THE COCKROACH KING
a script by Josh Sheets
Two hands hover in outer space, disembodied phantoms.
There are stories out there that look into us, to see all who we are, to terrify and astound……these are the Night Shift Stories.
As the narrator speaks we see the two phantom hands typing a keyboard flying through space.
P/O from a man sitting on his couch typing into a laptop in his lap, the screen glows blue up at him and he reaches to the side and behind him to turn off the lamp to DARK.
A man sits on a stool by his counter top and looks down at what is on the counter. He is thinking to himself.
(The man’s name is Riley)
You know where you were the last time you saw it.
Now he is down on his hands and knees looking at where the cabinet and floor meet and following the line of the cabinet and floor out, moving the stool to the side as he does. He crawls along the floor.
You were standing right there the last time you saw them. Remember?
We cut to Riley writhing around and half screaming, alone in his living room with the TV on at night. His back arcs and he begins to cry out as the camera looses focus and fades quickly to black.
We’re back in the kitchen
Riley is up and off of the floor, dusting his hands off on his jeans. A regular joe.
So, you remember.
Riley sits down at the round dining table and lays his arm across it. He scratches his head.
Cut to a pretty brown haired girl who is curvaceous and smiling a rapscallion smile while she talks, but we can’t hear what she’s saying. The man she is talking to is wearing a straw cowboy hat, but we can’t see his face. They are in the kitchen of a trailer, it is night outside.
You remember when she came home.
The sun is bright outside above Riley as he lays on his stomach in the galley of a sail boat, trying to tighten a leaky seal. He stares in concentration and his whole body is concentrated on his pointer finger and thumb as they turn a but onto a bolt a little bit at a time. The he tightens down the nut with a small long socket. He is done. He sits up and looks up through the gunwale of the sailboat at the sky for a moment and then stands up and pulls the cover back over the engine compartment and begins to pick up his tools and put them in the green canvas tool bag he carries his tools in. He leaves the boat, shutting the gunwale up after he steps out of it, one board at a time, closing out the light.
Cut to Riley driving his truck home. He stops at a gas station to put gas in his truck, then runs in to grab a drink.
The sun is going down, but not fast.
Riley pulls into the driveway of his little cottage. There is a light on in the kitchen window with old lace curtains in the window. Talon is standing the kitchen.
She is the pretty brown haired girl with her hair pulled back in a pony tail. She is beautiful where she stands at the stove and cooks sauteed muscles and shapley, but not dressed provocatively, and yet her clothes are kind to her shape. Riley can be seen walking through the yard and up to the front door which he walks into. He comes into the kitchen and Talon reaches behind her with a beer for him. Riley smiles, takes the beer and grabs Talon’s ass affectionately and kiss her on the back of the neck. Talon smiles and closes her eyes for a moment. Riley slips his arms under Talon’s and holds her breast for a moment, nuzzling her neck for a moment and then switching his beer to the hand he held Talon’s breast with.
Get. (she points a spatula at him)
(trying and failing not to laugh) I gave you your beer, now get!
(lighting a cigarette) Alright alright.
Harley is a little kid, she is half black, she comes walking around the corner from the living room into the kitchen.
You watchin’ Spaa Bob back there? Spaa Bob Small Pants.
No, daddy it’s Sponge. (she looks up at him)
I know what it is…..
(from the stove) Y’all go outside.
She waves them away without looking at them and picks up her beer bottle and takes a drink and then reaches over for her cigarette. She is the perfect pale skinned, dark haired, curvaceous trailer park southern belle.
The sun is finally setting and Riley and Harley are standing out in the yard.
Alright I got a new game. (he holds up a soccer ball) You’re gonna run and I’m gonna throw the ball at you. Are you ready?
Get ready! (playfully) But you don’t have to run fast.
Harley runs at an easy trot and Riley lobs the soccer ball at her feet. She trips over the soccer ball and falls over on it. She sits up laughing. Riley is laughing too.
Alright bring it back to me!
(off Harley bringing the ball back)
Are you ready to go again?
In the yellow sunlight, Harley runs and Riley throws the ball.
At the table Riley and Harley are eating they’re food. Talon is sitting on the couch in the living room indian style watching wrestling and drinking a beer. She raises her hands up as Batista does a power bomb on someone. The phone beside her lights up. She doesn’t notice.
At the table. Harley looks down and a small cock roach is running across the table toward her plate.
Riley looks over and swats at the bug, trying to kill it and almost knocking the condiments off of the table.
God fucking damn it!
Hey! Don’t cuss like that in front of her!
I was trying to kill a bug!
Well you can kill a fucking bug without cussing.
Riley snickers and nudges Harley.
You know what I mean!
(tries not to laugh) Shut up!
Riley and Talon are having sex on there large old bed in the light of there open closet.
In the living room Harley sleeps on the couch with the TV flooding the room with blue light.
Outside the stars sit in the sky.
Riley drives his truck around the bay heading back to the boat he was working on. He stops in a drive through for breakfast. His cell phone rings. He looks at the number. His eyes have lightning in them and they grow hard. He answers the phone, flipping it open and putting it to his ear but not saying anything. He waits. No one on the other end speaks. They hang up. He looks down at his phone.
Cut to Riley walking along the docks texting. We see the screen in his hand as the text conversation progresses
-who is this
-i’ve been talking to talon
-well I don’t know if she told you this but this is my phone and she is living with me
-i don’t know but I don’t like it
Riley puts the phone in his shirt pocket and walks down to the boat, stepping on board.
His eyes burn with concentration in his dive mask under water as he tightens a bolt onto a zinc on the prop shaft.
We see Riley come up out of the water and sit on the dock dripping wet. He is well built. He pulls his dive mask off and then begins to unclip his fins from off of his feet. It is quiet while he packs up his gear on the dock by the boat.
Riley’s Cottage/Late afternoon
Riley comes through the door, just about breaking it in. He scoffs across the living room and goes to the fridge to grab a beer.
Talon is sitting on the couch in a pair of short shorts and a tank top. She whips her head around and looks at Riley standing by the fridge taking a drink of beer.
What the fuck is wrong with you?
Riley walks over to where she is near enough to drop the phone by her leg on the couch.
Your boyfriend called me today. He sent me a text message. You can read them.
He is quiet. He leaves the room to go stand in the kitchen. Then he comes back across the living room and goes outside in a whoosh through the whole room. He passes the window heading to the back yard.
Through a window in the back yard we see Talon and Riley arguing, Talon turning and twisting words at Riley with her arms facing him bent down by her hips. She’s giving it to him good. We hear Riley screaming cuss words and slamming his fist into the wall, but we can’t hear what they are saying. Talon is packing her bags and speaking loudly while doing so.
Ext Riley house/Morning
The front door of the cottage opens and Talon steps out in a quick walk with bags over her shoulder and she is holding Harley by her hand and pulling her along. A truck is parked at the curb. Talon walks all the way across the yard and is within thirty feet of the truck when Riley appears in the open doorway.
He has caught up to Talon as she nears the truck. An older looking man with a beard and cowboy hat steps out of the truck, taking Talon’s bag while she put Harmony in the truck, placing her in the middle of the bench seat of the old truck.
What the fuck are you doing? Where the fuck are you going?
(rounding on Riley) Fuck you! I’m leavin’! You think you’re so smart? And you haven’t figured that shit out by now? Shit.
Talon steps up into the truck and shuts the door. The older man with the beard shoots a look at Riley as he makes a quick escape around the truck and opens the front door to hop in. The truck has been left on idle and it takes off. Riley is left standing in the yard watching them drive away.
Int Riley’s cottage/Night
Riley is getting drunk and walking around the cottage, looking around at everything. He is a mess and drinks beer after beer. He finally calms down and kicks off his shoes and then pulls off his socks and sits down on the couch to watch TV.
Cut to the beer bottle Riley holds in his hand while he sleeps on the couch. His head is kicked back and he snores once or twice. One foot is sitting on top of one of his knees. A large cockroach is on his toes. It slobbers onto his toe and moves its mandibles around on the skin of his toe. Riley’s eyes slowly open and he looks down at his foot with the roach on his big toe. He jumps and cries out and the roach falls to the ground and lands on the floor. It is laying on its back in the floor. Riley gets up, keeping an eye on the roach while he grabs one of his shoes. When he goes to whack the roach it jumps up at the last minute and runs away.
You little fucking bastard!
He chases after the roach who gets away from him.
Int. trailer house/Night
Harley is asleep on a couch in a living room. The blue TV light changes with commercials and TV shows.
Talon takes a drink of beer from her bottle and is talking with someone. He wears a straw cowboy hat and has brushy blonde hair sticking out from under it. She leans her pelvis into his and he reaches around her to hold her by the small of her back.
Everyone always said you were gay, but I knew you weren’t.
(she leans to the blonde man and speaks with her mouth close to his)
You just wanted this ass the whole time.
The blonde man grabs ahold of Talon’s ass in her shorts shorts. She takes the straw cowboy hat from off of his head and puts it on her own, taking a drink of beer as she does so.
(his face is obscured) How did you know? I mean I had all those boyfriends.
Well, let’s just say I know where I stand with men, even you.
Ohhhh, so we’re cocky now are we?
No, I mean, you may GET cocky here in a few minutes.
The blonde man leans in to kiss Talon, his mouth hovering close to hers.
Int Riley’s cottage/Night
Riley is passed out on his mattresses on the floor of his bedroom. The bed has been taken apart and is leaning against the back wall of the bedroom. He is shirtless and lying in boxer briefs diagonally across the bed.
There are whispers conversing in the dark of the bedroom.
Why shouldn’t we? You heard him. The kind said he was done.
Yes yes, but he still will serve a purpose for the king, so we must not touch him!
There are scratching noises coming from the attic above Riley’s bedroom. We see that two cockroaches are standing near the door way. Their antennas rub together where they stand. They look up to the ceiling. Riley wakes up and sits up in bed and looks down at the two cockroaches in the floor.
The small wooden lid covering the opening of the attic is open.
Riley slings the covers off of himself and moves to stand up. The cockroaches run away as he stands up.
Little fucking bastards.
The two cockroaches run up the wall toward the attic opening. Riley grabs a can of spray and climbs the shelves that lead up to the opening of the attic. He sprays the bugs down with poison and kills them. There is movement, like a scuttling of legs, that comes from the attic. Riley become angered and knocks the thin wooden cover to the side and sticks his head up into the attic, bringing the poison up into the small space where his head is, looking into the attic.
We see Riley’s head inside the attic with his hand holding the can of spray ready. Light comes up from under his head from the house below. He suddenly dips down out of sight and we are left with an open square of light with a small view of the house underneath. After a few beats, Riley comes back with a flash light. He shines it into the attic.
We see where the light is being played into the depths of the attic. Then the light sits still when it stops on something brown and smooth. It is the back of a gigantic cockroach, three feet long. We see antenna moving around but the cock roach is facing away from us. Then it turns and looks over its shoulder at Riley. Riley cries out in surprise and falls down the shelves. He shines the light up to the opening of the attic in time to see the cover being moved back into place by something unseen.
Riley looks around. Then he stands up and walks into his bedroom to put on shorts. When he steps out of his bedroom he realizes that there are cockroaches everywhere in his cottage. They begin to fly off of the walls. They are everywhere and more are coming out of the walls. They begin to crawl up his legs and into his shorts. Riley starts flipping out and screaming and crying out as he tries to keep the cockroaches off of him.
Ext Riley’s cottage/Night
A mexican vato is standing across the street from Riley’s cottage talking on his cell phone. He is looking over at Riley’s cottage.
Yeah I don’t know where this bitch across the street went, but I think she left that nigga. Yeah, she was fine as fuck too. She come back around Imona halla. Yeah, yeah that’s what’s up. We run a train on that bitch. (laughs)
Riley comes bursting out of the cottage, slinging his arms and kicking his legs. He drops his shorts and then his underwear and slaps at himself naked across the large yard from where the vato stands (all seen from a distance.)
(watching Riley from across the large yard)
I can kinda see why she left that nigga now. Motherfucker’s dancing around nekked in his front yard slapping himself and shit.
A tired looking Indian man is standing behind the counter of his store watching Riley approach outside through the window. Riley enters the store and walks quickly up to the counter and bumps into it. He coughs.
Hey buddy how’s it going?
(waits a beat, staring into Riley’s face)
Riley doesn’t say anything, but he coughs again and a cock roach falls onto the counter.
The Indian store owner is mortified and backs away from the counter, bumping into the cigarette rack.
Talon and the blonde cowboy are taking shots. Talon has a small plate of salt in front of her on the counter. The cowboy steps up behind her as she is cutting limes and reaches up to feel of her breasts and kiss the side of her neck. Her eyes roll and she stops cutting limes.
Better than the guy you left?
Mmmm. That motherfucker couldn’t even keep bugs out of the house.
I gotta piss baby I’ll be right back.
The blonde guy smacks Talon’s ass as he leaves the kitchen. He walks down a back hallway. Someone knocks on the front door of the trailer house. Two knocks. Talon freezes. Her eyes look from their corners as she stands at the counter. Behind her in the BG the blonde guy stops and slumps against the wall, sliding down. He groans and coughs.
In an instant Riley is standing next to Talon. He takes her by the arm and violently turns her toward him. His skin is gray and his eyes are white. There is black liquid seeping from the corners of his eyes and from between his teeth as he smiles and takes Talon’s face in his hand. Then he drags thumb nail across the back of his hand and cock roaches begin to crawl out of the cut he has made with his thumb nail. He leans toward Talon and opens his mouth to kiss her and cock roaches come out of his mouth. They fall to the floor and on Talon. Small and large cock roaches are crawling out of the cut on Riley’s hand and crawling all over Talon’s face and up her nose and into her mouth. She can’t get away from Riley’s grip. The cock roaches begin to fill her mouth and nostrils. They are coming out of Riley in a flood and covering Talon’s head. He let’s her go and she falls to the floor with her mouth and nose stuff full of cock roaches. She is writhing on the floor, but it doesn’t last long. She dies, choking on cock roaches.
In the hallway, the blonde guy rolls over onto his back. His stomach bulges and moves, then relaxes and goes down. The blonde guy’s body convulses once, even though he is clearly dead.
In the kitchen Talon is still lying on the floor with her mouth and nostrils stuffed full of cock roaches.
Riley is nowhere to be seen.
The blonde man’s throat bulges and his mouth slowly opens. Antenna move around from inside his mouth. After a few beats of this the Cock Roach King crawls out of the blonde guy’s mouth. Two feet of cock roach slide out of the blonde guy’s mouth. It crawls across the kitchen floor, stopping at Talon’s body to wave its antenna over her face and breasts, and then it moves to the front door, pushing it open. Harley continues to sleep on the couch. The giant cock roach crawls down the front steps of the trailer house. Two dogs hide from it under the house and whimper. It crawls across the front yard toward the street and as it moves its wings we see Riley’s face embedded into the giant cock roach’s back as it crawls down into the drain on the side of the street.
Yes, you DO remember.
Riley continues to look at the bottom of his cabinet. He stands up and dusts off his the knees of his jeans. Afterward he walks over to his trash can and takes the full garbage bag from the can and ties the end closed. Then he takes the garbage bag outside of his new apartment and walks around to a back alley to throw his trash into a dumpster. There is a large pile of trash of near the dumpster.
The trash moves and begins to fall away from a gigantic cockroach, larger the Riley, as it moves out from under the pile of trash.
(in a deep dooming voice)
You DO remember, don’t you?
The gigantic cockroach moves toward Riley, who is paralyzed with fear. The gigantic cock roach takes Riley by his shoulders and drools all over his head before he bites it off in one snap of it mandibles. There are crunching noises as it chews up his head, holding his shaking body upright while doing so.