Written by Joe Janes
171 of 365
Farmer Brown, 50s
(Lights up on Farmer Brown sitting on his front porch rocking in his chair. Sherman, a small boy, approaches him.)
SHERMANHi, Farmer Brown!
FARMER BROWNWell, hello there, Sherman.
SHERMANGuess what we learned about in school today?
FARMER BROWNHow to make a taco?
FARMER BROWNHow to count to 3,472?
FARMER BROWNI know, I know. How to make a bomb out of fertilizer.
SHERMANMaybe I should just tell you.
FARMER BROWNThat’s a good idea.
SHERMANWe learned all about dairy farms, like yours.
FARMER BROWNLike mine?
SHERMANJust like yours.
FARMER BROWNWhat did they tell you?
SHERMANThey said cows live on farms. During the day, they graze on grass in open fields and at night sleep on beds of hay in barns, like that one.
FARMER BROWNThat? That’s just for show. I rent it out for parties and tourists like to have their picture taken in front of it. The cattle’s all in that building over there.
SHERMANThat windowless metal shed?
FARMER BROWNI still call it a barn. What else did the teacher tell you?
SHERMANWell, she said that whenever you need milk for your family, you just grab a bucket and milk one of the cows.
FARMER BROWNHa! Shows how much your teacher knows. (puts his finger to the side of his nose) A dealer doesn’t sample his own stuff. (wink) Want to visit them cows? See what it’s really like?
SHERMANYou bet I do.
FARMER BROWNRight this way, Sherman!
(They walk across the stage. Farmer Brown takes out keys and undoes a series of locks on a door.)
SHERMANGosh, Farmer Brown, why so many locks?
FARMER BROWNCows are money, Sherman. Your parents ever teach you to lock up your valuables?
SHERMANJust my bike.
FARMER BROWNWell, multiply the value of your bike by a million.
SHERMANWould if I could.
FARMER BROWNAnd that’s the value of my cows.
(Farmer Brown opens the door, but before they go in…)
FARMER BROWNNow, Sherman, you’re about to see a special place. A place many little boys never get to see. Are you ready?
SHERMANMore than ever, Farmer Brown!
FARMER BROWNThen enter and be amazed by Farmer Brown’s Real Barn.
(They enter and see basically a large, plumpy pile of live cows. About a dozen. Stacked on another in something like a cow pyramid. Off to the side in the corner is one lone cow standing on a milk crate with a black garbage bag over his head and his upper legs spread out holding wires.)
SHERMANWow! There’s so many of them in such a small space.
FARMER BROWNI told you it was amazing.
SHERMANThere must be a dozen cows there.
FARMER BROWNOh, way more. Hundreds more. This is just the tip of the bovine pyramid. See, there’s a hole in the floor.
SHERMANWhy are they stacked like this?
FARMER BROWNMakes it easier to store them and feed them.
SHERMANCan I feed them?
FARMER BROWNNope. It’s all done by machines. Twice a day, they get hosed down with nutrient-laced water. And once a day, they’re sprinkled with a mixture of ground up corn, newspaper, Valium and animal remnants.
FARMER BROWNWhatever’s left of a cow that we can’t sell. You know, the stuff they won’t even put in a hot dog. Nothing goes to waste around here.
SHERMAN (pointing to cow standing in corner)Did that cow do something bad?
FARMER BROWNYes, he did, Sherman. He was born a male. See, we need pregnant female cows to produce a lot of milk.
SHERMANDon’t you need boy cows to make the girl cows pregnant?
FARMER BROWNNot in this day and age. We use other methods, such as artificial insemination.
FARMER BROWNThat’s where I make the girl cow pregnant. (Sherman and Farmer Brown stare at each other for a moment. Sherman clearly is getting a disturbing image in his mind.) …With science!
FARMER BROWNHe has to stand there for a month and then we’ll turn him into veal. It’s his own fault, really.
FARMER BROWNYou’re a smart boy, Sherman. Have a lollipop!
(Farmer Brown gives Sherman a lollipop, which he eagerly accepts and unwraps.)
SHERMANThanks, Farmer Brown.
FARMER BROWNLet me get a picture of you with my brownie and you can show it to your teacher.
(Farmer Brown takes a small instant camera out of his pocket.)
SHERMANThat would be great.
FARMER BROWNStand right next to the cow pile.
(He smiles and points at the cows with the lollipop in his mouth, just like that pic from Abu Ghraib.)
FARMER BROWNSay, “Cheeese!”
(Sherman says “cheese!” as the cows “moo” pathetically. Farmer Brown snaps the shot. Blackout.)