You'd think from the looks of me, perched up in this tree, that I wouldn't be capable of writing a single word let alone a story so rich with endless misadventures. But don't let the claws and whiskers, and the big furry tail throw you, its easy to write when you've got a good story to tell. Max and Daisy were married but living separate lives in a house on separate floors, in Asbury Park New Jersey. Daisy's father Frank, came to live with them after being released from prison. He and Max lived like some twisted version of the odd couple on the second floor, while Daisy lived on the first floor with a kid in her belly. And all through the walls, lives a family of thieving, gangster squirrels.
Scene 1: "Frank Falls Out Of The Window"
DAISY: Dad, are you coming down?!
A large squirrel sits at Frank's desk and stares out a window that looks out onto the ocean. He's startled as Frank appears from the bathroom wearing a Santa hat with a shiny bell at the end. The squirrel feverishly types out the last of his thought, then rips a sheet of paper from the typewriter’s grip and hands it to Frank, who stares at it incredibly confused.
Squirrel: So what do ya think of my latest work?
Frank: What?! Wait…what?! You're a fucking squirrel! Why should I care what you have to say?
Squirrel: Because, it’s about you Frank.
Frank looks back down at the paper and begins to read. His eyes scan one line after another and with each new line he reads, his face turns a deeper shade of red. Sweat begins to bead on his sizzling forehead and then turns to steam, as Franks reads on. Finally Frank lifts his eyes from the paper and points them like loaded flame throwers at the squirrel. In one motion, he picks up an old lamp with a faded and dented shade, and fires it at the squirrel with the precision of a drunken marksman, blinded by rage. Which, is precisely what he was.
DAISY: Dad! Come down and eat! What are you doing?!
The squirrel just steps a little to one side and the lamp crashes against the wall behind him.
Squirrel: What's the matter Frank; don't you like what I wrote about you?
Frank lunges at the squirrel with his outstretched arms, and with purple and blue veins bulging from his neck.
Frank: I'll fucking kill you!
The squirrel starts to sprint across the floor and then up the walls, as Franks slides across the floor and crashes through the bathroom door.
DAISY: FRANK! Get down here or ELSE!!!
The squirrel gingerly crawls across a long curtain rod, then hops over to the ceiling fan. It comes to rest on the very edge of one of its blades, and stares down at Frank, lying on the floor.
Squirrel: You can't kill me Frank. You're a pathetic, broken down excuse for a human. I'm a lot smarter than you. Besides, I'm all you’ve got.
Frank pushes himself up from a crumpled heat, and slowly inches his hands up the wall to steady himself. His body coils for the kill, his eyes lock in on his prey. But instead of pouncing, his fingers find the switch on the wall that controls the fan, and he sends the squirrel flying. The chase is on as Frank and the squirrel dash around his room, bringing picture frames and coffee mugs, crashing to the ground. Frank makes one final lunge at the squirrel but misses and launches himself out the window.
I lean out the window and stare down at Frank. He's trapped in the branches like a puppet hanging upside down by its strings. He's not going anywhere anytime soon. I ransack his room and rob him blind of anything shiny and of value. That’s right, me, your trusty narrator. It's what we squirrels do. We steal from the rich and poor, and keep it for ourselves. We're like gangsters; we're gangster squirrels. I know what you’re thinking. Squirrels can’t write. That’s what Frank thought too in the beginning, but now he knows better.
DAISY: DAD!!! ARE YOU COMING DOWN!?!?
Scene 2: "Simon Gets Arrested"
Max walks through the front door of a three story Victorian house in Asbury Park NJ. He steps into the first floor apartment where Daisy lives. Max is a handsome caveman, disheveled and unkempt in dress, with a nearly bald head that looks like it’s been cropped by a blind man. Max sports a face he just can't bear to shave. Max hates the mornings, and when he looks at himself in the hallway mirror, he thinks out loud, "the last thing I feel like doing most mornings is drag a blade across my throat. If I'm ever gonna kill myself I'm sure it'll be in the morning, in the shower, in the middle of a shave."
Max sees Daisy sitting at the kitchen table alone in front of one of the table settings. A plate of scrambled eggs sits in the middle of the table with steam rising from its yellow puffy clouds. Another plate of toast with almond butter and figs sits beside the eggs. A pot of coffee waits to be poured into two ceramic mugs.
MAX: Simon got arrested.
DAISY: Again?! What for this time?!
MAX: The same. He just can't keep that monster in his pants.
DAISY: It’s not as though anyone wants to see it.
MAX: Well, no one said you had to look?
DAISY: Are you kidding? Every time he lets that thing run wild, and gets himself locked up, we have no choice but to see it. It’s on every front page of every newspaper.
MAX: Yeah, I don't think this is what he had in mind when he said he needed to get more exposure for his hot dogs.
Simon is a gourmet frankfurter chef who had an exotic hot dog stand on 10th Street and Avenue A on the East side of Manhattan. He had sixty nine different combinations of toppings for his hot dogs and sausage sandwiches, and people would wrap around a city block at lunchtime and wait in line for his meaty treats, and his famous special sauce, at Simon's Sausage Surprise. Simon recently moved out of the city after a flurry of public lewdness allegations were levied against him. He moved to Asbury Park NJ, to escape his reputation, but his past followed him out of town.
Max: Speaking of which, how's your little monster?
Daisy: Don't call him that. He's fine.
Max: Ah, you know I'm kidding. But I gotta be honest, I've never seen anyone eat so much raw meat before. Daisy: I know its crazy! I never eat sausage and bacon, and now we can't seem to get enough of it.
Max: He's just showing off. He's got a little ham in him. Have you told your dad yet?
Daisy: No, I never see him. He's either working or he locks himself in the bathroom and writes. I called him for lunch but he never came down.
Max: Maybe he's hanging around the yard.
Frank spent the long empty hours in prison writing. He wrote collections of stories and a handful of novels and even the rhymes for a conceptual rap album. Since his release, he's been quietly, almost secretly writing. He keeps his journal in a small safety box, and doesn't really talk about it.
Max: What do you think he's writing about in there?
Daisy: He's probably writing about the squirrels. That's all he ever talks about.
Max: Don’t you think it’s a little weird that he can only write while sitting on the toilet? He always tells me "with every great crap, comes a hundred words of wisdom."
Daisy: He's so full of shit.
Scene 3: "Hanging From A Tree"
Frank is hanging upside down with his left leg stuck in the crotch of a cherry blossom tree.
FRANK: HELP!!! God damnit! I’m in a goddamn tree!! Simon Saez, who lives in the one room apartment on the third floor, throws open the window, and calls down to Frank.
SIMON: Hey Frank. Sorry to bother you but I was wondering if you had a jar of vaseline I could borrow.
FRANK: What the fuck do you need that for?!
SIMON: If you don't have that, then maybe some vegetable oil, or even a can of Crisco will do. You live with Max right?
FRANK: If you call this living.
SIMON: When you see him, tell him I can't make band practice today. I gotta lube up the tuba-trumpa-tromba-saxa-oba-phone before I come over. It's not an easy horn to blow unless it’s lubricated first. Otherwise you blow so hard, your eyes pop out of your head.
FRANK: I'll tell him. Anything else?
SIMON: Yeah tell him I don't think I can make the gig tonight either. I'm under house arrest.
FRANK: You got it.
SIMON: On second thought don't tell them anything. I'm sure they already know. Simon pulls his head back into his apartment and shuts the window. Frank continues to hang upside down in the tree.
FRANK: Yeah...no problem, thanks for the help.
Scene 4: "Daisy Grace"
Daisy rifles through her closet looking for the pair of spider pants she bought specifically for tonight's gig. Max bought them for her at Patricia Fields in Soho. Paris Hilton walked in the store that day while Daisy pulled the pants from the rack. Paris stripped down naked and began trying on anything and everything that hung on the racks, right there in the middle of the store. As nice as her bare ass was, she almost got it handed to her when she tried to pull the spider pants out of Daisy's hands.
Daisy is the lead singer in Daisy Grace, an impossible blend of the dark power behind Led Zeppelin and the musical Annie. Each gig they play brings them one step closer to breaking through the Asbury Park music scene and going national. But the closer they get to a little fame and fortune, the more freaked about it Daisy gets, and then inevitably some minor disaster happens to sabotage the band's momentum. Some gigs, Daisy will hide backstage behind a curtain or a behind a Marshal stack guitar amp while she's singing. Other gigs she'll try to leave all together before the show even starts. when that happens Max has to track her down on quiet side streets, pull her from the back seat of a parked car.
She actually loves to perform, but only when there's no one there to watch. But as much as she hates doing it, her performances have become spectacles that are deeply cherished by all of those who come to see them. Despite her inadvertent attempts at spiting fate, the band just got more popular.
DAISY: Well what are we gonna do about the gig tonight? Aren't there supposed to be some suits from a bunch of record labels there to see us tonight?
Max sits on the edge of the bed in Daisy’s bedroom watching her try on an eclectic array of outfits, many of which leave her belly exposed.
MAX: Well that only matters if we make it to the gig. Hey, you know what we should do? We should simulcast from prison. We can slap a camera on Simon playing keyboards while he's being sodomized by his cellmate.
DAISY: Do you really think so? It would be so nice if Simon could meet someone special like that in prison.
MAX: We can put a microphone on him, he'd have no problem nailing those really high harmonies he always has trouble with. He'd fucking sing them once and for all, like he was really feeling them deep inside him.
DAISY: You know that's really disgusting but I think it might work.
Scene 5: "Frank Falls To Earth"
In the front yard of the three story Victorian house sits a tall cherry blossom tree, surrounded by a circle of fist sized colorful stones and a perfectly manicured green lawn. The trunk of the tree is thick and sturdy with the name of two lovers carved inside the shape of a heart, which has now become part of the permanent pattern of its bark. The branches of the tree are full of slightly scented flowers and freshly budding leaves. And in the limbs of the tree, closer to where the branches meet the trunk, is Frank in a dirty t-shirt, entangled and swaying upside down from side to side in the breeze.
FRANK: God damnit! I’m in a goddamn tree!!
The neighborhood is usually quiet at this time of day, unlike the sounds of celebration that abound once the welfare checks have been cashed, the sun sets, and the brightly lit neon bar signs lead the way. The days here, on the other hand, are filled with the faint sounds of birds chirping, and small ocean waves crashing a few blocks towards the shore. The quiet is all but undisturbed except for the sound of Frank.
FRANK: Help!! I'm stuck in this fucking tree!!!
CRACK!!! The sound of the branch supporting Frank gives way to his size, and he plummets to earth, then rolls into a thick row of hedges which swallow him whole with its dense, spiny needles. The slamming of his body on the ground, echoes across the neighborhood and out to the sea and back. The loud thump fades into the distance leaving behind the quiet sounds of birds chirping, small waves rolling in to shore, and his own soft breathless whisper.
FRANK: help….. I'm stuck in a goddamn bush...
Scene 6: "Making Ends Meet"
DAISY: Did you sell anything today?
Max is a collector of antique and vintage pop culture. He specializes in the stuff that your mother threw out, like old metal lunch boxes and Star Wars figures. The moment she tossed them in the trash, she effectively ended your childhood, tossing it in the trash with them. Max doesn't know shit about stocks and bonds but he knows that people will pay a fortune to reconnect with the toys they had as a kid. And Max plans on paying for his kids' future, on the profit he makes from reselling these 'rare and hard to find' memories.
MAX: I sold some old tin jack-in-the-boxes to a collector, and a portrait of Howard Hughes sitting naked on the toilet, in a room of jars filled with piss.
DAISY: That’s nice. Can we buy some flowers and food with some of the money you got for the piss?
Despite everything Max and Daisy have been through, they still really love each other.
MAX: Of course baby, anything for you. Flowers, diamonds whatever you want. That's why I do this, to keep you fed and happy. You're much more fun that way.
Max gets up from Daisy’s bed, walks her out into the majestic circular living room under a high domed ceiling, decorated with stained glass. On the floor sits a large tattered bag that Max carried in with him.
Daisy: What's that in the bag?
Max: Ah, its just something small I couldn't pass up on.
Daisy: what is it and how much?
Max: Alright...I bought a box of Richard Nixon paraphernalia. There's all sorts of stuff in it, like twenty or thirty pieces. I haven't even had a chance to count it all yet.
Daisy: How much did you pay for it? Do you really think anyone wants to buy that stuff? I mean I hope they do, but does anyone really want it?
Max: Are you kidding! There's a shower head cover that makes it look like Tricky Dick is vomiting water all over you! There's a dozen rolls of Nixon toilet paper in here! You can wipe your ass with his face!!
Daisy: How much?
Max pulls out fists full of Nixon buttons and banners from the bottom of the bag. Max becomes increasingly excited with each new item he pulls from the bag.
Max: There's a vintage Halloween mask in here, and a set of shot glasses with his face on them. His eyes become pinwheels when the shot-glass is chilled.
Daisy: How much!?
Daisy: What!? Are you..,
Max: Before you freak out, take a look at this.
Max pulls from the box a ceramic bong, in the shape of Nixon's face, for smoking weed out of. Max: See, you toke from the top of his head! And his left nostril is the carburetor. Max holds his finger over Nixon's nose with his left hand, places his lips around the hole coming out of the top of Nixon's head, and pretends to light an imaginary bowl of weed, poking out of Nixon's mouth. He inhales deeply and blows out an invisible stream of smoke into Daisy’s face.
Daisy waves the pretend smoke away with her hand, revealing a harsh and pointed stare, shooting daggers Max’s way.
Daisy (whisper): $1200?
Scene 7: "The Conversation"
Frank gets to his feet and pulls himself from the hedge; he notices a squirrel chewing on his Santa hat. Frank’s Santa hat is especially appealing to the squirrels because of how shiny the bell is on it. It’s Frank’s thinking cap, the one that he wears on his head when he’s writing. When he has an idea, he slaps the side of his head and the bell rings.
As for me, I’m not much of a thief; I have more refined tastes like art and literature. I only stole the Santa cap and tossed it down to one of my colleagues, to keep in good standing with the boss. I’d much rather be tasting wine while listening to chamber music. But helping get rid of Frank is a bit of fun too.
The squirrel momentarily stops and looks over his shoulder behind him at Frank and winks. Then he scurries away with the Santa hat clutched between his teeth, and scampers under the house.
FRANK: The goddamn squirrel's got my hat!
FRANK (in a whisper): I see the little shit critter. He's chewin' on the bell.
In his right hand, Frank grabs a jagged tree limb that looks like a mace on one end, and a dagger on the other. In his left hand Frank holds a brick. Clutching to both, Frank drops to his knees and crawls after the squirrel, under the house.
FRANK (whispers) You're not gettin' away with this.
Frank crawls through the under belly of the front porch, then through a broken section of lattice and sees the squirrel with the Santa cap in its paws still trying to gnaw the shiny bell free from the tip of the hat. Frank lifts the brick above his head, readying himself to bring it down on the varmint’s skull.
FRANK (shouts) I know what you're up to, you want my fuckin' bell! It ain't goin' to happen!
Without warning, Frank lunges at the squirrel but trips over a metal pipe half buried in the ground. The rock falls from Frank's hands as the squirrel nonchalantly steps out of harm’s way. Frank falls to the ground and the large rock hits him hard on the back of his head. Frank shakes the cobwebs from his skull but can't seem to get the strange image out of his head, of the now fully sized squirrel that's nearly as tall as him.
The squirrel watches Frank closely. He separates the bell from the cap, casually tosses the Santa hat to the side, and looks at its own reflection in the shimmer of the shiny bell.
SQUIRREL: Now what, big shot?
As if getting used to the squirrels new enlarged size wasn't hard enough, Frank now has to contend with the distinct possibility that the squirrel is trying to make small talk with him.
FRANK: Are you talkin' to me?
SQUIRREL: Who else, asshole!?
Frank fumbles behind him for the rock he used on his own head.
FRANK: Look you little shit, give me my cap and maybe I won't crush your skull.
SQUIRREL: Yeah you're a real magician with that rock. I was impressed with the way you almost knocked yourself out with it.
Frank takes a slow step toward the squirrel, and brings his hands way up above his head, readying himself to strike the deadly blow.
SQUIRREL: I'll tell you what I'm gonna do. You let me go, and I'll show you where we keep the stash. You just gotta follow up into the attic.
FRANK: Hell no! I'm not falling for that trap. You got a bunch wise guys up there waiting to whack me. What do you think I'm a dumb fuckin' squirrel?
SQUIRREL (sneers): Dumb?! How many squirrels do you think it takes to screw in a light bulb?
SQUIRREL (laughs): Only one ‘cause we’re so fuckin’ smart, jackass!
Again, Frank lunges at the squirrel and the furry critter moves to one side. This time Frank smacks his head against a beam of the wooden frame that makes up the house's first floor. He looks up at the squirrel, as his eyes roll into the back of his head.
SQUIRREL: See wise-guy, I was just playin’ with you. As for the bell, to be honest, it's fuckin’ worthless like this conversation.
The squirrel quickly turns and scampers away.
Scene 8: "Squirrels in The House"
Max is on all fours in Daisy’s living room with his ear pressed against the wooden floor boards. His eyes shift around the room as though they’re chasing ghosts beneath the floor.
Max: Do you hear the squirrels down here? Or are they just shitting in the walls of my apartment?
A 'family' of squirrels lives inside the house. They scurry through the walls of the mostly silent building. Whatever business squirrels conduct, these ones sound like they work at it twenty-four seven. There was never a moment Max, Frank and Daisy weren't aware of their presence. Lately Max and Daisy have witnessed Frank talking to the squirrels who pay no rent. Their free-loader status is a real bone of contention with him.
Daisy; No, I hear them too. Mostly in the ceiling. It sounds like they're roller skating or something up there.
Max: You're lucky. I have them in the floor and ceiling, and every single wall. Sometimes I feel like I'm a guest in their house. Like I'm inside of a cage made of plaster walls, and they keep me around like a pet for their own amusement.
Daisy: Are you high? Did you just smoke?
Max quickly smells his breath with a cupped hand and says, "why, do I reek?"
Daisy: No, but I can see smoke coming off the top of your head.
Max: I'm sure its just a couple of wires short circuiting in my brain. Where's your dad?
Daisy: He's upstairs trading, and talking to the squirrels.
Max: You'd think by now they'd be tired of listening to him and would have packed their bags and left.
Daisy: If only it were that easy to get rid of them.
Max: It’s when they start talking back that we'll really have something to worry about.
Scene 9: "Gangsters"
As the day turns to night, a family of squirrels congregates in the attic to discuss the day's unfortunate events. I sit quietly tapping the keys of the typewriter we’ve stolen from Frank, taking notes. This won’t be the next great American novel I assure you, but it’s my one significant contribution that keeps me in good graces with the family. It’s sometimes hard to imagine how I got involved with these thugs. After all I’m a Harvard grad with a degree in literature that I earned by peering through the classroom windows and eavesdropping through the walls. How I wound up a glorified secretary for a bunch of gangster squirrels is beyond me.
The squirrels are nothing more than crooks, ripping off bright and shiny things from people's garbage, unlocked cars and even their houses. Up until now their crimes have gone unchecked, but now there's someone who's on to them. Roland is a bit of a gangster himself, and has mixed feelings about the squirrels. On the one hand he feels a certain kinship with them, having the same pirate blood circulating through his veins as the furry critters. On the other hand, the squirrels live in the walls of the house, chewing on live wires and defecating wherever they please. Plus the squirrels finally crossed the line and stole from Frank. Frank figures they need a 'schoolin' in the pirates creed, honor amongst thieves. The squirrels, on the other hand need to figure out how to get rid of Frank, before he does the same to them.
HEY STUPID: I say we take a vote boss.
ROADKILL: The meeting hasn't even started yet Stupid.
LOUIE THE LIP: Hey I know, let's vote now so we don't gotta worry about it later. Anyway, I got something' more important to talk about, about what just happened.
The squirrels stand in a circle, dressed in dark pinstriped suits. Some of them brandish Tommy-guns, while others sport brass knuckles. Their thick accents make them sound like they might be from some industrial Jersey city just south of Manhattan, or from out in Staten Island. The family of squirrels have cornered the market on bright and shiny objects, stealing anything that catches their eye that isn’t nailed down. Their stash has gotten so large however, they no longer have any room left in the attic or the ceilings and walls they travel through to get outside, to store any new ‘acquisitions’.
The squirrels launder money for the other animals in town who make a quick score on the less valuable stuff left on people's porches or in their trash. The squirrels run the neighborhood, and they're not about to let a human muscle in on their territory.
ROADKILL: Limpy, what's the problem?
LIMPY: We need to move out of this joint and get a bigger place. The neighborhood is starting to stink and we got too much stuff piling up.
ROADKILL: We voted last month to stay another year.
LIMPY: Things have changed. Some ex-convict is living on the second floor. Always screaming and drinking - makes more noise than a squirrel convention in Atlantic City.
LOUIE THE LIP: He's right boss. I just nearly had to waste him.
ROADKILL: What do you mean?
LOUIE THE LIP: You're not going to believe it but he followed me under the house. He even tried to kill me over a fuckin' two cent bell.
SLEEZY SALLY: Are you drinking the wacky acorn juice again, baby?
LOUIE THE LIP: Yeah, so what? Its got nothing to do with it. He tried to kill me! The guy's a fuckin' animal!
FANG: We'll check this out.
LOUIE THE LIP: It's the truth boss.
ROADKILL: Anyone else know about this? The squirrels chime in with various forms of "no," while shrugging their shoulders and shaking their heads.
LOUIE THE LIP: At least send out a scout party to check it out!
ROADKILL: We'll do that. As for Limpy's proposal, we’re not moving.
LIMPY: What should we do with the new stuff coming in? We got no more room. Moe Nutz, show the boss.
Moe Nutz leaves the table and with the help of Hey Stupid and Slippery Sam, brings in a box filled with trinkets. Among other things there’s a gold pocket watch on a long gold chain, nine rings with assorted stones, two wristwatches, gold and silver coins and various small objects.
ROADKILL: Okay, dump the stuff.
HEY STUPID: Where boss?
ROADKILL: In the garbage cans in the back. Sanitation won’t be around for a few days. That’ll give us some time to come up with a plan. And no more picking until we find a larger spot. Hey Stupid put a sign up - no more stuff until further notice.
HEY STUPID Okay boss, but I don't know how to spell those big words.
ROADKILL: Help him Louie. Better yet, you make the sign.
HEY STUPID: Oh boss, I can do it.
ROADKILL: Shut up! All right, anything else?
HEY STUPID So we vote now boss?
Scene 10: "From Big Shot to Garbage Gourmet"
Franks regains his senses and pushes himself up to his hands and knees. He spits a mouth full of dirt from between his teeth, and flicks a small flattened worm from his cheek. Frank: There's got to be a better way than this to spend my free time. Frank used to have a lot of free time after he was arrested for insider trading. In his heyday, Frank would pay high-class hookers to date corporate executives in hopes of luring confidential information out of them. The "cocky mother fuckers," as Frank would call them, often used the smaller of their two heads, to do their thinking for them. After his release from prison, and using Max and Daisy's life savings, Frank started day trading from his makeshift office in the Asbury Park house, hoping to trade all of their relative poverty for a future of wealth.
Daisy: My dad said he had a good day today. He said he made a few thousand dollars.
Max: Well if he doesn't give it back by tomorrow, he'll have his share of this month's rent.
To date Frank has lost more money than he’s made, and each month is a new chapter in Creative Economic Survival, an informal class Frank tried to teach to the rest of us, any time the bills were due.
Daisy: He says the squirrels have been sabotaging his trades.
Max: Really? What are they doing, giving him bad stock tips?
Daisy: He says they keep chewing through the wires and tripping the circuit in the middle of his trades.
Max: Maybe the squirrels are manipulating the market. Anyway, I'm sure the wires taste better than some of the scary stuff I see him cooking upstairs.
Daisy: Is he eating all your food?
Daisy stands sideways, sizing up her belly in the bathroom mirror.
Max: Well no but he's trying to make meals out of the crap in the fridge that's about to go bad, or the stuff that's already gone bad that I'm too lazy to throw out.
Daisy: What?! Like what?!
Max: Well he took a bag of mixed greens that was easily two weeks old and fried it up. Parts of it were beyond wilted; they were actually beginning to decompose. There was this rot-juice at the bottom of the bag, and he threw that into the pan too.
Daisy turns back toward the mirror and continues to apply wild designs around her eyes.
Daisy: No he didn't. Did you have any? Did he make you try it?
Max: I had no choice. He slaved over it, plus he's a little crazy and threatened me. Besides, there was nothing else to eat up there.
Daisy reaches behind her and laces up a black leather corset that stops just shy of her naval, then turns sideways to inspect her belly.
Daisy: That must have been gross?
Max: It was disgusting! And yet somehow I went back for seconds. It was actually really good once I got used to that slimy feeling as it slithered down my throat. Besides I think I caught a little buzz off of it, so I really can't complain.
Daisy squints as her eyes begin to water and she covers her nose and mouth with her hands. She moves quickly toward the open bathroom window, sticks her head out into the cool night, and gasps for air in between alternating coughs and gags. Max sniffs the air. Even the worst of bowel movements, whose vile and pungent scent would have escaped this very window, didn't smell as bad as this.
Daisy: Oh my god, was that you?!
Max: No, but I think Frank is cooking up some of that good old fashioned, gourmet garbage now.
Scene 11: "What's That Smell!"
Frank is standing in the kitchen in the second floor apartment. He's in a dress shirt and boxers, with an apron hung around his neck and tied around his waist. "Eat at Frankks" is scribbled across the front of the dingy white apron, in black permanent marker. Ironically he's spelled his own name wrong.
Frank leans over a hot stove with freezer burned french-fries and waffles, crackling in a frying pan of garlic and olive oil. In between the flipping of waffles and the stirring of fries with a melted plastic spatula, Frank sips from a liter bottle of scotch with a purple and white striped crazy straw. Frank slams the bottle of scotch down on the counter, picks up a small glass jar of exotic spices, and vigorously shakes it over his garbage stir fry. Then he lowers his face to the flame, and spits a long stream of scotch into the pan. A large plume of blue and yellow flames rise from the bottom of the pan, and there's a loud knock upon the door.
FRANK: Hold your water! Frank unlocks the door and pulls it open.
Simon stands in the doorway dressed in a black and red wet suit, with a snorkel and goggle strapped to his face, and flippers attached to his feet.
SIMON: Hey Frank, how's it going? You got any peanut butter? And a plunger. I need a plunger, Do you guys have one of those? Wow, what's that smell!?
FRANK: What? Peanut butter and a plunger? What the fuck are you gonna do with that?What the fuck's wrong with you?
Frank lets Simon into the apartment, and Simon extends his hand out to Frank, which is covered in a yellow rubber dishwashing glove.
SIMON: I have something that's clogged upstairs and I, um... need to unclog it. How are you?
FRANK: You know Simon, there's two kinds of guys, and then there's you. I'm not afraid of too many things, but you're the fucking kinda guy, I'm afraid to shake hands with.
SIMON: You got anything to drink?
FRANK: I got some scotch but you can't use my straw.
Frank pours a tall glass of scotch over ice and searches for something to mix with it. Forgetting about what's inside it, Frank swings open the refrigerator door, and out falls a large garbage bag filled with shiny trinkets that spill all over the floor.
Simon: Holy shit Frank, what the fuck is that? Whoa, what stinks!?
Frank: It's stuff the squirrels have been stealing from people's houses. They've been hauling it into the house and storing it in the attic and in the walls. But I think they're running out of room.
Its hard to have any kind of conversation with Frank and not slip into that mobster speak that gangsters used in those old black and white movies.
Simon: Man I knew Asbury was a tough town when I moved here, but I never pegged the squirrels as gangsters. Why is their loot in a garbage bag inside your refrigerator?
Frank: I saw them drag this bag into the garbage cans out back. That was after I heard them arguing with each other that there was no room left in the house to keep it.
Simon: Wait a minute…are you saying you heard them speak?
Frank: Heard them speak?! I've talked to the mother fuckers!
Max bursts through the door
Max: Frank what are you cooking up here its smells like…
Max sees the pile of shiny things sitting on the floor.
Max: Well now, what do we have here?
Max spies Simon out of the corner of his eye.
Max: I thought you got busted.
Simon: They gave me house arrest. Apparently the loot belongs to Franks's friends the squirrels. They keep it in plastic bags of rotting garbage. Nobody uses banks any more.
Max: Is that what smells in here? I thought it was one of Frank's casseroles of spoiled leftovers.
Frank: Actually its a couple of dead squirrels. Apparently they bury their dead in trash bags. I heard the boss say this one here got whacked by a rival 'family' of squirrels who work the west side of town.
Frank opens the garbage bag a little wider and reveals the bloody remains of a squirrel.
Frank: I think this one was Louie the Lip.
Only the head and neck of the squirrel remain, and around its throat is a silver bell tied to a strand of red ribbon.
Simon: Well at least the squirrel had a little fashion sense.
Max: Yeah, what's up with that bell?
Frank: Somebody probably wanted it and killed him for it.
Max: It doesn't look they wanted it back enough to actually take it.
Frank: Sometimes revenge is a sweeter prize.
Frank moves some of the garbage to the side with the handle of a broom, and reveals a flattened squirrel as stiff and flat as a frisbee.
Frank: This one got pushed under the tire of a truck by Fang, the enforcer. I heard them say, this one was in retaliation for the hit on Louie, but I don't think they'll ever find out for sure who killed The Lipp.
Max: You're kidding right?
Simon: Watch out Max, he might be one of them. He says he talks to them.
Max notices the peanut butter in Simon's one hand, and a plunger in the other. You have to give Max a lot of credit for his attention to detail, it's not an easy feat seeing past the wet suit and rubber gloves.
Max to Simon: You're all backed up again huh?
Max to Frank: I think the methane fumes from the garbage are starting to get to you Frank. Maybe you shouldn't be mixing that with the scotch.
Frank: You want something to eat?
Simon: Yeah, sure, what do you got?
Frank: Max calls it garbage stew. Its got a little bit of meat, potatoes, some veggies, and roasted acorns.
Max: Yeah, and whatever else there is in the fridge that's long gone bad.
Frank pours some stew into a large ceramic bowl with a black plastic ladle, and places the bowl on a small wooden table.
Frank: Have a seat. Take a load off.
Simon sits down and moves his face toward the bowl. Steam rises from it and Simon breathes it in deep. A satisfied look crosses his face and he spoons a large helping into his mouth. Simon savors the flavor, rolling the last bit over his tongue before swallowing it.
Simon: Frank, this is delicious! What is this?! It's really interesting!
Daisy knocks on the 2nd floor apartment door, but no one answers, She pounds on it instead, and then throws it open.
Daisy: What are you cooking in here!? Oh my God, you're stinking up the whole house!
Daisy falls silent as her stare penetrates the pile of soiled treasure on the floor.
Frank: Don't just stand there like a mute, say something.
Daisy: I can't believe you're doing this again. You said you wouldn't. You can't stay here if you're gonna start up again.
Simon continues to devour the bowl of stew, as he now shovels one spoonful after another into his mouth. With stew spilling from the corners of his mouth, Simon asks for a second helping.
Simon: Frank, is there any more of this? I gotta get this recipe from you. I wanna sell it at the hot dog stand. Frank?
But Frank can only hear the anger building in Daisy, and the piercing steam escaping from her ears.
Daisy: Jesus Dad, how can you do this to me?! Mom was right; I never should have taken you in!
Frank: Its not what you..
Daisy: You have to leave.
Frank: Just let me…I just wanted my bell back.
Daisy: Dad, get the fuck out!
Max: Wit a minute! You got it all wrong? Its not what you think, that stuff on the ground is the squirrels.
Simon: You gotta tell me what's in this! I could make 'dogs' out of this and make a fortune at my stand. What the fuck is it!
Frank stares down Simon for what seems like an eternity as the room falls still.
Frank: What do you think it is, Simon? It's squirrel.
Roadkill's ears prick up, and he stands up on his two back paws. He rises up above his gang of gangster squirrels, and scowls at Frank through the glass window. Roadkill turns to Fang and his merry band of thugs.
Roadkill: Thats him. Go get him.
Narrator: How will the squirrels retaliate against Frank for stealing their heist? Was Daisy's little monster just hungry, or is he trying to tunnel out and escape early? What crazy hair brained scheme has Simon concocted that could possibly call for peanut butter and a plunger. Tune in to find out the answers to these questions and more, on the next episode of Lost in Asbury Park.