Tuesday, March 6, 2007

S.O.L. Scripts, Vol. 1

Turkey Vultures, Geyserville, Ca.
Here's a script I've been writing on and off for a couple of years. My sabbatical up here in Wine Country has given me time to rework some old stuff and this is one I'm nearly finished with. I call this my Elmore Leonard black comic noir film, about a cop who comes into some ill-gotten funds and the people who want to take it from him.

This is a favorite scene of mine. It follows one of the script's big early set pieces -- a shootout in an L.A. bowling alley that claims the lives of one bad guy and one good guy. The bad guy, Walter, had just been released from serving hard time on a bank robbery where the money was never recovered. He was able to stash the cash before he was sent up and kept the hiding place secret from even his partner and his wife, Mona. Good thing 'cause Mona is sleeping with Walter's partner and planned to run away with him -- along with the money. Walter wanted the cash to go to his son and not to his money-grubbing wife. Ray is our hero -- and the cop's funeral is for his partner, Daniel Morean.

Anyway, just so you know this material is not only copyright but it's registered at the Writers Guild of America, West.

In. the b.g., "Danny Boy" begins softly, as we ...


... and the song rises in volume, operatic slow, bagpipes


On a cop's funeral, Detective Daniel Morean, is laid to rest.
A flag-draped coffin; wife, sons graveside. In the
background, our boy Ray, guilt thick in his eyes.


Walter's funeral under which we hear "Danny Boy" as sung by
Johnny Cash, blue-collar, hard, like this ceremony, which is
plastic to Morean's quiet reverence.

Walter's wife, MONA, red lips, junkie thin, dressed in black,
low-cut, sexy in a cheap sort of a way, not what one wears to
a funeral. Big, thrift store hat.



Dress blues, points his gun in the air.


And so on - the cop's gun salute...

Ray doesn't even flinch. Everything you need to know is in
his eyes, if you can bare to look.

winces at the sound. A beat. Another shot; no it's a car
backfiring somewhere nearby. The priest finishing ...

... all who knew Warren took
comfort in his faith in God, a
faith that grew stronger in his
final years. Like so many of His
devoted sons, Warren was taken from
us too early. He is in a better
place now, our Warren.
(throws dirt on the grave)
And so we lay to rest beloved
husband, devoted father, Warren.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust ...

Mona throws dirt on the grave, allows herself a single tear
which she doesn't wipe away. She takes one, long look at the
coffin and turns away.


Mona looks up. The priest.

I am so sorry for your loss.

He waits, a long beat meant to be reverential. Mona ignores
it. When she speaks, whatever hope you have that there's any
amount of grace in her, is completely gone.

Thank you, Father.

Another long, awkward beat. He clears his throat, again.

Spit it out. I already said thank

The priest hands her a folded piece of paper. She reads it.

Let me get this straight. I'm
standing over my husband's grave
and you're giving me the bill?

She starts to cry.

What kind of a person would do such
a thing?

The priest has seen this before.

I understand how awkward this must
be for you, but I'm afraid you
agreed to make payment at the time
services are rendered.

Mona cries harder.

How could you?

The priest holds his ground. Removes a handkerchief from his
pocket, offers it to her. He waits while she cries.
She takes it, makes a move like she's walking away, but he
blocks her path. A long beat. She realizes he's not buying
her performance.

Finally, she blows her noses loudly in his kerchief, and
hands it back to him. Then she pulls cash out of her purse
and counts two hundred dollars into his outstretched hand.

Thank you. Warren's in God's hands

Mona glares at him.

I should have had him cremated.
(a beat)
And his name is Walter, you dumb

Script created with Final Draft by Final Draft, Inc.

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