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DID I TELL YOU THE ONE ABOUT THIS PRISONER…IN VIRGINIA?
Olivia walks along the underground corridor that leads from the White House to Blair House. As she turns the corner, Mellie stands waiting.
Olivia: Thank you for coming. I have a proposition.
Mellie: You mentioned that.
Olivia: A way out.
Mellie: Aaaa way out of what exactly?
Olivia: This mess that we’re in.
Mellie: I’m already out, Liv. I am out. I am down. I am down here. You see me. Did
you see what happened yesterday. Those flesh eating cannibals. I am OUT…of the hearings. I am out of the committee…I am…probably out of the Senate, which means I’m probably out of a job. I’m out of a career. I’m out of my house. I’m outta my marriage, thanks to you. I am OUT!
Olivia: It can get worse.
Mellie: It cannot get worse. (laughing) Not for me.
Olivia: If i testify before that committee, it will get worse.
Mellie: You’re threatening me?
Olivia: I’m not threatening you. I’m telling you the truth. (she steps closer to Mellie) What does that committee really have? Not West Angola, not Defiance, not a hundred other things. They have a statement from Jeanine Locke. that’s it. (long silence) I know it was bad for you yesterday. But you can survive that story. Because if I don’t testify, that story
dies.Those hearings end and Jeanine Locke becomes the answer to a trivia question no one ever gets right. (urgency) But if i testify, everything changes. I testify, they will ask me about everything…and I will have to answer and we will all go down.
Mellie: I despise you.
Olivia: There’s a prisoner…in Virginia. If you can secure his release and i know that you can and I know how you can do that, HE will make these proceedings go away. No violence. No one gets hurt. All of this will just disappear. You will be out of this maze and back into your life.You know what I can do, Mellie. You know what I am capable of. I’m telling you THIS is our way out. YOUR way out.
Mellie: (exasperated, knowing Liv is right) Who is he?
Olivia: It doesn’t matter.
Mellie: (gives a look that says, “Oh really?”) Who is he?
(long pause as Olivia reaches into her bag and retrieves a file folder)
Olivia: His name is…
Mellie: I KNOW his name…Damascus Bainbridge. (Olivia looks confused) What the hell is going on? How did he get to you?
Olivia: Damascus Bainbridge…
Mellie; That is his name!
Olivia: That is not his name.
Mellie: Don’t…(handing the file back to Olivia) Don’t do this Olivia.
Olivia: His name…is Eli Pope.
Mellie: (stunned) WHAT!?
Olivia: His name’s Eli Pope. He’s my father.
Mellie: (Snatching the file back from Olivia, confused) I…don’t understand. He came to me. Damascus Bainbridge. He said he was a donor, but he wanted information on those jurors. He killed those 17 Federal jurors. Did you know that? this is your FATHER? Who IS he? What does he do?
Olivia: (long silence) My father ran…a secret intelligence agency within the United States government.
Mellie: What kind of intelligence agency kills jurors?
Olivia: It was not a normal intelligence agency.
Mellie: (suspicious silence) Fitz never told you that this man came to me.
Mellie: Why do you think he threw me out?
Olivia: (long silence) I didn’t know.
Mellie: (closes file folder, takes long look at it and hands it back to Olivia) Your father is a murderer. He. slaughtered. innocent people…and you want me to release him from jail? Just like that? (laughs) Without even knowing what I was doing? (laughs again) So that you and Fitz can live happily UPSTAIRS together for another couple of years. How sick is that? How sick are YOU? But…I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. does it. Your daddy wasn’t my way out. He was yours. Probably like he’s been your whole life. Mowing people down to clear a path for his GOLDENchild. (laughing) Who ELSE has he done this to? Who ELSE has he hurt? Do you even KNOW? (Mellie is flabbergasted, still laughing)
Olivia: (pause) He killed your son.
(Mellie’s face freezes and morphs to a pallette of emotions all rolling around on the same canvas as she processes this news)
Olivia: My father killed your son.
(Mellie’s breath catches as though it is her final and then it comes in rapid succession to hyperventilation. She goes to the wall of the corridor for support. Olivia has no words of support, she only stands there as Mellie gasps rapidly for air. Olivia slowly turns and walks away leaving Mellie alone.)