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FORTUNE INT. TEMPLE - SINGAPORE - NIGHT A shabby group of Asian men squat in front of a godlike effigy surrounded by incense sticks. We see their eyes staring, we see smoke curling above the incense sticks and we hear whispered mumbled mantras and hypnotic eastern religious music. With an intensity close to fear, the men stare into the smoke. Slowly, SMOKE GAZER 1 rises, his face a mixture of ecstasy and relief. SMOKE GAZER 2 looks up at him. SMOKE-GAZER 2 (whispered) What? What do you see? The music swells, hypnotically combining with the chanting, the sounds of the temple and the sounds of the nearby sea. SMOKE-GAZER 1 (slowly but surely) Four...nine...six...eight! The chanting stops. The smoke-gazers rise. Their eyes dart between the rising smoke and Smoke Gazer 1. He smiles broadly, bows repeatedly before the altar then makes his way through the crowd repeating... SMOKE-GAZER 1 Four...nine...six...eight...four nine...six...eight... The crowd closes behind him. Eyes again focus on the shifting smoke. The chanting resumes, stronger than before. At the back of the temple is MR. NUMBERS, a middle-aged man unkempt in a ratty grey overcoat and baseball cap. His face is not visible. He pulls out a clear ruler and a battered notebook. He quickly positions the ruler on the unlined page and scribbles. He bows respectfully towards the altar and leaves. INT. SHOPHOUSE KITCHEN - NIGHT The mouth of an old MONK struggles to recite an ancient Chinese funeral prayer. The face of MOM, Chinese, watches solemnly. Her broken arms are in slings. One eye of the MONK twitches as he tries to remember the words.
FORREST (Chinese, 27, handsome, clean cut and well dressed) has his arm around EVELYN (Chinese, 22, conspicuously pretty and nicely dressed). Staring impatiently is THEO, also Chinese. A tall, grim, middle-aged man, he is chewing gum very fast. He wears navy blue pants and a striped knit polyester shirt with a collar. The MONK coughs. His black robe shifts, his hands and fingertips shake as they struggle to light a string of firecrackers. He finally succeeds and the orange of the lit fuse rushes into the surrounding red. MOBY(Chinese, a delicate looking young man, trendy, 22) stands on the edge of the small crowd, SMSing someone. His thumb spells out: Brd JEEVA(a small solid Indian woman in a Hawaiian shirt and thick research professor glasses) stands next to REGGIE an old timer in a faded Izod shirt and golf hat. Everyone’s lost in their own thoughts and memories. The firecrackers explode like machine gun fire, nearly taking off the monk's hand. The pack hits the tiled floor. The violent noise becomes silence. The smoke starts to increase until it erases the shoes and legs of everyone watching. MOBY has been staring into the smoke. His hand-phone goes off: a tone similar to the 'Theme from Mission Impossible’. He immediately looks to see who is calling. MOM tuts. MOBY shuts the phone off sheepishly. EXT. DESERTED ROADSIDE - NIGHT An ancient Mercedes screeches to a stop on the shoulder of an empty road. Gruff voices bark commands in a Chinese dialect. Two men jump out of the car. The trunk pops open. A flashlight beam scans the trunk picking out the cramped bodies of three illegal immigrants, all terrified and covered in sweat. The obviously weak and dehydrated immigrants are pushed, pulled and shoved out of the trunk. The one who has soiled his pants and the newspapers lining the trunk is beaten and cursed. The car speeds off. Two immigrants weakly scramble into the nearby trees. MISS MAINLAND rises shakily, she’s in her early 20s, wears plain jeans and an American style numbered t-shirt. She looks at the trees, takes a deep breath and begins walking along the side of the road. INT. SHOPHOUSE KITCHEN - LATER - NIGHT EVELYN looks around the area where the ceremony took place. REGGIE fans himself with his hat. MOBY fiddles with a game on his mobile phone . JEEVA Last chance…anyone else need a ride?
No reply. JEEVA Dolores, I'm only a phone call away. MOM nods her head in thanks. She turns to the MONK. MOM And thank you, for helping Jack… find his way. The MONK mutters something as unintelligible. He leaves with JEEVA. MOM turns away. MOM (almost to herself) Glad to see the back of him... (Impersonating Monk) Ayyooomraahmmmahhh. Hm, do it better myself. Cost a damn fortune and for what? FORREST, appears next to MOM, with two drinks; he’s suave and comforting. FORREST Come on Mom, the place feels better already. Mom looks skeptical. FORREST We have to make it look like things are normal again. If customers think dad's spirit is still in the kitchen... MOM looks upset by the thought. REGGIE looks up, at the motionless blades of the ceiling fan. THEO marches towards Mom, oblivious to the fact that she is ready to cry. THEO Dolores! FORREST tries to stand between THEO and MOM. THEO ducks and weaves like a boxer in front of MOM. He chews gum very fast. THEO You tell me! Straight!
MOM Tell you what straight? THEO I heard... He scowls at FORREST. THEO It's up for sale. He always said I'd have first shot. MOM Wait, wait, wait! She stares at FORREST, who calmly motions to protest his innocence. MOM Three days! Jack's gone just three days and already you two start? Already! Her tears erupt. FORREST looks at MOM, looks at THEO. FORREST Hey! Gameboy! All eyes turn to MOBY. He finishes his manoeuvre, pauses his game and looks up. FORREST You're not gonna sell this place, are you? MOBY looks at FORREST and MOM andTHEO, who is chewing gum like a locomotive. MOBY Um...no. Still fanning himself with his hat, REGGIE turns from looking at MOBY to the fan to the switch nearby. He flicks the switch. BANG! A fuse blows. The shop becomes dark. INT. MOM'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT Low volume sounds of a late night movie. A clock-radio shows 3:14. Boxes surround MOM as she walks from Jack's empty closet to her own. She sifts through her clothes, from fairly new, plain things to sexy dresses from years ago.She smiles at a flashy outfit, one that is obviously now too small.
She reaches down for the shoes. A box labelled records catches her eye. Looking concerned, she pulls it forward. She opens it, shuffles papers and finally pulls out a manila envelope marked receipts. She's relieved to see the bundles of fifty dollar bills inside. A low budget commercial for a Chinese restaurant can be heard. INT. MOM'S APARTMENT - KITCHEN - A FEW HOURS LATER Mom sleeps on the floor, amidst her cleaning. We see a handwritten, worn and photocopied menu from The Golden Fortune and a neat row of faded color photos beside her. She is with Jack in only one of them. The others show her and a man similar to Jack, both very happy. Finally, there is a picture of all three men and Mom, all enjoying the moment. INT. JIMMY'S OFFICE - NIGHT A forty year old male Chinese face, sleeping like a baby. One of three mobile phones rings. It wakes JIMMY, ( a rough looking 40 year old Chinese man in a cheap suit and shirt with an open collar). The clock shows 1AM. He reaches for a cigarette as he answers the phone in his cluttered little office. A desk calendar shows February 14th. JIMMY What? ( annoyed by what he hears) She thinks I'm gonna pay for something as stupid as that? Lights his cigarette. JIMMY Corky, wake up! That’s bullshit and you know it. Cigarette drag. JIMMY (whispers like he’s yelling) She costs me a night's take and wants me to pay bail? Because she’s my girlfriend? He exhales. Pissed. JIMMY (Yhe whispery yelling becomes a bloodcurdling threat) Let her rot. Lose her passport andher stuff in the apartment. The other girls ask, say she’s in JB. ... And Corky.... don’t waste my time again.
He hangs up, takes another drag and picks up a calendar, He pauses, then punches in a number on one of his phones.He exhales smoke as the phone rings. JIMMY (with a voice as soft as butter) Corky, Corky, Corky... you must be hungry. Why don't you pick up some food and come over? We can chat and catch up... He reaches down and pulls up a bottle of whiskey. INT. JIMMY'S OFFICE - NIGHT The remains of take-away noodles, prata and coffee amidst bottles and clutter. Jimmy is in the middle of a cigarette. JIMMY (Good-naturedly) So, hang it on the door and make it nice and pretty. He smiles before becoming businesslike. CORKY nods. (CORKY is in his thirties and Chinese. A thug in a t-shirt and leather vest.) JIMMY OK. The other thing is the car. INT. JEEVA'S CAB - EARLY MORNING Air fresheners and fuzzy dice dangle from the rear-view mirror. The dash and instrument panel are covered with glitter balls, plastic statues of Hindu gods, fake flowers, fairy lights and a religious calendar showing that it is the 15th. An in-car karaoke DVD system sits amidst this shrine to kitsch. The sunshade is flipped down, displaying a school photo of a smiling young boy. JEEVA quickly glances out the window, then leans forward to check something above the steering wheel. She is calm and thorough as she checks the last four digits of a mile counter. JEEVA reaches for her brown logbook when her handphone rings “Close to You”. She picks up the phone, looks out and breaks into a large smile. JEEVA (Into phone) Super-galactic space shuttles. How may I help you? A boy is speaking on a phone as he walks towards the taxi. The boy is KHALID(Indian, six years old and wearing a school uniform.) KHALID is the boy
in the photo that JEEVA keeps in her taxi. KHALID holds a soft toy monkey to his chest. KHALID (V.O.) I want to go to Mars after school. JEEVA I don't know. Can you do your homework on Mars? KHALID (V.O.) The Martians can help, they're very clever. JEEVA I'll have to check with the 'Supreme Commander'— JEEVA ends the call. EXT. JEEVA'S CAB - CONTINUOUS Khalid passes the handphone back to his AUNT SOM(Indian, early 30s wearing a sari). She carries the boy's books. JEEVA and KHALID both give her a snappy space cadet salute. AUNT SOM does not acknowledge the salute. Businesslike, she starts to talk into the phone, realizes that JEEVA has hung up and taps on the cab window. JEEVA quickly winds it down while making a noise like a hi-tec door opening. KHALID laughs. Again ignoring the playfulness, Aunt Som holds out a ten-dollar bill. AUNT SOM We need cloves and cinnamon, but only from Deepak's. JEEVA's hand quickly folds around the ten-dollar bill and smiles obligingly. JEEVA Sure. If I'm around that way. Can. AUNT SOM speaks quietly so KHALID can't hear. She shoots JEEVA a very serious look. AUNT SOM Cloves. And Cinnamon. That’s all. You’ll bring back the change, of course. JEEVA's smile vanishes. JEEVA Of course. AUNT SOM (warmly)
Don't drive so long today. He misses you. JEEVA smiles back weakly. JEEVA Khalid, you study hard and be nice to Aunt Som and Gramma! KHALID Bye Mommy! Khalid waves goodbye with the monkey's paw. JEEVA 3...2...1..Blast-off!! JEEVA screeches out into traffic with a trail of exhaust. INT. JEEVA'S CAB - SAME - CONTINUOUS By law, Singapore cars must have a speeding alarm. JEEVA's alarm pings over a montage of numbered objects: License plates. The calendar. Speed limit signs. Bill boards. The speedometer. The mileometer. A digital clock. JEEVA passes a 30 km/h sign as her speedometer shows 50. A traffic light changes to red. ECU of the numbers written on the inside cover of JEEVA’s brown taxi logbook. JEEVA takes her right hand off the wheel, the ten dollar bill is still there. Closeup of her closed eyes. She shakes her head trying to blot out the numbers. A squeal of brakes, a car horn! Eyes wide, JEEVA twists her head towards the mirror and yanks the steering wheel! JEEVA (sheepish, to self) C'mon, wake up! EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY FORREST dabs a car washing chamois at a window and moves on to a mirror. He checks his hair, seems satisfied and steps back to admire his work. The BMW is spotless. THE GOLDEN FORTUNE COPYRIGHT 2012 PHIL MORGAN AND STEPHEN BLACK ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
///////////// to read more, please contact Stephen Black sb AT MARK blacksteps(DOT)tv|\\\\\\\\\\\
The Golden Fortune is an indie friendly script set in Singapore, though the setting is easily changeable. The writing team met in one of Robert McKee’s seminars and have years of experience in television, film production and more. Stephen Black has worked with the legendary Japanese actress Kumiko Akiyoshi as well as musicians and artists worldwide.
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