Machiavelli’s “The Shitty Prince” by @JoyceCarolTotes

(Interior, seedy diner. A clock on the wall reads 4 AM. BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE is sitting alone in a booth on his phone. DIRTY COP approaches the booth and takes a seat. He is visibly anxious.)

BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE: (teasingly) Someone’s a little late!

DIRTY COP: I had some… business to wrap up.

BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE: No problem, I was just fucking around on Twitter.

DIRTY COP: (apprehensively) What do you mean?

BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE: Oh, you know, making jokes about this diner and like, crime and stuff.

DIRTY COP: Don’t do that.

BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE: Haha what? Oh, you’re not into “weird Twitter”?

DIRTY COP: Give me your phone.

BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE: You can just read them if you follow m-

DIRTY COP: Give me your fucking phone.

BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE: Wow ok, here. I’ll pull them up.

DIRTY COP: (Grabs phone and drops it into coffee mug)

BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE: Woah there, butterfingers! It’s ok, no worries, I do stuff like that all the time. Do you think the rice trick works with coffee, or only water?

DIRTY COP: (whispering) What the fuck is wrong with you?

BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE: Do you want me to be mad?

DIRTY COP: Have you ever.. (leans closer) Have you ever done anything illegal before?

BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE: Pssh yeah, all the time. I do illegal stuff. I love it.

DIRTY COP: Like what, asshole?

BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE: (sneering) Every heard of a “feliny”?

DIRTY COP: …Yes, I know what a fucking felony is.

BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE: Yeah, when you steal a cat. I’ve done multiple felinies.

DIRTY COP: I can’t do this. Tell your boss if he wants to get serious, he’s got to send someone serious. (gets up from booth)

BUMBLING ACCOMPLICE: Um ok, bye! (yelling after DIRTY COP) I’ll let you know if the rice trick works!

(Interior, empty church. The MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST is standing at the altar, reflecting aloud.)

MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST: (reflectively) You know… I’ve never liked church. The pews, the wine, the wafers, the hymns.

(A shuffling noise distracts him. He turns to see an OLD JANITOR, laboriously sweeping. Unperturbed, he continues.)

MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST: As I was saying, none of the trappings of the church ever touched me. The baptism, the body of Christ, the bloo-

OLD JANITOR: Excuse me, sir.

MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST: (irritated) The blood of Christ, the tall shadow of the crucifix-

OLD JANITOR: Sir, you do know you’re in a synagogue, right?

(Exterior, rainy street. GRITTY JOURNALIST is smoking a cigarette, reflectively.)

GRITTY JOURNALIST: (in voiceover) Everyone needs a church. Some people call cathedrals their churches. Some people find church in the brothel, or the bar, or the gutter. But me? My church is the rain. (Tries to take a drag but chokes on cigarette juice because he’s been standing out there for an hour with a wet cigarette like a fucking idiot.)

(Interior, ballroom. An awards ceremony is being held in honor of our MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST. He is giving a toast.)

MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST: I am… so honored, by this ceremony, by this office that I hold, and by your presence here with me tonight. I struggle to find the right words to describe how honored I feel. But there’s another feeling in my heart, a black pearl in the oyster of this honor. What it is that’s growing inside me… is desire.

(shot of the crowd, looking perplexed)

MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST: Yes. Desire. Desire for more. More power, more money, more laurels. This is not enough!

(shot of the crowd, looking upset)

MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST: But before you condemn me, and I know you condemn me, look into yourself. Isn’t this what you want, to be standing here in my place if you haven’t before? If you already have, don’t you see me standing here and feel relief at having surpassed me?

(shot of a POWERFUL OLDER STATESMAN grumbling)

MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST: Don’t we all regard one another with suspicion and use one another as barometers for our own power? We are creatures of envy, children of the same avarice. This is the coal that we shovel into our engines, and it always has been. So, am I honored, to be standing here tonight? Yes. But am I satisfied? (leans into the microphone) Fuck no.

(one slow clap builds into a roar of applause)

SOME GUY: (yelling from the back) YOU SHOULD BE THE PRESIDENT!

VERY OLD WEALTHY WOMAN: (to her husband) What a good man.

MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST: (backs away from the podium flipping the double bird)


SOCIOPATHIC LACKEY: Sir, phone call from the President.

MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST: (takes phone) Hello, Mr. President. To what do I owe the honor?

(smash cut to credits)


THE PRESIDENT: (on other end of the phone) Do you want to become the President?


THE PRESIDENT: So I guess that means nobody has to bother watching this next episode, then.

MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST: Yep, we pretty much punctured the suspense here.

THE PRESIDENT: Should we tease some other major event, then?


(ominous music begins)

THE PRESIDENT: Sure, whose?

MACHIAVELLIAN PROTAGONIST: (slowly turns to face the camera as ominous music swells) Let’s just say Death will be issuing an… (smirks) Executive order.

(fade to black)

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