Written by Joe Janes
158 of 365
Max, 30s, German
(In the darkness, we hear the roaring voice of the Ring Master.)
RING MASTER (VO)Ladies and gentlemen, may I direct your attention to high above the center ring. Put your hands together for The Amazing Maxwell!
(A spotlight comes up on the devilishly handsome Max holding a balancing pole and slowly walking a high wire – the actor is actually stage level and NOT walking a high wire, unless, of course, you can do that, then, by all means, knock yourself out. Maxwell waves to the adoring fans below. He removes a scarf from around his neck, wipes his brow with it, and tosses it to the crowd. They go wild.)
RING MASTER (VO)Ladies and gentlemen! I have just received word that I am now, at this moment, legally obligated to bring your attention also to high above the center ring, but on the other side of the ring, for The Amazing Maxwell, the second… I mean “two”!
(Lights up on the other side of the stage and we see The Amazing Maxwell 2 dressed similarly and looking similar to, The Amazing Maxwell. Perhaps a little shorter and plumper. The Amazing Maxwell 2 waves to a confused crowd below.)
MAXHow dare you!
REGGIEHow dare you, sir! I told you what the consequences would be.
MAXYou are not The Amazing Maxwell, Reggie. This is not The Amazing Maxwell!
REGGIEOf course I’m not. I am The Amazing Maxwell 2. And I have a court order that allows me to use that name and perform the act we created for this circus at this circus.
MAXYou are a bastard.
(During their exchange, they continue to slowly walk towards one another.)
MAXYou are nothing but a leech on my sequined ass.
REGGIEI trained you, Max. I choreographed your routine with you. I made you better. I made you a star.
MAXYou mean you assisted me, Reggie. You were nothing more than a paid intern.
REGGIESay it enough and maybe you’ll believe it, but you’d be nothing without me.
MAXA fact I would like to find out.
REGGIEYou can’t treat people the way you do, Max. I helped you build your act and your following and you just cut me out. Threw me away like the sweaty scarf you throw to the crowd. Which was my idea, by the way.
(Reggie removes the scarf from around his neck, wipes his brow with it and tosses it to the crowd below. We hear a large, collective “Ew!”)
MAXHa! You have only succeeded in grossing them out.
REGGIEWell, I guess I am a little sweatier than you. A lot sweatier. (He wipes off his eyes.)
MAXYou may have come up with a few ideas, Reggie-
MAXA few! But I am the star. You are nothing but a lowly Hollywood scribe. You don’t see the screenwriter showing up on film claiming to be Clark Gable 2.
REGGIEI’m more than that. You never would have been able to do the triple twister backwards summersault had it not been for me.
MAXHa! I will give you that, Reggie. The triple twister backwards summersault is your creation. Why don’t you go ahead and do it. Right now. Show the people your signature move.
REGGIEI can’t do that. I haven’t done the tiny bicycle or the flaming hoop, yet. You have to build up to the triple twister backwards summersault.
MAXYou do if you can’t really do it and are avoiding it.
REGGIEI can do it. I’m just as good as you are Max. Hell, I’m better. I’m the greatest high wire artist of all time. You kept holding me back, afraid of my talent.
MAXYou may be as good as me, but I will tell you something you are not, Reggie.
MAXYou are not…as handsome!
(He plays to the audience and gets a big cheer. He finishes by giving focus to Reggie.)
REGGIEThe only reason you’re able to stay up on the high wire, Max, is because you are full of hot air!
(Reggie finishes the statement playing out to the audience, which suddenly goes silent. He tries again and they start booing.)
MAXYou are losing them, my friend. You had better try to win them back.
REGGIEWhat do I do?
MAXHmm… I know what I would do.
MAX AND REGGIEThe triple twister backwards summersault!
MAXBut you are not ready. I guess I’ll go ahead and do it, leaving you to try to follow it later, while I’m back on the ground tickling the chins of my adoring girl fans with the wads of cash I stuff in my dance belt.
REGGIENot if I beat you to it.
(They face each other. A drum roll begins.)
MAXWe can’t do it together! Our leaps could create a piston action that would send us flying into the air.
REGGIEWhat’s the matter? Is The Amazing Maxwell now The Amazingly Cowardly Maxwell?
MAXTouché, my friend. On three!
MAX AND REGGIEEine, Zwei, Drei!
(The two flip backwards while twisting out, spinning three times. Yeah. I know. I suspect six-eight people dressed in black will run out and help them achieve this affect in slow motion. When they land, Reggie lands perfectly. Maxwell’s foot slips after he lands causing him to teeter back and forth trying to regain his balance.)
REGGIETry to grab my pole, Max!
MAXI can’t! I’m falling!
(Max slips. Reggie reaches out and grabs him by the hand.)
MAXMein Gott! You’re all sweaty!
MAXI’d like to, but it’s like you dipped your arms in a vat of pig grease.
REGGIEHang on long enough for them to put the nets up down there.
MAXI don’t think I can. Well, Reggie, at least I fulfilled my dream.
MAXI got to share the high wire with the greatest high wire artist of all time.
REGGIEYou mean that?
MAXNo, you idiot. I hate you!
(He falls to his death. We hear his scream trail off and his body hit the dirt. The crowd goes “ugh.” Reggie, drained, stays on the wire on all fours. )
RING MASTER (VO)Ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats while the paramedics tend to The Amazing Maxwell. (Reggie starts to crawl off.) As they whisk him away to the morgue, er, hospital, let’s look back up to the high wire where The Amazing Maxwell 2 is still contractually obligated to perform on a tiny bicycle and jump through a hoop of fire while juggling.
REGGIE (stopping)We never formally agreed on the juggling! We said maybe on the juggling!
RING MASTER (VO)Did I say juggling? I meant juggling hoops of fire! While the tires of his bike are on fire! While the very high wire upon which he performs quickly bursts into flames.
(We hear flames shoot up and the lights turn orange.)
REGGIEI never should have written this part.