INT. DFO PRODUCTION OFFICE – DAY
A pair of sleazy Hollywood producers are lounging in an office filled with mid-century modern furniture and painted in pastel colors. A young man, physically imposing but conveying the impression that he’s fresh out of college, sits across from them.
STEPHEN KING: …and so she arrives at her seat to find her father waiting. And she sits down, and as it fades to the credits we begin to see them start talking.
RIKKI-TIKKI-DADDIO: [blinks eyes rapidly, as though he’s been fighting to stay awake] And that’s the end?
STEPHEN KING: That’s right. It’s left clear that over their shared love of baseball they are going to start rebuilding their shattered relationship and…
DARKEST TIMELINE DEREK MORRIS: [shakes head] It’s too dreary.
RTD: Yeah. We need to spice it up some.
STEPHEN KING: Well, I…
DTDM: Maybe instead of being so distant, her father could be a Jesus freak.
RTD: Wait, no, her mother is a Jesus freak. Dad’s out of the picture.
STEPHEN KING: No, but it’s meant…
DTDM: Yeah! Hmm…the teenage market is taking off right now, we need to make it more relatable to young people. Hey, how about instead a Red Sox game we make it a prom?
DTDM: Oh! And instead of being bipolar, the girl Cassie has telepathy! Like, she can move things just by using her thoughts.
STEPHEN KING: You mean telekinesis?
RTD: No, he means she’s clairvoyant. And…get this…her name is Carrie! Like, she can carry things with her mind!
DTDM: Far out! I like it, I like where this is headed.
RTD: [to STEPHEN KING] Okay, so you’ll handle the rewrite?
STEPHEN KING: [confused] Rewrite?
RTD: Yup, just punch it up a little like we talked about here, then we’ll sit down again in say…six months?
STEPHEN KING: I…
DTDM: [stands up to hustle him out] Rhonda will get you set up with the paperwork for your advance from the studio. [he pats STEPHEN KING on the shoulder as he ushers him out of the office] This is gonna be great. Really great…
As DARKEST TIMELINE DEREK MORRIS returns from the door RIKKI-TIKKI-DADDIO has moved over to the bar and is pouring generous amounts of Canadian whiskey into a pair of tumblers.
RTD: I think he’s got something, I really do.
DTDM: I do too. I hope he’s stable, though. I think he might have a bit of an issue with the sauce. [gratefully takes hold of the tumbler that RIKKI-TIKKI-DADDIO hands him and makes the “drinky-drinky” motion].
RTD: What make you think that?
DTDM: I heard him mutter something about “rum” under his breath on the way out.
RTD: [takes a gulp of whiskey] He’s probably talking about the characters. See, he’s working on the story already!
DTDM: So what’s next?
RHONDA: [via intercom] Your two o’clock is here.
DTDM: Oh, right. That thing.
— [door flies open] —
JIM BROWN: I got your call. What the fuck do you assholes want?
RTD: Now, Jim, let’s not start out like this.
DTDM: This is supposed to be a friendly chat.
JIM BROWN: You guys know I don’t do friendly.
RTD: Yes, we’ve heard that.
DTDM: We’ll cut to the chase. We heard there was an incident on set.
RTD: And as much as we’d like to, we can’t just ignore it.
JIM BROWN: Yeah, well, the script said to slap her, so that’s what I did.
RTD: You’re a big guy, Jim. You didn’t think to, maybe, hold back a little bit?
JIM BROWN: I’m method, you know that.
DTDM: The thing is, you gave her a concussion.
JIM BROWN: A what?
RTD: You rung her bell real good.
JIM BROWN: I told those guys, she a Aquarius, just give her a couple of salt tablets, she’ll be fine.
DTDM: Yes, the medic told us about your helpful, um, suggestions.
JIM BROWN: So what’s the problem? She gonna press charges or something?
RTD: No, no, nothing like that.
DTDM: Now listen, Jim, we’re not upset.
RTD: We’re definitely not. We know you were just doing your job.
DTDM: It’s just…
RTD: The thing is, the cameras were rolling.
DTDM: We’re not about to tell you how to handle things in your relationships.
RTD: Or in your trailer, offscreen.
DTDM: That’s none of our business.
RTD: Making movies, that’s our business.
DTDM: And when we have to shut down production so we can find a new Nazi Cabaret Waitress #2, it cuts into that business. And when we have to put on our stomping boots and make sure that footage of you slapping the living daylights out of that girl from Iowa City never sees the light of day, that cuts into that business too.
RTD: People want to watch movies with great stories. They don’t want to watch the petty squabbles that happen behind the scenes during production.
DTDM: Ha ha ha, could you imagine?
JIM BROWN: So…?
DTDM: Next time just don’t hit her so hard.
RTD: Save it for your private life, eh, big guy?
JIM BROWN: [glares at him] Sure. Whatever. We done here?
DTDM: We sure are. Don’t forget, Jim – you’ll be working for us for another three years.
JIM BROWN: Yeah, well, this isn’t the NFL. You can’t just terminate my contract at a whim for no reason whatsoever.
RTD: [agreeably] No, we can’t do that. But what we can do is put you in shitty roles in garbage films that exist solely to burn off money for accounting purposes because Old School Double Zero made yet another bad investment in a terrible script. You’re not going to have much of a future in this town when every film you star in is out of theaters in fewer weeks than it takes the Detroit Lions to get eliminated from playoff contention.
JIM BROWN: I…
RTD: Yeah, you’re a lot more replaceable here than you ever were in the NFL. So play nice.
DTDM: Anyhow, none of this is worth fussing over. Just pull your punches…
RTD: …when the cameras are rolling…
DTDM: …and we’ll be just fine. We’ll see you at the premiere, kiddo.
JIM BROWN leaves.
DTDM: I think he got the message. He’ll be keeping his nose clean from now on.
RTD: Oh! That reminds me. Sergio hooked me up with something new.
RIKKI-TIKKI-DADDIO sets a mirror on the table, and pulls out a glass vial from his pocket.
RTD: It’s called cocaine. You’re gonna love it.