Virtue of the Fish Monger – A Screenplay by Bernard Floater

INT. PATRUSHSKI’S OF THE FISHERY – FRONT ROOM – DAY

ANNA is a gorgeous punk rocker who thinks she knows a thing or two about a thing or two. She walks through the shop’s front door, apron under arm, cautiously eying the hanging codfish dangling about in front of her face. Raising from behind the counter is PATRUSHSKI, an intense and slightly older gentleman with a beard and an accent, his apron and hands slathered with fish innards.

ANNA
Is this the fish shop? Because I’m supposed to be at a fish shop, and I’m pretty sure these are fish.

PATRUSHSKI
Yes, yes they are fish. This is a fish shop.

ANNA
Oh these are fish?

PATRUSHSKI
Yes. Because this is a fish shop…that is a shop, with this many fish in it.

ANNA
Gotcha. I’m Anna.

The pair stare at one another for a moment. After a beat, Patrushski motions for Anna to come behind the counter.

PATRUSHSKI
Yes, I figured you had a name. Come; let me show you what life means to me.

CUT TO:

INT. PATRUSHSKI’S – BACK ROOM – CONTINUING

The room is dark and shadowy. Patrushski and Anna stand before a large carving table, a huge tuna laid out before them. Patrushski is leaning over, looking into the tuna’s lifeless eye.

PATRUSHSKI
It is not until you have faced challenge in your life. Not until then can you properly supply fish to the people of Greater Natrona County Wyoming.

ANNA
You’re like a less interesting version of The Most Interesting Man in the World.

Patrushski shifts his attention from the tuna to Anna, moving closer to her as he does.

PATRUSHSKI
Salmon will make a man deep.

ANNA
Did you say “make a man weep?”

Petrushski leans in and looks directly into Anna’s eyes.

PATRUSHSKI
If you’re not careful.

He remains affixed on Anna at close distance. She becomes uncomfortable.

ANNA
I…I, think I’m good. I’m not a man so I’m probably pretty good.

PATRUSHSKI
You’d better not step out of line miss Beverly Hills Cop part two.

ANNA
The fuck does that mean?

Patrushski holds out his hand. In his palm is a key ring with about thirty keys.

PATRUSHSKI
Take these.

Anna takes the key ring and inspects it.

ANNA
I could bench press this thing.

PATRUSHSKI
You listen to me. It is your first day. Luckily for you, now until Easter is our slowest time of year. Likely we will not see even a single customer. Thinking back now, I really had no legitimate reason to hire you. Anyway, for now, sit out front. I have…papers.

ANNA
If no one comes in, do you mind if I practice my tap dancing behind the counter?

PATRUSHSKI
Tap dancing? Tap dancing?! There will be no tap dancing behind the counter at Patrushski’s of the Fishery!

Patrushski pick up a small trout and forcefully throws it to the ground.

PATRUSHSKI
Sit still until close at 7! Respect the fishes! Jesus!

He turns his back and walks away, down the hall to his office. Anna watches as he goes, a concerned look upon her face.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. PATRUSHSKI’S – FRONT ROOM – LATER

Anna is behind the counter, talking on the phone to her friend Beth.

BETH
Just calm down!

ANNA
Beth I can’t help it! He wouldn’t let me tap dance and now I’m freaking out!

BETH
It’s not unusual for a job to not let you tap dance Anna! They don’t know that it’s the only way to suppress your arousal when you’re in a room full of fish!

ANNA
Well it’s not like I can just up and tell them something like that!

BETH
The key is that if you know that fish sexually arouse you into an uncontrollable frenzy, don’t work at a fish thing in the first place!

ANNA
Don’t you think I’ve thought of that Beth?

Anna sighs and lights a cigarette. She takes a drag, and ashes in a fish head’s gaping mouth.

BETH
…so what’re you going to do?

ANNA
I don’t know. Just gonna to have to see what completely unpredictable set of events happen as a result of my actions I guess.

Anna hangs up the phone, and proceeds to rub a whiting filet between her breasts before catching and stopping herself.

ANNA
Leave it alone, Beverly Hills Cop part two.

She puts down the fish and sighs again. She glances behind her at the clock hanging on the wall: 1:30pm. She glances towards the back room: no sign of Patrushski. She cautiously walks to the front door, locks it, and flips the “OPEN” sign to “CLOSED.”

FADE OUT.

INT. PATRUSHSKI’S OFFICE – LATER

Patrushski is seated behind his desk, asleep on top of the numerous papers which cover its surface. He wakes slowly and glances at the desk clock: 6:45pm. He then picks up a few of the papers and looks them over. They’re all completely blank.

PATRUSHSKI
Damn it Patrushski, when will you learn?! It is not the amount of your papers, it’s what is printed on them!

INT. PATRUSHSKI’S – BACK ROOM – TOWARDS OFFICE

Patrushski staggers out of his office and throws a bunch of papers behind him, sending sheets everywhere. Even though we see him at distance, we can here him yelling clearly as he raises a fist to the sky and shouts:

PATRUSHSKI
Damn you bankers! Don’t you see how bad Patrushski is with the Northwestern-American business model!

He makes his way down the hallway, heading towards the front room.

CUT TO:

INT. PATRUSHSKI’S – FRONT ROOM

Anna’s apron is draped over the chair behind the counter. She herself is in the middle of the room, tap dancing in a colorful jazz-tap costume. Patrushski enters and is immediately infuriated.

PATRUSHSKI
What did I tell you about performing foot-tapping rhythmic motions in here?!

ANNA
I’m sorry sir! It was either that or something far less socially acceptable to do in a strip mall storefront!

PATRUSHSKI
You horrid disrespecter of fish!

Patrushski approaches her and grabs her by the hair. He notices her clean apron on the chair.

PATRUSHSKI
You will pay for your transgressions now Beverly Hills Cop part one!

ANNA
You said part two before!

PATRUSHSKI
You’ve been downgraded until you pay!

Patrushski pulls Anna into the back room.

CUT TO:

INT. PATRUSHSKI’S – BACK ROOM – CONTINUING

This is the portion of the film that involves the actual sexual acts. As with the nature of an adult film, these are merely a few suggested style elements to maintain the concept’s thematic integrity:

* Fish head nipple clamping

* Fish oil slathering

* Slapping of midrange-to-large sized fishes upon various parts of the body

* Clipping of the very large keyring to various parts of the body

* Bondage involving other items in the back room, such as using twine stringing or ropes from seafood shipping containers

* Octopus tentacle suctioning (or “cephalopondage”)

Once the sexual encounter has concluded, we return to front room of the shop:

INT. PATRUSHSKI’S – FRONT ROOM – LATER

Both Anna and Patrushski enter from the back room, both fully dressed in their original outfits as if nothing has happened.

ANNA
Thank you Mr. Patrushski. I…I understand now.

PATRUSHSKI
I’m proud of you my dear. However, I must fire you of course. Your burning desire for fish would make working here simply impossible.

ANNA
Patrushski please! I’ll do anything to stay!

PATRUSHSKI
I’m sorry Anna, there just isn’t any way…

They both look to the ground, and begin to cry. This lasts for a few moments, escalating slightly before Patrushski cries out:

PATRUSHSKI
Wait! I’ve got it!

ANNA
The magic stick? We’ve already established that…

PATRUSHSKI
No no; paper! I’ve got tons of paper!

ANNA
…and?

PATRUSHSKI
Anna, do you know how to take words from the computer and put them onto papers?

ANNA
You mean like, printing? Yeah I think I can handle that.

Patrushski is overjoyed.

PATRUSHSKI
Oh Anna! I’ve suddenly become the happiest man alive!

ANNA
Oh yeah?

Anna rips off her clothes, under which is a dazzling all-white tap dancing costume.

ANNA
Prove it.

Patrushski gives her a sly look, spins out of frame, and returns in an all-white suit of his own, complete with white top hat, gloves and cane.

PATRUSHSKI
Let’s go.

The two launch into a magnificently choreographed tap duet as the film’s grand finale.

END.