"Ten years, even if they weren't everything you wanted, have to count for something. Another chance at least. I love you."
|From: Ally McBeal - Common As The Rain|
|Male||50s||JUDGE SEYMORE WALSH|
Richard Fish's law firm is representing his friend Jeremy Draper and Jeremy's current boyfriend Alex Shaw in a lawsuit brought against them by Jeremy's ex-lover Robert Lundy.
Alex was also Jeremy's first boyfriend. After Alex left Jeremy broken-hearted, Jeremy met Robert and they built a happy and successful life together. Then Alex reappeared and befriended the couple, eventually rekindling a romance with Jeremy. Alex's main advantage in driving a wedge between Jeremy and Robert was the fact that, even after many years in a relationship, Robert was still very closeted in public about his sexuality and his love for Jeremy.
Robert is now using the buyout clause on his business with Jeremy to delay Jeremy and Alex's plans to leave town, still hoping to win Jeremy back.
Fish is in charge of the case and Ally is second chair. Opposing counsel in the case is the firm headed by Ally's roommate Renee. The lawyers on the case are Whipper, Fish's ex-lover, and Georgia, Billy's soon-to-be ex-wife.
Judge Walsh didn't dismiss Robert's case as Fish and Ally had hoped. An evidentiary hearing is underway, with Robert as the first witness.
(The strategy session prior to this, on how to deal with Robert, is also available for viewing - the quote link is "You better hope this one gets settled before you take the stand because that wouldn't go so well.")
(Jeremy, Alex, Whipper and Ally are present, but their minimal involvement - marked off by **** - can be deleted for use as an acting scene)
copyright 2000 by Matthew A. Everett
INT. COURT - DAY
Robert on the stand, guided through his testimony by Georgia. Walsh, Ally, Fish, Alex, Jeremy, and Whipper look on.
ROBERTIt was our mutual love of computer technology and graphic design that brought us together as a couple. The company seemed a natural extension of our personal partnership.
GEORGIAAnd you can afford to buy Mr. Draper out?
ROBERTMoney isn't the issue. Either of us could buy the other out about six times over.
GEORGIAWhat are you concerned about?
ROBERTI want the buyout settled before they leave.
GEORGIASo it's not your intention to drag out these proceedings?
ROBERTJust the opposite. They've been making plans to get on with their new life together. I just need this resolved so I can get on with mine.
GEORGIABut Mr. Lundy, there are telephones, fax machines, and e-mail, as you well know. Couldn't you just do this long distance?
ROBERTI could, but I have no guarantee they will. And our... my company is tied up until that's resolved.
GEORGIAAnd you're not inclined to trust Mr. Shaw?
ROBERTMr. Shaw came into our... my home under false pretenses. He used every opportunity that I foolishly presented him with and it worked. I'll admit defeat. He wins. But you're asking me to trust his honesty as well?
GEORGIAAfter ten years together, don't you think you can trust Mr. Draper to come through for you in a timely manner, no matter where he is or who he's with?
ROBERTAfter ten years, it never occurred to me he'd fall in love with someone else, that he'd leave, that he'd stop loving me. I don't think it'd be smart to trust my feelings about Jeremy, do you?
FISHMr. Lundy. Robert. May I call you Robert?
FISHRichard Fish. Nice to finally meet you. You know, I'm a friend of Jeremy's from college. Not a close friend, I'll grant you, but don't you think it's funny, living in the same town, that in the over ten years you two were together, I never met you once?
WALSHMove along, counsel.
FISHI'm sorry, did somebody just object? I didn't hear anything.
FISHOh, relevance. OK. When you placed a personal ad in the mid-eighties looking for a lover...
FISHI hadn't finished.
WALSHI'm not inclined to let you.
FISHPattern, your honor. Goes to the nature of the relationship from which the company sprang and on which the contract was based. Also goes to the issue of honesty, which the prosecution keeps bandying about but nobody seems inclined to define and which quite frankly I'm a little fuzzy on as it relates to the plaintiff.
WALSHMuch as I'd like to give you enough rope to hang yourself, I'm just doling out a little at this point. But get to it.
WALSHOverruled. You're on a short leash, Mr. Fish. Don't make me yank it.
FISHIf I'm going to be yanked, your honor, let me just say...
WALSHMove it along, counsel.
FISHThank you, you honor. Robert, you say it was your mutual love of computers that brought you and my client together, but it was actually a personal ad that brought you together, wasn't it?
FISHYou recall what it said?
ROBERTThat was over...
FISHTen years ago, yes. Nice phrase. We'll get back to that. The ad?
ROBERTI don't recall.
FISHHeight, weight, age, race, nine-inch...?
WALSHCounsel, I'll shut this down right now.
FISHApologies, your honor. I actually have the ad right here.
Jeremy looks sharply over at Alex.
Alex won't look at him, staying focused on Robert and Fish.
Fish picks up a sheet of paper with the text of the ad.
FISH (CONT'D)This term "straight-acting, straight-appearing," why's that in there?
WALSHGet there quicker.
ROBERTIt means I didn't want someone flamboyantly gay.
FISHFlamboyant. You're talking about what? High heels and a feather boa?
ROBERTI wanted someone who wouldn't embarrass me.
FISHSo "openly gay" would be OK?
FISHIt's not flamboyant.
WALSHSustained. Mr. Fish...
FISHSo you didn't want someone who was gay at all?
ROBERTOf course I wanted someone gay.
FISHBut not obvious. Not in public.
FISHAnd you doubt my clients' honesty? Well, that's the pot calling the kettle fuschia, isn't it?
Jeremy leans in to Ally.
JEREMYMake him stop this.
ALLYThat's what she's for.
ALEXLeave it alone.
JEREMYHow dare you.
WALSHMs. McBeal, please instruct your clients...
FISHSo let me get this straight - pardon the pun - you meet this man, you fall in love, you start a company, but you don't want him to display any signs of affection for you in public.
FISHAnd naturally, if you don't want him to display any feelings, you certainly wouldn't be putting your feelings for him out in the open either.
GEORGIADo I need to pick an objection at this point?
FISHIn your business together, you're in public all the time - yes or no?
FISHBut he can't show his feelings in public.
FISHAnd neither can you.
FISHOver ten years of this.
FISHAnd as the company got more successful, it was just more public time, less private time.
FISHAnd you wonder why he left?
FISHWithdrawn. No further questions.
Fish heads back to the defense table but Robert speaks out.
ROBERTIs that what you want, Jeremy?
FISHYour honor, I'm finished. If you could instruct the witness not to...
ROBERTWhy do you think I'm here?
WALSHMr. Lundy, you may step down.
ROBERTWhy do you think I did all this?
WALSHMr. Lundy, please do not address the defendant.
ROBERTHe's not just a defendant, he's my lover.
FISHI've changed my mind. Let him talk.
ROBERTI love you. You want me to say it for the record? I will. I love you.
GEORGIAI want all these last remarks stricken from the record.
ROBERTDon't you dare.
WALSHMr. Lundy, I'll hold you in contempt if you continue to...
ROBERTLike a jail cell could stop me at this point. It can't be too late, Jeremy.
You're still here.
Alex trying not to look at Robert.
ROBERT (CONT'D)OK, so I was stupid. I was a coward. I admit it. I didn't know better.
Back to Robert.
ROBERT (CONT'D)You need to tell me. Give me a real chance to make it right. What'll it take? A full-page ad in the paper?
Georgia and Whipper watching the case circle the drain.
ROBERT (CONT'D)Post it on the web site? A billboard? A skywriter?
Ally wants to do something, anything, if only she knew what.
Fish is loving it.
ROBERT (CONT'D)You want to walk down the street holding hands?
Back to Robert.
ROBERT (CONT'D)You want me to introduce you to people as the most important person in my life? Ten years, even if they weren't everything you wanted, have to count for something. Another chance at least. I love you.
Walsh taking it all in.
Then full on the courtroom, everyone silent, unmoving, unsure what to do next.
And finally, Robert.
copyright 2000 by Matthew A. Everett