Into the Arms of Angels, Part 9 of 14

Desk

Today, for your enjoyment, the ninth installment of my feature-length screenplay,”Into the Arms of Angels” (© 2005, 2016).

For Part 8, please click here.

For Part 1 and a glossary of screenwriting abbreviations, please click here.

Each installment concludes with a link to its successor.

 

INT. JOE’S HOTEL ROOM – EARLY MONDAY MORNING – 2006

The time on Joe’s clock radio reads “6:00.” The clock’s shrill ALARM sounds.

Joe rolls over, fumbles with the alarm, and finally turns it off. After several seconds he heaves himself out of bed.

 

INT. A CAB ENROUTE TO THE BONGO MEETING – MONDAY MORNING – 2006

Looking nervous and tired, Joe holds a cup of coffee in one hand and flips through paper printouts of his slides with the other. He mouths the words of his sales talk.

 

INT. A CONFERENCE ROOM AT COUNTY DAIRY – 9 SEPTEMBER 2001

Joe’s hands page slowly through paper printouts as Gabriel energetically rehearses his presentation.

GABRIEL (O.S.)

Through Q3 we project operational staffing to grow at an average annual rate of 3%. Joe is that right? D’you know off the top of your head?

 

Joe sits at the foot of a table. Gabriel stands at the head.

JOE

I’ll check.

 

GABRIEL

Can you can get it before I leave?

 

JOE

Sure.

 

GABRIEL

Bring it to the airport?

 

JOE

Yeah, I’ll do that.

 

GABRIEL

All the preliminary Q3s?

 

JOE

I’ll save them to a disk.

 

GABRIEL

Awesome, Joe. You rock. OK, moving on…

 

Through a window, the sky is brilliantly blue.

INT. WORLD FINANCIAL CENTER, FACING EAST – MONDAY – 2006

A contrail cuts through a clear blue sky over Ground Zero.

Joe speaks at the north end of an east-facing room. Seated counter-clockwise around a conference table are Otto, Vincent, Jeanne, the CEO (at the table’s head), Joy (typing on a laptop), and MARK (a Bongo lawyer, writing on a legal pad.)

JOE

So, as you can see from what I’ve said today, County Dairy is at a unique position in its corporate development. We’re really at what you could call a peak in our sales, our market share, and gross revenues, while our profits compare respectably to levels of the last two years. With our low turnover as I highlighted, personnel investments have been good; and our capital renewal programs in 2004 and 2005 yielded returns on investment that equaled or even bettered our projections.  What I wanted to emphasize most – and I hope I did – is the strength of County Dairy’s products compared to our competition. Even with some fading of the low-carb diet trend, our hi-pro line enjoys steady sales, and we anticipate that the next quarter will turn out even stronger with our new internet marketing campaign. So – that’s it. I hope my overview of County Dairy highlighted its strengths, explained any weaknesses, and made clear to each and every one of you why County Dairy would be a strong component of Bongo’s growing food empire.

Joe pauses. The faces at the table remain unchanged.

JOE (CONT’D)

I can take your questions. I’d be happy to elaborate on anything I’ve said here today.

 

Joe stands, hands at his sides, fidgeting with a laser pointer.

Fluorescent lights HUM. Joe shifts and stops fidgeting.

A muffled LAUGH and a TELEPHONE’S RING waft into the room.

JOE (CONT’D)

Anything? Any thoughts or questions?

 

Otto checks his fingernails. Jeanne makes a note on her Blackberry. Mark looks up at the CEO.

CEO

Thank you, Mr. Kleinschmidt, I mean, Joe, of course. You’re both Mr. Kleinschmidt, aren’t you?

 

The CEO laughs.

CEO (CONT’D)

Really, that was first-rate. You covered the topics I wanted to see. Jeanne, anything you’d like to add?

 

JEANNE

Oh, um, you’ve included your slides in our packets?

 

Jeanne lifts a glossy folder and shuffles through its contents.

JOE

Yes, ma’am. All the slides are there. If you’d like me to expand on anything you see –

 

JEANNE

No. No, that’s OK. I can find all I need in your notes. They’re thorough. And I don’t want to keep you past your time –

 

CEO

Vincent? Mark? Anything to ask?

 

Vincent smiles and shakes his head. Mark looks up at Joe and then at Otto.

VINCENT

No, I’m good.

 

MARK

Nope. This was very thorough. Thanks much.

 

The CEO smiles at Otto and then at Joe.

CEO

Well, then, we’re finished for now. Guess you folks will want lunch. Partial to any specific cuisine? Lots of choices nearby.

 

JOE

Um, I wouldn’t say so, no. I mean, anything, anything here’s great.

 

The CEO grins broadly, stands, and walks to the doorway. The rest of his group forms a line next to the door.

CEO

I think you’d like Terry’s. It’s one block south, on the right, with the fuschia awning. You might even get an outside table, since it’s early.

 

The CEO extends his hand toward Joe, who rapidly packs his papers with assistance from Otto.

CEO (CONT’D)

Yes. Good. Yes, you’ll like Terry’s. Have lunch on Bongo, as a thank-you for your efforts in making the trip.

 

Joe and Otto arrive at the doorway. Each member of the Bongo team shakes Joe’s and Otto’s hands with muttered thanks and leaves the room. The CEO stays in place, beaming.

CEO (CONT’D)

Yes, go on ahead to Terry’s, and I’ll send Joy later with plastic.

 

The CEO shakes first Joe’s hand and then Otto’s. He escorts Joe and Otto down a corridor to the threshold of an elevator lobby.

CEO (CONT’D)

Thanks, many thanks, for an informative and well-planned presentation. You did indeed show County Dairy in the best light, and I wish you all of the luck.

 

The CEO stops at lobby’s entrance. Joe and Otto continue.

Joe pushes the button to call an elevator.

CEO (CONT’D)

We’ll be in touch. Thanks again.

 

The CEO vanishes into the office area.

The elevator CHIMES sharply to announce its arrival.

INT. A LOWER MANHATTAN CAFÉ – MONDAY MIDDAY – 2006

A cash register CHIMES. Its LED displays the price of a meal.

An upscale lunch restaurant is busy but not packed.

Joe and Otto sit across from each other at a four-person table. Otto faces the exit.

Otto extracts a piece of avocado from his turkey-bacon-avocado sandwich and sets it on a pile of avocado pieces. He then takes a large bite of the remaining turkey-bacon.

Joe works slowly on bowl of pasta with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. He carefully forks a tomato over to the side of his dish, where it joins an assembly of other rejected tomatoes.

The men stare past each other into the middle distance.

Adjacent to Joe and Otto is a slickly-dressed, handsome, and thirtyish MAN ON A DATE, who sits across from a professional woman (slender, striking, and brunette.)

 

MAN ON A DATE

So I was at Bear Stearns in midtown. Had a huge window. Was gunning for a corner. Then after the attacks I wanted to move downtown; so I jumped over to Brown Brothers Harriman. I mean –

 

The man takes a bite of panini and speaks with his mouth full.

MAN ON A DATE (CONT’D)

it was brilliant, really: show patriotism to the Street, while almost doubling my take-home.

 

He takes a sip of his drink and looks up at his companion.

MAN ON A DATE (CONT’D)

But enough of me talking about myself. What do you think of me?

 

Otto puts down his sandwich.

OTTO

Good?

 

JOE

Yeah. Not bad. You?

 

OTTO

Can’t complain.

 

The men eat in silence for a few seconds.

OTTO (CONT’D)

Really, Joe, like I said, you did good.

 

Joe does not respond.

OTTO (CONT’D)

I said before we left we couldn’t know what to expect. The whole thing’s been so fast, you know. Maybe we’ll get an answer quick too. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

 

Joe smiles faintly and nods.

Otto rotates his sandwich to navigate around a piece of avocado.

JOE

No one there today met Gabriel, did they? I wonder if any of them talked to him, or sent him email?

 

OTTO

Possible. I couldn’t say. No one from Bongo mentioned the other deal today. It’s probably a sore topic.

 

Joe pushes his chair back.

JOE

You ready?

 

OTTO

Yes.

 

Otto and Joe both reach for their wallets. After a few seconds, Otto brightens and waves.

Joy enters the restaurant and approaches Otto.

JOY

You finished? This your check? Great. I’ll go and pay, and why don’t we meet up outside?

 

Otto and Joe nod at Joy, stand, and walk to the door.

 

Please click here to read Part 10.

 

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