Buzby-Retribution

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Buzby- Retribution

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“BUZBY – RETRIBUTION” In a small, California desert town, Grandpa Bill is having a backyard Barbeque to announce the return of his longtime friend from his days serving in Vietnam, Buzby. Everyone at the event knows Buzby for good or bad reasons, many people there remember Buzby for coming to their aide when they were being bullied at work or at home.
Grandpa Bill is finishing a story of being lost on a secret mission in Cambodia and how Buzby rescued his squad of men from certain death when Buzby arrives. He takes a seat at Grandpa’s table and announces he now has a wife named Opal. They have purchased an old house at the end of the street next door to Thornton Kean, a heartless man who employs most of the town at his factory. Grandpa Bill is glad Buzby has returned, at his request, to right the many wrongs in their little town, which is now controlled by men like Thornton Kean.

When Buzby arrives back at home, he and Opal find their neighbors, Thornton and Ruby Kean at the edge of their yard looking grim. They warn Buzby and Opal that they are the meanest people in the neighborhood and to watch their step. They warn Buzby not to place his trash cans near their property line, put them next to their rundown neighbors on the other side. When Buzby mocks Thornton, Ruby comes up the walk pointing her finger at Opal, who is eating potato chips from a bag. When Ruby gets too close, Opal fake sneezes chewed potato chips in her face, which send her screaming, followed by Thornton, back to their house.
Buzby goes into his back yard and loads his trash bins with the heaviest things he can find: bricks, wood, dirt and gravel. After sunset Buzby drags them out to the curb and places them next to Thornton and Ruby’s property line. Buzby covers the bin handles with perma-stick glue and goes back into his house to wait. Within minutes, Thornton has put on his robe and come down from his upstairs bedroom to move the trash bins.
As soon as Thornton grabs the handle a bin, he realizes after struggling, it is much too heavy for him to move. He then realizes his hand is stuck to the trash bin and he cannot let go. Thornton struggles until he tires himself and collapses on the curb as it begins to rain. Thornton looks up from his place on the curb and sees Buzby standing over him, silent. Thornton begs Buzby to let him go, but Buzby has no reaction but to turn away into the darkness.
Thornton hears a sound from his own front yard, then Buzby comes out of the darkness, dressed in black, his face smeared with black paint. Buzby stands looking at Thorton quivering in the rain, he looks up into the rain and wipes his face with his hand before throwing the disembodied head of the new statue in Thornton’s front yard, into the mud around Thornton. Buzby turns and leaves without a word, Thornton still begging for release.
In the morning, Thornton is awakened by an approaching trash truck. The driver sees he is stuck and soon the fire department and police arrive. Thornton is livid and demands they arrest Buzby, but when Buzby answers the door, they recognize him as the war hero that just moved in to town and tell Thornton there is nothing they can do.
Thornton comes to work that morning with a bandaged hand a bad attitude. A misplaced document causes Thornton to blame the young black woman in the front office, a single mom with a young son. Despite the support of the office manager, Mrs. Hargrave, Thornton shows no mercy to his best workers.
Thornton suddenly realizes his morning breakfast burrito is doing something nasty to his insides and heads for the office restroom. After taking a huge dump, Thornton sees there is no toilet paper, he is at the boiling point now. He gets up and with his pants around his legs, shuffles over to the paper towels over the sink and grabs a few. On his way back to the stall, someone walks in and sees him standing there with his bare ass showing, paper towels in his hand and his pants around his legs. Thornton is mortified.
Thornton tells the office manager to fire the long time janitor when he comes in, then to contact the employment agency and find a replacement. When no one will take the job, the agency places an ad in the local paper. Buzby sees the ad in the paper one morning and decides to go apply for the job.
Buzby is hired by the agency, they are impressed with his war hero status and hand him a list of duties and the keys to factory’s offices. Buzby shows up for work, but instead of cleaning, he copies Thornton’s picture from a company newspaper, cuts them out and tapes them up around the office:
First, Buzby tapes a small head of Thornton on the side of a bathroom stall. Next to it he writes a comic bubble with the text: “The floggings shall continue until morale improves”.
Then, Buzby tapes another to the bulletin board in the break room. This one is saying “Don’t make me repeat myself”. A phrase Thornton has overused. Buzby puts another on the front of the refrigerator saying “The only taste I have, is in my mouth.”
Another beneath the office manager’s phone receiver saying “I’m watching you!”
The one on the wall above the office clock says “If I were a food, I’d be a corn dog”.
Inside of Thornton’s office door is his copied picture and a small paper sign saying “CHUMP OF THE YEAR”. Lastly, Buzby places one in Thornton’s desk drawer with Thornton’s smiling face saying “Are you having problems with erectile dysfunction?”
Thornton’s arrival to work the next morning sees nothing has been cleaned. His thoughts are interrupted by laughter from the breakroom. When he investigates he finds a group of employees making fun of him and the pictures the wall and refrigerator. Thornton finds them, one by one, his office manager asking if he is watching her. The situation becomes unbearable for Thornton and he demands to see the janitor who does not come in until 4pm.
Out in the office Deesha, the young mother, receives a call from her son’s school telling her she must come pick him up, there has been another incident with bullies at school. It is the worst possible time to ask Thornton for time off so she can go pick up her son, but she steels herself, goes into the office and insists she must leave immediately. Thornton lets her go but threatens to fire her for her recurring problems with her son.
When Deesha arrives at the school, she finds that the principle is ready to transfer her son to another school so the other boys will stop making a target of him. Deesha insists that her son remain and endure the same obstacles in school he will face in adult life as a black male. Her son, Reggie, is a talented singer and has more to offer the school than the star football player and his pack of goons.
Back at the office, it is 4 pm and Thornton is asking if the new janitor has arrived yet, he’s been waiting all day to confront him. Thornton storms downstairs to the janitor’s closet and sees the door open, a man in a janitor’s uniform standing with his back to him. Thornton is waving the note about erectile dysfunction and demanding to demanding to know if he is the one who put it in his drawer, until Buzby turns around and reveals himself.
Thornton’s face drops, he believes Buzby is there to kill him. Buzby tells Thornton to lay off Deesha, she’s a good worker and a neighbor as well. Buzby then tells Thornton about the problems that were caused when he trapped a little girl’s cat and took it to the pound. Thornton complains that the cat kept crapping in his yard, but Buzby advises him to grow a lawn and stop being so cheap, it was lucky for Thornton that he could bail the cat out and return it to the little girl. Buzby then tells Thornton if there are any more problems, he will pay.
Buzby and Opal are sitting on their porch talking about their future together. It’s just about sunset when Deesha and her son come walking by. The boys that bully Reggie are playing a bit of football in the street and notice Reggie. Deesha tells Buzby that Thornton has really changed, yesterday he was ready to fire her and now he’s let her take time off to watch her son after he was wrongly suspended for three days. She tells Buzby he even hired back the old janitor he had fired.
Deesha then points out the boys in the street as the ones who bully her son. She talks about Reggie’s talent and asks him to sing for Buzby and Opal. Reggie sings an edgy version of “If You Wish Upon A Star”, and is interrupted when a football hits him in the back. Reggie picks it up an throws it back, only to be told he throws like a girl.
Buzby walks to the street and confronts the boys, they are surprised when he calls them out by name and knows their leader, Dirk. Buzby tells Dirk he knows who his father is and his status in their small town won’t be able to protect Dirk from the trouble he is headed for. Buzby tells them he knows where they sleep and if there is any more trouble with Reggie, Buzby will appear when they least expect it.
As the cocky boys walk away they regain their bravado and plan a visit to Buzby’s house for a bit of revenge. Dirk can see Buzby’s house from his upstairs window and advises his friends he will call them to meet in front of his house when Buzby is gone so they can trash the inside of his home.
Thornton is at home, it’s time for bed and his wife is listening to him bitch about everything from Buzby to the old janitor. Thornton falls asleep and begins to dream he is walking along a jungle path surrounded by foliage. He comes to a clearing on path and there, at her desk in skimpy jungle attire, is his office manager, Mrs. Hargrave. She is holding a banana to her ear when she sees Thornton, she holds out the banana and says “It’s for you”.
Thornton cringes at her appearance and continues down the path until he comes upon Deesha trying to put out small fires all over her desk. She is angry and begins to yell at Thornton. “These are your fires, Thornton! I keep putting them out and you keep lighting them. You don’t pay me enough for this bullshit. Remember when my husband died? How long have I worked here and you couldn’t remember his name?”.
Thornton continues down the jungle path and comes across the old janitor in a big black pot on a burning fire. “You put me in hot water, after all these years. You ratbag, son-of-a-bitch. Remember when you looked me in the eye last year and said “Merry Christmas”? Ya, maybe for you, but not me! Look at me now!”.
Thornton turns to run, but he is struck by lightning and suddenly finds himself lying in the mud outside of Buzby’s house, it’s raining and his hand is stuck to the trash bin, Buzby stands over him and begins to speak, “What’s it all for? This is all you have, Thornton. What good are you to anyone? What shit did you ever give for anyone but yourself? You know what we do with animals like you? We put them to sleep, forever.”
Buzby looks down next to Thornton where a little girl in a muddy white dress holds a syringe with a green liquid in it. She looks at Thornton as the rain falls across her face. She moves the needle close to his leg and gives him a squinting, ugly face, “You trapped my kitty, they would have killed her. Now you’re gonna’ pay!”. She jabs the needle into Thornton’s leg.
Thornton wakes up screaming, he is covered with sweat and breathing hard. He speaks to his wife about the dream and realizes they have no children, that everything they have is actually worthless to anyone but themselves. Thornton realizes he has become nothing but a mean old man and needs to change before his time is up.
The next day, Buzby and Opal are preparing for a barbeque dinner with Grandpa Bill and Grandma who live down the street. Buzby is providing the beer, so he takes a walk down to the local liquor store. Buzby knows the owner, Arty, but finds himself waiting at the counter while Arty is having a discussion with two men in suits in the corner.
Arty excuses himself to help Buzby so he can get back to these very serious looking men. Buzby can see that the men are there for money, money that Arty owes for protection of his store, but Arty doesn’t have it. Buzby butts in and pays the money on Arty’s behalf. The two men warn Arty to be ready next time and not to rely on his friends to get him out of trouble.
The two men return to the office of their employer, Big Ron, Dirk’s father. Big Ron is a low level criminal boss that has plagued the neighborhood and town since Buzby was gone. The two men, Leonard and Darrel, have returned with the money owed by Arty and talk about Buzby. Big Ron knows Buzby and why he has returned to the town, he tells his men that there is a surprised planned for Buzby that night.
Opal is busy at home hanging sewing thread from the ceiling in a small room when Buzby returns. The room is filled with hanging thread, some with small, fake spiders on the ends. There are also fake spiders on the wall and ceiling. Some are stencils and some are plastic. Buzby walks in and looks at her work and likens it to their very own “Room 101”, the infamous room of terror from the novel, 1984.
That evening, Dirk can see Buzby and Opal leaving their house and walking down to Grandpa Bill’s from his upstairs bedroom. Dirk gets to the phone and calls his friends, it’s time to meet so they can trash Buzby’s house. Dirk and his friends, Larry, Carl and Kevin plan their attack as they walk down the street headed for Buzby’s, but when they arrive, they find the front door open and the lights out. They come inside and close the door then realize the room they are in is empty, there is no furniture. To their right, in the dim light, they see a closed door with the words “INTERVIEW ROOM” on it. Dirk opens the door and the others follow him in.
The four boys see there are only four chairs and another door in the room. Dirk tries the other door, but it is locked, suddenly the door behinds them shuts. Despite all their pounding and kicking, they cannot break through the door, what looks like a window nearby, is only curtains over a bare wall, they are trapped.
The boys take a seat and as they are trying to figure out what to do, the second door opens. There stands Uncle Tang, formerly Colonel Tang of the Cambodian Army. He is Grandpa Bill’s son in law and normally the guy who mans the barbeque, but tonight is special. Behind him stands a huge Cambodian man, “Hello boys, I am your job counselor. I will interview each of you, one by one. The most qualified will be chosen for our opening.”
The boys are confused and afraid, Uncle Tang picks Kevin as the first, the huge Cambodian fetches Kevin and takes him towards the door. Kevin asks his friends to tell his mother what happened to him. The boys soon hear the faint screams of Kevin coming through the walls. They look at each other in silence, too fearful to speak. The door opens again, this time it’s Carl, the screams coming through the walls.
Dirk gets up on his own and follows Uncle Tang through the door. Uncle Tang takes his place behind a desk, on the wall there is a large old-timey portrait of Uncle Tang with a small Cambodian flag crossed with US flag. Dirk is directed to sit in a chair in front of the desk, the huge Cambodian man stands behind him placing his hands on the back of Dirk’s chair. Dirk looks to his right and sees a closed door that is labeled “ROOM 101”.
Uncle Tang tells Dirk he is free to go, but he must go through Room 101 and through the door on the other side of the room to gain his freedom, but the room is filled with poison spiders. Uncle Tang shows Dirk samples in two large jars, one with large spiders and one with small, he tells Dirk they are deadly and will wait to bite when their victim is calm, so if Dirk is lucky enough to make it through the room and out the other door, he must immediately take off his clothes and run as fast as he can to avoid death.
Dirk walks in to ROOM 101 cautiously as the door shuts behind him. He hears a soft shuffling overhead. There are sounds of little things in the dark crawling around him. Dirk makes a move towards the other side of the room for the door, and encounters what he thinks are spider webs. Dirk panics and begins to flail about trying to avoid what he thinks is certain death. Dirk is screaming, he finds the door to freedom, opens it, runs out and begins tearing off his clothes.
A man and woman in hazmat suits are standing by, the man is holding a high powered water hose and sprays Dirk as the woman yells, “they’re all over him!” Dirk tears off his clothes and is left in his underwear. It is an embarrassing moment because Dirk is wearing feminine underwear. The man with the hose begins to spray DIRK in an abusive manner, soaking him well. Dirk is turning and flailing in the water in a total panic when the man yells, “Okay, now run!”
Dirk takes off running down the street and comes past Grandpa Bill’s house. Buzby, Opal, Grandpa Bill and Grandma have moved on to the front porch knowing what was coming. They have a beer and toast to their success.
Big Ron is asleep in front of the television when Dirk comes through the front door, soaking wet and in his sister’s underwear. Dirk flees upstairs and gets in the shower, Big Ron comes in and hears what has happened to his son, then decides he must get rid of Buzby.
Big Ron sends Leonard and Darrel to take out Buzby at his home, but when they arrive, the house is decorated and open as a Tiki Bar. They go in and ask for Buzby and are directed to the bar where the free drinks put them out cold.
Buzby and Opal are driving their old moving truck through the desert, in the back are Leonard and Darrel, they are all headed for Sergeant Roy’s gas station out in the wilds of the desert. Sergeant Roy has just dealt with a nasty customer when Buzby and Opal arrive with their load, all three men are headed for Sergeant Roy’s Gambling Palace out behind the gas station.
Each is brought before an audience where they spin the punishment wheel and earn anything from the horrid “Happy Birthday” punishment, or “Roll Out the Barrel”. Both Leonard and Darrel get “It’s A Girl”. They are taken away, branded with a hot iron, castrated and have breast implants. They are then sold to the highest bidder.
The unruly customer gets “Happy Birthday”, he is put inside a large decorated box with only his dead sticking out the top. The box is filled with explosives and placed in a pit in the desert, everyone bets on where his head will land when he blows up. Buzby happens to win the bet, which makes him think about having kids with Opal and settling down for good in the little town.
When Leonard and Darrel do not return, Big Ron’s patience runs out, he comes to Buzby’s house himself, but finds himself in the middle of a mock Sumo match where he gets battered and bruised. Buzby and Opal take him out to Sergeant Roy’s who recognizes Big Ron as the guy who shot his brother in Fresno, long ago.
Inside, Big Ron meets Leonard and Darrel who are both happy with their new life. They taunt Big Ron and have heard he got “Roll Out The Barrel” on his spin. Big Ron soon finds out he will run on the conveyor belt in front of a rock crusher and people will bet on how long he lasts.
Buzby watches as Big Ron huffs and puffs on the conveyor belt, people cheer as rocks are thrown in front of him trying to trip him up. Behind Big Ron a huge barrel shaped crusher is turning, in front of him is a clock, the seconds ticking away. It isn’t long before Big Ron falls and goes down under the crusher to cheers by some, and disappointment by others.
Now that Big Ron and his men are gone, the town begins to grow again, the music store reopens, the liquor store gets a new sign and Reggie wins an unusual singing contest, the entry paid for by Thornton.

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© 2023 Jim Caron

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