VOICEOVER: Todd and Nancy are looking to buy a house in upstate Maine, close to the Canadian border. After Todd lost his job and Nancy wound up pregnant, they wanted a fresh start. Todd learned from a passionate high school friend that prescription drugs are less expensive in Canada than in the US, and that obtaining them and reselling them in the US is, while not legal, profitable. They’re looking to resettle far from Nancy’s parents in Queens and raise their baby far away from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.
PHYLLIS (real estate agent, 84 years old, out of retirement after husband spent all of savings on a cruise to Mexico): So what are you looking for in a home?
TODD: We really want something classic. Brick, big front porch, one of those stars on the outside. It also must have a mailbox, a BIG mailbox.
NANCY: It can’t be anywhere near the road. You know, because of the little one. And I like the modern aesthetic. I won’t live in a house built before 2007.
PHYLLIS: Before 2007?
NANCY: That’s right. Nothing before 2007. It also has to be in a good school district. Near the grocery store.
TODD: We’re also going to need a big kitchen-
NANCY: With a tiled backsplash.
TODD: No backsplash. We discussed this.
NANCY: We discussed the counters-
TODD: We never discussed the counters, I would never discuss a counter.
NANCY: Backsplashes are nice. And Todd, you never spend time in the kitchen.
TODD: Oh yeah? We’re really bringing this up again? Is that why you cheated? Because I can’t cook?
PHYLLIS: So you want something modern, built after 2007, and brick?
NANCY: And no crown molding. Anywhere. If I even smell crown molding, you’re fired. (laughs)
PHYLLIS: What’s your budget?
TODD: We can’t go over 200,000.
PHYLLIS, looking at the shivering couple: Now before we go in – I know it’s cold, I’m sorry, but this is Maine – this house is a little over your budget at 275-
NANCY: What do you not understand about a max budget?
PHYLLIS: I’m sorry, but I think you’ll like everything this house has-
TODD, walking back to the car: I’m sorry, Phyllis, our budget is under 200,000. Come on, Nancy.
NANCY, hauntingly, with a hand on her stomach, as she walks backwards to the car: I’m pregnant, Phyllis. Pregnant.
PHYLLIS looks past the camera and shrugs. CAMERAMAN shrugs back.
PHYLLIS: Okay, this one is priced at 189 but I think I can get the price down. It’s been on the market for a year now and I think the sellers would let it go for a Klondike bar, at this point.
NANCY, faintly: Todd, the realtor is trying to joke.
TODD, looking at the camera: Everybody wants fame.
PHYLLIS: So let’s step inside. It’s two bedrooms, one and a half baths, built in 2004-
TODD, rolling his eyes: I know, I know…
PHYLLIS: That’s going to be extremely difficult at your price point, in this area. This is rural Maine.
NANCY: Do you want my child to grow up being haunted by a ghost?
PHYLLIS: 2004 was 13 years ago.
NANCY, faintly, retreating to the car: Thirteen. Oh God she said thirteen.
TODD: And apparently we’re leaving… Maybe Jake from your work can afford a more modern house…
PHYLLIS: This is the last house I could find that met all of your requirements. It was built in 2009. Apart from a slight termite problem in 2014, it’s in good shape. As you can see, this is a brick house with a porch that only needs a little bit of restoration – maybe don’t walk there – and it’s priced at exactly 200!
NANCY: Ooh, this all sounds great!
TODD, with a fake smile aimed toward the camera: Let’s check it out.
PHYLLIS leads them inside. After a slight mishap with the low doorway, CAMERAMAN eventually joins them in the spacious living room.
PHYLLIS: Now this living room has plenty of space for a big sofa, a playpen-
NANCY: And this fireplace! Oh, adorable! Look at the mantlepiece… Incredible.
TODD: This carpeting seems a little dirty, it’ll have to come out.
NANCY: I hate the white walls, this would look much better in a burnt siena. Or blood orange. Or chartreuse!
PHYLLIS, opening a door: Todd, I have a special space for you… The home office!
TODD: Oh this is nice, very nice… I can really see myself running a small business from here. The printer here, the computer here, the safe over here, the pills in the corner away from the window…
PHYLLIS: And the french doors would mean you can work and keep an eye on the little one in the living room.
TODD, uncertainly: Yeah, great…
NANCY, from the kitchen: THERE’S CROWN MOLDING IN HERE!
TODD, murderously: Phyllis…