THE KOI KEEPER
Treatment

by
Felice Bassuk & Richard F. Russell


Logline:  
A kidnapped American girl falls in love with her mysterious rescuer and marries him,

only to discover he was the underworld kingpin responsible for her kidnapping.

Silk and satin, romance and seduction. KIMBERLY HARRINGTON, late 30s, stunning blonde in a negligee, heat on a hotel bed. TOSHIRO, 40, handsome, mysterious, and naked, kisses her tenderly…

CLAY HARRINGTON, an American diplomat in Bangkok, is Kimberly’s cuckold husband; SYBIL, 16, is their precocious daughter. Addicted to the drugs Toshiro supplies, Kimberly plans to run away with him – tomorrow! But the next day, drug-sick and fearful of leaving her family, Kimberly calls it off. She can’t do it.

Toshiro is quietly enraged, and his jilting ignites this tale of love, desire, and survival.

Clay returns home to find a lifeless Kimberly, pills spilled beside her in bed. At her memorial, off to the side, Toshiro studies Sybil intently. The next day, on a walk with her bodyguard, Sybil is kidnapped. Her bodyguard resists in a highly charged martial arts battle – but she dies, leaving Sybil helpless.

Sybil is taken to a large estate with walls and guards and gates. To her astonishment, she’s settled in a lush bedroom. She eats with other captives who obey a strict pecking order. At the head of the table is Golden Girl, a blonde Thai, the slave-master.  She is tough, aggressive, and hates Sybil’s ‘privileged’ attitude. Ratana, a practical Cambodian girl, clues Sybil in on the rules, and they quickly bond.

Sybil meets Toshiro. To Sybil, Toshiro is an enigma with no ties to her mother. He informs Sybil that the compound is her new home. Sybil is wary – what about her parents? Not answering, Toshiro leads Sybil to a garden where martial arts professionals spar under the watchful eye of Golden Girl. Upon Toshiro’s signal, one after another, the Men attack. Golden Girl levels each one with ease and grace. Sybil watches in awe.

At a koi pond, Toshiro draws philosophic and moral lessons from the multi-colored fish. He tells Sybil that koi seek perfection, and if they fall short, they are released from a flawed life. Sybil is increasingly fascinated by Toshiro, who personifies the wisdom and resilience of koi. But is he her protector or her captor? Golden Girl, the keeper of the koi, observes Toshiro’s growing interest in Sybil and twitches with jealousy.

Deeply devastated by his double tragedy, Clay’s demeanor and behavior deteriorate. His outbursts shock everyone, including the Embassy staff. He becomes persona non grata, and the Ambassador orders him to leave Thailand.

Clay defies the Ambassador’s orders and secretly remains in Thailand, installing himself in a run-down boarding house. He hires a corrupt investigator who rips him off, a comely journalist who enshrines Sybil’s disappearance online, even a gang of thugs – anyone who can help him find Sybil. To no avail.

Having lost to Golden Girl, a thug plots to kidnap Sybil and claim the reward offered for Sybil’s return. He leads a gang of “businessmen” into Toshiro’s compound to taste the “orgy” hosted there. They grab Sybil, but Golden Girl appears and a martial arts massacre begins. Toshiro blocks the thug carrying Sybil and takes him apart, piece by piece. With the man demolished at his feet, Toshiro tells Sybil she will commence fight training the next day.

Golden Girl reluctantly trains Sybil, whose skills improve rapidly. Nevertheless, Sybil longs to escape. When Ratana falls ill, Sybil conceives a way to obtain medicine. They flee and hide in the back of a wagon bound for Bangkok. When they reach downtown a riot ensues. They press on, but behind them a MOB revs into motion, shouting slogans. The mob swells and surges, sweeping the girls into its midst. An army truck unloads soldiers in riot gear. TV vans arrive; camera crews spill out. A grenade explodes, soldiers fire teargas, gunfire erupts. Panic!

At the U.S. Embassy, despite Sybil’s desperate pleas, the guards won’t grant entry. Clay has been caught up in the fracas as well. Trying to evade the violence, he sees a blonde girl thrown into a police van. Sybil? He contacts the investigator who assures him no white girl was arrested. Exasperated, Clay fires the investigator. He’ll do this on his own.

Sybil settles Ratana in a hotel and runs for medicine for the ailing girl. But it is no use. Ratana has perished. Sybil returns to the compound alone.

Sybil studies the koi. She reads and learns to identify the different types and how to care for them. With Ratana gone, she grows to love the koi, her only friends. Toshiro appoints Sybil his Koi Keeper – replacing Golden Girl, who barely conceals her outrage.

Toshiro visits a Thai Official, WONGSAWAT, seeking permission to acquire a piece of property to expand his business. Wongsawat suspects Toshiro of drug dealing and sex trafficking and sends him away. In his limo, Toshiro smokes opium and offers it to Sybil, who wishes to support him against the authorities.

On TV, the journalist presents a follow-up report about kidnapping and human trafficking. Rumors about Toshiro figure prominently. Wongsawat sees the report, and his anger grows. At home, in bed at night, he is brutally attacked. But the attacker dies without revealing who was behind the assault.

Stockholm syndrome: Sybil has become deeply enamored of Toshiro. She’s been seduced by his looks, his mysticism, his power, and the drugs he offers. Her moxie, her fighting ability, and her care of the koi have impressed him. He takes her out, buys her new clothes, wines and dines her, and they make love for the first time.

When the koi are killed with bleach, Toshiro suspects Golden Girl. In a stunning motion, he slashes her throat.

Sybil accompanies Toshiro on a koi-buying trip.  He values her knowledge and skill as they re-stock the pond. After, he shows her where he grew up and shares his tortured memories of being abandoned by his family. He convinces Sybil that, after her mother’s death, her father sold her! They are joined by their common abandonment. They marry in an elegant Shinto ceremony and spend their honeymoon in a hotel.

The Gang Leader learns where Sybil lives, and Clay joins the gang in a raid on Toshiro’s compound. A gun battle rages between gang and guards, and Clay kills a guard. But Sybil is nowhere to be found. She and Toshiro are still at the honeymoon hotel. Thai police arrive, and Clay is arrested. Incarcerated, Clay’s beard grows wild as he wastes away, unaware that Sybil rejoices in her love for Toshiro.

But love, like Sybil’s story, takes many twists and turns. Sybil finds evidence of Toshiro’s affair with her mother and her father’s banishment from Thailand. She confronts Toshiro, who simply says: “Koi deal with surprise. Koi overcome.” He does not understand – Sybil is not a fish.

Clay’s friends at the Embassy hear of his arrest and concoct a secret plan to break him out. They succeed, and they convince Wongsawat that Toshiro has Sybil. Wongsawat plans a raid.

Toshiro hosts another “orgy” where his girls service wealthy men. Sybil dresses exotically and joins Toshiro at the koi pond. He turns to admire the fish. When he turns back, she buries a knife in his chest. “That’s for my mother,” she says. When she tries to extract the knife, he grabs her hand and pins it against his chest. “You seek release?” she asks. He lets go, and she pulls out the knife – before she hands it back!  “Release yourself,” she whispers, and flees.

Wongsawat and the troops arrive, and a battle engulfs the gate. Sybil hides in the bushes. As the troops enter the compound, Toshiro sinks to his knees in the pond, his blood turning the water crimson. Wongsawat orders his men to fish out the barely alive Toshiro.

Free at last, Sybil dashes through the gate – and freezes. Walking toward her, scraggy and bearded, is Clay.  He stops, exhausted but overcome with joy.  She can barely breathe as tears run down her cheeks…

“Daddy?”