Kane looks up, cynical. “How?” he asks, looking down at his cigarette.
“Don’t know,” Christian snaps, shifting to offense. “Don’t care. That’s for people to decide. The people who help me. And they will!” he adds, this time with even greater conviction. “Now back off or I’ll shove that microphone up your ass,” Christian orders.
“You didn’t answer my question,” Kane says under his breath.
Kane rolls his eyes. “Move on.”
“Right,” Christian says, looking away. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Kane recoils. “Fine,” he says.
“I’m here to promote BuildABank,” Christian insists, looking at his watch. “I’m sorry to hear that your buddy got fired, but there’s nothing I can do about that.”
“How’d you find out?” Kane asks, his tone softening for the first time.
“It’s out there,” Christian explains.
Kane’s buddy was a dedicated employee with a strong international following, one of the few New Yorkers to get his own syndicated show with TheirMediaCorp as the regular DJ for the midnight-to-six slot. He had just been fired, and no one really knew more than to say he was an example of the “collateral damage” spreading from the comfortable confines of the radio station’s top floor offices, a pawn in the chess game being played out with New York’s financial district. Kane was required to fill in, despite the fact he too had just been fired. “So tell me about it,” Kane asks. “BuildABank.”
Christian hesitates, but decides not to expose himself to another attack. “You’re all over me and now we’re good? Go away.”
Kane takes another drag of his cigarette. It’s almost done. “All right, sorry.”
Kane puts out his cigarette. “I need to know – before we go on the air,” Kane explains, calmly. He is exhausted, and it is showing. Being in the studio under these circumstances is tough, but there’s no avoiding it, not if he wants a decent reference from these pricks. He can’t afford to be out of work for very long – at all really. “Look, I’m sorry,” he repeats. This time he sounds sincere.
Christian hesitates, again. “Okay.” He hesitates and then decides to cooperate. “I owned a mobile whiskey app. Successful company. Bank robbed my operating account. Straight up fraud. Bullshit. I sued. They sent goons after me. Threatened me. Ruined my name. Ran me out of town.”
“Your app. That’s how you got a sponsor for BuildABank?”
Christian pauses. “I don’t have a sponsor.” He worries where the confusion is coming from. “A friend arranged this. I’m looking for a sponsor. You know a booze company that wants to make billions?”
“No.” Kane looks at Christian, impatiently. “Afraid I don’t,” he adds, cynical.
“Look all I know is that I was hanging out at the cabin. I hopped on a plane.”
“A friend’s cabin,” Christian explains. “BuildABank is my story.” Christian speaks slowly, almost as if he were addressing a child. He is careful not to be disrespectful, though. Kane is clearly an ass but, like it or not, he has celebrity, which will help Christian for the next six hours. “Sued my bank. Death threats. Left town.”
Kane shrugs his shoulders. “Death threats to you?”
“Yeah. I came here, to New York, to meet with the Chairman. I met some people in the film industry along the way. They helped.”
“With what? You actually got a meeting?”
“Not at first, but one of the guys I met was Michael Nolan.”
Kane’s eyes widen. “The actor?”
“I haven’t heard that name in a while. He’s in rough shape. Nutcase went head to head with the Attorney General.”
“Do you really believe it was the Attorney General?”
Kane shrugs. “Do you really believe it wasn’t the Attorney General?”
Christian hesitates. “Look, the real point is this. The system outta’ whack. Money makes organizations right even if they’re wrong, even if it means destroying someone’s life. But that’s boring,” he says.
Kane looks up.
“I’ve created BuildABank without all the answers but that doesn’t matter.”
“So you’re telling your story. Whatever. Everybody’s got a story – “
“The story is only part of it,” Christian says, determined. “It shows people how to build a bank. I don’t have the whole thing worked out yet but that doesn’t matter.”
Kane nods his head. He doesn’t like being a jerk, but things are so unpredictable at work that he can’t act any other way. It’s like the air is too thick to breathe at times.
“That’s all I got, for now anyway,” Christian explains, adjusting his chair back with a black lever on its side.
“Who set this up?” Kane asks. “Did Michael Nolan set up your interview?”
“No, I thought you guys set it up,” Christian answers, perplexed.
“No,” Kane says, equally confused. He turns on the mic. “Uh, Kayleigh, did you set up this interview with Christian?”
“No,” she says. Her voice did not disappoint. This woman is sexy.
Kane continues to stare and then lifts his cell phone, an older model. The “LIVE” neon sign in the corner of the studio blinks on and off, signalling a 10-second countdown. Kane puts on his headphones, adjusts a few papers, and then calmly leans toward the microphone, as he has a thousand times. “And we’re on the air,” he starts, his tone transforming slightly into a deeper, polished radio voice. “This is Kane McKenna on FutureShow, live from our studios in New York,” he says as he watches his guest shift his chair up and down on the other side of the table separating them.
Kane tries to remain calm, watching carefully as Christian rolls his chair toward the beer filled cooler he had placed on the counter. Thankfully Christian doesn’t open it. “As you know,” Kane continues, “I normallybroadcast during the daylight hours, but now I have the pleasure of bringing you a night of whiskey and the banks,” he says coolly, looking away from the same cooler as if to will the beer to disappear. “Tonight we celebrate with a whiskey contest that we’ll tell you all about as we move along. In the meantime, and speaking of whiskey, we have with us in our studios the author of a story about whiskey, mobile whiskey, wrapped neatly inside his soon to be released novel script, BuildABank, a title that has little to do with whiskey. I’ll let our guest explain. Mr. Christian McQuaid,” Kane finishes, motioning for Christian to begin.
“It’s a novel script,” Christian explains. “A whiskey would be nice,” Christian adds, lightening the mood.
Kane covers his nerves with a smile, paranoid that Christian may be aware of his booze stash. “You had a mobile whiskey business that you talk about,” Kane acknowledges, his tone friendly. “Tell us about that.”
“I had a business,” Christian explains. “They took it from me.” Christian can tell Kane guy is a struggling with who he is, all friendly on-air after being so inconsistent off-air. Everything about Kane smacks of hypocrisy. Christian can’t stand hypocrisy.
“No whiskey here. We’re on the air,” Kane blurts, chuckling politely. “Hello everyone,” Kane tries again. “This is Kane McKenna, here with Christian McQuaid, author of the novel script, BuildABank.”
“Build a bank with the people,” Christian adds.
Kane ignores him despite the fact his cadence is yet again thrown off. “You probably don’t know Christian, mostly because he’s been hiding in Canada all his life, but I’m intrigued, not because Christian has a solution, everyone has a solution, but because Christian’s solution involves whiskey and a bank. We’ll be back in a moment to meet Christian, a unique guy, a novel script, and a unique whiskey contest.”
The LIVE neon turns off. A commercial cues in the background.
“Don’t interrupt,” Kane orders the second he’s off the air. “Kayleigh,” he continues, calling into the microphone.
“Yes,” a woman answers.
“Do we have an overview of the contest?”
“No. They sent us a lotta booze though.”
“OK, who made it? Who distributes it? Does the box have a label?”
“Boxes. And no, their generic. There’s like, gin, rum, vodka,” she explains, removing bottles from boxes. Whiskey. Some beer. And no, just a generic package.”
Kane’s eyebrows lower.
“Says One,” Kayleigh continues. “That’s it…back on the air Kane.”
“One?” Kane quickly places his headphones on and moves closer to the microphone. “And we’re back to talk about a novel script called BuildABank, which as we’ll explain through the evening, is all about the banks. We’ve also got whiskey related activities for you throughout the night including a contest, which we’ll tell you all about as we move along, and a story focused on the misfortunes of a mobile whiskey service previously owned by the man sitting across from me this evening, Mr. Christian McQuaid. Christian welcome to the studio and welcome to New York sir.”
“Thank you for having me, Kane,” Christian nods.
“Whiskey is universally enjoyed,” Kane continues, trying to invent content as he moves along, a task made more difficult with the lack of direction he’s getting from his producer. “The banks are universal. Maybe a little less enjoyable than whiskey but we definitely need the banks,” he adds, struggling with a fake laugh.
A year earlier Kane was on top of the world: a beautiful wife, making top dollar as an internationally respected investigative reporter radio personality, bringing tough news stories and interviews to market. On this night, the final show of his tenure at RaodBlogRadio, he works with what appears to be irrelevant entertainment.
Christian interjects, smiling. “So tell me, are we going to enjoy a few as we get underway? It only makes sense that we drink don’t you think?”
Kane knows the CEO’s office is monitoring his every move. Agree with their tight ass policies or not, he still needs a job reference. “Unfortunately, consuming alcohol on air is not permitted Christian. Federal regulator, you understand.”
“Rules of the show,” Christian adds.
“Yes, rules of the show, but it goes without saying that our listeners are free to do as they please in the comfort of their homes.” Kane presses the mute button on his screen. “CEO’s office,” he says angrily. He flicks the switch again, smiling. “Christian, sounds like you’ve got an interesting story to share about whiskey and the banks.”
Christian nods. “It’s a story’s about what we do with the shit breakfast life serves up sometimes. A bank robbed my whiskey business.”
There is a pause, a long pause as Kane takes a cigarette out of his pack. He hates smoking, but just can’t stop, which isn’t so odd. What is odd is the fact that he started only a year earlier when things started going sideways. At least he accomplished something in his thirties. “This story is loosely based on your life.”
“It was hell. A bank screwed up. They admitted it and then told me to take a hike. When they get that big, they don’t have to be accountable. My life was ruined. People’s lives are ruined, it doesn’t matter.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
Christian nods. “It’ll matter when they pay. Money’s all they understand.”
Kane’s cell phone rings, forcing him to wake from a temporary trance - his demeanour shifting to fear. He grabs at the phone, looks at its display panel, and then firmly presses the phone’s ringer button to turn off the ringer. He clears his throat.
“Anyway,” he says, attempting to save face. It isn’t like him to screw up. Keeping his cell phone on in the studio is inexcusable. He peers through the smoky glass studio window to make sure he is on cue. “So where was government in all this?”
“That’s the biggest disappointment you know. No worse feeling than being alone after having your life destroyed.”
“Yeah,” Kane nods. “I was raised to believe that government’s there for fairness. That ain’t happening a lot lately.”
“You’ve dedicated your career to that belief system,” Christian acknowledges.
“More on BuildABank when we return,” Kane interjects, avoiding a deeper look into reality for the time being. “BuildABank has a soundtrack?”
Christian nods. “Of course.”
“Just some guy,” he answers, evasive. “It’s a rough cut.”
Kane stops. “Just some guy?”
Christian shrugs his shoulders. “The band’s called Particular Chicken."
Kane clicks on a button.. “He doesn’t have any money or you don’t?”
“Play it,” Christian says, irreverent.
Kane’s confused. “How’s it gonna get done if you don’t have any money?”
He smiles. “Kane, if I worried about the how I wouldn’t be here,” he explains. “The soundtrack will get better. Life will get better, man. It gets better.”
Kane shakes his head - rolls his eyes. “Where the fuck am I?” He shakes his head. “What’s this song about?”
Christian smiles. “It’s about people taking control of their lives. It’s about people saying no to a system that convinces us that we aren’t worthy of success, they are, kinda thing. You’re a star Kane. You may be on a low but you can do it again.”
Kane shakes his head. “You have no idea what I’m going through.”
“Oh I think I do. And I know I went through this for a reason. It sucked. But whatever. I don’t know, building a bank isn’t as important to me as shining light on the truth of what’s goin on. So that shit that happened, doesn’t happen to other people.”
Kane looks at the clock on his computer.
Christian continues. “Corruption is legal. I was just a fly on an elephant’s ass. But I don’t care. I’m a star dude. I’m a star for surviving what they did to me. You’re a star. You can be as big as you want. Everyone listening can be a star Kane. All of us can be stars. Think of the night time sky on a clear night. Think of it as a mirror to our souls. The power of people is unstoppable.” He stops, staring at an imaginary spot on the wall. “It’s called Hollywood Actor,” he directs, motioning toward Kane. “We don’t need Hollywood to tell us how to live our lives. We know who we are and what we’re capable of.”
Kane manipulates his laptop. The soundtrack cues.
INT. STUDIO – NIGHT
We HEAR music.
INT.BUSINESS JET - NIGHT
We SEE OZZ at his desk. He clicks on his laptop.