Nathan had seen them all, every one of those pathetic quotes about making the most of each day. Blah, blah, blah…insufferable nonsense. He had read every self-help book on the market, blabbing on and on about living in the moment, as if you were to die tomorrow. Whatever. For months, even years, he would have a moment of weakness and be totally inspired after reading one of these books. He’d charge out into the world, full of ambition and empowerment with renewed energy. But it was a fleeting moment and like a caffeine high, any temporary buzz would come crashing down to earth with an even greater low each time. Life is indeed short; but it can also feel like forever too. Nathan was tired. And bored. Perhaps more bored than tired. Life was extraordinarily generous to him, he knew he had been dealt a perfect hand of cards in this game called life. And like any talented opportunist, he had played his hand superbly. He was a success by nearly any measure but the reality was he felt like he was simply going through the motions. Nothing seemed to get his heart racing anymore, to have adrenaline running through his veins. He forgot how it felt to feel like he was living on the edge. He had become comfortably numb. In fact, most days of the year were unremarkable. They began, and ended, with no lasting memories of anything in between. Most days had no impact on the course of his life. He simply went through his mundane routine, living one day after the next with nothing extraordinary occurring in his daily life. Nathan was on autopilot, lulling himself into an unaware coma with minimal expectations. But, secretly, he lived for the spark. That precious moment, a moment out of the ordinary. It may just be a few seconds -a chance meeting with someone special -or a few hours or even days. Something to shake him out of his routine and elevate him out of his increasingly smaller world. He knew this spark was buried deep within him, as he had experienced momentary flashes of bliss. These moments gave him hope and short-lived optimism, propelling him to just continue on, patiently waiting for the next spark to ignite his senses. He lived for these moments, but they were so few and far between these days. Perhaps that’s what made them so special, like a rare rainbow of brilliant colors that wash over a gloomy day. One late night into the dark hours of the morning, Nathan was flipping through channels battling with his insomnia. All the familiar infomercials were on. He had bought the steak knives, the magic vacuum cleaner, and virtually every other worthless item they were peddling on TV on previous sleepless nights. It was all now collecting dust in his garage. Then, like a channel losing frequency, the screen faded in and out. It was stormy outside and Nathan thought his satellite dish was flailing in the wind. But the channel quickly restored order, with a crystal clear picture and an immaculately groomed spokesman took over the airwaves. He was impeccably dressed, in a pure white suit, pressed white shirt and black tie. His grey temples perfectly complemented his salt and pepper hair, and his confident smile came crashing through the screen. The commercial: Bored with your life?…Lost that desire to live? Throw some fuel on the fire and go out in a blaze of glory…Hire an assassin…You heard me -put a contract out on your own head…But not just any bounty hunter…here’s the twist: you have no idea who it is or when it will be. It could be someone you know…A loved one, a distant relative…friend or acquaintance….It could be tomorrow, or next week, or five or ten years from now…Everything done discreetly…We will integrate into every aspect of your life, searching for the perfect assassin to end your life. Your ultimate enemy will not be us, it will be someone in your own life…Fee is $100,000….You will never receive communication from us (?)…Send a check via certified mail to “The Company”. will not cash it until ready to commence…Once you see the funds cleared from your bank account, it is GAME ON -the beginning of the end!
Chapter 1: Nathan goes to work next day, tired and totally distracted (location is San Francisco in a skyscraper in the Financial District with foggy view of Bay Bridge). His to-do list is overwhelming, full of broken promises and procrastination. He simply keeps pushing out dates, carrying over last week’s list into this week, buying himself more time to accomplish goals he realistically doubts he’ll never fulfill. Nathan starts to question all aspects of his life and whether any of it is worth going thru the motions anymore. Gray/gloomy day but even darker inside his soul…Skips out of work early and goes to the church he had gone to throughout his childhood but recently abandoned. “God has forgotten him long ago so why shouldn’t he forget God?” he reasoned. Reluctantly, he strolls into a confession booth and completely opens up. Has engaging dialogue with an older Priest who’s been with the church and in the community for ~40 years but Priest doesn’t enlighten him or give him any new great encouragement. Rather, just listens attentively. Nathan ends the day completely bummed out with no will to live so sends off the check for $100K. The moment he drops it off into a PO box, he instantly feels a lift, almost an unbearable lightness of being… –
Chapter 2: Nathan wakes up next day and feels, inexplicably to himself, fully inspired to face the day even though he knows the check will not be received for another day or two. So his life is not in jeopardy but oddly he seizes work with a positive attitude and the entire day with renewed energy (give examples)…Just living with the realization his life could be over very soon is oddly invigorating.
Chapter 3: The following day Nathan finally makes move on gal (Sarah) that always flirts with him at lobby of office building and asks her out. Great conversation over dinner and Sarah alludes to Nathan ‘enjoying every precious moment as if it were your last.’ Nathan doesn’t think anything of this comment other than it’s charming. No romance that evening but Nathan is so taken with Sarah that at the end of the evening he asks her out again tomorrow night. Meanwhile, he checks ATM balance daily now and no $100k withdrawal from bank account. The following morning, Nathan goes into the bank and talks to the manager who indicates the withdrawal request was actually made yesterday and the process just takes a few hours to clear the funds meaning…Game on! As he reminisces about the dinner conversation last night, he starts to suspect Sarah may be his assassin. So this evening on their date he goes crazy with energy/excitement/passion, figuring it may be his last. He feels like he’s living on the edge (Example: picnic near Golden Gate bridge -Nathan leaps up on bridge and hangs precariously over the edge) And, where he may have otherwise not tried to close the deal with romance, he fearlessly pursues her as all his usual walls & boundaries come crashing down. His heart is open –no fear since there may be no tomorrow. They end up passionately making love…heart bursting/fireworks in heaven. He’s so content and fully satisfied, Nathan tells Sarah to go ahead and finish the job -kill him now, it’s a perfect night to die. But Sarah has no clue what he’s talking about. Dialogue ensues as she gets angry for being accused a killer and now livid for his reasons to rush into bed with her. Sarah throws Nathan out of her apartment and tells him never to call or see her again.
Chapter 4: Goes back to work…what’s the point? Hates his job and quits. Walks the lonely streets of SF. Goes back to the church and it’s closed! He curses God and the priest in the confession booth. Feels God has betrayed him –feels lonelier than ever. Goes down to Fisherman’s Wharf and creates bucket list. After all, if death is imminent, might as well go out in style with a final wish list. Top of the list is travel but Nathan knows he needs to reconcile a few things.
Chapter 5: Visits his ailing Father whom he hasn’t spoken to in years. Heavy talks -very emotional but then it tearfully culminates with a beautiful reconciliation (use my family examples!). Nathan & Sister have had estranged relationship too but now she is very taken aback by Nathan’s new behavior. She is secretly impressed as she did not think Nathan had the ability to forgive and reconcile with their Father. By patching things up with his Father, Nathan realizes he now improved his relationship with his Sister -a dynamic he was oblivious to before. He feels grateful and deeply touched by improving these family relationships.
Chapter 6: Introduce ASSASSIN. Tell story from his point of view….Assassin receives an anonymous letter in the mail -need to urgently meet regarding someone he knows…Proposition comes from a mesmerizing/hypnotic figure who very convincingly outlines the reasons Nathan must die. (From here on out, weave chapters from Nathan’s and Assassin’s perspective).
Chapter 7: Nathan finally follows thru on something he had procrastinated for years (charity/homeless shelter/RedCross?) -expand on profound experience he has as he now realizes what a blessed life he has compared to these people he’s volunteered with. Goes back to church and confession booth with improved attitude but no clear guidance from priest who simply listens. The priest is too stunned at this new positive behavior to offer feedback. Nathan is casually disappointed but still too buoyant to let it affect him ——– Chapter ?: Flies to Rome -a bucket list destination. While walking the streets during the day playing the American tourist, bumps into an old friend (X) he hasn’t seen for in six months. X claims to be in Italy on business. They catch up briefly and agree to meet for dinner. Nathan immediately assumes X has to be his assassin. How else to explain this random visit on the other side of the Atlantic? Tonight’s the night. May as well order the perfect final meal and make this entertaining by going out with a bang. After dinner (Nathan acting weird and nervous), Nathan slips & falls badly in a dark alley. X is hovering over him as Nathan tells him to go ahead and finish the job. X says he has no idea what he’s talking about and that he truly was here on business. X works for a huge US coffee chain (Starbucks?) and X tells Nathan he is exploring opening new coffeehouse locations in Italy. Nathan is fascinated…X is traveling to Milan next for biz and asks Nathan to join him ———- Chapter ?: Nathan & X are in Milan and Nathan feels so rejuvenated and refreshed. He feels his life has renewed purpose with a new lease on life and now has an epiphany: he wants to live. He wants to go in business with X and run a coffeehouse in Milan. Calls the phone # of “The Company” –it’s disconnected. Goes to the website of “The Company” –it’s gone. Things go horribly wrong as he suddenly realizes he has absolutely no way now to contact The Company and rescind the Assassin agreement…Nathan panics ——- Dilemma!! Assassin is on the loose and Nathan can’t call it off. Everyone he meets is a potential killer. Every piazza, every church, every cafe/bar, he is looking over his shoulder in total paranoia. He sees a familiar face in several different scenarios –but who is he and how does he know who/where Nathan is all the time? ———– (Written from Assassin’s POV): Tracking Nathan for weeks…months now. Increasingly does not understand why Nathan would want to end his life as Assassin views so much truth, goodness & beauty. Nathan and the Assassin have made eye contact on several random occasions, but Nathan has no idea who he is. Finally, after several near misses and close calls, the Assassin tracks Nathan down and holds him at gunpoint. Nathan pleads for his life but Assassin shoots him. Nathan gasps his final breath, staring at his Assassin in disbelief. And then his world went black. ——— Nathan wakes up, confused….All vital signs are intact…is he not dead? Discovers Assassin used stun gun, putting him in a temporary coma….He is ultimately released from hospital, feeling new lease on life ———- Assassin confronts Nathan again…Nathan has Mea Culpa…Assassin explains spared Nathan’s life as Nathan is living such an amazing life of good fortune. Assassin is prepared to take Nathan’s life now -for real – but Nathan declines, pledging to live a richer, fulfilled life…Carpe Diem! =============== Assassin Profile: Who is Assassin? The Priest! The Father listens to all of Nathan’s pleas in the confession booth, at first disgusted at how he has wasted such great potential (handed life with a silver spoon) considering how the Priest is surrounded by such suffering & poverty. But the Priest becomes increasingly impressed with Nathan’s new attitude. There is help for God’s child but still he must pay. Those that are not grateful of their blessings should be punished for their apathy (play up psychology of Priest who is so fervently religious that he takes offense to Nathan’s nonchalance at life -this is a driving motivator for the Priest too) Unbeknownst to Nathan, he is tracking his every move…Follows him from SF to Rome and Milan and is ready to do the deed, but observes (from the shadows) Nathan befriend X. Priest affiliates with local church in Rome and Nathan reveals new attitude in confession booth. Priest increasingly sees new hope & life in Nathan, including this new friendship with X (Play up narrative, full of hidden clues and surprises as Priest references many things mentioned in SF although Nathan has no clue it’s the same priest -Priest attributes it to God being all-knowing) Nathan explains his daily life now, making it easy for Priest to track his every move. Priest is sloppy, getting caught by Nathan but Nathan has no idea who Priest is as he’s never seen him behind the confession curtain. Still, Priest notices that Nathan has detected the same scar/tattoo on his hand in several different scenarios and feels he is starting to connect the dots of his identity. Time is of the essence -he must act imminently. Contemplates backing out as he sees Nathan a richer life with renewed purpose but receives death threats from The Company! Now Priest has a dilemma (expand on his being conflicted. Weave in religious overtone that it is “God’s will” to punish those that don’t appreciate the gift of life). Priest decides to follow thru, as his fervent religious beliefs override his common sense, despite now seeing Nathan full of life and positive energy. Finally decides to shoot him at gunpoint, but with a stun gun instead to truly discover if he wants to die or try life again (Priest is equally confused with mixed emotions and this seems to be best course of action for his own peace of mind). Sis becomes obsessed with X, hypnotized by his every move. Starts to lose focus on her mission. Figures she needs to meet X thru D before she kills D as she wants the introduction. Calls D from a pay phone in Roma (D thinks she’s calling from USA) claiming she’s overdue for a vacation and wants to see D. They rendezvous in Milan and D invites X to join them for dinner (not knowing Sis has been enamored by X). Odd dinner ensues between the 3 with many hidden messages. Sis becomes torn between fulfilling mission and selfishly pursuing new love interest. Contemplates backing out but receives death threats from The Company! Now she has a dilemma (expand on her being conflicted). Decides to follow thru, despite now seeing her Brother full of life and positive energy. Finally decides to shoot him at gunpoint, but with a stun gun instead to truly discover if he wants to die or try life again (Sis is equally confused with mixed emotions and this seems to be best course of action for her own peace of mind). Sis & D have tearful dialogue and reconcile. Both want best for each other. Sis starts dating X and the 3 of them collaborate on opening new coffeehouse in Milan…. ++++++++++++++++++ Other potential Assassins: ex-wife, new husband of ex-wife, ex-girlfriend, employee