Writer A: So I guess that does it. That’s the last revision. I think it’s as tight as it can be. All we need to do is print up the Final Draft, sign it, and send it off to Production. (Yawns.) It’s been a heck of long night, but I think we got it.
(The four writers in the room applaud.)
Writer B (Draining the last drop of his coffee cup): It’s hard to believe we’re done. I just want to say how proud I am to be part of this series.
Writer C (Stretching): Agreed. It’s been a real pleasure.
(The writers begin to shake hands.)
Writer D: You know…(nibbling lip)…what if….if…?
Writer A: What if what?
Writer D: Nothing. Forget it. It’s nothing.
Writers B and C exchange glances with expressions that say, “Oh no,” and “Here we go again.”
Writer A: Just tell us. It’s got to be something.
Writer D: No. It’s nothing. Let’s sign the Final Draft. It’s stupid.
Writer A: Remember our manifesto. We’re honest and open. No move goes unexamined. Go ahead. What are you thinking?
Writer D: (Blurts) What if Borgov lost in the semi’s?
Writer B: You mean the quintessential Russian chess villain we’ve spent five episodes building up? That Borgov?
Writer A: Hey, remember the manifesto. We hear each other out. Go ahead.
(Writer B noiselessly mouths, “Remember the manifesto.” Writer C executes an elaborate eye roll.)
Writer A: You were saying.
(Writer B yawns and starts to doodle on his copy. Writer C crosses his arms and looks at the ceiling.)
Writer D: I was just thinking audiences love surprises. What if when Beth shows up to the final match, it’s not Borgov? I mean, talk about a stunner. It would be the biggest television shockwave since, um, what was that one show…you know, with the guy that gets shot?
Writer C: Oh, for Pete’s sake.
Writer A: Who would be in the final match, if not Borgov?
Writer D: Well, I hadn’t quite figured that out yet. I thought we could have an even bigger, badder, more imposing Russian chess villain— the guy that beat Borgov!
Writers B and C look at each other with glances that say, “Unbelievable” and, “I’m so sick of this shit.”
Writer D: (Eyes spreading wide as the empty paper plates with pizza crusts) I’ve got it! What about that kid she trounced in Episode 4, the Russian kid? Like now as a pimply teenager? No no no! Wait. Even better! She has a twin! Beth has an identical twin! Separated at birth. And the twin learned to play chess at a different orphanage, from a different janitor!
(Writer D looks pleadingly around the table. With each face, his smile and expression are dialed down a few notches, until he is slouched, head down in the chair.)
Writer D: See. I told you it was stupid. I quit. I’m just not a writer. I don’t have what it takes. No wonder I never get anything published.
Writer A: Don’t be ridiculous. You were a big part of this.
Writer D storms out of the room.
(Writer A signs the draft, slides it over, whispers, “Get it to production,” before following after Writer D.)
Writer B (to C): Remind me if I ever get married, and my significant other wants me to give her brother a job as a writer, and that brother hasn’t even written anything beyond a parking ticket in the mall where he works as a traffic cop, to say, politely, with love, HELL. NO.