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

INT. JAIL CELL

 

Drooker sits, talking to his attorney.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

And so I stayed in jail.  My attorney made me tell him the whole story.  Well, almost the whole story.

 

Drooker’s Attorney

I don’t want to know.  Our theory is that these deaths were accidents – or, failing that, that you’re insane.  If you think the meaning of life killed these people, and you’re right, then you’re guilty – at least of involuntary manslaughter.  And if you’re wrong, well, if you think the meaning of life killed them, why’d you want to go and tell anyone else?

 

William Drooker

It’s their decision.

 

Drooker’s Attorney

No, no, no.  Bill, we’re trying to convince them that you’re not homicidal.  If you think this “meaning of life” will kill someone, you shouldn’t want to say it.

 

William Drooker

But if I’m insane like you say, then I wouldn’t know the difference.

 

Drooker’s Attorney

That’s a last ditch effort, Bill.  But just keep in mind that if they think you’re homicidal, you lose.

 

William Drooker

But don’t you want to know?  Even a little?

 

Drooker’s Attorney

Okay, that’s what I’m talking about.  You’re threatening to kill me, is that it?  And you believe you can?

 

William Drooker

No, I won’t.  I won’t say it, I promise.  But I’m just wondering.  Don’t you want to know?

 

Drooker’s Attorney

No, Bill.  What would be the point?

 

William Drooker

Because I’m crazy?

 

Drooker’s Attorney

Because there’d be nothing left to do in life if you had all the answers.  Really, Bill, it’d just get in the way.

 

 

INT. COURTROOM

 

Drooker is on trial, sitting as the defendant while a witness is testifying.  There are TV cameras in the back, which we see clearly.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

By the time my trial began, it had become a real circus.  Seems the news that the policemen had gunpowder residue on their hands, and I didn’t, meant that they had committed suicide.  This meant that I had somehow made them do it, which is I guess right, after all.  But this idea made the media take note.

 

 

INT. JAIL CELL

 

Drooker’s attorney arriving, throwing the new newspapers down on the floor with the old ones.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

My lawyer brought me the newspapers I was in.  They said that I’d been a master manipulator all my life, that I was a super-psychiatrist without a degree.  That it was possible I had done this, could have done this.  That there seemed no other explanation.

 

 

INT. COURTROOM

 

A psychiatrist on the stand.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

They had witnesses who said that I could do this.

 

 

INT. COURTROOM – LATER

 

The wife of one of the dead cops on the stand.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

They brought on the policemen’s wives to show that they weren’t suicidal before they talked to me.

 

 

INT. COURTROOM – EVEN LATER

 

Drooker’s mother-in-law on the stand.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

They even had my mother-in-law say that she didn’t like the way my wife had changed, the way she catered to me.  The possibility that she had liked to do so, or that change was natural in marriage, never crossed my mother-in-law’s mind.  The implication, over and over, was that I was a cruel – if not outright abusive – spouse.

 

 

INT. JAIL CELL

 

Drooker is being taunted and threatened by his cellmate.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

They put me in a cell with another man – an older, smelly, maladjusted man.

 

The cellmate begins to beat Drooker.  Drooker is battered to the floor, where he is beaten more.  The cellmate then struggles with Drooker, pulling down Drooker’s pants.

 

Cellmate

You’re going to take it or you’re gonna get beat.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

Well, I had to do something.

 

William Drooker

The secret of life is –

 

 

CLOSE-UP ON THE CELLMATE’S HEAD, FLOATING IN THE TOILET BOWL

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

He drowned himself in the toilet bowl.

 

 

INT. JAIL HALLWAY

 

The camera follows the guards down the hall as they approach Drooker’s cell.  We see a man dead in the cell just past Drooker’s.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

Unfortunately, the man in the cell next to us was eavesdropping on my beating.

 

 

CLOSE-UP ON THE MAN IN THE CELL NEXT TO DROOKER’S

 

He’s knifed himself twice with his homemade knife, including a slash that has opened up his belly and another that has cut his own throat.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

It seems that Mister Burns had what they call a “shiv” hidden in his cell.

 

 

EXT. COURTHOUSE

 

A reporter mugs for the camera, speaking into a microphone as Drooker is led up the stairs and into the courthouse.

 

Reporter

... where today the judge will rule whether cameras will be allowed in the courtroom to bring you live coverage of the “suicide manipulator” trial.

 

 

INT. COURTHOUSE

 

The judge is ruling.  Drooker’s sitting in the defendant’s place.

 

Judge

Pursuant to the third-party motion to allow ... .

 

 

A SHOT OF A TV SCREEN

 

We see the judge ruling.  A “SUICIDE MANIPULATOR” logo appears on screen.

 

Reporter

(voiceover)

... and so cameras will be allowed in this, the “suicide manipulator” trial, allowing it to be broadcast around the world ...

 

 

INT. JAIL CELL

 

Drooker sitting alone.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

Months passed.  My indictment was amended to include my cellmate and the guy in the next cell.  They had me in my own cell so as not to “manipulate” anyone else to kill themselves.

 

 

INT. COURTROOM

 

The prosecutor uses a pointer to gesture to a gigantic photograph of the corpse of Drooker’s Wife.  A mortician is on the stand.

 

Prosecutor

And that would be this injury here?

 

Mortician

That’s right.

 

 

INT. JAIL CELL

 

Drooker talking to Drooker’s attorney.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

My attorney told me that the trial wasn’t going well.  I thought this was funny.  After all, I hadn’t done anything.

 

William Drooker

All I did was tell the truth.

 

Drooker’s Attorney

We’re going to have to put you on the stand.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

It was a desperate measure, a sign of near-inevitable defeat.  The only problem was that I would have to preview my testimony for my attorney.

 

 

INT. JAIL CELL – LATER

 

William Drooker is still talking with his attorney.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

We didn’t make it very far.

 

Drooker’s Attorney

And what is it that you told your wife?

 

 

A SHOT OF A TV SCREEN

 

We see another reporter at a desk talking to the camera.  The “SUICIDE MANIPULATOR” logo appears on screen.

 

Another Reporter

(voiceover)

... where this trial keeps getting weirder as William Drooker’s own attorney has apparently fallen prey to his client’s manipulations ...

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

The wounds, blood spatter – all the evidence suggested suicide.  My wife, two cops, two prisoners, and my attorney.  But this time they didn’t amend the indictment.

 

Another Reporter

(voiceover)

... and some are speculating that Drooker actually plans on delaying the trial, potentially endlessly, by adding to his murder list ...

 

 

CLOSE-UP:  A GAG IN DROOKER’S MOUTH

 

Pull back to show Drooker in his cell, bound and gagged.  Drooker’s new attorney stands outside of the cell, accompanied by guards.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

They gave me a new attorney, bound and gagged me like Hannibal Lector.  My new attorney argued that this inhibited my ability to participate in my own defense, but the prosecution argued ...

 

 

INT. COURTROOM

 

Drooker on trial.

 

Prosecutor

So because Mister Drooker has killed his attorney, he can’t be tried?  Surely that’s not what the Supreme Court intended.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

And the judge agreed.

 

Judge

In effect, the defendant has waived his right.

 

 

INT. JAIL CELL

 

Drooker, bound and gagged in his cell.  Drooker’s new attorney stands outside of the cell, accompanied by guards.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

But he wouldn’t prevent my testifying.

 

Drooker’s New Attorney

The prosecutor didn’t object.  It’s standard wisdom that a defendant testifying is more likely to hurt his case than help it.  It lets him grill you.  We’re only doing this out of desperation.

 

 

INT. COURTROOM

 

The cameras roll as Drooker’s on the stand, talking to his new attorney.

 

Drooker’s New Attorney

Now, it is your position that you did not kill these people.  Is that correct?

 

William Drooker

I just told them the meaning of life as it was revealed to me.

 

Drooker’s New Attorney

And what would that be, exactly?

 

William Drooker

I’d rather not say.

 

Drooker’s New Attorney

Oh-kay... .

 

 

INT. COURTROOM – LATER

 

Now the prosecutor is cross-examining.

 

William Drooker

I don’t want to.

 

Judge

Mister Drooker, I must direct you to answer the question put to you.

 

Drooker looks out at the camera.

 

Judge

You opened the door.  The state is well within its rights to demand the details of these “conversations.”

 

William Drooker

Can you stop the cameras rolling?

 

Judge

(angry)

Sir, I have already ruled on this.  Now answer the question.

 

Drooker stares at the camera.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

What can I say?  I respect the authority of our criminal justice system.

 

 

A SHOT OF THE EARTH AS SEEN FROM SPACE

 

Sounds of screaming, windows smashing, guns firing, cars crashing.

 

 

EXT. NEW YORK CITY STREET

 

Bodies litter the street.  Cars have crashed.  People have jumped from windows.  A number of people are left alive wandering the landscape.

 

 

EXT. PARIS STREET

 

Same thing.

 

 

EXT. LOS ANGELES STREET

 

Same thing.

 

 

INT. TELEVISION STUDIO

 

The reporter at the newsdesk and everyone else in the room are all dead of various causes.

 

 

A SHOT OF A TV SCREEN

 

The courtroom, littered with bodies, William Drooker the only one left.

 

 

INT. COURTROOM

 

Drooker sits on the stand, watching the judge, near the body of a security guard who has shot himself, desperately fumbling for the gun.

 

William Drooker

Am I dismissed?

 

 

CLOSE-UP:  THE JUDGE’S HEAD

 

As he blows his brains out.

 

 

INT. COURTROOM

 

Drooker gets up from the stand.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

I took that as a yes.

 

Drooker calmly walks out of the courtroom.

 

 

EXT. CITY STREET

 

Drooker walks through the wasteland his words have created.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

Of course, society’s a lot different now.  Not many people are concerned with that whole human population growth thing.

 

Drooker looks up at a church.

 

 

CLOSE-UP:  A CHURCH STEEPLE

 

Silhouetted in the sun.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

I thank God every day that I don’t even take him seriously enough to think whether I believe in him or not.

 

 

EXT. CITY STREET

 

As Drooker walks off amidst the tumult.

 

William Drooker

(narrating)

It’s a good survival mechanism.

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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!"