Monday, August 20, 2007

INTERIOR, AN UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, TWILIGHT
A room of dark leather and mahogany, sectioned by odd angles and shadow. Bright sunlight and the dim echoes of a large celebration leak in around the edges of the drawn blinds. TENET is standing, hat in hand, in front of the VICE PRESIDENT, who is seated behind his desk, toying with something with one cupped palm over another; we can't quite see what is in his hands, it's about the size of a fist, velvet black. LIBBY stands discretely off to the side.

VP
But let's be frank here: you never wanted my friendship. You were afraid to be in my debt.

TENET
I didn't want to get into trouble.

VP
I understand. You found paradise at the Agency. The Administration protected you, and there was rule of law. A constitution. You didn't need a friend like me.
(he leans forward out of shadow, as if purposely effecting the glint of light from one glassy eye and his momentarily exposed row of lower teeth approximating a smile)
And there's the party circuit.
(he slips back into the dark)
But now your administration is gone. And this.

CLOSE SHOT: A folder on the desk, visible in a slant of light, being withdrawn into shadow.

VP
In all these years have I ever once been invited over to the Agency? You don't think I would have appreciated that? You don't think to call me Mr. Vice President. All this time: not one sheet of useful information came my way.
(sounding hurt)
I've been unwelcome.
But now you say, Mr. Vice President, save me. Help me retain my position. If you had been my friend, these bastards would be suffering right now. And they would fear you. As they fear me. Just as the world will soon fear us all.

Setting down the mystery object in his hand, which then skitters out of sight, the VP rises from behind his desk. Turning to a refrigerator-sized safe behind the desk, he opens it, revealing a sickly red light. He puts the folder in the safe with a motion that seems careless, merely holding it out briefly. In the dark it's hard to see, but the folder seems to be drawn from his hand, pulled into the safe. He comes around and stands directly in front of Tenet; straight, almost at attention, addressing him with his posture.

TENET
(meekly, chastened)
Be my friend?

VICE PRESIDENT
the VP shrugs, affecting embarrassed modesty, then, extending his ringed hand, which Tenet takes up and kisses:
Good.
Don't worry George. I think the President is going to like you.

He leads him to the door

TENET
What's he like?

VP
He's a very agreeable man. You two are going to hit it off just fine.
Now: some day, and that day may never come, I may ask you to do a favor for me.

He passes Tenet off to Libby. Just as Libby closes the door behind Tenet a commotion from outside becomes audible. The VP goes to the window and peers out the blinds.

VP
He's here. Miller's here.

EXT: SAME
A group of middle-aged revelers, typical Party types, presses around DENNIS MILLER. He's smiling, soaking it all in.

VP
I told you he'd come.

LIBBY
He probably needs to lose another transvestite prostitute.

VP
He's alright. May be of some use.
(absently to himself)
But God, that act.

LIBBY
(venturing delicately)
There's one more thing.

VP
(sighs)
What?

LIBBY
Limbaugh's here.

VP
What? Does this have something to do with the buffet?

LIBBY
He wants to thank you. He didn't expect to be invited.

VP
Is this necessary?

CUT TO
EXT: SAME
LIMBAUGH is sitting on a picnic bench, as revelers move past and about in the foreground, rehearsing his address to the VP, in between eating cannoli from a tray on his lap. He chokes for a moment, dislodges the food in his throat with one strenuous but expert heave, instantly flushing red with the effort; he resumes chewing, pats his sweating forehead with his handkercheif, takes a long draw from a pitcher of wine, and begins again.

CUT TO
INT: SAME
Dennis Miller is slumped on the corner of the Vice Presidents desk, staring into a drink in his hands. He is weeping openly.

MILLER
I don't know what to do.

The VP storms around the desk; he slaps Miller suddenly, shakes him by the shoulders like a rag doll; he thunders:

VP
You can act like a man, that's what you can do!
(he engages in a ridiculous caricature of a crying jag, shaking his palms in the air)
What am I gonna do? Everyone in Hollywood is out to get me now! I can't get work! The damn Daily Show!

CUT TO:
Libby, suppressing a smile. Over his shoulder we see the PRESIDENT enter, adjusting his sleeves and collar.

MILLER
(sniffling, he whimpers)
F-f-fucking show oughta pay me royalties...

VP
(erupting)
Shut-up!

ALTERNATE ANGLE
Close shot of VP. He's facing and speaking to Miller, but addressing the President, who we see in the background.

You spend time with your family?

MILLER
Are you kidding me?
(goes into his act)
I took the kids to Disney World this year. What sort of Leary-esque, Peter Max meets Frida Kahlo and Norman Rockwell's love child is this place? I mean, my kids were as oversensated as a high school football team on Viagra in a strip club...

The VP winces and, holding the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger, quickly motions to Libby; Libby takes Miller, still talking, by the elbow and shoulder and guides him to the door; as Libby closes the door behind him the VP lets out a reptilian sounding sigh through a mucous-thickened throat, delicately touching his brow, as if to note the passing of a minor crisis and return to normal.

VP
Now if there's nothing else, I don't want to miss the first beheading.

FADE

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