The Servant's Dessert
By Geoffrey Zimmerman
INT. DINING ROOM – DAY
Spacious, elegant, formal. One well-dressed servant stands at the ready against a wall. Five people are seated around the table. They are:
- RANDALL, well-dressed, wealthy
- ELEANOR, well-dressed, Randall’s wife
- BRIAN, 25 year-old son of Randall & Eleanor, spoiled, preppy-type
- TINA, 18 year old daughter, more laid back, artsy-type
- RONNIE, 17 year old son, a free-spirited skateboarder.
ON RANDALL RANDALL
This is grave. Very grave Eleanor looks to him with worry and places a hand atop his trembling, clenching and unclenching fingers.
All in the room barely move and look to Randall, waiting for him to continue.
Who found him?
I did. (she fiddles with her diamond necklace)
ON RONNIE RONNIE
Was there a lot of blood?
Tina sharply jabs her brother and shoots him a glare. The servant slowly walks around the room ladling bisque into china soup bowls. Those at the table take spoons and begin to eat.
Yes, there was.
I don’t care about that. Where’s the money? Tell us about the money.
He shakes his head, disgusted, and drops his spoon into his soup bowl.
What, are you sick?!
He’s dead. He was rich.
He scrutinizes all present.
Did any of you tell anyone you were coming here?
WIDE – THE TABLE
All slowly shake their head.
No. You told us not to.
He stands, and begins to slowly pace around the room. As everyone is so still, it’s easy to hear the GRANDFATHER CLOCK tick. Some around the room enjoy their bisque, but Tina only sips at it. Randall stands over Tina.
Eat up, I had it made specially.
Ronnie sets down his spoon, and looks up to his father, irreverent.
What are you gonna’ do, poison us and keep the Money for yourself? He snickers at his own joke.
He stops walking and glances across the table at his wife.
Her eyes meet Randall’s, serious.
WIDE – THE ROOM
Brian, Tina, and Ronnie look from parent to parent, then each other, and hold spoons just from their mouths.
That’s not even funny, Ronnie
Here’s the deal… (he says with authority and begins pacing again)
WIDE – THE ROOM – DIFFERENT ANGLE – FOLLOWING RANDALL
Brian takes a bite of his garlic toast. Tina sips her water. Ronnie eats his bisque.
Nobody will get anything if it’s discovered that daddy Was murdered.
Well, what the hell are we supposed to do?
How did he die?
Tina leans in, arms on the table.
(with venom) You know how he died. You probably killed him.
DIFFERENT ANGLE- ON ELEANOR- WIDE
She sets her elbows on the table and hides her head in her hands.
(to herself, but loud enough for all to hear) I knew this was going to happen.
ON RONNIE AND TINA RONNIE
He couldn’t shoot a squirrel, let alone kill his own Grandfather.
(to Ronnie) Who said he was shot?…
Lots of blood…come on.
Tina sticks her tongue out at Ronnie. He sticks his tongue out at her. They smirk.
I have a gun.
She raises her head and slowly turns to Brian, shocked.
WIDE – THE TABLE – ON RANDALL MOVING TOWARD BRIAN
(nerved up) Throw it away.
(indignant) I will not throw it away.
ON RONNIE – WIDE
What the hell do you need a gun for?
BACK TO RANDALL AND BRIAN – DIFFERENT ANGLE – TO INCLUDE ELEANOR
Randall places a firm hand on Brian’s shoulder and squeezes. Brian responds, nervous.
Randall stares off, thinking, serious. He turns to his wife. She looks to him and nods slowly. Randall slowly leans in to Brian and places his mouth at Brian’s ear.
(through clenched teeth) My son, do you wish to be arrested or go to jail for Murder?
Brian slowly shakes his head.
ON TINA – WIDE
She stands, angry and throws down her napkin. She’s a little tipsy and has to lean on the table to steady herself.
(slurring words) Give him the freakin’ gun, dammit!
He looks across the table at Tina
(with authority) Sit down!
She sits down hard, fuming.
There’s probably not any money, even.
She turns to Ronnie, smiling. He turns to her, notices the smile and grins back. He giggles and takes a spoonful of his bisque.
(to no one in particular) This is good.
(he turns to face the servant) This is good, really good.
He nods slowly with a slight bow.
ON BRIAN AND RANDALL
He brings a spoonful of bisque to his mouth, and then leans in and sniffs it suspiciously. Randall squeezes Brian’s shoulder tighter this time.
Where do you keep your gun?
Brian looks a little woozy and lolls his head to look up at his father.
(jumpy, angry) Where is it?
In my closet.
The NOISE of Tina’s head hitting the table turns Randall and Brian’s heads.
His eyes are out of focus. His face is flush. He grins and reaches out a shaky hand to touch his sister’s head. He looks across the table at the others, confused.
ON RANDALL, BRIAN AND ELEANOR
Eleanor looks on worried.
Another OFFSCREEN BANG breaks the silence and the three look across the table.
His head rests on the table. The servant beyond does not move.
ON BRIAN – WIDE
He looks worried, then terrified. His head bobs. Randall places a hand on Brian’s head and gently pushes it down to the table.
He leaves Brian’s side and sits beside Eleanor. She’s serious. Randall runs fingers through his hair, thinking. Eleanor fills two glasses with champagne and holds up her glass.
A toast. Randall lifts his glass.
To the future.
To the future. They clink glasses. As Eleanor sips her champagne she peers over her champagne glass at the servant.
He nods and smiles slightly.
A LAST OFFSCREEN THUD IS HEARD THE TABLE – WIDE
Randall’s head has hit the table. The servant enters the shot, slides Randall’s seat out, pulls up another seat and sits down beside her.
(to Servant) Dessert?
Yes ma’am. Thank you.