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Jeff Long: A | Grade It Now!
Is That a Business Plan In Your Pocket?
cord and we see it start smoking. The fire grows quickly. There's a picture of the Dreckers holding a newborn Ray. There's no battery in the smoke alarm. Suddenly, Ray's son, Damon, bangs on the door of a sleeping Ray. He tells him that the house is on fire. We see the fire destroy all of the memories of Ray's glory days. Ray seems like a bit of a fuck up. How has he not killed his kids or himself already? It's a small house. What the hell were they powering in there, a subway?

Outside the house, in their pj's, Ray asks Damon where his sister is. Darby shows up in an SUV with hip-hop blaring from inside. She's the passenger. She gets out and approaches the burning house in horror. Ray is more concerned about where she was and who she was with. She says she was with Hammer as she hugs her father. He screams for Hammer to stop, but Ray can't touch that. He's outta there. Ray screams at Darby that he called her and their rule is that she always answers the phone. She cries that the battery died (much like the one in the smoke alarm -- wait there wasn't even a DEAD battery there) and Damon tells him to stop yelling. He says he's sorry and asks for a huddle (aka hug). He looks at Damon and asks him if he's wearing lipstick. Damon just walks away and Ray's all, "What the hell's going on around here?"

The next morning, Ray is standing outside of the house as what remains of it is boarded up. A guy tells Ray that he should get a hotel room -- his insurance will pay for it. He kind of pauses and Darby tries to confirm that he does indeed have insurance. He says that he does have insurance, but he's not staying in a hotel. Charred houses are targets for thieves and vandals, so they're going to stay in a tent by the lake in back. The twins look at him in horror and step away. Darby calls her mom on the cell phone with the dead battery. Ray VO's that this was the moment when he lost the kids. We see a boat drive by and wave at Ray while he's drinking a 40. There's a blinking green light on the other side of the lake. He asks, "What happened to my life?" Well, you didn't have a fire plan, that's one. Seriously, dude, you'd be a lot worse if you had some dead kids on top of everything else. He says that he used to be a big deal. Now it's night and he's still sitting there. He tells us that he seems to spend most of his time now trying not to drown. The microwave that he has set up outside beeps.

In daylight, we see Ray look at the damage inside his house. Some of it looks salvageable, but the living room is completely destroyed, including a huge hole in the roof. Ray looks through the hole, to the heavens. Later, when he's stapling a tarp over the hole on the roof, Howard drops by. He reminds Ray that he has offered to purchase Ray's property, but Ray tells him to fuck off and get off of his lawn.

He needed help, he tells us. So, he drops by a catered affair that his ex-wife is having at the lovely home she lives in with her new husband, Dr. Ron Haxon. He's a dermatologist and he's played by the awesome Eddie Jemison, of Waitress brilliance. Frankly, it's getting harder and harder (no pun intended) to be on Ray's side. Ray VO's that Ron is the "overcompensating little fucker who stole his wife." For what is he overcompensating? That his dick isn't massive? So, the thesis of this show might be that those with big wanks aren't motivated to do anything else with their lives? Then, he spots Lotte Brandt, his former mother-in-law. She's played by Marylouise Burke, who I recently saw onstage in The Savannah Disputation. Also amazing. He says that she looks naked without her breastplate and horned helmet. She's an opera star? She approaches him aggressively and asks him with a German accent if it makes him happy to almost kill her grandchildren. He says that, no, it wasn't a good feeling. Heh. Anne Heche shows up and shoos her mother away. She asks Ray what he's doing there and he reminds her that she always tells him to drop by, so that's what he's doing. She says that the kids are inside playing Wii and love it there. Jab. Ray says that she wasn't always like this.

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