Bug Boy

Creator: J.M. DeBord
Genre: Drama
Age rating: Everyone
Young Bigbee is an autistic boy who has a strange ability with insects and a father dying from exposure to the refinery across from their backyard. When his family's court case against the refinery backfires, his ability turns against the refinery and its greedy executives.
Synopsis: Teresa Hurley lives with her young son Bigbee in the shadow of a refinery that sickened her husband, and she has a big decision to make. Other sick families suing the refinery want her to join a class action lawsuit that could win big. But the refinery promises to help Bigbee and “take care of their own.” Teresa is torn over whether to play it safe, or try to stick it to the refinery.

Bigbee, who appears autistic and hasn't spoken since his father fell ill, has one preoccupation: insects. He has a special connection with a massive ant mound in his backyard, and wants to learn everything he can.

Teresa joins the court action, but also allows Bigbee to be seen by specialists paid for by the refinery. They find that Bigbee is a savant who understands organizational systems and spatial relationships like a genius, but is otherwise lower functioning.

Following on the heels of her husband's passing, this medical conclusion works against Teresa at the next court hearing, when the defense challenges the claim that Bigbee is developmentally disabled because of exposure to refinery chemicals.

Along with Stu, a friend of her husband's who took over his job as maintenance supervisor at the refinery, Teresa then works to find out the truth about why she was pushed to sign onto the class action. It appears that one family is up to no good, along with their lawyer. Stu can only be so much help, though, because he's part of management at the refinery. He's also romantically interested in Teresa, but wants to respect his friend who just died.

The refinery, in the meantime, is being run into the ground by owners squeezing out profits and playing the markets. A new chief legal counsel, Mike Crusher, is the COO's wet dream come true, a man who saves the company a fortune by defending against the class action in-house, and hides the dirty secrets of the refinery's operations. By using the company's influence, Crusher defeats Teresa's attorneys in court, and has the class action turned over to the lawyer for the corrupted family. That lawyer is an old college buddy of Crusher's, and his idea of sticking it to the refinery is a compensation fund.

Teresa, a fan of legal shows, knows a rat when she smells one, and sets out to track it down. The truth is close to what she suspected, with a twist: the family that pushed Teresa to lead the lawsuit was trying to avoid the shame of being spotlighted as victims with an autistic son. Teresa, who knows what it's like to be recognized randomly in public, records the confession but doesn't use it.

Bigbee also knows a rat, and he knows that his buddy Stu goes to work every day like his daddy did to a dangerous place. A place where workers get sick and catastrophes are always possible. So Bigbee uses his unusual ability to send a bug army across the dead landscape between his backyard and the refinery.

With the refinery coming apart but the COO insisting on continued operations, systems fail. What starts as a bug problems becomes an infestation, employees fleeing and insects sabotaging sensitive areas. Stu, who decides to help Teresa by stealing refinery files, is caught by Mike Crusher. An army of ants then eat Crusher alive, and Stu takes his briefcase, which contains the secrets the refinery was trying to hide.

The COO, on his way to crack the whip and keep the refinery running despite the disastrous conditions, is intercepted by a swarm of bees. Stu helps terrified employees flee the refinery as the bugs take over and operations halt just before a bigger catastrophe.

Bigbee, having avenged his father and helped Stu, can speak again. It appears he has a shot at a relatively normal life, after his Apocalypse is over. The corruption is exposed, and the lawsuit assured victory. Only Bigbee, Stu and Teresa ever know what happened to Mike Crusher

Latest Work

  • Script 1 - J.M.'s Original Draft
    12/28/10
    Creative Notes:
    This is the original draft, hot from my brain and ready for polishing. The idea originated a few years back, but was given new urgency after the disaster in the Gulf with the Deepwater Horizon rig. A lot needs to be said about the greed and dependence that drives the oil industry and the corruption that abets the poisoning of our planet. "Bug Boy" is my attempt to fight back with the pen.