The Maelstrom, Part I

Original Release Date: November 27, 2002

Teleplay by:
Jim Hamilton

Excerpts from:
Scary Stories and Closed Spaces by Danielle

Estimated Run Time:



"It's coming."

There is a rumble of thunder as Dana stands inside her office and looks out the window.

Natalie: I know.

Dana: Something bad is going to happen.

Natalie: We've known for a few days now.

Dana: This just isn't an educated guess. It's one of those feelings you get deep down in your bones. One of those feelings in your joints when you go to reach for something or walk across the room.

Natalie: That's Paloma.

Dana: Hmm?

Natalie: The hurricane. We've known about Hurricane Paloma for a few days now.

Dana: Yeah.

Natalie: But you were speaking of something else.

Dana: No, I was referring to the hurricane.

Natalie: It didn't sound like it.

There is another rumble of thunder.

Dana: Natalie?

Natalie: Yeah?

Dana: It's coming.


The newsroom is unusually quiet in the early afternoon. Chris, Will, and Dave are sitting in chairs. They lightly toss a football to each other. Elliott sits at his desk and rests his chin in his hand. Kim sits nearby twirling a pencil in her hand.

Elliott: Is there something we should be doing?

Kim: Instead of sitting around?

Chris: Do we need to crack open the windows?

Will: That would let the rain in.

Chris: It would keep the wind from blowing in the windows.

Will: But that would let the rain in.

Chris: It will still rain inside once the windows are shattered.

Dave: Are you going to put plywood on windows 49 stories off the ground?

Chris: No.

Dave: Then there's nothing we can do.

Will snaps his fingers.

Will: Sandbags.

Chris: Yeah. We need sandbags.

Will: For all the rain.

Chris: To stop potential flooding.

Dave: Are you going to go to the beach to get some sand?

Will: They have it at the hardware stores.

Chris: Plus plywood.

Dave shakes his head.

Elliott: Do you think we'll lose power?

Kim: We have generators to kick in when we do.

Elliott: What if the generators stop working?

Kim: They won't stop working.

Elliott: Where are they kept?

Kim: In the basement.

Chris: There might be flooding.

Will: It will shut off the generators.

Dave: Shut up.

Jeremy walks over to the group.

Elliott: Any news, Jeremy?

Jeremy: Sustained winds at 60 miles per hour with gusts up to 75. They're predicting a storm surge of 4 to 6 feet.

Kim: The storm surge?

Jeremy: The wall of water that's caused by the storm coming ashore. It's basically pushing all this water away from the storm's path- similar to tilling a field.

Will: You've actually tilled a field?

Jeremy: Not exactly. When you dig for planting, you create a little row, or path, and shovel the dirt just to the side of it. The storm surge is the water being pushed to the side of Paloma's path.

Kim: We're not planting corn or potatoes here.

Chris: Potatoes grow underground.

Will: What?

Chris: I thought Kim was making an analogy: corn is similar to hurricanes because they both sprout vertically. Potatoes just grow in the ground.

Will and Dave stare at Chris.

Jeremy: We're predicted to get 8 to 10 inches of rain also.

Dave (to Chris and Will): If you mention flooding, I'll drown you both.

"Okay, guys. Let's go over the drill."

Everyone notices Dana has joined the group. She holds a memo in her hand.

Dana: I'm certain that everyone has received a copy this memo. First, if we lose power, the generators will kick in.

Chris: What if flooding from the rain and storm surge cause the generators to fail?

Dana: It won't.

Will: How?

Dana: Because I believe in the greater good. Moving along, there is a very good possibility we will lose our satellite feeds, so our internet connections may be rendered useless unless you've already managed to render them useless. Third... wait... first, second... yes, thirdly, we'll probably lose cell phone connection because of the oncoming storm.

Jeremy: Technically, couldn't that fall under the second category of losing the satellite connections?

Dana: Yes, but then my list wouldn't be very long. Fourth, if there is lightning in the area, by all means, avoid using the computer, the editing machine, and the telephone- unless you really annoy me, and in that case feel free to use them along with running through the streets while carrying metal forks.

"Is everybody ready for the ultimate test?"

Dana: Good afternoon, Danny.

Dan joins the impromptu meeting.

Dan: Mankind against the forces of nature. The inner battle among the different sciences. This is going to be something to see.

Dana: Danny, remind me to make sure you are carrying silverware with you today.

Jeremy: Dana is going over things to avoid during the storm.

Dan: Well, I would avoid getting a suntan today.

Dana: This hurricane is nothing to joke about. This is some serious stuff. There will be property damage and the possibility- if I may remind you- that people may lose their lives if they are not careful.

Dan: And what does carrying silverware have to do with that?

Jeremy: If I may correct you, Dana, Paloma is now categorized as a tropical storm.

Dana: It was a hurricane yesterday.

Jeremy: Yes, a category one hurricane, which has minimum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour. Today, the winds have died down to 60 miles per hour-

Elliott: I thought you said they were 75.

Jeremy: Gusts of 75.

Kim: You just said a category one has winds of 74.

Jeremy: A category one has sustained winds of 74 miles per hour. Because the storm is weakening, it has been relegated to tropical storm status.

Dana: And so what I've been talking about really isn't going to happen?

Jeremy: Oh, it will still happen, just not as bad.

Elliott: How could it weaken if it hasn't hit land yet?

Jeremy: You see, the waters are colder off the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts. Since warm water is one of the essential ingredients to create a hurricane, you will end up with nothing more than a very big, intense thunderstorm.

Dana: Thank you, Al Roker.

Jeremy: Plus, the Coriolis effect will cause us to miss the brunt of the storm.

Dana: Is there any chance that some of us might have a slight interest in Jeremy's meteorological jargon?

Will begins to raise his hand.

Dana: Hands down, mister.

Dan: Well, this will certainly be a fun day.

Natalie walks in and is wearing a hooded yellow raincoat.

Dan: And I see that this weather is fit for neither man nor giant rubber duckies.

Natalie: Very funny.

Jeremy: Why the raincoat?

Natalie: The last I checked, a storm is coming, Jeremy.

Jeremy: I mean, why are you wearing a raincoat inside the building?

Natalie: I'm seeing if it fits. I got it at the souvenir shop just outside-

Dana: Excuse me, people. I am trying to go over this memo with everybody, and I can't go over it with everybody unless I have everybody's attention.

Everybody looks at Dana.

Dana: Good.

Dan: Where's Isaac?

Dana: He's getting ready for a meeting.

Natalie: He should be so lucky.

Dana: Hush, little Chiquita banana. (pause) Okay, I'm being a little harsh. I apologize.

Dan: No, I think a banana is a good comparison.

Dana: People! Let me finish this, and then you can go about doing what you need to do.

Everyone looks at Dana as she checks over the memo.

Dana: Okay, that's all. Let's get to work, people.

Everyone scatters to start working on various tasks. Dana wipes a piece of hair which fell in front of her face. She slowly walks over to the windows and looks outside. There is another rumble of thunder from the oncoming storm.

Dana sighs and shakes her head.

Dana: It's coming.

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