"The Great PI(e) Caper"

by

Laura Murphy

Black Screen:

Prologue

The screen remains black and only the character's voice and motions are heard until his spiel is almost over. As he speaks, he is rustling papers and typing.

Arnold Benson

They'll respect me, just you wait and see. I won't live the life of a nobody forever. I'll be famous, famous like my great-grandfather should have been, more famous than anyone else is.

Fade in should be complete as the next statement begins:

Benson is seated at a typewriter. In the typewriter is a page headed "STOLEN: Millionth piece of". Benson picks up a picture of O'REELY and PUTZ.

Benson

All I have to do is make sure these two don't screw up.

Cut to:

Interior – Office – Day

Captain is in office, detectives enter

Captain Krik is seated at his desk, his feet up, reading a paperback romance novel. There is a stack of paperwork on his desk. As he reads, he begins to nod off. Just before he falls asleep, a pair of nincompoop detectives burst in. They are Detectives O'Reely and Putz, the jokes of the department, and a constant annoyance to the Captain.

Detective O'Reely

Captain, me and Putz here have solved the toughest case of the year.

Captain Krik

O'Reely, what are you yammering on about now? Can't you see I'm busy?

Krik looks up from his book.

Krik

And what are you doing carrying the trash around, Putz?

O'Reely starts to answer but Putz cuts him off.

Putz

This is our evidence sir. You said we had to bag it.

Krik moans and shakes his head. Putz shrugs his shoulders and starts to open the bag. As O'Reely talks, Putz is pulling papers out of the bag, looking at them carefully, and putting them back in. O'Reely taps his crayon against his pad through all scenes until specifically stopped.

O'Reely

Sir, we've discovered the culprit in the pi(e) theft.

Krik

O'Reely, this better be good.

O'Reely

Oh, it is sir.

Krik gives him a very skeptical look. O'Reely clears his throat. As he continues, the scene changes to the inside of police headquarters, specifically the squad's briefing room. The dialogue is still happening in the office, not in the scene which is being seen and described.

Interior – Briefing Room, Cafeteria – Day

O'reely and Putz begin their investigation tale In film noir asides

o'reely

It was 9 AM, Monday morning. It was looking to be a day like any other. Putz and I walked into an eerily empty briefing room and noticed that one folder was left where we sit.

Putz

Opening the folder revealed that a most heinous crime had been committed. The one millionth piece of pi(e) had been stolen. It was now 9:03 AM. The other officers were late. The case was already getting cold.

Krik groans.

o'reely

We knew exactly what to do: go straight out for breakfast.

O'Reely and Putz in a large cafeteria. They are walking around, going up to people seated at the tables, looking at them, and walking away. Finally, they stop at the same table and appear to be speaking to the (hooded?) person seated there. The person nods and gestures, but cannot be heard by the audience.

Interior – office – day

Captain interrupts (i)

Krik, O'Reely, and Putz are all seated at Krik's desk. O'Reely is holding a small notebook. The notebook is open revealing scribbled crayon drawings of the investigation (think "Blues Clues"). Krik is trying to sort through his paperwork.

Krik

Wait a minute –-

Krik is cut off by O'Reely.

o'reely

No time to wait!

Scene fades to next set of investigation scenes, dialogue is once again in voice over.

Interior – hallway – day

o'reely and putz work their lead

O'Reely and Putz walk into a building, up a flight of stairs, and down a hallway. They pass a flyer advertising a pie eating world championship, where the reigning champion, Betty Brown, aims to defend her title and eat her Millionth piece of pie. The address scribbled on the same flyer in O'Reely's hand is 375 Cobbler Rd, Apt. 3TB. Suddenly as they walk, O'Reely's hand is pressed down onto his notebook by an invisible force.

Krik (through clenched teeth)

Stop tapping…

o'reely

Ok, ok. So, anyway, where was I?... Oh right!

The detectives come to a door, and before they knock it opens. A "computer geek" is standing in the doorway, framed between the two detectives. The dialogue is no longer in voice-over.

Interior – apartment – day

the next clue

Geek

-- millionth piece of pi(e)? I've got just the person for you.

Interior – different apartment – dark

Mystery witness.

A single person is seen in "Unsolved Mysteries"-style silhouette. Putz speaks from off-screen.

Putz

So, do you--

Shadowed person cuts him off by shaking his head and silently holding up a piece of paper to the light, then passing it forward into the camera.

Interior – office – day

Captain interrupts (ii)

All three men are still seated around the desk.

krik

Hold on, I didn't –

He is cut off again, this time by Putz.

Putz

You'll catch up, don't worry.

Krik

But that's not –

And cut off again…

o'reely

We're almost done. On following this lead we hit a snag.

Insert shot of professional looking man in an office full of books, with some mathematics paraphernalia. He is laughing. Shot should last 5-8 seconds before cutting back to detectives in office.

o'reely

So we pulled some OT and tried a different approach.

Interior – Cafeteria Booth – Day

Putz and O'Reely are seated across from one another. A waitress places a pie on the table between them. They already have plates and forks stained with pie filling, and have filling stained bibs on.

Putz

I can't take much more of this.

O'Reely

Just a few more pieces to go.

Putz

You said that 20 pies ago.

O'reely

I know.

Putz

I'm still not sure the piece of pie we're looking for was insert type of pie on table

O'reely

Shall we take a break?

Putz

Absolutely.

Interior – laundry room – time unknown

the case takes a turn

O'reely (over cross fade from prior scene)

That's when we stumbled across something useful.

The detectives pace up and down in front of the washing machines. Each time they pass by one another, they hand off the file. The two do this for about 5 seconds before a ding is heard and Putz stops pacing (making sure that O'Reely has the file. Putz begins to pull clothes, etc. out of a washing machine. He opens a dryer and tosses some clothes in without looking. The clothes fly out as soon as he turns to get more clothes. He turns back to see his clothing on the floor. Confused, he looks into the dryer. The scene now switches to a photo slide show format (comic book style). Arnold Benson is in the dryer, with a light and some papers.

Interior Dryer – shot reverse shot Comic book dialogue

Putz

Excuse me, sir, what are you doing in there?

Arnold Benson

I live here.

Putz

Oh.

Awkward pause seen in SRS. O'Reely appears next to Putz.

Benson

Can I help you fellows with something?

O'reely

I don't think so…

Benson

Not even that little pi(e) problem you're having…

Putz (disbelieveing and simultaneous with o'reely's line)

YOU can help us with that?

O'Reely (with putz's line)

How did you know about that?

Benson

I've been sitting here the whole time you two were talking. And I may be able to help you. Do you mind if I take a look at that?

O'reely

Not at all.

Benson takes a moment with the folder

Benson

Well, here's your problem. You're looking for the wrong kind of pi(e).

Dryer door slams shut and image of Benson in dryer starts tumble cycle. "Spinning Benson" speeds up until it spins out of control and fades into next scene.

Exterior and interior day

The flyer montage

O'Reely and Putz appear in the University Center, on the lawns, in Post Hall, and in various other places on campus. They have a stack of flyers which they try to distribute. As they do they ask "Have you seen this piece of pi(e)?" They also try to hang some of the posters, but to no avail (no tape). When they are trying to post the flyers, the audience sees that they are not looking for PIE, but for ∏.

Krik

HOLD IT!

Interior – office – day

Captain krik get a word in edgwise.

krik

Where is this insanity going?

o'reely

Well, we eventually realized the crazy dryer guy had a pile of papers labeled Pi to 1,000,000. So we confiscated them and are just waiting on the arrest warrant.

Krik

What arrest warrant? What was the point of this whole story? There was never any Pi case!

Putz

You left us the file. It even had a little sticky note on it.

Flash image of Putz handing Krik the post it from the file, which reads "Give to O'Reely and Putz"

Krik

I did no such thing

Both Detectives

Yes you did.

Krik

No-

Benson

I left it.

All three policemen spin around to see Benson standing in the doorway.

All three policemen in unison

What!

As Benson speaks he moves around the room a little and the officers watch him.

Benson

That's right, it was all me. My great-grandfather invented the dryer lint trap, but did that bring me, his heir, any fame. No. So, I've devoted my life to solving the scientific and mathematic mysteries I found in the books given to me by my childhood tutor.

Holds up an aged book, preferably covered in dust.

Benson

Solving them would finally bring me the fame that I should have had all along, and I could finally make the whole world see things my way.

Insert of golden lint trap held high.

Benson

My alien contact plan has always been moving much too slowly, so I decided to change tacks and calculate Pi to one million places. When I finished, I went to the leaders of the mathematic community with my accomplishment.

Re-insert laughing math professor. Then move to vertical montage of description voiced over scene of what he did.

Benson

So, I typed up a police report claiming that my precious work had been stolen and found the perfect pair of detectives to stumble about, spreading the word that the one millionth piece of Pi had been calculated, and lost. I came here early Monday morning,

Benson is seen reaching to pull a fire alarm, checking around the corner of a wall into an empty hallway and sneaking down the hall, and opening a door and sneaking inside. He is then inside the room and plants the file on the desk where we saw Putz pick it up earlier.

Benson

Then I sat back and watched their progress,

Interior – office - day

Benson

guiding the investigation towards myself, though they didn't quite pick up on that. (To Krik) Now, don't you think it's about time you got the media involved in this historic accomplishment?

Krik

No. In case you hadn't noticed, Pi's been calculated out to over four billion places.

Benson

That's impossible!

Krik

My nephew left this in my bag; he printed it out for a math assignment when he visited last night.

Krik hands Benson a copy of a web page dedicated to Pi, with the line about Pi being calculated to over 4 billion places highlighted.

Benson

Dash it all!

Benson begins to move back towards the door.

Benson

You've not seen the last of me!

Benson rushes out

O'reely

What a loon!

Putz

I'll say!

Krik

What are you two waiting for? He falsified a police report! Arrest him!

O'Reely and Putz rush out of the office and exit the building. It is dusk outside. The pair looks up and down, and then side to side, but there is no sign of Benson.

Interior – laundry room and lair – Night (?)

Camera pans to Benson's dryer. The dryer door opens and the camera tracks in. The back of the dryer swings out and camera tracks/zooms through to Benson working on his next project.

He is seated at a coffee table surrounded by papers and books. He is muttering to himself just as he did at the beginning of the movie.

Benson

I swear I'll get my fame if it's the last thing I do. Those nincompoop detectives won't get the best of me again.

Scene fades out Slowly as he speaks:

Benson

I'll show them who's smarter. I'll design a car that doesn't run on gas, that's what I'll do.

Benson stands and begins to pace a bit.

Benson

I'll put the oil companies out of business! And I'll become the most famous super-villain-mad-scientist there ever was! Oh, the world will be sorry now!

There is the sound of stumbling and falling in the dark.

Benson

Ow.

The end.