INT. BIG CITY HEDGE FUND
Tessie Jacobs (30-something, blonde) stares at a bar graph with two columns: “money” and “not money.” Her boss (you know he’s evil from his brown hair) knocks on her door.
BOSS: Tessie! You’re fired. Crawl back to the small town you came from.
He slams the door.
INT. TESSIE’S CHILDHOOD BEDROOM
Mom (40-something, don’t worry about the math) flings open paisley curtains.
MOM: You can’t spend all day moping. Not on Lottery’s Eve!
TESSIE: But MOM, I have to find a way to get my life back. I don’t have time for the Lottery.
MOM: You should always have time for family. Why don’t you help your sister roll her wheelchair down to the old creekbed to collect some smooth, round stones for tomorrow?
EXT. SHADY CREEKBED
Tessie reaches for a hunk of sandstone the size of her fist. As she does, her hand touches a hand reaching for the same stone. She looks up at Jack Watson (30-something, sort of handsome, like a cheese spokesman?).
TESSIE: You take it.
JACK: My mamma didn’t raise me to take good smooth stones from a pretty lady.
JACK: Are you coming to the Lottery’s Eve barn dance tonight?
TESSIE: I’m not a big Lottery person.
JACK: That’s what Old Man Jenkins used to say. And now it’s on his tombstone.
Tessie’s expression turns uncertain as Jack tips his hat, blinds her with his sparkling teeth, and strolls away.
INT. TESSIE’S CHILDHOOD BEDROOM
It’s dark. Tessie stares out her window at the bright lights of a distant barn. Music wafts softly into the night air, and happy couples come and go from the big red doors.
Tessie’s breath catches as she sees Jack leave the barn and join a group of young men chucking baseballs at a watermelon wearing Old Man Jenkins’s straw hat. Every golf ball he chucks hits the center of the watermelon with a satisfying thwack. His throwing muscles bulge. Tessie touches her chest.
She looks reluctantly away from Jack at a crumpled photo of her boss poring over an Excel spreadsheet while she snorts cocaine with a rolled-up subprime mortgage. She sighs.
INT. SUNLIT KITCHEN
Tessie washes colorful dishes.
TESSIE’S SISTER: Oh, I WISH you’d come to the Lottery with us today.
TESSIE: I’m sorry, sweetheart. But I have an interview at one of the top hedge funds on Hedge Street. This is my only shot at getting my old life back.
TESSIE’S SISTER: What about your NEW life? Are we really that bad?
A tear rolls down her sister’s cheek. After a moment, Tessie sighs, flings down her dishrag, then runs to her room to put on her best stain-proof dress.
Tessie wheels her sister begrudgingly up Lucky’s Hill. Jack saunters up beside her.
JACK: Changed your mind about the Lottery, huh?
TESSIE: I’m just helping my sister get to town. I’m not staying.
As she glares at him, she suddenly loses her footing, stumbling over a big rock. Her sister’s wheelchair goes careening down the hill. Jack chases it like a rabbit on fire.
Just as Tessie’s sister is about to go flying over the cliff at the bottom of the hill…
Jack catches the wheelchair.
Tessie rushes up to him, suddenly blushing. No one in New York can run that fast.
TESSIE: Thank you, Jack. How can I ever repay you?
JACK: Come to the Lottery with me. Just for a minute.
He holds out his hand to her. Reluctantly, she takes it.
EXT. TOWN SQUARE
Mr. Summers (jovial, probably in some kind of hat) waves as Jack and Tessie approach.
MR. SUMMERS: It’s nice to see you two together. Are you drawing for your family, Tessie?
JACK: About that… I know today is all about ceremonial rocks, but maybe it can be about one more.
He drops to one knee and brandishes an engagement ring.
JACK: Will you draw slips with my family this year?
Tessie opens her mouth to speak but is interrupted by a RUCKUS from the crowd. Tessie’s boss bursts into the clearing.
BOSS: It’s taken me all day to find you in this crummy small town full of crummy small people. You’ve got to come back to New York, Tessie. You’re un-fired. Also, I’m in love with you.
Jack grabs Tessie’s hands.
JACK: Tessie, if you want to go back to New York, I’ll support you. Your hopes and dreams are important to me.
TESSIE: All my hopes and dreams are right here. Of course I’ll marry you, Jack
She opens her slip of paper. There’s a black dot on it. Everyone stares at it in awkward silence.
BOSS: So… what do you win?
Mr. Summers looks at his feet.
Tessie’s sister struggles to pick up a rock.
SISTER: I can’t lift it on my own.
JACK: You don’t have to. Now you’ve got family to help you.
TESSIE: Think of me when the corn grows, Jack.
Mr. Summers picks up a rock.
MR. SUMMERS: Let’s get this rolling.
JACK: Wait! Will you marry us, Mr. Summers? Let Tessie make me the happiest and then saddest man on Earth.
MOM (muttering): Just as well she didn’t wear white.
- Everyone claps as Tessie and Jack kiss.
- A sign on the back of a tractor reads “JUST
- The village hoists Tessie up to do the Hava Nagila until she’s knocked off by a rock
- Jack pushes Tessie’s sister like a battering ram
- Jack gives Tessie’s mom a few pointers on her throwing stance
Tessie’s boss looks down at her blood-spattered sister.
BOSS: So… what are you doing later?