“All Roads Lead To Rome?” (Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved)

“All Roads Lead to Rome?” [UNFINISHED] (11.21.16)

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PART I

FADE IN:

WIDE ANGLE AERIAL SHOT OF ROME.

ZOOM IN TO SEE A MAN AND WOMAN HOLDING HANDS AS THEY CROSS THE STREET ARRIVING AT THE COLOSSEUM IN ROME. THE VIBRANT 50 SOMETHING COUPLE ARE SOAKING WET FROM THE RAIN THAT’S BEEN DELUGING THE CITY FOR HOURS. THEY SEEM TO NOT NOTICE OR CARE.

BEA: You can’t imagine how many times I’ve dreamed of spending a day with a man like you in a place like this.”

DANTE: “Then I’m making your dreams come true… We’ve just begun.”

DANTE TURNS AND WAVES FOR A TAXI AND ONE PULLS OVER AND THEY JUMP INTO THE BACK SEAT. DANTE TELLS THE DRIVER AN ADDRESS IN ITALIAN. BEA’S EYES ARE CLOSED AS SHE SLUMPS DOWN IN THE SEAT, EXHAUSTED FROM THE DAYS ACTIVITIES. DANTE SLUMPS DOWN IN HIS SEAT TO ARRIVE AT HER CHEEK WITH HIS LIPS AND BRUSHES HER CHEEK WITH HIS LIPS WITHOUT MAKING ANY SOUND. BEA FAINTLY SIGHS WHICH EXCITES DANTE AND HE MOVES TOWARDS HER MOUTH. SOON THEY EMBRACE WITH THE MOISTURE OF THEIR SALIVA MINGLING WITH THE RAIN DRAINING FROM THEIR WET HAIR INTO THEIR MOUTHS.

MOMENTS LATER THE TAXI ARRIVES AT THE ADDRESS WHICH IS ON THE SAME STREET AS THE COLOSSEUM JUST BLOCKS AWAY FROM WHERE THEY GOT INTO THE CAB. DANTE THROWS TOO MUCH MONEY ON THE FRONT SEAT AND GRABS BEA’S HAND TO HELP HER OUT OF THE CAB. HE USHERS HER INTO A DOOR-WAY WHERE NO DOOR SHOULD BE AS THE BUILDING SEEMS A PART OF THE HISTORICAL LANDSCAPE, BUT HE KNOWS WHERE THE HIDDEN KEYPAD IS AND THE CODE AND THE ALMOST INVISIBLE DOOR OPENS AND HE PULLS HER INSIDE AND ESCORTS HER TO A GRAND BATHROOM AND SAYS:

DANTE: Take a nice hot bath then shower. (Pointing) There’s clothes in the closet off the bathroom.

DANTE LEAVES AND BEA STARTS THE WATER AND WANDERS AROUND THE PALATIAL ROOMS OFF THE BATHROOM. SHE CHOOSES A VIBRANT COPPER COLORED SILK SHIRT AND BLACK WOOL SKIRT, WHILE SHE WAITS FOR THE TUB TO FILL.

DANTE STANDS IN HIS ELEGANT STUDY HOLDING A PHONE AND SAYS:

DANTE: No, I can’t go to the gala… I’ve met an amazing woman… we’re staying in… and what if I don’t… I thought you were going… why didn’t you tell me he’s selling the EGG!… I’ll be there!

DANTE HANGS UP THE PHONE AND SMILES AND GOES INTO THE KITCHEN TO GET A GLASS OF WINE THEN WALKS TO THE BATHROOM AND KNOCKS ON THE BATHROOM DOOR.

DANTE: Bea, darling there’s been a change in plans. Please pick out a ball-gown from the closet when you’re done, we’re going to a gala in an hour. I’m going to shower and dress and I’ll be back for you in 40 minutes.

DANTE AND BEA WALK INTO AN ELEGANT AND ENORMOUS BALLROOM FILLED WITH THE JET-SETTING GLITTERATI OF ROME. THERE’S AN AUCTION OF A PRIVATE COLLECTION OF TREASURES — SCULPTURES, PAINTINGS, TRINKETS AND JEWELRY – FROM THE PRIVATE COLLECTION OF PEDRO ARUPE, THE RICHEST MAN IN SPAIN. GUESTS BID FOR THE PRICELESS OBJECTS.

BEA: I’m going to find the ladies room. Do you want another drink?”

DANTE: “No darling. Tell me, do you like that Faberge egg made of rubies and pink diamonds just to the right of the stage?”

BEA: (jokingly) “Yes, it’s lovely but I don’t have room in my flat for such trinkets. (She smiles). I’ll be back soon.”

AS BEA MAKES HER WAY UP A GRAND STAIRCASE TO THE SECOND STORY, SHE’S LOOKING BACK AT DANTE KEEPING HER HAND IN FRONT OF HER ON THE RAILING AS SHE MOVES UP THE STAIRCASE TO ENSURE SHE DOESN’T FALL WHILE NOT LOOKING WHERE SHE’S GOING. SUDDENLY HER HAND LANDS ON A MAN’S HAND. SHE SLOWLY TURNS TO SEE THE FACE OF THE MAN IN FRONT OF HER AND IT’S PEDRO ARUPE. SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHO HE IS, NEVER HAVING SEEN OR HEARD OF HIM, BUT HE’S IMMEDIATELY INFATUATED WITH HER AND HER BEAUTY.

PEDRO: “Good evening my dear, are you here to bid on my treasures?”

BEA: “Me…no. I’m here with a man I just met today (she turns and points to Dante).”

PEDRO: “Yes, I know Dante very well. He’s my protege and has been for many years. How did you two meet?”

BEA: “We both got into a cab at the same time at the Vatican this afternoon.”

PEDRO: “I see. Will you both join me after the auction at my villa?”

BEA: “Well, I don’t know…”

PEDRO: “I insist.”

BEA: “Well, if Dante agrees. Perhaps you could speak to him?”

BEA GENTLY PULLS HER HAND AWAY FROM PEDRO, SMILING SWEETLY AS SHE HEADS TO ONE WING OF THE SECOND FLOOR. PEDRO MAKES A GRAND ENTRANCE AND THE CROWD CLAPS AS HE ENTERS. BEA DOES NOT SEE NOR HEAR THE SCENE.

AS BEA LEAVES THE LADIES ROOM WE HEAR THE CROWD MAKING STRANGE NOISES AS IF SOMETHING EXCITING HAS HAPPENED. WE SEE PEDRO HOLDING THE PINK AND RED FABERGE EGG AS HE DISCUSSES IT’S HISTORY. THEN HE SAYS WHILE HOLDING THE EGG UP FOR EVERYONE TO SEE:

PEDRO: “I’m aware that several of you came here to bid on my prize possession but I must now tell you that the egg has already been sold… (the crowd moans) It was to the highest bidder imaginable and I’m pleased to introduce you all to my new friend Bea (he points to her standing at the railing on the second floor watching the scene). Bea has paid with the coin of the realm which none of you are in possession: the key to my heart.”

ALL EYES TURN TO BEA AND RUMORS BEGIN TO FLY. DANTE THROWS A LOOK OF CURIOSITY AND ANGER AT PEDRO; BEA LOOKS LIKE A DEER IN HEADLIGHTS. PEDRO IS LOVING THE DISAPPOINTMENT THAT HE’S CAUSED – AN EVENT THAT ROME WILL BE BUZZING ABOUT FOR WEEKS.

A WIDE ANGLE SHOT OF PEDRO’S MAGNIFICENT APARTMENT WHICH OVERLOOKS THE VATICAN. THE TONES ARE DEEP AND MASCULINE WITH A SPECTACULAR VIEW OF THE ENTIRE CITY. PEDRO, BEA AND DANTE ARE IN THE LIBRARY LOOKING AT AN ANCIENT MANUSCRIPT WEARING GLOVES. THEY TAKE OFF THEIR GLOVES AND WALK TOGETHER INTO AN ADJOINING HALLWAY.

PEDRO: (to Dante while walking) “How high were you planning to bid to get the egg?”

DANTE: “Higher than the competition, you know I’ve wanted it for decades.”

BEA: “Interrupting… I’ve been meaning to ask you Pedro… um…”

PEDRO: (kindly but insistently) “Later darling.”

DANTE: “That was quite a stunt, my friend.”

PEDRO: “No stunt, it was just a I said.”

PEDRO WALKS PAST DANTE WHO STOPS TO TURN AND LOOK AT PEDRO TO SEE IF HE’S JOKING, BUT PEDRO DOES NOT LET DANTE SEE HIS FACE. BEA STOPS AND IS IN DEEP THOUGHT TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON.

LATER THAT NIGHT AT BEA’S FLAT, DANTE AND BEA KISS AND THEN BEA SHUTS THE DOOR AS HE WALKS AWAY. SHE BLOWS HIM A KISS THEN WALKS UP THE STAIRS AND INTO THE LIVING ROOM WHERE SHE’S SHOCKED TO SEE PEDRO’S FABERGE EGG IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM RESTING ON A GRAND PEDESTAL WITH LIGHTS SHINING ON IT FROM ALL SIDES. SHE SITS DOWN STARES AT IT FOR A TIME. BEA’S PHONE RINGS AND SHE ANSWERS:

BEA: (Quietly) “Hello?”

PEDRO: “How do you like it?”

BEA: “It’s magnificent but…”

PEDRO: “Which color’s your favorite?”

BEA: “The pink, but Pedro, this flat’s not secure…It’s dangerous to leave it here…”

PEDRO: “The safety of my prized possessions is something you need not worry about, darling.”

THROUGH THE WINDOW WE ZOOM TO SEE A SNIPER ON THE ROOF OF THE BUILDING ACROSS FROM BEA’S FLAT. FROM AN AREAL ANGLE NOW WE SEE SEVERAL BLACK CLAD, ARMED GUARDS ON THE ROOF OF BEA’S FLAT.

BEA: “You said possessions – plural. Did you leave some other valuable object in this flat?”

PEDRO: “I did. I must beg your pardon, Bea, the hour is late and I must say goodnight now. It was delightful meeting you today and I’m sure one day we’ll look back on our meeting as a turning point in our lives. Goodnight.”

PEDRO HANGS UP THE PHONE AND BEA STARES INTO HER PHONE IN DISBELIEF. SHE GETS UP AND STARTS LIFTING OBJECTS TO SEE IF THERE IS SOME OTHER IRREPLACEBLE TREASURE IN HER FLAT.

THE NEXT DAY PEDRO AND DANTE SIT TOGETHER IN WHAT LOOKS LIKE A WAR ROOM WORKING WITH A NUMBER OF OTHER MEN – ALL OF THEM WEARING BLACK. THEY ARE DISCUSSING A PROBLEM AND THERE’S TENSION BETWEEN PEDRO AND DANTE. DANTE ACTS CERTAIN AS HE SAYS:

DANTE: “We’ve dealt with them before and we know what to expect, Pedro.”

PEDRO: “True, but now the old man’s gone and we don’t know how his son will behave.”

DANTE: “He would not deviate from our long set patterns and trade deals… Why would he?”

PEDRO: “To find out if he can get better terms, of course.”

DANTE: “Your saying that he’s going to break our deal.”

PEDRO: “I’m saying he might.”

DANTE: “Then we need intel.”

PEDRO: “Agreed.

DANTE: What do you suggest?”

PEDRO: “I suggest you follow him to Malta and find out if he intends to renege.”

DANTE: “I’ll leave tomorrow night. I want to see Bea for lunch and then I’ll have the boys take me to the island.”

PEDRO: “Call Juan as soon at you have an answer.”

THE NEXT AFTERNOON DANTE AND BEA ARE DINING ALONE IN AN EXQUISIT ROOM OVERLOOKING THE COLOSEUM.

BEA: Mmmm… This fish is amazing! How’s yours?”

DANTE: “Good. Listen, I have to go on a short trip tonight but I should be back in a few days or so.”

BEA: “Where are you going?”

DANTE: “A colleague’s behaving suspiciously and I have to find out if he intends to renege on our deal.”

BEA: “Come back soon.”

THEY SMILE AND HE TAKES HER HAND IN HIS AND KISSES IT.

THAT EVENING AT BEA’S FLAT, PEDRO KNOCKS AT THE DOOR. SHE GOES TO OPEN IT.

BEA: “Pedro! I’m pleased to see you. Come in and look at your your lovely egg!”

PEDRO: “Along with my heart, it’s your egg now darling.”

BEA SMILES BUT CLEARLY DOES NOT TAKE HIS STATEMENT SERIOUSLY. SHE TAKES HIS HAND AND LEADS HIM INTO THE DARK ROOM WHERE THE EGG IS SPOT-LIT. WHEN THEY GET NEAR THE EGG HE TAKES HER HAND AND RAISES IT TO HIS MOUTH AND KISSES IT.

BEA: (gently pulling her hand away) “I’ve been meaning to ask you…”

PEDRO: “Of course but please… a glass of wine as I sit and enjoy the egg for a few minutes first.”

BEA GESTURES AGREEMENT AND GOES TO GET TWO GLASSES AND WINE AND RETURNS AND GIVES A GLASS TO PEDRO AND POURS. SHE GESTURES FOR HIM TO SIT DOWN AND SHE SITS ACROSS FROM HIM AND THEY BOTH SIP WINE IN THE DARK ROOM WHILE LOOKING AT THE EGG.

CLOSE UP OF THE EGG AND IN V.O. WE HEAR PEDRO SAY:

PEDRO: (Quietly, slowly) “All my life I’ve collected the most beautiful objects I could find… and all my life I’ve been seeking a woman who has the integrity and inner beauty of an object like this egg.”

BEA: “I know how you feel. I’ve been looking for a mate for a long time too.”

PEDRO: “What kind of man have you been seeking?”

BEA: “A kind man… A brilliant man… A happy man… What kind of woman have you been seeking Pedro?”

PEDRO: “A woman just like you Bea.”

BEA IS SURPRISED AND TAKES A LARGE DRINK OF WINE, STANDS UP AND WALKS TO THE WINDOW AND LOOKS OUT AT THE CITY AND QUIETLY SAYS:

BEA: “You said you’re Dante’s mentor.”

PEDRO: “Yes.”

BEA: “Tell me about Dante.”

PEDRO: (Quietly) “Dante has many virtues… he’s brilliant… he’s determined to get what he’s after…
he’s ruthless…

BEA: “What’s he after?”

PEDRO: “That’s an excellent question, Bea. I want you to remember that question as in a very short time it will become the most important issue in your life.”

BEA: “Do you care for Dante?”

PEDRO: “Like a son.”

BEA: “Of course, you realize he’s very interested in me?”

PEDRO: “Yes, of course I do.”

BEA: “Does Dante care for you?”

PEDRO: “More than anyone else on Earth.”

BEA: “And yet… I believe you are… you are…

PEDRO: “Yes darling I am.”

PEDRO STANDS AND PUTS HIS GLASS DOWN AND WALKS OVER TO BEA. HE STANDS NEXT TO HER LOOKING OUT AT THE CITY THROUGH THE WINDOW AND TAKES HER HAND AND SAYS:

PEDRO: “I’ll call for you at noon tomorrow. Goodnight darling.”

HE KISSES HER HAND AND LEAVES.

PART II

MORE COMING SOON…

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“The King’s Costliest Jewel” by Brishon (Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved)

“The King’s Costliest Jewel”

King Franco, the king of Copperoma, thus far, has been unable to find a woman to wed because all the eligible woman in his kingdom he deems to be unsuitable to be his life-long companion because they don’t have strong and good characters. Moreover, they’re charming to, or submissive to him simply because of his wealth and power. After over a year of earnest searching Franco is now desperate and reaching the end of his hope for a romantically happy life with an amazing woman.

While King Franco looks out the window at the grand view around his castle, his lieutenant approaches him to remind him of a chronic problem that the king’s been putting off while he’s been seeking a bride. Lieutenant Priva informs King Franco that Samantha Martini has just posted her latest attacks on the church doors and that the peasants are listening to her critiques of his kingdom. King Franco says stridently: “No Priva, I won’t deal with her now, I don’t have the strength.” “But your highness, she’s wreaking havoc in your kingdom: she’s causing the peasants to be demanding and dissatisfied.” Priva hands Franco a document which contains Samantha’s charges and without looking at it King Franco asks: “Who is this awful creature anyway? Have I ever met her?” “No sire, she lives in seclusion and has never been to court. Her aunt is a portrait artist and has just painted her portrait which is on display in the library.” “Bring it to me, I want to see what this crazy woman looks like.” “Yes, sire.” Priva leaves to retrieve the portrait of Samantha.

Whenever Samantha is in public, while the king is her primary verbal target for moral condemnation, because she has found almost all the men in Copperoma severely lacking, she tells anyone in earshot of her negative judgments of them, as well as of the king. Seeking moral heroes and finding none, Samantha lives alone in seclusion on the outskirts of Copperoma in a small cottage, facing squarely the fact that her standards are high and she wants only someone as good as her, or no one.

King Franco, now wearing an exquisite red robe with his coat of arms on it, walks into a grand room where eight large portraits of women line one wall. As he walks past the portraits he gives a brief summary of the character of each of the women portrayed. These are the portraits of the women he’s been considering making his bride. Using the document of Samantha’s charges as a pointer, he gestures at each portrait as he talks to it: “You’re critical, cold and emotionally repressed, yet you pretend to approve of me;” as he stops before the next portrait he says: “You talk incessantly and say nothing while feigning utter approval;” walking to the next portrait: “All image and show, there’s no self there;” and to the next: “A femme-fetal seeking nothing more than drama and tragedy;” the next: “utterly indifferent and antisocial;” to the next: you are kind but “constantly afraid, nervous and high-strung;” he stops and smiles at the next portrait as he says “Oh my dear, you’re charming, fun, active, intelligent, but you’re unable to commit to any person, place or thing for longer than a day;” and to the last portrait he says: “Cordial and friendly to all in equal amounts thus treating all as if they were the same.”

As King Franco arrives at the end of the line of portraits, Priva arrives and brings in the portrait of Samantha Martini and places it on as easel in front of Franco then Priva removes the cloth covering it. As Franco gasps at the spectacularly beautiful face he feels something he’s never felt before – love. “Who is this woman Priva, you must bring her to me at once! I’ve never seen such beauty and intelligence, she’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. Franco moves away from the portrait to call for more attendants. “Bring her to me at once so we can begin making plans for the wedding. Who is she and why did you not tell me about her sooner?” “Sire, I did tell you about her.” “No, I recall no such discussion. When did it take place, perhaps some weeks or months ago?” “No sire, I told you about her an hour ago.” “No Priva an hour ago you told me about some shrew named Samantha Martini.” “Exactly sire, this is Samantha Martini.” Franco stops in his tracks horrified. He rushes back to the portrait. “This is Samantha Martini?” “Yes sire.” Franco stands looking at her a long time studying her features. “I simply can’t believe it.” Franco folds the document of Samantha’s charges tighter and uses it to as a pointer to examine various parts of her face for some time then says: “Priva, I want to observe her at a distance. Set up some place for her to be in public so I can observe her. I simply can’t believe your report about her demeanor – I must see her for myself.” “Yes, sire.” Priva leaves to set up the rendezvous. Franco stares at Samantha and talks to her portrait: “What an expensive jewel you would be, my dear. You are the only woman in this kingdom who does not want to be my queen. He strokes the portrait with his hand touching the mouth gently and says to the portrait “I must take my time, this won’t be quick or easy. You’re a prickly little flower needing constant attention and so you shall have it.” As he walks away down the hall with the portraits of women on the wall he says out-loud: “This will be my greatest achievement: turning my greatest enemy into the love of my life.” He tosses Samantha’s charges onto the floor and exits the room walking with great purpose.

Later that night in his bedroom, pacing next to his canopy bed, Franco talks out-loud to himself: “Every woman in this kingdom is attracted to my office, my power, my fortune, my fame and none of them wants me. I should consider myself lucky that there’s such a rare and precious judgmental jewel as Samantha in this entire kingdom: she’s not motivated by love of wealth, approval of the crowd, or fear of me. If all that existed in the world were the feminine manifestations I’ve encountered so far, I’d resign myself to marry only to issue an heir and then disabuse myself of this lifelong romantic hope of mine for a great love. Alright, first I need to charm her by…” the king writes notes in a book sketching out his plan to court and woo Samantha staying up into the wee hours strategizing his plan of attack. He decides the first thing he must do is wear out his opponent as her guard is up and her armor thick and he must find a way to penetrate them. He concludes he must get her back in public, back dealing with people, out of her seclusion in order to give him opportunities to communicate with her – even if at a distance.

The following morning Samantha opens her front door to find a summons attached to it which is from the local tax assessor requesting her presence at his office to discuss the back taxes she owes on her cottage. After reading it she angrily curses: “As if King Franco doesn’t have enough money! How am I going to come up with what I need to pay this appalling tax?… As if I have nothing better to do with my time than go to town and chat with the tax assessor!… Indeed…” She paces then throws up her arms in resignation and starts getting ready to go to town.

That afternoon at the tax assessors office she starts to explain the reason for the delay, but before she can explain the tax assessor tells her: “Miss Martini, an anonymous admirer has already paid your taxes.” Shocked, she demands: “who is the anonymous admirer?!” “I’m sorry but he swore me to secrecy.” She gets up and storms out and when she arrives in her carriage she finds a single red rose and a note on the seat. Franco and Priva are disguised and stand nearby watching her. She opens the note and reads: “Dear mademoiselle, please don’t be concerned that you are now obligated to me, in any way, for paying your taxes. Ensuring your material care and comfort is paramount to me. Signed, your sincere admirer.” Samantha crumples up the note and tosses it out the carriage window. Fuming she notices the rose and picks it up and smells it an feels admired for a moment. We see Franco smiling as he watches her and he’s delighted, but then she quickly returns to herself and tosses the rose out the window too. Then she loudly knocks to get the carriage driver to drive on. As she rides off, the king smiles pleased with his first salvo.

We see a series of shots of Franco watching Samantha react to her secret admirer doing things for her to make her life comfortable and secure: a roofer fixing holes in her roof and Samantha tosses a note and a red tulip out her window; on another day, a plumber fixing her well-pump and she tosses a note and a red lily out her window; a horseman shoes her 2 horses and she tosses a note and a red hydrangea out her window; a painter painting the outside of her cottage and she tosses a note and red gladiola out her window. We see a disguised Priva laying a giant red hibiscus and a note down on Samantha’s front porch. Next we see a carriage maker fixing her carriage as Samantha awkwardly carries a very long, red hibiscus flower out to the street in front of her house where she makes a scene as she throws it and the note into the muddy street where it’s trampled on by horses and carriages as she yells “I hate RED!!!” The passersby stare at her as if she’s crazy but she pays no attention as she’s used to their disapproval. In disguise, Franco watches from across the street delighted by her fury. Samantha returns to her cottage to find a servant waiting inside who says: “Good day, I’ve come to give you my services.” “I can’t afford your services, please leave.” “My salary’s already been paid for the year.” “By whom?” “By the agency I work for.” “But who paid them for your services?” “I don’t know.” Frustrated: “Arrrgggghhhh.” Samantha storms into her room to smolder as the servant starts tidying up her cottage.

Priva, disguised, now stands next to Franco (who’s also disguised) and gently draws Franco’s attention to Samantha’s seeming hatred: “Sire, I know you feel this experiment of yours is well… going… um… I don’t know if you’ve noticed but it seems like she hates her benefactor, er… that is… YOU sire. Are you sure this is the proper course of action?” “I’ve never been more certain in all my life! You just have no imagination Priva. You’ll see, she’s going to become the woman I’ve always dreamed of – trust me.” “Um…ah…yes, sire.” They start walking toward Franco’s castle. “Priva, I want you to set up a small dinner party at my aunt’s estate and invite Samantha and about a dozen other guests. I’m going to attend disguised and so make sure none of the guests knows what I look like.” “Yes, sire.”

Early evening at the grand country estate owned by King Franco’s aunt Esmarelda and the dimming light of dusk shines on a dozen local, well-to-do citizens of Copperoma who sit around a large dinner table chatting and drinking wine. Samantha is seated between Franco and Fernando who is the son of a wealthy architect — Juan Menendez — who grew rich by being King Franco’s official court architect. As the night progresses it becomes painfully clear to Franco that Samantha is being charmed and seduced by Fernando. Franco watches Samantha laughing and having a wonderful time flirting with Fernando which irritates him immensely as he had intended to charm and seduce Samantha himself. Esmarelda is watching the three of them and realizes that Franco is jealous so she calls the head servant and tells him to cut the meal very short. Esmarelda then asks her guests to adjourn into the music room where a performance is to take place. Esmarelda ushers Franco and Samantha into the room and seats them next to each other. Being well disguised, Samantha does not recognize him as the king. She’s concerned that she’s being taken away from Fernando who has been collared by one of the other guests. Samantha and Fernando’s eyes catch each other from across the room as Franco now starts trying to talk to her but she’s preoccupied with Fernando’s absence. Finally, interrupting the king as he’s talking to her, Samantha gestures for Fernando to come and sit beside her and he does. She then proceeds to ignore Franco preferring instead to be charmed and seduced by Fernando. Franco hides the fact that he is furious and jealous as he tries to come up with a solution to this problem.

As the guests leave, one by one, Fernando and Samantha exit the estate agreeing to get together again on the following day for an early dinner at her cottage and to then attend a musical performance in town. Franco can hear them arrange their date and then watches them part and ride away in their carriages. Priva stands next to Franco as Franco says: “I’m the one who changed her from being that raging, loathsome hell-cat into a fun-loving, angelic, pleasant pearl, and if he thinks he’s going to steal my jewel…” Priva askes: “Are you still sure your plan is going to work sire, she seems to be completely enamored with Fernando?” “Yes, of course, Priva, I have absolute confidence in my plan, it cannot fail! She will fall in love with ME not some silly architect’s son. I want you to go see Fernando’s father Count Menendez and tell him this for me…” Priva starts writing down what Franco dictates.

The next day at the arranged time a messenger delivers a note to Samantha. We read: “Dearest Samantha, I so enjoyed meeting you last night and I was looking forward to our date tonight but at the last moment my father — Count Menendez – has sent me on an urgent assignment to the kingdom of Soltania. Unfortunately, I expect to be away for some time as my father has need of me there at a quarry where he gets marble and granite for the king’s projects. It may be some months before I return. However, I would be delighted if upon my return you will allow me to escort you to a fine play. With warm regards, Fernando.” Samantha frowns disappointed and folds Fernando’s note and carefully places it in a special box on her desk.

The next day, disguised as he was at the party, Franco comes courting and Samantha, who still does not realize that he’s the king, is not too interested in him but she’s civil to him.

We see a series of shots showing their daily dates and outings and she starts to like him more and more.

Eventually, Samantha realizes that her suitor is King Franco. At first, she decides to tease him by pretending that she still does not know who he is and further that she’s still interested in Fernando (even though she is not). Eventually, she realizes that Franco had Fernando shipped off so he could court her instead. So, to tease Franco, she gets her driver to take her to Soltania, the town that Fernando’s in, and she stays at an inn and invites Fernando to begin courting her again. Samantha believes that Franco will follow her – and indeed he does as he has to in order to ensure that nothing serious happens between her and Fernando – emotionally or physically. In response to Samantha inviting Fernando to court her, Franco says to Priva: “I’m just going to kidnap Samantha.” “Sire, she may find that too brutal and cruel and it might be hard for you to recover in her esteem.” “Yes, you’re right Priva, let’s just watch and see what unfolds.”

Despite her best efforts to keep up the pretense, eventually, Franco realizes that she knows he’s the king. Franco decides to turn the tables on her by arriving at the same restaurant where she and Fernando are dinning escorted by a very beautiful woman, thus basically saying to her ‘is this the standard you want to set up as the way we engage with each other, my dear – trying to make each other jealous?’ When Samantha sees this woman with King Franco she becomes jealous, at first, not realizing that he’s just doing to her what she’s doing to him, but then she realizes what he’s up to and it causes her to smile in response to his cleverness. When she returns home, Samantha must decide if it’s possible that she could actually love the man who, mere months ago, she all but hated. She decides she could love him, but she also thinks it’s possible that this is all just a ploy to get her to shut-up and stop attacking him and his kingdom publicly.

Upon discovering that Samantha’s not in love with Fernando, and optimistically believing that she possibly could fall in love with him, Franco follows Samantha back to her cottage. She desperately wants Franco’s motive to be love because if he truly loves her then she feels that she could be in love for the first time in her life. When she gets back home she has many talks with herself out-loud. They’re discussions about how she could love the king who she’s spent so much time attacking, the king who allows such injustices to happen in his kingdom. She also tries to make a model of him that explains how he could possibly love her – his kingdom’s public enemy number one.

Franco, now back in his castle paces while he says to Priva: “I’m aching with anticipation for her, Priva.”

Cut to Samantha in her cottage by a small blackboard going over the arguments again and tiring of her confusion about his motive: Samantha says (exhausted): “I’m punch-drunk with doubt about him.”

Cut back to Franco in his castle speaking to Samantha’s portrait: “My darling, you’re too good to be true.”

Cut back to Samantha at her blackboard: “Franco, you’re too bad to be true.”

She decides she needs to talk to him in person as she wants to look into his eyes to see if he’s lying about his true motive because she’s convinced this whole thing would be a very good deception to get her to stop attacking him and his kingdom. So, she comes out of the seclusion she’s been in for weeks and sends her driver with a note for Priva asking him to set up a time and place for her and Franco to meet.

We see a series of shots of Samantha and Franco together: horseback riding, picnicking, hiking, etc. Samantha’s always trying to devise a proof of his motive and she allows herself to get closer and closer to him and is just about to fall in love with him but she stops herself realizing that she does not have a PROOF and so, once again, she pulls away from him and goes back into seclusion refusing his invitations.

Despite her doubt, he keeps sending her gifts and things to stay connected to her which she happily accepts, but then scorns herself and reminds herself that these tokens he’s sending her are a tiny price for him to pay to shut her up to achieve harmony and peace in his kingdom. Endlessly, she tries to figure out a way to prove to herself what his true motive is. Meanwhile he waits patiently staying connected via his gifts and reports from Priva on how she’s doing.

They are both frustrated as they both want to be together, but she’s not convinced of his motive. Once again she writes down and reviews her charges on her blackboard. Then suddenly a plan comes to her to get the proof she needs of his true motive.

She has her driver tell Priva she wants to meet Franco again and she asks that he come disguised. He arrives disguised at her cottage and they take her carriage after she tells him: “I want to show you something.” She tells her driver to go to an address. They arrive and get out and see many dirty, barefoot children lethargically sitting and standing in the street in a poor area of Copperoma. She takes Franco by the hand and leads him into a tiny cottage where a large, poverty stricken family lives. Then she speaks to the sick mother about her ailments and their lack of food and medical attention. After a friendly discussion, she and Franco leave and she takes him to another home and has the same types of discussions with the same types of people. They get back into her carriage and she can see that Franco is visibly upset. Surprised by his reaction, she asks “Did you ever read the charges that I pinned to the church door?” “No I’ve been too busy trying to find a bride.” “Most of my charges against you center around the lack of food and medical treatment that some of your subjects endure.” There’s a long pause as he realizes that she’s not a shrew in need of taming but actually a very kind-hearted, caring person who wanted to get him to fix these problems. Suddenly Franco is overwhelmed by her greatness of character and falls to his knees and holds her hands in his as he rests his head in her lap: “Samantha… Samantha… my darling…you’re my joy… my passion… my delight.” They stare into each other’s eyes. She is stunned by his reaction and is delighted that Franco now sees her true self as she thought no one could see through her warrior-like demeanor in pursuit of having a kind and benevolent kingdom.

Cut to Samantha walking alone in the same area of Copperoma, but now the homes are painted and the children have clean clothes and shoes and the sick women we saw before are healthy. Correcting the neglect of his subject’s suffering is the test she devised to discover Franco’s true motive and she’s delighted to see that he truly loves her.

On a bright sunny afternoon, Franco and Samantha’s walk down the isle in the biggest event in Copperoma since Franco’s father married his mother.

Now on their wedding night Franco kisses her hand and caresses her fingers and says: “Oh, your hands are so beautiful… not just your hands… of course… I mean the rest of you too… oh, you’re so lovely darling.” They kiss and Samantha takes a paper from beside her and places it in his lap as they are kissing. When they stop kissing he sees the paper and starts to read it and says: “I see, the sewers have collapsed in the South Village.” “Yes, darling it seems when the recent rains damaged a retaining wall and…” Interrupting and smiling he says: “I’ll have it fixed.” Franco stands up and walks over to a closet and says “Darling, I have a problem only you can fix.” He takes out a bright RED silk robe with Franco’s coat of arms on it, and he walks towards her. She smiles and kisses him and then he places the robe on her and they both smile delightedly as they’re both getting what they want.

The End

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“French Toast” (Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved)

“FRENCH TOAST”

Cast of Characters:

Martini
Ambrosia
Alfredo
Napoleon – Husband of Ambrosia, rival to Alfredo
Basil – Martini’s boyfriend
Mrs. Coco – Richest woman on the island

Once upon a time on a tiny island lived a beautiful, passionate, gregarious woman named Martini whose greatest loves in life were great food; fraud-busting; and seeking to find a man she could have a happy romantic relationship with. She was the beloved social glue of the island, known and loved by all.

At the estate on top of the island lived the world’s greatest chef – Alfredo. He was in a state of withdrawal from the world nursing the wound of having lost the love of his life – the best woman he’d ever met – Ambrosia – who was the person best able to appreciate and enjoy his gastronomical creations. They were engaged 25 years ago in France. Without someone as appreciative and sensitive as Ambrosia, Alfredo did not care to cook again.

Martini was a SuperTaster and she loved making the great dishes, especially the ones she’d experienced as a gourmet in France. To do this, Martini read food magazines week after week and spent her annual vacations in France eating at the carefully chosen top rated restaurants, enjoying the carefully researched top dishes they were famous for. And each year on her vacation Martini would purchase these master French chef’s cook books, return home and try to duplicate the dishes she’d had at their restaurant. After many failed attempts, she frustratedly concluded that there was something wrong. She suspected that the chef’s cook books were not revealing all the ingredients or all the methods needed to duplicate the dishes oneself.

One day after Martini made her daily rounds visiting friends on the island, Alfredo’s new French cook – Anjou – approached Martini at the Farmer’s Market to introduce herself. They became fast friends.

~Flashback~

Twenty five years ago Alfredo was acclaimed as the greatest living chef. He was passionate about his work and received acclaim from many critics and epicures, but his greatest joy in life was cooking for his fiance Ambrosia whose passion in life was to eat the greatest food in the world as she was a highly sophisticated SuperTaster. Ambrosia was independently wealthy having inherited a fortune from her father who’d been one of the greatest chef’s in France. Thus, Ambrosia’s standards were the highest and she was the pickiest eater imaginable. Nine times out of 10 she’d spit food out rather than consume it, even at the best restaurants. Ambrosia had a photographic memory for food and could look at a recipe and imagine how the food would taste, or eat a dish and tell what ingredients were in it. When Ambrosia liked something she would spend an enormous amount of time analyzing it’s constituent components and praising the chef who created it in personal letters that she sent to them – as well as in her column in L’epicure. As a policy, Ambrosia never wanted to meet chefs in person because she wanted to experience their food without their character or personality having any effect on her. However, she once made an exception: upon tasting the first bite of Alfredo’s Foie Gras, she determined she must meet the man who prepared it. So, Ambrosia asked to meet him and when Alfredo arrived at her table, Ambrosia assailed him with a barrage of compliments of such detail and with such accuracy that he became instantly enchanted with her.

Invariably and over time, Ambrosia was drawn to the establishment where Alfredo created his gastronomical works of art, the most famous and popular Parisian restaurant “Chez Argent” and in time Ambrosia and Alfredo started dating. Most of their dates were spent with Alfredo cooking and Ambrosia eloquently explaining why his dishes were perfect. Typically, during the meal, the two would engage in passionate love-making in the kitchen, pots, pans and knives strewn hazardously about. After a few near disasters, they built a love nest in his kitchen to use for their passionate during-meal trysts, still wanting to experience the pinnacle of their love-making near the gastronomical utensils and appliances.

After years of bliss together, one day Ambrosia was told of a new chef who was hired at the rival restaurant, Chez Radis. Ambrosia was not interested in sampling the newcomer’s creations as she was convinced that she had found the greatest chef in the world. Her friend persisted and managed to drag Ambrosia to “Chez Radis.” To Ambrosia’s surprise the newcomer – Napoleon – was a gastronomical genius. While she adored his food, she was devastated to discover that Alfredo had a competitor. She hid from Alfredo her passion for Napoleon’s creations as she found herself, virtually against her own will, eating at Chez Radis once a week.

Eventually, because Ambrosia was the talk of the gastronomical world, and given that she had been seen at Chez Radis often, Alfredo found out about her dinning there and was hurt and disappointed. Heartbrokenly, Alfredo confronted Ambrosia needing to know why she’d been hiding from him the fact that she’d been enjoying Napoleon’s creations. She reluctantly told him that she hid it because she did not want to hurt him. She was morally convicted that she had to take into account the fact that she was a demanding SuperTaster; and that her abiding moral passion was to enjoy the world’s greatest food. Alfredo accepted that she should pursue Napoleon’s creations by way of satisfying her moral passion. However, he was hurt and he soon informed her that he had accepted a temporary assignment to cater for the 100 year celebration of the French-American culinary academy in San Francisco and would leave immediately.

While Alfredo was away, one day Ambrosia was eating at Chez Radis and, unbeknownst to her, she was seated right next to Napoleon. They struck up a conversation about the food and Ambrosia was delighted to have someone so keenly interested in her evaluations. Like Alfredo, Napoleon knew he was talking to the greatest living food critic, but pretended not to know who Ambrosia was and asked if he could join her and she agreed. At the end of the meal, he informed Ambrosia that he was the chef and asked her to attend a ball he was to cater at the French President’s palace. Expecting that the occasion would bring out his greatest work, Ambrosia accepted his invitation.

On the night of the ball Ambrosia found herself ecstatic while eating Napoleon’s creations and she praised each and every item that he offered her. At the end of the evening they were drunk with delight and nearly drunk on wine and Napoleon kissed Ambrosia. A passionate night of lovemaking ensued in one of the greatest kitchens in France.

The next day, when she sobered up, Ambrosia was horrified that she’d made love to Napoleon intending to have been faithful to Alfredo. In a few days, she came to accept the difficult circumstance she found herself in: loving two equally matched gastronomical geniuses.

When Alfredo returned from San Francisco he brought an engagement ring and presented it to Ambrosia, she started crying and confessed what she’d done with Napoleon. Alfredo was forgiving and understood her dilemma, but he did not believe Napoleon was his equal. So Alfredo called to make a reservation at Chez Radis and after he’d sampled Napoleon’s creations Alfredo returned to Ambrosia to tell her that Napoleon was a genius and his equal. They both found themselves depressed about this turn of events. In a few days, Alfredo proposed a competition between the them and Ambrosia agreed that it was a good way to resolve the dilemma.

So, Alfredo – being the most renowned chef in France – created a new culinary competition which offered a great prize which he called “Alfredo d’Or.”

As agreed to by all three of them, the winner would win Ambrosia. Napoleon won the competition and Alfredo and Ambrosia ended their relationship and Ambrosia devoted herself to Napoleon. Alfredo was devastated and decided to leave France and return to the San Francisco Bay Area in a quest for obscurity. He bought an estate atop Belvedere Island wanting to go to the one place on Earth that no one would ever look for the world’s greatest chef – America.

~End Flashback~

After spending hours talking to Anjou, Martini decided that Alfredo’s life now is a tragic waste and she determines to do all she can to get him to enjoy life again by cooking for her and by teaching her to cook. Together Martini and Anjou devise a plan.

One sunny morning Martini drives her Citroen 2CV convertible to Alfredo’s estate and Anjou lets her in the gate. Martini has her the best souffle recipe from one of her French cookbooks. Anjou shows Martini to the kitchen where Martini puts all of the ingredients for the souffle on the kitchen counter and waits for Alfredo to show up.

About a half hour later, Alfredo comes into the kitchen to get a glass of milk which Anjou has intentionally not given him. At first he does not see either Martini or the spread of food on the counter. But as soon as he notices Martini, she approaches him as if she’s known him all her life and starts talking to him as if they’re good friends. She speaks as if they had an appointment for him to teach her how to make a souffle. He’s aghast at first, but when she mentions that she has the latest recipe from Chez Argent, the restaurant he worked at it France, he’s intrigued. He takes the recipe from her and mulls it over and finally decides to see if it’s any good.

When the souffle is done they both taste it and she says it’s wonderful, yet Alfredo throws his souffle across the room in disgust breaking the ramikin. She’s incredulous. Alfredo explains that the souffle is missing key ingredients. Moreover, he says important methods for making a great souffle have been omitted from the recipe. Disgustedly, he also tells her to ignore any star chef’s cookbooks as they intentionally leave out relevant information to keep their restaurant monopolies intact. Martini hugs him then paces around the kitchen delighted to now have her suspicion confirmed by the greatest expert in the field. She explains that she suspected that this was happening because she was never able to duplicate her gastronomical experiences at home via the French chef’s recipes.

Over the next weeks Martini comes daily to Alfredo’s home to be mentored by him. She’s having the time of her life and Alfredo hasn’t been so happy since he was cooking for, and making love to Ambrosia. Alfredo often gives Martini pop-quizzes to ensure that she remembers critical elements of great cooking: one of which is to use duck fat in most dishes that call for butter.

At night we see Martini spreading the secrets she’s learned from Alfredo by teaching the women who live on the island and the woman are delighted.

One day after a particularly delicious meal, Martini asks Alfredo why he left France and quit cooking. It’s clear now that he loves Martini, like a daughter, and so he briefly tells her a recap of what happened with Ambrosia and Napoleon (which she already knew from Anjou). Martini asks if he still loves Ambrosia and Alfredo confesses that he still loves her desperately and that he will never cook for anyone but Martini and Ambrosia. Upon hearing this Martini becomes clearly determined to make something happen.

The next day, we see Martini talking to the richest woman on the island – Mrs. Coco – and Martini is excited and leaves Mrs. Coco’s house and drives happily around the island singing a French song about food.

At the town center we see posters and decorations announcing that the most prestigious international culinary competition has chosen Belvedere to host this years competition. Martini takes one of the posters to Alfredo. At first he’s disgusted at the idea of all of these French chefs discovering where he’s been hiding for 25 years, but Martini explains that it’s a golden opportunity for him to get back into the joy of cooking. She also tells him that Ambosia will be coming and he’s thrilled at that news.

Martini spends many hours researching Ambrosia’s husband Napoleon, on the internet. She discovers that in his gastronomic history there are several scandals that he’s been involved with. The theme of the scandals invariably centers on accusations of cheating on his part, thought the accusations were never proven. Martini has a intuitive way of sizing up people quickly and upon seeing a video interview of Napoleon she intuits he’s a cheater. Now she’s determined to get Ambrosia and Alfredo back together.

The day the chefs arrive there’s a welcoming ceremony where Martini and Mrs. Coco speak and toast to great food, long life and happiness. Martini introduces herself to Ambrosia when she’s standing alone, without Napoleon. They talk and Martini invites Ambrosia to her home to enjoy a brunch that the local woman are preparing the next day. Martini tells Ambrosia that she knows that Ambrosia once loved Alfredo, and that she’s been teaching the women on the island Alfredo’s wonderful recipes. Ambrosia is delighted to hear that Alfredo is on the island and accepts Martini’s invitation. The time she tells her to come is 1 hour earlier than the function is to begin.

Ambrosia arrives to find Martini picking flowers and herbs from her garden and together they decorate Martini’s lovely cottage making it ready for the guests. Martini pulls out a dish from the oven that she made, which Alfredo taught her, knowing that it’s one of Alfredo’s greatest dishes she asks if Ambrosia would care for some. They eat and Ambrosia recognizes it as one of Alfredo’s best and then she analyzes it in detail for Martini and she realizes why Alfredo so appreciated Ambrosia’s incredible ability.

Martini wants to find out how Ambrosia’s life with Napoleon is now, and how it’s been for the last 25 years. She discovers over a bottle of wine that it has not been good. Ambrosia no longer loves Napoleon, in part because she suspects he’s a serial philanderer and the quality of his cooking has gone down steadily for the past 25 years. Now he coasts on his former glory. Ambrosia doesn’t know why Napoleon let himself go this way. Nonetheless, she stays with Napoleon because of loyalty to the great happiness they once shared.

After their intimate lunch, Martini becomes convinced that Napoleon’s not what he pretends to be – and probably never was. She’s now determined to dig out the details of the scandals he’s been involved with over the years.

The local woman arrive at Martini’s cottage with the dishes for their potluck. Unexpectedly, Alfredo arrives and is shocked to see Ambrosia. She is thrilled to see him and goes and takes his hand and leads him into the garden where they talk together for hours. Martini and the women notice the sparks flying between the two of them.

That night we see Martini up late into the early morning investigating the Napoleon’s scandals.

Basil is the editor of the most celebrated gastronomical magazine in the U.S. and he’s reporting on the competition on the island. He’s 6 foot 7 and very thin. Every time we see Basil he’s eating French pastries which he bakes himself. When he sees the beautiful Martini at the Farmers Market he approaches and talks to her. He asks about what she’s making with her purchases and where she got the recipe. She tells him it’s Alfredo’s recipe and that it’s one of her favorites. He gives her a tip on how to make it even better. She’s curious about his cooking experience. He tells her he has never worked for any French restaurants, nor gone to a culinary academy. To her great delight, he tells her he’s against the de facto French culinary guild. Martini’s interest in him is now intense and she invites him to her cottage to have some of the dish that she’s shopping for at the Market. He accepts. It’s clear they’re quite attracted to each other.

From a distance we see Martini, at Alfredo’s house, showing him a copy of an old cookbook and Alfredo’s stunned.

The day of the competition arrives. The rules require that each chef create a dish which is an original recipe.

Alfredo had committed to making an original creation for the competition, but has secretly decided against that. Knowing it will disqualify him, Alfredo instead makes the exact same dish that Napoleon announced he would make for this competition.

When the judges discover it’s the same dish Alfredo shows the judges, and audience, that the recipe came from an ancient, secret, Royal French cookbook.

As this is happening on stage, Ambrosia makes her way through the crowd and onto the stage and tastes both dishes, and confirms that Alfredo and Napoleon have made the same dish.

Napoleon, is watching all this as he’s standing next to his bimbo du jour – a floozy named Cherry – and he tells her to meet him back in Paris and then makes a run for his car.

However, Martini expects him to bolt and confronts him. She’s got his briefcase in her hand and says to him “Looking for this?” Knowing that the very same Royal cookbook that Alfredo just showed the judges is in the briefcase, he chases after Martini to get it. She runs to the stage and announces that she thinks the same cookbook can be found in Napolean’s briefcase which she hands to the American judge who opens it and pulls out the very same Royal cookbook and shows the audience.

Napoleon leaps to the stage to defend himself. “I’m President of the French Gastronomical Guild, how can you even suspect me of cheating?”

Martini answers: “Do you deny there are secret ingredients in this book which only the chefs of Royalty knew and your society is devoted to hiding this secret gastronomical knowledge from the world?”

Napoleon replies: “The chefs from our schools run the top restaurants and cook for the most powerful men in the world!”

“That’s your justification for this fraud?”

“I mean, well you see, that is…”

“And did you also use this cookbook (holding it up) to win the competition against Alfredo 25 years ago?”

“Well… That is… You see… I ahh…”

“I’ll take that as a “Yes.”

Alfredo and Ambrosia turn immediately to each other to see if they both understand that their relationship was ended by Napoleon’s fraud. They rush to each other to embrace and confirm they each still love and want each other. While Alfredo and Ambrosia embrace, Napoleon slinks off the stage now having been exposed as a chronic and habitual cheater.

It’s now clear to everyone that the French Gastronomical Guild uses the very same means of cheating, i.e., they cheat the public by leaving out relevant ingredients and/or methods so as not to enable gastronomic independence on the part of foodies, thus allowing the members of the guild to coast and rest on their secret knowledge, rather than be inventive and create new gastronomical delights.

The next day, Martini, Basil (eating pastries), Alfredo and Ambrosia are all working together creating new dishes and noting their evaluations for a forthcoming cookbook that will teach foodies all they need to know to create these great gastronomical experiences themselves.

Later that night, Basil and Martini are talking in her cottage. While eating a coffee flavored eclair, Basil tells her about his how his mom was a baker and how she would take him to her bakery in the early morning and give him all the fresh baked pastries he wanted all during his youth. After Basil has eaten half of the eclair, he then turns the second half of it to Martini and we can see an engagement ring emersed in the cream. Martini plucks it out and wipes it clean and is excited at first. But then she starts pacing the room, imagining what their marriage would really look like. She starts crying confessing that she is jealous – for the first time in her life – of Basil’s ability to eat pastries constantly and never gain weight. Although she loves Basil she doesn’t think she’ll be able to have a happy life if she has to constantly watch him eating pastries which she cannot have. The tension mounts as she cries and he thinks. Basil suddenly approaches her excitedly and says “Darling, you can have a small taste of the pastries – enough for us to be able to bond on the flavor and so that you have some satisfaction in knowing how good my creations are.” Martini stops crying and chippers up and then agrees that this suggestion solves her problem and she smiles at him and puts on the engagement ring and they embrace, kiss and share an eclair.

THE END

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“Boots” (Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved)

“Boots”

FADE IN AND ZOOM INTO A PARISIAN APARTMENT WHERE DAVID, A FRENCH CINEMATOGRAPHER SITS TALKING ON THE PHONE.

DAVID (French accent): “Please… Tell me about it!”

IN V.O. WE HEAR A WOMAN’S VOICE SAY: “It was two years ago and I was driving through the Panhandle of Texas on my way back to Dallas for my favorite cousin’s wedding. I’d been listening to a lecture about the immanent decline of Western society and I started crying. At just that moment my gas light went on and I exited to a lonely gas station in the middle of nowhere. Sobbing, I walked into the store by the gas pumps and was looking for the restroom when I saw an oasis of Stetson Cowboy boots of all shapes and sizes. Stunned as to how there could be such a demand for Cowboy boots – even in Texas – I dried my eyes and a little voice in my head said “Why don’t you buy some Cowboy boots?” And so I set out to find a pair I could want. I searched and touched and lifted and poked as three sales girls tried to help me but I hated all of the boots I saw because they were full of fake rhinestones or fancy stitching and all I wanted was a simple pair of
elegant Cowboy boots – like the pair I used to have throughout my youth. One day this same cousin pushed me into a swimming pool and I was wearing my beloved Cowboy boots and when they eventually dried they cracked, so I threw them out.”

DAVID: And these were the first pair of Cowboy boots you ever had?

WOMAN V.O.: Yes, and I wore them constantly for a decade so the leather had basically crafted itself to the shape of my foot, which is such a wonderful feeling – there’s nothing like it.

DAVID: Okay, so, why do you want to sell these new Cowboy boots?

WOMAN V.O.: Because I don’t wear Cowboy boots now that I live in California and because it was just an impulsive purchase meant to distract me from my sorrows. You know, I haven’t really wanted to sell them because they’re like a memento of an important time in my life, but now that I’ve finally told another person about the story behind them, I think I can get rid of them.

DAVID: This is special, we have this knowledge and connection now… it’s a bond between us. Why don’t you send me a link to your ad for the boots so I can see them?

WOMAN V.O.: Okay.

CUT TO BRIJIT CLICKING HER MOUSE TO SEND THE LINK TO DAVID.

CUT TO DAVID ON THE PHONE SAYING GRUFFLY:

DAVID: No. Stop arguing with me. I want you to pay full price for the boots don’t try to haggle with her. That’s right full price. I’ll wire you the money. Call me when you’ve got them.

CUT TO LOUIE, THE MAN ON THE OTHER END OF THE LINE, SCRATCHING HIS HEAD, GESTURING THAT HE’S CONFUSED. PAN AROUND HIS APARTEMENT WHICH IS A DIVE.

CUT TO THE NEXT DAY AND BRIJIT READING AN EMAIL FROM A PERSON WANTING TO PURCHASE HER BOOTS.

CUT TO BRIJIT MEETING LOUIE TO SELL HIM HER BOOTS.

BRIJIT: I’ve only worn them one time – to my cousin’s wedding – a couple of years ago.

LOUIE TOUCHES THE BOOTS AND ADMIRES THEM AND THEN CAREFULLY PUTS THEM BACK IN THE STETSON BOX AND THEN PUTS THE BOX UNDER HIS ARM AND TAKES OFF AND DISAPPEARS INTO A SUBWAY STATION. BRIJIT STANDS THERE IN DISBELIEF.

CUT TO BRIJIT HER HER COTTAGE ON THE PHONE TO DAN.

BRIJIT: I went to sell my boots today and you’ll never guess what happened.

DAN V.O.: You sold them.

BRIJIT: No. The man who came to buy them stole them and disappeared into the subway.

CUT TO DAN STANDING UP FROM HIS CHAIR AND STARTING TO PACE AS HE SAYS:

DAN: Describe the man to me.

BRIJIT V.O.: He was about 5’8, thin, dark hair and eyes, kind of shady looking, now that I think about it. Why?

DAN: What a bastard! Do you have his email address and phone number? Send me a picture of the boots, gotta go. He can’t do that to you – I’ll find him and get your boots back. You can count on it!

SLAMS DOWN HIS PHONE AND STARTS DRESSING. PICKS UP HIS PHONE AGAIN AND CALLS.

DAN: Hey Nikki, I need you to help me catch a guy who stole BRIJIT’s boots.

CUT TO NIKKI AS HE SAYS:

NIKKI: Was she wearing them?

BACK TO DAN:

DAN: No, just go and find out who this jerk is and get back to me, I just sent you his contact info.

CUT TO NIKKI QUICKLY TYPING ON HIS COMPUTER AND THEN THE ADDRESS OF LOUIE AZNAVOUR APPEARS ON THE SCREEN.

CUT TO DAN ARRIVING AT LOUIE’S APARTMENT. DAN WATCHES FOR A FEW MINUTES AND THEN SEES LOUIE LEAVING TO GET IN HIS CAR AND DAN FOLLOWS HIM UNTIL LOUIE GOES INTO A FED EX AND HE CARRIES THE SAME BOOT BOX MARKED “Stetson” ON IT. AFTER LOUIE LEAVES DAN GOES INTO THE FED EX AND FINDS THE BOX AND WRITES DOWN THE ADDRESS AND NAME WHERE LOUIE’S SENDING THE BOOTS.

CUT TO DAN BACK IN HIS CAR CALLING NIKKI.

DAN: Look Nikki, I know you’ve got millions of points that you can contribute so stop whinning and get me a ticket to Paris, I know it won’t cost you a thing and you want to see BRIJIT get her boots back too – right?

NIKKI: Yea, your right. Go to the airport and I’ll call you with the info once I get it, but you are going coach!

DAN: Sure I don’t care.

CUT TO DAN IN PARIS STAKED OUTSIDE OF DAVID’S APARTMENT. HE’S ASTOUNDED THAT SO MANY GORGEOUS WOMEN GO IN AND OUT OF IT. AFTER A WHILE OF WATCHING HE’S STUNNED TO SEE ONE OF THE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN WALK OUT WEARING BRIJIT’S BOOTS.

CUT TO NEXT DAY, DAN IS OUTSIDE OF DAVID’S APARTMENT WATCHING THE BIMBOS COMING AND GOING AND TODAY ALL OF THEM WEAR THE EXACT SAME COWBOY BOOTS. DAN CALLS NIKKI.

DAN: Man, you won’t believe this but the guy who got BRIJIT’s boots is some kind of playboy who has an army of beautiful babes coming and going from his apartment and yesterday one of them came out wearing BRIJIT’s boots and now today they all have a pair of the exact same boots. This is really weird!

NIKKI: I did not check him out yet, got busy, let me see what I can dig up on him. I’ll call you back.

CUT TO DAN TAILING ONE OF THE GIRLS WHO CAME OUT OF DAVID’S APARTMENT. SHE GOES TO A THEATER AND GIVES A POSTER TO A YOUNG MAN THERE. DAN WAITS TO SEE WHAT HE’LL DO WITH IT AND HE GOES AND OPENS THE GLASS OUTSIDE CASE AND UNROLLS THE POSTER AND ATTACHES IT AND BELOW THE POSTER DAN READS “Coming Soon The New Film By David Goddard “Boots.” THE PHOTO ON THE POSTER IS THE PAIR OF BRIJIT’S COWBOY BOOTS. DAN CALLS NIKKI TO TELL HIM.

DAN: You won’t believe this, one of these babes just delivered a poster to a theater which just displayed it in the coming attractions case and it’s a photo of BRIJIT’s Cowboy boots.”

CUT TO NIKKI:

NIKKI: Well that makes some sense David’s a film-maker and these women are in his latest film which will be released at the Caan Film Festival tomorrow.

CUT TO DAN:

DAN: I gotta go BRIJIT’s calling. Hey baby, I was just thinking about you.

BRIJIT V.O.: What are you doing?

DAN: I’m enjoying the sites of Paris in the Spring.

BRIJIT: Wow, why… When did you get there… What are you doing there… Are you Okay?

CUT TO DAN BACK IN FRONT OF DAVID’S APARTMENT AND DAVID WALKS OUT OF THE BUILDING AND DAN SAYS:

DAN: I’ve got to go now but don’t worry I’ll get your boots back!

BRIJIT: But I don’t care about them any….

BRIJIT LOOKS AT THE PHONE IN FRUSTRATION THEN SHRUGS DISMISSING DAN AS BEING CRAZY. BRIJIT DIALS ANOTHER NUMBER.

BRIJIT: Nikki, do you know what’s wrong with Dan? He’s in Paris for no reason and he seems to be chasing after the guy who stole my boots but the ticket to Paris is thousands of dollars and the boots only cost a couple of hundred.

CUT TO NIKKI.

NIKKI: Hmmm… No I haven’t talked to Dan in a few days.

BRIJIT: It’s weird, I don’t know what’s going on with him… Okay, I also called to ask you for a favor.

NIKKI: Anything!

BRIJIT: I have this new guy I’m really interested in but he’s in Paris and I wondered, I know you are so good with using points to get free plane tickets and I wondered how much cash you’d charge me to use some of your points for a flight to Paris?

NIKKI: Please, let me just give them to you, I have literally millions of points and I won’t live long enough to use them all up.

BRIJIT: Are you sure?

NIKKI: Absolutely sure. When do you want to go?

BRIJIT: I’m driving to the airport now.

CUT TO THE CAAN FILM FESTIVAL. WE SEE PEOPLE MOBBING DAVID AND HIS BEVVY OF BIMBOS WHO ALL WEAR THE EXACT SAME COWBOY BOOTS – COPIES OF BRIJIT’S BOOTS – AS THEY WALK AROUND AND HAVE THEIR PICTURES TAKEN AS DAVID IS APPROACHED BY THE MEDIA FOR INTERVIEWS. IN THE MIDDLE OF AN INTERVIEW HIS PHONE RINGS MAKING A SPECIAL TONE THAT HE GAVE TO ONLY BRIJIT SO HE TAKES THE PHONE OUT WHILE HE’S BEING INTERVIEWED ON CAMERA AND SEES HER TEXT “I’ll be in Paris in two hours and I can’t wait to meet you!!!” WHILE THE CAMERAS ARE STILL ROLLING AND WAITING FOR HIM, HE RUNS AWAY TO GET TO THE AIRPORT TO GO BACK TO PARIS.

CUT TO PARIS, DAVID AND BRIJIT HAVING DINNER AT AN INTIMATE RESTAURANT HAVING LOTS OF FUN. OUTSIDE THE FRONT WINDOW OF THE RESTAURANT WE SEE DAN IN STARRING IN AND FEELING BAD AS HE LOOKS AT BRIJIT HAVING A BLAST WITH DAVID. DAN DUCKS INTO A DOORWAY AND FRANTICALLY CALLS NIKKI.

DAN (screaming): How in the hell did she get here? You gave her the ticket didn’t you – idiot! Don’t do it again, don’t give her anymore plane tickets damn it! I’m in love with this woman and you’re screwing things up – just stay out of it.

DAN HANGS UP ON NIKKI WHO IS STUNNED AND STARTS PACING HIS APARTMENT TALKING OUTLOUND TO HIMSELF:

NIKKI: I should just stay out of it… he’s right… why am I involved in this insanity… why am I using up all my precious points… what is going on with me… why should I care… it’s not like she…. it’s not like I… it’s not like we…

NIKKI RUNS FOR THE COMPUTER AND MAKES HIMSELF A PLANE RESERVATION FOR PARIS.

CUT DAVID’S APARTMENT WHERE ON HIS TV HE WATCHES A TELECASTER TALKING ABOUT HIS NEW SMASH HIT MOVIE “Boots” AND THE NEW FASHION CRAZE THAT IT’S CAUSED: A TREND WHERE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO GET BRIJIT’S STYLE OF COWBOY BOOTS AND STETSON IS HAVING TROUBLE KEEPING UP WITH DEMAND. THERE ARE A SERIES OF SHOTS OF PEOPLE ON THE STREETS WEARING THEM AND THE TELECASTER WALKS AROUND THE DESK AND SHOWS SHE’S WEARING THEM TOO. DAVID WALKS AWAY INDIFFERENT TO THE SUCCESS OF HIS MOVIE AND TO THE FASHION TREND HE’S CAUSED.

CUT TO DAVID AND BRIJIT WALKING AROUD THE STREETS OF PARIS AND HE’S HEAD-OVER-HEELS IN LOVE WITH HER AND DOES NOT NOTICE OTHER PEOPLE ON THE STREET WHO POINT TO HIM AS BEING FAMOUS. BRIJIT NOTICES ALL THE ATTENTION HE’S GETTING AND THEN SHE STARTS NOTICING A LARGE NUMBER OF WOMEN WEARING THE STYLE OF COWBOY BOOTS THAT WERE STOLEN FROM HER. SHE SAYS:

BRIJIT: I had no idea that parisians were so into cowboy boots… and all the same kind… and they look just like the ones…

DAVID PLANTS A BIG KISS ON HER LIPS SO SHE CAN’T FINISH HER THOUGHT.

CUT TO THEM WALKING DOWN THE SEINE ARM IN ARM DAVID IS TRYING TO MAKE AMORE TO HER BUT SHE’S STILL TOO DISTRACTED BY ALL THE BOOTS. SHE SAYS:

BRIJIT: Can we go get something to drink?

DAVID: Of course, I know a place right around the corner.

CUT TO THEM GETTING A COFFEE TO GO AND THEN WALKING AND THEY COME UPON A MOVIE THEATER AND SEE ON THE MARQUE THAT “Boots” IS PLAYING AND THEN THEY PASS BY THE MOVIE POSTER AND SHE SEES THAT THE BOOTS IN THE POSTER ARE HERS, BECAUSE THEY HAVE A SPECIAL MARK ON THEM THAT ONLY SHE KNOWS ABOUT, THEN SHE NOTICES THE DIRECTOR IS NAMED DAVID GODDARD. SHE’S SHOCKED AND DEMANDS:

BRIJIT: How is it your movie poster has my stolen boots on it? And why didn’t you tell me you are the auteur David Goddard?

DAVID: Yes, I am David Goddard and this is my movie and I had a friend of mine get your boots.

BRIJIT THROWS DOWN HER COFFEE ON THE SIDEWALK AND TURNS AROUND TO WALK AWAY FROM DAVID. HE CHASES AFTER HER BUT A GROUP OF HIS FANS SEE HIM AND MOB HIM FOR AUTOGRAPHS SO HE CAN’T GET TO HER. AS SHE’S WALKING DOWN THE STREET SHE CALLS NIKKI:

BRIJIT: I can’t believe this guy, he had someone steal my boots… What a jerk…

NIKKI: Then it’s off?

BRIJIT: Absolutely! He’s into some kind of weird kinky erotic thing that involves boots… hold on I’ve got another call…

BRIAN: Brijit! Darling!

BRIJIT: Who is this?
BRIAN: Brian.

BRIJIT: Oh, hi, I wondered what happened to you I expected to hear from you two weeks ago.

BRIAN: I’ll tell you about it when I see you but I’m calling to see if I can get you to come to Bordeaux.

BRIJIT: It just so happens I’m in Paris and would love to join you in Bordeaux. Can you have a ticket waiting for me at the airport.

BRIAN: I almost have it paid for now. Go to AirFrance and it will be waiting for you.

BRIJIT FLAGS A CAB AND GETS IN.

CUT TO DAVID BACK AT HIS APARTMENT PACING IN FRONT OF HIS MAIN WINDOW AND PULL BACK TO SEE DAN IS ON THE STREET WATCHING HIM.

DAVID: Brijit wait… don’t hang up… I didn’t know they were stolen… please… tell me where you are… Why are you going to Bordeaux? Who is Brian?

CUT TO DAVID, FOLLOWED BY DAN, AT THE AIRPORT GOING TO BORDEAUX.

CUT TO DAVID GOING FROM HOTEL TO HOTEL IN BORDEAUX – FOLLOWED BY DAN – TRYING TO FIND BRIJIT. COMING OUT OF ONE OF THE FANCIEST HOTELS, DAVID GETS MOBBED AGAIN WHICH SIDETRACKS HIM AWAY FROM FINDING BRIJIT.

CUT TO DAVID IN DISGUISE GOING FROM HOTEL TO HOTEL TRYING TO FIND BRIJIT.

CUT TO BRIJIT INSIDE A FANCY RESTAURANT IN BORDEAUX WITH BRIAN WHO’S TALKING ABOUT VARIOUS GRAND MONEY-MAKING SCHEMES WHICH WE CAN BARELY MAKE OUT IN V.O. ZOOM IN TO SEE THAT BRIJIT IS SAVORING HER MEAL AND PAYING LITTLE ATTENTION TO HIM.

CUT TO BRIAN AND BRIJIT WALKING DOWN THE STREET IN BORDEAUX AND COMING UPON A THEATER WHICH IS PLAYING “Boots.” BRIAN SAYS:

BRIAN: Oh, I’ve really been wanting to see this let’s see if there’s a showing now…

BRIJIT (non-plussed): Sure…

CUT TO NIKKI GETTING OFF A PLANE IN PARIS.

CUT TO DAVID GETTING MOBBED BY WOMEN IN THE LOBBY OF A BORDEAUX HOTEL AND RUNNING INTO A MEN’S ROOM. DAN GOES INTO THE MEN’S ROOM TO LISTEN TO DAVID’S PHONE CALL.

CUT TO A SERIES OF SCENSE IN THE MOVIE “Boots” WHERE IT BECOMES CLEAR THAT DAVID LOVES BRIJIT.

CUT TO BRIAN AND BRIJIT OUTSIDE THE THEATER ON THE STREET. BRIJIT SAYS:

BRIJIT: I’m sorry, I’ve got to go back to Paris. Thanks for the wonderful meal and movie!

SHE RUNS DOWN THE STREET TOWARD A CAB STAND AND BRIAN LOOKS ON CONFUSED. WHEN SHE’S IN A CAB SHE CALLS NIKKI AND SAYS:

BRIJIT: Nikki, I need another ticket, can you use more of your points for me?

NIKKI: Where are you?

BRIJIT: I’m in Bordeaux and I need to get back to Paris. Will you help me?

NIKKI: Of course. Go to the airport now and the ticket will be waiting. When you get to Paris I need for you to meet me at the George V Hotel. I’ll wait for you in the lobby.

BRIJIT: Why are you in Paris?

NIKKI: Because… there’s something I… It’s complicated… I need to see you…

BRIJIT: Okay, I’ll be there as soon as I can.

CUT TO DAVID IN THE BATHROOM PACING TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO. HE GOES INTO A STALL AND CALLS LOUIE.

DAVID: You know I’m gonna kill you right?

LOUIE V.O.: Why?

DAVID: Why didn’t you just buy the damn boots… why’d you steal them from her?

LOUIE: I couldn’t help it I can’t pay full price for anything – and how did you find out I stole them?

DAVID: Nevermind. I’m in Bordeaux looking for her and I need your help, (whispering) there’s a man who’s been following me for days and I want you to meet me at the airport in Paris and help me ditch him (now yelling) and bring the boots!

CUT TO DAVID AND LOUIE (carrying the Stetson boot box) BEING FOLLOWED BY DAN AT CHARLES DEGAUL AIRPORT. LOUIE AND DAVID GO INTO THE VIP LOUNGE OF AIRFRANCE AND ARE FOLLOWED BY DAN. THEY GO INTO THE SHOWER ROOM AND DAN FOLLOWS AND THEY TRICK DAN INTO GOING INTO A ROOM THAT THEY ARE ABLE TO LOCK FROM THE OUTSIDE AND THEY QUICKLY GO TO THE EXIT THEN TO THE CAB STAND AND GET A CAB. WHILE IN THE CAB BRIJIT CALLS DAVID.

DAVID: It’s her… Darling where are you?

BRIJIT: I’m in Paris heading to the George V Hotel. Where are you?

DAVID: I’m in Paris in a cab, (to cab driver) George V Hotel quickly… and I’m now heading for the George V too.

CUT TO DAN BREAKING OUT OF THE LOCKED ROOM AND RUNNING TO GET A CAB OUTSIDE. HE GETS IN AND CALLS NIKKI.

DAN: Where’s Brijit?

NIKKI: She’s on her way to see me so I can tell her I love her.

DAN: Where are you?

NIKKI: The George V… I mean the Four Seasons in San Francisco.

DAN HANGS UP AND TELLS THE DRIVER:

DAN: George V Hotel – step on it!

CUT TO BRIJIT ARRIVING AT THE GEORGE V AND SEEING NIKKI.

BRIJIT: Why are you here Nikki?

NIKKI: There’s something important I have to tell you.

BRIJIT: What is so important that you flew all the way to Paris to tell me?

NIKKI: Well a… I a…

BRIJIT SUDDENLY REALIZES THAT NIKKI LOVES HER AND SHE’S STUNNED AND REALING AND STARTS TO FEEL FAINT AND GROPES HER WAY TO A CHAIR TO SIT DOWN. WHILE SHE’S SITTING, DAVID AND LOUIE ARRIVE IN THEIR CAB AND STORM INTO THE LOBBY AND RUSH OVER TO BRIJIT.

DAVID: Darling, are you okay, you look pale?

BRIJIT: Why are you with the man who stole my boots? Is that them in the box he’s holding?

DAVID: I sent him to buy your boots but he’s cheap and stole them instead on his own. I was planning to make the McGuffin in my film your boots and then you’d have a token of my love for you by my putting something of you in my film. Darling, I’ve been in love with you since our first chat.

BRIJIT FAINTS AND FALLS DOWN AND IS SPRAWLED OUT ON THE FLOOR.

CUT TO DAN ARRIVING AT THE GEORGE V HOTEL. HE RUSHES INTO THE LOBBY AND SEES BRIJIT ON THE FLOOR AND RUNS TO HER. DAN SEES LOUIE NEAR BRIJIT AND TACKLES LOUIE THINKING LOUIE HURT HER BECAUSE HE RECOGNIZES HIM AS THE MAN WHO STOLE HER BOOTS.

DAN: You little creep, you’re the one who stole her boots…

LOUIE DROPS THE BOOT BOX AND TRIES TO RUN BUT DAN COLLARS HIM AND STARTS POUNDING ON HIM. LOUIE WORMS OUT OF IT AND RUNS AWAY. DAN TURNS TO BRIJIT ON THE FLOOR AND THEN DAVID AND NIKKI ALSO CROWD IN TO HER. SHE WAKES UP TO SEE DAVID, NIKKI AND DAN ALL SURROUNDING HER AND ALL VERY CONCERNED AND ALL OF THEM OBVIOUSLY IN LOVE WITH HER. DAVID IS FIRST TO SAY:

DAVID: Brijit, I love you!

NIKKI: Me too!

DAN (to Nikki): I told you to stay out of this!

NOW DAN MAKES THREATENING GESTURES TO NIKKI WHO JUMPS UP AND STARTS RUNNING AS DAN CHASES HIM. WE SEE THEM FIGHTING IN THE BACKGROUND AS DAVID HELPS BRIJIT TO STAND UP AS HE STANDS ON ONE KNEE AND PULLS THE BOOTS OUT OF THE BOX THAT LOUIE DROPPED ON THE FLOOR AND USES THEM LIKE AN ENGAGEMENT RING (LIKE CINDERELLA) TO SEAL THE DEAL BY GESTURING THAT SHE SHOULD PUT ON THE COWBOY BOOTS. SHE DOES AND THEY FIT PERFECTLY AND A CROWD THAT HAS GATHERED START TO CLAP – MANY OF THE WOMEN WEAR THE SAME COWBOY BOOTS. DAN AND NIKKI ARE STILL FIGHTING IN THE BACKGROUND.

CUT TO BRIAN’S CHATEAU IN BORDEAUX AND DAVID AND BRIJIT’S WEDDING. NIKKI IS DAVID’S BEST MAN AND DAN GIVES BRIJIT AWAY AND EVERYONE AT THE WEDDING IS WEARING THE SAME PAIR OF COWBOY BOOTS.

THE END

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