BLOCKED   






 




     -SCENE ONE-

     FADE IN:

     INT. HOME-OFFICE OF ADAM LANG – LATE AFTERNOON

     Camera begins on a close-up of the dust jacket of an open 
     book over-turned on a disheveled desk, first the front cover
     with the title and author:

     THE PINE CONE CONUNDRUM 
     ADAM LANG

     ...then panning left to the back cover with quotes from 
     flattering reviews:  

     “Sparkles with inexhaustible wit and inventiveness.” 
          -Shirley Abrams, New England Reader

     “Lang's creative well runs deep and wet.” 
          -San Fransisco Times

     “Truly marvelous... The only question now is how Lang could
     possibly ever follow such a first-rate success.” 
          -Boston Book Review

     Desk is in a dark office with only a single desk lamp 
     lighting area.  Pan continues unstopped revealing but not
     dwelling over other items on the desk, framed picture of 
     embracing couple on vacation, dictionary with iPhone propped
     up on its side against it, stacks of magazines, including 
     The Economist and Maxim, and books, by Hemingway, Tolstoy, 
     Flaubert, Wolfe; a row of a dozen novels by ADAM LANG 
     displayed on bookshelf just behind desk, a box of tissues, 
     an empty coffee mug and coffee stain rings on yellow legal 
     pad with a few sentences of scratched out writing on it, 
     lots of crumpled yellow sheets and some crumpled tissues, 
     pair of crossed legs in sweat pants resting on corner of 
     desk, finally ending on glowing Apple logo on scratched and
     dented (i.e. well-used) back of open laptop sitting on lap.

     CUT TO:

     Shot of laptop screen with empty word processor window and 
     feet in socks in the background behind screen.

     CUT TO:

     Extreme close-up of blinking cursor in midst of whiteness. 

     CUT TO:

     Extreme close-up of ADAM's eyes blinking with same frequency 
     as blinking cursor.

     CUT TO: 

     Shot of screen and socks but goes to blackness, and back,
     as if seen through the blinking eyes of ADAM.

     CUT TO:

     Extreme close-up of ADAM's eyes still blinking in time with
     cursor.

     CUT TO:

     Extreme close-up of cursor again intermittently going to
     blackness such that 'blinking' cursor never actually appears; 
     it is flashing on when eyes are closed and disappears when 
     eyes are open, and then slowly phases into always appearing; 
     it is flashing on when eyes are open and disappears when eyes
     are closed.

     CUT TO:

     Extreme close-up of ADAM's blinking eyes again, in his bored
     little game.

     SOUND OF IPHONE RINGING

     Still in extreme close-up ADAM's eyes spring and stay open
     staring ahead momentarily then look hard peripherally toward 
     the phone with no motion of head or face.

     CUT TO:

     Close-up of iPhone with HAL's name flashing. 

     CUT TO:

     Wider shot of dark home-office including bookcases full of 
     books and various knick-knacks, desk and lamp, scruffy-
     looking, 30-something ADAM in repose in high-backed office 
     chair, laptop on lap.  There is a couch that looks as if it 
     has been slept on recently and often.  The window blinds are 
     all drawn but it is obviously bright and sunny beyond them.

     ADAM eventually reaches for phone and presses 'talk' button 
     but says nothing.

                           HAL (V.O. telephone)
                     (very anxious) 
               Adam?!  Adam!  Thank god you picked 
               up!  I've been leaving messages 
               every twelve hours for days!  Adam!  
               Tell me you're writing.  Tell me 
               you're too busy writing to answer.  
               Adam?   Hello?!

                           ADAM 
               Relax Hal.  I'm writing.

     CUT TO:

     INT. HAL'S OFFICE

     HAL, a man in his mid-50's with white hair – what little 
     there is left – is ADAM's agent.  He's wearing a nice suit
     talking into a land-line phone at a beautiful, uncluttered 
     desk.  His office, on a high floor of a tall city building, 
     is luxurious with large windows.

                           HAL 
                     (slightly relieved) 
               Adam!  Tell me the truth.  The draft 
               deadline's only six weeks from this 
               Friday.  Tell me the truth!

     INTERCUT between ADAM, sloppily dressed, in his dark home-
     office and HAL, well-clothed, in his bright office, mixed 
     with occasional dialog of each heard as telephone voice 
     overs.

                           ADAM 
                     (less reserved)
               Hal.  I'm writing as we speak, Hal. 

     ADAM exaggeratedly flutters fingers on keyboard. 

                           ADAM (CONT'D)
               As we speak.

     CUT TO HAL'S OFFICE. 

     SOUND OF FAST TYPING is heard over HAL's phone.

                           HAL 
                     (now even more worried) 
               Oh fuck!  That's what I thought!  
               You only fake-type that fast.  
               Oh fuck, Adam!  Tell me you're not 
               blocked.  Tell me you are not blocked.  
               You know I got you that six month 
               extension.  I had to bend over 
               backward because it's been almost two 
               years but I got it.  And the advance...  
               Oh god!  Tell me you got some 
               chapters at least.  Adam, I'm gonna 
               come up there.

                           ADAM (V.O. telephone)
               Don't be crazy!  I'm fine.  

                           HAL 
                     (dis-trustingly)
               Give me something.  Anything.  Give 
               me a synopsis. Whadda you got so 
               far?

                           ADAM 
                     (now worried himself) 
               A synopsis?

                           HAL 
               Yeah.  What's it about?  Love story?  
               Who's the protagonist?

                           ADAM 
               Protagonist? 
                     (swallows hard)  
               A man who... a man, he is... a man...

                     (beat)

                           HAL  
               A man who is a man?!  What's that?

                           ADAM 
               A man who's just getting over a 
               divorce...

                     (beat)

                           HAL  
               Okay.  And?

                           ADAM  
               and... he... and he... can't seem to... 
               get over it.

                           HAL  
               Oh fuck!  You're blocked!  You're still
               fucking blocked!

                     (talking over each other)

                           ADAM  
               Hal relax!  I'm not blocked.  I'm 
               just a little blank right now.  I'll 
               be fine.  Plenty of time.

                           HAL 
               I bend over backwards to get you six 
               months and now with six weeks you've 
               got “a man who's getting over a 
               divorce, but can't get over it”.  Oh 
               fuck.  Adam, I'm coming up there.

                           ADAM  
               Hal, don't be ridiculous.  Jesus 
               Christ.  Creativity.  It's, it's, 
               it's... fickle.

                           HAL (V.O. telephone)
                     (being agreeable) 
               I know, I know.

                           ADAM  
               Sometimes it comes in fits and 
               spurts.  Besides, you know me.  
               When I get motivated six weeks is 
               nothing.  

                           HAL (V.O.)
               I know, I know.

                           ADAM 
               Remember “Scent of the Albatross”?  
               I did that draft in... in... what?  
               A month?  After that flu cruise you 
               booked me on.  Jesus.  Remember?  

                           HAL 
               'Flu cruise'.  You were burnt out.  
               I was trying to get you to relax a 
               little.  Take it easy.  How could I 
               have known there would be a ship-
               wide outbreak?!  And anyway, didn't 
               it turn out to be food poisoning?

                           ADAM 
                     (ignoring him) 
               Every port forbade us entry or, or, 
               even permission to dump our ballast 
               water.  Christ.  The whole boat stank.  
               It was awful.  Even the sea birds 
               stopped following us.

                           HAL  
               Alright, I get it. I get it.  But, 
               see?  You got the draft done.  Right?  
               Right?  That's the important point 
               here.

                           ADAM 
               In a month I got it done.  A month,
               Hal.  Six weeks is nothing.

                           HAL 
               I know.  I know.  You can be fast 
               when you want to.

                           ADAM  
               It's not a question of want, Hal!  
               It's about inspiration!

                           HAL 
                     (recalling) 
               Isn't that cruise when you met 
               Evelyn?

                           ADAM 
               Don't remind me.  It was an omen.  
               Lemme tell you, never get involved 
               with a girl you meet while quarantined 
               at sea.

                           HAL  
               Oh c'mon.  I always liked her.  You 
               two stayed together, what, 8 years?  
               That's not bad.

                           ADAM 
               Yeah well, you'd have thought being 
               confined to quarters with nausea while 
               sharing a bathroom the size of a 
               refrigerator would've been good 
               practice for marriage.  Sort of 
               accelerates the intimacy factor, 
               you know?

                           HAL  
               Speaking of intimacy, how's Jess?

                           ADAM  
               She's fine.  She left me but she's 
               fine.

                           HAL  
               Oh fuck!  Adam, I'm coming up!  I'm 
               coming up!  Don't worry about a thing.

                           ADAM 
               That's why I pay you, Hal.  Ten 
               percent so you do all my worrying 
               for me and I can stare in peace at a 
               blank screen for days on end.

                           HAL 
                     (rubbing his forehead)
               Oh fuck. 

     -END SCENE ONE-
     
     -SCENE TWO-

     INT. BAR – BACKGROUND NOISE OF CONVERSATION AND LOUNGE PIANO
     MUSIC – EVENING

     In a quiet, somewhat crowded bar, ADAM sits with KAREN, an 
     attractive, brunette woman in her early thirties.  They are 
     at a table against the back wall, nursing beers, in the 
     middle of a conversation.

                           ADAM
               Full on the mouth?!

                           KAREN
               Open lips.  

                           ADAM
               Oh my god.

                           KAREN
               Max, the principal second, said he 
               saw tongue on the approach.

                           ADAM
               Oh god. Isn't she like seventeen or 
               something?

                           KAREN
               A prodigy!  Her mom was waiting 
               backstage.

                           ADAM 
                     (mockingly)
               Maestro Molestro.

                           KAREN
               Oh, but there's more.

                           ADAM
               There always seems to be with this 
               guy.

                           KAREN
               He starts the second half of the 
               concert with some mystery tempo.  
               I mean, it's not even the right 
               meter!

                           ADAM 
                     (confused)
               Meter?

                           KAREN
               He's in three.  We're in four.

                           ADAM
               Ah.

                           KAREN
               Of course everyone just follows 
               Andrew.  No big deal, right?

                           ADAM
               Uh'huh.  The concertmaster.

                           KAREN
               Right.  But Jones, he's got this 
               look on his face of shear panic.

                           ADAM
               I can imagine.

                           KAREN
               He's just turning white. Paler and 
               paler, right?  But he keeps waving 
               the stick, until finally Andrew 
               cuts everyone off.

                           ADAM
               My god.  

                           KAREN
               So then Jones pretends to cut 
               everyone off even though we've all 
               stopped playing already.  He closes 
               his score, picks it up, turns toward 
               the audience, drops it to the stage, 
               'SLAP!', right?  And says, “You'll 
               have to come tomorrow night to hear 
               what it was that I was just 
               conducting.” 

                           ADAM
               Wow.  That's actually not a bad save.

                           KAREN
               I know. I know.  Got a good laugh.  
               Too bad his conducting can't be 
               saved.

                           ADAM
               Lemme guess.  The audience loves 
               him because he's an accessible, 
               hackneyed, clowning pervert, and 
               the musicians hate him because he's 
               an aloof, perverted, clowning hack. 

                           KAREN
               Not true.  Nobody thinks he's aloof. 

                     (beat)

                           KAREN (CONT'D)
               So are you still stuck?

                           ADAM
               Nothing.

                           KAREN
               It's been, what, two months?

                           ADAM 
               No.  Not that long.

                           KAREN 
               Yes, that long.  Since Jess.

     ADAM doesn't speak but just stares at his beer.

                           KAREN (CONT'D)
               C'mon Adam.  You said yourself it 
               wasn't going anywhere.

                           ADAM
               So what's the difference?  I liked 
               where it was.  I didn't want it to 
               go anywhere.  Why does it always 
               have to go somewhere?  A relationship 
               isn't a road trip.  

                           KAREN
               If you both think it's in a nice 
               place, sure.  But...  

                           ADAM
               The irony is, whenever a woman says 
               she wants her relationship to go 
               somewhere what she really means is 
               she wants to settle down.

                           KAREN
               That's not true. It just means she 
               wants something deeper.  More 
               committed. 

                           ADAM
               But ultimately settle down.

                           KAREN
               Well is that what Jess wanted?

                           ADAM
               No.  Jess wanted a lawyer from 
               Providence named Todd.  But that's 
               another story.

                           KAREN
               Sorry.

                           ADAM
               And you should be.  I count on you 
               for advice about the female kind.  
               Why else would I be 'just friends' 
               with such a hottie?

                           KAREN
               Look.  You hadn't written in over a 
               year since Evelyn left.  All you did 
               was mope around like a zombie.  I 
               figured you needed someone to get 
               you back in the game.  She was good 
               for that, right?

                           ADAM
               She was no Ev.

                           KAREN
               Of course not.  She wasn't supposed 
               to be.  She got you back in the game, 
               that's all.

                     (beat)

                           KAREN (CONT'D)
               Not to enable, but have you heard 
               from her at all?

                           ADAM
               Yeah, I told you.  Providence.  
               Lawyer.  Todd.

                           KAREN
               No. I meant Ev.

                           ADAM 
                     (slumps)
               She was engaged.  That's the last I
                heard.  About a year ago. 

                     (beat)

                           KAREN
               Well Jess played her part.  Transi-
               tional.  I think you need to move 
               on to something more substantial.

                           ADAM
               I don't have time for that now. I 
               got this draft deadline coming up 
               fast.

                           KAREN
               Sounds to me like you've got plenty 
               of time.  You're not going to break 
               your block staring at a blank screen.  
               You know that.  I really think you 
               need a distraction.

                           ADAM
               And where, pray tell, am I to find 
               this distraction?

                           KAREN
               Women are all around you, Adam.  You
               just need to take some initiative.

                           ADAM
               Initiative?

                           KAREN
               Uh'huh.  Go right up there and 
               initiate.

                           ADAM
               You know I'm no good at that.  I 
               need to get a smile, a look or 
               something.

                           KAREN
               You're getting too old.  You can't 
               be waiting around for a look.

                           ADAM
               Boy, you really know how to build a 
               guy up.

                           KAREN
               I'm serious.  C'mon.  You're a 
               writer.  Can't you come up with a 
               line or two?

                           ADAM
               I got lines.  Don't worry about me.

                           KAREN
               Good.  Let's hear some.

                           ADAM
               Hear some?

                           KAREN
               Yeah.  I'll critique.

                           ADAM
               Oh, I don't... I like to feel 
               spontaneous.

                           KAREN
               I'm not talking about rehearsing.  
               Just let me hear one.  Give me your 
               best one.  C'mon.  I'm sure it's 
               really good.

                           ADAM
               Eh...

                           KAREN
               C'mon!

                           ADAM
               Alright.                       
                     (thinks for a moment)  
               Alright.  This one's great.  It's 
               casual yet gets them feeling a 
               little sympathetic towards you right 
               off.  

                           KAREN 
                     (interested)
               Sympathy, huh?  Okay.  Lay it on me.

                           ADAM
               So you're sitting at the bar and I
               come up to you... 

     ADAM takes KAREN's hand and stares into her eyes lovingly.  
     She returns his gaze with a touching smile.

                           ADAM (CONT'D)
               ...and say, “You know, of all the 
               women in this bar, you're the one 
               who reminds me of my dead sister 
               the most.”

                           KAREN 
                     (silent for a beat)
               How on earth did ever get married?

                           ADAM
                     (still holding her hand and gazing into 
                     her eyes lovingly)
               They said it was some bad mollusks.

     -END SCENE TWO-

     -SCENE THREE-

     INT.ADAM's HOME-OFFICE – NEXT MORNING

     ADAM's at his desk with his feet up.  He's got a yellow 
     legal pad on his lap with lots of scribbled out lines on it.  
     He writes something.  Then erases something with a grey,
     maliable art erasure.  Then scribbles several lines out
     comletely and puts his head back on the chair in despair and
     stares at the ceiling.  After a moment his eyes reveal an 
     idea and he snaps his head upright again staring ahead in
     thought.  He grabs a pencil, looks at the dull tip then 
     sticks it in the automatic sharpener.  But instead of 
     writing with it he leans his head back, stares at the 
     ceiling again and flings the pencil upwards.  Immediately he
     covers his head with his arms as the pencil falls back onto 
     the desk.  He sharpens several more and resumes flinging and
     cowering.

     CUT TO:

     EXT. LEXUS ON CRODWED HIGHWAY – LOUD TRAFFIC NOISE/CAR HORN

     CUT TO:

     INT. LEXUS – QUIETER TRAFFIC NOISE

     HAL's driving on the highway talking on his cell phone.  We 
     only hear his end of the conversation.

                           HAL
               Richard, I'm telling you, he's 
               working on it as we speak. He's 
               working feverishly as we speak...  

               No!  He's not sick!  It's an 
               expression!  He's working very 
               hard...  

               Richa--  

               Richard, you'll-- 

               Yes! You'll have the draft--  

               Yes.  On time.  

               Chapters?  Well, I, uh, I don't kn-- 

               I know.  I know.  

               Listen.  I'm going to meet with him 
               soon and I'll let you-- 

               Oh, of course he's making progress.  
               That's ridicul--  

               Yes I know it's been almost two 
               years. 

               Yes!  

               Yes, of course I've seen it.  It's 
               brilliant!  Brilliant.  His best 
               work since, since, “Albatross”.  
               Really.  

               Rich-- 

               Listen. 

               Richard.  Listen to me.  Things are 
               going fi--  

               What's that?  

               A synopsis? 

               Uh...  Well, it's about a man who... 
               a man, he is... a man...

     CUT TO:

     INT. ADAM'S OFFICE

     He is in same position leaning back in chair, feet on desk 
     which is now littered with newly sharpened pencils.  But 
     this time he's playing with a balled-up art erasure 
     suspended from the ceiling by a piece of string like a 
     pendulum.  As it swings back and forth he imitates a 
     magician's hands as if he's causing it to levitate and 
     gyrate.

     INTERCUT BETWEEN HAL AND ADAM

     HAL pulls in to the driveway of ADAM's house and getting out 
     of car.

     ADAM's still playing with erasure pendulum.  Now he's 
     throwing it in circles and catching it as it comes back 
     around.   

     HAL approaches ADAM's front door.

     ADAM, still playing, is startled by SOUND OF KNOCKING ON 
     DOOR causing him to miss catching erasure.  It hits him in 
     the face and he topples over backward in his chair out of 
     frame.

     INT.ADAM'S FOYER

     ADAM answers door.

                           ADAM
               Hal!

                           HAL
               How bad is it?!

                           ADAM
               Will you stop being so melodramatic.

                           HAL
               Don't give me that.  I'm here to help.  
               Tell me.  What happened with Jess?

                           ADAM
               Oh there's nothing to tell...

     ADAM moves aside inviting HAL in.

     CUT TO:

     INT. ADAM'S KITCHEN  

     In a very modern, expensive looking kitchen – all stainless
     steel and black marble – that looks sparse and little used, 
     ADAM hands HAL a mug of coffee.  Adam has just spent the 
     last few minutes bringing Hal up to speed on his personal 
     life.

                           HAL
               I've always said, never trust a 
               lawyer from Providence.

                           ADAM
               When have you ever said that?

                           HAL
               I'm saying it now.  Listen, Adam.  
               Maybe this is a blessing in disguise.  
               Now you'll have no distractions from 
               your work.

                           ADAM
               Karen says that's exactly what I 
               need.

                           HAL
               What is?

                           ADAM
               A distraction.

                           HAL
               What, like model ship building?  
               What distraction?

                           ADAM
               No Hal.  Not a hobby.  

                           HAL
               So join a bowling league.

                           ADAM
               A woman, Hal.

                           HAL
               No, no, no, no.  This is a blessing 
               in disguise.  I think now that you're 
               unencumbered you should focus on the 
               draft for a while.

                           ADAM
               Well it's not been working that well 
               so far--

                           HAL
               What're you... hung up on her?

                           ADAM
               No, no.  Not that.  Good riddance.  
               It's just--

                           HAL
               W-w-wait a minute.  Back up.  So far?  
               Whadda you mean, 'so far'?  

                           ADAM
               Since Jess left.

                           HAL
               Right, but...  When did Jess leave?  
               Exactly how long has it not been 
               working?  How long have you been 
               stuck?

     ADAM avoids eye contact.

                           HAL (CONT'D)
               Adam?

                           ADAM 
                     (coming clean)
               Hal.  I haven't written anything 
               worth keeping for a month and a half.

                           HAL
               Jesus Christ!  A mon-- How could-- 
               Why didn't you tell me sooner?!  A 
               month and a half?!  

                           ADAM
               Give or take--

                           HAL
               Why didn't you tell me?

                           ADAM
               It's embarrasing, Hal!  It's not 
               easy to talk about.  I kept hoping 
               it would lift.  Besides, if Richard 
               finds out, you know, it's a black 
               mark, my sales are down--

                           HAL
               Will you let me worry about the damn
               publishers?!  That's what I get paid 
               for.  Okay?  But I gotta know the 
               truth, Adam.  I gotta know the truth.  
               Otherwise I'm useless.

                           ADAM
               I know, I know.  I'm sorry, Hal.  
               Okay?  I'm sorry.

                           HAL
               Okay.  Okay.  Don't worry.  Don't 
               worry.  I understand.  Now let's 
               figure out a plan.

                           ADAM
               A plan?

                           HAL
               Yeah.  What have you tried so far?

                           ADAM
               Tried?  I don't--

                           HAL
               Yeah.  You know.  Techniques.  Haven't 
               you learned any techniques over the 
               years for over-coming this?

                           ADAM
               I've tried everything, Hal.  Only 
               thing that ever really works is 
               waiting.  

                           HAL
               That's no good.  We've only got six 
               weeks.  What about...    Stream of 
               consciousness.  Or character profiles.  
               Or working outside?!  Fitzgerald.  He 
               worked outdoors.

                           ADAM
               Fitzgerald?!  Fitzgerald was a genius 
               and a drunk, Hal.  What're you trying 
               to do to me?  I start emulating him 
               and the next thing you know I'll be 
               waxing verbose over the lost promise 
               of the liver of my youth.

               Honestly, it's hardly ever been a 
               problem before.  Nothing longer than 
               a few days anyway.  Usually I'll go 
               to bed and my brain will just be 
               percolating all these ideas as I fall 
               asleep and then they get me out of bed 
               in the morning, excited to work on 
               them.  

               But now, at night, I lay in bed, 
               empty. Totally empty.  No ideas 
               floating around my head.  Nothing to 
               look forward to in the morning.  And 
               then I just worry.  I dwell on my 
               insecurities.  I convince myself I 
               deserve to be in the state I'm in and 
               then I lay there consumed with self-
               pity and it takes me forever to get 
               to sleep.  So that during the day 
               I'm tired and lethargic and foggy 
               and nothing seems interesting.  It's 
               a pathetic cycle.  A pathetic, 
               embarrassing cycle.

                           HAL
               It's nothing to be embarrassed about.  
               It happens to everyone.  You're 
               lucky it's never happened to you 
               before.

                           ADAM
               I didn't say it's never happened. I 
               said it's never been a problem 
               before.

                           HAL
               I don't understand.

                           ADAM
               I've been blocked, just never with a 
               deadline looming.  I was like this 
               after Ev left but since I had just 
               finished “Jesters of Affection” it 
               wasn't a problem.

                           HAL
               Uh'huh.  And how long did that last?

                           ADAM
               Well, um... a year... and a half or 
               there abouts.

                           HAL
               Right.  When I got you the extension.  
               But you said it was because of plot 
               difficulties.

                           ADAM
               It was.  It was because of plot 
               difficulties.  I didn't have one.  
               Doesn't that qualify?

                           HAL
               So how did you finally kick that 
               block?

                           ADAM 
                     (recollecting)
               Um.  You know?  Come to think of it. 
               Karen set me up with a few friends 
               of hers and it took my mind off of 
               everything--

                           HAL
               The distraction she's advocating now.

                           ADAM
               Karen always seems to know.

                           HAL
               Well if that's worked in the past, I 
               guess let's do it.

                           ADAM
               That's what I was afraid of.

                           HAL
               Get Karen to set you up and--

                           ADAM
               I can't.

                           HAL
               Why not?

     SPLIT SCREEN showing a silent vignette of ADAM's disaster 
     date on left and conversation below on right.  Simultaneous     
     screen action in double columns below.

ADAM meeting a lovely WOMAN in
an elegant restaurant.  
Everyone is smiles and laughs.




ADAM offers a bread stick to 
the WOMAN who initially refuses.  
He goads her until she final 
accepts but after one bite 
begins to choke immediately.

ADAM clumsily tries to perform 
Heimlich to no avail but he is 
persisitent.  




After several tries a WAITRESS 
attempts to cut in but Adam 
brushes her off.  After a couple 
more failures he seeks the 
waitress's advice about technique 
and then continues his attempts.  

Eventually the WAITRESS pulls 
ADAM away and is successful on 
her first try. 
       





Adam thanks the waitress and 
they begin to flirt a little 
while his date, now breathing 
breathing but ignored by him, 
steadies herself against table 
and is attended to by other 
concerned restaurant patrons.


        ADAM 
Because.  Those first set-
ups of hers were such 
legendary dating disasters 
that I became infamous.  I'm 
blacklisted.  None of her 
friends will agree to it.

          HAL
Oh c'mon.  That seems a 
little extreme.

          ADAM
I agree.  I mean is it my 
fault the Heimlich maneuver 
is harder to perform than 
it looks?  

          HAL
Oh my goodness.

          ADAM
Granted, I probably shouldn't 
have been so insistent about 
getting it right and just let 
the waitress take over, but 
you know me.  I'm a 
perfectionist to a fault.

          HAL
Hey, but wasn't Jess a 
set-up?  So they weren't all 
bad.

          ADAM
No-no.  Jess was the 
waitress.

          HAL
No kidding?

          ADAM
Yeah.  She told me she was 
impressed by my stamina.
END SPLIT SCREEN. EXPAND RIGHT FRAME TO FULL SCREEN. HAL Adam. There isn't time to waste. You'll see Karen tonight? ADAM We're meeting for a drink later. HAL Good. Do whatever she says. And keep me in the loop too. ADAM You wanna come along? She likes you, Hal. HAL No. I've gotta get back. We'll meet up in a few days. I'll be in touch. ADAM And I'll stay focused on becoming distracted. -END SCENE THREE- ...