Buffalo, NY—Local author P.A.Kane hit all the essential elements in his proposed Hallmark Channel holiday movie, Christmas In Crackerville: a dumb town name, straight white people, a dead spouse, a failing family business, an ignored child and a supernatural event. Yet, the channel known for its romance and holiday movies did not option the script.
Kane’s story starts on Christmas morning in Crackerville, Ohio when high powered corporate lawyer Becky Woodward finds her husband Ned, dead on the floor of the family run inn from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Ned, a huge fan of the action movie franchises apparently shot himself while imitating the Keanu Reeves character, John Wick.
Though distraught, Becky and her son Kyle try to keep the business going. Becky, however, doesn’t have the right temperament and often encourages patrons to stick things where the sun doesn’t shine. And, Kyle, who had just been elevated to master debater of the Crackerville High debate team and had a hot text relationship going with Haley Finnhosle, turns silent and dark. He also started to incorporate the murders of puppies and kittens into his Dungeons & Dragons scenarios.
Then, John Steele comes into the picture. Steele is a drifter, with no known past and an even sketchier future. But, there’s that moment when he’s telling Becky how shitty her inn is, where their eyes meet for just a moment, and she tells him, “Then, you run the fuckin place,” (f-bomb bleeped) and throws the inn keys at him.
Quite to her surprise he sticks around and does just that. Slowly he starts to turn the place around. As the inn regains respectability through the summer Becky and Steele’s eyes occasionally meet. She likes his quiet confidence and he likes the way her ass looks in a business suit. The sexual tension between them increases, but Becky is still mourning Ned.
In the meantime, Steele teaches Kyle how to throw a football and he lands a spot on the Crackerville High football team as a backup quarterback. He also has words of encouragement for him after Haley dumps him for giving her chlamydia—”Wrap that shit up, son.”
One night after an excruciating business trip Becky wants to unwind with some red wine while luxuriating in the inn’s hot tub. Only, when she walks to the back of the inn with her bottle of cabernet she finds Steele in the tub. After an awkward greeting, she says she’ll come back later, but he asks her to join him. Reluctantly, she does. Their eyes meet and finally . . . finally, they give in to their desires and make sweet love right there in the hot tub with five horsepower of pulsing hot, chlorinated water pelting their bodies.
Steele and Becky eagerly pursue the relationship while Kyle begins to thrive. His Dungeon & Dragon scenarios return to killing trolls and stupid middle earth hobbits. And, after coming off the bench and throwing two touchdowns passes to lead Crackerville High to Thanksgiving day victory over hated rival Crackerville North, he wins back Haley.
Outwardly everything is going well. The inn is booked to capacity weekend after weekend, with an ever increasing Yelp score. There’s talk of Becky becoming a full partner at her firm. But, even with all these good things happening, beneath the surface Becky is frustrated and unsatisfied. While Steele is a great, positive force in both her and her son’s life, he just doesn’t make her body sing. They begin to quarrel and bicker till finally on Christmas Eve morning Steele starts to pack his few belongings to go.
Just as he’s zippering up his lone suitcase he hears a familiar voice from behind him: “You feeling lucky punk?” He turns around and sitting in a chair is Becky’s dead husband, Ned dressed up like Dirty Harry era Clint Eastwood. “Well, do you punk?”
Steele thinks ‘WTF,’ and turns to leave not sure what’s going on, but just as he is about to open the door Dirty Harry-Ned pins him against the wall and sticks the barrel of .44 magnum gun up to his chin and says: “Running away again, punk? Listen to me, you think you can come here without a pot to piss in, throw out all that quiet confident bullshit to win her heart and then just run away when the going gets a little rough? Well, not today . . . punk!
That is a woman full of passion and desire. Enough with this earnest, drifter bullshit. Tell her you want to lick every inch of her body, and then do it. Tell her you want to take her in the laundry room and in the the kitchen, and then do it. Tell her you want to make her body shake so hard that her sister in Toledo will feel it, and then do it.”
Steele blinked and Dirty Harry-Ned was gone. Not sure what just happened he, nevertheless, searched out Becky and whispered in her ear that he’s sorry and wants to make it up to her by licking every inch of her body. Instantly he could sense her excitement. Then, they make love all night long on the countertops and in the hallways of the inn. They took each other in the basement and in the bathroom. And, finally, with the sun coming up, their bare asses freezing on the inn porch, they heard the bells of Christmas ring.
As they untangled and pulled on their clothes, Steele saw over Becky’s shoulder Dirty Harry-Ned, leaning against a railing. He didn’t exactly smile as he holstered his .44 magnum. In his ears Steele heard his voice: “Good job . . . punk.”
Kane thought the script was a natural fit for the Hallmark Channel. However, the only feedback he received was a one word email that said, “Really?” with an eye roll meme.
Kane plans to pitch the story to Netflix and Amazon.