The Biggest Game – a screenplay

That’s the title of my one and only screen play. I wrote this baby with the intention of it being a pilot for a weekly show on HBO. Certainly it’s about poker. Since it’s a full length screen play, I’ll post it in a bunch of different posts. It’s formatted in Final Draft which means it doesn’t appear as it should in WordPress, you just have to manage. All I need is a few serious writers to help me iron out the wrinkles. I already know the #1 flaw with it, I just haven’t sat down to figure out how to correct it.

THE BIGGEST GAME

By Linda R. Geenen

INT. Oxford – poker room – NIGHT

One wall of the room displays a sign which reads, “The best poker games in Missoula, Montana are spread here”. Light spills through the bars on the top half of a door with “Cashier” above it. A low hanging light illuminates a poker table, an island of life in the bare, dark room.

GLORIA, aging and still looking for a life, deals poker to six PLAYERS.

GLORIA

Must be a Bus Man’s Holiday, huh Solitaire?

SOLITAIRE DEBOARDE, an old soul in a twenty-something body, shrugs.

SOLITAIRE

Her Royal Highness, Queen Diamond…

Solitaire opens her mouth, points her finger into it, and fake gags.

SolITAIRE

…is lowering herself to hold Court with Mom. This peon revolted and ran away.

GLORIA

WHAT?

GARY BALLINGER, older than dirt, chuckles.

GARY

Translation…her sister is spending the evening with Mom. Honestly, Gloria, you’ve got to get out of your cage more often.

GLORIA

Well…if Solitaire took more days off in a week, I would.

DAVE SPRINGER, an immature twenty-something, enters the room.

The Players all wave to him.

GLORIA

Dave! Long time no see. Back for good?

Dave slides into a seat and digs for money.

DAVE

No! Just tying up a few loose ends.

(eyes on Solitaire)

SolITAIRE

You mean a year passed already?

DAVE

Don’t be mean. I did think about calling you.

SOLITAIRE

I never thought about you once after the first twelve months.

DAVE

Thanks, Buddy. I knew you weren’t really mad at me.

Solitaire smiles and lifts her coffee cup in a toast.

SOLITAIRE

When did you get in?

DAVE

About an hour ago.

SOLITAIRE

At least your priorities are in order.

Everyone laughs as Gloria sells Dave chips and deals Holdem.

Dave shoves out a stack of chips when the action comes to him.

DAVE

Raise blind.

GLORIA

Come on, Dave…you know this is three and six.

Gloria cuts off six $1 chips and pushes the rest of the stack back to Dave.

Solitaire peeks at the SEVEN OF CLUBS, EIGHT OF CLUBS.

Solitaire raises.

Dave peeks at the TEN OF SPADES, NINE OF HEARTS.

Dave slams out a raise.

The other Players fold.

Solitaire raises.

Dave flips out a raise.

Solitaire shrugs and calls.

SolITAIRE

You must hate your chips.

The Players wake up, intent on the action.

Gloria burns a card and puts the KING OF DIAMONDS, SIX OF SPADES, TREY OF SPADES on the table.

DAVE

You’re not going to like it.

Solitaire checks.

Dave sends out a bet.

Solitaire raises.

Dave slides a raise at Solitaire’s raise.

Solitaire raises.

Dave peers intently at Solitaire. He calls.

DAVE

Guess I ran into a set of Kings…

Gloria burns a card and puts up the TREY OF DIAMONDS.

DAVE

Just in case you had Pocket Rockets, I’d better maximize this pot.

Dave fires a bet at the pot.

Solitaire slams out a raise as she watches Dave.

Dave peeks at his hole cards and calls the raise.

DAVE

Must be Kings Full.

Solitaire blows a kiss at Dave.

SOLITAIRE

Come on, Buddy…the rent’s due.

Gloria burns a card and puts up the TREY OF HEARTS.

Dave peeks at his hole cards and taps the table.

SOLITAIRE

(to Gary)

Christ! His cards must change every time he looks at them.

Solitaire shuffles her chips and watches Dave.

SOLITAIRE

You’re checking now?

Solitaire bets.

DAVE

Just a little pot builder.

Dave raises.

SOLITAIRE

(thinks)

You have to have the Six – Trey of Clubs…that’s all you could have.

Solitaire pitches her hand, face down, into the muck.

Dave throws the TEN OF SPADES, NINE OF HEARTS face up on the table.

DAVE

CHRIST! Go figure that one…what did you have? Nothing…right?

Gary erupts in laughter.

SOLITAIRE

You definitely out-played me, Ex-buddy.

Gloria shoves the pot to Dave.

GARY

(to Solitaire)

It ain’t no fun when the rabbit’s got the gun.

DIAMOND DEBOARDE, a thirty-something classy but suggestive, dominatrix struts into the room.

SOLITAIRE

What are you doing here?

Diamond scans the room and Players.

DIAMOND

(spots Solitaire)

So THIS is the flea infested hovel you work in.

Dave jumps up.

DAVE

WOW!

DIAMOND

Leaving this stink hole town must be the only thing we have in common.

SOLITAIRE

Your evening with Mom?

Dave

Hey, isn’t anyone going to introduce me?

Diamond

I’ll take care of Mom. Just don’t get in my way.

Dave takes a step towards Diamond.

DAVE

Hi, I’m Dave.

DIAMOND

My…my…my. You are a healthy specimen. But not tonight, Sweet Cheeks.

Diamond leaves and Dave follows her.

Solitaire smashes her chips together and mumbles.

SOLITAIRE

CHRIST! That didn’t just happen…did it?

GaRY

Easy…deep breath…deep breath.

SOLITAIRE

DAMN IT! GIVE ME A CIGARETTE.

GARY

What? You don’t even smoke.

SOLITAIRE

Right now I do.

Gary flips a cigarette out of his pocket and strikes a farmer’s match.

Solitaire sucks flame into the cigarette and explodes in a cloud of cough and smoke.

SOLITAIRE

Is he an asshole or is she a bitch? Wait! Don’t answer that one.

Gary chuckles as he racks his chips.

GARY

Love’s bloom just died on the vine.

SOLITAIRE

WHAT?

Gary

You’re buddy just left with your sister.

SOLITAIRE

You’re nuts if you think I have any feelings for him other than friendship.

GARY

You’re the one you have to convince.

SOLITAIRE

GOD! Stop it!

The game breaks up.

KING DEBOARDE, a mid-sixties, never wore a suit or worried about a haircut kind of guy, ambles into the room.

King

Hey kid, time for coffee?

SOLITAIRE

Hell yes!

INT. oxford – BAR/RESTAURANT – a minute later

Big open room with grease stained walls and uneven floors. PATRONS sit at mismatched tables and chairs, the food counter, and the bar. The KENO CALLER announces winning numbers over a microphone.

Solitaire leans over the food counter, grabs the pot, and pours her own coffee. She motions to the pay phone on the wall.

SOLITAIRE

Any messages come in for me, Cooky?

COOKY, the king of cooking with grease, waddles to the counter.

Cooky

Honey, you know I always watch out for you. Even if you’re dealing. You need something, you call Cooky.

King croons, “I Drove All Night” by Cyndi Lauper.

KinG

“I drove all night to get to you.”

King pulls Solitaire into a hug and slides his thermos down the counter to Cooky.

KING

See if you can’t load this baby with Everclear and coffee so I can make it to Vegas tonight.

Solitaire’s shoulders droop with her frown.

SOLITAIRE

Did you see Diamond?

KING

What? The Queen was here?

SOLITAIRE

Unbelievable…Unfucking believable.

KING

In here? That really is unbelievable.

SOLITAIRE

And Dave left with her.

KING

Dave? He’s back too?

SOLITAIRE

Fuck both of them…who cares anyway?

KING

Hey…there’s no need for that.

Cooky delivers a steaming plate of food.

Cooky

Thought you were here once a month, weren’t you in a week ago?

King eats.

KinG

I was, Cooky. I couldn’t live without your fabulous grease so I asked for a different schedule.

Cooky

No shit? They gave it to you!

King erupts with laughter.

Cooky

Shucks, King. That’s mean.

KING

I’m on a temporary route for two months. And your grease is the best of all the places I hit…no shit!

Cooky

Thanks, King.

Cooky smiles and pads back to work.

KING

Diamond, what’s she here for? She hasn’t been back in four or five years.

SOLITAIRE

Mom called her last week. She knows I’m leaving for Vegas.

KING

So?

SOLITAIRE

She hinted at a nursing home.

KING

No way in hell!

SOLITAIRE

Yeah, sick.

KING

When are you leaving?

SOLITAIRE

In about ten days. If I don’t make that audition, I’ll be here the rest of my life.

Solitaire grabs King’s knife and chops off a piece of omelet.

SOLITAIRE

I’d have no choice but to kill them…

(nods at people)

or myself.

Solitaire frowns and nibbles from the knife.

King chuckles and eats.

KING

Quit it!

SOLITAIRE

Yeah? Well if I get to Vegas and have to deal to my “Ex-buddy”, I may throw up.

(pauses)

God! He left with HER! I think I will throw up!

KING

Dave? I think you’ve got a thing for him.

(chuckles)

Solitaire slaps him on the arm.

SOLITAIRE

Ridiculous! He had a crush on me while he was playing ‘Mr. I make a living playing poker’ before he moved to Vegas a year ago.

King crushes his napkins into a ball and throws them at Solitaire.

KING

Dave’s heading back to Vegas?

Solitaire bats the napkins and laughs.

SOLITAIRE

So he says. They should film a ‘Survivor Series’ on Dave playing poker in Vegas for a living. It would be the laugh of the century.

Solitaire sips coffee and frowns.

SOLITAIRE

On the real down side of things…Mom won’t go with me.

King’s laugh dies.

KING

Nothing is going to change where she’s at in life.

Solitaire turns away and wipes at her eyes.

KING

Stop it! Time to get on with your life.

SOLITAIRE

Jesus H. Christ! How can you be so cold about it? She’s your sister.

KING

And she has a right to decide what she wants to do.

SOLITAIRE

She can’t stay here alone!

KING

Why can’t she? Just because you want a change doesn’t mean she does.

King jumps up and gives her shoulder a squeeze.

KING

Meredith has the spare room ready for you…call her before you leave here.

King grabs his thermos and throws money on the counter. He laughs.

KING

And don’t forget to spend some quality time with your sister….

Solitaire’s head snaps up. Her smile disappears into a snarl. King escapes through the door with a wave.

INT. DEBOARDE HOME – LIVING ROOM – an hour later

A collection of Kodak memories cover the walls. The furniture, older than Solitaire, overruns the floor plan.

TREYANNE DEBOARDE, a mom in the truest sense, brought her first child home after 40, naps on the couch.

Treyanne jumps as Solitaire slams into the room.

SOLITAIRE

Mommy…I’m so sorry. I thought you’d be in bed.

Treyanne yawns and pats the couch beside her.

TREYANNE

What’s wrong, Honey?

Solitaire drops to the floor. Treyanne gently strokes Solitaire’s arms and massages her hands.

SOLITAIRE

Diamond waltzed through the door like she owned the place.

Treyanne stops stroking Solitaire’s arm.

SOLITAIRE

She said I work in a flea infested hovel.

TREYANNE

She came into the Oxford?

SOLITAIRE

And Dave jumped up to meet her and followed her out. He never came back.

Treyanne’s gaze searches Solitaire’s face.

TREYANNE

Honey, are you jealous?

Solitaire pulls away from Treyanne and sulks at the floor.

SOLITAIRE

NO! Hell no! Of her? NEVER!

Treyanne attempts to stand and Solitaire helps her. Solitaire supports Treyanne as they move to the kitchen.

SOLITAIRE

Say you’ll come with me to Vegas.

TREYANNE

I’m staying here.

INT. DEBOARDE HOME – KITCHEN – A MOMENT LATER

Treyanne sits at the table. Solitaire makes coffee and breakfast.

SOLITAIRE

You can’t stay here alone.

TREYANNE

I raised you two girls alone.

Solitaire crushes a just cracked egg in her hand.

SOLITAIRE

Mom…

TREYANNE

Diamond wants to put me in a home and you want to drag me to the desert.

Treyanne stares through the window as daylight spreads across the sky.

SOLITAIRE

We’d have a home there. Better than this one.

TREYANNE

What about what I want?

SOLITAIRE

If you just made the decision to come with me, Diamond wouldn’t pull any of her legal bullshit to force you into a home.

Solitaire dumps the food onto plates and half drops them on the table. They eat.

TREYANNE

She wouldn’t do that.

SOLITAIRE

Really? She hasn’t been here in four years. She doesn’t even know us anymore. When she walks into our home, she looks at everything like it had mold growing on it…that includes me and you. We’ve never been sisters…

TREYANNE

Stop it! You’re not going to make life any better for anyone by acting that way.

SOLITAIRE

Well, look at her. She booked a room at the Red Lion and won’t even stay here with us.

TREYANNE

She just likes her own space.

SOLITAIRE

Stop making excuses for her for God’s sake.

TREYANNE

Stop it!

Solitaire takes a long drink of coffee and pushes her plate away.

SOLITAIRE

When does she stop?

TREYANNE

Damn it! That’s enough.

SOLITAIRE

No it isn’t. She’s up to something.

They both stare out the window

Part II

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