A GHOST WITHOUT A LIFE

ACT ONE

FADE IN:

EXT. A STREET IN CHICAGO– DAY

The rain is coming down in torrents. An older four door Lincoln is pulling into a parking lot under a sign which reads “Michaelson’s Funeral Home.” The car backfires as it is parked. Two women open umbrellas, exit the car and run toward the doorway.

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

My husband, JULIUS is gone. He was always difficult but the last few years were really hard.  For him – and for me.  I’ll miss him terribly but in some ways – it’s a relief. When someone you love is that sick for five years, your grief gets all used up. That’s my sister JUNE with me.  She lives in New York with her family.  She flew in to Chicago for the funeral.

CUT TO

INT. FUNERAL HOME OFFICE– DAY

The pretty, forty year old widow, MEGAN, and her younger sister, June, are seated at the FUNERAL DIRECTOR’S desk. The large, florid faced man is asking questions and filling out forms. His assistant, IRVING, stands behind him. Both are dressed impeccably and are wearing sympathetic faces befitting the somber occasion.

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

I always heard people died peacefully.  Not Julius  He was yelling, “NO! NO!” for the last minutes he was alive. Then, he just slipped away. I hope he is at rest now.

CUT TO

INT. FUNERAL HOME HALL

All four walk down a hall.

CUT TO

INT. FUNERAL HOME – COFFIN ROOM

A door opens from the lit hall and a hand reaches for a light switch – revealing  a huge  room filled with coffins. They usher in the women.

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

Dear ladies…I know what a shock it is to come in here.  We want to make it as easy as we can for you.  And, of course, do the right thing for Julius. This is his final curtain call and we are going to make it perfect for him.

MEGAN

Yes, we want it nice. Don’t we, June?

June nods.

JUNE

Julius always liked the best.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS, the deceased husband, walks into the coffin room.  He is wearing a white dinner jacket and smoking a cigar.

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

(to his assistant)

Irving, move a couple of these boxes out of the way. I want to show the ladies Mrs. Updike’s husband’s casket. She was so happy with it. It is just the perfect chariot for Julius’ journey to Eternity.

IRVING

Oh y-y-y-esss.  Th-th-the b-b-beautiful c-c-c-ccopper one?

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

You know the Updike’s of course.  They live on the Gold Coast.  Wonderful people – and also such a terrible loss. This one is so perfect.    Look at the mattress.  A full three inches. It will be so comfortable for your dear Julius.

He grabs June’s hand to have her feel it.  She pulls her hand back in horror.

FUNERAL DIRECTOR (CONT’D)

And the color of the lining.  The pale pink.  Just so flattering to the complexion.

(small laugh)

We need all the help we can get at a time like this.

MEGAN

What does something like this cost?

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

Oh, it’s quite reasonable when you take into consideration all that you get.  The limos – two of them – the opening of the grave

(coughs delicately))

and of course the WATERTIGHT liner. We fondly refer to this package as “The Emperor.” It’s pure elegance!

MEGAN

That looks expensive.

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

The entire thing.  I mean EVERYTHING is $30,000.

The ghost of Julius flicks his cigar ash on the carpet.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I damn well am not  going to spend that kind of money for this funeral.

Megan seems to hear a voice.  She looks around and sees no one.

MEGAN

Did you hear a voice, June?

JUNE

Hear what? No, I didn’t hear anything.

MEGAN

(back to the funeral director)

Look, I want to spend $8000.  What can I buy for $8000?

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

(rolling his eyes at his assistant)

Well, we will be hard pressed to deliver your beloved Julius’ funeral at that price but I will try.

MEGAN

Good.

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

Just one request. Please. Please.  Do not ask a question about WATER. Just don’t go there.

MEGAN

I’d like to get this over with.

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

Irving, get #9  and wheel it over here.

IRVING

Th-th-the s-s-silver one with the gray lining?

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

No, Irving.  That’s #8.

(turns to the women smiling wanly)

#9 has a much younger look.

Megan and June look at each other and try not to laugh.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

People always say I look young for my age.

CUT TO

EXT — OUTSIDE A CHAPEL — DAY

The funeral service has ended.  The widow, her sister and her teenage son, ALEX, are  walking toward a limousine for the funeral procession.

ALEX

Do you think I should apologize to everyone Dad insulted?

MEGAN

No, Alie. People only remember the good things.

ALEX

So, what should I say to everybody?

JUNE

Just say, “thank you for coming,” Alex.

As they are about to get into the limousine, Irving, the assistant funeral director pulls Megan aside.

MEGAN

Yes?

IRVING

Th-th-this may b-be the -wr-wr-wrong t-time to ask you th-this, b-but are you s-s-seeing anyone?

Megan looks horrified and gets into the car. Behind Irving, the ghost of Julius appears.  He flicks his cigar ash in Irving’s general direction.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Gettatahere you PUNK. She’s way out of your league.

Another apparition appears behind the ghost of Julius. DANNY is a short, rotund “angel” wearing a wrinkled suit and a battered fedora.  His job is to escort Julius to the other side. He arrives flustered and out of breath.

DANNY

Where have you been?  I thought you were right behind me and when I looked you were gone. I’ve got such a headache over this.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Who the hell are you?

DANNY

I’m Danny.  I’m your agent.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Agent?

DANNY

Some of the people over here call themselves angels but this is my first job.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Since when do I need an agent?

DANNY

We take you over to the other side. You don’t live on earth anymore.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I’m not going anywhere with you.  Now, scram!

DANNY

I’m going to have to report this to The Committee. You are screwing up their statistics.

Danny takes his cellphone out of his pocket and dials.

DANNY (CONT’D)

We got problems here. You told me this was an easy booking.

CUT TO

EXT. TRAVEL AGENCY — DAY

Megan is pulling into a parking space outside of the travel agency she owns.  It is located in a strip mall in the outskirts of Chicago. There are posters in the window advertising various travel destinations and airlines. Halfway in, the old Lincoln stalls. She restarts the car, parks it and walks inside the agency.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY- MAIN OFFICE– DAY

A bell RINGS when the front door is opened.  There is a main front office with four desks, two on each side, each with a computer. Racks of brochures line the side walls. Some are curled over and look messy.

SALLY sits at the front desk.

SALLY

You have clients waiting for you in your office.  I gave them their tickets but they want to say hello.

MEGAN

Oh, thanks, Sally.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MEGAN’S OFFICE

Megan has a private office with a larger desk and a computer. There are bookcases on the wall behind her and two chairs for clients in front of the desk.

Megan enters her office.  Sign on door says “President.” Two ELDERLY LADY clients are seated. They stand to greet her.

ELDERLY LADY – ONE

So nice to see you, Megan.  We came in to pick up our tickets to Florida.   You look wonderful.

ELDERLY LADY – TWO

So sorry to hear about your husband.  What a terrible loss.  How are you, dear?

Megan starts to answer but the ladies continue to talk.

ELDERLY LADY – ONE

You’re a young, attractive woman.   You’ll find someone. Take my advice.  Look for someone younger this time.  More your age. They last longer.

As they leave, one of the clients turns to Megan.

ELDERLY LADY – TWO

Don’t wait too long. Time marches on. A woman without a man is a terrible thing.

ELDERLY LADY – ONE

Are you seeing anyone yet?

MEGAN

Not quite yet.

Megan sits down and starts opening the piles of mail on her desk.

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

My husband Julius was a stockbroker. He didn’t know the travel business. But that never stopped him from coming in here after the market closed and  telling everybody what to do.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MAIN OFFICE

CATHERINE is staring at her computer.  She is wearing jeans, a sweater and John Lennon glasses.

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

Catherine is a 25 year old spinster in the making.  She has clients among the wealthy Southside Irish of Chicago so she is a valuable employee. But she booked a man who was going to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota into Rochester, New York so she has to be watched.

CATHERINE

(looks up as though remembering)

I was so happy when I got him on a nonstop flight.

The ROAR of a motorcycle is heard outside. NICK is seen through the glass front door taking off on his Harley.  ANNIE walks into the office and takes her seat.

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

Annie used to teach kindergarten. She has a series of boyfriends –  motorcyclists – who keep her up late.

SALLY

An nice girl like you shouldn’t be hanging around with scooter trash.

ANNIE

He’s not scooter trash. Nick is a member of the Hell’s Angels. That’s like royalty,

Sally picks up a telephone call.

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

Sally runs the show around here.  We don’t know much about her personal life except she’s been divorced and is very involved with her sister’s kids.  She has a clientele of Russian immigrants. No one can handle them but her.

SALLY

Wait, wait, listen to me.  This is the cheapest fare. Did I get you a good deal to Fort Lauderdale last year?  Do I take care of you? Listen!

LINDA is arriving at the office. She stumbles and almost falls.

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

Linda is involved in a messy divorce and has a over medication problem.

LINDA

We’ve got to fix this carpet.  It’s dangerous.

CATHERINE

Megan already had it fixed.

Linda sits down at the third desk.

HARRIET is sitting behind Sally filing her nails.

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

Harriet is married to SHELLEY. She is a compulsive talker and will continue a conversation with you even if you leave the room.

HARRIET

Last night I made such a wonderful roast.  Shelley doesn’t make me cook.  But I said to Shelley –

Sally interrupts her.

SALLY

Please.  I’m trying to concentrate.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY –BACK OFFICE

The women lunch together in the back office at a large table.  Deli sandwiches are being delivered by MIKE. He barks the orders out.

MIKE

Who gets the BLT?  The turkey on white?  The turkey on wheat? Tuna? Here.  Here’s the invoice. You girls figure it out.  I want to talk to Megan.

CUT TO

MEGAN’S OFFICE

Megan is on the telephone with a client.  Mike leans on the doorway.

MEGAN

–  Excuse me, can you hold on a minute?

Megan puts her call on hold and looks up at Mike. He smoothes his hair and forces a smile.

MEGAN (CONT’D)

Hello, Mike.  What can I do for you?

MIKE

I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am about the passing of your husband.

MEGAN

That’s sweet of you.

MIKE

I just wanted to tell you if there’s anything I can do – –

MEGAN

Thank you Mike. I’m doing just fine.

Mike musters up courage and comes to the point —

MIKE

The Meatpackers Union is having their annual ball Saturday night. It costs $40.00 a couple. We could split it.

Megan is speechless. Mike decides to sweeten the offer.

MIKE (CONT’D)

I’ll pay for gas and parking!

MEGAN

Thanks, Mike. I’m not ready. Look, I’m sorry, but I’m on the phone.

CUT TO

LUNCH IN THE BACK OFFICE – A FEW MINUTES LATER

The women are hungrily eating their sandwiches and talking. The ghost of Julius and Danny are also seated at the table.

MEGAN

Did you hear what those women said this morning? Am I seeing anyone yet.  It’s been a month.

ANNIE

People think you are nothing if you don’t have a man.

CATHERINE

Speaking of men, how is the divorce going, Linda?

LINDA

Slow.  Very slow.  He’s back living with “the child,” you know.

SALLY

What child?

LINDA

That bimbo he’s shacked up with. She’s 20. I hear he beat her up. He does that, you know.

MEGAN

A man is the last thing I have on my mind. You know how difficult Julius could be. Sometimes I feel he’s still around.

SALLY

Julius was a good guy. A little opinionated but –

The ghost of Julius is defensive at Sally’s remark.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Being right is not opinionated!

CATHERINE

My mother stayed in the house after she died. I’d come home at night and I could hear her rattling pots in the kitchen.  She gave me recipes in my sleep.

The women all react with astonishment at that remark.

MEGAN

You’re kidding me! How long did she stay around?

CATHERINE

For a while.  I talked to a psychic about it.  He said that some spirits just don’t want to leave.

Sally is obviously uncomfortable talking about the departed.

SALLY

I don’t believe this conversation. Dead is dead.

CATHERINE

Then where did I get those recipes?

You know I don’t cook.

Hold on Megan as she ponders that thought.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Nobody’s dead around here. I never felt better in my life.

MEGAN

I was too dependent on Julius.  I just want to be free now.

SALLY

That’s what I like about being involved with my sister’s kids. No husbands, laundry, homework or chickenpox.

Lunch is over. The women are clearing off the table.

SALLY (CONT’D)

What are you going to do with all that freedom?

Megan hesitates and then blurts it out.

MEGAN

I want to get my eyes done. I feel old and worn out.

The ghost of Julius walks out of the room.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

And that, without a doubt, is the stupidest idea you ever had.

Catherine gets up from the table and cleans off her area.

CATHERINE

I am glad to get home to my books and my cat. By the way, I’d like you all to remember Blackie in your prayers.

LINDA

You want us to pray for a cat?

CATHERINE

My vet says he has a tumor. I hope it’s benign.

Megan is going back to work.  She turns to Catherine.

MEGAN

We’ll all keep Blackie in our good thoughts.

CUT TO

EXT. MEGAN’S HOME — A TYPICAL CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD – DAY

Megan lives in a yellow brick, Georgian house, on a small lot.  She has parked her car in the driveway and is walking in the front door with groceries.

CUT TO

INT. ALEX’S ROOM — DAY

A standard teenage room.  Posters. Unmade bed. Clothes on the floor. Megan is knocking on Alex’s door. Rock music is BLASTING.

MEGAN

Alex, could I come in for a minute?

Alex turns off the music and opens the door.

MEGAN (CONT’D)

Look, I want to apologize for what I said about your writing the household checks from now on.

ALEX

I thought it would help you if I did what Dad did.  I know you miss him.

MEGAN

I do, Alie.  But, there’s plenty of time for you to have those responsibilities.

ALEX

I wouldn’t mind doing it.

MEGAN

And I don’t want you to think you have to stay home with me. I want you to go out and have fun.

ALEX

I don’t want you to be alone, Mom.

Alex comes over and gives her a hug.

MEGAN

Please, Alie.  I want you to be a kid.  Just be a kid.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – DEN — NIGHT

Megan is on the telephone with her sister, June.  The ghost of Julius and Danny are listening to the conversation.

MEGAN

June, I keep telling you, Julius is still around. He has something to say to me about everything.  Just like he always did.  I hope I am not going nuts.

(Megan pauses as she listens to her sister)

Alright.  I’ll try to ignore it.

Danny begins lecturing the ghost of Julius.

DANNY

See, you are not supposed to be here. It’s against the rules.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

How did you get to be assigned to me anyway? I’ve avoided sleaseballs like you all my life.

DANNY

Maybe so you’ll learn there are no sleaseballs.  We’re all the same.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Yeah.  Right. What do you know, sleaseball?

CUT TO

EXT- A BUSY STREET IN CHICAGO — DAY

A POLICEMAN has his SIREN on behind Megan’s big Lincoln. She doesn’t stop.  The SIREN continues.  She looks at her rear view mirror, turns around, and motions to the policeman as if to say – ME? She finally stops and pulls over.  The policeman walks to her car.

POLICEMAN

You just made an illegal left turn.  Didn’t you see that sign?

MEGAN

No, I’m sorry officer, I didn’t.

POLICEMAN

Your license plates expired four months ago. And your city sticker expired two months ago.

MEGAN

Oh.

POLICEMAN

I’m going to have to give you three tickets.

MEGAN

My husband died. He always took care of the car.

POLICEMAN

I’m sorry to hear about your husband but you’re going to have to get it together, lady.

MEGAN

Okay. I will

He is writing tickets as he talks.

POLICEMAN

This is none of my business but look at the sticker on your windshield.  You haven’t changed the oil in this car for 6000 miles. You should take care of that.

MEGAN

OK.  I will.

The ghost of Julius is sitting in the back seat of the car as she drives home.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Do you know what those tickets are going to cost me?

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – DEN — AFTERNOON

The ghost of Julius is trying to make a telephone call.  He is pushing the buttons and nothing is happening. Danny is reading the paper.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Hello. Hello. Hello. This stupid phone.

DANNY

Who do you think you’re calling?

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

My lawyer, Sidney. I’m going to have him draw up a living will. I don’t want that burden on Megan in case anything happens to me.  Hello.  Hello.

DANNY

It’s too late for that.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

(trying to dial again)

Hello.  Hello. Damn! I have to talk to Megan about replacing this phone.

DANNY

They can’t hear you, Julius.

CUT TO

INT. BIG WEDDING RECEPTION– NIGHT

Shot of a BRIDE AND GROOM dancing on a crowded dance floor. Megan is all dressed up and sitting alone at a table for ten. Everyone else is dancing.

CUT TO

INT. LUNCH IN A RESTAURANT — DAY

Megan is having lunch with her GIRLFRIEND.

GIRLFRIEND

I know you’ll understand. My table seats ten and if I invite you I’ll waste an empty  chair. And there are those Andersons. I owe them an invitation. You know how it is.

CUT TO

EXT.  ALONG THE LAKEFRONT PATH — DAY

Megan is rollerblading with her friend, ARLENE.

ARLENE

I’m not a bit surprised.  Married women do not want us around.  We’re a threat.

MEGAN

Come on.  These women know I’m not interested in their husbands.  Julius and I have known these couples for years.

ARLENE

Trust me.  Look, here’s the formula.  If you want to see them, entertain. If you invite them twice, they will feel obligated to invite you once.

MEGAN

That’s terrible. I always included you.  You’re single.

The ghost of Julius and Danny are also on rollerblades struggling to keep up with the women.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Hey!  Wait up.  You’re going too fast.

The women quickly leave them behind. The ghost of Julius calls out after them.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS (CONT’D)

I always told you those people were a waste of time.

DANNY

This is very dangerous.  I’m going to end up in a hospital with this booking.

CUT TO

EXT. A GARDEN SUPPLY CENTER — DAY

Megan is conferring with a salesman.

MEGAN

Could give me some advice? These Impatiens say shade and the Geraniums say sun.  Can I plant them together?

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Put those red geraniums back.  We had red last year.  We’ll have pink this year.

CUT TO

PARKING LOT

Megan is loading the trunk of her car with pink geraniums.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – LIVING ROOM — DAY

Megan is talking to her friend, JOHNNY, who is an interior decorator. They are in the living room which has dark walls and heavy red velvet drapes.  Johnny has paint chips and he is holding them up to the wall.

MEGAN

I want everything light, Johnny.  I want a big change.  And I always hated these drapes.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

That color is too light. And what’s wrong with the drapes?

MEGAN

(to the ghost)

Did I ask your opinion?

JOHNNY

Who are you talking to?

MEGAN

To Julius. Who else?

Johnny does a double take at that statement.

JOHNNY

Maybe we should take a break and have a martini now. Or have you started without me?

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – BACK OFFICE — DAY

The women are opening cartons of Thai food.  There is a ROAR of a motorcycle outside.

CUT TO

EXT.–OUTSIDE THE AGENCY — DAY

Annie gets off a Harley chopper from behind a leather-jacketed man. He leans over and kisses her. Then he whacks her on the behind.  She laughs and enters the office.

CUT TO

BACK OFFICE

Annie walks back to the lunch area.

ANNIE

Sorry I’m late. I was detained against my will.

SALLY

Until lunchtime?

ANNIE

I’ll make it up, Megan.  I’ll stay late.

MEGAN

Anyway, as I was saying.  I was thinking about taking a cruise. We just got a very reasonable offer to the Caribbean. What do you think?

CATHERINE

I think you should do it.  Just do it.  You haven’t been anywhere for a long time.

MEGAN

I’m going to do it.

The ghost of Julius and Danny have arrived in the office to hear the last of the conversation.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Good idea.  I could use a vacation.

DANNY

This is not part of my contract. I hate water.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Who invited you?

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – BEDROOM — AFTERNOON

A sunburned Megan is unpacking her suitcase in her bedroom and putting things away.  She is talking to her sister June on a portable phone.

MEGAN

I had a horrible time.  The ship was full of widows.  They sat us together.  And every single one of us had sequin dresses.

She takes a sequin dress out of the suitcase and hangs it in the closet.

DISSOLVE TO

INT. AT DINNER ON THE SHIP — NIGHT

Ten WIDOWS at the table.  Pan over to another table.  And another.  All women gowned in sequin dresses.

MEGAN

This is my first trip alone.  It’s an experience.

WIDOW ONE

You’ll get used to it.  I felt that way when Harry first passed on.

The widow dismisses Megan with that remark. The women go on with their conversation.

WIDOW TWO

I want to tell you girls about the darling camel seat I got in St. Thomas today.

WIDOW THREE

What did you pay for it?

WIDOW TWO

It took me an hour of bargaining but I got him down to $19.00.

WIDOW THREE

I bought one right on the pier in San Juan yesterday for $15.00.

WIDOW FOUR

When I was on Royal Viking Lines a few years ago I saw them in Tangier for $10.00.

She is studying the menu.

WIDOW FOUR (CONT’D)

So what are we going to have for dessert? I think I’ll order all of them.

WIDOW FIVE

We need our strength for jewelry at H. Stern in Caracas tomorrow.

WIDOW ONE

The sea air is shrinking all my clothes.

WIDOW SIX

I always wear my thin clothes first.   Are we playing bridge tonight?

WIDOW SEVEN

I’m going up to the nightclub and heckle that terrible magician. He’s very attractive.

Megan tries to get into the conversation.

MEGAN

Is there dancing after the show?

WIDOW SIX

Don’t be delusional. The captain is a drunk.  The cruise staff is gay. And the officers won’t dance with you unless you are under 30.

WIDOW SEVEN

You want to dance?  Go back to Chicago.  Find yourself a nice guy and bring him with you next time.

WIDOW EIGHT

You’ll learn.  A woman without a man is a terrible thing.

CUT TO

EXT. OUTSIDE DECK OF THE SHIP — DAY

Megan is sitting on the deck reading. A WOMAN approaches.

WOMAN

Is anyone sitting here?

MEGAN

No, please sit down.

Woman settles down with her things and starts applying sunblock.

WOMAN

Are you traveling alone?

MEGAN

Yes. I’m a new widow. I hate it.

WOMAN

I remember those days myself.  It’s hard to start a whole new life.  But, let me give you a little advice.  Start.

MEGAN

I don’t even know where to start.

The ghost of Julius is in his bathing suit sunning himself on a deck chair.  He is wearing a Panama hat and sunglasses.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

You could start by growing up, you know.

Danny is sitting on a deck chair next to the ghost of Julius in his wrinkled suit.  He is wearing sunglasses and his hat is pulled down over his eyes.  He is fanning himself.  His cellphone is ringing.

DANNY

Where am I?  On a stinking ship in the middle of an ocean for Chrissakes!   This humidity is killing me.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Who was that?

DANNY

It’s the Committee chairman. You’re still showing absent on his computer printout and he is hopping mad.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Tell him to scratch me off his list.    They are not taking me alive.

FADE OUT

ACT 2

FADE IN:

INT.  A BOARD MEETING ON THE OTHER SIDE — DAY

Fade up from a white screen to a conference room.  Pan a group of shadowy white figures who are sitting around a table covered with a white tablecloth. Danny is sitting at the far end of the table. Close shot on the CHAIRMAN who is also in white with a long white beard.

CHAIRMAN

We’ve had a good week.  All except you, Danny.  Where is Julius?

DANNY

This is the toughest booking of my career, Chief.

CHAIRMAN

Have you told him that he will be happier with us here?

DANNY

This guy will not accept his life is over. He thinks he can get back into it and do things over.

CHAIRMAN

You’ve got a clock on you, Danny. Get it done.

CUT TO

EXT.  LA SALLE STREET – CHICAGO – MORNING

The ghost of Julius is entering a large office building. He is wearing a suit and tie and carrying a briefcase. Danny runs in behind him.

DANNY

Where are you going?

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

To my office, stupid.  I’ve been out sick.  God knows what they’ve done with my clients.

DANNY

I wouldn’t advise it.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Who asked you for advice?

CUT TO

INT.– OFFICE BUILDING

They are now ascending in a crowded elevator.

DANNY

You’re not going to like what you find.  Trust me.

They get off the elevator and the ghost of Julius greets the receptionist at the front desk of his office.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Good morning, Helen.

The receptionist does not hear him.  They walk through the office.  The ghost of Julius greets several people on the way.  No one responds.  He paused at the door of an office and inspects the nameplate.  It is not his.  JOHN, a young  stockbroker,is sitting at Julius’ desk talking on the telephone.

JOHN

OK, George, I’ll sell the T-bills and buy Microsoft for you today.

The ghost of Julius steps up to the desk and wags his finger in John’s face.  John does not flinch.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Hey, that’s my client you’re talking to! Don’t you dare sell his T-bills.  You’re churning him.

DANNY

He can’t hear you, Julius. Let’s go.

John hangs up the phone and calls out to ALICE, the assistant.  He picks up a small box from the floor.

JOHN

Alice, when are you going to get this junk out of my office?

Alice enters the room.

ALICE

I’ll send it out to Julius’ wife later today.

JOHN

Not that she needs any more reminders of that pompous ass. What was his problem, anyway?

ALICE

He was an okay guy, John.  He sure loved his kid.

JOHN

His kid belongs to an elite club.  Julius was a professional stockbroker but an amateur human being.

Alice’s phone is RINGING.  She hurries out to answer it.  John idly rummages through the box, takes out a gold pen, looks at it, shrugs and puts it in his desk drawer.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Look at that, Danny.  The guy is a thief!

DANNY

See?  I told you not to come here.

A dejected ghost of Julius slowly walks out of the office.   He and Danny get into the elevator.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

You don’t know who your friends are until you’re half dead.

DANNY

You’re completely dead.

They walk out of the elevator.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I‘m coming back. see?  And you’re going to help me.

Danny looks upward toward heaven.

DANNY

Oy!  Why me?

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – DINING ROOM – MORNING

Alex is having breakfast. Megan has a thick sheaf of papers and she is intently filling them out.

ALEX

What are all those papers, Mom?

MEGAN

It’s an application the Veterans Administration sent me.

ALEX

What are you applying for?

MEGAN

I have no idea.

ALEX

Then why are you doing all that work?

MEGAN

Your Dad was in their Navy. You never know.  We might be entitled to something.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MAIN OFFICE — DAY

Megan is walking in the office.

SALLY

Annie is in your office.  She’s upset. The church canceled the Rome tour.

CUT TO

MEGAN’S OFFICE

Annie is sitting on a chair in front of Megan’s desk and is SOBBING.

MEGAN

Maybe we can offer them another destination.  A lot of European tours are being canceled.

ANNIE

The priest said they were not going anywhere. 40 people, Megan.  I was counting on this commission.

MEGAN

I know. So was I. It is a big loss in revenue for the agency.

ANNIE

Maybe I should get out of travel and go back to teaching kindergarten.

MEGAN

This business is getting tougher and tougher every day.

CUT TO

INT. CHURCH MEETING ROOM — NIGHT

A sign on the front door reads, “St. Jude’s Widows Support Group.”

GREETER AT THE DOOR

It’s nice to meet you, Megan.  How long have you been a widow?

MEGAN

It’s been a little while now.

GREETER

Oh, I’m sorry you didn’t come sooner.

CUT TO

MEETING ROOM

About twelve older women sitting in chairs with desk arms.  Some are crying. The SPEAKER is on the podium.

SPEAKER

Good evening ladies.  Are you all set for our program?  Now, each of you have a sample check in front of you. Have you got it? Does everyone have a pen?  Good.  Now let’s start from the top.  Fill in the date.  Now go down to where it says “Pay to the order of.”  That’s where you put in the person or business you are paying. After that you write in the amount in figures.

The woman sitting next to Megan fills out her check and compares it with Megan’s to see if it is correct.

SPEAKER (CONT’D)

Now here’s the tricky part.  Look at the next line.  It ends in “dollars.”

CUT BACK TO FRONT DOOR

Megan is trying to slip out quietly. The greeter stops her.

GREETER

Are you leaving?

MEGAN

Yes, I have to go.  I have an early appointment tomorrow.

GREETER

Oh, I’m so sorry.  You’ll be missing “The Mystery of the Bank Statement.” It’s just fascinating.

MEGAN

Perhaps another time.

The ghost of Julius is pulling on his camel hair coat.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

(directing his comment to the Greeter who does not hear him))

I always handle the bank statements anyway.

CUT TO

INT. HEALTH CLUB — DAY –

Megan is stretching out on a mat with two WOMEN club members.

FIRST WOMAN

It cost Sylvia $30,000.00 but I’ll tell you, her own mother wouldn’t  recognize her.  She had EVERYTHING done – face – boobs – tummy tuck and a fanny lift.

SECOND WOMAN

I hear she is dating a 38 year architect. She’s 60 if she is a day.

MEGAN

It sure would be nice to have that kind of money.

The ghost of Julius is standing nearby in his designer sweats.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Why do you waste your time with those stupid broads?

Megan gets off the mat and starts running on the treadmill. The ghost of Julius gets on the treadmill next to her.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS (CONT’D)

OK.  I’m going to give you a break.  Call Alice at the brokerage house and put in a buy order for 200 shares of IBM at 118.  As soon as it hits, tell her to put in a sell order at 130.

MEGAN

Can I be hearing this?

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Just do what I tell you for a change.  But don’t be a greedy. Sell at 130. The roof on our house needs work.

CUT TO

TRAVEL AGENCY – BACK OFFICE – SAME DAY

Lunchtime.

MEGAN

I’m telling you.  That’s what I heard.  I think I’m going to do it.

SALLY

Here’s a paper.  Let’s look it up.

They all examine the stock prices in the Chicago Tribune.

SALLY (CONT’D)

This is crazy, Megan.  IBM is selling at 150.  Your broker is going to laugh at you.

ANNIE

I think she should do it.

MEGAN

I’m going to call Alice right now.

Megan leaves the lunchroom to call Alice.

HARRIET

Everyone is hearing voices around here. Maybe we should check with Shelley. He knows about –

Catherine interrupts.

CATHERINE

If I can get recipes, why can’t she get a stock tip?

LINDA

(sarcastically)

Maybe we’d do more business around here doing seances.

Megan returns to the lunchroom.

MEGAN

The order is in.

SALLY

Did she think you were crazy?

MEGAN

She said if anyone could get a message out from the grave it would be Julius.

CUT TO THE MAIN OFFICE

The ghost of Julius is standing outside the doorway and has been overseeing the transaction. Danny is with him.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Grave?  What grave?  I’ve got a good thirty years left in me.

DANNY

Not on this side you don’t.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I’ve made mistakes. I have to do some things over.

DANNY

You don’t understand.  You can’t change the past. It’s over.

The women are filing out of the lunchroom to go back to work.

SALLY

By the way, Megan. The Green couple called. I think they are going to buy that World Cruise.

CUT TO

MAIN OFFICE – LATER

Megan is walking an elegantly dressed couple to the door.

MEGAN

Send us postcards.  Have a wonderful time on your cruise. It’s going to be so exciting.

The couple leave. Megan takes a key out of her pocket and quickly locks the door to the agency. She picks up the phone on Sally’s desk.

MEGAN (CONT’D)

This is Megan at the travel agency on Lincoln.  Could you send someone over?  We have a lot of cash to take to the bank.

CUT TO

EXT. A POLICE CAR PULLS UP — DAY

Annie and Linda walk out of the agency and get in Linda’s car.  They follow the police car which has his SIREN on.  When they get to the bank, Annie gets out and goes into the bank while the ERIC, the policeman waits outside.  Annie comes out of the bank.

ANNIE

Thanks for the escort.  I don’t think I’ve seen you before. Are you new in the precinct?

ERIC

Yes. Just got out of the academy.  I’m Eric.

ANNIE

Well, hello Eric.  I’m Annie.

CUT TO

INT. LINDA’S CAR

Linda and Annie are riding back in the car to the agency.

ANNIE

That new cop is kinda cute.  But, Linda, I never saw so much money at one time.  Fifty thousand dollars in cash. And I can’t pay my Visa bill.

LINDA

How come?

ANNIE

I got a $500.00 cash advance. I figured the commission on the church tour would cover it

LINDA

What for?

ANNIE

Don’t say anything but I had to bail  Nick  out of jail.  One of his old girlfriends said he threw her down the stairs.

LINDA

You’ve only known that guy a month.

ANNIE

I believe Nick. I couldn’t let an innocent man sit in jail.

LINDA

Annie?

ANNIE

What?

LINDA

Be careful.

ANNIE

Don’t worry. I always wear a helmet.

CUT TO

EXT. MEGAN’S HOME  –DAY

Megan and a ROOFER are in the back of the house. Megan is at the top of a ladder looking at her roof.  The roofer is holding the ladder steady.

MEGAN

What am I supposed to be looking at?

ROOFER

Do you see those cracks?

MEGAN

I see a black roof with some stones on it.

ROOFER

Look over to the right.  Don’t you see those long cracks?

MEGAN

Not really.  Is that what’s causing the leak?

ROOFER

Yes.  We have to tear the whole thing off and put new paper and tar and gravel.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

This guy is a thief.  Get another estimate.

Megan is still on the ladder.  She looks at the roof and then at the roofer.

MEGAN

I’m a little confused about this.  I’ll have to let you know.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME- BASEMENT — DAY

A SERVICEMAN has his head in the dryer.  There are parts all over the floor.

SERVICEMAN

Well, this one is dead.  The motor is shot.

MEGAN

Can you fix it?

SERVICEMAN

We could put in a new motor.  It would be about $200.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

You don’t fix a dryer that is 20 years old. Buy a new dryer.

MEGAN

Maybe I should just get a new dryer.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

What would you do without me?

CUT TO

EXT. A GARAGE– DAY

A MECHANIC is looking under the hood of Megan’s car.

MEGAN

It’s stalling.  If I stop at a light, it dies.  If I stop at a stop sign, it dies. It needs a little adjustment.

MECHANIC

I think we have big problems here. You may even need an overhaul.

Megan hesitates before responding.  She is suspicious.

MEGAN

I’m going to have to talk to my husband about that.

MECHANIC

I thought you told me your husband died.

MEGAN

Well, he kinda died.

The ghost of Julius is walking around the car kicking the tires.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Another thief.  Take the car to the dealerAt least they are high class crooks.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MEGAN’S OFFICE–DAY

ALAN, the accountant, walks in to Megan’s office with spreadsheets and sits down.

MEGAN

So, how bad do things look?

ALAN

The quarter is not good. I don’t see any invoices here for Acme Press. What happened to them?

MEGAN

They have a moratorium on salesman travel right now.

ALAN

How’s the fall shaping up?

MEGAN

We’ve had some cancellations.  But we’re hoping things will get better.

I sold a World Cruise this week.

ALAN

You’re going to have to put some money in here again to keep the agency going.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

If you had built an organization like I told you – you wouldn’t be in this mess.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME- BATHROOM – NIGHT

Megan is in a bubble bath.  Her eyes are covered with a cloth.  An audio TAPE is playing in a portable radio on the floor.

TAPE

More and more.  I appreciate the abundance all around me.

More and more.  I give thanks for the abundance I already have.  More and more. I see more abundance coming in.  More and more.  The abundance overwhelms me with its goodness.

The ghost of Julius sticks his head in the doorway. He is in green silk pajamas.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Did you ever think of making money the old fashioned way?  Like earning it?

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME -DEN — SUNDAY MORNING

A quiet Sunday morning at home. Megan is reading the Chicago Tribune in her chair.  Danny is standing reading the Hollywood Reporter. The ghost of Julius is reading the New York Times on the couch. Alex is sitting on the other side of the couch studying.

ALEX

Listen to this, Mom. Thoreau wrote it. It’s from Walden.  “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Mom, are you listening?

MEGAN

(trying to concentrate on her paper)

Yes, I’m listening, Alex. That’s really beautiful.

ALEX

Dad said he was paying big numbers for my education and I wouldn’t make a dime studying philosophy.

The ghost of Julius looks up from his paper.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Listen, son, I’m changing.  I want whatever makes you happy.

Alex does not hear him but looks thoughtful.

ALEX

I want to study things that will benefit my whole life. I’ll think about money later.

MEGAN

Your Dad was always saving for retirement. It was his way of loving us.

Alex picks up his books and walks out of the room.

ALEX

He never got to retire.  I’m not going to live like that.

The ghost of Julius turns to Danny.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

What a wonderful kid.  That’s why I have to come back.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MAIN OFFICE — DAY

Megan is arriving at the office

SALLY

You’ve got a call on line 2.  I think it’s your broker.

CUT TO

MEGAN’S OFFICE

MEGAN

(on the phone)

Oh, my God, Alice. It really happened? I can’t believe it… No, I don’t want to buy anything else…  No, he didn’t give me any more messages.  Just send me a check.

CUT BACK TO

MAIN OFFICE

Megan runs out to tell Sally.

MEGAN

Sally.  Can you believe it?  It happened just like he said. I made almost $5000.

CUT TO

BACK OFFICE – LUNCHTIME

Everyone is very excited about Megan’s good fortune.

CATHERINE

See, Sally.  I told you.  You can get messages.  Just like I told you.

SALLY

Don’t lecture me. Today I’m a believer. Let me know if you get any more stock tips.

ANNIE

I wish I had some money to invest.

HARRIET

I told Shelley about it. I told him, Shelley, let’s take a chance.  Shelley, let’s do it.

LINDA

I don’t need investments.  My lawyer just found bank accounts in Switzerland and in Cayman. That bastard was hiding a lot of money.

CATHERINE

So what are you going to do with the money, Megan?

MEGAN

Well …

(smiling)

I called the plastic surgeon. I’m going to have my eyes lifted.

SALLY

You are serious.

MEGAN

This windfall is found money.  And it is going to give me a whole new outlook on life!

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Found money?  Found money? Who do you think found it?  What about the roof?

Danny has arrived in the office. The ghost of Julius is surprised to see him.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS (CONT’D)

I thought you left.

DANNY

I’m in and out.  There’s no money on the other side you know.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

No money?  How do people live?

DANNY

They don’t live.  They’re dead.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I don’t get it.

DANNY

You’ll learn that wealth is in your mind and your heart.  And being grateful for what you have.

Not in getting things.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

How do you learn that?

DANNY

Study.  Then you get a new life on earth and can practice.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I need a new life now. Today.

DANNY

Are you kidding me?  With your record, you’ll be learning lessons for a hundred years before they let you come back.

FADE OUT

ACT 3

FADE IN:

INT. MEGAN’S HOME -UPSTAIRS OFFICE — NIGHT

Alex is in the upstairs study doing his homework. Megan walks in.

MEGAN

Alex, I’ve been thinking.  Why don’t we sell this house and get a condo downtown?

ALEX

Would we live near the lake?

MEGAN

Yes.  We could live on Lake Shore Drive.

ALEX

That would be great.  I wouldn’t have to cut the grass anymore.

CUT TO

INT. IN THE CAR — DAY

Megan is driving Alex to school.

MEGAN

You know if I sold the travel agency, we could move to California.

ALEX

Boy, it sure would be great to get out of the snow in the winter.

MEGAN

And you could transfer to USC.

ALEX

That would be cool.

CUT TO

EXT. MEGAN’S HOME – IN THE DRIVEWAY–DAY

Alex is helping Megan bring in some groceries.

MEGAN

You know with your good grades, I bet you could get into Oxford.

ALEX

England?

MEGAN

Yes.  We could try it for a year. I could sell the agency.  There’s nothing keeping us in Chicago.

ALEX

We could visit Liverpool where the Beatles came from.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – DINING ROOM –NIGHT

Megan and Alex are having dinner.

MEGAN

It’s so flat here in Chicago.  Everywhere you go. Just flat.

ALEX

It’s the Midwest.

MEGAN

I was thinking how nice it would be to live in the mountains. Like Boulder, Colorado.  There’s a wonderful university there.

ALEX

You are driving me crazy, Mom.

MEGAN

What do you mean?

ALEX

Every day you want to move to a different place.

MEGAN

I need a change in my life.

Alex starts clearing the table.

ALEX

When the moving van pulls up to the front door, let me know where we’re going.

The ghost of Julius is reading his paper at the table.  He looks up over his half glasses. Danny is sitting next to him.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

We’re not moving anywhere.  We are staying right here.  We have too many memories here.

DANNY

How many times do I have to tell you you don’t live here anymore?

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MAIN OFFICE– DAY

There is a CLIENT seated at Linda’s desk with a very large, green PARROT perched on his arm.  She is talking to Delta Airlines.

LINDA

The Delta supervisor says you will have to buy him a seat if you want to take him to Florida on the plane.

Linda looks at him sternly.

LINDA (CONT’D)

And he has to be in a cage.

CLIENT

Even if he pays for his own seat?

LINDA

Yes.

CLIENT

Well, it is important that he goes to the funeral.

LINDA

What name should I put on the ticket?

CLIENT

Lucky.

LINDA

Lucky?

CLIENT

Lucky Shapiro.  Just like my cousin.

Linda gets up to pull the tickets off the machine and complete the transaction.  In the meantime, the other women are talking to clients on the telephone.

HARRIET

The room is $75.00.  A nice hotel.  Shelley and I stayed there…

CATHERINE

I can deliver your ticket.  Tell me how to get there making all right hand turns.

SALLY

What do you mean you missed the ship? No, they do not wait for people….

HARRIET

I said to the woman, I want to be up where I can see the river and she said for the river she gets $95.00. And I said no river’s worth it to me…

SALLY

You will have to fly to St. Maarten. They will not pay your airfare.  You are supposed to be there when the ship sails.

The client and the parrot are leaving. The parrot breaks his silence and starts SHRIEKING.

PARROT

HEY! YOU BITCH! JERK! JACKASS!

The women are laughing

ANNIE

The passengers on that flight are in for a surprise.

LINDA

He told me the parrot was his cousin’s “only child,” so I decided to make the effort to get it approved.

SALLY

There are a million stories in this agency every day.

CUT TO

INT. OFFICE BUILDING — DAY

Shot of sign on glass door as Megan enters a local office of the Veterans Administration.  There are several people waiting.  She takes a number from the counter and sits down.

CUT TO

DESK OF COUNSELOR

A WOMAN COUNSELOR is writing as Megan sits down and then looks up.

WOMAN COUNSELOR

What can I do for you?

Megan nervously takes a letter out of her purse.

MEGAN

Months ago, you made me fill out 60  pages of forms. Today I got a letter from you saying I do not qualify for benefits because my income is $170,000.00

WOMAN COUNSELOR

I did not make you fill out forms.  I did not write you the letter.  That came from Washington.

MEGAN

I just want to know where you found that money.

WOMAN COUNSELOR

You will have to write to Washington.

CUT TO

TRAVEL OFFICE – FRONT OFFICE — DAY

Sally has a MAN WITH A YARMULKE on his head at her desk.  She is handing him his ticket.

MAN WITH A YARMULKE

So, by the way, do you cook?

SALLY

Do you mean do I keep kosher?

MAN WITH A YARMULKE

Yes.

SALLY

Not any more.

MAN WITH A YARMULKE

We have a nice singles group at our temple.  Maybe you could come sometime.

SALLY

I’m pretty busy.

CUT TO THE LUNCHROOM

After the client leaves, Sally walks back to the lunchroom where the women are just finishing lunch.

ANNIE

That guy was definitely hitting on you.

SALLY

I’m not interested.  I’m through with slavery.

LINDA

There aren’t any good men out there.

Harriet is finishing her sandwich.

HARRIET

Shelley says lawyers are the worst.   They just want to win the case.

Sally gets up to look for a file in the file cabinet.

SALLY

I can tell you doctors are cheap. And they think they are God.  Even at home.

Linda adds another comment.

LINDA

Blue collar workers are too poor.  And real estate or salesmen of any kind have no stable salary. Who wants to support these guys?

Catherine is wiping off the table with a paper towel.

CATHERINE:

The men who come in here from the corporations are all the same. Put them in a bottle. Shake them up. You pour out clones.

Annie is reapplying her lipstick.

ANNIE

And workaholics  –

They have the money, but no time.

They are terrible in bed.

Linda sums it all up as she leaves the room.

LINDA

Like I said.  There’s nobody out there.

The ghost of Julius is leaning against the wall, nodding approvingly. Danny is with him.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

That’s because the good ones are all dead!

DANNY

Are you actually going to admit that?

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME — MORNING

Megan is in the front hall in her bathrobe. Alex has his coat on and is swinging his book bag over his shoulder. He is on his way to classes.

ALEX

What are they going to do to you in the hospital?

MEGAN

A little procedure.  A nothing.  I’m taking the bus downtown today.

ALEX

Should I worry?

MEGAN

Of course not.  For some stupid reason I have to spend the night.

ALEX

Call me when you are through and I’ll come down and pick you up.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MEGAN’S OFFICE — LUNCHTIME

Megan is in her office.  Mike the delivery man comes in.  He is holding a box of sandwiches.

MIKE

Do you like fish?

MEGAN

(wondering)

Yeah, I like fish.

MIKE

I’m going to Dore County this weekend to fish.  Wanna come?

MEGAN

I don’t like to know fish personally.

MIKE

That’s what I like about you.  You’re funny.

(pauses)

I could bring some food from the deli.

MEGAN

No thanks, Mike.  I’m still not ready.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MAIN OFFICE — SAME AFTERNOON

Megan is leaving the office to get the bus downtown to the hospital.

MEGAN

I check in to the hospital this afternoon and then tomorrow is the eyelift.

SALLY

Are you nervous?

MEGAN

Of course not. It’s a nothing!

CUT TO

INT. HOSPITAL — AFTERNOON

Shot of Megan getting off an elevator the eighth floor. He has some papers in her hand.  She checks in with a receptionist.

DISSOLVE TO

Megan is in the X-RAY department having a chest X-RAY.

DISSOLVE TO

A technician is taking blood samples.

DISSOLVE TO

Megan is on a table having an EKG.

MEGAN

Are you sure my doctor ordered all these tests? You know I’m not having brain surgery.

The ghost of Julius and Danny are sitting in the waiting room.  The ghost of Julius is reading People magazine.

DANNY

Let’s get out of here.  I hate hospitals.  I’m starting to feel faint.

CUT TO

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM — SAME AFTERNOON

Megan is in a hospital gown and sitting up in bed. Arlene is pouring cocktails into glasses and arranging some snacks on the bed tray.

MEGAN

They are making such a fuss here. So many tests.

An oriental RESIDENT doctor comes in with a clipboard.

RESIDENT

I have a few questions for you.

MEGAN

You know, I have company right now. Check with the people on the eighth floor. They have all the answers you need.

The Resident sits down anyway.

ARLENE

(CLICKING glasses with Megan)

Well, here’s to looking at the new you!

RESIDENT

When did you first notice your condition?

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOSPITAL ROOM — MORNING

Megan is talking to Sally on the telephone.

MEGAN

I didn’t sleep a wink with the racket they make around here. And at these prices, they do not even include breakfast.

An ORDERLY is arriving with a stretcher.

MEGAN (CONT’D)

The Olson’s are leaving for Paris tonight. I forgot to get them seats on Air France.

ORDERLY

You have to go now.

MEGAN

Get them seats as far forward as possible. You know how claustrophobic she is.

ORDERLY

They want you to come now.

MEGAN

Can you wait minute? And order Mrs. Olson a seafood platter.

ORDERLY

I’ll help you on the stretcher.

MEGAN

This is business.

She is on the stretcher now.

MEGAN (CONT’D)

And order Mr. Olson a vegetarian meal.

The orderly takes the phone away from her, hangs it up and wheels her out.

CUT TO

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM — AFTERNOON

Megan is in bed in her hospital room after the eyelift. She has icepacks on her eyes. A NURSE is taking her pulse.

NURSE

Your doctor wants you to go to the bathroom.

The nurse helps her to get out of bed.

MEGAN

I can go by myself.

She nearly falls.  The nurse supports her and they slowly walk to the bathroom. She accidentally looks at herself in the mirror

MEGAN (CONT’D)

OH MY GOD! IS THAT ME? WHAT DID HE DO TO ME?

Her eyes are almost swollen shut.  She has black stitches above and below her eyes.

MEGAN (CONT’D)

WHY DIDN’T ANYBODY TELL ME THIS WAS AN OPERATION?

DISSOLVE TO

A few hours later.  Megan is sitting up having lunch.

Her DOCTOR comes in.

DOCTOR

Megan, it went fine. You can go home this afternoon.

MEGAN

I think you should tell your people that this procedure involves cutting.

CUT TO

EXT. OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL  –LATE AFTERNOON

Alex is picking his mother up. A nurse is delivering Megan to the car in a wheelchair.  She gets out and throws her overnight bag into the back seat.

ALEX

You look really bad, Mom.

She doesn’t answer.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – DEN — NIGHT

Megan is looking in a hand mirror she has propped on the end table.  She is applying ice packs to her eyes and talking  on the telephone to her attorney, SIDNEY.

MEGAN

Sidney, I think we have a lawsuit here….  Yes, I  signed papers. A lot of papers.

(pause)

Sidney, you are not being supportive.

She hangs up on Sidney and dials Sally at home.

MEGAN (CONT’D)

The way I look I don’t think I will be back to work for a year.

The ghost of Julius is sitting on the couch.  He gets up and turns on the TV.  He is in his white dinner jacket and has a martini in his hand.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Just look what you’ve done to yourself! And the roof is still leaking.

Today Megan is in no mood to ignore him. She yells at him.

MEGAN

You can’t stay here anymore, Julius.

Megan walks out of the room and returns with more ice.

MEGAN (CONT’D)

You can’t sleep on your side of the bed – watch TV here – or pick out the flowers for the yard. It’s time for you to go away now.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

If it wasn’t for me –

He is slowly lighting his cigar. He puffs, then studies the ash.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS (CONT’D)

you’d be working in a 5 and 10 cent store in Brooklyn.

MEGAN

It’s where I’m going that counts.

Danny walks into the room, fanning himself.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Oh no! You again! You’re haunting me.

DANNY

Do you have to smoke that stinky cigar in the house?

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

This is a Cuban cigar, moron.  You have a peasant nose.

Danny’s cellphone is ringing.

DANNY

OK. OK.  I’ll come in. Get me a podiatrist appointment. My feet are killing me.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

What was that all about?

DANNY

They’re threatening to put me back in the Production Department.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

The movies?

DANNY

No.  Babies.  The crying drove me crazy. I could lose my job over you.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Get out of here and don’t come back.

DANNY

You’ll get me or somebody else.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Tell the Committee one message for me.  I am willing to change.  I can’t leave yet.

DANNY

It’s too  late for this time, Julius.  You can’t go back.

FADE OUT

ACT 4

FADE IN:

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MEGAN’S OFFICE — DAY

A CLIENT is  picking up her tickets.

CLIENT

Well, I have to say. For only two weeks you look terrific.

MEGAN

Thanks.  It’s given me a whole new attitude.

CLIENT

I need a few tucks. I just haven’t had the nerve. Maybe when I get back from my trip.

MEGAN

Go to my doctor.  He’s expensive.  But I always say go to Filene’s Basement for your clothes.  Not your face.

CLIENT

Did it hurt?

MEGAN

Believe me when I tell you.  It’s a NOTHING!

CUT TO

INT. OFFICE BUILDING — DAY

Megan is entering the office of the Veterans Administration.  She has two letters in her hand. She gets a number from the counter and sits down and waits for her number to be called.

CUT TO

MALE COUNSELORS DESK

Megan sits down at a MALE COUNSELOR’S desk.

MALE COUNSELOR

What can I do for you?

Megan shows him the first letter.

MEGAN

You told me in this letter I didn’t qualify for benefits because I had an income of $170,000.00

MALE COUNSELOR

I didn’t tell you anything.  That’s a letter from Washington.

MEGAN

I got a second letter today.  It says I don’t qualify because I make over $4200.00

MALE COUNSELOR

That’s the rule.

MEGAN

I don’t care about the benefit rule. This is what I want to know. Would you mind telling me where the other $165,000.00 you found went?

MALE COUNSELOR

I didn’t find it.  You’ll have to contact Washington.

Megan is angry.

MEGAN

You people are very uncooperative!

I and my whole family pay taxes in this country! I am going to hand this over right away to my attorney!

MALE COUNSELOR

Tell your attorney to contact Washington.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MAIN OFFICE–DAY

Annie is coming in late.  She has a black eye.

HARRIET

My God, Annie!  What happened to you? Look at your face!

ANNIE

A stupid thing. I got up in the middle of the night and I ran into a door.

HARRIET

That’s terrible. You poor thing.

DISSOLVE TO

BACK OFFICE –LUNCH

HARRIET

You need to get some nightlights.  Shelley says that most accidents happen at home –

LINDA

(interrupting)

Annie?

ANNIE

What?

LINDA

I have an extra bedroom.  Come and stay with me for a while.

CATHERINE

I bet you have nightlights.

LINDA

I do.

ANNIE

Give me some time to think about it.

CUT TO

INT. A NIGHTCLUB — NIGHT

It is crowded. A BAND is playing love songs. Megan is sitting at the bar with her girlfriend, Arlene.

MEGAN

So this is the Over 35 Singles group.  I don’t know, Arlene.  These people look a lot older than 35 to me.

An ELDERLY MAN is walking in. He is limping.

MEGAN (CONT’D)

Look at that guy coming in. He’s ancient

ARLENE

Well, you said that you wanted to start getting out. Sometimes there’s a younger crowd.

MEGAN

Tonight doesn’t seem to be the night.

The elderly man is tapping Megan on her shoulder

ELDERLY MAN

Would you like to dance?

MEGAN

You dance?

ELDERLY MAN

This is a nice slow number.

DISSOLVE TO

DANCE FLOOR

Megan is dancing with the elderly man. He puts both arms around her and starts pawing her from behind. She pulls away from him.

MEGAN

Look, you’re going to have to excuse me.  I have to go to the ladies room.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MAIN OFFICE– DAY

Thai food is being delivered today. MR. CHUAN, the owner of the restaurant, is delivering the lunch.  He collects the money and keeps looking toward the open door to Megan’s office.

CUT TO

MEGAN’S OFFICE

Mr. Chuan enters and bows politely.

MR. CHUAN

Sorry for trouble.  You no more married lady?

MEGAN

No, Mr. Chuan.  I’m not married anymore.

MR. CHUAN

Wife die.  Long time now, Chuan no wife. You like married?

Megan bows back.

MEGAN

Like marry someday. Not ready now.

MR. CHUAN

Maybe later I ask again.

CUT TO

BACK OFFICE – LUNCH

Megan finally arrives in the lunchroom.  She has had a busy morning.

SALLY

All our delivery men are in love with you.

MEGAN

Other than our clients, they are the only men in my life.

SALLY

Why don’t you put a personal ad in the paper?

MEGAN

I couldn’t do that.  I wouldn’t know what to say.

SALLY

We’ll all write it together.  It’ll be fun.

LINDA

Don’t tell the truth. Nobody will answer.

ANNIE

As soon as I wrote I liked motorcycles, I got plenty of answers.

HARRIET

I’ll ask Shelley what to say –

LINDA

Make sure you say “financially secure.”  Of course they lie.

CATHERINE

If I was in the market, I would do it.

LINDA

And don’t mention the kid.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S CAR – DAY

Megan is driving to a restaurant for a lunch date.

VOICE OVER BY MEGAN

So I made the decision to get out and find someone. I was finally ready.  I had no idea of how many frogs there were out there and how hard it was going to be to locate one measly prince.

CUT TO

INT.  A RESTAURANT — DAY

Megan enters an upscale restaurant. There are flowers on the tables and cozy red leather booths. She looks around for HENRY, her lunch date. Henry approaches Megan and they sit down at one of the booths.

VOICE OVER BY MEGAN

My lawyer, Sidney, fixed me up with this date. He told me his client, Henry, was a really nice guy.

MEGAN

So you know Sidney. He’s been our attorney for years.

(to the waitress who is standing by the table)

I think I’ll have the tuna salad plate and a Diet Coke.

HENRY

That sounds good to me too.

MEGAN

Why don’t you start by telling me a little about yourself?

HENRY

Well, I was born in Iowa.  No, wait a minute.  I want to back up and tell you how my parents met. That’s an interesting story.

Time lapse. The tuna salad is served.

HENRY (CONT’D)

My mother always favored my brother and I think that probably contributed to my emotional problems.

Time lapse. The tuna salad has been eaten.

HENRY (CONT’D)

I almost skipped telling you about my kindergarten teacher, Miss Curtis.

Time lapse. The Diet Coke is finished.

HENRY (CONT’D)

Chicken pox was the worst, unless you want to count the tonsillectomy.

MEGAN

(to the waitress)

No, I’m fine. I’ve had enough Coke.

HENRY

My first date stood me up. Why do women do things like that?

MEGAN

(interrupting)

I have to get back to the office.  Say hello to Sidney.  And thanks for the lunch.

HENRY

You’re a wonderful conversationalist.

As Megan beats a rapid retreat, hold on an adjacent table. The ghost of Julius is sipping a martini and has been eavesdropping the whole time. Danny is with him.  He calls after Megan.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

How can you leave now?  He’s only up to age 16.

Then, he turns to Danny.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS (CONT’D)

She’s wasting her time.  She’ll never replace me.

DANNY

What’s so great about you?

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

It’s none of your damn business but –  I am the perfect husband. A wonderful lover.  Romantic.

DANNY

I suppose you gave her beautiful gifts and flowers.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I always bought her the most beautiful card in the store.

DANNY

(incredulously)

A card? Whoopee!

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

It’s the thought that counts.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MAIN OFFICE

Megan hurries into the office.  Sally’s nieces are busy with coloring books in the back office. Otherwise, it seems very quiet.

MEGAN

Did I have any calls?

SALLY

Not one person. I hope you don’t mind that my sister dropped the kids off. Her sitter didn’t show up.

MEGAN

Of course not.

SALLY

How was your date?

MEGAN

Don’t ask. I hope we get better results from the personal ad.  It comes out this week.

CUT TO

INT. A SPORTS BAR — NIGHT

The TV is BLARING with the Bulls game. Megan approaches CHUCK, a young muscle man, who is drinking a beer at the bar.  He has answered Megan’s ad.  He is wearing a blue shirt.

MEGAN

Are you Chuck?  I’m supposed to be meeting a man in a blue shirt.

CHUCK

The one and only.  Hey, are you Megan?

Cool baby.  You rock.

MEGAN

There must be some misunderstanding here.  I thought you’d be older.

CHUCK

Well, I didn’t say.  I figured you might not come.  I’m into older women.  Hot ones.

MEGAN

I was expecting someone a little more mature.

CHUCK

You like the Bears?

MEGAN

Yes, I like them.

CHUCK

OK, baby. We are set. We’ll go to the game on Sunday. You lucked out tonight, baby.

MEGAN

I can’t go on Sunday.  I have to go to a concert.

CHUCK

Who’s comin’ in?

MEGAN

It’s Bach.

CHUCK

I love Bach Turner Overdrive!

(He starts singing “Takin’ Care of Business…”)

The ghost of Julius and Danny are sitting at the other end of the bar.  Julius is drinking a martini.  He calls after Megan as she leaves.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

If you like him, you could adopt you, you know.

CUT TO

INT. THE COFFEE SHOP AT BORDERS BOOKS — DAY

Megan is having coffee with a WIDOWER from her personal ad.

WIDOWER

Yes, it was sad.  I loved my wife.   20 wonderful years.  Until she died

(tearing up)

— Halloween night.  We were so close.  It is very hard to be alone.

MEGAN

Halloween?  Boy, that was just a month ago.

WIDOWER

Well, I did say I was a recent widower.

MEGAN

I’m just thinking back to when you answered my ad. I think it was four weeks ago.

WIDOWER

It is tough to be alone.

The ghost of Julius and Danny are sitting at an adjacent table having coffee.  Danny is reading Variety.  Julius is leafing through a book called, Journeys Out of the Body.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

His wife must be spinning in her grave.

DANNY

She was glad to get rid of him.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY- MEGAN’S OFFICE– DAY

Sally comes into Megan’s office. STAN is waiting to see Megan.

SALLY

There’s a man outside who wants to see you. His name is Stan.

MEGAN

Stan?  Oh.  Stan. OK.

Stan comes in.

STAN

I wanted to tell you what a great time I had the other night.

MEGAN

Yeah. It was alright.

STAN

I thought maybe we could go out on Friday night. Or Saturday or Sunday.

MEGAN

Stan, I don’t think this is a fit between us.

STAN

Look, I just don’t go around buying dinners for people. It cost me forty bucks.

Megan reaches behind her for her purse and hands Stan the money.

MEGAN

Here. I’ll give you a complete refund.

Stan hesitates, then takes the money and puts it in his pocket.

STAN

I’ll give you a call in a week. Maybe you’ll change your mind.

MEGAN

Don’t call.

The ghost of Julius and Danny are standing in the office and have been listening to the conversation.  He turns to Danny.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Where do these creeps come from?

CUT TO

INT. AN ELEGANT RESTAURANT IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO — NIGHT

Megan is having dinner with a distinguished looking OLDER MAN at the International Club, an elegant private restaurant in the Drake Hotel.  They are seated by a window overlooking the lights on Lake Shore Drive and the city.

MEGAN

I know it must is painful for you, but this is our third date and I’d like you to tell me a little about your late wife.

OLDER MAN

My late wife? My wife is very much alive.

MEGAN

You’re married? It took three dates  to tell me?

OLDER MAN

Yes.  But I have an arrangement with my wife.

MEGAN

I’m not comfortable with that.

OLDER MAN

Give it a chance.  My wife is going to love you. We’ll take you on beautiful trips around the world.

MEGAN

Trips?  You’re going to take me on trips? I’m in the travel business.

Megan grabs her purse and stands up.

MEGAN (CONT’D)

If you  want to impress me, you and you wife are going to have to buy me a Mercedes SL500.

And as she walks away –

MEGAN (CONT’D)

Yellow. With a black convertible top and air conditioning.

The ghost of Julius and Danny are having dinner nearby.  As Megan exits, they give each other a high five!

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – BATHROOM– MORNING

Megan is putting on her makeup.  Alex stands in the doorway.

ALEX

Mom, I know it’s lonely for you without Dad around.

MEGAN

It is, Alex.

ALEX

I’m a little worried about some of the men you are seeing.  Do you know anything about them?

MEGAN

(ignoring the question)

I always met them in a public place. And I always drive my own car.

ALEX

Still, I want you to be very careful, Mom.

CUT TO

INT. DEN — MORNING

Megan is having her morning coffee in the den. She has a pad and she is writing a letter to GOD. She prays out loud.

MEGAN

All That Is, God.  Whoever You are up there.  If You are up there.

I need a miracle.

Send me a man I can love.  Let him love me.

God!  Are You out there?

I need a miracle.

The ghost of Julius, in a brocade robe, walks in from the kitchen with his coffee. Danny follows on his heels.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

That’s a waste of time. There’s not one damn person up there who listens.

DANNY

They listen.  They listen.  But you got to be reasonable.

CUT TO

EXT. LAKE MICHIGAN SHORE — DAY

Megan is jogging along the lake with Arlene

MEGAN

So far, the newspaper ads are not working. Maybe Linda is right.  There is no one out there.

ARLENE

Why don’t you come with me to some of the personal growth groups I attend? We could meet someone there.

MEGAN

I’ll try anything.

The ghost of Julius is jogging along behind them.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Why don’t you try to grow up?

CUT TO

DEN — DAY

Megan is listening to her VOICE MAIL messages in answer to the personal ad.

VOICE MAIL

You have three messages.  To hear the first message, press one.

Megan presses one.

MESSAGE

Hello beautiful.  This is HARRY.  I read your ad and I loved it.  We are perfect together. I like everything you like.  Can’t wait to hear from you. My number is 555 228 4090.

Megan writes the number down with a smile.

VOICE MAIL

You now have two messages.  To hear your next message, press one.

Megan presses one.

MESSAGE

This is Harry.  I left you a message earlier.  I was surprised I had not heard from you.  We are perfect for each other. Please give me a call at 555 228 4090.

VOICE MAIL

You have one message.  To hear your message, press one.

Megan presses one.

MESSAGE

This is Harry.  Who the hell do you think you are? You think you are too good for me, right?  Look, Miss Snob, I’ll get you for this. Call me.  You have the number.

Megan drops the phone on its base abruptly.  Hold camera on her horrified expression.

The ghost of Julius is sitting on the couch reading his newspaper.  He looks up at Megan over his glasses.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Are you done with this or do we have to wait for Jack the Ripper to answer your ad?

FADE OUT

ACT 5

FADE IN:

INT.  A BOARD MEETING ON THE OTHER SIDE — DAY

Fade up from a white screen to a conference room.  Pan a group of shadowy white figures who are sitting around a table with a white tablecloth. Danny is sitting at the table in his battered, old hat. The Chairman addresses him.

CHAIRMAN

We want to apologize, Danny.  We made a mistake giving you Julius for your first case.

DANNY

That’s OK.  It’s good practice for me.

CHAIRMAN

Julius won’t grow and be happy if he remains earth bound. We’re thinking of sending in a replacement. Someone more experienced.

DANNY

No, please.  Give me a chance. I want to do it.

CHAIRMAN

OK, Danny.  We’ll give you a little more time.  But not much longer.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME- KITCHEN– DAY

Alex is leaving for his classes.

ALEX

Are you going out again tonight, Mom?

MEGAN

No, I’ll be home.  Why?

ALEX

It’s pretty weird to have your mother dating all the time.

MEGAN

I’m taking a break right now.

ALEX

Good.  I was hoping I wouldn’t have to see any of those guys at breakfast.

The ghost of Julius has been listening to the conversation.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Over my dead body.  They were all losers.

Danny walks into the kitchen.

DANNY

Nobody is a loser.  We are all just playing our parts.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I thought I told you to scram, loser.

DANNY

And every single scene is important to our movie. And to each other’s movie. It’s a jigsaw puzzle.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

How come they let you come back?

DANNY

If I can’t bring you in, they will send in a heavy hitter.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I have things to do here.  I am not leaving.

DANNY

I had less aggravation when I was booking comics into the Catskills.

CUT TO

INT. A PSYCHIC’S OFFICE. — DAY

Arlene has taken Megan to see a PSYCHIC. Megan is sitting in a dark room across from him.  He is wearing a turban.  His eyes are closed.

PSYCHIC

Give me a moment to connect.

(pause)

Oh, yes.  My guides are showing me your husband, Julius.  You are attached by a silver cord.  He is floating above you.

MEGAN

He is not floating. He’s at home. He’s in the office. He follows me everywhere.

PSYCHIC

We must tell him to go to the light. There is love there for him there. He must let go of his earthly life. The silver cord must be cut.

MEGAN

Look, I’m willing. I’ve asked him to leave.  He won’t go. How do we cut the cord?

PSYCHIC

I’m going higher. I am asking my angels now.

(longer pause then his eyes pop open)

This is more difficult that I thought. They are telling me you BOTH are  holding on to the cord.   We need several sessions to work on this.

CUT TO

INT. ARLENE’S CAR — DAY

Arlene is waiting for Megan outside the office in her car. They drive off.

ARLENE

So did he tell you when you were going to meet someone?

MEGAN

We never got to that. I just paid $100.00 for him to tell me Julius was still around.  Like I didn’t already know.

ARLENE

That’s all he said?

MEGAN

He said something about having to cut a silver cord.

The ghost of Julius is sitting in the back of the car. Danny is with him.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

That guy in the turban is a nut.  Don’t give him any more money.

DANNY

He’s right.  Even with your resentments, you two are holding on to each other.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

That’s bull.  We love each other.

DANNY

The lesson on earth is when a relationship is over, you move to the next experience. She won’t grow unless she takes over her own life. And neither will you.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I am growing.  I have things to make up to her.  I’ve been too hard on her.

DANNY

It’s too late for this time.

CUT TO

INT. MEETING ROOM IN A HOTEL –WHOLE LIVING FORUM MEETING — NIGHT

There is a sign outside a large room reading “FREE INTRODUCTION TO WHOLE LIVING FORUM HERE.”

CUT TO

MEETING ROOM

Megan and Arlene walk into a large room and take seats.  There are over a hundred people in the audience.  The WORKSHOP PRESENTER is at the podium. He is dressed in blue jeans and a sweatshirt.

MEGAN

(laughing)

Do you think this will help us find a good man?

ARLENE

Maybe we’ll learn it’s not so terrible to be a woman without a man.  Shhhh.  It’s starting.

WORKSHOP PRESENTER

Welcome everyone.  Are you ready for a new life?

The crowd is quiet.

WORKSHOP PRESENTER (CONT’D)

OK.  I’m going to ask you again.  Are you ready to change your life?  Let’s hear it loud and clear!

CROWD

(SHOUTING)

Yesss!

WORKSHOP PRESENTER

Here is some shocking news for you.  Listen carefully.  NOTHING that has happened in your life up until now matters. NOTHING! You’ve been HIDING behind old, destructive “stories.” EVERY ONE OF YOU IS SIMPLY SURVIVING rather than BEING ALIVE.  Are you ready to start LIVING?

CROWD

(shouting)

Yessss!

Megan and Arlene are leaving after the presentation.

ARLENE

So what do you think?

MEGAN

I think we should sign up.

The ghost of Julius is following them out of the room.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

More money going out to snake oil salesmen.  All this self-improvement junk and nobody improves.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MAIN OFFICE–MORNING

Megan is coming into the office.  The whole staff is standing around Sally’s desk. She is on the telephone.

SALLY

Yes, I want him paged. It is urgent. Mr. Edward O’Malley. He is at the Mexicana boarding gate to Ixtapa.

CATHERINE

I thought it was the right city.

SALLY

He is going to the Ixtapan Spa outside of Mexico City. Ixtapa is 600 miles away.

LINDA

Everybody makes mistakes.

HARRIET

This is what Shelley told me.  This is why he said people were booking on the Internet.  Shelley says –

Catherine sits down and covers her eyes.

CATHERINE

I want you to know that my intentions were of the very finest.

SALLY

The Ixtapan Spa is on the top of a mountain.  Where did you think they would put an airport?… Hello.  Hello.  Have you found him? … They found him.

Catherine looks up, relieved.

CATHERINE

Actually, I was wondering where they would put an airport.

SALLY

Oh, Mr. O’Malley. There has been a tiny change to your flight arrangements. We have found a more direct way to get to the spa. Go to the ticket agent and pick up a new ticket to Mexico City.

(pause)

Yes, this is a much faster way…. Oh, you are entirely welcome. Have a wonderful time now.

MEGAN

Wow!  That was a squeaker!  Good work, Sally.

Catherine is now crying loudly.

CATHERINE

This has been such a terrible day.

MEGAN

It’s OK, Catherine.  It’s been solved.

CATHERINE

It’s not only this.  Blackie is being operated on for cancer. I took him in this morning.

CUT TO

EXT. MICHIGAN AVENUE – CHICAGO — DAY

Danny is following the ghost of Julius down Michigan Avenue.  They stop to look at the window display at Tiffany’s.

DANNY

What are we doing here?

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I’ve decided cards are not enough.  I’m going to buy something nice for Megan.

DANNY

You can’t make things up to her.  You’re dead.

CUT TO

INT.  TIFFANY’S ON MICHIGAN AVENUE – DAY

They enter the store. The ghost of Julius approaches a salesman.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I’d like to see something in diamond earrings.

The salesman does not look up.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS (CONT’D)

Excuse me.  Did you hear what I said?  I want to see some diamond earrings.

The salesman walks away. The ghost of Julius looks at Danny.  He realizes the salesman can’t hear him.

DANNY

Let’s go, Julius. You’ve got to give up.  This life is over.

CUT TO

EXT- OUTSIDE A THREE FLAT APARTMENT BUILDING – LATE AT NIGHT

A police car, a paddy wagon and an ambulance, all with lights flashing, are in front of the building.  One of the policeman is Eric.  He and another policeman are taking Nick, who is handcuffed and struggling, out of the building and pushing him into the paddy wagon.

ERIC

Get in there, you creep.  You can’t keep beating women up.  You’ve got an arrest warrant out on you for the last one.

Linda speeds up in her car. Two paramedics are carrying Annie out on a stretcher. They open the back door of the ambulance. Linda runs over to her. Eric follows.

ERIC (CONT’D)

I think she’s okay but we’re taking her to the hospital to make sure. Are you the one who called us?

LINDA

Yes.  She called me at home. She was hysterical and said she was hurt.  What happened?

ERIC

This guy has a record of assault a mile long. He won’t be bothering her or anybody else for a long time. You can bet on that.

Linda takes Annie’s hand.  She is lying on the stretcher and crying softly.

LINDA

I’m going with you.  You’re going to okay, Annie.  I’ll be right here. I’m with you.

She climbs into the back of the ambulance with Annie.  It leaves with the siren BLARING.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MAIN OFFICE – MORNING

The women are standing around the water cooler with Linda as she tells them what happened. They are all visibly shaken by the news.

LINDA

She was lucky.  It could have been a lot worse. Nothing’s broken.

MEGAN

After that black eye, I was afraid of something like this.

Catherine is teary.

CATHERINE

So many bad things are happening.  Blackie with cancer.  And now Annie.  What can we do for her?

SALLY

We’ll support her.  The whole team.

MEGAN

You were so good to her, Linda.

LINDA

Women have to help each other. We’re all we’ve got.

CUT TO

INT. A COURSE IN MIRACLES WORKSHOP — HOTEL MEETING ROOM –NIGHT

Arlene has taken Megan to a large Course In Miracles workshop.  The FACILITATOR is reading from the text of the course.

FACILITATOR

If we really understand this passage, it could change our lives.

(reverent pause)

FACILITATOR (CONT’D)

“Nothing outside yourself can save you.  Nothing outside yourself can bring you peace.”

Megan and Arlene are having coffee at a break.

MEGAN

I love this, Arlene.  It really speaks to me.

ARLENE

I know.  I’m so glad you like it.

CUT TO

JOSEPH is a Robert Redford look-alike.  He is walking out of the crowd toward Megan.  She sees “lights” all around him.

JOSEPH

Well, hello there. I saw you come in. My name is Joseph.

Megan is flustered.

MEGAN

I’m Megan.  And, oh, this is my friend, Arlene.

Joseph nods at Arlene and then turns his full attention back to Megan. His smile is dazzling.

JOSEPH

I heard you volunteer to attend one of the follow up groups.

MEGAN

Yes, I’d like to. Are you?

JOSEPH

Definitely.

DISSOLVE TO

INT. A MEETING ROOM AT THE COMMUNITY HOUSE  — NIGHT

There are several GROUP MEMBERS at the study group of A Course In Miracles. The meeting has ended and they are sitting at a round table having cake and coffee.

ARLENE

I think it’s hard to meet people who are compatible. I’ve been divorced for three years.

JOSEPH

I’m not ready. I’ve been divorced only six months. I’m on a year sabbatical from teaching and I want to write – and have some fun.

FEMALE GROUP MEMBER

When you are supposed to meet – there he is.

MALE GROUP NUMBER

I met my girlfriend in a grocery store. We had the exact same items in our carts. I took that as a sign.

MEGAN

Suppose you meet someone and you see lights all around him?

FEMALE GROUP MEMBER

I would think that was a sign!

JOSEPH

I know what I’m looking for, I don’t want any more mistakes.

MEGAN

What are you looking for?

Joseph looks directly at Megan with a little smile as he answers.

JOSEPH

Someone not too young. Pretty. Smart.  Independent. A little crazy but basically a down-to-earth woman who can cook.

The ghost of Julius arrives in time to hear the end of the conversation.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Don’t expect much cooking around here – unless you want to count take out in the microwave.

CUT TO

THE FRONT HALL

The group is leaving. Everyone is hugging good-bye.

ARLENE

See you all next week.  It was great.

Joseph and Megan are the last ones to leave. He gives Megan a long hug.

JOSEPH

We ought to get together for dinner sometime.

Megan, not able to hide her excitement, answers almost too quickly.

MEGAN

I’d would love that.

They stand there an extra moment just smiling at each other.  There is clearly electricity in the air.

CUT TO

EXT. CAR WASH — DAY

Four men are wiping the Lincoln down after it has been washed.  The ghost of Julius is walking around the car inspecting the job.  He points, with his cigar, to a spot that needs attention. One of the men stops, looks up at the sky, shrugs – and then goes over and rubs the spot with his cloth.

Megan is on her cellphone talking to her sister, June.

MEGAN

My car is almost ready so I’ll call you later.  But June, THIS is the man I have been waiting for.  This is the ONE, June.

(turns to the men as she gets in the car)

Thanks, guys.

The ghost of Julius is sitting with Danny in the back seat as she drives off. He flips his cigar ash out the window. Danny is fanning himself.

DANNY

Keep that window open.  Don’t you know second hand smoke can kill you?  I told them I wanted a non smoker.

The ghost of Julius opens The Wall Street Journal and looks up over his half-glasses at Megan who is driving.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

What do you mean, the ONE?  This guy is the biggest jerk yet!

FADE OUT

ACT 6

FADE IN:

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY — MAIN OFFICE – MORNING

Catherine is walking into the office carrying a large box. Megan is standing by Sally’s desk in the front of the office.

SALLY

What’s in the box, Catherine?

CATHERINE

Blackie.

Linda looks up from her computer.

LINDA

You brought a cat to work?

CATHERINE

He is too sick to stay home alone.  He’ll be no trouble. He just lies there.

And then, tearfully –

CATHERINE (CONT’D)

Is it okay, Megan?

Megan hesitates, glances in the box and turns away looking pained.  She answers, kindly.

MEGAN

It’s okay, Catherine.

INT. A RESTAURANT– NIGHT

Joseph and Megan are having dinner and drinking Chianti in a local Italian restaurant with checkered red tablecloths.

JOSEPH

I’m glad you could make it at the last minute.  I hate eating alone.

MEGAN

I’m pretty spontaneous.

JOSEPH

I like that.

MEGAN

You said you have studied the Course for years.

JOSEPH

Yes, it has really helped me over some rough spots.  The divorce.  And I have a little problem with depression. It comes and goes.

MEGAN

I can’t believe how honest you are.

JOSEPH

It’s funny.  As soon as I met you, I knew I could tell you anything.

CUT TO

EXT. MEGAN’S HOME.  — A SATURDAY MORNING

Joseph is ringing the BELL at the front door. Megan goes to the door.

JOSEPH

Is Alex here?  I thought it would be nice to meet him and talk about philosophy.

MEGAN

He sure is. Come on in.

CUT TO

DEN

Joseph and Alex are in the den reading together and talking intently.

CUT TO

KITCHEN–LATER

Joseph has left. Megan is cooking.  Alex comes in to the kitchen.

ALEX

He’s a nice guy, Mom. Did you know that Joseph has a Ph.D. in philosophy?

MEGAN

Yes, I did.  You  like him?

ALEX

He’s cool.  Really smart. He can come around whenever he wants.

Megan smiles.

CUT TO

EXT. JOSEPH’S CONVERTIBLE –DAY

Megan and Joseph are riding in Joseph’s convertible.  The top is down. It is a beautiful, sunny day.

JOSEPH

I think my brother divorced his wife because she refused to serve rutabagas with turkey.

Megan throws her head back and laughs.

MEGAN

I ALWAYS serve rutabagas with turkey.

JOSEPH

(playfully)

How did I know that about you?

The ghost of Julius and Danny are riding in the back seat.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I don’t know who writes this guy’s material, but it stinks.

DANNY

I wish they’d put the top up.  That wind is murdering my sinuses.

CUT TO

INT. THE FIELD MUSEUM — DAY

Megan and Joseph  are viewing SUE, the dinosaur at the Field Museum.  Joseph is imitating the skeleton’s stance.  Megan snaps his picture.  They both crack up laughing. The ghost of Julius and Danny are watching.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

(sadly)

She hasn’t laughed like that with me for a long time.

DANNY

What do you think happened?

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I don’t know.  I got too serious about life.

CUT TO

EXT. LAKE MICHIGAN SHORE  — DAY

It is a breezy, sunny summer day. Joseph and Megan are running along the lake path at Oak Street beach. They are backdropped by the panorama of the skyline of Chicago.

MEGAN

I’ll race you to the beach.

JOSEPH

I’ll give you a head start.  Go.

He quickly catches up with her. Then they stumble and laughing, roll over together on the beach by the water.  He holds her, looking at her intently.

MEGAN

Are we in a scene from  “From Here to Eternity?”

JOSEPH

There are no waves.

MEGAN

We don’t need waves.

Joseph kisses her.  Then, pulls back and sits up.

JOSEPH

God, I wish I was in love with you.

MEGAN

Maybe you are.

Hold as they explore each others’ expressions.

The ghost of Julius and Danny walk up to the couple on the beach and look down on them.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

(disdainfully)

Please.

CUT TO

EXT.  MICHIGAN AVENUE– EARLY EVENING

A balmy evening. Joseph and Megan are strolling along The Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue.  They are holding hands.  They stop to admire a red dress in the Neiman Marcus window.

JOSEPH

That dress is you.

MEGAN

It’s beautiful.  I bet it’s expensive.

JOSEPH

Come on. I am going to buy you that dress.

MEGAN

Are you kidding me?

JOSEPH

No.  Come on.  It’s got your name on it.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Make sure you get her the shoes that go with it, cheapskate!

CUT TO

INT. THE TRAVEL AGENCY – BACK OFFICE– LUNCHTIME —

The women are arriving into the lunchroom. They sit down and start unwrapping the deli sandwiches which have been delivered.

HARRIET

How sad about Blackie dying.  Catherine is devastated. I wonder when she’ll come back to work.

LINDA

It’s only a cat, for God’s sakes.  And it was 18 years old.

Annie is sitting with a sling on her arm.

ANNIE

You just don’t get it. Blackie was her family. She’s all alone in her house now.

Linda considers this and looks thoughtful.

LINDA

It’s pretty sad when you can’t even count on a male cat.

Megan arrives in the room. She seems to be very distracted lately.  She sits down and opens her sandwich.

LINDA (CONT’D)

Megan, what have you heard about the new Princess ship? Megan? Are you listening?

Megan suddenly comes back to earth.

MEGAN

Oh, I hear it’s beautiful.

SALLY

Leave her alone.  She’s in love.

ANNIE

I was like that.  I just hope she doesn’t get hurt.

LINDA

She probably will.

The women go back to their desks. Megan and Annie are about to leave when Eric arrives in his uniform, hat in hand.

ERIC

I just wanted to check in on you, Annie.  How are you feeling?

ANNIE

I’m better, Eric.  That is so nice of you.  I appreciate all your help.

ERIC

Let me know if you need anything, OK?

Eric waves and leaves the office.

MEGAN

Now, there’s a good guy.

ANNIE

There were a lot of good things about Nick too.

MEGAN

Everyone has good in them.  But when there’s more bad than good, we have to move on.

CUT TO

INT. THE RITZ CARLTON HOTEL IN CHICAGO– NIGHT

Joseph and Megan on sitting on a couch in front of a fireplace in the Ritz Carlton lounge. Joseph has his arm around her.  She is wearing the red dress he bought her. A piano is playing nearby.

MEGAN

That was a wonderful dinner.

JOSEPH

God! You look beautiful in the firelight.

MEGAN

It’s my new dress.

JOSEPH

No, it’s you. You have the most intense eyes. Sometimes I feel like you can see into my soul.

MEGAN

(teasingly)

I can. So, be careful.

JOSEPH

I know you would never hurt me.  That is so important to me.

The ghost of Julius is stoking the fire in his white dinner jacket. Danny is with him.   He turns to Megan.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

You’re not buying this crap, are you? Somebody give me a break here.

JOSEPH

I have a little surprise for you. I hope you will like it.

MEGAN

What?

Joseph reaches into his pocket and pulls out a key.

JOSEPH

I booked us a suite here.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I can’t watch this.

Megan and Joseph leave happily.  The ghost of Julius and Danny sit down on the couch.

DANNY

Well, have you had enough?

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

How could she do this to me, Danny?  I never thought she’d cheat on me.

DANNY

She’s not cheating. You’re dead.  Remember?  If you really love her, why would you want her to be alone?

Danny’s cell phone is ringing.

DANNY (CONT’D)

I know. I know. Don’t be so impatient. I think he’s coming around.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I wish you would stop talking to those people on the phone and just talk to me.

DANNY

The Higher Ups are in on this now.  They said to tell you it’s time for you to come home.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I don’t have a home anymore. I’m miserable.

DANNY

You would be happy on the other side.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I wouldn’t have Megan.

DANNY

You don’t have Megan now.

(then, more kindly)

But, you will be with her again.  Someday.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Are you sure about that?

DANNY

Guaranteed.

CUT TO

INT. A SUITE AT THE RITZ CARLTON– NIGHT

Joseph and Megan enter the suite.  Camera shots of the luxurious living room and the view at night of Lake Michigan out the window.  Megan is walking around – visibly shaken with the thrill of it.

Joseph takes her hand, leading her.

JOSEPH

They include a bedroom with the price.

DISSOLVE TO

The bedroom of the suite. Joseph removes the red dress and places it on a chair.

DISSOLVE TO

LOVEMAKING

DISSOLVE TO

AFTER SEX.

The couple is lying in bed.  Joseph is stroking her hair.

MEGAN

I love you, Joseph.

JOSEPH

I love you, Megan.  You are so important to me.  You’re like my family.  Like the sister I never had.

Megan sits straight up in bed with a surprised look.

CUT TO

INT. THE HEALTH CLUB — DAY

Megan is on the stairmaster.  The ghost is standing in front of her wagging his cigar at her. Danny is with him.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

That guy is taking you for a ride. I don’t want him to hurt you.

MEGAN

You are trying to sabotage me.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Look, I want you to be happy.  I’m even willing to look out for someone for you.

MEGAN

I have someone.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

He’s wrong.  He’s using you.

MEGAN

I love him, Julius.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

He doesn’t love you.

MEGAN

Go away. Let me be happy.

The ghost of Julius and Danny are walking away.

DANNY

You got to stop interfering.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

That bum is going to break her heart. You talk to her. Do something.

DANNY

She has to find her own way.  We all  do.

EXT. MEGAN’S HOME– NIGHT

The doorbell is RINGING.  Megan answers the door in her bathrobe. Joseph is standing in the pouring rain.  It is 10 PM.

JOSEPH

I hope I didn’t wake you.

MEGAN

No, not at all. I was just watching the news. Come in.  You’re all wet.

JOSEPH

I feel very depressed tonight.

CUT TO

DEN

They sit down on the couch.  Megan puts her arms around him.

JOSEPH

I don’t know how I made it without you.

MEGAN

You don’t have to make it without me.

JOSEPH

Look, would it be okay if I stayed here tonight on the couch?

MEGAN

Sure.  I’ll get you some pillows and a blanket.  We’ll talk in the morning.

CUT TO

MEGAN’S BEDROOM

Megan is in bed.  There is a TAPPING on her door.  It is Joseph. He is holding his pillow.

JOSEPH

I’ve got a bad case of the jitters.  Can I just lie down next to you?

MEGAN

Come on.  Get into bed.

She pulls back the covers.  He gets into bed with her.

JOSEPH

You always make me feel so safe.

Joseph puts his arms around her and falls asleep immediately. Megan is wide awake listening to the rain.

CUT TO

The ghost of Julius and Danny are standing in the hall outside the bedroom. Julius is upset.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

That guy is sleeping in my bed!

DANNY

How many times do I have to tell you? You don’t have a bed here anymore.

CUT TO

INT. KITCHEN — THE NEXT MORNING.

Megan and Joseph are having breakfast.

MEGAN

Joseph, you seem to be going through a bad time right now.  Why don’t you stay with us for a while?

JOSEPH

What would Alex think? Although, I could sleep on the couch in the den.

MEGAN

He would think it was fine.

He likes you.

JOSEPH

(eagerly)

I’ll go pick up my computer and some of my things.  I always feel so much better when I’m with you.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME -UPSTAIRS OFFICE — DAY

Joseph is sitting at the desk.  His computer is open in front of him.  He calls Megan at the office.

JOSEPH

I’m not coming to the meeting tonight. I’m going to a movie.

DISSOLVE TO

MEGAN AT THE TRAVEL AGENCY

MEGAN

Okay.

DISSOLVE TO

JOSEPH AT HOME

JOSEPH

Look, Megan, don’t mention that I’ve been depressed and staying with you.  I don’t want the group to feel sorry for me.

DISSOLVE TO

MEGAN

I won’t. I’ll see you later then.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – FRONT HALL — AFTERNOON

Alex walks in the front door with his books. He fishes one book out of his backpack, drops it on the stairs, throws his coat on the banister.

CUT TO

KITCHEN

Alex opens the refrigerator and takes things out for a sandwich.  Then he remembers he has to call someone and picks up the kitchen phone.  As he is about to dial, he hears Joseph’s voice on the extension.

CUT TO

UPSTAIRS OFFICE

The lights are dim. Joseph is speaking on the telephone in hushed tones.

JOSEPH

I’ve been in London for two weeks doing some research. I miss you too.  I’ll be home by this weekend. Look, I have to hang up. Bye darlin’.

He hangs up the phone and calls downstairs.

JOSEPH (CONT’D)

Is that you, Alex? Aren’t you home early?

ALEX

Yeah. A lab got canceled.  But I’m leaving again. You can go back to your call from London.

Hold on Joseph’s face.  He’s been caught.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MEGAN’S OFFICE — DAY

Alex walks into his mother’s office.

ALEX

How long is Joseph going to stay with us?

MEGAN

I don’t know exactly.  Why?

ALEX

He ties up the phone lines.  He’s always talking on one line and his computer is connected to the other.

MEGAN

I thought you liked Joseph.

ALEX

He’s okay. But I am starting to develop my own philosophy.  People are not always what they seem to be.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – OUTSIDE – EVENING.

Megan is arriving home after work.  She pulls her car in the driveway next to Joseph’s car. Joseph is loading his computer and some suitcases into his car. It is snowing.

Megan jumps out of her car.

MEGAN

Where are you going?

JOSEPH

It is time for me to get back to my own place, Megan. I need to be quiet and do some writing.

MEGAN

Were you just going to leave without telling me? Just like that?

JOSEPH

Of course not.  I wrote you a note. I’ll call you. Or call me.

Joseph is pulling out of the driveway.  Megan shouts after him.

MEGAN

Your phone is always on voice mail.

He doesn’t hear her.  He is gone.

The ghost of Julius and Danny have been standing in the snow in the driveway.  He turns to Danny.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Good riddance!  I hope this fad is over.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S  HOME – KITCHEN — NIGHT

The Course In Miracles study group is arriving. Arlene is in the meeting room kitchen with Megan setting up the coffee.

ARLENE

Is Joseph coming tonight?

MEGAN

I don’t know.  I hope so.

One of the women from the group is talking to another in the hall as they arrive.

WOMAN GROUP MEMBER

Joseph won’t be here tonight again.  He called me from London.  He’s been there for two weeks doing research.

Megan and Arlene look at each other quizzically.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MEGAN’S OFFICE– DAY

The door is closed.  She is talking to her sister June on the telephone.

MEGAN

I haven’t heard from him and his phone is on voicemail as usual.

(long pause)

I’ve decided to write him a letter.  I want a commitment from him. But, oh God, June.  Suppose he turns me down? I’ll die.

(pause)

At least then I will know. But I don’t think he will. This man is in love with me.

Megan sits at her desk and writes a long letter, seals it and walks out.

SALLY

Where are you going in such a hurry?

Megan is beaming.

MEGAN

I’m going to mail a letter and then I am going shopping.

CUT TO

INT. VICTORIA’S SECRET — DAY

Shot of Victoria’s Secret storefront and then inside –

Megan is looking at a diaphanous white robe – then a black nightgown.  Then some black underwear. She is checking out with the cashier.

CUT TO

INT. BLOOMINDALES — DAY

Shot of Bloomindales sign at the mall on Michigan Avenue.

She is holding up red satin sheets.  She rubs her face in the pillowcase dreamily. The ghost of Julius is watching her.

Megan is paying for the red satin sheets.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Are you kidding me? With the way you keep house?  Who’s going to iron satin sheets?

FADE OUT

ACT 7

FADE IN

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – DEN –SUNDAY

Megan has her coat on and is leaving the house. Alex is studying in the den.

MEGAN

I’m going over to Arlene’s house. I’ll be back about four o’clock.

ALEX

Okay.

MEGAN

Do you have her telephone number?

ALEX

Somewhere.

MEGAN

I am writing her number down and leaving it right by the phone.

ALEX

Okay.

MEGAN

In case of an emergency.

ALEX

You mean in case Joseph calls. You know, I think he’s a player, Mom.

MEGAN

Don’t be ridiculous. Let me know if he calls right away.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – BACK OFFICE

Lunchtime.

CATHERINE

Isn’t Megan having lunch?

ANNIE

She says she isn’t hungry.

HARRIET

Maybe she’s coming down with something.  Shelley says everyone in his office is sick with something.

CATHERINE

She’s grieving.  I know what that’s like.  Has she heard from Joseph?

SALLY

Take a look at her face.  Can’t you tell he hasn’t called her?

LINDA

That bastard.  They’re all bastards.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – HALL – NIGHT

Megan has come home from the office.  She is still wearing her coat as she picks up the mail from the floor at the front door. She opens a letter and reads it.

MEGAN

Damn! I don’t believe this.

Alex is coming down the stairs.

ALEX

Believe what?

MEGAN

Sidney sent me a letter of apology he got from the Veteran’s Administration in Washington and a $400 invoice for legal services.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MAIN OFFICE — DAY

Megan is leaving the office.  She talks to Sally from the front door.

MEGAN

I’m running over to American Visa Service.  I should be back in an hour.

SALLY

Okay.

MEGAN

You have their number over there?

SALLY

Yes, we have the number.

MEGAN

Call me if I have any messages, OK?

SALLY

We’ll call you right away.

CUT TO

EXT. LAKE MICHIGAN SHORE  — DAY

Megan and Arlene are jogging along the lake. It is a cold, gray day.

ARLENE

You just can’t wait by phones night and day.  He’s a smart man.  If he want to see you, he’ll find you.

MEGAN

You’re right, Arlene. It feels good to get out in the air.  I’m glad you pushed me.

CUT TO

INT. THE TRAVEL AGENCY- MEGAN’S OFFICE — DAY

Joseph is walking into Megan’s office.  She is on the phone with a client.

MEGAN

– Let me check to see what’s available and I’ll call you later today. Bye.

(hangs up the phone)

Hello, Joseph.

Joseph closes the door and sits down.

JOSEPH

That was a beautiful letter.

MEGAN

Thank you.

JOSEPH

You know I wouldn’t hurt you.

MEGAN

I hope not.

JOSEPH

I thought I had made it perfectly clear to you that I was not ready for a relationship.

MEGAN

We already have a relationship.

Joseph gets up and walks over to Megan.

JOSEPH

I just want to be friends, Megan. I can’t handle the responsibility of  a commitment.

MEGAN

I can’t just be your friend.

JOSEPH

I was thinking we should plan a workshop on a ship.  A spiritual seminar at sea.  Wouldn’t that be fun?

Megan stands to face him.

MEGAN

I don’t want to be your travel agent.

JOSEPH

Let’s pretend you never wrote the letter. I want you back the way you were before.

Joseph pulls her to him and holds her. She is crying now.

JOSEPH (CONT’D)

Please don’t cry, Megan.  I love you. But like a sister.

Megan pulls away and pushes him.

MEGAN

I am not your sister. Leave now.  Just go.

The ghost of Julius and Danny are standing in the corner of the room.  He turns to Danny.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

(sarcastically)

Very touching.  What an asshole.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – DEN– NIGHT

On the telephone with her sister June. Megan has been crying. The ghost of Julius is sitting on the couch carefully lighting his cigar.

MEGAN

Well, at least I know. I feel like someone died.  And that someone is me.

(pause)

No.  I can’t just be his friend. I can’t go back to the way things were.

The ghost of Julius gets up to turn on the TV evening news. He turns to Megan.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Did I or did I not tell you this guy was a bum?

Megan starts crying again.

MEGAN

Go away.  Just leave me alone.

CUT TO

INT. VICTORIA’S SECRET — DAY

Megan is returning the gown and the black underwear at the cashier’s counter.

CUT TO

INT. BLOOMINDALES REFUND COUNTER — DAY

Megan is returning the sheets to a SALESPERSON. The ghost of Julius is with her.

SALESPERSON

Do you have a receipt?

MEGAN

I can’t find it.  Can’t I get a refund without it?

SALESPERSON

I can give you a refund but we have a sale.  With no receipt, I can only refund you at the sale price.

MEGAN

OK.  I still want to return them.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

This is a perfect example of why I never had money.

MEGAN

SHUT UP!

CUT TO

EXT. OUTSIDE A SALVATION ARMY STORE — DAY

Megan gets out of her car and walks into the Salvation Army store carrying the red dress in a plastic garment bag.

Megan comes out without the dress, gets into the car and drives off.  The ghost is in the back seat.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

You gave a perfectly good dress away? It had a lot of wear left in it.

CUT TO

INT. MEGAN’S HOME – KITCHEN  — NIGHT

Megan is preparing dinner.  Alex is sitting on a stool in the kitchen with her.

ALEX

You mean Joseph won’t be coming over anymore?

MEGAN

No.  I broke things off with him.

ALEX

How can you just give up a friend?

MEGAN

It’s heartbreaking, Alex.  Maybe when you get older you’ll understand.

(she is crying now)

Alex comes over to her and hugs her.

ALEX

Please don’t cry, Mom. I’m still here.

Megan goes back to stirring a pot on the stove. Sniffling.

ALEX (CONT’D)

Mom?

MEGAN

What?

ALEX

You’re not going to start talking about us moving again, are you?

MEGAN

No, Alex.  We’re staying right here.  This is our home.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY -BACK OFFICE–LUNCH

The women are opening cartons of Chinese food and putting out paper plates.

CATHERINE

I know how you feel, Megan. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to get over Blackie’s death.

MEGAN

Death is different.  When someone dies, the hope for reconciliation is gone.

SALLY

And if the person is still here?

MEGAN

There is always that little secret thought that someday – someday – he’ll wake up and say, “What? – Was I crazy?  I love her.”

They are passing around the cartons of food.

LINDA

What about the secret thought that he comes back and you get to say, “Get lost, buddy.  You’re screwed.  It’s too late.”

The phone is ringing in the outer office.  Linda gets up to answer it.

ANNIE

I sometimes hope there is a psychologist in the prison who will help Nick with his anger problem.

SALLY

Please.

The doorbell RINGS.  Sally gets up to greet a client.  Annie calls after her.

ANNIE

I said sometimes, Sally.  Not much.

CATHERINE

Maybe we have to listen to what people tell us and believe them.

HARRIET

I always listen to Shelley.

Linda returns to the lunchroom.

LINDA

A man will tell you three things in the first 20 minutes.

CATHERINE

What?

LINDA

He’ll tell you if he went to Harvard, if he belongs to Mensa and if he wants a relationship.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MEGAN’S OFFICE –DAY

Megan is meeting with her accountant.

ALAN

You have to make a difficult decision here.

MEGAN

I know, Alan.  I’m thinking about selling the agency.

ALAN

Selling? That’s not what I had in mind.  Megan, I’m sorry to tell you the agency is not salable.

MEGAN

We still have a lot of clients.

ALAN

No one buys a small company that has been in the red for three years. You’ve been carrying it with your own money.

MEGAN

You’re not suggesting I close the agency, are you?

Alan stands to make his point.

ALAN

Yes, I am afraid I am.  The day of the small, neighborhood travel agency is over. Your lease is up in two weeks.

MEGAN

What would I do with myself? What about my staff?

ALAN

(kindly now)

Save yourself, Megan. Your staff will make their own way.

MEGAN

I have to think about this.

ALAN

Your lease is up. Think fast.

Alan get up and leaves with his papers. The ghost of Julius has been standing in his white dinner jacket with his cigar in his teeth. He walks forward and wags his cigar at Megan, scattering ashes all over her desk.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

There is nothing to think about. You heard what he said. Just get out! It is time for you to grow up!

She stands up behind her desk and faces the ghost of Julius.

MEGAN

I am grown up. And it is time for you to listen to your own advice.  It’s time for you to get out.

HOLD on the ghost of Julius.  He is looking with surprise at a coiled silver cord in his hand. One end has been cut. Then he looks back at Megan.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

What’s this?

CUT TO

MEGAN

I’ve cut the cord. Good-bye, Julius.

Danny struggles into the room carrying two bulging suitcases.

DANNY

We’re done here, Julius.  Let’s go.  And stay right behind me this time.

Megan is sitting quietly at her desk now. She looks exhausted but peaceful.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Not so fast, buddy.  I have something to say to this lady before we go.

(he swallows hard)

Megan, I know I have been a burden in your life and even in this half-life I’ve been in  – but I want you to know I love you and I’m sorry.  Danny says we’ll be together again someday.  I’m going to make it up to you. I promise.

DANNY

She can’t hear you anymore, Julius.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

She can’t?

DANNY

No.  But love is always heard by the heart. So, she knows.

THE GHOST OF JULIUS

I’m going to find a way to get back here. You’ll see.

DISSOLVE TO

INT.  A BOARD MEETING ON THE OTHER SIDE — DAY

Fade up from a white screen to the conference room.  Danny is sitting at the table. The Committee is CLAPPING.

CHAIRMAN

Good work, Danny.  We have a new booking for you.  But I’m warning you.  This is tough one.

DANNY

You don’t let a person sit down for a minute in this place.

CUT TO

INT. TRAVEL AGENCY – MAIN OFFICE – MORNING

Megan has called her staff together for a meeting.

MEGAN

— so I have no choice.  We close in two weeks.  Please complete the trips you have immediately.  If you need time off to interview for other jobs, take it. We’ll cover for each other.

(pause. Megan’s voice catches)

Like we’ve always done.

There is silence.

FADE OUT

FADE IN

EXT. A SIDEWALK UPSCALE RESTAURANT IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO – ONE MONTH LATER — DAY

The office staff is together for a farewell lunch. It is a unseasonably warm, sunny day.  The women are seated at a round table under a festive umbrella.  The WAITER is passing out menus.

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

The office is now officially closed.  Sally took her nieces to Walt Disney World and is starting a new job in a large commercial agency next week.

SALLY

My favorite story is the woman who insisted that I book her on a driving vacation from one Hawaiian Island to another.

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

Harriet and Shelley are still discussing what she should do next.

HARRIET

– what about the group that canceled because I never told them a cruise was on a ship – Shelley couldn’t believe it.

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

Linda finally got her big divorce settlement and is taking a World Cruise on the QEII.

Linda looks up from the menu she is studying.

LINDA

– don’t forget the parrot that shrieked obscenities on Delta all the way to Florida!

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

Annie is going back to teaching kindergarten. She is dating Eric, the policeman now.

ANNIE

I’ll never forget how good all of you were to me.

VOICEOVER BY MEGAN

Catherine has applied to the Peace Corps.

CATHERINE

Everyone helped each other. There was so much love in the office.

She takes out a handkerchief and wipes tears from her eyes.

CATHERINE (CONT’D)

We even loved the customers.

Suddenly, the waiter comes to the table with a bottle of wine for Megan.

WAITER

The gentleman at the next table has sent it with his compliments and his card.

The GOOD-LOOKING MAN smiles and raises his glass to Megan.   She smiles back. The women look at him and then back at her with approving glances.

Lunch is over. The waiter is bringing the bill to the table.

VOICE OVER BY MEGAN

A few months ago I would have jumped at the chance to meet a guy like that. But not now.  Maybe later.

Megan is signing the check and the women are gathering their things to leave.

VOICE OVER BY MEGAN (CONT’D)

I replaced the roof. I’m looking for a small, reliable car –  and this year I will decide what flowers I want in my garden – and about everything else.

Megan stops on the way out to say thanks to the attractive man.

MEGAN

What a nice thing to do.

The good looking man stands to greet Megan.

GOOD-LOOKING MAN

It looked like a special occasion.  You have my card. Why don’t you give me a call sometime?

MEGAN

Maybe I will.

CUT TO

EXT. MICHIGAN AVENUE – DOWNTOWN CHICAGO –DAY

The women are walking arm in arm down Michigan Avenue.  The crowds on the sidewalk part to let the happy group pass on this beautiful, sunny day.

VOICE OVER BY MEGAN

In the meantime, I’m finding out – it is not so terrible to be a woman without a man.

The women continue walking, laughing and stopping to look in store windows as they go.  They stop at a cross street to let an ambulance, sirens BLASTING, go by.

CUT TO

EXT. NORTHWESTERN HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM ENTRANCE — DAY

Two attendants are rushing an obviously pregnant YOUNG WOMAN on a stretcher out of an ambulance into the emergency room.

YOUNG WOMAN

(screaming)

It’s coming!  The baby’s coming!

Two nurses meet them and quickly wheel the patient into a cubicle.

CUT TO

A CUBICLE IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM

A baby is shrieking.  The NURSE puts the infant into the arms of the young woman.

NURSE

It’s a girl!

YOUNG WOMAN

(exhausted but beaming)

Oh, look at her!  Isn’t she beautiful!

NURSE

What’s her name?

The young mother looks intently at her new baby.

YOUNG WOMAN

We’ve thought of a lot of names, but now that I’ve seen her I’m going to call her Julie.

Hold on close up of baby who is still screaming.

VOICEOVER OF THE GHOST OF JULIUS

Danny!  What kind of a screwed up deal did you negotiate here?  Danny!  Where are you?  There’s been a terrible mistake! Danny! For Godssakes! Where the hell are you?

Copyright 2009 – Corinne Edwards and Paul Van Name

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