John Horan


MATT LARSEN, 38, a family man, and VINCE STEINMAN, 39, a carousing bachelor, depart for a Badlands mountain-biking trek. During the drive, Matt reveals that his wife has evicted him.

At a roadside rest area, NATIVE AMERICAN MAN, bearing a smoking-caterpillar tattoo, twirls a long stick and glares at Vince and Matt. Matt convinces Vince they must climb out the men’s room window to avoid an altercation, which results in Vince unintentionally mooning two young boys.

Upon arrival at their hotel, Vince and Matt crash a family reunion, then leave with a handful of breaded mushrooms. Back in their room, one of the mushrooms is left behind in the microwave.  At a local bar, BOB THE BARTENDER brags to Vince and Matt about his checkerboard bar.  ELGIN, an albino-haired barfly, shares his idea for a backwards-alphabet song. Matt spies a voluptuous Indian waitress, CHRYSTAL, follows her outside for a smoke, and gets her phone number.

The next morning, Matt speaks by phone with KENNY of K&A Services, who claims he must ask his wife, ALICE, about transporting the duo up the trail.

Vince and Matt visit a national park gift shop, where DOORMAN, a mousy government worker, spews trivia regarding Teddy Roosevelt.

Once biking, the trail proves brutal, with wipe-outs and extreme fatigue. After Vince feels a surge of diarrhea caused by Matt’s cheap power bar, he demands Matt’s socks as toilet tissue, and heads behind an embankment, where the duo encounter a MOUNTAIN LION walking toward them. It draws dangerously close, until a SMALL WHITE RABBIT darts by, and the Mountain Lion gives chase.

Later that night, Matt sneaks over to Chrystal’s apartment, where she reveals that she descends from Sioux tribal royalty and explains the significance of the dream catcher. Chrystal nestles close to Matt.

Back at the hotel, Matt eats the left-over mushroom from the microwave.  The next day, at a car wash, Matt happens upon a marijuana roach. Inside Vince’s SUV, they
create a make-shift beer-can pipe and smoke the roach.

Outside a truck stop, a DRUNK INDIAN finds the duo’s discarded can-pipe. As Vince’s SUV leaves the truck stop, an unmarked reservation police vehicle follows the SUV and pulls it over.  Vince and Matt appear before an INDIAN MAGISTRATE and are invited into his chambers, where they notice his smoking caterpillar tattoo and recognize him as the deranged Native American Man from the rest stop. During a peace-pipe session, the song “White Rabbit” plays and Indian Magistrate explains that the rabbit is his totem animal.

In Indian Magistrate’s sweat lodge, Matt has a revelation that “White Rabbit” is a road map of their journey: Bob the Bartender = “man on the chessboard”; Elgin = “white knight taking backwards”; Chrystal = “Red Queen”; mousy Doorman = “doormouse”; and Indian Magistrate = “smoking caterpillar.” Matt claims the song is imploring him to “Go ask Alice” about the ultimate meaning of the trip. Matt alone drives back to K&A.

Inside the K&A trailer, Alice presides over a banquet attended by all of the trip’s strange characters. Alice informs Matt that rabbit stew is on the menu, and reveals to him that he has been chasing rabbits down dead-end trails. An over timer buzzes.

An alarm wakes Matt in the hotel room, where he notices everything is the same as when he returned from Chrystal’s apartment. He realizes he’s been on rabbit trails, instead of investing in his marriage.

The SUV pulls into the same car wash from Matt’s dream. Matt walks to where the roach appeared in the dream, picks it up, drops it in the trash, and climbs back into the SUV.

Copyright 2009 John Horan
All Rights Reserved