Into the Arms of Angels, Part 4 of 14

Desk

Today, for your enjoyment, the fourth 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.

(Each installment concludes with a link to its successor.)

 

INT. A SUBURBAN MADISON TAVERN – TUESDAY EVENING – 2006

A cue ball breaks a set of pool balls.

Joe and Toby play pool and chat. Each nurses a glass of beer.

 

TOBY

Phil sure was out of control today. For a while there I thought he’d melt an o-ring.

 

JOE

You thought he was going to blow?

 

TOBY

Well, he and you both.

 

JOE

Sorry about that. For some reason today – I don’t know.

 

TOBY

What was all that about Gabriel and a deal, if you don’t mind my asking? Gabriel was your cousin, right? And he used to work at County?

 

JOE

Yup. My dad and his mom and Otto were siblings. They and their dad started County Dairy. Gabriel and I joined out of school.

 

TOBY

Were you and Gabriel friends?

 

JOE

Yeah. Starting as kids. He was three years older, and we lived a mile apart.

 

Toby waits. Joe does not continue.

TOBY

So what was the deal you guys were arguing about?

 

JOE

Oh, Gabe found a big firm out east that wanted to buy County. The timing was a disaster, and the deal fell through. He flew out there for a meeting, which ended up not happening. I was supposed to go with him, but I didn’t.

 

TOBY

Why not?

 

JOE

It was a freak thing, really. Four days before Gabe left, Chris’s work schedule changed. She needed to cover a different shift. We had to move our house closing to the day of the trip. So I stayed back here in town.

 

TOBY

Was he mad?

 

JOE

Nah. At least not about that. He said congratulations, and he couldn’t wait to see the house.

 

TOBY

Did something else make him mad?

 

JOE

Oh, something I did got under his skin. He bawled me out on the phone after he left. But in the end it was OK. He forgave me. I think.

 

TOBY

And his sales pitch to the big firm?

 

JOE

Like I said, it didn’t happen.

 

TOBY

But not because of something you did? I mean, what the heck was Phil going on about today?

 

JOE

His Blackberry thumb was acting up? C’mon, I need another beer.

 

Laughing, Toby and Joe walk from the pool table to the bar.

 

INT. CHICAGO O’HARE AIRPORT – 10 SEPTEMBER 2001

Passing an airport bar, Gabriel walks quickly through O’Hare. He cranes his neck to check a departures list. He is listening to voicemail on his cell phone. Gabriel frowns and mutters to himself and then dials his phone.

GABRIEL

Hey Joe. Yeah, I got your message. Listen, how in God’s name did you forget to give me that disk? We weren’t running late. We had loads of time…You’re sorry. OK. I believe you, and I accept that. But how in the world does that help me? I’d hate to change my talk – it’s perfect as it is! But now it looks like I’m gonna have to. Listen, are you sure you really want this deal to happen? First you skip the trip, and now – Look, Joe, I can’t help thinking that…Uh huh… Yeah, OK, yes, you were there, for many hours…Yeah, lots of prep, you’re right…Of course. I didn’t mean…I know, it’s what I said…OK, I retract my statement, or insinuation, or whatever the hell it was. For the umpteenth time you’ve caught me speedtalking, and I’m sorry…Yes, I am. I’ve got an awful headache. And every time they call a flight, you know, the overhead page, it just splits my brain in half. Anyway, Joe, I do appreciate all the work you put into my talk. I guess I’m jumpy today. It’s weird. About that disk, can you email me the files?

 

OVERHEAD PAGE

For those of you awaiting Flight 617 to New York –

 

GABRIEL

Hang on, Joe, that’s my flight… Damn! …Oh, just a long delay. They say it’s pouring rain in New York, so we’ll have to sit here for a few hours. It turns out I could’ve driven to O’Hare by the time we get to leave…Yes, please email me the files, and I’ll download ’em tonight. Oh, and Joe, I wanted to tell you, I heard the craziest thing from the guy sitting next to me out of Madison…

 

INT. A SUBURBAN MADISON TAVERN – TUESDAY EVENING – 2006

Joe and Toby sit in a booth with nearly-empty beer glasses.

 

TOBY

I think that as of today I’ve just about had it with Phil. Where does that guy get off?

(mimics Phil)

“I need results, Toby, with fewer prepositions and adverbs.”

 

Joe chuckles.

TOBY (CONT’D)

The man’s a friggin’ machine.

 

JOE

Gears, wheels, microchips – maybe even a built-in spell-checker…

 

TOBY

The best was last week Wednesday. Phil calls me in, about 6 PM, and I’m just dragging. I’d been at work ’til, like, midnight fixing a coolant leak and back in at 5:30 AM in the morning. As Phil drones on, my eyes start to glaze over, so he says to me,

(mimics Phil)

“Toby, we must stay ultrasharp here at County.”

 

Joe laughs.

TOBY (CONT’D)

I explain that I’d had maybe four hours of sleep. He stares through those little round glasses of his and barks,

(mimics Phil)

“You need more than four hours? That’s often enough for me. In fact, I never get more than five.”

 

Joe laughs heartily. Toby remains pensive.

TOBY (CONT’D)

I seriously don’t know if I can take it much longer.

 

CHRIS (O.S.)

Joe! Gosh, I didn’t expect you’d be out here. I thought for sure you’d be downtown tonight.

 

Chris and Suzette walk up to the table. Chris puts an arm around Joe’s shoulder.

JOE

Chris, Toby. Toby, Chris.

 

TOBY

Good evening.

 

CHRIS

And this is my girlfriend, Suzette. Suze, this is Joe and Toby.

 

SUZETTE

Hi there, Toby. Joe, it’s great to finally meet you. Your wife’s told me a whole lot about you. I mean, good stuff, ’bout your job and whatnot. You look just like your pictures, only cuter. You don’t mind me saying that, do you Chris?

 

CHRIS

It’s nice to meet you, Toby. Joe talks about you almost as much as he talked about Gabriel.

 

The group is awkwardly silent.

TOBY

I’ve heard about you too, Chris. Just today Joe was telling me you were the reason he skipped a trip to New York.

 

CHRIS

He said what?

 

JOE

It wasn’t like that.

 

CHRIS

Like it was a bad thing?

 

JOE

No, not really.

 

CHRIS

Not really? Good. ‘Cause it really is best you skipped that trip.

 

Chris and Joe stare at each other. Suzette puts a hand on Chris’ arm.

SUZETTE

Don’t mind us, guys. I got a raise, and we’ve done some celebrating. We should probably leave you alone.

 

TOBY

It was good to meet you.

 

SUZETTE

Nice meeting you too, Toby.

 

CHRIS

Yes, Toby. Nice to meet you at last.

 

JOE

Enjoy the fruits of your raise, Suzette, but not too much, you know.

 

The group laughs nervously.

JOE (CONT’D)

See you back home then, hon.

 

CHRIS

Yeah. Bye, Toby.

 

The two women depart for another section of the bar.

TOBY

That settles it. I’m a dope.

 

Joe reaches across the table and rumples Toby’s hair. Both men grin and drain their glasses.

 

EXT. A FARM YARD IN WISCONSIN – 1982

A patch of mud sits in front of the open door of a machine shed. Water runs from a hose into the mud.

Blonde, chubby ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD JOE and tall, dark-haired FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD GABRIEL run into the frame and stop at the edge of the mud patch.

Excitedly, both boys declare that the mud is “ready.”

Joe runs out of the frame to turn off the hose.

Gabriel forms three rounded mud blobs and sets them in a row.

Gabriel grins and holds a mud blob to his chest. He moves to his left and crouches.

 

ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD JOE (O.S.)

Hey, Gabe! D’you think we should find some hay to hold the bricks together? My dad prob’ly wouldn’t let us. Maybe grass would do. Or they might be OK without.

 

Joe enters the frame, stops in front of the shed, and squints to look for Gabriel.

Gabriel rises from his crouch.

 

FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD GABRIEL

You can find out for yourself, Squirt.

 

Gabriel lobs his mud blob at Joe. Joe hops to his right. The blob sails past him and lands with a “splootch” on a combine. Mud splatters over several sharp edges of the machine.

Joe yells and leaps into the mud patch, splattering himself all over. He bends to build a mud blob of his own just as Gabriel throws a second blob, which sails over Joe and lands on the grille of another large machine.

Joe and Gabriel run around the patch, each grabbing mud blobs and heaving them at the other. Many blobs land on machines in the shed. Others land on the boys.

At the corner of the shed, a pair of large male legs in dusty jeans and mud-caked boots walks into the frame.

The boys continue to wrestle in the middle of the mud patch.

Joe freezes and stares at the corner of the shed. After a few seconds, Gabriel also freezes, with his back to the shed. Gabriel stares up at Joe.

The boys stand at the center of the mud patch. Following Joe’s eyes, Gabriel slowly turns his head and shoulders.

The legs do not move. The boys’ faces convey both sheepishness and fear.

 

Please click here to read Part 5.

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4 thoughts on “Into the Arms of Angels, Part 4 of 14

  1. Interesting to see the dynamic b/w the cousins… I have a feeling Suzette is going to become friendlier in the days to come… 🙂

    Great work, Tanner! 🙂 (your last name is too fun to not call you by it now-and-then. hope you don’t mind.)

    On Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 4:24 PM, Northwoods Listener wrote:

    > Cynthia Tanner posted: ” Today, for your enjoyment, the fourth installment > of my feature-length screenplay, “Into the Arms of Angels:” For Part 1 and > a glossary of screenwriting abbreviations, please click here. (Part 1 > includes a link to Part 2. Part 2 includes a link” >

    Liked by 1 person

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