#AStarForCarrie: Fortunate Son- Film Treatment

Logline

Sarah’s new therapy client is an affluent young man on the verge of becoming a dangerous white supremacist.

Characters

Sarah Goldenberg- 42-year-old therapist living in New York City, spends her nights slumming it at dive bar comedy open mics. She is cautious of her new client, finds his politics abhorrent, and wants to help him anyway.

Trey Berger- 21-year-old frat boy, sent to therapy by his parents for his involvement in a plot to bomb the private Catholic school he attends. Trey is resentful, entitled, arrogant and insecure. He finds Sarah attractive because she remains clinical in therapy and does not react to his amorous advances.

Jeannie Giovanni- Italian housewife, another patient of Sarah’s, constantly crying and complaining about her lazy husband Earl. She seems so meek and pitiful until she snaps.

Mira Johannsen- Sarah’s upbeat receptionist. Tells bad news in a good way so much it’s inappropriate.

Angie Goldenberg- Sarah’s alcoholic mother, a clinical psychiatric nurse who believes all of life’s problems can be solved with the right pill and Sarah is wasting her life being a therapist.

Jeremiah L. Jackson- Sarah’s best friend and pot dealer. Rastafarian Muslim sound cloud rapper who doesn’t check his sources for edibles.

Dali- Jeremiah’s half-Indian girlfriend, likes to cook while singing Beyonce.

Makhmud- Arabic uber driver who gets in an argument with Sarah, kicks her out of his car.

Naomi- Planned Parenthood Nurse, a blonde-haired blue-eyed gorgeous 27-year-old woman, happily schedules abortions, so pro-choice she can’t even!

Various cops- just doing their jobs.

Uncomfortable Uber driver- very honest about passenger conversations.

Truck Driver- Doesn’t have a phone, but takes Sarah straight to the police station.

Synopsis

ACT ONE:

(set up) Sarah sits in a wing-back chair, scribbling notes on a legal pad as Jeannie cries about her problems, used tissues littering her faded purple tracksuit and the area around her. The opulent mahogany and leather surroundings of Sarah’s office are in sharp contrast to her casual attire of jeans, sneakers, and a softball jersey. Her long, shiny black hair is pulled back in a ponytail and black-framed glasses are perched on her nose as she assumes an active listening posture.

A timer beeps on Sarah’s phone, letting Jeannie know their time is up. Sara helps gather her tissues in a wastebasket as Jeannie goes on about her problems. They hug, Jeannie dwarfing tall, athletic Sarah with her powerful hight, not apparent from her “crying on a therapist’s couch” posture. Sarah reminds Jeannie to make an appointment with her receptionist Mira as Jeannie leaves with a relieved sigh. Sarah closes and locks the door. She looks at her watch and thinks for a minute before opening a locked desk drawer containing her cannabox. Sarah rolls a joint sitting on the window seat of the high rise Manhattan building, blowing the smoke out the cracked window. She hears a knock at the door and someone jiggling her door handle. Sarah panics mid-toke, drops the joint down her cleavage and tries desperately to get it out before flashing the open window, releasing the burning joint to the wind.

(Conflict) Sarah turns to see Trey, staring at her, smiling. She pulls her shirt down and closes the window as Trey says “Well, that’s a hell of a greeting…” Sarah asks him how he got in the locked door, Trey responds “I’m magic!” With a creepier smile. Sarah decides to let that go in her moment of stoned panic, and sits in her therapist’s chair, ready to find out more about this cryptic, boyishly handsome young man. Trey sniffs the air, gives her a sly look and asks who was smoking pot in here. Sarah lies, says she lets the cancer patients down the hall use her office to medicate. She asks why he’s seeking out therapy.

Trey doesn’t sit on the leather couch, rather he paces like an impatient tiger on the other side of the coffee table. “I’M not seeking out therapy, my PARENTS are MAKING me” Trey doesn’t raise his voice, but the way he annunciates makes everything seem like a threat. Sarah asks more questions about his relationship with his parents and why they’re demanding he seeks therapy. Trey explains although there was a plot to bomb the school, it was all talk, he was NOT involved anyway, and nothing happened so everyone should just forget about it. Sarah says she remembers reading about it in the papers, an anonymous tipster stopped dozens of deaths at the school. No one ever found out who it was. Trey is overly insistent that he’s got nothing to do with it, sits down in a huff. Sarah mirrors his posture, takes off her glasses, and throws her notebook aside.

“Well, Kid. Sounds like your parents are just dicks.”

Trey looks shocked for a second, bursts out laughing, can’t stop, rolls off the couch and on the floor, still laughing. Sarah smiles at him on the floor. “Are you okay?”

Trey pops up from the other side of the coffee table as if seeing Sarah for the first time, smiling at him. Trey says she’s “kinda hot, in a Jewy way…” At which Sarah bursts out laughing, making Trey’s face light up. Trey thinks he’s on a roll when he suggests Sarah get a nose-job, bleach her hair and get blue contacts… then she’d be “perfect…” Sarah isn’t laughing anymore. She puts on her glasses, picks up her notebook, and assumes her therapist posture again. Trey sits on the couch, cross-legged. Sarah asks Trey who she thinks the anonymous tipster was… hypothetically.

“Hypothetically, it’s someone who has to keep his fucking mouth shut” Trey responds, miserably. Sarah presses about his parents. Trey rants about how his Wall Street father values money more than people and his Russian immigrant mother thinks he has it too good. No one at school likes him because his father made them lose their houses. His only friends, his real family, are his frat brothers. “The school kept letting in all these outsiders in MY school for FREE because their parents work there… Illegally! Someone wanted to make a statement… Right there in the janitor’s closet.” Trey’s dark eyes glisten in loving rumination.

Sarah clears her throat to distract him from this strange fantasy and because a chill ran down her spine. “What is this statement?”

Trey looks at her as if she’s stupid. “America belongs to Americans!”

“So, what tribe do you belong to? Cherokee, Blackfoot, Souix?” Sarah smirks.

“Huh?” Trey is surprised by the question.

“All white people are immigrants to this country. Are you saying you’re Native American?” Sarah asks, a smile twitching at the corner of her mouth.

“What?! No! I mean people who were born here!”

“Unlike your mother…” Sarah points out.

“Let’s change the subject,” Trey responds, giving her a cold stare.

“So, what do you like to do for fun?” Sarah asks in a mocking-bright tone, putting her chin under her hand and grinning. Trey senses her mocking tone, gets up to inspect her office, looks at the pictures on her desk, the books on the shelves, looks Sarah up and down.

“What the hell do you know about fun?” Trey deadpans, making Sarah repress a chill again.

“I like to have fun. I do adult coloring books, I go to karaoke, and sometimes I go to standup comedy open mics.” Sarah offers. Trey smirks.

“Women aren’t funny.” Trey mocks.

“I get more laughs than the guys a lot of nights.”

“That’s because you have boobs.”

“Do you have any creative talents, Trey?”

“Yeah! I’m like the most creative of all!” Trey is getting flustered. Sarah doesn’t say anything, just leans forward like she wants him to continue. Trey tells her he’s memorized all of Nixon’s speeches and he’s learning German. Sarah tells him that’s impressive, but not really creative.

“I’ll show you!” Trey growls at Sarah, inches from her face.

Trey gets angry, says he doesn’t want to talk anymore, to bill his parents for the whole hour, he’s going to Dave and Buster’s to wack some moles. Sarah closes her notebook, takes off her glasses and rubs her eyes. She’s startled by Trey popping back in to say he’ll see her next week!

(Resolution) Sarah goes to a comedy open mic at a dive bar. Everyone knows her there and the host brings her up as “The Chick Everyone Wants to Bang”. Sarah makes a joke about how no one wants to bang the host. She does a comedy set about her new younger boyfriend, who may be a Nazi but the sex is just so good…

ACT TWO:

(set up) Sarah is getting pedicures with her mother, Angie. Sarah is best friends with Sun, the Korean Manicurist. Sun asks how Sarah’s comedy is coming along, any paid gigs? Sarah brushes off the question and asks if Sun’s daughter Mai lost that tooth yet. Angie finally stops shouting at an Indian customer service agent on her pink iPhone to start harassing Sarah about wasting time on that “Comedy Shit” and find herself a man before her eggs are all dried up.

“If only…” Sarah responds.

Angie tells Sarah that therapy never solved anything a pill couldn’t solve first. She says she’s been a psych nurse long enough to see the brain is all chemistry that needs to be adjusted with medication and she doesn’t understand why Sarah likes listening to people’s problems. Sarah ignores this one-sided conversation, making bored faces at Sun, who represses giggles. Sarah can’t take it anymore when Angie starts admonishing Kim for going to light on the calluses under her heel, she tells her to “really go for it!”

Sarah tells her mom to stop telling the ladies how to do their jobs. Angie blows this off, says they’re lucky to be here! She takes a sip of her water bottle and hiccups. Sarah sniffs the air around Sarah rolls her eyes, fed up with Angie’s alcoholism. Angie tries to protest “What? It’s the same as taking a valium!” Before guzzling down more straight vodka from her water bottle. Sarah puts her hand on her forehead and crosses her eyes at Sun, who giggles. Angie says “I saw that!” Sarah can’t take it anymore, politely tells Sun that one coat is enough, pays her in cash, and storms out of the salon wearing foam flip flops and toe-separators.

Sarah goes to her friend Jeremiah’s to get stoned. Jeremiah’s girlfriend Dali makes dinner in the kitchen, singing to herself. Sarah takes bong hits while watching Jeremiah’s latest rap youtube videos filmed on his cell phone in Central Park. Jeremiah asks Dali if the falafel is ready, she calls “10 more minutes, my love!” Sarah offers some of the pork rinds she’s eating to Jeremiah as he switches to the next song, about police brutality. Jeremiah refuses the pork rinds, says he doesn’t break-fast during Ramadan. Sarah shrugs and pours the crumbs in her mouth. At the open mic that night, Sarah tells some new jokes about introducing her (maybe) Nazi boyfriend to her mother…

(Conflict) The next day, Jennie ruminates about sticking a meat fork in Earl’s head. “That’ll shut him up!” Jeannie laughs at her own morbid joke, startling Sarah back into reality as she daydreamed, not paying attention to Jeannie. Sarah straightens herself up, asks “Why not a knife?” Just going with it. Jeannie smiles, envisioning the knife going into Earl’s forehead while making a chop-motion with her hand. Sarah’s phone beeps and Jeannie is still “chopping”. Sarah gently takes Jeannie by the shoulders and leads her out of the office, the chopping continues the whole way. Sarah shouts to Mira to make sure Judy gets a rideshare home, she’s pretty heavily medicated. Mira obeys in an annoying, bright tone.

Trey rushes in Sarah’s office, shoves a piece of notebook paper in her hand. On it is a very realistic drawing of her in the nude, drawn with a ball-point pen and washable marker… except her nose is smaller and her hair is blonde. Sarah closes the door and motions for Trey to have a seat. She can’t stop staring at the drawing, her face a mixture of awe, worry, and being flattered. She sits in the chair and puts the drawing on the table between them, asking Trey to explain what the drawing means to him. He sits across from her, leaning over an erection, bouncing with anticipation of her approval. Like she’s gonna put it on the fridge.

“You said I wasn’t creative. That proves you wrong.” Trey says, leaning back, his arms crossed over his chest as if he won.

“I asked what your creative talents were, I didn’t ask you to prove them. I would have believed you. This is quite an exquisite work of art…” Sarah says, looking at the drawing again, still not sure how to feel about it. Trey looks touched by the approval he took for granted.

“Oh, well… You’re welcome!” Trey says, his voice cracks on “welcome”. He clears his throat and says it again in a deeper voice.

“Who’s the subject?” Sarah asks, warily. Trey leans forward, close enough so, in two crawling strides, his face would be between her knees…

“You… Inspired me.” Trey looks like he expects her to beacon him forward so much he’s about to fall over. Sarah looks annoyed.

“This? This is supposed to be me? You made my nose smaller and my hair blonde on purpose, Trey.” Sarah does her best to hide her offended tone and remain professional. Trey gets angry.

“I made you normal,” Trey growls through gritted teeth.

“No, you made me fake…” Sarah says, not breaking eye contact.

“Fine! You don’t like it!” He shouts as he tears the drawing up into little pieces and throws it around like confetti. Sarah doesn’t react to his outburst, she just leans forward as if she wants to talk.

“I just told you it was exquisite. Now it’s gone. That’s sad.” Sarah looks into Trey’s eyes as she makes these statements. Trey sits down on the couch as if hypnotized. “What else do you like to draw?” Sarah asks, paying no attention to the litter of the ripped drawing around her. Trey leans forward, still looking into her eyes, never blinking.

“I like to draw women being tortured…” Trey says without a smile, expecting a negative reaction.

“Is that because you want to… see women being tortured?” Sarah maintains her composure, but her voice gets softer, milder in contrast to Trey’s threatening tone and stance.

“No… It’s so I won’t.” Trey states, stony-faced, staring unblinkingly at Sarah.

Cut to: Sarah says goodbye to her open mic comedy friends, a little tipsy at the end of the night.

Trey is there when Sarah gets out of the dive bar. He slurs her set was “pretty good.” Even in her slightly inebriated state, Sarah comments that can smell the booze wafting off of him. She demands to know how he knew where she was.

“Internet!” Trey replies. He hiccups and dry heaves. Sarah tries to leave, but Trey cries out “Don’t leave me here! I’m sick!” Like a petulant child, starts crying and hiccuping. Sarah stops in the sidewalk, rolls her eyes.

(Resolution) They have an uncomfortable conversation in the back of a rideshare car about Trey’s politics and his “perfect” girlfriend, who he insists is perfect because of her “Aryan features”. Sarah tells Trey although she finds his politics and his opinions abhorrent, that’s why she WANTS to help him! She says she knows there’s good in him somewhere. All people are basically good.

“By the way, do you think that anonymous tipster who stopped the bomb plot on your school will ever come forward?” Sarah asks as casually as possible.

Trey goes quiet, then asks about Sarah’s boyfriend.

“He’s a cop,” she lies. Sarah asks if Trey’s girlfriend had brown hair and eyes like him, would she be any less “perfect”. Trey responds quietly “Yes”.

The driver says “Well that was the most uncomfortable conversation I’ve heard all night, you guys take care” as they leave.

Sarah puts Trey to bed, picks things up around his messy bachelor apartment, makes sure he has a bucket to puke in, water on the nightstand, and he’s on his side, passed out before she starts to leave. Trey grabs Sarah’s wrist, making her gasp.

“Wait! If I tell you something, you can’t tell anyone, right? Like doctor-patient privilege or something, RIGHT!?” Trey answers, desperate for her attention. Sarah releases Trey’s grip from her wrist, moves a pile of clothes off of a chair, and sits in it, assuming her therapist posture.

“Go on…” Sarah says.

“The tipster wasn’t me. He was a pledge we called Piggy. He was this fat little blonde kid, we made him do the truffle shuffle whenever he puked. Nobody could prove it was him, but that night, the brothers poured beer down his throat until he passed out. Now he’s in a coma…” Trey looks at his stained sheets as he speaks to Sarah, then he looks up at her, as if for approval.

“Thank you for being honest with me,” Sarah says. She gets up, a little shaky due to her own inebriation, and leaves.

“Thank you,” he says, before passing out again.

ACT THREE:

(setup) Jeannie is back sobbing again, says she can’t stab Earl because she loves him too much, but he won’t stop talking! Sarah is rubbing her temple and trying to focus on Jeannie’s random sobbing complaints about Earl’s behavior. Sarah yells at Jeannie “Instead of crying to me about it, why don’t you do something about it! Leave the fucker! Get a divorce! I’m tired of you coming here week after week with the same goddamn problem! MEN! Men are the fucking problem and if they stopped making our lives miserable, I would go out of business! Gladly!”

Jeannie stands up quietly, tissues falling off of her tracksuit, and walks out. Trey bursts in Sarah’s office next, saying his girlfriend broke up with him. He’s crying and screaming, throwing a tantrum like a toddler denied a toy at Walmart. Sarah sits still and professional in contrast to him. She reminds Trey to take a seat and breathe. Trey wipes his eyes with tissues and blows his nose loudly. Sarah talks him through why he thinks his girlfriend broke up with him. Trey mutters something about her mom being married to his dad at one time… Sarah says “What?”

“Why won’t she talk to me!?” He wails, blowing his nose on a tissue and leaving that tissue on the floor at his feet. Sarah remains calm.

“Maybe because you’re yelling,” Sarah responds.

Cut to: Sarah and Jeremiah are drinking at the open mic. Sarah says she’s thinking of giving up being a therapist and doing comedy full time. Jeremiah laughs, says she can’t do one without the other. He offers her an edible, says some “chemistry whiz-kid whipped up some dank formula”. Sarah recognizes the similarity of the symbol on the package to the crest on Trey’s school jacket and eats the peanut butter cup anyway. She walks home alone through Central Park at night, obviously drugged with some kind of hallucinogen, as if she’s walking through Disneyland.

(Conflict) Sarah meets Trey standing in front of her building holding a bottle of vodka. Flashes of drinking, sex, snorting crushed amphetamines and Trey speaking in rapid German whip before Sarah’s consciousness. Sarah wakes up after three days, looks at her phone full of messages and immediately reaches for her bong. Trey is still there when Sarah stumbles in the kitchen, wearing a gray silk robe. He’s making sausage and eggs for breakfast, wearing her favorite hoodie and no pants.

Trey seems happy to see her, Sarah seems hungover and hurting from the sunlight streaming through the kitchen window. She tells Trey this was inappropriate, she apologizes, but he has to leave. Trey has just sat down to a nice breakfast he made for both of them. His face remains unchanged save a single eye twitch. He stands, lifts a plate of eggs and sausage, and whips it at the wall closest to the sink (overflowing with dishes). Trey doesn’t speak another word, he just leaves. Sarah starts to clean up the mess when she sees Angie calling, and lets it go to voicemail.

Sarah brushes her teeth when Jeannie calls her in unintelligible hysterics. She holds the phone a few inches from her ear and spits toothpaste at the mirror.

While trying to get off the phone with day-drunk Angie, Sarah gets into a shouting match with Makhmud, her rideshare driver, who calls her a “dumb Jew bitch”.

“I’M NOT THE ONE CAUSING ALL THE WARS, JACKASS!” Sarah shouts back!

The driver stops abruptly, demands Sarah leave his car, as she spills coffee on herself.

Sarah is mopping coffee off her shirt with napkins. Mira runs up to Sarah with an inappropriate “OMG THERE’S DRAMA” smile on her face. Sarah is immediately worried. There’s an emergency with Jeannie. Sarah goes to Jeannie’s house and finds Earl in his recliner, several weeks dead, with a butcher knife sticking out of a fresh wound on his bald head. Jeannie says: “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…” Jeannie looks peaceful as the cops take her away. Sarah pukes on the forms they ask her to sign. She goes to Planned Parenthood and schedules an abortion with an overly chipper millennial nurse.

Sarah tries her new set at the dive bar, gets heckled, gets in a shouting match with the heckler, storms out of the dive bar. She gets home, takes a bong rip, finds some Gatorade in the fridge, swigs it drunkenly while circling a heart around the word “abortion” written on her fridge calendar.

On the way to the abortion, Sarah is disoriented, having already taken a valium, she doesn’t recognize the bleach blonde rideshare driver. It’s Trey… and he’s put the child locks on. Trey sprays liquid chloroform on Sarah and drives her upstate. She wakes up, chained by the foot in a cellar, Trey says “Good morning, Mommy…”

(Resolution) Sarah shakes herself out of her drugged state and looks around. She can tell from the pictures on the walls that she’s in the basement of Trey’s family cabin. The girl he described as his “Girlfriend” looks exactly like his sister. Sarah tries to talk to Trey like a therapist, tries to warn him of what could happen to him when the police find her. Trey laughs at her lack of power in the situation. He tells her he’s keeping her here until it’s too late to have an abortion… “Then my son will be born in this very basement…” Trey looks around proudly. Sarah pretends like she’s gonna throw up, Trey grabs her a bucket. Sarah doesn’t throw up, but Trey tells her she better get used to that bucket.

“Why do you want a half-Jewish baby, you ignorant Nazi fuck!” Sarah yells at him in frustration. Trey gets real close to her face and she acts like he has onion breath.

“I want to take one of you.. and make it normal.” Trey grins his creepiest smile and turns to leave, keys jingling at his belt. Sarah thinks quick, wrenches the table leg from a Victorian end table.

Trey turns and says: “Hey! That was an antique!” Before Sarah knocks him out with her practiced softball swing. She grabs the keys from his belt, chains his ankle to the chain, and runs out of the cabin. Sarah runs barefoot, in jeans and a t-shirt, down the dirt path to the road. She flags down a pickup truck.

“Where you going, little missy?” Says the truck driver

“Closest police station. Do you have a phone?” Sarah commands. The driver starts driving. Fade to: Sarah going into twilight sleep for the abortion. Fade in: Jeremiah and Dali pick her up from the clinic and take her out for fried chicken. Sarah goes up at the open mic and says “I just had an abortion!” And there’s a cheer from the women in the crowd.

(Epilogue) Years later, Sarah is in the green room for a late-night talk show. Her agent is on the phone with someone telling him she won’t answer questions about “the case” focus on her upcoming comedy special. Sarah reads the card “Dear Sarah, I have found peace in Islam. Assalamalakum, -Ahmad (Aka Trey)” Sarah throws the bouquet in the trash and reapplies her lipstick before walking out for the show.

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