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
                 ...is 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...

                                                                07/05
§

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