Pilot: The Six Hundred Dollar Man

FADE IN

INT – OSI HEADQUARTERS – EVENING

EUGENE STICKLER, 42, slightly out-of-shape with a receding hairline, is slumped unconscious in an office CHAIR. Perched on the corner of a DESK opposite him sits OSCAR GOLDMAN. GOLDMAN is dressed in a three-piece SUIT and is wearing SUNGLASSES. He sits nonchalantly smoking a CIGARETTE and occasionally sipping from a TUMBLER OF SCOTCH he holds in his right hand.

Several moments pass. Eventually GOLDMAN plucks an ICE CUBE from the GLASS and flicks it at STICKLER. It strikes STICKLER on the LEFT TEMPLE and ricochets out of the frame. STICKLER grunts, startled, and jerks his head up.

STICKLER (groggily): Wha-?

GOLDMAN: Up and at’em, agent. Daylight’s a-burnin’.

STICKLER slowly rouses. He looks around in bewilderment.

STICKLER: Where am I? Who are you?

STICKLER gingerly touches his cheek.

STICKLER (CONT.): Why is my mouth all numb?

GOLDMAN takes a long drag on his cigarette before stubbing it out on a nearby ashtray.

GOLDMAN: All right. I gotta lot of work to get through today, so I’m gonna make this quick.

I’m Oscar Goldman, Senior Deputy Director here at OSI, a top-secret intelligence agency within by the US government.

STICKLER: I’ve never heard of it.

GOLDMAN: Yes, well, apparently you missed the part where it was top-secret.

You were recently involved in a horrific accident …

STICKLER gasps.

STICKLER: I remember! I was riding my bicycle down the street when I a hit a pothole and crashed. I don’t remember anything after that.

GOLDMAN: Look, this is going to go a lot quicker if you leave the exposition to me.

Lucky for you one of our field operatives happened to be driving by at the time of the incident. He rushed you back here, where our top medic, Dr. Rudy Wells, went to work immediately. Rebuilding you. Improving you. You’ve been unconscious ever since the operation.

STICKLER: My god. How long was I out? What year is it?!

GOLDMAN: I don’t quite know how to tell you this, but … it’s 1977.

STICKLER: Oh. That’s the same year I went for the walk.

GOLDMAN: Yes, all this took place about 40 minutes ago.

Fortunately your injuries were relatively minor: the first bicuspid on your left side was knocked out when you hit the pavement, and you skinned your elbow. Rudy was able to replace the tooth with bionic implant, and cover your wound with some state-of-the-art synthetic flesh.

STICKLER: “Bionic?”

GOLDMAN quaffs his scotch and sets the tumbler on the desk.

GOLDMAN: You’re more machine than man now, agent. That tooth gives you chewing abilities far beyond those of ordinary citizens.

That’s why we want you to come work for us.

STICKLER: Uhm. Well, thanks, I guess. But I already have a pretty good job at the Betamax factory. And I’d have to discuss it with my wife before I accepted any offer, you understand.

Speaking of which, I should probably call Debra and let her know I’m okay. Can I use that phone?

GOLDMAN: I’m afraid not. You see, to your wife and the rest of the world, you’re a dead man.

STICKLER: Come again?

GOLDMAN fishes a cigarette out of his breast pocket and lights it before responding.

GOLDMAN: I don’t think you fully appreciate the enormity of the situation, agent. OSI is a shadowy organization that often has to work outside the law. Now that you work for us, it’s crucial that we eradicate all traces of your former life. Already our disinformation specialists are spreading your cover story, that you were killed by a pack of civets.

STICKLER: Actually, I read in Nation Geographic that civets are solitary animals.

GOLDMAN: See? Disinformation. Those guys are real pros.

The point is, contacting with your wife would leave her open to reprisals from our many enemies.

STICKLER: What kind of enemies?

GOLDMAN shrugs.

GOLDMAN: Mostly other secret robot-making societies. And bigfoot.

STICKLER: Look, this is ridiculous. I don’t want to work for OSI, I’ve never heard of bionics, and the “state-of-the-art prosthetic flesh” you put on my elbow is a Band-aid with pictures of the Fonz on it. I’d like to go home to my wife and kids now, if you don’t mind.

GOLDMAN stands, revealing a MANILLA FOLDER that he has been sitting on. He picks it up.

GOLDMAN: Nobody wants to work for OSI, agent — we’re here because duty demands it. Your extraordinary bionic powers are a gift, but with them come great responsibility, a responsibility to serve this great nation and defend it from the malevolent forces that want to do us harm.

No one knows about the great work we do here. But that’s okay. We don’t do it for recognition, or fame, or money. We do it because no one else can.

GOLDMAN holds the FOLDER out to STICKLER.

GOLDMAN (CONT.): This is your first assignment, agent, should you choose to accept it. The United States needs your help. Will you answer the call? Or slink back to your ordinary, uneventful life?

There is a long pause while STICKLER deliberates. Slowly, his expression of indecision is replaced by one of steely determination. At last he reaches out and takes the FOLDER.

GOLDMAN: I knew we could count on you, agent.

STICKLER: So I’m actually an agent now?

GOLDMAN snorts.

GOLDMAN: No, of course not. I’m just calling you that because I haven’t bothered to learn your name.

GOLDMAN gestures at the FOLDER.

GOLDMAN (CONT.): Those are Steve Austin’s receipts from his last mission. I need you to go through and fill out the appropriate reimbursement forms. We’ll need those in triplicate — one copy to submit to the Senate and two for our files — and we’re plumb out of carbon paper, so you’ll just have to fill each form out three times.

Also, you’ll have to redact anything that looks classified — which is pretty much everything, so just go nuts. And make absolutely certain you black-out the names of any massage parlors or escort services. Jesus Christ, that guy’s so randy you’d think we’d given him a bionic johnson. I don’t blame that Sommers broad for faking amnesia when she had the chance.

The crapper’s down the hall on the left. That’s the breakroom over there. If you drink any coffee, put a quarter in the can — we ain’t running a charity, here.

I think my work here is done.

GOLDMAN stands abruptly and exits. STICKLER glumly rifles through the RECEIPTS in the FOLDER. After a few minutes he rises and trudges into the BREAKROOM.

INT – OSI BREAKROOM

CANDICE HINES sits at a table, doing the DAILY JUMBLE. She looks up as STICKLER enters.

HINES: Hey.

STICKLER: Hey.

STICKLER walks over to a VENDING MACHINE. After some deliberation he purchases a ZAGNUT BAR. He sits opposite HINES and begins unwrapping the candy.

STICKLER: So what’s your story.

HINES: I went to the doctor with appendicitis. After the operation I woke up here. Oscar said they had quote-unquote rescued me from the hospital and replaced my removed appendix with a bionic one.

Now I’m the receptionist. It’s a pretty boring job, seeing as no one knows our agency exists.

STICKLER: Huh.

STICKLER bites into his ZAGNUT.

SOUND EFFECT: ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch!

* * *

17 comments.

  1. I want a Fonzie band-aid soooo bad.

  2. Dude, you just made my latte come out my nose. You owe me a new sweater.

  3. what’s a zagnut? lol

  4. You know Steve Austin was a WWE/WWF wrestler, right?

  5. Zagnuts rule.

  6. That might be the best pilot I have ever read.

  7. An appendix with the vestigiality of ten men! An appendix that ruptures with the force of a thousand suns!

  8. I’m all about references to shows from the 70’s, but I’m lost regarding Candace Hines.

    It’s one of those names that has a familiar feel to it, but I’m not even sure that I’m not just imagining the familiarity of the name. Maybe I think I’m supposed to recognize it and therefore I do … but just a little bit.

    Googling brought up a lot of Candace Hines and a fair number of Candy Hines. One hit returned The Bionic Bunny show; close, I’m guessing, but no cigar.

  9. Oh, sweet damn, nice finish.

  10. Hee, hee… first you have the OSI guy drinking Scotch, then it turns into a tumbler of Bourbon. Are you trying to piss off the Scotch lovers? ;-)

  11. Yeah, I think I remember when they shot that pilot. I think David Hasselhoff was playing Stickler and Bob Saget was Oscar Goldman. It really took off over in Germany and Sweeden.

  12. Great pilot. It really took me back in time.

    BTW, What about “KNOW one knows about the great work we do here”?

  13. OK, you must delete this immediately. Before someone sees it and learns you know the plan. Think of the children!

  14. Bionic chewing has never been more important to our country’s future.

    And, are you sure that was Oscar Goldman and not The Smoking Man?

  15. Dear Mr Yeti
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    you sir have inspired me to begin a blog something I have never been tempted to do before I salute you!

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    and hey if you want to leave a comment youd be the first

    Keep up the good work

  16. “Know one knows…”?

    Ahh, homonyms.

  17. I like that Bigfoot is the OSI’s enemy. I mean, where do you come up with this stuf?!?