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The Game (1997)

by John Brancato and Michael Ferris and Larry Gross and Andrew Kevin Walker.
Draft script. 2/8/96.

More info about this movie on IMDb.com


FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY


EXT.  MANSION -- DAY -- HOME MOVIES

A stately mansion.  A perfect lawn.  A BUTLER carries a
birthday cake with sparking sparklers...

Past wealthy MEN in crewcuts and thin ties, WOMEN in cat-eye
sunglasses.  Everyone sings (silent) "Happy Birthday"...

CHILDREN follow the cake, in dresses and suits, gathering
round NICHOLAS VAN ORTON, 7, guest of honor, who wears a
blindfold.  MOTHER comes to remove the blindfold and
Nicholas ogles the cake, laughs.  He reaches for a sparkler.
STEP PRINT: Mother intercepts, fussing, fixing his hair...

Nicholas' FATHER sits near, smoking, nodding.  He's intense,
thin, wearing a party hat.  He notcies the camera without
mugging for it, bends to snuff his cigarette in an ashtray.

SPLICE-JUMP TO/STEP PRINT: a Harlequin CLOWN ties balloon
animals.  Nicholas assists, distracted by the inattentive
children who look into the camera and pull hair and stand on
their chairs...

Men are drinking, storytelling, laughing.  A fraternity...

The women are elsewhere, doing movie-vamp poses for the
camera, blowing cigarette smoke, brightly dressed, eyelids
blue and green, lipstick perfect...

Servants clear the table.  Father holds a piece of untouched
cake.  A man talks to him, but Father stares off, lost in
thought.  He's forgotten the party hat on his head...

STEP PRINT: Mother puts her arms around Father and makes him
face the camera.  He leans in, posing dutifully.

SPLICE-JUMP TO: a nanny in uniform, ILSA, holds an INFANT
(CONRAD) to the camera, places the baby in Nicholas' arms.
STEP PRINT: Nicholas is gentle, overwhelmed by cradling his
tiny brother.

SPLICE-JUMP TO: children play tag.  Across the lawn, Father
heads to the house.  He looks back, walks backwards.
STEP PRINT: he gives a small wave, continuing away...

Kids chase past.  Nicholas and two other kids huddle, arms
locked, spinning round and round, till they stumble
different directions, falling, laughing, dizzy...

Nicholas gets up, wearing a PUPPET on each hand.
STEP PRINT: He walks CLOSE and peers in the camera, steps
back, happily talking.  We can't hear because it's SILENT...

						DISSOLVE TO:

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, BATHROOM -- MORNING

The emotionless face of NICHOLAS VAN ORTON, just today 40,
looks upon itself in a mirror.  He brings an electric shaver
across his chin, shuts it off, wipes his face with a towel.

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, MASTER BEDROOM -- MORNING

Nicholas crosses.  The bedroom is spacious, devoid of
clutter.  A weight-machine in a far corner.  A big T.V.
shows CNN with no sound.

At a bedside table, Nicholas picks up a heavy, gold ROLEX,
sliding it on, checking the time.  6:32.

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT

Nicholas stands at the kitchen islandm his tie thrown over
his shoulder, eating breakfast.  ILSA, now elderly, is
across the way doing dishes.

The only sounds are the tiny clicks of Nicholas' knife and
fork against his plate.  He's reading a German newspaper.

Nicholas jabs the last piece of egg, skewers the last bit of
ham and last square of toast.  Plate's clean.

He sips his last swallow of juice, dabs his mouth with a
napkin, picks up his briefcase and heads to a back door.

		NICHOLAS
		(without looking)
	Thank you.

		ILSA
	Have a nice day.

EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, BACKYARD -- MORNING

Nicholas walks down a garden pathway to a three-car garage.
He looks at his Rolex.

						CUT TO:

INT.  NICHOLAS' BENTLEY -- MORNING

Bentley Continental Coupe.  Quiet.  Nicholas drives, begins
humming, barely audible.  A Prince song, "Erotic City."

		NICHOLAS
		(sings, to self)
	...until the dawn... making love till
	cherry's gone..
		(humming, quiet)
	... Erotic City, you and me...

Nicholas changes lanes, HONKING the HORN, impassive.  We can
BARELY HEAR the BEEPING in here.  He glances back.

He drives, adjusts his mirror.  Resumes humming.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  VAN ORTON BUILDING -- MORNING

Distinctive SAN FRANCISCO skyline on the horizon.
Nicholas' building is a brownstone bookended by skyscrapers.
Old money dwarfed by new.  The Bentley arrives...

INT.  VAN ORTON BUILDING, UNDERGROUND GARAGE -- MORNING

The Bentley moves past a valet station.  One VALET follows.

The Bentley takes its place.  A brass plaque reads:
"NICHOLAS VAN ORTON, Van Orton Enterprises."  The valet
opens the car door for Nicholas.

						CUT TO:

INT.  VAN ORTON OFFICE -- MORNING

Two objects on Nicholas' desk: phone and laptop computer.
He's on the phone, operating the laptop with one hand.
Business talk, mile-a-minute.

		MALE VOICE (v.o.)
		(from phone)
	... might be perched up on majority
	shares, but you're not the only one
	who gets hurt if the actuals crash.
	Forecasts were fucked to begin with.

		NICHOLAS
		(into phone)
	The moment Baer/Grant's P and L
	report is placed in my hand, I will
	be speed dialing your number.

Empty walls.  No distractions.  MARIA, the proper executive
assistant, stands practically at attention.

		MALE VOICE (v.o.)
	Is that a promise?

		NICHOLAS
	I'm sorry... I'm unfamiliar with the
	term.

		MALE VOICE (v.o.)
	What if Alan calls me with a sob
	story about substantiation procedure?

		NICHOLAS
	Take evasive action: have your
	secretary say you're in a meeting.
	Goodbye, Jack.

		MALE VOICE (v.o.)
	Yeah.

Nicholas hangs up, shuffling computer windows: stock quotes,
pie-charts, graphs, lists.  Maria refers to an index card.

		MARIA
	Invitations: the Museum Gala.

		NICHOLAS
	No.

		NICHOLAS
	The Fitzwilliam Botanical Garden
	Annual Fundraiser.

		NICHOLAS
	No.

		NICHOLAS
	The Hinchberger wedding.

		NICHOLAS
	Let me think...
		(sits back, eyes closed)
	Hordes of men in tuxedos.  Everyone's
	droning.  Ludwell's trying to break
	the ice by reciting an off-color
	limerick...

		MARIA
		(impatient)
	I'll send your regrets.  Honestly,
	why must I even bother?

		NICHOLAS
	Because, if you don't know about
	society, you don't have the
	satisfaction of avoiding it.

A KNOCK and a female ASSISTANT enters.  There's a lot more
NOISE and ACTIVITY behind her.

		ASSISTANT
	Elizabeth on line three.

Nicholas taps his fingers on his lips, considering.

		MARIA
	Your ex-wife.

		NICHOLAS
	I know who she is.
		(to assistant)
	Take a message.

		ASSISTANT
	Um... Happy Birthday, sir.

Nicholas squints.

		MARIA
		(icily)
	Thank you, Maggie.

The assistant backs out.  Nicholas returns to his computer.

		NICHOLAS
	I don't like her.

		MARIA
	I wouldn't mention the following,
	except he was very insistent.  It's
	obviously some sort of prank...

		NICHOLAS
	What?

		MARIA
	A gentleman left a message requesting
	a lunch, but I assured him...

		NICHOLAS
	What gentleman, Maria?

		MARIA
	A Mister... Seymour Butts.

Nicholas looks up.  He sits back, lost in thought.

		NICHOLAS
		(to himself)
	"Under the Bleachers"... by Seymour
	Butts.

		MARIA
	Pardon me?  I'm afraid I don't...

		NICHOLAS
	Cancel lunch.  Make reservations at
	Campton Place for me and Mr. Butts.

Maria nods, heading out, high heels clicking as she crosses.

		NICHOLAS
	And, put the reservation in my name.

						CUT TO:

INT.  CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT -- DAY

Upscale.  Quiet.  Nicholas is in a booth facing the rear,
studying a thick FINANCIAL STATEMENT, making tiny notations.
A WAITRESS arrives.

		WAITRESS
	Ready to order, sir?

		NICHOLAS
	I'm still waiting...

Nicholas points out the other plate.  The waitress leaves.

		NICHOLAS
	Excuse me...

She returns.  He slides his empty glass toward her.

		NICHOLAS
	This was iced tea.

He's returned to his report.  The waitress takes the glass
and leaves, irritated.  Nicholas checks his watch.  An
EXAGGERATED SNEEZE is HEARD and liquid hits the back of his
neck -- AH-CHOO!...

Nicholas jumps, sickened, turning to face CONRAD, who holds
a spray bottle and smiles.

		CONRAD
	Hey there, Nickie.

		NICHOLAS
		(repulsed)
	Conrad, what a surprise.  Gesundheit.

		CONRAD
	Happy Birthday, man.

		NICHOLAS
		(nods)
	"Seymour Butts."  I never get tired
	of that one.

		CONRAD
	That's why it's a classic.  Come on,
	man... how 'bout a hug... ?

Nicholas is wiping his neck with a napkin as Conrad forces a
hug on him.  Conrad takes a seat, good-lookingm unkempt,
tan, wearing a too-big suit jacket.

		CONRAD
	They gave me a free jacket at the
	door.

		NICHOLAS
	They'll be wanting it back.

		CONRAD
	Not after I'm done with it.
		(laughs)
	Actually, I've been here.  In
	grad-school I bought crystal-meth
	from the maitre d'.

		NICHOLAS
	Which grad-school?

Conrad smiles.  The brothers take each other in for a
moment.  Long moment.  They're a bit stunned to be reunited.

		NICHOLAS
	You look good.

		CONRAD
	So do you.  And to think I was
	worried...

		NICHOLAS
	About me?

		CONRAD
	How long's it been?  Since mom
	died... four years?  How are you?

		NICHOLAS
	Never better.

		CONRAD
	Elizabeth?

		NICHOLAS
	Divorced.  Remarried to some
	pediatrician or gynecologist, or
	pediatric gynaecologist, in Sausalito.

		CONRAD
	Too bad, I liked her.  So, you're all
	alone in the House of Pain?

		NICHOLAS
	I redecorated.  What about you?

		CONRAD
	Nowhere in particular.  Don't you
	keep track of my whereabouts anymore?

		NICHOLAS
	Connie... what brings you here?  Is
	everything alright?

		CONRAD
	Yeah.

		NICHOLAS
	You need anything?

		CONRAD
	No.

		NICHOLAS
	Really?

		CONRAD
	I don't need anything from you.  I
	was laying on a beach somewhere in
	Spain, naked, and, it hit me --
	Nickie's birthday.  So, here I am,
	four layovers, twenty-seven hours
	flying and one donkey ride later.
	Not necessarily in that order.

Conrad drops an envelope on the table.

		CONRAD
	For you.

		NICHOLAS
	You shouldn't have.

Nicholas opens it, takes out a sappy, Hallmark B-day card.
A BUSINESS CARD falls out.  Nicholas picks it up...

		CONRAD
	What do you get for the man who has
	just slightly more than everything?

The card: "Consumer Recreation Services."  With a
PHONE NUMBER and ADDRESS below.

		CONRAD
	Call that number.

		NICHOLAS
	"Consumer Recrreation Services."
	What, do they make golf clubs?

		CONRAD
	Trust me.  Call that number.

		NICHOLAS
	Why?

		CONRAD
	They make your life fun.  Their only
	guarantee is you will not be bored.

		NICHOLAS
	Fun?

		CONRAD
	You've heard of it.  You've seen
	other people having it.  They're an
	entertainment service, but more than
	that.

		NICHOLAS
	This isn't an escort service?

		CONRAD
	It's a profound life experience.

		NICHOLAS
	Like a stroke?

		CONRAD
	Call them.  Trust me.

The waitress shows up with Nicholas' iced tea, spills some.
Nicholas blots it up with a napkin.

		WAITRESS
	Sorry.  Let me get you another
	napkin.

		NICHOLAS
	I'll be fine... if we could just...

She moves off as Nicholas raises a finger to order, ignored.

		CONRAD
	Tell me you'll call.

		NICHOLAS
	Okay.

		CONRAD
	Will you?

		NICHOLAS
	I said I would...

		CONRAD
	But, will you?

		NICHOLAS
	Are you still on mediction?

		CONRAD
		(taken aback)
	Why would you say that?

The waitress arrives.

		WAITRESS
	Ready to order, gentlemen?

		NICHOLAS
		(ignores, to Conrad)
	I didn't mean it like it sounded...

		CONRAD
	I'm not on anything anymore.  I'm not
	even seeing a shrink.  I'm happy.
		(notices waitress,
		 turning to her)
	Do you mind... ?!

The waitress gives him a look, leaves.

		CONRAD
		(to Nicholas)
	I thought you'd like this.  Best
	thing I ever did.  If you don't want
	to do it, DON'T...

		NICHOLAS
	I'll call them, okay?

		CONRAD
	It doesn't matter...

		NICHOLAS
	I'm going to call.

		CONRAD
	Do it for YOU.

		NICHOLAS
	Okay, okay... okay?
		(pause, studies card)
	I just... you know I hate surprises.

		CONRAD
	I know...

Conrad CLINKS his fork against a glass, motioning...
Behind Nicholas, WAITERS, WAITRESSES and BUS-BOYS, lying in
wait, now come to SING "HAPPY BIRTHDAY."

Conrad stands, loving it.  Nicholas forces a fake smile.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  NICHOLAS' NEIGHBORHOOD -- NIGHT

The Bentley cruises hilly streets, ESTATES on all sides.

INT.  NICHOLAS' BENTLEY -- NIGHT

Nicholas is on his CELLULAR PHONE.  CLASSICAL MUSIC PLAYS.

		FEMALE VOICE (v.o.)
		(from cellular)
	... seen the profitability report.
	No one's happy with the numbers.

		NICHOLAS
		(into cellular)
	Imagine how much MORE unhappy I am.

		FEMALE VOICE (v.o.)
	You'll deal with Alan?

		NICHOLAS
	Correct.

		FEMALE VOICE (v.o.)
	Okay, Nicholas.  Sleep well.

		NICHOLAS
	I plan to.

He increases VOLUME on the CLASSICAL MUSIC, makes a turn.

He looks out his window, watching the street roll past...

FLASHBACK/GRAINY HOME MOVIES -- 1960'S -- DAY

SILENT, HOME MOVIE-ISH IMAGES as before: YOUNG NICHOLAS, 10,
peers out from a LIMOUSINE, watching his neighborhood
pass... PERIOD FASHIONS, PERIOD CARS and HOUSES...

BACK TO SCENE, IN THE BENTLEY

Nicholas faces front.  The Bentley comes to the formidable
FRONT GATE of the mansion.  The gate begins to slide open.

Nicholas stares ahead, expressionless.

FLASHBACK/GRAINY HOME MOVIES -- 1960'S -- DAY

The LIMOUSINE pulls up the ungated driveway.  Young Nicholas
emerges, carrying books, waving goodbye to the CHAUFFEUR.

Young Nicholas runs past rose bushes, heading to the house,
but slows, looking up...

High up, Nicholas' FATHER, in a robe, stands on a balcony
railing, looking to hte sky.  He's weary, lowers his gaze...

Young Nicholas is puzzled, gives a tentative wave.

Father just stares, eyes dead, expression blank.

BACK TO SCENE, IN THE BENTLEY

Nicholas looks down, puts the car in gear and drives...

THRU THE WINDSHIELD: the Bentley's headlights sweep the
stately Van Orton house.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, BACKYARD -- NIGHT

Nicholas exits the garage, walks up the garden path.  Ahead,
Ilsa's leaving through the kitchen door of the house,
heading across the yard to the GUEST HOUSE.

		ILSA
	Dinner's in the oven.

		NICHOLAS
	Thank you.  Goodnight.

At the rear door, Nicholas stops himself.

		NICHOLAS
	Oh, I saw Conrad today.

Ilsa stops, looking back.  They're far from each other.

		ILSA
	You did?  How is he?

		NICHOLAS
	Okay.  I think he's into some sort of
	new personal improvement cult.

		ILSA
		(nods, at a loss)
	Well... send my love, if you see him
	again.

Nicholas nods.  Ilsa leaves.

						CUT TO:

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT

Nicholas uses mitts to remove a dinner plate from the oven,
sets it on a waiting tray: huge cheeseburger and hand-cut
french fries, perfectly presented.

Nicholas picks up a CUPCAKE with a B-day candle in it.

						CUT TO:

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, DEN -- NIGHT

Nose-bleed-high ceilings.  Cavernous fireplace.  THREE TVs
in the ENTERTAINMENT WALL, the largest showing CNN.
Nicholas is seated in a chair facing his meal, pouring a
glass of champagne.

He toasts to no one, takes a sip.  The PHONE RINGS.
Nicholas looks to it, hesitates.  He hits SPEAKERPHONE.

		NICHOLAS
		(to speakerphone)
	Elizabeth.

		ELIZABETH (v.o.)
		(from speakerphone)
	Happy Birthday, Nick.

		NICHOLAS
		(looks at watch)
	Eleven forty.  You almost didn't make
	it this year.

Nicholas uses a REMOTE to MUTE BERNARD SHAW on the TV.

		ELIZABETH (v.o.)
	Did you have a great birthday?

		NICHOLAS
	Does Rose Kennedy have a black dress?
	You know my parties.  I went not
	once, but twice through the
	spanking-machine.

		ELIZABETH (v.o.)
	I can only imagine.  How are you?

		NICHOLAS
	Connie asked me the same thing today.

		ELIZABETH (v.o.)
	Connie, really?  I always liked him.

		NICHOLAS
	Anyway...

		ELIZABETH (v.o.)
	I just thought this... might be
	difficult for you.

		NICHOLAS
	Just another birthday.

		ELIZABETH (v.o.)
	I meant because of your father.

		NICHOLAS
	That's right.  He was forty, wasn't
	he?  Hadn't thought about it, to tell
	you the truth, thanks for the
	reminder.

		ELIZABETH (v.o.)
	Why do I call you... ?

		NICHOLAS
	I honestly don't know.  Listen, give
	my best to Doctor Mel and Rachel....

		ELIZABETH (v.o.)
	Sue has a little brother on the way.
	We just did the ultrasound.

		NICHOLAS
	No kidding?  An official nuclear
	family.  You must be pleased.

		ELIZABETH (v.o.)
	We are.  We couldn't be happier.

Nicholas smiles thinly, bored, waiting for more.

		NICHOLAS
	Well, so... thanks for calling.  I've
	got some work here...

		ELIZABETH (v.o.)
	I should let you go.

		NICHOLAS
	Take care of yourself.

		ELIZABETH (v.o.)
	You too, Nicholas.  I mean that, I
	really do.

		NICHOLAS
	Um-hm.  Good luck.  Bye.

He PUSHES OFF the PHONE in the middle of her "goodbye."  He
uses the t.v. remote to give BERNARD SHAW back his VOICE.

Nicholas eats, watching the news.  He takes out the business
card Conrad gave him, looks at it, puts it on the table.

The card: "Consumer Recreation Services."

Nicholas sits back, chewing.  He stares at the ceiling.

FLASHBACK/GRAINY HOME MOVIES -- 1960'S -- DAY

SILENT IMAGES: Nicholas' FATHER stands on the high balcony,
as before.  He looks skyward one last time, then LAUNCHES
INTO SPACE... falling in EXTREME SLOW MOTION...

A head-first dive...

						CUT TO:

INT.  OFFICE BUILDING, 10TH FLOOR -- DAY

"DING," elevator doors open.  Nicholas and TWO EXECUTIVES
are talking.  As PEOPLE get on, the two executives get off.

		EXECUTIVE 1
	We're getting off here.

Nicholas follows.  He and the executives huddle nearby.

		NICHOLAS
		(voice low)
	So, we understand each other?

		EXECUTIVE 2
	We do.

		NICHOLAS
	Make it work on paper, and you can
	count on my full support.

		EXECUTIVE 1
	Right-o.  We'll talk.  Soon.

They shake.  The executives walk away.  Nicholas returns to
elevator, pushes the button, waiting.  He turns, noticing...

A massive WALL OF TRANSLUCENT GLASS marks the office of
"C.R.S."  Modern.  Activity beyond it.

Nicholas finds this disconcerting.  He takes out his wallet,
digging up the C.R.S. business card, studying it... looking
again to the glass facade to double check.

He looks at his Rolex.

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLASS DOORS

Nicholas enters.  A female RECEPTIONIST speaks into a
HEADSET/PHONE.  EMPLOYEES mill about.  UTILITY MEN sort
crawlspace wiring.

		NICHOLAS
		(to receptionist,
		 shows "C.R.S." card)
	Is this Consumer Recreation
	Services... ?

The reecptionist takes the card.  In the b.g., JIM FEINGOLD
pays a DELIVERY GUY for CHINESE FOOD.

		RECEPTIONIST
		(into PHONE)
	You shouldn't feel this reflects
	negatively upon yourself.
		(to Nicholas)
	Just a moment.
		(back into phone)
	We hope we haven't caused you any
	inconvenience.  Thank you for
	considering C.R.S.

She studies the card, hangs up and motions to Feingold, a
bald, amiable engineer-type who passes with his food bag.

		RECEPTIONIST
	Mister Feingold... could you assist
	this gentleman?

Feingold spins on his heels, looking, walking over with his
hand out.  Nicholas shakes.

		FEINGOLD
	Jim Feingold, V.P., E.D.A.
	Engineering and Data Analysis.

		NICHOLAS
	I'm not quite sure how this works.
	My brother...

		FEINGOLD
	Oh, here we go...

Feingold takes the card the receptionist offers, examines
it, turns it over: finds FOUR NUMBERS on the back.

		FEINGOLD
		(of the numbers)
	Excellent.  Let's get started.

Nicholas picks up his briefcase to follow Feingold.

INT.  C.R.S. OFFICES -- DAY

Big operation.  Feingold leads past partitioned cubicles
that seem to go on forever.  C.R.S. WORKERS abound.
TELEPHONE CO. WORKMEN operate on the phones.

		FEINGOLD
	Sorry about about all the hullabaloo.
	We're still moving.  Stick with me...
	I've got an office around here
	somewhere.

Feingold reaches open BOXES, begins collecting pages from
each, loading up on all sorts of forms.  he holds out his
leaking, greasy food bag to Nicholas.

		FEINGOLD
	Mind holding this... ?

Nicholas reluctantly takes it, keeping it at arms length.

INT.  FEINGOLD'S OFFICE -- DAY

Feingold types at his computer.  Nicholas stands, looking
through the pile of forms on a clipboard.

		FEINGOLD
		(TYPES in keyboard)
	V-A-N... O-R-T-O-N...
		(studies screen)
	A gift from Conrad Van Orton.
	Interesting...

		NICHOLAS
	What is?

Feingold picks up his Chinese food, eats using chop-sticks.
The BOX features a grinning CARTOON PANDA mascot,

		FEINGOLD
		(still studying screen)
	Your brother was a client with our
	London branch.  We do a sort of
	informal scoring.  His numbers were
	outstanding.
		(holds up box)
	Sure you're not hungry at all... ?
	Tung Hoy, best in Chinatown...

		NICHOLAS
	No, thank you.

		FEINGOLD
		(eating, mouth full)
	You need to fill out those forms.
	Application, psych-tests: M.M.P.I.
	and T.A.T.  For the financial
	questionnaire, don't answer anything
	you don't feel like.  We'll run a
	T.R.W....

Nicholas looks through the densely written forms.

		NICHOLAS
		(reading FORM)
	"I sometimes hurt small animals.
	True or False?"  "I feel guilty when
	I masturbate..."

Nocholas looks up, skeptical.  Feingold shrugs, embarrassed.

		FEINGOLD
	I don't write the questions.  I just
	review them.

		NICHOLAS
	What's all this for?

		FEINGOLD
	We want a sense of your overall
	capabilities, limitations, turn-ons,
	turn-offs...

		NICHOLAS
	No, I mean, what is it FOR?  What
	are you selling?

		FEINGOLD
	Oh... it's a game.

		NICHOLAS
	A game?

		FEINGOLD
	Tailored specifically to each
	participant.  Think of it as a great
	vacation, except you don't go to it,
	it comes to you.

		NICHOLAS
	What kind of vacation?

		FEINGOLD
	It's different every time.

		NICHOLAS
		(patience waning)
	Humor me with specifics.

		FEINGOLD
	We provide whatever's lacking.

		NICHOLAS
	And if nothing's lacking?

		FEINGOLD
	May I make two suggestions... ?

		NICHOLAS
	Do you really expect me to
	participate without knowing a single
	thing?

		FEINGOLD
	First, admit to yourself that it
	sounds intriguing.  Second, you don't
	have to decide today.  Take the silly
	tests, fill out the forms.  One day,
	the game begins.  You either love it
	or hate it.  Decide then.  We're like
	an experimental Book-of-the-Month-
	Club; drop out at any time with no
	further obligation.
		(smiles)
	That was my sales pitch.

Nicholas thumbs thru the forms one last time...

		NICHOLAS
	How long will these take?

		FEINGOLD
	An hour for those... maybe another
	for the physical.

		NICHOLAS
	Physical?

		FEINGOLD
	Cursory examination.  Turn-your-head-
	and-cough sort of thing.  You'll be
	out of here in no time.

Feingold takes out a ballpoint pen, clicks it and offers it
to Nicholas.  Nicholas takes it.

On the pen, in tiny letters: the C.R.S. LOGO.

						CUT TO:

TESTING MONTAGE -- VARIOUS C.R.S. OFFICES -- DAY

- Nicholas fills out an APPLICATION of endless questions.

- A #2 pencil fills in circles on a long M.M.P.I. form.
CLOSE ON: "I often feel someone is following me.
True/False."  "I hate vegetables.  True/False."  "Vegetables
hate me.  True/False."

- WHITE ROOM.  A stone-faced PSYCHOLOGIST holds up CARDS.
Nicholas gives his unenthusiastic interpretation into a TAPE
RECORDER, checks his Rolex.

One CARD shows a large ant in an apron feeding a TV dinner
to a human child.  That card is replaced by another of a man
slipping head over heels on a banana peel.

- Nicholas wears HEADPHONES, facing a TECHNICIAN, raising a
finger on his left fist or right fist for each low BEEP.
Nicholas sighs, can't believe he's doing this.

INT.  C.R.S. OFFICES, EXAM ROOM -- MONTAGE CONTINUES

Electronic MONITORS and PRINTERS record Nicholas' EEG and
EKG.  He's on an exam table, wearing a paper gown, covered
in SENSORS and WIRES, talking on a C.R.S. telephone.

		NICHOLAS
		(into phone)
	... cancel.  Push Cooper back to
	Wednesday afternoon.

A TECHNICIAN studies readouts.  A NURSE takes BLOOD PRESSURE.

		MARIA (v.o.)
		(from phone)
	Mister Sutherland called about
	Baer/Grant Publishing.

		NICHOLAS
		(into phone)
	Tomorrow.  Hold on...
		(to NURSE)
	How much longer?

		NURSE
	Almost done.

		NICHOLAS
	I heard that two hours ago.

The nurse smiles, pumping up the blood-pressure cuff.
Nicholas returns to the phone.

- DARK ROOM.  Images FLASH on a screen: SHAPES, CURSE WORDS,
PICTURES of U.S. PRESIDENTS, INSECTS...

In flickering light, Nicholas, still in his gown, watches
with THREE BUTTONS before him, pushing one from time to
time.  Frustrated, he looks around.  He stands and turns...

Directly into the projector's bright BEAM OF LIGHT.

		NICHOLAS
	Hello... ?  Anyone there?
		(squints, holds up hand)
	Hello?!

						CUT TO:

INT.  C.R.S. OFFICES, EXAM ROOM -- DAY

Nicholas dresses, alone, pulling up his pants.  He notices
above: a MIRRORED DOME in the corner, obviously a camera.

Nicholas pulls on his jacket as Feingold arrives.

		FEINGOLD
	Sorry to keep you waiting.

		NICHOLAS
	Don't worry.  It's been terrific
	spending the entire day with your
	"crack team".

		FEINGOLD
	It's all down to this...

Feingold holds out a CLIPBOARD with PAPERWORK in it.
Nicholas takes it, studies it, wary.

		FEINGOLD
	An insurance company requirement.  It
	states that you are aware "the game"
	exists and that you are a willing
	participant in said game, so on and
	so forth.

Nicholas flips a page and Feingold leans over, pointing.

		FEINGOLD
		(of the paperwork)
	One guarantee.  Payment's entirely at
	your brother's discretion and, as a
	gift, dependent on your satisfaction.

		NICHOLAS
		(still reading)
	You mean, I don't like it, he doesn't
	pay?

		FEINGOLD
	It's never happened.  We've never had
	an unsatisfied customer.

		NICHOLAS
	You mean, dissatisfied.

		FEINGOLD
		(glances at form)
	That's right -- you're a left-brain
	word fetishist.

Nicholas uses the C.R.S. pen to sign.  Feingold turns pages.

		FEINGOLD
	Initials... initials, and...
		(another page)
	Sign here.

Nicholas is about to sign when Feingold grabs his wrist...

		FEINGOLD
	In blood.
		(laughs)
	Just kidding.

Nicholas signs.  Feingold tears out a few PINK TINTED COPIES
and hands them to Nicholas, kind of in a hurry now.

		FEINGOLD
	Your copies, thank you.  Keep the
	pen.  We'll let you know.

Feingold exits, gives a thumbs-up and a WINK, shuts the
door.  Nicholas is a bit bewildered.  He continues dressing.

		NICHOLAS
		(muttering to self)
	... grown man just winked at me.

INT.  ATHLETIC CLUB, RACQUETBALL COURT -- NIGHT

WHAM! -- a blue racquetball BALL SLAMS a wall...

THRU A WINDOW: Nicholas plays, alone, sawtting violently at
the ball.  We HEAR a PHONE CONVERSATION in VOICE OVER:

		CONRAD (v.o.)
	What about Monday or Tuesday?

		NICHOLAS (v.o.)
	Bad for me.

		CONRAD (v.o.)
	How 'bout tonight?

		NICHOLAS (v.o.)
	Unfortunately I'm working all
	evening.  Wednesday's the only
	possibility right now...

		CONRAD (v.o.)
	Okay.

		NICHOLAS (v.o.)
	Dinner?

		CONRAD (v.o.)
	Fine.  I get to pick the restaurant.

		NICHOLAS (v.o.)
	By the way, I went to C.R.S...

		CONRAD (v.o.)
	Really?  What'd you think?

		NICHOLAS (v.o.)
	They seemed disorganized.

Nicholas finishes playing, exits.  The ball keeps bouncing.

		CONRAD (v.o.)
	Well, the office is new.  When I did
	it in London, they'd been around
	awhile.  You gonna do this?

		NICHOLAS (v.o.)
	Haven't decided yet.

						CUT TO:

INT.  ATHLETIC CLUB, LOCKER ROOM -- NIGHT

Carpeted floors and mahogany lockers.  Nicholas sits at his
locker, wet, in a monogrammed robe, toweling his hair.
VOICES can be HEARD O.S.: BUSINESSMAN 1 and BUSINESSMAN 2.

		BUSINESSMAN 1 (o.s.)
	... getting in on the ground floor of
	the next Disneyland.

		BUSINESSMAN 2 (o.s.)
	C.R.S. will not go public.  They're
	family owned.

		BUSINESSMAN 1 (o.s.)
	Stranger things have happened.

		BUSINESSMAN 2 (o.s.)
	No, they haven't, actually.

Nicholas leans to look around a locker.  Businessman 1 and 2
dress, two fat-cats.  Nicholas leans back, still listening.

		BUSINESSMAN 1 (o.s.)
	They just opened here.

		BUSINESSMAN 2 (o.s.)
	The game in San Francisco?  You see,
	they're doing fine without any of us.

INT.  ATHLETIC CLUB, LOUNGE/BAR -- NIGHT

Nicholas enters, looking around, spotting Businessman 1 and
2 across the room.  He gets the BARTENDER'S attention,
motioning to the businessmen.

		NICHOLAS
	New members?

		BARTENDER
	I believe so, sir.

		NICHOLAS
	This round's on me.

Nicholas moves casually toward the men...

INT.  ATHLETIC CLUB, BAR/LOUNGE -- TIME CUT

LATER.  Another round arrives at the table where Nicholas
and Businessman 1 and 2 chat.  The businessmen smoke cigars.

		BUSINESSMAN 1
	... last time I played Pebble, I
	swore I'd never pick up a club again.

		NICHOLAS
	Speaking of games... I couldn't help
	but overhear you talking about C.R.S.

Businessman 1 and 2 share a furtive glance.  Nicholas
discretely waves cigar smoke out of his face.

		NICHOLAS
	I only mention it because I took the
	test this afternoon, down on
	Montgomery Street.

		BUSINESSMAN 2
	Did you?  Kudos.

		BUSINESSMAN 1
	So, yours hasn't started?

		NICHOLAS
	Not yet.  I was hoping you could tell
	me... uh...
		(almost embarrassed)
	What is it?

Businessman 1 and 2 smile.  Shared enlightenment.

		BUSINESSMAN 1
		(to Businessman 2,
		 knowingly)
	Ahh, what is it?

		BUSINESSMAN 2
	The eternal question.

		BUSINESSMAN 1
		(to Nicholas)
	I envy you.  I wish I could go back
	and do it for the first time all over
	again...

He raises his glass.  They toast.

		BUSINESSMAN 1
	Here's to... new experiences.
		(gulps drink)
	If you'll excuse me, I've got to be
	going.  'Night, Jon... Nicholas.

He leaves.  Nicholas focuses on Businessman 2.

		NICHOLAS
	Did you play recently?

		BUSINESSMAN 2
	Hm?  No, about a year ago.  I was
	working out of Los Angeles.

		NICHOLAS
		(nodding)
	I've heard good things about their
	London branch.
		(leans in)
	You have to admit, it sounds like
	some fantasy, role-playing nonsense.

		BUSINESSMAN 2
	You want to know what it is?  What
	it's all about?
		(off Nicholas' nod)
	John.  Chapter nine.  Verse
	twenty-five.

		NICHOLAS
	I, uh... haven't been to Sunday
	school in years...

		BUSINESSMAN 2
	"Whereas once I was blind, now I can
	see."
		(rises)
	Night, Nick.  Best of luck.

Businessman 2 puffs his cigar, walks away.  Nicholas watches
him go, then pauses, puzzled, mouthing the words to himself.

						CUT TO:

INT.  LAW FIRM, CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY

A table of unhappy LAWYERS.  Nicholas goes thru a thick
CONTRACT with a red pen, CIRCLING, CROSSING-OUT and
SCRAWLING QUESTION MARKS ON paragraphs that displease him.

SUTHERLAND, trust personified, in his late 50's, stands
behind Nicholas, imperturbable.

		NICHOLAS
		(still scrawling)
	As far as I'm concerned...
		(reading, x-ing out)
	... if the Baer/Grant meeting does
	not take place tommorow, it might
	as well never take place at all.

Nicholas slides the contract to the center of the table.

		SUTHERLAND
	When Mr. Van Orton boards his plane
	in the morrow, he will have every
	contract, side agreement and
	addendum, the complete closing
	package, flawlessly revised.

INSTANT UPROAR as the contract is grabbed up.  All the
lawyers talk at once, fearful, arguing, protesting.

		SUTHERLAND
	Ladies and gentlemen...
		(as they quiet)
	This is why you're paid twice what
	you deserve.  So you will miss
	another opera you would've fallen
	asleep during anyway...

During this, Nicholas' CELLULAR PHONE is HEARD RINGING.
Nicholas takes it out, irritated.

		SUTHERLAND
	The meeting has been moved forward.
	It affords you the opportunity to
	show our client how well you will
	rise to his exhilarating challenge.

QUIET COMMOTION resumes as Nicholas takes his cellular phone
to a corner, answering impatiently:

		NICHOLAS
		(into cellular)
	Yes?

		WOMAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
		(from cellular)
	Nicholas van Orton?

		NICHOLAS
	Yes, who is this?

		WOMAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
	This is Cynthia calling from C.R.S...

		NICHOLAS
	How did you get this number?

		WOMAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
	We've finished processing your
	application...

		NICHOLAS
	I'm in a meeting...

		WOMAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
	... I'm afraid your application was
	rejected.

		NICHOLAS
		(pause)
	Pardon me?

		WOMAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
	You shouldn't feel this reflects
	negatively upon yourself.  We hope we
	haven't caused you any
	inconvenience...

		NICHOLAS
	This is absurd...

		WOMAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
	Thank you for thinking of C.R.S.

CLICK -- she's hung up.  Nicholas folds the phone and
pockets it, his mind suddenly far away from the meeting
behind him.  Sutherland steps close, concerned, quiet...

		SUTHERLAND
	Anything wrong... ?

		NICHOLAS
	Nothing.  Nothing at all.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  FINANCIAL DISTRICT STREETS -- NIGHT

Nicholas guides the Bentley down streets lined with
skyscrapers, staring ahead.  A previous PHONE CONVERSATION
is HEARD in V.O., a PHONE RINGING... RINGING... RINGING...

		SWITCHBOARD OPERATOR (v.o.)
	Would you like voice-mail?

		NICHOLAS (v.o.)
	I suppose.

		SWITCHBOARD OPERATOR (v.o.)
	I'll connect you.  Thank you for
	calling the Four Seasons.

EXT.  NICHOLAS' NEIGHBORHOOD -- NIGHT

The Bentley heads towards home.  The V.O. PHONE CONVERSATION
CONTINUES uninterrupted, CLICKING, then...

		CONRAD'S VOICE (v.o.)
		(voice-mail recording)
	This is Conrad.  Leave a message.

		NICHOLAS (v.o.)
		(waits till after BEEP)
	Connie, it's Nicholas.  Give me a
	ring when you get a chance...

INT.  BENTLEY -- NIGHT

The Bentley reaches the VAN ORTON GATES, which open slow.
V.O. CONVERSATION CONTINUES:

		NICHOLAS (v.o.)
	About your birthday gift.  Things are
	tight right now.  I'm just not sure
	whether it'll fit my schedule.
	Anyway, see you at dinner tomorrow.

The PHONE is HEARD DISCONNECTING.

EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION -- NIGHT

The Bentley's headlights sweep the front of the Van Orton
house.  There's something there, on the ground...

INSIDE THE BENTLEY

Nicholas stops the car, peering ahead, worried...

THRU THE WINDSHIELD: A BODY lies face down on the edge of
the driveway.

FLASHBACK/GRAINY HOME MOVIES -- 1960'S -- DAY

The BODY of Nicholas' FATHER, sprawled face-down, in nearly
the same place, head twisted, mouth bloody.

BACK TO SCENE

Nicholas gets slowly out of the Bentley, reluctant.

		NICHOLAS
	Hello!  What are you doing there?
		(no reaction)
	Wonderful...

Nichoals CLAPS his hands.  The body doesn't stir.  Nicholas
look all directions, then approaches.

		NICHOLAS
	Are you okay?

Nicholas nudges the body with his foot.  He crouches,
confused, turning the limp body.  It's a grotesque
HARLEQUIN, not unlike the clown from Nicholas' seventh
birthday, with a shiny face of painted wood.

Nicholas looks around for an explanation.

						CUT TO:

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, FOYER -- NIGHT

The front door opens.  Nicholas enters with the Harlequin,
depositing it on a hallway BENCH.

A half-inch of RED RIBBON sticks out from the Harlequin's
lips.  Nicholas tugs the ribbon... pulling out a GOLD KEY
tied to the other end.

Three letters embossed on the key: "C.R.S."

						CUT TO:

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, DEN -- NIGHT

Nicholas sits with his evening's meal, examining the key.
CNN on TV.  He looks across the room to the couch where the
Harlequin is slumped staring back.

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
		(from television)
	... according to Nicholas Van Orton,
	millions of Americans will be
	affected by this legislation.

Nicholas hears this vaguely in the back of his mind, looks
to the TV.  BERNARD SHAW has moves on to the next story.

Nicholas goes to the Harlequin, opening its hinged mouth,
attempting to look inside.  He gets a knife from his tray,
uses it to probe the Harlequin's mouth, jabbing, prying.

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	... number of criminals behind bars
	growing by record numbers, with Van
	Orton pointing the finger at stiff,
	anti-crime regulations...

Nicholas looks up.  He heard that.  He walks toward the TV.
Bernard Shaw is reporting, nothing strange.

Nicholas waits.  Nothing.  He walks away...

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	... largest portion of population
	incarcerated.  These figures were
	given at a press conference called
	toady by Mr. Nicholas Van Orton.

Nicholas turns, disbelieving.  Bernard Shaw apparently looks
out FROM THE TELELVISION, perturbed...

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	You going to spend the rest of the
	evening prying at that clown's mouth?

		NICHOLAS
		(dumbfounded)
	I... I don't...

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	It's frustrating for me if you don't
	even pretend to pay attention.

		NICHOLAS
	What is this... ?

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	This is your game, Nicholas, and
	welcome to it.  I'm here to let you
	in on a few ground rules...

Bernard Shaw's FACE RIPPLES and GLITCHES occasionally,
revealing its true, computer-generated nature.

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	You've received the first key and
	others will follow.  You never know
	where you'll find them, or when or
	how you'll need to use them, so keep
	your eyes open.

		NICHOLAS
		(waves his hand)
	How do you... ?  You can see me?

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	I see you, I hear you.  Why don't we
	save the questions till...

		NICHOLAS
	How does this work?

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	There's a tiny camera looking at you
	right now.

		NICHOLAS
	That's impossible.

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	You're right.  Impossible.  You're
	having a conversation with your
	television.

Nicholas touches the TV, feeling the seams.

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	It's miniaturized.

Nicholas begins poking his butter knife between slots of the
television's speaker, stabbing, poking...

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	Do you know how dangerous that is?

Nicholas pries at the plastic speaker cover.  It's not easy,
but he's determined, cracking the plastic...

		ILSA (o.s.)
	Mister Van Orton... ?

The speaker cover breaks off with a SNAP! and Nicholas
spins, holding the broken piece.

		NICHOLAS
	Yes... Ilsa, what is it?

ON T.V., Bernard Shaw grabs up pages, resumes...

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	... and in other news, auto workers
	vowed to remain on picket lines...

Ilsa's in the doorway, wondering.

		ILSA
	Is everything alright?

		NICHOLAS
	Fine.

		ILSA
	I've finished for the evening.  Will
	you be needing anything else?

		NICHOLAS
	No, thank you.  Goodnight.

		ILSA
	Goodnight then.

She leaves.  Nicholas throws the piece of television away.
Bernard Shaw stops reading now that the coast is clear.

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	Who was that?

		NICHOLAS
	Never mind who that was.

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	You're uncomfortable.  You want to
	know how a camera got into your home,
	don't you?

		NICHOLAS
	Yes, I do.

ON TELEVISION: Bernard Shaw is REPLACED by a FISH-EYED IMAGE
of NICHOLAS' DEN.  It shows Nicholas from behind.

The P.O.V. is not from the TV.  Nicholas crosses the
room, keeps his eye on the TV as a guide...

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
		(from t.v., o.s.)
	... cold... cold... warmer...
	warmer...

ON TELEVISION: Nicholas gets bigger as he gets closer to...

The Harlequin.  Nicholas leans, looks at the clown's eyes...

ON TELEVISION: Nicholas' face is huge, distorted.

Nicholas pries one of the Harlequin's glass eyes with his
knife, pulling it out and examining it.

ON TELEVISION: The Harlequin's P.O.V. turns to STATIC.
Bernard Shaw returns with a PHONE NUMBER SUPERIMPOSED.

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	Write this number down.  It's a
	24-hour Consumer Recreation Services
	hotline, for emergencies only.

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	But, don't call asking what the
	object of the game is; figuring that
	out is the object of the game.

Nicholas feels his pockets, finds the C.R.S. pen.  He comes
up with a VALET PARKING TICKET to scrawl the number on.

		BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
	Good luck and congratulations on
	choosing C.R.S.  We now return you to
	your regularly scheduled program...

STATIC and SNOW, then CNN's Bernard Shaw is back for real,
newscasting.  Nicholas reads the number he wrote.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION -- NIGHT

Nicholas crouches at a coaxial CABLE LINE at the side of the
house.  He fingers a BOX with a miniature LOOP and RABBIT
EAR ANTENNA that's been spliced into the line.

He starts to unscrew it... then thinks twice.  He leaves it.

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT

Nicholas enters thru the back door.  He pauses, looking out
at the night.  He closes the door and locks it.  He PUNCHES
the ALARM CODE into a KEYPAD.

Nicholas takes his Bentley key chain from its hook, takes
out the gold, "C.R.S." key... adding it to the keychain.

						CUT TO:

INT.  SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT -- DAY

Nicholas enters the vast, busy terminal, briefcase in hand.
He walks with purpose, but is extra-aware of the world
around him.  He notices...

A MAN and WOMAN engaged in a SIGN LANGUAGE conversation.

A MAN reading a newspaper peers from behind the pages.

A JANITOR opens a door with a big KEY CHAIN full of keys.

A MAN on a payphone seems to be staring at Nicholas...

Nicholas turns his head to keep an eye on the man,
practically bumping into a grimy HOMELESS BUM...

		HOMELESS BUM
	Help me out there?  Used to be an
	affluent fella, till some folks did
	this to me...

Nicholas moves away, leaving the homeless man behind.

		HOMELESS BUM
	Don't ignore me.  I got screwed.

INT.  AIRPORT, RED CARPET LOUNGE -- DAY

Quiet MUSIC.  Rich people's lounge.  Nicholas sits with a
cup of coffee, considering magazines on a coffee table.  Two
seats down, a BUSINESSMAN coughs and rises, leaving his
newspaper on the empty seat between Nicholas and himself.

Nicholas glances down, curious when he sees...
A smiling-clown-face INFANT'S RATTLE on the seat beside,
sticking out from under the paper.

Nicholas catches only a glimpse of the exiting businessman.
Nicholas looks around, picks up the rattle.

He rattles it, studies it, rattles it in his ear.  He tries
to see thru it by holding it up to the light.  He doesn't
notice the MOTHER who enters with a baby, watching him.

		MOTHER
	Excuse me...

Nicholas looks up, realizes, awkward, offering the rattle.
She takes it and exits.

There's a BESPECTACLED MAN watching Nicholas.

Nicholas notices, tries to ignore.

But, bespectacled man is really staring.

		NICHOLAS
		(sits forward, fed up)
	May I help you... ?

Nicholas' tone has turned other heads.  Bespectacled man
seems embarrassed, shy, taps his chest.

		NICHOLAS
	What... ?  What is it?

Bespectacled man taps his chest again, points at Nicholas.

Nicholas looks down.  Inside his suit jacket -- a huge blue
INK STAIN across his shirt.  Nicholas stands, aghast, taking
out the offending pen.

It's the "C.R.S." pen, dripping ink.

INT.  AIRPORT, BATHROOM -- DAY

Running water.  Nicholas tries to clean his shirt, blotting
it ineffectually with wet paper towels.  he looks in the
mirror, crestfallen.  The stain's worse.

		DEEP VOICE (o.s.)
	Hey, buddy... you still out there?

Nicholas looks around.  He's alone, except for a MAN in a
TOILET STALL.  All we see are the man's brown shoes.

		DEEP VOICE (o.s.)
		(from toilet stall)
	I'm in a little bit of trouble...

The man's hairy hand motions from below the stall.  Nicholas
backs away, nervous, grabs his briefcase.

		DEEP VOICE (o.s.)
	I need paper.  There's none in here.
	Come on, help a guy out...

Nicholas considers, then hurries to exit.

		DEEP VOICE (o.s.)
	Hello?!  Anybody?  Hello?

INT.  AIRPORT, METAL DETECTORS -- DAY

Nicholas' briefcase rides into the x-ray machine.

Nicholas drops his keys, cellular phone and Rolex in a tray.
He passes thru the metal detector.  A SECURITY GUARD brings
the tray to him.

		SECURITY GUARD
	Nice watch.

Nicholas smiles tolerantly, collects his belongings.  He
waits at the x-ray conveyor belt, which is stopped.  A
FEMALE GUARD studies the x-ray monitor.

		NICHOLAS
	Is there a problem?

The female guard looks up, turns the conveyor belt back on.
Nicholas' briefcase arrives.

Nicholas moves on, aggravated.  Ahead, Sutherland rises from
a seat along the concourse hallway, walking to meet him.

		NICHOLAS
	I wasn't expecting you.

		SUTHERLAND
	Wanted to wish you luck.  Not that
	you'll need it.

Sutherland offers the contract, points to Nicholas' shirt.

		SUTHERLAND
	Attractive...

		NICHOLAS
		(paging thru contract)
	Don't ask.

		SUTHERLAND
	I checked it personally.

Nicholas nods, props his briefcase up on a window ledge,
opens it and drops the contract in.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  SEATTLE AIRPORT, RUNWAY -- DAY

Nicholas' jet touches down.

EXT.  SEATTLE AIRPORT, LOADING ZONE -- DAY

Nicholas follows a CHAUFFEUR.  The chauffeur opens a LIMO
door.  Several pressed SHIRTS hang waiting.

EXT.  BAER/GRANT BUILDING -- DAY

In the shadow of the Baer/Grant Publishing offices, the
limousine idles.  Downtown Seattle.

INT.  BAER/GRANT PUBLISHING, ALAN BAER'S OFFICE -- DAY

Meet ALAN BAER, elderly CEO, blue-blooded, pissed.

		ALAN BAER
	All these years... the first time
	ever you step foot in these offices,
	it's to ask me to step down?

Nicholas stands by CHILDREN'S TEXT BOOK mock-ups.  "Math-
Magic."  "Wonder-Words."  They're "Little Baer Books."

		NICHOLAS
	You promised you'd meet projections,
	Alan.  A dollar sixty per share you
	said.  So, I don't think this is so
	surprising a visit.

		ALAN BAER
	Projections were far too optimistic.

		NICHOLAS
	Admittedly...

		ALAN BAER
	Our E.P.S. was one fifty last
	quarter.  We're up eight cents per
	share.

		NICHOLAS
	But, the expectation was ten.  And,
	in this case, expectation is
	everything.

		ALAN BAER
	Will you really hold me to it over
	pennies?

		NICHOLAS
	My stock's falling.  Isn't yours?
	Those pennies are costing me
	millions.

		ALAN BAER
	The stock will turn.

		NICHOLAS
	It probably will.  In fact, I'd go so
	far as to say it almost certainly
	will, in time.  Why should I settle
	for that?

		ALAN BAER
	Because it's fair.  Give me next
	quarter.  If you still feel this way,
	vote your shares...

		NICHOLAS
	You're talking tomorrow.  Today is
	what counts.

		ALAN BAER
	You intractable son-of-a-bitch.  If
	your father could see you now...

		NICHOLAS
	What?

		ALAN BAER
	Your father was a friend.  Goddamn
	it... I watched you grow up.  How do
	you end up treating me like this?

This swings Nicholas into a new mode: acutely-focused anger.

		NICHOLAS
	It is so very inappropriate for you
	to mention my father.  Or, did you
	think this, between us, was
	friendship?  Just because you went
	fishing with my father, I should sit
	on my hands while you throw my money
	away?

		ALAN BAER
	Now, look...

		NICHOLAS
		(holds up his hand)
	I'll be done in a minute.  You
	misspoke before.  You're not
	"stepping down."  I'm taking you out
	at the knees.  The whole point is to
	prove that you're not deciding
	anything anymore.  I'm firing you.
	Action's taken.  Confidence restored.
	Stock goes up.  I sell my shares.

		ALAN BAER
	There is no Baer/Grant Publishing
	without Alan Baer.

		NICHOLAS
	Remember Daniel Grant?  Do they
	say, "without Daniel Grant, there is
	no Baer/Grant Publishing?"  He's gone
	sailing, Alan.  He's out there
	enjoying his golden years, probably
	wondering where you are.

At Alan's desk, Nicholas clears a space for his briefcase.

		NICHOLAS
	You made a promise.  You failed.  The
	severance I'm offering is more than
	equitable.  Valid tonight only.
		(looks at watch)
	For one hour.

Nicholas takes a pen from a holder, lays it on the blotter.

		NICHOLAS
	I'll step outside, so you'll have the
	privacy you need to read and sign it.

He tries to unlatch his briefcase clasp.  It's stuck.

		ALAN BAER
	I could fight you on this.

		NICHOLAS
	You could.  But, if I leave without
	your signature, this agreement begins
	to disintegrate; benefits shrink,
	options narrow, compensations
	shrivel.

Nicholas works on the briefcase the whole time, distraction
growing as it becomes a true struggle.

		NICHOLAS
	So... it is in your best interest...
	to sign presently.

Nicholas sits, pulling the latch, trying to see what's
jammed.  It refuses to open.  Nicholas stares at it,
frustrated, then... an odd realization...

He takes his keys out, finds the C.R.S. KEY, tries it...

It doesn't fit.  It was never meant for this lock.  Alan
Baer watches, wondering.

Forgetting himself, Nicholas grabs up the briefcase,
pulling, grunting, desperate, striking it with his palm.

Nicholas straightens, immediately composed.

		NICHOLAS
	Well... as luck would have it, you've
	just gotten a reprieve,  I'm sure
	you'll come around to my way of
	thinking.
		(picks up briefcase)
	I have a plane to catch.  My
	attorneys will contact you.

Nicholas exits.  Alan Baer doesn't know quite what to think.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  SEATTLE AIRPORT TERMINAL -- DAY

On the sidewalk, Nicholas bashes his briefcase over and over
again against a fire hydrant.

EXT.  SAN FRANCISCO AIRPORT, RUNWAY -- SUNSET

Nicholas' jet touches down.

INT.  CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT -- NIGHT

Nicholas sits staring.  His battered briefcase is near.  He
checks his watch, impatient, flags down a WAITER...

		NICHOLAS
	Is there a message up front from a
	Conrad Van Orton?

The waiter goes.  Nicholas drums his fingers.  He slides out
of the booth, rising. when a WAITRESS knocks into him with a
tray.  Wine spills.  Glasses crash.

		WAITRESS
	Oh, excuse me...

Nicholas looks down at his wine-stained front.  The waitress
is CHRISTINE, same waitress as the other night.  She tries
to clean him up with a napkin.

		CHRISTINE
	I'm so sorry.

		NICHOLAS
	Please, don't do that...

Nicholas snatches the napkin from her, wiping his suit.

		CHRISTINE
	I apologize, sir, I'm having a
	bad day...

		NICHOLAS
	A bad month.  You did the exact same
	thing to me last week.

Christine's taken aback.

		NICHOLAS
	Don't help me, just get more napkins.
	And soda water.

		CHRISTINE
		(gets more napkins)
	It was an accident.

		NICHOLAS
	Terrific.  I now have a hundred
	dollar dry cleaning bill.

		CHRISTINE
	I said I was sorry...

Nicholas turns his back on her, throwing wet napkins,
picking up clean ones, still patting at the stain.

		CHRISTINE
		(stews)
	Asshole.

Nicholas turns, angry.  The MAITRE D' arrives, shocked.

		MAITRE D'
	Christine!   Mister Van Orton is a
	valued customer...

		CHRISTINE
	Then, you kiss his ass.

She's leaving, but the maitre d' pulls her aside.

		MAITRE D'
	You don't talk to me like that.

		CHRISTINE
		(quiet, evenly)
	I apologized, I offered to help.

		MAITRE D'
	Clean out your locker.

		CHRISTINE
	Fine, Dennis.  Soon as I get my money
	for this week.

		MAITRE D'
	I'll be right with you.

Christine heads to the back.  The maitre d' motions for BUS
BOYS to clean, smoothly guiding Nicholas to a new table...

		MAITRE D'
	I'm terribly sorry, Mr. Van Orton.
	If you're not too uncomfortable, will
	this table suit you for a
	complimentary meal... ?

		NICHOLAS
	Yes.  Fine.

		MAITRE D'
	I'll fetch your waiter.

Nicholas sits, keeps wiping his shirt as the maitre d'
hurries away.  After a moment, a uniformed WAITER moves
past, leaves a CHECK...

		WAITER
	Check, sir.

Nicholas picks up the check, indignant.

		NICHOLAS
	Excuse me...

But, the waiter is long gone.  Nicholas shakes his head,
then the check catches his eye... "DON'T LET HER GET AWAY"
scrawled across it.

Nicholas turns to look.  The waiter who brought the check
crosses the room, goes out the front door.

Nicholas rises, following...

EXT.  CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT -- NIGHT

Nicholas comes out the front, sees: the waiter has crossed
the street, still moving...

The waiter gets in a CAR as the car pulls quickly away.

Nicholas is baffled, looks at the check, heads back inside.

EXT.  ALLEY, BEHIND RESTAURANT -- NIGHT

Christine exits the kitchen door, purse over her shoulder.

		CHRISTINE
		(back to doorway)
	Yeah... ?  Well, fuck you and your
	vichyssoise, prick.

She heads down this dark alley.  After a moment, Nicholas
follows, hurrying to catch up, briefcase in hand.

		NICHOLAS
	Pardon me... Miss... ?

		CHRISTINE
	Oh, no... you.

Christine picks up the pace.

		NICHOLAS
	I'm not sure how this works.  Do you
	have something for me... ?  I got
	this note...

		CHRISTINE
	What are you babbling about, psycho?

		NICHOLAS
	I want to know what's going on.  Are
	you part of this?

		CHRISTINE
	What's going on?  I'm going on my
	second job this month, and now I'm
	going on unemployment.

She keeps walking.  Nicholas stops, ponders.  He follows.
They're nearing the end of the alley.

		NICHOLAS
	Excuse me, I need to explain...

		CHRISTINE
	Don't explain.  Fuck off.  Goodbye.

Nicholas steps in a deep, splattering pot-hole, stumbles,
pants soaked, stopping, fed up.

		NICHOLAS
	Son of a bitch!

Christine rounds the corner, heading down the street.
Nicholas reaches the sidewalk, watches her go.

		NICHOLAS
		(shouts after)
	I'm trying to... ask you...
		(giving up)
	I'm apologizing...

He heads back the way he came.  A strangled CRY is HEARD.
Nearby, a HEAVY MAN falls to his knees, then falls face
forward to the concrete.  Nicholas looks around, alone...

		NICHOLAS
		(to Heavy Man)
	Are... are you okay?!

DOWN THE SIDEWALK, Christine slows, looks back...

Nicholas bends, trying to see the man's face, seems afraid
to actually touch him.

		NICHOLAS
	Jesus... this can't be...

Nicholas looks up to see Christine running back.

		CHRISTINE
	What's with him?

		NICHOLAS
	I don't know... he fell.

Christine kneels, turns Heavy Man on his side and feels for
a pulse.  Heavy Man convulses.

		CHRISTINE
	Do you know what to do?

		NICHOLAS
	I don't think he's breathing.

Christine clears Heavy Man's airway, pulling saliva and
mucus from his mouth with two fingers.

		NICHOLAS
	Oh, God... !

		CHRISTINE
	Don't just stand there, get help!

		NICHOLAS
		(taking out his CELLULAR)
	This can't be real...

		CHRISTINE
	He's pissing his pants.  Is that real
	enough for you?  Call 911!

		NICHOLAS
	Alright... okay...

		CHRISTINE
	He's turning blue!

Nicholas is starting to believe, dialing, circling as
Christine gives C.P.R.  He listens to his phone -- STATIC.

		NICHOLAS
	Damn...

He backpedals in the street, cellular to his ear, trying to
catch a signal, tilst his head.  STATIC.  A HORN BLARES -- a
CAR barely misses Nicholas, DRIVER cursing.

Nicholas anxiously punches buttons.  He spots a SQUAD CAR
and runs toward it...

		NICHOLAS
	Police!

SAME STREET -- TIME CUT...

SIREN BLASTING, an AMBULANCE is parked.  PARAMEDICS pull a
stretcher, helped by TWO COPS, hurrying to the prone Heavy
Man.  A crowd is gathered.

Nicholas and Christine watch the paramedics work.  COP ONE
hands Nicholas a clipboard, everything hurried, overlapped:

		COP ONE
	You have to fill these out.

		NICHOLAS
	I don't know this man.

Christine takes the clipboard.

		CHRISTINE
		(to cop, of clipboard)
	What do you need... ?

Paramedics hoist heavy Man on a stretcher and take him to
the ambulance.  Cop Two goes to help them lift.

		NICHOLAS
		(to Christine)
	I can't get involved in this.

Christine moves to climb into the ambulance.

		COP TWO
		(to Nicholas)
	We'll have to detain you.

		COP ONE
	Report's got to be filled out.  Ride
	with your wife.  We'll meet at the
	hospital.

		PARAMEDIC
		(shouting to cop)
	We're moving!

Cop One leads Nicholas to the ambulance.

		NICHOLAS
	She's not my wife.

		COP ONE
	It's a few blocks.  Help me out, huh,
	pal?

Nicholas reluctantly gets in.

EXT.  CITY STREETS -- NIGHT

Busy streets.  The ambulance rockets on...

INT.  AMBULANCE -- NIGHT

SIREN WAILING.  Paramedic works.  Christine fills out forms.
Nicholas tries to see where they're going, frustrated.

		NICHOLAS
	This is nuts.

		CHRISTINE
		(without looking up)
	What is your problem?

		NICHOLAS
		(digging in his pocket)
	Ten minutes ago, I'm looking forward
	to a quiet dinner.  I get a note...

Nicholas slaps his CHECK on top of Christine's paperwork.

		NICHOLAS
	Suddenly I'm in an ambulance.  Why am
	I in an ambulance?!

He looks out the window.  Christine studies the check:
"DON'T LET HER GET AWAY," finds it odd, looks to Nicholas.

		NICHOLAS
		(wincing, to paramedic
		 of Heavy Man)
	He's breathing, isn't he?  Is the
	siren entirely necessary?

INT.  UNDERGROUND PARKING ENTRANCE -- NIGHT

"Emergency Vehicles Only."  The ambulance races down a RAMP,
moving across this big underground garage, doing a u-turn...

Backs up toward a busy EMERGENCY ROOM ENTRANCE.  MEDICAL
PERSONNEL everywhere.  Other ambulances.  INJURED PEOPLE.
Our paramedics get out and unload Heavy Man.

Nicholas and Christine get out, disoriented.  Heavy Man's
rushed inside via automatic doors.  Christine hands off the
clipboard to Nicholas, following the stretcher...

		CHRISTINE
	Let's talk to whoever can get this
	over with...

		NICHOLAS
		(reading clipboard)
	Hold on...
		(of the clipboard)
	They want your driver's license
	number.

Christine returns to look, and suddenly ALL THE LIGHTS GO
OUT.  Nicholas and Christine look up.  In the surrounding
darkness, we HEAR EVERYONE FLEEING...

FOOTSTEPS SCATTER... then, SILENCE.

		NICHOLAS
	You've got to be kidding.

		CHRISTINE
	What... is... happening... ?

The only light is a BULB inside the ambulance.

		NICHOLAS
		(disgust)
	I was trying to tell you... it's a
	game.

		CHRISTINE
	A game?

		NICHOLAS
		(tosses clipboard)
	It's run by a company... they play
	elaborate pranks.  Things like this.
	I'm really only now finding out
	myself.

		CHRISTINE
	What are you talking about?

		NICHOLAS
	The lights went out, one hundred
	people all ran away...

		CHRISTINE
	You mean, the guy who turned blue and
	wet himself... ?

		NICHOLAS
	I'm sorry, about this...

		CHRISTINE
	You should be.

Christine climbs into the ambulance, searching.

		CHRISTINE
	There's got to be a flashlight.

		NICHOLAS
		(quietly)
	I don't understand why they're
	getting you involved.

IN THE AMBULANCE, she finds all drawers and cabinets EMPTY.

		CHRISTINE
	This is so fucked.  You don't fuck
	with people like this.  I thought
	that guy was gonna die.  I gave him
	mouth to mouth!

She digs in her purse, finds a book of restaurant MATCHES.
She lights a match, climbing out.

		CHRISTINE
	See you around.

		NICHOLAS
	Where are you going?

		CHRISTINE
	Home.

		NICHOLAS
	How do you know that's the way?

She just keeps walking.

A distant "DING" is HEARD.  Far away, an ELEVATOR OPENS with
a light inside.  Christine stops.

Christine changes direction, heading for the elevator.
Nicholas hurries to follow.  The match burns out.  A moment,
then Christine strikes another, lighting the way, barely.
As they squeeze between parked cars, Christine searches...

		CHRISTINE
	Where'd you all go?  Motherfucking
	frat boys.  You better hide.
		(to Nicholas)
	Is your life so pathetic that this is
	something you're willing to pay for?

		NICHOLAS
	It was a gift... from my brother.

		CHRISTINE
	How thoughtful.  The gift of
	inconvenience.

NIcholas stumbles.  A beer BOTTLE is HEAR SKITTERING away.

INT. ELEVATOR -- NIGHT

They reach the elevator.  Nicholas pushes a button.

		NICHOLAS
	Ground floor.

He and Christine step back and wait, looking up.  And
wait... and wait, looking unhappily to each other.

Nicholas pushes all the buttons.  Nothing happens.
Christine opens the EMERGENCY PHONE door: NO PHONE.
Nicholas touches his finger to a KEY HOLE below the buttons.

He takes out keys, finds the C.R.S. KEY, tries it...
it fits.  He turns it.  DOORS CLOSE and the ELEVATOR MOVES.
Nicholas is pleased, sees Christine wondering.

		NICHOLAS
		(of the key)
	Long story.
		(off her stare)
	I found this key in the mouth of a
	wooden Harlequin.

		CHRISTINE
	Never mind.

The ELEVATOR LURCHES, DROPS, then HALTS.  LIGHTS OUT,
replaced by RED EMERGENCY LIGHT.  A MOTOR is HEARD DYING.

		CHRISTINE
	I don't like that.
		(pushing buttons)
	We're stuck.

Nicholas takes out his phone, puts it to his ear.  STATIC.

		NICHOLAS
		(pockets phone)
	No signal.

Christine pounds on the buttons and doors, frustrated.  She
tries to pry the doors open.  Can't.

		CHRISTINE
	What's the going rate for the
	"trapped-in-elevator-adventure" these
	days?

Nicholas hits BUTTONS hard.  Christine studies the ceiling,
moving under the square seam of the TRAP DOOR, pointing.

		NICHOLAS
	Don't even think about it.

		CHRISTINE
	Why not?

		NICHOLAS
	Read what it says: "Warning, do not
	attempt to open.  If elevator stops,
	use emergency... "

		CHRISTINE
	If there was one.

		NICHOLAS
	"... wait for help."  Wait for help.
	I'm not opening a door that
	specifically warns me not to.

		CHRISTINE
	Are you suggesting we wait till
	someone finds us?

Nicholas considers this, looks around.

INT.  ELEVATOR SHAFT -- NIGHT

The trap door CREAKS open.  Nicholas looks up from the
elevator, standing on hand rails.  He gets down.

IN THE ELEVATOR

		NICHOLAS
	I'll give you a boost.

		CHRISTINE
	You first.

		NICHOLAS
	This isn't an attempt to be gallant.
	If I don't lift you, how are you
	going to get there?

		CHRISTINE
	You pull me up.

		NICHOLAS
	It's much easier this way.  Come on,
	step up...

		CHRISTINE
	No.

		NICHOLAS
	Please...

		CHRISTINE
	I'm not wearing underwear.  Okay?
	There, I said it.  Satisfied.

		NICHOLAS
		(looks at her skirt)
	Oh.  FIne.

Nicholas starts climbing...

IN THE ELEVATOR SHAFT

Nicholas comes up, batting cobwebs, tentative.  He grips a
handful of grease, disgusted.  He climbs thru, catching his
jacket on a jutting screw, FABRIC RIPPPPPPPPING...

		CHRISTINE (o.s.)
	Oops.

Nicholas stands in the shaft, pissed.  He looks for a place
to wipe his hand, wipes it on his jacket, looking up.

		NICHOLAS
	There's a ladder here.

IN THE ELEVATOR

		CHRISTINE
	My hero.  Let's go.

Nicholas offers his grease covered hand from above.

		NICHOLAS
	I don't think so.

Nicholas withdraws that hand, offers the clean one.

						CUT TO:

INT.  BUILDING LOBBY -- NIGHT

Elevator doors shift, forced from inside.  Nicholas climbs
out, then pulls Christine out behind him.  They're
head-to-toe filthy, clothing ruined.

		NICHOLAS
	Damn.  My briefcase.

He looks back down the shaft.

		CHRISTINE
	I'll wait.

		NICHOLAS
		(resigned sigh)
	It's not like anyone could actually
	open it.

They walk, looking at the vast lobby and sky-lit ATRIUM.

		NICHOLAS
	This is C.R.S.

		CHRISTINE
	What's C.R.S.?

		NICHOLAS
	Consumer Recreation Services.  It's
	their building.  They...

A BEEP is HEARD.  Nicholas looks above...
Sees a MOTION SENSOR with a green light blinking.

		NICHOLAS
	Oh...

An ALARM SOUNDS; a loud RINGING BELL.  Nicholas backs away.

		NICHOLAS
	Don't panic.  When security gets
	here, we simply explain what
	happened...

		CHRISTINE
	They'll love that.

		NICHOLAS
	Yes... well...

FOOTFALLS.  Nicholas turns to see Christine running away.

		CHRISTINE
		(over her shoulder)
	Explain for both of us!

Nicholas looks around, unsure.  He follows...

EXT.  ALLEYWAY, BEHIND C.R.S. BUILDING -- NIGHT

Christine bursts thru "EMERGENCY EXIT" doors.  Nicholas
arrives.  He grips her arm and they walk, out of breath.

		NICHOLAS
	Walk, slowly.  Don't draw attention.
	Out for a stroll...

TIRES SCREECH.  A SPOTLIGHT HITS them from behind.

		ANGRY VOICE (o.s.)
	You!  Stay where you are!

It's a SECURITY CAR on the other side of a fence.

		CHRISTINE
	Run!

They run, down the alley.

		ANGRY VOICE
	Stop!

EXT.  NARROW ALLEYWAY -- NIGHT

SIRENS HEARD.  Christine and Nicholas sprint round a corner,
all out... thru puddles, glancing back.  Ahead, a SECURITY
CAR skids, starting for them.  Christine and Nicholas double
back.  She takes the lead.

Christine spots something, makes a chouse, moving
into a very NARROW ALLEY space.

		NICHOLAS
	Where are you going?
		(looks in, worried)
	You can't fit there.

She's making fine progress regardless.

		NICHOLAS
	I can't!

Nicholas sees the SECURITY CAR bearing down.  He must turn
sideways to fit in the narrow alley, shuffling after.

BEHIND, the car stops and SECURITY GUARD gets out, club in
hand.  In the car, a GERMAN SHEPHERD barks.

Security Guard tries to fit down the space, but can't.  His
belly's too big, his utility belt catching.  He runs back to
the car, opens the door...

The German Shepherd shoots down the alley, a projectile...

DOWN THE TIGHT ALLEYWAY

Christine comes out into OPEN AREA, running on, looking up.
Ruined buildings on all sides, CHAIN LINK FENCES everywhere.
Nicholas arrives, pissed, trying to catch up...

		NICHOLAS
	You deserted me.

		CHRISTINE
	You're a grown man.  I'm not
	responsible for you.

		NICHOLAS
	You're the one who started running.

		CHRISTINE
	Me?  You're the one who... !
		(sees something)
	Shit!

Christine runs faster.  Nicholas looks back...

The German Shepherd's on its way...

Nicholas faces front, runs, arms pumping, terrified...

The German Shepherd's closing, growling...

Christine and Nicholas reach the CHAIN LINK FENCE ahead...

		NICHOLAS
	Climb!

Christine makes the leap first, scrambling up the fence.
Nicholas climbs beside her, pulling himself up...

The German Shepherd leaps... bites Nicholas' leg...

Nicholas YELLS -- PANTS RIPPING.  The dog falls with a
mouthful of cloth.

Christine and Nicholas reach the top of the fence, clinging,
balanced on their elbows, looking back.  The German Shepherd
barks and leaps.

Christine and Nicholas start over the fence, beginning their
climb down the other side...

ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE: three OTHER DOGS run from the shadows,
Pit-Bulls and a Doberman, jumping and biting...

Nicholas and Christine scramble back to the top.

All the dogs hop up and down, snapping.  They gnash at each
other and bark at each other, frenzied.

Nicholas and Christine have no choice but to hang, stranded.

		CHRISTINE
	Now what?

Nicholas looks up, daunted.  He spots something...

There's a place where the fence runs under a FIRE ESCAPE.

		NICHOLAS
	Follow me...

Nicholas gets a toe-hold, shifts his elbows, grunting,
beginning the herky lateral climb toward the fire escape.
Christine follows his example.

Slow going.  DOGS BARKING NON-STOP, nipping at their heels.

		CHRISTINE
	Shut up, you stupid, fucking dogs!!

BARKING AND BARKING AND BARKING.

		CHRISTINE
	What are they guarding around here?
	Each other?

Nicholas slips, keeps grip, but loses a SHOE...

The dogs catch the shoe in their jaws, fighting for it.

Nicholas watches the shoe get torn to pieces, keeps moving.

		NICHOLAS
	There goes a thousand dollars.

		CHRISTINE
	Your shoes cost a thousand dollars?

		NICHOLAS
	That one did.

		CHRISTINE
		(to herself)
	... two hundred dollars a toe.

Nicholas reaches the fire escape, balancing precariously to
reach it.  He climbs gracelessly up...

He helps Christine after him, bringing her on board.  They
lean against the rail, exhausted.  Nicholas looks to the
multi-leveled ladders above.

		NICHOLAS
	Let me guess.  Me first?

He climbs.  Christine looks down at the dogs, stupefied,
looks up at Nicholas on the CREAKING rusty fire escape.

		CHRISTINE
		(to herself)
	This is getting out of hand.

As she starts up.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  GARBAGE ALLEY -- NIGHT

ABANDONED BUILDING.  Boarded-over windows are kicked open
from inside.  Nicholas and Christine look out.

They climb out onto ANOTHER FIRE ESCAPE, two stories up
above a trash filled, dumpster crowded alley.

		CHRISTINE
	Never did catch your name.

		NICHOLAS
	Nicholas.  Nicholas Van Orton.

		CHRISTINE
	Nicholas Van Orton?  What are you,
	a czar?

Nicholas moves to the catch of the fire escape ladder,
unhooks it.  The LADDER DROPS to bridge the gap to the
ground, KEEPS GOING, sliding free and disconnecting -- falls
flat to the ground below with a LOUD, ECHOING CLATTER.

		CHRISTINE
		(pause)
	That's classic.

		NICHOLAS
		(staring down, misery)
	Why... ?

Christine crosses to the far edge of the railing, points.

		CHRISTINE
	We hang down here and drop.  The
	garbage'll break our fall.

		NICHOLAS
	I think not.

Christine climbs over the fire escape railing...

		CHRISTINE
	Afraid you're going to ruin your
	one-legged suit?

She lowers herself down, hanging off, legs dangling...

		NICHOLAS
	Be careful...

A metal DOOR is THROWN OPEN below.  TWO THAI BUS-BOYS come
out, dumping garbage, smoking cigarettes, laughing.

Above, Christine looks up at Nicholas, mortified.  She nods
urgently for him to help her back up.  Nicholas climbs the
rail, beside her, trying to get a grip, none too effective.

Below, one bus-boy looks up, shouting.  The other bus-boy
looks.  They back away, SPEAKING RAPID THAI, pointing.

		CHRISTINE
	What are they... ?
		(realizing)
	Hey!

Christine lets go with one hand, trying to pull her skirt
shut.  Nicholas loses hold, drops her...

Christine lands hard in garbage.

		NICHOLAS
	Are you okay... ?!

Nicholas drops, alarmed... lands in broken plastic bags of
wet garbage, slipping as he moves to Christine.  Bus-boys
are helping her up.

		CHRISTINE
	I'm okay... I'm okay, thank you...

Bus-boys keep questioning in Thai.  Nicholas and Christine
brush off.  Nicholas takes off his spewed jacket, shakes it
in disgust, straightens his tie.  They stop...

At the doorway, all the COOKS, BUS-BOYS, WAITERS and
DISH-WASHERS stare at Nicholas and Christine in wonder.

Nicholas and Christine stare back.  Nicholas looks to
Christine, brushing rotten lettuce off her shoulder, nods to
the restaurant workers, clears his throat.

		NICHOLAS
	Table for two, please.

He offers his arm to Christine, she takes it, they head in.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  CITY STREETS -- NIGHT

ONE CONTINUOUS LONG SHOT:  Nicholas and Christine walk,
taking their time, eating out of take-out boxes.

		CHRISTINE
	Where are we going?

		NICHOLAS
		(points at skyline)
	That tall, bright building.  Near
	there.

They walk a long time in silence.  A POLICE CAR moves from
behind.  POLICEMAN shines a flashlight up and down Nicholas.

		POLICEMAN
	Everything okay, miss?

		CHRISTINE
	Yeah.  How are you?

The police car keeps pace, then drives on.

						CUT TO:

INT.  NICHOLAS' OFFICE -- NIGHT

Nicholas enters, turning on lights, which dim to a warm
glow.  Christine takes in the impressive office.  Nicholas
crosses to a wall, opens a hidden closet, chooses a shirt.

		NICHOLAS
	There's a shower, if you'd like.

Christine leans to peek in the bathroom.

		CHRISTINE
	A shower in your office?  You an
	athlete or something?

Nicholas puts on a new shirt.

Christine circles the desk, runs her fingers down his phone.

		CHRISTINE
	What exactly do you do?

		NICHOLAS
	Investment banking.  Moving money
	from place to place.

Christine has wandered to the closed blinds, opening them to
reveal a breathtaking view of the city.

		CHRISTINE
	Nice.

		NICHOLAS
	Hm?
		(looks)
	Oh, yes.

Nicholas takes out a SWEATSHIRT and offers it.

		NICHOLAS
	A fresh shirt...

		CHRISTINE
		(takes shirt, crossing)
	If this was my office, I wouldn't
	keep that closed.

		NICHOLAS
	I don't spend much time looking out
	the window.
		(goes to desk)
	I'll call you a taxi.

Christine faces away, throws off her filthy shirt...

Nicholas, on the phone, looks to Christine's shapely back
and RED BRA.  He averts his eyes, embarrassed...

		NICHOLAS
	Oh!  Uh...

Christine puts on the PENN STATE sweatshirt, straightens it.

		CHRISTINE
	Thanks.

Nicholas nods, phone to his ear.

							CUT TO:

EXT.  VAN ORTON BUILDING -- NIGHT

TWO CABS.  Nicholas opens the door of the first for
Christine.  She faces him, close.

		NICHOLAS
	I know the owner of Campton Place.  I
	could talk to him in the morning.

		CHRISTINE
	Don't.  It was a shitty job anyway.
	I overreacted.

Christine sits, keeps her legs out the door of the cab.
Nicholas stands waiting for her to pull her legs in.

		NICHOLAS
	Goodnight.

		CHRISTINE
	I don't think I've ever spent this
	much time with someone who didn't
	even ask my name.

		NICHOLAS
	The maitre d' called you Christine.

		CHRISTINE
		(remembering)
	Right.  Call me Christy.

		NICHOLAS
	Goodnight, Christy.  It was nice
	meeting you.

		CHRISTINE
	Give me an address so I can send your
	shirt back.

		NICHOLAS
	Keep it.

She looks up at Nicholas, sits inside.  He shuts the door
and steps back.  Christine rolls her window down.

		CHRISTINE
	I have a confession to make.  Someone
	gave me six-hundred dollars to spill
	drinks on you, as a practical joke.

		NICHOLAS
	Seriously?  What did they say?

		CHRISTINE
	They said five hundred.  I said six.
	They said the man in the gray
	flannel suit.  I think I said, you
	mean the attractive guy in the gray
	flannel suit?

Christine smiles, rolls up the window.  The taxi leaves.
Nicholas watches it go.  A twinge of regret.

EXT.  CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT -- LATER NIGHT

Nicholas' cab pulls up at the closed restaurant, behind the
Bentley.  A restaurant VALET sweeps the sidewalk, waves to
greet as Nicholas gets out of the cab.

						CUT TO:

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, MASTER BEDROOM -- NIGHT

Nicholas comes from the bathroom, just showered.  He looks
at CNN on TV.  He walks to change channels: infommercials,
B+W movies, cartoons.  BUGS BUNNY.  Nicholas leaves Bugs
Bunny on, steps back, watching.

He sits on the bed.

						CUT TO:

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, MASTER BEDROOM -- DAY

Nicholas sleeps.  Cordless PHONE RINGING.  He stirs,
awakens, face creased, hair mussed.

		NICHOLAS
		(in phone, voice cracks)
	Hel... hello?

		MARIA (v.o.)
		(from phone)
	Mr. Van Orton, it's Maria.  I... I
	wasn't sure I should call...

		NICHOLAS
		(in phone)
	What time is it?

Nicholas studies his CLOCK RADIO: 11:05.  He picks it up and
examines it, suspicious.

		MARIA (v.o.)
		(from phone)
	Eleven o'clock.  I took the liberty
	of rescheduling your nine a.m. with
	Allison and Dietrich.  Are you... not
	not feeling well?

		NICHOLAS
	I'll be in in an hour.  I left my
	briefcase at fifteen-thirty-three
	Montgomery.  Check with their lost
	and found.

		MARIA (v.o.)
	Alan Baer's in town, at the
	Ritz-Carlton.

		NICHOLAS
	Really?

		MARIA (v.o.)
	He's requesting dinner tonight.

		NICHOLAS
	We'll let him know.

		MARIA (v.o.)
	Also, the Claremont Hotel called to
	say they have your American Express
	card at the front desk.  You left it
	last night?

Nicholas is confused.  He crosses with the phone, finds and
studies his wallet.  He fingers an empty plastic pocket.

		MARIA (v.o.)
	Should I send someone... ?

		NICHOLAS
	No.  Give me their number.

		MARIA (v.o.)
	Eight, four, three, three-thousand.

		NICHOLAS
	See  you in awhile.  Goodbye.

Nicholas hangs up, dials.

		HOTEL MANAGER (v.o.)
		(from phone)
	Claremont Resort and Spa.

		NICHOLAS
		(into phone)
	This is Nicholas Van Orton.  I'm told
	my American Express card...

		HOTEL MANAGER (v.o.)
		(from phone)
	Yes, Mister Van Orton.  Everything's
	in order.  The concierge has arranged
	for the wine and flowers in the room.

		NICHOLAS
	Has he?

		HOTEL MANAGER (v.o.)
	And, a young woman phoned just now to
	say she's on route but running a
	little late.

		NICHOLAS
		(pause)
	Did this young woman leave her name?

		HOTEL MANAGER (v.o.)
	I'm sure I don't know.

		NICHOLAS
	Thank you.

Nichola hangs up, interest piqued.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  BAY BRIDGE -- DAY

Nicholas drives the Bentley.  PREVIOUS CONVERSATION:

		SWITCHBOARD OPERATOR (v.o.)
	There's no answer.  Would you like
	his voice mail?

		NICHOLAS (v.o.)
	Tell him his brother called, and to
	call back soon as he can.

		SWITCHBOARD OPERATOR (v.o.)
	Yes, sir.

CELLULAR DISCONNECT.  Nicholas looks in his rearview mirror.
THRU MIRROR: a grimy BLACK SEDAN follows... keeps distance.

EXT.  CLAREMONT HOTEL -- DAY

Grand hotel.  Nicholas lelaves his car with the valet.

INT.  CLAREMONT HOTEL, LOBBY -- DAY

At the GLASS DOORS, Nicholas pushes thru.  A THIN MAN in a
plain suit isn't looking, BUMPS Nicholas.

		THIN MAN
	Sorry.  My fault.

Thin Man exits.  Nicholas crosses the opulent lobby to the
desk.  The grinning HOTEL MANAGER spots him coming.

		HOTEL MANAGER
	Ah, Mr. Van Orton.  Here you go...

		NICHOLAS
	Have we met?

He hands over Nicholas' AMEX CARD, which Nicholas studies.

		HOTEL MANAGER
	I believe so.  If you would jsut sign
	here...

The manager offers a CHARGE SLIP and pen.  Nicholas looks at
the manager, the slip, then signs.  The manager hits a BELL.
A BELLHOP arrives.

		HOTEL MANAGER
	Show Mr. Van Orton to his room.

		NICHOLAS
	The key?

		HOTEL MANAGER
	Hm?

		NICHOLAS
	Is there a room key?

		HOTEL MANAGER
	Didn't I give you two?

		NICHOLAS
	No, you didn't...

Nicholas shakes his head and pats his pockets, stops,
feeling one pocket... reachse in and takes out a GOLD KEY on
a hotel key chain.  Nicholas looks to the GLASS DOORS.

		NICHOLAS
	Cute.

INT.  CLAREMONT HOTEL, HALL -- DAY

Long hallway.  Nicholas follows the Bellhop.  They arrive at
the door to ROOM 277.

		NICHOLAS
	I'll take it from here.

He tips the Bellhop, who leaves, uses the key, entering...

INT.  CLAREMONT HOTEL, ROOM 277 -- DAY

Nicholas shuts the door.  There's a room-service cart with
wine chilling.  Nicholas moves down this short hall...

		NICHOLAS
	Hello... ?

His jaw drops.  The room is TRASHED.  Curtains shredded,
furniture overturned, television imploded, mirror
spiderweb-smashed, walls full of holes.

Nicholas moves forward, having spotted...
His battered BRIEFCASE on the ruined mattress.

The latch is undone.  Nicholas opens it.

Inside: MANY PHOTOGRAPHS of blurry SEX acts.  Bodies in
motion.  Limbs.  Breasts.  A NAKED WOMAN tied to the bed.
One PHOTO shows two women entwined with a NAKED MAN who
appear to be NICHOLAS.  It's a so-so cut-and-paste job.

A LOUD KNOCKING at the door startles Nicholas.  He closes
the briefcase, freaked.

He hurries to the door as POUNDING is HEARD again, puts his
eye to the peephole.

THRU THE PEEPHOLE: a MAIN gets out her keys.

		MAID
		(thru door)
	Time to make up the room.

Nicholas fumbles with the SECURITY CHAIN, slides it in place
as the door opens -- stopped.  Nicholas keeps hidden.

		NICHOLAS
	Could you come back later?

		MAID
	Yes, sir.  Sorry.

THRU THE PEEPHOLE: the maid moves away.

Nicholas crosses to retrieve his briefcase, and is crossing
back when he stops in his tracks upon seeing...

On a dresser, a MIRROR covered in COCAINE lines and residue.

IN THE BATHROOM

Nicholas turns on the faucet, washing the cocaine down the
sink, hands shaking.  The mirror edge cuts his thumb and he
gives a cry, drops the mirror, which SHATTERS on the floor.

Nicholas sucks his thumb, puts it under the faucet.  He
finds a hand cloth and wraps it round his thumb.

There are big blood droplets on the sink and floor.

Nicholas grabs wads of tissues from a box on the back of the
toilet, using them to blot up the blood, throwing tissues in
the toilet and flushing.

Nicholas keeps wiping blood.  The toilet burps, OVERFLOWING.
WATER SPILLS OUT...

Nicholas backs away, panicked, exiting...

INT.  CLAREMONT HOTEL, HALL -- DAY

Nicholas looks out from Room 277.  He sees a MAID CART,
HEARS an O.S. VACUUM CLEANER.  He run-walks down the hall,
hugging his briefcase.  He pushes thru a STAIRWELL DOOR.

EXT.  CLAREMONT HOTEL -- DAY

Nicholas takes his Bentley back from the valet, pulling out
fast to the street.  Further back, the grimy BLACK SEDAN
moves from the curb.

INT.  NICHOLAS' BENTLEY -- DAY

Nicholas' mind races.  He wipes sweat off his face.
He glances in his rearview...

THRU MIRROR: the black sedan, following again.

Resolve comes to Nicholas, and anger.  He speeds up.

EXT.  BERKELEY STREETS -- DAY

The Bentley weaves thru traffic, taking a corner sharp.
Nicholas spins the wheel, heading...

DOWN AN ALLEYWAY

Nicholas brakes hard, gets out of the Bentley and heads for
the mouth of the alley...

As the black sedan follows, blocked, stopping.  Nicholas
comes to pull open the car door, confronting the rumpled,
PLUMP GUY behind the wheel.

		PLUMP GUY
	What the fuck... ?!

		NICHOLAS
	Why are you following me?

		PLUMP GUY
	I don't know what you're talking
	about.  I'm just driving...

He falters as he follows Nicholas' angry gaze to the seat
beside him where a FILE is open to a PHOTO of NICHOLAS.

		PLUMP GUY
		(fumbling to close file)
	Look... what I'm doing is none of
	your business...

		NICHOLAS
	Is Alan Baer "the Game?"  Is that
	what this is?

		PLUMP GUY
		(defiant pause)
	Friend... why don't you back off.

He leans as he talks... inside his jacket, he wears a gun.

Nicholas reaches across and pulls the gun, hefting it.

		PLUMP GUY
	Hey... !

		NICHOLAS
		(of the gun)
	Nice touch.  Does the game use real
	bullets... ?

Nicholas points the gun at the sedan's rear tire, FIRES!
The gun is SHOCKINGLY LOUS -- BURSTS the TIRE!

Nicholas looks to the smoking weapon, blanching.

Plump Guy leaps to the other seat, scrambling out the
passenger door, submissive...

		PLUMP GUY
	Okay, I'm a private investigator.
	Somebody hired me to keep tabs on
	you...

Nicholas lifts the gun, unsure, pointing it awkwardly...

		NICHOLAS
	Who... who hired you?

Plump Guy bolts, running away down the alleyway.  Nicholas aims
the gun after him, but catches himself, lowers it.  He runs
the other direction, back to the Bentley...

Nicholas gets in the car, drops the gun on the seat, drives.

INSIDE THE BENTLEY

Nicholas returns to the street, glancing back.  He looks at
the gun.  He opens the glove compartment, throws the gun in.
He takes out his CELLULAR PHONE, dialing...

		MARIA (o.s.)
		(from cellular)
	Mister Van Orton's office...

		NICHOLAS
		(into cellular)
	Maria.  Have Sutherland meet me at
	the Ritz-Carlton.  I'm on my way
	there now.

		MARIA (o.s.)
	May I tell him... ?

But, Nicholas is already pushing DISCONNECT.

						CUT TO:

INT.  RITZ CARLTON HOTEL, LOBBY -- DAY

Nicholas enters with briefcase.  Sutherland rises to follow.

		SUTHERLAND
	What's happened...

		NICHOLAS
	Follow me.

INT.  RITZ-CARLTON, ALAN BAER'S SUITE -- DAY

A HOTEL EMPLOYEE rolls a room service cart out.  Nicholas
pushes past with Sutherland in tow.  Alan Baer, his handsome
WIFE and lovely DAUGHTER are seated at a table where a
WAITER lays out a splendid meal.

		ALAN BAER
	Nicholas... this is unexpected.

Nicholas takes out the SEX PHOTOS, throws them on the table.

		NICHOLAS
	Do you actually believe that because
	you publish children's books,
	anyone's going to care about my
	reputation?

Wife and daughter are frightened.  Alan Baer covers the
photos with his napkin.

		NICHOLAS
	You could print pictures of me
	wearing nipple rings and butt-fucking
	Captain Kangaroo... all anyone would
	wonder was whether the stock was up,
	or down.

Sutherland's nervousness grows by the second.

		DAUGHTER
	Daddy... ?

		ALAN BAER
	It's alright, dear.  Mr. Van Orton...

		SUTHERLAND
	Nicholas...

		NICHOLAS
		(still to Alan Baer)
	That you've involved Conrad... is
	unforgivable.  I am now your enemy.

		ALAN BAER
	Are you finished?

		NICHOLAS
	No.  This is my lawyer, Samuel
	Sutherland.  I thought you two should
	meet.

		ALAN BAER
	We met, this morning.  I signed the
	termination contract for Baer/Grace.
	I accepted your settlement, Nicholas.
	you were right.  I'm going sailing.

Nicholas opens his mouth, but no words come.  He looks to
Sutherland.  Sutherland nods to confirm.

		ALAN BAER
	You're welcome to join our luncheon.
	Maybe we can straighten this our.
		(motioning to...)
	My wife, Mary Carol, and my
	daughter-in-law, Kaliegh.

Wife and daughter give mumbled greetings, having no desire
to meet Nicholas.  Nicholas just stands stymied.

		NICHOLAS
	It seems I've...  please, disregard
	my apparently misguided remarks.

Nicholas heads for the door, hurrying out.  Alan, wife,
daughter, the waiter and Sutherland exchange looks.

		SUTHERLAND
	Well...

Sutherland walks to retrieve the sex photos.

		SUTHERLAND
	Enjoy your lunch.

Sutherland smiles, exiting.

						CUT TO:

INT.  NICHOLAS' OFFICE -- DAY

Nicholas sits at his desk, opens his briefcase, checking the
contents.  Soon, Sutherland arrives, shutting the door.  He
watches Nicholas, deciding.

		SUTHERLAND
	How concerned should I be?

		NICHOLAS
	It was a misunderstanding.

Sutherland puts the SEX PHOTOS on the desk.

		NICHOLAS
	Someone's playing hardball.  It's
	complicated.  Can I ask a favor?

		SUTHERLAND
	You know you can.

		NICHOLAS
	Find out about a company called
	C.R.S.  Consumer Recreation Services.

		SUTHERLAND
	Sounds like they make tennis rackets.
	What do we know?

		NICHOLAS
	Just what I told you.

		SUTHERLAND
	Nothing else?

Nicholas remembers.  He opens up a file drawer in his desk.

		NICHOLAS
	They gave me their waiver.  On
	their... wait...

Nicholas hands over a file, returning to his briefcase.  He
finds an ENVELOPE with a SMILELY-FACE on it.  He opens it.
He takes out a silver-plated METAL CRANK.  Like a handle.

		SUTHERLAND
	What is this?

Nicholas looks up.  Sutherland's looking in the file,
quizzically, hands it back...

Nicholas studies PINK-TINTED PAGES; the pages Feingold gave
him, once dense with words, now completely blank except
for NICHOLAS' SIGNATURE and INITIALS several places.

		NICHOLAS
		(of the pages)
	Christ... I can't believe it...
	invisible ink?

		SUTHERLAND
	You're joking.

		NICHOLAS
	It's what they do.  It's like...
	being toyed with by a bunch of...
		(picks up SEX PHOTOS)
	Depraved children.

Nicholas examines each photo.  Sutherland goes to leave.

		SUTHERLAND
	Very well.  If you tell me not to
	worry, I shan't.

		NICHOLAS
	Sam...
		(as Sutherland stops)
	Thank you.

Sutherland exits.  Nicholas keeps examining the pictures.
He sits forward, finding something...

IN A PHOTO: the out-of-focus back of a NAKED WOMAN wearing
only a RED BRA.

		NICHOLAS
		(INTO PHONE-INTERCOM)
	Maria.  The other night... last
	night, there was a woman here named
	Christine.  I called a taxi, from
	that company we use...

		MARIA (v.o.)
		(FROM PHONE-INTERCOM)
	Elite?

		NICHOLAS
	What?

		MARIA (v.o.)
	Elite Taxi Company?

		NICHOLAS
	Look into it.  Find out which car
	answered and where they took her.

Nicholas sits back.  He picks up the METAL CRANK, twists it
in his hands, frowning, pockets it.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, GARAGE -- NIGHT

The rapid SOUND of a PHONE OFF THE HOOK is HEARD OVER: BEEP
BEEP BEEP BEEP... The Bentley pulls in.  Headlights out.

IN THE CAR, Nicholas takes the gun from the glove
compartment and puts it in his briefcase.

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT

Dark.  The PHONE OFF THE HOOK is LOUDER, grating: BEEP BEEP
BEEP BEEP BEEP...  Nicholas comes in the back door, peering
into the weak moonlight.

		NICHOLAS
	Ilsa?

Nicholas replaces the phone on its cradle.  QUIET.

He reaches for a light switch, ZAP! -- BLUE SPARKS leap to
his fingers.  Nicholas YELPS and shakes his hand out.

The switch has been RIPPED OUT, leaving exposed wiring.

Nicholas goes to his briefcase, getting the gun and moving
forward, wary, calling out...

		NICHOLAS
	Ilsa!?

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, DEN -- NIGHT

In the blackness, Nicholas comes to stand at the doorway,
levels the gun at someone across the room...

		NICHOLAS
	I've got a gun!

There's a roaring fire in the giant fireplace and a FIGURE
in a chair.  Nicholas eases forward...

It's the HARLEQUIN in the chair, with a GLOSSY B+W PHOTO
between its teeth.  Nicholas pulls out the picture...

A POLICE PHOTO of NICHOLAS' FATHER, his body sprawled.
It's stamped "PROPERTY SFPD" in red.

There's a NOTE papere-clipped behind:
"Like my father before me, I choose eternal sleep."  At the
bottom, a RED SIGNATURE ARROW affixed, "Please Sign Here."

Suddenly, ALL LIGHTS SURGE TO LIFE, icy and ghoulish -- each
and every bulb replaced by BLACK LIGHT...

Nicholas pivots slowly, taking in the horror...

The wrecked den is covered in FLUORESCENT SPRAY-PAINT
GRAFFITI: "WELCOME HOME"  "FUCK YOU"  "NICHOLAS VAN
COCKSUCKER"  "SUCK IT"  "C.R.S. RULES"  "HAVING FUN, RICH
BOY?"  Everywhere.  Across windows, paintings and curtains.

The ceiling is covered in "MOMMA'S BOY" and OBSCENITIES.

Scaffolding's been left behind.  Used SPRAY CANS on the
splattered Oriental rug.  A PAINT/AIR COMPRESSOR.

		NICHOLAS
	... fuckers...

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, MASTER BEDROOM -- NIGHT

A glowing ANARCHY SYMBOL sprayed across the door which is
throw open by Nicholas as he enters.

It's all BLACK LIT here too.  GRAFFITIED and DESTROYED.
"HELTER SKELTER: in jolting letters.  Nicholas backs out...

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, VARIOUS ROOMS -- NIGHT

FOLLOW: Nicholas down the hall and around corners, BLACK
LIGHTS above, walls covered in CURSES and MULTI-COLORED
SQUIGGLES.  Like a bad trip thru the Bat-Cave...

DOWN STAIRS

Past OTHER ROOMS likewise awash in vibrant slurs...

THRU THE KITCHEN

Now also revealed as ruined.  Nicholas goes out the door...

EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, BACKYARD -- NIGHT

Nicholas runs to the GUEST HOUSE.

INT.  VAN ORTON GUEST HOUSE, FOYER -- NIGHT

BANGING on the FRONT DOOR.  Ilsa comes to look thru the
peephole, opens the door to a breathless Nicholas.

		ILSA
	Mr. Van Orton... ?

		NICHOLAS
	Ilsa... you're alright?

		ILSA
	Yes. What do you mean?  What's wrong?

		NICHOLAS
	Did the alarm go off?  The house...
	they... you didn't see... ?

		ILSA
	I don't know what you're talking
	about.  What's happened?

		NICHOLAS
	There's been a break in.  Lock this
	door and stay here.  Don't move a
	muscle.

Nicholas runs back toward the house.

		ILSA
	Be careful!

EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, BACKYARD -- NIGHT

Crossing the lawn, Nicholas pulls out his cellular phone,
dialing as he runs, takes out his gun.

		911 OPERATOR (v.o.)
		(from cellular)
	Nine-one-one, emergency...

		NICHOLAS
		(into cellular)
	I need the police.  There's been a
	break-in at my home...

		     911 OPERATOR (v.o.)
		(from cellular)
	Okay, sir.  Stay on the line and give
	me your address...

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT

Nicholas enters, still on the phone, locking the door,
beginning to punch the security code into the ALARM KEYPAD.

		NICHOLAS
		(into cellular)
	Twenty-two Moore Street.  At the
	corner of Moore and Buchanan.

		911 OPERATOR (v.o.)
	Now, sir, you said it was a
	break-in...

		NICHOLAS
	Yes...

		911 OPERATOR (v.o.)
	Are you sure they're gone... ?

As Nicholas finishes the security code, the KEYPAD BEEPS,
and Nicholas straightens, worried.

		911 OPERATOR (v.o.)
	... are you sure there's not still
	someone somewhere in the house?

		NICHOLAS
	I... don't think so.

And with the DYING HUMMMMMMMM of POWER FAILING, all the
BLACK LIGHTS GO OUT.  Nicholas raises his gun...

		NICHOLAS
	Oh God...

Pointing it into the dark kitchen, hand trembling.

		911 OPERATOR (v.o.)
	Hello?  Are you still there?

Behind, a DARK FIGURE outside rises against the kitchen door
window, POUNDING FRANTICALLY!  Nicholas leaps and spins,
CRYING OUT in terror, dropoping the gun...

The gun bounces across the linoleum.

It's CONRAD at the kitchen door, haggard and scared, his
pale face pressed against the glass, pointing frantically.

		CONRAD
	Meet me out front!

Conrad ducks away, moving on.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  CITY STREETS -- NIGHT

The Bentley takes a corner fast, heading downhill, moving
from residential to mostly urban...

INSIDE THE BENTLEY

Nicholas drives.  Conrad looks back over his shoulder, a man
on the run, dark circles under his eyes.

		NICHOLAS
	Tell me where we're going.

		CONRAD
	Just drive, man.
		(slumps low)
	It's fucking nuts!

		NICHOLAS
	What's this all about, Connie?

		CONRAD
	Shhhhhhh.  Wait... wait...

Conrad flips the sunshade, looks behind it, feels the fabric
of the roof and the seam of the door.

He grips the interior LIGHT, breaks it open, pulling the
bulb and wires.

		NICHOLAS
	What are you doing?

		CONRAD
	They're methodical.  They're nothing
	if they're not that.

		NICHOLAS
	Who?

		CONRAD
	C.R.S.  Who do you think?  Jesus H.,
	thank your lucky charms.  To think
	what I almost got you into.

		NICHOLAS
		(miserable)
	Yeah, almost...

		CONRAD
	You dodged a bullet.

		NICHOLAS
	How do you mean, exactly?

		CONRAD
	They fuck you and they fuck you and
	they fuck you.  And then, just when
	you think it's done, that's when
	the real fucking begins.

		NICHOLAS
	Slow down, take a breath...

		CONRAD
	It doesn't stop, Nick.  I paid the
	bill, I gave 'em their money, but it
	all started again.  They won't leave
	me alone...

		NICHOLAS
	What have they been doing to you?

		CONRAD
	Everything.  I'm a goddamn
	human-pinata...

		NICHOLAS
	Calm down.  Why would they keep
	playing after you paid?

		CONRAD
	You think I know?  I paid them more
	to make it stop.

BOOM! -- the wheel jerks in Nicholas' hand, TIRES SCREAM...

		CONRAD
	What the hell... !?

ON THE STREET

A TIRE'S BLOWN OUT.  Riding the rim, the car jerks over...

INSIDE THE BENTLEY

Nicholas stops at the curb.  Conrad's turned in his seat.

		CONRAD
	It's them.  They did this.

		NICHOLAS
	It's a flat tire.  That's all.

		CONRAD
	How do you know?

		NICHOLAS
	We're going to figure this out.  Get
	a grip on yourself.

		CONRAD
	Okay... okay.

Conrad faces forward.  Nicholas gets out to look at the
wheel, using his cellular, then returns to the open window.

		NICHOLAS
	The phone's dead.

		CONRAD
	Really?

		NICHOLAS
	Do you know how to change a tire?

		CONRAD
	No.  Do you?
		(off Nicholas' frown)
	Can't be too hard, can it?  I don't
	think we should be here out in the
	open like this.

Nicholas rubs his temples, looks all around, frustrated.

		NICHOLAS
	Check the glove box... might be
	another battery there.

Conrad OPENS the glove compartment: KEYS SPILL OUT.  At
least fifty, silver and gold, all stamped "C.R.S."

Conrad's breath catches in his throat.  He looks to
Nicholas, afraid.  Nicholas leans closer...

		NICHOLAS
	How did those... ?

		CONRAD
	You're part of it...

		NICHOLAS
	What?  Connie...

Conrad climbs out, pointing across the roof of the car...

		CONRAD
	No!  You're one of them.  Of course,
	it makes perfect sense!

		NICHOLAS
	No, it doesn't!  Those keys were put
	there.  I didn't even know...

		CONRAD
	You're behind this, aren't you?  You
	and your sick friends.  Well, make it
	stop!

		NICHOLAS
	Listen to yourself.   Why would I do
	anything like what you're describing?

		CONRAD
	Because you hate me.  Because you had
	to be here, when mom died.  Because
	you had to do it alone.
		(near tears)
	Well, don't you think if I'd known...
	I'd've been here too.  I'd have been
	here...

		NICHOLAS
	Stop this.  It's not true...

		CONRAD
	I'm sorry, Christ, I'm sorry!  How
	many more times do I have to say I'm
	sorry before you forgive me... ?

		NICHOLAS
	Stop it!

Conrad bolts away, full tilt, into a nearby PARK and PUBLIC
GARDENS.  Nicholas gives chase, calling after.

AHEAD, Conrad runs headlong, disappearing thru thick bushes.

Nicholas follows, downhill, falls and slides, gets up.  At
the bottom, he shoves thru vegetation...

On the other side, Nicholas looks all directions, gulping
air.  Conrad's nowhere to be seen.  Nicholas stops.

		NICHOLAS
		(shouting)
	Connie!

Far off, there's a concrete path winding thru the park past
a BANK OF PAYPHONES.  ONE PAYPHONE starts RINGING.  Nicholas
starts back the way he came.

Behind, ALL THE PAYPHONES start RINGING.  Nicholas halts.

He runs to the phones, answers one.

		NICHOLAS
		(into phone)
	You sons-of-bitches...

		MAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
		(from phone)
	Flippy?  Is Flippy there?  Flippy?

Nichols slams the phone down, picks up another...

		RECORDING (v.o.)
		(from phone)
	If you'd like to make a call, please
	hang up and...

PHONE STOP RINGING.  Nicholas hangs up, digging out his
wallet.  Rifling thru it, he comes up with the VALET TICKET
with the C.R.S. EMERGRENCY 800-NUMBER on it.  He dials...

Puts the phone to his ear.  BUSY SIGNAL.  He slaps the
headset-tongue, redialing, waiting...

		RECORDING (v.o.)
		(from phone)
	We're sorry.  The number you have
	dialed has been disconnected or is no
	longer in service...

He throws the receiver, tears the valet ticket in half and
tosses it, then steps back -- KICKS the phone.

EXT.  CITY STREET -- NIGHT

Nicholas returns to his car, looks down at the flat tire.

At the rear, Nicholas opens the trunk.  He reaches in and
takes out the car's JACK.  He looks at it like an alien
thing, turns it over, tosses it into the street.

He closes the trunk, REMOTE's the ALARM, walking away.
There's a TAXI heading this way.  Nicholas hails it...

INSIDE THE TAXI

Nicholas gets in.  GLASS separates him from the CAB DRIVER

		NICHOLAS
	Twenty-two Moore Street.

The driver nods and hits the gas.

EXT.  CITY STREETS, FURTHER ON -- NIGHT

The taxi roars down the street.

INSIDE THE TAXI

Nicholas has his head back, eyes closed, loosening his tie.
He looks out the window, narrow his eyes.

		NICHOLAS
		(pointing)
	Um... you want to turn here...
		(TAXI KEEPS GOING)
	Excuse me, you missed the turn.

The driver says nothing.  Nicholas knocks on the glass.

		NICHOLAS
	Did you hear me?  You're...

Nicholas stops, noticing the DRIVER I.D. on the other side
of the partition.  "California Regal Sedans."  C.R.S.

		NICHOLAS
	No... no, no, no.  Stop the car!

The taxi HALTS at a LIGHT.  Nicholas tries the DOOR HANDLE.
Doesn't work.  He tries the WINDOW HANDLE -- it COMES OFF.

ON THE STREET

The cab PEELS OUT as the light turns green.

INSIDE THE TAXI

Nicholas tries the other door, panicky.  Same results --
locked in.  The taxi makes a SCREEEEECHING TURN...

ON THE STREET

The taxi speeds up... heading for a WHARF AREA and PIERS.

INSIDE THE TAXI

Nicholas presses against the partition, urgent, calm...

		NICHOLAS
	Listen.  I am a very wealthy man.
	Whatever they're paying you, I'll
	double it!

The taxi driver simply opens his door and leaps out...

THRU THE WINDOW: the driver ROLLS, a perfectly executed
stunt fall.  Nicholas can't believe.  He grabs frantically
for his seatbelt, SNAPS it around him, looks up...

Opens his mouth to SCREAM...

ON THE WHARF

The taxi goes FLYING off a deserted pier... airborne...

SPLASHES DOWN! in the San Francisco Bay.

INSIDE THE TAXI

Nicholas is jerked forward, breath slammed out of him.

ON THE SURFACE OF THE WATER

The taxi goes under in an eruption of bubbles.

UNDERWATER

THRU THE TAXI WINDOW: Nicholas pulls off his seatbelt,
extricates himself and starts kicking the window.  Dashboard
lights grow eerie as they submerge.

INSIDE THE TAXI

Nicholas stops kicking, trying to calm.  He looks to the
front: water's gushing in through two-inches of open window.
The taxi's less that half full.

		NICHOLAS
		(to himself)
	It's a game... it's a game...

He tries the DOOR HANDLE again, yanking, to no avail.  He
realizes something, searches his pockets...

UNDERWATER

The taxi sinks, headlights dimming in murkier depths.

INSIDE THE TAXI

Nicholas finds the METAL CRANK.  He takes a deep breath...

SUBMERGING.  He puts the crank in the WINDOW HANDLE HOLE,
turns the crank.  The WINDOW LOWERS, water flooding in...

UNDERWATER

Nicholas swims out the window, heading upwards...

EXT.  SAN FRANCISCO BAY -- NIGHT

Nicholas bursts to the surface, sucking air.  He treads
water, catching his breath.

		GIRL'S VOICE (o.s.)
	Hey, mister... are you alright?

Nicholas turns.  There's a CABIN CRUISER docked nearby.  A
beautiful GIRL in a yellow raincoat throws a life preserver.
Nicholas swims to it.

EXT.  CABIN CRUISER -- NIGHT

Nicholas climbs the rear ladder with the girl's help.  He
stays on his knees, teeth chattering.  The boat's luxurious.

		GIRL
	You could get hepatitis from that
	water.

She helps Nicholas up, keeps a grip on him.

		NICHOLAS
	I need the police.

		GIRL
	Let's get you dried off first.  I
	might have some clothes below.

INT.  CABIN CRUISER, BATHROOM -- NIGHT

The shower and mirrors are fogged.  Nicholas' wet clothing
sits in the sink.  He's wearing a short-sleeved shirt,
pulling on trousers.

IN THE ADJOINING BEDROOM

QUIET MUSIC.  Nicholas comes from the bathroom, feeling the
waistband of the pants, checking out the cuffs.

		NICHOLAS
	You know, these fit... perfectly.

		GIRL
	They were my husband's.  My late
	husband... may he rest in peace.

Nicholas looks to the girl.  She rises from the bed and
slides the raincoat off, wearing only a BIKINI.  A Playmate.

Nicholas just sort of sags.

The girl undoes her top, which falls.  She steps forward.

		GIRL
	I've been so lonely.

		NICHOLAS
	I can't tell you how not interested
	I am.

		GIRL
	Don't be nervous.  They said you'd be
	nervous.

		NICHOLAS
	Don't take another step.

The girl covers her breasts, confused.  Nicholas gathers his
clothing from the sink, heading for the stairs.

		GIRL
	Isn't this what you like?  They told
	me you had a thing for boats.

		NICHOLAS
	First they try to kill me, now you?
		(to girl)
	Put your damn clothes back on.

Nicholas scrambles upstairs...

EXT.  CABIN CRUISER -- NIGHT

Nicholas leaps off onto the wharf.  The girl, pulling on her
raincoat, crosses to the boat's rail, waving a BOX.  Thru
the box's window: a gold GLASS CUTTER nestled in velvet.

		GIRL
	Don't you want your thing?  I was
	supposed to give you this thing.

Nicholas just keeps walking.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  C.R.S. BUILDING -- DAY

TWO POLICE CARS, marked and unmarked, pull to the curb.
From the plainclothes car, MALE DETECTIVE and FEMALE
DETECTIVE get out.  Nicholas and Sutherland get out.

INT.  C.R.S. BUILDING, LOBBY -- DAY

Nicholas, Sutherland, Male and Female Detective cross the
busy lobby with TWO UNIFORMED OFFICER'S behind.

INT.  C.R.S. BUILDING, OFFICES -- DAY

Nicholas enters, followed by the others.  He stops short...
REVEAL: this huge room, once filled with cubicles far as the
eye could see, is now entirely EMPTY.  Trash.  Dust.
Fixtures jutting from the floor.

						CUT TO:

INT.  NICHOLAS' OFFICE -- DAY

Nicholas stands with hands in pockets, staring at the floor.
Sutherland's here.  Female and Male Detective stand
together.  She's checking notes.

		FEMALE DETECTIVE
	Management for the building says that
	space hasn't been officially rented
	yet.  The county recorder has no
	listing for "Consumer Recreation
	Services" or any derivation thereof.
	No sign of the boat or the girl.
	We're checking escort services, but
	it's unlikely.  Divers are looking
	for the taxi, and soon as they find
	it they'll pull the plates and V.I.N.

		MALE DETECTIVE
	Have you gotten in touch with your
	brother?

		NICHOLAS
	He hasn't called back.

		SUTHERLAND
	What about the house?

		MALE DETECTIVE
	The graffiti was painted in an
	oil-based marine marking solution.
	Illegal in the states.  Not impossible
	to trace, but it'll take time.

		FEMALE DETECTIVE
	The photos, gun, the clown, the
	ambulance, cable box, everything
	else... it's all pending.
		(shuts notebook)
	Breaking and entering we have, solid.
	Malicious mischief, vandalism,
	harassment.  But, that's about all.

		SUTHERLAND
	Illegal surveillance, reckless
	endangerment...

		NICHOLAS
	Attempted murder.

		MALE DETECTIVE
	Except... you said you hired these
	people.

		SUTHERLAND

	That's irrelevant.

		MALE DETECTIVE
	It's our job to let you know what we
	have.  We haven't got motive.

		FEMALE DETECTIVE
		(to Nicholas)
	You are who you are, so we know
	you're not making it up.  But, we've
	never dealt with anything quite like
	this.  Be appropriately cautious.
		(pause)
	Unless you think they're done with
	you.

						CUT TO:

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN - NIGHT

Ilsa sets down a plate: sandwich with crust cut off, potato
chips and carrot sticks.  Nicholas eats, pondering.

		NICHOLAS
	What was my father like?

Ilsa's at the fridge, near where drop-cloths, paint cans and
other repair preparations are piled.

		ILSA
	What makes you ask?

		NICHOLAS
	I'm not sure.

Ilsa comes to set down a glass, fills it with milk.

		ILSA
	All the time I've known you, you've
	never once asked about him.

		NICHOLAS
	He came to my mind recently, that's all.

Ilsa moves to put food back into the refrigerator.

		ILSA
	Your mother thought he was a good
	man.  He worked very hard.  What I
	remember most was his manner was
	so... slight.  It was easy to spend
	time in a room, and not realize he'd
	been there the whole time.

		NICHOLAS
	Was he morose, or...?  I mean...

		ILSA
	No.  What happened... no one expected
	it.

		NICHOLAS
	Sometimes I wonder how much of him
	there is in me.

		ILSA
	Not much, I think.

		NICHOLAS
	I'm just like him.

		ILSA
	You're not like him at all.  I don't
	know exactly what's going on around
	here lately, but don't make me start
	worrying about you.

		NICHOLAS
	Did you worry about him?

		ILSA
	Nobody worried about your father.

Nicholas stares at his milk.  PHONE RINGS.  He answers...

		NICHOLAS
		(into phone)
	Hello.

		MARIA (v.o.)
		(from phone)
	It's Maria.  I found the address you
	wanted from Elite Taxi.

		NICHOLAS
		(picks up pen and paper)
	Go ahead...

						CUT TO:

EXT.  SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD -- NIGHT

Rows of lower-middle-class homes.  Nicholas parks.  A WHITE
VAN sits near, a wrench-wielding WORKMAN painted on the
side.  "Cable Repair Specialists."

Nicholas crosses the lawn of a WHITE HOUSE, to the porch.
He rings the doorbell and waits.  Finally, an older man in a
bathrobe answers, CHRISTINE'S DAD, puffy-eyed.

		CHRISTINE'S DAD
	Yeah?

		NICHOLAS
	Hello.  Is Christine in?

		CHRISTINE'S DAD
	She's sleeping.

		CHRISTINE (o.s.)
	Who is it, dad?

INT.  CHRISTINE'S LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT

Christine looks down from the top of the stairs.  Below,
Nicholas looks up past Christine's dad.

		CHRISTINE
	What are you doing here?

		NICHOLAS
	Can we talk?

		CHRISTINE
	It's okay, dad.

Christine's dad opens the door and heads away.  Christine
comes down, in a pajama top and shorts, pleased.

		CHRISTINE
	Didn't think I'd ever see you again.

		NICHOLAS
	Come here...

He watches to make sure dad's gone, leads Christine to the
middle of the room, takes out a PHOTOCOPY, unfolds it.

		NICHOLAS
	What can you tell me about this?

The SEX PHOTO of the woman in the RED BRA.

		CHRISTINE
	What is it?

		NICHOLAS
	Is this you?

		CHRISTINE
	Where'd you get this?

		NICHOLAS
	It was left in my hotel room, well,
	not really mine.  You're saying it's
	not you?

		CHRISTINE
	I think I would remember.
		(hands it back)
	What makes you think it's me?

		NICHOLAS
	Well... the red bra.

		CHRISTINE
		(like he's crazy)
	Okay.

		NICHOLAS
	I thought...

He's at a loss, drained.

		NICHOLAS
	Do you mind if I sit?

		CHRISTINE
	Sure.  You alright?  Is this still
	that contest you're in...

		NICHOLAS
		(sits)
	I'm tired.  I'm sorry, I should go.
	I've been enough of a nuisance.

		CHRISTINE
	Let me go get some clothes on.
	We'll talk, okay?  Be right back.

Christine hurries upstairs.  Nicholas stands, calls after.

		NICHOLAS
	Do you have any aspirin?

Nicholas takes in the room, unhappy.  He squints at a VIRGIN
MARY figurine, picks it up... unscrews the head.  It's a
decanter.  He sniffs it and puts it back.  He sniffs the
air, noticing...

A WISP OF SMOKE rises from a bright LAMP.

INSIDE THE LAMPSHADE: Nicholas peers inside.  A PRICE TAG
dangles against the bulb, turning brown, smoking.

Nicholas reaches to remove the tag -- burns his finger on
the bulb, jerking his hands away.  He blows on his finger,
sighs, walks to poke his head thru a swinging door...

INT.  CHRISTINE'S KITCHEN -- NIGHT

Modest, cluttered.  Nicholas goes to the sink, holds his
finger under the faucet.  NO WATER.  He jerks the faucet
handle, but gets nothing.  He looks around...

Opens a drawer -- EMPTY.  He opens another drawer -- EMPTY.
He opens more EMPTY DRAWERS, a disturbing thought forming.
Opens a cabinet -- EMPTY.

INT.  CHRISTINE'S LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT

Nicholas returns, scanning the room.  He picks up a FRAMED
PHOTO of a LITTLE GIRL in a dress, takes the frame apart...

The picture is an ADVERTISEMENT from a glassy magazine, with
TEXT folded behind and print on the back.

Nicholas takes a breath, quickly replaces the clipping just
as Christine returns from upstairs.  She's in a pull-over
dress, putting her hair up.

		CHRISTINE
	Want anything to drink?

		NICHOLAS
		(holds up frame)
	You?

		CHRISTINE
	Yeah.  First Communion.  Aren't I a
	little angel?

Nicholas offers the frame to Christine, fury showing...

		NICHOLAS
	Take the picture out.

		CHRISTINE
	What's wrong?

		NICHOLAS
	Take the picture out of the frame and
	show it to me.

		CHRISTINE
	I don't...

Christine tries to assess the situation... realizes he's
onto her.  She swallows, making a quick decision, drops her
facade, her voice a desperate WHISPER.

		CHRISTINE
	They're watching.

		NICHOLAS
	Wha... ?

		CHRISTINE
		(under her breath)
	Not here!  They can see.

Christine motions with her eyes.  Nicholas looks...

ON THE CEILING, a red-bulbed SMOKE DETECTOR.

		CHRISTINE
		(cheery, in character)
	So, what do you say we go for a
	drive?  We'll take your car...

She takes his hand and pulls him.  Nicholas yanks away...

		NICHOLAS
	No!  I'm sick of this...

		CHRISTINE
	Nicholas...

Nicholas points up at the smoke detector, addressing it...

		NICHOLAS
	You can come out now, if you're
	there.  Come on out!  Let's go!

Nicholas walks to the fireplace, picks up a FIREPLACE POKER.
He moves to SWING it up -- SWATS the smoke detector.

Christine runs to the picture window.

		CHRISTINE
	Now you've done it!

THRU WINDOW: THUG 1 and THUG 2, muscle men, climb out from
the CABLE REPAIR VAN, running this direction.

Nicholas comes to look, poker in hand.

		NICHOLAS
	What?  Oh, and I suppose they're going to...

THRU WINDOW: Thug 1 and 2 draw guns, pointing...

Nicholas furrows his brow, unsure.

		CHRISTINE
	Get down!

WINDOW'S BLOWN IN by GUNFIRE! as Christine tackles Nicholas.

Shattered glass showers down.  KNICK-KNACKS FLY TO PIECES.
Christine crawls.  Nicholas follows.  They flee, Nicholas
gasping and glancing back, terrified...

IN THE KITCHEN

Christine pulls Nicholas thru a door...

INT.  CHRISTINE'S GARAGE -- NIGHT

Christine and Nicholas come downstairs to the empty garage.

Christine's dad looks up from his solitaire game at a card
table, a day player thrown off by this backstage intrusion.

		CHRISTINE'S DAD
	What the hell... !?

Christine leads Nicholas out the REAR DOOR...

EXT.  CHRISTINE'S BACKYARD - NIGHT

They run along the back of the house...

		NICHOLAS
	What is this!?

		CHRISTINE
	God, wake up, it's a con!

Around the corner, toward the front, Christine stops, looking
across the front lawn to Nicholas' Bentley.

INT.  CHRISTINE'S GARAGE - NIGHT

Thug 1 and 2 bluster in, guns up.  Christine's dad points to
the open rear door, afraid.  Thug 1 thinks quick -- SLAMS
the GARAGE DOOR OPENER...

The OPENER'S MOTOR RATTLES to life, GARAGE DOOR RISING...

EXT.  CHRISTINE'S FRONT LAWN - NIGHT

Nicholas and Christine speed away in the Bentley.

BEHIND, Thug 1 and 2 crawl under the garage door, giving
chase, FIRING.  Too little, too late.  They run to the van.

EXT.  SUBURBAN STREETS -- NIGHT

The Bentley roars onwards...

IN THE BENTLEY

Nicholas drives, white-knuckled.  Christine watches behind.

ON THE STREET

The van pursues, far behind, but closing ground.

IN THE BENTLEY

Nicholas checks his mirror.  Christine looks forward...

		CHRISTINE
	Look out!

ON THE STREET

The Bentley SIDESWIPES another CAR as Nicholas runs a light.

The Bentley keeps going, the other car SPINNING...

The van BRAKES HARD to avoid the spun-out car.  The van
reverses, angling to get around...

FURTHER ON

The Bentley SKIDS into an alley, lights off, still moving.

The van, having lost half a block, misses this and continues
straight, raging forward, then SCREEEEECHING to stop...

In the middle of a four-way intersection, stumped.  The van
chooses a direction, cutting a corner, roaring away...

INT.  BENTLEY - NIGHT

		CHRISTINE
		(looking back)
	Okay... they're gone...

She's thrown forward as Nicholas SLAMS BRAKES.  He reaches
across and throws Christine's door open.

		CHRISTINE
	What are you doing... ?

		NICHOLAS
	Get out.

		CHRISTINE
	I could've handed you to them.  They
	find me now, I'm dead...

		NICHOLAS
	Get out of my car!

		CHRISTINE
	You don't have a choice.  No one else
	is going to tell you what's going on.

Nicholas stares at her with hatred.

		CHRISTINE
	Do you want to know?  If I'm gone,
	you never will.

Nicholas flips the headlights on, puts the car in gear and
drives.  She pulls the door shut.

		NICHOLAS
	You can talk while I drive us to the
	police.

		CHRISTINE
	No cops.  I've got a warrant out.
	Mail fraud.  They'll take me in, but
	you won't be able to prove anything
	else.

Christine takes out cigarettes, lights up.

		CHRISTINE
	I can't believe they didn't take the
	time to get the house right.

Nicholas grabs the cigarette, throws it out his window.

		NICHOLAS
	Who are "they?"

		CHRISTINE
	I don't know, nobody does.  I'm an
	employee.

		NICHOLAS
	Then, what good are you?

		CHRISTINE
	I know things... like who you can
	trust.  Like that your brother was in
	on it from the beginning.

		NICHOLAS
	That's a lie...

		CHRISTINE
	Yeah?  I was your waitress on your
	birthday.  Connie told you about
	C.R.S. that day, remember?  I was
	already playing my part, before you
	started the game.

Nicholas looks to her, realizing the truth of it.
Christine's lighting up a new cigarette.

		CHRISTINE
	 It wasn't his fault.  He thought it
	was his only way back.  They fleeced
	him real good.

		NICHOLAS
	How?  How could they have gotten
	anything?

		CHRISTINE
	They did the same to him as they did
	to you.

		NICHOLAS
	What are you talking about... ?

She gives him a pitying look.

		CHRISTINE
	They've already got it, Nicholas.
	They got everything.

Nicholas shoots her a glance; this is absurd.

		CHRISTINE
	Check your accounts.  That night in
	your office, when we were there...

FLASHBACK -- NICHOLAS' OFFICE -- THAT NIGHT

Christine runs her finger down Nicholas' TELEPHONE.  She
looks to see Nicholas is preoccupied, lifts the receiver...

Reads the PHONE NUMBER underneath.  She turns, looks down...

There's a NUMBER written on the PHONE JACK on the wall: #C4.

		CHRISTINE
	I got the number to your private line
	and modem.  I gave C.R.S. remote
	access to your computer...

FLASHBACK -- VARIOUS INSERTS

NICHOLAS' C.R.S. TESTING: Nicholas' hand scribbles his
SIGNATURE... fills out a FINANCIAL QUESTIONNAIRE.  A TAPE
RECORDER'S REEL SPINS... a PENCIL blackens TEST BLOCKS...

		CHRISTINE
	You already gave them everything
	else.  Handwriting, voice samples,
	psych-info.  They used it all to
	figure out your passwords.

FLASHBACK: ON A MONITOR, combinations of LETTERS and NUMBERS
SCROLL BY, multiplying, too quickly for the eye to see...

		CHRISTINE
	From there, they only had to keep you
	distracted while they broke into the
	network and transferred your holdings
	to dummy accounts.

FLASHBACK: FIGURES appear on a COMPUTER SCREEN; HIGH NUMBERS
flying down to 000,000,000's.  More NUMBERS, falling.

		CHRISTINE
	Remember Jim Feingold, the guy who
	signed you up?  He did five years for
	hacking Citibank in eighty-four...

FLASHBACK: PAN UP from deft fingers at a keyboard to JIM
FEINGOLD, lit by cold COMPUTER SCREEN GLOW.

BACK TO SCENE IN BENTLEY

Nicholas sweats.  He checks his watch, takes out his
cellular, dialing with his thumb.  Christine smokes.

		CHRISTINE
	Why else would they be willing to put
	you under... ?

		NICHOLAS
		(into cellular)
	Overseas operator?  Please dial
	Allgemeine Bank, Zurich.

		CHRISTINE
	They don't care about you anymore.
	Alive or dead is the same, as long as
	they bury you deep enough.

EXT.  HIGHWAY -- NIGHT

The Bentley SPEEDS out a tunnel on the highway toward S.F.

INSIDE THE BENTLEY

		NICHOLAS
		(into cellular)
	Guten tag.  Vilen dank, Englisch.
	Blue-two-backslash-five.  Mother's
	maiden name: Miller.  Six-nine-zero,
	D as in David.  Yes.  The balance...
		(listens)
	That's impossible.  When did... ?

Nicholas listens, scarcely breathing.  Christine seems
regretful.  Nicholas lowers the phone, shuts it off.

		CHRISTINE
	They got everything.

Lights flash across Nicholas' sweaty features.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  GAS STATION/CONVENIENCE HUT - NIGHT

Nicholas pumps gas, pale, on his cellular.  Christine stands
across the lot, out of earshot, watching the dark freeway.

		NICHOLAS
		(into cellular)
	Call soon as you get this message,
	Sam.  I checked them all, I don't
	know how, but they drained my
	accounts.  Now they're trying to kill
	me.  You tell the cops, I've got one
	with me.  We'll make her testify.  I
	know how it must sound.  Call on my
	mobile.  Be careful

INT.  CONVENIENCE HUT -- TIME CUT

A FEMALE CLERK taps a gold credit card, listens on a PHONE.
She hangs up, goes to the BULLETPROOF WINDOW.  Nicholas and
Christine wait on the other side with armloads of food.

		CLERK
		(into intercom)
	They say I have to take the card.

Nicholas seems numb.  Christine checks her pockets.

		CHRISTINE
		(via intercom)
	I think I've got some cash.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  DIRT ROADWAY -- NIGHT

The Bentley overtakes a logging TRUCK on this dirt road.

IN THE BENTLEY

QUIET NEWS RADIO.  Nicholas drains coffee from a styrofoam
cup, rolls his window and tosses the cup out, trying to stay
awake.  He looks beside him.

Christine's asleep against her door, placid and
innocent-looking.  Nicholas stares at her.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  LAKE, VAN ORTON CABIN -- NIGHT

Beautiful lake.  Dense forest.  The Bentley's parked near a
relatively humble CABIN.  LIGHTNING FLASHES across the sky.

INT.  CABIN -- NIGHT

FIRE in the fireplace.  Christine tends a metal pot over the
flames.  Nicholas sleeps slumped in a low chair.  Christine
passes with the pot.  Nicholas awakens, disoriented,
searching for familiarity.  He sits forward...

Christine's in the candle-lit kitchenette.  He watches her,
grim.  She makes coffee.  He sits back.

		CHRISTINE
	What?

Christine comes over and gives him a mug of coffee.

		CHRISTINE
	What did you say?

		NICHOLAS
	I didn't say anything.

He gets up, walks, sipping coffee.  Christine watches him.
Nicholas stares at FAMILY PHOTOS on the mantle.

		CHRISTINE
		(sad, unsure)
	My name's not Christine.  It's not my
	real...

		NICHOLAS
	Who the fuck cares?

He doesn't even look at her, picks up a PHOTO: FATHER and
YOUNG NICHOLAS, holding up fish.  Nicholas rubs the dust off
his father's face.

		CHRISTINE
	It's just money.  You should be glad
	you're alive.

		NICHOLAS
	It might be best if we didn't talk.

		CHRISTINE
	All I mean is... someone like you...

		NICHOLAS
	How many times have you done this?
	I'm interested.

		CHRISTINE
	What?

		NICHOLAS
	Scams, con games.  How many?

		CHRISTINE
	I don't know.  A lot.

		NICHOLAS
	Whatever kind of nickel-and-dime shit
	you did before, this is more than
	just me.  Your friends raided pension
	plans, and payrolls... they took just
	over six-hundred million.  You ruined
	people's lives.

Christine looks sick and truly scared.  The CELLULAR CHIRPS.
Nicholas goes to pick it up off a table.

		NICHOLAS
		(into cellular)
	Yes.

		SUTHERLAND (v.o.)
		(from cellular)
	I got your message.  I was disturbed,
	to say the least...

Christine stands.

		CHRISTINE
	Who is it?

		NICHOLAS
		(into cellular)
	What do we do?

		SUTHERLAND (v.o.)
		(from cellular)
	I've been on the phone for an hour
	already.  Nicholas, your funds are
	intact.  Nothing's been touched.

		CHRISTINE
		(worried, insistent)
	Who is it?

		NICHOLAS
		(still into cellular)
	What do you mean?  I checked them
	myself.  I made the calls...

		SUTHERLAND (v.o.)
	Nothing's changed.  I'm telling you,
	not a cent is unaccounted for...

		NICHOLAS
		(cups phone, to Christine)
	My lawyer... says nothing's missing.

She shakes her head ominously.

		CHRISTINE
		(fear, whisper)
	He's in on it...

Nicholas stares at Christine, trying to comprehend...

		SUTHERLAND (v.o.)
	I don't know what's happening, but
	stay where you are till I get to you.
	Give me your precise location...

		CHRISTINE
	Sutherland's in on it.

		SUTHERLAND (v.o.)
	I'll come there.  Hold on, Nicholas,
	I have another call.  Tell me where
	you are.

Nicholas lowers the phone, pushes DISCONNECT, afraid.

		NICHOLAS
	We have to get out of here.

The PHONE CHIRPS again.  Nicholas looks at it, flicks a
switch on the side, silencing it.  He sits, sickened.

		NICHOLAS
	How did they get to him?  Why didn't
	you tell me?

She lights a cigarette, backing toward the kitchenette.

		CHRISTINE
	Mm... I wouldn't worry about it.

		NICHOLAS
	What... what do you mean?

		     CHRISTINE
	It's out of your hands.

He looks up, trying to figure.  His head lulls...
He takes a breath, looks at his trembling hands.  Drugged.

He looks around, confused... spots the COFFEE CUP, realizes.

With a CRY of RAGE, he LUNGES toward Christine, but comes up
short, toppling a shelf, contents CRASHING DOWN...

Nicholas rolls, pained, clutching his throat, taking air in
RASPING GULPS.  He crawls, swings his fist, slams a table...

		CHRISTINE
	Cellular calls can be intercepted,
	you know.

Christine backs to avoid, hefts a heavy cooking POT in case.
She maneuvers, steps over him.  He grabs, blindly...

She scoops up the dropped PHONE and crosses away.

		CHRISTINE
		(cigarette 'tween lips)
	All those calls you made, to B of A,
	France, Switzerland... you were
	talking to my people.
		(hits REDIAL on cellular)
	You filled the blanks.  Access codes,
	passwords, stuff even your lawyer
	didn't have -- but we have it now.

Nicholas tries to stand, falls, clutching his gut, CRYING
OUT in great pain, frothing at the mouth.

		CHRISTINE
	It's over, Nicholas.  Goodbye.

THE ROOM SPINS round and round, spinning OUT OF CONTROL.

						FADE TO BLACK

BREATHING... then a STRUGGLE... POUNDING, KICKING...

INT.  CRYPT -- MORNING

A PARTICLE-BOARD LID SPLINTERS as Nicholas pounds his way
out of a COFFIN, looking wildly around, eyes blood-shot...

A moldering MAUSOLEUM.  Light seeps thru cracked walls.
Piles of rotten flowers.  Coffins.  Hundreds of flies.

Nicholas gags on the air, climbing free and falling to the
floor, legs weak.  He's in a WHITE SUIT, dazed and afraid.
There's a RED ROSE taped to his chest.

EXT.  MEXICO CEMETERY -- MORNING

Pushing the plywood door of the MAUSOLEUM outward, Nicholas
tumbles into dawn light.  He's in a ramshackle GRAVEYARD.
Tombs for miles.  Misty, tropical vegetation.  Third World.

Nicholas walks, trying to figure this.  He notices the red
rose, pulls it off and throws it.  An OLD WOMAN sits at a
grave with her rosary.  She watches Nicholas, emotionless.

		NICHOLAS
	Where am I?  What is this place?

The OLD WOMAN speaks SPANISH.  Nicholas stares blankly.  She
seems to be asking questions.  Nicholas finally realizes
it's a foreign language, turns, walks away.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  MEXICO STREET -- MORNING

A busy downtown street.  A sea of MEXICAN PEOPLE, many poor.
Nicholas walks, caught in the flow of the crowd, JOSTLED,
aimless.  The world's a NOISY BLUR around him.

Nicholas pushes to the TRAFFIC JAMMED street, spotting a
POLICEMAN directing traffic, heads for him...

		NICHOLAS
	Officer... officer...

HORNS BLAST.  Nicholas comes to the officer, relieved...

		NICHOLAS
	Do you speak English?  I'm an
	American.

The policeman scolds Nicholas in SPANISH, shoos him away.
Nicholas searches his empty pockets...

		NICHOLAS
	Listen... they took my wallet...
		(insistent, of himself)
	American.  I am an American citizen.

The policeman shouts angrily, grabs Nicholas' arm.  Nicholas
reflexively pulls away...

		NICHOLAS
	No, you don't understand, I'm an
	American...

The policeman unsheathes his baton -- STRIKES Nicholas.
Nicholas hits the street, raising his arms in defense.  The
policeman SWINGS AGAIN...

Hits Nicholas' skull.  Nicholas runs, escaping thru traffic.

The policeman curses after him.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  MEXICAN BUS STOP -- DAY

Hot.  Nicholas sits on a bench, a dried blood trail down his
face, holding balled-up newspaper to his bleeding head.
Others on the BUSY SIDEWALK don't even take notice of him.

Nicholas checks to see if he's clotted, tosses the
newspaper.  He watches traffic pass, sits forward, elbows on
his knees, staring at the sidewalk.

		NICHOLAS
	... fuck...

Tears forming in his eyes.  He takes a deep breath, stops
himself, swallowing back despair, deciding.  Determined...

He gets up and walks.  He picks up the pace, running.

LONG SHOT: Nicholas running, across one street, down
another, a strange sight in his filthy white suit.  Stopping
now and then to ask questions of passerbys, moving on...

FOLLOW: Nicholas continuing, stopping in a SHOP DOORWAY.

		NICHOLAS
		(to SHOPKEEPER)
	The embassy?  Please... the American
	embassy, do you know it?

No answer.  Nicholas continues, slowing.  Ahead down the
sidewalk, there's another MEXICAN COP, tough-looking.
Nicholas hesitates, then, approaches...

		NICHOLAS
	Excuse me... Buenos Diaz, I'm looking
	for the United States embassy.  U.S.
	embassy, please... pour favor?

The cop seems angry, eyeing Nicholas' appearance, deciding.
The cop points down the street.  Nicholas heads away.

		NICHOLAS
	Thank you.  Thank you, sir.

Nicholas runs.

EXT.  AMERICAN EMBASSY -- ESTABLISHING -- LATER DAY

"Embassy of the United States of America, MEXICO CITY."

INT.  AMERICAN EMBASSY, OFFICE - DAY

A secretary leads Nicholas in from a crowded hallway.  An
American COUNSELOR rises from his small desk in his small
office, shaking Nicholas' hand, taking PAPERWORK.

		COUNSELOR
	Please, sit...

Nicholas sits in a metal chair.  A fan blows, poor remedy in
the heat.  The counselor reads the paperwork.

		NICHOLAS
	Mister...
		(sees desk name plate)
	Mister Patterson.  Some things have
	happened... it's important that I...

The counselor holds up his hand, still reading...

		COUNSELOR
	No money, no identification or
	passport.  You are in a fix.
		(looks up from papers)
	What did happen to you?

		NICHOLAS
	Well, where to begin.  It's
	complicated...

		COUNSELOR
		(matter of fact)
	It always is.

Nicholas looks to the counselor, who sips a glass of water
and looks at papers.  Nicholas takes a moment, rethinks.

		NICHOLAS
	What happened was, I'm on vacation,
	alone... I was robbed, at gunpoint.
	They hit me and ran.  Two men, a few
	blocks away.  They took my wallet,
	money... all of it.  So...

		COUNSELOR
	Robbed?

		NICHOLAS
	Yes.

		COUNSELOR
	Have you gone to the police?

		NICHOLAS
	I don't speak Spanish.  All I need is
	to get back... just enough for that.

The counselor taps his finger on desk's edge.

		COUNSELOR
	We'll help with the police, if you
	want to bother.  As far as money
	goes... can I make a suggestion?
		(off Nicholas' nod)
	You say you were mugged?

		NICHOLAS
	Yes.

		COUNSELOR
	And, they didn't take that watch?

Nicholas looks at the ROLEX he's wearing, didn't realize it
till now, having taken it for granted.

		COUNSELOR
	How much is it?  A few thousand, at
	least.  A Rolex like that... lucky
	for you they missed it.

		NICHOLAS
	Yes, very lucky.

INT.  MEXICO CITY PAWN SHOP -- LATER DAY

INSCRIBED on the back of Nicholas' ROLEX: "On your 18th
birthday, your father's watch.  Love, Mother"

The FEMALE OWNER examines the Rolex inside a rusty metal
cage, makes a face.  Nicholas is at the front of the long
line in this impossibly cluttered pawn shop.

		PAWN SHOP OWNER
	Cincuenta dolares Americano.  Fifty.

		NICHOLAS
	Fifty?  Do you know...
		(deep sigh)
	It's a Rolex.  It's gold.  Not gold
	colored, actual gold.

		PAWN SHOP OWNER
	Si, oro.  Cincuenta y cinco.
	Cincuenta y cinco Estados Unidos.

Nicholas runs his hands thru his hair... resigned.

		NICHOLAS
	You see, all you had to do was get in
	the ballpark.  Yes, fifty-five... si,
	senorita.

The owner counts battered dollar bills from a cigar box.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  BUS STOP/TACO STAND -- DAY

At a faltering TACO STAND painted in peeling orange paint,
Nicholas pays for tacos wrapped in paper and a bottle of
Budweiser.  A bus ticket sticks out his breast pocket.

Nicholas steps away, wolfing down the food, following it
with guzzled beer.  MANY PEOPLE are waiting for the bus, on
and around benches, suitcases and belongs in piles.

Nicholas looks, still chewing, to THREE YOUNG MEXICAN
CHILDREN staring at him.  They stand with their plump
MOTHER, just watching him.  Nicholas faces away, eating.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  MEXICAN HIGHWAY -- DUSK

A repainted SCHOOL BUS zooms past, trailing exhaust.

INT.  BUS -- DUSK

Not one empty seat.  At the back, Nicholas' eyes flutter
under their lids.  He SNORES QUIETLY.  The MOTHER of the
three Mexican children is next to him, one child in her lap.
She's asleep, leaning toward Nicholas.  The child's awake.

The bus shifts, GEARS GRINDING, and mother slides further
over till her head rests on Nicholas' shoulder.  Nicholas
awakens, looking at Mother against him.

The child looks up at Nicholas.  Nicholas looks at the
child.  Nicholas puts his head back, closes his eyes.

After a moment, the bus jerks and Nicholas opens his eyes,
turning to look out the window, watching a far-reaching
SUNSET.  Crimson and gold clouds.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  MEXICO/UNITED STATES BORDER - NIGHT

In the line of vehicles at the U.S. BORDER, the BUS' BRAKES
HISS, doors swinging open for an AMERICAN BORDER OFFICER...

INT.  BUS -- NIGHT

The BORDER OFFICER comes on, not a calming presence.  The
Mexican passengers know what to do, holding up GREEN CARDS
and PASSPORTS for perusal...

The officer grunts at each passenger he approves, moving on.

Nicholas slides lower in his seat.  Mother, beside him,
produces her GREEN CARD and holds it aloft, waiting.
The officer comes to glare at Nicholas.

Nicholas looks back at him, unblinking.

The officer looks to Mother's card.  He says something in
SPANISH.  Mother responds in SPANISH.  The officer grabs her
card, speaking, dissatisfied.

He shouts for Mother to get off... hurrying her up, moving
her out...

Mother moves, carrying the child in her lap, hastening the
other two children seated in front of her.

Mother protests about her rope-bound SUITCASES in the
overhead shelf, trying to grip one, arms full of child.  The
official pulls her along, ignoring...

Nicholas watches.  He rises...

OUTSIDE THE BUS

Mother and three children are unloaded.  The official waves
the bus on to the border, despite Mother's protest.

The bus sets in motion...
AT THE BACK OF THE BUS, the rear emergency door is forced
open.  Nicholas is there, dropping one suitcase...

Following with a second suitcase, tossing it to the ground
gently as the bus' motion allows.  Mother spots this, moving
to collect the suitcases, children following...

ON THE BUS

The BUS DRIVER shouts a complaint in SPANISH.

At the rear, Nicholas pulls the door shut and latches it,
watching thru the window as Mother and children drag their
suitcases out of the path of other vehicles.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY -- NIGHT

Nicholas walks backwards, exhausted, hitchhiking on the
freeway shoulder.  TRAFFIC absolutely SOARS PAST.

EXT.  BOB'S BIG BOY RESTAURANT -- NIGHT

Highway in the b.g., Nicholas hikes across the parking lot
of this 24-hour DINER, past many parked TRACTOR TRAILERS.

INT.  BOB'S BIG BOY RESTAURANT - NIGHT

There's a heavy duty TRUCK DRIVER clientele elbow to elbow
at the counter, eating, drinking coffee.  The BELL above the
door TINKLES as Nicholas enters.

		NiCHOLAS
	Pardon me...

Nicholas moves to the end of the counter, louder...

		NICHOLAS
	Excuse me, please, if I could have
	your attention...

Conversations stop.  Everyone looks to Nicholas.  He's
scruffier than ever; a hobo freak in a white suit, fed up.

		NICHOLAS
	Thank you.  If anyone's heading to
	San Francisco, I need a ride.

Met with silence.  Nicholas clears his rough throat.

		NICHOLAS
	There's...
		(digs in pockets)
	There's all the money I've got left
	in it for you... eighteen dollars and
	seventy-nine cents...

Nicholas puts his crumpled bills and coins on the counter.
One penny falls.  You can hear it hit the floor and roll.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  UPSTATE CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY -- DAY

BRIGHT DAY.  A big, Baskin-Robbins TRUCK rumbles by...

INT.  BASKIN-ROBBIN'S ICE CREAM TRUCK -- DAY

ENGINE and ROADWAY ROARING.  Windows open, wind whipping.
Beside the DRIVER, Nicholas sleeps wrapped in a blanket.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  SAN FRANCISCO -- EARLY EVENING

The Baskin-Robbin's tractor trailer keeps on truckin'.

AHEAD: the San Francisco skyline.


EXT.  WAREHOUSE DISTRICT -- NIGHT

Nicholas climbs down from the Baskin-Robbin's truck, thanks
the driver.  The truck lurches away.  Nicholas walks.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION -- NIGHT

The gate is WRAPPED IN CHAINS.  Nicholas arrives, trudging.
He pulls to test the chains.  There's a "PUBLIC AUCTION"
SIGN hung.  Nicholas tears it down, begins climbing...

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT

A ROCK SMASHES a glass pane in the door.  Nicholas reaches
thru to let himself in.  No electricity.  Graffiti's gone.
There's scaffolding.  Work in progress.  Appliances gone.

Nicholas checks the PHONE, finds it dead.

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, DEN -- NIGHT

Nicholas looks in.  Furniture's wrapped in thick plastic.
Curtains and paintings are gone.  Like the kitchen, this
room's repainted.  Cold and bare.

INT.  GUEST HOUSE, FOYER/LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT

The front door's ajar.  Nicholas pushes it open slow,
entering darkness.  The living room is completely empty.

		NICHOLAS
		(calling upstairs)
	Ilsa.

Pitch dark at the top of the stairs.  Nicholas moves forward
into another EMPTY ROOM.  It's creepy quiet.

INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, GARAGE -- NIGHT

Nicholas enters the moonlit garage.  THREE EMPTY SPACES.

INT.  MANSION, MASTER BATH -- NIGHT

IN THE SHOWER, Nicholas scrubs his hair with a bar of soap,
huddled under the cold spray, shuddering.

INT.  MANSION, MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT

In the stripped bedroom, Nicholas, in a baggy t-shirt and
jeans, pulls a paper wrapped package from a dresser.  On the
bed, he tears open the paper, pulling out a long OVERCOAT.

INT.  MANSION, KITCHEN - MORNING

Dawn light.  BIRDS HEARD SINGING.  Nicholas opens drawers.
He finds a mason jar with CASH inside, unscrews the lid.

INT.  MANSION, LIBRARY -- MORNING

Moving boxes.  Half the shelves of this impressive library
are emptied into high stacks of books on the floor.
Nicholas moves to search a section still lined with books...

... looking for one in particular, reading spines...

"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, leather bound.
Nicholas takes it down.

INT.  MANSION, FOYER -- MORNING

Nicholas heads for the front door.  He halts, noticing...
An ENVELOPE on the counter, "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN."

Nicholas opens the envelope, unfolding a letter... "Like my
father before me, I choose eternal sleep."  Still with the
RED SIGNATURE ARROW affixed below.

INT.  MANSION, KITCHEN -- MORNING

The "suicide note" lands in the sink, BURNING.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  UNION SQUARE, GEARY STREET -- DAY

A MINI BUS halts at a corner.  Nicholas is the second rider
off, paranoid, book under his arm.  He moves down the
sidewalk... toward the FOUR SEASONS HOTEL.

INT.  FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, FRONT DESK -- DAY

Unkempt, unshaven Nicholas is a blight in this flawless
hotel.  At the desk, he gets the CLERK'S attention.

		NICHOLAS
	I'm here to see Conrad Van Orton.
	Ring his room.

The desk clerk gives a pause while Nicholas scans the lobby.

		DESK CLERK
	One moment, please...

The desk clerk crosses to a gray, elder statesman MANAGER,
huddling to speak in hushed tones.  Nicholas watches them,
concerned.  The manager walks over...

		NICHOLAS
	What's the trouble?

		MANAGER
	You're here for Conrad Van Orton?
	I'm the hotel manager...

He offers a handshake which Nicholas ignores.

		NICHOLAS
	Pleasure to meet you, I'd like to see
	my brother, thank you.

		MANAGER
		(worry, guiding Nicholas)
	Your brother.  Will you come with me?

		NICHOLAS
	What's this about?

		MANAGER
	It's a private matter, for you... I
	think you'll be more comfortable...

		NICHOLAS
	Where's my brother?

The manager looks around, feeling indiscreet, voice low.

		MANAGER
	There were complaints by other
	guests, and damage to his room.  We
	did the best we could to accommodate
	his behavior.

		NICHOLAS
	His behavior... ?

		MANAGER
	He couldn't, or refused to pay.  We
	extended credit...

		NICHOLAS
	Look, where is he?!

		MANAGER
	There was an incident a few days
	ago... a nervous breakdown, they
	said.  The police took him.  They
	left this address, in case anyone...

Nicholas struggles to absorb this while the manager takes
out a BILLFOLD of business cards, offers a SLIP OF PAPER...

		MANAGER
	It's a hospital in Napa.  I'm
	terribly sorry.  If you'd have been
	here, you'd have seen, there was
	nothing else to do.

Nicholas regards the paper, disbelieving, sorrow welling up.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  ELIZABETH'S HOME (SAUSALITO) -- DAY

ELIZABETH, Nicholas' ex-wife, bends to kiss her young
DAUGHTER.  The daughter runs to a waiting, luxury MINI-VAN.
The female driver waves as the van pulls away.

Across this suburban street, Nicholas stands watching.

Elizabeth is about to go back inside, but she sees Nicholas.
She's surprised, smiling at first instinctively, but then
she looks concerned.

INT.  RESTAURANT -- DAY

BUSINESS PEOPLE chat over breakfast.  A TV at the bar shows
GOOD MORNING AMERICA.  Nicholas and Elizabeth are seated
near.  He's edgy, fingering a spoon, hand on his book.

		NICHOLAS
	I need your car, Elizabeth.

		ELIZABETH
	What happened to you, Nick?  I mean,
	look at yourself...

		NICHOLAS
	I know, look at me, well...
		(short laugh)
	What happened?  I don't know.  I
	don't even really know.  I have some
	things to try to take care of... I
	need the car a little while.

		ELIZABETH
	Of course you can have it if you need
	it.  Can I get you something to eat?

She starts working the CAR KEY off her keychain.

		NICHOLAS
	You're the only person I can trust.
	Everyone else...
		(pause)
	If Sam Sutherland calls, don't tell
	him you saw me.  Lie to him.  And,
	whatever you hear, whatever anyone
	tells you when this is over...

Nicholas straightens as a PALE WAITRESS arrives.  He studies
her.  She notices his fixation, tries to ignore.

		PALE WAITRESS
		(serving...)
	There we go... coffee and English
	muffin... water...
		(smiles)
	So, if there's anything...

Nicholas picks up his bottled water, examining the broken
plastic SAFETY SEAL around the cap.

		NICHOLAS
	This is open.  Someone opened it.

		PALE WAITRESS
	Yes sir, I...

		NICHOLAS
	I can't have this open.
		(gives it back)
	I'd like another unopened.  And I
	don't want ice.  I need a glass
	without ice.

The waitress leaves, glad to get away from this freak.
Nicholas keeps looking all around the restaurant and over
his shoulder.  Elizabeth takes Nicholas' hand, worried.

		ELIZABETH
	Nick, talk to me.  You're scaring me.
	I don't even know what you're saying.

He faces her, looks down at her hand in his.

		NICHOLAS
	I'm sorry, Liz... I don't mean to.

Nicholas clasps her hand, caresses it, looks at her.

		NICHOLAS
	The last few days, um... I've been
	thinking... had a lot of spare time.
		(pause, sad)
	I want to tell you... I'm starting to
	understand why you left me.  I've
	been resenting you for it, maybe, but
	... I want to apologize, for all of
	it.  For shutting you out, for not
	being there.  I...
		(swallows)
	Anyway, I hope you can forgive me.

		ELIZABETH
	There's nothing to forgive.

		NICHOLAS
	It would mean a lot to me... if you
	and I could be friends.  If I could
	have you back in my life... in some
	small way.  It would be important.

		ELIZABETH
	Of course, Nick...

Nicholas tries to smile.  He glances away for a second, and
he lets out a STRANGLED CRY because he SEES SOMETHING...

		NICHOLAS
	No... no!

He stands, agonized, looking across to the...
TELEVISION, where JIM FEINGOLD is ON SCREEN in C.U.

		NICHOLAS
		(to television)
	You fucking bastard!

ON TELEVISION: Feingold looks menacing, the top of his HEAD
REDDENING and beginning to THROB.  CHEESY SOUND EFFECTS...

		NICHOLAS
		(still to t.v.)
	How did you find me here?!

Obviously, everyone's watching Nicholas, Elizabeth included.

		FEINGOLD (v.o.)
		(ON TELEVISION)
	Honey, my head is killing me!

		WIFE'S VOICE (v.o.)
		(from t.v., o.s.)
	Did you take anything, sweetie?

		FEINGOLD (v.o.)
		(on television)
	I took aspirin, but it's not working!

ON TV: a FEMALE HAND appears, offering a BOTTLE OF PILLS.

		WIFE'S VOICE (v.o.)
		(from television)
	Try Ambutol, you silly goose.  It's
	stronger than aspirin and...

Nicholas is starting to understand, stunned.

		NICHOLAS
	He... he's an actor...

ON TV: Feingold, now cured, holds up the pills and smiles.

		FEINGOLD (v.o.)
	Thanks to Ambutol, I've got my head
	back together.

JINGLE MUSIC.  Nicholas looks to Elizabeth, points to t.v.

		NICHOLAS
	It's just a t.v.  He's just an actor.

		ELIZABETH
		(slowly)
	Yes.

Nicholas realizes how he must look.  He picks up the car
key, gives Elizabeth a kiss on the forehead.

		NICHOLAS
	I'll explain someday.

		ELIZABETH
	I hope.

She watches Nicholas hurry away.  She sits forward,
wondering, shaking her head.

NEAR THE CASH REGISTER, Nicholas moves to the door, but
stops.  He goes to the CASHIER.

		NICHOLAS
	Can I borrow your Yellow Pages... ?

The cashier digs under the counter, comes up with the PHONE
BOOK.  Nicholas takes it, leaving...

		NICHOLAS
	Thanks.

Nicholas goes out the door, gone.  The cashier does a
double-take, about to say something, confused, dour.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  URBAN STREET -- DAT

A run-down neighborhood.  Nicholas drives Elizabeth's VOLVO,
erratically, distracted...

INSIDE THE VOLVO

He steers with one hand while paging thru the YELLOW PAGES
open on the seat.  He gets to RESTAURANTS, trading glances
between the book and the street.

ON THE STREET

Red light ahead.  The Volvo stops.

INSIDE THE VOLVO

Nicholas finds ads for CHINESE RESTAURANTS, running his
finger down, flipping the page.  His finger hits it -- a
grinning CARTOON PANDA.  "TUNG HOY Chinese Restaurant."

		NICHOLAS
	Tung Hoy.  Tung Hoy... best in
	Chinatown.

He tears the page out and studies it like a pirate with a
treasure map.  Suddenly, an arm reaches in thru the window,
putting a KNIFE to Nicholas' throat...

		MALE VOICE (o.s.)
	Get out of the car, fucker...

Nicholas holds still, eyes shifting to look at the wasted,
skittish TEEN THUG threatening.

		TEEN THUG
	Open the door and climb out.  Leave
	it running.

Nicholas is twitchy calm, motionless.

		NICHOLAS
	You're making a mistake...

The knife presses harder against Nicholas' throat.

		TEEN THUG
	Get out of the car.

		NICHOLAS
	You don't understand...

		TEEN THUG
	Get out of the car, motherfucker!
	Get out of the car... !

Nicholas' hand finds and opens the book "To Kill a
Mockingbird" beside him.  It's HOLLOWED-OUT with a GUN
hidden inside, a revolver, which Nicholas grips...

Nicholas brings the gun across, into the thug's face...

		NICHOLAS
	You have no idea how fragile I am
	right now.

The thug backs off... runs away.  Nicholas watches him go,
puts down the gun, drives.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  TUNG HOY -- DAY

A festive Chinatown neighborhood.  At "TUNG HOY," ducks hang
behind the CARTOON PANDA painted on the window.

INT.  TUNG HOY -- DAY

Cramped.  Walls covered in CELEBRITY HEADSHOTS.  Nicholas
faces an OLD CHINESE WOMAN behind the counter.

		NICHOLAS
	He's an actor.  He does television
	commercials...

		CHINESE WOMAN
	Do you know how many customers we
	have?  Hundreds.  Thousands.

		NICHOLAS
	I know he orders from you.  He had
	his food delivered to Montgomery
	Street.  Fifteen-thirty-three...

The woman just shakes her head, continues bagging orders.
Nicholas realizes it's futile.  He bends over the counter.

		NICHOLAS
	Is there anyone else I could ask?
	Maybe they'll remem...

Nicholas stops, eyes locked...

Low on the wall, amongst the grease-browned pictures of
pseudo-celebs, there's a newer GLOSSY OF FEINGOLD,
smiling big, labeled "William Fisher."

Nicholas looks to woman who's shouting into the kitchen.  He
jumps up on the counter, reaching with his fingertips for
the "Feingold" PHOTO, straining, almost has it...

EXT.  CHINATOWN STREET -- DAY

On a PAYPHONE, Nicholas looks at the BACK OF THE HEADSHOT --
credits, phone number -- flips it to show Feingold/Fisher.

		NICHOLAS (v.o.)
		(into phone)
	... I know it's short notice Mrs.
	Fisher, but we were hoping your
	husband could audition today.  He's
	perfect for the part...

		MRS FISHER (v.o.)
		(from phone)
	Oh, this will break his heart...

		NICHOLAS
	Is there any way we can get in
	touch with him?

		MRS FISHER (v.o.)
	His beeper's here on the table.  He
	took the kids to the zoo.

		NICHOLAS
	The zoo.  How sweet.  Which zoo?

						CUT TO:

EXT.  ZOO -- DAY

ANIMALS lounge in their cages.  TOURISTS wander, mostly
families.  Here comes Nicholas, running, searching...

Ahead: Feingold's in casual clothes, eating ice cream, doing
his best to supervise THREE OBNOXIOUS CHILDREN.  Nicholas
moves in, slows when he's close.

		NICHOLAS
	Bill Fisher, I love your work...

Feingold turns, smiling... till he sees Nicholas and
recognition sets in.  He goes pale, sheepish.

		FEINGOLD
	Okay, please.. I got my kids...

Nicholas casually shows him the gun.

		NICHOLAS
	Get rid of them.

		FEINGOLD
	Hey, everyone -- snack time!  Here...
	here you go...

Feingold takes out cash and dispenses it.  KIDS CHEER and
run to a nearby SNACK CART.

		FEINGOLD
	Look, it was just a job.  Nothing
	personal, ya know?  I play my part,
	improvise a little.  That's what I'm
	good at.

		NICHOLAS
	I'm tired of dealing with peons.  I
	need to get to whoever's in charge.

		FEINGOLD
	Nobody knows, pal.  Nobody gets the
	big picture...
		(looking away)
	Jason, Tommy, cut it out!

His BOYS are THROWING ROCKS at the MONKEYS.  They look to
their father, drop the rocks and saunter away.

		FEINGOLD
	Goddamnit, why do they do that?

		NICHOLAS
		(grips Feingold's shirt)
	How do I find them?  Their offices are empty.

		FEINGOLD
	They own the whole building.  They
	just move from floor to floor.

Nicholas releases him.

		NICHOLAS
	They know you... you worked for them.
	You can get me in.

		FEINGOLD
	No, I can't.  I'm sorry and all,
	but...

		NICHOLAS
	Tell them the cops are after you...
	tell them you've got to talk to
	someone, I'm threatening to blow the
	whistle.

		FEINGOLD
	What whistle?  There's no fucking
	whistle.  This is fucking dangerous.

Nicholas gets in Feingold's face, furious.

		NICHOLAS
	You don't seem to understand.  Right
	now -- I'm dangerous.

Feingold gets the message.

						CUT TO:

EXT.  C.R.S. BUILDING -- EARLY EVENING

Dusk.  LIGHTS OFF in the towering building.  A battered
STATION WAGON rounds a corner, PAUSES at the GARAGE RAMP.

IN THE STATION WAGON

Cluttered car.  Feingold at the wheel, tense, appears alone.

		FEINGOLD
	We're here.

BEHIND THE SEAT, Nicholas peeks from under a blanket.

		NICHOLAS
	Drive in.

		FEINGOLD
	What are you gonna do anyway?  You
	won't get your money back.

		NICHOLAS
		(muffled, under blanket)
	I don't want money.  I'm pulling back
	the curtain.  I'm here to meet the
	wizard.

INT.  C.R.S. UNDERGROUND GARAGE -- NIGHT

The station wagon comes down the ramp to a closed GATE.  A
BEEFY GUARD looks from his booth.  Feingold waves timidly.
The GATE RISES and the station wagon moves on...

IN THE STATION WAGON

IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR: Beefy Guard watches, suspicious.

		FEINGOLD
		(under his breath)
	He's eyeing us like Tiffany Towers.

		NICHOLAS (o.s.)
	Just go.  Park where he can't see.

IN THE UNDERGROUND GARAGE

ACROSS THE GARAGE, near elevators, the station wagon parks.
Feingold gets out, scared.  Nicholas climbs out, crouched,
gun in hand, points for Feingold to go first.

Feingold goes to push the elevator button, sweating.
Nicholas remains hidden between cars.

A few elevators down, ELEVATOR DOORS open and a fierce
C.R.S. SECURITY GUARD gets off, spots Feingold, murmurs into
a WALKIE-TALKIE while taking out a gun.

		C.R.S. GUARD
	You're not allowed to be here.

		FEINGOLD
	No, they called me back... I have a
	fitting...

Behind, Nicholas puts his gun to the guard's neck.

		NICHOLAS
	Give me the gun.

Security Guard gives it up, an automatic, which Nicholas
throws across the garage.  Nicholas forces the guard to the
open elevator, takes the WALKIE-TALKIE and pockets it, pulls
Feingold along...

IN THE ELEVATOR

Nicholas frisks the Guard... pulls out HANDCUFFS.

		FEINGOLD
	You don't need me...

		NICHOLAS
	Shut up.  Cuff him to the rail.

Feingold takes the handcuffs and obeys.  Nicholas jams the
gun against the guard's neck.

		NICHOLAS
	What floor?

		C.R.S. GUARD
	Fourteen.  But this elevator ain't
	gonna get you there, college boy.

Nicholas pulls off the guard's KEYCHAIN, sorts keys...

He uses a GOLD C.R.S. KEY on the control pad, turns it and
hits 14.  DOORS CLOSE.  The elevator sets IN MOTION.


		C.R.S. GUARD
	You'll never get away with this.
	These people will fuck you up.

Nicholas ignores.  Feingold whimpers.

INT.  C.R.S. BUILDING, 14TH FLOOR HALLWAY -- NIGHT

ELEVATOR OPENS.  Nicholas peers out.  No one in the hall.
He pushes Feingold ahead, pushes ALL THE FLOOR BUTTONS.

		C.R.S. GUARD
	You're fucked.  You're both...

ELEVATOR SHUTS.  Nicholas and Feingold move on.

		NICHOLAS
	Where?

		FEINGOLD
	I told you, they hired me over the
	phone.  I never met anyone.

		NICHOLAS
	Where'd you pick up your checks?

		FEINGOLD
	It was a different floor then...

		NICHOLAS
	Guess!

		FEINGOLD
	Like, this way... sort of...

Nicholas nudges Feingold ahead with the gun.

INT.  COMMISSARY -- NIGHT

Door swings open.  Nicholas and Feingold enter...
A BUSTLING, NOISY COMMISSARY.  A cafeteria counter along one
wall.  People CHATTING and LAUGHING at rows of long tables.

Nicholas keeps a grip on Feingold, walks forward, stunned...

EVERYONE FROM THE GAME IS HERE: the PARAMEDICS eat with the
HEAVY MAN who faked the heart attack.  CHRISTINE'S FATHER is
seated near the airport HOMELESS BUM, BIKINI GIRL and the
MEXICAN MOTHER with her THREE CHILDREN from the bus.

PLUMP GUY, the P.I. who followed Nicholas and had his gun
taken, comes off the cafe line with a soda, spotting
Nicholas... spotting the gun, quaking.  He flees...

Nicholas and Feingold continue.  BUSINESSMAN 1 and 2 from
Nicholas' club sit near AMBULANCE ATTENDANTS.  The TAXI
DRIVER and the FEMALE DETECTIVE chat.

There's the HOTEL MANAGER from the Claremont... the
BELLHOP... the CHINESE WOMAN from Tung Hoy... the DESK CLERK
from the Four Seasons and TEEN THUG.  Every incidental
character from Nicholas' recent life.

Nicholas inches into the room.  A few of the players begin
to notice him, some trying to place him, others pointing him
out to their dining partners.  Nicholas halts, sees...

CHRISTINE rising, picking up her dirty tray, in
mid-conversation till she turns and sees...

Nicholas, who raises his gun.

		CHRISTINE
	Oh, fuck...

People notice the gun.  SOME SCREAM.  Everyone goes HUSHED.

		CHRISTINE
	What are you doing here?

		NICHOLAS
	I'm back from the dead.

		CHRISTINE
	Nicholas, okay... you're not about to
	shoot anyone...

Nicholas moves to grab Christine.  She drops her tray...

		NICHOLAS
	You're coming with me!

		MALE VOICE (o.s.)
	Everybody down!

Nicholas spins.  At a far entrance, TWO SECURITY GUARDS aim
guns.  PEOPLE SCREAM.  Some run.  Many dive for cover.
PANIC.  Nicholas gets behind Christine...

He uses Christine as a shield, arm around her throat, pulling
her backwards.  Feingold's frozen, hands held high...

		SECURITY GUARD 1
	Don't move!

Nicholas glances at the door, moving for it, dragging
Christine.  Feingold's still got his hands up...

Nicholas and Christine near the doors...

Feingold bolts another direction, leaping tables...

Security Guard 1 shifts aim to Feingold...

		SECURITY GUARD 1
	Stop!

Security Guard 1 FIRES...

INT.  12TH FLOOR HALLWAY - NIGHT

Nicholas shoves out into the hall with Christine just as
GUNSHOTS ECHO behind.  MORE horrified SCREAMS HEARD and
TABLES TOPPLING and PLATES CRASHING.

Nicholas shoves Christine ahead, searching desperately...

		NICHOLAS
	Get us out of here...

		CHRISTINE
	Nicholas...

		NICHOLAS
	Get us out!

He shoves.  She falls.  He pulls her back up...

INT.  STAIRWELL -- NIGHT

They enter.  He makes her climb at gunpoint...

		 NICHOLAS
	Move, move, move!

They climb stairs... up towards the "HELIPORT..."

EXT.  ROOFTOP -- NIGHT

Air ducts, etc.  A MUFFLED ALARM SOUNDS as Christine comes
out the door onto the windy rooftop, followed by Nicholas.
She backs against the railing the borders the huge BLACK
PIT at the center of the building; an atrium SKYLIGHT.

Nicholas SLAMS the door, throws the HEAVY BOLT, searches to
make sure the rest of the roof is clear.

		CHRISTINE
	What do you think you're doing?

		NICHOLAS
	You tell me... I want to know who's
	behind this.  Who did this to me...
	how, why... ?

		CHRISTINE
	How deluded can you be?  There's no
	why...

		NICHOLAS
	Who's responsible?!

		CHRISTINE
	It wasn't you.  It wasn't personal...

		NICHOLAS
	You call them...

Nicholas pulls out the WALKIE-TALKIE, throws it to her.

		CHRISTINE
	It could have been any asshole with a
	couple hundred million in the bank.

		NICHOLAS
	Call them, tell them to get the boss
	up here.  Tell them I'll kill you...

POUNDING is HEARD from the other side of the roof DOOR.
MUFFLED VOICES.  Nicholas reacts.

		CHRISTINE
	They won't...

		NICHOLAS
	They will!  You tell them if they
	don't come now, I will shoot you!

STATIC and GARBLED ORDERS HEARD from the WALKIE-TALKIE.

		CHRISTINE
	I'm telling you... they'll let me die
	first.  You're not in a position to
	threaten them.  You're trapped.
	You're the one who...

Christine freezes, thrown...

		CHRISTINE
	... wait a minute...

She's taking notice of the revolver Nicholas brandishes...

		CHRISTINE
	Where'd you get that... ?

		NICHOLAS
	... what... ?

		CHRISTINE
	That gun.  That... that's not
	automatic.  The guard had an
	automatic...

POUNDING is LOUDER against the nearby door.

		NICHOLAS
	What the fuck are you... ?

		CHRISTINE
	Where'd you get that gun?

		NICHOLAS
	It's mine...

		CHRISTINE
	We searched the house.

		NICHOLAS
	Guess you missed it.

		CHRISTINE
		(suddenly very afraid)
	Just... wait.  Just wait!  Okay...
	please, I'm not kidding anymore...

Christine brings the WALKIE-TALKIE to her mouth...

		CHRISTINE
		(into walkie-talkie)
	He's got a gun.  Everyone, he's got a
	real gun up here!  Real situation!
		(switching channels)
	... damn it...

		NICHOLAS
	What are you doing?

		CHRISTINE
	Nicholas, this is fake.  It's all
	part of the game...

		NICHOLAS
	Fuck you.

THUMP-THUMP-THUMP against the DOOR...

		CHRISTINE
	Listen very carefully, I'm telling
	the truth... this is the game.  This
	was all the game.

		NICHOLAS
	Bullshit.  They killed him.
	Feingold, Fisher, whoever... they
	shot him...

		CHRISTINE
	No, now wait... think about it.  What
	did you see... ?

		NICHOLAS
	I saw them kill him!

		CHRISTINE
	What did you really see?  This
	whole time... special effects,
	squibs, like in the movies.  Please,
	you've got to believe me...
		(into walkie-talkie)
	He's got a gun, with real bullets!

		NICHOLAS
	Stop talking to them!

		CHRISTINE
	Okay... okay...
		(drops walkie-talkie)
	I put it down.  Now open that door.
	Mister Fisher's right on the other
	side of that door.  He's an actor...

		NICHOLAS
	Stop talking...

		CHRISTINE
	Nicholas...

		NICHOLAS
	Shut up!

		CHRISTINE
	Let me show you...

She takes a step toward the door.

		NICHOLAS
	No!  You take another step, I'll
	shoot!  They're trying to kill me...

		CHRISTINE
	You're wrong.  You're about to make
	the biggest mistake of your life.
	Put that gun down.

POUNDING on the DOOR is DESPERATE.  Nicholas falters...

		CHRISTINE
	Think about it!  They followed you
	every step of the way.  There was
	always a safety net.  The taxi, there
	was a diver.  At my house, the window
	was rigged... they shot at us with blanks...

		NICHOLAS
	That's not true...

		CHRISTINE
	It is.  It's what you hired us for.
	Nobody touched your money.  Nobody
	stole anything.  They're waiting on
	the other side of that door with
	champagne... all your friends... it's
	a celebration...

		NICHOLAS
	No...

		CHRISTINE
	Open that door, you'll see.  Your
	brother's there... Conrad.  He's
	there.  It's your birthday party...

		NICHOLAS
	Stop it!

		CHRISTINE
	Please, Nicholas, let me show you...

She takes a tentative step towards the door...

		NICHOLAS
	Don't move, you bitch... !

		CHRISTINE
		(still moving)
	I have to show you...

		NICHOLAS
	No!

And from the staticy WALKIE-TALKIE on the ground:

		MALE VOICE (v.o.)
		(thru WALKIE-TALKIE)
	... Take him down!  Take him down...

		CHRISTINE
		(shouts to door)
	He's got a gun!

With a CLANK! -- the DOOR is POUNDED OPEN, swinging...

Nicholas turns, aims at the door...

		CHRISTINE
	Don't!

Nicholas FIRES, gunshot DEAFENING... !

In the doorway, Conrad, in TUXEDO and PARTY HAT, is startled
as the magnum of CHAMPAGNE he holds EXPLODES and throws foam
and glass in a wide spray...

The smile falls from Conrad's face as BLOOD spreads across
his chest.  He looks to Nicholas, confused, collapsing...

A collective cry of horror comes from the gaily dressed
PARTY-GOERS behind as Feingold catches Conrad and eases him
to the ground, cradles him...

Nicholas lowers his gun... realizing...

		NICHOLAS
	Connie...

Feingold clutches Conrad, trying to stop the bleeding,
feeling for a pulse.  Blood flows out Conrad's mouth.

		FEINGOLD
	Jesus... you shot him... !
		(back to others)
	Someone call an ambulance!

Conrad's eyes are closed.  He's motionless.  He's dead.

Christine lets out a hysterical sob, hands to her mouth.

		FEINGOLD
	Oh, God... oh, God...

Nicholas drops the gun, moves forward, stunned, numb...

		FEINGOLD
	He's dead... he's dead... !
		(to Nicholas)
	You killed him!

Nicholas falls to his knees in front of Feingold and Conrad.
Christine's eyes fill with tears...

		CHRISTINE
		(to Nicholas)
	Why?!  I told you... I told you.  Why
	didn't you listen?

Feingold releases Conrad to the floor, rising, bloody...

		FEINGOLD
	We're going to jail.  We're all going
	to jail for the rest of our lives...

People start clearing out of the stairwell, heading down.

		FEINGOLD
		(to Nicholas)
	We thought you knew!  How could you
	let this get so out of hand?

Nicholas just remains kneeled there, breathing unevenly,
staring at his brother's corpse...

		CHRISTINE
	Why wouldn't you listen to me?  What
	is wrong with you?  You killed your
	own brother!

Nicholas looks to the dark sky, tears streaming down his
face.  He looks all around.

Christine stops, looking down at the corpse, crying out of
control.  Feingold comes to attempt to comfort her.

Nicholas gets to his feet, unsteady, backing away, looking
to the GLASS SKYLIGHT.  He wipes his tears.

Nicholas stands motionless for the longest time.  Calm.

Nicholas moves forward... a goal in mind...

Christine turns, sees...

Nicholas comes to the edge of the SKYLIGHT...

Christine screams...

Nicholas leaps...

INT.  C.R.S. BUILDING -- NIGHT

Nicholas CRASHES thru the SKYLIGHT, FALLING...
SPARKLING SHARDS surround him like stars as he PLUMMETS...

The WORLD BELOW is PITCH DARK.  Nicholas turns in the air,
head thrown back, closing his eyes...

FLASHBACK/GRAINY HOME MOVIES -- FLASH FRAMES

QUICK IMAGES: the CLOWN, CHRISTINE'S FACE, NICHOLAS and
CONRAD as children, Nicholas' FATHER striking the ground...
IMAGES so RAPID they're hard to process.

BACK TO SCENE

As Nicholas falls...

FALLING forever...

He lets out a CRY as the end rushes closer...
BRILLIANT LIGHT suddenly illuminates him.  Nicholas throws
his eyes open, gasping in the brightness...

LIGHTS come on from all sides to show NICHOLAS' IMPACT as he
lands on his back, arms outstretched, SWALLOWED by an
ENORMOUS INFLATED LIFESAVING CUSHION that covers the entire
floor of the atrium...

AIR is HEARD RUSHING.  Nicholas sinks, coming to rest as the
cushion DEFLATES.  Harmless bits of BREAKAWAY GLASS shower
down.  He doesn't move...

He can't comprehend.  Motionless.
DOORS are HEARD OPENING.  FOOTSTEPS RUSHING FORWARD.

		VARIOUS VOICES (o.s.)
	... let's go! ... make sure he's
	alright... see if he's okay...

STUNT COORDINATORS come from all directions, in C.R.S.
jumpsuits, wading thru the flowing cushion, coming to help
Nicholas up, asking if he's okay.  Nicholas just blinks at
them, quaking, lips trembling...

He's led out of the cushion, barely standing, sees...

Conrad runs from the elevators, covered in blood but very
much alive, smiling...

Conrad reaches Nicholas, throwing his arms around him,
giving him a long kiss, laughing...

		CONRAD
	Happy Birthday, Nickie.  Happy
	fucking Birthday...

Conrad embraces him again, knocks him back into the cushion.
Nicholas is still not all there, pulling away...

		NICHOLAS
	Get... get off.  Get off me!!
	You... you...

Nicholas shoves free, staring at Conrad, looking up, looking
back at Conrad, looking all around, terrified, near tears...

Emotion overwhelms Nicholas.  He laughs and cries at once,
takes Conrad in him arms, holding tight, hands balled into
fists, clinging gratefully.

ACROSS THE ATRIUM, DOORS OPEN and people flow out, cheering:
Sutherland, Ilsa and Elizabeth at front, looking unsure,
forcing smiles, led by C.R.S. ESCORTS.  And behind, DOZENS
and DOZENS of C.R.S. WORKERS, ASSISTANTS and TECHNICIANS.

At the bank of ELEVATORS, DING, DING, DING... DOORS OPEN and
the CAST OF CHARACTERS EMERGES, Feingold leading, holding
Christine's hand, everyone elated and shouting victoriously.

The crowd encircles Conrad and Nicholas as they climb back
out of the cushion.  HUNDREDS of WELL-WISHERS gathering...

Conrad climbs a few stairs, pulls Nicholas along, motions...

		CONRAD
	Ladies and gentlemen...
		(pause)
	My big brother... Nicholas Van Orton!
	He had it all, and now he has it all
	back!

THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE.  Nicholas looks out over them, flush,
awed, unable to catch his breath.

						CUT TO:

INT.  C.R.S. BUILDING, ATRIUM/LOBBY -- TIME CUT - NIGHT

LOUD MUSIC.  COCKTAIL PARTY IN PROGRESS.  A huge CAKE is
being cut.  Tables surround a PACKED dance floor area where
Feingold dances crazily.  Everyone's drinking, eating...

IN THE CROWD, FIND: Nicholas stands with a bottle of
champagne in hand, watching Ilsa embrace Conrad.

		ILSA
	I hope we'll be seeing more of you.

		CONRAD
	Count on it.

Ilsa reaches to straighten Conrad's hair.  She regards
Nicholas with affection, kisses his cheek.

		ILSA
	Goodnight.  See you home.

		NICHOLAS
	Goodnight.
		(watches her go, to Conrad)
	Where was she?

		CONRAD
	In a hotel.  Ordering room service
	and watching pay-per-view.  She was a
	real sport.

BUSINESSMAN 1 and HEAVY MAN come thru the crowd to Nicholas.

		BUSINESSMAN 1
	Hey, congratulations!  You did
	great... really kicked ass...

		HEAVY MAN
	Amazing, just wanted to tell you...

Nicholas thanks them, shaking hands as they move on.

		NICHOLAS
		(to Conrad)
	You know... how'd you manage the gun?
	I mean...

		CONRAD
	Baby, they were all over the house
	with metal detectors.  They switched
	your gun with a look-alike, rigged
	barrel, loaded with blanks.  Pop-gun.

		MAN'S VOICE (o.s.)
		(from behind)
	Mister Van Orton... ?

Nicholas and Conrad both turn to face a C.R.S. ACCOUNTANT, a
nebbish who holds a CLIPBOARD and gives an amused look.

		ACCOUNTANT
	Conrad Van Orton.

		CONRAD
	Yeah... ?

Conrad steps aside with the accountant.  Nicholas takes a
swig off his champagne, nods in response to C.R.S. WORKERS
who slap his back as the pass.

Nicholas realizes something, begins searching the crowd as
Elizabeth arrives with HUSBAND and DAUGHTER hand in hand.

		ELIZABETH
	We have to head out... just wanted to
	say goodbye.

		NICHOLAS
	You're going?  Well, thanks again.
		(to DAUGHTER)
	Good to see you, Rachel...
		(shakes HUSBAND'S hand)
	Thanks for coming, Mel.  I'll get
	your car back.  Right now it's, uh...
	at the zoo.  Sorry.

		ELIZABETH
	Happy Birthday, Nicholas.

		NICHOLAS
	I'll call.  I really will.

		ELIZABETH
	I know.

She kisses his cheek.  Nicholas waves as they go...

		NICHOLAS
	Bye guys.

Nicholas looks around, still searching.  He walks, receiving
more random congratulations, heading to a table where
Sutherland sits puffing a cigar.  Nicholas sits.

		SUTHERLAND
	Bravo, young man.  you have to tell
	me what this was all about sometime.
		(blows cigar smoke)
	I want you to know... when it looked
	there for awhile like you were going
	slowly insane... I was fully
	prepared to have you committed to the
	finest mental-health facility
	available.  I mean that sincerely,
	don't thank me.

		NICHOLAS
	You warm my heart.

Sutherland smiles, raises his glass.  Conrad deposits
himself in a seat, holding an inch-and-a-half thick stack of
COMPUTER PAPER, studies the last sheet, thumbs the pages.

		NICHOLAS
	What?

		CONRAD
	This... ?  Oh, this is just... this
	is the bill.

Conrad tries to laugh, daunted.

		NICHOLAS
	Really?

		CONRAD
		(none too happy)
	Yeah.

		NICHOLAS
	Split it?

		CONRAD
	Oh, God yes please.  Thanks, man.
	I'll take you up on that.

		NICHOLAS
		(leans forward)
	Where's Christine?
		(off Conrad's look)
	The waitress.

		CONRAD
	Yeah, yeah.  She called a cab.
	Said something about catching a plane.

		NICHOLAS
	Did she?

Nicholas looks around.

EXT.  C.R.S. BUILDING -- NIGHT

Nicholas comes out of the building to the street, hurrying
without wanting to appear hurried, looks both ways.  Down
the block, a TAXI arrives.  Christine's getting in.

Nicholas runs to catch it...

		NICHOLAS
	Excuse me... Christine... !

She looks out, waiting with the door open.

		NICHOLAS
	Hi.  Didn't get a chance to say
	goodbye.

		CHRISTINE
	That's my fault.  I get too worked up
	at these.  I'm very method.  You do
	know... that's not my name.

		NICHOLAS
	I didn't know what else to call you.

		CHRISTINE
	Claire.

		NICHOLAS
	Claire.  Pleased to meet you.

He holds out his hand.  She shakes.

		CHRISTINE
	I have to get to the airport...

		NICHOLAS
	Where are you going in such a hurry?

		CHRISTINE
	There's another gig starting in Saudi
	Arabia.  I'm just a walk-on this time
	though.  Bit-part.

		NICHOLAS
	What about dinner sometime, when you
	get back?  Would that be... ?

		CHRISTINE
		(pause)
	Is this something you're interested
	in?  I'm not really that person I was.

		NICHOLAS
	I realize.  Maybe you could... tell
	me a little about yourself.

		CHRISTINE
	Like what... my favorite color... ?

		NICHOLAS
	Like... where are you from?

		CHRISTINE
	Originally, Connecticut.

		NICHOLAS
	Big family... small?

		CHRISTINE
	One brother, one sister.

		NICHOLAS
	Studied acting, I assume?

		CHRISTINE
	Julliard, yeah.

		NICHOLAS
	Single?

		CHRISTINE
	Yes.

		NICHOLAS
	Boyfriend?

		CHRISTINE
	No.

		NICHOLAS
	Underwear?

		CHRISTINE
	Always.

Nicholas nods, scratches his head.

		NICHOLAS
	I could learn to live with that.

Christine smiles.

		NICHOLAS
	See how much I've learned already.
	Imagine how much more I could learn
	if you let me keep you company to the
	airport.

She considers.

She moves over.  Nicholas gets in beside her, shuts the
door.  The cab drives away, into the nighttime city.
THE END
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