Hi, all. Some of you may remember my short story “Capital Partners,” which came out a few years ago. It was published in the WRITES OF SPRING anthology, edited by the late Gary Schultz and Pat Frovarp, who also owned Once Upon A Crime, that wonderful bookstore in Minneapolis.
As time went on I couldn’t get the characters in Capital Partners out of my mind. So I decided to expand the story (at least in my mind) and write a TV pilot. I had a great time doing it — again, as some of you know, I used to work in Film and TV, and the process was like “coming home.” So, just for fun (and maybe profit — who knows?), here are the first 10 pages of the script. Let me know what you think. And enjoy!
First, the logline: When two women who dislike each other find out their husbands have been running a Ponzi scheme and owe millions to the Mafia, they put their differences aside to get their money back. However, along the way they discover they are being stalked by an unknown cyber-espionage organization.
CAPITAL PARTNERS: A TV Pilot
EXT. VAIL AIRPORT - MORNING A Gulfstream waits outside a hangar on the tarmac. A limo drives up. A softly plump man in his late 40s/early 50s with longish gray hair, SY PENNINGTON, gets out. He's carrying his bag. A crew member comes over, takes the bag and SY climbs up the steps, ducks his head, and enters the plane. INT GULFSTREAM - MORNING Sy settles himself in a seat on the plane. Takes out some papers, makes a few notes. The pilot calls through the intercom. PILOT V.O. We're good here Mr. Pennington. Ready to take off? SY Just a minute. I need to make a call. Sy pulls out his cell, punches in a number. Waits. SY, I'm just taking off. I'll meet you at five at the Omni Shoreham bar. The Oak something. Sy Buckles his seat belt. EXT. VAIL AIRPORT - MORNING The plane taxis down the runway, gains speed, and takes off. A few seconds later it explodes. A fireball forms in the sky and slowly extinguishes. The few people at the hangars are shocked. INT. GULFSTREAM JET EVENING TITLE: THREE DAYS EARLIER The wine in a glass on the tray-top of a plush leather airplane sloshes gently, then more forcefully. A woman's hand grabs the glass. We see Faith MONTGOMERY, an attractive woman in her early forties. Faith plays down her beauty and appears meek, even naive. She wears jeans and a sweater. She gulps a huge swallow of wine. As she does, the plane bucks, indicating turbulence.Faith grimaces and clutches the armrest with her free hand. A man's hand covers hers. Her husband, JAY MONTGOMERY is also in his early forties with intense blue eyes and prematurely gray-white hair perversely making him look younger. He wears more elegant jeans and a jacket. Jay smiles fondly at Faith. JAY Sy said there's a foot of fresh powder. This must be why. The plane continues to buck. Wine spills on Faith's lap. She looks down. FAITH He probably said that so you'd drop everything and follow him out here. You know how he hates to be alone. JAY He's got Dana. FAITH Like I said, he hates to be alone. Faith's eyes widen at a particularly sudden drop. Jay squeezes Faith's hand. FAITH (CONT'D) I shouldn't have said that, huh? JAY Don't worry baby. We're almost there. EXT. MONTAGE - NIGHT ROLL CREDITS AND MUSIC over montage of Jay and Faith landing safely at the Vail airport, crossing the tarmac to a waiting limo, being driven to their home, a large chalet whose lights sparkle against the inky sky. Jay unlocks the front door where they are met by a uniformed housekeeper. INT. CHALET HALL - NIGHT A marble floor. Elegant sconces. Everything says luxury and wealth. A fire crackles in another room. HOUSEKEEPER Two messages, Missus. Dinner at eight with the Penningtons. And a call for Mrs. Montgomery. A Mr. Cole from Chicago. He left his number. JAY Cole? HOUSEKEEPER Yes, sir. FAITH Thanks, Lucy. Faith climbs the stairs to their bedroom. INT. BEDROOM/BATHROOM - NIGHT Sound of shower from the bathroom. Faith in bra and panties applies her make-up at her dressing table. The shower stops. A moment later, Jay emerges with a towel wrapped around him. Faith is practicing polite smiles in the mirror. Jay spots her reflection. When Faith sees that he's watching, she stops. They both speak at the same time. FAITH I'm sorry... JAY Hey baby, it's not gonna be that bad... Faith rolls her eyes, picks up a black cocktail dress, and holds it in front of her. JAY (CONT'D (CONT'D) It's only for a couple of hours. FAITH I know. They gaze at each other via the mirror. Jay cocks his head. JAY You're not having an affair, are you? FAITH What? Oh, the call. I have no idea who 'Cole' is. Probably something to do with Second Chances. JAY Just checking. (He grins, takes the dress and throws it on the bed. He nuzzles her cheek.) FAITH Mmm... I'm going to drop in tomorrow before we ski. Make sure everything's under control. Jay tightens his arms around her. JAY Sometimes I think you care more about that halfway house than me. FAITH It's a toss up. Jay kisses her. JAY In that case, I guess I need to remind you of your priorities. You're my wife, and I wantСС FAITH Sweetheart, we're supposed to be at dinner in 10 minutes. JAY Looks like we're gonna be late. EXT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT The limo pulls up to "The Gilded Age," a new trendy Vail restaurant. Faith and Jay hold hands and walk past a burbling fountain. INT. RESTAURANT NIGHT A small room with maybe thirty tables, all filled. Faith spots SY and DANA PENNINGTON at one of the largest tables in the room. Dana wears a neon turquoise outfit. In her late thirties, she has long blond hair, a great body, and nary a wrinkle. Sy, on the other hand is softly plump, has longish gray hair, thick fingers, and wears an open collar shirt through which his chest hair pokes. He is the man on the Gulfstream that exploded. Dana waves. Faith smiles the same one she practiced in the mirror. Jay and Faith weave between tables, some occupied by Hollywood celebrities. At the table Faith leans over to kiss Dana, then Sy. FAITH You look fabulous, Dana. DANA New trainer. He comes to me after Demi Moore. Sy makes a show of looking at his watch. SY You're late. Gotta stop having all that sex. (Guffaws) Dana giggles too and sips her martini. SY (CONT'D) They flew in lobster from Ecuador. I ordered it for us, okay? Jay pulls out Faith's chair then sits. JAY Sounds great. Faith shoots Jay a quick glance. Jay ignores her and orders white wine and scotch on the rocks from their waiter. Sy waves to the waiter. SY And another round for us. (turns to Jay) Everything OK on your end? JAY Couldn't be better. SY You get my message? JAY I did. SY We need to talk. JAY I promised Faith a no-work weekend. He glances at Faith. SY Just eating... and drinking... and.. Sy leers. Dana slurs her words and flashes a brittle smile. DANA Skiing, Sy. They'll be skiing. The waiter brings their drinks. SY It's important, partner. JAY Okay, Sy. I'll make time. The conversation devolves to small talk. Sy loses interest and gazes at other diners. He nods to those he deems worthy. The waiter brings their meal under four silver domes. As soon as he places Sy's and lifts the dome, Sy tears it off the shell and stuffs the meat into his mouth. The other three take their time. INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT The meal is over. The waiter takes their plates. WAITER Coffee? FAITH Please. Black. JAY Same here. DANA The cappuchino is really good. JAY You've had it before? DANA Last night. SY How do you think we got this table? Hey, why don't you girls go to the powder room? I want to talk to my partner. Dana rises as if she's used to doing Sy's bidding. Faith hesitates and glances at Jay, who gives her a slight nod. She gets up and follows Dana who walks unsteadily towards the ladies room. INT. LADIES ROOM - NIGHT Upscale ladies room, theater lights on the wall, cloth towels, mouthwash, hair spray, and other toiletries. The two women wash their hands at the sink. Dana looks over at Faith. Her lips part, but no words come out. She goes to a brocaded bench, plops down heavily, and pulls out her lipstick. Faith appears in the mirror above the table. Dana pats the seat next to her. Faith sits. Dana looks around, sees they are alone. DANA You've been a friend to me Faith. You are my friend, right? Faith hesitates a beat. FAITH Of course. DANA You're the only one, you know. No one likes me. They never did. Sy's kids... well, you know. Second wife and all. FAITH Kids usually get past that kind of thing. DANA Not Sy's. FAITH It will pass. You have a fairy tale life, Dana. We both do. DANA That could be, but I have a feeling the monster's at the door. Dana shoots Faith a meaningful look. FAITH Huh? DANA I have something to tell you. But it's confidential She slurs the word "confidential." DANA (CONT'D) Something happened with Sy today. And I think it involves Jay. FAITH They are partners. DANA This was different. But you can't say anything. Dana lifts her index finger to her lips. Faith powders her nose. DANA (CONT'D) Sy had a visitor. They went into Sy's office. They argued. Sy said 'I don't fucking believe you.' FAITH He does have a temper. DANA (Shakes her head) Like I said, this was different. After the guy left, Sy tells me he's flying back east on Sunday. FAITH What was the man's name? DANA Sy wouldn't tell me. FAITH Okay. So why's he flying back? Dana shrugs. DANA But here's the thing. (Pauses). Right after the guy left, Sy called someone else. Before he changed for dinner. FAITH And? DANA I snuck into his office afterwards and pressed redial. Faith arches her eyebrows. It was area code 202. DC. Someone answered 'US Marshals, Mr. Goodloe's office.' FAITH I don't get it. DANA That makes two of us. FAITH It's probably nothing. DANA Right. And the moon is made of blue cheese. Faith puts her compact away. DANA (CONT'D) You won't tell, will you, Not Jay. Or anyone. If Sy finds out..." Faith rises. FAITH We'd better get back. Dana goes back to the sink. She fills a paper cup with mouthwash, swishes it around, spits it out. INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT As the ladies come back to the table SY is gesticulating wildly. Jay grins weakly. When Faith sits, Sy's hand accidentally brushes her dress. SY Oh, sorry, Princess. Faith grimaces. INT. HALF-WAY HOUSE - DAY Faith, in jeans and a sweat shirt, is in the kitchen of a comfortable but modest house. She cheerfully washes breakfast dishes and stacks them in a drain. TERRY, a rail-thin woman in her twenties with lank hair but bright eyes, is in sweats. She dries. FAITH So you doing okay, Ter'? TERRY Sure. Faith stops washing and looks at Terry. FAITH I'm not hearing a resounding 'YEH, Faith, everything's cool.' What's going on? TERRY Nothing. FAITH Right. And I'm Grace Slick. TERRY You really have a thing for her don't you? FAITH The Airplane was my mother's favorite group. She almost named me for her. Terry continues to dry. TERRY I hear she's a painter now. In Marin County. FAITH She was lucky. TERRY How so? FAITH She's still alive. TERRY What? You think she had a jones? FAITH Do you? TERRY I don't think so. FAITH Because... TERRY Because her life was going 90 miles an hour. Partying, singing, song writing, sex, success. No down time. Everything was red, yellow, and orange. All the time. Faith cocks her head. TERRY (CONT'D) She was on one big A jones for life. She didn't need H like we do. Or did. FAITH Plenty of rockers are addicts. TERRY Yeah, I know. They're the ones that can afford to drop in and out of rehab as many times as they want. Between trips on their private jets to who knows where. But the rest of us? Look at me. I got nothing. No talent, no special gifts. I have to live in the gray. And there are days when it feels like it's sucking me under. Faith keeps her mouth shut. When she turns to Terry, her eyes fill. FAITH But that's it, Terry. TERRY What? Faith runs her fingers down Terry's cheek. FAITH You've been clean now for how long? TERRY Eighteen months. FAITH That's amazing! Even if it's gray, you're alive. Coping. Working the steps. Getting ready for the sun. Lots of people never get that far. Faith bites her lip. FAITH, CONT. Like my mother. Terry looks like she wants to say something but dries another plate.