The Ghost Writer 2: The Beck-ening
Beck ghostwriter KEVIN BALFE sits busily typing away at his computer. He's disheveled and it appears he's been weeping. A stack of catalogs from master's degree programs are piled sloppily beside him. BALFE quits typing, sits back and pulls a bottle of Southern Comfort from a drawer in his desk. He takes a swig as we hear footsteps in the hall. He hastily hides the bottle in the drawer again as GLENN BECK comes to the door. Beck is in shirt sleeves with his top collar button undone, his tie loose. He's carrying a hoagie sandwich and a half-empty 2-liter bottle of Orange Crush.You think I'm kidding (and I am), but Balfe sure seems eager to give Beck all the credit, pointing out the ideas are "right out of (Beck's) brain." He also seems pretty happy for a writer whose name appears nowhere on the cover of the book. Then again, since Balfe's actually an accountant by training, I'm sure he knows what's really important.
BECKHey, "co-writer." How's the book coming along?
BALFEUh...great, Glenn. It's coming along great. Your latest ideas were...(there's a strange hiccuping noise in his throat)...they were just the best yet.
BECK(Talking around a bite of his sandwich.) Yeah, I knew they would be. I had a dream and God told me that would be great to put in the book.
BALFEGod told you to have the villains create a detailed PowerPoint of their plan for the protagonists to find?
BECKUm...(Barely paying attention, he nudges one of the college catalogs with his foot and frowns.) Yeah, yeah, of course. We have a third co-writer. It's God. He wants this book to be awesome.
BALFE(Looking a bit stunned.) Uh, OK.
BECK(His attention returning to the conversation.) Oh, so I came here to tell you that, after Noah and Mary--
BALFEThe female protagonist is named Molly.
BECKRight. OK. Whatever. (Beat.) Anyway, after Noah and Molly kiss for the first time, I'd like them to talk about the flat tax.
BALFEThe flat tax?
BECKYeah. I want to get it in there somewhere and that's where I think it would be best.
BALFE simply stares at BECK for a few seconds. Finally, BECK leans over the desk until his face is a foot away from BALFE's.
BECK(His voice is a cold whisper.) Kevin, that's where God wants that discussion to go.
BALFEOK, Glenn. Sure. Sure. It's great. Really. You're the writer, after all.
BECKThat's right. So have him say he thinks our country needs spending cuts and we need to get the tax code down to a few short statements.
BALFEShort statements? You mean, uh, like bullet points?
BECKYeah! You got it. (He takes a big swig of soda.) That's it!
BECK stands silently for a few seconds, a satisfied smile on his face. BALFE's eyes roam to a clipped article taped over a picture of his smiling family. The headline reads: "Publishers Expect Beck Novel Will Be Bestseller." He sniffs, seems to rally himself and then smiles up at BECK.
BALFEWell, I should--
BECKYeah, write, write. Don't let me stop you. That's enough for me today anyway. I'll catch you later. Give me a call when you've got another 20 pages for my agent to read, OK?
BALFESure, Glenn. Will do.
BECKI'm gone, then.
BECK leaves the room, taking another large bite from his sandwich. After a few seconds, BALFE slumps forward in his chair, sobbing.