/ Wednesday, October 25th, 2006 /
“Another story to touch upon tonight regards a statement made by the Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Il” Grant explains, handing the ball off to Taylor to take the rest of the way. “Leader Kim warned of South Korea’s potential participation in United States-led sanctions against the current nuclear testing of North Korean missiles” Taylor continues, “Jong-Il stated to South Korean officials that such participation would be seen as a provocation to incite quote, a crisis of war.”
Riding out the final minute before sending the broadcast off to the ten o’clock time slot, Aiden leans against the control setup and gives the signal for the anchors to wrap. His pen tapping twice against the desktop, Grant does as called to. “It’s a small threat coming from a man as small as Kim Jong-Il” Grant explains, offering his controversial conclusion, “but hey, at least we know that even the smallest men have bigger balls than President Bush.”
Looking back to the monitor with wide eyes, Aiden throws his hands out as if a cheap shot had just been taken. “What the fuck are you doing!?” Aiden calls aloud, Grant ending the broadcast unconcerned with Aiden’s interruptions. Taking his shot the moment the ‘on-air’ light goes off, Aiden rushes out of the control room and makes a dash for the front desk, an unphased Grant confidently descending the steps from his elevated platform.
“Who gave you a call over when to talk off the ‘prompter!?” Aiden exclaims, his arms still held out by his sides, “you think you can just take a jab at a president supported by half the country and get away with it?” With a shrug, Grant loosens his tie and writes the comment off as nothing more than a light-hearted strike. “A light-hearted strike?” Aiden asks, the tone of his voice expressing his confusion, “I don’t support the guy either, but half the people that watch our network do!”
“I said what I said, let come whatever may!” Grant replies, the eyes on Aiden somehow widening further as Grant departs, leaving Taylor to step up by Aiden’s side. “When the fuck did he go reverse-Kronkite?” Aiden questions, Taylor watching the man walk off with equal confusion, eventually choosing to follow after him.
“What’s going on with you?” Taylor asks as she walks into the man’s office, her knuckles not tapping against the glass once. Silently, Grant tosses his tie across the room and opens his drawer, letting a previously-opened letter drop onto his desk before Taylor’s eyes. “What’s this?” Taylor asks, cautiously approaching as Grant suggests she find out for herself. “I promise, there’s no Anthrax in it” Grant clarifies, the woman’s confidence not rising in the slightest.
Slowly, Taylor reaches down toward the man’s desk, Grant lighting a cigarette in his mouth as Taylor pulls the envelope closer to her. Sliding a folded note from within, Taylor stares at the writings, her eyes reading one line after another, eyelids parting further with each line she reads. “This has to be a hoax” Taylor explains, “this is someone that knows nothing and got very close by luck… That’s it.”
“It’s real” Grant replies, reaching into his drawer with the cigarette still pressed between his lips, retrieving a recorder with Howard’s confession on it, along with an unedited portion of the events prior. “That’s not our recorder” Taylor says, pointing out the differences in the devices used. The recorder from the confession had a light silver, small touches of grey lining the outer rim, whereas this recorder is a vibrant blue, silver accents on its exterior components.
“Someone else must have been recording it” Grant explains, Taylor immediately throwing out the possibility of it having been Howard himself. “Maybe, but I don’t see why he’d leave for so long and just mysteriously pop up all of sudden with this when he could have used it months ago” Grant explains, “this is the work of someone else.”
His finger raised, Grant reaches back into the drawer and retrieves another note, tossing into the hands of Taylor, telling her to inspect the handwriting. “Same guy” Grant remarks, the woman getting annoyed with Grant’s earlier statements in light of new information. “He’s doing this because you don’t like Republicans!?” Taylor says in astonishment, the exact reasoning for this display of blackmail being laid out shamelessly.
“No, he’s doing this because I don’t like his kind of Republicans” Grant explains, “if I had a nickel for every person I met that couldn’t take in different opinions, Howard’s lawsuit would have never been a threat.” Tossing the notes and envelopes at Grant, Taylor stands before the man with her hands placed against her hips. “You’re being blackmailed by someone with information that could put you in jail, and you antagonize them?” Taylor asks, a stare toward the window coming from Grant.
Pondering his moves, Grant nods to himself, reflecting on his actions before turning back to Taylor with confidence. “Yes, yes I am” Grant replies, “because anyone that thinks this kind of thing will keep my mouth shut is wrong.” Lunging forward, Taylor slams her hands against the man’s desk, her nose coming within inches from Grant’s own. “He packages one mic to a reporter and he’ll have your mouth shut with prison cock” Taylor replies, “what are you thinking!?”
Leant back into his chair, Grant raises his voice a noticeable amount, prompting silence from the newsroom beyond their glass walls, all eyes directed toward Grant’s office. “I’m not letting people push me around!” Grant shouts, “if this son of a bitch thinks he can dictate what is and what isn’t said by playing god, I’ll play ball until the dirt turns to mud!”
“You can’t play ball when you’re not behind a desk, which is exactly what will happen if you take a dive here” Taylor explains, “Vickers and I will go down with you, and with us, the reputation of LMC crumbles with the snap of a finger.” Without a meaningful retort, Grant sinks into his chair, eyes taking themselves away from the woman he insults more with every word.
“What else am I going to do?” Grant asks, reminding the woman of his status as one of New York’s most ‘honest news anchors’. “Whatever I say, people trust me on it” Grant mutters, “if I let this guy tell me what to do, that one cockless bastard controls the narrative the entire country takes in and abides by.” Left without much to say on the matter, Taylor collapses into her chair as both she and Grant take in differing feelings of defeat.
“Where do we go from here?” Grant asks, looking toward Taylor for guidance knowing he had no feasible answers on his own. “Well we let Vickers know about this first” Taylor explains, “not only does he deserve to know as one of the parties involved, but he might have the solution we’re looking for.”
“Why the hell would you say it then!?” Vickers explodes, sitting in his office having been handed a plate with such a mess laid upon it by the two anchors he expects nothing but the best from. “Don’t get me wrong, I loved what you said and almost spit my Vodka over the television” Vickers explains, “but if it comes at this expense, keep your fucking mouth shut!”
“I’ve noted that for next time, what do we do now” Grant exclaims, “and how long until we need to owe Josh Lane two favours?” His head shaking, Vickers retreats to his desk, telling the pair that Josh isn’t available for things such as this. “He does, let’s just say, hands-on work” Vickers replies, “when it comes to working in the dark, he has people, and those people aren’t exactly equipped for this.”
“You gave me no information just then, spoke vaguely and I’m left here still asking what we’re going to do now” Grant explains, “you’re aware of that, right?” Brushing off the confusion, Vickers inquires about access to the building, suggesting they narrow down who had access to the apartment. “Just Josh, it’s his flat” Grant replies, a lightbulb flickering on his head, immediately dimming when Vickers shoots down the oncoming thought before Grant can even voice it.
“No, Josh isn’t blackmailing you- he’s not even a Republican” Vickers explains, “the person we’re looking for keeps themselves quiet and makes themselves invisible… Hence the delivery of his message.” With a shrug, Grant admits that he’s run out of possibilities, Taylor not that far behind either. Defeated, Grant throws himself into a chair, the room filling with tense silence until Vickers explains that he’ll do his part in getting to the bottom of the situation.
“Email me everything about how you got this letter so I have it in writing” Vickers explains, “I wanna know the date, the time, the address you got it at, the weather outside on that day… Everything!” Giving into suggestions, Grant promises to deliver what is asked of him, Taylor being told by Vickers to look into every segment they’ve run dating back to a month prior to the confrontation with Howard.
“I want no corners left unchecked” Vickers explains, “this is my company, and I’ll defend it with my life, so give me what I need to do that.” With this declaration, Vickers ushers the anchors out of his room, insisting he needs to make a phone call in private. Fingers tapping along the machine, Vickers bites into his lip as the phone rings, patiently waiting for an answer as his anxiety builds, relieved when the greeting finally comes in.
“Aiden, I’d like to meet with you in private if you can” Vickers explains, looking toward people he knows he can trust for assistance, “you free any time tomorrow morning before the newsroom fills?”
= Tonight at 9 is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
/ Thursday, October 26th, 2006 /
“Why the fuck wouldn’t you say something about this sooner?” Bruce asks, enraged as Grant walks alongside him, a larger briefcase in tow in the event of needing to shield himself from gunshots. Hands held upwards, Grant refuses to take in questions from people in search of answers, inquiries about his comments on the president being thrown left and right, making for a combination that can only be described as a political haymaker.
Turning the corner, the pair walk into the LMC building, leaving the curious bystanders at the doors, watching the subject of their interest fade further and further out of sight. “You’ve taken everything you’ve built up over the last few months and thrown it into the can” Bruce explains, propping up an edition of the daily newspaper in Grant’s face, the headline reading something rather unflattering for the LMC anchor.
“Grant Haste: One Night Spent in Going from America’s Sweetheart to America’s Retard” Bruce reads the headline aloud, “and at this time yesterday, you were the most trustworthy news source in America.” Shrugging off the jab as something that can fade with time, Bruce brings up the more important point. “If you had done this of your own care, fine” the agent explains, “but to do it simply to spite the guy trying to blackmail you is an entirely new level of stupid.”
“I get it, I made a bad move and I’m paying for it by being trapped in a corner” Grant explains, “your job isn’t to beat that fact into my head, it’s to help me figure out how to get into open space again.” With an eye roll, Bruce looks back to Grant, stopping in the middle of the hallway and staring the man in the eyes. “You can’t get out of the corner in chess if you’re already blocked in” Bruce explains, “in order to move out, you need to break free… You don’t have that option right now.”
“What are you saying?” Grant inquires, watching the expression on Bruce’s face fall as quickly as his bulletproof briefcase. “I’m saying you’re trapped in a spot you can’t get out of until you pull something from your sleeve and leverage that” Bruce explains, “in other words… Check.”
His eyes rolling over one article in the paper after another, Aiden fails to notice Carly join him on his ascent in the lift as the doors close. “Hey” Aiden greets awkwardly, the stranger-like response being reciprocated by the woman, who stands equally uncomfortable by Aiden’s side. “How’s work been?” Carly asks, watching Aiden’s head take itself from the paper, eyes lifting toward her.
“I’m being called in to have a meeting with Sam Vickers before the newsroom opens up” Aiden explains, “either something really bad is about to happen, or something really good will instead.” With a nod, Carly wishes the man the best of luck in preparation for either outcome, a gesture the man takes with appreciation. “Good luck with your day as well” Aiden replies, the doors sliding open to their shared floor.
In stride, both Carly and Aiden leave the lift and head into differing directions, the conversation they barely manage to let take off, ending with a whimper. His feet carrying him to the end of the hall, Aiden knocks four times against a bland, unimportant looking door before being given the greenlight to enter. Pushing the metal structure in, Aiden finds Vickers sitting at a circular table, waiting for him, a smile on his face and a chair opposite the boss pulled out for his arrival.
“I’m not about to be fired, am I?” Aiden jokingly asks, Vickers easing his worries about such concerns. “I wanted to ask for a favour from you, as a matter of fact” Vickers explains, “and since you were great in keeping the secrets I needed you to last time, I can say with confidence that success in this instance will come with a nice reward for you.”
Easing into his seat, Aiden prepares for an interesting conversation, the cloudy skies of New York City plaguing the view in the cramped window beside them, perhaps a sign of things to come in Aiden’s eyes.
Hand reaching out as Bruce continues to bark at him, Grant throws his office door open before being stricken with silence upon the sight he finds inside. “We’ve got a problem” Taylor explains, the woman stood in the middle of his office with a revolver in her hand, the eyes of both Grant and Bruce widening greatly upon the image. Slowly approaching the woman, Grant takes the gun from her shaky hand, the woman too caught up in a moment of fear to put it down herself.
Clutched in her left hand, a note remains held within her fingers, a folded piece of paper Grant takes from the woman’s palm into his own. Opening the folded sheet of copy paper, Grant reads the contents to himself as Bruce does the same, having already noticed the recipient of this letter to be Taylor herself. Lip quivering, Grant forces himself to stop reading halfway in, discarding the letter by throwing it across the room and paying it no mind.
“That’s not just fucked up, that’s evil” Bruce explains, having read almost to the point that Grant had been able to muster himself toward, watching his client pull Taylor into a hug. “What the hell is this guy trying to prove?” Bruce asks aloud, a response not coming from either of the parties in front of him, a moment of silence shared between a worried Grant and a distraught Taylor.
“We can take it to the police now, right?” Bruce further inquires, offering himself suggestions where Grant and Taylor lack to do so, his initial thought panned by Grant the moment it leaves his lips. “What are they gonna say?” Grant replies, his head turned to the side so he can stare at Bruce out of the corner of his own eyes, chin still pressed to the top of Taylor’s head.
“We can’t tell police anything” Grant explains, Bruce left to question why that happens to be the case. “You didn’t kill the man!” Bruce counters, the biggest reason not to fear legal action being addressed, “and at worst, they look at you for home invasion… With Nalty’s confession on the tape, you can work a deal out with them and take it from there!”
“I don’t think you understand the gravity of all this, Bruce” Grant replies, “Nalty’s not the only threat anymore, and regardless of what we would show police, we don’t have the first clue who this is.”
“And you’re gonna let that get in your way!?” Bruce asks aloud, the newsroom luckily empty enough for voices to rise without fear of the wrong words being left to flutter aimlessly. “Some sicko is trying to blackmail you, threatened to rape Taylor with a broomstick, and may have plotted an attempt on your life, either their first or second” Bruce explains, the laundry list seemingly growing every day, “when did we start playing vigilante? Because this doesn’t end without help.”
“We don’t need help” Grant replies, finally pulling away from Taylor as the woman gathers herself, “we need to figure out who’s responsible for this!” Throwing his hefty briefcase into Grant’s desk, Bruce marches forward with a thud, getting closer to his client as tensions begin to mount. “We need help! Trying to solve things on our own hasn’t worked out in our favour if you hadn’t noticed!” Bruce exclaims, “shit’s about to hit the fan and we’re not equipped to handle it ourselves!”
Before another word can be uttered, Vickers shoves the door in, Aiden tagging along behind the man as their collective employer shouts an order for everyone to calm down. “We’re not going to accomplish anything if we stand here arguing like children!” Vickers explains, “if we’re going to get to the bottom of this, we’re gonna do it the right way.”
His eyes taking to the ground, Vickers pulls the blackmailist’s note into his hand, reading the writings to himself, visibly disgusted with each word his eyes wander over. “This is sick and depraved” Vickers murmurs, his eyes running down the length of the note before narrowing, an obvious point of interest focused on by the man with the wisdomatically keen eye.
“What’s wrong?” Grant inquires, Vickers hurrying over to the man’s desk and flipping on a light, an action captivating the tension-filled group. Pulling the glasses dangling by his neck toward his eyes, Vickers notices a stain on the note beneath the light, a barely noticeable spot at the very bottom of the paper. Careful to switch the light off as he goes, Vickers hurries for the door, marching across the newsroom in silence as the group follows after him, all with their own questions.
Refusing to answer any of the questions thrown at him, Vickers calls out for the woman at the end of the room, her attention stolen immediately as the train of high-end figures comes barreling toward her. “Do you know where I can find a blacklight?” Vickers inquires, Carly caught off guard in a moment before suggesting the control room. With a nod, Vickers runs off, every member of the train nodding or shrugging toward Carly with equal amounts of confusion to her own.
In a dash, Vickers throws the door to the electronic-filled room open and flips a set of switches until a bulbous blacklight at the area’s front switches on. “Turn off the lights!” Vickers calls out, Bruce, at the very end of the line, doing as instructed whilst Vickers pulls the glasses back up to his face. With a smile, the man holds the paper over the light and nods to himself, calling for the line of people to follow after him.
“Aiden, stay back with Carly and put together tonight’s show… You’re taking it this evening” Vickers calls out, the duo agreeing to such an offer as the line of employees trails off into the the newsroom’s depths, the front door their only care at the moment. “Looks like it’s just you and I” Carly calls out, Aiden looking toward her with worry, his head hanging and eyelids closing.
Angrily tapping against the metal door of a rundown motel, Vickers stands with an army of equally-frustrated employees all waiting for the sight of the man on the other end. To the mob’s collective surprise, it is not a man that answers the knocking at the door, but it is instead a woman, a woman whose sight is a familiar one to Grant.
The surprise of the rest acting as a shock to himself, Grant steps forward, his jaw dropped and eyes wide open. “Kelsi?” Grant asks, his former fling answering the tapping at the door with a smile, nodding behind her as a suggestion for those outside in the cold to make themselves at home. In a moment of hesitation, the group stands in place, Vickers leading the march that eventually brings them inside.
“You’re the person blackmailing me?” Grant wonders aloud, his suspicion almost insulting the woman, who takes the uncertainty as a slight on her ability. “Don’t stand there acting so surprised” Kelsi replies, “with all of the reporters you liked hooking up with, I figured I’d be far from the first person to dig up some dirt on you.”
“I don’t understand, that’s what I’m saying” Grant explains, “why are you doing all of this? What is the point of any of it?” Her eyes rolling, Kelsi reminds Grant of how everything played out after he left CSN. “You’re blackmailing me because I ended things without having sex with you?” Grant wonders aloud, still lost in the reasoning, his answers now just prompting the woman to sigh in disappointment.
“I’m doing this because of how you ended things” Kelsi explains, “you didn’t just tell me that it was over between us, you flat out pretended I didn’t exist, met with me after three months of outright avoidance and told me I’d never be worth a dime in New York.”
More lost than he was before he entered the motel room, Grant explains that he remembers none of that. “How much of that do you remember, then?” Kelsi asks aloud, “do you not recall how fucking off-the-rails you were after all that shit went down?” As if it were all a blurry memory, Grant admits that he remembers none of what the woman is accusing him of, a stance Kelsi only takes further annoyance in.
“I’m serious when I say that I wish I could remember, but I just don’t!” Grant exclaims, the woman now taking a seat in a chair opposite him. “Well it all happened” Kelsi replies, removing a recorder from the pocket of her jeans and tossing it into the waiting hands of Grant. Pressing ‘play’ on the device, Grant listens into their conversation, noticing the slurring of his own words to be an indicator of his intoxication.
“You’ll be to this city what you’re worth to my wallet, nothing more than ten cents!” Grant shouts in the recording, a response that is followed by silence. Across the room, Kelsi holds back her desire to let a vagrant tear fall from her eyelids, allowing Grant to listen to the remainder of the recording. “Why are you being like this?” Kelsi asks, a question followed by silence on the other end, memories coming back to Grant in real time.
The fingernails of his free hand digging into his palm, Grant awaits the response that he can’t recall giving in the recording, awaiting the long, drawn out silence that precedes what follows. “I don’t know” Grant’s former self replies to Kelsi, “I guess I’m just broken now.” His thumb gently pressing down on the stop button, Grant halts the recording in its place and looks back to Kelsi, who bites at the tip of her thumb.
“You can go ahead and delete that if it makes you feel better” Kelsi concludes, mustering the power to look back at Grant, who stares at her with a horrified expression. “It won’t do me any good, though” the woman continues, stumbling over her words as the emotions prove to be a barrier in doing so, “I’ve already heard it enough to memorise it… Word for word.”
Opening his mouth, Grant says nothing, knowing the Howard cover-up to be an action he remembers doing wrong by, but scared of himself for having completely disregarded that conversation ever happening to begin with. “I don’t have the words” Grant says, the people behind him looking to him in confusion, their sights coming over him as if they had just been shown the collapsing of a wall they never knew existed.
“I said that?” Grant whispers to himself, a question Kelsi takes as her own responsibility to answer. “Yeah, you did” Kelsi replies, keeping her composure intact enough to keep emotions from swelling. “And if you can’t find the words, then let me help you” Kelsi offers, “you’re a terrible person that took advantage of my hopes, just so you can turn them into a way to hurt me.”
“I didn’t mean that” Grant replies, “I don’t remember saying that, but I know I wouldn’t have meant that.” Her head shaking, Kelsi tells the man that she doesn’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth anymore, and was fed up with his success once she noticed that the entire country felt the opposite way. “I know you all came here looking for answers, but I’m not giving you anything” Kelsi states, her eyes wandering back toward Grant, “ten cents isn’t worth enough.”
“How do we know that’s Grant on the other end?” Vickers asks, challenging the woman’s stance, her eyes trailing back to her once acquaintance, who looks back to the recorder and presses play once more. After another few seconds of silence, Grant’s voice can be overheard again, clarifying his prior statement. “I covered up a rape and got paid to keep my mouth shut” Grant continues on from the earlier conversation, “what else can you expect from me, Kel?”
Pressing stop again, Grant tosses the device back to the woman seated across the room, his eyes glancing up toward her as he asks what she’s going to do now. “I’m gonna do what you did to me” Kelsi replies, her eyes drying the tears and replacing them with a scorching sight. “I’m gonna take everything you built over these last few months, and I’m going to reduce it to nothing” Kelsi threatens, “and if you don’t do as I tell you, I’ll take it farther than that.”
Swallowing his pride, Grant nods in acceptance at what his punishment is to be before turning around and leaving the motel, the rest of the group staring at him as he walks off into the cold, New York night. “Good luck” Kelsi calls out to the figures Grant leaves behind, “try not to let yourselves get caught up as collateral… Or in the crossfire.”
With a huff, Vickers motions everyone away, Taylor staring at Kelsi with an intense look, speculative and critical, harsh and judgmental. As Vickers closes the door, Taylor watches the woman on the inside, her eyes never leaving Kelsi once. In a short moment, Taylor can watch Kelsi’s eyes go from fiery to blank, her suspicions only raised as the door closes the rest of the way, mechanisms locking behind Vickers as the barrier between the two parties is re-established.
== Tonight at 9 ==