| A train goes by. A modest clapboard house with a porch. Two
entrances. A PAPERBOY tosses a paper onto the lawn in front of
the house. The front door opens and Maggie appears fresh out of
bed, wearing only a jacket and panties. Heedless of being seen
this way, she scampers out to the sidewalk to pick up her
delivered paper: USA Today. She tears off the plastic bag and
rips into it, looking for her letter. She finds it. A smile on
her face, then she scampers back into the house.
INT. MAGGIE'S HOUSE - THAT MOMENT
Maggie skips back into her house which she shares with Father
and Grandma. A cozy and eclectic place creatively furnished on
a shoe-string. She rushes into: KITCHEN WHERE BOB KELLY,
fiance #4, is packing cans into a backpack. Bob, 38, has a
pleasant face and a body that is almost shockingly buff. He's
wearing a T-shirt that reads: "Mountaineers Do It Against the
Wall.", Maggie dances over, waving the paper and singing.
She canned him, she canned him...
Bob test the weight of the backpack adding dehydrate food.
Come here, Mag, and try this on.
Maggie puts the paper on the kitchen counter and starts to read
aloud, paying no mind to Bob, who is sticking her arms through
the straps of the backpack.
Listen: "Dear Ms. Carpenter, I
apologize to you for this unfortunate
matter. Ike Graham's column will no
longer be appearing in this paper.
Best of luck in you upcoming marriage!"
Bob continues to hold up the weight of the backpack as he straps
it onto Maggie's shoulders.
That-a-girl! You sacked him.
This is the weight of the pack you're
going to have to carry in the Himalayas.
Tell me if it's too heavy.
Bob lets go and Maggie FALLS BACKWARD, disappearing behind the
counter, and hitting the floor, with a THUD. Bob looks down at
her. Maggie's voice rises from the floor behind the counter.
It's a little... It's a little heavy...
Help me, baby.
Bob has no answer. He reaches a hand down. He yelps as Maggie
pulls him down on top of her, out of frame. We HEAR them giggle
INT. USA TODAY LOADING DOCK - ANOTHER DAY
Fisher uses the dock for a photo shoot featuring men and women
in evening and formal wear from Escada for G.Q. Fisher is not
actually shooting the camera, but rather supervising it.
Fisher claps his hands and calls the models to attention. Then
he goes onto the stage and sets the models in their positions.
Remember, we are putting the "fun" back
I just say that for the agency guys. I
don't even know what that means. Now
INT. USA TODAY OBSERVATION ROOM - DAY
Elevator doors open. Ike and Fisher exit and walk towards the
Ike, I really liked the Runaway Bride
piece, and since I do freelance stuff
for G.Q., I'm in a different position
What are you trying to say to me, Fish?
They stop walking.
Vindication. How would you like to get
some? A chance to prove that, though
your facts weren't entirely straight,
your theory was correct.
(hiding his hope)
The real story on Miss Carpenter.
All the gory details.
They start walking again.
The anatomy of the black widow spider
It wouldn't be a bad way to get you
back into writing feature pieces
This is good. It is a good story,
They stop at the coffee table and grab something to eat.
If she runs, then it's a cover story.
All true. All accurate.
Okay, you were right. I hated my
column, but I can do this assignment.
Then you've got it. If you leave
tomorrow for the hinterlands, you'll
have plenty of time before her next
"Paid vindication" That's what I call
Justice, yes. Paid, I don't know.
They like the idea, but my hands are
tied with budget restraints.
But I'll get my normal fee, right?
He walks away.
You want me to do it on spec?!
He follows him.
EXT. MARYLAND HIGHWAY - DAY
We see Ike driving down the highway. The car sputters a little
as he and Fisher continue their conversation in voice-over. (If
needed by the editor.)
Don't say "spec" like it's a dirty word.
Nobody ever paid Shakespeare to write a
play! Plato never got a book advance...
Oh yeah! I happen to know from
reliable sources that Nietzche got
expenses and a rental car.
We hear Fisher laugh.
IKE (V.O.; cont'd)
I'm going to make this work, Fish. I'm
going to do it!
Ike's car drives into Hale, passing a billboard reading,
"Welcome to Hale."
EXT. HALE STREET - DAY
Ike drives down picturesque Main Street. He passes Hale
Hardware. Sign says: "At Curl. Be back soon."
EXT. ATLANTIC HOTEL - DAY
A BARBERSHOP QUARTET is singing in front of the only hotel in
town. Ike pulls up and goes inside.
INT. LOBBY/ATLANTIC HOTEL - DAY
Ike has checked into the Atlantic Hotel. The clerk, LEE, hands
him his key. Ike asks about room service and the restaurant.
An OLDER WOMAN asks him if he plays bridge as he goes up the
stairs to his room.
EXT. HALE MAIN STREET - DAY
Ike exits his hotel as the Barber Shop Quartet finishes singing
He now walks down the charming main artery of the town, looking
exactly like what he is: a cynical New York out of his element
on sunny Main Street, USA. KIDS ride by on bikes, streaming
balloons behind them. A balloon hits Ike on the face. As he
crosses the street, he mutters into his tape recorder:
I think I'm in Maryberry.
Flags hang on all the storefronts and the place sparkles with
wholesome attitudes as PEOPLE greet each other familiarly. Ike
comes to beauty parlor called "Curl Up and Dye". The place is
doing business and crowded with WOMEN.
INT. BEAUTY PARLOR - DAY
Cindy, the manicurist, does Mrs. Pressman's nails. Maggie sits
on the floor next to Peggy's salon chair, fixing the base of a
barber chair. She tightens a screw and looks up, satisfied.
Cindy's dog is on the floor near Maggie.
Cindy, you better 86 Sprout. He seems
to be enjoying the petroleum
Cindy rolls over in her chair, picks up her dog and rolls back
to her station.
That's it. Back to obedience school.
Okay -- have a seat... gently,
Peggy sits in the chair. Maggie spins her around and around.
You're a goddess!
I didn't even need to change this
gasket, just put in a little hydraulic
Stop it. When you talk like that, I
get turned on and it frightens me.
JUST THEN. Ike enters the salon, taking off his sunglasses.
Peggy hops off the chair.
Hello. I'm looking for Maggie
Carpenter. There was a sign at the
hardware store across the street...
Are you a reporter?
It's a little early in the game for Ike to be thrown off guard.
(eyeing his loafers)
It's been our experience that anyone
with some sort of gewgaw on his loafers
ends up being another big city reporter
wanting to interview Maggie.
About her upcoming wedding and all.
No, about her getting that asshole from
New York fired.
Ike smiles down at his loafers and shrugs.
I am just such a reporter. And you are?
Peggy Phleming. Not the ice skater.
Peggy steps aside. Ike moves toward Cindy and Mrs. Pressman.
And who are these lovely ladies?
Te ladies shake his hand and introduce themselves.
Cindy. Maggie's unmarried cousin.
Mrs. Pressman. No relation.
And you are?
(turning toward her)
Looking for Maggie.
Yep. Maggie -- Someone to see you.
Maggie looks over from her sitting position on the floor. She
gives Ike the once-over, focusing on the shoes.
(yelling to Peggy)
Ike crouches to see Maggie on the floor just as she rises to her
feet. Ike straightens up. For a moment, he is thrown by her
beauty and intelligent eyes.
I hope you have a different angle.
It's pretty much all been covered.
Originality is my speciality.
Hold on -- Nobody interviews Maggie in
here unless they're getting haircut.
She's the boss.
Sorry, no. I just got one.
Excuse me, sir. I have an actual fact
(steps to Mrs. Pressman)
Yes, Mrs. Pressman.
It's her fourth time to the altar, you
know. Not seven like they said.
I know. Tell me something. Do you
think she's going to make it all the
way this time?
During the Ike/Mrs. Pressman exchange, Maggie looks at Ike.
There's something familiar about him. She looks over at Peggy
and beckons her to a copy of Ike's column affixed to a mirror.
A goatee and horns, have been scrawled on Ike's byline picture.
He's been "devilized". Peggy coughs as she recognizes Ike in
the newspaper clipping.
She swallowed her gun.
Mrs. Pressman continues her story to Ike.
I'm not sure. Mr. Schullian runs the
newsstand, he's our local bookie, you
know, he's giving eight to one odds she
won't. He says she's so famous now,
maybe Vegas will give odds on her. I'm
going to wait to hear what the pros say.
Good fact. Well, you let me know.
Oh, I will.
Maggie indicates column to Peggy. She looks over at the part of
the shop used to wash and dye hair. There's a sink, stool and a
cabinet affixed to the wall above sink, which holds various
shampoos and hair dyes. Maggie gets an idea. Maggie and Peggy
step forward toward Ike.
Well, instead of a haircut, how about
a wash? You know, get all that city
grit out of it.
You'll answer my questions?
Maggie nods affirmatively.
(removing his jacket)
Fine. You wash, I'll ask the
Ike hands Peggy his jacket. A mystified Peggy leads Ike to the
sink. While she does this...
Have a seat. Peggy, why don't you give
him the special treatment that
strengthens the follicles.
Ike sits in the chair near the sink. Maggie shakes out a smock
and puts it around Ike.
So, what do you want to know?
Ike leans and rests his head on the sink. Peggy bends over him
and wets his hair. She grabs various hair coloring products.
Nervous? Not at all! No. I've never
been more certain in my life. Except
-- I am having all kinds of weird
Ike pulls the cloth down from over his face.
Weird dreams? You're going to tell me
Let's just put this back here for the
Peggy recovers his face, then continues to fuss with the hair
coloring products. Maggie helps.
INT. BEAUTY PARLOR - LATER
Ike sits with a towel over his head as Peggy blow-dries the back
of his head. His back is to the mirror, his body faces Maggie.
Cindy does her own nails as Mrs. Pressman scratches off lottery
tickets. The dog, Sprout, sits in is basket.
In another one...
PETE, wearing a hat, comes in the front door of the salon.
Hey, Pete, I'll be right with you.
Ike peeks out from under his towel as Maggie continues.
I'm inside the church. Everyone I know
is there, only they're not really them.
They're like Frankenstein monsters, but
without the bolts coming out of their
necks. It's all very "Night of the
Living Dead". And here's the creepiest
part -- I look down at my dress and
it's red. I mean, I have no idea what
it means. Red's not my color!
Ike listens intently and stares steadily into her eyes. Peggy
removes the towel. His hair is divided into equal parts and
dyed orange and red.
So what do you think?
Ike stares back at her, the tickle of suspicion creeping up his
I think you'd look good in red.
No, she's talking about your hair.
Maggie swivels his chair so that Ike faces the mirror. Ike
looks at his brightly colored hair.
You're all ready for football season,
Ike stares at his hair in total confusion. With icy calm, Ike
rises from his chair and primps the end of his hair as if giving
it the finishing touches. Then he sees his defaced newspaper
clipping and all becomes clear. He picks up the article and
shows it to everyone. Ike does a slow burn.
Yes, I think I nailed the personality
profile of the women of Hale.
Ike turns and puts the clipping up on the mirror.
My jacket, please.
Peggy hands him his jacket.
Ike moves toward the door. He spots Pete.
(putting on jacket;
Excuse me, Pete, do you know a place
that sells shampoo... Strong shampoo?
Doc's Pharmacy. Third and Elm. Tell
him Pete sent you. Want my hat?
Ike smiles at Maggie and exits.
He seems crabby.
EXT. MAIN STREET - DAY
In front of beauty salon, Maggie follows Ike out.
If you're looking for Elm Street, it's
She puts on her sunglasses.
He walks the other way.
If you came down here in the pursuit of
happiness, you might as well go back.
Because you can't make me feel bad.
She stops walking and turns to Ike.
I'm not here to make you feel bad. I'm
here for vindication. In my heart...
You have one?
Ike walks back to Maggie.
I feel I'm right about you. You got me
fired, lady. You destroyed my
reputation and you screwed up my hair.
You chew men up, spit them out and
loved it. And I'm down here to satisfy
myself on that point.
PASSERSBY stare at Ike's hair and giggle.
Did something happen to make you care
Yes. Conviction. Conviction that I'm
onto the truth. You're going to do the
same thing to "poor bastard number four"
that you did to the last three. You're
going to run again. And I'm not
leaving until you do.
You're going to be very disappointed.
I'd love to stay and chat, but I've got
to get back to work. I still have my
He stares at her for a beat, stung by her words.
I have nothing to hide, Mr. Graham.
Talk to whoever you want. You might
actually stumble upon a fact or two.
Maggie walks away. Ike walks a few steps and stops at a KID on
Hey, kid, I'll give you ten bucks for
Kid agrees. Ike puts the hat on and starts to cross the street.
An OLD WOMAN walks by and hits him with a newspaper. Ike is
EXT. MAGGIE'S HOUSE - DUSK
Maggie pulls into the driveway in her truck. She's in a fine
mood as she walks right in the house.
INT. MAGGIE'S HOUSE - DUSK
Bob, Walter, and Maggie's GRANDMOTHER JULIA sit in the living
room. Grandma is sewing one of Maggie's wedding veils. Walter
drinks wine, Ike wears a hat.
You know, when I only see one dog, I
know I've had too much to drink.
Te family dog, Skipper, sits near a ceramic dog table. Maggie
smiles as she walks in the front door and puts down her tool box
You'll never guess who came crawling
into town with his tail between his
Maggie enters the parlor to see Ike smiling evilly from his seat
on the couch.
Hello, Maggie. I just came by to
apologize to your family.
(looks to Walter)
When I'm wrong, I'm wrong. I pushed a
story. I made a mistake.
In other words -- he's only human. An
he brought us a bottle of wine.
Raises the bottle to Maggie.
They made me put my hat back on.
Oh, yeah. Scared the hell out of
You've got to be kidding me.
Maggie stares at them both.
(enjoying the moment)
No, no, you should have seen Skipper.
It wasn't that funny.
Maggie gives him a look that says, "You are not absolved." She
smiles stiffly, looking back at Ike. She then sits on the arm
of Bob's chair and puts her arm on his shoulder.
So, the forces of good and evil have
Maggie takes the wine bottle from the table next to Walter. She
snaps a look to Bob, who follows her.
I'll help you take into the kitchen.
Check on the crabs, Bob.
We overhear them murmuring in annoyed tones about the wedding
plans as they exit... Walter puts down his drink.
Gee, I hope they don't have a fight out
there. You don't think they'll call it
Well, wedding cake freezes. This we
You know, your daughter seems...
Ike notices that he's been sewn to the veil.
That's okay, Grandma.
Grandma cuts the thread and separates the veil from Ike's sleeve.
(continuing his thought)
... Like such a lovely girl.
Walter points to a portrait painting on the wall.
Like her mother.
(seeing the portrait)
(gets up to admire
I just can't see her leaving multiple
grooms in the dust like that.
Oh, yes, you can. She's has 'em all on
She has a tape?
Yeah. Lee at the hotel videos wedding.
I mean Maggie didn't know she was going
to make the hundred-yard dash.
Walter gestures to a pile of video cassettes on the bookcase.
Ike checks on the tapes.
Dad's fishing trip, Grandma's knee
operation, Grandma's birthday...
Gotta tell you this about my daughter.
My daughter makes real good time, even
in a long dress and heels. Maggie may
not be Hale's longest running joke, but
she certainly is the fastest.
Walter cracks up.
CLOSE ON: A tape. It reads: "Maggie I, II, III." Ike's
interest is more than piqued. Ike picks it up. They get up and
go to the dining room.
INT. DINNING ROOM/MAGGIE'S HOUSE - NIGHT
The family dog, Skipper, steals food from the table. Walter
scolds him. Walter whacks his crab with his hammer and Ike
Emma and I were only blessed with one
child, not for lacking of trying.
This is good, Dad, don't leave anything
Ike's hammer flies out of his hand. He goes to pick it up.
So I've come to see it as a bonus,
really, that we've been able to plan,
and pay for, so many weddings.
Not this one. This one's on me.
Despite what you think, I don't do it
on purpose. And I have no intention of
doing it again.
That's right, Maggie. Just keep your
eye on the ball.
Ike raises his eyebrows in question. Bob explains.
Sports psychology. It was my major in
I'm the town's unofficial fitness
trainer. Big advocate of the mind and
body combining for success. You could
say or you can quote me, I'm a glass
half full king of guy.
Bob's the head of the P.E. department
at the high school. And he coaches the
football team. And he's climbed
To Maggie's satisfaction, Ike shoots Bob a look of begrudging
respect. Nobody who's been up Everest is a total clown.
Everest. Is that right?
(sticking it to Ike)