“The Best Roads Don’t Lead To Rome!” (Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved)

(Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved)

4.17.18

Dedicated to my unicorn!

~*~*~*~

~PART I~

FADE IN:

JOHN PHILIP ROOTHAN RUMINATED. A FIT AND HANDSOME MAN IN HIS EARLY 60S AWAKENS FROM HIS RUMINATIONS AND WALKS DOWN THE BEACH IN MADAGASCAR WEARING STUNNING LINEN PANTS AND A WHITE LINEN SHIRT. HIS PACE INCREASES UNTIL HE STARTS RUNNING THROUGH THE TRANQUIL AND SOOTHING SCENE. HE COMES UPON A CROP OF TREES VERY NEAR THE BEACH AND TURNS TOWARDS A MODERN TREE HOUSE SET JUST OFF THE BEACH. HE STANDS ABOUT 10 FEET FROM THE TREE HOUSE AND SAYS (loudly):

JOHN: “I want you to be with me!!!”

BEA MARTINI IS SWEEPING THE FLOOR INSIDE THE TREEHOUSE WEARING A DIRTY AND TATTERED, BUT ONCE MAGNIFICENT BALL GOWN. WHEN SHE HEARS JOHN SHE STOPS SWEEPING AND WALKS OUT ON THE BALCONY. SHE WALKS TO THE LEDGE, SMILING BRILLIANTLY, AND LEANS ON HER ELBOWS ON THE RAILING FACING HIM. SHE SAYS IN A CHARMING AND CALM MANNER:

BEA: “Not if you were the LAST MAN ON EARTH!…(Pausing)…Oh, you ARE the last man on Earth…”

SHE TURNS TO GO BACK INSIDE AND SAYS WITHOUT LOOKING AT HIM:

BEA: “If I ever believe you want to be with me we’ll see how I feel then.”

CLOSE UP OF JOHN’S FACE TO SEE HE’S NOW SINISTERLY RUMINATING ON SOMETHING IMPORTANT.

FLASHBACK TO WIDE ANGLE AERIAL SHOT OF ROME AND AN INSERT THAT READS “One Year Ago.” ZOOM IN TO SEE A DIFFERENT MAN AND BEA HOLDING HANDS AS THEY ARRIVE AT THE COLOSSEUM IN ROME. THE VIBRANT 50 SOMETHING COUPLE ARE SOAKING WET FROM THE RAIN THAT’S BEEN DELUGING THE CITY. THEY SEEM NOT TO 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.”

JOSEF: “Then I’m making your dreams come true and we’ve only just begun.”

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

CUT TO THE TAXI ARRIVING AT THE ADDRESS WHICH IS ON THE SAME STREET AS THE COLOSSEUM JUST BLOCKS AWAY FROM WHERE THEY GOT INTO THE CAB. JOSEF 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 DOORWAY WHERE NO DOOR IS VISIBLE AS THE BUILDING SEEMS A PART OF THE HISTORICAL LANDSCAPE. BUT JOSEF KNOWS WHERE THE HIDDEN KEYPAD IS AND THE CODE THAT MAKES THE ALMOST INVISIBLE DOOR OPEN. HE PULLS HER INSIDE AND ESCORTS HER TO A GRAND BATHROOM AND SAYS:

JOSEF: “Take a nice soak then shower. (POINTING) There’s clothes in the closet.

JOSEF LEAVES AND BEA STARTS THE TUB WATER AND WANDERS AROUND THE PALATIAL ROOMS OFF THE BATHROOM. SHE CHOOSES A VIBRANT COPPER COLORED SILK SHIRT, A TIGHT FITTING BLACK WOOL SKIRT — AND A WHITE SILK SCARF.

JOSEF STANDS IN HIS ELEGANT STUDY HOLDING HIS PHONE AND SAYS:

JOSEF: No, I can’t go to the gala… I’ve met a woman… we’re staying in… I thought you were going… why didn’t you tell me he’s selling the EGG!… I’ll be there!

JOSEF 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 DOOR.

JOSEF: “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.”

CUT TO JOSEF AND BEA ENTERING 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 – OWNED THE RICHEST MAN IN SPAIN, PETER ARRUPE. THE GUESTS BID FOR HIS COLLECTION OF OBJECTS.

BEA (to Josef): “I’m going to find the ladies room. Do you want a drink?”

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

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

AS BEA MAKES HER WAY UP A GRAND STAIRCASE TO THE SECOND STORY, SHE’S LOOKS BACK AT JOSEF WHILE KEEPING HER HAND IN FRONT OF HER ON THE RAILING AS SHE MOVES UP THE STAIRCASE TO ENSURE SHE DOESN’T RUN INTO SOMEONE 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 PETER ARRUPE. SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHO HE IS BUT HE’S IMMEDIATELY INFATUATED WITH HER AND HER BEAUTY.

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

BEA: “Me…no. I’m here with a man I met today (nods to Josef).”

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

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

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

BEA: “Well… I don’t know…”

PETER: “I insist.”

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

BEA GENTLY PULLS HER HAND AWAY SMILING SWEETLY AS SHE HEADS UP THE STAIRS AND THEN TO ONE WING OF THE SECOND FLOOR. PETER MAKES A GRAND ENTRANCE AND THE CROWD CLAPS. BEA DOES NOT SEE NOR HEAR THE SCENE.

CUT TO BEA LEAVING THE LADIES ROOM AND WE HEAR THE CROWD MAKING STRANGE NOISES AS IF SOMETHING EXCITING HAS HAPPENED. WE SEE PETER 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:

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

ALL EYES TURN TO BEA AND RUMORS BEGIN TO FLY. JOSEF THROWS A LOOK OF CURIOSITY AND ANGER AT PETER; BEA LOOKS LIKE A DEER IN HEADLIGHTS. PETER LOOKS LIKE THE KING OF THE WORLD AND HE’S LOVING THE DISAPPOINTMENT THAT HE’S CAUSED THE GLITERATI. ROME WILL BE BUZZING ABOUT THIS FOR WEEKS.

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

PETER: (to Josef) “How high were you planning to bid to get the egg?”

JOSEF: “Higher than the competition, you know I’ve wanted it since that Operation in Madagascar.”

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

PETER: (putting her off) “Later darling.”

JOSEF: (gently slaps Peter’s back) “That was quite a stunt, my friend.”

PETER: “No stunt, it was just as I said.”

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

CUT TO LATER THAT NIGHT AT BEA’S FLAT, JOSEF AND BEA KISS AND THEN BEA SHUTS THE DOOR AS HE WALKS AWAY. SHE THEN WALKS UP THE STAIRS AND INTO THE LIVING ROOM WHERE SHE’S SHOCKED TO SEE PETER’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 TO GAZE AT IT IN AMAZEMENT. BEA’S PHONE RINGS AND SHE ANSWERS:

BEA: (quietly) “Hello?”

PETER: “How do you like it?”

BEA: “It’s magnificent but…”

PETER: “Which color’s your favorite?”

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

PETER: “The safety of my prized possessions is something you needn’t worry about, darling.”

PAN OUT THE WINDOW AND 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?”

PETER: “I did. The hour’s 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 my love.”

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

CUT TO: THE NEXT DAY PETER AND JOSEF SIT TOGETHER IN WHAT LOOKS LIKE A WAR ROOM FULL OF SCREENS AND COMPUTERS. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF OTHER MEN – ALL OF THEM WEARING BLACK — AND THEY HAVE THE DEMEANOR OF SOLDIERS. PETER AND JOSEF ARE DISCUSSING A PROBLEM AND THERE’S TENSION BETWEEN THEM. JOSEF SEEMS CERTAIN AS HE SAYS:

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

PETER: “True, but now the old man’s gone and we don’t know how his son will behave. We still have some competition — if in name only.”

JOSEF: “He wouldn’t deviate from our long set patterns and trade deals… Why would he?”

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

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

PETER: “I’m saying he might.”

JOSEF: “Then we need intel.”

PETER: “Agreed.

JOSEF: What do you suggest?”

PETER: “I suggest you follow him to Malta and find out what he intends to do.”

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

CUT TO: THE NEXT AFTERNOON JOSEF AND BEA ALONE IN HIS DINNING ROOM OVERLOOKING THE COLISEUM.

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

JOSEF: “Good. Listen, I have to go on a short trip tonight but I should be back in a day.”

BEA: “Where are you going?”

JOSEF: “A colleague’s behaving suspiciously and I have to find out what he’s up to.”

BEA (taking his hand in hers): “Come back soon.”

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

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

BEA: “Peter! Come in and look at your your lovely egg!”

PETER: “Along with my heart the egg is yours now darling.”

BEA SMILES BUT CLEARLY DOES NOT TAKE HIM 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 pulls her hand away) “I’ve been meaning to ask you…”

PETER: “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 AND GETS TWO GLASSES AND WINE AND RETURNS AND GIVES A GLASS TO PETER, THEN 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 BRILLIANTLY LIT EGG.

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

PETER: (slowly and gently) “All my life I’ve collected the most beautiful objects 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 man… a certain kind of man… for a long time.”

PETER: “What kind of man?”

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

PETER: “A woman just like you Bea.”

BEA’S SURPRISED AND DOWNS HER GLASS OF WINE. SHE STANDS UP AND WALKS TO THE WINDOW AND LOOKS OUT AT THE CITY AND QUIETLY SAYS:

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

PETER: “Yes.”

BEA: “Tell me about him.”

PETER: “Josef has many virtues… he’s brilliant and determined to get whatever he’s after… he’s clever… he’s ruthless… But most importantly he’s obedient.

BEA’S SURPRISED BY THIS LAST AS SHE DOES NOT CONSIDER OBEDIENCE A VIRTUE

BEA: “What’s he after?”

PETER: (standing) “That’s an excellent question. I want you to remember that question as in a short time it may become the most important issue in your life.”

BEA: “Peter, do you care for Josef?”

PETER: “Like a son.”

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

PETER: “I do.”

BEA: “Does Josef care for you?”

PETER: “More than all but one other man on Earth.”

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

PETER: “Yes darling I am.”

PETER PUTS HIS GLASS DOWN AND WALKS OVER TO BEA. STANDING NEXT TO HER HE LOOKS OUT AT THE CITY AND TAKES HER HAND AND SAYS:

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

HE KISSES HER HAND AND LEAVES.

~PART II~

CUT TO JOSEF AND SEVERAL MEN (ALL WEARING BLACK) ARRIVING BY HELICOPTER ON THE ISLAND OF MALTA.

CUT TO THE INSIDE OF AN ANCIENT STONE FORTRESS WHERE JOSEF AND JORGE BASADA ARE SEATED OPPOSITE EACH OTHER DISCUSSING A TIMETABLE AND DEADLINES.

CUT TO ROME WHERE PETER AND BEA ARE WALKING AROUND THE CASTEL SANT’ANGELO. PETER IS SHOWING HER THE PRIVATE QUARTERS AND HIDDEN TUNNELS THAT GO TO THE VATICAN.

PETER: (walking slowly holding her hand) “What have you spent most of your life doing Bea?

BEA: “Doing things I’m passionate about. When I was a teen friends and family urged me to learn skills that would allow me to earn a living doing things that bored me. I know they meant well but they didn’t know me… they didn’t know that such a career would never allow me to paint a master-piece on the canvas of my soul.”

PETER: “I’m not at all surprised you knew this about yourself early. Most people waste their lives on petty, pointless, activities. (pause) And were there any other threats to painting a master-piece on the canvas of your soul?

BEA WALKS TO A RACK THAT WAS USED AS A TORTURE DEVICE BY THE INQUISITION AND SAYS WHILE TOUCHING IT:

BEA: “This seems like a good place for a confession.” (pausing and looking intently at Peter) Yes, there was another threat. His name was Marvin Lazar. I met him when I was 18 and he was my ideal… my unicorn, as they say. He owned one of the world’s largest construction companies with his family and they built sky-scrapers. He was elegant, intelligent, industrious, direct, productive, and when he was not working he reveled in celebrating life. He especially loved all forms of theater. Together we spent many wonderful nights drinking the best champagne and seeing the world’s greatest theatrical productions — he introduced me to both. We were a gorgeous couple: he was Italian and handsome and I was a beautiful model back then.”

PETER: “You’re one of the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen… Your face is truly exquisit… In fact, I’m going to call you “Doll Face.”

BEA SMILES DEEPLY AND PETER’S GAZE IS THAT OF A RAVENOUS, YET BENEVOLENT, EROTIC PREDATOR.

PETER (returning to his normal temperament): How was Mr. Lazar a threat to your masterpiece?

BEA: “He was everything I thought I wanted — and that was the problem. One day we were in a spectacular suite atop a Las Vegas Casino and something happened.

PETER: “What happened darling?”

BEA: “It was morning and I got out of bed to go look out the giant window at the sunrise. While standing there half naked, Marvin leaned back in bed with his arms behind his head. As I stood at the window in the natural spotlight of the rising sun, he proceeded to interrogate me. He was friendly and earnest, but eventually I could tell that my answers were not up to his standards. I saw him set his mind to writing himself all over the canvas of my soul. He had a elegant, heroic soul but it was not *MY* soul.

PETER: “How did you escape?”

BEA: “When we returned from the trip I did things that were totally out of character for me: I lied; I put him off; I stood him up; and when we were together I pretended to be indifferent and absent-minded. I did all of this to get him to loose his ardent interest in me. I didn’t really understand what I was doing at the time but I knew that this man was the most threatening thing I had ever encountered BECAUSE he was everything I thought I wanted… but the price was that he create my self.

PETER: “And did he leave you alone?”

BEA: “Yes, eventually. (pause) I think I should tell you that now I get the same feeling from you.

PETER: “How so?”

BEA: “It’s just a feeling but I sense that there’s some kind of game, a competition or dispute between you and Josef and that I’m the prize who’ll become the property of whomever wins and that one of you intends to paint on the canvas of my soul.”

PETER: “Who do you want to win?”

BEA: “I don’t have a horse in this race yet… I find you both very compelling… Can you tell me what this competition’s about?”

PETER: “No, but it will be made clear to you very soon.”

PETER PUTS HIS HAND ON HER CHEEK AND GENTLY CARESSES IT AS HE GAZES INTO HER EYES.

CUT TO MALTA WHERE JOSEF AND JORGE SHAKE HANDS AS JOSEF HEADS TO HIS HELICOPTER WITH HIS MEN.

CUT TO ROME LATER THAT NIGHT JOSEF AND BEA ARE HAVING DINNER IN A FORMAL DINNING ROOM NEXT TO A WINDOW LOOKING OUT AT ROME.

BEA: Was your trip productive?

JOSEF: “Yes, very. What did you do yesterday?”

BEA: “Peter gave me a tour of Castel Sant’Angelo and we had a nice talk.”

JOSEF: “About what?”

BEA: “About my past and the biggest threat I’ve ever encountered.”

JOSEF: “Do you have any deep dark secrets tucked away, skeletons you don’t want coming out of your closet?”

BEA: “No. I’m happy to discuss any aspect of my past — how about you?”

JOSEF: “I’ll answer any questions you have, darling.”

BEA: “How do you feel about Peter?”

JOSEF: “I love him like he was my father.”

BEA: “Do you trust him?”

JOSEF: “With my life. Why?”

BEA: “How do you think he feels about you?”

JOSEF: “The same… What’s this all about Bea?”

BEA: “Well, I… I’m confused… It seems that there’s some kind of competition between you two.

JOSEF: “Oh that’s just friendly competitiveness. Don’t worry about that.”

BEA: “Are you certain?”

JOSEF REASSURES HER WITH A LOOK.

CUT TO JOSEF AND PETER BACK IN THEIR WAR ROOM DISCUSSING JOSEF’S MEETING WITH JORGE. AS THEY LEAVE THE HIGH-TECH WAR ROOM JOSEF ASKS:
“What have you been telling Bea? She thinks we’re competitors of some sort.”

PETER: “But we are — teleological competitors.”

JOSEF: “How so?”

PETER: “You know our long-standing metaethical debate.”

JOSEF: “Oh that… It’s a philosophical debate — nothing more.”

PETER: “That’s right it’s philosophical and that means it’s foundational to one’s character. Unfortunately, you’ve taken this aspect of my training very lightly. I think you need to reconsider.”

JOSEF: “You know that we don’t yet have enough control to consider that possibility. One day we’ll get there and then we’ll think about it. But until that day comes, we fight as all of our ancestors had to fight — for SURVIVAL! From Rodrigo to Cesare to Francis Borgia each one had to dominate their opponents or else be destroyed or enslaved by them.

PETER: “You and I are having the same dispute that Rodrigo and Cesare did and I’ve sided with Rodrigo.”

JOSEF LOOKS AT PETER WITH DISBELIEF.

JOSEF: “You know our work is not finished. You know that John will not let us consider our own happiness yet. Perhaps soon but not yet. We first have to finish the work that our beloved Semiramis started in Babylon.”

PETER: “Rodrigo did not agree with John and neither do I.”

JOSEF: “Have you told him?”

PETER: “Many times.”

~PART III~

CUT TO PETER AND JOSEF BACK IN THE WAR ROOM.

PETER: “I need you to go and take control of the V3 Council as the US faction is taking the ascendancy and we need to reassert John’s overall agenda.”

JOSEF: “How long do you want me to stay?”

PETER: “A month or so.”

JOSEF: “I’ll bring Bea with me.”

PETER: “I think it would be better if you leave her as she’ll be a big distraction to you.”

JOSEF PAUSES TO CONSIDER THIS AND THEN AGREES.

CUT TO PETER IN AN UNDERGROUND CATHEDRAL-LIKE, SHIP-LIKE GIGANTIC SANCTUARY. A MAN (JOHN) IN SILHOUETTE STANDS IN FRONT OF A HUGE WALL OF SCREENS WHICH ARE DISPLAYING VARIOUS EVENTS THAT THIS MAN IS CAREFULLY WATCHING. THE MAN PUSHES A BUTTON AND THE ENTIRE WALL OF SCREENS BRING UP VIDEO VIGNETTES OF BEA MARTINI. HE STUDIES THEM BY REWINDING AND PLAYING THEM OVER AND OVER. THEN THE MAN PUSHES ANOTHER BUTTON AND THE SCENES ARE OF BEA AND PETER TOGETHER. A VOICE COMES OVER A SPEAKER TO ANNOUNCE THAT PETER IS WAITING TO TALK TO HIM AND THE MAN GIVES A GESTURE THAT OPENS A DOOR WHICH PETER COMES THROUGH. BEFORE DOING THIS THE MAN SWITCHES THE SCREENS BACK TO VARIOUS SCENES NONE OF WHICH ARE OF BEA OR PETER. PETER WALKS IN AND STANDS ABOUT 20 FEET AWAY FROM THE MAN WHILE TALKING.

JOHN PHILIP ROOTHAN: (not looking at Peter): “I’m disappointed by your unannounced appearance Peter. You know I didn’t call for you.”

PETER: “I’m sorry to break protocol but I’ve reached a decision that’s profound and will effect all else I do in the future so I wanted to explain myself in person.

JOHN: “What is it?”

PETER: “I’ve fallen in love and I want to take a year off to be with the woman.”

JOHN: “A WOMAN!?!?!?!”

PETER: “Yes John a woman.”

JOHN: “So all you want is a vacation?”

PETER: “No.”

JOHN: “What else?”

PETER: “Like Rodrigo and Cesare before us, I know we’ve disagreed about what our ultimate end should be and your argument has merit. However, my position has not changed, but now it’s pressing on me to such an extent that I’ve come to warn you…

JOHN (almost sarcastic): “To warn me Peter??!!!”

PETER: “Yes. I’ve concluded that I’m developing into a loose cannon. I’m hoping that by taking a year off and enjoying myself for the first time in my life that I may be able to come back to you and again be your trusted General. I have not changed my agreement with the purpose of your cause however, my soul is running dry and I find I can’t go on this way.

JOHN: “What do you wish me to know about the woman?”

PETER: “You already know all the various details that are in Bea’s profile but what I have not reported is that: (with a profoundly touching quality in his voice) I believe she’s the happiest person on Earth. Because of this we both know she’s an incredible threat to our system. My goal is not to sequester or quarantine her from your system but rather to infuse myself with her infectious love of life. If I can, then perhaps I’ll be able to take up your cause of dominating this planet, ruling over man and nature, and creating immortality for ourselves. When I was young that audacious quest of yours was enough, John, but no longer, my friend. (LONG PAUSE).

JOHN: “And if I refuse your request?”

PETER: “I’ve thought of that contingency and I’d like you to put me on cryogenic freeze and bring me out when you’re further down the line in our quest when you feel we’re sufficiently assured of survival that we can safely change our ultimate end to happiness.

JOHN: “Do you think Bea’s our greatest enemy?”

PETER: “Yes.”

JOHN: “Why?”

PETER: “You know my assigned task for two decades has been to rank our enemies. I’ve studied profiled hundreds of people by our criteria. They all have in common a strength of character and determination and the main quality they share is the strength of their self. Bea has been very overtly clear and tenacious about this since her youth. I must now tell you that she has worked on this issue philosophically and technically. I’m sorry that I did not mention her philosophical work in my report but I knew you might kill her or give her to Rico and his boys for reprogramming. I didn’t want you to destroy her until I told you that I love her.”

JOHN: “Your deception angers me and you’re right… you’ve become a loose cannon.”

PETER: “Then I have your decision. I know you feel impervious but a parting word of caution John… As we age — and you are so much older than the rest of us — we incrementally loose the capacity to love and to be happy. You may already be past the point of no return, I don’t know. In your VENGEFUL efforts to destroy Bea’s self, please keep in mind that you may be destroying your own last chance at happiness…

JOHN (sarcastically interupting): “I’ll take that under advisement Peter.”

~PART IV~

CUT TO A CLOSE UP OF PETER FLOATING IN A VAT OF LIQUID USED IN CRYOGENIC FREEZING.

JOHN STANDS IN FRONT OF HIS SCREENS AND IS LOOKING AT VIDEOS AND PHOTOS OF BEA GOING BACK TO HER CHILDHOOD. HE PLAYS ONE SCENE OVER AND OVER WHERE SHE’S 6 YEARS OLD AND IS BEING PLAYED WITH BY A VERY HANDSOME MAN WHILE HER MOTHER WATCHES ON IN THE BACKGROUND. JOHN TURNS UP THE VOLUME AND PLAYS THIS SCENE AGAIN AND WE NOW HEAR THE HANDSOME MAN SAY:

JIM MILES: “She’s so beautiful! When she grows up she’s going to be such a HEARTBREAKER!”

PAN BACK TO JOHN AND BEHIND HIM RICO STANDS IN THE SAME SPOT WHERE PETER HAD STOOD.

RICO: “The usual level of treatment?”

JOHN: “No, I don’t want you to kill her or harm her physically. In fact, I don’t even want you to split her personality.”

RICO: “But there’s no known way to avoid that!”

JOHN: “Do your best and go VERY lightly on the physical. I want you to get our greatest charmer Adolfo… and Hans-Peter and Pedro to help you. Yes, that’s the team I want for “Operation Hula Crush”… No, on second thought… “Operation Doll Face Rescue.”

JOHN IS NOW TALKING TO HIMSELF AND DOES NOT NOTICE THAT RICO IS STILL STANDING THERE WAITING FOR ORDERS.

JOHN (to himself quietly): “With her manipulations this woman has torn from me my beloved Peter… It’s a wound that will never heal… No kind and swift death of your lovely body my dear — it’s your self that I will take from you, and you will help me do it… An eye for an eye… Revenge is a dish best served cold and you’ll never see it coming as I’m the world’s greatest doctor of Revenge… Dr. Revenge…

JOHN TURNS AND NOTICES RICO IS STILL THERE AND SAYS:

JOHN: “You can go now Rico.”

RICO LEAVES THE ROOM AND JOHN SAYS TO HIMSELF:

JOHN: “You’re mistaken Peter, you and Rodrigo both. I’ve never seen anyone on this planet that’s happy. I’m going to prove that includes Bea and then you’ll give up your crazy quest for happiness and come back to me. This shouldn’t take long since it’s a woman and she’s fairly young. I’m really surprised Peter mistaking whatever this creature has for genuine happiness.”

JOHN PULLS UP A SCENE ON ONE OF THE SCREENS AND TURNS OFF ALL THE OTHERS. IT’S OF HIM AS A YOUNG MAN AND IT’S A CARTOON. IT SHOWS A CARTOON VERSION OF HIMSELF ON HIS WEDDING DAY AND THEN FRENCH SOLDIERS ENTER THE CHURCH AND ARREST HIM. WE NEXT SEE HIM IN A CELL THEN PULL BACK THROUGH HIS CELL WINDOW TO SEE HE’S AT THE PRISON AT THE CHATEAU d’IF.

JOHN TURNS BACK TO THE SCREEN WALL WHICH HAS PHOTOS, VIDEOS, AND REAL TIME STREAMING OF BEA AND SAYS:

JOHN : “Whenever you want a job done right you’ve got to do it yourself.”

~PART V~

CUT TO A HANDSOME MAN IN BEA’S HOME IN ROME BOXING UP THE FABERGE EGG.

BEA: “How long are Peter and Josef going to be at this conference?

MAN: “About a month and I’m sure they’ll get back in touch with you when they can.”

CUT TO A SERIES OF SHOTS OF BEA BEING HARASSED BY AGENTS OF RICO:

(*) TWIN TORNADOES NEARLY DESTROYING BEA’S FATHER AND AUNT’S HOMES IN DALLAS, TX WITH COPPER BOX CARS IN THE AIR IN THE TWISTERS; (*) BEA HAVING IMAGES OF HER APPEAR ON BILLBOARDS WHICH SHE NEVER MODELED FOR OR APPROVED OF; (*) BEA HAVING A HELICOPTER FOLLOW HER DOWN AN OLD COUNTRY ROAD AS SHE DRIVES AND WHEN SHE STOPS IT HOVERS OVER HER CAR AND SHE FEELS HIGHLY SEXUALLY AROUSED FOR NO REASON; (*) BEA LISTENING TO THE RADIO WHERE THE ANNOUNCER IS CLEARLY TALKING TO HER ABOUT SUBJECTS THAT SHE TALKED TO PETER AND JOSEF ABOUT; (*) BEA WATCHING A MOVIE WHICH DEPICTS HER LIFE WITH PETER AND JOSEF; (*) BEA’S BEST FRIEND CALLING HER TO SAY HE’S BEEN GIVEN A DREAM JOB AT THE VATICAN EVEN THOUGH HE’S AN ATHEIST; ETC…

CUT TO INSERT THAT READS “6 Months Later.”

CUT TO RICO, ADOLFO, HANS-PETER AND PEDRO STANDING BEFORE JOHN IN HIS OFFICE.

ADOLFO: “Yes, we tried that…

HANS-PETER: “And all known variations of it…”

JOHN: “And what does she do?!!!”

PEDRO: “She engages, is incredibly funny. She does not get freaked out at all.”

JOHN: “WHAT!!!???!

RICO: “We’ve never seen these kinds of reactions and we need more guidance from you.”

JOHN: “Has her personality split?”

ADOLFO: “No not exactly but she does have three semi-alters she refers to as “Party Girl” who loves to go to events, concerts, parties, and who adores flirting with men…

RICO CHIMES IN WITH A SIGH INDICATING HOW MUCH HE LOVES “Party Girl,” AND HANS-PETER AND PEDRO LOOK AT EACH OTHER EYES GLEAMING IN AGREEMENT WITH RICO. JOHN NOTICES THAT BEA IS HAVING THIS EFFECT ON HIS MEN AND HE’S VISIBLY IRRITATED.

ADOLFO (clearing his throat): The other two semi-alters are “The Narrator” and “The Doctor.”

JOHN: “What functions does “The Doctor” do for her?”

ADOLFO: “The Doctor” seems to be her professorial self who is professionally trained and profoundly logical…

JOHN: “Trained in philosophy by whom!?!?!?!?!?!

PEDRO (down-heartedly): “Your nemesis Skipper — plus the top three men Fluffy mentored.”

ADOLFO: “Yes, Bea’s been trained in logic, including advanced epistemology, which we weren’t expecting and can’t get around — keeping the constraints you told Rico. She knows what the arbitrary is and she’s able to play with us while not taking anything we say or indicate seriously. Plus, almost every mechanism we set up to influence her she quickly shuts down — at least once we get negative.

JOHN SLAMS HIS FIST DOWN ON HIS DESK IN FRONT OF HIM.

JOHN: “Why didn’t Peter tell me this?”

ADOLFO: “We don’t think he knew.”

JOHN: “Thank you all. I’ll deal with this BITCH myself and I’m going to take my time!”

~PART VI~

CUT TO JOHN DIRECTING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE MAGNIFICENT TREEHOUSE (IN THE FIRST SCENE) ON THE BEACH IN MADAGASCAR.

CUT TO BEA WAKING UP IN THE TREEHOUSE WEARING THE SAME MAGNIFICENT BALL GOWN IN THE FIRST SCENE BUT IT’S NOW IN PERFECT CONDITION. BEA DOES NOT KNOW HOW SHE GOT TO THIS TREE HOUSE. SHE GOES TO A DESK AND TURNS ON A COMPUTER. SHE CHECKS HER FACEBOOK PAGE AND SEES THAT THE PLACE-HOLDER FOR HER UNICORN HAS POSTED SEVERAL THINGS AND SHE’S EXCITED TO READ THEM. WHEN SHE CHECKS HER EMAIL SHE SEES THAT SHE HAS NOT CHECKED IT FOR A WEEK, SO SHE INFIRS THAT SHE’S BEEN KIDNAPPED AND BROUGHT HERE AND HAS UNDERGONE SOME DRUG-INDUCED MEMORY ERASURE OR JUST BEEN MADE TO BE UNCONSCIOUS FOR A WEEK. SHE SEES THAT THE LAST EMAIL SHE SENT WAS TO RSVP TO A GALA GIVEN IN ROME ONE WEEK AGO AND SHE INFERS THAT THIS IS WHY SHE’S STILL WEARING THE BALL GOWN SHE WORE TO THIS EVENT. SHE NOTICES THAT SHE HAS EMAILS FROM A NUMBER OF NEW SUITORS AND THOUGHTFULLY RESPONDS TO EACH BUT IS ONLY EXCITED ABOUT ONE OF THEM DR. RAND. WE SEE HER EXCITEMENT WHILE SHE WRITES HER EMAIL TO HIM. SHE THEN SAYS TO HERSELF:

BEA: “Wish I had a….”

THEN INSIDE OF HER OWN MIND A VOICE SAYS:

VOICE: “Yes… What did you have in mind?”

BEA’S STARTLED AND LOOKS AROUND THE ROOM TO SEE IF THERE’S SOMEONE NEAR HER BUT THERE IS NOT. SHE GOES OUTSIDE AND WALKS AROUND THE TREE HOUSE TO SEE IF THERE’S ANYONE OUTSIDE BUT AGAIN NO ONE. SHE GOES BACK INSIDE AND AGAIN THERE IS A VOICE INSIDE HER HEAD AND IT SAYS:

VOICE: “Let’s chat.”

BEA (inside her mind she says): “Alright. What do you want to chat about?”

VOICE: “Us.”

BEA: “There is no “us” — I don’t even know who you are — although I have my suspicions.

VOICE: “Very soon there will be an us.”

BEA: “This is a lot of trouble to go to for a date. Why didn’t you just go to one of the social events I routinely attend and get introduced to me like a normal man?”

VOICE: “That’s not my style.”

BEA: “But kidnapping and leaving me with access to my friends and research, and chatting me up with some exotic technology is your style?”

VOICE (ignoring her question): “Let’s talk about your friends, one in particular, this man Dr. Rand.

BEA: “What about him?”

VOICE: “What does he mean to you?”

BEA: “He’s a place-holder. I’m a hero-worshipper. I worship men who have grand scale achievements…

VOICE: “Then very soon you’ll be worshiping me.”

BEA: “I very much doubt that. Anyway, Dr. Rand is my current unicorn.

VOICE: “I take it you mean that he’s a place-holder for your ideal mate?”

BEA: “That’s right. Why do you care?”

VOICE: “I’m jealous of your esteem for him.”

BEA: “Well all you’ve got to do to fix the situation is EARN my esteem — assuming you’re a real man and not just some AI or Quantum computer.”

VOICE: “I’m real baby!!

BEA: “Whatever you are, what do you want with me? Why have you taken me prisoner? When are you going to release me?”

VOICE: “We’ll get to all that very soon…”

~PART VII~

CUT TO AN INSERT WHICH READS “3 months later…”

CUT TO BEA EATING A DELICIOUS MEAL DELIVERED BY A SERVANT ON THE BALCONY OVERLOOKING THE OCEAN WITH A SIBERIAN FOREST CAT SITTING NEAR HER. WHEN THE SERVANT’S GONE SHE SAYS OUT-LOUD:

BEA: “Well John… You know, I always liked that name and when I was in my teens I decided that my ideal mate would be named John… Silly the kind of things young girls think of… Anyway, you still have not proven ANYTHING to me: I have no evidence for anything you’ve told me about your self — including your many protestations of love for me. You’re full of assertions in this highly subjective venue (she points to her head) — which does not even allow for the reading of your body-language. You may know I’ve studied logic and I know what the arbitrary is. So far all your protestations of love for me are completely arbitrary. And from what I could tell about the world I was living in before you kidnapped me, you’re out to shrink the lifespans of billions of people. So, I might say you are the world’s greatest killer and if being King Kong were not bad enough, you’re being really mean to me as well.

“JOHN”: “Mean to you?… I’ve MADE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE… I’ve given you the most gorgeous home you’ve ever had… the best food you’ve ever eaten… I’ve protected you from storms that frequent this part of the coast… I’ve given you access to your friends via the internet that I caused to be created… Every single thing you’ve asked for I’ve given you… And I don’t understand why you won’t wear the beautiful clothes I’ve given you… I’ve looked after all of your friends and family who write you to tell about how well their lives are going… I’ve brought you doctors to monitor your health…

BEA: “I haven’t seen any doctors…”

“JOHN”: “You don’t need to see them I monitor your health remotely. I’ve given you that lovely cat that you’ve befriended and made sure that no predators attack him… I’ve given you all this time to get to know me…

BEA (stands up and paces and gestures): “Made my dreams come true you say… When did I ever ask to be captured by a Monarch who intends to rule the entire world by his volition, usurping the volition of all other humans?!!! I don’t recall dreaming of that!”

JOHN (with difficulty staying calm): Like you, I was born into this system and my only choice was to make the most of it, or pass it on. And now your only choice is the same, come and make the most of it with me, or…

BEA: “I’d be truly appreciative of what you’ve done for me if I knew what your motive is  — but I don’t!!! You could have done all these things in order to create the perfect operating theater for the agenda of the ancient Mystery Schools — from Platonism to Mithraism — to CRUSH MY SELF!!!

CUT TO JOHN INSIDE HIS BEDROOM WHICH HAS A SMALL BANK OF SCREENS. HE LOOKS AT BEA ON THE SCREEN AS SHE SAYS THE LAST LINES THEN SHE STORMS OUTSIDE. JOHN PULLS ON A CORD TO PULL A BLACK VELVET CURTAIN OVER THE SCREENS. HE LAYS DOWN ON HIS BED AND RUMINATES. ONE OF HIS CLOSEST FRIENDS CALLS AND THE WAY WE KNOW IT IS THAT THE COLOR BLUE APPEARS INSIDE OF JOHN’S MIND’S EYE. JOHN ACCEPTS THE CALL AND THEY TALK WITH NO DEVICE — JUST BY THINKING IN THEIR HEADS.

JOHN: “Ledochowski, how’s the council going?

LEDOCHOWSKI: “Everything’s good here John, not to worry. Pignatelli got things back on track. That’s not why I’m calling. (pause) Several of us were having dinner and started talking about how you’re doing. Frankly, we’re worried… You’ve been locked up and engaged in trying to break her for 3 months now. Don’t you think you should get back to your real life?… All the girls miss you and ask about you.”

JOHN: “Tell them to send me their wish lists.”

LEDOCHOWSKI: “Seriously John… What the hell are you doing?”

JOHN: “I’m falling in love for the first time in my life and I have to wrestle this demon all by myself. It’s like making love — it’s not something you can ask another to do for you.”

LEDOCHOWSKI: “John, how will we know if she’s gotten to you? How will we know if she’s turned you against your old self, your old standards, your old agenda and what should we do if she does this to you?”

JOHN: “3 months ago I would have asked you to kill me if she wins this battle. Now…I want you all to get your tuxedoes pressed and get ready for the grandest wedding the world has ever seen.”

CUT TO BEA CHATTING ON SKYPE WITH A HANDSOME AND BRILLIANT 50 SOMETHING MAN AS HE TURNS THE CONVERSATION TO SEX.

ANDREW: “That’s enough philosophy. I really wanna know what turns you on Bea… I wanna know what excites you physically… Tell me….

WE HEAR THE CALL HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED.

BEA (curiously): “What the….

JOHN (in her mind): “I don’t want you to talk about sex with any other man!”

BEA: “I don’t want you popping in my head and chatting with me or disconnecting calls with my suitors.”

JOHN: “You have NO OTHER SUITORS!!!”

BEA: “Just for the sake of argument, John. Let’s say we get together. And let’s say that one day you come home from a hard days work and I rush to you and ask: “How was your day darling?” and you answer “Amazing, I set out to kill 50 million people and was able to kill 100 million.” What do you expect me to say to this “achievement”? “Terrific about the extra the mass murder sweetie!”?

JOHN: “I have an answer. I have a way for us to work this out. Please hear me out.”

BEA: “I don’t see any possible logical answer John — you’re the world’s greatest killer and you’ve caused a huge amount of suffering…  (long pause) (whispering now) albeit, you’ve also likely caused a greater amount of human flourishing in the many decades you’ve been King of this twisted Kingdom.”

JOHN: “Thank you for recognizing that I’ve caused more flourishing than death and suffering.”

BEA: “Even with that being the case John, it’s the nature of a Kingdom that only the King has a SELF. Only the King has and can use all of his volition. I’m a daisy that broke through the cracks in the sidewalk of your Kingdom, I’m a fluke, a freak, a pest, and I’d rather die than not exercise all of my free will to maintain the kind of autonomous and happy self I’ve created. There’s no place for 2 sovereigns in this Kingdom of yours John.

JOHN: “Bea, what I love most after myself is you. I love my strength and my dignity which make me superior to other men. That strength was my life but now… Now that I see that there’s you, my darling… I have never wanted to share my Kingdom, never needed another soul… My beloved… There’s room for another sovereign if you join me as my Queen.

BEA: “If I ever believe you love me, John, then I’ll be your Queen.”

~The End~

 

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2 thoughts on ““The Best Roads Don’t Lead To Rome!” (Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved)

  1. Jim Ashley says:

    This screenplay is intriguing. I have the sense that one of the people who make up the love triangle is going to show his true colors. The outcome will be very interesting!

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