Phantomime

By Charles Black:


INT. CAR/EXT. GRAVEYARD - DAY

SIMON slowly pulls up a few yards from the service and stops. The mime troupe, dressed in full makeup and their funeral stripes, hang their heads solemnly around an empty grave.


SIMON

Oh Jesus Christ. Nope, can’t do it.

Sorry, Rich.


SIMON shifts back into drive and is about to leave when one mime not only spots him, but seems to recognize him. JERRY THE MIME enthusiastically points at him, waves, and gestures for SIMON to come join them. JERRY THE MIME begins to walk over to SIMON’s car.


SIMON

Oh fuck. Is he gonna? Yep, okay. Shit.

Shit, shit, shit, shit, no--


JERRY THE MIME pretends to tap on SIMON’s window. SIMON is on the verge of panic. He fakes a smile while JERRY gestures for him to roll down his window.


SIMON

Hi! Yeah, uh, I’m good, thank you.

If you could just back up a bit, that would--


JERRY THE MIME backs away towards the service and gestures as if to say “You are sad. Come join us.”


SIMON

(mimicking JERRY’s “you are sad” gesture, then gesturing to his car)

Yes. I am very sad. So sad, actually, that I think

I’m just gonna stay here, in my car.


JERRY THE MIME stops, and suddenly looks to be genuinely confused--almost hurt. He points to the giant memorial portrait of RICHIE in full mime makeup with one hand and then to SIMON with the other before bringing his hands together, as if to say “You and he were friends, no?”


SIMON

We worked together.


JERRY THE MIME gives him a sad look and gestures again for him to join them. SIMON suddenly feels guilty and gives in, letting out a sigh as he places the car in park and cuts the engine.


EXT. GRAVEYARD, EMPTY GRAVE - DAY


A hearse is parked nearby. Six mimes line up behind it. SIMON waits for them to unload the casket as he stands surrounded by grieving mimes.


SIMON looks around. There are a variety of different types of mimes present, all equally unsettling. Many with overly exaggerated expressions on their faces, some making dramatic hand gestures to indicate their grief.


RICHIE’S MOTHER is the only other non-mime present. She is sobbing uncontrollably in the arms of a particularly large mime.


SIMON looks back to the casket, but there isn’t one. Instead, the striped pallbearers are simply miming carrying the body of their dead friend to rest. SIMON is disturbed. The pallbearers wobble for a minute for comedic effect, pretending to almost drop the nonexistent coffin before regaining their balance. They lower nothing into the giant hole in the ground. The priest begins to speak.


PRIEST

We are here today to celebrate the life of

Richard Garrott. He was a loyal son and

a friend to many, always...


SIMON leans over to JERRY THE MIME. The PRIEST continues in the background.


SIMON

(whispering)

Hey, sorry, I just-- Where’s the body?


JERRY THE MIME puts a finger to his lip, silently shushing SIMON. SIMON takes the hint, facing forward and going quiet, but only for a moment. JERRY grows more and more annoyed as SIMON continues to inquire about his co-worker’s corpse.


SIMON (CONT’D)

I mean I get it, he was a mime, and all you guys are

really committed and everything. That’s great. But is he actually buried

somewhere? Was he cremated? I mean--


JERRY THE MIME

(interrupting, hushed but loud and angry)

Will you be quiet?!


The priest goes quiet. Everyone stares at JERRY THE MIME. A few mimes pretend to gasp.


SIMON

(under his breath)

Oh shit.


JERRY THE MIME looks mortified and quickly turns and walks away.


SIMON

(to mourners)

Uh, sorry. I’ll just...


SIMON backs away and goes after JERRY THE MIME.


PRIEST

Well, normally I would ask if anyone had a few

words they would like to share, but uh... Ahem…


RICHIE’S MOTHER bursts into tears.


*Note: This piece was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2020 Milking Cat Summer Comedy Competition*

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