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LIGHTNING ROD
Episode 301

Written by: Tom J. Astle


This is a script from Season three episode number one YET UNAIRED. Please DO NOT copy this
and use it on your site.  It is strictly prohibited.

ACT ONE

 

EXT. PHILLIPS HOUSE – NIGHT

Establishing a pleasant evening.

         LISA (V.O.)

                                       Molly! You look Fabulous!

          INT. PHILLIPS’ HOME ENTRY – HOPE SPRINGS, COLORADO – NIGHT

Molly has just opened the front door to greet her old friend Lisa, standing beside her luggage:

MOLLY

                    Lisa, come in, come in! Oh, it’s so great to see you! It’s been way
                    too long.  I’m sorry Kevin couldn’t come.

                                                  LISA

Oh thanks, he’s finding us an apartment in Eastern Pakistan. Or possibly a tent.

          Molly laughs and bends slightly, expecting Annie.

                                                          MOLLY

                             Well where’s that daughter of yours?

                             I haven’t seen her since—

ANNIE THELEN [thay-lin], 15, bursts in. She’s hip-looking but not trendy/expensive, high-energy, all smiles—a person who takes over a room just by walking in. She’s not the little girl Molly was prepared for.  Molly straightens up and Annie gives her a big hug:

                                                  ANNIE

                    Molly! Okay, I totally owe you an apology for the last time I was

Here, but I was just a kid then and I was all into Techno and French rap, but since then I’ve listened to all your old records and I think it’s so cool you’ve got a new one coming out, you are my hero—well, you and the U.S. Women’s soccer team—but next to them, you’re the greatest.

                              MOLLY

I like this girl.

          INT. LIVING ROOM – A SHORT TIME LATER

Molly, Jack, Clu, Carey, Ned, Irene, Lisa and Annie and Fi (sitting near each other) are having a buffet-style dinner, plates on laps.  Ned enters from the dining room, carrying his plate.

                                                   NED

                    How’s the chicken, everyone?

                                                  ANNIE

Perfect, Mr. Bell.  The mole [mo-lady] sauce is the best I’ve had outside Mexico.

                              NED

It’s not too spice for you?

                              ANNIE

No way.  Ever eaten habanero [ah-baan-err-o] peppers?

                              NED

I love habaneros.  They’re the hottest in the world! But . . . you eat them?

                              ANNIE

Until I cry.

                             NED

I like this girl.

                              CLU

Is there any ketchup?

                              NED

You are no longer my son.

                              CAREY

Excellent, can I have his stereo?

                              IRENE

Get in line.                              FI

(To Lisa)

So, how do you guys pick where to live?

                              LISA

We don’t—the World Hunger Foundation chooses for us.

We’re off to Pakistan next because they want us to test

a new type of disease-resistant wheat.

                              MOLLY

In college, we all wanted to save the world—you guys really do it.

                              FI

(To Annie)

What was your favorite place?

                              ANNIE

(Pleasant; distant)

Peru. I don’t know why, I was really little when we lived there, but Of all the places . . . it still feels like home—

Lisa reacts:  an uncomfortable subject.  Molly notices.

                                                 LISA

                    Sweetheart, we don’t need to bore our friends by talking about

                    Every single trip we’ve taken—

                                                 CLU

                    Yes, you do! You’ve lives in South America.  Last year we went

                    . . . to Buffalo.

                                                 JACK

                    I liked Buffalo.

Annie, laughing, stands and aims for the Dining Room.

                                                 ANNIE

                    Mind if I have some more mole, Mr. Bell?

                                                 NED

                    Be my guest, sweetheart.

                                                 FI

                    Think I’ll have some, too.

The girls both head for the dining room. . .

 

INT.   DINING ROOM – CONTINUOUS

                                                 FI

                    I could live on Mexican Food.

ANNIE

                             Me too.

          Annie’s distracted by something out the window.

ANNIE’S POV: A LIGHT DANCES JUST OUTSIDE THE GLASS . . . THE ONE WE’VE SEEN BEFORE EACH APPEARANCE OF THE WILL O’ THE WISP.

                                                  ANNIE

                    Hey, look at that!!

Annie points toward the window.

                                                  ANNIE

                    That’s the biggest firefly I’ve ever seen.

Fi frowns and goes to the window. Annie eagerly exits to the living room.

                                                  ANNIE

                    Mom, come check out this huge bug!

                                                  FI

                    (Quietly, to the light)

                    What do you want?

 The wisp sky-writes (like you ‘d do with a lit sparkler) a reply: the word “YOU.”  Then it zips away with a GIGGLE.

When Annie finally pulls Lisa to the dining room window.  The light is gone.

                                                  ANNIE

                    Oh, he flew away.

                                                  FI

                    (Knowingly)

                    He’ll be back.

INT. KITCHEN – LATER THAT EVENING

Molly, Irene, and Lisa are fixing coffee and cake.

                                                  MOLLY

                    So, what happened in Peru?

                                                  LISA

                    What do you mean?

                                                  MOLLY

When Annie mentioned it at dinner, you looked like you’d just eaten a hot pepper.

                              LISA

(Reluctant)

Annie was so young, and the jungle is so big.  . . She gave us a scare, that’s all.

                              MOLLY

What kind of scare --?

                              LISA

(Lightly)

You guys know what it’s like, traveling with kids.

                              IRENE

We might have some idea, yeah.

 

          Molly’s looking at Lisa curiously . . .

          At that moment, Fi and Annie race past, on their way upstairs.

                                                          MOLLY

                             Whoa, where are you two going?

                                                          Annie

                             If we move fast enough, the guys will be stuck with the dishes.

                                                          FI

                             Her idea.  I like this girl.

          Laughing, Fi and Annie dash upstairs.

                                                          LISA

Annie’s seen so many new places because of our work.  But I sometimes wonder if we’re being selfish by dragging her along.

                              IRENE

I don’t think anyone drags Annie anywhere.  She seems to go exactly where she wants.

                              MOLLY.

Sounds like her mom.

                              LISA

She’s really more like you, actually.  Her whole life is music.  She writes songs. . . dreams them, she says.  Maybe I’m biased, but she’s a fascinating kids.

                              IRENE

Ha she had any formal training?

                              LISA

No, it just . . seems to come naturally to her.  She can pick up almost any instrument and play it.

          Irene picks up a tray of coffee and cake to carry toward the living room.

                                                          IRENE

                             What does she charge? We could use someone like that.

 

Irene laughs, exiting with the tray.  Lisa, smiling, watches her go, then takes a steadying breath, looks at Molly, and forges a head:

                                                  LISA

                    Funny . . . that’s something I . . . wanted to talk about. 

You know, Kevin and I want to encourage Annie, but where we’re going it’ll be hard to keep up her schooling, let alone any opportunity to develop her music, with friends, with real musicians . . .

          Molly’s face says she’s not quite sure where Lisa’s going.

                                                          LISA

                             We were wondering; we were hoping . . .

                             (scrunches her eyes shut; quickly)

That maybe if you had the time and space and energy you’d take

Annie under your wing for the school year.

 

          Lisa finally dares to open her eyes.  Molly’s looking right at her, a warm smile

          Growing on her lips.

                                                          LISA

                             She just needs a normal family for a while.

                                                          MOLLY

                             Our family usually has four wheels under us.

                                                          LISA

                             (ironic)

                             Believe me, she’s comfortable on the road.

          Molly moves close to Lisa . . .

                                                          Molly

                             (lovingly)

Lisa, way back when Rick and I were struggling, you were always there for us.  When Jack was sick and we had a gig, you were there. When Fi was born, you were there.  Always you, Lisa.  Always there.         

                                                          LISA

                             (touched; gracious)

                             Just . . . give it some thought?

                                                          MOLLY

                             I will.

          Lisa exhales, regroups, relieved this is behind her.

                                                          LISA

                             I still can’t believe how much Fi’s grown. How’s she been?

                                                          MOLLY

                             Let’s just say, sometimes she’s a big too much like her father.

          As Molly absentmindedly plays with her thumb-ring—

INT. FI’S BEDROOM – NEXT MORNING

          Annie is sitting on Fi’s bed, picking at Fi’s Dad’s guitar.  She closes her eyes

And hums a tune to herself as she plays a short section, over and over. Fi enters.

                                                  ANNIE

                    Oh, hi.

                              (re guitar)

                    I hope you don’t mind, I—

                                                  FI

                    No, it’s okay, it was my Dad’s.

                    (beat)

                    Sounded nice. What is it?

                                                  ANNIE

                    Oh—not sure. I think I’m still writing it.

                                                  FI

                    You think?

                                                  ANNIE

I don’t always know right away.  Sometimes I have to wait for the notes to come, maybe from a bird, or the sounds of cars on a freeway or –

(realizing)

Okay, I can tell by your look that you now think I’m hugely weird.

                              FI

Annie, believe me—you would have to be way weirder to get that look from me. I think it’s really cool.

                    Clu peeks into the room.

                                                          CLU

                             Hey Fi.

                                       (suave)

Hello, Annie.  I heard you playing.  You sound amazing. I was moved.

                              ANNIE

Thanks.

As Fi and Annie exchange amused smiles, Jack steps into the doorway, bike helmet under one arm.

                                                  JACK

                    Clu, what’s the hold-up? 

                                                  CLU

                    Annie and I were discussing music.

                                                  JACK

                    (to Annie)

                    Let me guess. He was moved.

Annie tries to hide her smile.  Clu frowns at Jack.

 

                                                  CLU

                    I was. And I was thinking, since I’m heading back to college in a

                    Few days and won’t be around for awhile, maybe I should take

This opportunity to help Annie with her song, and Fi could go          

riding with you instead.

                              JACK

You’re bailing on me.

                              CLU

It’s an artist thing, you wouldn’t understand.  Plus, I have a sore          

Knee.

                              ANNIE

Well. .  since Clu is injured, mind if I go riding with you? I love mountain biking.  Clu, maybe we could talk later--?

                              JACK

(to Annie)

You can use Clu’s bike. I’ll adjust the seat.

          Jack grins and heads out. Clu chases after him—

                                                          CLU

                             That was very cold, man.

                                                         JACK

                             It’s an exercise thing. You wouldn’t understand.

                                                          FI

                             (re: the guys)

                             Welcome to my life.

                                                          ANNIE

                             You want to come riding with us? –

Fi is about to reply when she notices, at her window: THE WISP LIGHT –dancing just outside.

                                                  FI

                    No. I had plans to see someone.

                                                  ANNIE

                    Okay.  See you later—

 Annie starts out, her back to the room. Suddenly, the wisp-light zips through the window straight for Annie, before Fi can warn her.  But the light BOUNCES off Annie’s head, RICOCHETS around the room, then slams into FI’s open laptop, where it remains, GLOWING from the screen.

                                                  FI

                    Annie!

                                                  ANNIE

                    Yeah?

Fi walks up to her, looking her in the eyes.

                                                  ANNIE

                    What? Is there something on my face?

                                                   FI

                    (amazed)

                    You’re okay.  You’re . . you.

                                                  ANNIE

                    Is something wrong?

                                                  FI

                    Um, no, I just—you can use my bike helmet. It’s in the garage.

                                                  ANNIE

                    Thanks.

Annie exits.  Fi hurries over to her computer.  The screen glows with the Wisp light.  The light speaks, PULSATING as it talks to her (with a computer – generated brogue):

 

                                                  WISP

                    You’ve got a wee bit of mail.

                                                  FI

Okay, why are you here, what just happened, and why didn’t you take over Annie’s body?

                                                  WISP

 

She’s protected, off limits, forbidden. I hate when that happens . . . people like her should come with warning labels.

                              FI

What do you mean, people like her?

                              WISP

(ignoring her)

Ah, cyberspace.  Good to be back. Reminds me of the spirit world—no walls, instant access to millions of souls . . . although your modems a wee bit slow.  Perhaps I’ll get a website, you know, as a vacation home.

                              FI

Get out my computer.

                              WISP

Come now, is that how you greet an old friend?

                              FI

Friend? Last time we talked, you left me and my Mom in a burning warehouse.

                              WISP

Don’t be a baby. You got out fine.

                              FI

I have power over you.  If I speak your one true name, you have to go away

                              WISP

Well then, save your family’s lives without my help.  Goodbye, Little Duck . .

          The lights starts to fade out  . . .

                                                          FI

                             Wait!  Okay, okay.  What?

                                                          WISP

Terrible danger. Time is short, only you can save them.  Do you still have the book of Celtic magic?

                              FI

From my Aunt’s theater company?  Yeah.

                              WISP

Excellent!

                              FI

But I’m not reading it

                              WISP

I’m   . . . hurt.  You don’t trust me.

                              FI

Gee, I wonder why, given that history has shown you to be a big fat liar.

                              WISP

I am not fat. 

FI

I’m not reading any magic spells until you tell me what is going on?

                              WISP

Fiona Phillips, you have a gift. Aye, and you’ve used it to see wonderful things. But there are spirits on this side who are angry with your intrusions into their world.

                              FI

That’s what my father told me  . . .

                              WISP

When you open a door, it doesn’t just means you can go in—it also means things can get out.

(no nonsense)

Get the book, Fi.

He’s right. Fi opens her closet and pulls the magic book with the dragon on the cover. (from “Strangeling”) down from a high shelf.

                                                  WISP

                    Now, open to the sixth chapter, fifth page, first incantation, and

                    Read.  Do you see?

Fi opens the book.  She has a thought:

                                                  FI

                    No. There’s something else going on. Like, why this spell?

                    Why not this one, or this one, or this one?

She points to other lines in the book.  On the third one, the wisp HISSES angrily.

                                                  WISP

                    This is not a game!

                                                  FI

Don’t like this one, huh?  Why not? Is this the one that sends you away forever? Am I right?

          The Wisp just HISSES again.

                                                          FI

                             You know what? Let’s give this one a try.

                             (reads)

                             “Spirits fly, tear down the wall   . . .

                             all are lost, for changed are all.”             

WISP

                             No, you foolish girl!

                                                          FI

                             Consider this payback.

                                                          WISP

                             No, no . . . !

His LIGHT FADES from the screen, returning to computer to normal. Fi smiles at the screen, smug.

                                                  FI

                    Am I good, or what?

Fi closes the laptop.  She then closes the magic book and starts back to her desk with it. Clu enters.

                                                  CLU

                    Fi! Huge favor.  If I use your bike, I can catch Jack and Annie.

                                                  FI

                    (smiles)

                    What about your sore knee?

                                                  CLU

                    Sometimes you gotta play hurt.

He notices Fi reaching up to put the book back in her closet Clu takes it from her.

                                                  CLU

Here, let me.  Hey—is this that book from your Aunt’s theater? From the play with the witches and stuff?

                              FI

Macbeth.

                              CLU

Woah, bad luck.

                              FI

What?

                              CLU

The name of the play.  Remember? It’s bad luck to say it out loud.

                              FI

(Smiles)

I think we’ll be okay.

          Suddenly, the book begins to GLOW in Clu’s hands.

                                                          CLU

                             Uh, or not—  

          The GLOW starts to move up Clu’s arms.

                                                          FI

                             Oh, no.  Clu, drop the book!

                                                          Clu

                             I can’t! What’s happening?  Oh, man, this feels seriously weird—

 

Suddenly, there is a BLINDING FLASH of light.  Clu and the book DISAPPEAR,

leaving behind a floating BALL OF LIGHT.

 

The ball hovers in front of Fi.  She’s petrified.  Suddenly, the light HURTLES OUT of her window and    SPOTS INTO MANY TINY LIGHTS, which SCATTER in every direction.   Off Fi—

 

                                                END OF ACT ONE

  
                                                        ACT TWO>>