After Amy, his wife of twenty -two years, dies from long-term alcoholism, Roger’s own love of the the bottle leads to his own fall from grace. It culminates with his being convicted of a DWI. And not just any DWI — he plows into the back of a school bus while on duty as a detective for the Minneapolis Police Department. Luckily none of the children die from the accident.
Halfway through his ten-year sentence, after doing extensive research in the prison resource center on Buddhism and philosophy, Roger has a blinding insight: The ego has tricked him into believing the “I” or “me” is real and a fixed entity. The Roger who was a hopeless drunk and crappy husband isn’t who he is now. He’s so excited with the ‘aha’ moment, he jumps up and shouts, “I’m free, I’m free, I’m free.” A nearby prison employee quips, “I’ll let the warden know.”
Five years later, he’s released from prison. He meets his best friend Stephen Gates outside the prison entrance. He informs Stephen that although he’s going to sober, first he needs to get the urge to drink out of his system by pouring a shit load of booze into his system. So with Stephen acting as a sober driver, the ex-con embarks on a three-day binge at the iconic dive bar, Liquor Lyle’s, in south Minneapolis.
Roger Wentworth capitalizes on his considerable experience as a homicide detective for the Minneapolis PD by starting his own agency called P.I.S.S. – Private Investigations & Security Services. His first case is a doozy: Computer genius entrepreneur Bobby Babbitt has been arrested for the murder of an ex-colleague, Tommy Dell. He and Dell’s very public war of words about Babbitt’s invention of a new quantum computer provides the motive while Babbitt’s fingerprints on three cigarettes found near the crime scene constitutes physical evidence.
But Roger Wentworth isn’t the only PI on the case. Figuring three is better than one, the accused has employed three private investigators to handle his case. The first one to solve the mystery and get Babbitt released from jail will receive $1M plus Babbitt’s favorite cryptocurrencies to invest in. With Roger being the last one hired, there’s no time to spare.
Roger contacts the police detective assigned to the murder case, Lt. Koplin, a lusty, hot bisexual female who loves pro wrestling. They discuss the case while attending a WWE event at the Target Center. Koplin describes their reasons for arresting Bobby Babbitt: a very public, intense feud over Babbitt’s invention of a quantum provides motive while three cigarette butts with the accused’s fingerprints on them found near the deceased’s house (the home was set on fire while Dell was sleeping).
Roger points out that a man as smart as his client wouldn’t be stupid enough to leave evidence like that near the crime scene. And that Babbitt’s home-security system being turned off during the window of time when the murder took place is more likely something that a framer would do than the the accused would. After all, it destroys Babbitt’s alibi. Koplin shrugs off the arguments, says Babbitt stays in jail unless compelling evidence is found that points to someone else being the killer.
The new PI leaves the visibly aroused MPD detective to enjoy the spectacle of two hot, young, attractive women with their hands all over each in a squared ring.
Figuring he’ll need a companion to combat loneliness and the urge to drink, Roger adopts Shaggy, an epic Maine Coon, from the Minneapolis Humane Society. He buys a high-powered Dell desktop and tablet to help him in his business and moves into a one-bedroom apartment on 1st Avenue not far from the Nicollet Mall and Art Institute. Besides Tommy Dell’s four ex-wives and his client, Roger discovers another suspect: Brad Newsome, an ex-coworker at Dude, I’m Not Making That Up Improv Club. Although upon questioning he vehemently denies it, Roger believes the two were lovers because 1) All the time they spent in bars after work, 2) Dell named him sole beneficiary in a life-insurance policy worth a million dollars.
Splitting time between the golf course and his apartment, Roger continues his investigation. Babbitt calls from prison and informs Roger that he’s counting on him to solve the case because the other two private investigators believe the first ex, Gina, is the prime suspect. She’s mother of Dell’s only child, daughter Alexa, and extremely upset that Tommy didn’t leave Alexa and herself anything in the will. The client doesn’t think Gina is capable of murder and agrees with Roger’s contention that Newsome murdered his ex-lover in order to get the million-dollar payout from the Earnest Insurance Company.
Roger tails the suspect to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He discovers the suspect is flying to Sofia, Bulgaria, in order to scope out a possible new home after receiving the insurance money. The PI theorizes it will be first step for Brad in getting a new identity so he can hide out in case the police discover he’s the real killer. Unfortunately Brad finds out Roger was tailing him and that he’s an investigator working for Bobby Babbitt. While Brad waits in line to board the airplane, Roger informs Babbitt via phone of this development.
BOBBY: So much for the element of surprise.
ROGER: Yeah well you can’t win them all. Anyway, I found out he’s flying to Sofia.
BOBBY (V.O.): Sofia? Where in the fuck is that?
ROGER: Bul-fucking-garia. I hadn’t heard of it until earlier today but it’s become quite a vacation and relocation destination for many Americans.
BOBBY (V.O.): Relocation, you mean like people want to move there?
ROGER: Exactly. I’m pretty sure he’s scouting out where he’s going to go to after he gets the money from the insurance policy. He even told me he’s thinking about moving there.
BOBBY (V.O.): Well hell, man, you shouldn’t have let him get away. I mean how can you investigate a suspect if he’s not even in the same fucking country?
ROGER: Don’t worry, he has to come back to receive the life-insurance policy dough.
BOBBY (V.O.): Does he? Maybe the insurance company is going to pay him by direct deposit. Even if it’s an old-fashioned check, maybe he’s having them mail it to an address in Bul-fucking-garia. You think of that?
ROGER: Shit, not till you said it. God damned it.
BOBBY (V.O.): Call up the insurance company, find out the form of payment and if they’ve completed their investigation of Newsome.
Roger glances towards the passenger line. Newsome shows the KLM employee his boarding pass. Brad looks back at Roger. The suspect’s look turns into a glare. Brad turns and boards the airplane.
ROGER: Yeah, I’ll do that right away, and let you know what they say.
He calls the Earnest Insurance Company, finds out the payment will be via direct deposit but it won’t be issued for at least another ten days.
With the primary suspect out of the country, Roger decides to question the other ex-wives, starting with #2, Margo Swift, now a barista in Leavenworth, KS. He reaches her via phone at work. She says she doesn’t know much at all about Tommy’s third ex but the fourth one, Brianna Johnson, blamed Tommy for her life going seriously downhill. He never repaid her $10K loan to help pay off some gambling debts. Subsequently she fell behind on the mortgage for the dream home in an affluent Chicago suburb. Eventually she lost the home in foreclosure, which led to her increased drinking and heroin addiction. Her addiction was so bad she and a friend, another heroin addict, robbed a jewelry store to support their habit. She spent five years in prison.
Roger, along with Stephen and the epic feline, go on a road trip to Belfield, ND, home of Brianna Johnson. On the way there, the brakes on Roger’s Intrepid fail. He barely avoids crashing into a truck on the freeway and all three passengers survive without injury. An elderly driver takes them to the Cowboy’s Inn where they rest up before Roger questions Brianna Johnson the following day.
Now free of booze and heroin, Brianna seems like a dry drunk to Roger. She’s not using but isn’t happy with her life in the tiny, isolated town. And while she’s upset with her ex, Roger doesn’t think she’s upset enough to have murdered him. He waits to make a final judgment until he can check out her alibi that she attended an AA meeting the night of the murder and would have been impossible for her to have reached Tommy’s house in time to commit the murder.
After he finishes with Brianna, Roger and Stephen (with Shaggy) go to Bully Pulpit Golf course, https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Bully+pulpit+flyover&view=detail&mid=DB6150B5B2D0131607B4DB6150B5B2D0131607B4&FORM=VIRE, which is in the top five of both their bucket lists. On the third hole, after they’ve both hit their drives, a jackrabbit appears in the fairway. Shaggy launches into attack mode and goes after the jackrabbit. Roger and Stephen run after the epic feline. The jackrabbit disappears into the nearby stand of trees. Shaggy stops running about 225 yards from the tee. Then then their golf cart explodes, the force of the explosion felt by both humans and probably the cat too. Roger deduces that the suspect must have an accomplice and it’s probably his new gay lover.
They return to the Twin Cities and the next morning, with both the suspect and the prison employee staying with Brad away, Roger plants two bugs in Brad’s bungalow. He barely evades detection after Brad returns home just as the PI finishes planting the second electronic spying device.
That night Roger listens to what the bugs have captured. He hears Brad and Gina (ex #1) discuss their arrangement. Gina insists on an in-person meeting at 9:00 that night in the woods by Tommy’s burnt-down home. Amazed that Gina is on the murder, Roger brings his gun and mobile phone (to record their conversation) when he goes into the woods to check out the suspects’ meeting.
Roger leaves Shaggy in the car as he goes to find a hiding place to spy on the meeting. First Brad arrives, then Gina. Gina says she isn’t happy with the distribution of the insurance money. She insists on an even 50/50 split. Brad dismisses the idea, won’t budge on the 70/30 figure they’d originally agreed on. He pulls out his .38 and aims it at his accomplice. Gina explains how she has gained the leverage in their relationship. She told a close personal friend to wait two days and then use the key Gina gave them to open a safe deposit box at Gina’s bank. In the box is a note with all the details of their crime. If Brad agrees to the 50/50 split, Gina will tell the friend to forget about opening the safe deposit box. An enraged Brad considers his options.
It’s then that Roger jumps up from his hiding spot and aims his Glock 23 at Brad. From that point on, a tense gun battle ensues. Roger gets unexpected help, shots are fired.
And that’s all I can reveal. For screenwriting agents, managers and studio executives, I will of course gladly reveal the ending.