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#104 : L' Énigme

Titre VO : Enigma

Johnny a une vision du passé dans laquelle il est Arthur, jeune officier dans les années 40 qui perd son grand amour. Johnny a alors pour mission de réunir dans le présent les deux amants qui ont aujourd’hui plus de 70 ans.

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...

...

 [INT. RESTAURANT - CLEAVES MILLS - NIGHT]

(Johnny and CHANDRA are at a table in one of the town's "nice" restaurants. This is a first date and the awkward silences are frequent. They have just finished ordering and the waiter takes the menus. )

 

WAITER: (to Chandra) Thank you. (Nods to Johnny) Mister Smith.

 

(The waiter leaves. Chandra is surprised -- but also relieved to have a conversational opening.)

 

CHANDRA: They know you here? But Sarah said you don't go out... much, I mean.

 

(The awkward silence descends once more. Then:)

 

JOHNNY: What else did Sarah say about me?

CHANDRA: (lying; lightly) Nothing.

 

(The Waiter returns with two small glasses of wine.)

 

WAITER : Aperitif... Compliments of the Gentleman.

 

(He indicates a man dining with two other people at a distant table, and discreetly leaves a business card on the table. The man across the restaurant gives a "cheers" sign to Johnny with his own glass. Johnny responds with a somewhat forced smile. More silence. Chandra indicates the business card.)

 

CHANDRA: Well?

 

(Johnny hesitates. Chandra picks up the card. )

 

CHANDRA: (reading) "I am an admirer of your talent, and have a business proposition that may interest you. Please call at your earliest convenience."

 

(She tosses the card down in front of him. Johnny picks it up -- and is suddenly in a vision.)

 

 

[INT. JOHNNY'S KITCHEN - NIGHT – VISION]

(Johnny, in bathrobe, is checking messages on his answering machine.)

 

BUSINESSMAN'S VOICE: This is Harold McVane, I sent over the wine... at the restaurant.

 

(Just a follow-up to see if you-- Johnny hits fast forward.)

 

 

[RESUME – RESTAURANT]

(Johnny drops the card onto the table.)

 

CHANDRA: Are you going to call?

 

JOHNNY: I'm going to change my number.

 

(Chandra tries to get a little banter going.)

 

CHANDRA: (kidding) I'm a palm reader, by the way.

 

JOHNNY: (lightly) Really?

 

CHANDRA: (a demand) Let's see.

 

(Before Johnny can pull his hand out of harm's way, she reaches out and takes it. He suddenly hears Chandra's voice from a nearby table :)

 

CHANDRA (O.S.) : (upset) Kind of ironic, isn't it?

 

(Johnny turns toward the sound, sees himself and Chandra at another table, wearing different clothes, leaning close toward each other, in intimate, difficult conversation, hand in hand.)

 

 

[JOHNNY AND CHANDRA - ANOTHER NIGHT]

(There are tears in Chandra's eyes.)

 

CHANDRA: It's still Sarah.

 

JOHNNY: She has nothing to do with us.

 

CHANDRA: Everything. Everything to do with us.

 

(Chandra indicates the table.)

 

CHANDRA: She might as well be sitting here right now.

 

(Chandra tries to stop herself from crying, stares down at the plate in front of her.)

 

CHANDRA: Why do I always have this? I hate their Caesar.

 

(She pulls her hand away from his and at that moment…

 

 

[RESTAURANT]

(… Johnny suddenly takes his hand away from Chandra's, disturbed.)

 

CHANDRA: What's wrong?

 

(The Waiter arrives, sets down their respective plates. He leaves. Chandra stares at Johnny.)

 

CHANDRA: Did you see something?

 

(Johnny regains his composure. Forces a smile. He indicates her plate.)

 

JOHNNY: You're going to wish you never ordered that salad.

 

(Chandra smiles with relief. But any rapport they might have achieved over the last few minutes has utterly disappeared. They pick up their silverware and continue the meal in silence...)

 

 

[EXT. JOHNNY'S BACKYARD - NEXT DAY]

(Johnny in workout clothes is surveying a half-dozen large plants in huge pots. He's got a pair of gardening shears in one hand, but doesn't really know what he's doing. He inexpertly clips off a browned and unhealthy looking leaf, then keeps moves to the next plant. SARAH appears from around the side of the house, having just arrived.)

 

SARAH: Hey.

 

JOHNNY: Hey.

 

(She moves up next to him as he clips another few leaves.)

 

SARAH: (re: his big date) So?

 

JOHNNY: (feigns ignorance) "So?"

 

SARAH: (insinuating) So...

 

JOHNNY: (mock lascivious) So.

 

SARAH: (amazed) No.

 

JOHNNY: (admitting) No.

 

(Sarah suddenly turns to leave -- as if that's all she wanted to know.)

 

SARAH: See ya!

 

JOHNNY: Where are you going?

 

(Sarah mock scowls and turns back to him.)

 

SARAH: Did you like her or not?

 

JOHNNY: What's not to like?

 

SARAH: Are you going to call her again?

 

JOHNNY: I hadn't planned on it.

 

(Sarah is taken aback.)

 

SARAH: Why not?

 

JOHNNY: Because I can pull back the veils of space and time, remember?

 

SARAH: (realizing) You saw the future.

 

JOHNNY: And it wasn't pretty.

 

(Sarah is peeved.)

 

SARAH: You mean she wasn't pretty? You saw her old and gray and past her prime and you panicked…

 

JOHNNY: …Finished? (Beat) Thanks.

 

(Sarah reconsiders.)

 

SARAH: All relationships hit speed bumps. Maybe you just had a vision of a speed bump.

 

JOHNNY: No. It was a brick wall.

 

SARAH: Then jump over.

 

JOHNNY: Why are you so eager to pair me off?

 

(Sarah is completely genuine.)

 

SARAH: So I don't have to think of you as "available" anymore.

 

(Johnny is taken aback.)

 

JOHNNY: Oh. Is that how you think of me now?

 

SARAH: Yeah.

 

(The moment between them is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of Bruce and Arthur -- who is in his seventies, with white-hair and old-style, wire-rimmed glasses. Both wear workout clothes.)

 

BRUCE: Hi, Sarah. (To Johnny) How'd it go last night?

 

(Johnny and Sarah both shoot him a "don't ask" look.)

 

BRUCE: What a surprise. (Re: Arthur) Johnny Smith, this is Arthur Allen, your new gym partner.

 

(Johnny raises an eyebrow -- what is Bruce up to?)

 

 

[EXT. JOHNNY'S BACKYARD - DAY - LATER]

(Johnny and Arthur are doing slow, methodical "walking lunges" as Bruce follows along side.)

 

JOHNNY: I can't help you.

 

BRUCE: Just like I tried to tell—

 

ARTHUR: Why not?

 

JOHNNY: Sir...

 

ARTHUR: …Arthur.

 

JOHNNY: Arthur. It doesn't sound like you saw a real person. You might've had a kind of waking dream or a memory or something…

 

(Arthur stops lunging and Johnny follows suit.)

 

ARTHUR: …I'm not crazy.

 

JOHNNY: The mind plays tricks.

 

(Bruce is eager to dissuade Arthur from his obsession.)

 

BRUCE: Listen to the man. Man's got the trickiest mind ever. He knows.

 

JOHNNY: Right.

 

BRUCE: (to Arthur) It's not possible to see a woman who disappeared on you fifty-five years ago…

 

ARTHUR: (insistent, to Johnny) … Midtown Manhattan, getting into a cab. She hadn't aged a day…

 

BRUCE: …Plastic surgery couldn't even do that. Maybe voodoo…

 

ARTHUR: (re: Johnny) …The papers say he can find anybody.

 

BRUCE: The papers say that because there's nothing else to talk about in this town.

 

ARTHUR: I like it here.

 

BRUCE: So do I. But there's not a lot happening.

 

ARTHUR: You just don't know where to go.

 

(Johnny is suddenly exasperated.)

 

JOHNNY: Arthur, maybe you can show Bruce exactly where to go.

 

(He heads off toward the house. Bruce catches up.)

 

JOHNNY: (sotto) Since when do I have a "your fortune told here" sign on my porch?

 

BRUCE: (sotto) He insisted. And I thought maybe you could find a way to put his mind at ease.

 

JOHNNY: Did I put his mind at ease?

 

BRUCE: Not really.

 

JOHNNY: Really. He's looking for the lost love of his life?

 

JOHNNY (CONT'D): He isn't going to find it in some fantasy about the past.

 

(Johnny suddenly catches himself -- that description could just as well fit him, and Bruce knows it. Johnny glances back at Arthur, standing forlornly on the grass. Johnny sighs and moves back to him.)

 

JOHNNY: Listen, Arthur. I'm sorry I couldn't do anything for you.

 

ARTHUR: (disappointed) Don't worry about it.

 

(Arthur puts a hand on Johnny's shoulder, which sends Johnny into a vision.)

 

 

[EXT. STREET CLOCK - NEW YORK - DAY – VISION]

(Johnny is in the SLOW MOTION scene, watching as elderly Arthur, standing beneath a street clock in the middle of a Manhattan street, a paper cup of coffee in his hand, stares in surprise toward a taxicab. Getting into the taxi, her face only partly glimpsed, is a stunningly lovely young woman. The taxi door closes, taking her from view; the coffee cup falls from Arthur's hands, and hits the street. Johnny stares at the look of absolute shock on his face. Then he looks once again at the tantalizing profile of the young woman as the cab pulls away. The vision ends.)

 

 

[EXT. JOHNNY'S BACKYARD - DAY – RESUME]

(Johnny's hand falls away from Arthur's shoulder. He stares at the old man, reacting to the intensity of emotions in the vision he just saw. And the mystery of the young woman.)

 

 

END OF TEASER

 

 

ACT ONE

 

 

 [OMITTED]

(Close on a faded photo of a beautiful young woman circa 1945. The resemblance to the face of the girl glimpsed by Johnny in his previous vision is unmistakable.)

 

JOHNNY (O.S.): Is this her?

 

REVEAL we are:

 

 

[INT. JOHNNY'S LIVING ROOM – NIGHT]

(Arthur is now dressed in his "nice" clothes -- jacket and tie -- and has brought Johnny an old shoe box full of mementoes now placed onto the coffee table. He's made an effort to look as dignified as possible and has succeeded -- there's poignancy about his presence.)

 

ARTHUR: (nods) Abigail Travers.

 

JOHNNY: When was this taken?

 

ARTHUR: Nineteen forty-five.

 

(Johnny stares again at the photo -- she was definitely a beautiful woman. Johnny sets it aside, picks up a Bronze Star medal -- THE ROOM FREEZES AROUND HIM AND HE TURNS AT THE SOUND OF HEAVILY FRITZED MORSE CODE :)

 

 

[ANGLE - ARTHUR AS WORLD WAR II RADIO OPERATOR]

(In the corner of Johnny's living room, 20 years old, wire rimmed glasses similar to those worn by Arthur even now, hunched over a tiny table, writing furiously with pencil on paper as the heavily fritzed SOUND of MORSE code, ditdaw-daw-dit... is heard over and over. His glasses have been cracked, and the SOUND of nearby mortar shelling can be heard. This is a life or death situation.)

 

 

[RESUME - LIVING ROOM]

 

JOHNNY: Radio operator.

 

ARTHUR: Yes!

 

(Johnny sets down the medal.)

 

JOHNNY: (re: medal) Guess you were good at it.

 

ARTHUR: I was good at brain teasers. Pulling a signal out of interference was just another puzzle to solve. No trouble at all.

 

(Johnny indicates the photo of Abby.)

 

JOHNNY: Not this one though.

 

(Arthur shakes his head. Johnny picks up an old letter.)

 

JOHNNY: From her?

 

ARTHUR: I wish. That's one of mine. Came back "Return to Sender." I got overseas and she never wrote to me. Not even a postcard.

 

(Johnny puts the letter down, and looks again through the objects, picking up a silver cigarette lighter. He flicks the mechanism. And is in a vision. )

 

 

[INT. STAGE DOOR CANTEEN - NEW YORK 1945 - NIGHT - VISION]

(Johnny is at a small table in what looks to be a unique)

 

 (combination of soup kitchen and big band club, circa 1945. He wears the uniform of an American Air Force pilot and we'll know him as "Johnny/Tommy" -- since it is through. Tommy's eyes that Johnny is seeing and experiencing this lost era. At the moment, he is waving the flame from the silver lighter near the cigarette dangling from his lips, missing it, his attention riveted by what he has just spotted across the floor.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: Man o man. A dolly just walked in to beat the band...

 

ARTIE (O.S.): You don't say...?

 

WIDEN TO INCLUDE:

(The young Arthur -- ARTIE -- as he appeared as the radio operator: twenty years old, wearing the uniform of an American private and the same type of wire rim glasses he will wear as an elderly man. Artie is sitting at the table next to Johnny/Tommy, his head down, working diligently with a pencil to solve a newspaper puzzle called "The Daily Enigma." He doesn't even look up, but has a small, knowing smile on his face.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: Artie. She's coming over here.

 

(Artie still doesn't look up, his smile grows, and he suppresses a laugh.)

 

ARTIE: You don't say...?

 

(Johnny/Tommy gives up on the cigarette, slapping the lighter down on the table. Artie pockets the lighter and glances up in time to see the arrival of a lovely young woman wearing the striped apron of the hostess/waitresses who work here. We recognize her immediately from the elderly Arthur's photo.)

 

ARTIE: Abby Travers, this is my pal Tommy Peterson.

 

(Abby puts out her hand, Johnny/Tommy, recovering, shakes it. And as she sits down, he turns to Artie, who is already absorbed again in solving the newspaper puzzle.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: Maybe I should spent the last ten years with my head buried in the brain teaser.

 

ARTIE: (not looking up) I can see more from down here than you'd think.

 

ABBY: (lightly) You boys talking about me?

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: That's all he talks about.

 

(Abby is touched.)

 

ABBY: Really?

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: Absotively and posilutely.

 

(Abby laughs.)

 

ABBY: And I thought he talked about you all the time. Now it's his turn to be touched.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: Really?

 

ABBY: Absotively and posilutely.

 

(They both glance at Artie with affection -- he doesn't seem to notice.)

 

ABBY: First time here, Tommy?

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: How can you tell?

 

ABBY: Your eyes are big as saucers.

 

ARTIE: (not looking up) That's because he saw you coming across the floor.

 

(Abby blushes. Suddenly :)

 

ROSIE (O.S.): Yoo Hoo!

 

ARTIE: (sotto) The one-two punch.

 

(A high wind hits their table in the person of ROSIE, early 20s, bright red hair, pretty but overbearing, wearing the same striped hostess apron as Abby. On impact, she sticks out her hand to Tommy.

 

ROSIE: You must be Tommy. I'm Rosie O'Halloran. Great uniform.

 

(Tommy shoots Artie a look, and then shakes her hand. As she sits down--)

 

ROSIE: Gotta girl, Tommy?

 

ARTIE: You know he doesn't.

 

ROSIE: I wanna hear it from the horse's mouth.

 

(Tommy smiles at Abby.)

 

TOMMY: (re: himself) This horse hasn't been ridden in months.

 

(Rosie lets out a squealing laugh, Abby blushes terrifically. The Swing Band comes back from their break and kicks in with an up-tempo number.)

 

ROSIE: Come on gang, let's jump!

 

ARTIE: (working puzzle) You know I don't dance.

 

 (Rosie turns to him with a cool look…)

 

ROSIE: I wasn't talking to you, drip…

 

(…But when she turns back, she's lost her chance: Johnny/Tommy is already pulling Abby by the hand toward the small dance floor. Abby shoots a "should I be doing this?" look toward Artie, but the latter just beams at her -- he trusts both of them completely. Artie goes back to his puzzle and Rosie steams, shouting after as they go, hoping at least to add a note of discomfort:

 

ROSIE: (shouting, false cheer) Remember! Mum's the word!

 

(Abby looks momentarily concerned, but Johnny/Tommy pulls her into an energetic swing dance, and she instantly forgets herself in the moment. The vision ends.)

 

 

[INT. JOHNNY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT – CONTINUOUS]

(Johnny snaps out of it, his eyes just a little dazed, dropping the lighter to the table. He's instantly on his feet, energized into motion by the vision.)

 

JOHNNY: I was in a nightclub… I saw Abigail… Abby…

 

ARTHUR: The Stage Door Canteen! She worked there!

 

JOHNNY: Who is Tommy Peterson?

 

ARTHUR: My friend! We grew up in the same borough!

 

JOHNNY: And Rosie?

 

ARTHUR: Rosie… I don't remember…

 

JOHNNY: Red hair, loud…

 

ARTHUR: (remembering) Rosie! She worked there too. At the Stage Door.

 

ARTHUR (CONT'D): (re: Johnny's power) I have to admit, I still had my doubts…

 

JOHNNY: …"Mum's the word."

 

ARTHUR: What?

 

JOHNNY: You had just introduced everybody. And Rosie said that to Tommy: "Mum's the word."

 

(Arthur considers this. Then it dawns on him.)

 

ARTHUR: Abby and I were supposed to be a secret. (Explains) The Stage Door was a charity operation. For us soldiers. The girls were volunteers.

 

JOHNNY: They couldn't go off to fight, but they could help morale.

 

ARTHUR: (nods) With conversation, a little dancing. It was nice. The girls liked it too. Sometimes Broadway people volunteered… Big stars even. Some of the girls were hoping to get discovered. Not Abby. She just wanted a family. With me.

 

(Arthur is suddenly lost in thought. Johnny has to prompt.)

 

JOHNNY: "Mum's the word...?"

 

ARTHUR: Right. If a girl was caught dating a soldier outside the Canteen she got banned. Worst thing that could happen. So Abby and I had to keep it quiet.

 

JOHNNY: But Rosie knew.

 

ARTHUR : Honestly, I can't remember. But she and Abby were friends, so it makes sense.

 

(Arthur thinks for a moment, genuinely puzzled, even concerned.)

 

ARTHUR: (quiet) Johnny... Last week... in New York... Was it really Abby?

 

JOHNNY: I don't see how...

 

ARTHUR: But you saw her too!

 

JOHNNY: Honestly, I don't know what I saw. (Gently) You were standing under the big clock right?

 

ARTHUR: (nodding) Where we always used to meet.

 

JOHNNY: I think that place reminded you of Abby... and your mind did the rest.

 

(Arthur thinks for a moment.)

 

ARTHUR: Go there yourself.

 

JOHNNY: A trip to New York isn't on my calendar right now…

 

ARTHUR: …I'll pay for the ticket.

 

JOHNNY: That's not the point. I have a life.

 

(A beat. In the sudden silence a mantel clock can be heard ticking loudly... tick tock tick tock...)

 

ARTHUR: (wry) I can see that.

 

JOHNNY: Maybe it's not as exciting as yours...

 

(Arthur decides on a new tactic.)

 

ARTHUR: You've done what you can. I appreciate the effort.

 

(He suddenly stands.)

 

ARTHUR: (re: shoe box) I'll pick this stuff up tomorrow. (In explanation) Got a long walk ahead of me.

 

JOHNNY: The bus already stopped running.

 

ARTHUR: Like I said... long walk.

 

(Johnny sighs -- the new tactic just might be working.)

 

 

[INT. JOHNNY'S KITCHEN - NIGHT – LATER]

(Johnny, now wearing his pyjamas and bathrobe, is listening to his saved messages on the answering machine.)

 

BUSINESSMAN'S VOICE: This is Harold McVane, I sent over the wine... at the restaurant.

 

(Just a follow-up to see if you-- It's the exact moment seen in his restaurant vision. Johnny SKIPS to the next message.)

 

TEEN'S VOICE: Johnny Smith? Um... (Other voices laughing) Um... (More laughter) Shut up!

 

(Johnny SKIPS to the next message.)

 

CHANDRA'S VOICE: Hi, Johnny... It's Chandra. I had fun last night. How about my treat next time? Give me a call.

 

(Johnny pauses the machine. Then plays it again.)

 

CHANDRA'S VOICE: Hi, Johnny... It's Chandra. I had fun last night. How about my treat next time? Give me a call.

 

(Then he stops the machine. His expression is ambivalent.)

 

 

[INT. JOHNNY'S KITCHEN - NIGHT – LATER]

(The oven timer SOUNDS. Johnny, still in pyjamas and robe, pulls a midnight snack out of the oven -- frozen macaroni and cheese -- burning his hand.)

 

 

[INT. JOHNNY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT – LATER]

(Johnny, pyjamas and robe, is watching an old game show on television -- we hear the sound of it off-screen. The crusted remains of the macaroni are on the coffee table in front of him. Johnny glances over at the couch…)

 

(Asleep on the cushions -- Johnny has tossed a blanket over him for warmth. He just didn't have the heart to turn the fellow into the night. Johnny pulls the shoe box over, idly searches through the mementoes, then picks up the lighter. He is in a vision.)

 

 

[INT. STAGE DOOR CANTEEN - NEW YORK 1945 - NIGHT – VISION]

(The same night Johnny saw (through Tommy's eyes) in his previous vision. Johnny/Tommy is on the dance floor with Abby, the energetic song ends, a slow one begins, and before Abby can head back to the table, Johnny/Tommy artfully takes her waist and hand and they continue the next dance, maintaining a proper distance between them. As they circle around, they both see Artie at the distant table, absorbed in his puzzle; Rosie is off chatting with another couple of soldiers.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: If you don't mind me asking, what's a girl like you…?

 

ABBY: (curt) …Doing with a fella likes Artie? You ought to be ashamed. Your best pal…

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: …Doing in a place like this. Whoops. Abby's defensive answer has revealed a bit too much. Flustered, she quickly recovers.

 

ABBY: Why not?

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: I thought the gals in here were all actresses on the make. Looking to be on Broadway.

 

ABBY: Some of us just like showing our support for the troops.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: (testing her) Say, isn't that Errol Flynn?

 

(Abby instantly whips her head around to look… it's not.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: (lightly) My mistake.

 

(Abby frowns at him, but playfully. He smiles.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: Back to Artie.

 

(Abby smiles too… disarmed.)

 

ABBY: He's the smartest boy I've ever met.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: No argument here.

 

ABBY: I want to grow old with him. The Good Lord willing.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: I hope you get your wish. His hand slides up to the middle of her back -- the motion sends a chill up her spine.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: But you're only young once. She suddenly pulls away from him.

 

ABBY: We'd better stop.

 

(But they both know they will never "stop" -- until it's too late. The vision ends.)

 

 

[INT. JOHNNY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT - CONTINUOUS]

(Johnny is taken aback by what he has just witnessed firsthand. He glances over at Arthur, sleeping peacefully… as oblivious now as he seemed to be half a century ago. OFF Johnny's troubled expression.)

 

 

END OF ACT ONE

 

 

ACT TWO

 

 

[EXT. JOHNNY'S HOUSE - FRONT WALK – DAY]

(Johnny, small travel bag over his shoulder, is walking with Sarah toward her SUV parked at the curb.)

 

SARAH: I thought you didn't do ghosts.

 

JOHNNY: She's not a "ghost." And I'm not "doing" her.

 

SARAH: Then what is she?

 

JOHNNY: Probably a combination of his memory and his imagination.

 

SARAH: Might as well be a ghost.

 

JOHNNY: Or maybe his old sweetheart is back in the City. But when he saw her as a seventy-five year old woman, he didn't recognize her. Not consciously anyway.

 

SARAH: So his unconscious mind showed him the next best thing?

 

JOHNNY: (shrugs) Maybe. The least I can do is go to the scene of the crime and see what I see. (Beat) Besides, I can lose myself in New York.

 

SARAH: Tired of being Johnny?

 

JOHNNY: Tired of everybody knowing I'm Johnny. As if they know what to expect.

 

SARAH: I certainly didn't expect you to go to New York chasing after a ghost.

 

JOHNNY: Me neither.

 

(They get into the SUV, Sarah hands Johnny a small wrapped gift resting on the front seat.)

 

JOHNNY: What's the occasion?

 

SARAH: "Going Away From Sarah Day." (Beat) Open it when you get there.

 

(They exchange a smile -- at once too easy and too uncomfortable.)

 

 

[EXT. NEW YORK CITY - DAY – ESTABLISHING]

[EXT. STREET CLOCK - NEW YORK – DAY]

(A narrow street Mid-Town, with a standing street clock on the sidewalk in the middle of the block -- just where it has stood for most of the last century. Johnny is beneath it, staring at the faces of the passers-by.)

 

A SERIES OF DISSOLVES:

 

(As the hours pass, and Johnny waits and watches -- but sees no "Abby." Until the SOUND of a musical JINGLE interrupts his mission -- the source is his own travel bag. Puzzled, Johnny locates the wrapped gift Sarah left him -- it's jingling. He opens it, revealing a cell phone. The jingling stops. A beat, then it starts again.)

JOHNNY: Hello?

 

 

[EXT. JOHNNY'S BACKYARD – DAY]

(Sarah is watering the pots, talking on her own cell as she goes.)

 

SARAH: (lightly) I think you mean, "thanks for the phone, it's my favourite color." (Re: traffic noise) Where are you?

 

JOHNNY: Under the infamous clock. You?

 

SARAH: Saving the lives of your poor plants. How's the clock?

 

JOHNNY: Lonesome. No sign of Arthur's girl.

 

(Sarah considers.)

 

SARAH: Could she have any friends left in New York?

 

JOHNNY: From the old days? Probably dead or moved away by now... He suddenly stops, his mind working.

 

JOHNNY: (quickly) Can I call you later?

 

SARAH: Yup.

 

JOHNNY: (a smile) Thanks for the phone, it's my favourite color.

 

(Sarah smiles.)

 

SARAH: Goodbye.

 

(She hangs up. Then her smile fades and a pensive look crosses her face -- plain and simply, she still loves him too much. Johnny punches a number into the cell phone.)

 

OPERATOR'S VOICE: Directory Assistant, what city?

 

JOHNNY: Manhattan. Rose O'Halloran. A beat.

 

OPERATOR'S VOICE: I show eleven listings for "R. O'Halloran."

 

JOHNNY: Give me them all please. As he fumbles for a notepad and pen...

 

 

[EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING - NEW YORK - DAY – STOCK]

[INT. ROSE'S APARTMENT – DAY]

(A woman in her seventies, ROSE (the present day version of "Rosie" from 1945), is peeking through the crack of the door, still secured with a lock chain.)

 

ROSE: Arthur Allen?! That's wonderful!

 

(She unfastens the chain and opens the door, revealing Johnny, travel bag off one shoulder. He shakes her hand…)

 

JOHNNY: Pleased to meet you, Rose.

 

ROSE: (upbeat) "Rosie."

 

JOHNNY: Rosie.

 

(If he hoped to get a vision from shaking her hand, he's disappointed. Rose shows him into the room, buoyant.)

 

ROSE: Artie Allen, still alive!

 

JOHNNY: Very much so.

 

ROSE: Who would've guessed? So many have passed on. At least I assume they have. It's not like I've been keeping records.

 

(Johnny steps further into the room, and she notices his cane.)

 

ROSE: What happened to the leg? Too young for the War. My war anyway.

 

JOHNNY: Car accident.

(Not like she cares. Rose's ruthlessly cheery demeanour might suggest a note of insincerity and self-absorption.)

 

ROSE: Is Artie in New York?

 

JOHNNY: Maine.

 

ROSE: I went to Maine once. More Italians than I would have expected.

 

(She indicates a chair for him to sit in, but Johnny spots something across the room that he recognizes from his visions -- a Stage Door Canteen apron, framed and hung on the wall. Amazed, he heads for it.)

 

JOHNNY: That's from the Stage Door Canteen isn't it?

 

ROSE: You have such a good eye! (upbeat) He never did get over her, did he? She got to everybody, that Abby.

 

JOHNNY: Did she keep in touch?

 

ROSE: Just disappeared. But that was the War. People did things maybe they wouldn't ordinarily do.

 

JOHNNY: (lightly) You too?

 

ROSE: (coy) I'd rather not say.

 

(Johnny indicates a big photo album on the shelf just below the framed apron.)

 

JOHNNY: May I?

 

ROSE: Please.

 

(Johnny opens the book, turns the pages, revealing a program for a Stage Door musical show, a napkin, a coaster, photos... He touches each one, but no visions. Then he turns to a faded B&W photo of Abby, Artie and Rosie. They are goofing together in a park -- Abby holds a croquet mallet, Arthur wears a straw boater hat, young Rosie is mugging for the camera. Johnny casually touches the photo…)

 

 

[THE IMAGE SUDDENLY FILLS JOHNNY'S FIELD OF VISION]

(… as if by touching the photo, Johnny has tapped into the snapshots contained on the rest of the long lost film roll. We see the three young friends in variations on the theme of Afternoon in the Park: Artie alone, Abby with Artie, Abby with Rosie, another with Abby and Artie, and then Abby, Abby, Abby… image after image of Abby in the Park, at first with the other two in the background or mostly out of frame, then finally nothing but close-up shots of Abby, like stolen moments, as if the photographer had a single goal in mind.)

 

 

[RESUME - ROSE'S APARTMENT]

(Johnny recovers his composure.)

 

JOHNNY: Who took this picture?

 

ROSE: Tommy Peterson. A friend of ours.

 

JOHNNY: Where?

 

ROSE: Central Park.

 

JOHNNY: Can you be more specific?

 

ROSE: I could be. But why would I be?

 

JOHNNY: Just curious.

 

ROSE: Southeast corner. In front of the Savoy hotel. It's not there now. (Upbeat) She's not there now either. If that's what you're thinking.

 

JOHNNY: (lightly) It's not.

 

 

[EXT. CENTRAL PARK - NEW YORK – DAY]

(Johnny is wandering, lost and frustrated, finding nothing that looks like his vision from the photo. He's tired, dishevelled, still lugging the travel bag, but his fascination with this "case" -- and Abby -- seems to be increasing.)

(He spots a nearby bench that wasn't there in 1945, now occupied by an elderly, well-dressed man who is feeding the birds from a bag of seed. Johnny sits down on the bench next to him and is in a vision.)

 

 

[EXT. CENTRAL PARK - NEW YORK - 1945 – VISION]

(Johnny/Tommy, in uniform as always, is standing with Abby, who is wearing a different dress from the one seen in the photo. This is another day, and neither Artie nor Rosie are anywhere to be seen.)

 

ABBY: (anxious) Tommy, I don't understand what you want.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: I want what you want.

 

ABBY: I could lose Artie... my job at the Canteen... I want you to leave me alone.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: If I believed that, I wouldn't be here. Neither would you. At this, Abby is on the move, walking quickly away.

 

(Johnny/Tommy catches up to her, taking her arm.)

 

(There's a charged moment between them -- maybe it's the War, maybe her own youth, maybe just his uniform, but whatever it is, she surrenders to it. And they kiss with great passion. She finally breaks it off, they are both breathing quickly.)

ABBY: I have to go.

(This time, Johnny/Tommy doesn't follow. He watches his own emotions in turmoil -- he’s a Ladies ‘Man, falling in love is the last thing he expected. He sits down on the bench. The vision ends.)

 

 

[EXT. CENTRAL PARK - NEW YORK - DAY – CONTINUOUS]

(Johnny reacts, amazed at what he's just experienced. There is a sudden MUSICAL JINGLE.)

 

 

[INT. SARAH'S KITCHEN – DAY]

(Sarah is making herself coffee, on the phone.)

 

SARAH: Johnny, it's me.

 

JOHNNY: I saw her!

 

(He suddenly gets up from the bench and is on the move.)

 

JOHNNY: I kissed her!

 

(Sarah scowls, puzzled.)

 

SARAH: Who?

 

JOHNNY: Abby!

 

SARAH : Arthur's girl?

 

JOHNNY: That's what he thinks!

 

SARAH: She wasn't?

 

JOHNNY: She was. But then she met me. I mean Tommy. (Beat) I don't know how much of this I can tell you.

 

SARAH: You can tell me anything.

 

JOHNNY: They were keeping it on the down low.

 

SARAH: Down low?

 

JOHNNY: Isn't that what people say now?

 

SARAH: Other people. Not you.

 

(The signal breaks up, ending the call.)

 

JOHNNY: Hello? Hello?

 

 

[EXT. STREET CLOCK - NEW YORK – NIGHT]

(Johnny is beneath it as before, staring at the passing faces. He's pacing, a bit agitated and impatient, far more invested in the search than he was only hours ago. Then it happens: a TAXI pulls up to the curb. A lovely young woman appears from around a corner, heading quickly for the cab. It's Abby. Or maybe it's Abby. The angle is off, the contemporary clothes jarring, but that profile...)

 

(Johnny moves as quickly as possible toward the taxi, but he still can't get a clear view. They reach the door of the vehicle simultaneously, and Johnny takes advantage of the moment, touching her shoulder with one hand while opening the door of the cab with the other, trying to get a look at her face.)

 

JOHNNY: Let me get that for you.

 

(And as she turns toward him, as her profile comes into view -- he is in a vision.)

 

(The young woman turning toward him is indeed Abby -- because this is 1945. Johnny/Tommy has just opened the door to a period taxicab for her, and he follows her inside.)

 

 

[INT. TAXICAB - NYC - NIGHT - 1945 - VISION – CONTINUOUS]

(Johnny/Tommy, smiles warmly, trying not to scare her off by appearing over-eager. But now that they're inside the cab, Abby looks suddenly troubled.

 

ABBY: I should just go home.

 

(Johnny/Tommy puts a gentle hand on hers.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: (reassuring) Whatever you want.

 

(A beat. She lowers her eyes but says nothing. That's good enough for him.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: (to cabby) The Swan Song Hotel.

 

(The vision ends.)

 

 

[34 EXT. STREET CLOCK - NEW YORK - NIGHT – CONTINUOUS]

(Johnny is still standing by the cab, but in the last few seconds, "Abby" -- if that's who it was -- has slipped into the back seat. The door slams behind her. Johnny tries to get a closer look through the window, but the cab takes off, disappearing up the street. Johnny watches it go. Then he fumbles for his cell phone, dials.)

 

OPERATOR'S VOICE: Directory assistance, what city?

 

JOHNNY: (quickly) Manhattan. The Swan Song Hotel.

 

(A beat.)

 

OPERATOR'S VOICE: No such listing.

 

JOHNNY: There has to be.

 

OPERATOR'S VOICE: I'm sorry, Sir.

 

(Johnny hangs up, impatient. Then stares at the clock -- no answers there.)

 

 

END OF ACT TWO

 

 

ACT THREE

 

 

[EXT. NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY - NIGHT – STOCK]

(Establishing.)

 

 

[INT. READING ROOM - NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY – NIGHT]

(Establish the cavernous reading room, occupied even at night, with tables and study carrels in use. We hear a distant "SHHHH" from below…)

 

 

[CLOSE ON: STUDY CARREL]

(Where Johnny at a microfilm reader, talking on his cell phone. The "SHHHHH!" is louder here, because it's directed at him.)

JOHNNY: Gotta go!

(He clicks off the phone.)

 

 

[INT. BANNERMAN'S BEDROOM – NIGHT]

(Sarah stops pacing the floor, closing up her cell phone with a flustered ARGGH! Walt, shirtless, is in bed, reviewing a work report.)

 

SARAH: He thinks he saw the girl!

 

WALT: (dry) That's not possible.

 

SARAH: Exactly what I said.

 

WALT: I know. I heard you.

 

SARAH: And now he's looking for a hotel that doesn't exist either. Because that's where they were headed.

 

WALT: Who?

 

SARAH: Johnny and this... fantasy woman. He's just a little too into this.

 

(She sits down on the bed, thinking.)

 

SARAH: Can't you find pretty much anybody these days?

 

WALT: The woman Johnny's looking for?

 

SARAH: I'd rather we found her. Or some kind of record of her. This just isn't healthy.

 

WALT: (lightly) You're not jealous are you?

 

(Sarah is taken aback by the comment.)

 

SARAH: Of a fantasy woman?

 

WALT: Yeah.

 

SARAH: (lightly) That wouldn't be healthy.

 

(She snuggles up to him. But Walt pushes it.)

 

WALT: What happens when he finds somebody for real?

 

(Sarah doesn't have an answer.)

 

 

[INT. STUDY CARREL – NIGHT]

(Johnny stops the microfilm reader at a page from a newspaper that shows "The Daily Enigma" -- the brain teaser Artie was seen working in 1945. He considers it for a moment, then gives the knob on the machine one more turn, scrolling the paper forward till it stops on an engraved image illustrating an advertisement: The Swan Song Hotel.)

 

 

[EXT. SMALL HOTEL - NYC – NIGHT]

(Establish the same hotel entrance Johnny saw in the vintage newspaper ad. The sign for the "Swan Song Hotel" is long gone, the place is shabby and tired.)

 

 

[INT. HOTEL ROOM - NYC – NIGHT]

(The door opens and Johnny steps inside, the door held open for him by a uniformed BELLBOY -- mid-20s, art school type, unsmiling but helpful, his humor dry as the thin layer of dust in this one-star establishment.)

 

BELLBOY: ...This was the Swan Song Hotel. And then, it wasn't.

 

JOHNNY: I see.

 

(The Bellboy continues with his "Bellboy Routine" which is how the Artist in him makes sense of this job -- it's for his own amusement.)

 

BELLBOY: This was the Honeymoon Suite.

 

JOHNNY: And then it wasn't.

 

BELLBOY: No, it still is.

 

(He drops Johnny's bag onto a suitcase rack, then indicates the knob on an old radiator.)

 

BELLBOY: Room temperature is at your discretion.

 

(He indicates a plastic picnic cooler on the floor.)

 

BELLBOY: The minibar is available for your convenience.

 

(Johnny's cell phone suddenly JINGLES in his pocket. Once, twice, three times. Johnny makes no move.)

 

BELLBOY: Will you answer it, Sir?

 

JOHNNY: I'm kind of busy tonight.

 

BELLBOY: (conspiratorial) Of course.

 

(The jingle finally stops. A beat, then it starts again.)

 

BELLBOY: You might consider turning the ringer off.

 

JOHNNY: I can do that?

 

BELLBOY: Allow me.

 

(Johnny hands it over. The Bellboy expertly manipulates the keys, and the jingling stops. He hands it back.)

 

BELLBOY: It's set to "vibrate."

 

JOHNNY: (puzzled) Is that good?

 

BELLBOY: Not good or bad, but neutral.

 

(Johnny nods, then pulls out a couple of one dollar bills and hands them over.)

 

BELLBOY: Too kind, Sir.

 

(He gives an imperceptible bow and exits, shutting the door behind him. Alone in the room, Johnny starts to look around -- at the vaguely mid-seventies wallpaper, the plain furniture, the dull carpet. If he expected a "rendezvous" with the Abby of his visions in this place…)

 

(Johnny opens the picnic cooler "mini-bar," revealing a six pack of beer on ice. And a bag of chips. He goes to the bed, sits down. He touches the bed with the palm of his hand, hoping… but no vision. He pulls out the bedstand drawer, revealing the ubiquitous Gideon's Bible inside. This one looks like it's been there... well, forever. He picks up the book, turns the pages idly, then stops and reads.)

 

JOHNNY: (reading) "O my dove, that hides in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance…"

 

(The room changes around him, and he is in a vision.)

 

 

[INT. HOTEL ROOM - 1945 - NIGHT - VISION – CONTINUOUS]

(Johnny is now Johnny/Tommy, still sitting on the bed with Bible in hand, reading aloud, and continuing the lines from above.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: "…let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely."

 

(He looks up at Abby, who is standing tentatively nearby. The room decor is 1940s romantic, definitely "Honeymoon Suite" material. She's not close enough for him to touch, is still purposefully keeping her distance.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: (re: Bible) Never knew the Good Book got it so right.

 

(But faced with the moment, Abby is again torn.)

 

ABBY: (re: Bible) Anything in there about not coveting your neighbour’s wife? And wives honouring their husbands?

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: You're not married yet.

 

ABBY: (sincere) I'll be sent to hell.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: We're there now.

 

(Abby is puzzled.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: Every second that we let get away keeps us there.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY (CONT'D): You feel it, and so do I.

 

(He puts down the Bible, and holds out his hand to her.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: "Let me see thy countenance."

 

(Hesitation. Then she takes his hand. He pulls her toward him, and they kiss…)

 

(A KNOCK at the door, and the vision ends.)

 

 

[INT. HOTEL ROOM - NYC - NIGHT – CONTINUOUS]

(Johnny is snapped out of the vision -- the KNOCKING continues. He gets up, opens it. The Bellboy rolls in with a drinks cart holding a champagne bucket and two glasses.)

 

BELLBOY: Honeymoon Suite tradition.

 

(He continues into the room, then stops the cart and pulls a bottle of the cheapest champagne on the market out of the ice bucket and starts to open it.)

 

BELLBOY: (re: bottle) Stand back, Sir... there is a danger.

 

(The cork comes off -- without a whimper let alone a pop. The Bellboy artfully places his thumb over the lip of the bottle and gives it a violent shake. Then he quickly pours into the two plastic champagne glasses. A few sorry bubbles reluctantly break the surface.)

 

BELLBOY: Enjoy.

 

(Then he's out the door. Johnny stares at the glasses for a moment then sits back down on the bed. No vision. He picks up the bible again, letting it fall open to a page.)

 

JOHNNY: (reading) "The length of the ark shall be * three hundred cubits, the breadth * of it fifty cubits..." *

 

(Still no vision. Frustrated, Johnny sets the book aside. Then he lays back down on the bed. And is in a vision.)

 

 

[INT. HOTEL ROOM - NYC - 1945 - NIGHT - VISION – CONTINUOUS]

(Johnny/Tommy is naked under the covers with an equally naked Abby. They are in an embrace fueled by both passion and the knowledge of their "sin.")

 

 

END OF ACT THREE

 

 

ACT FOUR

 

 

[INT. HOTEL ROOM - NYC – DAY]

(The cell phone sits on the bed stand, vibrating. Johnny's hand reaches out and picks it up. Reveal Johnny in bed, still groggy from sleep, in a t-shirt and boxers. He fumbles with the phone.)

 

JOHNNY: Hello...?

 

 

[INT. SARAH'S KITCHEN – DAY]

(Sarah is pacing the kitchen phone in hand.)

 

SARAH: I've been trying to call you all night!

 

(Walt, in uniform, looks up from his waffles at this -- yup, all night.)

 

JOHNNY: I was... otherwise engaged.

 

SARAH: Otherwise engaged.

 

JOHNNY: We… I mean they… it was pretty incredible. (Waking completely) Abby and Tommy had a tryst. Here at the hotel.

 

SARAH: And you saw it?

 

JOHNNY: I lived it.

 

SARAH: The two of them. Having sex.

 

(Walt looks up again.)

 

JOHNNY: Don't be so crass. They were in love.

 

SARAH: Abby and Tommy?

 

JOHNNY: Abby, Tommy, Arthur… It was, you know… "Bigger than the three of us." That sort of thing.

 

SARAH: Right.

 

JOHNNY: Sarah, this is the first woman I've been with since... you and me.

 

SARAH: She wasn't real!

 

JOHNNY: I was speaking psychologically.

 

SARAH: I want you to come home now.

 

(Johnny is off the bed and pacing the hotel room.)

 

JOHNNY: What home? Can you tell me where I'm at home? I'd like to know.

 

(Sarah is taken aback.)

 

SARAH: Johnny…

 

JOHNNY: I'm not leaving. It isn't over yet.

 

SARAH: What isn't over yet? You and Abby? Or you and me?

 

(Walt is on his feet.)

 

WALT: (to Sarah, an edge) Do you two want to be alone?

 

(Sarah waves at him to stay in the kitchen.)

 

SARAH: (to Walt) No. (To phone) Johnny…

 

JOHNNY: …I gotta go.

 

(He hangs up. Sarah does the same. She turns to Walt.)

 

SARAH: (exasperated) He spent the night with her. In his head.

 

WALT: (staying calm) That's his problem.

 

(A beat. Sarah sits at the table, calming herself, but still concerned.)

 

SARAH: You were running some kind of a database search...?

 

WALT: We'll hear something today.

 

 

[EXT. DERELICT BUILDING - NYC – DAY]

(Johnny is staring at the locked grate blocking a stairway heading down under the street level. Trash and broken bottles are strewn across the steps. He considers the scene, spotting a commemorative bronze plaque on the wall.

He moves to read it: DURING ALL THE COMBAT DAYS OF THE WAR BETWEEN THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE AXIS POWERS, THE AMERICAN THEATER WING STAGE DOOR CANTEEN OCCUPIED THIS SITE. Johnny puts his hand on the plaque, then on the wall. No vision. Frustrated, he turns toward the street and leans his back against the stone. He is in a vision.)

 

 

[EXT. STAGE DOOR CANTEEN - NIGHT - 1945 – VISION]

(Johnny/Tommy is standing in exactly the same spot against the wall as Johnny was.)

 

(Only now there is a globe-shaped light instead of a bronze plaque, and it glows with the words "Stage Door Canteen." Johnny/Tommy looks like he's trying to psych himself up for a confrontation, as he straightens his tie, brushes down his uniform, and turns to descend a set of stairs to the Canteen.)

 

 

[INT. STAGE DOOR CANTEEN - NIGHT - 1945 – VISION]

(The place is hopping with soldiers and hostesses. Johnny/Tommy spots what he's looking for: Abby, in her striped apron, dancing with a young man in a naval uniform -- just doing her job. He quickly crosses the floor. Abby is surprised and concerned to see him.)

 

ABBY: Tommy.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: Who were you expecting, Tojo? (Cutting in) Shove off Sailor, I'll convoy this boat.

 

(The Sailor moves off as Johnny/Tommy takes Abby's hand and continues the dance.)

 

ABBY: I thought we agreed.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: To give me the bum's rush?

 

ABBY: To not see each other again.

 

(She looks over his shoulder at Artie seated at a table across the floor, head buried in his puzzles as usual.)

 

ABBY: Before somebody gets hurt.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: Too late for that.

 

(Abby stops dancing, her voice desperate.)

 

ABBY: What happens after the War? You'll come back to me?

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: You know I will.

 

ABBY: We'll get the white picket fence? Have a coupla kids? (Off his hesitation) That's not you, Tommy. Never will be.

 

(She's right. But he won't admit it.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: We're telling him.

 

(Abby tries to stop him, but he's already in motion. He reaches Artie's table and remains standing. Artie glances up, smiles hugely.)

 

ARTIE: Tommy! Where have you been?

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: Wouldn't you like to know.

 

(Abby arrives, slipping onto the chair next to Arthur.)

 

ARTIE: (pleasant) Yeah, I would. We've only got a few more days and I'd like to spend one of them with my best pal.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: (taken aback) That right...?

 

ARTIE: Come by the house tomorrow. The folks want to see you, too.

 

(Abby looks up at Johnny/Tommy, trying not lose it. She purposefully echoes the words they exchanged when they first met.)

 

ABBY: (barely) He talks about you all the time.

 

(Faced with the moment of truth, Johnny/Tommy hesitates.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: Really?

 

ABBY: (verge of tears) Absotively and posilutely.

 

(Artie gives his best pal a warm smile -- then goes back to working his puzzle. Johnny/Tommy stares at him, like he would a kid brother, with a sudden, overwhelming affection. Then he looks at Abby, who is completely vulnerable. And he decides to do the right thing.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: I'm gonna clear out. (Lamely) Lot of packing to do. (To Artie) Artie. Artie.

 

(Artie finally looks up.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: Tomorrow.

 

ARTIE: Sure.

 

(Artie goes back to his puzzle as Johnny/Tommy turns to Abby for what they both know is the last time.)

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: (to Abby) I guess we won't see each other again.

 

ABBY: Guess not.

 

JOHNNY/TOMMY: It was swelling meeting you, Abby.

 

ABBY: (barely) You too, Tommy.

 

(Johnny/Tommy gives her one last smile, then turns toward the door -- his face is devastated. As he crosses the floor, Rosie is hovering in his path -- as if she knows everything and has been waiting to make her move.)

 

ROSIE: Forget about her…

 

(But she might as well not exist. Johnny/Tommy heads for the exit.)

 

 

[EXT. STAGE DOOR CANTEEN - NEW YORK 1945 - NIGHT – VISION]

(Johnny/Tommy emerges up the stairway, a broken man. He pauses at the top of the stairs, glances up at the glowing lantern proclaiming "Stage Door Canteen." The vision ends.)

 

 

[EXT. DERELICT BUILDING - NYC - DAY – CONTINUOUS]

(Johnny comes out of his vision, still wracked by the emotions. He looks dazed. His cell phone vibrates in his pocket. He pulls it out.)

 

JOHNNY: (disoriented) Hello...

 

 

[EXT. BANNERMAN'S SUV – DAY]

(Sarah gets out of the SUV in front of her house, slamming the door shut. She's on the cell phone, her voice excited.)

 

SARAH: Abigail Travers was registered with the New York Stage Actors' Guild…

 

JOHNNY: (puzzled)… But Abby wasn't an actress…

 

SARAH: …Apparently, she was. Which means "Abigail Travers" was probably her stage name.

 

(OFF Johnny's reaction as this sinks in.)

 

[INT. ROSE'S APARTMENT - NYC – DAY]

(Johnny has just stepped inside. Rose is all smiles.)

 

ROSE: How nice to see you again! And so soon after the last time!

 

JOHNNY: You didn't tell me Abby changed her name.

 

(Rose's smile gets just a little hard.)

 

ROSE: You didn't ask.

 

JOHNNY: Arthur never knew she was an actress…

 

ROSE: (correcting him)…Wanted to be an actress. Just like the rest of us. (Beat) She wouldn't tell him because she believed he would think less of her.

 

JOHNNY: Why didn't she answer his letters? Why did she leave New York?

 

ROSE: (cheery) I don't remember.

 

(She moves across the room, looks up at the framed Stage Door apron on the wall. Johnny stares at her for a beat. Then :)

 

JOHNNY: Abby was having an affair with Tommy Peterson.

 

ROSE: (forced smile) What if she was?

 

JOHNNY: You were in love with Tommy.

 

(The woman's smile falters. A long beat. Then:)

 

ROSE: I don't know. I don't know why she went away.

 

(Johnny is suddenly facing a vulnerable, frail old woman. He stops going on the offensive, quiets his voice.)

 

JOHNNY: Is that true?

 

ROSE: She ended it with Tommy. Tommy and Arthur went to the War.

 

ROSE (CONT'D): A month later, Abby disappeared.

 

JOHNNY: Without a word?

 

ROSE: Not to me.

 

(Johnny studies her for a moment and believes she's telling the truth.)

 

JOHNNY: Her real name?

 

(A beat.)

 

ROSE: What difference does that make now?

 

JOHNNY: Maybe a couple of people who should have been together can get another chance. While there's still some time.

 

ROSE: (cheery again) Don't be such a drip. We were just a bunch of soldier crazy victory girls… (Voice breaking) It didn't matter then, it doesn't matter now.

 

JOHNNY: (sincere) I'm sorry.

 

ROSE: Goodbye.

 

(There's nothing more Johnny can do here.)

 

JOHNNY: Goodbye.

 

(He heads for the door. Rose starts paging through her book of memories. Without looking up:)

 

ROSE: Tarnovski. Abigail Tarnovski.

 

(Johnny turns toward her. Her voice is wistful.)

 

ROSE: She said it would never fit on a marquee.

 

 

[OMITTED]

[INT. CHILDREN'S THEATER - NYC – DAY]

(Johnny is standing close to the small stage, searching among the kids and few adult teachers scattered among them. Then he turns and sees… something incredible. Standing right next to him.)

 

JOHNNY: Abby…?

 

(She's the same young woman from his visions now wearing contemporary clothes and hairstyle, but there is no mistaking her.)

 

GRANDDAUGHTER: Yeah?

 

(Her voice has the edge born of years of fending off unwanted advances. Johnny is really confused.)

 

JOHNNY: I… I just spoke with you…

 

(The young woman stares at him -- who is this nut? Then it dawns on her.)

 

GRANDDAUGHTER: You mean my grandmother?

 

JOHNNY: Grandmother…

 

ABIGAIL: Mister Smith!

 

(An elegant, white-haired woman disengages herself from the kids she's teaching and steps closer -- she's happy to see him. This is ABIGAIL, the present day version of the Abby from 1945.)

 

ABIGAIL: Thank you so much for coming here.

 

JOHNNY: (still rattled) If… you're busy…

 

ABIGAIL: We're just finishing up.

 

GRANDDAUGHTER: (impatient) I'm triple parked.

 

ABIGAIL: (calm) We'll just be a few minutes.

 

GRANDDAUGHTER: Gram…

 

ABIGAIL: I'll take a cab home.

 

(That's all her granddaughter wanted to hear.)

 

GRANDDAUGHTER: Cool.

 

(She turns and takes off. Abigail indicates a couple of folding chairs on stage and they sit down.)

 

ABIGAIL: Tell me about Artie. Arthur.

 

JOHNNY: To be honest, I don't know him very well. But I know he misses you.

 

ABIGAIL: Still.

 

JOHNNY: One track mind.

 

ABIGAIL: (smiles) And you said you didn't know him.

 

JOHNNY: He wants to see you.

 

(A long pause.)

 

ABIGAIL: I'm not sure that's the best idea. (carefully) People can still be made to hurt. No matter how many years.

 

(Johnny reaches out and puts his hand on hers in a supportive gesture. And has a vision.)

 

 

[ANGLE - ABBY WITH A BABY - 1946 – VISION]

(She's sitting in a spare wooden chair on the stage, cradling an infant girl in her arms, singing a wordless lullaby. Johnny can see this image directly over the shoulder of the older woman in front of him. The young mother's eyes are filled with love and sadness. The quiet singing continues over:)

 

JOHNNY: (to Abigail) You must have been lonely, raising a child on your own.

 

(The vision is gone, but the mood remains melancholy and quiet.)

 

ABIGAIL: How did you know...? Of course, you met my granddaughter. (Difficult) I was engaged to Artie... I had a baby by another boy. A mutual friend. Tommy.

 

JOHNNY: That's why you left New York.

 

(Abby nods, now looking painfully toward the past.)

 

ABIGAIL: Tommy and me... We never should've happened.

 

JOHNNY: It was the War.

 

ABIGAIL: (no excuses) It was me. (Beat) After my daughter was born... I wrote to Tommy, just to tell him. He didn't write back.

 

JOHNNY: (suddenly difficult) The white picket fence... coupla kids... probably not his style.

 

(Abigail looks at him curiously -- then nods.)

 

ABIGAIL: But it was Artie I loved. Artie I wanted to grow old with. (Quiet) Artie and me... we can't go back.

 

(A long beat. Johnny's own eyes are suddenly wet.)

 

JOHNNY: Is that the only direction there is?

 

(Abigail looks at him, a glimmer of hope in her expression.)

 

 

[EXT. TAXICAB - STREET CLOCK - NYC - ANOTHER DAY]

(Johnny and Arthur step out of the cab. Johnny's wearing a change of clothes; Arthur has his best suit on.)

 

ARTHUR: I'm a little… nervous.

 

JOHNNY: That's understandable.

 

ARTHUR: Maybe I can't do this.

 

JOHNNY: Good enough. Let's go back to Maine.

 

 

[ARTHUR'S P.O.V. -- THE STANDING STREET CLOCK]

(With the graciously aged Abigail already waiting there. BACK TO SCENE : Arthur smiles hugely -- recognizing her instantly.)

 

ARTHUR: I'll take over from here, Johnny.

 

(Arthur moves toward Abigail. Johnny watches as they shake hands with each other… which turn into a close hug.)

 

GRANDDAUGHTER (O.S.): How long is this going to take?

 

(Johnny turns to see Abby's beautiful granddaughter, waiting impatiently, as before.)

 

GRANDDAUGHTER: A half hour? What?

 

JOHNNY: Does it matter?

 

GRANDDAUGHTER: (re: Abigail) I got stuck granny-watching this week because my mother's out of town.

 

(Apparently, the "personality" gene didn't get passed down.)

 

JOHNNY: Why don't we just leave them alone for a hour and come back?

 

GRANDDAUGHTER: (resigned) Whatever.

 

(If Johnny entertained any thoughts of getting together with this woman -- which he did -- they are fast evaporating. But he can't help but say it anyway :)

 

JOHNNY: I don't suppose you'd be up for a walk in the Park?

 

(She just looks at him. Not a chance.)

 

 

[OMITTED]

[EXT. CENTRAL PARK - NEW YORK – DAY]

(Johnny is walking alone through now familiar territory.)

 

(He reaches the bench where he had his visions, and sits down next to the usual occupant -- the elegant old man feeding his birds. Johnny glances over at him, and is in a vision.)

 

 

[EXT. CENTRAL PARK - NEW YORK - 1946 – VISION]

(Johnny/Tommy is wearing his uniform, now decorated with medals -- this is after the war. He is seated on the bench, a bag of seeds next to him. He tosses the feed to the gathering birds, far too young to be doing this. The vision ends.)

 

 

[EXT. CENTRAL PARK - NEW YORK - DAY – CONTINUOUS]

(Johnny comes out of the vision. He looks again at the old man sitting next to him, and realizes :)

 

JOHNNY: Tommy Peterson?

 

TOMMY: How do you know my name?

 

JOHNNY: A mutual friend.

 

(The old man considers this for a moment, and we sense he might want to pursue it. But the inertia of the decades spent alone is more than he can overcome -- this is the life he's chosen, no desire to change that now. He just shrugs his shoulders. Then takes a handful of seeds, and sets the bag down between them, within Johnny's reach. Johnny stares at it for a beat, then takes a handful for himself. Two strangers on a bench, nothing in common, accept a woman they both once knew. They scatter the seeds and the birds come to join them.)

 

 

END OF ACT FOUR

 

 

THE END

 

Kikavu ?

Au total, 19 membres ont visionné cet épisode ! Ci-dessous les derniers à l'avoir vu...

jujume80 
22.01.2018 vers 15h

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14.11.2016 vers 11h

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