Into the Arms of Angels, Part 3 of 14

Desk

I hope you enjoy the third installment of my feature-length screenplay,”Into the Arms of Angels” (© 2005, 2016). For Part 1 (and a glossary of screenwriting abbreviations), please click here.  For Part 2, please click here.

 

EXT./INT. ST. MARY’S HOSPITAL, MADISON – 2006 – ESTABLISHING

MONTAGE

The facade of St. Mary’s Hospital, centered on the hospital’s sign.

Patients, relatives, drivers, and care-providers generate a buzz of activity at the hospital entrance.

One visitor walks through the main doors and across the lobby to a bank of elevators. He pushes a call button.

 

INT. A CARDIAC CARE UNIT – ST. MARY’S HOSPITAL – SATURDAY

CHRIS (O.S.)

Sometimes it seems that Joe and I get stuck in a loop – the same conversations again and again, repeating all the same words.

 

Electronic patterns repeat constantly on a monitor screen.

CHRIS (O.S.) (CONT’D)

Like we have a script we go through first thing in the morning, another for dinner at night. Suze, we even have a script for when we argue.

 

At a nursing station, Chris and SUZETTE (a tall, striking African-American) sit watching a cardiac monitor.

CHRIS (CONT’D)

I guess the details do change sometimes, especially about his work — but even there we end up repeating.

 

SUZETTE

Repetition can be good, Chris.

 

CHRIS

Maybe for two-year-olds.

 

SUZETTE

And grown-ups too! I read somewhere that couples with rituals also have happier marriages – you know, same night each month for a date, same dessert every anniversary. They said it means, “I love you so much that I really want to keep doing this.”

 

Chris laughs.

CHRIS

Oh, Suze, you are precious! Wouldn’t that be nice? We’re not stuck in a rut but actually sending each other love vibes! Seriously, Suze, I hate to say this, but it’s not about sending messages as much as keeping something hidden, as though there’s something we can’t say, or even get close to.

 

Chris looks up suddenly and then checks her watch.

SUZETTE

Hey, don’t you and Joe have an anniversary coming up soon? Like this Thursday?

 

CHRIS

You are right, Suze. I wish I could borrow your memory.

 

Chris stands up.

SUZETTE

Any plans? A long weekend? A romantic trip to the Caribbean?

 

Chris pulls on a white cardigan sweater and laughs.

SUZETTE (CONT’D)

How ’bout a posh Manhattan hotel? Strawberries and champagne?

 

Chris glances across the nursing station and smiles.

CHRIS

My guess would be somewhere close to home. Joe’s not comfortable flying, and he doesn’t like New York.

 

Chris sighs and grins at Suzette. She glances across the room at two nurses who stand waiting for her.

CHRIS (CONT’D)

My new floats are here. I gotta see who needs them most. Liz has admissions to finish, so I’ll go to her first. Back here in a bit. Suze, you’re a rock.

 

INT. DANE COUNTY AIRPORT – 9/10/01 – JOE’S SECOND DREAM

MONTAGE

Joe and Gabriel walk through the airport’s main entrance.

Joe and Gabriel ride an escalator up to the gate level.

Joe and Gabriel speak light-heartedly in the gate waiting area.

Joe’s face conveys a mix of emotions.

Gabriel walks down the jetway toward his plane, turns back at the final corner, and waves at Joe with a radiant smile.

 

INT. JOE’S AND CHRIS’ BEDROOM – TUESDAY MORNING – 2006

Joe opens his eyes and blinks several times before getting up.

 

EXT./INT. COUNTY DAIRY HEADQUARTERS – TUESDAY – ESTABLISHING

MONTAGE

County Dairy’s main sign displays the cheese-shamrock logo.

Joe enters through the front door.

A milk truck pulls up to a loading dock.

Toby talks with several workers about cheesemaking machines.

A door from the factory floor leads into a lobby.

Joe crosses the lobby, walks down a corridor, and turns to enter a conference room.

 

INT. A CONFERENCE ROOM AT COUNTY DAIRY – TUESDAY

Joe, OTTO (fair, mid-sixties), ERIK (early 40s, dark Austrian coloring), and JERRI (in her late 20s, dyed-blonde with moussed hair) sit around a table. Joe cheerfully recounts a news story.

JOE

The cop grabs some bags, goes to the car, and asks if the guys want to buy, which they do. From a detective. With a swarm of police searching the house.

 

OTTO

The guys in the car are busted?

 

JOE

So busted you wouldn’t believe.

 

Otto and Joe laugh. PHIL (soft, mid-forties, with wire-rimmed spectacles) bursts in and closes the door.

PHIL

Otto, Joe, great to see you fired up and ready to deliver for the team. We’ve got a lot to cover today, and we’re gonna need every ounce of that energy for our focus. On site today is Mr. Alan Hancek, representing the future of County Dairy. Alan of course is with Pulaski Prairie Fine Foods, which you all know wants to bring County into its superlative product family –

 

JOE

By which you mean they want to buy us.

 

PHIL

They, as well as I, prefer to call our venture a merging of complementary strengths. And it is exactly our strengths that we want to showcase when we meet with Alan today.

 

Toby abruptly opens the door and enters. He carries a coffee mug and a large clipboard. Otto and Joe smile at Toby. Phil glares. Toby sits down and pulls his chair up to the table.

PHIL (CONT’D)

Toby, you know I simply cannot accept your chronic and inconsiderate tardiness.

 

TOBY

Sorry, Phil. Got here soon as I could. A cooler malfunctioned, and then a leak in the vat –

 

PHIL

Toby, it doesn’t matter if there’s a leak in the john. You’re responsible for monitoring County’s manufacturing processes, meeting time-management metrics, and modeling corporate learnings. I find I have to remind you every single week that what I need from you is results, not excuses.

 

TOBY

Yes, Phil.

 

PHIL

I mean, tell me straight, Toby, should I be more direct in my management? Do I need to place more emphasis on focus? You’re still new, of course, after only two years, and your adjustment fits the new-employee paradigm, but your continual tardiness falls well outside our corporate standards.

 

Phil gives a half-smile and shrugs with his hands.

TOBY

I guess you’d call me outside of the box, then.

 

PHIL

And a smartass, even though I’m deadly serious. Tell me, in your own words, that you hear me.

 

TOBY

I hear you, Phil. I’ll try to be here on time next week, as long as the machines –

 

PHIL

Results, Toby –

 

TOBY

Not excuses, Phil.

 

PHIL

Back to business. Alan Hancek is here from Pulaski, and I want to show him County’s greatness.

 

JOE

I think we saw him Saturday, the Pulaski guy. He stopped in at the Market, didn’t he, Toby?

 

Toby nods.

JOE (CONT’D)

He introduced himself, saw the merchandise, told us he’d be here today…and a lot of other stuff. Man, can that guy talk –

 

PHIL

How’d we sell this weekend, Joe? Any changes or trends?

 

JOE

Compared to the last three weeks, we moved the same volume of whole cheese, more packaged snacks, and less yogurt –

 

PHIL

Gross sales?

 

JOE

About one percent up from last week. Specialty cheese, especially Mexican, moved well –

 

PHIL

Up by only one percent?

 

JOE

Yeah, about one, and –

 

PHIL

I wanted an increase of three or four percent. What went wrong?

 

JOE

Huh?

 

PHIL

Labor Day weekend should be an absolute scorcher for us. We should close out the summer with strong numbers. Why didn’t you achieve that?

 

JOE

Um –

 

TOBY

Well we had to compete with Bratfest, the Taste of Madison –

 

PHIL

With foodies swarming all over our beautiful capital city, we should have filled all their shopping bags with cheese. So why didn’t you?

 

JOE

Well, I –

 

PHIL

Joe, as VP of Operations, you’re paid to operate. At the Farmers’ Market you operate by selling. So why didn’t you sell more on Saturday?

 

JOE

Phil, we stayed so busy. That whole day I hardly stopped for a moment –

 

PHIL

Then your problem is extra movement. You take too many steps to meet a customer. If you’d let them come to you, you’d reduce your need to walk, thus packing more into the day.

 

Phil pauses. Joe “winds up” to respond but has no opportunity.

PHIL (CONT’D)

Joe, it’s precisely these shortcomings, i.e., your inability to adapt to change by incrementing your strategies – or, in short, your lack of creativity – that I want to minimize and keep out of Pulaski’s view today.

 

Phil slides papers across the table to each of the attendees.

PHIL (CONT’D)

Here’s the plan. Otto, you open with County Dairy’s history – you’ll be able to do that, won’t you?

 

OTTO

Since I co-founded the company, I certainly should be.

 

PHIL

Good. I’ve written your talk. You need only to read it and change up the slides when it says. Erik, you have sales – honest but upbeat. And Jerri, of course, you’re marketing. I’ll do future plans and operations; and that takes care of assignments. Now for points of style –

 

JOE

You’re doing operations?

 

PHIL

Yes. I am, and –

 

JOE

But I’m in charge of ops. I know the staff and the equipment. I meet with Toby every day. I can cover ops better than anyone –

 

PHIL

And you use far too many adjectives. This presentation demands concision.

 

JOE

Adjectives? What the heck does that have to do with operations?

 

PHIL

Nothing. And that’s why I’ll use few of them when I present today.

 

JOE

But you don’t know operations. You’re not out on the floor. You just…administrate all day.

 

PHIL

I can, and will, present a glowing review of our operations. I can, and will, communicate our efficiency and productivity. I can, and will, impress Pulaski with my knowledge of our processes. After all, they might decide they need a new leader in ops.

 

JOE

Oh, they might, might they?

 

PHIL

And they won’t care who is the son of a founder.

 

JOE

Neither do I. I just do my job.

 

OTTO

Phil, you’re totally out of line. You’ve no right to blindside Joe like this. Everyone who’s sitting here today was expecting-

 

PHIL

Do not lecture me, Otto, as if I were one of your nephews. I am not Joe, and I’m not the other one — Gabriel.

 

JOE

You sure got that right.

 

PHIL

Joe, I don’t see that you compare too favorably with your shining cousin. Gabriel could think. He could speak. He could dazzle. And he wanted to take us big.

 

Phil pauses. The group remains silent.

PHIL (CONT’D)

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that you’d torpedoed all that, Joe.

 

JOE

What’s that supposed to mean?

 

PHIL

Maybe the deal that he’d spent several months nurturing –

 

JOE

Jesus, Phil, you know why that deal went south!

 

PHIL

Sure I do. But it might have failed anyway. Be honest, a part of you –

 

OTTO

Phil, you’ve gone too far.

 

PHIL

…probably wanted to scuttle it, any way that you could,…

 

JOE

No.

 

PHIL

…even if he was your best friend, or maybe because he was. In truth, you really didn’t want that deal to happen.

 

JOE

No!

 

PHIL

Maybe a part of you wasn’t too sorry when something got in the way.

 

Joe jumps to his feet.

PHIL (CONT’D)

Well, I mean, sorry, of course. But not completely bereft, if you know what I –

 

JOE

Phil, just shut up! Shut the hell up, please!

Phil folds his hands and looks up at Joe.

 

JOE (CONT’D)

Since you won’t be needing me for Pulaski, please excuse me. I’ve got a factory to run.

 

Joe leaves the room. Toby rises from his seat.

TOBY

That refrigerator’s still off-line. I need to get it up again.

 

Toby follows Joe out of the room and rushes to catch up. Phil stares after them, then shifts his attention back to the group.

PHIL

Now then, style points…

 

The doorway from the conference room to the hall remains open.

 

INT. A CONFERENCE ROOM AT COUNTY DAIRY – 3 SEPTEMBER 2001

Gabriel appears in the doorway, jubilant and bursting with news.

PHIL (O.S.)

Gabriel. To what do we owe the pleasure?

 

GABRIEL

I’ve got it! It’s fantastic! Look, I know I’m interrupting, but I just received a call I’ve been waiting for from Bongo – you know, humongo Bongo Foods, the New York conglomerate…You’re right, they’re not humongous yet. But have you been watching them this year? They’re gobbling up small fry like goldfish crackers, and as of today they want us, too! If we play it right they’ll make us a very rich offer…Yes, they’d keep the plant open. They want all our lines to continue, especially that high-protein line in R&D – they think it’ll catch on…I s’pose they might have to trim some items, but can you imagine the market share we’d gain, in an instant, with just a few signatures?…The next step’s a trip to Bongo’s headquarters in New York. We present County to them in the best possible light and show them beyond a doubt that there’s no way they can do better in this millennium (which, as Phil often reminds us, started this year and not last). So Bongo needs a big show. I gotta go write it now. And if I nail it, maybe they’ll move me to New York to oversee their dairy lines. That would be so cool. Lots of work to do first, though. Don’t look so sad, Joe. I want you to come with me next week. I’ll need you there for operations. Come by after the meeting so we can brainstorm. It’ll be fun!

 

Gabriel starts to leave but turns back at an inaudible question.

GABRIEL (CONT’D)

The when? Right! I forgot. We fly out there on Monday, and the presentation’s Tuesday. That gives us all of a week. Gotta go!

 

Gabriel smiles broadly and walks away. He crosses the lobby and passes the open factory door.

Two factory employees are bent over a broken machine.

Sound: MACHINE NOISE blends the thumping sounds from the Naudet documentary made in World Trade Tower 1 on 9/11. (According to the filmmakers, each thump was the impact of a falling body.)

 

Please click here to read Part 4.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Into the Arms of Angels, Part 3 of 14

  1. I can see the fireworks flying and the tension building, even as the suspense is simmering… nice work, so far!

    On Sat, Jan 16, 2016 at 4:54 PM, Northwoods Listener wrote:

    > Cynthia Tanner posted: ” I hope you enjoy the third installment of my > feature-length screenplay, “Into the Arms of Angels.” For Part 1 (and a > glossary of screenwriting abbreviations), please click here. For Part 2, > please click here. EXT./INT. ST. MARY’S HOSPIT” >

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s