The Prodigal Daughter
Written By: Suri Parmar
INT. GOVERNMENT OFFICE – DAY
CHRISTIANA (20’s), carelessly lovely, stands at a counter
with an overhead sign: MUNICIPAL BUSINESS LICENSING. A CLERK
behind the counter leafs through Christiana’s application.
ORSON (18), Christiana’s faithful devotee, appears next to
her. She flicks her fingers and he retreats.
Everything’s in order. I checked
the requirements, there’s a money
order—I know you guys hate personal
So if I’m to assume correctly,
you’re applying to be a…serial
In essence. I know the title could
use some tweaking.
Euthanist, contract killer.
Let me handle this, Orson.
I need to speak with my manager.
TITLE CARD: THE PRODIGAL DAUGHTER
EXT. STREET — EVENING
Orson ponderously bikes down the street. Christiana is
perched on his handlebars, an exalted smile on her face.
INT. DINING ROOM — EVENING
Christiana’s family is seated around a massive table. MR.
PETRIE (50’s)—silver-haired, distinguished—carves turkey. He
pauses to check his blackberry. MRS. PETRIE (50’s) is at his
right, dishing food onto plates.
Their other DAUGHTERS(20’s): ELEANORA, the oldest, sports a
power suit and a bun. GRETCHEN, next oldest, is radiantly
pregnant; a diamond glints on her ring finger. MADELEINE,
who’s second to youngest, is in cricket whites, black
stripes beneath her eyes.
Through an archway, we see a living room emblazoned with
Madeleine, Eleanora, and Gretchen’s numerous trophies,
medals, diplomas, and wedding pictures.
Christiana’s lone award is a teeny tin cup for “Most
Christiana makes a dramatic entrance, trailed by Orson. She
flops in a chair. He stands, shifting his weight.
Sorry I’m late.
(checking his blackberry)
Son of a bitch! Breakaway’s down
Hello Mr. and Mrs. Petrie, ladies.
I guess I should be off.
I have to say, that is quite the
Just sit down, Orson.
She hands Orson a heaping plate. He sits.
So, Christiana. You’ve dropped out
of school. Again.
I had a feeling Postmodern
Mid-Australasian Pop Culture wasn’t
Dentistry—now there’s where the
future lies. People will always
have teeth. We’ll enroll her
I don’t want to be a dentist.
She’s just a late bloomer. I didn’t
come into my own until you all were
Daddy, you know she hasn’t the head
for techy stuff. Though dentistry
would be good for meeting guys.
Cute, rich guys.
That’s revolting. And for
everyone’s information, I dropped
out because I found my true
—because we haven’t heard that
Honey, we’ve been through this. You
announce you’re pursuing something
outrageous, and then, when things
get real, you quit.
I was at the school library the
other night. There was a news
article. About that guy who
dismembered people and fed them to
his pet turkey.
INT. COMPUTER LAB — NIGHT
Christiana sits before a glowing green computer monitor in
an empty darkened lab. She clicks a series of internet
links. One features a picture of Richard Speck, another of
It linked to all these stories
about other murderers. Something
compelled me to read them all. Each
and every one.
INT. COMPUTER LAB — LATER
Sunlight streams in through the windows. Christiana’s
attention remains focused on her computer.
She braces for an reaction. Her family continues eating. Mr.
Petrie barks into his blackberry.
Sell, sell, sell!
Christiana kicks Orson under the table. He GASPS.
My God, Christiana! Say it isn’t
I’m wrangling with the city for a
license. It’ll be a legitimate,
After a moment of silence, her family LAUGHS. The sisters
double over, wiping their eyes with napkins.
Chrissie, you don’t even kill
Christina huffs and leaves. A few seconds later, she returns
to haul a still-eating Orson from his seat.
INT. CHRISTIANA’S BEDROOM — AFTERNOON
Christiana and Orson sit on her frilly pink bed. He has a
pile of flashcards; he holds up one to reveal the picture of
a puffy, lethargic man.
David Berkowitz, a.k.a. Son of Sam.
Known for his sniper tactics.
Preferred weapon: 44 caliber
charter arms bulldog.
Orson holds up another flashcard.
Benjamin Siegel, a.k.a. “Bugsy.” A
founding member of the seminal
crime syndicate “Murder
Incorporated.” Known for being
quick on the draw, and his deadly
And another flashcard.
Orson, that’s not a killer! That’s
that guy from The Sopranos!
INT. SHOOTING RANGE — AFTERNOON
Christiana and Orson are in a booth. Christiana wears
goggles; she stares at a paper target and shoots with
ruthless precision. They contemplate the target; its crotch
is marred with holes.
Maybe aim a bit higher?
EXT. MOM-AND-POP HARDWARE STORE — MORNING
Telephone and traffic poles are plastered with posters:
“DISCOUNT MURDERS ‘N MERCY KILLINGS: 237 FLEET STREET.
INT. HARDWARE STORE — MORNING
Orson’s dad, TOM (50’s), is behind a counter. He completes a
transaction with a CUSTOMER. Orson sweeps floors nearby.
That’ll be eighty-seven dollars,
She hands him a bill, he gives her change and her bagged
purchase. She nervously glances at the store’s rear as she
Orson looks up from his sweeping.
It’s nice of you to help your
friend and all, but…well…she’s
distracting the customers.
At the rear of the store is a booth beneath a banner:
“SERIAL KILLER/EUTHANIST FOR HIRE.” Christiana is in
skintight PVC from head to toe, festooned with gun belts and
ammunition clips. Behind her is an arsenal of weapons.
A couple of POLICE OFFICERS enter. They approach the booth.
Can I help you?
POLICE OFFICER #1
We’ve uh, received a few
complaints. About a disturbance.
That would be me. Here’s my card.
She hands them a card. They look at it. And smirk.
If you please, gentlemen, I wish to
exercise my Miranda rights and get
in touch with my lawyer—
The officers giggle.
POLICE OFFICER #1
Is this a joke?
POLICE OFFICER #2
We missed happy hour for this?
Their giggling swells into laughter.
I assure you, I’m quite dangerous!
They exit, still howling. A sloppy-looking MAN (30’s)
enters, looking around fearfully. He approaches Christiana.
You the assassin?
At your service.
My name’s Byron. I need help.
Pull up a chair. You’ve come to the
INT. HARDWARE STORE — LATER
The store is darkened, closed for the night.
I’ve wanted to off myself ever
since my girlfriend dumped me, but—
—rookie move. She’d know you were
trying to get to her. If you were
murdered, on the other hand, then
she’ll really feel like shit.
Christiana hands him a binder, which he peruses.
My services cater to a variety of
predilections. Sniping, knife to
the heart, garrote—
Oh I like the garrote.
As a caveat, stranglers tend to
target more…marginalized members
of society. Women, visible
minorities. Someone might smell a
Though a robbery is feasible. I
break into your home, you “catch”
me red-handed, I “panic,” shoot
you. Easy peasy.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
Just leave some valuables lying
around for me to “steal.” I’ll
deduct them from your payment.
Can you…qualify your experience?
I employ a strict confidentiality
clause with my clients. If I tell
you about them, then I’ll have to
tell others about you—
Okay, okay. I trust you.
Rock and roll!
INT. CHRISTIANA’S BEDROOM — NIGHT
Christiana, in a black body suit, examines herself in a
mirror. She pulls on a ski mask, loads a pistol with
bullets, and clips a gun belt around her waist.
EXT. BYRON’S APARTMENT BUILDING — NIGHT
Christiana approaches Byron’s fire escape, preparing for the
Suddenly, a hand clamps over her mouth. She struggles,
relaxing when she sees her assailant: Orson. His bike is
parked nearby. She pulls up her mask.
What the hell is wrong with you?
I didn’t think you’d actually go
through with this.
Why? What’s the problem?
You’re a wonderful person with the
gift of personality.
You don’t have to do this. I get
that you want to be good at
something. But you don’t need to!
So what are you saying. That this
is just an ego thing? Me trying to
impress my family?
You think they’re better than me.
No. You think I think they’re
better than me!
I don’t need this! Or you, or your
dad’s store. Find yourself another
She pulls down her mask and climbs the escape, leaving a
dejected Orson behind.
INT. BYRON’S APARTMENT — NIGHT
Christiana tiptoes in a darkened, sparsely furnished room. A
fish tank with a lone goldfish glows neon blue.
On a wall, she spies a hideous cuckoo clock marked with a
sticky tab: “VALUABLE— STEAL ME.”
That’s it? Really?
She shoves the clock in a burlap sack and deliberately steps
on a creaky floorboard. Nothing. She jumps on it a few more
times. Finally, Byron emerges from his bedroom, looking
disheveled and rubbing his eyes.
You took too long. I fell asleep.
Whatever. Let’s get this show on
On your knees, buddy!
Huh? Oh..who are you? How’d you get
I said down!
Seriously. Get on the floor.
He awkwardly complies.
One move and I’ll blow your brains
Don’t hurt me! Please!
Shut up! Just…shut up!
She aims her pistol at Byron, removes the safety, and
prepares to shoot. Byron motions at her to go ahead. Her
trigger finger tightens.
She falters, closes her eyes, aims aside, and FIRES. The
fish tank shatters, gushing water. The goldfish flops on the
He dashes to the tank and cradles the fish.
What are you? Some kind of monster?
She grabs the dead fish, tries giving it mouth-to-mouth
Get your murdering hands off her!
He yanks Daphne away.
It was an accident! I swear.
You aimed on purpose! I saw you!
I choked, no biggie. We can still
Byron stares daggers.
Can I keep the clock?
Christiana sadly climbs out his window.
EXT. BYRON’S APARTMENT BUILDING — CONTINUOUS
Christiana finishes descending the fire escape. Orson, on
his bike, waits at the foot of the stairs. She silently
climbs atop his handlebars, and he pedals away.
INT. DINING ROOM — EVENING
Christiana’s family sits around the dining table, eating
dinner. Christiana enters, still garbed in her killer gear.
How was your first day at work,
Okay, I guess.
It’ll get easier.
She pulls off her ski-mask and sits. Mrs. Petrie hands her a
plate of food.
I was thinking of quitting contract
killing. Maybe dentistry isn’t such
a bad idea.
Or something more…helpful.
Veterinary studies, or being an
They’re viable options.
Whatever you do, you know we’re
here for you.
Christiana smiles. She picks up her fork and takes a bite of
food. The others continue eating in silence.
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