Grand Ghoulish (I-II)

I-II. BEDSHEET CURTAINS

A bedroom by way of a semi-converted garage. Harold types and clicks away at a computer.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) It was maybe sometime in the afternoon when the wholly unfamiliar sound of a phone ringing pulled Harold away from his computer.

A phone rings, Harold searches for it.

He’d spent the last several hours perusing job listings on the internet, and arguably more time avoiding it. So between this, the heavy bedsheet nailed and drawn shut across the one window in the room he rented, and the copious amount of marijuana he’d just smoked, pinning down which pile of clothes contained his phone proved a bit of a challenge.

Harold gets warmer…

But even as he waddled and crawled about that semi-converted garage in his underwear, the possibility of even remote human contact was as good an excuse as any to call off today’s depressing search for paid work.

Harold finds it, looks at the screen, but doesn’t answer.

Unfortunately for Harold, the number on his phone’s screen was from an unknown caller. But fortunately for Harold, they left a voicemail.

Harold plays the voicemail.

SOPHIA: (voicemail) Harold, it’s Sophia. I couldn’t stop thinking about y–

Harold hangs up, attempts to call Sophia back several times, but can’t get through.

HAROLD: (to self) Dude, you just called. Why the Hell do people always call and leave a message, but never pick up when you–

Sofia finally answers the phone.

SOPHIA: (phone) Harold?

HAROLD: (gushing) Sophia… I couldn’t stop thinking about you too.

A beat. Then…

SOPHIA: (phone) What?

HAROLD: I said, “I couldn’t stop–”

SOPHIA: (phone) No. I got that.

HAROLD: Oh.

SOPHIA: (phone) What do you mean, “too”?

HAROLD: Your voicemail. You said–

SOPHIA: (phone) You didn’t finish listening to it, did you?

HAROLD: I did not.

SOPHIA: (phone) Of course.

HAROLD: What?

SOPHIA: (phone) I said, “I couldn’t stop thinking about you…”

HAROLD: Uh-huh.

SOPHIA: (phone) “…and your beautiful photos.”

HAROLD: (nods) Gotcha.

A beat. Then…

Wait. How did you get my number? Your husband slapped my hand when I tried giving him my business card.

SOPHIA: (phone) Yeah. Sorry about that.

HAROLD: I’m still kinda weirded out about that, actually.

SOPHIA: (phone) Harold, focus.

HAROLD: Yes, Ma’am.

SOPHIA: (phone) Look. It wasn’t easy getting your number. Is that awful woman at the gallery always such a pain?

Harold drifts off.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) Harold neither confirmed nor denied this, mostly because he was too busy recalling the way he and Brennifer had hotboxed the utility closet and engaged in some vague approximation of sex after the gallery had closed for the evening. It wasn’t so much that the high had made sex difficult so much as it resulted in them failing to remove the various mops, half-filled buckets, and various harsh smelling cleaning products before sealing themselves up for several sweltering, dizzying minutes. Certainly, this was not Harold’s finest hour. But it was mostly the way Brennifer had thrown several loose dollars and coins at him and refused to cuddle afterward that still left Harold feeling a little cheap.

SOPHIA: (phone) Harold?

Harold snaps out of it.

HAROLD: Sorry. I just realized I make really bad life choices.

SOPHIA: (phone) So, you’ll do it? You’ll take erotic photographs of me in the privacy of my bedroom while my husband is away?

HAROLD: I’m flattered, Sophia. A little creeped out by the weird way you guys keep phrasing it too, I guess. But, mostly flattered.

SOPHIA: (phone) So, what’s the problem?

HAROLD: You’re a married woman, Sophia. And your husband doesn’t seem like he’s onboard with this sorta thing.

SOPHIA: (phone) Oliver said it was a wonderful idea, didn’t he?

HAROLD: Yeah. That was kinda creepy, too. You get that, right?

SOPHIA: (phone) (considers this) There’s five-hundred bucks in it for you.

HAROLD: When do you want me there?

SOPHIA: (phone) How does tomorrow work for you?

A naggingly sweet voice, GRANDMA, calls from somewhere outside Harold’s bedroom by way of a semi-converted garage.

GRANDMA: (off) Harold.

Harold goes still, silent, buries his phone in his hands.

GRANDMA: (off) Harold?

Damn.

HAROLD: (sighs) Yes, Grandma?

GRANDMA: (off) Are you still going to give me a ride to my doctor’s appointment?

HAROLD: Yes, Grandma.

A beat. Then…

GRANDMA: (off) Harold?

HAROLD: (snaps) I said, “Yes, Grandma”!

Harold realizes Sophia is still on the phone and heard everything.

Yeah. Tomorrow works.