Going Postal


kristen_icon.gif russo_icon.gif

Scene Title Going Postal
Synopsis It's not quite the firing range, but it almost ended up the fired range.
Date October 26, 2010

Studio K — Kristen's Office

Sometimes, in total stillness, the world changes in the blink of an eye. Kristen's office is actually silent for once. Her assistant is gone on some errand, her phone isn't ringing off the hook, and the only thing to eat her attention is her email — oh the wonderful silence of email —


The sound of bullets inside the office is unmistakably; the silence effectively broken by rapid fire; fortunately, none of which is directed at the producer, although her back wall is taking quite a beating.

The shooting halts all too quickly as a rather muddied, bloodied, and high Bradley Russo outright stares at the office. His bloodshot, dilated pupils scan the room rapidly, searching for some hint of Vietnam. The gun is kept tight to his side, particularly as he's altogether unclear how he was pulled from the jungle or whether he's merely having a very bad trip; the worst kind of trip. His touseled hair is wet from the jungle rain and his front side is literally caked in mud from hitting the deck to avoid getting shot. His face is bloodied from incident, and the red of continued bleeding underneath his pant leg soaks through, the wound had been reopened in the course of his journey back to the future — or to anyone living in 2010, the present.

…terribly sorry I did this via email, I probably could have just picked up the phone but I didn't feel you were worth taking the time. This will probably be the last time you ever hear from me unless you stalk me in a club again, I really don't care for you, thats the way it is. When I found out through the grapevine about your strip in Oh So Sweet, I have to say that I did laugh… but my assistant said your package looked stuffed. In light of this news, I am sorry to say you did not pass the audition.

I have no doubt in my mind that you will find an unhealthy physical relationship sometime in the near future, I might even recommend my siaf;klwjtgenrh;ryjt…

The sound of gunfire, the second time less than a week, has Kristen keymashing and then ducking down under her desk. Her heart is racing at a pace unfit for any sort of executive, let alone producer. Especially since there's no show to be upset over at the moment.

As quickly as it started, it's over. "Please God, I don't ask for much… but please don't let this be a murder suicide… and if it is, please let my shows win awards post mortem and let everyone remember me like they remember Aaron Spelling or Walter Kronkite…" When the little prayer is done, the woman peeks her head up over the top of her desk.

"Sweet Zombie Christ! Bradley Russo what the hell are you doing shooting up my office!!" Perhaps it's not the wisest ideas for the woman to be shrieking at a tweaker, but as she hobbles out from behind the desk, Kristen doesn't seem to care. Brad still has his gun in hand, again, Kristen doesn't really care. "This is because I wouldn't let you wear the green tie, isn't it… Jesus Brad…" and a cold hearted producer limps over and pretty much collapses against her host in a bearhug.

"Where the hell have you been… I've been worried sick… I almost filed a police report… I would have but I didn't want every twinky cheerleader from here to San Fransisco calling up with false reports…"

And as Kristen collapses against Brad, she, in turn, is caked in mud. Oddly there's little response beyond base shock from the very shell-shocked television host. His mouth gapes open, his eyes widen, and he takes a deep breath. All of this seems real, begging questions whether Vietnam was — although a glance at his clothes and possession of the gun suggest that actually happened. There's a rather base clearing of his throat as a single arm pats Kristen on the back, further muddying her. With a click, the gun's safety is switched on. The question that follows, however, may have Kristen questioning his sanity, "Am I… dead?" His eyes narrow as he looks around the office. "If I am, purgatory looks an awful lot like Studio K — "

Again he swallows. His faculties aren't operating quite right. He takes a step back from the bearhug still wholly confused. His too-worn dirtied blazer is shrugged off his shoulders before he asks another question, "When the hell am I?" Not where. When. His gaze turns to the cast as he now gasps with relief. "Holy shit! I'm home! I'm fucking home! You have no idea what I just lived through! No fucking idea, K! Seriously! I like was flung into the past by some crazy time traveler ability dude who kidnapped me to save this woman who I —- it's 2010, right?! It better be! October 2010?"

It's Alexander McQueen by design, Russo'd to perfection, Kristen doesn't seem to mind the mud all over her but she hasn't really had time to process the sudden reappearance of her biggest star. She's dressed like she always is, proper designer business suit with the jacket hanging on a coatrack near the door. Luckily the company credit cards are black and gold, the clothing can easily be replaced. "Purgatory? Are you kidding me?! You've put me through hell Brad. Was this all some kind of a prank? Have I seriously been that horrible to you that I deserve this? Is that fake blood?"

The brunette reaches up to touch Russo's face and draws back two red fingertips. "Oh my God! This is real blood! Jesus… Brad.. What… Time?! What?!" Not only has Russo managed to confound the woman, he's rendered her near speechless too. Her round eyes nearly pop out of her head as she listens to the fantastic story she's being spun. "October… twenty sixth… You've been gone for nearly three episodes… I had to find a guest host because I couldn't put on reruns when people expect fresh… Time travel?! Seriously? Is that the best you could come up with? You're stoned… You are stoned aren't you!?"

"A prank?! You think this was a prank?! Seriously K. This was no prank. I was kidnapped, thrown into 2009 then thrown again into Vietnam — like during the war! Do you know what it was like during the Vietnam war?! I was shot!" Finally he glances at his leg before tugging at the pant, pulling it up and exposing the bullet wound, complete with burnt skin around the grazing. He frowns before shaking his head.

Then onto MORE important things than being shot. "Wait… what?! You found a guest host?! K, this is my show! I made this show what it is and you know it!" His shock is more than adamant. "And yeah. Freakin' time travel. And yeah, I am stoned thanks to the speed I needed to avoid getting killed. Why do you think I came in here with a gun?! I was shooting at Vietcong. I swear I was. I can't… so much trouble. I got this crane and I thought you were pranking me and then this Asian dude kidnapped me to save… question: is it normal to have to time travel to rescue damsels now? I only ask because I haven't dated for like… YEARS. And if this is becoming a recurrent thing maybe I shouldn't date?"

Pulling away, Kristen just gives Brad a blank look and then clump tap clump tap her way back to her chair. Muddy clothing and all, she sits down heavily in the leather seat, just staring at the muddy and bloody host who is, by his own admission, stoned. He's also in violation of so many labor rules it isn't even funny, had Kristen's assistant been in, the man might have found himself without anything to host… due to the simple fact, you don't shoot up the producer's office if you want to keep having a show.

With a heavy sigh, she pulls a rolodex toward herself and begins flipping through the cards. "First things first… we're going to get a doctor, private doctor, because if anyone saw you like this it would be all over the tabloids. Second of all… No, it's not normal to go back in time to rescue the person you're dating, that's usually saved for, oh, I don't know… YOU'RE DATING?!" The brunette's way of going from zero to absolutely hot is uncanny, really. Brad might find himself needing to dodge as stress ball after stress ball after stress ball is thrown in his direction. She's got a drawer full of them, she needs them with all the stuff he and Reuben put her through over the past few weeks. "Seriously?! God damnit Brad… Just… "

Placing her hands over her face, Kristen leans heavily onto her elbows and starts trying to take some calm and relaxing breaths. "Whatever… You need more time to fix whatever personal issues you have with this time traveling rescuee then go ahead. I'm not coming to this wedding by the way."

Flippantly Brad waves his hand as if to signal the idea of dating is nothing important. "So this isn't normal? It's not just one of those silly obligation things men do for their ladies anymore? I mean not that she's my — we're not… I can't… Oy." He runs a free hand through his hair and takes a deep breath. "It's just this gal I met and then we started hanging out and I made her dinner and some crazy Asian man made me go back in time to rescue her." His throat clears again while his head shakes, "I mean who am I? Some poser? I sure can pick them can't I? Prison. Always prison. There's something about bailing a lady from prison that just — " it brings out the hero in him. It always has.

"And who said anything about a wedding? I just said I've been… spending time with something. It's not like I bought a ring or something… Or moved in with someone." He clears his throat, "I've just been hanging out. And pining… but now? Ugh. I have no idea. You put someone else on my show. My show because I got flung into the past to rescue her from God knows what. You know?"

Kristen's fingers push against the gentle slope of her forehead, just between her eyes to relieve the tension. Her eyes are still closed as though she's closed off the entire world and is living in her own little gooz-frah-bah paradise. Slowly, painfully, she lowers her hand and folds both of them in front of her before opening her eyes and looking directly at the tweaked out man in front of her desk. The one holding a gun.

"Your show that you abandoned. What the hell was I supposed to do Brad? If you're the man with all the answers, you tell me because from where I'm sitting? A guest host doesn't look so bad. It's not permanent." Her voice is calm with a thick layer of tension behind it, the tight smile on her face just furthers that. "You've been hanging out and pining after some woman who… is in prison? Why don't you get a death row penpal, it would certainly ease the stress in my life when you decide to take off for two weeks."

"Abandoned?! Abandoned. I didn't abandon anything! I got kidnapped, thrown into the past, and given little freedom to decide otherwise! Along with another fella I rescued this girl by crashing a truck — " which, judging from Russo's tone may be the most tragic thing that happened in the span of his apparent kidnapping. "I didn't take off! And I certainly had no say in the matter. Tell me the last time you were shot at. I can tell you the last time I was shot at. Do you know this is exactly why I didn't stay in the army?! I didn't wanna get shot at anymore!"

"And she's not in prison I like picked her up from there awhile ago… before… before I had to go to the past… before I was kidnapped into the past… You didn't think to call the police? Your host goes missing for weeks on end and it never occurs that something unseemly may have happened? I'm glad you care so much, K…" His lips press together tightly.

"Four days ago." Kristen says in a tone that doesn't leave room for nonsense or joking. "The last time I got shot at was last Friday… unless you're counting your entrance… Then I'll say a few minutes ago." Leaning back in her chair, she raises her feet up to it and displays the wonderful black boot that she's been fitted with for the next five weeks.

Leveling her gaze at the host she presses her lips into a thin line and narrows her eyes. "Actually, if you listened to a word I said… I was looking for you, I didn't file a police report in case you were holed up on Staten Island in a drug den. I've been having that place ripped from the seams trying to find you. What about your girlfriend? Why didn't she file a report? Why wasn't she looking? Oh yeah… because you were saving her… in the past."

"Hell if I know," the words are unusually exasperated as Russo plops himself down in one of the office's chair. "I just got here, literally ripped from Vietnam as I was firing at the enemy! They were everywhere. Remind me never to enlist again. Ever." He clears his throat with that same exhaustion while his body tenses under moderate duress. "And I wouldn't call her my girlfriend. We're spending time together; don't smother me unnecessarily."

His eyes clamp shut as his chin parallels the ceiling, he hasn't really rested for quite some time. "Besides." Beat. "I don't do drugs anymore. Aside from the speed." Pause. "Which reminds me, I have a favour I owe a waitress in nowheresville Utah. We need to put her on the show. She dances. Or cheerleads or something." Again there's a flippant wave of his hand.

Russo is given the sweetest smile that Kristen can muster as she crosses one ankle over the other on top of the desk. The boot is think enough that the position doesn't seem to hurt, either that or she's masking it very well. "Fabulous, why don't you get right on that." Usually, that's Kristen's job… Why she's passing it off to Brad… Very unlike her.

"Do what you need to." Pause. "I'm out." And just like that, Kristen picks up her pencil and balances it between her nose and upper lip.

"I intend to." There's a very quiet sigh as his eyes open, scanning the ceiling for something, anything. Again his throat clears, there's something odd about him; something heavy in his thoughts. "Have you ever thought… that you were meant for more?" He frowns as he leans forward. The frown loses its power as he forces a smile that never settles in his eyes. "Mom, grandma, grandpa — there were plans. Did I ever tell you they had plans? Karolina." There's something oddly reminiscent in the smile as he talks of all of them, even moreso as generally speaking, he never mentions them.

He bites his bottom lip before stretching his neck. "It's an election year." The observation is left to hang for Kristen to draw her own conclusions.

"I know, I've been prepping," Kristen's voice is a little distant, much like Brad, she's concentrating on something else. On her part? It's the pencil that's teetering in the curl of her lip. Sliding her thin fingers down to the point of it, she twirls it like a silent movie villain would his mustache. "And as for me thinking about more? No. It's always been about you and the show… But you're definitely right. I should be looking for something else."

"So what are your plans for the future then, hmm? Or are you thinking much further down the road then next week?" They've never been like this before, not even when Karolina was in the picture. "Oh… I'll give you a bit of friendly advice… If you're thinking about running for office? You should really consider enrolling in a private detox center now… Just to get that out of the way before the sharks set in." Sharks like the two of them.

"Detox," the word is accompanied by a mirthless chuckle as Brad shifts in his seat. "I've been down that road. Little good it did me." Absently he chews his bottom lip. "Church maybe." That had been the only thing that worked in the past. Every time it's the same spectrum: liquor, pot, speed, crack — at least this time it hasn't gone that far. "Maybe I should go be Catholic. The Eucharist would be off the dockette though, wouldn't it." He winks, he smiles grimly, showing no true joy on his part.

"Why do we do what we do anyways? Ratings?" There's no denying they have those. "Money?" No denying this either. In fact, his money has enabled him to keep three homes at once. His eyes narrow as he pushes himself clumsily to his feet, the mud doing its part to weigh him down. "I've been Mister Neutral for a long time, even when I wasn't. Neutral, that is." He crosses his arms over his chest. "Do you think Petrelli's got this one in the bag?"

The pencil rolls off her lips and Kristen scrambles to catch it before it drops to the floor. The brunette's long fingers manage to snag the end of it before it topples though. Pulling her feet off her desk, she steeples her fingertips and sweeps her eyes over the mudman, one eyebrow ticking up just a bit before dropping again to resume her rather hawkish expression.

"Do you think you'd get enough of the people's confidence to get a vote?" It's a cut on his appearance, on the way he showed up in her office, even on the fact that he's not listening to a word she's saying. "If you're thinking about quitting, then you're going to have to let all of your employees down gently. Remember, the grip is allergic to nuts and the assistant director is Jewish."

"Look, I get it," Brad holds up both hands defensively. "You think I'm unreliable, my story is downright implausible, yet here I am with a bullet wound in my leg, caked in Vietnam mud. I get it. You think I had some bad trip — " he did, in a way. The popping of the speed hasn't been his finest hour. " — but this happened. I haven't lived in my house for weeks on end. I was hanging around Staten Island because of the lady I told you about. It wasn't for a fix." And then, turning to face her rather than the window he just shakes his head a little.

"And I didn't say I was quitting. Or am quitting. I'm just rethinking life. I come from very unusual stock. As it turns out. Stranger than I thought." Begging the question if it's the right time to run regardless. "About a month ago… my life changed."

"In short, I'm not quite who I thought I was. And it has nothing to do with my vices."

Kristen's fingers are doing that thing where they look like a spider doing pushups on a mirror. She hasn't taken her eyes off Brad since he started voicing his inner monologue, she's not even really sure if he knows she's there anymore. Risking it, she clears her throat. "We all come from unusual stock, Brad, and I'm really glad that you're actually thinking about your life…. " Her voice drifts off and she waves a hand dismissively and spins the chair to look out her window.

She's not actually facing away from him, it's more of a profile view as she alternates between studying the gray sky outside and making sure he's not going to start firing the gun again. "You're probably so stoned you don't even realize I'm still here… So I'll just keep my mouth shut until you're sober again."

His steely blue-ish eyes narrow as his head turns to face her. There's no profile glances from Russo, just an all-out stare. Whether she recognizes it or not, he's aware she's in the room. "I'm not that stoned." He's been in worse shape; he's sure of it. "And it's speed. Not pot or alcohol for that matter." Or worse. "My senses aren't dulled." And maybe it's working itself out of his system.

Finally he turns back to the window. "In Vietnam, in the past, I met my father." Absently he chews on his bottom lip again. "When I'd found out, I'd still doubted. For so long I doubted. She was so secretive about him. When I had a name — it seemed" he chuckles while a hand runs through his hair " — unreal. But then, in Vietnam…" He turns his head again, facing her outright, "We looked shockingly alike… or he looked like I did when I was sixteen. Like some kind of time traveling mirror. It was eerie."

"You met your father… in the past…" Kristen turns her head a little to face him and gives him another blank expression. It's hard right now to guess whether she believes him or not, her poker face is pretty good when she really needs it, right now she does. "So what was it like, the past? Aside from being a war zone and getting shot for your ex-con gir — friend."

Looking like either of her parents is something that Kristen never really had to deal with. She looked enough like both of them to pass as their daughter, but nothing close to exactly alike. "What else happened? Where is your time traveler friend now?"

"It was raining. I got shot at." His nose wrinkles as he sideglances her, "How do you think it was? It sucked. Hardcore. My father pointed a gun at me. It is what it is." Russo shakes his head as he shrugs, "The Asian guy isn't my friend. So don't say so. I will never time travel again and if I catch up with him, it'll be through my lawyer." He shoves his hands into his pocket and shakes his head again.

"Nothing else happened. A bunch of people were there to keep Ben from getting hurt and then I wound up here while I was defending our troop." At least that's how he remembers it.

"Well, you need a doctor, who knows what diseases you carried back from there. And got all over me." The realization that she might have caught some foreign malady hits like a ton of bricks and she reaches for her rolodex again to find a name. "You and I are both going to a doctor. You're going to take one more week off to recoup from your little mission of mercy before you get back to the grindstone. Reuben can hold the fort on The Advocate, he did a pretty good job last week. His style is decidedly different from your own."

Not better or worse, just different.

"When you get back, I hope you're going to …" Pause. "…not shoot up my office…." It's probably a lot better than what she was about to say.

Russo's eyebrows arch involuntarily. "At least my shots are up to date." Especially tetanus. With a soft sigh he concedes, "I'll come to the doctor, but I'm not taking another week off. No one else is taking on my show. It's mine. Plain and simple, you want your host, I'm back. It's mine." His cheeks flush a little as he relaxes in his seat and sighs again.

Pressing his lips together tightly, Brad shrugs. "And be glad you didn't have open wounds in the mud." He cringes slightly before shivering at the notion of what he may have picked up.

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