Queen Of Heartbreak: A Short Story Essay

140 EXT. FIRST LADY ACRES. LATER. 140 DOLLY along a row of reporters broadcasting live. REPORTER ONE It was supposed to be a quiet day of shopping for the queen of heartbreak… REPORTER TWO After tying a panty hose around her neck.. REPORTER THREE Tammy’s description of her assailants has been vague, leaving some to wonder whether George Jones played some role in her abduction. 141 INT. FIRST LADY ACRES. TAMMY’S BEDROOM. SAME MOMENT. 141 Tammy recuperates in bed. Gwen (now 18) enters. Tammy rolls over, turning her back on her daughter. TAMMY I don’t want you looking at me, Gwen. GWEN You need to tell me the truth, Mama.

If you can’t tell me the truth, I am going to leave. The threat of being left is too much. Tammy looks at Gwen. Just when we think she is going to come clean, she says… TAMMY I was out shopping when the horrible men said ‘you’re coming with us. ‘ They started beating into me with their fists… GWEN Richey beat you with his fists. TAMMY You’re picking an inconvenient time to be cruel, Gwendolyn. I’m having another operation. I am very sick. GWEN (gentle) Richey beat you. And the two of you are telling this lie because you have a concert next week, and you don’t have time for the bruises to go away this time.

G&T – 1st Numbered Draft 06-09-15 111. TAMMY That’s not what the papers are saying. GWEN Goodbye, Mama… Gwen exits, Tammy gets up, follows her out, passing the other girls toward Gwen’s BOYFRIEND (18), at the FRONT DOOR. TAMMY Maybe it was George Jones. There’s all kinds of speculating. The FBI themselves are looking into it. Gwen gives Georgette a kiss on the head. GEORGETTE My daddy did this? Gwen looks to Tammy. GWEN See what you’re doing? Tammy is mortified. Gwen exits with her Boyfriend. 142 EXT. SHITTY CARNIVAL. DAY. 142 George ONSTAGE, barely anyone in the audience.

George is carrying on a conversation between the Old Man and Deedoodle the Duck. DRUNK TEENAGE FUCKS heckle him, but George doesn’t seem to notice. His band, what’s left of it, is packing up. GEORGE (Old Man) You’re only a stupid duck. (Duck) I’d rather be a stupid duck, than an old fart. In the audience are TWO FBI MEN. FBI MAN ONE Is that a man capable of a criminal conspiracy to kidnap Tammy Wynette? FBI MAN TWO It’s downright Pentecostal. They leave. A TEEN FUCK hurls a burger at George’s head. Bull’seye. MOVE PAST the Teen Fucks, REVEAL Billy Sherill.

He looks around with disdain at the few people in the audience who came for the music, but stayed for the freak show. G&T – 1st Numbered Draft 06-09-15 112. 143 EXT. SHITTY CARNIVAL PARKING LOT. NIGHT. AFTER THE SHOW. 143 George waits on the curb like a Samuel Beckett hobo. Billy pulls up, rolls down the passenger window. George leans in. GEORGE (Old Man) They said I should wait here for my taxi. But you ain’t no taxi. That makes them liars. Billy opens the passenger side door for George. 144 EXT. CARNIVAL PARKING LOT. A LITTLE LATER. 144 Billy and George sit in the front seat of Billy’s parked car.

The carnival breaks down around them. BILLY Seeing you like this. Cracked up. Playing carnivals. Letting people treat you like you’re nothing… GEORGE (Duck) Don’t cry little buddy. BILLY Thave a song for you. It’s about a man who loved a woman so hard, that he didn’t stop loving her until the day he died. GEORGE (Duck) That’s morbid. BILLY You’re the only singer I know with that kind of sadness. GEORGE (Old Man) His sadness ain’t for sale. BILLY Tammy left me too, George. I know what it’s like to be caught up in her glow then watch her walk away. It’s enough to make a man split in two. G&T – 1st Numbered Draft 06-09-15 113.

GEORGE (Old Man) She married that ugly fart. (Duck) Boy oh boy. BILLY All we have is music, George. It can be enough if we let it. We’re not nothing. PUSH IN on George. The Old Man and the Duck fall away. ENGINEER (PRE-LAP) Take 632. 145 INT. RECORDING STUDIO. DAY. 145 George is asleep at the mic. Billy presses the intercom button from the CONTROL ROOM. BILLY George, you need to wake up, buddy. It’s time to sing. George stirs. GEORGE It’s too sad. BILLY I know. But we’re gonna go for another. A BLONDE SECRETARY enters with coffee for the tired MUSICIANS and ENGINEERS. The music starts, but George misses his cue to begin.

Nods off again on the mic. Billy turns to his BLONDE SECRETARY. BLONDE SECRETARY Want me to get some more whiskey? Billy looks at the blonde girl. He gets an idea. 146 INT. RECORDING STUDIO. A LITTLE LATER. 146 George is asleep on the mic. In the CONTROL BOOTH, Billy seats the blonde on a stool in the corner. He lowers the lights then presses the intercom button. BILLY George? You gotta wake up. Tammy wants to hear your new song. G&T – 1st Numbered Draft 06-09-15 114. ENGINEER This is sick. George stirs. BILLY I told her you were waiting for her to show up so you could sing it to her — let her know how you feel.

George looks to Billy who gestures to the Secretary. George’s POV: Tammy Wynette, not the Secretary, sits in the booth. GEORGE It’s nice to see you, Tammy. The Secretary waves. She’s uncomfortable playing this role. ENGINEER I’m leaving. He starts to go. BILLY You aren’t the only one who can turn nobs, but that man in there is the only one who can do what he does. Engineer exits. Billy takes his place at the controls. BILLY You ready for one, George? I know Tammy is. George smooths his hair, steels himself. Nods. Billy cues the musicians. George looks deep into the shadows at “Tammy. GEORGE (SINGING) HE SAID I’LL LOVE YOU TIL I DIE SHE SAID YOU’LL FORGET IN TIME AS THE YEARS WENT SLOWLY BY, SHE STILL PREYED UPON HIS MIND… George’s POV: The Tammy in CONTROL ROOM is Tammy at her best – that shiny girl he met in 1968. We CUT from George’s idealized Tammy TO: Tammy, as she is, face bruised, a shadow of who she once was. 147 WE ARE IN THE STATEROOM OF TAMMY’S TOUR BUS. NIGHT. 147 Tammy covers her bruises with makeup as George sings ON THE RADIO: G&T – 1st Numbered Draft 06-09-15 115.

GEORGE (ON RADIO) YA’ KNOW SHE CAME TO SEE HIM ONE LAST TIME OH, WE ALL WONDERED IF SHE WOULD… Tammy turns to Richey, hypodermic at the ready. She offers him her bruised forearms. RICHEY I can’t find a vein. Tammy takes off her shoes, then her panty hose. GEORGE (ON RADIO) AND IT KEPT RUNNING THROUGH MY MIND THIS TIME HE’S OVER HER FOR GOOD. Tammy puts her foot in Richey’s lap. He warms the space between her first and second toe. GEORGE (ON RADIO) HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY THEY PLACED A WREATH UPON HIS DOOR AND SOON THEY’LL CARRY HIM AWAY HE STOPPED LOVING HER TODAY. Richey plunges the hypodermic needle between Tammy’s toes — filling her with instant, but transitory warmth. DJ (ON RADIO) Absolute perfection, friends.

George Jones is back from the dead and I gotta say that may be the greatest country song I ever heard. TAMMY Gimmie another. TITLE CARD: 1983 148 INT. STEAK HOUSE. NIGHT. BLACK. CLOSE ON NANCY SEPULVEDO (30) a lovely brunette, waiting in a red pleather booth. George (now 52) approaches the table, carrying his damage, but with a bit of his old swagger back. GEORGE Helen. NANCY Nancy. 148 G&T – 1st Numbered Draft 06-09-15 116. GEORGE Peanutt said your name was Helen. NANCY My name was never Helen. GEORGE May I greet you with a gentle kiss on the hand or cheek? NANCY You’re thirty minutes late. George sits.

GEORGE I’m in the habit of disappointing people. It’s made me very rich. NANCY Peanutt says you’re broke. GEORGE Only thing easier than losing money is making it. NANCY Some of us don’t have luck. At least not the good stupid kind. GEORGE Had a hard life, huh, Helen? NANCY Nancy. GEORGE Who in the great goddamn is Helen then? NANCY You won’t curse around me even when you learn to say my name right. GEORGE You’re right. Cursing is a lowly undignified practice… Nancy. NANCY Is it true you tried to shoot him? * * G&T – 1st Numbered Draft 06-09-15 117. GEORGE People like to talk. They like talking about me.

Peanutt says so, I says I ain’t so sure. NANCY If somebody pointed a gun at me, I wouldn’t be fixing them up. GEORGE Well, Peanutt’s a Christian. And you’re dressed up. Smelling pretty. Right on time to meet a man who tried to shoot your friend. NANCY (a smile) Allegedly. George smiles. PRE-LAP Tammy and Richey singing… TAMMY AND RICHEY (O. S. ) O THEY TELL ME OF A HOME FAR BEYOND THE SKIES, O THEY TELL ME OF A HOME FAR AWAY… 149 TELEVISION SEGMENT. 149 We’re watching a 1980’s celebrity profile of Tammy (actual). Bad video cross dissolves of FIRST LADY ACRES’ EXTERIOR, the opulence of its INTERIOR.

Tammy, Richey and Friends around a piano singing as if this were a happy home. TAMMY AND RICHEY (CONT’D) O THEY TELL ME OF A HOME WHERE NO STORM CLOUDS RISE, O THEY TELL ME OF AN UNCLOUDED DAY. 150 EXT. FIRST LADY ACRES BACKYARD. DAY. 150 Segment continues. Richey spins Tammy on a merry-go-round. HEAR the voice of LORI-ANN (20’s), an entertainment reporter. LORI-ANN (V. O. ) Tammy Wynette’s dizzying life as an entertainer is stabilized by her husband, George Richey. Tammy and Richey stroll hand in hand next to a koi pond. LORI-ANN Not only is he her husband, he’s also her manager. (MORE)