A Mountain of a Molehill



Dana's ankles are crossed and resting on the corner of her desk as she sits in her chair. She gently rocks the chair and stares off into nothing as she talks on the phone.

Dana: (into phone) No, no, it's perfectly fine, Casey. I don't mind you have to work late tonight. In fact, there are some final details I need to fine tune about the championship match.

Dana smiles.

Dana: (into phone) You're darn right it's convenient.

Dana takes a glimpse at the clock on the wall. Her feet immediately go to the floor when she realizes the time.

Dana: (into phone) Look, I've got to go and fine tune one of the final details. I'll see you later, Case. Bye.

Dana hastily hangs up the phone and springs from her chair.

Elliott wanders into the office. He holds an arrangement of Tootsie Pops, consisting of all varieties one could ever imagine. Dana nearly runs into him.

Elliott: Dana? Have you seen Natalie?

Dana: I'm actually going to get her right now.

Dana reaches into the arrangement and pulls out a cherry Tootsie Pop.

Elliott: These are for Natalie.

Dana: They are? From whom?

Elliott: What? It's not like I read the card.

Dana looks around the arrangement for the card.

Elliott: It's from Michael.

Dana: I thought you said you didn't read the card.

Elliott: Actually, Kim read the card. I just merely observed.

Dana: Okay.

Dana goes to sidestep around Elliott, but he sidesteps into her path.

Dana: Yes?

Elliott: The Tootsie Pops are for Natalie.

Dana: Oh come on. It's not like she's going to miss one out of the four, eight, gazillion Tootsie Pops in that arrangement.

Elliott: It is my job to make sure Natalie's arrangement arrives to her fully intact.

Dana laughs momentarily, then suddenly turns serious.

Dana: Move before I take four or eight more.

Elliott: No problem.

Elliott moves aside, and Dana exits the office.


Dana enters the newsroom and Elliott follows, still carrying Natalie's Tootsie Pops. The two finally stop at Natalie's desk.

Dana: Where could she be?

Elliott: If she was here, I would not have sought your guidance.

Dana sneers at Elliott as Kim walks by.

Kim: What did Michael do now?

Dana: Excuse me?

Kim: It has been my experience that whenever a man sends you flowers or some sort of arrangement, he's done something wrong.

Elliott: Not true.

Kim: Yuh-huh.

Elliott: Nuh-uh.

Dana: Guys.

Kim: Sending something uncalled for? I say he's done something wrong.

Elliott: I say he's showing his appreciation.

Kim: What about love, Elliott?

Dana: Guys!

Kim and Elliott stop bickering and look at Dana.

Dana: I have to be in a meeting with Natalie, Isaac, and... and... Rob Williamson, in like two minutes. Where could she be?

Elliott: Maybe with Isaac and Williamson.

Kim rolls her eyes at Elliott.

"Cool. Candy."

Dan reaches into the arrangement. Elliott pulls it away from Dan, but not before he has removed one orange and one chocolate Tootsie Pop.

Dan: What?

Elliott: These are for Natalie.

Dan: Do you have some sort of thing for Natalie?

Elliott: I do, but of the platonic sort.

Kim: Michael sent Natalie the arrangement because he did something wrong.

Elliott: Did not.

Dana: (to Kim and Elliott) Guys. (to Dan) Danny, have you seen Natalie?

Dan: Yeah. I went to use the editing room, and she was in there making a phone call.

Dana: We've got a meeting to be attending.

Elliott reaches over and tries to reclaim the Tootsie Pops Dan took, but Dan swats his arm away.

Dan: It's not like she's going to miss them. She's already got a gazillion of them in there. I only have two.

Dana: I have one.

Kim: I have one.

Dan: Oh.

Dan decides not to be a hog and hands Elliott the orange Tootsie Pop. Dan then takes the wrapper off the chocolate pop and puts the candy into his mouth.

Dana: Well, I'm just going to have to go to the meeting all by myself.

Dan: I think Isaac and Rob are already in there.

Dana: You're already on a first-name basis?

Dan: Me and Isaac go way back.

Dana: You and Rob.

Dan: Rob? Oh yeah. He's very personable, a real nice guy.

Dana shakes her head and takes one step toward Isaac's office. Natalie quickly enters the newsroom. Dan takes out his Tootsie Pop and hides it behind his back.

Natalie: I'm sorry, Dana.

Dana: It's about time.

Natalie finally notices Elliott holding the arrangement.

Natalie: What's that?

Elliott: These are for you.

Natalie: What for?

Elliott: I am assuming for no apparent reason and just a sign of appreciation.

Elliott hands over the bouquet to Natalie. She fumbles for the card and quickly glances inside it to see who sent the gift.

Natalie: Oh. Okay. It will have to wait.

Everyone is surprised at Natalie's reaction as she places the gift on the center of her desk.

Dana: Natalie?

Natalie: We've got a meeting. It will have to wait.

Natalie starts heading toward Isaac's office and Dana follows.

Dan: Hey, Natalie?! May I have a Tootsie Pop?!

Without even turning around, Natalie waves him a signal.

Natalie: Help yourself!

Dana and Natalie exit the newsroom as Dan, Elliott, Kim, Chris, Will, and Dave gather around Natalie's desk and forage for their favorite flavors.


Natalie and Dana are walking down the corridor toward Isaac's office. Once they reach Isaac's closed door, Dana gently grabs a hold of Natalie's arm.

Dana: Hey.

Natalie: Yeah.

Dana: Is something wrong?

Natalie: We'll talk about it later.

Dana: But you're okay?

Natalie: It's show time.

Natalie opens the door to Isaac's office. The two women enter to find Isaac and Rob Williamson inside laughing and sharing a drink. Natalie and Dana observe Rob's suit and accessories to be of the finest fabrics and quality and probably worth more than the outfits worn by the three "Sports Night" teammates combined.

Dana: Good afternoon, Mr. Williamson. I'm Dana Whitaker, executive producer of "Sports Night" and our coverage of the Rivera-Clay championship bout.

Dana reaches out to shake Rob's hand. Rob switches the hand holding his drink, and he shakes her hand.

Rob Williamson: Great to meet you, Dana, and you can call me Rob. I apologize about the drinks, but I want this to be a pretty casual meeting.

Dana: No problem. This is Natalie Hurley. She is going to be producing the live telecast on Friday night.

Natalie: It's nice to meet you Rob.

Natalie and Rob shake hands.

Rob: Great to meet you, Natalie. Would either of you ladies care for a drink?

Dana: No thank you. I'm fine.

Natalie: I'm fine.

Rob: Great. Shall we take care of business?

Isaac: By all means.

Isaac takes the seat at his desk. Dana and Natalie are hesitant to take their seats because Rob continues to walk around the office.

Rob: Oh ladies? I'm sorry. Please, please have a seat.

Dana and Natalie slowly take their seats.

Rob: Is everyone excited about this match? Man, I've been having trouble sleeping at night just thinking about it. Here we are, a little more than a week away from a match to decide the heavyweight champion of the world. The heavyweight champion of the world. We've got Hector Rivera, the champion, the veteran, a true lifetime boxer going against T.J. Clay, the challenger, the youngster, the gunslinger throwing caution to the wind. This is going to be a battle with only one champion coming away with the belt. This is a verismo at its finest.

Dana: Everyone has been pretty psyched about it.

Rob: This match is going to be amazing. Some people are predicting this to be one of the greatest fights of all time. I, on the other hand, am holding my verdict... at least until Rivera-Clay II or Rivera-Clay III, if all the stars align in the right positions.

Isaac: What did you wish to discuss about the interview?

Rob: I'm going to make it easy for you guys. You can have Dan ask any question. In fact, I want both fighters to be side-by-side for this interview. You know, acting like true gentlemen before they become savages inside the ring. Just like this little setting here, everyone is relaxed and sitting comfortably. I've instructed both camps that no question can be too harsh, too easy, or off-limits. I don't want your man, Dan, to be handcuffed into asking certain questions or having to interview these two men inside separate rooms. You have all access.

Natalie: Wow.

Dana: Thank you.

Rob: I knew you three would like it.

Isaac: I do have a question.

Rob: What is it, Isaac?

Isaac: These men do know they are fighting each other?

Rob laughs.

Rob: I knew somebody was going to ask that question. Granted, these two men don't like each other. Why? One has what the other one wants. There can only be one champion and everyone else is not. Even though they don't like each other, they each have the utmost respect for each other, but also for the boxing federation, the sport, and especially themselves. I cannot think of a better match-up where you can pair two great gentlemen on the outside world, who also turn into animals once they step inside the ring.

Isaac looks at Dana and Natalie as if he is looking for some direction. They offer him nothing.

Isaac: Okay.

Rob: Fabulous! I'll make sure everyone is available to you for any inquiries. Everyone will be here an hour before the airing. I'll make any other preparations. All you have to do is turn on the lights, cameras, and microphones. This is going to be history in the making.

I hate to cut this short, but I understand Bobbi wants to interview me. After that, I've got to get going and work on this some more. Where would you like for me to set this glass?

Isaac: You can set it on the bar.

Rob sets his empty glass on the bar.

Rob: You have my numbers where you can reach me. I don't know how I'm going to be able to sleep over the next week-and-a-half. It was great meeting you Dana and Natalie. Let's keep in touch.

And with a wave goodbye, Rob quickly disappears from the room and goes off to multitask.

Natalie: That was easy.

Dana: Almost too easy.

Natalie: No negotiating, no preset terms, and nothing off limits.

Dana: It's as if were being handed record ratings without having to put in much effort.

Isaac: The network informed me that we are going to have a record intake in terms of dollars for the commercial rights during the fight. The rights during the interview special is also drawing much interest.

Dana: Isaac?

Isaac: Yeah?

Dana: What do you really think?

Isaac: Rob is probably one of the finest promoters in the business. He's always been strictly on the up-and-up. He could probably sell tickets to watch bears hibernate.

Dana: But?

Isaac: Why turn down the chance to have millions of people watching and paying $50 per television set-

Dana: In order to have the chance to air the fight on a third-place cable sports network?

Isaac: Exactly. (pauses) I've got some phone calls to make and you two have some work to do.

Dana: Right.

Dana and Natalie get up and leave the office as Isaac picks up his phone and begins dialing.


Casey enters a restaurant wearing a plaid, button-up shirt and khaki pants. A host leads him toward his table, and he realizes he looks to be underdressed in his casual wear. A few glancing eyes catch Casey and his attire, but they assume he is there to work and not to enjoy dinner. The piano player notices Casey, but he doesn't miss a note.

Once the host reaches Casey's table, he pulls out a chair. Casey takes the seat, receives a menu from the waiter, and thanks him. Casey finally notices his producer, Alexis, sitting across from him. Her hair is pulled back, helping to reveal her shoulders and show off the rest of her wine-colored, strapless gown.

Casey: I'm sorry I'm late. The cab driver got lost along the way.

Alexis: It's okay.

Alexis takes a sip of wine.

Casey: You look great, by the way.

Alexis: Thank you.

Casey: I had never heard of this place, so I was unsure of what to wear. If this place had a strict jacket-and-tie policy, I would have been forced to wear a paper bag and one of my shoelaces.

Alexis laughs.

Alexis: You look good.

Casey: Thanks.

Casey takes another look around the room.

Casey: This is some place. How did you find it?

Alexis: It's something new I discovered.

Casey: You just kinda' stumbled upon it while taking a ride one day.

Alexis: Something like that.

Casey tries to read his menu, but he catches Alexis staring at him. She smiles and turns her attention toward her menu. Casey feels uncomfortable, and he lets out a little laugh to try an ease the tension.

Casey: Well... since you found this place, is there anything on the menu you recommend? Or better yet, is there anything on the menu I should avoid?

Alexis: Everything is good in here.

Casey: Ah... I see.

Casey uneasily sits in his chair. He looks around the room once more and sets the menu down on the table.

Casey: Could you excuse me for a moment?

Alexis: Sure.

Casey gets up from his chair and heads toward the front of the restaurant.


Near the entrance of the restaurant, Casey spots the restrooms, a water fountain, and a public phone. He digs in his pocket for some spare change, picks up the phone, and holds it up with his shoulder while depositing the correct change and dialing a phone number.

Dan is typing at his desk when his phone rings. He picks it up.

Dan: (into phone) Yeah?

Casey: (into phone) Danny? It's me.

Dan: (into phone) Casey, how are you doing?

Casey: (into phone) Fine. I'm actually in a bit of a pickle.

Dan: (into phone) Pickle? You just lost a few points on the coolness meter, my friend.

Casey: (into phone) Nevermind that. I need some advice.

Dan: (into phone) Are you in jail?

Casey: (into phone) No.

Dan: (into phone) Because I would recommend calling a lawyer- unless you need somebody to post bail, in which case, I could scrounge up a few dollars.

Casey: (into phone) Danny, I'm not in jail. I'm actually on a date.

Dan: (into phone) Dana's there?

Casey: (into phone) No, Dana isn't here. Actually, I think I may be on a date, right now.

Dan: (into phone) You mean the situation is a bit ambiguous.

Casey: (into phone) Yes, it is very ambiguous.

Dan: (into phone) If it's ambiguous, then why do you think you're on a date?

Casey: (into phone) Because I'm here at a swanky restaurant with my producer and the piano playing and she's all dressed up and I'm not.

Dan: (into phone) You are... wearing clothes right now?

Casey: (into phone) Yes, of course, Danny.

Dan: (into phone) Because if you weren't, that might clear up some of the ambiguity.

Casey: (into phone) Danny? I thought I was staying to work late. I thought we were going to grab a bite to eat and work on our next special. Instead, she's here all dressed up and there are no signs of paperwork or a laptop.

Dan: (into phone) What is she wearing?

Casey: (into phone) Danny.

Dan: (into phone) Just give me a mental image.

Casey: (into phone) She's wearing this crimson, burgandy-like strapless gown. Her hair is pulled back into a bun.

Dan: (into phone) What kind of shoes?

Casey: (into phone) I'm not filing a fashion report here.

Dan: (into phone) How did she get there?

Casey: (into phone) She drove here, of course.

Dan: (into phone) And how did you get there?

Casey: (into phone) I walked thirty miles, Danny. I took a cab.

Dan: (into phone) How are you getting home?

Casey: (into phone) I thought I was going to ride with her back to the office. Then I could take the train home.

Dan: (into phone) It sounds like she may have other plans.

Casey: (into phone) Yeah. What should I do?

Dan: (into phone) Is it a good restaurant?

Casey: (into phone) I suppose. She found it.

Dan: (into phone) Have dinner, but be strict. State that even though you are flattered, you do not mix work with pleasure.

Casey: (into phone) Danny.

Dan: (into phone) Okay, okay. Tell her that you are in a serious relationship.

Casey: (into phone) That sounds good.

Dan's eyes light up.

Dan: (into phone) Wait.

Casey: (into phone) Yeah?

Dan: (into phone) Does she know a lot about your personal life?

Casey: (into phone) I don't think so.

Dan: (into phone) Tell her you are divorced with a son, and you pay alimony and child support.

Casey: (into phone) But I already do.

Dan: (into phone) Then it isn't a lie. Nothing scares away women more than primary financial obligations.

Casey: (into phone) I take it you have used this before?

Dan: (into phone) A few times in my previous former carefree life.

Casey: (into phone) But now you don't.

Dan: (into phone) Hey, I'm in a meaningful relationship. Don't forget you are in one, too.

Casey: (into phone) How meaningful is our relationship, Danny?

Dan: (into phone) You and Dana.

Casey: (into phone) I know that.

Dan: (into phone) Then why are you calling me?

Casey: (into phone) Because I thought you had some miracle solution to get out of this.

Dan: (into phone) The date-that's-not-a-date?

Casey: (into phone) Yes, the date that's not really a date.

Dan: (into phone) I could try, snap my fingers, and see what happens.

Casey shakes his head.


Alexis finishes placing her order with the waiter. As the waiter walks away, Casey comes back and sits down.

Alexis: Is everything all right?

Casey: Yeah... yeah. I had remembered something which I had forgotten, and I needed to take care of it.

Alexis: Is it taken care of?

Casey: What?

Alexis: Whatever you remembered.

Casey: Oh, oh yeah. Everything is taken care of.

Alexis: Great. Let's enjoy this.

Casey: Yeah, let's enjoy this... dinner.

Casey buries his head into his menu as the waiter comes back to their table.

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