Con-Man Episode: Kids Need to Read

 

Two years ago, my brother and I attended the Phoenix Comicon and we played in the Kids Need to Read Poker Tournament.  I just wanted to stay in long enough to meet Nathan Fillion.  I thought he would show up at some point since it was his charity.  Unfortunately, he did not.  But I did win the tournament.  I have the token to prove it.

The experience became the basis for an idea that we wrote up for a Con-Man writing contest a few months back.  It was fun to write, and although we only came in second place, Alan Tudyk did read it.  So here’s to a first place tournament chip and a second place short script.  I hope you enjoy it!

FADE IN:

INT. PHOENIX COMICON – CONVENTION CENTER

WRAY rushes off of a makeshift stage. He is physically drained from a rousing Q & A session with Spectrum fans.

BOBBY is waiting in the wing holding Wray’s cell phone.

WRAY

Hey, that’s my phone. How did you get that?

He checks his pants pockets.

BOBBY

You know they don’t want you to have it during the Spectrum Q & A.

WRAY

That’s a suggestion. Now I’m feeling a bit violated.

He snatches the phone from her.

They walk.

BOBBY

Jack Moore is on the line.

WRAY

You called Jack?

BOBBY

I knew he was going to be here this weekend.

WRAY

Why did you? How? (Putting the phone up to his ear.) Hello, Jack?

JACK (O.S.)

Hey, Buddy!

WRAY

Uh, oh. What do you want me to do?

JACK (O.S.)

What do you mean?

WRAY

You’re using your “I need you to do something for me” voice.

JACK (O.S.)

I am not. This is my normal voice.

WRAY

So you don’t need anything from me?

JACK (O.S.)

It’s for the children.

WRAY

I don’t like kids.

He says this overly loud and comicon patrons stare at him disapprovingly.

WRAY

I mean, of course I like kids, I just don’t have any kids, to like.

(Exasperated and back to the phone.) What do you need?

JACK (O.S.)

I need you to sit in for me at the Kids Need to Read Charity Poker Tournament. I’m on my way, but I’m going to be late.  And coincidentally, it’s in the room right next to the Q & A you just hosted.

WRAY

Convenient. This sounds somewhat planned.

Wray looks at Bobby who looks away nonchalantly.

JACK (O.S.)

Thanks buddy. It’s for the children.

WRAY

You keep saying that. I don’t even know how to play poker.

JACK (O.S.)

It’s okay. Take my seat. Lose your chips quickly and then duck out. I do it all the time.  Smile, wave, leave.

WRAY

(Heavy sigh.) Okay fine.

JACK (O.S.)

I knew I could count on you. See you soon!

Wray hangs up and puts his phone in his pants pocket. He turns to Bobby.

WRAY

I’m just a big sap.

Bobby doesn’t say anything. She just turns Wray around and pushes him through another doorway.

INT. KIDS NEED TO READ CHARITY POKER TOURNAMENT

Wray steps into the room. There is a partition next to another make shift stage at the end of a long conference room. The HOST is waiting there.

Wray peeks through the partition.  The room is full of comicon attendees sitting at many round poker tables scattered though out the large room.

No children can be seen.

HOST

Welcome Mr. Nerely. It’s generous of you to join us this evening.

WRAY

Evening?

HOST

Is Jack with you?

WRAY

He’s running late. He asked me to take his seat.

HOST

Oh, that’s too bad.

WRAY

Don’t sound so disappointed.  He’ll be here later on.

HOST

(More upbeat now.) Oh, great news.

WRAY

Where are all the children?

The Host laughs. Bobby joins in. Wray follows suit confused.

HOST

It’s a charity poker tournament for the children, not a poker tournament with the children.

WRAY

(Laughing louder.) Of course.

The Host hands Wray a paper.

HOST

Here are some instructions and your seat assignments.

Bobby leans in to see the paper. He keeps it away from her and tries to stare her down. When he turns back to his paper, it’s gone. He’s no longer holding it. He turns back to find Bobby reading it.

WRAY

How did?

BOBBY

Oh good. You may have your phone at the table with you.

She hands him his phone.

WRAY

What? Again? How do you keep doing that?

He checks all of his pants pockets again.

He snatches the phone and puts it into his shirt pocket this time.

HOST

I’ll introduce you and then you can take your seat.

WRAY

Is it possible for me to just say a few words and then duck out?

HOST

Jack would never “duck out”. He committed to playing in the tournament.

WRAY

But he’s not here.

HOST

But you’re taking his place.

WRAY

I don’t even know how to play poker.

HOST

Please do the best that you can.  And remember, it’s for the children.

WRAY

As I’ve been told.

The Host goes to the mic and the crowd goes quiet.

HOST

Ladies and gentlemen, zombies and superheroes, welcome to the Phoenix Comicon’s 10th Annual Kids Need to Read Charity Poker Tournament.

The crowd claps enthusiastically.

HOST

I’d like to introduce our special guest tonight from Spectrum… The audience hoops and hollars.

HOST

Wray Nerely.

Wray steps out from behind the partition and waves. The crowd goes flat.

HOST

Wray will be sitting in for Jack, but I’ve been assured that Jack will be here later on.

The crowd responds enthusiastically.

Wray checks his paper and heads to his seat. Bobby follows.

WRAY

What am I doing? They don’t even really want me here.

BOBBY

Of course they want you here. They just prefer Jack. Who wouldn’t?

WRAY

Thank you for that.

BOBBY

Just lose quickly.

WRAY

And how do I do that?

BOBBY

Push all your chips in and say, all in.

WRAY

All in what?

BOBBY

No, just all in.

Bobby leaves him.

WRAY

What?

Wray finds his seat between two large WOMEN. There is very little room left for him. He tries to squeeze in.

Both women are more masculine than Wray.

FAT PAT

I don’t think so muchacho.

LARGE MARGE

This seat is reserved for Jack Moore.

WRAY

I’m Wray Nerely.

FAT PAT

We know who you are. Love your work, but this seat’s for Jack.

LARGE MARGE

You’re awesome. Now move on.

WRAY

Wow, I’ve never experienced such hostile adoration. I’m sitting in for Jack.

FAT PAT

What?

LARGE MARGE

You’re kidding?

WRAY

He asked for me to sit in for him.

FAT PAT

We paid good money for these seats.

LARGE MARGE

We donated $500.00

WRAY

It’s for the children!?!

FAT PAT

I’m tempted to ask for half my money back.

Wray squeezes in.

WRAY

At least sitting by me is worth something.

LARGE MARGE

We’ll see.

Wray pushes his chips forward.

WRAY

I’m all in.

DEALER

We haven’t started yet.

WRAY

Just kidding.

He pulls the stacks back in front of him.  Pat and Marge are not laughing.

Wray looks around the table. There is a ZOMBIE, a KLINGON, a SUPERHERO, and an ANIME CHARACTER with a huge cardboard sword.

Directly across the table sits a COWBOY.

WRAY

What are you dressed as? Space Cowboy?

COWBOY

Are you makin’ fun of how I dress?

WRAY

No?

COWBOY

I’m not here for your little Comicon! And I don’t care about your children’s charity. I’m here for one thing and one thing only. The poker. And to win, of course.

WRAY

That’s two things.

COWBOY

So don’t get to attached to your chips, sunshine. They’re mine!

WRAY

You can have them.

COWBOY

That’s right! I will own them.  And yours, and yours, and yours…

Cowboy points around the table.

FAT PAT

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We get it. They’re all yours. We’re all very intimidated.

COWBOY

I’m just saying.

LARGE MARGE

Don’t let him get in your head. He’s all bravado.

COWBOY

Oh, yeah? Cowboy pulls out a little chip and holds it up for all to see.

COWBOY

Does this look like bravado?

WRAY

What is it?

FAT PAT

Last years champion token.

COWBOY

I won last years poker tournament.

WRAY

Congratulations.

COWBOY

So, now you know that I mean it when I say that I’m going to be taking all of your chips.

WRAY

You can have them.

COWBOY

I mean it.

WRAY

So do I.

COWBOY

Do you smell that?

WRAY

Comicon B.O.?

COWBOY

Repeat victory!

The table moans.

A bell suddenly sounds.

HOST

The tournament begins now. Good luck. We have a very special gift for tonight’s champion.

The DEALER deals out two cards per person at the table.

COWBOY

Did you hear that? I’ll get a special gift.

WRAY

Thank you, we heard.

COWBOY

I just don’t want you to forget… I’m taking your chips, and yours, and yours…

FAT PAT

This is going to be a long night!

DEALER

Bet to you Mr. Nerely.

WRAY

Me? Can I go all in now?

DEALER

Do you want to look at your cards first?

WRAY

Not particularly.

DEALER

Okay, then you can place your bet.

Wray pushes all of his chips forward.

WRAY

All chips in.

COWBOY

What?

LARGE MARGE

That shut up Cowboy!

Everyone folds to Cowboy.

COWBOY

What’s your deal actor man?

WRAY

What? Me? I’m giving you my chips.

COWBOY

You’re going in blind?

WRAY

I have no idea what you just said.

FAT PAT

I think he’s scared.

COWBOY

I ain’t scared. Okay, I’ll be your Huckleberry!

WRAY

My what?

LARGE MARGE

Don’t worry, that’s good.

Cowboy pushes all in.

COWBOY

All in.

Everyone else at the table folds.

DEALER

Do you want to go face up? It’s just the two of you now.

COWBOY

Just show us the board.

The Dealer motions to Wray who shrugs. The Dealer flips three cards, an ace, three, and seven.

He burns a card and then flips another card, a three.  Then he burns another card and flips the final card, an ace.

DEALER

Two aces showing.

The Cowboy fidgets nervously.

Wray just sits there looking around. He has no idea what’s going on.

DEALER

Gentlemen, please flip your cards.

They both flip their cards at the same time. Cowboy has a three and a king.

Wray has two aces.

The Cowboy freezes in total shock.

WRAY

(Acting upset) Oh man, I just lost didn’t I? Oh well, good game.

He begins to stand.

FAT PAT

Pocket rockets to four of a kind. Unbelievable.

LARGE MARGE

I’ve never seen anything like it.

The cowboy bursts out crying. Gasping sobs. He runs off.

Wray is mortified.

The Dealer pushes the pot to Wray.

WRAY

What just happened?

FAT PAT

That was awesome! You made that man cry!

LARGE MARGE

I take it back. That was worth every penny I paid for this seat.

Pat and Marge are totally impressed now. They make room for Wray to sit back down more comfortably.

Wray realizes that he’s still in the game and miserably starts stacking his chips.

The girls smile and he weakly smiles back.

INT. MONTAGUE – SAME

The evening progresses. Wray’s chip stacks continue to grow.

He gets more miserable as the night goes on.

INT. KIDS NEED TO READ CHARITY POKER TOURNAMENT – LATER

Jack enters a near empty hall.  Wray and the Host sit alone at the final table.

JACK

I’m here. Where is everyone?

They stand to greet him.

HOST

The tournament is over.

JACK

Where’s the champion?

HOST

The winner of the Phoenix Comicon’s 10th Annual Kids Need to Read Charity Poker Tournament is… Wray Nerely.

Wray waves unenthusiastically.

JACK

What? I told you to lose.

WRAY

I tried.

HOST

Nice of you to bring in a ringer. Early on he became the chip leader and preceded to bully the other participants.

WRAY

I did not.

JACK

I thought you didn’t know how to play?

WRAY

I didn’t. I don’t.

JACK

Then how did you…

WRAY

I’m tired and just want to go home. (To Host) You mentioned a special gift?

HOST

Ah yes, you get this special first place chip and a photo with Jack Moore himself.

WRAY

A photo with Jack?

Jack smiles. The Host gets his camera ready.

HOST

Plus a free seat in next years tournament.

WRAY

No thank you.

JACK

As this years winner, you’re expected to return to defend your title. It’s kind of an obligation.

WRAY

Just keeps getting better.

HOST

Just remember…

WRAY & JACK

It’s for the children!

The flash goes off, as the photo is taken.

END

 

Leave a Reply

WordPress spam blocked by CleanTalk.