Genre: Romantic Comedy
A senator’s opening bid for President goes awry as she misspeaks about the First Lady when distracted by a woman on rollerskates. Now she must save her campaign, decipher her latent feelings, and deal with the reporter assigned to her cover her every move… the rollerskater.
A Presidential Candidate; the First Lady who envies her; the reporter who loves her; and the nation who needs her- can three women save themselves and America at the same time?
Senator Dorothy Lawrence’s opening bid for President goes awry when she misspeaks about the First Lady and has a pileup with a woman roller skater. At a White House party, the rivalry between Dorothy and the First Lady is revealed, and who the power behind the throne really is. When Deirdre, the skater, appears, Dorothy’s manager invites her to cover the campaign believing she works for Vanity Fair.
Theme: Love has no boundaries; honesty over deception.
INT. UPSCALE HOTEL SUITE – ATLANTA – NIGHT
SENATOR DOROTHY LAWRENCE (40s) is in an upside-down Yoga position in the corner, legs straight up against the wall. Her elegant designer dress hangs down around her face.
CRISTHAL MASON, Black (early 40s), Dorothy’s political adviser, confidant, and closest friend, enters. Her momentary shock is covered by well-trained nonchalance.
I particularly like the way the chiffon drapes about your face, sort of framing, if you will, your sweet ruddy complexion. Or is that merely blood trying to force its way out your eyeballs.
Come on over. Give it a try.
How close are we to the deep end, Dot?
You’ve never seen Yoga before?
From you? No.
We have to keep an open mind about things, you know.
Cristhal pulls up a chair to sit opposite Dorothy. She leans in with her serious look.
It’s no secret that I was against your relationship in the beginning. And not because of some moral indiscretions, for both god and you know I could never cast the first stone.
I’m coming down, now. You might want to move.
Cristhal scrambles out of the way as Dorothy curls to the floor on all fours, stretching out like a cat.
You think it’s over? Cows, barn doors, mean anything to you?
What do you want me to do? Quit?
Nooo… I want you to go back.
Dorothy rolls on her back, smooths out her dress.
Go back where?
To your AFFAIRE D’AMOUR-
Look, I know it’s your business to mind my business, but just butt out of this one.
It’s like this, Dot. It took me, it took all of us, until you returned from the ski trip, to realize that my friend, who I’ve known for twenty years, had never been so completely, and utterly happy in her life.
(looks down on her)
There was a void filled in you. I think, no, I know it helped get you here today. The girl I met so long ago was freed, again. We all saw it. The nation saw it. Your approval rating went through the roof.
What was it about "butt out" you didn’t understand?
(hands to heaven)
Lord, she’s poised to run the most powerful country on earth, but can’t take care of her own life.
But, you think you can, is that it?
No, of course not. I’m just a friend trying to give you stupid advice, and convince you to go back to doing what’s really important.
You know, my watch doesn’t have reverse.
Cristhal glances at her watch and heads for door.
Unfortunately, you’re right. But, second chances are a one-time deal.
Cristhal? Thanks for being the nagging wench that you are.
It’s genetic. What can I do? You know, you’re so good at bringing out the best in other people, recognizing their finest attributes, and uplifting them. You need to focus some of that amazing ability inward… You have five minutes.
As door closes, Dorothy pulls papers from her briefcase. Something CLINKS onto the table. She picks it up gingerly, dangling it before her eyes: a ROLLER-SKATE BRACELET CHARM.
SUPER: TEN MONTHS BEFORE
EXT. CITY STREETS – WASHINGTON, D.C. – DAY
From a side street, a ROLLER-SKATER (early 30s) enters traffic. SHE deftly maneuvers between cars, trucks, buses, and PEOPLE, rolling, hopping, and skipping over curbs, pot holes, and the occasional urban animal.
She shows great skill, beauty, and grace at riding the asphalt wave. Her outfit, sporty and form-fitting, is stylish, but not trendy. She grabs the back panel of a bus as it slows.
Blocks later, she releases the bus. Ahead at the courthouse steps is a GATHERING OF PEOPLE, and the BLARE OF LOUD SPEAKERS.
AIR HORNS SHRIEK behind her, sending her reflexively away from the approaching truck, toward the commotion at the courthouse. There are media trucks, POLICE along meters of yellow tape, and video and still cameras held above bobbing heads.
INT. COURTHOUSE HALLWAYS – WASHINGTON, D.C. – MOVING – DAY
Dorothy and ENTOURAGE push through double doors into the hallway on a mission. She’s flanked by Cristhal Mason; Campaign Manager PAUL VANDROSS (50s), dressed like an 18th century bank teller; spokesperson EVELYN WAGNER (late 20s), a serious 21st century Black woman; and speechwriter VINCENT MALLORY (30s) caught somewhere between disco and Izod.
Okay, people, this is our opening salvo. Let’s make an indelible impression here, today.
Did the rewrite work for you this time, Dorothy?
I made a few changes, Vincent. Don’t worry about it.
Vincent is worrying.
Breath deeply, Vincent.
In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche; Be careful not to tread on the exuberant fertility of the universal will.
Please refrain from confrontational recitals, today.
Dear Paul, recitals of truth seem confrontational when held up to steadfast ignorance.
Condescension to the masses isn’t the best approach in an opening skirmish.
EXT. COURTHOUSE STEPS – DAY
A BUZZING CROWD is gathered across the courthouse steps, cordoned off by POLICE. REPORTERS, warily expectant, surround the podium at the top of the stairs.
Well, this should be interesting.
Only if she throws a zinger and decides not to run.
I thought you were into her?
Yeah, when she started out she was really ballsy. But somewhere along the line she became–
I was thinking, more like, safe. She Fred Astaire’s down the middle of the road, grabbing whatever she needs from either side of the aisle.
POLICE burst through the courthouse doors, leading the Senator and entourage to the podium. The crowd goes silent as Paul steps up to the microphones. As he’s about to speak, A FEW PEOPLE enthusiastically applause and shout endorsements. He starts again, but they break into a chant.
Dorothy, Dorothy, Dorothy…!
Flustered, Paul steps away as Dorothy edges past him. Silence.
Well, that was certainly encouraging! Thank you, so much. Nobody promised you anything in return, did they?
WOMAN IN CROWD
Only a new government, is all!
Okay, Mom, you can go home now.
Some laughs. The reporters look at one another.
Please, first of all, let me thank you all for coming down and giving us a chance at competing for the most sacred of our American rights: your vote.
Some cheers and applause.
Madam Senator, why did you wait so long to make the first footfall on the path to the White House?
Now, everyone knows that it was no secret I was going to enter this race. In fact, Mr. Mills, I read it in your very own newspaper. And that was before I had even decided to run. A little preemptive news reporting on your part, I must say.
A few more laughs.
Senator, your agenda for opposing the president seems fairly well thought-out, but appears more like a checklist, or chapter headings. There are no details there.
You know, if I gave you every single detail in a tome, I’d have no need to go out on the campaign trail. So, where’s the fun in that, I ask you?
(to reporter #1)
A book, my erudite friend.
Ms Lawrence, what’s your take on the First Lady and some recent comments she made speculating on your entry into the race?
As Dorothy answers, she sees the roller-skater glide by a cordon of police. She appears magical as her motionless body seems to float past the undulating movements of the crowd.
Now, how can I answer that? You’re just a tricky guy, Pete. Why, the First Lady and I were sorority sisters and everyone knows how tacky sisters can be to each other, sometimes.
As the skater turns her head, her face and eyes come up…
We all know the First Lady is as wholesome-
(her eyes lock with skater)
-and tasty as apple pie.
The skater disappears behind a media truck. Dorothy’s fraction of a second, out of body experience snaps back to frenzied reality with the realization of her Freudian slip.
American! American as apple pie.
Paul steps in as a shield, speed talking.
Uh, we want to thank everyone for coming down to welcome Dorothy into the race today. But as you know, schedules are tight, and we have a luncheon with the mayor. We hope to see all of you again, real soon. And don’t forget to bring your fiends along. Bye, now.
A few cheers. Dorothy smiles brightly and waves. Paul leans to Dorothy’s ear.
What, in Heaven’s Name, was that?
Probably, tomorrow’s headline.
Police hold people back as Dorothy and entourage descend stairs. The surging crowd propels the skater forward– Dorothy’s shoe skips a pebble across the sidewalk– the skate wheel catches on the pebble, flying her into the policemen’s locked arms.
She flips 360 degrees to land on her feet, but immediately careens into Dorothy and Paul, crashing all to the sidewalk, piled three high.
Unhurt, but out-of-breath; shock and delight take turns in the women’s reflected expressions, just inches apart.
Roller-skating and acrobatics. Oh my!
I may have lost some technical points here.
But a solid 9.5 on artistic expression.
What a huge unfortunate embarrassment!
Fortune can swings both ways.
A moan issues from below them.
I can’t breath.
Reality snaps back. POLICE and OTHERS are helping them up, pulling the skater away, forcing her out of sight. Dorothy’s entourage encircle her, INQUIRING concerns. Paul is bent over in exaggerated grasps for breath.
I’m fine, thanks.
Dorothy wraps an arm around him, whispers in his ear.
Straighten up, Paul. You want that headline tomorrow to include my weight statistics?
Paul quickly straightens into a Yoga stretch, looking around sheepishly, smiling, and nodding to the crowd who isn’t paying him any attention. Dorothy is led to the waiting limo and as she climbs in, quickly scans the crowd.
INT. DOROTHY’S LIMO — DAY
Dorothy is flanked by Paul, Cristhal, Evelyn, and Vincent. The silence is defined by everyone’s special form of fidgeting. She starts to speak, but everyone speaks at the same time.
What was–/ Don’t you–/ Is this–/ Why didn’t–/ I was–
All mouths snap shut. Dorothy starts again, but…
You think–/ It’s fair to–/ I’m sure–/ We are–/ How could–
Again, mouths snap shut. Everyone eyes each other, afraid to speak. Dorothy makes a time-out sign, then raises her hand and points at it. She sits back and waits. Everyone scans each other again. Evelyn raises her hand. Dorothy points at her.
Would it be too harsh to say the spin we’re going to need on your little slip of the tongue will have to be Pulitzer Prize inspiring?
Dorothy starts to speak–
From your mouth to God’s ears.
Nowadays, cyberspace gets more play than astral space. God’s ears are bugged.
Hey, you got any towels in here?
You need to have a cry, dear?
Not quite. The towel’s for you weenies to throw in.
Well, I didn’t hear any stop-gap suggestions tripping out over your ivories.
Okay, everyone. Screw the 20/20 hindsight. Really, just what is the big deal anyway? A little misspeak?
Maybe Vincent has a point? I mean, is there a calamity, actually.
Gee, I don’t know? How about close-up footage of the newest presidential candidate referring to the First Lady as a tasty morsel of apple pie, broadcast to every TV screen in the nation on the six o’clock news, sound to you?
Dorothy raises her hand. Paul points at her.
How about I just tell the truth?
And what natural and convincing truth would that be, Ms Presidential hopeful?
It was lunchtime. I was hungry?
I think we could meditate on this approach.
While everyone ponders this in despair, Dorothy glances out the window as they drive past the skating woman.
EXT. CITY STREETS – HOSPITAL ENTRANCE – DAY – CONTINUOUS
DEIRDRE CURRAN puffs along at a good pace. She turns into a hospital driveway as the limo passes. At the entrance, a handsome MAN in a suit MOUTHS THE WORDS, "YOU’RE LATE", as he taps his wristwatch. His face lights up as Deirdre rolls into his hug.
INT. WHITE HOUSE – FIRST FAMILY PERSONAL QUARTERS – DAY
PRESIDENT STRATHER PRESCOTT (60s) and FIRST LADY, DOMINIQUE ALDEN PRESCOTT (early 40s), sit stiffly on a 19th Century couch, watching the Senator’s TV coverage.
Ms Wagner, you must know that your candidate is going to get ribbed about this misspeak for quite some time. We haven’t had a guffaw like that since the days of W. Bush.
SPOKESWOMAN EVELYN WAGNER
Well, we’re all only too happy to give everyone a good laugh. However, we would like to say to the First Lady, that in no way was Senator Lawrence’s comments meant to disparage her in any way. It was a mere slip of the tongue.
What about the attack by the demonstrator? Was the Senator hurt?
SPOKESWOMAN EVELYN WAGNER
No, no, there were no injuries to anyone. Apparently, in their excitement, the wonderful crowd that turned out to welcome the Senator caused the hapless skater to lose her balance. You might say that it was nothing more than an enthusiastic greeting.
Well, Ms Wagner, that certainly is one way to look at the inauspicious events of yesterday.
SPOKESWOMAN EVELYN WAGNER
I believe, Marty, that we can move ahead from here and chalk yesterday’s incidents up to competitive jitters.
Really? You’d think seasoned professionals would be a little calmer coming out of the gate, wouldn’t you, Ms Wagner?
SPOKESWOMAN EVELYN WAGNER
Even Olympians make false starts.
The First Lady clicks the remote.
I mean, unbelievable as it seems, after all these years, the wench has finally said something I’m in complete agreement with.
This better be good, Strather.
He takes her lovely, but cast in stone face between his loving hands, leans in and plants a big sloppy kiss on her mouth. She pulls away delightfully appalled.
You are as sweet as apple pie!
You’re not recording this, are you?
My eternal darling, I do believe the goat has slaughtered itself.
Strather, please. Don’t underestimate Dorothy Lawrence. I know her. I’ve seen her climb out of a shallow grave before.
Okay, my scrumptious jujube. I believe you, as always. And as a precaution, I’ll enlist the special covert CIA comedy squad to make sure pies and pratfalls are available to her at every televised event.
You go ahead and jest, Mr. President, but if you want to keep 1600 on our letterhead, we better be sure that all the polls she’s likely to climb, are well-greased.