Written by evan keliher
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Saturday, 27 November 2010

image for Grandpa Ganja's Emporium (The Seminar) #4

FADE IN:

EXT. DAY. 9:45 am. GG arrives for an early seminar for new patients. He carries a cardboard box under his arm and
enters the Club.

INT.

BETH is putting fresh coffee out with a box of regular cookies.

BETH
You're late. I thought you forgot today's
seminar.

GG
Grandpa Ganja never forgets. I just had
to go back for my demos.

BETH
Because you forgot them.

GG
Nonsense. My memory is excellent. I
remember a lot of stuff that never even
happened.

BETH
(pours coffee)
Here, have some mocha java and see if
you can remember where you put the
storeroom key.

GG
It's behind the cookie dough. I hid it
from Earl so he won't pass out any more
free samples to his pals.

BETH
You hid the key from a blind man?

GG
No, I hid the key from Earl "Light-
Fingers" Bailey, notorious freeloader
and potnapper.

BETH
There's no such word as potnapper.

GG
There is now. I just made it up.
(beat)
And here the miscreant comes.

Door opens and EARL enters.

EARL
(they're on his
right; he looks left)
Aha! Talking about me, were you?

BETH
We're over here, Earl.

EARL
(looks right)
I know where you are. I can sense your
presence from heat waves on my skin.

GG
I don't know about heat waves but
you're sure as hell paranoid. Next you'll
think people are hiding stuff on you.

EARL
(shakes head)
It's impossible for a black person to
be paranoid; our fears always turn out
to be real.
(leans in)
Now, what'n hell are you hiding on me?

GG
Hey, do I look like a guy who'd hide
stuff on a blind man?

EARL
How do I know what you look like?

BETH
Touché!

GG
Oh, yeah? Well…

Door opens and BIKER BILL enters. He looks like he came from central casting.

BIKER BILL
Hey, man.

GG
Bill. How's it going, buddy?

BIKER BILL
Well, okay, except for Red.

EARL
What happened to Red?

BIKER BILL
Got busted. He was havin' a debate
with a neocon and the asshole attacked
him.

BETH
(incredulous)
The neocon attacked Red?

GG
Jesus Christ, was this guy King Kong?

BIKER BILL
Red said that's what happened and there
weren't any witnesses, so…

GG
Nobody saw any of this?

BIKER BILL
Oh, a lot of people saw what happened
but nobody wanted to talk about it.

GG
It's against the law to intimidate
witnesses, Bill.

BIKER BILL
(feigned naïveté)
It is?

Everybody laughed and BETH broke out a baggie of fat joints. She held the baggie while they took one.

BETH
That one's worth a smoke on the house.

EARL
We get free joints for witty remarks?
I may never have to pay for pot again!

GG
You never pay for pot anyway, Earl.

EARL
I know but now I won't feel guilty
about it.

BIKER BILL
But you'll still be guilty.

EARL
(to BIKER BILL)
You guys shouldn't talk about guilt.
I tried to join your club and you
blackballed me. That's racist, you know.

GG
Wrong again, Earl. They've got black
guys in their club right now.

EARL
Oh, yeah? Why would they reject me
if it wasn't because I'm black?

BETH
Uh, because you can't ride a bike?

EARL
What!

BIKER BILL
That's it, Earl. We ride Harleys.
Whoever saw a biker without a Harley?
It's an image thing. Big bike, all that
leather, the wild look, an ominous air.
You have to ride so you can escape
from things real fast and… BETH
What are you escaping from?

BIKER BILL
Ourselves. GG
That's why they call it a bikers club,
Earl. Everybody has to ride a Harley.

BIKER BILL
Hell, yes, you'd be elected in a minute if
you could ride. Everybody in the club
likes you-except for the schizophrenics,
of course.

GG
There you go, Earl. Almost half of
the Hells Angels like you.

EARL
(somewhat mollified)
Oh, well. If that's the case, why…
(beat)
Still, I find it disturbing that the
schizophrenics are racists.

GG
Even worse, they all have multiple
personalities so there's a lot more
of them than meets the eye.

BIKER BILL
That's true. I read where they put a
dozen schizophrenics in a ward
on Friday and when they went back
on Monday 36 people were living there.

BETH
All that must confuse the census takers.

GG
Now I'm starting to confuse myself.
Let's light up here and take this
conversation and ourselves to newer
heights.

BETH
To new promontories!

BIKER BILL
Hear! Hear!

EARL
To new horizons!

All look at Earl, shrug, and inhale. On exhaling, Earl turns to Biker Bill.

EARL (cont'd)
Uh, say, Bill, maybe I could come over
and hang out at the club. You know,
I could be like a guest and add a
little class to the place.

BIKER BILL
Oh, I don't know, Earl. We can't have
just anybody hanging around. Why, you
might steal some of our secrets or...

GG
You've got secrets?

EARL
And how the hell am I going to steal
'em, anyway?

BIKER BILL
(defensively)
Some of our secrets are audible.

EARL
Man, what? You think I'll wear a wire?

BIKER BILL
(giving in)
Okay, it's a bit irregular but let me
run it by the steering committee and
see if the schizophrenics will go along
with it.

GG
Good. Earl gets a bunch of new friends
and the bikers get Earl.

BETH
But a majority of these friends are
schizophrenics.

GG
So what? That's still a better crowd
than the losers he hangs out with now.

BIKER BILL
(hesitantly)
Uh, wouldn't that be you guys?

GG
What?

BIKER BILL
Anyway, I'm trying to raise bail for
Red. It's only until he gets out. He's
got some cash buried in the desert.

BETH
Why don't you go dig up the stashed
cash and pay the bond?

BIKER BILL
Because Red doesn't trust me. He
thinks if I dig up the stash I'll split
with the cash.

EARL
Would you?

BIKER BILL
(shrugs)
Yeah, probably.

All nod in agreement and mutter about life's unfairness.
Smoke swirls, guitar strums softly.


GG
(comes to)
How much is that bail?

BIKER BILL
Five grand.

GG
How about if I contribute $500?
(writing check)

BIKER BILL
Cool, Gramps. You know Red's good for it.
(starts out)

GG
(calling)
No problem. If Red doesn't pay off
I'll have Earl kick his ass for him.

EARL
(shadow boxing)
I'll dazzle his ass with footwork,
blind him with speed! I'll hit him
in the chest so hard he'll walk
backwards for a week!

BILL shakes his head and leaves.

BETH
Earl, you've never seen Red, have you?

EARL
No. Why?

BETH
Nothing. No reason.

GG
I'll tell Red you're looking for him,
Earl.

EARL
Uh, no, that's okay. I'll, uh, tell
him myself when I see him.

BETH
And when do you think that will be?

EARL
As soon as I get back from Lourdes.

Door opens, TOM enters with walker and sings out.

TOM
Is this the place?

GG
If you're here for the seminar, yes.

TOM
Do you give free pot with the seminar?

BETH
Yes, sir.

TOM
Good. Then I'm here for the seminar.
Got the goddamn lumbago. Can't walk
worth a damn. Read that marijuana
can fix lumbago.

GG
Wouldn't surprise me. Pot's a real
miracle drug. Marijuana can cure almost
anything except actual death. How
about some coffee?

TOM
Is it hot? I don't like cold coffee.

BETH
It's hot. Here, let me get you a cup.

BETH tends to the coffee as the door opens and several others enter including three old ladies & two geezers. JAN is in a wheelchair.

GG
Welcome to Grandpa's Ganja Emporium
where the medicine works even
when it doesn't.

The visitors look about suspiciously and stand bunched in the center of the room while they reconnoiter the terrain, as it were. All are in their 80s while Tour Guide ED is 94 and wears inch-thick glasses. They use canes, a wheelchair, walkers and wear the passage of time like a communal cloak.

BETH
We have coffee and cookies if you'd
care for any.

Several nod and take seats as BETH readies coffee.

GG
(aside, hands box)
Here, set this stuff up, Earl

EARL
These the designer cookies?

GG
Yeah.

EARL looks around surreptitiously and slips two fat cookies into his pocket. GG is 3 feet away and sees him.

GG
I can see you stealing cookies, Earl.

EARL
(outraged)
What?! You're spying on a blind man!
Have you no shame? I'm calling Homeland
Security on your ass for illegal
surveillance of a U.S. citizen!

GG
You don't have to steal cookies.
If you want a cookie just ask.

EARL
(slyly)
Okay, can I have a cookie?

GG
No.

EARL
(points)
Hey! What's that?
(slips cookie into pocket)

GG
I didn't look, Earl.

EARL
(starts off)
Good, then you didn't see anything.
(bites cookie)

GG shakes his head and turns back to his seminar group as BETH draws near.

GG
(cheerily)
And how is everybody from the, uh…

BETH
(sotto voce)
Sunnydale Home.

GG
…Sunnydale Home?

BABS
Keep it short, mister. We don't have
much time.

GG
(eyeing them)
Yes, I can see that…
(beat)

EARL
(aside)
Shit, even I can see that.

RON
When does the show start?

BABS
Do we get free samples?

JAN
How about a senior citizen discount?

GG
Whoa! You're getting the cart before
the horse. First things first. I need
your doctor's letter. We can't give
anybody marijuana unless it's for a
medical reason.
(collects letters)
Good. Let's see what we have.
(sorts thru them)
Hmm. One bad spleen, one insomniac,
one case of leprosy…
(all move apart
and eye others warily)
…one heebie-jeebies, two amnesiacs...
All pretty routine.
(stops and looks
more closely)
I notice all your letters are signed
by Dr. Slivitz.

RON
He lives at the Home.

BABS
He's 99 years old.

TOM
He was a college professor.

GG
What did he teach?

BABS
English.

TOM
But he's a real doctor. Says so on
his business card.

GG
Oh, he has a card, has he? That's
okay, then. Just checking. We can't
be too careful, you know.

AMY raises her hand.

AMY
We all have different problems.
Can marijuana fix all those
things?

GG
Pot can fix most of 'em. If you've
got a problem it can't fix, pot will
make you forget you have it.

ED
(papers up)
We need a field trip!

GG
Isn't this a field trip?

ED
(shakes head)
It has to be official. If we go on
an official field trip the Home
gets bonus points and the feds renew
their grant.

GG
And who are you?

ED
I'm Ed. I'm the Tour Guide.

BABS
Humph. Some guide. We got lost four
times on the way here and the
Home's only a mile away.

ED
Oh, yeah?

RON
Ed's also known for his quick wit.

ED
Damn right. I've matched wits with
some of the quickest minds in the
world and I won half of those contests.

AMY
So, would that make you some kind of
half-wit?

GG
Now, look, folks, I think it's time we
all get stoned and moved on before
something irregular happens and I get
arrested for elder abuse.

TOM
So, what about the field trip?

GG
(exasperated)
Look, I can't… What if somebody gets
hurt? Or killed? I could be sued into
penury.

ED
(waves papers)
The Home grants immunity to Tour
Guide leaders. It's in the fine print.
And if we all get back alive you get
a bonus, too.

GG
(suspiciously)
What kind of bonus?

TOM
They give you a 10% discount when
you check in.

GG
Check in? Are you kidding? I don't
have any plans to hang out in some old-
folks' home.

JAN
(wryly)
Nobody ever does.

RON
Yeah, you think Sunnydale was a
career goal for us?

GG
(hand up)
Okay, here's the plan. We'll go on
with the seminar while Beth checks
with my lawyer. If he OKs it we'll
have an official field trip. How's that?

BABS
Great. Now where's the smoke?

JAN
Yeah, it's later than you think.

GG
(to BETH)
Call Andy. I've got a question for him.
(to EARL)
Earl, let's start everybody off with a
cookie. Pass the box around.

EARL
(looks in the box)
They're all gone!
(looks around)
We've been robbed! Don't anybody move!
I'll call 911!
(starts out)

GG
(grabs his arm)
You ate them, didn't you?

EARL
I did not! I hid 'em. I thought they
might fall into the wrong hands.

GG
Where'd you hide 'em?

EARL
(pulls cookies from
pockets, dusts off lint)
Where they'd be safe.

GG
(to group)
These are marijuana cookies. Each one
has enough THC in it to raise your IQs
by 20 points and explain the inexplicable.
I suggest you take little bites until
you get a sense of…

He stops as his audience wolfs down their cookies and lean forward expectantly for the stoning to commence.

RON
When does it start?

GG
When you took the first bite.

AMY
I don't feel anything.

RON
I think it's a fake.

GG
That's because pot's slow acting when
you eat it but it lasts longer. If
you're in a hurry try one of these!

He holds aloft a handful of fat joints rolled in vari-colored papers and all draw back at the sight.

ED
Cigarettes!

BABS
And gift-wrapped!

TOM
We smoke these?

AMY
(anxiously)
Isn't smoking against the law?

GG
That's tobacco, Amy. Pot is medicine.
You can smoke pot anywhere because
inhaling the smoke is therapeutic. A
sick person on Willie Nelson's bus
could get well on the spot.
(passes joints)
When you light up inhale a little
smoke and hold it for a few seconds.
Repeat that three or four times and
think pure thoughts.

All nod and go about the business of lighting and smoking their joints. The usual smoky atmosphere is further
beclouded by six blazing joints spewing out enough THC to stun a linebacker. The ritual is the same. They take a hit, exhale, cock their heads and wait for the expected high.

TOM
Nothing's happening.

JAN
Same here.

ED
Maybe we didn't smoke enough.

AMY
Or maybe we're immune to marijuana…

RON
We can't all be immune. What are the
odds?

Then somebody giggles and somebody says "What?" and everyone laughs as six minds slip as one into a different gear. They grin and laugh at inanities and high-five each other and even forget there's a leper among them. JAN forgets herself and takes a few steps around her wheelchair and all agree it's a miracle.

As this goes on lawyer ANDY FINNEGAN enters with briefcase in hand and heads for the table. He wears a ponytail and round glasses and a lawyerly air befitting one of the sharper legal minds in town.

ANDY
What's up? The feds finally nail
your ass?

GG
It's not about me. It's them.
(nods at stoners)
They want a field trip and I'd like to
help 'em out but I'm not sure that's
a good idea.

ANDY surveys the stoned old-timers as they plow through a tray of junk food BETH knew they'd appreciate.

ANDY
Are you kidding? I'd give odds they
don't all make it home. Look at em.
(points at ED)
That old duffer there is wheezing like
The Little Train That Could.

GG
That's Ed. He's the Tour Guide.

ANDY
With those glasses? He doesn't look like he
could find the tour bus.

GG
So, if somebody gets hurt I'm stuck?

ANDY
In spades. These guys are walking
lawsuits. Any one of 'em could fall down
and break two or three bones and
they'd hold you responsible.

GG
Ed says the Home gives the Tour Guide
immunity. He's got it right there.
(points at papers)

ANDY
He does, eh? Let me see that.
(takes papers, reads)
Hmm. Eureka!

GG
You've learned how to test gold for
its purity?

ANDY
The loophole. There's always a loophole.
See here? It says the Tour Guide has
immunity so you just make Ed the Tour
Guide and you're off the hook.

GG
I can do that?

ANDY
Sure, just have Ed fill the form out
and sign it instead of you. You fill
in the info about your business
and that's it.

GG
Brilliant! How can I ever repay you?

ANDY
Easy. Any Panama Red left?

GG
Sold out but I've got some Kung Pao
that's very popular.

ANDY
I'll take it. And save some of the Red
when it comes in.

Quarter-ounce in hand, ANDY stops at the door and looks back at the partying seniors. He shrugs and leaves.

And it was so ordered. GG rounded up the seminar and had BIKER BILL drive them home, as they were thoroughly stoned and unable to drive themselves. GG followed to retrieve BIKER BILL. It was agreed that he would take the seminar on a pot buying outing the next night to add a little dash to their lives and score some stock for his store at the same time.

EXT. NIGHT. CITY STREET.

GG pulls into the parking lot of the old-folks' Home where the six inmates are waiting for him next to a large van. ED is holding a city map three inches from his eyes as he scans the local geography.

GG
Am I late?

RON
Naw, we're just early.

AMY
It's all the same to us. Early,
late. We're not going anywhere.

ED
At least, not right away.

JAN
We hope.

BABS
We won't be out past ten o'clock,
will we? I go to bed at ten, you
know.

Others nod in agreement, point to watches, etc.

TOM
What's with the cane?

GG
(reveals hidden blade)
For luck. I always take it along
when I'm buying ganja.
(beat)
Okay, here's the plan. We hit the
East Side where the dealers are
and look for a guy named Paco.

JAN
What if Paco's not there?

GG
Paco's always there. It's a generic
name; all dealers are named Paco.

RON
What if the dealer is a Swede?

GG
There aren't any Swedish dealers,
but if there were his name would
still be Paco.
(beat)
Now, the first thing is…

ED
What's Paco look like?

GG
(looks at him)
Why?

ED
I'm the lookout. I have to know what
I'm looking out for.

GG
I'll point him out for you.

ED
Right!
(assumes an Indian
scout pose and scans
the side of the truck)

GG
Now, the first rule is to stick
together so the gangbangers won't
pick us off one at a time.
(they close ranks
and look about
nervously)
The second rule is, if there's any
trouble it's every man for himself.

RON
Is that it?

JAN
Good. That's already more'n most
of us can remember.

GG
One more thing.
(Mace cans from pocket,
hands 'em around)
This is Mace. If there's any
violence let 'em have a good shot
of this stuff and run like hell.
(beat)
Okay, follow me.
(starts into van)

AMY
(to JAN)
What's with this run like hell crap?
Most of us can barely totter.

JAN
It means we're probably screwed.

They follow the others into the van.

NIGHT. CITY STREET.

The van pulls to the curb on a sinister looking city street and GG et al. climb out with some trepidation on the part of the seminarians. They ignore GG's every-man-for-himself remarks and bunch together with canes, crutches, and Mace at the ready.

GG surveys the scene with a practiced eye and ED helps him. There is no sign of life, the street dark, the silence deep.

ED
(studying a wall)
It's quiet.

GG
It always is just before the fun
starts.
(he addresses his
charges)
This is where the dealers hang out.
Keep your eyes open and your Mace
handy and follow my lead.
Remember, stick together and run
like hell if there's any trouble.

BABS
Right.

AMY
Let's go!

They move off in a cluster and peer about nervously as they go. They reach an alleyway and bunch up there as they all try to peek around the corner. GG turns and scowls as he pushes the others back, straightens his lapels, and steps around the corner and starts down the alley with his bunched troops bringing up the rear.

As they approach a patch of light from a nearby building
several forms emerge from the shadows and confront them.
All are tall and blond and wear neat trousers and shirts and speak with Swedish accents.

1st SWEDE
Halt!

The group stops and stares and GG recognizes them.

GG
Jesus Christ, they're Swedes!

2nd SWEDE
Ja, we are Swedish and this is our
alley. What are you doing here?

RON
We're looking for Paco.

1st SWEDE
I am Paco.
(turns to others)
And this is Paco and so is he.…

JAN
We want to buy some pot.

3rd SWEDE
How much money do you have?

GG
How much pot do you have?

2nd SWEDE
You give us the money and we'll
go get your pot.

GG
No money until we see pot.

1st Swede
(produces stick)
There is no pot here. Give us all
your money or…

JAN
Oh, no, you don't!


TOM
Let 'em have it, boys!

They whip out their Mace and fire a salvo that scores a direct hit on the Swedes and fills the air with noxious gases. The Swedes stagger back and claw at their eyes as GG rallies his troops.

GG
It's Plan B, boys! Let's go!
Rendezvous at the van!

ED
Everybody follow me!

He turns and bumps into the wall of the building; TOM
turns him around and aims him in the right direction. As they start off one of the Swedes drops a backpack and GG scoops it up as he leaves.

The group rounds the corner of the alley and heads for the van with GG urging more speed and everybody tottering along on their canes, etc. As the group gets down the street, the Swedes stumble around the corner wiping their eyes and in pursuit of the old-timers.

They reach the van and begin pushing and getting in each other's way in trying to get aboard as the Swedes close in on them. All give it up and face the Swedes in a huddled bunch as they arrive. GG stands in front cane in hand.

1st Swede
You refuse to cooperate, do you?

GG
Fuck you.

3rd SWEDE
You leave us no choice.

The Swedes advance menacingly as GG steps forward and whips out his sword.

GG
You'll have to go through Grandpa
Ganja first, boys!
(slashes the air
with sword)

2nd SWEDE
He is only one man! We will rush him!

Quick as a flash, GG grabs AMY with an arm around her neck and holds his sword at her throat.

GG
One false move and I'll slit this
old bat's throat!

3rd SWEDE
Stand back! He means it!

2nd SWEDE
You win! We do not wish to hurt
the old bat!

AMY
(struggling)
Who are you assholes calling an old
bat?

GG
Back off or…!

The Swedes throw their sticks down and beat a hasty retreat as the old-timers brandish their canes, etc., at them and shout threats and insults. GG releases AMY and she turns and takes a mighty swing at him with her cane.

AMY
What the hell's the matter with
you? Are you nuts? What if those
guys called your bluff, for
Christ's sake?

GG
(shrugs)
Who said I was bluffing?

AMY stares wide-eyed and slack-jawed at this news. The others stop and look at each other, then shrug and start into the van. GG absently pulls the dull blade through his hand and smiles.

Moments later in the moving van.

ED
We didn't even get any weed.

GG
The hell we didn't. What does this
look like?
(reaches into backpack,
brings out a four bricks of
aromatic pot)
It looks like four pounds of pot to me!

All cheer and pass the brick around, etc. CAMERA on the receding van as they head back to the Home.

The End


Evan Keliher ©2009

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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