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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Film Quote Friday (Saturday edition, again)

Wow, barely half-a-dozen entries into this series and I've already missed Friday twice. I'm starting to question my competence as a blogger. Anyway....



I've been slagging on the writing of Aaron Sorkin a bit lately, so I thought it might be worthwhile to remind folks (and, more importantly, myself) why I'm so hard on the guy. It's simply because he's enormously gifted, he's produced some wonderful writing in the past, and in my view, he's done nothing but coast along on auto-pilot for years now. So here's a scene not from a movie but from a teevee show, The West Wing. The episode is from midway through the third season, called "Bartlet for America".

The set-up is this: In the first season, we had learned that President Bartlet suffers from multiple sclerosis, but he had not disclosed this to anyone during his campaign. So this fact was laid by Sorkin as kind of a ticking time bomb of plot, and it exploded in the second season, when events pretty much forced Bartlet to start to come clean about it. This story dominated the last six or so episodes of the second season and most of the first half of the third, as the show dramatized the anger amongst President Bartlet's staff at having been lied to, and their efforts to keep the country from boiling over with the same anger, dooming their work in the White House.

So, Congress does as Congress does and holds hearings, and in this episode, White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry is the one called to testify. We know that McGarry is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, and throughout the episode (laced with flashbacks to the early days of the campaign), there are references to the White House staff trying to "get the guy out of the room". We quickly learn that this refers to their attempts to have a certain Congressman on the committee suddenly be required to attend to something else, so as to spare Leo some embarrassing questions. Unfortunately, their attempts to "get the guy out of the room" fail, and the moment Leo is dreading comes to pass in what is one of Aaron Sorkin's finest moments as a writer.

Here is what happens. The character 'Jordan' is Leo's counsel, and 'Cliff' is the Majority Counsel (Republican) on the committee. (I've taken this from this West Wing transcript site, but the actual teleplay from this episode, as written by Sorkin, can be found in the second book of West Wing shooting scripts that was released some years ago.)

CHAIRMAN: The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Michigan Mr. Gibson, for five minutes.

GIBSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Two years ago, January the President collapsed in the Oval Office. Is that correct?

LEO: I'm not sure what the medical term would be.

GIBSON: He involuntarily fell to the ground.

LEO: Yes.

GIBSON: Will Minority Counsel stipulate that we can call that collapsing? Let the record reflect that Minority Counsel has nodded his head up and down so as to indicate an affirmative response.

CHAIRMAN: So ordered.

GIBSON: Is this the only time since the President took the Oath of Office that he's collapsed?

LEO: So far as I know.

GIBSON: Is this the only time since the beginning of the campaign that he's collapsed?

LEO: [long pause] No, it's not.

GIBSON: I'd like to take you back to 30 October in St. Louis, Missouri. Jed Bartlet is the Democratic nominee for President and is about to participate in the third and final debate-

JORDAN: Mr. Chairman, I would like to request a short recess.

CHAIRMAN: We just got back from a recess.

JORDAN: Sir, we have taken breaks at the request of nearly every member of this Committee while the witness has asked for a total of none. One time, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIRMAN: We'll take a five-minute break. Please, let's keep it to ten minutes.

JORDAN: Come with me.

Leo follows Jordan out of the room. Meanwhile CLIFF makes his way to GIBSON's seat.

GIBSON: Yeah, it will all come out.

CLIFF: Excuse me. What's going on?

CHAIRMAN: I was just asking the same thing.

CLIFF: I don't know anything about testimony from October 30.

GIBSON: It's okay, I got it.

CLIFF: No, you don't got it.

CHAIRMAN: We better go someplace and talk.

FADE OUT.
END ACT THREE
* * *

ACT FOUR

FADE IN: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY
The TV next to the desk shows people milling around and talking in the hearing room.
Josh picks up the phone. He sighs as he waits for Leo to answer his cell phone.


LEO: [VO] Yeah.

JOSH: Leo... I couldn't make it happen.

CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL HALLWAY OUTSIDE WAITING ROOM - DAY

Leo is walking down to hall toward the waiting room.


LEO: Don't worry about it.

He hangs up his cell phone. A guard opens the door for him. Jordan is waiting. She closes the door. She's pretty upset but he just stares are her blankly.

JORDAN: [angry] You have to tell me what's going on now or I'm walking out the door.

LEO: [quietly] Look-

JORDAN: [sharply] Tell me now.

Leo turns and walks slowly along one side of the table.

LEO: On the day of the final debate, I was meeting with two potential donors...

FADE TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK

Leo is meeting with three men, two of whom are CEOs. CEO #1 is balding slightly; CEO #2 has a moustache. They're all chuckling. Before they sit down, Leo shakes each of their hands, a big smile plastered on his face.


LEO: [VO] It was nine days 'til the election. We were too close to call and I didn't wanna be the guy who ran outta money first.

CEO 1: You look nervous, Leo. [glances at CEO #2] Don't worry about it. I brought my wallet.

CEO 2 chuckles.

LEO: Anybody wanna eat? I got steak sandwiches on the way.

CEO 2: Yeah and uh, let's have some drinks.

LEO: [pats CEO 2 on shoulder] Sure.

CUT TO INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT

Leo sits in a chair at one end of the table.


LEO: The President was at the debate site, walking the stage. [pauses, smiles wistfully] A podium is a holy place for him...

CUT TO: INT. DEBATE SITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK

Bartlet marches into the theater, followed closely by C.J., Sam, Toby, and Josh. They're all dressed casually. Bartlet is all business, focused. He assesses the space with his eyes as he walks toward the stage. C.J. smiles and shakes hands with a woman - probably one of the debate organizers. They all follow Bartlet up to the stage, where there are two podiums and a table for the moderators. Opposite the stage, there are hundreds of seats for the audience. Lots of aides are bustling about, making preparations.

LEO: [VO] He makes it his own like it's an extension of his body. You ever see a pitcher work the mound so the dirt does exactly what his feet want it to do? That's the President. He sees it as a genuine opportunity to change minds - also his best way of contributing to the team. He likes teams...

CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT

LEO: [smiles] ...I love him so much...

Jordan finally sits down at the table, facing Leo.

JORDAN: What was going on in your room?

LEO: [mumbling softly to himself] ...I like the little things...

JORDAN: I didn't hear you.

LEO: [jolted out of his inner thoughts, speaking louder] I said, "I like the little things." [smiles] The way a glass feels in your hand - a good glass, thick, with a heavy base. I love the sound an ice cube makes when you drop it from just the right height.

The sound of an ice cube being dropped into a glass....

FADE TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK

Leo is staring, transfixed, as the CEOs pour themselves drinks. They're all sitting around a coffee table.

LEO: [VO] Too high and it'll chip when you drop it. Chip the ice and it'll melt too fast in the scotch.

CEO #2: You ever try this, Leo? It's Johnny Walker Blue. Bartenders are selling it for thirty bucks a shot.

He uncorks the bottle and slowly pours the scotch into a glass on the table in front of him.

LEO: [VO] Good scotch sits in a charcoal barrel for 12 years. Very good scotch gets smoked for 29 years.

FADE TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT

LEO: [nostalgic] Johnny Walker Blue...is 60-year-old scotch.

JORDAN: [impatiently] I don't care. What happened in the room, Leo?

LEO: I'm trying to tell you what happened.

FADE TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK

Cigar smoke fills the air. Leo and the donors are chuckling jovially, but Leo's face reveals the strain he's feeling as he watches the other men drink. His grin has taken on a dark quality. A lull in the laughter and conversation leaves Leo staring at the glass of scotch in CEO 1's hand. He looks around awkwardly for a moment, then tries to banish temptation by changing the subject.

LEO: Should we get to it?

The THIRD MAN is visible, sitting in the background off to one side, but his identity is hidden amidst the ample cigar smoke.

CEO 1: [holding up his glass] You don't wanna find out what a thirty dollar sip of scotch tastes like?

Leo stares at the glass. He's visibly struggling to control himself, so he responds with a smile and tries to sound relaxed and nonchalant.

LEO: [nods] Naw... I gotta... stay sharp for tonight.

CEO 1 sets his drink down and stands up.


CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT

JORDAN: Why don't you just say, "I'm an alcoholic?"

LEO: They're two CEOs. I'm tryin' to get 'em to give me half-a-million dollars a piece right now. It's not really the best time to mention it. [pauses] The President's still at the debate site.

CUT TO: INT. DEBATE SITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK


Josh and Sam are huddled by one podium, talking. C.J. and Toby are conferring by the other podium. Dozens of aides are still bustling around in the background. Bartlet is standing by the moderators' table with the woman that C.J. greeted on the way into the theater.

WOMAN: How do you feel about the temperature, sir?

BARTLET: It's good.

WOMAN: It's not too cold?

BARTLET: [glancing around] It won't be later. This is a 550 seat theater and they'll be seated a half-hour before we start, so the temperature'll be up four to six degrees.

CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT

JORDAN: [loudly, an edge to her voice] The hotel room, Leo.

CUT TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK


The four men are still seated around the coffee table - the two CEOs across from Leo, the third man still off to one side, sipping his drink. Dim light is filtering in through the windows and French doors. The bottle and glasses are on the table. Leo is hunched over in his seat, fidgeting.

CEO 2: We already gave to the RNC but we're worried we may have backed the wrong horse.

LEO: You wanna hedge your bet.

CEO 1: [nods] That's why we're here.

LEO: [nods, tense] Good... Now gimme a sip of that.

CEO 2 smiles and hands Leo his glass. The ice cubes rattle against the glass as Leo holds it and takes a quick sip. He tries to act like it's no big deal, but his expression indicates otherwise.

LEO: That's what I remember.

CEO 1 chuckles.


FADE TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT

JORDAN: You had a drink.

LEO: I'm an alcoholic. I don't have one drink. [pauses] I don't understand people who have one drink. I don't understand people who leave half a glass of wine on the table. I don't understand people who say they've had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this? How can you not want to feel like this longer? [pauses, sighs] My brain works differently.

JORDAN: Who was the third person in the room?

LEO: Well, now we've arrived at our problem.

FADE TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK


Leo is drinking scotch heartily and smoking as they talk.

LEO: [to CEOs] Count on it.

THIRD MAN: Whoa, you want to be careful there.

Leo glances over at him as he stands up.

THIRD MAN: You're not the big money party. We are.

Leo chuckles silently and takes another sip of scotch.

CEO 1: [to Leo] Did I mention that he's thinking about running for Congress?

The third man sits down on the sofa next to Leo. It's GIBSON. He smiles as Leo glances over at him again.

GIBSON: I'm thinking about it.

CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT

JORDAN: You were drunk in front of Gibson?

LEO: I don't get drunk in front of people. I get drunk alone.

CUT TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK


The CEOs and Gibson have left. Leo opens the wall cupboard containing the mini-bar. He pulls out several miniature bottles of booze and checks his watch. He's stonefaced, almost like he's on auto-pilot.

LEO: [VO] They were going over something at the debate site...

JORDAN: [VO] [impatiently] I don't want to hear about the debate site.

LEO: [VO] The debate site is what happened. The debate site is how he gets to bring this up here.

CUT TO: INT. DEBATE SITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK


On one side of the stage, Sam and Josh walk over to where C.J. and Toby have been talking. Bartlet is standing by himself on the other side of the stage. The theater is still buzzing with aides making preparations.

SAM: [to C.J.] Where's Leo?

JOSH: [to C.J. and Toby] I'd still like to go over the Social Security answer. We gotta get it down to 90 seconds.

C.J.: It's down to 90 seconds.

Bartlet wanders past a TV monitor on a cart. He's wearing a sweater over a dress shirt. He puts his glasses in his shirt pocket. He looks slightly distracted, perhaps a bit unsteady. He's looking down at the floor and holding onto his coat.

JOSH: It's not - and they're gonna cut him off.

The foursome slowly walk across the stage toward Bartlet, who's standing next to the TV monitor.

SAM: I put a stopwatch on him. When he just speeds up...

JOSH: When he speeds up, he speeds up. When he doesn't... It's 90 seconds. We need to cut some more.

Bartlet crosses his arms over his chest and hunches over slightly.

TOBY: [to Josh] Which words?

JOSH: Governor, what do you think? Governor?

Bartlet appears increasingly unsteady on his feet, a bit dazed, maybe short of breath. But it's subtle enough that his aides don't seem to notice.

JOSH: Sir, we were just saying on the Social Security answer...

BARTLET: [softly] No.

JOSH: ...it's a tight ninety seconds, and...

BARTLET: [looking at floor, swaying] No, no. Not now.

JOSH: [scoffs, looks around at the others] Well, we gotta do it now, sir.

Bartlet stares blankly, straight ahead, then suddenly reaches out his right arm to balance himself, leaning on the TV for support.

TOBY: Something's wrong.

C.J.: Governor?

BARTLET: [gasping softly, trying to keep his balance] Yeah.

JOSH: Governor? [pause] Sir?

BARTLET: G'abbey...

SAM: You wanna sit down?

C.J.: Let me get some water. [turns around to grab a bottle of water]

BARTLET: G'abbey...

TOBY: He's saying, "Get Abbey."

JOSH: [to an aide] Get Abbey!

Bartlet loses his balance and pitches sideways toward Sam, who catches him, with assistance from Toby and Josh.

JOSH: Whoa...

Sam and Toby hold Bartlet up. A security agent rushes over to help.

TOBY: [looks up at C.J.] C.J.

C.J. stares at Toby. She looks shocked, a bit unsure about what to do.

JORDAN [VO]: He had an attack?

LEO [VO]: I mean, the doctor said it was an inner ear infection.

Toby and Sam help Bartlet regain his balance. They help him walk backstage, along with the agent. Josh walks behind them, stops, and takes out his cell phone. He looks up at C.J., concern all over his face.

LEO [VO]: But all Josh knew when he called me was that he'd collapsed. I was supposed to be down there already. I was supposed to be down there an hour ago.

CUT TO: INT. LEO'S HOTEL SUITE - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - FLASHBACK


Leo is sitting on the sofa, pouring himself another drink. The coffee table is covered with empty bottles and glasses. The phone by the bed rings and rings. His breathing is labored and he's unsteady on his feet as he struggles to stand up and make his way over to the bed. He takes a gulp of scotch, presses the speakerphone button, and sits down on the bed. Then he leans back on the pillows and closes his eyes, the glass still in his hand.

LEO: [loud] Yeah.

JOSH: [on phone] Leo, the Governor's sick.

The buzzer to Leo's suite sounds. He sits up slowly, awkwardly, as he registers what Josh is saying and that the buzzer is sounding.

LEO: Okay.

JOSH: [on phone] He collapsed. You gotta get down here.

The buzzer sounds again. Leo doesn't respond quickly to Josh; he tries not to panic,
tries to get his bearing.

JOSH: [on phone] Leo.

LEO: Okay.

Leo sits up, lets go of his glass. Knocking on the door.

GIBSON: [at the door] It's Gibson.

LEO: [loud] Okay!

Suddenly, Leo processes the implications of Gibson being at his door. He rubs his forehead and sighs, exasperated and overwhelmed. He's breathing heavily again as he shakily stands up.

LEO: Okay... Okay...

He walks to the door, smoothes his hair, and tries to straighten his rumpled suit. Then he opens the door.

LEO: Hey.

Gibson walks right in. Leo stands by the open door, shifting uneasily.

GIBSON: I forgot my briefcase.

Gibson grabs his briefcase from the floor by the sofa. In the process, he notices all the bottles and glasses on the coffee table. He turns to look at Leo, questioning.

GIBSON: You havin' a party?

LEO: [barely able to meet Gibson's gaze] I uh... I-I gotta get to the uh debate site. The Governor collapsed.

Gibson nods slightly, then leaves and closes the door behind him. Before Gibson is even out the door, Leo looks confused, then pained, then horrified and filled with regret as he realizes what he's done. He sighs and tries to catch his breath.


FADE TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL WAITING ROOM - PRESENT


Leo and Jordan are still sitting at the table, facing each other.

JORDAN: [VO] I don't understand how you could have a drink. I don't understand how, after everything you worked for, how on that day of all days you could be so stupid.

LEO: That's because you think it has something to do with smart and stupid. Do you have any idea how many alcoholics are in Mensa? You think it's a lack of willpower? That's like thinking somebody with anorexia nervosa has an overdeveloped sense of vanity. My father was an alcoholic. [leans forward] His father was an alcoholic. So, in my case...

JORDAN: [nods] Ain't nothin' but a family thing.

LEO: That's right.

JORDAN: Who knows?

LEO: Josh Lyman and the President.

JORDAN: Why nobody else?

LEO: Because.

JORDAN: That's a little boy's answer.

LEO: [pauses] I went to rehab. My friends embraced me when I got out. You relapse, it's not like that. "Get away from me" - that's what it's like.

There's a knock on the door and it opens. A security guard appears. Jordan turns to look at him.

GUARD: We're back in a minute.

JORDAN: Thank you.

The guard closes the door. Jordan turns back toward Leo.

JORDAN: Just out of curiosity... Why have you been asking me to have a meal with you every five minutes?

LEO: I like you. I've been tryin' to get it in under the wire.

Jordan takes a moment to take this in. She seems a bit surprised.

JORDAN: You'll answer the questions - simply and directly. I don't want to hear about Mensa. That'll be my job.

LEO: Okay.

Leo stands up, walks toward the door. Jordan doesn't move, a hint of a smile on her face. Leo opens the door as Jordan stands up and walks toward him.

JORDAN: Yes, by the way.

LEO: Yes? What?

JORDAN
Yes, I'd like to have dinner with you tonight.

LEO: [surprised] Okay.

Jordan walks out ahead of him and he follows her.


CUT TO: INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE CAPITOL HILL HEARING ROOM - DAY


People are milling around, waiting for the hearing to reconvene. There's a small room off the hallway. A guard is standing beside the glass door. Inside the room, Bruno, Cliff, and Gibson are standing face to face arguing.

CLIFF: That's where you're going with this?

GIBSON: Yeah.

CLIFF: Just to embarrass the guy?

GIBSON: Just?

CLIFF: Leo McGarry's sobriety isn't the subject of these hearings. These hearings are to investigate...

CUT TO: INT. A SMALL ROOM - CONTINUOUS

CLIFF: ...if any rules - ethical or otherwise - were broken by Jed Bartlet while he was running for President.

GIBSON: That's nice, but I live in the actual world where the object of these hearings is to win.

CLIFF: [shakes his head] No... it's not.

Bruno listens closely, stonefaced.

GIBSON: It's the object of the Majority.

CLIFF: Not while I'm the Majority Counsel, it's not. This is bush league. This is why good people hate us. This right here. This thing. [Bruno turns his back on them and leans on a table.] This isn't what these hearings are about. [Gibson glances over at Bruno, peeved.] He cannot possibly have been properly prepared by counsel for these questions, nor should he ever have to answer them publicly.

Bruno turns back around, rubbing his chin, looking concerned.

CLIFF: [jabbing his finger at Gibson] And if you proceed with this line of questioning, I will resign this committee and wait in the tall grass for you, Congressman, because you are killing the party.

Cliff glares at Gibson, who turns toward Bruno.

GIBSON: Who the hell is this?

Bruno meets his gaze.

CLIFF: [to Bruno] You don't have to make up your mind right now, Mr. Chairman...

GIBSON: Phil...

CLIFF: You don't have to make up your mind right now. Declare a recess 'til after the holidays. Buy yourself two weeks.

GIBSON: [to Cliff] And give him two weeks to circle the wagons?

Cliff maintains eye contact with Bruno, although he'd clearly love to respond to Gibson.

GIBSON: [to Bruno] How do you think the Speaker's gonna feel about this? To say nothing of the RNC?

BRUNO: [sighs] I need a minute.

Gibson quickly leaves, followed by Cliff, who practically slams the door on his way out. He walks through the crowd of people in the hallway, back toward the hearing room. Leo is in the hallway, shaking someone's hand, and notices Cliff walk by.


CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S BULLPEN AREA - DAY


A TV in the hallway is showing coverage of the hearing. Phones are ringing and staff members are bustling about. Sam walks through a swinging door and heads toward Josh's office.


CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS


Josh is leaning against the back of a chair, watching the hearing on his TV, and rubbing his forehead. Sam appears in the doorway.

SAM: I tried everybody.

JOSH: [looks up] It's all right.

SAM: I tried everybody. It was just a tough fit. And since I couldn't tell 'em what it was about...

JOSH: [points at the TV] They're back.

Sam sighs heavily. They both focus their attention on the TV.


CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL HEARING ROOM - DAY


Bruno gavels the hearing back into session.

BRUNO: Let's come to order.

Jordan and Leo are back in their seats. Jordan looks a little worried.

BRUNO: Mr. Gibson, you can proceed with your questioning.

Cliff sighs with exasperation. Leo stares at Gibson.

GIBSON: Mr. McGarry, 30 October in St. Louis, Missouri, the date Jed Bartlet was...

BRUNO: [holds up a hand in Gibson's direction] No, I'm sorry. [pause] Mr. McGarry, it's been a long day and, unless Counsel has an objection, I'm gonna resume this after the holidays.

Jordan and Leo are stunned.

LEO: What?

Cliff breathes a sigh of relief. Some members of the committee look pleasantly surprised, others not so much. Gibson shoots a warning glare at Bruno.

GIBSON: Mr. Chairman...

BRUNO: Mr. Calley.

CLIFF: Mr. McGarry, that concludes our questioning for today...

CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - DAY

CLIFF: [on TV] We'll pick it up here when the Chairman gavels these hearings back to order.

Josh sighs with relief.


CUT TO: INT. CAPITOL HILL HEARING ROOM - DAY


Leo is still confused and not sure if this is real.

LEO: I'm sorry...?

BRUNO: You're done for the day, sir. The House Reform and Government Oversight Committee stands in recess until January the 5th, and the Chair wishes everyone a Merry Christmas.

The hum of conversation fills the room as people begin to stand up. Several people in the audience - journalists, presumably - leap out of their seats to go outside. Jordan is pleased, but very surprised. Leo still can't believe it. They steal short glances at each other. Jordan chuckles softly to herself.

LEO: What the hell...?

JORDAN: [shakes her head] I don't know. [They both stand up.] We have two weeks.

A woman who's been sitting behind Jordan hands her a coat. Leo leans against his chair.

LEO: I really had to tell you the damn story?

JORDAN: Shut up. I'm going to dinner with you.

She starts to leave, passing Margaret, who's standing behind Leo.

LEO: [softly] Yeah. [pauses, turns to look at her] Well, listen.

JORDAN: What?

LEO: You wanna do it tomorrow night instead?

JORDAN: What's tomorrow night?

LEO: It's Christmas Eve.

JORDAN: [pauses, smiles, nods] Okay.

LEO: [smiles] Okay.

Jordan walks off into the crowd. Leo gathers his things from the table and glances up at the committee dais. Cliff is standing behind his chair, also gathering his things. They meet each other's gaze for several long moments. Cliff looks away first, then quickly leaves. Leo seems to realize what - or who - may have stopped the hearing. Then he turns around toward Margaret, who's been chatting amiably with someone. Slowly, they walk out of the hearing room together.

What I like about this is how it's all character-driven; this is the type of development that can only happen to someone with a specific problem, and what happens when previous bad choices we barely remember come back to haunt us in odd ways that we never could have seen coming.

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