EVANSTON, IL—Coldwell Banker receptionist Annette Lyon, 29, discovered an unattributed screenplay for a feature-length erotic thriller on a printer shared by all of the Evanston-branch employees Monday, raising company-wide speculation as to the script's author.
"It was a very thick stack of paper, but I didn't take it off the printer until about 40 other things had already come and gone," said Lyon, who found the 116-page screenplay just after lunch. "At that point, it seemed to me like, if the author of Darkness Of Passion really didn't want people reading it, he wouldn't have left it sitting there."
Added Lyon: "Knowing what I know now, I wish I'd just left well enough alone."
The screenplay follows the adventures of a Chicago rock-club owner drawn into the intrigue surrounding a series of mysterious deaths, which follow the arrival of a rock band made up of four beautiful women from Eastern Europe.
"There's a lot of pouting, torn blouses that reveal pear-shaped breasts, and girl-on-girl grinding," Lyon said. "By the fourth speech about 'the sensuality of blood,' I started getting pretty creeped out. I never would've guessed that someone in this office had that many sexual hang-ups. Yuck."
In the script, violent murder scenes are interspersed with graveyard seductions, moonlit nude baths, and a six-page monologue about the "intersection of death and desire."
After reading the work in its entirety, Lyon showed it to several of her coworkers.
"Check this out!" office manager Helen Gates said. "The vampire says, 'Darkness is a mask like any other. Put the mask in place, and allow your true passions to ride.' God, it's so over the top! It's hysterical."
Gates and Lyon shared several theories about who might have written the script.
"About 90 different people share the printer," Lyon said. "Judging by what I read, the author is a man. He's a pretty solid speller and has a working knowledge of the bus routes, so that rules out just about all of management."
"Whoever it is," Gates said, "there's no question he has a thing for bondage."
Lyon flipped to a random page of the script and read aloud. "'Unaware of the ruthlessness of the vampiress she is pleasuring, the supple-bodied groupie digs her nails into Esmerelda's back, leaving a tracing of gouges'—you know, maybe we should really stop speculating," Lyon said, dropping the script with distaste. "It might be best if we don't find out who wrote this after all."
Undaunted, Gates continued to try to deduce the script's author.
"[Sales representative] Janet Delaney is a serious conservative Christian, so she'd never write about fucking a crucifix," Gates said. "And [vice-president of marketing] Joe Opper isn't creative enough to write his own letters, let alone a movie. [Assistant manager] Tony Bursell talks about movies a lot, but he's gay. Even though I can see Tony getting into the ancient sexual rites of the Celtic goddess Agrona and the lust of Count Drakul, all the lesbian sex points to an author who's straight."
Gates brought up the possibility that a coworker had printed the screenplay for a friend, but Lyon dismissed the idea, pointing out that several of the characters closely resemble Coldwell Banker employees.
"Take the uptight woman who gets impaled on a tree branch," Lyon said. "That woman was obviously [sales supervisor] Darcy Gasney—the clothes, the hair color, the clipped way she talks. I saw a little of myself in Emily, the tough but sensitive virginal woman with the, uh, huge breasts—the one who becomes the vampire's slave, not the one who sings in the girl band. But I also saw myself in Felicia, the tough but sensitive biker bartender with large breasts. Well, neither character is particularly flattering."
When the conversation turned to the script's plot, the small group of assembled coworkers temporarily forgot their curiosity about the script's author, focusing instead on the structural flaws in his work.
"Why are the vampires lesbians?" sales agent Cal Fagan asked. "Were they lesbians before they became vampires, or did getting bitten have something to do with it? I never understood that. And is it necessary for them to seduce their victims before killing them? Why do they 'writhe sinuously' on every other page? And what did William's secret meeting with the dominatrix have to do with anything? I'm sorry, it just seemed gratuitous."
So far, no one has come forward to claim the screenplay, leading several employees to speculate that it was deliberately left on the printer.
"Please," Lyon said. "You don't print a document in which a pack of wolves sensually lick a naked dead body and then just have it slip your mind."
"I don't know," Fagan said. "I can see how someone might have printed it out and then gotten involved in something and forgotten to grab it. On the other hand, if I wrote a whole movie, I'd probably be pretty proud and want to show it off."
"I think the writer wanted feedback, but was afraid to ask for it outright," Gates said. "Well, my message to him is: Don't quit your day job. Unless you've accidentally let everyone at your day job know that you get off on lesbian vampires."
Contacted for his opinion of the script, Joshua Black, a junior talent agent at Brinkman Carver in San Diego, CA, offered a contrary opinion.
"It's too long, the characters are interchangeable, and there's no third act," Black said. "That said, it's hard to turn down a vampire movie, particularly one with so much softcore nudity. If I were a little studio looking for a shot in the arm, there's a chance I'd option it, give it a quick coat of paint, shoot it on the cheap, and dump it straight to DVD. It won't do much domestically, but you could stand to recoup and then some on the international market."