Brokeback Key

December 2001
Joe and Manny are holed up in a dimly lit city hall office.
They've been spending long hours together, gazing out upon the forlorn landscape, daydreaming, smoking, cussing, trying to select a new city manager. Then one evening, after some drinking, Manny finally reveals something from inside.

Manny: Joe. I've got something I got to tell ya. Ya know, we've been spendin' a lot of time together. And I sure admire ya a whole lot. I want you.

Joe: What? Ya want me? Aw shucks, Manny. What the hell you talkin' about? You're kidding. You're crazy!


Joe Arriola

Manny: Naw, I'm serious, Joe. I been searchin' for the perfect partner. Someone tough, someone ballsy. Someone a little crazy. And all this time he's been right here in front of me.

Joe: Manny! You can't be serious!

Manny: I'm dead serious. I want you to be my city manager.

And soon, together, here on this key called Brokeback, they begin to shepherd the city's wayward flock. For a couple of years they run Miami just fine, but then they grow cocky and careless. Sometimes Joe gets emotional. Sometimes Manny distances himself. They grow apart.

Cut to: three years later. Joe, estranged from Manny for a while, is fishing with a smooth-talker named Hank.

Hank: I got a hankerin' to do a deal, Joe.

Joe: What kind?

Hank: You know this fire fee thing. It's a bitch of an unsatisfactory situation. What say we give a few folks five million dollars and I take two million dollars.

Joe: God, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Hank: Well why don't you?

Joe: You know I ain't queer.

Hank: Neither am I.

Cut to: late one December night in 2005. Joe and a crazy commish named Johnny slip Manny a big fat $53,000 pay raise. Then the press finds out.

Manny: I mean, if this thing, whatever it is, gets hold of us again, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, we're dead.

Joe: Oh God, Manny! What are you talking about? I can't believe you! You're just going to throw everything away?

Manny: You are too much for me, Joe, you sonofawhoreson bitch! I'm quittin' you.

Joe: Tell you what, we coulda had a good life together! Fuckin' real good life!

Cut to: three months later. A mob of angry taxpayers, armed with bats and pipes, chases Joe into a boat yard on Brokeback Key. They disappear behind a yacht. There are shouts, thuds, and screams, and then the mob scatters. Joe does not reappear. A vulture circles overhead.

Final cut to: Manny in bed asleep. Suddenly he sits up and cries, "No!" He opens his eyes wide, looks around the dark room, then sighs deeply. It was all just a bad dream. Or was it?


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