Screenplay: Without a Trace… Part 3

EXT. DIVE SITE AT PALANCAR REEF – DAY

The divers each take a giant stride off the swim platform, holding their masks and snorkels as they splash into the crystal clear water.

UNDERWATER MONTAGE – THE CHAMBERS FAMILY UNDERWATER

  • Steve swims parallel within arm’s length of Leslie and Sarah.  He gives Sarah the “ok” sign.  Sarah responds with the same, kicking her flippers to maintain neutral buoyancy.
  • The group of divers drift through the labyrinth maze of coral arches and winding ravines with Victor in front and Damon brining up the rear. Schools of brown chromis and multi-colored parrot fish sweep through the pinnacle reef.

EXT. BACK AT THE SURFACE – LATER

The dive group surfaces with Sarah coughing and flailing her arms.  Her DANGLING regulator free-flows IN THE WATER, hissing and spitting.  Her snorkel is bent backwards off her face mask strap.

Steve swims to her and places her regulator in her mouth.  They kick on their backs to —

THE DIVERS’ PARADISE

The Captain helps them climb the narrow swim ladder.

                      STEVE

                (to Sarah)

          What happened?

                      SARAH

          Nothing.

                      STEVE

          Never remove your regulator when

you surface.  You never know when

a wave might splash your face.

                      SARAH

          I know I know…

Leslie boards the boat and hands her flippers to the Captain.  Her mask and snorkel dangle around her neck.

                      LESLIE

          What happened?

                      SARAH

          Nothing.

                      STEVE

She got some water in her mouth.

Victor hoists Steve’s scuba tank from its holder and replaces it with a fresh one.  Damon boards the boat with the remaining divers.  Sarah rubs her eyes.

                      VICTOR

                (to Steve)

          Your tank is half full.

Steve shrugs.

                      LESLIE

          My husband’s a Navy Rescue Diver.

Victor pats Sarah on the shoulder and hands her a bottle of Evian.

                      VICTOR

                (to Steve)

          Do you always rescue little girls?

Steve looks at Victor and smiles.

                      STEVE

          Only when they need it.

EXT. DIVERS’ PARADISE RETURNS TO RESORT – DAY

The Chambers family sits solemn-faced as the Captain guides the boat against the T-pier.  Damon and Victor tie off.

Sarah storms off the boat, lugging her dive gear as she marches down the shaded path toward the pool.

Leslie steps off the Divers’ Paradise.  Her shirt is damp.  Spanish music blares from tripod-mounted speakers outside the thatched roof cabaña where a family of four awaits their afternoon dive trip.

                      LESLIE

          We’re here all week.  Let’s

          make the best of it.  I’ll take

Sarah shopping, maybe tour the

island for a little while – spend

some girl time together.

Leslie kisses Steve’s cheek.

                      LESLIE

          We’ll meet you back at the room

          by 6:00 for dinner.  I’ll let you

          pick the restaurant tonight.

      (beat)

You behave yourself sailor.  And no

flirting with the locals.

Steve hoists his dive bag on his shoulder.

                      STEVE

          Have fun.
                (beat)

          And be careful.

INT. CHAMBERS’ HOTEL SUITE – DAY

Steve enters the room.  The space is dark with the curtains drawn.  He drops his room key on the dresser and finds a note from Leslie.

INTERCUT – STEVE READS LESLIE’s NOTE

Gone to San Miguel.  Be back by 6:00.  X0 X0 XO.

BACK TO SCENE

Steve kicks his sandals off and sprawls himself on the king-size bed.  He takes the television remote and flips to a sports channel.

EXT. SAN MIGUEL TOWN SQUARE – DAY

Leslie and Sarah carry shopping bags to their rental Jeep.  Sunburned and sweaty, they leave San Miguel and drive along the seaside promenade where cruise ships loom off shore as tall as high-rise buildings.

INT. LESLIE’s MOVING JEEP – DAY

Sarah traces her finger along the unfolded road map in her lap.  In her other hand, she holds a Frommer’s Travel Guide.

                      SARAH

          Turn right at the next road.

                      LESLIE

          What’s the name?

                      SARAH

          I can’t read the small print.

Leslie steers down a one-way street that leads away from the water and deeper into a desolate part of town.

                      LESLIE

          This doesn’t look right.

                      SARAH

          I’m telling you what the map says.

                      LESLIE

          Well the map is wrong.

They continue driving until they reach a fork in the road.  Sarah turns the map upside down.

                      SARAH

          I don’t know where we are.

Leslie stops the Jeep and takes the map.

                      LESLIE
          We’re too far east.  We should

          have turned left instead of right.

Leslie rubs her forearm across her sunburned brow.  Her hair is damp and flat.  She takes a swig from a bottle of water.

                      LESLIE

          Maybe I should navigate?

                      SARAH

          I can do it.

Leslie drives beyond a section of Mayan ruins and slows when the dirt road ends.  An iguana shuffles across the road toward the dense jungle brush.

                      LESLIE

          Shit…

Sarah smacks a mosquito on her neck.

                      SARAH

          We’re going in circles.

Leslie guns the engine.  The tires spin.  Dirt CLANGS inside the wheel wells.

                      LESLIE

          Not if I can help it.

EXT. DIVERS’ PARADISE DIVE BOAT – DAY

Slowing off plane, the bow settles as the boat trolls above the dive location.  Anvil head cloud formations linger overhead.

MARVIN JOHNSTON, a 56-year-old investment banker sits beside his blonde wife PAMELA JOHNSTON.  She wears shades and a one piece swimsuit.  The Captain cuts the throttles back and nods to the crew from the fly bridge as Victor tends to the family’s dive gear.  Damon coils a length of nylon rope attached to a galvanized fluke anchor.

Marvin’s 22-year-old son, ROBERT JOHNSTON, stares at Victor’s tattoos of an eagle clutching a golden trident.  Robert’s 17-year-old sister NATALIE JOHNSTON looks across the water at the distant shoreline.  Natalie is petit and pretty; freckle-faced and innocent.

                      MARVIN

                (to Robert)

          Help your sister with her gear.

Natalie shields the sun’s reflection with her hand.

                      NATALIE

          Are there sharks in here?

                      ROBERT

          They won’t bother you.

Robert watches Victor check the air pressure on a scuba tank as the boat sways gently in the one foot swells.

                      ROBERT

                (to Victor)

          Were you in the service?

Victor ignores the question and retreats toward the front of the boat where a life ring hangs beside a spear gun mounted on rubber brackets.

                      PAMELA

                (to Damon)

          You need a hat.

Pamela reaches in her dive bag and retrieves a crumpled baseball cap with a Reece Bank logo imprinted on the brim. She hands the cap to Damon.  Her mirrored glasses capture his reflection.

Damon flops the adjustable hat above his bald spot.  Strands of hair poke out from the sides and back. 

                      DAMON

          Thanks.

Pamela rubs Hawaiian Tropic on her arms.

Damon turns to catch Natalie bent over as she tries to reach the mask and snorkel beneath her seat.  Damon retrieves it for her and helps her don her gear.

                      MARVIN

                (to Natalie)

          Check your air supply.

Robert takes his sister’s air hose and inspects the needle on the pressure gauge. 

                      ROBERT

          She’s got a full tank.

Damon pulls a dive knife from a sheath secured around his calve.

                      DAMON

          Who’s first?

Marvin looks at his son Robert and nods.

                      MARVIN

          You up for this?

The captain climbs down from the fly bridge and grabs the spear gun loaded with a pointed, barbed shaft.

                      CAPTAIN

          We want the girl.

Marvin faces the captain who points the spear gun at Robert.

                      MARVIN

          What?

Damon points the knife at Natalie.

                      DAMON

          Your daughter.

                      MARVIN

          What is this?  Who are you?

Pamela puts her arms around her daughter.

                      NATALIE

          Mom?

Robert steps in front of his mother and sister.

                      ROBERT

          Dad?

                      CAPTAIN

          Just do what they tell you.

                      MARVIN

          I have money.  Lots of. I’ll

          pay you whatever you want.

                      DAMON

          Right now we want the girl.

Damon tosses the anchor line at Marvin’s feet.

                      DAMON

          Tie this around your ankle.

Marvin looks at his wife and daughter.

                      MARVIN

          I’ll do no such thing.

Marvin removes his Rolex watch and offers it to Victor who hands it over to the Captain.

Damon grabs Pamela’s arm and pulls her toward himself with the knife at her throat.  Victor takes hold of Natalie.

                      NATALIE

          Mom!

                      DAMON

          Last chance.

Marvin secures the nylon line around his ankle.

                      MARVIN

          Don’t hurt my family.

                      PAMELA

          Marvin no…

Damon tosses another line at Robert’s feet with a collection of weight belts tied at the bitter end.

                      DAMON

          You too.

Robert lunges at the Captain’s knees with a wrestling move and dodges the spear that sails over his shoulder.  Robert pummels the Captain with a flurry of punches until Victor calmly stabs Robert in the lower back with a pointed dive knife and secures the rope to Robert’s ankle.

Pamela screams through the hand on her mouth.

Victor tosses the weight belt overboard.  The rope pile uncoils, pulling Robert beyond the transom and into the water where he sinks like a rock, leaving a blood smear across the deck.

                      MARVIN

          For the love of God!

Victor releases Natalie and pushes the anchor overboard, causing the coil of rope to quickly unravel and jerk Marvin’s leg out from under him, dragging him IN THE WATER.

Marvin clings to a partially inflated dive vest.  Below him, Robert sinks toward the sea floor.

Marvin wrestles with the rope around his ankle.  He glances up to see the sun reflect off the silver spear gun a second before a barbed shaft PUNCHES THROUGH HIS OUTSTRETCHED HAND and hits the front of his neck.

BACK ON THE DIVERS’ PARADISE

A catatonic Pamela Johnston envelops her daughter as Victor secures a dock line to another anchor.

                      PAMELA

                (in tears)

          What do you want?

                      DAMON

          Your money.  All of it.

EXT. COZUMEL JUNGLE – NIGHT

Lost in the darkened labyrinth of unmarked trails and Mayan ruins, Leslie drives the Jeep beneath a full moon where the intermittent roar of jet aircraft overwhelm the cacophony of crickets and buzzing insects.

INT. THE MOVING JEEP – NIGHT

Sarah grabs the padded roll bar for support as Leslie drives over rocky terrain.  The road dead-ends at a virtual wall of jungle scrub entwined with overgrown vines and branches.

                      SARAH
          We’re still going in circles.

Leslie dims the headlights and turns to Sarah.

                      LESLIE

          Listen…

Sarah kicks an empty water bottle on the floorboard. Leslie kills the engine.  In the stillness, the sound of breaking waves becomes apparent.

                      LESLIE

          We’re near the water…

INT. CHAMBERS’ HOTEL SUITE – NIGHT

Steve paces in front of the balcony with the phone against his ear.  His eyes are red and puffy.  He slams the phone down and heads to —

SARAH’s ADJOINING SUITE

He pounds the door.

                      STEVE

          Sarah, if you’re in there

open up.

INT. DINING HALL – NIGHT

Steve shuffles between crowded tables, scanning the dinner crowd for any sign of Leslie or Sarah.  A clock on the wall reads 10:15.

                      WAITER

          Sir, may I help you?

Steve takes Leslie’s photo from his wallet and holds it up.

                      STEVE

          Have you seen this woman?

The waiter studies the picture.

                      WAITER

          No.

Steve stares across the buffet line, the waiter stations, the open kitchen space, and the terrace where smokers enjoy an after-dinner drink.  He returns to —

THE FRONT DESK

He approaches the vacant counter space and taps the bell.  Randy, emerges from the back room.

                      RANDY

          Mr. Chambers…

                      STEVE

          Anything?

                      RANDY

          Should I page them again?

                      STEVE

          Please.  And phone my room the

second you hear from them.

EXT. COZUMEL JUNGLE – NIGHT

Leslie and Sarah traipse through the jungle until they emerge at the base of a lighthouse and find Victor and Damon about to drive away in a rusted cargo van.

Leslie waves her arms.  She and Sarah run toward the men. Waves crash against the rocky shoreline where a stretch of sandy beach extends in the distance.

                      LESLIE

          Wait!  Help!

Leslie drops her hands to her knees.  Nearly out of breath, she shields her eyes from the blistering sun.

                      LESLIE

          Thank God we found you…

EXT. CHAMBERS’ HOTEL SUITE – NIGHT

Steve approaches his room from the elevator and finds an elderly maid closing the door to his suite.  He grabs her by the arm.

                      STEVE

          Disculpe…  Please…

The maid steps away from her laundry cart and shakes her head.

                      MAID

          Que hace usted?

                      STEVE

          Habla usted Ingles?

                      MAID

                (avoiding eye contact)

          Muy poco.

Steve shows her the wallet photo.

                      STEVE

          Have – you – seen – her?

                      MAID

          Que?

Steve stares at the ceiling and mumbles to himself.

                      STEVE

           Los has visto?

He takes the hotel key from his pocket and points to the number on his room door.

                      STEVE

           Mi cuarto.

The maid pushes past him and shakes her head.

                      MAID

           No lo puedo ayudar.

                      STEVE

           Please…  Por favor…

The maid hustles for the open elevator.  The doors close quickly behind her.

EXT. SAN MIGUEL TOWN SQUARE – NIGHT

Steve leaves a Nissan taxi and shuffles through the menagerie of cruise ship tourists.  He taps several women on the shoulder.  Convinced he sees Sarah, he starts down a crowded —

ALLEY

Steve follows a young girl in a baseball cap with headphones on.  He taps her shoulder.

                      STEVE

          Sarah?

Startled, the girl spins around to reveal her severely scarred face, bearing no resemblance to Sarah.

INT. SAN MIGUEL POLICE HEADQUARTERS – NIGHT

Steve enters the municipal building with dusty ceiling fans spinning slowly overhead.  A clock on the back wall reads 2:00 a.m.

Steve approaches LIEUTENANT MIEREZ behind a metal desk with a stack of rumpled manila folders.  The Lieutenant wears a linen suit with a two-day beard and slicked-back hair that forms a widow’s peak above his forehead.

                      STEVE

          I’m looking for Lieutenant Mierez.

The Lieutenant lights a cigarette with a match.

                      LIEUTENANT MIEREZ

          You’ve found him.

Steve pushes the wallet photo across the desk.

                      STEVE

          My name’s Steve Chambers.  We

spoke on the phone about my

missing wife and daughter.

                      LIEUTENANT MIEREZ

          Yes…

Steve taps the picture.

                      STEVE

Your men were suppose to meet me

an hour ago.

The Lieutenant examines the photograph.

                      LIEUTENANT MIEREZ

          Yes, of course.  My apologies.

Lieutenant Mierez blows smoke out his nose and reaches for a clipboard in his desk.

                     LIEUTENANT MIEREZ

          If you’ll fill this out–

                      STEVE

          And then what?

The Lieutenant’s phone rings.

                      LIEUTENANT MIEREZ

                (to Steve)

          Excuse me one moment.

Lieutenant Mierez holds the phone to his ear.  He swivels his chair to face the window behind him.  The voice on the other end grows louder, impatient.

The Lieutenant hangs up and leaves his chair.  He takes the car keys off his desk.

                      LIEUTENANT MIEREZ

          I must go.

                      STEVE

          Now?

                      LIEUTENANT MIEREZ

          My men will contact you as

          soon as you submit the paperwork.

                      STEVE

          Where are you going?

                      LIEUTENANT MIEREZ

                (exasperated)

          Senor Chambers, we have procedures

to follow, just like in your country.

Your wife and daughter are in

Mexico on vacation, yes?  Perhaps

shopping or riding the ferry to the

mainland for the night.  I’m certain

they will return sooner than later.

                      STEVE

          Maybe you’re not hearing me.

I need your help – now.

Lieutenant Mierez takes a handkerchief from his pocket and blows his nose.

                      STEVE

          My wife and daughter are not bar

          hopping or dancing the night away

          with a cruise ship party.  I haven’t

          seen or heard from them in twelve hours.

Lieutenant Mierez takes a long drag from his unfiltered cigarette and blows smoke in Steve’s face.

                      LIEUTENANT MIEREZ

          Then I suggest you contact your

embassy in Mexico City.  Perhaps

they can tell you what it is you

want to hear.

INT. SEA-NOTE YACHT – NIGHT

Engulfed in darkness, Leslie awakens on her back.  The boat’s diesel engines drone inside the engine room.  She’s groggy and disoriented when she rolls off the bed and lands on the floor with a THUD.  Rain smacks the porthole in the bulkhead above her.

                      LESLIE

          Sarah…

Leslie hugs the wall and fumbles for the stateroom door where she stumbles into a narrow, dimly lit hallway and proceeds to the PORT SIDE CABIN.

                      LESLIE

          Sarah?

Leslie grabs the latch, but it’s locked.  She slams her shoulder against the panel.  Wood CRACKS AND SPLINTERS.

Inside the cabin

Leslie sees an oval bed with blood spatter on the walls and carpet.  A shadow moves behind her.  She covers her mouth and retreats from the macabre setting.  She SCREAMS when Damon appears, stretching a length of rope between his hands.

EXT. DC-10 AERO MEXICO FLIGHT – DAY

Rear landing gear brush the runway as the DC-10 lands at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City.

EXT. AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION SERVICE AREA – DAY

Clutching a small carry-on bag, Steve hails a taxi.

INSIDE THE TAXI

A plastic crucifix hangs from the rear view mirror where the driver’s dark eyes reflect back at Steve.

                      STEVE

          Paseo de la Reforma.

                      DRIVER

          You want the embassy?

Steve hands the driver forty dollars.

                      STEVE

          Step on it.

Steve unzips the carry-on bag and withdraws a map of Cozumel.  Using a yellow highlighter, he traces the route from the Presidente Suites to the center of town in San Miguel.  Through the window, the bustling metropolis of Mexico City disappears in a blur of smog and traffic.

INT. AMERICAN EMBASSY, WELFARE AND WHEREABOUTS OFFICE – DAY

Steve paces inside the office of DEPUTY CONSUL JOSE BONITEZ.  A framed picture of George W. Bush hangs prominently on the wall behind a mahogany desk.

                      DEPUTY BONITEZ

          Sorry to keep you waiting.

Jose Bonitez, a man in his sixties with a cheap suit and a bad come-over, motions for Steve to take a seat.

                      DEPUTY BONITEZ

          Please sit down.

                      STEVE

                (still standing)

          I was hoping to speak with the

          Consul General.

                      DEPUTY BONITEZ

          The Consul General is out of the

          country on business but my secretary

has apprised me of your situation.

                      STEVE

          So you’ll help me?

                      DEPUTY BONITEZ

Generally, my office cannot act

until the person or persons involved

have been missing for 48 hours – but

given the circumstances, I’ve started a preliminary investigation.

                      STEVE

          Preliminary?

Deputy Bonitez walks to the window overlooking the city.  He pulls a fresh cigar from his suit jacket and clips the tip with a silver cutter.

                      DEPUTY BONITEZ

          Have you spoken with the authorities

in San Miguel?

                      STEVE

          I spoke with a Lieutenant Mierez

this morning.  He suggested I contact

the embassy.

Deputy Bonitez props the cigar in his mouth.

                      DEPUTY BONITEZ

Violent crime runs rampant in

Mexico City – and elsewhere. 

This office handles a hundred

complaints a month for robbery,

assault, rape…  Even murder.  My

people are understaffed and overwhelmed.

                      STEVE

But you’ll do everything you

can to find my wife and daughter?

                      DEPUTY BONITEZ

          Have you received a ransom note?

                      STEVE

          No.

                      DEPUTY BONITEZ

          Any threatening phone calls?

                      STEVE

          What are you getting at?

                      DEPUTY BONITEZ

          Any evidence that your family

is in immediate danger?

                      STEVE

          Aside from the fact that I haven’t

          seen or heard from them in 24 hours?

                (beat)

                      DEPUTY BONITEZ

          Would you say it’s possible

your family has gone missing on

their own accord?

Steve takes Leslie and Sarah’s passport from his pocket.  He opens Leslie’s first, then Sarah’s, revealing the pictures inside the front cover.

                          STEVE

          We’re talking about my wife and

          daughter, not some shit-faced

teenagers lost on a Spring break

binge.

                      DEPUTY BONITEZ

Senor Chambers, I assure you my

people will do everything they can.

Steve glances at the passport photos, then throws Deputy Bonitez a stare that could penetrate steel.

                      STEVE

God help you if they don’t.

Screenplay: Without a Trace… Part 2

INT. TRAWLER WHEELHOUSE – DAY

Damon examines a goose neck lamp above a Plexiglas chart plotter.  He looks up to see the Captain gathering rope along the aft deck where a crane and pulley station sway under load.  The stolen Sea-Note yacht approaches in the distance.

ON THE AFT DECK

Damon and the young Latino push crab traps aside to make room for the next net to come aboard.

The Skipper stands behind an orange life ring suspended from a hook-shaped stanchion.  He checks the split winches and the rusted net roller before activating the crane and pulley system.

Damon observes the Skipper at the control box, hoisting another catch toward the live well storage bay.

The wind gusts.  The clouds darken.  Choppy seas rock the boat about its axis.  A torrential downpour ensues.

Damon and the Captain retreat to —

THE WHEELHOUSE

The Captain starts the diesel engines.  Both men are drenched.  Damon rests his hand on a fire extinguisher mounted to the bulkhead.

                      SKIPPER

          Where’s the boy?

                      DAMON

          He went below.

Damon observes the random flashing light from the Sea-Note’s bow.  He reads the Morse code message and realizes by the look on the Skipper’s face that the old man has already interpreted the message for himself.

                      DAMON

          You shouldn’t read that.

                      SKIPPER

          Who are you?

Damon grabs the 20-pound fire extinguisher and swings it with both hands, SMASHING the Captain upside the head.  The impact sends the Captain sprawling, face down.  Blood seeps from one ear.

Damon drops the extinguisher and throttles back the engines.  He exits the wheelhouse and descends to —

THE GALLEY

The young Latino confronts him.

                      YOUNG LATINO

          Why are we slowing?

Damon pummels the Young Latino with a jab-cross-hook combination.  He exits through the AFT COMPANIONWAY to retrieve a metal briefcase.  Four foot swells from an isolated storm cell rock the trawler like a toy boat in a crowded swimming pool.

EXT. FORWARD DECK – DAY

Damon jumps from the trawler to the stern of the massive yacht passing slowly amidships.

                      DAMON

          What took so long?

                      VICTOR

          Bad weather.

Victor hands him a shoulder-fired rocket launcher.  Damon waits for the Sea-Note to distance itself before he pulls the trigger.  The flying ordinance leaves a trail of smoke. THE TRAWLER EXPLODES, showerING the air with CHUNKS OF wood STRINGERS and fiberglass HULL.

INT. BASEMENT, CHAMBERS’ HOME – DAY

Steve finishes his treadmill run and steps off.  His upper body is sheathed in sweat.

INSERT – STEVE GLANCES AT THE TREADMILL ODOMETER

The odometer reads 12 miles.

INT. MASTER BATHROOM UPSTAIRS – DAY

Steve loads his neatly folded clothes into an open suitcase on the floor by his dresser.  The blinds are partially closed with the first rays of morning sun dousing the King-size bed.  Leslie stirs.  She reaches for Steve’s pillow.

                      LESLIE

          You’re up early, sailor.

                      STEVE

          I couldn’t sleep.

Steve leans over and peppers her face with kisses.

                      STEVE

          I’m gunna hit the shower.

          Our plane leaves in three hours.

                      LESLIE

                (pretending to solute)

          Roger that.

                (rolling out of bed)

          Is Sarah up yet?

Steve ponders the question.

                      STEVE

          If she’s not, can we leave

her here?

Leslie frowns.  She wallops Steve in the ass with her pillow.

INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE SARAH’s BEDROOM – DAY

Steve knocks on Sarah’s door.

                      STEVE

          Let’s go.

He puts his ear to the door.

INT. SARAH’s BEDROOM – SAME

Sarah mimics Steve’s comment from the corner of her trundle bed where a hard shell suitcase sits empty on the floor.  She’s still in pajamas.

                      SARAH

          I’m not going.

                      STEVE (VO)

          Get your stuff squared away

and grab some breakfast.  When

you’re finished you can help

me load the truck.

Sarah puts her headphones on and stares out her window at the Lexus SUV parked in the driveway below.  The snow is shoveled in neat rows.

INT. DULLES AIRPORT – DAY

The Chambers board their plane from the satellite terminal at gate D-34.

INT. UNITED AIRLINES 747 – LATER

Steve occupies the window seat with Leslie and Sarah beside him.  Leslie takes his hand in hers and leans her head back.  Sarah stares across the isle at the porthole on the other side.

                      LESLIE

          Did you grab our passports?

                      STEVE

          They’re in my bag.

                      LESLIE

          What about the travelers checks?

                      STEVE

          Relax.  Everything’s squared away.

Leslie reaches under her seat for her purse.  She digs out a pack of orange Tic-Tacs.  She pops two in her mouth as the 747 taxis toward the runway.

                      LESLIE

          Sorry.

                      STEVE

          Just hold my hand and breathe.

          You’re safer in here —

                      LESLIE

          I know I know…

Steve glances out the porthole overlooking the left wing. Ducted blades spin inside the turbofan’s cowling.  He shuts his sun visor as the plane accelerates for takeoff.

                      STEVE

                (facing Leslie)

You all right?

                 LESLIE

     I’ll let you know when we land.

EXT. COZUMEL MEXICO – DAY

The Chambers step off their Aero Mexico flight and walk across the tarmac under blistering skies to —

THE COZUMEL MUNICIPAL AIRPORT

Steve and Leslie stand in the customs inspection line with their carry-on luggage at their feet.  Sarah fans her face with a vacation brochure as she chews a wad of bubble gum. Music seeps from her headphones.

                      STEVE

                (tapping Sarah’s shoulder)

          Did you put sun block on?

Sarah takes her headphones off.

                      SARAH

          What?

                      STEVE

          Are you wearing sun block?

                      SARAH

          No.  Are you?

Steve looks at Leslie for a second.

                      STEVE

                (to Sarah)

          Your skin will cook without it.

          The sun’s a lot hotter here than

at home.

Sarah puts her headphones back on.

At the customs station, Steve presents the passports to the Mexican official with greasy black hair and sweaty pits. The man examines the passports and stamps the pages.

INT. BAGGAGE CLAIM AREA – DAY

The Chambers family waits by the luggage carrousel.

                      SARAH

          Where’s the restroom?

Leslie points to a sign that reads El Bano.

Steve grabs the bags off the conveyor belt and parks them next to Leslie.

                      STEVE

                (to Leslie)

          Stay with the bags.  I‘ll

          find out about the shuttle.

Steve approaches —

THE HOT SPOT VACATIONS COUNTER

A pretty woman in a flowered shirt and straw hat extends a warm smile.

                      HOT SPOT REPRESENTATIVE

          Buenos dias, Senor.

                      STEVE

          Habla usted ingles?

                      HOT SPOT REPRESENTATIVE

          Si.  And your name, Senor?

                      STEVE

          Chambers.  Steve Chambers.

The representative checks her computer screen.

                      HOT SPOT REPRESENTATIVE

          I have you down for six nights,

          seven days in the President Suites.

A shuttle will take you from here.

Steve returns to Leslie at —

THE LUGGAGE CARROUSEL

Leslie throws her hands up.

                      LESLIE

          Where’s Sarah?

                      STEVE

          I thought she was with you.

                      LESLIE

          She went to the restroom ten

minutes ago and hasn’t come out.

                      STEVE

          Are you sure?

                      LESLIE

          Positive.

                (beat)

          It’s so crowded in here…

                      STEVE

          We’ll find her.

                      LESLIE

          You stay here.

Leslie treks through the airport, pushing passed crowds of tourists gathered at the entrance.  She stands on her tiptoes, looking over people’s heads.  She’s nervous, shaky.  She runs back to the luggage carrousel.

                      LESLIE

          Do you have her passport?

Steve checks his carry on bag.

                      STEVE

          It’s right here.

                (beat)

          Are you sure she didn’t…

Leslie points.

                      LESLIE

          There she is.

Sarah emerges sheepishly from a crowd of tourists.

                      LESLIE

          Where have you been?

                      SARAH

          Nowhere.

Leslie looks at Steve and shakes her head.

                      LESLIE

                (to Sarah)

          From now on, you stick with us.

The Chambers’ walk to the back of the airport where AMBROSE, a tall, black, debonair gentlemen in a red Polo shirt with the Hot Spot Vacations inscription above the breast pocket holds a sign with hotel names.

                      AMBROSE

          Ladies and Gentlemen, if I could

          have your attention for a moment.

          My name is Ambrose.  I’ll be your

          Hot Spot Vacations guide for the

          duration of your stay.  First, I’d

          like to welcome you to beautiful

          Cozumel, Mexico.  Second, if your

name ends in A through K, you’ll

ride with me.  If not, please be

patient and another representative

will be here shortly to assist you.

Ambrose follows the Chambers family with his eyes.  He takes a walkie-talkie from his belt clip and mumbles at the microphone.

EXT. RIDE TO PRESIDENTE SUITES – DAY

The Hot Spot Vacations van travels through the town of San Miguel along the waterfront street of Avenida Rafael Melgar.  Cars, mopeds, and a swarm of pedestrians crowd the narrow streets at the center of town.  Small cantinas and retail shops cater to the hordes of cruise ship tourists arriving from the city dock.

EXT. OUTSIDE OF SAN MIGUEL – DAY

The van winds along a twisty, pothole-ridden road lined with knee-high weeds.  The van enters —

A SECLUDED DRIVEWAY

An archway welcomes guests to the Presidente Suites Resort.  Meticulously landscaped gardens adorn the lobby entrance with marble floors and pink stucco walls.

INT. LOBBY OF PRESIDENTE SUITES – DAY

Leslie and Sarah follow Steve through the domed, marble foyer lined with Roman pillars and paintings of ocean scenes.  Crystal chandeliers hang from the two-story ceiling painted with pastel colors.  Mahogany furniture occupies the common areas with sprays of fresh flowers.  A piano plays softly behind a spiral staircase.  Beyond the gift shop, an outside bar feeds onto a private beach.

Steve rubs his temples as he stands in the check-in line with Leslie and Sarah beside him.  In front of him, undercover FBI Agents DALE SMYTHE and WENDY RIKER pose as husband and wife.  Agent Smythe is short and stout with dark hair and thick eyebrows.  Agent Riker is a tall red-head with a slim figure and a golden tan.

                      LESLIE

          Don’t look at her.

                      STEVE

          Were they on the plane with us?

                      LESLIE

                (whispering)

     You just keep your eyes on me,

sailor, or I’ll make you drop

and give me twenty.

Steve strokes her back.  He leans over, whispers in her ear, and taps her ass.

            STEVE

I’ll give you twenty.  Naked.

EXT. TENTH FLOOR OCEANFRONT SUITE – DAY

From outside the entrance to his room, Steve watches a

bellhop named RANDY push a luggage cart from the elevator along the open-air walkway overlooking the scenic garden view.  Lighter than a featherweight boxer, the Randy sports a gold chain earring to match the gold lapels sewn on the shoulders of his pressed white uniform.

INSIDE THE OCEAN-FRONT SUITE

Steve presses on the corner of the King size bed.  A TV hutch and two dressers occupy the opposite wall.  A mini refrigerator and a welcome basket stuffed with fruits and snacks adorn a reading table beside the balcony overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

                      STEVE

                (to Randy)

          You can set those by the bed.

Randy unloads ten bags of luggage from the cart.  He pretends not to notice Sarah in her bikini.  Steve takes two dollars from his wallet and hands the folded bills to the young bellhop.

                      STEVE

          Gracias.

Randy looks at the two dollar tip and feigns a smile.

                      RANDY

           I’m Randy.  If there’s anything

 I can do, to make your stay more

 enjoyable, dial 4 to reach the lobby.

Randy exits.  Steve rubs Leslie’s shoulders.  Together they watch Sarah sulking by herself on the balcony in her bikini and her flip-flop sandals.

                      STEVE

          What did I do now?

                      LESLIE

          Nothing.  Just give her time

to adjust.

ON THE BALCONY

Sarah takes her headphones off and peers over the painted railing to view the landscaped grounds ten stories below.  Carved in a circular pattern, the bushes encompass a kidney-shaped pool with a man-made waterfall and swim-up bar.

Sarah enters —

THE HOTEL SUITE

                      SARAH

          I’m going down to the pool.

Steve shakes his head disapprovingly.

                      STEVE

          Dressed like that you’re not.


                      SARAH

          Who says?

                      STEVE

          Put something on until you

get outside.

                      SARAH

          Why?

                      STEVE

          Sarah…

            LESLIE

She’s all right.

            STEVE

She might as well be naked.

                      SARAH

          Mom…

Leslie takes a sarong from her beach bag and hands it to Sarah.

                      LESLIE

          Put this on.  You can take it

          off when you get to the pool.

                      SARAH

          I don’t have to.

                      LESLIE

          Sarah!  Don’t argue.

We’re on vacation, remember?

Sarah ties the sarong low around her waist, barely covering her bikini line.

                      SARAH

          It wasn’t my idea.

Sarah leaves in disgust.  Steve throws his hands up.

                      STEVE

          She’s a joy.

                      LESLIE

          She’s sixteen and away from

her friends.

      (beat)

She’ll sort things out.

                      STEVE

          She’s had two years to sort

things out.

                      LESLIE

          Give her time.  She doesn’t

          always show it, but she loves

          you.

                      STEVE

          Like a canker sore.

                      LESLIE
          She likes to push your buttons.

Steve grabs a towel and sunscreen lotion from his beach bag.

                      STEVE

          I’ll go down and keep

an eye on her.

Leslie locks the door and pulls her shirt off.

                 LESLIE

     Honey don’t…  You’ll only upset

her more.

She drapes her arms around his shoulders and engages him in a passionate kiss.

                      LESLIE

          Besides, I can make better use

          of your time.

Steve lowers his hands to her waist and rubs her curvature.  He guides her to the bed and pulls his shirt over his head.  Leslie unzips his shorts and smiles.  He pulls her on top of him.  She straddles his thighs with her long hair brushing his face.

EXT. 100 YARDS OFF COZUMEL SHORELINE – NIGHT

Damon pilots a ten-foot Zodiac tender from the Sea-Note yacht anchored at sea.  Steering with one hand, he peers through NIGHT VISION GOGGLES to view the PALE GREEN IMAGE of a rocky shoreline near a lighthouse.  He sees Victor pull a camouflage tarp off a Jeep.

EXT. SHORELINE – NIGHT

Damon beaches the Zodiac.

A snapping twig grabs Victor’s attention.  He takes a .45 caliber Smith & Wesson semi-auto from his belt.  Distended muscles wrap his hardened forearm like steel cables.  He eyes a wall of scrub brush for signs of movement.

Damon proceeds around the Jeep with a six-inch, ventilated .357 Magnum revolver.  A tourist emerges with his hands in the air and a camera suspended from a strap around his neck.

                      TOURIST

          Please don’t shoot.  I don’t

Want any trouble.  I just –-

I’m trying to find the lighthouse.

Victor glances at the lighthouse base a few yards away.

                      TOURIST

I take pictures.  That’s what

I do.  Of the island, you know…

I got lost.

                      VICTOR

          Then let me show you the way.

Victor shoots the tourist three times in the chest.

                      VICTOR

                (to Damon)

          Load the Jeep.  We leave in an hour.

INT. DINING HALL, PRESIDENTE SUITES – DAY

The Chambers family sits at a breakfast table overlooking an ocean view with the resort’s private beach below.  Sarah pokes at a plate of pancakes with strawberry glaze.  Steve and Leslie eat Corn Flakes with sliced banana.

Sarah gazes at a tan, muscular boy dragging a paddle boat toward the water.

                      LESLIE

          What time does the dive

boat leave?

Steve glances at his watch.

                      STEVE

          One hour.

                      SARAH

          Do I have to go?

                      LESLIE

          I thought you wanted to?

                      SARAH

          Not today.

                      STEVE

          No one’s twisting your arm.

Steve points to Sarah’s plate with his fork.

                      STEVE

          You don’t like the pancakes?

Leslie leans over the table to view the boy on the beach.

                      LESLIE

          I think pancakes are the

last thing on her mind.

Steve chews his cereal.  Across the room, Agent Riker frowns behind her Serengeti shades as her partner Agent Smythe returns with a plate of food.  Steve nods.

EXT. DIVE PIER, PRESIDENTE SUITES – DAY

A breeze sweeps across a calm sea with clouds thin and distant as Steve helps Sarah and Leslie carry their dive gear to the 36-foot dive boat named DIVERS’ PARADISE.  Steve hands his gear to the crewmen, Victor and Damon, who stow the dive bags beneath a row of bench seats lined with scuba cylinders.

ABOARD THE DIVERS’ PARADISE

The CAPTAIN, a Cozumel native with black hair and a scarred upper lip climbs out from the forward storage compartment. Topless in a pair of cutoff jeans, he wears a grease-stained cap with the word Captain embroidered in yellow letters across the brim.

Six more divers board the boat.  Four men.  Two women.

LATER

The captain starts the engines as Victor and Damon stow the fenders and cast the lines.  The boat trolls away from the pier, then accelerates slowly on plane and heads south, parallel to the coastline.

Screenplay: Without a Trace… Part 1

Victor removes his dive gear and boards the boat.  He moves silently across the berber carpet toward the wheelhouse where the empty captain’s chair faces a helm station adorned with switches, gauges, and radar screens.

The British flag twists in the wind above the starboard gunwale.  A generator hums.  VICTOR pulls a DIVE KNIFE from his ankle sheath and descends the STAIRCASE to —

THE MAIN SALON

An L-shaped leather sectional engulfs a lacquered cherry settee near the galley.  He enters —

THE AFT CABIN

He finds an empty double berth with a small television mounted above a hanging locker.  His actions are precise, deliberate as he leaves the cabin and moves stealthily toward —

THE OWNER’s STATEROOM

A bearded man is sprawled face down, naked beside a large-breasted woman.  A diamond tennis bracelet glitters on the night stand by a Rolex watch and an empty bottle of Dom Perignon floating in a silver ice bucket.

The woman opens her eyes to glimpse the shadow of the knife-wielding intruder.  Before she can scream, Victor makes a sweeping incision across her trachea through her jugular vein.

Confused by his wife’s thrashing movements, the bearded man awakens as Victor slices the knife below the man’s chin.  The man cups his hand to his throat.  Blood rushes between his fingers.

LATER

Victor wraps the bodies in the bed sheets and carries them one by one to —

THE UPPER DECK

He ties the victims’ ankles to a diver’s weight belt and shoves the bodies overboard.

AT THE HELM STATION

He raises the anchor, starts the engines, and SETS A COURSE FOR MEXICO ON THE GPS DISPLAY.  He eases the throttles forward and gradually brings the sleek, polished yacht on plane.

INT. HOME OF STEVE AND LESLIE CHAMBERS – DAY

Seated behind a laptop computer on his desk, 44-year-old Navy Diver STEVE CHAMBERS stares out a bedroom window in his Ashburn, Virginia home, watching snowflakes blanket his neighbor’s yard.  A cloud of condensation from dual exhaust pipes swirls above the temporary tags on his neighbor’s yellow Mustang GT.

INSERT – STEVE GLANCES AT HIS LAPTOP SCREEN

The laptop screen shows an Internet site for an on-line travel agency.

BACK TO SCENE

Steve rummages through the closet.  Navy uniforms hang from a wooden dowel rod.  A stack of dive magazines rests above a gun safe.  HE HEARS The front door OPEN from the foyer downstairs, followed by the THUMP THUMP THUMP of footsteps on the staircase.

A bedroom door SLAMS SHUT.  Natalie Merchant music blares inside the bedroom of Steve’s 16-year-old stepdaughter SARAH.  The phone rings.

                      SARAH (VO)

                (shouting)

          I’ll get it.

 

Steve takes a dive magazine and drops it on his desk.

                      STEVE

          Turn the music down.

Steve enters the —

THE HALLWAY

He knocks on Sarah’s door.

                      STEVE

          Sarah!  Turn it down!

He waits outside the bedroom for several seconds, staring at the Britney Spears poster.

INT. SARAH’s BEDROOM – DAY

Sarah, a petite brunette with braces and an angel face, rolls her eyes and adjusts the volume on her boom box.  She keeps the phone to her ear and unlocks the door.

                      SARAH

                (to Steve)

          All right all right.  Don’t go

postal on me.

          (to the phone)

Not you.

Steve points to a pair of wireless headphones on the dresser by a high school tennis trophy and an eight-by-ten photo of the varsity gymnastics team.

                      STEVE

          Are your headphones broken?

                      SARAH

          They hurt my ears.

                      STEVE

          How would you know?

                      SARAH

                (speaking into the phone)

          I’ll call you back.

Steve checks his watch.

                      STEVE

          Did school get out early again?

                      SARAH

          No – I cut class to spend quality

time with you.

Steve smirks at the sarcastic comment.

                      STEVE

          Did you bring the trash cans in?

                      SARAH

          Mom said I didn’t have to.

Steve points to a pack of Marlboros partially hidden behind a box of pink facial tissue.

                      SARAH

          Those aren’t mine.

Steve removes the tissue box and takes the cigarettes.

                      STEVE

          Then how did they get here?

                      SARAH

          They’re Katy’s.

                      STEVE

          Don’t let your mom catch

you smoking.

                      SARAH

          She won’t if you don’t tell her.

Steve shakes his head and closes the door behind him.

EXT. I-495 WASHINGTON CAPITAL BELTWAY – DAY

A blonde hair, blue-eyed LESLIE CHAMBERS sits in gridlock traffic behind the slushy windshield of her late model Camry.  A winter storm pounds the ten mile stretch of cars.

Burning flares lead up to a Virginia State Police cruiser with flashing lights.  An officer in foul weather gear directs Leslie around a fender-bender.

INT. LESLIE’s MOVING CAMRY – DAY

Leslie rummages through her purse.  She keeps one hand on the wheel.  A SEA OF BRAKE LIGHTS covers the four-lane highway.

She dumps the contents on the passenger seat.  Tic-Tacs, loose change, pens, sunglasses, napkins, a gold hoop earring, and a folded vacation brochure topple out.  She checks the glove compartment and finds an empty pack of smokes with a sticky note attached.

INSERT – LESLIE READS THE STICKY NOTE

Nice try.  You’ll thank me later.

BACK TO SCENE

Leslie shakes her head in disgust.  She stuffs her wallet in her purse and unfolds the glossy vacation brochure.

INSERT – LESLIE READS THE VACATION BROCHURE

The brochure advertises Cozumel, Mexico with pictures of bikini models on a white powder beach.  A caption reads, “Come to Mexico, Where the Land of Enchantment Awaits You.”

BACK TO SCENE

Leslie folds the brochure and slides it in her purse.

INT. CHAMBERS’ HOME – NIGHT

A smoke detector beeps as Steve scrambles up the BASEMENT STEPS and enters —

THE SMOKEY KITCHEN

He grabs an oven mitt and opens the oven door.  Smoke blasts his face.  He swats the air with the food-stained mitt.  Inside the oven, the charred remains of a frozen dinner sizzle and pop inside a pan.

He dumps the pan in the sink and turns the water on.  Steam rises with the smoke.

Sarah enters the kitchen wearing baggy jeans and an oversized sweatshirt.  She fans the air.

                      SARAH

          What happened?

                      STEVE

          Nothing.

Steve activates the hood fan.

                      SARAH

          When’s Mom coming home?

                      STEVE

          I don’t know.  She hasn’t called yet.

                      SARAH

          Can we order Papa John’s?

                      STEVE

          Not tonight.

                (beat)

                      SARAH

          But you just incinerated

our dinner.

Steve takes a can of tomato soup from the pantry.

                      STEVE

          We’ll do soup and sandwiches.

                      SARAH

          I had soup for lunch.

Steve grinds the can opener with sharp twists of his wrist.  The lid falls in the soup.

                      STEVE

          I thought you had homework

to finish.

Sarah takes a plastic ladle from the utensil drawer.

                      SARAH

          Don’t forget to add water

this time.

                      STEVE

          I know what I’m doing.

Sarah smirks.

                      SARAH

          I couldn’t tell from the smoke.

Sarah points to the back burner growing red hot beside an empty saucepan.

                      SARAH

          Wrong burner.

                      STEVE

          Homework.  Now.

Sarah twirls her hair.

                      SARAH

          Katy got a new Mustang for

her birthday.

                      STEVE

          The bus is free.

                      SARAH

          We’re not living in the 90s

anymore.  The cool kids don’t

take the bus to school.

                      STEVE

          Do the cool kids pay for gas?

The garage door closes with a motorized hum.  Leslie enters the kitchen and drops her purse on the counter.  She sniffs the air.

                      LESLIE
          Is something burning?

Steve points to the brochure in Leslie’s hand.

                      STEVE

          Where’d you find that?

Leslie glances at the smoldering clump of blackened food in the kitchen sink.

                      LESLIE

          I’ll show you later.  Let’s order

          pizza.  I’m starved.

100 MILES SOUTH OF KEY LARGO

INT. MAIN SALON, VIKING FISHING TRAWLER – DAY

A short, stout DAMON RODRIGUEZ sits behind an L-shaped table.  Acne scars cover his face.  His hair is disheveled.  He holds five playing cards in his callused right hand.  Across from him, a young Latino with long hair and a thin mustache points to the deck of cards.  The men are bored; their faces long.

Damon pours himself a shot of Jose Cuervo and squints at the sunlight seeping through a porthole.

                      YOUNG LATINO

           Draw or pass?

Damon coughs – a wet, raspy cough that brings up phlegm.

                      DAMON

           Draw.

Damon swaps three cards from the deck.  He downs his shot as the wrinkle-faced SKIPPER enters the salon.  Clad in overalls and rubber boots, the Skipper takes the bottle of tequila and screws the cap on.

                      SKIPPER

          The storm is coming.  We

should raise the nets.

                      DAMON

          One minute.

The Skipper slams the bottle on the table, bouncing the ashtray.  Tequila spills from Damon’s shot glass.

                      SKIPPER

          Now!

                      YOUNG LATINO

          The game just started.

                      SKIPPER

          The game is over.

Screenplay: Armed and Dangerous Part 2

INT. DINER – DAY

 

Chuck enters diner and takes off his shades. Folds them in his shirt pocket beneath the radio mic on his lapel. He approaches the front counter to survey the room. He nods at Darlene, his ex-girlfriend.

 

 

CARL’S POV:

 

Carl hides his face with his hand.

 

 

JON’S POV:

 

Jon sits up and takes note of the cop.

 

 

BACK TO SCENE:

 

DARLENE

(to Chuck)

I told you not to come here when

I’m working.

 

CHUCK

And I’m suppose to know your schedule?

 

Darlene rubs the counter with a rag.

 

DARLENE

What do you want?

 

CHUCK

Two large coffees. One black and

one—

 

DARLENE

Light cream, no sugar.

 

CHUCK

You know me better than my partner.

 

DARLENE

Your partner doesn’t know you at all.

 

Darlene frowns. She grabs the coffee pot and fills two Styrofoam coffee cups. She squeezes several packets of cream in her hand above one cup and lets the cream drip through her fingers. She tears a handful of sugar packets in half and dumps the entire contents in the same cup. She wipes her hands on her apron.

 

DARLENE

Three eighty-seven.

 

Chuck hesitates. Accustomed to coffee gratis.

 

DARLENE

This ain’t a soup kitchen.

 

CHUCK

Since when do I pay for coffee?

 

DARLENE

(whispers)

Since you screwed my sister.

 

CHUCK

Why are you still pissed about that?

Your sister came on to me.

 

Darlene’s impatience grows.

 

DARLENE

I got customers waiting.

 

CHUCK

She has a thing for men in uniform.

 

DARLENE

(shouting)

She’s nineteen.

 

The place goes quiet like time stood still. Chuck sees that all eyes are on him. He slaps four crumpled dollars on the counter.

 

CHUCK

Keep the change.

 

A garbled voice comes over his radio. He listens for his code name then strolls toward the MEN’S RESTROOM and enters.

 

 

INT. PATROL CAR – DAY

 

Dale taps his fingers on the dashboard. Board, impatient. He watches traffic through the windshield.

 

 

INT. DINER – DAY

 

SORORITY SISTERS’ POV:

 

Lindsay and Kelly read menus. Hilda cups her hand on her mouth.

 

HILDA

(gagging)

Move…

 

Hilda pushes Lindsay off the bench seat and PITCHES FORWARD IN A VIOLENT HEAVE. She’s ready to spew her guts but she holds it in.

 

 

HILDA’S POV:

 

Hilda charges for the restroom, bumping Cheryl and a serving tray with plates.

 

 

BACK TO SCENE:

 

The plates shatter on the floor as the diner’s front door

swings open and two figures in SKI masks (NATHAN and DIRK)

enter with guns. Nathan holds an empty diaper bag. He’s hesitant, indecisive. Dirk appears calm, yet menacing with cold eyes behind his mask. He wields a .357 Magnum with a six-inch, ventilated barrel.

 

DIRK

Everybody on the floor!

 

Cheryl and Abby scream. They drop to the floor face down. Darlene and Simon keep their hands up. EVERYONE, EXCEPT FOR CARL, leaves their seat and hits the floor.

 

Nathan points his .22 revolver at Darlene.

 

 

NATHAN

Open the register!

 

Darlene opens the register as Nathan comes around the counter to grab the cash.

 

CLOSE UP: OPEN REGISTER

 

Nathan sees one twenty dollar bill and a handful of singles. He lifts the drawer and finds an empty RED MONEY BAG with a locking zipper.

 

BACK TO SCENE:

 

NATHAN

Where’s the rest?

 

DARLENE

We do a bank deposit every shift.

 

Nathan hammers the air with his gun. He’s furious.

 

NATHAN

What the fuck? Where’s the safe?

 

DARLENE

We don’t have one.

 

NATHAN

What do you mean you don’t

have a fucking safe?

 

Nathan looks at Dirk.

 

NATHAN

I thought you said they had

a safe?

 

Mary enters the DINER unexpectedly. UNARMED. WEARS A SKI MASK.

NATHAN

(startled)

I told you to wait in the car!

 

MARY

(whining)

I saw cops in the parking lot.

 

NATHAN

Shit!

 

DIRK

(to Nathan)

Watch them.

 

Dirk heads for the back exit when THE MEN’S RESTROOM DOOR OPENS.

 

CHUCK’S POV:

 

Chuck sees the robbery in progress. His eyes focus on the guns and he instinctively reaches for his weapon. A SINGLE SHOT EXPLODES FROM DIRK’S REVOLVER, HITTING CHUCK IN THE NECK.

 

 

INT. PATROL CAR – DAY

 

Dale heard the shot go off. For a split second he’s thinking car backfire. Then he powers down his window and hears a woman screaming. He keys his shoulder mic.

 

DALE

Chuck?

 

Nothing but STATIC. He tugs at the riot shotgun. FUMBLES WITH THE IGNITION KEYS AND UNLOCKS THE SHOTGUN HOLDER.

 

Dale exits the car and PUMPS the shotgun. He charges for the diner entrance.

 

INT. WOMEN’S RESTROOM – DAY

 

Hilda braces her hands on her knees. A LOUD EXHAUST FAN DROWNS THE RESTAURANT NOISE as she launches another wave of vomit at the swirling toilet bowl.

 

 

EXT. DINER – DAY

 

Dale approaches the front of the diner. He sees the blood spatter on the window. He SEES TWO ARMED FIGURES standing above Chuck. He backs away from the window and grabs his mic.

 

EUGENE

Central, this is Adam-twelve,

we have a two-eleven in progress at

the Waffle House on Almond Road.

Officer down. Request immediate

assistance and an ambulance

forthwith.

 

 

INT. DINER – DAY

 

Dirk points the smoking .357 at CHUCK, who crawls backwards, clutching his hand on his throat. BLOOD GUSHES BETWEEN HIS FINGERS. THERE’S BLOOD SPATTER ON THE WALLS AND CEILING.

 

Darlene grabs a rag to stop the bleeding. She nearly slips on the bloody floor.

 

Mary stares at the carnage in disbelief. Limp, catatonic. Then reality kicks her in the face.

 

MARY

Let’s go!

 

Nathan paces with his hands on his head. He’s freaking out.

 

NATHAN

You shot a cop! You shot a

fucking cop! Why did you do

that? Shit! This wasn’t

suppose to happen.

Darlene embraces Chuck on the SLIPPERY floor, trying to stem the tide of blood GUSHING from his neck. Chuck turns pale.

 

DARLENE

Somebody call an ambulance!

 

DIRK

Let’s go!

 

Dirk pans his gun at the customers. Harold shields Betty with his body. Jon cowers in the corner. Carl remains stoic. Defiant.

 

Nathan takes Mary’s hand and steps toward the door. He opens it and SEES DALE WITH THE SHOTGUN.

 

NATHAN

Get back!

 

Dirk checks the door and sees police cars arrive outside.

 

DIRK

Fuck!

 

Dirk closes all the blinds expect for one where he can see the front parking lot. Police sirens wail.

 

NATHAN

Now what?

 

MARY

What about Rose?

 

NATHAN

What about her?

 

MARY

We can’t stay here.

 

NATHAN

Shut up!

 

DIRK

Out the back.

 

Dirk runs toward the back of the diner and puts his eye to the rear exit peep hole.

 

DIRK

They blocked us in.

 

 

EXT. DINER – DAY

 

Police cars converge outside the diner. Officers jump out. Pistols and shotguns point toward the diner.

 

 

INT. DINER – DAY

 

Dirk approaches the window blinds and peeks outside.

 

DIRK

The cops are all over this place.

 

MARY

What are we gunna do?

 

Dirk steps away from the window. He pans his gun at the diner patrons.

 

DIRK

Everyone against the wall.

 

Harold and Betty reluctantly move away from their table. Carl moves one seat back. Jon takes his duffel bag and starts moving when DIRK GRABS THE BAG AND UNBUCKLES THE TOP LATCH. Dirk dumps the contents on the floor. Mostly dirty laundry, a magazine, a football, and a small journal notebook.

 

Abby, Cheryl, Lindsay, and Kelly all huddle with the other patrons. Jon reaches for the JOURNAL NOTEBOOK on the floor.

 

DIRK

(to Jon)

I said, against the wall.

 

DARLENE’S POV:

 

Darlene in tears, still trying to save Chuck’s life.

 

DARLENE

He’s lost a lot of blood.

If he doesn’t get to a hospital

he’ll die.

 

 

BACK TO SCENE:

 

DIRK

Shut up.

 

NATHAN

(to Dirk)

She’s right. If we don’t

let him go, we’ll have bigger

problems.

 

Dirk ponders the situation. He stands over Chuck’s body and SLAMS TWO ROUNDS in his chest (three left in the cylinder). DARLENE SCREAMS.

 

DIRK

Problem solved.

 

Nathan shoves Dirk sideways and THEY TURN AWAY FROM DARLENE. DARLENE PULLS THE MACE CANISTER FROM CHUCK’S BELT AND HIDES IT IN HER APRON.

 

NATHAN

You killed a cop! You just killed

a fucking cop.

 

A MEGAPHONE BLASTS FROM OUTSIDE THE DINER.

 

SHERIFF (VO)

This is Sheriff Thorton.

We have you surrounded.

Throw out your weapons and

surrender yourselves immediately.

 

Simon turns his head. He recognizes his brother’s voice.

 

MARY

They’ll kill us.

 

NATHAN

No they won’t.

 

DIRK

Not with all these people in here.

Screenplay: Armed and Dangerous Part 1

FADE IN:

 

EXT. TRAILER PARK – DAWN

 

An early model Toyota Corolla idles outside a trailer home with the driver barely visible behind the tinted glass.

 

 

INT. TRAILER HOME – DAWN

 

A littered space with dirty laundry and dirty dishes. Raman Noodle wrappers overflow from trash can. A baby girl sleeps in a cardboard box.

 

NATHAN SMALLS, twenty-something college student in jeans and T-shirt hovers over a small table with an open algebra book, a spiral notebook, and a cheap looking .22-caliber revolver (Saturday night special). A toilet flushes. MARY PATTERSON, twenty-something girlfriend, enters from the bathroom in jeans and checks her sleeping baby. Nathan looks up from his homework.

 

                         NATHAN

         You ready?

 

                         MARY

         I can’t leave her.

 

                         NATHAN

         We’ve been over this a hundred

times. I can’t pull it off

without you.

 

                         MARY

         I’m not leaving our baby.

          Not now. Not ever.

 

                         NATHAN

         Well she’s not coming with us.

 

Long beat. Nathan puts his hand on Mary’s shoulder.

 

                        NATHAN

         We’ll be back before she’s up.


                         MARY

         What if she wakes up crying?

         What if she stops breathing?

         What if someone steals her?

 

                         NATHAN

         Look, we need this.

 

Nathan glances at the box. Sees baby outline.

 

                         NATHAN

          For her.

               (beat)

You got a better idea, let’s hear it.

 

Mary struggles in her head.

 

                         MARY

         Fine. But if anything happens

to us…

 

                         NATHAN

         It won’t.

 

                         MARY

Promise me.

 

                         NATHAN

I promise.

               (beat)

Get your shit together. Mrs. Abbott

said she’ll be here.

 

                        MARY

         When?

 

Nathan checks his watch.

 

                         NATHAN

         Soon.

 

Mary wraps her hair in a bun.

 

Nathan takes the .22 off the table and checks the cylinder. It’s loaded. He stuffs the gun in his pants and covers it with his shirt tail.

 

                         NATHAN

         Let’s go.

 

 

EXT. TRUCK STOP PARKING LOT – DAWN

 

The sun rises over a vacant gas station and a Waffle House diner across the street. JON REECE, an Army Private with a buzz cut and a green duffel bag stands in line to board a Greyhound bus. He’s nervous, fidgety, distracted while the last few passengers board.

 

 

FROM ROAD POV:

 

The bus pulls away, LEAVING JON IN THE PARKING LOT ALONE.

 

 

JON’S POV:

 

Jon’s thousand yard stare focuses on the diner across the street. He blocks the sunlight with his hand and starts walking toward the diner.

 

A LOUD HONK from a tractor trailer prompts him to jump back as the eighteen-wheeler veers off toward the diner parking lot.

 

 

EXT. DINER PARKING LOT – DAWN

 

Jon approaches the diner entrance. He sees CARL DAVENPORT step out of the Mack truck wearing boots, a jean jacket, and a wallet chain hanging from his back pocket. A road warrior, tough-as-nails man with a scruffy beard and weathered face.

 

Jon and Carl cross paths but say nothing. Jon notices the early model Toyota Corolla with tinted windows FACING AWAY FROM THE DINER AT THE OPPOSITE END OF THE PARKING LOT. Jon can BARELY see the driver’s silhouette through the tinted glass.


INT. DINER – DAWN

 

Jon and Carl sit at separate booths. DARLENE MADISON, a thirty-something manager with nice features, scrubs dishes in the sink behind the counter.

 

                         DARLENE

         Morning.

 

Carl takes a menu from another table. A customer leaves change on the counter and exits.

 

The fifty-something short order cook, SIMON THORTON, scrapes the grill. He wears a pony tail with a white apron around his jeans. Turquoise rings and bracelet.

 

                         SIMON

         Grits are empty.

 

                       DARLENE

         I thought you ordered more.

 

                         SIMON

         I don’t get paid to inventory.

          I get paid to cook.

 

 

JON’S POV:

 

Stares through a window at the parking lot. A Volvo station wagon with a man and woman inside parks near the restaurant.

 

 

EXT. DINER – DAY

 

Middle age couple, HAROLD MEEKS(pharmaceutical sales rep) AND BETTY MEEKS(homemaker), exit the Volvo wagon. They bicker as more cars arrive in the diner parking lot.

 

                       HAROLD

         The hotel has free breakfast.

 

                         BETTY

         I can’t face another bagel

with cream cheese.


                         HAROLD

You could have had something else.

 

                         BETTY

         I could have stayed at a better

place. One with room service.

 

                         HAROLD

         You wanted to tag along. Maybe

next time you’ll think twice.

 

                         BETTY

         There won’t be a next time.

 

                         HAROLD

         What’s that suppose to mean?

 

                         BETTY

         Forget it.

 

Harold and Betty enter the diner. A two door Mazda COUPE parks beside the Toyota Corolla.

 

 

MAZDA POV:

 

Lambda Theta Alpha sorority sisters KELLY, HILDA, and LINDSAY exit the Mazda. They stretch and squint.

 

KELLY (cute, bubbly, cheerleader type).

 

HILDA (shortest and thinnest of the three, woozy, about to puke on her shoes).

 

LINDSAY (prudent, responsible, designated driver more or less).

 

Hilda staggers, bumps her car door against the Corolla. She cringes. Can’t discern the Corolla’s occupants behind the tinted windows. She holds her hand to her mouth about to puke. SHE SEES HER CELL PHONE ON THE BACK SEAT.

 

Lindsay locks the car with the keyless remote.

 

                         HILDA

         I left my phone.


                         KELLY

         You won’t need it.

 

 

GIRLS’ POV:

 

A FORD STATION WAGON pulls in front OF THE DINER as a SHERIFF’S CAR parks at the OPPOSITE END OUT OF SIGHT FROM THE COROLLA. Kelly, Hilda, and Lindsay enter diner.

 

 

FORD STATION WAGON POV:

 

Waitress, Abby Smith, gets out and SLAMS THE DOOR. She holds her apron and blows smoke. Flicks her cigarette butt. Her nametag hangs crooked on her uniform. The station wagon drives away.

 

 

INT. DINER – DAY

 

Darlene hustles behind the counter with a tray of drinks. Bacon SIZZLES on the grill. Simon searches the fridge for supplies. Abby enters.

 

                         DARLENE

                 (to Abby)

         You’re late.

 

Abby ties her apron. She’s angry. Pissed at being there.

 

                         ABBY

         It’s my day off.

 

                         DARLENE

No one would cover the shift.

 

               ABBY

And that’s my fault?

 

                         DARLENE

Table five hasn’t ordered.

Twelve still needs coffee.

 

                         ABBY

         Where’s Paula?


Darlene carries orange juice glasses to Harold and Betty’s table.

 

                         DARLENE

         She quit.

 

Abby takes her notepad from her apron pocket. She grabs the coffee pot. The place is buzzing.

 

                         ABBY

         Since when?

 

                         DARLENE

         This morning.

 

                         ABBY

         Where’s Cheryl?

 

CHERYL WILKINS, a black waitress and community college student emerges from the back room counting money.

 

                         CHERYL

         I need change.

 

                         DARLENE

         Take it from the register.

 

                         SIMON

                (to Darlene)

         Order up.

 

 

HAROLD AND BETTY POV:

 

Harold waves his coffee mug.

 

                         HAROLD

                 (impatient, to wait staff)

         I need a refill.

 

                         BETTY

                 (to Harold)

         You can’t find good help anymore.

 

                         HAROLD

I told you we should have stayed

at the hotel.

                         BETTY

         Quit bitching. You sound like

          your mother.

 

 

DARLENE’S POV:

 

Darlene delivers a plate of over-easy eggs and toast to Carl’s table.

 

                         DARLENE

         More coffee?

 

Carl looks at his food.

 

                         CARL

                 (gruff)

         I asked for scrambled.

 

Darlene forces a smile. She takes the plate. Going to be a long shift.

 

 

JON’S POV:

 

Jon watches the parking lot intently. He’s startled when Cheryl brings his waffle with bacon.

 

                         CHERYL

         Can I get you anything else?

 

Jon shakes his head. Cheryl leaves the check.

 

 

SIMON’S POV:

 

He’s flustered. Tickets crowd the counter. He knocks a serving spoon off the counter and picks it up. Tosses it in the sink with piled dishes. He grabs a hot pan handle and burns his hand.

 

                         SIMON

         Shit.

 

He stares at an order ticket and taps Darlene’s arm when she tries to walk by.

 

                         SIMON

         What is this?

 

Darlene reads the ticket.

 

                         DARLENE

         Wheat toast, no butter.

 

                        SIMON

         Spell it out next time.

          I can’t read your scribble.

 

 

INT. SHERIFF PATROL CAR – DAY

 

Deputies CHUCK AVERY and DALE WILSON unbuckle their seatbelts. Chuck stuffs a clipboard beside the riot shotgun mounted between the seats.

 

                         CHUCK

         You want something?

 

                         DALE

         Black coffee.

 

Dale reaches for his wallet.

 

                         CHUCK

         I got it.

 

 

EXT. PATROL CAR – DAY

 

Chuck exits the patrol car and swaggers toward the diner entrance. Wears shades, mustache, and an ego the size of Texas.

Rude Awakening: The Final Chapter

INT. BARN – NIGHT

Faith stands precariously on a wooden chair with a rope around her neck. The rope extends over a wooden support beam and ties off at a pillar across the room. Her hands are bound behind her back.

 

EXT. BARN

The figure in the hooded parka approaches with a gasoline can.

 

INT. BARN

Snow shoes crunch on the frozen ground. Clouds of condensation billow from the parka hood.

 

FAITH

Who’s there?

 

Faith stiffens when she feels the rope tighten around her neck.

 

FAITH

Andy?

 

The hooded figure pours gasoline in a circular pattern around Faith’s chair. Faith sniffs the air.

 

FAITH

You don’t have to do this…

 

The hooded figure stops pouring and removes the hood and mask to reveal Mira’s hideously disfigured face, partially covered by heavy makeup and a wig.

MIRA

There’s something you should know.

 

FAITH

(in disbelief)

Mira?

 

MIRA

There’s something you should know. Those were the first words I heard when I awoke. Before I saw my face for the first time in ten years. Before I learned the price of my coma recovery.

 

FAITH

What are you doing?

 

MIRA

Mild imperfections from an otherwise flawless treatment. That’s what my doctor told me.

 

Mira lights a match.

 

MIRA

If you could see me, Faith, you’d understand my desire to see you suffer.

 

FAITH

Why?

 

MIRA

It’s not about you anymore, Faith. As much as you like to think that everything revolves around you, it doesn’t. You were suppose to die the night of that car accident because I planned it that way. Because as much as I hated to admit it, the world did revolve around you. You had mother’s attention. You made the grades, the friends…the opportunities I never had. A life I could only dream of.

 

FAITH

You need help, Mira. I can help you if you let me.

 

Faith wobbles to maintain her balance.

 

FAITH

Please!

 

MIRA

How does it feel to be on the edge? To stare death in the face? To know the last man you loved I stole? To know the last man you fucked, I killed. To know I strangled your precious Margaret with my bare hands.

 

INT. BRANIGAN’s FORD EXCURSION

Submerged to his neck in freezing lake water, Branigan desperately kicks at the rear window. He gasps for his last breath as the water rises above his head. He searches through the murky cabin and finds a flashlight on the floorboard. He hammers at the rear window until the GLASS BREAKS.

 

EXT. LAKE SURFACE

Branigan breaks the surface, shivering, barely able to move his arms as he swims for the snow-covered embankment. He claws at the ground, pulling himself onto land. In the distance, smoke rises from the farmhouse chimney.

 

INT. FARMHOUSE

 

Branigan bursts through the front door, collapsing on the floor, his teeth chattering uncontrollably as he crawls his way toward a roaring fire.

HE HEARS A WOMAN’s DISTANT SCREAM AND PULLS HIMSELF TO HIS FEET. STRIPPING OFF HIS WET CLOTHES, HE GRABS A TOWEL FROM THE LINEN CLOSET.

 

HE TAKES A PHONE FROM THE WALL AND PUNCHES HIS GNARLED FINGERS AT THE BLURRY BUTTONS. CONFUSED, DISORIENTED.

 

BRANIGAN

Offfcerrrr neeedsss hppppp.

 

Through the window he sees the glow from the fire inside the barn.

 

INT. BARN

Flames fan out across the barn, climbing the walls and ceiling. A ring of fire encircles Faith.

 

MIRA

Terror, Faith, isn’t something you see, it’s something you feel. It’s something you taste. Something animals can smell. An emotion more powerful than love or hate.

 

FAITH

I’m sorry…

 

EXT. BARN

 

Branigan trudges toward the barn in a jacket and wool mittens.

INT. BARN

Faith slips off the stool and hangs precariously with the rope around her neck.

BRANIGAN

Hold on!

Branigan hammers the tied off rope with the edge of a shovel blade. The rope breaks.

 

Faith falls toward the fire. Branigan squints, coughing through the smoke as he pounces on Faith to extinguish the flames. He lifts her off the dirt floor and carries her away from the fire as Mira appears THROUGH THE SMOKE LIKE AN EVIL APPARITION and slams the shovel against Branigan’s legs, KNOCKING HIM TO THE GROUND.

Mira hoists the shovel above her head. About to strike her final blow, she hesitates when Andy Neyman JUMPS FROM the LOFT and tackles her into the fire.

Branigan carries Faith from the barn that’s now engulfed by the raging inferno.

Sirens wail with the glow of flashing lights as a caravan of police SUVs approaches in the distance.

 

EXT. CAPE COD HOME – DAY

SUPER: “Six months later.”

A hundred acres of wooded property form the backdrop of Faith’s new home. In the foreground, two burly men in overalls and baseball caps carry a sofa from the truck to the house.

A cloud of dust swirls along a stretch of gravel road leading to the property. A black Crown Victoria with tinted windows moves swiftly toward the house and stops behind the van. Branigan gets out wearing khakis and a sport coat. His mirrored glasses reflect Faith’s image as he approaches.

 

FAITH

You’re late.

 

They embrace and kiss. Branigan’s hug is hesitant and awkward. Faith touches her hand to his face. She can read his thoughts.

 

FAITH

Why?

 

BRANIGAN

Faith…

 

FAITH

You can’t spend your life chasing shadows.

 

BRANIGAN

It’s what I do.

(long beat)

 

FAITH

He saved our lives.

(beat)

Mira killed those people. Andy was only trying to protect me.

 

BRANIGAN

You don’t know that.

 

FAITH

Does it matter?

 

Two movers return from the house and hustle single-file up the truck’s loading ramp.

 

BRANIGAN

You think that saving us makes him innocent?

 

FAITH

It makes him human.

 

Faith crosses her arms. Branigan walks back to his car.

 

FAITH

Why’d you come here?

 

Branigan opens the rear driver-side door and Zeus leaps out, barking as he sprints across the lawn toward Faith.

 

Branigan slides behind the wheel and starts the engine. He powers down the window before he backs the car away.

 

BRANIGAN

(shouting)

He likes the wet food better.

 

INT. FAITH’s KITCHEN – NIGHT

Faith rests a bowl of water on the floor beside a bowl of wet dog food. Beyond the kitchen, moving boxes fill the gap between a sofa and love seat.

 

INT. BEDROOM

Faith feels the locked latches on the windows and draws the blinds.

 

INT. BATHROOM

Standing in a bath towel with her hair pinned back, Faith draws a bath and pours a cup of purple beads in the tub.  The water foams. The air is steamy. Above the roar of running water, FAITH HEARS A CAR DOOR SLAM. SHE TURNS OFF THE WATER.

FAITH

Zeus come.

 

Zeus trots into the bathroom.

Faith stands up in the tub and wraps her body with a towel. Suds cling to her neck and arms. Zeus follows her to–

 

THE BEDROOM

Faith opens her nightstand drawer and removes her .357 revolver. She cocks the hammer and moves slowly toward–

 

THE LIVING ROOM

Zeus barks at the front door, pawing at the mail slot. A figure’s silhouette moves behind the vertical window panes.

 

A LOUD KNOCK AGAINST THE GLASS. FAITH JUMPS.

 

BRANIGAN (O/S)

It’s me. Don’t shoot.

 

FAITH

Branigan?

 

Faith sets the gun on the sofa and unlocks the door. Branigan enters and wraps his arms around her. Zeus slinks through the basement door, which Faith inadvertently bumps into, shutting the dog downstairs.

 

FAITH

You couldn’t stay away…

 

Branigan kisses her forehead.

 

BRANIGAN

I’ll get my bags.

 

EXT. FAITH’s HOUSE

Branigan pops the trunk and reaches for his suitcase. He pauses at the sound of a cracking branch.

 

INT. FAITH’s HOUSE

Faith opens a bottle of wine.  She sighs when a hand touches her shoulder.

 

FAITH

That was fast.

Dressed in a brown wig and glasses, Mira strangles Faith with both hands, throwing Faith against the wall with enough force to crack the drywall. Faith’s wine glass shatters on the stone floor.

Zeus barks fervently, clawing at the basement door.

Dishes smash against the floor as Faith STRUGGLES TO PRY MIRA’S HANDS AWAY.

 

GUNSHOTS RING OUT. Mira collapses on the kitchen floor amidst the fallen dishware and A BUTCHER KNIFE.

Branigan enters the kitchen with his gun trained on Mira. He checks her carotid pulse and carries Faith to the–

LIVING ROOM SOFA

With his back to the kitchen, Branigan rests Faith on the floor.

Mira screams as she attacks Branigan from behind, wielding the butcher knife with her eyes glazed over. Her shirt is soaked in blood.

Branigan turns and FIRES A PANIC SHOT THAT MISSES.

He falls backward with Mira on top of him, wrestling for control of the ten-inch blade.

Faith fumbles for her gun on the sofa, searching, clawing…until her hands come across the cold steel.

Faith jams the muzzle in Mira’s ear and pulls the trigger. BANG! MIRA’s HEAD EXPLODES.

 

EXT. FAITH’s HOUSE – NIGHT

A ’76 Ford station wagon with fake wood paneling drives away with the windows down. An expressionless Andy Neyman sits grinning behind the wheel.

 

THE END

 

Rude Awakening: Part 10

INT. MARVIN’s HOUSE (PRESENT DAY)

FAITH

(voice quivering)

Marvin?

Faith pans the small revolver back and forth, bumping her shin against the coffee table.

 

FAITH

Zeus, come!

 

Faith touches her trembling hand along the back of the sofa. She moves toward the upstairs landing as a flash of lightening illuminates the Eastwood cut-out where Andy Neyman suddenly appears, holding the cordless phone.

 

Faith freezes. She can sense Andy’s presence.

 

FAITH

What do you want from me?

 

gunSHOTS ERUPT. GLASS shatteRS.

 

DETECTIVE BRANIGAN BURSTS INSIDE THE ROOM WITH A SWAT TEAM ON HIS HEELS. He tackles Faith as laser-sighted weapons beam the walls and furniture.

 

SWAT TEAM MEMBER 1

Clear!

 

SWAT TEAM MEMBER 2

All clear!

 

BRANIGAN

(to Faith)

You all right?

 

Faith nods her head.

BRANIGAN

It’s all over.

 

EXT. MARVIN’s HOUSE – NIGHT

Faith rests on a gurney near an ambulance surrounded with police cars and flashing lights. A paramedic removes a blood pressure cuff from her arm as Branigan watches.

 

PARAMEDIC

(to Branigan)

She’ll be all right.

 

Faith wipes her hair from her face.

 

BRANIGAN

(to Faith)

Scary stuff.

 

FAITH

Did you find him?

 

Branigan stares across the lawn at the neighbors standing along the street in their pajamas.

 

BRANIGAN

Not yet…

 

INT. MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

Branigan exits the kitchenette area with a cup of water for Faith who stands in a towel. Wet hair clings to her neck and face. Steam fogs the mirror in the bathroom behind her.

 

BRANIGAN

You sure you don’t want something stronger?

Faith takes the water with both hands.

 

FAITH

No.

 

Faith takes a sip and hands the cup back to Branigan.

 

BRANIGAN

They’re two officers stationed outside. You’ll be safe here.

 

FAITH

He won’t stop. (beat) Will he?

 

BRANIGAN

No.

 

Branigan turns to leave.

 

FAITH

Stay with me…

 

BRANIGAN

I can’t.

 

Branigan moves toward the door and grabs the knob. His phone beeps. He turns to see Faith holding a cell phone. He sighs and retreats to Faith.

 

BRANIGAN

Right now, this is the safest place for you to be.

 

Faith touches his chest with her fingertips, feeling along the base of his neck before pausing to study the outline of his face and lips. Branigan kisses her finger.

 

BRANIGAN

I can’t do this…

 

FAITH

(whispering)

Shhh.

 

Branigan leans in to kiss her. Faith brings her hand behind his neck and pulls him toward her, hungrily. Her towel slides down her slender body.

 

INT. MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

Branigan lies awake on his back, staring at the ceiling with Faith asleep beside him. The clock on the nightstand reads 4:30 a.m. Branigan slips out of bed and pulls his pants on. He holsters his weapon.

 

INT. MEDICAL EXAMINER’s LAB – NIGHT

Branigan examines the partially covered body of Marvin Tibbs lying face up on the stainless steel slab with knife wounds to his upper abdomen. The MEDICAL EXAMINER (M.E.), a slender red-head in a lab apron, enters through a swinging door.

 

M.E.

Can’t sleep?

 

BRANIGAN

What do we got?

 

M.E.

Marvin Tibbs. DOA. Bled out before the paramedics could jump him.

 

The M.E. points to Marvin’s wounds.

 

M.E.
Deep stab wounds to the lower abdomen pierced his liver, which wasn’t much to begin with.

 

BRANIGAN

What else?

 

The M.E. takes a plastic evidence bag from the counter and hands it to Branigan. Inside the bag is a prescription pill bottle with no prescription label.

 

M.E.

Crime scene found this in the house. Same contents as the one you found at the truck stop murders.

 

Branigan inspects the blue oval pills in the tinted brown bottle.

 

BRANIGAN

What are they?

 

M.E.

I ran a tox screen. Some sort of stimulant with a chemical composition similar to PCP.

 

BRANIGAN

Synthetic drugs?

 

M.E.

That’s what I thought until I had the lab run it through the FDA database. The pills are part of a coma research therapy that targets the reticular activation system in the brain. The drug failed during phase three trials. It shouldn’t be on the street.

 

BRANIGAN

You get a name?

 

M.E.

Doctor Edwin Jenkins, chief scientist at a biomedical research center in Jamaica, New York. Filed for FDA approval two years ago.

 

Branigan holds the bottle to the overhead light and smiles.

 

BRANIGAN

Nice work.

 

M.E.

One more thing…

 

The M.E. retrieves a folder from her desk. She opens it and reveals THE PICTURES ANDY NEYMAN DREW IN CRAYON.

 

BRANIGAN

What’s this?

 

M.E.

Martinez dropped them off. Said your hunch was right, whatever that means.

 

EXT. BRANIGAN’s MOVING CROWN VICTORIA – NIGHT

Branigan’s car screeches to a stop at a motel parking lot.  He gets out and climbs the stairs to–

 

FAITH’s MOTEL ROOM

 

Branigan approaches the officer outside the room.

 

BRANIGAN

Where’s your other half?

 

OFFICER

On the shitter.

 

Branigan knocks lightly.

 

OFFICER

She’s not there.

 

Branigan pounds the door.

 

BRANIGAN

FAITH!

 

Branigan kicks the door down. The officer follows.

 

OFFICER

She left with her sister.

 

BRANIGAN

When?

 

OFFICER

About an hour ago.

 

BRANIGAN

And you let them leave?

 

OFFICER

She’s not under house arrest.

 

Branigan holsters his gun.

 

BRANIGAN

If she comes back, grab her… Cuff her to your arm if you have to, but don’t let her leave here again!

EXT. COMA RESEARCH CENTER – NIGHT

Branigan’s Crown Victoria drives over a snow-covered road leading up to a guard gate surrounded by a heavily-wooded tract encompassed by ten-foot fencing topped with constantino wire. The headlights dim.

 

INT. CROWN VIC

Branigan reaches out the driver’s window with his badge and ID.

 

INT. GUARD SHACK

A security guard turns away from a fuzzy 12-inch black and white television. He takes a clip board off the cube-shaped ceramic heater and checks the names on the list. He presses a button.

 

EXT. GUARD SHACK

The iron gate creaks and groans as it slides open.

 

INT. CROWN VICTORIA – NIGHT

Branigan loads a fresh clip in his Glock and pulls the slide back to chamber the first round. He holsters the weapon and gets out.

 

EXT. CROWN VIC

Snow flurries pelt Branigan’s face as he treks toward the lobby entrance at the base of a five story building with tinted windows.

 

INT. LOBBY ENTRANCE – NIGHT

 

Branigan swipes his hand through his snow-covered hair. A pair of elevator doors open silently. Doctor Jenkins steps out; he walks with a tired hunch.

 

DOCTOR JENKINS

Detective Branigan?

 

Branigan extends a handshake.

 

BRANIGAN

Thanks for meeting me.

 

DOCTOR JENKINS

No problem. We don’t get many visitors in this weather.