The Lonely Man Article v2.1


JACKSON John Jones (32, average Australian guy) sits in a small, trendy restaurant by himself. A fierce storm rages outside, the occasional flash of lightning brightening the room, but otherwise the restaurant is warm and cozy.

Jackson waits, looking out the window into the stormy night, checking his phone for messages, checking his calendar to make sure he is in the right place. Checking his watch, waiting for someone. He has been stood up. Again.

ALEX (early 30’s) a waiter approaches Jackson’s table.

ALEX Going to order anything Jack?

JACKSON More wine?

ALEX I think you’ve had your fill.

JACKSON (defeated) The bill?

Alex takes out a note pad and pretends to add up Jackson’s total.

ALEX Two bottles B.Y.O. Two hours waiting. Hmm, look at that, exactly zero dollars.

Jackson looks up and forces a smile. He gets up and gathers his coat and rainbow coloured umbrella.

JACKSON Thanks Alex. I owe you one.

ALEX If I weren’t already taken.

Jackson makes his way to the exit of the restaurant, Alex follows.

JACKSON You would not. We both know I’m not your type. But thank you for the kindness anyway. Say hello to Toad for me.

Alex smiles and gives Jackson a quick hug. Jackson heads out into the dark wet night.


Jackson walks in the rain, rainbow umbrella keeping him mostly dry, cars driving past on the nearby road. The light from passing cars flashing over Jackson as he walks.

A large truck speeds past and splashes muddy water all over Jackson. Jackson just stops and looks up at the sky.

JACKSON Really? Was that necessary?

A single page of wet newspaper slaps into Jackson’s face. As he pulls the newspaper away his eyes catch one line of print.

JACKSON (V.O.) The wet newspaper slapped into his face.

Jackson looks at the paper in surprise. Another car splashes water over him. He folds up the paper and shoves it in his pocket continues on his way home in the rain.


Jackson arrives at his 1940’s style apartment, wet from the rain, the storm continues outside. He turns on the light in the kitchen, he fills a kettle with water and puts it on the stove.

While he waits for the water to boil he unfolds the soggy newspaper page on the ironing board and leans over it to read.

JACKSON (reading the paper) After another normal and dull day at work the lonely man was looking forward to his date that evening. He waited at the cafe for his date to arrive. Two hours, no sign, no response to his text messages, he hollowly accepted that the guy was not coming. Don’t feel too bad lonely man, that wasn’t the right guy for you, you will meet your match in 12 days. He walked home in the rain, his rainbow umbrella useless when a truck splashed muddy water all over him. A single sheet of newspaper was tossed and turned on the cold stormy wind of fate. The wet newspaper slapped into his face. As he pulled the wet page away his eyes glanced the sentence ‘The wet newspaper slapped into his face’. Feeling slightly better about the world for the strange coincidence, he took the wet paper home with him. 12.

(NOTE: Every full article finishes with a countdown number.)

Jackson turns the page over, looking for more of the article, but that is all there is.

JACKSON Canberra Echo, today’s date.

Jackson shakes his head as he looks over the page again.

JACKSON Can’t be.

Jackson scrunches up the page and throws it in the bin where is lands on top of a holiday brochure for Hawaii.


Jackson is getting ready for work the next morning, showering and talking to himself.

JACKSON No, it’s too stupid.

He steps out of the shower and towels off.

JACKSON It was printed yesterday morning…

He pulls on his work jeans and walks into the kitchen, he retrieves the scrunched up newspaper from the bin. He spreads it out on the ironing board again, but the print is now almost impossible to read.

JACKSON It could have been about anyone.

He throws the newspaper back in the bin and then irons his shirt, unknowingly getting ink stains in the middle of the back of his shirt from where the newspaper had been resting on the ironing board.


Jackson waits for his coffee to be made by HOLLY, the young barista. He notices copies of ‘Canberra Echo’ available and picks one up, flicking through it for the article.

HOLLY Jackson - long black, three sugars.

Jackson picks up his coffee and folds up the paper and puts it under his arm.

He fishes in his pocket for some change and pulls out a few coins and hands them to Holly.

JACKSON For the paper.


Jackson thumbs through the paper as he waits for the bus with the other commuters, trying to balance his coffee as he turns the pages. It is clear from the way he fumbles that he doesn’t usually read the paper.

INT. BUS - DAY #7#

Jackson sits on the bus, headphones in his ears as he pages through the paper, sipping his coffee. He finally finds the article.

JACKSON (V.O.) When the lonely man had arrived home he’d spread the wet newspaper out over his ironing board and examined it, but even as he read the account of his day he was not convinced. In the morning on his way to work he bought a newspaper for the first time in eleven years. He found the article described the events of his life, so engrossed was he that he missed his stop.

Jackson looks up, yelps and lunges for the stop button.


Jackson rushes across the foyer, past a large sign for ‘Canberra Echo’.


Jackson pushes the button marked ‘BB’ - the double basement. The lift drops down quickly.


Jackson navigates a maze of corridors, filled with old office equipment and long since abandoned pneumatic tubes. All while trying to drink his coffee and read the newspaper at the same time. He stops at a door with an old hand painted sign that reads ‘Pneumatics and Communications’, this sign has been crossed out and a newer, but still old, sign reading ‘Information Technology and Communications Group’ is attached below. Jackson pushes the door open.


The room is a shambles, old antiquated computers stacked on shelves, dull fluro lights. Pneumatic tube next to the computers. Jackson sits down at a desk, putting his coffee and newspaper down and taps a few keys on his keyboard.

Across the room from him sits ANDREW (early 30’s), he watches Jackson arrive.

ANDREW And good morning to you too sunshine.

Jackson looks up and sheepishly smiles.

JACKSON Morning Andy.

Jackson looks back at his screen and starts opening files and windows, looking for something.

ANDREW This is, what, the second time I’ve ever gotten to work before you? Ever? What’s up? Did the date go well then?

Jackson grunts and shakes his head as he keeps typing on his keyboard. Focused on what is on the screen

JACKSON Guy never showed.


Jackson keeps typing.

ANDREW So what’s got you all distracted first thing in the morning then, huh?

Jackson picks up the paper and waves it around. Andrew scoots his chair over to Jackson’s desk and takes the paper.

ANDREW Isn’t this our paper?

Jackson finally looks away from the screen and towards Andrew.

JACKSON Yeah, it is, I was reading it on the bus and -

ANDREW (cutting off) You actually bought a copy of the paper we get free in the cafeteria?

JACKSON (exasperated) Yes, and I was reading it on the bus, and I missed my stop.

Jackson points to a small article at the bottom of page 13.

JACKSON Here, I was reading this.

Andrew looks at the indicated article.

ANDREW Ooh, Lonely Man, I love this guy, he is so … unfortunate.

Jackson finds this curious.

JACKSON You know about this?

ANDREW Yeah, sure, even heard a rumor they were going to make it into a movie or something.

Andrew looks more closely at the paper. Jackson turns back to his computer.

JACKSON Second paragraph.

ANDREW (reading from the paper) In the morning on his way to work he bought a newspaper for the first time in eleven years. He found the article describes the events of his life, so engrossed is he that he missed his stop.

Andrew chuckles.

ANDREW So you missed your stop because the lonely man missed his?

Jackson frowns.

JACKSON What? No. Because I was engrossed, reading the paper at the time.

Andrew looks at the page again.

ANDREW And what… you jump to the conclusion its all about you? It could be about anyone. It could be about no one. Hell it could have been me last week.

JACKSON You don’t get the bus.

ANDREW Last week I did.

JACKSON Did you miss the stop?

ANDREW Well, no, but you know what I mean.

Andrew looks back at the article again.

ANDREW And really? Eleven years?

Jackson shrugs.

JACKSON Probably, school assignment.

ANDREW It’s just a stupid coincidence mate. This sort of stuff happens to thousands of people every day.

Jackson shrugs again.

JACKSON Yeah, maybe, but I’m still gonna check it out.

Jackson points at his computer screen.

JACKSON Do you have any idea how to use the article archive system?

ANDREW (parroting) You’re just here to install the computers and make the printers work. Leave the important stuff to the people upstairs.

Jackson smiles at that.

JACKSON Upstairs… Shela!

Jackson is up out of his chair and across the cramped room. He stops, walks back, plucks the paper out of Andrew’s hands and then walks out.


Jackson knocks on the door of Shela’s office, SHELA is late 30s, large but not fat, earth toned skirt and shirt, sensible shoes and a beaded wooden necklace, feminist cliché.

Shela looks up from her desk.

SHELA Jackson? What did I break this time?

JACKSON (smiling) This time? Nothing, that I know of. But I’m here to cash in one of those ‘if you fix this it will literally save my job’ favours.

Shela raises an eyebrow, but extends her hand and motions him in. Jackson closes the door behind him and sits, he holds out the paper, opened to the Lonely Man article. He points at the article.

JACKSON I need to know who writes this, where is comes from. Any info we have basically.

Shela’s eyebrow raises higher.

SHELA The Lonely Man? Seriously, its not even that well written.

JACKSON I just want to get in touch with the writer.

Shela looks the article over and then looks Jackson up and down as if the man is out of his mind.

JACKSON Do I need to mention the USB stick incident?

Shela smiles and shrugs.

SHELA Must be serious if mild mannered Jackson is willing to resort to threats.

Shela accesses the files about the article on her computer, adjusting her glasses and leans in closer to the screen.

SHELA Oh, not much here I’m afraid, its a syndicated article, part of a package deal from the mother company.

Jackson leans forward to look at the screen, he can see that the ‘author’ and ‘contact’ details are blank.

JACKSON Well, it must come from somewhere.

SHELA Yeap, New York office. Some odd stuff here about publication date limitations, but otherwise just a boring feed from the States. Anything more than that and you’d need to talk to someone at their office.

Shela grins and looks back at Jackson.

SHELA And I don’t think the USB story will get you any traction there.


Jackson reads the paper as he pushes the ‘BB’ button.

JACKSON (V.O.) Still fixated on this article, the Lonely Man had no luck finding anything out about it at work. Timezones where causing him trouble. When he got home he made a few phone calls to the New York office.

JACKSON That’s actually not a bad idea.


Jackson is on the phone. While he talks on the phone he is working on repairing an old mechanical clock.

JACKSON No. I want to talk to someone in article syndication. (pause) I don’t know their name, just anyone in that department. (pause) If I knew the number I’d have rung them directly. (pause) I’m from the Canberra Echo. You know, in Canberra. The capitol of Australia? (pause) No Sydney is not the capitol. (pause) Yes I’m sure.


Jackson walks into the office and throws the newspaper across the room at Andrew.

JACKSON So apparently today I’m going to take the blame for something you did?

Andrew picks up the paper and reads it.

ANDREW You know you can read this thing on the website right?

Jackson sits at his desk and opens the ‘Canberra Echo’ website and after a few clicks has found the Lonely Man article.

JACKSON I suppose I should have thought of this.

ANDREW Given that you maintain the web servers, yeah.

Jackson clicks a few more and does a web search.

JACKSON Wow, there are whole websites and forums dedicated to talking about this article.

ANDREW Rule 43. Probably rule 34 too.

( NOTE: In internet slang Rule 43 is often defined as: "You can find anything on the Internet if you are willing to look for it long enough." And Rule 34 is defined as: "If it exists, there is porn of it." )

JACKSON I hope not.


Jackson is out with some friends, Andrew from work is there, also present are SIMON (early 30’s) and TERRI (early 30’s). They are sitting around drinking wine and relaxing. The bar is quiet, other customers in the background.

TERRI So… Andy, reckons Jacks is this Lonely Guy or whatever?

ANDREW No, I didn’t say that. I said Jack thinks he’s the lonely man. I’s starting to think he’s the crazy man.

Simon looks up at the mention of Lonely Man.

SIMON The Lonely Man?

Simon looks Jackson up and down.

SIMON I always imagined him older.

TERRI Oh, so you’ve heard of this guy too?

SIMON Hasn’t everyone?

Jackson leans forward and pulls the now crinkled newspaper out of his pocket and waves it around.

JACKSON I hadn’t, until a few nights ago.

Simon reaches over and takes the paper, he opens it up and reads the article.

SIMON (reading the paper) The late night phone calls to New York had only served to keep the Lonely Man up past his bedtime and make him sleepy and cranky in the morning. At work he got called into the boss’s office and got strips torn off him for a coworkers mistake. He wasn’t in the mood to fight back, so he took the blame. Another favour his coworker owes him.

ANDREW Oh yeah, what was that all about?

JACKSON All that porn you’ve been downloading at work.

ANDREW My porn? Doesn’t the boss know you’re gay?

JACKSON Apparently not. (to Simon) Keep going.

SIMON (continuing to read) The lonely man suspects there was more to this little newspaper article, but his work kept him busy with menial tasks. After work he caught up with 5 of his friends.

Simon stops and looks up.

SIMON See, its wrong. There are only three of us here.

Alex (the waiter from scene 1) and his boyfriend TOAD (early 30’s) arrive.

ALEX Hey there party people, thought we might find you all here.

TERRI That makes five!

Simon shakes his head more.

SIMON Na, no way. Its just a fluke.


Jackson is out on the balcony, looking out over the small city. Alex steps outside and gets a cigarette out of his pocket as he walks over to Jackson.

ALEX How ya doing Lonely Man?

Jackson smiles halfheartedly.


ALEX Yeah, bullshit.

Alex leans against the railing as he lights his cigarette.

JACKSON You ever gonna quit smoking?

ALEX Yeap, just as soon as you stop feeling sorry for yourself.

JACKSON (to himself) If I knew how…

Alex sucks deeply on his cigarette.

ALEX Do I really have to go all ‘fair godmother’ on you here? Its easy. It really, really is. Find something that takes you out into the world and do it. Don’t go looking for love, just live and be open to whatever comes.

JACKSON You sound like a self-help books.

ALEX I’m serious, all you gotta do is get off your butt and do something?

Jackson shakes his head, more to himself.

JACKSON Like what huh?

ALEX (with a smile) Like this Lonely Man thing.

Jackson raises an eyebrow.

ALEX Well, you’re obviously got a but up your arse already about it, follow it up.

JACKSON I’ve done all I can.

ALEX I really doubt that. Didn’t you do a semester of investigate journalism at uni?

JACKSON Next step would be to actually go to New York.


JACKSON I can’t just drop everything and travel half way around the world.

ALEX Because? And don’t say money.

Jackson opens his mouth to respond, but can’t think of anything to say.


Jackson knocks on the door and enters. Jackson’s boss, NOBEL (late 40s, heavy, going through a mid-life crisis) looks up.


Jackson walks into the room a little. Intimidated by Nobel.

JACKSON I wanted to talk to you about taking some time off.

Nobel puts his pen down and leans back in his chair. Typical authority play tactics.

NOBEL Good. HR is biting my head off. You have too much leave owing.

JACKSON (nodding) Yeah, well, I need to take off. Next week?

NOBEL (shaking his head) Nope. No good. The new printers arrive. You need to install them.

Jackson’s shoulders slump further.

JACKSON Andrew and that new guy can do it, its not even urgent.

NOBEL Yes it is.

Jackson turns to leave, but stops and turns back to Nobel.

JACKSON So, are you going to tell HR that you denied my leave request? Or should I?

Nobel raises an eyebrow.

NOBEL The only way you’re getting next week off is if you quit.

JACKSON I’m owed what? About four weeks?

NOBEL I guess.

JACKSON In that case, I quit. I’m giving you four weeks notice. And I’m taking a four week holiday.

Jackson turns and leaves the room, Nobel blinks in surprise.


Jackson is leaning with his back against the wall in the empty room, shaking and trying to steady his hands. Deliberately trying to slow down his breathing and get over the shock of actually standing up to his boss and cutting all sense of financial security. Having a ‘What have I done?’ moment.


Jackson is walking through the office.

KYLIE (early 40s, woman) pops out of her office cubicle just after Jackson walks past.

KYLIE Jackson? Just the man I’m looking for.

Jackson stops, turns around with a forces smile and walks over to Kylie.

JACKSON What can I do for you Kylie.

KYLIE It’s this data basey. I can’t get in again.

Jackson reached over to Kylie’s desk and picked up a note bad.

JACKSON How about I right it down for you?

Jackson notes down the 7 steps that Kylie always forgets. Jackson’s handwriting is distinctive and neat.


Jackson is at his desk, gathering his things. Andrew is watching from his desk.

ANDREW You sure about this?

JACKSON You think he’d let me un-quit?

ANDREW (shaking his head) Not a snowball’s chance.

Jackson picks up a box with his personal things inside.

JACKSON I just hope he doesn’t dish this out on you.

ANDREW Don’t worry about it. I’ll be fine.

Jackson walks across the room, past Andrew’s desk. Andrew reaches out and stops Jackson.

ANDREW I still don’t get why this article thing is so important.


ANDREW Just something you gotta do?

Jackson nods.

ANDREW I hope you find whatever the hell it is your looking for Jacks.

Jackson smiles warmly.

JACKSON I’ll be in touch.


Jackson reaches down for a copy of the ‘Canberra Echo’, he hesitates, but picks it up anyway. He browses the shop and also picks up a sudoku book. Alex and Toad walk behind him.

TOAD See, told you. He’s buying the paper.

ALEX Yes yes, your very clever. Shut up.

Jackson turns to them.

JACKSON What the hell are you two doing here?

TOAD Seeing you off.

ALEX Isn’t that what friends do? Come on, we’ll buy you a drink, help settle your nerves.


Jackson, Alex and Toad are sitting at a table and drinking. Alex is distracted by a group of handsome guys standing at the bar.

JACKSON I was hoping to just slip away quietly.

ALEX Like you always do.

JACKSON Hey, its my thing.

ALEX Your thing is why your still single.

Toad reaches out and puts a hand on Alex’s. Alex looks at the hand and then up at Toad.

ALEX (to Toad) I am being nice. (to Jackson) Anyway, you remember Pen from Uni?

JACKSON Penelope? Yeah. She was kinda hard to avoid. I think she still thinks I was just acting gay to get rid of her. (beat) Why?

ALEX Well… She’s living in New York now. I was talking to her last night and I kinda told her you were going to be over there soon.

Jackson is very surprised at this news.

ALEX She’s married now.

Alex looks back over at the guys by the bar.

TOAD I’ve been reading the older articles on this Lonely Man thing…


Alex isn’t even paying attention to the conversation anymore.

TOAD Are you sure its you?

Jackson is noncommittal.

One of the men at the bar walks past the table. Alex’s leans over to Toad.

ALEX (whispers) I’ll be back.

Alex gets up and follows the man.

JACKSON Why do you put up with him when he does that too you all the time?

TOAD That is very complicated. Let’s just say we have an understanding. And you are avoiding my question.

JACKSON I dunno. I read through the old articles too. There are no people or place names at all. Its very vague. But it feels like me.

Toad doesn’t seem convinced.

TOAD Can I make a suggestion?

JACKSON I’ve never been able to stop you before.

TOAD Don’t go telling everyone your the lonely man. People that don’t know you might not understand.

JACKSON I wasn’t going to go shouting it in the streets you know.

TOAD I’m just saying be discrete. Tell them your looking into the article for … a story your writing or something. Anything to not sound like a crazy fanboy.


On the plane, Jackson has an aisle seat. Sitting next to him is BETH a middle aged business woman.

Jackson is rummaging around in his carry-on backpack for something.

BETH Lost something?

Jackson looks up.

JACKSON Um… I don’t seem to have a pen. Don’t suppose you have one I could borrow?

BETH Borrow? No. I never leand things I don’t expect back.

Beth looks through her bag and pulls two pens out and holds them up.

BETH Which one do you want? Brain cancer or menopause?

Jackson reaches over and hesitates.

JACKSON That’s some choice. I guess I’ll take menopause.

He opens up his sudoku book as Beth watches.

BETH Not fond of flying huh?

Jackson starts to fill in the puzzle.

JACKSON No. But its fine if I can take my mind off it.

Beth reaches over and pats Jackson on the arm.

BETH You just off to Hawaii for a holiday?

Jackson looks up.

JACKSON Just a stop over on the way to New York actually.

BETH Really? You should check Hawaii out. You never know what you might find. It’s where I met my partner.


Jackson drags his luggage through the terminal. Tickets in hand, looking at indicator boards, trying to find his connecting flight.

Up ahead a large crowd has gathered around the check-in counters.

ANNOUNCER (V.O.) Ladies and Gentlemen, we are having troubles with our electronic check-in system. Our technicians are working on it as quickly as possible. If you could be patient and wait quietly I will let you know just as soon as I know more.

Jackson looks up at the blank departures screens.

JACKSON (to himself) I need to find a bar.

SALLY, a young woman, walks his way, smiles and trips.

Jackson drops his bag and instinctively catchers her.

SALLY Oh, opps, serves me right for checking out the cute guy.

Jackson is lost for words. He helps Sally back to her feet.

SALLY Thanks.

Sally walks off.

Jackson shakes his head picks up his bag and heads off towards the nearest bar.

KANOA, a young man dressed as a 1940’s reporter, watches Jackson and Sally walk off in different directions. He follows sally.


Jackson is sitting at the bar drinking a whiskey. He is reading his copy of ‘Canberra Echo’.

JACKSON Short delay my arse!

JACKSON (V.O.) After a short delay the Lonely Man resumed his quest. Having completely missed four significant opportunities while in Hawaii.

JACKSON (to the paper) You couldn’t be a bit more vague could you?

Kanoa walks up and sits down next to Jackson. Jackson puts his copy of the ‘Canberra Echo’ on the bar.

KANOA (to Jackson) I think you lost this.

Kanoa puts Jackson’s phone on the bar.

Jackson pats his jeans pocket and realises it is his phone. He reaches out and accepts it.

JACKSON But… where did you…

Jackson glances back in the direction of his run in with Sally.


Rewind to Jackson’s catching Sally, as Sally stumbles and falls against Jackson she slides his phone out of his pocket.


JACKSON And, what do I owe you?

Jackson puts his phone back in his pocket. Kanoa smiles.

KANOA Its not like that. You don’t owe me anything at all. But I wouldn’t say no to a drink, and maybe your number.

Jackson blinks in surprise, not used to being hit on so directly.

Jackson nods to the barman and gestures to his glass.

JACKSON One for my friend here.

Kanoa smiles wide and turns in his chair to look Jackson up and down slowly.

KANOA You didn’t ask what I wanted.

JACKSON (shrugging) I’m buying, you’ll drink what I get you.

KANOA Yes sir.

The Barman pours another whiskey.

Jackson takes a moment to look Kanoa up and down.

JACKSON So what are you dressed as then huh? Nineteen forties detective?

Kanoa points to the piece of paper poking out of the ribbon of his Fedora. On the paper is printed the word ‘PRESS’.

JACKSON Ah, Nineteen forties reporter. I can’t seem to escape newspapers. You’re still in the wrong century. (beat) Don’t suppose you know what’s going on here then?

Jackson indicates the crowd of passengers all waiting at the ticket counters.

KANOA Yeah, some sort of colossal fuck up of the check-in system. I don’t think they will have it fixed tonight.


Jackson finishes his whiskey and gets the barman to refill his glass.

Kanoa sips his.

KANOA What do you mean you can’t seem to escape newspapers?

JACKSON I worked for that one until I quit yesterday. And I’m on my way to New York to visit the head office.

KANOA You a reporter?

JACKSON No. I thought about that once, but the politics of it didn’t appeal. I just fix the computers.

Kanoa looks Jackson up and down.

KANOA Ah, a tech guru. I like your accent. Australian?

Jackson is caught off guard.

JACKSON Are you flirting with me Mister Reporter?

KANOA Yes. Mister Guru, yes I am.


KANOA It is working?

They are both quiet for a moment, sipping their drinks.

ANNOUNCER (V.O.) Passengers traveling with Tran-American Air, we have just been informed that the check-in system will not be able to be repaired this evening.

The noise level of the crowd waiting in the check-in area gets louder.

ANNOUNCER (V.O.) We will arrange accommodation for everyone tonight and alternative travel arrangements for you all tomorrow. If you could move up to the counters in an orderly fashion then we will get through this as quickly as possible.


Kanoa grins.

KANOA Rather than hang around here for hours while they sort out hotels for everyone, why don’t you stay at my place?

Jackson leans back and frowns, not sure that Kanoa is serious.

JACKSON Are you this determined with every guy you hit on?

KANOA No. Just you.

Jackson looks out at the queue of people.

JACKSON How comfy is your sofa?

Kanoa shakes his head.

KANOA Who said anything about the sofa?

JACKSON (raising an eyebrow) Oh? And exactly where will I be sleeping then?

KANOA My bed. With me.

Jackson looks Kanoa up at down again.

JACKSON We may not get much sleep.

Kanoa gets up and pulls some money out of his pocket, he puts it on the bar for the drinks and then picks up Jackson’s bag. He holds his other hand out for Jackson to take hold of.

KANOA That’s kinda the idea. You can sleep on the plane.

Jackson takes the offered hand.


Kanoa is cooking pancakes, wearing just a pair of boxer shorts. Jackson walks in with a towel around his waist, hair still wet from just having had a shower.

JACKSON Have you seen my undies?

Jackson stops and notices what Kanoa is wearing.

JACKSON Oh. There they are. So what am I supposed to wear then huh?

Kanoa flips a pancake.

KANOA Top left drawer of the dresser, your pick. Borrow any pair that takes your fancy.

Jackson leaves the room.

JACKSON (O.S.) Borrow?

KANOA You can give them back when you come back this way.

JACKSON (O.S.) What if I want to keep them?

KANOA Buy me a new pair in New York.

Jackson walks back in, now wearing a blue pair of jeans.

JACKSON One night together and your wanting presents?

Kanoa sets a plate stacked with pancakes on the table.

KANOA Yes. That’s how this works.

JACKSON (smiles) If you say so Mister Reporter. I don’t usually do the casual sex thing with guys I don’t know.

KANOA Really? Cause you seem to know what you were doing. For the record, I fuck around a lot. But I’ve never made any of them breakfast.

Jackson sits at the small kitchen table and picks up a copy of the local newspaper that is there. It is the ‘The Chronicle’.

Kanoa walks over and kisses Jackson’s forehead.

KANOA Have your breakfast while I shower and then I’ll drive you back to the airport.

Jackson nods and starts on the pancakes.

Kanoa leaves the room, the sound of a shower running can be heard.

Jackson opens the paper and stops on a page.

JACKSON (V.O.) After a short delay the Lonely Man resumed his quest. Having completely missed four significant opportunities while in Hawaii.

Jackson frowns.


Kanoa drives his small car up to the drop off point and gets out, helping Jackson get his bags out of the boot.

KANOA Have fun in the Big Apple. I expect daily updates.

JACKSON Are you like this with every guy you have a one nighter with?

KANOA No. Just you.

Kanoa pulls Jackson into a tight hug. Jackson squirm, not used to public shows of affection.

JACKSON I could just cancel my flight and stay here you know.

Kanoa shakes his head.

KANOA No no no. Your on your secret mission. The sooner you go the sooner you can come back.

Jackson tries to squirm out of Kanoa’s hug, but Kanoa is holding on tight.

JACKSON Your gonna have to let go then mate.

Kanoa finally lets go.


Jackson stops at a newsagent and buys a copy of ‘The Chronicle’.

He sits down at the departure lounge and opens the newspaper, looking for the Lonely Man article.

JACKSON (V.O.) After a short delay the Lonely Man resumed his-

Jackson flips back to the front of the paper to make sure it was today’s date.

JACKSON But that was yesterday’s…

He checks the date on his phone and finds that it matches the paper.

Then he checks his wristwatch and finds that it is a day ahead.

JACKSON Well they can’t both be right.


Kanoa walks in, drops his car keys on the small table and sits down. He pulls the newspaper across the table and sees that it is open to the Lonely Man article. He smiles happily at that.


Jackson pulls his phone out of his pocket, calls Andrew and holds the phone to his head.


A dark bedroom back in Canberra. A phone screen lights up and the room is filled with the ring tone. Andrew reaches over, looks at the screen and then answers the call.

ANDREW Jackson?


JACKSON Hi Andy, how’s things?

ANDREW I dunno… I was asleep.

JACKSON Oh, shit, sorry.

ANDREW What do you want?

JACKSON Tech support, needed a second opinion. Assuming they’re not broken, why would my watch be a day ahead of my phone?

ANDREW (pause) Seriously? You rang me at 1AM to discuss the international date line?


ANDREW For a bright guy you can be a bit dim sometime. You know this counts as one of those favours I owed you right? Don’t call this late again.

JACKSON Sorry mate-

ANDREW Second thought, three more calls like this and we’ll be even.

Other passengers start to line up at the gate.

JACKSON Gotta go, thanks for the nudge in the right direction.

Jackson hangs up the phone and gathers his bags and goes to the gate.


Jackson is sitting at a table, drinking a coffee and playing with his tablet computer.

PENELOPE (early 30s, stylish and sophisticated, all in red) walks in, makes a bee-line for Jackson and sits down opposite him.

PENELOPE Of course your early.

JACKSON Early? I’m a day late. I got distracted in Hawaii.

Penelope puts a copy of the ‘Daily Post’ on the table, folded open to the Lonely Man article.


Jackson grabs the paper and starts reading.

JACKSON (reading) The lonely man had gotten very little sleep as the gymnast man had kept him awake most of the night show him interesting new positions that he had never tried before. Perhaps the gymnast man was just showing of his strength and flexibility. Whatever the reasons, the Lonely Man enjoyed the display.

Jackson looks up from the paper.

JACKSON Alex told you huh?

PENELOPE He never was good with secrets.

Jackson agrees.

PENELOPE Still gay?

JACKSON Yes Pen. Still. And always. Besides, aren’t you married now?

PENELOPE Just checking. So what ya gonna do about this whole lonely guy thing.

JACKSON Going to walk in the front door of the Daily Post building, find out who does this article and get all the answers from them.


Jackson walks across the large foyer, a few business people walking around.

Jackson walks up to an information counter. JERRY, a man in his late 50s looks up.

JACKSON Hi, I want to talk to someone in article syndication.

JERRY (pause) Okay, what you need to do is take the lift up to 14, head to the east side of the building and follow the signs to weather.

JACKSON Weather?

JERRY New CEO, department rearrangement. They haven’t fixed the signs yet.


GRAHAM (a business man) is waiting for an elevator, the bell dings, the doors open.

Jackson steps out of the elevator, not looking where he is going as he checks something on his phone.

Jackson bumps into Graham as they pass.

Jackson’s hold on his phone slips. The phone hits the carpeted floor of the elevator and bounces, it spins in the air.

Jackson and Graham watching it in slow motion.

The phone hits the floor again bounces off the metal track of the elevator doors. It spins more and falls, perfectly sliding into the gap between the building floor and the elevator floor.

The sound of the phone clinking its way down the 14 storey elevator shaft is the only thing that fills the silence.

Jackson is lost for words.

GRAHAM Sucks to me you.

Graham pushes the ‘close door’ button and the elevator doors close leaving Jackson alone in the elevator foyer.


Jackson walks into a cramped office. Towers of storage boxes taking up most of the space in the room.

KATRINA (late 20s, professional, kind) looks up.


JACKSON Hi. Is this the syndication office?

Katrina waves her hands around at the mess.

KATRINA It will be once I get it all sorted out. So you better hope the answer to your question isn’t in a box I haven’t gotten to yet. What can I help you with?

Katrina waves her hand towards the chair opposite her desk. Jackson sits down.

JACKSON This may sound strange but I’m just after information about the writer of the Lonely Man article.

KATRINA You’re not one of those conspiracy website wackos are you?

JACKSON Conspiracy website? No, no. (thinking) I’m from the Canberra Echo, one of your sister papers. I’m looking into the background of the Lonely Man.

Jackson pulls his wallet out of his pocket and shows her his staff card.

KATRINA Doesn’t really change anything. It’s one of the most often asked questions, all these poor guys thinking they are the Lonely Man. It’s a bit sad really. But the truth is I don’t have that info. We get the article from ‘Global Press’. All they send us is the text of the article itself.

JACKSON Right, then. Global Press HQ is in this city isn’t it?

KATRINA Yeah, but good luck getting in there. If you do end up finding out, let me know, I’ve been curious about the Lonely Man for ages. And it would be good to be able to tell all the guys that ring that they aren’t him.


Jackson is reading something on his iPad when his phone message alert goes off.

SUPERIMPOSE: Hey there Mr Tech Guru How goes New York?

Jackson smiles at his phone. And types a reply.

SUPERIMPOSE: Running in circles, no luck with the first option. Next stop Global Press.

Jackson goes back to his iPad but is getting frustrated, the screen showing the message "Account Invalid"

Jackson brings up Andrew’s contact entry on his phone, his finger hovers over the ‘call’ button, but he stops and checked the timezone instead, the local Canberra time is listed at 6.00AM.

He puts his phone back in his pocket and orders another coffee.


Jackson walks into a large foyer, lots of business people rushing through, but all having to stop and swipe their ID badge to get through a security gate.

Jackson sees this and then walks over to the information counter. BATHANY, early 20s, just out of college look.

JACKSON Hi, I want to talk to someone in article syndication.

BATHANY Okay, do you have an appointment?


Bathany frowns.

BATHANY Well, do you know who it is you want to talk to?

JACKSON Anyone in that department will do.

BATHANY Sorry, without a name I can’t call them. Company policy.

JACKSON I’m with the Canberra Echo.

Jackson shows his ID again.

BATHANY I don’t care if your married to a Kardashian. I ain’t gonna screw up second day on the job. It took way too long on internship to get here.

JACKSON Well, thanks anyway.

Jackson nods and turns to leave, he walks back across the foyer.


Jackson walks up to the service bar and talks to ALISTAIR (mid 20s, clean cut) a staff member.

JACKSON I need a new phone.

Jackson puts a brown paper bag down on the counter. It makes an odd crunch noise.

ALISTAIR Of course sir. Do you have your old phone here?

Jackson tips the bag out onto the counter. The shattered remains of his iphone spill out of the counter.

ALISTAIR Ah. I don’t think this is covered by the warranty.


Jackson and Penelope are sitting at a window table.

PENELOPE You didn’t expect it to be that easy did you?

JACKSON Easy? I’ve flown half way around the world.

PENELOPE Well then, there is the other half still to go isn’t there.

Jackson doesn’t have an answer for that so he plays with his new iphone.

PENELOPE Did you say something about intern?

JACKSON The girl at the counter had been one… why?

PENELOPE Just an idea.

Penelope reaches into her bag and pulls out a copy of the ‘Daily Post’.

Jackson noticed the paper was folded open to the ‘Lonely Man’ article.

Penelope opens the paper out and flicks through the pages, folding it down and passing it over to Jackson. An add for holiday jobs in Hawaii sits above a large ad for internships at Global Press.

JACKSON I’m not looking for a job.

PENELOPE No. Your looking for a way into the building. They are doing interviews and trails every day this week.

Jackson looks more closely at the ad


Jackson is sitting at a small hotel table in his room, looking at his tablet and the error message again. He takes his phone out and calls Andrew.


Andrew answers his phone.

ANDREW When you said you’d be in touch, I didn’t expect calls every day you know.


JACKSON Yeah, well, this time your the only person that can help. I can’t get onto the Canberra Echo website.

Andrew types on his keyboard.

ANDREW Hmm, seems your login has been terminated. You know your access is limited to while you work for the company right?

JACKSON Yeah, but I am currently on leave, so I technically still work there.

ANDREW Well then I will technically re-activate your account. You know how it goes still right?

JACKSON (parroting) Your account has been activated, please allow up to a hour before trying to log in.

Jackson types on his tablet and pushes the login button.

ANDREW Yeah, all that but it usually…


ANDREW Why do you want to get into this anyway?

JACKSON The papers here are a day behind you guys, so all I can get is yesterday’s article.

ANDREW So you haven’t read tomorrows yet?

JACKSON No… why… have you?

ANDREW Well, I had to have a look didn’t I. But I’m more interested in what have you been up to the past 24 hours then huh?

JACKSON Well, ended up staying the night in Hawaii.

ANDREW Oh yeah, what was he like?

JACKSON He was amazing. Hey… I should never have told you about this article.

ANDREW Too late for that. What did you and the gymnast get up to?

JACKSON Best blow job I’ve gotten in years, possibly ever.


JACKSON Your straight now remember, you told me that one no longer counts. Besides, he was a lot better.

ANDREW Fine. And what’s this about an internship?

JACKSON I couldn’t get past the front desk at Global, so I’m gonna get a job and then do some nosing around inside. What are they going to do? Fire me?

ANDREW You really are crazy you know. Maybe you should just give up on all this and go back to Hawaii for the rest of your holiday?

JACKSON It’s bloody tempting. But I started this, so I gotta try at least. When I run out of leads I’ll stop, but till then I’ve gotta follow this through.

ANDREW Alright mate. I still owe you two so, call any time.

JACKSON Thanks again Andy. Later.

Jackson ends the call.


He taps on his tablet and loads up the Lonely Man article on the ‘Canberra Echo’ website.

JACKSON (V.O.) The lonely man had gotten very little sleep as the gymnast man had kept him awake most of the night show him interesting new positions that he had never tried before. Perhaps the gymnast man was just showing of his strength and flexibility. Whatever the reasons, the Lonely Man enjoyed the display. Later in the day the Lonely Man had had no luck at all in the weather department. Across town he had realised his only way forward was to become an intern. 7.

Jackson smiles widely at this and pulls his phone back out of his pocket, he selects Kanoa’s entry and pushes ‘CALL’.


Kanoa is sitting at his kitchen table, laptop open, pages of notes in a distinctive and neat handwritten scattered across the table. Kanoa’s phone rings and he answers it.

KANOA Hi there Mister Tech Guru


JACKSON Hi Mister Reporter. Strange question for you, but are you a gymnast?

KANOA I used to be, back at college. Made it to the nationals… Why?

JACKSON Ah, nothing, was just wondering.

KANOA No. No fair. You gotta give me more than that.

JACKSON Its just this thing I’m chasing up.

KANOA How can whatever it is your doing in New York have anything to do with weather I’m a gymnast or not?

Kanoa picks up the copy of the ‘The Chronicle’ from his kitchen table, the newspaper open at the Lonely Man article.

JACKSON There really is no way I can answer that without sounding like a 100% nut job.

KANOA You know I like nuts right?

JACKSON I don’t know you well enough to tell you all my secrets.

KANOA Hmm, fair enough I guess. But you’ll have to tell me sometime.


KANOA How did your hunt today go anyway?

JACKSON Slowly. Oh, while I have you on the phone. Do you know anyone inside Global Press?

KANOA Nope. The most useful thing I know in newspapers is how to get into the secret basement at The Chronicle.

JACKSON Oh, is that the paper your work for?

KANOA Work for is perhaps a strong way of putting it, but yeah.

JACKSON Secret basements sound like fun. Maybe you could show me around… as long as we wont be interrupted.

KANOA Are you trying to be suggestively dirty Mister IT?

JACKSON I was doing more than just trying.

KANOA Good boy.


Jackson walks down the street reading the latest Lonely Man article from the ‘Canberra Echo’ website on his phone and not paying attention to where he is walking as he walks towards the curb.

JACKSON (V.O.) Don’t step off the curb!

Jackson stops just as a large bus passes that would have hit him.


JACKSON (V.O.) The Lonely Man narrowly avoided being hit by a bus on his way to the intern job. He successfully managed to bluff his way into the intern interviews, which was surprisingly easy considering he had never done a job like this before. Turns out it mostly involves making coffees and photo copies. Just before lunch time the Lonely Man finds himself in an elevator by himself and notices a familiar symbol.

—Jackson walking through the foyer of the Global Press building.

—Jackson being handed a ‘global press’ note pad and pencil.

—Jackson making drip coffee in a small kitchenette.

—Jackson using a large photocopier.

—Jackson waiting for an elevator.


Jackson looks at the indicator buttons for the floors and notices the last one on the panel is listed a ‘BB’ - a double basement. He pushes ‘BB’.


Jackson steps out into a dimly lit basement and looks around. The corridors are filled with boxes and old equipment. Old pneumatic tubes snake across the ceiling and down the walls.

Jackson makes his way cautiously down the corridors towards the only room with a light on. He shouldn’t be down here, and does not want to get caught.

As Jackson walks past a pneumatic tube it makes a loud click sound.

Jackson stops and looks at the perspex hatch with ‘9 Month Archive’ printed on the perspex.

He reaches out and opens the hatch door, which comes off completely.

Jackson looks up and down the hallway to make sure no one saw him break the hatch. He looks around for somewhere to hide the hatch, but when not finding somewhere he stuffs the perspex hatch cover into his shoulder bag.

He continues on his way down the hall as if nothing had happened.


A room that looks surprisingly similar to the IT Department of the Canberra Echo, but with more pneumatic tubes. Two technicians are working at different computers, backs towards the door.

Jackson pokes his head through the door and knocks on the door.

JACKSON Excuse me? Hi.

Both technicians look up from their screens. Jackson watching them like a tennis match.

TECH #1 Oh, a visitor?

TECH #2 We don’t get visitors very often.

TECH #1 When was the last time someone came down here?

TECH #2 Last year?

TECH #1 Yes, definitely last year.

TECH #2 Was just before thanksgiving.

TECH #1 Oh yes, that was it, that cute little Jossie woman. Something to do with the letter ‘p’ not working on her keyboard.

TECH #2 I went and had a look at it, worked fine.

TECH #1 Never saw her again.

Jackson steps into the room. To cover his nervousness he picks up a jumbled rubics cube from the nearby desk and fidgets with it.

JACKSON Wow, you boys don’t get out much.

TECH #1 You’d think with newspapers going online that they would have more respect for us now.

TECH #2 But no, they get consultants in for all the interesting stuff.

TECH #1 Were just here to make the printers and photocopiers work.

JACKSON Tell me about it. I’ve worked in I.T. before.

Both the Technicians are surprised and suspicious of this. Looking Jackson up and down. Fully acknowledging his presence for the first time.

JACKSON Quit my job a few days ago, and now I’m an intern here. Thought I’d pop down the the basement and say hello to the people that really run the place.

TECH #1 What is it you want exactly?

JACKSON To say hello. (beat) Hello.

TECH #2 And?

JACKSON Does there have to be an and?

TECH #1 Course not.

TECH #2 Never has to be no nothing.

TECH #1 But there is. There always is.

Jackson is getting nowhere fast. He plays with the rubics cube more firmly.

JACKSON I was hoping to find out some info on one of the articles your organisation runs.

TECH #1 There see, what did I tell you.

TECH #2 No one comes down here unless they want something.

TECH #1 And usually they don’t want others knowing they were looking for help.

TECH #2 Only ask for empty favours and broken promises.

Jackson had many similar experiences when working in IT, frustrated to be on the receiving end for a change.

JACKSON Sometimes favours can be cashed in… if you remind people. But I have no favours to give, no promises to make.

The technicians both seem to accept the truth of this.

TECH #1 We probably couldn’t help you.

TECH #2 We don’t have access to the article management system.

TECH #1 We look after the server. That’s it right there.

TECH #2 We do all the backups and upgrades.

TECH #1 And keep it running.

TECH #2 But they don’t give us access.

TECH #1 No login accounts.

JACKSON It was a long shot anyway. Thanks.

Jackson sets the solved rubics cube down on the table between the technicians and then walks back towards the door.

The technicians look at the solved cube, they had been trying to solve that for months.

TECH #2 Which article was it you were looking for anyway.

Jackson stops and by the door.

JACKSON The Lonely Man.

TECH #1 Ooh, that poor guy.

TECH #2 You need Rodriguez in syndication.

TECH #1 8th floor, room 8113.

JACKSON Thanks guys, I knew you’d be able to help.

Jackson leaves.

TECH #2 (shouts) Mittens.


Jackson knocks and then enters the office. No one else is around. The office is neat and tidy.

Jackson walks over to the only desk and sits down. He taps the keyboard, the computer screen lights up and requests a password.

Jackson frowns and shrugs. He spins around in the chair, he checks his watch and looks towards the door.

Jackson turns back to the computer. He types in ‘1234’ and hits enter, but gets an error message.

He tries again, this time with ‘password’ but gets the error message again.

He then notice a framed picture of a cat by the computer. He types in ‘mittens’ and it is accepted.


Jackson sorts through the apps on the computer and quickly find the article management system. He puts in a search for ‘Lonely Man’ and find 265 entries. All the previously published articles.

He then opens up details about the syndication. All the time glancing at the door as he works.

JACKSON I know all this. Where does it come from?

Jackson notices a button labeled ‘source details’. He moves the mouse to click on it.

Un-notice by Jackson, RODRIGUEZ (large, mid 30s, man) walks into the office.

RODRIGUEZ Who the hell are you?

Jackson it startled.

JACKSON I’m um. I’m. An intern.

RODRIGUEZ Not for long. Get away from my computer.

Rodriguez pulls the chair Jackson is sitting on away from the desk. Jackson clicks the button just before the mouse is out of reach.

Rodriguez looks at the screen.

RODRIGUEZ This is sensitive. (frowns) Really, this stupid article.

Rodriguez clicks the mouse and the screen goes black giving Jackson too short a glimpse of the details he was looking for.

Rodriguez picks up his phone.



Jackson is roughly pushed out of the building by two large security guards.

SECURITY GUARD #1 We see you again and we’ll tell the cops we caught a terrorist.

Jackson gets up, shaken and turns and walks away quickly.


Jackson is surfing the net on his tablet and sipping slowly on a large glass of water. His phone chirps with a text message.

Jackson gets the phone out of his pocket and looks at it.

SUPERIMPOSE: "Hows your day going Mr Tech Guru?"

Jackson smiles and types back.

SUPERIMPOSE: "Fine Mr Reporter, until I got kicked out of the building by security."

Jackson moves to put the phone down on the table but it rings before he lets go if it. He answers it a lifts it to his ear.


Kanoa is sitting on the edge of his bed wearing nothing but Jackson’s undies, holding his phone to his ear.

KANOA What did you do?


JACKSON Just because I hacked into someone’s computer and was caught accessing stuff I shouldn’t have been.

KANOA Wait… what? Hacked?

JACKSON Its not as impressive as it sounds.

KANOA Your not just Tech Guru… your a… Wizard.


KANOA Yeah IT Wizard Jackson. You should get that on your business cards.

JACKSON Now I know your just teasing me.

KANOA A little. But are you okay.

JACKSON I’m fine. I was so close too. The information was on the screen for less than a second. All I saw were the letters "HI" but that could be almost anything.

KANOA So you going to tell me what it is your looking for yet?

JACKSON You’ll think I’m crazy.

Jackson continues to surf the net on his tablet while talking on the phone.

KANOA I already think your crazy. Fortunately I like your kind of crazy.

JACKSON Fine then. You ever heard of The Lonely Man?

Kanoa pauses.

KANOA Yes. Very. I’ve read every article as it happens… why?

JACKSON I am the Lonely Man.

Kanoa pauses again.

KANOA Thought so?

JACKSON See, no one ever believes me. Hey wait… what?

KANOA Hey… if your the lonely man… that makes me…

JACKSON The gymnast, yeap.

KANOA Well, I never expected to actually be a character in the article.

JACKSON You really don’t think I’m crazy?

KANOA Oh, I’m sure your still crazy. But that doesn’t mean your wrong.

JACKSON Its probably sappy of me, but that means a lot.

KANOA So what exactly is it your looking for in New York?

JACKSON Trying to find out where this article comes from. I want to talk to the writer. Find out how they know what I’m going to do before I even do it.

KANOA Why don’t you just get on a plane and come here and we can sort this out together. You said you ran out of leads in New York right?

Jackson frowns at his tablet screen.

JACKSON New York. Yes. But I might have just found something in San Francisco. A bunch of the fans are getting together for a ‘Lonely Men’ conference.

Kanoa pauses.

KANOA That’s a thing?

JACKSON Apparently.

KANOA Is there any chance I can talk you out of this?

JACKSON Probably not. Besides, your the one that said I had to finish my mission.

KANOA If your the real lonely man, then all you’ll find at the conference is a bunch of wannabes.

JACKSON They might know something about it. Its kinda on the way. If I find nothing at the conference then I’m on the next flight to Hawaii. How does that sound.

KANOA When is this conference on?

JACKSON Tomorrow.

KANOA Hmm, I guess I can wait.


Jackson is walking down the street when he notices two cute guys, hand in hand, walk out of a shop.

He looks at the shop and sees that it is a specialty shop for mens underwear.

Jackson walks in.


Jackson browses the store, looking at all the very brief underwear. JUAN, a young shop assistant dress very fashionably, looks Jackson up and down.

JUAN I don’t think we have anything for you.

Jackson is taken aback.

JUAN You should try Wal-Mart. They have things your… style.

JACKSON My outfits not that bad.

MALCOLM (mid 40’s, slim and fit, fashionable), steps in front of Juan.

MALCOLM Ignore him. We don’t discriminate in this shop. We happily take anyone’s money, be it pink or (looks Jackson up and down) Not.

Jackson is more put out. He turns on his heal and walks out of the shop.


Jackson gets his phone out of his pocket and types on it.

SUPERIMPOSE: "Is it okay if I show that surfboard pic of you to someone else?"

Jackson leans against the shop window for a moment. His phone chirps.


Jackson types his reply.

SUPERIMPOSE: "Its a secret."

His phone chirps again.

SUPERIMPOSE: "Another secret? You have a few too many of those. But I trust you."


Jackson walks up to the counter, his phone still in his hand.

JACKSON First off. (pointing to himself) Gay. Second, I’m not looking for undies for me.

Jackson holds the phone so that Malcolm and Juan can see a photo of Kanoa leaning against a surfboard.

JACKSON I need to find a fun pair for my boyfriend here.

Juan looks at the photo and is lost for words.

MALCOLM We have some items over here for special customers.


Jackson exits the shop carrying three shopping bags.


Jackson collects his baggage from the conveyer belt. ROLAND (early 40’s, large overweight man) walks up.

ROLAND You must be Jackson.

Jackson lifts his bag onto his shoulder and turns around.


Roland nods.

ROLAND Yeap. Must say I was might surprised to get your message, and commin all the way from New York just for our little shindig.

JACKSON From Australia actually, but this was on my way back to Hawaii.

Roland nods again and leads the way through the airport.

JACKSON So where is this conference held anyway. The website was very vague.

ROLAND Oh, its at the second Hilton.

Jackson frowns.

JACKSON You have two?

ROLAND We have three.

JACKSON That must get confusing.


The room has several dozen people milling around and talking. An amazingly wide range of mostly men, but there are a few women there too. Everyone is wearing name tags.

A large banner hangs across the room and reads: "Welcome Lonely Men"

Roland and Jackson walk in and make their way through the crowd, Roland leading the way.

Roland and Jackson stop at a table with several different people sitting at it. CHIEF Lonely Man (late 50’s, slim tall man) and the other people at the table turn to see to new arrivals.

ROLAND Chief, this is the guy I was telling you about.

Chief gets up and holds out a hand. Jackson automatically shakes it.

ROLAND Jackson, this is our leader, Chief Lonely Man. Chief this is Jackson. He’s from Australia.

CHIEF Ah, Lonely Man Down Under. You’ve come a long way.

JACKSON Um, yeah. You know we don’t actually use that phrase right?

CHIEF That’s not really the point.

Chief turns to one of the people at the table. ANOREXIC Girl Lonely Man (young overly thin woman), is already writing on a name tag. She hands it to Chief.

CHIEF Thank you Anny.

Chief sticks the name tag onto Jackson’s shirt before he can protest. The tag reads: "Down Under Lonely Man".

CHIEF There much better.

Chief turns to Roland.

CHIEF And what happened to yours?

ROLAND Oh, I took it off. Security a the airport was looking at me funny.

Roland pulls a crumpled up tag out of his pocket and puts it on his shirt, it reads: "Big Gay Lonely Man".

CHIEF There’s always someone trying to put down our happiness.


Jackson is sitting at a table next to Roland.

JACKSON Is it just me, or are most the guys here not even gay?

ROLAND Yeah, most of them are straight.

JACKSON Have they even read the article? How can they think it might be them?

ROLAND Your missing the point. No one here actually believes they are the Lonely Man. Well… except Billy, he’s a bit strange, his name tag reads "The Real Lonely Man". Best off avoiding him.

JACKSON Most of these people are really nice. I just don’t get it.

ROLAND Your still very new to this aren’t you?

JACKSON Six days ago I had never heard of the Lonely Man. Now here I am with a bunch of wannabes. They wouldn’t know if the real one was here or not.


Jackson is now talking to CONSPIRACY Lonely Man.

CONSPIRACY Oh, he’s hear alright. He wouldn’t miss an opportunity like this. Best way to hide.

JACKSON Hide? Doesn’t he want to be found?

CONSPIRACY Found. Not found out. There’s a huge difference.

JACKSON Found out? You make it sound like he has a plan.

CONSPIRACY He must. No one would publish one article a day for 266 days without break unless they knew what they were doing.

Jackson is unconvinced.

JACKSON I wish I knew what it was.


Jackson is now talking to PREACHER Lonely Man.

PREACHER All we need to know is that there is a plan for everyone.

JACKSON I wish I could believe.

PREACHER The power of the Lonely Man doesn’t require you to believe my son. Just to follow your heart and to try your best.

JACKSON What happens when what your heart wants changes?

PREACHER You have to walk many paths before you find your destination.

JACKSON Why can’t I just skip to the end?

PREACHER Destiny doesn’t work like that.

Jackson is unimpressed with this.

JACKSON I’ve been going around in circles.


Jackson is now talking to SEXY Woman Lonely Man.

SEXY You think you got it bad. Here I am, hot as all hell, a room full of lonely guys and I still can’t get any attention.

JACKSON At least your reason for being here makes sense.

Sexy leans in closer and put her hand on Jacksons chest.

SEXY I’m sure I could help all your trouble float away.

Jackson picks up Sexy’s hand and removes it from his body.

JACKSON Your really not my type.

SEXY What? Why not?

Jackson is getting more frustrated with the conference.

JACKSON I play for the other team.


Jackson is now talking to BASEBALL Lonely Man. Baseball has his hand on Jackson’s leg.

BASEBALL Oh yeah? Which team is that?

Jackson removes Baseball’s hand.

JACKSON The team that is already taken.

BASEBALL How about a quicky then?

JACKSON I’ve had more than enough of them in the past.


Jackson is now talking to FATCHICK Lonely Man.

FATCHICK What about you? What you looking for?

JACKSON If you’d asked me that a week ago I would have said a fit hot muscular guy that’s hung like a horse.

FATCHICK That’s kinda shallow. What changed?

JACKSON I met someone.

FATCHICK You better watch it, talk like that and you wont be an official ‘Lonely Man’ anymore.

JACKSON I could be half way around the world with the man of my dreams.

FATCHICK Then what the fuck are you doing here?

Jackson was wondering the same thing.

JACKSON It had seemed so important at the time.


All the lonely men are seated, facing towards a podium at which Chief is addressing the gathering.

CHIEF Before we wrap up this Lonely Men’s club we will play a round of Last Lonely Man standing. Everyone to their feet.

Everyone stands. Jackson is amongst the crowd, standing next to Roland.

CHIEF For those that are new here today, the rules are simple. As I read each line of the article from today for yesterday, sit down if the events didn’t happen to you.

The crowd cheers.

CHIEF (reading) Don’t step off the curb!

CHIEF Well that’s not an event so we’ll skip that bit.

CHIEF (reading) The Lonely Man narrowly avoided being hit by a bus on his way to the intern job.

Chief pauses and looks up, 2/3 of the crowd sit down. The rest hesitantly stay standing.

CHIEF (reading) He successfully managed to bluff his way into the intern interviews, which was surprisingly easy considering he had never done a job like this before.

Chief pauses again, all but 4 people sit down. Jackson is one of the few still standing.

CHIEF (reading) Turns out it mostly involves making coffees and photo copies.

Chief looks up, but no-one sits down this time.

CHIEF (reading) Just before lunch time the Lonely Man finds himself in an elevator by himself and notices a familiar symbol.

Chief pauses as two people sit down, only Jackson and IT Lonely Man still standing.

CHIEF (reading) In the depths of the building he gets the advice of two wizards before getting kicked out by security. Two.

Chief finishes. IT Lonely Man sits down, leaving just Jackson. The crowd is hushed and all looking at him.

CHIEF Wow. We have a winner. This has never happened before.


Jackson is at a bar with Roland. Lots of hot guys drinking and chatting. Jackson is absently playing with a book of matches with ‘The Closet’ written on the back.

JACKSON Well, the conference was interesting. I hope everyone isn’t too mad at me.

ROLAND They just can’t accept that someone else might be the lonely man. They’ll get over it. Or not. Either way, not your problem.

JACKSON I’m still no closer to finding out where this article comes from.

ROLAND If you are the lonely man I’m sure you’ll find it. Its almost as if the article is guiding him sometimes.

Jackson puts the book of matches in his pocket and gets his phone out and opens to the article.

JACKSON You seen what it has in store for me?

Roland glances at the phone and then looks away.

ROLAND I try not to read the future issues. Whenever I do I just get disappointed when things turn out different.

JACKSON (reading) A similarly lost soul takes the Lonely Man out to the best night spot in town. After having already ruined one party today, the Lonely Man was not in the mood.

ROLAND This is hardly the best night spot in town.

JACKSON It gets better. (continuing to read) At 8 pm the lonely Man gets hit on by exactly the kind of guy he had always lusted after.

ROLAND The article doesn’t often get so specific.

Roland looks at his watch.

ROLAND Its almost 8 now.

JACKSON (reading) He-

Jackson is interrupted as MATT (fit, hot, sexy guy).

MATT You look like you could use some company.

JACKSON Story of my life.

MATT Well I got here just in time then.

Roland looks at this watch and holds it up so it can be seen to read 8:00.

Jackson smiles and pulls Matt in close to whisper to him.

JACKSON Have you heard of The Lonely Man.

MATT From the papers? Yeah. Why?

JACKSON My friend here thinks he is the Lonely Man, but the article says at eight tonight he gets hit on by a sex god.

Matt glances in Roland’s direction.

MATT He can’t be the lonely guy, he’s too cute.

JACKSON It would really make his night if you chatted to him for a bit.

Matt is surprised and impressed.

MATT That has got to be the classiest brush off I’ve ever had.

Jackson smiles again and pushes Matt towards Roland.

MATT So big boy, if I said you had a good body would you hold it against me?

Roland sputters his drink. Jackson discretely leaves the bar.


Jackson runs in from the street and across the loby. His phone in his hand. He skids to a halt at the reception counter.

The CONCIERGE (young, polite woman) looks up as he arrives.

CONCIERGE Can I help you sir?

Jackson puts his phone on the counter and points at the opened Lonely Man article.

JACKSON This here… I’m not reading this wrong am I? This is an address?

The Concierge looks at the screen.

CONCERIAGE (reading) The Chronicle Building 404 Kuhio Ave Honolulu, Hawaii 96813 (looking up) Yes sir. In Hawaii.

Jackson is anxious and excited.

JACKSON I need to get to Honolulu as quickly as possible.

CONCERIAGE Your are booked on a flight that leaves tomorrow morning.

JACKSON Is there anything sooner?

The Conceriage taps on her computer for a few moments.

CONCERIAGE There is a 10.30pm flight.

Jackson leans over the desk to look at the computer screen.

JACKSON Change my booking to that flight. And organzie for someone to drive me to the airport ASAP.


Jackson turns to leave, but then turns back.

JACKSON I’ll be back down here in 5 minutes.

CONCERIAGE I’ll have everything ready sir.


Jackson walks across the departure hall and out into the Hawaiian sun.


Jackson stands at the curb and hails a cab.

JACKSON The Chronicle building, thank you.


There are a hundred people all gathered around the entrance to the building.

A taxi pulls up and Jackson gets out.

People in the crowd are pushing each other as security prevents any of them from getting into the building.

CROWD #1 I’m the Lonely Man.

CROWD #2 No, I’m the Lonely Man.

CROWD #3 Your both wrong. Its me.

Jackson stands there with his bag slung over his shoulder not sure how to proceed when he is tapped on the shoulder. He turns to find Kanoa.

Kanoa is dressed in his 1940’s style report outfit, a old-fashioned leather briefcase under his arm.

Before Jackson can say anything Kanoa pulls him into a big bear hug.

Jackson coughs a little and pushes Kanoa.

JACKSON Damn your strong.

Kanoa releases his hug and grins.

KANOA Missed you.

JACKSON Its only been four days.

KANOA Missed you a lot. And what’s with not telling me you were coming to the island?

Jackson grins.

JACKSON I wanted to surprise you.

KANOA Might have worked, if there wasn’t a newspaper article about you every day.

Kanoa takes Jackson’s hand in his and leads him down a side street.

JACKSON Where are we going?

KANOA Back door. I do work here you know.


Kanoa and Jackson enter a main hallway and Kanoa stops.

KANOA So, you got into the building. What’s your next step huh?

Jackson frowns.

JACKSON Find out whoever writes the Lonely Man article I guess.

KANOA And just how are you going to do that?

Jackson frowns again.


KANOA You are too cute.

Kanoa reaches up and puts his hand to either side of Jackson’s head and pulls his head forward so he can kiss the shorter man’s forehead.

KANOA Have you considered asking someone? Maybe someone you know? That works here?

Jackson grins.

JACKSON Okay Mr Report, any ideas?

KANOA Secret basement.

JACKSON You just want to get me alone and do rude things.

KANOA That too.

Jackson looks around, but doesn’t have a better idea.

JACKSON Lead on then.

Kanoa looks at his watch.

KANOA Not yet.

Jackson frowns.

JACKSON Oh you tease.

Kanoa grins.

KANOA Come on, I’ll show you my desk.


Kanoa leads Jackson into a standard cubicle office and to his desk.

KANOA This is me.

Jackson nods as he looks at the personal knick-knacks that Kanoa has on his desk.

MULBERY (late 40s man) pops his head up over the partition.

MULBERY Kay, your back.


Kanoa grins and nods.

KANOA Yeah Mulbery, what’s up.

MULBERY I can’t get this stupid thing to print.

JACKSON (automatically) Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Mulbery growls.

MULBERY Very fun. Are you the new IT guy then?

KANOA Go on Mister Tech Guru, show us your stuff.

Jackson frowns but walks around the partition to examine the printer. After a few seconds he nods.

JACKSON Your problem is an overcapacity buffer, its leaking cache into the grid.

Kanoa tries to keep a straight face. Mulbery is taking it very seriously.

JACKSON The memory addresses have been reversed, and the fuser assembly needs to be depolarized.

Jackson reaches over and switches the printer off.

JACKSON Just need to let it recalibrate.

He turns it back on and looks at his watch.

JACKSON Any second now.

The printer starts to hum and print out pages.

MULBERY Wow, I take it back.

Jackson walks back around to Kanoa’s desk and leans against it.

KANOA That was impressive.

HAYNES (mid 60s, white hair, short man) walks up and claps.

HAYNES Indeed it was. You should put your name down in for the IT position. We still haven’t found anyone that can handle antiquated equipment we have here.

KANOA (to Jackson) This is Mister Haynes, he owns the Chronicle. (to Haynes) This is my boyfriend, Jackson.

Jackson raises an eyebrow.

JACKSON Well I am between jobs at the moment.

HAYNES Excellent, excellent.

Haynes turns and walks off before anyone can say anything.

JACKSON Did I just accidentally get a job? Hey wait… you said boyfriend!

Kanoa pulls Jackson into a kiss. Mulbery sees this from across the office space.

MULBERY Hey. No fraternizing in the office.

They break apart, both embarrassed at getting caught.

JACKSON So why are we waiting around?

KANOA We need to wait until eleven.

JACKSON Because?

KANOA That’s when they serve the donuts in the break room.

Jackson doesn’t see the connection.

KANOA And no one will notice us slip into the janitors closet.


Kanoa leads Jackson down the hallway.

Kanoa stops at a Janitors closet, opens it and steps inside, tugging at Jackson’s hand to come with him.

JACKSON Seriously?

Jackson steps in and Kanoa closes the door.


Kanoa turns on a bare light bulb hanging in the small closet.

JACKSON Did you really just drag me into the closet?

KANOA I guess I did, yeah.

Kanoa opens a door at the back of the closet and leads Jackson into a staircase that only goes down.

JACKSON Bigger on the inside huh?


The basement is dark. Kanoa throws a switch and a lot of old electric lights warm up. Pneumatic tubes and equipment from the 1940s are everywhere.

JACKSON No one else knows this is down here?

KANOA Its a legend that there are parts of the old building still here under the new building. But no one takes them seriously.

Kanoa leads the way down the corridors.

JACKSON How did you find it then?

KANOA I noticed the janitors closet on the plans was a lot bigger than the real thing.

JACKSON So Mr Gymnast is super sexy, and clever too huh?

KANOA I try not to let it show.

Jackson stops and pulls Kanoa to a stop too.


KANOA Don’t what?

JACKSON Hide who you are.

KANOA From you? Never. No secrets. Not after today.

JACKSON Deal. Besides, I think I’ve figured out who the writer of the Lonely Man articles is.

KANOA If you think its me the your only part right. The truth is always more complicated.


Kanoa and Jackson enter a large office space, most things are covered in decades of dust, but there is one table and chair that have been cleaned.

Jackson sits down at the desk and notices an ‘in’ and ‘out’ pneumatic tube. The ‘out’ tube has seen better days. A red light on the ‘out’ tube flashes slowly.

Kanoa puts his leather brief-case on the floor next to the table.

JACKSON Your ‘Out’ tube looks broken.

KANOA Yeah, something wrong with it. But the ‘In’ tube works.

Jackson lifts his shoulder bag onto the desk and tips everything out. All the random bits he has been collection tumble onto the desk. His broken iPhone, a pen, a notepad, a book of matches, the hatch from the pneumatic tube in New York.

Jackson rummages through the odds and ends. He picks up the hatch and holds it over the ‘out’ tube, but it doesn’t fit very well.

KANOA What are you up to?

JACKSON Just making repairs.

Jackson find a wooden yo-yo in his things and starts to take the string off it. Using the various items he has collected he makes some changes to the hatch and then reattaches it to the out tube.

The red light stops flashing and a green light lights up.

KANOA How the hell did you know how to do that?

JACKSON Dunno… just good with stuff like that I guess.

Kanoa pulls a pocket watch out of his waistcoat, looks at it and then smiles at Jackson.

KANOA Should be here in about 40 seconds.

JACKSON What should?

KANOA I found this about place 9 months ago. Scared the crap out of me the first time. Though the place was going to come down on top of me.

Sounds of old machines start to rumble softly in the distance.


KANOA That was when the first message arrived. I’ve been coming here at this time every day since then.

The sounds of the machines get louder, some of the pneumatic pipes start to shake a little.

KANOA I never expected I’d actually meet you, or bring you here.

The rumbling of the machines gets louder and louder, the pipes shaking more and more.

KANOA Here it comes.

The noise gets deafening. Jackson covers his ears as Kanoa just stands there calmly like this is normal.

The noises and the shaking all stop. There is a single clank sound and one of the pneumatic tubes deliverers a container onto the desk.

Jackson looks at it in surprise.

Kanoa reaches out and picks up the cylinder and hands it to Jackson.

KANOA Open it.

Jackson twists the end of the tube and tips the contents onto the table. There are three envelops and a book of matches from the same San Francisco club. Written on envelop it reads: "For: The Lonely Man". On another: "Stay". And on the last: "Go".

Jackson picks up the envelop address to the lonely man.

JACKSON Hey. This is my hand writing.

KANOA Yeah, I though it might be. The first one hand my name on it. This one seems to be for you. Open it.

Jackson opens the envelope and reads the note inside.

JACKSON (reading) Don’t freak out Jackson.

Jackson drops the note and steps back.


Kanoa bends down and picks it up.

KANOA Yeah I did that the first time too. Want me to read it?

Kanoa reads the note.

KANOA (reading) Don’t freak out Jackson. By now you will have travelled to the other side of the world and back. You will have already fixed the ‘out’ pneumatic tube. If everything has worked out Kanoa is reading this to you now. You’ve already worked out that Kanoa is the one who has been publishing the Lonely Man articles. And you have worked out that you are indeed the Lonely Man. The question is do you want to be the Lonely Man forever, or are you ready to become something more? What I know you haven’t worked out yet is how Kanoa knew so much your life. The answer is you told him. You wrote it all down and sent it out in the pneumatic tube and it arrived on Kanoa’s desk nine months ago. You will write and send this very message nine months from now. I don’t know how it works either. It doesn’t matter. Without the Lonely Man article you and Kanoa would never have meet. There is only one choice to make. Now that you have meet, will you stay or will you go?

Kanoa holds up the other two envelopes. One with "stay" and one with "go" written on it.

Jackson is undecided, he looks from one envelope to the other, and then looks at Kanoa. He pulls Kanoa into a forceful, passionate kiss.

KANOA Please stay.

Jackson grabs the envelope marked "go".

Kanoa is frozen in place, holding his breathe, unsure of Jacksons intentions and not wanting to break whatever spell has brought them together.

Jackson picks up the book of matches, lights one and sets fire to one corner of the envelope. It bursts green and burns away to nothing in a flash.

They embrace and kiss again, this time lovingly, deeply, gently.


SUPERIMPOSE: "Nine months later."

Jackson is sitting at the kitchen table hand writing with a purple menopause pen on a San Francisco Hilton note pad.

JACKSON (V.O.) Nine months from now The Lonely Man will write this, the last article. This is where the story of the Lonely Man ends. There will be no more articles. For the Lonely Man is no longer Loney. To his deep surprise he has found companionship, a man to love and love him back. But what about all of you? The readers? You may not believe this, but if it wasn’t for you the Lonely Man would never have found his partner, his boyfriend, his soon to be husband. Most of you helped simply by reading this story. Some of you helped in a much more direct way. My thanks go to you all, but particularly to: the data entry clerk in LasVegas who shutdown an airline for 24 hours, the Florida pool attendant who let an old man in for free, the Seattle house husband who got the radio competition wrong, and most importantly to the newspaper man who convinced his boss to publish the story in the first place.

Kanoa walks in, still in his wetsuit, hair wet.

JACKSON How were the waves?

KANOA Was rolling really sweet out there today. Not that that means anything to a landlubber like you.

Jackson smiles.

JACKSON The words, no. The way you say it. Tells me everything.

Kanoa sits down and looks at what Jackson is writing.

JACKSON Just finishing the last article.

KANOA Its so weird to watch you write something for the first time, when I read them all nine months ago.

JACKSON After this one we are free of it. No more articles telling us what happens next.

Kanoa notice the unsealed envelopes on the table. One marked "Stay", the other "Go". He picks up the "Go" one.

KANOA What are you going to put in here?

Jackson finishes his writing and tears the page off the notepad. He grins as he tears the next page, which happens to be the last page, off the pad and leaving it blank he folds it and puts it in the "Go" envelop.

KANOA What if you had chosen that one?

JACKSON Then I would not have deserved an answer. Besides I will always always always choose you.

THE END< [/scrippet]

Story first written for Uni Class in August 2013.
This revision is dated November 2013.

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