Monday, September 24, 2007

The Spy Who Dated Me

I'm still working on a heavy deadline with a corporate writing gig, so I decided to take the opportunity to beef up the "writing samples" section of BS.

Here is a scene I wrote earlier this year while developing material for a Teatro Bastardo show. I didn't like it and never showed it to anyone until a few months ago. It's one of those cases where the writer truly is the worst judge of his or her own material. It's also a lesson in giving yourself enough time to let something "cool off" so you can go back and look at it with fresh eyes. Although, I don't think that cool off period needs to be six months! When writing the first draft, I set my expectations too high. I wanted to write something gut-bustingly funny, dark and edgy. This ain't that, so I was disappointed. Now, I really like it. It's a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy it.

THE SPY WHO DATED ME
By Joe Janes
First draft

Michael– mid-40’s - M
Tracy – mid 40’s – F
Ludwig – mid-40’s

(Lights up on Michael and Tracy at a café.)





TRACY
Well, this is nice. It’s refreshing to meet someone who actually looks like their photograph.

MICHAEL
Isn’t that the truth? I met someone last week who said she looks ten years younger than she is - probably because the pictures on her profile are from ten years ago.

TRACY
I think the most important quality in a relationship is honesty. And if you don’t have that at the start…

MICHAEL
Then you’re never going to have it.

TRACY
Well, once you catch someone in a lie, you’re always going to wonder if that person is telling the truth.

MICHAEL
I couldn’t agree with you more. Let’s make a deal. Tonight, we tell the absolute truth. No matter what. I can’t think of a better way to get to know someone.

TRACY
I accept. To honesty. (She raises her wine glass and they toast.)

MICHAEL
What do you do for a living?


TRACY
Oh, boring old job. I work at the Chicago Board of Trade as an administrator. I run an office. No big deal. What about you?

MICHAEL
I’m a secret agent.

TRACY
You sell real estate?

MICHAEL
No. Secret agent. As in, I work for the government.

TRACY
If you’re a secret agent, then why are you telling me? Doesn’t make it much of a secret.

MICHAEL
Well, I wanted to be honest with you. Look, Tracy, I know we just met, but I find you attractive, I think there’s some potential here, I don’t want to blow it by lying to you.

TRACY
I see. Well, thank you for your honesty. Do you like your job?

MICHAEL
Very much so. I get to kill people.

TRACY
You get to kill people?

MICHAEL
Bad people, mostly. You know, evil villains. It’s very gratifying.

TRACY
What, you mean, like, you have a license to kill?

MICHAEL
Want to see it? (He takes his license out of his wallet and shows it to her.)

TRACY
Oh, my God…

MICHAEL
I know. Can you believe that mustache? What was I thinking? I made them take the picture twice. Is that vain, or what?

TRACY
I did the same thing with my passport. You’re stuck with it for ten years, you should be happy with it. How long are stuck with that ?

MICHAEL
They make us renew it every two years. Have to take an eye exam and everything.

TRACY
An eye exam?

MICHAEL
Well, you know. Don’t want us killing the wrong person.


TRACY
Are you allowed to be telling me all this stuff on a date?

MICHAEL
Well, to be honest, it is frowned upon by the agency. It can make me vulnerable.

TRACY
Vulnerable can be sexy.

MICHAEL
Tracy. I’m 44. My whole adult life has been nothing but a string of affairs with super models and the kept mistresses of evil-doers. It’s time for me to have something, someone, more substantial in my life.

TRACY
How many people have you slept with?

MICHAEL
Oh, I don’t know. Probably 100. 200. It’s on file. How about you?

TRACY
Much less than that.


MICHAEL
I know it seems like a lot. Most were in the line of duty. The men, any way. And that bird.

(Ludwig, an older waiter with a scar and ill-fitting clothes enters and serves them coffee. He speaks with a heavy foreign accent.)

LUDWIG
Here’s is your coffee.

MICHAEL
We didn’t order any coffee.

LUDWIG
Compliments of the house to the young lovers.

TRACY
That’s sweet.

MICHAEL
Thank you very much…

LUDWIG
Steve.

Align Center MICHAEL
Steve, Do you have any soy milk? I’m lactose intolerant. There – I’ve never told anyone that on a first date. This is so liberating.

LUDWIG
I’ll be right back. (He exits.)

TRACY
So, you don’t do dairy.

MICHAEL
I don’t do death. Or dairy. Don’t drink it, Tracy. I think it’s poisoned. Smells like arsenic.

TRACY
I think that’s the chicory.

(Ludwig returns with soy milk.)

LUDWIG
Here’s your soy milk, sir.


MICHAEL
We’ll just take the check.

(Michael does some judo-y stuff on Ludwig, ultimately snapping his neck.)

TRACY
It’s okay, everybody. He has a license for this sort of thing.

MICHAEL
I’m sorry our date was interrupted.


TRACY
Do you go through this kind of thing everyday?

MICHAEL
Most everyday. I have Mondays off. When can I see you, again, Tracy?

TRACY
Not when. Where?

MICHAEL
Okay. Where can I see you, again.

(Tracy takes a knife off the table and throws it at Michael’s chest. It hits him and he goes down.)

TRACY(with a heavy non-descript European accent)
In hell, Michael. In hell.

(She laughs maniacally as Bond-type music comes up. She stops laughing. Exits. Comes back. Puts a few dollars on the table and exits, again. Lights fade.)



THE BS NEWS QUIZ OF THE DAY

On Saturday, I asked...

"To protest the food being served to him, a prisoner in New Hampshire sent a federal judge what?"


68% answered "A stool sample"
- Nope. Nothing from the wood shop. Wait, what kind of stool did you think I meant?

16% picked "A tooth"
- And then the federal judge put a quarter under the prisoner's pillow while he slept...um, no.

16% thought "A bent spoon"
- Which he bent with his mind!!! Mwahaaaaaaa!...Nope.

Nobody picked the right answer this time, "A hard-boiled egg"


According to the Associated Press, a federal judge was driven to rhyme after receiving a hard-boiled egg in the mail from a prison inmate protesting his diet. Wolff, 61, says he is an Orthodox Jew and has accused prison officials of refusing to feed him a kosher diet. Wolff also says he cannot tolerate hard-boiled eggs and is suing the state Department of Corrections for $10 million. Wolff is serving 10 to 20 years for sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl. I think they should Cool Hand Luke him.

1 comment:

Paul said...

It's all about the double-take for the tip.