Forever Cold – 4


4

Big, dry snow flakes. Accumulating at a very fast clip. The roads already have a foot of snow. Traffic is nonexistent now. All the townspeople were in town earlier in the day stocking up on food and batteries. Being stuck in your home for a few days or a week is not too uncommon. When the boys get out the dump trucks with the blades on the front and start getting all these county roads plowed and sanded, thats when you can drive again.

Silverville has a 3 man crew for town maintenance and snowplowing. All 3 are sitting in the towns maintenance shop drinking coffee and playing cards. No real sense in getting out to plow as long as it keeps snowing as heavily as it is. The blades on the trucks don’t care if the snow is 2 feet thick or 3 foot thick. So cards it is, at least for a while longer.

But one business in town is bustling. Mannys, right on the edge of town is one of those one-of-a-kind bars that defy description. It used to be a double screen theatre, when it closed Manuel ‘Manny” Garcia bought the property. The middle of the place is one huge horseshoe shaped bar. One side of the building is devoted strictly to pool tables and small booths and tables. 20 tvs hang from the ceiling placed strategically for easy viewing. This is the Bar side of things. The other side of the place is set up as a family restaurant. Larger tables, brighter lights and less noise on this side. Amazingly both sides are kept pretty busy most of the time. A little busier on the family side with the breakfast and lunch crowd, busier in the evening on the bar side. Manny oversees it all. A large man with an easy laugh and generous to a fault. But if you push him too far, or disrespect a female, you find yourself on your ass outside of the bar. Mannys youth was spent in East LA. running with various gangs, Manny made a name for himself as a no nonsense enforcer. After 10 years in the penitentiary, Manny disappeared from LA never to be seen there again. He had hurt enough people, time for change. And here he was, just 10 years later, clean and respectable, owning a good business and being responsible. A very nice change indeed.

Jack rode the 10 miles into town on his snow machine, fresh snow all the way. Its been a week since Crank was over and Jack needed to get out of the house for a bit. Parking outside of Mannys alongside the other 20 or so machines, he noticed that this was todays mode of transportation. No trucks in the parking lot today. Just snowmobiles, covered in inches of new snow, and the occasional set of cross country skis or snowshoes leaning against the building under the eaves.

Walking into the first set of doors there is the ‘boot room’. This entrance into the bar is where you leave your muddy/snowy boots and coats. If you walk into Mannys with your boots on, all the patrons turn to you and yell ‘Boots!’ like your mom would. It only takes one of those to make you remember to change out in the boot room.  A supply of slippers of all sizes are provided for those with cold feet. The little kids love the Elmo slippers. Its hard to keep them though. They tend to find their way home on 4 year old toes. Manny spends a lot of money each fall restocking the Sesame Street slippers. Jack slides into a nice set of sheepskin slippers and opens the next doors into the bar.

Amazing smells of big green chile burritos, the scent of alcohol, and the fragrance of warm bodies all wrapped in the nice sound of humanity in a good mood greet him. Before he was two steps in the door he hears “Jack, over here!”. He turns and sees Crank in a booth in the distant corner. Walking to the booth he sees a stunning young woman sitting there also. “Crank has a girlfriend” Jack thinks erroneously. “Jack, this is Abby Carmichael, Silverville Sheriff,” Crank says, and then turning to Abby, “And this is Jack Taylor, retired FBI and new citizen of Silverville.”  Abby rises to shake hands and a small spark of electricity crosses through them as they grasp. The friction from the sheepskin slippers probably. “But a nice omen anyway” Jack thinks.

As soon as he settles, Manny walks over. Walks really isn’t the word here. Manny occupies space like a sumo wrestler. He moves with a deliberance. A shift in the force. Manny isn’t fat, he’s just BIG. He nods to Abby, “Sheriff,” then to Crank, “Coroner”. Crank pipes up, “Manny, you’ve known me what, 5 years now? Please, for the umpteenth time, call me Crank.” Manny gives a playful leer, He knows that bugs Crank, thats why he does it. He extends a hand the size of a skillet to Jack. “I’m Manny, nice to meet you.” Jack hides his hand in Mannys. “Jack Taylor, Nice to meet you.” “Just wanted to say hello, I’ll have Chris over here shortly.” With that Manny spins his gravitational force thru its axis and heads to the bar area where, with just a glance, he quiets a table of loud drinkers.

“Jeez, he’s huge” comments Jack. “That he is.” Abby says, watching Manny leave. “Crank tells me you were FBI.” “Yeah, 20 years. Worked my way up to a lead investigator and team lead. Retired about a year ago, moved here for peace and quiet.” “Quiet we got, peaceful is spotty.” Abby adds. Abby looks at Crank and gives a imperceptible nod. Crank starts “Jack, Abby and I need some of your experience. And since some of it may concern you directly, we would like to ask for some advice.”  Abby interjects “All my budget dollars are tied up, Jack. I can’t pay you one red cent without there being some sort of inquisition from the accountants. But we, I, could use some help here.” Jack looks into her big brown eyes, gets lost for a moment, and replies. “I’ll do what I can.”

 

‘Forever Cold’ – 1



Working Title – ‘Forever Cold’

 Synopsis…Widower trying to cope with untimely death of his wife under suspicious circumstances, enlists the help of a plucky young female sheriff in a small mountain town to solve the case. Small town politics and shadowy individuals in a rural, rugged section of the mountains make getting information difficult at best. Select townspeople turn out to be reliable and quirky. The young beautiful sheriff and our widower (a former big city FBI agent, since retired) form a tight friendship that eventually leads to a more romantic relationship.

 Location…The high Rockies where the weather is unpredictable and dangerous.

 Timeframe…Recent and current.

 Opening setup…One year ago…

 Exterior…The camera is high overhead. The view is of a forest in late fall. Few leaves remain, and those that do are brown and dingy. It is a gray, cold dark day where it doesn’t know whether to rain or snow, so it does both at once. A breeze coming in over the lake makes it even colder. The snow is skipping over the water and landing on the thin layer of ice jutting out from the shore a few feet. All in all, a day to spend indoors.

 A thin line meanders through the forest, sometimes alongside the large lake, sometimes in the middle of the forest. The camera starts descending along with the rain and snow mix. We see vertical silvery drops of rain and snowflakes passing in our field of view. As the camera gets lower we see that the thin line is becoming a gravel road through the forest. A sedan is traveling down the road. It is swerving slightly and appears to be going too fast for the conditions.

 Car Interior…She is so tired. The cars heater is stuck at full blast. The radio is playing quietly. The controls on both of them seem to be glued in place. She tried to move them but they wouldn’t budge. So she left them and started home. Halfway home her eyelids are so very heavy. Between the glasses of wine at the bar and the car heater she is too relaxed. She is fighting sleep and is steering the car occasionally, trying to keep it in between the ditches on both sides of this gravel road she uses as a shortcut to home. She misses the sharp turn by the lake.

Exterior shot…The car hits the small berm on the side of the road and launches into the air. We see the car do a nice arc, nosing into the lake and stopping violently as it hits and sends up a large plume of freezing water at its front bumper.

The airbags deploy explosively, waking her up immediately. Adrenaline pumps through her veins as she wildly looks around and tries to orient herself. Water is already streaming through the floorboards and somewhere under the dash. The freezing water is already up to her knees causing her legs to cramp. The seatbelt is so tight, it wont release its hold on her, keeping her back against the seat. She fumbles for the seatbelt release latch, it too won’t budge. neither the door handle or the power windows will move. Everything she tries seems frozen into place. The water is now at her waist and rising rapidly. The airbags are holding some leftover air and are bobbing at her face in the rising water. She is in full-on convulsions now. The adrenaline in her body and the cramping in her body are working against her, causing sharp pains and keeping her from pulling in a full breath of air. She is asphyxiating already, and there is still a full minute before the car goes under. She claws at everything in her reach. Water is now up to her neck. She strains up to the ceiling for any remaining air. Now that the car is tilting towards the bottom of the lake, the air is migrating up and towards the back of the car, away from her. Only a few breaths left, and then she sees the note. It is a yellow sticky note attached to the lining of the roof, by the rearview mirror. With her last  remaining thoughts she tries to fathom what it says.