If the Coen Brothers Had Written It’s a Wonderful Life



GEORGE stands menacingly over UNCLE BILLY who slumps in an office chair badly in need of oiling. POTTER rolls his wheelchair up to Uncle Bill and swings the squealing office chair toward him.


               Where’s the money, Uncle Billy?

                              UNCLE BILLY

               Yeah. . . Yeah. . . Maybe. . . Maybe. . .

George spins Uncle Billy around to face him, the chair once again squealing like a stuck pig.


               Shut the fuck up, Uncle Billy!

Potter swings the pig screaming chair back around to him and leans as close to Uncle Billy’s face as his own physical limitations will allow.


               Give me the fucking money, Uncle Billy, or

               I’ll take what I need from George here.

Uncle Billy closes his eyes and grimaces, not out of fear, but because Potter’s breath is too offensive to tolerate.

                              UNCLE BILLY

               Is he a Nazi, George?

In one motion, George grabs a large pair of SCISSORS from the desk to his right, swings back around to his left and imbeds the blades into Potter’s temple, a jet of blood hitting Uncle Billy square in the face. Potter slides out of the wheelchair like a dead fish and thuds on the floor.


               No, Uncle Billy. This man was just Capitalist

               grifter. A grifter grifting for more of what

               he already had. He had the money all along. I

               just needed him to think I blamed you the whole

               time. I couldn’t chance letting you in on what

               I was doing because you would’ve queered the play.

               All I needed was to get him close. And like I

               tell all my boys, when you have your man close,

               always put one in the brain.

As the camera PANS to the right of George, we see his guardian angel Clarence leaning back on a chair behind the desk from which George took the scissors, his bare feet propped on the desktop.


               Thanks to some quick thinking by George, Uncle

               Billy lived to see another day. Oh sure, Uncle

               Billy wouldn’t be perfect. Matter of fact, he

               would lose the money drop on at least three more

               occasions before a stroke would take him. He died

               alone, on a weekend when George and his family

               were away for a short vacation from Bedford Falls

               and its ungrateful citizens. By the time anyone

               found Uncle Billy’s body, his pet raven Jimmy had

               taken his eyes. But you can’t really blame Jimmy

               for that; after all, corvids are scavengers by

               nature. Some might even say Uncle Billy deserved

               it. But as an angel, I’m bound to forgive and

               forget. Truth be told, I owe Uncle Billy a lot.

Clarence leans forward, rings a small DESK BELL in front of him, and smiles as a broad set of luminous WINGS spreads out from his back.


               Because as you can see, in the end, I finally got my wings.

RALPH STANLEY’S rendition of “ANGEL BAND” begins to play as Clarence slowly fades from view like fog in sunshine.


Kip Knott’s full-length book of poetry, Tragedy, Ecstasy, Doom, and so on, is currently available from Kelsay Books. His second full-length collection, Clean Coal Burn (Kelsay Books), and his chapbook Hinterlands (Close to the Bone Publishers) are both forthcoming in 2021. More of his work may be accessed at kipknott.com.

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