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Thursday, January 11, 2018

BABY BLUE EYES

 Baby Blue Eyes

by Phil Mershon

i. Overhead establishing shot of a city darkened by an impending storm. The nattering of crickets far below is shattered by a lightning strike that coincides with the lights twinkling on in a large hospital. The word "Dignity" flickers an obscene orange that attempts to brighten the smattering of cars in the parking lot.

ii. A Dodge Durango swings into the drive-up in front of the hospital. A man of about fifty emerges, rattled, worried, confused--yet with a determined pace. As he emerges, he kills the engine, uses the fob to lock the door, double checks it, then checks it again. We follow him as the electronic glass door slowly opens. The man, with some impatience, grabs the edge of the door and tries to force the door to open quicker. Match-cut to:

iii. PHIL entering hospital in considerable haste. The overly bright lights inside the building jar us a bit in contrast to the darkness outside a few seconds earlier. We follow PHIL from the front as he ignores voices that inquire "Sir, may I help you? Sir? Sir? Someone call security." He pulls himself one way and another, finally finding an elevator, then disregards it for a stairwell. He slams open the stairwell door which slams back at him. He responds with a violent kick and huffs up the stairs, disgorging himself into a hallway replete with nurses who are speaking into telephones. No doctors are present. Seeing someone he recognizes, he stops.

iv. BETTY stands outside a patient room with her husband JERRY. Both carry the weight of exhaustion borne of prolonged fear.

                                   PHIL
Have either of you seen her doctor?

JERRY shakes his head;  BETTY does likewise.


                                  BETTY
Her nurse talked to her. Lisa didn't want us in there, but you know me.

                                    PHIL
They're kicking her out?

                                    JERRY
They say now that she's stable--

                                   BETTY
She's still sick, Phil.

                                   PHIL
I was just here two hours ago. This is crazy. Who is her nurse?

                                   BETTY
Her name is Sheila. She's over at the station.

We follow PHIL as he spins and approaches the nurses' station.


                                  PHIL
Which one of you is Sheila?

All three nurses look up. From the left we see the shadow of an approaching security guard. 

                                  SHEILA
You must be Phillip. You will be taking Ms. Terzo home this evening, I understand?

                                  PHIL
She's not going anywhere. I don't know if you noticed, but there's one hell of a storm outside--

                                  SHEILA
Her doctor has already signed her discharge papers. We were just waiting for you.

                                  SECURITY GUARD
Everything all right, Sheila?

                                  SHEILA
I think so, Carl. Phillip, Ms. Terzo met with our social worker a few minutes ago and they discussed the post-release options available to you--

                                  PHIL
We--I have been through this bullshit half a dozen times at other hospitals. She comes in close to death from alcohol withdrawal. You give her benzos and monitor her until you think she won't die, then you kick her out, she comes home and she has two choices: she can start drinking again or she can start having seizures again. Which would you pick? 

                                   SHEILA
As we explained to your wife, if she does begin to seize up, you should call 911 immediately.

                                    PHIL
Or you can write her a script for some kind of benzo so that doesn't happen.

                                   SHEILA
Only her physician of record can do that and since he has already signed her discharge--

                                   PHIL
Get him out here right now.

                                   SHEILA
I can page him. He has left for the evening.

                                   PHIL
We're not going anywhere. You page that bastard. I want to see you page him.

                                  SECURITY GUARD
Sir, maybe you should try to calm down.

                                 SHEILA
I'm paging him right now.

                                 PHIL
Looking at Security Guard: We're not going anywhere.

v. PHIL, BETTY, JERRY enter LISA's room together. We see a woman in her mid-forties, very groggy, but trying to sit up. 

                                 LISA
Well, babe, here we go again, huh?

                                 PHIL
I'm going to try to get you some medicine so you don't get sick after we get back to the house.

                                LISA
Mom says it's raining?

                                 PHIL
It aint dry, that's for sure.

                                 BETTY
She still cant walk.

                                 JERRY
We called a bunch of facilities to see if we could get her some help, but they won't take her--

                                 LISA
They say I'm not ambulatory so they wont take me.

                                 PHIL
Cocksuckers.

                                 DOCTOR NELSON
Someone here asked to speak with me.

vi. DOCTOR NELSON is a human poster for the word "no."

vii. Inside Durango, PHIL drives as LISA rides shotgun, clearly in some discomfort. The wipers sweep the torrential rain, wind buffets the large SUV. Both PHIL and LISA are smoking.

                                   LISA
Are the dogs freaking out?


                                   PHIL
I dont know. It hadnt really started raining much when I left. They're fine. It's you I'm worried about.

                                   LISA
I can get to the house. 

                                   PHIL
Hey, if I need to carry you, that's what I'll do. Dont worry about that.

                                    LISA
You cannot carry me.

                                    PHIL
No, probably not. 

                                    LISA
We'll be okay.

                                    PHIL
Yes. Yes. We will. 

                                    LISA
I'm very sorry.

                                    PHIL
You dont have one damned thing to be sorry about.

                                    LISA
I have to quit drinking. It's killing me.

                                    PHIL
You're doing more than your share. These doctors are all just scum. All they care about is their insurance payments. Keep little Blue Eyes til she's stable, then kick her to the curb.

                                    LISA
The dogs are okay?

                                    PHIL
They're good. They missed you.


viii. Twenty-seven years earlier. LISA emerges from an old orange El Camino and steps into a vast parking lot that surrounds American Express. She sports a snazzy purse over one arm and carries a briefcase from the other. She looks at the enormity of the building she is about to enter and sighs. 

                                     LISA
Well, kiddo. This is the first day of the rest of your life.

ix. Interior. Human Resources office. LISA meets with DAHLIA, the HR manager.

                                     DAHLIA
I am confident you will be impressed with the professionalism of the Credit Authorization's department here at American Express. As you and I discussed during your orientation, this is a very high pressure job. You will learn to make decisions that directly affect our Cardmembers and Service Establishments at the point of sale, but despite the pressure, you will learn to appreciate the value of a professional demeanor. 
                     
x. Interior--Credit Authorizations Department. Ten trainees, including LISA, are seated in front of CRTs awaiting instructions from a long-haired young man wearing a bright red sports jacket, James Dean necktie, jeans and sneakers. His wardrobe contrasts wildly from those of everyone else in the large room.

                                         PHIL
All right, fellow babies! It is time to get wild with those phones and computers. I'm sure we have lots of customers waiting--(shouting) Jeff! How many calls in queue?

                                        JEFF
(From control desk across the room) Thirty-seven!

                                        PHIL
Good God in heaven. Well, everybody key in those magical numbers--Who remembers the numbers to make yourself available? Lisa?

                                        LISA
Sixty-six?

                                       PHIL
Oh yeah! Give that woman a gold star! Who has the gold stars?

KAREN comes running from across the room and sticks a gold star on LISA's computer.

                                        PHIL
I know you're all scared and that's good! Let's rock and roll all night--

                                       ALL TEN
And party every day!

                                      PHIL
God, that's why I love you! Sixty-six those bad ass machines!

xi. Interior. PHIL's apartment. JEFF, KAREN, LISA and PHIL drinking beer from cans.

                                      JEFF
I was monitoring some of your calls yesterday.

                                      LISA
Mine? Why?

                                      JEFF
Part of the job, schweetheart. Part of the job. Like I told Karen and Phil, you just let everything slide off your back. Listen, she was picking up a card from some deadbeat, ninety days passed due, guy had been told not to use the card ten minutes earlier. She's very nice to the guy: "Sir, I have no choice but to have the merchant return your  card to American Express." He screams at her and she just listens politely and finally the guy wears himself out and hands the phone back to the sales clerk. Lisa just smiles and gives her the address. Anybody else just starting out would have freaked.

                                         KAREN
She had a good trainer.

                                         PHIL
Naw, there's something special about our Lisa Ann. You really are amazing. You just never get rattled.

                                         LISA
If I don't get home soon, Brian is liable to get rattled and I don't need to come to work tomorrow with a black eye.

                                        KAREN
Of course, you're joking.


                                        LISA
Of course, I'm not.

                                        PHIL
Well, Jeff. What do you think?

                                        JEFF
She definitely doesn't need a black eye.

                                        PHIL
Let's break her out of there.

                                        JEFF
I don't know.

                                         LISA
Break me out? What're you talking about?

                                        PHIL
You like being a prisoner in your own home? You like being scared all the time?

                                        LISA
I don't have any place else to go. How would I move my stuff?

                                        JEFF
You could move in here with Phil. Right?


                                        PHIL
Um. . .Yes! You could move in with me.

                                        KAREN
Or with me.

                                        LISA
Do you know karate?

                                        PHIL
Is that a prerequisite for cohabitation these days?

                                       LISA
Brian does. He's a black belt. So are his friends.

                                       PHIL
Okay, so while I distract Brian, the three of you can sneak her stuff into the trunk.

                                       LISA
How are you going to distract him?

xii. Tight shot of BRIAN punching PHIL in the face, knocking him down the outdoor staircase. BRIAN's friend, who resembles a sumo wrestler, lifts PHIL under the arms and BRIAN delivers a series of blows to PHIL's chest and face. A car horn honks and we pivot to see LISA and KAREN inside LISA's car. They are motioning for PHIL to hurry up.

                                     PHIL
I'll--be--right--there.

BRIAN gives PHIL a couple more love taps and we cut to:

xiii.  LISA dabbing iodine on PHIL's face. He winces. 


                                     LISA
You know, I have to go back.


                                     PHIL
That's. . . insane.

                                     LISA
I didn't get my cassette tapes. I have to get them back.

                                     PHIL
Tapes? What are you talking about?

                                     LISA
I left my Cheap Trick tapes. I need them back.

                                     PHIL
I will personally buy you everything Cheap Trick ever recorded. I'll get you a meeting with Bun E. Carlos. You are not going back.

                                      LISA
Are you sure about that?

                                      PHIL
I am positive.

                                      LISA
Okay. If you say so. Now, what about the sleeping arrangements?

                                      PHIL
If you have to ask, that means I'll be sleeping on the couch and you get the bed.

                                      LISA
You don't mind?

                                       PHIL
I'll just take another in a series of cold showers. It's fine.

                                        LISA
Karen has a crush on you, you know?

                                       PHIL
It's never gone beyond the "crush on me" stage.

                                       LISA
If you say so.

                                       PHIL
I do say so. 

                                      LISA
But you have dated other employees.

                                       PHIL
I have not, however, invited any of them to live with me.

                                        LISA
Or rescued them from an abusive relationship?

                                        PHIL
Correct. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to collapse now. Over there. On the sofa.

                                        LISA
Good night. I do love you.

                                        PHIL
Love you too, Baby Blue Eyes.

xiv. A few days have passed. Interior PHIL's apartment. Evening. The walls are plastered with Cheap Trick posters and"Surrender" is blasting from the stereo speakers. LISA and PHIL are dancing. LISA is  holding a beer, PHIL a Coke.

                                       PHIL
Did I tell you about the Lead position that's opening?

                                        LISA
Isn't that your job?

                                     PHIL
They're adding another one. I was talking with Jeff and he thinks you'll get it if you apply.

                                      LISA
No kidding.

                                       PHIL
I never kid.

                                       LISA
You kid all the time.

                                      PHIL
I thought you'd be more excited.

                                      LISA
I'm sure it's a great opportunity. Did I ever tell you about Greg?

The record ends, as does the dance.

                                       PHIL
You did not.

                                        LISA
I thought I did.


                                       PHIL
I think you didn't.

                                        LISA
He's this great guy I used to know back in Iowa. 


                                       PHIL
I hope you're not moving back to Iowa.

                                        LISA
He's moving here. He got a job with Sprint. 

                                        PHIL
Well, hey, well, hey.

                                        LISA
We were, you know, good friends in Iowa.

                                        PHIL
I see where this is headed.

                                        LISA
You and I agreed when you let me stay here that this was just temporary, that we were going to be just friends.

                                       PHIL
I'd say the "just friends" went out the window a few nights ago.

                                       LISA
Phil, that was just--

                                       PHIL
Yep, that was just--

                                        LISA
You didn't let me finish.

                                        PHIL
What I know is that once in a life time, if a person is very lucky, he meets someone who makes him understand himself, who gives him a reason to be better than the day before.

                                        LISA
Look, you already know how great you are. There are so many girls at American Express who would--

                                        PHIL
And none of them come close, dammit. Okay. Look, no strings, just like we agreed. No strings. When does this Craig person get here?

                                         LISA
Greg. His name is Greg. He got here two nights ago. He signs the lease on the apartment tomorrow. I'm giving notice to the company the day after.

                                        PHIL
Wow. Well, the mature thing would be for me to wish you all the best.

                                        LISA
Thank you. I know you'll like him. I've told him all about you.


                                        PHIL
But I never was all that mature.

We hold on LISA as she studies PHIL's face. FADE.

xv. Exterior. Rocky Point beach front. Evening. KAREN, JEFF, LISA and GREG are sitting around a campfire laughing, drinking beer, except for LISA, who is sipping a Coke.

                                         GREG
How are things at American Express these days?

                                         JEFF
Forty in queue, deadbeats screaming, everyone needs an emergency card replacement yesterday.

                                           KAREN
And we all miss Lisa Ann.


                                        LISA
I am quite content being a house wife.

                                       GREG
Technically, a house girlfriend. But that will be changing.

                                       KAREN
Oh really? Do I hear wedding bells?


                                        LISA
You may have noticed I'm not drinking?

                                        JEFF
I noticed.

                                       KAREN
Yep. Noticed that.

                                      GREG
You're dying to tell them. Go ahead.

                                      LISA
Greg got a promotion.

                                       GREG
And. . .

                                       LISA
And we're having a little baby.

                                       KAREN
Wow! Congratulations! That's great!

                                        JEFF
Better than having a grown up. Damn, that would hurt.

                                      KAREN
When?

                                       LISA
End of October.

                                       GREG
Right. We're hoping not on Halloween.

                                       KAREN
That would be scary.

                                       JEFF
I was gonna say that!

                                        KAREN
A baby! That s just wonderful.

                                        LISA
So we are getting married and you all have to promise to visit us all the time.

                                        JEFF
I just love babies.

                                        LISA
Don't say anything to Phil, okay? I want to tell him myself.

                                        KAREN
Greg, have you ever met Phil?

                                        GREG
Yeah! He used to visit once in a while. Haven't seen him in a few months, though.

                                         LISA
How is he doing?

                                        KAREN
Still hyper. Still crazy. Just. . .

                                        JEFF
He's fine.

                                        LISA
I thought since he hasn't been around that he might be seeing someone.

                                        JEFF
No. He tells me whenever that happens. Nope. Just working lots of  overtime. Pissing off the bosses.

                                        KAREN
Do you know if it's a girl or a boy?

                                         GREG
We want to be surprised.

                                         LISA
We were already surprised.


                                          JEFF
Yeah. Hey, let's have some more hot dogs. I'm gonna be an uncle, I'm gonna be an uncle.


xvi. PHIL's apartment. Dining room table. DAHLIA and PHIL are drinking coffee.

                                             DAHLIA
 I wanted you to hear it from me. The company is bringing in some new leadership. Management leadership. Three women who worked together at Nabisco. They call them Change Elements.

                                             PHIL
You don't look all that happy about it.

                                             DAHLIA
I'm HR. It won't affect me.


                                             PHIL
You're saying it will affect me?

                                             DAHLIA
I'm saying they will find your approach to authority discomforting. These three women--they favor leaders with jackets and ties.

                                             PHIL
I wear a jacket and tie.

                                              DAHLIA
They like things a bit more conformist. 

                                              PHIL
I will need a new career, it seems. You know, if I could be a thing instead of a person, I'd love to be a train. You know, taking people from one city to another, connecting long lost lovers, commuting people to work.

                                             DAHLIA
How do you know you wouldn't be  a train taking Jews to Auschwitz? 

                                               PHIL
What  the hell do you mean by that?

                                               DAHLIA
What I mean--What you need to understand--is that the present management has been using you. Sure, they've turned a blind eye to your eccentricities. But only because your weirdness gets people to work harder. The employees work hard for you because they think you defy authority. The bosses let you get away with it for just that reason. These three women--they just won't care about that. They would rather tank the department than suffer your insolence.

                                               PHIL
I hate them already. (Phone rings. PHIL answers)

                                               LISA
How have you been? I've missed you!

                                               PHIL
Me too. Where are you?

                                               LISA
We are packing. Greg got transferred to Michigan. Lauren and I are meeting him there first of the week.

                                              PHIL
I need to see you.

                                              LISA
Why don't you take us out for pizza?

                                              PHIL
Remember that place on 7th Avenue?

xvii. This scene is a montage of current and then-future images that bring us to a new present tense. [Note: While the sequence and details of these events are not necessarily chronologically accurate or specifically accurate, it is hoped that they retain the proper flavor of real events.]1. LISA, LAUREN (age three) and PHIL in a pizza joint. LISA and PHIL are eating pizza, laughing, as LAUREN playfully looks on with some contentment at how comfortable the two grown-ups are together. 2. LISA in a hospital giving birth to  GERRIT, her second child. 3. A nine-year-old LAUREN learning to play the violin; a six-year-old GERRIT watching the movie Wayne's World, while LISA and GREG argue in the background, while BETTY and JERRY try to ignore the argument. 4. A teenage LAUREN taking karate lessons while GERRIT rides his skateboard. 5. LISA and GREG signing a divorce settlement. 6. PHIL being walked out of American Express as "the three women" nod with smug approval. 7. LISA starting a new job at Red Rock--the people there nodding in delighted approval. 8. PHIL driving a taxi with confused and not-altogether-happy passengers in the back seat. 9. LISA getting the keys to her new home. 10. LISA reading dunning notices from the mortgage company. 11. LAUREN marrying ADRIAN at an Elvis chapel in Las Vegas with LISA,  GERRIT, BETTY, JERRY, GREG and others in attendance. 12. PHIL getting assaulted by several men outside a  closed coffee shop on Christmas Eve. FADE.

xviii. Hospital room. PHIL is waking up badly bruised from the attack. We see his confused reaction as he recognizes the person standing beside his bed: LISA.

                                       PHIL
Blue Eyes! What--

                                        LISA
The hospital called me. My number was in your wallet. You've been--The nurse says you're going to be in some pain for a little while. Christ, man! You were beat up.

                                       PHIL
I was--

                                       LISA
A police officer was in to see you an hour ago. You were out of it.

                                       PHIL
I don't really hurt.

                                       LISA
You're on a morphine drip. You probably don't feel much. 

A social worker enters.

                                      SOCIAL WORKER
Mr. Mershon! I'm Gladys, a social worker from Maricopa County!

                                       PHIL
Why are you shouting?

                                       SOCIAL WORKER
Your nurse made our office aware of what happened to you and I am here to guide you through the process of receiving the services you need to better understand what happened to you.

                                       PHIL
No, thank you.

                                       SOCIAL WORKER
Excuse me, is this Mrs. Mershon? (Indicating LISA)

                                        LISA
(Starts to say "No" but is cut off)

                                        PHIL
My wife, yes. You may speak freely.

                                        SOCIAL WORKER
According to the police report, you were last evening sexually assaulted by an undetermined number of men at 8211 West Union Hills Drive. Is that correct?

                                         PHIL
And if I were, what makes you think I would want to discuss it with some trainee who won't even be in this job in two years? Get out of here.

                                        SOCIAL WORKER
Sir, I certainly understand--

                                         PHIL
You don't understand anything. Sal de aqui. Sors d'ici. Raus hier. Get out of here. 

Social Worker exits.

                                          LISA
So I'm your wife, huh?

                                         PHIL
You always were, Blue Eyes. You just didn't know it. I want you to come live with me.

                                         LISA
You don't know what you're offering.

                                         PHIL
Sure, I do.

                                          LISA
No, you don't. I have a big dog, two parrots and rooms full of stuff. Plus, I drink.

                                         PHIL
Okay, so maybe I don't have room for all that. We'll get a new place together. 

                                          LISA
Did I mention the dog and the birds?

                                          PHIL
You did.

                                           LISA
All my stuff?

                                         PHIL
Yep.

                                          LISA
I'm an alcoholic.

                                         PHIL
I don't care.

                                         LISA
I can't even work. I hate to leave the house. I'm--not in great shape emotionally.

                                        PHIL
I won a suit against American Express for wrongful termination. Got myself a pissed off attorney who eats corporate fucks for breakfast and picks his teeth with rusty chains. Don't get me wrong. I'm not rich, but I've got about twenty-five grand saved up.

                                       LISA
We could rent a house.

                                       PHIL
Absolutely.

                                       LISA
Lauren could help us find a place.

                                       PHIL
Then that's a yes?

                                       LISA
I guess it is.

                                       PHIL
Whoo-hoo! Then get me the hell out of here, will you?

xix. Tight shot on sign that says Quartros 2. As we pull back, we see this is an old town home community that has likely seen better days. Down a winding road we see the Durango pull in with LISA at the wheel, Cody the Dog to her side, as if guiding her, and boxes of belongings in the rear of the vehicle.

xx. Moving van is already  parked in front of the Durango. Two men are unloading a piano, hope chest, two cages of parrots.

xxi. Interior of their town home. PHIL carrying boxes up the stairs, LISA arranging the bird cages, Cody sniffing everything.

xxii. LISA and PHIL sleeping in sleeping bags next to the front door. He is dead to the world. Her eyes are open wide.

xxiii. LISA on telephone with a prospective customer.

                                         LISA
Yes, Mr Remington, I agree. But that has nothing to do with building your website. Our staff will have your beautiful new website up, running and ready to make money for you within forty-eight hours. Pardon me? No! No, those other companies are ripping you off. We only charge ninety-nine dollars for one full year. What I need to get from you now is the Visa or Mastercard you will use to pay for this. Pardon? I see. Would you prefer oatmeal or chocolate chip? Well, since you are being childish, I thought cookies might be good before your nap time. What's that? Okay. Your number is 5426. . .

PHIL enters room and he and LISA exchange a high five.













                                       












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