Limping to the finish

I’m not sure who’s had it rougher these past few weeks -- “Right of Way’s” tarnished hero Mayor Russell Napolitano or the Script Project contributors who’ve been pushing his story toward its suspenseful conclusion.

Ever since confronting The Order’s creepy Prefect Duvane, whom he unwisely slugged in full view of the cult’s security cameras, Napolitano has been running from police across Hollywood and back again, through menacing streets and abandoned subway tunnels, refusing to face their trumped-up murder charges until he can prove he’s been framed.

This week, he was finally apprehended by a sheriff’s department S.W.A.T. team, dumped in a cell to await arraignment, and then sprung in the middle of the night for reasons we don’t yet understand by his reluctant cohort, suspended LAPD detective Deland.

It’s all in a day’s work for Napolitano, who’s already lost his good friend to a horrific murder, had his girlfriend betray him for money, and been beaten up twice, carjacked, and publicly humiliated by the media frenzy over his fall from grace.

The 20-odd writers (emphasis on odd) who’ve piled the weight of the world onto Napolitano’s weary shoulders have done themselves no favors either. The yarn they’ve woven has at least a loose thread for every contributor and no overall plan for stitching them all together.

It was fun creating this mess, but getting Napolitano out of it is another story.

Take Michael Breiburg, for instance. Back around page 18, Mike no doubt thought it was a kick tossing two dead bodies and a mysterious, powerful cult into the story mix.

Now he comes home from his real job working 11+-hour days at the as-yet-unscheduled NBC reality show “Momma’s Boys,” and he’s got some half-crazed Maniac Producer on the line, demanding he sacrifice his few hours of sleep to help tidy up Napolitano’s story and to make sure the mayor battles the odds with honor, strength and a certain style.

For free. (Except for a t-shirt.)

And why is Mike on the hook for all this? Because, as he told a local TV news reporter a few weeks ago, he thinks it’s “fun.”

Oh, and also because after six months of running this project, the aforementioned Maniac Producer can’t find anyone else willing to try.

That’s right. The line of volunteers has dwindled from five or 10 each week in our script’s first months down to just a few in its middle section and now, finally, to zero would-be contributors willing to take a shot at solving our story problems at this late stage of the game. (And no, that doesn’t count the lady who submitted a few paragraphs suggesting a staggering new, unrelated plot twist in narrative, non-script format.)

So Mike now is scheduled to become our project’s only three-time contributor, when he delivers new pages this coming weekend to pay off the mayor’s ordeal with the slam-bang action finish he proposed to me earlier and which we’ve all been waiting for. Right, Mike?

Mike? Wake up, Mike!

Meanwhile, you can read his current contribution, in which Napolitano faces the music in order to prevent Rachel from being raped and murdered by the evil prefect in the purple robe, on pages 102-105 of our script-in progress.

Nice job, Mike. You’ve done a Maniac Producer’s heart good.

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