Home Screenwriting Products Screenwriter Community Screenwriting Store
ScriptBuddy - Screenwriting Software for the Web

Screenwriter Community

Back to List of Published Screenplays
View/Leave Feedback

by Mark Braun (mbraun1@fuse.net)

Rated: PG   Genre: Comedy   User Review: **
The Lavengers screenplay is a family comedy with warm, believable characters put into ridiculous situations for what could be an extremely funny movie.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.


A woman, JENNIFER HARRINGTON is seen hurrying down a busy
sidewalk in New York City. She is pretty in her mid to late
30's with a long coat protecting her from the elements.It is
December with many Christmas displays in the windows of the
shops the woman passes. The sidewalks are filled with
pedestrians, many of them shoppers. It is mid afternoon
with darkened skies and snow flurries carried on by a lively
wind. The woman struggles through with a grim look of
determination on her face, in contrast with the seemingly
happy shoppers.
After traversing several sidewalks, the woman arrives at an
old brownstone building that has been carved into several
offices. She peruses the building's registry outside,
noting the office for The Lavengers is on the lower level.
She pauses, brushing snow from her hair and face, and pushes
the heavy door inward.
The woman is in a non-descript, almost dirty lobby.The lobby
has a worn sofa and a few other chairs. A clock with the
wrong time hangs above mail slots for at most 3 businesses
although there is room for more. Noting there is no
elevator, the woman, appearing worried and on edge, pulls
open a door marked Lower Level. She is seen disappearing
down a flight and a half of stairs. Grimy wallpaper in
billowing arcs lead the way downward. At the bottom of the
stairs, one dark door with the sign, "The Lavengers" greets
her. Pausing again to mentally check her appearance and
again brushing snow from her coat, she pushes that door
inward. A tiny bell announces her arrival.
Jennifer is in the small outer office of a 3 to 4 room suite
of offices that is overwhelmingly cluttered. Papers, books,
magazines are everywhere, piled high with no seeming
organization. A youngish man of perhaps 25, MICKEY DOLAN
stares up from a desk that can not be seen, as it is also
covered with papers. An old computer on which he was
working sits in the corner of his desk, balanced
precariously amidst the junk. The other furniture in the
room is mismatched and not very new. Maps and travel
posters cover the walls. It appears to be a travel agency
that is not very well run. The young man was handsome with a


shock of blond hair hanging over his forehead. He is
dressed casually with an Oxford shirt, jeans and rockport
shoes on his feet.
      (looking up from
       his desk)
May I help you?
Yes, are you Tom?
No, Tom's out at the moment, but I
can possibly help. My name is
Mickey, and I usually do the
initial interviews anyway. You do
have an appointment, don't you?
      (glancing at what
       seemed to be an
       appointment book)
      (appearing more
Yes, yes I do. My name is Jennifer
Harrington. My appointment is for
3:00 I believe.
      (Looking up from
       the book)
Yes,indeed you do have an
appointment. Would you like to
take this seat across from me?
Mickey motions to a magazine covered overstuffed chair
positioned in front of his desk. As if making a gallant
gesture, he rises from his seat and picks up the magazines
and other papers and half flings them to a distant corner.
He brushes the cushions several times with his hand and then
steps back, proffering her the seat.


      (Returning to his
Make yourself comfortable, Mrs.
Harrington. Would you like a cup
of coffee or something to drink.
      (He rose again
       from his desk,
       expecting a
Yes, I believe I will have some
coffee. The weather is terrible
out there.
Jennifer sits down in the chair and glances upward, noticing
a small high window that must be ground level outside. Busy
feet of numerous pedestrians is all she can see, each one
scuffing up snow as they pass.
Mickey returns with a small tray, carrying two cups of
coffee, spoons and cream and sugar. He places one cup in
front of Jennifer and sits down again at his desk while he
puts cream and sugar in his cup, confidently stirring the
Here we go, this should make you
feel better. Do you want to go
first and explain your situation
or do you want some background on
us first?
      (sipping coffee)
I think I'll take the background
first. I want to see what you do
and then decide if it would be
helpful in my situation.
Mickey put his hands behind his head, looked at her, gazed
at the ceiling, and began an almost fevered response.


Lavengers is a very unique company
with a very unique mission. We
create doubt, confusion,
uncertainty and, in general
problems for certain individuals
on behalf of clients like
yourself. That's our mission and
mission statement.
He smiles at Jennifer obviously taking credit for play on
Isn't that illegal?
We don't kill or injure anyone, if
that's what you mean. We probably
frustrate a lot of people. This
puts our clients on a much more
even footing when it comes to
their adversaries. They will
always have one eye over their
shoulder wondering what's next.
And the way we deliver there will
always be something next.
It sounds somewhat like vigilante
justice; like you're taking the
law into your own hands.
      (frowning and
You can call it what you want, but
once you see some of the pranks we
do, I don't think you'll be
alarmed.Most of our jobs consist
of nothing more than sophisticated
practical jokes. This leaves your
opponent or adversary in a
weakened state where he is more
likely to capitulate to your point
of view. In fact, I would describe
Lavengers as a full service
company in it's field.
Mickey blows the hair out of his eyes and swivels back
further into his chair, as if waiting for the next barrage
of questions.


I don't think I've ever heard of
this field.
Would you like me to demonstrate?
Who is it you're having trouble
with and that you want us to,
shall we say, bother?
My husband, who will probably soon
be my ex-husband.
You don't live together anymore?
No, he moved out three months ago.
Did you use a dry cleaners for his
Yes, I did. But I don't see what
that has to do with anything?
      (Taking a more
       aggressive tone.)
Does he know what dry cleaners you
I don't think so. Why is this so
You'll see. Did you ever use
Williams Dry Cleaners across the
street here?


      (beginning to
       sound exasperated
       at this line of
No, it's quite a distance from our
house. My sister does live nearby
and I suppose I might have used it
once. I don't really remember.
Give me your husband's number at
555-8656, but he's not at the
office. He's out of town. His
secretary is there. He works at a
stock broker in mid-town.
      (again sweeping
       hair out of his
What's your husband's name?
      (sighing again at
       these questions.)
Fred Harrington.
Mickey dials the phone he uncovered from a pile of papers on
his desk. Someone answered right away and he began speaking
in a high, Chinese accented, almost sing-song voice.
Mr.Fred Harrington, please. This
Williams Dry Cleaners, 58th
Mickey listens to the other person's response, smiling at
Jennifer and enjoying his new character.
O, he not there. You tell message
to him. Two expensive suits, his
wife leave here coupla months ago.
He need to pick up, take up
space. We give away if he no


Mickey was having trouble keeping a straight face. He
listened again.
Tell him come soon
He hung up the phone and again put his hands behind his
neck. He was obviously pleased with himself.
      (somewhat confused)
What does that accomplish?
It forces your husband to come way
up here before work. He'll be
tired, he'll be mad about traffic,
and then he'll be extremely upset
with our friends across the street
about some suits they won't have.
They're not even Chinese. I love
Jennifer started laughing as she pictured her husband at the
dry cleaners.
I'm starting to get the idea,
although a tactic like that might
actually make Fred harder to deal
with, but I'm starting to see
other possibilities.
The door suddenly swings open and TOM PETTIT enters the
room. His face is ruddy from the cold and he is bundled up
with a coat and scarf. His high forehead still retains wisps
of snow above his glasses.
Is this our new client,Mickey. If
so, I like her already.
Tom removes his coat and a colored scarf. He is a stocky
man in his mid 40's, tall about 6". His glasses are perched
on a high forehead. He brushes his hair back and
straightens his somewhat casual clothes. He walks over to
Mickey, who whispers something inaudible in his ear. He
laughs heartily so that his eyebrows, almost a solid line at
rest, break into two black points that veer in different


      (Now standing)
You're right. I've been
demonstrating some of our
techniques for her. This is
Jennifer Harrington. Jennifer,
this is Tom Pettit, Lavengers CEO.
Jennifer rose from her seat and smiling wanly shook Tom's
I'm very pleased to meet you.
Mickey has been giving me a short
introduction on your company. I'm
not sure you can help me, but I'm
willing to listen to a proposal.
That's great. That's all we can
ask. We are a very unique company
and we get results, because nobody
else provides a service like ours.
You'll see. Let me explain
further and then you can tell me
your problem. Mickey has some
other things to do and we can more
comfortable in my office. Shall
Tom motions for Jennifer to follow him. Jennifer rises from
the chair and gives a small wave to Mickey who has retaken
his seat. Jennifer follows Tom through a back office door.
Jennifer and Tom enter Tom's office, another cluttered
affair with papers, files, and travel posters in every
corner. A battered desk with a computer, also covered with
papers now separate Tom and Jennifer. Jennifer sits in a
chair opposite the desk. Tom takes off his coat and tosses
it onto a back chair. He removes gum from his front pocket,
extracts the gum from its paper, and begins chewing. He
doesn't take his eyes off Jennifer who is gazing about the
sloppy office. Her eyes note that another high window with
passing shoes and snowflakes occupy the center of one wall.
      (Working the gum.)
Since Mickey has given you an
overview of our company, perhaps
you would like to go into detail


                       TOM (cont'd)
about your present situation and
why you might need our services.
      (Nodding and
       leaning forward)
My husband is Fred Harrington.He's
a stock broker with Webb &
Cantrell,downtown. We've been
married for almost 10 years. we're
both transplants from the Midwest,
Cincinnati. We have two
children,Mark is 5 and Judy is 3.
About three months ago, I
discovered my husband was having
an affair with a Ms. Peggy Colfax.
I have started discussing a
divorce with my lawyer, but it
seems that Fred is not interested
in that option. He hasn't seen a
lawyer and he's never interested
in discussing divorce with me.
Yet, he still sees Ms. Colfax and
has moved out of the house. It
doesn't make any sense.
      (in an encouraging
Go on. What else.
To make matters worse, Fred is
contemplating a change in jobs. If
I am to be receiving child support
and alimony, I'd like Fred to keep
the job he has. He's very good at
what he does and makes six figures
easily year after year.
Two questions before we go much
further. One,why do you think he
doesn't want a divorce and two,
why is he changing jobs. Is he
changing professions too?
Tom pulls out a pad of paper and begins taking notes,
glancing up fromm time to time as Jennifer speaks.


To your first question, that may
be more of a feeling on my part
than anything. I'm wondering if
he is having second thoughts. And
if I can be honest, I wish we
could get back together. We've
been a good team for a long time.
I can't believe this woman has
inserted herself into our life. My
kids need a father.
Jennifer's voice catches after the last line. Her eyes
water slightly as Tom looks away, back to his notes.
Jennifer continues.
      (Wiping her eyes
       with a tissue)
As to the second question, I
believe he is flying to Chicago in
a few weeks for an interview with
a church foundation. From what I
understand they are a very
conservation organization. I
would think they would frown on
Fred's new lifestyle but who knows
these days. Anyway they want Fred
to manage their investment
portfolio. I'm afraid that Fred
is much better at earning
commissions, buying and selling
stock than he is at managing
money. He's never really done it
before, especially with an
endowment(is that the right word?)
of that size.
How much?
Millions, from what I understand.
And you don't think he is up to
the job. And this might impact
future payments to you if this job
doesn't work out.
Exactly. But in addition, if we
are to get divorced I don't want


                       JENNIFER (cont'd)
my kids to have a long distance
father that they only see during
the summer or at Christmas. I was
raised in a traditional family
with both sets of parents, as was
Fred. I want that for my children
as well.
Again her voice catches, as if in mid tear. She swallows
hard and again looks up at Tom, continuing her story.
I think the main reason he wants
to move is because his girlfriend,
Ms. Colfax has already accepted a
job there. She is a travel agent
and, I guess has somehow received
an offer to head up some some new
agency there.
So what do you want from us?
      (Sounding more
One,I want you to stop Fred from
taking this job in Chicago. Two,
I want him to either get serious
about this divorce or come back to
his family.
Tom places his arms across his chest and leans back in his
chair. His chair creaks and the furnace kicks in, causing
him to raise his voice.
I want you to understand a little
more about our methods. I know
Mickey probably filled you in a
little bit, but I want you to be
comfortable with how we operate.
We try to be subtle and creative
at causing problems for people,
problems that they will attribute
to bad luck or coincidence. If we
do get a little over the top at
times, they will not connect it
back to you. They'll think it
will be gang related or the
government or some outside force
way bigger than their ex-wife. And
why will they think that? We'll


                       TOM (cont'd)
have so many clues, some leading
one way and some another that they
won't know which way is up. If
they start to figure out what is
up, we'll have them contemplating
'down' during our next incident.
Tom smiles at his little joke, but since he doesn't sense
much reaction from Jennifer, he reworks the gum and
For example, we're not going to
call up this foundation in Chicago
and spout a host of lies or even
truths about Fred and hope they
drop him as a candidate. That
kind of unsophisticated tactic
only leaves a trail right back to
you. You'll see, we're very good
at what we do. Fred will begin to
doubt himself and his abilities.
An individual in that condition
becomes much more pliable, much
more amenable to your suggestions
for what is best.
Jennifer becomes much more relaxed and smiles broadly now,
as if she can begin to see the possibilities with this
      (Becoming more
By the time we're done, I don't
think Fred will be interested in
this Chicago job. He may not even
be interested in Ms. Colfax
either. Is this the kind of
direction, you wish us to take. If
so, I hate to be blunt, but do we
have the job?
      (looking more
Yes, Yes, I'll do it. I need help
and right now this option is as
good as I got. When can you start
and what will it cost?


      (More enthusiastic
       and with even
       greater gum
Great. That's great. We won't let
you down. As to a start date, I
would say, probably in about a
week. Once we've got everything we
need and you've signed our
What is it you'll need?
We'll need pictures, detailed
lists of Fred's activities,
interests, places he likes to go.
Things like that. Also, we'll
need whatever you can give us on
Ms. Colfax, as well. I gather you
don't object to including her in
some of our planned activities, do
No, I don't care. She's caused me
enough grief this past year. To
my mind, payback is overdue. You
can assure me that you're not
going to hurt them or do anything
illegal, right?
Absolutely not. They may be
inconvenienced some but other than
that, they'll be fine. I will
send two of my operatives over to
see you in a few days. They'll
have a contract and you can give
them all the material you can come
up with. How would that be?
      (rising from her
That would be fine. What are the
names of your men.
Buttons and Bows.


That can't be their names.
Well, Buttons is Rich Buttons and
Bows is a Polish guy, Berka
Kowalski. What would you call
I see what you mean. O one more
thing. I have to ask. Where did
you get the name for your
business. Lavengers is sort of a
strange name, isn't it?
      (Rising also)
Well, we're sort of in the revenge
business and revengers or avengers
kinda sends a stronger message
then we really want to convey. We
opted for the French connotation.
It gives the whole company a more
upscale feel, don't you think.
Jennifer looks over the messy two room office, turns to the
door, smiling broadly.
Very definitely upscale, I would
say. I'll await your proposal.
Thank you for seeing me.
The pleasure has been all ours.
You won't regret this, Mrs.
I hope not.
Jennifer opens the inner door, and walks into the outer
office. She proceeds past Mickey, who is on the phone.
Waving goodbye to him and looking back at Tom who is still
visible, standing behind his desk, she opens the outer door
and departs.


RICH BUTTONS and BERKA KOWALSKI(BOWs) are sitting in their
car, parked at the curb in front of Jennifer's imposing
Tudor home. The street was an upper class neighborhood with
similar homes. Jennifer's lawn and landscaping are visible
through the windows of the car. There are Christmas
decorations on every house, although in comparison
Jennifer's is somewhat low key and haphazard. A leaning
Santa is propped next to the sidewalk, appearing to extend a
      (Looking up at the
Nice place, huh. I hear the client
is just as nice,
Bows looks up also, lighting a cigarette as he does. Ashes
sprinkle onto a well worn suit that perhaps has seen one too
many stakeouts.
      (blowing smoke and
I hope we get this job. the wife
and kids are complaining about
money for Christmas. This job
doesn't pay like police work.
We'll get the job if you behave.
These cases aren't like your old
detective ones where you throw
your weight around against some
poor minority until he decides to
confess. Follow my lead for once
and we'll have ourselves a nice
new client. I took a peek at the
contract here that Tom prepared.
There's plenty in it for all of
Rich cracked the window slightly to let out some of the
billowing smoke. They were obviously killing time as they
were a little early.
Did you do that exercise I gave
you the other day. It might
sharpen your skills for this


      (taking another
       drag and
       appearing only
Explain it again. I kinda forget
how it went.
Alright, one more time. Now pay
attention. You drive around the
city at lunchtime, looking for a
woman who's waiting to be picked
up for lunch. You slide the car up
to the curb. You say E's not
coming. Don't say he or she
because you don't know. They'll
fill it in for you. They'll say
"John's not coming. Why?" You
say," He's running late. he told
me to tell you to take a cab to
the Sovereign restaurant. If she
says " What about this other
restaurant" You say,"Plans
change." and shrug your shoulders.
If she asks who you are. You
say"Doug's assistant."
What if there isn't a Doug where
these people work?


There's always a Doug. Anyway,
she'll call a cab and leave. You
pull around the corner and wait.
When a car pulls up and stops,
you'll be able to tell they're
looking for your missing woman. So
you say," You looking for her?"
Usually they'll fill in the name.
" You mean, Vivian." You agree,"
Yeah, Vivian. She said she would
meet you at the restaurant. Then
it gets good if they say, " But
she doesn't know where it's at."
You say, "Doug told her." If they
say, " Who's Doug." You say," Hey,
you're just a bystander trying to
help out. You (meaning the person
in the car) should know who works
with you.
Rich cranked the window some more as the smoke from Bows'
cigarette intensifies.
Anyway, I usually head on over to
the Sovereign and watch Vivian
sitting at her table all alone
wondering where everybody is.
After about 15 minutes she'll
start calling the office. I love
it when they ask for Doug and
start chewing him out because his
assistant obviously sent her to
the wrong place. It's just
interesting to watch people get
all exited over missed lunches,
like the course of history will
change because their meeting
didn't take place. Since we
specialize in disrupting lives, I
think you'll find the exercise
      (giving Rich a
       blank stare)
Stimulating,uh? Let's go.
Rich and Bows exit the car. The day is gloomy with spitting
snow at times. They reach the sidewalk and climb concrete
steps in the middle of the lawn. They reach the porch, ring
the doorbell, and are ushered into the house by Jennifer.


Jennifer motions for the men to come in. She is wearing a
casual blouse over jeans. Her face shows she is tired with
only a few touches of makeup applied. She closes the door
after they come in. Buttons and Bows wipe their feet on a
throw rug and move further into house over stained floors. A
living room and dining room are just visible from the two
sides of the foyer. A hallway straight ahead leads to a
kitchen. Steps lead upstairs.
You must be Buttons and Bows. Come
in, won't you?
The foyer where they are standing has high ceilings that
reach to the top of the house. There are Christmas
decorations on a table and a lonely Santa in the corner. In
the distance, they can hear children at play.
Rich Buttons, at your service.
this is my partner Berka Kowalski,
or Bows. We don't really need to
go any further than here. This is
the contract Tom spoke to you
about. And he said that you would
have some pictures of your husband
and his, uh, friend. That is if
you are interested in hiring us.
Rich hands a envelope to Jennifer. She pulls out the paper
inside and begins looking it over, while she continues
Well, it's nice to meet the people
who will be helping me out. I keep
wondering if I'm doing the right
thing. Your company is definitely
unique. I've never heard of
anyone providing these kinds of
      (Grinning like a
Estoo, lavine yonker burdettes.


      (With a baffled
What on earth did you just say.
what kind of language is that?
Rich raised his eyes to the ceiling and hit the other man on
the shoulder.
Not now.
You told me to practice.
Rich looks back at Jennifer who is somewhat bemused at their
It's not a language. It's just
gibberish. It doesn't mean
anything. He sometimes uses it to
his advantage. You won't believe
what people will say or do if they
think you can't speak English.
Believe it or not it can help in
this business.
Bows is laughing now, enjoying the moment, his eyes
crinkling into his puffy face. Ashes from his coat tumble
to the floor below
      (chuckling as he
I'm sorry, Mrs. Harrington. I
couldn't resist. I like trying new
words on the unsuspecting. your
reaction to that combination tells
me it's a keeper.
      (Smiling herself
Let me just look this over.
She pulls out one sheet from the envelope and begins
reading. The men look around. You can hear the kids
playing again, with some kind of minor battle going on over
another Santa figure. Two elves battle for supremacy up the
banister while a lone wreath high overhead hangs on the
upstairs railing


      (finishing reading)
This does look reasonable,
although your descriptions of your
diversions are kind of
vague,aren't they?
We like to leave it vague,
although we have a pretty good
idea how we're going to do this
job. We don't want the clients
knowing too much. Otherwise,
you're not genuinely surprised
when your husband tells you what
just happened to him.
      (With a worried
You're not going to hurt anybody,
right? I made that clear to Mr.
Oh, no. Nobody ever gets hurt in
our operations. Diverted, maybe.
Embarrassed, yes. But not hurt.
For example, I'm pretty sure your
husband is not going to be taking
that Chicago job. We'll just need
your signature on the contract and
we'll be on our way.
Well, as long as that is clear. I
guess this will work out. I know
the time is short, but I would
love to have this resolved by
Jennifer steps over to a small foyer table, leans over the
document, and signs it. She hands it back to Rich who puts
it back into the envelope.
Well, Christmas is only 3 weeks
away, but we'll try. It might
take longer than that. These
things can go quick at times, but
we'll just have to see.


Thanks again. O, I almost forgot.
Here's a packet of photos of Fred
and Peggy. I wrote some more on
his tendencies and habits. For
example, he's a big Civil war
buff. Maybe you could use that.
      (looking doubtful)
Yeah, maybe. It was nice to meet
you and you won't regret retaining
The Lavengers.Goodbye, now.
Rich and Bows shake Jennifer's hand and she opens the door
to let them out.
Extella thorna. That's gibberish
for goodbye.
Rich hits him on the shoulder again. Jennifer laughs and
waves them off.
Fred is in the back seat of a cab, talking on his cell phone
to his secretary. He is dressed in a business suit, but his
face is flushed and he is obviously angry about something.
The cab driver is Indian with a turban. He is oblivious to
Fred's problems
      (on the phone)
Are you sure about the phone call
the other day about suits at the
dry cleaners? Martha, this was a
tremendous waste of time. They
said they didn't call, they don't
have any suits under my name.
they're not even Chinese. I argued
with that man for 10 minutes, but
I got nothing but a long cab ride
with Mr. Personality here.
Fred looks up at the back of the head of the driver, who
concentrates even more on the music coming from his radio.
Camera switches to Fred's office. A busy downtown brokerage
house with a warren of cubicles. MARTHA COLLINS is at her
desk on the other end of the phone call.


That's what he said Mr.Harrington.
He said he was Williams Dry
Cleaners, but he spoke in a
Chinese accent, which at the time
I thought was funny. You mean
there were no suits. O dear.
All I know is it was a big waste
of time. I don't know why Jennifer
would have ever taken suits here
anyway. What else is going on?
      (Looking through
Mr. Pearson called. He's worried
about his GM stock. Mr. Danvers
called, he wants you to sell some
of his bonds. And one other
thing. Do you know a Mr.
No, why? Never heard of him.
Well, a man called with an Italian
accent.He wouldn't leave his name
He was warning you about a Mr.
Stanislav who he kind of implied
is part of the Russian mafia.
Anyway, he said to watch your
back, that Stanislav was mad at
you for something and he was going
to get even. It was all very
mysterious. I thought maybe you
knew something. Like an old
fraternity joke or something.


No, no fraternity joke.
Stanislav,huh. I know I've never
had a client like that. Why would
the Russian mob be interested in
me. It doesn't make any sense.
Well, I'll be there in a few
minutes. Hold down the fort there,
Martha. I'll get my gun out of the
briefcase just to be safe.
O, Mr. Harrington. I knew you
couldn't stay upset for long. Get
some coffee like you always do.
don't get anything to eat. You've
got your lunch with Peggy, you
      (Smiling at her
Believe me, I know. see you in a
He hangs up the phone and sank back in the seat, muttering
Stanislav. The driver executes a turn, as the music gets
Fred exits cab and rushes into his office building. The
crowd is lighter now since it is mid-morning, He hurries
through the large open area to a bank of elevators. Punching
floor 4, he gets on with a balding Russian man, who Fred
eyes as if he might be Stanislav.
      (Turning towards
       the man)
Mr. Stanislav?
      (in accented
No, my name is Rokov.
O sorry. I thought you were
somebody else.


The elevator stops on the fourth floor and Fred exits. The
other man remains on elevator. Fred turns left and
approaches a magazine and coffee stand. The clerk behind the
counter was new. While waiting in line, Fred's eyes pan
through the magazine rack which is elevated above and behind
the clerk taking orders. A coffee machine and bakery goods
are on the side counter.The magazines were arranged one upon
the other, so that you could only make out the first letter.
The first magazine was Speedway, the second, Time, and the
third was Atlantic, then Newsweek. Fred gulps as he
realizes the magazine titles spell Stanislav. Just then he
is next in line.
      (in an exited
What kind of a joke are you guys
trying to play here?
Excuse me,sir
Those magazines, up there. Look
how you have them arranged and
what they spell.
I just work here,sir. I don't pick
magazines or arrange them. Company
do that. I just sell, somebody
else spell.
      (more agitated)
Somebody put you up to this,
didn't they. You know perfectly
well they spell Stanislav. Look
the first one is Speedway then
A crowd begins forming behind Fred and some of them become
irritated at Fred holding up the line. They yelled, "Who
cares what it spells, Buddy. Lets go. We don't have all
day to watch you play word games."
      (Refusing to give
       up his space.)
What's your name?


Karpov.What difference does that
make. Is that spelled out here
Just what I expected. Another
Russian name. Is Stanislav your
boss. What does he want from me?
The crowd was now larger and they begin jeering Fred even
more. One guy said to his friend. "Hey look, Dick. The
magazines on that side spell 'What a Jerk'
Look buddy. Why don't you run
along. Those magazines are put up
there randomly. They don't spell
your friend's name. they're just
magazines. Buy a few now and you
can spell with them later. Do you
want a coffee or what?
      (becoming sheepish
       at the scene he
O sorry. One coffee with cream. I
guess I overreacted.
Fred takes his coffee, pays for it and turns through the
hostile crowd to make his way to the corridor. "See you,
speller." some in the crowd mock him.
PEGGY COLFAX strolled through the city, dodging shoppers and
businessman. Sidewalk Santas ring bells and you hear
Christmas music waft through the air as she walks by each
shop. Greenery intertwined with tinsel hangs around doors
and shop signs. Peggy is on her way to meet Fred for lunch.
Her dark brown hair cascades onto shoulders, framing a
flawless complexion which she occasionally checks in the
windows. Her upturned nose above white teeth work together
when she smiles which she does often. She is obviously
pleased with herself and her new rich stock broker
boyfriend. She is wearing a white blouse with a dark blue
skirt, covered partly by a tan coat that is mostly opened to
today's sunny yet still cold sky.


She arrives at Fred's building, checks herself one more time
in that building's window reflection, and pushes through the
Peggy crosses through the lobby and waits for an elevator.
She presses Fred's floor and rides the elevator with a few
strangers. Peggy smiles and looks at them, apparently
wanting their approval for today's ensemble package. At
Fred's floor,she gets out and immediately turns towards his
office when she notices a heavy,ethnic-looking man,
gesturing at her. She stops and looks down that corridor,
noting that the man is standing outside of the women's
      (looking like an
       immigrant working
      (walking towards
       the man)
What did you say? Did you say
      (still gesturing
       with his hands)
Baby, insidor,she cold,cry.
      (almost to the
There's a baby in there. That's
what you're saying. A baby alone.
      (widening door)
The faint cries of a baby can be heard. Peggy brushes by the
dirty looking man and peers into the restroom. A bundle of
pink and blue lay at the far corner of the restroom.
      (gasping and
       rushing inside)
It is a baby!


Bows comes up behind her and with one swoop of his hand,
covers her mouth with a cloth evidently covered in an ether
like substance.
Elgo terra.
Peggy's eyes widen, as she tries to scream,but only a
muffled sound is heard. Her eyes then close as she slumps
to the floor. A cascading whiteness, starts to cover her
slumped figure, pouring from two vats perched above the
Fred and Martha are sitting in side by side cubicles in the
middle of large brokerage office. You can hear the sound of
many people at work, phones ringing, people hurrying by.
Fred is in his chair, but pushed away from his desk so he
can see Martha.
Martha, you're not going to
believe this. I'm trying to get a
coffee down the hall. This guy is
Russian and the guy in the
elevator is Russian, just like
this Stanislav character. So I'm
standing there and I look up and
his magazine rack spells
Stanislav. You know, the first
letters of each magazine spell
this guy's name. I lost it. Of
course the clerk denied
everything. He wasn't the regular
guy, either. It didn't make any
sense. Oh well, I'm rambling.
      (nodding her head)
You are. It's probably just a
crank call. I mentioned his name
around here while you were gone
and no one has ever heard of him.
Maybe we better get back to these
other messages I've got. Peggy
will be here soon.
Just then a woman's screams pierce through the office noise.
"Help, Help"they wailed, with everybody stopping in their
tracks or in mid-phone conversation to listen.


      (jumping up from
       his chair)
My God, that's Peggy's voice.
Martha call 911.
Fred rushes through his office, dodging fellow employees and
patrons till he reaches the front door. Opening the door he
races to the right as the screams still echoed through the
corridor,louder here. When he reaches the women's restroom,
he can hear her sobbing. He pushes the door open and goes
In the corner of the restroom, a ball of whiteness slithers
and moans against the wall. The ball must have tried to
stand as there is an oily streak on the tile wall.
      (rushing towards
Peggy, is that you? What the hell
is going on? What is this stuff?
      (Moaning and with
       lips moving
       through the
Is that you Fred? I don't know
what happened. That man and a baby
crying. Then he covered my mouth.
God, I feel terrible. Maybe I've
been raped and I don't even know
it. I smell like a salad.
Peggy's tongue protruded and reached into the ball. Fred
watched some of it disappear.
      (screaming again)
It's Goddamn mayonnaise. I'm
covered in freaking mayonnaise. I
hate mayonnaise. Fred get me out
of this.
      (getting angry)
Who did this to you? Did the man
mention a name like Stanislav? God
you're covered in it.
Fred helps Peggy to stand, getting the oily white stuff on


his suit. As she moves, she leaves most of it on the ground,
but her clothes are still mostly white. They make their way
across the restroom, with Peggy leaving white footsteps as
she went. A crowd has now gathered outside the restroom.
When Fred and Peggy emerge, the onlookers move back. They
are buzzing with worried looks and curiosity about what may
have befallen this poor woman.
      (moving his arms)
Alright, alright, there's nothing
to see. Can we get some room here.
We need to get her to a restroom
to clean her up.
Someone in the crowd yells ' You just left a restroom,ya
jerk' Fred looks up angrily and then sheepishly acknowledges
that they just did.
One with more privacy, then.
Peggy begins to cry then, causing rivulets to cut through
the condiment. The crowd reaches forward and takes swipes at
the whiteness, holding it up to their noses with some taking
small bites. Cries of 'It's mayonaise' rise through the
crowd as if they were witnessing a miracle. The police
finally show up and begin smirking as they arrive. They
evidently had seen this stunt before. One of them yells
over his shoulder,' It's just a sliming'
      (still walking
       slowly and
Fred, I need a hug.
      (looking dubious)
All right, honey. This isn't a
good day for suits anyway.
The crowd laughed,'Yeah, hug the mayonnaise lady.'
Fred hugs her to the crowd's delight. Fred steps back and
now his suit,tie, and pants are also white. The police
begin asking him for a statement. He spots Martha in the
Martha, cancel lunch and my
afternoon appointments. This
could take awhile.


Flashback: A boy rides his bike through a small Midwestern
town, circa 1975. He weaves his way over sidewalks and back
to the street, as he dodges pedestrians and cars. The back
of his bike has a license plate, which shows the name
Pettit. This is obviously Tom Pettit at the age of 12 or
so. At a Real Estate broker's office, he must stop on the
sidewalk, as a Realtor comes out to greet an elderly man and
woman,approaching from their car. They are obviously farm
people who are wearing their town clothes for some urgent
town business. You only hear a snippet of their
conversation." Come in , Mr. and Mrs. Nichols."
At the mention of their name, the boy wheels his bike around
the couple and begins pedaling faster through town. It is
fall and the leaves are brilliant colors with many underfoot
and left swirling by the bike. On the outskirts of town, he
pedals even faster, taking the first country lane to the
left. The lane soon only has room for one car and the
blacktop has given way to a rutted pathway with a light
cover of gravel. The boy struggles with the bike, sometimes
slowing to crawl as the ruts and underlying mud slow his
pace. At the end of the lane, he reaches a lone farmhouse. A
decorative mailbox is at the end of the lane with 'Nichols'
on it. The farmhouse is old and weathered with high grass
lingering against the sides and steps and leaves in piles in
most of the scraggly yard. The boy bolts up the steps,
pushes open the door, and enters a dim living room. Finding
a small bathroom in the back, he opens the medicine cabinet.
Looking over the items, he grabs a can of shaving cream.
Retracing his steps, he finds the kitchen. Spying the phone
on the wall, he takes the receiver off the hook. Shaking the
can of shaving cream, he sprays a small portion on the
earpiece, insuring that when it is hung up, you can not see
the shaving cream. He puts the can back in the bathroom and
hurries out of the house and to his bike where you see him
begin the trek back to the main highway.
Obviously a few hours later, as the shadows have become
denser and it is near dark, the phone rings in the Nichols
house hold. Mr. Nichols, an old man in the same clothes he
went to town with except the tie is loosened and the slacks
are more wrinkled. "I'll get it," he hollers. Picking up
the receiver, the warm shaving cream en-coats his ear. "Ach
de lieber" he yells in his native German. "What is dis
stuff.He still tries to answer the phone call. He says,
Hello. He gasps,"It's acid, Helen and it's going to eat my
ear." He hangs up phone, screaming for Helen and running to
the bathroom..
Scene shifts to Tom's house, where he and some friends and


have just hung up the phone. They are all laughing. One of
them yells out, " The acid was the master touch, Tom. You're
the best."
Tom waits in the corner of the office building entrance
lobby. It is near 5 o'clock and people are exiting
elevators and leaving the building passing a few incoming
office workers. Through the doors and windows you can see
that it is already dark outside. The few Christmas
decorations hung high in the lobby are almost obscured, as
the darkness intrudes in corners of the high ceiling. He
doesn't have to wait long as he spies Fred leaving an
elevator and heading towards the door. He can tell its Fred
as his suit pants and coat still have traces of white where
the mayonnaise from Peggy's incident had transferred.
Tom moves fast to block Fred's path to the door. Fred stops
and looks up. Tom motions with his finger and speaks.
      (in a commanding
Come with me, please
Who the hell are you? I'm not in
the mood,buddy.
      (more soothing)
You want some news about your
buddy, Stanislav, don't you?
He's not my buddy, but yeah I
would like to know what's going
on. Did he send you? What's this
all about?
He didn't send me per se, but I do
have a message from him to you. It
doesn't make any sense to me, but
he said you would know what to
make of it. OK


Okay,lets have it. I don't know
you or this Stanislav, but
suddenly it seems to dominate my
      (pointing behind
Not here. Over in this back
corner. It's safer that way.
Fred follows Tom through the still oncoming pedestrian
traffic streaming into the night. They head for a corner of
the lobby that becomes a narrow hallway. At the end of
hallway, a large freight elevator is the only option. Tom
gets to the end of the hallway and punches the button for
the elevator.
Now look, buddy. I don't even
know your name and I'm not too
crazy about this dark corner,
either. I'm sure not going to
ride an elevator just to get a
message from somebody else I don't
Relax, friend. I'm the one taking
the elevator. Just wait a minute,
will you.
The elevator finally stops at their floor. It is empty and
large, designed for office furniture. Tom hops on and holds
the door, while Fred looks at him somewhat incredulous at
whatever message he is to receive.
Come a little closer. I don't want
to have shout this out. It's
evidently confidential and per my
instructions, I'm to tell you it
comes from the top.
Fred moves in closer and leans, being careful to keep his
head out of elevator path
What is it, already. I'm late as
it is.


Tom releases the doors and they begin to close. Fred leans
in again to hear the important message.
Too Much Johnson!
The elevator closes and whisks Tom up. Fred stands there in
an almost shocked reaction
      (muttering to
Too much Johnson. What the hell
does that mean.
Fred continues to shake his head and retraces his steps out
of the hallway and back to the lobby. He rejoins the mass
exodus, puzzling over his new message.
Fred walks into a parking garage after his meeting with Tom.
The garage is a dark and forbidding building not far from
his office. The sky is noticeably darker with some snow
flurries just barely visible. He is talking on his cellphone
to Peggy and we hear his side of the conversation...
      (on phone)
So this guy lures me over to this
hallway. And you know what the
message is from this Stanislav
character. " Too much Johnson".
Now what the hell does that mean?
What does this guy want from us.
He must have been the one behind
your, ah mayonaise problem.
As Fred listens to Peggy's reply, he flashes a parking pass
to a pimply faced kid behind a screened in cage. He walks
over to an elevator, pushing Up on the elevator button.
I don't get it. We got enough
going on trying to get this
divorce, jobs in Chicago, etc. and
now we got some Russian mobster I
guess that likes playing practical
jokes. It doesn't make any sense.


He listens again, as the elevator arrives. He gets on by
himself, pushing 3 on the panel.
I gotta get off soon. This
reception is not very good. I'll
tell you Peggy with the day I've
had I almost expect to find my
corvette stolen. In fact, it's
probably in Jersey, as we speak,
being ripped apart by a man name
Mac. What a perfect ending to a
rotten day. Well, lets hope not. I
love you. See you soon.
Fred hangs up phone and gets off elevator. As if suddenly
believing his terrible fantasy, he starts to jog to where he
left car yesterday.In his face and mannerisms, he's half
afraid to see if it is still there. After his jog becomes a
trot, he winds his way through several aisles of cars. He
finally sees the cherry red finish through the windows of an
SUV. He slows down and breaks into a smile.
He begins to unbutton his coat,as if suddenly relieved that
the car is not stolen. He walks around the SUV and around
some huge pillars to approach the car from the side. As he
gets closer, we can hear grunting and just make out a figure
behind the wheel dressed in red as if to blend in with the
car. Fred finally sees his car has a driver. As he gets
closer, we can tell that it is large woman wearing a
gigantic red dress. She has pushed the door opened and she
is grunting as if to get out from behind the wheel.
Fred rushes forward and pulls the car door open as far as it
can go. His face is enraged, as he cannot believe it's not
stolen but now there is some new complication.
      (his face red and
What are you doing in my car?
I'm stuck,mister. Is this your
TANYA CICCARELLI'S mouth is a smear of lipstick, situated
below two rouge tainted cheeks,a bulbous,almost pig-like
nose, and heavily made up eyes. Her hair is fake blond,
with a strand that lay sweat entangled on her forehead.The
steering wheel was wedged between her bosom and an immense


Of course, it's my car. What are
you doing behind the wheel?
The woman sobbed even louder, holding her face in her hands
which only served to heighten her garish appearance. She
appeared to be wedged even further in the car.
      (still whimpering)
I thought it was mine. I have one
just like it. But I got in yours
and then I couldn't get out.
You've got this seat pretty far
up, ya know. Isn't this level 4?
No, it's 3. But how did you get
the door opened? I always lock
mine and anyway how could you own
a corvette if you can't get out of
mine? This is ridiculous. I need
my car.
      (trying not to cry)
I keep the seat back further than
you do and I swear the car wasn't
locked and I thought this was 4.
It's just an honest mistake
mister. If you don't yell anymore
and just help me out of here, I
can be on my way too.
Alright, alright. Let's forget why
you're in here and lets just get
you out. Here grab onto my hands
and I'll pull you out.
Fred leans into the car and the woman grabs his hands. You
can tell by Fred's reaction that the woman has over-powering
B.O. He reacts by burying his nose in his sleeve, but
meanwhile begins tugging on the woman to dislodge her. Her
hands are like sweaty fat-filled claws that Fred keeps
slipping out of. She is also perspiring heavily and Fred
gives out short gasps of disgust. Even with several sharp
tugs, the woman's belly appears to wedge its way even
further under the steering wheel.


Ow, you're hurting me. Can't you
be a lttle more gentle?
      (exploding again)
God dammit, lady. I need to get
you out of here. You're going to
have to put up with some pain. I'm
not the one who's stuck in someone
else's car. Come on. Suck in and
let's try this again.
Fred reaches in, again holding his breath and this time put
all his weight on yanking the woman out of the car. Her legs
had begun lifting from the floor, as she went parallel with
the seat. Her stomach still held fast to the steering wheel.
Her makeup has started to congeal and make its way down her
chin, where it promptly deposits itself on Fred's suit, just
above a mayonnaise stain.
Finally she dislodges herself and falls in a pile at Fred's
feet. Fred is breathing heavy also and takes a few steps
away from the mass of woman now on the concrete floor. He
is too disgusted to even help her up.
      (rising in slow
       process from the
Thank you, Mister. I'm sure I'll
never do that again. I'm sure I
look a sight and I'm sweating like
I don't know what.
Yeah, please check the license
plate before you get in in the
future. I still can't believe you
have the same car. There's not too
many of these in town.
      (waddling towards
       the elevator)
O it's the same. Cherry apple red.
I named mine 'Red Doll' What do
you call yours?
      (talking to
I got to get rid of this car.


      (getting in car)
I don't have a name for it. Sorry.
Fred immediately rolls the windows down, as the woman's
scent is still all encompassing. He starts the car and
pulls gingerly out of the space, trying to avoid any further
disasters. As he rolls towards the exit with the woman just
to the side of the car, he suddenly thinks about his meeting
with Tom.
      (Leaning out
Excuse me lady. Can I ask your
Ciccarelli. It's Italian.
Fred's face falls.
It's not Johnson. Are you sure
you have never been a Johnson?
      (Brightening at
       the sudden
       interest by Fred)
No, I've never been married. I
did have a Mrs.Johnson in the
second grade. Do you know her?
She was very nice. She always
dressed in a prim and proper way.
Of course, this was many years
Fred rolls up the window again and drives off leaving Ms.
Ciccarelli in mid-babble
It's a Saturday morning and Fred has just arrived to spend
some time with his kids and talk to Jennifer. He is once
again driving the corvette. It is mid-morning with overcast
cold skies. He pulls in to the driveway, noting the
lackluster Christmas decorations. The Santa is so disheveled
and pulled to one side, he almost looks dejected.


      (to himself)
These decorations almost scream
'No man lives here.'
Fred exits the car and bounds up the sidewalk, picking up
the morning paper on his way. At the door, he rings the
doorbell. He looks at the Santa who can only leer at him.
Jennifer opens the door.
      (looking wan and
Hello, Fred. I'm glad you could
make it. The kids are looking
forward to your visit.
      (looking guilty)
I-I Know. I've,I've been meaning
to get here more often. I've
missed the kids a lot. I guess
I've been busy with other things.
Jennifer smiles, not allowing the minor dig to bother her.
She lets him in the house, closing the door behind him.
The sounds of running feet echo through the suburban house,
as a young boy and girl can be seen chasing each other down
the stairs and into their father's arms.Their screams of
delight make Jennifer smile again, as she no doubt remembers
happier times.
      (smiling broadly)
How's Daddy's big boy?
Mark is jumping up and down. His jeans are dusty and a
super hero emblazoned shirt is untucked and covering his
backside.Judy is trying to keep up with her older brother in
enthusiasm. She wears a white top over jeans with Barby pink
shoes and white shoe laces.
Want to see my new super heroes,
Daddy? I got them for St. Nicholas
      (almost screaming)
No, I want to show Daddy my new


Both kids jump into Fred's arms, as he whirls them around, a
big smile on his face. He glances at Jennifer, as she gives
him an approving smile,as well.
Why don't you go to the kid's room
for a while. You've got some
catching up to do. I'll make some
coffee and maybe we can talk.
Sure, sure, that sounds great.
Come on, kids, Show me your new
toys and we'll play awhile.
The two kids squeal with delight and half drag Fred up the
stairs to their room. Jennifer turns and walks to the
kitchen to put the coffee on.
With time obviously gone by, Fred comes down the stairs and
enters the kitchen. The room is a modern affair with granite
counter tops over wood cabinets. An island sits in the
center with the table to the right of that. Jennifer is
seated there, with her hands circling the coffee cup. as if
in an attempt to warm herself. She looks more tired and
drawn, an old blue sweater hunched over her shoulders.
      (rising to get his
How were the kids? They sure were
glad to hear you were coming.
      (sitting down
       across from
They were great. I've really
missed them. I made up a game, by
the way. They might ask you about
the rules when I'm gone. You might
have to wing it.
Jennifer hands him a coffee cup and a napkin, as she resumes
her place across from him
I'll figure something out.They're
pretty excited about Christmas so
they don't fixate on much else.


Yeah, I guess that's true. You'll
have to tell me what I should buy
for them this year. I guess I'm
even more out of the loop than
usual this year.
      (taking a sip)
I'll give you a list. We'll have
to figure out when your coming
over and how we're going to, you
know celebrate this year. I don't
want the kids to be affected if I
can help it. They deserve a happy
Absolutely, I couldn't agree more.
Uh, was there something you wanted
to talk to me about?
Well, nothing new really. I just
wanted to know if you were still
going to Chicago and where exactly
our divorce stands?
My interview with the church
foundation is set for the week
after next in Chicago. Everything
kind of depends on that. I guess
you know Peggy has her job all
lined up already.
      (lashing out)
I'm really happy for her. I just
don't know how you can up and
leave your family and go to
another city with some-some woman
you hardly know. Can't you think
of somebody beside yourself for
one minute
      (trying to be calm)
I'll see the kids. I'll be back
many times. The foundation has
most of their investments with New
York brokers. I might be here
more than I'll be in Chicago. The


                       FRED (cont'd)
kids can visit me in the summers
or on holidays. It'll be an
adventure for them. You'll see.
      (her voice barely
       above a whisper)
They'd love a full time Daddy
more. You could see that today
Jennifer, we've been through this
a hundred times or more. My life
is with Peggy now. What we had
was special and wonderful for many
years. But even you have to admit
that we were growing apart and
well, I think it's time we move
on. We'll still have the kids to
keep us together and I'll do
everything I can to make sure
their childhood is a normal one.
Jennifer just looks at him as she starts to tear up. She
takes another sip of her coffee and wipes her eyes.
As far as the divorce is
concerned, I'm just in the
preliminary stages with my lawyer.
I would think you would want to
retain your own lawyer, if you
haven't already done so.
      (taken aback)
No,no I haven't gotten a lawyer
yet. I guess, based on your
attitude, I'm being foolish in not
getting one. I suppose you haven't
given any thought to a
reconciliation, although, to tell
you the truth, I'm not sure I'm
still interested anyway.
      (trying to be calm)
No, I don't think there's much
hope of that, but, as I say, this
doesn't have to affect the kids.


You know, Fred, I almost feel like
I'm starring in a TV movie and not
living my life. Tonight's movie of
the week, A Broken Family, Lives
Torn Apart, The Jennifer
Harrington Story.
Jennifer gets up from her seat and begins pacing the
kitchen. You can hear kids in the upstairs rooms playing.
Very funny. This happens all the
time and I know it's not pleasant,
but it's not the end of the world
either. Well, I better get going.
I've got some errands to run
Fred rises from the table, draining the last of his coffee.
Jennifer stops pacing and throws the rest of her coffee down
the sink.
      (putting his coat
By the way, have you ever heard of
a man named Stanislav? Anybody
ever mention that name or leave a
message for me.
No, why? Is he a customer. That's
an odd name. I would remember him.
I don't know. He seems to be
looking for me. I'm not sure why.
O well, it's nothing.
Fred calls out to the kids that he was leaving. They rush
down the steps where Fred gives each of them a hug and kiss,
to their delighted squeals. He waves at Jennifer and turns
to the door. They watch him dodge rain drops, as he hustles
into the corvette.
FLASHBACK: Tom and several other freshmen are standing in
the middle of a Illinois State dorm in 1983. They are
stretching one phone from one room to the middle of the


corridor and another phone from the room opposite. The two
phones are reversed so that the speaker part of one phone is
pressed up to the earpiece of the other phone.
Tom is obviously in charge with the other boys laughing at
the upcoming gag.
Now dial the girl at Porter Hall.
You, Denny, call that Scot guy in
With much laughter, the two phones are dialed and everyone
crowds around to listen to the two phones stretched from
each room and joined in the middle of the corridor.
      (after no response)
Yes,who's there?
What do you mean, "Who's there".
You called me.
The boys with Tom holding phones together can barely stifle
their laughter.
I most certainly did not call you.
The phone rang, I picked it up and
you were on phone. Therefore you
called me. Who are you and what
do you want?
      (obviously warming
       to the voice.)
Well, that's the same thing that
happened to me. I definitely
didn't call you. But since we
don't know why we're talking to
each other, maybe we should
exchange names and maybe we could
meet for lunch. If you don't mind
me saying this, you sound kind of
cute on the phone. Maybe we were
meant for each other.


      (warming herself.)
Well, let me think about it. Are
you sure you didn't call me?
I swear I didn't. The phone rang
and you answered, but we both said
Hello. Maybe it's a college phone
malfunction. Who knows. Lets use
it to our advantage. Come on.
What's your name?
I guess it can't hurt. You do
sound nice. My name is ...
At that point Tom hung up one phone and threw the other to
Denny to hang up. The whole crowd descends into laughter.
One yells "Tom, that was rich man, rich."
Fred enters his apartment building through a passage way
from the garage attached. He is talking on his cell phone as
he saunters through a small lobby towards a bank of
elevators. It's Monday night of the next week. We hear one
side of conversation.
      (on phone)
No, I can't make it tonight.
Sorry, I've been busy at work and
I've had other, shall we say,
He listens while pressing elevator. The lobby is vacant and
you can tell it's night by the scene through the lobby
window that shows a darkened street scape.
I just don't feel like a Civil War
meeting tonight. I know I'm the
biggest buff around, but I've got
enough 21th century problems that
I can't concentrate on the past.
Let me know when the next
reenactment is. I'll try to make
it. Thanks. I'll see you, Bill. My
elevator is here.


Fred gets on elevator and rides to 6th floor. He exits
elevator. The building is old but recently remodeled. The
carpeted floor is tan and shows his footprints as he walks.
The wallpaper has gently sloping lines with a network of
angles that go nowhere. Fred walks even more slowly with
shoulders hunched as if he has had a bad day.
At his door, Fred inserts key and takes a quick look in,
half expecting something to be wrong. But the place is
empty, a small two bedroom apartment with a kitchen area
attached to equally small eat-in dining room. A living room
with somewhat sparse furnishings is behind that. Last
night's chips and beer and a pizza box from a few nights ago
adorn the coffee table. Otherwise the apartment is
relatively clean. Fred enters and shuts the door.
He walks over to the answering machine in living room and
plays his calls. We hear Peggy's voice, somewhat shrill.
      (on answering
Hi, Fred. Missed you. I know you
are at that Civil War meeting, but
if you get home early, give me a
call. I've heard of a new
restaurant we've just got to try.
Great,another place to drink.
He felt his head and went into the bathroom, off the hall
and took two aspirin, muttering to himself about excessive
drinking with Peggy.
He sloughs off his jacket,grabbing a water from the fridge
and another pack of chips. He returns to the living room,
reaching for remote and puts on a hockey game. The camera
fades out and we next see Fred in his chair sound asleep.
The clock shows it's only 9:30. The hockey game is still on
with the sound barely audible.
The phone rings again. Fred stirs and looks at caller id.
Recognizing it as Peggy's, he only shifts from the chair to
the couch and lets machine again get the call.
I can't believe you're not home
yet. How you can enjoy discussing
the Civil War,I'll never know. O
well call me in the morning. We


                       PEGGY (cont'd)
need to coordinate our schedules
so we can do this restaurant with
the people here at work. Talk to
you soon. Love you.

Fred is lying on the ground in the middle of a forest. He is
gradually stirring as he tries to wake up. His eyes are not
opened, but he is obviously cold,as he keeps jerking a small
cover around his body. His feet are clad in Civil War era
boots and you can see his pants are regulation US Army
issue, but from 1864.

His eyes finally open as the first glint of sunlight streaks
its way through the trees and into Fred's face. He is
momentarily stunned as he tries to process through his brain
the reasons why he is sleeping outside.

He jumps up, throwing the blanket off, revealing that he is
indeed dressed as a soldier, complete with belt,gun, and
sabre. He looks around in wide eyed astonishment, whirling
from side to side in a state of panic. He pinches himself so
as to wake up from this dream, but it doesn't do any good.
He's still standing in the middle of forest, having gone to
sleep in his New York apartment and woken up somewhere
outside, dressed as a Civil War soldier.
      (shivering in the
Hello, hello, what's going on
here? Is this a joke? Where am I?
There is no answer. The winter sunlight falls across Fred's
face and you can hear the wind rustling leaves high in the
trees, gradually making its way to ground level. Fred
shivers again and picks the blanket from the ground,
throwing it over his shoulders. He opens his jacket and
looks at his shirt,undershirt, and underpants and shakes his
head at finding regulation Civil War undergarments. He
begins shuffling with his old boots in the direction of what
looks like a path leading from his clearing. At the start of
the path, he realizes too late that it takes a severe
downward pitch into a ravine. He loses his footing and
plunges head first down 6 feet into a pile of leaves,
hitting his head on a log at the bottom.


Fred lies still for a minute, but begins cursing his
clumsiness and trying to get up with leaves covering almost
his entire body. Suddenly you can hear voices, guttural,
Southern accented country voices, coated in Tennessee or
Georgia twang. Not sure who they are, Fred crawls forward
into a dense thicket, so as to immerse himself in the
Two Confederate soldiers, dressed in dirty brown gray
uniforms enter the clearing that Fred had just left via a
trail from the other side. They are dirty and appear to be
battle-hardened soldiers of Lee's Army with side pistols and
grubby tobacco stained shirts hanging out of their belts.
They each hold a whiskey bottle, that they periodically take
gulps from. Both men are tanned, with scruffy beards and
unkempt hair, held in place with gray pork pie hats.
      (in Southern
Where'd that Yankee go, Ben?
      (just as Southern)
He cain't get far. We saw him last
night at Slocum's Crossing, didn't
      (in a high voice)
O, Mr. Yankee. Please come out. We
just want to talk. We won't hurt
The two men break down into laughter punctuated with
wheezes, hillbilly gurgles and burps. They are obviously
drunk or very near inebriated. Their laughter continues for
a short time, and then they begin absently kicking the
bushes and piles of leaves looking for Fred.
As the men get closer to the trail where Fred fell, they
peer down into the comparative darkness of the ravine. Fred
is hidden by the leaves and bushes, but he gets his first
sight of his pursuers and almost audibly gasps at the sight
of two rebel soldiers, dressed exactly as if he was living
in 1864.
He ain't down there. It's all
weedy with brambles and thorns and
such. He wouldn't go down there.


I tell you, I see'd him, not two
feet from this clearing. It looked
like he spent the night here.
Yeah, Looky Ben. That ground all
smooth and such. That's where his
blanket was, I'll betcha.
They half start down the path, obviously with little
enthusiasm. Both men stop to take another swig out of their
bottles, letting the liquid over pour and trickle down their
beards to the shirt below.
Come on, Mr. Yankee. This war is
goin' to be over before we find
you, ifin you don't cooperate.
Discouraged by the steepness of the slope, the men retreat
and begin looking through the other side of the clearing.
With his pursuers temporarily on the opposite side of the
clearing, Fred crawls further into the ravine, trying to
move slowly through the thickening brush and time his
movements when he hears the men cough or drink. They
continue to call out for him in drunken bursts of catcalls,
mixed with swigs of the bottle. The sun is now at a point
where it shines directly on Fred, as he makes his way
through the brambles on a downward slide away from the rebel
Fred at last frees himself from the thicket and lands head
first in the middle of the trail. This must be the same
trail that the rebels took on their way to Fred's clearing.
He pushes forward down the trail, casting the sabre into the
side weeds and pulling his tunic tighter against the cold.
The trail is ringed by bushes, thickets and overhanging
pines so that Fred has to continually duck and shove them
aside. The trail narrows at times, but then at times widens
unexpectedly, but always on a downward slant through the
He crosses a brook, and stopping to make sure he did not
hear his pursuers, he kneels to take a drink. Then he hears
it again. The high pitched southern yells of the rebels,
intermingled with sounds of their footsteps as they plunge
down the trail towards Fred. The rebels are shown in
pursuit, running and clinking their bottles down the trail.
O Mr. Yankee. Here we come again.
You cain't outrun us forever.


Fred rises from the brook, his eyes showing real fear this
time. He begins running as well, with no attempt at
concealing his movements. He runs as if his life depended
on it. " Where am I?" he mutters to himself. "Wake up. Wake
The trail starts rising and Fred's breathing becomes
labored. Even in the cold, the sun and exertion bring beads
of sweat to Fred's face. The rebels, although not making
quite the same time as Fred are shown not far behind, always
yelling and still stopping for the occasional drink.
Then Fred sees him. A man in a blue Yankee uniform, an
officer with a sabre that the sunlight broke upon. He was
standing in a gully off of the trail to the right, but
looking away, into the forest.
Mister, sir. Help me. I'm a
Yankee, too.
Fred jumps off the trail and plunges into the leaves and
undergrowth, trying to reach the fellow union officer. Fred
calls to him again, but the man doesn't turn or respond at
all. He seems to be slightly swaying, but otherwise there
is no movement from the other soldier.
As Fred gets closer, fighting his way through dense
underbrush, he trips on a root and falls directly into the
back of the other soldier. With the sounds of the rebels
even closer, Fred and the other man roll towards the bottom
of the gully. With his face smeared with pine residue and
his uniform covered with briers and cones, Fred turns the
silent man next to him over so he can look at his face,
Fred screams, a scream of terror so loud and clotted with
fear that the birds overhead stop in mid chirp, the rabbits
and squirrels pause in their hunts for food, and the rebels
now on the trail just above Fred stop their yelling. The
Union officer had not acknowledged Fred because he is a
skeleton clad in a uniform stuffed with leaves and brush. In
addition, a rope stretched taut over the dead man's throat.
He had evidently been hanging in the trees but due to layers
of prickly vine the rope could not be seen by Fred.
Fred is now running from the skeleton, his mouth holding
back muffled screams as he flings himself down the ravine.
Fred's whole body is shaking in fear, his feet and legs
twisting and falling through the undergrowth in a desperate
effort to get away from Mr. Skeleton man.
Just as Fred breaks out onto the same trail which has now


wound around the ravine, he hears it again. The famous
rebel yell, a mournful, harrowing,nerve jangling almost
coyote-like piercing scream echoing down the hill. This
time it is more than 2 voices, and appears to be a whole
squad of soldiers with their inhuman wail cascading through
the forest every few minutes.
O Mr. Yankee, did you have a
run-in with your Cap'n Hawkins. He
didn't much like us either.
The rebels break down into laughter and wheezing, with
bottles clinking so loud that Fred could still hear it. They
set up another rendition of the yell, followed by sounds of
their feet on the trail above, pounding towards Fred.
In one desperate lunge at the light below, Fred propels
himself forward. His foot catches a branch and sends him
into a headfirst plunge at breakneck speed, coursing through
the trail debris. The rebel yells now sound closer, and he
is unable to right himself and he goes into a full
somersault, head to heels and back again.
It ends finally with Fred in a mangled dust and vine covered
heap at the end of the trail. His eyes are closed and
suddenly the forest is quiet with no rebel sounds from
above. He holds his breath, but then hears a rumbling,
coughing sound that seems foreign to the experience he just
went through. His eyes open when he hears a car horn from a
SUV that has stopped before him on a rural road. Fred is
laying in the middle of the right lane.
Get out of the road, you moron.
You're going to get yourself
Fred looks up and realizes he is almost under the wheels of
2002 Ford Expedition. He gets up, brushes himself off, and
mutters "Sorry",to the driver. The driver after a few more
epithets pulls around Fred and drives off. After getting
out of the road, Fred walks to the shoulder to read a
highway sign. He is on VA 181 and Tomkinsville is only 5
miles away. He shrugs his shoulders and begins walking, his
union wool suit becoming hot in the winter sun.
Fred is shown sleeping in his bed in his apartment. It is
approx. 7:30 in the morning with the first hint of light
spilling from behind the shade. He is taking a day off from


work after his Virginia Civil War time travel ordeal. The
phone rings and it is Peggy. We see her and Fred talk in
split screen.
      (on phone,groggily)
      (extra cheerful)
Wake up, sleepyhead. Shouldn't you
be getting up for work?
      (still gravelly
I'm taking the day off. You would
too after what I went through
You mean you still don't know why
you were in Tomkinsville, Virginia
yesterday morning. How could you
get there if you went to bed in
your apartment? You didn't go to
that meeting last night and drink
a lot and this is somebody's idea
of a gag?
      (sitting up in bed)
You got me. It's the damnedest
thing I've ever been through in my
life. It was like a fantasy
sequence. I kept thinking I was
going to wake up. The fear, too.
It was like sheer terror when I
heard those men behind me and
turned over that skeleton. It
makes no sense. And no I did not
go that meeting and I didn't have
anything to drink.
It certainly is bizarre. I guess
you got the money I wired you for
the plane ticket or you wouldn't
be in your bed this morning.
Talk about bizarre. You should
have seen that plane ride. All I
had to wear was my Union soldier


                       FRED (cont'd)
uniform. I didn't have time to
shower so I'm sure I smelled too.
The guy in the seat next to me
told me that he thought we had a
better chance of winning this war
with Grant in charge. What did I
      (laughing a little)
What did you tell him? How did you
explain everything?
I told him I was a reenacter who
perhaps takes things a little too
seriously. You should have heard
the flight attendants. They asked
if I had to go back to the war and
that Delta had excellent
connections to all the major
battlefields. This was of course
followed by more laughter. I was
like a David Letterman for that
whole flight. They loved my Civil
War routine.
I'm sure it wasn't pleasant. I
wonder if this Stanislav character
is behind all this weird stuff
that's been happening to the both
of us.
      (Sitting by side
       of bed)
I wish I knew. It sure does seem
awfully coincidental that as soon
as I heard his name, all this
goofy crap started. The girl in
the corvette, the guy by the
elevator shaft, your mayonnaise
incident and now this. It's like
we're involved in some giant
conspiracy and we have no clue
what it's about.


Well, I got to go. Nose around
today. See if you can find out
who's behind this. Love you. Don't
get down. Nothing is going to
spoil our life together. OK?
Okay. Love you, too. I don't know
who to call. Officer, there's this
Stanislav guy who put a fat girl
in my corvette and sent me back to
the Civil War.
I see what you mean. Oh well, talk
to you later.
Just then the doorbell rang. Fred just shakes his head in a
'What's next' attitude and rises from the bed. He puts on a
bathrobe and shuffles with achy Civil War muscles towards
the front door. The bell is heard again, this time more
urgently. He reaches and grabs a sore hamstring and his
walking slows.Fred goes through the living room of the
apartment and reaches door. In a cavalier way, he opens it.
Two men dressed in suits are waiting. They are Buttons and
Bows, playing FBI agents, dressed in suits and ties visible
through half-opened trench coats.
Mr. Harrington?
Yes, what can I do for you? I'm
not usually home at this time of
the morning. Any other day, and
you wouldn't have caught me.
We're with the FBI. I'm Special
Agent Collins. This is Special
Agent Podowski.
They show Fred their badges, which Fred barely glances at.
Fred is clearly stunned that two FBI agents are at his
We'd like to ask you a few
questions about a Mr. Stanislav.


Fred is stunned and delighted at the same time. Maybe he
can finally get some answers.
Sure, sure, come on in. I don't
know a thing about him, but I'm
hoping you can explain him to me.
Someone has been making my life
miserable these last few days and
I think he is responsible. But I
swear to you, I don't know the
Fred stands aside and ushers the men into his small living
room. Fred sits on the sofa and the two men take seats in
two chairs across a cluttered coffee table.
You'll have to excuse my
appearance. I took the day off
from work due to some unfortunate
occurrences yesterday. In fact, I
was wondering if Mr. Stanislav was
involved with that.
      (Perched on the
       chair with his
       ample belly
Are you sure you do not know
Yeah, I'm sure. I don't know him,
have never met him, and had never
even heard of him until a few days
ago. Please tell me who he is and
why he's wrecking my life.
Mr. Stanislav is a very dangerous
member of the so-called Russian
mafia who have in recent years
attained a foothold into some of
New York's illegal rackets.
      (pausing and then
Mr. Stanislav is suspected of
numerous crimes, ranging from
racketeering, kidnapping,


                       RICH (cont'd)
extortion, drugs,etc. He is also a
suspect in several murders both
here and in Russia. Unfortunately,
we have, to date, no hard evidence
to convict him of anything.
Fred swallows hard and sits up from the sofa's cushions.
      (obviously worried)
What-what does this have to do
with me? Why are you talking to
me and why is Stanislav interested
in me? At least I think he is.
I've had some crazy things
happening to me and my girlfriend
lately. It,at least, appears on
the surface as if he is behind
them. But what I cannot understand
is what I could possibly have to
do with him. I'm just a stock
broker. I've never been involved
with anything illegal in my life.
What kinds of things have been
happening to you?
Well, you're not going to believe
half of them. My girlfriend got
herself mayonnaised. I'm not even
sure that's a word. I've gotten
phone calls warning me about
Stanislav. A man whispered to me,
"Too much Johnson". Whatever the
hell that means. A fat girl got
herself stuck in my corvette. I
guess that one could be a
coincidence. And to top it off, I
spent the night before and most of
yesterday in the Virginia woods,
dressed as a Union officer in the
Civil War. I had a nasty encounter
with some rebel soldiers and a
run-in with a very dead Captain
Hawkins. As you can see, I've been
quite busy lately.
Should we be investigating Mr.
Hawkins death?


Not unless you're interested in
investigating deaths from 1865.
I think we'll pass on that one.
Why did you go to Virginia in the
first place?
I never set out to go to Virginia.
I went to bed that night and woke
up in the middle of the woods in
Virginia, dressed for the Civil
War. I still don't know how or why
they accomplished that feat. Let
me tell you, it's quite unnerving
to stir in the morning, realize
you're cold and maybe the air
conditioner kicked on in the
middle of winter, and then open
your eyes and you're lying on the
ground in a different state.
I could see how that could give
you cause for concern. I'm not
sure our Mr. Stanislav would
bother with such petty tricks.
Fred stands up suddenly.
Do you guys want some coffee or
something? This looks like it
could take some time.
Both men decline and Fred sits down again, forgoing his need
for coffee in order to get some answers.
Well,somebody is behind all of
these episodes. I would think
Stanislav has to have something to
do with them. You're here for
some reason, you must think I'm
involved with him someway.
Let me start at the beginning. Do
you know what a Dauphin is?


It's a French word, I think. From
French history, right?
You are correct. The Dauphin was
the boy heir to the throne of the
French king in the late 1700's.
There were a number of attempts on
his life and there was always
speculation as to his true
identity. There were, of course
pretenders to the throne and the
populace wasn't always sure who
the real dauphin was.
My God, what does all this have to
with me?
Be patient, I'll connect it up in
a minute. Our friend, Mr.
Stanislav had a chosen successor,
a man named Primakov and for
whatever reason these Russians
began calling him the Dauphin. Mr.
Primakov was slated to take over
Stanislav's criminal organization
as soon as he retired. They were
not related or anything, but
Stanislav thought of him as a son,
someone he could entrust his
organization to.
Rich pauses for a breath and looks intently at Fred to see
if everything was sinking in. Fred has an incredulous look
on his face, like how am I possibly involved in all of this.
One of Primakov's duties was to
keep the records of the Russian
mafia. These were the detailed
notes on which companies paid
protection, who the drug dealers
were,the import-export
transactions that facilitated the
money laundry schemes, etc.
Everything was recorded in
several green ledgers wrapped in
twine and, more importantly
written in Russian characters so


                       RICH (cont'd)
that it would be more difficult to
translate in case it fell into the
wrong hands. Primaokov kept this
business diary, of sorts, always
on his person. It never left his
sight. Any new transactions, any
changes to existing contracts were
immediately written down by
In late October of this year, Mr.
Primakov was murdered outside a
Chinese laundry in Manhatten,
Williams Dry CLeaners, I believe.
Fred audibly gulps.
Anything wrong. Do you know
something about the murder?
      (becoming more
No,no. I just happened to go
there recently for some suits. I
didn't see anything unusual there.
Thanks for the update. I don't
think there's any clues left 2
months after the fact.
Fred sinks back into his cushions, smiling and realizing
that was a dumb comment.
Shall we get back to our story?
Sure, sure. Whatever.


With Primakov's death,those green
ledgers are missing. The
assumption is that whoever killed
him has the records. Stanislav is
tearing up this town, looking for
the killer and the ledgers. He
wants to exact his own special
kind of Russian revenge on the
person responsible, plus he needs
those ledgers to run his business.
Fred gulped and appeared even more worried as the interview
wore on.
      (taking up the
So now, Stanislav and his men,
plus everybody on the street has
started to call this individual,
whoever he is, The Dauphin. So
that's all we hear out there,
"Who's the Dauphin? What's the
Dauphin doing with the ledgers,
      (starting to
But why me? Why are you here? Why
do you think Stanislav is
interested in me? I don't know
any of these people.
Do you know a man, a midget
actually, named Gallo. He's got a
beard, wears loud clothes that
almost call attention to his
height or lack thereof. He's also
got tourrets syndrome, if you know
what that is.
Where you blurt out profanities
and racial slurs? You mean that
disease? My God, can this get any
weirder. What's his connection to
all this and no I don't know him.
Him, I would remember.


Well, anyway this little bastard
has two strikes against him, but
it sure doesn't hurt his
underworld activities. He's
involved with Stanislav in some
way. He tries to lead a normal
life. He's even in the phone
book, Spiro Gallo.
Word on the street is that he is
trying to find Primakov's killer
and the green ledgers.
Do you know a man named Coleman
      (exploding in rage)
God dammit, for the last time, I
don't know any of these Russians.
Every time I ask a question, you
don't answer but ask me if I know
somebody else which I don't. Can
we get to the bottom of this,
please. You're killing me with
all these questions.
I'm sorry. If you'll be patient,
I think I can link this up in the
next few minutes.
He pauses and Fred sits back again into sofa, looking
somewhat sheepish after his impromptu outburst with the FBI.
I'm sorry. Sure, sure go ahead.
I've been under a lot of strain
lately. I've got a ex-wife,or soon
to be, kids, and a demanding new
girlfriend, if you know what I
Mr. Minova disappeared about six
months ago. He looks a lot like
you. In fact,if he lost some
weight, added some hair, and
changed his eye color, you two
would almost be identical.


      (brightening as if
       the puzzle is
       being revealed.)
Is that what this is all about.
Let me guess. Coleman or whatever
his name is, is a suspect in this
murder and missing ledgers. He's
disappeared and I arrive in the
city about that same time. And we
resemble each other, so Stanislav
thinks I'm Coleman. Is that the
gist of all my problems?
That's the start of it, anyway.
      (acting more
I can prove I'm Fred Harrington.
I've been Fred Harrington all my
life. Anyone can check my life
story. Here take my social
security number. You'll see I am
who I am.
You sound like Popeye.
Fred crosses into the kitchen and opens his wallet, laying
on the counter. He pulls out the card, which
Bows,following, looks at and records the number. They both
return to the living room, whereupon Rich also gets up, as
if to leave.
Is that it? No more questions?
Can you help me get out of this
mess. Believe me, I am not this
Coleman character.
We'll see what we can do. We'll
do some checking into your
background. We wanted your take
on the subject, especially since
we heard that Stanislav had shown
some interest in you. If we find
you're telling the truth, we'll
pass on our information to some
informants. It'll get back to the
big boss. Although I can't


                       RICH (cont'd)
believe that Stanislav is behind
all your problems. It sounds like
the work of someone interested in
practical jokes, which we can
assure you, Stanislav is not.
      (Leading the way
       towards the door.)
Thank you, Mr. Collins. You'll
find out I'm telling the truth.
I'm not involved in any of this.
It's just a big misunderstanding.
Fred opens the door and the two men leave the apartment,
pausing in the hallway.
We will promise you something, Mr.
Harrington. If we find you are
lying about any of this,
particularly your identity, we'll
be back and we won't be so
accomodating the next time
I'm telling the truth. You'll
see. Goodbye. You've finally
given me some hope that this might
be over soon.
Fred shuts the door on the two FBI men. He falls backwards
into the closed door, exhaling a gasp of air. He goes into
the kitchen, whistling a tune. He reaches for the aspirin
bottle on the counter, extracting two and taking them with a
long swig of water from a bottle in the refrigerator. He
then sets about making coffee. He can't find the filters
and begins pulling out various drawers, saying filters,
filters to himself. When he pulls out the bottom drawer,
his eyes freeze in a terror like trance and an audible
scream escapes from his mouth, which he stifles with his
hand. He sinks to the floor in a disconsolate heap, his
whole body showing the strain of what he has just found.
In the bottom drawer are two green ledgers, wrapped in twine
with the words, ' Stanislav LMT' stamped in red in the lower
right hand corner. His breathing is labored, as he kneels
by the open drawer, his hands reaching, testing the reality
of the books, feeling the twine and tracing the embossed
Stanislav name with tentative fingers.
Finally, he fumbles at the twine, breaking it with one pull.
Repeating "Just another gag" over and over, he opens the


books. His eyes slowly focus on the pages beneath,
half-hoping and expecting them to be blank. But they aren't
blank. They are filled with neat columns of figures with
column headings in Russian and dates in English. He flips
through the pages. They are all similar with months and
years of illegal activities recorded.
      (to himself)
O God, no,no,no.Why are these
here? I'm not Coleman, not
Coleman. I'm Fred.
Fred slumps down further and continues babbling to himself
staring at times at the ledgers and other times off into
space. The coffee goes unmade.
Tom Petit sits in his office, talking on the phone amidst
the same pile of debris covering his desk. He's chewing gum
and conducting a rapid fire discussion about some future
deal. A half-filled coffee cup stands buried in the middle
of the desk with a partial egg, bacon and biscuit wedged
near the calculator. Bills, statements, travel invoices all
lay scattered on the desk.

At times Tom fills the room with loud, staccato laughter
that along with a burst of heat from the air vent propel ls
the poster, 'Beaches of Brazil' off the wall and into a heap
in the corner. As soon as he puts the phone down it would
ring again and a different, but similar conversation would
ensue.He keeps calling the other guys on the phone funny
names, like Buddy, Crime Wave, or Peterbuilt. He takes
another bite of the breakfast biscuit and returns it to its
calculator position. With a "We'll get right on it,
Conroy", he ends the last call.
The weather outside, visible through the small high window
reveals a drizzle of half rain and snow. The walking feet
on the sidewalk kicks the whiteness so random snowflake
patterns begin to form in the corners of the pane.
As Tom is hanging up on the last phone call, the bell on the
outer office door rings, signalling someones arrival. We
hear footsteps approaching and see Mickey poking his head
through the door. He is wearing an overcoat, opened at the
neck revealing a white scarf. His blond hair is full and
alive as if recently washed. It is sprinkled with snow
particles which cling to the longer strands of hair. He
looks like a Christmas caroler fresh from a neighborhood
rendition of 'Deck the Halls'.


Adeste Fideles.
God rest you, merry gentleman.
How's the caroling business?
I'm a little hoarse, but with the
tips I can now afford Starbucks.
Mickey holds up a Starbucks cup with steam rising from their
latest latte concoction.
Sit down a minute. We need to go
over some of these projects. I've
got a few ideas , but you're going
to have to fill in the blanks.
Sure,sure. That's why I'm being
Mickey sat down, shedding the coat and scarf in one shove to
the back of the chair. Flakes of snow cascade onto the
'Beaches of Brazil' poster for a surreal effect.
      (sipping his
What's up? Harrington, Sanders,
or Cappillari
      (reaching for a
Sanders, first. As you may
remember, his wife wants us to
work him this spring. Anyway, I
was asking her about his hobbies.
It always seems to work better
when the individual is at least
familiar with either the
surroundings or the basic premise.
For example, Harrington and the
Civil War. Since Harrington knew
so much about that period in
history, it almost made him wish
it was true on the one hand and on
the other made the terror more
real to him


      (grinning widely)
You're preaching to the choir.
See if you like my Sanders idea.
His wife says he loves basball.
What if this April Mr. Sanders
wakes up the next day as second
Huh, what's that mean? You mean
he wakes up on second base on some
No, no, That's not that funny. He
wakes up because a kid slides into
second base, which is Mr. Sanders'
head. The rest of him is buried
below ground.
      (starting to laugh)
O my God, Tom. That's rich, very
rich. Where did that idea come
      (mimicking a kid's
I am too safe. My feet were on
him before you tagged me. See his
glasses are off. What do you think
Mister? You had the best view.
      (doubled over in
       his chair
I like it. I like it a lot. I can
see it now. Mr. Sanders covered
in dirt with one foot in his face
and the shortstop straddling him.
It would be a far cry from his
corporate office.


      (smiling at his
       own concoction)
I think we need to introduce some
reality to Mr. Sanders life.
Perhaps he would rethink his
divorce strategy.
      (still laughing)
Memo to wardrobe. Kids wear gym
Right. Have you come up with
anything more for our friend, Mr.
Harrington. I don't guess he's
too far from a breaking point.
I think you're right. He's in way
over his head with this Stanislav
angle. He's beginning to realize
all these problems are more than
just gags. That ledger idea was a
master stroke. He's pretty
worried that people will think
he's the Dauphin. What a riot
that is.
      (taking a bite out
       of his breakfast
How about the girlfriend? If we
could ratchet up the pressure on
her, I think she'll cave even
faster than Fred. At the moment
she probably thinks most of this
is just Fred's imagination. We
only hit her with the mayonnaise
      (sipping his
       coffee again)
I'm glad you mentioned her. I do
have a thought. I believe it
could plant the idea that dating
Fred is becoming a dangerous
proposition and perhaps she should
move onto Chicago by herself.


Ok, let's hear it. It's going to
be tough to top my second base
I know. I'll try. You know, my
street person friend, Roscoe.
That black guy who's always
drinking? Is he still living? I
thought you told me awhile ago, he
had liver or kidney disease.
Unfortunately, he has both and,
I'm afraid, is not long for this
world. He wants to go out with a
bang. He wants to participate on
a case. As you recall, you would
never let me use him, because of
his problem.
I don't think any of our cases can
handle a drunk assigned to them.
Too many things can go wrong with
an untrained person, especially
when that person has a good chance
of drinking on the job.
What if I told you there was no
way he could say or do anything to
mess up the project.
What are you going to do? Gag
Better than that. He's going to be
      (coming up out of
       his chair)
Dead. What do you mean he's going
to be dead.


Since you would never let me use
him when he was alive, he's
begging me to employ him when he
dies. He said his wages would
just be flowers at the funeral. He
likes a mixed vase.
      (smiling a little)
Stop it. Isn't that a little
extreme. That might even cross
over our line. And our line is
pretty low. When does he plan on
Well, he's in real bad shape right
now and refusing to go to the
hospital. The weather under the
14th St. bridge hasn't been the
greatest either, you know.
Can't you help him? Won't he move
inside somewhere?
I've given up on that years ago.
Roscoe prides himself on his
cardboard box collection. Besides
his shopping cart wheels are
rusted and he won't go anywhere
without that.
You're a little rough on him,
aren't you. What are you
You have to know Roscoe. He's a
great guy and loves to kid around
about his situation. Actually it
kinda tears me up thinking about
it. I guess the humor is a
I get you. So what's the plan?


I just think that Ms. Peggy might
not appreciate a visit from
Roscoe, especially when he is in,
shall we say, altered state.
I'm beginning to see some
possibilities. Are you sure he
wants to do this?
O he's game alright. He just
wishes he could see her face when
he's there.
I'll bet. You and Rich work out
the details. I've got to work on
Harrington's Chicago trip. Happy
Mickey rose to leave and paused at the door.
O holy night.
Fred in a somewhat dazed, incredulous manner finally rises
from the kitchen floor, holding the incriminating Stanislav
ledgers in his right hand. He puts the ledgers on the
counter with some of the papers, Russian scrawled, falling
to the floor. Fred ignores them and reaches for the phone.
      (on phone)
Hi, it's me.
      (sensing something)
What's wrong, honey. You're not
in the middle of another Civil War
battle, are you?


Very funny. I wish I could laugh
about it, but I'm in bigger
trouble than I realized.
What kind of trouble? More
Stanislav trouble. God, who is
this guy?
Yeah, You're not going to believe
this but the FBI came to see me
and find out what I know about
Stanislav. It's true, he is a big
shot in the Russian mafia.It seems
some of his ledgers with important
crime information is missing. I
supposedly look like some Coleman
guy who's a suspect.
So you just need to prove you're
not this Coleman guy. You're
Fred. What's the problem?
That's what I thought. It's not
that simple because I just found
the missing ledgers in my kitchen.
You can't be serious. How can you
have missing records from the
Russian mob. It doesn't make any
sense. Why do they bother with
all these stupid tricks when they
could have just searched your
I know. I know. Nothing makes
sense. What does 'Too much
Johnson' mean. Why was I sent back
to the Civil War. It's all
craziness. I feel like I'm in the
middle of a Hitchcock movie.
It's starting to be almost scary.
What do we do now?


      (suddenly hopeful)
Hey, what are you doing now? I've
got an idea that may clear this up
in an afternoon.
I'm not that busy. Why? Where do
you want to go?
Hold on. Let me look up
Fred grabbed the phone book from a cupboard in the kitchen.
Opening the book, he runs his finger along through the G's.
Here it is. Gallo. 3635 Townsend
in Queens. The FBI said he is
involved with Stanislav and
looking for the ledgers. He's a
midget in the mob. I think I can
reason with him.
DO you hear yourself. You're
going to reason with a mob midget.
Why is he a midget?
I don't know. He just is. Come
on, Peggy. I'll try to explain who
I am. Maybe he could be an
intermediary between me and
Stanislav. I could use him to
return the ledgers. Are we on?
      (still nervous)
Alright, alright, I'll go. Pick
me up in an hour.
Fred hung up the phone and headed for the shower,pumping his
fist in expectation of getting Stanislav out of his life.
Fred slides by the door of the travel agency where Peggy


works. He is driving the corvette. The day is cold with
slight snow flurries that cause Fred to work the wipers
occasionally. He blows the horn and Peggy, dressed in a big
fur coat exits the building and gets in the car. They
briefly kiss and then Fred pulls away in a hurry.
The car is followed from above as it traverses the city on
its way to the Queens neighborhood of Mr. Gallo. Fred is
speeding and driving through yellow, practically red lights.
Jesus Christ, slow down. You're
going to kill us. Getting there
ten minutes earlier when he
doesn't even know we're coming
won't impress him. Why didn't you
call him first, anyway. See what
he was like. He could be a real
wack-job for all you know.
      (easing off on the
I thought of that. But I just
didn't know what to say to him.
"Hi, I'm not who you think I am,
but I got your ledgers." I thought
it might go better in person.
I hope you're right, Fred. I'll
tell you I am getting sick and
tired of all these problems. We're
supposed to be planning a wedding
and a move to Chicago. All we talk
about is Russian gangsters who we
don't even know and where you wake
up at. This can't continue.
There's got to be some end game to
I think I can wrap it up right
now. As soon as we see Mr. Gallo
whom I'm hoping is a reasonable
I'll say a prayer.
Fred drives in silence until they approach the cross street
in Queens they are looking for. Peggy primps in the rear
view mirror that she has cocked in her direction.


Look at the map, Peggy. What's
the street name again?
You told me'Townsend'
Townsend, that's it. How many
more blocks?
Peggy looks at passing street signs and then back to map.
2 blocks. There it is.
Fred makes a right onto Townsend and slows down looking at
the house numbers. As they get about ten houses down, they
see a crowd of people outside, clustered about a small man
on a platform. The day is cold so it's unusual to see 12-15
people outside. They slow down even further and realize the
street address they want is the yard with the crowd,
evidently enthralled with a midget, presumably Mr. Gallo.
Is this the address? Why is
everybody outside on a day like
today? That looks like your Mr.
She points out the window to the small man on the platform,
just visible above the small crowd. Fred pulls into a
parking spot in front of the house.
Look, Peggy. He's a magician. See
he's got the cane and big hat on
that table and he's doing card
tricks, I think. How bizarre. O
well he seems harmless. Maybe we
can get his attention.
Fred and Peggy exit the car and approach the crowd from the
back as everyone was facing the house. A few more kids come
running up and stop in front of Fred and Peggy, craning
their necks to see Mr. Gallo. They begin to hear the
staccato words of the magician, as he works the crowd with a
standard card trick monologue. The crowd is seemingly
composed of ordinary neighbors with their children, all
dressed for the weather but evidently wanting to see the
magician. They notice a sign that announces ' Townsend
Winter Carnival' hangs on the house across the porch.


Mr. Gallo moves onto another trick with a large white rabbit
produced from under the table. He is less than 4.5 ft tall
with a dark jacket over some kind of dress pants that stop
in bunches of extra cloth above his ankles. His face is
handsome in a childlike way with a somewhat bulbous nose,
that hinted at alcohol abuse. A wispy mustache clings to
his upper lip and his cheeks are reddened from the cold. His
voice in a relatively high pitch continues its spiel on
where the rabbit is headed next.
Fred and Peggy inch their way through the crowd. Fred
raises his hand to get the midget's attention. Suddenly,
Gallo spots them and points back at Fred.
      (excitedly and in
       a high pitched
There, there. Fred is the
Dauphin. Fred is the Dauphin.
The crowd follows his eyes and audibly gasp as one. They
look at Fred and Peggy as if they are monsters, in search of
their children. They shrink away from the two of them, with
murmurs of "We knew it" and the like. Mr. Gallo continues to
shriek, pointing at Fred and repeating, "He's the Dauphin."
Fred and Peggy's face register extreme shock that everyone
not only knows all about the Dauphin, but that Gallo at one
glance assumes Fred is the guilty party.
No, no,I'm not him. Let me
explain. My name is Fred
Harrington. I'm not Coleman or the
      (gesturing to the
Let me ask you. Is this man Fred
or is he the Dauphin?
The crowd was now larger as more people had emerged from
their houses to crowd around Fred and Peggy. They begin
chanting as if on cue,"He's the Dauphin."


                       FRED (cont'd)
Mr. Gallo, please. Can't we talk
somewhere. This is all a big
mistake. I can prove it.
This only seemed to drive Gallo to a greater frenzy, as he
points at Fred and then implores the crowd to increase their
chant. More children come running from the next block and as
soon as they approach, begin laughing and chanting in
unison,"Fred's the Dauphin."
Peggy, sensing the futility of arguing with this obviously
maddening crowd, pulls Fred close to her.
Forget it, Fred. This is
hopeless. These people are
lunatics. Let's get out of here.
You're right. Let's go.
They retreated through the crowd, which gave them a wide
berth. The crowd kept up their chant and other catcalls like
they were driving witches from their midst. Fred and Peggy
reach the car and get in. Fred and Peggy, both with
agonized and worried expressions on their face, drive slowly
away, dodging even more participants in Gallo's twisted
Later that day, Fred is shown relaxing in his chair,
watching television. He switches the set off and slowly
gets up from the chair. He turns off lights and moves down
the hallway to his bedroom. He appears to be in a daze over
the day's events and his inability to get Stanislav out of
his life.
      (mumbling to
I can't work. I can't sleep. All
due to someone named Stanislav who
I don't even know.
He shakes off his clothes and plunges into bed. Within
minutes he is asleep. It is 10:30, but by 12:30, as shown by
the clock on his nightstand,he does not hear his door being
opened, nor feel the shot administered in his arm by a
shadowy figure.


In a closeup, Fred is shown with his covers up to his chin,
seemingly still in bed, his eyes closed. A breeze, as if a
window is opened is shown buffeting his head. He pulls the
covers tighter in an effort to get warm. Finally, he makes
the decision to get up, obviously to close a window that is
somehow open in the middle of winter. His eyes open and he
realizes he is moving, slowly at first, but it is picking up
speed. He also realizes he is not in his bedroom.
The camera pulls back and shows Fred is under covers, in his
night clothes. He is not in bed , but tied to a plunging
sled that is beginning to hurtle down a snowy ski slope in
pitch darkness. Fred screams in absolute terror.
      (echoing off
       distant mountain)
Stanislav. O God, no, Stanislav.
The speed of the sled causes the wind to raise Fred's hair
and pull the covers off his body. He struggles to retain
them, as he is clothed only in a tee shirt and underwear. He
tries to roll off sled, but realizes he is tied to it with a
large rope. Fred's face shows the terror of thinking you are
in bed and wake up to the fact that you are on sled plunging
through a forest. His eyes widen as he notices a large bush
dead ahead. He realizes his feet are free and placed on the
sled's steering mechanism. By shifting to the right he just
misses the bush with the branches grazing his face.
      (screaming again)
Help me. Help
He feels along the sides of the sled, as it continues its
rapid pace down hill. Finding some kind of brakes, he pulls
backward, slowing the sled somewhat. Looming ahead, he sees
a towering fir tree. He again pushes his feet on the
steering to get the sled to go right of the tree. He again
just misses tree, but hits a small bush broadside and
overturns the sled. He flips a few times and ends up in a
snow bank with the right side of his body flush in the snow.
His face is plunged directly into the snow bank. After a
few seconds of no movement,Fred's face emerges from bank. He
is covered in snow, making him appear to be one of Santa's
Realizing that he can now reach the ropes that are
restraining him, he unties himself. The night sky is
forbidding with the wind picking up stray flakes and


pummeling Fred's face. Freezing in his underwear, he wraps
the blanket around him. Looking overhead at the tree he is
under he notices a bag tied limply to a branch, The bag is
within reach if he stands on the sled. He tugs at it and it
releases. Suspecting a trick, he opens it warily.
      (still in shock,
       but mumbling to
Mayonaise, perhaps dog feces.
Incredibly, the bag contains warm clothes and a coat, along
with a map. Opening the map, it shows a magic marker way to
the main road. Written in large letters,'Congratulations on
your successful ride through upstate New York's fastest ski
slope. Hurry back.'
Fred can only shake his head. He puts on the clothes and
begins the lonely trek through deep snow toward some distant
Peggy is preparing herself for bed in the bedroom of her
apartment. The apartment is exquisitely decorated with wall
coverings of mauve and Kelly green woven into a tapestry of
an urban design. Peggy is seated at her dressing
table,wearing a dressing gown and removing her makeup. Half
way through the process she gets up and goes to the kitchen
for a bottled water. She is humming a tune, evidently happy
about her upcoming wedding, and undeterred with yesterday's
visit to Mr. Gallo. The rest of the apartment is now visible
with white and tan furniture, accented with glass and
burnished steel tables.
Returning to the dressing table, she examines her flawless
complexion, that alternates between pink and white shades,
more dependent on mood than anything. Her blond hair is
still teased and twisted into random patterns that frame her
face and just tumble across her night gown.
Sipping the water, she carefully removes the remaining
vestiges of today's makeup. The phone rings. She answers.
      (on phone, tired)
Hi honey. It's me.
      (into receiver)
Hi, darling. What's up? Are you
still upset about yesterday?


Well, there have been more
developments since then. I didn't
want to bother you at work, but I
just got back from Binghamton, New
      (trying to be
Why were you up there? I don't
remember you saying you had a trip
O, it wasn't planned, believe me.
Maybe by Stanislav, but not by me.
You didn't wake up on a
battlefield again, did you?
This was worse. I went to bed
last night in my apartment and
woke up, tied to a sled, going 40
miles/hour down a ski slope in
Binghamton. Don't ask me how or
why that occurred. Just know that
it did. I can report than I am an
excellent screamer and that the
word Stanislav provides for
perfect echoes at Greentree Ski
O Fred, you can't be serious. You
woke up on a moving sled hundreds
of miles from home and you've no
idea how you got there. This
makes no sense. If they want
those ledgers, why don't they just
come and get them. What is the
purpose of all these tricks? I'm
sorry, I forgot to ask, are you
Yeah, I'm fine. What's weird is
that at the end of the sled run
was a bag of clothes and a map on
how to get out of there. Why help
me get home if I'm such a threat


                       FRED (cont'd)
to them. You're right, this whole
Stanislav thing makes no sense.
Maybe when we get to Chicago, we
can put this craziness behind
this. When are you flying there
for your interview anyway? You've
just got to get this job. Won't
this be your final interview?
I'm flying out next Monday. I
think it's down to me and another
guy. Listen, Peggy, I'll talk to
you tomorrow. I've got to get
some sleep. Love you.
I love you, Fred. Maybe tomorrow
will be better. Bye now
Peggy hangs up the phone. She wipes the sweet look off her
face and scowls a 'Damn' into her makeup mirror.
      (to herself)
When is this going to stop? He's
got to get this job.
She finishes primping in the mirror and switches off the
lamp at the table She checks the alarm clock which shows
10:40PM. Peggy opens the dressing table drawer and extracts
a sleeping pill from a bottle. She takes the pill with a
long drink out of the bottled water from the refrigerator.
She removes her dressing gown and gets under the covers.
Reaching up she switches off the smaller lamp by her bed.
The camera closes in on Peggy's alarm clock. It switches
from 7:29 to 7:30AM and the radio with a traffic report
begins playing. As the camera pans higher, Peggy is shown
gradually stirring, her blond hair matted against the
pillow. As the traffic report gives way to a weather
forecast, the camera pans even higher and a shape can be
discerned lying under the covers next to Peggy.
Peggy evidently groggy from the sleeping pill she took,
raises her head and looks at the clock, cursing under her
breath. Her eyes are half opened as she tries to throw back


covers and get out of bed. As the covers are thrown back, a
black arm is visible across her stomach. As her eyes
gradually widen at the shock of realizing someone is
sleeping with her, her mouth opens and shuts. The second
time it opens, it produces a muffled scream.
      (hysterical and
       leaping from bed)
O my God. Get out, get out. Who
are you? I'm calling 911 right
She reaches for the phone on the nightstand, her eyes glued
on the one black arm protruding from the covers. She has the
phone to her ear and dialing when she realizes the phone is
      (crying and
The line is cut. Oh my God. Oh my
God. What do I do? Help. Help
She runs to the front door and almost opens it, when she
realizes she is in a revealing nightie. Still sobbing she
goes to the closet and gets her coat, but can't resist
peeking into the bedroom again. The black arm has not
moved, nor has the rest of the body. Still whimpering, she
advances closer to the bed. She keeps muttering, "Who are
you", but her curiosity has taken over, as she creeps closer
with still no movement of the arm. Finally reaching the
bed,in a burst of bravery she flings the covers off of the
lump in her bed.
It was a black man, but he was also dead, his eyes
unblinking and staring now at the ceiling. It is Mickey's
friend, Roscoe. A man in his sixties, but looking even
older, with a grizzled gray beard and shadowing skin, he is
dressed in clothes suited for his viaduct existence. He has
on a checked flannel shirt with dirty gray dress pants. His
dirty mud-flecked gym shoes were left next to Peggy's
slippers by the side of the bed. At the sight of the dead
Roscoe in her bed, Peggy's eyes again widen and she begins a
lengthy loud and very prolonged scream of terror, that she
embellishes as she runs from the room. This time she opens
the door to her apartment, and continues the screaming down
the hall.
Help me, Help me. Police. Hurry,
there's a dead man in my apartment


As the camera looks down the hallway in Peggy's apartment
building, doors are opening and residents are sticking their
heads cautiously out their doors. Most of them are dressed
in pajamas and the like, with unkempt heads of hair
protruding into the hall. The sounds of running feet can be
heard in an adjacent stairwell and while Peggy continues her
screaming, two heads emerge from the stairs. The men are
taking the steps three at a time and arrive breathless, next
to Peggy's door.
Rich and Bows appear, dressed again as FBI men. They flash
badges and Peggy appears relieved.
Is there a problem, Ms. Colfax?
Man, you got here quick.I'll say
there's a problem. I've got a dead
man in my bedroom and I've no idea
how he got there. Hey, how did you
know my name?
Let's just say it's our business
to know the names of gang
Gangsters. I don't have anything
to do with gangsters. I'm a
travel agent, for Christ sake.
As people in the hall begin inching their way down the
corridor to Peggy and the FBI men, they motion for her to
enter the apartment. They quickly follow her in. Once inside
with the door shut, the questioning resumes.
      (more intimidating)
Come on. Isn't your real name Rea
Stanislav, married to Russian mob
boss, Ivan Stanislav?
      (more unsure of
What, not that name again. I've
never met the man, but he has been
tormenting my boyfriend for weeks
over some silly ledgers.


      (speaking for the
       first time)
Exactly our point. If you're
married to Stanislav and you have
a boyfriend, I'd be tormenting
you, too.
Look, I'm Peggy Colfax. I've
always been Peggy Colfax. Can't
we talk about the dead guy in my
apartment. What does Stanislav
have to do with him?
Look, let's start over. My name
is Ted Daniels and this is Agent
Stansky. We're with the FBI. We
met with your boyfriend a week or
so ago regarding this Stanislav
matter. He appears to be involved,
somehow and now based on the fact
that you've got a dead man in
there, it's starting to look like
you're involved too.
      (becoming a little
Believe me, I am not involved and
Fred isn't either. They've got us
confused with somebody else.
Is your dead man black?
      (calming herself)
As a matter of fact he is.
Is his name Junior Johnson, better
known as 'Too Much Johnson'. He's
a player in the Stanislav network.
How the hell should I know? I've
never seen that man in my life.
I'll be honest, he looks like a
street person. I can't believe
he's in anybody's network. Don't
you want to see him?


OK let's see what we got. We'll
reserve judgement until we check
him and you out a little further.
We don't want a gang war on our
Peggy just shook her head at the ridiculous mess that she
and Fred had somehow stumbled into. She leads them to the
bedroom and points at the motionless figure. The two
officers brush past her. They approach the body, feeling
for a pulse and listening for a heartbeat. It was a
formality, as it was obvious the man was dead.
      (looking back at
This is definitely Mr. Johnson. If
you're not involved in business
with him as you claim then maybe
there's another explanation.
      (looking hopeful)
What's that?
      (with a more
       aggressive tone)
You're trolling the streets,
picking up stray street people for
some sexual obsession we can only
guess at. I think maybe you killed
this man with, shall we say, your
sexual aggressiveness
      (exploding in
How dare you accuse me of walking
the streets? Look at me. Am I
the type that would want to have
sex with that man. Test me, I
don't care. I can prove I didn't
have sex with him.
O we'll test alright, but you
don't even have an explanation for
why this man is lying dead in your
bed. From my experience, this man
appears to have had a heart


                       RICH (cont'd)
attack, possibly during sex with
an attractive young woman, someone
he wasn't used to, for example.
      (even madder)
You're out of your mind. What
kind of officer, are you anyway.
First you think I'm Stanislav's
wife and then you accuse me of
sleeping with one his associates.
We'll leave it alone for now,Miss
Colfax. Let's take some
Rich and Bows begin taking notes and walking around the
body, noting time and other observations. They feel the
arms, as if they are checking for time and nature of death.
At that point there's a knock on the door and more men can
be heard entering the apartment.
Two men enter the bedroom, one dressed in white(Mickey)
pulling a stretcher, the other dressed as a doctor, with a
suit,tie, and requisite black bag. (Tom)
City morgue. You have a deceased
Yes, on the bed there. It's a John
Doe, but we've got a pretty good
idea who he is. Be careful with
him, this is probably a murder
investigation. Miss Princess here
claims not to know anything, but
we'll see about that later
I'm Dr. Hawkins. Let me examine
the body initially and perhaps we
can determine what he died from.
We'll still have to do an autopsy,
but maybe I can give you something
to go on if this is a homicide.
Tom opens his black bag and begins probing the body,
examining mouth, ears, eyes, as well as pressing on his
internal organs. Peggy, becoming again increasingly


distraught over this potential homicide in her bedroom,
cowers in a corner watching the men at work.Bows breaks the
      (looking at Peggy)
Could I have a drink of water,
Miss Colfax?
Peggy nods yes and retreats to the kitchen, thankful to be
out of the room for even a short time. The doctor continues
his examination while Micky readies the portable stretcher
for its new occupant.
Peggy returns with a glass of water, complete with ice and
proffers it to Bows.
      (drinking as if he
       is extremely
Finally after some more bizarre tests, Tom at last seems to
reach some diagnosis and straightens up from the bed.
      (in a somber tone)
This man's been poisoned.
What, how can you know that just
by looking at him? Don't you have
to run some tests?
Yeah,Doc. Don't you have to run
some tests?
O, I'll run tests alright when I
get back to the lab. But believe
me, based on the swollen
capillaries in his eyes, this man
has ingested some form of kitchen
cleaner or drain opener. I'd stake
my career on it.
Suddenly Bows starts moaning and clutching his stomach. He
bends down and pitches forward to the floor, his large shoes
kicking Peggy's night stand.


      (concerned and
       rushing to his
What's wrong, Ed.
I..I don't feel good. I feel like
I'm going to puke.
Bows continues to moan and begins rolling from side to side.
The others huddle over him with even Peggy edging closer.
Doc, help us out here. What's
wrong with him?
Tom gets down on one knee to examine Bows. The same
techniques are used as he did on the dead man.
What'd you eat? What'd you eat?
      (again somberly)
This man's been poisoned.
      (pointing at Peggy)
She.. gave me water.
      (exploding in rage
       at Peggy)
How many people are you going to
poison in one day? What are you,
some homegrown terrorist. I've
never seen nerve like this,
poisoning the policeman
investigating your first murder.
Did you think you were going to
get away from this?
I never poisoned anyone. That
water came from straight from the
tap, I only added ice.
It seemed like everyone had the same idea at once. They
looked at the partially filled glass of water where Bows
left it on the night stand. A ring of dampness soiled the


napkin underneath it, but what is very evident are white
crystals clinging to the sides of the glass, suspended above
the water remaining.
      (now frantic,
       grabbing glass)
What is it? Arsenic,bug killer?
What'd you poisoned him with?
      (Scared and
Nothing, nothing. This is a
nightmare. I haven't done
      (glaring at Peggy)
You're going to pay for this big
time, sister. Maybe the jailers
will appreciate your sick sexual
obsessions, but you're going to be
put away for a long time.
      (dialing and
       speaking into his
       cell phone)
Officer down, officer down. Send
ambulance to Carlyle Apartments,
unit B-6. Yeah, on Bolton street.
Peggy burst into tears and started to run from the room.
Rich stopped her by pulling a gun and pointing it at her.
Bows even stopped his groaning to watch.
Hold it right there, sister. I
think we need to read you your
rights and find out why you have a
compulsion to poison people. Maybe
your boss Stanislav is real proud,
but the authorities in this town
take a dim view of criminals that
try to kill cops.
Come on. Let's get this man to a
hospital. We'll let the second
crew take the dead body.


They put Bows on the stretcher and wheel him to the front
door. The apartment buzzer was on with the real ambulance
crew in the lobby waiting to get in. Rich buzzes them in.
Everyone except Peggy, who was still whimpering and cowering
under the watchful gaze of Rich and his gun, exited the
      (as he is shutting
       the door.)
Look Miss Colfax. Because of the
situation with my partner and
jurisdiction issues, we're going
to let the local police handle the
initial investigation. They'll be
here in a minute. Let me assure
you that the FBI will do
everything in its power to
prosecute you to the fullest
extent of the law.
The Lavengers entourage passes the other ambulance crew with
their own stretcher in the hallway.
We got this guy from unit B-6, but
there's also a dead guy with
suspicious circumstances in the
same apartment. You might want to
call police. I think the
perpetrator is still there. Don't
worry, she's not violent. She's
into poison. A real sex sicko from
what the neighbors tell us.
The other men say thanks and Tom,Mickey, Rich and Bows, who
hops off the stretcher once they turn a corner, head for the
Fred is sitting on the airplane that is taking him to
Chicago for his job interview with the church foundation.
Obviously, this is critical to him, as Peggy is counting on
him to secure this job so they can be married and move from
New York. He is shown talking on the phone to Jennifer.
      (on phone)
Hi Jen. It's me.


      (at home, on
       kitchen phone)
Hi Fred. Where are you?
I'm on the plane to Chicago for my
interview. How are the kids?
      (With children
       noise in
They're fine. They're playing.
Can you hear them?
As a matter of fact, I can. Listen
Jen, I just wanted to find out if
you're going home for Christmas to
see your folks.
Sure. Aren't you coming? Your
parents will want to see the kids?
We'll be going to the afternoon
Mass, as always. We could meet
That's what I was planning. It'll
be good to get home after the
stress of the last month or so.
      (more hostile)
Most of that stress was self
induced, you know. You didn't
have to leave your family for


      (sounding more
       tired and on
I know. It's not even that so
much as this whole Stanislav
business. Do you know, Peggy was
almost arrested by the police. Of
all things that could happen, they
found a dead black man in her
apartment. He's supposed to be
some subordinate of Stanislav. It
doesn't make any sense.
      (realizing that
       perhaps Lavengers
       is involved,
       answers warily)
O yeah, you told me a little about
that. They actually found a dead
man with her. How'd he get there?
Who knows?. You wouldn't believe
half of what has happened to us in
the last few weeks. It's like
we're being targeted because of my
great sin. All I can tell you is
that Peggy is at a breaking point
and I need to get this mess
straightened up soon or she's just
going to look for someone else who
doesn't have mob connections.
O Fred, I know you. You can't
have mob connections. Maybe it's
a sign you need to remain with
your family.
       looking out a
Maybe, maybe you're right. Look,
Jen I gotta go. I'll see you in
Cincinnati at Christmas. Tell the
kids I said hi and I love them.


I will. We all love you, with or
without Stanislav.
Fred and Jennifer hung up the phone and the seat belt sign
came on, as the plane descended to O'Hara airport. Fred is
then shown departing the plane. He is in a foul mood,
hurrying through the airport dodging fellow pedestrians in a
vain effort to be first at the taxi stand. After several
moments of being stuck behind a large doddering family in
the middle of of the escalator he mutters, "Bastard" to the
flannel clad patriarch. He didn't hear it, but his little
girl does. She asks in a loud voice,"Daddy,what's a
bastard." Fred cringes and walks even faster towards the
Fred hops into the first available cab, telling the
driver,"Downtown Marriot." It is near 5:00 in December so
it is almost dusk. All the cars have their lights on.The
taxi speeds off, as Fred who has never been to Chicago
stares out the window at the passing traffic. He is nervous
and upset about everything that has gone wrong these last
few weeks.The towers of downtown Chicago loom in the
distance, with the lighted windows along with isolated
Christmas displays making for a pretty scene which does not
overcome Fred's mood. The cab pulls up to the hotel and
Fred heads for reservations.

As the clerk pulls up his reservation, he inquires about
room service and that he needs a wake up call at 6:30AM. The
clerk points to the elevators and Fred is shown heading to
his room. After he enters his room, the clock shows 6:00PM.
Setting the bags down, he orders a steak and 2 beers from
room service. As the waiter brings the meal up the elevator,
Tom and Mickey are in the same car. While Tom distracts the
waiter with a question, Mickey slips something into both
Fred is shown eating his meal with the television on and the
lights off. The clock now shows 7:30 and Fred is getting
increasingly tired. He takes a last sip of beer and quietly
closes his eyes. Startled by a loud TV commercial, he rises
just enough to click off the remote.
Unaware that he has again been drugged, Fred wakes up in
what appears to be the same hotel room. Unfortunately for


him, he has been driven to a similar hotel in St. Louis
overnight. At 6:30AM, Fred gets his wake up call. He
groggily answers.
      (barely awake)
Hello, thank you.
Fred is shown slowly rising from his bed, holding his head
and shuffling to shower.
      (mumbling to
A hangover from 2 beers,
Fred is standing in the shower,letting water pulsate into
his face and head, trying to wake up. Then he is adjusting
his tie and heading out the door, down hotel hallway. Next
he is exiting hotel lobby and climbing into cab.He is
dressed in suit and tie and appears somewhat nervous about
upcoming interview. Driver, AHMED is foreign looking with
hooded eyes and unkempt hair.
      (in broken English)
Where to?
16th and Vine. The address is
1600 Vine.
Traffic is relatively light, Ahmed drives cab through
downtown streets. The day is chilly, but the sun is edging
its way up the horizon providing a bright day so far. Most
stores have Christmas displays and some shoppers are already
mingling with the office workers making their way to work.
      (seeing numerous
       Missouri plates)
Must be big convention in town,
lot of Missouri license plates,
The taxi driver looks at him funny and just grunts. Finally
cab pulls up to curb of 1600 Vine. The building is a
ramshackle diner, Sour Lemon Bar and Grill. The bar had seen
better days and the grime on window completely obscured neon


      (looking at meter)
1600 Vine. $8.25 is fare.
      (Almost getting
This can't be it driver. It's a
tall building, at least ten
stories. This is a cafe. Did we
get off Vine somehow?
      (raising his voice)
This is 1600 Vine, mister. Only 1
Vine Street in town. Look for
Fred looks out window and see street sign showing Vine St.
Then he looks at bar and sees 1600 on door.
      (reaching into his
There's got to be something wrong.
Here I can prove it.
Fred thrust the letter he received from the church
organization which clearly shows 1600 Vine, Chicago
      (looking bored)
This no Chicago. This St. Louis.
You in wrong town, Mister.
      (exploding in
What kind of crap are you trying
to pull. Of course, this is
Chicago. I flew into O'Hara
yesterday and spent the night in
the Marriott. You just picked me
up from that same Mariott.
      (wanting to get
       crazy man from
I come to America 3 years ago. I
come to St. Louis. I never leave.
You may have flown to Chicago, but


                       AHMED (cont'd)
you in St. Louis now. You ask
Ahmed points to his cab driver's license which shows he is
licensed in State of Missouri. He also turns up radio which
promptly gives the weather for St. Louis. Fred hops out of
cab and stops first passerby.
      (excitement and
       fear in voice)
What city are we in?
The man in a suit looks at him incredulously."Why, St.
Louis. Look you can see the arches." Fred looks off down
street and to his horror he sees the famed St. Louis arches.
Fred's whole body slumps while he returns to cab. He keeps
saying, "No, No,No. It can't be."
       spectacle of man
       who doesn't know
       what town he's in)
Where to Mister? Sour Lemon
doesn't open for a few hours.I
recommend burgers.
      (in stunned
Back to hotel. Sorry for your
trouble. No, No, No.
Fred is shown drinking beer in his hotel room, at 9:00 in
the morning. He has already called the church foundation
and was told to forget about the job. He gingerly dials
phone to Peggy's office.
      (on phone)
Ms. Colfax, may I help you.
      (Gulping into
It's me. I'm afraid I've got some
bad news, honey.


Fred, aren't you in Chicago? Wait
a minute, your interview was this
I'm not in Chicago. I mean I
should be. I flew there yesterday,
but now I'm in St Louis.
      (becoming angry)
How can you be in St. Louis? I saw
your tickets, they said Chicago.
I wish I knew. I went to bed in
Chicago and woke up in St. Louis.
I guess it's another Stanislav
issue. Anyway, my interview has
been cancelled along with any job
prospects. I guess they figured
anybody that can't be in the right
city also shouldn't be managing
millions of dollars for them.
What, what, you didn't get the
job. I am so sick of hearing that
man's name, I could scream. How in
the world can you be in the wrong
city? You didn't feel movement in
the night. I bet you got confused
and somehow got on the wrong
plane. O my God, what a moron. So
I'm just supposed to put my plans
on hold while you search for
another job.
      (trying to be calm)
I'm sure I could come up with
another interview somewhere. It
may just take time.
      (still seething)
You know what, Fred. Just forget
it. Get out of my life and take
your Stanislav buddy with you. I


                       PEGGY (cont'd)
was almost arrested and I could
have been raped because of you and
your mob connections.
He's not my buddy.I'm just as
confused about everything as you
are. Come on, Peggy. Don't blame
all this on me.
Who else am I going to blame it
on. Somehow you brought him into
our life. But he's all yours now.
Goodbye, Fred, Don't call again.O
by the way, the wedding's off.
She slams the phone in his ear. Fred hangs up his phone and
looks morosely out the window. He takes another swig of
The graphic on screen shows Cincinnati Christmas Eve. Fred
is in a cab heading to the same church where he and Jennifer
were married. Jennifer and his children along with his
parents and her parents are all attending the same
children's Mass at 4:30 in the afternoon. The day is
extremely cloudy and cold, as the cab takes an exit off the
expressway from the airport. Christmas lights are beginning
to come on as dusk approaches. Fred is on his cellphone,
talking to Jennifer.
Jen, it's me. I'm in Cincinnati,
the flight was delayed and I'm in
a cab now on the way to church.
      (in car with
That's great, Fred. The kids will
be glad to see you. Your parents
and my parents, too.
Jen, I'm sorry about everything
lately. This might be an awkward
time, but maybe we could start
over again.


      (trying not to get
       too excited)
Fred, are you serious. What about
      (talking lower so
       the cabbie can't
Peggy is over. Jennifer, I've
been a fool. Would you take me
back. I know you have every right
to say no, but I just want our
family together again.
      (now excited)
O Fred, that would be wonderful.
The kids will be overjoyed,
especially at Christmas.
Thanks, Jen. I'll be there in few
minutes, maybe we can talk a
little in church.
Sure, Fred. We'll meet in the
lobby. That's where our parents
will be anyway.
Great, see you soon.
They both hang up the phone and Fred stares out at his old
neighborhood. The cab approaches St. Theresa's which is
packed with cars. Fred gestures to the cab driver to let
him out at the curb. The taxi pulls over with Fred paying
the man and then pulling a small suitcase out with him. The
remaining sunlight is almost gone, as Fred makes his way
through milling crowds of families exiting from cars. The
church school sits on the left of the lot with a large
church rising from the back of the pavement parallel to the
street. The strains of Christmas music can be heard over
the crowded lot, as Fred walks slowly with the suitcase
towards the church.
At last he reaches the large wooden doors of the church.
Pulling the doors open, the opening chords of 'The First
Noel' are heard blanketing the church. A choir in a loft
above him along with the many people already in the pews


begin an impassioned accompaniment to the organ. The church
is dark and covered with red poinsettias leading up to the
alter where a large Nativity scene is bathed in light. Fred
in the darkness of the lobby searches for his family through
a gathering throng of people.
      (running through
       people from the
       one side, yelling)
Daddy, Daddy.
Mark with Judy behind him run up to Fred and jump into his
arms. Fred shoves the suitcase to one side and picks each
one up, giving them each a hug and a kiss. Then he sees
Jennifer and both sets of parents in the corner waiting for
him. Fred makes his way over to them with both kids in tow
with Mark dragging the suitcase.
When Fred approaches his family, he reaches for Jennifer who
gives him a big hug. They kiss just as the next song,'Hark
the Herald Angels' begins. Fred shakes the hand of his
then hugs both his in-laws.
      (grinning broadly)
Welcome home, son. I think maybe
you got your family back.
I think so, too, Dad. As I told
Jennifer, I lost my way for awhile
but now I'm back
He looks at Jennifer again and she again comes into his
arms. Even though they're surrounded by incoming
parishioners, they kiss passionately.
I'm so sorry, Jen. This will be
our best Christmas, you'll see.
      (still holding
I know.
O Fred, this came for you at the
What is it?


I don't know. It looks like a
Christmas card. But you haven't
got mail at her house in years.
She hands him the envelope, which Fred promptly opens. It's
a standard Christmas card, with Merry Christmas emblazoned
across the front. Fred opens up the card with others
crowding in to see. The card reads 'Best Wishes for the New
Year', with a signature below, ' The Vladimer Stanislav
Fred can only shake his head and smile at the total
incongruity of the past month of his life.
Who are they, son. Clients?
      (laughing at the
       nonsense of it
O just some new friends from the
city. You'd like them. They're a
really neat couple, a little too
partial to practical jokes, but
other than that...
The last verse of 'Hark the Herald Angels' was now starting
and with the influx of the crowd the singing was even
louder. Fred, arm and arm with Jennifer with the kids and
grandparents right behind make their way into the church.
Fred even starts to sing, as he slips the Christmas card
into his pocket.


Back to Top of Page
Leave Feedback
From Mike Jaones Date 3/1/2006 **
First, congrats on completing your screenplay. That's an accomplishment you can be proud of! I've given you a 2 in the true spirit of average, for several reasons, all of which can be improved on with practice, persistence, and creativity. 1. There's a lot of telling and not showing in the opening scenes. If you want to convey what the Lavengers do, show the audience what they do...put them in a small "gag" situation and reveal some of their character traits by the action that follows. Then, when Jennifer enters the office, we, the audience already know what they do and you can avoid a lot of "sitting down and talking". The "dry cleaning" exchange doesn't really do it, because we see the gag setup, but then the results are explained "he'll have to come way out of his way..." 2. Directions should be in present tense, you have it in some places, but not in others, e.g: "Someone *answered* right away and he began speaking in a high". Also, try to get rid of as may "to be" verbs as possible. Most of the time it indicates a passive, weak sentence. So: "The sidewalks are filled with pedestrians, many of them shoppers" becomes "Pedestrians, many of them shoppers, crowd the sidewalks." Notice how it puts the reader right in the middle of things. Doing this can actally help reveal the character's feelings without you having to say what he's feeling...like "He is in a foul mood, hurrying through the airport dodging fellow pedestrians in a vain effort to be first at the taxi stand." which could become: "He charges through the airport, elbowing fellow pedestrians aside in a vain effort to reach the taxi stand first." Hope this helps!

Back to Top of Page
Leave Feedback
You must be logged in to leave feedback.
Home    My Account    Products    Screenwriter Community    Screenwriter's Corner    Help
Forgot Your Password?    Privacy Policy    Copyright 2022, ScriptBuddy LLC.    Email help@scriptbuddy.com