Thomas Castle, Apple Jacks Dad: What you kids got here? The Apple Jacks?
The CHILDREN, silent and mesmerized, do not answer.
AJD reading the nutritional ingredients: You kids are chowing down on a heck of a lotta this stuff. You know it's got no apples in it whatsoever? Some of the CHILDREN nod, still mostly hypnotized. Well, why do you like them so much?
Danny Castle without turning: Dunno. We just do.
the other CHILDREN in scattered agreement: Yeah.
Danny finally turning: We eat what we like.
AJD disappearing into an adjacent room: Yeah, well I'd "like" all you kids to get the heck out of my house and stop eating up all the goddamned cereal in the place.
CHILDREN now all turning: Aww... but why?
AJD returning with something in his hands: Dunno, I just do. Now why don't you all git before you eat what I'd like... (the CHILDREN see that what he carries is a double-barreled shotgun) ...BUCKSHOT! he cocks it and holds it pointed at the ceiling.
the CHILDREN see this and scatter: WAUGH!/HELP!/MOMMY!
AJD chasing them out as far as the porch: WHY DON'T YOU KIDS GET JOBS AND PAY FOR YOUR OWN GODDAMNED CEREAL? He levels the shotgun at them.
Danny: Dad, NO! AJD fires, levelling one of the children across the street. Dad, you killed Kevin Conway! You shot him!
AJD without looking at him: You too. Go on, git. Go get a job and buy your own goddamned cereal, you smart-mouthed kid.
Danny: but Daaaaad!
AJD points the shotgun right at his face, while standing not four feet away: Ten. Nine. Danny's eyes plead with his father's, which remain steely and unresponsive. Eight. Seven. Danny starts to blubber. AJD's voice gets angrier and the count more impatient. Six. FIVE. FOUR. Danny breaks and runs. Three. Two. One. AJD fires, kicking up a clump of dirt and sod on the lawn at Danny's feet; a warning shot. He cocks the shotgun again.
SCENE II. AJD turns to go back inside to sit down on the couch. No sooner does he turn than he hears the screeching of brakes as THE WIFE pulls into the driveway. He freezes, fingers whitening around the shotgun as he grips it. She comes up the stairs accompanied by MOTHER-IN-LAW.
MIL coming up the stairs, shrieking and complaining. Her voice fades in on the blahs, which she actually says: Blah blah blah. Your lawn is atrocious! And this neighborhood! So violent! Why I said to Ethel the other day, I says blah blah blah—
THE WIFE not so much interrupting as not paying attention to MIL: Tom, what's happened to the lawn? And why is there a dying child lying in the gutter across the street? And where are the children? She rushes around frantically, as if searching for nothing in particular or everything at the same time. Danny? Danny?
MIL still: Blah blah blah, she says. So I says, Blah? Blah BLAH blahblahblah...
AJD not turning back around to look at her; not looking at anything— thousand yard stare with bottled anger: I didn't shoot Danny. The kid's not dying; he's already dead. The body's just bleeding out. And the rest of the kids are gone. Danny too.
THE WIFE: Gone? Where? Out to play? Oh, I hope they're safe; this neighborhood has gotten so dangerous! Anyway, honey, I hope you don't mind that I took out two hundred dollars for—
AJD turns now, face red with rage: TWO HUNDRED?
THE WIFE: points to MIL, who is still blah blahing Well, she had to get her hair done.
AJD: She— He turns to MIL who only now realizes he's holding a shotgun and shuts up. YOU "HAD" TO GET YOUR HAIR DONE? She looks at him as a cow regards an oncoming train. I'll do your hair, alright. He fires both barrels directly at her face from point-blank range. THE WIFE looks on in horror. AJD goes back inside, leaving THE WIFE to cry holding the corpse of her mother, who is headless from the jaw up.
Inside, AJD sits down and puts his feet up on the coffee table, knocking off several copies of "Woman's Day" and "Martha Stewart Living" as he does. He takes the remote and turns of the damn insipid cartoons in favor of his favorite show: "Psycho Dad." He grabs the box of Apple Jacks from the end table next to the couch and munches on a handful. Mouth half-full: Mm... these are pretty good.
TV: "And now back to Psycho Dad..."
* cut to commercial*
Opinions? Comments? Tom, do you mind having the main character named after you? Should we e-mail Ryan and tell him?