98

The Death of Hollywood
By Blake Fitzpatrick

98

INT. DIMLY LIT APARTMENT A quarter-full tumbler rests atop an empty desk. Two hazy wide-open eyes stare at the glass, not moving. They glance at the liquid inside the glass, almost as if mildly infatuated with it, but not enough to want to move towards it. KNOCK! KNOCK! Sounds of pounding on wood off in the distance. The pounding gets louder, and more constant, now we realize; there's someone at the door. LANDLORD (O.S) JOE! I know you're in there! I heard you moving around! Your check bounced, AGAIN! The eyes apathetically look away from the glass for a moment, then return. A hand grabs the tumbler. The figure quaffs the remaining liquid from the glass and drops it onto the table. EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX - DAY Hendrix rocks out to "All Along the Watch Tower", or another ditty of similar feeling as the side window to the room at the edge of the building opens. A figure squeezes out from it, falling to the sidewalk. He staggers to his feet, not bothering to dust himself off. As he rises, we catch our first glimpse of the figure. He is a man who hasn't cared for himself in a long time. A man who's been sleeping in his clothes for days. A man whose eyes hold so much deep, built-up depression that they could explode and bathe his entire body with enough liquid to cleanse the weeks of filth from him. He continues down the sidewalk, not paying attention to anything but what's directly in front of him. INT. QUICKY STOP The man finds his way past tiny isles of over priced sacked chips and drinks to the front counter of the store. An old Iranian fellow looks back at him apprehensively from behind the counter.

98 The man's glance, like a magnet, focuses immediately on the four racks behind the Iranian store clerk. The liquor shelves. He points to the right. MAN (MUTTERING) Vodka. The store clerk turns to the bottled spirits, searching for the right item by reading the man's face. When he finds it, the man nods. IRANIAN STORE CLERK Eighteen and seven cent.{SIC} The man fishes through his pockets for change. He drops a pile of cash and coins onto the counter. The store clerk takes the correct amount from the mound and rings him up. He sacks the bottle of liquor and shoves the merchandise towards the man dispassionately. The man scrapes the remaining currency from the counter into his hands. He picks up the bottle, removes it from the sack, and lets the sack drop to the floor. EXT. QUICKY STOP The man exits the store, opening the bottle as he walks. He begins to drink from it like it's the last bottle of vodka on the face of the planet. He comes to an intersection, stopping at the edge of the curb and ceases gulping, successfully drinking almost a fourth of the 750ml bottle. His glazed eyes stare dead ahead, completely hollow, apathetic. JOE (NARRATION) Hi. My name is Joe. I don't work in a button factory. I'm thirty three years old. People tell me I have a drinking problem. I don't really agree with them, because I think I have the drinking under control. You find me someone who can drink more than me, and then maybe I'll have something to compete with. I will admit I drink too much. I also smoke too much. Hell, if I can say so, I fuck too much. I smoke to chase what I drink. I drink to forget that I'm smoking. And I fuck, well, because fucking is great. I live in Hollywood, but I wouldn't really

98 consider it living, more of existing, so we can refer to it from here on as residing. Joe now comes to life again, although his eyes never stop looking dead ahead. He marches out into the street, not once giving a glance to his surroundings. Cars screech to dodge him, horns honk. EXT. MOVIE THEATRE An old themed movie house. JOE stumbles along the side walk outside, drinking the remnants of his bottle. He finishes the entire container, throwing it to the ground upon completion. It smashes to pieces, passer-by's stare on, most offended. INT. MOVIE THEATRE Lavish burgundy curtains are separated by a cinemascope screen. Rotting draped sidewalls mask sound unsuccessfully. Carbonated beverages coat the hard floor unevenly. Bogart and Bergman dance across the old silver screen. A cinefile's wet dream. JOE sits in the middle of the auditorium, in a nonchalant trance. He pulls out a pack of cigarettes and lights himself one. JOE (NARRATION) I'm a writer. Well, I used to be; I haven't really done much of anything lately. ANGERED CINEMA GOER Hey! You can't smoke in here! JOE continues to enjoy his tobacco with ease, uninterested of his fellow film patron's concern. The moviegoer crosses his hands with anger and disgust. JOE (NARRATION) Something happened inside of me and I haven't really been able to do much of anything. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that in two hours, I'll be dead. And to think it all started with a tooth ache. Wait. Let me start over. From the beginning.

98 FLASHBACK TO: INT. APARTMENT - DAY A post Art deco studio. Spackled walls. Hard wood flooring. A black vinyl imitation leather love seat. Perched amid the Ikea knock off is a different Joe. He is clean cut, well dressed, and most importantly, kind of happy. Optimistic. He cheerfully chats on the telephone in his under furnished Hollywood apartment. JOE Richard, Hi, it's Joe. Fine, and you? Well, it's my right molar again. It's killing me; I can't stop grinding my teeth. Yeah. Uh-huh. Ten a.m. tomorrow sounds great. O.k. I'll see you then. Joe hangs up the phone, but before he can dial another number, his mouth clinches together in throbbing misery. His lips quiver. He grabs his jaw and soothing rubs it. After the affliction passes, he picks up the receiver and dials another number. JOE Hi Evelyn. It's your favorite client calling again. EVELYN (O.S) Hi Joe. JOE Guess what? I have good news. I finished the final draft of the script, I'm ready to fax it to you. EVELYN (O.S) That's great. I'll buzz the news to my secretary. Beat. EVELYN (O.S) I'm afraid I have some bad news though Joe. JOE Oh boy.

98 EVELYN (O.S) Are you sitting down? Joe takes a seat. JOE Way ahead of you. EVELYN (O.S) Robert passed on yesterday. JOE Oh. I hadn't heard anything. EVELYN (O.S) They figured it was best I told you. JOE I see. So when's the funeral? EVELYN (O.S) Tomorrow morning at ten. Joe is slightly taken aback. JOE Ten A.M. huh? EVELYN Yes. JOE grabs his jaw and sighs. JOE I'll be there. INT. CHURCH OF NATIVITY - DAY A towering chapel. Blandly palatial, as so many other affluent religious sanctuaries. The depressed crowd surrounds a not so serious JOE, who sits in one of the pews in the rear, paying his respects during the service. When suddenly, it hits him. A deep, throbbing pain. His tooth ache is striking again. It stings and stings, until finally it becomes unbearable and JOE begins to cry. From across the isle, a ravishing woman observes him. Her juicy scarlet lips and tempting posture are enough to drive any many crazy. And for that moment, she is interested in JOE.

98 She approaches him and takes a seat next to JOE. JOE tries to mask his tooth ache by biting his lips. The woman is very attracted by his unintentional sadness. EXT. CHURCH OF NATIVITY Joe pulls out a pack of cigarettes and glares down at it. A single cancer stick returns his stare. He reluctantly pulls it out and fires it up. The beautiful woman from the service (now known as Christine) steps up to him; an alluring look on her face. CHRISTINE Got another one of those Bogart? JOE is at a loss for words. Christine takes a hint. She's about to leave when he opens his mouthJOE You can share this one with me, Bacall. JOE passes it to her. Christine takes a long drag off of it, and then hands it back to JOE, who unenthusiastically hits it again. CHRISTINE Now you have herpes. JOE quickly becomes worried. Christine starts to smile. He relaxes. CHRISTINE Was a joke. JOE Funny. CHRISTINE What's your name cowboy? JOE I am Joe King. CHRISTINE That's not very nice to mock ones sarcasm. I don't find it comedic. JOE Want to hear the punchline?

98 CHRISTINE Is it as cold hearted as the set up? JOE My name is Joe King. Funny, isn't it? Isn't it. Christine grimaces, and then, out of the blue, leans forward and kisses Joe. Joe stares at her, flabbergasted. JOE KING What'd you do that for? CHRISTINE I wanted to see if I'd like it. Joe now dons a supercilious smirk. JOE KING What's the decision? CHRISTINE I'll tell you when I've reached my conclusion. Christine plants another one on Joe. JOE KING Well? CHRISTINE I liked it. Beat. CHRISTINE Meet me at the pub down the street, in, oh, say an hour? JOE KING Maybe. According to the looks on both of their faces, we understand immediately that they will both be there. INT. - O'SHADEY'S PUB - NIGHT A classic old school Irish pub; similar to those seen in many working class neighborhoods, except this one is buried deep in the limelight of old Hollywood. A rotting wooden wall clock hangs haphazardly from the decaying dart hole

98 decorated walls proudly proclaiming the time. It's Nine P.M. Joe King sits alone at the bar counter with despair written all over his face, drinking a tall mug of dark stout. He finishes the glass, and sets it down in front of him. He releases the clutched mug, revealing a gold wedding band on his ring finger. He spins it around his appendage, admiring its beauty. The bartender approaches him. BARKEEP Another one for you Joe? JOE KING Make it two. BARKEEP How about a shot of bourbon and another brew? JOE KING That'll do. BARKEEP begins to prepare the beverages. The door to the watering hole opens, and in waltzes a stunning beauty. This is no ordinary small town-looking babe; she has the class and style of an old Hollywood starlet, complete with blue eyes hot enough to pierce the hair right off of your skin faster then that of a bond villain's laser. She enters confidently, and sits down right next to Joe. As our attentive eyes begin to adjust and take notice in the dreary joint, we recognize that it is in fact, Christine. But she has gone out of her way to reinvent her appearance. A fresh exquisite dress, some fancy grooming, and a long spa treatment, or cheap moisturizers are most noticeable. BARKEEP What'll it be honey? CHRISTINE I don’t drink. JOE KING Isn't that why people go to taverns? Why don't you drink? CHRISTINE It makes me feel sorry for myself.

98 JOE KING What's a girl like you have to feel sorry for? Barkeep becomes slightly impatient. BARKEEP This establishment is for customers only. CHRISTINE. Fine. I'll have whatever's your cheapest on tap. BARKEEP One Bandit's Brew coming up. BARKEEP sets a shot and a bottle in front of Joe. BARKEEP You want me to keep your tab going? JOE KING At least until after her Bandits Brew. CHRISTINE That's very kind of you. JOE KING It's my pleasure. You look like you need a drink. CHRISTINE And many more at that. Christine raises her glass for a toast and grins. JOE KING Oh you're good. You're going to go to hell with an Oscar. They toast and sip on brews. Joe fiddles with the ring on his finger. Christine observes. CHRISTINE She leave you? JOE KING Now wait just a minute. Is it too hard to believe that I left her?

98 CHRISTINE You look like the type of guy that if I were a nice girl, I would leave. But I'm not a nice girl. She smirks. Joe throws back the bourbon and chases it with his lager. He takes a long look at her. Christine glistens like a star in the night sky. He smiles. INT. - APARTMENT (BEDROOM) - NIGHT Christine and Joe kiss passionately in front of moonlit blinds. Joe hoists her into the air via her slender thighs and slams her against the wall, his face sandwiching hers tenderly with it. She reels back for a moment. CHRISTINE Do you have protection? JOE There are some steak knives in the kitchen. Joe moves in again. She remains reluctant. CHRISTINE You know what I mean. JOE Are you serious? Wearing a rubber is like drinking non alcoholic beer. He kisses her again. CHRISTINE Fuck it. They fall onto the bed, grasping each other tightly. JOE Please do. LATER Sunlight pierces through the blinds upon JOE. Gradually, he opens his eyes, surveying the room timidly. His pupils fall upon CHRISTINE, whom lies motionless beside him. JOE That was some night.

98 Joe caresses her skin with his hands. Christine doesn't respond. JOE Call me crazy, but I think I might be falling for you. Joe rubs her less gently. Christine is still. Not even a yawn or a shrug. JOE Would I be asking for too much of you for you to at least like me back? Christine is catatonic. Joe starts to shake her. JOE Christine? Joe turns her onto her back. She doesn't move. JOE Christine? Joe shakes her violently. She doesn't wake. JOE Hey, forget what I said, I was just kidding. A practical joke! It's only playful small talk. I was joking, remember? I am Joe King? Get it? I know we just met. Christine? Joe grows worried. He starts shaking her harder. She rocks back and forth on the bed. He stops dead in mid-shake, the look of concern on his face turning quickly to one of shocked horror. JOE quickly checks her pulse. After a moment, his facial expression doesn't change. It becomes more intensely worried. He begins to panic. He punches her chest with dual closed fists twice in a row, quickly grabbing for her face and blowing into it. He takes a less violent C.P.R. method the third repetition, pressing both of his hands firmly onto her chest for four consecutive thrusts. He exhales deeply into her mouth four more times, continuing to panic more as he works. He jumps up out of bed, pressing both of his hands onto his head, horrified, running into the bathroom.

98 INT. - BATHROOM JOE stares into the mirror above the sink, a stark look on his face. JOE What the hell did you do you fucking idiot? JOE (NARRATION) What did I do? FLASHBACK TO: INT. - O'SHADY'S PUB - NIGHT It's the same tavern from before, but this time it's full of people, disco kings playing pool, yuppies downing drinks and talking arrogantly about their friends behind their backs. JOE is walking from one area to the next drunkenly, approaching every woman in sight, obviously unsuccessful from the disgusted looks he receives on each of their faces. He stumbles to the bar counter. JOE Get me another one. BARKEEP There's a lady here to see you. Joe sets his ale glazed sights on Christine. She smiles back from the bar. CHRISTINE Hey stud. Want to blow this joint? FLASHFORWARD TO: INT. - BATHROOM Joe stares at himself in the mirror with bewilderment. But… Something is a miss. The mirror is slightly ajar. He opens the medicine cabinet behind the mirror. MEDICINE CABINET A tiny variety of pill bottles clutter all of three small, bright white timber shelves above the sink. Joe sifts through the bottles, before one in particular catches his interest. The top is missing. He rotates the bottle,

98 revealing its label. The sticker staring back at him sends a cold chill through his spine. It says flunitrazepam. JOE (NARRATION) I never kept medicine in my cabinets, let alone a date rape drug. My pain or insomnia medication consisted of a bottle of whiskey and some tums. He grabs the toilet side trash can and shovels the pill bottles into it. EXT. JOE'S APARTMENT The door is ajar. Joe's eyes peer out into the street suspiciously. After a moment, they grudgingly set glance on something sprawled atop of his welcome mat; A dead catfish wrapped in aged newspaper. INT. BEDROOM Joe frantically packs his bags. He passes by the answering machine on his way to the closet, taking keen notice of its blinking L.E.D. He presses the play button and continues to gather up his things. ANSWERING MACHINE MESSAGE (O.S) Hi Joe, it's Evelyn. I hope you're sitting down. I'm afraid I have some bad news. They are passing on your script. The studio prefers Carl's adaptation, and although Robert found yours more faithful to his book, they own the rights. I hope you understand it's nothing personal, its just business. JOE (NARRATION) More fantastic news. Just business my ass. The bitch wants a fatter paycheck, and the second Robert croaks they steal my material out from under me, don't tell me that's just a coincidence. Now not only did I have a dead woman wrapped in my bed linens, but I was still unemployed, and the screenplay I had been working tirelessly on for the past six months was reduced to a roll of toilet paper. I had to get

98 out of town. Disappear for a while, but first came the daunting task of disposing of the clammy corpse in my bedroom. INT. BEDROOM Joe carefully wraps the carcass with the linens and the comforter. INT. CAR TRUNK A loud CLUNK signifies that Joe has dumped the wrapped body into the trunk. It is followed by a bundled up, bright yellow towrope, and the trashcan filled with medicine paraphernalia. He slams the trunk shut. EXT. HIGHWAY - DUSK Joe's green Toyota Camry soars by. The amount of vehicles on the road slowly diminish as he proceeds. EXT. SLUM - NIGHT The Camry stops besides an abandoned industrial building. CLICK. Joe's parking brake is engaged, the motor still running. He exits the car stealthily and rummages through the concrete rubble at the base of the structure. He comes across a nice sized cinder block, and promptly loads it into the backseat. EXT. GROOM LAKE - NIGHT Joe watches bubbles float to the surface of a colossal body of water from the shore. JOE (NARRATION) It had finally happened. Hollywood had fucked me, just like everyone said they would. Only it was nothing like I would have expected. I knew it was a cut throat business, but I didn't know the phrase was meant to be literal. If only I had pull in the industry. If only I were a Hollywood producer. I wouldn't take crap from anyone. I'd never change my stories because of market research or projected cash flows. I would tell my stories the way I wanted to. The way they were

98 intended to be heard. If only. God, listen to me, I was a writer. Only a writer would dream about the impossible like it was actually feasible. INT. MOTEL BATHROOM - NIGHT Joe hunches in front of the mirror, mouth agape. A full set of teeth. A pair of pliers nestles its grip onto a left molar. Joe closes his eyes in anticipation of pain, and yanks. EXT. MOTEL A bloodcurdling howl echoes from inside. INT. MOTEL - NIGHT A seedy, flea-bitten room. Stained bed sheets, burnt out light bulbs. Joe sits up, staring at the door, a half empty bottle of bourbon on the nightstand next to him. He drinks it somberly, watching the door like a dog on a porch. Every so often he dips a blood soaked lump of toilet paper into the back of his mouth. JOE (NARRATION) So I did what I, being the selfish person I was, always did. I ran from my problems. I couldn't remember the last conflict I had actually dealt with. And I didn't care. INT. INSURANCE OFFICE - DAY A bland, rectangular, middle management's headquarters. Beyond the half drawn blinds lies a beige cubicle. Surrounding it, more beige cubicles. A sea of human cages. Joe sits in a small chair in front of a chubby fellow who reads his resume carefully. He sets it on the desk and shoots an inquisitive glance Joe's way. BOSS You have no references. JOE I'm leaving what references I had behind. I used to sell life insurance, and I was at one point an auto mechanic, so I know the ins and outs of accidents and repairs.

98 Listen, I'm good with a computer, I'm very efficient, and a fast learner. Give me a chance. You won't regret it. BOSS You wouldn't happen to be trying to get away from something in your past life would you? Off the record, of course. JOE Something like that. BOSS Well, you can relax. We don't care here. As long as the forms are filled on time, then you're just another one of the team. INT. OFFICE CUBICLE Joe types apathetically at his keyboard. The boss steps up to his desk. BOSS We voted on Chinese today. JOE Pardon? BOSS For lunch. Here's what everyone wants. Be back before noon. Joe's boss sets a list of entrees on his desk and exits. Joe picks it up and stares at it with remorse. EXT. SIDEWALK - DAY Joe moseys along the asphalt, placing one foot in front of the other in apathetic recession. He reaches a stop light and halts for oncoming traffic. Out of the corner of his eye, he notices a man dressed in a black suit and sunglasses following him. Without panicking, he changes his direction from right to left, now heading into an alley-way behind a strip mall. EXT. ALLEYWAY

98 Joe turns a corner and hops behind a dumpster. Just as he anticipates, the man follows. When he comes into view, Joe jumps in front of him with aggressive posture. JOE Who sent you? The man is instantly caught off guard. JEFF MANNINGS Nobody, nobody! JOE What do you want? JEFF MANNINGS Nothing. Forget it. JOE Why are you following me? JEFF MANNINGS I thought you were somebody else. Honest. It was just a mistake. That's all. JOE Bullshit. JEFF MANNINGS I'm serious. You look just like Harry Goldsman. He works in the building next to me. JOE The Harry Goldsman? JEFF MANNINGS Yeah, the movie producer. I thought we could have lunch together, I mean if you were him. You look exactly like him, almost a carbon copy. You're the same height, have the same everything as him. The man inspects Joe more carefully. JEFF MANNINGS Except for the eyes. He has blue eyes. Yours are brown. And the piercing. He has an ear ring.

98 Joe steps back from the man, now more docile. JOE Look, I'm sorry. It's just been a rough day. JEFF MANNINGS It's alright, I've had plenty of those myself. Cheating on the misses isn't getting any easier, eh? The man nudges Joe playfully. Joe fakes a smile, confused. JOE Yeah. Right. The missus. INT. OFFICE Joe at his cubicle shoveling beef lomein with a spork into his crawl from a generic white carryout container. He stares at the clock. It's twelve fifteen in the afternoon. He glances across the office at all of the other employees. They sit, chatting about useless subjects, laughing occasionally. Pure and simply: boredom at its absolute worst. Joe is going nuts. He can't stand it. He rises furtively and sneaks out of his cubicle. INT. MOTEL BATHROOM Joe staring into the mirror. He grabs the brandy bottle beside the sink and takes a long drink from it. After almost gagging, he looks back into the mirror, observing himself. INT. NOVELTY SHOP A hot-topic-esque novelty depot stocked with a hodge-podge of bizarre and interesting costume and magician accessories. Joe stands in front of the register impatiently. The young fellow behind the counter rambles; the metal stud in his tongue and the one on his outer lip colliding every other word. We've got look like look like got those ADOLESCENT CLERK ones that make your eyes cat's eyes. You want it to you have no pupils? We've too. I was dating this

98 chick a month ago who had a thing for guys without pupils. It was uber sweet. She even gave me a blow job just because I was wearing them. I'm telling you bro, they'll get you some serious play. JOE Some serious warts too. ADOLESCENT CLERK How about red pupils? I've heard some of the ladies go for those. JOE Just blue ones will do. And some fake teeth if you have them. ADOLESCENT CLERK Aw, man, what a great idea. I bet blue pupils are a serious turn on. JOE No, I would just like to have regular contact lenses that change my eye color to a natural blue, please. ADOLESCENT CLERK Alright, chill hombre. I can do that too. What kind of teeth do you want, Incisors, canines, Molars? He fishes under the counter for items while he speaks. INT. MOTEL BATHROOM Joe sets his new contact lenses neatly next to the sink soaking in saline solution. He moves his palms under the faucet water and runs them calmly through his hair, watching himself in the mirror. After a brief mystified stare, his glance returns to the contacts. He carefully puts them in. Upon completion he stares at himself in the mirror with question. JOE It couldn't hurt just to see if the guy was crazy. EXT. GOLDSMAN INTERNATIONAL INC - DAWN

98 Perfectly constructed polygons are the pretentious design for this mammoth modern structure. Bland cinder blocks and Spanish tiles accentuate its already dull and common architecture. Joe approaches the fancy office building with pride. INT. GOLDSMAN INTERNATIONAL INC A cavernous modern lobby. A gargantuan rock fountain against the far wall creates a smooth and calm ambiance across the marble laced agency headquarters. As Joe walks amongst the room, his shoes clank atonally against the cold, loud floor. He approaches the main secretary's desk. The young lady behind it is infatuated with the computer screen in front of her. Joe leans forward to catch a glimpse of what is so interesting. As he leans over the desk, he catches an excellent view of what is hiding under her tight white tube top. They are almost C cups. And they are natural to boot. The woman quickly turns off the monitor and stands, facing Joe, now attentive, and mildly embarrassed. SLOAN I was just checking my email. JOE Then you have nothing to be nervous about. SLOAN Say, what are you doing in so early? JOE Couldn't sleep, I guess. SLOAN Don't you hate when that happens? That's why I drink. Joe grins. JOE Me too. SLOAN So, I heard the new draft of the script came in. An important man like you might want to look over it.

98 Joe can't stop staring at Sloan's body. She's about ninety pounds, five six, jet black hair, plump lips, she's a knockout. JOE How old are you? SLOAN Um, you know I'm Seventeen. JOE That's a prime number. SLOAN What's so prime about it? JOE It's divisible by one and itself. SLOAN Sir? Joes catches himself. He snaps back into character. JOE But it isn't old enough to be drinking. SLOAN I was just kidding about that drinking stuff. JOE No you weren't. SLOAN I won't talk about it again. JOE I won't tell anyone if you don't. Joe grins. Sloan smiles innocently. SLOAN K. Deal. JOE So that new draft came in eh? You wouldn't happen to remember when would you?

98 SLOAN Not sure. The number is on your desk though. JOE Which desk would that be again? SLOAN Boy you are hung over huh? Joe fakes a sarcastic grin. SLOAN It's the big one at the top of the stairs, duh. JOE Right. INT. HARRY GOLDSMAN'S OFFICE Dark mahogany wood, insignificant film festival prize plaques, a mini-bar. The atmosphere of a man who likes being in the position that he's in, and to some small degree likes flashing his stuff for the outsider. Joe enters the office calmly, making his way to the desk. A post-it note with a phone number scribbled onto it in bold marker hangs from the LCD computer monitor on the large oak desk. Joe sifts through the desk meticulously, searching for paperwork. It's empty. He quickly looks towards the telephone. To his excitement, the message light is blinking. He presses the play button. ANSWERING MACHINE (V.O) Hiya Harry, its Carl. I made the changes you requested and am ready to meet with you about the final draft. Give me a ring tomorrow and we'll do sushi. Ciao! JOE (NARRATION) I cold chill ran through my spine. Carl? It couldn't be the same. It couldn't! It had to be a coincidence. Tires screech to a halt outside. Joe runs to the window to investigate. EXT. PARKING LOT

98 A shiny red corvette is parked haphazardly in the reserved spot in front of the building. A figure dressed in a black silk Armani suit emerges from the driver's seat. As he comes into view, his face becomes visible. He looks EXACTLY like Joe in everyway possible. He makes his way towards the building. Joe scurries to the office door. He exits quickly, attempting to be as nonchalant as possible. INT. LOBBY Harry marches past the fountain to the front desk. HARRY GOLDSMAN Any messages? SLOAN I already told you, you have a voicemail about it in your office. Say, why did you change your clothes? HARRY GOLDSMAN I always wear a different suit to the office everyday. You know that. Harry continues towards the stairs. HARRY GOLSDMAN Lay off the booze Sloan. Sloan sighs. SLOAN Yes sir. EXT. HARRY GOLSMAN'S OFFICE Harry enters his office and closes the door quietly behind him. He draws the blinds. From behind a large potted plant next to his office window creeps Joe. He bolts for the lobby. INT. LOBBY Joe sprints to the front door. SLOAN Don't forget you have a one o'clock!

98 EXT. PERIODICAL KIOSK Joe dashes around the corner and stops at the newsstand. Joe snatches up a copy of the variety and drops some cash onto the mobile countertop. He opens it swiftly, skimming the text as he walks. When he reaches a certain story, his morbid curiosity is immediately satisfied. His jaw drops. THE TRADEPAPER Harry Goldsman to helm Carl Denham's adaptation of the late Robert Masterson novel for Hollywood Pictures. Joe stops dead in his tracks. JOE (NARRATION) Of all of the insane coincidences that could have taken place, this had to be the biggest. Not only was this asshole a producer with clout, he was the moron who was ruining my screenplay and Robert's book. God couldn't have thrown something better into my lap, even if he was real. Or at least, that's what I thought at that moment in time. INT. INSURANCE OFFICE Joe struts in casually. A hush rolls across the room; the entire office looks on. Joe makes his way to his cubicle. Before he can reach it, his boss steps in front of him, obstructing his path, angry; furious. BOSS Where the hell have you been? JOE I had to go to the bathroom. BOSS No one's seen you since yesterday. JOE Well, I have to tell you, I'm going to have to plead ignorance on this one, I didn't know we were supposed to come back after lunch. I've never worked in an office before.

98 BOSS Very funny. How about you don't bother coming back after lunch again today, or ever? JOE Sounds good to me. BOSS You're fired. JOE Fuck you, I don’t want this shitty job anyways. Joe attempts to retrieve his laptop from his cubicle. His boss leans to compensate his stance and blocks Joe's way. BOSS Get the hell out of here before I call the police. JOE If you don't move that squad car is going to have to be accompanied by an ambulance. BOSS Are you threatening me you little piece of shit? JOE Maybe. What are you going to do about it? THUMP! Joe's boss gives him a cold hook across the right cheek. BOSS I'm going to kick your ass. JOE Holding his cheek in pain; appears to be out of submission. From the twinkle in his sly eyes we can safely understand that the reality of the situation being that the punch didn't even wake up a single nerve in his perma-drunk body. His boss hovers over him, his fists at his sides. BOSS Not so tough now, eh?

98 Joe palms his free hand into a grasp upon the end of a keyboard from the adjacent cubicle. The boss towers over him, looking down, beady eyes, vigorous. In an instant, the keyboard is off of the desk and planted directly across his Boss's face, sending him to his knees in agony. Joe drops the keyboard onto his Boss's still quivering back and steps over his body, but gently. He snatches up his laptop and exits. EXT. OFFICE - DAY Joe King, hunched over, laptop covering his crouch, eyes on the sidewalk, exits the building. A man, spick and span clad, approaches him assertively. Joe attempts to maneuver around him, but the man is forceful. His eyes never look away from Joe's. Joe eventually stops walking and makes eye contact. Just in time too. The man has been saying something, and is kind of angry he hasn't been listening. GRAHAM SAMUELS Hello? Are you Deaf? I said are you Joe King? JOE I don't think so, why? Did I do something funny? Graham is least amused. He doesn't get out much. From the looks of him, he probably doesn't have very many friends either. Thick rimmed glasses, an immaculate 1950's hair cut, and a closeout bargain Wal-Mart suit make up his apparel. GRAHAM SAMUELS I meant is your name Joe King? JOE Who wants to know? GRAHAM SAMUELS I'm sorry, where are my manners. Graham outstretches an open palm.

98 GRAHAM SAMUELS Graham Samuels. Los Angeles police department. Joe shifts the weight of his laptop to free his right hand and shakes Graham's with it liberally. He gulps nervously. JOE Joe King. Nice to meet you. GRAHAM SAMUELS You are a hard man to get a hold of. JOE I tend to like it that way. GRAHAM SAMUELS You're a writer who's not a socialite, I'm absolutely shocked. JOE I should be, but then again I'm a writer. We tend to be apathetic about most things. So to what do I owe the pleasure of your company? GRAHAM SAMUELS We should probably go somewhere we can talk. Do you like sushi? JOE No, not really, in fact I really have to get going, I'm in a hurry. Late as it is. GRAHAM SAMUELS A meat lover then I bet, eh? I have to confess I am too, but my wife rarely lets me have any, says my cholesterol is too high. So how about barbeque? There's an excellent restaurant right up the street. JOE I really shouldn't, I'm extremely busy right now. GRAHAM SAMUELS C'mon, it will only take a moment. Joe holds his breath. He surveys the area nonchalantly.

98 JOE You buying? GRAHAM SAMUELS My treat. INT. SNAZZY SAUL'S BARBEQUE JOINT Rustic, poorly kept, not very crowded. Graham sits in an aged four seat booth comfortably across from a restless Joe King. HOSTESS, overweight, homely; approaches them energetically. HOSTESS What can I get for you guy's to drink this afternoon? JOE I'll have a jack and coke. Less coke if you can manage it. GRAHAM SAMUELS A little early isn't it? Joe halfway smiles, but doesn't change his drink order. GRAHAM SAMUELS I'll have ice water with a lemon wedge. HOSTESS O.k. do you know what you want, or do you need a minute? GRAHAM SAMUELS I'll have the pork sandwich. Joe, the ribs here are superb. JOE Yeah, fine, I'll have the ribs. HOSTESS A half or a whole slab? JOE Surprise me. HOSTESS Alright, I'll have those drinks out here for you in just a moment.

98 GRAHAM SAMUELS Thanks doll. Hostess exits. GRAHAM SAMUELS So you left in quite a rush didn't you? JOE Did I? GRAHAM SAMUELS You haven't been at you're apartment for a few days. Any particular reason why? JOE Needed a change in scenery. GRAHAM SAMUELS It wouldn't happen to have anything to do with any recent acquaintances you've made would it? JOE No. My new writing project got rejected. I'm giving my career a break for now. GRAHAM SAMUELS I see. Graham sets a manila envelope on the table. He pulls out a photograph from it. He sets it on the table gently. It's a portrait of Christine. GRAHAM SAMUELS Have you ever seen this woman before? Joe looks at the photo, and immediately back at Graham. JOE No. GRAHAM SAMUELS Are you sure? JOE Yes.

98 Graham pulls out a notepad out and peruses it. GRAHAM SAMUELS Well, that's not what the bartender at O'Shadey's pub said. JOE Oh? GRAHAM SAMUELS Yes. He states that you were with her on the night of her disappearance, chatting and having a few rounds. He said you might have even left with her. Joe grabs the photograph, pretending to inspect it more carefully this time. JOE Oh yes. I think I remember now- yes. I have seen her before. GRAHAM SAMUELS So you were at O'Shadey's pub with her? JOE Yeah. It's not a very good picture. I didn't recognize her at first. GRAHAM SAMUELS So tell me, what was she like, how did you guys meet? JOE Well, it was the day of Robert's funeral, and she went with me to have a few beers afterwards. We drank, and drank, and I passed out drunk and screwed it up. She left after that. GRAHAM SAMUELS If you passed out drunk, then how do you know she left? JOE Well, I don't.

98 GRAHAM SAMUELS You just said you did. JOE I mean I assumed she did. The truth is, I was so trashed I don’t remember where she went. GRAHAM SAMUELS So it was possible she went somewhere with you from the bar? JOE No. Definitely not. GRAHAM SAMUELS And why is that? JOE Well, like I said, I got really drunk and passed out at the counter. Then, when I woke up later, it was close to closing time. She was gone, so I stumbled back to my apartment for some shut eye. GRAHAM SAMUELS I see. Well, she's been missing since that night. JOE Do you have any leads? A jealous boyfriend maybe? GRAHAM SAMUELS She wasn't dating currently. She was a receptionist who didn't have very many friends, and as far as I know didn't have any enemies. It's just odd. One minute someone's living their life, and the next, they're gone. JOE Yes. Very strange. Excuse me, mam? Joe flags for the waitress. She approaches Joe unenthusiastically. HOSTESS Yes?

98 JOE What time is it? HOSTESS About eleven. Joe turns to Graham. JOE I'm sorry Graham, but I really have to be going. GRAHAM SAMUELS I'm sure you must be busy, moving is always very time consuming. JOE Quite; any other time and I would be happy to chow down with you. GRAHAM SAMUELS If you hear from her, give me a call, alright? JOE Will do. GRAHAM SAMUELS I'll keep in touch with you about the case. JOE Thanks, I appreciate it. I have to get going now though, so enjoy the ribs. Joe rises. GRAHAM SAMULES And Joe? Joe turns to him, now annoyed. JOE Yes? GRAHAM SAMUELS Don't leave the state for a while o.k.? I might need to contact you if anything comes up.

98 JOE (FORCEFULLY CALM) Alright. EXT. SNAZZY SAUL'S BARBEQUE JOINT Joe stops for a moment, spaces out. The door slams shut behind him. He stares off into the infinite void, contemplative. JEFF MANNINGS (V.O.) You look exactly like him, almost a carbon copy. You're the same height, have the same everything as him. GRAHAM SAMUELS (V.O) Don't leave the state for a while o.k.? I might need to contact you if anything comes up. His face is all we need to tell us that he has decided that he knows what he has to do. He presses on, invigorated. EXT. GOLDSMAN INTERNATIONAL INC Joe sits in his Toyota Camry decked in oversized shades and a Turner Classic Movies baseball cap. "Get Off Of My Cloud" by The Rolling Stones swells into an audible tune, signaling the beginning of the infamous montage. Joe observes the outside of the building with a fine pair of binoculars. Every moment or so, he jots down instances of activity onto a notepad. INT. MOTEL - NIGHT Joe sits at the edge of the bed watching rerun tapes of talk shows featuring Harry Goldsman as a guest. He imitates his movements and mannerisms. INT. POSTOFFICE - DAY Joe is talking to the manager. JOE I need to see the last package I signed for my records. My assistant seems to have misplaced it. SAMANTHA Let me see what I can do for you Harry.

98 Samantha leaves to search the register. She returns with a number. She types it into the computer in front of her, and turns the monitor in his direction. SAMANTHA Looks like it was a week ago. Is that the one you were looking for? JOE Yes. Thank you, is there a way I could get a copy of that? SAMANTHA Sure. Its fifty cents. Joe scoops some change from his pocket and sets it onto the counter. INT. BOOKSTORE Joe approaches the checkout counter, dropping a large pile of books onto it. The independent producers handbook, producing for dummies, how I produced a hit movie, being just a few of the titles. INT. MOTEL - NIGHT Joe sits at the desk with a pen, some paper, and a bottle of whiskey. The talk show tapes play on the television in the background. He drinks from the bottle and continues signing his name onto the notepad, trying his best to replicate the signature from the post office. INT. BATHROOM Joe is relieving himself of excrement while reading one of the books on producing. Joe holds his breath and closes his eyes. He struggles, pressing his lips together in a tight line. The montage music pauses. After a painful but comedic flatulence, the music continues, and he turns the page. INT. HONDA CIVIC - DAY Joe tails a black limousine, keeping a few cars behind to stay out of sight. The limo pulls into a restaurant on the right. Joe makes a quick left and parks across the street in the back of a department store lot. INT. DEPARTMENT STORE, ELECTRONICS DEPARTMENT Joe approaches the main customer service desk impatiently.

98 JOE I need the cheapest camera you have. CLERK We have some disposable thirty five millimeter cameras in the ninety nine cent bin over there if you don't care about having film developed Joe snatches one up. EXT. DEPARTMENT STORE PARKING LOT Joe hops into his car and pulls out his binoculars. He takes a glimpse of the activity across the street. The limo is parked up front, the driver still inside. Joe digs a bottle of whiskey out from under the passenger seat and takes a swig. LATER EXT. RESTAURANT Harry Goldsman emerges from the restaurant. The driver settles him in the back seat and makes his way back to cockpit. INT. TOYATA CAMRY Joe quickly corks the whiskey and tosses it in the backseat. He picks up the hat off of the floor and fastens it to the top of his head. He starts the engine and begins to give chase to the limousine. EXT. BORIS LUBE AND SERVICE A well maintained automotive garage. The limo comes to a stop outside. The driver exits the vehicle and approaches the garage-door. He waves inside. Shortly thereafter, the garage-door rises. He returns to the vehicle and maneuvers it inside carefully. INT. TOYOTA CAMRY Joe swerves into the right alley between the garage and a bakery. He puts the vehicle into park and leaves the motor running. He snatches the camera off of the front seat and creeps besides the building to its edge. He peers out around the corner, the camera covering his face like a shield.

98 INT. GARAGE The limousine idles in the far parking spot. The driver chats with one of the employees. The back door opens. Harry Goldsman emerges. The driver quickly aids his side, but Harry waves him away with his hands. He approaches the water fountain and complimentary coffee pot, which is coincidentally on the same side of the garage where Joe is standing. Harry removes the coffee pot and begins to prepare himself a nice hot cup of java. A single gold stud hangs, glistening in the sunlight from his LEFT ear. Joe leans back to compensate, allowing only the camera to remain in view. He begins clicking off shots. INT. TOYOTA CAMRY Joe hops into the car and tears off like a bat out of hell. INT. ONE HOUR PHOTO Joe is dropping off his roll of film for development. YOUNG PHOTO CLERK We'll have these ready for you in an hour. INT. NOVELTY SHOP Joe enters the store swiftly, approaching the back counter. ADOLESCENT CLERK Back again so soon? JOE Having an early Halloween party. ADOLESCENT CLERK Aw, killer man. If you need some guests, I can totally help you out in that department. JOE I'll let you know. ADOLESCENT CLERK Decent. Here's my number bro.

98 He slips Joe a poorly crafted paper business card. Joe wads it up and shoves it in his pocket. JOE What is your selection on wigs and glasses? ADOLESCENT CLERK You name it, we've got it. JOE Do you have home piercing kits as well? ADOLOESCENT CLERK Man, you have got to call me when this thing goes down. INT. TOYOTA CAMRY Joe adjusts a dirty blonde pony tail rug to the top of his head. Once it's centered, he covers it neatly with his baseball cap. He feverishly rips open the packaging on a pair of fake eyeglasses and settles them neatly onto the edge of his nose. INT. BORIS LUBE AND SERVICE, BACK OFFICE Joe stands nervously in front of BORIS sporting his new costume. Boris is a rather lazy Russian fellow who obviously has seen his share of vodka in his days. That, and probably enough butter in that day alone to last any normal human being a life time. He sits comfortably behind a rusted metal office desk, his feet on the table, his eyes staring Joe down. You know the glance. The uncertain interview stare. JOE Freelancing just isn't what it used to be. Most folks prefer to take their cars to a shop. So, I figured I'd join up with one. BORIS Ve don't pay more 'sen minimum wage. JOE Oh, I'm not too worried about money. I just need to be working. Idle hands are the devils hands don’t 'cha know?

98 Joe snorts. He slides the phony eyeglasses to the top of his nose and fakes a nerdy chuckle. Boris stares at him, least amused. BORIS You are lucky we loose a man last week. They share an awkward moment. BORIS You can start tomorrow. Go see Natasha. She vill teach you how we do sings during ze day. JOE Oh many thanks sir. You won't regret it. BORIS Yeah, yeah. Don't make any jokes about that stupid cartoon either. I've heard 'sem all before. Joe turns to exit. BORIS And kid? Joe halts. JOE Yes sir? BORIS Keep your hands off my daughter if you know what's good for you. JOE Consider me a man who knows what's good for him. EXT. ONE HOUR PHOTO - DUSK The Toyota Camry immobilizes in front of the store. Joe carefully removes his disguise and exits the vehicle. INT. ONE HOUR PHOTO Joe snatches his prints from YOUNG PHOTO CLERK'S hands, replacing them with a twenty dollar bill.

98 JOE Keep the change. Joe Exits swiftly. MANAGER emerges from the back of the store. MANAGER Who was that? YOUNG PHOTO CLERK The guy who took the pictures of himself drinking coffee. MANAGER Did you remember to tell him about the enlarger tray? YOUNG PHOTO CLERK Shit, I forgot. Is it a problem? MANAGER Because it's your first day, no. He probably won't notice the horizontal flip anyways. From now on though, if someone asks, tell them they have to pay extra if they want them corrected until we get the enlarger tray fixed. EXT. HOLLYWOOD HILLS ESTATE - NIGHT A mammoth cast iron fence divides a lavish home from the infamous Hollywood sign towering over tinsel town. Before we have time to inspect the manor, an unidentifiable figure approaches on stilts. EXT. COBBLESTONE DRIVEWAY The enigmatic figure sneaks about with ninja-like characteristics. He makes his way to the garage where we catch a moonlit glimpse at him underneath his black ski garb and realize the numbskull is Joe King incognito. EXT. GARAGE DOOR A retractable lock smith tool is inserted into the dead bolt. Precise fingers delicately jimmy the lock. It snaps to the left. INT. GARAGE

98 Joe scurries underneath the corvette, pulling a large CClamp into view. JOE (NARRATION) Kinking an exhaust pipe did exactly what a potato did in theory, except it actually worked. Poor flow of the gas caused it to back into the engine and stall after only a few minutes of running time. It was enough to ruin any man's dinner plans, or, more importantly, make him panic and take his precious vehicle to the shop. INT. APARTMENT BATHROOM - NIGHT A clean towel hangs draped over the sink. Setting tidily atop it are a sterilized piercing needle, a few gold ear rings, a bottle of whiskey and some fresh bandages. A hand grasps the neck of the whiskey bottle and hoists it out of frame. We follow it as it reaches a now distraught Joe King. He drinks from it liberally before setting it gently back onto the sink. He takes a gander at himself in the mirror, and then down at one of the photographs of Harry Goldsman, comparing them with his eyes. THE PHOTOGRAPH A candid shot of Harry Goldsman adding creamer to a Styrofoam cup of joe at the auto garage; the focus of the composition zeroed on a single golden earring fastened to his RIGHT ear lobe. AN ICEBUCKET Joe scoops a decent amount of cubes into his hands. THE TOWEL He sprinkles them next to the piercing needle. THE MIRROR Joe takes a long look at himself. He marvels in his unaltered state for one last moment. Shortly thereafter, he raises the metal spike and carefully pierces his RIGHT ear lobe with it. The transformation is complete. The virgin cartilage dangling from the right side of Joe's head is no longer

98 such; He steps back, gandering upon his first earring. His mother would be so proud. INT. BORIS LUBE AND SERVICE, BACK OFFICE - DAY Boris paces about sipping on a half full cognac goblet, a cordless phone glued to his ear. BORIS I'll bring the vodka if you bring se pussy. Ha, fat chance old friend. Alright, I'll see you tonight. INT. HARRY GOLDSMAN'S PERSONAL OFFICE A recently polished pair of loafers drop from the scrunching toes of Harry Goldsman. Knuckles crack before a blue tooth headset is inserted into a cellular phone. Harry dials a number and reclines in his leather office chair. HARRY Boris, Harry Goldsman. Good, and you? Glad to hear it. Listen, I need you to take a look at the 'vette. It's sputtering all over the place, maybe the transmission. I'll bring her by this evening, so make sure you're there. No, I've got meetings all through supper. Yes, it’s going to have to be later. So I'll see you around ten O'clock tonight then? INT. BORIS LUBE AND SERVICE BORIS Very good sir. He smiles while he speaks, but we can discern his genuine irritation. BORIS (CONT) Yes I understand. Good day. He sets the cordless phone onto the table. JOE Who was that? Joe steps up to the desk curiously, ear bandaged.

98 BORIS That is none of your business. JOE I'm sorry for eavesdropping. Look, I walked in right as the call was ending, honest. I'm sorry. The point is, you didn't look like you wanted to stay late tonight, and I'm not doing anything in particular then. I would be happy to stay. Boris takes a moment to contemplate. BORIS The customer's name is Harry, and he has very special needs. He is very important business, you understand? JOE Very much sir. BORIS Natasha will stay with you, to make sure you attend to his needs correctly. JOE Oh, shucks, I don't want to trouble her, that's not necessary. Boris lifts his head from his desk, throwing a serious stare Joe's way. BORIS I insist. Joe nods reluctantly and turns to leave. Boris glances at him suspiciously. BORIS What happened to your ear? Joe stops dead in his tracks. He takes a panicked breathe, before calmly musteringJOE I nicked it shaving. Boris buys it. His head returns to his desk.

98 INT. - BORIS LUBE AND SERVICE - LATER Boris briefs his employees in the main garage. BORIS Alright, I'm off. Natasha, you know what to do. NATASHA Yes papa. Boris kisses her on the forehead and gives Joe the evil glare before exiting. Natasha locks the deadbolt and the knob-lock on the steel door behind him and turns in Joe's direction, her back pressed sensually against the door. She stares at Joe flirtatiously. Joe checks his watch nervously. JOE Well, let's see. It's eight O'clock. I could order food. NATASHA I already had dinner. JOE Yeah. Me too. Would I be wrong to suggest we share a choice beverage? NATASHA I don’t' have any change for the soda machine. JOE Not exactly what I was thinking. NATASHA Oh, you mean the good stuff? Joe looks at Natasha questionably. JOE Perhaps? Natasha skips into her father's office. After a moment, she returns, a large glass bottle of authentic Russian vodka in her hands. She holds it in front of her, showing it to Joe eagerly like a child with a gift at Christmastime. NATASHA The good stuff.

98 JOE Right. The good stuff. Joe grins. JOE How's about we play us a little game? NATASHA Oh goodie. I love games. What's it called? JOE It's called who can drink the most good stuff. CUT TO: The wall clock. The hands reads nine thirty. CUT TO: The break room table. Natasha's head is planted tidily in her hands. She snores, unconscious. Joe stares on, grinning. JOE (NARRATION) What a light weight. Seven shots, and she was out cold. I could do seven shots in my sleep. Then again, I was an alcoholic. Come to think of it, I guess my ex-girlfriend was wrong; being an alcoholic would come in handy during the course of my life. Joe helps himself to another drink from the bottle. Shortly thereafter, he makes his way to the bathroom. INT. BREAKROOM BATHROOM Joe carefully removes the bandage from his ear. He inspects himself in the mirror. When he has half convinced himself that he can pull this off, he sits on the toilet and sips on the bottled spirits, still watching himself. Spying on himself. Waiting for him to screw up and break character. He never does. Joe sits impatiently, painfully awaiting re-imaging; or doom.

98 CUT TO: The wall clock. The hands now read ten thirty p.m. THE DOUBLE BOLTED STEEL DOOR CLUCK! CLUNK! Someone comes a knocking. BACK TO: Joe. His head perks up. He takes a deep breath. He heads for the door. INT. MAIN GARAGE Joe unbolts the locks on the door. He opens it. Harry Goldsman stands behind it, bright-eyed and bushy tailed. HARRY GOLDSMAN Who are you? JOE John. John T. Chance, at your service sir. Joe snorts, and outstretches an open palm. Harry doesn't shake it. HARRY GOLDSMAN Are you going to open the garage, or are we going to stand here all night? JOE Yes of course, sorry sir. THE GARAGE DOOR The pulley system sputters to life. The door slowly raises. The corvette accelerates leisurely into the garage. Harry kills the motor. The garage door closes behind him. Joe locks both bolts on the steel door. Harry gets out of the car. HARRY GOLDSMAN Where's Boris? JOE Something came up. Asked me to fix you up.

98 HARRY GOLDSMAN Then I guess you better get started. Joe pops the hood of the car and inspects the engine. HARRY GOLDSMAN Boris have anything to drink around here? JOE Sorry, soda machines on the fritz. Joe inspects the engine. JOE It looks alright under here, what's been going on with her? HARRY GOLDSMAN You tell me Hoss. That's what you get paid for. Joe starts the engine. He gives it a little gas. He lets it run for a moment, before turning the key into the off position. JOE Seems alright to me. HARRY GOLDSMAN It keeps dying once you get her going. I think it’s the transmission. JOE That wouldn't have anything to do with the transmission. Your battery seems fine, and it's not having trouble starting, so I doubt it's your starter or alternator. No, sounds like its maybe your fuel pump. HARRY GOLDSMAN So fix it. JOE I'm shorthanded, would you mind holding the work light for me? Harry stares at him for a moment, insulted. Joe dangles the single bulb shop light in front of him innocently. Harry eventually complies and takes it, but isn't happy about it.

98 He kneels down beside the vehicle, aiming the light underneath the corvette. Behind him, Joe stares down upon him, towering over him. Instantly, the façade he once wore diminishes into a cold hearted and blank smirk. He snags a ratchet off of the counter, juggling it with his hands like a baseball player with a new slugger. He's about to let the back of Harry's skull meet his steel toy whenShuffling from the break room ruins the silence! Joe's neck rips back towards the noise, his eyes almost bulging out of his sockets. Before he can decide what to do, the ratchet is released from his fingers and sent clear into the back room. INT. BREAKROOOM The ratchet strikes Natasha directly across the cheekbone, sending her to the ground in a momentary coma. BACK TO JOE A faint trickle of sweat drips from his brow, his eyes wide with fright. He dashes to the break room door and slams it shut behind him. Harry finally turns in his direction and watches suspiciously. HARRY What was that? Joe musters the only thing he can think of. JOE Rats. HARRY Rats? JOE We have rats. Big ones. The size of small dogs. Long, uncomfortable beat. Joe holds his breath, certain he's blown it. HARRY However interested I may be in hearing about your pest problem, I think I would like to have my

98 vehicle working within the next fuckin' century just a LITTLE bit more. JOE Right. Let's get her singing again. Harry sets the light at his feet, its illuminating rays aimed under the car. He stands, his hands crossed cynically across his upper torso. He stares Joe down. He's not getting off that easy. Joe boards the car creeper and slides underneath the underbelly of the General Motors beast. He pretends to inspect it. Harry watches him like a hawk. After a moment, Joe slides back out and glances upwards at Harry. JOE Something is obstructing your muffler. Harry circles the vehicle. He kneels down to investigate. THE TAILPIPE Something is peaking out from the edge of it. Something he can't quite make out. He reaches out, and, after a moment of squinting and fondling, discovers the C-CLAMP. HARRY What theA chrome-plated craftsman 1-5/16 open end wrench. It whisks through the air, gracefully colliding temporarily with the back of Harry's head. Harry drops to the ground, face first. The tool rises into the air. But it doesn't strike down upon him again. Not yet, at least. No, it floats. In limbo. The figure grasping it oh so broodingly doesn't move for a moment. His eyes gander upon his victim. At first, they savor the anticipation. The anticipation of revenge. But slowly, a hint of sadness amongst ample remorse start to blossom inside them. Gradually, his hand lowers gently to his side, the wrench still clutched in his fist, but not as tightly. He peers down upon Harry, almost in a dazed trance. He lowers his head, tormented by his conflicting feelings.

98 JOE (NARRATION) I couldn't do it. Even though the bastard had ruined me, I still couldn't kill him. THE CAR IGNITION Joe removes the keys. THE TRUNK Joe inserts a key in the lock slot and turns. CREAK! The trunk door rises. Joe nestles Harry comfortably in the trunk. As he stuffs his comatose companion inside, Harry's head flops forward, revealing his ear. His LEFT ear. Light bounces vibrantly off of a gold stud hanging from his LEFT EAR! SCHLURGPH! Joe's sphincter tightens. Followed closely by the ever passé jaw drop. INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT Darkness. Slowly, light begins to bleed into the frame. The hazy picture gradually comes into focus. It's the bedroom of an apartment, and not a very nice one at that. There isn't much occupying it currently. In fact, the only thing in it is an aged mattress without any sheets. The mattress is placed upright in front of the only window in the room on the far wall. We are sitting in the middle of the room, strapped firmly to a chair. The bedroom door opens. Joe King, an eager grin on his face, enters the room. He dons his car mechanic garb, the long golden wig and phony eyewear. And now, as the image finally clears and comes full circle, we realize that we are seeing the events through Harry Goldman's eyes. To recap; he's the poor chap strapped to the chair. JOE Good morning. I would have made coffee, but I don't have a coffee pot. I usually get my java on the outside. Harry attempts to free himself from the restraints. After a few brute jiggles, his efforts prove futile. He gives up.

98 HARRY Let me go and I swear I'll forget the whole thing. Joe paces around him confidently. JOE Don’t insult my intelligence Harry. You've already seen my face. Harry closes his eyes. HARRY I didn't see anything, honest. JOE You will be happy to know that you have a man with a conscience in your presence. Two hours ago, any other man in my position would have put you down. Not me though, I spared your life. You should feel lucky. HARRY I am forever grateful. JOE You aren't in any position for sarcasm. Harry struggles in his chair again. He starts to scream. HARRY Help! Help! Joe happily joins him, facetiously cupping his mouth with his hands in the classic town crier tradition. JOE Yes, HELP! HELP! This man is going to stick a dildo up my ass! (TO HARRY, NOW SERIOUS) We are in a predominantly Latin apartment complex Harry. No one is going to call the cops, however loud you might make your voice. If the loud primitive music they play constantly through all hours of the night on their days off from painting houses or making tacos doesn't bring a noise complaint, I

98 don't think the sound of your oddly feminine voice will. HARRY What do you want? JOE I'm glad you asked, but at the risk of sounding like a clichéd bond villain, there are only a few things I am going to say. First, nothing you say will change the situation. So accept the fact that you are now officially my bitch. Second, I'm not going to kill you. Not yet, at least. So you should feel less endangered then Darwin's favorite blue footed boobies. And third, the blue footed booby actually comes from a derivative of the word bobo, which means stupid fellow in Spanish. HARRY Is that true? JOE It must be, I read it on wikipedia. HARRY So you're a writer. JOE And what brings you to that clever yet mistaken conclusion? HARRY Your responses sound penned. Everything you say is quick witted, bright. JOE I could be the next Ed Gein for all you know. HARRY That would be an easier explanation for the situation, but the passion in your voice leads me to believe that the culprit of this incident is vengeance, not insanity.

98 JOE You are a quick study. And you've suddenly discovered a vocabulary. That surprises me, you being a Hollywood producer and all. I'm impressed. Please, go on. I want to see where you are headed with this. HARRY I piss a lot of people off. It's the nature of my business. Whatever I did to you, I'm very sorry. But you don't have to do this. Honestly, we can work this out, I'm sure of it. You will find I'm a generous man, when I'm not tied to a fucking chair. JOE That was convincing. I see the error of my ways. Judas is ready for his big apology. HARRY Really? JOE Not even close. Joe removes the wig from his head and fastens it atop of Harry's cranium. Harry resists, but ultimately has no leverage. The garment slowly slides onto his head like a glove. Joe takes a step back, observing the prisoner like Picasso would a canvas. He has a thought. He takes off the fake glasses from his face and puts them on Harry. JOE I think I rather like your new look. You can keep them. No need to thank me, I don't think I will be needing them anymore. HARRY Don't be so irrational! There's got to be something I can do for you. I'm a very powerful man. If its money you want, I've got plenty, just let me go and I'll give you whatever you want.

98 Joe tears off a nice length of duct tape and approaches Harry with it. He fastens it firmly across Harry's mouth. JOE There is no talking in time out. INT. KITCHEN Joe rips a piece of duct tape off of the roll. He sticks two handcuff keys against the adhesive side, and crawls underneath the sink. He fastens them behind the drain pipe. INT. BATHROOM Joe dresses himself. A very sharp suit. A silk tie. Aside from the extravagant attire, he also wears a new face. Gone is the old Joe. Before us stands a pompous Hollywood producer. Joe observes himself carefully in the mirror. JOE Hello. My name is Harry Goldsman. EXT. GOLDSMAN INTERNATIONAL INC - DAWN The parking lot. A concrete stall. There are no horses. Only vehicles, and very expensive ones at that. A metal sign proclaims the benefactor of this particular spot that just happens to be the closest parking spot to the front of the building. A shiny red corvette swerves in between the brightly orange painted lines. A good moment passes. The door to the automobile opens gradually. A gaudy shape emerges. INT. GOLDSMAN INTERNATIONAL INC The humongous lobby. Joe enters. People scurry about, attempting to tend to his every need. He shows that he is not interested by shooing them with his fingers. They scatter. He makes his way up the stairs assertively. INT. HARRY GOLDSMAN'S OFFICE - DAY Joe enters the room self-assured that he is in fact, Harry Goldsman. Awaiting his presence however, is a very impatient Jeff Mannings. Joe is caught off guard, but goes with the flow. JEFF MANNINGS (FASTIDIOUSLY) Thank God I caught you. Can you do sushi this afternoon?

98 JOE (IMITATING HARRY) Negative. I'm booked solid. What's on your mind? JEFF MANNINGS Well, last week right before I left for Hawaii I saw this guy on the street. JOE Let me guess, you paid him some money to come home with you and your wife? JEFF MANNINGS I stopped doing that after the gonorrhea incident, remember? JOE Right, I forgot. JEFF MANNINGS No, but seriously, he looked like an exact duplicate of you. JOE Is that so? JEFF MANNINGS He was a carbon copy. A replicant. JOE O.K. Blade Runner. JEFF MANNINGS That movie isn't so far off if you got a look at the guy. I'm telling you, I was convinced he was you, until I got a look at his face up close. JOE Then when you saw he didn't have herpes you backed off? JEFF MANNINGS You are incorrigible today. JOE Can't help it, I am in a good mood.

98 JEFF MANNINGS What's got you so cheery? You're never this happy. Joe freezes for a moment. Promptly, he masks his indiscretion by facing the window and gandering outside. After a brief panicked thought, he assembles an excuse. JOE My wife finally signed the divorce papers. JEFF MANNINGS Really? Did she come back from Cancun? JOE No. JEFF MANNINGS She broke it off over the phone? JOE Worse. JEFF MANNINGS She didn't even talk to you? JOE Nope. Just sent the papers. JEFF MANNINGS That's rough man. JOE Hey, do I look upset? I couldn't be better. I'm finally free. Jeff coyly sticks his hand unpleasant ringing screams He pulls out a cell phone, an apologetic glance Joe's in his pocket. Momentarily an from Jeff's right jean pocket. checking the screen. He shoots way.

JEFF MANNINGS Well, hey, I've got to run. Let's do sushi tomorrow. JOE I'll see if I can free up some time.

98 JEFF MANNINGS Alright. I swear he looked just like you. You don’t have any twin brothers that I don't know about do you? JOE Not that I know of, but I did do a lot of acid in my teens, could have some similar looking spawn running around somewhere. JEFF MANNINGS It was so surreal it could have been a dream I tell you. JOE Maybe it was. JEFF MANNINGS Maybe. I gotta get going. We can talk more about it tomorrow. JOE Okay. Jeff exits swiftly. Joe crawls into Harry's leather desk chair. He casually places his shoes atop of the oak desk, but before he can lean back into his chair and breathe a healthy sigh of relief, the phone rings. He reluctantly answers it, simultaneously checking the caller I.D. monitor at the base of the telephone. It reads BORIS LUBE AND SERVICE. Joe closes his eyes and inhales deeply before speaking into the receiver. JOE Boris, how are you? BORIS (O.S) Doing any better would be a sin. JOE What can I do for you? BORIS(O.S) Well, I wanted to apologize for last evening. I wasn't able to stay around. Some old friends from home

98 came to visit. If you were unsatisfied with your service in anywayJOE Your new mechanic did an excellent job. He was a pleasure to deal with and was on the ball. The car runs like it's brand new. Tell him I am very grateful. BORIS (O.S) Well I can assure you that he no longer worksBoris is caught off guard. He re-evaluates his thoughts. BORIS I mean, I can assure you that that's why I hired him. JOE You should keep him around more often; pretty soon he might be taking your job! BORIS Right. Tell me something, did he stick around after you left? JOE As far as I know. BORIS Vell, have a good day Harry. JOE You have yourself a better one Boris. INT. BORIS LUBE AND SERVICE, BACK OFFICE Boris slams the receiver onto the table. BORIS Natasha! Natasha doddles into the room, front and center. BORIS Mister Goldsman says that you both did a good job.

98 NATASHA Does this mean I'm not in trouble anymore? Boris is ready to yell up a storm, but stops himself, frustrated. BORIS No. I mean Yes! And stop drinking my good stuff! NATASHA Yes papa. Natasha exits gloomily. Boris scratches his head. We can tell from his confusion that many questions race through his jumbled mind. After a moment, they begin to overwhelm him. He jumps up and heads for the aluminum file cabinet. He sifts through manila envelopes. He fishes out one in particular. He sets it on his desk. He picks up the phone, and dials a number. INT. JOE KING'S APARTMENT A phone rings. And keeps ringing. In the other room, Harry Goldsman struggles in the chair, wanting to be heard. Wanting to be noticed. INT. HARRY GOLDMANS OFFICE Joe paces around the humongous oak desk, the phone receiver fastened to his ear, the cord keeping him within a five foot radius of it's perimeter like a Doberman on a leash. He's thrilled. Exuberant. Sparkling. ARI BOLL (ON OTHER END) So, what'd you think? JOE KING Pitch me it again, I don't quite remember what's it's about? ARI BOLL I've pitched you it three times already. JOE KING Humor me.

98 ARI It's about a cop own rules. A cop what he needs to done. BOLL who plays by his who does exactly do to get the job

JOE KING So, it's Die Hard five? ARI BOLL No, he has a partner. JOE KING Die hard with a vengeance? Lethal weapon? ARI BOLL He's different. He's a badass drunk. JOE KING Another Death Wish or Dirty Harry? ARI BOLL No! He's not that either! A beep on the other line. JOE KING Then what is he? Bad Lieutenant? ARI BOLL He is a man who vanquishes evil! But, he does it legitimately! It's Deep Force, baby. JOE KING Title sound's like a porno. Look, we don't need more kitsch Hollywood cop dramas. If you want to avoid adding more crass work to the already gigantic heap, give him an edge. Give it a hook. If he vanquishes evil, I don't know, make him a monster. Better yet, a vampire. ARI BOLL A vampire? But wouldn't that make him a bad guy?

98 JOE KING Not if he only sucks the blood of criminals. ARI BOLL When did you become so intuitive? JOE KING When I became the guy who could read without moving his lips. Have the rewrites done by the end of the week, I have another call on the other line, we'll do lunch. Joe clicks over. JOE KING Harry Goldsman, thrill me. DON STEWART What'd you think buddy? JOE KING It was Okay. DON STEWART Okay? It's brilliant! JOE KING Your idea of having a special man inspire history is impeccable. But put him somewhere when he hits rock bottom! Make him a fisherman. Better yet, a shrimp boat captain! And have his confidant from Vietnam leave a boat to him in his will! That way, he can employ his a paraplegic platoon leader! Also, put some more historic inspiration during the war, and John F. Kennedy's presidency! Add some L. B. J, and you’ve got gold! Joe has a beep on another line. JOE KING I can't talk anymore, change the script, and let's chat tomorrow. Joe switches lines.

98 JOE KING Harry, the hair on everyone's back! CARL DENHAM I'll be honest with you Harry. I only watch independent films. Movies like Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings do not interest me. JOE KING Both Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings franchises are independent films. CARL DENHAM You say tomatoe, I saw tomato. The point is, this material will sell, and you know it! JOE KING Ok, but what's the point of going through the trouble of telling a story if you don't make it perfect? If they are going to buy into the material to begin with, why not make it irresistible to everyone? There is no reason to substitute intelligence for swill if you already know you have an audience. CARL DENHAM Okay. What do you want me to do? JOE KING Read Joe King's script. Take his ideas and mesh them together. You just might learn something. CARL DENHAM From that hack? I highly doubt it. Joe King bits his lip. Considerably. JOE KING At least he read the source material. Your screenplay employs only faint echoes of Robert's book. Go back to the core. Therein lies your gold.

98 CARL DENHAM Alright. But only because you suggested it. JOE KING And Carl. CARL DENHAM Harry? JOE KING Stop censoring yourself. I don't care about a PG-13 rating. This material is raw. Keep it that way. If it’s good, it won't matter that it's rated R. INT. BORIS LUBE AND SERVICE Jeff Mannings joins Boris in his minute back office. JEFF MANNINGS Boris. Thanks for meeting with me. They exchange handshakes. BORIS The pleasure is mine. JEFF MANNINGS Listen, I have to ask you, have you noticed anything strange about Harry lately? BORIS You mean besides the fact that he's acting completely different? JEFF MANNINGS About that. When's the last time you saw him? BORIS As a matter of fact, we did some work on his car last night. JEFF MANNINGS Is that so? BORIS It is.

98 JEFF MANNINGS Anything out of the ordinary happen? INT. HARRY GOLDSMAN'S OFFICE Joe is busting. For once in his life, he is overwhelmed with a sense of being and accomplishment. He pecks away at keys on Harry's computer, before swiftly saving his work and rising. He hits the intercom buzzer, hovering over the desk like a Golden Retriever. His actions are smooth and collective. He was born for this kind of work. JOE KING Sloan? SLOAN (O.S) Yes Harry? JOE KING I'm ready. You can send for my limo. And have some flowers brought for my wife. Daises. SLOAN (O.S) You got it. INT. HARRY GOLDSMAN'S HOUSE The inside of the douche bag's lair. A multi-million dollar estate, decorated and upheld on a most immaculate budget. Judging at first glance, The movers and the shakers have slapped buns here a few times in the past. THE KITCHEN A luxurious marble-granite kitchen, Hard polished wood flooring, top of the line stove and microwave combination. A garage door opens and closes in the distance. Joe enters, to find Harry's beautiful wife, RUTHAN, sipping gloomily on a large wine glass. JOE KING Honey, I'm home! RUTHAN Eat shit peckerhead. JOE KING Well, you're not going to be kissing me with that mouth tonight. And to think I bought you flowers.

98 He presents a bouquet for her admiration. RUTHAN Sign the fuckin' papers so I can get the hell out of here. Joe points to the beverage clenched between Ruthan's tightly gripped fingers. JOE KING Is that your third or fourth? She glares at him cynically. RUTHAN Try second. JOE KING You shouldn't be driving after two bottles. RUTHAN Get bent. JOE KING Lighten up. I rented us a movie. It's a chick flick. RUTHAN Who's in it? JOE KING John Wayne. RUTHAN I don't know why I ever married you. JOE KING Because deep down inside, you love me. RUTHAN It's not possible for anyone to love you more then you love yourself. JOE KING C'mon baby. Joe steps sensually up to her, moving into the light, which dimly illuminates his facial features. Ruthan notices a certain change in his appearance almost instantly.

98 RUTHAN Why is your ear ring on the other ear? Joe casually masks his fear with a healthy dose of nonchalant gulping. JOE KING You're drunk. RUTHAN That may be, but that still doesn't change the fact that your ear ring is on the wrong ear. JOE KING I think your vision is a bit hazy. Do you want to lie down? She shrugs out of his intimate grasp. She stares at him, confrontational. RUTHAN Cut it out Harry. I know what's going on. Joe fills up with anxiety. Enough tension to cause a heart attack. But he masks it well. He breaths slowly. JOE KING You do? RUTHAN Yes. Long, uncomfortable beat. RUTHAN You got plastic surgery, and you still haven't done my boobs. How could you? Joe sighs with relief. JOE KING Right, because my ear ring is on a different ear. She observes, mildly interested.

98 RUTHAN It looks alright on you. But isn't that the gay ear? JOE KING I didn't know my cartilage appendage had a sexual orientation. RUTHAN No, you know, if you pierce a certain ear it means that you're queer. JOE KING Fortunately I'm not familiar with that silly rationale. RUTHAN When are you going to get my tits done? JOE KING As soon as you set those papers aside and we get down to a healthy dose of stress relieving. He takes her in his hands and kisses her as smooth as Charles Bronson's fingers squeeze a trigger. THE BEDROOM Joe and Ruth, making love; making love in a way from the ecstasy injected looks on both of their sweaty faces that was never possible for Ruth and Harry; it is passionate, spectacular for both parties. Queue those raunchy sound effects. AFTERWARDS Moonlight weakly illuminates Joe, crawling to the edge of the bed. Ruthan eagerly beckons for him. He resists, rising to put his clothes on. RUTHAN Who is she? JOE KING Nobody. RUTHAN Then why are you leaving?

98 Joe musters up an excuse without even thinking about it. He's getting good. There are minimal, if not any breaks in thought while he speaks. JOE KING I promised Boris I would let him look at the 'vette once more to make sure it was solid. RUTHAN At this hour? JOE KING You know as well as I do he will be drinking vodka, and happy to help. RUTHAN Don't drink too much if you have to drive. JOE KING So you do care? RUTHAN Maybe a little. They embrace; and even kiss. INT. KITCHEN Joe snags a choice collection of bagged eats and canned beverages. EXT. HARRY GOLDSMAN'S HOUSE - NIGHT Joe, bright grin, on top of the world, finds his way to the Chevy with his newly acquired nourishment and fires her up. She purrs. In fact, the v-8 sings. It sounds pretty. In a testosterone injected way. A DIFFERENT VEHICLE Boris and Jeff Manning's sit patiently, observing Joe King's every move from their bright, white, piece of shit van. The minute he drives off, they begin to follow his car. It's a Deep Purple's "Highway Star" moment. Which, coincidentally is playing on the radio. Boris cranks the volume. EXT. SHADY PARKING LOT - NIGHT

98 A steal light-post extends from the cement, the halogen bulb flickering a smidge of tungsten radiance across a cracked and primordial cement plot of land. Trash and sand deposits dust the parking spots; the occasional abandoned vehicle inhabits them. Off in the distance, a shady motel behind a grassy knoll. And beside it, the faintest vision of a white van, idling, the headlights off. The corvette glides to a pause besides a Toyota Camry. A green Toyota Camry. Joe's Toyota Camry. Joe hops out, the motor running. He pulls out a key ring and makes his way into the back seat, rummaging through a hunk of clutter. He retrieves a dented cardboard box. INT. CORVETTE Joe handles the vehicle with ease; he's in a delightful mood. INT. WORKVAN Boris turns the next corner, tailing Joe. But not too close. He adheres to the two car rule, as cited in any literature about espionage. INT. CORVETTE Joe gazes into the rear view mirror. The box idles in the back seat, nothing to worry about. He glances up. Out of the corner of his eye, he notices Boris's van. Mildly startled, he blinks his eyes to assure himself that the situation is indeed genuine. Without panicking, he changes his direction, merging to the far left lane. JOE (NARRATION) The infamous tail. Being a sleuth wasn't anything like what Phillip Marlow or James Bond made it out to be. Most of the time it just required good old fashioned common sense. And contrary to popular belief, sometimes it was good to draw some attention to yourself. INT. WORKVAN Boris follows cautiously. INT. CORVETTE Joe continues veering left.

98 WORKVAN Boris grows worried. THE CORVETTE It pops onto the sidewalk, barely missing a storm drain. WORKVAN Boris swerves to the right. DOWN THE STREET A police cruisers lights start spinning. WORKVAN Boris panics. The sounds of approaching sirens are overshadowed by the screeching tires of the van as Boris quickly accelerates towards the other side of the road and tears off. JEFF MANNINGS Where are you going? BORIS Anywhere but back to jail. INT. CORVETTE Joe watches Boris vacate the premises. He is brimming with glee, that is, until the civil servant approaches his window. Joe gets into character, his face now altering to panic-stricken open mouthed shock. He rolls down the window just as the cop reaches it. JOE Oh my God! Oh my God! Did you see him? That maniac was after me! POLICE OFFICER License and registration please. This shield is no-nonsense. All business. Joe reaches for the glove box and frantically searches for insurance papers. He finds them, and presents them to the officer awkwardly. An uncomfortable moment passes. POLICE OFFICER Hey, you're Harry Goldsman.

98 JOE Yes I am. POLICE OFFICER As in the Harry Goldsman? Joe's adrenaline drops significantly. He formulates an arrogant smile. JOE The one and only. POLICE OFFICE Say, my kid really loved your movie, Haute Anxiety. Would you mind? JOE Not at all, it would be my pleasure. Joe rummages though the center console and brings a minipad of personalized letterhead into view. JOE You have a? The cop eagerly hands Joe his pen. JOE What's the kid's name? POLICE OFFICER Joey, but make it out to Little Joey, he'll love that. INT. JOE KING'S APARTMENT, BEDROOM Joe enters the room with an aluminum pale. Harry immediately sets a panicked pair of eyes upon it. Joe removes the duct tape from Harry's chops. HARRY GOLDSMAN Don't pour gasoline on me, Please! JOE KING Gasoline? What am I? Some sick, perverse, Tarantino-inspired street thug? Beat.

98 JOE KING This is antifreeze. Harry Goldsman stares at Joe King, wide eyed. JOE KING It's just water. Drink up you pansy. Joe King sets the pale into Harry's lap. He presents an over-sized silly straw and drops it face up into the bucket. He places the free end gently against Harry's lips. Harry carefully whiffs the nonexistent aroma rising from amidst the pale. When he is satisfied foul play is not a factor, he begins to slurp. And slurp. And slurp. Joe Exits. A brief moment passes, and Joe reenters, now with his assortment of bagged food. Harry is hurriedly re-hydrating himself. INT. HARRY GOLDSMAN'S OFFICE - DAY TED WIMMER, A lanky, timid fellow grips a screenplay intensely, tied shoulder to shoulder by his agoraphobic companion, TED' GIRLFRIEND. They spout words upon words, none of which we seem to care about, because they are overshadowed by their sham demeanors. Joe observes them, indifferent, as Ted rambles on. TED WIMMER I was going to head straight to Jack. Then I read about you in the trades. I knew you were just the man to see. You’re the future of this industry. TED'S GIRLFRIEND Industry. Pssh. More like a group of over paid hacks. Joe ignores her. JOE KING I'm sincerely flattered. Which piece of material would it be again? TED WIMMER It's the one about the bear. But not like the one set in Alaska. TED'S GIRLFRIEND Yeah, that movie was horrible.

98 Joe ignores her again, but this time with less patience. JOE KING Right, Primal Instinct. TED WIMMER That's my baby. JOE KING First off, it sounds like a lifetime movie of the week, and there is a video game with the same name. TED'S GIRLFRIEND Your mom sounds like a lifetime movie of the week. JOE KING Silence your friend or I will. I am here to do business. I want to help your script evolve. TED WIMMER I'm all about that, but do you have to treat my woman like a piece of meat? TED'S GIRLFRIEND Yeah, do I look like a piece of meat to you, pussy? Joe is at his wits end. JOE KING Your girlfriend is as bold as brass tacks. If she doesn't cease from speaking, she's going to have a hard time breathing for the next few weeks. Have you ever seen "The Way of the Gun?" TED'S GIRLFRIEND There is nothing good about that movie. JOE KING Every movie has something good about it. Weather it is that certain shot that makes you cream your pants. Or that sound effect that drops you to your knees. It might be that

98 performance that brings tears to your eyes. Or that beautiful line of dialogue that motivates you to check your behind. You can't tell me that there is nothing amazingly great about the film "Plan Nine From Outer Space", because there absolutely is. You just weren't looking for it. You were too busy getting drunk and making fun of someone who didn't have the resources or intellectual capability to tell a story the way they had wanted to. That doesn't make them pathetic. It makes YOU pathetic. I bet you were raised in a decent environment, am I right? And everyday you wake up and realize that you aren't getting any younger. Then you say to yourself, I am worthless, I should make myself feel better. Let me go make fun of someone who I thought had failed. Newsflash, they didn't fail. You did. Movies are art. In the simplest form. Art is and always will be subjective. If you can't accept that, you are in the wrong business. Come to think of it, you aren't even good enough to be in the movie business. You are so pathetic you had to latch onto someone in the movies to make yourself feel important. If you weren't so busy with your friends on the internet making fun of those who are actually DOING what you wish you could, you might actually have a moment to think about the fact that you have nothing to show for your life. And that is ultimately the undoing of your sarcasm. TED'S GIRLFRIEND Yeah? Well, your mother. JOE KING My mother? Is that the best your feeble mind can come up with? TED'S GIRLFRIEND You're crazy.

98 JOE KING Maybe I am, but there are two kinds of people in this world. Boring, or crazy. I choose the latter. Obviously we know where you stand on this decision. TED WIMMER That's it. I'm taking my script elsewhere. JOE KING I'm glad you are. Because Ted, it sucks. Utterly. Go ruin someone else's track record with your dribble. EXT. GOLDSMAN INTERNATIONAL INC Ted and his girlfriend scurry out of the building towards the parking lot, most offended. INT. BORIS'S PIECE OF SHIT VAN Jeff and Boris observe the commotion calmly. JEFF MANNINGS It’s only a matter of time. He's getting sloppy. A cell phone rings. Boris removes it from his pocket and answers it. BORIS Speak. Long inaudible dialogue on the other end. As the caller continues to speak, Boris gradually smiles. He removes a pen from his shirt pocket and jots some information down onto the scrunched newspaper in his hand. BORIS Thank you. He hangs up. JEFF MANNINGS Good news?

98 BORIS The plate number came back. We have an address. Jeff starts the automobile. JEFF MANNINGS Tonight, the bell tolls for Joe King. INT. JOE KING'S PERSONAL OFFICE Joe shakes hands excitedly with ARNOLD SCHTUDABAKER; Hollywood diplomat; broad shoulders, black tie attire, middle-aged, but in good health. ARNOLD SCHTUDABAKER I don't know what's gotten into you, but everybody's talking. From Woody Allen to Scorsese, everyone wants to know why all of the sudden the biggest exploitation peddler in town has suddenly discovered artistic expression and wants to change movies as we know them. JOE KING Got fed up with the same old routine I guess. ARNOLD SCHTUDABAKER Either way, you've finally been invited to join the coalition. Congratulations. Here's your invitation. Dress sharp. We're all anxious to speak with you about your future plans. He squeezes Joe's hand graciously and shakes. Joe smiles, giddy as a school boy. JOE KING Thank you. Thank you very much. INT. MARY KING'S HOUSE - NIGHT A television cries across a soft living room. This is a suburban home in West Hollywood. A plush couch. A pallid baby walkie-talkie monitor atop a glass coffee table. An attractive female planted against the furniture, eyes glued to the electronic box in front of her. Like wine, this woman grows finer with age. About forty, and weighing in at

98 a lean one twenty. Fair hair, Brown eyes, velvet skin, toes like peanuts. The ultimate housewife. Behind her, a large glass sliding door. And beyond that, two masked men approach. EXT. GLASS SLIDING DOOR An electromagnet. It buzzes softly, hovering over the frame of the door. It slides to the left, over the glass. The bolt follows it from the inside. INT. HARRY GOLDSMAN'S PERSONAL OFFICE A walk-in closet door. An evenly lit mirror. Some mouthwash and cologne clutter a small bin underneath it. Joe King, center of the mirror, fastens his neck tie neatly. He couldn't be happier. EXT. JOE KING'S APARTMENT Boris and Jeff escort Mary unpleasantly by her bound hands up the building complex stairs. INT. JOE KING'S APARTMENT The door shatters open, Boris's massive physique standing idly behind it. They carry Mary into the living room and toss her to the floor. Jeff runs a perimeter of the apartment. A moment passes. JEFF (FROM OTHER ROOM) You better come and look at this. INT. JOE KING'S APARTMENT, BEDROOM Boris moseying into the room. Once inside, his emotions don't change when he discovers Jeff's eyeballs planted on Harry strapped to a chair. BORIS Well, well, well. Shuffling from the other room. BORIS Go secure the wench. Jeff heads into the living room. BORIS Thought you could outsmart us?

98 Harry struggles to express his feelings. Behind duct tape, it's actually more difficult then one would expect. BORIS And ultimately Harry outsmarted you. I never lost faith in the fact that he eventually would. Jeff comes into the room. BORIS What'd you do with the girl? JEFF She's in the closet. You want to cut him or burn him? BORIS Let's have a little fun with him before we get brutal. I bet that statement brought a brief smile to your face, eh Joe? I know all about you. How you killed that slut downtown. And how Harry made the right decision to let that other writer adapt that new script. Harry starts squirming in the chair so violently that it topples onto its side. Boris leans over him to compensate. BORIS Well, if you thought having a job writing a script taken away from you was bad, wait until I work my way to your ball sack. At that moment, enough saliva finally excretes between Harry's lips, tongue, and the adhesive tape, causing it to unwrap partially. Just enough for Harry to scream! HARRY BORIS IT'S ME! BORIS This should be good. Boris rips the rest of the tape from his chops. Harry flinches in pain.

98 HARRY Your name is Boris Mishken! You were born in Moscow on November eighteenth, nineteen sixty four. You named your daughter after your late wife who died of alcohol poisoning, which is why you left Russia! Boris is at a loss for words. He tilts the chair back upright on all four legs, staring eye level, seriously, at Harry. BORIS There are only a few people that would know this. And Joe is not one of them. Who are you? INT. HARRY GOLDSMAN'S PERSONAL OFFICE - NIGHT Joe slaves in front of the computer monitor; Keys clanking one after the other are all to be heard, until the phone rings. Joe yanks up the receiver, happy for a distraction. JOE Harry Goldsman, the one man wrecking team, you're on the mic, what's your news? BORIS (O.S) If you ever want to see your wife Mary alive again, meet us at your place. JOE WhoThe signal goes dead. EXT. GOLDSMAN INTERNATION INC - NIGHT Joe bursts out of the front door, jittery. JOE (NARRATION) Here comes the adrenaline. That glorious fight or flight instinct. In the past, I would have always chose flight. But not tonight. Tonight I was Harry Goldsman. Tonight I had to fight. INT. CORVETTE

98 Joe's fingers turn the keys in the ignition carelessly. The V-8 Growls to life. Joe idles in the driver's seat, panic stricken. He contemplates the situation for a moment, before angrily striking the steering wheel with a tightly closed fist. The horn honks, covering up Joe screaming a four letter word. It doesn't take a lip reader to understand which one. EXT. JOE KING'S APARTMENT The corvette rolls into sight slowly. He's lean on the gas. The low rumbling from coasting draws minimal attention. He hobbles into a parking spot in the rear of the lot. The engine dies. INT. CORVETTE Joe King, distraught. A cigarette dangles from the edge of his lips. A lighter sparks to life. The tobacco ignites. He inhales. And inhales. And inhales. Until the cherry is hugging the fiberglass butt. Joe flips open a cellular phone. He pulls a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket and reads it. He dials a number into the keypad. It rings. EXT. JOE KING'S FRONT DOOR Joe stares at it. As dark as it is, we can barely discern his facial expression. But his body language is all we need to understand his mood. He is nervous. He leans towards the door knob. A moment. He breathes heavily before grudgingly grasping the door handle tightly with his right hand. Would crush it if he could. Sweat trickles from his fingers. He turns it. INT. JOE KING'S APARTMENT CREAK! The door sways open. Inside seems vacant. No movement in sight. A three bulb tripod lamp gives us a faint view of a shitty photon in the center of the pale carpeted room, and only the shitty photon. Aside from it, the room is bare. Joe readies himself for something. Anything. He takes one step insideBORIS The weapon. At your feet. Joe puts his hands in the air.

98 JOE KING I'm unarmed. Boris emerges from behind the door. He motions with is head off-screen. Jeff comes into view. He pats Joe down. JEFF MANNINGS He's clean. The door slams closed. Jeff fetches the light stand, and rests it in front of the door. Joe's eyes run a sweep across the room. Attentive. Alert, expecting all of the possibilities. But his adversaries have done all they can to make the living room as empty as possible. Boris is satisfied of Joe's inability to harm them. BORIS Bring him back. INT. JOE KING'S APARTMENT, HALLWAY Boris and Jeff Manning's, deathly serious, side by side, marching slowly, accompanying Joe into the back bedroom, where they all feast their eyes upon Harry Goldsman, double handcuffed to a chair, but no longer silenced by duct tape. His mouth is pink, pressed together in a tight line. A blind man could tell he wasn't happy. He glares back at Joe. Surrounding him, aside from Boris and Jeff are Mary, bound and gagged in the corner, and a pile of used duct tape and bent paperclips. JOE KING When's the after-party? BORIS Cut the bullshit. Where are the keys? Mary's head shakes in Joe's general direction. Joe acknowledges her presence with a wave. JOE KING Hi honey. She mouths the same four letter word Joe did earlier, followed by another three letter word. You get the idea.

98 BORIS Keys. Boris opens his fist, serious. JOE KING I don't have them. How did you find me? JEFF MANNINGS Harry's wife never was in Cancun you dumbshit, she was in Hawaii. I was testing my instincts. And they proved to be correct. Right then I knew you weren't Harry. Harry is immediately caught off guard. HARRY GOLDSMAN How do you know she was in Hawaii? JEFF MANNINGS (HESITANT) She told me? HARRY GOLDSMAN I see. And this explains why you've been sneaking away for a little vacation every other weekend in Hawaii? When were you going to tell me? Jeff sighs. He knows he's caught. Joe wishes he had popcorn. JOE KING Yes Jeff, when were you going to tell him? JEFF MANNINGS I didn't want you to find out this way. And for that, I apologize. Honestly, I'm sorry Harry. But I'm not going to lie to you. I'm going to be big about it. I am having an affair with your wife, but it's all at her discretion! She has wanted me since college. With all due respect, you gave us the go ahead by separating with her last month. HARRY GOLDSMAN Let me at him.

98 Harry wriggles towards him. Jeff backs off, intimidated. JOE KING As much as I want to let you kill this sleaze bag, I can't. Remember, I don't have the keys. JEFF MANNINGS Just now I could have lied to you, but I didn't, I told you the truth, and I think that deserves a little mercy! A toilet flushes. Christine enters the room, brushing herself off. CHRISTINE You always were a coward Joe. Stop fucking around with everyone and get this over with. JOE KING Christine? CHRISTINE Hollywood diva, in the flesh. JOE KING But I buried your corpse in a lake! CHRISTINE How very thoughtful of you. HARRY GOLDSMAN I have a confession to make. JOE KING I can't wait to hear this. HARRY GOLDSMAN I might have faked her death. JOE KING How very thoughtful of YOU! HARRY GOLDSMAN Believe me, if I had known it would have come to this, I would have just let your script go the way it was, however awful it might have been.

98 JOE KING Now wait just one fucking second! My screenplay was ten times better then that hacks attempt at an adaptation. And how the hell did you manage to fake her death? I felt the body. It was stale. And anatomically correct! It's impossible. HARRY GOLDSMAN This is Hollywood kid, anything's possible. You work around here long enough and sooner or later a special effects artist will owe you a favor to recreate a latex duplication of a female body. And with one look at Christine and some Star Trek memorabilia at stake, they'll do a better job then when you pay them. JOE KING What about the sex? I fucked her brains out the night before. You couldn't have fabricated that memory. CHRISTINE And I'm not going to lie. It was spectacular. But the moment your drunk ass passed out, I was replaced with my double. Now, as much as I want to believe you when you tell us that you don't have the keys, oh, who am I kidding? I don't want to believe you at all. In fact, you were always a terrible liar. The only reason I ever listened to a single word that came from your blabbering mouth is because Harry needed my help. So now that I have completely shattered your ego, I beseech you, can we have the god damned keys so we can get this over with? I have to get up early. JOE KING Have another Hollywood mogul eagerly awaiting a blow job? CHRISTINE Harry got me a botex injection appointment with doctor Lamont,

98 thank you very much. And they're a bitch to reschedule. JOE KING How very charming. CHRISTINE I'm not the one who took home a bar fly at the first instance of attraction. If anyone's actions are objectionable, it's yours. JOE KING My favorite author Died. Even though I'm a writer, doesn't that justify me to have just a few feelings? And another thing, sending the cops after someone and letting them think you are fucking dead and could have possibly been killed by you is a very cruel and heartless thing to do! HARRY GOLDSMAN We never had any intention of getting you in trouble, we just wanted to scare you enough to leave and never want to come back. We figured because you were a drunk you would be easy to get to give up and fold your cards. We weren't expecting you to fucking kidnap me! I swear if you had put half as much effort as you did with this entire episode with your little writing career you could have been running this town legitimately. JOE KING That's reassuring coming from you, dickwad. So Graham Samuels wasn't a real cop then either? lemme guess an actor? HARRY GOLDSMAN Actually a screenwriter. He has some good stuff, you should read it sometime.

98 CHRISTINE I think he has potential as an actor too, could be the next Bruce Campbell. JOE KING You guys are unbelieveable. HARRY GOLDSMAN Children, before you start throwing fists, pretty please, with a cherry on top, may I have the fucking keys to these cuffs? I think I am remaining quite calm considering the situation. Joe paces frantically, deep in thought, his index finger jumping in front of his face every time he opens his mouth. JOE KING If the body wasn't real, which we have established it wasn't, than it means that I was never in danger of being arrested in the first place, ergo you have put me in a perplexed state. I don’t think self incarceration would be a wise move for me at the moment until I get my thoughts together. HARRY GOLDSMAN So you admit you know where the keys are? Joe stares at Harry irritably, mouth now shut firmer than a vault in Fort Knox. HARRY GOLDSMAN You know you already tightened the noose and jumped the minute you took me hostage. Either way, the game is up. You've lost. JOE KING I still have the upper hand. We can still come to an agreement. So lets be rationale. And while we are on the subject of being calm and collective, don't you care one bit that that cock sucker has been sleeping with your wife?

98 Jeff sulks back from the herd. JEFF MANNINGS This isn’t about me. HARRY GOLDSMAN I could care less about my whore of a wife. Ruthan, God bless her little cotton socks, has slept with everyone in town from Carpenter to Cameron. It's not news to me. And I will deal with Benedict Arnold here later. The big conundrum currently at hand is weather or not you are going to live out the rest of your pathetic days or die here tonight in this shitty apartment. Now I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. Give me the God damned keys. JOE KING I don't know where they are. BORIS I've had enough. Boris reaches into his pants. A loaded Gsh-18 sidearm is brought into view. He presses it against Joe's right temple. Joe gulps. BORIS Where are the fucking keys? JOE KING I don't know! CREAK! SMASH! The door; the tripod light. A collection of voices emerge from the other room. Bottles clank. Boris, suspicious, turns in the direction of the commotion. Joe, eager, glances at the firearm. Desperate. Hungry. He bites his lip. He's going to go for it. Joe seizes the moment. He grabs for the gun. To his almost immediate dismay, Boris's fingers are clenched to the weapon tighter then a nun's ass. They don't budge. Without turning around, Boris backhands Joe with the side of the firearm. Joe hits the ground, hard. He rubs his face in pain. BORIS That was for my daughter.

98 INT. JOE'S APARTMENT (LIVING ROOM) The novelty store clerk fixes drinks joyfully in the kitchen. A few fellows his age prance amok in the living area. He immediately takes notice of Boris. ADOLESCENT CLERK Are you here for Joe's party? Wow. That's a pretty cool fake. I don't think I've seen a phony peace that looked that real. Where'd you get it? Boris approaches the kitchen menacingly. He stops a few inches from the kid, surveying him momentarily. He moves closer. Close enough to drool on him if he had any saliva in his trap. The clerk grows nervous. Boris raises the gun in the air, admiring it. BORIS This gun? ADOLESCENT CLERK (MORTIFIED) …Yeah. The firearm pummels downwards! CRACK! Boris STRIKES his face with the side of the gun, sending the poor chap toppling towards the sink. BORIS My uncle gave me it. He used it to kill K.G.B. UNDER THE SINK The kid crashes face first through the thin wooden cabinet doors. Boris reels back. He glances at the rest of the partygoers aggressively. BORIS Anyone else? They shake their heads innocently before scurrying off. The teen from the novelty store staggers to his feet behind Boris, terrified. ADOLESCENT CLERK This was under your sink. I'm sorry.

98 He hands Boris the keys loosely wrapped in tape before scampering off. Boris turns to Joe, whom gulps, now observing from the hallway, knows he's subjugated, and grins. BORIS You failed. JOE KING Epically. INT. JOE'S APARTMENT (BEDROOM) Boris frees Harry from his restraints. Harry rises slowly, massaging his swollen red wrists. Joe steps up to him timidly, the beleaguered expression on his face is at odds with the light, anti-hostile tone of his voice. JOE KING I could have done something great. I just needed to prove myself. And no one seemed to want to give me a chance. So I had to take it. Tell me, is that so wrong? To want to do what you were born to do? HARRY GOLDSMAN Fate is a strange thing. But it's not something that can be created. If you have to force it, then it wasn't meant to be. Harry turns to Christine. HARRY GOLDSMAN You two scram. Go buy the dame some dinner or something. Christine unties Mary. Mary hops to her feet. Joe beckons for her pathetically. JOE KING Honey, wait. She doesn't bother making eye contact with him.

98 MARY KING When I told you I never wanted to talk to you again ten years ago, I meant it. Mary storms off, fuming. Christine glances alluringly at Joe briefly on the way out. When he takes notice, she snaps her neck forward coyly, smiling. She knows she still has it. Harry steps up to Joe, outstretching his hand, like a bum on Skid Row. HARRY GOLDSMAN Keys. Joe reluctantly places Harry's key ring into his open fist. He doesn't let the separate keys to the corvette see fresh air. In his pocket they stay. HARRY GOLDSMAN Wallet. Joe sets his wallet on top of it. Joe glances up at him smugly. HARRY GOLDSMAN My wallet. Joe unenthusiastically swaps his imitation leather wallet with Harry's fine name-brand snakeskin one. Joe rocks in place uncomfortably. JOE KING Well. I guess that’s that then. Seeing as how, because of me, you are now the hottest commodity in Hollywood, maybe I could give you some more ideas. Harry yawns. JOE KING I had a script in mind. I could even ghost write it. Harry Goldsman stares at him, the look of a man ready to strangle every last breath from his body. HARRY GOLDSMAN Yawn.

98 JOE KING I don't care about notoriety. I just want to work. I need this Harry. I need it. HARRY GOLDSMAN I say yawn, because when I actually yawned you didn't understand that I don't want to have a conversation with you. JOE KING Didn't think so. Was worth a shot. Can't blame me for trying. Harry Goldsman stares him down. Lowered head. Beady eyes. The menacing Kubrick glance. HARRY GOLDSMAN Don't you understand? I am genuinely dedicated to your destruction. Now get the fuck out of here. JOE KING I'm going. He doesn't go. They share an uncomfortable pause. Harry rolls his eyes and glares at Joe, annoyed. HARRY GOLDSMAN I'm from Missouri, show me. Joe King returns Harry's glare. JOE KING I'm from L.A. Blow me. Joe King turns away from the room. He marches off into the distance, and he doesn't look back. INT. CORVETTE - NIGHT Joe boards the vehicle, pausing to take a long look at the shadows emitting from the living room of his old apartment. He soaks up the moment. He slams the door, starts the car, and drives off. EXT. SUNSET BLVD The vette yanks to the left, headed for a dilapidated watering hole on the side of the road.

98 INT. CORVETTE Joe stops the car swiftly. He opens the door, and tosses the keys onto the seat. He doesn't bother locking the doors. INT. WATERING HOLE A broken-down tavern. Hasn't been cleaned in ages. Some old winos. The ball game running on a small t.v monitor by the mirrored rack of booze. Joe impatiently rocks back and forth at the end of the ancient maple wood bar counter, painfully awaiting the approaching bar-tender. TENDER What'll be, el jonsey? JOE KING A whiskey bottle big enough for me to climb in and I won't have to come out. TENDER Don't know if they make 'em that big to physically crawl inside, but I got one that will sure as hell keep your mind from ever thinking about where 'ya are. JOE KING You are a godsend. He slams a 1.75 liter bottle of bourbon in front of Joe, carefully followed by a tumbler full of ice. Joe shoves the glass aside, and opens the bottle. He starts to drink from it. And drink. And drink. James Gang's "Ashes, the rain, and I" beautifully crescendos into an audible melody, as the images we see in front of us fade away. INT. CLUB BATHROOM - NIGHT A spacious, overly white-tiled restroom. Lots of paper towels for the rolls, but not a lot of glass on the shattered wall mirror, not enough for anyone to see themselves, especially anyone who is intoxicated. Christine topples in, swaying for a stall. She is pale, looks like shit. After finding a few unhappy guests currently occupying the booths for sexual or drug related scenarios, she hits one that is currently not in use. She hugs the porcelain. And spews.

98 JOE (NARRATION) Eventually, Christine's drinking caught up with her. One night before her girlfriends took her clubbing; Christine swallowed half of a bottle of chill pills in a green room. The toxology report later showed them to be valium. And after seven glasses of pino, you know it's not a good idea to be swallowing them. But, being Christine, no one was going to tell her what to do. Hindsight's always twenty-twenty. Christine's face falls into the toilet bowl. Moments pass, and no one bothers to wake her. EXT. RECORDING STUDIO - NIGHT A concrete jungle in Beverly Hills. Overpriced automobiles clutter the sides of a newly paved street. On one side of the street stands a towering pale-brick office building decked with an aluminum and neon awning. A decorative LP record replica protrudes from it, a flashy logo scribbled across it. Jeff Mannings, a bit tired, guard down, emerges from the front door, keys jingling between his fingers. JOE (NARRATION) One of the underground hip hop singers that had signed with Jeff because of his involvement with Harry turned out to be one of the ringleaders of one of L.A.'s biggest gangs. And although he produced a hit album with him, Jeff was unable to spend any of the money, due to unforeseen complications. A Cadillac sport utility vehicle rolls by the side of the building. Gunfire spits out from behind tinted windows onto the pavement, and eventually through Jeff and his protégé. INT. ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS CEREMONY - DUSK The bigguns present Harry with the infamous golden statue on stage. I would like to think it is Keitel or Russell, but being realistic, let's say its Jolie and Hanks. JOE (NARRATION) Harry never changed a single thing about the project after all. And he

98 ended up earning his first academy award for my work. Of course no one ever found out about my involvement, and because my work caused stocks to sky rocket, he returned to his old capitalist ways. After a string of over funded recycled Hollywood remakes and popcorn fare, he was coined the biggest douche in town. A NEWSPAPER A particular headline: Music mogul gunned down in gang related slaying. RUTHAN She scrunches the newspaper, quite upset. RUTHAN In her car, driving carelessly, a glass of wine in one hand, the bottle corked and rolling across the front seat. INT. HARRY GOLDSMAN'S HOUSE Ruthan searches about, sucking on a bottle of wine. RUTHAN Harry!? INT. HARRY GOLDSMAN'S HOUSE, MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT Ruthan, in an angry stupor, stumbles into the bedroom. The sight she witnesses immediately initiates a scream deep from her lungs, resulting in an involuntary hand spasm. Her bottle of merlot sinks to the floor and breaks upon impact. Harry's corpse is sprawled across the bed, a half empty bottle of whiskey and a nine millimeter beside him, the clip containing seven unused bullets. His plasma delicately coats the silk comforter underneath him. JOE (NARRATION) He put a bullet in his head shortly thereafter. INT. KITCHEN Ruthan staggers in, shocked. Looks like she's seen a ghost. And, she very while might have.

98 JOE (NARRATION) And the domino effect continued with Ruthan. Even when the bastard was dead his friend's and foe's jealousy and nepotism carried on. Ruthan closes her eyes and swallows the barrel of the gun. BLAM! A shot is fired. INT. OSHADEY'S PUB - NIGHT The atmosphere is complete calmness, a derelict gathering of mediocrity-bound barflies. In the center of the apathetic crowd lies a far from sober JOE, the entire room focused on him, now deep in conversation. Joe opens up a pack of smokes and fires one up. He offers the listeners next to him one, but they shake their heads in disapproval. JOE So why don't you smoke Carl? Carl is your stereotypical redneck. CARL I don't find it pleasant. JOE That says a lot about you Carl. JOE takes a long drag from his cigarette. He stares blankly at the cherry. JOE See, life is a whole lot like a cigarette. You can choose not to smoke it, and your life will last long, but you won't have any fun. If you choose to light it, your life burns faster, but at least you have a good time. And when it comes down to it, isn't that what it's all about? Having fun, Living fast, dying young, and leaving a beautiful corpse? JOE drags off of his cigarette again.

98 CARL I'm not sure. But that sure is deep Joe. JOE That's what they first said about Madonna's cooter when it arrived in Los Angeles. CARL Even so, it's interesting. Why don't you work in the movies anymore? JOE There's nothing left for me in the business. Nobody needs a worthless drunk anymore. They've already got a David Hasselhoff. CARL My father once told me when you won't do what you know how to, then you won't know what to do. And seeing as how that applies to me with being an electrician and all, I figured maybe it might apply to you. Joe finishes off his vodka tonic. We think he may, but he doesn't speak another word. JOE (NARRATION) So, aside from cirrhosis, I wasn't going to die. But would you have really listened to my story if I had told you that I was weren't? You have to admit, that hook was mildly intriguing. It made you read my story. And in the end, isn't that what a writer is supposed to do? I went up against Hollywood twice, and they won both times. But that's how it is. As bogey would say, one in, one out. INT. MOVIE THEATRE Victor Lazlo questions Illsa in their motel room. Joe watches in admiration.

98 JOE (NARRATION) And that brings me to this old movie house where I wallow about the past whilst watching Casablanca. But as I sit here, thinking about what happened, I realize that the only real way to avoid failure is to do nothing, say nothing, or be nothing. So that's exactly what I did, or didn't do for that matter. Up until right now. And that's when I realized it. Just from telling you my pathetic story. Life doesn't go by. Life goes ON. And it always will. You can choose to sit and sulk, and let you're life waste away, like I had for almost an entire year, or you can accept the truth. You are born, and then you die. You have to choose how you want to spend your time. And that's exactly what I'm going to do. By God I'm going to do something. Joe takes a long drag from his cigarette and leaps up from his chair. CONCERNED MOVIE GOER Down in front! Joe flicks his butt at the man. It sparks across his face. EXT. MOVIE THEATRE Joe SHOVES open the large doors to the movie house, now rejuvenated. CONCERNED MOVIE GOER comes running up behind him, furious. Joe lets go of the doors just as he reaches them, a coy smirk on his face. The doors SLAM shut onto the cinema patron, knocking him to the ground. JOE (NARRATION) After a fantastic moment of clarity, I had built up enough courage to do what I should have done from the beginning. Letting Hollywood win wasn't the answer. Hiding from my past and my career was out of the question. No, what I needed to do was so clear at that moment that no amount of alcohol could taint it. I had to kill Hollywood. How does one

98 kill Hollywood you ask? Simple. Very carefully. Joe marches to a payphone, flinging change into it faster then William Shatner's limbs spasm. JOE I'm coming for you. That's right. I have a typewriter loaded with ink and I'm not afraid to use it. Who am I? I am Joe King. INT. HOLLYWOOD PRODUCTION OFFICE A secretary's desk. A pretty receptionist slams a receiver down, like it happens all the time. BYSTANDER Who was that? SECERETARY Prank Call. A TABLE Joe King sitting at it, wide eyed, sweat soaked, sucking down a cigarette and pecking vigorously on A TYPEWRITER Fingers sporadically punch against the keys. The typebars pound ink upon virgin paper. They start to form coherent sentences: It hurts to succumb to the decadence of defeat. But it's cheap. It's easy. It's a way out. We all know things will and most of the time do fall apart. But to be a slave of it is sinful. Why not fight it? If you don't, then what else is there to live for? FADE OUT: THE END

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