© 2002 K. Brian Neel, all rights reserved
Castor Follett McSouly
(Lights up. A man is on his knees, awkward and contorted, screaming. Blackout.
(Fade up on man standing with back to audience.)
Donald: A journey into the past is like looking through a window. No matter how much you pound and yell, you're helpless to change what's on the other side.
(The song 'What's New Pussycat' rises, barely audible.)
Donald: Fade up: INTERIOR: LIVING ROOM. NIGHT. A little girl…
Sharon: …Sharon Pierce sits on the floor watching TV. The set glows on her face as she blankly stares at the screen, habitually twisting her long blonde hair. (She mumbles the lyrics to 'What's New Pussycat.') Behind her sits her mother, Eve Pierce, on a worn plaid couch.
Eve: Don't sit so close to the TV, honey. Sharon, listen to your mother. You'll ruin your eyes. End up like your cousin Rich, with those glasses. I had a cousin Rich. Well, Richard. Didn't call him Rich. We used to sneak off at family reunions, ditch the other kids and play doctor. He was a real bastard. I liked him. Wonder what he's up to now? Probably in prison or the army or something. Cut to:
Donald: INTERIOR CLOSET. The door opens and a pair of masculine arms reach in. Hands clamp down on a large rifle. They linger there for a moment, then lift and pull it out of view. The door closes. Cut to:
Eve: You should learn a musical instrument, Sharon. It's good to know even if you don't keep it up later in life. Look at me, I'd been playing piano for years by the time I was your age. Could still pick it up. It'd be in body memory, right. And this body's got memory, let me tell you. Was a beautiful body once. Cut to:
Nolan: Fingers loosening and tightening on the rifle as it moves down a hallway, past out-of-focus pictures of posed couples and families. Cut to:
Sharon: Sharon’s round face transfixed by the hypnotic flicker. She still sings to herself.
Donald: Cut to: Close-up of the trigger. Finger frozen against the cold, curving metal; glistening in the television light. Cut to:
Sharon: (Twisting her hair.) Cut to:
Eve: Fingers twisting the fabric of a long flowery nightgown. What was the name of that beauty contest? Everyone told me I'd win. They say that to all the girls...
Donald: Cut to: (Hands on rifle) Cut to: (Hand on hair.) Cut to: (Hands on Rifle. Hand on hair. Hands twisting nightgown. Pointing rifle. Hair. Nightgown. Raising rifle. Hair. Nightgown. Rifle aimed. Hand on hair. Gun lunges forward. Blackout. Sound: gunshot. Fade-in: Woman’s hand, limp, hanging over the arm of the couch. What’s New Pussycat rises into stereo clarity. Fade-out:)
(Sound: Rain. Fade-in:)
Donald: INTERIOR: FORD ESCORT. DAY. Raindrops hit the windshield and are pushed away by wipers. The car turns into a grand entryway, past a huge wrought-iron gate. Through the dripping glass, Donald Everly, a plain looking man in his thirties, sees row upon row of grave stones lining the lush green hills. As the car winds down the pothole drive, Donald sees a black hearse, glistening even in the pouring rain, at the head of a line of parked cars. He pulls the Escort over and parks. (Donald emerges from the baby blue rental.) In the distance a small group of black-clad mourners surround an open grave. As he walks in their direction he passes…
Ely: …a young bald man leaning over the window of a red 280ZX. The man is talking to a pretty blonde woman, motioning her to come with him. She just sits there, clutching the steering wheel. She's crying.
Donald: Donald continues onto the soft, wet grass, but the service is ending. Black umbrellas begin to disperse around him. An older woman, a man, and a little girl linger behind. The girl tosses her bright, flowery umbrella into the open grave. The adults grab her hands and lead her away in the direction of the other mourners. Eventually they come upon Donald. Hello, Nolan.
Nolan: Donald? What are you doing here?
Donald: Cut to: Close-up of a family photo in an ornate wood frame. The picture is of Nolan, Eve, and Sharon standing next to a Sold sign on the front lawn of a house. INTERIOR: LIVING ROOM. GRANDMA'S HOUSE. My flight was late, I hope I didn’t disturb the service.
Nolan: No, no… Don, it's good to see you, but you didn't have to come all this way.
Donald: I know, but I wanted to. Besides, it's been ages. What have you been up to all these years?
Nolan: I teach gym at the high school?
Donald: Gym! You hated gym.
Nolan: Yea, but it's girls gym. It's different. (He laughs. Donald forces a laugh to match.) What have you been doing, Don?
Donald: Oh, you know, a lot of stuff over the years. I'm manager at a grocery store.
Nolan: Oh, that's great. (pause) So, how long are you in town for, Don?
Donald: Just a few days. (pause) Well, I should get to the hotel, haven't unpacked. Look, if there's anything I can do for you…
Nolan: Sure, sure.
Donald: Are you going to be all right?
Nolan: Oh yeah, Sharon and I are staying here at Ma's for a while. She takes good care of us. Thanks for coming, Don. We should get together for lunch or something before you go.
Donald: That'd be great. Donald leaves. As he's walking down the sidewalk toward the baby blue rental he notices…
Castor: …a greasy haired fat man sitting in a late model Buick Regal parked across the street. Their eyes momentarily meet.
INTERIOR: SUPER 8 MOTEL ROOM. Extreme close-up of a needle pushing into the rubber top of a vial. Clear liquid filling the plastic hypodermic chamber. (The needle is pulled out of vial, finger tapping bubbles away, liquid squirting into the air.) Needle puncturing pale skin. Thumb slowly pushing against the syringe, injecting the fluid. Donald yanks the needle out of his leg and rubs the wound. He tosses the hypodermic into the trash, but misses. (Donald picks up the needle, pauses in thought, then drops the stuff into the trash and slings his coat over his arm. He opens the room door and walks into the hallway.) Turning a corner by the main desk, Donald sees the fat man from the car. He's talking to the front clerk, writing something down on a small notepad. The fat man nods his head and waddles out the glass door.
(DONALD REVISITS TOWN MONTAGE. Walk Right Back by the Everly Brothers strums into prominence. Donald drives and smiles.) Cut to: Quaint shopping district. (Looking out the window, he almost causes a car accident.) Cut to: Busy Arcade. (Donald plays pinball, looses but has a grand old time.) Cut to: City park. (Donald walks about, sits on a bench, relaxing. He suddenly rises, wipes water from his butt and walks on.) Cut to: Outside a Hospital. (Donald worriedly examines the building, remembering a time when.) Cut to: College lecture hall. (Our hero slides into a row of desks, sits with memories. Music fades. Dissolve to:) outside Roy's Tavern. (Donald opens the door and enters.
(Donald looks around, then walks up to the bar. He sits on a stool, touching the wood surface longingly. He tries to flag the bartender, but the man ignores him. A conversation continues beside him…)
Jeptha: Sure, sure, but the point is to accept what is, because that is right.
Charlie: Speak for yourself, Jeptha. What is for me, is whatever I want it to be.
(He laughs. Camera pans to the next person at the bar, a drunken Barfly, downing his drink. The Bartender takes his glass, refills it, turns and grabs a Budweiser from the cooler under the bar. The camera follows the beer as it is carried across the room to a table. It's set down. A hand picks it up and brings it to the mouth of Nolan Pierce, who chokes on the swig when he notices Donald standing above him.)
Nolan: Don! What are you doing here? Oh, that's right. We used to frequent this place. The old hangout. Guess it doesn't mean as much when you haven't returned, huh? Well, have a seat, Man. Remember the blackout? This place was packed. All lit up with candles. And we kept getting cold beer, so we thought they must have a generator or something, and it turns out the power had been on for hours… Jump cut. I loved Eve. I mean, we had our problems. It was marriage after all. But you wouldn’t know anything about that, would ya? Oh, sorry. It's just that she bitched a lot. I couldn’t do anything right. Sometimes I'd stay at school for as long as I could so I wouldn't have to go home. That's why I lead lots of extracurriculars. But that would make Eve even more pissed off. And she'd get on my case even more. All that changed when Sharon came along. A kid really changes things... Jump cut. Everything was just normal. Eve was getting on my case about fixing the sink. And then she starts watching TV with Sharon. I was in the kitchen and got it in my head to clean the rifle. I don’t know why. I’ve cleaned that gun a hundred times, Don. The last time I used it was at the field about, I don't know, a month ago. I walked into the living room and bumped the door and it went off. I didn’t even know what happened. Sharon screamed and I thought it'd hit her. Then I saw Eve. Slumped over the couch in her nightgown. The bar door opens and a beautiful blonde woman in a black leather jacket enters. She scans the room, spots Nolan, then turns and exits. Well, shit, I should get back to ma's house. Check on Sharon. It was good seeing you Don. I'll give you a call. Cut to: EXTERIOR: 'ROY'S'. NIGHT. Nolan is crossing the street when a dark Pontiac Grand Am peals around the corner and accelerates. It swerves at him. (Nolan is clipped. He falls to the sidewalk. Donald runs over.)
Donald: We catch the glimpse of a bald man driving as it streaks past the intersection. Jesus Christ! Nolan, are you alright?
Nolan: Yea. Probably one of my fucking students. Forget it, Don. Don! I'm fine. Jesus. Nolan gets into his silver Jimmy and drives off.
Donald: Donald plops into the Escort, heart pumping like mad. He rests his head on the steering wheel. Gathering himself, he takes the key from his pocket when he notices… (Music: Duke Ellington's Half the Fun) the lights of a red 280ZX flash on across the street. It pulls out of it’s spot and accelerates down the road. Donald fires up the Escort and follows. EXTERIOR: DON JUAN MOTEL. The ZX pulls in and Donald follows. It parks. Donald reverses into a spot directly across the lot. The blond woman gets out of the car and goes into room 107. Donald cuts the engine and waits. Dissolve to: Later. Donald is drifting off when the door to 107 opens…
Nolan: …and Nolan emerges. He closes the door behind him, saunters down the walkway, gets into his Silver Jimmy and drives away.
Donald: Donald is about to start the Escort when the motel door opens again.
Meme: The blonde woman emerges and walks to her car.
Donald: Donald turns the key. Nothing happens. He turns it again. It rolls over, and over, and finally starts. He puts it in gear and takes off after the ZX.
Donald: EXTERIOR: 'RIBBONS'. The blonde enters a back door of the building as the Escort pulls into the gravel parking lot. A billboard on the wall says ‘Mondays. Exercise Democracy. Vote For Hottest Waitress.' Cut to: INTERIOR: STRIP CLUB.
(Music: Penthouse by We Music blasts.)
Donald: Donald passes the velvet rope of the entryway. The place is vast and packed with people.
Waitress: A topless waitresses pushes by, tray in hand.
Vanessa: On the main stage, a blonde baby doll strips down soft and sultry, surrounded by the nameless torsos of men.
Frat Guy: Four young frat types giggle to each other as a voluptuous vinyl clad Betty Page leans over them. One of them reaches for his wallet.
Donald: The walls are lined with couches, basically padded benches, Men and strippers sit in various stages of business—
Stripper 1: some of the women gyrate, thrusting themselves into the men, others sit,
Nameless Man: chatting arm in arm. Strangely, the faces of the men cannot be seen,
Stripper 2: but the women’s faces are clear and vibrant and alive. They smile as they pass from table to table. On the other side of the club,
Passion: a nude Asian woman acrobatically spins around a pole.
Announcer: Let’s hear it for lovely Vanessa on the main stage. And leaving our north stage, the invigorating Passion. Next up, Diamond! She's not just a girl's best friend.
(Music: Sneaker Pimps' Post Modern Sleaze.)
Donald: A man comes up to Donald and tells him he must sit. Donald stumbles over to the only open table directly in front of the north stage. A woman in men’s fruit of the loom underpants and a very short tank top, Diamond, enters the stage. She begins her dance. Donald stares at her like he’s watching a car accident. Just then a hand glides across his shoulder.
Lips: Lips leans over him and smiles. Would you like a dance?
Donald: I’m looking for Someone.
Lips: I'm someone. Donald scans the room, spots the blonde at the bar and points at her. Lip's smile fades, what seems to be disappointment, but is actually just the loss of a client. Rough night. You want Misty, huh? I'll get her for you, hon. (She turns and walks away.)
Donald: Donald turns to Diamond who is now fully naked lying on the stage, spread-eagle, triangle directed right at him. His mouth drops.
Meme: A thin dancer with long, curly blonde hair, small breasts enclosed in a frilly black bra, matching g-string, and knee-high boots comes up behind him. It's her. I'm Misty. Would you like a dance?
Donald: She leads him by the hand to a dark extremity of the club, to an open area on the "couch". Donald sits awkward, stiff. He can't take his eyes off her. She sits close to him.
Meme: This is your first time, isn’t it. That’s OK. I’ll help you through it. Dances start at ten dollars… and go to twenty… then thirty…. One dance per song. Would you like a preview?
Donald: She rises and bends over, thrusting her butt into his face. She then turns around and drapes her hands on his shoulders. He catches a glimpse of cleavage. She rubs down his chest, going lower, and lower. She kneels, head going down. Donald suddenly stops her.
Meme: But we can sit here for a while if you’d like.
Donald: Can I ask you some questions? My name is Donald Everly. I'm a friend of Nolan Pierce's.
Meme: What makes you think I know him?
Donald: I saw you at the motel tonight.
Meme: Were you following me?
Donald: No, I…
Meme: Look, I didn’t have anything to do with Eve’s death.
Donald: I never said you did.
Meme: I should get back to work.
Donald: Are you having an affair with Nolan?
Meme: (Standing, holding out her hand.) That’ll be twenty dollars, please. Cut to: ANOTHER PART OF THE CLUB. The blond woman sits in a booth next to a young bald man. Her expression is troubled. She composes herself when the man's arm winds comfortably around her shoulders. Not now, Ely.
Ely: The arm removes itself. Ely takes a drag from a cigarette. His emaciated face glows pale in the bright ember. He looks at the blonde woman, concerned; then, turns his attention to Donald who awkwardly makes his way out of the club. He exhales out his nostrils.
(Fade to black.)
Donald: (Donald pulls a needle out of his thigh.) Donald sets the syringe on the nightstand table and picks up the remote. The TV fizzles on. He begins leafing through endless basic cable when there’s a knock on the door. He tucks the syringe into the nightstand drawer and leans into the peep hole. He sees the fish-eyed face of the fat man starring back at him. Uh, who is it?
Castor: Mr. Donald Everly, my name is Castor Follett McSoully. I'm an insurance detective. Can I ask you some questions? The door opens and Castor enters. Big quality difference between super 8’s across the country, but this one ain’t so bad. (He pulls out a hanky.) A little hot, though. How long are you in town for Mr. Everly? Just a few days, huh. You've known Nolan for how long? Well, since high school and college… what, about sixteen years? You keep in touch since? No, he's not under investigation, I’m just walking around making social calls. Did you know his wife Eve?
Donald: No. I knew they were married. I just came for the funeral, to see if there's anything I can do. I thought this was an accident?
Castor: He claims it was an accident. The official record states that scenario. But, there's the matter of a rather large insurance policy, and it was gonna expire in a week. That looks a little shady, don't you think? You’re a looker, aren’t you Mr. Everly? Most people are lookers. They look at something, at someone, and judge it so. It looks so, then it’s so, right? I’m a smeller. Smell is the inside, the truth. And then there’s the matter of the little girl... The money from the policy technically goes to her. Thank you for your time, Mr. Everly. I'll give you a call if there's anything else you can do for me. Oh, by the way… I’m meeting your friend Nolan at his old house tonight. 1542 Penrose Drive. Why don't you stop by. Eight o'clock.
Donald: (Donald closes the door behind him. He sits on the bed, thinking. Then shakes it off and picks up the remote) He's about to turn on the TV when there’s another knock at the door. (He puts the remote down and opens it. He is surprised to see…) Uh, Misty.
Meme: Misty is my stage name. My real name is Meme. Spelled M-E-M-E. Like a meme. You know what a meme is, don't ya? A meme is a concept that’s passed on unconsciously from person to person. Like a song lyric. Though I'd like to think I'm that memorable.
Donald: Donald has no idea how to respond to that remark, then remembers… Oh. Come in. She is dressed in a tight fitting, low cut silk bodice with velour lining.
Meme: Not bad for a Super 8. But where’s the mini-bar? Last night you asked if I was having an affair with Nolan Pierce? Well, I was. But that was a long time ago. When Eve died, I thought I could re-kindle something. That's why I had him meet me at the motel. But, he turned me down. I guess I'm not as memorable as I thought. You see, he was my first. I was one of his students. It was all covert and fun at first, but then I really fell for him. I thought he fell for me to. Then I was gone and he moved on to the next hot young thing to bounce through the gym. You didn't know about him in this way did you? I'm sorry you had to come back because of circumstances like these. A terrible thing, what happened. A shame. A damn shame. I feel sorry for the little girl. Wonder what's going to happen to her? I hope I see you again, Mr. Everly. You seem nice. (Meme twists out the door. It clicks shut.)
Donald: Donald stands dazed.
Donald: EXTERIOR: 1542 PENROSE DRIVE. NIGHT. No lights are on in the house. Donald steps up on the almost pitch black porch, meeting the shadow of Castor smoking a cigar. Is Nolan here?
Donald: What's all this about?
Castor: You'll find out.
Donald: Just then, a silver Jimmy pulls up. Nolan steps out and meets them by the front door.
Nolan: Donald? What are you doing here?
Castor: I invited him.
Donald: Nolan looks around and takes a stuttered breath.
Nolan: I haven’t been back since the accident. Are you sure we can’t do this someplace else?
Castor: I’m sure. It'll give me a chance to look around the crime scene again. Kill two birds, so to speak.
Donald: Nolan inserts a key into the knob and hesitantly turns. The door creaks open to more darkness. Castor switches on the overhead light of the living room. He wanders about comfortably, picking up knick knacks, looking at pictures on the wall, making himself at home as usual. Nolan and Donald stand frozen in the archway. It’s a shock to see the stain on the couch so suddenly. It's gonna to be alright. We'll just get this over with.
Castor: Let’s begin, shall we. Mr. Pierce, tell me what happened. In order of appearance.
Nolan: Eve was sitting there on the couch.
Castor: We can see that, can’t we?
Nolan: And Sharon was on the floor in front of her. They were watching TV.
Castor: And where were you?
Nolan: I had just walked in…
Castor: Where do you keep the rifle?
Nolan: In the closet, in the hallway.
Castor: Have any more guns?
Nolan: A pistol, upstairs in the bedroom, for protection.
Castor: You go hunting a lot, Mr Pierce?
Nolan: Not really. Sometimes.
Castor: Were you planning a hunting trip soon?
Castor: Then why clean the damn thing?
Nolan: I don't know. Something to do, I guess.
Castor: Right. So, where did you clean it?
Nolan: On the couch.
Castor: Right next to her!
Castor: Why don’t you show me?
Castor: It’ll help me visualize the whole thing. You go have a seat where you were. Nolan hesitates. Then goes over and sits on the couch, just beyond the stain. And Eve was about here, right?
Nolan: Castor casually sits right on top of the stain.
Castor: Nolan goes pale. Show me how you were holding the gun. Jesus! Why did you hold the barrel with your left hand, it's pointed right at her?!
Nolan: It’s easier to feed the cloth.
Castor: Right. Then what happened?
Nolan: I didn’t check… Jesus, is this necessary? (Nolan puts his face in his hands. There is a long pause.)
Castor: I’m sorry, Mr. Pierce. Please, continue when you’re ready.
Nolan: I picked up Sharon and took her to the neighbor’s house. Then came back to see if there was anything I could do. I don't know why I didn’t call an ambulance. I just wanted to get her out of here. Castor is focused intently on Nolan. He's looking for something, but he's not finding it. He then reaches down, tears off a flake of dried blood, raises it, and examines it.
Castor: Nolan's face drops.
Nolan: Castor flicks it away.
Donald: This is insane! You can't intimidate my friend like this!
Nolan: Donald, it's alright.
Donald: No, it's not alright.
Nolan: Donald, shut up.
Castor: Mr. Pierce, I’m gonna lay it on the table. I don’t think this was an accident. I don’t think Eve would let you clean a gun right next to her. I don't think she'd let you clean it in front of your kid? Are you having money problems, Mr. Pierce? You gamble a lot? You owe someone a large sum, is that it? Did you fool around? Get some on the side? Got a sweet young thing waiting for you? You like the young ones, don't ya? Eve was getting old. She was what, twenty five?
Castor: Twenty eight. Right. Old. Plus you don’t need her. But you do need Sharon, don't you? Mr. Pierce, I think you murdered your wife. Killed her for two hundred thousand dollars. I know it and you know it, and the ghost of Eve knows it. And you know what? I'm not going to let you get the money.
Nolan: You can't convict me.
Castor: You're right, but I can stop the insurance settlement from going through. Yes, that's right. That's worse than conviction, isn't it? You don't get the money.
Nolan: I'll sue.
Castor: So sue me. I put you on the stand. Think you can swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God? (Pause) Tell your friend. Tell you're old friend, here, you did it. Tell him you blew your wife's face off right in front of your kid! You heartless bastard! Murderer!
Donald: Nolan doesn't budge. Castor is sweating bricks and breathing heavily. He Let's Nolan go, pulls back and staggers out the archway. The front door opens and slams shut. (Taped) What's going on, Nolan?
Nolan: I get the money. I win.
(Taped) Donald: You killed her.
Nolan: Oh, that. No, that's not true. It was an accident, I swear. A kind of a strange blessing. I mean, she was a bitch, Don. No, Don, wait. Listen to me, Eve wouldn't let me divorce her. She stayed with me out of cruelty. She was impossible to live with. It wasn't a marriage, it was crazy. She was fooling around on me, Don! But I didn't shoot her on purpose, I swear.
(Taped) Donald: You bumped the door.
(Taped) Donald: You told me the gun went off when you bumped the door.
Nolan: I did? I don't remember saying that. I didn't mean it if that's what I said. I did bump the door, but the gun didn't go off until after, when I was on the couch. I wouldn't forget something like that, Don. We were drinking.
(Taped) Donald: I know you were fooling around on her.
Nolan: What are you talking about?
(Taped) Donald: Meme.
Nolan: Meme! How do you know Meme? Meme. Meme's a slut, and she tells you I'm fooling around.
(Taped) Donald: With your students.
Nolan: Oh, Jesus. Don. Lies. I don't believe this. She's just trying to get to you. Look, Meme and I did have a thing, a very small thing, a very long time ago. It was just a kiss kind of thing. I'm not proud of it. But Meme went nuts, she became obsessed with me. She's psycho. She, she… she wanted me to kill Eve. She asked me to. But I wouldn't. I loved Eve. Besides, I haven't seen Meme in years.
Donald: You saw her last night.
(Taped) Nolan: What are you talking about?
Donald: At the Don Juan.
(Taped) Nolan: How do you know about that?
Donald: I followed you.
(Taped) Nolan: I wasn't with her last night, I swear.
Donald: I saw you.
(Taped) Nolan: No, I mean I wasn't with her. You know, with? Oh, no you don't. Sorry.
Donald: (Having a revelation) You killed Eve for Meme.
(Taped) Nolan: No, no, that is not true.
Donald: That's why you were at the motel last night.
(Taped) Nolan: Donald, please. It's not what you think. Don. Meme is Eve's sister. She came to me last night to blackmail me. She wants the insurance money. She says if I don't give it, she'll let it out that we had a 'thing'. Meme's troubled. Her whole family's screwed up. They disowned her because of what she does.
Donald: Being a stripper?
(Taped) Nolan: More than a stripper, Don. She couldn't go to the funeral, she was asking me all about it. Plus, she's pretty pissed at me. Understandably.
Donald: She came to see me today.
(Taped) Nolan: I think she may be using you to get to me.
Donald: Is that true?
(Taped) Nolan: I don't know. I think so. Don, just forget it. Forget the whole thing. She's harmless. If she tries anything she'll just end up hurting herself.
Donald: I don't know, Nolan.
(Taped) Nolan: Hey, Don, It's me. You know me. Remember that night in the hospital? Don, you were killing yourself and I stopped you. I stuck by you. That was a long time ago. I know we've lost touch. But now I need you to stick by me. Alright? Alright?
Donald: Alright. Nolan walks out the archway and leaves. Donald is left to his confusion. Cut to: INTERIOR RIBBONS.
(Sound: Portishead's All Mine.)
Ely: Bony fingers raise a cigarette. Ely takes a drag. He gazes at Meme standing at the bar, doused in the simmering lights and sound. He sees Donald enter the club and…
Donald: …storm up to her. What are you trying to pull?
Meme: What are you talking about?
Donald: You lied to me.
Meme: No, I didn't.
Donald: I know who you are.
Meme: Oh, and who's that?
Donald: Quit playing games with me. I know you're Eves sister.
Meme: I didn't lie to you. I just didn't tell you the whole truth. I needed to find out who you are. Why you came to see me that night.
Donald: I know what you're trying to do. You won't get away with it.
Meme: Yes, I will. I have to.
Donald: Leave him alone. He's getting away with it, but there's nothing you can do. If you push, you'll just screw yourself.
Meme: What do you care?
Donald: I don't know. I'm just trying to figure things out, that’s all.
Meme: I don't care if you understand. It's a family thing.
Donald: Fine, then do it.
Meme: Will you turn me in?
Donald: Today I'm letting everybody free. Besides, what do I care who gets the money.
Meme: What money?
Donald: Oh, Meme, stop it.
Meme: No, really, what are you talking about?
Donald: This is bullshit! Why are you playing me like this?
Meme: I'm not playing you, I just need to get her away from him. He's dangerous.
Donald: No, who 'she'?
Donald: What does she have to do with this?
Meme: Sharon is my daughter. I thought you knew. It was a long time ago. I had her when I was fifteen. Everyone convinced me it would be best if Nolan and Eve raised her. Sharon has no idea.
Donald: This isn't about insurance money?
Meme: What insurance money?
Donald: Nolan killed your sister for two hundred thousand dollars.
Meme: Oh my God. That son of a bitch. Sharon!
Donald: It's alright, he won't hurt her. She's the beneficiary.
Meme: What am I going to do?
Donald: We should turn him in.
Meme: But there's no proof.
Donald: My testimony. We need to go to Castor. Tonight.
Meme: Let me talk to my manager. Meet me outside.
Ely: Ely watches Donald step away from the bar and rush past the velvet rope. He sees Meme go through a door to the back of the club. He crushes the butt into an ashtray.
Donald: INTERIOR: FORD ESCORT. Donald deflates in pause. After a time, the back door of Ribbons opens. A bald man carrying a sledge hammer steps out. Donald watches him get closer to the Escort. He realizes the man is coming right toward him. Donald fumbles in his pocket for the key and finally finds it. Shaking, he inserts it into the ignition. The bald man reaches the car. The engine rolls over and over and over, but doesn't start. He raises the sledge hammer. The side window shatters.
(Donald falls out the passenger door. Music: Wynton Marsalis' Engine. Movement piece: Ely chases down Donald and beats the shit out of him. Donald ends lying on the pavement, Ely kicking him over and over.)
Ely: Leave my sister alone! (Ely walks away.)
Donald: Meme helps Donald into a small room in the back of Ribbons. She sets him down on an easy chair and goes to lock the door. She returns and begins unbuttoning his shirt, lifting it off one arm, then the other, tossing it to the floor. She touches a bruise on his chest. And again, more gently, checking for broken bones. She sees a rip in his pant leg, soaked in blood and dirt. She reaches for his belt. Donald tries to stop her, but is halted by the shooting pain. (She opens the belt and undoes his pants, leaning him up.) His pants fall to his feet. She kneels down to examine the wound. (Her gaze moves up to his underpants. Something is wrong. Without thinking, she reaches out, then stops. Shocked, she quickly moves to the other side of the room.)
Meme: Meme helps Donald into a small room in the back of Ribbons. She sets him down on an easy chair and goes to lock the door. She unbuttons his shirt, lifting it gently off one arm, then the other, tossing it to the floor. She touches his chest, checking for broken bones. She sees a rip in his pant leg that is soaked in blood and dirt. (She kneels down to examine it.) It's soaked in blood and dirt. (Reaching up to his belt, Donald tries to stop her, but is halted by the shooting pain. She opens the belt and undoes his pants. Leaning him up, the pants fall to his feet. She examines the wound.) There is a deep gash in his calf, all the way to bone. She's about to get something to wipe it with, when she notices several pinprick marks on his inner thigh. Her fingers lightly feather over them. Her gaze moves higher to his underwear. Something is wrong. (Without thinking, she reaches out, then stops. Shocked, she suddenly pulls away and moves to the other side of the room.)
Donald: When I was in college, I found out I had cancer. By the time they found out, it was too late. They had to surgically remove… everything. I have to take hormones. That's the marks. When it was happening, I was a mess. Nolan would come by the hospital. He'd bring food and beer. One night I took a sheet, draped it over this hook in the bathroom. Nolan found me. He stayed with me for three days. (Donald moves and curls in pain.) That guy… that guy is your brother? Someone tries to get in the door.
Meme: Meme goes over and cracks the door just a little. It's Ely. (She squeezes out into the hallway, pulling the door closed behind her. Club sounds can be heard in the background.)
Ely: It's happening, baby. They're all alone at the old house, packing. I'm gonna do it. (Meme turns away.) Baby, this is what you wanted. We're gonna be a family again, just like you said. All together, Except Eve. He's gonna fucking pay for that. But we gotta do it now or it'll be too late. (He grabs her forcefully, then changes his tactic.) Meme! She'll be scared. Sharon needs you. (Barely whispering in her ear…) I love you, baby.
Donald: Donald has been listening at the door. He finishes buttoning his pants and staggers into the hall. Using the wall to stabilize, he makes slow progress to… STRIP CLUB MAIN ROOM. (Sound: loud psychedelic house music.) He moves as quickly as he can in his physical state, making his way through the densely packed crowed. Men push by, ignoring him. A topless waitress notices Donald's bloody face and drops her tray of drinks. Donald suddenly finds himself flat on the carpet. He is disoriented in the strobe of legs moving around him. Eventually recovering, he uses a chair to pull himself up and continues out the door to: EXTERIOR: RIBBONS PARKING LOT. Donald sweeps the glass shards from the Escort seat and falls into place. (He turns the key.) The engine fires up effortlessly. The Escort spits gravel and accelerates down the road. Cut to:
Donald: EXTERIOR 1542 PENROSE DRIVE. NIGHT. The car skids to halt in the driveway behind the ZX. Donald falls out the door onto the wet green grass and bolts for the house. He pulls himself up the steps onto the porch, through the door, down the hallway, past the arch to INTERIOR: LIVING ROOM where he sees: (Ely has a gun tensely pointed at Nolan. Nolan is using Sharon as a shield, a knife to her throat. The little girl is stunned with fear, too young to comprehend the situation. Meme is next to Ely, reaching out to her.)
Meme: It's OK, honey. Everything's going to be alright. No one is going to hurt you.
Nolan: Back off, Meme! She's coming with me.
Ely: You're not going anywhere, you fuck!
Meme: Meme advances toward Sharon. It's alright honey. He won't hurt you. He can't hurt you.
Nolan: Stay where you are! I'm not fucking around here.
Meme: Meme takes another step.
Ely: Baby, you're blocking my shot.
Meme: Sharon calls out for her mother. Oh, honey. I'll be your mother. I'm your mommy now.
Nolan: Don't listen to her. There's just you and me. Just you and daddy.
Ely: You're not the father.
Meme: Ely, not now.
Nolan: What are you talking about?
Ely: I'm her father you fuck.
Meme: Ely, enough!
Nolan: Is that true? You're screwing your brother?!
Donald: Donald stands frozen in the archway. He looks at Ely and Meme, then at Nolan and Sharon. (He raises his arms and) very slowly, he steps between them.
Nolan: What are…
Ely: Get the…
Ely: …fuck out…
Nolan: …doing, Don!?
Ely: …of the way!
Donald: A gunshot rings out. Followed by another. Nolan collapses. And Meme falls to the floor. Castor stands in the archway, pistol pointed at Nolan. Ely drops his gun and goes to Meme's dead body.
Ely: No. Sweetie. You were in the way. Oh, Jesus! What have I done?
Sharon: Sharon stands over Nolan's limp body, numb.
Donald: Castor moves to console her. I turn and walk out the archway, down the hall, out the front door… on to the porch… I stumble down the steps onto the wet green grass. Birds are chirping in the morning air. Curious neighbors begin to gather. (He screams, long and full.
(Slow Fade To Black.)
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