This is an excerpt (first 20 pages) of a completed screenplay.

"How Much Do You Love Me?" (working title) - screenplay by Derek Paterson. FADE IN: EXT. DESERT ROAD - DAY Interrupted only by a cloud of dust headed this way. INT. KENNY'S CHEVY (MOVING) - DAY KENNY, a ruggledly good-looking young buck in blue denim, nods in time to hardcore Country music as he drives toward the next town. EXT. GAS STATION - DAY A County Sheriff's car sits parked outside the office. Kenny's beaten blue Chevy pulls in and stops at the pumps. Kenny climbs out, stretches his legs, arches his back. AMY, 20, wearing grubby mechanic's overalls tied off at the waist, and a vest that was once white, bumps Kenny on her way to the pump. Her baseball cap covers her face so he doesn't get a good look. KENNY Morning. Her back's to him as she lifts a pump gun, opens his gas tank. KENNY Gimme twenty bucks? She nods and sticks the gun in, starts pumping. Kenny examines her from head to toe and back again. Her vest strains to hold her ripe fruit. KENNY You get much trade out here? No answer. KENNY Sure is gonna be hot today. Makes me sweat just thinking about it. Amy turns. Kenny reacts with shock. Her head permanently tilts to one side, she's glassy eyed retarded, her tongue sticking out as she concentrates. SHERIFF QUINN, 40s, exits the office. QUINN You okay there Amy? AMY M'okay. QUINN Just call your daddy if you got any problems, okay? AMY Okay. Kenny sees a Men's Room sign, heads that way. INT. GAS STATION MEN'S ROOM - DAY Kenny stands at a urinal doing his business. The door opens, he looks over his shoulder, it's Amy. Her glassy eyes seem to stare at his manhood, Kenny turns so his back's to her. KENNY I'll be out in a minute! She just stands there, dumb as rocks. KENNY Can you give me some privacy here? I'm taking a leak. AMY Okay. She closes the door. Kenny shakes his head, unbelievable. He puts it away, washes his hands. No towel. He shakes his hands dry, opens the door. EXT. OUTSIDE GAS STATION MEN'S ROOM - DAY Quinn stands waiting. Amy's behind him, shyly peeking out at Kenny. QUINN Now son, what did you have to go and do that for? Can't you see God messed with her head? KENNY Beg pardon? QUINN Turn around. KENNY What? Kenny looks from Quinn to Amy, catching on. KENNY Sir, I don't know what she told you. I was in there taking a leak, she opened the door. I turned my back soon as I saw it was her, and told her to leave. Quinn thinks about this. He looks at Amy. Amy stares back, her empty expression gives nothing away. QUINN Amy doesn't usually tell tales. KENNY I don't mean the poor girl no insult, but she just doesn't do it for me. Last thing on my mind. I want you to believe that, sir. Quinn looks real thoughtful. He sighs, shakes his head. QUINN If I give you the benefit of the doubt... AMY He did this. Amy jerks her hand up and down, thumb and forefinger forming an "OK" hole, and opens her mouth as wide as she can, her tongue falling out. KENNY Jesus. He spins Kenny around, shoves him against the wall, cuffs him expertly. KENNY Man, you couldn't be more wrong. QUINN Save it. Quinn searches Kenny's pockets. Stops when he finds a lump in the left pocket. KENNY Car keys. And some loose change. Quinn takes them out. QUINN Knife? Gun? Needles? KENNY Comb in my other pocket. Wallet in my back pocket. Shades in my shirt pocket. Quinn takes them all. He marches Kenny to his car, opens the back door, pushes Kenny's head down and inside, slams the door shut on him. Quinn opens the front passenger door and drops Kenny's stuff into a bag. He dumps this on the seat, then enters the garage. INT. QUINN'S CAR - DAY Kenny watches Amy toddle by. She doesn't look at him. EXT. GARAGE - DAY Amy climbs into Kenny's Chevy. She grips the wheel and makes engine noises, pretends she's driving. She leans left and right as she zooms around imaginary corners on two wheels. INT. QUINN'S CAR - DAY Kenny rolls his eyes. Quinn backs out of the office, motioning with his hand to whoever's in there. Calming the situation. Quinn returns to his car, climbs in. KENNY Sir, that girl is a lunatic. She made it all up! You ask me, her daddy's doing things to her. Maybe it's him you should be talking to. Quinn looks in the rearview, studies Kenny through the wire mesh barrier. He starts the engine. QUINN Amy's my niece. Kenny stares out the window. Shit... EXT. GAS STATION - DAY Quinn's car drives away. The siren WHOOPS briefly. Amy waves goodbye. Her dumb expression never changes. INT. POLICE STATION OFFICE - DAY DEPUTY TRAVIS, 30s, writes slowly and methodically, filling out a form. Quinn pushes Kenny up against the counter. Travis puts down his pencil and stares aggressively at Kenny. TRAVIS What'd he do? QUINN Exposed himself to Amy. TRAVIS God damn. KENNY I was taking a leak. She opened the door. TRAVIS God damn. KENNY I have no idea why I'm here. TRAVIS You better shut up right now mister. Travis opens a drawer, takes out a key, slaps it into Quinn's hand. He stares in disgust as Quinn leads Kenny away. INT. JAIL CELL - DAY CLANG! Quinn closes the gate on Kenny. QUINN Now you just sit there, and keep quiet, and contemplate the error of your ways. Kenny spreads his hands helplessly. Quinn exits along the corridor. An outer door SLAMS. Kenny slowly turns around, sizing up the cell. A low cot, a stained toilet bowl and hand basin. KENNY Jesus. Travis appears in the corridor, he looks around cautiously then leans close and whispers... TRAVIS Christ we all had Amy, she's hot to trot. Slip a bag over her ugly head, you'd think you were riding a fifty- dollar whore. KENNY I didn't touch her! TRAVIS And that big tongue of hers, man it's like a whip on your balls. She sucks you dry and wants more. Leaves you limping for days. KENNY What the hell do you want from me? TRAVIS I'm telling you to roll with it. Sheriff despises perverts, but he fucking hates liars. Just confess you did it, go before the judge, pay the fine and leave. Dig your heels in and you're in for a mighty unpleasant time, believe me. So take my advice. Roll with it. KENNY I'm gonna tell the judge you're all crazy motherfuckers. How does that sound? Travis shrugs and exits. Kenny sits on the cot and puts his head in his hands. EXT. SKY SHOT - DAY The dazzling sun blazes in a cloudless sky. INT. JAIL CELL - DAY Kenny lies on the cot, an arm over his eyes. Approaching footsteps make him sit up. Quinn unlocks the gate door. Travis leans back against the corridor wall, his arms folded. QUINN Stand up. Kenny gets up, uncertain. QUINN You're free to go. KENNY Come again? QUINN Car isn't stolen. No outstanding warrants. You're free to go. KENNY You mean it's a retard's word against mine, and she's no virgin. Quinn drives his nightstick deep into Kenny's guts. Kenny collapses on the floor, gasping. Travis inspects his fingernails. QUINN Talk like that about Amy again, I'll not be responsible for what follows. Kenny gets his breath back, pushes himself up. KENNY All right, I'm sorry. That was uncalled for. I don't know anything about her. I shouldn't have said these things. I'm just a little angry, I guess. Quinn slides the stick back into its holster. QUINN Now get the hell out of here, I haven't got all day to waste on the likes of you. Kenny exits the cell, Travis escorts him out. INT. POLICE STATION OFFICE - DAY Travis lays Kenny's wallet, comb and loose change on the counter. KENNY All that talk about going before the judge and confessing. You didn't have a damn shred of evidence. TRAVIS Keep that up, maybe we'll find some lying around in a drawer. You know what I'm saying? Kenny opens his wallet, counts the bills. KENNY I had 77 dollars in my wallet when I came in here. Now I've only got 7 dollars. TRAVIS Bail was set at 70. KENNY Who said anything about bail? I thought I was being released. Travis picks up a blank form, slides it toward Kenny. TRAVIS You got any complaints, you write them down on this, and sign it. KENNY My car still at the gas station? TRAVIS Unless it grew wings and flew here by itself. KENNY I don't want to go back out there alone, have that girl accusing me all over again. Not to mention, the little matter of a shotgun. TRAVIS Now you're talking sense. KENNY So what's the chances of someone giving me a ride? TRAVIS No can do. Phone has to be manned at all times. KENNY Maybe someone else? Quinn arrives, he's heard. QUINN I'll make a call, tell Mason to keep Amy inside and leave you alone. But you get in that car of yours and drive, you hear me? KENNY Yessir. There is the little problem of how I get there. QUINN There's a bus due in a couple hours. You can afford a bus, can't you? TRAVIS Got 7 dollars in his wallet. QUINN Good enough. Otherwise I'd have arrested you for vagrancy. Kenny looks from Quinn to Travis. Quinn's carved from stone, Travis tries to hide his smile. KENNY Thanks for your hospitality. Kenny exits outside. TRAVIS Think you were a little hard on him? Could have been a mistake. QUINN Mistake my ass. You know how gentle that girl is. TRAVIS Yes sir I do. It's a crying shame. QUINN Smart mouth punk. I should have put my stick up his ass. TRAVIS Wish I'd been there to see that. EXT. ROADSIDE BUS STOP - DAY Kenny looks up and down the road in both directions. Nothing there but dust. He squints up at the blazing sun, reaches to his shirt pocket for his shades. Realizes they're missing. He stamps his foot and spins completely around, mad as hell. Still nothing coming along the empty road. He looks again. There's a vehicle, coming his way. He cranes his neck, trying to see. INT. JESSICA'S CAR (MOVING) - DAY JESSICA, a refined beauty in a crisp white blouse and flower skirt. Maybe 30s, it's hard to tell with the headscarf and sunglasses. She cranes her neck and looks ahead. EXT. ROADSIDE BUS STOP - DAY Kenny holds his thumb up. The approaching car slows, pulls in, stops beside him. They look each other up and down. JESSICA How long you been waiting here? KENNY A while. JESSICA Last bus came through a couple hours ago. Next one's not due till evening. I'm afraid you've got to wait a little longer. Kenny realizes what she's saying. KENNY Well... thanks for letting me know. JESSICA I don't like giving rides to strangers. It's too dangerous. KENNY Ma'am, I'm not dangerous, I'm just hot and tired. She watches him for a moment... then leans over and opens the passenger door. JESSICA Just don't call me "ma'am" again like I'm your mother. Kenny grins and climbs in. KENNY I promise. And you're nothing like my mother, believe me. A little smile says Jessica likes the flattery. INT. JESSICA'S CAR (MOVING) - DAY JESSICA Where are you headed? KENNY There's a gas station somewheres up ahead. You know the one I mean? JESSICA I think I do. KENNY I left my car there. JESSICA It broke down? KENNY Not exactly. JESSICA "Not exactly." Now you've got me curious. Do I have to guess? Kenny's reluctant to say. She glances at him. JESSICA You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. KENNY I don't mean to be rude or anything. JESSICA It's okay. KENNY I got arrested. It was a mistake, I swear. They let me go when they realized. JESSICA What were you doing, holding the place up? KENNY Nothing like that. I stopped for gas. Next thing I know I'm in the back of the county sheriff's car. JESSICA "I'm innocent, Your Honor." KENNY I know it's hard to believe. I think they were ripping me off. They let me go after they took my money. JESSICA How much? KENNY 70 dollars. JESSICA Did they tell you it was bail money? Kenny looks at her, surprised and suspicious. KENNY I guess you know the local police. JESSICA I've had an occasional brush with the law myself. I know how these things work. KENNY Then you know more than me. Jessica points to a pack of smokes and a gold lighter. Kenny opens the pack, sticks one in her lips, lights it for her. JESSICA Where are you from? KENNY Nowhere special. Hicksville. JESSICA Wow, what are the chances? You and me both. KENNY I'm Kenny. JESSICA I'm pleased to meet you, Kenny. KENNY You got a name? JESSICA What kind of crazy question is that? Everybody's got a name. He waits. She doesn't tell him. He smiles. KENNY I hope I'm not taking you out of your way. JESSICA No, you're not. So where were you heading? Before the law caught up with you, I mean. KENNY I wasn't on the run or anything. JESSICA Kidding. He smiles again. Likes the way she presses his buttons. KENNY I'm heading to L.A. See if I can't get me a part in some movie. JESSICA You're an actor? KENNY Not yet. JESSICA I think you've got the looks. KENNY I hope so. I mean, I'm not one of those guys, stands in front of a mirror all day. JESSICA I didn't think you were. KENNY Well thank God for that. JESSICA What you have to do is sign up to an agency. They take a fee, but they can get you steady work. KENNY People just turn up at additions, don't they? I thought I'd try that. JESSICA They have open auditions sometimes, yes. But the queue starts the day before. Kenny thinks about this. KENNY How come you know so much? JESSICA I don't, really. I just read magazines. KENNY You've never thought of becoming an actress yourself? With your looks? JESSICA Once, long ago. But you know how it is. Life comes along and shits on you. KENNY That's real philosophical. JESSICA Don't listen to me. You're doing the right thing. Get out there and grab it with both hands, like I wish I'd done. KENNY Yes Ma'am. JESSICA I said not to call me that. KENNY You never told me your name. JESSICA Here we are. EXT. GAS STATION - DAY Jessica pulls in and stops. INT. JESSICA'S CAR - DAY Kenny cranes his neck, looks for his car. It's not there. KENNY They must've moved it. He opens his door. KENNY Thanks for the ride. JESSICA My pleasure. A moment's lingering eye contact... then Kenny climbs out. EXT. GAS STATION - DAY Kenny stays as far from the office as he can as he circles round the gas station, looking for his car. There's no sign of it anywhere. He looks at Jessica, she's still there, watching him. INT. JESSICA'S CAR - DAY Kenny approaches and leans down to Jessica's window. KENNY I need to ask you to do something for me. JESSICA Ask. I won't bite. KENNY Go inside... and ask whoever's in there where the hell my car is. JESSICA It's been stolen? KENNY It's a long story. JESSICA I got plenty of time. KENNY There's this girl. The lights are on but nobody's home, if you know what I mean. JESSICA Has this anything to do with the police? KENNY The girl accused me. I didn't do a thing, I swear to God I didn't. But that damn Sheriff took her word over mine. JESSICA You think she took your car? KENNY Her daddy owns the gas station. He's inside. I think maybe he's the Sheriff's brother. JESSICA Uh-huh. KENNY I just want to avoid any trouble, that's all. I don't want to see the girl, I don't want to talk to her daddy, maybe get into a fight, end up in jail again. I just want my damn car. Jessica grabs her purse and gets out. She walks to the office and goes inside. EXT. GAS STATION - DAY Kenny looks up and down the empty road. Looks at the office. Looks up and down the road. Wonders what's happening inside. Jessica exits and walks back to her car. KENNY Well? What did the asshole say? JESSICA Cigarette. Kenny reaches into the car, grabs the pack and lighter. She sticks one in her lips and lights it. JESSICA Okay. The girl's dear pappy? She makes a gun with thumb and forefinger and points at the back of her own head. JESSICA They made him go down on his knees and put one right here. Kenny stares at the office. Is she kidding? JESSICA The girl, she's in the back room. She's too ugly to fuck but they fucked her anyway, then gave her some of what pappy got. Kenny starts toward the office but Jessica grabs his arm. JESSICA I'm talking wall to wall brains. No reason why both of us should have nightmares, huh? She throws down her cigarette, grinds it under her shoe. JESSICA Phone's out. They cut the line. Come on. We're getting out of here. She opens her door, slides into her seat. Kenny grabs her shoulder through the open window. KENNY Tell me you're kidding. JESSICA The place got knocked over, sweetie. Whoever did it took your car. You might want to take a moment to figure what that means. She starts the engine. KENNY I have to find the cops. Tell them I didn't do this. JESSICA What we need to do is find you an alibi before they pin this on you. And they are going to pin this on you, believe me. Get in. He gets in. Jessica floors the gas and zooms up the highway. INT. JESSICA'S CAR (MOVING) - DAY KENNY This is none of your business. JESSICA You mean that in a nice way, don't you? KENNY I can't let you do this... whatever you're doing. JESSICA How are you planning to stop me? Grab the wheel out my hands? She lets go of the wheel. Kenny stares at the wheel, looks at the road ahead. Jessica presses harder on the gas pedal. EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY Jessica's car accelerates... to racing speed. INT. JESSICA'S CAR (MOVING) - DAY KENNY You've made your point. Jessica closes her eyes, folds her hands on her lap. EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY The car starts to drift. INT. JESSICA'S CAR (MOVING) - DAY Kenny grabs the wheel. KENNY Jesus! EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY The car drifts further... straightens up... overcompensates and drifts across the road... straightens up... INT. JESSICA'S CAR (MOVING) - DAY KENNY I said you've made your point! Jessica opens her eyes, eases off the gas, takes hold of the wheel. Driving straight and safe. KENNY What is wrong with you? JESSICA Nothing's wrong with me. I just want to help. KENNY How, by killing me? JESSICA You don't look dead. She puts her hand on his thigh. JESSICA Don't feel dead either. He sucks in a deep breath. She laughs and puts both hands on the wheel. KENNY Where are we going? JESSICA I need you trust me. Just for a little while. KENNY Why the hell should I? JESSICA I trusted you, didn't I? I trusted you with my life, right there. Kenny shakes his head, not understanding. JESSICA Call it a test. You passed. KENNY And what happens... if I trust you? JESSICA Good things. KENNY You promise? JESSICA I promise. EXT. MOTEL - DAY Jessica's car sits parked outside the office. INT. MOTEL OFFICE - DAY Kenny and Jessica wait at the empty desk. Kenny goes to ring the bell -- she stops him. A clock on the wall shows quarter to three. Jessica opens the hinged face and turns time back to 45 minutes earlier, to two o'clock. She rings the bell. Nothing happens. She rings it again, faster and louder. The MANAGER, 60s and crabby, arrives. MANAGER Heard you the first time. Jessica grabs Kenny's hand and draws him close. He's a little bewildered. JESSICA We need a room, real urgent, if you know what I mean. She drops crumpled bills onto the counter. JESSICA Just give us the key, we'll settle ourselves in. Oh, and make sure we get a wake-up call at 4 o'clock. She squeezes Kenny and laughs. JESSICA Two hours should just about do it. The Manager scoops up the cash and slides a key across. MANAGER Number 9 at the end. Make as much noise as you like. Jessica shows him a 20-dollar bill as if it's a prize. JESSICA Exactly 4 o'clock, got it? The Manager nods. MANAGER Four it is. Jessica leads Kenny to the door. The Manager winks at Kenny, who's still bewildered as Jessica pulls him outside. INT. MOTEL ROOM - DAY Jessica unlocks the door, they enter. She sits on the bed, bounces up and down. JESSICA Not bad. I'll be back in a minute. She goes into the bathroom and closes the door. Kenny peeks out the window, checking outside. Running water sounds from the bathroom. Kenny turns on the TV, sits down on the bed with the remote in his hand. The screen brightens showing ads. He turns the sound down and thumbs a switch, changing channels. Sports. Soap opera. Ads. News. A REPORTER talks urgently into his mike, reporting the latest exciting crime. Behind him, the unmistakable sight of the gas station, with a County Sheriff's car parked out front. Quinn stands with his back to the news camera, talking into his car's radio mike. Somehow he senses he's being watched, and turns to stare directly into the news camera with cold, unblinking eyes. INT. MOTEL ROOM - DAY Kenny switches off the TV and sucks in huge, deep breaths. The sound of running water stops. Moments later the bathroom door opens. Jessica stands in her underwear, black lace bra and panties. It's the first time we've seen her without her head scarf and sunglasses. She's a modern day Marilyn Monroe, an unsettling mix of beauty and tragedy. If Kenny had problems breathing before, he has even more problems now. The remote slips from his hand, drops on the floor. Jessica comes to stand over him. She runs her fingers through his hair. Tilts his head back, leans down and kisses him. JESSICA I thought... KENNY Yeah? A more passionate kiss-- JESSICA ...if anyone happened to look in the window... KENNY Yeah? Pushing him back onto the bed and climbing on him-- JESSICA It would look better... A deep kiss that lasts forever-- KENNY Feels better... She unbuttons his shirt, all but rips it off. JESSICA ...if we were, you know... End of excerpt.

end excerpt

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