back and forth between the newspaper and Brandon. James snaps from confused to disturbed. JAMES No…no…what? No! Brandon slowly nods his head up and down “yes.” JAMES Are you nuts? I am not going to get married. We are not going to get married. We’re not gay.

BRANDON This isn’t about gay or straight or whatever. This is about financial stability. JAMES (flustered) Is this what those questions were about at the clerk’s office? No way, I have to go. James flies out the door. BRANDON Where are you going? Back to destitution? James stumbles down the hallway. JAMES I’m not a prostitute! EXT. BRANDON’S HOUSE James sits on the ground next to Brandon’s car. Brandon catches up to James. JAMES Take me home! BRANDON Just hear me out. JAMES I heard you out. But I’m not out… of the closet, like you. BRANDON James, I have a post-lunch booty call in twenty minutes. I’m not gay. James reveals slight reassurance. JAMES You are too much of a whore for women to be gay.

BRANDON See? Look, we’re best friends, right? JAMES Barely. BRANDON And friends love each other, especially best friends. We have trust, understanding, we compromise. JAMES But we don’t have sex, Brandon! Sex! Brandon’s neighbors stare at James and Brandon. BRANDON Calm down. People don’t get married for sex. The best part of marriage are the spousal benefits. Shared healthcare, tax…stuff. JAMES Benefits… wait, it won’t work. They’ll know we’re not gay. BRANDON They’ll never even know. Don’t ask, don’t tell, right? JAMES That’s for the military not marriage. BRANDON It’s still applicable. INT. HOSPITAL – HALLWAY - NIGHT Brandon throws his jacket on and races down the hall. He stops in his tracks when Nurse Laney appears out of nowhere. She doesn’t notice Brandon. BRANDON Shit.

Brandon focuses on the elevators. The elevators are exactly halfway between himself and Laney. Brandon darts for the elevator. Laney’s eyes stay on a chart. Brandon reaches the elevators and rapidly presses the elevator button. Brandon looks up to see Laney standing a foot away from him. NURSE LANEY Going somewhere? BRANDON Going down. NURSE LANEY Oh stop! You’re so dirty. The elevator rings. The doors slide open. BRANDON That’s my ride. Gotta go. Brandon squeezes into the elevator and hits the ground floor button. Laney kisses the air as the doors close. INT. PUNCHLINES COMEDY CLUB - NIGHT Still in his scrubs, Brandon winks at a group of girls as he swings through the lobby door. He walks into the middle of a silent audience. He slides into a seat. James is frozen on stage. JAMES I guess Shakespeare is a little over your head. Um, so how many people are sexually active? A smidgen of applause barely forms a response.

JAMES Sex is kind of weird, right? It’s like sticky and smelly. Sometimes when I’m with a girl I’m like, ‘No thanks. I could just run a marathon if I wanted excessive perspiration.’ GUYS with girlfriends simultaneously raises their hands and wave for a waitress. GUYS Check, please. INT. THE DIVE BAR - LATER A long line of empty shot glasses and beer bottles form a wall in front of James and Brandon. JAMES (slurs) Excessive perspiration?! What the hell was I saying? BRANDON It sounded good when you rehearsed it. JAMES Well, maybe we should clone you and fill the audience with thousands of Brandons! BRANDON Taking tonight a little extra hard? James finishes what’s left in his beer. JAMES They asked me to limit my performances at their venue. Apparently my act is deterring customers. BRANDON That place sucked anyway. Waitresses were beasts. James downs a shot.

JAMES I’ll just be a bum. Cardboard homes, bindle, street smarts. BRANDON Hey, bartender lets cut him off. Brandon pushes the remaining drinks away from James. BRANDON You can get other gigs. The bowling alley. They might even pay you. James paws at the out of reach drinks. JAMES Oh, great. I can perform for a bunch of bowling pins. Pin heads. BRANDON I don’t know what to tell you, bud. JAMES Maybe we should just get married. I’ve got nothing else. BRANDON A couple of drinks and you’re eloping. JAMES I don’t care. What’s the worst that could happen? BRANDON I can’t think of anything bad. You really want to do this? JAMES I’m losing gigs, I have no money. I got nothing else. BRANDON Yes! You are not gonna regret this. Brandon raises a beer bottle for a toast. James scrambles for an empty glass.

James’ head collapses and slams on the bar. Brandon cheers the air. INT. COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE - DAY James and Brandon wait at a vacant counter. James hangs his head with his hands pressed against his face. JAMES I can’t believe this is happening. BRANDON You’re right, this is crazy. Let’s go. JAMES What!? You’re backing out? BRANDON Haha, I’m just jerkin’ you man. JAMES Jesus. Please, don’t jerk me… The nerdy county clerk pops up from behind the counter and shudders at Brandon and James’ conversation. NERDY COUNTY CLERK (disturbed) May I help you? BRANDON (hands over I.D.) Yes, we are here for a marriage license. The county clerk pulls out a folder and flips through papers. He looks back and forth between the I.D. and the papers. NERDY COUNTY CLERK Mr. Vole. You’re going to need your wife with you to fill out this form. The county clerk hands over a clipboard. BRANDON Here you go, sweetie.

Brandon thrusts the clipboard into James’ chest. The county clerk squints at James and Brandon. After a moment, the nerdy worker rolls his eyes. NERDY COUNTY CLERK (slightly disgusted) You and your partner can fill this out right over there. Embarrassment floods across James’ face. BRANDON You got it, bud. Brandon and James settle on a small couch. Brandon scribbles information onto the form. James’ eyes search the room. BRANDON Surnames? Hey, you want my last name? JAMES You think that girl is here? Claire. BRANDON The weird one? JAMES She’s not weird! Brandon stops writing and shoots a grin at James. BRANDON Whoa, whoa, are you developing a crush while I’m filling out our marriage application. JAMES Yeah, maybe… keep writing, before I regain my sanity and leave. BRANDON You little devil. You put her in the spank bank, didn’t you?

The county clerk watches Brandon and James with disgust. JAMES I have no idea what you’re talking about. James swipes the clipboard away from Brandon. BRANDON You can tell me, I’m your hubby. You use her in your little fantasies? JAMES Absolutely not.

I can’t.

BRANDON Why not? JAMES I can’t fantasize about girls I actually like. I feel like I’m disrespecting them. Brandon stares in disbelief. BRANDON That sounds like a mental issue. You may have a problem. James scribbles on the clipboard. JAMES You’re right, I should be more like you. What’s your relationship average lifespan? About an hour? BRANDON Relationships are for people who want their balls chopped off. No offense. JAMES It was the same thing with you and Steph…

BRANDON Whoa, look. All I want is to enjoy life, without something holding me down. JAMES Spoken like a true selfish individualist. You have no morals. BRANDON Says the straight guy filling out a gay marriage form. JAMES Why are you even going through with all of this. You hate marriage. BRANDON Married men get the hottest girls. Infidelity; it’s like kryptonite to sluts. JAMES And that’s the sound of us hitting rock bottom. EXT. COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE – MOMENTS LATER James sags against a railing with his hand pressed against his mouth. Brandon bursts out of the entrance with papers in hand. BRANDON Alright! Now, we wait for the license. After that, all we need is a witness, some wedding bands and have ourselves a wedding. Then you, my friend, have financial stability. JAMES We’re going to end up in jail, aren’t we? BRANDON Who’s going to find out? INT. LAW OFFICE – WAITING ROOM - DAY

Attractive, twenty-year-olds, MATT and SHANE, patiently wait. A SECRETARY politely smiles at them. A ruckus from the office results in an Asian HUSBAND and WIFE busting out of the office. Matt and Shane shudder in their seats. HUSBAND It was just a loan… 40-year-old MARK ASHOLE, slick haired and skinny, stumbles out of his office behind the couple. MARK Stop right there, mister. That’s how it starts. One minute it’s a denied loan because of your race and the next thing you know its slavery. I’ve seen it a million times. WIFE For the last time, it was not because of our race! It was our credit score. MARK Debateable. You are Asian though, right? WIFE Forget it. We got the loan. We don’t need you. Let’s get out of here. The couple stomps out of the waiting room. MARK If you hear any slurs, call me. Mark notices Matt and Shane. MARK You are… MATT Matt and Shane. From the Same Sex Marriage Organization.

MARK Right, the gays. Come on in. Matt and Shane look at each other with uncertainty. INT. MARK’S OFFICE MARK Have a seat fella’s. I’ve got some issues of Men’s Fitness if you want to peruse. SHANE No Thanks. We just wanted to stop by to say we no longer require your services. MARK Whoa, let me throw up the yield sign and slow you down. I thought we were going to fight those oppressive bastards. MATT Your process wasn’t exactly what we were looking for. MARK (softly) Shh. Quiet down. Mark slides his index finger over his mouth to indicate silence. MARK Perhaps I’m guilty of being aggressive. I see that now. SHANE A little too aggressive. Actually you were borderline oppressive. MARK You can’t take it easy on these people. You have to admit, my ‘If you don’t listen, we’ll turn you gay’ slogan turned some heads.

MATT I think we lost support from that one. SHANE You don’t even seem to have a real grasp on what we’re trying to do. Mark jumps to his feet and throws his arms into the air. MARK I’m sorry gentlemen but I’m terribly busy today. I have an important meeting with a leper later. It took an arm and a leg just to get him out here. Aha. Mark pulls Matt and Shane out of their seats and nudges them out the door. MARK We’ll work all this out. Give me a call for the next protest. We’ll really stick it to the man. Alright, have an excellent day. Mark slams his office door shut. MARK Fruitcakes. Mark peeks out his office window. A clique of lawyers led by the slick TOM CHAMBERS struts along a row of nice cars. Mark bangs on the glass and waves. MARK Hey, hey guys! What’s up? The pack of lawyers ignore Mark. MARK Alright! Talk to you guys later. Yeah. EXT. BOWLING ALLEY – DAY Situated between abandoned buildings, the bowling alley is beaten up and aged.

James roars by with his loud car. INT. BOWLING ALLEY The lanes and equipment are outdated. Only a few customers roam the lanes. James approaches a long haired, SCRUFFY MAN operates the register behind the counter. JAMES Hi, I’m James Rathe. I called about using your stage. The scruffy man throws a pair of bowling shoes onto the counter and sniffs them. SCRUFFY MAN Yah do animals? JAMES I beg your pardon? SCRUFFY MAN Yah do animals?! JAMES No, just women. Heh. The scruffy man grabs an aerosol can and shakes it. SCRUFFY MAN I mean in ‘yer act. JAMES Oh, no. I’m a comedian. SCRUFFY MAN We already got a fella that uses a dog on stage. JAMES Is that so? The scruffy man sprays the shoes and sniffs each one.

SCRUFFY MAN Dang beast humps all the pins and bowling balls. Makes a mess of it. JAMES Well, don’t worry. I don’t have a dog and I quit humping bowling balls years ago. A-ha. The scruffy man rolls his tongue around in his mouth and snorts up some phlegm. SCRUFFY MAN That’s fine. Yah need to fill out this form and have a picture identification. Driver’s license’ll do. James reaches into his pockets and pulls out his wallet. No licnse. JAMES Where the hell… must of left it at the Clerk’s office. SCRUFFY MAN Just fill this out and come back with an I.D. We’ll fit ya in when we can. JAMES Are there a lot of acts? SCUFFY MAN Mostly just the guy with the dog. JAMES Looks like I’m going to be the pony of this dog and pony show, huh? The scruffy man’s reaction is a vacant glare. JAMES Wonderful. I’ll just come back with my I.D. then. James slowly backs away to the exit. INT. COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE - DAY

Claire scribbles into her sketch pad. She lifts her head to see James approaching her. CLAIRE Hey! Same sex marriage guy. JAMES Just James is fine. CLAIRE What can I do for you? JAMES I think I left my driver’s license here. Claire reaches for a small cardboard box. CLAIRE Back for more the same sex marriage information? JAMES (exaggerated nervousness) Ha! That’s really, really funny. No, that was just a joke. My friend likes to prank people. Claire rifles through the box. JAMES So, what are you writing there? CLAIRE I’m a doodler JAMES A doodler? CLAIRE Yeah! See. Claire opens her sketch book. She flips through pages of odd drawings. Vegetables with animal legs, strange faces, and trippy environments.

JAMES Very unique. CLAIRE I just let my hand wander and see what happens. Claire pushes the sketch book over to James. CLAIRE I used to draw a comic for a local paper. Claire pulls out James’ I.D. JAMES Like Marmaduke? CLAIRE It was called Office Party. The characters were these office supplies that would talk to each other when the people weren’t around. There was a talking printer, paper clip, phone. JAMES Cool. Why don’t you still make it? CLAIRE They considered it a Toy Story rip off and cancelled it. JAMES Well, if you can’t rip off a popular franchise these days what can you do? Claire grabs the sketchpad and scribbles something out of view. James recognizes the nerdy county clerk heading straight for him. JAMES You know what, I have to go. I forgot I have something I’m supposed to remember to do.

CLAIRE Okay, well it was nice seeing you again. James takes a few steps away from the counter. He stops, bites his lip, and turns back. JAMES Would you like to hang out, maybe? Some place outside of the county clerk’s office? CLAIRE (snorts) Like, a date? James sweats as the county clerk closes in. JAMES Yes, yes! I mean, yeah, a date. Claire rips out the page from her sketch book and hands it to James. The sketch page has oddly drawn office supplies shaped into her phone number drawn on it. JAMES Wow. The county clerk closes in on James and Claire. James scurries for the exit. JAMES Thanks, Claire. I’ll call you… Claire laughs as James staggers out the door. INT. JAMES’ APARTMENT - NIGHT A few cardboard boxes sit in the middle of a bare apartment. Cracked walls, dust, and stains dominate the bare room. James surveys the room while he holds a phone to his ear.

JAMES (into phone) Yeah, Brandon, four boxes… whaddya mean ‘that’s it’? I own things. They’re just really big boxes. James kicks at one of the half filled cardboard boxes. JAMES Are you sure I should move in already? We just got the license. A rat runs across the floor towards James’ bedroom. JAMES Nevermind. I gotta finish packing my things… Ha-ha funny, ‘what things.’ Bye. James hangs up the phone. He stands with his hands on his hips and surveys his collection of boxes. A loud knock echoes from the door. James darts towards the peephole. Marie and Harold stand outside the door. James shudders back. JAMES Oh shit, not good, oh shit. James spastically runs around in circles while he pushes boxes around. HAROLD (O.S.) James! It’s your father. Open up. MARIE (O.S.) You there sweetie? James bites his bottom lip and looks around the room. INT. HALLWAY The cheaply wallpapered hallway is dimly lit and dirty.

A sketchy tenant from down the hall leaves his apartment. Marie inches closer to Harold. James swings open the door. He is sweaty and panting. HAROLD What the hell is the matter with you? Leaving us out here in the ghetto! INT. JAMES’ APARTMENT Harold and Marie rush through the door. They stop dead in their tracks in front of the empty room. HAROLD What the… MARIE Oh my God, you’ve been robbed. James tries to block his parent’s view of the room. JAMES What? No, no, everything is fine. HAROLD Don’t lie! What gang was it? MARIE Did you sell all of your things for your stand up comedy? Is this some kind of… joke? JAMES No, there’s no joke, mom. I’m moving in with Brandon. A wave of relief splashes over Marie and Harold. MARIE Oh, thank goodness. That’s terrific. Finally, a chance to get on your feet. HAROLD Yes, without stealing our funds.

JAMES There’s something else. Harold and Marie stare at James strangely. JAMES We’re getting married. Harold and Marie continue to glare at James. They share an extended awkward silence until Marie reveals a large smirk. MARIE Ah ha! James! Ha-ha. Marie continues her laughing while James eyes his parents. HAROLD Alright, not bad, son. Sorry we doubted your humor ability. JAMES No, but really… HAROLD Don’t ruin it, James. Quit while you’re ahead. MARIE My baby boy, the jokester. I knew this would work. HAROLD No you didn’t. Harold and Marie head for the door. JAMES What do you mean, why did you guys stop by? James’ parents stop in the doorway. HAROLD Your mother…

Marie nudges Harold. HAROLD (as if rehearsed) We felt bad about the other day and wanted to give you some more time before we cut you off. MARIE But since you’re moving out and changing things, you won’t need it. I knew you’d pull through. Marie pinches James’ cheek. Marie and Harold head into the hallway. MARIE (facetiously) Getting married. Ha-ha. Marie and Harold disappear down the hallway. James closes his door and breathes a sigh of disappointment. JAMES What the eff just happened? James watches a rat scurry across the floor. INT. COUNTY CLERK’S CEREMONY ROOM – DAY Brandon lounges on a bench. He sports matching blue scrubs and a tie. The nerdy county clerk and a sexy, BLONDE ASSISTANT prepare for the ceremony. The clerk studies the marriage license. Brandon eyes up the blonde. The clerk notices Brandon’s suspicious stare. NERDY COUNTY CLERK So, this must be a proud moment for you as a homosexual.

BRANDON (still eyeing the blonde) Homosexual is such a strong word. Multisexual. NERDY COUNTY CLERK But you are gay, right? BRANDON Oh yeah, I’m thrilled. The nerdy county clerk quickly rereads the marriage license. The clerk focuses on Claire’s signature. EXT. COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE James and Stephanie sit in James’ loud car. The car sits outside the entrance. Pedestrians cough as they pass by the smokey car. INT. JAMES’ CAR James tightly grips the steering wheel. Stephanie holds two old wedding rings. JAMES Are you sure you don’t mind. Aren’t those family heirlooms? STEPHANIE No, they’re leftovers from my mom’s second marriage. James lowers his head onto the steering wheel. STEPHANIE Might be stating the obvious but, this is crazy. JAMES No, this is beyond crazy. STEPHANIE So, why are you doing it?

JAMES I’m a lonely, poor thirty-year-old stand up comic who still depends on his parents for financial support. Sadly, I need this. STEPHANIE Yeah but, Brandon? You could do way better. JAMES (chuckles) Yeah, yeah. Don’t be so jealous. STEPHANIE Ugh, I wouldn’t. James peeks at his watch. JAMES It’s time. STEPHANIE You could always go runaway bride style. I’ll stall them. JAMES No. Besides, it’s not like there’s a line of girls trying to stop me. STEPHANIE What about that Claire girl? James drops his head. He quickly recovers and steps out of his car. Stephanie joins him. INT. COUNTY CLERK’S CEREMONY ROOM James and Stephanie quietly slip through the large wooden door. Brandon flirts with a young blonde clerk assistant. STEPHANIE Typical.

BRANDON Steph! Thanks for participating as our witness. You’re a doll. STEPHANIE I had to witness this. The blonde smiles at Brandon and leaves the room. The clerk rapidly snaps his fingers. NERDY COUNTY CLERK If you two are quite ready, we can get this going. INT. COUNTY CLERK’S CEREMONY ROOM – MOMENTS LATER The nerdy county clerk stands behind a small wooden podium in front of a lattice alter. James and Brandon stand a foot away from the podium. Stephanie sits in a folding chair. The county clerk lazily leans against the podium and reads from a small paper. NERDY COUNTY CLERK Please remember that love, loyalty and understanding are foundations of a happy and enduring life together. Stephanie puts her hand to her forehead and shakes her head. NERDY COUTNY CLERK The contract of marriage is most solemn and not to be taken lightly. James glares at Brandon. Brandon returns with a grin and a shoulder shrug. NERDY COUNTY CLERK Brandon, do you take James to be your lawful wedded spouse, to love, honor, and comfort him through sickness and in health. BRANDON (cheeky) I do.

NERDY COUNTY CLERK James, do you take Brandon to be your lawful wedded spouse, to love, honor, and comfort him through sickness and in health. James looks back at Stephanie. She sits on the edge of her seat, eager to hear an answer. James turns back toward Brandon. James takes the biggest gulp of his life. JAMES (squeaks) I d… I do. NERDY COUNTY CLERK Terrific… Now, face each other. Brandon and James turn to each other. Brandon has a large grin on his face. James is less enthused. NERDY COUNTY CLERK Brandon, repeat after me. I, Brandon, give you this ring… BRANDON I, Brandon, give you this ring… Brandon and the county clerk continue MOS. James’ face drips with sweat and concern. His eyes dart back and forth between the county clerk, Brandon, and the rings in his hand. His eyes blink slowly. INT. COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE – MOMENTS LATER James’ eyes blink quickly. His face is less damp. He stares straight down at a piece of paper on the counter. Brandon and Stephanie stand behind him. Brandon slaps James on the back. BRANDON It’s just your name.

JAMES I know. Thanks again, Steph. BRANDON Yeah Steph, you’re the best. STEPHANIE Bite me, Brandon. BRANDON Just say where. EXT. COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE A MYSTERY PERSON hides just outside the door. The mysterious person hides inside a large jacket, hat, and sunglasses. INT. COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE James fidgets with his wedding ring. Brandon wraps his arm around James. BRANDON You alright, big guy? I thought you were going to have some emesis action. JAMES No, I’m fi… emesis? Brandon gesticulates with a violent gesture of vomiting. JAMES This is just a joke to you, isn’t it? BRANDON It’s just marriage, what could go wrong? Besides, it’s time for the best part. Honeymoon. INT. SUPERMARKET – NIGHT Brandon lazily pushes an empty cart down an aisle. James browses the shelves and places a can of vegetables into the cart. He shoulders a phone to his ear.

JAMES Please, just one chance. I’m very comical. Brandon discreetly puts the can of vegetables back. Realizing he’s been hung up on, James closes his phone. JAMES Nothing. Not even a warm up spot. BRANDON You got the bowling alley. James picks canned corn off the shelf and puts in the cart. JAMES Unless comedy scouts have a bowling league, I don’t think that’ll help. BRANDON Do you want me to talk to them, hun? JAMES Please don’t speak... to anybody. James and Brandon turn down another aisle. James takes control of the cart. Brandon grabs a bag of potato chips off the shelf. BRANDON You could at least wear your ring… James shoves his left hand into his pocket. Brandon’s cell phone emanates a unique ringtone. JAMES Oh no, the slut ringtone? BRANDON Picture message. And these ladies are not sluts, usually. JAMES What disease are you inviting over tonight?

Brandon takes out his cell phone. BRANDON She looks clean. It’s the county clerk girl. James shoots a glare at Brandon. JAMES Claire?! BRANDON Ha. No, no way! The blonde. I would give her a hand if you know what I mean. From the fist to the wrist. Brandon graphically depicts fisting a girl. JAMES Ugh, come on. That’s just terribly inappropriate. BRANDON You’re not interested in that dorky chick, are you? James ignores Brandon and pushes the cart. BRANDON Doesn’t matter anyway. You’d just pussyfoot around. JAMES I don’t have pussy feet. I just wait for the right time. BRANDON You have to learn to grab opportunity by the balls and pull it towards you. JAMES Well, she doesn’t have balls, unlike your dates.

BRANDON Hey! That was once. And she just had one. Nothing wrong with a uniball. Brandon grabs and studies a rubber glove and a plunger. BRANDON It’s gonna be a good honeymoon tonight. JAMES I’ll just hide in my room. BRANDON Thanks bud. Just a heads up, I like to explore. The living room, the kitchen, the bathroom. JAMES I’m going to have to sanitize that entire place. Brandon’s phone rings again. He picks it up and stares at the tiny screen. BRANDON Yikes. Where’s the razor aisle. INT. BRANDON’S HOUSE – GUEST ROOM - NIGHT James lays on a make shift bed made of cardboard boxes and towels. He delicately snuggles under his blankets. Sexual commotion vibrates through the walls from Brandon’s room. JAMES Oh please, no. BLONDE (O.S) Do it doctor! Do it doctor! BRANDON (O.S.) Not doctor. Say nurse! James cowers in fear under his towel sheets.

Various objects in Brandon’s house shake and fall off of their shelves. JAMES At least the rats were civil. INT. BRANDON’S HOUSE – LIVING ROOM James drags his blanket over to the couch. He crams himself onto the cushions. In complete discomfort, James eyes the room. His eyes shift to his crotch. He contemplates. JAMES Ah, why not. James reaches his hands under the covers. He grapples with his pants. His eyes close. INT. MANSION - DAY (DAYDREAM) James sits on a folding chair in the middle of a ballroom. A single spotlight illuminates James. Claire struts across the room. She wears a small plaid skirt and tight white button up shirt. Claire gracefully floats across the floor. She looks absolutely stunning. James looks around the room to see if they are alone. He bites his lip as she gets closer. JAMES Claire, would you like to have a seat? Claire stops dead in her tracks. CLAIRE James. That’s considerably inappropriate and disrespectful. I’m a real person with goals and fears, not some mental sex puppet.

JAMES I know, I’m sorry. I had good intentions. I just wanted to be good enough. Claire winks and swaggers away. END OF DREAM INT. BRANDON’S HOUSE – LIVING ROOM James jolts out of his daydream. Dispirited, James stares at the ceiling. JAMES Shit. Naughty school teacher it is. EXT. BRANDON’S HOUSE – ACROSS THE STREET - DAY The mystery person watches Brandon and his blonde companion trot out of the front door. The mystery person hides behind bushes and holds an envelope. Brandon, in his scrubs, kisses the blonde. They separate to their respective cars. The mystery person ducks away from the bushes. INT. NEWS STATION – VIDEO ROOM Sexy news reporter MANDY MANN and her CAMERAMAN watch various video monitors. Police cars and ambulances dominate the small T.V. screens MANDY MANN Did you get enough flashing lights and cars, Jesus! CAMERAMAN It was a car crash story. MANDY MANN Look, there’s two things you shoot. Me or blood and limbs. Mandy gives her cameraman a smug look and leaves the room.

INT. NEWS STATION – OFFICES Mandy struts down the hallway. MANDY MANN Never gonna make network with this roadside bullshit. An ASSISTANT runs up to her. ASSITANT Ms. Mann, this just came for you. MANDY MANN Great, probably another stupid feel good story… Mandy stops her rant to read the message. Her eyes glaze over with sudden interest. MANDY MANN Oh, mama like. INT. HOSPITAL – NIGHT Brandon stares at a patient chart in the nurse’s station. He proudly twirls his wedding ring around his ring finger. A RED HEAD NURSE strolls by the nurse’s station. BRANDON Did you hear the good news? RED HEAD NURSE I get to go home early? BRANDON I got hitched. Brandon holds up his ring finger to show off his ring. BRANDON You know what that means. Passion. Love. Adultery.

RED HEAD NURSE Congratulations. Nurse Laney saunters up to the counter. She delicately taps Brandon on the shoulder. NURSE LANEY Margie wants to meet you in room twenty three? BRANDON Thanks, gorgeous. You should let your hair down. Much sexier. Nurse Laney smiles and heads down the hallway. INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS Brandon smiles at a cute twenty something patient. He strolls up to room twenty three. INT. ROOM TWENTY THREE Brandon swings the door open but stops in his tracks. The petite yet intimidating nurse manager MARGIE stares out a window. BRANDON Hello Margie. MARGIE Brandon. What did we learn from Jen? BRANDON Uhh, that her number is 867-5309 MARGIE Jen from the morgue. BRANDON Oh, we learned that a lot of people like corpses. Sick bastards. I never went myself; I prefer the wetness.

MARGIE We agreed with the staff that any negative publicity for the hospital was unnecessary and intolerable given our financial difficulties. BRANDON I haven’t been to the morgue in days… months! I swear. MARGIE Stop by my office after your shift so we can discuss how you’re going to fix this. BRANDON Fix what? Margie gives Brandon a smug look. She reaches for the room’s T.V. remote and tosses it to Brandon. MARGIE Try the news. Immature little… The Margie storms out the doorway. Brandon fumbles with the remote control. He clicks on the T.V. INT. BRANDON’S HOUSE - NIGHT James stares at the phone. Next to the phone is the phone number drawing by Claire. His hand crawls toward the phone. A fast paced knocking interrupts James’ duel with the phone. James flings open the door, allowing Stephanie to barge in. JAMES Come on in… STEPHANIE Have you seen the news? JAMES What news?

STEPHANIE Come on! Stephanie pushes James towards the television and snags the remote. The T.V. flickers on. Reporter Mandy Mann sits behind a news desk. MANDY MANN (ON T.V.) … photo was anonymously mailed to the news station with the names Brandon and James attached. Again, a source at the clerk’s office has confirmed that the first straight same sex marriage was filed today. Is it true love or a matrimonial hoax? Tune in tonight. A digital image of Brandon and James at the Clerk’s office flashes onto the T.V. screen. JAMES Holy shit! How is this on the news?! STEPHANIE I don’t know, some anonymous tip. JAMES Oh my God. Everyone’s gonna see this. Friends, my parents,… Claire. STEPHANIE You didn’t tell her? JAMES I kind of avoided the subject. Jesus Christ. STEPHANIE You have to hit this head on. Call the news. Call the clerk’s office. James’ cell phone cackles with a ring. He pinches his eyes closed for a moment. JAMES Oh, no.

James takes a deep breath and slowly raises the phone to his ear. JAMES Hello. INT. JAMES’ PARENT’S HOUSE Harold holds a phone in one hand and a glass of scotch in the other. Marie leans over Harold’s shoulder towards the phone. INTERCUT – TELEPHONE CONVERSATION HAROLD Don’t ‘hello’ me, goddamnit. What’s this on the news about you being a fairy? MARIE Harold, they prefer homo. JAMES It’s not what it looks like. Mostly. HAROLD Your face is plastered all over the news! You think this is some sick joke. MARIE Maybe it is just a joke, right James? It’s part of your comedy show, isn’t it? JAMES No, mom, this is not a comedy show? HAROLD You are embarrassing this family’s fine name. If this is what your life is, some gay pride thing, you can forget about your inheritance. JAMES Will you listen to me, I’m not gay. Besides, why would it even matter? Shouldn’t you love me anyway?

HAROLD Absolutely not, especially if you’re gay. MARIE Homo. HAROLD Gay, homo, whatever. Don’t call us until you fix all this. JAMES But you called me. INT. JAMES’ PARENTS’ HOME Harold hangs up the phone. Harold and Marie simultaneously chug their drinks. INT. BRANDON’S HOUSE James slams the phone down. EXT. LAW OFFICE - PARKING LOT – DAY Tom Chambers leads a gang of lawyers to the entrance. Mark Ashole spills out of his car. He quickly gathers his things and chases down the pack of lawyers. TOM CHAMBERS So I told him, you can take that bail money and buy yourself a new lawyer. Ha! MARK Ha. You tell’em Mr. Chambers! TOM CHAMBERS Who the hell is this? MARK Mark. Mark Ashole. I work in this office, right down the hall. Chambers and his cronies chuckle under their breath.

TOM CHAMBERS Damn glad to meet you. MARK We’ve actually met several times before. I email you the coupon links. TOM CHAMBERS Right, right, Ashole. Well, it was great catching up. If you ever need a lawyer, feel free to call me. Chambers and his buddies laugh and brush past Mark. Defeated, Mark trots back into his office building. INT. LAW OFFICE – MARK’S WAITING AREA Mark’s secretary tosses a newspaper at Mark. SECRETARY Your paper. MARK Secretary, I’m having trouble with my male bonding. SECRETARY I don’t care. Mark nods and heads into this office. INT. MARK’S OFFICE Mark drops his briefcase and newspaper onto the desk. He falls back into his chair and sighs. MARK She’s right, I need more cred. Maybe a murder or a good rapin’ case. Mark eyes his sharp letter opener. His gaze shifts to his bitter secretary. He looks back and forth between the sharp object and his potential victim. Mark stands and reaches for his letter opener when he catches a glimpse of the newspaper’s headline.

INSERT – NEWSPAPER, which reads: “A Queer Matrimony: First Heterosexual Same Sex Marriage Causes Protest” Mark’s eyes light up. He grabs the paper. MARK Holy elephant balls. This is it! A grin slivers across Mark’s face. MARK Secretary! Get me the gays. Secretary barely responds with a smug look. Mark deviantly opens up the newspaper MARK My name is Goldilocks… and I found me some porridge. Mark continues reading the article and maliciously laughs. INT. BRANDON’S HOUSE – MORNING The only sound in the house is the loud, piercing ring of the phone. James’ red, tired eyes stare at the news on the muted T.V. A loud bang at the door startles James out of his zombie gaze. Brandon charges through the door with a lunch bag in hand. James shoots to his feet. JAMES Where the hell have you been? I’ve been trying to call you all night. BRANDON Oh, whoops.

JAMES Whoops?! Did you see the news? What the hell happened? BRANDON I don’t know but it sucks. My boss is pissed. JAMES No, I’m pissed. Who did you tell?! BRANDON Nobody. Well, barely anybody. James charges at Brandon and grabs him. JAMES Are you insane? What is the matter with you? Brandon struggles in James’ grip. BRANDON They couldn’t have told. Wait, the pictures. JAMES What? James points to the T.V. that is still playing the news. BRANDON Those pictures of us were taken from outside the clerk’s. Someone was following us and set this up. Maybe the clerk’s office has surveillance tapes or something we can get. JAMES What are we detectives, no. We’re just gonna go down to the news station, tell them it was a big misunderstanding and get a divorce.

BRANDON Listen to yourself. How do you expect to date a girl when you can’t even handle a simple marriage? JAMES That is just stupidly stupid. BRANDON Don’t you feel bad for the queers who have to deal with this? It’s so gay that media and protestors impede on their marriage. JAMES Yeah, cuz you’re definitely on the homosexual bandwagon. BRANDON We’ve got to share their spirit. We can’t give up because of some damn news report and a couple hundred crazed protestors; that would just be unAmerican. JAMES Un-Ameri… wait. What protestors? Brandon takes a large bite out of his apple. BRANDON I passed them on my way home. They should be here any minute. James rushes past Brandon to the front window. A large news van is parked near the driveway. A camera crew sets up on the sidewalk. A large crowd pours through the streets. BRANDON Have you ever seen so many people with no lives? JAMES Do you know what this means?

BRANDON At least one of those girls out there will bang me? James backs away from the window. JAMES What if it’s illegal? They’ll prosecute. Then it’s court, then jail; then rape! BRANDON Relax. Forget about all of this. We’ll just go to your show and… JAMES Oh God, the bowling alley. I can’t. I have to cancel. There is no way in heaven or hell I am going. INT. BOWLING ALLEY – NIGHT The sound of heavy bowling balls and pins crashing dominate the room. James stands behind a dirty curtain. He shoulders a cell phone to his ear. The scruffy bowling alley owner cruises by James and pats him on the shoulder. SCRUFFY MAN Two minutes. It’s all you, bud. James manages to nod while staying on the phone. CLAIRE (V.O.) Hi, it’s Claire. Leave a message. Thanks. JAMES Hey, it’s James, again. I know this is my fifth message but… I’m sorry I lied about the marriage thing. I was just so nervous and… I would like you to come to my show but if you don’t, I

understand. I’d just like to see you. Bye. The scruffy man gives James the thumbs up. James nods and slips through the curtain. James stops in his tracks as he travels through the curtains. Only Brandon, Stephanie, and a few senior bowlers fill the few taken seats. BRANDON Yeah! Here we go! Stephanie violently nudges Brandon. She gestures for James to ignore Brandon’s exaggerated cheers. JAMES Thank you all for coming out tonight. James dismally surveys the crowd. He peeks down at his notes. JAMES Thanks again. Isn’t the word thanks funny? Its like, you never use its singular. Brandon and Stephanie look at each other with skepticism. The remaining audience simply ignores James. JAMES You never say, “thank for the meal.” The other person would be like, ‘thank?’ I’d just say, ‘yeah, just one thank. That’s all that was necessary. ‘Maybe if it was a better meal, you’d get more than one thank.’ Stephanie snorts and takes a swig of beer. BRANDON Thanks for telling that joke! STEPHANIE You’re supposed to stop hecklers. James disappointedly shakes his head.

JAMES So, sex can get kinda gross, am I right? Brandon and Stephanie simultaneously face palm. A mass of commotion emanates from the entrance. The scruffy man tries to steer a small but aggressive mob towards the exit. The crowd ignores the scruffy man and marches towards James. CROWD Hey hey, ho ho, straight same sex marriage has got to go. Hey hey, ho ho, straight same sex marriage has got go. Various bowlers halt their sport and watch the mob. Stephanie shoots to her feet. STEPHANIE What the hell is this? BRANDON I don’t know but that slogan melody needs some work. James steps away from the microphone. He slips towards Stephanie and Brandon. The crowd advances on James. JAMES We have to run. They’ll rip us apart. Stephanie and Brandon walk towards the crowd. James reluctantly follows. People in the crowd hold various anti straight same sex marriage signs. A LARGE MAN with the biggest sign steps forward. LARGE MAN I feel the sinner’s presence. STEPHANIE What’s this all about?

LARGE MAN We are here to protect the sanctity of marriage. To protect life. To protect the children. BRANDON Maybe we should start protecting the food. STEPHANIE Why don’t you people mind your own business? JAMES Stop antagonizing the unruly mob. LARGE MAN Gay marriage was bad enough but now these freaks want to further rape the innocence of marriage. CROWD MEMBER 1 You’re not even gay! CROWD Yeah! STEPHANIE What ever happened to freedom, huh?! LARGE MAN There is no freedom that says you can ruin the holy matrimony. BRANDON Look, landfill; my wife and I are all about the holy matrimony. We’re holy as shit. CROWD MEMBER 2 What about sex? CROWD Yeah! The large man nods his head with confidence.

STEPHANIE So what, people have sex out of wedlock all the time. Stephanie turns a demeaning eye towards Brandon. Brandon playfully shrugs. The crowd turns loud and restless. JAMES This is just a big misunderstanding. I needed some help financially and thought it would be a good idea to use marriage… Brandon violently nudges James in the back. A smattering of gasps ripples through the crowd. Police sirens roar from outside the bowling alley. POLICE OFFICERS move throughout the crowd. POLICE OFFICER Alright, that’s enough. Everyone clear out. The crowd slowly disperses through the exit. The large man turns back just before she exits. LARGE MAN You’ll pay for your sins. Police officers continue guiding the crowd to the exit. BRANDON That big dude is terrifying. JAMES Shut up, this is serious. BRANDON What are you yelling at me for? You’re shouting all about your financial problems. JAMES Well, the last thing we want to do is lie. It’s just gonna get worse.

James tilts his head towards the bowling alley entrance. He sees Claire innocently standing alone. Astonished James races towards Claire. Brandon closely watches James go to Claire. JAMES You’re not with them are you? CLAIRE No, I don’t protest on weekdays. So, you’re married? James tries to speak but is stupefied. CLAIRE How come you didn’t tell me? JAMES I don’t meet girls too often and I didn’t want to start things off with ‘oh, by the way I’m married to my hetero male friend.’ CLAIRE I’ll say one thing; you’re not boring. JAMES I fully understand if you never want to talk to me. CLAIRE After five apology voicemails, I thought I’d give you a chance. Plus, you seem kind of nice. JAMES My plan was to ask you out on a date after I wooed you with my comedy act. CLAIRE Okay, yes. JAMES Yes? Really? Like, right now?

CLAIRE No, I think tonight has been exciting enough. JAMES Okay, sure. Wow, I can’t believe you came. Thanks. CLAIRE Oh, I get more than one thank. Claire winks and struts to the exit. James revels in his moment of coolness before Brandon slaps him in the back. EXT. BRANDON’S HOUSE – DAY A mass of protestors and news crews surround the suburban area. INT. BRANDON’S HOUSE Brandon braces himself at the front door. He grips the doorknob and prepares a running stance. James peeks through the large front window. Brandon turns an eye toward James. BRANDON What’s up with you and that Claire chick? JAMES Nothing big really. BRANDON Nothing? Brandon swings the door open and slams it shut behind him. James watches Brandon work his way through the swarms of people. Brandon manages to stave off the hoard of microphones and cameras. Brandon stops to introduce himself to an attractive girl. He smiles and dives into his car.

Brandon speeds away. James continues watching the crowd. Protestors slowly separate like a parting sea. Reporters work their way towards the commotion. JAMES What the‌ Mark Ashole squeezes his way through the crowd. He hands out business cards and shakes hands with various people. A cameraman clumsily pokes a camera through an open window a few feet away from James. JAMES Hey! Private residence! James grabs the remote control and whips it at the window. The cameraman scurries away. A loud knock resonates from the front door. James composes himself and grabs the door knob and opens. Mark Ashole stands on the other side of the doorway. He holds a briefcase along with his business cards. MARK Vole? Brandon Vole? JAMES No. James Wrathe. MARK Ah, the wife. Adorable. Mark chuckles to himself. He pulls out a piece of paper from his briefcase. The crowd rallies around him. JAMES Can I help you? MARK Mark Ashole; attorney at large.

JAMES Don’t you mean attorney at law? MARK Yes, that too. I multitask. Anyway, Mr. Wrathe, I am here on behalf of the county clerk, the state, homosexuals, and married couples everywhere. JAMES You represent all of those people? MARK Well, technically no, but it sounds more dramatic. JAMES Am I being accused of something? MARK You, sir, have defiled the law of marriage. What would you say if I told you that I have evidence that you and that other one are not homo with each other? The crowd encourages Mark’s attack. JAMES I would say you are absolutely correct. We’re not gay. What does that have to do with … MARK (interrupts) I’ll tell you exactly what it has to do with … um what were you going to say? JAMES …to do with the law. MARK Ah, thank you. This has everything to do with law! Not only is it fraudulent to get married for financial purposes, it is also a slap in the face to homosexuals who worked so hard to get

same sex marriage legal. Now, you and some college buddy decide to exploit it?! The crowd lets out a cheer. Mark pleasantly grins to the large crowd. JAMES You see, we thought that same sex marriage was for any kind of love. Straight love, that counts for something right? MARK Look, pal. You and your ‘hubby’ both have wieners. Since neither of you are little fancies, you cannot be in love and therefore not married. JAMES That’s doesn’t seem… MARK I’m sorry, it’s the law. If you and your spouse terminate the marriage by the end of the week, my office and I will surrender our attack. Trust me, that is your best option. Mark confidently winks to the cheering crowd. James surveys the angry crowd. His eyes dart back and forth between the cocky lawyer and the many angry faces on his front yard. JAMES No. Absolutely not. This goes for everybody! What business is it of yours who I’m married to? You don’t know our relationship. I married a man. That is legal in this state. Unless you have something else, get off this property. James coolly slams the door in Mark’s face. As soon as the door is closed, James falls back toward the door and slides down to the ground with his hands on his terrified face.

JAMES That may have been a mistake. EXT. BRANDON’S HOUSE Mark meekly turns around. The crowd mumbles in chatter. Mark’s embarrassment turns to anger. He scampers away from the door. INT. JOKES IN A HAYSTACK COMEDY CLUB – NIGHT Brandon, James, and Stephanie sit in a crowded, dark room. A buzz of excitement fills the room. James sports a nice button up shirt. A small, scrawny COMEDIAN takes the stage. COMEDIAN (deadpan) Hey. How’s it goin? I love the enthusiasm. It really gets me going. The crowd laughs. James watches the comic but keeps an eye on his watch. COMEDIAN I cannot begin to tell you how in love I am with my girlfriend. No, really I can’t tell you because I’m not really sure. She’s kind of a cunt. The crowd responds with laughter. STEPHANIE He gets a good crowd reaction. Be more like him. JAMES Thank you. Very helpful advice. BRANDON What’s with the getup? You’re not performing are you?

JAMES No. I just wanted to look good, you know. You said I needed to up my confidence. The crowd erupts in laughter. James discreetly peeks at his watch. JAMES Hey, Brandon. Grab a drink at the bar for me. BRANDON What, do I look like a skimpy waitress? JAMES No, but the chick at the bar does. Brandon spies the bar. It is surrounded by beautiful women. BRANDON Good eye. Wish me luck. Brandon scurries to the bar. James spies his watch again. He spins around to check on Brandon. JAMES Steph, I need a favor. STEPHANIE Oh no. JAMES Can you keep Brandon busy here? Just for a few hours. STEPHANIE You’re leaving? I thought you wanted to see how the pros do it. JAMES I have a small dinner date with a girl and I haven’t told Brandon. And you can’t say anything to him about it.

Stephanie shoots James a confused look. STEPHANIE Are you afraid of Brandon getting… jealous? JAMES No! Its just with all this news and that crazy lawyer guy, I don’t want to pile on. STEPHANIE So, you want me to spend my night with the human STD, alone? Stephanie looks to the bar. Brandon is hitting on three women at once. JAMES Just this once. I need this. Besides, it could be just like old times for you two. STEPHANIE I hated the old times. Brandon leaves the bar and heads back towards James and Stephanie. JAMES Shit. Please, Steph. I haven’t been on a real date since the nineties. Please! STEPHANIE Alright, fine, but you owe me. Brandon slams two beers on the table. BRANDON I love divorcees. What’d I miss? JAMES Nothing, just watching. Which reminds me, I have to run to the bowling alley. I forgot to pick up my check.

BRANDON You got paid for inducing a riot? Nice. JAMES Can you two stay here and watch this guy for me? Brandon glares at James for a moment. James slightly cowers in fear. BRANDON Sure, no problem, bud. Brandon fires a wink at Stephanie. She deflects it with a roll of her eyes. JAMES (discreetly nods to Stephanie) Thank you. James climbs out of his seat and makes his way through the crowd. EXT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT James finishes paying a cab driver. He checks the name of the restaurant and sprints through the front door. INT. RESTAURANT A half empty dining room’s silence is only broken by the clinking of silverware and whispered conversation. James slips by the host’s podium and eyes the dining room. He spots Claire. She plays with her silk napkin. James approaches the table. He slides into the empty chair across from Claire. JAMES Sorry, I’m late I was… uh… CLAIRE With your husband? James shoots a look at Claire.

A WAITER approaches the table. The waiter drops off a fill out menu card and a pencil. WAITER Here is your menu card. Please mark what you would like. The waiter wanders away. Claire grabs the menu card. A moment of awkward silence passes. JAMES Have I mentioned how incredibly sorry I am? CLAIRE James, don’t worry about it. I’m here aren’t I? JAMES I just didn’t want to be weird right off the bat. CLAIRE I like it, it’s unique. Definitely weird, but unique. Besides, I already knew. JAMES You knew before the bowling alley? Claire scribbles on the menu card. CLAIRE Well, I do work at the county clerk’s office. Plus, my boss flipped out on me. JAMES You got yelled at? Why? Claire hands the menu card to James. CLAIRE My boss said I shouldn’t have given you the proper documents for the marriage.

JAMES Well, thank you for having faith in our marriage. James manages to fill out the menu card while listening to Claire. CLAIRE So, why go through with all of this? JAMES A perfect combination of desperation and being broke... I know it seems crazy. CLAIRE We all do crazy things. The waiter drops off a glass of water and snags the filled out menu card. JAMES I think I might take the cake for level of craziness. James reaches for a glass of water and puts it to his lips. CLAIRE One time, my ex convinced me to have a threesome with him and his best friend. James coughs up the water, drawing attention to himself. JAMES (wipes his face) Excuse me, sorry. Tap water. INT. RESTAURANT – LATER Claire loudly laughs at James as he finishes telling a joke. CLAIRE I can see why you are a comedian. JAMES That makes one of us.

CLAIRE So, what got you into it? JAMES I’m a masochist. There’s nothing quite like bombing on stage. CLAIRE Come on, really. JAMES As a kid I was really pent up, emotionally. My parents were very critical. It was like living in Parliament. Claire nods and finishes her glass of milk. JAMES When I started performing little acts for my friends and at school it would … I felt… It was just nice making people laugh. It was the one thing that used to relax me. Claire intently stares at James. CLAIRE It doesn’t relax you now? JAMES When I decided to make it a career, everyone either laughed it off or criticized. Everyone except Brandon. CLAIRE Does it still make you happy? James ponders for a moment and nods. JAMES I don’t know. CLAIRE Maybe you’re holding back.

JAMES I try. You see a lot of people have trouble… Claire chuckles and reaches for James’ hand. CLAIRE You need to stop being a triangle and start being a do-angle. You may never fail but you may never succeed. James stares at Claire’s innocent smile. CLAIRE But, if you’re too scared… JAMES I am not... scared. CLAIRE I guess I’ll be the judge of that at your next show. James gives a surprising smirk. EXT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT A mysterious person crouches behind some bushes outside the main window. The mystery person spies on James and Claire. The mystery person takes out a cell phone. INT. LAW OFFICE - NIGHT Mark Ashole holds up a newspaper. He grins and nods as he stares at the front page. The front page displays a picture of Brandon and James next to a smaller picture of Mark. MARK That is called hitting the big time. Mr. Chambers is going to love… Mark’s phone rings. Mark snags the phone.

MARK Mark Ashole, attorney at large and at law. Mark intently listens to the phone. MARK A date? Who is this? Mark shudders back and stares at the phone. The phone gives off a dial tone. Mark resets his eyes on the newspaper photo of James. MARK Looks like this little piggy went to the market… for adultery. EXT. HOSPITAL – DAY A large crowd marches in protest through the hospital parking lot. INT. HOSPITAL – PATIENT ROOM Brandon stands alone in the bland, sterile room. He peers at the crowd through a window. INT. HOSPITAL - HALLWAY Brandon flees the room and dodges patients in wheelchairs, doctors, and nurses. Brandon notices judgmental looks from each person he passes. INT. HOSPITAL - NURSE’S STATION Brandon grabs a chart off of the counter. Nurse Laney and her clique giggle under their breaths. Margie charges up behind Brandon. MARGIE Brandon, I have a hoard of angry protestors out there causing mayhem and blocking my hospital entrance.

BRANDON On the plus side, if one of them gets hit by a car… boom… patient. Brandon tries to side step Margie. She stops him with a powerful hand. MARGIE Cut the charm crap. I’m hearing a lot of grumbling about this unnecessary publicity. Can you think of a way to make it go away? BRANDON Ignore it? MARGIE That, yeah, or I could fire you! BRANDON Whoa, relax. I would never put you in jeopardy. Brandon tries to get around Margie again. She powerfully stops him again. MARGIE Not only is that a blatant lie, but its insulting my intelligence. First your sexual harassment charge and now this. BRANDON What? That didn’t count. She was one who wanted “intubation.” MARGIE It did count and so does this. If you don’t settle this consider yourself discharged. Margie takes a few steps away from Brandon. Brandon is left with an appalled look. After a few steps, the manager turns back toward Brandon.

MARGIE We’ve got your schedule covered for the next few days. I trust you will have it all straightened out by then. Don’t come back till you do. A young NURSE comes up behind Brandon. The young nurse holds her hand out and gestures for the chart in Brandon’s hand. Brandon unwillingly hands over the patient’s chart. EXT. HOSPITAL Brandon, still in disbelief, pops out of a side door. He peeks around the corner and avoids attention from the crowd. Brandon slips between cars through the parking lot. Upon reaching his car, Brandon runs into a man leaning against the car. It is a grinning Mark Ashole. BRANDON Can I help you? MARK You certainly have. Mark Ashole, attorney… BRANDON Oh, you. Just back off, bud. Brandon reaches to unlock his car. MARK Having trouble at work? All of this must be taking a toll on you. BRANDON What do you want, dickweed? Brandon steps towards Mark. He towers over Mark like an angry giant.

Mark cowers and quickly stops leaning on Brandon’s car. MARK I want to help. I can make it all go away. You’ll have to play ball, of course. BRANDON How so? MARK Just say you’ll get a divorce. The media will back off, no more cameras, no more lawyers. BRANDON What’s all of this mean to you? MARK I’m just looking out for the wellbeing of everyone. If I get some publicity for working this out so be it. Plus, I don’t like seeing spouses get hurt. BRANDON Like who? MARK You might want to keep a closer eye on your husband. Adultery affects thirty percent of marriages. Any late nights recently? BRANDON We’re done here. Brandon brushes past Mark and climbs into his car. He abruptly pulls out of the parking spot. MARK (shouts) Okay then! It’s a deal! You scratch my back… Brandon ignores Mark and speeds away.

MARK And I‘ll stab you in yours. INT. BRANDON’S HOUSE - NIGHT James creeps through the front door and spies the room. He sniffs his shirt collar and vigorously wipes his sleeves. INT. DINING ROOM - CONTINUOUS James looks back over his shoulder as he wanders in. He swings his head around and jumps when he sees Brandon sitting at the dinner table. JAMES Jesus! What are you doing? BRANDON Waiting. James investigates the room with his eyes. JAMES Creepy. What for? BRANDON Dinner. You. James moves over to the fridge. JAMES Oh. I Thought you had work tonight. BRANDON Where were you? JAMES Trying to find a gig. You’d think with all of this press, someone would want to laugh at me. James pulls out neatly boxed leftovers. BRANDON Alone?

JAMES What? BRANDON Were you alone today? JAMES No. I saw Stephanie, some club owners… why? BRANDON Just want to make sure we are being honest with each other. JAMES We are… I mean, I am. Brandon eyes a slightly nervous James. BRANDON So how’d it go? JAMES How did what go? After a moment, Brandon relaxes his tense demeanor. BRANDON The job hunt. Any clubs? JAMES Oh, no. I’m checking out a place tomorrow. It’s one of my last chances. BRANDON Good, good. I’ll come with you. JAMES You don’t have to, I mean, you probably have work… BRANDON No, don’t be silly. We haven’t been spending any time together. It’ll be good.

JAMES Yeah, definitely. James uncomfortably continues eating. INT. COMICS IN A BARREL CLUB - NIGHT A tight, smokey hallway is littered with empty cups and fliers. Brandon and James wait outside of a beat up door labeled “Owner.” JAMES He’s gonna say no. BRANDON I hope so, this place blows. It smells like dead mice. JAMES Well, this is the last place. Even that weird stripper dive bar downtown said I was too controversial. The door swings open. The comedy club OWNER sticks his filthy head through the doorway. James eagerly awaits a response from the beastly owner. OWNER No. JAMES Please, just one chance. OWNER Answer is no! The owner slams the door shut. James drops his head. JAMES That’s it. Comedy career over. BRANDON There’s other places. Other cities…

JAMES …will say no, too. They don’t want the bad press. Everyone knows. I saw our story on the internet. The internet! MARK (O.S.) The internet can be a dangerous place. James and Brandon whip their heads around. Mark Ashole leans against a dirty wall. BRANDON Oh great, this freak. Mark pushes off the wall. He notices a clump of dirt on his sleeve. MARK Have either of you given any thought to my offer? JAMES How do you keep finding us, anyway? MARK I have my sources. Now, when you two get your divorce, all of this goes away and you’ll be free to live. It’s a winwin…win. BRANDON I bet no one would notice if you disappeared. Brandon takes an intimidating step towards Mark. Mark cowers back quickly. James steps between them. MARK Oh God, please don’t rape me. JAMES Nobody is going to rape anyone. Look, Ashole, what is this? You don’t know us, so it’s not personal. Did you take those pictures of us? Are you behind this?

BRANDON He’s definitely behind it. He’s the freakin’ Wizard of Oz of all this. MARK I love that movie. Brandon violently reaches for Mark. Mark quickly flinches back and spastically kicks. JAMES Well, Mark? MARK Alright, alright. Bunch of savages. She’s here. JAMES She? BRANDON Who? MARK She did everything. She sent the picture to the news. She even called me when you were on your date with the county clerk girl. Brandon shoots a glare at James. BRANDON Date? JAMES Who is it? MARK She’s meeting me out back. James and Brandon sprint down the hallway. Mark gathers himself. EXT. CLUB REAR LOT - NIGHT James and Brandon burst out of a large door.

A tiny car is parked in a shady corner of the back lot. Darkness masks the car’s details. BRANDON There. James and Brandon race up to the car. Mark follows but stops at the doorway. James and Brandon reach the car door. James knocks on the driver side window. The driver side window slowly opens, revealing nurse Laney. BRANDON Laney?! LANEY Brandon. JAMES You know this person? BRANDON I work with her. JAMES Are you kidding me?! BRANDON Why Laney? LANEY You think you can just toy with whoever you want? I thought we had something Brandon. And then you marry that thing. JAMES Thing? BRANDON The pictures? LANEY I followed you. I’ve been following you since our first date. When I saw this

little stunt, I decided to teach you a lesson about humiliation. JAMES Maybe we’ll go to the cops about your stalking. LANEY Sure, go ahead. Although you might be too busy with your own police matters. JAMES Jesus Christ. You know what, just stay away from us. (turns to Mark) Both of you. James storms away from the car and heads back into the club. BRANDON He was on a date? LANEY Yup, nice restaurant too. How come you never took me out like that? Brandon shakes his head. He brushes past Mark and follows after James. INT. COMICS IN A BARREL CLUB – MAIN ROOM Brandon catches up to James amongst small tables. The crowd’s attention is currently focused on the comic on stage. BRANDON Dates, huh? With Claire? What else have you been lying about? JAMES I’m sorry. I’ve been under a lot of stress. I didn’t want… BRANDON Stress? I’m the one making sacrifices.

Crowd members begin to pay attention to the bickering couple. JAMES Hey, my name is right next to yours in the paper. I’m getting more insults in public than at my comedy shows. BRANDON You know what that bad publicity did to me? Got me fired. They won’t let me back till it’s over. JAMES You got fired? BRANDON Forget it. Besides, you’re probably busy with your girlfriend. JAMES Jealousy, that’s great. It’s a little hypocritical considering you wanted all of this just to get more ass. BRANDON At least I was honest. JAMES Right, I forgot you’re a paragon of integrity. The man who didn’t want anything to do with relationships or marriage before this. The crowd’s full attention has been diverted to Brandon and James. BRANDON You’re right. I didn’t want anything to do with marriage because I thought of it as torture. Turns out it is torture. Torture of caring too much and risking it all just to be hurt and screwed over.

JAMES No, the only torture is dealing with your insanity. You push me into this and then lose your mind. It’s just been a huge waste. BRANDON A waste. I’m a waste. So, now you’re one of them. One of those ignorant protestors who have nothing better to do. JAMES But they’re right! We’re not in love. This is all a fraud. Strictly for the purpose of financial gain. It’s a joke. BRANDON Well if that’s how you feel, how about we go down to the county clerk’s office and get some divorce papers? I’ll sign the shit out of those right now. JAMES Fine, we’ll get divorced. I’ll be able to go out on a date without psycho Brandon on my ass. James storms away from Brandon. A young STUD COLLEGE STUDENT and his friends begin a round of applause. The crowd joins in. STUD COLLEGE STUDENT This place knows how to put on a show! Brandon stands frozen in the middle of the clapping crowd. EXT. COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE - DAY James and Stephanie sit in a parked car. The streets surrounding the clerk’s office are temporarily bare. INT. STEPHANIE’S CAR Stephanie sits in the driver’s seat. James sits in the passenger’s seat.

JAMES And after all that, I packed up my stuff and went back to my old place. STEPHANIE They let you go back in there? JAMES Yeah, apparently there isn’t a high demand for rat infested dumps. STEPHANIE Wow. I knew it; I knew one of those bimbos would cause trouble. JAMES This is way more than just trouble. STEPHANIE Don’t worry, you haven’t run out of road yet. JAMES Road? We’ve run out of everything. Have you not seen the news or any late night talk show… STEPHANIE Just listen. At first, I thought your marriage idea was idiotic, half-assed, and pretty disturbing. You had poor motives and no idea what you were getting into. A large crowd of protestors marches around the corner. They aim towards the county clerk’s office. JAMES Great, more protestors. STEPHANIE You guys might not have been in as much love as a hetero or homo or any “o” couple, but you did practice an important right; the freedom to choose a partner.

Stephanie nods toward the approaching crowd. The crowd holds signs that read “Let them be!”, “Marriage: For Their Eyes Only”, and “Marriage is for everyone.” STEPHANIE They’ve been coming here every day since the report. Brandon and James marvel at the large, supportive group. STEPHANIE It’s not even about you guys. It’s about deterring the people who selfishly want things their way with no exceptions. A group member, CHERYL, runs over to Stephanie’s car. Stephanie rolls down her window. CHERYL Oh my god, its one of them! STEPHANIE This is my boy. CHERYL It’s a pleasure to meet you. You and your husband are so brave. We’ve got protestors, rallies, news articles. We are totally behind you. We’re gonna fight this. JAMES Thank you, but you don’t really need to fight. Why instigate, right? Cheryl quietly drops her shoulders and lowers her picket sign. Stephanie shoots a disciplinary glare at James. JAMES It’s not really a big deal; we were probably just going to get a div…

Cheryl slightly nods her head. James glances at the faces in the protesting crowd. He spots all ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, and ages. JAMES What’s your name? CHERYL Cheryl. JAMES Cheryl, I really appreciate what you’re doing for me… James glances at the crowd once. JAMES …what you’re doing for us. It is important. Thank you. CHERYL Wow, thank y… I mean your welcome. It means everything to us. Oh my God, you should totally speak at our big rally. You can speak for us. JAMES Speak? I… sure. I guess I could say a few words. CHERYL Yes! Thank you! Cheryl holds back tears for a moment. She pumps her fist and runs back to the crowd. STEPHANIE I am impressed. Where did that come from? JAMES I was a sentence away from turning into my parents.

STEPHANIE Nice save. MONTAGE – BRANDON AND JAMES DIVORCE -- County Clerk’s Office – James and Brandon sign the divorce papers. They don’t speak a word to each other. -- Law Office – Mark Ashole celebrates with champagne. His showy celebration is ignored by Tom Chambers and the other lawyers. -- Restaurant – James and Claire laugh and flirt at dinner. -- Hospital – Brandon applies for a job at a new hospital. He ignores flirty nurses. -- James’ Parents’ House – Harold and Marie drink and curiously read the article advertising the rally. -- Main Street - James meets with protestors to plan the rally. He appears to be in over his head. -- Brandon’s Home – Brandon drinks alone and blankly stares at the rally newspaper article. EXT. MAIN STREET – DAY A large crowd bustling with anticipation surrounds an open stage on a blocked off street. Policemen are sprinkled throughout the large crowd. The crowd yields various pro-gay rights signs and appears to grow as each minute passes. Reporters and camera operators set up near the stage. Stephanie stands at the front of the crowd. A few rows from the front, Harold and Marie discreetly hide under large sunglasses and exaggerated hats. In the back corner of the crowd, Mark Ashole stands with his arms crossed. A GAY MAN with a pro gay sign tries to squeeze by Mark.

GAY MAN Pardon me. MARK No thank you, no sex for me? The confused gay man continues towards the crowd. EXT. BACKSTAGE - CONTINUOUS Claire and James stand just behind a curtain. Claire fixes James’ collar. James fumbles with a few note cards. Gay activists Matt and Shane poke their heads backstage. MATT We’re getting started. You’ll be on right after us. SHANE Thank you so much for doing this. MATT You’re gonna be great! Matt and Shane disappear. James shoves his note cards into his pocket. JAMES This is going to be a disaster. CLAIRE You should have told them about the divorce. JAMES I just need to get through this and then it’ll all be over. CLAIRE Just go up there and do what your heart tells you to do. JAMES Thanks.

CLAIRE And look at the bright side; at least you don’t have to tell any jokes. JAMES Oh, wow, thanks. Shane pokes his head backstage. SHANE You’re on! James cautiously looks out towards the stage. He turns back to Claire and smiles. James bravely walks out on stage. EXT. STAGE James appears from stage right. Applause ripples through the crowd. James raises one hand and nods as he approaches the microphone. He grabs the microphone out of the stand. JAMES (meekly) Thank you for coming out. The crowd cheers. JAMES Forgive me; I’m more of a comedian than a motivational speaker. James spies the random faces in the crowd. JAMES Ever since the marriage, I’ve encountered a lot of hate. People going on about rules and laws and what marriage is. I guess they say this is the negative result of same sex marriage and why we shouldn’t have it. I think the argument about marriage and gender is a distraction from what’s

important. You should be with the person you love, whoever that may be. Mark Ashole scoffs while everyone around him pays strict attention. JAMES The news and the protestors feel that their anger and position is justified. Unfortunately, we proved them right. A wave of uncertainty washes through the crowd. Shane and Matt do a double take. JAMES I never had many girlfriends throughout my life. Or boyfriends. I had this fool proof system… act like you’ve already been turned down, officially get turned down, and repeat. I got really good at it. Claire passionately watches James. JAMES It wasn’t just that. No career, financial troubles… I never committed to anything because I was afraid of failure and always took the easy way out. Harold and Marie curiously watch their son. JAMES So, when my best friend came to me with this idea that solved all of my problems, I was skeptical. I did it because I was desperate, lazy, and irresponsible. I didn’t want to give up on my half assed career, I was looking for an easy way out, and it was a mistake. The crowd looks on curiously. Mark confidently nods.

In the right wing of the stage, Claire looks on adoringly. Her attention is suddenly drawn to the opposite wing across the stage. JAMES Once the news broke, I was terrified. I figured I’d just give up, it’s not worth it. I was watching out for myself. And I was compromising on my best friend. James takes a moment to survey the audience. His attention is grabbed by a flailing Claire. James shoots her a confused look. Claire vehemently points to the opposite wing across the stage. James swings his head around to see Brandon standing in the left side wing. James smirks and looks back out toward the audience. JAMES It doesn’t matter if it’s a husband or wife or soul mate or family member. The important thing is not to compromise on your relationships no matter what anyone says. Only how you feel about each other is what matters. The crowd erupts in applause. Stephanie stands up to applaud. The audience around her follows suit. Harold and Marie join in on the clapping. Claire runs on stage toward James. They embrace. After a moment, James turns to the stage left wing. He nods for Brandon to come out. Brandon runs out on stage and bear hugs James. The audience continues its heavy applause. Onstage James, Brandon, and Claire embrace and take a bow.

Straight Up Married  

A struggling comedian and his nurse best friend take advantage of same sex marriage for the benefits while an idiotic lawyer tries to reveal...

Straight Up Married  

A struggling comedian and his nurse best friend take advantage of same sex marriage for the benefits while an idiotic lawyer tries to reveal...