by, Jessica Lakis
INT. HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
A large and expensive resort hotel suite decorated in dark tropical wood. Well partied in. Empty bottles with big red labels announce ‘Cacique’ guaro with an Indian chief head. Male and female clothing intermingle, mixed with carved iguanas and turtles and pamphlets that read ‘Pura Vida’ and ‘Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!’
The room’s bar has a large statue on it. It’s a trophy: a giant gold ‘V’ with a right fist holding a baseball. It reads: ‘Cy Young Award, 2007, Brian Leppzinger, National League.’
A CRASH OF GLASS
MAN’S VOICE What the hell are you doing in there? Look, can you go now? Go? You know, vamos?
Outside the hotel bathroom stands BRIAN LEPPZINGER. Brian is a young, fit man. His beard is scrubby and his hair needs a cut. He’s wearing boxers and a t-shirt.
The bathroom door opens. A PROSTITUTE wobbles out.
PROSTITUTE Vamos mean we go.
BRIAN No, you go.
PROSTITUTE I need taxi.
BRIAN Alright fine, hold on.
Brian goes to his wallet by the bed and pulls out several thousand colone notes.
PROSTITUTE No colones. Dollars.
He flips a couple of hundred dollar bills at her.
PROSTITUTE Taxi cost more.
BRIAN Damn those Costa Rican taxis. He flips her another couple hundred.
PROSTITUTE No party more?
BRIAN No. Not for you. You go home.
He corrals her towards the door as she stumbles over the furniture and trash. She kisses her finger and places it on the trophy then puts her finger on his right arm.
PROSTITUTE Big ball player.
Brian opens the door and forces her out.
BRIAN Wrong arm.
HE SLAMS THE DOOR SHUT.
Brian goes over to the trophy.
BRIAN Pura vida baby.
CUT TO: EXT. BEACH BY RESORT – SAME NIGHT
Brian speeds along the beach in a golf cart. He gulps Cacique from the bottle.
BRIAN Pura vida, baby! Yeah! Pura vida! Cy Young baby! Right here!
He CONTINUES SCREAMING and drinking as he veers the golf cart sharply towards the parking lot. It hits a parking barrier and flips.
Brian’s shoulder hits pavement. The rest of the cart falls on top of him as THE BOTTLE SHATTERS.
CUT TO: INT. DEL REY HOTEL ROOM – DAY
A different hotel room. Looks like someone vomited pink and gold on it in the 60s. An empty Cacique bottle on the nightstand. FROM OUTSIDE LOUD REGGATON MUSIC.
Brian pulls himself up from the pillow and sits on the side of the bed. His beard is longer. He looks ragged from late nights and drink.
BRIAN Trumpets and airhorns.
He makes his way to the shower.
CUT TO: INT. DEL REY HOTEL BAR & CASINO – SAME DAY
The Del Rey Hotel Bar & Casino is a large old building in the grand style of Spanish imperialism. The interior looks one part Costa Rican tourist trap, one part ‘gentleman’s lounge’ if the ‘gentleman’ in question were Donald Trump on the low-point of a ‘Fear and Loathing’ bender.
There are large screen TVs playing news and sports channels. Their din of Spanish and English echoes the conversations of the mix of seedy gringos in loud tropical print shirts, well-dresed Ticos, and the occasional business man. They are all drinking in the middle of the day.
TOM sits at the bar reading USA Today. Tom is an older man. He has white hair and the flushed face and stomach of a man who likes good drink and good food, but he’s tan, well-groomed, with white shiny teeth, and wears a neat, subdued print, button-down shirt with pressed khakis. He could 50 or 80.
The headline of the sport’s section reads: ‘Leftie Zinger Leaves Phils: Cy Young winner walks one year into contract.’ There is a picture beneath. It’s of Brian.
TOM (TO NO ONE) Goddammit! Just…Goddammit!
Tom folds the paper and looks generally annoyed at the world for a moment. He motions the DEL REY BARTENDER for another drink. He’s having Johnny Walker neat.
Brian enters and takes a seat across from Tom.
BRIAN Hey, uh, key-er-oh…Bloody Mary…with Cacique…con Cacique.
DEL REY BARTENDER Con gusto.
Tom looks over at Brian.
TOM You really drink that local rot-gut?
BRIAN Yeah, I kinda got used to it.
TOM You could get used to gasoline too. Doesn’t mean you should drink it. Hey cheif! (to the Bartender, LOUD AND SLOWLY) MAKE IT WITH VODKA…CON VODKA…GREYGOOSE. YO COMPRO.
DEL REY BARTENDER Bloody Mary with Grey Goose and you’re buying. Con gusto, senor.
Tom turns to Brian.
TOM There fixed you up.
BRIAN Didn’t have to.
TOM I know. I wanted to. I wanted to buy The Zinger a drink.
Tom taps the sports page.
BRIAN Oh. Yeah, well thanks…
TOM Thomas O’Mallory. I’m Italian. Call me Tom.
BRIAN Brian Leppzinger. Half German, half Polish.
TOM Does the German half try to take over the Polish half?
Tom extends his hand. Brian takes it. Tom has a vice-grip handshake. Brian extracts his hand as his drink arrives.
TOM You drink that and tell me if it isn’t better than that guaro shit. It’s better right? Right?
Brian gulps some down.
BRIAN Yeah, I guess it is.
TOM Goddamn right it is. ‘What is, is, and what ain’t, ain’t.’ You know I’ve been following you since you were drafted? Right outta high school. You come from Philly right?
BRIAN Yeah, the Northeast.
TOM Hate Philly. Dead town. Never could make anything stick there. Not even my second wife. Gotta kid there too. Probably stupid like his mother. She was from the Northeast. You staying here?
BRIAN I’ve been in San Jose for about four months…since the accident and all…
TOM Revisiting the scene of the crime, eh? You staying here, at the Del Rey?
BRIAN Yeah, just sort of..
TOM Drinking. Whoring. Feeling sorry for yourself. Jesus. This is no place to stay. Fucked up, son. You fucked up. But ya gotta put it behind you. Can’t carry the past around with you. Weighs ya down. At some point you gotta put that gunny-sack down and walk on.
TOM Look, I can see you’re a nice young man. But you’re stuck on a position. You gotta get off it. I’ve got a good little business going on here. I gotta nice house and a girlfriend, well, you know. Anyhow, how about you come out to dinner with me tonight at the White House. They have real American steak there. Not that rubber they eat here. I’ll bring my girl and her sister. You’ll like her.
BRIAN Oh, I don’t know. I’m kind of tired of…
TOM Oh, no, the sister’s not one of those! She speaks English. Wants to go to school in the States. Look it’s just a good time, good company, good food.
BRIAN Yeah, OK, sure.
TOM Great. Meet you here around six. Then we’ll go get the girls.
TOM Great. I gotta check in at the office. I’ll see you at six.
Tom makes the “check” sign. Puts some money down and waves away the change.
TOM See ya, son.
BRIAN Wait. What’s the girl’s name?
TOM Yours is Vanessa. Mine’s Roberta. Goddammit I hate that name! Tom turns to leave then turns back.
TOM And get a shave. Jesus. You look like shit.
Brian is left alone at the bar.
What do you think?