2011 11 Aug

Highland Park, Texas – (AKA the Bubble): early 1990s.

FADE IN:

A punk is running up to fountain at a busy intersection carrying liquid detergent. A policeman gets out of his patrol car.

POLICEMAN 1
Hey punk!! Where are you going? Stop it you punk!

PUNK
I’m no punk. It takes one to know one. I’ll have you fired. My dad owns HP.

The punk starts running away sticking his tongue out at the punk cop. He laughs running through the residential streets of his elite neighborhood, Highland Park.

The punk gets to the famous Griff’s Hamburgers and Harvey is behind the counter.

INT. GRIFF’S HAMBURGER SHOP — DAY

The punk looks around the restaurant but sees no other customers.

PUNK
You open?

HARVEY GRIFF
(Sarcastically)
The door’s open isn’t it?

PUNK
Yeah, I guess so.

Punk walks in and goes up to the counter. Another punk friend walks up.

PUNK
(to Mikey)
Hey dude, whatcha doing?

MIKEY
Ah man, just hangin’ with my homies and other punks.

HARVEY GRIFF
You guys gonna make a love connection or order something? I’m working here.

PUNK
I can see that. I’m not blind. My grandfather is Dr. Eyeglasses you see all over the T.V. I get my eyes done for free, punk. Give me a double cheeseburger. No green stuff. I hate vegetables.

HARVEY GRIFF
And what about you wimp?

MIKEY
Oh, I’m no wimp. I’m the biggest idiot around. Give me a hot dog with French fries and a chocolate shake.

HARVEY GRIFF
You want the shake in a sack or cup?

MIKEY
Do you think I’m stupid? A cup.

Harvey makes up the milkshake and pours the shake into the sack and gives it to Mikey. The shake spills everywhere.

MIKEY
Oh thanks, dude. I’ll have you sued.

HARVEY GRIFF
For what?

PUNK
For stupidity and plain dumb stuff. We’ll have you arrested for dumb stuff. We’re connected with the mob, I tell ya.

The guys go sit down in the corner of the room. Another customer walks in the door.

PUNK
(To Mikey)
Let’s see what Harvey says to this guy.

HARVEY GRIFF
Welcome to the Hamburger store of the century. How can I help ya partner? Ribs? Pie? A new brain?

The customer is a business man and he responds with a funny look on his face.

BUSINESS MAN
Come again? A new brain? What?

HARVEY GRIFF
Yes, a new brain. You want one? Looks as if you need one with the awful suit you wear.

BUSINESS MAN
That’s it. I’m outta here.

HARVEY GRIFF
Hold on brainless. We’re all friends here. Can’t you take a joke?

BUSINESS MAN
Ok, well, give me a Griff Burger with chilly and a beer.

HARVEY GRIFF
(Quickly deadpan)
Let’s see your ID!!

BUSINESS MAN
Oh come on. I’m 35 years old.

HARVEY GRIFF
Congratulations. You made it. Here’s your beer.

The business man takes the beer, lets a sigh out and sits down.

PUNK
What are we gonna do today?

MIKEY
You wanna go in that abandoned building?

PUNK
That’d be cool. We can shoot things up with our BB guns.

HARVEY GRIFF
Yo punks, your last meal is ready.

Punk gets up and goes to pick up the food.

PUNK
(To Harvey)
Where did you learn to cook?

HARVEY GRIFF
Oh, I learned by watching some punk fire up a grill when I was in the War.

PUNK
You were in a war?

HARVEY GRIFF
We’re in the War on Terror every day. Watch your back, punk. You’ll get cut down in five seconds.

PUNK
Oh yeah. I’m scared.

HARVEY GRIFF
Take your food and get out of here.

PUNK
Thanks Harvey. Can’t we stay for a while?

HARVEY GRIFF
What do you think I run a rest home? Get out of here.

Harvey pushes the tray of food towards Punk in a jokingly rude way. Punk gets the food and goes back to sit down with Mikey. Mikey is obsessively playing on his little Nintendo.

PUNK
Hey Mikey, put that stupid thing away. You’re gonna get carpel tunnel syndrome.

MIKEY
What’s that?

PUNK
It’s something you get when you keep doing repetitive movements over and over. My mother told me about this.

MIKEY
I do that every night when I’m brushing my teeth.

PUNK
Yeah, right. You’re an idiot.

Punk and Mikey begin to eat the food. They look around the room. Hanging on the wall is an Iraq flag and a Saddam Hussein picture.

PUNK
(Screaming)
Hey, Harvey. Did you go over to Iraq?

HARVEY GRIFF
Yeah, I was there for three months. The punks were running in the streets all day long. Have you been to the ghetto? Iraq is the real ghetto. Punks get shot down everyday.

MIKEY
Did you do any cooking over there?

HARVEY GRIFF
What do you think? Don’t I own a hamburger shop? Isn’t my name Griff for some reason. I’m no lazy bum. I cooked for the troops over there and we joked.

MIKEY
That’s very nice, Harvey. You’re very patriotic.

HARVEY GRIFF
So what. Big deal. Many people wave the American flag around. But I was there for the troops. Lazy bums with their flags and protest banners.

PUNK
My uncle was at Vietnam.

HARVEY GRIFF
Don’t get me started on this one. I’ll talk till I’m blue in the face about this. Punks. Bet he was some pothead.

PUNK
No man. What were you like as a kid, Harvey? Were you a punk?

HARVEY GRIFF
Oh, yeah. I was a punk. What’s a punk?

PUNK
A punk is someone who looks different or one who ruffles feathers for change. They are rebels.

MIKEY
I’m no rebel. I eat my Cheerios every morning before school.

HARVEY GRIFF
No you’re an idiot for always doing what you are told. You’d probably jump off a cliff if your best friend did.

MIKEY
Naw, man, I’m smart.

HARVEY GRIFF
Well, show us you’re smart, by dressing better. You look like a man that just raided a garage sale clothes rack.

MIKEY
Oh, come on, Harvey. I’m a cool dude. These other freaks dress with all the latest fads and trends. It’s all to show how big mommy and daddy’s bank account is. Punks.

HARVEY GRIFF
Man, you guys are okay. I’m just trying to teach you some manners. This world will eat you up. You might as well do your thing and forget the rest.

PUNK
Forget what?

HARVEY GRIFF
Have a laugh. People get too serious.
(To Business man)
Hey business freak, you need anything else? Your brain working any better.

BUSINESS MAN
Oh yeah, Harvey, they told me that you’re a riot. I guess they are right. You’re funny.

HARVEY GRIFF
You believe everything you hear? Well yeah, I’m funny and you’re a moron. Get a job!

BUSINESS MAN
I’ve got a job. I make six figures.

HARVEY GRIFF
Well, let’s call up the Nobel Peace Prize committee. I bet you sit in a little office and talk to idiots all day long.

BUSINESS MAN
I do sit in a little office. It pays my bills.

HARVEY GRIFF
Did you really want to do this?

BUSINESS MAN
I enjoy myself.

PUNK
I bet he looks at porn all day long in his office.

BUSINESS MAN
Huh?

HARVEY GRIFF
You heard him! You look at porn all day long in your little office.

BUSINESS MAN
I do not do this. It’s against company policy.

HARVEY GRIFF
The punks run the internet.

PUNK
Yeah, they’ll hack your little office if you’re not careful. Punks.

The business man gets up to leave.

HARVEY GRIFF
You’ve had enough? Come back when you’ve got your brain and we can talk on a more sophisticated level.

BUSINESS MAN
Okay. You’re a riot.

HARVEY GRIFF
Bye bye, Mr. Nobel Peace Prize.

The business man opens the door and leaves.

HARVEY GRIFF
Okay, punks, the square has gone. Let’s call up Mr. Jones.

PUNK
Who’s Mr. Jones?

HARVEY GRIFF
You’re young. He’s a character in a Bob Dylan song.

MIKEY
Yeah, my dad, is really into Dylan. Wasn’t he a punk?

HARVEY GRIFF
Some would call him a punk. He deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for pushing the limits and getting lazy bums to think differently.

PUNK
Wasn’t he shot?

HARVEY GRIFF
No, stupid man, you’re thinking of John Lennon. Get it together, man. You’re trippin’. Lennon was a punk too. He got himself shot by some loony punk.

PUNK
Yeah, I know. I need to go check my brain. I forgot.

HARVEY GRIFF
What are you punks listening to these days?

PUNK
Oh we listen to our parents.

HARVEY GRIFF
You guys are so smart.

MIKEY
We listen to ~NWA, U2, Milli Vanilli…

PUNK
Shut up Mikey!! We don’t listen to Milli Vanilli. We listen to good stuff like the Stones…

HARVEY GRIFF
Oh great. You mentioned another punk group. Mick Jagger’s a punk. So is David Bowie.

PUNK
What about Elvis? Is he a punk?

HARVEY GRIFF
He was a punk in the early days but sold out and became a cheese ball. The Colonel sold him down the river.

PUNK
Who’s the Colonel?

HARVEY GRIFF
He was Elvis’ slave driver. He made Elvis lose his marbles. Like many business men, the Colonel was some chump with an appetite for money over quality and integrity.
(Pause)
What am I talkin’ to a couple of punks for? You guys don’t know about integrity and quality.

PUNK
Oh yeah. I like Elvis. I guess he was a punk with his long sideburns.

HARVEY GRIFF
I’m tellin’ ya if I was a sell out, I’d be some McDonalds kook working in a little office. Forget that. I’m no sell out. I’m a punk from the streets. Word up. Dig.

MIKEY
Fascinating. Hey, man, we got to go. Remember?

HARVEY GRIFF
Where ya going? Going to watch some teen flick?

PUNK
Naw, they’re stupid. We’ve got some business.

HARVEY GRIFF
Oh, you’re taking after the brainless business guy?

PUNK
Naw, we’ve got some packages to deliver.
(wink, wink)

HARVEY GRIFF
You got a sly attorney lined up? You better if you get into this shady business. Well, you’ll learn the hard way. Sooner or later.

PUNK
Ahh, Harvey, we know that hugs are where it’s at, not drugs.

HARVEY GRIFF
Can I get that in writing?

PUNK
You write it up. I’ll sign it.

HARVEY GRIFF
Okay, let me get some paper. Hold on punks.

Harvey looks around the cash register and finds some scratch paper and pen. He writes up a little contract.

HARVEY GRIFF
Okay so, here we go. The language reads, “I, Punk #1 and, I, Punk # 2, from this day forward will agree that hugs are where it’s at and not drugs.” Okay, now you two punks need to sign at the bottom line.

The punks get up and come to the counter.

PUNK
Should we consult our attorneys?

HARVEY GRIFF
Don’t get wise! I’ll sue you for breach of contract, punks.

MIKEY
Is this necessary? Can’t you just trust us?

HARVEY GRIFF
No, you guys will be punks forever if I don’t show you the way. Punks are the wave of the future. You know this?

PUNK
Well, we’ll either be punks or thugs, right? And punks are more polite?

HARVEY GRIFF
Stop the stalling. Just sign the paper. I’ll frame it and put it up on my wall here. This will be your day of awakening. You decided to step to the path of hugs and not drugs. Maybe I should be given the Nobel Peace Prize. I’ll go down in history as the one who saved you two punks. Your parents should pay me money. Let’s call ’em up now.

PUNK
Fine, we’ll sign it. But I’m telling you, you embarrass us with your legalese talk and how smart you are in front of the girls we’ll kick your butt.

The two boys sign the contract and shake hands with Harvey.

HARVEY GRIFF
You’ve got a mean talk. But inside you’re nothing more than a sweet butterfly. Do you have a backbone to stand up?

PUNK
We stand up everyday. We stand up for the band geeks as they pass by. Haven’t you seen their shirts with the motto “Stand for Band”?

HARVEY GRIFF
Don’t mess with the band. You know I play the bagpipes?

MIKEY
Oh, come on. You lie.

HARVEY GRIFF
I take private lessons after hours at the shop. How do you like that?

PUNK
Oh, and you wear the little tartan dress, too?

HARVEY GRIFF
So what if I did? Would you fight me? You little punk.

PUNK
It’s just strange seeing a man wear a dress.

HARVEY GRIFF
Get off it. It’s culture. What’s your culture? Probably bitches, ~hos, 40s, and jewelry?

PUNK
We’re not thugs. We’re solid stand up guys.

HARVEY GRIFF
Well, be a stand up guys and take your trash to the garbage can. Hug a cop for me, too.

PUNK
As always, it’s interesting talking to such a philosopher like you. We’ll be back after the smoke clears. We’ve got packages to attend to.
(Wink Wink)

HARVEY GRIFF
Don’t forget the contract. You signed it.

PUNK
We’re out. Cheers.

The two take their trash and walk out the shop waving.

HARVEY GRIFF
Peace out homies.

Harvey locks up the shop as the boys leave. The other workers start sweeping the floor and then mopping.

HARVEY GRIFF
Guys, just keep it real, huh? No need to fake each other out.

WORKER
What do you mean Harvey?

HARVEY GRIFF
Don’t get a chip on your shoulder. We’re all the same here. Punks, thugs, gypsies, blacks, whites, Chinese, aliens. Blah, Blah, Blah. We all want our own and to be satisfied. Just keep it real.

WORKER
You’re alright, Harvey. I once thought you were racist but no you are not.

HARVEY GRIFF
Brilliant! Where do you come up with these things? Someone feeding you lines? You wearing an earpiece?

WORKER
From my own brain.
(laughing)

HARVEY GRIFF
I wouldn’t have hired you if I didn’t think you had a brain.

WORKER
I’ve got half a brain.

HARVEY GRIFF
Where’s the other half, then?

WORKER
I fried it. I used to do drugs.

HARVEY GRIFF
Get off it, punk. You think you don’t have a brain. I’m tellin’ ya. You smarter than most Wall Street punks. They run around like robots. You’re no robot are you?

WORKER
Last time I checked I wasn’t.

HARVEY GRIFF
If you’ve got a heart and some kind of compassion that hasn’t been tainted yet, then you’re not a robot.

WORKER
What’s your passion Harvey?

HARVEY GRIFF
I like to make people think and to stop being arrogant and snobby.

WORKER
Excuse me, but don’t you act a bit arrogant sometimes?

HARVEY GRIFF
Haven’t you heard of fighting fire with fire?

WORKER
Yes.

HARVEY GRIFF
If I was bubbly and sweet, people’d write me off as just another fruitball. I’m not fruitcake. I’m a thinking man.

WORKER
A thinking man, eh? You better think about your next employee. Word is that ole Freddie is looking for another job. He says he can’t take the constant jokes here.

HARVEY GRIFF
Freddie, that punk. Give me a break. He comes in here smelling of booze and crying about how he lost his shirt at the casino.

WORKER
Yeah, I guess he deserves some jokes. Don’t know why he needs to go to the casino.

HARVEY GRIFF
Same ole story. Wife runs out on him because he was banging some other chick. He now drinks his sorrow away at the casino. Maybe he should be a man and be with his wife and stop the tomfoolery.
(Pause in thought)
That’s it. My mission is to be a person almost like a priest. I’ll show them how they were wrong and lead them to a better life. I’m not punk.

WORKER
No, Mr. Griff, you surely aren’t a punk. We done here yet? I’ve got to go catch American Idol.

HARVEY GRIFF
Oh my. I hope you’re kidding.

WORKER
Yes, indeed I am.

The worker takes the trash out the back door and Harvey waits. Worker comes back in and and they go out the front door. Harvey locks the door and gets into his convertible Volkwagen Rabbit. The worker walks toward the bus stop.

Harvey drives off and honks and waves.

EXT. IN FRONT OF ABANDONED BUILDING IN DOWNTOWN DALLAS TEXAS — EVENING

The Punk and Mikey are sitting in a 1989 Blue Ford Mustang. Mikey is in the driver seat. The radio is blaring the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

MIKEY
You know how to get in?

PUNK
They don’t call me the Punk for nothin. There’s a boarded up window we can go through.

MIKEY
Man, I don’t know. Maybe there will be bums inside.

PUNK
Come on. Bums don’t hurt anyone. We’ve got our be-buck guns. Let’s go.

They get out of the car and walk around to the back of the building where the boarded up window is. Punk crawls through first.

PUNK
Watch out for the broken glass. You’ve got the flashlight, right?

MIKEY
Oh, will it be dark?

PUNK
Chill out.

The two walk toward the light that shows dimly down the hall. They walk with their bb guns out and ready to shoot.

PUNK
Here’s the stairwell. There is light on all other floors. Let’s go up.

MIKEY
Man, I think I want to leave. Harvey said we shouldn’t be punks. We’re punks.

PUNK
Harvey’s just an old guy. He doesn’t know anything.

MIKEY
I think he does.

PUNK
Let’s go.

They walk up the stairs and come to the third floor. The floor has carpet and is lit up fairly well. It looks like the floor used to be an attorney office.

PUNK
Come here, Mikey, let’s go in here. I’ve got the keys.

MIKEY
How’d you get the keys?

PUNK
They were down in the basement. Let’s go in here.

Punk unlocks the door and it is an attorney’s office. The sign reads “The Law Office Of Frederick A. Johnson and Sons.”

They walk in and it is a reception area and there is a coat and hat rack. Punk picks up the coat rack.

PUNK
Watch this.

Punk lunges with the coat rack toward the glass window that says “the Law Office of Frederick A. Johnson and Sons.” The glass breaks immediately.

MIKEY
Punk, what are you doing? Stop it.

PUNK
Don’t be such a square. This is fun. Shoot the window out with your gun.

MIKEY
I don’t think I can.

PUNK
Just do it. Let me see your gun.

Mikey gives the gun to Punk reluctantly.

PUNK
Now watch.

Punk shoots out more of the window.

PUNK
You try it now.

Punk gives the gun back to Mikey.

MIKEY
Only once and that’s it.

Mikey shoots the BB gun and it makes a small hole in the window.

PUNK
Come on. Take out your aggression.

Mikey puts the gun back in his coat pocket.

MIKEY
I can’t do it. We’re not punks. We’re little scared kids.

PUNK
I’m going. I guess you’re not an HPH anymore.

MIKEY
I guess not. Let’s go.

They walk down the stairs again and back to the car. There is a cop car nearby.

MIKEY
Oh no. What do we do?

PUNK
Just act normal

POLICEMAN 2
Have you been in this building?

PUNK
No, we’ve been in the church across the way.

POLICEMAN 2
We’re looking for two punks with guns shooting up things.

MIKEY
We’re not punks.

POLICEMAN 2
We got a call in that two punks were yelling and screaming about being on top of the world. That wasn’t you?

PUNK
No Sir, we surely aren’t on top of the world. We have jobs to go to. And are in school. That’s hardly ideal.

POLICEMAN 2
Okay guys, you be careful.

MIKEY
Yes, sir, we will.

The cop walks away and the two boys look at each other in relief.

MIKEY
Let’s go home, Punk.

PUNK
Let’s go.

They get into the car and Mikey starts the car and they drive off.

INT. GRIFF’S HAMBURGER SHOP — AFTERNOON

Harvey is behind the counter while the worker is clearing the tables.

HARVEY GRIFF
Hey Bud, you ever gonna take vacation?

WORKER
I don’t know. I really need the money. I can’t afford it. Many bills.

HARVEY GRIFF
Yeah, man. You can’t work nonstop.

WORKER
You work nonstop.

HARVEY GRIFF
It’s my business. If I don’t do it no one will. Take a break punk. You’ll grow old and senile like me with no friends.

WORKER
Come on Harvey. You’ve got a lot of friends. You’re not senile.

HARVEY GRIFF
What day is today? I don’t know. See I’m senile.

WORKER
Well I didn’t remember either. I can’t already be senile at twenty.

HARVEY GRIFF
Just on drugs.
(Wink)

WORKER
You know I don’t use anymore.

HARVEY GRIFF
You put down the crack pipe just last week.

WORKER
Harvey, come on don’t joke about this. I’ve had it hard.

HARVEY GRIFF
A hard life? You have a life of luxury in the HP Hood.

WORKER
We’ve got thugs here. Maybe they dress with nice clothes and drive nice cars but they are thugs.

HARVEY GRIFF
What’s a Highland Park Hoodlum?

WORKER
You’re lookin’ at one, homie.

HARVEY GRIFF
Yeah, you throw, homie, in a sentence and you’re a gangster.

WORKER
Things go down here everyday.

HARVEY GRIFF
Yeah what? Stealin’ from your daddy’s liquor cabinet?

WORKER
I’m tellin’ ya. Those guys that were in yesterday, Punk and Mikey. They’re walkin’ the fine line and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them ended up in jail.

HARVEY GRIFF
Yeah, what do you know? I’ll set ’em straight. Those little punks.

WORKER
I only hear and am not sure. But Punk is always lightin’ smoke bombs at school and I heard that they broke into one burned up house and ran only when the cops came.

HARVEY GRIFF
I’ll teach them a thing or two. Punks. I think the new punks are the ones that play it real. They’re just posing. I bet they live in one of those Mansions on Beverly Drive.

WORKER
No. They are both from single-parent families.

HARVEY GRIFF
Oh, boy. Where’s the daddy? I guess I’ll have to be their role model.

WORKER
It’s a hard life in the H.P., seriously.

HARVEY GRIFF
What? Your illegal alien maid ran off with the money?

WORKER
My parents don’t have a maid and anyway, I don’t live in HP. I live across Northwest Highway. But the same stuff happens there because the HP thugs come over there to buy their beer and drugs.

HARVEY GRIFF
Have you seen Punk and Mikey over there?

WORKER
Yeah, a time or two.

HARVEY GRIFF
You record them next time. I’ll let them have it. Those punks will learn.
(Pause)
Hey look. We have some customers.

An old couple comes in the shop for the senior citizen special that is every Wednesday.

MR. JENSEN
Hello Harvey.

HARVEY GRIFF
So it’s the King and Queen of Highland Park. How’s the castle?

MRS. JENSEN
Oh we’re fine. We just got our grandchildren off to summer camp.

HARVEY GRIFF
Oh, they went up to that cult camp for boys?

MR. JENSEN
You’ve still got it Harvey.

HARVEY GRIFF
No. I’m serious. There’s this new cult camp for boys. Don’t you know?

MRS. JENSEN
Oh, Harvey. We’re smart outstanding Christians and we watch out for these Jonestown type loonies.

HARVEY GRIFF
Well, I hope so. What will you too have today? A shot of Whiskey? A shot of heroin?

WORKER
(In a whisper)
Harvey.

MR. JENSEN
No, I think we’ll have the usual. Isn’t it senior citizen Wednesday?

HARVEY GRIFF
You know it. We’ve got senior citizens coming from all over. They drive over from the rest homes and come in in wheel chairs, on canes, and on walkers. Hey, are you sure you two are senior citizens?

MRS. JENSEN
What a dream you are Harvey. Thank you. I do look like a young chick, don’t I?

HARVEY GRIFF
You look gorgeous and all there. Mr. Jensen, you getting a divorce any time soon?

MR. JENSEN
Sorry sonny.

HARVEY GRIFF
Go sit down and we’ll bring you your goodies.

The couple go sit down and Harvey puts two hamburger patties on the grill. He starts singing.

HARVEY GRIFF
“Moon River, wider than a mile. I’m crossin’ you in style some day. Oh the dream maker. You heart breaker. Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way.”

The old couple laugh. The worker fills up the tea machine.

WORKER
Harvey, I think I want to take a week off in July. Would that be alright?

HARVEY GRIFF
You have another punk to fill in for you?

WORKER
I’ll get my cousin. He’s a stand up guy. I vouch for him.

HARVEY GRIFF
Let’s talk after work. Take the food to the Jensens. It’s ready.

Harvey puts the food on the tray and the worker brings it to the Jensens.

WORKER
There you go. You need anything else?

MR. JENSEN
No sir. It looks just fine.

As the worker walks behind the counter, an old man comes in. He’s wearing an old-timey hat and is looking down a bit.

HARVEY GRIFF
What happened to you old timer?

MR. SIMS
My wife died today.

HARVEY GRIFF
Well, sir, if I may, she’s probably in a better place. She suffered didn’t she?

MR. SIMS
(With tears)
Yes sir.

HARVEY GRIFF
Come on fella. We’ll fix you right up. This one’s on us. Go sit down and we’ll bring you anything you want.

Mr. ~Sims goes to sit down in the corner. He takes his hat off and puts it in the next chair.

HARVEY GRIFF
(To Worker)
Go, take Mr. ~Sims an iced tea.

The worker makes up the tea and takes it to Mr. Sims. Mr. Sims looks up at the worker.

MR. SIMS
Thanks son, I really appreciate it.

The Worker puts his hand on Mr. Sims shoulder. Mr. Sims nods his head.

WORKER
What else would you like right now?

MR. SIMS
Just the usual. Thank ya.

The Worker goes back to the counter and prepares Mr. Sims special.

HARVEY GRIFF
Well, I just got a phone call from the Mayor. He wants me to sell my shop so that they can build a more economical McDonald’s. What do you think?

MR. JENSEN
Harvey, don’t do it. I hope you’re kidding. We’ll help you if you need. Won’t we, Betty?

MRS. JENSEN
Of course.

HARVEY GRIFF
What gets my goat is all the sellouts in this world. No, I’m sure there will come the day when the greed heads come knocking on my door. I pray that I don’t temporarily get brainwashed and sell.

MRS. JENSEN
Harvey, America just wasn’t like this in the old days. It was made of dreams and there was a spirit of giving and not taking. You know, Mr. Jensen got help from some kind folks down at the courthouse to set up his practice. We are forever grateful.

HARVEY GRIFF
Preach it, honey!!

Harvey takes the food off the grill for Mr. Sims and takes the tray over to him.

HARVEY GRIFF
Mr. Sims, here’s your fancy deluxe chicken sandwich. Now let’s have a cause now. We can’t let the punks take my shop can we?

MR. SIMS
I’ll be there for you. Give me some time.

HARVEY GRIFF
You can have all the time you need.
(Pause)
Did you hear the joke about the punk who didn’t know his name?

MR. SIMS
No. What?

HARVEY GRIFF
The Punk woke up one morning. He woke up from a long nap, in his car. The cops woke him up. The cops came tapping on his window and said, “what’s your name sonny?”

MR. SIMS
Was he drunk?

HARVEY GRIFF
No. The boy stuttered and stammered, trying to answer.

HARVEY GRIFF
After some time, the policeman said, “Oh boy, what’s your problem? We just wanted some directions to the nearest donut shop. We saw the donut box on your passenger seat.”
(hysterical laughing)

MR. SIMS
You need some new material.

HARVEY GRIFF
I’m working on it. I’ve had a dry spell. I need some more punks to make fun of. You know any?

MR. SIMS
What exactly is a punk?

HARVEY GRIFF
Don’t you know the Sex Pistols?

MR. SIMS
Some rock and roll outfit?

HARVEY GRIFF
Yeah, they were an English group with strange hair. Hey Mr. Sims, you want to grow sideburns and have a mohawk?

MR. SIMS
No, I’m too old for that. The good ole days are gone.

HARVEY GRIFF
Come on. You’re some sexy dude, like Sean Connery. Give me your best Bond, James Bond.

MR. SIMS
I’m not in the mood.

HARVEY GRIFF
(Starts singing “In The Mood”)
Da, da, da, dat, dat

MR. SIMS
Boy, that takes me back. Did you know that was the first song that Mrs. Sims and I danced to. It was the hit of the day. Glenn Miller was the Elvis of our day.

HARVEY GRIFF
How’s the chicken sandwich?

MR. SIMS
Very nice. What’s that spice you use?

HARVEY GRIFF
I’m not at liberty to say.

MR. JENSEN
Oh, come on, Harvey, give us the secret. We’ve been coming here for twenty five years.

HARVEY GRIFF
You guys would sell and post the recipe all over the internet.

MR. JENSEN
We don’t use the internet. I guess we’re missing out.

HARVEY GRIFF
Oh, yeah. You’d be surprised at all the rubbish on the net. The punks run it you know? Bill Gates and his team of nerds have infiltrated almost every home in the world.

MR. JENSEN
The power of Bill Gates is a bit scary. I guess in our day the Bill Gates was Alexander Graham Bell.

MRS. JENSEN
Oh, come on, Richard, we’re not that old. You make us seem ancient.

MR. JENSEN
I guess my alzheimers is kicking in.

MRS. JENSEN
This isn’t true. I didn’t have to remind you this morning to brush your teeth. You’re still very quick.

MR. JENSEN
Yes, I’m quick to run to the dinner table and to the bathroom.

MRS. JENSEN
Oh, Richard, stop it.

HARVEY GRIFF
I’ll have no bathroom talk in my restaurant. You say it again and I’ll throw you out or call the cops.

The door opens and Punk and Mikey come in.

PUNK
Harvey, the cops came after us the other day.

HARVEY GRIFF
We’ve heard about you guys. You guys need to straighten up and fly right. You’re walking on a slippery slope.
(To Mr. Jensen)
What do think about these two here? You know there parents?

MR. JENSEN
Yes. Mikey’s grandfather is a well-respected judge. And Punk’s father, well, I can’t say much for him. But his mother is a talented singer.

HARVEY GRIFF
You have any advice?

MR. JENSEN
Only to stay out of trouble. I know about trouble. Before I met Mrs. Jensen, I was clueless about my life. I was all over the place and into everything. Back then, we didn’t have as many things to get into but I was into what was around. I smoked and drank and ran around with hoodlums. Growing up is hard. And then one fine day it hit me.

MRS. JENSEN
I hit you, right?

MR. JENSEN
No, it was a bottle in the head that hit me.

MRS. JENSEN
Oh, gosh. You were a fightin’ man in those days. I remember.

PUNK
You were a fighter? Like Mike Tyson?

MR. JENSEN
Man alive. Put me in the ring with him and it will be curtains for him. He’s got nothing on me. I was a thug before it was popular and in style. You youngins listen to rap and this type stuff. I lived the life of the fighter before I woke up and realized what was more important.

MIKEY
It’s hard these days. Everybody’s hatin’ on me.

PUNK
You’re a wimp. You play the trombone.

MIKEY
Get off it. You quit.

HARVEY GRIFF
Okay, here’s my advice. Just forget everything. Punks, vampires, scam artists, thugs, thieves, robbers, will all have their go at you. Bottom line. Just quit trying to please everyone. Pleasing everyone will make you wind up sleeping all day long depressed in the bed.

MIKEY
I like sleeping. It’s cool.
(Pause)
Hey, I’m hungry. I came here for food. How ’bout a chocolate milk shake and IN a cup, not the bag. No jokes today. I’ve had enough and a chili hot dog.

HARVEY GRIFF
You want chili? That’ll cost you extra. You want a cup. That’s extra, too. As is the air you breathe in here. I have these specialized air filters.
(to the Jensens)
We had them shipped in from the rest home where some of the stars lived.

MR. JENSEN
Who?

HARVEY GRIFF
Oh, you know. All of them. You name it, they used it.

Mr. Jensen looks to Mrs. Jensen.

MR. JENSEN
We better get, huh?

MRS. JENSEN
Yes, we’ve got to go to another funeral service. That’s all we do these days. Kinda sad.

HARVEY GRIFF
Okay folks. Say hello to the Reverend for me. He hasn’t been in for a while.

MR. JENSEN
We will. Adios.
(Pause)
Best to you Mr. Sims.

Mr. Sims is done with his food and has just been sitting there spacing out.

MR. SIMS
Thanks.

The couple leaves.

HARVEY GRIFF
Mr. Sims, can I get you a fried pie or anything else?

MR. SIMS
No, I’m not too hungry. I guess it will take some time. But it’s been mighty good being here. My wife and I came here every Wednesday.

HARVEY GRIFF
Yes, I know. You guys practically ran off every customer I had.
(wink)

MR. SIMS
You know that my wife and I appreciate you. It’s not every day that you meet some one of a kind guy like you. You cheer us up. But you know that some people don’t understand.

HARVEY GRIFF
Like the thugs that shot holes in my windows. You remember that?

MR. SIMS
Yes.

HARVEY GRIFF
Punk, so it was thirty five years ago and there was a fight in the shop. Some punk was drunk and I made some remarks. He didn’t like it.

PUNK
What’d you say?

HARVEY GRIFF
Let me describe the scene. The guy comes in looking like Charles Manson. He has this crazed look on him. He was dressed in all the hippie gear. Texas was a late bloomer in the hippie scene. But this guy was tuned in.

PUNK
He was some pot head?

HARVEY GRIFF
Who knows? The guy comes in asking to use the rest room. He’s weaving back and forth and almost knocks over the tea machine. I quickly say, “Dude, Woodstock is calling ya, man. Go piss outside, you hippie.”

MIKEY
What’d he do?

HARVEY GRIFF
Hold on. Let me check your food.
(Pause)
Okay. He jumps over the counter and starts to punch me but my cook stepped in and punched the guy in the stomach. The hippie falls to the floor and some college students leap on top of the guy.

PUNK
So when did the shots come into play?

HARVEY GRIFF
My cook picked him up and then threw him out the back door of the restaurant. He got up stumbling and left. Later that night around closing, we heard gunshots.

PUNK
Where?

HARVEY GRIFF
In those days, there was a window on the back door. That’s where it happened.
(Pause)
Oh gosh, your food. Hold up.

Harvey gets the food for the two boys.

HARVEY GRIFF
Here you go guys.

The two boys take the tray and sit at the closest table and continue listening to Harvey.

HARVEY GRIFF
So anyway, we heard a loud bang just after coming back in from taking the garbage out. My cook yelled, “Oh God, Harvey.”
(Pause)
I grabbed my pistol from underneath the counter and ran back to the back. The cook was in a daze. I opened up the back door and went out and there was a car driving off. I shot my gun in the direction of the car but it kept going.

MIKEY
Boy, Harvey, just like in Compton or something. You were a real gangster.

HARVEY GRIFF
I was defending what was mine. Someone shot my property up. The glass was everywhere. The punk dissed me. Word up. I don’t take no guff from nobody. HG represents.

MIKEY
Did the cops show up?

HARVEY GRIFF
Yeah, we called the pigs up. I wanted to get on record my version before the punk went squealing to the pigs.

PUNK
You called the fuzz? Man, I’d never call the fuzz. What happened?

HARVEY GRIFF
The cops come blazing in with their sirens, almost crashing my Lenin statue out front of the restaurant.

PUNK
You had a John Lennon statue? That’s cool.

HARVEY GRIFF
No, dummie. The Russian leader Lenin. So anyway, the cops come storming in and ask, “Are you a commie?”
(pause)
I say, “no sir, I’m just a working class gentleman with hippies running amok up in here.”

MIKEY
You don’t like cops do you?

HARVEY GRIFF
I was trying to hold my cool. The cop gets mad and leaves. I just threw my hands up in the air.

MIKEY
Some ego trip, huh?

HARVEY GRIFF
Yeah, I let the whole matter go. I didn’t have any more trouble from the hippie. The funny thing is that five years later, that same hippie came in but he was clean cut.

PUNK
Wow, what’d he say?

HARVEY GRIFF
He said that he had found Jesus. I said, well, good for you, man. It was at the time of the Jesus Freak movement in the ’70s.

MIKEY
Oh, man, how could you even let him in your shop?

HARVEY GRIFF
I didn’t recognize him. He started talking about how he had been in the shop one night. And you know, I never forget a face. I looked at him and then it clicked. I remembered his eyes. I asked, “Were you ever a hippie?”
(pause)
He said, oh no.

PUNK
Harvey, I would have punched the idiot out.

HARVEY GRIFF
Fellows, don’t you know that I mellowed with age?

PUNK
I bet you smoke weed.

HARVEY GRIFF
Yo, Punk, you talk about weed and I’ll kill you. I haven’t totally mellowed. I can still light a fire under your ass if need be.

PUNK
You’re a poser, man. Come on you serve food to geezers all day long. You’re so tough.

HARVEY GRIFF
(Raising his voice)
Get out of my store! Didn’t your parents teach you to respect the elderly?

MIKEY
(To Punk)
Come on man! Cool out. You’re wasted.

PUNK
Let’s go, Mikey. You heard Mr. Griff. He’s kicking us out.

HARVEY GRIFF
Boys, you best watch yourself. You’re walking a fine line. You get messed up with drugs and you’ll be between a rock and a hard place. And when I say rock, I mean you’ll be down on your hands and knees searching the floor for your coke.
(Pause)
I’ll give it to you straight cause no one told me.

Both boys get up from the table and walk to the exit. Punk exits and Mikey stops in the doorway and looks back to Harvey.

MIKEY
Thanks Harvey, I know you’re right. I better go talk to Punk. He’s a bit hyped up.

EXT. GRIFF’S HAMBURGER SHOP — EVENING

Punk tries to light up a cigarette with his lighter but it doesn’t work. He tries for a bit and gives up. He throws the lighter as far as he can in front. Mikey stands there with him.

MIKEY
Come on, man. Let’s just walk around a bit, huh?

PUNK
Give me your lighter, man.

MIKEY
You know I don’t smoke.

PUNK
Fuck, man. I can’t even smoke a stupid cigarette.

MIKEY
Let’s walk.

PUNK
I’m pissed at that fool. I don’t do drugs.

MIKEY
Yeah, well he’s just watching our backs. He knows what it’s like at home. He’s cool.

PUNK
Nah, man. He’s just a clown-acting fool who knows nothing. He can talk his jokes and serve the geezers. What good does he do? He’s a punk.

Mikey starts to walk and gestures for Punk to follow. Punk reluctantly follows.

The sun is going down and they walk down a busy street that has restaurants on both sides of the street and a nearby 7-11.

Punk catches up to Mikey.

PUNK
You wanna go in the 7-11?

MIKEY
Sure. What ya want?

PUNK
Just wait here.

MIKEY
(confused)
Ok?

INT. 7-11 STORE — EVENING

Mikey waits outside. Punk walks around the store not giving eye contact to anyone. He walks up to where the refrigerated beers are.

EMPLOYEE
Can I help you son?

PUNK
(irritated)
Listen, dude, I’ll let you know if I need help.

EMPLOYEE
Aren’t you a bit young to be looking at the beers?

PUNK
Is that illegal?

At that time, another customer walks up to the employee.

CUSTOMER
Sir, I was looking for the bread?

EMPLOYEE
Okay, let me show you.

The employee walks over to the bread with the customer following.

EXT. 7-11 STORE — EVENING

Mikey looks into the store at Punk. Mikey starts pacing back and forth nervously.

INT. 7-11 STORE — EVENING

Punk looks over to see that the employee is talking to the customer still. He opens the refrigerator and takes a 40 ounce Budweiser out and puts it inside his coat and walks quickly out the store.

EXT. 7-11 STORE — MOMENTS LATER

Punk comes out.

MIKEY
Dude, man. What’s going on?

PUNK
Let’s go. Hurry.

The employee comes outside the 7-11 to the two boys.

EMPLOYEE
(to Punk)
Alright, open up your coat!!

MIKEY
Punk, show him.

Punk opens his coat up and pulls out the beer. The employee takes it.

EMPLOYEE
Man, why did you have to steal? You could’ve just asked.

PUNK
I don’t know. I just did it.

EMPLOYEE
You’re going no where. Here’s the beer, man.

The employee hands the beer to Punk. Punk takes it. The employee goes back in the store shaking his head.

MIKEY
Come on. Let’s get out of here.

PUNK
Okay.

The two boys take a side street.

MIKEY
What about the beer? We’ll get caught.

PUNK
There’s an alley up here.

They take an alley. Punk quickly stops and opens the beer and takes a swig.

MIKEY
Ah, man. Not here!

PUNK
Stop being such a whuss.

MIKEY
I think we should just go home.

Punk takes a long swig down to the half-way point. He coughs and gasps for air. Mikey looks to see if anyone is around.

PUNK
You drink.

MIKEY
I don’t want to. My mom will know.

PUNK
Don’t you want to be in the gang?

MIKEY
I don’t know.

PUNK
Just drink it. It’s not drugs or anything.

Punk forces the bottle in front of Mikey’s face.

MIKEY
I’ve never drank before.

PUNK
Don’t worry.

Mikey takes the bottle.

MIKEY
I’m not gonna slam it like you.

PUNK
(Looking at watch)
You’ve got two minutes to slug that beer down.

MIKEY
I told you I don’t want to.

PUNK
(Angrily)
You’re doing it!

Mikey begins to slam the drink.

PUNK
Do it.

Mikey gets to about half-way and stops for a breathe.

MIKEY
I can’t do it.

By this time Punk is feeling the effects of the beer and is mellower.

PUNK
Just take a break.

Punk starts to dance around in the alley and clapping his hands.

PUNK
(Like Cheerleader with clapping)
Who’s the best?
(clap, clap)
We are.
(clap, clap)
Who’s the coolest?
(Clap, Clap)
We are.

MIKEY
Punk, let’s not be so loud.

PUNK
(loud)
Who are the HPH?
(Clap, clap)

Punk stumbles.

MIKEY
Alright, I’ll finish the beer. Just be quiet.

Punk starts laughing hysterically.

PUNK
You’ve never drank before. Some thug you are. You’re tough. My butt.

MIKEY
Come on man. Just shut up. I don’t understand why you had to steal.

PUNK
We didn’t steal. He gave it to us.

MIKEY
Oh, man, I’m drunk.

1980

Copyright Jim Guittard 2011

And here’s part of the soundtrack I’ve done for the music:

Tracks are as follows:
1 Highland Park Hoodlums 2:00
2 Hitting The Lotto 2:27
3 Flippity Flop 2:45
4 I Drive Your Car 2:18
5 HPH On The Rise 3:12
6 Lonely Road 1:27
7 HPH On The Rise – Alternate Take 3:02
8 Flippity Flop- Alternate 1:03

The Notorious G.I.D.D. Album

Join the Highland Park Hoodlum Facebook Group

Published under Lifesend this post
2008 14 May

Mayor of Sunset Strip
From my journal on May 5, 2004 – Dallas Texas

I went to see the movie about Rodney Bingenheimer called “The Mayor of Sunset Strip.” He is a guy that hung with many of the core music people of the 1960s and 1970s. Rodney was Davy Jones’ double for the Monkees Television series. Rodney knew Sonny and Cher and the Beatles.

He is most known for being the groundbreaking radio DJ for KROQ 106.7 in Los Angeles. He was first in putting on “the Runaways, Blondie, the Ramones, Social Distortion, Van Halen, Duran Duran, Oasis, the Donnas, No Doubt, Coldplay, Dramarama, the Offspring, the Go-Go’s, the B-52’s, X, the Vandals, and others.”1

The movie is a nostalgic documentary that shows much of my old stomping ground: the Tower Records on Sunset Blvd., Canter’s Deli on Fairfax Avenue, and the Denny’s Restaurant on Sunset Blvd. near the Guitar Center. There’s even a bit showing a crippled guy who polishes the stars along Hollywood Boulevard.2

Rodney also made his own English Disco Club that operated for awhile in Los Angeles. To me, Rodney’s a strange guy. I’ve never met him but I had a friend in L.A. that knew him well. Some people have talked bad about him but my friend said he was nice. I respect his great knowledge of music.

It seems that music was and still is his salvation. I can relate a bit. As a kid, I often locked myself in the bedroom and listened to the Beatles or Elvis. They were my heroes and took me to different places. At school, I was a freak and even loner, I suppose: the only guy with sideburns when I was sixteen years old. That was in 1990. Sideburns weren’t very in style then.

There was one time in the school cafeteria when I was sitting at the table alone and this bully behind me at the next table made fun of me. He yelled and got my attention. I looked over and he was holding two napkins up to both sides of his face like they were sideburns and laughing. I just ignored him. He was some punk clown.

In my high school days, I read biographies about rock and roll. I read one called Life With Elvis by his kid step-brother David Stanley.

At the age of sixteen, David Stanley found himself at the top of the world, traveling from city to city as a personal aide to his stepbrother Elvis Presley. Touring with the king of rock ‘n’ roll, Dave lived life in the fast lane – a way of living most people only dream about. On August 16th, 1977, tragedy struck when Dave found the king of rock ‘n’ roll lying facedown on his bathroom floor, dead at age forty-two. Life With Elvis tells Dave Stanley’s compelling story about growing up with Elvis, the dangers and disillusionment of life in the fast lane, and how he discovered true meaning in life through faith in God. — from book’s dustjacket.

It’s an interesting read. The book has a bit about how hoods often hastled Elvis about his sideburns in the boys’ room. One time at Humes High in Memphis, Elvis’ future bodyguard, Red West, stepped in to help Elvis. This was the time when short hair and flat tops were in style. Elvis styled his hair after truckdrivers. Elvis eventually became a truck driver for awhile before recording “That’s Alright Mama.”

From Elvis’ ’68 Comeback Special

It was natural that I picked up the guitar in the 9th grade and never looked back. Music was my way of relating to the chaotic world around me. Things would explode and erupt but the music remained with me. It is proof that music is power. I really hope that the kids these days can put good stuff in their heads to empower. Elvis, along with many others, instilled in me a philosophy of hope and trust.

I don’t think the kids are getting this message today. What do you think?

Me – With the Highlander Band 1991
Jim Guittard - Highlander Band 1991


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

up1Wikipedia contributors. Rodney Bingenheimer. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. May 9 2008, at 15:05. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_Bingenheimer. Accessed May 14, 2004.

up2I spoke to him a few times en route to the Musicians’ Institute that I was attending.