[A breeze pushes the leaves along a slate of blacktop, the turning leave a mix of red, brown and burnt orange, form a mini-tornado and comes to rest before being pushed along. A young boy, Brandon is laughing in the distance as he goes down a slide and runs to re-enter the maze of playground equipment again.]
[Two pairs of eyes watch him from a bench just a few steps away. One set belongs to Maggie, her auburn hair tucked into a neat ponytail and her hands wrapped around a cup of coffee. She wears a grey Notre Dame sweatshirt and blue jeans.]
[Next to her is another woman – slightly younger looking – with brown hair that is highlighted ever-so-slightly with blonde streaks. She has a brown jacket and also wears a pair of blue jeans, which are slightly darker than Maggie’s. She sips her coffee carefully.]
Maggie: So Katrina, how’s John doing?
[The other woman, Katrina, smiles slightly before turning her head towards Maggie, who continues while keeping her eyes on her child.]
Maggie: I mean, I’ve spoken to him over the phone, but you know John… He wouldn’t say a word to save his life over the telephone.
[Katrina laughs a little and nods her head understandingly before letting out a deep breath.]
Katrina: Surprisingly, resilient in a professional sense… He’s determined as ever.
Maggie: And personally?
Katrina: Well, we both know how John is… He’s been reliving every detail of that match for the last ten days.
[Maggie turns with a confused look on her face.]
Maggie: And you’re okay with that?
[Katrina pauses after hearing this question – trying to formulate an answer.]
Katrina: John has a lot of himself invested in this, it’s not something he can just turn off. This represented an opportunity for him to reach the precipice of his sport and he came up short… It’s only natural for him to be forlorn…
[Maggie nods as she turns her head back towards the playground to wave towards her calling child.]
Katrina: And people like us – like you and Brandon – can help him come to grips with it. It’s almost like grieving for him except he can keep this alive.
[Maggie takes another sip from her coffee and once it is removed she smiles.]
Maggie: I can see you’ve taken him as a case study.
[Maggie puts her hand on Katrina’s leg and smiles wider.]
Maggie: It was only a joke, sweetie.
[Katrina relaxes – having felt the threat of an overzealous sister pass.]
Katrina: What about on your end? Have things calmed down?
Maggie: I don’t know… I don’t know if calmed down is the right way to put it… It feels much more like the calm before the storm, like is something lurking and waiting…
It’s still there even if some of us don’t want to believe it.
[Katrina nods as she turns her head back towards the child.]
Katrina: It goes against the very foundation of what I’ve studied, but textbooks and lectures cannot overcome life experience…
[This time Katrina places her hand down on Maggie’s leg.]
Katrina: Whatever IT is, it feeds off negativity…
[Maggie chuckles slightly under her breath.]
Maggie: Well, we got plenty of that at my house…
[Maggie rises to her feet.]
Maggie: But what can I do? I can’t change the way things are – I live with someone who won’t believe me. We can’t move, we don’t have the money.
[Maggie shrugs her shoulders, water building in her eyes.]
Maggie: I’m stuck. Stuck waiting for it to get worse.
[A Starbucks coffee shop is lightly buzzing with chatter amongst the occupants, scanning the area a familiar face pops out, John McDonough. McDonough sits on a stool at a table with a grande cup of coffee in front of him. He wears a grey t-shirt with a faded Budweiser logo on the front a pair of jeans. His brownish hair with bits of grey is pushed back and off his head, his icy blue eyes stare off vacantly.]
[He lifts his coffee cup and takes a sip. From behind him a man in business attire approaches and taps him on the shoulder. He comes face-to-face and shakes John’s hand. The man has a shaved head and brown goatee, his build is decent, but he is a smaller man than McDonough.]
“How are you, John?”
[John nods his head with a smile as the man takes the seat next to him.]
John: Just fine, Dr. Timmons.
[Dr. Timmons nods his head - John looks away from him at the moment.]
Dr. Timmons: I assume this meeting wasn’t meant to be for casual conversation, Mr. McDonough.
[He says this as politely as possible, but the meaning is terse. John focuses.]
John: Yes, I just… I have a dilemma concerning Maggie and since you’ve been assigned to her and will be throughout her assimilation into society, I figured you would be best to speak to about it.
[The doctor nods understandingly and offers a welcoming smile.]
Dr. Timmons: You are correct, what are your concerns?
John: Well, as you know, her son lives with me. I spoke with him a few days ago and he’s adamant that he does not want to live under the same roof as Maggie.
Dr. Timmons: I see…
John: So I am at a loss with what to do once Maggie completes her time in the halfway house. I mean, will she be able to function on her own? I love my sister, but I have to do what is best for the kid…
[The doctor rubs his facial hair in a moment of thought.]
Dr. Timmons: And I assume from my conversations with Maggie that she is unaware of the boy’s sentiments…
John: I figured, given her state, that it would not be the best thing for her…
Dr. Timmons: Well, I respectfully request you not assume from here on out, although you are correct in this instance.
[John nods his head at the doctor’s statement. The men are silent for a moment in thought. After a moment, the doctor looks up.]
Dr. Timmons. John, I’m afraid I can’t give you an answer right this instant.
John: I didn’t expect you could – I was hoping you could give me some ideas or options to consider going forward.
Dr. Timmons: Allow me to mull it over for a few days. We’ve got quite a bit of time and steps to go before the problem comes to fruition.
[The doctor slides off his seat and John joins him. The doctor extends his hand and John shakes it.]
John: Thanks for taking a minute to meet with me.
Dr. Timmons: I’ll be in touch. I would recommend, however, that the boy speak with someone, it is vital for both him and his mother.
John: I will take that under advisement.
[The doctor nods his head.]
Dr. Timmons: Good-bye.
[The doctor turns and leaves through the door. John slides up onto his stool and grabs his coffee. He takes a sip and takes a deep breath before running his hand through his hair.]
John: What a mess…
[An amusement park sits unopened and deserted – the rides nonoperational. The days of summer have left the park unoccupied and unutilized until the weekends come when a few stragglers will attempt to squeeze a few more moments out of a dead season.]
[A man walks towards the camera past a closed hotdog stand and a carnival game. As the man approaches, it is apparent that it is the IWF’s resident evil, the Minstrel.]
[The Minstrel is wearing a black suit with charcoal stripes with a white dress shirt underneath and a black and grey striped tie. The jacket is unbuttoned and his hands reside inside his pockets. The mask grins, but is not focused at the camera, rather on the humungous roller coaster above.]
[Once he is close enough, he begins in his raspy tone, but his gaze remains transfixed on the hell-ride above.]
“Who would have thought it would be so easy?”
[He says this to no one in particular.]
Thus far, one of my opponents and my teammate each said I could be “smacked around” and have my “neck snapped.”
[He makes quotes with his fingers as he turns towards the camera and chuckles.]
And yet, each of them left these tasks to someone else… Perfection to Kerry Kury-whatschamacallit and the lovely Miss Mayweather to Perfection…
Should I say I’m going to leave the rape of both of you to Kerry while I skip away with the title to lollipop land?
[He laughs as he skips in a circle before returning to his position in front of the camera. He takes in a deep breath with purpose.]
Whatever happened to “if you want something done right, do it yourself.”
I’m not here to discuss the schematics of how I will be victorious and take something you all want so terribly…
The one thing that Perfection, as he calls himself, took what seemed to be seventeen tries to finally win, when he bored Ta Seti to death in the ring.
The one thing that Mary Lynn spent all her money on Suzanne Summers workout tapes for… Well, other than to impress Mr. Harmen, which is another story all together…
That’ll all come next week.
See, I don’t believe in looking too far ahead – so let me address Ms. Mayweather’s concerns first.
Mary Lynn, sweetie, why would I ever walk out on you after all the memories we’ve shared?
I am not in the least bit concerned about you, Mary Lynn, because I know you know better than to turn your back on me. The opportunity is too great for you – to be able to go back to Jackie with just the belt around your waist…
[He elbows the air next to him.]
And the consequences are too dire, as well, ask Go Go Spectacular – if you ever see her again.
[After this gruff sentence, he points to himself, immediately lighter in disposition.]
And why would I want Perfection and Kerry to enjoy – what is rightfully mine – beating that little ass from pillar to post? That is my job.
[After saying this in a somewhat sincere voice, he puffs up.]
So ya’ll keep yer hands off ma girl, ya hear!
[He speaks in a terrible accent and then breaks out into uncontrollable laughter before calming himself down and wiping an invisible tear off his mask.]
Perfection, a very inappropriate name… I’ve seen you lose before – hell, I saw you lose at Chain Reaction.
You everything perfectly planned and BOOM!
[He slaps his hands together.]
Paz and her new man-friend, make you look a fool… And you cannot even see that. Not so perfect. Actually quite foolish… And this is coming from me.
[He says this, pointing at himself and tapping his mask.]
Now, you puff your chest out and stomp around defiantly like going to some extreme length to win is something to be proud of…
If you’re proud of that I should be downright narcissistic – I don’t even need gold to beat people within an inch of their life. I don’t need your motivation, your hunger and drive…
That’s… just… what… I… do…
So leave it to Kerry, a freaking kid… That’ll really stick it to Paz.
This Company will hear from child services a second time – asking why the kid, who couldn’t drink, was in the hospital babbling about some guy in a mask.
Or don’t, and I’ll let you have some fun, too.
We can have lots of fun together – ask Mary Lynn – we can all ride this roller coaster together!
[The Minstrel then approaches and hops over the gate to the roller coaster. He stands at the gate, behind bars, which he wraps his hands around.]
Except only I decide when you can get off…
And that is no laughing matter.
[He chuckles and the camera fades out.]