A Natural Man

A NATURAL MAN


A NATURAL MAN

By

Scott Spjut


EXT. BRIDGE - DAWN
The towering forest, the deep ravine, the rising sun. The only thing left is to scrawl "WELCOME TO COLORADO" across the horizon in some blocky font for the perfect postcard.
The scene and silence are broken by a sporty BMW driving along the paved road. It pulls over just before a bridge and stops on the shoulder.
ROOSEVELT, early 30s, exits the car. He walks onto the bridge that spans the ravine, stops halfway across and leans over the railing. He wears the start-up founder uniform: dark-wash jeans, button-down shirt with no tie, blazer. He's clean shaven.
There's no smile on his face, nor is there alcohol on his breath. He is stoic and stable. He pulls out his smart phone, opens a voice recording app, and presses record. He slips the phone into his jacket breast pocket.
After a few moments he climbs over the railing. He turns, facing outward, still holding onto the railing behind him.
His breath quickens.
ROOSEVELT
What's the chance that gravity will just ... stop? Even if just for a moment? If everything just ... pauses. No drop. No pinnacle. No fall. No crest. And I just live in that moment - that small, fragile inch -
He leans forward, still holding on. His foot slips.
CUT TO BLACK.
INT. EXECUTIVE OFFICES - LOBBY – DAY
Roosevelt and HARVEY sit next to each other in a luxurious office lobby.
A SECRETARY works at a nearby desk.
Roosevelt stares straight ahead confidently -- mouthing words to himself, under his breath, practicing.
Harvey's gaze wanders around the room. He meets eyes with the secretary. They exchange half smiles.
Harvey leans over to Roosevelt.

2.
HARVEY
What're you going to do with your half?
ROOSEVELT
Really? You think now is the time for that question?
HARVEY
Yes. What are you going to do with your half?
ROOSEVELT
You mean my 51 percent?
HARVEY
(sarcastic mimicking)
You mean my 51 percent?
ROOSEVELT
I'm clearly more important
than you.
HARVEY
Yet only manage to get half as much
done. Seriously though.
rooSEVELT
Spend the rest of my days snorting cocaine off high-class hookers.
HarVEY
I think you're being overly
optimistic.
rooSEVELT
About the valuation?
harvEY
About the hookers. You want to disappoint even more women for the rest of your life?
roosEVELT
I'm hoping the money eases the
frustration.
harVEY
For you.
rooSEVELT
For me.

3.
JOANNE, 62, comes out from the office. She’s professional, powerful, in charge.
JOANNE
Gentlemen, come in.
She immediately turns around and heads back into her office. Roosevelt and Harvey follow.
INT. JOANNE'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
The huge office windows look out over the San Francisco skyline. Joanne sits at her desk and begins looking through paperwork she has.
Roosevelt and Harvey sit.
Joanne keeps her head down, reviewing the folders she has.
The men stare at each other, unsure if they should break the silence.
ROOSEVELT
Ms. Astor, based on our current valuation, as well as both short- and long-term projections, we are looking to sell our company for 1.3 million dollars.
No response. Until she finally looks up.
JOANNE
Can I get either of you a drink?
ROOSEVELT
Uh, no, no thank you.
JOANNE
One dollar.
ROOSEVELT
I'm sorry?
HARVEY
For a drink?
JOANNE
I will offer you one dollar for your company.
ROOSEVELT
Ma'am, we've ...

4.
JOANNE
Ms. Astor is fine.
ROOSEVELT
Ms. Astor, our reports and numbers show that ...
JOANNE
Rose, Harvey, this isn't my first time. I have here everything I need and everything you're going to tell me. In addition to taking on all the debt that YOUR reports will most certainly downplay, and, of course the one dollar I will give you, I will allow you both to keep one percent ownership of your company.
HARVEY
So you're buying 98 percent of the company? Even in that case, one dollar ...
JOANNE
I'm buying 99 percent of the company. BOTH of you will keep one percent, not each of you. However you two want to split that up makes no difference to me.
HARVEY
(under his breath)
49 cents?
JOANNE
Sure, I could give you your 1.3 million now – I mean I wouldn't, that's still too high, – but I could give you, let's say, 400 thousand – give you that now, or, you can take this offer, remain very silent, minority owners of what will eventually become a half-a-billion dollar business.
HARVEY
Can we have a moment to talk about this?
JOANNE
You can have as many moments as it takes for my lawyer to get here with the paperwork.

5.
Joanne reaches for her phone. Harvey and Roosevelt stand up and walk to a side of the office.
harvey
One dollar?!
rooSEVELT
She’s taking on all the debt. She’s taking on all the liability. And we're going to be PARTNERS with Joanne Astor!
HarVEY
But not really.
ROOSEVELT
Doesn't matter, we can tell people are. And we can say we’ve built a company that's worth somewhere between 400 hundred thousand and 1.3 million. That’s not nothing.
harVEY
It will feel like nothing when we cash a check for one dollar.
roosEVELT
Well, she's a billionaire. She's probably not going to write us a check for a dollar.
harVEY
When we started this company, we didn’t sit on our balcony in our shitty apartment, drinking shitty beer, hoping one day we’d sell it for a dollar.
roosEVELT
(pondering to himself)
I mean, we're talking about literal pocket change here.
harVEY
(ranting to himself)
We didn’t leave home and put everything on red just to get back one dollar.
rooSEVELT
She IS a billionaire though. She probably doesn’t have pocket change. Maybe she WILL write us a check.

6.
harVEY
We were going to make a difference. Do something that actually mattered to people.
rooSEVELT
Wire transfer, maybe?
harVEY
(to Roosevelt)
What?
roosEVELT
We WILL change the world. We will. But, you know, later.
harvey
That's your pep talk?
roosEVELT
A partnership with her – albeit a very one-sided one – is worth way more than any company we're ever going to start, yes or no?
The LAWYER arrives with the paperwork and hands it to Joanne. All parties go back to Joanne's desk and sit down.
JOANNE
Harvey, these files are for you. Rose --
(looking at the papers)
Or should I say Roosevelt? These are for you.
The men take their folders. Harvey stares blankly into the distance. Roosevelt reads through the paperwork.
Joanne breaks the silence.
JOANNE
Roosevelt -- is that a family name?
ROOSEVELT
No. My parents just REALLY loved FDR.
JOANNE
Ah, yes. Of course
The men continue to look through the documentation. After another moment, Joanne breaks the silence again.

7.
JoANNE
I’ll tell you what. Both of you - as I’ve said, I’m impressed with your company and with your drive. I know you have your reservations about this deal, so let me sweeten the pot.
She pulls two business cards out of her desk drawer – handing them to Harvey and Roosevelt.
JOANNE
These have my personal cell phone number on them. If you agree to this deal, you are welcome to - VERY occasionally - contact me with whatever business venture you undertake next. And maybe we can continue to work together. Maybe this can be au revoir instead of adieu.
EXT. HAMMOND HOME - NIGHT
Roosevelt drives through winding country backroads until he arrives at a property with "HAMMOND" painted on the mailbox. It's a sprawling farm, complete with red barn and towering grain silos. While full of character and history, these farming structures are blurring the line between rustic and decrepit.
Roosevelt parks his car and gets out. He's dressed in tattered jeans and a t-shirt. Has a few days of scruff on his face. He pops the trunk and pulls out a large duffel bag. He's not just here for a visit.
He walks up to the front door, takes a breath, and lets himself in.
INT. HAMMOND HOME - CONTINUOUS
The home is a museum to the late 70s, complete with avocado-colored appliances, laminate flooring, and wallpaper – but just the strip of wallpaper that runs all the way around the room horizontally, two-thirds of the way down the wall.
ROOSEVELT
(yelling into the ether)
I'm home.

8.
Roosevelt's mother, JANE, is contagiously cheerful. She has spent her life as a homemaker, and has loved every minute of it. She perpetually has a pie that just came out of the oven – and will, of course, insist you have a piece.
JANE
Rose?! Rosie?!
She scurries into Roosevelt's arms. She peppers him with questions only half-concerned with their answers.
JANE
What a perfect surprise! Did you drive all day? Why didn't you tell us you were coming? We just finished dinner but I've got a pie just about to come out of the oven. Have you eaten?
ROOSEVELT
I wasn't sure whether I was going to have to stretch the drive into another day. By the time I realized I wouldn't have to, I figured I'd surprise you.
LEONARD, tall, skinny, glasses, wearing a knit cardigan ambles into the room – a folded magazine in hand which he continues to read.
LEONARD
(not looking up)
Roosevelt, you did it all in one day? What is that drive, 20 hours?
Leonard finally looks at Roosevelt, gives him a smile and a nod.
ROOSEVELT
About 22 from San Francisco, but I spent last night in Salt Lake. Did it in two days. I wasn't sure if I was going to have to stretch it into three.
LEONARD
Well yeah, two days should be plenty of time.
Roosevelt has no response. Jane breaks the silence.

9.
JANE
Come sit down, I'll get you something to eat. Did you hear that dad died?
Jane tries to muffle her laughter.
ROOSEVELT
(to Leonard)
You've died? How did that happen?
LEONARD
(rolling his eyes)
I'm not sure where the rumor started.
ROOSEVELT
So you're just allegedly dead.
Jane finally stops trying to constrain her laughter and lets out a cackle.
JANE
You know your father. The window of opportunity to correct people has passed, so it's easier to just play along.
LEONARD
I'm not "playing along". Everyone will figure it out on Sunday at church.
ROOSEVELT
Will your sermon be on the resurrection?
Jane and Roosevelt have a short laugh. Then there's another short silence, this one broken by Leonard.
LEONARD
I sold the farm.
ROOSEVELT
No, dad. You bought the farm.
LEONARD
Bought what farm?
ROOSEVELT
The proverbial farm. When someone dies they "bought the farm."

10.
LEONARD
Not the proverbial farm. The literal farm.
ROOSEVELT
You sold this farm?
Leonard looks at Jane, not quite scolding.
LEONARD
You didn't tell him?
Jane pushes herself away from the table and waves her hands, excusing herself.
JANE
I can't remember who I've told what to.
LEONARD
Well, someone approached me a few months ago about buying our property.
ROOSEVELT
So not just the farm.
LEONARD
The farm, the house, the church. All of it.
Roosevelt is having a hard time taking it all in. It's not that there's too much sentiment tied up in the house, it's that no one bothered telling him.
ROOSEVELT
I don't know what to say. Who is buying it?
LeoNARD
Stella.
ROOSEVELT
Stella Hopkins? That's great. She and I can work something out.
LEONARD
We shook on a deal last night.
ROOSEVELT
But nothing is signed yet, right?
LEONARD
No, but we shook on it.

11.
Jane peeks her head back into the conversation and sits back down.
JANE
They shook on it.
ROOSEVELT
Let me buy it.
LeoNARD
How?
ROOSEVELT
Well, I also sold the farm, as it were ... to Joanne Astor.
Roosevelt waits for an excited reaction, which he doesn't get.
LEONARD
Who?
ROOSEVELT
Doesn't matter. Point is, I’m moving back.
LEONARD
I didn't know you were selling your company.
Roosevelt turns to Jane, surprised.
ROOSEVELT
You didn't tell him?
Jane pushes herself away from the table and waves her hands, excusing herself.
JANE
I can't remember who I've told what to. And you said you were thinking about selling. Not that it was all done and finished.
ROOSEVELT
Well, it's still not technically done and finished, but Harvey and I signed the paperwork. So with what I got from the sale, maybe I can help decide what happens to the house and the farm.
Mom is so proud of her little boy.

12.
JANE
Oh, you're such a fancy business man now. Look at you. Why don't you two boys call it a night. I'll make waffles in the morning and then you two can talk business then.
ROOSEVELT
Does that sound alright to you, dad?
LEONARD
I'm fine with waffles.
ROOSEVELT
I mean me potentially buying this place.
LEONARD
It seems like a big change.
ROOSEVELT
I think I could use something big.
INT. NEWSROOM - DAY
DANIELLE (DANNY) MCCORMICK paces back and forth down a hallway, psyching herself up. Her brow is furrowed. She's determined. She wears jeans and a flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up. She carries a well-worn notebook and a mechanical pencil. A pen is also clipped to the front placket of her shirt.
She pauses, rounds the corner and approaches BREWSTER, her editor. He's gray at the temples and has a short goatee. The bags under his eyes come standard with the number of years he's sat behind that editor desk. Even though he's wearing more formal clothes than Danny – slacks and an oxford, dress shoes – she looks more professional. He's also doing sudoku.
DANNY
What’re you doing?
BREWSTER
Trying to avoid alzheimer’s.
DANNY
Is there really any evidence of that?
BREWSTER
That I have alzheimer's?

13.
DANNY
That those puzzles help.
BREWSTER
Would you rather I say "Distracting myself from my slow and inevitable march toward death"?
He puts down the puzzle.
BREWSTER
What do you need?
DANNY
I’m going crazy.
BREWSTER
Try sudoko.
DANNY
I’m serious.
BREWSTER
So am I. Danny, you’ve been here what, 18 months? You haven’t earned the right to be crazy yet. Doug – Doug's been here since 1972. HE'S fucking crazy.
DANNY
If I have to cover one more stupid county commissioner meeting, one more "will anyone second the motion?" one more "any opposed?", I’m going to throw myself out a window.
Brewster turns back to his puzzle.
BREWSTER
There's a reason we lease a one-story building.
DANNY
You’ve gotta give me something else.
He puts the puzzle back down.
BREWSTER
Listen, you’re a good reporter. You're getting your 1A stories - most of them you deserved. But you have to put in your time. I can’t take someone else off -

14.
DANNY
(interrupting)
I don’t need a whole different beat. I just need something else. I really think the county flack has blocked my email address.
BREWSTER
So you’re doing something right.
DANNY
Just ... please. Anything.
Brewster slowly swivels in his chair and turns to his embarrassingly outdated computer (which also come standard with every newsroom).
BREWSTER
Well, let’s see, I have another email from Anne Crickley about another pet adoption push at her no-kill shelter. And Billy – I know you know Billy – he left another voicemail about, I’m sure, another conspiracy by the police to kill us all. Either of those sound good to you?
DANNY
(sighs)
So, county commissioner meetings.
BREWSTER
(feigning excitement)
You mean COUNTY COMMISSIONER MEETINGS! The annual budget should be coming up soon. There's always one or two good – well, decent – stories there. See if they’re spending too much money on whistles or something.
INT. STELLA'S OFFICE - LATER
Roosevelt and STELLA are already mid-conversation. Stella wears professional attire. Blazer. Pencil skirt. She sits back in her chair.

15.
She is a little upset that what she thought was just going to be a chat with an old friend is actually turning into a business meeting.
STELLA
I don’t really like how you've swooped in here in the eleventh hour.
ROOSEVELT
I just found out last night.
Stella laughs.
STELLA
Just found out? That your family has communication issues? I've known that for years.
ROOSEVELT
My own family dysfunction aside, there have also been some developments in the past 72 hours.
STELLA
What kind of developments? You finally started to have a normal human relationship with your dad?
ROOSEVELT
I'm sure that will never happen.
(beat)
Look, I haven’t told a lot of people this, but I sold my company. I have a big chunk of change burning a hole in my pocket.
STELLA
How much did you sell it for?
ROOSEVELT
I can’t say. But I can say I sold it to Joanne Astor.
STELLA
Well, that's not nothing -- so what's your next big adventure, your billion-dollar startup idea?
ROOSEVELT
I don't know that yet. But I know I'll have a better shot at it with your help.

16.
Stella is perfectly aware Roosevelt is intentionally trying to seem meek and accommodating and flattering, which she welcomes.
STELLA
You and I have been stuck in this shit town forever, and it hasn't gotten any less shitty since we were kids. And anyone who manages to escape, always seems to make their way back.
ROOSEVELT
I can't help but feel like that I was directed somewhat toward me.
STELLA
You are just one in a long string of rejects.
ROOSEVELT
Listen, you don’t want the house. You don’t want the church. And I don’t want the land. We would be partners. Fifty-fifty. And I’m going to be easy to convince when it comes to however you want to develop that land - because I don’t care what you do with it.
STELLA
Easier than if I had no one else I had to convince?
ROOSEVELT
My family has a history here – even longer than your family. We know people. We have old friends.
Stella is visibly uncomfortable with the implication of what Roosevelt is suggesting.
ROOSEVELT
Nothing underhanded. Just to help grease the skids. I’m going to be able to get us - get you - the meetings you need to have to turn that land into a bowling alley or a strip mall ... or a strip club for all I care.
Stella chuckles.

17.
ROOSEVELT
What DO you want to build there?
STELLA
I hadn’t really given it much thought.
ROOSEVELT
Bullshit. What do you want to build?
Stella narrows her eyes, debating whether to divulge.
ROOSEVELT
You want me to sign an NDA?
STELLA
An indoor beach.
ROOSEVELT
Huh?
STELLA
Surfing. Waves. Boardwalk. Volleyball. All of it. We’ve got mountains and hiking and skiing all around us. And it’s beautiful. But the closet ocean is 1000 miles away. Let’s bring it here. These land-locked beach resorts already exist elsewhere, and they are profitable.
Roosevelt stands up.
ROOSEVELT
Then let's get to work on getting you some ocean-front property.
Roosevelt reaches out his hand. Stella pauses. Then they shake on it.
INT. COUNTY COMMISSIONER MEETING HALL - LATER
Danny sits in the back row of a sparsely filled county building. Three COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, including LARRY GIBBONS, sit at the front of the room. All three are older, white men. COMMISSIONER GIBBONS is a barrel-chested, broad-shouldered, suspendered man with a bald head and a gravely voice.

18.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER #1
We will now open the floor to public comment for next year’s budget.
An old woman, MRS. HAYES, with a manilla folder filled with visual aids approaches the podium and microphone.
MRS. HAYES
Gentlemen, there is a pothole on my road that needs to be taken care of ...
Mrs. Hayes continues to drone on in the background while Danny thumbs through a print out of the county budget. She goes page by page, seeing boring, mundane line item after boring, mundane line item. She sighs. Closes the packet.
Then stares blankly ahead.
MRS. HAYES
As you can see from these photographs, there is no reason the county should not be able to address this problem in the coming budget year. Thank you.
Mrs. Hayes takes her seat.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER #2
Thank you, Mrs. Hayes.
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
As a point of order, I’d like to move we amend the budget to include C.B. 623 as it currently reads.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER #1
We have a motion. Will anyone second the motion?
COUNTY COMMISSIONER #2
I second the motion.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER #1
We will now vote on adopting C.B. 623 and amending it to the annual county budget. All in favor, say ’aye’.
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
(all three in unison)
Aye

19.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER #1
Any opposed?
Silence. Danny thumbs through her packet, looking for a copy of the mentioned amendment.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER #1
The amendment passes as it currently reads. I move to vote on passing the proposed annual county budget. Will anyone second the motion?
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
I second the motion.
Danny continues to look through her papers, finding nothing.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER #1
We will now vote on adopting the annual budget for Grace County, Colorado. All in favor, say ’aye’.
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
(all three in unison)
Aye
COUNTY COMMISSIONER #1
Any opposed?
Silence.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER #1
The annual budget for Grace County hereby passes with unanimous vote. If there is no further business, we will adjourn until next month.
Silence.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER #1
This meeting is hereby adjourned.
The county commissioners get up from their seats. Danny rushes up and approaches Commissioner Gibbons.
DANNY
Hi, Commissioner Gibbons, there’s no copy of amendment C.B. 623 in my budget packet.
Gibbons is more annoyed by Danny than anything else. He has a general distrust of journalist, but he especially can’t be bothered by someone as green and young as Danny.

20.
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
Right, because it’s an amendment. The printout you have is the proposed budget as of this morning. We’ve since amended it.
(more playful teasing than scolding/condescending)
Were you not paying attention?
DANNY
Where can I get a copy of the amendment?
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
When we publish the final budget, after it gets approved by the state.
DANNY
When will that be?
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
Typically two or three weeks.
DANNY
Well, don’t you think we want to inform the county residents of what’s in the budget?
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
I am not at all concerned about what "we" think.
Danny scribbles notes in her notepad.
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
Is this on the record?
DANNY
You’re talking to someone you know is a reporter and we’re at a public meeting and you're a public official. What is the amendment for?
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
Allocation of funds.
DANNY
What funds?
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
County funds.

21.
DANNY
For what purpose?
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
Listen - off the record - I don’t have any comment on whatever typical journalist spin you’re trying to put on our run-of-the-mill, hum-drum county meeting.
DANNY
Are you saying your "no comment" comment is off the record?
COUNTY COMMISSIONER #3
Yes.
DANNY
That’s not how this works.
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
I don’t want to read that I declined to comment. "Commissioner Gibbons could not be reached for comment."
DANNY
So you want me to write, according to Commissioner Gibbons, quote "Commissioner Gibbons could not be reached for comment" close quote?
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
Is there anything else you need?
DANNY
Besides what I’ve already asked for? On the record, is it common to pass last-minute budget amendments?
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
It’s not uncommon.
DANNY
And I can quote you on that?
COMMISSIONER GIBBONS
Knock yourself out.
INT. HAMMOND HOME - LATER
Roosevelt enters and shouts to whomever is home.

22.
ROOSEVELT
Got it all worked out with Stella today. She’s got a lawyer friend who is making some adjustments to the contract, but you'll essentially be joint partners. We'll own the buildings. She’ll own the land. Fifty-fifty split.
Roosevelt goes from room to room. The house seems empty.
ROOSEVELT
You and I can work out how much of the equity you might want to keep. I know you were going to sell it all, but ...
Roosevelt continues to look around.
ROOSEVELT
I also talked to Larry about helping out, helping get it back in order. He said it shouldn't be a problem.
He walks upstairs and into his parents’ bedroom. He opens the door slowly. Leonard is lying on his bed, face down.
ROOSEVELT
Dad?
As Roosevelt moves closer, he realizes his dad is unconscious. He tries to wake Leonard up. He's unresponsive. He reaches into his pocket, pulls out his phone and dials 911.
ROOSEVELT
Yes, this is Roosevelt Hammond. At 15 James Street. My dad. He’s Leonard Hammond. He’s 72. He isn’t moving. Please send an ambulance. I think he may be dead.
(beat)
Yes again!
INT. HOSPITAL - NIGHT
Leonard is in a hospital bed, stuck with tubes and monitors, completely unresponsive. Roosevelt and Jane sit next to him, hunched over in their respective chairs.

23.
JANE
I spent so much time thinking about what I'd do when he died that I was totally unprepared for what I would do WHILE he died.
ROOSEVELT
I know.
JANE
I just assumed dying would be something he planned, just like everything else in his life. Even with something sudden, I would have expected a contingency.
ROOSEVELT
I know.
JANE
I would have expected a note in the mail, or a call from the attorney. I wouldn’t even have been surprised if your father -
(chuckling to herself)
- if your father, after exhausting all of his other options, would have delivered the news himself, in his usual, matter-of-fact way.
(beat)
"I’ve died," he would say. Then he would have walked away, settled himself into his coffin, and then been whisked away off to the cemetery.
ROOSEVELT
I know.
JANE
For fuck’s sake, Rose. Say something else.
Roosevelt is a little taken back by her language. He lets out a sigh.
ROOSEVELT
Well, I can take care of a few things to make it easier. I can have the house landline and the church landline forwarded to my cell phone, and then pass along any messages you may need.

24.
JANE
Yes, that would be helpful.
ROOSEVELT
I'll call Sister Cindy from the church and she and the others can put together a few meals.
JANE
Oh, I don't want to be a bother.
ROOSEVELT
Mom, how many times have you made meals for them? Let them have a turn, alright? And I assume he has a living will and more of those, uh, types of documents?
JANE
Yeah.
ROOSEVELT
Is that in the safe deposit box? The fire proof box at home?
JANE
I'm not sure.
ROOSEVELT
Well, that's probably the next step.
JANE
Rosie, I have to tell you something. Your father ...
ROOSEVELT
What ...
JANE
As put together as he was professionally, and socially ...
ROOSEVELT
What it is mom?
JANE
(growing more rambling)
We're broke. That's why we're selling everything. And that's why I didn't tell you, because I didn't want to lie to you if you asked. But he has given away every red cent he ever earned. His heart was too damn big for his own good. He just couldn't tell people 'no' and now I don't know how we're going to pay for any of this.

25.
Roosevelt puts his arms around his mom to calm her down.
ROOSEVELT
Hey hey hey hey ... everything's going to be fine. He's been a pastor at that church for 40 years. Is Pastor Jones still the assistant there?
Jane nods.
ROOSEVELT
I'll give him a call. I'll let him know what happened, that he'll have to give the sermon tomorrow, and to ask the congregation if they could chip in during your time of need. God knows dad's been there when they've needed it.
INT. CHAPEL - MORNING
We see an empty pulpit in a full church. The room is silent. Roosevelt comes from off screen, wearing a suit and tie, and stands behind the pulpit, addressing the congregation.
ROOSEVELT
Pastor Jones is in Africa, I found out last night, on his latest six-month mission trip. But you all already knew that.
The congregation laughs.
ROOSEVELT
My father also had a heart attack last night, and is still in a coma at the hospital. But you all already knew that, too.
Roosevelt chuckles at that. The congregation does not.
ROOSEVELT
And most of you already know who I am – even though I don't yet know as many of you as I probably should. I’m Roosevelt Hammond. I'll be filling in temporarily until either Pastor Jones gets back or my father recovers, whichever comes first. And I'm confident both of them will return. Still, you all have spent much more time in this chapel than I have. And I aim to remedy all of that over the next months and years.

26.
He sees VICTORIA, mid-30s, sneak in through the entrance and take a seat in the back. She and Roosevelt acknowledge each other by exchanging smiles.
ROOSEVELT
It's good to be back.
INT. NEWSROOM - DAY
Brewster leans over Danny’s cubicle.
BREWSTER
So you’ve got two options here.
DANNY
Do either of them include a mojito?
BREWSTER
Hemingway you are not, at least not yet, but ...
Danny
Martinis.
BreWSTER
What?
DANNY
Hemingway drank martinis. Very dry. Not mojitos.
BREWSTER
Anyway, your county budget story, I can run it tomorrow, as is, on page 21 where no one will see it but the 3 old ladies who, I’m convinced, read the whole paper front to back just to see if there are any typos. Or I can give you another day to find out what’s actually in that amendment and maybe we can get it a little closer to the front.

27.
DANNY
Have you ever run a front-page budget story?
BREWSTER
No.
DANNY
Have you ever run a 1B budget story?
BREWSTER
No.
DANNY
Have you ever run a county budget story that has unearthed any sort of valuable, public-empowering information?
BREWSTER
No. But I’ve also never seen a last-minute, non-public amendment to a county budget.
DANNY
Commissioner Gibbons said it wasn’t uncommon.
BREWSTER
Yes, I saw the singular, earth-shattering quote - a double negative, by the way - you were able to glean from Larry.
DANNY
He told me to call him Lawrence.
BREWSTER
Because he doesn’t like you. Which is why you’ll need to look elsewhere.
DANNY
Even though it’s probably nothing.
BREWSTER
Especially because
(using air quotes)
it’s probably nothing.

28.
INT. CHAPEL - LATER
ROOSEVELT
In Jesus' name, Amen.
Organ music plays in the background as the meeting ends. The congregation stands up and begins mingling. Roosevelt comes down from the pulpit and begins shaking hands. A well-dressed congregant – Ruby Sutherland - an older woman with even older money, and who isn't afraid to flaunt that fact with gaudy jewelry - shakes Roosevelt’s hand and slips a padded envelope into his suit pocket.
RUBY SUTHERLAND
Here are my tithes and offerings, Pastor Hammond ... I mean ... Rose. I hope this helps you with your father.
ROOSEVELT
Well, every little bit helps. It is very much appreciated.
As Roosevelt goes through the crowd, he sees Victoria. She's leaning against a pew with a half smile. She's in a short-sleeved, a-line dress.
RooSEVELT
Hey Victoria.
VicTORIA
Rosie. Your charm saves the day once again. Things just seem to ... work out for you, don't they?
ROOSEVELT
I've been ... very blessed.
VICTORIA
Cut the crap.
ROOSEVELT
Yes ma'am.
VICTORIA
I learned long ago not to buy your bullshit.
RooSEVELT
Watch your language, Victoria. This is a church.
VICTORIA
So you’re back. Forever?

29.
ROOSEVELT
Seems like it.
VICTORIA
You know what you're going to speak on next week?
ROOSEVELT
No clue.
VICTORIA
I can't wait. I'll be sure to see it for myself, next Sunday.
Victoria begins to walk away.
ROOSEVELT
(calling out to her)
Not before then?
VICTORIA
(without turning around)
Not before then.
INT. PASTOR'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS
Roosevelt walks through the door to his dad's office and CHARLIE, a 15-year-old boy who serves as an assistant is there waiting for him.
ROOSEVELT
Hey Charlie.
CHARLIE
Hi, Pastor Hammond.
ROOSEVELT
Rose is fine.
CHARLIE
Yes, sorry, Mr. Rose, your appointments are here.
ROOSEVELT
Appointments?
CHARLIE
Yeah, your dad would meet with some brothers and sisters, one on one after services each Sunday.

30.
ROOSEVELT
Um, okay, send the first one in? I guess.
An old man, MR. FORD, dressed in his Sunday best enters.
ROOSEVELT
Come on in, Mister ...
(he looks to Charlie)
Charlie holds up 4 fingers and mouths to word "Ford"
ROOSEVELT
Four? Ford! Brother Ford. Have a seat.
They shake hands. They both sit. Charlie leaves the room and closes the door behind him.
MR. FORD
I wanted to let you know I'll be praying for your father.
ROOSEVELT
Thank you. That's very much appreciated.
MR. FORD
And your dad has done a lot of good in this community, he had a good heart.
RooSEVELT
Well, not that good. It nearly killed him.
Roosevelt chuckles. Mr. Ford doesn't reciprocate.
MR. FORD
I'm sure you'll keep doing a lot of good.
ROOSEVELT
I'll do my best.
MR. FORD
Charity needs to start locally, is what I always say. We don't need those government bureaucrats in Washington telling us how to spend our money or help our poor. We can do that just fine on our own, thank you very much.

31.
Roosevelt is unsure of how to respond to that.
ROOSEVELT
Well ... thank you for sharing.
MR. FORD
That's it.
(standing up)
I just wanted to give you my support, Rose.
ROOSEVELT
I appreciate it very much.
Rose begins to walk Mr. Ford out.
MR. FORD
You know, I've never bothered to ask you, is Rose short for something?
ROOSEVELT
Roosevelt.
MR. FORD
The president?
ROOSEVELT
Yup. Parents are big fans of Teddy.
MR. FORD
Good, strong-willed man, that Teddy was. Well thank you again. And good luck.
ROOSEVELT
Thank you.
Mr. Ford leaves.
ROOSEVELT
(to himself)
Well, that wasn't so hard.
Roosevelt opens the door to find several people waiting in the lobby.
ROOSEVELT
(cheerfully)
Who's next?

32.
INT. PASTOR'S OFFICE - LATER
We see multiple jump cuts of multiple conversations, with Roosevelt slowly slumping further and further into his chair, looking more and more overwhelmed.
CONGREGANT #1
How much masturbation is too much?
CONGREGANT #2
How do I know if God wants me to keep my job?
CONGREGANT #3
I just really feel like gluten has to be from the devil, right? Is there anything in the Bible about that?
CONGREGANT #4
I just don't understand why there would be a passage in the Bible about the emissions of horses.
CONGREGANT #5
We have sex three or four times a month. I want to do it more. He wants to do it less. How often do you think God wants us to have sex?
CONGREGANT #6
I mean, having two bears maul and murder little children just because they made fun of him for being bald seems like an overreaction. It does NOT sound like a merciful God to me.
CONGREGANT #7
I have sinned. So much sinning. Way to much sinning, if you ask me.
CONGREGANT #8
I just so appreciate these little talks – with your father, and now with you. It makes me feel so energized and invigorated to take on the week.
Roosevelt sees out a last congregant. He's visibly exhausted. He pokes his head outside his office and looks at Charlie.
ROOSEVELT
Charlie? Any more?

33.
CHARLIE
No, sir, er, Rose. That's the last of them. You're all done for the day.
Roosevelt goes back into his office and collapses in his chair. He runs his hands through his hair. He rubs his face. He pats his suit coat and remembers the envelope from Ms. Sutherland in his pocket. He pulls it out and opens it up, dumping out the contents.
Two large stacks of $100 bills fall out, each stack with a $10,000 currency strap. Roosevelt is shocked. He thumbs through the money. He looks around wondering where to put it, what to do with it.
Jane enters the office with a to-go carton of homemade food.
JANE
How'd your sermon go?
ROOSEVELT
What are you doing here? Why aren't you at the hospital?
JANE
The sisters brought me food, but I couldn't eat it all. So I brought some for you. I'm heading right back, don't worry.
ROOSEVELT
How is he?
JANE
Same as yesterday, so – not worse.
Jane sees the stacks of money in Roosevelt's hands.
JANE
Is that from Ms. Sutherland? Padded envelope? Slipped into your pocket?
ROOSEVELT
What do I do with it? Wait, how did you know that?
JANE
(pointing)
Put it in the safe.
Roosevelt puts it in the safe.

34.
JANE
Close it. Lock it. Keep the key on you at all times.
(beat)
Your dad kept meticulous records. You should too until he gets back. That money is from Sister Sutherland. Ruby Sutherland. Her husband is dead and now she’s richer than God and you’re going to get a couple of those a year. You have to accept them.
ROOSEVELT
Well of course I’m going to accept – wait. What do you mean? Why wouldn’t I accept them?
JANE
She’s going to ask for favors, Rosie. And you’re going to have to be very clear with her - and very aware yourself - about where the money goes, what it is and isn’t used for. Dad never gave me any details about it, but he was always wary of that woman. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. And that woman is 100 percent mammon.
She puts the food down on his desk.
JANE
Bon appetit.
INT. COUNTY RECORDS - DAY
Danny sits in a sterile, non-descript, government building lobby. A sign that reads "COUNTY RECORDS" hangs from the ceiling. Even though there are several booths/cubicles, only one is currently occupied by an employee. The two of them are the only ones there. It's silent for a while.
DANNY
And you're sure there's nothing you can do to speed up this process?
COUNTY WORKER
No ma'am.
The silence returns.

35.
DANNY
And nothing I can do?
COUNTY WORKER
No ma'am.
Silence.
DANNY
What are the odds that this FOIA request is going to be done today?
COUNTY WORKER
I'm sorry ma'am. I can't say.
DANNY
You don't know? Or you can't say?
COUNTY WORKER
I can't say.
DANNY
Who is your manager?
COUNTY WORKER
Commissioner Gibbons.
DANNY
Lawrence?
COUNTY WORKER
Larry, yes.
More silence. Then someone from the back yells.
COUNTY WORKER #2
(loudly)
Danielle McCormick?
DANNY
Yes?
COUNTY WORKER #2
Here are the documents you requested.
DANNY
Thank you!
Danny takes the manilla folder and opens it up to find a single piece of paper it in. There is barely any text on it either. All it says is:

36.
At least $25,000 out of current expenses shall be appropriated for the expansion of local social center.
DANNY
This can't be right.
(turning to county workers)
Is this it? There has to be more. Like who wrote it? Who submitted it? Which center? What is this money for?
Both workers stare at her blankly. Danny yells in frustration.
INT. COFFEE SHOP - DAY
Roosevelt and Harvey are in a coffee shop, which serves as their make-shift office. They are the only ones there.
HARVEY
I am 100 percent not on board with that.
ROOSEVELT
Why not? It's foolproof. We pause with Joanne, take the money from the church, bolster our numbers, and then renegotiate. We get more than one dollar and pay back the church.
HARVEY
You're the one who said we should be happy with the one dollar. That we should be glad we have this new partner.
ROOSEVELT
Now we can have both.
HARVEY
So we're taking a no-interest loan from God?
ROOSEVELT
Are you worried he's a vengeful God? A God of wrath?
HARVEY
What on earth would ever give me that idea?

37.
ROOSEVELT
If it helps, it's a no-interest loan from my parents – well, from Ruby Sutherland, really. She won't miss it and my parents haven't given me anything since my teenage acne.
HARVEY
So this is the least they could unknowingly do.
ROOSEVELT
Now that things are up and running, here's their opportunity. And they profit from it anyway when I buy their properties from them.
HARVEY
I still don't like this at all.
ROOSEVELT
Alright, well, I'm using my veto.
HARVEY
I thought you already used your veto.
ROOSEVELT
Probably.
Victoria enters the coffee shop.
ROOSEVELT
(loudly-ish)
Alright, well, I'm going to call Joanne Astor, let her know we won't be accepting her low-ball offer, and that she should try back in three or four months.
Harvey looks at Roosevelt with eyes that say "Really?"
HARVEY
(quietly)
I'm guessing you'd like me to leave.
ROOSEVELT
That'd be great.
Harvey grabs his coat and begins to walk out the door.

38.
HARVEY
Hi, Vic! Bye, Vic!
Victoria stands at the counter, waiting for her drink.
ROOSEVELT
I thought you said I wouldn't see you before next Sunday.
VICTORIA
Jacob had to wait 7 years for Rachel, and then he didn't even get her. I was going to see if you could wait 7 days.
Roosevelt looks at her with narrowed eyes, confused.
VICTORIA
You know, if you're going to be giving sermons each week, you really should start reading your bible. You did well yesterday, regardless.
ROOSEVELT
Well thank you.
Victoria nods her head in the direction of now-gone Harvey.
VICTORIA
Sounds like you and he have got some important wheeling and dealing you're doing with your investors.
ROOSEVELT
Yeah. Just trying to make sure we're making the right business decisions here. Crunching all the numbers. Running the gantt charts.
VICTORIA
If you're trying to sound smart, you're coming up a little short.
(beat)
How's your dad doing?
ROOSEVELT
The same. Not better. Not worse.
The barista hands Victoria her coffee and Victoria begins to walk out of the shop.

39.
VICTORIA
Well, give your mom my best. I know everyone says this, but let me know if there's anything I can do to help.
ROOSEVELT
Do you wanna grab some coffee some time?
Victoria hold up the coffee she just bought.
VICTORIA
You mean, like, a different coffee at a different time?
ROOSEVELT
Yeah.
VICTORIA
And you think that'll help your dad?
ROOSEVELT
Unrelated to your offer to help.
VICTORIA
I want to hear about Rachel and Leah in next Sunday's sermon.
ROOSEVELT
There's a Leah too?
VICTORIA
There's a Leah too.
ROOSEVELT
Are you using scripture as a bargaining chip for a date?
VICTORIA
I don't want to be deceived on the wedding night.
RooSEVELT
Weddi-? I'm guess that's part of the story.
VICTORIA
You have homework to do.

40.
INT. NEWSROOM - LATER
Danny, manilla folder in hand, marches into the newsroom, straight to Brewster's desk. She tosses down the folder.
DANNY
It's like that asshole knew I was going to FOIA him so he's trying to be ambiguous.
BREWSTER
Now, let's not devolve into name calling. It's COMMISSIONER Asshole.
(reading out loud)
"At least $25,000 out of current expenses shall be appropriated for the expansion of local social center."
DANNY
There's nothing there! Four hours at the county office and I get one fucking sentence.
BREWSTER
A sentence with a dollar amount.
DANNY
(angry/exasperated)
But what is it for? Out of which current expenses? What constitutes "expansion"? Which local social center?
BREWSTER
You know, those would all be really great questions for your source.
DANNY
What fucking source? No one over there will fucking talk to me?
BREWSTER
Listen, you're probably not on the brink of Watergate here. So while I appreciate the passion, let's channel that fire into whichever 400-level journalism class taught you to man the fuck up. There are assistants, deputies, assistant deputies, and all sorts of other bees in the county hive. And there are only so many centers in the county that could possibly qualify for – and need – that kind of money. So go get a cup of coffee and a phone book and start making some phone calls.

41.
Danny calms down a bit. Walks over to the coffee pot and fills a mug. She begins to walk off.
BREWSTER
Where are you going?
DANNY
To make some phone calls.
BREWSTER
(half joking?)
The coffee was for me.
DANNY
(half joking?)
Go fuck yourself.
INT. NEWSROOM - CONTINUOUS
Danny sits at her desk and starts cold calling. Montage/jump cuts of call after call after call, rejection after rejection.
INT. HOSPITAL - NIGHT
Roosevelt is in Leonard's hospital room, sitting by his side. Roosevelt wears the start-up founder uniform: dark-wash jeans, button-down shirt with no tie, blazer. He's clean shaven.
ROOSEVELT
(to Leonard)
So, that's my plan. If you're okay with all that, just lie there motionless.
Roosevelt waits.
ROOSEVELT
Good talk.
Roosevelt's cell phone rings. It's a number he doesn't recognize. He answers.

42.
ROOSEVELT
Hello?
DANNY
(through the phone)
Hi, my name is Danielle McCormick with the Sharonview Transcript. I was calling to try to get in touch with whomever oversees the First Christ Center.
ROOSEVELT
From the paper? Who is this?
DanNY
Danielle McCormick from the Sharonview Transcript. Are you affiliated with the First Christ Center?
ROOSEVELT
What is this regarding?
Just then, several of the machines Leonard is plugged into start beeping. Alarms are going off. Nurses are rushing in and escorting Roosevelt out.
DANNY
I'm writing a story about the county and am trying to get in touch with someone from the First Christ Center.
ROOSEVELT
(to the nurses, not listening to the phone)
What's going on? Why is that beeping? What's happening? Can somebody tell me something?
DANNY
Hello?!
ROOSEVELT
(reeling from the chaos)
Sorry. I can't talk right now.
A nurse begins escorting Roosevelt out of the room.
DANNY
Are you affiliated with the First Christ Center?

43.
ROOSEVELT
I don't know.
DANNY
You don't know? Can you tell me anything about what the center is used for?
ROOSEVELT
I'm not sure.
DANNY
Can I call you back?
ROOSEVELT
I can't. I don't know. I can't talk.
In the hall, as Roosevelt hangs up his phone, he (literally) bumps into two sheriff's deputies, STEVEN BIGGS and JOHNATHAN WEDGE.
RooSEVELT
I'm sorr -- oh -- hey, John. Hey Steve.
Biggs
Are you okay, Rose?
ROOSEVELT
Yeah. Sorry. I was just -- I'm a little --
He looks at his phone, and puts it in his pocket.
RooSEVELT
My dad -- uh -- something is -- uh, nevermind. It's fine. I'm sure it's fine. It's so thoughtful of you guys to come by and see him.
Wedge
Actually, we're here to talk to you.
ROOSEVELT
I'm sorry?
Biggs
We got a phone call earlier today that some money has been stolen from the church.

44.
ROOSEVELT
Stolen?
Wedge
Yes. A silent alarm was triggered after Charlie locked up for the night. We're investigating. We'd just like to take you down to the office.
ROOSEVELT
Me?! You think I stole some money? From the church? From MY father's church?
Biggs
We're not saying that. We just need to come down and make a statement.
ROOSEVELT
I don't know what you guys are talking about. I can't deal with this right now.
Wedge gently puts his hand on Roosevelt's arm.
Wedge
Come on, Rose. Let's not make this difficult.
Roosevelt quickly pulls his arm back -- then takes a breath. Calms himself.
ROOSEVELT
Okay. Yes. I'd be happy to come in and talk, but can it just wait until the morning?
Both deputies are pensive, hesitant.
RoOSEVELT
Dave is still the Sheriff, yes?
Biggs
Yeah.
ROOSEVELT
Tell him you talked to me. That you saw me. That I just couldn't do it tonight. And that I'll be there first thing in the morning.

45.
Wedge
We were told to bring you in immediately.
ROOSEVELT
First thing, John. You think I'm a flight risk or something? I will be there bright and early. Here --
Roosevelt pulls out his phone.
RooSEVELT
Let me call Dave, I think I still have his number.
Biggs
That's fine, Rose. Not necessary. Don't worry about tonight. But first thing tomorrow.
RooSEVELT
First thing.
ext. Hospital - CONTINUOUS
Roosevelt leaves the hospital and gets into his sporty BMW parked in the lot. He drives off.
EXT. BRIDGE - contiNUOUS
We see Roosevelt driving along a winding road. He pulls over just before a bridge and stops on the shoulder. He steps out, walks onto the bridge and leans over the railing. He pulls out his smart phone and slips it into his jacket breast pocket.
He climbs over.
We see his back, from far away, and slowly zoom in as we faintly hear the speech he's telling himself.
ROOSEVELT
... And they’ll live in that moment - that small, fragile inch -
He leans forward, still holding on. His foot slips.
But he holds on. He regains his footing and holds the railing more tightly. Roosevelt takes a few final deep breaths –

46.
Before climbing back over the railing. He pulls his phone out of his pocket and deletes the audio file he just recorded. Then he gets in his car and drives away.
FADE TO BLACK.

Back to Gray

Frustrated with the emotional roller coaster that comes along with improved mental health, a young woman tries to go back to being depressed.

BACK TO GRAY


BACK TO GRAY

By

Scott Spjut


INT. PSYCHOLOGIST'S OFFICE - DAY
PSYCHOLOGIST
What would you like to talk about today?
QUEUE sits in the plush recliner across from the therapist. Her statement socks are mismatched, but still manage to "go" with her muddled green Vans and vibrant hoodie. She brushes her pixie cut bangs across her face.
QUEUE
I miss being depressed.
PSYCHOLOGIST
I'm sorry?
QUEUE
Has a patient ever told you that before?
PSYCHOLOGIST
Has a client ever told me they miss being depressed?
QUEUE
Yeah.
PSYCHOLOGIST
No. A client has never told me that.
QUEUE pushes back the cuticles on her fingernails.
QUEUE
I want to go back.
PSYCHOLOGIST
Good idea. Let's start over. What would you like to talk about today?
QUEUE
No, I want to go back to being depressed.
PSYCHOLOGIST
I'm not sure what you mean.
QUEUE
The medication, the therapy, the mindfulness, I want to stop all of it.

2.
PSYCHOLOGIST
You want to go back?
QUEUE
Last week, my car wouldn't start. And it was frustrating. So I pop the hood and poke around, and nothing. Which was frustrating. I wait a few minutes and try again, still nothing. Which was frustrating. I call a tow-truck and they say they'll be there within an hour, which was –
PSYCHOLOGIST
Frustrating.
QUEUE
Exactly. I didn't know if "within" meant 5 minutes or 55 minutes. So I sat there, frustrated, hopeless, helpless. For 52 minutes. You know how I know it was 52 minutes?
PSYCHOLOGIST
Because you kept track.
QUEUE
Because I watched every fucking minute tick by on that stupid dashboard clock - which was working, so I thought that meant the battery was fine.
PSYCHOLOGIST
The battery wasn't fine?
QUEUE
The battery WAS, apparently fine. Fine enough to power the teeny tiny clock on the dash but apparently not fine enough to start the car when the connection is loose. So I wasted my whole fucking morning waiting for this tow truck guy – who fixed the issue in about 15 seconds.
PSYCHOLOGIST
And that was frustrating.
QUEUE
Yes! Ruined my day. The whole day.

3.
PSYCHOLOGIST
That seems like a relatively normal human response.
QUEUE
Exactly. It was awful. I want to go back.
PSYCHOLOGIST
Go back where?
QUEUE
A year ago, you know what I would have done if my car wouldn't start? Gone back to bed. I would have turned the key, heard the clickity-clickity of the thing, gotten out, probably not even locked the door – since, you know, it won't start – and gone back to bed.
PSYCHOLOGIST
But that wouldn't have solved the problem.
QUEUE
Yes! Yes it would have. Because the problem isn't the car not starting. Who gives a fuck about a car? It's a thing. The problem is me having these "relatively normal human responses" which ruin my whole fucking day. I want to go back to not giving two shits about whether or not my car starts in the morning. Back to before medications and appointments and all this crap.
PSYCHOLOGIST
Well I can't make you come here. Or make you take your medication.
QUEUE
Sure. But what's going to happen if I don't?
PSYCHOLOGIST
What do you mean?
QUEUE
My -- my brain is not going to explode or anything, right?

4.
PSYCHOLOGIST
You might have some withdrawals for a few days, but your brain certainly won't explode.
QUEUE
Perfect.
Queue stands up and walks out the door.
EXT. STREET – CONTINUOUS
Queue walks briskly down the street, smiling – almost skipping. The skies are gray. Dirty water streams down the street and into the gutters. She rips her hoodie on a chain-linked fence, but keeps walking.
She passes a wine shop – then backtracks and goes in.
INT. WINE SHOP - CONTINUOUS
She enters and begins browsing the selection.
CASHIER
Hello. Welcome! Are you looking for anything in particular?
QUEUE
I'm celebrating.
CASHIER
Oh fun. What are you celebrating?
QUEUE
A return to sobriety.
Puzzled, the cashier picks one bottle up off the shelf.
CASHIER
Well, this one has a nice, full body and notes of–
QUEUE
Perfect.
Queue grabs it from his hand and walks up to the counter to pay for it. He begins the checkout process.
QUEUE
Do you have a corkscrew?

5.
CASHIER
Yes, along that wall over there is our selection of–
QUEUE
No no no. Not to buy. Just to use.
CASHIER
Um, I guess, I think so ...
He finds one in a drawer and hands it to her. She removes the foil from the neck, plunges the corkscrew in, and deftly removes the cork. She slams a $20 down on the counter and then holds up the bottle.
QUEUE
Cheers!
She takes a big swig straight from the bottle as she walks out the door.
FADE OUT.
INT. QUEUE'S APARTMENT – LATER
Queue is sleeping, sitting upright on the couch, wrapped in a comforter.
WYATT, Queue's twin brother, enters through the front door.
WYATT
(into the void)
Queue?!
Queue groggily begins to wake up.
WYATT
Why haven't you been answering your phone?
QUEUE
Wyatt! Heeeeey ... what do you mean?
WYATT
Look at your phone.
Queue picks it up to see 47 missed calls.
QUEUE
That doesn't seem right. We just talked on the phone like 5 minutes ago.

6.
WYATT
That was Thursday.
QUEUE
How far past Thursday are we now?
WYATT
It's the Sabbath.
QUEUE
Fuck ... wait, are we Jewish?
WYATT
No.
QUEUE
Fuck.
WYATT plops down on the couch next to Queue. He looks around the apartment to see fast food wrappers, trash, and several empty wine bottles.
WYATT
You stopped your meds.
QUEUE
I stopped my meds.
WYATT
Was it because of the car?
QUEUE
52 minutes, Wyatt! 52 minutes of my life, wasted!
WYATT
And since we last talked on Thursday, how many of your minutes have been productive?
Queue motions to an easel in the corner with a canvas on it.
QUEUE
I painted that.
The canvas is one solid color of dark gray.
WYATT
You couldn't find any other colors?
QUEUE
(melodramatically)
There ARE no other colors, Wyatt. There are no other colors.

7.
WYATT
Go get ready. We don't want to be late.
Queue stares blankly.
WYATT
For the race.
Queue continues to not react.
WYATT
Today is the 5k.
QUEUE
Uuuugh, that's today? I thought you said it was a half marathon.
WYATT
No, a 5k.
QUEUE
That sounds awful.
WYATT
You know a 5k is shorter than a half marathon, right?
QUEUE
How long is a half marathon?
WYATT
About 13 miles.
QUEUE
How many Ks is that?
WYATT
(mental calculations)
Uh, 21ish?
QUEUE
I can't run 21 Ks.
WYATT
You're not. We're running 5.
QUEUE
I can't, anyway. Too many endorphins.
WYATT
What?

8.
QUEUE
I made a decision to limit my endorphin output.
WYATT
I don't know what that means. Get dressed. We leave in 5 minutes.
WYATT pats Queue on the head a few times.
EXT. 5K REGISTRATION TABLE - MORNING
Queue and Wyatt are at the registration table. Wyatt gets his bib number and walks away to do some light warmups and stretching. Queue steps up to the front of the line.
QUEUE
Yes, Queue Wilmot.
ATTENDANT
And what does the Q stand for?
QUEUE
Just Queue.
ATTENDANT
Yes, what's it short for? I'll need to look up your first name too.
QUEUE
No, not Q like the letter. Queue like the line.
ATTENDANT
I don't understand.
QUEUE
Like, "queue up". Or "jump the queue".
The attendant looks Queue up and down.
ATTENDANT
Miss, you don't look well. Is "jump the queue" slang for drugs?
QUEUE
Yes, that is drug slang. Last name: The Dragon, first name: Chase.
The attendant looks through her papers.

9.
ATTENDANT
I don't have anyone named "Chase" here.
Wyatt comes back to the table.
WYATT
Her first name is spelled Q-U-E-U-E. Last name W-I-L-M-O-T.
ATTENDANT
Oh there she is! Q-U-E-U-E. Kuay-way Wilmot. Is that Hawaiian?
EXT. 5K STARTING LINE - CONTINUOUS
They wait with the other runners at the starting line. Wyatt notices an older, fit man with a prosthetic leg in the group, warming up.
WYATT
Look over there.
Queue looks.
QUEUE
What?
WYATT
That man, with the prosthetic leg, that's inspiring.
QUEUE
Not really.
WYATT
What do you mean not really?
QUEUE
Well, 3 Ks into this race, MY legs are going to hurt.
Queue gives a big, cheesy smiles and lifts her hand up for a high five. Wyatt does not reciprocate.
WYATT
Mom would have been so proud of you.
QUEUE
Mom would be mortified. Dad would have laughed.

10.
The starting gun fires. The race begins.
Wyatt and Queue keep pace with each other for a while, with Wyatt slowly pulling ahead. He stops at the first water table, grabs two cups and hands one to Queue once she catches up – but they keep running
WYATT
You need to drink, but don't drink too much or you'll get waterlogged.
Queue drinks the water, and holds up the cup.
QUEUE
What do I do with this?
WYATT
Just throw it on the ground.
QUEUE
That doesn't seem right. How is that not littering?
WYATT
It's just how it works.
Queue has a moment of pause, but ultimately tosses the cup on the ground, with a satisfying "huh!"
As the race progresses, Queue grabs a cup at every table, and becomes gradually more elaborate with how she gets rid of them.
She tries to kick it up in the air once or twice before missing it and letting it drop.
She pretends it's a basketball and does a behind-the-back pass to no one.
She puts the bottom of the cup in her mouth and then quickly breathes out, trying to blow the cup up in the air.
She eventually sees a sign that says "1/2 KILOMETER TO GO!" Wyatt, by this time, is long gone.
QUEUE
Finally.
At the last water table, she stops, grabs a cup, downs it, and then starts doing the Cup Song, singing "When I'm Gone" as she uses the cup for percussion. After a few moments, she tosses the cup behind her.

11.
Just then, the man with the prosthetic leg – HAROLD – runs by. His prosthetic steps directly on the cup Queue just threw. He slips, and his fake leg flies off his limb and gets crushed by a passing service truck.
Several runners and workers rush to his side. He's a bit dazed, but fine.
HAROLD
Thank you. Thank you, I'm fine. What happened?
Everyone crowded around Harold turns and looks at Queue. She stammers for a bit.
QUEUE
Well, uh, um ... doesn't matter! You and I are going to finish this race together!
Two first aid responders are approaching, but Queue stops them and dramatically pushes them aside.
QUEUE
No!
Queue goes over to Harold, helps him get up, puts his arm around her neck and shoulder.
QUEUE
We got this.
They hobble toward the finish line.
As they turn the final corner of the race, everyone sees this inspirational scene of Queue and Harold. The applause from the whole crowd gradually grows. The last 10 yards of the race and hundreds of people are yelling and jumping, it is raucous.
They cross the finish line and everyone explodes in cheering.
The local TV news affiliate is there and the REPORTER and CAMERAMAN rush the two.
REPORTER
Can you tell us what happened?
QUEUE
Well, I was, uh, I was running, and then I was, uh ...

12.
HAROLD
My prosthetic broke. I've had it for years, I should have known it was on its last leg.
A crowd had gathered. Everyone erupts into cheesy laughter. Queue's eyes dart around, confused.
QUEUE
Yeah.
HAROLD
I've never let being an amputee stop me from doing what I love -- and this young lady wouldn't let me stop either.
An "awwwww" from the crowd.
QUEUE
Yeah.
HAROLD
She just happened to be there, and helped me get through this last stretch.
REPORTER
So you two don't know each other?
QUEUE
Uh, no. We just met half a K ago.
REPORTER
And because of you, he was able to finish the race. You must feel very proud.
QUEUE
I definitely feel feelings.
The reporter turns back to the camera.
REPORTER
A local hero –- helping a stranger finish a race -- and thus, helping the human race.
Queue rolls her eyes.
RePORTER
I'm Lisa Littleton, reporting for ABC 11.

13.
Harold turns to Queue.
HAROLD
(putting out his hand)
I'm Harold.
QUEUE
(shaking hands)
I'm Queue.
The reporter is feverishly taking notes.
REPORTER
Q? What does Q stand for?
QUEUE
No, not Q like the letter. Queue like the line.
REPORTER
(confused)
Like the line?
QUEUE
Oh for fuck's sake!
Wyatt runs up and joins the gathering crowd.
WYATT
Queue, hey, what happened? Sir, are you okay?
Harold sits down in a chair.
HAROLD
I am fine. Thank you.
WYATT
I was telling Queue earlier, we saw you at the starting line and you are such an inspiration.
HAROLD
Oh, I don't think so. Halfway through this race, YOUR legs were the ones hurting.
Queue looks at Wyatt, incredulously.
Int. DINER - LATER
Wyatt and Queue sit across from each other. We join them mid-conversation.

14.
wyatT
It's a portmanteau.
QUEUE
Right.
WYATT
A portmanteau. A combination of
"breakfast" and "lunch".
QUEUE
I know what a portmanteau is.
WYATT
But yet you don't know what brunch is?
QUEUE
It's inconsistent.
WYATT
It's a meal that includes both breakfast and lunch options.
The WAITRESS walks up.
Waitress
Can I get y'all anything else?
WYATT
(to the waitress)
Help us out. Queue is pretending to not know what brunch is.
Queue
So far, I've heard it's a meal that includes both breakfast and lunch options.
WYATT
Right.
QUEUE
So let's all go to brunch tomorrow.
WYATT
Great.
QUEUE
At McDonald's.
WaitRESS
Wait, does McDonald's serve brunch?

15.
QUEUE
You can get breakfast all day, so it offers both breakfast and lunch options.
WyATT
That's not brunch.
QUEUE
That's my point. So what is brunch?
Another CUSTOMER turns around from his seat at the bar.
Customer
(to waitress)
What are they on about?
WaitRESS
This gentleman doesn't know what brunch is.
CuSTOMER
(to Wyatt)
You don't know what brunch is?
Wyatt
(pointing to Queue)
SHE doesn't know what brunch is.
WaiTRESS
She said it's a meal that includes both breakfast and brunch options.
CuSTOMER
That sounds about right.
WyATT
No. I said that.
CUSTOMER
And you still don't know what brunch is?
WyATT
Queue was pretending to - you know what? Nevermind.
(to Queue)
Why do you do this?
QuEUE
(with a smile)
I'm not wrong.

16.
WYATT
But you're not happy.
Queue's smile disappears. There's an awkward pause. They pick at their food.
WyATT
So how are you?
QuEUE
Fine. I bet I'll be pretty sore tomorrow.
WYATT
No, I mean, how are you doing? Can we talk about this week?
QUEUE
What is there to talk about?
WYATT
Well, you were AWOL for 3 days, you've stopped your meds, I'm assuming you're not going back to see Bob?
QUEUE
Bob assured me my brain would not explode.
WYATT
Is all of this a joke? The painting? The empty wine bottles everywhere? Harassing me about what brunch is? Is this performance art?
QUEUE
Avocado.
WYATT
What?
QUEUE
I think there has to be some sort of avocado-based dish in order to qualify as brunch.
WYATT
That's it, I'm done.
Wyatt stands up. Gets out his wallet. Starts counting out cash.

17.
WyATT
Putting aside that you're, you know, a fucking adult, mom and dad aren't here to take care of you. You can't take care of you. And you're not letting me take care of you.
QueUE
Wyatt--
WYATT
No, shut the fuck up and listen. You know what you need to do: eat right, exercise, take your meds, see your therapist, get your 8 hours of sleep. Did I miss anything?
Queue doesn't respond.
WyATT
Did I?
QuEUE
You know, this is my whole point. I was actually feeling pretty decent after that race, and pretty decent with the banter we were all having. And now I feel like shit. I feel more bad right now than I felt good two minutes ago. And it's not fucking worth it. Why work so hard for the highs when it just leads to worse lows?
WYATT
Because that's life. That's how it works.
QUEUE
Life doesn't work.
(beat)
Not for me.
Wyatt puts down a wad of cash, grabs his things, and walks out the door. All the diner patrons are silent, processing what they just saw.
QuEUE
Mimosas! You guys need to serve mimosas. Then you'd DEFINITELY be a brunch place.

18.
INT. PSYCHOLOGIST'S OFFICE - LATER
Queue sits in the plush recliner across from the therapist. Her gray socks go perfectly with her muddled gray Vans and gray hoodie. She brushes her pixie cut bangs across her face.
PSYCHOLOGIST
Do you want to go back?
QUEUE
Yeah. Let me start over.
FADE TO BLACK.

Slipped Quickly

A Senator has gathered information through questionable means and struggles with whether to use it to her political advantage. 

Slipped Quickly


SLIPPED QUICKLY

By

Scott Spjut


Ext. City streets - NIGHT
Pedestrians shuffle past each other on a busy city street. Their heads are down -- some looking at their phones, some staring at LCD displays built into the sidewalks, others just gazing down at nothing.
ELISE, 40, head also down, nuzzles her chin into an upturned collar in an effort to avoid the gaze of the other citizens.
She sees the sidewalk flash red and stops at the intersection. Next to the sidewalk semaphore a commercial plays. It shows strong men, heads down, digging ditches with the text "Power Through Work" and beautiful women, heads down, climbing mountains with the text "Power Through Pain."
The pavement flashes green. Gradually the crowds thin as Elise walks farther from the main roads and further into curfew. She stops at a coffee shop.
Int. Coffee shop - CONTINUOUS
The cafe is filled with displays, and young people, but it is nearly silent. Patrons listen to what's on screen through headphones, so the only sound in the room is the clank and hiss and pour of coffees and teas being made and served.
The baristas wear flannel shirts and big, bulky shoes — part of the grunger subculture.
Elise approaches the counter.
Elise
Cold brew. Black, please. To go.
As the BARISTA pours the drink, Elise is startled when one man breaks the silence with a piercing, hearty laugh seemingly from out of nowhere.
The barista delivers the drink. Elise reaches into her bag and pulls out a metal straw, sticking it in the top.
As she turns, a display catches her eye -- a music video from the 2020's. She pulls up her phone and presses a button. The audio immediately channels into her headphones. But after a moment, all the displays are interrupted at once. A commercial, similar is style to the one Elise saw earlier.
Commercial Voice
Union Discovery is now enabled. The 10 p.m. government curfew is in effect. You may travel freely. Please do so with caution.

2.
Elise
(to the room)
"is NOW enabled" does anyone actually believe that?
She looks toward the barista. He just shrugs.
Elise
I mean, Union Discovery has to be on all the time, right? All the time. They're just ADMITTING to tracking us after curfew.
Elise looks around to see if anyone is listening. They aren't.
Elise
I mean, right?!
Still nothing.
Int. Warehouse - later
Elise enters through a back door and throws her now-empty coffee cup into the trash -- keeping the straw. BRUNO takes her coat.
Bruno
Welcome, Eli.
Elise
Don't call me that.
BRUNO
We weren't sure you'd come.
ELISe
I wasn't sure you were worth it.
Bruno escorts Elise down a hallway. They come to a door guarded by two BODYGUARDS, who allow Bruno and Elise to enter.
Int. Backroom - CONTINUOUS
A single lightbulb hangs from the ceiling. A thick, manila envelope sits on an otherwise empty table in the middle of the room.
Elise
The decor is a little dramatic, no?

3.
PAMELA sits on a leather couch. She's large. Plump. From decades of a 9-to-5 desk job
Pamela
I could say the same about your speech on the hill today.
Elise walks toward the envelope.
PAMELA
This makes you no better than them, you know. You're as sanctimonious as the rest.
She picks it up.
Elise
I don't need a lecture from you, of all people.
PAMELA
Of all people? Bruno, did you hear what she said to me?
Bruno
I heard.
PaMELA
(dismissively)
Of all people.
ELISE
Do you think the ends justify the means?
PAMELA
You're asking me?
ELISE
Do the ends justify the means?
PAMELA
I'm not your priest. I'm not your therapist. If you don't want what's in there, then leave it and get the hell out. Otherwise, keep it, get the hell out and get me my vote.
Elise turns the envelope over in her hands a few times, slides it into her bag, and walks out the door.

Take Charge

An recent college graduate starts her first day at a magazine as a reporter, only to find out the publication has been sold over the weekend — and the job offer is un-offered. She immediately gets to working trying to get her job back — making friends and enemies along the way.

TAKE CHARGE


TAKE CHARGE

By

Scott Spjut


Int. Office lobby -- morNING
WREN enters the lobby of a tall office building. The room has marble floors and elaborate sconces. Even though dozens of people are flowing in and out of the revolving doors, the room is quiet. Reverent. Clean.
Wren (23) wears professional attire -- with sneakers -- and eagerly approaches the front desk with a big smile. A guard, RYAN (50) -- a tall, broad-shouldered black man with big hands and a bigger scowl -- sits at the welcome desk. Wren approaches.
Wren
Hi. It's my first day.
Ryan
Where?
WREN
Uh, here, I think? Am I in the right building?
Ryan
What company?
Wren
Oh -- ha -- right. The Global Times magazine.
Ryan
ID?
She hands the guard her ID, and he begins looking up her information.
Wren
Wren Higgins.
(beat)
I just graduated from J school.
The guard continues to type tacitly at the computer.
Wren
University of Texas ... at Austin.
More silent working.
WREN
Hook 'em horns!
She laughs. He doesn't.

2.
The printer at the front desk pops out a temporary pass. The guard hands Wren's ID back to her. He swipes her temporary pass and the gate opens. He hands her the pass.
Ryan
14th floor. Elevator on the right.
She grabs it from him, affixes the temporary pass to her lapel, and heads off.
WREN
Thanks!
Int. Elevator -- conTINUOUS
The elevator matches the lobby's style -- clean, professional, with a touch of luxury.
As the elevator goes up, Wren removes her sneakers and puts on some high heels. She shoves the sneakers in her bag just as she arrives at the 14th floor.
The doors open to a hallway with big glass doors that say "The Global Times".
Int. Global times offices -- conTINUOUS
Wren opens the doors and finds -- a mostly empty floor. Old, gray computers sit atop old, gray cubicles. The tinge of luxury decor up to this point has been replaced with a tired, cliche newsroom.
She wanders through the cubicle aisles looking for -- anyone. She finally sees an office with "HR" labeled on the door. She knocks and slowly opens the door.
Int. HR office -- contiNUOUS
JEAN sits behind a desk.
Jean
Good morning! How can I help you?
Wren
Yeah, uh, it's my first day here. I'm supposed to be starting today.
JEAN
Wonderful! And your name?
Wren walks in and takes a seat.

3.
WREN
Wren, uh, Wren Higgins.
JEAN
Oh yes, Wren. I've got your paperwork right here.
Jean picks up a stack of folders and thumbs through them.
Jean
Here we are!
She opens Wren's folder and reads through it. Jean looks up.
JEAN
Yes. You're fired.
Wren
I'm sorry?
Jean reads from a piece of paper from the file.
JEAN
We have very much appreciated your dedication while employed here at T.G.T. -- but a business decision has been made to let you go.
WREN
Appreciated my dedication? I just got here.
JEAN
(reading)
You will be compensated for any previously submitted timesheets -- as well as from when you punched in this morning until now.
Jean puts the paper down.
WREN
What, the past 3 minutes? I don't have a punch card or anything. I don't work here.
Jean
That's the spirit.
WREN
What happened? Where are the reporters? The editors? The designers?

4.
JEAN
Well, it won't be announced publicly until this afternoon, but The Global Times was bought out -- over the weekend.
Wren
Wait, is this conversation on the record?
Wren reaches into her backpack and pulls out a notepad and pencil.
WrEN
Who bought it out? What did they buy? When did they buy it? Where ... uh ... did they buy it? Why did they buy it?
She writes "Who, What, When, Where, Why" on her notepad, leaving several lines in between each to fill in the answers.
Jean
Are you -- trying to use me as a source? For a publication that not only do you not work for, but that may not exist come this afternoon?
WREN
Oh right. So what do I do?
JEAN
I could care less. I'm just here to get any stragglers who didn't see last night's email.
Jean pulls out an unopened bottle of bourbon and two glasses.
Jean
Drink?
Wren stands up.
Wren
No. I'm a journalist, damn it.
JEAN
Journalists drink.
Wren
I'm going to get to the bottom of this. I'm going to find out WHO bought The Global Times, and I'm going get a job from them. I didn't spend six weeks on the arts and entertainment beat at UT for nothing! I didn't make phone call after phone call, walk from campus building to other campus building, just to come all this way and give up! No. I'm a reporter. And I'm going to report the news.

5.
Wren gathers her things and storms out of the room. Jean pours herself a drink.
Wren pops her head back in.
Wren
You COULDN'T care less.
Jean
What?
WREN
Earlier -- when you said you "could care less" -- you really should have said you "couldn't care less."
Jean stares back, blankly.
Wren
... just FYI -- for next time.
Wren leaves with a smile. Jean downs her drink.
Int. EleVATOR -- CONTINUOUS
Wren pulls out her sneakers, takes off her high heels, and switches shoes again.
Wren
(to herself)
Okay. Okay. Okay. How am I going to ... they couldn't just fire everyone ... are they just going to stop publishing?
She continues to mutter to herself.
Wren
Twitter!!!
She pulls out her phone and starts furiously typing.

6.
WREN
If journalism school taught me anything, when it doubt, Twitter.
The elevator arrives at the lobby.
Int. OFFICE LOBBY -- CONTINUOUS
She frantically searches through Twitter as she strides through the lobby, dodging other heads-down worker bees, and passing Ryan. She gets to the lobby doors and begins to push them open, but pauses.
Wren
(shouting)
TMI!
The room screeches to a halt.
Wren
Uh, Telecom Marketing International. That's who bought .. uh ... nevermind ...
She pushes through the doors to outside.
Int. Outside -- conTINUOUS
The street is hustling and bustling. She stops in the middle of the sidewalk.
Wren
(to self)
Now I've just got to find out where these TMI offices are.
She searches on her phone and discovers -- they're in the same building. On the 15th floor.
Wren
You've got to be kidding me!
She clumsily switches back into her high heels. She turns and re-enters the building.
Int. OFFICE LOBBY -- CONTINUOUS
She enters and walks right past Ryan again, trying to get through the gate. She pushes and nothing happens.

7.
Ryan
Your pass?
Wren
Ha! Right, of course.
She swipes her pass. Nothing happens.
She tries again -- nothing.
RYAN
(motioning her over)
Ma'am.
WREN
Don't you remember me? You just -- you JUST saw me. I just showed you my ID and everything.
RYAN
Badge please.
The guard checks his computer.
RyAN
It's not valid.
WREN
What?!
RYAN
Says you were terminated. On your first day?
WREN
I wasn't fired. I was laid off.
RYAN
Were you ever hired?
WREN
I need to go back up there. Could you please just -- you know what?
Wren takes off. She hops over the gates, losing one shoe in the process. She frantically mashes the elevator button.
Ryan leaves his desk and comes after her.
The elevator door isn't opening. Wren darts for the stairwell.

8.
INT. STAIRWELL -- CONTINUOUS
She throws open the heavy metal door, takes off her other shoe, and lumbers up the stairs -- taking them two at a time, shoe still in hand.
A moment later she hears the heavy metal door open and close again.
Realizing she's being followed by the security guard, she keeps booking it up the stairs -- all 15 floors.
She gets to the top, hunched over, breathing heavily, exhausted, and pushes open the stairwell door to the main floor.
Int. Tmi offices -- conTINUOUS
Ryan is standing there, outside the elevator, and walks toward her.
Wren
How did you ... I thought ... I heard ... hold on ...
She continues to pant. Ryan puts his hand around her arm.
Wren
Just give me a ... I really think I'm going to throw up ... you want that to happen? All over your standard issue shoes here? Give me some space.
He takes his hand from around her arm and places it on her back -- and she takes off again through the TMI office doors.
Wren
(shouting)
I'm here! I'm here! Please! I want my job back!
Ryan follows shortly after and begins to drag Wren away. She grabs onto the front desk, refusing to budge. Slamming her shoe onto the surface.
Wren
Let me go! I work here now! Sanctuary! I claim sanctuary!
A older gentleman, bolo tie, boots, suit, walks by. This is JACK, the owner and chairman of TMI. He sports a white goatee, a thick southern drawl, and the delicate sensibilities of someone raised on a proper estate in rural Texas -- because he was. Richard Branson meets Yosemite Sam.

9.
He's accompanied by his assistant, AMELIA.
Jack
Just a minute sir. Ma'am, what is going on here? Does she work here?
Ryan
No.
Wren
Yes!
Wren
(beat)
No. Kind of. I was supposed to start at The Global Times today.
Jack
I don't know what that is.
WREN
(beat)
You don't know what The Global Times is? You own it!
Jack
Oh THAT! Yes, I think I do recall buyin' that magazine. Still don' know what to do w'it. Always wanted to own one, you know? Today is your first day, you said?
WREN
Yes sir.
JACK
And where are you comin' from?
WREN
Just graduated from journalism school. UT. Hook 'em horns!
JACK
Hook 'em horns! Yes indeed. My alma mater. What was it exactly y'were hired t'do?
Wren
A writer, sir. Reporter.
Jack turns to his assistant.

10.
JACK
Amelia, when do all the magazine people start again?
AMELIA
Sir, they don't. You laid everyone off.
JACK
I did? E'ryone?
Amelia opens up a manila folder, leans over and shows Jack some paperwork.
AMELIA
Everyone, sir.
Jack thinks for moment, then points to Wren.
Jack
Put her in charge. She's clearly a fighter.
Ryan finally lets go of Wren.
Wren
(shocked)
In charge?!
(professional, confident)
Of course! Not a problem. I'll take care of it. Thank you sir.
Jack smiles and nods. He and Amelia begin to walk away.
Wren
(calling out to Jack)
Sir, I am going to need some help.
Jack
That's fine. Your friend there can work here too.
WREN
My friend?! No he ... uh ...
Ryan is as stunned as Wren. He tries to call out, but Jack is long gone.
WREN
So ... uh ... you like your job downstairs?
Ryan
Yes, actually.

11.
Wren
Really? When you were a little boy, you dreamed of becoming a security guard?
Ryan
Yes, actually.
(beat)
Bull Shannon was my hero.
Wren
Who is Bull Sh -- doesn't matter. Do you have any hobbies?
Ryan narrows his eyes.
RYAN
(curtly)
I draw.
Wren
Good. We'll need an art director.
Ryan is unconvinced.
Wren
You'll be a journalist! Speaking truth to power! Political cartoons! Layouts! Infographics!
RyAN
Will you be telling me what to do?
WREN
No. Of course not. You -- you do you. Whatever you want.
RYAN
Okay.
WREN
Great. Now we just need literally every other job filled.
(beat)
Amelia!
Wren takes off running in the direction that Amelia left.
WrEN
(shouting)
Amelia!
Amelia stops and turns.

12.
Amelia
Yes?
WREN
Is it too late to unfire some people?
AMELIA
We didn't fire anyone.
Wren
Un-layoff them. Whatever. I need a list of all the previous TGT employees. Is that what you have in that folder there?
AmELIA
That information is for internal use only.
WREN
I am ... I am internal. I'm an employee.
AMELIA
Are you though?
WREN
When I get this magazine up and running, I am going to op-ed you so hard.
AMELIA
You don't make sense.
Wren glares for a moment. Then has a lightbulb moment.
Wren
HR lady!
int. HR OFFICE -- CONTINUOUS
Wren bursts through the HR door. Jane is three-quarters of the way through her bottle of bourbon.
Wren
HR lady! I need your help.
jean
Huh? I'm Jean.

13.
WREN
Jean, I need your h-- are you drunk?
JeAN
Do you have any idea how hard this is?
Wren walks over to sit by Jean's side. She puts her arm around her.
WREN
I'm so sorry. I can't imagine. How many people have you had to tell this morning?
JEAN
Oh, no one. It's just hard sitting here by myself.
(beat)
When I'm bored, I drink.
WREN
How would you like your job back?
JEAN
Meh.
WREN
How would you like to help other people get their jobs back?
JEAN
I'm intrigued.
WREN
Call everyone. Tell them this week's budget meeting starts at noon.
int. GLOBAL TIMES OFFICES -- noon
Wren sits in an office, staring at a clock on the wall. 11:59 ticks over to 12:00 and she walks out of the office to the open floor.
There stand Ryan, Jean, and three other employees -- Adam, Bryn and Colt. Wren stands in front of them, positioned to give a rousing speech.

14.
Wren
Congratulations. You are the first of what I assume will be many returning employees.
Jean
No, this is it.
Wren
What?
Jean
I called everyone back already. Talked to them all. Adam, Bryn and Colt are the only ones who wanted to come back.
WREN
Wait, no one else? What did the others say?
Jean pulls out a notepad.
Jean
Go eff yourself. Why the eff would I believe you? Who the eff is Wren Higgins? That eff-face CEO can go eff himself. It'll be an effin' cold day in H-E-double hockey stick before I --
Wren
Okay, I get it.
JEAN
And one man told me to get bent. Which, at first, did not seem vulgar but it is actually wildly inappropriate.

Newlyweds

A young couple are still enjoying their honeymoon phase when knock on the door reveals one of them has been hiding a deep secret.

NEWLYWEDS


NEWLYWEDS

By

Scott Spjut


INT. APARTMENT – EVENING
YEV slinks deeper into her couch, watching whatever guilty pleasure happens to be pouring from the TV. She twists her wedding ring on her finger, still getting used to it. It glistens against her pale, freckled skin. The emerald inset in the ring sparkles.
Stacks of presents and gift bags – with white bows and simple prints – clutter the various corners of the apartment.
REMY comes through the front door.
REMY
You didn't cheat, did you?
Yev clutches the non-existent pearls around her neck and gasps.
YEV
I would never!
Remy puts down his bag, kneels next to Yev and gives her a long kiss.
REMY
Which one should we open tonight?
YEV
Whichever one keeps me from getting off this couch.
Remy grabs the small package next to him and sets it down between them. They each grab a seam and pull – revealing his-and-hers monogrammed socks – sDs and cDg. They burst into laugher.
REMY
These have to be from your family.
YEV
Doesn't matter. I love them.
She puts them on as Remy plops down next to her socked feet. He puts his on as well. He then begins to massage her feet.
REMY
What're we watching?
YEV
It's a documentary about mermaids.
REMY
Like, of mermaid myths?

2.
YEV
No, about actual mermaids, their anatomy, and all that.
Remy narrows his eyes at her.
YEV
I know. Just let me hate myself, okay?
After a moment, Remy takes one of her feet and holds the sole up to his ear.
REMY
Hello?
(beat)
This is he.
Yev giggles and tries to pull her foot away, but Remy holds on. He moves her foot down to his lap and turns to her.
REMY
Do you mind? I'm on the phone.
He pulls her foot back to his ear.
REMY
Sorry about that. What were you saying?
YEV
(pleading)
Stop!
She struggles desperately and unsuccessfully to retrieve her foot and end the call.
REMY
(sternly)
I swear to god, woman – if I lose this sale because of you.
Yev finally wriggles free, then lurches at Remy – grabbing his midsection. For a big, burly man, he is surprisingly ticklish.
Stifling fits of laughter, he grabs Yev's arms and they roll onto the floor. He's on top of her, with her arms pinned above her head.
They share a passionate kiss, which evolves into more passion as Yev rolls them over so she's on top. She sits upright and takes off her shirt, throwing it across the room.

3.
There's a loud knock at the door.
YEV
Of course.
She goes off to retrieve her shirt, Remy goes to the door, as the knocking continues. He opens the door, but the chain lock is on. Through the slit in the door, we see AGENT LOCKE and two more FBI agents (BIGGS, WEDGE) in the hallway.
LOCKE
Mr. Lynch? Remington Lynch?
Remy stands there, unmoving, silent.
LOCKE
Sir? Are you Remington Lynch?
REMY
(calmly)
Can you, uh, give me one moment?
Remy closes the door. He locks the deadbolt. Locke continues to pound on the door and yell. Remy goes over to Yev, who is still composing herself. He pulls them both down to their knees.
REMY
You need to run.
YEV
What?
REMY
You need to go out on the fire escape, and you need to run.
YEV
I don't underst ... why?!
REMY
I'm sorry. But please. I will figure out how to explain all of this at some point ... later. You have to leave.
Yev heads toward the window, then climbs out and closes it behind her.
Remy is still on his knees, his back toward the front door. He slowly raises his hands, interlocks his fingers, and places his clasped hands behind his head.

4.
The door frame shatters as the door is kicked in. LOCKE leads the other two as they all come in, yelling, with their guns drawn.
REMY
(yelling)
I am unarmed! I am not resisting! I am unarmed! I am not resisting!
Locke immediately zipties Remy's hands, shoves him down on his stomach, and stays on top of him, pinning him down. The other two check the rest of the apartment.
AGENT BIGGS
Clear!
AGENT WEDGE
Clear!
They all holster their weapons and surround Remy.
LOCKE
You are Remington Lynch?
Remy does not respond. He does not move.
LOCKE
Are you Remington Lynch?
Nothing.
LOCKE
(to Biggs, Wedge)
Alright, boys, let's take him–
As Locke stands and turns, BAM! – Yev, who has come in through the front door, kicks him in the side of the neck with her socked foot. He collapses. Wedge and Biggs -- who were both squatting to lift Remy -- begin to stand and reach for their guns. Yev takes each of them out as well with a short but well-choreographed fight sequence.
All three agents are out cold. Yev moves quickly and calmly. She zipties Wedge and Biggs. She takes the monogramed socks off her own feet and shoves one in Biggs' mouth, one in Wedge's.
A prostrate, still-cuffed - and baffled - Remy rolls over and sits up.
REMY
What the– what– how–?

5.
She kneels down next to Remy, removes one of his socks, and shoves it in Locke's mouth. She picks up Wedge's gun, unloads and disassembles it quickly and calmly. It's clearly not her first time. She starts doing the same with Biggs' gun.
Remy is shocked.
REMY
What's going on? Untie me!
She continues to work.
REMY
Who are you?
YEV
None of your business stay out of my personal life.
Yev finishes unloading and taking apart the second gun. Then she picks up Locke's gun, cocks it and points it at Remy.
YEV
But I know exactly who you are.
REMY
I don't know what you're talking about.
YEV
You are Remington Francis Lynch, from the suburbs of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, born June 23, 1979 to American parents living abroad – you have a doctorate degree in Informatics and Computer Engineering from Saint-Petersburg State University. You're a huge fan of Portland grunge band Everclear. You've been working undercover for the Russian government as a hacker for the past 7 years.
(beat)
How am I doing so far?
Remy stares back blankly.
REMY
Lots of people know I like Everclear.
YEV
Cute.

6.
REMY
Well, I totally know about you. And how you work for the ... FBI?
Yev laughs.
Remy
CIA?
She begins to pat Remy down, searching for a weapon or a wire. As she talks, she pulls out his keys, cell phone, wallet, and places them all on the floor next to him.
YEV
First of all, I don't do beach vacations. Do you see my lovely porcelain skin? You think this happens laying out? Also, that stupid, shitty birthday present. If you really knew me you wouldn't have gotten it -- especially not in that color. Also, also, that wasn't my actual birthday. So –
Yev hits him in the face with the butt of the gun.
YEV
No, you don't know about me. You don't know shit.
As blood pours down his head, Remy looks around and gestures to the knocked out agents.
REMY
So these aren't your guys?
YEV
If these were my guys I'd have shot them myself for being so sloppy.
REMY
So what are you? Who do you work for?
YEV
I mean, I'm going to kill you some time in the next 3 minutes, so be sure you fit in all these really important questions.
Remy's cell phone rings – his hands are still ziptied, he can't get to it, but he tries regardless. Yev answers it.

7.
YEV
(in Uzbek)
Salom? U bu erda. U yig'layapti. U o'lishni xohlaydi.
[Hello there? He is here. He is crying. He is about to die.]
YEV
(to Remy)
My Uzbek is a little rusty. But I'm pretty sure he's saying I should kill you -- you're no use to him anymore.
REMY
What?
YEV
Aww, he says that after your mother died last year, your numbers have been down.
(puts phone against chest)
Honey, I didn't realize you were having such a hard time. Why didn't you tell me?
Remy gets misty eyed. He stares down at the floor.
YEV
He also says he'll replace you in 15 minutes with someone cheaper and better.
REMY
I want immunity.
YEV
Sure. Sounds good. I want a name.
Remy continues to stare at the floor. He sighs.
REMY
Craven Laycock.
YEV
Don't make shit up.
REMY
I swear to god. That's the name I've heard.
Yev shoots Remy in his sockless foot. He screams out in pain.

8.
YEV
"Craven Laycock" sure sounds like a super villain name, so I see why you went with that, but unluckily for you I know Craven Laycock was the dean of Dartmouth College who suspended Dr. Fucking Seuss. So – don't lie to me again. I don't want to put a hole in your other foot – or in your brand new socks.
Yev puts the phone back up to her ear.
YEV
Your boy is putting up quite a fight, you sure you want me to kill him?
She scrunches her face and shakes her head back at Remy – as if you say "oooh, tough luck, buddy, looks like things aren't going to work out"
REMY
Felix Malmstedt. That's who I've been working with.
Yev smiles and drops the phone down from her ear.
YEV
Malmstedt. Is that S-T-E-A-D? Or S-T-E-D-you know what, nevermind. I'll figure it out.
REMY
Are you still going to kill me?
YEV
I don't have to.
She puts the phone on speaker, and from it we hear:
PHONE
To claim your five-day, four-night, all-expense-paid cruise to the Bahamas, please press one. This is a limited time offer, so you must act fast!
Yev drops the phone at Remy's bleeding foot, the recorded voice still talking. She takes off his other sock and gently stuffs it in his mouth. He stares down at the phone, and she lifts his head by his chin. She kisses the tip of his nose.
He collapses.

9.
Yev puts on some flip flops by the door, grabs her keys, and strolls out of the apartment – locking the door behind her.
Int. Hallway - CONTINUOUS
Yev walks briskly down the hallway. She puts her finger to her ear.
YEV
Let the PostHoc Team know there are four -- three friendlies.
Through an earpiece is FRANCES, a fresh-faced, 22-year-old female tech.
FRANCES (O.S.)
For being friendlies, you sure weren't very -- FRIENDLY -- to them.
YEV
Frances --
INT. HEADQUARTERS - SAME TIME
A warehouse of computers and displays and people is buzzing with activity. Frances wear a headset.
FRANCES
Yes boss?
INTERCUT - PHONE CONVERSATION
YEV
Now that you've got this new gig, and you and I are going to be working together, you need to know something important.
FRANCES
Hold on let me get something to write wi--
Yev
That joke will never be funny.
FRANCES
STONE is not going to be happy.

10.
YEV
Yeah, well, Stone can get bent. Maybe if he checked his email every once in a while we'd have known the FBI's raid was today. When I have to improvise, people's feet get shot.
FRANCES
Have you shot other people's feet before?
YEV
(beat)
Metaphorically.