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Lionel Keats.

Killer good looks.

Wealthy, witty, charming.

He can’t take no for an answer.

Maggie Malone.

Take your breath away.

Smart, savvy, independent.

She can’t say yes.

One of them is going to die.

Read the Introduction Below


The first time I became aware that women sometimes have difficulty rejecting men was in high school. A girl I’d known in grade school but lost contact with showed up in my class and we shared home room together. She’d grown into a pleasantly pretty young woman. I was smitten. Or, at least, I was prepared to be smitten, but she was ‘going steady’ with a bad boy. He treated her, well, not always nicely. She admitted to me that she was afraid of him, that he’d used his greater size and strength to manhandle her. I asked her why she just didn’t end it with him. She looked at me like I was crazy. Her father no longer lived with the family and there was no other male relative who might step up for her. She was trapped because her bad boy refused to take no for an answer.

Now I am not the heroic type, but I knew this bad boy from an early age. I was bigger than he was, faster, and stronger, and I knew it. More important to the issue, he knew it. I told him that Rhonda (not her real name) would be dating me from now on. Did he have a problem with that? As it turned out, he didn’t. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but not as you might expect. No, when I told Rhonda that she was free of her old boyfriend, she was ecstatic and truly grateful. When I asked her to go out with me, however, well, no. See, there was this mousy little guy in the chess club and they shared many a pastime together including reading Jane Austen. I’d always thought he was just a tad gay (and I later learned he was gay, although it was after he learned it himself and announced it to the world). But thank you very much for standing up for me, she said.

The beautiful friendship? I discovered to my immediate dismay, and eventual acceptance, that the bad boy liked me rather a lot for standing up to him, and sought me out, and wanted to hang out with me. Turns out, he wasn’t nearly as bad as he let on and he had the misunderstanding that I was a badder bad boy. We became friends and even double-dated several times, but never with Rhonda, who by this time was going with the quarterback on the ‘B’ football team, and then later the student government president, and later yet the editor of the school literary journal, but never me.

Still, the idea that women sometimes have a problem with men accepting no for an answer stayed with me, and became the genesis for this screenplay.

That, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious, but that’s a different story.

Richard Taylor

September, 2010

Cambria, California


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