Matt Miller - The Archives

Act II
A one act playlet in which Monica goes film noir
Slate, March 25, 1998

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The living room of Monica Lewinsky's apartment at the Watergate. A visibly distraught Monica paces. She picks up Time and Newsweek, which feature Kathleen Willey on the cover, from a coffee table. She looks at the magazines for a moment, then throws them to the floor with a shriek. She goes to the bar, puts three ice cubes in a glass, pours a drink, lights a cigarette. She walks to the window and pulls back the drawn curtain to peek out. The door opens, and William Ginsburg enters. He drops his briefcase and removes his coat, exhausted.

ML: Where've you been? You've been gone all f**king day.

WG: They wouldn't let me leave. There were eight of them. The only call they let me make was to your mother. She'll be here on the next train.

ML: What's their bottom line?

WG: It's not pretty. They say we have no choice—we either take a one hour special and call it a day, or they walk. No book tie-in, no movie of the week, no cable, no foreign rights.

ML: No foreign? Look, if you think I'm going to sit here while Kathleen f**king Willey walks off with this scandal, you're mistaken. I made this thing. I wiggled my buns for a year to get those pizzas into the Oval, and she thinks she can waltz in with this [mock whine] "He put my hand there" crap? Have you seen how many times they've played that clip today? I told you we'd strung them out too long. I want Diane Sawyer down here now. I want Ted f**king Koppel doing a town hall meeting with me on a stool. I'll let Katie stay the night to do an exclusive on "prisoner at the Watergate." No— [she smiles] —make that Matt Lauer ...

WG: They don't think ABC or NBC will play. After the Willey thing, you're starting to look like a rerun. Plus, Rather's already spreading the word that everybody gets those presidential trinkets when he comes back from trips.

ML: Think. We've got to think.

WG: There is one shot. Bryant said if we back off the affidavit he could see a series. Maybe. You know, 37 Visits, or something. One week, you're the only one he can turn to when Newt shuts down the government; the next, you're bucking him up for Saddam. If it hits, there's a big syndication upside.

ML: What's the downside?

WG: Pretty serious perjury time [looks at his watch]. Why don't you refresh your recollection for a while, and we'll talk when I'm back.

ML: Where are you off to?

WG: [Putting his coat on] I've got drinks with Larry and Wolf, and then dinner with Barbara at Morton's. Sam may stop by with Peter and Ted, and Roger Ailes wants to talk about this idea for a legal show that ... [catches himself; she turns away]. Monica, it's business. I left the Chinese menu on the counter.

ML: I'm sick of f**king Chinese.

WG: Then go out.

ML: Are you kidding? I'll be mobbed.

WG: No you won't. There's no one out there.

ML: What do you mean, there's no one out there?

WG: They're all off staking out Kathleen in Richmond. Guccione just offered her 3 mil for a nude.

ML: Three mil? I thought he offered me 2 mil.

WG: Have you seen her legs? For 51, they're pretty damned good. Not that my opinion is important here. [Monica flings herself on the couch, bursts into tears.] Monica, baby, I kissed those little polkas when you were 3 weeks old. Let's face it—they're not so little anymore. And the nets like the idea of a peer for Clinton—it's safer, more like a soap, less like Lolita. What can I say, kiddo? Those are the breaks. But a one hour special ain't bad for a kid who got her start licking stamps in the mail room ...

[Ginsburg heads toward door, humming "I Got the World on a String." He pauses to fix his bow tie in the mirror. Monica pulls out a gun from under the couch.]

ML: [In a trance] Where will I go? What will I do?

WG: [Over his shoulder] Sweetie, don't sweat it. You drop a few pounds, you're a shoe-in when Weight Watchers goes looking for a new Fergie. And aren't they bringing back Hollywood Squares? [Monica assumes the classic FBI firing position.] Listen, if Lehrer calls, just tell him he can get me [he turns to face her] ... on the cell phone. Monica!

ML: Creep!


[Shot rings out]