Diary of a Madman By Jacob Hoefer

Inspired by the short story written by Nikolai Gogol

INT. PRESS CONFERENCE ROOM- DAY A Pale, plain looking man smiles at us. He is neatly dressed. His thick dark hair deeply parted to one side. Behind him hangs a giant American flag. Cheers and loud applause is heard from off screen. He motions for a woman to come stand next to him. She is about 40, covered in makeup, and smiling adamantly at us. The man gives her a quick kiss on the cheek and they pose for the off-screen cameras. More cheering ensues and the man motions for her to take her place behind him as he leans on the podium in front of him and clears his throat. MAYOR TBA "Thank you, thank you...Yes, thank you now if you’d all kindly be seated I have some words I’d like to say..." We cut to a wide shot of the room and discover it is rather tiny, no bigger than an elementary school classroom. In fact it probably is just that. The sound of applause and cheers is replaced by the horrible screeching of metal folding chairs scraping against the tile floor as the reporters take their seats. The MAYOR waits for them to get comfortable then begins. MAYOR TBA "I’ve always believed in this town...Believed, that , with just a little effort it could become, an example...the standard that other cities would be held to..." The crowd cheers and applauds these words. The mayor pauses to let them finish, also to build what he believes to be sufficient tension. MAYOR TBA "And today I am proud to find that this town believes in me!" Thunderous applauds erupts from the tiny room. He again waits for it to die down. MAYOR TBA "Ya know, when I was growing up here my first and best memory of this place..." His words become background noise as does the occasional laughter and applause of the crowd. We scan the crowd and eventually spy a man standing in the furthest corner of the (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

2.

room. He appears about 35, not very impressive in any fashion, no distinguishing marks, no chiseled jaw line. His one discernible feature is the way his burnt brown hair is arranged on his head like a bail of hay. He stands in a light gray suit, his arms folded across his chest. He smiles slightly as he listens to the anecdotal ramblings of the newly elected mayor. As we slowly zoom in on him we hear a voice over reveling the thoughts of our new protagonist. NIKOLAI (voice over) "November 8th 2011. Today the hard work pays off. Today Mayor TBA takes office, and it couldn’t have happened with out the work of yours truly." INT. CAMPAIGN OFFICE- DAY We flash backwards in time and find ourselves in a crowded, bustling campaign office. Posters displaying Mr. TBA are hung on every wall, window and desk. We pan down to NIKOLAI sitting at a desk typing away at his computer. A subtitle informs us of the trip backwards in time: "Two months earlier." NIKOLAI (voice over) "Polling data collected, analyzed, formatted into pies, bars, and lines. Budgets balanced, numbers crunched. TV spots, interviews, ribbon cuttings, fundraisers, all carefully organized, scheduled, and rescheduled. Speeches drafted, typed, proofed. Fliers printed, shipped, sent, doorbells rung, and, on occasion, people bribed. All of these tasks delegated and accomplished effectively by me and my team." Nikolai slows his typing and begins to look through a stack of papers. A man’s legs walk in frame, Nikolai looks up as do we to see who is interrupting. Looking angrily down at us and Nikolai is TED. He is big, big in every dimension. His size is only exaggerated by the fact that his suit is clearly a size to small. His short blond hair is spiked in the front making the wrinkles on his forehead all the more clear. His first words are not kind ones.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: TED "What the hell are these?" NIKOLAI "Excuse me?"

3.

Ted throws a fistful of papers onto Nikolai’s desk. Nickolai continues his narration. NIKOLAI (voice over) "Of course there were those who did not find my work so important." TED "I know you’re new here but these forms are completely in the wrong format! The titles aren’t even capitalized, there’s spelling errors everywhere. You keep this up and you’ll be back on the street where we found you." Nikolai sighs heavily and starts to leaf through the papers. NIKOLAI (voice over) "If I were to have a rival it would be Ted. He’s always looked down on me. I just think he’s jealous, he’ll hate me even more when I become the new mayor’s personal assistant tomorrow." INT. PRESS CONFERENCE ROOM- DAY We are back at the press conference and we look a little to the left of the new mayor and see Ted looking again quite angrily out at the crowd. Still wearing his tiny suit. Nikolai smiles and applauds as the new mayor one again waves to his adoring fans, he again turns to his mistress and gives her another kiss on the check. Nikolai reminisces. NIKOLAI (voice over) "The new mayors loving wife, I saw one of my fellow employees eyeballing her every time she came in to the office. I for one never much was for chasing after girls, especially if they are married to my boss." (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

4.

The wife of the happy mayor waves to the crowd and motions for someone off screen to come up to the platform. MAYOR TBA "Everyone I would like you to meet my daughter Sophie, We raised her here and we think she turned out great." He smiles wide and helps his daughter up to the platform. We cut to get Nikolai’s reaction. He is stunned his mouth is hanging open slightly, his eyes widen, he subconsciously pats his hair back, trying to straighten it. SOPHIE glides up to the platform. She is by all accounts beautiful, even in what appears to be her workout clothes she seems gorgeous. She looks about 28, long dirty blond hair is pulled back into a ponytail. She does seem oddly dressed for this occasion, a tight pink tank top and sweatpants contrast sharply with the neat and proper attire of the rest her family. Never the less she smiles big and kisses her dad on the check and then waves to the crowd. The audience claps loudly. Nikolia is petrified. She might as well be a basilisk, her smile and gaze has completely caught Nikolai off guard. He stands there, hands draped loosely at his sides. He finally manages to form a thought. NIKOLAI (voice over) "...I don’t belive I’ve ever seen her before. I think I would have noticed her- I mean because shes my bosses daughter- not because shes attracti- well I mean she is but-...I’ve never chased after girls...especially if they are related to my boss...Well maybe now would be a good time to star-...No, no..." Nikolai suddenly losses his "googly eyes" and regains his composure. NIKOLAI (voice over, sounding rather defeated) "Forget it..."

5.

INT. NIKOLAI’S APARTMENT- MORNING It is morning a few days after the new mayor’s acceptance speech we find ourselves in Nikolai’s apartment. NIKOLAI is laying peacefully in his bed, nestled under a large bleach white comforter. At the foot of his bed we see the clothes he had laid out the night before. They are a white button down shirt, a pair of black dress slacks, a bright red tie, and a pair of shiny black shoes. We pull along side his bed and stop at the night stand. On it rests an alarm clock. it is 6:59. We watch as the alarm clock clicks and the display changes to 7:00 a voice crackles through the radio causing Nikolai to stir. RADIO WEATHER MAN "Don’t get to attached to that sunshine folks! Within the hour we’ll have a whole pack of clouds over our heads. Showers are expected..." The voice becomes background noise. We focus on Nikolai as he groans and sits up in bed. He sports a pair of blue and white flannel pajamas. He pauses to catch the rest of the weather report. RADIO WEATHER MAN "So bundle up. This whole week is going to be a nasty one but don’t worry we still have a few nice fall days in store before old man winter shows up. This weather up date sponsored by Qwest high speed internet Qwest when-" Nikolai hits the off switch and flings the comforter off of him engulfing the camera. When we come out form under the covers we see Nikolai standing in front of the large window in his bedroom. Out the window we see the town, bathed in sunlight. His hair is still wet from the shower. He Ties his red tie in a half Windsor knot and gives us his dairy update. NIKOLAI (Voice over) "November 12th 2011. I like this apartment. Its spacious, quiet, fairly priced. And it sits atop the only hill in all of greens burrow*. Every morning I get to look out at the entire town, I know each roof, each street, each traffic light. This is no extraordinary feet, I am (MORE) (CONTINUED)

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6.

NIKOLAI (cont’d) do not have aspergers or OCD or any other mental oddity. I’ve lived in this apartment for 5 years now, I’ve lived in this town for 28 and I’ve only left once. It was for four years for college and nothing really changed in that time." Nikolai gives his tie one last tug and then turns away from the window and leaves the room. We catch up to him at when he’s eating breakfast, which consists of some form of bran flakes floating peacefully in 2% milk. The flakes are suddenly disturbed by a large metal spoon. We pan up to see Nikolai spooning the once restful flakes into his mouth. He continues today’s entree. NIKOLAI (voice over) "I was born three blocks west of here, I was put up for adoption 3 minuets after that. The foster home I was raised in for my entire childhood is located 11 blocks north..." INT. HOME - DAY We see a very young looking boy, no more than 5 sitting patiently in a big chair awaiting his breakfast. His brown hair is a mess. A 40ish year old woman with long brown hair enters and places a stack of pancakes in front of the child. The child grabs a fork and holds it like you would a shovel. The Woman smiles and goes about correcting him. The sound of an older Nikolai informs us on his childhood. NIKOLAI (Voice over) "Her name was Sharon Macavoy. She raised me all on her own. She never married she didn’t even have a boyfriend once during my child hood. I liked her a lot. She smelled like peaches and chap stick..."

7.

EXT. GRAVE YARD - AFTERNOON. Nikolai, now 19 stares bleakly down at the grave of Sharon Macavoy. He is dressed up in his finest cloths. His hair is even tamed down. The sky reflects his mood in the cold gray clouds. NIKOLAI (voice over) "Sharon died when I was 19. she was hit by a drunk driver on her way home to set up for my graduation party. Her cemetery plot is located 7 blocks east of here. " Nikolai places a bundle of flowers on the grave and continues to stare blankly at the dirt. NIKOLAI (Voice over) "She went out to pick up some red and white streamers for the party. I had been accepted to the U of W with a one year full ride scholarship. I was going into the polisci program." The young Nikolai turns and begins to head out of the grave yard. NIKOLAI (voice over) "Sharon had told me about my adoption many years earlier. She even had tracked down my biological mother. She was dead by then, not sure why or how. Its just as well, Sharon was the only mother I needed." INT. STADIUM - DAY It is graduation day at the U of W and Nikolai is standing on the stage in his cap and gown. He is getting his diploma and smiling while his picture is taken. NIKOLAI (voice over) "I left Greens burrow for the first time. I had convinced myself that I would not go back. The angry orphaned teenager had finally (MORE) (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

8.

NIKOLAI (cont’d) caught up with me. I promised that I would Graduate at the top of my class, then right out of college I would run for a seat in congress, win in a landslide, then after a few years become president. The best president. Conflicts resolved through diplomacy, energy, economical even natural disasters tactfully avoided. Wars and droughts ended. Global warming eliminated. World peace and interstellar travel all possible thanks to the little genius orphan boy from No-wheres Wisconsin." EXT. CITY HALL- DAY Nikolai now around 25 steps out of a bright red compact car into the bright sunlight. He caries a brief case. He is dressed nicely as always, a blue and white tie flaps in the wind and he shuts the driver side door locks the doors with a click of a button. The car honks softly to acknowledge the request. He attempts to straighten his hair which is a mess and is not helped by the wind. He walks up the steps of city hall and we pan down to see a stone sign with the words "Greens burrow City Hall 1856." NIKOLAI (voice over) "I got over that phase. The turning point was at the beginning of my last semester at the U. I received a letter form some city council members who wanted to see if I could return to Greens burrow to be there for the dedication of a city park in the name of my foster mother. Apparently Sharon had been well liked in the community and over the years some of her friends had persuaded the city to open a new park in her honer." INT. NIKOLAI’S APARTMENT- MORNING We return to the present. Nikolai is filling his thermos with coffee and grabs his coat and heads out the door.

(CONTINUED)

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9.

NIKOLAI (Voice over) "the park is located 12 blocks west. I go to that park when I have the chance. It smells like peaches and chap stick." EXT. CITY STREET- OVERCAST NIKOLAI, bundled up in his gray woolen overcoat and red scarf, hustles down the sidewalk of the town. Now fully awake and alive with the occasional jogger or couple out for a stroll. In one hand he carries a brown satchel, in the other a black umbrella and pinched on the inside of his elbows he totes a thermos. His hair is rather frazzled, this along with the fast pace that he is taking, suggest that he is late for something. He continues the tale of how he came to be. NIKOLAI (Voice over) "I realized after that, that I owed this town. It raised me and I wasn’t going to forget about it. Or Sharon." Nikolai stops at a corner and waits for the light to change. The rain starts up as a slow drizzle. NIKOLAI (Voice over) "It may seem that my current job does not live up to the dreams I had in college. This is greens burrow after all. The population is 1,785. And "senior assistant to the mayor" does not have the ring of "commander in chief." Even if I were mayor it would not be much of a step up. The first meeting he held was to discuss how big a "Faliuer to scoop" fine would be." Nikolai sets down his satchel and takes a drink from his thermos. NIKOLAI (Voice over) that is part of why I like job. That dog poop meeting a lot of work. Fliers posted, station called, folding chairs (MORE) (CONTINUED)

"But this took news

CONTINUED:

10.

NIKOLAI (cont’d) unfolded, power points created,location and times chosen. That meeting was the biggest news in this town since the election. And it was all carefully orchestrated by yours truly." The light turns into the little walking man and Nikolai picks up his satchel and starts across the street. We watch from over his shoulder and see two girls, their faces covered by their coats and scarfs, they have two little terriers trotting in front of them. They head across the street toward Nikolai. Nikolai continues his narration. NIKOLAI (Voice over) "I help the town and the town helps me. This job is not just about the great health plan or the 30,000$ a year. Its about the-." He is interrupted as he trips over the leash of one the terriers dropping his thermos and nearly falling face first onto the sidewalk. He picks himself up and turns to see the owner of the dog smiling at him. It’s SOPHIE. Nikolai finishes his thought although in a much more trance like tone of voice. NIKOLAI (Voice over) "...People...you meet..." Sophie smiles at him, starts to laugh, then turns to her dog. SOPHIE (In a scolding yet high pitched voice) "Medji! watch where you’re going!" She then turns, still smiling wide to a person she does not recognize. SOPHIE (Chuckling slightly) "Sorry, she just sometimes gets away from me."

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

11.

Nikolai has no response. All of his brain function has been put on hold by this entrancing woman. He stands there and his mouth moves slightly but no words come out. Sophie’s smile starts to turn into an awkward glance and she starts to turn back across the street. SOPHIE (Much more awkwardly) "uh...Sorry again, bye I guess..." Nikolai, still speechless, watches her walk the rest of the way across the street. We watch her too as she walks away chatting pleasantly with the other dog walker. Nikolai finally gets some words out. NIKOLAI (Stuttered, ill planed, and slowly trailing off) "No- It’s fine- I...Don’t mind..." Nikolai slowly stands the rest of the way up and reflects on the beautiful Sophie. NIKOLAI (Voice over) "Sophie...Even all bundled up she can shine so wondrously, cutting right through the dreariest of days...The way she moves, she floats down the street just like the prettiest of song birds flo-...No, no...for-" A loud honk interrupts his thoughts. He has not moved form the middle of the street. He quickly picks up his thermos, apologizes to the car and runs the rest of the way across the street. Once across he stops and looks back to get one more glance at Sophie, but it is to late, Sophie has gone. Nikolai sighs heavily. NIKOLAI (Voice over, defeated) "Forget it..." INT. CITY HALL- SAME DAY Nikolai strides into city hall, a sullen look is draped across his face. City hall is buzzing. People all arriving at roughly the same time. Chatter about "the dog poop bill" and "the mayors wife" amongst other things fills the air. Nikolai makes his way through the heard of co-workers ignoring all around him. He continues on with the narration.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: NIKOLAI (Voice over) "I don’t know why I’m so distracted by Sophie. I can’t afford to be. My job takes up all the time."

12.

Nikolai rounds a corner to the door to his office. He opens the door to reveal to us his place of business. The room looks fairly spacious but that could just be because there is hardly anything in it. A small wooden desk, in front of a big window with cheap beige shades drawn over it. The desk is neatly arranged only a single stack of papers rests on one side. A computer sits on the other. The only thing hanging on the blindingly white walls is a calendar with a generic picture of a snowy landscape on it. Nikolai sets down the thermos, satchel and throws himself down into the desk chair. He crosses off another day on his calendar. He then pauses and flips through the stack of papers on his desk. NIKOLAI (Voice over, scanning the papers) "Everyday I get a list of complaints and compliments from the citizens greens burrow*. There’s never anything about rowdy college kids, a big chain store moving in and ruining a mom and pop shop, a string of horrible murders, or terrible traffic jams. Just things like "my neighbor cut down the tree I liked" or "love the new park! Keep up the good work!" Like I said: I can help these people. I am making a difference however small. If I did not belive this I would have quit a long time ago. Even if it made that bastard Ted happy-" Nikolai’s office door swings open once again interrupting his thoughts. Nikolai looks up, as do we, to see Ted standing in the doorway, in his tiny little suit, looking angry as ever. TED (through flared nostrils) "Hey, don’t get comfy, mayor wants to see you." Nikolai leans back in his chair and folds his arms across his chest. He does not care for Ted and wants Ted to know it.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: NIKOLAI "He say what for?" TED "Don’t know, don’t care. Just get over there."

13.

Ted leaves. Nikolai sighs deeply and picks up his satchel and exits his office, making sure to flick the light off as he leaves. We follow him down the hallway. We look over to see Ted now yelling at some poor tiny looking intern. Nikolai stops to observe this, and makes an observation. NIKOLAI (Voice over) "Ted hasn’t changed at all since high school..." INT. HIGH SCHOOL - DAY The background melts away revealing the hallway of a high school, the busy board members and other members of city hall are now pre-pubescent teens. Their concerns about their taxes and jobs replaced by concerns over their grades and girlfriends. Ted’s tiny suit is replaced by a tiny letter jacket. He still retains the anger lines on his forehead although these are now speckled with the occasional zit. He is yelling at a very tiny kid who is neatly dressed in a blue sweater. His dark hair is neatly parted to one side. he clutches a stack of books in fear. We pull back to peer over the shoulder of a YOUNG NIKOLAI who is sporting a brown winter coat and a plain gray backpack. YOUNG NIKOLAI (voice over) "This is, as you may have gathered, is a tiny town. I went to high school with almost all of my co-workers..." The camera focuses on the scared kid. YOUNG NIKOLAI (Voice over) "Even our esteemed new mayor." YOUNG TED raises his arms above his head (as much as the letter jacket will let him) causing the little MAYOR to flinch. The motion is reminiscent of when a toad takes in air to make itself appear bigger. The future leader runs off and Ted then turns and, for lack of a better word, saunters toward Nikolai. Nikolai has some words regarding Ted’s character. (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: YOUNG NIKOLAI (Voice over) "I don’t want you to get the impression that Ted is some Muscly, douche-bag, football jock..."

14.

Ted stops suddenly, looks down at his feet, and bends down to "re-Velcro" his shoes. YOUNG NIKOLAI (Voice over) "That letter jacket he sports so proudly..." Ted starts to stand up but is shoved down by a passing student. He looks up, as do we, to see a guy, also in a letter jacket pointing and laughing at him as he continues to walk by. Ted grumbles and picks himself up. Before continuing he dusts of his jacket. And straitens a little pin on his chest. We look closely at the pin and see it is a tiny golden gavel. YOUNG NIKOLAI (Voice over) "...Is for the time the debate team he was with got third at state..." Ted, having collected his things as well as his composure, continues toward Nikolai. Once there he begins to wave a manila folder above his head and quite angrily addresses Nikolai. YOUNG TED "What the heck is this?!" Nikolai stares emotionless at Ted. NIKOLAI (Voice over) "It’s also worth mentioning that I captained that debate team." YOUNG TED "Are these the CORRECT list of topics for the next debate?! Cause if they are, I’ve WASTED the last six months!!" YOUNG NIKOLAI (Rather matter-of-factually) "Ted, I’m not in charge of the topics, they send us a list a few days before the debate so we can’t prepare, you know this." (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

15.

YOUNG TED (Still as angry) "You said that I should research defense budget legislation!" YOUNG NIKOLAI (Indifferent) "...so?" YOUNG TED "Not one topic on here is even REMOTELY related to defense budget legislation!!" YOUNG NIKOLAI (Takes a breath before beginning) "Ted. Everyone on the team is assigned a topic in the hopes that at least one of them is on the list the judges send out. Its all the preparation we can do outside basic debate practices. This is not new, its been like this for the last three years." Young Ted pauses and considers the legitimacy of the statement,but still manages to sound furiously angry. YOUNG TED "Fine! But I get a deep topic, like abortion or religion in schools!" With that Ted shoves the folder at Nikolai who sighs audibly before taking it. Ted saunters off. Nikolai opens the folder and scans the list of topics. YOUNG NIKOLAI (Voice over) "I’d like to think that Ted’s anger stems from more than an old high school grudge...although if I remember correctly that year I gave him "seat belt laws." INT. CITY HALL - DAY As we watch TED walk away the High school walls melt back into the crowded halls of the Greens burrow city hall. Ted has finished yelling at the small intern and walks down the hall out of sight. NIKOLAI sighs and leaves as well. We catch up to Nikolai as he reaches the doors to the mayors (CONTINUED)

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16.

office. The doors are big and wooden. A vague flower pattern is carved into them. Nikolai pauses before the doors, Sighs, attempts to tame his hair, and enters. The Mayors office is not especially large. Although it does have some classic "seat of power" features. Including but not limited to: a giant chair sitting behind a gigantic desk and in front of a gigantic window. Several flags both American and Wisconsin hang on either side. The mayor is standing infront of a full sized mirror having a suit fitted for him by a very old very tiny man. The MAYOR turns when he hears Nikolai enter and he smiles his mayoral smile. MAYOR TBA "Niki! Good to see you! Hey, great work with that meeting yesterday. I don;t think more people have cared so much about poop." He laughs at his own little joke. Nikolai smiles politely. He is not as comfortable switching in and out of "work mode" as quickly as the mayor is. The mayor shoos the little man away and addresses Nikolai once more. MAYOR TBA "Nikolai you remember that debate team you and me were on in highschool?" NIKOLAI "Sure, as I recall you were pretty good." MAYOR TBA "Oh not compared to you! You are the reason we got third place junior year." NIKOLAI "To kind, to kind." MAYOR TBA "I’m serious, you were good. Then you got that scholarship and everything. I must admit it feels like you should have run and I should be anwsering the phones." NIKOLAI "Again to kind. And may I just say you are a fantasic mayor."

(CONTINUED)

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17.

MAYOR TBA "Well I’ve only been mayor for 4 days, but thank you." They pause and smile at each other. The mayor motions to his desk and they take their seats opposite each other. MAYOR TBA "Nikolai the reason I called you in here is because I respect you and consider you one of my friends." NIKOLAI "And I you." MAYOR TBA "I would be honored if you would have dinner with me tonight." NIKOLAI "Sounds great." MAYOR TBA "Fantastic! Rusty’s 7 o’clock sharp." NIKOLAI "I’ll be there." MAYOR TBA "Glad to hear it!" Nikolai stands to leave and the mayor stands to shake his hand goodbye. Before Nikolai can leave the mayor has one more thought. MAYOR TBA "Hey is the Ted Temiolski that works with you down stairs the same Ted that was on the debate team with us way back then?" NIKOLAI "Yeah. Why?" MAYOR TBA "I thought I recognized him. He still can’t find clothes that fit him can he?" The mayor chuckles at his observation. and Nikolai smiles and then leaves.

18.

INT. RUSTY’S BAR AND GRILL - NIGHT The restaraunt is not particularly crowded when NIKOLAI makes his apperance. Across the orange tinted room he spies the mayor. He is standing with his wife and posing for a newsman. He has donned an apron that reads RUSTY’S BEST BBQ and holds his wife in one hand and a grilling spatula in the other. After a couple shots the mayor shakes hands with the news man and then spotting nikolai he motions for him to come and join them. Nikolai heads over and the group takes their seats at the round wodden table. Introductions are inorder. MAYOR TBA (motioning) "Niki this is my whife Carol." Nikolai smiles and shakes her hand. She smiles back. CAROL "So Niki...Can I call you Niki?" NIKOLAI "Sure."

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