LORD OF THE EARRINGS
(c) 2002 by Ross Anthony

The Finite Adventures of Rodo Mangoseed In Lord of the Earrings. An original screenplay by Ross Anthony(C)2002. 25 minute read. www.rossanthony.com/essays/lote.shtml

EXT. LAKE -- DAY

NARRATOR

A long time ago, in this galaxy, a real bad guy named Sorass forged a couple of pearl earrings. They were simply gorgeous, 14karat gold each with a cultured freshwater pearl mounted on a hand-polished frame accented by two white onyx inlays. Well, needless to say the earrings made Sorass the undisputed heavyweight champion of his kingdom, and the surrounding kingdoms all the way to Mayberrykingdom. No one could challenge his power. But one day, Sorass left his earrings on the sink vanity in the bathroom of a former girlfriend. Sorass pounded his head, but still couldn't recall where he'd left them. Anyway, Sharongo promptly flushed them in a momentary flash of jealousy with her next bowel movement. It was not a pretty site, but I should tell you that the corn made the earrings less obvious. The kingdom's sewer system emptied into the great Lake Oraga which is present day Lake Ontario. Several hundred bazillions of years later, a small human by the name of Bob found the earrings, but they didn't match his complexion so he cast them back into the lake. Another bazillion years later, a small boy by the name of Rodo Mangoseed happed across one of them while digging at the shallow shore of Lake Ontario ... trying to find the source of those tiny bubbles. The ones that rise to the surface one bubble at a time, ten or twenty seconds apart.

RODO

What could they be? Is there air trapped under there? Perhaps from changes in tide? Or maybe frogs. Maybe frogs took a deep breath, then dug themselves underground there. Maybe a chemical reaction? Maybe methane or some kind of gas in the earth making its way to the surface?

NARRATOR

Rodo straps on some goggles and a snorkel. He picks up a nearby torn milk carton and uses it as a shovel.

RODO

Maybe there's a hole there that leads underground to a place above the water line? Maybe? Maybe? -- Hey what's this?

NARRATOR

Rodo pulls an earring up from the earth. Just then, Insanity Ted (Rodo's best bud) steps up holding an archer's bow in one hand and two arrows in the other.

INSANITY TED

Yo Rodo-- check this out!

Rodo steps out of the water.

RODO

Where'd you get those?

NARRATOR

Hey, hold that thought you two.

RODO

What? Who said that?

NARRATOR

Look I did my job, I got everyone up to speed, you guys take it from here. I've got a dental appointment.

INSANITY TED

Whatever man -- we don't need a narrator. That is so lame. I think we can handle our own story.

RODO

Insanity Ted -- who you talkin' to?

INSANITY TED

Oh forget it -- Whatchya got there?

RODO

An earring, I think.

INSANITY TED

An Earring? Forget that too. I got a bow and a couple of arrows -- I traded Arizona for 'em.

RODO

The state of Arizona?

INSANITY TED

Yeah, right -- like I even know where it is?

RODO

Out west someplace.

INSANITY TED

Whatever Rodster -- let's go shootin'.

Insanity Ted and Rodo step into the woods.

RODO

You are truly insane.

INSANITY TED

Hmm, What should we use as targets?

RODO

It don't matter,

INSANITY TED

I got a soda can -- which is pretty small.

RODO

Don't matter.

INSANITY TED

Hey maybe that red jacket a yers?

RODO

Don't matter what we use -- we won't hit it anyways.

INSANITY TED

Is it that hard?

RODO

Haven't you tried yet?

INSANITY TED

Rodo bud, it hurts me that you even ask that. If you came runnin' with a brick and a half of firecrackers I wouldn't want you to have blown off even one before I got there.

RODO

I'm sorry Tedster, that's way cool of you. Thanks, and yes, I'm assumin' it's hard.

INSANITY TED

That elf guy never missed.

RODO

That was a movie, this is real.

INSANITY TED

Yeah right, Rodo Mangoseed lecturing me on what's real. Let me derail that train of thought before you EVEN get started -- take the darn bow.

Insanity Ted hands Rodo the bow. Then straps on the back quiver (arrow holster).

RODO

So come on, you didn't actually trade the state of Arizona.

INSANITY TED

No, you dork. Arizona, that was the name of--

RODO

Oh yeah -- your snake.

INSANITY TED

Boa Constrictor, my dear Rodman.

Insanity Ted's happy to be able to have educated Rodo on some miscellaneous trivia. He then turns to the quiver and points at all two arrows.

INSANITY TED (CONT'D)

Okay, I'm that elf guy, 'cause his two arrows lasted him all film.

RODO

Yeah but, this ain't Middle Earth.

INSANITY TED

Give me a break, I thought you were the one with the big imagination.

Insanity Ted bends over and points at his own rear end.

INSANITY TED (CONT'D)

Anyway, take a look at my middle moon.

RODO

Quick! Quick! Give me an arrow, that's a target I actually might be able to nail.

Insanity Ted stands up straight, pulls an arrow from the back quiver and hands it to Rodo.

INSANITY TED

Enough talk!

Insanity Ted scans the woods for something obvious.

INSANITY TED (CONT'D)

There -- on the Oak tree 10 yards down, hit that squirrel.

RODO

I don't want to hit an animal.

INSANITY TED

Don't worry, it's your first shot, you'll suck. The squirrel is safer than if you didn't aim at it.

Rodo knocks the arrow on the string, he pulls back, the bow shaking as if in fear.

RODO

(struggling) This is hard to pull.

INSANITY TED

You're doin' great - I think.

The squirrel looks up, it's eyes meet Rodo's eyes.

RODO

I'm not going to hit you buddy.

Rodo lets go, the arrow travels five feet before hitting a tree off to the right, it breaks in half and falls to the ground. Rodo screeches, drops the bow and grabs his left forearm. (www.rossanthony.com/essays/lote.shtml)

RODO (CONT'D)

OOOOOOuuuuuch!

INSANITY TED

What? What?

RODO

The string hit my arm - ouch! It kills!

INSANITY TED

Crazed, you did great, but don't drop my bow next time.

RODO

(Rubbing his arm)

I didn't get the squirrel, did I?

Insanity Ted picks up the bow and knocks another arrow, he too struggles with the pull of the string, but this time he aims up at another target.

INSANITY TED

Yeah right. (aims up) Okay, my turn, I'm aiming for that lady bug on the third branch to the left.

RODO

You're an idiot.

Insanity Ted lets loose the arrow (not coming anywhere near the lady bug) sails up and off into the distance.

INSANITY TED

(facetiously)

Got it!

RODO

This ain't middle Earth and you ain't the elf guy.

INSANITY TED

Yeah I know, 'cause I'm out of arrows.

Rodo picks up the broken arrow from his shot. Insanity Ted puts the bow down. And heads into the forest in search of his last shot.

INSANITY TED (CONT'D)

(in his best Terminator voice) I'll be back.

Rodo fiddles with the arrow for a time, then getting bored he sighs and sits back on a stump, bumping into an older man with a goatee and portly belly.

RODO

Hey, you're from that TV show, the Sopranos.

GANDOLFINI

I am not.

RODO

Yes, you are. And that movie with Julia Richards too -- you were gay.

GANDOLFINI

I believe you have me confused with some dashing, extraordinarily talented actor. Nope. Me, I'm a wizard.

RODO

Anyway, Wizard's aren't real.

GANDOLFINI

Geeze, ain't you the tactful one.

RODO

Wizards are from story books and movies.

GANDOLFINI

And just where do you think you're from?

RODO

What?

GANDOLFINI

Look, enough small talk.

Gandolfini reaches into his pocket and pulls out a jewelry case.

GANDOLFINI (CONT'D)

I've got an important mission for you.

RODO

A small positive contribution to the universe?

GANDOLFINI

Yeah, something like that.

Gandolfini opens the case revealing the matching earring.

RODO

That movie, now the earrings --

GANDOLFINI

You're being juvenile. Now listen, this is important. A long long time ago in a galaxy (stops himself and starts over). Wait, I mean, Back in olden times, a very bad evil character forged these earrings so that he could rule over all the land.

RODO

Was he all powerful?

GANDOLFINI

Who?

RODO

The very evil guy.

GANDOLFINI

What do you mean?

RODO

I mean, was he able to give the earrings power enough so that whoever wore them could conquer all the land.

GANDOLFINI

Yeah, yeah now you're catching on.

RODO

But why would an all powerful being have to forge anything? If he had the power to make earrings so powerful, why didn't he just use that power to conquer everything and skip the whole jewelry bit.

GANDOLFINI

What the earrings?

RODO

Yeah, why forge something -- why not just use his power to be powerful -- why do you need a thing? Seems to me he should have forged a sword or something with that gold.

GANDOLFINI

(confused, hurt even, that Rodo is not awed by his story)

Well, you've got to have the earrings -- couldn't have the story without them.

RODO

Why would an all powerful being care about a story? Wouldn't he be satisfied with conquering the world.

Gandolfini turns dramatically. The clouds darken, his eyes light with fire.

GANDOLFINI

(Commandingly)

To heck with Sorass, I need there to be a story!

RODO

Okay Okay.

GANDOLFINI

(calming)

What would wizards say if there wasn't a good story?

RODO

I suppose they simply couldn't exist.

Irked, Gandolfini looks hard at Rodo.

GANDOLFINI

I could turn you into a toad, you know.

RODO

Sorry, Sorry.

GANDOLFINI

You're just a human -- don't you try to out think a character in your story -- A wizard no less -- because young lad, you are nothing more than a character too -- a thought in your screenwriter's mind.

RODO

Wait, wait, what are you talking about?

GANDOLFINI

Oh, sure, Mr. High and mighty, Mr. Look at me I'm Real. Mr. Logic is more important than story. Oh, the irony.

RODO

Irony?

GANDOLFINI

Irony, you know, shocking reality of it all relative to circumstances.

RODO

I know what ironic is-- what's ironic?

GANDOLFINI

(laughs)

Oh, you silly little bit of fiction. Did you think just being you was enough? Who in their right mind would traipse to the cinema, hand over 9 bucks, just to watch a character. The Irony, Rodo, is that just like wizards and demons -- you need a story as well. You are a slave to story.

RODO

Are you saying that I can't exist without a story?

GANDOLFINI

Sad to say, alas, I am bound by the same chain.

RODO

So if I just stand here, don't say a word, think just for myself without getting all caught up in some larger plot--

GANDOLFINI

Then you would cease to be.

RODO

So, wherever I am -- story is all around me?

GANDOLFINI

Just like the oxygen you breath. You can't see it, but if it weren't there -- you'd grasp, reach out for nothing, then -- end

Gandolfini mocks, gasps for air, falls off the log he's sitting on backwards and lies motionless for a beat. Then opens an eye to see if he's amusing Rodo.

RODO

Wow, that's kind of --

GANDOLFINI

Humiliating for you?

RODO

Yes -- that's exactly the word.

GANDOLFINI

Oh, don't be such a proud little brat. Story's not a bad thing.

RODO

I agree, I like story just fine, but I don't like needing it for my own survival.

GANDOLFINI

Come on, stop being so melodramatic, it's not a burden you know. You're lucky. Real people, they live completely without story -- you think they're happy? Truth is, though they have the freedom you crave -- you have the story they envy.

Beat.

RODO

Oh, there's some more of that irony.

GANDOLFINI

Sarcasm from a twelve year old -- (mocking) wonders never cease.

RODO

You mean, we, I, exist for their amusement.

Rodo looks out into the audience, Gandolfini pulls him back toward him.

GANDOLFINI

Don't think of it that way. You are lucky! Some writer has spent a lot of time and energy to create a perfectly splendid story for you -- why don't you just relax and enjoy it. Those real people, they can only watch -- but you are in the story! You are part of it, and by the way, the story can't live without you either.

RODO

Gandolfini, I don't know. The whole idea makes me feel so bound -- what about Free Will and all of that.

GANDOLFINI

Free Will?!! (chuckles heartily) That's a story for another time, young man. (deep sigh, smile) You and I, Rodo, we are lucky, truly lucky, carefully tailored around our entire lives, architected to our every whim and wonder -- a glorious story, larger and more fun than any amusement park you can imagine, because stories don't have to end. And even if they do, there's always dvd.

RODO

Alright, alright, so -- the earrings, what makes them so special?

GANDOLFINI

Oh, I am so glad you asked, (readies himself for an enjoyable yarn). Sorass was a hideous being, feared by almost every living creature, but he was a man.

RODO

Yeah so?

GANDOLFINI

How old are you?

RODO

Twelve.

GANDOLFINI

And you haven't noticed?

RODO

What?

GANDOLFINI

Women? Girls?

RODO

We're not going to have that discussion now are we?

GANDOLFINI

No not that one. (shakes his head in annoyance at Rodo's silliness) Women -- they rule the world.

RODO

What? Not where I come from. All the world leaders and presidents are men and most of the CEO's too. And my mom says women get paid less for the same job. That bugs her.

GANDOLFINI

Presidents -- Shemsidents. Oh, Rodo, it's not your fault, you're just a typical mortal man.

RODO

Not my fault?

GANDOLFINI

You've fallen for it hook, line and sinker.

RODO

I have?

GANDOLFINI

Women rule the world. They LET men be presidents and CEO's and even make more money -- because they know that all of that is superficial vanity.

RODO

What?

GANDOLFINI

Oh, youíll understand more after puberty. The point is, anyone who puts these earrings on will immediately become a woman. And since all warriors are men, well, even the fiercest among them will become completely defenseless, and surrender on the spot.

Rodo's eyebrows raise.

GANDOLFINI (CONT'D)

So look, take this earring, keep it with the one you've found.

RODO

How'd you know about that?

GANDOLFINI

I told you, I'm a wizard. Now look, it's absolutely crucial that we (you) bring them to the one place in all the world that can safely destory them.

RODO

Destory?

GANDOLFINI

Destroy, destory, same thing.

RODO

Where's that.

GANDOLFINI

Jersey.

RODO

Jersey?

GANDOLFINI

Certainly, there's a guy I know, he melts down hot metals there.

RODO

Hot as in -- stolen?

GANDOLFINI

You didn't hear me say that.

RODO

You are from the Soprano's!

GANDOLFINI

Stop. (raises his index finger, then stands and puts the earrings case in Rodo's hands) Let's go.

RODO

Stop - Go. You, wizard guy, are ironic.

GANDOLFINI

Gandolfini. Or if you're so inspired, feel free to call me the Great Gandolfini.

Gandolfini head nods indicating that it's time to move.

RODO

What about Insanity Ted? He's still looking for that arrow.

GANDOLFINI

Where is your faith in good writing? You think your screenwriter is some hack? Don't worry, he'll show up near the end to help save the day.

Rodo and Gandolfini walk through the forests to glorious cities shimmering with litter, gas-combustion engine vehicles and construction noise. Despite these formidable obstacles, the two trudge onward toward New Jersey. (www.rossanthony.com/essays/lote.shtml)

RODO

Don't you have a car or a broomstick or something?

GANDOLFINI

Mortals, you're so daft. Don't you know public transportation is so much more environmentally friendly?

RODO

We're going to take a bus to save the world?

GANDOLFINI

Look out!

Gandolfini grabs Rodo and hides him in a nearby Starbuckles Cafe.

RODO

What? What?

GANDOLFINI

(points) The horsemen.

RODO

How did they know we were here?

GANDOLFINI

They can sense the presence of the earrings.

RODO

If they can "sense the presence," kindly tell me how our "hiding" behind something will trick them?

GANDOLFINI

Oh, come on, just play along.

RODO

Gallager, I--

GANDOLFINI

(perturbed) Gandolfini!

RODO

Yeah, Gandolfini, if they can suss us out among all the cities near NY, how in the world is this Starbuckles dry-wall going to slow them down?

GANDOLFINI

Don't worry.

RODO

Why shouldn't I worry? They're huge. They're on horses. They've got knives bigger than me. What am I supposed to do? Toss these earrings at them.

GANDOLFINI

Don't worry about the horsemen, they're just special effects, they can't hurt anyone.

The horsemen burst into the Starbuckles and breathe intimidatingly down at the two. (The smell of Shnapple is on their breath) Gandolfini flicks his fingers off his chin at them.

RODO

Well, they look pretty darned real to me.

(nervously)

I'm putting, putting these earrings on.

GANDOLFINI

NO!!!!

But of course it's too late. Rodo already has one on. The horsemen immediately stumble a hoof or two backward in surprise, then hop off their horses, gracefully bowing on a knee each.

RODO

God, you know, I really shouldn't, but I'm dying for a Latte.

Instantly, the horsemen rush to the counter digging in their pockets for some money, they pool their coins for the clerk.

CLERK

Tall? Large? Grande?

HORSEMAN1

Isn't there a small?

The horsemen turn to ask Rodo's preference, but it's too late, Rodo and Gandolfini were able to catch a nearby bus.


CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE to the SECOND HALF of: LORD_OF_THE_EARRINGS



Screenplay (C)2002 Ross Anthony

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Copyright © 2002. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com


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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:29:09 PDT