TUESDAYS WITH FRANKIE
MY DINNER WITH ABERNATHY
TOO PUNK ROCK FOR GODOT
by Emily and Justin
INT. QUIET BISTRO - DUSK
Two friends EMILY and JUSTIN come
together for an evening meal. There is an air of familiarity between the two, yet it is
obvious this is their first meeting in some time. The boy is more OUTWARDLY WARM and
FRIENDLY, while the girl seems somewhat DISTRACTED and DISINGENUOUSLY POLITE. Like a food
server who never stops smiling, but says the exact same thing to every table. The boy is
dressed casually, in jeans and a t-shirt. The girl is dressed not unlike PAUL ABDUL in the
"RUSH, RUSH" video; platform shoes, ruffled socks, and a 50's style halter dress
with a cherry print. She has several visible TATTOOS.
Emily, it's so good to see you. Thank you for coming.
Thank you for inviting me. . .
My pleasure. Absolutely. It's just that I haven't seen much of you lately and. . . you
have pink streaks in your hair.
Yeah. I've just been spending a lot of time with this new person, Frankie. Every Tuesday
Oh! You're seeing someone! Well ring-a-ding-ding. How'd you meet the guy?
Frankie is a girl. But it's not like that . . . did you hear that the chef from 'The
Frugal Gourmet' died?
You're dating a chick? Well. . . okay. I mean, I always thought those rating the lesbian
things you wrote were facetious. But, I mean hey. Red blooded American male here. I
suppose if that's what you want, I'll beat my chest, down a Pabst and say 'congrats.'
(agitated) No, I'm not dating a girl. I'm not a lesbian. I mean, god, like, we're all bi,
you know? They've proven that there are girl bunnies out there who like other girl
bunnies, and boy monkeys who like boy monkeys, so it's so totally nature and not nurture,
or whatever. But that's not even what I'm talking about. Frankie Abernathy. She's on The
Real World. On Tuesdays.
(straining hard to maintain politeness). . . You've been avoiding all of your friends
because of a girl on a reality show? A girl with an off-centered lip ring, even?
I'm so sure you took a shot at her piercings, dude. I mean, it's so obvious that she got
the ring off center because SHE HERSELF is left of center. I mean, if you're a person who
doesn't walk the straight and narrow, why would you want to express yourself with
something as bland as a symmetrical piercing? Plus, it doesn't get in the way when you
chew. But anyway, I just happened to turn on MTV one night when I was painting my
toenails, and there was Frankie. It was so refreshing to see someone like her on TV. The
alternative and subversive are just never recognized in mainstream media. It's always the
over bronzed, under educated fratbots in Hollister t-shirts. Then there she was, with her
cat eye glasses and plastic bracelets. I just watched her and thought, "That's me!
I'm on TV!"
But you're not-
But she's not like me! You know why? SHE'S DYING Justin. She's got like, diabetes, or
Yeah, that's it. So I'm sitting there listening to her talk about how she'll probably not
live past the age of 30, and I just couldn't believe how god damned strong she is.
Wasn't she like, smoking a cigarette in the same scene she talked about her debilitating
Oh, bah! Those were Indian cigarettes, they barely count. They're made of nutmeg, or some
shit. Besides, if you knew that your life was going to be a short one, wouldn't you live
every day like it's the fullest? Wouldn't YOU want the occasional smoke?
But. . but that's crap. She hides behind her illness, and only uses the "life is
short, play hard" defense when she's done something stupid. I watched the show, she
fell face first into a beer quite a few times. And don't even get me started on Dave.
(distracted) I think I need to give myself bangs.
. . . Okay, I'll bite. But Emily, you already have bangs.
Well yeah, but only in the front, I want them to go past my forehead, to my temples.
Were you even listening to me a minute ago?
Like Bettie Page.
GOD! Okay, the thing about Dave is this: He doesn't exist. Or at least he doesn't need to,
not really. He's a tool to her. Frankie has spent her entire life feeling nothing about
herself except that she exists as an outsider. No one likes her, so she's free to move
about different personalities looking for one that fits. She's Enid Coleslaw. Well no,
that's a bad analogy, because Enid Coleslaw had some redeeming qualities. So we'll say
that she's Enid Applesauce. Anyway, it's very obvious that Frankie has spent her youth,
and now her adult life, just surfing between subcultures, trying on anything that would
allow her to maintain that she's "not the prettiest, not the smartest." So then
she meets Dave who, inherently lame or not, is like the apex of thinking outside the bun.
So she latches onto him, living her life by his definitions. Then when she's in San Diego,
he becomes the measuring stick. She reiterates constantly that Dave proves "what
she's all about." He defines her as a person. But at the same time, she's needy
because she hates herself, so she needs something physical to validate her while she's
away from Dave. And that's why when she wasn't spouting bullshit rhetoric about how he is
her "soulmate" or how she loved him "at first sight," she's got her
tongue crammed into some scenester asshole's needlessly large ear plugs. But in the end,
WHO Dave is doesn't matter. He could be a tattooed rock star type, or a patchouli-scented
Phishead, or a mall Goth in Crow makeup. She just needs someone, anyone, to be that beacon
of definition. It doesn't matter who Dave really is. THERE IS NO SPOON!
Bullshit. I mean, yeah, Frankie has some self-esteem problems. And yeah, she namedrops him
a lot. But you're not going to convince me that Dave is nothing but a placeholder. I mean,
it's obvious they have a lot in common.
Like what? The fact they're both "cutters"? I wonder how deep the cuts were when
he had to watch his girlfriend make out with two or three different guys?
That's the single most hateful thing I think I've ever heard you say. I mean god, Justin,
she's a real person. Not just some character on TV.
But she IS just some character on TV. I don't know her, I don't care to know her, but
she's on a television show for my amusement, and therefore willing and ready to take my
inevitable judgement of her. Maybe the Frankie Abernathy you saw every Tuesday isn't the
same as the one who exists in real life at all. But that's the character who was created,
and THAT's the one you've decided to fashion yourself after.
(embarrassed) Well. . . I mean, to say I want to "fashion" myself after Frankie
is kind of pushing it. I just thought she was interesting, and I liked her. Maybe I wanted
to be like her a little-
Exactly! I'm not saying that you've gone Single White Female here, but it's obvious you've
developed some sort of idol worship. The same as if you'd watched "Some Like It
Hot" and then covered your walls in pictures of Marilyn Monroe, or if you'd started
listening to the Insane Clown Posse and were all of the sudden a Juggalo.
Except we can both agree that Juggalos are lesser life forms.
Because they worship white, rapping, wrestling-enthusiast clowns.
Okay, fine. She's flawed. She screws up. But who can say that they haven't been there? Who
can say they haven't struggled to find their own identity, and hurt some people in the
process? Who lives life without regret?
She's just a fucked up girl looking for her own piece of mind?
That was sarcasm.
Did you even see "Eternal Sunshine"?
Nah, never got around to it. But you know what's really great? Donnie Darko. It changed my
. . . that's good hon.
Oh! And "A Clockwork Orange."
You had me and you lost me.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that we all have problems we'll eventually have to come
to terms with. Fortunately for most of us, we're afforded the luxury of dealing with them
within the privacy of our homes. Imagine what it'd be like to have your grievances aired
for the entire fucking public to see.
Yeah, but what you're failing to get-
No, I think I'm well aware of what it is I don't "get". Seems to me you're about
to launch into a spiel about how Frankie is the embodiment of everything that's wrong with
America. How she obsesses over being different, all the while failing to acknowledge the
fact that she's no more unusual than any other chucklefuck with a pair of black framed
glasses and a t-shirt depicting how hilarious the 80's are for having happened at an
earlier point in mankind's chronological history. Maybe then you'll expound upon how
ironic it is that Hot Topic preaches individualism yet at the same time packages it off
and sells it to millions of disillusioned kids desperately seeking self-identity and
That's just it! She's not some "disillusioned kid". She's twenty-one. She's a
full-grown woman who should probably have a grasp on how to handle her emotions by now I
mean, she went into this thing expecting everyone to do some sort of comically exaggerated
double take upon first seeing her because of how culturally removed from the norm she is.
Unfortunately, she forgot to factor in the actuality that society as a whole had already
gone through its "gawk at people with stupid hair and awkwardly placed
piercings" phase sometime during the lapse between the ridiculously hokey hip-hop of
the eighties and the ridiculously hokey hip-hop of the nineties. When she got to the house
and the roommates treated her the same way they'd tread your average boisterous frat boy,
she got pissy because she wasn't planning on being accepted. And since she ended up having
nothing tangible to bitch about throughout the duration of the season, she made up some
problems, pulled a few major temper tantrums out of her ass, and called it quits.
She didn't "make up" her problems, Justin. She cut herself with a knife. She
actually made a conscious decision to plunge a blade into her skin, and drag it along the
open wound. How can you see that happen and not empathize? Could she have employed a
little more tact in doing so? Yeah, probably, but since when has the Real World NOT been
about a bunch of attractive twenty-somethings hamming it up in front of a camera in an
attempt to make their lives seem much more interesting than they really are?
Attractive? Did you not see Adam from Real World: Paris? Motherfucker was the closest I've
ever seen a human being come to actually being one of the fryguys from those old McDonalds
commercials. And those teeth? Christ, they look like the blades I used to sharpen my ice
Oh, fuck, I know. The probability of the volume of product in his hair eventually erupting
into an inferno of grease and styling gel is the only thing keeping me from making him
atone for thinking he's God's gift to women through means of a 12-gauge shotgun and a
round of buckshot through his crotch- Hey, wait a second. Did we just have a moment?
What? What the hell are you talking about?
A moment. Did we just have one?
N-no. At least, I don't thin- WAIT! There. There it was.
Really? Shit. I was checking out these entrée prices. Check this out. The petite filet
mignon with wild mushroom sauce is thirty bucks not including gratuity. I'll go buy a
pound of ground chuck and pick the mushrooms out of your shower for $3.99.
What mushrooms? I don't know what you're talking about.
YOU'RE thirty dollars.
I'm a predetermined monetary value? That doesn't even make any sense.
Yeah, well, Frankie's afraid of really big boats. What's the deal with that?
She's not really afraid of big boats in the sense that large sea faring vessels which are
primarily used for transporting cargo and/or passengers from one destination to another
frighten her. The boats are more of a metaphorical manifestation of her insecurities.
They're a physical incarnate of the problems she tries to cover up with her "too cool
for school" facade. Her problems just happen to be large. Large like the
"boats" she was allegedly scared of.
Oh, so that'd explain why the phobia was only relevant when it was convenient to her
No, I'm pretty sure that was just a result of her inability to maintain the plausibility
of a lie.
Oh. I see.
Yeah, dude, like I said; I'm not obsessed with her. I can recognize some of her more
glaring character flaws. Unlike you, I possess the ability to empathize with people as
opposed to just needlessly cutting them down just because you don't want to take the time
to understand them. I'm not knocking you or anything, because we all do it sometimes. I
just think you could stand to open your eyes and take a look at the world outside of the
shell you've created and managed to contain yourself within.
I guess what it comes down to, is that Frankie shall forever remain an enigmatic piece of
American pop-culture. Perhaps one day the future historians will look back upon this
conversation using one of the machines they'll have no doubt designed to handle such a
feat, and draw upon our wisdom to reach some divine all-encompassing conclusion about
Frankie and her ultimate role in the evolution of humanity. Then they can dig up our
bodies, bring us back to life through concentrated prayer to the scientifically determined
"correct" God, and laugh in the face of elders past.
You've you've never made physical contact with a woman before, have you?
I awkwardly leer at them from across a crowded bar until they turn away out of trepidation
and disgust. That's almost like the same thing, isn't it?
Y-yeah, it is. Hey, here's an idea. Now that we've settled that, what say we order
ourselves an appetizer?
Sure. What do you want?
All right. How about the fried calamari with the garlic aioli sauce?
Sorry, I can't. I'm on Atkins, and the garlic sauce would just rocket my carb count into
Uh, ok. What about the duck confit baked in a puff pastry with a chili honey sauce?
Yeah, let's get that. And then afterwards maybe we get the HOSPITAL to rig up a
complimentary intravenous set-up right here next to the table so they can inject some
unprocessed bacon grease directly into my veins. Since, you know, its practically the same
thing. Sure, that sounds like a WONDERFUL idea.
Jesus Christ, its no wonder I haven't talked to you since junior college.