Full Screenplay!

Hey so it still needs a few adjustments, you may notice a narrator pops up in the last scene that wasn't in the rest of the script, and I may want to change that later😅 but for now a finished draft with at least most of the typos caught! Hope you enjoy. It was so much fun trying this out over the holiday season, I wonder what new challenges this year will bring. Also I never did change the title, maybe I'll do that in the next draft.

 

❄️    ☃️  🎄 ☃️   ❄️
Nice to be so Naughty
 
A Christmas Movie
 
By
 
Dalila Caryn

 

 

Scene 1: Eight Tiny Reindeer

 

 

Scene:

Basement IT department of My Best Friend Doll company, Burbank CA. It is Monday November 26. There are several cubicles crammed into the small room, along the left wall is a small break room with one glass window and an open door, through which a fridge and a small round table are visible. 

At the desk of GABRIELLA neatly appointed with a computer, office phone notepads and a jar of pens and decorated for Christmas with a small strand of snowflake lights a miniature Christmas tree without ornament, a snowman mug filled with candy canes and a Santa with eight reindeer.

 

GABRIELLA faces into the camera speaking to the crew of a documentary working in the company. Wearing a pair of elf ear headphones, and a Christmas lama sweater over slacks.

 

GABRIELLA
There were in fact nine tiny reindeer on my desk when I left work last Wednesday! And there are only eight now. So fine, (dramatic sigh) some people think a full week before Thanks Giving is too early to decorate for Christmas. But thats no excuse for theft. And they did it so blatantly too. (rolls eyes) Its probably Jack. Its always Jack. He’s like a five-year-old. Its not as if he stole Rudolph, who wasn’t a part of the original octet so I might not have noticed right away. But nooo! He stole Vixen.

Beat unheard question. 

GABRIELLA
Of course I know their order. Santa speaks English, so presuming a basic English education he would call them from left to right, starting with the deer nearest his sleigh! And the perpetrator stole the second deer on Santa’s right. Vixen!  (gestures broadly at desk) 

 

Camera pans to show the figurines on the desk.

Pans back to GABRIELLA. 

GABRIELLA 
Call me a Who. I like Christmas—a lot. But I’m not crazy or rude about it. I don’t play my music so others can hear it, thats what the ears are for. (indicates elf ear headphones) I don’t try and get other people to decorate, or sing random Christmas carols in the break room. But if someone still has a problem with me, they should come at me

 

 GABRIELLA slaps chest in a manner intended to be intimidating but hits too hard. 

Coughs, ruining the effect.

 

GABRIELLA (rubbing chest)
Not at the reindeer. 

 

Camera pans up slightly, a hand slowly appears over the cubical wall 

JACK’s head follows finger to lips. 

JACK steals another deer. Donner.

 

GABRIELLA (answering unheard question)
No. I can’t just move Rudolph to Vixen’s place. For one thing, he leads the sleigh. For another, he didn’t even come with this set, so he doesn’t match exactly. 

 

GABRIELLA begins to reach towards reindeer. 

Phone rings 

GABRIELLA swivels to answer.

 

GABRIELLA (into phone)
I.T. department, Gabriella speaking. How can I help—Oh. Good morning, sir (sits straighter) Of course anything. (beat) Well…thats not exactly an I.T. assignment, maybe… No. No. Of course. It would be my pleasure. Five minutes, of course. 

 

GABRIELLA hangs up and sighs into a slouch looking at Christmas sweater. 

Shakes head at camera.

 

GABRIELLA 
When I first got this job I was in a full business suit or dress everyday. And I got teased mercilessly for it and never left this basement. Like 355 days a year I don’t even leave this cubicle. I mean I’ve never even met our C.O.O., thats who was on the phone, Mr. Coleman.

 

Beat unheard question. 

GABRIELLA
What? Ha ha, very funny. No they don’t keep me chained to my desk. I can leave for weekends and vacation days. It was hyperbolic. If you want to know my exact number of working days ask an accountant.  

 

GABRIELLA stands only the bottom of torso in the shot. 

Pulls sweater over head revealing a loose blouse. 

The lama sweater falls to floor. 

An exaggerated sigh can be heard. 

GABRIELLA ducks into the shot. 

 

GABRIELLA
Wish me luck.  

 

GABRIELLA exits, camera pans to watch her leave. 

JACK’s head dips into the shot watching GABRIELLA. 

JACK spins to face camera, pulls out both reindeer, 

prancing them around.

 

Cut to JACK’s cubical, sitting with reindeer in hand. 

JACK’s cubicle has a bare minimum of personal items. 

One family photo. 

JACK
Nah, I have nothing against Christmas, or even decorating early. (rolls eyes) At home. I just like screwing with her. She’s too intense about everything: her value to the company, her plans for the future, company hiring policy, now Christmas! I mean come on relax already. 

 

Shakes head answering unheard question.

JACK
No. No. Seriously, no. I’m not into…that. I mean can you imagine. 

 

JACK makes scared face holding up reindeer.

JACK
This is the level of intensity she puts into a holiday at the office! She has twinkle lights, a snowman with candy canes. Which she says she doesn’t even like that much by the way. And a tiny tree a Santa and reindeer, and as of yesterday while on a tech call she made and decorated a chain of snowmen. Don’t get me wrong she’s a nice girl. Maybe too nice. She told everyone when she first came here that she doesn’t like being called Gabby or Gabs but everyone calls her that and she just smiles sweetly. And when Maya accidentally synced her home calendar with the whole office, and lost all the other appointments Gabriella not only fixed the calendar she also spent hours comforting Maya, and showing her how to run her phone. I don’t even think she got a thank you. But she can’t relax. I mean is she on speed or something? And this whole “I like Christmas like a five year old thing.” Can you imagine dating that its a—(breaks off looking beyond camera)

 

GABRIELLA leas into shot.  

Violently yanks both reindeer from JACK.

 

GABRIELLA (angrily)
Imagine it all you want. Its not happening.

 

Camera pans to follow GABRIELLA marches around desk, 

replaces the reindeer with care. 

Face impassive, breathing heavily.

 

JACK (whispers, rolling eyes)
Fuck.
GABRIELLA (shakes head at unheard question) 
Not now.

 

Cut to GABRIELLA in conference room

Individual interview.

 

GABRIELLA
It was nothing special. At least nothing special about me. Mr. Coleman just wants me to run the office Secret Santa this year because last year was such a disaster. He basically order me to data mine the office for gift ideas. (beat/chewing lip)
I am (shrugging) slightly opposed to the invasion of privacy. But we do sign contracts that give the company access to everything we do on our office computers. Still I really think he should let the whole secret Santa thing go. 

 

GABRIELLA pulls a face. 

Shaking her head at an unheard question.

 

GABRIELLA
Oh I love Christmas and I love decorating my desk but that doesn’t mean I think there should be a company wide mandatory participation in a holiday function. He should just give end of the year bonus and leave it at that. I’d much prefer money to the kind of gifts I got last year. I  only got one on the last of the twelve days and it was a box of Bic pens. I’m pretty sure they stole it from the supply closet.

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA 
No. Its not flattering that he picked me. (scoffs) I’m the most junior member if the department so I cannot say no. And I obviously love buying gifts and giving them since I’m female. The only one in the department. Which by the way (growing agitated) is weird. At least half my graduating class were female, why are they so under represented in the work force?

 

Beat unheard comment. 

GABRIELLA blushes. 

GABRIELLA
What? You think that just because I smile and decorate for Christmas I’m incapable of viewing inequity. You listen to Jack too much. What did he do, call me an airhead before I came back?

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA
Of course that upset me! Not in an oooh my poor broken heart sort of way. I’m not into him either. But just the way he was talking, like dating me would be a form of torture or something. It was offensive! You’d be offended too. (shrugs) maybe even hurt.

 

Long beat. 

GABRIELLA looks up, nodding to unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA
Oh, well Mr. Coleman gave me a lot of latitude so I’m gonna have fun with it. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but that doesn’t mean they don’t all have something they want or need. So (grinning) I’ll figure it out. This year—just call me Santa.  

 

 

  Scene 2: Nutcracker 

 

Scene: Basement I.T. department

It is Wednesday December 5th 

Camera aimed at JACK’s cubical.

Beyond it two cubicles are visible with 

Decoration, one with multicolored lights

Another has a Rudolph head with a 3D 

Red nose and rings around it. 

Jack’s desk remains void of decoration.

GABRIELLA’s decoration is not visible from 

JACK’s side.

JACK
Gabby over there us still pouting. She hasn’t said more than three words to me in like a week. I mean its not like I mutilated the reindeer or anything.
GABRIELLA (loudly from behind partition) (fake phone call)
I.T. this is, Gabriella. Is that you, Santa? Wow! I can’t believe you’re calling me personally.

 

JACK grins at camera wide and impressed. 

GABRIELLA
Oh, you’ve taken Jack off your nice list. Yeah that makes sense. I did just hear him mention reindeer mutilation like its okay.

 

JACK snorts.

GABRIELLA
Yep, Santa. I’ll keep you posted. Happy Holidays!
JACK (laughing)
See what I mean. She is other level nutty.

 

BEAT. JACK shaking his head amused.

A nutcracker appears at the top of a 

Partition. GABRIELLA standing slips a 

Walnut into its mouth and proceeds to 

Crack the nut, shell bits scatter over JACK 

And desk. GABRIELLA smiles sweetly. 

GABRIELLA
Walnut?
JACK (shaking off debris)
I’m good. Thanks.

 

GABRIELLA replaces nutcracker on her desk.

Crosses to break room munching nut.

JACK
She is totally acting suspicious. This whole week. No, its longer than that. Ever since her meeting with Coleman. Instead of what she usually does: actually working between tech calls, which by the way is redundant, but she hasn’t been doing her redundant work. No she’s been leaving her cubicle to chat with people. Add to that she took on the usage reports, which anyone can see she hates.

 

BEAT unheard question.

JACK
Oh, usage reports are random spot checks we do to see what employees are using their computers for. You know, how much time does Daniel spend on minesweepers, or Tiffany on Facebook. That sort of thing. No one cares about them until they want to fire someone then they use them as ammunition. Gabriella dislikes them because she feels like she’s invading people’s privacy. But technically they have no privacy guarantee on work computers.(shrugs)  She just gets too involved. When she first ran the reports found out that Frank was spending all this time on medical sites and she dug deeper, to see what he was actually looking at. Turns out his wife had ovarian cancer and she just got all worked up about it. Hasn’t liked doing them since. Now she volunteers, and is using them to go out there and get to know those weirdos. Its very odd. (nods at break room) Watch her.

 

Camera pans left to show GABRIELLA and 

MAYA through break room window. A bit of

A muffled conversation can be over heard 

Between women in break room.

MAYA (teary)
Not only is he still married, he also lied about having kids. And he’s six years older than his account said. 
GABRIELLA (awkwardly) 
Wow. Liars, that really sucks. 

 

Commotion is audible behind camera. 

JACK moves unseen to GABRIELLA’s 

Side of the cubicle and begins rifling 

Through her things. 

MAYA
I know! He’s completely ruining Christmas for me.
GABRIELLA
He can’t be the only thing that makes the holidays special.
MAYA (wails)
He was!

 

MAYA throws herself into GABRIELLA’s

Arms for a hug. GABRIELLA notices 

Camera looks closer

Angrily catches sight of JACK.

Camera pans back to JACK, riffling 

around GABRIELLA’s desk. 

 

Cut to break room camera crew. 

GABRIELLA comforts MAYA while

Watching JACK with growing annoyance. 

GABRIELLA
Its okay. Come on. You’ve had nice Christmases alone before. What made them special?

 

MAYA sobbing says something unintelligible.

Cut to JACK at GABRIELLA’s desk.

Desk shows additional decoration. Christmas

Tree now has miniature ornaments. And 

Snowflake d-cals are stuck to the wall of

The cubicle. Everything is neatly in its place. 

 

JACK (amused pointing at computer screen)
She is full mad hatter. 

 

BEAT unheard comment from camera crew.

 

JACK
Oh. Sorry. 

 

JACK pulls at latched edge of computer 

Privacy screen.

 

JACK
These are her fault you know? She didn’t want to be in your stupid documentary. (aside) Sorry. Anyway she complained that we deal with too much sensitive information to take part. We don’t deal with anything remotely important. We’re a doll company, not the NSA. But they caved and gave everyone these truly annoying screens. I think she was just nervous about being on camera.

 

JACK finally manages to yank of privacy 

Screen, knocking over snowman mug with 

candy canes. Yanks up a candy cane and 

Breaks plastic shoving it in his mouth. 

JACK (around sandy cane)
Oops.    

 

JACK points out screen saver, showing an 

ice skater on a frozen lake with decorated 

Christmas trees around and a nutcracker 

In her arms. Also a countdown clock to 

Christmas in top right screen corner. 

JACK shakes head. 

 

JACK
She did this thing last year, (beat smiling) every time she’d turn on her computer she’d start singing to herself. Really quiet, it wasn’t annoying or anything, just…weird. She would like whisper it (singing) Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow. You know like in that Christmas movie, Singing in—no. White Christmas! That was it. (singing) Snow.  

 

Beat. Close up on JACK’s face.

JACK sits.

JACK (snorts)
 Lets see what she’s up to. 

 

Cut to GABRIELLA and MAYA.

GABRIELLA 
Look, Maya, you can’t let some lying jerk come in and ruin your good time. Do something for you.
MAYA
I wanted to share the holidays with someone. 
GABRIELLA
So do that. Just not with him. And for now, not with a boyfriend. Share it with family, with friends. Buy yourself a puppy. You know(beat) (sharp tone) maybe it would help to go find him, (watching JACK) and give him a good swift kick in the hazelnuts.

 

Cut to JACK, rooting around 

GABRIELLA’s computer, back to 

Camera. 

 

JACK 
Either she’s up to something. Or she’s acting weird intentionally to make me curious, just because I said I wouldn’t date her. Ah-ha! I’ve got—

 

BEAT unheard comment. JACK 

stands.

JACK ( offended)
I most certainly did say I wouldn’t date her. 

 

Camera shakes back and forth. 

 

JACK 
Thats why she’s so…Look would you just be a pal and watch her.

 

Camera stays tight on JACK.

JACK (agitated)
Fat lot of help you are. How can she work with all this clutter. 

 

JACK pushing aside mess he made with 

Candy canes knocks over nutcracker. 

It falls to floor with a loud crack. 

 

Cut to break room. 

 

MAYA
You’re a very sweet girl, Gabby. I’m so glad I spoke to you.

 

GABRIELLA nods awkwardly. 

GABRIELLA crosses to desk.

JACK
Shit shit shit. Quick get me some glue.

 

JACK lifts broken nutcracker and tries 

to fit splintered pieces of the cracker 

back together. 

JACK
There is just no way she won’t notice this she such a—
GABRIELLA (angrily)
Seriously! What is your problem with me? I’ve been leaving you alone. I don’t stick my stuff on your side of the partition. Or make loud childish noises when your on calls (clearly a complaint) If you want to decorate with the swimsuit issue of sports illustrated or skulls and dead bunnies I won’t bother you. Why can’t you just leave me alone?

 

Camera shows multiple male heads 

peeking out from cubicles to 

Watch the spectacle.

JACK
It was an accident.
GABRIELLA (snidely)
Oh you accidentally walked to my side of the partition, ripped off my privacy screen, made a mess of my desk and broke my favorite nutcracker?
JACK (growing agitated)
Just the last bits were accidental. Look if you like the thing so much why was it here?
GABRIELLA
I like having it around. I like using it. Whats it to you?

 

JACK eyes the avid coworkers. 

JACK (between teeth)
I’ll buy you another one. That one was a piece of crap anyway.
GABRIELLA ( suddenly calm and cold)
Just move. This is my space, get out of it.

 

JACK moves aside. 

GABRIELLA moves past JACK. 

 

GABRIELLA
What did you need here anyway?
JACK (hesitantly)
I was doing a spot check…on your usage.

 

GABRIELLA cocks hip to the side

Stares JACK down silently. 

JACK
Fine, I wanted to know what you were up to. You’re acting weird.  
GABRIELLA
And thats unusual how? (Beat) That’s a concern of yours why?
JACK (whispering)
I really will buy you another. It’s my bad. 
GABRIELLA
You can’t. They don’t make working nutcrackers anymore. They’re all decorative. And anyway, that piece of crap was my favorite for sentimental reasons. But…whatever. It’s done now.

 

JACK contrite, walks back to his 

cubicle. Heads dart behind partitions

Working noises erupt. 

 

GABRIELLA neatly gathers the strewn 

Candy canes and returns them to their 

mug, setting it in its proper place. 

Shoves privacy screen under desk 

Neatly sets aside the pieces of her 

nutcracker. GABRIELLA sits. Closes 

Different windows on her screen. 

Stopping at last window, labeled:

N.N.list.doc. A document with two 

columns one with a smiling emoji

One with a frowning emoji. Scrolls 

Down to name Jack Forrest on 

frowning list adds a check to his name 

And a note: may the punishment fit 

The crime.

GABRIELLA cracks knuckles. 

 

Cut to JACK in conference room alone. 

JACK
I should have figured it out sooner. There were plenty of clues. Hanukkah started over the weekend and when everyone got back the people who celebrate all found cards and little bags of chocolate coins on their desks. It wasn’t much, but it also wasn’t anything the HR department would have come up with. Then Tuesday they all got individual donuts on their desks when they came in, and no one knew where they were from. (shakes his head) trust her to look up appropriate food for Hanukkah and pass it out. And she had donuts for the whole staff in the break room with a note on it telling people to ask their coworkers about the significance of fried food and Hanukkah. (shakes head) 

 

BEAT unheard question. 

 

JACK
Why do I care what she was up to? I don’t know. I don’t, I guess. (shrugs) This job isn’t that hard. I keep three books in my desk for the down time. It used to just be one, but I finished a book in the morning once, and actually spent the rest of the day talking to my coworkers. It was pretty rough. 

 

BEAT unheard question. 

 

JACK
Surf the web? Oh no, the company isn’t catching me in that trap. If they want to fire me they’ll have to come up with real cause. 

 

BEAT unheard question. 

JACK 
I guess I didn’t get in much reading this week. (shrugs) Gabriella was the more entertaining mystery. She’ll make a decent Secret Santa, not that Mr. Coleman knew that. She just commits herself to every task like it has epic importance (scoffs) as if that will get her noticed. Anyway now that I solved the mystery, thats the end of it for me. 

 

BEAT unheard question.

JACK
Gabriella didn’t work here yet when I ran out of books to read. 

 

BEAT unheard question.

 

JACK
I suppose I know her pretty well. Its hard not to with her just plugging away on the other side of the cubicle, but thats been pretty rough too.  

 

BEAT unheard question.

JACK
Have I ever been on the naughty list before? (laughs) Maybe Gabriella will give you Santa’s number and we can find out for sure. Honestly though, before I broke the stupid nutcracker I hadn’t done anything worthy of the naughty list. Stealing the deer was just a bit of fun, she is just sooo easy to goad. And what I said about never dating her—

 

Unheard interruption. 

 

JACK
Lets not get into this again. The point is…I don’t mind being on the naughty list. Knowing Gabriella she’ll pass out chocolate coal or something. She’s a soft touch.

 

Scene 3: Elves at Work

 

Scene: Cuts between conference room

For individual interviews and the design

Floor break room.

Conference Room

 

MAYA
How did secret Santa work last year? (rolls eyes) Badly.

 

Cut to break room. A counter with microwave 

Sink a small table with three chairs and 

a Refrigerator MAYA, FRANK, ANGELO 

And CLARA talking around a table.

MAYA
I hear there’s going to be Secret Santa again this year, but its just one person getting all the presents. 
FRANK
That’d have to be Coleman then. Unless the new limit is one dollar. I don’t know which is worse?
ANGELO
Coleman! How is that even Secret Santa anyway? The whole fun us guessing who stole the printer toner for your gift. 

 

All laugh.

Cut to ANGELO, conference room.

ANGELO
How did Secret Santa work last year? (laughs) Honestly it wasn’t that bad. Just a little…(waves arms) stressful right in the middle of a busy time of year. So a lot of people half assed it. You get a name that you must keep secret and for the twelve days before the office closes for the year on December 24th you give them little stuff like candy, coffee…whatever and one big gift the last day, limit forty dollars. 

 

Cut to CLARA, conference room.

CLARA
Four of us are J. W., there are at least six Jewish people I know of, and Miriam is Muslim, and Andrew’s…I don’t know a hippy maybe. He doesn’t celebrate because he dislikes the commercial nature of the holiday (shakes head) Really? We works for a company that designs dolls. Our biggest seller is Krissy the Christmas doll, she has a pet reindeer and is somehow the child of this (beat) thousands of years old couple. Maybe she’s adopted. I mean she comes in several races. Well three-ish. Black, white, and vaguely not white. (rolls eyes)

 

Cut to MAYA, conference room.

MAYA
Then there was this screw up because a memo went out calling it mandatory. I warned him, but Mr. Coleman never listens to me. He said “everybody loves Secret Santa.”

 

Cut to ANGELO, conference room.

ANGELO (laughing)
But the kicker is all these people refused to participate for religious reasons and the boss just says fine, but doesn’t adjust anything! (overcome with laughter) 

 

Cut to conference room

HANNAH.

HANNAH
Honestly Secret Santa never bothered me. I participated the first three years I worked here. The problem was that pesky little word they used in the memo: mandatory. Just because I was okay with it didn’t mean every Jewish member of staff would be. Or every member of staff period. So I signed onto the complaint. The problem was always with the executive level of the company. And the fix was simple (rolling eyes) and never done. All they had to do was send out another email that said “our bad we meant to say Secret Santa was optional,” and it would have been over. But Coleman gets very defensive and it makes him overlook tiny details.  

 

Cut to conference room FRANK.

 

FRANK

I bought ten days worth of nice Christmasy treats for Clara before getting yanked into HR for religiously discriminating against her. 

 

Cut to conference room CLARA. 

CLARA
My complaint was always with management. I told HR that. I chose to practice a truth that I believe in with all of my heart. But thats my belief, I don’t begrudge anyone else their celebrations. I just don’t participate. The trouble was nothing to do with Frank, I would have continued to get the presents and left him with a thank you at the end. But I didn’t want management putting me or anyone else in that awkward position again. Thats what the complaint was about.

 

Cut to conference room FRANK.

FRANK
It was seriously frustrating. And! (growing agitated) When I tried to sign on to her complaint with management I was called combative. Can you believe that?

 

Cut to ANGELO in conference room 

Several beats of laughing.

 

Cut to MAYA, conference room. 

 

MAYA
I didn’t get gifts. My secret Santa was supposed to be Miriam from the design team. But when she and the others opted out Coleman forgot to reassign any of us. So like fourteen people went without gifts but bought stuff for other people. 

 

Cut to ANGELO, conference room. 

      ANGELO (with laughter tears)
So me and Ed, trying to be nice, steal a bunch of supplies from the closet for the people who were getting stiffed! (chuckles) You know we never ever got thanked. 

 

Cut to break room.

CLARA
Little Krissy is selling far better than expected. We had two additional rush orders, the factory workers are all on over time if we make the crunch this could be our best year yet.
FRANK (dismissively) 
Your point being?   

 

CLARA gives a brief glare. 

Cut to conference room FRANK.

FRANK
There’s no lingering awkwardness with Clara. (beat, glaring) I only think about her every time I have a mandatory anger management assessment. So once a month.

 

Cut to conference room CLARA.

CLARA (rolling eyes)
 We’re fine. 

 

Cut to break room.

CLARA
The point is maybe we can get year end bonuses instead of stupid gifts no one wants. 
ANGELO
Oh, I doubt that. Haven’t you heard. Everyone jewish keeps getting secret Hanukkah gifts?
CLARA
Really? 
FRANK
Isn’t that religiously profiling?

 

CLARA grinds her teeth. 

Rolls eyes at camera.

 

Cut to break room

HANNAH.

 

HANNAH
When we got the Hanukkah gifts I was a bit nervous that it would be weird or offensive, but its just cute little stuff. And the donuts…(smiles) that was actually nice. I guess it was awkward at first but once I got to talking with people it had a weird way of making it feel more like a work family. (pulls a face) That sounded really corny didn’t it?

 

Cut to break room.

MAYA
I…I actually hope they still do Secret Santa. I like the idea of getting secret gifts from someone in the office. Even if they’re little and stupid. Knowing someones thought about you and what you’d like is nice. 

 

 Uncomfortable silence. Everyone 

Looking at CLARA. 

Cut to CLARA, conference room.

CLARA
I’m sure it is nice. It sounds like fun. And if it were just a buy your coworker a gift thing I’d probably like it. But honestly what I disliked about the whole thing isn’t a lack of inclusion,(agitated) I remove myself from the celebration, its not on anyone. But I really hate this feeling that everyone thinks I’m their Grinch, because I pointed out the inequity to management. (sigh) Again, all managements fault.  

  

  Cut to break room. 

ANGELO
I prefer year end bonuses better too. The mystery part is fun but money definitely beats the sort of gifts we usually get. 

 

Enter GABRIELLA, crosses to coffee machine. 

MAYA
Gabby! Hey, you’re a computer wiz. Could you hack into Coleman’s email and see if we’re getting bonuses this year?

 

Cut to GABRIELLA, conference room. 

 

GABRIELLA 
Everyone thinks you have to be a genius to work tech. You really don’t. Maybe to work tech at a tech firm, but this (shrugs) the level of work I generally have to do here. I learned in the first month of computer science. In high school. But could I hack him? (sigh) I don’t need to he kept locking himself out of his computer and having to reset the whole thing, so I have all his passwords. I suppose technically if I were to use them without his permission that is still hacking, but not very impressive hacking.

 

Cut to break room

GABRIELLA (with a laugh)
We’re not getting bonuses. 
CLARA
Krissy’s sells are through the roof! The factory is back ordered and working overtime.
GABRIELLA (shrugging)
Maybe I’m wrong, but Mr. Coleman doesn’t really seem the type to give away money.

 

Everyone nods.

ANGELO
So why is he having one person do Secret Santa for the whole office? Wouldn’t that have to come out of his own pocket. 

 

Cut to GABRIELLA, conference room.

GABRIELLA
It’s coming out of the company discretionary fund. Otherwise known as schmoozing money. And he did raise the budget ten dollars per person, to fifty whole dollars. (sarcastically raises thumbs) Secret Santa will work a little differently this year. I don’t want anyone to feel excluded. So there are complications. 

 

Beat unheard question.

GABRIELLA 
Did I send out Hanukkah gifts? Thats not really Santa’s place is it? (smiling secretively) Today their were little Hanukkah ornaments, silly little things that make you smile for no reason. (shrugs) But it won’t all be so easy, and then there is the naughty list. I will not be passing out coal, but you can bet your ass the naught workers will know which list they were on. 

 

Cut to break room. 

 

GABRIELLA
Who says one persons doing it?
MAYA
Its just a rumor. I heard it from Cory who heard it from Jack. 

 

Cut to conference room. 

 

GABRIELLA (glaring)
Jack! Thats three strikes. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

GABRIELLA
Sure Santa checks his list twice. But I’m updating “the man, the legend,” “to the woman the evil genius.” 

 

Beat unheard question.  

 

GABRIELLA 
I never said I wasn’t a genius. I just said tech doesn’t require genius. But yeah. I’m gifted. (pops eyes brows and smirks)

 

Cut to break room.

FRANK
Having one person do secret Santa is just another way to cut corners. We’ll probably get a week of candy followed by an iTunes gift card. 
CLARA (shrugging)
Could be worse. 

 

Cut to conference room. 

 

GABRIELLA
It will not be a week of candy followed by an iTunes card. This Santa has a much better bag of tricks.    

 

 

Scene 4: You’re A Mean One Ms. Grinch 

 

Scene: Living room GABRIELLA’s apartment.

Large couch with snowman blanket, a large

Live pine tree to right, fully loaded with 

Lights and ornaments. On the wall is a 

snowflake made up of Christmas cards. 

A easel is set up with a large naughty or 

Nice list with individual drawings of Christmas 

Style cartoons for each person. A counter 

separates living room from a small kitchen.  

 

GABRIELLA stands at counter stirring a bowl

Of cookie batter. A finished batch is cooling on 

The counter.  

MARIA a twenty year old art student 

GABRIELLA’s sister, stands at the 

board sketching a hunky toy soldier 

With his head hanging sideways next to 

JACK’s name. 

GABRIELLA (smiling evilly)
The plan is coming along quite nicely. I implemented phase one before I left work today. Like the original twelve day secret Santa our work set up in the past, the first few days of gifts are small and it builds from there. (cackles) By the time I’m through with him Jack will be reduced to a pathetic, regretful, puddle of mush. (beams)
MARIA (without looking up)
I think they meant the plan for the nice list. Not revenge (to camera) You know most people think she’s sweet. 
GABRIELLA (unashamed)
I am sweet. I’m just not a pushover. Santa could have really filled out his nice list if he’d just put a little more focus into his punishments than coal. 

 

MARIA rolls eyes at camera 

 

GABRIELLA
Anyway this isn’t revenge. Its a lesson. I start out with a simple, annoying reminder of the fact that he didn’t need to be in my space. Even to solve his stupid mystery. (agitated) I programmed his computer remotely to change his wallpaper to Christmas themed stuff. Every time he tries to change it it will get more Christmassy. The first wall paper is just a snowy forest. By the time it changes five times its eight cats with reindeer antlers and reins made of flashing lights. 
MARIA (to camera)
This isn’t even her at a ten. And she can go waaaaaaay beyond ten. (smiling evilly) it’s actually great fun to watch, if it isn’t aimed at you.
GABRIELLA
The plan builds from there. Day two has his screen saver rotating through famous Christmas movie moments. And he sees his screen saver a lot by the way. Since he makes zero effort into doing work between calls. All his punishments will serve as reminders to keep his nose out of other peoples business. A few “accidentally” shared job applications and subsequent rejections. And culminates in what he’d hate the most—

 

Beat GABRIELLA pausing for dramatic effect.   

MARIA (sarcastically)
A visit from elves?
GABRIELLA (narrow eyed)
No. An accidentally emailed clip of his ex-girlfriend turning him down flat when he proposed. 
MARIA (horrified)
Jeez, bruiser. Thats a bit intense. It was just a nutcracker. How’d you even find that?
GABRIELLA
It wasn’t easy actually. (grows steadily more animated/ intense) I could only find out little innocuous things about him. He doesn’t have any social media accounts. He doesn’t bring personal things into the office. Finally I back tracked through his parents. His mother’s account was a wealth of information about his past. 

 

GABRIELLA motions wildly. 

Cookie batter flies off spoon.

MARIA turns from easel watching

quietly. 

GABRIELLA
But she’d deleted all this stuff from three years ago, including photo albums and all these posts that had him tagged in them. Then I found his old account and figured out about the fiancee that wasn’t. 

 

MARIA approaches slowly. 

 

MARIA (softly)
Gabriella.
GABRIELLA (continued)
Everyone gets upset when someone dumps them but he went off the grid. And he’s techy—and not a slouch at it either I mean he only graduated cum laude, but I’ve seen his work he’s pretty good. It just didn’t make sense, so I dug. And I found the clip. It hadn’t exactly gone viral, but locally yeah! Valentine proposal fail! You want me to show you? Its a little sad actually. 
MARIA
Gabriella Anjelica Cortez. (reaches out)

 

GABRIALLA flinches and steps 

Back. Sets bowl on counter, and 

Grabs a unfrosted cookie.

MARIA drops hands and 

Steps back. 

MARIA (quietly)
You’re stemming.

 

GABRIELLA rolls shoulders stiffly.

Shakes out head and torso like

She’s attacked by chills. Turns 

Back to camera. Loud crunch can

Be heard as she bites into cookie.

MARIA crosses to board and 

Begins adjusting her sketches.

 

MARIA
The trouble is you aren’t leaving room for him to properly feel remorse and change. 

 

GABRIELLA slowly fisting hands

Breathing deeply. Taps legs 

With finger tips between fisting

Hums quietly.

 

MARIA
If you go through with the whole thing he’ll just feel victimized. Maybe thats why Santa passes out coal. I doubt Jack intentionally broke the nutcracker and it was just—  
GABRIELLA (sharply)
Quit saying that.

 

GABRIELLA and MARIA

Face one another silently.

GABRIELLA releases a large 

Breath and tension. 

MARIA crosses to her sister

Runs hands up and down 

GABRIELLA’s  arms soothingly

Hums “Stand by Me”

GABRIELLA smiles softly at 

MARIA before her eyes dart shyly

To the camera. Looks away.

GABRIELLA
Its not just the nutcracker. He’s always needling me about being too “up-tight”
MARIA
Thats just guy speak for you make me feel lazy. 
GABRIELLA
I know. And I try to let it go. I even tried to let it go when he messed with my deer. I know he thinks he’s being cute for the cameras, (breaths deeply) but I can literally feel it under my skin when people mess with my space. (tense beat) So I remind myself that isn’t really my space. This is my space. (beat) And I think I’ve let it go. And he (beat) He didn’t just mess with my space he invaded it! (gesturing, posture tightening) He broke things. He made a mess. And all to poke around in my computer, which he could have done from his cubical!
MARIA (nodding)
So (bobs head) he needs to be punished. Good and punished. (beat, grinning) just maybe not level twelve punished. Stages one through five are pretty awesome. Subtle, annoying and funny. My favorite is the Santa memo—telling everyone to sit on his lap to deliver their Secret Santa messages. 

 

GABRIELLA (laughs)

Yeah. That one is pretty good. Though it won’t exactly say that. But it could get him into soooo much trouble with HR.

 

Both laugh evilly. 

MARIA 
You know you are literally a genius. You don’t have to be an evil one. Remember what Mom always said?
   GABRERIELLA and MARIA
You have to be better than the bullies or you are the bullies. 
GABRIELLA (rolls eyes)
Yeah. Yeah.

 

GABRIELLA kisses MARIA’s 

forehead and crosses to the board. 

GABRIELLA
Fine. I won’t release the video if he shows any sign of contrition before the twenty-first. 
MARIA (laughing)
Generous. 

 

Cut to GABRIELLA alone in front 

of tree.

GABRIELLA
Maria is my little sister, She was staying with some friends near her campus but after Mom died we wanted to be closer to each other. And anyway (loudly) I let her stay here rent free.
MARIA (from out of shot)
Because you like to have something to lord over me!
GABRIELLA (laughing)
It really does help me to have her here. I think it helps her to—sometimes.

 

Cut to living room full shot. MARIA 

Sketching. GABRIELLA baking.

MARIA
So, how about the good folks, Santa? Have you decided what you’re doing for them yet?
GABRIELLA
Some of it yeah. The donuts went really well. I mean people were actually talking about Hanukkah and the meaning and their traditions that it got me thinking. The fun of Secret Santa is someone doing something special for you. But that doesn’t just begin and end with Christmas, everyone can feel it. Hence the four hours baking. Tomorrow everyone is going to arrive at work and find a few undecorated snowflake cookies on their desks with a little frosting and decorations and instructions to give a cookie to someone they don’t talk to much. 
MARIA (rolls eyes at camera)
How can you be so sappy and so evil at the same time?
GABRIELLA 
I got skills.
MARIA
So nothing individual then?    
GABRIELLA
It is individual. I heard at least three people mention how much they love decorating cookies. And by decorating them themselves it shares their personality. Its individual (gestures, pushing hands together like a ball) and global at the same time. (spreads arms wide) And with them all being snowflakes I think most people who were uncomfortable before will be okay with it. Its just winter fun. 
MARIA (dryly)
Unless they’re diabetic or have a gluten allergy. 

 

GABRIELLA (throws up hands)

What do you want from me? Not everyday will be about food. And I never said they have to eat the cookies. 

 

GABRIELLA turns away agitated, 

Turns up volume on music begins 

Stirring at a pace with music 

“Here Comes Santa Claus” 

 

MARIA (quietly to camera)
You see the trick is knowing how to properly needle her. This is going to bug her for hours. But she won’t feel it under her skin for ten days.

 

Beat. Unheard question. 

MARIA (to camera)
Oh its no joke. She feels it for ten days minimum when people move her things. Sometimes its months. But that hasn’t happened lately. Honestly (voice drops) the nutcracker is really important to her. She bought it with money from her first job and gave it to our Mom to decorate her desk at work like her coworkers were. Now that Mom’s gone it was like an extra special connection, taking it to her own office. (choked up) But it being broken doesn’t take away the memories, and she’ll see that eventually. 

 

MARIA looks into the kitchen

GABRIELLA rolls out dough, singing. 

 

MARIA
Anytime between ten days and a few years. Whenever she stops feeling it break beneath her own skin and seeing Moms face. I know I was teasing her, but she’s not mean. She just loses a little sense of proportion at moments like this. (beat) And if she weren’t getting revenge I’d find the jerk and punch him myself. She’d do the same for me.

 

Scene 5: Santa Baby

 

Scene: Cuts between basement IT and 

conference room for individual 

commentary. Monday December 10

9:02 a.m.

 

Basement IT department. Camera 

shoots from behind GABRIELLA’s 

Desk, over cubicle. A line of people 

Block the walk way from JACK’s 

Desk to the elevator, laughing, talking.

 

GABRIELLA scrunched over keyboard, 

snickering.

Enter JACK

 

WORKERS IN LINE (clapping)
Yay! Whooo!

 

JACK startles looking around.

JACK
Gabriella! What did you do now?

 

GABRIELLA shoves fist into mouth 

Laughing around it.

ANGELO (childlike)
Santa! Santa! Santa! I got here first! Me first.
JACK
I don’t know what this is about, but unless your email servers crashed, get lost.

 

JACK shoves through crowd, crossing

To desk. 

CORY
But Santa I’ve been good all year for this.
JACK
I cleaned your hard drive. You haven’t been that good.

 

ANGELO and CORY snigger.

MAYA grabs JACK as he passes.

MAYA
I’m so sorry about all this. I really did try to stop them.
JACK
Its fine. (loudly towards GABRIELLA) I know who did this.

 

GABRIELLA grins at camera. Holds

Up a single finger.

 

MAYA
I’m so glad you understand. I would hate for you to get angry with me and not bring my tea cup warmer. 

 

PEOPLE IN LINE explode with

laughter. 

GABRIELLA grins nodding 

giddily.

 

Cut to GABRIELLA, conference room. 

 
GABRIELLA
The gifts for today were little snowmen chains I got my sister Maria to decorate for everyone. Well she didn’t do them all. We made a party of it, with her and her art school friends. We drank cocoa, listened to Christmas music and decorated seventy-seven individual chains of snowmen in unique ways to represent the recipient. Not an easy task. (shrugs) I even gave some to the people on the naughty list. I only charged the company for the art supplies. (finger to lips) I let Maria keep the extra. 

 

Beat unheard question.

GABRIELLA 
Oh, you meant my punishment for Jack. (snickers) I may have sent an email from a dummy company account to a few people I knew would enjoy the joke, saying Santa was running out of ideas but that they could whisper their wishes into my helpers ear. My helper Jack Forest. I think a few of the recipients must have forwarded the email. (evil grin)

 

Cut to IT 

JACK marches past crowd to 

GABRIELLA.

JACK
  This has gone far enough, okay? Just stop. How am I supposed to get any work done?
GABRIELLA
Work? Have you received a call already? Because you always say there is no point in working between calls. 
JACK (between teeth)
Get rid of them. 
GABRIELLA (sweetly)
Jack, come on, you’ve gotta relax. Its just a bit of fun (ends with a bite)

 

Beat. JACK smiles slowly into 

a full grin.

JACK
You know. Your right, Gabriella. You’re the up-tight one. Thanks! At least now I won’t be bored. (to line) Give me a second guys.

 

GABRIELLA glares. 

JACK sits at desk. Opens a blank file

On his desktop. 

 

Cut to conference room. 

GABRIELLA.

GABRIELLA 
Oh he’s bluffing. He is definitely upset. He lives for his quiet do nothing time at work. He’s upset.

 

Cut to IT.

 

JACK
Now guys as loudly as you can, tell me what you want for Christmas.

 

ANGELO plops down on JACK’s

lap. 

JACK throws ANGELO off.

JACK
Angelo! What the hell?

 

Workers in line explode with 

laughter and cheering.

Cut to GABRIELLA conference room.

 

GABRIELLA
I decided not to get him fired, so the email I sent specifically said not to sit on my helpers lap. 

 

Beat. GABRIELLA grinning. 

 

GABRIELLA
Okay fine, I knew some people wouldn’t be able to resist. (evil genius smiles)

 

Cut to conference room JACK

Sits face impassive but slowly 

grows amused. 

JACK
The wallpaper thing was inspired. I was totally amused by it. And impressed it took me some real effort to get rid of it. She’s way too smart to be doing this job. And I was right, even though she’s trying to punish me, she’s given me the group gift everyday. Pushover (fondly) But today she almost had me. I was seriously pissed. I may have to get back to pranking her. Three people tried to sit on my lap! I can’t go to the bathroom without being bombarded with Christmas lists. And Cory keeps singing “Santa Baby.” But—

 

Beat. JACK stares amused into 

distance.

JACK
Her face when she was trying to tease me (grinning) She couldn’t keep it up. She always pushes a step too far, past fun into (beat) (shaking head) I don’t know I just know she looked like she literally wanted to take a bite out of me and it was too much fun to resist goading her more. I wanna see what she’s like when she goes over the line. (laughs)

 

Beat.

JACK
Don’t look at me that way. She started it.

 

Beat unheard comment. 

 

JACK
 Oh—yeah. Thats right. I did. (chuckles) I guess she’ll have to finish it. 

 

Cut to basement IT JACK’s desk.

JACK picks up a string of artistically 

rendered snowmen. Each snowman 

Has suffered a different death. JACK 

Holds the snowmen up to the camera. 

JACK
Can you believe these? (laughs) (whispering) She may actually be insane. I mean look, this one’s been…impaled on antlers. This one is being decapitated by really the sharpest candy cane I’ve ever seen. (cracking up) Who thinks of things like this? I like this guy. How do you electrocute a Snowman? Well obviously with Christmas lights, but aside from his singed branches is it even possible? This one is nice, she really knows how to drive a point home.  

 

The last snowman is blocked by a 

broken Nutcracker. The broken 

cracker arm is stuck through the 

snowman’s head.

 

JACK 
How is she this talented at this many things? Why isn’t she running the world or something?

 

JACK gestures with a finger circling 

his ear mouths “she’s crazy.” 

Beat. 

JACK smirking tacks the snowmen 

to his cubicle wall. 

Enter DANIEL stops at JACK’s desk. 

Observes snowmen. 

  

DANIEL BURNS
Wow! You guys are real hard core down here.
JACK
Don’t tell me, I’ve already guessed your list. You want little Krissy in each race and a collectors cabinet.
DANIEL
Ha. Ha. Actually I am here officially for HR.
JACK (jumping to feet)
What?

 

GABRIELLA peeks around cubicle 

With a amused/concerned expression.

DANIEL BURNS (in shock)
What?
JACK (to GABRIELLA)
This is your fault.
DANIEL BURNS
Jack…I think you’ve got the wrong idea.
GABRIELLA (brightly)
What’s the complaint? Can I verify anything for you?
DANIEL BURNS
Okay. I don’t know what is going on with you two but cool it. This is nothing bad. But of course if either of you has a legitimate complaint to lodge my office door is open. (beat) Because I’m down here with you (laughs-alone)
Okay, tough room. Should I know something here?
JACK and GABRIELLA
Why are you here?

 

JACK and GABRIELLA exchange 

Militant looks. 

 

DANIEL BURNS (quietly)
You two aren’t involved, are you?
JACK and GABRIELLA
No!
DANIEL BURNS
Right. Well if you’re sure.
GABRIELLA
We’re sure.
JACK
Why are you here?
DANIEL BURNS
Jack, Mr. Coleman is looking to have someone head up the whole IT department and do some liaising with the corporate types. Someone to travel with the sells team and do trouble shooting on the road. He’d like your resume before the first of the new year. 
GABRIELLA
Just his resume?
JACK
I’ve been here two years longer than you have. 
GABRIELLA
Meaning I am more familiar with current and developing technology. 
JACK (angrily)
Are you serious?
GABRIELLA (defensively)
Why shouldn’t I be? You know I’m more than qualified for my job, or that one.
JACK
So go get another job and leave mine alone.

 

DANIEL
Enough!

JACK and GABRIELLA shut 

Up and look at DANIEL.

DANIEL (impatiently)
Gabby, the request wasn’t just for Jack. It was however for the senior technicians. Jack, Michael, and Stan. However after their applications are reviewed the position will be opened to the public at which time you are welcome to apply. Jack, I told you first, because your desk was nearest the elevator. It is not your job yet. Now, do you two need to come to my office? Should I be separating you? Or can you woke together like adults? Before I put notes in both your files saying you aren’t management material. 
GABRIELLA
Of course we can work together. Sorry, Mr. Burns. Things just get a little competitive down here. It won’t happen again.

 

DANIEL looks to JACK.

JACK nods once.  

DANIEL BURNS
Alright. I’m going to tell the others. Try not to kill each other.

 

DANIEL BURNS passes 

GABRIELLA’s desk, stops. 

 

DANIEL BURNS
What happened to your privacy screen? 

 

GABRIELLA glances to JACK

 

GABRIELLA
I… It broke. Sorry.
DANIEL BURNS (chastising) 
You were the one who insisted on them. Maybe you should get it fixed. 
GABRIELLA (flatly)
I will. Right away.
DANIEL BURNS
Good. (forced cheer) Cute desk, by the way. I love all the (waves hand) decoration. No snowmen for you?

 

GABRIELLA blushes mouth 

agape.

 

GABRIELLA
I…have them in my drawer for safekeeping. 

 

DANIEL BURNS nods at 

JACK. DANIEL BURNS exits.

GABRIELLA releases a breath

Shoulders drop. Attempts to 

replace privacy screen.

JACK watches GABRIELLA.

 

Cut to conference room. 

GABRIELLA 

 

GABRIELLA
So I didn’t want Jack to get fired for my prank. Thats why I changed the email and only sent it to his friends. But(beat) (incredulous) He’s getting a promotion. Really? (snort) Jack as my boss. That’s too much to ask of anyone. He’d fit in perfect with the other managers (rolls eyes) Liaise with them. Ha. Drink beer and do nothing more like. He has that I’m so handsome (snotty face) I’m so popular, thing going on. And that comment Mr. Burns made about my desk and “decoration” (air quotes) it felt like I was on one of those reality singing contests and I’m the girl they wanna let down easy.(growing agitated) “You look so pretty” Who cares? Is this a beauty pageant? No. Just give me your damned critique. I’m female so we know I can take it. 93% of being female is taking criticism. 

 

GABRIELLA exhales heavily

Shoulders drop, rolls neck.    

 

GABRIELLA
Ugh. And I just can’t believe I forgot myself for the secret santa gifts. I did it everyday. If someone else had noticed, and figured it out…it would have ruined the magic. When its been going along so well. People loved the cookie exchange. And on Friday when I when I gave everyone one of those fit in your pocket type rain slickers with a note saying to dress warm for the So-Cal winter they seemed to get a real kick out of it. And I forgot me every time. Idiot! I need to quit focusing on Jack’s punishments and put all my energy into the nice list.

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA
No. No one else made the naughty list. I was going to add Frank since he’s been so snappy with Clara all year, but (beat) (shrugging) sometimes when things are going rough in your life its hard to face whats really bothering you. So I actually gave him a few extra treats. More cookies, and a set of snowmen for his wife. (shrugs)

 

Cut to conference room. 

JACK.

 

JACK (annoyed)
 She is the most annoying, conceited…ridiculous woman I’ve ever worked with. I can acknowledge that she’s good at her job. Hell she’s excellent. She goes way beyond her job description. She is—ought to be committed—level committed. But there is such a thing as seniority. And she is too eager to work in management. Look at the way she just jumped to fix that screen.

 

Beat. JACK breathing heavily.

 

JACK
And the way she took all the blame for it when she didn’t have to. No one in management does that. (shaking head) But she had no business being offended that they want me over her. And what am I doing? I’m sitting here feeling sorry for her. With her sad little puppy look when Daniel shut her down, and her horror because she’d forgotten to give herself the snowmen. (laughs) Do you know I think that may be what she was most upset about. And she needn’t have worried no one was going to notice.(heavy beat) No one notices her.

 

Scene 6: Ugly Sweater 

 

Scene cuts between basement IT, 

basement break room, and conference

Room for individual interviews.

 

Basement IT 7:55 a.m. Tuesday Dec 11

Only GABRIELLA and camera crew 

present. 

GABRIELLA walks from desk to desk 

laying out envelopes with snowflake

Seals. At GABRIELLA’s desk several 

Decorations are noticeably missing,

Including Santa and reindeer. 

 

GABRIELLA (to cameras)
Okay, so I’ve remembered to bring a (air quotes) “gift” to my own desk today. Check. 

 

GABRIELLA lays envelope on her desk 

Moves off to other cubicles.  

 

GABRIELLA 
You know this is all sort of weird, but fun. I was a little upset about the assignment when I first got it. Offended to be picked because I was the only female in the department. But I’m having fun. And people are loving it! Its Christmas adjacent with all the Christmas fun. And I think everyones enjoying the suspense of coming to work to see what todays surprise will be. Even I like the suspense, and I always know whats coming. (giggles) I just can’t wait everyday to see what it brings out in everyone. Its the big gifts at the end that are still troubling me. I mean fifty dollars wouldn’t make much of a year end bonus, but I get the feeling people would still prefer the money. I should have bought all the gifts by now, or at least know exactly what Im getting, but I don’t. I hope thats not what Mr. Coleman wants to see me about later, his secretary Debbie sent me an email saying she would call when he was ready to see me today, but she didn’t give a reason. 

 

GABRIELLA enters break room a

Large bag waits on a chair. Begins

Removing items and arranging them

On the table neatly. Including: tee-shirt

paint, stickers, glow bracelets, glitter

Faux flowers, ribbons…art supplies 

and a flat cardboard train engine sign 

reads: Decoration Station.

 

GABRIELLA (organizing)
Today’s event is to make your own ugly rain slicker (smirks) like an ugly sweater, but So-Cal appropriate. People will get to use their breaks and half of the hour before the end of work to decorate. The last half hour will be the voting and award giving. 

 

GABRIELLA carries bag to the 

elevator headed to the next break 

Room to set up.

 

GABRIELLA
Using the slickers I gave them Friday and the various supplies I’m leaving out (holds up bag) they each make their own ugly slicker. And then we have a little break to view and vote. I wasn’t sure everyone would participate so I pushed for something special. 

 

Elevator opens. GABRIELLA 

Enters next break room and lays

Out supplies. 

GABRIELLA
 Second and third prize are a coffee gift card and little desk cactus respectively. Nothing awesome. But the grand prize winner will get one extra paid vacation day! And no one gets to vote for themselves so (grins confidently) I think everyone is going to get involved and have fun. I had to really push for that vacation day. My aim was to get one for everyone, and to give the cactus to the winner, but Mr. Coleman said he prefers a healthy competitive atmosphere in his workplace. (shaking head)     

 

Beat unheard question

GABRIELLA heads back to 

elevator. 

GABRIELLA (breathing carefully)
Actually their won’t be a punishment for Jack today. He hasn’t shown anything remotely like contrition, and I don’t think he was thoroughly punished to have learned his lesson. But Mr. Burns was right, I was behaving childishly. This is a work place. My personal disputes don’t belong here. I even took home a bunch of my decorations. It didn’t need to be here. 

 

Elevator door opens. 

GABRIELLA steps in. 

Doors close.

 

Cut to IT break room

11:15 a.m. JACK, CORY

And MICHAEL at table

Decorating slickers. 

 

CORY
Quit hogging all of the glow bracelets.
MICHAEL
Come up with your own design. Mine needs stripes. 
CORY
So use the paints!
MICHAEL
The paints don’t glow.  
JACK
This one does. 

 

JACK is painting a reindeer 

With a glowing icicle booger.
 
MICHAEL (observing JACK’s creation)
Only in the dark. The contest takes place in doors
JACK (effecting injury)
How dare you belittle my masterpiece. I’m wearing this baby everywhere.

 

MICHAEL rolls eyes.

CORY laughs.   

 

CORY
Seriously man, I want some glow bracelets. 
MICHAEL (unconcerned)
Only losers whine, loser. I’m getting another vacation day! Its just good strategy to steal all the best supplies.  

 

JACK snorts.

MICHAEL
I still don’t believe management actually offered up both an hour off to do this, and one free work day. Last year they denied me my third sick day with the flu because I would no longer have been contagious. 
JACK (laughing)
Oh management didn’t offer it. This gift idea was all Santa’s doing.

 

CORY and MICHAEL chuckle

JACK looks out break room 

window. Camera follows JACK’s 

eye line. 

GABRIELLA sits at desk, nodding

As she types intently.

 
CORY
Yeah, about that. You said Coleman picked one person to do the whole thing this year. (disbelieving) Is this all you?
JACK
Santa never reveals his secrets. 
MICHAEL
Thats a magician. Santa revealed his secrets long ago: magic and slave labor. 
CORY
Wow. You’re a terrible person. The elves aren’t slaves, they’re magical helpers.
JACK (smirking)
Like house elves?
MICHAEL
Slaves. 
JACK
Or Fairy godmothers?
MICHAEL
Voyeuristic judgmental slaves.

 

ALL chuckle.

CORY 
You guys are the worst. Santa is definitely putting you on the naughty list. 
JACK
Eh, Santa is a big softy. 
CORY
Right. Well whoever is running it this year is doing a good job. This is actually fun. Maybe the best year yet. 
MICHAEL
Oh its going to be. When I win. Ta-Da!

 

MICHAEL reveals his creation

Diagonal stripes with star and 

Heart sequins between each 

Stripe. 

CORY
Dude, its supposed to be ugly.

 

JACK laughs hard. 

MICHAEL
It has glow bracelets and sequins.
CORY
In a pattern Mr. Rogers would wear. What do you moonlight as a seamstress?
MICHAEL
It pays to be neat. And its gonna win. 
CORY
I’m going to three and steal some of their supplies. I bet theirs are better than ours. 
JACK
I’d bet my winning slicker that they have exactly the same things. (grins) Exactly.
CORY
You ought to know, Santa. Hey! Do you have extra glow bracelets stashed somewhere?
JACK (glancing to GABRIELLA)
Oh, most definitely. Just email the dummy account and I’d bet they show up magically on your desk. 
MICHAEL
Special slave delivery.
CORY
Ugh!

 

CORY exits. 

MICHEAL 
Are you going to submit your resume for the promotion?
JACK
Dunno. (sarcastic) You know I really hate to travel on other peoples expense accounts.
MICHAEL
We’ll its not like they’ll be going cliff diving in Costa Rica or anything. Its probably just to Cincinnati to meet distributors. But it is a pay raise. 
JACK
So you’re doing it?
MICHAEL
Are you kidding. I already had my resume out on three headhunter sites. I emailed it to Coleman thirty seconds after Daniel left my desk. (beat) What was with that shouting match between you and Gabby? Its like the third time one of you yelled at the other this month?
JACK
I thought she had prank reported me. And she thought it was unfair that no one wanted her resume. 
MICHAEL
Gabby in management? (laughs) She’s a good tech, but she can’t handle people. 
JACK
She is incredibly skilled and committed. They don’t need half as many techs as they have, and she’d tell them. She’d probably crack down on waste in a lot of ways. 
MICHAEL
She’s too meek.
JACK (defensively)
Meek? She just about took off Daniel’s head when he didn’t ask for her resume.
MICHEAL
Okay. (beat) Got a little thing for Gabby, do you?
JACK
No! I just (beat) I work next to her. She isn’t someone to underestimate. 
MICHAEL
No one is doubting her skill, or commitment. She’s out there right now fixing a glitch on the website even though it has its own techs, all because Clara complained that the website techs weren’t getting back to her. She’s committed. Too committed. Management won’t let go of a worker like her, its counterintuitive. She hasn’t even taken a break to join the contest.
JACK
Yeah. (lightly) I on the other hand have just taken an extra twenty-five minute break and look at the results. 

 

JACK holds up his slicker

Rudolph with an icicle booger

And a lop-sided Christmas tree

With star shaped sequin lights. 

 

MICHAEL (grinning)
Well it is certainly ugly.

BOTH laugh. 

Cut to conference room. JACK

 

JACK (shaking head)
He was just saying things that I had. Some of it to Gabriella. But (beat) Hearing it from someone else, I sort of heard her point. She’s good at her job. She works harder than anyone down here. Why exactly wouldn’t they want that?

 

Scene 7: Scrooge

 

Scene: Basement IT 

Tuesday December 11, 3:40 p.m.

JACK leans against GABRIELLA’s 

Cubicle wall silently staring.

GABRIELLA stiffly ignores. 

JACK
Where did Santa and the reindeer go?
GABRIELLA
I’m gonna bet, to the north pole; gotta get ready for Christmas. 
JACK (snorts)
Makes sense. Did he need the elves that used to stand on your monitor too?
GABRIELLA
Huh. Looks like. (beat) What do you want?
  JACK
Just thought I should remind you to work on your slicker (leans down, whispering) before someone else gets a clue to Santa’s secret identity.

 

GABRIELLA points over shoulder.

Indicating slicker on chair back.

 

GABRIELLA 
I did work on it.

 

JACK walks behind GABRIELLA

carefully lifts the slicker, dotted with 

Sequins and snowflake stickers. 

 

GABRIELLA (dryly)
Its a snow storm.

 

JACK covers mouth with slicker

Silently shaking with humor. 

JACK leans head down next to 

GABRIELLA’s.

GABRIELLA holds perfectly still.

 

JACK
You can do better than this. Aren’t you even going to try? Someone will notice. 

 

GABRIELLA shifts in seat to face 

JACK.

GABRIELLA
Not to sound conceited, but how would it look if I pressed and pressed to get that prize and then I won it?

 

JACK beams. Leaning close, lays

Slicker on the back of seat, leaves 

Fingers brushing GABRIELLA.

 

JACK
That does sound conceited. And I’ve never liked you better. And honestly I’d bet the big guys would respect that sort of move too. 
GABRIELLA (heavily)
Well, I wouldn’t. And there is nothing wrong with that. 

 

Beat. GABRIELLA stares at JACK’s 

Hand.

JACK straightens. Nods at 

nutcracker.  

JACK
Were you able to fix him?
GABRIELLA (sharply)
No. But I like having him here.
JACK
I am sorry about that. Seriously. I got a little defensive when you were upset, but I shouldn’t have you know (fumbles)
GABRIELLA
Broken him? Been in my cubicle?
JACK (playfully)
I was going to say shouted at you. But sure whatever you need an apology for.   
 
GABRIELLA
Whatever I need an apology for? Are you kidding me? (stands) You broke my property. After invading my space. Now you want to make it out like I’m unreasonable for expecting you to take responsibility for your actions?
JACK
Not really. I just wanted to see how long it would take me to piss you off again. Oh, by the way, I came over because Debbie called. Coleman wants to see us both in his office. 
GABRIELLA (irate)
When? 
JACK (through laugh)
When she called probably.
GABRIELLA
And you wasted all that time?

 

GABRIELLA marches towards 

elevator. JACK follows casually.

JACK
Not wasted. I used it exactly as I meant to. 
GABRIELLA 
To make me look as lazy as you.
JACK (nodding sideways)
I’m not lazy, I’m just not…desperate to be noticed. But, yeah I was slowing you down. So you don’t look so hungry.

 

Elevator opens. JACK 

And GABRIELLA enter.

JACK
Mr. Coleman’s the sort you should play hard to get with. 
GABRIELLA (seething)
I have no intention of being gotten.
JACK 
Sure you do. If you ever want a promotion. Which honestly I don’t get. You’ve gotta be bored here. And that promotion would only mean less of the work you like best. The code you wrote to change my wallpaper, that was way above this place. I had to unravel it one line at a time like…
GABRIELLA 
Knitting (proudly) Yeah. I know. 
JACK (laughs)
Why aren’t you at a tech firm or opening a cyber security company? Or creating apps?

 

GABRIELLA opens mouth 

Wide eyed. Elevator dings 

Doors open. Beat. 

GABRIELLA exits elevator 

At a rapid march.

GABRIELLA
Hurry up.

 

JACK smirks at camera. 

Cut to conference room 

JACK.

JACK
I was disappointed not to get pranked today. Thats why I was riling her up, and because its just fun. She gets this hungry, crazy crocodile look like she’s literally going to take a bite out of you. Dunno why but its so much fun to watch. Dangerous. I really wanted to see how far she would take the whole pranking thing. It was bound to be an intense ending.

 

Beat. Unheard question. 

JACK
Yeah, I want that. (laughs) Its like walking right at the edge of a cliff. You know you shouldn’t. You know its dangerous, but damn isn’t the view so much better when your that close to being completely destroyed.

 

Cut to COLEMAN’s office.

Modern furnishings. Expensive

But cold. Nothing about the 

Room says doll company. 

COLEMAN
You’re doing a great up job with Secret Santa, Gabby. Everyone is happy with it. I knew you were the perfect choice. 
GABRIELLA
Thanks you, sir.
COLEMAN
And roping in Jack as a helper was great (laughs) a real hoot. I trust it worked out well. 
GABRIELLA
I—

 

GABRIELLA’s mouth hangs open.

 

JACK
Oh it worked wonders. Everyone got a kick out of it. And now I know everyone’s Christmas wishes.       

 

GABRIELLA shuts mouth. 

COLEMAN
Terrific! Thats why I want the pair of you to take care of the party as well. 
GABRIELLA
Party? I didn’t think—
COLEMAN
Krissy’s sells are terrific! We’re gonna have a little bash on the twenty-first, the last three hours of the day. Come up with another of your cute little Christmas games. Jack can help you with anything too difficult. 

 

GABRIELLA stiffens.

JACK (joking)
Like sitting around looking pretty while everyone tells me their wishes. 
COLEMAN (winks)
Exactly.
GABRIELLA (carefully)
Sir. This is great, of course. But I really think the staff might prefer getting that half-day off with pay, or—

 

COLEMAN holds up a hand. 

GABRIELLA stops talking. 

 

COLEMAN
Again with the bonuses? (shakes head) Look Gabby you’re not an accountant. We really can’t afford to give out money right now. 
GABRIELLA
Of course. I understand. (beat) But the party is going to cost extra, for food, decoration, and clean-up. And you’ll be paying everyone to be there. Giving a half-day off seems cheeper. 
COLEMAN (sharply)
Work on the assignment you’re given, Gabby. Stop getting ahead of yourself, alright?

 

GABRIELLA pulls shoulders

Up and nods tightly.

 

JACK (bro to bro style)
Gabriella and I are just passing along the number one request whispered in my ear. Over and over again it was “I want more time off," “I want a bonus.” Just thought we should let you know. 

 

GABRIELLA looks at JACK

In shock. 

COLEMAN looks between 

Pair and forces a smile. 

 

COLEMAN
Well consider the message received.(beat) And officially rejected. Debbie will give you the budget and the numbers of caterers we prefer. Get me some plans by Friday, alright?
GABRIELLA
Yes, sir.

 

JACK nods. Both exit.

Cut to conference room.

GABRIELA. Long silence. 

 

GABRIELLA (picking nails)
Don’t get ahead of yourself. (nods) So Mr. Burns told him I asked about my resume. Guess that was my official rejection. Anyway, I got a different promotion, (sarcastically excited) I’m the company party planner! As long as its easy stuff. 

 

Cut to elevator.

JACK and GABRIELLA stand

In silence. 

JACK (jovially)
You know—
GABRIELLA (interrupting)
Look, thanks for sticking up for me. But (beat) please just don’t say it yet.
JACK
Don’t say what? (laughs) You don’t even know what I’m going to say.
GABRIELLA
That you told me so. That I should (snidely) “lighten-up.” That I’m trying too hard and I shouldn’t take it personally when he treats me like a child. 
JACK
All really terrific points for me to make. I agree with me. (nods playfully) But actually I was just going to say how happy I am that you’ve stopped worrying so much about your wardrobe in front of Coleman.

 

Beat. GABRIELLA looks

Down. She is wearing a 

Christmas tree sweater 

With racing lights. 

GABRIELLA fists hands, 

Breathing deeply. 

 

GABRIELLA
Perfect.

 

 

Cut to conference room 

JACK.

 

JACK
She is sort of creepily perfect. But I don’t think she sees it any better than Coleman does. Everyone calling her Gabby is really starting to bug me. Its like they use it to make her feel immature while they’re knocking her down. She ought to be in their faces about calling her by her actual name. And about respecting her work. Not about getting bonuses for the rest of the staff who don’t even notice her enough to have realized that she didn’t get the first three gifts. Do you know no one brought her a cookie on the cookie exchange day? Really? 

 

 

Long silence.

JACK
Okay, maybe I have a little thing for Gabriella. 

 

 

Scene 8: Christmas Ghosts

 

Scene: Directly following 

COLEMAN meeting. 

Basement IT area deserted 

elevator dings open. JACK 

and GABRIELLA exit.

GABRIELLA crosses to desk 

Sinks heavily into seat. 

JACK leans over 

Cubicle wall. Beat. 

JACK
Come on. Grab your contest losing slicker and lets go join the fun.    
 
GABRIELLA
I think I’ll just skip the contest, and start work on this party.
JACK 
And you think wrong. You keep missing all this nice stuff you’re doing for everyone. Take a break, enjoy it. Even Santa stops long enough to have a few cookies. 

 

Beat. GABRIELLA watches 

JACK.

 

GABRIELLA
Its not a choice, you know. I mean this is, but I don’t wake up everyday and say to myself “how intensely can you commit yourself to your work today?” Or “make sure you think about it for hours when someone slightly bumps your pens.” I can’t loosen up. You’ve heard of OCD right? My case certainly isn’t the worst, but it isn’t mild either. That’s why I work here, not at my own company. I started one, this got in the way. 

 

JACK nodding along silently. 

Beat. Jack begins to grin.

JACK  
Maybe you can’t relax completely. But you can lighten up a bit.

 

GABRIELLA sighs, frustrated.

JACK (undaunted)
When you were pranking me you were much more relaxed about other things.
GABRIELLA
Now you want me to prank you?
JACK
Absolutely! I was bummed not to be pranked today. Every day was an adventure. 
GABRIELLA (hissing)
That wasn’t relaxed. I was escalating, every day a little more. At first, yeah, it was fun, but even then I was intense. I spent the better part of my weekend writing code to screw with you. And the more fun I had with it the more I needed to do. It gets mean.
JACK
How mean?

 

GABRIELLA breathing heavily

Muscles clenched. 

JACK leans close. 

 

JACK (playfully goading)
Come on, tell me. How big a bite were you going to take out of my skin?
GABRIELLA (between teeth)
Valentine proposal fail.

 

JACK startles, stepping back. 

Looks horrified. 

 

GABRIELLA (uncomfortable)
I’m not (beat) going to show it. I already decided not to show it. But(beat) (agitated) this isn’t relaxed.

 

GABRIELLA shakes out arms.

GABRIELLA
You broke my mother’s nutcracker, so (beat) I needed to destroy a piece of you. 

 

JACK releases a shocked laugh. 

GABRIELLA
When I’m pulling a prank and you’re upset I’m fine. Even if its only a little upset. Then it gets quiet and I feel it materializing beneath my skin, I feel that nutcracker break, over and over like a ghost that lives inside of me. So I escalate, as if destroying you would kill the ghost. It feels right when I’m doing it. But when I say it aloud I can hear that its not (long beat) normal. Normal people don’t need that kind of revenge. Its not proportional. I’m not in control, the ghost is. (laughs sadly)

Beat. 

GABRIELLA clenching fists.

 

JACK (curiously)
Whenever its quiet?
GABRIELLA
What?
JACK
The ghost haunts you whenever its quiet? Like when we were in the elevator it was bothering you? And when you’re working? Forever?
GABRIELLA (cautiously)
Not every second. And not forever. At least not as prominently forever. But sometimes I’ll think I’ve gotten past something like this then suddenly, years later, it…(motions with hands)
JACK
Materializes again. (beat) Do you always take revenge?
GABRIELLA (slowly shaking head)
Almost never. 
JACK 
So do it. Do your worst to me. See if it kills the ghost.
GABRIELLA
Are you crazy?
JACK (lightly)
Nah. But (shrugs) you say you can never escape it. And I at least—
GABRIELLA (interrupting sharply)
Are just so well adjusted that nothing bothers you?

 

JACK laughs hard. 

GABRIELLA startles. 

 

JACK
Not even close. (beat) When Nicole dumped and humiliated me, and that video was just…everywhere I ran. (beat) I quit my job. I stopped talking to our friends. I completely erased my social media accounts (laughs) I thought. I ran away and it worked out fine. So what I have that you don’t is a certainty that I can escape if it comes to that. So (beat) humiliate me. If I can’t take it, I’ll run away again and hide out for a few more years. 

 

JACK leans near 

Smiling softly. 

JACK
Hell, I’m pretty sure you are one of a kind. So I could probably hide forever next time. But the ghost I wouldn’t be able to escape(beat) (seriously) would be knowing that you were out in the world hating me, over something I truly am sorry for. So take it as far as you need to. Just promise in the end not to hate me. 

 

GABRIELLA stunned. 

Motionless several long 

Beats.   

 

GABRIELLA (whispers)
You are insane.

 

JACK shakes his head

Holds out hand.  

 

JACK
Lets go to the contest. You can prank me tomorrow. 

 

GABRIELLA takes JACK’s 

Hand in shock. Stands 

Free hand grabbing 

Slicker absently. Follows

JACK to elevators. 

GABRIELLA
Jack. I don’t hate you now. 
JACK
Good to know. 

 

Elevator doors open. 

Cut to conference room

GABRIELLA

 

GABRIELLA
I don’t know what just happened. 

 

GABRIELLA looks into distance

Hands resting stilly on lap. Long

Silence. Looks directly at camera. 

 

GABRIELLA
What just happened? I (beat) Why would he do that for me? Literally no one does that.

 

Cut to Conference room

JACK.

JACK
I definitely do not want that damned clip floating around again. I can just imagine the auto-tuning and memes and (shakes head) just general hilarity guys like Cory and Angelo would have with it.  I hope it never comes out. I hope that my apology and voluntarily submitting to torture eases her out of the whole thing. But if not (shrugs) When she was talking about not being normal or proportional like either of those things is fixed. Or even real. And I could see that uptight part of her trying so hard to shove herself into someone else’s box of what normal looks like. I just couldn’t stand it. She’s sweet, and smart, and a little bit devious but in a cute way.  Why is she the one trying to fit? (shakes head) We look at proportion from a place of all things being equal, and they just aren’t. Maybe this is proportional for her. She’s going to feel it forever, so I should have to relive my greatest embarrassment. Its not (tilts head from side to side) entirely unreasonable. I can bend a bit for her.

 

Cut to conference room

GABRIELLA.

GABRIELLA (smiling softly)
I don’t think I’ve ever felt this numb. Its quiet inside. Like (beat) Like I’m curled up on my couch with a cup of cocoa and a favorite movie, and the storm is outside, far away from me. What if it works. (beat) What if it doesn’t work, and because he’s given me permission I’ve done this awful thing to him? And he’s the one left hating me. (beat) What if I can only stop if I stop now?     

 

Cut to elevator. GABRIELLA 

stares at JACK’s hand still 

held in hers. 

GABRIELLA
I won’t release the clip. 
JACK (casually)
Eh. Wait and see how it goes.

 

Scene 9: Snappy Happy Ever After

 

GABRIELLA’s apartment living 

room the naughty and nice 

List is on an easel beside a

Fake fireplace. MARIA is at 

The kitchen counter back to 

Door, shoving things into a 

messenger bag. 

 

MARIA
Great you’re back, I thought I would miss you. How did the contest go? Did you win?
GABRIELLA (absentmindedly) 
No. Pam won. She only used white and yellow paint, but she made a snow man. 
MARIA
Say no more (turns) that would do (beat) (spots JACK) it.

 

MARIA looks to GABRIELLA 

Inquisitively.

 

GABRIELLA 
This is Jack, I work with him. We’re supposed to plan a Christmas party. This is my sister Maria. Come in Jack, make yourself comfortable. 
MARIA (suspiciously)
Yes, come in. So you’re Jack? Was it? 

 

JACK wanders around the

Room taking in all the 

decoration. Pauses at the 

naughty and nice list. Laughs.

JACK
Yep. Jack. The hunky broken piece of tin. 

 

JACK points to cartoon beside 

his name.

 

JACK
Did you do this, Gabriella?
MARIA
I did it.
GABRIELLA
Maria is an art student. She’s incredibly talented. 
MARIA (sarcastic)
Gee, thanks Mom.
GABRIELLA 
Give me a second, I’ll get my laptop and we can get to work. Do you want any snacks, or something to drink? Maria. 

GABRIELLA waves at 

MARIA and the kitchen.

GABRIELLA exits down 

hall.

MARIA (nodding at cartoon)
Tin doesn’t handle cold especially well, so it was a mistake for the soldier to also have an icy heart. (beat) Our society is so inundated with depictions of violence that I feel we’re largely desensitized to it. However the juxtaposition of innately innocent images, i.e. a Christmas toy soldier with graphic death should still leave the viewer with a startling visceral impact. 
JACK (chuckles)
You know I get this vibe from your family.
MARIA
Is it warm and welcoming?
JACK
Thats not exactly how I’d describe it. 
MARIA (smirks, head cocked)
Great, sounds like you’re picking up what I’m putting down. Try not to break anything. 

 

MARIA exits following 

GABRIELLA.

JACK (laughing out of shot)
Like my fragile tin neck?

 

Camera follows MARIA to 

hallway. GABRIELLA is 

exiting room with laptop in 

her arms.

MARIA (whispering)
What is he doing here? Did you get in trouble or something?
GABRIELLA (shaking head)
No, everything fine. But (grabs MARIA’s arm) I told him about having OCD and feeling everything under my skin, and level twelve punishment, and (still dazed) he said to do it. He said to do my worst because he’d rather be embarrassed then have me hate him.

 

Beat. MARIA glances down hall

And back at GABRIELLA. Shakes

Head slowly.       

MARIA
That’s (beat) Well thats really sweet. Right? How do you feel?
GABRIELLA
I don’t know. I’ve never not known, but I don’t know. 
MARIA
Okay. That’s (beat) Shit. I don’t know either. (laughs) That’s really very sweet of him. Do you think he’s into you? 
GABRIELLA (shaking head)
I don’t know. Maybe. 
MARIA
Are you into him? (beat) Were you before he said that? Because its awesome and sweet and not to be ignored, but just because he feels a certain way about you, doesn’t mean you have to reciprocate. 
GABRIELLA (annoyed) 
Jeez, Maria, what do you think I am thirteen or something? (hissing) I’m not here to sleep with him. We were assigned to plan the holiday party.
MARIA
Everyone needs a reminder that their feelings are important sometimes. Everyone. Look I gotta get to class. I’ll be late, but just (beat) be in the moment you know. If you aren’t sure what you feel don’t stress about that just be for a bit. 

 

MARIA kisses GABRIELLA

On the cheek. 

MARIA
We’ll talk later. Love ya. 

 

MARIA spins around, throws an 

annoyed look at camera crew. 

Waves them back, moves out 

Through the livingroom. 

JACK examining list.

 

MARIA
Bye, Jack. Nice to meet you.

 

MARIA exits 

JACK (amused)
Yep. You too. 

 

GABRIELLA enters with laptop

Open. Typing password as she 

Walks. Sets computer on the table. 

GABRIELLA
Okay, heres my computer. You can start looking at the notes I had on Secret Santa for inspiration, while I grab us some snacks. 
      
JACK
How long was that password?
GABRIELLA (raised eyebrows)
Twenty-three characters.
JACK (amused)
Letters and numbers?
GABRIELLA 
What are you trying to do? Guess my code?
JACK
Oh, definitely. 
GABRIELLA 
The computer is already unlocked, just don’t let it go to sleep.

 

Beat. GABRIELLA awkwardly 

moves to kitchen. 

 

GABRIELLA
I have water, orange juice, tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. 
JACK
Hot chocolate sounds good. Put us in the festive spirt. 

 

GABRIELLA moves around the 

Kitchen gathering snacks. 

JACK skims through GABRIELLA’s 

notes. 

JACK
You have seven different files about this. (laughs)
GABRIELLA (mildly defensive)
I’m intense.
JACK
Yep. And thorough and way too full of ideas. Build your own toboggan rides, snowman building contest, team gingerbread dollhouse building. Snow ball fights, winter wonderland. Over half of these have to do with snow. (laughs) How would you even going to make the snow man contest work?
GABRIELLA (shyly)
I don’t know for certain. I had lots of ideas, fake snow. Have actual snow brought in and do it first thing in the morning before it has time to melt. Or do it with food, donut holes, frosting and sprinkles could work. I may not even do it. I already did the paper snowmen. I just thought people might like to decorate them themselves. 
JACK
Yeah. People have really gotten into your DIY Christmas stuff. It feels oddly unforced.  Somehow it just makes sense and takes away some of the stress of the year end. 
GABRIELLA (enthusiastic)
I know. Its even gotten to me. Its like remembering the magic from when you were little. When the whole world is getting lit up and it feels like somehow its all about you. Even though it definitely isn’t. It makes you feel like magic is real. (beat) (forces laugh) Before you grow up and realize all the people running around are ridiculously stressed (beat)

 

JACK stands walking slowly

Towards GABRIELLA. 

GABRIELLA tenses up. 

GABRIELLA (continues)
And the lights and decorations and special drinks are just tricks to get you to spend more money. 
JACK
Oh, Santa. Don’t break my heart. You can’t be a cynic. We cynics need you to keep the magic alive for us. 
GABRIELLA
Seeing the bad and the good isn’t cynical, its realistic. 
JACK (shrugging)
Maybe. But the magic isn’t in the realism, is it? Its in that childish belief that the holiday is all about you.

 

JACK reaches past 

GABRIELLA.

GABRIELLA holds breath.

JACK lifts the snacks. 

JACK
Let me help you with these. 

 

JACK crosses to couch

Sets plates down on the 

table. GABRIELLA breaths

Out. Shakes herself.

Pours water into Christmas 

mugs.

GABRIELLA 
What’s made you feel that way now? I mean you were completely making fun of me for decorating early. “believing in Christmas like a six-year-old” (imitating JACK’s voice snidely) Why the turn around?
JACK
Your pranks.

 

GABRIELLA raises a brow.

JACK
Seriously, they were annoying, but fun. And I kept getting the group gifts. (shrugs) I keep getting these weird impulses to decorate. (beat) I don’t know. I guess you’re just a good Santa.

 

GABRIELLA stares incredulous. 

Laughs.

 

GABRIELLA 
You’re screwing with me somehow. I just know it. 
JACK
Nope. I’m totally serious. Its like you believe enough for twenty people and the rest of us needed it.

 

Beat. 

GABRIELLA
Well (beat) I just hope I can figure out what to do about the last gifts. I can’t think of anything I can get that will feel better than just the cash. 
JACK 
   So quit worrying about pleasing everyone. 
GABRIELLA (sarcastic)
I take it you’ve given a lot of gifts in your life.
JACK 
Cute. I mean (beat) Don’t make it a gift. Make it an experience like the rest have been. Something that ropes them in and helps them forget how cynical they feel because the world is so insane. 

 

GABRIELLA slowly spreading 

smile. Lays a cup in front of 

JACK. Holds onto her own 

Lifting a candy cane to stir. 

GABRIELLA
Like the song. 
JACK
 Which one?
GABRIELLA 
“Need a little Christmas.” It’s so jaunty its easy to miss the lyrics. (slow-sing-song voice) Grown a little sadder, Grown a little older (beat) Need a little music, need a little laughter, Need a little Christmas now. 
JACK (eyes locked with GABRIELLA)
Exactly.
GABRIELLA (shyly)
I think I forgot some words in there.

 

Long charged silence. 

JACK looks away grinning. 

 

JACK (brightly) 
Do you know whats really torturing me though?

 

GABRIELLA shakes head. 

JACK
You’ve got a file labeled Jack’s punishments and I’m just dying to click on it and see my future. 
GABRIELLA (taunting)
Go ahead.  
JACK
I can’t! Don’t you get it. Its killing me, but I can’t spoil the surprise. Coming to work these past few days was the closest I felt to Christmas morning excitement since I was like (shakes head) fourteen. 

 

GABRIELLA giggles.

 

JACK
Just promise you’ll do something.

 

GABRIELLA smiles secretively.

 

 

Scene 10: Cookie Crumbs

 

Basement IT camera behind 

JACK. JACK’s desk now 

features Christmas cards 

Tacked up with the snowmen.

And a mug with a Christmas 

Sweater pattern on it. 

JACK harried looking types on 

Computer with phone at his ear.

JACK
  Right, okay. Sounds like another email virus. (exhales annoyed) Third this morning. No! Don’t turn it off, thats what I had Frank do and it just got worse. We nearly lost all his files. I’m going to check out your hard drive remotely. Try working from someone else’s station and don’t click on any emails. (beat) No. Not any! Not until I’ve had a look. (beat) Look, I’m working on it. I’ll try to save your life’s work drawing dollies!

 

JACK slams down the receiver

Still typing. 

JACK (calls out)
Hey, Gabriella, can you give me—

 

JACK’s phone rings.  

JACK  
Damn it! (into phone) What? Okay, thats it. No, no, don’t touch anything, stand up and tell everyone around you not to open any emails! I think we’ve been hacked.   

 

Cut to GABRIELLA crouched 

In cubicle, stifling a laugh. 

 

JACK (into phone)
No I cannot send an email. (beat) Because I don’t want anyone opening emails! 

 

JACK slams down receiver. 

 

JACK
Gabriella!
GABRIELLA (sweetly)
Yep. 

 

GABRIELLA stands peering 

Over the cubicle. 

JACK
I need your help. I think we’ve been hacked. Could you get Stan and Michael to check the distribution, accounting and executive emails while I work back through design?
GABRIELLA (sharply)
I’m sorry, are you asking me to be your secretary?
JACK
What? No! (annoyed and confused) Look I need a hand. This is the fourth call like this I’ve gotten this morning. I need us to get on the most essential sectors before it gets worse. I’d have thought you would be all over this?
GABRIELLA
I didn’t get any calls. Seems to me you’re trying to play department manager before you’ve gotten the job!
JACK (in shock)
What the hell is wrong with you? This is still your job. 
GABRIELLA
I don’t answer to you. They’re your calls. You handle them. 

 

GABRIELLA marches to break 

room. JACK stares after. 

Phone rings. JACK answers 

angrily. 

JACK 
What?

 

Cut to conference room. 

GABRIELLA.

 

GABRIELLA
He asked to be pranked.(giggles) This level was designed to make him work. And work hard.(snickers) It was a lot easier than I expected to act annoyed and storm off. 

 

Cut to third floor break room. 

MAYA, CORY, MIRIAM and ED

At table working on a gingerbread 

house. The house is long ranch style

Home with in open back, and a small

Forest of gum drop trees around it. 

MAYA laying the walls. ED decorating

Outer walls. CORY building forest. 

MIRIAM making gingerbread stands for 

Chocolate penguins.

10:30 a.m. 

MAYA
There is no way this is Coleman. I’ve never had this much fun at work before.
ED
I know. And everything is so organized, and weirdly…I don’t know team buildy.
CORY
Are we just allowed to make up words now.
ED (raised brow)
Giff. Meme. Insta. 
CORY
I didn’t make any of those up, but point taken. Hey you know what we really need are sugar cubes. 
MIRIAM 
Yes! We can make a tiny igloo outside and have the chocolate penguins around it! Are their any sugar cubes in the supplies?
MAYA
No. But there are with the coffee.

 

CORY jumps up and crosses

To the coffee area. 

MIRIAM
Isn’t that cheating?
CORY
I don’t see a rule book. 
MIRIAM (head cocked)
What if Ed’s right? What if this is some weird team building exercise and we’re being watched (waves at camera crew) to see how we work together? 
CORY (winks at camera)
They’ll admire our ingenuity!

 

All laugh. 

MIRIAM (hand out)
Give them here. Finish up the forest. 
CORY (salutes)
Yes, ma’am.

 

Cut to basement IT. JACK

Hunched over computer

Phone off the hook on table.

MICHAEL
Hey. We’ve checked all the other departments and they’re fine. So somehow its localized to design.   
JACK
That doesn’t make any sense. Why target design?
MICHAEL
Corporate espionage?
JACK
The company is doing great, for us. But its not like we’re Cabbage Patch Kids. 
MICHAEL (laughing)
No one is hacking Cabbage Patch. Or any doll company for anything but fun.
JACK
Fun? Its Christmas time and they’re hacking a company that makes things for kids. Who does that its (shaking head) twisted. 
MICHAEL
Trust me, its a teenager who wanted to play Grinch.

 

JACK shaking head. 

Cut to conference room

GABRIELLA. 

GABRIELLA
On an average day each tech gets about two calls. Usually with hours between them, and most problems can be fixed by say (bobs head) plugging in routers or turning off and on computers. So usually we run system checks, make sure the security software is up to date, and maybe run usage checks. They really only need three of us and they have seven. So I just (shrugs) routed all the calls to Jack’s phone. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA
Well (beat) I needed to make sure there would be calls. (shrugs) I didn’t exactly hack us. I just sent one tiny cookie crumb bug to a few people and didn’t do the “redundant” work Jack teases me about by flagging emails the software misses. The staff did the rest. (smirks) I only did it with the design department. They’re useless right now anyway, so they do the most web surfing and email checking. If he were paying attention Jack would notice it was only them. (giggles) But he’s a bit distracted. 

 

Cut to 2nd floor break room

CLARA, ANGELO, MICAHAEL

And DANIEL BURNS are 

working to build a gingerbread 

 A frame house with open back. 

ANGELO finishing frame. 

MICAHEL decorating 

gingerbread occupants. CLARA

Decorating exterior. DANIEL 

BURNS making candy cane walk

way. 3:00p.m.

 

ANGELO
You know, if you cut six really narrow pieces of gingerbread and use those three broken wedges—
CLARA
We can make a gazebo! We are totally going to win this! 

 

CLARA carefully cuts beams.

ANGELO
Who’d of thought this hodge-podge team would be the best. We’re literally the only group with no one from the design team. But I actually think we can take this. 
DANIEL 
Oh yeah. I’ve seen a few of the others, very basic.
  
      MICHAEL (dryly)
Should the HR director really be in competition with the workers?
DANIEL BURNS
Are you kidding me? I’ve wanted extra copies all year. Debbie runs that machine like a dictator. 
CLARA (laughing)
Yeah. Who keeps coming up with this stuff? The games? The prizes? No offense Daniel but this isn’t anyone in management. but I also don’t buy that Santa email, this isn’t Jack. 
ANGELO
Nah! Jack isn’t doing this. But he got real bent out of shape wit Gabby when that email went out. Could be her. 
MICHAEL
 It’s not Gabby. She can’t even pull herself away from work long enough to participate in these things. They’re just flirting hard and its turned into pranking. You should have seen them earlier (rolls eyes) Jack newly flipped his lid. 
DANIEL BURNS
Whoever Santa is has a massive operation set up. Its some party planning group. There is no way just one of us is doing all this. 
MICHAEL (shrugging)
Maybe its the real Santa and his elf slaves. 
CLARA (laughing)
Right. And tomorrow the reindeer will deliver our mail.

 

Cut to basement IT break room earlier

2:15 p.m.

HANNAH, FRANK, and GABRIELLA 

Work on a gingerbread house. 

FRANK intently laying walls of a 

Two story home with open back.

HANNAH making little gingerbread

Beds, 7. 

GABRIELLA decorates gingerbread

Men like the 7 dwarves.  

 

FRANK
What do you suppose they plan to do with all this gingerbread at the end of the day? There are ten teams, that means ten houses. Who is going to eat and judge?
HANNAH
There is a local youth group coming by this afternoon. Homeless children from the area. 
FRANK (raised brow)
And were giving them cookies? (laughs)
HANNAH
There were emails sent out all week about the visit. (beat) Asking for donations of clothes, toys and bedding. Lots of people have been bringing stuff. 
FRANK
Emails from who?
GABRIELLA
H.R.
FRANK (embarrassed) 
Oh. (gruffly) I never open those. 
GABRIELLA (laughs)
I brought lots from home. You can give some of that. 
FRANK
Thanks. Thats…very sweet of you, Ga—
JACK (shouting)
Gabriella!

 

JACK stomps into break 

Room. Slams hand on table 

and leans in over GABRIELLA.

Gabriella shakes with repressed

laughter. 

 

JACK
Its you, isn’t it? All day I’ve been untangling that mess and it was you the whole time! Thats why it was only design. 
GABRIELLA (smugly)
You said to do my worst. 
JACK
I…you

 

JACK lifts hands as if to 

strangle GABRIELLA.

 

JACK
I felt bad for offending you! I was trying to fix it so I could come talk to you and it was all a prank! Your— Argh!!!

 

JACK spins around stomping 

Out. 

GABRIELLA shocked, shrinks

In seat. 

FRANK and HANNAH stare. 

 

FRANK
The crumbling cookie screen that erased all our files? (beat) That was you hacking us?
GABRIELLA (quietly)
It didn’t erase anything. Just hid it. 

 

HANNAH snorts.

 

FRANK
Why?
GABRIELLA (shrugs)
Jack and the rest of the techs don’t really respect the work I put in here. They treat it like a joke. So I showed him what a week of me not doing extra email sweeps look like.
FRANK (brow raised)
Damn. Why am I the one in anger management?
HANNAH
Because Gabby is too cautious to ever do that with management.

 

GABRIELLA flinches at 

Diminutive name. 

 

Cut to conference room.

GABRIELLA.  

 

GABRIELLA 
Our software catches about 90% of the spam an average user gets. But if people go to certain sites and turn off cookie blockers actual hackers or just spam bots can get enough info to fool the security. So I skim peoples emails, not the content, just sources and frequencies and subject lines for suspicious emails. Then I either spam or flag them with messages telling people not to open unless they know the senders. Since I’ve been doing it its cut down on the number of hard drive incursions we’ve seen by 70% (smiles smugly) If we had an IT manager they might have noticed something like that. But as it is I think even the other techs attribute it to software improvements. 

 

BEAT staring off into space. 

Lifts hands beings picking 

At finger nails.

GABRIELLA
I knew I was bored here. But I don’t really think about it, because I wasn’t bored at all when I was starting my own company. I was busy and energized and sometimes overwhelmed but never bored. And I couldn’t make that work, so (beat) I have to make this work. But (beat shaking head) another time I would never have done something like todays prank. It didn’t just mess with Jack. It messed with the whole design department, and I didn’t mind.

 

Cut to IT break room

FRANK (smiling)
You’re a bit of a dark horse aren’t you?
GABRIELLA shrugs. 
Looks after JACK.
GABRIELLA 
I should go apologize.
FRANK
Don’t you dare. I just started liking you.
HANNAH (laughing)
Yeah. I mean what did you really do but make him work all day?
GABRIELLA (thoughtful)
Nothing I suppose.

 

Cut to conference room

JACK. 

 

JACK
I could strangle her. All day! All day I’m going around unraveling more of her code and I didn’t even realize it because I’m so busy trying to figure out how I offended her at the same time. And it was all a trick. She’s a menace. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

JACK (snide)
I know I told her to do it! And I expected something but (beat) Okay maybe I’m reading too much into this, but today’s prank felt like she was calling me lazy. And she’s said, or implied that a few times already. Its getting insulting. 

 

Cut to GABRIELLA  

conference room.

GABRIELLA
I should have gone after him, right? (chews lip) Today I was almost as excited about pranking him as I was nervous about his reaction to it. I don’t want him to hate me. But he asked for my worst and this isn’t even close to my worst. So its probably for the best that he got upset, because I was getting ahead of myself again. Like I did when I tried to start a company. I was imagining what it would be like not to worry about my worst. Imagining feeling comfortable in my own skin. (beat) But I should worry. 

 

Cut to IT JACK at desk 

working. 3:00

FRANK approaches. 

FRANK

Got you good did she?

JACK(snide)   
Well I’m still unraveling her little joke, so yeah. 
FRANK
Good for her. 

 

JACK looks up glaring. 

GABRIELLA laughs loud

From break room with HANNAH.

JACK looks towards laughter. 

 

FRANK
A bit of a shock that girl.
JACK (snorts softly)
Yeah. And annoying as hell.
FRANK
What did the gingerbread man she left you say? Everyones had a different air bubble. 
JACK (smiling)
It said: game on. (beat) Wait! She told you?
FRANK (grinning)
Figured it out. Santa keeps giving me extra gifts for Linda. And in there Gabriella offered me extra things for this donation drive, almost as if she knew I’d need them. 
JACK 
She’s too sweet for her own good? Does anyone else know?
FRANK (shaking head)
I might not even have noticed if she hadn’t worked with us today. This is the most time anyone here has spent with her. 
JACK
Yeah. For a bubbly thing she isn’t that social.
FRANK
Some of us have a harder time then others knowing how to interact with people. How to be ourselves and still be accepted. 

 

Beat. JACK watches GABRIELLA 

With a growing smile. 

 

JACK
Excuse me. 

 

JACK crosses to break room.

GABRIELLA and HANNAH stop

Talking. JACK leans in front of 

GABRIELLA.

JACK
Do you want to know what I think of your little prank?
GABRIELLA
Look, Jack. I’m—

 

JACK lifts a tube of icing.

GABRIELLA stiffens, eyes JACK

Warily. 

Beat. 

JACK watches GABRIELLA

Intently. JACK squirts icing tube 

Directly in his mouth. 

GABRIELLA gasps releasing 

tension. Giggles.

HANNAH laughs watching the 

Pair as avidly as a TV drama. 

 

JACK (around icing)
I eat weak crap like that for breakfast. And I’m going to get you back.

 

GABRIELLA grins at JACK.

 

GABRIELLA 
Do your worst.      

   

Scene 11: Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow!

 

Scene: Parking lot My Best Friend Doll 

company. Employees wearing slickers

and sunglasses are running around 

throwing colorful snowballs at one 

another. Individual interviews held 

against the backdrop of front door. 

 

CLARA at front door. 

CLARA (grinning)
I hate sticky. I hate messy. I won’t even do water ballon fights, but (giggles hard) This is ridiculously fun! 

 

Cut to ANGELO at front door.

 

ANGELO
We got emails yesterday telling us to bring our slickers back and today on our desks were snowball shaped invites listing our team assignments. (grins) I love Santa!

 

Cut to CLARA at front door. 

 

CLARA
Santa put us in teams pitting me, Frank and everyone else who signed the complaint last year against the HR department. (cackles) Guess who’s winning!

 

Cut to ANGELO at front door. 

 

ANGELO(chuckles)
It was s syrup bath! It was almost more fun watching that fight, then having mine with accounting.  

 

Cut to FRANK at front door. 

 

FRANK

Oh, this Santa is an evil genius. (chuckles) Who needs anger management when you can pelt your problem with balls of syrup?

 

Cut to MR. COLEMAN at front 

Door, clean with no slicker.

 

MR. COLEMAN
The executive branch of the company isn’t taking part in Secret Santa. Its strictly an employee moral building event. And its working out (turns up nose) quite well. Exactly as planned.

 

Cut to GABRIELLA slicker 

Purple, pink, and green from 

Hits.   

GABRIELLA
Today’s prank on Jack was a little elf widget that pops up on his screen whenever its been idle for more than five minutes and starts singing “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” (grins) he hates that song. But I very generously accepted a little of Jack’s input on today’s event. I’d just planned a snowball fight with teams. When I told him I was having my neighbor Leticia provide the snowballs courtesy of her snow cone truck he was wildly insistent that we had to use the syrup. It seemed too messy to me. For all of these gifts that involve a mess I stay after to clean. Its not fair to put all of this on the janitorial staff, who are outside contractors and therefore aren’t part of the fun. And I didn’t want to clean this up, but Jack promised to help and this is totally worth the extra work. (laughs) Do you know I think all of us are just really tall, really stressed-out kids. And this sort of thing(beat grinning) eviscerates the stress. 

 

Cut to snowball fight. 

JACK pelting purple snow 

Balls at GABRIELLA. 

GABRIELLA dances 

around them laughing. 

Throws blue snow ball, 

Falls apart before hitting 

JACK. 

JACK laughs triumphant 

And launches another ball

Hits GABRIELLA in stomach. 

 

Cut to JACK licking fingers.

 

JACK (grinning)
Varsity short stop. And undefeated champion of this snow ball fight! Whoop! Can you believe I had to talk her into adding the syrup. (incredulous) She said it was for fun, and we don’t need winners and losers! Can you believe that? (licks fingers)

 

Behind JACK, GABRIELLA 

HANNAH, FRANK, CLARA, 

And ANGELO approach with 

Blue snowballs. 

 

   JACK
I think she was just afraid to—Ack!

 

GABRIELLA, HANNAH, FRANK, 

CLARA and ANGELO pelt JACK 

with snowballs from behind.  

 

JACK (laughing yell)
Cheeters!

 

JACK chases fleeing posse.

 

Cut to GABRIELLA at front door

colorful face and broad smile. 

GABRIELLA (cheerfully) 
I don’t think wearing the slickers is all that helpful. We’re all sticky messes.

 

Beat. Unheard question.

 

GABRIELLA
No. I am not afraid of losing. (shrugs) I was a little afraid of getting sticky, or really being a part of the snowball fight at all. (tilts head to the side, intent) do you know how often you get touched without your consent on an average day. I do. (beat) It used to make me seriously anxious. I didn’t like to go out if I didn’t have to. I would wear lots of layers even in the middle of summer to blunt the effect of people brushing by me, or patting my shoulder when I’d done something well (rolls shoulder uncomfortably) But medication helps and therapy helps. I’ve gotten a lot better at dealing with the unexpected. But a snowball fight (shakes head) everyone running around screaming, intentionally trying to hit you, its a mine field. I loved the idea of seeing one, but I hadn’t meant to be a part of it. But (shrugs) Jack dared me, and I couldn’t let him think he has the upper hand, so I did it. And while I was doing it (bright broad smile) I didn’t feel the snowballs hit me at all. I just felt the ones I was throwing and it was awesome! Like I was pummeling people with all the stress that ties me up most days. (grins) (shrugs) I’m sure when the adrenaline has warn off I’ll be an anxious mess. I’ll probably take three showers tonight. But (beat) it was fun while it lasted. And a while ago, even knowing the fun to be had, I wouldn’t have been able to risk the stress.  

 

Cut to GABRIELLA, MARIA, 

And JACK at GABRIELLA’s 

Apartment late evening. 

GABRIELLA and JACK on 

couch MARIA on chair. 

ALL cutting out paper 

snowflakes, Christmas

Music playing quietly.

 

MARIA (defensive)
I was not that bad! I just got a little upset.
GABRIELLA (laughing)
She slammed the door, like seven times, and shouted that she hated our family. She kept sobbing about being poor. 

 

JACK laughs watching the 

sisters avidly.

MARIA
In my defense being poor was pretty dramatic when I was fifteen. (shrugs) Now its fine.

 

GABRIELLA rolls her eyes.

JACK 
What did your mother do?
GABRIELLA (smirks) 
Well first she rolled her eyes and started talking in Spanish about teenagers (laughs) (imitating mother in English) Oh God, what have I done to deserve all this faith you put in my patience?

 

JACK chuckles. 

MARIA grins. 

 

GABRIELLA
Then she grabbed me and says, ‘okay, we cant send her skiing, so lets bring the snow to her.’ All night Mom and I cut up newspaper and bills,(giggles) any paper we could find making paper snowflakes. 

 

GABRIELLA holds up finished

Snowflake. Lays it aside. Begins

A new flake. 

 

GABRIELLA
There were so many. I remember being so excited. 
MARIA (smiling warmly)
Mom knew the cure for everything.
GABRIELLA
She did. It was amazing. I had been annoyed with Maria over the whole thing. But a few minutes into cutting I forgot all about it. It was definitely top three of our Christmases ever. When Maria woke up the next morning Mom made her put on sunglasses—
MARIA (interrupting)
I was totally freaked out. I was sure it was some bizarre punishment. I demanded to know what she was doing and where she was taking me. She just looked so serious. And she stops me and says ‘It can never disappoint you as much as it does me that I cannot give you everything you want. But do not forget that you do have everything you need.

 

Beat. MARIA and GABRIELLA

Caught up in memory.

JACK silently allowing the 

Family moment.  

GABRIELLA (shakes herself)
Anyway. She dragged Maria out and I’m waiting there with the fan at full blast and a laundry basket full of snowflakes. As soon as Mom moved out of the way I threw the snowflakes at the air stream.
MARIA (giggling)
I got like twenty paper cuts, but it was so much fun! I made them do it again and again. We kept gathering them up and taking turns standing in the snow storm. 
JACK
Sounds almost as dangerous as a real blizzard. 

 

MARIA and GABRIELLA grin.

 

MARIA
Afterwards we drank cocoa and hung the snowflakes all over the ceiling with string and duct tape. When I finally got to go skiing with friends a few years later I kept thinking about our hallway blizzard and how much fun we had. 

 

JACK watches sisters with a warm smile. 

 

Cut to basement IT paper

Snowflakes hang all around 

the room with pictures in their 

Centers of children holding the 

Companies various dolls and 

Pictures of the employees  

Enjoying GABRIELLA’s secret 

Santa events. 

GABRIELLA approaches desk and 

Stops cold. 

GABRIELLA’s entire cubicle is 

Wrapped in blue and white 

snowflake paper. A bow with tag 

Hands from the top. Reads: Pull. 

Trust me, Santa’s helper.

GABRIELLA breaths deeply, shaking 

Out fingers. Grips ribbon. Tugs. 

Wrapping paper falls apart. Strands 

Of snowflakes are hanging along the 

outside  of the cubicle. One strand 

Crosses the open space of cubicle 

Like a gate.

GABRIELLA catches her breath 

Runs airy fingers over snowflakes. 

 

Cut to conference room. 

GABRIELLA mouth wide, speechless.

Beat. 

 
GABRIELLA
He didn’t put a single snowflake or piece of wrapping paper inside my cubicle. (breathless laugh) He respected my space, but still managed to give me this beautiful surprise. (awed smile) I didn’t think guys were sweet this way. 

 

Cut to conference room JACK

Eager, and cheerful.

JACK
I could kill Coleman. I got her out of the way hanging flakes upstairs, got it all done and I was hidden to see the whole thing, when he called. Why did even answer my phone? I can’t believe I missed her seeing it. Did she like it? Can I see the tape?(smiles)

 

Beat unheard question. 

JACK
No, I suppose her intensity doesn’t really bother me anymore. Its cute. I guess once you get to understand a person their quirks become less annoying and more endearing. Unless getting to know them makes you hate them of course (laughs) I mean, she’s still annoying. Her stupid prank today! (shakes head) (annoyed) All day long I kept getting calls, from different numbers in the building with a recording “Jack, this is Santa calling. Are you being a good boy today?” (shakes head, can’t shake grin) It was funny the first three times, then it got annoying, and of course when I stop answering its Coleman again. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

JACK
Yeah, he has been pretty interested in the day to day lately. He is mostly after me to figure out who “hacked” us. I keep telling him we’re techs that fix the problem, not hunt the perpetrators down, but I’m not sure he buys it. I definitely won’t be saying anything about who launched that little prank. (raises a brow threatening camera crew) I think it will blow over in a few days, but for now I think I’m managing quite well to play dumb and incredibly talented at the same time. I mean I beat back a system incursion all by my self. I’m pretty impressive.   

 

 

Cut to front desk 12:00 

Friday December 14

MAYA filling out a packing slip.

ANGELO crosses to desk.

ANGELO
What are you doing? Its lunch time.
MAYA
I’m almost done. 
ANGELO 
Does it have to go out before lunch? Is it the most important piece of mail in the country?
MAYA (snappish) 
I like to finish a thing when I start it. 
ANGELO
Maya, there are cardboard toboggans in the stairwell and a month of splitting Coleman’s parking space to the fastest contestants. Don’t let me down. You and I are unstoppable. 
MAYA (laughing)
What makes you so sure we can win.
ANGELO
Gravity is on our side in this.
MAYA
 I feel like you just called me fat.
ANGELO
Nonsense. I just called us (waves between them) fat. And a shoe in to win if you’ll just move your ass. 

 

 

MAYA leaves box.

 

MAYA 
I should be more offended right?
ANGELO (chuckling)
Nah. This is too much fun.

 

MAYA follows ANGELO. 

Cut to stairwell. Walls padded 

With bubble wrap, at bottom 

Landing boxes, couch 

cushions, and packing peanuts

Form a landing pad.

DANIEL BURNS at base of 

Stairs with stop watch.

One pair after another sits 

On flattened boxes and slides 

down stairs screaming and 

laughing. MIRIAM and CLARA.

MICHAEL and HANNAH. CORY 

and FRANK. MAYA and ANGELO.

GABRIELLA sits on cardboard 

box slightly stiff. JACK sits behind

Reaching an arm out, hesitates. 

 

JACK (whispers)
Is this okay.

 

GABRIELLA nods, smiles, back to

JACK. 

JACK closes arm around 

GABRIELLA’s waist. GABRIELLA 

Lays a hand over his. 

Toboggan jerks forward, pair slide

Down and tumble laughing into 

cushions.

 

DANIEL BURNS
And the winners are (dramatic pause) Angelo and Maya!

 

Laughter and cheering. 

 

ANGELO( to MAYA)
Told ya so!   

 

Cut to conference room. 

GABRIELLA hand at waist 

Where JACK held her. Beat. 

 

GABRIELLA 
I don’t know if I liked him before. But I definitely do now. 

 

Cut to basement IT.

Friday 4:30 

GABRIELLA at desk 

Typing, hums a Christmas 

song, under breath. 

JACK leans over cubicle 

wall. GABRIELLA quiets. 

JACK (quietly)
So there is something I’ve been wanting to do for a few days now, and I’m not sure how to go about it. Its something nice, but technically it would require invading your personal space again, and the point is to do something you’ll enjoy, not to make you uncomfortable. But I don’t know if it would be better to surprise you or—
GABRIELLA (whispers) (interrupting)
Are you asking my permission to kiss me?

 

JACK chuckles in shock.

Leans close, shaking head. 

GABRIELLA blushes 

looking away.

GABRIELLA (mumbling)
No. That was (breathless) a weird thing to—
JACK (grinning)
Should I be?
GABRIELLA (blushing more with each word)
Kissing me, or asking. (snappish) Sorry. That’s embarrassing. I wasn’t saying (beat) I was just confused by the way you were (beat) What had you wanted to ask me?  
JACK (playful)
Oh no you don’t. I’m having an answer to that question. Its far more pressing than my original question. So lets say, hypothetically that I’m very interested in kissing you. (fraught beat) Should I ask first? Would that be something you would like, hypothetically?
GABRIELLA (nervous)
I (beat) Its not as though any other boyfriend, that is, any other guy has ever asked. I was just—
JACK (interrupting)
But do you find the idea of being asked more appealing than being surprised?

 

GABRIELLA breathes deeply

Unable to tear her eyes off

JACK’s. Crushing the fingers

Of her left hand in her right fist.

 

GABRIELLA
Yes. These past few days its been (breathless) a lovely, appealing surprise all its own having my space respected.
JACK
Thats excellent information to have. Thank you. 

 

GABRIELLA’s hands relax.

GABRIELLA and JACK 

Share unbroken regard 

for several beats. 

JACK clears throat. Looks

away.

 

JACK
It also helps answer my first question. I think you’d prefer to be asked. So may I borrow your mother’s nutcracker for a few days.

 

GABRIELLA stiffens.  

 

JACK
My dad used to teach shop. I think he can help me fix it.
GABRIELLA (stalling)
Doesn’t he still teach shop? 
JACK
Yeah. (beat) How do you know?
GABRIELLA (shrugs)
Your mom and I are Facebook friends. (speaks rapidly) I friended her looking for dirt to prank you with. But your mother is one of those people who actually looks at everyone who friends her, and she realized I work with you and started messaging me. 

 

JACK chuckles hard.

 

JACK
This is too much. What excuse did you give for friending her?
GABRIELLA   
The truth. I said you’d broken something of mine and I was looking for revenge. 
JACK (wide eyed grin)
And she still accepted your friend request?
GABRIELLA 
Yeah. She even gave me the idea for today’s prank when I was short on ideas.

 

Cut to basement IT

Earlier today-10:00 a.m

JACK reading, MAIL BOY

Enters pushing cart. Stops

At JACK’s desk. Holds out 

Christmas wrapped box.

 

MAIL BOY
Looks like you got something special.

 

GABRIELLA looks up excitedly. 

Types rapidly on keyboard. 

Camera zooms in on red light 

Next to JACK’s desktop camera.

Camera angles wide. 

 

JACK
Thanks. 

 

JACK begins opening box.

GABRIELLA  stands peeks 

over cubicle- evil villain style.  

Lid flies off box and confetti

Sprays in JACK’s face. 

JACK screams, tosses box 

aside, jumping away. 

GABRIELLA giggles 

uncontrollably.

 

JACK
Damn it, Gabriella! What the hell were you thinking! You could have killed me. 

 

GABRIELLA tries to speak 

Snorts and laughs harder. 

 

Cut to basement IT now

JACK at GABRIELLA’s 

Cubicle. 

 

GABRIELLA (continued)
She said they gave you a Jack-in-the-box when you were three and you (giggles) screamed and cried when it opened. She said she didn’t think you cried anymore but you still didn’t like things that pop out at you. (chewing on grin)

 

JACK shaking head over

And over with an annoyed

Expression. 

 

JACK 
I don’t know if I should be offended by the gross invasion of my privacy, and my mother’s betrayal—

 

GABRIELLA snorts.

 

JACK
Or oddly impressed by your ability to be simultaneously honest and duplicitous.

 

GABRIELLA smiling smugly 

unrepentant.   

JACK
Why did you even need help? I thought you had my whole punishment planned out from stage one to stage twelve. 
 
GABRIELLA
Oh (beat) Well I did, yes. But (beat) The later stages were more mean than funny. And once I knew you better (shrugs shyly) I didn’t want to be mean to you.

 

JACK grins. 

Cut to conference room. 

JACK.

 

JACK (charmed)
I knew she was a big softy at heart. She just had to come to it on her own.(shakes head) But I cannot believe she has been conspiring with my mother! (laughs) I bet Mom’s having the time of her life. She’s a big time prankster. They probably really like each other.

 

Cut to basement IT

 

JACK
Well, I guess I’ll forgive your duplicity. (beat) But only if you let me have the nutcracker. I swear if I cannot fix it, I will not break it any further. 
GABRIELLA (nods)
I trust you.

 

Scene 12: Ornaments

 

Scene GABRIELLA’s apartment

JACK and GABRIELLA on couch

By fake fireplace glueing pieces of 

Felt to make mittens. Whispering.

MARIA in kitchen leaning against 

Sink, addressing camera directly. 

 

MARIA
Its like watching a Victorian romance over there. (mocking) Oh I wouldn’t dare touch you, but let me get as close as I possibly can. 

 

MARIA pulls melodramatic 

romantic face. Laughs. 

   

MARIA
Don’t get me wrong, they’re cute. But I’m more of a, lets kiss already and get on with it, sort of girl. I was prepared for the worst with Jack, but he seems okay. Although he is one of those (raised eyebrow, disapproval) comfortable guys. Like his life as never been extravagant, but its never been difficult either. When Gabriella was looking for dirt on him she got all bent out of shape when she told me he was an only child, that his parents were happily married and that (imitating GABRIELLA) all four of his grandparents are alive! That may well have been her biggest complaint about him. Not to be partial or anything but she has a right to be jealous. We don’t have extended family. We don’t have Mom anymore. Its just us. And Gabriella (beat) has never been comfortable. But who knows, right? Maybe she can be comfortable now.

 

Cut to GABRIELLA and JACK 

On couch.

JACK (playfully)
So we has the snowball fight for our A.D.D. staff, and now we’re having the ultimate game of cleanliness for our O.C.D. staff?
GABRIELLA (lightly instructive)
Well technically the last D in both those acronyms stands for disorder, so when referring to the people who live with those disorders, as the disorder, you can just leave off the last D. (smirks) Anyway I’m sure anyone who wants can make this game equally as messy as the snowball fight, and have a great time of it. 
JACK
They just can’t win that way.    
GABRIELLA
They’ve all seemed to love the competitive aspects of the events. And mitten cocoa making is a classic game. 
JACK (flirtatious) 
I’ve never heard of it. I think its all you, and your trying to trick us like Mary Poppins into playing neatly. 

 

MARIA takes a seat across from 

couch unnoticed by JACK and

GABRIELLA. 

GABRIELLA
Its one of those (air quotes) “games” boys are never expected to play. But they’ll play in my world. I’m making it worth their while. Two months of never getting break room clean-up is a better prize than the day off.

 

MARIA  begins moving objects 

On the table for attention.

JACK (laughing)
That’s because you like work, and you actually clean when its your turn. The rest of us just wipe up crumbs and make sure the fridge is closed. 
GABRIELLA
Ugh! No wonder the microwave looks like a war zone. 
JACK 
You’re kind of adorable when you’re annoyed. 
MARIA
You should see her when she’s intently plotting your destruction. 

 

GABRIELLA and JACK 

startle.          

 

MARIA
Super adorable. 
JACK (clears throat)
I bet. 

 

MARIA cackles briefly. 

 

JACK (changing subject)
I can’t believe you guys have a fake fireplace. Its a heater too, right? How often do you use that function. 

 

Sisters exchange confused looks. 

GABRIELLA 
Never. Why would we?

 

JACK laughs. 

 

GABRIELLA 
How do you decorate for Christmas? Or are you too cool?
JACK 
I usually spend Christmas with my parents, sometimes even my grandparents and second cousins. (shrugs) So I don’t do much at home. But I have a little potted pine tree that I put lights on. 
GABRIELLA
Just lights? You don’t have a favorite ornament that makes you think of the past? Or just makes you smile?
JACK
Well my parents have all of my childhood ornaments. I used to have some other stuff—(awkward beat)
GABRIELLA 
When you were with Nicole?
JACK (nods)
Yes. We lived together of a while and we got stuff together. But I gave it all to her when we split. 

 

Beat. Awkward silence. 

MARIA (breaking tension)
“Sad, to be all alone in the world.”

 

GABRIELLA looks at MARIA

snorts. Giggles.

 

JACK
Am I missing something?
GABRIELLA
Its from an old movie. Its a really terrible movie,"Thoroughly Modern Millie." Honestly its spoof level bad, but it doesn’t quite get funny enough to distract from the— (bobbing head sideways)
MARIA
Racism, sexism, and really kind of poor plot. 

 

Both sisters laugh. 

JACK
But you love it anyway?
GABRIELLA 
A little. 
MARIA
 It had its moments. Like the elevator that only works if you dance in it. And the landlady saying that line every time she’s choosing her next kidnapping victim. (laughs) The quote was funny (laughs harder) because you’ve got all this family, and we’re the orphans, but you’re the one with the pathetically lonely Christmas season. 

 

MARIA laughs.

JACK smiles at the story. 

GABRIELLA deeply thoughtful

Watches JACK.

 

GABRIELLA 
You should get your own things. Not a ton, and not with anyone else. Just (beat) one ornament or decoration. Something that moves you and makes you smile. Something you’d want to take with you if you ever ran away again. 
JACK (laughs)
Is that my warning that the clip is coming out?
GABRIELLA (intensely)
No. I just (awkward) You shouldn’t just be in an apartment, or house or wherever you live. Whether you’re alone or in a relationship (growing intense) you should make your space into your safe space. A place where nothing that is wrong with you is ever wrong.  

 

Awkward silence. 

JACK (playful)
I have the slicker I made hanging up. Does that count?
GABRIELLA 
No. Not something to do with work or me, or —

 

GABRIELLA notes the 

Awkwardness in the room. 

Breaths deeply, rolling 

shoulders. 

 

GABRIELLA
I suppose it should be whatever you want. I just think if you’re defining your happiness it shouldn’t be something contingent on other people. 

 

JACK stiffens, startled. 

Awkward silence. 

 

Cut to  outside front door

GABRIELLA’s apartment. 

JACK alone. 

JACK
I guess I’d never thought of it that way. I don’t define myself by my relationships, but I haven’t really tried to define myself again since I split with Nicole. I just (beat) go along. It was something of a shock to hear. And I’m a little surprised Gabriella noticed something that I hadn’t even realized about myself.

 

Cut to GABRIELLA’s 

Kitchen. GABRIELLA 

Washing dishes, profile to 

Camera.

GABRIELLA
Monday’s game is a contest, everyone has to make a full cup of hot chocolate and deliver it to their desk staying as clean as possible, and wearing a pair of white felt mittens. If there is a tie we will move on to making a plate of cookies, then a final stage of eating and drinking while staying clean, and having to dunk the cookies at least once. The winner gets out of cleaning their floors break room for two months. 
Tuesday I’m bringing in the plastic from a bunch of photo frames and those snow spray bottles, and there will be a window frosting contest and the winner is exempt from the staff meeting of their choosing. 
Wednesday there is a contest to decorate the photo frames themselves using battery operated lights, the winner gets to be in charge of any office (air quotes) “spirit days” for three months. 
And Thursday there will be a hunt for silver bells hidden all over the office, whoever collects the most will get one prize, and whoever wears them the most creatively gets another. I was going to have them arrange fake flowers on Friday, but Jack convinced me to let that go. The party doesn’t need flowers. Its already going to have all the decoration everyone will have made this week, and the snowflakes, snowmen, and pictures of the activities from last week for decoration.

 

Beat. Unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA
Yep. Mr. Coleman approved our party ideas. No meeting this time though. I think he’s afraid I’ll press for bonuses again. We emailed our plans and he okayed them. Literally he just wrote the one word: OKAY. I seem to be developing a reputation for being difficult. Can’t seem to care though. 

 

Beat. Unheard question. 

GABRIELLA sighs, leans

forward, hands sunken in 

water.  Faces camera 

directly. 

 

GABRIELLA 
Yes. I got a little intense about the whole ornament thing. (beat) Its not really about an ornament. But (beat) when he said the thing about being willing to run away if I released the clip, at first I was so caught up in being touched, and shocked that I didn’t really pay attention to the whole thing. But it keeps playing in my head over and over again. And then I’ll see his desk with just that one picture and his mystery novels and nothing else thats his. (long beat) Tonight I just kept thinking about it, and about maybe what it is that makes him seem (shakes head) I don’t know, it isn’t lazy, maybe not even unmotivated, but you know he’s not living up to his potential, and if he seemed happy, like really happy otherwise that would be fine. But he doesn’t. He’s not invested in his job, or his life here. He could literally take or leave this life he’s had for three years, and thats not good enough for him. (tearing up) He’s a good guy. He deserves to love his life, and know he belongs. Picking an ornament, silly or sentimental is just as symbol of that. But (sighs) I need to (beat) let him be him. And not get so intense about things. He was really quiet after I said all that. And I don’t know if I hurt his feelings or just exhausted him. (beat) (nods sideways) I’ve been known to do that.   

 

 

     Scene 13: Sleigh Ride With You

Monday December 17. 

IT break room contest 

underway. CORY and STAN, 

outside break room, 

intermittently taunting,

And laughing at MICHAEL

As he attempts to carry his 

Paper cups of hot chocolate 

with mittens on. JACK enters 

Humming “Its Beginning to 

Look a lot like Christmas” 

Oblivious to game. Nearly 

Runs into MICHAEL, jumps 

back.

MICHAEL startles, dropping

Entire cup. Hot chocolate 

Spills everywhere.

CORY
Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!
STAN
Another one down. You are all going down. 
MICHAEL
Damn it, Jack! Thats cheating. I call cheating
CORY 
Cheating answers: Only losers whine, loser.
JACK
I’m sorry I wasn’t thinking. Lets (beat) lets clean this up and you can start over. 
STAN
Un-uh. No way. He had his shot and he failed. 
JACK
I did cut him off. 
MICHAEL
And he’s a competitor. Thats cheating!
CORY (sing-song)
Loser. Loser. 
STAN
Maybe we should get an impartial ruling. Ask Gabby, she isn’t entering. 
JACK (glancing over shoulder)
She isn’t? Why?

 

CORY

She said she would definitely win and the break room would become a disgusting mess for two months, and she didn’t want that. 

 

The men snicker and

Chuckle with varied 

Noises of agreement. 

JACK shakes his head. 

 

JACK 
Lets just—

 

GABRIELLA approches. 

 

GABRIELLA
Are any of you going to clean that up? Its going to get sticky and stain. 
MICHAEL
We were about to look for you.
GABRIELLA (offended)
To clean up your mess?
MICHAEL
No, of course not. Give us an impartial ruling. Jack cut me off and made me spill, should I get a do over?

 

GABRIELLA looks between

The men at a loss. All staring 

Expectantly.

GABRIELLA
Did he physically touch you?
MICHAEL
No, but—
GABRIELLA 
Then my opinion is no. Its called a hot cocoa obstacle course. 
MICHAEL
No one else had people jump out at them. 
GABRIELLA
Its—
STAN
No, but I did have to jump over the tacks you (heavy sarcasm) dropped as I passed. 
CORY
And my phone started vibrating just as I was setting the cup down. 

  

GABRIELLA stares at slowly 

Spreading puddle of hot chocolate. 

JACK grins at back of 

GABRIELLA’s head.

 

STAN 
Anyway—
GABRIELLA (simultaneously)
  Seriously, who is going to clean that up? Its going to get sticky soon. 
MICHAEL
Not me. 

 

MICHAEL shoves by JACK.

CORY chuckles.

STAN
You’d think a man of his age would be a better loser. 
CORY
He ought to have had enough practice.

 

STAN cracks up.

GABRIELLA sighs. Steps

Around spill, to paper towels. 

Flips on faucet. Wets half the 

Paper towels. 

JACK comes to assist. 

 

JACK
Let me get it. Its at least partially my fault. 
GABRIELLA (under breath)
I told you this would end in a mess. 

 

JACK laughs. Uses dry towels

And foot to begin drying mess.

 

GABRIELLA (sharply)
What are you—

 

GABRIELLA crouches, shoves

JACK’s foot away, cleans mess. 

 

GABRIELLA
You were just spearing it around. You have to pull the spill together. Haven’t you ever cleaned a spill before?
JACK
Apparently not the proper way. 

 

Beat. GABRIELLA looks up at 

JACK. Gathers wet towels into

Paper cup. Crosses to sink.

 

GABRIELLA (quietly)
I apologize. I wasn’t trying to insult you. 
JACK
I’m not insulted. I just learn so much from you. Who’d have known there was a proper way to clean?

 

GABRIELLA wets a clean 

Towel and returns to spill.

CORY
Don’t worry about that. The wetness is up anything more the janitors will get tonight. 

 

GABRIELLA kneels. 

Continues cleaning. 

GABRIELLA
 Hot chocolate is sticky. If it isn’t cleaned properly it will be tracked all over this office in an hour. And the janitorial staff are paid to empty the trash, do light dusting, and sweeping nightly, they only mop once a week. And it is never their job to clean up our stupidly made messes. 
CORY
What were you a janitor in a past life. 
GABRIELLA (from ground)
No. I did bus tables through high school and part of college. And one of my mothers two jobs was for a janitorial service. Why? That a problem.     
STAN (stiffly)
Of course its not a problem. But they must be getting extra because clearly they’ve been cleaning up after these messes for a while, Gabby.
JACK
Its Gabriella.

 

STAN draws back 

Looking between JACK

And GABRIELLA 

CORY
Oooooo!
GABRIELLA
Really? Are you twelve?

 

Cut to conference room.

JACK laughing. 

JACK 
(imitates GABRIELLA) Are you twelve. (laughs harder) She just looked so untouchably confident. I loved it. And what with her instructing on the right way to clean and decorate, she has this real Mary Poppins thing going for her that I am way too into. 

 

Beat unheard question.  

 

JACK 
No I wasn’t offended by her intensity last night. I was, I don’t know, it sounds corny to say woken up. But thats what it felt like. She woke me from this weird sleep I’ve been in for the past thee years. I even went ornament shopping. 

 

Cut to It break room. 

 

CORY (insulted)
Do you need your boyfriend to tell people what to call you? 

 

GABRIELLA stands sharply.

 

GABRIELLA 
No. So how about you listen to me? I’ve asked everyone not to call me Gabby. 
STAN (startled)
You have?
CORY (thrown)
Oh. Sorry, Ga—(beat) I didn’t remember. I’d be happy to call you Gabriella.
STAN
Of course. We’ll call you whatever you like. 

 

Awkward silence. 

 

STAN
So I guess its just down to me and you Jack. Unless you’re entering, Gabriella.
GABRIELLA (shakes head)
No, I’m good, thanks.

 

GABRIELLA spins around rinses 

wet cloth in sink. Exit CORY and 

STAN.

JACK
Sorry about them. I can tell them we aren’t together. 
GABRIELLA (snappish)
If it would make you more comfortable. 

 

JACK leans on counter beside 

GABRIELLA 

 

JACK
I meant to make you more comfortable. I’m good. In fact when you asked Cory if he was twelve I had to literally bite my tongue to keep from asking to kiss you. 

 

GABRIELLA looks to JACK. 

GABRIELLA smiles secretively.

GABRIELLA (flirtatiously)
I might have said yes. 
JACK ( breathing deeply)
I suppose its not the best idea at work.
GABRIELLA   
Probably not. 
JACK
So how would you feel about taking a little adventure with me after work? There’s this place that does sleigh rides. We can ditch the camera crews and (shrugs) Be alone. 

 

GABRIELLA grins, nodding.

 

JACK (singing)
Its lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.

 

JACK exits humming.

Grinning GABRIELLA 

Finishes cleaning.

 

Scene 14: Upsot

 

Conference room.

Tuesday December 18

GABRIELLA in conference 

Room. 

 

 

GABRIELLA
It was raining this morning and I saw some people come in wearing the slickers they made. (beat) Clara was one of them! Yes! 

 

GABRIELLA happy dances

In seat.

GABRIELLA
I know its not the most important thing in the world, but it makes me happy when usually excluded people feel included and have fun. Even in silly ways. 

 

Beat unheard question.    

 

GABRIELLA (grinning)
Oh, the sleigh ride was lovely (snickers) but not as romantic as Jack had hoped. Turns out he hadn’t realized they hold fifteen people at a time and their line was so long they refused to let him rent out the whole thing. (giggling) but I loved it! We sat together and sang carols and after we had cider and cookies and wandered around looking at lights. It was lovely. Once he got past being annoyed I think he had fun too. At first though, he was just fuming. He kept going on about the picture being a couple in a small sleigh. And the ticket guy kept saying “not this close to Christmas” (snickers) maybe I’ll book us a ride after Christmas. Maria would be so proud, I didn’t point out once that having OCD might have come in handy with planning.

 

Beat GABRIELLA smiling 

Into the distance.

 

GABRIELLA
And there was a little Christmas bag at my desk this morning. It wasn’t big enough to hold my nutcracker, so I knew right away that wasn’t it. I’m surprised by how calm I feel without it. Its been five days and I want it back. Very much! But it feels safe with Jack. In the gift bag were all these little plastic elves they weren’t even all Christmas elves. One was Legolas, (giggles) the note said he’d pick a decoration, if I’d filled out your elf forces. (smiles into distance) Jack can be really sweet. I lined the elves up on my monitor this morning. 

 

Cut to break room 2nd floor

MIRIAM is sketching her 

window design. FRANK is 

spraying free hand. CLARA 

Leans against counter with 

A cup of coffee. 

CLARA
I’m so glad they invited families to the party. I’ve been telling Jewel about our winter games and she’s made me repeat a few of them with her. I hope they have more games there.
FRANK
Oh they definitely will.
CLARA (cautiously)
Will Linda be able to make it?
FRANK
Yes she’s looking forward to it. Even John’s excited which is a real feat with a fifteen-year-old boy. 
MIRIAM
I hope Santa is there. 

 

Utter silence. MIRIAM 

Looks up. And grins.

MIRIAM
What (laughs) The man gives out gifts to the well behaved. Do you know how much crap I took from Ed this year with a smile on? I’m raking in all the presents. 

 

ALL laugh.

Cut to conference room.  

JACK.

JACK 
The sleigh ride was (shakes head) a lot more people than I like to have with me, on a date. I can’t believe I didn’t check first. I bet she would have. Its just seemed like such a fun spontaneous adventure, all Christmasy and right up her alley. (beat) By the end it was actually pretty nice. She doesn’t like touching strangers so she was huddling into me pretty close and she was smiling massively. So I think she enjoyed the night. We’ll just have to work out a romantic date later on. Next time I’ll plan a little. 

 

Cut to MR. COLEMAN’s 

Office 

Wednesday December 19

JACK in chair before desk. 

  

MR. COLEMAN. 
Jack I’ve been watching you for a while now. And I really think you’re the right man for the manager job. So, why haven’t I received your resume yet?
JACK 
To be honest I forgot about it when you gave Gabriella and I the party assignment. I’ll get it to you.
MR. COLEMAN
Good. See that you do. I think you have a bright future here. (after thought) How are the party arrangements coming along?
JACK
The family invites went out over the weekend and todays Secret Santa (air quotes) “gift” was  to have people decorate frames with battery operated lights, and we’ll use those to decorate at the party. 
MR. COLEMAN
Nice money saving technique. Great idea.  
JACK
Actually I cannot take the credit. Gabriella is full of ideas. 
MR. COLEMAN
Good for her. Its a sign of a true leader when he knows when to listens to other ideas, and when to ignore them. 

 

JACK uncomfortable shifts 

Forward in seat. 

JACK
I understood this to be Gabriella’s assignment and I just (beat) help where needed. 
MR. COLEMAN
And your help has been appreciated. I have’t received even one of her token ten emails a day since I added you to the team. Its a great improvement. Half of her emails were just to press for bonuses, the fact that you’ve talked her out of that shows real management potential. Good work.

 

JACK smiles noncommittally. 

Rises crossing to door. JACK

Pauses, profile to MR. 

COLEMAN.

 

JACK (cautiously)
I understand how handing out bonuses might set a precedent you don’t want to repeat. But I think you may be missing Gabriella’s point, sir. A lot of your employees live from paycheck to paycheck. They’re happy to take overtime, even though it means less time with family, because they need the money. And what with this being Christmas a lot of them would probably be thrilled with even the extra fifty dollars. For food, or gifts or any of the incidentals they have. Its a small gesture, but it could build a lot of goodwill. (beat)

 

MR. COLEMAN hands folded

On desk, breathing tightly. 

 

JACK (cautiously pressing)
If its a sign of a good manager to listen, perhaps you should listen to Gabriella’s point in any of those ten emails. 

 

Long silence, MR. COLEMAN

Glaring at JACK.

JACK 
Excuse me, sir. 

 

MR. COLEMAN nods sharply.

JACK exits. Stomps to elevator.

Punches the down elevator key. 

 

JACK 
Fucking idiot. Now I’m going to get fired over bonuses he was never going to give out. 


Cut to conference room. JACK.

 

JACK
I said I could walk away from this job no problem. So being fired shouldn’t be any different, right? Except it is! It feels like saying what I did was (beat) Damn it. (shaking head) investing more in the job and the other people here then I have in the whole three years I’ve been here. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

JACK
No, it doesn’t bother me that she was right. I’m just annoyed because now I want this stupid job, partially to be near her (laughs frustrated) And she’s not the sort of girl to respect that. How’s that for irony?

 

Cut to basement IT

GABRIELLA on call.

JACK reading novel. 

 

GABRIELLA
Okay, I can’t seem to access your desktop remotely, could you do me a favor and check how many cords are plugged into it?

 

JACK looks at cameras

Rolls his eyes. 

 

GABRIELLA
No, the new computers don’t have towers. It’ll be plugged directly into the back of the monitor. You should have two cords. (beat) No problem, I can wait. 

 

MICHAEL approches JACK’s 

Desk. 

GABRIELLA
Just the power cable. Okay, look around and see if you have (beat) (interrupted on phone) Well, it really should be around you. Try under the desk, maybe it was kicked out. 
MICHAEL (to JACK)
What’s this I hear about you arranging the party.
JACK  (to MICHAEL)
Dunno, what’s it?
GABRIELLA (on phone)
It should just be a basic USB cord.

 

GABRIELLA watching 

MICHAEL over her cubicle 

wall, concerned.

 

MICHAEL (to JACK)
Did you ask for this assignment as some sort of trial for the position? Because if so everyone should have the same chance. 
JACK (to MICHAEL)
Take it up with Daniel. I just do the work I’m assigned. 

 

 

GABRIELLA curls left hand

Into fist. Uncomfortable. 

Startles at voice on phone. 

GABRIELLA (into phone)
What? Oh, no its not an internet cable. Its a tie in to the company servers. 
MICHAEL (to JACK)
You know if you want to apply for the job you should. But be careful who you piss off along the way, Santa. 

 

MICHAEL storms away.

 

GABRIELLA (with shocked expression) (into phone)
I know you’re still online. The internet is wireless, the servers are not. Its an extra security measure. If you want to access files on the company server you have to be plugged in. You know what. (breathes deeply) I’ll be right up to check it out. Hold tight. 

 

GABRIELLA stands, tugs down 

Her Christmas llama sweater.

Breaths out calmly, exits 

Cubicle. Stops at JACK’s desk. 

 

GABRIEALLA (to JACK)
Hey, are you alright?
JACK (eyes in book)
Of course, why wouldn’t I be?
GABRIELLA (cautiously)
I don’t know. But if I can help with it I’d be happy to. Or even just happy to listen. 
JACK (forced laugh)
I’m all good. Don’t you have a call to get to. 
GABRIELLA (nodding)
Yep. Okay. Talk later then.
JACK 
You bet.

 

GABRIELLA walks slowly to elevator. 

JACK stares into book until doors 

Close behind GABRIELLA. JACK 

Tosses book on desk. 

Cut to GABRIELLA break room.

 

GABRIELLA 
I’m not sure if I upset him. Or work did. Or the phases of the moon! (agitated) But something upset him. And (beat) I need, and probably he needs too, for it not to upset me. So I’m trying not to feel hurt, or worried or responsible. Not until I know what the problem is. But if thats hard for a normal woman, its fucking torture for someone with OCD. 

 

Hands fisted, feet tapping. 

 

GABRIELLA 
Maybe it was the prank. But if so he didn’t say anything. I suppose this one was a (shrugs) more invasive than my usual pranks. People can get really bent out of shape when you mess with their books, but (beat) thats why I bought a second book to replace his copy with. Its hidden in his desk already. And its just one book. But if it was that wouldn’t he just say something? He’s been reading all day, he should have seen it! I’m obsessing.

 

GABRIELLA stares at camera. 

Long beat. 

 

GABRIELLA
I begin to think you gust are really disruptive to my ability to manage my symptoms. The whole nature of these interviews has me obsessing over every little detail. So (breathes deeply) Yeah. I’m gonna just go now. 


GABRIELLA stands frustrated. 

Exits conference room. 

Beat. Empty chair. 

Cut to basement IT 

GABRIELLA stops beside JACK.

 

GABRIELLA (cautiously)
Hey, is now an okay time to ask you something?

 

JACK lays book aside, waves

Broadly. 

 

JACK
I’m free as a bird.
GABRIELLA
Of course, but that doesn’t mean I’m not (breathes deeply) Never mind. Look I know you say you’re not upset. And maybe you actually aren’t, but if you are and its because of something I’ve done, please let me know. Because (whispers) I don’t want you to hate me either. I’m really sorry if today’s prank took things too far. 
JACK
What prank? You didn’t do anything today. 
GABRIELLA
I did. I guess I just overestimated the time you’d have to read. 
JACK raises brow. Opens mouth.
GABRIELLA
Right, I guess I’m just overly sensitive, and reading something into nothing. Sorry. 
Spins away. 
JACK stands. 
JACK
Gabriella. Wait.
GABRIELLA pauses, glances
over wall at JACK.
JACK
I’m not upset with you. 
GABRIELLA
Are you sure?
JACK (sighs)
Yes. I’m just (beat) in a bad mood. 

 

GABRIELLA nods slowly.

Still disbelieving. 

GABRIELLA 
Then I’d skip page 183.

 

GABRIELLA crosses to desk. 

Grabs purse, shuts off computer.

Exits via stairwell.

JACK watches. Heavy sigh. 

Sitting glances at novel, flips 

Through to find 183. Does double

take.  Laughs.   

Cut to conference room. JACK.

 

JACK
She is seriously certifiable, and I love it. Look at this. 

 

Holds up book, open to page 183,

No apparent flaws but page to the 

Right is 278.

JACK 
It looks totally normal. And its right in the middle of the action. I would have been halfway through it before I realized she’d spoiled the ending for me. I would have been livid. (laughs shaking head) Its twisted. She doesn’t pull her punches does she. (grins) She’s awesome. And I literally cannot explain to her why I’m upset. How do I say, ‘hey I know we’ve only been out once, haven’t kissed, and you have an annoying habit of making me more self-aware. But I don’t want to stop seeing you everyday. And I’ve either screwed myself out of a job that would have proven to you I’m not lacking in ambition. Or I’ve gotten myself fired all in an attempt to get you what you want. And also to get you the damned recognition you deserve. The recognition you don’t really fight for with anyone but me. 

 

Long beat. JACK 

Breathes heavily. 

 Direct to camera. 

JACK
I can’t say any of that.

 

Scene 15: We’ll Have to Muddle Though Somehow

 

Scene: MARIA and GABRIELLA living room 

Thursday night. “Have yourself a merry 

little Christmas” plays in background. 

GABRIELLA  is stuffing homemade 

Crackers with confetti and fifty dollar bills.

MARIA on chair wrapping stuffed crackers

Tosses finished ones in basket. 

 

MARIA
So what happens when the boss finds out you gave money even though he said no?
GABRIELLA
Don’t know. Don’t care.
MARIA
Well, good for you! (sarcastic) Who needs a job anyway?

 

GABRIELLA stops stuffing

Aggravated. Glares at MARIA.

GABRIELLA 
Look I know it shouldn’t upset me that he’s upset and won’t tell me why. But it does. He skipped work today rather than seeing me. 
MARIA
I thought he texted you. 
GABRIELLA
He did, but it just said he was sick and maybe that was why he was so grouchy. I think he’s lying. I think he’s upset. I’m trying not to obsess. I’m trying to be an easygoing girl. (waves at MARIA)
MARIA (snorts)
No one is easy going about things they are emotionally invested in. I’m not easy going. I’m just better able than you to cover it up. 

 

GABRIELLA throws herself 

Against couch back. 

GABRIELLA 
I liked our little flirty days. So (throws up hands) big deal, he didn’t flirt with me for one day, why am I so neurotic. 
MARIA
You know at first I didn’t like Jack because he’d hurt you in the past. Then I didn’t like that he was helping you in ways I hadn’t figured out. 

 

GABRIELLA leans slowly 

Forward.  

 MARIA 
But I can cover with smiles and sarcastic comments. I think you’re a lot more (raises eyebrows) normal then you give yourself credit for. You just can’t hide from things the way the rest of us do. (beat) I think you’re pretty brave too. You confronted him about it. You always confront your weaknesses. Maybe you should acknowledge your strengths the same way. 

 

GABRIELLA slow touched 

Smile. 

GABRIELLA
Like what?
MARIA (shakes head)
Like this, you pain! (waves at crackers) You never give up. You always do what you think is right. And you care way too deeply about other people. 
GABRIELLA (playfully)
I think that last one had a backhanded insult hidden inside.
MARIA
Might’ve.

 

 

GABRIELLA sighs shaking head.

Beat. 

GABRIELLA (slowly)
I know that what Mr. Coleman said about not getting ahead of myself was meant to stop me applying for the job, (gearing up) but I’ve been updating my resume in my spare time anyway. 
MARIA
Tell me something surprising. 
GABRIELLA (cautious smile)
I don’t think I’m going to use it.

 

Beat.  

 

MARIA
Because Jack is up for the job too?
GABRIELLA
No. I was offended when Mr. Burns asked for Jack’s resume and not mine, not because Jack isn’t capable of the job, but because I’ve proven myself more than any man who works there. I am a more valuable employee, thats not ego its a fact. As I was working up my resume I realized half the reason I was doing it was to prove to them how wrong they were to overlook me. But (shrugs) I don’t really give a shit about that job.    

 

MARIA cracks up. 

 

GABRIELLA 
I don’t. I (breaths deeply) I want my dream back. 
MARIA (leans near)
Wow.
GABRIELLA
I know. I know how bad I messed it up before. And I know where I went wrong. I know we agreed that I needed more supervision.
MARIA (interrupting)
No we didn’t. 
GABRIELLA (speaking over MARIA)
Just let me get this out. I know what I’m capable of now, bad and good. And this Secret Santa thing has reminded me of the things I loved best about Bydesign Getting to help people who are otherwise left out find a place to be comfortable and productive and happy. I want to do that again, and this week has shown me I can (beat) if I do it slowly. 
I’d never intended Bydesign to be a huge money making enterprise. But I kept letting Angela and Max get in my head. I’m better at managing people now. I’m better at— (laughs)

 

GABRIELLA waves at crackers. 

Reawakened to work, leans 

forward and begins stuffing. 

 

GABRIELLA 
Sticking to my guns now. I’m more willing to delegate. I’m better at time management. I mean I’ve basically been doing two jobs these past weeks but I still got plenty of sleep and took personal time. I won’t start out dreaming so big now. I’m more mature. 

 

Beat. 

MARIA
Can I talk now?
GABRIELLA nods.
MARIA
Okay, to begin with your management skills and the size of your dreams were never the problem. You delegated, your (air quotes) partners didn’t deliver. It wasn’t you who wanted to double the client base every two months for the first year. Second of all, I never thought you should give up your dream. Yeah, we said a nine to five with someone above you who some of the responsibility fell on was a good thing. But no one meant forever. It was just, then.

 

MARIA reaches out for 

GABRIELLA’s hand. 

 

MARIA 
Your biggest problem wasn’t you, or OCD or maturity. It was grief, and trying to avoid it. (shakes head) Absolutely your OCD made it worse, but you were trying so hard not to think about Mom. You were working non-stop and taking care of me, and trying to go out there and save all the other single moms. The grief just caught up to you. And the troubles always will. The point of this job was to give you space to take care of yourself again. And I (beat) I agree, you’ve done that  and come out stronger. I mean a year ago you never would have gone behind your bosses back and done what you think is right. 

 

GABRIELLA  nods staring into 

distance. Absently rolls up fifty 

dollars to stuff in popper.

GABRIELLA (quietly perhaps ashamed)
Jack’s helped a lot with that. Giving me permission to do my worst. (shrugs)
MARIA
Well that’s great. (beat)  But before you go giving him all the credit answer me this. Are you doing your worst? Or did he show you a path and you took it? Because if you take the road the work is still your own. Your choices equal your successes.    

 

Long silence. 

GABRIELLA laughs. 

GABRIELLA 
Did Mom give you that speech at some point? Because it has a very sage Mom sort of feel to it and thats not really you. 
MARIA (rolls eyes)
I’m an artist, were basically philosophers who prefer a visual medium. 
GABRIELLA (snorts)
Yeah right. Copy-cat. Admit it you stole the whole thing from Mom. 
MARIA
You are such a pain. 
GABRIELLA
And you love it. 

 

MARIA sticks out tongue 

embarrassed but fond. 

 

GABRIELLA
So, you don’t think its a terrible mistake to try again?
MARIA (sarcastic)
Well since you’re my patroness I prefer you have a paying job. But I’ll find a way to get by. 
GABRIELLA 
Oh, I didn’t mean I’d quit. I meant, I’d keep my sometimes mind numbing job which at least I know I can do and takes literally nothing out of me. And slowly, very slowly start helping people find a job thats right for them. If I start small and very local, dealing only by word of mouth at first my start-up capitol should be pretty small, and I can use the hours after work. Or maybe even bring a tablet and do it in my spare time at work. 
MARIA (snorts)
You. Never. You cannot cheat your office out of your work like that. 
GABRIELLA
 I have been. (smiles proudly) Maria, I hacked our office. And at least as much time as I sent on work lately I’ve spent pranking Jack. Now I’m directly disobeying my bosses instructions. I’m being a terrible employee. 
MARIA (rolling eyes) 
Did you fail to get any work done?
GABRIELLA
No.
MARIA
Did you do the extra work you usually do?
GABRIELLA
Yeah.
MARIA
Aside from making Jack work did you really do anything that could hurt the company?
GABRIELLA
Well the designers could have been getting a head start on designs for next year. But they could do that from other stations, their designs are on the company servers, not their specific desktops. 
MARIA
 So no. Your answer is no.
GABRIELLA
Yes. My answer is no. 
MARIA 
Right like I said, you can’t be less than an exemplary employee. But I’d literally dance for joy if you tried.    

 

Cut to GABRIELLA outside

Front door. 

 

GABRIELLA
Maria has a point. I really haven’t been doing my worst. And I’ve been enjoying myself. And a lot of that has to do with Jack, but it wasn’t his doing. It was mine. Some of it even started before he made that offer. 

 

Beat. GABRIELLA knits fingers

Together held stiffly at sides. 

 

GABRIELLA 
I almost never verbally admit to having OCD, much less ask people to understand it. But I did that with him. I demanded respect from him. I opened the door. I walked through it. I like having him around. I want him around. But I can go on doing this without him, if he is through, for whatever reason. But I’m no pushover. Which is why it would be best for him to be at work tomorrow. I’m pulling one last prank on him whether he is there or not. And we’ll see how much of a coward he is, by how far he runs.

 

Scene 16: Holiday Magic

 

Conference room Friday December 21

Gabriella is wearing a red and green 

Tartan skirt with a red and white Mrs. Claus

 sweater, elf ears, and a Christmas elf hat. 

Grinning at camera.

 

GABRIELLA
Everything is set up and ready for the party! The food arrives at 2:30 and the guests a half an hour later. Then the magic starts. (beat) I fell asleep last night in front of my Christmas tree. And something about going to sleep and waking up with those lights glowing like memories of Christmases past (beat) It made me wake up happy. I don’t know how to explain it. Whenever I sit alone in front of our Christmas tree I feel the love and the fun and the safety of our past Christmases flooding back to me. We always struggled financially when I was younger. But we were happy. At Christmas something magical always happened. The world got slower and everything was lit up and against all odds there were always presents under the tree. When I got older I solved that magical mystery. (quirks brow) The presents came from charity, or Mom’s friends, or her skimping on bills. (nods) For a while after I realized that I felt really bad about it. Sorry for ever asking for presents and embarrassed for her, and me, and sad for how she must have felt about it. But recently I realized there was nothing to feel bad about. (smiles) My mother gave me this amazing gift, and it wasn’t anything under that tree. It was faith in the truly impossible and magical in the world. I have that. I’ll always have that. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

GABRIELLA
No. I’m not angry with Jack this morning. I’m still worried about him, but I believe in the impossible enough for twenty people. So I can give him the space he needs. I didn’t really see the nice guy in him until these past two weeks. But once I did I was touched by how truly kind he can be. I can’t just abandon that new understanding because he’s being grouchy. Even if our relationship never goes beyond this, I’ll be lucky to have met him. Mom was a big believer in people coming into your life at the right moment and helping you change things for the better. I just hope we can be that for each other. Not just him for me. Because he deserves to believe in magic more. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA
Oh. No! He’s still getting pranked.(laughing, rolls eyes) Please! I’m just not mad at him while I’m doing it. He needs to be pranked if for no reason but the pouting. No. He’s not getting off that easy. I’ve told you already. I’m no pushover. 

 

Cut to basement IT.

JACK enters carrying large box. Stops 

at his desk. Sets down box and lifts 

gift bag from ground next to desk.

GABRIELLA oblivious to JACK types

Bobbing head to music in headphones. 

JACK peeks over. Grins at outfit. 

Opens gift.

A tin soldier with a drum. And note:

He made me think of you.

GABRIELLA (under breath singing)
Out of all the reindeer you know your the mastermind. Run run Rudolph—

 

JACK laughs softly. Lays soldier on 

top of his monitor. Presses finger

To lips. Grabs box. Runs to elevator

Presses button, but too anxious to 

Wait takes the stairs instead.

Elevator doors open and close. 

GABRIELLA looks up, glancing 

around, returns to work. 

 

Cut to JACK second floor stairwell.

 

JACK (panting)
I took a personal day to finish a little project (holds up box) and to (shyly) talk to my parents. I don’t know why I feel ashamed to say that. My parents are pretty wise people and they know me better than anyone. The first thing my mother said when I walked into the house was “what has you in a pout.” (laughing shrug) She and Gabriella would definitely get along. I needed advice and perspective. And help finishing this. Now its perfect (smiles) All its missing is a magical arrival, suited to Santa down there. 

 

JACK smirks, pushes open door

to second floor. A crowd of people 

are gathered around one desk 

laughing loudly. 

 

HANNAH (calling from desk)
Who’s the sender? Oh! I got it. 
ED (simultaneously)
The secret Santa account. 
ANGELO
This is hilarious! I want this to be my new screen saver. 

 

JACK approaches group curious.

 

MAYA (wild burst of laughter)
Oh god! Poor Jack. It kills me every time. He’s never going to live this down. 

 

JACK freezes feet from the group. 

 

HANNAH (from desk)
Ohhh. Poor guy. And he has that whole strong sil—Oh! (jumps to feet) Jack! Hi!

 

GROUP turn shocked. Awkward 

silence. ANGELO chuckling 

Walks towards JACK.

ANGELO
Hey man. That is hilarious. You’ve got to have a good sense of humor to send out a clip like that yourself. Good one! Its by far my favorite Secret Santa gift. 
JACK (between teeth)
I didn’t send you anything. I was never secret Santa.            
     
ANGELO
No? Oh! (glances awkwardly around) Well. Its not so bad. (laughs)
MAYA
Yeah. Its adorable, when you—

 

JACK jerks around back to

Stairwell. Stands looking up 

and down stairwell. Starts up.

Stops halfway. Faces camera.

 

JACK
I can’t believe she released the clip. I mean I told her to if she needed to. (beat) I was so sure she wouldn’t. And if she still felt that upset what was the gift for? (breathes deeply)
JACK stares at box. Fiddles with 
Bow. 
JACK
Maybe there really is no killing the ghosts, like she said. 

 

JACK marches up stairs. 

Shoves open door, to level three

Bunches of people are laughing. 

JACK breathes deeply. Steps out 

Headed to corporate conference 

Room. 

ED (spotting JACK)
Jack. (laughs) Hey man. That was epic!
JACK (shortly)
Thanks.  
MIRIAM
I loved that jump! You got a lot of height coming out of a chair that way. (playfully flirtatious) Very fit.
JACK (confused)
What jump?
ED
When you—

 

ED imitates JACK jumping out of 

a seat throwing up hands in fear.

 

ED
It was awesome. 
JACK
What the hell video is this?

 

MIRIAM snorts. Uses computer 

Mouse to open clip.

MIRIAM
Here, have a look. I take it your pranks with Gabriella have taken on a new level of fun.

 

JACK approches, confused. 

Watches MIRIAM cautiously. 

JACK 
You don’t call her Gabby.
MIRIAM
She asked us not to. (smirks) Both when she first started working here and yesterday in a generally distributed email. 
JACK (smiling)
How do you even know about the pranking? 
MIRIAM
Oh aside from the secret Santa games its literally all anyone will talk about. The will they won’t they of it all.

 

JACK shakes his head. 

MIRIAM nods at computer. 

JACK leans down, clicks on 

Video.

 

Video shows JACK at desk 

receiving a package. Words 

scroll across the screen:

“Its our last day together until

2019.” Lid flies off JACK’s box

JACK leaps from chair tossing 

Box aside. Words scroll across 

Screen: “But don’t panic. Our 

work family will be together 

Again soon.”

Still shots of workers participating 

In various secret Santa events

Slide across screen. Black screen

With doll company logo appears

With words: “Happy New Year!”

 

JACK steps back, laughs. Tries to 

speak, laughs harder. 

 

JACK
I ought to kill her (laughs) (nods to MIRIAM) Thanks.

 

JACK crosses into conference 

room. Stops. Looking around.

Snowflakes have been hung,

Frames with lights and frosted 

Glass line walls like windows.

Pictures from secret Santa events

Are blown up and decorate walls 

And tables. 

 

JACK (to camera)
I know I should feel bad for not helping her set all this up, but its really amazing to see it all put together. Beautiful. She has a (shakes head) next level brain. But its hard to be jealous when she’s always using it to do nice things for people.

 

JACK hides box behind a large 

Picture of CLARA crazy-eyed

Throwing a snowball. Searches 

Area. 

 

JACK (calling out)
Hey, Ed bring me a post-it and pen.
ED
You got it.

 

ED enters, stops observing decor.

 

ED 
Wow. Did you do all this?
JACK
I’m not Santa. I never was. But I know who is.

 

JACK writes on post-it:

To Santa

From The Christmas ghosts

JACK pulls off post-it 

Attaches to box. 

ED still looking around.

 

ED
You know this has all been really special. Whoever Santa is did a great job.
JACK (under breath)
She always does.

 

JACK nods to door.

 

JACK
Come on. Out. You’ll ruin the magic. 

 

ED chuckles back to desk.

Cut to basement.

JACK crosses to GABRIELLA’s

Desk leans in. 

GABRIELLA has eyes closed 

Hand up, silently singing along 

to music in headphones. 

JACK waits.

GABRIELLA opens eyes and 

Jumps.

 

GABRIELLA
Ack!

 

GABRIELLA throws off ears. 

Low buzz of music can be heard.

JACK grins superiorly.      

 

JACK 
 I should have made a video of that and sent it to everyone.  
GABRIELLA (raises challenging eyebrow)
Shoulda’. Woulda’. Coulda’. Didn’t. (beat) You going to pout about that now?
JACK (snorts)
You are a seriously mean woman, Santa Claus. No I’m not going to pout. I actually though it was cute, if still a bit embarrassing. People keep leap frogging out of their desks when I walk by. 
GABRIELLA
So run away. You said you could.
JACK (smirking)
You know tin is really heavy, and I couldn’t leave without that guy. (Jerks head towards soldier on monitor)

 

GABRIELLA looks but cannot

See because of cubicle. 

Looks back at JACK.

GABRIELLA
Look you don’t have to tell me everything, just because I did with you. 
JACK (interrupting)
Oh you haven’t even begun to tell me everything. But I’m not worried. 
GABRIELLA (thrown)
The point is, if you need space I’ll give it to you, like you give it to me. But just say it. Maybe I’ll be offended, or disappointed but I won’t die from it. I’m not fragile. I just have some (uncomfortable) hang ups.
JACK 
Cute ones. (smiles) (serious) I just didn’t know how to tell you how I was feeling until I worked it out myself. And I want to talk to you about it, later, when we aren’t at work with a hundred monitor cameras you can be sneakily using to record me. 
GABRIELLA 
Then maybe we should do it at your house. I have lots of cameras in my apartment. You should see the stuff I have on you already. 
JACK (appalled)
Do you really?
GABRIELLA (shakes head)
I was just messing with you.
JACK
I sort of love it when you mess with me. I must have some hang ups too.
GABRIELLA (grinning)
Cute ones. 

 

JACK and GABRIELLA share 

Flirtatious regard. 

 

JACK     
I should probably get some work done before the day is over.
GABRIELLA 
Probably. 
JACK 
But we’ll talk later 
GABRIELLA
I’d like that.
JACK 
Hey (smirks) What are you doing New Years?
GABRIELLA
Are you actually asking? Or just quoting song lyrics.
JACK
I can do both.
GABRIELLA 
Not a thing. I’m usually in bed by 9:30
JACK 
Terrible. We’ll have to come up with something.

 

Scene 17: A Right Jolly Young Elf

 

Christmas party in executive 

conference room. Employees

And families are present. 

Scene cuts between bits of 

Party and individual interviews

Near cubicles with party in 

background. Several parent child 

duos are at the snowman making 

Table, using donut holes, frosting 

And decorations to make 

snowmen. A few guests wander 

Among the pictures chatting.

There is a snowflake making 

Station and a demon doll making 

Station using spare doll parts from 

The factory and Christmas decorations.

 

GABRIELLA and MARIA are in a

Corner chatting. JACK doing a 

Rendition of his scare from 

GABRIELLA’s video for a few 

people. 

MARIA
You gonna mingle at all? 
GABRIELLA
I like looking at them all from back here like a special new Christmas movie, just for me. 
MARIA (rolling eyes)
Lord. At least come make a donut hole snowman with me. 
GABRIELLA 
You just wanna eat the donuts and frosting. 
MARIA 
Yeah! And?

 

GABRIELLA giggles and follows

MARIA. 

Cut to FRANK cubicle.

FRANK
How are Clara and I now? (smile) We’re fine. We're good. Pelting the common enemy with snowballs definitely helped. New year, new attitude. (looks over shoulder) I haven’t done fun things like this with Linda since she got sick. We should do more of it. She’s really enjoying herself. All thanks to a weird little genius Santa. 

 

Cut to party. 

JACK using phone to film a child 

Judge picking the best snowman. 

 

CHILD
This one. 

 

CHILD grabs a snowman tries

To shove it into his mouth. 

 

ADULTS
No! 
GABRIELLA (jumping up)
The toothpicks!

 

JACK drops phone reaching for 

CHILD.

CHILD spits out toothpick with 

Superior expression.

A few people laugh, others look 

Relieved.   

Cut to cubicle, ANGELO. 

  

ANGELO
This was a terrific Christmas. The games were great, and everyone was nicer. I don’t think there  will be any topping it next year. (beat grinning) Although I still maintain Ed and I deserved thanks for those awesome supplies we stole for everyone. 

 

Cut to party JACK and MARIA

Chatting with FRANK and his 

Wife LINDA. 

MARIA
Well I do live with her rent free. When your patroness asks a favor you can’t say no. 
JACK 
Who are you kidding? I know you loved making the deadly quartet of snowmen I got. 
MARIA (smirking)
Oh yeah, that was great fun. 
LINDA
Sounds like it. All these contests were apparently good stress relievers. (glances meaningfully at FRANK)
FRANK
I don’t know what she’s talking about. 

 

Cut to party MR. COLEMAN 

Chatting with MAYA and ED

Near dessert table. 

MAYA
Mr. Coleman, I just have to say, this years Secret Santa was lovely? I don’t know if you hired a team building firm or came up with it all on your own, but it was amazing. Thank you so much. It made the holidays lovely. 
MR. COLEMAN (awkwardly)
Of course, my pleasure. 
ED
And it was fun! 
MR. COLEMAN (laughs)
Thats good for morale. 
MAYA 
Oh definitely. I haven’t seen everyone get along this well in—ever.
MR. COLEMAN
Well, (spots DANIEL BURNS) Daniel.
DANIEL BURNS
Mr. Coleman, wonderful party. My kids are unfortunately attached to the demon doll station. That was a great idea (chuckles)
MR. COLEMAN
Yes. Its working out quite well. I was just saying I don’t think we’ve received any complaints about (shrugs, downplaying) anything this holiday season.
DANIEL BURNS
Nope. Nope. Its been lovely. Your new secret Santa strategy is a real hit. 
MR. COLEMAN
Excellent. 

 

Cut to cubicles, DANIEL BURNS. 

 

DANIEL BURNS
Well, we got a few complaints. Mostly petty stuff. A few people keep having their lunches stolen out of office fridges. And there were three anonymous complaints about an employees body odor. I won’t name names. But over all this year was much better than last in my opinion. I can’t say I loved being viciously pelted with snowballs but it was in the name of fun, right?

 

Cut to party CLARA and HANNAH

Watching kids at demon doll table.

 

CLARA (whispering to HANNAH)
This is such a terrible table. I can’t believe I let Jewel participate. 

 

Behind the pair, GABRIELLA 

Finds her gift box.

 

HANNAH
I know. I’d sleep with one eye open if she brings home that two headed three armed monstrosity. 

   

Both giggle.   

 

HANNAH
But she seems to be having a good time. 

 

CLARA
The best. I’m so glad she’s getting a healthy chance to let off some steam. (raises brow) At least I hope this is healthy. At any rate she isn’t the only utter weirdo. 

 

Both giggle again. 

GABRIELLA carries gift box

Out of conference room. 

Cut to cubicles, GABRIELLA

Lays down box reverently.

Slowly lifts lid and removes 

Nutcracker with a new cracker 

arm attached. New arm features

Pictures of GABRIELLA and her

Mother. JACK approaches slowly. 

GABRIELLA looks up speechless.

 

JACK
I tried to age the photos a little so they’d fit in with the nutcrackers well loved sweater esthetic. 

 

GABRIELLA looks at the nutcracker

And back to JACK. 

 

JACK 
I tested it out with walnuts and pecans, so I know it works.
GABRIELLA (choked)
Its perfect. Better than perfect.

 

GABRIELLA  lays nutcracker 

Carefully in box. 

 

JACK 
There is nothing better than p—
GABRIELLA (interrupting)
I know you want to talk later but (beat) (steps closer) If you don’t object I think I need to kiss you right now.
JACK (nods)
No obj—

 

GABRIELLA grabs the back of 

JACK’s head for a  sweet 

passionate kiss.

JACK and GABRIELLA 

separate, staring flirtatiously.

 

JACK
You stole my line.

 

GABRIELLA shrugs and smirks. 

 

GABRIELLA 
You can ask next time. 

 

Both grin. 

Cut to cubicle MIRIAM.

 

MIRIAM
Well, I was disappointed not to meet Santa Claus, but if this post-it I found is right. I did (sing-song) “See Jack Forrest kissing Santa Claus.” (laughs) How many people get to say that. (grins)

 

Cut to party. All employees 

Have party poppers.

 

ALL
1. 2. 3. 

 

ALL pull open crackers. Confetti 

Sprays everywhere and cash falls 

to the ground tied with ribbons and 

Employee names. Everyone shocked 

And excited, picking up money and 

Looking amongst themselves. 

JACK looks at GABRIELLA with a 

Raised brow.

 

ANGELO
Mr. Coleman. Thanks so much! This is great. The whole thing has been great. 

 

FRANK  glances between COLEMAN

And JACK. 

 

FRANK
Absolutely. Best year yet. This is such a generous addition. 

 

MR. COLEMAN throws JACK a 

Dirty look briefly turns back to 

guests. 

 

MR. COLEMAN
Its my pleasure. And once the accounting department has a chance to sort out just how productive a year we’ve had I hope to send out additional bonuses in the new year. 

 

Cut to cubicles 

GABRIELLA and JACK.

 

JACK
I don’t know why I’m surprised. (laughs) You went behind my back and did it anyway. Do you know how much—

 

MR. COLEMAN exits conference

Room approaching pair. Looks at 

JACK. 

     

JACK 
Look, sir. 
GABRIELLA (simultaneously)
Jack didn’t have anything to do with it. I did it behind his back. 
MR. COLEMAN (nods)
So the little speech about listening to my employees didn’t lead to ignoring me?
JACK 
I fully support what she did. 
MR. COLEMAN (shakes head)
If either of you disobey my direct orders again you’re fired. Since it turns out you were right about the goodwill, Jack, I’ll let it go. (mildly annoyed) I’ll see you both in the new year. 

 

MR. COLEMAN exits grouchily.

 

GABRIELLA 
What did he mean by all that?
JACK (shrugs)
I might have argued for the bonuses without you there.
GABRIELLA
I can’t believe you did that. 
JACK 
I was just trying to (waves noncommittally) invest more in this place. It pissed him off though. So there’s probably no chance I get that manager position.
GABRIELLA
I didn’t realize you wanted it that badly. If you do I’m sure we can find a way to prove to him that you’re the best person for the job. 
JACK 
Over you?
GABRIELLA (raises a brow)
If you want an honest to goodness competition between us for a mangers job, I’m game. And I’d lay odds on me to win. But (rolls eyes) it’ll have to be somewhere else. If even you think Coleman is more likely to listen to you, (sarcastic) than to a silly little girl like me. 

 

JACK snorts. 

 

GABRIELLA
Anyway, (shrugs) I’ve decided not to try for it. 
JACK 
What about your five year plan? 
GABRIELLA 
It needs a rewrite. I’ve been thinking of using this job as the thing that pays my bills while I open my old business again. Slower this time, and (beat) I want to tell you all of it, but maybe later. If you want, I may be able to find you a place in my company, not that you have to or anything. (playful shrug) You probably won’t have time once you’re the IT manager. You really will be good at the job, you get along with everyone, your pretty diplomatic when you want to be, and your at least the second smartest tech here. You’re way too smart for your job if it isn’t what you want. 

 

JACK laughs. 

 

JACK 
We can talk about it all later. For now, lets go tell everyone who their Secret Santa was.
GABRIELLA
Don’t you dare!     
JACK (laughing)
Why not?
GABRIELLA
You’ll ruin the magic. They didn’t know who it was, so they just embraced it. They made friends, healed wounds, and were so grateful to Mr. Coleman that he didn’t fire either of us for insubordination. Leave it a magical mystery. They just needed a little “snappy happy ever after.”

 

JACK (rolls eyes) 
You really are the sappiest girl in the world. At least join in the fun, Santa. 

 

GABRIELLA nods. 

Cut to cubicle, JACK.

 

JACK
Well, my mother said the only way I would know what she was thinking was to ask her. And I guess I got my answer. 

 

Beat unheard question.

 

JACK
How did secret Santa work out this year? Pretty fucking magical. (shakes head) I don’t know yet if we managed to kill the ghosts, but I know I had a lot of fun being on the naughty list. I would definitely steal those reindeer again given the chance. (winks)

 

Cut to cubicle, GABRIELLA

 

GABRIELLA 
Did we kill the ghosts? I don’t know, (picks up nutcracker) I know I can still feel it breaking. But now, so much stronger than I feel the break, I feel it healing. Maybe it was never a matter of killing the ghosts. Maybe it was just about finding them a place to feel at home. And if a little while down the line they pop back up and need retribution (shrugs) Jack has given me permission to do my worst. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA (smugly)
Of course that clip exists. Nothing is ever erased from the internet. But as soon as I mentioned it I knew you’d look for it, and thats my leverage. So I changed some keywords and titles and (beat) lost it a little. Now I’ve got it in the bank the next time he annoys me. And lets face it, he will. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA 
I’m really quite pleased with my tenure as Santa. The party went well, the games were a hit and I’ve got a few more tricks up my sleeve before this Christmas season is over. (raises brow)

 

Cut to executive conference 

room 9:30. Janitors enter room 

already clean except for poppers

On table, each with one of the 

Janitors names. Exchange looks. 

Open crackers. Each gets a fifty 

dollar bill.     

UNSEEN SANTA TOY
Ho. Ho. Ho. Merry Christmas!

 

Cut to cubicles GABRIELLA.

 

GABRIELLA (shrugs) 
I saved on the decorating budget and redistributed it as I saw fit. (laughs) I’m not sure I, ready to relinquish this hat. (winks)

 

GABRIELLA pulls a Santa hat 

Out from behind her back and 

Slips it on her head.

 

NARRATOR
EMMA THOMPSON :) (I aim small)
Then laying a finger aside of her nose, and giving a wink, in a whirl of twinkles she goes. 
Twinkling Fade Out
THE END  

 


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