Sapling Episode 1

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

After the sudden death of beloved Sapling Technology CEO Jonah Peck, the meek and mild-mannered Roland Coleridge ascends to lead it, with enormous shoes to fill and big doubts from the public and his own company. His assistant Oliver tries to decide whether he should stay the course or leave, and Jonah Peck fanatic Mason Stepford plots to undermine Roland's leadership of the company.







“With the words beneath my pillowed head. I am staring at the ceiling again. I cry about it, I cry about it. I cry about it because I want to!”

  • Alexis Marshall


(We open on the City Church of San Francisco. There is a funeral featuring an open coffin on the church’s dais and next to it a wreath on an easel with the words “JONAH PECK, 1984-2019” below a picture of Jonah- ruggedly handsome, undone collar, five o’clock shadow and gorgeous, dark brown hair. A throng of mourners in dark attire take turns tearfully observing Jonah’s body. Roland Coleridge, middle-aged, thinning hairline, and his red-head wife Rita walk up to the coffin. They awkwardly observe Jonah with somewhat contrived melancholy. Roland rubs Rita’s back and they move on. Then, Mason Stepford, 24, short brown hair, neck-beard, wearing a black suit with a loosened tie, walks up, as he desperately holds back tears. He looks around and surreptitiously removes a strand of hair from Roland’s head. He then moves on. Cut to the Executive office of Sapling Technologies. The office faces the San Francisco Bay Area skyline. It’s a massive office with a slick glass desk and the Sapling logo splayed on each side. Fine leather couches and an oak coffee table adorn the middle of the office. Roland is standing behind the desk with his sleeves rolled up and his tie loosened. His desk is buried in flowers, fruit baskets, cards and candles. A blonde, middle-aged female executive named Debra is speaking with him. She flashes a Wired magazine cover at him- showing a picture of both Jonah and Roland side-by-side with the headline “Can Roland Coleridge Fill Jonah Peck’s Shoes? Probably Not!” )


DEBRA: He’s been dead for a weekend.


(Roland shrugs)


ROLAND: It’s about what I expected, I suppose.


DEBRA: We’re gonna need to make a move.


ROLAND: Alright. Can we start with the, uh…?


DEBRA: …The what?


ROLAND: The flowers, the cards, I can’t work at this desk if it’s buried in-


DEBRA: Roland. You don’t want to upset people, do you? (Roland slowly shakes his head. Debra points at the coffee table) Then work from over there.


(Roland sighs and brings a stack of papers over to the coffee table. He sits down on the couch as Debra sits across from him. Connor Oak- a bald, black man in his mid-30s walks in and sits down at the couch)


CONNOR: Sorry I’m late.


ROLAND: That fruit’s gonna go bad.


DEBRA: We’ll hang up fruit fly traps. Now. (Debra lays down a manila folder entitled “Untitled Sapling Project 2020”) This is what Jonah left behind.


(Roland opens the folder and thumbs through it)


ROLAND: This first one is-?


CONNOR: Top secret.


DEBRA: And, not gonna work as an opening offer. Not in these, politically sensitive times.


(Roland closes the folder and sighs)


ROLAND: Great. The rest is basically nothing. (Sigh) Gotta start from scratch.


(Roland’s assistant Oliver Mulvaney, 26, thin, dirty blonde, dressed in a suit and plaid dress shirt and tie, walks in with a big stack of mail)


OLIVER: Where do you want me to put your hate mail?


ROLAND: …Elsewhere, Oliver.


(Oliver nods)


OLIVER: Sure thing, Roland.


(Oliver heads toward the door)


ROLAND: it’s- it’s Mr. Coleridge.


(Oliver stops in her tracks and turns back)


OLIVER: What’s that?


(Roland puts his hands up)


ROLAND: Nothing. (Oliver nods and leaves the room. Roland looks at Debra and Connor) …Let’s get started, I guess. (Roland sits back) …Any ideas?


DEBRA: I mean…you’re the CEO, sir, you should start.


ROLAND: I mean…an updated OS for our Pando 6G would be-


CONNOR: No, it can’t be a minor update, it has to be an entirely new product. Jonah was a visionary, and if you don’t show you’re a visionary, well, then, the public won’t be convinced you’re a good steward of the company. (Beat) Sorry to be so candid.


ROLAND: No, Connor, I appreciate it. Um. (Roland sits up straight) What about that room that Jonah always used to get inspired?


DEBRA: You mean the Methuselah?


ROLAND: Yeah, whatever it was.


CONNOR: It’s the Methuselah. It’s the Methusalah!


ROLAND: Okay! Okay! I got it!

DEBRA: You never found that room useful before-


ROLAND: Yeah, well, maybe being in Jonah’s position now, it will be.


(Debra shrugs)


DEBRA: Okay. Let’s do it.


(Cut Debra’s hand entering a code into a wall panel. The interface beep, Debra pushes the panel and it creeks open like a door into a dimly lit room, full of bean bags and candles, where soothing new age music is playing from a stereo in the corner. Debra and Connor take their shoes off as Roland walks inside and looks around)


CONNOR: Hey, man, shoes off!


(Roland looks down)


ROLAND: Oh! Sorry. (Roland takes his shoes off as Debra closes the door. They all sit on bean bag chairs and face each other. They awkwardly look around. Connor taps his fingers against the side of the bean bag) …I think it’s this music that’s, throwing me off.


DEBRA: What kind of music do you want, then, Roland?


ROLAND: I don’t know…I like Kings of Leon.


CONNOR: Ugh. Have a little respect for the room, Roland. This is Jonah’s room.


(Awkward pause)


ROLAND: You know what, you’re right. (Roland stands up) This is Jonah’s room, not mine.


(Roland walks out of the room, leaving Connor and Debra alone)


DEBRA: …Poor guy…


CONNOR: At least he’s alive.


(Connor stands up. Cut to Roland’s bathroom that night. Roland is shirtless and he splashes water in his face. He then fills a cup with water and takes a big gulp. Rita, dressed in pajamas, comes up and hugs him from behind. Roland closes his eyes and clutches her hand)


RITA: How was it?


(Roland sighs)


ROLAND: They act like I killed him.


(Rita rubs Roland’s shoulder and kisses his neck. Cut to the next day. Oliver is sitting in his office, rubbing his eyes. He picks up a cup of coffee and finishes it off as Roland pokes his head in)


ROLAND: Morning.


OLIVER: Morning, Roland. (Roland smirks and then walks away. Oliver gets a phone call on his cell, it’s from his mom. Oliver runs over and closes his office door and answers it) Hi, mom.


(Cut to Oliver’s mom- a woman sitting in her backyard on a lawn chair, enjoying a cup of iced coffee. Intercut between the two of them)


MRS. MULVANEY: Oliver, honey! We’ve barely spoken since it happened!


OLIVER: We spoke, mom.


MRS. MULVANEY: Well? I hope you’ve been endearing yourself to the new boss over there.


OLIVER: Ugh. (Oliver sits on his desk) I don’t think that he knows what he’s doing, mom.


MRS. MULVANEY: What makes you think that?


OLIVER: He got the VP job because he designed the Pando 4G, but there were people better suited for the position, but Jonah was the kind of guy who didn’t want to hire people who might upstage him.


MRS. MULVANEY: Like that’s possible!

OLIVER: Exactly! It was one of Jonah’s only bad decisions, and now Roland has a job he doesn’t deserve at all.


MRS. MULVANEY: I hope you’re outside.


OLIVER: Let him hear me! I don’t think I’m gonna stay, mom.




OLIVER: I moved to San Francisco to work for Jonah Peck, not this wiener!


MRS. MULVANEY: But you’re still working for one of the largest tech companies in Silicon Valley, honey, don’t give all of that up!


OLIVER: Uggghhh…part of me sees that logic, but- (Oliver stomps his foot) damnit, Jonah was a genius, and now that’s just gone! It’s just gone!


MRS. MULVANEY: Don’t you dare go back to Portland or come back here. I know you’re feeling a lot of emotions right now, hon, but you’re still the assistant to the CEO of Sapling Technologies. Stay the course.


(Oliver sighs. Roland knocks and pokes his head in as Oliver puts the phone to his chest)


ROLAND: Oliver, could I borrow you a second?


OLIVER: Yeah, let me just end this personal call.




(Oliver puts the phone back to his ear)


OLIVER: Alright, mom, gotta go, Roland wants me.


MRS. MULVANEY: Ooh! Tell him I said “hi”!


OLIVER: Love you. (Oliver hangs up) My mom says ‘hi”.


ROLAND: Oh. Well. Tell her I said “hi” next time you talk to her.


OLIVER: I’ll probably call her back after this. What’s up?


ROLAND: Let’s head into my office.


(Oliver and Roland walk into Roland’s office, where there are now fruit fly traps hung up everywhere, as fruit flies begin to surround the fruit baskets on Jonah’s old desk. There is also a news team setting up a satellite interview, complete with a camera and sound equipment in the couch area)


OLIVER: Oh, you have an interview?


ROLAND: Yeah, got a CNN thing in about fifteen minutes. But I just wanted to let you know, I know you’re probably hurting after Jonah died, I know you guys were close. You’re probably wondering what your future is here, and well, Jonah wasn’t shy about telling me how much of a fantastic assistant you are. So, I hope you know how integral you are around here.


OLIVER: Well, I appreciate that. To be honest with you, I was wondering whether I should stay.


ROLAND: Yeah, I kind of got that sense.


OLIVER: Right.


ROLAND: Since, you’re, being kind of curt-


OLIVER: Uh-huh.


ROLAND: And not even really doing your job.


OLIVER: Right, I keep track of your schedule, I should’ve known about this CNN interview.


ROLAND: Yeah, exactly. But! If you’re willing to do it, it’s a clean slate.


OLIVER: …Absolutely.


(Roland and Oliver shake hands. Oliver heads out the door as Roland sits down in front of the camera. An audio engineer affixes a lavalier mic to Roland’s collar)


ROLAND: Are we almost ready?


(Cut to Allyson Camerota and John Berman hosting CNN’s New Day)


ALLYSON: Welcome back to New Day, I’m Allyson Camerota.


JOHN: And I’m John Berman, the nation is still reeling from the death of Jonah Peck- (B-roll footage and stills of Jonah Peck walking past reporters, giving keynotes and jet-skiing play beside John) the CEO of Sapling Technologies. He died last week in a motorcycle accident outside his San Francisco home.


ALLYSON: Needless to say, expectations are incredibly high for his successor, Sapling Technology CEO Roland Coleridge.


JOHN: Roland joins us now. (Roland appears in a news box next to John and Allyson) Roland, thank you for joining us.




ROLAND: Thanks for having me-


JOHN: So, first question, give me your favorite memory of the late, great, Jonah Peck.


ROLAND: Well, let me just say, Jonah was an amazing guy, and we’re still really hurting over here at Sapling. As far as my favorite memory, I’d have to say…you know, when he promoted me to Vice President, about three years ago, I really appreciated that from him. It was just such a…nice thing to do.




ALLYSON: Anything more personal, or?


ROLAND: Pardon?


ALLYSON: Do you have a more PERSONAL, memory. To share. Asshole.


ROLAND: Excuse me?


ALLYSON: Just one personal memory!


(Cut to Oliver watching the interview in his office, CNN streaming on his computer)


OLIVER: Oh, for fuck’s sake… (Oliver angrily throws a pen across the room) COME ON!


(Cut to Mason sitting in his basement, whittling what appears to be a carving of Jonah Peck himself, while watching the CNN interview with Roland Coleridge)


ALLYSON: How do you plan to fill Jonah’s, enormous shoes?


ROLAND: Well, I don’t think you can, really, I’m just going to try my best to make a product that would, you know, do him proud. Make him smile up there.


(Mason angrily whittles even faster. He roars and angrily turns off the TV)


MASON: FUCK THAT GUY! (Mason storms over to his mini fridge, takes out an orange soda, and downs it. He wipes his mouth and prostrates himself before a shrine of Jonah Peck, complete with an oil painting, a wreath and candles surrounding it) Jonah. I won’t let this guy win. I WILL CARRY YOUR WILL FORWARD! (Mason takes out a baggie with the lock of Jonah’s hair in it) I have the first ingredient. (Mason smiles and kisses the hair. Cut to Mason and three of his friends- a 24-year old blonde-haired, blue-eyed sycophant named Adam Roe, a 25-year old Asian man named Dennis Chu and a 22-year old neck-beard John Gallagher) Thanks for coming, everyone, I thought it would be better to continue this conversation outside of r/jonahpeck, so we could more fully develop our plan of action.


ADAM: Really solid idea, Mason.


MASON: The long-term plan is right here- (Mason takes out a huge stack of apparently psychotic scribbling) but this is a long-term plan.


DENNIS: What do we do in the meantime?


MASON: Roland is scheduled to do a Q&A at Berkley next week. That would be a good place to start the terror.


(They all laugh)


JOHN: Should I make bombs?


MASON: Wha-no, no, hold off on that. Not literal terror. Just…sharp questions. Basically, just yelling at him. (Mason pats the stack of papers) Save that for the long-term.


(Mason smiles)


DENNIS: That’s good, because I’m scared of getting in trouble.


MASON: Shut up, Dennis. Okay, let’s get down to business. So, I got a lock of Jonah’s hair from his funeral-


(Mason’s mom, 47-year old Heather Stepford, walks in with a plate of brownies)


HEATHER: Mason, I’ve made brownies for you and your friends!



HEATHER: I’m sorry, honey, I just thought-


(Mason turns to her)


MASON: NO! WHAT DID I TELL YOU!? I want you say it, word-for-word.


HEATHER: I-I-I-okay, I-


MASON: Spit it out! It’s not that difficult!


HEATHER: …You said, “do not interrupt my meetings with my friends because you, you, ‘eff’ up our concentration”.


MASON: That’s right. And about the brownies?


HEATHER: “If you have food to bring us, place it on the bottom of the stairs without making a sound”.


MASON: That’s right. So get out.


HEATHER: Okay, honey.


(Heather wipes away tears as she brings the brownies on the floor and runs up the stairs. Mason turns back to his friends)


MASON: I swear, she can be such a bitch sometimes.


DENNIS: Are those brownies up for grabs though?


MASON: IN A MINUTE! (Beat) Let’s get into this. Then we can eat the brownies, in fact, we should probably go eat somewhere soon anyway. My mom’s cooking sucks dick.


(Cut to Roland walking alongside Connor Oak outside of Sapling’s building)


CONNOR: That interview, Roland, I have to say-


ROLAND: Don’t lie-


CONNOR: I wasn’t going to! It was awful! You did a bad job!


ROLAND: Oh, okay, you could’ve softened the blow a little bit.


(A car pulls up on the side of the road and a heavyset man pops out of passenger side)




(The man gets back inside his car and speeds off. Roland and Connor keep walking)


ROLAND: People have such a low opinion of me, yet they seem to think I’m capable of resurrection.


CONNOR: Maybe we should get you some security.


(Cut to Roland’s office. Roland sits, rubbing his temples profusely as cross-talk is heard between Debra and Connor. They are all sitting around the coffee table, but their voices are barely audible)


DEBRA: It’s an unmitigated disaster. People think you didn’t even like Jonah!


CONNOR: Roland, the shareholders are livid, I’ve never seen such anger!


DEBRA: They want your head, Roland. Three separate tech magazines have called on you to resign, just for this interview alone! I don’t know how to spin this, I honestly don’t-


CONNOR: People are wondering how you could be so, cold and aloof from Jonah’s memory!


ROLAND: ENOUGH! (Roland slams his hand on the table. Sound is now normal and audible. Roland sighs) …This is a news cycle, alright? Trump will tweet something stupid in fifteen minutes, and everyone will move on. We just need to find a solution.  A new product! I’m convinced that’s the cure to what ails us. (Beat) …Are you absolutely sure Jonah’s top-secret project is out of the question?


DEBRA: Yes! Not in this political climate.


ROLAND: Well, then we’re just grasping for straws in the dark! NO PLAN WHATSOEVER! (Roland swipes away a fruit fly) ALSO, THAT MOTHERFUCKING FRUIT IS SPOILING!


(Roland points to the fruit baskets on the desk, now being swarmed by fruit flies)


CONNOR: …Yeah, we had a suggestion about that. We could knock down a wall, build another office and keep this place as a Jonah Peck shrine, or museum.


(Roland stares at him with barely repressed anger. He then looks over at Debra)


ROLAND: We need all hands on deck.


DEBRA: Shall we go to the Methuselah?


ROLAND: …No. No, I need my own creative space. (Beat) I’ll never be Jonah Peck. We gotta embrace it.


DEBRA: …I can accept it, but I won’t embrace it.


CONNOR: Yeah, he was like a father to us.


ROLAND: …We’ll put a pin in that, then.


(Cut to Oliver having lunch with his girlfriend Rachel Galloway at a coffee shop in downtown San Francisco. She appears to be wearing a uniform, suggesting she works there. She’s a short woman with brunette hair tied into a ponytail)


RACHEL: Excuse me?


OLIVER: I think I’m gonna go back to Rhode Island. I think WE should move to Rhode Island.


(Rachel scoffs)


RACHEL: Are you serious?


OLIVER: I can’t work for this guy. He’s an idiot! He’s- he’s not an idiot, but he is not right for the job.


RACHEL: Then, then, work somewhere else in Silicon Valley, work at Facebook! I’m sure they are in need of fresh talent, so they can, work whatever devil magic it requires to make Americans buy shit-


OLIVER: I didn’t move across the country to work for Zuckerberg, I moved here to work for Jonah Peck. (Oliver shrugs) It’s not what I want.


RACHEL: Well, I’m not moving with you. (Oliver lets out an exasperated sigh) I’m sorry, I just got promoted to manager here, and, you know I want to start my own shop someday, I’m not just gonna leave that behind!


OLIVER: Rachel-


RACHEL: No, if you wanna go, go! But don’t expect me to come with you.


(Rachel stands up and walks back toward the kitchen. Oliver sighs and shakes his head. Cut to Roland in Sapling’s opulent executive conference room- a long glass table filled with Sapling executives and creative professionals. Roland sits at the head of the table, flanked by Connor and Debra. Oliver is next to Debra with a notepad and pen to take notes on. Behind them is a whiteboard)


ROLAND: Alright, guys. It’s time to ignore all the noise outside and get to work. Let me be clear. (Roland stands up and awkwardly puts his leg on the table and leans against it) This is a-


OLIVER: Roland, this is a glass desk.


ROLAND: You’re right, sorry. (Roland takes his foot off of it and walks over to the whiteboard and picks up an Expo) We need serious ideas people, revolutionary ideas- I know they say “no bad ideas”, but there are, and I will call them out if they come up. Got it? (Some of the employees stifle laughter) I’m serious. Let’s get cookin’.


(A younger, dirty blonde executive named Gene Cordray pipes up)


GENE: Whatever it is, it should be named after Jonah.


(Everyone nods in agreement)


ROLAND: Absolutely, but we need that “it”- what is it?


(A young woman with black hair and a ponytail pipes up)


LYDIA: Users have complained that 8th generation Pando can’t handle enough apps without a reduction in speed, so-


ROLAND: Sorry to interrupt, Lydia, but this can’t just be an update to an existing product, this needs to be a whole new product. What’s our iPad or our Amazon Echo?


LYDIA: What about, and hear me out, an iMazon EchoPad?


(Laughter in the room)


ROLAND: Thanks for being so helpful, Lydia-


(An older development executive pipes up)


TIMOTHY: Sorry, Roland, the past week has been a bitch. I can hardly eat or sleep since Jonah died, how am I supposed to come up with groundbreaking technologies?


ROLAND: Because it’s your job! (Roland points to Oliver) Oliver! You’re an ambitious kid, full of piss and vinegar, go ahead! I know you have a million ideas rattling up there.


(Oliver looks up and glares at Roland. He looks to the rest of the staff and then looks back at Roland)




ROLAND: Come on, nobody works a desk for Jonah Peck without having an encyclopedia’s worth of good ideas, so, lay ‘em on me.


(Oliver clears his throat)


OLIVER: Honestly, Roland, nothing comes to mind.


(Oliver looks down. Roland squints at him)


ROLAND: …Really?


(Oliver shrugs)


OLIVER: Guess the muse hasn’t talked to me just yet. Maybe it will someday. (Under his breath) When I work somewhere else…


(Everybody shifts uncomfortably in their chairs. Roland turns to the rest of the team, clearly perturbed)


ROLAND: …Let’s let all this gestate. We’ll pow-wow tomorrow. You’re dismissed.


(People start getting up, gathering their things and funneling out of the room. Gene walks over to Roland and pats him on the back and leans in)


GENE: (Whispering) Hey, man, I can see the stress is getting to you.


ROLAND: It’s really not that bad-


GENE: You can keep it real with me, just know that, hoss. And TBH, I’m a little concerned for you. I’m number three here, and if you need to tap out, I got you.


(Roland barely conceals a deep scowl)


ROLAND: Thanks for your concern, Gene, but I’m really fine.


GENE: …Glad to hear it, buddy.


(Gene slaps Roland on the back and walks out, as Roland grinds his teeth in anger. Cut to Mason, Dennis, Adam and John at a Five Guys, having finished off their burgers and now munching on fries)


JOHN: Hey, Mason, I know you want to take it slow and everything, but I’m super eager to go right to the source.


MASON: What are you yammering about?


JOHN: We should do something to Roland-


MASON: (Angrily) Keep your voice down!


JOHN: (Whispering) Sorry, man! We should take it to Roland directly!


DENNIS: (Whispering) I don’t think that’s a good idea-


MASON: SHUT UP! (Whispering) Do you have a plan in mind, Johnny?


JOHN: (Whispering) I don’t know, we could, spray-paint his house, or-


MASON: Spray-paint his house?


JOHN; Yeah, or do a classic TP or something-


MASON: Are we goddamn thirteen years old?! What will this accomplish?!


JOHN: It’ll be sick, that’s what it’ll accomplish!


MASON: No! We have to do this slow and SMART! Otherwise we’ll get caught. (Mason takes out the lock of Jonah’s hair) THIS is the key!


DENNIS: Forgive me, Mason, but…the key to what?


(Mason leans in)


MASON: Resurrection.


(Cut to Heather at the Stepford household reading People magazine. She flips impatiently through the pages, appearing to pay little attention. She tosses the magazine on the coffee table. She looks toward the door to the basement. Cut to her rifling through Mason’s papers, plans and insane scribblings. She finds disturbing illustrations of Roland Coleridge being drawn and quartered, or splayed out on a Pentagram, surrounded by candles, she finds various papers with flattering sketches of Jonah Peck, or words and phrases like “RESSURECT” or “END ROLAND” or “RETURN SAPLING TO THE SAVIOR”. She backs away in fear and covers her mouth in horror. Cut to Heather sitting at the kitchen table, tapping her foot nervously and staring forward with teary eyes. A middle-aged man with glasses walks in and looks at Heather)


TED: What’s wrong, Heather?


HEATHER: Sit down.


(Ted sits down across from Heather)


TED: This better be serious, Heather, last time you called me for an emergency, it was a raccoon in the attic.


(Heather shakes her head)


HEATHER: I was looking through Mason’s stuff downstairs. (Heather takes out her phone and sends Ted pictures of the scribblings and drawings) I just sent you pictures of what I found.


(Ted checks his phone and looks at the pictures in horror)


TED: …My God…


HEATHER: …What do we do…


TED: We… (Ted puts his phone away) he needs to see someone.


HEATHER: Good luck convincing him of that…


TED: It’s not about convincing him, Heather! I’m done with convincing, now is the time for coercion! Remember last year? When he punched someone at that protest, I had to use every connection at the DA’s office I had to get them to drop charges, tell him if he wants to live here, he has to go to therapy!

HEATHER: I’m not gonna make our only son homeless!


TED: You’ve gotta be willing to do so, or else, he’s gonna keep getting worse! (Heather wipes away tears. Ted puts his hand on hers) I’ll give him the ultimatum, honey.


(Heather nods. Cut to Oliver and Rachel cuddling on the couch in their apartment)


RACHEL: …So are you gonna stick it out? (Oliver sighs and shrugs. Rachel squints and stands up) …Decide!


(Rachel storms off. Cut to Mason, Dennis, John and Adam walking into the Stepford household, laughing)


MASON: And then I told the SJW that I identify as a “lizard”!


(They crack up)


ADAM: Oh, it’s gets funnier every time you tell it, boss!

(Mason notices Ted and Heather sitting at the dinner table, facing them)


MASON: Dad, what are you doing here?


TED: Tell your friends to go.


MASON: Like Hell I will! They will stay- (They all leave) guys, what the fuck!?


TED: Sit down, we need to talk to you.


MASON: I don’t like being ambushed!


HEATHER: Just sit down, Mason, don’t make this harder than it needs to be.


(Mason looks at mom)


MASON: You let him in here?


(Heather looks down)


TED: I don’t need to be LET in here, I still own this house. Now, sit down! (Mason sits down across from them) Son. I came by to pick up some stuff from the basement


MASON: You had nothing in the basement-


TED: Don’t interrupt! I did! I left my, fuckin’- (Ted pulls out a receipt) receipt down there, just shut it, okay? I found this.


(Ted slides his phone over toward Mason. Mason sees the pictures of his insane scribblings and drawings)


MASON: WHOA! (Mason stands up) YOU HAD NO RIGHT!




(Mason bites his lip and sits down)


HEATHER: Honey, we love you. But this is genuinely disturbing!


TED: Your mother and I decided, that you should go to therapy.






(Mason sits back)


MASON: I’m sorry, dad, I’m just not gonna do therapy-


TED: Then guess what, buddy boy? You’re homeless! And I know you, there’s no one you loath more than homeless people! (Mason crosses his arms) I’ve seen you steal money from the homeless and pour buckets of water on them! (Mason storms out of the house, slamming the door behind him. Ted stands up) HEY! COME BACK HERE!

HEATHER: Let him go…he just needs to collect himself…I know my boy will make the right decision.


(Ted sighs and sits down. Cut to Roland sitting in his expansive living room, decked out with a quality stereo system, collection of worn vinyls and wrap-around couch, listening to “Witchy Woman” by The Eagles on his stereo while enjoying a glass of wine. Rita walks in and sets her purse on the counter)


RITA: Another rough day?


(Roland shrugs)


ROLAND: …Yeah. (Roland uses a remote to turn down the music and stands up) How was your day?


RITA: If I could tell you, I would.


(Rita sits down on the couch, and Roland sits down next to her and puts his hand on her leg)


ROLAND: I don’t know any of your patients. Spill it!


RITA: How do you know you don’t know any of my patients?


ROLAND: Do I know any of your patients?


RITA: …No! But, still, I shouldn’t be the shrink that gabs about her patients’ problems to just anybody-




RITA: Not that you’re, just anybody-


ROLAND: I should think not!

(Rita laughs)


RITA: I’m sorry, I meant…okay, fine, so there’s this one kid.


ROLAND: Uh-huh.


RITA: He has trichotillomania, you know where you pull your hair out incessantly-


ROLAND: I’ve heard of it.


RITA: Anyway, she brought it in like a bag-


ROLAND: Oh my God!


RITA: Right?!


(Cut to Roland and Rita in their bathroom. Rita is splashing water in her face as she goes up to look at the mirror, and she finds Roland behind her, putting his hands on her shoulder. He goes in for a neck kiss, causing Rita to smile. Cut to Roland Rita naked in the shower, making out and having sex. Cut to  John walking up to the gate outside Roland’s mansion. He’s holding a crate of eggs. He holds up an egg to his face)


JOHN: I don’t care what Mason says. YOU ARE VALUABLE, LITTLE EGG. And pretty soon, Roland Coleridge will have egg on his…house. (John takes a stance and throws the egg forcefully toward the house, but it lands in the bushes) Shit.


(Cut to Roland and Rita screwing in the shower)


RITA: Oh, Roland…


(Cut to John throwing the egg again, and this time it lands the brick)




(Cut to Roland and Rita screwing)


RITA: I love you, Roland-


ROLAND: I love you too…


(Cut to John throwing another egg, which hits the brick again)




(Cut to Rita and Roland screwing)


RITA: I value you, Roland…


ROLAND: …Yeah, thank you…


(Cut to another egg landing on the roof this time)




(Cut to Roland and Rita screwing)


RITA: Just now that people care about you-


(Roland stops)


ROLAND: Rita, don’t do the positive affirmation thing-


RITA: What?!


ROLAND: it’s patronizing, okay? I know people care about me-


RITA: I just figured you had a tough week is all-


ROLAND: You don’t need to do that, though-


(Suddenly, they hear a loud SPLAT. They open the shower curtain and see a raw egg sliding down the outside glass of their bathroom window)


RITA: Oh, shit!


(Cut to John laughing his ass off outside)


JOHN: I need to get the fuck outta here!


(John runs away. Cut to Roland and Rita running outside, now wearing robes. They look up at all the eggs on the house)


ROLAND: Damnit.


RITA: It’s not a big deal.


(Roland looks at the gate)


ROLAND: Somebody must’ve had a hell of an arm.


RITA: Should we call the police?


(Roland shakes her head “no”)


ROLAND: No, there’s no point in that, he’s long gone.


RITA: We wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t hit the window.




RITA: You know, now that you’re more high-profile, maybe we should hire some security, or, get one of those Brinks Systems.


ROLAND: …Yeah, maybe… (Roland looks at Rita again) where we did we leave off?


RITA: We were arguing.


ROLAND: Right. Let’s skip that part.


(Rita smiles)


RITA: Okay.


(Roland and Rita walk inside. Cut to Oliver standing at Jonah Peck’s fresh gravesite, which is riddled with flowers and a gravestone featuring a bust of Jonah’s head)


OLIVER: …Jonah…if you can hear me, I just want you to know, that, well…I need your guidance. I don’t know if I can work for your successor. I don’t want to work for any other company, because I believe in Sapling that much. (Sniffs) I believed in you. And you believed in me. (Beat) But I love my girlfriend. And I love my mom. For similar reasons, incidentally. (Beat) And they both want me to stay here. So, I ask you (Mason walks over with a bouquet of flowers and a Bill Weld 2020 campaign sticker. Mason looks at Oliver) …Can I help you?


MASON: …Sorry, do you think you OWN Jonah’s memory?


OLIVER: No, I just…I’m having a moment with him.


MASON: Well, I need his guidance too. So you might want to keep your Christmas list to yourself, buddy.


OLIVER: Hey! I was his Assistant!


(Mason steps forward)


MASON: For real?


OLIVER: Yeah! For like, two years!


MASON: …Wow…I bet you quit as soon as he died, huh?


(Oliver sighs)


OLIVER: Not yet. That’s why I’m here, actually.


MASON: …I bet working for Roland is a bitch, huh?


OLIVER: He’s nowhere near the man who Jonah was. Good man, but no Jonah Peck.


MASON: He’s not a good man.


(Oliver looks over at Mason quizzically)


OLIVER: You one of those fanatics, huh?


MASON: And you’re not?


(Oliver shrugs)


OLIVER: I guess I am. (Beat) But Roland is a good guy, good family man. He’s just not what Sapling needs right now.


MASON: Ugh. Who would want to marry that dude?


OLIVER: His wife’s really nice, I’ve met her a couple times at company parties. But she’s a therapist, so you do always feel like you’re being analyzed.


(Mason looks at Oliver)


MASON: She’s a therapist?


OLIVER: Uh-huh. Over in the mission district.


MASON: Did she take his last name?


OLIVER: She did, but she goes by her maiden name professionally.


MASON: Which is?


OLIVER: White. Rita White. (Oliver looks over at Mason quizzically) …Why?


MASON: Nothin’ man, nothin’. (Mason sniffs) Well, I think I got my guidance. Gonna take it and- (Mason pats his shirt pocket) keep it right here. Thanks, Jonah, you’re the homie.


(Mason walks away. Oliver glares at him suspiciously but shrugs and turns back to Jonah’s tombstone. Cut to Jonah and Rita sleeping in their bed. Jonah opens his eyes suddenly and smiles. He gets up, turns on the lamp, grabs a notebook from the drawer of his bedside table, quickly puts on his glasses and starts jotting something down. Rita stirs from her sleep)


RITA: Roland, what are you doing…


ROLAND: Nothing, honey, go back to sleep.


(We punch in on the notepad- it reads “1-in-1 Smart House technology”)


RITA: No, I can’t sleep when the light is on.


ROLAND: It’s going off, don’t worry.


(Roland puts the notepad on the bedside table, turns out the lamp, puts his glasses aside and goes back under the covers. He kisses Rita on the cheek)


RITA: Hmm.


(Cut to the next morning. Rita wakes up, sits up and rubs her eyes. She looks over to see Roland is not there, and she can hear the shower going in the other room. Rita walks over to the other side of the bed and sees Roland’s idea scribbled on the notepad. She smiles giddily and walks away. Cut to Roland walking toward his office. Oliver walks out of his office to follow him into Roland’s office)


ROLAND: Morning, Oliver.


OLIVER: Morning, Roland, listen-


ROLAND: Hey, I’m glad you’re here- (Roland sets his suitcase on the coffee table and sits down the couch) close the door.


(Oliver looks at the door)


OLIVER: Uh, sure. (Oliver closes the door and walks over to Roland) So, listen, I have something to-


ROLAND: Real quick, have a seat. (Oliver sits across from Roland) So, listen, I have this idea. It came to me last night. (Roland takes out a diagram of a home-security system slash one-in-one omni-system) I call it the Sapling 1N1. It’s essentially a Smart House. You attach censors to your appliances, and suddenly, your garbage disposal, your coffee machine, your AC, it’s all controlled by voice command. There’s a central screen in the foyer where you can control the settings, but otherwise you can just speak an action into existence, just by saying the name. You with me? (Oliver nods cautiously) It also doubles as a home security system. You can set up an invisible perimeter around your house, with these little rods- (Roland points to the rods) and if a human being crosses those rods after a time of your choosing, probably midnight, it alerts you. If you don’t respond to the first alert, and the person is trying to get in, it calls the police. Automatically. You don’t even have to be awake. Imagine, Oliver, just saying “Judy, set the temperature to 70 degrees” and it just does it!




ROLAND: The name can be workshopped- but the point is, this 1n1 system is the logical conclusion of all this Alexa technology. It’s the first Smart House, and we need to be on the ground floor of it.


OLIVER: …How did the development team react to this?


ROLAND: I haven’t pitched it to them yet. I want your opinion.


(Oliver sits back)


OLIVER: …Does it alert you when you get mail in your mailbox?


(Roland slaps and points at him)


ROLAND: No, but I like that! (Roland writes that down) So…overall?


OLIVER: It’s good. I do think it is the logical conclusion of all the technological advancements of the past ten years.


ROLAND: Thank you. (Beat) So what do you say? Wanna go into that development meeting and watch me pitch this? Clearly, you didn’t know there was a development meeting, but- (Oliver laughs) I’m willing to forgive that, as long as it doesn’t keep up.


(Oliver nods)


OLIVER: Okay. Let’s do it.


(Roland and Oliver shake hands. Cut to Mason vaping in his bedroom, while looking out the window. A knock comes at the door)


MASON: Come in.


(Heather comes in with a plate of bacon and eggs)


HEATHER: I made your favorite!

MASON: Thanks, just put it on my desk.


(Heather puts the plate on the desk)


HEATHER: You’re sure you don’t want to eat downstairs with your mother?


MASON: Yeah, mom, I’m sure. (Heather nods and heads for the door) Hey. (Heather turns to Mason) I think you and dad are right. I need to so a shrink.


HEATHER: Oh, wonderful, honey! I’ll look up therapists in the area-


MASON: No, I, uh, think I found one. (Mason picks up his laptop and turns it to his mom- it shows a website for “Rita White Psychological Associates- Most Trusted Therapist in the Bay Area since 2001”, next to a picture of Rita crossing her arms) I’ve read really dope reviews for her.


HEATHER: Oh, wow, good job taking the initiative, honey, but are you sure you want a…woman therapist?




HEATHER: You’re just not usually very nice to…women.


MASON: I’ll be fine. Mom. We’re going with Rita White. Now get the hell out of here.


(Heather nods and runs out. Mason smiles deviously, takes out his phone and begins dialing the number for Rita White’s office. Cut to Roland pitching the Sapling 1N1 to the development team and Oliver)


ROLAND: In conclusion, it’s every function you need in a house, right at your fingertips. Or rather, your vocal cords.


(Roland smiles)


OLIVER: (Whispering) Could’ve stuck the landing a bit better.


(Roland sits down)


ROLAND: Shhh. Any thoughts?


OLIVER: …I think it’s really good, something the industry has been going toward for a long time, but, let’s just go for it.


GENE: …What about the name?


ROLAND: What about it?


GENE: The “Sapling 1n1”? Shouldn’t it be named after Jonah? I mean, it would be our first product since his death.


(The room mumbles in agreement)


ROLAND: Okay. How about the Jonah Peck 1n1?


GENE: No, it should be more subtle.


OLIVER: How about…the 4J 1N1?


(The room clamors in recognition)


GENE: That’s good! 4J! Get it, Roland? “For Jonah”?


ROLAND: Yes, I get it. We’re agreed, then? (The room mumbles in agreement) Terrific!


(Everybody gets up and start shaking hands)


GENE: Good job on that name, Oliver.


(Everyone else clamors in agreement)


OLIVER: Thanks. (Jonah looks over at Oliver) And, props to Jonah on the idea!


GENE: Yeah, for sure.


(Tepid agreement in the room)


ROLAND: Thanks. Of course, the mailbox idea was Oliver’s-


GENE: Good idea, kid!


(Everyone starts congratulating him. Roland bites his tongue and pats Oliver on the shoulder. Cut to Oliver returning home, throwing his keys in the bowl and removing his jacket. He looks around)




(Roland walks over to the fridge, sits down on it and checks his Pando- there’s a text from Rita that says “had a last-minute appt scheduled, will be home a little late”. Roland shrugs, puts his feet up and turns on the TV. Cut to a one-shot of Rita sitting on the couch in her psychologist’s office, with her notepad and pen)


RITA: So…let’s start off with the obvious. What brought you in today?


(Reverse shot to reveal Mason sitting across from her as foreboding music plays)


MASON: Well… (Mason looks directly at her) where to start?


(Cut to black)



Submitted: September 14, 2019

© Copyright 2021 NEONETWORK. All rights reserved.

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