This is an excerpt from a completed screenplay.
"Highway Robbery" - screenplay by Derek Paterson. FADE IN EXT. BUSY HIGH STREET - DAY Old flats above retail shops. Morning traffic hisses by. INT. BATHROOM, GEORGE'S FLAT - DAY GEORGE brushes his teeth. Early 20s, yuppie office type. He dribbles toothpaste onto his tie, and groans. As he wipes it, a mobile phone RINGTONE comes from another room. INT. LIVING ROOM, GEORGE'S FLAT - DAY Yuppie bachelor pad, leather and chrome, widescreen TV. George picks up the ringing phone. GEORGE (INTO PHONE) Yellow? MALE VOICE (V.O.) (Indian accent) Hello Mister Henderson, how are you today? Would you be liking a brand new mobile phone, free of charge sir? GEORGE Eh, no, I've already got a phone thanks-- MALE VOICE (V.O.) (his normal accent) George you arsehole it's Kenny. GEORGE Yo Kenny, you velly funny man. How's it going? MALE VOICE (V.O.) All right. You know who I ran into yesterday? Sandy McDonald. You remember him? The very mention of the name makes George wary. GEORGE Yeah, I remember. Did you check you've still got your wallet? MALE VOICE (V.O.) He says he wants to talk to you. GEORGE What does he want to talk to me for? MALE VOICE (V.O.) No idea. He gave me his number, you want to write it down? GEORGE Not really. George picks up a notepad and pen. GEORGE I've not seen him since school. What's he like now? MALE VOICE (V.O.) Twice as big and ten times as ugly. You got a pen? GEORGE Yeah. George listens, and writes a number down. GEORGE What else did he say? George listens, frowns. GEORGE Thanks Kenny, talk to you later. You have very good day now sir. George hangs up. He stares at the notepad, perplexed. He looks at his watch. He thumbs the number. RING TONE. A gruff male voice answers. MCDONALD (V.O.) Yeah, what? GEORGE (INTO PHONE) Is this Sandy McDonald? MCDONALD (V.O.) Who's asking? GEORGE It's George Henderson. MCDONALD (V.O.) Georgie, my man! Need to see you. Where are you? GEORGE I'm just on my way to work. MCDONALD (V.O.) Don't suppose you can call in sick? GEORGE Well, not really, I'm the manager. Sets a bad example for the troops. MCDONALD (V.O.) Lunch-time. Meet me at the Sunshine Cafe on Glebe Street. One o'clock, okay? GEORGE I usually work through lunch. MCDONALD (V.O.) C'mon Georgie, a breath of fresh air, do you good. Happy workers are efficient workers. George hesitates... doesn't want to... can't think of a good reason. Another deep sigh. GEORGE All right. It'll take me time to get there. Say one-fifteen? MCDONALD (V.O.) That's my boy. Be there or be square. BEEP, call ends. George mimes "Be there or be square" as if it's something a kid would say. EXT. SUNSHINE CAFE - DAY A sign, "Breakfast Served All Day" in the window. INT. SUNSHINE CAFE - DAY George enters, looks around. A handful of CUSTOMERS at plastic tables. Two WAITRESSES chat behind the counter. George sees SANDY MCDONALD at a corner table. McDonald sees him and waves him over. McDonald's the school bully, grown bigger and more dangerous. He's tucking into a breakfast. Beside McDonald sits MARTINE, purple hair and black leather. She watches George with interest. McDonald puts down his knife and offers his hand across the table. George reluctantly shakes as he sits down. MCDONALD How you doing, Georgie? Appreciate you coming. You want a cup of tea or something? GEORGE I'm all right. MCDONALD This is Martine. (to Martine) Say hello to Georgie. We were in the same class at school. He's a manager now. MARTINE Hi Georgie. GEORGE It's George. MCDONALD (bad German) Sprachen ze Deutch, Georgie? GEORGE Not since school. MCDONALD I thought you won the German prize? GEORGE Fat lot of good it did me. Some of these European guys in the office talk five languages. They make me look like a right dumpling. MCDONALD I know this German lad. Doesn't speak a word of English. How'd you like to help him with a wee problem? GEORGE Depends on the wee problem. MCDONALD There's this computer, he says it's the software, the manual's in German, none of us know what the fuck he's talking about. GEORGE Isn't there someone he can talk to? Tech support, a help desk? MCDONALD That's what he did. Gibbered on the phone for hours, cost me a fortune. Still doesn't work. So I thought, who do I know talks German? Georgie Henderson! GEORGE I'm surprised you remembered me. MCDONALD Our class was mental. Remember the laughs we had? GEORGE I remember you kicking the shit out of everyone. McDonald throws his head back and laughs. MCDONALD Okay, I was a silly boy sometimes. No hard feelings, eh? Look, there's a couple of bucks in it for you. Cash in hand, no questions. GEORGE I've got to get back to work. MCDONALD It's just round the corner. Two minutes walk. Come on, two minutes, a bit of the lingo. How about it, Georgie? You up for it? McDonald smiles but his eyes are hard, intimidating. GEORGE You know what this reminds me of? MCDONALD No. GEORGE All those times you beat me up and stole my playpiece. McDonald laughs again. MCDONALD Those were the days, eh? (to Martine) Tell Georgie you'll look after him. Make sure I don't steal his playpiece. MARTINE I'll watch out for you, Georgie. McDonald drinks his tea, gets up and heads for the door. Martine slides over and stands up. George stares open- mouthed at her short denim skirt, fishnets, leather boots. He quickly looks away, embarrassed. Martine just smiles. Martine follows McDonald out, McDonald lets the door swing shut in her face, Martine has to open it for herself. George gets up to follow but a WAITRESS cuts him off. WAITRESS That'll be three-ninety-nine. George doesn't get it. WAITRESS All-day breakfast, three-ninety- nine. George looks outside, McDonald's nowhere to he seen. He gets out his wallet, offers her a fiver. She snatches it out of his hand, glares, takes it to the cash register. GEORGE Keep the change... The two Waitresses discuss the rat who just tried to leave without paying. George exits, affronted. EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREETS - DAY George hurries to catch up with McDonald and Martine. MCDONALD What's keeping you, Georgie? GEORGE Someone forgot to pay for their breakfast. McDonald fishes into a pocket and flashes a wad of twenties. MCDONALD Would you believe it, I've not got any change. I'll pay you back later, promise. They keep walking, George a couple of paces behind. He stares at Martine's legs. Martine looks at him over her shoulder. George looks away, she's caught him again! MCDONALD (to George) It's just round the corner. (to Martine) What are you smiling at? MARTINE Nothing. EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET - TENEMENT BUILDING - DAY Boarded up, abandoned. The bottom of the boarded up door has been kicked in. McDonald ducks down, squeezes through. Martine follows him, as if they do this every day. George looks around, bewildered. This is the place? He ducks down and follows them inside. INT. STAIRWAY, TENEMENT BUILDING - DAY Peeling paint, boarded windows, poor light. McDonald, Martine and George climb upstairs. MCDONALD Told you, two minutes. Martine misses her footing and almost falls, George catches her hand, she smiles thanks. She keeps hold of his hand. INT. LANDING, TENEMENT BUILDING - DAY McDonald knocks on a scabby peeling door. MCDONALD Pardon the smell of piss. Fuckin' junkies. The door's opened by BIG SHUG, 30s, a menacing thug. George has a real bad feeling about this. McDonald enters with a nod to Big Shug. Martine leads a reluctant George inside by the hand. Big Shug closes the door. INT. DARK HALLWAY, TENEMENT BUILDING - DAY McDonald stops, blocking their way. MCDONALD (to Martine) You stay here. (to George) You're with me, Georgie. INT. BARE LIVING ROOM, TENEMENT BUILDING - DAY Boarded up windows, floorboards, peeling walls. A nailed- up sheet stretches across the room, cutting it in two. McDonald lifts a corner of the sheet for George to pass under and gestures, "After you!" In the hidden half of the room is a single chair occupied by GUNTHER. He's tied to the chair, head bowed as if he's asleep. George stops, shocked. He takes a half-step back but Big Shug is right behind him, blocking him. MCDONALD This is Gunther. The German lad with the software problem. GEORGE Jesus. What's going on? MCDONALD All we want, is for you to ask our boy here a couple of questions. McDonald grabs Gunther's hair and lifts his head. Gunther's had the shit beaten out of him, his face is a swollen mess of crusted blood and snorters. MCDONALD You ask, he answers, you go on your way. Dead simple. George gasps for breath, panic attack. McDonald puts his arm around George's shoulders and leads him over to the boarded up window. MCDONALD Calm down, Georgie. You need to listen. Are you listening? GEORGE There never was a computer, was there? MCDONALD Fuck's sake, Georgie, try to focus here. He was supposed to deliver something. We want to know where it is. What's German for, "If you don't tell us where you left it, we'll kill you." George stares at him, horrified. MCDONALD We're just going to scare him. The old "Ve haf vays of making you talk" routine. We'll let him go, he'll bugger off back to Germany, everybody's happy. We just want you to ask him, "Where did you hide it?" That's all. George sucks in deep breaths. This is a nightmare. MCDONALD Come on Georgie, you won the German prize, you can do this. Georgie! GEORGE Okay! I'll try. MCDONALD Good man! Shug! Big Shug pulls a GUN from inside his jacket. Gunther stares at the gun fearfully. So does George. MCDONALD For fuck's sakes Georgie, will you listen? Scare tactics, that's all. Nobody's going to shoot anyone. Go on, ask him. He just has to tell us where it is, and he goes free. GEORGE What's "it"? MCDONALD He knows with it is. Ask him. George steps up to Gunther. Tries to think... MCDONALD Will you just fucking ask him? GEORGE All right, give me a minute, will you? It's been years. McDonald rolls his eyes at the ceiling, why me, God? GEORGE (in broken German) Gutten Tag, Mein Herr. Wie ist der Sache... der Hauptsache? Gunther stares at him, huh? Big Shug touches the gun to Gunther's head, thumbs back the hammer. George gulps. Every muscle on Gunther's face twists and writhes in fear. GEORGE (in broken German) Wie ist der Hauptsache! Gunther responds with a STREAM OF BABBLING GERMAN. MCDONALD What's he saying? GEORGE It's too fast for me-- McDonald pushes past George and slaps Gunther hard, rocking him. But Gunther won't stop, he TALKS even faster, his eyes roll toward Big Shug's gun, he's terrified, pleading. MCDONALD What's the bastard saying? As George listens to Gunther's babbling, his expression grows more and more thoughtful. He's getting the gist. He understands. And now gears are turning in George's head. But he doesn't want McDonald to know he knows. MCDONALD Come on, come on... GEORGE He won't talk. MCDONALD He's talking plenty! Tell us what he's saying. Come on, Georgie. GEORGE You don't want to know. McDonald squeezes George's shoulder so hard George winces. GEORGE He says your mother... your mother's a whore. He says fuck off. He says fuck right off, he's not telling you anything. McDonald bares his teeth in anger. Big Shug scowls, he doesn't like this at all. He looks at McDonald, who nods. BLAM! Gunther's brains take flight. Blood spatters George's shirt and tie and his shocked face. Gunther slowly pitches sideways onto the floor taking the chair down with him. The side of his head is bloody mush. George tries to turn and run but McDonald holds him. MCDONALD Georgie. Stand still. Stop your nonsense. George freezes, gasping for breath, eyes fixed on Gunther. MCDONALD Nothing to get excited about. It's just a dead Jerry. (to Big Shug) Are you out your fucking mind? -end page 10-------- BIG SHUG I thought you wanted me to shoot him? MCDONALD In the leg. In the fucking leg. Put the gun away. You're making Georgie nervous. Big Shug sticks the gun inside his jacket. McDonald takes a wad of money from his pocket, counts out big notes, stuffs them into George's shirt pocket. MCDONALD That's you and me square for breakfast. Just go back to work. Forget this ever happened. Okay? McDonald jerks his head at Big Shug, telling him to go. Big Shug lifts the sheet and exits. McDonald lifts the sheet, ready to follow-- But he stops, looks back over his shoulder. MCDONALD You're a sensible boy, Georgie. I can trust you to keep your mouth shut, can't I? Especially when you're the prime suspect. George doesn't get it. McDonald points at his own chest, then points at George's chest. George looks down, examines his clothes. Spattered with Gunther's blood. MCDONALD Talk to the cops, they'll bang you up for murder. You mention my name, I've got two witnesses who'll say I was with them all day. Realization slaps George, now he gets it. MCDONALD See you around, Georgie boy. Well, maybe not. McDonald spits on Gunther. MCDONALD That's for Clydebank, bastard. McDonald exits, letting the sheet drop. George stares at Gunther. Blood pools under Gunther's head. A door SLAMS, startling George. He lifts the sheet. No one's there. INT. DARK HALLWAY, TENEMENT BUILDING - DAY George peeks out from the living room. They've gone. INT. LIVING ROOM, TENEMENT BUILDING - DAY George stares at Gunther's shadow behind the sheet. He takes out the money McDonald put into his pocket. He throws it down, scattering it across the floor. INT. DARK HALLWAY, TENEMENT BUILDING - DAY George wrenches the front door open, runs outside. INT. STAIRWAY, TENEMENT BUILDING - DAY George runs downstairs, four steps at a time. EXT. TENEMENT BUILDING - DAY George ducks and climbs out through the boarded entrance. He brushes himself down, looks around. No one's in sight. An empty street. EXT. STREET - DAY George walks along with his head down, hands in pockets. He comes upon-- EXT. JOLLY ROGER PUB - DAY A seedy dive. George pauses at the door, uncertain. The door flies open, two ROUGH-LOOKING MEN exit, mumbling in conversation. They don't even notice George. George grabs the door before it shuts. He goes inside. INT. JOLLY ROGER PUB - DAY Nicotine decor, tiny TV on a shelf near the ceiling, showing horse racing. Music from a 1980s compilation CD. A couple of ANDY CAPPS sit at the bar watching the TV. A young barmaid, SANDRA, wearing yellow rubber gloves cleans behind the bar. The BARMAN looks up from his sports pages. He stares at the blood on George's shirt. GEORGE Cut myself shaving. Double whisky and a pint of lager. George looks around nervously while the Barman pours the pint and the whisky. George pays for the drinks. He throws the whiskey back, takes the pint over to a table. The Barman goes back to reading his newspaper. George sits down and takes a drink. The glass RATTLES when he puts it down, his hand's shaking. The Barman glances over. A wee bit curious. George takes a deep breath. Tries to be calm. The Barman turns a page, ignoring him. Sandra, finished cleaning, gets herself an orange juice, comes round from behind the bar, sits on a stool. George studies her reflection in the mirror behind the bar. She studies him. George takes out his phone, thumbs a number. GEORGE (INTO PHONE) Angela, hi, it's George. Something's come up. Some personal business. Tell David I'll be in as soon as I can. I'll explain then. Thanks, you're a doll. I mean that in a non-sexist way. Yeah, cheers. He hangs up, puts his phone on the table. The Barman smiles knowingly. George takes another drink. The door at the other end of the bar opens, and Martine walks in. She greets Sandra, sits down beside her. They talk like old friends pleased to see each other. George stares, shocked. Sandra calls to the Barman. He pours them both a drink from the bar optics. Then goes back to his newspaper. Martine and Sandra talk while George just stares, not sure what to do. Martine laughs. She takes her drink and sees George in the mirror. She looks over her shoulder, making sure it's him. Can't believe it. Sandra twigs something's going on. She looks at George. Asks Martine what's wrong. Martine shakes her head. George gets up to leave, reaches for his phone-- Martine puts her hand on his arm, stopping him. MARTINE Wait. Please. GEORGE Or what? You'll ask your boyfriend to shoot me too? Martine hisses through her teeth-- MARTINE Keep your voice down. She makes George sit back down, and sits beside him, thigh to thigh. They talk in whispers. Sandra pretends to ignore them but casts sly glances in the mirror. MARTINE What happened back there? GEORGE Don't give us that, you know fine well what happened. MARTINE Whoa, keep your teeth in. If I knew I wouldn't be asking, okay? GEORGE Why don't you go and ask your boyfriend? MARTINE He's not my... (takes a breath) I did ask, he said, "You don't want to know." So I'm asking you. George takes a drink. MARTINE Come on, tell me. Martine stares at the blood on his shirt. GEORGE It's not mine. MARTINE (puzzled) Whose is it? GEORGE You don't know? MARTINE (exasperated) I told you, no! Come on, spit it out. GEORGE There was a German guy. MARTINE What guy, where? GEORGE In the flat. MARTINE What are you talking about? GEORGE He was behind the sheet. Tied to a chair. They beat the shit out of him. Made jelly out of his face. Martine looks away, sick. GEORGE Then they put a gun to his head and they shot him. MARTINE Oh Christ. GEORGE You didn't hear the shot? MARTINE No. GEORGE You're a liar. MARTINE I'm not. I was outside having a smoke. I heard a bang. I thought it was a door slamming. Sandra watches them in the mirror. The Barman watches too, turning pages without reading. MARTINE (to Barman) Mind your own business! The Barman finds something fascinating in his newspaper. MARTINE (to George) Why did they do it? GEORGE It was... MARTINE What? GEORGE I'm not sure. MARTINE Say it. GEORGE It could have been an accident. They wanted to scare him, that's all. MARTINE Are you sure he's dead? GEORGE Go back and see for yourself. His brains are all over the floor. MARTINE I swear to God, I'll throw up over you if you say that again. Martine closes her eyes, takes deep breaths. MARTINE Who did it? GEORGE What's the difference? I report this to the police, they'll have me. MARTINE Did you shoot him? GEORGE No! MARTINE Were you holding the gun? Did you pull the trigger? GEORGE No... MARTINE Then don't be stupid. They can tell if you fired a gun. Did you never watch "Columbo"? George thinks about it. Sees her point. GEORGE Where did you go when you left? MARTINE They took my bloody car. Buggered off and left me stranded. Said they were going down to Newcastle. Bastards. GEORGE You should pick better friends. MARTINE (surprised) Shug's my brother. George thinks about this... Martine's suspicious. MARTINE C'mon, what? GEORGE He did it. MARTINE He did what? GEORGE The big guy. He had the gun. He shot him. Martine closes her eyes. MARTINE Oh Jesus Christ. I knew it. GEORGE What does that mean? MARTINE Shug was in the Army. He knows how to handle guns. GEORGE Oh, that makes it all right then. Martine grabs George's shirt, threatens to punch him. MARTINE You think this is funny? George struggles with her-- GEORGE Get off! --the table's nudged, his pint spills, his phone falls to the floor. Sandra rushes over, grabs Martine, pulls her off George. The Barman watches, only mildly interested. The two Andy Capps give a rousing cheer of encouragement. ANDY CAPP On yourself hen! SANDRA Let go! BARMAN Wee bit of decorum, ladies. Martine sits back, angry. Sandra throws a cloth down on the wet table. SANDRA Clean up your own mess. And behave yourself. Any more of that and you're out. Sandra takes their glasses to the bar, bangs them down. SANDRA (to Barman) Aye, you just stand there and do nothing. The Barman shrugs and reads his newspaper. Martine slumps, petulant and angry. GEORGE Right, I'm off. George gets up but she grabs his hand. GEORGE Let go, will you? MARTINE Look, sorry, don't go, please. Let's talk about this, eh? GEORGE What's to talk about? Your brother shoots people. You start fights in bars. Nice family. MARTINE Will you shut up! She pulls George back down. MARTINE Look, I'm upset. I mean, Christ, you just told me my brother killed someone. Nothing can make what Shug did right. Nothing. Martine's suddenly hurt and vulnerable, tears in her eyes. She lets out a sob. It gets George right in the heart. MARTINE I'm sorry, I really am. He pulls out a handkerchief, offers it. She hesitates. GEORGE It's clean. She blows her nose, a wet rasp. She offers it back to him. He shakes his head, keep it. They share a little smile. Sandra shakes her head, turns her back on them. MARTINE Sorry. GEORGE My mum still gives me them for Christmas. I've got dozens. She examines the hankie-- MARTINE It's got your initial on it. "G" for Georgie. GEORGE George. MARTINE George. Sorry. GEORGE Stop saying sorry. You've done nothing wrong. Well, except try to banjo me. MARTINE I said I was sorry! George closes his eyes. Takes a deep breath. GEORGE I'll be back in a minute. He heads for the men's toilets. Martine watches him. INT. TOILETS, JOLLY ROGER PUB - DAY George comes inside, throws open a stall door, flushes the toilet, and throws up, heaving for all he's worth. He leans against the wall, gasping. He wipes his mouth. Catches his breath. He goes to a sink. Runs water, washes his face. He stares at himself in the mirror. He looks down at his hands. They're shaking. He lurches back to the stall and throws up again. INT. JOLLY ROGER PUB - DAY George sits down beside Martine. MARTINE You all right? GEORGE Yeah. Look. I've got nothing against you. MARTINE But. GEORGE Maybe, considering the circumstances, we should, you know. MARTINE Avoid each other like the plague. GEORGE Yeah. MARTINE You think I followed you here. GEORGE Doesn't matter if you did. MARTINE I come in here all the time. Just ask them. GEORGE It doesn't matter. We've got to forget what happened. Just totally forget about it. Okay? Martine takes a deep breath, exhales. MARTINE Okay. George gets up and exits. She watches him go. EXT. JOLLY ROGER PUB - DAY George exits. He takes another deep breath and hurries along the street, wanting to leave it all behind him. INT. JOLLY ROGER PUB - DAY Martine sees a phone lying on the floor. She picks it up, realizes it's his. She gets up and hurries to the exit. EXT. JOLLY ROGER PUB - DAY Martine steps outside. She looks up and down the street. No sign of George. End excerpt.
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