Sycamore Hill: A Lesson In International Relations

"Sycamore Hill" is filled with boomers and those who are older but still have plenty of boom left. In today's installment of my screenplay--posted for your enjoyment while I'm away on vacation--things start to take a darker turn.

ACT II

Scene A

FADE IN:

INT. MAYVENE’S CONDO

MAYVENE IS DOZING IN HER RECLINER, THE TV TUNED TO

AN AFTERNOON SOAP OPERA. THE BLINDS ARE CLOSED, IT’S DARK.

SOUND: KNOCK AT DOOR.

MAYVENE doesn’t wake up.

SOUND: LOUDER KNOCK.

MAYVENE is startled awake and…

CLAPS LOUDLY TWICE.

The light comes on, and she makes her way

to the door.

MAYVENE

Who is it?

SHOREH (off camera)

(Iranian accent)

It’s Shoreh.

MAYVENE opens door.

MAYVENE

Hello, Shoreh, You caught me napping.

Come in.

SHOREH ENTERS. She is about 60, with jet-black hair, well-dressed and accessorized.

They go to sit down.

SHOREH

I wouldn’t bother you, but something

is going on. Bill’s kids are clearing

out his condo, and Linda wants her

lamp back. Ugliest lamp I’ve ever seen…

clashes with what she calls her Persian rug.

If that rug’s Persian, then I’m Pakistani.

MAYVENE (V.O.)

Dear Paula…

FLASH FORWARD CU COMPUTER SCREEN

MAYVENE IS WRITING AN EMAIL AGAIN. YOU SEE THE WORDS SHE TYPES AS YOU HEAR HER SPEAK THEM IN VOICEOVER.

MAYVENE (V.O.)

As you know, my opinion of Linda hasn’t

been the same ever since her dishwasher

above my unit began leaking into my condo

and she insisted that it wasn’t her fault.

But everyone in the complex knew it was.

CU MAYVENE TYPING

She looks displeased. She resumes typing.

MAYVENE (V.O.)

(accent kicks in)

I spent a lot of money, money I don’t

have, bringing in someone to fix it.

And I can’t understand a thing that handyman

MacGregor ever tells me. That’s MacGregor,

M-A-C, which I think means he’s Scottish,

not Irish. Don’t they speak English?

FLASHBACK MAYVENE’S KITCHEN

MACGREGOR, THE HANDYMAN, IS POINTING TO A STAIN IN THE CEILING. HE’S ABOUT 40, IN GOOD SHAPE, WITH A THICK SCOTTISH BROGUE. HIS T-SHIRT SAYS “SYCAMORE HILL.”

MACGREGOR

What ye got here is a leak.

MAYVENE

A what?

MACGREGOR

A leak.

MAYVENE

A lick?

MACGREGOR

Water is leakin’ in! I’m willin’ to cut into the ceiling to have a look, but I’d rather go up to

Linda’s place and see it from there. Do y’know when she might be back?

MAYVENE

What?

MACGREGOR

Do y’know when she might be back?

MAYVENE

She’s in the back?

MACGREGOR

(exasperated)

Is she home? When will she be home?

MAYVENE

Oh, she should be back from bingo

in a half hour.

FLASH FORWARD MAYVENE AT COMPUTER

BACK TO WRITING THE EMAIL

MAYVENE (V.O.)

The handyman finally got into Linda’s condo and fixed the leak, but she refused

to pay any of the cost. I didn’t want to make too big a fuss, as I don’t like

to make anyone uncomfortable. Pause, she’s disgusted. Then she resumes typing.

MAYVENE (V.O)

But I have never quite thought of her

the same way. As for Bill’s death, you’d

think SHE’D died. It’s “all about her.”

By the way, you’re not going to believe what

happened up there today…

FLASHBACK TO MAYVENE’S CONDO—EARLIER THAT DAY

SHOREH AND MAYVENE SIT ON SOFA.

SHOREH

Bill’s kids don’t like Linda, and when

she went to Bill’s condo this morning,

they were in there clearing everything

out. Even her stuff!

MAYVENE

Didn’t she say something?

SHOREH

Of course she did! She was quite upset,

and came to tell me. (pause) I didn’t

think I should get involved, so I told

her I would talk to you.

MAYVENE

What makes you think I want to get

involved?

SHOREH

I would do it, but you know this condition I have! When I start talking to people I always

begin crying. It’s not getting any better. You are the only person I can talk to without

breaking into tears. Plus, you are the the Homeowners’ President.

MAYVENE

No, I am the FORMER Homeowners’ Association

President. Nagmeh is the president now.

Why don’t you go to her?

SHOREH

(hesitant)

Because I would cry! And, well, Nagmeh and I are not speaking at the moment.

MAYVENE

What do you mean you are not speaking? After all you’ve been through together,

fleeing the Ayatollah, you two were tighter than two genies in one lamp.

SHOREH

It’s not the Arabian Nights anymore! Iran is ruined! Fey (spit) I spit

on the Ayatollah. All that Reza and I went through to leave that hell

hole. I’ll never forget the day Reza died… choking on my fresh

dolmehs…(starts to cry)

MAYVENE

Yes, yes, I remember. (to herself) Brave man. Went down on an overstuffed

grape leaf. But what happened between you and Nagmeh?

SHOREH

She…she accused me of cheating at Mahjong!

MAYVENE

(sarcastically)

How could she?

SHOREH

In Iran, they would chop off

your thumb for that now.

MAYVENE

Geez, what would they do if you

cheated at Bingo?

SHOREH

(deadpan, in American accent)

You don’t wanna know.

MAYVENE

But what do you want me to do now?

SHOREH

YOU must go up there. I didn’t even tell you the worst part. Bills kids have left,

and now the vultures are swooping in. (smiling) But Linda has one thing no one

can find. (leaning in) Bill’s car keys.

MAYVENE

What? She can’t keep those!

SHOREH

She put up with that man’s bad breath for two years. She EARNED that car! You

must go there right now! By the way, the police came to Joann’s, I think they want

to talk to that son of hers, Tom, about Bill!

(end of scene)

Up next: Tom confronts Mayvene!

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