PLEASE NOTE: As you read the screenplay, you may notice that it is not, word for word, identical to the 'radio-play' version. That's because in adapting the screenplay, I added voice-over narration to get in the visual description that you would normally read. Actually, a lot of people have told me that I should include some of the narration in the screenplay, that they like the 'private eye' feel. What do you think?
Henry C. Parke
Copyright by Henry C. Parke July 9, 2007
Registered W.G.A. West
MAIN TITLES ARE SUPERIMPOSED OVER A SERIES OF DISSOLVES.
As we HEAR BENNY GOODMAN & HIS ORCHESTRA, featuring vocalist PEGGY LEE, performing WE'LL MEET AGAIN, we SEE NEWSREEL SHOTS, POST CARDS, and NEWSPAPER PHOTOS of Los Angeles, circa 1947, each view showing an old landmark, then DISSOLVING INTO the dreary reality that's replaced it.
Bullocks-Wilshire and other elegant shops along the Miracle Mile are DISSOLVED INTO discount suit brokers and electronics stores with signs in Korean.
The Trocadero is replaced by a parking lot.
The Brown Derby is replaced by a mini-mall.
The Ambassador Hotel is boarded up.
The once-elegant cluster of theatres on South Broadway, now either shuttered or gutted for indoor 'swap meets'. END MONTAGE. END TITLES. FADE MUSIC INTO STREET SOUNDS. . . .
EXT. SOUTH BROADWAY TODAY - SERIES OF SHOTS - MAGIC HOUR
The beauty of the approaching sunset contrasting with the grubbiness of the street-level world. The major difference between South Broadway and downtown Tijuana is that you hear more English in Tijuana.
WORKING PEOPLE HURRY HOME, crowds eddying around the SHOPPING-CART PEOPLE, leading us to --
EXT. GRAND CENTRAL MARKET - DINNER TIME - HERDS OF PEOPLE
from every social, economic and ethnic group, crowding IN and OUT of the doors at a New York City pace.
INT. GRAND CENTRAL MARKET - BLAZING NEON AND FOOD STALLS
far as the eye can see -- it's like Farmer's Market on meth! We PUSH IN on a stall with a RED NEON LOBSTER.
BUSY SEAFOOD STALL - SUSHI AND FRIED FISH BEHIND GLASS
Two prosperous-looking day-traders in their 20s drink lattes, their conversation lost in the din. CHASE is blond; RAUL is darker, wears a sports jacket with jeans, and chews gum.
A PHONE RINGS, and they and the Asian Stall MANAGER all look up to see the FAX behind the counter START PRINTING. Manager glances at the page, hands it to Raul, asking --
This the one?
It's a dinner order on stationery headed ARMSTRONG AVIATION DESIGN.
MOMENTS LATER - FACING DOORS TO STREET
WE TRACK FROM BEHIND as a DELIVERY GUY, wearing a baseball jacket and cap with the lobster logo, carrying a shopping bag, PUSHES THROUGH THE DOOR AND OUT.
EXT. GRAND CENTRAL MARKET - CONTINUOUS - WE FOLLOW HIM
as he crosses the street against a CRIMSON SUNSET, then we lose him in the crowd as we ADJUST TO REVEAL the Bradbury Building diagonally across the street.
INT. BRADBURY BUILDING - IN ALL ITS BAROQUE GLORY
The crowd here is better dressed, mostly suits and skirts. Leaning against a reception desk, flipping through ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST, is SCOTT.
Scott is handsome, trim under the faux Armani suit, obviously waiting for his date -- every time someone comes in from the street, or gets off one of the two open-cage elevators, he glances up, then, disappointed, goes back to his magazine.
But his glance is not truly casual -- he's noting details of passers-by in SUDDEN CLOSE-UP: the mix of elegant and shabby shoes -- a pearl choker against an alabaster collar-bone -- a tattoo peeking from under a Prada sleeve --
Delivery Guy ZIPS by Scott just as an elevator disgorges passengers.
CAMERA ADJUSTS to show Delivery Guy's face -- IT'S RAUL. Scott notes him along with the others, starts to go back to his magazine, then stops, looks again.
Raul waits as the last passengers exit. As he shifts the bag from his right hand to his left, his watch slips into view.
Scott looks -- it's a Rolex! The second hand sweeps!
Scott drops the magazine, moves unhurriedly for the elevator --
-- Raul ENTERS elevator, ELEVATOR OPERATOR CLOSES the gate as Scott reaches it, and as it ascends, Scott SPINS to the facing elevator, about to close, SQUEEZES in, saying --
The second elevator GOES UP.
INT. 3RD FLOOR COURTYARD - SCOTT IS OUT OF THE ELEVATOR
before the gate is completely open, leans over the courtyard railing to see the 2nd floor --
-- spots RAUL ENTERING AN OFFICE whose frosted glass door features the ARMSTRONG AVIATION logo we saw on the FAX. He HURRIES DOWN STAIRS.
INT. ARMSTRONG AVIATION -- WALLS DOTTED WITH PHOTOS
paintings and blueprints of planes, vintage and modern. Raul waits as RECEPTIONIST speaks on the phone -- as in b.g., DOOR OPENS, SCOTT ENTERS.
. . . your food is here.
Dino'll be right out.
I'll be right with you.
Armstrong Aviation Design.
Then DINO, a lanky, shaggy-haired figure in denim, appears.
What's the damage?
Eleven eighty-five, please.
Raul extends the food bag, and you can just glimpse a thick manila envelope inside. Dino takes the bag while extending several fanned-out bills.
As Raul takes the money -- SNAP! -- Scott SLAPS a handcuff on his wrist -- jerking the wrist around so we see the fan of bills covers a CD disk.
Well, I hope you boys enjoy your lobsters, 'cause it's
gonna be five to ten before you get another. You're under arrest.
Please tell Mr. Armstrong I've located his leak.
Taking advantage of Scott's momentary distraction -- BAM! -- Dino throws a RIGHT TO THE JAW that knocks Scott on his ass, making Scott lose his grip on the handcuff!
-- Raul BOLTS OUT the door --
-- Scott stands, PLOWS A FIST deep into Dino's stomach. As Dino FOLDS, Scott grabs a handful of his hair, SMASHES Dino's face into the desk, yanks out another set of cuffs. He SLAPS one on Dino's wrist, SLAPS the other onto a leg of the desk --
-- Then Scott is SCRAMBLING out the door!
INT. HALLWAY - OUTSIDE ARMSTRONG AVIATION - CONTINUOUS
Scott scans the space for sound or movement. Nothing. Then the ECHO OF RUNNING -- and Scott spots Raul, not twenty yards away, BOLTING DOWN THE HALLWAY. SCOTT RUNS AFTER HIM --
Scott is gaining on Raul, both running and puffing --
You're not getting out of here!
Suddenly Raul reaches a dead end of the balcony, SPINS on Scott, aiming a 9mm! Scott STOPS, shoes SKIDDING ON THE MARBLE FLOOR. He throws his hand up without being told.
Yes I am, and you're not going to stop me!
That's right: I'm not. Want to make it easy on
yourself, just give me the CD and go.
You follow me, I'll kill you!
Scott approaches cautiously; Raul is very frightened, indecisive, and dangerous.
I'm not gonna follow you, not as long as I have
that CD. I'm not a cop, I'm private security. All I
care about is the disk.
Jesus, it's all over! Dino'll tell them everything. . .
(off his indecision)
Then come on, hand it over, and get a head start
before the cops come!
Scott still approaches cautiously, hands raised --
A head start? A head start to where? You don't
get it: it's all over!