02x04 - Lynch Pin

INT. - DR. ISABEL DE OBALDIA'S OFFICE - DAY

[Helena Peabody sits on a couch across from her shrink, Dr. Isabel de Obaldia. The telephone rings.]

[Titlecard: New York City, Present Day]

Isabel: (phone) This is Doctor de Obaldia returning his call. I'm in session for the next 45 minutes.

[The call ends. Helena looks at the doctor.]

Isabel: We need to talk.

Helena: Isn't that why I'm here?

[Helena slowly takes off her jacket.]

Isabel: Please don't do that.

Helena: What am I doing, Isabel?

Isabel: You know exactly what you're doing.

[Helena sits back and crosses her legs.]

Helena: Are you ashamed of what happened?

Isabel: It was profoundly wrong, I... I could lose my license.

Helena: I would never do that.

Isabel: I have a responsibility to you. And I abused that responsibility. (hesitates) I'm sorry.

Helena: I'm not. How is it wrong...

Isabel: It's absolutely wrong.

Helena: ... to act on desire, when we are both suffocating from it? When it harms no one... when it's so... f*cking... excruciating?

[The doctor stares at her. Helena gets up and slowly walks over.]

Isabel: But I have done you a great disservice. Please. I am asking you to sit back down.

[Helena slowly leans over Isabel and kisses her neck. Isabel sighs in ecstasy. Helena raises her to her feet and they kiss hungrily. Helena begins to take Isabel's jacket off.]

[Opening credits.]

EXT. - THE PLANET - DAY

[A beautiful, sunny day.]

INT. - THE PLANET - DAY

[The cafe is busy. Music plays. Alice, Tina, and Dana sit at a table. Shane and Jenny walk in, swinging hands and grinning. They sit.]

Alice: Hey guys!

Jenny: Hello!

Alice: Alright. A fairy godmother comes to visit. She tells you she's gonna give you a pen1s.

Dana: Oh my god.

Alice: You only get it for 24 hours, and then it disappears. What do you do with that pen1s for 24 hours?

Shane: I would pee standing up on every bush I could find.

Dana: That's all you would do, you would just... just pee.

Shane: (nods) Mm-hmm. Yup.

Jenny: You really wouldn't try to f*ck a lot of girls?

Shane: (smiling) I don't need a dick to do that.

[Everybody laughs. Tina looks at Alice.]

Tina: Okay. How big is my pen1s?

Alice: Okay. Lean.

[Tina sits back a little. Alice stares at her crotch.]

Alice: Okay. I see a really big cock down there.

[Tina raises her brows and laughs.]

Alice: It's long, it's not too thick, it's not too dainty.

Dana: Gross.

Alice: I, on the other hand, have a giant sausage!

[Everybody laughs. Kit brings drinks to the table.]

Jenny: I think that I probably have a really small pen1s.

Kit: Girl, you need to work on your self-esteem!

[Shane squeezes the bridge of her nose.]

Shane: Oh, we're trying, Kit.

Jenny: No, no, no, I kinda like men with small dicks, 'cause then they work really hard to try to please you, you know? Right?

Tina: Jenny, I am beginning to think that you are definitely a lesbian.

Shane: Carmen's certainly hoping so.

Dana: Carmen, what?

Alice: What? (to Jenny) Wait, there's something going on between you and Carmen?

Jenny: No, no, no, it's nothing!

Kit: Girls! (to Jenny) Carmen is all that.

Jenny: Kit!

Kit: (laughs) Oh, Alice, before I forget, thank you so much for the gift certificate.

Alice: You're welcome. Did you use 'em, or...

Kit: No, not yet. I was waiting for Bette to come back so we could have our massages together.

Tina: Where's Bette?

Kit: Uh, she went to New York. She's back on Friday. I thought maybe we would treat ourselves on the weekend.

[Tina looks down.]

EXT. - NEW YORK CITY STREET - OUTSIDE BETTE'S HOTEL - DAY

[A busy Manhattan boulevard, crammed with tall buildings, cars, and people. A cab pulls up to the curb outside Bette's hotel. Bette is on her cell with James.]

Bette: (phone) She what?

[Bette gets out of the cab. The doorman holds the taxi door for her.]

Bette: She can't f*cking cancel on me when I flew all the way out here just to - (to doorman) It's in the back. (phone) Alright, what time tomorrow? Okay, well, in the meantime, can you get me a private tour of the Frick?

[The doorman carries Bette's bags inside. Bette follows.]

Bette: Oh, and James, can you make sure that Helena Peabody takes the time to read our proposal before I walk in there tomorrow morning? (sighs) Okay, I'm gonna get off. I'm losing you. Alright. Bye.

EXT. - JENNY AND SHANE'S HOUSE - DAY

[A wicker swing is on the front porch, along with lots of plants.]

INT. - JENNY AND SHANE'S HOUSE - DAY

[Jenny and Shane are interviewing potential roommates. The extremely cheerful Linda, or "Feef", sits on the couch opposite them.]

Feef: (grinning) Linda's my real name, but I decided to go with Feef because I think it's more memorable. Don't you?

[Feef grins. Jenny and Shane stare.]

Shane: Uh, Feef, what do you do when you're not being an extra in one of your movies?

Feef: I signed up for a Berry Gannon sitcom technique workshop. Oh, I really wanna be a TV star! I just did a little horror movie and the director totally noticed me. At least, I think it was the director. He was wearing a baseball cap.

[Feef grins. Jenny and Shane stare.]

Jenny: Do - do you have any other jobs?

Feef: I'm signed up with three different temp agencies that cater to the entertainment business. I just think I'm the perfect candidate to get discovered. I mean, just look at anyone who's on TV right now! Most of them started out temp'ing. (sighs, smiles) I just read a whole article about it in Star.

[Feef grins. Jenny and Shane stare. Jenny looks at Shane.]

Jenny: Okay.

Shane: Yup!

Jenny: Well, I think we'll get back to you!

Shane: I - I agree - thank you, Feef.

Jenny: Thanks.

[Shane gets up and shows Feef to the door.]

Shane: Um, for, um... for coming by.

Feef: Bye!

[Feef leaves. Shane closes the door.]

Shane: Alright.

Jenny: sh1t.

Shane: We gotta cut these short, I mean, right, before it gets ugly.

Jenny: Mm-hmm, like in one second.

Shane: We need to think of a signal. (sits)

Jenny: Um, why don't I pull my ear, like that?

[Jenny tugs on her earlobe.]

Shane: Cool. If the person's not for you, pull your ear, and that means "outta there". And I'll do this.

[Shane rubs her nose with her hand. Jenny smiles.]

Jenny: Okay.

Shane: Okay?

Jenny: Yeah.

Shane: (tired) Christ.

INT. - BETTE'S HOUSE - DAY

[The front door opens. Tina and Joyce Wischnia enter.]

Tina: I didn't know she was gone. Kit says she's back on Friday.

Joyce: Well, I bet you anything, Gruber told her not to tell you. The last thing they want is for us to have the opportunity to walk through here and take inventory.

[Joyce sets down her bag and pulls out a digital camera. She looks around at all the expensive furnishings, art pieces, etc. It screams class and money.]

Joyce: And hold sh1t, I can see why. Well, we might as well start in here. Tina, why don't you talk me through this, I imagine you know what most of this is worth.

[Joyce takes a picture of the living room.]

Tina: Uh... (laughs uncomfortably) Well, I don't know exact values. I know ballpark. I know who's been heavily collected, and who's been shown in major museum shows.

[Joyce walks into the dining room, where she gawks at a very colorful, huge painting of a half-naked blonde woman, kneeling in the grass and touching herself.]

Joyce: Jesus. You live with that?

[Tina looks at the painting.]

Tina: Yeah. It's Lisa Yuskavage. She's one of Bette's favorite painters.

Joyce: What's a thing like that worth?

Tina: A lot, I guess. But Bette bought it before she got famous.

[Joyce snaps a photo of the painting.]

Joyce: Ah, that doesn't matter. We still claim it as community property.

[Joyce exits to the back porch. Tina looks at the painting. Bette's voice echoes.]

Bette: (voice over) (echoed whisper) Tina... Tina... Tina... Tina... Tina...

[Tina seems unsettled. She looks toward Joyce.]

EXT. - BETTE'S HOUSE - BACK PORCH - DAY

[Joyce walks around the pool. The pool is surrounded by sculpture, plants, pool furniture and palm trees.]

Joyce: Quite a bit of capital invested here, darlin'.

Tina: We had the palm trees flown in. It was crazy expensive. But Bette really loves them. So do I.

[Joyce walks over to a waist-high statue of Buddha and rests her hand on its shoulder.]

Joyce: Hello, my friend.

Tina: We got that in Nepal. We had it, uh, shipped. It took like seven months for it to get here.

Joyce: Mmm.

[Tina sits in a chair nearby. Joyce closes her eyes.]

Joyce: Hm, it's giving me peace. It's giving me prosperity. (looks at Tina) It's giving me child support!

[Tina doesn't smile, is not amused.]

INT. - JENNY AND SHANE'S HOUSE - DAY

[Next interviewee, a normal-looking guy named Ewan.]

Ewan: It's a consortium of doctors. I set up the Quickbooks system for them, and I run their billing for them.

Jenny: And is that pretty much nine to five?

Ewan: More like seven to eleven. It's pretty intense, 'cause, well, uh, patients don't wanna pay their doctor's bills.

[Jenny and Shane look at each other.]

Jenny: (to Ewan) Oh, yeah.

Shane: Mm-hmm. So, Ewan, if it's not too personal, do you have a girlfriend, a boyfriend?

Ewan: Well, I had a boyfriend, but, uh, we broke up about nine months ago. It was pretty mutual, but it was still kind of a rough time. (sighs)

Shane: Sorry.

Ewan: I am starting to date again. (chuckles)

Jenny: (smiling) Yay.

[Ewan smiles and nods. Jenny smiles at Shane, then back at him.]

Jenny: What kinda music do you like?

Ewan: Well, uh, mostly I listen to, uh, R&B and funk. Sly Stone, Chaka Khan, Prince.

[Jenny and Shane smile at each other.]

Ewan: But I've got no problem wearing headphones if you're not into it.

Shane: (smiling) No, no, Prince is excellent. Especially the Revolution.

Ewan: Yeah, with Wendy and Lisa?

Shane: Yes!

Jenny: God, I love Wendy and Lisa.

Ewan: (chuckling) That's his best sh1t, hands down.

Shane: (to Jenny) f*ck it, let's just show Ewan the studio.

Jenny: Yeah, f*ck it.

Ewan: There's just one thing I wanna make sure you're okay with, it's just not really a big deal.

Shane: Lay it on us, Ewan.

Ewan: Well, I just want you to know sometimes I'm gonna be naked.

Jenny: Uh, yeah. Yeah! I mean, when you're having a shower, or like, what, uh, getting changed.

Shane: Yeah. L.A. in the summer is a killer; everyone sleeps naked.

Jenny: Yeah. Yeah, totally.

Ewan: And sometimes, like, you know, like, hanging around the house, too.

[Jenny and Shane stare.]

Jenny: What do you mean?

Ewan: Well, you know, like doing day-to-day things, like, um, dusting, gardening, reading the paper, cooking breakfast...

[Jenny slowly reaches her hand up and tugs on her earlobe.]

Ewan: Basically, I'm a nudist. It's a lifestyle thing. But it's so natural, after a while you'll get used to it.

Jenny: Do you really think that, Ewan?

Ewan: Oh yeah, sure, what's the big deal if I took my shoes off (takes shoes off), and my shirt (takes shirt off), that wouldn't be a big deal, right?

[Shane rubs her noses. Jenny gawks at Ewan. Ewan stands and unbuckles his belt.]

Ewan: So, what if I, uh, take it one more step further? (takes pants off) That's no big deal, right?

[Ewan starts to take off his underwear. Jenny and Shane hold up their hands.]

Jenny: (squinting eyes) Oh, my God! No, Ewan!

LATER -

[Another female interviewee, who speaks with a regimental authority.]

Woman: I recommend we set up a schedule for bathing, cooking, cleaning. And I think it would be really, really bonding if once a week we each made a meal for the other two.

[Shane stares at her like she's speaking in another language.]

Woman: My specialties are string-bean tuna fish casserole, and, uh, sloppy joe lasagna. (smiles)

[Jenny and Shane stare. Shane starts to rub her nose. Jenny tugs on her earlobe.]

INT. - HOTEL BALL ROOM - TOE SEMINAR - DAY

[People meander about. Kit walks up to the woman at the registration desk.]

Kit: Hi, I'm Kit Porter.

Woman: (looks at paper) There you are. Kit Porter. Have you ever done TOE before, Kit?

Kit: Uh, no. (chuckles)

Woman: Welcome to the "Theory of Everything." (points)

[Kit looks over at a poster advertising TOE, with Benjamin Bradshaw on it. It reads: "A workshop for business owners" and "conducted by Dr. Benjamin Bradshaw" and "TOE The Theory of Everything".]

Woman: Benjamin Bradshaw's patented technology for achieving personal transformation. Benjamin and TOE are gonna change your life.

Kit: I just wanna turn a profit.

[The woman hands Kit her nametag.]

Woman: Well, you're gonna get a lot more than you bargained for, Kit.

Kit: Thank you.

[Kit walks into the crowded ballroom and looks for a seat.]

INT. - JOYCE WISCHNIA'S GUEST HOUSE - NIGHT

[Tina sits at a desk, writing. Joyce walks in, carrying a tray of sushi, then knocks.]

Tina: Come in.

Joyce: Hi. I know today was rough for ya, darlin', I just wanted to make sure you're okay. Sushi?

Tina: No thanks.

[Joyce approaches, chewing some sushi.]

Tina: (rubbing belly) Mercury poisoning.

Joyce: (chewing) Mm. Well, I don't buy it. But it's fine to be cautious. So, how you holdin' up?

Tina: I'm okay. I'm trying not to think about it. I'm just throwing myself into my work.

Joyce: (smacking food) Yeah? Whatcha working on, there?

[Joyce turns her head so she can read what Tina's doing.]

Tina: I am writing a grant proposal. For a project called the Campaign for Quality Education?

[Joyce looks impressed.]

Tina: It's our main focus right now.

Joyce: Mm. Wow. Tell me a little about it.

[Joyce eats some more sushi.]

Tina: We are bringing K through 6 kids from all different socio-economic situations and putting them into a community outreach program to teach literacy and critical thinking skills.

Joyce: (smacking loudly) Wow. Well, that sounds ambitious.

Tina: Yeah. (chuckles)

[Joyce leans on the desk and looks at Tina.]

Joyce: You know something, Tina? You are an exceptional woman. And you deserve to be fully appreciated. And the way Bette treated you? Was bullshit.

[Tina looks down.]

Joyce: G'night.

[Joyce starts to walk off.]

Tina: Joyce?

Joyce: (turns) Yep?

Tina: Thank you. Thank you for everything that you've done for me.

Joyce: Oh, that's what I'm here for, sweet cheeks.

[Joyce winks and leaves. Tina chuckles and gets back to work.]

INT. - TOE SEMINAR - DAY

[A huge audience sits in the dark, facing Dr. Benjamin Bradshaw, who's up at the podium on stage.]

Benjamin: (mic) There is no negative without a positive. This man -

[Benjamin points to a man in the audience. A spotlight goes to the man.]

Benjamin: (mic) - says that the animal he most resembles is a ferret. Why?

[Behind Benjamin is a massive projection screen, showing the man in the audience.]

Benjamin: (mic) (pointing) He thinks of himself as a thieving rodent.

[Elsewhere in the audience, Kit scribbles notes on a tiny pad.]

Benjamin: (mic) But, my ferret friend, picture this, picture yourself as a ferret. Close your eyes.

[Ferret closes his eyes.]

Benjamin: (mic) Visualize. Let me tell you about ferrets. Ferrets are strong, they can carry objects more than twice their size. Did you know that ferrets are also unusually intelligent? They're problem-solving animals. Look at you. What a marvelous creature you are.

[Ferret smiles. Benjamin points at someone else in the audience, a man named Gavin.]

Benjamin: (mic) What's your name, friend?

Gavin: Gavin.

Benjamin: (mic) What animal do you resemble, Gavin?

Gavin: Oh, that's easy, an ostrich.

Benjamin: (mic) (to everyone) Gavin thinks of himself as cowardly, with his head in the sand.

[On the big screen behind Benjamin, Gavin looks sad.]

Benjamin: (mic) Gavin? Did you know that male ostriches are fast and powerful and majestically self-sufficient?

[Gavin smiles. Benjamin points at Kit.]

Benjamin: (mic) Lady with the flashing eyes.

[The spotlight hits Kit. She squirms a little.]

Benjamin: (mic) So skittish. I'll bet I know what animal you identify with.

[Kit shifts uncomfortably in her chair.]

Kit: An... alley cat? I guess...

Benjamin: (mic) (to everyone) Not just a cat. An alley cat. (to Kit) Sybaritic. Virile. Self-indulgent. Irresponsible.

[Kit frowns as if she's being chastised.]

Benjamin: (mic) Is that you, lady alley cat?

[Kit purses her lips and sighs.]

INT. - JENNY AND SHANE'S HOUSE - NIGHT

[Jenny sits at her desk in the dining room, typing on her laptop. She writes, "... morning of her seventh birthday, Janie tiptoed down... her father's Heckler Koch semiautomatic out of its... odor of burnt explosives; she breathed it in and found... oddly pleasant. They were going to Kiddieland later... "]

JENNY'S DAYDREAM -

[At the carnival. Two young girls, Jenny and Jane, are at the "Big Bad Duck" shooting gallery. They shoot toy rifles at little metal ducks moving back and forth several feet away.]

Jane: They're hard to shoot.

Young Jenny: C'mon!

Jane: I'm trying! I can't!

Young Jenny: Go for it again!

Jane: Okay. I can't!

Young Jenny: C'mon!

[Present-day Jenny sits cross-legged on the conveyor with all the ducks. She rides out to the middle. The little girls shoot at her.]

Young Jenny: Get her! Get her!

Jane: I'm trying!

[They continue to shoot, giggling. Present-day Jenny smiles at them. All of a sudden, Jane fires a shot that hits Present-day Jenny in the heart. Older Jenny looks down as blood stains her white shirt.]

Jane: There! I got her! Yeah!

[The girls laugh and giggle playfully. Present-day Jenny looks up, dazed.]

[Cut to Present-day Jenny running through the midway and out to the dark field beyond, as the girls watch from the gallery.]

INT. - JENNY AND SHANE'S HOUSE - NIGHT

[Shane walks past, to the refrigerator to get a bottle of water. Jenny sighs and rests her head in her hands. She looks up.]

Jenny: Shane?

Shane: I'm sorry, uh... I didn't mean to interrupt your flow.

[Jenny closes the laptop and shakes her head.]

Jenny: I am so broke. If we don't find a third person, there is no way I'm gonna be able to come up with half the rent.

Shane: Me too.

Jenny: Good!

[They laugh.]

Shane: (shaking head, smiling) Good night.

[Shane starts to walk away.]

Jenny: Shane?

Shane: Yeah?

Jenny: Are you okay with that thing that happened between Carmen and me? I mean, if we were to -

Shane: Are you?

Jenny: I don't know. I mean, we just... (shrugs) kissed. She hasn't called or anything.

Shane: (thinks) You could call her.

Jenny: I can't do that.

Shane: Well, uh... do you want me to invite her over?

Jenny: (smiling) You would do that?

[Shane nods and smiles.]

Jenny: Are you sure that you're okay with that?

Shane: Consider it done. (smiles) G'night.

[Shane walks away.]

Jenny: G'night, Shane.

INT. - TOE SEMINAR - NIGHT

[After the seminar, Benjamin sits at a table, autographing books. He signs a book and hands it to someone.]

Benjamin: Thank you.

[Kit approaches. He reads her nametag and smiles.]

Benjamin: So, the black alley cat's name is Kit. (chuckles)

Kit: With all these people up in here, I'm surprised you can remember my animal.

[They chuckle.]

Kit: Kit Porter.

[They shake hands. She hands him her copy of his book.]

Benjamin: Kit Porter.

[He signs her book. She reads the signature.]

Kit: (reading) "To Alley Kit. With sharp claws and flashing eyes. Success, vision, clarity, transformation. All in good time. Benjamin Bradshaw." (to Benjamin) All in good time. How long will that be?

Benjamin: That depends. But it'll take more than one three-hour seminar. What sort of business do you have, Kit?

Kit: Oh, it's called The Planet. It's always been a cafe. But I wanna turn it into a - a performance club, you know, at night.

Benjamin: Oh. Let's start with the cafe. What are you serving?

Kit: Coffee, desserts, salads -

Benjamin: Okay. Here's what I want you to do. What is the most popular dessert you have on your menu?

Kit: Definitely the pear polenta tart. I mean, we're famous for it.

Benjamin: Starting tomorrow morning, I want you to add five dollars to the price of the pear polenta tart.

Kit: (laughing) Five dollars?

Benjamin: People ask you why, just say, "It's worth it." If they get angry, you just say, "It's worth it."

[Kit's eyes get huge. She shakes her head a little.]

Benjamin: No matter what anybody says, your answer is, "It's worth it."

Kit: My customers are gonna scream. I'm not gonna be able to sell one single tart.

Benjamin: I'll guarantee you, right now. The extra five dollars a tart will cover the cost of the advance seminar on leading, weekend after next.

Kit: I didn't sign up for your advance seminar.

Benjamin: I'll tell you what. Don't sign up for it until you've made the $250 extra on the pear polenta tart.

[Kit laughs and shakes her head.]

Benjamin: I'll save a space for you.

Kit: Okay. Thanks.

EXT. - HOLLYWOOD MOVIE SET - DAY

[The set of a 1940s movie. Actors in period dress, crew people, and studio people wander around. Veronica Bloom, dressed in a suit, walks toward a man standing near a camera. She is mad.]

Veronica: Why aren't we shooting? What the f*ck is going on?

Man: Well, Alyssa hates her hair and she insulted Jamie, and Jamie stormed off the set. And now Alyssa is having a total breakdown and she won't let anyone come near her.

[They look at Alyssa, who's sitting a hundred yards away on the bumper of an old car, having a cigarette.]

Veronica: Where is Gordo?

Man: He's back at the production office.

[She frowns and shakes her head.]

Man: He and Alyssa had a fight yesterday, and she banned him from the set.

Veronica: The f*cking actress banned the f*cking producer from his own movie set?

Man: (shrugs) Yeah.

Veronica: Find Jamie, tell him to get his ass back here and fix her hair. I can't afford to lose another half a day.

[She sits.]

Man: Veronica, if you'd heard what she said -

Veronica: I don't give a f*ck what that little c**t said to him.

[A woman in a headset walks up to them. Off in the distance, Shane is doing another actress' hair on the set.]

Veronica: (to man) You tell her that if she's not back on that set in ten minutes with her hair perfect, I will fire her sorry ass and replace it with Kate Winslet's spotless mind!

Woman: Jamie just quit.

Veronica: (to self) Great. That's f*cking great. (putting headphones on) This bitch is costing me fifty thousand dollars a minute. I'll rip her f*cking hair out. (to man) Just find me somebody who can deal wit her!

[In the distance, Veronica watches as Shane walks up to Alyssa. We can hear what Shane and Alyssa are saying through Veronica's headphones.]

Shane: (headphones) Hi. How're you doing?

Alyssa: (headphones) Really f*cking shitty!

Shane: (headphones) Okay.

Veronica: (to man) (points to Shane) Who is that?

Man: I don't know.

Woman: Oh, I think it's one of the hairdressers that came in to help with the day players.

[Veronica listens in on her headphones.]

Shane: (headphones) (to Alyssa) You're beautiful. And you hardly need anything at all.

Alyssa: (headphones) What are they saying?

[Shane glances toward Veronica, then back at Alyssa.]

Shane: (headphones) That's just one crazy bitch.

[Veronica raises her brows.]

Shane: (headphones) Doesn't matter.

[Veronica stands up and removes the headphones.]

Veronica: (to self) Who are you calling a crazy bitch?

[In the distances, Shane starts working on Alyssa's hair.]

Veronica: (to man) When we get back to shooting, and that little bitch comes back to work, have that person come and see me.

Man: The hairdresser?

Veronica: I'll be in my trailer.

[Veronica walks off. The man picks up a walkie-talkie.]

Man: (walkie-talkie) John, go to two. (to everyone) Alright, people, let's get back to work, let's go.

EXT. - NEW YORK CITY STREET - DAY

[A busy street in a neighborhood. Bette walks down the sidewalk, and up the steps of a building. She buzzes the intercom at the door.]

Woman: (intercom) Morning, Peabody Foundation, how can I help?

Bette: It's Bette Porter for Helena Peabody.

[The door buzzes. Bette goes in.]

INT. - HELENA PEABODY'S OFFICE - DAY

[Helena's secretary shows Bette in. Bette enters. Helena sits at her desk, tying on her laptop. Bette clears her throat. Helena looks up. She smiles and closes the laptop.]

Helena: Bette Porter.

Bette: Nice to meet you. Thank you so much for seeing me.

[They shake hands.]

Helena: Remind me again, you're with...?

Bette: Uh... the California Arts Center?

[Bette sits.]

Bette: Our museum has a longstanding relationship with the Peabody Foundation.

Helena: We always funded the arts very generously. I'm glad you benefited.

Bette: (smiling) We did. Immensely. But I hope you're not speaking in the past-tense.

[Helena smiles but says nothing. Bette's smile fades.]

Bette: You know, your mother was a great supporter of ours, she helped to fund three to five projects a year.

Helena: My mother's retired.

Bette: I'm aware of that. (smiling) That's why I'm here. Obviously.

Helena: Obviously.

[Bette looks a little unsure.]

Bette: Well, I'm sure you've received our proposal.

Helena: (looking at desk) I know it arrived... to be honest, I haven't gotten around to the arts projects.

Bette: You haven't read it?

Helena: I've been focusing on the social justice programs.

[Bette smiles, at a loss for words. Helena hands her a catalog.]

Helena: Look at this, Bette. There's a group, in Boston, wants to convert an old residential hotel into a shelter for homeless women and children. These women are working two, three jobs, breaking their backs, trying to support their children who they hardly ever get to see because they're working so hard to feed and clothe them. It's f*cking heartbreaking.

Bette: (hesitant) Helena, I hope you're going to continue to support the arts as generously as your mother did.

Helena: I don't think so.

Bette: Helena, the arts are the vitality of Los Angeles. We are setting the cultural agenda for the rest of the country. The federal government has completely abdicated!

[Helena listens but appears unmoved.]

Bette: We depend on private support, and the Peabody Foundation is like a beacon. Helena, civilizations wither and die without the arts.

Helena: Very dramatic.

[Bette frowns.]

Helena: I'm not ruling out the arts, Bette. I'm just saying the foundation is looking at different priorities.

Bette: Well, once you read our proposal, you'll see one of the projects, "Our Clothes, Our City", is by seven young women, asylum-seekers from Rwanda, Kenya and Kosovo. What they're doing is exploring the -

[Suddenly, Helena's office doors burst open and two children, Wilson and Jun Ying, run in.]

Children: Mommy! Mommy!

[Helena gets up and hugs them.]

Helena: Oh, my god, I missed you! What did you do yesterday, and the day before, and tell me, what have you been up to all this time? Huh? What have you been doing? C'mere. C'mere, you.

[Helena sits with the kids on the nearby couch. Bette goes over and sits in a chair near them.]

Helena: (to Bette) You know, it sounds like a worthy project, but just imagine how many children I could feed with that thirty-five thousand dollars.

Bette: (smiling) I didn't know you had children.

Helena: This is Wilson, and this is Jun Ying. (to Jun Ying) and I haven't seen them for two whole days. (snuggles Jun Ying) Have I?

[Bette smiles wistfully at the children.]

Bette: My partner and I are trying to start a family.

Helena: (to Wilson) You're outgrowing everything, we're going to have to take you on a shopping trip.

[Bette looks at the children with a sad smile.]

Wilson: Let's go shopping.

Helena: Go shopping? (to Bette) I recommend it. Children complete your life.

[Bette watches the bonding display. Her eyes light up sadly.]

Wilson: My pony's name was Moonwalker. And I trotted him!

Helena: You trotted him!

Jun Ying: I had a horse, too!

Helena: That's fantastic! (to Bette) Bette, I know you're anxious to hear from us. Rest assured I will read your proposal and give it a fast and fair hearing. (to children) Now, who wants to stop at the Enchanted Forest on the way home, hey?

[Bette gets up to get her things and leave.]

Helena:Because I saw the biggest stuffed giraffe in the window and I think it told me that it wanted to come and live with us.

EXT. - HOLLYWOOD MOVIE SET - TRAILER LOT - DAY

[A man walks by with a dog in his arms, holding a portable fan near its face. It whimpers and barks. Shane passes by on her way to Veronica's trailer. She follows a guy looking at a PDA and carrying a gift basket. She looks around anxiously at all the trailers. At a really swank, double-wide trailer, he opens the door and goes in. Shane waits on the steps.]

INT. - VERONICA BLOOM'S TRAILER - DAY

Veronica: (phone) Rap by nine, it'll be a f*cking miracle. See ya then.

Man: So, your lunch is set for twelve thirty at A.O.C. Dailies are at three today, or I can just download them for you from the V.P.O. And Shane McCutcheon is here.

[Veronica is busy with her cell phone.]

Veronica: Who?

Man: Uh, the hairdresser.

[Shane peeks in.]

Veronica: Who sent the basket?

Man: The card is attached.

[Veronica, still looking at her phone, sits on the couch.]

Veronica: Yeah. I don't like to read if I don't have to.

Man: (reading) It's from Warner's Publicity.

Veronica: Get it out of here. Those f*cking ass-licks. I have enough f*cking peanut butter to feed all the monkeys in China.

[The man grabs the basket and heads for the door. He motions for Shane to go inside. He leaves. Shane enters. Veronica puts her phone down and starts to type on her laptop.]

Veronica: Do you make a habit of referring to your employer as a crazy bitch?

Shane: (smiling) Ah, sh1t, um... No. I guess I f*cked up.

Veronica: I guess you didn't know who I was.

Shane: (shaking head) No, I didn't.

Veronica: (nods) How could that be? Really. Are you illiterate? Are you from Mars? Have you not read a newspaper in the last seven years?

[Veronica glares at her.]

Shane: I'm done for the day. So I'm gonna go.

[Shane starts to back towards the door.]

Veronica: What are you dressed like? Are you the poster child for the under-nourished and gender-confused?

[Shane is wearing a pinstripe blazer, a green t-shirt, and a pair of low-riders. She carries an old Army bag over one shoulder.]

[Shane looks herself over.]

Shane: Yeah. If you say so.

[Shane turns and heads for the door.]

Veronica: Hey!

Shane: What!

Veronica: Let me give you a little piece of advice. The studio head is much more vital to your continued employment than the moronic actress who's starring in my movie.

Shane: (irritated) Look, I was trying to calm her down. I'm sorry if it offended you.

Veronica: I wasn't offended. That was f*cking impressive. And frankly, unprecedented.

[Veronica steps into the kitchen to take some vitamins. Shane stands in the door.]

Shane: How's that?

Veronica: Alyssa Nero is notorious for holding up production for hours on end. You were able to calm her down in five minutes.

Shane: Really wasn't that hard.

Veronica: You went on instinct, right?

Shane: (nodding) Yeah, I guess I did.

Veronica: Have you ever thought about doing it for a living?

Shane: I don't know what you mean, I do hair.

Veronica: You know how to talk to people. It's a very rare and special skill. I am always interested in people with special skills.

Shane: Thanks. But like I said -

Veronica: You'd be my new assistant.

[Veronica sits back down in the living room.]

Veronica: You'd come with me on meetings, maybe twice, three times a week, if I thought your special skill could come in handy.

Shane: I still don't know what you want me to do.

Veronica: Don't worry. I'll tell you.

[Shane wrestles with the decision. Veronica smiles.]

Veronica: Do you know how many people in this town would pierce their left nipple to get this job?

[Shane shakes her head 'no'.]


EXT. - NEW YORK CITY STREET - DAY

[Bette walks down a neighborhood street, on her cell phone.]

Bette: (phone) Hi, it's Bette Porter for Helena Peabody, we met this morning and I wa - (listens) Well, I would prefer to speak to her directly. (listens) Well, why don't you let me know when she is available? (listens) Fine, I will call her then.

INT. - JENNY AND SHANE'S HOUSE - DAY

[Jenny is interviewing a quiet, conservative-looking young woman named Sally.]

Sally: Yeah, I've been with the company for about four years. They treat me well, so I don't see myself going anywhere.

Jenny: Good.

[They smile and nod at each other.]

Jenny: (pointing) Would you be happy, in the studio, back there? Because Shane, my roommate, said that she would be willing to sleep in the main house.

Sally: Oh! I don't even mind the extra bit of little privacy.

[Shane walks in the back door.]

Jenny: (to Sally) Sorry. (to Shane) Um, hey!

Shane: Hi.

[Shane throws her bag in the floor and heads to the couch in the living room.]

Jenny: Um... Shane, this is Sally.

Shane: Hey, Sally.

Sally: Hi.

Jenny: And Sally said that she would be willing to sleep in the studio.

[Sally smiles politely, but the smile fades into a disapproving look as she gives Shane a once-over. Shane plops down on the couch next to Jenny. Jenny pats Shane's knee and smiles at Sally.]

Shane: Excellent. (to Jenny) I'm sorry I'm late. (to Sally) So, um... you're into the studio. (to Jenny) Does that mean you discussed the kitchen and bathroom situation?

[Sally stops smiling and looks a little ill.]

Jenny: Um, yes, I have.

Shane: And what about rent?

Jenny: Uh, no.

Sally: Uh - I - I did need to ask a question.

Jenny: Mm-hmm.

Shane: Yeah?

Sally: Uh - you two aren't... um...

[Jenny and Shane smile.]

Shane: Uh!

Jenny: Oh!

Shane: No.

Jenny: No.

Shane: No.

[Shane puts her arm around Jenny.]

Jenny: No, we're friends.

Shane: We're roommates.

[Shane and Jenny kiss. Sally looks a little freaked out.]

Sally: Just friends.

Shane: Yeah.

Jenny: Yeah. Is there a problem?

[Sally touches the cross on her necklace. She hesitates, then pulls a pamphlet out of her purse.]

Sally: My church... we have a group called Exodus Ministry and -

Jenny: Exodus Ministry.

[Shane stares at Sally. Jenny looks at Shane.]

Sally: We can help get you out of the homosexual lifestyle. Jesus loves us all. He hates the sin, but he loves the sinner.

[Shane frowns and nods.]

Shane: Thanks for coming by, Sally.

Jenny: Bye, Sally.

Shane: (points at door) It's that way. I'll show it to you.

[Shane goes and opens the front door. Sally looks a little confused as she picks up her purse and leaves. Jenny shakes her head. There's a knock at the door. Shane goes to answer it.]

Jenny: (standing) Wait! I'm gonna talk to her.

Shane: Okay.

[Shane opens the door. A man named Mark stands on the porch with a video camera. He films them.]

Mark: Afternoon, ladies. I'm Mark. I, uh, I called earlier. Who did I talk to on the phone?

[Jenny rubs her temples.]

Jenny: That would be, uh, me.

Mark: Jenny. That's your name, right? Mark.

[Shane looks wary. Mark and Jenny shake hands.]

Jenny: Hi, Mark.

Mark: Nice to meet you.

[We see him filming a close-up of Jenny's face.]

Mark: Wow. Amazing eyes.

Jenny: Thank you.

[Mark puts the camera in Shane's face.]

Mark: I'm Mark.

Shane: (irritated) Yeah. You, uh, you said that. I'm Shane. Do you mind, please?

[Shane pushes the camera out of her face and closes the front door. Mark continues to film.]

Mark: Sorry. I know this thing is intrusive, but it's sorta my life's work. I'm chronicling, bear with me, guys.

[Jenny and Shane give each other their ear-pulling, nose-rubbing code.]

Mark: Check this. Two dark-haired beauties with blue eyes. What are the odds of that. (chuckles) So is that, like, how you guys decided to be roommates?

Shane: I'm sorry, Mark. What is it that you're looking for?

Mark: That... is an excellent question. How do you mean, spiritually? Philosophically?

Jenny: No, as in a place to live.

Mark: Oh. Whew. (laughs) I can answer that question. Um...

[Mark turns the camera around and hands it to Shane.]

Mark: Would you mind? Just holding the camera while I...

[Shane takes the camera and points it at him. She holds it lop-sided, completely uninterested in helping him film his video. Mark leans over to get in the crooked shot.]

Mark: (to camera) Mark, uh...

Shane: Sorry.

[Shane straightens the camera - a little.]

Mark: (to camera) Mark Wayland here, talking to Jenny and Shane, answering the question, "What are you looking for in a place to live?" And hoping that my completely obnoxious, in-your-face video camera entrance doesn't totally prejudice them against considering me as their roommate.

[Jenny and Shane smile at each other.]

LATER -

[Shane is filming Mark as he talks to them.]

Jenny: Direct to videos, huh?

Mark: Yup.

Jenny: What do you do on these videos?

Mark: I write 'em, I shoot 'em, and I cut 'em. When I first took the gig I thought, uh, it'd only be part time so I'd get my sh1t together, go back to film school, but... didn't really work out.

Jenny: What are some of the titles of the videos that you've made, Mark?

Mark: "Bareknuckle Backyard Wrestling", "Bloody Bar Brawls", "Ass-Kicking Sisters", and my first was called "World's Craziest Bachelor Parties". It was a pretty big seller, but not as big as, uh, "Wild-Ass Catholic School Girls".

[Shane turns the camera on Jenny to get her less-than-enthusiastic reaction.]

Mark: Did you catch that one?

[Shane turns the camera off.]

Shane: (laughing) That's twisted, Mark. Um... you know, Jenny and I will get back to you.

[Shane hands the camera back to Mark.]

Mark: Okay. Look. I'm guessing both of you know what it's like to try to figure out how to be an artist. (points) Is that the studio?

Jenny: Yeah.

Shane: Yeah.

Mark: Because that is amazing. I could bring in my equipment and post all my shows right out of there. Look, I don't wanna do this. I wanna make documentaries, that's all I've ever wanted to do.

Jenny: There's not a lot of call for that, is there?

Mark: No. But, I mean, god - a truly great documentary film, there's... it's not - it's - have you ever seen this movie called "Grey Gardens"?

Jenny: (smiling) Oh my god. That's, um, what is it. That's those two - uh, the two insane women -

Mark: Yeah.

[Mark and Jenny get excited and start talking over each other.]

Jenny: (to Shane) - they're like the mother and the daughter, right?

Mark: Yeah. Yeah.

Jenny: Yeah, yeah, that's probably the most crazy -

Mark: Best.

Jenny: - unbelievable,

Mark: Best documentary ever.

Jenny: Best documentary ever I've ever seen.

Mark: Yes.

Jenny: Yeah.

Mark: (to Shane) You must see this movie. That is my inspiration. Imagine what that would be like to make something like that? That - that truly moved people. I - (sighs)

Jenny: Do you really wanna move people?

Mark: Yes. I really wanna move people.

Shane: That's understandable.

[Jenny and Shane look at each other.]

Mark: Please don't judge me by what I do to get by. I mean... I know it's weird. (chuckles) But my direct-to-video gig pays. I can give you first, last, security, and six months rent up front, in cash.

[Jenny and Shane look at each other.]

EXT. - AMUSEMENT PARK - DAY

[An amusement park with rides and games, on a pier by the ocean. There's a Ferris wheel, and a roller coaster, and on the Scrambler, Dana and Tonya ride in a car and Alice and her date Chris, a guy, ride in another. He has his arm around her. The Scrambler whips around in tight circles. People squeal. When the ride is over, Dana looks a little queasy.]

Alice: (giggling) (to Chris) That was awesome!

[When the ride stops, Chris helps Alice out. Alice clutches a stuffed yellow chicken in one hand. She grins.]

Alice: (giggling) Thank you!

Chris: You're welcome.

[They start walking to the midway, Tonya and Dana in tow.]

Alice: (giggling) Um, is my face on sideways?

Chris: No, your face looks perfect.

Tonya: (to Dana) Aren't they the cutest couple, ever?

Chris: (to Alice) You know, my company rented this place out last year for clients. It's amazing to just... take over the whole place.

[Alice giggles. Dana eyes Alice and frowns at Chris. They look at the roller coaster go by, its occupants screaming.]

Chris: Yep!

Alice: Um, what do you do, Chris?

Chris: I'm a business manager. We deal with mostly entertainment industry clients, so...

[Tonya fusses over Dana's hair. Dana wrinkles her nose at her, still frowning at Chris.]

Tonya: C'mon. Let's go on the ferris wheel again. This time we'll really spin it!

Alice: Um, I - I was actually gonna use the restroom but I'll meet you guys by the ferris wheel. Okay. I'll be back.

[Alice wanders off.]

Tonya: Hey, Chris?

Chris: Sure, I'm game.

Dana: Uh, you know, I'm gonna stay here, actually, I'm gonna take a break, too, and -

Tonya: (pouting)

Dana: I'm gonna keep Alice company.

[Dana wanders off.]

Chris: (to Tonya) Okay.

Dana: Have fun!

[Chris and Tonya clasp hands and go giggling and running toward the ferris wheel. Dana runs after Alice.]

Dana: Alice. Alice, wait! Alice! Alice, wait up!

[Alice finally stops.]

Alice: What?

Dana: (mad) Do you have to flirt with him like that?

Alice: Your girlfriend's the one who hooked me up with him!

[Dana rolls her eyes.]

Alice: 'Oh, you'd really love my friend Chris'. I mean, you could have told me it was a guy.

[They stop walking. Dana faces Alice.]

Dana: Would it have made a difference? So I guess girls don't bring out the 'Hey, what do you do for a living? How do I look? Do you think I'm pretty?'

Alice: I didn't say that.

[Dana rolls her eyes.]

Alice: I don't get it! What do you want from me? What do you want>?

[Dana steps close. She takes the stuffed chicken and sets it down. She kisses Alice gently. After the kiss is over, they look around nervously.]

INT. - PRIVATE SPA - DAY

[Peggy Peabody and her lover, a Russian guy named Nikolas, are laying on spa tables. Peggy's translator, Vesna, sits in a chair in the corner. Two attendants are giving them massages. Soothing classical music plays. Bette stands before Peggy.]

Bette: I have great respect for her conviction. I just think that it would be a tragic mistake at this moment in time -

Peggy: Helena is very capable. I doubt she'll be making any tragic mistakes.

Bette: I'm not questioning her ability, Peggy. But it's your legacy to the arts, it's the collection you've labored over.

Peggy: (laughing) Do you want to know what I think about legacies? (turns to Nikolas) Nikolas. Nikolas, darling. What is my legacy going to be?

[Nikolas looks at the translator.]

Vesna: [speaking in Russian]

Nikolas: (to Peggy) [speaking in Russian]

[Bette sighs and folds her arms as he talks. Peggy listens to him intently. They kiss a few times.]

Vesna: A sandy, white beach.

[Bette cringes as she looks at the translator. As Vesna continues, Nikolas and Peggy caress each other and give each other little kisses and nuzzles.]

Vesna: And a cottage in the Grenadines. Several pitchers of chilled mojitos. And twenty-four glorious orgasms in twenty-four glorious hours.

Peggy: I got the gist of it. (laughing) He doesn't speak a word of English.

Bette: (smiling) So I gathered.

Peggy: I'm lucky I found Vesna. She's a brilliant translator, and not too shy to come into the bedroom with us, mind you. (sighs) He says the most divine things to me in the bedroom.

Bette: (smiling) How nice for you.

Peggy: And lucky me. I get to experience them twice: once viscerally, and once... linguistically. Vesna is even coming with us to the Grenadines, aren't you my little squirrel?

Bette: Peggy, before you go... to the Grenadines, would you be willing to speak to Helena on our behalf? I just truly believe that the C.A.C. will suffer without our annual Peabody Foundation grant.

Peggy: (sitting up) Has Helena turned you down? Has she actually made a decision yet?

Bette: No, not yet, but I'm just concerned -

Peggy: Have faith, then.

[Nikolas pets Peggy's shoulder.]

Peggy: (to Bette) Look at me. If this doesn't give you faith...

[Peggy kisses Nikolas for several seconds. Bette rolls her eyes and looks away. Peggy stops for a moment to smile up in ecstacy at Bette. Bette looks ill.]

EXT. - NEW YORK CITY STREET- DUSK

[Bette walks down a crowded Manhattan street. The Empire State Building is in the distance. She's on her cell.]

Bette: (phone) Helena Peabody please? It's Bette Porter calling back. (listens) Well, you said she would be free... (sighs) Yes, I would like to leave a message. Can you please just tell her that I wanted to invite her for drinks this evening? We didn't really get to finish our - (listens) (sighs) Alright, thanks.

[Bette disconnects the call.]

Bette: (under her breath) f*ck!

EXT. - L.A. STREET - NIGHT

[Mark and his friend Gomey drive down the street in a truck.]

Mark: (off screen) No, it's a guest house right in the back, but there is no bathroom or kitchen or anything, so we share all that.

EXT. - JENNY AND SHANE'S HOUSE - NIGHT

[The truck pulls into the driveway between Bette's and Jenny's houses, to the back. Mark and Gomey get out.]

Mark: This is it. Home sweet home.

[They head back to the garage/studio where Jenny used to live. Mark unlocks the door and turns on the light. It's a big, empty, garage - nothing special.]

Mark: Well?

Gomey: This is it?

Mark: Dude.

[Mark flicks Gomey's ear.]

Mark: Shut up.

[The camera pans around the empty space.]

Mark: Alright, come on, help me get some sh1t out of the car.

Gomey: Alright then.

EXT. - NEW YORK CITY STREET - OUTSIDE THE STARLIGHT CLUB - NIGHT

[Several people congregate outside the club's nondescript exterior. A taxi pulls up. Bette gets out and goes into the club.]

INT. - STARLIGHT CLUB - NIGHT

[A swank lesbian bar with a dance floor. Jazzy chillout music plays. Women congregate in every corner. Bette walks in and seats herself at the bar.]

Bette: (to bartender) I'll have an Absolut martini.

[The bartender makes the drink. Bette looks around. She catches the eye of an attractive young girl standing several feet away; the girl looks less interested in her friend and more interested in Bette. Bette stares at her for several seconds, then stops and rolls her eyes at herself. After a few moment, she takes a sip of her martini and looks back over.]

EXT. - JOYCE WISCHNIA'S HOUSE - NIGHT

[Tina quietly walks up the steps to Joyce]