FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY
INTERIOR: TELEPHONE COMPANY INFORMATION OFFICE. DAY. We move slowly through a crowded office. A hundred information operators in booths. SHARON works at a computer terminal. Close on her. She's on a kind of autopilot as she does her job, and the people talking to her hear so little personality that her humanity barely registers. That she might have a beauty that is becoming hollow, or a private life that would astonish them -- this, no one thinks about. She watches the clock. Five minutes to six. SHARON Please hold for the number. Operator 134, what city please? (Pause, as she types in the name.) Is that a business or residence? Please hold for the number. (Pause.) Operator 134. What city please? (Pause.) How do you spell that? The clock. Two minutes to six. SHARON (pause) Please hold for the number. (Pause.) Operator 134. What city please? (Pause.) Is that a business or residence? (Pause.) Please hold for the number. Pause. Behind her, a woman, another OPERATOR, waits for the chair. Six o'clock. SHARON gets up. The other OPERATOR takes her place and takes her headphones. SHARON starts to stand as she begins the next sentence. Pause. SHARON Operator 134. Is that a business or residence? ... And the other OPERATOR takes her headset and completes the number as SHARON leaves her post. OPERATOR Please hold for the number. SHARON walks away. Cut to: EXTERIOR: STREET. NIGHT. And now we see her sitting in the back of a Jaguar convertible. VIC is driving the car. VIC looks to someone offscreen. VIC What about them? SHARON No. He's wearing a rug, and she has a nose job. VIC It's not a bad nose job. SHARON They're all bad. Now we see VIC. He is a beardless werewolf [I mean, spiritually]. SHARON is excited. She likes danger. Underneath, we feel her deep exhaustion. SHARON Let's go to the Continental Club. VIC Really? SHARON Come on, Vic, you don't want to go back to the airport. He's thinking. VIC I like the airport. I like the bars at the airport hotels. I like tourists. (Meaning the bar:) I don't want that tonight. SHARON What's the matter, are you scared of getting dirty? VIC (uncertain) Maybe. SHARON C'mon, Vic. That's the place to start. Let's have some fun. From her challenging smile, his laugh, we cut to: INTERIOR: BAR. NIGHT. A rummy's bar in Hollywood. SHARON and VIC lean against a wall, drinking from bottles. VIC studies a couple sitting alone at a table, side by side. Sharp-featured, long-haired, not talking, they are smoking. SHARON I like them. VIC You would. SHARON and VIC walk across the floor to the table. They slide into the seat facing the couple. Call her DIANA. Call him RANDY. VIC I'm Vic. SHARON I'm Sharon. VIC Hi. RANDY and DIANA are quietly amused. RANDY What brings you to this side of town? SHARON We got tired of shooting the dogs where the rich people live. DIANA What are you looking for now? SHARON Now we're looking for something a little less obvious. VIC But fun. Definitely fun. We're very social people. RANDY You might be asking for something you couldn't handle. SHARON I can handle it. RANDY What if things go out of control? SHARON What's control got to do with it? VIC I think he wants to find out if you have any limits. SHARON Tell him that I haven't found them yet. VIC Sharon hasn't found her limits yet. DIANA Talk, talk, talk. (To RANDY:) Let's go somewhere. VIC I have a store. Let's go to the store. They stand up. VIC takes DIANA'S hand. RANDY and SHARON follow. Cut to: INTERIOR: VIC'S STORE. NIGHT. VIC leads the others in, turning on lights and slow dance music (Little Richard singing "Directly from My Heart"). We move through the store to a far corner, to a model bedroom. SHARON reaches out to RANDY and pulls him to her. RANDY lets go of DIANA and dances with SHARON. They dance to be watched. They are moving toward a bed. DIANA takes VIC'S hand. They dance. A blues song plays. RANDY Come here. Come here and have a seat. SHARON Come on, let's fool around. RANDY lifts SHARON into his arms. SHARON Ohh. What a man. RANDY Nice store you got here, Vic. Nice. SHARON dances slowly with RANDY; they grind into each other, putting on a show. SHARON and VIC watch each other. DIANA Come on. Show me what you mean by fun. VIC Unnh-uhh. SHARON sees this and shakes her head. DIANA goes to RANDY and SHARON. SHARON Vic likes to watch. RANDY Watch this. And we stay with Vic's face as the other three fall on the bed. Dissolve to: INTERIOR: VIC'S STORE. NIGHT. SHARON, RANDY, and DIANA on a bed. Their sex is a ritual, and the surprise here is their need. SHARON is the subject. They finish. They are still for a moment. SHARON gets up. We watch RANDY watching her. SHARON sits on the arm of a leather couch, smoking. RANDY comes over to her. Behind them, Vic begins fucking DIANA. SHARON looks grim. RANDY studies her. RANDY Was that far enough? SHARON turns to look at him. SHARON Randy, right? RANDY Hey, you remembered my name. SHARON Hi, Randy. RANDY Was it enough? SHARON That was ... interesting. The camera pulls back. We hear DIANA as VIC tries to come. Cut to: INTERIOR: TELEPHONE COMPANY INFORMATION OFFICE. DAY. SHARON works at a computer terminal. Close on her. SHARON Operator 134, what city please? (Pause, as she types in the name.) Is that a business or residence? (Pause.) Hold for the number. (Pause.) This is operator 134. What city? (Pause.) Can you spell that? (Pause.) Is that D as in Dick? (Pause.) Please hold for the number. Cut to: INTERIOR: TELEPHONE COMPANY VENDING-MACHINE ROOM. DAY. Coffee break. Move through the room. Everyone sits alone, recovering from the phones. SHARON enters staring into space. Behind her are a group of workers, talking quietly but passionately. At first, SHARON doesn't listen. Bits of the following drift into consciousness. WORKER #1 Hi, Wayne. It was much stronger last night, wasn't it? WORKER #2 By a factor of five. WORKER #3 It was almost like the first time, I mean, it was that clear. WORKER #1 And the horn, the sound of a horn, that was new. WORKER #2 One note, a very clear tone. I found it on my piano; it's B flat. WORKER #1 What do you think? SHARON has leaned back in her chair to eavesdrop. WORKER #3 I think it's going to happen, and soon. Have you been praying? WORKER #2, facing SHARON'S back, sees her leaning in and puts a finger to his lips. WORKER #2 Yes, as much as I can. The other two glance over their shoulders at SHARON. She looks over her shoulder and sees them look at her. She pulls her chair forward. WORKER #3 What does The Boy say? WORKER #1 Not yet. Cut to: INTERIOR: SHARON'S APARTMENT. NIGHT. She is in bed with RANDY. Under the sheet, he strokes her. She comes, pushing his hand away. SHARON Tell me a story. RANDY Hmmm. He tries to start again. SHARON No, no, no. I already know that story. Tell me something new. He thinks about it. RANDY I've done things for money. SHARON Like what? RANDY Things I wish I hadn't. SHARON Like what? RANDY I killed a man once. SHARON For how much? RANDY For a thousand dollars. SHARON That's not very much money. RANDY It was a lot then. All I can say now is, I wish I hadn't. SHARON Why? RANDY 'Cause it stays with me. I mean, I killed a man. I took his life, his only life. That's bad. SHARON Did you know him? RANDY No. SHARON Well, why did the people who paid you want him dead? RANDY There are some questions you don't ask. After that, they offered me another job, the same kind of job, better money. SHARON And did you do it? RANDY No. But I think about that killing a lot. I think, you know, if we weren't taught that killing is bad, would I still feel as bad? SHARON I don't know. RANDY You don't know. Are you scared of me now? SHARON Did anyone pay you to kill me? A long pause. RANDY That was not a good year. 1975, that was my best year. I was nineteen. What was your best year? SHARON Hmmm. I guess I'm still waiting. I don't know. I don't know. Everything just seems so empty. Time passes so quickly. RANDY Yeah? I think it's kind of slow. SHARON No, I mean, like a day. You know, a day is always just over ... I don't know what I'm trying to say. RANDY I think I understand. SHARON Oh really? Why don't you let me in on my secret. RANDY I think that you are depressed, and I think that you should see a therapist. SHARON Oh, that's great. That's fucking brilliant. Cut to: INTERIOR: SHARON'S APARTMENT. DAY. SHARON pulls subscription cards out of magazines. A door bell rings; then there's a knock at the door. SHARON answers it. Two men wearing suits, white shirts, and dark ties are there. Both are in their late thirties or early forties. In New York, you would assume they were bankers or painters trying to look like bankers. They are evangelists. None of the evangelists in this film sound like TV preachers or have a hint of the South in their accents. FIRST EVANGELIST You understand that these are the last days. It can't go on like this. God is coming back. His prophecies are now being fulfilled. SECOND EVANGELIST You have to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. SHARON Otherwise ... FIRST EVANGELIST You won't be saved. She shuts the door. Pause. She opens it again. The men are still there, still smiling. SECOND EVANGELIST We're not trying to scare you. FIRST EVANGELIST No. SECOND EVANGELIST Do you understand the difference between righteousness and faith? SHARON Why don't you tell me. SECOND EVANGELIST It's only by the grace of God you'll be saved. SHARON But what if I lead a good life? Does it still matter if I don't believe? FIRST EVANGELIST Do you really lead a good life? SHARON No. SECOND EVANGELIST You have to believe. If you don't, you go to Hell. SHARON Well, that doesn't seem fair. FIRST EVANGELIST I used to think that. But then I met Him. SHARON Who? SECOND EVANGELIST That's what we're trying to tell you. FIRST EVANGELIST (from John 3:16) For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. That whosoever should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. SECOND EVANGELIST You can have what we have. FIRST EVANGELIST A personal relationship with the Son of God. SECOND EVANGELIST It's hard to believe unless you believe it. But when you believe it, then it's easy. You just know. SHARON What? FIRST EVANGELIST Him. SHARON How? FIRST EVANGELIST Who knows? It just is. SHARON Right. And I'm supposed to buy this? He hands her a small Bible. FIRST EVANGELIST No. It's a gift. SECOND EVANGELIST We know what you're thinking ... It doesn't make sense. SHARON No. SECOND EVANGELIST I was like you. SHARON I doubt it. SECOND EVANGELIST No, really. SHARON And, like I said, I doubt it. The men turn and leave. As they walk away, SHARON speaks: SHARON I heard someone talking about The Boy? Who's The Boy? SECOND EVANGELIST Some people say that he's a prophet in the old tradition. FIRST EVANGELIST And some people say there are others like him, all around the country. SECOND EVANGELIST All around the world. SHARON And what do you say? SECOND EVANGELIST I say trust in God. The SECOND EVANGELIST gives SHARON a warm smile. SHARON Excuse me. And she shuts the door. Cut to: INTERIOR: TELEPHONE COMPANY INFORMATION OFFICE. DAY. SHARON works at a computer terminal. Close on her. SHARON Operator 134. What city please? (Pause.) City please? (Pause.) Please hold for the number. (Pause.) Operator 134. What city please? (Pause.) Is that a business or residence? EXTERIOR/INTERIOR: SHARON'S APARTMENT. DAY. The phone rings. She picks up, and we hear VIC on the line. SHARON Hello? VIC (voice-over) Sharon? SHARON Hi, Vic. VIC (voice-over) I dropped by a few of the hotels near the airport today. You'll never guess who I found. The most fascinating couple, really. They're from Philadelphia. Well, he's from Pennsylvania and she's from Florida and they're married. Isn't that romantic? She sees evangelists pass outside on bicycles. SHARON What time? VIC (voice-over) Pick you up at nine. EXTERIOR: VIC'S WIFE'S HOUSE. NIGHT. SHARON looking out. Behind her, VIC is dancing with ANGIE and the EXECUTIVE. INTERIOR: VIC'S WIFE'S HOUSE. NIGHT. EXECUTIVE Here's to open-minded people and L.A., my kind of town. ANGIE Don't you have, uhh, (to her husband while she corners VIC) something better to do? EXECUTIVE I'm doing it. ANGIE laughs as the Executive goes to SHARON. She declines. SHARON'S point of view as he walks back to the group. VIC dances with ANGIE while the EXECUTIVE gropes her a little. The EXECUTIVE unzips the back of ANGIE'S dress as he turns her around, and as the dress falls away, SHARON can see a tattoo through the veil of ANGIE'S long black hair. The tattoo is not finished: we see a long boat with an angel blowing a horn on the bow. Behind the scene is a large pearl. SHARON What is that? VIC What are you talking about? SHARON She has a tattoo on her back. VIC looks. VIC Whoa. ANGIE I got it when I was a kid. EXECUTIVE This was before she met me. ANGIE I got drunk one night. SHARON One night. You had it done in one night? EXECUTIVE Well, you know how kids are. I almost got a tattoo once. She was drunk. ANGIE wraps herself around VIC. The naked EXECUTIVE fondles SHARON while she watches VIC and ANGIE kiss and laugh, the EXECUTIVE wants to get inside her, but she won't let him, he can only use his hands. For a moment, she enjoys it, but the pearl on ANGIE'S back is too compelling. SHARON Angie, you got that in one night? VIC Maybe she doesn't want to talk about it. ANGIE There's nothing to talk about. SHARON Why did you get it? VIC Sharon? Can we talk about it later? SHARON I mean it must have been painful. ANGIE realizes she has to deal with SHARON'S curiosity. ANGIE (facing SHARON) I don't remember, and I don't know why I got it. She looks at the EXECUTIVE. He gives her a compassionate look. EXECUTIVE Its okay, Angie. I'm here. I'm with you. SHARON Why would you get a tattoo that you didn't really want? I'm sorry, I don't want to make you unhappy, but I really need to know. ANGIE Why? SHARON I don't know. I don't know. It's important. (She asks again:) What is it? ANGIE Don't you know what's going on? SHARON What? ANGIE The dream? The Pearl? SHARON What dream? EXECUTIVE Tell them. Cut to: INTERIOR: TELEPHONE COMPANY VENDING-MACHINE ROOM. DAY. The three workers are sitting together, drinking coffee. SHARON comes into the room and walks over to them, then sits down. She acts as though she's seen the light, but she's heavy-handed and obvious. SHARON Hi, it's a beautiful day, isn't it? How are you? WORKER #1 (cautious) We're fine. And you? SHARON I'm fine. Now that I dream about the Pearl. Silence. The men watch her carefully. She becomes uncomfortable, but they don't release her from their hard stares. She is being evaluated. WORKER #2 What dream would that be? SHARON The Pearl. I dream about the Pearl. WORKER #3 Tell us about it. WORKER #1 What does it look like? SHARON You know. The Pearl. It's a big pearl by a river. WORKER #3 No, it's not. WORKER #1 You haven't seen it. SHARON Yes, I have. WORKER #2 You can't fake it. SHARON slumps, defeated. WORKER #1 It's a message from God. If you really want it, all you have to do is pray. SHARON (disdainfully) Pray. WORKER #2 He's coming back. SHARON Slow down. If everybody is getting this dream, how come it isn't on the news? WORKER #2 Those who need to know, know. WORKER #1 And those who don't believe won't get the dream. SHARON There are five billion people on the planet. There's I-don't-know-how- many religions. Why does the God of some little country on the Mediterranean have to be the God for everyone? Isn't that a little arrogant? I mean, really? The Buddhists get along okay without Jesus Christ. The Hindus get along okay without Jesus Christ. The Moslems seem to be getting along okay without Jesus Christ. WORKER #1 But none of them are saved. Cut to: INTERIOR: SHARON'S APARTMENT. NIGHT. SHARON comes in. She goes to the bedroom. VIC is in bed with a woman. VIC Sharon, this is my friend Andrea. Andrea is from Nebraska. Come and join? SHARON leaves and slumps down a wall in the next room. EXTERIOR: SHARON'S APARTMENT. DAY. SHARON smokes on the balcony. Something has changed. INTERIOR: SHARON'S APARTMENT. BEDROOM. NIGHT. SHARON wakes up. She shakes RANDY. SHARON Get up. RANDY What? SHARON Get up, or get out. RANDY What did I do? SHARON I have to make the bed. RANDY Come on, look, no, it's three o'clock in the morning. SHARON Get out of bed, or get out of the house. RANDY Why? SHARON This bed is unclean. RANDY I'm out, I'm out. Unclean ... you changed the sheets yesterday. SHARON Shut up! And he gets out of bed. She rips the sheets off the bed and then we cut to: Close-up of clean sheets being put over the bed. RANDY isn't helping; he leans against a wall, trying to sleep. SHARON I'm starting over, Randy. I've had enough. RANDY Enough what? SHARON I need a new direction in my life. There is a God, I know it, there is a God, and I'm going to meet Him. RANDY When did you get religion? SHARON I am trying, Randy. I want my salvation. RANDY Sharon, you're fine the way you are. SHARON You just want to live in sin, don't you? RANDY That's right. I just want to live in sin. SHARON Fine, be a slave to the Devil. RANDY Devil? Do you remember where we met? Don't start asking me now to apologize for who I am or what I believe in. SHARON Oh, and what do you believe in? RANDY There is no God. There's only chaos. INTERIOR: SHARON'S APARTMENT. BATHROOM. NIGHT. SHARON takes a shower. RANDY talks to her through the glass. SHARON And why do we have such guilty consciences? Answer that? RANDY You're the one with the guilty conscience. I sleep really well, or at least I used to. (He tests the shower water.) Jesus Christ, that's hot. SHARON Don't take the Lord's name in vain, Randy. That's one of the commandments, it even comes before theft and adultery, it even comes before murder. That's how important it is not to take the Lord's name in vain. RANDY Since when have you known the Lord? SHARON I am trying to. RANDY And what does a shower at three in the morning have to do with eternal salvation? SHARON is washing herself in a steaming hot shower. She scrubs herself with a hard brush. She gets out of the shower. SHARON I want to be clean. Am I clean? RANDY watches in silence as she dries herself with a towel, cleans her fingernails, and brushes her teeth. She speaks to him in her reflection. RANDY Yeah, you're clean. SHARON When you do something wrong, we feel bad, and that's because there's a little bit of God in all of us, telling us to change our ways before it's too late. Isn't that right? RANDY No, it's not right. It's just conditioned by society. All we are is animals whose brains have become too big and too complicated for the purposes of satisfying our animal needs, which are food and sex. SHARON There is a spiritual need which is just as real as hunger, just as real as the need for love. RANDY Sharon, don't you understand what's going on? The world's a disaster. We have no power to make it better. You hate your job. You hate your life. But you want to feel special. But instead of letting me do that, you're rushing off to something that's not even there. There's no Pearl, there's only us. SHARON flosses her teeth. SHARON I feel sorry for you, Randy, I really do. But you have to leave. RANDY I don't want to leave. I want to stay here with you. You know me. We know each other. We know each other's secrets, that's something. I think we can love each other, and I think you feel that too. SHARON There has to be something more. RANDY Why? SHARON cries. SHARON I'm tired of the pain in my life. I'm tired of feeling empty all the time. RANDY Let me help you. SHARON Why can't we let God help both of us? RANDY Because there is no God. And he is out the door. Hold on SHARON. EXTERIOR: DRIVEWAY. NIGHT. RANDY gets into his truck. Cut to: INTERIOR: SHARON'S APARTMENT. BEDROOM. NIGHT. SHARON reads the Bible the EVANGELISTS gave her and then simply clutches it. She tries to sleep, to relax. Her eyes close. Whatever it is, self-consciousness or doubt, she can't force herself to believe. SHARON (whisper) God, please, please, please help me. God, I'm lost. Cut to: EXTERIOR: ENDLESS BOULEVARD. DAY. SHARON drives aimlessly. She stops for a hitchhiker named TOMMY, rough-looking, with a bedroll and a rucksack. Cut to: INTERIOR: SHARON'S CAR. DAY. TOMMY Chicks don't usually stop for me. (No response from SHARON.) In fact, I think they think I'm dangerous. (Pause, again no response.) They're probably right. I'm not as dangerous as some guys I know, but I would never give myself a lift, that's for sure. No way. If I was a chick, no double-fucking way would I give me a lift. I've looked in the mirror. I've seen myself. I mean, with my thumb out, if I was a chick and I saw me, no sir. On the other hand, if I was a, if I was the one who was hitching and I was a chick, I'd stop for me in a second. In fact, I'd, I'd fuck me, too. In fact, if I was hitching and I was a chick, and I got stopped by a chick, I'd fuck me that way, too. Yeah. In fact, I wouldn't mind getting into a bi-girl scene with myself. Actually, you're the first chick that has ever given me a lift. I think other chicks don't pick me up because they can tell I carry a gun and I've been to prison in Vermont. I don't think they can tell I've been to prison, but that's where I'm from. Vermont. You ever been to Vermont? (SHARON doesn't answer.) I'm from the Lemon Fair Valley. Actually, there's no lemons in Vermont. Actually, it comes from the French, Lay Moan Vayer, which means the Green Mountains. Which is what Vermont means. Green Mountains. Vert: Green. Mont: Mountains. Vermont. Green Mountains. Anyway, my father's a farmer. I left home. What's your name? I'm Tommy. SHARON Sharon. TOMMY Oh yeah? With who? SHARON What? TOMMY Who you sharin' it with? You gonna share it with me? Cut to: EXTERIOR: ADULT MOTEL. DAY. Tracking shot past the entrance. SHARON'S is not the only car parked at the motel. INTERIOR: ADULT MOTEL. DAY. TOMMY is on the round bed. He plays with a knife. We hear the shower running. The camera peeks into the bathroom. INTERIOR: ADULT MOTEL. BATHROOM. DAY. SHARON is in the shower, dressed. TOMMY'S rucksack is just outside the bathroom. TOMMY Sharon? Did you know that the state bird of Vermont is the Hermit Thrush? I'll bet you didn't know that. The state flower is the Red Clover. Highest point is Mount Mansfield, I believe, which is four thousand three hundred ninety-three something, I don't know. Hey, have you got a quarter? Let's get some magic finger going in here. How would that be? INTERIOR: ADULT MOTEL. DAY. SHARON pulls a gun from TOMMY'S rucksack. He hears something, turns. SHARON is standing there dripping, with the gun. SHARON It's time for you to go. TOMMY Uhhh? SHARON You have to go, Tommy, and you have to leave me your gun. TOMMY Ahhhh! TOMMY raises his knife, she cocks the gun, and he plunges it into the bed. Dissolve to: EXTERIOR/INTERIOR: ADULT MOTEL. LATER. SHARON is in bed, the blankets pulled up over her head. She pulls the blankets down. She reaches beside her for her bag. She opens her bag. A pint of pear schnapps. She drinks half the schnapps. She takes the gun and puts it under her chin. She closes her eyes and holds the gun for a long moment. She opens her eyes. The disorder of the room bothers her. She gets out of the bed and puts everything from the bag but the gun back into it. The ashtray on the night table is filled with crushed butts. She pulls the drawer open to hide the ashtray, and she finds the Gideon Bible. She puts the ashtray on top of the Bible. She is a bit disgusted with herself; disappointed at her lack of resolve. Then she takes the Bible out of the drawer and opens it. She starts to read the Gospels. A golden light fills the room. SHARON is thrown backward by it, and before she's eclipsed by its brilliance: Dissolve to: Extreme close-up: a pearl. You've never seen a pearl this close, so close that we lose its shape. All we can see of it is the color: the changing white, silver, and pink. It is beautiful. You don't want it to go away. Dissolve to: INTERIOR: SHARON'S APARTMENT. DAY. SHARON is sleeping, smiling, at peace. She wakes up. Everything is different. She gets up. She goes to her closet and takes a simple dress from a hanger. She hears a door. VIC is behind her. She covers herself with the dress. SHARON Can I get dressed? VIC Where were you? SHARON Turn around. VIC Really? She nods. He does while she puts on the dress. VIC C'mon. Where have you been? SHARON I went away for a few days. VIC Who'd you go with? SHARON No one. VIC Meet anyone? SHARON Yes, yes, I did. I did meet someone. VIC can sense that something is different about her by the way she talks to him so directly and so calmly, and by her placid smile. VIC lies on the bed. She comes out from behind the door. VIC Are you okay? SHARON I'm fine, Vic. I'm really, really fine. VIC Unnh-uhh. No you're not. Something's going on. You've changed. You've got this look right now. SHARON What look? VIC That goofy smile. SHARON If I tell you, you're not going to believe me. But I have to tell you, so it really doesn't matter if you don't believe me. It doesn't matter to me. I mean it matters to me, but you're the one who really needs to hear this now. VIC You met a guy. SHARON Well, guy is not exactly the word I'd use for Him. VIC You fox, you fell in love. SHARON (deadly serious) Yes. VIC Wait until he finds out about you. SHARON Well, He knows all about me. VIC Is he as bad a boy as I am? SHARON I think you should meet Him. VIC Did you tell him about me? SHARON I told you, He knows everything. VIC He's rich, right? He's some rich guy, and you fell for some line of his. SHARON You could love Him, too. VIC (laughing) Oh, no, you fell in love with some rich homosexual. SHARON He's the Lord Jesus Christ, Vic. He's the Son of God. VIC jumps off the bed. VIC Sharon, did you quit your job? SHARON Why would I do that? VIC So you can go to the airport and sell flowers, or do whatever the cult wants you to do. SHARON You can't understand, but I know what that's like. Until it happens to you, until you accept God into your heart, it's like a fairy tale, it's like some joke that you just don't get. VIC I think you need to be deprogrammed. SHARON There's no cult, Vic. There's only God, and his message of Love. VIC Love. SHARON Love. VIC Look, you'll give this up, someday. I know you, you'll give this up. SHARON This is forever. VIC Everybody says that. SHARON This is different. VIC Everybody says that, too. (He is heading out the door.) Sharon, call me when this is over. SHARON is alone, content. Cut to: INTERIOR: TELEPHONE COMPANY INFORMATION OFFICE. DAY. Go down the rows of computer terminals, hearing other operators. Stop at SHARON. SHARON Hold for the number. Hi. Who's this? ... Hi, Susanna, this is Sharon. Have you met Jesus? ... Well, I'm sure you're in a hurry, but don't you think you could take time out to get to know your Lord and Savior? ... well okay, well, you have a good day too. What was the number you wanted? Here you go ... (Pause.) Hi, this is Sharon. Who's this? Hi, Maria. Have you met God? You have? Isn't He wonderful? She looks up and sees HENRY, her supervisor. Cut to: INTERIOR: TELEPHONE COMPANY. HENRY'S OFFICE. DAY. The door is closed. HENRY You're supposed to spend a maximum of fifteen seconds on each call. Do you know what your average has been? SHARON No. HENRY Take a guess. SHARON Twenty seconds? Twenty-five? HENRY Two minutes. You were clocked on one call at seven minutes fifteen. SHARON I am just trying to do my job. HENRY It seems like you're trying to do two jobs. SHARON (a little defiantly) We only have one job. HENRY That's right. And you're not doing the one you're being paid for. SHARON Henry, God made me an information operator for a reason. I'm in a position to spread His word to hundreds of people every day, personally. One-to-one. HENRY God. SHARON I know you can't believe this, but God is coming back to judge the world. And it's important, I have to tell people. We have to prepare for His return. HENRY takes his time before speaking. HENRY When did you first see the light? SHARON A few days ago. HENRY (neutral) Mmm-hmm. SHARON You don't believe me. HENRY Sometimes people have heard about the Pearl and they try to pretend like they've seen it, but you can always tell when they're lying. You just can't fake it. SHARON You? SHARON puts her hand on her heart. HENRY When they first meet Him, everyone thinks that Judgement Day is just around the corner. I remember that feeling very well; it's a powerful feeling. But ... that sense that it's going to happen tomorrow passes when tomorrow comes and He doesn't. And then you understand that those feelings, as powerful as they are, and the dreams, as real as they are, are still just shadows of the real thing, and no one can say how far away that real thing really is. SHARON The feeling is so strong. HENRY studies her. HENRY I don't know you, but I know you. A lot of people who have come to God are broken. They've been messed up by life. The unbelievers try to make it seem like there's something wrong with us, that we're stupid, but only the humble hear the voice of God. You're alone, aren't you? SHARON (tears forming) Yes. HENRY It's hard at the beginning. You give up your old life, and it's like you've come to a new country. Your old friends can not really be your friends anymore. SHARON What do I do? HENRY Trust in God, and take it easy on the phones. SHARON smiles. SHARON Who's The Boy? He looks at her. Cut to: INTERIOR: CHURCH. DAY. A small, spare room. No pews, only a circle of folding chairs. Perhaps twenty people are there. We're watching HENRY and his son, THE BOY, about ten years old. He never speaks out loud; he whispers behind a cupped hand into his father's ear. On SHARON, across from them, watching. On THE BOY: he cups a hand and speaks to HENRY. HENRY addresses the room. HENRY God is coming back. There are wars and rumors of wars, and a curse devours the Earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. THE BOY again whispers to his father. HENRY We have to wait. An OLDER WOMAN in the circle. SHARON For how long? THE BOY whispers to his father. HENRY Probably a few years. Five years, six years. The people in the room hug each other. SHARON gives herself to the hugs and gives hugs. Love without sex. Dissolve to: INTERIOR: RANDY'S WORKPLACE. RANDY sprays coating on a metal gate. SHARON arrives. SHARON Hi, Randy. RANDY (pretends to struggle to remember her name) Ohh, uhh, Sharon. Sharon. How's that apartment coming? Is it still unclean? SHARON No. RANDY So you found your salvation. Congratulations. SHARON I found God. RANDY Oh yeah? Is he going to move in, or did he keep his own place, or are you going to do that commuting thing? You've got to watch that; it's very tough on a relationship. Why are you here? They walk into an adjoining woodshop. SHARON I know you are as lost as I was, Randy, and I wanted to tell you that you could know God. If you just surrender your pride, you can know God. RANDY Sharon, it's just a drug. Instead of doing heroin, you're doing God, and I need sandpaper. SHARON Randy, God is real. God is not make- believe, and you know that. You don't want to admit that, because you're afraid. RANDY What am I afraid of? SHARON What we are all afraid of: God's judgement. RANDY No. I'm not. SHARON I don't want to lose you. RANDY You just want to save my soul. SHARON At least you know you have one. RANDY I don't want to tell my secrets in church. SHARON I'll pray for both of us. RANDY You'd stay with me even if I didn't pray? SHARON kisses RANDY. They hug. TITLE SUPERIMPOSED: SIX YEARS LATER INTERIOR: CHURCH. NIGHT. There are more people in the room now. THE BOY is older now; and although HENRY is beside him, he speaks directly. THE BOY So far, we're still in the realm of signs and wonders ... But the Rapture is coming. It says so in the Bible. Our bodies will be transformed into spirit. And then we will be caught up in a cloud to meet God. The end is coming soon ... This year ... RANDY takes SHARON'S hand. Cut to: INTERIOR: SHARON AND RANDY'S TOWN HOUSE. BEDROOM. NIGHT. The bedroom is now filled with Christian icons. SHARON and RANDY wake up together, shaken by the same image. RANDY Ever since I was a kid, I've had the feeling that something was going to happen to me. I always knew that when it happened, I would recognize it, and that I wouldn't mistake it for something else. I wouldn't have something happen to me and I would say, this is it! and then later on say, no, that wasn't it. It was a secret feeling, and I never told anybody about it. SHARON And what's the feeling now? RANDY Something's going to happen. INTERIOR: RANDY AND SHARON'S KITCHEN. DAY. SHARON and her daughter, MARY, six years old, sit at the kitchen table. MARY Where's Heaven? SHARON It's in the sky. MARY Why can't we see it? SHARON You will. MARY But why can't we see it now? SHARON Mary? Do you love Baby Jesus? MARY Yes. SHARON Then you'll see him really soon. Slowly dissolve to: EXTERIOR: SWIMMING POOL. DAY. We move through the water, and the change from the light is easy, gradual. The water is ethereal; we don't even know this is a pool yet; it could be a body of heavenly water. The calm surface of the pool explodes as a six-year-old- girl, MARY, bursts to the surface. SHARON moves through the water. Her friend PAULA floats on a raft. PAULA What does the Bible say? SHARON We who are alive who are saved will be taken bodily into Heaven. PAULA Ohhh, Sharon ... Sharon ... SHARON You can't accept God, can you? PAULA No. SHARON Well, maybe we should talk about that for a minute. PAULA (smiling) Okay, do you mean that if you're a Christian and you're ironing your shirts and the Rapture happens, you'll be taken to Heaven in the middle of doing the laundry? Or does God give you time to turn off the iron, or do your shirts burn? SHARON (joking but deadpan) I wear permanent press. PAULA Well, I mean what's supposed to happen? You are supposed to float up into the sky? SHARON In the twinkling of an eye. The body will be transformed into spirit. And there is a warning. If you listen, if you pray for it. We'll hear the sound of trumpets, God's angels. MARY listens. INTERIOR: RANDY'S WORKPLACE. DAY. RANDY is now a supervisor in a large insurance office. He is well groomed; his hair is cut short; he is a few pounds lighter. Other workers are around. RANDY is arguing with LOUIS, another worker. A security officer stands behind RANDY. RANDY Louis, I'm trying to say this without causing you a lot of pain. LOUIS Any way you say it, I'm fired, right? RANDY We have struggled together, but, you have to admit, it hasn't worked out. LOUIS That's because I'm not kissing ass around here, isn't it? RANDY Louis, it's because you're not doing your job. LOUIS You're not doing your job, banana- head. RANDY Louis, we've tried to help you, haven't we? LOUIS (crying) I don't want your fucking help. RANDY We took you to a counselor. LOUIS You took me to a homo. RANDY I took you to an A.A. meeting. LOUIS They were a bunch of a-holes. A-holes Anonymous. And you're an a-hole. And I'm tired of kissing your Christian a-hole. (To the security guard:) What are you looking at? RANDY Louis, I'll pray for you. LOUIS (wildly) Yeah, well, fuck you! Cut to: INTERIOR: RANDY AND SHARON'S APARTMENT. DAY. MARY and her parents, RANDY and SHARON, hold hands in a circle. This is a happy family. INTERIOR: RANDY'S WORKPLACE. DAY. We hear a blast. We see RANDY in his office at the corner of a hall. There are two bodies in the hall, and LOUIS walks down it with a gun. RANDY gets up from his desk and starts to come out. As he does, LOUIS shoots into an office. LOUIS goes into another office, and we hear two more shotgun blasts. RANDY is now out of his office and turning down the empty hall when LOUIS comes back into the hall. RANDY Louis. LOUIS No speeches, preacher. RANDY I have a little girl. LOUIS So what? And he blasts RANDY. Cut to: INTERIOR: SHARON AND RANDY'S TOWN HOUSE. DAY. MARY opens the front door. MARY Come in. The living room is filled with friends who have brought food to SHARON. MARY and other children play. SHARON talks to PAULA on a balcony. PAULA You see, now's one of those times when I wish I was a believer. SHARON Why? PAULA Because I would have a rock to stand on, because I could tell myself that everything was for the better because God has a plan. SHARON But it is, because He does. PAULA It is so hard for me, Sharon. I try to resist it as much as possible. SHARON So you do feel something tugging at you, don't you? PAULA I tell myself it's just conditioning, it's how I was raised. I tell myself that if we didn't tell our children about God, they wouldn't ask. It is a story we tell ourselves so everything makes sense. SHARON It's not. PAULA But how do you know? SHARON The Bible. PAULA Don't tell me the Bible. SHARON It's a question of faith. PAULA So there's no proof? SHARON Paula, the universe you live in is cold and filled with empty space. The universe I live in is filled with God. Cut to: INTERIOR: SHARON AND RANDY'S TOWN HOUSE. NIGHT. SHARON and MARY kneel at MARY'S bed, praying. MARY Will we see Daddy again? SHARON Yes. MARY When we die? SHARON Or when God takes us to Heaven. MARY When the Rapture comes, does that mean we die? SHARON Not exactly. MARY So you can go to Heaven without dying? SHARON Yeah. MARY But if you die, you can still go to Heaven. SHARON Yes. MARY So Daddy is going to Heaven. SHARON No, Daddy's already in Heaven. MARY If we pray to Daddy, can he hear us? SHARON Well, we pray to God, and God tells Daddy what we're saying. That way he can hear everything. Cut to: EXTERIOR: MINIMALL STAIRCASE. DAY. SHARON comes down the stairs and stops. Pull back to reveal: We are outside a Photolab in a corner pod mall. SHARON walks into view, looking at the snapshots of America rolling off the printer. In the photographs, we see RANDY wearing the clothes in which he died, and he's trying to reach her, trying to say something to her. Her husband appears improbably in a picture at the beach, standing behind a typical family. Then RANDY is pictured in the desert, standing on a tall rock pile, his arm raised, calling her to him. He's pleading with her. Cut to: INTERIOR: CHURCH. DAY. The room is filled; people are standing on chairs at the wall. There's still a circle in the middle, but it's smaller. HENRY and THE BOY are flanked by the two EVANGELISTS. SHARON is across from them, with MARY. Now THE BOY speaks. THE BOY This is from the Book of Revelation, chapter 12, verse 6. It says, "And the woman fled into the desert where she had a place prepared for her by God." Is anyone else getting visions that tell us we have to go to the desert? SHARON You don't believe me. THE BOY I do. SHARON What does it mean? THE BOY You're the only one who can hear these calls. It could be Satan. SHARON I don't think so. THE BOY Then God wants you for His special purpose. SHARON Please, come with me. THE BOY We haven't been invited. SHARON wants to cry. She gets up and takes Mary's hand. The crowd parts for her, making a path to the door. She starts walking toward it, about ten feet. SHARON But I'm scared. THE BOY Don't ask God to meet you halfway. SHARON What does that mean? THE BOY shakes his head no. HENRY (to THE BOY) What does that mean? THE BOY shakes his head. No, he won't answer. SHARON is scared. She opens the door. EXTERIOR: OUTSIDE THE CHURCH. SUNSET. SHARON and MARY are framed in the church door, the faithful behind them. They walk out into the sunset. Cut to: EXTERIOR: SHARON AND RANDY'S TOWN HOUSE. DAY. SHARON is packing a sports bag while PAULA watches her. PAULA is desperate. SHARON is calm. SHARON holds up a few of MARY'S dresses while she studies the clothes in her closet. PAULA has a shopping bag filled with food. PAULA Sharon, you can't just leave like this. SHARON Yes, I can. God is calling me. PAULA No, no, no ... Sharon ... what about Mary? SHARON God is calling her too. PAULA Why don't you sell the house? You can't just walk away from it. SHARON Of course, I can. There's a better house waiting for me. God is building me a mansion, right now. What should I wear? She takes out a few dresses. PAULA God won't come, the bank will own your home, and what are you going to do then? SHARON I'm going to Heaven, Paula. I'm going to Heaven. Mary and I are going to Heaven. And we'll wear these dresses, together, when we finally meet God. Randy always liked this dress. I'll wear it for him. I'll be seeing him soon. And he always loved to see Mary in this. PAULA sits on the bed. PAULA Don't you get a white robe and wings? SHARON Angels don't have wings. And I don't know about the robes. I don't know what they wear, but I guess I'll find out. SHARON packs a sweater. PAULA Then what's the sweater for? SHARON It gets cold at night in the desert. PAULA Winter is coming. You'll need more than a sweater. SHARON He's taking us soon, very soon. PAULA How do you know? SHARON He told me. PAULA Sharon, Sharon, listen to me. I don't know if you can hear me, but listen to me. You need food. SHARON Not that much. PAULA You need a tent. I don't want you guys sleeping out in the car. Okay. Candle, matches, flashlight. PAULA pulls the named items out of the bag. SHARON Thank you, Paula. PAULA You need something else. You can't go out to the desert alone, there's a lot of creeps out there, Sharon, and a woman alone, I'm scared. SHARON God will take care of us. PAULA Maybe. Insurance. She takes out a small handgun. SHARON Oh, Paula, no. PAULA You don't have to use it. But you have to take it. And you can bring it back to me when you come home. SHARON holds PAULA'S hand, and she looks at the gun. SHARON I'm not coming home. Cut to: EXTERIOR: DESERT CAMPGROUND. DAY. SHARON and MARY drive into a campground somewhere in the high desert. There are Joshua trees, yuccas, and large rocks and rock piles. MARY Mom? SHARON Yes, Mary. MARY This doesn't look like Heaven, Mom. SHARON This isn't Heaven, honey. MARY Then why stop here? SHARON Think of Heaven as a great big hotel or a big office building. MARY Yeah. SHARON Well, this is the lobby, this is where we have to wait. MARY For what? SHARON The elevator. Another car pulls up. Dissolve to: INTERIOR: TENT. NIGHT. SHARON and MARY sleeping. We go into SHARON'S dream. She is dreaming of the Pearl. Cut to: EXTERIOR: DESERT CAMPGROUND. DAY. ROCK CLIMBERS are high on the sheer face of a rock wall. MARY watches them. One CLIMBER rappels down the rock and lands beside them. He is lean, muscular, cool. MARY Are you waiting for God, too? CLIMBER Oh, is that what you guys are doing here? MARY God is coming back. CLIMBER Sounds good. MARY He really is. CLIMBER Okay. MARY He's coming tomorrow. SHARON No, soon, Mary. He's coming soon. They look up at the sky. EXTERIOR: DESERT CAMPGROUND. NIGHT. SHARON puts MARY to sleep in the tent. EXTERIOR: DESERT CAMPGROUND. LATE DAY. There isn't much food left or water. We hear a loud siren. SHARON grabs MARY. MARY grabs for her toy panda. SHARON That's it! That's it, Mary, here it comes, here it is, he's calling us, come on, hurry, hurry ... She runs with MARY up a rock formation, higher and higher. The sound continues. MARY drops her panda and screams out: MARY Panda! SHARON Mary, come on ... MARY No, Panda! SHARON scrambles back to get the doll. It is out of reach. She gets it. MARY hugs her panda, and they continue on up the rock until we have a good view of the whole campground. EXTERIOR: TOP OF ROCK PILE. DAY. The horn is still loud and clear. SHARON holds MARY, their faces lifted to the sky, waiting for the Rapture. We see a CLIMBER running across the parking lot to his car. He turns off the alarm, and the sound stops. SHARON remains frozen for a second; then she sits down. For the first time, we see real doubt and the beginning of defeat. MARY starts to cry. MARY I miss my Daddy. SHARON Honey, I miss your Daddy, too. MARY I want to see him again. SHARON You will, you will see him in Heaven. MARY Why can't we go to Heaven? Mommy, I want to go to Heaven. SHARON We have to wait until God calls us. MARY Did God call Daddy? When you die is that when God calls you? SHARON Yes. MARY Then I want to die. SHARON No, sweetie, no. MARY You want to go to Heaven, don't you? SHARON Yes. MARY And you believe that when we die we'll go to Heaven, because we're saved, right? SHARON Yes. MARY Then why can't we just die and go there really quickly and be with Daddy again? Why do we have to stay here and just hang around and wait for God? Come on, Mom, let's die. SHARON puts her arm around her. She is too young to really understand what she's asking for. SHARON Let's give God one more chance. Cut to: EXTERIOR: DESERT CAMPGROUND. DAY. A county sheriff's car drives into the campground. FOSTER MADISON gets out of it. MARY and SHARON pray at a picnic bench. Something about SHARON attracts him. He could be hard, but he is curious, soft. FOSTER Howdy. SHARON Hello. FOSTER I'm Foster Madison. SHARON Sharon. And Mary. FOSTER crouches to be closer to MARY. FOSTER Oh yeah? I have a sister named Mary. She's all grown-up now. MARY Are you with God? FOSTER I'm with the sheriff. MARY We're waiting for our father. FOSTER Where is he? MARY Heaven. FOSTER Don't you go to school? MARY I don't have to go to school. FOSTER looks at SHARON. SHARON I'm not asking you to understand, or to have faith, but the end of the world is coming, and we're a lot safer out here. MARY walks away. FOSTER Well, there's a two-week limit on staying here. SHARON Is that a limit on how long I can stay in the park, or how long I can use this campsite? FOSTER Actually, it's just a limit on how long you can use this particular campsite. SHARON (points to different campsites) So if I move over there, or over there, or over there ... I can stay for another two weeks. FOSTER wants to be fair; he sees a woman in need. FOSTER Technically. I can't stop you. SHARON Thank you. FOSTER Could I ask you a question? SHARON Sure. FOSTER Is this good for your little girl? SHARON Have you been saved? FOSTER No. SHARON Do you know what that means? FOSTER Yeah. SHARON Would you like to be? FOSTER Oh yeah, yeah sure, who wouldn't. SHARON Why is it so hard for you to pray? FOSTER You have to surrender to God, don't you? SHARON (not fully certain) That's right. FOSTER It's in my training. I don't give up my gun. SHARON But you'd like to believe. FOSTER That these are the last days? SHARON You know they are. God is coming back to judge the world. A lot of people are going to suffer. FOSTER I hope that's not true; but if there's no law against it, my hands are tied. SHARON smiles a little. SHARON I bet with a little prayer you'd be on my side in an hour. FOSTER Well, then it's time for me to go. Watch out for the coyotes. (To MARY:) Good-bye. MARY Good-bye. FOSTER gets back into his car. When he is gone, SHARON breaks down and cries. EXTERIOR: DESERT CAMPGROUND. NIGHT. The moon is behind clouds. Wind pulls at the tent flaps. INTERIOR: TENT. NIGHT. The camera moves toward SHARON. We're getting inside her dream again. Brief glimpses of an orgy. INTERIOR: SHARON'S DREAM. The Pearl recedes, gets smaller, and finally disappears. Blackness. MARY (voice-over) Mom ... Mommy ... INTERIOR: TENT. NIGHT. SHARON wakes up; her eyes are hollow. MARY is awake. MARY Mom ... SHARON (lost) What? MARY Mom, I'm hungry. EXTERIOR: DESERT CAMPGROUND. DAY. SHARON looks through trash cans. No food. She turns the water jugs upside down. No water. MARY watches her. MARY You said we'd give him one more chance. SHARON (impatient) Who? MARY God. You said you'd give God one more chance, and if we didn't get the Rapture that we could die. That's what you said. You promised. SHARON (gently avoiding the question) Baby ... MARY Don't you believe in God? SHARON Yes. MARY Don't you love God? Then why can't we just go to God? Go now. Now. SHARON doesn't answer immediately. SHARON (the implications are frightening) One more chance. Cut to: EXTERIOR: DESERT CAMPGROUND. NIGHT. A motorcycle comes into the campground. SHARON and MARY are in the tent. SHARON pokes her head out. The motorcycle comes closer. SHARON gets out. FOSTER, out of uniform, is on the motorcycle. FOSTER I ... I was in the neighborhood. SHARON And you thought you'd come by for a cup of sugar. FOSTER No. Actually, I came to bring you this. He reaches into his pack for a blanket. He hands it to her. SHARON We have sleeping bags. FOSTER Yeah, I know, I, it's just that sometimes you want to sit on the ground, you don't want to get dirty, it s nice to have a blanket. SHARON Thank you. FOSTER I, I brought your little girl a candy bar. I know moms are worried about cavities, so if you don't want to give it to her, you know, I'll understand. SHARON I'll give it to her. FOSTER You can share it. SHARON Thanks. He wants to talk. He looks at her. FOSTER Well, I'll check up on you again sometime, if that's okay. SHARON Thank you. And he rides away. She returns to the tent. INTERIOR: TENT. NIGHT. Close on MARY. She cries out in her sleep. MARY Mom! You have to make up your mind, now! Gabriel is coming, Mom, Gabriel is coming. (She wakes up, and she is in a kind of trance, staring at her mother, afraid for her.) He's God, Mom, He's God. Don't ask God to meet you halfway. (A final cry.) Mommy! SHARON Wake up, Mary, wake up. It's okay, baby, it's okay. MARY wakes up, and she cries deeply. Her face tells us everything: she has given up hope. SHARON Come on, baby, you're just hungry; we'll get something to eat. Come on, let's go to town. MARY No, we can't leave. SHARON Yes, we can. MARY But we don't need any food. God will give us food when we get to Heaven. I'll be in Heaven tonight. There was a river. And I was in Heaven. SHARON Where was I? MARY You were there. SHARON Good. MARY Sort of. You were there, but only sort of. SHARON tries to make sense of this. She can't; she's too tired right now for tests of faith. She smiles and looks her daughter in the eye. SHARON It's almost morning. As soon as the sun comes up, we'll go get something to eat. Cut to: EXTERIOR: JACK IN THE BOX DRIVE-THRU LINE. DAY. SHARON is at the pick-up window. The food order is put out for her. The CASHIER waits for the money. Behind him is the MANAGER. CASHIER Eleven dollars and twenty-eight cents, please. SHARON looks at him. He knows what the look means. CASHIER Oh, no you don't. SHARON quickly grabs the food and drives away. CASHIER Call the police. MANAGER No. CASHIER Why not? MANAGER She had a kid. INTERIOR: CAR. DAY. SHARON returns to the Joshua tree campsite. MARY devours her burger and fries. SHARON'S face is set. She is on the other side of something powerful. EXTERIOR: CAR. DAY. SHARON drives down a road. EXTERIOR: BURNED HILL. LATE AFTERNOON. SHARON and MARY walk up the hillside. MARY kneels and clutches her toy panda. SHARON stands behind her. SHARON Do you love me? MARY Yes. SHARON Do you love Jesus? MARY Yes. SHARON You know, in Heaven there's Jesus and Baby Jesus, together, and Baby Jesus has the special job, has the special job (breaking down) of looking out for all the children. Mary, do you love Baby Jesus? MARY Yes. SHARON It's not fair to make you pay because I'm lost. If God loves us, He'll understand. We're going to Heaven now. MARY We're going together? SHARON Together. Now we see the gun that PAULA gave her before she left home. The sun is going down. MARY And Daddy? Daddy's in Heaven. SHARON (this thought comforts her) Daddy. We'll see Daddy. Yes. And we'll be together forever because nothing is broken in Heaven. I love you. MARY Daddy. SHARON You have to love God, Mary, do you love God? MARY Yes. MARY makes a face as though she's about to enter icy water. With her panda tucked under her arm, she clasps her hands in prayer even harder. SHARON Tell Him that. Don't be afraid. SHARON pulls the trigger, and the gun fires. MARY is dead. SHARON takes the gun and puts it to her head. She holds the gun. We watch. We wait. Will she? Can she? She empties the gun into the air, screams at the sky; then she sits down on the ground; then she lies down beside MARY and goes to sleep. Fade-out. Fade-in: EXTERIOR: BURNED HILL. LATER. NIGHT. SHARON places a cross on the panda on top of the grave and then gets up. She walks away, empty. We hear hoofbeats, one horse, distant. The sound gets louder. INTERIOR: SHARON'S CAR. NIGHT. SHARON speeds down the highway, and everywhere she looks she sees a white horse flashing in her vision. Cut to: EXTERIOR: FREEWAY. NIGHT. SHARON keeps speeding. The white horse is gone. And then the red lights of a sheriff's police car appear in the mirror. The siren is close. She is sure she has been caught. She pulls over. The sheriff's OFFICER MADISON from the campground. He shines his searchlight on SHARON'S car. Then he walks to the car and knocks on her window. FOSTER Could you get out of the car, please? SHARON gets out of the car. FOSTER What happened to God? (He can see she is in some kind of distress.) What's wrong? She doesn't answer. FOSTER I have to see your license and registration, please. SHARON They're in the car. She gets them. She holds the license and registration out in her hand. FOSTER Thank you. Could you step over into the light, please? He takes the identification and goes back to his bike. SHARON nods yes. He studies the license. We look at him for a moment. He is not a bad man, and he is studying SHARON, less as another speeder than as a woman in obvious trouble. In the beginning, SHARON is catatonic; her answers are short and sparse. As FOSTER continues to press her, she starts to unravel. She realizes what she has done. FOSTER Here. Where's your little girl? SHARON She's with God. FOSTER She died? SHARON Yes. FOSTER Mary. SHARON Yes. FOSTER How? SHARON I killed her. I was going to kill myself too, but you can't get into Heaven if you kill yourself. You can get into Heaven if somebody else kills you but not if you kill yourself. Life is some kind of punishment, isn't it? You have to go through with it, even when you know what life is for. FOSTER What is life for? SHARON Ask God. FOSTER What does he say? SHARON I think He says that, basically, you have to love Him, no matter what. But I don't love Him, not anymore. He has too many rules. He told me to meet Him in the desert. And I did and I waited. He didn't come. He broke His promise. He let me kill my little girl. And He still expects me to love Him? I'm afraid of Hell, so I have to wait out my life, waiting for God. Now: He'll forgive me and He'll let me join my daughter and my husband in Heaven, but first I have to say I love Him. You can send me to the gas chamber, and if I let God into my heart before I die, then I can go to Heaven, because God is merciful. How fast was I going? FOSTER A hundred miles an hour. SHARON A hundred miles an hour. If I had gone off a bridge and died, would I have gone to Heaven? FOSTER I don't know. SHARON Neither do I. Dissolve to: INTERIOR: PRISON. DAY. A guard leads SHARON down a row of cells. A door is opened and then locked behind her. A woman on the next bed is reading the Bible, and when she lowers the book, we see it is ANGIE, the swinger with the tattoo. SHARON says nothing to her. ANGIE I know you. I should be embarrassed to even tell you where we met, but I'm not ashamed, I'm not ashamed of anything anymore, I found God, God found me. I was preaching the word of God at a shopping mall in Palm Springs, and they had me kicked out. So I went back in, and they had me arrested. Have you heard the word of God? (No reply.) It's the greatest gift of all time. You have to trust completely in God. He'll forgive all your sins. SHARON Who forgives God? And she turns away from her. Fade-out. INTERIOR: PRISON CELL. NIGHT. SHARON hears a sound from her cell. A flaming sword slices the air. The sword stops flaming when it cuts through the air. The sword is held by the ARCHANGEL MICHAEL. ANGIE sleeps. Another angel drifts into this scene outside the cell. MARY appears dressed as she was when she died. MARY (sincerely, with a little difficulty) God is coming back, Mommy. There are wars and rumors of wars, Mommy, and a curse devours the Earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. SHARON He said He was going to take us to Heaven. MARY Mother, listen to me. The living outnumber the dead. The Armies of the Lord are waiting for the Day of Judgement. Don't you still love God, Mommy? SHARON He left us, alone, in the desert. He let me kill you. MARY Do you still love Him? SHARON How can I love a God who let me kill my baby? MARY God loves you because you love Him. SHARON Why? MARY I know you want me back, but I can't come back, Mommy. I'm dead. SHARON looks as they vanish, then, after a beat, looks down. Cut to: INTERIOR: PRISON. NIGHT. We move through the cells. A trumpet plays one long, extended note. The prisoners look outside. ANGIE That's the first call. It's Gabriel blowing his trumpet. There will be six more calls. We have until the last call to repent. After that, it's too late. After that, it's too late. We hear the hoofbeats again, getting louder. People look up. The sound seems to be in the middle of the room. The sound of the hoofbeats is impossibly loud, and we see on the TV screen the faint image of a white horse over a ballgame. Then the game disappears, and we see the feet of the horse. ANGIE It's God. He's giving us a last chance to save ourselves. At war, the First Horseman of the Apocalypse. The horse is replaced by a trumpet. The channels are changed, and the golden trumpet blowing the pure tone is seen across every channel. It is a long trumpet raised high before a deep blue background. A hand holds the trumpet, but we don't see the angel's face. ANGIE begins to sing: ANGIE (sings) Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King; Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled! Joyful all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies; With th' angelic host proclaim Christ is born in Bethlehem. As she sings, the trumpet sounds again. The hoofbeats grow. The blast gets louder. Prison bars start to collapse. All of the bars fall out of the walls, collapse to the floor with a great noise. Women step slowly out of their cells. A helicopter sounds in the background. Everyone sits quietly. No one knows what to say. ANGIE What more do you need? SHARON Get out of here. ANGIE leaves. SHARON is alone in the cell. FOSTER walks down the corridor. SHARON What are you doing here? FOSTER I want to know what happens next. SHARON Are you scared? FOSTER I don't know. I never had any faith. But you did. SHARON Yep. FOSTER So? SHARON So. FOSTER Well, if the world is coming to an end, this isn't the place to be. Let's go. EXTERIOR: ROAD. DAY. SHARON rides behind FOSTER on his motorcycle. Hoofbeats are closer. The red horse ridden by a rider wielding a long sword chases them. The rider holds a pair of scales. The trumpet continues to sound. Cut to: EXTERIOR: THE ROAD. NIGHT. SHARON and FOSTER are on the bike. The night sky is filled with the image of a huge bull ridden by a ghostly woman holding an immense candelabra. Cut to: EXTERIOR: FARTHER DOWN THE ROAD. DUSK. The motorcycle comes to the crest of a hill. Smoke surrounds the two. It is impossible to go ahead. They stop driving. The smoke obscures everything now. Hoofbeats. The world is dissolving. The FOURTH HORSEMAN, DEATH, riding the pale horse, appears in the fog of smoke and comes slowly toward them. SHARON and FOSTER get off their motorbike and watch the horseman. Then, they begin to rise slowly into the smoke. She doesn't want this. SHARON No! No, I don't want to go. (To FOSTER:) Don't let me go. No! They disappear into the smoke. Dissolve to: EXTERIOR: LIMBO. NIGHT. We are in the dark. The noise has stopped. Then we see them, barely lit, a hint of something like moonlight on them. A voice, MARY'S: MARY Mom? (MARY walks out of the darkness. She is beside them, holding her panda.) Hi, Mom. FOSTER Is this Hell? SHARON (tenderly) Hello, Mary. SHARON walks to her, but MARY is just out of reach and stays there. FOSTER That's your daughter. SHARON Mary? Where are you? MARY I'm here. SHARON Where are we? MARY You know when you hear those songs about the river that washes away all your sins? Well, here it is. Heaven is on the other side of the river. FOSTER We're in Heaven. Why are we in Heaven? MARY You're not in Heaven. Heaven is over there. She points to the distance, into the darkness. FOSTER I can't see it. MARY It's there. If you love God, it's there. Foster. Do you love God for giving you the gift of life? FOSTER (whispers) Yes. Then he smiles, and then he disappears. SHARON No! MARY Mommy! Gabriel is coming. You have to make up your mind. SHARON There's nothing more to say. Take me to God, Mary. I have to speak to Him. MARY You have to love God. SHARON I love you, Mary. MARY That isn't enough. SHARON Baby, it's all I have. If life is a gift, if it really is a gift, and there really is a Heaven ... MARY There really is a Heaven. SHARON Then why should I thank Him for the gift of so much suffering, Mary, so much pain on the Earth that He created. Let me ask Him why? MARY Tell God you love Him. SHARON I can't. MARY If you don't tell God that you love Him, you can't go to Heaven. Tell God that you love Him. Mommy! SHARON No. And then we hear Gabriel's final call. Gabriel's melody is like the infinite regression of an image in parallel mirrors, and the melody stretches into the end of time. While they listen, a gold light, as though a sun is setting, fills SHARON'S face. MARY takes her hand and stands beside her. The gold light shines on both of them. MARY Do you see Heaven? SHARON Yes. MARY Isn't it beautiful? SHARON Yes. MARY lets go of SHARON. MARY Do you know how long you have to stay here? SHARON Yes. MARY fades away. MARY How long? And to the darkness, SHARON says: SHARON Forever. She is alone. We pull back.