Endgame

In the dank, moral cesspool that is “Right of Way,” our newest contributor, Steve Chivers, may have found a ray of light.

Her name is Rachel Davis, and when she was introduced in our story, trouble emanated from her in heat waves. Her 11-year-old creator, Jonah Lazar, encapsulated her sex appeal with a single word: “Vavoom.”

Since then, Rachel has indeed proven to be a handful. She helped her mother, Celeste, plot her own kidnapping, lied to the mayor about it, tried to seduce him, and set him up for a mugging as she ran off to snort cocaine and make out with Sydney Pizer, a fat Scotsman 40 years her senior, who also happens to be a blood relative.

Now it turns out Rachel is related to Mayor Napolitano as well. She’s his daughter, which she knew (but Napolitano did not) when she put her hand on his leg in the car and moved in close for a kiss.

Yet somehow, in a testament to the depravity of our story’s array of characters, Steve has begun to turn this emotionally unstable little powder keg into our most sympathetic figure outside the put-upon mayor.

“Celeste had become entirely unlikable to me, and I felt like Rachel was heading in that direction too. I wanted to make her father-daughter relationship with Napolitano mean something and give her some added dimension,” he said.

Steve did this in newly posted pages 85-89 by revealing Rachel’s vulnerable side. After the death of her relatively decent stepfather Larry, whom she feuded with, she can now be understood as someone desperate to be loved by a parental figure who’s not thoroughly perverted and corrupt.

The mayor would fill that bill just fine.

“I see her as a pivotal character in the final third of the story. We've got to care about someone else besides Napolitano, and she represents both his past and his future.”

Steve, a writer and producer for TV, movies and the Web, pulled off a couple of deft, logistical triumphs as well: He identified the home where Sydney, Celeste and Rachel engage in their conspiracies and incestuous dalliances as Wolf’s Lair, the historic Hollywood Hills mansion.

“I was trying to think of a way to get the characters up near the Hollywood sign for the story’s ending,” Steve said, resurrecting a notion first introduced by contributor Michael Breiburg in an earlier Script Note.

“I used to walk around Lake Hollywood and always admired Wolf’s Lair. It popped into my mind as a cool setting to use, and it seemed like a great place for Sydney to live.”

He also corrected an oversight in the story by having Napolitano, disguised in thrift-store knockoffs and a hoodie, slip into a train station to evade police.

“I thought someone should ride the subway,” he said, “since that's so much of what the story is about. So I sent him into the station at Vermont and Santa Monica, where he will (in my mind at least) ride to Hollywood Boulevard and then walk (or maybe do something crazy like ride a bike) up to Wolf's Lair for the final confrontation.”

Sounds good to me.

Who’s next?

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