Genre: Psychological Thriller
Demographic: Adult women, young men
Logline: Sarah’s new therapy client is an affluent young man on the verge of becoming a dangerous white supremacist.
Synopsis: Sarah is in session with her long-time client Jennie, a schizophrenic woman having a tough time leaving her emotionally abusive husband. The leather-bound mahogany opulence of her Upper-West-Side Manhattan office is a sharp contrast to Sarah’s casual outfit of jeans, converse sneakers, and a long-sleeved baseball t-shirt. She has her long, shiny brown hair up in a ponytail and black-framed glasses perched on her nose as she assumes an active listening posture.
Jennie is a middle-aged woman in a faded purple tracksuit, sprawled out on the couch, used tissues strewn around her. She complains about Earl’s laziness, lack of affection, and demands of her while weeping and blowing her nose. Sarah gently suggests some better communication methods, which Jennie dismisses as impossible, then resigns herself to go home and prepare meatloaf for Earl.
Sarah checks her watch and decides she has time to smoke a joint before her next session. She locks the door and sits on the windowsill, relaxing and blowing smoke out into the city air. A sharp knock startles her out of her pot-buzzed state and she accidentally drops the joint down her cleavage, panicking, scrambling to fish it out, she finally just lifts her shirt and flashes the open window to release the burning joint to the wind. The door opens as she’s lowering her shirt.
Trey, her new patient, is standing there, smiling and amused. Trey is 26, a few inches shorter than her, handsome in a boyish way. He sniffs the air and appears disgusted, asks if someone was smoking pot in here. Sarah blames her last patient, then realizes he opened the locked door, asks him how. “I’m magic!” he replies, giving her a sly grin. Sarah lets this slide, they introduce themselves and get to work.
Sarah asks Trey why he’s seeking out therapy. Trey says his parents are forcing him to go because they don’t understand him, they think his online activity is dangerous, and they suspect he was involved in a plot to bomb the school. Sarah takes a long pause, asks him why they would think that. Trey twitches, can’t sit still, moves around the room in an anxious state as he tells her about his rich Wall Street father, who married his Russian immigrant mother after she helped care for his dying first wife. She asks what that has to do with a plot to bomb the school and Trey shouts “NOTHING!”. Sarah maintains her composure throughout his outbursts, her polite stillness making his movements seem more bombastic.
Trey’s mood switches in an instant and he assesses Sarah as if seeing her for the first time. He tells her she would be hot if she got a nose job and bleached her hair. Sarah deflects this with a joke about the numerous “Jew-fetishists” in Manhattan keeping her busy and redirects his attention to his destructive tendencies. Trey senses this push back and tries harder to offend her, makes more scathing comments about her appearance and assumes (many correct) details about her life. She lets him think he’s leading the conversation, he rants about Jewish conspiracy theories, complains about his “poor little rich boy” life and asks her why anyone wouldn’t feel destructive?
Sarah tells him that’s a choice he can make. Some people choose to be destructive, some choose to be creative. Trey gets defensive, insists he’s creative because he’s memorized all of Nixon’s speeches and he’s learning to speak German. Sarah gently explains that’s impressive, but not really creative. Trey gets angry again, shouts “I’ll show you!” and leaves, slamming the door. Sarah breathes a sigh of relief. Trey pops back in to say he’ll see her next week.
After work, Sarah hangs out at a dive bar comedy open mic. She’s friends with everyone there, sips a drink, and politely giggles at the struggling comic before her. The host introduces her as “the chick everyone wants to bang”. Sarah takes the mic and retorts that no one wants to bang the host. She tries out a few new bits about her “younger boyfriend” who she suspects may be a Nazi, but the sex is so good she lets it slide…
The next day, Sarah is at a Thai nail salon with her mom, Joan, getting pedicures. Joan asks Sarah why she isn’t married yet, asks her if she’s a lesbian, tries to set her up with an accountant in Pensylvania, and hiccups between sips from a water bottle. Sarah suffers through this interrogation before realizing Joan’s water bottle is all vodka. Fed up, Sarah storms out of the salon while wearing flimsy foam flip-flops and toe separators.
Jennie’s next session is the following afternoon. Amidst her crying fits, Jennie admits to fantasizing about sticking a meat fork in Earl’s brain. Sarah is distracted and bitter about her mother and is far too casual asking “Why a meat fork?”. Jennie ruminates aloud, suggests a knife may be more effective. Sarah looks at her watch and tells Jennie they can continue this discussion next week.
As Jennie exits, Trey rushes in the office holding a piece of paper, excited. He hands the paper to Sarah and she sees it’s a drawing of her in the nude, except her nose is smaller and she’s blonde. Trey eagerly awaits her approval. Sarah is impressed by the startling artistic detail and tries to remain reserved. She tells him he’s an excellent artist and asks who was his subject. Trey gives her an amorous look and tells her she inspired his creativity. Sarah reiterates it’s a good drawing, but it doesn’t look like her. Trey smirks, “Why, because I made your nose look normal?” Sarah snaps back “My nose IS normal, you made it fake.” Trey deflates into sullenness. Sarah reminds him that interpretations are personal and that doesn’t mean he should stop drawing. She redirects by asking him what else he likes to draw.
Trey says he likes to draw women being tortured. Sarah asks if that’s because he wants to torture women. He says it’s so he won’t. Sarah represses a chill in a brief moment of silence. Trey asks Sarah what she does for a creative outlet. Glad for a change of subject, Sarah tells him she likes adult coloring books, karaoke, and standup comedy. Trey scoffs, says women aren’t funny. A little offended, Sarah assures him she gets more laughs than the guys most nights. Trey asks if he can come to see her act sometime. Sarah tells him that would not be appropriate.
At the open mic that night, Sarah tries out some new bits about introducing her new boyfriend to her mom without telling her he’s a secret Nazi. After the show, Trey pops out of the shadows and tells her she was “okay”. Sarah is angry, asks him how he found out where she was going to be that night. “Internet”, he replies. She can tell he’s wasted drunk, so she calls a rideshare car for him. Trey throws a fit like a toddler and insists she come with him and make sure he gets home safe. Sarah grudgingly obliges. On the way, Trey asks Sarah probing questions about her boyfriend and she lies, tells him her boyfriend is a cop. Trey starts talking about his blonde-haired, blue-eyed girlfriend and how “perfect” she is. Sarah points out that Trey has brown hair and brown eyes. Trey opens the door of the car and pukes on the curb.
Sarah takes Trey up to his studio apartment in a fancy Manhattan apartment building and puts him to bed with a glass of water. He grabs her hand as she’s about to leave, making her gasp. “Thank you…” he says before passing out.
At Jennie’s next session, she’s sobbing and threatening to leave Earl while Sarah rubs her temple in frustration. Jennie says she can’t stand “the thought of him sitting in that chair, wasting away”. After listening to Jennie ramble for several minutes, Sarah snaps, yells at Jennie to leave her husband and start a new life if she’s so unhappy! Jennie is shocked into silence, stands up, used tissues falling off of her, and walks out without a word. Sarah groans and puts her head between her knees.
Trey bursts in next, seething. Sarah is shocked back into her therapist posture and listens while he rants about his girlfriend breaking up with him and begs her to help him figure out what he did wrong. She tries to explain that sometimes two people just aren’t compatible, but that doesn’t mean he did something wrong. Trey insists she was perfect for him, lists all of her Aryan physical attributes as examples of her perfection. Sarah asks if his ex-girlfriend had brown hair and brown eyes like him, would she be any less perfect? Trey gets sad, whispers “yes”.
Later, Sarah is hanging out at her friend Jeremiah’s, smoking a bong. Jeremiah refuses the pork rinds Sarah offers from the bag she’s munching on, saying he doesn’t break fast during Ramadan. Sarah finishes the bag, pours the crumbs in her mouth, and takes another bong hit. Jeremiah puts his dreadlocks back in a rubber band and plays his latest SoundCloud rap-reggae hybrid track for her. Sarah gives him a disinterested, approving nod. He offers her an edible, says some “chemistry whiz-kid” has been cooking up some dank formulas. Sarah notices the symbol on the package is very similar to the crest on Trey’s school jacket. She opens it and eats the peanut butter cup whole anyway.
Walking out of Jeremiah’s, Sarah can tell she’s been drugged with some kind of hallucinogen. She walks home through several blocks of dingy New York City streets, looking like she’s happily walking through Disneyland. When she gets to her apartment building, Trey is waiting for her outside, holding a bottle of vodka. In her drugged state, she’s delighted to see him and she invites him upstairs. The next few scenes are a drug-fueled haze of sex, drinking, drawing, Trey speaking in rapid German, and snorting crushed up amphetamines. Sarah wakes up, realizes it’s three days later, and finds Trey in the kitchen making sausage and eggs. Hungover, Sarah tells him to leave. Trey is shocked, gets sad, then angry. Sarah remains firm and tells him if he doesn’t leave now, she can no longer see him in therapy. Trey calmly stands, lifts a plate of sausage and eggs, then whips it at the wall. He leaves without another word.
Sarah gets a call from her mom while she’s cleaning up the mess and lets it go to voicemail. While Sarah’s brushing her teeth, Jennie calls in loud, unintelligible hysterics. Sarah spits toothpaste at the mirror, holding the phone several inches from her ear.
Weeks later, Sarah is getting in a rideshare car while on the phone with day-drunk Joan. She spills coffee on herself and the driver gets mad and calls her a “dumb Jew bitch.” Sarah snaps and screams at him “I’M NOT CAUSING ALL THE WARS, JACKASS!” The driver kicks her out. She runs into her office still mopping coffee off of her shirt and her receptionist runs up to her in a panic. There’s an emergency with Jennie.
Sarah walks into Jennie’s house and sees Earl in his recliner, several weeks dead, a knife looking freshly buried in his forehead. Jennie is sitting on the couch with a blanket wrapped around her, sipping tea from a mug, her wrists in handcuffs. Before the cops lead her away, Jennie tells Sarah “I didn’t kill him… I just watched him choke on that fucking chicken bone… But he wouldn’t stop talking to me… I had to make him stop…” Jennie seems peaceful, almost happy for the first time. A cop hands Sarah some papers to sign and she pukes all over them.
Sarah goes to Planned Parenthood the next day and a nurse tells her she’s pregnant. She immediately schedules an abortion. Later on, she’s drinking at a bar with Jeremiah and she tells him she’s thinking about quitting being a therapist and doing standup comedy full time. Jeremiah laughs and tells her she wouldn’t be able to do one without the other. She gets up to the mic and tells some jokes about abortion, raising the ire of a heckler. She cuts him down initially, but he won’t stop. Pretty soon they’re shouting at each other and people start taking out their phones. Sarah storms out, angry and drunk. At home, she sees the word “abortion” on the whiteboard calendar on the fridge as she’s taking out a Gatorade. There’s a heart around it.
She doesn’t recognize the blonde-haired uber driver on the way to get the abortion. Turns out it’s Trey and he has the child locks on. Sarah has already taken a valium, so she’s disoriented. Trey sprays aerosol chloroform in her face, knocking her out. He takes her to a cabin in upstate NY, chains her in a dirt-floored cellar. He tells her he’s keeping her there until it’s too late to have an abortion. She attempts to rationalize him, tells him this is kidnapping, she doesn’t want him to go to jail because he’s going through a lot. He won’t hear it. She tries another tactic, asks him why he wants a half-Jewish baby? He tells her not only is abortion a sin, but this is the best opportunity to take “one of you” and “make it normal”.
Sarah pretends to seduce him, manages to wrench a loose table leg free and knock him out with it, using her well-trained softball swing. She escapes the cabin, calls the cops and has Trey arrested. She gets the abortion the next day. Trey goes to jail… for an infuriatingly short amount of time, but he comes out converted to Islam.
Years later, Sarah is in the dressing room before taping her first comedy special and she reads a card on a bouquet of roses. “As-Salaam-Alaikum, -Ahmad (aka Trey)”
Sarah throws the card and the bouquet in the trash.