102 The Choice
(Original Air Date: October 5, 1996)
Written by Bob Brush and John Romano
Director: Michael Dinner
(As fanscribed by: Lynn from PAX-aired episode)

Pictures for "The Choice"

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[Black and white scenes of Chicago showing, L trains, pans to various people walking on the street and going about their daily business, working, eatingÖ]

Chucks Monologue: Everybody makes choices. Thatís the American way. Itís in the Constitution. Every schlub has a vote. You get up in the morning, you decide what to wearÖ what to eatÖ what to waste your money on. You go with what you know, which usually ainít much. [street scene parts to Gary walking down street reading paper, fades into color] What if you know what you knew before you actually knew it? If thatís confusing, so is getting tomorrowís paper today. The point being, sometimes the choice is easy, and sometimesÖ you donít have one at all.

{Gary checks watch showing 5 pm, confirms time with clock in front of building}

Gary: {calling to the people on the street} HOLD IT. Everyone just stay where you are now.
[crowd stops behind GaryÖ He checks headline: PIANO ACCIDENT ON WACKER DRIVE; WOMAN AND CHILD INJURED]

Crowd: MoveÖ Hey, whatís the problem? ÖI gotta get through.

[Piano being moved via ropes and a crane towards building, passing over area of the street Gary has cleared Ė ropes begin to snap, piano crashes to the street below. Gary checks paper and casually moves on down the street passed the smashed piano while the crowd behind him is still standing still, stunned including a mother with her toddler in a stroller]


[Garyís apartment: Camera zoomed in on an eye as seen from the outside of the door peep hole, switching to Chuck on the inside of the door, looking through the peep hole and the view of the hall]

Chuck: What time is it?

Gary: About 8

Chuck: It oughta be here by now.

Gary: {eating cereal standing next to chuck at the door} donít worry itíll come.

Chuck: I donít see anything.

Gary: Thatís because it never comes when youíre looking {heads towards kitchen}. Whatís the big deal about today anyway?

Chuck: Iíll tell you the big deal. I lost another $100 bucks last night and itís your fault.

Gary: Mine? No one told you to bet on the Cubs.

Chuck: No one told me not to either. No one who knew theyíd blow a 5 run lead in the 9th. Iím going broke getting rich. Come one buddy you gotta help me out here. Besides, arenít you the least bit curious of where this thing comes from, huh, how it gets here?

Gary: Course I am.

Chuck: So.

Gary: {opens window and steps onto patio} When I find out, Iíll tell you.

Chuck Terrific, thatís perfect, you know that. [follows Gary outside] The greatest boon to mankind since non-taxable income and who does it come to? A guy who buys lottery tickets and doesnít cheat; a guy who still washes his own shirts.

{Gary takes shirt from clothes line and puts it on}

Gary: Whatís wrong with that?

Chuck: Itís been a week since this thing has been coming to you and what have you done with it? Nothing.
Ok, Ok, so you saved a few lives, you stopped that bank robbery and you rescued that trailer park from the tornado. But the question is, when are you going to do something for Gar?

Gary: Like what?

Chuck: For starters, finding a new place to live.

Gary: Whatís wrong with this place?

Chuck: Itís a dump. Alright, one day in the market you could buy yourself a palace, a place with a swimming pool, a yard and a satellite dish.

Gary: No thanks. {goes inside, followed by Chuck}

Chuck: All Iím saying is... do what ever you have to do, but then, do something for yourself. And while youíre at it, something out of it for, you know me.

Gary: No, I donít think it works that way.

Chuck: Why not?

Gary: Because it just doesnít work that way. Itís Friday; donít you have to go to work?

Chuck: No, its company picnic, last year I got ptomaine poisoning, no way Iím going back.

{Cat meow, thud heard at door. Gary opens door to cat and paper with Chuck right next to him}

Chuck: Yes, right on time, right on schedule. A little miracle at our door, one might even venture to say a gift. So, ah , when do we open her up.

Gary: Not we me and Marissa at breakfast.

Chuck: Oh great Iíll join you, Iím starving.

Gary: Youíre not invited.

Chuck: Alight Iíll tell you what, give me the sports pages and Iíll be on my way.

Gary: Nope

Chuck: What about the front page? Come on, just a peak at the front page.
{Gary glances at headline: TRAFFIC JAM SNARLS CITY Ė WORST EVER}

Gary: Sorry.
{Gary gives cat cereal bowl with rest of the cereal in it}

Chuck: Oh great, the cat you give milk to, me you give nothing. Come on Gar, just throw me a bone, give me the horoscopes. {Gary puts on coat and walks out of the apartment down the hall} or the funny pages.

Gary: Shut the door when you leave.

Chuck: how about the soap opera listings, I can work with that. The obituaries, I love the obitsÖ.Gar.
{Gary gets on elevator, door shuts as Chuck is still talking to him}

{Chuck turns back to cat in the apartment}

Cat: Meow

Chuck: Hope itís sour.

[Gary gets off elevator in lobby of the Blackstone, Boswell is cleaning ashtray]

Gary: Good morning

Boswell: not today, congestion. I think must be conventions or something.

[Gary turns to leave and sees Marcia]

Marcia: Gary?

Gary: Marcia
[Garyís tone throughout this scene is one of contained uneasiness]

Marcia: Hi.

Gary: What are you doing here?

Marcia: Well, I heard this is where you liveÖ.I mean now that youÖ

Gary: Ödonít live with you, yeah.

Marcia: Itís nice

Gary: [sarcastically] Oh yeah.

Marcia: So how are you?

Gary: Oh, well you know, getting a divorce, but I think you knew that.

Marcia: Anyway, I was, um, cleaning out the houseÖ Iím, Iím moving you know, itís a little big now and, anyway I just found something of yours.

Gary: Something you didnít throw out of the window?

Marcia: {holding up book} this book, ďLost ChicagoĒ It was up on the bookshelf behind some other books.

Gary: Iíve never seen that before in my life.

Marcia: Well, it has you name in it. {smiles trying to ease the tension}. Itís probably from an old girlfriend or something.
{Marcia laughs nervously, Gary stares at her in silence}

Marcia: Anyway, here you are. {hands him the book}

Gary: Thanks

Marcia: Guess Iím going to have to walk, all this traffic Iím not going to get a cab.

Gary: {almost silently] Yeah.

[Marcia turns and walks away, Gary watches her leave, looks at the book, walks over to trash can and sets the book on top, walks away]

[Gary reading the paper while walking down the front steps of the hotel, bumps into man moving briskly by on sidewalk, paper knocked out of Garyís hand]

Man on street: Hey! Want to watch where youíre going.

Gary: Sorry, I didnít see you.

Man: Yeah, well itís a city Pal. Sidewalks...people.

Gary: I said I was sorry.

Man: Try keeping your eyes open.

[Gary picking up paper sees headline on inside page with picture of mangled up bicycle: 6-YEAR OLD VICTIM OF 911 NEGLECT; OFFICIALS BLAME TRAFFIC]

[Scene change: coffee shop at table with Marissa Ė panned in on same headline]

Gary: She gets sideswiped by a car, a hit and run.

Marissa: Does it say what time?

Gary: Around 1:00, someone calls 911 but the ambulance gets tied up in the traffic, they radio back, but the call gets lost in the shuffle.

Marissa: right through the cracks

Gary: So before anyone realizes it, itís too late. She dies at Columbia General Hospital of internal injuries. Amanda Bailey, age 6.

Marissa: So, what are you going to do?

Gary: Do I have a choice?

Marissa: Well, lets seeÖyou could go to the movies instead or buy some popcorn and feed the pigeons.

Gary: You get a real kick out of this donít you?

Marissa: Kind of , donít you?

Gary: No I donít.

Marissa: What would you rather be doing?

Gary: Have a life, a real lifeÖ

Marissa: Boring.

Gary: Öand a job

Marissa: So get one.

Gary: Oh, sure, Iíll do that this afternoon when I have some free time.

Marissa: You just wonít give into this will you? You know Gary; there are so many people in this world that would be thrilled to have an opportunity like yours.

Gary: Yeah, like who?

[Chuck appears at table sits next to Gary]

Chuck: Ok, Hereís the deal, I just got off the phone with my bookie. Heís willing to lay me 3:1 odds the Mets over the Cubs, what do you say. Come on, just give me a hint, {Chuck grabs the paper} Iíll give half the money to charity.

{Gary grabs paper back}

Gary: Chuck Iím not giving you the score.

Marissa: atta a way.

Chuck: [to Marissa] Mind you own rump.

Gary: Iím also not going to let this paper run my life. I may not be able to stop it from coming, but I can damn well choose what it makes me do.

Chuck: [glancing at headline] Oh my God! This is bad.

Gary: What the traffic?

Chuck: The headline changed.

Marissa: Gary, what is it?

Gary: This wasnít here before.

Chuck: Yeah...well it is now big guy.

Gary: Global Airlines flight 29 bound for Miami went down in flames yesterday afternoon shortly after take off from Chicago. The plane, filled with tourist on their way to the Florida sun, disappeared from radar screens at exactly 2:00, just seconds after lifting from the runway. The passenger list included prominent business men, ordinary families, and at least one child traveling alone, plus a flight crew of 12. Airline officials suspect a flock of birds in the area may have fouled the engines, causing the jet to plunge from the sky. By late afternoon, rescue workers were still combing the
wreckage, desperately searching for signs of life. But little hope was held out for any of the nearly 200 souls on board.

[scenes of airplane taxiing down runway , passengers, crew, childÖ being show and then to scene of crashed plane in flames, all while Gary is reading the article out loud]

[Waitress walks up to table]

Waitress: So, whatíll it be?

Gary: Huh?

Waitress: Have you made your choice?

[Gary looks back the headline: CHICAGO JETLINER DOWN; 190 KILLED, then flips to page containing headline: 6-YEAR OLD VICTIM OF 911 NEGLECT.]

[scene change: Gary, Marissa and Chuck walking down side street]

Marissa: When does this thing happen?

Gary: 2:00

Marissa: Good, we can make it to the airport by then.

Gary: And then what?

Marissa: Youíll think of something.

Gary: Thanks

[Three of them walking up to main road jammed with cars going now where]

Chuck: Holy cow, look at this. Jeez, whatís going on, is the Pope in town?

Marissa: Chuck, find us a cab, OK?

Chuck:: What I look like, a doorman?

Marissa: Well I wouldnít be surprised.

Chuck: YO TAXI. {whistles and goes to stop a cab}

Gary: How come itís me who has to come up with the explanation? Why donít they just publish it in here?

Marissa: Well, then you wouldnít feel needed.

Chuck: [standing next to cab] Hey over here. You owe me big pal {pointing at Gary}

[Same guy that bumped into Gary earlier shoves Chuck out of the way and gets into cab]

Man: Excuse me.

Chuck: What are you doing?

Man: [to cabbie] Columbia General {shuts door}

Chuck: {opens cab door} what are you doing!? Hey!

Man: Whatís your problem?

Chuck: Whatís my problem?! This is my cab.

Man: I donít think so; I think itís his [cabbie]

Chuck: Ah, ha, ha, I see a comedian.

Man: no, surgeon

Chuck: Oh, yeah, well I wouldnít let you operate on my coccyx. Now get out, I had it first.

Man/surgeon: congratulations, what are you a doorman?

Chuck: Alright, look, guy, truth is, itís not for me, Ok, itís for her, and sheís Ö

Surgeon: blind

Chuck: bunions, a severe case.

Surgeon: Aha, tell her to stay off her feet.


Gary: {moving chuck out of the way} Chuck, Chuck. [to the surgeon] Look we need this cab.

Surgeon: why?

Gary: Well, itís a matter of life and death, thatís why.

Surgeon: really?

Gary: really

Surgeon: Call an ambulance. {shuts cab door} Columbia General. [cab drives off Ė although has no where to go in all the gridlock)]

Chuck: Hey! Hey!, Whatever happened to common courtesy, I hope you cut yourself.

[Scene change: Gary in a phone booth, Chuck and Marissa standing behind him]

Gary: Chuck I need a quarter.

Chuck: Me?

Gary: Iím out.

Chuck: 40 million buck in the lottery and you gotta to take my 2 bits.

Gary: [on phone] Yes, I need the number for Global Airlines.

Chuck: Here, I want it back. This ought to be good. What are you going to tell them, thereís birds on the runway? Hey why donít you ask them for tomorrowís Cubs scores while youíre at it?

Marissa: Well thatís helpful.

Chuck: Tell them weíre from the FAA and we need to make a spot check and that way they have to ground all the airplanes.

Voice on phone: Welcome to Global Airlines Ö (is a recording)

Gary: Yes I have some information about flight 29

[Gary holds up the phone for Chuck and Marissa to hear]

Voice on phone: push 1 for general information, 2 for scheduling, 3 for operator assistance.

Chuck and Marissa: 3

Voice on phone: All circuits are busy, please try again.

Gary: Circuits are busy.

[Gary hangs up the phone and they all walk away]

Chuck: Stupid machine. They never should have broken up ma bell. Ok, so what do we do now?

[Scene Change: Gary, Marissa and Chuck walk into police station Ė Gary walks up to desk sergeant]

Gary: Excuse me, Detective Tagliatti please.

Desk Sergeant: Who?

Gary: Detective Tagliatti. Her office is right down there.

Desk Sergeant: Not any more.

Gary: What?

Desk Sergeant: Busted to foot patrol. She swallowed some story by some nut who claimed he could see the future, didnít sit well with the boss.

[Gary looking a little stunned for a second then walks back to Chuck and Marissa in the back of the station]

Chuck: If I may, a suggestion. Do not mention the paper.

Marissa: He has to mention the paper how else are they going to believe him?

Chuck: An anonymous note, tied to a rock. Crude but effective.

Marissa: Brilliant.

Chuck: Thank you.

Desk Sergeant: [to Gary] you there. You want to lodge a complaint?

Gary: Uh...

Marissa: Yes we are.

Desk Sergeant: Who are you filing against?

Marissa: Global Airlines, they stole our luggage.

Desk Sergeant: You mean they lost it.

Marissa: No, they stole it. Grand theft luggage.

Desk Sergeant: And what exactly do you want us to do about it.

Marissa: Simple, ground that 2:00 flight. Those bags could be on it.

Desk Sergeant: She serious?

Chuck: Some would think so. Yes.

Desk Sergeant: You guys figure it out ok.

Gary: {following officer behind the counter} Look, forget that, this is an emergency.

Desk Sergeant: naturally

Gary: Look, alright listen, I need to speak to the guy in charge.

Desk Sergeant: No you donít

Gary: Yes I do.

Desk Sergeant: Believe me you donít.

Gary: Yes I do, listen I gotta speak to him, now.

Desk Sergeant: Suit yourself.

[leading Gary into Crumbs office Ė Crumb is lying back in chair with back to door, being shaved by another officer)

Desk Sergeant: ahem, Detective Crumb?

Crumb: What?

Desk Sergeant: Thereís someone here to see you.

[Crumb sees Gary in shaving mirror]

Crumb: You! What the hell is he doing here? {sitting up and swinging around in chair}

Desk Sergeant: He has a problem.

Crumb: What kind of problem?

Desk Sergeant: Thereís a plane full of luggage.

Crumb: Luggage?

Gary: Itís gonna crash.

Crumb: When?

Gary: 2:00

Crumb: Well that would be 2:00 when, today, tomorrow, a year from now?

Gary: look Detective IÖ

Crumb: No you look, you see this grey hair, this is you. Thanks to your little stunt last week half my staff is gone. {officer shaving him goes to wipe his face} Not now! [back to Gary] and now you want me to swallow some half-ass, crab brain story about a plane full of luggage.

Gary: YesÖexcept there is no luggage.

Desk Sergeant: So, what do you want me to do?

Crumb: Take him out back and shoot him. [to officer shaving him] Proceed.

[Gary, Chuck and Marissa walking down stairs at police station]

Gary: I hope he cuts himself shaving; nice long deep cut, ear to ear.

Chuck: Told you it was a waste of time. What are we gonna do now?

Marissa: Donít panic, we can still make it by 2:00.

Gary: How we gonna get there?

Marissa:: Simple, weíll hop on the L.

[Gary and Chuck running onto platform of L as train pulls away]

Gary: Hey wait.

Chuck: Hold it, stop. AWW!

Gary: (To L attendant on platform) what timeís the next train?

Attendant: Every 5 minutesÖ..when theyíre running on time.

Gary: What about today?

Attendant: Could be up to a half hour.

Gary: This is crazy, running around in circles, what the hell is going on?

Old Lady on the platform: Decay in the infrastructure

Gary: [to lady] Thanks

[Marissa joins Gary and Chuck on platform and they walk in the opposite direction]

Marissa: Maybe itís trying to tell you something.

Gary: It?

Marissa: The paper

Gary: Like what?

Chuck: Like buy a helicopter, my feet are killing me.

Marissa: Thatís not what I mean. I mean maybe thereís a way to stop that plane without actually being there.

{Gary checks paper again, stops walking, Chuck and Marissa continue walking}

Chuck: Why donít you send them one of those telepathic brain waves?

{Gary still stopped, thinking about something, ignoring Marissa and Chuck}

Marissa: Well thatís brilliant.

Chuck: I thought so

Marissa: You would think so. Thatís because youÖ.

{train pulls up}

Chuck: Oh, here comes another one. Come on letís go.

{Gary still doesnít move}

Chuck: Alright Gary, come on, lets go.

[Gary still in deep though, suddenly realizes something and turns to look over the railing of the platform at the street below, sees little girl riding bicycle down the street, checks headline again about the child being hit while riding bicycle, continues to stare after her, looks again at front page headline about plane crash. ]

Chuck: Gar, itís waiting for us.

{Gary looking back and forth at Chuck and Marissa on the train and the little girl as she rides her bike around the corner}

Chuck: Gar, Gar, get on the train!

Gary: I canít

Marissa: We have to go. Now!

{Gary turns and runs down platform in opposite direction, doors close on the train}

Chuck: {train door being to close} Hey, hold it!

[train starts to pull away, Marissa and Chuck on train pass Gary running down the platform]

Chuck: Gary, Gary what are you doing?

[Gary runs down platform steps and onto the street below, sees girl on bike]

Gary: AMANDA, AMANDA {begins to run after her}


{car hits child on bike}

Gary: NO! NO!

[Child lying on street, not moving]

Bystander #1 on street: What happened, she alright?

Bystander #2: Somebody do something, help her.

[frame fades from Gary to clock in store front showing 1:00, Switch to scene at airport Ė flight crew walking down terminal, airport sign showed Flight 29, ON TIME]


Many thanks to Lynn for sharing her fanscription of "The Choice" – Thank you!

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