Witness Protection Program

By Sophie Cohen:


FADE IN:


INT. US MARSHAL DEPARTMENT- CAMDEN NEW JERSEY


Superimpose title:

US MARSHAL DEPARTMENT

CAMDEN NEW JERSEY


We open on what looks like an interrogation room. MARSHAL sits on one side of the room facing a family of three on the other side of the room: MOM, a solid 7, DAD, a New Jersey 6 but a 4 anywhere else, and ABBY, their young daughter whose rating will not be shared due to legal reasons.


MARSHAL

Hey, you can call me Marshal. Come back in six months though and it’ll be “Marshal Marshal,” but I have to Monica Lewinsky my way through this internship before I earn that title.



The family is uneasy. The room is dirty and the lights flicker often-- Marshal speaks to them in a tone that communicates that he doesn't want to be there, making them even more uncomfortable.


MOM

Oh, isn’t that nice?


MARSHAL

So, if you don’t mind, I’m just going to jump right into it. If you’ve seen any movies about the witness protection program, know that in real life, there are less guns and less s-f-x. There’s surprisingly more s-e-x… but it’s like the sad kind where you turn on a history podcast for background noise and don’t blink the entire time.



Marshal clears his throat.



MARSHAL (CONT’D)

So, what’s your dream vacation destination so that I have an idea of where we should send you?


MOM

Florida?


DAD

South Carolina?


ABBY

Somewhere warm.


MARSHAL

Ok great! So I think I’m gonna send you to Alaska. Now, next I have to create these, like, alternate personas for you. Mmm ok this part always stumps me, ya know, it really stumps me. I’m so bad at coming up with the--


Marshal is suddenly interrupted as the door to the room swings open and KYLE runs in backwards, yelling at the top of his lungs.


KYLE

Hey Marshal, I know you told me you would be in here but I didn’t think you actually would… but now look at us… you’re in the room and I’m in the room! God, coincidence is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?


MARSHAL

Oh my god Kyle, why are you yelling?


KYLE

There was a fire!


MARSHAL

Well why are you backwards?


KYLE

I lost my face in the fire! No I didn’t, no I didn’t. Sorry, I panicked and didn’t know what to say.



Kyle turns around, he reveals himself to be an Evan Hansen prototype-- but, a step further-- a prototype of Evan Hansen if he decided to major in theatre at Vassar college.


MARSHAL

What are you doing here?


KYLE

Enough with the questions, you’re giving me an ulcer. Do you want my help or not?


MARSHAL

Yes-- yes! I need your help!


KYLE

If you’re in love with me just say that, Marshal. Anyway, hi everyone! My name’s Kyle-- Hey--Hey Marshal I think I see your eyes dilating.


MARSHAL

What?


KYLE

Anyways, I’m Kyle. I’m an intern at the Witness Protection Program by day and an unemployed visionary by night.


ABBY

What does unemployed visionary mean?


KYLE

Ask Marshal.


Kyle looks Marshal up and down in a mockingly seductive manner, implying that they have some sort of sexual past. Marshal is baffled; he has no idea what Kyle is implying.


MARSHAL

What?


KYLE (returning to the family)

So, many, many years ago I wrote a play intending for it to go on Broadway. Turns out Broadway actually has something against gay men. Well not most of them, just me. They rejected it. I then pitched it to an Off-Broadway theatre, then an Off-Off-Broadway theatre, then an Off-Off-Off-Broadway theatre, then a theatre, then an Off-Theatre. So if you don’t mind, I’d love to cast you in roles and create your new lives for you that way.


ABBY

Really?! I used to do theatre at my middle school!


KYLE

That means nothing, kid. You’re in the big leagues now.


MOM (TO ABBY)

Honey, maybe you want to do your vocal warm ups before you start?


ABBY

Do- Re--


Kyle impatiently cuts Abby off after she reaches “Re.”


KYLE

Ok, ok. Are you RE-dy to get started or do you need more time to warm up your micro-range?



MOM (TO KYLE)

We’re ready.


MOM (TO ABBY)

Don’t worry about it honey. You’ll be fine.


KYLE

So this play is a coming of age story that follows a young girl named Amy. She disagrees with her parents on nearly everything and doesn’t have many friends at school due to her ridiculous underbite and inability to dress a wound. One day, Amy decides to apply to a modeling agency.


MOM

Oh, how nice.


KYLE

And once her parents find out, they check her into a psych ward because they think she must be crazy to believe that she will succeed in that industry.


MOM

Never mind.


KYLE

Amy uses a spoon to dig herself out of the psych ward and follows the underground path she makes all the way to Paul Bunyan’s house in Bemidji, Minnesota.


MOM

Oh, so there is a happy ending then?


KYLE

There, she meets Paul Bunyan’s ghost and dies out of pure fear. Once her parents find out about the circumstances surrounding Amy’s death, they spend the rest of their lives trying to hunt down the ghost of Paul Bunyan so they can avenge the death of their daughter.


MOM

Oh.


DAD

So let me get this straight. You want us to audition for roles in this “play,” but for us, it won’t be a play, it will be our new reality as part of the Witness Protection Program?


KYLE

Exactly. So I was thinking your daughter could go first and audition for the part of Amy.



ABBY

Ok yeah sure, I’m ready.


KYLE

So, when you read these lines I want you to try to embody the spirit of a girl whose parents didn’t hug her much as a child.


ABBY

That’s kinda sad. Why wasn’t Amy hugged much?


KYLE

Oh, well it's because her parents didn’t have arms.


MOM

What?!


KYLE

We’ll take care of that later though.


DAD

Excuse me?!


Kyle pulls out a notebook and pen from his pants pocket and starts scribbling furiously. He finishes and holds it up like a cue card for Abby to read.


KYLE

Ok, Abby, can you read what I wrote for you on the card.


ABBY

Ok, sure!


Abby clears her throat, looks to the card and begins to read it.


ABBY (CONT’D)

Nothing in my life has ever been constant. The cutlery in my house was never the same--never constant. My parents liked to refresh the supply of forks and knives in our house every few years. The scenery was never constant, we moved around a whole bunch so I never really made any friends. What’s more? The placement of my nipples wasn't constant either. They migrated further South on my chest each year that I grew older.


MOM

Ok Abby I think that will be enough. Kyle what are you thinking?!


KYLE

Ok, I know refreshing the silverware every few years could get expensive, but trust me, it’s totally worth it! They do it in Japan to promote longevity.


MOM

That’s not exactly what I had a problem with.



Abby’s parents are furious. Kyle notices this and waves his hands in the air as if trying to conduct them to a calmer and more collected headspace.


KYLE

Ok, I was thinking maybe for Mom and Dad, you guys could audition together.



Mom and Dad look at each other and nod their heads in agreement.


KYLE (CONT’D)

Ok, when you read these lines, I want Dad to embody a strong father figure with a bad combover and a feminine nose, and Mom-- I want you to embody a woman.


Mom rolls her eyes and responds with biting sarcasm.


MOM

Ok? I think I’ll manage.


DAD

Ok, sounds great.



Kyle once again scribbles furiously on his notepad. Once finished, he holds it up for Mom and Dad to read.


MOM

Ok, can we start whenever we’re ready?


KYLE

Yep.


Dad looks at the card, and begins to read from it.



DAD

We have always been disappointed with our daughter.



Mom joins Dad and begins to read the part of the card that has been scripted for her.


MOM

Her whole life she--


Mom pauses and looks at Kyle with a disapproving face.


MOM (CONT’D)

Never had any friends, I mean, gosh! My husband and I really didn’t even like her very much.



Mom realizes what she is reading and immediately stops. She turns to address Kyle, completely furious.


MOM (CONT’D)

Kyle this is ridiculous! I’m not reading this!


KYLE

Suit yourself. I’m just going to run back over your auditions in my head and then cast you into roles. Remember, the character you play in my play is going to have to become your new personhood. The goal of the Witness Protection Program is to assign you a new life, and with this new technique, I hope I am providing you all with a perfectly new and fulfilling life.


ABBY

Ok thanks Mr. Kyle, that sounds great.


Kyle looks at his notebook, he scribbles down some words and looks back up with a solemn face.


KYLE

Unfortunately, none of you are really where I want you to be to play these roles so I’m going to cast you as understudies.


MARSHAL

What?



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©2018 by The Milking Cat.