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off the bus
This screenplay was significantly influenced by the Screenplay “Because The Internet” by Donald Glover (pseudonym Childish Gambino). Reading Because The Internet was a surreal experience so I’ve created my rendition of it. I have altered the plot, characters, and dialogues but of course there are many similarities. I do not mean to infringe upon any creative license the original writer has.
off the bus
EXT. BUS STOP
The boy steps off the bus, removing himself from its faceless passengers. He’s returned to Tokyo, FL. The boy walks besides the sidewalk on the ashy road. He continues past a homeless man sleeping against the window of an old computer repair shop with the words “Roscoe’s Wetsuit” graffitied across its facade. The boy takes note but thinks nothing of it. He is walking slow and somber. Eventually the boy reaches a black limousine and slides into it.
CHAUFFEUR: Hey there kiddo!
The two fist-bump and the little boy shuffles to the back where his father (Kanye West) is sitting. The two keep silent for what seems like a decade.
FATHER: How was camp?
The boy shrugs.
FATHER: Make any friends?
The boy: No.
His father lets out an artificial laugh and opens his phone. The limo arrives silently to a dope mansion and the boy walks without purpose towards it. As he gets closer to his room he quickens his pace, walks in, and tenderly shuts the door behind him. The boy gravitates towards his phone which was in the same position he left it before Camp. He opens the cell phone and texts one of his contacts. You can’t see what he’s texting but you can hear the sounds of the buttons mimicking the cadence of his fingers. The boy throws his phone on the bed and lies face up. His phone vibrates:
MARCUS: it’s lit
The boy smiles.
15 YEARS LATER
INT. BOY’S ROOM
The boy’s room is a sophisticated mess. Gummy bear wrappers and trash accumulate on all the antique furniture. A vaporizer with half an ounce of hash is charging atop a cluttered nightstand. His desk and computer remain neat. Identical white t-shirts and flower-pattern shorts compose the closet, and a tattered Shearling coat hangs on a hook. The boy (more a man now) removes himself from sleep.
The kitchen is not as messy. Things are left about but the maids will come round and resettle everything. The boy goes into the pantry and pulls out edible matter that was barely approved by the FDA to be stocked on supermarket shelves. He consumes the “food” while responding to the text he received from Marcus on his phone, the newest iPhone.
MARCUS: man you’ve GOT to get over here. i got something you need to see
The boy: come and pick me up
MARCUS: i gotchu
Marcus pulls up to the scene in an exhausted red car. The boy is on his phone so he doesn’t notice Marcus until he gets embarrassingly close. The boy looks up.
The boy: Cool let’s go.
MARCUS: Let’s take one of yours.
The boy: Nah.
MARCUS: Are you serious, mane? You want to drive around town in my piece of-
The boy: It’s inconspicuous.
MARCUS: Like who are you hiding from? Why do you even care?
...why do you even care?
The boy: (Slightly more adamant) We’re taking your car. What’d you want me to see.
MARCUS: Oh yeah, man, this thing’s leeeegit
The boy: Nice.
The two figures walk to the car with swagger.
INT. ISLAND BURGER SHACK
The boy and Marcus sit across from each other in a booth. They sit adjacent to a glass which portrays that the burger shack is situated across the street from the beach. Both men are on their phones and a clean young waitress brings over two burgers. The boy opens up his Twitter and sees #Roscoe’sWetsuit trending.
The boy: What’s Roscoe’s Wetsuit?
The boy types in ‘roscoe’s wetsuit’ into the browser and Yahoo Answers pops up. The answer to “What is roscoe’s wetsuit?” is… “roscoe’s wetsuit”. Hilarious.
MARCUS: Did you say something?
The boy quietly clears his throat and takes a couple bites of his burger. He does not finish it. Telly, Chano, and Dan knock on the window, gesturing for them to come out. The boy gets up and leaves a crisp $80 dollar note on the table. Marcus and the boy walk out. Marcus leads the group across the street. He almost gets hit by a white Benz and curses at the driver. The group keeps walking.
CHANO: ‘Ey Marcus what you got for us?
MARCUS: I’ll tell you when we get there. All I’m gonna say is stuff’s going down today at the volleyball court today. 20 minutes.
TELLY: Why d’you gotta be so secretive about this? Just tell us, homie.
MARCUS: Alright, you guys know Rakim?
MARCUS: Well there’s major beef between him and Darius. I swear Darius is gonna catch his fists.
CHANO: What’d he do?
MARCUS: All I know is that at some party Alisha and Darius were getting hella promiscuous. And you know Rakim and Alisha been on and off for some time now. So when Rakim shows up, someone starts telling him how saucy Darius has been acting with Alisha. Darius gets word and dips out, right? Anyway, the NEXT day, Darius tries sliding in her DMs. He’s texting her, sweet-talking her up, but Rakim is right there with her. Rakim texts Darius saying that he’ll be lucky if he’s able to walk by next week.
TELLY: Aw dude, let’s get going! My money’s on Rakim. That man is strong (emphasis on strong) as hell.
DAN: I’d bet on Darius, I feel like he’s got something up his sleeve.
CHANO: Yeah lil Darius has that quick-thinking. How do you think it’s going down?
The boy realizes he’s now part of the conversation.
The boy: I think someone’s going to get really hurt.
TELLY: (cheeky) That’s quite a theory there, Eisenstein.
MARCUS: L-O-L. Now, where are these courts at?
The group start shouting adlibs and walk out of view towards what seems to be a rave.
EXT. VOLLEYBALL COURTS - NIGHT
The group find themselves at an LA Beach Palooza. A syncopated drum beat is coming from the DJ’s subwoofers over a catchy synth. From a distance it sounds like an irregular heartbeat. The boy observes a buxom young girl with ‘Roscoe’s Wetsuit’ tattooed on her arm. She’s dancing like an idiot.
The boy: Hey do you know what Roscoe’s Wetsuit is?
TELLY: No idea.
MARCUS: Yo I just saw Darius heading to the courts.
Squad pushes their way through the drunk people who think they can dance. One literally looks like he’s having an epileptic seizure. They find themselves a crowd surrounding Darius. Momentarily, Rakim enters and he looks really pissed. Chances are, he is. There’s no exchange of words, both black men square up. Darius’s boys are standing right behind him. Rakim’s boys do likewise. 80% of the crowd is recording the fight. Some random Felicia starts chanting and the crowd shouts in unison. The boy pursues the same by chanting and recording the fight.
Crowd: WORLDSTAR… WORLDSTAR… WORLDSTAR…
Back to the brawl, Rakim is livid. Darius’s quick body has evaded two punches and a roundhouse kick that could’ve stopped a small car. Darius bobs his head once more to avoid a punch and then swings his fist into Rakim’s face. In an instance Rakim collects himself, retrieves a Tec-9 and shoots Darius twice.
POP. POP. It takes a second for him to comprehend. Darius’s boys start firing back at Rakim. The boy does not stop recording.
POP. POP. POP. ...what's happening?
The crowd dissipates. The DJ abandons his throne. Rakim is lost with the crowd as sirens are heard in the distance. Compton and all its gangbangers seemed to have relocated to the beach that night. 3 men including Darius have dropped. The gunfire continues.
POP. POP. POP. These shots are succinct and piercing.
The boy watches Darius bleed out. That was the end. He will never read this sentence. He ended before this sentence. Before any sentence. The boy felt something. It’s funny because this person is dead.
Marcus grabs hold of the boy.
MARCUS: We’re dipping. Get in the car.
INT. MARCUS’S CAR - NIGHT
MARCUS: Dang, that was pretty crazy.
CHANO: I knew something was about to happen. I knew it.
TELLY: Donnie Darko, I'm telling you.
The boy stares numbly out the window at a billboard. Not to his surprise ‘Roscoe’s Wetsuit’ is blatantly etched into it. Vandals most likely. He watches the footage on his phone. He feels a hole on the flap of his Shearling coat.
...I shouldn't be (here)
Marcus, Chano, Telly, relive the event.
CHANO: BAP! BAP! BAP! Oooow they lit up.
TELLY: Hey Markoo, where we going?
MARCUS: Dunno. I heard there's gonna be a party tonight. You guys in?
The boy watches the video on loop. He's got a death on video.
CHANO: I'm down.
TELLY: Yo. You got it on video?
The boy: Yeah.
MARCUS: Wow that's dope. You got the end of his journey on video.
The boy: Does it weird you out that you almost died today?
MARCUS: Not really. I'm not tripping on death.
The boy: I'm not tripping. I'm just saying if you think about it there's no reason for any of us to be here.
TELLY: Dude, have any of you guys play Jumpy Pig? It’s rad.
The boy: I noticed how I can’t really offer anything to people. I don’t even like anything. Like, what am I supposed to do?
The boy fiddles with the hole in his coat.
MARCUS: You’re rich. We don’t have to do anything. Some people would kill to be able to do nothing all day.
The boy: Isn’t that depressing?
CHANO: No lie Jumpy Pig is pretty addicting. My highscore’s 12.
MARCUS: Depressing? Man, we’re making moves.
The boy: How are we making moves?
MARCUS: Dude, you’re killing the vibe here. We’re making moves.
The boy: Hmmph, where are we going?
MARCUS: I told you: I’m fitting to get active at this party.
The boy: I’m not going to a friggin party let’s just go home and watch Narcos.
MARCUS: Listen, I don’t know what’s up with you, man. I really don’t. But here’s what we’re gonna do: My dude Aubrey’s got this rager down on Trop. We check it out, get loose, check out some hotties. If it’s lame, we bounce. If it’s lit, we stay. Mmkay?
TELLY: PARTY, PARTY.
CHANO: Yo where’s Dan at?
Dan seems to not be in the car.
MARCUS: BAHAHAHA that’s too funny.
So then Dan is gone. Possibly dead. No one seems to really care.
EXT. AUBREY’S FRONT PORCH
Similar to the beach party, it's a mindless rave. Jumpman by Drake and Future is playing and three dudes are having a dance battle: Guy 1 hits the whip, Guy 2 dabs, and Guy 3 tries to dance. Thay’re inebriated to the max.
PARTY MUSIC SCENE
INT. AUBREY’S LIVING ROOM: COUCH
By the look on his face you could tell The boy wants to go home. He walks past the guys he came with, past the kitchen. They all cheer his name and take shots like he’s some close friend. He climbs upstairs and opens a soft-white door. When he walks through it, he steps onto the sidewalk of Shady Lane - a street in downtown.
EXT. SHADY LANE
There’s a buzz about. People are dining in fast-food restaurants. Others shop for clothes; each store has its brand name displayed. Caucasian women stand in line for the newest iPhone. The air is crisp and coat-worthy. The boy walks towards a bench.
EXT. BENCH ON SHADY LANE
The boy sits down next to a girl. He is still wearing his white shirt and Shearling coat. The boy looks confused and at ease. He fingers the hole still in his coat.
The boy: (to the girl) Where are we?
GIRL: Shady Lane. It’s kinda the present.
The boy: Present?
GIRL: Yeah, yeah. Like, the current moment.
The boy: Oh, ok.
The boy notices her shirt has the imprint “ROSCOE’S WETSUIT” on it.
The boy: I never understood that.
GIRL: (looking at her shirt) Roscoe’s Wetsuit? It’s, like, the newest thing.
The boy: Yeah but it’s literally not a thing. There are so many things out here, and THAT is not one of them.
GIRL: It’s just a trend.
The boy: Do you know why?
The girl isn’t able to reply.
GIRL: Why are you here?
The boy: I’m not
GIRL: You obviously are.
The boy: I don’t feel here.
The girl chuckles sincerely.
GIRL: My name’s Alessa.
Alessa’s ashy blond hair fell to her shoulders. She had blue eyes and her skin was gold (not actual gold but she was tan). She looked like she had just arrived from Mediterranea.
ALESSA: So, really, how’d you get here?
The boy: I don’t really know.
Alessa looks at him.
The boy: All I really know is I’m confused. About who I am and why I’m here.
ALESSA: Oh I live for these existential crises. I’m going to help you with this, if that’s ok.
The boy: Thanks but I’m fine. I don’t-
ALESSA: HA! This is totally your problem.
The boy’s face reflects his confusion.
ALESSA: Ok, so, I said I was here to help, not because I was offering advice or anything, but because the reason why you ended up on this bench with me is because that’s what you were supposed to do. This was supposed to happen.
The boy: So what’s your point?
ALESSA: There really isn’t one, unless you care. You’ve go to care about something, or else there’s no point. I know it sounds corny.
The boy: That’s so dumb. I understand what you mean, but that’s so stupid.
The boy: Because. I don’t know. The… The (sigh) Do you mind listening?
ALESSA: Go ahead.
The boy: There’s no spark. And I don’t get it. We have these preconceived notions of feelings, but they never seem real. They never solidify. And I just think that’s so s***ty. Why can’t I have one real thing when everything else is fake. Why does everyone care so much when their phone is dying when their society is dying just as fast? What are we doing?
ALESSA: We are becoming God. (Smiling) It was nice meeting you.
She opens her purse and retrieves small metal box. Inside of it are several strips of little papers. She places one of the tabs on her tongue. She gets up and walks away from the boy. 30 meters, she collapses.
EXT. SIDEWALK ON SHADY LANE
The view is from the perspective of Alessa’s unconscious body. The boy stays on the bench and just keeps staring at Alessa.
EXT. THE BOY’S POOL - UNDERWATER
The boy is suspended in the pool face down. His eyes are open. The view is zoomed in on the boy’s face and progressively zooms out.
The boy’s voice:
We are very rare. We slept through our lives and knew we were doing it. I had fun doing it. I was flying over all of us, and none of it ever ended. Everyone looked so content. You could be whatever you wanted, even yourself. When you laughed, you cried. And even when you were sad you were really happy. The weird part of it was that I loved endings. I liked it when things finished. That was the reason. But maybe it’s different. ‘What’s a man to a king?’ is ‘What’s a king to a God?’ is ‘What’s a God to a nonbeliever?’ And in the end, the real end, nobody is going to give a s*** until I’m gone. So, does it even matter? Yes it does.