Skitz-O-Phonics

The Beautiful Book

August 22, 2021 eArL (E.J.) Hamilton Season 1 Episode 18
Skitz-O-Phonics
The Beautiful Book
Show Notes Transcript

A young woman tries to sell her story to an akward book publisher.
(Voice talents: Patty Fay.  Pamela Castillo)

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 FADE IN:

INT. OFFICE - DAY

A woman paces back and forth as she reads a script this is DONNA WALLBERG. Another young woman sits in a seat, patiently and nervously waiting for her to finish, this is KARINA KITCOW. Donna doesn't smile as she finishes the final page.

DONNA

That was okay.

KARINA

Just okay?

DONNA

Yeah, it was readable, but barely.

Karina stands up ready to leave.

KARINA

I'm sorry you didn't like my book, but I appreciate you taking the time to read it, Mrs. Wallberg. Well, I have a few more publishers that I'm scheduled to meet so I guess I'll just--

DONNA

Wait-wait-wait. Sit down Ms. Kitcow, please. Have a seat. Right there. 

Karina sits down.

DONNA

Now don't move, because I actually loved it.

KARINA

You did? Then why did you say it was barely readable?

DONNA

I'm a book publisher, of course I'm going say it stinks, but that's only so we can low-ball you later.

KARINA

What's low-ball?

DONNA

It's a bonus, we'll talk about that later. Let's talk about your story first.

KARINA

Okay. 

DONNA

I must admit, I was touched. 

KARINA

Thank you.

DONNA

I loved the way you vividly painted each and every scene, the way your multi-layered characters jumped off the pages and into my lap. Your villains were so cunning, so... dastardly.

KARINA

Dastardly?

DONNA

That means I hated them, and that's why I loved them, and this story! Damn it's good.

KARINA

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

DONNA

How... What gave you the inspiration to write something like this?

KARINA

Well I--

DONNA

Was it a reoccurring dream that wouldn't let you sleep until you solidified it on paper?

KARINA

Not really, it actually was--

DONNA

Your own personal experience, a festering memory that had to escape out of the darkness and into the light?

KARINA

No, this was something that--

DONNA

Never mind shh-shh-shh, I don't want to know. I don't need to know, might turn this marvelous moment into something horribly horrible. There is one thing I hate about your book though, the dog's name. I absolutely hate it.

KARINA

Bella was my aunt's name.

DONNA

Still hate it. How about something simple yet colorful, like Jack?

KARINA

It's a girl dog.

DONNA

Okay, Jackie.

KARINA

I'm afraid the dog's name is Bella.

DONNA

Let's be reasonable, books, movies, TV, it's all about coolness, it's always been about coolness, and Bella does not ring cool, it doesn't scream hip or modern for that matter. To me when I hear the name Bella, it rings old south, horse-drawn carriages and big ugly bonnets.

KARINA

It's not about cool or hip or modern, it's about love, the kind of love only a warm dog can give.

DONNA

I don't know, for some reason I just can't get the image of a dog wearing spats out of my mind.

KARINA

The story is not about a dog, the dog is the story. When Bella lost her chew toy it devastated her emotions and transformed her life. 

DONNA

(over-dramatic)

So the chew toy was a part of her?

KARINA

Why else would she suddenly stop drinking toilet water? 

DONNA

I thought it was because of those pesky field ticks.

KARINA

No no no. How can you not know the ticks were just a figment of her imagination? No offense, but how did you get this job? 

DONNA

First of all, I am a little offended, second of all... it's pure genius! The ticks, the toilet, the tantrums, no wonder she started lifting her leg when she peed.

KARINA

Yes. Sure, she could have ran off with the handsome hound next door, but she chose to stay with her human mother who raised her from a pup.

Donna shakes her head.

DONNA

(crying tears of joy)

Wow. Wow wow wow. It all makes perfectly good sense. Now I understand why you're fighting so hard to keep the dog's name. I feel like a complete... clown, because I couldn't see it. It's done, the dog's name should be, and must remain, Bella.

KARINA

Thank you for understanding.

DONNA

This book is not just readable, it's beautiful, a beautiful American story that resonates throughout this country in a time when we need it the most.

KARINA

Thank you, it means a lot to me, and Bella.

DONNA

So, do you have an agent, a lawyer, lit manager of some sort?

KARINA

No. Do I need one because--

DONNA

Absolutely not, I hate them, they only get in the way and slow the whole process down. Besides, this is your first book, so let's just keep this wonderful relationship between the two of us.

KARINA

Okay. So what's next Ms. Wallberg?

DONNA

Call me Donna.

KARINA

Okay Donna, now what?

DONNA

Well Karina, may I continue to call you Karina?

KARINA

Sure.

DONNA

Great. Now I know you have some outstanding student loans. You're staying with some relatives and your crippled cat is in the hospital.

KARINA

How'd you know all that?

DONNA

I'm a book publisher it's my job to know these things. But I'm not bringing this up to make you feel worthless or remind you how desperate your situation is. I'm saying all that to congratulate you on your fortitude. Not everybody can continue to maintain their focus in the face of adversity, and that's why I'm willing to make you an offer and buy your manuscript today, right here, right now.

Donna writes out a check and hands it to Karina.

DONNA

Here you go, your first check.

KARINA

Wow that's great, I wasn't expecting an offer, at least not today.

DONNA

(whispering)

Well don't mention this to payroll but you've got one, and it's right on the table. Eight-thousand right-out.

KARINA

(not excited)

Eight thousand dollars?

DONNA

That's correct.

KARINA

Um... I don't want to sound ungrateful, but it sounds kind of low.

DONNA

It sounds low because you have to prove your worth first. The real money rolls in after the success of your first book, not before. Lucky for you, you have the right-out option. 

KARINA

What's the right-out option.

DONNA

It means you can pick up that check and walk right-out that door and cash it today. Then you can head right-out to the mall and pick up something special for yourself, you've earned it, am I right?

KARINA

I suppose I--

DONNA

Of course you did. How do you feel about your first sale?

KARINA

Pretty good.

DONNA

Pretty good? How many people do you know published a book of any kind?

Short silence.

DONNA

That's exactly what I thought, none. Zero. Now you can walk into any room with your head up. But, with new success comes new friends and new enemies, but in this business, you can't have one without the other.

Donna laughs.

KARINA

Okay. So what is that low-ball bonus?

DONNA

(whispering)

First of all let's not repeat that out loud... to anyone, okay?

KARINA

(whispering)

Okay. Why?

DONNA

HR, Payroll and a few other higher-ups would be all over me like a rash on a hooker if they knew I was giving you this...

(whispering)

low-ball bonus. It's a bonus we usually reserve for our seasoned veterans. But I have a really good feeling about you. You do good work, and you deserve it.

KARINA

Thanks Donna. I finally feel... like a writer!

DONNA

You should, Karina, because you are. So do we have a deal?

KARINA

We sure do, Donna. We sure do.

DONNA

Great. Sign here.

KARINA

My pleasure.

Katrina signs the contract.

DONNA

Now go cash that beautiful check. Shop, get your cat out the hospital and move out your grandparent's house. 

KARINA

I think I will. Thank you Donna. Thank you.

DONNA

By the way, do you have any other completed stories?

KARINA

As a matter of fact I do. One is about a mountain goat and her quest for uncontaminated spring water. I call it Billie's thirst.

DONNA

Beautiful. Beautiful.

FADE OUT.