FUNERALS IN FERRAGAMOS
Melanie Hutchison knows nothing about running the funeral business she inherited from her father. She follows the advice of his cross- dressing partner to produce outrageous, over-the-top send offs in the deep south with crazy outcomes!
Laid off from her position, Melanie loses her swanky East side apartment and her five-star chef boyfriend. She arrives later in the small town of Florence, South Carolina, wearing designer clothes and high heels, laden with all her worldy posessions. Her first stop is at Kookie's Diner, where she literally runs into Seth Thomas, a local who is immediately attracted to her wit and good looks. Ever the gentleman, Seth escorts Melanie into the diner whose colorful owner, Kookie Collosal, reveals that he is a former adult porn star (hence the catchy name) and is now a born again Christian. As Melanie soon finds out, Kookie's cuisine, expecially his coffee and juicy ostrich burgers, rival any food Melanie ever had in Manhattan. Kookie's current challenge is his father, Lester Crenshaw, who usually forgets to take his medications, resulting in much streaking and supposed hunting of "Yankee varmints". With Seth's help, Melanie soon locates the house and funeral parlor she has inherited from her late father. She is shocked to learn that her father was gay and that his transvestite lover, Paul Stonewall Jackson Taylor who dresses in black dresses and veils for funerals, is keeping his house in good condition. Paul becomes Melanie's partner in the Hutchinson Funeral Parlor and he instructs her in the fine points of their business, especially in making the deceased as attractive as possible for their final send off and how to comfort the families that are left behind.
Paul and Melanie's first funeral together is an over-the-top Daughter of the Confederacy extravaganza complete with a flag made out of red, white and blue flowers as well as black actors dressed as minstrels and mammies who sing "Dixie". The actors don't mind disrespecting their heritage for this gig because "the money is great and the economy sucks right now"!
Kookie's ex-wife Dolly Bloomfield shows up at the diner to give him a pie recipe and make an attempt at reconciliation. After the funeral, Melanie, Seth, Harlan and Paul catch them in the kitchen wearing flour and nothing else!
The second funeral they prepare for is held under suspicious circumstances. The body shows signs of being poisoned and Harlan Richards, who also has an obvious attraction to Melanie, reports that the room where the corpse lay showed signs of struggle. The sheriff is called and the widow and hunting partner of the deceased are soon arrested. Harlan had mixed up instruction for preparation of the corpse with that of the deceased's favorite hunting dog - with hilarious results of the dog being placed in the casket inside the church and the deceased being propped up on a chair outside of the church to greet mourners!
Each episode of this irreverant comedy could focus on one particular character's death and the often over-the-top funeral they have envisioned for themselves.
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Justine's other completed screenplays include "The Octopus Charmer"(which was also recognized as a top winner in the SkyFest I 2008 Script Competition)and "Flashdrive", a romantic comedy set in Washington, D.