©

WOLF TIME
By

Dick Croy

9413 Southgate Dr.
Cincinnati, OH 45241
(513) 600-4042
wordandimage@fuse.net

WOLF TIME

1

WOLF-TIME
FADE IN:
EXT. SUNSET - SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BEACH
ESTHER ROTH, an athletic psychotherapist in her mid-30s,
is body surfing. She catches a wave, rides it in
skillfully before scrambling from the water to dry her
lithe bikini-clad body. Exhilarated, brushing her hair,
she eyes the waves with fulfillment. They glow red in the
sunset, leaving the slick sand crimson behind them.
A young couple jog past with a great dane and yorkie. She
laughs at the small dog's determined effort to keep up
with the others. Her face has known both great joy and
pain. She shoulders the cloth bag with her beach things
and strolls along the water's edge. Hearing footsteps
behind her, she turns to smile, which freezes.
She confronts a MAN, six feet, 200 lbs., well-muscled,
with a black hood over his face in a hooded windbreaker.
In his upraised hand, is a knife. He lunges at her, and
everything goes BLACK. Loud but distorted SOUNDS which we
identify as ferocious snarling GROWLS.
MAN – POV ESTHER
from the ground, her legs flailing at him in SLOW MOTION.

WOLF TIME

2

BACK TO SCENE
Esther is on her back in the sand, pivoting on her
shoulder. The deep savage growls are hers.
Taken aback, the man circles cautiously, feints with the
knife, eliciting even more-vicious growls and intense
thrashing of her legs. He looks around uncertainly.
Retracting the blade, he lopes away, thrusting the hood
into a pocket of his windbreaker.
Esther's growls turn to panting. She sits up, sees she is
alone. Looking around fearfully, she struggles to her
feet and walks, faster and faster until she is running.
INT. NIGHT - ESTHER'S CONDO
She enters a smartly decorated foyer dazed, breathless,
turns on the lights, hurriedly locks the door behind her.
Overwhelmed by fatigue, she staggers into her...
BEDROOM
...where she turns on the light, sits down at a dressing
table and gazes long and hard into the mirror over it.
She picks up the receiver to a portable phone but punches
just two or three numbers before replacing it.
INT. NIGHT - CONDO
It’s a windy night and the branches of a tree beside her
bedroom window scratch at the glass. She wakes in terror
with short fast breaths. She opens the window, looking
out over Santa Monica Canyon as if it's all new to her.
Her apartment is on the second floor; she leaves the
window open to avoid hearing the scraping branches.
Now a rattling SOUND, which she traces to the hollow-core
sliding doors of a walk-in closet in her spare bedroom;
the wind is making them swing freely. She starts to open
them but hesitates. Disgusted with herself, she slides
them back into the wall and returns to bed.

WOLF TIME

3

INT. MORNING - CONDO
Esther wakes with a start at dawn, showers, dresses –
eyeing herself warily in the mirror – then, from her
office-library, takes these books from the shelves:
INSERT - BOOKS
from what appears to be a complete set of Jung’s works,
the illustrated Man and his Symbols and The Archetypes in
the Collective Unconscious; also Joseph Campbell's Myths,
Dreams and Religions.
INT. - ATRIUM
She leafs through the books while breakfasting in a
glade-like glassed-in room off her kitchen. Her condo's
architecture and decor attest to a substantial income and
sensitive eye: hardwood, natural brick, tile, Southwest
colors, lots of plants. An AUDIO COLLAGE, flute over
nature sounds, plays on her sound system.
EXT. DAY - PSYCHIATRIC CLINIC
Esther parks her Lexus, unlocks a rear door and enters.
INT. - CLINIC
She walks down a hallway to a reception area in front,
where she checks in with JUDY WILLIAMS, an attractive
grad student who assists Esther and her partner.
JUDY
Good morning!
ESTHER
Hi, Judy, is Dr. Foley in yet?
JUDY
Dokh-tor Foley? Ja, he iss in.

WOLF TIME

4
ESTHER
(distractedly, walking away)
I...didn't mean to sound so formal.

INT. - DR. DANIEL FOLEY'S OFFICE
Esther enters, sits down facing his worktable. Leaning
back in his chair, dictating, Foley is tall, handsome,
conservatively-dressed and gay. He smiles warmly.
FOLEY
...In my opinion, the prescribed
drugs are contra-indicated by the
patient's symptoms and should be
replaced by the dietary supplements
that Dr. Roth recommends.
(to Esther)
What's up?
ESTHER
...I was almost raped last night. Or
murdered – I'm not sure which.
FOLEY
What? Where? What happened?
ESTHER
The state beach, where I swim. Some
maniac, with a hood over his face.
And a knife...
Shuddering, she indicates its length with her hands, then
raises a hand to shield her eyes. Foley kneels in front
of her, an arm around her shoulders, comforting her.
FOLEY
Jesus, Esther – I'm sorry, baby!
Are you okay?
ESTHER
(deep sigh)
I'm all right. It happened. It's
over. The oddest thing, Dan, is how
I responded.

WOLF TIME

5

FOLEY
What do you mean?
ESTHER
It was all instinctual, completely
unconscious, I wasn't aware of doing
anything. Then I'm on the ground,
kicking at him, the most primitive
sounds I've ever heard, coming from
me. Vicious, savage growling. I
couldn't make those sounds if I tried
– yet they probably saved my life.
FOLEY
Growling? You mean like a...
ESTHER
Like a dog, a wolf. Deep, from way down.
(gesturing to abdomen)
FOLEY
And you've never experienced anything
like this before?
ESTHER
Never imagined a human being could make
such sounds. Not in this day and age.
FOLEY
How did he react?
ESTHER
It scared him away. He was going to
use that knife.
FOLEY
(standing)
...Have you reported it to the police?
ESTHER
I wanted to talk to you first.
FOLEY
What about David, what's he have to
say?

WOLF TIME

6

ESTHER
He's not here, he flew to Denver
yesterday. I started to call him, but
what can he do, besides jeopardizing
whatever this month's big business
deal is?
FOLEY
Are you kidding? He'd want to know,
I would!
ESTHER
(smiling wanly)
I know you would.
FOLEY
...Do you want me to go with you? I
can cancel this morning's sessions.
ESTHER
Thanks, Dan – I can handle it. I've
just been putting it off.
DAN
That's certainly not like you.
(sitting on table)
...You said this was all unconscious.
Do you remember throwing yourself on
the ground?
ESTHER
When I saw that knife, everything went
black.
FOLEY
It sounds like an eruption of some
kind of primal energy, in response to
a life-threatening experience....How
many women could protect themselves
if they could get in touch with the
same kind of energy?
ESTHER
I asked myself the same question –
whether I'd have reacted the same way
a year ago.

WOLF TIME

7

FOLEY
A year ago?
ESTHER
That's how long I've been in Valerie's
dance workshop. This wasn't like
anything I've seen in her studio though,
Dan. It's as if I were...possessed or
something. It's frightening, and yet,
there was something almost glorious
about it, that I keep reliving.
Something savage, beyond my control.
FOLEY
Well that's understandable. Your life
was at stake.
ESTHER
It had nothing to do with understanding.
It wasn't just a defense mechanism.
It's what human beings are supposedly
evolving away from.
FOLEY
What do you mean?
ESTHER
This was predatory, Dan. Blood lust.
I wanted to kill him.
EXT. DAY - BOARDING STABLE
PAM PUTNAM and MARY ALICE ST. CLAIR, attractive young
women in their mid-20s, are saddling horses.
MARY ALICE
When will you learn to be on time?
It's going to be dark when we get
back.
PAM
I said I was sorry. So we won't have
as much time to ride. I'm the one who
drove after all.

WOLF TIME

8
MARY ALICE
Next time I'll drive.
PAM
You got that right!

They mount and ride into the hills of Topanga Canyon.
EXT. LATE AFTERNOON - TOPANGA CANYON - MONTAGE
They’re excellent riders. It grows steadily darker.
MARY ALICE
I think we should get back. We won't
be able to see the trail in a few
minutes.
PAM
Let's just ride as far as the point.
MARY ALICE
You can. I'm going back.
PAM
Oh, Mary Alice, what a wuss! Okay,
we'll compromise: halfway – to that
grove of trees. I'll race you!
MARY ALICE
It's too dark to gallop! If you don't
care about your horse, fine, but I do!
PAM
At least ride halfway with me.
She canters away. Suddenly a hooded man bursts from the
trees beside the trail. Mary Alice screams to warn her
friend, but it's too late. Pam turns, sees him and tries
to put her horse into a gallop but is pulled screaming
from the saddle.
ATTACK - POV MARY ALICE
Pam's attacker rips off her blouse with one hand and

WOLF TIME

9

raises a knife in the other.
MARY ALICE
Disbelief turns to horror. She screams, wheels her horse
around, and flees.
INT. NIGHT - ESTHER'S CONDO
The TV is muted. A commercial featuring an allegedly
oversexed young woman who devours her lovers is hawking
shaving lotion. Esther, ready for bed, walks to the couch
where a cassette recorder, notebook and books, including
those from this morning, are strewn about. Channel 8’s
late news comes on, with Anchorwoman MEREDITH MANNING.
Esther turns the sound on with the remote.
MEREDITH MANNING
A young Woodland Hills woman was
brutally murdered earlier this
evening on a Topanga Canyon riding
trail. Pamela Putnam, a 24-year-old
computer programmer, was pulled from
her horse by a hooded assailant while
her female friend, whom police
refused to identify, watched in horror.
EXT. NIGHT - MURDER SCENE ON TV
LARRY, a young Channel 8 newsman, interviews a man in his
mid-40s, good-looking in a hard sort of way.
DET. TOM CLARK, LAPD
(identified by supered title)
She never had a chance. Apparently
the guy actually ran her down. He
came out of those trees and pulled
her off the horse right here.
LARRY
Could you describe how she was killed,
Det. Clark?

WOLF TIME

10
CLARK
With a knife – that's all I can tell
you. This guy's an animal.

BACK TO ESTHER
The TV drones on, but she's not listening. She gets up
and walks to the bedroom.
DRESSING-TABLE MIRROR
The SOUND of retching, O.S. White-faced, Esther enters,
sits down and stares at herself in shock. Her face
crumples into convulsive sobs which rack her whole body,
but they're over as suddenly as they began. A fire comes
into her eyes: a glint of something savage, ferocious.
Her drained, empty expression fills with fury; her mouth
curls into a snarl of rage.
A swift SERIES of SUPERIMPOSITIONS, in which only her
eyes remain constant, traces Esther backward through
time. In a matter of seconds the image in the mirror is
more beast than woman. A bestial growl escapes from her
throat, as startling to her as it is to us. We can see
the division in her clearly: a primitive savage side, and
the conventional civilized persona reacting in alarm to
this intrusion. It is the persona's fear that wins out.
BEDROOM
Shivering, Esther undresses and crawls into bed, curling
into fetal position beneath the covers.
INT. DAY - FOLEY'S OFFICE
He sits at his worktable. Esther paces, with coffee.
FOLEY
When you say you "willed" it this
time? You made it happen?

WOLF TIME

11
ESTHER
I actually called it up. I didn't
think I could do it.
FOLEY
How?
ESTHER
In the mirror. It was like looking
into a...lengthening tunnel, into
my past.
FOLEY
How far into your past?
ESTHER
...I don’t know - thousands of years.
FOLEY
That's...fascinating.
ESTHER
(shuddering)
It was terrifying....What do you think
they'll do to him, Dan?
FOLEY
The killer? Don't concern yourself
with that.
ESTHER
You think it doesn't make a difference?
FOLEY
Of course it does. I'm just saying
that, for now, the best thing you can
do is to take care of yourself. Forget
about him – let the law do its job.
You've got your own life to be
concerned with.
ESTHER
That's what he tried to take from me,
Dan. And now he's taken someone else's.
I can't put that out of my mind.

WOLF TIME

12
FOLEY
Don't waste your energy trying. But
don't dwell on it either. Bernard
Krongold: wasn't he your analyst at
the Jungian Institute?
(she nods)
Why don't you make an appointment
with him?

She nods, unable to speak.
INT. DAY - CLINIC
Det. Clark enters and shows his badge to Judy; there's
some mutual attraction here.
CLARK
Det. Clark, LAPD. Dr. Roth is expecting
me.
JUDY
She is. Go on back – first office on
your right. I'll tell her you're here.
ESTHER'S OFFICE
More artistically and comfortably decorated than Foley's:
fish in a large tank, plants, wall hangings including
some magnificent macramé work, and a collection of native
musical instruments featuring a variety of drums in a
corner beside a pile of pillows. Two stylish wing chairs
at the end of the room. Esther is typing on her computer.
ESTHER
Have a seat – Detective Clark?
CLARK
Either that or Lieutenant, Doctor.
He sits facing her desk; she finishes and turns to him.
CLARK
Interesting office. You're a
psychiatrist?

WOLF TIME

13
ESTHER
Yes. And you're...I saw you on
television last night. You're involved
in the murder of the Woodland Hills
woman.
CLARK
The investigation of it. Tell me
about the experience you had.
ESTHER
...I was walking on the beach, at
Malibu Lagoon, two nights ago. I heard
someone behind me, and turned around...
(regains her composure)
...I turned around, and this big man,
very muscular, with a black hood over
his face, was standing there. With a
knife in his hand.
CLARK
What happened?
ESTHER
The next thing I knew, I was on the
ground, kicking up at him and...
CLARK
And what?
ESTHER
Just...kicking. It scared him away.
CLARK
What makes you think this is the same
guy?
ESTHER
The hood, the knife. The same general
area.
CLARK
The guy that killed this girl meant
business. He outran her horse!

WOLF TIME

14
ESTHER
You think he didn't mean "business"
with me, Lieutenant? Because I got away?
CLARK
I didn't say that.
ESTHER
Do you think a man walking around with
a hood on his face and a knife a foot
long is just playing games? He wasn't
trick-or-treating, Lieutenant!
CLARK
I don't doubt for a minute that you
were threatened, Dr. Roth, believe me.

He opens a folder, takes a pen from his coat pocket.
CLARK (cont'd)
Tell me everything you can remember.
ESTHER
First tell me one thing, Lieutenant.
Where in Topanga was she attacked?
CLARK
I can't tell you that. Why do you want
to know?
ESTHER
I have my reasons. Please, I'll find
out anyway, but you can save me a lot
of time.
His look tells us she's just become a real person to him,
not just the subject of a report.
EXT. DAY - BOARDING STABLES
Esther gets out of her car, glances around the stable
area, sees an instructor and students starting out on a
trail-ride. She walks over to a young CHICANO, early 20s,
feeding horses in a corral.

WOLF TIME

15
ESTHER
Excuse me, how can I rent a horse?
YOUNG MAN
Sorry, this ain't no rental stable.
ESTHER
I know it's not, I have friends who
board here. But you have horses owned
by the stable too, don't you?
YOUNG MAN
They're for trail-rides. Last one just
left.
ESTHER
Then be nice and let me rent one for
an hour.

Glancing around discreetly, she takes a twenty from her
handbag.
ESTHER (cont'd)
We can make it just between the two
of us, or I'll be glad to talk to the
manager.
YOUNG MAN
That won't be necessary – if you'll
leave me your car keys.
ESTHER
My car keys?
YOUNG MAN
Puts another light on it, no? All you
got to lose is your car – I could lose
my job. Things is tense around here.
ESTHER
All right, it's a deal. Will you help
me saddle it?
EXT DAY - RIDING TRAIL
A MONTAGE reveals Esther's competent horsemanship as she

WOLF TIME

16

rides into the hills, and wildlife: rattlesnake, coyote,
hawk with a rabbit hanging in its talons. Watchfulness
becomes urgency as she approaches, with no rational way
of knowing it, the murder site. The horse, which until
now has been well-behaved, becomes skittish.
Esther is breathing heavily now, almost panting. The
horse whinnies and rears. She stays on its back, but all
semblance not only of horsemanship but of her very
personality are gone. When the horse's hooves hit the
ground she slides from its back as if barely aware it's
beneath her, so strongly is her attention drawn to
something O.S. Running, sliding, she descends the steep
side of the winding ridge the trail is following, her
forced breathing audible as soft animal-sounding moans.
Esther runs to the spot where Pam was pulled from her
horse, an expression of pain and savagery on her face.
She drops to her knees and smells the ground, snarling.
Then she looks up, sniffing the air. She follows a
random course to the trees where the murderer was hidden.
THE TREES
Beneath leaves she finds a man's leather driving glove.
She holds it to her nose and utters a deep vicious growl.
INT. DAY - TELEVISION STUDIO
Channel 8's Meredith Manning and her co-anchor BYRON
STEWART, a clone of telecom grads everywhere, argue on
the News-8 set with beefy News Chief BURT KENNEDY.
KENNEDY
There's a place for editorials on
News-8, and it's not segued in with
traffic accidents, drug busts and the
corruption-of-the-week story. That's
NAB and FCC policy, as well as ours!
MEREDITH
So where's the station editorial, Burt?
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

17
MEREDITH (CONT’D)
I haven't seen one on the broadcast
schedule. No one else around here seems
to think this is important enough to
speak out on.
STEWART
I think she's right, Chief. A one-time
thing isn't going to get us in any
trouble.
KENNEDY
That isn't the point. Either we have a
policy on editorials or we don't.
Besides, you're treating this like the
guy's the next Hillside Strangler.
MEREDITH
I'd like to see that he doesn't get
the chance!

INT. - CONTROL ROOM
Station Manager ALEX CRUM, a 3-piece suit with dead eyes,
is annoyed, watching the clock count down to 6 p.m.
CRUM
(over loudspeaker)
Burt, get the hell off the set and let
the makeup people in there, will you?
We're on in three minutes.
STUDIO
A young MAKEUP WOMAN applies her palette of make-believe.
MEREDITH
(palming her lav mike)
Thanks for taking my side, Stew.
STEWART
(doing the same)
Sure. Tell you the truth, though, I
do think it's pretty inflammatory.

WOLF TIME

18
MEREDITH
What if it is? If it wakes people up,
all the better. Or are we going to wait
till this one gets to double figures?
STEWART
Hey, I'm glad you're taking a stance.
I'd like to see us blow the networks out.
It's just...
MEREDITH
Just what, Stew?
STEWART
Maybe if you toned it down a little. I
think we're gonna take some flak.
MEREDITH
How else are we going to get people off
their ass? Wasting women is a national
sport!

ANOTHER ANGLE - LATER
Meredith's diatribe continues but now as part of her
broadcast editorial.
MEREDITH (cont'd)
Hollywood thrives on it. What kind of
mentality makes this possible? What
kind of society turns murder and sexual
mutilation into million-dollar grosses?
CONTROL ROOM
MEREDITH (on monitor)
Part of the answer is, the same society
that allows real-life murderers and
rapists to plea-bargain their way to
inexcusably lenient sentences. When
they're not back inour midst in five
to ten years, the sick people they've
influenced are. Inspired not only by
their horrible and sickening crimes
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

19
MEREDITH (CONT’D)
but by their notoriety, and their
immunity from society's retribution
as well.
KENNEDY
You see why you can't just give
reporters the freedom to editorialize?
You think that won't get the local ACLU
up in arms?
CRUM
So what? I think she's got something to
say.
KENNEDY
But it isn't news, Alex, it's opinion.
Hers.
CRUM
I don't give a damn if it's "objective
journalism" or not, if she reaches people.
Let's see what the numbers say.
KENNEDY
I see – outrage over objectivity, huh?
CRUM
No, rat- [starts to say “ratings”]
– responsiveness. That's a TV station's
real responsibility to its viewers,
isn't it?
KENNEDY
Alex, “responsiveness” is
responsibility's idiot brother.
CRUM
Listen, my job is to get this station
on its feet. And my gut feeling is,
there's a place for commentary like
this. But what I think, and what you
think, don't mean shit. What counts is
what our viewers think. Try to remember
that, will you?

WOLF TIME

20

EXT. EARLY EVENING - EXPENSIVE HOME
Still daylight in San Marino, the hazy San Gabriel
Mountains behind fortress-like homes set well back from
curving palm-lined streets. Esther parks in the driveway
beside an immaculate lawn and walks to a rear door of a
stone mansion. A discreet metal sign: "PLEASE RING BELL
AND ENTER". She does and lets herself into a small...
INT. WAITING ROOM
She sits down uneasily, picks up a magazine, puts it
down. A door opens. Elderly DR. BERNARD KRONGOLD enters
looking benign, rumpled and wise. He embraces her.
KRONGOLD
(with much feeling)
Ess-ther...come in, dear – it's been a
long time. Come tell me what the
problem is.
INT. - KRONGOLD'S "SANCTUM"
Esther is settled in a recliner chair in the darkened
room. Krongold taps a forefinger against his temple.
KRONGOLD
You know, the memory's not what it
used to be, so I think it would be
best to put our many earlier meetings
from your mind entirely. You've never
told me anything about your past at
all – agreed?
Esther murmurs agreement. Krongold continues in a
mesmerizing tone of voice.
KRONGOLD (cont'd)
Good...so now we're in your bedroom,
after this...experience on the beach,
and you're gazing into the mirror,
into your past, into that dark chamber
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

21
KRONGOLD (CONT’D)
with its many rooms and corridors...and
now we're going to open one of those
closed doors to your past...
DISSOLVE TO:

MONTAGE FROM ESTHER'S PAST
Dreamlike scenes of Esther and her father. Colored by
memory, they are somehow heart-breaking even though,
superficially, nothing very damaging seems to be
happening. MR. ROTH, a suave, elegantly dressed man who
carries himself with aloof disdain for everything and
everyone around him, is your typical cold, self-absorbed,
egomaniacal success in life.
KRONGOLD (cont'd V.O.)
So many doorways to the experiences that
have shaped us. You enter and look around
...for someone or something that may tell
us what is making you so anxious. Is it
the attack itself, or something in you,
something in your past...something or
someone in the room you have just
entered?
ESTHER (V.O.)
I want...it's my father, I want to tell
him I'm afraid. But I can't.
KRONGOLD (V.O.)
Because he's deceased?
BACK TO KRONGOLD'S OFFICE
ESTHER
No, this is when he was still alive,
when I was a child. I want to tell him
about what happened on the beach, but
I'm still a child....He wouldn't have
listened then either.
KRONGOLD
You want to tell him you're afraid?

WOLF TIME

22
ESTHER
Not just of the man on the beach, but
of all that I don't know, even about
myself, especially about myself. How
can I be a psychiatrist in the 21st
Century and know so little about myself?
How can we as a civilization, a society,
take such pride in our knowledge when
there's so much we don't know – how have
we managed to delude ourselves so?

She pauses; Krongold says nothing.
ESTHER (cont'd)
I've always prided myself on how strong
I am, how much control I have over my
life. I don't have control.
KRONGOLD
Could you be over-stating the case,
Esther – that while this experience
may have shown you to have less control
over what occurs in your life than you
had perceived, you are, in fact, a
remarkably strong woman?
ESTHER
Oh, relative to most people, I suppose.
But, in a sense, the whole human race
just took a fall in my estimation. I
know that sounds grandiose or pretentious
...I don't know how to articulate what's
happened to my picture of the world, but
it's fundamentally shifted. It's like a
bad acid trip where you can't blame the
acid. (I started to say, "except this is
real"), but I don't know what real is
right now.
KRONGOLD
Is it possible that what you're
Experiencing is an opening into another
way of seeing reality – perhaps even an
expanded comprehension of it?

WOLF TIME

23
ESTHER
I keep telling myself that I'll come
through this wiser and more experienced
– that given my work, it's actually a
valuable experience to be having. But
it doesn't feel like that. It feels a
whole lot more like I'm on the verge of
a breakdown; like what I know, or
thought I knew, is...crumbling away.
KRONGOLD
But all real change makes a mess of
things, doesn't it? Temporarily.
ESTHER
This isn't just change, Doctor – except
in the way destruction is change.
KRONGOLD
Tell me more about your father. Did
you see him there in the room with you
– can you picture him now?"

BACK TO MEMORY SEQUENCE
ESTHER (V.O.)
...Yes, I can still see him....There's
such scorn on his face.
KRONGOLD (V.O.)
Are you sure it's for you – now that
you can interpret this expression from
the vantage point of all that you've
learned over the years?
ESTHER
Yes, it's for me. He tried to hide it,
probably because he considered such a
thing beneath his dignity, or because
it conflicted with his self-image as a
father, not to protect my feelings. But
it's contempt all right. I was such a
contemptible little worm in his eyes. I
hated myself for that, and then when it
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

24
ESTHER (CONT’D)
became clear what he’d done to me, I
hated him. It took me years to get
beyond that.

INT. NIGHT - RESTAURANT
The CLINK of glasses, HUM of conversation, but MUFFLED
and faint. DAVID ALBRIGHT, a virile intelligent-looking
man, late 30s/early 40's, smiles. His lips move as he
speaks, without making a sound.
WIDER ANGLE
He talks to Esther in elegant, intimate surroundings.
She appears to be barely listening.
RESTAURANT – POV ESTHER - MONTAGE
reveals the restaurant through her eyes. People move and
gesture, glasses glisten, wine and candlelight shimmer.
Laughter is musical but faint and DISTORTED. David again
says something we can't hear, then repeats himself.
DAVID
...I said, you look like you're very
far away.
ESTHER
I'm sorry. I'm trying not to be.
DAVID
I understand.
ESTHER
I'm just a little tired.
DAVID
You're not going to eat anything?
ESTHER
I'm not hungry. But, please, don't
let that affect your appetite.

WOLF TIME

25
DAVID
It won't – this filet's fantastic.

She looks longingly at the red meat on his fork.
ESTHER
...Could I have just a bite of yours?
David laughs and holds out the fork.
DAVID
Since when did you start eating meat?
ESTHER
I don't – I mean, sometimes, I do.
Lately.
She actually closes her eyes savoring the piece of steak.
DAVID
(almost gloatingly amused)
Do you want me to order you one? Or
you can have some more of mine.
ESTHER
Okay – thanks, I will.
She can hardly wait for him to cut the meat in half, then
wolfs it down. BG SOUNDS gradually FADE UP. People
eating, drinking, smoking, laughing, leering – satisfying
the body's appetites. The glimpses are disturbing.
INT./EXT. NIGHT - GLASS ELEVATOR
They descend into the lights and traffic of L.A.
EXT. NIGHT - BUSY INTERSECTION
Esther looks woozy inside David's Mercedes as it pulls
away from the intersection.
DAVID
You sure you're up to a party?

WOLF TIME

26
ESTHER
Some conversation. Maybe Valerie can
help throw some light on what's
happening to me.
DAVID
I wish you'd tell me more about what
you're going through. You know I've
never had a problem with you keeping
so much of yourself private, but I
think this is the time to open up a
little.
ESTHER
I share as much as I can with you,
David. As much as I ever have with
anyone.
DAVID
Just remember – I'm here for you.

Forcing a smile, she squeezes his hand.
INT. NIGHT – HOUSE - MONTAGE
A beautiful home above Malibu, with a view of the ocean,
the coastal mountains and the lights of the west side of
L.A. from Santa Monica to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Esther's friends, a dozen or so interesting people, rally
around her. She is surprised and touched. VALERIE and her
Brazilian husband JUAN, late 30s/early 40s, after
greeting their guests, sit down beside David and Esther.
Valerie is exotic-looking. Juan combines the appearance
of musician/composer and professor: he is both.
ESTHER
You're wonderful – all of you.
VALERIE
Will we see you tomorrow?
ESTHER
I don't think so, Val. I think it'd
be too much.

WOLF TIME

27
VALERIE
(taking her hands)
This kind of stress is what the Dance
is for.
ESTHER
I don't want to push it though, Val.
I'm just not up to it.

Foley comes over and puts his hand on her shoulder; she
smiles up at him.
ESTHER (cont'd)
I told Dan, I may owe my life to your
workshop. That's exactly why it might
be too much to take right now.
VALERIE
(nodding)
Why don't you come and see how you
feel? We won't push you, will we,
Juan?
A gentle man, he smiles and shakes his head.
ESTHER
I'll let you know tomorrow.
VALERIE
Don't isolate yourself now. You need
to act this out. We'll do a special
dance for you tomorrow.
ESTHER
(forcing a smile)
Okay.
She reaches over to stroke her hosts' cat GENEVIEVE,
curled up asleep against an arm of the sofa where she and
David are sitting. It yawns, looks up at her lazily –
then suddenly slashes her arm with its claws. Ears back,
tail fluffed out, it cowers against the back of the sofa,
growling and hissing.
VALERIE
Genevieve! What on earth's gotten
into you?

WOLF TIME

28

Even she can't pick the cat up; she shoos it away with a
pillow, and it runs from the room.
VALERIE
Esther, I'm sorry! She's never acted
that way with you.
ESTHER
I know, I thought we were friends.
VALERIE
Come on, let's put something on your
arm.
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. NIGHT - PATIO
The party has relaxed Esther, she's dropped her guard.
Wineglass in hand, she looks wan and haggard as she and
David gaze out at the moonlit ocean.
DAVID
I'm gonna get a cup of coffee, you
want anything?
ESTHER
Maybe a hug.
They embrace, he tilts her head back gently and kisses
her; they share a wordless look of mutual affection. He
exits and a moment later Juan strolls up to her.
JUAN
I've been watching you keep up this
brave front. Cats see right through
those.
ESTHER
You think she saw the craziness in me?
JUAN
Something....Valerie tells me you're
doing some kind of work with hypnotic
regression – into past lives or
something like that.

WOLF TIME

29
ESTHER
Oh no, I'm not; the whole thing sounds
preposterous. I can't take the idea of
reincarnation or past lives seriously.
But what does it mean when people seem
to be experiencing them? That's what I
want to know.
JUAN
Why is that?
ESTHER
You know, if you'd asked me that a
week ago, I'd have given you some
bullshit answer about protecting
science and the potential of the
human mind from new-age charlatans
or something like that. Now I wonder.

Juan looks at her attentively; she takes another drink.
ESTHER (cont'd)
The truth is, Juan, I think I'm
looking for an alternative to my
own personal extinction. All of a
sudden I'm afraid of dying.
Juan puts his arm around her.
JUAN
If we're made to face it, I think
we're all afraid of death. But the
death of what – the body, or the ego?
ESTHER
Well, the body of course.
JUAN
You think so? What if it's actually
the ego, who we are – or think we are?
ESTHER
I don't think most people make the
distinction. What's the difference,
as long as the fear's there?

WOLF TIME

30
JUAN
Because we know the body's going to
die. But if that's not what we're
really afraid of, then...so what?
ESTHER
And if it's really "ego death" we're
afraid of?
JUAN
Then we need to learn that we're more
than the ego – and, maybe, beyond
death. You go deeper than "Esther Roth"
don't you? Far deeper.
ESTHER
(impatiently)
In terms of the unconscious, yes, of
course, but not in any way I'm
consciously aware of.
JUAN
Maybe if you were, you'd see that what
you're really afraid of isn't dying –
but changing...leaving "Esther Roth"
behind, for someone entirely new.

Esther's response is a blank stare.
INT. NIGHT - DAVID'S CAR
As they drive home through the dark city, Esther
surreptitiously takes the man's glove she found on the
trail from her handbag and kneads it in her hand.
Something awakens in her eyes.
INT. DAY - DANCE STUDIO
A hardwood dance-floor gleams in sunlight streaming
through skylights. Floor-to-ceiling mirrors along one
wall; many plants and stacks of pillows; an area for
Juan's eclectic assortment of acoustic and electronic
instruments. He's plucking a variety of stringed
instruments now; their amplified and electronically

WOLF TIME

31

altered sounds fill the large room. Twenty or so leotardclad bodies – some beautiful to watch, others clumsy and
greatly in need of the exercise they're getting – contort
themselves to music at once primitive and futuristic.
There's no apparent order; each "dancer" acts alone, with
some movements graceful and lovely, others disturbing, a
few faces distorted by ugly grimaces. Moans, howls,
shrieks and groans punctuate the music. The dancers are
in an approximate circle, with Valerie, strong and
supple, in the middle, moving from one to the next,
offering advice, physically manipulating where necessary.
She comes to Esther, whom we notice for the first time.
Esther is "blocked": she isn't really letting herself go.
Both continue to move to the music as they talk.
VALERIE
Having trouble?
ESTHER
I can't let go.
VALERIE
What are you afraid of?
ESTHER
...Getting carried away. Losing
control.
Valerie incorporates caressing/hugging into her dance.
VALERIE
You're safe here, hon. This is the
place to let go.
ESTHER
I'm not sure any place is safe.
VALERIE
It's safe. You can't leave those
feelings bottled up inside you.
ESTHER
Don't patronize me, Val – I'm a
therapist, for Christ's sake. They're
too strong to express right now.

WOLF TIME

32
VALERIE
That's what the Dance is for. Several
people here have gone through what
you're experiencing.
ESTHER
I don't think we're talking about the
same thing.

Gradually, the other dancers surround and embrace them.
VALERIE
Everybody's different, everyone's the
same. It's an eruption...and a release.
It can be scary at first, but as you
surrender to it you're defusing the
energy at the same time.
ESTHER
(steadily losing control)
I know that intellectually!
VALERIE
Right – and you know these emotions get
most of their power from being repressed.
Like water behind a dam.
ESTHER
And if it breaks?
VALERIE
That's why we're letting them out – so
it won't. Just let yourself go, we'll
keep you afloat.
Others offer encouragement, music becomes more intense;
the dancers pick up the rhythm, all now performing the
same dance. Esther begins to weep, then sob powerfully;
finally she erupts into a primal scream of rage. The
others, overwhelmed as well, sweep her into their arms.
INT. DAY - DANCE STUDIO, FRONT DOOR

WOLF TIME

33
VALERIE
You were marvelous.
ESTHER
(exhausted)
I was?
VALERIE
The letdown's natural. People go to
one extreme or the other: a terrific
high or the way you're feeling.
ESTHER
You know how I'm feeling?

Valerie answers with a Bronx cheer, meaning: "the pits."
ESTHER
Like I was faking it.
VALERIE
What do you mean?
ESTHER
Not intentionally or consciously – but
as if I was just going though the
emotions in there.
VALERIE
Honey, I wish you could see a video
of yourself. You weren't faking it,
believe me.
ESTHER
Maybe not, Val, but...
VALERIE
But what?
ESTHER
It's still there.
VALERIE
Of course it's still there. You know
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

34
VALERIE (CONT’D)
you can't release something like this
in one session. But it was a helluva
beginning.

They embrace; Esther's expression: the beginning of what?
INT. DAY - ESTHER'S CAR
in front of the studio. She starts the engine, remembers
the glove in her handbag. She looks at it for a moment
before stuffing it hurriedly into the glove compartment.
INT. DAY - ESTHER'S OFFICE
She's with an obese FEMALE CLIENT in her 30s; they're
sitting in the armchairs across the room from her desk.
CLIENT #1: MARILYN
...He doesn't want me to go back to
work. He won't let me get a second car
or find someone to watch the kids parttime. He doesn't even want me to lose
weight.
ESTHER
Of course not – that might threaten
him. But what business is it of his?
MARILYN
It's none of his business.
ESTHER
Then what's stopping you?
MARILYN
He is...even though it is none of his
business.
ESTHER
What else is stopping you?
MARILYN
...Food, I suppose.

WOLF TIME

35
ESTHER
And what else?
MARILYN
What else? I guess I'm afraid to.
ESTHER
Why are you afraid?
MARILYN
I've...never been thin before. I've
never been anything but fat.
ESTHER
That's just not true, Marilyn. Part
of what we're going to find out is
all the things you are besides obese.

ESTHER'S OFFICE, LATER
An uptight-looking MAN in his 30s in a dark suit is
rooted to his chair; Esther sits on the floor among her
pillows.
CLIENT #2
...My boss wouldn't believe that in a
million years. He thinks I've risen
above my capability already.
ESTHER
How do you know that?
CLIENT #2
I told you – he hardly talks to me.
He won't look at me when he does.
ESTHER
How do you know what he's feeling? Maybe
he's afraid to look you in the eye. A
lot of people are, you know.
CLIENT #2
I know, I'm one of them. But he isn't.
I know contempt when I see it.
ESTHER

WOLF TIME

36
Describe it for me.
CLIENT #2
Describe it?
ESTHER
What's it look like?
CLIENT #2
I can't describe it. I just know what
it feels like.
ESTHER
Then tell me. Put it into words.

She picks out a bongo drum from the instruments.
ESTHER (cont'd)
Or if you can't put it in words...
(tossing it to him)
...play it. Show me how it feels.
He catches it awkwardly. As surprising as her suggestion
is to him, we feel she's just reached him somehow.
OFFICE, LATER
Esther and her THIRD CLIENT, an intense-looking woman in
her 20s, both look tired, sprawled among the pillows.
CLIENT #3
I didn't think I could still make it
with men after all this time. Now I
don't know what to do.
ESTHER
Can't you have relations with both men
and women?
CLIENT #3
You don't know what it's like to be
bisexual. Men aren't much of a problem,
(MORE)
CLIENT #3 (CONT’D)

WOLF TIME

37
they're intrigued by the whole thing.
But women wouldn't accept that even
before AIDS. Now of course, forget it.
Either you're a lesbian or nothing.
ESTHER
I assume you take precautions.
CLIENT #3
Oh of course.
ESTHER
Then maybe you'll just have to educate
the women you care about.
CLIENT #3
I'm more worried about getting
pregnant than anything else. I don't
want a baby. What the hell would I do
with a baby?

Esther appears impatient, judgmental, despite herself.
INT. DAY - AQUARIUM, ESTHER'S OFFICE
She drops food into the water for tropical fish. Biting
into an apple, she is weary as she returns to her desk
where yogurt and a sandwich are laid out. Judy enters.
JUDY
I'm afraid I have some bad news.
(Esther gestures Let's hear it)
The Westside Women's Center just
called. Linda Prokes finally mustered
the courage to have her husband
removed from their home.
ESTHER
And?
JUDY
His attorney got the restraining order
dismissed on a technicality. So their
(MORE)
JUDY (CONT’D)

WOLF TIME

38
little girl's being sent to a foster
home, to keep her away from him.
ESTHER
Bastards!
JUDY
Can you believe it?
ESTHER
Who's worse, the abusers or the
fucking system?
JUDY
The lawyers and bureaucrats. Sorry to
be the bearer of bad news.

She closes the door and Esther sits there fuming.
DISSOLVE TO:
INT. DAY - ESTHER'S OFFICE
She's still in her chair; now it's her client RANDY,
successful record company exec, lounging on the pillows:
mid-30's, perm, drop-dead clothes with matching attitude.
CLIENT #4: RANDY
...I go, "Hey, Babe, who said
anything about a relationship? Who
said anything about some eternal love
affair? You knew as well as I did
this was just a one-night stand.”
Next thing I know she's all over me
– I can't keep away from her. I'm
tryin' not to be cold-hearted, but
she's forcing me to do something:
either get it on with her or throw
her out – there's no in-between. I'm
all for Women's Lib, but that doesn't
entitle women to a command performance
and some kind of exclusivity clause.
You can't have it both ways; if you're
gonna compete with men, let's don't
(MORE)
RANDY (CONT’D)

WOLF TIME

39
have any misunderstandings or guilt
trips about "love" or commitments.
Let's admit what we're talking about
is fucking, pure and simple.

Esther attempts to maintain non-judgmental attentiveness.
RANDY (cont'd)
Hey, are you listening to me or not?
ESTHER
I'm sorry, Randy – yes, I'm listening.
I'm having a little difficulty remaining
objective. Is it possible that what
your sexual partners want from you isn't
a long-term commitment at all, but just
better sex? There is some room for
exploration between eternity and a onenight stand, after all.
RANDY
I doubt it – they keep coming back.
ESTHER
The same women?
RANDY
No, not the same women. I told you,
that's the last thing I want: some
kind of long-term relationship.
ESTHER
It sounds to me like you replace your
sex partners before they have a chance
to ask for more.
RANDY
Not for that reason. You're putting
your own spin on it.
ESTHER
For what reason then, Randy? Why do
you tire of your women so easily?
RANDY

WOLF TIME

40
I don't know, that's one of the reasons
I'm here. Sex has gotten to be such a
fucking bore – the same thing night
after night.
ESTHER
Has it ever occurred to you that if you
thought less about yourself and more
about the women you were fucking, sex
wouldn't be so monotonous?
RANDY
Yes, as a matter of fact it has. But
if you show a woman the slightest
consideration, she'll try to use it
against you. It means you're weaker
than she is.
ESTHER
Oh, Randy, I get so tired of hearing
about the children's sex games you
bored "sophisticates" get caught up in.
Why do you waste my time and your money?
I'm sorry, but I don't see any point in
continuing our sessions together – at
least until you're prepared to make some
real changes in your life instead of
trying to solve all your problems with
words and money.
(standing)
Life just doesn't work that way.
RANDY
(also standing)
Well, aren't you the professional
therapist! You're goddamned right I'm
wasting my money, and my time. I was
about to quit coming anyway.
ESTHER
(escorting him to the door)
I know, you just didn't know how to
break the bad news to me, did you.
RANDY

WOLF TIME

41
That's right, you wise-ass bitch.
That's exactly it.
ESTHER
Goodbye, Randy. Don't recommend me to
any of your friends.
RANDY
Hey, fuck you!

He takes a threatening step toward her but is stopped at
the sight of Foley standing in the doorway of his office.
Esther closes her door, shudders and goes to a credenza,
where she picks up two DVDs, then exits.
INT. DAY - FOLEY'S OFFICE
Holding the DVDs, Esther appears in the open doorway.
FOLEY
Who the hell was your last session?
ESTHER
I'm losing it, Dan. I was totally
unprofessional with Randy. I actually
treated him like the asshole he is for
once. I'm taking these to UPS and then
I'm gone for the day.
FOLEY
What are they?
ESTHER
You know – the hypnotherapy sessions I
videoed at UCLA last week. Dr. Grof
wants to see them.
FOLEY
Oh yes, the "Reincarnation Chronicles".
Hypnotic regression into the "Days of
Our Past Lives."
ESTHER

WOLF TIME

42
That's just what I need now, Dan –
your smug condescension!
FOLEY
Hey, I was kidding!

She exits angrily and a moment later a door SLAMS O.S.
INT. DAY – UPS CUSTOMER CENTER
Esther enters, and a man wrapping and sorting packages
comes to the counter. Her eyes are drawn to his ring,
with a nasty-looking curved blade used to cut string.
CLERK
Can I help you?
ESTHER
Oh, I...please. Do you have a padded
envelope the right size for these?
CLERK
Sure do.
He bends over to get one from beneath the counter; Esther
looks at her manicured nails, curving her fingers like
claws. Lost in some disturbing thought, she is unaware
that a low growl escapes her lips. The startled clerk
looks over the edge of the counter.
ESTHER
(emerging from her reverie)
Oh, I'm sorry...did you say something?
INT. DAY - ARTISTS' STUDIO
A cocktail party/opening is in progress on one floor of a
building subdivided into four studios, each of which is
an artistically distinctive expression of its occupant.
Several painters and sculptors are represented by work
ranging from mediocre to brilliant, banal to outrageous.
Among the 50 or so guests are a handful interested in the
art, but just as interesting are the people themselves,
in punk, new-wave and conservative dress, as well as

WOLF TIME

43

highly original apparel and ornamentation. One PEFORMANCE
ARTIST, his body smeared with mud, wears a bizarre
costume, or cage, of bamboo. Esther enters, looks around
for a familiar face, accepts a plastic wineglass from the
caterer and strolls through the crowd.
ESTHER
(to man in bamboo)
It's fantastic!
ANOTHER (OLDER) WOMAN
What does it mean – is there a message?
He smiles slightly at Esther, shrugs in answer to the
woman, who looks in amused exasperation at Esther. She
merely lifts her eyebrows, smiles back at the artist and
moves on, pausing at a work in concrete and jagged pieces
of glass, some with mirrored surfaces. Observing it
thoughtfully, she runs her finger lightly along one of
the edges, drawing blood. She puts the finger in her
mouth, still gazing at the piece. In front of a painting
a moment later she overhears:
FIRST MAN
I liked his earlier work better. It
was so much more William Blake.
SECOND MAN
Personally, I think the work here sucks.
I just came for the food.
Esther greets QATHRYN, painter of large bold silk-screens
from high-contrast photos of punk and new-wave musicians.
ESTHER
I love them!
QATHRYN
Hi, Esther. Thanks! Isn't it a great
show?
ESTHER
It is. Your space too – this is the
first time I've seen it.
QATHRYN

WOLF TIME

44
Really? Well look around then. Have
you seen Carroll's studio?
ESTHER
I don't know, what's her work like?
QATHRYN
Him. I won't try to describe it – it's
powerful.
ESTHER
(moving off)
I'll look for it.

She's about to enter another studio when David spots her,
walks over and hugs her.
ESTHER (cont'd)
I was afraid you weren't going to
make it.
DAVID
It took a little doing. See anything
you like?
ESTHER
Qathryn's silk-screens. I'm going back
to look at them again. She said to look
for a guy named Carroll's paintings.
DAVID
Well, he sssounds sssweet.
Her look of censure freezes, her face goes white: she's
staring transfixed at something O.S. David turns to look.
INSERT - PAINTING
The nightmarish oil painting depicts a tormented halfman, half-animal. Others portray the same theme: conflict
between a human being in great pain and the beast within,
struggling to assert itself.
BACK TO ESTHER & DAVID

WOLF TIME

45

As at the restaurant, conversation is DISTORTED and David
speaks without making a sound. Esther is in emotional
pain herself. David’s mouth moves soundlessly as he
reaches out to her in alarm. Esther’s VOICE, only in her
mind, keeps desperately repeating...
ESTHER (V.O.)
I can hear you, David, I can hear you!
Finally she finds her voice: the words that have been
breathless and distorted are a shriek startling everyone.
ESTHER (cont'd)
I can hear you, David!
He tries to comfort her, but she breaks away and runs to
the elevator. It's in use so she rushes to the stairway.
INT. - STAIRWELL
Her dizzying descent, headlong steps echoing loudly.
Voices call out to her – echoing, becoming distorted,
turning mocking – until we know we're in her mind again.
EXT DAY - PARKING LOT,
She drives past the ATTENDANT without paying. Jumping
back to avoid being hit, he yells after her in Spanish.
EXT./INT. DAY - MONTAGE, DRIVING SCENES
Esther appears to be driving aimlessly. She makes a left
turn in front of oncoming traffic – narrowly avoiding a
collision – and heads into Griffith Park. Fumbling with
the glove compartment, she pulls out the leather glove
and sniffs it. Her eyes narrow; she utters the same growl
as when she found it. Panting now, she drives with
increasing recklessness. Finally she pulls to the side of
the road and leaps from the car without applying the
emergency brake or closing the door behind her. She pays
no attention as the car rolls to a stop against a tree.
She sniffs the air, looks around wildly, then kicks off

WOLF TIME

46

her fashionable shoes and plunges into the underbrush.
EXT. DAY - PARK
A TEENAGE GIRL who looks too streetwise for her age
flirts with someone walking beside her O.S.
GIRL
Dude your size oughta be locked in a
cage so's he can't hurt nobody.
(laughing)
Oh did I hurt his feelings? Don't cry,
wittle big-boy, Mama's only teasin'.
I'll bet you could be real gentle if
you wanted to.
EXT. – PARK - MONTAGE
Esther runs through trees and underbrush, occasionally
stopping to sniff the air or glove.
CUT BETWEEN ESTHER & GIRL
GIRL
(addressing someone O.S.)
You wanta rest? Does a big guy like
you get tired that easy?
(laughing)
Welll, maybe we could sit down for just
a minute – if we find a place that’s
kinda private. Know what I mean?
ESTHER’S panting turns to moaning. Her eyes glance about
wildly. She senses the man she's looking for nearby.
GIRL
Hey, you're right – this is a nice
place. I'll bet you've brought chicks
here before, haven't you.
(sitting down)
...Now, what'd you have in mind?
ESTHER leaps over a...

WOLF TIME

47

BOULDER
...in a prolonged howl of fury, and lands on the back of
a big man taken completely by surprise. Beside him, the
teenage hooker leaps to her feet.
GIRL
What the fuck!
Esther's like a wildcat on the man's back, biting,
clawing at his eyes, jabbing her elbows into his face.
But her initial advantage of surprise is quickly lost to
the big difference in size. Enraged and bleeding,
bellowing like an animal himself, he pulls her off and
hurls her to the ground. Meanwhile, the girl's screams
have attracted two MALE JOGGERS, athletic and capablelooking themselves. Esther is being beaten to a pulp when
they run up, yelling. With a look of hatred, the man
leaves her lying unconscious and runs away.
GIRL
(hysterically)
The bitch is crazy!
The joggers attend to Esther.
FIRST JOGGER
She's been beaten half to death. Bob,
call 911. Get help somewhere – I'll
stay with her.
INT. DAY - SEMI-PRIVATE HOSPITAL ROOM
Esther's swollen face is swathed in bandages. A nurse
checks her vital signs and leaves the room. David and
Foley stand over her.
DAVID
You don't believe the little hooker's
story, do you? It doesn't make sense.
FOLEY
I don't know what the hell to believe.
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

48
FOLEY (CONT’D)
The police say someone saw her leap
from the car and just let it roll
to a stop. They found her shoes there!
DAVID
And that's almost half a mile from
where the joggers rescued her! The guy
must have dragged her there.
FOLEY
Then what about the witness who –
DAVID
Fuck the witness! How can you believe
she just kicked her shoes off and went
running into the bushes?
FOLEY
Nothing makes sense, David. We're going
to have to wait till she regains
consciousness and can tell us what
happened.

Esther moans, still unconscious.
DAVID
Who the hell could do something like
that to another human being?
FOLEY
Unfortunately, a lot more people out
there than either of us wants to admit.
DAVID
Not people – animals! To have something
like this happen to her twice in less
than a week...
FOLEY
Do you suppose there might be some kind
of connection? Something she might be
involved in somehow, a case of mistaken
identity?

WOLF TIME

49
DAVID
Jesus Christ, Foley – it sure as hell
isn't something she's mixed up in. How
the hell could you even suggest it?
FOLEY
The only thing I'm suggesting is that
she might still be in danger. What if
it's no coincidence that she was
attacked again?

EXT. DAY – GRIFFITH PARK
Lt. Clark and ARNIE COSTELLO, a heavy-set detective, exit
their LAPD cruiser and walk to the scene of the attack.
COSTELLO
I still don't know what the hell you
expect to find up here.
CLARK
Forget what the girl said. She was
tryin' to score with the guy, right?
COSTELLO
No, I think she was tryin' t' sell 'im
Girl Scout cookies. Vanilla thighs with
a creamy filling.
CLARK
So let's say the good doctor's not just
crazy. Let's say she had some kinda
lead on the guy. Look around – see what
you can find.
They separate on either side of the boulder Esther leaped
from.
COSTELLO
(to himself)
If this idn't a crocka shit!
(to Clark, raised voices)
What kinda lead?

WOLF TIME

50
CLARK
I don't know – but let's give her the
benefit of the doubt. She thinks the guy
who cut that girl to pieces tried to do
the same to her the night before.
COSTELLO
You told me that a'ready.
CLARK
So let's say she recognized this guy,
or thought she did.
COSTELLO
(rolling his eyes)
So?
CLARK
So maybe the hooker was lucky.
COSTELLO
Maybe she was about to get her cookie
crumbled huh?

He snorts in disgust at all the conjecture, then stands
straight up, spotting something O.S.
COSTELLO (cont'd)
Hey Clark!
CLARK
Yeah?
COSTELLO
(walking over to boulder)
You been holdin' out on me? Who's your
psychic?
From a crevice of the rock he takes a long deadly-looking
switchblade knife, wrapped in a black hood.
EXT. DAY - HOSPITAL
revealing a phone booth across the street.

WOLF TIME

51

INT. - PHONE BOOTH
A Los Angeles Times is folded into quarters, open to the
news summary on the inside front page.
INSERT – NEWSPAPER
This paragraph is prominent: WOMAN BADLY BEATEN IN PARK.
A prominent Santa Monica psychiatrist was badly beaten in
Griffith Park Monday under what police described as
“bizarre” circumstances.
BACK TO SCENE
Beside the paper is a pocket notepad with a list of half
a dozen hospitals, with two names crossed off. A male
hand stabs the phone pushbuttons.
FEMALE TELEPHONE VOICE
Hollywood Presbyterian.
MAN'S VOICE (O.S.)
Esther Roth please – uh, she's in 215,
right?
TELEPHONE VOICE
Roth? R-O-T-H?
MAN'S VOICE (O.S.)
That's right.
TELEPHONE VOICE
Just a minute, I'll check.
EXT. DAY – HOSPITAL
An LAPD patrol car enters the parking lot.
TELEPHONE VOICE (cont'd)
...No, Dr. Roth is in Room 318.

WOLF TIME

52
KILLER'S VOICE (O.S.)
Oh that's right – thanks. Never mind,
operator, I have a call waiting. I'll
talk to her later.

INT. - PHONE BOOTH
The receiver is replaced, the door opens.
INT. – HOSPITAL
STEADICAM from the POV of someone entering the lobby,
walking to the elevator, pressing the 3rd Floor button.
The doors close, the elevator ascends to the 2nd Floor,
where an orderly starts to board with an anesthetized
patient on a gurney. Finding the elevator occupied, by
someone the orderly appears to find threatening, he
changes his mind and backs away. The doors close, the
elevator goes to the 3rd Floor and stops.
INT. - ESTHER'S ROOM
She's unconscious or asleep.
INT. - HOSPITAL CORRIDOR – POV MAN
Following a wall sign with room numbers, the person from
the elevator approaches the Nurses' Station, where an
assertive-looking NURSE looks up from her work.
NURSE
Sir, it's not visiting hours. Are you
a relative of a patient on this floor?
MAN (O.S.)
Yeah – uh, Carl Potter.
INT. - ESTHER'S ROOM
She moans and turns her head without waking up.

WOLF TIME

53
NURSE (O.S.)
What room is he in?
MAN (O.S.)
418.

INT. - NURSES' STATION – POV MAN
NURSE
This is the 3rd Floor.
MAN (O.S.)
Oh, sorry. Is there a stairway this
way?
NURSE
Yes – the elevator's closer.
MAN (O.S.)
I'll use the stairway.
She shakes her head and returns to her work.
INT. – CORRIDOR – POV MAN
The man whose POV we’re sharing turns a corner; ahead of
him is Room 318. No one's in sight.
INSERT - MAN’S HANDS
slides a switchblade from his pocket, snaps open the
blade...
BACK TO SCENE
...and moves stealthily toward Esther's room.
ELDERLY FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Why would anyone do such a thing?
INT. - ESTHER'S ROOM

WOLF TIME

54

The other patient in the semiprivate room is an elderly
woman, talking to a uniformed COP.
COP
You'd be surprised, Ma'am.
INT. – CORRIDOR – POV MAN
close enough to Esther’s room to overhear the cop's
voice.
COP (O.S.)
But we'll be here round-the-clock till
we can move her to a private room, so
you have nothing to worry about.
The man turns and walks quickly back down the corridor.
INT. - NURSES' STATION
As he passes the on-duty nurse, we SEE just his profile.
She looks suspicious, starts to pick up the phone...but
doesn't.
INT. NIGHT - ESTHER'S ROOM
Recovering consciousness, Esther groans; Foley appears at
her bedside. A screen conceals the elderly patient's bed.
FOLEY
It's all right, Esther. It's Dan.
You're in the hospital and you're
going to be all right.
(she moans, sticks out her hand)
Don't try to talk if it hurts.
ESTHER
(crying)
...Funuvabiff!
FOLEY
Easy, Baby, you're gonna be all right.
(mouthing the words silently)
I promise.

WOLF TIME

55

INT. DAY - FOLEY'S OFFICE
David and Dan talk across his worktable.
DAVID
I can't understand why she won't even
see me.
FOLEY
She's apparently not ready, David.
The only reason they let me see her
is because I'm a doctor.
DAVID
Has she told you anything of what
happened?
FOLEY
Not yet.
DAVID
When will she be ready to leave?
FOLEY
Two or three days, I'd guess. I know
it's hard, but I think it would be
best, if she asks you to stay away
for awhile, that you try to understand.
She's going to need you – she's going
to need all of us. But I think we
should let her decide when. Do you
agree?
DAVID
Well, sure, whatever you think is best,
Foley. But I'm not going to stay away
if my gut feeling says she needs me,
no matter what you or the whole goddamn
hospital says.
INT. DAY - TV NEWSROOM
Meredith d barges into an edit suite, where a young man
and woman, LARRY and BARBARA, are editing news clips.

WOLF TIME

56
MEREDITH
Barbara, Larry, I want you to be ready
in half an hour to do a story with me!
We have an exclusive!
LARRY
We do?
BARBARA
What is it?
MEREDITH
The psychiatrist assaulted in Griffith
Park yesterday thinks it was the perp
who killed Pam Putnam.
LARRY
No shit?
BARBARA
And we're the only ones who have it?
MEREDITH
(exiting)
Who know the connection. But we have
to move fast!
BARBARA
She's always getting leads like this.
How the hell does she do it?
LARRY
A sergeant in LAPD's Records Division.
"Deep Thrust".

He punctuates the nickname with a gesture in which his
forearm substitutes for another part of the male anatomy.
INT. DAY - STATION MGR'S OFFICE
Meredith and News Chief Kennedy sit in front of Crum's
desk.
CRUM
You're sure of this now? This is a
reliable source?

WOLF TIME

57
MEREDITH
Absolutely.
KENNEDY
I'll vouch for him. He seems to have
an extraordinary interest in Meredith's
...career.

She gives him a withering look.
CRUM
...I see. Okay then, let's get on this.
Drag this welterweight from her hospital
bed if you have to.
Meredith jumps up.
CRUM (cont'd)
...There's something missing though.
MEREDITH
What's that?
CRUM
A name. If we're going to make him a
superstar, he's gotta have a name.
KENNEDY
Superstar?
CRUM
Damn right. If we're gonna cover this,
let's do it right. This guy couldn't
have come along at a better time. Here
we are facing the ratings sweeps with
nothing but reruns and that crum –
that series on L.A.'s crumbling
infrastructure you produced, Burt.
KENNEDY
I thought you liked it.
CRUM
It tested okay for a documentary, Burt.
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

58
CRUM (CONT’D)
But look at what Meredith's onto. Hell,
we can do things with this the O&O's
wouldn't dare use.
KENNEDY
What kinds of things are you talking
about?
CRUM
Goddamnit, that's your job. But you
know what I'm talking about. I want
everyone in L.A. looking over their
shoulder till this guy's put away.
MEREDITH
How about..."the Wolfman"?
CRUM
Wolfman. Yeah, I think you've got it!
It's sure as hell stronger than
"Hillside Strangler".
MEREDITH
After what he did to that girl, it's
no exaggeration either.
CRUM
Listen, for a station as much in the
red as this one is, blood 'n' gore is
appropriate. Let's shake people up.
Let's put some fire in their eyes!
It's time someone made an issue out of
this – before it's unsafe for a
woman to step outside her own door.

INT. DAY - HOSPITAL CORRIDOR
Two Nurses walking past Esther's room peer in curiously.
NURSE #1
...According to the paper, she
attacked him.
The information has the desired effect on her companion.

WOLF TIME

59

INT. - ESTHER'S ROOM
She's sitting up in bed, drinking a concoction through a
straw, talking to her elderly roommate FREIDA OVERMEIER.
FREIDA
...I'm not afraid. The doctors may
have given me just a few months, but
the Good Lord has given me a lifetime.
And I've filled it, believe you me.
Esther returns her smile as Foley enters. She struggles
to enunciate her words in introducing them.
ESTHER
Freida, this is my colleague, Daniel
Foley. Dan, Freida Overmeier.
FOLEY
I'm very pleased to meet you, Mrs.
Overmeier.
FREIDA
How do you do.
Esther hands him her glass to put down on her tray.
FOLEY
(making a face)
Shall I smuggle in your Cuisinart?
She attempts a chuckle but the effort's too painful.
FOLEY
(to Mrs. Overmeier)
Will you excuse us?
She smiles and nods; he draws the curtain separating the
beds and sits down.
FOLEY (cont'd)
Ready to tell me what happened?
ESTHER
I guess...I was trying to kill him, Dan.

WOLF TIME

60
FOLEY
You give any thought to your chances of
success? Or the consequences if you had.
ESTHER
It's all just a blur. I think I want to
keep it that way for now.
FOLEY
All right.
ESTHER
I've had patients who were in Iraq
tell me that in the heat of battle,
this cloud would come over them –
they'd lose consciousness of who, or
even what, they were...and become
raging animals. They would kill,
dismember. Then back here, in a bar
maybe, they'd go berserk, break
bottles over people’s heads, throw
chairs – and never remember a thing.
FOLEY
...Is that what happened to you?
ESTHER
I don't know. I have this feeling
I'm in touch with something so
primitive inside, real brain stem
energy. I don't even know if it's
human. I don't want to know. When
I start thinking about it...
(shuddering)
I'm so confused. I don't know who
I am anymore.
FOLEY
Well, I know you as someone who is
certainly not psychotic – who’s
intellectually keen and an extremely
competent clinician. Maybe you've
experienced a momentary hysterical
reaction, some dissociative state.
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

61
FOLEY (CONT’D)
Frankly, though, the reaction I'm
having suggests something beyond that.
Do you think you could become violent?
Do you feel at all suicidal?
ESTHER
What I'm feeling, Dan, is some
alienation on your part. Don't try
to put me in some diagnostic category.
What's going on with me doesn't fit
any categories that I'm aware of. I'm
lost right now. What I need most is to
be alone for awhile.
FOLEY
Will you call me, if things should
start getting out of hand?
ESTHER
Yes, of course.
(getting out of bed)
Now, I'm checking myself out of here.
That's something you can help me with.
And don't try to stop me, I've made
up my mind.

INT. DAY - HOSPITAL LOBBY
Meredith and her 2-person crew are trying to get
permission to go up to Esther's room.
FEMALE ADMINISTRATOR
I don't care if she did agree to an
interview. This isn't visiting hours
and you're not going up to her room.
MEREDITH
When are visiting hours?
ADMINISTRATOR
You'll need special permission to do
any filming.

WOLF TIME

62
MEREDITH
Oh of course, we'll arrange for that.
When we're done, I'll have the
station manager contact whoever
needs to approve airing it.
ADMINISTRATOR
That's not the way we operate here.
MEREDITH
May I speak to your supervisor please?

The Administrator turns to a clerk behind the admissions
desk while Meredith confers with her crew.
ADMINISTRATOR
Will you see if Mr. Cranston's busy?
BARBARA
You didn't get her permission did you?
MEREDITH
Of course not. I was going to call her
from the lobby. It's a lot harder to
say no when you're at their front door.
LARRY
What if they check with her?
MEREDITH
The worst they can do is throw us out.
You leave this to me, honey. I've
gotten into tougher places than this.
At this moment Esther walks up to the desk.
ESTHER
I'm Dr. Roth. I'm checking myself out.
What do I need to sign?
Meredith and her crew go into action.
MEREDITH
(to Barbara with Camcorder)
Roll, Barbara!

WOLF TIME

63

She motions for Larry to approach with his shotgun mike.
MEREDITH
Dr. Roth, I'm Meredith Manning with
Channel 8. I understand you were
attacked by a man you identified to
police as the possible killer of
Pamela Putnam.
Taken by surprise, Esther is too confused to respond at
once.
ADMINISTRATOR
Turn off that camera!
MEREDITH
Why do you think it's the same man,
Dr. Roth? Could you tell us how the
attack occurred?
Foley steps between Meredith's crew and Esther.
FOLEY
What do you mean coming in here?
Didn't you hear this woman?
Meredith looks around him, Barbara steps the other way;
Foley can't decide which to confront.
MEREDITH
Dr. Roth, you said you were checking
yourself out. Is that against your
doctor's orders?
ESTHER
It appears you have no right to be
here. I won’t answer your questions.
MEREDITH
But, Dr. Roth – don't you want to see
this man apprehended? Maybe something
you could tell us would lead to
information from our viewers.
MR. CRANSTON, an authoritarian-looking executive in his
late-50s, walks up angrily.

WOLF TIME

64
CRANSTON
What's the meaning of this? Who gave
you permission to conduct an interview
in the lobby of this hospital?
MEREDITH
Mr. Cranston, this is a story of vital
concern to the citizens of Los Angeles.
We feel it’s our obligation to get any
information we can.

Now Foley, the Administrator, Esther, and Cranston are
all shouting at once, as Barbara zooms in on Esther.
CRANSTON
I don't care about your story. What
you're doing is illegal, and if you
don't leave at once I'll have you and
your crew arrested.
FOLEY
How dare you subject a patient to this
kind of abuse!
ADMINISTRATOR
I'm calling the police right now!
ESTHER
Please! I appreciate your concern,
but I have nothing more to say. I've
already talked to the police. Would
you all just let me get out of here?
With a hand on his holster, a uniformed cop hurries up.
CRANSTON
I thought you were supposed to be
guarding this patient's room! These
people are filming without permission.
I want them removed at once. If that
means signing an arrest warrant, I will.
MEREDITH
That won't be necessary, Officer –
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

65
MEREDITH (CONT’D)
we'll leave on our own. There's
obviously been some kind of
miscommunication. I'm sorry we've
caused a disturbance.

She gestures for her crew to leave.
MEREDITH (cont'd)
What a scene! I hope you got all of
it. Did you hear him say the cop was
guarding her room?
INT. DAY - MEN'S ROOM, POLICE STATION
Clark is shaving as Costello enters to use a urinal.
COSTELLO
We're goin' t' Tony's for lunch.
Wanta come?
CLARK
Nah, I'm gonna try to get a lunch
date with Dr. Roth's receptionist.
COSTELLO
"Business" huh?
CLARK
It nothin' better comes up.
COSTELLO
Oh it'll get up alright. Whether it
gets anything besides a Big Mac and
fries is another matter.
CLARK
You're the only one I know could
relieve a hard-on with a hamburger.
COSTELLO
(laughing)
It'd take more'n one!
They laugh; he zips up and comes over to the wash basins.

WOLF TIME

66
COSTELLO
Is this strictly recreational or are
you goin' on a fishing trip?
CLARK
Both. This business in the park –
some coincidence.
COSTELLO
You think maybe she knows the guy?
CLARK
Maybe. I don't think it's that simple
though.
COSTELLO
How do you explain it – them bein' in
the same place at the same time?

Clark washes and puts away his shaver.
CLARK
That's just part of it. Why would a
woman of her intelligence, and
professional standing, try to take a
guy like that on single-handed?
COSTELLO
(shrugging)
Maybe she just freaked. Or the hooker's
lyin'.
CLARK
If she's telling the truth, Roth had
to cover half a mile without shoes to
get to him. That's no impulse, Arnie.
They leave the men's room together.
EXT. DAY - UNMARKED POLICE CAR
Clark drives along a tawdry billboard-studded street.
COSTELLO (O.S.)
Hell, nothin' surprises me in this
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

67
COSTELLO (CONT’D)
town anymore. Pretty soon it's gonna
be as bad as New York in the 70s. The
safest place in Griffith Park will be
the cages in the zoo.

EXT. DAY - DR. ROTH'S CLINIC
Clark parks on the street in front and gets out.
INT. - CLINIC
He approaches the reception desk with easy charm.
CLARK
I didn't catch your name last time.
JUDY
(smiling)
Judy Williams. Dr. Roth's not in,
Detective...Clark?
CLARK
Tom – this is only semi-official. I
know she's not. Are you free for lunch?
JUDY
...I usually eat with a friend.
CLARK
Anything you can't change? I'd like to
talk to you.
JUDY
Just how official is "semi-official"?
CLARK
Unofficially, I'd like to take you to
lunch.
JUDY
Why is a man who surrenders authority
so hard to resist?

WOLF TIME

68

She picks up the phone.
EXT. DAY - RESTAURANT,
L.A.-chic, not expensive.
CLARK
You eat lunch here often?
JUDY
All the time – so does Esther. If she
weren't in the hospital I wouldn't
have suggested it.
He opens the door for her.
INT. - RESTAURANT
Clark and Judy are having wine before lunch.
CLARK
When will you finish your Master's?
JUDY
Next spring.
(knocks on oak tabletop)
If all goes according to plan.
CLARK
Would you like to practice in a clinic
of your own?
JUDY
I'd like to work in a holistic clinic.
Where all a patient's needs are
addressed, instead of merely treating
symptoms.
CLARK
I see....What school of psychology
does Dr. Roth fit into?
JUDY
...Still unofficially?

WOLF TIME

69
CLARK
Let's call it "off the record."
JUDY
Transpersonal. Are you familiar with
the term?
CLARK
I don't know; would I be too far off if
I thought of her as someone concerned
with the needs of the whole person, and
not just his symptoms?
JUDY
(laughing)
That sounds familiar somehow. Esther’s
very Aquarian, very forward-looking –
maybe a little too much so at times.
She wants eventually to work not just
with clients who are neurotic and
unhappy, but also successful people
wanting to transform themselves – into
totally new beings.
CLARK
Well, that certainly sounds ambitious.
JUDY
It's the most important thing that can
happen to the human race. But to be able
to help in the evolution of others, you
have to be willing to transform yourself
– all of you.
CLARK
And being forward-looking's not enough?
JUDY
Esther has no lack of vision, but I
sometimes wonder if she's tolerant
enough of human weaknesses. Her own
as well as other people's.
CLARK
I'd think that'd be pretty important
in a therapist.

WOLF TIME

70
JUDY
In anyone. If you're always looking
toward the sun, you're never going
to see your shadow.

A shadow, in fact, falls across the table. They look up
to see Esther. We don't know how much she's heard, but
hurt, bewildered, she turns and walks quickly away. Too
stunned to react at first, Judy hurries after her.
EXT. DAY - RESTAURANT
She bursts through the door, Clark behind her.
JUDY
She's gone! Do you think she heard me?
Did you see the look on her face?
INT. DAY - CLARK'S CAR
JUDY
She hasn't been the same since that
maniac tried to kill her. How can
there be such monsters?
Clark looks out at the...
EXT. - STREET
...porno and horror movie marquees, nude show and massage
parlor come-ons, billboards looming over the street with
their commercial messages steeped in loveless sexuality.
CLARK (V.O.)
in the water maybe? It’s
the dark side of human nature, Judy.
Denying it’s like failing to treat
the whole person.
...Something

INT. DAY - ESTHER'S CAR
Her wide-open eyes have the dazed expression they had in
the restaurant as she drives away.

WOLF TIME

71

EXT. DAY - ESTHER'S CONDO COMPLEX
The News-8 Video Van is parked near an underground
parking entrance.
INT. - VAN
Meredith and her crew wait for Esther to arrive.
LARRY
...Not that I have anything better to
do, but how long are we going to wait?
MEREDITH
We'll give her another half hour, then
I have to get back for the news.
(getting out)
I'll be right back.
She strolls up the sidewalk, framing camera angles with
her hands, then descends the ramp into the underground
garage. The sliding electric gate at the bottom is open.
INT. - GARAGE
Dark. The few cars here are expensive, except for a
battered pickup. The TICKING of cooling metal prompts
Meredith to feel its hood: warm to the touch. She's
getting the creeps as she walks through the garage, her
eyes taking everything in. Suddenly, a silhouette looms
against the light from the distant exit. Meredith gasps,
tries to step around the figure, but he takes a long
step, cutting her off, and laughs softly: a sound that
with its subterranean echo makes the flesh crawl.
MEREDITH
(frightened but in control)
I have a camera crew out there.
(the soft laughter continues)
...Listen, I don't know who you are,
but one scream's going to bring them
running.

WOLF TIME

72

He could have grabbed her; he's playing with her. Then,
ECHOING FOOTSTEPS over the laughter!
MEREDITH
Larry! Barbara! Film this! Now!
The Wolfman turns to see silhouettes recording them from
just inside the entrance, walking toward him. Snarling
with rage, he lunges at Meredith, who eludes him, then
runs for the truck, shielding his face with his arm. He
nearly runs Barbara and Larry down, speeding away.
MEREDITH
Watch out! He may have a gun!
EXT. - CONDO COMPLEX
As the Wolfman drives off in one direction, Esther
approaches from the other...
VIDEO VAN - POV ESTHER
...and sees the van rather than the pickup. She curses,
downshifts and makes a tight U-turn.
ESTHER
Bastards!
INT. - GARAGE
MEREDITH
It was him, I know it was! Did you
get his face?
BARBARA
How weird – I can't remember.
EXT. LATE AFTERNOON - BEACH
Esther parks, looks around suspiciously, then walks
toward the water. A jogger catches her unawares,
startling her into a run herself, prompting his golden
retriever to chase her.

WOLF TIME

73

INT. DAY - ESTHER’S CAR
Sobbing bitterly, she pulls out into Pacific Coast Hwy.
traffic with hardly a glance, nearly causing an accident.
INT. DAY - VALERIE'S DANCE STUDIO
Esther enters an imaginatively and symbolically decorated
outer lobby into another room where several leotard-clad
people are lying on the floor amidst pillows watching a
video of themselves. She hurries past them to Valerie's
inner sanctum.
VALERIE
Esther! What is it, honey?
Her expression dismisses the young couple she's been
talking to.
ESTHER
They're eating me alive, Val!
OUTER ROOM
One of the dancers is talking on the phone.
DANCER #1
(to others)
Esther's on the Channel 8 news!
The TV is switched to the Evening News: scenes from the
hospital encounter. Outrage and dismay from the dancers.
DANCER #2
Turn it off, don't let her see it!
DANCER #3
No, leave it on, let's see what
happened! Someone watch the door!
INSERT – TV - MONTAGE
Out of context the scenes make Esther appear almost
guiltily evasive. Meredith comes on the screen.

WOLF TIME

74
MEREDITH
Police refused either to confirm or
deny that evidence linking Dr. Roth's
assailant to the "Wolfman" was found
near the scene of the attack. Also
unconfirmed is a report that it was
actually the psychiatrist herself who
initiated the life-and-death struggle
in the park. Police are holding in
"protective custody" an unidentified
eye-witness who gave them that account
of the incident. Dr. Roth, who suffered
a concussion and other injuries, refused
to answer questions or respond to
speculation that she knew her assailant.
News-8 interviewed a group of youths who
told police they witnessed this scene
moments before the attack occurred.

Meredith interviews Chicano teenagers in Griffith Park.
BOY
She jumped out of her car and it just
kept rolling. Lucky it didn't hit
nobody.
MEREDITH
And you were in the car behind her?
BOY
Yeah. Then she runs into the bushes.
GIRL
She took her shoes off.
MEREDITH
I beg your pardon?
GIRL
(demonstrating)
She kicked off her shoes.
The others laugh.
BOY
Next thing I know, they're carrying
her off on a stretcher.

WOLF TIME

75

BACK IN DANCE STUDIO
The dancers are stunned; one speaks for all of them:
FEMALE DANCER
Good Lord!
INT. NIGHT - CHANNEL 8 EDIT SUITE
Meredith, Camera Crew, Station Mgr. and News Chief view
the footage from the garage with Det. Clark. It's too
dark to see much. Exclamations when the van almost hits
them.
MEREDITH
What do you think, Lieutenant?
CLARK
Well, I sure wish we could have seen
his face. You're gonna give us a copy?
CRUM
Gladly.
CLARK
Maybe we can enhance it. We'll alert
Dr. Roth. In the meantime, no more
heroics. We've had enough on this case
already.
INT./EXT. DAY/NIGHT – MONTAGE - ESTHER'S BREAKDOWN
This seems to last, on and off, for several days (through
p. 91), INTERRUPTED by events both real and in Esther's
mind, we're not always sure which.
EXT. DAY - BEACH
Esther's feet, her POV. Standing at the farthest reach of
the rising tide, she wiggles her toes so wet sand oozes
between them. A wave comes in, washing sand from beneath
her feet. Laughing, in the bikini she wore in the first
scene, she extends her arms to maintain her balance.
Suddenly there's a knife at her back, sliding up her
spine hard enough to draw blood. She flees into the water

WOLF TIME

76

and the Wolfman pursues her, clothes and all. Her only
"escape" is the open sea. As he wades without haste
toward her she turns in panic and starts to swim, until
she's just a speck on the ocean. Yet the farther away she
gets, the more clearly we can hear her sobbing, gasping,
choking on seawater.
INT. NIGHT - COFFEE SHOP
ANGELA, an attractive Chicana waitress, early 20s, hands
a plate of food back to the FRY COOK, a gangly young man
the same age.
ANGELA
The order said wheat bread!
He spins the order wheel, whips off the ticket and reads
it.
COOK
Where does it say "wheat"?
She grabs it, in more of a game than anything else.
ANGELA
Right there – "wheat."
COOK
(grabbing it back)
That little chicken scratch is sposed
to say "wheat"? I thought you was just
checkin' your pen, t' make sure it had
ink, or somethin'.
ANGELA
Liar – you didn't even read it. Too
busy thinking about the band you're in.
COOK
(making a new sandwich)
How else you think I can stand this
place?
ANGELA
How do you think I can stand it when
you screw up my orders?

WOLF TIME

77
COOK
Why don't you an' me just take off
somewhere and forget this place?
ANGELA
Why don't you grill that the way the
order reads before I lose my tip?
COOK
Money – always worryin' about money.
ANGELA
You think I come in here every night
to hear how rich and famous you're
gonna be?
COOK
Why not? There's room in my dreams
for someone like you.
ANGELA
I know the kind of dreams you're
talking about.
2ND WAITRESS
(walking past)
Wet ones.
ANGELA
You bet, honey.
COOK
(laughing)
Wet ones? What kinda talk is that?
ANGELA
The truth, that's what.

She picks up the coffee pot and turns to the counter.
Hunched over his cup, his face impassive but his eyes
gleaming, is the Wolfman. Angela gives him a friendly
smile as she fills his cup, then leaves to perform the
same service for someone else. We watch her through his
eyes, noticing every voluptuous curve, every cute facial
expression, every lithe movement of her body.

WOLF TIME

78
2ND WAITRESS
Angela's got her own dreams – she
don't need yours.
COOK
Hey, we've all gotta have dreams –
what's wrong with sharin' 'em?

He sets the plate on the pass-through separating kitchen
from counter area.
ANGELA
Nothing – only do me a favor and take
care a business first, okay?
The Fry Cook throws up his hands in mock defeat; Angela
hurries away with the order. Across the room – too far
away to hear – she animatedly apologizes for the delay to
a man enjoying her attention. All we can hear is the fry
cook's "tirade" O.S.
COOK (O.S.)
That's the trouble with women today.
Business first, business before
pleasure. No time for anyone but
themselves.
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. NIGHT - RESTAURANT
Through the lighted windows we see Angela saying good-bye
to her co-workers as she prepares to leave her shift.
When she exits, the wind catches the door. Singing, she
is exhilarated by the Santa Ana as she walks to her car
in the dark parking lot.
EXT. - CAR DOOR
We see only her hands and arms as she unlocks the door.
Suddenly her song is stifled with a choking gasp.
INT. NIGHT - ESTHER'S BEDROOM
WINDY. She moans in her sleep, then is wakened by a

WOLF TIME

79

mysterious WOMAN'S VOICE.
WOMAN (O.S.)
(whispering)
Esssther!...Esssther!
Puzzled, she gets up, follows it to the walk-in closet in
her spare bedroom. As before, she’s reluctant to open the
doors at first. When she does, before her is a...
EXT. NIGHT - DARK CAVERN
The SOUND of water dripping and the voice whispering her
name. Esther enters cautiously, following a seemingly
endless descending spiral, growing more fearful the
deeper she ventures. Finally she spots a beautiful...
“OASIS”
...a

shaft of sunlight illuminating a sparkling fountain
– like the source of life itself. Esther reaches for it
yearningly. Suddenly a deep savage GROWL. Two disembodied
yellow eyes blink open. An arm reaches around in front of
her face. She screams...
BACK TO CLOSET
...and wakens to find herself in the closet, with the arm
of a heavy coat across her face. She pushes clothes away
frantically.
DISSOLVE TO:
INT. NIGHT - ESTHER'S KITCHEN
Fumbling in the dark, she drops a full glass of red wine,
which spills in SLOW MOTION across the black and white
tile floor. She steps on glass, cutting her foot; wine
turns to blood.
INT. DAY - ESTHER'S BEDROOM

WOLF TIME

80

The room's a mess, though the cold silvery light of a
winter day in L.A. transforms her wrinkled sheet into the
drapery of classical Greek sculpture. She gets up, nude,
rubs her eyes, shuffles to the bathroom where we hear her
urinating O.S. Without flushing, she stumbles back to bed
and pulls the sheet over her head.
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. DAY - FOREST
Dark, menacing. Esther's afraid, walking in a wintry
landscape. First nude, then clothed, she glimpses
something lurking in the snowy trees – wolves? A cabin
appears in a clearing. Can she make it? She slides from
tree to tree; whatever's out there closes in on her. At
last she breaks for the door, flings herself against it.
Locked! But there's a key in the lock. She fumbles with
it but it won't turn. She hammers on the door.
BACK TO BEDROOM
Esther wakens to loud, insistent pounding on her front
door.
DAVID
Damnit, Esther, what the hell's goin'
on? I know you're in there! Let me
in. Please!
She staggers out of bed to let him in.
DAVID
What'd you do, change the locks?
Jesus, honey, you look terrible!
He starts to embrace her but she cringes from him.
ESTHER
Thanks, that's just what I needed to
hear. Now you know why I don't want
to see anyone.
DAVID
I'm talking about your injuries for
Christ's sake, Esther. Why wouldn't
you let me see you in the hospital?

WOLF TIME

81

ESTHER
I thought we went over all this on
the phone, David. I just wasn't up
to seeing anyone.
DAVID
Am I suddenly just "anyone" after
two years?
She sags instead of answering; his manner softens.
DAVID (cont'd)
Come over here and sit down, you
should be off your feet.
They both sit down on a loveseat.
ESTHER
I had a deadbolt put on. A man in
the garage yesterday threatened that
harpy from Channel 8 and her TV crew.
From the description the police gave
me, I'm sure it was him.
DAVID
From the beach and the park?
ESTHER
(sighing)
Absolutely – whether anyone wants to
believe me or not. The police are
watching the condo.
DAVID
I'm certainly in favor of that.
(getting up, pacing)
I'll bet anything it's the husband or
boyfriend of one of these battered
women at the shelter. It's the only
thing that makes sense.
ESTHER
What makes you think it has to make
sense?

WOLF TIME

82
DAVID
(exasperated)
Let's take things a day at a time.
I'm here for you, honey – but I'll
back off, if that's what you really
want, so you can deal with this in
your own way. All right?
ESTHER
(suddenly tearful)
David, this has all...changed me so.
My attraction to you has always had so
much to do with, with how you compared
to my father. You're as driven as he
was, but you made me feel beautiful,
you made me feel good about myself.
Now, for some reason all I can see are
the similarities. I can't...I don't
know what part of me's going to come
out the other side of this.

INT. EVENING - ESTHER'S CONDO
Esther is watching Meredith on the Channel 8 news set.
MEREDITH
Los Angeles police said they have no
new leads in this city's second savage
mutilation-murder in two weeks. Twentythree-year-old Angela Fuentes, waitress
in a Panorama City coffee shop, was
killed sometime late Wednesday night,
the Coroner's Office reported. Her nude,
partially dismembered body was found
this morning by children in a flood
control channel. Was it the Wolfman? I
asked Lt. Tom Clark earlier today.
EXT. DAY - FLOOD CONTROL CHANNEL
CLARK
We're not ready to say yet. There are
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

83
CLARK (CONT’D)
certain similarities in the crimes –
some of them obvious and others that
we can't divulge at this time.

INSERT - NEWS SET ON TV SCREEN
MEREDITH
Meanwhile, officials still refused to
confirm News-8's exclusive report that
the man who brutally beat a female
psychiatrist in Griffith Park four
days ago may have been the Wolfman –
Pam Putnam's hooded killer.
INT. EVENING - ESTHER’S CONDO
Esther, O.S. until now, turns off the TV, but a moment
later it comes back on, on its own.
MEREDITH (cont'd)
...Dr. Roth remained in seclusion,
unwilling to speak to reporters. But
News-8 has pieced together these
details of the bizarre incident in
the park.
The news scene shifts to Griffith Park. Meredith is
reporting from the spot where the attack occurred; the
hooker is with her. Again Esther turns off the TV – and
again it comes right back on. She pushes the channel
selector button down with her thumb and holds it there,
but Meredith and News-8 are on every channel.
MEREDITH (cont'd)
With me is Melody Summer – a legal
name of her own invention – who
police say was with the man Dr. Roth
attacked. Melody, can you tell me –
Esther shatters the TV screen with a heavy frying pan.
DISSOLVE TO:

WOLF TIME

84

INT. DAY - ESTHER'S ATRIUM
Valerie and Esther, disheveled, talk over coffee.
VALERIE
You know, you have all the time you
need to get your life back in order,
but we miss you.
ESTHER
I have to look after myself right now.
VALERIE
I'm glad you are.
ESTHER
I've always been so sure of my
strength, Val. Everything I've
accomplished I've had to fight for
– myself much of the time.
VALERIE
We all do.
ESTHER
I'm beginning to wonder – maybe I just
never came up against anything really
big before.
VALERIE
Yes you have, and it's helped prepare
you for this. You're doing great.
ESTHER
(gesturing to her appearance)
Sure I am.
VALERIE
Battle scars. Every warrior has them.
ESTHER
Battle fatigue maybe. Shell-shock. I
wanted to get that fucker so much.
Now it hardly seems to matter.
VALERIE
You sure gave it a try!

WOLF TIME

85
ESTHER
I actually tried to kill him, Val.

She gets up wearily to pour them more coffee.
ESTHER (cont'd)
You know, I suppose it's ironic – and
hardly in keeping with my Hippocratic
Oath – but one thing I've learned from
all this: I'm really not very liberal
when it comes to capital punishment. I
know it supposedly doesn't deter crime,
but I don't think we deserve to put it
behind us. We're not civilized enough.
VALERIE
What do you mean, "deserve"?
ESTHER
The death penalty's a stigma we need
to live with for a while. Until we quit
deceiving ourselves about who we really
are: a society where human life is
expendable.
VALERIE
We're going to teach ourselves the value
of human life by putting murderers to
death? Isn't that an even bigger lie?
ESTHER
Oh, Valerie, those against the death
penalty are always harping on "the
dignity of human life." I think it's
time we put some value on the lives of
ordinary people snuffed out by, by
animals, who've lost their humanity.
We're more concerned for criminals
than their victims. Meanwhile, violence
is entertaining. Murder's a national
pastime!
VALERIE
And you think vengeance is the answer?
Esther, this doesn't sound like you.

WOLF TIME

86
ESTHER
(sitting down with coffee)
I think we're lying to ourselves if
we pretend to have grown beyond it. I
remember the columnist Mike Royko years
ago came right out and said it: if
vengeance can repay the victims in
some way, then give them that at least.
To me, this is an honest reaction to
taking a human life, instead of the
endless legal maneuverings we subject
ourselves to instead: a charade meant
to convince us of how civilized we are.
VALERIE
Shouldn't we be doing more to try to
prevent violent crimes in the first
place, rather than putting all
the emphasis on punishment alone?
ESTHER
Of course – we both know society's a
major contributor to its own ills. But
we need to work at healing them from
both directions: instilling values that
help people grow, especially the young
– and enforcing real consequences for
criminal acts.

Valerie refuses to argue any longer.
VALERIE
The depression you're going through
is perfectly normal. You know that.
ESTHER
You think all this is depression? The
only thing I know anymore is how much
we don't know. We'll such smug little
fools. We ignore the big questions we
don't have answers for. We like to
focus on the shiny surface of reality.
All we see are reflections of ourselves.

WOLF TIME

87
VALERIE
What questions are you talking about?
ESTHER
Well all the clichés of course. Who are
we? Why are we here? Where are those
two young women – who were alive, their
whole futures ahead of them – whose
bodies now are empty, hacked to pieces?
VALERIE
(taking Esther's hands)
Do we really have to have the answers
to know they exist?
ESTHER
I do! I didn't used to but I do now.
The hell with faith!
VALERIE
...There's always our work.
ESTHER
Please. I don't mean to be insulting,
Val, but neither my practice nor the
"Dance" is going to accomplish what
millions of years of evolution haven't.
We're still animals at heart.
VALERIE
And now you've seen our most savage
face. But isn't it like seeing just
the surface of things to judge all of
humanity by one psychopath?
ESTHER
Which one? It's not him that scares
me – that's what I've been trying to
tell all of you. It's me! I'm the one
who scares the hell out of me!
DISSOLVE TO:

INT. DAY - ESTHER'S BATHROOM
She's in the bathtub with her safety razor. She feels the

WOLF TIME

88

edge of the blade with her thumb, removes the blade and
looks down at her wrist. The blade reminds her of...
INT. DAY – UPS CUSTOMER CENTER (FLASHBACK)
...the string-cutting ring: its sharp curved edge.
BACK TO BATHTUB
She shudders and flings the blade across the room, throws
the empty razor hard against the wall. Putting a hand to
her eyes, she lies back in the water in despair.
EXT. DAY - UNDISCLOSED LOCATION
David and Foley are walking together. We can see nothing
of their surroundings but sky.
DAVID
How long do you think she'll stay
holed up in her condo?
FOLEY
As long as she needs to. It's
probably the best thing for her right
now.
DAVID
Do you think she needs professional
help?
FOLEY
She's got it: Bernie Krongold – his
approach is a little too spiritual for
her, but he's a damn fine analyst. What
she needs most now is to confront
whatever it is that's got hold of her.
She has to do that on her own.
DAVID
Just what is it she's confronting,
Foley?
FOLEY
I don’t know. Nothing I'm familiar with.

WOLF TIME

89
DAVID
The two of you are so close I
assumed you'd know what her problem
was if anyone did.
FOLEY
We are close, that's why she's seeing
someone else. That and Krongold's
background. He was a teenager when his
family fled here from Hitler.
DAVID
Jesus, how old is this guy?
FOLEY
Younger than you and I in some ways. He
lost a number of close relatives in the
death camps, but it hasn't embittered him.
I wish I could say the same about myself.
DAVID
What do you mean?
FOLEY
I've lost so many friends now to AIDS,
and friends of friends, I've lost count.
I bear a grudge for every one of them.
DAVID
I'm...sorry to hear that, Dan.
FOLEY
Sometimes an emotional crisis like
Esther's can be a blessing in disguise.
DAVID
How is that?
FOLEY
When your survival's at stake,
complacency goes out the window. You
can get to know yourself real quick.
DAVID
Complacency? Cattle are complacent.
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

90
DAVID (CONT’D)
You're implying that Esther, the driven
woman both of us know, is complacent?
FOLEY
We all are, David. We have to be, to a
degree. We're surrounded by suffering –
reminded of our own vulnerability every
day. Someone picked off by cancer here,
shot down in the street over there...
DAVID
A healthy person doesn't dwell on that.
FOLEY
Of course not, she represses it –
that's my point. But some people are
forced to dwell on it. It comes right
up and knifes them in the gut.
DAVID
(stopping: angrily)
All this fucking talk! Listen, Foley,
Esther's life is at stake!
FOLEY
David, if I could help Esther, I would.
She doesn't want our help. I trust her
enough to respect that. This attempt on
her life has blown her cover, she's
seeing things about herself she didn't
know were there – didn't want to know.
DAVID
You're saying she's been hiding from
something?
FOLEY
Shit, David, are you pretending we
don't all have things we hide from?
Talk about skeletons in the closet –
what the hell do you think we have
in the basement?

WOLF TIME

91
DAVID
(chuckling sarcastically)
With no basement, I wouldn't know.
FOLEY
I'm talking about the one you inherited.
The one the human race just climbed out
of, day before yesterday.
DAVID
(humoring him)
Maybe you did, Dan.
FOLEY
I think Esther felt the same way. Maybe
that's the problem with us in our welllit modern cities and our condos. We
can't even see the stars anymore. We
have such a false sense of independence
— and isolation.
DAVID
So that's what Esther's problem is –
she needs a house with a basement?
FOLEY
No – just acknowledge the one she has.
At the very source of life, David –
our inner core – is the beast within.
Our savage kill-or-be-killed past. When
it's repressed, it can turn monstrous.
DAVID
This is all getting a little deep for
me, Foley – about up to my knees. What
happens when "the beast's" not repressed?

Foley smiles and opens his arms: a gesture that says,
"The sky's the limit." As he does, the CAMERA PULLS BACK
to reveal the men walking along the rim of a gigantic
DAM...which is seen to be backed up by others, one behind
the next, each mightier than the one before it, extending
upstream as far as the eye can see.
INT. MORNING - ESTHER'S BEDROOM

WOLF TIME

92

Her eyes open; she lies still a moment, then sits up and
runs her hand through her hair. This is a new person; she
has emerged from her depression.
INT. MORNING - ESTHER'S CONDO - MONTAGE
Esther showers, waters her thirsty plants, does some
basic housecleaning – she’s alive again. Sorting out the
day's L.A. Times from a pile inside the door, she goes to
breakfast at an...
EXT. DAY – OUTDOOR CAFÉ
...on the beach. She sits there soaking up sun, sea air
and local atmosphere, taking pleasure in the people and
activity around her. With a determined air, she opens the
paper, turns to an inside-page article on the Fuentes
murder, absorbs it quickly and painfully, then puts the
paper aside to people-watch and eavesdrop over her
coffee. At the next table are two sweat-suited MEN in
their 30s behind their own papers.
FIRST MAN
...The Raiders lose to Miami and
they're out of it.
SECOND MAN
Doesn't matter – they don't have a
chance anyway.
FIRST MAN
Why do you suppose they haven’t put
it together?
SECOND MAN
They're a buncha pussies anymore.
They need more killers – they oughta
recruit this Wolfman.
FIRST MAN
That'd be a good way to take care a
that sonofabitch wouldn't it? Put him
between two NFL lines till he's ground
to mincemeat.

WOLF TIME

93
SECOND MAN
After they cut his balls off.
FIRST MAN
He'd lose 'em in the first pile-on.

Esther hurriedly pays her check, then...
INT. - CAR,
...drives to Dr. Krongold’s for her second session.
INT. DAY - KRONGOLD'S OFFICE
ESTHER
The murders of those poor young
women weren't just stories I read in
the paper. Having come so close to
being killed myself, I experienced
their deaths in a way.
KRONGOLD
You said earlier your friend believes
it's really the death of the ego rather
than the body that we fear. But who is
this "we" if not the ego itself? It is
the ego, after all, that believes the
body and death are real.
ESTHER
Are you saying they're not?
KRONGOLD
All the world's great religions do.
But I seem to remember this as an old
battleground of ours.
ESTHER
Modern psychology versus "the
spiritual"? I suspect it still is.
KRONGOLD
Yes, your fear of death tells me
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

94
KRONGOLD (CONT’D)
where you stand. That's what lies
behind your need to punish. Violence
begets violence, Esther. When we can
see this so plainly on a global scale
– when a murderous "Balkanization"
of the human spirit keeps feeding on
itself from one generation to the next,
how can we ignore the implications for
the human scale?
ESTHER
That's all well and good in theory,
Bernard; but in the meantime what do
we do with the predatory monsters in
our midst, who think nothing of
taking a human life? You can't turn
the other cheek when you're dead!
KRONGOLD
I'm not suggesting self-sacrifice,
Esther. If I thought that were the
answer, I'd encourage your thoughts of
vengeance. That's the quickest way to
self-immolation I can think of. Only
question where your thirst for
vengeance comes from, and where it
inevitably leads.
ESTHER
But how can you possibly forgive what
happened to those girls?!
KRONGOLD
I know the idea of unqualified
forgiveness is frightening. The power
of such forgiveness is a paradox the ego
simply doesn't comprehend. But for the
sake of your sanity, Esther – we're not
talking about your soul here – you must
let go of hatred – hatred of yourself
first of all. Trust yourself, and you'll
begin to trust the world to take care of
itself.

WOLF TIME

95

INT./EXT. DAY - ESTHER'S CAR
On the Pasadena Freeway, talking to Judy on her car
phone.
ESTHER
(exuberantly)
...It sounds like you've done a
marvelous job, Judy – I should have
taken some time off long ago.
On impulse, she calls David at his high-rise office. CUT
BETWEEN THEM.
DAVID
(guardedly)
...I didn't expect to hear from you
so soon.
ESTHER
Does that mean your social calendar's
already booked up?
DAVID
If it were, I'd throw away the book.
What the hell happened to you? You
sound great!
ESTHER
Is that amazement or relief I hear?
DAVID
A little of one and a lot of the other,
baby. When I last talked to you, you
were down.
ESTHER
I know. I haven't been much fun to be
around have I?
DAVID
I haven't expected you to, Esther. I
just want you to know I'm behind you,
a hundred percent.
ESTHER
I do know it, David. You've been very
understanding. How about letting me fix
dinner for the two of us tonight. Let
me make up if I can for being such a
holy terror the last two weeks.

WOLF TIME

96
DAVID
I told you, honey, you don't have a
damn thing to make up for. But that
doesn't mean I won't accept your
invitation. What should I bring, red
or white wine? Champagne?
ESTHER
We have plenty of wine at home.
DAVID
I want this to be an occasion.
ESTHER
So do I, David.

INT. DAY - ESTHER'S BATHROOM
She takes a long bath. Drying herself, she lets the towel
fall away, gazes with the aroused interest of a stranger
at her reflection in a full-length mirror. Her eyes fill
with tears, as if she's never really seen this lovely
youthful-looking body.
EXT. DAY - MARKET(S) - MONTAGE
She shops for tonight's dinner with David: Southwestern
cuisine.
INT. KITCHEN/EXT. PATIO - EVENING - MONTAGE
With appropriate banter – sipping wine, munching David's
appetizer of toasted piñon nuts, pecans and pumpkin seeds
– the two of them prepare the meal together: a winter
salad of jicama and oranges, lentil soup with lime juice,
and lemon-broiled chicken with green chilies. Letting the
soup simmer, Esther joins him on the patio where he's
grilling two free-range chicken quarters.
ESTHER
(Mae West imitation)
How you doin' out here, big boy?

WOLF TIME

97
DAVID
Mighty fine, Ma'am. This here chicken's
fixin' t' sashay onta your plate in jest
about five minutes, I reckon.

She laughs, puts her arm around him. Grinning, eyeing
each other like teenagers, they finish fixing the meal
and sit down at a beautifully laden candle-lit table on
the patio to eat.
DAVID
Why has it been so long since we've
done this? I don't mean just the last
couple of weeks, it's been a lot longer
than that. I haven't really been here a
hell of a lot, have I?
ESTHER
(smiling)
I wondered if that had occurred to you.
DAVID
Oh yeah, I've been doing some thinking.
A lot has occurred to me since...all this
began. This is incredible, by the way.
ESTHER
Mmmm – you helped make it!
She toasts them with her chilled glass of Chardonnay.
DAVID
(later, finishing their meal)
...What Dan said about you yesterday
made quite an impression. I had to
ask myself whether he might even be
more in your corner in some ways than
I’ve been – but I have no doubt about
that now.
ESTHER
You met with Dan yesterday?! I dreamt
the two of you were talking about me;
you were walking along the rim of a
gigantic dam, with other dams lined up
behind it – it was incredible.

WOLF TIME

98
DAVID
Really? Well, this was at Dan's hillside
hacienda in Silverlake – talking about
"the beast within" and how this whole
experience may turn out to be beneficial
for you in the long run.
ESTHER
...That's what my dream was about.
DAVID
You're kidding!

Impressed, thoughtful, he takes another bite and
continues eating. Esther is stunned.
INT. NIGHT - ESTHER'S KITCHEN
Dishes are piled in the sink as they finish putting away
the food. Esther starts to rinse them for the dishwasher.
DAVID
Why don't we just leave them for once?
ESTHER
Yes – why don't we!
He picks her up in the middle of the kitchen, kissing her
with an urgency they both feel.
INT. NIGHT - ESTHER'S BEDROOM
Watching them make love is like seeing a woman really
experiencing sex for the first time.
EXT. DAY - TENNIS COURT
Esther and Valerie are playing at a private club.
Esther's beating hell out of both the ball and her
surprised opponent.
INT. DAY - BAR

WOLF TIME

99

They enter the club's private bar.
VALERIE
Give me some warning next time. I've
never seen you play like that before.
ESTHER
I needed it.
They pass a large-screen TV in the lounge. On the screen,
a middle-aged Chicana woman is trying to talk through
heavy sobs. Valerie pays no attention but something grabs
Esther's attention. She stops.
CHICANA WOMAN
...She, she had such plans. She was
going to be a singer – or an actress.
She could have made it, she had such
determination...
Meredith Manning steps into the picture to comfort her.
INSERT – TV SCREEN
MEREDITH
Ms. Fuentes, I'm sure that all of Los
Angeles shares your grief.
BACK TO SCENE
VALERIE
(taking her arm)
Come on – I know just what you need.
EXT. DAY - RESTAURANT
Det. Clark and Judy Williams are almost run over by
roller bladers as they arrive at Venice's Sidewalk Cafe.
They're led by a waitress in little more than a tan
through a noisy throng to a patio table next to the
sidewalk. The Venice beach scene – frisbees, skaters,
lovers, sunbathers, winos, street musicians, artisans,
peddlers and dogs – explodes around them. As they sit
down a frisbee strikes Clark in the chest. An apologetic
surfer type runs up to retrieve it, but Clark backhands
it skillfully to the other player.

WOLF TIME

100
CLARK
Best entertainment in the world.
JUDY
Unless you live here.
CLARK
You did?
JUDY
For almost two years. When I was
ripped off twice in one week, I left.
CLARK
Once a week should be enough for
anybody.
JUDY
It was almost that bad.
CLARK
...How's your boss doing, by the way?
JUDY
(exaggerated indignation)
Listen, Clark, are you sleeping with
me just to keep tabs on Esther?
CLARK
(smiling, taking her hands)
If I thought so before yesterday, you
shattered any such illusions last night.
JUDY
Well – that's nice to hear. You were
rather memorable yourself.
CLARK
...So how is she?
JUDY
(playfully)
Bastard! I don't know really. Dan says
she's too depressed to get out of bed.

WOLF TIME

101
CLARK
That would be her partner, Daniel Foley?
JUDY
Yes, Dan's a sweetheart – and very
capable. Not just as a therapist; he
oversees the business side of the clinic
too.
CLARK
What about the guy she's seeing, David
Albright? How much does she rely on him?
JUDY
He's been out of town most of the time
since she was attacked, working on some
business deal in Denver. David's an
investor in high-tech start-ups – quite
successful, a real workaholic.
CLARK
I guess. I'd say either it must be one
helluva deal or he and the good doctor
aren't exactly making the sheets crackle.
JUDY
I'd say a little of both, but that's
all I'll say on the subject.
CLARK
Out of loyalty to your boss?
JUDY
To her and to David. He's not as bad
as I've made him sound. His being out
of town the last few days may have as
much to do with Esther as it does with
whatever deal he's working on.
CLARK
Her case is a little unusual. I'm
fishin' and I don't know what for.
JUDY
Poor Esther. Why did she have to
overhear me talking to you?

WOLF TIME

102
CLARK
I think what she's going through has a
lot more to do with a guy and a knife,
don't you?
JUDY
Me and my big mouth certainly didn't
improve her state of mind.
CLARK
If I hadn't talked to you, I'd have had
to question her some more. Is this
kind of depression unusual for her?
JUDY
Very.
CLARK
Have you observed any other unusual
behavior since you've known her?
JUDY
I wouldn't call severe depression after
what she's been through unusual at all.
CLARK
I'm talking about before the attack.
JUDY
Hardly. Esther's the most in-control
person I know.
CLARK
Rigid enough to develop some kind of
psychotic syndrome?
JUDY
Why, Lieutenant – you've been doing
some homework.
CLARK
Oh come off it, Judy. I get so goddamn
tired of the dumb cop stereotype. I'm
not talking about something the average
criminal science major doesn't have
some knowledge of.

WOLF TIME

103
JUDY
Hey – I was only kidding.
CLARK
You hit a nerve.
JUDY
...Well, to answer your question – I
didn't say Esther was rigid. She's just
your typical high-achiever. She wouldn't
allow herself the luxury of depression
under most circumstances.
CLARK
But this has got to her huh?
JUDY
You still haven't told me why you're so
interested in her.
CLARK
Intuition – a lot of us dumb cops have
it. You pick it up after a while if
you don't have it to begin with.
JUDY
Is that what in detective work is
called a hunch?
CLARK
“Job security's” more like it. Couple
of the guys have worked with psychics
on really difficult cases. Fairly big
names, I understand.
JUDY
Really?
CLARK
We don't publicize it. They often do.
Anyway, I've had a chance to study some
of them. A good detective's partly
psychic, in my opinion.
JUDY
That's interesting.

WOLF TIME

104
CLARK
Maybe that's why I decided to be a cop.
I have this...feeling about people. I
can tune in sometimes and tell exactly
what a suspect's thinking. Or I'll pace
a crime scene until I get a pretty
clear picture of what happened. I can
almost see it taking place.
JUDY
I think I just found the subject for my
thesis. Tell me, though, what all this
has to do with Esther.
CLARK
That's what I'm trying to find out.
Before she gets herself in real trouble.
JUDY
I don't understand.
CLARK
Maybe that's because you think of her
only as a victim, period.

EXT. DAY - VALERIE'S SPA
Valerie's therapy is working; both women are relaxed and
enjoying wine, a joint and the gorgeous view of the
ocean.
ESTHER
I haven't had any in a long time.
VALERIE
Be careful then...
(Cheech & Chong imitation)
It's muy poderoso, man!
ESTHER
Ohhh, this was a good idea, Val.
VALERIE
Juan and I don't smoke much anymore,
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

105
VALERIE (CONT’D)
but I thought this might be an
appropriate occasion. The only thing
I can think of that might have been
better is Alison's isolation tank,
but she's out of the country.
ESTHER
I didn't know she had one.
VALERIE
I think she had one of the first –
probably the only stew in America who
did. She was flying between L.A. and
Honolulu then. She said the flights got
to be so exhausting after a while,
everyone wanting her attention. She'd
take in all this crazy energy and come
home fried – ready to fly to pieces.
ESTHER
And the tank really helped?
VALERIE
Instead of fighting it, she started
looking every one of her passengers in
the eye when she said goodbye to them
– she took everything they put out
there. Then she'd come back to her
tank and just...take off.
ESTHER
Oh, that's fantastic!

Esther is so moved by the story she hugs Valerie, who is
pleased. The phone rings inside.
VALERIE
I forgot to bring the phone out. Be
right back.
She wraps a towel around her and goes inside. Esther
leans back, sips her wine. Her eyes glaze and we...
DISSOLVE TO:

WOLF TIME

106

ESTHER'S STONED DAYDREAM
INT./EXT. DAY – AIPORT/JET AIRLINER
On a sunny tarmac. Esther is a stewardess, greeting
boarding passengers. Her smile vanishes when first Pam
Putnam then Angela Fuentes appear at the top of the
portable steps, looking over their shoulders in terror.
Esther peers down a long stairway to see the Wolfman
climbing toward her. She flees into the empty cabin;
since it's crewless she'll have to fly the plane herself.
She sits down in the pilot's seat, makes all the
preparations her daydream considers necessary...and
slowly pushes the throttle forward.
The whole point of her dream, however, is that there is
no "final" position. As engine RPMs go through the roof,
her hand just keeps pushing the throttle into infinity:
an hallucination that is both thrilling and terrifying.
Suddenly she's flying right into the sun! Her trip
disintegrates in a blinding flash.
BACK TO REALITY
VALERIE
Esther! Are you all right?
The blinding flash was the sun, but from Valerie's spa.
ESTHER
(shaken and embarrassed)
Goddamnit, I can't even smoke anymore.
VALERIE
(getting in)
I told you it was powerful stuff.
Esther appears to be mulling over some insight gained
from the head trip.
ESTHER
...Very.
VALERIE
(handing her a book)
Juan asked me to give this to you if
I saw you before he did.

WOLF TIME

107

INSERT - BOOK
Ernest Becker's Pulitzer Prize Denial of Death. Esther
opens it to a bookmark and reads what Juan’s marked.
ESTHER (V.O.)
"And so the arrival at new possibility,
at new reality, by the destruction of
the self – through facing up to the
anxiety of the terror of existence."
EXT. DAY - ESTHER'S CAR
Esther drives home along the ocean, then up into the
hills, trying to calm herself.
ESTHER (cont'd, V.O.)
"The self must be destroyed, brought
down to nothing, in order for selftranscendence to begin. Then the self
can begin to relate itself to powers...
beyond itself."
We've begun to suspect someone is following he when
something grabs Esther’s attention. As if a dark cloud
has just passed in front of the sun her mood radically
changes. She pulls the man's glove from her glove
compartment...and the deep growl returns. She stops the
car – this time turning off the engine and applying the
emergency brake – and sniffs the air, then plunges into
the trees beside the winding mountain road.
She spots what she's looking for on the other side of a
canyon and utters the chilling growl again. A cabin is
set back in the trees. Standing there quivering, she
senses someone behind her and whirls around.
CLARK
(raising his hand)
Take it easy – didn't mean to scare you.
ESTHER
(gasping)
Why are you following me?

WOLF TIME

108
CLARK
Whose cabin?
ESTHER
I don't know!
(his face says she’s lying.)
...Do you?
CLARK
Shall we go find out?
ESTHER
No! I, I don't care who lives there.
CLARK
Dr. Roth, I don't claim to know what
the hell's going on in this case. But
I'm aware there's a lot you haven't
told me. You almost got yourself killed
once, and you'd be in a shitload of
trouble right now if you'd been more
successful.
ESTHER
I'd be in trouble?
CLARK
Well hell yes – there are laws against
assaulting people. And we are, after
all, a society founded on laws, good or
bad. I'd hate to see you come out of
this in worse shape than you are now.
ESTHER
What do you mean by that?
CLARK
You know damn well what I mean. This
personal vendetta of yours. Even if the
guy who beat you up is a legitimate
suspect in these two recent homicides,
you had no more business doing what you
did...than I have counseling your
patients. A lot less, in fact, because
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

109
CLARK (CONT’D)
of the danger involved. It's my job
to take those kinds of risks. That's
the way our society's set it up.

Esther is upset but at a loss for words.
CLARK (cont'd)
So if you have any idea of continuing
to endanger yours or anyone else's life,
I'm warning you now to forget it. Put it
out of your mind. Do you understand me?
ESTHER
Perfectly, Lieutenant.
She pushes past him toward her car.
INT. DAY - CABIN
Next day police search the inhabited unoccupied cabin.
INT. DAY - ESTHER'S CONDO
She checks her mail: a suspicious-looking envelope.
INSERT - "LETTER"
A sheet of tablet paper on which are a bloody canine paw
print and the words: THE NEXT ONE'S IN YOUR HONOR.
BACK TO CONDO
Distraught but resolved, Esther reaches a decision.
INT. DAY – MONTAGE
A. ESTHER'S ATRIUM – on laptop and telephone, she makes
several calls.
B. UPS CUSTOMER CENTER – yielding to persuasion (without
dialogue) the clerk who waited on Esther earlier goes

WOLF TIME

110

to a storeroom where he locates a small box among the
supplies. He returns with it to the phone.
C. ATRIUM – Esther hangs up, mission accomplished.
D. CABIN – the police search has proved unsuccessful.
E. STORE COUNTER – Esther talks to a clerk in a hunting/
outdoor supply store, who has just completed a sale.
CLERK
(facetiously)
Goin' after griz?
ESTHER
(picking up box)
I beg your pardon?
CLERK
(smiling broadly)
Grizzlies. I was wondrin' if you was
goin' after a grizzly bear.
ESTHER
Uh, no – no, it's a prop for a play.
CLERK
Pretty dangerous prop, if you ask me.
Stopped makin' them things years ago.
Kept that one around for show – never
thought I'd sell it. Course no one ever
offered me that much for it either.
Remember, be real careful with it.
EXT. DAY - CABIN
An unmarked police car pulls away. The Wolfman watches
from the trees.
ESTHER (O.S.)
Oh, I will – don't worry about me.
INT. DAY - ESTHER'S CAR
Something's troubling her as she drives to work.

WOLF TIME

111

INT. DAY - CLINIC
She walks down the hall to the reception desk.
JUDY
Esther!
(going up to her)
It's good to have you back.
ESTHER
(returning hug unemotionally)
Thanks, Judy – glad to be back.
JUDY
I'm so sorry about what happened.
Anything I had to do –
ESTHER
(drawing apart)
You had nothing to do with it, it was
bound to happen sooner or later. How
well do you know Clark?
JUDY
Well, I – we're seeing each other.
ESTHER
I take it, then, you feel he can be
trusted?
JUDY
Yes — he's concerned about you.
ESTHER
In what way?
JUDY
Well...he thinks you've become too
involved in that murder case. Dan and
I agree.
ESTHER
He's not in yet?
JUDY
Not till one.
(Esther turns to go)
Esther...you will be careful?

WOLF TIME

112

With a reassuring if strained smile, Esther goes to...
INT. – HER OFFICE
Consulting a business card, she makes a call.
INT. DAY - CLARK'S OFFICE
Clark answers the phone. CUT BEWTEEN him and Esther.
CLARK
Clark.
ESTHER
Lieutenant, this is Esther Roth. I
need to talk to you.
CLARK
Sure – where?
ESTHER
I don't know...
CLARK
Tell you what – are you willing to
humor a public servant who means well?
ESTHER
What do you have in mind?
CLARK
Ever been to Sybil Brand?
ESTHER
That's a bit heavy-handed, isn't it?
CLARK
If you've never actually experienced
how an institution like that feels,
your education's incomplete. Do it
for professional reasons.
ESTHER
I'll do it because I want to talk to
you.

WOLF TIME

113

INT. DAY - SYBIL BRAND INSTITUTE FOR WOMEN
Clark and Esther talk as they're led through gates into a
corridor between rows of cells. Their conversation is
punctuated by clanging cell doors and inmates' insults.
ESTHER
The medium's the message huh?
CLARK
I guess you could say that. I'd just
hate to see you end up in a place
like this. Or dead.
(she gives him a look)
...Intuition.
ESTHER
Intuition's not infallible, Lieutenant.
I have clients who can't distinguish
between intuition and fantasy.
CLARK
(gesturing to cells)
For what it's worth. What'd you want
to see me about?
ESTHER
The cabin. What if you were to get a
search warrant –
CLARK
We did. Nothing.
ESTHER
Nothing?
CLARK
I doubt if I can even get authority
now to put it under surveillance.
ESTHER
Who lives there?
CLARK
I can't tell you that. He's clean
though: no record to speak of.

WOLF TIME

114
ESTHER
What if I told you...he's the one?
CLARK
How do you know?
ESTHER
I don't know how I know. I just do.
CLARK
Then we're no better off than we were.
ESTHER
That's what I thought.
CLARK
If we'd found something, or had
something on him...
ESTHER
Right. And if he kills someone else
before you do find something?
CLARK
We're doin' the best we can. Not only
LAPD but the FBI's Behavioral Science
Unit, in Quantico. If I can put a man on
the cabin for a couple of days, I will.
ESTHER
What do you think your chances are of
getting him?
CLARK
We'll get him – whoever he is. This
is a must case.
ESTHER
Then what happens?
CLARK
If he doesn't cop an insanity plea,
he could get the needle. Life, almost
certainly. Without parole, maybe.

WOLF TIME

115
ESTHER
What are the odds, in your experience,
that he'll be ruled insane?
CLARK
You know I can't make that kind of
prediction on a given case. We don't
even know who we're dealing with.
ESTHER
Let's say in a hundred cases like this
then. How many times will an insanity
defense be successful? I'm not going
to quote you, Lieutenant.
CLARK
The odds are probably even or better.
ESTHER
Fifty-fifty that he'll have to pay for
annihilating two young human lives.
CLARK
(stopping in corridor)
You know, what you've experienced,
Doctor, we see every day. Yet when a
cop – who's sick to death of shovelin'
society's shit – when he roughs up some
punk he catches kickin' someone's head
in, his ass is dragged from here to hell
and back. If you feel outraged, Doctor,
how do you think we feel? We're the ones
called when someone gets wasted. We're
the ones who have to console the loved
ones, and then go risk our lives so some
liberal-ass judge and jury can put the
sonofabitch who did it right back on the
street.
ESTHER
How do you do it?
CLARK
Because someone has to! No, that's a
cop-out – no pun intended...I guess
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

116
CLARK (CONT’D)
because when you're exposed every day
to the worst in human nature, you can
react in two ways. You either come to
the conclusion, as the survivalists
have, that our society's doomed, that
it's about to tear itself to pieces –
and go off and hide in your fortified
bunker somewhere...or else you find
hope in the fact that we get along as
well as we do. You begin to realize
there must be some good in the human
race to compensate for the kind of
refuse we deal with every day.
ESTHER
You surprise me, Clark. We're not
really in disagreement though – I'm
ultimately an optimist myself.
INMATE
Foxy lady, you belong in here with me!
ESTHER
(ignoring her)
I've just come to believe that harsh
measures are needed for us to realize
our true potential. And if I have to
make an example of myself, to do what
society's unwilling to, I will.
CLARK
Dr. Roth, anyone who's ever set himself
above the law felt the end justified
the means.
ESTHER
Listen, that animal knows who I am and
where I live. I feel safe enough there
for now; I don't think he'd be stupid
enough to come back right away. But
eventually he's going to find out
there's no one between him and me. I'm
not going to let him drive me from my
home and I'm not going to live holed
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

117
ESTHER (CONT’D)
up in a cage "for my own protection."
That's the irony of your bringing me
here. But I don't feel above the law.
If I were ever to take it into my own
hands, I'd be willing to pay the
consequences.
CLARK
If you don't want wanta live holed up
in a cage you'd better take a look
around you. Wouldn't this make you no
more than an animal yourself?
ESTHER
Avenging the deaths of those women
would be the act of an animal, Lieutenant.
We both know that.

INT. DAY - KRONGOLD'S OFFICE
ESTHER
(emotionally)
I've tried to take what we discussed
last time to heart: forgiveness versus
revenge in the great scheme of things.
But there are some things I just can't
forgive. In some ways turning the other
cheek represents social suicide in the
times we live in.
KRONGOLD
But, Esther, it's because we need to
focus our wisest deliberation on crime
and violence and social injustice that
we must be absolutely clear about who
the real perpetrators are – all of
them. We can't afford to deflect this
vital effort onto scapegoats alone.
ESTHER
And who are the scapegoats?
KRONGOLD
Let me answer that in a round-about
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

118
KRONGOLD (CONT’D)
way if I may. I'm sure you'll agree
that making Hitler the sole perpetrator
of the Holocaust, whether as an
archfiend who wasn't really quite
human or, more prosaically, a very
special case of scapegoat if you will,
would have been a terrible miscarriage
of justice.
ESTHER
Well of course – isn't that's what the
Nuremberg Trials were all about?
KRONGOLD
Nuremberg! All but eclipsed – in the
monstrous shadow of...Hitler.
(melodramatically)
Not by scholars, of course, or rightthinking people in general – just the
vast majority of the Western world:
the average Joe, Klaus, Pierre and Tony.
Saying, and believing, that "Hitler did
it" gets everyone else off the hook,
doesn't it.
ESTHER
I don't understand what all this has to
do with creatures like the Wolfman
KRONGOLD
Don't you see? If we choose to demonize
criminals, in the same way Hitler blamed
the Jews for Germany's problems, and the
rest of the world blames Hitler more or
less exclusively for the Holocaust...if
we try to pretend that rapists, murderers,
serial killers are inhuman "monsters"
fundamentally different from “normal”
human beings, then once again we sacrifice
an opportunity to learn how the flaws,
some of them terrible indeed, that are
part of being human can be overcome.
ESTHER
Demonize them? The people responsible
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

119
ESTHER (CONT’D)
for the travesty we call a justice
system are running schools for criminals!
And when they get out of prison, after
serving perhaps a third of their pleabargained sentences, they go on to get
their graduate degrees in the streets
and homes of America!
KRONGOLD
(sighing)
My own fear is that the politics of
vengeance on which our penal system is
based is so obviously counterproductive
that it's bound to change, but for the
worse. We're going to retaliate by
punishing crime with increasing severity.
ESTHER
And I'm afraid we won't – certainly not
in time to stop the Wolfman. If he can't
be arrested, then he should be stopped
some other way – killed, if that's the
only way to keep him from murdering
another innocent woman.
KRONGOLD
Esther, Esther...there will never be
more bestial things done to man, woman
or child than occurred on a daily basis
in the concentration camps. Do you
really think that vengefully killing
every single murderer and torturer at
Auschwitz and Buchenwald and the rest
would have prevented history from
repeating itself? In Cambodia, or South
America, or Guatemala? Was revenge
killing a solution, or a provocation,
in Northern Ireland and what used to be
Yugoslavia? Tell me, if you can, how
killing killers here will be any more
effective. No, Esther, we need a real
solution, a totally new solution to
man's inhumanity to man – not another
"final" solution.

WOLF TIME

120

INT. DAY - OFFICE, PARKER CENTER
An indignant police CAPTAIN is talking to Det. Clark.
CAPTAIN
Hell no! I can't send a unit out there
to sit around jerkin' each other off
because some crazy bitch says the guy's
a murderer. From what you tell me, I'd
sooner put a tail on her.
INT. DAY - ESTHER'S BATHROOM
As the Captain's harangue continues (O.S.), Esther takes
down her douche bag hanging in the shower and...
INT. DAY - ESTHER'S GARAGE
...fills it with gasoline from a can, tying a knot in the
hose to keep it from leaking.
CAPTAIN (cont'd, O.S.)
You know how thin we're stretched
because of this maniac. We get a
hundred leads a day and you wanta
throw away more man-hours on the most
hare-brained of all. Get outa here,
before I feed your gullible ass to the
Chief!
The incongruous absurdity of a gasoline-filled douche bag
gets to Esther. She starts laughing and can't stop.
EXT. NIGHT - CABIN - MONTAGE
Moonless and dark, a light behind closed curtains, a thin
wisp of smoke rises from the chimney. A battered pickup
nearby. Suddenly we're startled by a face right before
us: Esther's, daubed with mud for camouflage. All we see
clearly are her teeth when she grimaces. She emerges from
undergrowth, a dufflebag over her shoulder, to approach
the cabin with the stealth of a wild animal. It's too
dark to see what she's doing in front of the door, but

WOLF TIME

121

she seems to be digging in the earth. The faint CLINK of
metal. Inside, the muffled SOUNDS from a TV.
Now she’s at one of the front corners of the cabin.
Rubbing the leather glove to renew her energy, Esther
laboriously, silently fastens a block (as in block &
tackle) to the cabin with two wood screws, strings one
end of a nylon rope through the pulley, and knots it to
secure it. Then, attaching a second block to the cabin's
other front corner, her hand slips, driving the screwdriver hard against the log wall. Flattening herself
against the side wall of the cabin, she pulls a .380
semi-automatic pistol from her pocket and waits. The
sound on the TV goes off, then light from the cabin
spills into the night when the door is opened. We hear a
man muttering to himself O.S.
When the door closes a moment later, Esther can breathe
again. Afraid to push her luck, she forgoes a second
screw. Looping the gasoline-filled douche bag around her
neck, she tests the mortared chimney with the toe of her
running shoes, climbs to the roof – and drops the bag
down the chimney. An EXPLOSION sends flames roaring into
the sky. A moment later the door bursts open and the
Wolfman charges through it howling with rage. But he
takes only a step when...
INSERT - BOOT HITTING GROUND
...the teeth of a large BEAR TRAP snap shut around his
ankle. His roar becomes a scream of pain. Eyes blazing,
Esther leaps to the ground in SLOW MOTION and snatches up
the coiled nylon rope. The free end is looped like a
cowboy's lariat. Holding it in her right hand, with the
knotted end, strung through the pulley, in her left, she
warily approaches the Wolfman, struggling to free
himself. Taunting him, she whips him across the face.
WOLFMAN
(lunging at her)
You bitch!
As he flails about, she snares one of his hands in the
noose, jerks it tight, then yanks the other end through
the pulley to draw the rope taut. With the pulley's

WOLF TIME

122

additional leverage she nearly wrenches his right arm
from its socket as she stretches it out full-length to
secure the rope. A knot prevents the rope from slipping
back through the pulley's sheave.
WOLFMAN
You fucking cunt I'll kill you!
Without taking her eyes from him Esther darts to the
opposite side for the other rope. Now she stalks him,
while he tries to keep his free hand away from her.
Esther draws the knotted end through the pulley to take
up slack, leaving just enough rope to maneuver with.
Once, twice, again she feints with the noose, and each
time the Wolfman counters.
WOLFMAN
(panting)
C'mon...you cunt...you fucking...
coward!
Exhausted, nearly sobbing, Esther gets either careless or
too bold. Instead of going for the rope, the Wolfman
grabs hold of her arm! She tries futilely to jerk free,
then, taking him by surprise, pivots into him. With her
back to him she bites into his wrist hard. He screams,
releasing his hold long enough for her to slip the noose
over his hand and tighten it in one swift motion. Then,
resisting the impulse to get away, she falls toward him
to the ground, drawing the free end of the rope through
the pulley. Though she is lying at his feet, he is
spread-eagled helplessly in front of her.
Not quite helplessly. His free foot catches her with a
glancing blow to her head. Esther falls, stunned,
releasing tension on the pulley, the end of the rope
still around her right hand. When the Wolfman tries to
pull his arm free, Esther pulls back instinctively.
Another kick catches her in the shoulder. She pulls
against the rope with all her strength, wriggling along
the ground away from him, and with moaning sounds that
are part sobs, part snarls, pulls herself hand over hand
up the rope toward the pulley.
His strength gone, there's fear in the Wolfman's eyes

WOLF TIME

123

now. Flames lick at the cabin around the chimney as
Esther ties off the second rope at the pulley. While her
trussed-up captive thrashes and raves incoherently, she
staggers to her dufflebag. Clumsy with fatigue, she pulls
out a tripod, sets it up, mounts a camcorder, turns it
on, then opens a small box. Inside, nested like deadlylooking insects, are eight...
INSERT – STRING-CUTTING RINGS
...that she purchased at UPS.
BACK TO SCENE
One by one, watching his face, Esther slips them onto her
fingers.
ESTHER
(exhausted)
You're going to tell me...how you
killed those girls. If I have to use
these, I will, "Wolfman." Now talk!
He lunges at her, and there is a sharp CRACK! at the side
of the cabin. The pulley secured with only one screw has
torn loose, and the rope securing his right arm goes
slack. His arm catches Esther by the throat and lifts her
clear off the ground.
WOLFMAN
Now you're gonna find out how the
other ones felt, you bitch! But you're
not goin' as quick as they did, you're
gonna go nice and slow!
Esther can't breathe. She can't dislodge his arm. About
to lose consciousness, she summons her remaining strength
...and lashes up and back with the metal claws. The
Wolfman screams – but intensifies his grip. Again and
again Esther strikes at the face and shoulders that she
(and we) can't see but can imagine being shredded by the
rings. Finally able to wriggle from his grasp, and now
completely out of control, she turns on the Wolfman
savagely.
EXT. - THE CABIN

WOLF TIME

124

We don't see, only HEAR, what she does to him. As the
cabin goes up in flames, the Wolfman's screams turn from
rage to agony, to gurgles...while Esther's frenzied
sounds of blood-lust diminish to the exhausted, anguished
weeping of one who in accomplishing her Herculean task,
has broken humanity's oldest taboo.
EXT. NIGHT - ESTHER'S CONDO COMPLEX
On the way to her apartment, Esther approaches an elderly
couple. When she steps into the light...
ELDERLY COUPLE - POV ESTHER
...they gasp in horror. She hurries to her apartment.
INT. - HALLWAY
In darkness she fumbles with the key to her door and
opens it.
INT. - BATHROOM
We hear the DOOR close, then she turns on the light...to
reveal herself in the mirror. She is drenched in blood,
her hair caked and matted with it. She moans and gags.
INT. - SHOWER
Steam rises above the fogged glass door. Esther turns off
the water and steps out, reaching for a towel. She is in
shock, her eyes glazed, her mouth slack.
INT. – APARTMENT - MONTAGE
She throws back the covers, crawls into bed naked,
drawing into fetal position, shivering violently, a
vacant haunted expression on her face. A gust of WIND at
the open window rustles leaves, lifts the curtain. The

WOLF TIME

125

wind moans and rattles doors. The WHISPERING she heard in
her dream earlier begins again.
WOMAN (O.S.)
Esther!...Esther...
It becomes louder, more sibilant, ELECTRONICALLY
ENHANCED. Finally Esther moans and sits up. Nothing. But
when she lies back down, the whispering resumes. She gets
up staggering in sleep and exhaustion, puts a robe around
her shoulders and as if hypnotized, goes in search of the
mysterious voice. From her POV the dark rooms are eerie,
other-worldly, frightening. She stands in the doorway of
the spare bedroom, facing the closet with the sliding
doors. A gust of WIND scrapes them against each other.
The voice becomes insistent. Esther is fully awake now.
She approaches fearfully, hesitantly opens the doors.
At first, nothing but blackness. But the whispering voice
has become more hoarse, threatening somehow. Her name’s
not intelligible, this is more like heavy, raspy
breathing. Two huge yellow eyes blink open in the dark;
the "whisper" is now quite clearly a low, vicious growl.
The eyes rise slowly and come toward us. They're the eyes
of an enormous WOLF. Esther is paralyzed with fear.
Its lip curls back, baring glistening fangs. It tenses...
and springs, with a ferocious guttural snarl! Screaming,
Esther tries to close the flimsy doors but the Wolf's
leap smashes them from their track. She whirls away from
it but it's right on top of her. A lamp crashes to the
floor – then all hell breaks loose in the apartment as
Esther tries to get away. But she's cornered. Saliva
drooling from its mouth, the wolf slinks toward her, its
great fierce yellow eyes burning with a malevolent fire.
ESTHER
(sobbing)
Please...please...
But she's hopelessly trapped. As the wolf tenses for the
kill, a strange expression comes into Esther’s eyes, a
look of much more than mere resignation. She has accepted
her fate. When, in SLOW MOTION, the Wolf springs, Esther
opens her arms to embrace it.

WOLF TIME

126

ESTHER'S DEATH EXPERIENCE
POV - Esther
The wolf's teeth and fiercely burning eyes swoop down on
us until all we see are the flames in those eyes –
everything drowned in red. At the fire's core, a luminous
white flame – and peace: an echo of the wolf's snarls
feathers into the semblance of a human whisper. It's the
woman's voice, calling her name again. And the "flame" is
actually a WOMAN IN WHITE, approaching through a sheet of
fire. But as the figure comes nearer the red disperses.
Esther has the illusion of approaching her through an
archway of arms opening to embrace her. One pair after
another open to her, only to be replaced by other
graceful, loving arms beyond them. Esther’s whispered
name becomes louder and louder, in a deep resonant voice
full of love, compassion and power.
Now we are at the very feet of this commanding figure.
Our eyes sweep up, up over her flowing garment of
shimmering white to behold...the face of Esther herself!
Not the drawn and driven face we have seen for most of
the movie, but the transcendent beauty of the face of
Esther's true Self: the whole and perfect being she is in
the eyes of God. And on this serenely beautiful face is a
smile that, in its radiant purity, tears the heart.
We can HEAR O.S. the grateful choking sobs of the Esther
we know. As the brilliant white light surrounding the
resplendent being before her increases in intensity, we
become aware of another SOUND as well – growing louder as
the light becomes brighter. It’s an insistent POUNDING
and SHOUTS. Suddenly the vision vanishes in a blinding
flash...and the pounding gives way to the sound of
SPLINTERING WOOD.
BACK TO ESTHER’S APARTMENT
Her
she
are
The

normal sight and state of consciousness returning,
turns toward her smashed-open door. Police officers
poised in the doorway, guns drawn and leveled at her.
apartment's a wreck. On the carpet, in the spilled

WOLF TIME

127

moist soil from a toppled fern, is what appears to be the
vague impression of a large paw print.
POLICEMAN
Police officers! Freeze!
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. NIGHT - ESTHER'S CONDO
As she's being led, dazed and exhausted, to patrol cars
parked at the curb, Meredith Manning thrusts a mike into
Esther’s face.
MEREDITH
Dr. Roth! Did you accomplish what
you set out to do?
Esther comes to her senses, a look of serenity transcends
her haggard features.
ESTHER
...No, Meredith. What I did was wrong,
absolutely wrong.
MEREDITH
Wrong? B-but, Dr. Roth, how can you
say that? People all over the world
will support what you've done. When
they learn what you alone had the
courage to do!
ESTHER
I can only say what I feel in my
heart.
MEREDITH
But, Esther, I mean Dr. Roth, this
man was an animal, not a normal human
being! What happened to your moral
outrage?
ESTHER
(as she's led away)
I'm going to try to make it more
constructive.
FADE TO:

WOLF TIME

128

INT. DAY - COURTROOM
Esther's arraignment in one long CAMERA MOVE, starting at
the rear of the excitedly buzzing courtroom and coming
down an aisle to the front. In the audience are David,
Judy Williams and Dan Foley, Valerie and Juan, Det.
Clark, and Meredith, taking notes beside an illustrator
who is sketching the scene for the media. Esther stands
at the Defense's table. As she delivers her final lines,
the CAMERA comes in tight on her face.
ELDERLY MALE JUDGE
(pounding gavel)
Order! Order in the court! How does
the Defendant plead — guilty, or not
guilty?
Esther's voice quavers at first but grows steadily
stronger. Her attorney, a patrician, middle-aged man,
tries vainly at first to silence her but finally gives
up.
ESTHER
Your Honor, I take full responsibility
for the crime of which I’m accused. It
was premeditated, carried out by me
alone. I was aware of what I was doing
at all times. I understand, and I
understood then, the social and legal
sanctions against taking a human life
under any circumstances other than
self-defense or to protect the lives
of others. Nor do I hold myself above
the law. I bow to it willingly,
understanding its rightful and
necessary place in civilized society.
Her attorney has slumped into his chair; the courtroom is
buzzing again, and Esther has to raise her voice.
ESTHER (cont'd)
I will not contest the finding of a
jury, knowing and acknowledging that
I have murdered a fellow human being
in full possession of my sense of
(MORE)

WOLF TIME

129
ESTHER (CONT’D)
right and wrong. But I am...

Esther’s voice has grown stronger, her posture more
erect, her self-mastery and aura of power, extraordinary.
Yet so overwhelming is the emotion she is feeling that
for a moment she can't go on and pauses to regain her
composure.
JUDGE
Will the Defendant please answer my
question? How do you plead – guilty
or...
ESTHER
(overlapping Judge's line)
...I am not guilty!
Esther’s face, although all too human in its record of
fatigue and stress to be that of the fully-realized Selfimage of her vision, is nevertheless serene in its sense
of peace and self-acceptance.
FADE OUT.
THE END

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