Friday, November 30, 2007

To Get Everyone Up To Speed...

...I'm posting the scripts to the first two episodes of Pinkie. Episode Three, "Local Color," goes up tomorrow night at the Battle ranch.

Here's episode one:


Episode I: What’s That Smell? (Pilot)

By James Comtois

CHARLIE: (Either off-stage or directly to the audience.) The Pinkerton National Detective Agency was a nationwide private detective agency established by Allan Pinkerton in 1850. The agency's logo, an eye embellished with the words "We Never Sleep," inspired the term "private eye." During its height, the Pinkerton Detective Agency employed more agents than the U.S. standing army. By the 1890s, some believed the organization was a necessary force in maintaining peace and order while remaining under the radar. Some believed Pinkertons, or "Pinkies," were corrupt mercenaries hired by Robber Barons to infiltrate labor unions and intimidate strikers...

If CHARLIE is on-stage, he now exits.

EILEEN and WILLIAM "DUSTY" DENTON enter a storefront that's in disarray.

EILEEN: What's that smell?

DUSTY: It's the smell of a new life, Eileen.

EILEEN: Smells of possum urine.

DUSTY: We'll air it out. It'll do.

EILEEN: I don't know, Mr. Denton. I think word of mouth that this place stinks of possum piss is gonna drive customers away.

DUSTY: Come on, Eileen. That's no way to think. With a bit of grit and some elbow grease, we'll get this place in shape in no time.

EILEEN: I hope so. I'm feeling light-headed.

DUSTY: Oh, you're being melodramatic.

EILEEN: I'm getting the vapors.

DUSTY: Crack a window, then.

EILEEN: I was going to ask you how you could afford a place like this, but now I know.

DUSTY: Oh, hey now. I'm pretty sure within a week you'll be thinking of this place as your home away from home. Plus, it wasn't that cheap.

EILEEN: Pinkies get paid well?

DUSTY: I did.

EILEEN: And judging by the sound of your voice you want me to keep talking about this.

DUSTY: (Smiles.) Always were a sharp one, Eileen.

EILEEN: Thank you, Mr. Denton.

DUSTY: Please, Eileen. Mr. Denton's my father's name. Dusty's fine. Or even William.

EILEEN: I'll see what I can do, Mr. Denton.

DUSTY: Fair enough. Will you look at this place? I love it already.

EILEEN: You seem chipper today.

DUSTY: Well, what can I say? I have a good feeling about this. But who knows? Maybe that's just because it's the first day, and nothing's happened to sour my mood.

EILEEN: Could be.

DUSTY: So let's find out what's causing that stink and get rid of it.

EILEEN: (Sighs.) Fine.
They start trying to put things in order, cleaning up chairs and moving aside trash. While they do so, a sullen-looking man, STUBBY GILBERT, enters.

STUBBY: Uh, excuse me? Is this the...whoo! What's that smell?

DUSTY: We're not sure. Eileen thinks a possum micturated in the closet.

EILEEN: Not in the closet. On every square inch of this place.

DUSTY: Eileen...

STUBBY: It's pretty strong.

EILEEN: I think it got the curtains, too-

DUSTY: -We're working on it. How can I help you?

STUBBY: Anyway. Is this the Pinkerton Agency?

DUSTY: Ah, no, not exactly.

STUBBY: Oh. But I was told that this store was bought to be a detective agent's office...

DUSTY: Oh, it is. But I'm not a Pinkie. As in, I was, but can I help you?

STUBBY: Well, my name's Stubby Gilbert. I run the Arcade Saloon, about four doors down.

DUSTY: Oh, hello. I'm Dusty Denton. This is my assistant, Eileen Clayton.

STUBBY: Pleased to meet you both.

EILEEN: Likewise.

DUSTY: How can I help you?

STUBBY: Well, I am in need of some help. You're a private investigator?

DUSTY: I am.

STUBBY: How much do you charge?

DUSTY: The standard rate is ten dollars a day plus expenses.

STUBBY: That seems more than reasonable.

DUSTY: I believe so.

STUBBY: I don't know if I can trust you, but...

DUSTY: Well, that makes two of us.

STUBBY: Pardon?

DUSTY: We've just met. There's no reason for either one of us to trust one another. But that's a risk we'll have to take for now.

STUBBY: Fair enough.

DUSTY: So, how bout you tell me your story and I'll let you know if I can help you?


DUSTY: Eileen? You ready?

EILEEN: Yes, Mr. Denton. (Begins to take notes.)

STUBBY: Like I said, I run the Arcade Saloon four doors down. I bought it from Skinny Walker three years ago. I have all the paperwork proving its legitimacy if you need-

DUSTY: -Stubby. I've been a resident of this town for roughly one hour. Yes, I'm a private investigator, which makes me suspicious by nature. But I have no reason yet to not take its residents or businesses at face value. If you say you run the local saloon, you run the local saloon.

STUBBY: Oh. Sure. Well, I run a good, clean establishment. And it's been profitable, too. But lately, I've been dealing with some threatening behavior from a group of ne'erdowells.

DUSTY: Threatening? How do you mean?

STUBBY: Well, I've woken up late at night to the sound of people on horseback circling around my home and screaming nasty insults.

DUSTY: Death threats?

STUBBY: Well, not exactly. Mostly just insults. But it's definitely threatening. Also, the windows of the Arcade have been broken on more than a couple occasions by people throwing rocks.

DUSTY: Any of them have notes attached to them?

STUBBY: No, sir.

DUSTY: Okay. Now...are you sure these incidents are related? Maybe this is a series of coincidences? Just..."boys being boys?"

STUBBY: I don't think so. These incidents have been happening too often to make me think it's just a coincidence. Plus, they do coincide with another incident.

DUSTY: Which is...?

STUBBY: I have reason to believe this is the work of Jason Norris. He's a profiteer. Makes his fortune on a number of industries all at once, ranging from dry goods to the railroads. He had expressed interest in purchasing the Arcade. When I told him it wasn't for sale, he kept trying. When I insisted, he stopped being polite about it. Started telling me that I was being a damn stubborn fool and that the saloon would be his within six months time and I should just accept that as fact. When I refused to budge, he stopped asking. Kept to himself from then on.

DUSTY: So the harassment began shortly after he stopped asking you about the Arcade?

STUBBY: Yes, sir. And he has some ne'erdowells, young kids, no older n' fifteen, sixteen, working for him as hired hands. I have reason to believe they're the same kids that have been harassing me these past few days.

DUSTY: Now, why would he want the Arcade so badly? If he already has other prospects, I can't imagine-

STUBBY: -It's the most lucrative business in six counties. Norris wants to settle down here. He just built a house. He has no interest in going back east. Plus, he's always been used to getting his way. If he wants something, he doesn't take no for an answer.

DUSTY: Has anyone been hurt?

STUBBY: No, not yet. But I don't want to wait around until they do.

DUSTY: I understand. Now, may I ask why you don't just talk to the sheriff about this? I met him earlier this week and he seems like a reasonable man. If you just-

STUBBY: -The sheriff is a reasonable man. And a just man. But when it comes to Norris, he's completely blinded.

DUSTY: They have history?

STUBBY: You could say that. They're cousins.

DUSTY: Fair enough.

STUBBY: No, the sheriff would just say I'm being paranoid and mean-spirited and trying to ruin the reputation of a good man with no proof.

DUSTY: I see.

STUBBY: So can you help me?

DUSTY: Perhaps. Do you have Mr. Norris's address?

STUBBY: Yes. I wrote it down right here. (Hands DUSTY a piece of paper. DUSTY takes it.) It's about eight miles south of the center of town. Right by the river.

DUSTY: Okay, thank you.

STUBBY: If you're going over there, make sure you have at least two guns. His boys are always-

DUSTY: -I don't even have one gun, Stubby.

STUBBY: Oh. Well, if you need, I'm sure you could see Jimmy and he could get you a good deal on-

DUSTY: -I haven't misplaced my gun, Stubby. I refuse to carry one.


DUSTY: Ever.

STUBBY: But, Mr. Denton...

DUSTY: Dusty, please.

STUBBY: Well, Dusty, Norris's boys are pretty rough. You should have a gun on you if you're going to confront him.

DUSTY: I assure you, Stubby. I no longer carry a firearm. Even if I did, I would never use it. I don't believe I need one.

STUBBY: Suit yourself. Sounds like suicide to me, but I s'pose you know what you're doing.

DUSTY: I always suppose that myself.

STUBBY: What? Oh. Right. Well, anyway, if you want to come by to the Arcade tomorrow to keep me posted, or to just have a drink on the house, or...well, let me know.

DUSTY: Will do.

STUBBY: Thank you, Dusty. Welcome to town! (They shake hands, STUBBY exits.)

DUSTY: Well, that's good news! Our first client and our first case on Day One!

EILEEN: Things are looking up, Mr. Denton.

DUSTY: I guess we'll have to put the cleaning on hold and get to work.

EILEEN: I suppose so.

DUSTY: I'll check out the address Stubby gave me first thing tomorrow...okay, you know what? The smell's really getting to me.

EILEEN: I can barely stay conscious, Mr. Denton.

DUSTY: Do you think the general store is still open? I'm going to get some cleaning supplies.

EILEEN: Only one way to find out.

DUSTY: Right. I'll be right back. (Exits. Pause. Enters.) Eileen?

EILEEN: Yes, Mr. Denton?

DUSTY: Where is the general store?

EILEEN: I believe it's right in the center of town.

DUSTY: Okay. (Thinks about it.) Okay.

EILEEN: You're a detective, Mr. Denton. I think you can find it.

DUSTY: Right. Right! I am. (Determined and confident, he exits.)

EILEEN resumes cleaning with what little resources she has. CHARLIE BURNSIDE, a well-dressed man, enters, admiring the place.

CHARLIE: What's that smell?

EILEEN: Oh, that. Yeah, sorry.

CHARLIE: Smells like possum urine.

EILEEN: We're trying to air it out. Can I help you?

CHARLIE: Yes. I was told that Dusty Denton had opened up a detective agency in this town and I could find him at this address. True?

EILEEN: Well, yes. He's not in at the moment, but if you'd like to wait...

CHARLIE: Well, I can't stay long.

EILEEN: He should just be a minute. He left to pick up some supplies.

CHARLIE: (Walking around the room.) Gotta say, Dusty's done quite well for himself.

EILEEN: Are you a friend?

CHARLIE: Oh, yes. An old friend from home. (Extends hand.) I'm Charlie. Charlie Burnside.

EILEEN: (Accepts hand.) Eileen Clayton.

CHARLIE: Charmed. You know, I've known Dusty a long while and he never mentioned anything about you...

EILEEN: Well, oh, no. We're not...I just work for him.

CHARLIE: Ah, I see. Well, I can see why he hired you. (Pinches her cheek. EILEEN looks uncomfortable.) If he needs to have an assistant around him all day, might as well have someone easy on the eyes.

EILEEN: (Breaks free. Cold.) Well, yes. Thank you. I think he needed help organizing files.

CHARLIE: Our boy's got a lot of files already?

EILEEN:'s our first day.

CHARLIE: So it is, so it is.

EILEEN: Now, perhaps it may be a while longer, if you'd like to just relay a message and let me know where you're staying I could tell Mr. Denton-

CHARLIE: (Definitely more sinister.) -Oh, but Miss Clayton. I thought he'd be here any moment. Are you telling me to leave?

EILEEN: (Nervous.) Well, no, I didn't exactly say that...

CHARLIE: I thought Dusty would want someone with manners to be mining

EILEEN: Mr. Burnside, I believe-

CHARLIE: -Charlie, please.

EILEEN: Mr. Burnside, you are being unnecessarily forward, and I don't believe Mr. Denton would appreciate this behavior.

CHARLIE: (Cornering EILEEN) Oh, I'm sure when Dusty sees me, he'll forgive my garish conduct. We are, after all, old friends.

EILEEN: Why am I finding that hard to believe?

CHARLIE: (Grabbing her by the wrists.) You've got a mouth on you, Miss Clayton. Guess Dusty's not one for teaching his staff manners.
DUSTY enters, holding bags of supplies.

DUSTY: Wow, Eileen. Our first day and we already have... (DUSTY and CHARLIE face each other. DUSTY's smile falls. Silence.) Charlie.

CHARLIE: (Letting go of EILEEN.) Hello, Dusty. Good to see you again. (Silence.) Don't you feel the same about me?

DUSTY: What are you doing here, Charlie?

CHARLIE: Oh, hey now. Is that any way to treat your old partner?

EILEEN: Mr. Denton, this person said you were old friends from home...

DUSTY: (Not taking his eyes off CHARLIE) Did he now?

EILEEN: Is everything okay?

DUSTY: Well, I don't know, Charlie. Is everything okay?

CHARLIE: You know, I was beginning to think your pretty little assistant here had acquired a nasty attitude on her own, but it's clear now who she looks to for her sense of hospitality.

DUSTY: Get the hell out of here, Charlie.

CHARLIE: Oh, and see I was hoping we could at least play nice for a few minutes before getting down to business.

DUSTY: We have no business together, Charlie. Not anymore.

CHARLIE: No, but you see, Dusty. We do. I've heard that Stubby is thinking of hiring you to help him with his predicament.

DUSTY: How the hell did you find that...that's none of your business.

CHARLIE: I mean, I'm proud of you trying to start things up anew for yourself. Really, I am. But I did want to let you know that the Pinkertons can take care of this one.

DUSTY: What?

CHARLIE: After all, it is your first day. Why don't you take things slowly, solve some small, fun cases? You know, getting to the bottom of Mrs. Crabtree's missing linens? Or discovering the whereabouts of Texas Steve's missing horse? Or even find out who's fucking the sheriff's wife? Something like this, with Stubby, may be in over your head. You don't have the resources needed to investigate such a matter.

DUSTY: It's none of your business, Charlie.

CHARLIE: No, but you see, Dusty. It is. You're no longer a Pinkerton Agent. You have no right snooping around the Big Boys' turf. Stubby is our client.

DUSTY: The hell he is.

CHARLIE: (Pulls out his gun.) You misunderstand, Dusty. He's our client if you know what's best for you. (Silence.) Now, do you want to settle this honorably, or...oh, wait. That's right. You don't have a piece anymore, do you? Get all shaken carrying it. I forgot.

DUSTY: Get the hell out of here, Charlie.

CHARLIE pistol-whips DUSTY, who falls to the ground, tripping over a chair. EILEEN yelps out in surprise.

CHARLIE: With pleasure, you cowardly traitor. I was just trying to be nice here, Dusty, on account of our, you know, "history."

EILEEN: Get the hell out of here, you brute!

CHARLIE: (Pause.) All right. Fine. Since this is your first day, Dusty, I'm going to be nice. Tonight, enjoy your housewarming. Tomorrow, you call that barkeep and tell him you won't be able to take his case. The Pinkerton Agency will take care of it. (Exits.)

EILEEN: Oh, Mr. Denton. Mr. Denton! Are you okay? What a monster!

DUSTY: I'll be okay, Eileen. Thank you, thank you.

EILEEN: That's just awful. Our first client and we have to turn him down.

DUSTY: We won't be turning him down, Eileen. I'll be paying Mr. Norris a visit. Right after we get rid of that God-awful smell.


© 2007 James Comtois

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