(a screenplay short story)
Part One. Present day.
INTERIOR, ATTIC – DAY
Relatives of a person who passed away 20 years before are going through his books, trying to decide which ones to donate and which ones to simply throw away. As they go through various books, they see handwritten marginal notes and faded yellow highlighted passages as well as bookmarks and odd pieces of memorabilia – like a movie ticket stub or the receipt from a bookstore…even an old recipe.
They take the trouble to quickly flip the pages of each book just to see if there’s anything tucked away that they might remember him by. This takes quite a while since he seems to have about 2,000 books and their patience is wearing a bit thin.
Now they come across a book by an author who was famous in the early 2000s with the strange title “What the Dog Saw.” The author is no longer as well known 30 or 40 years later and the book is a somewhat beaten-down paperback, but it’s an intriguing title so the grand-nephew checking that shelf of books does a quick flip through anyway—mostly just to get it done with. But as he flips through, a shiny silver disc pops up and he pauses: What the hell is this? wondering if it’s a bookmark or some kind of hidden treasure.
Maybe it’s one of those music or movie discs that they used back at the turn of the century. But why would he insert it into the pages of an old paperback?
The grand nephew shows it to the man’s niece who is helping sort through books and they both stare at it, keeping it in the page in case it’s supposed to be marking something special as they speculate to each other.
“He would’ve had to be pretty hard up for a bookmark to use a shiny silver disc, so I’m thinking it must be a secret recording that he is passing down through the generations,” the man remarks with just a hint of sarcasm.
The two call over a third friend and they start hunting around for whatever kind of device they would have used “back in the day” to play this disc
Finally, they give up and, not wanting to throw away something that could be valuable, they place it in a special pile of memorabilia that they might be able to sell at a charity auction…just in case it’s actually worth something.
Part Two. Past.
DINING ROOM, KITCHEN – DAY
The scene now shifts back 20, 30 years as we see a woman carefully and, perhaps secretly, placing a shiny silvery disc in a book that her friend has left on the table during a visit. The paperback has a well-worn look even back then. We now see her go to her wine cabinet, uncork a bottle of wine, get two wine glasses from a cabinet and then reach into her kitchen drawer and pick out a flat silver disc that looks exactly like this one! She rolls up the disk and inserts it into the wine bottle. The audience gasps a little: OMG it’s an old-fashioned wine-pouring device—the kind of thing wine drinkers used before the industry got rid of foil and corks and started using bottles with built-in pouring spouts.
But why was she taking a similar silver disc and placing it secretly in an old book?
Part Three. A year earlier
INT. KITCHEN – LATE AFTERNOON
The two wine drinkers, only slightly younger, are sitting at the kitchen table chatting up the day’s events. There are a variety of snacks on the table as they relax in the late afternoon glow of hummingbirds feeding and a cat meowing outside. As the woman gets up to use the bathroom we see the man lounging casually in his dinette chair. But the moment the woman disappears from view, the man jumps up snatching items from the snack tray—a piece of bacon, a blueberry, a sliver of cheese—and begins hiding the items throughout the kitchen and dining nook
As apparently is his custom.
One piece goes inside a cookbook, laying flat between the pages. Another piece goes into a Hummel figure’s hand up on a high shelf. A third piece is tucked up high on a fan blade, ready to fly off once the fan is started, probably the next day. A final piece, a flat piece of bacon, goes inside the woman’s travel notebook on the other side of the room.
We hear the sounds of the woman returning as the man hurries back to his chair, once again assuming the comfortably slumped posture of a man just enjoying a late afternoon glass of wine.
As she re-seats herself, he asks, “Where on earth do you find those wonderful pouring spouts? I can’t find them anywhere.”
FADE TO BLACK