PULLING A GEORGE LUCAS: The ending to “We Are Golden”

(we switch from BILL’s worried face in bed to his worried face in an office, sitting in a chair. His hair is still a bit askew, tie undone, shirt rumpled. He is not as together as when we saw him in the show’s beginning. We see him staring directly into the camera, looking worried enough to vomit. It’s obvious that he’s being talked to over a polished wooden desk with lots of papers and inspirational bric-a-brac festooned upon it… but we do not hear what’s being said.)

BILL: (responding after a long pause and an audible gulp.)
I… I understand. Completely. Understand completely… I just didn’t think I was really doing anything wrong, I’m sorry… hm? What was that? Well yes, I guess it could put the wrong ideas into the student’s heads but, well… I was trying to create a very open learning environment, you know… open dialogues with the students, no secrets. We’re supposed to connect with them, right?

I see. I understand. Yes, I suppose it could have ended badly. Yes, I will take any of the backlash that might come from the parents or the district. I understand. I’m sorry for causing all this trouble… it wasn’t my… my intent, to cause trouble. I was just… I was just being honest with the students… (he laughs nervously) is that so bad?

Right, right… I understand. There can be such a thing as too much connection with the students, I understand.

(we see the door open behind him, and MARY walks in, still looking the same as she did in the opening number: red flannel, black jeans, blonde ponytail. she is NOT happy. The BOY follows her, quietly and meekly.)

MARY: What the fuck is this shit?

(BILL casts a nervous look in her direction, but tries to ignore it as he’s obviously listening to the person still giving him a dressing down. The BOY attempts to shush her, and she raises a hand, causing the BOY to flinch and fall silent. MARY begins to shout, trying to steal his attention away. Obviously, she is unseen to all except BILL and the audience.)

MARY: You’ve got to be fucking kidding me! You’re apologizing? You’re APOLOGIZING?! You’re saying you’re sorry for having feeling, for being who you are? You’re apologizing… for me? I’m you, I’m who you really are, why should you apologize?!

BILL: (to the invisible superintendent) Yes, I understand. It could have been dangerous. Yes, the students are impressionable, I just…
(he gives a nervous smile and humbles his shoulders. This drives MARY further into a rage.)

MARY: (standing to one side of the chair, arms akimbo)
So you were talking about hermaphroditic organisms, and the kids were making a fuss. You tried to open their heads, make them think beyond girl and boy…mentioned even you get in touch with your feminine side…with me… and you’re apologizing for it, I can’t fucking believe it. You speak your mind, and you have to apologize. You were trying to help those kids! You were trying to get them to use their fucking brains for a change! You were trying to tell them to put down the crack pipe and stop acting like idiots… isn’t that your fucking JOB?!

(standing on the other side of the chair, wringing his arms)
BOY: Don’t be so cruel, please…

BILL: I won’t do it again. I understand… what? Is it true? Well, yes, I have questioned…doesn’t everyone?

I see…

MARY: Christ… all you were trying to do is make them more tolerant, and here THEY are, trying to shut YOU up! You could sue, you could fuck ’em up royally… but you won’t, will you?

BILL: Leave with pay? You want me… to leave?

MARY: You wimp, you spineless fool, you fucking PUSSY! Yeah, that’s right, run away! Run away, like you always do! Run away from me! Run away from YOU!

BOY: You’re not running away, Bill…

MARY: SHUT UP, KID!

BILL: Yes, I’ll come back. I can teach other grades, yes… I’ll do it. Thank you. Thank you.

(he stands up and makes to shake a hand, and MARY hurls his chair across the room. She causes Holy Havoc around the office: ripping books off walls, upsetting tables, messing up the desk as the song starts, MARY in a mocking, nasal tone, referring to BILL, the BOY, and the unseen accuser.)

MARY:
What’s the matter with going places?
Take that gross look off your faces
Empty lovin’ makes me seasick
What you’re here for, I don’t need it

(she moves in close to BILL’s face as he’s standing there, half in and half out of reality.)
Sing nothing on your microphone
til you swear to take me home
(she points to the BOY, scathingly)
There’s a one foot boy, eleven stone
Sittin on my shoulder

BOY: (meekly.)
I’m too scared to look away,
Comes here almost everyday

MARY: (circling around BILL and shoving the BOY. Poking him in the chest.)
And everyday I push him off
And tell him boy we’re over

BILL: (putting his head in his hands)
my oh my
I think my mind is gone and left here
wondering why it’s crazy all alone
what do I do
Nothin’ left but pray
Gonna shoot somebody
Help me drive this craziness away
I’m happy on my own

BOY: (in a long, drawn out, sad wail)
Don’t stay! Get lost in you/rescue me

MARY: (still mocking)
One foot boy, (she repeats this four times, with BILL constantly underneath droning)

BILL:
I’m happy on my own
I’m happy on my own
I’m happy on my own
I’m happy on my…

MARY: (cutting him off. The scene moves farther into a black void, not unlike the “Good Gone Girl” segment.)

Say you like me, not with changes
Shut up and forget it, these are my faces

(she again gestures to BILL and the BOY)

All these colours, that surround me

(she drops a large rainbow flag behind the proceedings, grinning. Various pictures of the same idea start to roll in the background as if on a slide show.)

All these places, only drown me

(she moves in again, right into BILL’s ear.)

Sing nothing on your microphone
til you swear to take me home
There’s a one foot boy, eleven stone
Sittin on my shoulder

BILL: (taking the BOY’s line, as the BOY is now almost completely silent.)

I’m too scared to look away,
Comes here almost everyday

MARY:
And everyday I push him off
And tell him boy we’re over

BILL: (standing bolt upright, tense, trying to keep it together.)
my oh my
I think my mind is gone and left here
wondering why it’s crazy all alone
what do I do
Nothin left but pray
Gonna shoot somebody
Help me drive this craziness away
I’m happy on my own

BOY: (wailing again in descant)
Don’t stay! Get lost in you/rescue me

MARY: (reveling as she’s obviously winning this fight)
What’s the matter with going places?
Take that gross look off your faces
Empty lovin’ makes me seasick
What you’re here for, I don’t need it

BOY:
Don’t stay! Get lost in you/rescue me

MARY:
One foot boy, one foot boy, one foot boy, one foot boy

BILL: (crumpling, pulling at his hair, leaving the last phrase to be sung solo.)
I’m happy on my own, I’m happy on my own
I’m happy on my own.

(the two aspects disappear in a flash, and BILL is back in front of the desk, but very, very pale. He nods and, with rubbery legs, exits the office. We see a tracking shot following him, rolling backwards as he walks forwards, his head and shoulders framed in the shot. In a shock reveal, MARY reappears from offscreen to the right, walking beside him.)

MARY: You can’t get rid of me that easily. I’m you. As much as you hate me, I’m you, and you can’t be rid of me!

(the boy enters the hallway on the left side of the screen, over his right shoulder.)
BOY: Please be careful, please. Think it through, remember… think about it…please…

(MARY rounds on the BOY and knocks him out with one vicious punch. The BOY crumples to the floor, and it is MARY and BILL exiting the office. They pass an auditorium as MARY goads him further.)

MARY: That’s better! (she grins wolfishly) Now… let me try this again…

(she walks in front of him, making him stop short. She beckons him into the darkened auditorium as lights magically kick on, showing a puppet stage set up in the spotlight. A bouncy tune starts up, completely jarring, as MARY begins the puppet show. A marionette puppet representation of BILL as a young boy [no goatee] hops onto the stage and begins singing, half in MARY’s voice and half in his.)

BILL PUPPET:
I’m a wind-up toy in an up down world
If you leave me all alone, I’ll make a mess for sure
I’ve a heart of gold in the smallest size
Leave me in the dark, you’ll never hear me cry

(various “puppet dancing” a la Pinnochio)
More than an illustration
Points of articulation
Come to life on a brass spring
Such a wonderful plaything

(a puppet in a red and gray striped sweater flies in. the BILL puppet moves toward it.)
It’s a cruel cross that I have to bear
If you come a little close I’m going to pull your hair
More than just a toy in a patched blue suit
Hold me in your arms I’m just a boy like you

(the two boy puppets embrace, but the one in red and gray pushes him away and sings half in MARY’s voice and half in JAKE’s. A puppet representation of a classical 1950s Mother flies in on the opposite side of the stage.)

JAKE PUPPET:
But your mama thought there was somethin’ wrong
Didn’t want you sleeping with a boy too long
It’s a serious thing in a grown-up world
Maybe you’d be better with a Barbie girl

(a puppet GEORGIA bops onto the stage, possibly with balloons in her shirt for obvious reasons. the BILL PUPPET speaks to the JAKE puppet, gesturing to the GEORGIA puppet.)

BILL PUPPET:
You knew that I adored-ya
But you left me in Georgia
Toys are not sentimental
How could I be for rental?

(the Mother puppet slowly gets a costume change until it looks like APRIL.)
She’s the meanest hag that has ever been

(the APRIL puppet starts to beat on the BILL one, comically but tragically.)

Pulled out my insides with an old safety pin
I’m the sorest sight, now I feel like trash
Clothes are made of rags and they don’t even match

(there is a flutter as the APRIL puppet puts him in a tuxedo)

So she dressed me up as the man she loved
Threw me in a box when she had had enough
Now the light of day I no longer see
She stuck her voodoo pins where my eyes used to be

(she does so. the lights go out for a bit, and go back up as the BILL puppet is back in his original outfit, but rumpled and still with the pins in his eyes.)

Accidentally tragic
Victim of her black magic
Had a boy once who loved me

(the JAKE puppet fades into the spotlight…)

Now he’s so afraid of me

(and fades out. The APRIL puppet fades in.)

On a long lost day when you’re gray and dull
You’ll be there remembering your old toy boy
When your oldest son wonderin’ what to be

(a puppet version of MARY emerges from the shadows. Close-up on the puppet as she sings the final line.)
Tell him the story of a boy like me

(There’s some light vocalizing as the song comes to a cheerful close and all fades to black. We see lights back up on a rather shabby, dilapidated basement apartment. Hardly any lights are on and the opening of the front door is a knife of light into the corneas of the viewer. APRIL enters, a little haggard looking and her hair is obviously shorter than we saw it before, in the awkward stage of growing back. She takes a step inside and locks the door, constantly wearing a troubled look. She takes a few nervous steps down and calls out)

APRIL: Bill? Are you in? One of the boys gave me a key… I was talking to the oldest a few days ago, he said you’re not doing…well… are you here?

(there is a long pause, then a familiar voice.)

VOICE: He’s not in the kitchen.

(APRIL cocks an eyebrow, she is quite confused and continues to enter.)

APRIL: Bill? Is that you? Are you all right? I know we haven’t talked in months, but… I’d like to talk to you…about you, and me… about us… I wanted to say I’m sorry. I think I may have overreacted, I was under a lot of stress… Bill? Can you hear me?

VOICE: Bill can’t hear you.

(APRIL continues down a dark hallway.)

APRIL: Bill, I know that’s you. Stop screwing around, will you? Youre…

(she screams upon entering the kitchen, finding BILL at the stove. He is dressed like Mary: red flannel shirt, black jeans, and an ill-fitting blonde wig in a ponytail. He looks awful, complete with a formerly shorn face now adorned with a five o’clock shadow. He has possibly gained weight, his eyes are bloodshot, his face drawn. APRIL recoils as a melancholy string line picks up the next song. He tries to sing it sultry, like a cabaret maven…and it’s not pretty.)

There’s a girl, thought she knew,
What her life was going to do,
Then she goes, and falls in love and throws it all away.

(lounging back against a kitchen counter.)

But her man, can’t decide,
If he’s made the right choice in life,
So she comes home on day to find he’s gone away.

(on the offensive, as MARY would do, getting in APRIL’s face.)

Put your heart back in your pocket,
Pick your love up off the floor
When your momma says you’re stopping,
But girl, let me tell you more:
If he’s 95 or 22,
A boy’s gonna do what he’s gonna do,

(a little shimmy.)

He says he don’t love you anymore,
So pick up off the floor.

(walking around the room, posturing like a Bond villain, cocky and smug)

Walks around an empty town,
Sees his face coming around,
Every corner takes on a similar stay.

Love is lost, life can burn,
But your luck will return,
But if you’re dragging it down you won’t know it’s there

(back to antagonize APRIL.)

Put your heart back in your pocket,
Pick your love up off the floor
When your momma says you’re stopping,
But girl, let me tell you more:
If he’s 95 or 22,
A boy’s gonna do what he’s gonna do,
He says he don’t love you anymore,
So pick up off the floor.

(APRIL backs away out of fear and a little bit of revulsion as MARY launches into another chorus. By the time MARY is done, APRIL is at the foot of the stairs, crying.)

Put your heart back in your pocket,
Pick your love up off the floor
When your momma says you’re stopping,
But girl, let me tell you more:
If he’s 95 or 22,
A boy’s gonna do what he’s gonna do,
He says he don’t love you anymore,
So pick up off the floor.

(during the bridge, he backs her up the stairs and back to the door.)
Pick your love, love, love
Pick up off the floor

(he is dangerously close to her, and she is mortified.)
Put your heart back in your pocket,
Pick your love up off the floor
When your momma says you’re stopping
But girl let me tell you more
If he’s 95 or 22
A boy’s gonna do what he’s gonna do
He says he don’t love you anymore
So pick up off the floor

(The opening line to “We Are Golden,” which would be used as a common theme in the score, comes back yet again, but this time in a horrific minor. APRIL puts a hand over her face and quickly exits, leaving MARY feeling very pleased with herself. However, as the shot slowly creeps up to MARY’s face, we see the smugness drain and a look of shock and realization show. One solitary tear starts to creep down BILL’s face as the next scene fades in with a rush of a commercial airliner and some mariachi music. The scene fades to a nice little cabana near an airport, somewhere near all those places stupid teenagers go on Spring Break in Mexico. A text appears along the bottom of the screen, telling us that it is one year later. There’s a slow panorama of the bar: we see some normal, everyday people enjoying their vacation: parents with loud young children, newlyweds drinking and celebrating love, and the odd businessman at a “meeting.” There’s one customer sitting at a small table in the center of the place, head hung over a rocks glass. It’s BILL, dressed as a man again, now fully gray and haggard, looking fifty but nearing forty and drinking to try to make himself feel better. He’s thinner, but looks a lot more worn, as if he hasn’t stopped crying since the last scene. The camera floats away from him as a new arrival shows up in the bar, bags in tow: APRIL, now also graying and worried, but smiling with a resolve to have a good time. She takes a deep breath of the sea air and fully enters the bar, searching for a place to sit. Her eyes see BILL and she freezes on the spot. Then, gathering her courage, she hitches up her bags again and walks on over, putting on a happy face. All around is the general noise of bar patrons. BILL is busy peering into his now empty glass when she finds him.)

APRIL: (with no shortage of sadness) Bill?

(he looks up and blanches.)

BILL: …

APRIL: Hi, Bill… it’s been a while, mind if I sit here?

BILL: (coughing nervously) Of course.

(she sits. There’s a long pause after a waiter takes her order.)

APRIL: (trying to be chipper)
So, what are the odds, huh?

BILL: …

APRIL: Imagine, the two of us picking this same place for vacation!

BILL: (sourly) Jake told me to go here.

APRIL: Oh, and Georgia… er, what are your plans, then?

BILL: (after a sigh) Got a big settlement a few years back. Claimed discrimination with the school board. They paid me a boatload to keep me quiet… so I’m busy blowing it all. (he raises his glass with a bitter flourish)
You?

APRIL: (a nervous laugh) Just on vacation, that’s all.

(another pause. Her drink arrives.)

APRIL: (mustering her courage) I see you don’t…uh…

BILL: I went back to Dr. John. We got Mary all taken care of.

(he takes a small bottle of pills out of the breast pocket of his ironically cheerful Hawaiian shirt. He shakes them gruffly.)

BILL: Turns out my Momma didn’t raise me right.

APRIL: Ah. (horridly uncomfortable) How long were you…did you…

BILL: Few months… (he beckons the waiter for another) few months after… you saw me.
(pregnant pause)
Didn’t do much. Didn’t really leave the house, just…dressed like her, I guess.

APRIL: So, you didn’t go out, or…?

BILL: No. I’m still a man, April…just like I always was. Just a little less… confused.

(another pause before BILL bursts into tears. APRIL instinctively reaches for him. He accepts it.)

BILL: I thought I was a man, you know? Thought I was an adult, thought I had it all figured out: picket fence, two kids, a dog…

APRIL: And a wife…

BILL: Fuck. Yeah… but I was still a stupid little kid. I went all the way through college, through marriage, through forty-some-odd fucking years… and I was still a kid. I never grew up, I hid from everything… I just let myself be sweet little Billy Brown… and it tore me up inside. I didn’t even know it. I was living like my teenage self for thirty years! I never grew up! I made sure I was just perfect for everyone… everyone except myself. I never knew who the Hell I was because I never asked…and then, when I finally got a chance to look around and see what I failure I was, how I didn’t even know who was looking at me in the mirror, what do I do? A God-damned copout. Went and hid.

(he gets his second drink)

I’m ashamed of myself, April. I should have been able to handle things, but instead I created a monster in my own head who let me take the easy way out. I just figured “hey, I’ll go gay. That’ll be easier, that’ll be my identity. I mean, I keep seeing this girl everywhere, maybe that’s who I want to be!” Fucking pathetic. I was still hiding, still trying to live out my teenage dreams of an easy life, and I still didn’t know who I was!

(APRIL puts a hand on his and he stops shaking, though continues sniffing. She looks at him with a smile.)

APRIL: I always knew.

(BILL busts into sobs that are half laughter and half grief. He looks up into his ex-wife’s eyes with watery eyes of his own, grinning in spite of himself.)

BILL: Teenage dreams in a teenage circus… I thought I was the best, I had it all figured out. I was Golden. Hh. Lying to myself, making bad things seem good and good things seem bad… I convinced myself of… stupid things. Things a stupid kid would believe, and I HAD two kids!

(there’s another pause with BILL exceedingly tense. He’s waiting, desperately waiting for what APRIL has to say, as if she holds all the answers.)

APRIL: Oh, Billy Brown, you are a victim of the time.
(chuckling a little)
Jake was right…

BILL: I really don’t want to hear about Jake. How long after the divorce did he try to move in on you? Or were you too busy spending time with Georgia?

(the last sentence is said very suggestively, and the first is apparently bitter. APRIL bristles at first.)

APRIL: Don’t be an ass!

(BILL crumples.)

BILL: sorry.

(APRIL plays her fingertip around the rim of her drink, trying to find the right words.)

APRIL: Georgia and I… she tried. And Jake, well…

(she leans a little closer, and BILL is surprised by the sudden flush he feels to his cheeks as his heart starts to pound)

APRIL: He’s a better friend than you’ll ever know. And, like I was saying… he was right.

BILL: (completely cowed) How?

APRIL: He says you know too much.
(Bill scoffs)
Shut up! Cripes, Bill, I went to Oxford and you make ME feel like an idiot ninety-nine percent of the time! There’s so much that flies through your head on a daily basis, it’s a miracle you didn’t lose your marbles earlier. You know, a couple of hundred years ago, you would have been DaVinci, or Gallileo. You would have been Socrates, you know? And that’s the really sad part. In this day and age, is someone like you encouraged to keep thinking and learning? No! Get your job, get your family, and shut up. Pretty soon, we’ve got people…
(she pauses before finally saying it)
cross-dressing all over the place, just because they can’t find any other way to feel unique!
(she takes a beat to calm herself.)
Do you know why people ‘experiment’ Bill? Do you know why they think they’re gay in college, and then regret it later? They weren’t allowed to do this or that, so if you’re gay, they think, you can get away with it.
(she seems him hang his head and she reaches again for his shoulder)

BILL: We were both trying to find love, weren’t we?

APRIL: (stopped in her tracks)
…I suppose so.

BILL: Because we didn’t love ourselves. There had always been someone, something there to make it feel like there was love…
(he gives a hard laugh)
Ha… it would have been easier if we actually WERE… gay, huh?

APRIL: (almost dreamily) Yeah… but you can’t be something you’re not, no matter how hard you might want it.

(he gets up, still crying and grinning. He walks on over to her and makes her stand up. She’s shocked as he takes her by both shoulders and stares directly into her eyes.)

BILL: I don’t know if I love you, April. I never loved myself.

APRIL: That’s okay, Bill… neither did I.

BILL: (looking deep into her eyes) Can we do this?

APRIL: I think we can try. We’ve both got our problems.

BILL: Uh-huh…

APRIL: And it might not even be love…

BILL: Uh-huh…

APRIL: But we can be ourselves now, right?

BILL: (smiling broadly) Right.

(they embrace as the crowd noise grows larger, until a plinky honky-tonk piano cuts through the noise. We cut to the piano on the far side of the bar, and suddenly JAKE is banging out a happy tune, with GEORGIA leaning on the piano next to him. Both have their bags packed at their side as well. Willing conspirators, the both of them.)

JAKE: (hamming it up on the ivories)
Isn’t it enough
isn’t it enough just to be wild and free
Caught up in the rough, caught up in the rush of life staring at me

(pointing at BILL)
You think you’re in love boy, but you don’t really know what love is

(to APRIL)
You think you’re in love girl, but honey let me show you where your heart is

Loverboy, is just illusion to me
You could take any boy, I’d show you what you would feel
Pretty boy with a nasty trace
Funny boy will an ugly face

Love is just a cautionary, momentary, reactionary lie
Love is just a cautionary, momentary, reactionary lie

(GEORGIA starts singing directly into the camera, sweetly and genuinely, if a little airheaded)

GEORGIA:
Isn’t it enough isn’t it enough just to be sunny and dumb
Aren’t you tired of hookin’ up, sick of breaking up
Oh you fool, you did it for fun

(She turns to the two in the middle of the lounge room)

You think you’re in love girl, but you don’t really know what love is
You think you’re in love boy, but honey let me show you where your heart is

(She leans on the piano, none too lasciviously, as they start the chorus. BILL and APRIL, meanwhile, look back and forth at each other, flabbergasted. JAKE and GEORGIA share a grin.)

JAKE & GEORGIA:
Loverboy, is just illusion to me
You could take any boy, I’d show you what you would feel
Pretty boy with a nasty trace
Funny boy will an ugly face

Love is just a cautionary, momentary, reactionary lie

(they share a duet on the piano for the next chorus.)

JAKE & GEORGIA:
Loverboy, is just illusion to me
You could take any boy, I’d show you what you would feel
Pretty boy with a nasty trace
Funny boy will an ugly face

Love is just a cautionary, momentary, reactionary lie
Love is just a cautionary, momentary, ractionary lie

(the house band picks up the tune and plays some old-timey variations on the theme. GEORGIA takes this opportunity to bust out some early 20th century dance moves, allowing BILL and APRIL to laugh and effectively break the ice. The entire lounge seems to take up the next chorus. Not a single soul is wearing red flannel.)

Loverboy, is just illusion to me
You could take any boy, I’d show you what you would feel
Pretty boy with a nasty trace
Funny boy will an ugly face

BILL: (to APRIL)
Love is just a cautionary, momentary, reactionary lie

APRIL: (to BILL, winking)
Love is just a cautionary, momentary, reactionary lie

(the two meet together, having the lights dim just before they kiss…maybe. One last spot is left on GEORGIA and JAKE at the piano as JAKE brings the show to an end with one last line.)

JAKE:
Love is just a cautionary, momentary, reactionary lie…

(He hams it up, singing to GEORGIA in an attempt to impress her. She rebukes him good-naturedly with a grin, putting her hand over his approaching face and gently pushing him away as the last note is struck on the piano. Lights out. End.)

www.lala.com/#album/432627041169198490/Mika/The_Boy_Who_Knew_Too_Much

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *