(CUTTO: Thomasí office at CS Towers hours before PRIMETIME 500 is scheduled to begin. Thomas sits hunched over his desk disinterested in a stack of papers recklessly piled in front of him. Hortense, his wife of less than six months, comes strutting in from the office bathroom holding a Pink plus-size dress with yellow polka dots in her hands.)
H: Baby, look!
T: How long has it been since youíve been able to fit in that?
H: Oh, hush! You know what it is?
T: Thereís a wealth of answers here all begging to see the light of day.
H: The dress I wore at Fish Fund when the girls and I performed for the first time in CSWA history.
T: (puzzled) I thought that was lost in the fire...
H: I found it in the only corner of the Park that was left standing, untouched! Small miracle, but a miracle!
T: This company lost millions in that fire and youíre telling me the only thing that survived was a five dollar dress?
H: Sug, whatís wrong? Is it your IBS?
T: My bowels arenít irritable!
H: Mmmm hmmm. I got a peaceful nights sleep thatíll beg to differ.
T: Why are you showing me this? Weíre not doing a piece on Christmas miracles.
H: But...itís a moment. The girls and I....
T: PRIMETIME moments...not Fish Fund Hortense.
H: Why you always gotta correct me?
(Thomas starts to get into it but stops.)
T: Iím sorry. Iím just a little stressed tonight.
H: If youíd have a doctor look at that...
H: Weíll talk about it when youíre ready.
T: (beat) I think itís over. This company doesnít have the money to run another show.
H: You canít be serious.
T: Whatever came into this league went right back out. Merrittís golden egg was production: spend well to look well. Youíve been here since the beginning baby, youíve seen the expense reports.
H: Stephen, it canít all be gone. Can it?
T: What I can get my hands on is. The good will between our business associates has expired. I had to tape a monthís worth of shows on a three-day cruise. I canít pay anyoneís contract right now. The debts from how this company was run over the last two years have drained us. If I donít shut it down thereís gonna be a hundred people lined up outside that oak door to sue my ass off.
H: You said...the money you could...
T: ...There is money. Merrittís got it tied up in accounts I canít get to. He was smarter than he looked. The CSWA canít run without him.
H: Sug, call him and ask for help!
T: Right. Just pick up the phone to ring the man I had thrown out of the company.
H: Why not?
T: Merrittís been dead to me since he set up my departure five years ago. Iíll let this business lie in its grave before turning to him. No, Iím afraid tonightís the last night in the CSWAís history.
(Hortense is in shock.)
H: Unless what?
T: The right person jumps ship...