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NICK AND PEPIN Written by Brooks Todd Brooks Todd 16 Bash Place FIRST DRAFT Houston, Texas 77027 firstname.lastname@example.org FADE IN: EXT. MOTEL POOL - DAY NICK WARD and PEPIN DEY, two guys in their mid twenties, are laying out on lounge chairs in their swim suits at a motel pool. Nick is chewing on beef jerky. NICK Wait, wait... I'll think of it. PEPIN Damn it! Nick! You know this. (beat) It's Kathryn Howard! NICK Howard! Of course! PEPIN This is your bread and butter! NICK His fifth wife never comes up. It's not like she had eleven fingers. Ignoring Nick, Pepin gets up and walks to the edge of the pool, eyeing the water intensely. PEPIN What do you think the pH level of this water is? NICK It looks fine... one of these days I'm gonna get you a pH kit. Pepin dives into the pool and comes up for air. PEPIN Where's Jimbo? NICK Probably still talking to his mom. I think she's giving him hell again for spending the summer with us. PEPIN He'll be fine. Besides, this summer was good for him. He got an education on life, an exercise in the philosophical vagaries that... NICK (interrupting) Alright, that's enough Plato. We'd better get going. EXT. OPEN HIGHWAY - DAY - AERIAL SHOT - VAN We SEE restaurant and bar logos on the side of the van. INT. VAN - DAY Pepin drives while Nick is reading a paper in the passenger seat, chewing on his jerky. JIM, a nineteen- year-old sophomore in college, is in a folding chair in the back of a passenger van. All the back seats have been removed. Storage bins, books and maps on the walls are visible. Jim is on a laptop. PEPIN Whatcha reading about, chief? JIM Pulitzer's Prize winners. PEPIN Great topic. Ask me something. JIM Okay, who is the only writer to refuse the Pulitzer for their work of fiction? PEPIN Sinclair Lewis, for... "ARROWSMITH," 1926. JIM That is correct. PEPIN All right! Let's hear another. JIM I'm not gonna get very far with this if you want me to keep quizzing you. PEPIN Jimbo, don't underestimate the reinforcing power of vocalization. Speech, imagery, and auditory stimuli all imprint data in your memory in distinct and separate ways, thereby cementing that information all the more firmly. Trust me... I took a course on it once. NICK No you didn't. Pepin looks over at Nick and shrugs, as if to say, "he doesn't know that, just play along with me." EXT. OPEN HIGHWAY - DAY - AERIAL SHOT - VAN CAMERA PANS up to the Houston, Texas skyline. INT. THE BEAGLE - NIGHT A bar with several TV trivia screens is full of people. Nick, Pepin, and Jim survey the place from the front door. Nick and Pepin have on what they wear everyday: t-shirts with writing on them, shorts and sandals. Pepin totes the backpack they always carry with them. PEPIN Looks like the whole gang is here. Ben and Kevin. There's Monica. We SEE Nick and Pepin shaking hands and talking with fellow trivia players as the trio walks to a table. When they sit down, CHARLIE, the owner of the bar, approaches their table with a smile. CHARLIE Back again to take my money. (leans in) You know, you guys are local legends. I've had people asking all month if you were gonna be here tonight. Pepin's face beams as he looks around the room. PEPIN Cash, they're coming out of the woodworks! You've gotta love it! CHARLIE I'll have Lindsey bring out your answer boxes. Charlie leaves. Pepin slaps Jim's back. PEPIN Well, Jimbo, it's your last night with the team. This time next week you'll be chasing college girls around study hall. NICK You'll come out and see us when we're in Austin, right? JIM Won't you have a new swingman? NICK Possibly, but you're always welcome to join us for a night of trivia. PEPIN Jim... you're dangerous... but you can be our swingman anytime. They all laugh at this "TOP GUN" reference. JIM Okay, I'll come out when I can. PEPIN There you go! Now let's kick some ass tonight! EXT. APARTMENT PARKING LOT - DAY Bags at his feet, Jim faces Pepin and Nick. PEPIN You've got our number, so, call us if you need anything. NICK We're not his parents. PEPIN I'm just saying, if he gets into a jam... some sort of moral impasse, maybe we could steer him in... Cutting Pepin off, Nick hands Jim a small, brown sack. NICK Here. This is yours. JIM Nick, really. I don't want this. NICK It's not a matter of desire, Jim. It's your money. You earned it. The arrangement we made when you started was that all winnings would be divided equally. JIM I know, but I don't need it. NICK Don't be ridiculous. This money is rightfully yours. You have to honor your end of the deal, Jim. If people went around breaking contracts left and right, regardless of the reason, there'd be... complete chaos! Do you want me to go get the contract?! PEPIN (grabs Nick) Okay, take it easy, chief. We all appreciate your position on contractual agreements. How about this? We use the cash to go nuts. Celebrate our last night together! Huh? Nick? Whadya say, guys? JIM I can't. I told my parents I'd spend the weekend up there before school starts... I've got to go. Defeated, Nick and Pepin each hug Jim. He grabs his bags and walks off. Pepin throws his arm around Nick as they watch Jim walk off. PEPIN I'm gonna miss that kid... so, what's on our slate for tonight? NICK Tonight, our money's at the Crown. PEPIN Let's go get it. INT. THE CROWN - NIGHT Nick and Pepin are sitting in a semi-crowded bar. Like other trivia players in the bar, their hands are poised on their trivia boxes, their eyes never leaving the trivia TV screen as they discuss the questions. NICK What about chiffon? PEPIN That's more spring and summer. Your fall bride will go with a heavier fabric; something silky, like a taffeta or brocade. The answer has got to be four... and it is! This game is over! Two hundred big ones! Not bad for an hours' work. (looks around) Who's playing as Mr. Zero? He wasn't too bad in that game. NICK I don't know. They did miss that question about Stalin. PEPIN So, he's not a Communist. Either way, he sure knew his salt-water invertebrae. Let's go talk to him. NICK I don't feel like interviewing tonight. PEPIN We'll start tomorrow. It doesn't feel right, anyway. We just broke up with Jim five hours ago. Nick rolls his eyes. Their waitress, SARAH, comes up. SARAH Did you two win the game? PEPIN We sure did. How come we haven't seen you here before? SARAH I started last week. I'm actually a pilot for Southwest, but, with cutbacks and all, I took this job. NICK Are you a member of Ninety-Nines? SARAH (surprised) I am, actually... how do you... do you know someone in Ninety-Nines? NICK Not to my knowledge. SARAH Oh... well, you do now. I'll be right back with your money. She gives Nick a big, friendly smile and walks off. Nick pulls out his jerky. A stunned Pepin laughs. PEPIN Cash, I think she digs you! What the hell is Ninety-Nines?! NICK It's an international organization. PEPIN Well, she was impressed! Tell me about it. NICK It started out in the late twenties as a group of female pilots, but I think it's open to any woman in aviation now. That's all I know. PEPIN Aviatrices in the late twenties. I wonder if Earhart was in it. NICK She was its first president. PEPIN Do we have a working list of organizations like this one? Pepin pulls the trivia notepad that they always keep with them from their backpack and starts writing. NICK There's a fairly comprehensive list of international associations in the world almanac right after the section on major non-Christian world religions. PEPIN I'll get on it, unless you want it. NICK You can have that can of worms. (beat) You know the sky's clear tonight. I thought we'd go out to Buescher. EXT. CAMPSITE - NIGHT Nick and Pepin are lying on top of their sleeping bags. Nick is eating by the light of a small lantern on the ground. Pepin is studying a star chart. NICK I wonder if we'll find a swingman at UT. We don't really need one. PEPIN Of course not, but it's fun. Hell, they should get course credit for spending a semester with us. NICK And what course would that be? PEPIN The meaning of life, as we see it. All exams are open book. NICK No one would ever pass... including me. PEPIN You're probably right... are you done eating? I want to catch the Scorpius Jewel Box before she disappears. Pepin grabs a pair of binoculars and looks at the sky as Nick reaches over and turns off the lantern. INT. BAR - NIGHT Nick and Pepin are at a table in a crowded college bar. Nick is playing trivia. Pepin searches the room, holding their trusty pen and pad. NICK Whoever's playing under T-bird isn't bad. Add T-bird to the list. PEPIN All right, let's make the rounds. Nick, backpack in hand, and Pepin approach T-BIRD, a disheveled grad student playing trivia who looks and acts stoned. He eyes Nick and Pepin and slowly smiles. T-BIRD Hey, I know about you guys. You're the trivia dudes, who play trivia. NICK We are they. Are you interested in joining our team? T-BIRD No way, man! You guys are freaks! Riding around in your Scooby Doo van solving trivia. NICK (nonchalantly) Okay, next person. ANGLE ON NICK AND PEPIN sitting down opposite LUMMOX, who is playing trivia. PEPIN Are you Lummox? LUMMOX Yeah... NICK (extends his hand) Hi. I'm Nick. This is Pepin. LUMMOX Hi. NICK We have a proposition. ANGLE ON NICK, PEPIN AND LUMMOX minutes later at the end of Pepin and Nick's spiel. LUMMOX You're able to support yourselves doing this? NICK We're very, very good. LUMMOX Okay. I could travel with you guys for a couple of months. When's the next game? Nick pulls a pad and pen out of their backpack. PEPIN Actually, there's one more thing. (nods at the pad) These are just some general knowledge questions we like to ask all possible newcomers to the team. Most of them have a correct answer, but some of them ask only for an opinion... no pressure. Just answer what you know... good luck. Pepin gives a comforting smile. In this SERIES OF SHOTS we SEE Nick and Pepin alternately asking questions from interviewees' POV. From the POV of Nick and Pepin we SEE a different interviewee struggling to answer each question. With each POV change we SEE the b.g. change to show the interview process taking place in several different bars that have trivia. NICK When it's eight p.m. in Moscow, what time is it New York? NICK During what war was "The Star Spangled Banner" written? PEPIN Name as many Dr. Seuss books as you can. NICK What's your favorite state motto? INTERVIEWEE (enthusiastically) Live free or die! Pepin jerks his head up. PEPIN Good answer! (to Nick) Make a note. Nick nods. PEPIN What part of the body does Bell's palsy affect? NICK What's your favorite period or style of paintings? PEPIN Or architecture? SERIES OF SHOTS In the following series of shots we only SEE Nick and Pepin from the POV of the interviewee, with the b.g. changing between each question. NICK How do you make a Manhattan? PEPIN Name the first four U.S. presidents of the twentieth century. NICK Who invented the elevator? PEPIN A last name will suffice. NICK Logo phobia is the fear of what? NICK In The Simpsons, what does Homer sell so he can pay for Lisa's entry fee into the Little Miss Springfield beauty pageant? SERIES OF SHOTS We see a series of shots from the interviewees' POV of Nick and Pepin saying "thanks" to the interviewees in several different settings. INT. MUSEUM OF TEXAS HISTORY - DAY Walking around, Nick studies the list of people they interviewed while Pepin peruses the exhibits. NICK I don't like any of these players. They're game hasn't... matured. PEPIN I agree. None of them are ready for the circuit. Nick walks up behind some people studying an old map. NICK This map of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona was actually the territory that Imperial Germany offered to return to Mexico if it would join them in World War II. MAN (disbelief) No. NICK Yes, sir. Of course, the British intercepted the proposal before it reached Mexico, and eighty-seven days later, the U.S. of A intercepted the German Empire. The whole group perks up with interest. One WOMAN searches for what she assumes Nick is reading from. WOMAN Really?! Where does it say that? NICK (nonchalantly) Nowhere. MED. SHOT - NICK AND PEPIN Nick is taking a picture of an exhibit. PEPIN We have The Loon tonight. A hundred bucks. You ready? NICK (lost in thought) We should really get down to the Alamo again. INT. THE LOON - NIGHT Nick and Pepin slide into a corner booth and quickly scan the room. Pepin pulls the trivia notepad out of their backpack. Nick's eyes stop on something that causes him to straighten up. NICK Sam's gotta ringer. PEPIN Where? No he doesn't. NICK Who is that, then? I've never seen him before. He looks smart. PEPIN (locates the guy) That's just some dude. Relax. After the money game we'll see how lucky Sam's feeling tonight. ANGLE ON NICK AND PEPIN as they stare up at a TV screen towards the end of the game, fingers poised on their trivia boxes. NICK (shaking his head) This is making me nervous. When did Happy get so damn good? PEPIN Don't worry about that right now. Here's the next question. We know this. It's uhh... it's Pretoria. NICK Right! Cape Town is the legislative capital. Boy, Sam's ringer sucks. PEPIN That's because he's not a ringer. He's not even playing with Sam. Anyway, it's Happy I'm concerned about. NICK I know! He's on fire! Alright, next question. Nick and Pepin stare at the screen for a moment before a look of horror crosses both of them simultaneously. PEPIN Olof Palme?! What year was he assassinated? MED. SHOT - HAPPY at the bar pressing the right answer as he confidently smiles at the bartender, then over at Nick and Pepin. ANGLE ON NICK AND PEPIN hanging their heads in defeat at seeing the answer. After a moment Pepin jerks his head up with a look of utter determination. Nick bites off some beef jerky. NICK Happy got that last one right. PEPIN Alright, Happy, let's see what you're made of, you son of a bitch! MED. SHOT - HAPPY AND KATE The bartender, KATE PASCHAL, serves a drink to a smiling HAPPY. Kate is an attractive girl in her early-twenties with a 'girl-next-door' quality to her. KATE Are you gonna win tonight? HAPPY This could be the night the dynamic duo goes down. ANGLE ON NICK AND PEPIN with their eyes glued to the trivia TV screen and their fingers poised on their boxes. NICK We're only up 300 points. We have to answer quickly and correctly. PEPIN No problem. Here's the question. NICK It's Wagon Train. Bonanza was second in the ratings that year. Pepin ruffles Nick hair in celebration as they relax. PEPIN Happy gave us a tight game, but that's why you're cash in the clutch! I'm gonna go talk to Sam and Happy. NICK Give my condolences. ANGLE ON PEPIN approaching Happy at the bar. PEPIN You gave us quite a scare. Looked like you were playing with purpose. HAPPY Got myself a secret weapon. PEPIN (quizzical look) Is that so? MED. SHOT - PEPIN returning with two mixed drinks, handing one to Nick. PEPIN I have some very interesting news. Happy is the one with a ringer. NICK Who? PEPIN A new bartender named Kate. Apparently, she's been feeding him answers, and he's won the last three money games because of her. NICK So, she's the real deal? PEPIN We'll keep an eye on Happy and see how well she helps him out tonight, but right now we've got important business to take care of. NICK (smiles knowingly) Sam wants revenge, again. When is he gonna realize that we just can't let that happen? PEPIN Hopefully, never. He wants to put a hundred bucks on the next game. NICK Okay. We'll bait him... let him win a close second game, and then see how much money he's willing to part with tonight. MED. SHOT - NIGHT - NICK AND PEPIN leaving the Loon, Pepin throws his arm around Nick. PEPIN I can't believe Sam bit on that last double or nothing! Five hundred bucks! NICK He's just like we are. It's not the money, it's the challenge. The only difference is, he doesn't need the money. INT. GROCERY STORE - DAY Nick and Pepin walk down an aisle pushing a cart. PEPIN We've never had a female accept our offer before. We're not set up for it. NICK We can't discriminate. PEPIN It's not a matter of gender bias, it's a matter of logistics. Where is she gonna sleep? Nick grabs spaghetti sauce off the shelf. Pepin looks to see what he's getting. PEPIN Not the ones with... NICK I know. EXT. PARK - DAY Nick and Pepin are having a picnic and reading. PEPIN All I'm saying is, we live in close quarters, we're around each other twenty-four hours a day, and... there could be significant mood swings. NICK She can't help that! Besides, even if she does get moody, it couldn't be any worse than Luke last summer. PEPIN Boy, we didn't see that coming! NICK I don't care about mood swings, but when it is her time... what if her trivia performance is affected? PEPIN You mean like her ability to concentrate? NICK I don't know, exactly. I'm just saying, what if her performance suffers. PEPIN (thinks a moment) Yeah... or... what if it improves?! NICK My god! She'd be UNSTOPPABLE! INT. BAR - NIGHT We SEE the BARTENDER recognize Nick and Pepin. PEPIN You see. Everything's fine. NICK How's it going? They still have Tuesday night trivia here, right? Nick gets no response from anyone at the table he questions. The bartender heads off Nick and Pepin before they can sit down. BARTENDER Sorry boys. I don't want any trouble tonight. NICK We're just here to play, that's it. BARTENDER Look. We run a quiet, friendly bar here and that's how we like to play our trivia. PEPIN We didn't start anything last time. BARTENDER Now, personally, I don't know how you got all those answers. But my regulars think you were cheating. NICK How in the world were we cheating?! PEPIN We can't help it if your regulars are idiots! We HEAR chairs being pushed back. EXT. BAR - NIGHT Nick and Pepin get pushed out the front door and stumble into the parking lot. Pepin, holding the side of his face, turns back to the door. PEPIN Enjoy trivia mediocrity! Fucking dilettantes. NICK We shouldn't be playing in there, anyway. That building is not up to code. INT. LIBRARY - DAY Nick and Pepin sit across from each other at a table covered with books. Nick is taking a picture of an illustration in a map book. Pepin is buried in a book. NICK You know, there's something else we haven't talked about. PEPIN What? NICK Well... she's attractive. PEPIN We've had attractive teammates before. Remember Jacques? He was a very handsome young man. NICK You know what I mean. What if something emotional, or romantic, were to occur between either of us? Something like that could affect the integrity of the team. PEPIN (agreeing nod) Yoko Ono. NICK We're running a business here. We can't jeopardize that. PEPIN We should still recruit her. You've seen how strong she is. What do you propose? NICK Nothing drastic or weird. PEPIN So, no chastity belt? NICK Those don't work. You've seen the stats... we could add a clause to the contract. PEPIN I don't know, Nick. Most people aren't as enthusiastic about contracts as you are. Why don't we play it by ear? Cross that bridge if we get there. Pepin returns to a book in front of him. PEPIN Did you know that Norman Rockwell used to illustrate print ads for the Jell-O Company? INT. THE LOON - DAY Nick and Pepin enter the Loon and locate Kate. They pull up to the bar where she is. Kate is casually dressed in a t-shirt and jeans. Nick has his jerky. NICK We saw you playing trivia the other night. You're pretty good. KATE You mean with Jeff? Yeah, I was helping him a little. Poor guy didn't win, though. NICK Yeah, that was a shame... we haven't seen you here before. Are you at UT? KATE (guarded) Kinda... why? Are you at UT? NICK We were. KATE Out in the real world now? NICK Kinda. KATE I've got customers. Nick gives her a friendly smile as she walks off. PEPIN What are you, flirting with her? NICK I'm getting to know her. What do you want me to say? (casual voice) Jump in the back of our van and we'll tell you all about it on the way to our campsite. PEPIN It worked for Bundy. NICK See, this is why I do the talking. KATE (returns) So, you guys like playing trivia? NICK It keeps us busy. How about you? KATE I've never really played. If it's slow I'll join in with the guys at the bar, but, yeah, it's fun... if you know some of the answers. NICK Exactly. The key is knowing some of the answers. At least, that's our motto. Kate is amused by these two strangers. KATE Your motto? NICK One of them. Actually, uhhhh... KATE Kate. NICK Kate. We have a proposition for you, Kate, regarding trivia. KATE Oookaaay. Hold on. Still visibly wary, Kate leaves to take a drink order. PEPIN We already knew her name. NICK I know, but she doesn't know that. I don't want her to think we're stalking her. PEPIN We ARE stalking her. NICK She doesn't need to know that, either. Shh. Nick indicates to Pepin that Kate is returning. KATE So, what's this proposition about? NICK Well, like this bar, there are lots of places that give away cash prizes for trivia winners. There also happens to be a lot people out there who love to play, and are pretty good at it. So, if you know where to go and who to play, you can have a lot of fun with it. KATE And you make money doing this? NICK It's not about the money, but, like I said, if know who to play... KATE Kind of like how you two played Sam the other night? NICK (smiles) We've known Sam for a long time. He's serious about the game and always names his own price... he knows what he's up against. KATE I see... and, where do I fit in? PEPIN Nick and I would like to offer you a spot on the team. KATE The team? PEPIN Nick and myself. It's our team. KATE (starts to laugh) How cute... are you two serious? You want to me go around town with you playing trivia for money? NICK Actually, three cities. We work Dallas and Houston, also. KATE Dallas and Houston? Where do you live? NICK When I asked you about school you said, "kinda." What did you mean by that? KATE I'm a grad student. But, I'm taking the fall semester off. A little break. Nick and Pepin look encouraged. PEPIN When do you get off tonight? KATE Eight. PEPIN What would you say to us taking you out for dinner tonight? Our treat. Kate hesitates with a faint, wary smile. KATE Okay, I'll go... but just dinner. EXT. CAMPSITE - NIGHT - ESTABLISHING The van headlights reveal a campsite as it pulls up. MED. SHOT - NICK AND KATE Nick stokes a small fire as Kate sits nearby. Lanterns hanging in nearby trees light the campsite. Pepin and Nick prepare dinner as Kate observes in awe. KATE This is definitely not what I had in mind. NICK You're gonna love Pepin's fish. We caught these today. KATE (amazed) You caught those fish? Where? PEPIN Below the falls. Not too far from here. KATE Okay, so, you drive from Austin to Dallas to Houston, camp out at state parks... catch fish... and play trivia? NICK In a nutshell. Pepin sets their food wrapped in tin foil on the fire. KATE You two seem to be doing fine... in a strange way. What do you need me for? PEPIN The truth is, we like having a teammate. NICK We're offering you a temporary break from conventional living. PEPIN A vacation from your life. NICK Everyone really enjoys it. We have references if you wanna check us out. KATE Look, I can't just pick up and... I have a job and an apartment. PEPIN If you need to store anything while you're with us, Nick's parents can keep it in their garage. KATE This isn't a cult, is it? NICK Not really, but if that helps you. KATE So, I'd be a fulltime teammate. Where would I sleep? NICK We've never had a female on the team, but we're very sensitive to your privacy needs. PEPIN We have two tents. Our friend in Dallas has an extra bedroom. And we know all the state parks that have female facilities. Kate is quietly amused by their business-like approach. NICK And, if you don't like sleeping outside we have a very comfortable air mattress that fits in the van. PEPIN We had a former teammate with a touch of agoraphobia. Pretty much lived in the van. NICK (to Pepin) Really made it quite homey. PEPIN I know! KATE Look, guys. I appreciate you asking me. It's certainly the most unusual offer I've ever had, but... (hesitates) It sounds like an awful lot of trivia. PEPIN Oh, we only work at night. During the day we do lots of fun things. NICK Museums, zoos, historic landmarks. Do you like to sail? KATE You go sailing? PEPIN How about this. We're having dinner at Nick's parents on Thursday. Why don't you join us? That'll give you a couple of days to think it over. Kate can't believe that she's beginning to be won over by these two guys and actually considering their offer. KATE Okay. I'll think about it. NICK That's all we ask. EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET - DAY Nick and Pepin pull the van to the curb. EXT. KATE'S APARTMENT - DAY - TWO SHOT - NICK AND PEPIN are at a garage apartment behind a house. Nick knocks, then steps back and waits. Kate opens the door with a smile. She is dressed casually and doesn't carry a purse. She has no noticeable make-up on, as usual. KATE Hi boys. I'm ready. INT. VAN - DAY Kate sits up front with Nick. Pepin is on a laptop. KATE So, what's with all the stuff on the side of your van? NICK Advertising. We provide free publicity for those establishments in return for free meals. KATE You eat for free at all those places? NICK Most of them. Some we just put on there to drum up competition. KATE Does your sidekick get free meals, too? NICK Just side dishes. Is that gonna be a deal breaker? KATE Could be. Nick hesitates, playing along with Kate. NICK I cannot believe I'm doing this, but what if I throw an entrée into the deal? KATE (laughs) I can't believe I'm doing THIS, but what the hell. You've got yourselves a sidekick. NICK Pepin! You hear that?! She's in! Nick pulls to the curb in front of his parent's house. EXT. NICK'S PARENTS HOUSE - NIGHT We SEE Kate standing next to Nick when his mother, BARB, opens the door and gives Nick a loving hug. Barb is a bubbly, affectionate woman who feels like both Nick and Pepin are hers. She is a gracious host, protective mother, and loving wife to JACK, a tenured professor of genetics at the University of Texas. BARB Nicholas! My baby! NICK Mom, I was here three weeks ago. BARB I can't be happy to see my baby? (turns to Kate) And you must be Kate. Walter told me all about you. She gives Kate a big hug. Kate is a little surprised and moved by Barb's energetic kindness. KATE It's so nice to meet you Mrs. Ward. BARB Oh, absolutely not! You call me Barb! End of discussion! Now where is my other baby boy? NICK He's downloading some stuff with Mrs. Turner's wireless hook-up. Barb gives Nick a look of disapproval. BARB Do I need to call Evelyn and let her know? NICK No, mom. What he's doing does not affect her Internet service. It's like I explained before, remember? BARB Well, I guess so. Barb's reverts back to her bubbly warmth. BARB Come on! Let's get inside! Your father is waiting. INT. JACK AND BARB'S LIVING ROOM Barb, Nick and Kate enter a room cluttered with eclectic things. Posters of jazz divas and prints of artwork cover the walls. Bookshelves are filled with books, pictures, sculptures and small plants. There's a couch, chairs, and a coffee table with cheese and crackers on it. Barb motions for Nick and Kate to sit. BARB You two sit there. We've got snacks here and Jack is getting the wine. If you don't like Merlot, Kate, we have other red wines. KATE Merlot is fine. BARB Jack?! Where are you?! Pepin enters the room with a big smile. PEPIN There she is! BARB Walter! Barb spins and rushes over to Pepin with a big hug. Pepin returns the hug with as much enthusiasm. BARB You weren't messing up Mrs. Turner's computer, were you? PEPIN Barb! You know better than that! Pepin searches the room until he finds the Feng Shui incense burning in the corner. He sniffs the air to figure out the particular scent, then points it. PEPIN I'm guessing, "love." BARB No! It's "prosperity!" PEPIN Ooooo, you need to be burning "prosperity" in the southeast corner of the house in order for it to be effective. BARB What? But then it would be in the bedroom where we couldn't enjoy it! PEPIN Well, Barb, do you want prosperity, or not? Barb looks at Kate, shaking her head in feigned exasperation and throwing her arms up as if giving up. BARB These two can make you go crazy! Jack enters the room with wine glasses and a bottle of Merlot. He sets them down to pour the wine. Jack is a friendly, somewhat eccentric man with a definite professorial look to him. JACK Barb, that wine opener is a piece of you know what. BARB I know. Here, let me do that while you meet our new guest. Jack walks over to Kate, hand extended. JACK Kate, I'm Jack. Don't get up. KATE It's very nice to meet you. JACK So, you're thinking about joining the team. KATE Well... I've... JACK Oh, I apologize! It's just that Barb and I have never been apart of the recruiting process before. PEPIN Recruiting's over, Jack. We've signed her up. JACK That's wonderful! (to Kate) A little advice. Don't second-guess yourself, especially when the clock is ticking. You're first instinct is your best. Also, don't let a wrong answer mess with your mind. You've gotta play through that pain. BARB Jack, stop it! You're scaring her. JACK This is important stuff. Barb, go get that thing we got for them. BARB Oh, you boys are going to love this! Barb hurries out of the room. Jack turns to Kate. JACK What made you tag along with these two transients? KATE Honestly, I don't know yet. But it'll come to me. PEPIN It's fate, J.W. She's where she belongs, now. KATE At the very least, I'm pioneering the way for all female teammates of the future. JACK That's right! You're the first. I've been telling these guys that all they're lacking is a woman's intuition. NICK And just think what she'll do for our street cred. JACK What are you studying in grad school? KATE European history. I wanna teach. JACK That's great. At what level? KATE Well, I love little kids, but I think I'd like the challenge of teaching high school. Barb returns with a large department store sack. BARB When I saw this I immediately thought of you. (to Kate) They are so hard to shop for! (pulls out a gift) It's called a "forever flashlight," because it never needs batteries! You just shake it up and it works! PEPIN Cool! Barb, you're the best! NICK Thanks, mom! It's perfect for us. Nick jumps up and walks around to Barb to hug her. JACK Alright, Barb, are you finished? BARB Well, I think so. Barb looks confused. Jack stands up, beaming. JACK Then it's my turn! NICK Dad! BARB Honey, what are you up to?! Jack walks out. Nick gives Barb a questioning look. BARB I have no idea. Jack returns with another gift. JACK This is the new Bibler Fitzroy three-person tent with UV-film windows. And it weighs less than seven pounds. PEPIN J.W.!! No way! Nick, this is great tent! NICK Dad! Come on! This is too much! PEPIN Stop whining. We talked about replacing the old Kelty with that extra money, anyway. BARB See? Now you can get something else with that money. Maybe something that Kate would like. Nick's head falls to his hands in embarrassment. Kate appears to be amused and touched by this, as she has been for most of the evening. Barb turns to Kate. BARB Occasionally I seem to embarrass my son. (excited) C'mon. I want to show you some pictures of Nicholas and Walter when they were kiddos. Once again Nick is embarrassed as Barb leads Kate away. INT. JACK AND BARB'S DINING ROOM - NIGHT We SEE everyone enjoying themselves at dinner, laughing and talking. Kate is more relaxed and involved. INT. VAN - NIGHT Nick is driving, Kate is up front and Pepin is in back. KATE Your parents are so cute! NICK They're a handful. Sometimes I think dad wishes he could retire and travel with us. KATE I know! He knows about everyone you play against! I love how into it they are. Nick pulls the van over in front of Kate's place. NICK So, you don't need to do anything with your stuff before we leave? KATE This is my aunt's house. All she asked me to do was send her postcards. NICK Well then, we're off to Big D tomorrow! Pick you up at ten in the morning? KATE I'll be on the curb. Kate gets out. We SEE Kate watching the van pull away with a "what have I gotten myself into" look. EXT. KIRBY'S APARTMENT - DAY Kate sees their van as she exits her apartment. She walks up to the van with her two bags, peeks in the passenger window, then hesitantly knocks on it. The sliding door opens up and Pepin reaches for her bags. PEPIN I'll take those, madam. KATE (peers in the van) Where do I go? PEPIN You'll be back here for orientation. EXT. OPEN HIGHWAY - DAY - AERIAL SHOT - VAN INT. VAN - DAY Pepin is driving. Nick is showing Kate things on a laptop in the back. NICK Here are the bars with money games and money players, our win-loss stats at each bar, top opponents, who's beaten us... KATE Isn't this a bit of overkill? PEPIN (O.S.) Kate, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer! KATE Let me guess, "THE GODFATHER?" NICK Actually, I think Cat Stevens said it first. (hits a key) This is a complete listing of every area of trivia that we've researched. Pepin catalogues all of this for us. It's fairly straightforward. KATE So you research things? Like what? NICK We keep a list of stuff we come across that we either don't know much about, or think we could improve on. Other than that, you can read up on anything that interests you. Things you never had a chance to learn about before because you didn't have the time. KATE I've always wanted know more about secret societies. NICK Excellent subject. At Franklin's we'll download a bunch of good websites and you can have it. KATE (points) What's this list? What's the powder of sympathy? NICK It was a quack medicinal powder that a Frenchman came up with in the mid-seventeenth century. PEPIN They thought it could heal wounds from a distance by applying the powder to anything that had touched the wound. NICK It was even proposed as a viable method for calculating longitude at sea... those crazy French. KATE Is this like an inventory of rare and unusual trivia? NICK That's the beauty of trivia. It includes everything that can be known, from the mundane to the bizarre. We like to consider ourselves a trivia think tank. It's a lot of fun. You're gonna love it. PEPIN We're passing through Killeen! NICK (excited) Have you ever been to Fort Hood? KATE Can't say that I have. NICK The second Armored Division that fought in World War II has its museum here. It was awarded seven French Croix de Guerres, and was the first ever foreign division to be given the Fourragere of Belgium! PEPIN Patton called the division, "hell on wheels!" KATE Wow. Nick is oblivious to the fact that her "wow" is directed at them and not the history of Fort Hood. Nick pulls out a small, worn, wooden box and opens it. NICK We got pictures of when we were at the museum. Nick pulls out a stack of pictures and starts leafing through them as Kate looks curiously in the box. KATE What is all this stuff? NICK Texas history. (points in the box) That's a Comanche arrowhead found near Leander, possibly used in Webster Massacre of 1839. And that's a used cartridge from a forty-four caliber, six-shot Walker Model Colt revolver, the sidearm our Texas Rangers used. Kate pulls a small piece of paper out of the box. KATE What's this? NICK That's our mission statement. KATE (reads the paper) We, the people of this van, through the pursuit of knowledge, seek a better understanding of this world. We also play a lot of trivia. Nick holds out a photo for Kate. NICK Here's Pepin with an M-four tank at Fort Hood. KATE (studies the photo) What's he doing? NICK He's standing down the tank, just like Li Lu at Tiananmen Square. (gives her other photos) These pictures chronicle every place that we've been in Texas. Here we are at Bonnie Parker's gravesite. And there we are in front of the giant statue of Sam Houston in Huntsville. KATE What's on Pepin's face? NICK He has a fear of oversized objects. A sixty-six foot Sam Houston makes him a little jumpy, so I had to blindfold him to get him next to the statue for the picture. KATE I've never heard of anybody having a phobia of oversized objects. NICK Well, then you've never tried to get Pepin into a Big Boy. KATE But a statue can be any size, so this isn't really an oversized object. NICK You're preaching to the choir, but you're also trying to apply logic to a phobia... How about you? Any phobias we should be aware of? KATE The only thing that scares the hell out of me is the fact that cockroaches can fly. Nick laughs. We SEE Nick handing her photos as Kate learns more and more about these two unusual individuals she's traveling with. EXT. OPEN HIGHWAY - DAY - AERIAL SHOT - VAN CAMERA PANS up to the Dallas, Texas skyline. EXT. RESENDENTIAL STREET - DAY We SEE the van pull into the driveway of a nice house. INT. BOBBY FRANKLIN'S HOME - DAY The three enter with bags in hand. Nick picks up a note on a table next to the door and reads it. NICK Franklin's having his usual Friday night soiree. He wants us to hang out here after the game because he's leaving town in the morning. KATE There's a game tonight? PEPIN A huge one. You ready? KATE No, I'm not. All of sudden I'm nervous. PEPIN That's good! Use it! KATE I'm not ready. It's my first day. NICK Don't worry about it. It's not like at your bar. At Maxwell's guy makes up his own questions every week. We know what to expect. KATE You mean you already know what kinds of questions he gonna ask? NICK We have detailed files. INT. MAXWELL'S - NIGHT Nick and Pepin shake hands with people they know as the three of them make their way to a table. PEPIN The whole gang's here tonight! George, Cindy, Rob. There's Scott. NICK You know, Scott's baby is due in six weeks. We need to find out where they're registered. KATE Who's Scott? PEPIN He's the manager here who writes the questions. KATE So, his wife is expecting. What else is in his file? NICK Born in Houston, the youngest of three boys. Got a tennis scholarship to SMU, but gave that up his sophomore year. PEPIN Spent his junior year abroad in Ireland, which really hasn't manifested itself so far. NICK I know. We keep expecting some good Irish trivia. KATE So, what does he ask about? PEPIN It's a mixed bag. He's a huge Cowboys fan, astronomy, shipwrecks, the middle names of famous people. NICK He has a penchant for Nobel Prize winners and famous cathedrals. His dad was an architect. PEPIN He loves sci-fi novels, and birds. Does he still collect those little ceramic birds? NICK I think so. (to Kate) You're more than welcome to read his file. MED. SHOT - SCOTT We SEE SCOTT with a mike up on a stage in the corner. SCOTT Trivia will start in ten minutes. ANGLE ON PEPIN, NICK AND KATE PEPIN I'll go get our sheet. Pepin exits. KATE What's he getting? NICK Scott calls out the questions over the P.A. and we write down the answers on a form, then we turn it in and they announce the winners. First place gets a hundred bucks and second get fifty. KATE How often do you win? NICK We're going for seventeen in a row at Maxwell's. Pepin returns with an answer sheet and a pencil. PEPIN George wants to play winner takes all. What do you think? NICK I think it's reckless and unwise, on his part. We can't do it if he's been drinking. PEPIN I asked. He's on his first beer. KATE What's winner takes all? PEPIN In the event that our two teams finish first and second, the winner takes all the money. KATE I say we go for it! NICK An hour ago you didn't even want to be here. KATE An hour ago I didn't know that number seventeen was on the line! PEPIN I think she's gonna fit right in. NICK Go tell George it's on. KATE Does George have a file on Scott? ANGLE ON NICK, PEPIN AND KATE The game is almost over and the trio is huddled over their answer sheet in a lively discussion. PEPIN I don't want to alarm anybody, but I'm pretty sure that coffee is a chief crop of the Ivory Coast. NICK (stares at Pepin) That's quite possibly the most alarming thing you could have said. KATE Should we go with coffee instead of rice? NICK The Ivory Coast IS right next to Ghana. PEPIN Let's switch it. (writes answer) What do we have left? NICK (reads from pad) In a formal place setting, what is the only fork that can be placed to the right of the service plate? KATE Okay, we've got the salad fork, the meat fork, and the dessert fork. PEPIN Doesn't the dessert fork come out with dessert? KATE I know it! It's the... Pepin quickly covers her mouth with his hand before she yells the answer for all to hear. Pepin slowly removes his hand. Kate has an apologetic look, then whispers. KATE It's the oyster fork. NICK The little fork for shellfish? KATE It goes outside all the spoons. PEPIN Are you positive? KATE (worried look) I used to work at a country club. I'm fairly positive. PEPIN I can live with that. Pepin takes the answer sheet up. Noticing her anxiety about the game, Nick gives Kate an encouraging hug. MED. SHOT - SCOTT standing on the stage with the results of the game. SCOTT Well, if you hadn't noticed, Nick and Pepin are back in town. You came close, George, but you'll have to settle for second best tonight. We HEAR sounds of expected disappointment and some cheering from the bar. We SEE Kate scream with joy and surprise. Nick and Pepin nod and smile at each other. KATE We won! That was so exciting! My heart is racing! PEPIN We'll celebrate Kate's first win back at Franklin's! INT. FRANKLIN'S HOUSE - NIGHT It's a party scene with people in their late twenties. MUSIC is playing. We SEE BOBBY FRANKLIN talking to friends. Upon seeing Nick, Pepin and Kate return from Maxwell's, Franklin comes over to give them a big welcome. Tipsy, Nick swings his arm around Franklin. FRANKLIN You made it! How'd you do tonight? NICK We cleaned house, thanks to Kate. Kate this is Franklin, a true patron of trivia and those who toil in trivia. FRANKLIN (extends his hand) So you're the newest addition to the brain trust. I hope you know what you're getting into. KATE It's becoming clearer by the minute. You have a great house. FRANKLIN Thanks. If these guys didn't tell you, make yourself at home here. Nothing's off limits. House rule. MED. SHOT - KATE in the kitchen later in the evening, pouring herself a glass of wine. Nick enters in the kitchen. NICK Whatcha got there? KATE Franklin asked me to open up some more wine, so I thought I'd try this cabernet. Nick studies the wine label for a second, then closes his eyes and deeply inspires the wine's bouquet. NICK Sonoma Coast. Bottled in 2000. 2000 was a very good year. Sequencing of the human genome was completed. Nine more planets outside our solar system were discovered. Fusaichi Pegasus won the Kentucky Derby in two minutes, one point one two seconds. KATE (amazed) I should drink more wine. Nick snaps out of his reminiscing trance when Pepin pokes his head in the kitchen, a towel wrapped around his bathing suit, dripping with water. PEPIN Nick! I need you out here, chief. Somebody wants to race. Pepin disappears. KATE What is he doing? NICK He's gonna race someone to see who can swim the farthest distance underwater. Nick slowly gets up to go outside. Kate follows. KATE What are you, the official judge? NICK No, it's just that you have to hold your breath the whole time, and sometimes Pepin keeps swimming until he passes out. So I like to be there in case I have to pull him out of the pool and get him breathing again. Kate stops in her tracks in utter shock and disbelief. EXT. FRANKLIN'S BACK YARD - NIGHT Several people with cocktails are outside to watch the race. Nick, followed by Kate, walks out to find Pepin's challenger, a tipsy COLE, talking trash. COLE (to a friend) Watch me whip trivia boy, here! PEPIN What the hell is that supposed to mean?! COLE (mockingly) It means that the atomic weight of hydrogen can't help you now. NICK Actually, depending on your body mass index, it could give Pepin a slight advantage. COLE Look, it's trivia boy's sidekick! Why don't you get a job! PEPIN (to himself) That's it. Fed up with Cole, Pepin lunges and punches him in face, sending him to the ground with a bloody nose. As Cole scrambles to retaliate Franklin grabs him. Nick grabs Pepin and directs him inside. Pepin is unaffected by what just happened. PEPIN Wait, we haven't raced yet. NICK I don't think Franklin wants blood in his pool. PEPIN Get the medical kit. I'll fix him right up. INT. FRANKLIN'S BATHROOM Nick is attending to a cut on Pepin's knuckles as Kate watches. Franklin shows up the door. FRANKLIN Sorry about Cole. He can be an asshole when he drinks. PEPIN Is he okay? FRANKLIN Yeah, he just left. How about you? PEPIN It's not my trivia hand. EXT. FRANKLIN'S BACK YARD - DAY Pepin is swimming while Kate sips iced tea in the shade. Nick emerges from the house carrying something. NICK Hey buddy, I picked up something for you this morning. Nick holds up a new fishing tackle box as Pepin scrambles out the pool and runs over to him. PEPIN No way!! KATE No running! PEPIN This is awesome! Thanks, partner. (gives Nick a wet hug; turns to Kate) Isn't he awesome?! I'm gonna go switch our tackle out right now! Pepin takes the tackle box and leaves Nick holding his wet shirt in disbelief as Kate laughs. Nick sits. KATE That was really nice of you. NICK I saw him drooling over it in the store, but he never buys anything for himself. KATE You're like an old married couple. NICK We've talked about divorce, but at our age, what's the use. KATE It must be hard for you guys to date... with your traveling, I mean. NICK That, and the fact that we don't date. KATE You don't date? Ever? NICK I consider myself unavailable, and Pepin fancies himself undatable. KATE Undatable? What does that mean? NICK Well, after several courageous attempts to make a relationship work, all ending in failure, Pepin decided that he's not a good candidate for dating. KATE Maybe it's his platform. How about you? What's your platform? NICK Never had a platform. I've always been a write-in vote. (eyes his watch) Are you ready to go? KATE Go where? NICK Field trip. EXT. FAIR PARK AQUARIUM - DAY - ESTABLISHING INT. AQUARIUM - SERIES OF SHOTS We SEE Pepin doing most of the talking, pointing out fish in different tanks to Nick and Kate. The three are thoroughly enjoying themselves. Nick takes pictures with their digital camera of Pepin and Kate in front of fish tanks. Nick has his beef jerky. EXT. AQUARIUM - DAY - MED. SHOT - NICK, PEPIN, KATE are walking back to the van. Pepin has their backpack. KATE That was so much fun! I wanna research some of the fish we saw... and the coral! PEPIN We've got some aquatic life data on file, but it could use a woman's touch. KATE I'm starting to feel useful. Is there another game tonight? NICK We've got the night off. Pepin is going to prepare a gourmet meal for us, and I'm making margaritas. KATE What's my job? Pepin puts his arm around Kate's shoulder. PEPIN You, special K, are going to teach us all about the beauty and diversity of life under the sea. INT. FRANKLIN'S KITCHEN - NIGHT Pepin is tending to dinner, Nick is making margaritas, and Kate is sitting with a laptop at the counter. Pepin gives Kate a spoonful of something to taste. PEPIN What do you think? KATE It's great! What's it called? PEPIN (in his best Italian accent) Filetto Di Pomadoro!! KATE What is that? PEPIN (shrugs) Tomato sauce. NICK First batch is ready. Nick hands out margaritas. Kate points to the laptop. KATE Here's something cool. This sea cucumber can eviscerate its digestive and respiratory tracts to give its predator an easy meal while it crawls to safety and regenerates its lost organs. NICK Isn't there a superhero that can do that? ANGLE ON KATE, NICK, AND PEPIN enjoying their meal and drinks in the kitchen. EXT. FRANKLIN'S POOL DECK - NIGHT Kate has her legs in the pool. Nick and Pepin are in lounge chairs. Nick has his jerky. They're all still drinking, but aren't too drunk. KATE This is so liberating! I'm having a blast! NICK We're living the dream! How many individuals truly find their niche in life, Kate? PEPIN Kate, for all the people out there getting beaten down by life, who think it's too late for them to break out of the routine that has become their existence... for them, we can't do a damn thing. So Nick and I just do whatever makes us happy. NICK We've been blessed with a calling. PEPIN Hey! There's Venus! KATE Where? PEPIN Just above the live oak. CLOSEUP - KATE looking up at the sky and smiling. We HEAR Nick and Pepin AD LIB about Venus as Kate's gaze turns to them. She studies them thoughtfully with a smile. INT. FRANKLIN'S KITCHEN - PEPIN - DAY Pepin is cooking breakfast. Kate walks in. We HEAR Nick yelling something in the other room. KATE Who's he talking to? PEPIN He's just yelling at a commercial. KATE Oh... so, how did you get the name Pepin? PEPIN It's from Pepin the Short, Charlemagne's father. He ruled the Franks from 751 to 768. We were playing back in college and I missed a couple of questions on the Merovingians after I had just taken a French history course. After that, I had a nickname... I hope you like migas. Pepin puts a plate of migas in front of Kate and himself and a grapefruit in front of Nick's chair. KATE Nick doesn't like migas? PEPIN He loves migas. But it's a game day, so he gets half a grapefruit and two breakfast bars. (sees Nick enter) Hurry up and eat. You've gotta be on the field in an hour. Nick is standing at the kitchen door wearing a complete rugby uniform, his head bound in athletic tape to cover his ears and black paint under his eyes. EXT. RUGBY FIELD - DAY - ESTABLISHING SHOT MED. SHOT - PEPIN AND KATE standing on the sidelines watching Nick play rugby. Pepin is snapping pictures as he screams at Nick while Kate is visibly distraught by the game's violence. PEPIN Come on, Nick! Get outside! Get outside! (to Kate) He needs to get outside. KATE He needs to get off the field. MED. SHOT - PEPIN AND NICK standing on the sidelines. Nick is winded, holding a water bottle. Pepin douses his head with another water bottle, wiping his face with a towel and coaching him, much like a boxer's manager between rounds. PEPIN You're looking good in there. Try to get outside faster on scrums. They're leaving a lane wide open down the left side. And their halfback is favoring his right ankle. One good hit and you can take that bastard out of the game. (looks past Nick) Okay, they're lining up. Let's go! Go! Go! Go! Pepin is yelling as Nick runs back on the field. KATE Did you just tell him to injure someone? PEPIN No. That guy's already injured. INT. FRANKLIN'S HOUSE - DAY Pepin helps a sore, battered Nick into a chair in the kitchen. Kate hands Nick a dishtowel with ice in it. NICK Thanks. PEPIN I'll get the peroxide. We've gotta get you cleaned up for the conference tomorrow. KATE What conference? INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY Nick, Pepin and Kate enter a large conference room filled with tables. A lunch buffet is set up at the back of the room and a platform is at the front. People are quietly conversing and sitting down as the first lecturer welcomes everyone. Nick and Pepin, in shirts and ties, and Kate, in a skirt and blouse, blend right in. Pepin waves to TOM, who approaches. PEPIN Hey, Tom. How's third year treating you? TOM It's rough. I'm on medicine right now. PEPIN You look tired. Hang in there. (turns to Kate) Nice kid. We took endocrinology together in the spring. NICK You went to four classes. PEPIN I aced the final. MED. SHOT - NICK AND KATE listening to a lecture. Everyone has gone through the buffet, but a few people are still socializing. KATE Don't they care that we're not supposed to be here? We didn't pay for our food. NICK The drug companies pay for the food. Besides, the reps all think Pepin's a student. Pepin is visibly upset when sits down with them. PEPIN There's a guy here who works at Barnes and Noble. NICK Really? Who? PEPIN Nick, he's not in the medical profession. What's he doing here? NICK I have no idea. PEPIN (watching the guy) He's not even paying attention to the lecture. I'm gonna talk to him during the break. NICK Please don't. ANGLE ON PEPIN briskly walking through the crowd during a lecture break. He approaches the IMPOSTER at the buffet. PEPIN What are you doing here? IMPOSTER Getting lunch. PEPIN You're not supposed to be in this room. IMPOSTER Dude, it's cool. I know a student. PEPIN Are you here with that student? IMPOSTER (sly smile) No. But I'm about to ask her out. PEPIN This is an oncology conference, not a singles bar. I'm gonna have to ask you to leave. IMPOSTER Get out of my face, man! The imposter pushes Pepin, who is trying to lead him out of the room by the arm. Nick comes up behind Pepin and pulls him away before he can retaliate. PEPIN Step away from the buffet! (to the room) THIS MAN IS AN IMPOSTER! Nick guides Pepin to the exit, seemingly unaffected by Pepin's outburst. They enter a hallway and leave. NICK All right. We got a couple of good lectures in. KATE I don't understand. We weren't supposed to be there either. He was just eating. Pepin, calming down, straightens his tie and fixes his hair. Nick rubs Pepin on the back to sooth him. PEPIN It's not about the food. It's about better prevention and increased awareness of rectal cancer. NICK I know, buddy. You just need to reel it in a little bit sometimes. PEPIN Sorry about that, gang. It just hit a nerve. NICK Forget about it. Let's go over to the Frontiers of Flight Museum and take those photos of the radioman's chair that was on the Hindenburg. You've been wanting to do that. PEPIN (eyes light up) Yeah! Pepin slaps Nick on the back as the three walk off, the incident that just happened already well in the past. EXT. OPEN HIGHWAY - DAY - AERIAL SHOT - VAN INT. VAN - DAY Pepin is driving. Kate is on a laptop while Nick studies one of the many maps that hang on the inside wall of the van, chewing his jerky. NICK So the migratory path you're describing would enter the Norwegian Sea from the south. PEPIN Fairfield, Texas! Nick, show Kate your award. NICK She doesn't want to see that. KATE Wait. I wanna see your award. PEPIN C'mon, Nick. Show her the certificate. Kate, have you ever been to the annual peach festival here in Fairfield? KATE No. What certificate? Nick shyly hands Kate a certificate he has just pulled out of a storage bin in the van. PEPIN Kate, you are looking at not only the current reigning champion, but also the all-time record holder in the Fairfield annual peach festival peach pit-spitting contest! KATE (laughs) You're kidding! NICK We're just ironing out the wrinkles in my Nike contract. KATE You got the record? NICK Yeah. It was a complete fluke. PEPIN It was the most staggering display of untapped talent I have ever witnessed! EXT. CAMPSITE - DAY Nick and Kate are pitching a tent. Pepin emerges from the van with the fishing gear and the new tackle box. PEPIN In honor of the maiden voyage of my new tackle box and the man who made it all possible, I would like for Nicholas Emery Ward to pick out the lure I will use to catch tonight's dinner on Lake Houston. Pepin opens the box as Nick comes over. Kate follows. NICK How did you arrange them? PEPIN (points out each section of lures) Bass, catfish, crappie, salmon. KATE Salmon in Texas? PEPIN It was an impulse buy. NICK (points to a lure) How about this spinnerbait? PEPIN Excellent choice. KATE Can I pick out the next one? Pepin slams the box shut, causing Kate to quickly withdraw her hand. Nick turns to Kate. NICK It's bad luck to pick out a second lure before you need it. KATE I wouldn't have pegged you two as superstitious. PEPIN My mother was a Buddhist and my father was Irish catholic, so I was raised to respect all the superstitions of the world. C'mon, lets go fishing. Nick will finish setting up camp. Pepin heads for the lake with Kate following. KATE That doesn't seem fair to Nick. PEPIN Watch this. (turns around) Hey, Nick! You might want to chop up those carrots and chives for dinner! NICK (excited) Pepper-glazed fish tonight! PEPIN (to Kate) It's his favorite. EXT. LAKE HOUSTON - DAY - ESTABLISHING MED. SHOT - PEPIN AND KATE are lakeside. Pepin is fishing as Kate looks on. KATE Zurich? That's incredible. Could you still go if you wanted to? PEPIN I don't know. KATE Zoology. What was the attraction? PEPIN Studying the behavior of the two-toed sloth seemed like a good idea at the time. KATE Does that mean it's no longer a good idea? PEPIN Not at all. In fact, it's still one of the best ideas I've ever had. KATE But, trivia came calling. PEPIN She's a harsh mistress. KATE What were you going to study in Zurich? PEPIN Red-capped mangabeys. Beautiful creatures. They have four of them at the zoo here in Houston. KATE Can we go see them? PEPIN We have to. I made a promise. KATE To Nick? PEPIN No, the mangabeys. INT. VAN - DAY Pepin is driving. The three of them are conversing. NICK All kinds of people. A sociology professor travel with us for a month. Wrote a paper about us. PEPIN We had an ex-Branch Davidian member on the team. KATE A survivor?! PEPIN No. He was supposed to be in Waco when the ATF arrived, but he missed his bus. NICK Remember the Turkish fortuneteller? She would read palms after all our games... made a killing. KATE Did she read your future? PEPIN I die in the year 2053. KATE What about you? NICK I die on Tuesday. PEPIN We had a practicing Muslim once. He was a damn good player and a virtuous Muslim. NICK Never missed a Salat. If we were traveling, we'd pull the van over and he'd get out and pray. That's dedication. PEPIN Yeah, but when the virtuous Muslim dies he spends eternity in the company of beautiful virgin women. NICK Do you think they have an endless supply of virgins, or are some of them getting recycled? I wouldn't want to end up with virgins who had already spent time in the paradises of other guys that couldn't get anywhere with them. KATE (agreeing) You want fresh virgins who will put out. NICK Kate, you make it sound so seedy. I just would want everyone in my eternity to enjoy themselves. KATE Pepin, you come from a Buddhist- Catholic home. Nothing stuck? PEPIN Only my occasional episodes of passive aggressiveness. NICK I used to talk to Pepin's mom about Buddhism all the time. I agree that there's no ultimate reality in life, but instead of focusing on its misery and decay, why not have fun with life. PEPIN (lighthearted laugh) I remember when Nick said the very same words to my mother. Two weeks later she filed for a divorce. KATE Are you serious? NICK It was exactly what she needed to hear and you know it. PEPIN I know, but you could've at least waited until the party was over. KATE What party? Pepin It was my ninth birthday. Nick shrugs as Kate laughs and slaps him on the arm. INT. BLUES - NIGHT Nick, Pepin, and Kate are at a table in a crowded bar. Kate is now in charge of writing down the answers. Nick is visibly frustrated, chewing on his jerky. NICK So this is what we're reduced to? Trick questions? You see, this is how it starts. PEPIN How what starts? NICK The dumbing down of America. KATE So, what's the answer? PEPIN The answer is no U.S. President has ever been an only child. Pepin glances at the answer sheet as Kate writes the answer, then takes a closer look. PEPIN You're right, Cash. She does have outstanding penmanship. ANNOUNCER (V.O.) Final question. What was the original name for the soft drink Pepsi-Cola? KATE (leans in) Brad's Drink. Nick and Pepin exchange surprised, but pleased looks. NICK I don't recall the history of carbonated beverages being on your list of strengths. (beat) What was Dr Pepper's very first campaign slogan? KATE "King of Beverages." And, if I'm not mistaken, they used a lion for the ad campaign's visual. Nick eyes Pepin with amazement, then turns to Kate. NICK What year did... PEPIN (interrupting) Okay, that's enough. Obviously she's a Pepper, too. Let's review our answers and turn them in. ANGLE ON NICK AND KATE with troubled looks on their faces, anxiously listening to the trivia announcer give the correct answers. Pepin hurriedly returns to the table. PEPIN We're tied with Jose and Beth. They got that Fleetwood Mac question right. KATE It all comes down to one question. Let's hope they failed the Pepsi challenge. ANNOUNCER (V.O.) For the last question, the original name for Pepsi-Cola was Brad's Drink. Pepin, Kate, Nick all look over to see Jose and Beth's reaction to the last answer as we HEAR various reactions from the rest of the bar. NICK They missed it! Pepin hugs Kate, then raises his hands in the air and does an Al Michaels' "miracle on ice" impression. PEPIN Do you believe in miracles?! EXT. BLUES - NIGHT Nick, Pepin, and Kate exit the bar still celebrating. KATE We haven't lost yet this week! We own Houston! NICK We're gonna have to start paying taxes. KATE Are we stargazing tonight? PEPIN If by "gazing" you mean an intense exploration of the night sky, then yes. But we can't stay up too late. We've got a big day manana. NICK What? PEPIN It's a surprise. INT. MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS - DAY Pepin, Nick, and Kate are in line for admission. Nick is engrossed in a museum pamphlet. NICK Braque. Feininger. Gris! I can't believe it! How did I not know about this?! Nick looks around, then excitedly hurries off while Pepin keeps an eye on him. Kate is thoroughly amused. KATE How cute! He's so excited. PEPIN I've been hiding this exhibit from him as a surprise. He's a fanatic about cubism. (eyes Nick) What's he doing? You'd better go keep an eye on him. He gets so worked up sometimes he becomes completely oblivious. The last time we were here I found him in early Renaissance giving a guided tour. By the time I pulled him away from the group they all thought he was being fired. Go on. I'll catch up to you. INT. MUSEUM GALLERY - MED. SHOT - PEPIN rounds a corner, scanning the large gallery. He sees Nick and Kate and stops to observe, noticing the close body language between the two and smiling. PEPIN'S POV - NICK AND KATE Nick is animatedly pointing out aspects of a painting with one hand, his other arm held by a captivated Kate. Pepin walks up beside them while Nick is still talking. NICK Initially he painted her sitting down, but then he brushed over that and painted her standing. PEPIN I thought you might need this. Pepin produces Nick's art notebook from their backpack. Nick takes it with a big smile. NICK You had this planned the whole time, you bastard. PEPIN Come on. Give us the guided tour. Kate hooks her other arm under Pepin's and the three of them walk off with Kate in the middle. EXT. CAMPSITE - DAY Pepin and Nick are goofing off while preparing for dinner by the fire. Kate walks over from the van with a look of shock. Nick and Pepin are laughing. KATE Uh, guys? Why are there eulogies and obituaries written for both of you in that computer? Pepin casually answers as they keep working. PEPIN You have no idea who might end up in charge of those things when you die. NICK Who better than your closest friend to honor you in death? Dumbfounded by their casual attitudes, she hesitates. KATE You're in your twenties. Unless there's a batch of Kool-Aid around here I don't know about, you've still got a few years ahead of you. NICK Of course. We just update them as we go. PEPIN It's much safer this way. I mean, if Nick were to die tomorrow, I would be in no condition to prepare his eulogy or his obituary, and yet I have been entrusted with realizing his memorial. That's not a responsibility I'm willing to leave to last minute. Kate laughs to herself, realizing that they've given her a pretty good explanation. KATE I am so glad that I already know you guys, because, anyone else, and I would be very... but, with you two, this seems, somehow completely understandable and, almost sweet. NICK We'd be more than happy to get those started for you. KATE Thanks, but I think hold off on those for a while. PEPIN I'm gonna run down to the lake and try to find a boat for tomorrow. We'll start dinner when I get back. Nick decides to have a little fun at Kate's expense. NICK If you're not back by morning I'll send your obituary to the paper. PEPIN Not before you tack on all my accomplishments of the past month. NICK Of course! Pepin walks off. Nick stokes the fire. KATE You know, when I asked how long you'd known each other, Pepin said that you met in high school, but your mother showed me pictures of both of you when you were five. NICK Yeah, well, when you tell people that you were sharing bottles of Gerber applesauce at six months, they tend to get apprehensive about joining the team. So we just say high school. KATE Don't you ever get tired of being together all the time? You'd have to get on each other's nerves at some point. NICK Sure, we get frustrated with each other at times. But, we know our gripes and habits so well, I guess we've adjusted to them. KATE Well, at least you've successfully adjusted to each other. I'm not so sure how you're doing with the rest of the world. NICK Pepin likes to compare our situation to that of zoo animals. We've adapted to a compressed territory in which all our needs are met. KATE You do the accounting. He catches dinner. NICK We take turns polishing the good silver. KATE I've never been fishing before. I wanna learn how. NICK C'mon. I show you how to set up a rig, then we'll practice casting. ANGLE ON NICK AND KATE Nick and Kate are sitting by the tackle box at the campsite. Nick is patiently showing her how to tie a lure to the line. Then we SEE Nick behind Kate helping her cast a dummy lure over the ground. They are enjoying themselves and appear to very comfortable being close to each other. EXT. HOUSTON ZOO - DAY Nick, Kate and Pepin approach the admission gate. Pepin pays for Kate. Nick has his jerky. PEPIN Hey, Shaquita. We have a guest with us today. NICK (to Kate) This won't be like your other zoo outings. Feel free to ask him questions, but not too many. We're driving to Austin today. Nick and Kate follow Pepin, who excitedly leads. Pepin approaches DANA, a zoo guide exiting the koala habitat. PEPIN Dana, any luck with Vanda Lu yet? DANA No. We're still on baby watch. How have you guys been? PEPIN Great! We came by to hi to everyone. DANA Go see the wolf cubs. They're growing up so fast! Dana walks off as Pepin leads Kate and Nick on. PEPIN They loaned San Diego a Bengal tiger for a female koala. They're hoping she'll get pregnant. KATE Vanda Lu is the female? PEPIN It means beautiful in Aborigine. ANGLE ON PEPIN, NICK, AND KATE approaching the Mexican wolves enclosure. PEPIN Canis lupus baileyi. The Native American story of the Paiutes credits the wolf and his helper, the coyote, with earth's creation. KATE Who knew that coyotes were so helpful? PEPIN It's a side of them their prey rarely get to see. ANGLE ON PEPIN, NICK AND KATE in front of the mangabeys enclosure. Pepin excitedly talks about his favorite primates. PEPIN ... very strict social order. When the dominant male or female passes by the others, they'll present their backs to them out of respect. LONG SHOT - PEPIN, NICK, AND KATE From the opposite side of the enclosure we SEE Pepin pointing things out about the mangabeys. EXT. MANGABEYS' ENCLOSURE - DAY Pepin, Nick, Kate, and a employee friend interact with the mangabeys in an area off limits to the general public. Nick takes pictures of Kate with a mangabey. INT. ZOO REPTILE HOUSE - DAY Nick is casually walking around looking at snakes. Pepin, standing uneasily in front of a snake enclosure, motions for Nick to come over. Pepin speaks quietly. PEPIN Nick, I don't want to alarm anybody, but there is a small gap in the glass frame enclosing the naja pallida. NICK I don't know the Latin names. PEPIN Vipera sputatio. NICK More Latin does not help me. PEPIN (slowly) Right behind me. Nick looks through the glass and recognizes the snake. NICK The red spitting cobra? PEPIN Shhhhh. We don't want to cause a panic. NICK First of all, if you don't want to cause a panic, then don't say the word panic in the snake house. Now, what is the problem, exactly? PEPIN For some, seemingly implausible reason, there is about a half centimeter gap in the lower right corner between the glass and the wall. Normally, that wouldn't bother me, but this particular exhibit is home to a snake capable of spitting venom through said gap. NICK I can't believe that. Let me see. PEPIN (shocked) Are you crazy? I'm not letting you expose your eyes to it. I have to stay here and keep it covered. You go find Dana, or Russell, and tell them about this crisis. NICK It's not a crisis, okay. Just act casual. And don't talk to anyone. Kate walks up with a worried, wary look. KATE What's going on with you two? I don't like the way you're acting. Nick starts to lead Kate away from Pepin and the exhibit to explain the situation. NICK Everything's fine. Pepin is concerned about... ANGLE ON PEPIN A WOMAN and her ten-year-old son approach the cobra enclosure. The boy is trying to look around Pepin, who is partially blocking the view. WOMAN (very polite) Do you mind moving over so my son can see the snake better? PEPIN That's not a good idea, ma'am. Pepin covers the child's ears with his hands and leans towards the woman to whisper to her. PEPIN You see, there's a small gap... TWO SHOT - NICK AND KATE NICK I'll go find someone. You stay here and make sure the wheels don't come off the wagon. Nick looks over at Pepin with dread. NICK What's he doing? NICK'S POV - PEPIN AND THE WOMAN WOMAN (screams) Oh my god! CLOSE SHOT - NICK NICK So much for that plan. EXT. ZOO REPTILE HOUSE - DAY People are rushing out of the reptile house. We HEAR screaming about loose snakes. We SEE Nick, Kate, and Pepin emerge amidst the hysteria with their heads bowed. A ZOO EMPLOYEE running to see what's going on recognizes Nick and Pepin and hurries over to them. ZOO EMPLOYEE Pepin, what the hell's going on? NICK We think someone accidentally caused a little panic. KATE No snakes are loose, but you might wanna check out the spitting cobra. EXT. ZOO PARKING LOT - DAY Nick, Pepin and Kate are walking back to the van. NICK You can't cause a panic like that, Pepin! People could have been injured! It's like yelling fire in a theater! PEPIN First of all, I had the fire contained. Second of all, I merely whispered fire. Nick laughs playfully beats Pepin's back. We HEAR more AD LIB scolding and laughing as they walk off. INT. VAN - DAY Nick is driving. Kate and Pepin are in back. NICK Our tour today will start at Rice University campus and take us all the way to Pilot Knob. In 1974 the Super Bowl was held at Rice Stadium, and if you look to your right... (looks right) ...you still won't be able to see it. On that very spot in 1952, evangelist Billy Graham, speaking to forty thousand people, called Houston, quote, a more wicked city than Hollywood. PEPIN In his defense, Salvador Dali had been vacationing in Houston earlier that year. NICK Coming up on our left is the former home of Brewster McCloud, and just beyond that lies a certain amusement park that refuses to acknowledge the seventh flag flown over this state. KATE What's he talking about? PEPIN For a few months in 1813 there was a seventh flag flown over Texas by the Republican Army of the North. We started a petition to get Six Flags to change its name, but the red tape was too thick. NICK That wasn't red tape, that was the run-around! EXT. MCKINNEY PARK - DAY - AERIAL SHOT - VAN The van rolls up to the campsite. MED. SHOT - NICK AND KATE unloading camping equipment from the van. Pepin is messing with the fishing gear. PEPIN Kate, you coming down to the creek? KATE Let me get the fire going for us, and then I'll meet you down there. PEPIN I'll be upstream from the trail. Walking off, Pepin smiles knowingly as he looks back at Nick and Kate going to work on the campsite together. EXT. JACK AND BARB'S HOUSE - DAY Barb opens the front door to Pepin's open arms. Always her bubbly self, she jumps forward to hug him. BARB Walter! You didn't call! How did you know I would be here? PEPIN I keep telling you, they planted a microchip in your filling. We always know where you are. BARB Oh, stop it! Is Nicholas getting your laundry? PEPIN Yeah, he's got a helper. BARB She's here?! Have you two been treating her like gentlemen? PEPIN She's doing great. After the first week you could barely hear her crying herself to sleep. BARB Walter! Make yourself useful and go get cokes for everyone. Pepin goes inside. Barb turns to see Nick carrying a laundry bag and, upon seeing Kate, looks concerned. BARB Kate! You look too thin! Have they been feeding you enough? Let me see you. Barb feels Kate's arms and shoulders. NICK Mom. Please. KATE I've never eaten this well in my life! They've ruined me for Ramen. BARB Are you just sick of fish? KATE Not at all. I mean, I don't order fish when we're out. But they prepare it so many different ways, it doesn't seem like the same food. BARB I'll take your word for it. C'mon. Walter's making refreshments. Barb ushers them in the door as she continues to speak. BARB You should make them cook pasta for you. I've given them scads of wonderful recipes... INT. JACK AND BARB'S LIVING ROOM - DAY Pepin enters with a tray of soft drinks. Barb takes the laundry from Nick and turns to Kate. BARB Now, dear, where is your laundry? NICK (tongue-in-cheek) We can't get her to change clothes. BARB (to Kate) How do you put up with this every day? You must be a saint. KATE Oh, they're harmless. I grew up with two older brothers. BARB Well, these two are a never-ending job. That reminds me. I've got something for you boys. Barb grabs a department store bag in the corner. BARB I put all your mail in here, too. Nicholas, I got you a pair of flannels, and five cottons. And Walter, I got you a six-pack in all different colors. (to Kate) Nicholas likes boxers, but Walter prefers the boxer briefs. PEPIN Barb! Kate tries to control her laughter in front of Barb. NICK (to Pepin) She can't be stopped. BARB Now, dear, where are your dirties? KATE Oh, that's okay. I'm taking them to my aunt's. BARB Don't make your sweet aunt do that! KATE I'm going to visit her anyway. BARB You don't want to have to worry about laundry during your visit. Bring it in and I'll have it ready when you all come back for dinner. Kate looks helplessly at Nick and Pepin. NICK Don't try to fight it. KATE Okay. I'll be right back. Kate runs out to the van. Barb smiles after her. BARB I am just in love with her! How is she doing with the money games? You're not pushing her too hard, I hope? NICK She's loves it. She's a natural. INT. THE LOON - NIGHT Kate and Pepin are both playing with trivia boxes while Nick sits between them with his jerky. The bar is crowded with trivia players. All three are focused on the trivia screen as they converse. KATE Pepin, we've got a twenty-eight point differential with only a 611 lead on third. You wanna split this one up if it looks ugly? PEPIN We'll let Cash make that call. They all read the last question on the screen. KATE I know this! I think it's four. NICK She's right. The Michelin Man's real name is Bibendum. Pepin and Kate laugh as they press the right answer and relax, knowing they just won. Nick chews his jerky. KATE Do you ever feel sorry for the other players? They give Kate a confused look. She gives a coy smile. KATE Me neither. They should know what they're getting into. Nick laughs and squeezes Kate with his arm. NICK Special K! You have to have a killer instinct in this game, and you've got it in spades. KATE I love the close games. It's like being in a chariot race with Ben Hur. All three are still laughing when Happy approaches their table. HAPPY So, you stole my secret weapon. PEPIN She's moved on to greener pastures, Happy. KATE I'm sorry, Jeff. But, as a woman, I have certain needs that have to be met. Kate, Nick, and Pepin laugh at their own jokes. Kate jumps up and grabs Happy's hand. KATE Jeff, we're just joshing you. How are you? Let us buy you a drink. PEPIN (gets up) It's time to pay Sam a visit. EXT. FRANKLIN'S POOL - DAY Pepin and Nick are poolside drinking lemonade. Pepin looks at his best friend for a moment before speaking. PEPIN I got a letter from Dr. Kinsley in that last batch of mail. Nick looks at Pepin, realizing the significant of the letter. NICK Where? PEPIN Zurich... the position is open again. He's giving me first shot at it... if I want it. NICK (excited) You never thought you'd get another chance at Zurich, and now you have it. You absolutely have to go! PEPIN I'd have to leave in December. NICK You realize that this will be our first Boxing Day apart. PEPIN Honestly. How do you feel about me going? NICK Honestly. I want you to go. I know you don't regret not going the first time, but I don't want you to pass it up this time. PEPIN What are you gonna do? NICK I guess I'll either keep playing trivia, or kill myself. One or the other. It's too early to say. PEPIN You'd have a damn good partner in Kate. NICK For trivia, or a double suicide? Pepin laughs at this. PEPIN This will be the longest period of time we've ever been apart. NICK It will take some getting used to... c'mon, I'll make sandwiches for lunch. They get up and Pepin throws his arm around Nick. PEPIN Maybe we should exchange email addresses. NICK I don't know. We barely have enough to talk to each other about as it is. INT. FRANKLIN'S KITCHEN - DAY Nick is making sandwiches while Pepin reads to him from a book. Kate enters in a robe, freshly showered. PEPIN ... so instead of using a wet nurse, affluent women had their babies suckle directly from asses' udders. At that time asses had a better moral reputation than goats. NICK Can you believe what passed for sound medical knowledge back then? PEPIN I know! The superior moral integrity of the goat is covered in the first week of medical school nowadays. (sees Kate) Special K! Just in time for lunch. NICK Kate, you should hear this now before you read about it in the tabloids. Pepin's been traded to another team. KATE (to Pepin) What is he talking about? PEPIN I'm taking a research position at Zoologischer Garten, the zoo in Zurich. Speechless, Kate looks back and forth at them both. KATE Since when was this a possibility? PEPIN Since you joined the team. Just kidding! I got a letter last week from my professor at UT about a spot opening up. I've discussed it with Nick, and I'm gonna take it. Kate walks over and gives Pepin a hug. KATE That's fantastic! This is a big deal. Are you two gonna be able to handle this? Nick and Pepin joke as if Kate's overreacting. NICK Of course. We're both adults. We're just no longer friends. PEPIN Exactly. That's all. KATE You joke now, but this is like separating the wonder twins. You could be powerless without each other. NICK That, or we've been holding each other back for twenty-six years. KATE When do you leave? PEPIN Mid-December. KATE You know what that means. We've only got one more lap around the track as a team. PEPIN She's right. We've gotta leave our mark. Rock the trivia world, old school! Let's go out with a bang! KATE Let's have lunch first. INT. SHARKY'S - NIGHT Nick, Pepin and Kate huddle over their answer sheet at a table in a crowded bar. Kate reads from her notes. KATE Our last question. What country's national flag has a red stripe through it featuring a famous structure found in that country? NICK Well, we can eliminate all the flags that don't have a red stripe. PEPIN Okay, that leaves us with just under 100 flags. How about we focus on flags that actually have a structure on them. NICK Isn't there a cathedral or a palace on the Vatican City flag? KATE I think that's just some papal insignia. PEPIN They were initially going to put the Basilica of Saint Peter on their flag, but that plan was aborted. KATE At least the Vatican aborted that plan during its first tribunal. With everyone laughing, Nick gets them back on track. NICK Hey! I got it! It's Cambodia's flag. The largest religious structure on earth is on that flag. PEPIN Cambodia has the killing fields on its flag? KATE (slaps Pepin's arm) Horrible joke! And were running out of time! (to Nick) You think Angkor Wat is on their flag? NICK I'm positive. Kate writes it down and hurries off with their answers. MED. SHOT - NICK, PEPIN, AND KATE awaiting the announcement of the winning team. NICK I think John's table beat us. PEPIN We'll never hear the end of it. KATE They've got ten people over there! That's not fair! PEPIN (admonishing) Kate, we act the same way in defeat as we do in victory. NICK That's right... like assholes. While they're laughing the winning team is announced. ANNOUNCER (V.O.) Tonight's contest was extremely close, but that's irrelevant. The winner is... team Plano! We HEAR a loud cheer from across the bar. PEPIN So much for the big bang theory. NICK We have to buy John a beer for this one. It was a well-played game. KATE Here he comes. JOHN, a fifty-something, jovial man, approaches the table with a beer in his hand and a big smile. JOHN Kathy said you were beatable, but I didn't believe her. Pepin shakes John's hand and slaps him on the back. PEPIN We couldn't have lost to a finer man, John! Remember this day, because it'll never happen again! They all laugh, John laughing the loudest. JOHN I don't doubt that! NICK John, you know we're losing Pepin next month. He's moving to Zurich. JOHN What?! What are you doing in Zurich? PEPIN I'll tell you all about it, but let's get you a victory beer first. EXT. OPEN HIGHWAY - DAY - AERIAL SHOT - VAN INT. VAN - DAY Pepin is driving. We HEAR Nick and Kate laugh as they watch a DVD on a laptop in the back. Pepin adjusts the rearview mirror to see Kate's head resting on Nick's shoulder. Pepin puts the mirror back and smiles. EXT. LAKE HOUSTON - DAY Pepin and Kate are fishing in a small boat. Pepin watches her technique as she casts. PEPIN Aim for the hydrilla over there. And keep the rod at about ten o'clock as you reel in. (beat) Do you know what you're gonna do next semester? KATE I was getting kind of used to life on the circuit. But with you gone, what's Nick gonna to do? PEPIN (laughs) With me gone Nick's gonna frustrate a lot of museum employees and disappoint a lot of players who'll think they can beat him without me. KATE In that case, I'll have to keep an eye on him when we go to museums. Pepin is visibly pleased with her decision to stay with Nick, then gives Kate a wary look. PEPIN He does have some quirks you should be aware of. KATE (facetious) Really? I hadn't noticed. PEPIN When you're driving, stay out of the far right lane unless you're turning right. Also, and I can't stress this enough, don't ever describe something as ironic that's merely an unfortunate coincidence. KATE So, no Alanis Morissette. PEPIN God, don't remind me. Now, if he has too much alcohol don't let him start arguing with other players about trivia. If he keeps it up just remind him of the agreement he signed about that. KATE Yeah, but what about that idiot the other night who was going on about utilitarian ethics? Nick was completely in the right. I was so close to throwing my drink on that guy! PEPIN (chuckles) Yeah... you two are gonna do just fine together. KATE (gets serious) Don't worry, Pepin. I'll take good care of him for you. Kate catches Pepin's eye with an understanding look. EXT. PARK - DAY Pepin is sitting on the ground watching Nick show Kate how to control the kite they're flying. Nick gives her the kite and walks over and sits down next to Pepin. Kate is out of earshot as they both watch her. NICK She's a fast learner. PEPIN She's become quite the angler, too. You should see her set a hook. NICK I think we've created a monster. I can't believe she wants to stay on in the spring and play with me. PEPIN Oh, I don't think it's that hard to figure out. She's staying because of you. NICK No she's not. She's staying for the trivia. She's hooked on the rush. We've seen it before. PEPIN You and I both know that the allure of trivia can be hypnotic and disorienting, but that's not the case here. Trust me. NICK You don't know that? PEPIN What's the problem? You both like each other. NICK We've become good friends. That's all. PEPIN Whether you realize it yet, or not, you're falling for her. NICK I think I would know if I were falling for Kate? PEPIN Actually, you wouldn't. That's why I'm telling you, and I'm right about this. I know you better than anyone, Nick... who can still stump you every year during our Easter egg hunt? NICK (reluctantly) You. PEPIN And who was the first person to donate blood when you insisted that you had acute hemolytic anemia? NICK Your blood type would kill me. PEPIN But the gesture worked. You felt much better after I gave that blood. My point is that I know you, and I'm right. You two are good for each other. INT. THE BEAGLE - NIGHT Kate and Pepin are at a table celebrating a win. Nick walks up with Charlie, who hands out shots to everyone. CHARLIE To commemorate the end of an era, these are on the house. I'm sure that trivia players all over the state are celebrating your departure, Pepin, but I will miss you. Good luck in Zurich. PEPIN Thanks, Charlie. CHARLIE Does this mean the reign of terror is over? PEPIN I'm afraid not. These two are ready to harass your customers well into the New Year. They all laugh, raise their glasses to toast, then down their shots with grimaces. EXT. CAMPSITE - DAY Pepin emerges from their tent, walks to the fire and pours himself some tea. He sees Nick and Kate returning from a morning walk, talking quietly to each other and holding hands. They briefly kiss on the lips, then Kate hurries to the van in good spirits. KATE Good morning, Pepin! PEPIN Good morning, Kate! Nick sheepishly walks over to Pepin, who is all smiles. PEPIN I can't believe you're letting her come between us. NICK I told you we should have added the Yoko clause. But you wanted to play it by ear, remember? PEPIN Well, I didn't think you were gonna pull a van Gogh on me. They laugh. Pepin hands his cup to Nick for a sip. PEPIN She does seem to have extra jump in her step this morning. Looks a bit more radiant. NICK There's no need to be crude, Pepin. She's as pretty as a ripe tomato in a seed catalogue. PEPIN (loud laugh) Where do you get that stuff? NICK (shrugs) You pick things up on the road. Kate emerges from the van and joins them. KATE What's the plan for today, boys? PEPIN Let's go see a movie. You two can sit in the back row and suck face, then when the flick's over I'll tell you all about it. KATE Oh, shut up. If you want, you can sit between me and Nick. PEPIN Look, I don't know what he's told you, but I am not into that kind of thing. In response to Pepin's jab Kate tries to grab his ear as he ducks away, causing him to fall to the ground. Kate pounces on him still grabbing for his ears. PEPIN Nick! She's out of control! Has she had all her shots?! Laughing, this further incites Kate. Nick gently pulls her off Pepin, who remains on his back, panting. PEPIN All right. A movie it is. INT. MOVIE THEATER - DAY The theater is fairly empty. Nick and Kate slide into a row and sit. Pepin remains standing next to them. PEPIN I'll get snacks. I'm assuming you want the lovers' combo. KATE (to herself) I should've seen this abuse coming. NICK (to Pepin) I don't know. Do they offer any combos that are a little more noncommittal? KATE Yeah, is there a combo for people who just want to sleep together without any attachments? PEPIN To get that deal you have to go dutch, but it does come with a morning after pill. Kate and Nick laugh, then she wraps her arms around Nick and acts like a gushing girlfriend. KATE That sounds perfect for us, honey. MED. SHOT - KATE, NICK AND PEPIN watching the movie. Nick is in the middle with the popcorn, hand feeding popcorn to Kate's mouth, whose head is comfortably resting on his shoulder. Pepin notices this happening and rests his head on Nick's opposite shoulder. Nick looks down at Pepin and starts feeding him popcorn in the same manner. EXT. OPEN HIGHWAY - DAY - AERIAL SHOT - VAN INT. VAN - DAY Kate is driving to Austin with Nick and Pepin in back. Nick reads from a laptop in front of him. NICK Category? PEPIN I'll take capitals for fifty. NICK Twenty-seven degrees north. Eighty-five degrees east. Pepin bows his head in deep thought. NICK Do you want the minutes? PEPIN (deep breath) I'm going with New Delhi. NICK Kathmandu. PEPIN Damn it! Too far west! We SEE Kate rolling her eyes and laughing to herself as she listens to them. EXT. JACK AND BARB'S HOUSE - NIGHT Kate is hugging Pepin's arm as Nick unlocks the front door. Nick turns to Pepin with a knowing smile. NICK I hope you're ready for this. MED. SHOT - NICK, PEPIN AND KATE entering the living room. Barb rushes in from the kitchen with her apron on and heads straight to Pepin to give him a long hug. BARB I can't believe it! I just can't! PEPIN Barb. I'm gonna miss your hugs. BARB Don't get me emotional. I still have to make the salad. Barb slowly makes her way across the living room, stopping often to face them and emphasize a point. BARB Jack suggested that we have an authentic Swiss dinner, but I don't know what they eat over there besides chocolate and cheese, and that is not a meal. Anyway, I thought it would be more appropriate to fix Walter's favorite meal, so we're having homemade tamales and fish enchiladas. (to Kate) Don't worry. I made chicken ones also. PEPIN Barb, if you weren't already taken, I'd ask for your hand in marriage. BARB (to Kate) When Walter was a child he proposed to me every year on my birthday. INT. DINING ROOM Jack, Barb, Nick, Pepin, and Kate are sitting around the dining room table eating and conversing. BARB Now, Switzerland is not very big, is it? PEPIN It's about the size of Estonia. Kate realizes that this means nothing to Barb. KATE It's about half the size of South Carolina. BARB Oh, okay. And I know it's cold there, so I got out all of yours and Nicholas' winter clothes in the back bedroom. There are gloves and wool socks and long johns and things you need, so take all that with you tonight when you leave. Barb chokes up on her last few words and brings her napkin up to dab her teary eyes. Kate quickly reaches over and holds her other hand. Barb composes herself and turns to Kate. BARB His mother, bless her heart, was so sick after she had Walter... it was like I had twins for almost two years... Barb struggles to keep her composure again. JACK Honey, don't work yourself up. Walter is a young man now who can take care of himself. BARB I know. I know. I'm sorry. Just be careful, Walter, when you're over there. That's all I ask. PEPIN Barb, don't you worry. I'm gonna fit right in. I'm extremely neutral on lots of issues. BARB Good, then, you just stay ULTRA neutral. PEPIN Oh, no. The ultra-radical neutrals are a bunch of wackos. Don't worry. I won't fall in with that group... I like what the grass roots neutrals are saying, but they're such elitists, and now you've got the conformist neutrals masquerading as traditionalists... No, I would call myself more of a progressive neutral, which is why Zurich is perfect for me. Barb is unable to hide her amusement at Pepin's joking and sighs in defeat. BARB Walter, just stay out of trouble. I don't want to have to send Jack over there to get you. INT. DINING ROOM Dinner is over and we SEE everyone at the table drinking wine and thoroughly enjoying Pepin's last night with Jack and Barb. INT. LIVING ROOM Everyone is saying their goodbyes. Nick has Pepin's bag of winter clothes. Jack hands Pepin an envelope. JACK Barb and I wanted to pay for your plane ticket. This should cover your cost. PEPIN Thanks, Jack. Jack and Pepin's handshake turns into a paternal hug. Pepin turns and puts his arm around Barb. PEPIN Barb, the first day I don't get an email from you I'm on the next flight home. Okay? And one more thing. I wasn't gonna ask, but I didn't know who else to turn to, so, while I'm gone, would you mind keeping an eye on Nick for me? Barb both laughs and cries as she embraces Pepin. EXT. LAKE BASTROP - DAY Nick is fishing lakeside. Pepin is going through the tackle box with Kate nearby. She points in the box. KATE You haven't told me about those yet. Pepin gives Kate a long look before speaking. PEPIN I suppose you're ready. Either way, you need to hear this now, because you won't get it from Nick. Hearing this, Nick shakes his head and chuckles, knowing what's about to be said. Pepin gets serious. PEPIN Those are the crank baits that you'll use for the big one. KATE The big one? PEPIN The big one. You take your crank bait. I like to start with the pearl-white Fat Free Shad. (MORE) PEPIN (CONT'D) Cast it beyond your sweet spot, drag it down fast, and fish it back real slow, with just a tiny bit of action. KATE What's a sweet spot? PEPIN Any irregularity under water. A break in the weed line, a drop off in vegetation, a ditch, a drain, anything that feels right. NICK That's how we fish any size bass! PEPIN (laughing) The big one's not gonna bite on a chugger or a Carolina-rigged centipede. (to Kate; serious) Now, when you hook her, play her out at a distance. Don't rush her and don't horse her. She'll wear herself out, that's when you bring her on. (beat) And most importantly, when you make your second hook-set, do it quickly, but with less force than the initial set. Kate is completely captivated as Pepin pauses to sigh. PEPIN Don't make the same mistake I made. KATE You had her on your line?! PEPIN I had her, and I lost her. I hit her too hard the second time. I got anxious because she was so powerful, she wouldn't budge. NICK (laughing) That's because the big one was a log. There was bark on the hook! PEPIN She was right behind the log. (turns to Kate) Nick's not a believer... I could feel the beast. KATE You have to believe in the big one, Nick. She's out there somewhere. (to Pepin) Would the big one beat the record? PEPIN Easily. Scott Garrison caught a record nine-point-nine-eight pounder in ninety-one. The big one is at least fifteen pounds. KATE What kind of bait did he use? PEPIN (far off look) No one knows. NICK (laughs) Nobody reveals what they catch their record bass on! PEPIN Jimmy Qualls bagged his twelve pounder on Black Creek Lake in ninety-nine using a jig and craw. NICK Do you believe him? PEPIN Of course not. Nick and Kate laugh. KATE Pepin, while you're away I'll make sure that the big one isn't neglected. NICK I'm trading in one dreamer for another. Kate hugs Pepin to show that she's a fellow dreamer too. INT. MAXWELL'S - NIGHT Nick, Kate and Pepin make there way to a table in a crowded Maxwell's. Pepin is getting extra attention with handshakes and pats on the back. Scott gets up on the small stage in the corner with microphone in hand. SCOTT Ladies and gentlemen, as some of you may know, this is Pepin's last night here for quite some time. In light of this momentous occasion, I would like to say a few words about Pepin, but I'm gonna need him to come up here first. Come on, Pepin. Get up here. Pepin reluctantly gets up with a sheepish grin. SCOTT Now, it's true, Pepin's a great guy and a lot of fun to be around, and has trivia skills matched only by his good friend and partner, Nick. But, I think it's safe to say that no one is sad to see this team finally break up! Pepin laughs with everyone in the room. SCOTT So, Pepin, in honor of your last night with us, and in an attempt to make the evening a little less painful for everyone here, we decided to appoint you quizmaster for tonight's game. As everyone in the bar cheers, Pepin is completely surprised as he accusingly points at Nick. Scott holds a small stack of index cards out for Pepin. SCOTT Quizmaster, here are your twenty questions, and here's your mike. As the bar quiets down, Pepin reads the first question to himself while everyone waits. He nods his head and then tosses the card off the stage. Several people laugh, then, after reading the next question, Pepin tosses it out also. Confusion is mixed with laughter after Pepin throws the third card, then he tosses the rest of the stack off the stage. Inspired with an idea, he gives an almost sinister smile and proceeds completely off the cuff. PEPIN We're gonna do things a little differently tonight... I'm afraid that Scott was a tad premature in assuming that by making me the quizmaster, this evening would be less painful for everyone involved, myself excluded, of course. General laughter comes from a crowd that has no idea where Pepin is going with this. PEPIN If you don't mind, I'd like to say something before we start. You see, as Nick and I traveled around playing trivia for the past two years, we made some very interesting observations about what people in general think they know, what they actually know, but most notably, what they should know. So, I think it's only fitting that we take this opportunity to touch on some those areas tonight. Those who know Pepin are laughing, but they also know that he is serious about everything he said. PEPIN Okay, let's start out slow, with something we all know... how about "The Star Spangled Banner?" Everyone knows that. We've all sung it a thousand times. Right? So, it only follows that we should know a little bit about its origin. We SEE several players in the bar cringing in anticipation of what Pepin may ask them. PEPIN During what U.S. war did Francis Scott Key write "THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER?" For a bonus point, what was Key's profession? By the way, I'll be giving out lots of bonus questions. Nick, do you mind keeping track of what I'm doing up here? We SEE Nick indicate that he's already doing that. PEPIN (to Nick) Exactly. Just do what you do every day. ANGLE ON PEPIN on stage laughing with Scott as we HEAR the bar MUSIC die down and AD LIB conversation in the bar. PEPIN Okay, it's time to get serious. For this question you get one point for each correct answer... name the six simple machines that were essential to the advancement of human civilization... and I'll give you hint. They were all named after different sexual positions. Everyone laughs. ANGLE ON PEPIN laughing with players at one of the tables. We HEAR the bar MUSIC die down. Pepin talks into the mike as he makes his way over to Nick and Kate. PEPIN Nick, what question are we on... Nick says something as Pepin approaches. PEPIN By the way, gang, I hate to tell you, but in preparation for this day, Nick and I have been grooming a trivia protégé the likes of which you've never seen. I almost feel sorry for all of you, but not really. The woman to my left is Kate Paschal, your new nemesis. Kate blushes as everyone laughs. PEPIN Alright, it's time for some Texas history! Name three public offices that Sam Houston was elected to in Texas. For bonus points, and my admiration, name two elected offices he held in another state, and I'll need the name of that state. While talking Pepin has made his way to a nearby table and takes a look at the teams answer sheet. PEPIN Good lord, Rob, you're not even trying. Everyone laughs. SERIES OF SHOTS A) Pepin asks a trivia question while sitting at one of the players' tables. B) Pepin consults Nick about a possible question. C) Players laugh as one of the players is speaking into Pepin's mike. ANGLE ON PEPIN on stage with Scott. The bar MUSIC dies down. PEPIN The next question is for my good friend, Scott, here. On October twenty-third Scott became a father... poor kid. What is his daughter's first name and her sign? For the bonus, name the animal in the Chinese calendar under which she was born. MED. SHOT - PEPIN, NICK, KATE AND SCOTT on stage tallying the teams' points. Kate hands Pepin the winning answer sheet. Pepin turns to the crowd. PEPIN We have a winner! Actually, the winner was going to be Dan's team because he slipped me forty bucks ten minutes ago, but, Dan, your team did so poorly I can't on principle let you win. I will keep the forty dollars, though. The winner of tonight's game is... Suzie and her gang from Denton! One table cheers and screams as the rest of the bar echoes sounds of disappointment. ANGLE ON PEPIN trying to get back to their table as he gets bombarded with slaps on the back and hand shakes. An attractive, young WOMAN approaches him. WOMAN I've never had so much fun playing trivia in my life! Good luck in Zurich! PEPIN Thanks! Pepin watches her walk away and laughs to himself. EXT. DALLAS-FORT WORTH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - DAY Kate waits for Pepin to put the last of his bags on the curb by the van, then throws her arms around him and gives him a kiss on the cheek. They smile knowingly at each other for a moment. PEPIN You know, you've made this easier for me. KATE I know. I hope the same is true for Nick. PEPIN It is. Trust me. Nick emerges from the van with his small, worn, wooden box. Pepin sees the box and smiles. PEPIN I should've known. NICK Well, you really can't get any more cliché than this. PEPIN I could throw it back in your face. They laugh as Nick hands Pepin the box. He looks down at the box for a moment before speaking. PEPIN I need this more than you do. NICK I know... that's okay, I can always start another one. When Nick says this he looks over at Kate, who smiles bashfully. Pepin sees this and acts like he's angry. PEPIN You backstabbing son of a bitch. They all laugh, followed by a moment of silence. Nick looks past Pepin into the terminal. NICK You'd better get going. PEPIN Alright, buddy. Nick and Pepin embrace. We SEE their teary eyes. Watching them hug Kate covers her mouth, as if in an attempt to hold back her emotions. MED. SHOT - PEPIN watching the van pull away from the curb. He looks down at the box he is still holding and smiles. EXT. CAMPSITE - DAY Nick and Kate are playing checkers by the campfire. Cold-weather jackets on, Nick concentrates intently on the checkerboard while Kate tends to a pot of tea on the campfire, amused by the effort Nick puts into a game of checkers. KATE Nick, it's checkers! NICK I know... I'm gonna pass. KATE (laughs loudly) Nick! You can't pass on the first move! Kate gets up, grabs his head and kisses the top of it before heading to the van. KATE Do want any sugar, sugar? NICK No thanks. Kate grabs a couple of cups from the van and returns. KATE I was thinking... It's gonna be pretty slow in Austin next week with Sam out of town. How does a little time off sound? This last statement gets Nick's attention and he studies her for a moment as she pours their tea. NICK I don't know. What did you have in mind? KATE Well, I thought that I could go to the Loon next Monday night and collect our paycheck, and you could go to Zurich. Kate hands him an envelope with a ticket in it. Nick is stunned as he pulls out the ticket and reads it. Still in shock, Nick starts to work out the logistics. NICK It arrives at three twenty local time. I could catch the four o'clock to Hauptbahnhof and be in Altstetten before Pepin gets home. Or I could wait for him at the... KATE (gently interrupts) Nick, Nick. He's expecting you. He'll be at the airport. Nick snaps out of his spell and lets Kate's gift sink in. He smiles, shaking his head in disbelief. Kate is overjoyed to see the gratitude in his face. NICK You're incredible! Nick embraces her. NICK I do have some vacation days leftover from last year. Kate laughs and squeezes him tighter. EXT. INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN ZURICH - DAY We SEE crowds of people moving through a terminal at Airport Zurich Kloten. The CAMERA FINDS Pepin in the crowd and ZOOMS IN on him. He is searching the people coming towards him holding up a white chauffeur sign that has "NICK" printed on it in big black letters. INT. PUB IN ZURICH - NIGHT We SEE a typical bar scene with people sitting around drinking beer. The CAMERA FINDS Nick and Pepin at a table conversing. Through the loud speaker we HEAR someone speak in Swiss. Nick and Pepin turn to listen. On a small stage in the corner of the bar a man holding a mike starts to read something from an index card in Swiss as the whole bar listens to him. We SEE Nick and Pepin completely focused on the man on stage as he reads. When he finishes Nick and Pepin are pensive for a moment. Nick thinks of something and turns to Pepin. As he opens his mouth to speak we: FREEZE FRAME. FADE OUT. THE END
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