Mueller by Jake Peter | Script Revolution


A struggling painter undergoes a strange transformation after he’s bitten by a snake.



Page Count: 



Age Rating:


Act 1

Mueller, a reticent, neurotic young man in his early twenties, practices smiling in the mirror. Put off by his own reflection, he begins to freshen up, showering, trimming his beard, and brushing his teeth. He selects one of many outfits that appear identical, then organizes his bedroom, shoving some art supplies into the corner.

Mueller sits on his bed, waiting. The doorbell rings. He answers it. A prostitute stands on his doorstep. He ushers her inside.

Mueller leads her into his bedroom and explains that he lives alone in his parents’ old house. The prostitute comes on to him, but he balks and asks her to read him a book instead. He says he’ll still pay her. She reluctantly agrees to indulge him. Mueller takes great pleasure in it.

Mueller trudges through an elementary school hallway looking tired and disheveled. Ruby, an alluring fellow teacher with bright red hair, passes him. He ducks into his classroom out of shyness.

We learn that Mueller’s an art teacher. He delivers a grandiose speech about painting, artistry, and legacy to his young students. It goes straight over their heads. Disappointed, Mueller allows them to start working on their paintings.

At the end of class, all of the students hand their paintings in to Mueller. Charlie, the final student, presents a self-portrait that’s unusually sorrowful. It resonates with Mueller. To Charlie, though, it’s just a painting.

With the school day over, Mueller shuffles toward the school’s exits. He spots Ruby conversing with Rick, the P.E. teacher and her macho boyfriend, down the hall. Ruby compliments Mueller’s students’ paintings, then Rick spoils the heartfelt exchange by feeling up Ruby and telling off Mueller.

At the gym, Mueller finds Scottie, his horny, image-obsessed trainer. Mueller tries to open up to him, but Scottie just encourages him to use the workout to purge his frustration. Scottie tries to convince Mueller he could one day appear on a fitness magazine, totally failing to register his existential angst.

Unbeknownst to him, when Mueller returns home a large snake slithers through the grass toward him. But Mueller disappears into his house before it reaches him.

At home, Mueller eats a TV dinner and scrolls through social media posts, which bombard him with images of people who appear happier and more successful than him. As he eats, he watches a TV program about the Lakota Native American tribe. It entrances him.

Mueller sorts through his mail and discovers a brochure inviting him to submit an artistic work to his local art museum’s annual contest. The grand prize is a $10,000 grant.

Mueller sits at the easel in his room and begins to work on a new painting. After painting for a few minutes, he appraises the work. Its flaws rile him. Exasperated, he tosses the canvas onto a pile of other rejected works.

Mueller takes his students on a field trip to their local art museum. He reveals that one of his paintings is on display. The kids don’t express much enthusiasm. Mueller approaches the museum director, a terse, pretentious man, and tells him he’s working on a new piece, then admits he hasn’t started it. The director disparages him and his piece on the wall and tells him he must show him something revolutionary to win the museum’s contest.

As Mueller’s about to leave school for the day, the principal, Paul Stewart, a meek middle-aged man, asks to speak with him. Stewart proceeds to imply that he’ll have to fire Mueller at the end of the year due to budget cuts.

At home, Mueller meets his neighbor Gary, a young father in his late twenties, for a bike ride. Gary tries to persuade Mueller to sign up for a bike race with him. Mueller doesn’t commit to it. He can’t relate to Gary’s hunger for competition or athletic achievement.

After the ride, Mueller collects his rejected paintings and throws them in the garbage bin outside. He waves to his neighbor. When he turns to go back inside, he stops, arrested by the beauty of the night sky. Hypnotized, he ventured into his backyard and admires the glittering constellations.

When he looks down again, he sees a snake within striking distance. He tries to reason with it, but when he goes to step around it, the snake bites him in the ankle. Shocked, Mueller freezes and watches as dark lines zigzag beneath his ankle’s skin. He collapses. As he loses consciousness, he sees his neighbors rushing toward him.

Mueller awakes in a hospital room with an IV in his arm. He sees a throbbing purple bruise on his ankle. A grandfatherly doctor with the name “T. Lord” on his coat comes to his bedside and gives him a bottle of pills. He assures Mueller that he isn’t going to die and explains that his body should eventually purge itself of the venom. However, he admits that some of his male patients have “succumbed” to their bites in the past. Before leaving Mueller to sleep, he instructs him to take the pills whenever he feels at the mercy of his impulses or unable to concentrate.

Act 2

At home, Mueller reads in bed and ices his ankle. Sensing something’s off with his nether region, he makes for the bathroom. In front of the mirror, he reluctantly begins to masturbate. As he does, he sees a nude Ruby in the mirror. She stares at him in horror. When Mueller climaxes, she disappears. He’s mortified.

In the kitchen, Mueller pops one of the doctor’s pills. As he returns to his bedroom, the purple mass on his ankle shrinks a bit in response to the pill.

The next morning, Mueller sleeps through his alarm. As he rushes to gather his things, he begins to limp. He touches the purple blob on his ankle. It pains him. As he limps out the door, we see the pill bottle on his nightstand. He forgot to take one.

Mueller, suddenly acting much more energetic and enthusiastic, conducts a painting demonstration for his students. As he throws paint onto the canvas, he tells them it’s high time they deviate from their routine and try something new.

Then he accidentally knocks over a mug, and it smashes into pieces on the floor. A boy in the back named Sam begins to cry. Mueller makes a beeline for him and makes him admit that he’s crying because the incident scared him. Mueller goes on to humiliate Sam in front of his classmates by telling him that from that moment on, his peers will always view him as weak and fearful. Mueller makes Sam go to the principal’s office. At his desk, he pulls up his pant leg to itch his bad ankle, and we see the purple mass growing beneath the skin.

Alone in the break room, Mueller tears through a steak sandwich like a feral animal. Ruby enters and greets him with a flirty tone. Then she bends over much too far as she rummages around the fridge, obviously for Mueller’s pleasure. However, when she stands back up with her food, she looks at him like he’s a pervert. Mueller suddenly feels ashamed by his ogling and nauseated by his dripping sandwich. Ruby exits, leaving Mueller in a perplexed daze

At the gym, Mueller makes for the free weights. Scottie approaches and greets him. Mueller ignores him. Mueller cows him and tells him he doesn’t need his help. Confused and flustered, Scottie resumes helping one of his female clients.

At home, Mueller calls a restaurant and orders some steak. Then he notices the pill bottle, realizes his mistake from that morning, and swallows a pill.

Mueller sits slumped at his kitchen table, suddenly looking lifeless. We see the purple mass on his ankle shrink in response to the pill, though it remains much bigger than it was at the hospital. Mueller suddenly doesn’t want anything to do with the steak he ordered. After dinner, Mueller hangs a large canvas on the wall in his bedroom and begins to paint a desert landscape.

The next morning, Mueller collects his things for work. But when he searches for the pill bottle, he can’t find it. Frustrated, he leaves without taking a pill.

Mueller goes to the hospital and asks the receptionist if he can see Doctor Lord. She searches the hospital’s database and tells him they have no record of a Doctor Lord working at that hospital.

At school, Mueller strides down the hall with newfound confidence. Two female teachers, a brunette and a redhead, stroll down the other side of the hall. They stare at him and giggle. Mueller makes a pass at the redhead. But when she turns, he realizes it isn’t Ruby. Nonetheless, the redhead flirts back, only for her friend to pull her away. As Mueller arrives at his classroom, he spots Rick, who saw his exchange with the women. He flips Rick off, angering him, then ducks into his classroom.

Stewart holds another meeting with Mueller in his office. He beats around the bush, but soon Mueller realizes Stewart is about to fire him. Mueller cuts Stewart off before he can say the words and reminds Stewart that, as principal, he has more power than he realizes. He also reminds Stewart that he can fire anybody—it doesn’t have to be the fine arts faculty. Finally, he reminds Stewart that the art teachers attract the most charitable donations at the school’s annual gala. Then he implies that Stewart should fire Rick instead of him. Swayed but not convinced, Stewart says he’ll reconsider based on how Mueller performs at the school’s annual gala.

When Mueller leaves Stewart’s office, he meets Rick, who makes a snide remark. Mueller, feeling triumphant and superior, shoots one back and strides off.

Mueller gets into his car and discovers the pill bottle rolling around on the passenger seat. He takes a pill. In response, the purple blotch shrinks, though it now extends to his thigh.

Mueller cycles alongside Gary. Gary asks if the girl he saw leave Mueller’s place (the prostitute) is Mueller’s girlfriend. Mueller says she isn’t, then goes on to explain that he’s not interested in pursuing a relationship because, no matter who he meets, the spark will eventually die and the other person will become a burden. Gary questions his logic, pointing out that he could spend years working on a painting and then fall out of love with it by the time he completes it. Defeated, Mueller falls silent. Gary nags him about signing up for the race again, but Mueller declines, claiming he has to work on his new piece.

Mueller languishes alone at a bar, surrounded by macho guys and cliques of catty women. Mueller accidentally makes eye contact with a woman across the bar, who eyes him with suspicion. Then a middle-aged woman approaches and begins to flirt with him. She asks him what he does, and it peeves him. He rants about the inanity of the question and the narcissistic ways in which people converse. Repelled, the woman leaves.

Later, Mueller nurses another drink in the same spot at the same bar, which is now almost empty. A drunk woman his age sidles up to him, but he wants no part of it. Incensed, he tells her she represents what he deserves for deluding himself into going to the bar in the first place, then thanks her for convincing him not to return. Feeling thoroughly disillusioned of the place, he leaves.

When he returns home, Mueller feels an urge to resume work on his painting. Instead of heeding it, he procrastinated by doing household chores and then watching a TV program about vikings.

Finally, upon venturing back into his bedroom, a post-it note displaying the number of paintings he’s abandoned galvanizes him. Mueller completes the painting, which displays a bloodthirsty mob chasing a figure who resembles Mueller toward the edge of a cliff.

The next morning, Mueller beats his alarm. In the kitchen, he forgoes coffee and snatches some bacon strips.

Dressed for work, Mueller stares at the pill bottle, debating whether to take one. He pulls up his pant leg to examine his wound and sees that the purple mass now covers his leg from the knee down. However, he discovers that he no longer feels any pain when he touches it. He decides he doesn’t need the pills and leaves for work.

At school, an impassioned Mueller teaches his students how to create clay sculptures. At the end of class, they give him clay animals of all kinds, including snakes, dragons, and lizards.

Back in the break room, Mueller attacks some chicken legs like a starving dog. Ruby and Rick enter. Ruby starts preparing some food. Rick goes up to her and whispers harshly in her ear. From the snatches he registers, Mueller realizes Rick’s talking about him. Behind Rick’s back, he makes eye contact with Ruby and makes her laugh. Incensed, Rick confronts him. Mueller shows no fear, insinuating that Rick should tread lightly since Stewart’s planning to lay people off.

At the gym, Mueller finds Scottie reading a fitness magazine in his office. Scottie tried to sell him on a new fitness regimen, but Mueller tells him he no longer needs him. Scottie’s crestfallen.

In the gym’s locker room, Mueller realizes that the purple mass has now consumed both of his legs from the knees down. However, no one else seems to notice it.

Mueller watches a violent action movie at home. The carnage hypnotizes him.

He ventures into his room and considers working on his painting, then decides against it and grabs his sneakers.

Mueller zooms through his dormant neighborhood on his bike, riding faster than he ever has before. As he reaches an intersection at the bottom of a hill, a car speeds into his path. Unable to avoid it, Mueller hits it, flips over the hood, and tumbled onto the other side of it. The driver hits the brakes and scrambles out of the car. He approaches, yelling and gesticulating, but Mueller doesn’t hear him. Mueller touches his nose. When he brings his hand away, he sees that it’s covered in purple liquid. Ignoring the driver, Mueller limps toward his dented bike. Purple liquid oozes and runs from scratches running up and down his body. Mueller mounts his bike and pedals away. Purple liquid runs onto the handlebars. He begins to laugh hysterically.

Act 3

A shirtless, much more muscular Mueller moves about his bedroom in the early morning. The purple has crept all the way up his legs and most of the way up his chest. Ignoring his blaring alarm, he does pull-ups using his door frame. Then he kicks his paint supplies and sneers as paint splatters the wall.

Mueller steps into the bathroom. His powerful frame heaves and pulses as if the purple mass covering his skin has a life of its own. He flexes and lets out a feral war cry.

Mueller storms into the bedroom and grabs the pill bottle. Then he storms back into the bathroom, empties the pills into the toilet, and flushes them away. In a fit of rage, he yells at the pills and slams his toilet seat, smashing it.

At school, Mueller marches down the hall like a soldier. Everyone makes way for him, intimidated. Women stare lustfully. As Mueller nears his room, he sends a wink Ruby’s way.

That night, Mueller drives down the street in a daze. The purple has crept up onto his hand. At a red light, he stares at the art museum, wondering whether he should go in. As he does, a redhead exits the building, gets in her car, and drives right past him. As she passes him, she briefly locks eyes with him.

Mueller follows her at a distance. As he tails her, he notices a number of other redheads traversing the area. They all seem drawn to him. One even leaves her man and starts chasing him.

Mueller follows the original redhead’s car into the parking lot of a bar. A long line of people wait to enter it. All of the women are redheads. Mueller gets out of his car and makes for the line.

Inside the crowded bar, all of the women are redheads who resemble Ruby. They’re all engaged with other men who buy them drinks, dance with them, and yell at them over the noise. One redhead seems to taunt Mueller. Mueller bumps into a guy. The guy spins around with his fists up, then drops them and backs off when he realizes who bumped him.

Ruby appears. She glided over to Mueller and presses a drink into his hand. They dance, moving in perfect synchrony. As they dance, the rest of the patrons form a circle around them.

Back at Mueller’s house, the two of them stumble into the bedroom. Ruby asks about the painting on Mueller’s wall. Mueller says it isn’t his. They begin to make love. Ruby says she’s been waiting to do it for a long time. As Mueller nears his climax, he experiences a series of brief visions. When he opens his eyes, he sees a redhead who’s definitely not Ruby straddling him.

Baffled, Mueller darts into the bathroom. Inside, he grabs a nearby towel and wipes his groin. When he holds the towel up, it’s covered in purple stains.

Mueller returns to the bedroom to find Ruby waiting for him. She dismisses his sense that something’s off and straddles him again. Mueller realizes he’s late for the gala and rushes out.

Mueller arrives at the gala to find a bunch of bored parents milling around. Stewart fails to galvanize them. Stewart confronts Mueller, who pacifies him and takes the stage. He proceeds to deliver a rousing speech about the importance of the school’s fine arts program and the parents’ responsibility to save it, impressing the fathers and beguiling the mothers in attendance. Stewart heaps praise onto him, then Mueller approaches two particularly infatuated women.

The next morning, Mueller stalks down a hallway in the hospital. The purple mass has nearly consumed his entire body. The receptionist tries to stop him, but he ignores her. He peers into room after room, then stops and enters one.

Inside, he approaches a male patient his age who has a number of tubes running in and out of his body. The man’s entire body is the same deep shade of purple as Mueller’s. Mueller sees that the guy’s hooked up to a ventilator. Terrified, he leaves.

Back in the hallway, Mueller trudges toward the exits. He’s seen his fate. He glances down at his wrist and sees a purple vein pulsing beneath his skin. When he looks up, he spots Doctor Lord. He accosts the man and begs him for some pills, but Lord says he can’t help him, scolds him for disobeying his instructions, and advises him to find his original pills.

In the parking lot of his school, Mueller discovers a pill on the floor of his car. Mueller gets out and sees Rick, who’s carrying a box with his personal items in it. The purple veins beneath Mueller’s wrist stop pulsing in response to the pill. Rick confronts Mueller and tells him he just got fired. He accuses Mueller of lying about him to Stewart and hooking up with Ruby, then proceeds to beat the shit out of him. Mueller doesn’t fight back.

Back in his neighborhood, Mueller stands on his bike and waits for Gary to finish arguing with his wife. Gary’s two small children cower behind the woman. She tells Gary off, ushers the kids into the car, and speeds off. Gary joins Mueller for the bike ride. Mueller asks him about the argument. Gary says his wife’s probably going to divorce him. Mueller tells him the relationship is just a game and instructs him to turn the kids against her. He explains that if Gary can get his kids to blame his wife for the divorce, he’ll get to hold on to them and his money. And if he can get them on his side prior to their separation, he can use that leverage to reclaim the power in the relationship. Gary’s taken aback by Mueller’s cold rationality about the situation.

That night, Mueller dons a flashy outfit in his bedroom. We see the purple has traveled all the way up his neck. He tosses all of his art supplies into a trash bag.

Mueller steps into a bar and looks around. Every woman is Ruby. He downs drink after drink and flirts with the Rubies, all of which seem desperate for him. The men all watch with envy.

Back at home, Mueller has sex with a Ruby. As he nears his climax, he’s visited by another series of fleeting visions. When he opens his eyes, he sees the prostitute who read to him straddling him. He jumps away from her, confounded. Insulted, she demands her money, then leaves when Mueller shouts at her. Mueller collapses back onto his bed and realizes the prostitute left her bracelet.

The next morning, Mueller notices the bracelet as he goes to leave for work. He doesn’t recognize it.

At school, Mueller lounges about behind his desk while his kids paint. Then he sees one of his students hold up a painting that looks identical to the one in his room. Mueller lurches forward, but his vision grows fuzzy and obscures the painting. When Mueller goes to stand, he notices his student Charlie standing at his desk. Charlie says someone’s here for Mueller and points to the door, where Ruby awaits him. Mueller thinks he sees a purple blotch on Charlie’s arm, but when he leans in and squints he only sees a birthmark. Ruby asks for his help in the supply closet.

In the cramped supply closet, Ruby starts coming on to him. Uncomfortable, Mueller ignores her and examines the room. He jumps back when he sees a box of markers with the snake that bit him on the cover, then sees that it’s just a dragon sporting a friendly smile. Ruby pulls him in. He pushes her away. She grabs him again. He pushed her again, harder this time. He tells her he doesn’t even know her. She tells him to stop thinking and just let it happen. Suddenly her tone scares him. She goads him, insisting he admit that he wants her. He objects and backs away. Finally, much to her surprise, he backs out of the closet.

Mueller stumbles down the hallway in a daze. His vision blurs. Purple tendrils crawl up his cheeks toward his hair. The hallway comes into focus. All of the male teachers have large purple blotches on their skin. Most of the students don’t, though some sport some stray purple marks. Mueller spots Rick, who has the most purple coverage of anyone. Everyone gawks and stares at Mueller as he staggers past them. Finally, Mueller collapses against the wall. The purple has nearly consumed his entire face.

Mueller awakes in a hospital room. He sits up and sees the same doctor as before observing him. There are some small purple blotches on the man’s face and neck. In the mirror, Mueller sees that the purple has consumed his entire face except for a tiny sliver of skin at the top of his forehead. The doctor assures Mueller that nature is taking his course and expresses his surprise that Mueller lasted as long as he did. Mueller freaks out. The doctor tries to pacify him by informing him that he’ll live on in scientific studies for years to come. He tells Mueller he’ll have the legacy he’s always wanted. Mueller checks the mirror again. Only a tiny spot of unblemished skin remains. The doctor leaves.

Mueller searches the room and located a scalpel. He yanks up his pants. His purple ankle throbs and pulses like it’s alive. Mueller uses his belt as a tourniquet, then uses the scalpel to carve a line into his leg. Purple liquid gushes out, soaking the bedspread, spilling onto the floor, and streaming toward the door. The pain overwhelms Mueller, and he loses consciousness.

In the hallway outside of Mueller’s room, a nurse steps in the purple liquid. She gales at his door, astonished.

Patrons traverse the art museum. Mueller materializes, appreciating the paintings with the rest of them. His skin shows no signs of purple.

His painting is on display in the prime spot in the museum’s largest room. A sign next to it proclaims it’s the contest’s grand prize winner.

Mueller stops to admire his work. In the painting, the mob is still chasing the man resembling Mueller toward the cliff’s edge. The dark figures overlap each other in such a way that their shape resembles the open mouth and bared fangs of a snake. But the man they’re chasing is now turned toward them at the edge of the cliff. He brandishes a sword in defiance.

The museum director comes up to Mueller and compliments him on the work.

Mueller spots Ruby examining a nearby painting. She turns. They lock eyes. There seems to be an unspoken understanding between them, as if they know each other but can’t remember how.

As Mueller stares at her, a small purple mass wriggles its way to the surface of his neck.

Submitted: May 26, 2021
Last Updated: January 11, 2023

Want to read this script? You must join the revolution first. Don't worry, it's free, easy, everyone's welcome, and you can start reading right away.

Jake Peter's picture

The Writer: Jake Peter

Jake is an Emerson College alum who specializes in writing features with compelling characters and thought-provoking themes. You can reach him with a Script Revolution message or email him here: Go to bio