Workshop Wednesday

As we continue episode two of The Follower we get more plot development. Not a whole lot of action here, but plenty of inter-cut scenes bouncing back and forth between heroes and villains. Good character development for Apathy, too, which is nice since that character really needs to a do a lot to be someone people can cheer for.

Remember to catch up on the previous adventures of The Follower in the Works of Mike FinkelsteinWhat's that, you want to read various creative works from Asteroid G Lead Editor Mike Finkelstein? Well, if that's what you want... archive before reading this section.

The Follower: Episode 2, Part 2

"Rock 'n Roll Horror Show" Continued

INT: CITY STADIUM, AUDITORIUM, NIGHT.

FADE IN

We see the three heroes sitting in their decent seats as the crowd mills around on the floor by the stage.

SFX: Loud crowd noise.

OBVIOUS:

He's just "DUDE"?! That's his superhero name?!

APATHY:

Don't ask me. Before the bottle hit him, he was Bruce.

OBVIOUS:

It's a terrible superhero name.

APATHY shrugs.

APATHY:

Whatever happened, he became some whack-job superhero. Kept calling himself DUDE, running around the crowd, breaking up mosh pits and trying to fight crime. Total buzz-kill for our shows...

INT: CHINTZY CLUB, BACKSTAGE, NIGHT, PAST.

We see the two grunge rockers arguing.

APATHY:

DUDE! You're hurting the show.

DUDE:

Nonsense, I'm just making it safe for all.

APATHY:

Yeah, and ruining the energy of the crowd. We used to sell out these small venues. Now our shows are barely half full.

DUDE:

It's for the good of all citizens. People need safety.

APATHY:

I need to ROCK, man!

APATHY stands up.

APATHY:

Look, if you wanna do this whole strange superhero gig, that's fine, but I'm out. I gotta be part of a success, man. Gotta get my music out there.

DUDE:

We can do both.

APATHY:

Not with you chasing off the fans. The music needs listeners, people that can feel it and rock to it. Without the people, rock dies... or worse, never really lives at all. I have to play to people, man.

APATHY picks up his guitar.

APATHY:

I'm out. I gotta find a new gig.

APATHY heads out the back door.

EXT: CITY STREETS, CRUDDY PART OF TOWN, NIGHT, PAST.

We see Apathy wandering a random street. He walks past a bar playing some rock music loud enough to be heard through the doors.

MUSIC: Jammin' rock, played over jukebox.

He spies a set of concrete stairs and pulls out his guitar, playing a riff.

MUSIC: Simple guitar riff.

APATHY taps his foot and gets into it a little, mumbling along with the song from time to time.

APATHY:

...throw me round... (mumbles) ...reality brings me down...

A man walking down the street throws a dollar on the ground near Apathy's guitar case. Apathy stops playing, and just looks at the money.

SFX: LOUD ALARM.

APATHY:

(sigh)

He shrugs and packs up his guitar. He leaves the money on the ground as he walks towards the sound of the alarm.

SFX: Tire squeal.

A car comes tearing into the shot and then shoots off down the road.

SFX: Police sirens.

Police cars speed into view, driving towards the sound of the alarms. APATHY wanders towards the scene of the crime, and we see, in the distance, FOLLOWER running towards the cops.

INT: CITY STADIUM, REFRESHMENTS LINE, NIGHT.

APATHY:

That was when I met up with FOLLOWER.

FOLLOWER:

And we formed our team!

APATHY:

Well, you did say you had a couch I could crash on.

OBVIOUS:

And after that, I joined up with you guys.

FOLLOWER:

Yeah, that was a funny story.

Everyone laughs. Then they just go back to standing in line.

EXT: ETIQUETTE'S NIGHT CLUB, NIGHT.

We see a couple of goons, GUS and NORM, standing out front, smoking. As we focus in on them, they finish up and go inside, and we follow them.

INT: ETIQUETTE'S NIGHT CLUB, BACK HALLS, NIGHT.

The goons head into the side hallways, navigating to a small canteen area with a kitchenette, microwave and fridge. There are motivational posters up, because those things always appear in break rooms. There are also a couple of tables near a dingy TV (playing an old western), one of which a couple of goons are playing cards at. The lighting comes from crummy hanging lamps. The place is painted brown and looks dingy enough that the TV fits right in.

GUS and NORM walk past the kitchenette and head to another set of doors. Through here we head into the basement.

INT: ETIQUETTE'S NIGHT CLUB, BASEMENT, NIGHT.

This hallways features a number of jail cells. BRUISE and a couple of other goons, BUCK and SVEN, are already there. In the cell, we see MARSHA STEINGARDEN and her PA. The PA looks scared, but MARSHA is just walking around, studying the decor.

MARSHA:

This could really use a nice throw rug...

BRUISE turns to all four goons.

BRUISE:

She's been doing this all day? Talkin' bout artwork and things she'd do?

BUCK:

Yeah, but she did compliment the floor.

MARSHA:

Rustic. Quite striking.

Everyone looks down, then the bad guys just look back up, rather embarrassed.

NORM:

Man, how long we gotsta stand round here?

GUS:

Yeah, boss. When we gonna see some action?

BRUISE:

I dunno what the big man has planned, but the orders are to stay put and not start stuff early. We just have to keep the STEINGARDEN dame stashed here.

The goons nod at this, but don't seem pleased. BUCK thinks for a sec, and then gets an idea.

BUCK:

Boss, we're just not supposed to mess with this plan, right?

BRUISE nods.

BUCK:

Well, what if we pulled some other, small job? You know, totally unrelated to this scheme?

BRUISE:

Whatcha thinkin'?

BUCK:

Just a little smash and grab.

NORM:

That concert heist you been plannin' for the last month?

BUCK:

Yeah.

The goons all nod and seem pleased.

BRUISE:

What concert heist?

INT: CITY STADIUM, AUDITORIUM, NIGHT.

We see the heroes in their seats, watching the concert.

MUSIC: Terrible hair metal.

Apathy and Obvious both look bored, while Follower listens intently, if not totally absorbed by the music. The crowd, sadly, is eating it up. The song ends, and we see DUDE on stage.

DUDE:

We are Silent Agony! Goodnight city! Whoooooo!

SFX: Rambunctious audience applause.

The lights dim, then the overhead lights go on. Some of the people stand up and start milling about, while other just stay seated.

FOLLOWER:

Now what?

OBVIOUS:

Generally, there's a small intermission between the opening act and the first half of the headlining performance.

APATHY:

I say we split and check out the scene backstage.

The heroes all nod and then get up and head to the halls. The camera pans past a concrete column, and we...

CROSSFADE

INT: CITY STADIUM, BACKSTAGE, NIGHT.

The heroes walk out from behind a column and head up to a couple of bouncers. The show their passes and the bouncers let them in.

INT: CITY STADIUM, PARTY ROOM, NIGHT.

Groupies, roadies, and band members from Silent Agony mill about, drinking and eating. The heroes walk in and DUDE comes up to them.

DUDE:

Hey, guys, what'd you think of the performance?

FOLLOWER:

It was very engaging.

OBVIOUS does a little nod, while APATHY makes it plain he didn't, as always, care much at all.

DUDE:

Well, come on into my dressing room. I'd love to reminisce for a while. Talk about the good old days with my man here.

They nod, and follow DUDE back to another door.

INT: ETIQUETTE'S NIGHT CLUB, GOON KITCHENETTE, NIGHT.

We're back with the goons and BRUISE. We see them standing around a table in the bad guy lounge. A large dry-erase board has been setup on the table. BUCK dumps some pens and some Risk pieces on the table, and starts drawing the layout of the auditorium.

BUCK:

I had a buddy that use ta work round the arena. He got ta do runs for the bank once in a while, but he never took anything. Never had the right cover. He tol me that they use ta get a good 10 grand in there sometimes. Sometimes more, but only when the big acts were in town.

BUCK starts to set up the pieces. Blue in the hallways, red in the backstage areas, green and yellow in the offices and around lots of the access hallways and food counters.

BRUISE:

So we aren't talkin a huge score here.

BUCK:

Not big time, no. Just easy money. On the table, the blue is for the regular folk. Red is the performers and stuff. Green is employees of the arena, while yellow is security.

There isn't much green or yellow, and a lot less yellow than green.

NORM:

You seem to know a lot about what goes on there.

BUCK:

I hung out with this guy a lot. He kept going on and on about it sometimes. I kept my eyes and ears open, and learned what I could. Security is just rent-a-cops. Run in there, wave some guns, they'll drop easily without even a spot of violence. We're in, out, and just like that, 10 stacks richer.

The others nod ascent. BUCK beings to point out the path to take.

BUCK:

Okay, so NORM, You're going to want to...

INT: CITY STADIUM, DUDE'S DRESSING ROOM, NIGHT.

We see the heroes, and DUDE, lounging around in the room. APATHY doesn't look at all pleased to be there.

DUDE:

So, after you split the group, I took some time off and really thought about the music and where I wanted to take things. Jimmy... you remember him, used to play bass for Drowned Llama.

APATHY:

Yeah, that weak band that used to run around on stage and act like idiots.

OBVIOUS:

You just described every band.

DUDE:

Anyway we got together and started jamming. A producer heard us one time, helped us by changing our sound, and Silent Agony really came about soon thereafter.

FOLLOWER:

It's good to see there aren't any hard feelings about the band breakup.

DUDE:

Naw, I'm enjoying the new band, and I have to say, the music is better than ever.

DUDE gives APATHY a friendly elbow nudge.

DUDE:

Even better than with 2 Day.

APATHY:

2 Day was growing just fine. We had a good following.

DUDE:

Yeah, but I got a big following now.

APATHY:

How? By selling out. You're just playing the music your producer tells you.

DUDE:

He's helping us sell records.

APATHY:

It's not about the records, man. It's about the music. It's about letting the music live and experiencing it with the fans.

DUDE:

You've always been like this, man. You don't see the big picture.

APATHY huffs.

APATHY:

I'm the only one that sees it, apparently.

DUDE:

Oh yeah, how? Hanging out all day, doing what? I haven't seen you on stage lately.

FOLLOWER:

Actually, he's doing something much bigger now. He's a superhero.

APATHY looks really uncomfortable at this.

DUDE:

You stole my bit?

APATHY:

I mean, no...

DUDE:

No way, man, this is too great. You left the band because I had a great thought about safety and protecting people, only to go out and do the thing I was doing. You've always lived in my shadow. Now I'm great and you're jealous.

APATHY:

Of what, a sellout "superhero" that dances around in tights and never fights evil.

OBVIOUS:

Uh, Apathy, we don't fight much either.

APATHY:

This moron finds a producer, sells his soul to the corporate gods, and now he's mister big shot, thinkin' he's better than everyone else.

DUDE:

I never said that!

APATHY:

You know it's what you were getting at.

DUDE:

No, but now that you mention it, you're right. You became a useless nothing when you left 2 Day.

APATHY:

Whatever. Look, guys, I'm getting a beer.

APATHY walks off. OBVIOUS nods over to FOLLOWER and goes after APATHY. FOLLOWER stays behind.

DUDE:

Really gripes me, man. He's always had the attitude that his music was the only way to do music. Like, his scene was the best. He never could take it I had a different act that was workin'.

FOLLOWER:

...act?

DUDE:

The hero gig. Great way to sell records. Make yourself up, act like those guys in the comic books... it's a great gimmick.

FOLLOWER:

But I thought you were a hero...

DUDE:

Oh, don't get me wrong, I like the scene man, but it's a means to an end. Fool only now realizes that, and he's tryin' to cut in on my action.

INT: CITY STADIUM, REFRESHMENTS LINE, NIGHT.

APATHY is standing, very grumpy, in the regular refreshments line. OBVIOUS comes running up.

OBVIOUS:

He's just trying to get under your skin.

APATHY:

I know.

OBVIOUS:

He's the one that's jealous of you and your musical talent so he's trying to make you feel worthless.

APATHY:

I know.

OBVIOUS:

So what are you gonna do about it?

APATHY reaches the front of the line.

APATHY:

I'd like a beer.

INT: CITY STADIUM, DUDE'S DRESSING ROOM, NIGHT.

FOLLOWER and incensed, trying to reason with DUDE.

FOLLOWER:

APATHY isn't a hero to make money.

DUDE:

Sure, man. Whatever.

FOLLOWER:

Really. He's an essential part of the team. He helps to fight the good fight on the streets.

DUDE:

Whatever man. That guy could care less. He's all about his music.

FOLLOWER:

Yeah, well I'll prove to you he's a hero.

FOLLOWER stands up and charges off after APATHY and OBVIOUS. DUDE follows.

FADE TO BLACK.

COMMERCIAL BREAK.

End Episode 2, Part 2:

After the setup for Marsha Steingarten in the first part of the episode, she takes a backseat here. Her plot is more of a slow burn, so we'll eventually have that come to a head, probably in the next episode or so.

Dude was a tad different in the original rough draft of his character. Instead of being a corporate sell-out faking his superhero shtick, he was actually changed when the water bottle hit his head, really thinking he was a superhero. I found that character too hard to write, though, so I ditched it, making him more of a villainous hack.

Although this episode isn't very action-oriented, it is pretty funny. Over all I'm pleased with how this section turned out. I do look forward to getting to the fighting in the episode's conclusion, though.