The script format was another innovation on my part. Having recently read An Evening at Joe's, I finally had a reference to proper script style. As for the story itself, well you've got to know that something so thoroughly messed up had to have Methos involved somehow...
INTERIOR, JOEíS BAR, DAY:
It is a quiet afternoon at Joeís bar; the few customers hanging around are listening to the news over the radio. Dawson serves behind the bar, while Methos sips his beer and scowls.
"A recount is still in progress in several Florida counties, and the presidential race is still neck and neckó"
"Shut that off, will you Joe? The last thing I need to hear is the word Ďneckí describing a contest, even if it is only a political one."
"What do you mean only a political contest? This is an important event, the choosing of the next leader of our nation! Every man and woman who voted is waiting with bated breath to hear the results."
"Exactly Joe, everyone who voted."
"Are you trying to tell me you didnít vote? You, who were there for the birth of democracy?"
METHOS (sniffs his disdain)
"Democracy, my friend, is no better than any other form of government. That lovely little device, the guillotine, was popularised by people crying Equality, liberty, fraternity! Iíd rather wait another few centuries just to make sure this whole thing isnít a fad."
(Off Dawsonís look)
"Why should I care whoís going to lead this nation for the next four years? A nation I may need to flee at any moment to save my own skin. Even if I do settle down for a while, four years is totally meaningless to me."
"Oh come on, donít give me that whole Iím beyond your petty little lives crap. I donít believe it for a second."
Methos leans forward to emphasise his point, and also to avoid curious ears.
"Fine, exactly who do you expect to participate in this historic event? Adam Pierson, who isnít a citizen of the United States and technically doesnít have a Work Visa? How about Ben Adams, who, based on the last time I upgraded his birth date, is now in his sixties? Or maybe I should just walk up to the voting officers and introduce myself as Methos. No last name thanks. We didnít need them when I was growing up."
"Thereís something youíre not telling me. You wouldnít be getting this defensive otherwise."
"You want to know what put me off politics for good, do you really want to know? It wasnít Brutus, the original backstabber; it wasnít the intrigue that reduced an amazing woman like Cleopatra to suicide; it wasnít even the rise of that little squirt Bonaparte. Iíll tell you exactly what happened."
"The Ď70ís, not exactly my favourite historical period; but Iíd seen worse. All in all, ten years Iíd rather forget. But here it was, the summer of 1972, and I was keeping low-key as usual; I had just moved into a nice apartment in Washington, D.C. Ö"
INTERIOR, THE WATERGATE BUILDING, NIGHT
Methos, currently incarnated as a linguistics professor at Georgetown University, comes home after a long day. The effort of combining research with teaching is more than he bargained for, as it is after midnight. He hasnít been much for keeping up with fashion, and so heís in his trademark cable-knit sweater and jeans rather than any of the clothing horrors popular at the time.
As he juggles books and papers in search of his keys, he hears noise coming from inside his apartment. There is no accompanying Buzz, but he enters cautiously nonetheless.
Flashback METHOS (Playing the role of the meek victim)
"Who are you? Whatís going on here?"
Scanning the room quickly, he sees no less than five men, all of them strangers. Itís meant to look like robbery, but everythingís too slick, too professional. One man pulls him into the room, while another locks the door and stands blocking any escape. The "professor" turns pale and begins to stammer nervously.
Flashback METHOS (continues)
"I donít have much money. Take whatever you want, just (beat) donít hurt me."
"Oh, weíve got more than enough money. As for what we want, well Dick says he wants you. You better come quietly, Prof., because if you donítówell, he didnít say he needed you in one piece."
The "Prof.", seemingly in panic, throws the heavy pile of books into the manís face. Then dropping the college persona altogether, Methos spins around and tackles the man at the door. Rushing out of the room, he sprints down the hall with the "burglars" in pursuit.
"These guys were stubborn, thatís for sure. They chased me all over the building before I managed to lock them in one of the offices. I didnít want my name mixed up in any of this, so when I called the police I said the robbery was in the office where Iíd left them: something or other National CommitteeÖ"
Joe gives Methos an angry, "Iíve been had" glare.
"You have got to be kidding. Watergate? Youíre trying to tell me that the whole Watergate scandal had nothing to do with espionage, the Democratic National Committee or cover-ups. That it was all because the President of the United States, the Immortal Richard M. Nixon, wanted your head?"
"Hey, there was a reason they called this guy Tricky Dick."
DAWSON (shakes his head in disbelief)
"Next youíre going to tell me that you were Deep Throat!"
METHOS (sheepish smile)
"Well, as a matter of factÖ"
Woodward and Bernstein meet up with a shadowy figure; a handful of pages is passed to the journalists.
"Who are you; how do you know all this?"
DEEP THROAT (voice muffled)
"That doesnít matter. What does matter is that itís the truth, and that your going to break this story."
The man waits patiently until he is certain the two reporters are gone, removes his disguise. The mysterious stranger is none other than Methos, who smiles to himself at his own cleverness. His triumph is short lived, though, as he senses a BUZZ.
While he is still searching for the source, he hears a distinctive voice.
"Now why did you have to go and do that?"
He enters calmly and confidently, the man who is either loved or hated, but always recognised. The man currently known as the President of the United States, Richard Nixon. He is alone, the traditional compliment of Secret Service agents is no where in sight.
"You were the one who came looking for me. Although Iíd hardly call attempted kidnapping fair practice in the Game." (beat) "You know you canít have it both ways, you canít have both political power and power in the Game." (shrugs) "I just decided it would be easier to take you out of politics."
"Well, then maybe I should take you out altogether."
He pulls a broadsword, forcing Methos to draw his own. They circle cautiously, though Methos is obviously on the defensive.
"The broadsword looked strange with the suit and the faint jowls, but I could tell from his stance that he knew how to use it. He might not have fought since he came into office, but then again I couldnít be sure. I, on the other hand, had been out of practice for much longerÖ"
Combat continues behind the commentary. Blood is split on both sides, and for a moment it looks as if the advantage could go either way. A SHOUT is heard from
O/S as agents rush onto the scene. Methos lets himself be distracted and is disarmed, and at the same time one of the bodyguard agents aims and FIRES. Methos goes down.
"They must have been trained for shoot to wound, because I could still hear them talking."
Two bodyguards rush to the Presidentís side, their training is so absolute that neither of them even mentions the swords. Their only concern to remove him from the scene of "danger" even against his own protests.
"We should go, Sir."
"Iím not finished here yet!"
"No Sir, I really think we should go."
"Youíre trying to tell me you almost killed the President?"
"Are you kidding? He almost killed me! If it hadnít been for that trigger-happy agent, I might not be here in all my glory to tell you this story. I swear, some day Iím going to find that Dick againÖ"
DAWSON (still unconvinced)
"Thereís only one problem with that story (beat) Richard Nixon died in 1994."
"Sure he died, of a stroke. A nice clean death, with no messy wounds; a favourite choice among Immortals."
"Five Presidents attended the guyís funeral!"
"Joe, you of all people should know how easy it is to fake a funeral."
Dawson stares at the storyteller for nearly a minute, but he still canít decide if heís been had. Reluctantly he pours the Immortal another beer. He pauses before handing it overó
"Even if I do believe this whole fairy tale, what does that have to do with your complete rejection of the modern electoral system?"
METHOS (grabbing the mug)
"Everything! Joe, I voted for that creep."