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Against the backdrop of the snow-capped San Jacinto mountains, the sun glittering on their high-tech racing bikes, the three identical girls curve off the Interstate and onto Highway One-Eleven. (BEGIN CREDITS) Close on their muscular legs and toned bodies. CHANG! CHANG! CHANG! The chains snap and jump in rapid succession as the girls downshift to meet the headwind. Moving in perfect unison - in their brilliantly colored racing tights and jersies, sleek sunglasses, long blonde hair streaming - the triplets have the shimmering look of computer-generated images. Or aliens from another world. The riders are about to overtake a young couple in a new convertible, a teal-colored Corvette with paper dealer plates. A rock & roll oldie blares from the car's stereo and the speedometer hovers at 75 as the male driver turns to smile pridefully at his girl. As the three riders pass on the right, the car shudders and rattles violently as if caught in the wake of some powerful, unseen force. The startled passenger stiffens and grabs a handhold as the driver brakes the vehicle and eases it to the side of the road. As the scene trails away, the worried driver is inspecting the tires and bouncing the front end to check suspension. Slowing gradually, the THREE RIDERS approach the first major intersection of town. (END CREDITS) Emergency flares are burning in the street and traffic has begun to back up. A uniformed gas station attendant is lighting more flares to block a side street.
In the middle of the intersection lies a tangled bicycle and, near it, the prone body of a young girl. The contents of her backpack are scattered. Books, loose papers and notepads are strewn on the pavement along with gym clothes and toilet articles. An open BIBLE flutters its pages in the book of LUKE. Follow the ominous skid marks. At one corner of the intersection, a late-model white Cadillac has jumped the curb and rests at a crazy angle, left front wheel atop a concrete bus-stop bench. The driver's door is open and two civilians are ministering to the moaning, white-haired driver inside. At the opposite diagonal corner another young girl, also wearing a backpack, is being restrained by a middle-aged couple. Her arms reach out to her downed companion and she sobs hysterically, screaming out a name over and over, like a broken record. YOUNG GIRL Rebecca! No,no,no! REBECCA! The girl on the asphalt is apparently lifeless, her head turned at an unnatural angle, a thin trickle of blood from one corner of her mouth. Her wide-open eyes stare blankly ahead. Follow her line-of-sight. If those glazed eyes were linked to consciousness, they would see....THE THREE RIDERS; sunglasses off, long golden hair billowing slow-motion in the breeze, their clear emerald eyes staring impassively back at her. * * SIRENS AND SCREAMS. The shrill siren runs interference for an ambulance which is hurtling down a secondary thorofare. * * * * * *
The ambulance, a search and rescue unit, is ruggedly modified for off-road service and it's powerful engine thunders through huge chrome side-pipes that run the length of the vehicle. Arced across the side panel of the ambulance are the words, BLACKHAWK AMBULANCE and below that is the figure of a large, black bird-of-prey in attack mode. Below that, in smaller letters, is the motto 'NEVER SAY DIE'. The shrill, non-stop screaming is courtesy of the female paramedic who rides shotgun in her candy-striped uniform. Thick freckles, thick glasses, buck teeth, long braided hair with pink bows. White-knuckled, she hangs on for dear life and screams relentlessly at the prospect of a grisly death which streams toward her through the windshield. The manic driver is dark-skinned and muscular. Gleaming white teeth. Long shiny-black hair with a red sweatband. Obviously native American. (Blackhawk's son?) His driving style is fearlessly aggressive as he curses an assortment of bewildered motorists, hapless pedestrians and other obstacles out of his way. Never touching the brake, he prides himself on using only the accelerator and steering wheel to maneuver. When necessary, he commandeers either side of the street, at times with two wheels up on the curb. A blocked intersection ahead! driveway. He cuts up a residential
With the left wheels on sidewalk, the right ones on grass, he blasts past three houses and sails off a curb and past the stalemated traffic. The medic's screams rise an octave and she covers her eyes as they accelerate toward a red light at the next cross street. DRIVER Green! Green! Green! You son of a bitch, turn green!
I said GREEEEEEN!! Amazingly, the light does turn green at the last possible moment and the vehicle streaks through the intersection untouched. DRIVER (gleefully) Positive thinking! believer in it!
I'm a big
As the ambulance slows and circles cautiously onto the accident scene, the two occupants swap personalities. The girl, already unbuckling her restraints and assembling the equipment she will need, becomes the model of calm, professional efficiency. The driver, seeing the mangled bike and the fallen girl, becomes agitated and emotional. DRIVER Oh God! Oh God! Oh no! Oh no! Sonofabitch! No, no, no, no! Oh bullshit! Oh, this is bullshit, man! Oh God! Oh no! A patrol car is on the scene, red lights flashing. A cop is herding onlookers back. The THREE RIDERS are not seen. The emergency team quietly and quickly examine the girl. MEDIC I've got a pulse! They immobilize the neck, ease her onto a stretcher and load her into the back of the ambulance. Enroute to the hospital, the driver is much more subdued and cautious, unwilling to jostle his fragile cargo. He looks into a mirror where he can see the paramedic taking the patient's blood pressure. He lifts a microphone. DRIVER Pam, I know that girl. She takes aerobic classes at my gym. He replaces the mike, keeps glancing in the mirror. He
raises the mike again.
His eyes are moist.
DRIVER She's a nice girl. * * Inside a tract house, a TELEPHONE RINGS on the KITCHEN wall near the sliding glass door to the back yard. A short, plump, middle-aged woman emerges from a hallway, her head wrapped in a towel. She has a sweet, little-girl voice. WOMAN Hello. Yes, this is Mrs. Sweet. Yes, Rebecca's my daughter, but she's not home right now. Could I take a...... What? What kind of.... Rebecca? Oooh, Rebecca? She screams an anguished scream as the receiver drops from her hand. It bounces against the wall and spins on it's cord. Mrs. Sweet's mind deserts her. She opens the glass slider and runs into the back yard. She stops short and, gasping for breath, turns to stare helplessly in several different directions. She runs back into the kitchen. She rips open the door to the small kitchen pantry and grabs a can of peaches off the door rack. Through her tears, she tries desperately to focus on the can's label as pitiful sobs rack her body. Car keys! She drops the peaches and disappears into the hallway. Still sobbing, she reappears with a large, floppy purse. She spots the dangling telephone receiver and screams into it. MRS SWEET Tell Rebecca I'm coming! You tell her I'm coming! Please, PLEASE! * * * * * *
She drops the receiver, runs out through the open sliding door, opens the rear door to the garage and plunges into the dark interior. More loud sobbing is heard from inside as a car door slams and the engine starts. From the front of the residence, the squeal of tires is heard, followed by a terrific CRASH as the double-wide garage door splinters down the middle and bulges outward. The engine stops and loud wailing is heard. Finally, the damaged door creaks and lumbers upward. The engine starts again and a small Toyota with bent rear bumper and a broken tail light backs out. Having heard the crash, the neighbor couple across the street have come out and are standing in their driveway, trying to decipher the situation. The Toyota backs, at high speed, straight across the street and into their driveway as the frantic couple dives for safety. The gears grind and the tires screech again as the Toyota smokes a right turn into the street and heads west, running a stop sign. Mrs. Sweet is still wearing the towel on her head! * * The INTERIOR of the HOSPITAL ROOM is dim and gray as predawn light filters through the closed mesh drapes at the east wall. The head section of Rebecca's bed is raised at an angle. She lies on her back, her eyes still wide, glazed and unfocused. On the opposite wall, a T.V. set is playing with the sound off. A group of cyclists are sprinting on a country road, a multicolored blur of bright jersies and glittering wheels. * * * * * *
On Rebecca's left, a few feet away, her mother is slumped in a chair, asleep. She looks drab, worn and disheveled. There is a Bible on her lap, open in the book of Luke. Several magazines and a coffee cup lie at her feet. Two young nurse's aides (candy stripers) are making their rounds. They lower their voices as they enter, but a fragment of their running conversation is heard. STRIPER 1 ....absolutely the most fantastic thing I've ever heard! The first striper checks monitors while the second walks around Rebecca's bed to rearrange or replace items on the nearby stand. STRIPER 1 (across the bed) Well, I think you should tell people about it. Get it out there! STRIPER 2 Ah, I think I'll just save my breath.... Striper 2 is an average looking blonde. Except for her striking green eyes. As she tucks in the blankets, she bends close to Rebecca and whispers. STRIPER 2 ....nobody listens to you unless you're famous. The aides take a last look around and leave the room. The big, black minute hand of the wall clock notches to the straight-up six o'clock position with an audible CLICK! A sudden, sharp intake of breath by Rebecca! She closes her eyes and exhales slowly. She rolls her head to the left, opens her eyes, and stares at her sleeping mother. She speaks in a loud whisper. REBECCA Mom, where are we?
Rebecca swings her legs over the side of the bed and sits up. She looks around the room and whispers louder. REBECCA Mom, where are we? MOM!
Her mother struggles awake, sits up and blinks at her daughter. Rebecca? MRS SWEET Rebecca!
Mrs. Sweet jumps up, drops the Bible on the foot of Rebecca's bed and sits beside her daughter, hugging her. MRS SWEET Oh, thank God! Oh Becky, I knew it! I knew you'd come back! Oh, where have you been? REBECCA (a deep breath) What do they put in the air around here? MRS SWEET Honey....oh, you better lay back down and I'll go get the nurse. How do you feel? Don't you remember the accident? REBECCA I remember falling down. But I didn't get hurt. I'm okay. I feel fine. Her mother is bright and smiling now, shaking her head. Her manner is artless, childlike. MRS SWEET I'd better go tell the nurses. Ooooh! I'll be right back. Mrs Sweet leaves and returns a few moments later with a large, bustling nurse.
NURSE Well, good morning. Look who decided to join us for breakfast! You had us all pretty worried, young lady. The nurse flicks the T.V. off, eases Rebecca back into bed, dresses the covers and lays the Bible beside her. She looks closely into Rebecca's eyes and then checks her monitors. NURSE Is your pulse rate always this low, Rebecca? Are you an athlete? Long distance runner? Rebecca looks over at the monitor. are blinking, ...51...51...51... The large, red numerals
REBECCA Well...I do ride my bike a lot. I feel perfectly okay now. Do you know where my clothes are? I'm ready to go home. Right mom? NURSE Well, your doctor should be here about eight o'clock. I think he has some tests scheduled for you. Let's get some light in here. The nurse walks past the other bed, which is unoccupied, and draws open the orange drapes. REBECCA What makes the air smell so sweet? NURSE Now I'm going to bring you a nice, cold glass of orange juice. How does that sound? MRS SWEET (taking Becky's hand) Everything's going to be okay now. Ooooh! (pulls back) I got a shock!
Did you feel it? Honey,I'm going to run to the ladies' room and wash up a little. I bet I look like a witch! I'll be back in just a few minutes, okay? REBECCA Mom...thanks for taking care of her all those years. MRS SWEET Her? Me. REBECCA I meant me. Thank you.
Mrs. Sweet gives her an adoring look and bends to kiss her daughter's cheek. MRS SWEET (whispers) Oooh, Rebecca, the pleasure was all mine. Mrs Sweet retrieves her purse and pats the foot of the bed as she walks out into the hallway. Alone, Rebecca again swings her legs over the side of the bed and sits up. She absent-mindedly picks up the Bible. She pulls the nightgown up at her bare legs as though They appear very sleek and hand lightly over the hard around her waist and stares down she's never seen them before. defined. She curiously runs a muscles.
Bebecca looks toward the glass wall toward the amber glow which has begun to suffuse the room. As though mesmerized by that light, she slowly gets up and walks toward it, the Bible in her hand. She rolls back the sliding glass door and steps out onto the small balcony. On her right is a large bowl of bright flowers on a wrought-iron stand. She gasps when she sees them, stares in amazement, then bends to inspect them more closely. She turns to face the East and her expression slowly grows
ecstatic. Her face glows and her body shudders as she slowly throws back her head and opens her arms to embrace the invading warmth. The Bible slips from her fingers and flutters five stories. The morning sun has topped the distant hills and the full glory of her first sunrise has hit her like a shockwave. * * NIGHT. Mrs. Sweet asleep in her BEDROOM. Indistinct O.S. noises are heard. She stirs, raises her head mementarily, drops off again. More muffled sounds. This time Mrs. Sweet sits up on the edge of the bed, listens intently. She switches on a dim night light and gets into slippers and robe. She cautiously opens her bedroom door. Checking the hallway, she sees a thin bar of light under the door to Rebecca's room. She places her ear against the door. MRS. SWEET (softly) Rebecca. She opens the door slowly. The bed has been stripped and most of the hangered clothes from the closet are piled on the bare mattress. Several dresser drawers are open. The anxious woman checks the third bedroom, then switches the bathroom light on and off again. Calling her daughter's name, ever more alarmed, she hurries toward the living room. Nothing! As she nervously lifts the receiver of the kitchen wall phone, she glances through the over-sink window which faces the back yard. Lights are visible in the guest house. Out in the moonlit dark,she picks her way carefully to the entrance of the bungalow. She pauses with her hand on the knob, then flings open the door. REBECCA (breezily) * * * * * *
Hi mom. Out of breath, Mrs. Sweet slumps against the door frame in relief. MRS SWEET Oooh, Rebecca. Oh, Rebecca. Oh, my God. You had me so worried. I didn't know what to think. What in the world are you doing out here? It's four o'clock in the morning! It's not actually a guest house but a converted rec room. One large, open rectangular space with a row of storage closets along the back wall, a small bathroom in the corner and a kitchenette near the front window. REBECCA Oh, I couldn't sleep. How do you like it? I cleaned the whole place out. I waxed the floor, I washed the windows, I cleaned the bathroom, the fridge. I'm gonna live out here. A roll-away bed has been opened up and Rebecca's bedding is piled on it. Mrs. Sweet sits down. MRS SWEET Live out here! Rebecca, why would you want to do that? You can't... there's no heat out here. You'll freeze to death. What's wrong with your room? Rebecca sits down on the bed beside her mom. REBECCA Well, my room is so small. Out here I can do my aerobics. And when I start Junior College, I might be studying late and... MRS SWEET ...you can't wait to get away from your nagging old mother.
REBECCA Oh,mom! You know that's not true. Mrs. Sweet looks around the room, admiring the cleanup, the shiny-waxed floor. MRS SWEET Have you been up all night? Rebecca, only one week ago you were lying unconscious in the hospital. MRS SWEET You haven't been eating enough to keep a bird alive and now you're not getting any sleep. Are you trying to kill yourself? REBECCA Mom, I feel better than I've ever felt in my life. Honestly! Do I look tired, undernourished...sick? MRS. SWEET Well, no but...you know, you could be hurting yourself without realizing it. An uneasy silence, both looking at the floor. REBECCA Mom, what would you do if you got a letter from the hospital where I was born and it said there had been a mixup and that I wasn't really your daughter? MRS SWEET Why Rebecca! What a thing to say! What ever put such a notion in your head? REBECCA (smiling now) No, really. What would you do? Honestly! Mrs. Sweet purses her lips, looks up at the ceiling.
MRS. SWEET Well...I'd tear that letter into a hundred little pieces. And then I'd burn all those pieces. And then I'd take the ashes and I'd grind them down the garbage disposal... and I'd never think about it again. REBECCA (hugging her mom) I knew you were gonna say that. But I mean, you wouldn't be too sad, would you? After all, we have had eighteen years together. Nothing can change that now. MRS SWEET Rebecca, you are in a very strange mood. I really think you should get some sleep. REBECCA You know what? I'm going to start looking for a summer job tomorrow and then I can start paying you some rent. Okay? MRS SWEET (getting up) Oh Becky, I don't want your money. But I will take your promise. If you get too cold out here, or if you start feeling sick...you'll move back into the house? REBECCA Mom, you have your secretary type that up and I'll sign it. MRS SWEET (at the door) You know, Reverend Semples called me last night. He was curious why you weren't coming to church? It does look nice in here. I hope
you'll get some sleep, Rebecca. As Rebecca watches her dear mother walk back toward the house, there is a faint glint of green in her brown eyes, sparkling traces of emerald dust. * * * * * * *
Rebecca is streaking down the MAIN DRAG of her small HOME TOWN. Even though her replacement bike is a little ragged and clunky, it's obvious that she's no slouch. She handles the street like a New York messenger, darting up onto the sidewalk and off again, in and out of traffic. An eye-opening display of energy and reflex. She veers into a small business arcade and brakes in front of 'Wally's Wheels', a bicycle shop. The window displays are dull, dusty and outdated. Inside is a dimly lit tangle of new and used bikes, in no discernible order. More dust, signs of neglect. Miscellaneous parts and accessories hang on the walls, more bikes from the ceiling. A long counter over a glassfronted display case is strewn with odds and ends, an old cash register at one end. Through the open doorway to a back room, an old roll-top desk can be seen, piled high with invoices, unopened mail, trade magazines and small bike parts. After a long, curious look at everything, Rebecca finally taps the service bell at one end of the counter. Wally, a short, bespectacled, sixty-five year old man, appears in the doorway. He's almost a dead ringer for the latter day Mickey Rooney. He wears a greasy shop apron, wipes his hands on a towel. WALLY Well, well! Look who's here! My favorite young lady. Where you been hiding, kiddo? Haven't seen you in a long time.
REBECCA Well, I just graduated from High School. WALLY Hey, that's great! What's next on the old master plan? Junior College? REBECCA Oh, that's what my mom wants me to do, but I don't think I'd be very good at it. I think I was lucky to get my High School diploma. WALLY Listen, everybody's got a natural talent for at least one thing in life. That's what I think. You just have to try a little bit of everything until you find out what it is. Okay, what can I help you with. REBECCA I bought this old bike at a police auction last week and it's got a slow leak. WALLY What size is that? REBECCA Seven hundred twenty. WALLY (searching) Hmmm. Ump..ump...ump. How about a seven twenty five? that's a self-sealer and you can have it for the same price. Sure! REBECCA That'll work.
WALLY (writing receipt) Want me to change that out for you quick? REBECCA No thanks. I like to do it myself. WALLY You're the boss, kiddo. Comes to four eighty two (takes a five) and sixteen cents back. Now don't you spend that all in one place. REBECCA (smiling at mistake) Don't worry, I won't. Thanks, Mr. Walters. WALLY That's Wally! Now don't you be a stranger, Brenda. REBECCA (walking away) That's Becky, Wally.
WALLY (to himself) Oh Jeez. Nice kid. Not many of those around anymore. Outside, as Rebecca mounts her bike, she notices a small "Help Wanted" sign in a lower corner of the window. She studies it as she rides in small circles in front of the store. She leans the bike and re-enters the store. REBECCA Mr. Walters. Uh, Wally...I know somebody who's looking for a job and they'd be absolutely perfect for your shop! You do? WALLY Who's that?
REBECCA (throws arms wide) ME! WALLY Oh, Becky, now I...see, I do need somebody to watch the counter and wait on customers so I can catch up on my repairs. But I'm really not hiring kids anymore, see. The last one I hired didn't even show up for work the first day! And the one before that took sixty dollars out of the.... REBECCA Mr. Walters, please! Just let me talk for ONE MINUTE and then I'll walk straight out the door. Wally sits down on a high stool behind the counter. REBECCA I'm not a kid. I just turned eighteen and that makes me an adult. REBECCA And I worked all last summer at The Clothesline and the owner said I was the best employee she ever had. And I didn't even like that job! Wally is squinting, biting his lip and scratching his head. REBECCA And I'm really good with a cash register..and I've got my social security card..and I've been fixing my own bikes since I was ten years old. I could help with the repairs...and I'll work cheap. Wally is inscrutible. Becky waits for a reply. Finally, disappointment registers and she turns to walk out. She
swivels at the door. REBECCA And there isn't a single boy in this town who can beat me on a bike! Becky is getting on her bike when Wally calls from the doorway. WALLY Young lady, can you be here at ten o'clock on Monday morning? REBECCA Sure. Sure I can! I can be here at five in the morning if you want me to! WALLY Just be here at ten. for Wally's Wheels! You're working
Rebecca throws her arms overhead as she rides off BECKY Yoo-hooooo! Wally shakes his head as he watches her sail off the curb. WALLY Oh jeez, I wish I was eighteen again. Even twenty. Even fifty! * * * * * * * *
In the AEROBICS STUDIO of a modern HEALTH CLUB, a women's advanced exercise class is winding down. As the students are straggling out, Rebecca approaches the instructor. REBECCA That was a good one, Linda. Oh, is that a pulse monitor on your wrist? LINDA (holds it out) Yep. With one of these you always
know when you're in your training zone. REBECCA That's just what I need. Linda, I want to start working out on the machines, but I'm not sure where to start. LINDA Hey, if you've got that much energy left, I must not be working you hard enough. Look at you, you're not even sweating! Come on, I'll get somebody to help you. They walk out to the U-shaped reception desk near the main entrance where a man and a woman in striped STAFF shirts are doing paperwork. LINDA Mike, I've got a young lady here who wants to build some muscle. Can you show her the ropes? MIKE She looks familiar. Didn't I sign you up when you first joined the club? REBECCA I think so. But I've only been doing aerobics so far. LINDA Okay, Becky, I'm going to leave you with Mike. See you at Friday's class? Okay. REBECCA Thanks, Linda.
Mike has assembled a clipboard and a couple of forms. He leads Rebecca to a row of cubicles which are separated from the main workout area by a four-foot high partition topped with artificial greenery. They sit at opposite sides of a
desk. MIKE Okay now. Becky, do you have your membership card with you today? No. REBECCA I didn't know I'd need it.
MIKE No problem. If you would start by filling out this questionaire, I'll get your printout from the computer. Be right back. As Rebecca works on the form, she gradually becomes aware of a conversation between two GYM RATS who are working out on the other side of the divider. She peeks through the greenery and eavesdrops. First Rat wears a T-shirt that says, GRAVITY SUCKS! The other's reads, GIVE WAR A CHANCE! The first rat nods toward a well-endowed female in a low-cut leotard who is jiggling on a stair climber. 1st RAT Man, take a look at Roberta over there! Now if that doesn't turn you on, you gotta be a fag! 2nd RAT (lifting weights) (grunt) Doesn't do anything for me, dude. I'm a leg man myself. Besides that, I suffer from a rare form of (grunt) mammophobia. 1st RAT What? Mama-phobia! is that? What the hell
2nd RAT That's the (grunt) irrational fear of big tits. See, I almost (grunt) suffocated once. 1st RAT
Yeah right! But I guess if something threatens your life, it's not irrational to be afraid of it. 2nd RAT Hey, that's right! So I guess I'm normal after all. 1st RAT I wouldn't go that far, leg man. The first RAT is now lifting while the other takes a breather. 2nd RAT You know what I like most about them long-legged women? When they get their gun, they hook their toes in your socks and drag your nose through it. The first RAT drops his weights and they both hop around in a fit of hooting laughter. A BLONDE GIANT, resting between sets on a nearby bench, has overheard the remark and is also laughing. He stops abruptly as he glimpses Rebecca through the ivy. She drops quickly out of sight. The GIANT gets up, holds up a warning hand to the Rats, and heads for the end of the divider, about thirty feet away. The two RATS admire his physique as he strides away. 1ST RAT Man, how'd you like to meet Connor in a dark alley? 2nd RAT Shit man! I'd rather fight off a pack of rabid dogs! Connor rounds the partition and approaches Rebecca, who is now red-faced and suddenly intent on her paperwork. CONNOR Hello.
REBECCA Oh, hi! CONNOR (nervously) I'm really sorry about that. I just wanted to apologize for the way we were talking out there. We wouldn't have been using that kind of language if we knew you were here. REBECCA Oh, that's okay. I really didn't hear much of anything. CONNOR Oh. Well, that's good. Well, okay then. Oh, my name's Connor. He extends his hand politely. jerks away sharply. They start to shake and he
CONNOR Oh, man! Sorry. I got a shock. Jesus, it went all the way to my... I must have uh...I probably uh...wow! REBECCA I'm Rebecca Sweet. CONNOR Wow, what a name! Rebecca Sweet...sounds like a movie star. Are you going to be working out here in the gym? REBECCA I'm just signing up. I've been taking aerobics classes but I decided to give the machines a try. CONNOR That's great. Well, I'll probably be seeing you around then. I'm here almost every day. I'm a security guard and I mostly work nights. Well...nice meeting you,
Rebecca. REBECCA Same here. As Connor leaves, Mike returns with the printout and takes Rebecca's clipboard. MIKE Sorry, got tied up on the phone. Okay, how we doing here? Sooo. Uh-huh. Your objective is just overall toning and conditioning. REBECCA Right! MIKE You're on the Gold Plan, so there won't be any extra charges. If you'd like to take a run-through, this would be a good time. It's pretty slow right now. Okay? Follow me. They walk around the divider and survey the vast gym area. MIKE You'll be doing what we call circuit training. You'll learn ten basic movements to start with and we begin right over here and work clockwise around the gym. Rebecca follows Mike to the first chrome and vinyl machine. He hops on the seat and demonstrates as he speaks: MIKE Okay, the first exercise is called the butterfly, and we do it on this contraption here which is called the Pec-Deck. MIKE(CONT) This isolates the chest muscles and if a lady were to to practice this all her life, she'd be greatly
rewarded in her later years. He hops off, shows Rebecca how to adjust the machine to her height, and coaches as she trys the movement. MIKE You're doing fine. Now, we want to do twelve repetitions on each machine and we want that last rep to be a little bit of a struggle for you...Ooops! I think we've got a little too much on there. How's that? Better? Mike jots on his clipboard and they proceed to the next machine. A series of cuts shows the same basic procedure at each station; adjustment, proper form and selection of weight appropriate to ability. Having completed all the upper body movements, they are walking toward the last machine on the circuit. REBECCA I guess Im pretty much of a weakling, huh? MIKE No, no, no. Not at all. I'd say you're about average. For somebody who hasn't done resistance training, I'd say about average. We've all got to start at the bottom, right? Okay, the last one is the Incline Leg Press. This works the quadriceps, the big thigh muscles. Mike drops the clipboard and loads a 45 pound steel plate on each side of the carriage, He lies down and demonstrates. MIKE Forty percent of your muscle mass is in the legs. A lot of professional body builders say that leg work is the most important of all.
Mike sets the safeties, hops up, retrieves his beloved clipboard, makes a notation. MIKE Okay Becky, give it a try! Now, that may be a little too much weight to start with. If it is, you just holler. Rebecca reclines in the seat and releases the safety stops. Unsure what to expect, she cautiously lowers the weight until her knees are doubled...and then ferociously SLAMS the carriage upward. The momentum sends the carriage and weights crashing into the upper end of the machine's heavy framework with a resounding KA-KLANG! that swivels every head in the gym. MIKE (alarmed) Whoooa! Easy there, Rebecca! You could've gotten hurt there. You okay? (She nods) Boy! Well, one thing's for sure..we don't have enough weight on there, do we? Chuckling nervously, Mike adds a second 45 pound plate to either side. MIKE Okay, let's try that on for size. But this time, easy does it! You wanna press it up in a slow, continuous motion. Mike is apprehensive as she lowers the carraige smoothly and casually returns it to the starting point. MIKE (suspiciously) Are sure you've never done this before. That's a lot of weight for a beginner. Okay, ONE more time! Mike adds a third 45 pound plate to each side. There is now a total of 270 pounds on the INCLINE PRESS machine.
Rebecca's face shows some concentration, but not much effort. Once again, the weights move smoothly up and just as smoothly down. It's obvious she has not reached her limit. MIKE Dang, girl! You have really got some powerful legs there! I'm talkin awesome! Rebecca shrugs her innocence. Mike picks up another plate. He pauses, looks at Rebecca, chews his lip, and puts the plate back down. MIKE Tell ya what, champ. You sit there and catch your breath. I gotta check on something and I'll be right back. Kay? As Mike lopes off,Rebecca glances around and realizes that a number of people have stopped their activities and have been watching. The Gym Rats are slack-jawed. Blonde Giant gives her an admiring smile and a 'thumbs up'. Embarassed, she covers her face with her hands. A young, muscular, dark-skinned man advances,leans over and extends his hand to her. MAN You wouldn't remember me, but I'm the guy who drove you to the hospital...after the accident... the ambulance? Mike emerges from the office area behind the reception desk with the Gym Manager in tow. He gestures towad Rebecca, who has her back toward them. Linda, the aerobics instructor, joins them. MANAGER (shaking his head) Don't give her any more weight.
Too much on there already. For all we know, she could be on steroids or PCP or something. LINDA Not Rebecca! She's a vegetarian. She'd be the last one to smoke a cigarette or even drink a beer. She'd never take drugs. MANAGER (decisively) Whatever! The point is..if WE put the weight on and she gets hurt, we could be seen as liable. Go ahead and finish your orientation, but be sure you cover all the cautions and make sure you've got a signed release. Mike shows him the clipboard. The manager nods and the group breaks up. Mike returns to the Leg Press. MIKE Okay, young lady. I guess that's about it. Any questions on the things we covered? How do you feel, pretty sore? No. BECKY I feel fine.
MIKE Great, you're all set then. Your routine card will be over in the file. If you ever need any help or you have any questions,just yell at me or anybody else you see wearing one of these dumb shirts. The two Gym Rats are taking turns at the water fountain as Rebecca walks toward the locker rooms. RAT #1 Did you see that? That girl's stronger than you are. But I guess you're used to that.
RAT #2 Why don't you kiss my ass? He turns and spots Roberta, she of the ample bosom, sitting on a bench applying eye drops. She wears a shirt that says, OBJECTS UNDER THIS SHIRT ARE LARGER THAN THEY APPEAR. RAT #2 Look,there's Roberta, all by herself. I been waitin' for this. I'm gonna go over there and put a move on her. RAT #1 You're gonna fall back in it! Hey, I hear she's a mean one, dude. I wouldn't go over there if I were you. RAT #2 Of course you wouldn't. That's cause you're a chickenshit. See, women are attracted to men that are aggressive and self-confident. When in doubt.....whip it out! RAT #1 I thought you didn't like big tits. RAT #2 Yeh, but she's got long legs too! Check this out! He reaches down and unties one of his gym shoes and walks toward the bench, the long lace dragging behind. He sits down on Roberta's left and begins to slowly tie the shoe. RAT #2 Roberta, I wrote a poem. He waits for a response. She ignores him completely.
RAT #2 Don't ask me where it came from. This sudden surge of inspiration just welled up from deep within my soul and I felt compelled to write it down. (no response)
RAT #2 Everyone I've told it to has been deeply moved. Some of them cried. Would you like to hear it? Roberta acts as though he's not even there. She's now rearranging her gym bag, preparing to leave. RAT #2 Okay. (voice trembles) I just... I just hope I can get through it without crying myself. He begins to recite slowly, emotionally, soulfully. RAT #2 When I was young and in my prime, I used to jerk off all the time. But now I'm older and I got more sense, Now I use a knot-hole in the fence. Overcome, he sobs and buries his face in his hands. He spreads his fingers and peeks toward Roberta....just in time to see her purple gym bag arcing toward his face. PLOCK! It rocks him. RAT #2 Owwww! Christ Roberta! What's your problem? Don't you have any appreciation for.... The second round-house nails him squarely and he topples backward onto the carpeted floor. Only the heels of his tennies remain on the bench. He watches Roberta swinging it toward the exit. RAT #1 saunters over and sneers down at him contemptuously, shaking his head. RAT #1 Aggressive and self-confident! Man, it's gettin' so I'm ashamed to be seen with you. You know something? You ain't shit! RAT #1 walks toward the locker rooms. RAT #2, still on his
back, stares up at the ceiling and mutters to himself: RAT #2 I know I ain't shit.....but I will be someday! Aware that he's being stared at, and already in position for it, he exhales noisily and begins doing stomach crunches. * * MORNING. Sunlight through Rebecca's BUNGALOW windows. The rear wheel of Rebecca's bike is up on a stationary trainer and she is spinning the pedals at a brisk pace. A small cyclo-computer mounted on the handlebar tracks her cadence. She wears a bright two-piece exercise suit. Her formerly dark-brown hair is noticeably longer and lighter in color, now streaked with blonde. Someone knocks on the screen door. DELIVERY MAN Morning. U.P.S. This must be 1017 rear? Rebecca Sweet? Rebecca is oblivious of her effect on the delivery man. She eagerly tears the box open, removes a pair of sunglasses and lays them aside. She removes a pink athletic bra from its' clear plastic wrapping. She peels off her halter top (no modesty here - she doesn't know we're watching) and slips on the new one. She opens a small carton and removes what appears to be a wrist watch. She slips the transmitter into the bra, buckles on the wrist monitor and presses a button. A small, red heart starts flashing. The digital display comes on. The blinking numerals alternate between 45 and 46. She taps the monitor. It stubbornly prints, 45-45-45-46...45-45-45-46... and then steadies on 45. She looks up with the hint of a smile on her face and * * * * * *
shakes her head slightly. unmistakable now. * * *
The green sparkle in her eyes is * * * * *
Wally's bike shop looks different. Although incomplete, a makeover is in progress. The window displays are updated, colorful and clean. The glass sparkles. The counter area and the parts inventories behind it have also suffered the woman's touch. Rebecca, wearing her new sunglasses, is dusting bicycles when a 25 year old man walks in, pushing his bike. REBECCA Can I help you. CUSTOMER Is there somebody around who can check this seat clamp? It won't hold. Keeps slipping. Rebecca twists the seat. It moves easily. clamp, pulls out the seatpost. REBECCA The clamp's okay. She inspects the tubular metal post closely. REBECCA Did you buy this bike used? CUSTOMER (surprised) Yeah. Last week. REBECCA Well, this bike should have a 29 millimeter post, but somebody's put a 26 in it. It'll never hold. In the back room, Wally has been listening near the doorway. Impressed, he smiles at Rebecca's expert appraisal. She flips the
CUSTOMER Oh yeah? Well, how much for the right one? REBECCA About $35 if you want to stay light. I think I might have a used one for about half that price. CUSTOMER I'll take the used one. In the back room, Wally is overjoyed to be selling used stock. His desk phone rings and he quits his eavesdropping to answer. Rebecca completes her sale and the customer leaves. She can't help overhearing Wally's end of the conversation. Her eyes are downcast, her expression saddens. WALLY ....an appointment with Doctor Turner for tomorrow. Is it worse than yesterday? Oh jeez mom, I'm so sorry. No, no, don't do that. I'll try to get away early and I'll get the prescription refilled. Okay? Okay. See you soon. No, you're not bothering me, mom. You know better than that. See you soon. Bye. Becky peeks around the corner. Wally is slumped over his desk, his head buried in his hands. His body shudders. REBECCA (softly) Uh, Wally. I can close up if you want me to. I know how to set the alarm and everything. I don't have anything else to do. Wally pulls out a handkerchief and wipes his eyes. WALLY Oh. Well, thank you Rebecca. Boy, I hate to leave you here by
yourself but uh....well, I guess we're not that busy today, are we? REBECCA It's been really slow. Wally washes up and grabs his jacket. turns toward Rebecca. At the door, he
WALLY Rebecca, I really appreciate this. You're the best helper I've ever had and I....I better get going. After Wally leaves, Rebecca sees her chance to start cleaning up his desk. She grabs a bunch of large envelopes, takes them to the counter and begins sorting. The first one contains a poster that she tacks up on the bulletin board. Next item goes in the trash. Then a catalog goes under the counter. Next, a flashy 12 x 18 flyer for a bike camp. She tacks this to the board also and is about to turn away when something catches her eye. The headline reads, " Learn From The Pros! Sponsored by the SEVEN-ELEVEN RACING TEAM: A Weekend of Intensive Training in Beautiful Santa Barbara!" She moves closer, staring in disbelief at the logo in the center of the page. There within an emerald circle is a strangely familiar image. That unmistakable long golden hair! The sleek glasses, the unique bodywear...that unearthly halo of vitality. THE THREE RIDERS! * * * * * * * *
MRS. SWEET is at her KITCHEN sink washing dishes. She is visibly agitated, glancing alternately at the wall clock and out through the window to Rebecca's bungalow. The wall phone rings. MRS SWEET Hello. No, this is her mother. Oh, yes....yes. Ten-thirty.
(glances at clock) Yes, I'll tell her. Thank you...goodbye. Mrs Sweet is even more upset now and she wrings her kitchen towel in her hands as she walks toward the bungalow. The front door is open, she peers through the screen door. MRS SWEET Rebecca? REBECCA (from inside) Hi, mom. Come on in. One suitcase stands packed and ready and Rebecca is working on the second one which lies opened on the rollaway bed. MRS SWEET The 'Eleven-Seven' people just called. They said a taxi would be here at 10:30. Rebecca, you know I would've taken you to the airport. REBECCA Oh, I know that mom. But they said they'd handle everything. And they sure have. Oh, my tickets! She grabs the airline tickets from the coffee table, waves them in the air and tucks them in her purse. This is the first time we've seen Rebecca Sweet dressed up. Tall and slim, trim business suit, medium heels, judicious makeup, sleek sunglasses. She looks like a model! MRS SWEET (hesitantly) Rebecca, yesterday...when we were talking...I wasn't trying to discourage you. I just...oh,I'm so sad that you're leaving home. She rubs her eyes with both hands, like a little girl. With a compassionate look, Rebecca goes to her and puts her arms around her, patting her back.
MRS SWEET I was only trying to understand why...why you would want to do something like this. Rebecca is now holding her mother's hands in hers. REBECCA When I went to that weekend training camp, I knew it was the right thing for me! I've never been so certain of anything. (pause) Oh, mom,if only you could know what it's like, the way it feels...if only you could see what I've seen..... Rebecca's eyes have been slowly going out-of-focus as she speaks. She's staring into some private middle distance above her mother's head. MRS SWEET (breathlessly) What, Rebecca? Seen what? Rebecca continues, as if entranced. REBECCA ...oooh, so beautiful...so beautiful...it's so wonderful... we're all so happy.... REBECCA'S VISION is a sunlit paradise of gently rolling, honey-colored fields. A serpentine two-lane road winds gracefully toward the foreground. Its' lilac-colored crystaline pavement is imbedded with a broken centerline of burnished gold. A diamond-shaped road sign reads, "LUKE" over "17:21". Near the road, a transluscent jade-green horse with silver hooves kicks up its heels in spirited frolic. The THREE RIDERS are leaning gracefully into the foreground curve, moving in SLOW MOTION beneath the overhang of gently
swaying magenta-colored trees, heavy with exotic flowers. Their long, scintillating hair streams away like golden flame. Their smooth muscles glisten in the dappled sunlight. They are smiling and waving to Rebecca. Rebecca's eyes roll back in her head and she collapses to the floor. Her mother is frozen in shock for a long moment before she screams. That scream becomes the PARAMEDIC's scream. * * * * * * * *
The "Never Say Die" BLACKHAWK AMBULANCE is streaking down Sunrise Avenue, the paramedic's screams harmonizing with the siren. This time the driver knows who the patient is, and the accelerator is jammed to the floorboard. Adrenalin pumping, he lets out a blood-curdling war-cry as the big, modified V-8 engine winds out. Hardly slowing, he attempts a sweeping, high-speed turn onto Anabolic Drive, Rebecca's street. The bold maneuver might have been successful if it weren't for the shallow, rippling sheet of water flowing across the intersection. The front tires lose purchase and the ambulance goes airborne as it vaults the opposite curb. In SLOW-MOTION, all of the trash on the floor and dash also goes airborne inside the cab-space. A SLOW-MOTION snow storm of candy bar and junk food wrappers, gas receipts, cotton balls, empty soda cans and other debris hangs in suspension as vehicle and occupants soar through space. The ambulance will land on a thickly lush and manicured lawn which is obviously someone's pride and joy. The lawn sprinklers, which were left on all night and are still on, have turned the soil beneath the grass into a soggy mush. The heavy vehicle sinks twelve inches into the muck and, as the rear wheels spew twin rooster-tails of mud and grass high into the air, it charges toward the front veranda of
an older, but well-maintained house. Inside that house, in the kitchen, an elderly woman in a drab housecoat is pouring coffee for her just-as-elderly husband who is reading a newspaper at the breakfast table. He wears an undershirt and baggy boxer shorts decorated with red hearts. KA-BOOM! A thunderclap is heard as the house is jolted. The table shudders and coffee spills. The old man jumps up and hot-foots around the kitchen, boiling coffee on his shorts. OLD WOMAN God, it's an earthquake! OLD MAN Ooooh! Ow! OWwww! Sonofabitch! That's no earthquake! They rush through the living room and burst onto the front porch, where they freeze in horror. The ambulance has crashed into one of the veranda's support columns and a ragged portion of the roof has collapsed onto the vehicle's cab. Inside that cab, the driver is cursing, the medic is screaming, the starter is grinding and the wipers are laboring to clear muddy turf from the windshield. OLD MAN Holy Mother of God! The old man throws his hands over his head and lurches back into the house, followed by the frantic wife. OLD MAN Call nine-one-one, quick! She heads for the kitchen, he veers left toward the hall closet and flings open the door. He tosses a bunch of junk out and then looks up to finally spot his quarry. On a high upper shelf, the barrel of an old shotgun juts from beneath an even bigger pile of odds and ends. The old man jumps and misses. He jumps again and hangs on
the barrel. This triggers an avalanche of riffraff that literally buries him on the hallway floor. He flusters and fights his way up and franticly collects the red, tubular shells scattered on the carpet. Outside, the big engine roars to life and howls with power. The pitch rises and falls in successive crescendos as the ambulance maneuvers on the front lawn. * * * * * * * *
Inside the house, the old man jams a cartridge into the gun and sprints for the front door. From the kitchen, the wife sees the gun, drops the wallphone and runs after him. Again they explode onto the front porch and are stopped short, eyes wide and mouths gaping, unable to comprehend the devastation that confronts them. This is a corner house with an expansive yard and the ENTIRE front lawn is a deeply-rutted ruin, a soggy Asian rice paddy, a battlefield from 'Paths of Glory'. The dynamo whine of extreme low-gearing and high RPM is deafening. The ambulance is carving yet another wide, muddy circle in a spec-tacular attempt to gain the solid footing of the concrete driveway. Twin torrents of grass and muck are sprayed across the front porch, plastering the hapless old couple with slop. At last, the ambulance has reached escape velocity. The rear tires smoke on the paved driveway and it lunges into the street. The tires squeal again and the mud-encrusted angel-of-mercy blasts down Anabolic Drive. The vehicle's two occupants watch the road rush toward them through the two cleaner segments of the filthy windshield. The driver turns to the drained medic and gives a war-cry.
DRIVER Waa-Hooooo! How'd you like that partner? No sweat! No sweat! Never say die! Hang in there, Rebecca! Hang on, babe! We're comin' ta save ya! * * * * * * * *
Dripping mud onto their porch floor, the dazed old couple turn to stare at each other. The old man has a patch of grass on his head. OLD WOMAN What was that number you wanted me to call, dear? The old man is shaking with rage and frustration. OLD MAN Well, shithouse mouse! Jesus H. Christ! The old man slams the shotgun onto the wooden floor. The gun discharges and shatters the huge, plate-glass window of their living room. A weakened, ragged section of the overhead canopy gives way, swings down, and blocks the couple from view. Several geysers of water rise from ruptured sprinkler pipes where the lawn used to be. * * * * * * * *
Through the scummy ambulance windshield, the driver can now make out the hazy figure of a woman up ahead. Mrs. Sweet is straddling the center of the road and waving both arms overhead like a Landing Officer on a carrier deck. The neighbor couple across the street have emerged to assay the situation from the safety of their front porch. Mrs. Sweet steps up on her lawn as the ambulance swoops in and touches down next to the curb. Pam, the paramedic, is
out of the vehicle before it stops rolling. PARAMEDIC Where is she? MRS SWEET (sadly,wringing her towel) She's gone. Rebecca's already gone! The paramedic gives a startled gasp and turns to look at the driver, who leaps from the cab and runs around to the curb. He looks stunned, horror-stricken. He tries to say something but can't find his voice. My God! sure? PARAMEDIC Oh my God, are you
MRS SWEET Yes, I'm sure. She just left in the taxi. They both stare at her, uncomprehending. PARAMEDIC Taxi? MRS SWEET Yes. She's on her way to the airport. The driver and medic look at each other. They both heave a huge sigh and go limp with relief. The driver leans against the ambulance and bangs his head on the sheetmetal. DRIVER (soft & even) Mrs. Sweet, did you notify our office? Mrs. Sweet is dismayed, embarassed at her thoughtlessness. MRS SWEET Ooooh. Oh, no. How could I be so stupid! Oh, I'm so sorry. I was so upset I....I couldn't...
Mrs Sweet is on the verge of tears again. The driver puts his arm around her shoulders easily, as if she were his own mother. He nods to the medic. DRIVER That's perfectly okay, Mrs. Sweet. No harm done. Pam, would you call in, please? The medic leans into the cab and picks up the microphone. DRIVER (sincerely) Do you think Rebecca's okay? MRS SWEET I don't know. I hope so. I wanted her to wait, talk to a doctor. I... but then the taxi came and...she just left. I couldn't stop her. Now she's gone off to be a..... (shrugs)...bicycle racer!. DRIVER (patting her shoulder) Mrs. Sweet, I know Rebecca. Well, a little...you know, from the gym? She's a real strong girl. Mrs. Sweet looks down the empty street, in the direction the taxi must have gone. Her eyes are red. She seems a small and impotent figure next to the big Indian. MRS SWEET I did what I could but....my daughter's in God's hands now. * * The black Mercedes Town Car noses into the HANDICAPPED parking area in front of the VELODROME STADIUM. REUBEN CASE, general manager of the SEVEN-ELEVEN RACING TEAM, is tall and fat and he disembarks with some difficulty. Black suit, black briefcase, big black cigar. * * * * * *
He walks through the stadium's main entrance into the empty lobby, past the refreshment counters, to the elevator. He punches the button. No response. REUBEN Sunuvabitch! He shambles over to the stairwell and looks up to the first landing. REUBEN Sunuvabitch! He plods heavily up to the first reversal and, already breathing hard, turns to assess the second flight. REUBEN Sunuvabitch! He huffs and puffs his way to the second landing, turns, leans against the wall, puffs on the cigar, looks up, and lapses into a coughing fit. REUBEN Sunna....sunna.... At last, emerging into bright daylight near the pressbox, he looks out over the sun-washed bleachers and down to the oval track below. He spots the man he's supposed to meet. REUBEN Sunuvabitch! He's down at the bottom. TOMMY VANN, the man at the bottom, turns and waves. He wears the 'Team Seven-Eleven' logo. He trots up the aisle and extends a hand to his wheezing, red-faced boss. TOMMY Reuben! Happy anniversary! Jeez, you look like you've had a rough morning. REUBEN Thanks, buddy-boy. It can only get better. Anyway, I'm here.
What's all the mystery about? What is it you couldn't tell me on the phone? TOMMY Let's grab a seat. The two men walk down a couple of rows and sit across the aisle from each other. TOMMY Reuben, I've got something to show you, something you'd never believe unless you saw it with your own eyes. Hell, I'm not sure I believe it! Reuben takes a deep pull on his stogie and smiles, happy to be off his feet. REUBEN You know how I love surprises. TOMMY Reuben, I want to put a girl on our Z-team. Still smiling, Reuben turns toward Tommy and waits for the punch line. It doesn't come. The smile disappears. REUBEN Say again, buddy-boy? Oh, please, please don't tell me this is what I came up here for! TOMMY (resolutely) I'm putting a girl on the team. I wanted to tell you in person so there's no misunderstanding. Reuben glares at Tommy. Tommy stares straight ahead, his jaw set. Finally, realizing Tommy is dead serious, Reuben looks down, considers carefully before speaking. REUBEN Our whole operation's under close scrutiny. I'm getting tremendous
pressure from everywhere. Tommy... any idea where the budget's at? TOMMY About six million. REUBEN That was last year, buddy. This year it'll be closer to seven and a half. In 94, when we were winning, it was fun wasn't it? Everybody loved us. We had some latitude. Not anymore. It's all business now. My feeling is the sponsors are gonna pull the plug after the season. TOMMY That's all the more reason why we've got to.... REUBEN (getting hot) TOMMY! The number one female rider in the country cannot compete with the thirtieth- ranked male. Everybody knows that! If you're thinking there's some kind of..novelty angle here that will generate publicity, it won't. It would only make us a laughingstock. The sponsor would never stand for it. Reuben is on his feet and starting up the aisle as Tommy plays his only trump. TOMMY My contract says I have final say on the team roster. As long as I'm head coach. Reuben turns, shaking his head wearily. breath and looks pointedly at Tommy. He heaves a deep
REUBEN Why, that's right Tommy. As long as you are the coach!
Reuben starts up the aisle again. Tommy hurries after him, clasps his arm, looks straight into his eyes. TOMMY Reuben, wait a minute! Wait, wait. Just humor me for five minutes here, that's all I ask. Five more minutes and I shut my mouth for good. Reuben looks out to the track. A lone rider dressed in bright, form-fitting lycra is slowly circling the oval. REUBEN Who's that on the track? helmet. Is that a girl? No
TOMMY That's a miracle, Reuben! A once in a lifetime miracle. SCOTTY! Tommy who's comes wears yells to the young man at the bottom of the bleachers been draped over the rail, watching the track. He bounding up the aisle, three steps at a time. He the team colors. REUBEN (shaking hands) Scotty! Nice job at Ontario. Number nine in the country now! Not bad!. Not too shabby! SCOTTY Thanks, Mr. Case. TOMMY Scotty, that girl out on the track...thinks she's hot stuff. Real pain in the ass! I want you to go out there and wipe up the track with her. Humiliate her. Put her on the next bus home! SCOTTY (huge grin) You got it, coach!
Scotty bounds back down the aisle. TOMMY No mercy!
Tommy yells after him.
Scotty turns with a 'thumbs up' and, putting on his streamlined custom-made helmet, jogs toward the end of the track for his bike. REUBEN Tommy, for God's sake, what's the point in this? Tommy holds up a hand with spread fingers, mouths the word 'five'. Reuben sighs, shrugs, slumps into an aisle seat. * * * * * * * *
Scotty glides smoothly onto the track like a shark trailing a dog-paddler. He casually overtakes Rebecca, cuts sharply in front of her, and gradually picks up the pace. Another half a lap and Scotty is up to near-racing speed, hitting his stride, showboating for the bosses. He looks back, mildly surprised to find Rebecca five feet behind him. He smirks. In the stands, Tommy climbs over from the row behind and drops into the seat next to Reuben. He produces a stopwatch and clicks it as Scotty passes the start-finish line at the middle of the straight. On the track, the shark looks to his rear again. Rebecca is five feet behind him. Okay, no more Mr. Niceguy! Flipping on his handlebar-mounted computer, he goes into his trademark deep crouch and kicks the pedal cadence up to a frightening level. Holding the RPM steady, he keeps the intolerable pressure on for a full lap. From his low, streamlined position, he darts a confident look rearward, under his arm. Rebecca is four feet behind him. In the stands, Reuben is no longer slouched back in his seat but is sitting up, leaning forward and paying attention.
REUBEN What's wrong with him? Why doesn't Scotty make his move? They watch another lap and Tommy clicks the stopwatch as the riders flash across the line. He shows it to Reuben. TOMMY Scotty did make his move. REUBEN (flustered) What! That can't be right! Gimme that thing! The riders circle again and, as they bank into the near turn, Tommy gets out of his seat and walks up the aisle. He lifts a microphone from a cabinet on the pressbox wall. As the riders again cross the line, his voice echoes onto the track. LAST LAP, SCOTTY! LAST LAP, REBECCA! Out on the track, the shark darts a panicky look up to the grand-stands and again to the rear. He's tiring quickly now and the demon in the dark glasses is only three feet behind him. Ka-klang! He upshifts and comes out of the saddle. The celebrated athlete slams the pedals powerfully as the huge, pile-driver thighs threaten to rip the crankset out of it's bearings. He leans into the final turn, watching the computer, fighting to keep up the cadence. He can salvage some pride if he holds on for another hundred feet...fifty feet... thirty....only fifteen now! * * * * * * * *
In the bleachers, Reuben is on his feet and tense with excitement. His eyes dart rapidly between the track and the stopwatch. Shark's P.O.V., gasping for breath, eyes fixed on the approaching finish line. A flash of color in his peripheral vision!
His head whips to the right, a horrified look on his face. It can't be! Rebecca has passed the Great White and is crossing the finish line a full wheel-length ahead of him. REUBEN (clicks the watch, yells) Sunuva.....BITCH! Another coughing fit ratchets the big guy back into his seat. * * * * * * * *
It wasn't a shark after all. The Flounder coasts onto the grassy infield. He dismounts and lets the bike fall as he drops to his knees and flings off his helmet, gasping for breath. Rebecca continues to slowly circle the track, just as she did before the scuffle started. * * * * * * * *
Unable to process what he's seen, Reuben turns to look at Tommy who is leaning against the press-box wall, studying a curious cloud formation overhead. Reuben turns back and ponders the track silently for awhile. Reuben finally trudges up the aisle. He looks questioningly at Tommy for a long moment, eyebrows raised. Tommy shrugs and spreads his hands. Tommy I don't know, I don't know! It's spooky as hell, I admit that. But if we don't grab her, somebody else will. REUBEN Where did she come from? Tommy At the Santa Barbara camp. She came in one day and just blew everybody off the course,and I mean everybody.
One by one. Putting her up against women is just a big joke. And then she disappeared before I could talk to her. I had a hell of a time tracking her down. REUBEN (shaking his head) There's something wrong here. She's never had any training, you can see that. No technique at all. TOMMY She doesn't need it. (fiercely) Jesus, Reuben, have you ever seen anybody accelerate like that? REUBEN Hmmm. When you see that big an engine, you've got to wonder what kind of fuel it runs on. TOMMY Negative for steroids. Real nice girl, Reuben. Both men look back out at the track. Scotty is still on the grassy infield, now lying on his back, kicking at his helmet. No sign of Rebecca. TOMMY Poor Scotty. He never knew what hit him. I kinda feel sorry for the primadonna. REUBEN (preoccupied) Yeah. (pause) Well, I better get a move on. I promised Liz I'd meet her at Valducci's for lunch. Give me a call on Monday, buddy. Reuben clomps noisily down the stairs near the pressbox. TOMMY (to himself) Well, dammit!
(to Reuben) Reuben, what about...what do we do about Rebecca Sweet? Reuben's voice megaphones back from somewhere below. REUBEN Well, Christ almighty Tommy! Don't ask me. You're the goddam coach! The sound of a horrendous coughing fit, the mother of all convulsive seizures, echoes back up the stairwell. * * Cradling a brown paper bag of groceries, WALLY clatters through the rear entrance of his house and into the kitchen. He switches on lights, sets the bag on the counter and begins removing items. WALLY (yelling) Mom! Mom, I'm home! He unpacks more items and raises a jar to the light. WALLY (yelling) Mom, I got that spaghetti sauce that you really like. I'm gonna cook up a big batch of....Mom? Suddenly alarmed at not getting an answer, Wally walks into the living room, the jar still in his hand. Against the draped front windows, a sofa has been folded out into a double bed. The blankets are thrown back and the bed is empty. On a low table beside the bed are a number of prescription bottles, a large pitcher of water, a coffee cup and a half carton of donuts. Beside the table is a tubular metal walker and a wheelchair. * * * * * *
Against the opposite wall, the TV is playing but the sound is barely audible. Cyclists, one by one, are crossing a finish line. WALLY (louder) Mom! He opens the sliding door to the patio and looks out. Closing it, he steps quickly into an adjacent bathroom and emerges wide-eyed, frantic. He looks up at the ceiling, then bounds for the stairs, takes them two at a time. WALLY Mom! Mom! He stumbles into his mother's bedroom and stops short, gasping for breath. His eighty-seven year old mother is sitting, quite erect, in front of her antique dresser. She wears a frilly, elegant looking dress with a high collar. She has applied lipstick and makeup and is now brushing her thick, silver-gray hair into a bun. Her Victorian reflection smiles innocently at Wally from a large oval mirror with ornate gold frame. WALLY'S MOM (sweet and perky) Hello, Sonny! WALLY Mom! Jesus! What the hell... What's going on? How did you get up the stairs. Is somebody here? How did you get up those stairs? MOM Well, I guess I must have left the patio door open because a giant, prehistoric teradactyl swooped in and just.....flew me up here! Wally stands there with his mouth open.
MOM I walked up, for God's sake! Isn't that the way people usually get up the stairs. They walk up. At a loss, Wally sits on the edge of the big four-poster bed with the satiny gold-brocade cover. WALLY But what about your back? What about the...what about your spine? How did you get that dress on? How did you...who...what in the hell is... She swivels toward him on her plush velvet cushion, hands in her lap. MOM Sonny...(long pause)...Rebecca came to see me today. WALLY (more confused than ever) Who came? Rebecca. Rebecca? You mean Rebecca from the shop? MY Rebecca? MOM (mimicing) Rebecca? Rebecca from the shop? YES! How many Rebeccas do we know? OUR Rebecca! WALLY (weakly) Rebecca came over here. I've never mentioned you to her. She doesn't even know where we live. MOM (turning back to the mirror) Well, I find that a little hard to believe. Especially since we spent almost an hour visiting together. Right here in this house.
WALLY Wait, wait. I'm having a little trouble here. I don't know why. Maybe it's because Rebecca left town yesterday! So,can we start over from the beginning. You're telling me....Rebecca... SWEET?... came over? MOM (losing patience) Are you getting Alzheimers on me or something? I swear, you're starting to sound like an old woman! You keep repeating everything I say, over and over! MOM (matter of factly) Rebecca came over on her bike and she fixed my back. It only took a minute and it didn't even hurt, not like those doctors! Just a little shock. WALLY Rebecca. Rebecca fixed your back. MOM And then she explained everything to me....in a way that I could understand it. Not like in church! I never did understand any of that. I was just pretending I did. WALLY (shaking his head) What, mom? What did she explain? MOM EVERYTHING! How it all works. WALLY But, what did she say exactly?
MOM Well, I can't remember the exact words. She took off her dark glasses and she looked at me and I just knew. It was all obvious. Like remembering something I'd forgotten a long time ago. And then she...and then she... She turns back toward him again, her face a cameo against the soft light from the lamp on the dresser. Her eyes are bright, her lips trembling. MOM (in wonderment) She took away my sadness. The soft words hit Wally hard. He is moved by this heartfelt statement and can argue no further. He goes over and kneels in front of his mother, taking her hands in his. MOM Ooooh, Sonny. I didn't think anybody could ever do that. I didn't think even the Lord God Almighty....could ever do that! And that sadness was like a big, heavy weight inside of me. MOM (continuing) That's what kept me on that sickbed for so long, Sonny. It wasn't the cancer at all. And when Rebecca explained to me about Joey.... WALLY (very tender) Mom, mom, listen to me now. See, Rebecca...she never knew Joey. And we don't want to start thinking about all that again. We both know he's gone. He's just gone. And we can't get him back. MOM
(turning back to her hairdo) Now you're being silly. I know that. But as long as I know that he's safe and happy...well,that's all that matters to me. Wally gets up, goes over to the bed and picks up the jar of sauce, stands there deep in thought. WALLY Mom, maybe we should keep this between ourselves. I mean, whatever happened here today, it's a sort of a private thing, don't you think? MOM (fussing) Oh, darn it! I wish I had Rebecca's long, blonde hair. WALLY Now there! See there, mom? Rebecca doesn't have....no, wait. I can't think about this anymore. I'm too tired. I can think about it tomorrow. You know something? I'm the one who needs help here. Why doesn't Rebecca come back and help me? Are you sure you're okay? His mother smiles happily from the mirror and raises her eyebrows. WALLY I just can't believe that you're well after all the...after all the... Wally's voice breaks and he dabs at his eyes. WALLY Maybe I should call your doctor. Hah! Wally sniffles. MOM Don't make me laugh.
He throws up his hands and heads for the
stairs. WALLY Okay. Okay. Go buy yourself a skateboard and hang out with the jaydees for all I care. WALLY I'm going downstairs and pour myself a big glass of scotch. That's what I'm gonnna do. As he starts down the stairs, his mother calls out after him: MOM Well pour me one too, Sonny boy. I'm thirsty as hell! Much later, in his darkened bedroom, Wally gets out of bed and switches on the green-shaded desk lamp. A small clock on the desktop reads, 11:40 PM. Dressed in pajamas, he sits at the desk, puts on his glasses and leafs through his address book. He dials a number and waits. WALLY Hello, Mrs Sweet? Hi, this is John Wallace. I hope I didn't wake you up. Oh, good. That's good. Listen, did Becky already leave for Utah? Oh yeah, sure, we talked about it last week. Uh, do you think she'll be calling you in the next day or two? She did? Well, when she calls, would you give her a message from me? Just tell her that Wally and his mother.... Wally's face is contorted, eyes squeezed shut, trying not to cry on the phone. WALLY ...tell her we wish her luck and that she'll be in our prayers. Tell her that our love goes with
her wherever she goes. Would you tell her that for us? Sure. Sure, you're welcome. Okay.....okay. Goodnight Mrs Sweet. Wally wipes his eyes with a kleenex. He hunches over the desk and lays his head down on folded arms. He may sleep that way all night. * * The DEVIL'S SLIDE HILL CLIMB is a twenty-six mile event held in the rugged mountains of Utah. The main body of contestants are now approaching a prominent "2 MILES" marker. Rebecca rides at the rear of a loose pack of twenty or so riders. A helicopter paces overhead. Various shots of the individual riders show how demanding and utterly exhausting these climbs can be. While the other riders are sweating and gasping, deep into oxygen debt after twenty-four strenuous miles, Rebecca's breathing is deep and rythmic, very controlled. This stretch of the course is straight and moderately uphill. The pulse monitor on her left wrist reads "43" and the MPH on the handlebar-mounted computer reads "22". Rebecca reaches down, takes a plastic water bottle from its cage. She squirts some of the water on her face and dumps the rest on the pavement. The grade becomes more severe as the group approaches the "1 MILE" marker. Rebecca downshifts. The derailleur CLANGS. The chain jumps and begins to sing. She rises from the saddle and pulls wide of the pack, to the left, and begins to accelerate smoothly away from them. Her legs look more muscular than ever. She gathers momentum, gradually closes in on another group * * * * * *
of three riders, and passes them also. a precious bit of oxygen to mutter: Christ! FIRST RIDER Who was that?
One of them expends
SECOND RIDER (incredulous) It's that damned girl! What the hell? Shall we run her down? FIRST RIDER I'm thrashed. You go ahead. SECOND RIDER I can't either. THIRD RIDER Who cares? She'll never catch Nastassi now. Only 'The Nasty' is ahead of Rebecca now and he will soon curve out of sight around a large outcropping of rock. * * * * * * * *
Somewhere above them, at the finish line, colorful flags and banners flutter in the breeze. A moderately sized but raucous crowd overflows the narrow bleachers on each side of the roadway. Beyond the bleachers are the first-aid pavilions and the comfort stations, with paramedics and support crews at the ready. Four official judges and a brace of T.V. commentators in powder- blue jackets command a raised platform atop the highest grandstand. COMMENTATOR Our leader should be coming around that bluff at any moment now. This last quarter-mile, which is visible in front of us, is known as the 'Widow Maker'.
The crowd starts cheering and most of them jump to their feet. COMMENTATOR And there he is folks, right on schedule. Nono Nastassi has led this race from start to finish. He's just rounded the curve and he's got about 500 yards to go to claim his second victory in this fourth annual Devil's Slide Hill Climb! 2nd COMMENTATOR That's right, Stu. But it just might be the toughest 500 yards in all of professional racing. Very, very steep! You can bet Nono's down into his lowest gear and you can bet he's suffering. But it looks like he's got this one all wrapped up! STU Folks, if you were watching this event last year, you may remember that two contestants had to be rushed by ambulance to Lodi County Hospital, which is about eight miles away in the valley below us. 2nd COMMENTATOR Well that's right, Stu. And if I remember correctly, the..... Nastassi has reached the halfway point between the curve and the finish line. The crowd roars anew as a second rider rounds the far curve. 2nd COMMENTATOR And another rider has just come into view. But I'm afraid he's a little too late to be any real threat to Nastassi now! STU I've gotta agree with you on that one, Ken. But whoever that is, they are REALLY moving!
Who...who is that, Ken? Can you make out the number? KEN (thru binoculars) I can't read the number yet, Stu. But Steven Keck, our 'Eye in the Sky', tells me it could be Rebecca Sweet. Rebecca Sweet...that would be number "27". She's the newest member of the Seven-Eleven team and, MAN OH MAN, she is really burning up the asphalt! STU She's closing the distance fast, Ken. She can't be using her lowest gearing. If she can keep up that pace, she just might have an outside chance of catching Nastassi! KEN Nastassi is looking awfully shaky now, Stu. He devoted a lot of energy to establishing that big, early lead and he may be paying the price for it now! From Rebecca's P.O.V., she shifts down a notch and her pedals spin wildly. Her breathing is still deep and regular. The computer has been switched off but her pulse monitor still reads '43'. She unsnaps her helmet and flings it off. It clatters down the side of the mountain. Her hair streams in the wind, longer than before, lighter in color. She downshifts again and comes out of the saddle, her thighs pulsing like the flanks of a racehorse. Nastassi is zig-zagging from one side of the pavement to the other in a desperate struggle to keep his bike upright. He is now thirty feet from the line. The crowd is going crazy. KEN (losing it)
I don't think Nastassi sees her! Jesus, look at her go! I don't believe it! I don't believe it! Where did she come from? Now the two announcers are on their feet. They and the four judges are jumping up and down, screaming hoarsely with the rest of the frenzied crowd. One of their clipboards goes flying off the grandstand and down the mountain. Nastassi is one wheel-length from the line as Rebecca sails past him, her front tire two inches off the ground. The crowd is berserk. The announcers can't be heard. Nastassi wobbles over the finish line and collapses on the pavement. Rebecca hasn't slowed down. On level ground now, she upshifts and spurts past the grandstands. She upshifts again and blurs past the aid pavilions and past her own bewildered support crew. Paramedics are now lifting Nastassi's twitching body onto a stretcher. NASTASSI (weak and raspy) Something went through me... right through me... Rebecca has dropped over the crest of the hill and is no longer in sight. STU (above the crowd) Oh my, my, my! Are we dreaming? Somebody pinch me! Are we dreaming or did a woman just win the Devil's Slide Hill Climb? Oh my, my, my! KEN (to helicopter) Steven! Steven! Forget about those other assholes down there! Get your butt over the hill and find Rebecca Sweet! REBECCA SWEET GODDAMMIT! Number twenty-seven! She just bombed
past Nastassi like a bat outta hell and disappeared! What? Hell yes she won! Nastassi's on his ass. I think the sonofabitch is dead!! * * * * * * * *
An evening TELEVISION NEWSCAST fills the frame. ANCHOR Good evening. Well,the world of professional cycling will never be the same after today. The scene is the fourth annual Devil's Slide Hill Climb near Monument, Utah. Aerial footage showing clumps of riders on the course. ANCHOR In a spectacular display of power, Rebecca Sweet overwhelmed a field of forty-seven male contenders and became the first woman in history to score an overall win in a major cycling event. With more on this story we go to sports editor, Stu Callahan. STU Thank you David. Well, where did she come from...... Footage shows Rebecca charging uphill, about to overtake Nastassi. STU (continuing) ...and where did she go? Footage shows Rebecca speeding past grandstands and dropping out of sight over the hill. STU That's the question everyone was asking today at the finish line of the Devil's Slide Hill Climb. Here we see last year's winner,
Nono Nastassi...... Footage shows Nastassi alone on the last uphill grade. STU (continuing) ....who has opened a seemingly insurmountable lead and appears to have the victory in hand.... when suddenly...there she is!! Footage shows Rebecca rounding the far curve and turning on the juice. STU That's Rebecca Sweet, riding in her very first professional race for the Seven-Eleven team. She overtakes Nastassi just inches from the finish line....THERE!! The frame freezes at the finish line. Rebecca's image is blurred. Nastassi, apparently stunned by Rebecca's presence, has swiveled his head and looks directly into the camera. Not a flattering picture! Barely conscious, quizzical expression, tongue hanging out. He looks like Disney's 'Goofy'. STU And there she goes! No winner's circle. No interview. No trophy. She just disappears. And where did she go? Well, our KTTV newscopter caught up with Rebecca on the far side of the hill as she coasted down the steep, winding road toward the town of Monument. Footage shows Rebecca, aerial view, as she leans into the corners during her lyrical, seven mile descent into town. No need to pedal here. STU Steven Keck, our Eye in the Sky, says Rebecca was hitting sixty miles an hour there...and watch this, folks! Rebecca is on flat
land now, about half a mile from town when...only now does this ambulance pass her! Aerial footage of ambulance overtaking the rider. STU That's the ambulance carrying Nono Nastassi..... Laughter is heard off-camera in the studio. STU ....who was taken to nearby Lodi County Hospital. (chuckles) Right! Nono almost lost that one too. But Nastassi is reported to be in satisfactory condition, suffering from exhaustion and dehydration. STU And as for the unstoppable Miss Sweet...there she goes down the main street of Monument..... Aerial footage shows Rebecca negotiating traffic and then cutting up onto the sidewalk. STU (continuing) ......and into the Granite hotel. When we called the hotel we were told that Rebecca was not accepting calls. My, oh, my! Rachel? Wow! FEMALE ANCHOR Oh boy! Go, Rebecca, go!
ANCHOR Absolutely unbelievable! Stu, did you say this was Rebecca's first professional race? STU That's right, David. I know it's hard to believe. In my opinion, we have just witnessed the most
remarkable upset in professional sports history. FEMALE ANCHOR I've got a feeling we haven't heard the last of Rebecca Sweet, fellas! And now from the world of fashion.... * * On the set of a JAPANESE EVENING NEWSCAST, the male anchor is babbling Japanese a mile-a-minute as clips of Rebecca appear on the large screen beside him. The clip freezes her image as she sails across the Devil's Slide finish. As if to confirm the copy he's reading, he turns to stare at it, his mouth comically agape. He shakes his head, turns back to the camera and continues to jabber Japanese until he comes to the girl's name. Amusingly, he tries several times to pronounce it as he squints at the prompter through his thick glasses. MALE ANCHOR ...Luhdecca...Wawrecka....Shweet...uh Wahbecca...ahhh...Daweccah....Shhh.. Frustrated, he abandons the effort and turns again to the screen. Rebecca is flying past the grandstands as the image again freezes. He gapes at it. The T.V. camera pans left to include his female co-anchor. She is also staring at the startling image as if in shock; eyes wide, mouth open. She catches the camera on her and snaps to attention. Smiling prettily into the camera, she enunciates in perfect English.... FEMALE ANCHOR Rebecca Sweet! Mouth still agape, the anchor whips his head left to right to gape at his partner. * * * * * *
In a SUPERMARKET, a loaded shopping cart comes to a stop beside the long, well-stocked magazine racks. A hand reaches out to select a copy of BICYCLING, hot off the press. The magazine flops into the cart. The entire cover is the now-famous photo of the Devil's Slide finish line. The caption at the bottom reads, How SWEET It Is. Rebecca will win other races, but this hundredth of a second, paralyzed by a Nikon camera, will immortalize her in the annals of sport. The same photo will dog the unfortunate Nono Nastassi for the rest of his life. Slap! That magazine is covered by another. This one is Sports Illustrated, the entire issue being devoted to women in sport. The cover shot, in monochrome shades of gray, was also taken at the Utah finish, forty feet past the line. Rebecca is lunging ferociously toward the camera and the crumpled wreck of Nastassi is seen on the pavement in the background. The banner reads, SWEET REVENGE and, below that, Look Out, Here Come The Women. And who is this fanatical follower of athletic endeavor? Why, none other than Mrs. Sweet, herself. And she's grinning from ear to ear. She glances around, finds nobody within bragging distance, and heads for the checkout lanes. On a rack near the checkout counter, one of the tabloids displays the huge headline, "Photo Analysis Reveals: Rebecca Sweet is a MAN" The grocery checker is an athletic-looking eighteen yearold fresh out of high school. As he flips the magazines past the scanner, Mrs. Sweet watches him hopefully. He glances up at her and smiles.
CHECKER So, are you a big racing fan? This is it! Her moment in the sun. She beams broadly at the other people in line and savors the delicious words: MRS SWEET I'm Rebecca Sweet's mother. The wide-eyed teenage girl who is bagging groceries, drops a carton of extra-large eggs on the floor. CHECKER What? Are you serious? No way! Come on, are you serious? I saw the whole thing on the six o'clock news. It was so awesome! It was like the Russians dropped the Hbomb or something. That's how awesome it was! He turns around to the checker at the counter behind him and bids for her attention. Katrina! CHECKER Sssst! Hey, Katrina!
Katrina is in the middle of sliding twenty four cans of cat food past her scanner as a wrinkled, gray-haired, four and a half-foot old lady eyes her suspiciously. KATRINA (irritated) What? CHECKER (jabbing the air with his finger) Rebecca Sweet's MOTHER!! KATRINA What? No way! Are you kidding me? Mrs. Sweet beams back at her and raises her eyebrows. OLD LADY You know, I can't hang aroud this God-forsaken place all day! So I
wouldn't mind getting a little service before hell freezes over! KATRINA That's Rebecca Sweet's mother! OLD LADY Well, I'm sure I don't know who Rebecca Sweet is and I really don't give a fat rat's ass! I've got fourteen cats at home that need to be fed - and if I'm not there by six o'clock, they'll tear the whole goddam house apart! The next woman in line gives a nervous giggle and the old woman silences her with a menacing glare and a twisted lip. Back at the first counter, the cart is loaded and ready to go. CHECKER (respectfully) Goodbye, Mrs. Sweet. and see us again. Mrs. Sweet nods regally.
The bagger girl seizes the cart.
BAGGER GIRL Mrs. Sweet, can I push your cart out for you? Please? MRS. SWEET Well sure, if you really want to. The girl chatters excitedly as the two head for the automatic doors. BAGGER GIRL I read in a magazine that Rebecca never sleeps and she trains twenty four hours a day! Is that true? My dad just bought me a 12-speed and I'm...... CHECKER (to next customer) That was Rebecca Sweet's mother!
CUSTOMER Who's Rebecca Sweet? The clerk looks down disgustedly, bites his tongue, and slings her pumpkin pie ROUGHLY past the scanner. It hits the stop at the end of the counter and cartwheels to the floor. CUSTOMER Are we happy now? Supermarket sounds fade and deep, rythmic breathing is heard. * * * * * * * *
The deep, husky breathing continues V.O. Rebecca is not seen, only her P.O.V. over the handlebars. The computer prints her pedal cadence, the pulse monitor on her left wrist reads '37'. The hilly road is dark asphalt with a broken centerline of brilliant yellow. It winds through New England woods screaming their loud fall colors. Looks like a video-game display. Ka-klang! Rebecca downshifts and the cadence numbers jump alarmingly. The lone rider, who has been 30 feet ahead of her on an upgrade, is quickly reeled in. His face is contorted as she passes. He yells something that can't be heard. The view pitches abruptly as she crests the hill. Kaklang! The cadence numbers drop. The empty road rushes toward her and the emphatic breathing fades. * * * * * * * *
In front of a packed grandstand, a T.V. Newsman has corraled four members of the Seven-Eleven team. He introduces each by his full name. NEWSMAN With Rebecca on the team, have you
found yourselves pushed out of the limelight? Relegated to the minor role of supporting a superstar? SCOTTY We don't support Rebecca. MITCH She's not really part of the team. She wears the team colors but she races on her own. TIM We race for the number two spot. That's where the action is. COOPER How can you support somebody if you can't keep up with them? They all laugh good-naturedly. NEWSMAN Are you all friends with her? SCOTTY Well, the truth is...we never see her except during a race. MITCH We don't see that much of her during the race. They all laugh good-naturedly. TIM She pretty much keeps to herself a lot. COOPER You don't just walk up and start a conversation with her. NEWSMAN Why not? COOPER
Well, because...uh....she... At a loss, Cooper looks to Tim. Tim looks bewildered. Finally, Mitch shrugs and completes the sentence. MITCH ....she's Rebecca Sweet! TEAM (all nodding) Yeah. Yeah, that's right. That's right. NEWSMAN So, all these rumors we keep hearing about discord and animosity on the team...what, no truth to them? TEAM (shaking heads) No, no. That's a load of bull. No. No way. Absolutely not! Tabloid crap! SCOTTY We're proud to wear the same uniform. MITCH The eyes of the racing world are on these uniforms. TIM We're the most famous team in history. COOPER Nobody can touch us. NEWSMAN We've also heard a rumor that Rebecca divides all her prize money among the team members. Care to comment on that? They all look at each other uneasily, perhaps embarassed.
Mitch looks down as he answers. MITCH Well, that's true. She does. She's always been...very generous with the team. NEWSMAN Well, isn't that highly unusual? Why would she do a thing like that? MITCH Well, because...uh....she... At a loss, Mitch looks to Tim. Tim looks bewildered. Finally, Cooper shrugs and completes the sentence. COOPER ....she's Rebecca Sweet! TEAM (all nodding) Yeah. Yeah, that's right. That's right! * * * * * * * *
In a LARGE warehouse-style CYCLERY, a sophisticated thirtyfive year old woman in a business suit is examining a long row of bicycles. A predatory salesman shadows her. SALESMAN Now that's a great bike. Top-rated by this month's Consumer Reports. WOMAN Uh-huh. Well what about the Rebecca Sweet 'Messenger'. Didn't I read somewhere that it was rated number one? Messenger, something, Now that I might have SALESMAN messenger. You know you could be right? think about it, this been the number two....
The woman lowers her Sweet-style dark glasses and peers over them to take his measure. WOMAN Do you have the 'Messenger' in stock? SALESMAN (wearily) No maam, we're out of stock on that model. WOMAN Is there another shop near here? SALESMAN Wouldn't do any good. Everybody's out. They're back-ordered at the factory. WOMAN Well, could you order one for me? SALESMAN Sure. No problem. Would you step right over here, please. We'll need a twenty percent deposit on that and we'll..... WOMAN I'll pay for it now. SALESMAN Now, you understand it might be six or eight weeks before we get this in. The woman slaps platinum on the glass counter. Her eyes narrow as she leans forward and bites the words off, one at a time: WOMAN I....want....that....BIKE! The intimidated salesman takes a prudent step backward. Noises fade and deep, slow, rythmic breathing is heard.
The deep, husky breathing continues V.O. Rebecca is not seen, only her P.O.V. over the handlebars. The computer reads MPH, the heart-rate monitor on her left wrist reads '33'. A straight and level stretch of two-lane road in the Santa Fe desert. Glowing sunset over distant hills. Approaching a scattered group of eight riders in SLOW MOTION. Ka-klang. Rebecca upshifts and the digital MPH begins to creep up, 24-25-27-29-31...snap into REAL MOTION...the view rolls sharply left, right, left, right as Rebecca, like a downhill skier through the pylons, whipsaws savagely through the startled group. Open road ahead. The pulse rate never changes but the MPH steps slowly back down....27-25-23-21-19. The V.O. breathing fades. * * * * * * * *
In the starting area, in front of noisy grandstands, an extremely athletic-looking rider in a foreign team uniform is being inter-viewed. He has has a conspicuous birthmark on his cheek. Easy to recognize later. NEWSMAN This is last year's winner, the great Dutch champion, Lars VanElder,the 'Flying Dutchman'. Lars, you won this race easily last year and set a new course record. Any worries about going up against Rebecca Sweet? Lars has an accent and an irritating manner. across as smug and superior. He comes
LARS To be honest with you, I'm not worried about anything. I've been training intensely for the
past six months and I'm in the best condition of my life. NEWSMAN Rebecca has won every race she's entered so far! LARS (annoyed) I believe that Rebecca Sweet has chosen her events carefully and has been racing against the weaker competition. I can assure you she will not be a factor in this race. The newsman presses, hoping for more provocative comment. NEWSMAN You sound pretty confident, Lars. LARS If a woman were to beat me on a bicycle, I would never again show my face in public. I would quit racing...I would melt down my bicycle and turn it into a rocking chair. * * * * * * * *
Inside a large 'Toys R Us' type store, a matronly, middleaged woman is browsing in the video games section. Two cute little twin girls, identically dressed, about six years old, slide around a far corner and come running down the aisle toward her. GIRLS Gramma! Gramma! Come here! Come quick! Hurry, hurry! Please! Come on, please! GRANNY Girls, girls, girls! Shhh! My goodness. You've got to keep your voices down. What is it?
GIRLS (loud whisper) Okay, we'll be quiet. But come on, come on. Please! We'll show you. It's a big surprise! One girl runs ahead as the other drags granny down the aisle and around the corner. The first girl is already in place to receive them, her arms spread wide. (Ta-dah!) GIRLS See, gramma! We told you! (in unison) REBECCA SWEET! Granny looks at the ceiling and rolls her eyes. The girls are jumping up and down excitedly, fondling one item after another. GIRLS I want this! No, I want this! Oh, look at this! There are Rebecca Sweet dollhouses and accessories, dolls with long, blonde hair and changeable racing costumes. There are tricycles, lunch boxes, coloring books, makeup kits, colorful plastic bracelets, watches and even clothing. GRANNY Oh, my. Girls, you can each pick out one thing. No, not the tricycle. Something smaller. One cutie settles on a lunchbox. She hugs it to her chest. Her sister holds a Rebecca Sweet doll with knee-length golden hair and bright lycra racing tights. GIRL Gramma, aren't you going to get something? As a matter of fact, granny has been studying a long row of posters, each with a number in a lower corner. She selects the horizontal #11 which shows Rebecca in a wildly colorful racing suit on a matching bike, all against a jet-black background. The impossibly long golden hair
(enhanced) flows horizontally behind her as though suspended in a jet stream. At the counter, the teenage checker wears a white cap with a lavendar see-thru shade and a lavendar 'SWEET' embroidered across the front. CHECKER I wonder who you guys wanna be when you grow up! Clutching their treasures, both girls smile up at her. Grandma divides her change between the two. They deposit it in a plastic collection jar on the counter which is attached to a cardboard cut- out of Rebecca. An appeal reads, Help Rebecca Help The Children! Noises fade and deep, heavy, rythmic breathing is heard. * * * * * * * *
The deep, husky breathing continues V.O. Aerial view looking down on a long suspension bridge leading into a large city. The sky and the city are grey. The bridge and the cold choppy water below it are grey. The clusters of brightly attired riders on the bridge move in striking relief. Nothing of Rebecca or her bike is seen, only the view looking back at the contenders from her position. The front wall of riders are gradually receding. The straining faces are individual portraits of pain and frustration. One flings an arm up with an obscene gesture. Suddenly a rider breaks free. It's Lars Van Elder, the Flying Dutchman. With an anguished cry he stands up, lunges forward and begins a furious, last-gasp, all-out assault on the leader. Painfully, he closes the distance. From 30 feet to 20, from 20 to 10, from 10 to 5. Now gaining by inches. So close now that all we see is his face, a bright red mask of agony. Gasping, sweating, straining, head thrown back, eyes
closed, the rider goes down. The churning wave of riders looms instantly. It rolls over the unconscious cyclist and everything collapses in a horrifying tangle of bodies and bicycles. The tragic tableau falls quickly away as the leader sails into untainted territory. P.O.V. is now forward over Rebecca's handlebars as waving, cheering crowds appear and flash by on either side. The monitor with the flashing red heart reads '28'. Ka-klang! An upshift. The MPH begins moving up...33-3537-39. The deep and regular V.O. breathing fades. * * * * * * * *
The scene is a TELEVISION STUDIO stage set, where a program taping is about to begin. ANNOUNCER We welcome you to this Saturday's edition of 'Sports Roundtable' and here's our moderator, Stu Callahan! STU Thank you, Marvin. And thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for joining us once again. We're happy to have you with us. Today we'll be discussing a personality who's been very prominent in the headlines recently as we ask the question, Can anybody beat....Rebecca Sweet? And joining us for our panel discussion today are: on my left; Rene Leconte, director of the international French Racing Team, to his left; Tommy VanRunkle, STU (CONT) .... two-time winner of the American Classic. On my right we have Dr. Sidney Sheinberg, the well-known
sports physioligist and author of "The Ultimate Athlete". And on his right is Jennifer Robeson, international coordinator for the Rebecca Sweet fan clubs. She is also senior-director of the Rebecca Sweet Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization. Rene, let's start our discussion with you. Is she really invincible? Can anyone beat Rebecca Sweet? Rene has a heavy French accent but enunciates clearly and speaks deliberately, with an air of expertise. RENE I will be honest with you, Stu. I never expected to be saying this about anyone, certainly not a woman. But, the answer is 'no'. There is no one currently on the scene who can touch her. She is performing at a level...well, she is simply in a class by herself. STU And is that good or bad for the sport of cycling, Rene? RENE I think that, if this situation were to continue for much longer, it would have a very negative effect on the sport. Look at Jennifer. She doesn't care for that remark at all!
STU Interesting. I'm a little surprised to hear you say that, Rene. Rebecca's popularity has drawn record crowds to the major cycling events this year. And bicycle sales, especially to women, are reported to be up by something like forty
That's pretty amazing.
RENE What you say is true. But all of that is in the short term. Now let's look ahead at the longer prospects...and let's consider the competitor's point of view. Rebecca has won every race she has entered. I believe the number is now five. STU Yes, that's right. Including the Appalachian one-hundred. And it's just been announced that she'll try for the one-hour record in France next week. RENE Yes, now the question is...why would anyone want to enter a race that they know, in advance, they have no chance of winning? Who wants to consistently be made a fool of? Look at Nono Nastassi! (snickering is heard) This is a perfect example of what I'm saying. His reputation and career have suffered a tremendous setback. Jenny looks aghast. Tommy nods in agreement and Sidney looks like he's in a marijuana daze. RENE He has refused to race against Rebecca again! And I know several others who are beginning to feel the same way. If her dominance continues we will eventually have, not a competition, but simply a carnival sideshow, an exhibition of her...spectacular ability, with the rest of us in the role of clowns. STU Thank you, Rene. Tommy VanRunkle,
what do you think? You've faced Rebecca...how many times now? TOMMY I've raced against her twice now and it's not something I look forward to doing again. STU Why is that, Tommy? Does she cheat? Is she a dirty player? TOMMY Well, no. Not exactly, I guess. But she has a way of demoralizing you. Like...do you know what it's like to be at the end of a hundred mile race and then have to climb a steep grade? STU No, I can't say I've ever had the pleasure. TOMMY Your reserves are gone. You're running on nerve. Your legs are cramping, your lungs are on fire, your vision comes and goes, you feel nauseous. It's like a slow, painful death. And then, when you're at your absolute worst, Rebecca Sweet....will ease up along side you. And she'll be singing a little song to herself. Or maybe she'll just smile and wave at you. JENNIFER (caustic) Wow! Pretty serious charges, Tommy. TOMMY I'm not kidding, man! I've seen it! She did it to me! And then she just suddenly...spurts ahead of you twenty or thirty feet. It's unbelievable. It's like,she gives you a little taste. You know? She gives you a little peek
at how much power she's got left and your heart just sinks. It's all over. You know you haven't got a snowball's chance in hell and you never did have. So, what are you gonna do? Kill yourself? For nothin? It's all over. Rene nods his understanding, puts a hand on his shoulder. Everyone look sympathetic. STU And where do you think that power comes from, Tommy? TOMMY I don't know. Everybody says steroids, but.... Jennifer SLAMS her hand down on the table! Everyone jumps.
TOMMY (continuing) ...she keeps testing negative, I guess. And then I've heard some other rumors too. Maybe she...I don't know. But how can anybody do that? How could a girl do that? STU Well, that is the question, isn't it Tommy. Jennifer says something under her breath, indistinct. STU Jennifer, you had something to add? JENNIFER (very distinctly) I said, 'The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on'. STU And faster than most caravans. Dr. Sheinberg, in your recent book, haven't you suggested a scientific theory that might
explain Rebecca Sweet's amazing endurance? SIDNEY Well actually, Stu, it would be more of a wild guess than scientific theory. There's a lot of opinion and speculation floating around, but basicly, we're all just guessing. STU Okay Sidney, give us one of your wild guesses then. SIDNEY Well, it has more to do more with the mathematics of chance and probability than it does with physiology. STU Mathematics? You've lost me already, Sidney. SIDNEY Okay, look! Evolution, nature, operates by PROFUSION. She throws out a million variations on everything from roses to cockroaches. Actually, these are mistakes, imperfection in the genetic copy which, of course, is the basis of natural selection. STU So, in other words.... SIDNEY (getting into it) Just a minute! Now, untold billions of people have lived and died on this planet. And just as no two fingerprints have ever been alike, so there are no two hearts, no two kidneys, no two spinal columns alike.
My stomach will be a different size and shape than yours. STU You can say that again! (he's a little portly) SIDNEY So, nature produces a million different cowboys. And one of those cowboys gets an arm that has just the right length and proportion, just the right musculature, just the right network of nerves and blood vessels and the perfect points of insertion for tendons and ligaments. And like a symphony, like magic, it all comes together and you've got the fastest gun in the west. STU So, what you seem to be saying.... SIDNEY (oblivious) But that's only the beginning. So far, we only have a cowboy who is potentially the fastest gun alive. But the odds are that he'll never become aware of how unique he really is..that golden arm! He may become a lawyer or a carpenter or a salesman. He may die young, before he has a chance to find out. (musing now) Yes, the overwhelming probability is that this man would live and die without ever discovering that he could've jerked that hogleg and fired all six shots before the other guy ever cleared leather. (snaps back) So, somewhere out there we have the man who could have surpassed Mozart, but he took over his dad's
farm at age sixteen. He never came in contact with music and never discovered his potential. Somewhere out there is another Einstein working at a gas station, or a Muhammed Ali who never.... STU So you're saying that a Rebecca Sweet had to come along sooner or later. And she's just the product of chance, the luck of the draw. SIDNEY No, not quite. Not quite. It's true that almost all success is accidental. First a person must be given the raw talent and potential. That part is chance. Then he has to somehow become aware that he has this gift. And then he has to conceive of an application for it. He has to have a goal! STU And once he has the talent and the goal... SIDNEY But there's something else! That potential and that goal have to be married to a heart and a spirit and a DETERMINATION.... SIDNEY (CONT) ... to do something with it. And where that comes from I don't know. But if those three factors; talent, goal, will...fall into place, like lemons on a slot machine, then you hit the jackpot and you're gonna end up with.... STU A freak of nature? SIDNEY A force of nature. You end up
with Rebecca Sweet! STU Well! Food for thought, Sidney, food for thought. Jennifer Robeson, you probably know her better than anyone else. Can anyone beat Rebecca Sweet? Jennifer's voice trembles. She's only nineteen. upset but trying to keep it under control. JENNIFER I think a better question might be...does anybody deserve to beat her? Did it ever occur to anyone that maybe Rebecca works harder than anybody else? Tries harder? TOMMY (snorting) Well, the rest of us aren't exactly sitting around on our... JENNIFER (pre-empting) In athletic competition, I thought it was supposed to be, may the best man win. Isn't that what all those big, hairy, sweaty, macho....apes tell each other before they start beating each other's brains out? May the best man win? (she stands up) But all of a sudden, when a woman starts whipping their asses, they can't take it! She's
JENNIFER (CONT) They start whining and crying about "Oh she's ruining the sport" and "Oh she's making us all look like idiots". All of a sudden they want to change the rules of the game. Pathetic!
STU (stuttering) Well, Miss Robeson, I think what Rene meant to say.... JENNIFER You know, I'm having a really hard time with some of the things that have been said about Rebecca today. Somebody called her a freak.... SIDNEY Oh, just one minute now! called Rebecca.... I never
JENNY Somebody else said she was bad for the sport. Figure that one out! The one who's best at the sport is bad for it! RENE What I was really trying to say.... JENNY And then someone was low enough to call her a drug addict! TOMMY Drug addict! Drug addict? Jennifer you're twisting.... It's getting out of hand. Stu tries to interject several times but is trampled over. RENE Jennifer! Jennifer! No one is saying that Rebecca, herself, is a bad person. In fact, I said that she is TOO GOOD for us. There, you see? YOU WIN! You win. And I tell you the truth right here on national television. I am not ashamed of it. She is my idol! Everyone is suddenly subdued, maybe even a litle embarassed
by Rene's confession.
Or their behavior.
RENE Yes. I have the big posters of her on my walls, just like everyone else. She is my inspiration! She is what all of us dreamed of being.....but never could become. Something missing, eh Dr. Sheinberg? There has never been anyone like her. It's unprecedented. That's why all the confusion, Jennifer. There is a pregnant silence and everyone is reluctant to break it except: TOMMY At the same time, she is rich and famous. You can't deny that she's gotten a lot of.... JENNY (ignited again) Gotten? Gotten what? What has she gotten? She's given everything and asked for nothing! Fame? She doesn't want it. JENNY She has never given an interview to anyone, no matter what they offered. She has never posed for a photograph. Her mother told me that she never watches herself on television and that she never reads about herself in the newspapers or magazines. She doesn't care for any of that glory crap. That's not what it's all about. Stu tries to butt in but is ignored completely. JENNY And as for money...yes, she commands more for her endorsements than anyone in history. But we reject more offers than we accept. She won't put
her name on a sportswear line until she personally tours the factories and is assured that those women have decent working conditions. JENNY (CONT) Yes, she has a large income, but she won't take any of that for herself. This is what I want people to understand! She doesn't even own a car. She turns every penney over to the Foundation and we, in turn, provide funding for orphanages, children's hospitals, shelters for battered women... The moderator looks off-stage and gestures helplessly. JENNY (passionately) You know, I'm just...it just GALLS me that anyone would say something negative about Rebecca Sweet. I think she's an example for us all. TOMMY So what are you tryin' to tell us? That she's some kind of Mother Teresa? Jennifer regards him as though he were a cockroach. An adolescent one. JENNY Tommy....Mother Teresa can't ride a bike worth a shit! * * On the promenade deck of a multi-level, indoor SHOPPING MALL. Tagging along with two fashionably-dressed GALS in their middleto-late twenties, eavesdropping as they chuckle and chatter. GAL ONE ...and all of a sudden he tries to grab my tits. I never gave * * * * * *
him the green light. I said, that's it, yo-yo! You better hit the pavement running, and don't you ever try to call me again. GAL TOO So, what did he do? GAL ONE Started whining. Pathetic. No class at all. The gals are now angling toward the entrance to a ROBINSONMAY department store. Directly ahead are the glittering glass counters and elaborate displays of the perfume/cosmetics department. GAL TOO That's like, last night at the gym, that instructor I told you about... he asks me if I live in the area. I said no, I live in Nome Alaska, but I fly down every evening for...oh, look! Rebecca Sweet. Off to their right, a fairly large corner boutique features the new line of Rebecca Sweet 'Signature' clothing. In the corner, part of a display, is a video monitor showing an endless loop of highlights from Rebecca's races. In the middle of the section, on a pedastal, is a life-size mannequin of Rebecca wearing a trim business suit. The gals start sorting through the racks, holding up selected items for evaluation. GAL TOO Oh, this is cute. What do you think? GAL ONE I love those colors. Hey, I could wear this. You know, we're exactly the same height? Five-nine and a half. GAL TOO
How much does she weigh? GAL ONE I'm not sure. I'd say, one thirty,one thirty five at the most. Do you know, she only drinks distilled water? And she eats nothing but low-fat yogurt and salads. That's it. Nothing else. GAL TOO Where did you hear that? GAL ONE It's in all the magazines. Could you do that? Live your whole life on salad and yogurt? They have stopped their rummaging and both are staring at the mannequin, musing. GAL TOO I guess you can do anything if you've got enough will power. I guess she proved that. GAL ONE I guess she did. She must be made of it. A hundred and thirty pounds of will power. GAL TOO Determination. Relentless, single-minded, bone-crushing focus. What else could it be? GAL ONE That's gotta be it. could it be? * * An INDOOR VELODROME. Close on the burnished derailleur and the glittering chrome chain, the blurred sprockets, the flashing pedals and the high-tech shoes....the hard sleek * * * What else * * *
legs, the tight lavendar shorts, the bare and defined midriff....the almost-smiling ivory face and the sleek, dark glasses. This is one of the few times Rebecca wears a helmet. It appears to be custom-made, the same color and design as her lycra outfit. With the dazzling look of a comic book super-hero, she threatens to outshine the sculpted and polished perfection of the $90,000 prototype she rides. Her computer MPH holds at '36' and the heart-rate monitor flashes a steady '19'. Over the center of the infield, a huge digital display continuously counts the ELAPSED TIME, current LAP SPEED and the TOTAL DISTANCE traveled. All the legends are in French. The noise level from the overflow crowd of fanatical fans has been increasing steadily as the elapsed time flicks from 52 to 53 minutes. The seconds, carried to three decimal places, are a blur of light. A row of radio and T.V. broadcasters babble several languages into their microphones. French predominates. All of the action at the velodrome will be intercut with clips of T.V. viewers around the world, suggesting a crosssection of the vast electronic audience. In a TELEVISION retail STORE, all the sets are tuned to the same program with shoppers and salespeople watching. From the sidewalk, several people watch display sets in the windows. In the STUDENT LOUNGE of a large women's UNIVERSITY, the big-screen T.V. centers all attention. Sofas and chairs are overflowing and students are sitting or sprawled on the floor. In the family room of a private RESIDENCE, a GIRL SCOUT troop are transfixed. Den mothers, too. Some of the girls lean into the turns along with Rebecca.
In a large STYLING SALON, a row of women under hair dryers have abandoned their magazines and chitchat. Their eyes go wide as saucers when they see Rebecca's hair. "CONGRESSWOMAN Shirley S. Pine, 14th District", reads the black lettering on the frosted glass panel. The door is ajar, the office deserted. In the adjoining conference room, several women watch the T.V. CONGRESSWOMAN She lives in the district. I wrote to her once but I never got an answer. In the rec room of a WOMEN'S PRISON, each of the drab, uniformed inmates is lost in her private fantasy as she watches the glittering phenomenon circle the track. INMATE (involuntary whisper) Goddam, she's gonna do it! In the warehouse-sized SEWING ROOM of a large CLOTHING FACTORY, the off-going shift are packed into the lunch/break room, all eyes on the T.V. In the HEALTH CLUB of Rebecca's home town, a group of women in leotards have quit the aerobics studio and are gathered in the main gym area before the wall-mounted T.V. The male weight lifters watch from farther back. VIEWER She used to train right here in this gym. Linda knows her. Stuck in FREEWAY TRAFFIC, the woman business executive in the BMW convertible listens on the radio. Inside ERNIE'S SPORTS BAR, the viewers here are much less inhibited as they cheer and shout encouragements to the T.V. screens. On the VELODROME TRACK, Rebecca circles relentlessly. She sweeps up high on the banked turns, building momentum, then dives down for the inside lanes.
She glances up at the scoreboard as the MINUTES skip from 55 to 56. She unsnaps her helmet and flings it in a high, colorful arc. The long, golden hair releases and deploys like a drogue chute. And the crowd goes absolutely ballistic. Thousands of women, at least half the audience, jump to their feet, screaming wildly. Some of the men are up too, but the more macho among them are pridefully restrained. Hundreds of cameras are flashing in the grandstands and lower down, from the track's railings. Rebecca Sweet is a photographer's psychedelic dream as she sweeps gracefully through a turn on the ultra-modern, banked oval. Rolling out of a turn like an F-14 Fighter! Ka-klang! The taut chain whips and whines as Rebecca grabs a taller gear. She comes out of the saddle and the muscular thighs are heaving like the flanks of a racehorse. The MPH readout on her handlebar-mounted display begins the inexorable advance....36-37-38-39-40-41. Above the crowd, the elapsed-time display snaps to 58. All of the men have now surrendered to the energy around them. Everyone, including judges and officials are on their feet, caught up in the passionate frenzy. The giant TIME ELAPSED numerals flip to "60", and three zeros lock. The DISTANCE TRAVELED freezes at 59.375 km. A ninety decibel airhorn sounds as bright streamers and metalflake confetti rain down from the packed bleachers. Closeups show women hugging and crying, men gesticulating and shaking their heads in disbelief. One old man appears to have fainted. The French take cycling very seriously! Rebecca gradually slows down but continues to circle the track, waving to the exhilarated crowd.
These passionate fans are reluctant to relinquish the moment. In heartfelt admiration, still standing, they have begun to sing their 16th century victory song, "Il a Gagne le Flot de'Argent". * * Inside ERNIE'S SPORTS BAR. A cheering, mutinous crowd. A 50/50 mix of men and women. There are several T.V. monitors convenient to the U-shaped main bar and two or three largescreen sets which favor the booths and tables. All the sets show the same action, the finish at the French velodrome. Snippets of T.V. commentary are heard above the noise. T.V. VOICE ....Rebecc Sweet...thirty six point nine miles...world record... first American... The scene pans, holds, and closes on a REPORTER who is watching one of the monitors above the bar. He shakes his head and turns toward the camera. REPORTER Hi folks, this is Stu Callahan. I'm speaking to you from Ernie's Sports Bar, on Market Street, in downtown San Francisco. As you can see, and hear, we've got a pretty excited crowd here this evening.... Pan 360 as he speaks. Return to find him with his hand on the shoulder of a plumpish young woman who has swiveled her bar stool toward the camera. STU (continuing) ....and excited for good reason. They have just watched Rebecca Sweet enter the pages of sports legend once again,as she becomes the first American ever to hold the world record for one hour's continuous cycling. Bonnie Wolf, what do you think about that? * * * * * *
The girl has been bouncing up and down on her seat and waving to other chums in the bar. She has tears on her cheeks. BONNIE (seizing the mike) She made believers out of them. Now they know. Nobody can beat her, not even the French. Just wait until 'The Tour'. They'll never know what hit 'em. She'll grind 'em into dust. She'll beat the holy, living.... This ignites another round of wild cheering by the boisterous clientele. Smiling, Stu waits for it to subside. STU Bonnie, would you stand up for a moment, please? I want our viewers to get a look at the shirt you're wearing. She stands and pinches the shirt up high to present a smooth canvas for the camera. Rebecca, wearing a bright, brief two-piece, holds a bike over her head at arm's length. The long golden hair is draped over the front of one shoulder and she looks ripped to the bone. The caption reads, "WHO KICKS BUTT?" STU I guess we all know the answer to that question, don't we? Another chorus of drunken caterwauling. The newsman holds the mike out for the man next to Bonnie. MAN Well, what can you say? I mean there it is, right? You can't argue with reality. At least not while you're sober. He holds up his beer bottle in salute and chug-a-lugs the whole thing.
The newsman steps over and extends the mike to a grinning bald-headed man behind the bar. STU This is Ernie Tavalier, the owner of Ernie's Sports Bar. Ernie, you were telling me earlier that you've seen a sizeable increase in the number of women customers in your establishment. ERNIE Oh, yeah. Big increase over the last few months. Real big. STU And how would you account for that, Ernie? ERNIE You know, I think it's because women, maybe for the first time, feel like they're the equal of men. Physically,I mean in sports. They've finally got somebody who can stand up to the men and beat them at their own game. They got their own 'Rocky'. They never had that before. STU And how do you feel about it personally, Ernie? Are you intimidated by that? ERNIE Who me? Hell no! She never beat me. I love Rebecca Sweet. She's good for business. He slaps a Rebecca Sweet cap on his head, mugs shamelessly for the camera, and gestures with an elegant flourish to a large Rebecca Sweet poster over the main bar. * * * * * * *
* In TOMMY VANN's living room, the T.V. screen displays the finale at the French velodrome. Tommy and his wife, PATTY, sit on the sofa. Their cute 3 year-old daughter, MARCY, wears Rebecca Sweet pajamas. She is dwarfed in the huge, overstuffed chair she occupies alone. Patty clicks the T.V. off. Marcy lets out a loud, shrill scream. PATTY Now, honey, you saw Rebecca. It's over now. Time to go to bed. Marcy screams even louder and flails her arms and legs wildly as Patty picks her up and carries her toward her room. Tommy follows, watches from the doorway as Patty tucks the child firmly under her covers. Marcy is still screaming and thrashing as her mother turns on a nite-lite and switches off the room lights. Patty leaves the door ajar. She seems suddenly very weary, on the verge of crying. Tommy puts his arms around his wife. Marcy is alternately screaming and sobbing now. TOMMY She wasn't so bad tonight. PATTY That's because she's fascinated by Rebecca. But they still want us to take her out of day care. They can't handle her any more. TOMMY When's the next appointment with Doctor Hoffman? PATTY Thursday. Tommy, I want you to come with me. Hoffman wants to put her on Ridilin. Now, I know you're against it. I am too. But, it's getting to the point....
TOMMY I know. Don't worry, I'll be there. Just remind me so I don't forget. (kisses her) Marcy is still crying in the background, but it's starting to taper off. A phone rings in another room. TOMMY That's probably Charlie. Tommy walks into his home office. Lots of trophies and memorabilia from his racing days. Lots of photos and posters, many of Rebecca. He answers. TOMMY Hello. Hey, Charlie. You all set for tomorrow? Yeah. Okay, hang on a second. Let me get my dope sheet. Tommy opens the briefcase near the desk, takes out a 3-ring binder and opens it on the desk. TOMMY Okay, you're gonna pick them up where? Patty is at her kitchen counter, engrossed in one of her baking experiments. Two cookbooks open, ingredients everywhere. Tommy stealths up behind her, slips his arms around her waist and pulls her tight. PATTY Well, how does it feel? He nuzzles her neck and rubs against her suggestively. TOMMY Oh, baby, you know how it feels! PATTY Not that, you pervert! How does
it feel to be the coach of the best in the world? TOMMY Hah! Coach! That's a laugh! I don't even see her anymore except on television. I just call Jennifer and tell her where the next race is and what time it starts. PATTY Does Reuben know that? TOMMY He's just happy she's staying with the team. He doesn't care. But I'm really getting worried about her. PATTY Worried! What about? The way she's going, she'll break every record in the book. TOMMY That's just it, Patty. Rebecca shouldn't be able to do the things she does. It just doesn't seem humanly possible, does it? As far as I know, she has no history of athletic training, no competition. And yet she does anything she wants to do. She beats anybody she wants to beat. She makes it look easy. Haven't you ever wondered how? PATTY Tommy, would you be saying all of this if she were a man? TOMMY Patty, that's not the point. The point is...she doesn't seem to know the difference between what's... possible and impossible. PATTY So you think she's what..a moron..
a psycho...on drugs? TOMMY You wanna know what I think? I think Rebecca's asleep. I think she's dreaming. This statement finally breaks her preoccupation with the recipe. He must by joking! PATTY Tommy! You think she's sleepwalking and we're all part of her dream? Everybody's got a theory about Rebecca but, this one I'd keep to myself if I were you. Patty slips a batch of something into the oven. samples a bowl while her back is turned. Tommy
TOMMY I don't mean that she's literally asleep. I mean that....somehow she's slipped into some kind of.. altered consciousness. I'm convinced she's not living in the same consensus world that you and I are. PATTY Consensus world! Huh! Let me see now, how many worlds are there again? TOMMY She always looks to her left before she makes a statement or answers a question. Shows extreme right-brain dominance. I get the impression she's listening to something. Something no one else can hear. Maybe voices? That would be a symptom of schizophrenia! PATTY That's quite a leap, Tommy. I'm
always amazed that people expect an estraordinary person to be ordinary. TOMMY Some schizophrenics are capable of some amazing things...strength, endurance. Some of them don't feel pain! The ninety-pound woman who lifts the front end of her car to save a trapped child? Huh? Now, she's certainly in an altered state. It's temporary, of course. But,what if...what if someone were in that state permanently? This is a real-world example that she can relate to and her patronizing smile has disappeared. She realizes her husband is truly concerned. TOMMY Somebody that doesn't feel pain, they could be tearing their body apart without knowing it. I don't think they'd last very long, do you? PATTY But, it all sounds so fantastic. TOMMY It's the instinct for self preservation that limits performance. The body screams, 'I'm dying', and the athlete backs off. Now,she acts like she doesn't have that inhibition. If she's sick....if something happened to her...I'd feel responsible. PATTY It's all way over my head. Are you sure about any of this? TOMMY Not a word. Everything I've said is based solidly on....bullshit. I was a minor in psychology but I'm no expert. But there has to be some kind
of explanation. Somebody has to watch out for Rebecca. Right? Patty is melted by his sympathetic nature. She puts her arms around him. PATTY I think it's decent of you to be so concerned. What are you going to do? TOMMY Well, the ICF wants blood tests for all pro teams but that's not going to tell us anything. I'd like to see her go in for a full checkup. I'll talk to Jennifer. She's the only one who has any influence. Hey,that smells pretty good. I'm gonna go take a shower. PATTY (a quick kiss) Okay. I'm almost done here. Tommy leaves. Patty slips the last baking dish into the oven and starts cleaning up. A couple of minutes later, the adorable pajama-clad Marcy appears and marches resolutely to the far end of the kitchen. PATTY Hi, honey! I thought you were already asleep. The cute-as-a-bug little girl doesn't answer. She opens the door to the broom closet, pulls the step-stool forward and climbs the two steps. Stretching as high as she can, she takes down a checkerboard box. She pushes the stool back, takes out a pet dish and pours a generous helping of Cat Chow. Her mother has been glancing curiously over her left shoulder as she works. Now she looks compassionately at her daughter.
PATTY Oh, Marcy, poor baby! Do you still miss your kitty? MARCY Nope. The little three year-old puts the box back (on a lower shelf) and then struggles to extract a rather heavy floor mop from the closet. She slams the door. With the long handle under her arm and a look of fierce determi- nation on her face, she then begins to wrestle the cumbersome and uncooperative mop back and forth on the vinyl floor as best she can. The mop trips her up and she falls to the floor. She gets up and glares at it with her hands on her hips. She dusts off the knees of her pajamas, seizes the handle and begins the struggle anew. Her mother is now staring in complete bewilderment. PATTY Marcy. Uhh, honey....what are you trying to do? MARCY I'm moppin' dis floor! She straightens and looks at her mother as though her actions should be perfectly obvious. MARCY I'm helpin' you, mommy! Her mother kneels on one knee, puts her arm around her, and looks closely into her eyes. PATTY Well you are a big help, baby. And mommy appreciates it. But why do you have to do this right now? MARCY Rebecca...she said I should be good to my mommy. She said if
I help you, she would bring my kitty back. Her mother doesn't make the connection right away. PATTY Rebecca? Who's Rebecca?...you mean Rebecca Sweet? Honey, where did you see Rebecca? On the T.V.? MARCY (mopping) Nope. She was in my room. PATTY Ooooh. I See. Rebecca was in your room when you went to bed! But honey, you know Toby's been gone so long now that.... even Rebecca might not be able to find him. So don't be too disappointed if he doesn't come back. Okay? MARCY He's already back. PATTY What? MARCY See? Marcy is pointing toward the kitchen door. The mother stands up and takes a startled step back as a plush, striped tabby enters and nonchalantly strolls the length of the kitchen floor. As if he owned the joint. Hi, Toby! MARCY Supper's all ready.
The cat walks straight to his familiar bowl and starts crunching his food. Mrs. Vann is speechless, her eyes wide. She raises her voice just enough to carry to the living room: PATTY Oh, Tom-meeeee!
From around the corner, Tommy's head appears in the doorway. He's rubbing his hair with a towel. He peers dopily into the kitchen. TOMMY Whut? Toby looks up from his bowl and, licking his lips, announces the return of the once and future head-ofhousehold. TOBY Meeoooow! * * TOMMY VANN'S BEDROOM. Nightstand clock reads 3:17 AM. covers of the king-size bed are completely kicked off. Tommy, in shorts, is sprawled on the mauve satin sheet. His wife wears nothing. The * * * * * *
The telephone rings on her nightstand and she rolls over to switch on the lamp and answer. PATTY Hello? Yes, who's calling please? Hold on. (to Tommy) Doctor Fragen? TOMMY Hello. Who? Oh, yeah. Right, right. (sits up) What about her? You mean now? (looks at clock). Can't you tell me on the phone? No,no. Okay, I'll be there. No, I'll be there. Just give me the cross-street. He hands the phone back and sits on the edge of the bed, rubbing his eyes. TOMMY Something about Rebecca. Tommy's Corvette pulls into the parking area in front of
the 'VALLEY MEDICAL BUILDING'. He presses the elevator button in the dimly lit lobby. the second floor he knocks on the door marked, 'TRACE LABORATORIES'. The door opens a paranoid two inches. TOMMY Doctor Fragen? DOCTOR You by yourself? TOMMY Yes. The door opens wider and Tommy enters. The Doc nervously checks the hallway before closing and locking the door. DOCTOR Your name was on our work order. Responsible party. I didn't know who else to call. TOMMY What is it? DOCTOR This way. The Doctor is a Frank Gorshin type; frazzled white hair, white lab coat over rumpled suit, about 65. Of course he chainsmokes incessantly. He's sleepy and irritable. They walk through the office/reception area into a medical lab filled with impressive machines and instruments. It looks com-puterized, automated, state of the art. The Doc motions Tommy toward a chair. DOCTOR Mr. Vann, would you have any reason to believe there's something...abnormal..about Rebecca Sweet? TOMMY (suspiciously) On
Why do you ask? DOCTOR (suspiciously) Why do you think I ask? TOMMY It has to be the blood sample. Something foreign. DOCTOR Mr. Vann, are you carrying a recording device of any kind? TOMMY (incredulous) What? DOCTOR Never mind. But...I want to make this clear to you. If you should ever mention my name in connection with what I'm going to tell you, I'll call you a liar to your face. Understood? Tommy (impatient) Okay, fine. Fine with me. What is it? What did you find in her blood? Drugs? Steroids? The Doctor takes a deep drag, he glowers at Tommy as though he despises him. He walks over, bends down until his bloodshot eyes are six inches from Tommy's. DOCTOR It's not blood! Tommy doesn't react. But he watches the Doctor very carefully as his host begins to pace nervously. DOCTOR I've been in this business 27 years and I've never seen anybody pull a prank like this.
Still, that would be the only logical explanation except... except I drew the blood from all of your team members myself. TOMMY You say it's not blood. If it's not blood, what is it? DOCTOR (blows up) Jesus Christ, how in the hell do I know! I took this stuff (holds up the vial) out of the healthiest-looking nineteen year old girl I've ever seen. It has to be blood. What else could it be? It has to be blood! (weakly) But It isn't. The Doc seems a fragile and defeated old man as he plops down behind his desk and gestures at the open manuals, reference books and slides. DOCTOR I've been up all night trying to...I thought I was going crazy. Oh, it looks like blood. To the naked eye. But, put it under a high-powered microscope... there's nothing...no structure, no markers...you can't even... it's insane! TOMMY Maybe another sample? DOCTOR (vehement) NO! No. I'm done with it. I'm done with this tonight. I've got a business and a reputation. And besides, I couldn't do anything differently than what I've done. I'll tell you this, I was thinking very seriously of flushing this down the drain and printing
up a dummy analysis. TOMMY (groping) A person who had this in their veins, would they be likely to have an elevated lactate threshold or maybe a high anaerobic... Shaking his head wearily, the doctor starts chuckling. DOCTOR (derisively) Lactate threshold! (laughs again) Haven't you been listening to me? Anybody who had this in their veins wouldn't have a threshold of any kind because they couldn't possibly be alive! IT'S NOT BLOOD! The Doc calms down somewhat, lights yet another cigarette and waxes meditative. DOCTOR I used to sleep out in my back yard in the summertime. I'd stay awake half the night watching the sky for flying saucers. I just wanted to know that there was something more to life than the everyday round of eating, sleeping, wondering, finally dying....just as ignorant as the day we were born. I wanted to see a miracle, just once. The Doc stands up from his desk, stubs out the cigarette, adjusts his tie, buttons the lab coat. DOCTOR Well, I've finally seen it. But it doesn't make me feel the way I thought it would. Jabbing an emphatic finger toward Tommy, he walks over to a lab bench. He places the vial in a holder and gingerly removes the cap.
DOCTOR Now I'll show you something. He steps over and switches off the lights. The lab is dark except for very pale moonlight through the outer windows. As the two men watch, the top of the vial begins to glow softly as the liquid reacts to oxygen. The glow spreads slowly downward and intensifies until the entire tube is alive with a vibrant, glittering, aquamarine fire. * * Jennifer Robeson is riding a flashy road bike down the main drag of her hometown. She pulls off the street and into a cobble-stoned and tree-shaded courtyard between two rows of art, gift and clothing boutiques. She looks around, then leans her bike against a brick planter and sits on an old-fashioned park bench. Jennifer glances casually at another girl who sits facing her on an identical bench about twenty five feet away. The other girl is dressed in denim jeans, a baggy flannel shirt, a hilarious hat and oversize sunglasses. She speaks. OTHER GIRL Think anybody will recognize me? Jennifer is truly taken by surprise. and her hands fly to her face. Her mouth drops open * * * * * *
JENNIFER (shrieking) Rebecca? Oh, my God! Oh, I'm so embarassed! I had no idea it was you. They are laughing and hugging. packs on their backs. Both girls have small day-
Oh, I'm so happy to see you. Did you bring the stuff? Well, what are we waiting for? Rebecca retrieves her old, original bike from behind her bench. Suddenly the courtyard is jolted, everything shakes as though struck by a temblor. Jennifer freezes. JENNIFER Earthquake! REBECCA (unperturbed) No, just some turbulence. Nothing to worry about. Indistinct chitchat and laughter passes between the two chums as they ride down the street. They are soon at the outskirts of town. They turn onto a side street, then onto a short dirt road and finally onto a footpath that eventually curves to follow a small stream. They find the idyllic little spot they've been looking for. They lean the bikes against a shade tree and spread a blanket taken from one of the packs. Jennifer lays out a couple of snacks between them as Rebecca takes off her shirt. She wears a lime-green tank top underneath. Using their packs as pillows, the two lie back in the shade and listen to the happy chortle of the stream. JENNIFER Just like the old days. We're both so busy now, I hardly see you anymore. Want to hear about the Foundation? REBECCA Oh, please, no! That's the last thing I want to talk about today. Besides, that's your burden and
I'm happy for you to run it the way you see fit. Are you taking out enough money for yourself? JENNIFER Are you kidding? I'm living in my dream world. The trustees give me more than I ever would've asked for. REBECCA Good! You deserve it. So much responsibility. You know what? You should buy yourself a new car or something. JENNIFER (giggles) I already did. REBECCA (excited) Really? Good for you! you get?
JENNIFER Well, actually it's a Foundation car. It has our logos on it. It's a Cadillac, what else? REBECCA What color? JENNIFER I had it painted lavendar and white. The girls look at each other, then simultaneously crack up. They end up hugging each other. They are both quiet for awhile. As this scene progresses, the lighting and focus will gradually change to achieve a dreamlike, fairy-tale ambience. As Jenny stares up into the transluscent green canopy above, her expression gradually becomes serious. JENNIFER
Becky, what's going on here. I think Tommy and your mother and everybody else just assumes that I know where you are when you're not racing, that I'm in contact with you. But I don't know any more than anybody else. REBECCA What is it you want to know, Jennifer? JENNIFER Well Rebecca! You and I have been together since we were five years old. And now you seem like a complete stranger to me. You hardly even talk to me anymore. I just feel like.... Rebecca looks over at her friend, the closest thing to a sister she's ever had. Jennifer looks hurt, close to tears. JENNIFER Don't you trust me anymore? Suddenly compassionate, Rebecca takes her hand. REBECCA Oh, Jenny, I'm sorry. Of course I trust you. It's not that. But some things are just...impossible to explain. Believe me, It wouldn't make any sense to you...to anyone. JENNIFER Can't you at least try! I know it had something to do with your accident. That's when everything started changing. Rebecca, did you have some kind of....experience? Rebecca's expression is troubled. She turns to her left, away from Jenney. She cocks her head, as if listening. After a long while she turns back. She takes off her hat and the long, honey-blonde hair tumbles free. Longer and fuller than ever before. It
sparkles with a subtle, golden iridescence, as though lit from an internal source. JENNIFER (stunned) Ooooh, wow! God, Rebecca, what have you done to your hair? REBECCA I haven't done anything. It's been changing gradually over the last few months. Rebecca takes a handkerchief from her pocket and wipes away the pinkish-tan concealment of her makeup. A lustrous ivory subsurface is revealed. Jennifer stares, speechless. Now Rebecca removes the oversize sunglasses. She turns toward Jennifer with closed eyes. After a long moment, she slowly opens them. Jenny's body jumps. An involuntary hand comes up to shield her eyes. Open-mouthed and dumbstruck, she finally stares back at Rebecca, transfixed. Hard to look, harder to look away. REBECCA (gently) Surprise. What Jenny sees is truly startling. Rebecca's eyes are a clear brilliant aquamarine, flecked with gold. The transluscent irises are vibrant and alive with dancing emerald fire. Jenny gasps. JENNIFER Hoooo! Rebecca! I...I always thought you had brown eyes! Wha...(breathless) contacts? Contact lenses? I hope? Jenny lips are trembling. She exhales deeply, covers her face with her hands and bows her head. Rebecca takes her Sweet-style glasses from the pack.
JENNIFER Whoa! (scared laugh) God, Rebecca, I thought it was....I just thought you were...My God, what's happening to you? REBECCA You were right about the accident, Jennifer. It was more serious than anyone thought...(puts glasses on) and now I....I just don't think I survived it, Jennifer Oh! JENNIFER Oooooh! Oh, no!
Jennifer sobs. She jumps up and runs to the edge of the stream. After a few moments, Rebecca goes to stand beside her, puts her arm around her. REBECCA Please don't, Jennifer. This is what I was afraid of. I couldn't even tell my mother what was happening. But there's no reason to be upset about this. JENNIFER I'm just afraid you're going to leave...Leave me here alone. Rebecca puts her hands on her friend's shoulders and looks deeply into her eyes. REBECCA For a little while. Only for a little while. Jennifer, you asked me to trust you, now it's your turn to trust me. Believe me, no matter what happens, no matter what happens, we'll be sisters in the end! Jennifer composes herself somewhat and the two girls walk along the stream bank. JENNIFER But, doesn't all this scare you?
REBECCA (bright laugh) No! It feels perfectly natural to me. I wouldn't want to go back, Jennifer. That would scare me. I still remember getting hungry, getting tired, getting hurt. Jennifer looks at her in amazement. Jennifer You mean you...you don't.... REBECCA I knew something was different when I woke up in the hospital. The air tasted sweet, heavier, almost liquid. My body seemed lighter, so light I could hardly feel it. Stronger. I knew I had to get out of there before somebody found out. The two girls are now sitting on some large boulders in front of a small waterfall. A strange sight, this teenage girl and her luminous, unearthly companion. JENNIFER You know, this feels just like a dream to me. REBECCA It's hard to tell the difference, isn't it? While it's happening, it's real. When it's over, it's a memory. Just like everything else in our lives. JENNIFER (shyly) Becky, have you ever seen... angels...or anything like that? REBECCA Yes, I have. I think so.
JENNIFER (excited) You have? Well, wow, I mean.. What do they look like? Rebecca considers for a moment and then announces: REBECCA They look like bikers! Jennifer stares at Rebecca, her eyes wide. Both girls break up into a fit of shrieking, hysterical laughter. They roll on the grass and hold their stomachs, a muchneeded relief for Jennifer. Gradually it subsides, the girls get up and brush themselves off. Jenny is even more hesitant with the next question. JENNIFER Rebecca, have you ever seen... have you seen....God? REBECCA Everything looks different to me now. The days and nights are disappearing. All the flowers are in commotion. And when I look at the place where the sun used to be.... She turns and looks over her shoulder at the low, western sky, turns back to Jenny. REBECCA ....I don't see it anymore. JENNIFER (astonished) You don't? Well...what do you see? REBECCA I see a heavenly chorus singing, Glory, hallelujah! Jennifer is silent, trying to digest the things she's heard. JENNIFER
So, you're doing all of this for the charities,to help people? REBECCA Jennifer, suppose you had something that you wanted to say to the whole world. How would you get people to listen to you? JENNIFER I don't know....I wouldn't know where to start. REBECCA The average eighteen year-old girl...not exactly a figure to command attention. Who's going to listen to her? Nobody. JENNIFER But does that mean.....
REBECCA The audience, Jennifer! That's what we want. Crowds of people. Multitudes of people. OCEANS of people. And then finally, in the end...when every eye is watching... when every heart is open, when every ear is straining to hear.... JENNIFER What, Rebecca? A series of three musical chimes is heard. to her right, sees nothing unusual. JENNIFER Did you hear that? REBECCA (smiling) Yes I did. The melodic tones sound again. directions but sees nothing. Jennifer looks in all Jennifer looks
JENNIFER (mystified) What is that? REBECCA (gravely) It's something you can't ignore very much longer. (pause) Jennifer, fasten your seatbelt! JENNIFER (sleepily) What? STEWARDESS Fasten your seatbelt, please. Jennifer opens her eyes to find a smiling flight attendant leaning over her. The girl has blonde hair and green eyes. Still disoriented, Jennifer fumbles with the lap belt and looks out her window at a portion of the Los Angeles sprawl coming up fast. * * A SEA OF WOMEN...a vast, undulating crowd jams the field of vision. Teenager, young adult, middle-aged and elderly. Toddlers being held aloft or perched on mother's shoulder. Waiting for the vindicator. All hoping for a glimpse of their champion, their destroyer of all enemies, their Joan of Arc. Her pennants, flags and banners are waving everywhere. Homemade signs and placards scrawled with words of love, admiration and encouragement. T-shirts, sweaters, jackets, shorts, pants, shoes, caps, bags, scarves, watches, jewelry and toys abound, all emblazoned with the name or likeness of the most adored and singular heroine in modern history. A cheer goes up at some remote edge of the multitude. It slowly spreads in a widening ripple until the entire assemblage has been infected. Cheering, chanting, * * * * * *
shouting, screaming, roaring, mindless bedlam! Ten security guards, five on either side, have begun to plow a narrow furrow into that dense and expansive field. Between those parallel and slow-moving borders walks the warrior queen with her gorgeous and exotic, her one-of-akind instrument. The mid-morning sun glows on her perfect ivory face. It flares in her long golden hair and glitters on the sleek dark glasses. The legendary legs ripple and flex beneath a shimmering second skin. She smiles her brilliant smile and waves to all points of her compass. The seething ocean of humanity threatens to engulf her tiny island at any moment as countless hands of all ages and colors desperately reach out to touch their dreams incarnate. * * * * * * * *
IN THE AIRPORT TERMINAL now, Jennifer hurries through a crowded, bustling lobby, cuts toward a pay phone. She fishes her little black book from the purse, finds the number, dials, looks at her watch. In the glass-enclosed PRESS BOX above the starting lanes, a shirt-sleeved SMOKER answers the phone. SMOKER Yeah. Yeah. Who? Hang on. (yells) Tommy! Tommy, pick up three. Apparently, Tommy has friends in high places. PRESS badge pinned to his coat. TOMMY Hello. Jenny! Where ya at, sweetheart? JENNIFER Oh, bad luck! I've had delays all the way down the line. Has He has a
it already started? TOMMY No. For some reason...God only knows...Rebecca decided to come through the front door this time. Big mistake! JENNIFER (frowning) She's never done that before. Doesn't sound like Rebecca. Tommy stretches the long phone cord, walks to the SIDE window. Rebecca and her escorts are halfway through the monstrous crowd now, moving inches at a time. Cameras flashing everywhere. TOMMY Well, like I said. The start's been delayed for another halfhour. Everybody's really ticked! The networks...especially the riders. Tommy moves to the wide FRONT windows now and looks down at the starting lanes, which are flanked by grandstands. Most of the forty or so starters, all men, have abandoned their bikes and are sitting on the curb or talking in small team-groups. One of them removes his helmet and smashes it to the pavement. A two-man T.V. taping crew circulates among them. JENNIFER They won't start without her, will they? TOMMY Hah! Are you serious? You haven't seen this madhouse, Jennifer. They try to start without Rebecca and none of us gets out of here alive. JENNIFER Could I still make it?
TOMMY Maybe. If you get your butt off the phone and move it. Whatever you do, don't come in on the Eighth Street side! JENNIFER Thanks, Tommy. See you soon. TOMMY (ominously) Jennifer, I've got something to tell you about Rebecca. * * * * * * * *
Jennifer looks worried as she hangs up. She dashes for the luggage area, which is now sparsely peopled, and out on the sidewalk to find a cab. Back in the Press Box, Tommy and The Smoker are watching Rebecca's progress through the crowd. SMOKER Boy, that Rebecca Sweet..she sure is something! You know, from here... the sun shining that way....she looks like an angel or somethin'. TOMMY (lost in thought) Yeah. (pause) I wonder what an angel's blood looks like. SMOKER (startled) What? Hey...hey, Tommy, listen to this guy. Scooter Johnson. He's a goddam riot! Tommy looks up to one of the several monitors angled down from the ceiling. The network is attempting to fill time with interviews and clips from previous coverage. The team rider now being interviewed on-screen is a little geeky-looking. Gap-tooth grin, hick accent.
REPORTER Scooter, it looks like Rebeccaa Sweet has forced everyone to reevaluate their gameplan. SCOOTER There you go! Who knew? It was a real wake-up call. I mean, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to do the math on this one. REPORTER How do you mean, Scooter? SCOOTER You gotta reinvent yourself. Or cry uncle. But I'm not gonna go there. I've seen that dog and pony show. So,you look for closure. You follow your dream and you try to make a difference. That's where I'm at. REPORTER You heard it, race fans. Straight from the horse's mouth. SMOKER Jesus Christ! Cut to another rider in a different team uniform. This one seems relaxed, thoughtful, articulate. All american boy. REPORTER Alan, last season they were calling you the most dangerous man alive. ALAN Yeah, I guess that sounds pretty silly now. Things do change. REPORTER Alan, with Rebecca being so consistent, how do you adjust your strategy to deal with her? ALAN
When she decides to go, there's not much you can do. At the end of a race, I don't have to look back. I know she's coming. And I know I'm gonna be dropped. REPORTER How does she do it, Alan? ALAN I don't know. But she seems to get stronger when everybody else is getting weaker. REPORTER How about the hills, Alan? ALAN No. You can't climb with her. She'll just keep shifting up until she's in a gear that you can't match. REPORTER I've heard the same thing from other riders. Must be pretty frustrating. ALAN Well I just....I try not to get discouraged. I tell myself my day will come. She can't keep it up indefinitely. That's just a fact of life. No matter how good somebody is, they don't go on forever. This is followed by short clips of two very emotional teenagers plucked from a crowd. 1st GIRL Well I've been here since 2 o'clock this morning. I just wanted to see if she was real. When you see her pictures, she doesn't look real. And you know, with all the computer stuff they do? Maybe somebody just
made her up. The 2nd girl has been crying and she's still overwrought. 2nd GIRL Oh, she's just so perfect! There's nobody else like her in the whole world. She's so beautiful. And so strong...and so good-hearted...and so generous! I almost touched her! I'll remember this all my life. Rebecca and her escorts have finally broken through to the starting area. Up in the OFFICIAL'S BOX, atop the foremost grandstand, the official STARTER breathes a sigh of relief. He smiles and nods to his ASSISTANT. STARTER Okay Freddie, let's get this friggin' show on the road. Five minute warning. The starter wields his field glasses as the assistant watches the big clock, his microphone at the ready. ASSISTANT (over speakers) Five minutes. All riders in position please. All starters to the line. Rebecca has taken her position in the front row and the rest of the field are straggling into their respective places, two abreast. Some are still grumbling. Up in the PRESS BOX, someone is tapping on the window of the entrance door. Several men look around questioningly. TOMMY She's with me! Tommy steps over quickly to let Jennifer in. She's out of breath. She has a VIP pass pinned to her jacket. They hug.
TOMMY Hi, kid. I'd given up on you. Two minutes to go. Jennifer immediately rushes to the windows, anxiously scanning for Rebecca. JENNIFER Oh, thank God she made it. She looks good, doesn't she Tommy? Out on the starting grid, Rebecca turns to look up toward the pressbox, almost as if she had heard Jennifer's voice. She lays her bike carefully down on the asphalt and strides calmly past the nineteen rows of riders. They gape and frown as though she's lost her mind. Everyone up in the OFFICIAL'S BOX has that same look on their face. The beleaguered official STARTER slams his official clipboard to the deck. STARTER (wailing) Oh, godammit! What in the name of...no, no, NO! Why? Why me? ASSISTANT Do we delay? STARTER (screaming) Hell no! No more delays. We're gonna go! Thirty seconds! ASSISTANT (over speakers) Thirty seconds. By tens, the countdown continues V.O. Down on the grid, the rider next to Rebecca's deserted position snarls and contemptuously kicks her bike out of the way. Jennifer has seen Rebecca leave the starting lineup and she bolts from the pressbox and starts down the OUTSIDE stairs. She meets Rebecca half-way down and they throw their arms
around each other, just as the starting GUN GOES OFF. JENNIFER (emotionally) Rebecca! Oh, Rebecca, was it you? REBECCA Goodbye, Jennifer. JENNIFER (sobbing) Rebecca, were you there? In my dream! In my dream, was it you? Rebecca takes both of Jennifer's hands in hers and squeezes. She smiles and speaks calmly but meaningfully. REBECCA Sisters in the end. Rebecca turns and walks down the steps, leaving Jennifer teary-eyed and trembling on the stairs, torn somewhere between relief, amazement and alarm. There is a surreal moment here. As Rebecca walks calmly down the deserted starting lanes and between the rioting grandstands, all motion slows somewhat. Sounds fade away. A cloud passes over and throws the entire scene into shadow. Except for Rebecca. Her image remains in bright relef while everything around her is subdued toward the monochrome, as though she were being tracked by some warm spotlight. The effect may be subtle, so long as it is noticeable. Sounds and colors begin to bleed back as Rebecca straddles her gleaming machine. The rest of the racers are long out of sight. Rebecca makes a big, slow circle before her rear tire finally smokes on the pavement. Tens of beyond, the SEA Rebecca thousands of devotees in the grandstands and in OF WOMEN, are screaming themselves hoarse as accelerates rapidly away from them.
There is not a single doubt in any one of those constant hearts that, one by one, Rebecca will ride them down and ride them under, that she will cross 128 miles in record
time and that she will, as ever, do them proud. Tommy walks down toward Jennifer, who is sitting on the steps where Rebecca left her. TOMMY (gently) Jen? I've got to meet Reuben for lunch and then I'm gonna head out for the finish line. Would you like to come along with me? * * Overhead view, moving in on TOMMY'S CORVETTE as it cruises down the EXPRESSWAY. Tommy presses a button on the 'hands-free' cellular phone built into the dash. The number dials, ringing tone is heard, and his wife answers. PATTY Hello. Hi, honey. TOMMY What's cookin'? * * * * * *
PATTY Marcy and I are making cookies. Tommy, you wouldn't believe it! She's a completely different child today. When I picked her up at day care,they said she's been a little angel all day long. Marcy can be heard laughing and scolding Toby in the background. TOMMY Oh, that's great news. Honey, Jennifer's here with me. We're on our way up to the finish line. PATTY Hi, Jennifer. Do you have a place to stay tonight. You're welcome to stay with us.
JENNIFER Oh thanks, Patty, but I've already got a hotel room. PATTY Would you say hello to Rebecca for me? I sure hope I get a chance to meet her someday. TOMMY Patty, I'll give you a call when everybody's over the line. Bye-bye. PATTY Bye Tommy, bye Jennifer. They say it could rain tonight. Be careful! Tommy presses another memory button. ringing is heard. The system dials and
TOMMY We'll see if we can get the team car. They're up there somewhere. Tommy indicates the distant mountain range that parallels their line of travel. The peaks are already obscured by dark clouds. The ringing stops and a recording is heard. RECORDING The mobile subscriber you are attempting to reach is away from the phone. Please try again later. TOMMY I didn't think we'd get through. Rugged country. Lots of dead spots. JENNIFER You've never been up there? TOMMY I haven't. The support crews go over the route several times and they make detailed maps and notes for the riders.
Tommy retrieves a 3-ring binder from behind Jenny's seat and hands it to her. TOMMY Everything we know about that course is in there. Every climb, every descent, every curve has a number. We need to watch out for Summit Road. That's our turnoff. Jennifer studies the notebook as they drive. Even here, the skies are becoming overcast as the Corvette peels off the expressway and onto a two-lane highway. TOMMY You were saying you had some wierd dream about Rebecca? Jennifer turns with a mysterious little smile. JENNIFER Mmmm, it can wait. (after a few moments) You said you had something to tell me about her? Tommy turns with a mysterious little smile. TOMMY Mmmm, it can wait. I'm starting to wonder if I didn't have some wierd dream too. I should've asked Patty if I really left the house at three o'clock this morning. Jennifer looks worriedly toward the mountains. Their destination has become almost completely enshrouded now. TOMMY You don't think a storm could hurt Rebecca, do you? They are both smiling broadly at each other now, as though they share a common understanding. The Corvette pulls off the road and stops beside the gas pumps in front of a small country store. Tommy gets out to
pump the gas. JENNIFER How'd you like some coffee? TOMMY Good idea. Cream and sugar, please. Inside the store, a radio program is heard in the background as Jennifer fills paper cups from a large urn. DEEJAY Throw another log on the fire, mama, cause them temperatures, they be fallin'. Look for fog and possible rain in the mountain areas with overnight lows in the 30's. Yes, another unexpected storm just as we expected here at KGMB, where we see all, tell all, and know nothing. Jenny takes the coffees to the old woman at the cashier's counter. OLD WOMAN She's up in those mountains right now. JENNIFER Who? The old woman nods in a direction over Jennifer's right shoulder. OLD WOMAN My granddaughter saw her in person once. Jennifer turns toward a five-foot cardboard standee of Rebecca holding a plastic jar half-full of bills and change. A banner reads, "HELP REBECCA Help The Children". The words, HELP REBECCA, leap out at Jennifer and one of her coffees drops to the floor. Tommy is paying an old man for the gas as Jennifer walks out toward the car. TOMMY Jennifer, we've been on the wrong
road for about twenty miles. OLD MAN Everybody does it. I don't know why they don't fix those signs right. Starting the car, Tommy is upset with himself. TOMMY Dammit! It's my fault. I just wasn't paying attention. The Corvette pulls back onto the road, lays a patch of rubber, and heads back in the direction it came from. JENNIFER Can we still make it in time? TOMMY Oh, yeah. Sure, we've still got plenty of time. Twilight on a twisting mountain road. Thick fog, poor visibility. Following a line of tail lights behind a very slow truck. Speedometer reads 15 MPH. RECORDING The mobile subscriber you are attempting to reach is away from the phone. Please try again later. It's almost full-dark and the fog is thick as they creep into the little mountain village. TOMMY At least it's not raining...yet. Look for Ridgeview. Is that it? Maybe..maybe..yeah! Both sides of Ridgeview road are jammed with parked cars. They can see the lights from the bleachers at the finish area. Tommy stops, backs up slowly until they spot a narrow parking space. TOMMY I should be able to get them
by radio from here. (turns on radio) Seven-Eleven team one to team two. Can you read me, Charlie? Seven Eleven,come in? Thick static is heard. Finally, a voice breaks through.
CHARLIE Team two. We got ya, big Tee. Where've you been? TOMMY We had some trouble down below. Just got into town. What's the situation down there? Tommy has his binder open to a page marked, "Course Profile", and he makes notations as his crew chief speaks. CHARLIE We're with Mitch and Scotty at about two-ten. They've both had a flat, but they're hangin' in there. They've got a feud going with Motorola here. Fog's real bad. Thirty foot visibility. TOMMY What about Rebecca? CHARLIE Rebecca's not holding back like she usually does. She was already in the lead over an hour ago. Tommy grins at Jennifer who relaxes into a big smile. Her relief is obvious. CHARLIE Cooper fell apart around one-eighty. He's way back. I'm waiting to hear from the sweep car. If he quits,we'll have to drop back and pick him up. TOMMY Do they all have foul weather gear?
CHARLIE (long pause, static) All but Rebecca. TOMMY (unglued) You mean she doesn't even have a jacket? God damn it, Charlie! It's freezing cold out there! CHARLIE (pause) Tommy, we tried. She wouldn't stop for us. Christ, you know how she is! What could we do? TOMMY (mollified) Yeah. I know. Okay Charlie. CHARLIE Tommy, she was way out front when we saw her about forty-five minutes ago. She should be comin' across the line any time now. TOMMY That's a ten-four, Charlie. We'll be at the line. Team one out. The finish area is well-lighted. The modest bleachers are full, but there is no overflow. The weather and the remote location have no doubt limited the turnout. Everyone is wrapped against the cold. Talk and chatter is subdued. Lots of thermos bottles. Judging from placards and pennants, these are mostly Rebecca Sweet diehards. Tommy and Jenny buy coffee from the small snack stand, climb to the top of the bleachers and lean against the back railing. Tommy exchanges waves with people he knows, including officials. Everyone is startled as the PA system suddenly booms to life.
SYSTEM Rider coming in! The quiet crowd is suddenly galvanized and on their feet, cheering, waving their signs and pennants, straining to see. A figure slowly materializes from the fog. SYSTEM Number seventeen. Farnsworth! Alan....
The cheering subsides quickly. Alan is greeted only by a vacuum of stunned silence as he breaks the tape and rides slowly past the grandstands. He seems not only exhausted, but totally bewildered by the crowd's reaction. Or lack of it. Out of that silence, his support people quicky emerge to surround and congratulate him. He still looks confused. Tommy and Jenny exchange shocked looks. They jettison their coffee and fight their way down the steps and toward Alan. Tommy pushes people roughly aside and grabs Alan's arm. Alan! TOMMY Alan, where's Rebecca?
ALAN What? She...she passed me an hour ago. Isn't she here? Tommy is frantic and out of control. He is shaking the weakened rider with both hands and screaming in his face. TOMMY No, she's not here, Godammit! Where is she Alan? Where the fuck is she, you sonofabitch?! Two of Alan's crew members have grabbed Tommy and are pulling him off Alan. Jennifer has screamed her friend's name and is running toward the finish line. Tommy breaks free and chases after her, yelling her name. Jenny stumbles in the fog and falls to the pavement, crying
Tommy helps her up. TOMMY Come on, Jennifer. The radio! Come on.
Running toward Tommy's Corvette, they both disappear into the fog. (DISSOLVE TO) COLD FOGGY NIGHT. A narrow mountain road that drops off steeply on one side. The blanketing fog makes everything look unearthly, surreal, cold.....and dangerous. Several people, bundled in jackets, are walking the road at intervals, shining flashlights over the edge and calling out her name. Rebecca! REBECCA! Other voices echo farther away. A 4WD Bronco drives slowly ahead of them, playing a powerful searchlight down onto the steep, rugged incline. A Forestry Service vehicle and a sheriff's car are farther back. Through the fog, tail lights can be seen even farther ahead and an amplified voice echoes over a loudspeaker, REBECCA! From a helicopter cockpit above, the irregular line of vehicles and men has the look of some ghostly procession. OBSERVER Base, we're not doing any good up here. Fog's just too thick. We're heading back to the barn. The helicopter makes a last, loud pass low over the road and is swallowed up in the fog. It's sound fades. One of the pedestrian searchers is TOMMY. He and the man with him hear shouts from up ahead, muffled and indistinct. They break into a jog.
The Bronco has stopped and several men are collected near it. A rope has been tied to the roll bar and a figure in slick yellow raingear is already descending into the mist below. TOMMY (out of breath) What is it? SEARCHER Don't know yet. Something down there. (pause) There! Right over there, between that big boulder and the tree! See it? The roiling fog has become patchy and a fragment of bright color is glimpsed briefly in the searchlight beam. TOMMY That's not Rebecca! It can't be! She can't be down there. That's just a piece a...that's a...that's a...Oh God, that can't be Rebecca. As the scene slowly fades, the man on the rope is shouting something that can't be heard clearly. (SLOW DISSOLVE TO) 3:00 A.M. in Mrs. Sweet's bedroom. She sits on the edge of her bed in the circle of soft light from a lamp, staring vacantly down at the floor. Waiting. The muffled report from the man on the rope still echoes faintly. The telephone on the nightstand rings. She gives a startled little gasp. The strident ringing continues as she gathers the will to raise her arm. As she lifts the receiver, the view includes a portrait of Rebecca on the nightstand near the phone. Hold that frame as she answers. MRS SWEET (frightened whisper)
Yes? The hand with the receiver falls limply to her side. A small, indistinct voice is heard from the receiver. After a while, a continuous high-pitch tone is heard as we hold on the portrait. Slowly, slowly, the room begins to turn a pale gray, and that shade is very gradually sweetened into the golden glow of sunrise. Mrs. Sweet still hasn't moved. (SLOW DISSOLVE TO) Mrs. Sweet sitting on the edge of the sofa in her living room. The same posture, staring vacantly down at the floor. She is dressed in formal black, including a black hat. On her lapel is a piece of Rebecca's 'Signature' jewelry, a golden heart with the word SWEET scripted across it. A knock at the door. She gives a startled little gasp. The knock comes again as she summons the strength to rise to her feet. She opens the door. It's Jennifer Robeson. She's dressed in a neat, black suit and also wears the SWEET-HEART jewelry. The sight of Jennifer jolts her from her denial. Mrs. Sweet begins to tremble. Her composure crumbles and the torment is revealed. MRS. SWEET Jennifer? Oh, Jennifer, what happened to my daughter? Why can't anyone....just tell me that? * * The plaintive lament of a female folk SINGER is heard, V.O. She sings the first verse and chorus of 'LONG BLACK LIMOUSINE'. SINGER There's a long line of mourners * * * * * *
Driving down our little street. Their fancy cars are such a sight to see. They're all of your rich friends Who knew you in the city, And now they've finally brought you home to me. The CARAVAN moves slowly down the tree-shaded boulevard. Scattered groups of onlookers look on from either side. Two large, black dogs strain at the leash and bark from the sidewalk. Following the motorcycle escort is the Blackhawk Ambulance. The sides are draped with lavendar and white satin. The entire top is covered with lavendar and white blossoms. Both the driver and his paramedic partner are beautifully dressed in formal black. The former scream-queen looks as though she's had a cosmetic makeover. Pretty now. But her eyes are red. The second car is the lavendar and white Cadillac, the Foundation car, with the 'Rebecca Sweet' logo on the doors. Behind the Cadillac are four long, black limousines. Mrs. Sweet is in the passenger seat of the first one. She looks out her window as she passes a little girl standing on the sidewalk with her mother. The little girl is dressed in her Sunday finest, pink and white. She has long blonde hair. Tears on her cheeks, she follows Mrs. Sweet with her huge, sad eyes and holds up her hand in a little-girl wave. SINGER (continuing) With tear-dimmed eyes I watch as you ride by, A chauffeur at the wheel, dressed up so fine. I'll never love another, my heart and all my dreams Are with you in that long, black limousine. Mrs. Sweet returns the pathetic little gesture and buries her head in her hands. Behind the limousines is a long line of vehicles that stretches for several blocks, at last disappearing around a corner.
The program for the ambulance's electronic siren has been altered, and it sounds a single, unwavering, full-bodied and mournful note. Like a foghorn on a misty bay. * * FROM OVERHEAD, it looks as though it could be a huge Easter service set in a LARGE PARK with grassy slopes shaded by leafy trees. A wide, portable stage has been erected on the bright emerald con-course, with a podium and a cluster of microphones at it's center. On the rear portion of the stage, a robed choir has been assembled in two gentle arcs of twenty singers each, the back row elevated above the front. Their soothing hymns resound throughout the park. To the rear of the stage, serving as backdrop, is a huge grainy black & white blow-up of Rebecca on her bike. Hidden behind that, a mobile T.V. unit has extended its camera over the top edge and is scanning the assembled multitude. Barely audible, a helicopter hovers high overhead. All across the front of the stage are huge banks of flowers and bright floral displays. In the center, against a field of white, are the letters, R E B E C C A, composed of lavendar blossoms. To the left is a small, canvased pavilion for relatives and other intimates. The hundreds of folding chairs are already occupied and throngs of people are standing to the sides, with an even larger crowd at the rear. The media people sit at folding tables and makeshift press boxes. T.V. ANNOUNCER It's an absolutely gorgeous morning here at Cypress Hills. What you might call paradise conditions. As you probably already know, the President and his party are expected * * * * * *
to arrive momentarily. The President and First Lady were spending the weekend at the home of the U.N. ambassador to Great Britain, which is approximately eighty miles away. Apparently the decision to attend this memorial service was not made until quite late yesterday afternoon. 2nd ANNOUNCER Of course, that turn of events has made this even more of a media event than it otherwise might have been. And it has also placed an enormous burden on the organizers to accomodate the lastminute influx of secret service people and a huge cadre of press, radio and television reporters. ANNOUNCER But they certainly seem to have risen to the occasion. It's well known that the First Lady was a great admirer....ahh, we've just received word from Jerry Olsen, who is stationed at the main gate, that the presidential motorcade is now on the grounds and it should be visible to our cameras at any moment. The announcers continue their commentary as the president's party disembarks. An entourage assembles and proceeds down an aisle toward a front block of chairs which has been roped off with a broad bunting of red, white and blue. Gray-suited members of the secret service occupy the back row of this reserved section and all the seats along both aisles. The President and First Lady pay their respects at the family pavilion and, finally, all are seated. The choir finishes their current hymn and the director turns and steps to a microphone at the podium. DIRECTOR
Thank you for being so patient. Ladies and gentlemen, the reverend Joseph Semples. The keynote speaker, an elegant-looking man with gray hair and beard, takes the podium and waits for the crowd to become completely silent. REVEREND I very seldom read the sports pages of my newspaper. But, not too long ago, I did come across an article about my friend, Rebecca Sweet. The writer referred to her as....GOD'S IRON MAIDEN! I like the sound of that, don't you? The Reverend turns to regard the billboard behind him, turns back and spreads his arms to the crowd. His next utterance booms out over the powerful P.A. system and reverberates from the hills. REVEREND Lord, wasn't she something!!! A hesitant smattering of applause is heard. (Is it proper to do that at a funeral service?) But when the members of the family pavilion and the presidential party begin to applaud enthusiastically, the rest of the throng gradually joins in. Finally, everyone is standing and the deafening ovation goes on and on. The Reverend's speech will be intercut with scans of the crowd and reaction shots of many individuals. We'll see a spectrum of expressions and emotions; the smiling, the somber, the respectful, the intent, the red eyes, the ravaged faces. EVERY person we have met in this story is present somewhere in this crowd and each of those faces will be seen, however briefly. REVEREND (finally able to continue) Yes, it's true! Rebecca wasn't your average girl-next-door.
A few chuckles of appreciation are heard. Even Mrs Sweet smiles through her tears. Jennifer puts her arm around her. REVEREND And so,I'm not going to preach you an average, everyday sermon here today. Rebecca was too special for that. She deserves better than that. I may disappoint some of you, but you're not going to hear the same old party line here today. At least not from me. The reverend is a grand orator of the old school. His voice is mellifluous, seductive, persuasive to all who hear it. No, I'm not going to tell you there's an understandable reason for all the suffering and confusion in this existence,and that when it's over we'll all be rewarded with eternal life in a perfect world. The simple truth is that I don't know that for a fact. I don't know that from my own experience. Oh,I do hope for it. And I pray for it. And I have believed in it all my life. But hope and belief, however deep and sincere they may be, is still not the same as knowing. As the Reverend continues, we will see cuts of various groups of viewers of this broadcast; families in homes, prison inmates, bar patrons, college dorms, a girl scout troup, salesmen in T.V. store, etc. REVEREND (continuing) I met Rebecca when she was only six years old. That was when her mother first brought her to Sunday school. I don't recall that she
ever missed a Sunday. When she was ten years old, she started coming to Bible studies on Tuesday nights. And I don't think she ever missed a Tuesday. And then about a year ago, I heard that she was involved in a serious automobile accident. I tried to visit her at the hospital but, by the time I got there, she had already been released. And she never came to church again! But I did see Rebecca again - only once. It was on a Saturday morning, a morning just as beautiful as this one is today. I was sitting on a bench in the park, working on my sermon for the next day. She came whizzing by on those....those.... Rollerblades! My lord,I never saw anybody go so fast in all my life. I simply couldn't believe it! Well, she came and sat down on the bench next to me. At first I hardly recognized her. She had changed so much since the last time I'd seen her. She looked so strong and healthy. She had a vitality I had never noticed before. She had long, blonde hair and she was wearing those fancy sunglasses and one of her bright racing suits. I asked her why she had stopped coming to church. And she said, "Reverend, when you finally get across to the other shore, there's no need to keep dragging your boat with you. You just leave it behind". REVEREND Well,we talked for the better part of an hour. That is...she talked. I just listened....dumbfounded! It
had been a cold morning but, as I listened to her, I realized it had become deliciously warm under that beautiful old shade tree. And I gradually became aware that the air around us had become very sweet. I don't mean that it was fragrant or that it smelled like perfume. I mean the air...tasted sweet, as I breathed it in and out. And then, after a time, she took off her sunglasses. And I looked into her eyes. And my heart almost stopped! Oh, that lightning-bolt! That shock of recognition! That's when I knew...knew beyond all doubt and beyond any argument, that I had somehow...come into the presence of.... The speaker shakes his head, bows for a few moments, collecting his thoughts. REVEREND And oh, the things I heard that day! Friends and neighbors, relatives and loved ones, presidents and children.... the things I heard that day! Beyond my wildest hopes! Beyond any man's ability to dream or imagine! Beyond all logic and understanding! Here was the nourishment I had hungered for all my life. Here was the truth at last! Beautiful and miraculous! Dazzling and tremendous! Shattering and marvelous! Breathtaking and divine! Primary and immediate! Unmistakable! It seemed to me that every shining and vital word she spoke bypassed my hearing, and my human mind, and my poor powers of comprehension.... and burned straight into my heart and soul like living embers. I wanted to go on listening forever.
I wanted to..... Overcome with emotion, the speaker turns away from the podium. He removes his glasses, dabs his eyes with a handkerchief. The audience is still, rapt with attention, spellbound. In the crowd, a group of teenagers are holding up a long, white banner that reads, "WHERE DID SHE COME FROM...WHERE DID SHE GO?" REVEREND I hope my dear wife and children will forgive me for saying this... but that was the most precious hour of my life. I dare not repeat a single syllable of what I heard that day. I cannot! I am not worthy to do it. Those same words, passing over MY lips, would become the vilest blasphemy. There would be no life in them. They would lack all authority. Because, as I told you in the beginning, I am not a knower. No, not yet! And I won't pretend to be. Never again! I don't know where I come from. I don't know where I'm going. I don't know what makes my own heart beat. But.... once in my life...ONCE IN MY LIFE... I met someone who did know! And I'm grateful for that. Oh, I'm so grateful for that! I thank God for that. Oh,I know it looks bad here today, friends. The tears....the broken hearts and the broken dreams, the flowers and the coffin...and that ominous excavation in the earth! But I want you to summon up your faith. I want you to forget what you read in your newspaper. I want you to ignore what you heard on your television set. And I
even want you to disregard what you see here today. Because none of these things is the truth. This is only an illusion. This is only a misunderstanding. And nothing is ever lost. Rebecca Sweet never died....and she never will. REVEREND She is more alive at this very moment, than any of the rest of us standing here today. And why do I say this? Am I a senile and credulous old man who's been taken in by some ancient myth, handed down from generation to generation? Am I a shameless and bald-faced liar who makes up things as he goes along? (softer) Am I a misguided, bleeding-heart do-gooder who only tells you what you want to hear? No, I am not! I don't think so. I say this because Rebecca Sweet told me so her herself! And, BY GOD, I BELIEVED HER!! Friends, It's getting late. It's almost time for us to go. And as we leave here today, let us remember to be more gentle with those around us. We are all so blind. Our understanding is so superficial. It is only our kindness toward one another that makes us less than pathetic. It is only our charity that can make us admirable. Some of the audience are beginning to stir, under the impression they're being dismissed. But the next statement rekindles their attention. REVEREND BUT!...BUT BEFORE WE GO. Friends,
before we go....I'm going to tell you the last thing Rebecca said to me before she left the park that day. Everyone is still. Even the jaded newscasters are caught. Mrs Sweet strains forward. The President and First Lady exchange glances. There will now be several cuts of families in various home settings, foreign and domestic. They are all glued to their sets, breathless with anticipation, eagerly awaiting those words. REVEREND She said, "Reverend, tomorrow, when you preach your sermon, remind your congregation that spirituality cannot be transmitted from one person to another, but must be sought for in the heart of God. REVEREND Tell them that there is only one sentence in their Bibles that they really need to understand. And when they do....WHEN THEY DO....they can tear down their churches and cathedrals. They won't be needed anymore." Well! I was intrigued, to say the least. I asked her which passage that could possibly be. And she said, "You've probably read past it a hundred times without realizing how important it is. Read it again with an open heart. It's in the book of Luke. Luke 17:21." In the audience, the First Lady whispers to her secretary, on her right. She, in turn, whispers to an aide, and so on until the message reaches the aisle. A secret service man hops up and jogs up the aisle. Across the country, T.V. viewers, young and old, black and white, in fine houses and hovels, are scrambling for their Bibles. Some are close at hand and some are buried in odd
places,long neglected. In the park, the secret service man jogs back down the aisle..... with a Bible in his hand. It is passed hand-tohand until it reaches the First Lady. She and the President are seen holding it between them as they search for the passage. REVEREND (continuing) I said, "Rebecca, I'm not sure I can remember that verse offhand". And she said, "Well maybe, Reverend Semples....when you get home...you might want to look it up!" (chuckles) Oh.....I wanted to look it up all right! Nothing on earth could have prevented me. And, when I got home... I did look it up! Pan the expectant crowd; some faces still tear-stained, some mouths agape, but all of them waiting......waiting.......waiting...... REVEREND (with a sly smile) And, my dear friends, when you get home......you can look it up too!! The reverend looks back over his shoulder, nods his head as he scans the huge black and white billboard, and then turns back. REVEREND Rebecca would have liked that! The overhead camera pulls straight up to show the green expanse of the setting, the brightly-colored crowd beginning to break up. Then it moves across the park, over a church steeple, over the trees and power lines, over the heart of town and then toward the outskirts.
It picks up speed as it heads out over the connector highway leading to the Interstate. It finally paces above, and then drops down beside..... .....the THREE RIDERS! No, wait! FOUR RIDERS NOW. Chang! Chang! Chang! The chains snap in rapid succession as the four identical girls upshift to grab the tailwind. The mid-day sun gleams on the high-tech racing bikes. Close on the muscular legs and toned bodies. The dazzling leotards, sleek sunglasses, long blonde hair streaming in the wind. Their perfect ivory faces are smiling and exhuberant as they fade in the distance.
* On the next day, a Monday, more Bibles were sold in a 12-hour period
than in all of the previous year. The stocks of several regional distribution centers were completely exhausted...
Bicycle ownership is at an all-time high with 100
million U.S. residents owning bikes. foreign ownership.
And this figure is dwarfed by
** Bicycle racing is a passion in many European countries, on a level with baseball and football here. ** Despite all these fans, and despite the vast world-wide ownership of bicycles, there has never been a decent cycling film offered to them. I don't call the clicheridden 'American Flyers' decent. And the few bike scenes in 'Breaking Away' were boring and colorless. ** Art direction will be crucial in this film. Rebecca's image is the most important visual element, but the racing costumes offer unlimited possibilities in color and styling. ** Merchandising potential with Rebecca Sweet items.
** Wouldn't president and Mrs. Clinton love to be seen in a major picture holding a Bible between them. ** We keep the audience hungry for the sight of Rebecca in action. If we overexpose her, she becomes commonplace and ordinary, rather than mythical. (This was her reasoning too.) That's why most of her intermediate scenes are P.O.V. ** There is an exciting beat-driven portion of the score which is heard during all of Rebecca's action scenes. This theme is known as "Rebecca's Attack".
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