A Nice Place to Visit
Henry Francis ‘Rocky’ Valentine – Larry Blyden
Mr. Pip – Sebastian Cabot
Narrator – Serling
We’re looking at a closed business called Southside Loan Company and a flashlight is moving around inside. Methinks it’s getting robbed. Inside a man lies dead on the floor and we see a guy in thug clothes emptying a cigar box of jewelry into a paper bag. Ok, I was thinking this was a money lending service but I guess it’s more like a pawn shop. What a dick. Killing some poor old man for some (probably) crappy jewelry.
Portrait of a man at work. The only work he’s ever done, the only work he knows. His name is Henry Francis Valentine but he calls himself ‘Rocky’ because that’s the way his life’s been. Rocky and perilous ad out at a dead run all of the way. He’s tired now. Tired of running, or wanting, of waiting for the breaks that come to others but never to him. Never to Rocky Valentine.
Rocky hears a siren and starts grabbing up his jewelry and flashlight. Then he makes a run for the door, jumping over a counter cluttered with a bunch of stuff. Ok, so it’s definitely a pawn shop but a bit of an upper class one since some of the stuff he crashes through look antique. He runs out of the front door and, on seeing the cops, drops the bag of jewelry. Way to go dipshit.
He runs down an alley to try to escape the cops. At first he tries to hide behind a box but they park at the end of the alley and start to search so Rocky tries to climb the wooden fence to get away. The police warn him to stop or they’ll shoot but he screams “You’ll never take me alive, coppers!” or words to that effect, and fires his gun at him. They shoot back and Rocky falls off the fence, presumably dead.
A scared, angry little man. He thinks it’s all over now, but he’s wrong. For Rocky Valentine it’s just the beginning.
We fade back in. Rocky is still lying on the ground and a pair of mysterious white shoes approach him and call Valentine’s name a few times. Valentine opens his eyes and looks up at the man who called his name. It’s an elderly, portly, jovial looking man who introduces himself as Pip. Pip says, “Can I help you?” to Rocky and Rocky’s first inane question is how Pip knows his name. Is that really the big question here Rocky? Pip replies that it’s his job to know everything he can about Rocky. Rocky then wants to know if Pip is a cop. Pip says no, he’s Rocky’s guide. Rocky says he needs a guide like he needs a hole in the head. Well, no holes in the head but I’m sure you’ve gotten a few holes in other places. Rocky starts to get up but looks a little woozy.
Rocky wants to know what happened. Pip tells Rocky that he’s had a small ‘accident’ but he’ll be good as new in no time. He offers Rocky the chance to change out of his rumpled clothes and tries to take Rocky’s arm. Rocky pulls away though. Apparently, the only thing Rocky cares about is how Pip knows his name. Pip says he already told Rocky that it’s his business to know Rocky. That’s not good enough for Rocky. He doesn’t like playing games. Pip says that’s not exactly true. He pulls out a pad from his pocket and says that Rocky seems to like roulette, blackjack, poker and craps. Those are all games. And, despite the very real consequences to people, that’s all they are is childish games. Sorry, bit of commentary there, just ignore me. Pip also says that between the ages of 7-10 Rocky was also quite fond of ‘mumblety-peg’. I’ve seen this word before but I have no idea what they’re talking about. Anybody? Anyone at all?
Rocky snatches the book away, hands it back and then hands it back. He wants to know what Pip is after. Pip says he’s only there for Rocky’s comfort. To get him whatever he desires. Rocky, knowing that nothing is ever really free, wants to know what Pip wants in exchange. Pip says nothing at all. Rocky, being the rude jerk he is, tells Pip to “stop putting me on, Fatso”. Rocky says that everything he’s ever gotten he’s had to fight or work for (some ‘work’) so quit putting him on. Does Pip want him to pull a job or something? Pip sighs at Rocky’s thick-headedness and says rocky doesn’t understand. In response, Rocky pulls his gun on Pip and demands he hand over his wallet. Pip chuckles and says that he doesn’t carry a wallet. Rocky tells him to fork one over. Pip chuckles and says the wallet isn’t what Rocky wants, it’s money. So Pip whips out a huge wad of 100’s from his pocket and hands it to Rocky. It’s about seven hundred bucks. Pip asks if that is enough or does Rocky want more? Rocky asks if ‘Fats’ has more. Gotta say, the ‘Fats’ thing is getting annoying. Pip says he has much more, as much as Rocky wants. Then he asks if Rocky is ready to go. Rocky loads a bullet into his gun and tells Pip not to try anything.
Pip ushers Rocky into a very posh apartment. Rocky slinks into the apartment. Pip asks if Rocky likes it. Rocky says yeah, it’s some posh pad and wants to know if it belongs to some politician. Pip tells rocky that it belongs to him if he approves of it. Rocky is checking the place out. Particularly a picture of a curvy woman on the wall. rocky approves very much. Pip offers to make any changes that Rocky wishes but Rocky says it’s all good. Pip says he wasn’t too sure about a few things but Rocky interrupts him and asks if the apartment gets thrown into the deal. Pip says it’s already in the ‘deal’ as Rocky puts it. He takes Rocky outside to show him his name on a plaque outside of the apartment. Pip hands Rocky the key. Pip starts to show Rocky around the apartment. He shows Rocky the bedroom and then the bathroom. He offers Rocky the chance to freshen up and change his clothes. Rocky agrees and bounces off the bed.
As he gets up to go to the bathroom he shoves Pip around and asks what the catch is. What does he have to do for all of this. Pip says he’s told Rocky all he knows. Rocky asks Pip if he works for someone else and Pip says yes, in a way. Rocky wants to know when he gets to meet the boss. Pip says he’s not sure. Rocky plops in a chair and Pip goes to a wardrobe and asks what clothing Rocky would like. Rocky tells him to pick. Pip doesn’t want to presume but decides on a nice checkered suit. He grabs out a snazzy suit for Rocky and Rocky approves of it. Rocky goes to put his clothes on and does a little catwalk twirl for Pip.
They walk back out into the living room and now there’s a nice dinner laid out. Everything seems perfect. Rocky starts to dig into a nice steak and now I’m hungry. Thanks a lot. Rocky is still paranoid though and insists that Pip taste it first. Pip says he doesn’t eat, that he hasn’t eaten in two or three centuries. Rocky asks if there’s anything wrong with it. I’m assuming he thinks it’s poisoned. He insists that Pip try it. Pip says he really doesn’t know how, he can’t remember how to. Rocky freaks out, thinking that yes, indeed, they are trying to poison him. He pulls his gun and tries to shoot Pip. Of course, nothing happens. Rocky thinks Pip has a bullet-proof vest on so he tries to shoot Pip in the head. He shoots a lamp, just to check if is gun still works. It does and the lamp breaks.
Rocky plunks down in a chair and reaches for drinks that have suddenly appeared on a side table. This startles him and he wants to know what’s going on and where he is. Pip explains that when they met earlier Rocky, in fact, had a few holes in him from his run in with the cops. Rocky comes to the conclusion that he’s dead and Pip cheerfully agrees. Rocky starts to think about the joint, the booze and the clothes and concludes that he’s in Heaven. Rocky asks if Pip is his guardian angel or something like that. Pip agrees to “something like that”. Rocky starts getting excited at the prospect. He tells Pip that he wants a million in five C-notes, right now. And a chick that won’t quit, that’s stacked and beautiful. He closes his eyes for a second and then opens them, wondering where his stuff is. Pip tells Rocky to look in the drawer for the money. Rocky finds it and then throws it around gleefully. Then he asks for the chick. Every time he mentions the chick he does a booby gesture with his hands.
The record player starts playing a lively dance number and a spiffy blonde dances into the room. Pip asks if there will be anything else and Rocky says yeah, “stick around, Fats”. Then he starts dancing with the lady. I think it’s trying to make him look a little doofy dancing but you can tell the actor actually dances pretty good.
At a casino looking place, a croupier is asking people to place their bets. Rocky hits big and is surrounded by adoring, beautiful women.
He’s winning and just can’t stop. He invites Pip over to lay down a few bets. Wouldn’t it be a little awkward to have women all over you with Pip hovering nearby? Pip says he doesn’t have any money. I notice that Rocky doesn’t offer him any. Rocky shoves all of his chips onto one number and then squinches his eyes shut while he waits for the roulette table to stop. He looks a bit constipated.
Rocky has won forty grand in an hour or so. He tells one of his dolls to go trade it in for him. He stops her to tell her not to rip him off any. He’s bored with the roulette table so the gaggle wanders off to go see what’s shaking with the dice. And here’s something else I’ve always wondered. Why do they call it Craps? It just seems like such a gross name. He hands his cup to one of his adoring flock and orders her to go get him some more booze. After Rocky’s done winning they all pour out onto the street and Rocky orders the valet to get his car and be careful with it. As they’re standing there a patrolman walks by and Rocky gives him the evil eye.
Pip wants to know what’s wrong and Rocky says the cop thinks he’s hot stuff because he’s a little taller than him. Pip says “how thoughtless of me!” and shrinks him down a bit. Rocky’s enjoying that. He calls him over to mess with him and then shove him away. The valet pulls up with the car and Rocky actually gives him a pretty good tip. Color me shocked. The girls file in the backseat and Pip hops in the passenger seat.
They arrive back at the penthouse and they all flood in. Rocky says “It’s magic time!” and I kind of want to throw up a little. Rocky tells Pip he wants a different car and Pip wants to know what’s wrong, it certainly goes fast enough. Rocky says yeah, the ashtrays are full. Hilarious. He ushers the women into his boudoir then steps out to talk to Pip for a bit. He tells Pip that tomorrow he wants to look up some of his old (presumably dead) buddies. Pip says there might be a problem. Rocky asks if they didn’t make it or what? Pip says no, it’s not that, exactly but this place was created privately for Rocky alone. Rocky asks what about the girls, then? Are they props or something? Pip says yes, in a sense.
Rocky has a sit-down with Pip for a talk. Rocky wants to know why they let him in. He thought Heaven was only for schoolteachers and stuff. Pip chuckles and says they do have some schoolteachers there. Rocky says he must have done something good at one time. Something really good that made up for all of the rest. But he really can’t think of anything good that he’s ever done. He wants to know if he can find out. Pip says they have a Hall of Records if Rocky would like to see it.
Rocky peeks into the bedroom to tell the girls to stay put, he’ll be right back. He makes a really weird face when he does which makes me wonder if the girls are starting without him. He makes the face again as they’re heading out of the door.
They find themselves at the Hall of Records which is an overly large staircase leading up to some filing cabinets. The wall looks kind of grungy for Heaven. Pip starts digging out Rocky’s folders. In the background there are more cabinets, probably leading into infinity. His file is actually quite thin, comparatively. Rocky seems really excited to be looking through it and, to be honest, I’d be curious too.
Rocky seems a bit, um, psychotic. At the age of six he killed a small dog. Rocky claims it bit him. At seven he stole some toys from a toy store, At age eight he started a street gang named The Angels. Rocky thinks that’s a bit funny and takes a moment to remember them fondly. At nine he broke into a bike store, it doesn’t say for what. To steal a bicycle maybe? It seems his file is a bit thin for all of the rotten stuff he’s done. Not to mention killing the pawn shop owner. Rocky wants to know what the deal is and Pip says that it’s his record. Rocky wants to know if there’s been some kind of mistake or something. Pip says that’s impossible. Rocky figures that if it doesn’t bother Him then he won’t worry his moderately pretty head about it. Pip asks Rocky what he’d like to do now. Rocky looks somewhat befuddled and says he’ll go play with his ‘dolls’ and maybe shoot some more craps. Pip says that if Rocky requires assistance just dial P-I-P on the phone.
Rocky’s back in the casino playing roulette and winning forty grand. He’s looking a bit bored and just walks away, leaving his chips there. He puts some money in a slot machine and pulls the handle. a bunch of money comes pouring out and, again, he walks away, looking bored. He and his harem leave the casino and go back to Rocky’s place.
Back in the bedroom Rocky’s playing cards with his harem. he’s still winning and just can’t lose. Rocky’s whining because winning all of the time is boring. Which it would be. Although, I wouldn’t be adverse to at least one thing going my way occasionally. The brunette with the lovely eyes asks if there’s anything else she can do for him. I could be wrong but I do believe that she’s Maya from Perchance to Dream. Rocky tells them they can get the hell out because beautiful, adoring women at your beck and call can be sooo irritating.
He grabs an apple but gets annoyed at that, even. He goes to throw it back art the table. He sees that the dinner table has turned into a billiard table. He gets happy and goes over to play. He breaks the balls and all of them go into the pockets perfectly. He gets annoyed again and breaks the cue stick and throws it.
He dials P-I-P on the phone and Pip appears. I’ve gotta say, I do not miss rotary phones. Pip wants to know what’s wrong and Rocky says nothing, nothing at all everything’s way too perfect. Ricky says that nothing is fun if there’s no challenge. Pip says he could arrange for Rocky to lose occasionally. Rocky at first says it might help but then says he’d know so it wouldn’t be the same. Pip asks if Rocky would like him to arrange a robbery for him for fun. They start working out the details. Rocky asks if there’s a chance that he might get caught. Pip says of course! He’ll make a note of it. Rocky is unhappy with that and says it’s hard to explain. The long and short of it is that he’s bored with perfection.
Rocky starts going on about how he doesn’t belong in Heaven. He wants to go to Hell. Pip stops him short and says, “Heaven? What made you think you’re in Heaven? This is the other place!” Rocky tries to get out of the door but it won’t open. Pip stands there and laughs at the idiot.
I love this episode. It has some great acting and a great twist at the end. If you think you recognize Rocky’s voice he plays the Wandering Minstrel Rooster in Disney’s ‘Robin Hood’.
Join us again for next week’s episode: Nightmare as a Child which is one of the best episodes, I love it.