This is an excerpt from a completed screenplay.

"Running Deep" - screenplay by Derek Paterson. FADE IN: EXT. PINK PUSSY NIGHTCLUB - 1930 - NIGHT The coolest joint in town. A pink neon cat grins above the entrance. Taxis drop off handsome GUYS and their gorgeous GIRLFRIENDS. A slick sportster ZOOMS along the street like a rocket and SCREECHES to a stop in an empty space. JOHNNY NEVADA, 20s, climbs out, straightens his tie, rolls his hat up his arm and onto his head. The Girls stare in awe. Their Guys scowl in irritation. Johnny heads for the entrance and smiles at the Girls. JOHNNY Good evening, ladies. INT. PINK PUSSY NIGHTCLUB - NIGHT JOE SAX, 40s, opens the door for Johnny and grins. JOE SAX Well, well. If it isn't Mr. Johnny Nevada himself. JOHNNY Joe Sax. Tell me you're playing tonight? JOE SAX Sorry to disappoint you, we got a band booked. JOHNNY They got you opening doors for a living? JOE SAX Tips are good, I ain't complaining. You here for the "other" entertainment? Johnny nods. Joe Sax indicates a roped-off doorway guarded by a muscular GOON in a Tux. Johnny gives his hat and coat to CLOAKROOM GIRL, a pretty 18- year-old who can't keep her eyes off him. He winks at her, she smiles shyly. THELMA, 25, a strikingly beautiful cocktail waitress, deliberately bumps into Johnny. THELMA Oh, excuse me. You look just like someone I used to know. Only he didn't wear hundred dollar suits and drive a sportster. JOHNNY Thelma. THELMA You remember my name, I'm flattered. JOHNNY I got it tattooed across my heart. That broken thing right here. He taps a finger against his chest. THELMA Poor boy. Mama can mend Johnny's broken heart. If he'll let her. JOHNNY What happened to that high roller from Texas anyway? THELMA He blew all his money on the tables. I never saw him again. So what about it, Johnny? JOHNNY Got some business to take of. THELMA Then we'll talk? JOHNNY Yeah. Thelma kisses her finger, touches it to Johnny's cheek. She walks away, hips swaying. Johnny and Joe Sax watch her go. JOE SAX Some woman. JOHNNY A regular firecracker. Now, about that entertainment... JOE SAX These boys play rough. You better hold onto your wallet, that's all I'm saying. JOHNNY Thanks for the warning, Joe Sax. He heads for the guarded door. INT. POKER ROOM - NIGHT Five POKER PLAYERS sit around a table. DIAMOND JAKE DONOHOE, 40, has the biggest winnings pile. The Goon shows Johnny in. Diamond Jake grins, revealing a gleaming diamond tooth. DIAMOND JAKE Is that Johnny Nevada I see, or is it a ghost? JOHNNY Diamond Jake Donohoe. Some people never change. DIAMOND JAKE Didn't know you were back in town. JOHNNY I been keeping my nose clean. DIAMOND JAKE A little birdie told me the Bingo Brothers were looking for you. JOHNNY They found me. Diamond Jake and the Players exchange wary glances. JOHNNY I hear you run a friendly game. DIAMOND JAKE A thousand bucks deals you in. If that's your idea of friendly, take a seat. Johnny takes a seat, pulls out a leather wallet, shows his lettuce. Diamond Jake nods approval. JOHNNY What are we playing? DIAMOND JAKE A little game called "poker." JOHNNY Poker. I think I heard of that. Diamond Jake shuffles and offers the pack for Johnny to cut, then he deals. His fingers blur, he's a magician, tossing the cards into perfect arrays in front of everyone. JOHNNY I see you've been practicing. DIAMOND JAKE Dealer's in. Everyone throws in a grand. Johnny's last, he checks his cards, looks at each Player, then adds a grand to the pot. JOHNNY What happens now? DIAMOND JAKE You're cute, Nevada. Let's see how you play with the big boys. I'm taking her high. Five thousand. Five big ones swell the pot. Johnny gives a low whistle. Diamond Jake stares at each Player in turn, waiting. Five grand goes in. Another five. And another. The next Player folds, disgusted. The next Player bets five. All eyes are on Johnny. He peeks at his cards and tut-tuts. JOHNNY I never did have any luck at cards. Ah, what the hell. He counts five grand, throws it in. Counts another ten, throws it in too. They stare at him, bewildered. JOHNNY I'll, uh, raise you. Is that the term? DIAMOND JAKE Yeah, that's the term. Diamond Jake glances at the other Players. They grin. Looks like they got themselves a sucker. DISSOLVE TO: Diamond Jake looks sourly at his depleted stash. Johnny's stash is a mountain of green. There's a gold watch in there too, and a sprinkling of silver dollars. The other Players are wiped out but stay as interested spectators. JOHNNY Gimme one. He throws down a card, Diamond Jake deals him a new card. Johnny's eyes light up. JOHNNY Hey, how'd you know I needed this? DIAMOND JAKE A regular wiseguy. Johnny pushes his entire stash into the middle of the table. JOHNNY I'm taking her high. If that's okay with you. DIAMOND JAKE I haven't got that much. JOHNNY Well, what have you got? Diamond Jake peeks at his cards, examining them one by one. Four Kings and a Queen. The Queen winks at him! Diamond Jake slowly reaches inside his jacket. The Players lean back, expecting him to draw a gun. He pulls out papers tied with a ribbon and throws them on the pot. "PINK PUSSY NIGHTCLUB - TITLE DEEDS." JOHNNY You're sure? DIAMOND JAKE I feel it's my duty to give you a game you'll remember for the rest of your life. JOHNNY That's mighty kind of you, Diamond Jake. You show me yours and I'll show you mine. Diamond Jake lays down his cards. DIAMOND JAKE Four smiling guys and one very happy lady. JOHNNY Damn. He stares at his cards, frowning. JOHNNY Damn. Diamond Jake grins from ear to ear. DIAMOND JAKE Been a pleasure doing business with you, Johnny Nevada. JOHNNY Damn. Four Kings... He lays down his cards, one by one. Ace. Ace. Ace. JOHNNY I got me three Aces... He lays down a Queen. She's about to burst into tears! JOHNNY And a Queen... He turns over his last card. JOHNNY And another Ace... His Queen smiles with joy! Diamond Jake's eyes spin like roulette wheels. The Players lean forward, unable to believe Johnny's hand. JOHNNY Sorry to disappoint you, Diamond Jake. Under the table, Diamond Jake's hand closes around a gun hanging from a bent nail. DIAMOND JAKE Ya win some, ya lose some. JOHNNY I'm mighty impressed with your style, Diamond Jake. Isn't every man who could lose his nightclub and keep his cool like you have. Dignity, that's what I'm talking about. You got dignity. Diamond Jake brings up his gun. DIAMOND JAKE Screw dignity. Nobody takes the Pink Pussy from Diamond Jake Donohoe. BLAM! Diamond Jake clutches his bleeding hand. Johnny stares at him over the smoking barrel of HIS gun. JOHNNY Why Diamond Jake. I never figured you for a sore loser. DIAMOND JAKE Go to hell. JOHNNY Hush now. I'm gonna let you live, Diamond Jake, because shooting an unarmed man is uncool. But if I see your face around here again, I won't be so nice. Tell me you understand what I'm saying. Diamond Jake's jaw muscles ripple, he's fit to explode. DIAMOND JAKE I understand what you're saying. Johnny jerks his head toward the door. Diamond Jake exits. Johnny picks up the title deeds, examines them curiously, slips them inside his jacket. A modern phone RINGS. JOHNNY Somebody get that, will you? No one moves. The phone keeps RINGING. JOHNNY Hey, I own the damn place, now will somebody please answer the damn phone? INT. LIVING ROOM - MARION'S APARTMENT - DAY A modern uptown apartment, tastefully furnished. The same phone RINGS insistently. A book shelf contains a dozen romance novels with titles like PASSION IN PARADISE, HIS THROBBING HEART, HER MAJESTY COMMANDS. Each cover has an impossibly handsome man and a beautiful passionate woman. MARION BRIDGEPORT, 20s, male, his back to us, sits at a desk typing on a laptop. The ringing PHONE rips apart his concentration. He snatches the phone up. Marion is Johnny Nevada! MARION (into phone) What? What? What? INT. LEONARD'S OFFICE - DAY The inner sanctum of a busy literary agent. Framed pictures of book covers hanging on the walls, including those from Marion's shelves. LEONARD, 50s, may have developed a receding hairline but he's lost none of his youthful enthusiasm. LEONARD (into phone) Marion, my man. I thought I'd call and ask how our next best seller is coming along? INTERCUT. Marion hits a key-- INSERT LAPTOP SCREEN - his "JOHNNY NEVADA RETURNS" manuscript is "Saved" - the window closes revealing another manuscript in the background titled "SLAVE OF THE SULTAN" MARION It's on schedule, "Slave Of The Sultan" is on schedule. I been working on it all week. LEONARD Glad to hear it! Hey, you know what happens this Wednesday? MARION Surprise me. LEONARD The Valentinos. MARION The Valentinos are coming over for dinner? Watch out for Sonny, he'll pop a cap in your head and smile while he's doing it. LEONARD The Valentino Romance Awards. MARION I recognize the words, but not when they go together like that. A proper sentence must have a verb. LEONARD "Never Love A Sultan" has been nonimated for Best Romance Novel. And no, before you ask, I didn't have anything to do with it. MARION Hey, I never been nominated for an award before. That's great. Isn't it? LEONARD I think so. The problem is... people don't really know what you look like. Leonard picks up a book. The front cover shows a handsome guy in a turban embracing a blonde American beauty who tries to push him away. The title is NEVER LOVE A SULTAN. The back cover features a photo of a smiling homely blonde woman, 40s, who is billed as MARION BRIDGEPORT. MARION They've seen my photograph. LEONARD They've seen my wife's photograph, airbrushed, with a blonde wig and the eyes a different color. You do realize you don't look like that, don't you? This isn't some kind of identity crisis? MARION Just call me Liz from now on. LEONARD This nomination thing's serious. It could mean big money. MARION Then go, you'll enjoy it. Leonard's SECRETARY sticks her head in and gives him a thumbs- up. Leonard gets up and shrugs into his coat while still talking on the phone. LEONARD Me and Sam and Willoughby were discussing the situation... MARION What situation? LEONARD Maybe it's time your readers learned who Marion Bridgeport really is. Marion laughs. It starts out funny but develops into a maniac laugh that needs therapy. Then Marion's deadly serious. MARION Are you out of your mind? INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE LEONARD'S OFFICE - DAY Leonard exits his office, his Secretary hands him a briefcase. LEONARD (into phone) Actually it's not such a bad idea. The demographics show there's no longer any stigma attached to a man writing romance novels. INT. ELEVATOR DOORS - DAY Leonard pushes a button and waits. LEONARD (into phone) In fact, women are attracted to male writers who are able to get in touch with their softer side, express their emotions in feminine terms. INTERCUT. MARION Leonard, this isn't funny. It's a long way from being funny. We agreed Liz would be me. LEONARD Sure we did, three years and twelve novels ago. Now you're a bestselling author. You have an army of devoted fans who love your books and are desperate to meet you in the flesh. You know what, Marion? It's time they did. Sam and Willoughby agree with me. BING! The elevator doors open, Leonard steps inside. INT. LEONARD'S ELEVATOR - DAY INTERCUT continues. MARION Sam's paid to agree with you. Willoughby is senile, he talks to his dog. And then there's you. LEONARD What about me? MARION Only a crazy guy would sign up a twenty-five-year-old man to write romance novels. What the hell were you thinking of? LEONARD I recognize talent when I see it. MARION I'd call it a mid-life crisis. LEONARD A little bird tells me "Never Love A Sultan" is a heavyweight contender. Chances are it'll draw most votes. MARION I find that most gratifying, but we're talking wild horses and a straitjacket, you know what I'm saying? LEONARD I can understand your reluctance-- MARION Did I ever tell you about my high school graduation? Leonard closes his eyes and sighs. LEONARD Maybe once or twice. Marion's anguished expression fades to-- EXT. HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION - DAY A younger Marion, wearing grad robes and hat, has the stage. He tries to speak but the attempt becomes an agony of hissing and clucking as if he's choking to death. RISING LAUGHTER from the unseen audience as Marion dies a death. MARION (V.O.) I s-s-stood up there on that stage and I t-t-tried to make the words come out, only they w-w-wouldn't. Everybody laughed at me, Leonard. They l-l-laughed at me. INT. ELEVATOR - DAY INTERCUT continues. Marion wipes tears away. LEONARD That was a long time ago, Marion. You've moved on. You're a man now. Forget the past, it doesn't matter. MARION Yeah, you're right. I have moved on. INT. OFFICE BUILDING LOBBY - DAY INTERCUT continues. Leonard heads for the front door. LEONARD Then you'll come to the ceremony? MARION I'd sooner wade naked through a swamp infested with penis-sucking leeches. You understand what I'm saying, Leonard? There is no way I'm going to any awards ceremony. EXT. OFFICE BUILDING - DAY INTERCUT continues. Leonard exits the building. A taxi's waiting for him. LEONARD Marion, you'll look good in a Tux. MARION Yeah, you think so? That's funny, 'cause I don't own one. HAH! DING! The doorbell. MARION Hold on, someone's at the door. He goes to the door, opens it. A DELIVERY MAN smiles at Marion and presents a plastic-wrapped Tuxedo. DELIVERY MAN Special package for Mr. Bridgeport. Marion's eyes widen in fear. EXT. BUSY DINER - DAY CHANTELLE, 20s, a girl-next-door beauty, pauses to look up and down the street before she enters the diner. INT. BUSY DINER - DAY Sitting at a corner table, ED ROURKE, 50s, crumpled and nervous, plays with an empty coffee cup. Looking around the diner he sees Chantelle, and waves her over. She sits down. ROURKE You took your sweet time. CHANTELLE To tell the truth, Mr. Rourke, I thought I was being followed. Rourke gets up, drops a five on the table and is about to leave but Chantelle grabs his arm. CHANTELLE No one was following me. I was just imagining things, okay? Look, do you want this story or don't you? Rourke thinks about it... sits back down. EXT. BUSY DINER - DAY The world goes by... EXT. DINER PARKING LOT - DAY Rourke walks to his car, beeps it open. FOOTSTEPS. Roarke spins round, afraid. BIG PUNK and SKINNY PUNK grin at him. They mean business. EXT. BACK STREET - DAY A world away from Marion's apartment. THREE STREET PUNKS and two GIRLS hang out, music blaring from their blaster. They watch as KEVIN, 20s, arrives in a beat-up convertible. Kevin hardly resembles his cousin Marion at all. He's loud, flamboyant, flip and hip. BONER watches with hooded eyes as Kevin parks and dismounts with style. Kevin's gaze is drawn to the beautiful DARLENE who sneers as if he's something she found on her shoe. Kevin drags his eyes off her and grins at Boner. KEVIN Boner, my man. Looking good. Kevin offers his hand. Boner half-heartedly slaps palms. BONER I always feel good when I collect money. KEVIN Excuse me? I believe I have till Friday to settle up. BONER I thought today was Friday. KEVIN Today is Monday. We still got Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and then it's Friday. All those days in between, you know? BONER You could always settle up now. KEVIN What do you want to embarrass me for in front of the ladies? Right now, at this moment, I don't happen to be carrying five big ones in my pocket. BONER I'll accept a partial payment. That'll reduce your interest. KEVIN Did you just say "interest"? I thought you said "interest," I must have been mistaken. BONER Interest happens when you can't settle up on time. KEVIN Let's talk about interest after Friday midnight. Only we won't have to, because I intend to settle up before then. BONER Heard you played cards last night. KEVIN Feathers had a friendly get-together at his place, yeah. BONER Heard you're into Feathers for five gees. That makes me ask, how is that deadbeat gonna pay me what he owes if he's also gotta pay Feathers. KEVIN Making money isn't my problem. You'll get yours, Feathers will get his. BONER I'd like a show of good faith. KEVIN Isn't that a little unusual? BONER It's standard operating procedure, when dealing with skunks who lay their paws on my woman when they think I'm not looking. Kevin glances at Darlene. She smiles smugly. KEVIN Whoever told you that is lying. BONER I don't take kindly to some skunk calling my woman a liar. Kevin groans inwardly as Boner's boys take a step forward. Pain is only a moment away. KEVIN (to Darlene) What did you go tell him for? You said you wanted me. You said I was special. Boner glares at Darlene. DARLENE Uh-uh, I didn't say that. Not to him. KEVIN Did too. (to Boner) She said you were over and done. That's the only reason I'd even think about looking at Darlene. You think I want the shit beat out of me? I know better than to screw with you, man. I'm dumb, but I'm not stupid. BONER I learned something, long ago. KEVIN What's that? BONER Can't trust a damn word comes out of your lying mouth. Boner's boys grab at Kevin but he zooms down the street like an Olympic sprinter. In seconds he's just a blip on the distant horizon. Boner's boys give up. BONER Looks like Kevin left his car as down payment. Everyone laughs. Darlene climbs into Kevin's convertible and starts the engine. Her girlfriend gets in beside her and they take it for a spin, burning rubber. EXT. STREET CORNER - DAY Kevin stops and bends over, hands on knees, gasping for breath. Then he realizes-- KEVIN My car! They got my car! He stamps his feet and waves his arms in frustration. Curious PASSERS-BY stare at this madman. KEVIN Hell are you looking at? He kicks a streetsign, DUNK! Ow! He hops around, holding his injured foot. INT. KEVIN'S APARTMENT - DAY An untidy mess. Kevin enters, slams the door, slumps down on his couch. He picks up the TV remote and finds a sports channel. Begins to chill out... BANG! The noise makes him jump six feet into the air. Kevin runs to the window, opens it, looks out. EXT. ALLEYWAY BEHIND KEVIN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY A bunch of KIDS, all ages up to mid teens, look up at Kevin. Their football hit the window, it's on his fire escape. KEVIN Wha'thefuck you think you're doing kicking that damn ball off my window? They don't answer. Kevin leans right out, picks up the ball and throws it down the alleyway as far as he can. A kid runs after it. KEVIN Better not happen again! INT. KEVIN'S APARTMENT - DAY Kevin returns to the couch. His phone rings. He picks up. KEVIN (into phone) Madame Fifi's Exotic Massage Parlor. INT. MARION'S PENTHOUSE APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY Marion holds up the Tuxedo like it's going to bite him. He lays it over the back of a chair. MARION (into phone) I need a favor. INTERCUT. KEVIN Well, well. If it isn't Cousin Snooty. Too good to talk to us poor folks. MARION I'm talking to you now. KEVIN Tell me why I shouldn't hang up? You treat me like I'm some kinda leper. Never return my calls. MARION You keep leaving messages on my answering machine. They start off friendly and end up like creepy stalker guy. "Give me a thousand dollars or I'll cut you into little pieces." You scare the shit out of me. KEVIN So I need a little money from time to time. If I can't ask my own cousin, who can I ask? MARION It would help if you didn't call me when you're spaced out. KEVIN "Spaced out"? Flower power is over. Deal with it. Now what the hell do you want? MARION I'm looking for somewhere to stay. KEVIN What's the matter, is your palace too small for you? You got more rooms than the Waldorf-Astoria. MARION That's a slight exaggeration. I just want to crash at your place for a couple of days. KEVIN To what do I owe this pleasure? MARION I miss playing Connect Four with you. It's time we bonded again. KEVIN You mean like before you moved up in the world and left me hanging around in this dump. MARION Something like that. KEVIN What makes you think I'd ever want to see your ugly face again? MARION All I'm asking is somewhere to sleep and somewhere to plug in my laptop. KEVIN Your laptop? MARION You can't sell it. I need it for work. KEVIN You still writing that sports column? MARION Yes I am. Marion catches sight of "NEVER LOVE A SULTAN by MARION BRIDGEPORT." He lays it face down so the name is hidden. But the smiling woman's photograph is on the back cover with "MARION BRIDGEPORT" visible. Marion grabs the book and slips it under a cushion so Kevin can't "see" it. KEVIN How come I never see your name? I tell the guys and they say they never see your name either. You're earning megabucks writing some sports column and I've never read a single word. MARION Yes you have, only you didn't know it. The editor said I should use a nom de plume, on account of my... KEVIN ...having a woman's name. MARION Marion is not a woman's name. KEVIN Come on, we both watched Happy Days. So what's your non de plume? MARION "Staff Writer." Every time you see something written "by a Staff Writer," that's me. KEVIN Uh-huh. A couple of days? MARION If you've got room. Kevin stretches his legs out on the couch and looks around, sizing up his apartment. KEVIN I might have... for the right price. MARION What would the right price be? KEVIN Well now, let's see what we've got here. If you were just wanting a change of scenery, you could have booked into a hotel. But maybe you don't want to use a hotel because someone might come looking for you... only you don't want them to find you. How am I doing? MARION You're cold. You're so cold your teeth are chattering. KEVIN We'll negotiate a package once you get here. MARION A "package"? KEVIN You'll need clean sheets, right? You'll also need food. That laptop of yours will suck electricity like an elephant sucks water. MARION It uses a trickle current adapter. KEVIN Current costs money and someone's gotta pay the bills. When are you coming? MARION Today. Now. KEVIN See, I'll have to tidy the place up. Get everything ready for you. I asked some friends over for dinner tonight, now I'll have to cancel and make other arrangements. MARION You don't have any friends. All you have is family, and they can't stand you. KEVIN Thank you, you're too kind. MARION Remind me what your apartment number is. KEVIN 2-C. Actually it's the door without any number on it. It kinda fell off. MARION I'm happy you still have a door. I assume it has a lock? KEVIN Shit, you want a lock, too? Is there no end to your insatiable demands? A lock costs extra. DISSOLVE TO: INT. MARION'S PENTHOUSE APARTMENT - BEDROOM - DAY Marion grabs clothes from drawers and wardrobes and throws them into a suitcase and carryall. INT. MARION'S PENTHOUSE APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY The PHONE rings. INT. MARION'S PENTHOUSE APARTMENT - BEDROOM - DAY Marion hears the ringing phone and goes to answer. INT. MARION'S PENTHOUSE APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - DAY Just as Marion's about to pick up, the answering machine kicks in and Marion hears his own voice. MARION (FILTERED) Hi, leave a message and I'll get back to you soon. LEONARD (FILTERED) Marion, it's Leonard. I just wanted to talk about the Valentinos. If you're there, pick up. (pause) I know you're there, Marion. There's nothing to be nervous about, I swear to God. Look, I'm coming up. We'll smooth out any worries you might have. Okay? Marion's eyes widen in horror! EXT. MARION'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY A taxi pulls up and Leonard gets out. He pays the driver and enters the building. The Doorman smiles and holds the door for him. The Doorman is "Joe Sax" in Marion's novel. INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE MARION'S APARTMENT - DAY Marion exits with his bags and his laptop shoulder bag. He locks his door and heads for the elevator. INT. ELEVATOR - DAY Leonard's on his way up. He watches the numbers change. INT. HALLWAY AT ELEVATOR DOORS - DAY Marion presses a button and waits. A SWEET OLD WOMAN, 70s, joins him. Marion smiles at her. She looks him up and down, not quite sure if she approves. Then looks at his bags. SWEET OLD WOMAN Going somewhere? MARION To visit my cousin. SWEET OLD WOMAN Where does he live? MARION Beverly Hills. He owns a mansion. SWEET OLD WOMAN A large mansion? MARION Twenty bedrooms and an Olympic size pool. SWEET OLD WOMAN Color me impressed. BING! The elevator arrives. Just at that moment, the Sweet Old Woman drops her purse. INT. ELEVATOR - DAY The elevator doors open and Leonard steps out... INT. HALLWAY AT ELEVATOR DOORS - DAY ...Just as Marion bends over to pick up the Sweet Old Woman's purse. Leonard walks past without recognizing Marion's butt. Marion straightens and gives the Sweet Old Woman her purse. She suspiciously checks he hasn't taken anything, then steps into the elevator. Marion does a double take on Leonard's retreating back, then steps quickly into the elevator. INT. ELEVATOR - DAY Marion presses the button. The doors slide shut. He sighs with relief. SWEET OLD WOMAN Thank you. Did you know there's a sports writer lives along that end of the hallway? MARION I heard that too. EXT. MARION'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY Marion exits ahead of the Sweet Old Woman. The Doorman hails him a cab. The Sweet Old Woman exits the building. As soon as the taxi pulls up, the Sweet Old Woman shoulders past Marion and climbs aboard. The taxi moves off. The Doorman shakes his head and hails another cab. When it arrives he opens the door for Marion. DOORMAN You gotta hit 'em low. Their sense of balance goes at that age. One knock and they're over. Marion slips him some green. MARION Now that advice is worth paying for. Anyone asks, you didn't see me. DOORMAN You got it. INT. TAXI (MOVING) - DAY Marion looks back as the taxi pulls away. Leonard exits the building in a hurry and talks to the Doorman. The Doorman shrugs and spreads his hands. Marion grins. He made it. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. ALLEYWAY (KEVIN'S APARTMENT BUILDING) - DAY Marion's taxi pulls up. He gets out and pays, the taxi drives away. The football kids stop playing and stare at him. Marion stares back. A Mexican stand off. The kids are distracted by Chantelle's arrival. They rush to greet her like she's everyone's big sister. Marion can hardly see her for the press of bodies. MIKEY Aw c'mon, Chantelle. Just once! THE OTHER KIDS C'mon, Chantelle! C'mon! Chantelle puts down her coat and bag and catches the football. The kids move back... and Marion gets his first good look at her. She's a dream in tight blue jeans and a University sweatshirt. CHANTELLE Go deep, Mikey! Mikey runs down the alleyway, glancing back over his shoulder. Marion wonders when Mikey's gonna stop. The other kids are expecting something to happen. Marion isn't sure what, but he wants to wait and see. Chantelle tosses the ball from hand to hand... looks at Mikey... and KICKS the ball so high there's a danger she'll bring down low-flying airplanes. The ball sails through the air in a perfect arc and lands right in Mikey's hands at the far end of the alleyway. Mikey holds the ball up while the other kids cheer. Marion puts down his bags and applauds softly. Chantelle wonders who he is. Marion snatches up his bags and hurries inside. INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE KEVIN'S APARTMENT - DAY Marion searches for the door without a number... and finds it. He knocks. Kevin opens the door. KEVIN Yes, can I help you? MARION What is that smell? KEVIN Must be coming from downstairs. MARION It's coming from in here. KEVIN Can't be, I flushed the toilet. What did you bring with you? MARION Just my toothbrush and a change of clothes. KEVIN Looks like you got some excess baggage. That costs extra, you know? MARION Look, I can find somewhere else. Kevin takes Marion's suitcase and carryall. KEVIN Not like this. C'mon, I won't hassle you. I'm out most of the day and most nights, too. You'll have the place all to yourself. INT. KEVIN'S APARTMENT - DAY Kevin shows Marion in, dumps his bags on a chair. MARION You got a job? KEVIN Of sorts. MARION You haven't got a job. KEVIN If a job is defined as pursuing an endeavor that brings money home, then yes, I have a job. MARION You don't fly down to South America and bring back teddy bears loaded with cocaine, do you? KEVIN What do you take me for? I only carry stuffed donkeys through Customs, I won't have nothing to do with that teddy bear endangered species shit. (beat) Hey, you know what? It's good to see you, even if you are Cousin Snooty. Kevin takes a half-step toward Marion and opens his arms as if he's going to hug him -- but changes his mind and runs his fingers through his hair instead. MARION Were you going to hug me? KEVIN Yeah, right! MARION You were going to hug me. KEVIN No way, this ain't no gay bar. You better remember that. MARION Where can I set up my laptop? KEVIN What's wrong with having it on your lap? MARION I have this sperm conservation thing going on. I hope to find a use for my boys one day. KEVIN When are you ever going to find a girl who meets your impossible standards? MARION I don't have impossible standards. How do you know I haven't found her already? KEVIN I'm going to go out on a limb here and bet my major body organs you're still single. Do I call the hospital, or am I right? MARION I don't have impossible standards. KEVIN You're an impossible person, of course you have impossible standards. I'll move the table over to the window. You're not going to start writing right now, are you? MARION Well, maybe not right now, no... KEVIN Beer and pizza. I'm buying. MARION Sounds good. KEVIN We'll watch some football and chill. MARION Okay. KEVIN You don't sound too sure about that. You remember how to chill, don't you? MARION I draw the line at farting contests. KEVIN Aw c'mon, beer and pizza, where's the fun if you can't release a little gas? MARION I'd like to see my room. KEVIN You're standing in it. MARION So I have to sleep in the room where you plan on making your contribution to the destruction of the ozone layer. KEVIN Bedroom's available for a price. MARION Does the price include those clean sheets we talked about? KEVIN No, they're extra. EXT. KEVIN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY/NIGHT Day turns into night. INT. KEVIN'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Empty beer cans and pizza boxes everywhere. Kevin lies on the couch sleeping it off. The TV but the sound's turned down. Marion sits at the window, his laptop set up on a table. He types, intent on what's on the screen. INT. PINK PUSSY CLUB - NIGHT Johnny enters and deposits his hat and coat. Inside, Joe Sax plays cool jazz, the numerous CUSTOMERS dig it. CLOAKROOM GIRL Hey, Johnny. Some guy was asking about you. JOHNNY What guy? CLOAKROOM GIRL You'll know him when you see him. He didn't look too happy. You been fooling around with somebody's girl, Johnny? That kind of thing can get a man into trouble. JOHNNY That kind of talk can get a girl into trouble, know what I mean? CLOAKROOM GIRL Any time you want to get me into trouble, Johnny, I'm available. She means it. Johnny smiles and goes on in. INT. PINK PUSSY COCKTAIL BAR - NIGHT Johnny enjoys the music for a moment, then looks around the club's smoky interior. He sees a brute of a man, TYRONE, occupying a booth in the company of Chantelle who has a Ginger Rogers makeover. INT. KEVIN'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Marion stops typing and stares at the screen, puzzled. EXT. ALLEYWAY - DAY (FLASHBACK) In slow motion. Chantelle tosses the ball from hand to hand, then kicks it into orbit. Her tight blue jeans are stretched to their physical limits across her perfect butt. INT. KEVIN'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Marion shakes himself out of it. He glances guiltily at Kevin but he's still asleep. He starts typing again. INT. COCKTAIL CLUB - NIGHT Thelma steps up to Johnny and runs her finger along his jaw. THELMA Hi handsome. Glad you could make it tonight. JOHNNY Thelma... THELMA Thelma what? Thelma you're looking lovely? Thelma I think about you all the time? Thelma I decided I want you back? JOHNNY You know how I feel about management consorting with employees. Thelma steps away but she's still smiling. THELMA We'll just have to see about that. She heads for the bar, swaying seductively and looking back at Johnny over her shoulder. The BARTENDER takes her order. Tyrone notices Johnny and gets up. Chantelle touches his arm, talks to him, asks him to sit down. Tyrone shakes her off and lumbers toward Johnny -- but stops when Johnny holds up a hand. JOHNNY Please. Not in here. You'll ruin the ambience. TYRONE I'll ruin your damn face. JOHNNY I don't want no trouble. TYRONE That's too bad 'cause that's what you got. Tyrone swings a titanic punch but Johnny ducks and delivers a solid body shot. Tyrone staggers back, winded. He charges at Johnny like a rogue bull. Johnny sidesteps and hits Tyrone with a one-two-three that sends the big guy crashing headlong into the bar. Tyrone slides to the floor, stunned. The Bartender peers over the counter, shakes his head and goes back to pouring drinks for Thelma. Chantelle rushes to help Tyrone but Johnny catches her gently. JOHNNY Whoa there, not so fast. CHANTELLE Oh my God you've killed him! JOHNNY Relax, he's just taking a nap. Who is he anyway? CHANTELLE You don't know? JOHNNY I always remember guys that big. He inspects her face. Chantelle sports a black eye. JOHNNY He did that to you? CHANTELLE I deserved it. Me and my big mouth. Behind Johnny, Tyrone slowly gets to his feet. His eyes come into focus and he sees Johnny and Chantelle together. Tyrone sees red. He "paws" the ground with his foot. Chantelle's eyes widen in panic. JOHNNY I don't think there's anything wrong with your mouth. It's not too big, it's not too small. In fact... Tyrone stamps toward Johnny, out for blood. JOHNNY Excuse me... He turns and his punch comes up all the way from the floor, catches Tyrone under the jaw. Tyrone hits the floor, out for the count. Johnny straightens his tie, then turns back to Chantelle who is in awe of him. JOHNNY ...if you ask me, your mouth is just perfect. He kisses her. Chantelle melts into his arms. That's Thelma's cue to step in. She pushes Chantelle back and sneers at her, then grabs hold of Johnny and kisses him hard. It goes on for a count of ten. Chantelle watches, amazed, as Johnny's cheeks implode and his eyes roll toward the ceiling. At last Thelma lets go. Johnny gasps for air, grabs onto a bar stool, sits down. JOHNNY Pardon me. I always get dizzy when someone sucks all the air out of my lungs. THELMA (to Chantelle) And that, little girl, is how you kiss a real man. CHANTELLE And this... Chantelle's roundhouse punch catches Thelma on the jaw and spins her around. Thelma lands on top of Tyrone, both of them out for the count. CHANTELLE how you punch out a bitch. JOHNNY Impressive. Do you box professionally? CHANTELLE No, but Tyrone does. I can't believe you knocked him out. JOHNNY Any idea why he looked me up? CHANTELLE He just told me we were coming to the Pink Pussy tonight. He didn't say why. JOHNNY Do you know who he works for? CHANTELLE Uh-uh. I guess you must think I'm pretty stupid. JOHNNY I think you're pretty, but I don't think you're stupid. Now where were we before we were so rudely interrupted? They resume their kiss. Slow and intimate. And disturbed by the sound of loud SNORING. INT. KEVIN'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Kevin snores like a pig, mouth wide open. MARION Hey! Pig Man! Shut up, you damn animal! Kevin snores louder. Marion gives up. He collects the beer cans and empty pizza boxes, stuffs them into a garbage bag. He finds a sock behind the couch and holds it between thumb and forefinger, takes a sniff. He wrinkles his nose. It goes into the bag too. Kevin farts in his sleep. Marion exits, shaking his head in disgust. EXT. ALLEYWAY BEHIND KEVIN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT Marion's about to throw the bag into a super trash can when he notices Big Punk and Skinny Punk struggling with Chantelle. She tries to fight them off but it's a losing battle. MARION Hey! HEY! He runs at them. Big Punk holds Chantelle while Skinny Punk draws a switchblade. Marion throws the bag into his face -- an explosion of pizza! Skinny punk SCREAMS and claws at his cheese & tomato face. Chantelle stamps on Big Punk's instep, he lets go of her and hops painfully. Marion slips on a pizza box and spin-kicks Big Punk in the guts, the breath whooshes out of Big Punk's lungs. MARION I don't want no trouble. Big Punk and Skinny Punk glance at each other, then run off down the alleyway. Marion gapes in surprise. CHANTELLE Wow, that was fantastic! Are you okay? MARION Yeah... CHANTELLE I think they were after my purse. MARION You should have let them have it. CHANTELLE Are you nuts? MARION I'd rather they took your purse than harm you. CHANTELLE Well, when you put it like that... Thank you. I've never been rescued before. You were incredibly brave. Was that karate? MARION It was a fusion of martial arts. CHANTELLE Wow. I saw you today. You stay here? MARION I'm staying with my cousin in 2-C. CHANTELLE That would be the guy who hits on me every day. I live in 2-B. We're neighbors. She offers her hand. Marion takes it. CHANTELLE Chantelle Parker. After a moment's hesitation... MARION ...Johnny Nevada. As soon as he says it he feels like a dork. CHANTELLE Pleased to meet you, Johnny. Oh, God... Chantelle gets a little dizzy. Marion has to take hold of her arm to steady her. CHANTELLE I feel terrible. MARION It's just the shock. Let me help you inside. Lean on me. She leans against him, her head on his shoulder. Marion isn't turned on, but this is not an unpleasant situation. CHANTELLE Thank you... End of excerpt.


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