KEEPING UP WITH THE DEVERAUXES
By Jennifer-Lynn D'Anna
SCENE ONE: INT. J&J'S BEDROOM
IN on the electronic alarm clock on the nightstand by JACK'S side of the bed (right side). It's bright red numbers declare the time as 3:37 a.m. The room is dark and JENNIFER is fast asleep, her back turned towards JACK, who is restlessly tossing and turning. As he rolls over, he mumbles the word "Steve", propelling him into a dream.
In the dream, JACK is walking through a dark tunnel. At the end of the tunnel, he steps out into a thick blue fog, illuminated by a blue light. Squinting, he tries to see what the shape ahead of him is. He can see that it's a person, but cannot tell who it is. Suddenly, the shape steps forward. It is an image of his late brother, STEVE, wearing jeans, a white tee shirt, and his leather jacket.
STEVE: Jackson? Man, I was wondering when you were going to get here.
JACK: (in shock) Here? (looking around) But-wait a minute, I know where we are, or at least I think I do. We're in the lava lamp. The one we were in when you (swallowing hard)...when you (STEVE looks to him to answer)...when you...(scratching the back of his head) What are you doing here anyway? Aren't you supposed to be playing a harp or a harmonica or something somewhere up there (pointing up)? I mean, I know that's where you are because you're definitely not there (pointing down).
STEVE: How would you know that?
JACK: Well, um, let's just say I know a few people who...who reside in the southernmost regions and...and they haven't mentioned you. (to himself) What am I doing? I'm talking to a dead man. Well, it wouldn't be the first time. (to STEVE) Why now? Why?
STEVE: (laughing as if he should know) You need me little brother.
JACK: I do? I mean, I do. (beat) For what, exactly? (nervous laughter) I'm sorry, but it's seemed to escape my mind.
STEVE: (laughing) Oh you know perfectly well what I am here for.
OUT on JACK, thoroughly confused.
SCENE TWO: JACK'S "DREAM"
JACK: Excuse me if I sound a bit like my nine-year old now but huh?
STEVE: Oh, you mean Abby.
JACK: (smiling a little) You know about Abigail?
STEVE: Of course I do. I know all about her and you and Jennifer and about Adrienne and Mama, too.
JACK: (smiling) She's getting married, you know.
STEVE: I know. (clapping him on the back) Good job on the ring, too. Mama loves it.
JACK: She does?
STEVE: Of course she does. Oh, that's right, she hasn't told you.
JACK: You mean you can hear and see everything that happens down there (pointing)? I mean, not down THERE but-
STEVE: Jackson, I've been watching you for a long time.
JACK: (embarrassed) So you've seen my many exploits?
STEVE: Yes, and might I add, you make a horrible looking woman.
JACK: Don't remind me. (beat) Anybody else I know up here (looking around)? President Nixon? Mother Theresa?
STEVE: Where exactly do you think we are, bro?
JACK: Um, heaven? I mean it's not my idea of heaven. I much prefer cherubs and fluffy white clouds but whatever works for you works for me.
STEVE: Heaven? We're not in heaven.
JACK: (shocked) We're not? (swallowing, thinking the worst) Then, we're in-
STEVE: (laughing) No, no...we're in neither (seeing JACK about to speak) and we're not in purgatory either. That, my friend, is just a myth.
JACK: It is?
STEVE: It is according to some I know anyway. (beat) We're just here.
JACK: Again, here is where?
STEVE: Here is wherever you make it, Jackson. If you snap your fingers, we could be on a sunny beach in Jamaica. It is your dream, after all.
JACK: Dream? (getting it) Now that makes sense. (beat) You mean I can do whatever I want? I can fly, couldn't I? I mean, if I wanted to. Not that I do.
STEVE: Don't push your luck, Billy Jack. (beat) Since this is your dream, you know why I'm here, don't you?
JACK: Forgive me if I have forgotten my dream interpretation manual. I'm sure there's something in there about being stuck in a 1978-
STEVE: (overlapping) 74.
JACK: Yes, 74 lava lamp. (growing serious) This is about earlier, isn't it?
STEVE: (sitting down on a suddenly appearing overstuffed 70's style sofa) You tell me.
JACK: (excitedly sitting down beside him) It has to be. I haven't thought about you this much since-
STEVE: Since Jennifer left you in Africa?
JACK: (face falling) Yeah, something like that. You see, Abigail and I were down at the Spectator today, doing a little research and we came across your-
STEVE: I know exactly what happened, little brother. (putting his finger to his head) Remember, I can see all things. (leaning back) The question is do you believe her? (seeing JACK'S lost look) Better yet, do you believe it?
SCENE THREE: JACK'S "DREAM"
JACK: What kind of a question is that? Of course I believe her. Abigail has no reason to lie.
STEVE: No, she doesn't. Do you believe it, though?
JACK: (getting up and pacing. He is pondering the thoughts that heave been plaguing him all day aloud) Of course I don't. I mean, I do. I don't know. Stranger things have happened, you know.
STEVE: Oh I know. Look at where we are.
JACK: Exactly! You and I are in a lava lamp, Hope becomes Gina, Gina is Hope, the whole babyswitch-
STEVE: Ooh, I heard about that one. (beat) Took forever, huh?
JACK: Yes (shaking it off), but that's beside the point. To be perfectly honest, and I'm usually not, I don't know what to believe. I don't know if I want to believe it, actually.
STEVE: Why's that?
JACK: Because...(thick with emotion) because I lost you once. I can't....I can't lose you again.
OUT on JACK, shocked at just how childlike he sounded. STEVE is incredibly moved.
SCENE FOUR: JACK'S "DREAM"
STEVE: (moved) Billy Jack, I never knew you had it in you.
JACK: You'd be surprised how much I have in me. Maybe you wouldn't being omniscient and all, but I've learned a lot about life from you and Mama and especially from Jennifer and Abigail. They are my heart, Steve.
STEVE: I know. (beat) That whole omniscient thing again.
They both laugh.
JACK: What if I do believe? What if I get all worked up and begin thinking that it is true-that you are somewhere out there? What if I set myself up to find you only to...only to find out that it was all a misunderstanding.
STEVE: You never know until you try, little brother.
JACK: How can you say that? How can you expect me to throw myself into this on just a memory my daughter had of some man visiting someone?
STEVE: I'm not expecting anything, Jackson. It's you that's doing all the expecting.
JACK: (mulling this over for a minute before speaking) Do you need me? If I knew you needed me to find you, then it would be different. I need some sort of evidence, some sort of proof that you're out there.
STEVE: What kind of a question is that? Of course I need you. I need you about as much as you need me. Judging from the state of you right now, that's a lot.
JACK: You do? Need me, that is.
STEVE: What do you need, Jackson? Do you need lightning? Do you need it written in the stars? I can't do that. All I can do is hope that you make the right decision. (he gets up and begins to walk away)
JACK: (calling after him) Wait, where are you going? What decision am I supposed to make?
STEVE: Jack, this is your dream, you know what decision that is.
JACK: But I'm not through talking to you.
STEVE: (back turned towards him and walking) Once again, your dream. You make the decisions when I come and go. And you make the decisions on whether you stay or go.
STEVE: (picking up his harmonica and playing a sad tune as he walks off) See you on the flipside, little brother.
OUT on JACK completely flabbergasted and wanting STEVE to come back. He is now more confused than ever. The dream begins to end and cuts back to JACK, in bed, tossing and turning. JENNIFER shoots up and shakes him.
JENNIFER: Jack? Jack? Wake up. You were having a bad dream.
JACK: (coming to) Dream? Dream? (smiling nervously) Of course I was. A dream, it was all a dream.
JENNIFER: (concerned) Are you okay? You were mumbling something. It sounded like leave or peeve or-Jack, were you dreaming about Steve?
OUT on JACK, unsure of whether or not he wants to tell JENNIFER about what's going on.
SCENE FIVE: INT. J&J's BEDROOM
JACK: (indignant, climbing out of bed) Of course I wasn't dreaming about Steve. Why on earth would I dream about him now?
JENNIFER: (hurt) Oh. It's just that-nevermind.
JACK: (thinking how she knows him so well) No...go on.
JENNIFER: It's just that you think about him when times are really stressful and now with everything going on-the baby we lost, my father's deception-
JACK: (nodding) I see. (feeling bad for hurting her, he sits back down on the bed and rubs her back) I'm...I'm sorry. If you want to know the truth, I was dreaming about him.
JENNIFER: (nodding in understanding) I thought so. (squeezing his hand) I know you miss him terribly.
JACK: (blinking back tears) I...I do. We never even had a chance to...to get to know each other. He never got to see me marry you or hold his niece.
JENNIFER: I'm sure he's looking down on you right now, Jack. I'm sure he's proud of you. As proud as I am.
JACK: Why do you say "down"?
JENNIFER: I don't know. Maybe because that's where most people believe heaven is. (pointing) You know, up?
JACK: Why do you say "heaven"?
JENNIFER: Jack, you don't think that he's (aghast)--
JACK: No, no, no. He's not there. Harper and Duke would've said someth (seeing her look, he trails off). I don't know, I guess I'm just getting crazy in my old age.
JENNIFER: (laughing) Jack Deveraux, you are far from old.
JACK: Yeah, yeah. You're just saying that because you love me.
JENNIFER: (laughing; then pause) What's with all this talk about Steve not being in heaven, anyway? It's not like you.
JACK: (giving her a look) Have I ever struck you as a deeply spirited individual?
JENNIFER: No. Not in the least. It's just weird, that's all. As if someone spooked you.
JACK: (to himself) Spooked? Yeah, I guess it was something like that.
JACK: Oh, nothing.
JENNIFER: (getting out of bed) Okay, now that you are suitably more calmed down, I'm going to get a drink of water. (pausing at the door) Do you want anything?
JACK: No, no. I'm fine (flashing her a quick smile).
JENNIFER: (trying to read his face) Okay. (turning towards the door, then turning back) For the record, Jack, I'm fairly positive that's where Steve is-heaven, I mean. I can't imagine a good man like him being anywhere else.
JACK: Me either. (after she leaves; to himself) I just don't know if either of us are right, Jennifer. I just don't know.
He walks over to her bureau and looks at the various family photos she has on display there, one being the one of him, Adrienne, and Steve with Jo from years ago. He fingers it lightly, thinking back to his last days with Steve.
CUT TO FLASHBACK
JACK is sitting beside a comatose STEVE'S bed.
JACK: Alright.... let's get one thing perfectly clear. I know you can hear me, can't you? So don't pretend you can't. Now what the hell is this you getting all blown up just when I need you. You know something, you talk a real good game, you really do. I remember when I first found out that I was your brother, you told me something that I'll never forget. You said that when we were put up for adoption, you looked me in the face and you said that you would take care of me forever. You promised that. Well this sure as hell isn't forever, is it? (his eyes begin to tear up) What are you going to do, welch, huh? I mean who did you make that promise too, you made it to me. Happy Jack, Billy Jack, Jippy Jack, Hippy Fippy Dippy Happy Howdie.... Happy Howdie Doodie.... (now crying) Johnson. I still need you. No matter everything I've ever said or done.... I still need you.
THE FLASHBACK END. PRESENT DAY RESUMES.
JACK: (putting the photograph back on the bureau and walking away to the window and looking out) Are you out there, Steve? Are you?
All of a sudden, the photograph falls from the dresser behind him. JACK turns around, shocked, and sure he left it there secure. He wonders if this is his sign.
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