SAM and PEG MORRIS sit at a restaurant table ready to order dinner when TIFF THOMPSON, Sam's girlfriend, shockingly joins them and asks Sam why he doesn't ask Peg for a divorce right then. The question blindsides Sam and Peg. The ensuing conversation leads to both women realizing they don't want Sam. After Sam reveals that he saw Peg having sex with their cleaning lady, Tiff is intrigued and the play ends with Sam out of the picture and Tiff ready to complete her Morris family affair.
DEB MARSHALL loses her job right before Christmas, her favorite time of the year. She decides not to finish her Christmas shopping because of her sudden unemployment but her mother DORIS MARSHALL encourages her to do so. While looking for a parking space in a mall parking lot, she slams her car into the car of TOM BRENNAN, who owns an employment agency. Instead of berating her, he is moved by her situation -- she is the sole supporter of her arthritic-ridden mother -- and immediately attracted to her.
He offers to go shopping with her and pay for her gifts. While concerned that he simply may be trying to take advantage of her in a vulnerable state, she accepts his offer because of his kindness and her mutual attraction to him. After shopping they have dinner and drinks and fall instantly in love. He is a perfect gentleman the entire evening and when she arrives home, her mother tells her that she is insane for risking getting raped.
Deb and Tom meet the next day to discuss her finding a new job but, more importantly. their budding relationship. She invites him to Christmas Eve dinner without telling her mother. Upon his arrival, he is greeted with hostility from her mother, who makes an outrageous request that he pay for the three of them to go to Hawaii to spend the holidays with his parents.
Surprisingly, he accepts, convincing Doris that his feelings for her daughter are indeed genuine. His likability and obvious affection for her daughter overcome Doris’ deep reservations. He, in turn, finds the mother's sense of humor to be delightful and their accidental Christmas romance, in the spirit of the holidays, apparently has a feel-good ending.
Tom’s parents are killed by sharks on Christmas Day. Their will, he discovers, stipulates that he inherits 200 million dollars if he is married before they are buried. If not, the money goes to charity. Tom asks Deb to immediately marry him, but she resists at first, feeling their marriage would be a financial transaction. She relents, and they are married.
A few weeks into their marriage Deb’s car T-bones STEVE’S and she instantly falls in love with him. Tom soon discovers her cheating on him and files for divorce after a month of marriage. Doris is appalled by her daughter’s infidelity, even after Deb explains that she is suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Stockholm syndrome from both accidents. She fell instantly in love with Tom and then Steve because of a psychological phenomenon in which drivers express empathy, sympathy. positive feelings and intense sexual desires toward their fellow accident victims.
Tom overhears their conversation, and still in love with her, asks her to drop Steve and return to him. She says Steve has a hypnotic hold on him and she can’t help herself. But Tom persuades her to come home with him. Until Steve walks in the room. Deb nervously glances back and forth at both of them as if she were watching a tennis match and then finally stares straight ahead -- looking totally conflicted.
MARGE and RICH FAUST are driving in the middle of nowhere struggling to find a remote Roman Catholic Church so they can fulfill their obligation to attend Sunday Mass. While enduring car trouble and a malfunctioning GPS, they recount their past attempts to squeeze in Mass while traveling or going to weddings or playing in golf tournaments or having car trouble.
They also express their frustrations that Catholics cannot miss their weekly Mass obligation or they will commit a mortal sin and go to hell if they don't go to confession prior to dying. They envy Protestants who have no such obligation and wonder why Catholics can't fulfill their Sunday obligation in a pinch by attending a Protestant service.
They finally find St. Paul's, but to their dismay it turns out to be St. Paul's Lutheran Church and not St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church. They meet a CATHOLIC PRIEST in the parking lot whose GPS also has led him to the wrong denominational church. Marge Faust comments to the priest that maybe God became a fallen Catholic and now is a Lutheran.
MAX BALLER, a high school football coach, and EILEEN OWENS, a wealthy interior decorator, have a one-night stand after a wedding reception. The morning after, they discover while talking and eating breakfast in their hotel suite bed that they have absolutely nothing in common besides a strong sexual attraction. Until he finds out she is an ex-nun and she discovers he is an ex-priest.
NICOLE SNYDER was raised in a devout Catholic family and aspires to be a nun. After her parents are killed in a car crash, she winds up in her uncle’s custody. She is appalled that her uncle, New York Jets superstar quarterback DON MADISON, and his girlfriend, famous fashion model PAMELA AUSTIN, are living in sin, don't go to church and don't take her to church or send her to Catholic school.
She is upset that their lifestyles leave them little time for her and that she actually is being raised by the unemployed wife of the Jets' equipment manager. She demands that they either put her in a good Catholic foster family or send her to Catholic school and that her uncle either marry his girlfriend or kick her out.
The girlfriend, who has been trying to get the football-obsessed quarterback to marry her, finds an unexpected ally in his niece and plays off that into leading him into a half-hearted proposal. She emphatically accepts his proposal and tells his niece that henceforth they are going to do a better job of raising her. The niece considers the outcome to be nothing short of divine intervention.
SHARON WALKER goes to confession for the first time in 30 years to confess her sins as a high-class call girl, saying her hatred of God drove her into that profession after her fiancé broke off their engagement to enter the seminary.
As fate, or divine intervention would have it, the priest she is anonymously confessing to just happens to be KEVIN MORRISON, the man who broke off their engagement. The priest then confesses to her that while he has led a fulfilling life as a priest, he remains very much in love with her and has prayed to God that if she ever came back into his life, he would leave the Roman Catholic Church and become a priest in the Episcopal Church so he could marry her and still serve God. She is receptive.
SISTER MARY accuses JOHNNY, who is mischievous, of stealing $25 from the sixth-grade 1957 St. Timothy’s Parochial School Pagan Babies contest. In the Pagan Babies adoption program, when a child’s charitable donation reaches five dollars, he or she ransoms a child overseas, gets a certificate and the right to name the child.
The Pagan Babies are actual children being looked after by missionary sisters, brothers and priests in their countries. The money collected in the United States goes to help feed, clothe and educate them.
While admitting that he is no angel, Johnny emphatically denies stealing the money and blames Sister Mary’s forgetfulness on her misplacing the money. While she is forgetful, she has purposely fingered Johnny as her fall boy to explain why her classroom’s Pagan Babies money doesn't match the amount collected because she has been siphoning some of the funds to support her drinking habit.
BETH COLLINS sits down at NICK PAXTON’S table in a hotel bar and asks if she can have his baby. Nick assumes she wants to pick him up. Beth says she does want to pick him up – but as a Russian spy and assassin, claiming she is an FBI agent. However, he is aware that she has been stalking him for years and sees through her FBI ruse. Beth, gun in hand, admits that she is obsessed with him and confesses that she lives a life of isolation because she is extremely socially awkward. Nick in turn confesses that he suffers from a severe inferiority complex. She invites him to come home with her and impregnate her so they can flesh out their lives together. He agrees.
A playwright and a fashion designer are workaholics who are paranoid that a full-blown relationship will interfere with their work. Nevertheless they try a part-time romance that despite being rocked by a failed play, a disappointing fashion line and their addiction to work, eventually blossoms fulltime into marriage when they also become addicted to each other.
CHIP CONRAD brings his girlfriend HALEY SIMPSON to meet his parents CONNIE and CRAIG CONRAD over dinner at a restaurant. To everyone’s shock, Haley and Craig already know each other. But he knows her as Sky, a dancer at a gentlemen’s club he frequents. Appalled, Connie kicks Craig out of the house and seeks a divorce while Chip, who thought Haley was waitressing nights, breaks up with her even though she was only working at the club to help pay off college loans.
Cast aside by their loved ones, Craig and Haley live together to save money while they plot to restore their previous relationships. They find a former adult dancer, MARY FISHER, who now is a minister and married to one of her former customers who heads a non-profit that aids battered women. Craig and Haley are hoping that the minister and her husband can prove to Connie and Chip that they are not wicked people and can lead respectable lives in spite of their strip club history. The minister, however, senses that Craig and Haley are emotionally attached and perhaps falling in love.
Craig and Haley soon realize that they have fallen in love while they’ve been working to win back Connie and Chip. Haley admits she was sexually attracted to Craig at the club but suppressed her feelings. Chip discovers that Craig and Haley are living together and that apparently ends any shot at reconciliation.
After Connie publicly rebukes them at a restaurant, Haley and Craig consummate their relationship. Realizing that he misses her despite what she has done, Chip has an exploratory meeting with Haley to talk things over. She is distant during their conversation because she is in love with his father.
Connie coincidentally sits next to Mary Fisher at a gynecologist’s office. The minister, not knowing that Connie is Craig’s wife, shares her story with her. That convinces Connie and Chip that perhaps they have been overly judgmental and harsh in kicking Craig and Haley out of their lives. They want to reconcile, provided that Craig and Haley have not become lovers. Upon learning that they indeed are, Connie and Chip are through with them.
Haley then discovers she is pregnant – with Chip’s child. She tells Craig, who offers to raise the child with her as their own. Horrified by the thought of being in a relationship with her child’s grandfather, Haley kicks out Craig and reaches out to Chip and Connie. Chip wants nothing to do with the child, saying he will not drop out of dental school to find a job and won’t support the child. Connie wants nothing to do with the child because Haley is the mother. Chip and Connie tell Haley she should have an abortion or give up the child for adoption. Neither option is acceptable to her.
Desperate and still in love with him, Haley reaches out to Craig after getting some advice from Mary Fisher that if they raise the child to be open-minded, a relationship with the child’s grandfather doesn’t have to be creepy. Craig and Haley realize that they, not Chip and Connie because they are willing to abandon the child, are good people and resume their relationship.
Alicia and Ben are an interracial married couple who are colorblind with each other. Then in the wake of the George Floyd killing and Black Lives Matter protests against racial injustice and systemic police brutality toward blacks, she for the first time sees her husband through the prism of color.
Alicia’s parents, James and Mary, disowned her when she married Ben. The rise of the Black Lives Matters movement has increased their hatred of whites and they reach out to Alicia, offering to restore her to their will if she divorces Ben. Alicia considers their offer because her increasing racial consciousness has her feeling disenfranchised from her heritage. Torn between her roots and her husband, Alicia is straddling a racial divide and it is tearing her apart.
Her increased identification with her race and culture has her struggling with her interracial relationship. Her husband is supportive of her racial evolution but her internal stress leads to them having conversations about race and defunding the police. Ben stresses that interracial marriages can help bridge the racial divide in America.
Alicia becomes more militant in her black consciousness after her brother is stopped by a white cop for simply jogging at night in his own upscale neighborhood. She becomes hostile toward her husband, who suggests a trial separation so they can date people of the same color for a month and see if they want to move on or reconcile. Ben dates a blatant bigot named Betty Cracker whose grandfather and father were in the Ku Klux Klan. Alicia dates a 1960’s Black Panther wannabe named King Black who eats cereal with chocolate milk because he hates whites.
After a month, Ben emphatically chooses to return to Alicia while she says she chooses her new boyfriend. But she is messing with him and then rushes into his arms. During their trial separation they realize how much they love each other and are perfect for one another regardless of race.
But they have a final hurdle to clear. They want Alicia to have Ben and her parents in her life. So they invite them to dinner, duping them into thinking that Ben won’t be there and Alicia will seek a divorce. They have a frank conversation about race that becomes even more intense when Betty and King, who now are a couple after being introduced by Alicia and Ben, show up. Betty and King are avowed racists who show Alicia’s parents that even bigots can put aside their prejudices and become colorblind when they fall in love with the right person. Alicia’s parents agree to get to know Ben and if he passes the audition, they will approve of their daughter’s marriage.
As time passes James and Mary become fond of Ben as they see how good he is to their daughter. Even the breakup of King and Betty doesn’t shake her parents’ new tolerance. All four become even happier when Alicia becomes pregnant. But then she suffers a miscarriage after a white cop tackles her when a Black Lives Matter protest gets out of hand. James and Mary do a quick about-face and resume hating all whites, including Ben. They demand once again that Alicia leave him. While her parents fume about whites, Ben is there to comfort Alicia in her grief and their bond grows even stronger.
In a final showdown, James and Mary show up at Alicia and Ben’s, demanding she leave at once. They bring King along to neutralize Ben should he object. King lunges at Ben after Alicia refuses to leave. But Ben, a former professional kickboxer, quickly dispatches King. After Alicia points out the utter absurdity off what has just transpired, James and Mary agree to rethink their position – even more so when King reveals he has reconciled with Betty.
A woman being stalked spots the stalker at a wedding reception. Seeking refuge, she hooks up with a reception guest and accompanies him to his hotel room. She asks him to be her protector. He reluctantly agrees. The stalker breaks into their room and eventually is subdued by her protector who toggles between seemingly cowardice and ingenuity in doing so.
Lola and Cole are seemingly two strangers stuck in a stalled elevator. But they soon discover through their conversation that they were lovers 20 years prior in college until he broke it off.
Why they don’t recognize each other is because they both have changed physically. After their breakup, she dyed her hair blonde, got breast implants and transformed her body through CrossFit. Muscular with flowing blond locks in college, he now has a buzzcut and a small beer gut. Surgery on his vocal cords also has changed his voice.
He then finds out that she was pregnant when he ended their relationship and they have a son. He also discovers that she has wanted to kill him for two decades. When the elevator doors suddenly pop open, she shoves him down the elevator shaft. For a moment she is elated. Then she suddenly has murderer’s remorse but becomes ecstatic when he climbs back into the elevator after grabbing an elevator cable and pulling himself up.
They still are stuck in the elevator. He is happy they are stuck together while she seems resigned to it. But she does agree to let him meet their son, something she was reluctant to do prior to pushing him down the shaft.
I am a screenwriter, playwright and novelist.
I have written three screenplays – Targeted, Workaholic Romance and Christmas Past and Present.
Targeted has been optioned by Nick Annunziata of Il Toro Productions and accepted as a finalist in the 2021 Oaxaca Film Fest Pitch Fest and accepted into the 2021 Hollywood Blvd Film Festival where it was named Best Comedy Screenplay for March 2021.
Workaholic Romance was selected to be included in the 2020 Beverly Hills Film Festival, won the Silver Prize for Comedy in the 2019 Hollywood Screenplay Contest, was a finalist in the Pitch Now Screenplay Competition, was a semifinalist in the 2021 Miami Screenplay Awards and a quarterfinalist in the 2021 Wiki Screenplay Contest.
Christmas Past and Present was a semifinalist in the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards. It had one scene performed at the Los Angeles Feedback Film & Screenplay Festival and another scene (judged best scene) performed at the Los Angeles Romance Film & Screenplay Festival.
I have written 10 plays that have been produced by the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in New York City: Workaholic Romance, The Pickup, He’s Your Daddy, Accidental Christmas Romance, Clerical Matters, Critical Mass, Sister Mary and the Pagan Babies, The Audible, The Confession and Dinner for Three.
I have written and published two novels, Jack Daniels on the Rocks and A Pitch for Love.