Cowboys and Indians: An Outsourced Comedy
by Jim Farrar (unfinished 2005)
There's an epidemic at N-URAS Corporation that no one can seem to explain. Executives and managers are dying in droves. Of natural causes. And in freak accidents.
The body count is rising and Detective Sergeant Jay Edgar Hoover -- a name he hates -- is getting suspicious. Maybe these deceased captains of industry weren't just victims of stress, overwork, and bad luck. Maybe there's something more sinister going on.
And speaking of luck, Doug Luck has been terrible lately. His wife just kicked him out of their brand new house, taking both the kids and his prized '62 Corvette, and leaving him with his parents' Winnebago, which he drives to work.
Which, of course, would be N-URAS. Unfortunately, Doug was the last "associate" to see each of the deceased executives alive. An now Detective Hoover is starting to ask him questions. Lots of them.
Corporate would like to help, but they haven't really noticed that the bosses are dead. Besides, there's all that paperwork to finish.
His own boss would like to help, too, but he's preoccupied--he's busy channeling the spirit of Jesus, who he is convinced will reveal to him his "ultimate career path."
And his co-workers would like help too--even though they think he's guilty.
EXT. THE N-URAS CORP. CAMPUS - SEATTLE - MORNING
The mirrored windows of the N-URAS building reflect the surrounding campus.
AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE PARKING LOT
Cars trickle past a guard station, which is manned by an overweight rent-a-cop. Beyond the parking lot, a stand of Spruce trees frames the Seattle skyline.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CAMPUS
There's an artificial lake: Lake N-URAS. Big and shallow and very well manicured.
A running path circles the lake.
EXT. RUNNING PATH - MORNING
A group of JOGGERS are preparing for their pre-workday run around the lake.
All men. All in their mid-30's. All with neatly trimmed goatees and Lycra running tights.
Exuding the narcissism of the "serious athlete," they stretch...
...tug at their balls.
...check their pulse.
...fiddle with their watches.
...and make small talk.
Can we get started? I've got an eight-thirty.
With Jesus H. Christ. With the man himself.
Dude. A Sermon on the Mount?
Definitely not a good way to start the day.
I tell you my theory about those Bible study meetings JC and Little Eddie have every Tuesday?
This isn't a Bible study meeting, is it?
So what's the meeting's about?
There's gonna be a RIF.
What? More layoffs!
Yep. Didn't hear it from me, though.
He punches the "Start" button on his wristwatch.
C'mon. Let's go.
And as they start down the running path...
(to Jogger #1)
Ever wonder what you want to be when you grow up?
What could possibly beat middle management?
(to Jogger #2)
And what is your theory about those Bible study meetings?
I'm not entirely sure. But I think human sacrifice is involved...
They both chuckle.
INT. CHRISTIAN SPARROW'S OFFICE - MORNING
A sign on the door says HUMAN RESOURCES. Pulling back, we see a row of small offices outside the door.
The N-URAS HR department.
CHRISTIAN SPARROW and ED FUCHS, both about 35, are huddled in a private strategy session. Sparrow's nickname--at least among the rank and file--is JESUS. But of course nobody calls him that to his face.
Sacrifice. Sacrifice. Sacrifice. People must be willing to...?
That's right. Sacrifice. And that, my friend, is a directive from Tartufo Bianco himself.
And if turnover exceeds the acceptable ratio? You know how Corporate feels about acceptable ratios...
(here comes another sermon)
Edward. Ed. We're talking interchangeable parts. See, the thing is, we replace any propeller-head that leaves with a Punjab. And for half the salary.
Chris, I don't know. That doesn't seem like the right paradigm. You pray about this?
(sucking it up)
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the beacon that lights our path.
Amen. Bible study tomorrow morning?
EXT. THE SKY ABOVE SEATTLE - MORNING
Traffic moves like a constipated slug. A news chopper hovers above the first wave of the morning commute. A typical Seattle workday.
IN THE TRAFFIC JAM
A ratty-ass WINNEBAGO crawls forward as it farts black exhaust. On its side panel, the words "BAR-B-QUE" are hand-painted in bright red letters above a cartoon of a winking pig.
INT. WINNEBAGO - MORNING
DOUG LUCK, 45, is at the wheel. His mother calls him "Douglas." His friends know him as SNORT. He wears a denim work shirt with "N-URAS--LOOKING FORWARD" stitched above the left pocket. Just a regular guy on his way to the office. In a shitbox Winnebago. Bored, he picks his nose and then looks at his finger as he listens disinterestedly to a radio talk show. He wipes his finger on the seat and BELCHES.
EXT. RUNNING PATH - MORNING
The joggers are well into their run. Lots of HEAVY BREATHING and sweating. Their faces reflect an almost casual pain as they push themselves harder and harder. They're approaching a checkpoint--in unison, they look at their watches.
EXT. N-URAS PARKING LOT - MORNING
A group of SMOKERS are gathered around an ash can and a sign that says "Designated Smoking Area." In the distance, the joggers make their final turn around the lake. The smokers watch them. We get the feeling this is something they do every day.
Exercise is way overrated. Look at their faces. They hate this shit.
But the boys look great in those tights. Don't you think?
I used to run.
I had you pegged as an athlete.
Seriously, I used to run. I had a boss I wanted to cozy up to. I'd go jogging with him every day at lunch. It was a terrible, terrible thing.
Because I had to miss lunch. My boss...god, the guy was crazy. I'm talkin' Charles Manson, Jeffery Dahmer, Hannibal Lechter crazy. Completely certifiable. And I had to bond with him every single day at noon. You ever try making small talk with a sociopath for three and a half miles on an empty stomach?
He jabs his cigarette in the air, toward the approaching joggers. The other smokers COUGH.
Those guys out there? See, they don't eat breakfast. That's why they're such tight-asses. It's a blood sugar thing.
(to Smoker #3)
You eat breakfast? I don't eat breakfast.
When we're done here, I'm gonna grab a colossal-dog from that new vending machine in the lunchroom. You try one of them things yet?
Smoker #2 exhales a cloud of smoke, then...
Them things are artery-cloggers. When's the last time you had your cholesterol checked?
They're low carb. Keeps me svelte.
EXT. THE RUNNING PATH - MORNING
The joggers are on the home stretch. Jogger #1 falls back and stops.
Hey, I gotta take a leak. I'll hook up with you guys at lunch.
He ducks into the bushes by the side of the path.
He barely makes it. Pulling down his tights, Jogger #1 sighs with relief as he starts to urinate. His bare white ass is downright luminous.
Oh...God. Man, oh, man.
But the splash doesn't sound quite right.
As he pees, he looks down. And sees a CORPSE. A very dapper corpse, in fact. Custom-tailored suit. Rolex. All very button-down. Except for the walking shoes.
And he's pissing right on them!
His first reflex is to turn away. Which he does, even though he's still peeing. But something makes him turn back and look again. Hey, he recognizes this guy.
Mr. Shakewell? Dick? Sir? You OK? You are not OK, are you?
He pulls up his tights, bends over, and grabs the body by its arms and starts dragging it toward the running path.
EXT. RUNNING PATH - CONTINUOUS
Jogger #1 clumsily dumps the corpse on the path.
EXT. THE N-URAS PARKING LOT - MORNING
The Smokers are casually watching all of this.
(Re: the scene on the running path)
Now, that's something you don't see every day.
EXT. THE RUNNING PATH - CONTINUOUS
Standing over the body, Jogger #1 pulls his cell phone from his jacket pocket and punches in a number.
Uh...Jenny? What's Office Services' policy on...corpses?
Why? Because...I just found one. Should I call the police? Or is this something you can handle? I've got an eight-thirty with Sparrow and I really don't have the...uh...bandwidth to deal with this right now.
EXT. THE N-URAS PARKING LOT - MORNING
Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" roils the morning calm. Softly at first, it grows louder, and then REALLY LOUD, as about a dozen HUMMERS pull into designated parking slots, one right after the other.
With military precision, their air suspension systems deflate, their doors open in unison.
From each vehicle, a SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT emerges and struts into the building. The bosses all wear suit coats, turtlenecks, and tasseled loafers.
EXT. THE PARKING LOT - MORNING
SNORT pulls into the lot. He angles the Winnebago into a group of parking spaces adjacent to the Range Rovers.
Seconds later, an ambulance, a police car, and a fire engine barrel into the lot and skid to a stop behind the Winnebago.
Their sirens continue to SCREECH well after each vehicle has stopped, setting off CAR ALARMS throughout the parking lot.
The Smokers' attention shifts from the tableau on the running path to the commotion in the parking lot.
Kinda disruptive, aren't they?
Paramedics, firemen, and police officers scramble across the parking lot toward the running path.
SNORT hops down from the Winnebago and nods at the Smokers.
Nice rig, amigo.
We are what we drive.
You traded in the mini-van for this?
You'd best get used to the Pigmobile, m'boys. I'm catering Western Days next week.
Oh, yee-haw. This means we all have to dress up like cowboys, don't it?
That's up to HR.
(a wry smile)
(looking toward the running path)
What's the hubbub about?
Not sure. I think maybe one of the Peacocks hadda accident.