"THE HAPPIEST GUY IN TOWN"

An Original Screenplay
By
Josh Becker

Copyright (c) 1992


EXT. THE CINERAMA DOME - DUSK

The enormous white geodesic Cinerama Dome movie theater on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.  It stands out sharply against blue sky like a giant golf ball waiting to be hit.  There is a long line of people winding around the block waiting to get into the first evening show.

The wobbling hard rubber wheels of a shopping cart roll along the pavement.  Inside the shopping cart is a multitude of empty bottles and cans as well as several stuffed black garbage bags and a filthy yellow blanket.  Pushing the shopping cart is a dirty, ragged street person wearing a soiled, very wrinkled brown suit coat and matching pants.  He is thirty-two, but it's hard to tell.  His unruly black hair and the patchy growths of facial hair combined with the streaks of dirt on his face and a dazed, thousand yard stare in his eyes make him look of an indeterminate age.  He is TODD HOLMAN.

Todd rolls his shopping cart along the line of people waiting in front of the Dome and begins panhandling, never looking anyone in the eye.

                                                                 TODD
                                Spare some change?

Most people look away or simply continue with their conversations as though Todd doesn't exist.

                                                                 TODD
                                Can you spare some change?

The next PATRON looks up with a pissed-off expression.

                                                                 PATRON
                                Fuck off!  I work for my money!  I don't need
                                to support you!

Todd continues up the line asking and re-asking the same question.  A few different people give him some change and one woman gives him a dollar.  Most of the people just ignore him.

A well-dressed, good-looking MAN and WOMAN in their thirties, watch Todd pass without giving him money, then turn to each other with sad, concerned expressions.

                                                                 WOMAN
                                That's really a shame.

                                                                 MAN
                                                           (nods)
                                Yeah, it is.  And he can't be all that old.  Not
                                more than forty.

                                                                 WOMAN
                                How do people get that way?

                                                                 MAN
                                They just don't care.  They let themselves go.

                                                                 WOMAN
                                Yeah.  What a shame.

                                                                 MAN
                                                           (nods)
                                Yeah, it is.

The line starts to move and they head into the theater.

EXT. ALLEY BEHIND REDEMPTION CENTER - NIGHT

Todd and many other homeless street people stand in line behind a California Redemption Center with their shopping carts and garbage bags full of bottles and cans.  Todd drops off his load and gets a couple of dollars and some change.  He puts his money into his suit coat pocket and pushes his shopping cart away.

INT. WILCOX LIQUOR STORE - NIGHT

Todd stands in line at a small liquor store run by Koreans.  When it's Todd's turn at the counter he reaches into his pocket and takes out several crumpled dollars and a pile of change which he spreads out on the counter.  The middle-aged, Korean CLERK watches with a mixture of boredom, exasperation and a tiny touch of pity.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (looking away)
                                I'll take the biggest bottle I can afford of
                                the cheapest scotch and one of these
                                beef sticks.

Todd points at the clear plastic container holding shriveled cigar-like beef sticks.

The clerk pokes through the money, reaches behind himself and takes a pint bottle of Cluny scotch, then shakes his head.  He speaks with a Korean accent.  He slides the container of beef sticks away from Todd.

                                                                 CLERK
                                You don't want that shit.  A buck for that
                                not worth it.  Go get a package of bologna
                                or salami.  More meat for the money.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (nods his head)
                                Right.

He goes over and grabs a package of bologna and brings it back to the counter.  The clerk rings up the purchase and it comes to $4.14.  He counts Todd's money and there's only three dollars and eighty-nine cents.  Todd shrugs and slides the package of bologna away.  The clerk shakes his head.

                                                                 CLERK
                                It's OK.  You take it.

Todd takes his items and leaves.

The clerk watches him go, sighs and turns back to his Korean newspaper.

EXT. RUG STORE - NIGHT

Todd is crouched in a doorway of the Broadway rug store on Sunset Blvd. at Wilcox.  It's a good place to crash because its got awnings and recessed doorways in case it rains.  There are several other street people crouched in the doorways nearby.  Todd has his shopping cart with him and is covered with a dirty yellow blanket.  He eats the bologna and washes it down with scotch.  He looks through a free publication called "Homes" containing color photos of houses for sale.  Todd turns the page and there is a black and white photograph of an empty wooded lot.  Todd stops chewing.  He looks more closely at the photo and there is now a lone figure sitting on a hill at the center of the lot, beside a For Sale sign.  Todd's eyes widen in a faraway gaze.

Our view of the photograph of the empty lot grows closer and closer...

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. WOODED LOT - DAY

...And the black and white photograph becomes color, then comes to life.  It's a sunny fall day in northern Michigan.  The leaves on the trees are vibrant and colorful.  It's early morning sunlight glistens on the dew.  As we move closer we see that the lone figure sitting on the hill is in fact Todd.  He is wearing the same brown suit and tie (although clean and well-pressed), and is freshly shaven and showered.  He surveys the lot.  It's about ten acres.  In the distance is the intermittent roar of a freeway.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (to himself; smiling)
                                Location, location, location.
                                                           (shakes his head; cynically)
                                Financing, financing, financing.

He sighs dolefully, then reaches into his coat pocket and takes out a half pint bottle of peppermint schnapps.  Todd takes a mighty swig, doing in a third of the bottle.  He screws up his face, shakes his head hard and exhales.

                                                                 TODD
                                Eeeow!  Pays to buy the best.

Todd opens his eyes wide and stands.  He puts the bottle back in his pocket and walks down the hill.  On the dirt road in front of the vacant lot sits a blue Chevy Chevette.

INT. TODD'S CAR - DAY

Todd gets into the little car and slams its tinny sounding door.  He puts the schnapps into the glove compartment and takes out a box of Tick-tacks. He dumps a bunch into his mouth.  He sucks on them for a second, then suddenly brings his fist to his mouth in a fake punch and spits the Ticktacks into his hand like they're his teeth.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (imitating Brando)
                                I coulda had class, I coulda been a contendah.

He puts the Tick-tacks back in his mouth and starts the car.

EXT. CHEBOYGAN - MORNING

Todd's Chevette travels up Main Street through the quaint little town of Cheboygan, Michigan, situated at the northernmost tip of the lower peninsula on Lake Huron.  The multitude of trees are breathtakingly colorful.

The homes are, for the most part, modest, well-kept, wooden frame houses with screened-in porches or breezeways with mowed lawns and large backyards.  One of two houses per block are made of red brick and appear solidly constructed of interesting, old designs.  All of the cars parked in the driveways are American made and tend toward Ford Escorts and Plymouth Horizons, although there are occasional Buicks, Oldsmobiles and pick-up trucks.

Downtown Cheboygan is a two block stretch of Main Street with stores and businesses, a Woolworths, and old-fashioned movie theater, The Kingston, now split in two.  At the head of the street is a municipal parking lot.  Todd's car pulls in.

EXT PARKING LOT - DAY

Todd vets out of his car and steps up to the parking meter.  The sign says "Four hours for .25 cents."  Todd puts in two quarters and gets eight hours.

EXT. MAIN STREET/DOWNTOWN CHEBOYGAN - DAY

Todd walks up Main Street.  Everybody that he passes he knows.  He nods and smiles and says "Good morning" in a chipper tone.  He stops at the door of Better Business Equipment and goes inside.

INT. BETTER BUSINESS EQUIPMENT - DAY

This is a small office supply store decorated with old cash registers and safes.  There are no customers.  At the counter is a heavy-set man with dark curly hair wearing a suit and tie.  He is ED.

                                                                 ED
                                Eh, Todd, how's it hangin'?

                                                                 TODD
                                Eighteen and a half inches of pure fury, and
                                I don't fold it half for anyone.  How's biz?

                                                                 ED
                                Great.  Although a customer would be nice.

                                                                 TODD
                                Hey, I'm buyin'.  I'm a customer.  I need a
                                new pen.  None of the pens I presently own
                                is pleasing me.

                                                                 ED
                                                           (understanding)
                                Uh-huh.  Are you still in your fine-point rollerball
                                phase?

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (shrugs)
                                Go ahead, sport, make my day.

Ed comes around from behind the counter and leads Todd to the pen aisle.  Ed takes a pen from the rack.

                                                                 ED
                                The very newest thing.  Just came in yesterday
                                and I thought of you.
                                                           (holds it up)
                                Disposable fountain pen.

Todd takes the pen and inspects it.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (skeptical)
                                Hmmm.  And why is being disposable a positive
                                attribute in this day and age?

Ed's face lights up.

                                                                 ED
                                It's sealed.  It won't leak.  Always the major
                                drawback with fountain pens.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (nods; impressed)
                                Valid point.  Touché.  But will it last?

                                                                 ED
                                The guy said it would last for months with
                                daily use.

Todd rolls his eyes saying, "Oh sure."

                                                                 TODD
                                I'm a tad skeptical about that last bit of
                                hyperbole.  Nevertheless, being a born
                                thrill-seeker, I'll take it.

Ed goes back around the counter and rings it up.

                                                                 ED
                                Two-oh-seven.

Todd pays up.

                                                                 TODD
                                How's Jenny?

                                                                 ED
                                Swelling.  I think she's giving birth to a baby
                                elephant.  What're you doin' tonight?

                                                                 TODD
                                Blind Pig.  Piston game.  7:30.  Be there.

                                                                 ED
                                                           (confiding)
                                Pistons're playing like shit.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (points at him; seriously)
                                Don't be a fair weather fan.  Back to back world
                                champions, don't forget it.

                                                                 ED
                                All right, I'll see ya there.

Todd starts to leave.  He holds up the pen.

                                                                 TODD
                                If this pen leaks I'm gonna kick your sorry
                                ass.

                                                                 ED
                                Cry me a river, greaseball.

Todd leaves.  Ed smiles, then goes back to work.

EXT. MAIN STREET - DAY

Todd walks up Main Street.  Once again, everyone he passes he knows.  He passes Gilhouley's Produce Store with vegetables on display outside.  An old Irish woman named MRS. GILHOULEY arranges her stock.  Todd affects a pretty good Irish accent.

                                                                 TODD
                                Top o' the mornin' to ya, Mrs. Gilhouley.

                                                                 MRS. GILHOULEY
                                                           (real Irish accent)
                                Top o' the mornin' t' you, Todd.

                                                                 TODD
                                How are ya this fine fall day?

                                                                 MRS. GILHOULEY
                                                           (shrugs)
                                Slow, as usual.  And produce don't last.

                                                                 TODD
                                Ain't it the truth.  Good day to you, Mrs. Gilhouley.

                                                                 MRS. GILHOULEY
                                Good day to you, Todd.

Todd walks past the Huron Furniture Company just as two long-haired, tattooed, hippy/biker types are carrying a couch out the door.  They are CHRIS & DICK.  Todd greets them.

                                                                 TODD
                                Dudes.  What it is?

                                                                 CHRIS
                                Hey, Todd.  Wha's 'appening?

                                                                 TODD
                                Piston game.  7:30.  Blind Pig.

                                                                 DICK
                                                           (disgusted)
                                Are you kiddin'?  Forget the Pistons!  It's
                                the Red Wings.  Ten and oh.

                                                                 TODD
                                Yeah, yeah, that's great.  But the Pistons're
                                on tonight.

Chris and Dick load the couch on the back of a truck.

                                                                 CHRIS
                                I'll be there.

                                                                 DICK
                                Figures you'd like the Pistons, you fry-brain.

                                                                 CHRIS
                                Hey, fuck you.  Who you callin' a fry-brain, fry-
                                brain!  Now hold your end up.

                                                                 DICK
                                See ya, Todd.
                                                           (remembers)
                                Oh, have you read the new Silver Surfer?  It's
                                really great.

Todd keeps walking.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (over his shoulder)
                                New comics are for the birds.  Old comics are
                                the good ones.

EXT. JO ANN FABRIC STORE - DAY

Todd steps up in front of the Jo Ann Fabric Store and stops.  He just stands there with a funny, baffled look on his face.  He begins to walk in a circle.

INT. JO ANN FABRICS - DAY

There are no customers in the fabric store.  At the counter stands a white-haired, middle-aged woman named TRUDY.  She sees Todd through the window and calls back over her shoulder.

                                                                 TRUDY
                                Hey, Laura.  Guess who's loitering around
                                in front of the store?

From the back room steps LAURA WILLISON, an attractive, shapely, twenty-nine year old woman with red hair and green eyes.  She too sees Todd through the window and a smile plays across her face.  She returns to the back room.

Todd walks back and forth a few times, then finally opens the door and comes in.  He sees Trudy, smiles and waves.

                                                                 TODD
                                Morning, Mrs. Burton.

                                                                 TRUDY
                                Morning Todd.  I can set my watch by your
                                arrival.

                                                                 TODD
                                Yeah.  Laura here?

Trudy points over her shoulder toward the back.  Todd nods and heads down an aisle of bolts of fabric.

INT. BACK ROOM - DAY

Todd pops his head into the back room to find Laura busily unloading a box of fabric rolls.  She glances up at Todd nonchalantly and keeps doing what she's doing.

                                                                 LAURA
                                Morning Todd.

                                                                 TODD
                                Good morning.  And how are you this bright,
                                sunny day?

                                                                 LAURA
                                Fine.  You?

                                                                 TODD
                                Couldn't be better.  I'm here to continue our
                                running debate on why I believe that you should
                                marry me, or at least move in with me.

                                                                 LAURA
                                                           (sighs)
                                OK.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (put off)
                                But if you don't want to, we'll just skip it.

                                                                 LAURA
                                No, no.  Go ahead.

                                                                 TODD
                                Well, you could be a little more enthusiastic.

                                                                 LAURA
                                                           (fake enthusiastic)
                                Oh, please, please, please, tell me, tell me
                                now.

                                                                 TODD
                                One day, little missy, I'm gonna stop pursuing
                                you and that'll be that.

                                                                 LAURA
                                Is that a threat?

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (his eyes narrow)
                                Maybe.

He turns to leave.  Laura steps up to him and takes his arm.  Todd turns and Laura puts her arms around him.  When he doesn't reciprocate, she takes hold of his dangling arms and puts them around her.

                                                                 LAURA
                                All right, go ahead.  What's today's point?

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (hurt)
                                You're mean to me, y'know.  I like you more
                                than anyone and you treat me bad.

                                                                 LAURA
                                                           (sincerely)
                                I'm sorry.  Really.  But you have to remember
                                that I was already married and didn't like it.  But
                                go ahead.

                                                                 TODD
                                OK.  It's a single question.  Everything else is
                                beside the point.  Are you happier with me or
                                are you happier without me?

                                                                 LAURA
                                That's two questions.

                                                                 TODD
                                No it's not, it's one question with two choices.
                                You don't have to answer now.  Think about
                                it.

                                                                 LAURA
                                Todd, I have a good time with you, you know
                                that.

                                                                 TODD
                                Then why, aren't we together?

                                                                 LAURA
                                We're together right now.

                                                                 TODD
                                I mean always.

                                                                 LAURA
                                I know what you mean.

                                                                 TODD
                                You know, we're not so young anymore.  By
                                the time my Mom and Dad were thirty they'd
                                been through a war, had two kids and owned
                                their own home.

                                                                 LAURA
                                I'm just not ready yet to make any commitments,
                                OK?  I just don't want to.

                                                                 TODD
                                Why not?  What're you waiting for?

                                                                 LAURA
                                I don't know.  A sign.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (exasperated)
                                Everybody else in the world gets by with just
                                liking each other, why do you have to have a
                                natural disaster?

                                                                 LAURA
                                I'm just like that.  I don't like to be hasty.

                                                                 TODD
                                Laura, we've known each other our whole lives.
                                We've been going out for over a year.  I haven't
                                spent an entire night in my own bed for months.
                                What else do you need?

                                                                 LAURA
                                                           (shrugs)
                                A sign?

                                                                 TODD
                                Well, fine.  That's great.  Think about my question,
                                or set of questions.

                                                                 LAURA
                                What're you doing tonight?

                                                                 TODD
                                Piston game.  Blind Pig.  7:30.  Wanna go?

                                                                 LAURA
                                But the Pistons are doing so bad.

                                                                 TODD
                                What do you care?  You don't even like basketball.
                                I'll be there.

                                                                 LAURA
                                All right.  See you there.

                                                                 TODD
                                All right.

Laura leans forward and kisses him.  Todd reaches around and grabs her tush.  After the kiss she nuzzles his neck.

                                                                 LAURA
                                You always taste so minty.

                                                                 TODD
                                That's 'cause I'm a sweet guy.  The kind of
                                guy you ought to appreciate more.

They break apart.

                                                                 LAURA
                                See you tonight.

                                                                 TODD
                                'Bye.

Todd leaves.  Laura looks up after he's gone and smiles.

EXT. DECADE 31 REALTY OFFICE - DAY

Decade 31 is a small, storefront realty office on Main Street at the end of the block.  Through the window we can see a blonde, round-faced, rosy-cheeked, middle-aged woman named EILEEN, sitting at one of two desks.  She turns around as Todd enters from the back.

INT. DECADE 31 OFFICE - DAY

Todd hangs up his coat, smiles at Eileen and sits down at the other desk.

                                                                 TODD
                                Morning Eileen.

                                                                 EILEEN
                                Morning Todd.  Out at the vacant lot?

                                                                 TODD
                                Yep.  Still vacant, too.

                                                                 EILEEN
                                What a surprise.

                                                                 TODD
                                Anything happening?

                                                                 EILEEN
                                You've got a showing at ten.  The Thompson
                                house.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (lights up)
                                Ah yes.  My Grandfather built that one.  That's
                                a swell house.

                                                                 EILEEN
                                                           (looks down)
                                And Mr Crispin called.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (very interested)
                                Really?  What does he want?

                                                                 EILEEN
                                Lunch with you at noon.  The Steak & Ale.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (lighting up)
                                He's gonna be here?  All the way from Detroit?
                                But it's not time for his yearly visit.  What's this
                                all about?

                                                                 EILEEN
                                He didn't want to see any statements or reports,
                                I asked.  It must have something to do with you.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (mildly overcome)
                                It's the vacant lot!  They're finally accepting my
                                proposal.  Oh, man!  This'll be the biggest project
                                of my life.  If they go for it, as I outlined it, that
                                means an industrial park and a subdivision.  This'll
                                be the biggest thing that ever happened to this rinky-
                                dink little town.  This would help every business in
                                town.  It could be a boom!

Todd goes to a file drawer and begins removing files.

                                                                 TODD
                                If I can pull this off we could be the major city
                                of the northern half of the lower peninsula!

                                                                 EILEEN
                                                           (grinning)
                                If you could pull this off maybe you could get
                                Laura to marry you.

Todd stops what he's doing and reflects.

                                                                 TODD
                                No, it's probably not enough.  She needs something
                                bigger, like a nuclear war.
                                                           (waves his hand)
                                Whatever.  Thing's are definitely looking up.

EXT. THE THOMPSON HOUSE - DAY

Todd's car pulls up in front of a nice, old, red brick house.  He pops a couple of Tick-tacks in his mouth.  A moment later a black Ford Taurus pulls up behind him.  Todd gets out of his car and a couple in their late twenties gets out of the Taurus.

They are the Uplingers, STAN and KELLY.  He has a well-trimmed beard, is balding and wears silver wire-rimmed glasses.  She has long, thick black hair, a black sweater and wears black stretch pants with stirrups running under her black flats.  She looks like a Jules Fieffer character.  Kelly is immediately in love with the house and blatantly shows it.  Stan is trying to be a good businessman and wears a poker face, although he's obviously a bit annoyed with his wife for being so obviously enthusiastic.

                                                                 KELLY
                                Oh, wow!

                                                                 STAN
                                Uh, it's, pretty old, isn't it?

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (smiling)
                                Built in 1919.

                                                                 STAN
                                That is old.

                                                                 TODD
                                Not compared to say, Paleolithic Man or
                                dinosaurs.

                                                                 KELLY
                                It looks really well-built.

                                                                 STAN
                                                           (cautioning)
                                Just because it's old doesn't mean it's
                                necessarily well-built.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (grinning)
                                Just by the by, my grandfather did all the
                                brickwork.  He was considered to be one of
                                the best masons in the whole area.

                                                                 STAN
                                                           (impressed)
                                Really?  Your grandfather?

                                                                 TODD
                                Yeah.  What brings you to Cheboygan, if you
                                don't mind me asking?

                                                                 KELLY
                                Stan got a teaching position at Cheboygan
                                Community College.

                                                                 STAN
                                I was teaching first grade in Saginaw.

                                                                 TODD
                                What do you teach now?

                                                                 STAN
                                Fantastic literature.

                                                                 TODD
                                No kidding.  You like comic books?

                                                                 STAN
                                I love 'em.  I've got a pretty good collection.

                                                                 TODD
                                Me, too.
                                                           (proudly)
                                I've got The Fantastic Four, number one.

                                                                 STAN
                                                           (impressed)
                                No shit?  Really?

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (nods)
                                Yep.  And a lot of other good ones, too.  But
                                anyway, this house...

                                                                 STAN
                                                           (smiles)
                                Right.

                                                                 TODD
                                Honestly, it's a great house.  One of the nicest
                                in town, for the size and price.  I'd really love to
                                own it myself, but, being single, I rent.  But anyway,
                                the last owner put in new plumbing and restored
                                all the woodwork, too.

                                                                 KELLY
                                                           (enthusiastically)
                                That's great.  Let's go inside and look.

                                                                 STAN
                                Just hold on.  My wife is really into gardening.
                                How's the soil around here?

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (to Kelly)
                                Flowers or vegetables?

                                                                 KELLY
                                Mainly vegetables.  Flowers are OK.

                                                                 TODD
                                Me, too.  I grew a seventeen ounce tomato
                                last year.  I got the blue ribbon at the county
                                fair.

                                                                 KELLY
                                                           (impressed)
                                No kidding?  That's a big tomato.

                                                                 TODD
                                Yeah.  It was like a bowling ball.  The soil's great
                                for vegetables, I can personally vouch for that.
                                And each year my girlfriend grows the most
                                incredible flowers you've ever seen.  They're all
                                dying now, but I can take you past her place to
                                see them, they're still beautiful.  For the price, this
                                is the best house you're going to find in the area,
                                maybe the whole state.

Stan and Kelly both look convinced.  They look at each other and a whole conversation goes on in their eyes.  Her eyes say, "I love it, let's please buy it."  His eyes say, "I love it, too, but let's not move too fast."

Todd looks away, a slight grin playing on his lips.  He's sold them and he knows it.

                                                                 STAN
                                Let's see what it looks like inside.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (leads the way)
                                There's new tile, new carpet and it was recently
                                repainted.  And the woodwork's fantastic.  It's other-
                                worldly.  It's like it was imported from ancient
                                Assyria or something.  Guys with long beards
                                riding chariots, it's very odd . . .

They all head inside.

EXT. STEAK & ALE RESTAURANT - DAY

Todd sits in his car in the parking lot going over his paperwork and proposal one more time.  He knows it all by heart, but still... He makes a note with his new pen, then holds it up and admires it.

                                                                 TODD
                                Not bad.

Finally, he sighs and shoves all the paperwork into his briefcase.  He's about to open the door, then stops, reaches over and opens the glove box.  He takes out the little bottle of peppermint schnapps, gives a quick look around to see if anyone's watching, then takes a big slug.  His eyes go wide and he gasps slightly.  He shakes his head, tosses the bottle back in the glove box, pops some Tick-tacks in his mouth and gets out of the car.

INT. STEAK & ALE - DAY

The Steak & Ale is a reasonably nice restaurant, part of a national chain.  It's dark and fairly expensive.  A very pretty, rather downbeat young woman named ALYSCHIA is the hostess.  Her bored, unhappy expression evaporates upon seeing Todd.

                                                                 ALY
                                Hi, Todd.  How're you?

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (grins)
                                Great.  Couldn't be better.  You look devastating,
                                as always.

                                                                 ALY
                                                           (blushes)
                                Thanks.

                                                                 TODD
                                Where've you been?  I haven't seen you around.
                                Why weren't you at Ed and Jenny's bash?

                                                                 ALY
                                                           (looks down)
                                I didn't have anyone to go with.  I wasn't gonna
                                go alone.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (smiles)
                                You're funny.  You're the best-looking girl in
                                town and you never have a date.

                                                                 ALY
                                                           (conspiratorially)
                                If I didn't like Laura so much I'd steal you away.

                                                                 TODD
                                That might be a lot easier than you think.  Look,
                                we're all getting together tonight at The Blind Pig.
                                Pistons're on.  Wanna come?

                                                                 ALY
                                                           (looks down)
                                I don't know.

                                                                 TODD
                                What's the matter, you not a Piston fan either?

                                                                 ALY
                                It's not that, I just don't want to go alone.

                                                                 TODD
                                                           (seriously)
                                Aly.  You're our friend.  We all like you.  You
                                don't have to have a date to get together with
                                your friends.  Come on.

                                                                 ALY
                                                           (looks up and smiles)
                                OK.

                                                                 TODD
                                You never know, Laura might not show.

                                                                 ALY
                                But I wouldn't do that to her.

                                                                 TODD
                                I know.  Bummer.
                                                           (they both grin)
                                Uh... Is there a Michael Crispin here?

Aly looks down at her clipboard.

                                                                 ALY
                                Yes, he is.  Right this way, sir.

                                                                 TODD
                                Oh, thank you so much.

Aly leads Todd to a back booth where a thin, intense man of fifty with steel gray hair is seated.  He is MICHAEL CRISPIN.

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