Mr. Erly’s Appointment ~ A Screenplay

Awhile back I posted a story called The Good Doctor. In that post, I mentioned I reworked that story into the opening scene of a screenplay. I did the same thing with another story for the second scene. That story was called Mr. Erly’s Appointments, I have not posted the prose version of that story, but here it is in screenplay format (or close to it – WordPress’s tools can only do so much).
If you’ve never read a screenplay, it can be a little weird. A screenplay is like an architects blueprint for a building that’s not yet built. You have to imagine all the bells and whistles of camera movement, set design, actor’s mannerisms and interpretation of the dialogue, etc. If you are up for it, here goes…
 
CLOSE UP
Letters on opaque glass in a door: I. Haight, Ph.D.
INT. DR. HAIGHT’S WAITING ROOM — DAY
Empty but for the receptionist, DARRYL, who wears a black turtleneck. He’s filing paperwork while dancing to the office Muzak.
DARRYL
(singing to himself)
Where, oh where, do these papers
go? / The file, dear, is not here!
Into the waiting room comes the world’s greatest dork, RALPH ERLY. About 35, he wears a sport coat over an I Love Lucy tee-shirt tucked into cheap slacks. His glasses hang crooked by one ear-piece. He carries a briefcase.
DARRYL
(singing to himself)
I lost the folder I guess, distress!
My file, oh dear, is not here.
Erly slaps his hand on the counter, ringing an imaginary bell.
ERLY
Ding ding ding ding!
DARRYL
(spinning around)
Goodness, Mr. Erly! What are you doing here?
ERLY
Couldn’t wait, dude. Tell her I brought
a little something for us both.
Erly waggles the little somethings for Darryl to see – they are hot dogs from a street vendor.
DARRYL
Mr. Erly, this is the doctor’s lunch hour.
ERLY
Exactly!
DARRYL
Exactly what, Mr. Erly?
ERLY
Dogs, dude. Come on, they’re getting cold.
DARRYL
Mr. Erly, did you not get our message?
ERLY
Huh?
DARRYL
We left a message at your motel.
 Something has come up. The doctor can’t see you.
ERLY
Get outta here. I got an appointment.
DARRYL
I’m sorry. We left a message.
ERLY
Is she coming back?
DARRYL
Well, it’s not that she’s not –
ERLY
Yes or no, dude, come on, you’re killing me.
DARRYL
I don’t know.
ERLY
(taking a seat)
Good enough.
DARRYL
(sighs)
Mr. Erly, I’m not certain she’ll have time –
ERLY
Dude, yo comprendo, okay? Soy waito.
Darryl glares at Erly.
DARRYL
Fine, rest your buns, I don’t care.
Erly drums his fingers on the briefcase in his lap. (The lid is plastered with stickers – The Florida Marlins, Miami Dolphins, Star Trek IV (the whale one), Phish (a band), and a bumper sticker reading “I Brake For Fish.”  More on this later.)
Erly sighs. Checks his watch. Makes fart sounds.
He opens one of the foil-wrapped hot dogs. Sniffs it. Pokes a finger in it. Eyes the finger. He’s about to lick it when —
The waiting room door crashes open and in storms Dr. Volcan Blaise.
Blaise marches down the hall to Dr. Haight’s office.
ERLY
Hey!
Erly jumps up.
ERLY
Who’s that dude?
DARRYL
(filing his nails)
The one o’clock.
ERLY
No!  I’m the one o’clock!  Me!
DARRYL
We left a message.
Blaise knocks on the office door.  The door opens, Blaise steps inside, and the door shuts behind him.
ERLY
You said she wasn’t here!
DARRYL
No, I said something came up.
Erly paces the room, checks his watch again.
ERLY
This is baloney!
Erly breaks for the office.
DARRYL
Mr. Erly!
ERLY
Big baloney!
Darryl shakes his head and sighs, then begins to buff his nails.
INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE DR. HAIGHT’S OFFICE
Erly straightens his jacket, breathes deeply.
Combs his greasy hair (no improvement).
Whips off his glasses and pockets them.
Squinting, he takes a deep breath.
He puts two fingers two his wrist and counts silently.
INT. DR. HAIGHT’S OFFICE — DAY
Erly enters, hot dogs in hand, squinting to see clearly without his glasses.
Blaise lies on an analyst’s couch, shoes off. DR. HAIGHT, the analyst, is behind him, applying a cold compress.
HAIGHT
Oh, Christ.
ERLY
Same to you.  What the
piss is going on in here?
BLAISE
Who’s he?
ERLY
I’m the one o’clock, who are you?
Approaching the couch, Erly stumbles over one of Blaise’s shoes.
BLAISE
(to Haight)
You said we’d have some time.
HAIGHT
I wasn’t expecting him to just barge in.
Shoe in hand, Erly gropes for Blaise’s foot, squinting.
ERLY
He’s the one who barged, I saw it.
This is my time, bozo, I have an appointment —
(forcing shoe onto foot)
— get your piggies in here!
Blaise rips the shoe from Erly’s hand. Erly cowers, startled, but not defeated.
HAIGHT
He didn’t get my message.
ERLY
I got it about twenty minutes ago when
jerk-ball out there said you weren’t here.
Erly fumbles with the knotted laces of the second shoe, trying to untie them.
HAIGHT
Mr. Erly, I don’t have time for this.
ERLY
Why?
HAIGHT
It’s an emergency.
ERLY
(biting the knot)
So am I!
BLAISE
(ripping shoe from Erly’s mouth)
Stop that!
HAIGHT
Mr. Erly, you need to leave.
ERLY
Ira, this is highly unprofessional.
HAIGHT
I agree.
ERLY
I had an appointment!
HAIGHT
An appointment. Not a date.
ERLY
You haven’t seen me yet!
BLAISE
Make him go, Doctor.
ERLY
You shut your yapper, mister!
Haight steps between them, ushering Erly backwards to the door.
HAIGHT
Now, Mr. Erly!
ERLY
Ira, please.
HAIGHT
Out.
ERLY
But I brought dogs!
HAIGHT
I don’t want dogs, Mr. Erly. Or tulips,
or whatever else you have today, unless
it’s a check that won’t bounce.
If you have that, you may leave it with Darryl.
Haight shoos Erly backwards into the hallway.
Undaunted, Erly steps forward, but he and the slamming door bounce off each other.
ERLY
But Ira, I love –
HAIGHT
Don’t say it, Mr. Erly.
ERLY
But I —
HAIGHT
Don’t!  I’m a doctor, not… don’t.
The door slams.
Erly drops his head, sighs.
Knocks politely on the door.
No response.
Punches the door.
No response.
Throws his shoulder into the door, again and again.
ERLY
Break! Break you stupid door!
Erly whips out of his jacket a Colt 45. Holding it backwards, he hammers the knob. And hammers. And hammers.
The door swings slowly open.
Erly freezes, gun pointed at himself.
Blaise stands in the threshold, smoldering.
HAIGHT’S VOICE (O.S.)
Jesus!  Darryl, call 911!
BLAISE
Are you going to use that?
Erly remains frozen.
Blaise glares.
Erly stands frozen, staring at Blaise.
BLAISE
I didn’t think so.
Blaise slams the door in Erly’s face.
FADE OUT

10 thoughts on “Mr. Erly’s Appointment ~ A Screenplay

  1. I admire your nerve on this. I don’t think I’ve seen this done before, but then again there are a lot of things I haven’t seen. I hope your relo is going well my friend.

    Like

    • How did the formatting look on your end? Looks good to me on the computer and the phone when I go to the website but it’s jacked up on the phone when I open it in the reader. I am sitting on a plane in St. Louis as we speak, connecting back to Ohio. Spent the day in Texas looking at potential “cribs,” as the kids say. Or used to say. Some of them. I heard.

      Like

      • Looks fine. Just tested it on my iPhone here at the YMCA. Is it the convention to center the text in this fashion? Safe flight home, to your crib, with yer bitches, so to speak.

        Like

      • Dialogue should be in the center of the page but with a flush left margin. I don’t know how to make WordPress do that. I barely got it to do this much. Back in Ohio, yo.

        Like

      • Yeah, I’ve tried doing clever line breaks in some of my poems but couldn’t make it so. The headaches of our age can all be fixed with proper coding (yo).

        Liked by 1 person

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