Don't Shoot the Messenger



The show is finishing up their broadcast.

Bobbi: (on-air) Thanks for the update, Kelly. Be sure to catch a recap of all of today's baseball games on CSC's "Around the Horn" with Jack Jankowitz, which is coming up next. We've reached the end of tonight's broadcast. I'm Bobbi Bernstein, and for the entire CSC crew and Dan Rydell, have a good night.

Dan: (on-air) Good night.

Chris: Music's up.

Will: Credits rolling.

Sally: Good effort everybody. It was a pretty good show.

Dave: We're out.

Sally and Natalie take off their headsets. Dave, Chris, and Will continue to work as the closing credits roll and they wait to switch the feed over to "Around the Horn." Elliott grabs his notepad and takes some notes as he leaves the control room. Lindsey takes the clipboard from Natalie, takes Jeremy's notepad while leaving the room, heads toward the newsroom. Natalie stops Jeremy as he is trying to leave.

Natalie: Hold on, Jeremy.

Jeremy: Okay.

Natalie: Are you guys coming next Thursday?

Will: To what?

Natalie: Michael's new play.

Chris: We don't have tickets.

Natalie: You don't have to worry about tickets. I'll get everyone in.

Dave: I had already made plans, Natalie.

Chris: Melanie and I were going to the movies.

Will: And the Mets have a home game that night.

Natalie: What? Does everybody have plans?

Chris: It is our night off.

Will: Our only night of the week.

Natalie: Jeremy?

Jeremy: What?

Natalie: You're coming.

Jeremy: I'm not attending by myself.

Natalie: Other people will be coming.

Jeremy: Dave, Chris, and Will aren't coming.

Natalie: They have plans.

Jeremy: And because I chose not to schedule ahead, I have to go see the play?

Natalie: It would be a great way to support Michael. He's dedicating this play to me, and I would love for everybody to come see it.

Dave: The play's dedicated to you?

Chris: Melanie and I can catch the movie when it comes out on video.

Will: It's the first month of the season. I can go see the Mets play later.

Natalie: See, Jeremy? Everyone is coming.

Jeremy: But-

Natalie: No buts. You're coming.


As Dan walks down the hallway from the studio to the newsroom, Natalie steps in front of him.

Natalie: Danny? What are you doing next Thursday night?

Dan: I'm working.

Natalie: We don't have a show. The network is showing the college baseball double-header.

Dan: That's this Thursday.

Natalie: The next Thursday.

Dan: We're talking about this week?

Natalie: Yes.

Dan: So this Thursday and next Thursday are essentially the same day?

Natalie: Essentially.

Dan: I think I'm going to spend my next Thursday brushing up on the calendar.

Natalie: So you're available?

Dan: For what?

Natalie: And before you say "no," I just want to let you know that Will, Chris, and Dave said they will be coming.

Dan: I'm just confused.

Natalie: Michael has written and produced a play, and it's opening night is on Thursday.

Dan: Where?

Natalie: Trenton.

Dan: New Jersey?

Natalie: Yes.

Dan: He couldn't even get it produced in New York, so he had to move it to New Jersey?

Natalie: He wanted it in New Jersey.

Dan: Why?

Natalie: He'll get a lot of publicity.

Dan: It's New Jersey.

Natalie: Yeah.

Dan: Do you understand what I'm saying? It's New Jersey.

Natalie: Yeah. And Jeremy is coming, too.

Dan: Do they know the play's in New Jersey?

Natalie: It's in Trenton, and we were planning on car pooling down there. I'm getting tickets for everybody, so you can bring along JoAnne.

Dan: Is this some kind of mandatory thing, or is this strictly voluntary?

Natalie: If you wish to remain in my good graces, you should seriously consider attending.

Dan: Nothing bad is going to happen to me if I decline the invitation?

Natalie: No.

Dan: You're lying.

Natalie: Then if I am lying, you probably should come to opening night.

Natalie heads down the corridor.

Dan: You can't make me enjoy it!


Casey is sitting on the couch in Dan's office, when Dan enters the room. Casey looks tired, while Dan looks refreshed.

Dan: Hey, Case. What are you wearing?

Casey: Clothes.

Dan looks over Casey.

Dan: Are you wearing anything blue?

Casey: Unless they've changed the names of khaki, brown, and white to different shades of blue.

Dan: You just want to spend an extra two dollars.

Casey: I don't have to order the drink.

Dan: What's the purpose of going if you're not going to order the drink?

Casey: I thought the purpose was to have a good time.

Dan: Right. Have a good time while partaking in a giant blue drink at a significantly lower price.

Dan walks over to the window and searches through his sports memorabilia.

Dan: I think I might have something for you.

Casey: I just can't do it.

Dan: Here it is.

Dan pulls out a blue New York Giant football helmet and hands it over to Casey.

Dan: Wear this to the club.

Casey: I can't take it.

Dan: Sure you can.

Casey: I can't take keeping all these secrets for Dana's benefit.

Dan: We're talking about something completely different?

Casey: Yes.

Dan: I'm talking about our plans for tonight, while you are talking about...

Casey: Dana.

Dan: Okay.

Dan walks over and closes the door to his office.

Dan: You want to talk about this now?

Casey: Yes.

Dan: Okay.

Dan grabs a rolling chair and pulls it up in front of Casey. Dan sits in the chair backward, facing toward the back of the chair.

Dan: I'm here for you, Case. What is it?

There is a knock on the door. It opens, and Jeremy pops his head inside.

Jeremy: Are you guys coming?

Dan: You guys go ahead. We'll catch up.

Jeremy: I see you've got a Giants helmet, Casey. Nice touch.

Dan: We're in the middle of something.

Jeremy finally notices Casey's somber expression.

Jeremy: Is everything all right?

Casey: Yeah.

Dan: How's Dana?

Casey: Doing better. She should be back in a few weeks.

Dan: Just let everyone know that we'll catch up with them later.

Jeremy: Will do. On the bright side, you won't have to listen to Natalie explain her tales of her boyfriend, the next Bard of Avon.

Dan: You're going to Michael's play?

Jeremy: I assume everyone is going. Natalie's getting everybody free tickets to the opening of "The Big Show." I'm sure you're invited also, Casey.

Casey: Thanks.

Dan: You can later give me the abridged version of Natalie's tale, Jeremy.

Jeremy: I'll let everyone know you two will be late.

Jeremy closes the door to leave Dan and Casey inside the office.

Dan: Okay, Casey. What's up?

Casey: It's Dana. (pause) She's afraid.

Dan: Afraid of what?

Casey: Losing the baby.

Dan: Now you and Isaac have been saying everything is all right. What's wrong with Dana?

Casey: She's suffering from cervical incompetence.

Dan: Is it serious?

Casey: The doctors say her cervix can't hold the baby. They had to perform minor surgery and ordered her bedrest for the next few weeks. They say she's doing fine, but I'm not sure.

Dan: If the doctors had to perform surgery, it must be pretty serious.

Casey: Yeah.

Dan: Is that why Dana didn't want to tell anybody?

Casey: You have to know Dana. I know her better than anybody else, but this is difficult to keep away from friends and family. She's... she's always been afraid of being labeled inferior... so... rather than tell everybody about her condition, she'd rather keep it a secret.

Dan: Because she thinks people will think of her as being 'inferior' or 'weak.'

Casey: Exactly.

Dan: We would never think that way about her.

Casey: She thinks this condition and her operation makes her unfit to carry a child. She thinks she's weak, and she's going to be a horrible mother.

Dan: And I assume you've told her she's going to be a great mother.

Casey: Of course. She'll be a great mother.

Dan: But she swore you to secrecy.

Casey: And Isaac.

Dan: I'm glad you told me.

Casey: Yeah.

Dan: Dana's going to be fine. Everything is going to be all right.

Dan gets up.

Casey: Yeah.

Dan: You don't sound convinced.

Casey: It isn't that...

Dan sits back down.

Dan: Something else is bothering you.

Casey: A little.

Dan: What else about Dana?

Casey: It isn't about Dana... in fact, it's nothing. It's really nothing.

Dan: Case, you're obviously bothered by it. What's wrong?

Casey: No... it's just... it's... it's really nothing.

Dan: Casey? I'm going to make you wear that damn helmet the whole time were in the club unless you tell me what's going on.

Casey: Okay.

Dan looks at Casey.

Dan: Casey?

Casey: I'm... I'm... (gets up and walks around the office) I'm having my own personal conflict.

Dan: What's the conflict?

Casey: I'm having to deal with my own moral standards.

Dan: Because of you, Dana, and the baby.

Casey: Yes. Charlie's at that age when proper guidance is critical, and I'm concerned... I'm concerned that I'm not doing a very good job of it.

Dan: What are your moral standards?

Casey: You know, I've talked with Charlie about the importance of love and honesty. I've stressed the importance of relationships and marriage...

Dan: And you feel that Charlie is going to judge you on the way you've been living your life.

Casey: Yes. Just look at me. I was married to his mother for ten years. We divorce, get back together, and then split up again. That has to be difficult for him to comprehend. One minute we love each other, one minute we don't love each other, one minute we do, one minute we don't.

Dan: Okay, but that doesn't affect the love you feel toward Charlie.

Casey: No, it doesn't. But when I end up dating his mother's best friend, it leaves trail of deception- whether it's true or not. It makes it look like Dana has been pursuing me, and I've been pursuing her all this time- even during my marriage to Lisa. It makes my marriage with Lisa look like it was a lie, and I was the bad guy.

Dan: There aren't any good guys or bad guys in divorce.

Casey: And now, here's Dana carrying my child. We're not getting married, and I've preached to Charlie about abstinence and the values of marriage. It's like I've thrown that philosophy out the window when it comes to Dana. I've never lived up to my own moral standards.

Dan: Um-hmm.

Casey sits back on the couch.

Casey: You know... I don't feel like going out tonight.

Dan: You have to realize that with all the problems I've had with my father, I still love him. He's my dad. I'll always love him. I may not understand him, but I'll love him. Charlie is still going to love you no matter what happens between you and Dana.

Casey: I'm... I'm... just ashamed I've let this happen in my life.

Dan: Do you love Charlie?

Casey: Of course. He's my son.

Dan: And you love Dana?

Casey: Yes. And I love our baby, too.

Dan: Good. Take solace in the fact that you are surrounded by people who love you and you love them.


Natalie, Jeremy, Will, Chris, Elliott, Dave, and Kim sit around a club table. Many patrons inside the club are dancing on the dance floor toward the back, while others are sitting at the bar or at various tables. A dee-jay pumps rock-and-roll music through the speakers.

Natalie: The play, which is dedicated to me, is called "The Big Show." It's a comedy-musical.

Elliott: But what's it about?

Natalie: Michael wanted to surprise me.

Chris: Surprises can be good.

Will: Or they can be bad.

Natalie: What do you think, Dave?

Dave: I'm just happy to be invited.

Elliott: Now when you said that everybody is invited, does that mean-

Natalie: Sally's not invited.

The group breathes a sigh of relief.

Kim: You've been pretty quiet, Jeremy.

Jeremy: There hasn't been much to say.

Elliott: Did Dan and Casey say when they were coming?

Jeremy: They said it was going to be later, but it's getting pretty late.

Natalie: Does anyone want to give them a call?

Jeremy: I'll give them a call.

Jeremy gets up from the table.

Natalie: Why don't you use your cell phone?

Jeremy: I will. I want to get the circulation going in my legs.

Jeremy walks away.

Elliott: I hope everybody is all right.

A waitress approaches the table.

Waitress: Anything more at this table?

The group starts pointing various articles of clothing containing the color blue.

Waitress: Another round for everybody?

The group agrees in unison.

Waitress: I'll bring them out shortly.

The waitress walks away, and Natalie looks over through a window and sees Jeremy standing outside the club.

Natalie: Guys, I'll be right back.


Jeremy is standing outside and closing his cell phone when Natalie approaches him.

Natalie: Well?

Jeremy: They're not coming. They got tied up in some stuff, and they've decided not to join us tonight.

Natalie: Is everything okay?

Jeremy: Casey's just a bit tired, that's all.

Natalie: Okay. How about you?

Jeremy: Me? I'm tired, but my youthful energy is keeping me going.

Natalie: You don't want to come to the play.

Jeremy: Natalie-

Natalie: Admit it. You don't wish to support me when my boyfriend tries to do something nice for me.

Jeremy: I do support you.

Natalie: Well, you need to do a better job of it.

Jeremy: Natalie?

Natalie: What?

Jeremy: The play isn't going to be good.

Natalie: You haven't seen it, and you're already a famous theater critic?

Jeremy: I've read the reviews of his three other plays. Nothing really stands out in them, and some of the reviewers say the scripts are weak. The last show had tepid reviews in Miami and Atlanta, while New York just hated it.

Natalie: Jeremy, you've got to give him a chance. He's an up-and-coming star.

Jeremy: You believe in him.

Natalie: Of course, I believe in him. I'm his girlfriend.

Jeremy: Don't take this the wrong way, Natalie-

Natalie: I was beginning to question if you were putting this the right way.

Jeremy: I don't want to see you hurt.

Natalie looks at Jeremy.

Natalie: You're jealous.

Jeremy: I'm not-

Natalie: You're jealous of the fact that I found someone who is gifted and has the potential to become one of the great American playwrights.

Jeremy: You're building him up, Natalie.

Natalie: Am not.

Jeremy: He's not going to be a great writer. He's mediocre and he's reached his potential. He couldn't get an opening in New York because his past work wasn't considered Broadway, off-Broadway, or even Albany Civic Center material.

Natalie: You're passing judgment before you even see the play.

Jeremy: And you are also, Natalie.

Natalie: He's dedicating this play to me. He's taken special care with this production.

Jeremy: I don't want to see you hurt if he doesn't take special care or the play doesn't live up to your expectations.

Natalie: I'm not going to be hurt, and the production is going to be wonderful.

Jeremy: Okay, Natalie. I'm going back inside.

Natalie: Fine.

As Jeremy walks back into the club, some doubt begins to appear on Natalie's face.

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