RITA FARR sits on a couch in the house of NILES CAULDER. It’s been two years since she gained her new abilities, and one year since she has come back to America. NILES sits by her in his wheelchair while RITA stays slumped on the couch. She is barely holding herself together. Farther downstage is a very small television set. Next to it is a calendar. The year is 1957.
NILES: You’ve been doing very well with your recovery, Miss Farr. I think we should take a break for now. Perhaps looking at some of your old films will help solidify your sense of self.
RITA (wistfully): I used to be so beautiful.
NILES: We must remember that physical appearance is not everything. With your new abilities, I am sure you’ll soon be able to look however you desire, but there’s no need to push yourself. You are not the woman you used to be. It does us no good to forget it.
RITA nods, but she’s clearly distracted, mouthing along to herself acting on the television.
NILES: I will leave you now. I have much work to do.
NILES exits stage RIGHT.
RITA (quoting): “Oh, folks used to tell me my beauty was rarer than any diamond, but what use is that to me now? A diamond’s worth nothing hidden underground.”
LARRY TRAINOR lays across the couch, which now has a wheelchair next to it. The year is 1962 and he is still very much in recovery. Every time he moves, he winces beneath his bandages, so he tries to stand as still as possible. His face is completely covered, but he is definitely staring off into space.
RITA enters from stage RIGHT and puts her hands on her hips.
RITA: You’re taking up my television time. Move.
LARRY (dazed): Are you…. Rita Farr?
RITA fluffs her hair and poses. Fans are her one weakness.
RITA: And what if I am?
LARRY: I heard you had a nervous breakdown.
RITA: I’ve never been nervous in my life. Whatever rumors you heard, they’re simply not true.
LARRY says nothing, and continues to stare into space. RITA waits for a moment, then scowls at him.
RITA: Well? Don’t you have anything else to ask? It’s not every day you meet a celebrity.
LARRY: I’m not much of a movie person, honestly. Last time I saw one was because my wife made me watch that Congo picture you were supposed to be in. But you weren’t.
RITA: Yes, that was around the time I had my… accident. I bet the other actress was horrible.
LARRY: Could’ve been better.
RITA (kindly): Do you miss going to the movies with your wife?
There’s an awkward silence. RITA seems angry that she’s been put in this position. She considers starting a conversation several times before deciding that the depressed man on the couch is not her responsibility.
RITA: Well, this has been a fun chat, but I really do want to watch my stories now, so MOVE.
RITA shoves LARRY, who cries out in pain. RITA winces, and wordlessly helps him move back into a comfortable position. After making sure he’s set, RITA puts a cassette in the television and pushes a chair next to the couch to sit in.
LARRY: I think I’ve seen this one.
RITA: Well, lucky you! Now you get to see it twice.
LARRY: Was the sister supposed to be a ghost or something?
RITA: I have no idea what you mean.
LARRY: Well, everyone keeps ignoring her.
RITA: Do they?
LARRY: Look, right there! Adam completely ignores Dinah when he’s greeting your character. And we never see her in the ballroom scene, or at the wedding at the end.
RITA: Well, there were time constraints….
LARRY: And when Dinah calls for the dog, he never comes. The dog doesn’t ever even look her way when they’re in the same scene. Man’s best friend, and he’s not even coming to say hi!
RITA: But she talks to her sister…
LARRY: Well, if anyone’s going to see your ghost, it’s going to be the person who grew up with you, isn’t it? I’m not sure she’s convinced that they’re actually talking, though. Diane never takes her advice.
RITA: The movie would certainly be a lot shorter if she did!
There’s a long pause as the two of them go back to watching the movie in front of them.
LARRY: Maybe it’s not ghosts. Maybe they just don’t like her.
The year is 1968. There’s a cane propped up on the side of the couch. LARRY now has sunglasses on top of his bandages. He and RITA are sitting on the couch at the edge of their seats, completely invested in the movie they’re watching. Something shocking happens on screen and they both lean back.
LARRY: See? Aliens.
RITA: Oh, so it’s aliens now?
LARRY: What else could it be? Come on. This is a tale as old as time. Girl sees a cute, human guy and thinks, “Hey! Maybe I’ll give this species a chance,” and tries to pass herself off as one of them. And then after all the shenanigans, she turns into sea foam.
RITA: She moves to Florida, Larry.
LARRY: You’re right. That’s so much worse.
RITA: If we absolutely must talk about aliens, can’t we talk about the thing inside you instead of defiling my precious movies?
LARRY shrinks away from RITA.
LARRY: Let’s not.
RITA: You’ve been working with the Chief, haven’t you? You can send that creature out on command now.
LARRY: It’s not as impressive as you’re making it sound.
RITA: Not impressive? Do you not the power of flight is impressive? Do you not think a being of pure energy is impressive? Or what about—
LARRY: Let’s just watch the movie.
RITA (worried): Oh, Larry, what happened?
LARRY moves further from RITA as she tries to comfort him.
LARRY: It’s nothing! Just proof that my ‘abilities’ aren’t as impressive as Chief thinks they are.
LARRY: Turns out there’s a time limit. But hey, what’s a little near-death experience in the grand scheme of all the great science we’re doing?
RITA, unsure of what to say, turns her attention back to the television.
LARRY: I’m tired of this. What’s the point of tests? No matter what we do, I’m still just going to be a freak.
RITA hesitates for a moment, then puts her hand on LARRY’s shoulder. There’s nothing she can say that will comfort him, and she knows this. All she can do is offer is a comforting hand and a distraction. For now, that will have to be enough.
The year is 1975. RITA and LARRY are both sitting on the couch. Between them sits RHEA JONES, a teenage girl with the powers of magnetism and pupil-less eyes. As per usual, they are watching one of RITA’S movies and RHEA is absolutely loving it.
RHEA: Aw, look, they’re kissing! It really is true love, huh?
LARRY: Kid, you’ve watched this before.
RHEA: I know, but it’s still so magical! Rita’s such a great actress, she makes me want to root for her every time I see it!
RHEA: Do you ever wonder what comes next, though? I mean, she moved to that big city by herself, it’s gotta be lonely.
LARRY: Rita and I actually wrote a sequel script a couple years back if you want to read it.
RHEA: I really do! I didn’t know you guys were writers.
RITA: Oh, it’s simply a way of passing the time—it’s not a very good script.
LARRY: She’s mad because of the government conspiracy subplot I put in.
RITA: I’m much too mature to be affected by your petty sense of humor.
RHEA (suddenly): You know, I’m really going to miss you guys.
RITA (hesitantly): You don’t… have to go, you know. Just because you’ve got your powers under control doesn’t mean you suddenly have to go off into the world and play superhero.
RHEA: I don’t want to play superhero! I’d rather join the circus. But I think—I think I have to go.
LARRY: You should. You’ve spent too much time with us old fossils. Go be a kid.
RHEA: You’re not that old! I’d really like to stay with you guys, honestly, but… there’s a whole world out there I haven’t seen since my parents died. I want to know what’s changed. I want to go on a Ferris wheel again! I want to explore! I’ve only been here for four years, and I already feel like I know it inside and out. I mean, aren’t either of you bored? Don’t you want to do something new? Don’t you want to… come with me?
RITA: Oh, sweetheart…
LARRY: Some people just aren’t meant to be around others. It’s… it’s safer for everyone if we stay.
RHEA: I thought you’d say that… So I bought you guys some gifts!
RHEA exits stage RIGHT, skipping like an excited child, and comes back with a small weaver’s loom, a book, and some seed packets.
RHEA: I went to town to try and find some flowers you didn’t have yet. I know you don’t really grow any vegetables, but I got you tomato seeds! And some cosmos, obviously.
LARRY: Thanks, kid.
RHEA: And Rita—I got you a loom! I thought maybe you’d like to change things up from knitting all the time. And the book should give you some tips on how to start.
RITA: This is all very sweet… And we didn’t even get you anything!
RHEA: The only thing I really want is to stay with you guys, and since that’s not happening…
RHEA trails off, then looks at the television.
RHEA: Hey—was that an after-credits scene? I didn’t know this movie had one!
RITA: See? Four years, and you still don’t know everything. Some things can only be learned through repetition. The two of us will be fine, Rhea. We’re very happy here.
The year is 1980. RITA is knitting on the couch when LARRY enters from stage LEFT with large box.
RITA: Where have you been? I was about to start the movie without you.
LARRY: Rhea sent us another package.
RITA leaps up from her seat, tossing her knitting aside as she walks over to LARRY.
RITA: Well? Don’t just stand there. Open it!
LARRY tears open the box, revealing an oversized scrapbook.
RITA: Oh, she left a note, too! Give me that. “I know you say you’re very happy where you are, but I wanted to you to see what I’ve been up to all this time. I hope you two have as much fun looking through this as I had making it. I love you both, Rhea.”
LARRY: Are you crying?
RITA: I’m an actress, dear. I only cry on command. Now, give me the book. Our movie can wait.
LARRY and RITA move back to the couch and place the scrapbook between them.
LARRY: Look at that! She really did join the circus. World’s youngest strongwoman, huh?
RITA: They gave her such a nice outfit, too. Oh, I’m so proud of her.
LARRY: Looks like she’s having a lot of fun.
RITA: Larry… do you ever wish…
LARRY: There’s no way I can just go out with my condition. I get a little careless, people could die. No point in putting my happiness above that.
RITA: I know, but… Sometimes I just wish that I could go back. That I could just step outside, and suddenly I’m back in Africa, and we’re filming again, but this time everything goes according to plan.
LARRY: You want to go back because you miss work?
RITA: Maybe it’s a bit silly, but I had to sacrifice a lot for my career. If I knew it was just going to end like that, maybe… Maybe I would have reconsidered some things, that’s all. But what about you?
LARRY: I think I was having a pretty good time till I got burnt alive.
RITA: I mean, is there anything you miss? You did have a family, did you not?
LARRY: She wouldn’t want me back.
RITA: Come on now. You must have been married for a reason.
LARRY: You don’t get it. She left me. They stuck me in some room, and she called just to let me know she wasn’t going to come by again. Even told our kids that I probably wasn’t coming home, and that’s when I realized… I was dead. Sheryl didn’t just want me out of her life, she wanted me gone. There was nothing I could do to change that.
RITA: Is that why you agreed to come with Chief?
LARRY: I was never going to be a great dad. It’s probably best I left before I could mess my kids up.
RITA: Well, I never wanted children, so I can’t begin to understand what possessed you to have them in the first place. But Rhea was here for quite some time, and clearly she turned out alright in the end.
LARRY: We’re not her parents!
RITA: True. She likes us far too much for that. I know I would never send my mother such a kind package. I’d much rather send her some rope to hang herself with.
LARRY: Do you… want to talk about it?
RITA: You know me, Lawrence. I only have emotions when the camera can see them. But, for your sake, I suppose a little elaboration couldn’t hurt. In all honesty, I have a fairly average story. My mother never loved me, so I learned to find love in something else. No matter how powerful she seemed in my youth, she would never be able to take away a whole country that loved me.
RITA: Now, come on. Enough of this depressing talk. It’s time for a movie.
The year is 1988. RITA lounges on the couch, martini in hand. NILES enters from stage LEFT. With him is a brain and a jar, and a teenage girl.
NILES: Forgive me, Rita, but I have matters to attend to.
NILES exits stage RIGHT. LARRY enters stage LEFT.
LARRY: Was the Chief just here?
RITA (sipping her martini): He had to go put his new brain on ice.
LARRY: What? Wait, no. I don’t want to know.
NILES enters stage RIGHT with the girl. She is BABYDOLL, one of the many alters sharing a body with JANE.
NILES: I hope you don’t mind the interruption, but I have someone to introduce you to.
BABYDOLL: Hi! I’m Babydoll! What’s under those bandages?
LARRY: Nothing good.
NILES: Babydoll is one of many personalities residing in this body. I won’t go into details, but through a mixture of trauma and science, this girl in front of you has more power than you could possibly imagine.
RITA: What can she do?
BABYDOLL: I can’t do anything! That’s not what I’m here for!
NILES: Each personality should have his or her own power. While Babydoll may not know her’s at this time, I have no doubt she will one day do incredible things. But as for now, she is simply here as a friend.
RITA: You want us to babysit her, don’t you? Well, go on. Don’t let us keep you from your “important work.”
NILES: I don’t want to impose. I simply think she would benefit from your company.
LARRY: No one benefits from her company. (Rita kicks him). Ow.
RITA: Go. We’ll watch a movie.
BABYDOLL: We can watch movies?
LARRY: There’s not a great selection. It’s mostly Rita’s old stuff, but you can pick whatever you want.
BABYDOLL looks around the room, worried. Suddenly, her expression changes. She is now HAMMERHEAD, an angry girl with super strength.
HAMMERHEAD: So what’s the catch?
RITA: Excuse me?
HAMMERHEAD: I said cut the bullshit! People aren’t just nice for no reason. And they sure as hell don’t let us do “whatever we want.”
HAMMERHEAD: I’m Hammerhead.
LARRY: Really? Okay. Well, we’re not really trying to be nice.
HAMMERHEAD: I knew it.
RITA: Look, Chief told us to sit with you. If we put on a show, you’re happy, and we don’t have to move. It’s the best situation for all of us. Now. Please pick a movie.
HAMMERHEAD eyes the others as she slowly makes her way over to a stack of cassette tapes and looks through them.
HAMMERHEAD: I wanna watch this one.
She holds out her choice.
RITA: Three Guns to El Paso? Good choice.
HAMMERHEAD: I don’t think Jane wants to watch it, though.
LARRY: Why does that matter?
HAMMERHEAD: Because she lives here too, bitch! If I’m going to pick something, it’s gotta be something we all want, or else what’s the fucking point?
RITA: Or we can watch what Jane wants afterwards.
HAMMERHEAD: We can?
RITA: I’m not planning on going anywhere. Are you?
HAMMERHEAD considers this, then runs downstage to put the cassette in. When she comes up, RITA adjusts herself so that there’s room for all three of them on the couch.
HAMMERHEAD: This better not be a boring movie
RITA: I never act in anything but the best, darling.
The year is 1990. RITA and LARRY are trying to watch a movie while JANE screams in the background. After a couple moments, she walks up to them, carrying a burlap sack.
JANE: I’m leaving.
JANE: Listen, Niles is great and all, but he’s way too big on control. I’m not going to push around everyone else in my head just so we can be some kind of superhero. Oh, hey, is this Waltz of The Flowers? I love that movie.
LARRY: It’s all we’ve been watching all week.
JANE: Yeah, it never gets old. Especially that part where that guy eats shit and you can see Rita laughing.
RITA: It was a character choice!
JANE: Was the choice that you hate your fake boyfriend?
LARRY: No, it’s worse than that. She’s probably only dating him to make him suffer.
JANE: Ha! Yeah, that’s her superpower. She probably radiates bad luck or something, and he’s just her latest victim.
RITA: Didn’t you say you were leaving?
JANE: Geez, give me a second, okay? Let me say good bye because we’re friends and whatever and you’ll miss me.
RITA: The house certainly won’t be the same without you.
JANE: See? You love me.
LARRY: You have any money?
JANE: Don’t worry. I got everything I need. See you losers later.
RITA & LARRY: Good bye, Jane.
JANE exits stage LEFT. RITA hides her face, suddenly distressed.
RITA: She makes it seem so easy.
LARRY: Well, she’s never really been normal. I guess recovery looks different for her.
RITA: It’s just—it’s only been two years! And just like that, she’s fine. Meanwhile, here I am, acting like someone’s grandmother, knitting my life away.
LARRY: You’re not wasting your life.
RITA: Aren’t I? I never wanted this kind of life for myself, Larry. I can’t stand the idea of being someone forgotten by time. I became an actress because I wanted to mean something. I wanted people to see me and know with absolute certainty that I am someone who’s changed the world for the better. But I haven’t done any of that. I can’t even make a great herringbone stitch!
LARRY reaches over to comfort her, but pulls his hand back.
LARRY: Look, you’re doing fine. Yeah, maybe you’re kind of a shut in, but I’m not judging. Besides, it’s not like you’re running out of time. You can go outside tomorrow, or in fifty years. The important thing is that you go out when you’re ready. Not because Jane wants to.
RITA: You’re right. I don’t know what came over me, I just—well, I suppose acting is my true love. You can’t help what your heart yearns for, after all.
RITA: Oh, look, it’s that scene you and Jane love so much. I don’t understand why they chose to keep that take. I know for a fact there was another version where I’m much more straight faced.
LARRY: Maybe they thought it made you look more human.
RITA: Looking attainable never gets you anywhere, Larry. If people don’t look at me as though I’m Aphrodite come to bless this Earth with her divine beauty, then what was the point of becoming an actress in the first place?
LARRY: The money?
RITA: Well, that certainly was a perk.
The year is 1995. RITA and LARRY are both sitting on the couch. Beside them is CLIFF STEELE, on that wheely-dohicky. They’re watching a movie. CLIFF is pretty sure this is what hell looks like.
CLIFF: I hate this movie.
RITA: So leave.
CLIFF: You know I can’t.
RITA: Then shut up and watch the movie.
CLIFF: Come on, mummy-man, you can’t tell me you’re into this shit.
LARRY: I’ve watched this movie at least three hundred times.
CLIFF: Jesus Christ
LARRY: It’s not a bad movie.
CLIFF: Really? What’s the plot?
RITA: It doesn’t matter if he knows what it’s about. The important thing is he’s enjoying himself, and our time together.
CLIFF: Oh, I get it. This is like, family dinner night or some shit. We need that one day a week where we stop trying to strangle each other and pretend we’re a functional family.
RITA: If you’re trying to make me not want to strangle you, you’re not doing a very good job.
CLIFF: Yeah, eat shit.
LARRY: It’s not like it’s only about romance. There’s a lot going on, like Mary’s broken home, and her struggling to pay her bills with a waitress salary, and the restaurant she works at, which is a total front for the mob.
CLIFF: Wait, what?
RITA: Don’t listen to Larry. He likes to let his mind wander while he watches. We don’t have to talk about his inane conspiracy theories.
CLIFF: Okay, but what if I really, really want to hear it.
LARRY: I mean, it’s kind of obvious. All the customers are always whispering to each other, and they’re all clearly in the same business. And then there’s that one regular who tells Mary he’ll “take care of” her boyfriend if he starts acting like an asshole.
CLIFF: Holy shit.
RITA: Oh, don’t forget about the health inspector.
CLIFF: I thought you said this was a stupid theory!
RITA: I absolutely did not.
LARRY: Well, anyways, in the background of one of the scenes, you can see some guy exchanging money with the boss, and later Mary says that she was on edge because she saw the health inspector at work. So, naturally, her boss has to be paying the guy off.
CLIFF: Shit, you’re making this movie sound good.
LARRY: That’s what I’m here for.
CLIFF: Okay, I’m starting to get what you mean. This movie is kind of interesting.
RITA: I only appear in the best pictures.
CLIFF: You must have been super famous, huh?
RITA: Well, I did have my fans here and there.
CLIFF: Hey, when did this come out? I feel like I saw it as a kid or something. Wait, shit, how old are you guys?
RITA: It’s rude to ask a woman her age.
LARRY: We, uh, haven’t really been aging. Our abilities are kind of regenerative.
CLIFF: Huh. So, I guess no matter how long I get with this new body, I’ll always have you guys.
LARRY (grimly): There’s a thought.
It’s 2002 now. There’s a pair of novelty glasses on a table near the couch for the year 2000. RITA sits on the couch reading a newspaper as LARRY enters from stage RIGHT.
RITA: Did you give him those toys?
LARRY: Yeah, I gave him the racecars I bought.
RITA: Good. I don’t think I can handle a second more of his brooding.
LARRY: Hey, give him a break. He found out his whole family’s dead.
RITA: And? You handled not being able to see your loved ones much better than he’s handling it now.
LARRY: No, I didn’t, I was just less loud about it.
RITA: Yes, that does sound about right. I suppose I was just nicer because I like you better.
LARRY: I mean, you’re right, you were actually pretty nice to me. At first, I thought it was pity, but then I healed, and you were still pretty nice. Comparatively.
RITA: Well, I suppose at this point, I simply just consider you one of my closest friends. Not that I have a lot of other options, of course. But I suppose at some point I realized that I didn’t want to live without you. I’ve never really felt like that before.
RITA: Oh, don’t sound so worried. I’m not in love with you, Larry, heavens knows I have better taste than that. I’m not the kind of girl to fawn over a man who’s uninterested in everything I am. No, I simply think we’re in the very unique position of understanding each other in a way not many people get the chance to. I… As a star, I rarely had people who would put up with me because they were actually fond of me. I won’t deny I did relish in the fact that I could let my fame do the talking, but… You didn’t care about that. And yet, somehow, you still care about me. My beauty, my status; it means nothing here, especially not to you. And yet here we are.
LARRY: I mean, where else would we be? But, uh… I think it’s nice, being with you. The thing inside me, it’s easy to lose control when I’m stressed, but I’m never really stressed out with you here. Maybe it’s an act, but I like that you keep pretending that you know what you’re doing.
RITA: Such a flatterer. See? This is why you’re my favorite. You say the nicest things.
LARRY: I really don’t. (pause) How long have you known?
RITA: I was never sure. It’s not as if you talk much about your past, much less any relationships, but then again, perhaps that was my first clue. You know it’s fine, don’t you? You must know Hollywood is full of people like you.
LARRY (bitterly): Sure.
RITA opens her mouth to say more, but CLIFF lumbers in from stage RIGHT.
CLIFF: Oh, good, I didn’t miss your weird movie nights.
RITA: You’re actually going to join us?
CLIFF: Well, I guess I figured you guys weren’t so bad. I mean, did give me those cars.
RITA: Oh no, that was all Larry. I don’t want you thinking I’ve got a soft spot for you, you lumbering oaf.
CLIFF: Well fuck you too, Rita. But maybe I just want to watch a movie with my pal very cool Larry.
LARRY (surprised): Cool?
CLIFF: My point is, we’re all living here together, so I might as well try and get along with you assholes. I mean, I don’t want to be some loser who just wastes his life away staring out a window .
RITA: Was that not how you spent—I mean, good on you, Cliff. Working through your emotional issues! Would you like to pick a movie?
CLIFF: Sure. Hey, is Rita’s films all we have, or…
LARRY: Oh, there’s more. She just hid the rest.
RITA (proudly): And you’ll never find them!
The year is 2010. RITA, LARRY, and CLIFF are all sitting on the couch. Noticing the lack of room, LARRY tries to sit on the arm of the couch, but CLIFF pulls him down. If they were all going to sit on the couch, they were all going to sit on the fucking couch.
NILES enters from stage LEFT.
CLIFF: Hey, you’re back!
NILES: Indeed I am. You all seem to be enjoying yourself.
RITA: Come join us! We’re watching my favorite movie.
LARRY: All of these movies are her favorite.
NILES: I suppose I could spare some time…
CLIFF and RITA both cheer as NILES wheels next to the couch.
RITA: Would you like a chair, Chief?
NILES: No, but, ah, thank you for the offer. I’m perfectly comfortable here. Now, what have I missed?
CLIFF: Well, Gertrude’s getting married to some asshole, but she doesn’t know he’s like, the worst man that’s ever lived, so her friend Rita—
RITA: The character’s name is Jessica, actually.
CLIFF: All of your characters are named Rita to me. Anyways, Rita’s like, “Oh, shit! I can’t let my friend marry the worst man alive,” so she teams up with the asshole’s brother, who’s not an asshole and now they’re trying to take him down.
NILES: It looks to me like they’re taking a stroll in the park.
RITA: You need to build up the romantic subplot, Niles. You know this.
CLIFF: Yeah, how else are we supposed to know Rita’s falling in love with the hot brother? Someone needs to get married at the end.
NILES: Oh, of course.
CLIFF: Hey, what do you do all day, anyways? Feels like you’re always in your lab.
NILES: I have various experiments I run. I’d explain, but much of it is very advanced, especially for those without a mind for science.
LARRY: I think he called you stupid
CLIFF (joking): Dad, how could you?
NILES: All you need to know about my work is that I am entirely devoted to helping people like yourself. Even if I cannot help them in person, I’m always looking for those in need. And they are, of course, welcomed at this manor, as Rita and Larry both know.
RITA: You do introduce us to the most wonderful people.
CLIFF: Me included?
RITA pretends to think about her answer.
RITA: Well, you certainly are one of the most wonderful automaton I have ever met.
CLIFF: Nice. Oh shit, what’d the asshole say now?
LARRY: He’s trying to convince Gertrude that Rita’s only after his inheritance.
CLIFF: Aw shit, I remember this. Chief, Gerty and Rita are going to have a huuuge catfight.
RITA: Jessica simply wants her friend to know that just because her fiancée seemed like a good man didn’t mean he was one. No one is cruel every moment of the day, but just because you’ve been given a rare gift of kindness doesn’t mean you should go begging for more.
NILES: You star in such… interesting movies, Rita.
RITA: Of course I do! I don’t know why you’ve never watched this one with us. It really is a good film.
The year is 2019. LARRY, RITA, CLIFF, JANE, and VICTOR STONE are all sitting around the television. LARRY and CLIFF are sitting together, and LARRY is resting his head on CLIFF. JANE and RITA are sharing a bag of popcorn and staring at the television screen, which plays in the background. They all look slightly jet-lagged.
VIC: So, this is how you guys spend your time?
JANE: Manor doesn’t really have Wi-Fi. All we got is one shitty computer build in like, the 1990s that still needs to be hooked up to a rooter. This is basically all we have.
VIC: Damn, this place is sad.
RITA: You’re always welcome to leave.
VIC: I’m kidding! This place is great.
JANE: There’s no need to go overboard.
VIC: I’m not. Really, though, I want to apologize. I know I’ve been a little, uh, rough. I just wanted to prove to my dad I could do this without him, you know? That I’m Cyborg because of me, not because he’s in my head all day. I guess I got a little carried away.
LARRY: You were fine. I’d be pissed too, if my first team up was with us.
VIC: You guys aren’t that bad.
JANE: Cliff is. Apologize, Cliff.
CLIFF: Maybe I got a little carried away with pranking the new guy. I guess felt a little… threatened. I mean, what can I do to help when we’ve got you?
VIC: I can’t do anything right.
CLIFF: So? Neither can I. At least you were still trying!
RITA: We all need to work on our teamwork if we want to find Chief. I know a part of me was hoping that you’d come in and solve everything. It wasn’t very good sportsmanship, I suppose. But we all owe it to the Chief to be the best we can. Even if we’re, well, you know, not very good.
JANE: You’re perfect, Rita. Listen, all we have to do is put all our bullshit away for one night, and then go from there. If we can do it today, we can do it tomorrow. And then we’ll kick Nobody’s ass.
CLIFF: I like that plan. Nice and simple.
JANE: Hey, that’s all life is. Just those three steps. You do it today. You do it tomorrow. And then you do it some more, but a little better.
VIC: Maybe that’s where I messed up. I mean, stopping a super villain? Not easy. But I think I can do that, because I’ve been stopping muggings and stuff for a while. But you guys, you’re still on step one.
JANE: So, what are you saying?
VIC: That you shouldn’t feel bad. Whatever happened in Paraguay—man, I’m sure you all did your best. That’s all I can ask. I’ve been treating you guys like a Justice League trial run, but you’re not even heroes—no offense.
LARRY: None taken.
VIC: I think you guys could be great. I really do. You just don’t know what you’re doing. But since I kind of know how this stuff works, I can help with that.
JANE: So you’re our superhero coach now, huh?
RITA: I think that’s a splendid idea.
CLIFF: Well, we definitely can’t keep bullshitting our way out of shit.
There’s a comfortable silence as they all continue to watch the film. JANE finishes her popcorn and tosses the empty bag away. No one has the energy to complain about her littering.
RITA: You know, I think this is the first movie Larry and I watched together?
VIC: You don’t say.
RITA: You told me that Dinah was a ghost, remember? Because everyone seemed so intent on avoiding her.
LARRY: Sounds like something I’d say. Honestly, I just thought ghosts seemed nicer than the alternative, you know? Living with a family that refused to see you.
RITA: It is nicer. Of course, the real answer is that she was almost written out of the script. The director realized there was no need for her, so he told the writers to get rid of her. But there was some miscommunication, and they ended up finding an actress before they finalized the decision, so they had to write her back in!
LARRY: You never told me this.
RITA: I may have forgotten. Besides, I liked your version better. I know I tease you about it, but I like how romantic you made it seem. A young woman, following her sister around to ensure that one of them gets the happiness they so deserve. Yes, it was much stranger than the intended story, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t better.
JANE: And here I thought you said your pictures were perfect.
RITA: Everything about me is perfect, darling. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.