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The Meaning of Life (part 1 of 2)
by Julian X  /  scripts  /  18 Jul 2007

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM

 

William Drookerís father, bald from chemotherapy, lies in a hospital bed, breathing through a respirator.  William Drooker sits in a chair beside the bed, holding his fatherís head.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

I watched my father die of cancer.  It wasnít pretty.

 

 

CLOSE-UP:  A CROSS

 

On a necklace around the neck of William Drookerís father.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

My father was a good man.  A religious man.

 

 

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM

 

William Drooker, crying, on his knees in prayer beside the bed of his dying father.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

I was not.  But I prayed for his recovery.  For him to just live a year longer.  For God to grant him another day, another hour of consciousness in which I might say what was never said.  To just lessen his terrible pain, to take him without excruciation.

 

 

CLOSE-UP:  WILLIAM DROOKERíS HANDS IN PRAYER

 

Grasped firmly, desperately together.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

I begged God to take my life instead.  To take my life, my money, to take my wife, my happiness Ė anything he wanted.

 

 

CLOSE-UP:  WILLIAM DROOKERíS EYES

 

Terribly sad, crying.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

For it is written:  ďAsk and ye shall receive.Ē

 

 

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM Ė LATER

 

William Drooker sitting next to his father, holding his fatherís hand.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

And so I made a covenant with God.

 

 

CLOSE-UP:  WILLIAM DROOKERíS HANDS

 

Holding the limp hand of his father.  No dialogue.

 

 

INT. CATHEDRAL

 

The funeral service for William Drookerís father.  Thereís a crowd.  A preacher preaches.  William Drooker sits with his overweight wife in the front pew.  Though we see shots of the preacherís lips moving and people crying in the audience, all is muted save whatís noted here.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

I suppose it was like a man who doubted his government only to see a sixteen-year-old boy die in Vietnam Ė blood, guts, and all Ė under orders of his C.O.  Or a housewife who comes home to find her husband and kids in naked pieces in the stove.  There are some sights so horrible that they make things instantly clear.  There are some abysses that reflect better than the finest glass.

 

William Drooker rises to his feet.

 

William Drooker

There is no God!

 

We see peopleís reactions of shock.  Then we see Drooker walk to some heavy and tall double doors and begin to exit.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

You see, a lot of people say theyíre atheists.  But I had seen Godís absence.  I didnít know how the world was made, what we are, or even my own name.  I didnít even know if he was my father, come to think of it.  There never was a blood test, never any proof for anything in life.  Iíd certainty in nothing, save for the nothingness Iíd seen firsthand.

 

 

EXT. CATHEDRAL

 

Weíre looking at the door.  Drooker walks through and past the camera as the narration continues.  Through the door, we see Drookerís wife following him.  All is muted save the narration.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

I knew nothing, save that there was nothing to hear my prayer.

 

The door slams shut with a loud and final CRASH behind Drooker.  This is the only sound we hear from the scene itself.

 

 

INT. DROOKERíS APARTMENT

 

William Drooker sits, watching TV.  There is a nightstand near him and a window in the room.  Itís the early evening.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

I was watching TV two days later when it happened.

 

Suddenly a beam of intense light shines down on William Drooker.  He looks up.

 

 

INT. DROOKERíS APARTMENT Ė DROOKERíS P.O.V.

 

A shot of the sun directly overhead, just hovering as if on the apartmentís ceiling.  No dialogue.

 

 

INT. DROOKERíS APARTMENT

 

The light cuts out.  Drooker looks around the room oddly.  After a number of seconds, Drookerís wife enters, carrying coffee.  She looks off to the side, never looking at Drooker, as if this is any other day.  The oddness of this, shot very realistically, should be apparent.

 

Drookerís Wife

Another autopsy show.  Youíve really got to get off this Discovery Channel.

 

Drookerís wife now approaches Drooker and sets the coffee down on the nightstand, still not looking much at Drooker.

 

Drookerís Wife

I used that new creamer.

 

Because she gets no response, she turns to look at him, as if she thinks somethingís wrong.

 

Drookerís Wife

(directly to Drooker)

Donít you want your coffee?  Whatís wrong?

 

Drooker looks up at her nonchalantly.

 

William Drooker

I just had a vision ... light ... voice said it was God.  And he told me the meaning of life.

 

Drookerís Wife

And when did this happen?

 

William Drooker

I just saw it.  Heard it.

 

Drookerís Wife

Youíre kidding.

 

William Drooker

No.  It just happened.

 

Drookerís Wife

I thought you didnít believe in God.

 

William Drooker

I ... donít.

 

Drookerís Wife

But you just saw God?  You believe you just saw ... .

 

William Drooker

I did.

 

Drookerís Wife

But you still donít believe in God.

 

William Drooker

Right.

 

Drookerís Wife

And how do you reconcile this, how do you jive these two?

 

William Drooker

I ... donít.

 

Drookerís Wife

Donít you feel the need to?  How can you believe in this message if you donít believe in its speaker?

 

William Drooker

(paying a little more attention now)

I donít know.  All I know is what I saw.  I saw this thing, heard this message.  I donít believe it was God or Satan or the tooth fairy.  But I know what I heard.  I donít know what it means.  I donít even know if I believe the words were true.  But I know I heard it, clear as day.  And I know just as certainly that it wasnít some fairy tale God.

 

Drookerís wife takes a seat beside him.

 

Drookerís Wife

Well, then.  Are you going to tell me what you heard?

 

William Drooker

The meaning of life?

 

Drookerís Wife

Sure.

 

Drooker turns to his wife, leans in a bit, and begins to speak.

 

William Drooker

Itís Ė

 

 

EXT. DROOKERíS APARTMENT

 

We see the room we just saw from the interior.  The TV is on.  Itís also on the third floor.  After a few seconds, we hear Drookerís Wife scream madly and come crashing out the window, falling to her death.  We see her corpse, still and dead.

 

 

INT. DROOKERíS APARTMENT

 

Drooker is looking out the window, down at his wifeís corpse.  He stands still, unmoved.  He then turns around and calmly walks back to the couch, where he sits down and resumes watching TV.  He takes a sip of coffee, utterly focused on the television and utterly placid.

 

 

INT. DROOKERíS APARTMENT Ė THE DOOR

 

This scene is muted.  Drooker opens it and two police officers are standing there, looking much more involved than Drooker.

 

 

INT. DROOKERíS APARTMENT

 

Drooker sits, watching TV and drinking coffee.  The policemen stand in front of him, blocking the TV from his view.

 

William Drooker

I told you:  she jumped.

 

Policeman #1

Sir, youíre going to have to answer our questions.

 

William Drooker

Can you move?  Youíre blocking the TV.

 

 

INT. POLICE INTERROGATION ROOM

 

The two policemen stand around a desk, at which William Drooker is seated.

 

William Drooker

Yes, I saw a sun overhead.  And it told me the meaning of life.

 

Policeman #1

Mister Drooker, have you ever had any mental problems?  Ever been institutionalized?

 

William Drooker

No.

 

Policeman #2

(confrontational)

Are you preparing an insanity defense?  Because thatís what this looks like to me.

 

William Drooker is unmoved.

 

Policeman #1

Easy, Jack.  I want to hear his story.

(to Drooker)

Can you tell us what this sun told you?

 

William Drooker

Do you really want to know?  My wife didnít seem to like it.

 

Policeman #1

Yeah, I really want to know.

 

William Drooker

Come here.  Iíll whisper it to you.

 

Policeman #1

Why donít you just say it?

 

William Drooker

Jack here might not want to know.

 

Policeman #2

Oh, I want to know.

 

William Drooker

Fine then.

 

 

EXT. POLICE INTERROGATION ROOM

 

Weíre looking through the one-way mirror into the room.  An additional policeman is watching through the glass.  We see Drooker speaking at the policemen.  Suddenly, both policemen draw their guns and shoot themselves through the head.  The additional policeman draws his gun and runs into his room.

 

 

INT. POLICE INTERROGATION ROOM

 

The additional policeman rushes into the room and points his gun at Drooker.

 

Policeman #3

Donít move, motherfucker!  Donít move!

 

As this policeman keeps his gun on Drooker, more policemen rush into the room.  They all have guns trained on Drooker, whoís just sitting there calmly.  Policeman #3 bends down to check on the fallen officers.

 

Policeman #4

What the fuck did he do?

 

Policeman #3

I donít know.  He just ... was fucking talking and ... I donít know.

 

Policeman #5

Does he have a piece?

 

Policeman #3

No, I donít ... .

 

 

CLOSE-UP OF DROOKER BEING SHOVED DOWN ON THE DESK

 

Policeman #6

(off-screen)

Down, motherfucker!

 

 

INT. JAIL CELL

 

William Drooker sits, looking rather bruised and harried.  A jail guard arrives and lets Drookerís attorney into the cell.

 

Drookerís Attorney

Why is he bruised?

 

Jail Guard

Heís lucky they didnít fuckiní shoot him.

 

The jail guard shuts the cell door behind Drookerís attorney.

 

 

INT. JAIL CELL Ė LATER

 

Drookerís attorney stands and talks to Drooker, who sits and acts injured and confused.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

My attorney talked with me for some time.  He said that Iíd been charged with the murder of my wife and of two policemen.  I told him Ė

 

William Drooker

Iím innocent.  I didnít even touch them.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

Ė but the attorney told me that wouldnít do.  He said the policemen had been shot in the head and that they had a witness.  The witness said the two cops had shot themselves, but that Iíd been the only one in the room with them.  The district attorney had seized that fact and ran with it.

 

Drookerís Attorney

Two cops are dead.  Someoneís got to pay.  And it just wonít play to the papers or the electorate that they shot themselves simultaneously while interrogating you.  The D.A. canít be seen as being soft on cop-killers.

 

William Drooker

But itís the truth.  I only talked to them.

 

Drookerís Attorney

Weíll have to wait for the ballistics reports.  Theyíve tested you and the cops for gunpowder on your hands, so theyíll know who fired a gun that day.  Iíll be able to tell you more then.  But ... thereís another problem.  Your wife.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

My attorney said that we could play it as a suicide, but the fact that I hadnít called the cops was particularly damning.  We, he said, could argue that I was in shock.  I donít know why he said ďweĒ Ė it was he whoíd do the arguing.  He was the one that was worried about what to tell people.

 

Drookerís Attorney

(checking his watch)

Iíve got to go, but Iíll be in touch.  After the arraignment, weíll see about bail.

 

Drookerís attorney calls the guard, who opens the door and lets the attorney exit.  They walk off, leaving Drooker alone in the cell.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

He didnít even get my story.  Said thereíd be time for that later.  It was like it was secondary.  Mattered less than gunpowder tests.

 

 

INT. COURTROOM

 

Drooker is being arraigned.  His attorney stands beside him.  All the various participants Ė including the judge and the district attorney Ė are present.

 

Judge

William Drooker, you have been charged with three counts of murder in the first degree.  How do you plead?

 

William Drooker

Not guilty.

 

Judge

Do the people have any recommendation for bail?

 

District Attorney

The people recommend bail be set at three million dollars.

 

Drookerís Attorney

Your honor, there is no evidence that these were even murders.

 

Judge

Three suicides, two of them cops?  I donít think so.  The charges support the peopleís recommendation.  Bail is set at three million dollars.

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Screenplays by Julian Darius:
Adventures in Celebrity Biography
Transgression
Dog Viagra
The Meaning of Life (part 1 of 2)
The Meaning of Life (part 2 of 2)
Corrupt (part 1 of 2)
Corrupt (part 2 of 2)
Ninjapug, Chapter 1:  "The Deadly Start of the Great Warrior Pugs!"
Ninjapug, Chapter 2:  "The Sad Reconnaissance of the Other!"