February 4, 2022
After the Show, In the Hotel Suite
Mephisto wrenches his arm before snapping Nova into a short-arm clothesline.
Nova shoots upright in bed, coughing and waving an arm across his chest.
Mephisto yanks at the wiry blonde hair around the sides of Nova’s head before whipping him to the mat with a snap suplex.
His chest heaves with rapid breaths…and then…slowing…slowing…calm. He runs his fingers over his scalp, once shaved in defiance, now bare with age. Then, a slight grin pushes his right cheek up and he scratches his beard.
NOVA: “Just like riding a bike…” (Pausing) “…that…punches you in the face. That’s not a good analogy.”
He takes a long, deep breath before settling back to his pillow. He closes his eyes.
Silence. Darkness. Then…
Eehhhh!!! Eehhhh!!! Eehhhh!!!
He shoots upright again, his eyes darting immediately to the electronic bracelet ensconcing his left ankle. The light is blinking red.
Red is bad.
BRIEF ASIDE: Nova stands in front of a white board wearing a lab coat and thick-rimmed black glasses.
NOVA: “GPS units blink green when the device is charged, functioning properly, and the individual being monitored is within the boundary limits programmed into the device. If the unit blinks red, that means you’re out of bounds. And if you’re out of bounds…
He takes a retractable metal pointer out of his lab coat, extends it, and whips it against the white board at the image of a skull and crossbones.
NOVA: “…you’re fucked.”
NOVA: “Oh, fuck. Oh, fuck…”
Eehhhh!!! Eehhhh!!! Eehhhh!!!
He throws the covers back and leaps out of bed, helplessly staring at the device that dictates the terms of his supervised release.
NOVA: “Why are you freaking out, little bracelet?! I’m here! I’m right here!”
For lack of a better option, Nova hobbles out of his room (because hobbling should help), across the wide living room of the hotel suite, and yanks open the door to a separate bedroom. Benj and Dickie shoot upright in their beds. A pajama cap dangles comically over the front of Benj’s face until he pushes it aside, his eyes wide.
BENJ: “What’s wrong?!”
NOVA: (Tilting his head) “Did y’all push your beds together or did they come that way?”
DICKIE: “What’s going on with your bracelet?!”
NOVA: “I don’t know!! I was asleep, the fucking thing started going crazy!”
BENJ: “I don’t understand, you’re here!”
DICKIE: “Yeah, you’re right here!”
NOVA: “I KNOW I’M RIGHT HERE!!”
Benj climbs over Dickie and launches himself out of the bed onto the floor. He stands up, holding out his hands towards Nova’s leg like he’s about to disarm a nuclear weapon.
BENJ: “This is bad! If that thing doesn’t calm the fuck down, DOC will be here in no-”
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
VOICE: “CLARK COUNTY PROBATION AND PAROLE, OPEN UP!”
BENJ, DICKIE & NOVA: “Fuuuuuuuucccckkkk…”
NOVA: (Hanging his head) “I’m gonna get hauled in.”
VOICE: “OPEN THE DOOR!”
Nova shuffles a cigarette out of the pack in his pocket and lights it.
NOVA: “At least I didn’t go out in the first round.”
DICKIE: “Billing is gonna have a fit about the room deposit!”
BENJ: “We should open the door.”
VOICE: “OPEN THE DOOR NOW!”
NOVA: “I forget what I have left…two years to serve? I think it’s two years.” (Burying his face in his hands) “Oh, I’m gonna have to fucking quarantine, too…”
BENJ: “We really need to open the door.”
Dickie rolls out of bed and the trio quickly make their way across the suite to open the hotel room door. As soon as they do, four men flood into the room, a fifth entering calmly behind them. Nova is taken to his knees by two of the men, the cigarette dropping out of his mouth. One of the men stomps it. They wrench Nova’s hands behind his back and cuff them as one of the men begins examining his ankle bracelet. The apparent supervisor shrugs.
SUPERVISOR: “Sorry about that. Protocol says we secure upon entry but I know it feels like a lot. Hoping to bring it up at training this summer.”
NOVA: (Wincing) “It’s fine.”
SUPERVISOR: “Figured it was a tech issue. We’re short on units, spread really thin. You’d think some of that COVID money would help but I guess they decided to use it on plexi-glass for the check-in desk instead. Griggs, doesn’t the plexi-glass make it worse?”
GRIGGS: (Looking up from Nova’s GPS unit) “That’s what I heard.”
SUPERVISOR: “Well, that’s the government for you, ten thousand dollars for a hammer, twenty thousand dollars for a toilet seat. How’s it look down there?”
GRIGGS: (Giving a thumbs up) “Fuckin’ thing was just acting up. Problem solved.”
Nova looks down at his ankle bracelet. The light is calmly blinking green again.
NOVA: “So I’m not going back to jail?”
SUPERVISOR: (Waving a hand) “You’re fine, boss. Just remember to keep it charged. We’ll be in touch.”
One of the men releases Nova’s cuffs and the men file out of the hotel suite. There’s a moment of silence.
DICKIE: “Well they seemed lovely.”
NOVA: (Rubbing his wrists) “Yeah. Charmed.”
BENJ: “Let’s get some sleep.”
Benj and Dickie return to their room. Nova gathers himself and walks over to the door adjacent to his own room, and creaks it open. David lays splayed across his bed, snoring loudly.
A young man stands in the doorway in front of Nova, Benj, and Dickie, holding a flyer.
YOUNG MAN: “Um, I’m reporting for the Jail Cots to Jackpots program?”
David’s ankle bracelet blinks a gentle green in the pitch darkness of his room. Nova shakes his head, and slides down the doorjamb to a seated position on the floor.
NOVA: “Must be fucking nice.”
Nova steps out onto the balcony overlooking downtown and collapses into a chair. The city is still bathed in moonlight and the stars are out. He lights a cigarette, his hands shaking, and looks over to his right. His wife Ariel is standing there, one hand perched on the railing, her kind eyes resting on his face.
NOVA: (Taking a drag) “What the fuck am I doing? Where is this all going?”
Ariel smiles at him.
NOVA: “You’d know what to tell me, right?”
In the MGM Grand Arena, Nova turns his eyes away from the promotional poster for Tropical Turmoil and back towards the double doors he and his crew had entered through. Ariel stands there in the hallway, smiling at him. David turns his head back, eyes darting between the empty hallway and Nova’s face. Ariel gestures with her hands, as if to shoo Nova along.
NOVA: (wiping a tear out of his eye) “Time to write some new stories.”
Nova looks down at his ankle and the mellow green blinking light, then shakes his head and takes another drag of his cigarette.
NOVA: “That fucking red light. Almost gave me a heart attack.”
The sun is coming up over Las Vegas, and Nova is still on the balcony chain-smoking. He lights another one. David is awake now, too, positioned behind a video camera.
DAVID: “You just hit the red button?”
Nova’s chin drops and he stares at his new friend.
NOVA: “Yeah. Man. It’s pretty straight-forward, that thing is literally from the turn of the century. Have you never recorded anything before?”
DAVID: “Not a lot of video cameras in my house growing up.”
NOVA: (Taking a drag) “Roll it, let’s get this shit done.”
David fiddles for a moment then a red light comes on and he gives Nova a thumbs-up.
NOVA: “Jiles…setting aside all the weird shit I don’t understand about you – and it’s a lot – I’m gathering that fundamentally you are really solid. And this is not gonna be easy on the 18th.”
Nova takes a long drag of his cigarette and looks out for a minute at the colors splashing across the morning desert sky.
NOVA: “But there is something happening here. I don’t know what.” (Taking a drag) “I can’t tell if I’m running towards something, or away from something, or something is about to broad-side me like a plow truck around a blind turn. But I know this much…”
He looks down at his ankle bracelet.
NOVA: “…as long as the light blinks green, I’m gonna keep moving this shit forward. And it doesn’t feel like it’s time for it to end. And maybe there are no answers at the end, wherever that is. But I’m gonna take it as far as I can before I find out. And that means going through you to get there. Mephisto was hyped for Round One, but he was also desperate, and because he was desperate he was vulnerable, and all it took was an opening. I found the opening there. I don’t expect you will repeat his mistake.”
Nova takes another long drag and looks over to David behind the recorder.
NOVA: “What is it?”
David pauses uncomfortably.
DAVID: “Oh…oh, fuck. I think the blinking red just meant it was ready to record. Sorry, Nova.”
Nova looks past him, to the spot where Ariel had been standing earlier in the morning. She’s gone now.
DAVID: “Nova? Hey, sorry, man, like I said, I’m not any good with this shit…”
NOVA: (Blinking) “It’s no problem, David. I think I’m gonna go lay down for a while. It’s been a long night.”
He gets up, snuffs his cigarette in an ashtray next to his chair, and walks back inside the hotel suite. The scene fades with David continuing to tinker with the video camera as the sun rises over Las Vegas.