Screen

Lucky For Life is in its early phases. This excerpt is from a work in progress.

EXT. A SEATTLE SIDEWALK MORNING

GREETING SEQUENCE:

RICHARD GREEN

Walking down the street. Random people say “Hello” to RICHARD GREEN as he walks to work. He is holding a tray of coffee and responding in kind to those who greet him. Richard enters a building with a sign that reads RELIABLE INSURANCE on the front.

MOVING INTO:

INT. RECEPTION DESK AT RELIABLE INSURANCE

CHARACTER INTRODUCTION SEQUENCE:

Richard hands JENNY, the receptionist, a coffee from his tray.

RICHARD

Double tall, sugar-free vanilla, no whip.

JENNY

You must spend $5000 a year on coffee.

RICHARD

Jenny a few coffees couldn’t be that much.

[Jenny picks up a calculator and punches in numbers. Holds calculator up for Rich to see.]

JENNY

If I’d won the lottery I wouldn’t even be here.

RICHARD

Well, I’m too young to retire. Besides I didn’t win the big lottery, I won the little lottery. The residual payments don’t cover the bills and business is down-

JENNY

Mm-hm, and you aren’t just squandering it on coffee and horses?

RICHARD

Don’t jinx me.

JENNY

Don’t pin your bad luck on me.

[Richard is on the move again, headed toward his office]

JENNY

Thanks for the coffee, hope your right.

MOVING INTO:

HALLWAY OF LINED WITH DESKS

Richard puts a coffee on DONALD’S desk. Donald is looking at himself in a small hand mirror and removing a dot of shine from his bald head with a powder compact.

DONALD

You’re spoiling me!

Richard hands a coffee to a much older woman named ROSE and sits on the corner of her desk.

ROSE

Is there sugar in it? You know I won’t drink it without sugar.

RICHARD

You have diabetes Rose. I want you around.

Rose pulls sugar packets out of her desk

ROSE

Lucky for me, I’ve got reserves.

Richard takes sugar away from Rose and hands it to Donald.

RICHARD

Eh, eh, eh!

ROSE

It’s a damn conspiracy.

DONALD

(To Richard)

I haven’t seen a profile for you on Lovematch yet.

ROSE

[Rose takes Richard’s hand and gives it a affectionate/motherly squeeze.]

He doesn’t need Lovematch, he has me. Besides Donald sweetie, I don’t think you are Richard’s type.

DONALD

I haven’t seen our Richard with anyone, so he is free game.

RICHARD

Flattered Donald, but I’m afraid Rose is right.

DONALD

[Donald  walks away while saying…].

You don’t know what you’re missing.

RICHARD

(To Rose)

How’d you do at the casino last night?

ROSE

Hit $300 on PennyMania. How about you?

RICHARD

I guess I should’ve played PennyMania.

Richard squeezes Rose’s shoulder and walks to his office.

MOVING INTO:

RICHARD’S OFFICE

Richard leaves his door open. Sets his coffee on the desk. There is a picture of Richard’s dog HAPPY. Happy is also called “Hap.” Richard sits down and opens his computer to a website called LOVEMATCH.COM

RICHARD

(To picture)

Well Hap, let’s see if we find Miss. Right today.

Jenny leans into the open doorway.

JENNY

If this is your daily LoveMatch moment, I think you should put you won the lottery in your profile.

RICHARD

No, I’m not going to put that out there. They’ll think I have money.

JENNY

Have you gone on any dates yet?

RICHARD

No, not yet.

JENNY

Are you at least chatting with someone nice?

RICHARD

Um, no, not yet.

JENNY

Have you even signed-up?

RICHARD

Push, push push you are like the mother I never had.

JENNY

Don’t pull that poor orphan stuff on me. Your thirty-years-old, and Rose is the mother you never had. I’m too young to be your damn mother.

RICHARD

Then your the bossy older sister I never had.

JENNY

I’m just trying to get you to have a little common sense.

RICHARD

Okay, okay, but you don’t need to worry about me.

JENNY

Just sign-up, that’s how I met TOMAS. You know we have it goin’ on.

RICHARD

Maybe we can’t all be that lucky.

Jenny hands Richard his mail.

JENNY

Thought your luck was turning around?

Taking mail from Jenny

RICHARD

Thanks.

PHONE RINGS at Jenny’s desk and she is about to exit to answer it.

JENNY

I’m glad your not a ‘shoot the messenger’ type.

Richard starts opening his mail. Each envelope contains a letter with the words “Delinquent” or “Past Due” on it. There are a lot of envelopes. Richard Looks at Hap’s picture.

RICHARD

What am I going to do boy?

Richard runs his hand across his head and looks worried.

MATCH CUT TO:

GOVERNOR’S OFFICE – DAY

CLOSE-UP ON A TAXIDERMY ANIMAL WITH A TERRIFIED EXPRESSION AND POSE.

Gov. Dern is pacing back and forth. BEN DRUMMER, The State Fiscal Officer, is perched in a chair.

GOVERNOR DERN

It’s a God-damn election year Ben.

BEN DRUMMER

I’m up for re-election too, sir.

Gov. Dern stops pacing and stands behind Ben Drummer’s chair.

GOVERNOR DERN

You have to find a way to close the budget gap.

BEN DRUMMER

Cutting another hundred million isn’t easy, sir.

Governor Dern turns on television.

CLOSEUP on television news story about Mr. Wong winning the Mega Millions lottery jackpot.

NEWSWOMAN

(ON TELEVISION)

Congratulations Mr. Wong. You are Washington’s next Mega-Millionaire! What do you plan to do with your $200,000,000 million dollar prize?

MR WONG

(ON TELEVISION)

I love the U-S-A!

NEWSWOMAN

Wonderful, Mr. Wong, will you be sharing the money with your family or charity?

MR WONG

I love U-S-A!

NEWSWOMAN

You are a very lucky man-

Governor Dern turns down television volume but we can still see MR. WONG on screen with the NEWSWOMAN.

GOVERNOR DERN

Pointing at the screen.

How much do we pay these people each year?

BEN DRUMMER

We don’t pay the media sir, they cover our stories independently.

GOVERNOR DERN

No, you idiot. Not the reporters, the lottery winners.

BEN DRUMMER

Oh. The lottery is one of the state’s biggest earners, sir. We couldn’t cut it, it’s a revenue stream.

GOVERNOR DERN

Problem speaky-English Ben? Maybe Wong over there can give you a lesson.

BEN DRUMMER

Sir?

GOVERNOR DERN

(Speaking slowly)

How much do we pay the lottery winners?

BEN DRUMMER

The ones who take a lump some get about half, after taxes. The winners who choose annual payouts get three quarters of their win over their lifetime, after taxes.

GOVERNOR DERN

What about him?

Gov. Dern points to television.

How much will the state be paying Wong?

BEN HUMMER

Glances at television.

Assuming he takes the annual payouts to avoid losing one hundred million dollars he’d get

(PAUSE).

about 5,500,000 annually.

GOVERNOR DERN

How many Wongs are out there chipping away at my budget?

BEN DRUMMER

Do you mean how many people is the state contracted to pay annually?

GOVERNOR DERN

Yes.

BEN DRUMMER

All of the Lucky For Life winners are paid annually and about half of the Mega Millions jackpots.

GOVERNOR DERN

I see, that must add up to at least a hundred million.

BEN DRUMMER

It’s about a two hundred million a year, sir.

GOVERNOR DERN

You don’t say.

 

BEN DRUMMER

There’s really no way around paying them.

GOVERNOR DERN

People only pay attention to the winning announcements. After that who cares, yesterday’s news.

BEN DRUMMER

Sir?

GOVERNOR DERN

Residual payments stop when they die, right?

BEN DRUMMER

Yes sir, but I’m still not clear what you’re getting at.

GOVERNOR DERN

(Mocking)

“Still not clear what you are getting at.” Shut-up Ben. Just get me the names and addresses of the annual payouts.

Ben stands up and starts toward the door.

GOVERNOR DERN

Oh and Ben (smiling) keep this research to yourself.

Ben stops in the doorway.

BEN DRUMMER

Are you going to offer them settlements?

GOVERNOR DERN

That would add to the budget Ben, not decrease it.

BEN DRUMMER

What then?

GOVERNOR DERN

Just get me the numbers and-

(puts finger to lips)

Shhhh.

BEN DRUMMER

(Puts his finger to his lips but is clearly confused)

Shhh.

Ben exits.

Governor Dern pours a GLASS OF BOURBON.

GOVERNOR DERN

(To himself)

There are two sides to luck…good and bad.

Governor moves to television and turns up the volume. On screen Mr. Wong, beaming with joy. Confetti falling from the above. Wong is now holding a big check that reads “200,000,000”

GOVERNOR DERN CONT…

Enjoy it while you can. Your ruck is about to change.

Governor Dern takes a small red phonebook from his pocket. Using his cell phone he calls a hit man named DRAKE.

GOVERNOR DERN

Hello, Drake. Are you alone? Good, good, I have some sensitive work for you. I need you to erase a few figures from the books.

CUT BETWEEN GOVERNOR DERN AND DRAKE

DRAKE

Isn’t that a job for Ben Drummer?

GOVERNOR DERN

If we were talking accounting, these figures require your expertise.

DRAKE

How many?

GOVERNOR DERN

The first one is named Wong. I’ll get the details to you soon.

DRAKE

More than one will cost you.

GOVERNOR DERN

Same rate as before or will I get a volume discount?

We don’t hear Drakes response but Governor Dern seems pleased when he hangs up.

GOVERNOR DERN

Drake, your going to save me a fortune.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT: MILLICENT MOORE’S HOUSE

MILLICENT MOORE Turns up volume on her television. She has been watching Mr. Wong’s story on television.

MILLICENT

Hey Dad, I don’t think the new winner speaks English.

HARRY MOORE enters room.

HARRY

Like the ones who’d immigrated from Korean in 2000? Lovely couple.

MILLICENT

I’d like to invite Mr. Wong to the annual winner’s picnic. Do you know anyone who speaks Cantonese?

HARRY

Sure, sweet pea, I know a guy. Have you invited Richard Greene yet?

MILLICENT

Why are you so interested in Richard Greene?

HARRY

He looks single.

MILLICENT

Dad.

HARRY

What? Father’s want their daughters to be happy.

MILLICENT

I am happy.

HARRY

Maybe some grand-kids would be nice?

MILLICENT

If I meet someone who is as good to me as you were to Mom, maybe.

HARRY

I wished I’d been home more to have had more time with your mother you when you were growing up.

MILLICENT

Well, your here now. Besides, somebody had to keep the country safe.

HARRY

Your diversion tactics didn’t work, I still want grand-kids.

MILLICENT

Millicent takes a picture of Richard out of a pile of pictures.

R. Greens grow like grass in Seattle. I talked to a whole lawn full before I found ours.

HARRY

Good work, another single man for the picnic.

MILLICENT

I didn’t organize the winners picnic as my own dating service daddy.

HARRY

I know, I know, you want to help people learn how to manage their money.

MILLICENT

Winning is a big responsibility.

HARRY

Once a financial adviser, always a financial adviser. You host the picnic for your reasons, I’ll help you for mine.

Harry pulls back from Millicent and coughs a hacking, painful cough.

MILLICENT

Dad, can I get you anything?

HARRY

No, I’m alright. It’s just a cough.

Millicent quickly brings her father a glass of water.

MILLICENT

It sounds pretty bad. I’ll make a doctor’s appointment for you.

Millicent has gone to the telephone and picked it up. Harry takes the receiver out of her hand and hangs it up.

HARRY

No, I’m fine. It’s just a cough.

MILLICENT

Promise me you’ll call a doctor.

HARRY

I know what they are going to say, “Quit smoking.”

MILLICENT

Then why don’t you?

HARRY

Millie, your Pop lives the way he wants. Besides, I’ve been missing your mother long enough.

MILLICENT

Dad, don’t say that. I need you here.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT: RICHARD HEADS HOME

Richard locks up his office and begins walking down the street. He stops at a sidewalk sushi bar with a neon sign that says “Louie’s Sushi.”

RICHARD

Hey Louie, how’s business?

LOUIE

Business is very good Richard. Lot’s of loyal customers. How about you?

RICHARD

No major disaster’s lately but not so many loyal customers.

LOUIE

Didn’t you win the lottery?

RICHARD

I won four years ago.

LOUIE

Hey, no worries then.

RICHARD

Can you keep a secret?

LOUIE

Louie is a great secret keeper.

Louie looks off into the distance and begins to speak of his past.

LOUIE

I escaped from North Korea when the government discovered my younger brother Jun-suh was protesting the government’s propoganda campaigns. To protect him I said it was I, Gun-woo, who started the protest. People were being killed every day, the country starving. Jun-suh still not safe so we fought our way through brush, avoided armed guards, lived on rat meat and insects…

CONT…

(SHIVERS)

In time I made my way to China, then USA. I changed my name to Louie and here we are.

RICHARD

I didn’t know that you came from North Korea. Why sushi? Isn’t that a Japanese thing?

LOUIE

Louie is a great secret keeper. Sushi good disguise and good business.

RICHARD

Is your brother safe?

LOUIE

Yeah, he owns a gun shop in the Central District. What’s your secret?

RICHARD

I get $40,000 every year after taxes from the lottery but I never have any money. I can barely afford this (Holds up sushi roll).

LOUIE

That’s a lot of money.

RICHARD

The lottery is a type of gambling…and I like gambling.

LOUIE

Louie likes gambling but you must be bad gambler to lose $40,000 a year.

RICHARD

Plus, the $35,000 I make at Reliable Insurance.

LOUIE

Why don’t you quit?

RICHARD

I’ve tried but it didn’t take.

LOUIE

Big problem (pause). I know how to solve it. You need a woman to sort you out.

 

RICHARD

I’ve been told that a lot lately.

LOUIE

Louie used to like horse racing until I married JOSIE.

RICHARD

I play the horse on occasion.

LOUIE

My wife, Japanese girl from LA. She grew up in a good family, lots of money. She chose Louie over family money, now Louie rich with two Sushi bars.

RICHARD

Sounds like you married a good one.

LOUIE

The right girl, money won’t matter. She’ll straighten you out.

JOSIE appears. She has on big sunglasses and designer clothes. She smiles at Richard, says something in Japanese to Louie. Louie hands her a large amount of money. Josie kisses his cheek.

JOSIE

Good husband.

Josie leaves in a Lexus.

RICHARD

You are doing well.

Louie hands Richard a beer and opens one for himself. He turns off the “Louie’s Sushi” sign and sits on a stool next to Richard.

LOUIE

No charge.

Louie points to the “Reliable” logo on Richard’s hat.

LOUIE

Your a loyal customer. I should know your business. What kind of company is “Reliable”?

RICHARD

I sell life insurance.

LOUIE

Life insurance doesn’t make sense.

RICHARD

Security for those they leave behind.

LOUIE

No, no good. Louie watches t.v., people kill people to get the insurance money. Better to keep making money.

RICHARD

Unless your not good at saving money.

LOUIE

If you not good at saving you don’t need an extra bill.

RICHARD

No wonder my business is down. Your about to talk me out of it.

Richard pulls out his wallet to pay.

LOUIE

No, no charge.

RICHARD

Are you sure? I can pay for it Louie.

LOUIE

Louie knows you can pay. I buy because you foolish gambler, big-spender in a bad business.

RICHARD

Well thank you, I think.

LOUIE

See you next week!

RICHARD

Sure thing.

Louie calls after Richard who is walking away.

LOUIE

Next week you pay. Louie not bad with money. Just nice guy.

RICHARD

No problem Louie, thanks again!

MOVING INTO:

EXT. RICHARD’S FIRST STORY APARTMENT

Happy (Hap) the DOG IS BARKING inside the house. When Rich opens the door the dog bounds out, jumps up and kisses his face.

RICHARD

Good boy Hap! Such a good, good boy!

Richard and Hap go inside.

MOVING INTO:

INT. RICHARD’S APARTMENT

Richard’s house is messy. There is laundry that needs folding. A few dishes in the sink. Richard feeds the dog, grabs a beer and turns on the television. Once seated he looks at a racing form and some casino specials from a mailer.

REPORTER

(On television screen)

A reporter is interviewing Governor Dern.

Governor Dern the upcoming election is predicted to be close. In the last four years you haven’t been able to get the budget under control. Why should the people re-elect you?

GOVERNOR DERN

Sometimes great ideas take time. I’m currently working closely with my staff to close the budget gap. I project a surplus in the coming months. Remember to vote Dern!

REPORTER

A surplus? You haven’t closed the budget gap in the last four years. How do you plan to have a surplus?

GOVERNOR DERN

Too many details to reveal but I assure you progress is being made.

REPORTER

Is it true you plan to increase your salary while cutting your staffs pay?

GOVERNOR DERN

Nothing is in stone yet. All I need you to know is, Vote Dern this Fall. That’s Dern for dern good progress!

Governor Dern is quickly walking to a car.

REPORTER

Well, I think we may need to know-

GOVERNOR DERN

No further comment at this time.

The Governor gets in the backseat of a black town car and is subsequently driven away. Back in Richard’s apartment Happy puts a ball at Richard’s feet.

RICHARD

You wanna’ play ball?

HAPPY

(Barks)

AT THE PARK

Richard is throwing the ball and Hap is running to get it. Milicent is there talking to the Parks & Recreation coordinator.

MILLICENT

There will be about a thousand people attending the picnic.

PARK REPRESENTATIVE

Will you be bringing in your own set-up? Tables, chairs, buffet, food, lighting. You must have lighting if you stay past five. You’ll need extra garbage cans, mobile toilets-

MILLICENT

Yes, our last picnic went off without a hitch. We are an annual event. The waterfront is just perfect!

PARK REPRESENTATIVE

We can manage your group, no problem. Just fill out the form. The form has a space for your name, your address, your phone number, and a land line, if you have one. If you don’t. That’s no problem. You’ll need to get an insurance in case somebody trips, chokes, drowns, gets mugged, stabbed, shot-

MILLICENT

Okay, I understand. I’ll get these back to you right away.

PARK REPRESENTATIVE

The park can’t be held responsible for injuries.

MILLICENT

I can’t wait to send the invitations!

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