be joe

Beautiful Joe

A Screenplay excerpt by Stephen Metcalfe
All Rights Reserved

EXT. THE BRONX – DAY

Establishing. Late winter. Cold, grey, gun metal sky.

New York skyline in the distance.

EXT. THE BRONX – DAY

A working class neighborhood. A guy named Joe parks his

old van in front of a corner market. Gets out. Tough

looking guy, Joe. Hard, plain face. But looks can lie.

Joe waves to one of the neighborhood’s old ladies. Shouts

a greeting. An Irish accent, Joe, fresh off the boat.

JOE

Hey yeh’, Miz O’Malley!

MRS. O’MALLEY

Joe, how are ya!?

JOE

Can’t complain. An’ you?

MRS. O’MALLY

Terrible. Just terrible.

JOE

Good, that’s good.

Joe enters the market.

INT. MARKET – DAY

Joe is looking through the pain relievers. A WOMAN his age

comes down the isle, looking for an item.

PAULINE

Joe, how ya doin’?

JOE

(looking up)

Ah, can’t complain, Pauline. An’ you?

PAULINE

What, you kiddin’ me?

She turns. At the end of the isle, two small boys, are in

a shopping cart, trying to kill each other.

JOE

Hey, Pauline, which a these is good for

headaches, ey?

PAULINE

What, you got headaches, Joe?

JOE

They come, they go.

PAULINE

You seen a doctor?

JOE

Yeh, he thinks I got tension. It’s

work related tension, he thinks.

PAULINE

What is it you do again?

JOE

I’m a florist.

PAULINE

Oh, that’s very intense.

A scream! They turn. At the end of the isle, one of the

boys is now flailing away with a half gallon plastic bottle

of milk.

PAULINE

Gino! I am trying to talk here!

And suddenly Joe winces, almost dizzy. This isn’t a

headache, this is a roadcrew in his skull.

PAULINE (O.C.))

I don’t care he hits you, hit him back!

Joe takes a deep breath as the headache subsides a bit.

PAULINE

You got kids, Joe?

JOE

No, Sylvie and I haven’t been so

fortunate.

PAULINE

Fortunate. That’s a good one. Here.

This is good for headaches.

She hands Joe pills; moves away.

PAULINE

Gino, I swear to God – !

Joe studies the bottle.

EXT. A STREET – THE BRONX – DAY

Neighborhood’s dreary. Old row houses. Clunker’s parked

on the street. Joe parks in his driveway. Gets out.

Notices the plumber’s truck parked in front of his house.

He reaches back into the van for bags of groceries.

INT. HOUSE – KITCHEN – DAY

Joe enters. Puts down his groceries. Frowns. Breakfast

dishes are on the table. He goes to the sink, gets himself

a glass of water. Opens the pain pills, takes two, drinks.

Good. Better. He begins to clear the breakfast dishes.

He hears something.

JOE

Sylv? Sylvie? Yeh back up the toilet

again?

INT. HOUSE – THE HALLWAY – CONTINUOUS

Joe comes down a hallway. Still hearing something. He

looks up the stairs towards the second floor. Starts up.

INT. HOUSE – AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS – CONTINUOUS

Joe doesn’t want to believe what he’s hearing – the

rhythmic creaking of springs. He moves down the hall.

INT. HOUSE – THE BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

Joe sticks his head around the corner of his bedroom door,

peeks in. In bed, his half dressed wife, Sylvia is on top

of a half dressed man, going to town. Joe stares,

dumbstruck. Hurt. Sylvia glances up. And screams!!!

She and the man flounder in the bedclothes like beached

fish and then – whump! – fall off the bed. Joe hasn’t

moved. Sylvia slowly peeks up over the edge of the bed.

SYLVIE

Joe… you’re home early.

JOE

I got a headache.

INT. LIVING ROOM – DAY

Through the living room window – the plumber’s truck peels

away from the curb. Joe and Sylvie are on the couch.

SYLVIE

I been unhappy, Joe.

JOE

I guess.

SYLVIE

There’s no excitement in my life, no

adventure.

JOE

Adventure.

SYLVIE

You’re boring, Joe. You work, you come

home, you clean, you cook. You’re like

the meals you cook. Balanced, no white

sugar, nothin’ deep fried.

JOE

Fried food is adventurous?

SYLVIE

Our sex is boring, Joe.

JOE

How was the plumber?

SYLVIE

He excited me. He said dirty words to

me while we was doin’ it.

JOE

I could say dirty words.

SYLVIE

Go on, you’re a gentleman, Joe, that’s

your problem. Let me hear you. Go on,

say something dirty to me.

JOE

You unfaithful fuckin’ dog.

Those weren’t quite the words Sylvie expected. She scowls.

SYLVIE

I want a divorce, Joe. I want the

house, I want half the bank account and

I want out.

Joe is silent.

SYLVIE

You’ll see, Joe. Worse things’ll

happen to you in your life than this.

INT. OFFICE – DAY

A doctor sits behind his desk.

DOCTOR

Joe, you have a brain tumor.

Joe sits in mute, stunned silence.

DOCTOR

I took the MRI and the cat scan results

to several other neurologists. They

concur.

Silence. Joe takes a deep breath.

JOE

So what do I take?

DOCTOR

Medicine doesn’t help something like

this, Joe. We need to operate.

JOE

You’re gonna go inside me head?

The doctor nods. Joe ponders a moment.

JOE

Will I still be me?

DOCTOR

The brain is a delicate thing, Joe.

JOE

No shit.

DOCTOR

The tumor is in a delicate place.

JOE

(a moment)

What if I don’t do nothin’? I mean,

headaches, I can live with headaches.

DOCTOR

It’s not as simple as that, Joe.

JOE

No?

DOCTOR

Joe… we won’t know if the tumor’s

malignant or not until we go in.

JOE

(a moment; this sinking in)

…how long can I wait?

DOCTOR

Two months at most.

Joe is silent.

EXT. IRISH PUB – THE BRONX – EVENING

Establishing.

INT. IRISH PUB – EVENING

A neighborhood local; not too crowded. Maps and posters of

Ireland on the wall. Roseanne on the TV behind the bar. A

beautifully dressed, sour looking guy, HAPPY, enters. He

greets; is greeted. He grabs the stool next to Joe. Like

Joe, he speaks with an Irish accent.

HAPPY

Joe, how y’doin’?

JOE

Hmm? Oh, good, Hap…

(realizing he always does

this)

… good. And yourself?

HAPPY

Fuckin’ awful. How about some service

here!? A man could die a’ thirst!

Joe?

JOE

Thanks, I’m fine.

HAPPY

And turn the channel! I want to hear

some fat cow complain I’ll go home to

me wife!

The bartender, FRANK, serves Happy his beer.

BARTENDER

Nice suit, Happy. Is it new?

HAPPY

Yeh.

BARTENDER

What is it, a wurst?

HAPPY

Frank, the only thing you know about

clothes is you got none, so shut the

fuck up, okay?

Frank takes Happy’s money. Happy slurps beer.

HAPPY

A wurst. Yeh, a fuckin’ bratwurst…

JOE

Hap. Can I ask you something? You

ever have adventures?

HAPPY

Adventures? Yeh, sure, I’m Indiana

friggin’ Jones. What a you talkin’

about, adventures?

JOE

Y’ever go places?

HAPPY

My job, I travel all the time. I hate

it.

JOE

What is it you do again, Hap?

HAPPY

…sales.

Frank, who has been listening, puts down Happy’s change.

FRANK

Me and the wife went to Disney World

last year, Joe. We found it very

adventurous.

JOE

How so?

FRANK

They got guys runnin’ around in mouse

suits.

HAPPY

Frank, go mop a toilet with your

moustache, fer chrissakes. Let

intelligent men have an intelligent

conversation. Mouse suits. Let me

tell you something, Joe. Everywhere

sucks. End a discussion.

JOE

A man should have adventures before he

dies. A man should do that.

Happy and Frank glance at one another uneasily as Joe

finishes his beer.

EXT. FLORIST SHOP – QUEENS – DAY

Joe comes out of the florist shop accompanied by an old man

in a rumpled overcoat, LOU. They walk down the sidewalk

towards Joe’s van.

LOU

You’re too good for her, Joe, you

always was. She’s a slut, she always

was.

JOE

Lou, you’re talkin’ about your own

daughter.

LOU

Her sixteenth birthday, I get up in the

middle of the night an’ come

downstairs? Her date, who I know she’s

never so much as been to the movies

with before, she’s givin’ him a ride in

the middle of the kitchen table – right

there, where in several hours her

mother an’ me’ll eatin’ cornflakes.

I’d always wondered how such a pig was

so popular with the lads. Now I knew.

A slut!

A Cadillac has casually pulled away from the curb. Keeping

a discrete distance, follows Joe and Lou down the street.

LOU

I thanked God when you walked into the

house, Joe. Fresh from the old

country. You was an answer to a

father’s prayers. We loved you. We

still do.

At the van now, Joe turns to take a last look at the

street.

LOU

Ah, Christ, I wish I understood what it

is you’re doin’, takin’ off like this,

not knowin’ you’re goin’…

JOE

I’ll know where I’m goin’ when I get

there, won’t I?

LOU

Yeah, well, when you get there and you

realize it’s no different than here,

come home. You’re the best with

flowers I ever seen, Joe. And you’re

good with kids and old people. They

like you.

JOE

I’d better be goin’, Lou.

Joe gets in the van.

LOU

Listen, you take care a those goddamn

headaches.

JOE

I will. I’ll be in touch, Lou.

Joe pulls away from the curb. Lou calls after him.

LOU

You know why you got headaches,

dontcha!? Cause my slut daughter,

she’s a headache!

Joe beeps. Lou watches the van disappears down the block.

He turns and walks towards the waiting Cadillac.

EXT. LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – AY

Establishing.

INT. PAWN SHOP – DAY

A diamond ring glitters under a jeweler’s light.

MICK (V.O.)

Very nice. Nice color. Good

workmanship.

Mick, jewelers glass in his eye, stares at the ring in his

hand. He is fifties, wears a cheap suit. On the other

side of the counter is HUSH MANSON. She is a very

attractive thirty who, when it comes to clothes, thinks

“tight” is elegant. She has the molasses drawl of an

Southern accent.

HUSH

The ring has tremendous sentimental

value. It was given to me by my second

only real true love, Jessie John-boy

Adams who offered it to me on bended

knee.

MICK

I never knew you were married, Hush.

HUSH

The engagement didn’t take. His

parent’s didn’t approve and Jessie, I

discovered, had a fairly major drug

problem that periodically turned him

homicidal. Tradition, however,

dictated that the ring once offered,

was mine to keep. Parting with it will

be like parting with part of myself so

I hope you’ll price it accordingly.

MICK

It’s glass.

HUSH

You… must be mistaken. Jessie

assured me it’d been in his family for

generations.

MICK

I know glass when I see it.

HUSH

You know toasters when you see’m!

(regaining her composure)

This… is a valuable piece, Mick.

It’s gotta be.

Mick shakes his head.

HUSH

Well… this is distressing news. Not

only does it put a crimp in plans I’d

made, it sullies further the memory of

a man I’d already come to regard as a

no good son of a bitch. What (sniff-

sniff) will you give me for it?

MICK

Thirty bucks tops.

HUSH

Aw, come on, Mick, it’s worth a hundred

easy!

MICK

Thirty bucks, Hush. And only cause I

find this song and dance entertaining.

HUSH

Mick, listen, I have got this sweet tip

on the third race out at the Downes.

An bonafide winner. I am also

presently into George the Geek for

twelve big ones, interest compounding

at like forty percent weekly and I need

to pay off! I can’t do that by putting

down thirty dollars. I need at least a

hundred.

MICK

No can do, kid.

HUSH

Mick, it’s a sure thangggggg!

MICK

Hush, what’s this on the shelf here?

HUSH

A radio alarm clock.

MICK

Your radio alarm clock. That imitation

Naugahyde sleeper in the corner?

That’s your sleeper. You want jewelry?

He pulls open a drawer. It’s full of rings and earrings

and bracelets and baubles.

MICK

Half the cheap shit in this drawer are

your “sure things”.

HUSH

Not all of it’s cheap.

MICK

Look, kid, here’s what I’m gonna do.

I’m gonna give you fifty bucks for this

ring of yours if you promise me you’ll

get on a bus and blow town before The

Geek knows you’re gone.

HUSH

You’re right, Mick. You always are.

You’re like a father to me.

(and then:)

Seventy five and you got a deal.

EXT. PAWN SHOP – LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – DAY

Hush comes out of the pawn shop, counting money. She

sighs, sticks it in her purse. A bus passes. She watches

it go down the street and turn into the depot.

EXT. CHURCHILL DOWNES – DAY

The horses race for the finish line at Churchill Downes.

EXT. CHURCHILL DOWNES – CONTINOUS

In the stands, Hush is on her feet, screaming.

HUSH

YES! COME ON, FELDSPAR, YOU CAN DO IT,

BABY, YES, YES… Yes… yes…. No…

no… oh, no…. you pig.

She falls into her seat. She looks towards heaven.

HUSH

Get me out of this one, I swear, I’ll

never do it again.

INT. CLUBHOUSE – DAY

Hush walks along, head bowed. Hardly seeing the crap on

the ground – ticket stubs, candy wrappers… the green of

folded money. Hush stoops and scoops up the bills. Unfolds

them… looks gratefully towards heaven… and turns and

hurries back towards the betting windows.

INT. BETTING WINDOWS – DAY

A loudspeaker is calling for final bets. Hush tosses a

racing form down and steps to a window.

HUSH

Two hundred on Studly Gent in the –

CLERK

(closing his window)

Next window.

Hush turns to another window. A guy in a leather jacket

ahead of her.

THE GUY

So, you’re saying, if I bet a dollar on

this horse here, I get back 30?

CLERK

If she wins. That’s what thirty to one

means, sport.

THE GUY

I’d say that’s pretty good.

Hush rolls her eyes.

CLERK

If ya like longshots. So ya wanna make

a bet or not, sport?

THE GUY

I guess I do, yeh… I’ll bet…

HUSH

Come on, come on…

THE CLERK’S POV – The guy, of course, is Joe.

JOE

Five hundred dollars.

Hush’s ears perk up. The clerk’s eyes register surprise.

CLERK

Five hundred on LaVerne in the fifth.

The man’s a player.

JOE

Thanks for your help.

He turns. Finds Hush staring at him. Politely tips an

imaginary hat. Moves by her. Hush steps to the window.

HUSH

Sucker born every minute, huh? A

hundred on Studly Gent in the fifth.

EXT. CHURCHILL DOWNES – DAY

Hush is once again in the stands, on her feet, screaming

her fool head off.

HUSH

COME ON, STUD! OH, OH! YES, GIVE IT

TO ME, STUD! YES! YES! YES…

Hush’s face tells us the outcome. She sags, devastated.

LOUDSPEAKER (O.C.)

It is official! The winner, by a nose,

LaVerne!

Hush’s looks up in outrage.

HUSH

No way!

She glances down towards the rail. Joe is there, looking

uncertainly at his ticket.

INT. BETTING WINDOWS – DAY

Hush stands, her mind racing. Joe is at the window. The

clerk hands him a cashier’s check. Joe nods his thanks.

Turns and walks. Hush licks her lips, smooths her skirt

and takes off after him.

INT. THE CLUBHOUSE – DAY

Joe is walking along, moving through the crowd. Hush comes

up from behind; walks along side him. Turns on the accent.

HUSH

Well now. Member me?

JOE

Well. Hello there. I surely do.

HUSH

You made quite a killing.

JOE

Ah, well, y’ know. Luck.

HUSH

Uh-huh. I guess a little bird didn’t

just happen to whisper in your ear

’bout that long shot.

JOE

Sorry?

HUSH

No. Good. You’re good. You had me

believin’ you didn’t know the score.

Joe doesn’t know what she’s talking about. He pleasantly

shrugs – gives the impression he knows exactly what’s she

talking about.

HUSH

So y’all gonna tell me your name or do

I have to ask?

JOE

Excuse me. It’s Joe.

HUSH

“Joe”, huh? Where you from Joe?

JOE

Dublin, Ireland originally. The Bronx,

Burrough of Manhattan most recently.

That’s New York.

HUSH

(suspicions confirmed)

Yeah, seems to me I know where that is.

JOE

How’d you do?

HUSH

Hmm? Oh. Win some, lose some. It’s

just recreation to me, I find it…

relaxin’.

JOE

You know, you sure talk nice.

HUSH

Darlin’? I do lotsa things nice.

She smiles and takes Joe’s arm. They head out the exit.

EXT. CHURCHILL DOWNES – DAY

Hush and Joe come of the clubhouse building. A NUN is

collecting donations from passing people.

HUSH

So. Whatcha gone do with all that

money you won, “Joe”?

Joe is looking back over his shoulder at the nun.

JOE

I hadn’t thought about it. It’s kinda

like funny money, y’know?

HUSH

Hysterical. Tell you what…

She goes into her purse, comes out with a pen and a card.

She scribbles on the card; hands it to him.

HUSH

I work at this club nights. You come

on by. This’ll get you in free.

JOE

(gesturing at the pen)

Can I use that?

HUSH

Darlin’, anything I got, just ask.

JOE

You mind if I…?

He turns her around. Using her shoulder as a desk, Joe

writes on something.

JOE

By the way, what’s your name?

HUSH

Hush.

JOE

Sorry?

HUSH

No, that’s my name. Apparently even as

a child I had a tendency to talk a bit.

Most folks consider it endearing.

Whatch-yall doin’, sugar?

JOE

There. Thanks.

HUSH

That’s your check.

JOE

Scuse me a second.

Joe walks back the nun. Hush watches in horror as he –

JOE

Here y’ go, Sister, you take this.

He hands her the check. She glances at it; almost faints.

NUN

Bless you. Bless you!

Joe walks back to Hush. She’s standing there, an aghast

look on her face.

JOE

What’s wrong, you okay?

HUSH

Okay? This is only the third time

today I’ve seen my whole damn life pass

before my eyes. That was the money you

won!

JOE

Yeh.

HUSH

And you just gave it away!?

JOE

It wasn’t like I expected to win –

HUSH

Wait a minute, wait a minute! You

didn’t expect to win?

JOE

No. Why would I?

HUSH

You didn’t have inside info that horse

was gonna win?

JOE

How would I have that?

HUSH

How!? You’re a hood, a goombah, you’re

connected! You’re the Paddy equivalent

of –

She bends her nose sideways; gives a Bronx cheer.

JOE

I’m a florist.

HUSH

Are you telling me you won a thirty to

one shot on dumb blind luck!?

JOE

I guess I did.

Hush mutters towards heaven. She turns and stalks off.

Hard to stalk anywhere in spiked high heels.

JOE

Should I still come by tonight?

HUSH

You come anywhere near me, I’ll call a

cop! I’ll call a lunatic asylum! I’ll

have you killed! You’re so ugly your

mother should be arrested!

She stumbles on. Joe watches her go. And now he looks at

the card she gave him. TIP-TOP CLUB!! YOU’VE SEEN THE

REST, NOW SEE THE BEST!

___________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________

___

EXT. TIP-TOP CLUB – LOUISVILLE – NIGHT

The same logo in neon. Beneath it – OIL AND MUD WRESTLING

TONIGHT!!!

INT. TIP-TOP CLUB – NIGHT

Rock music blares. Three mud encrusted Japanese men in

glasses and boxer shorts are getting beat on by six girls

in bikini’s. Their friends, in business suits, are

screaming encouragement from the ringside tables. The

place is mobbed. All men except for the scantily clad

waitresses.

INTERCUT: INT. SOUND BOOTH – CONTINUOUS

Hush is the MC of the floor show. She sits on a stool,

next to the D.J., TOMMY, mike in hand. The excitement in

her voice contradicts the bored expression on her face.

HUSH

…and Buxom Barb has her samarai

warrior in a leglock. He’s a kamikaze,

folks, he’s hopin’ to fly his plane

down the ship’s main stack!

(to the d.j.)

Where do these fools come from?

TOMMY

The Japs are in town for a computer

convention.

HUSH

Men. I swear, it’s like there’s this

never ending supply.

Down below one of the girls is slapping her opponent with

her breasts.

HUSH

(into the mike)

Whoa, looks like we got us a pillow

fight!

The man loses his glasses. A photographer circles, taking

pictures. Another man starts lose his shorts. He grabs

for them in embarrassment.

HUSH

Keep those shorts on, Tokyo Joe. Say,

is that a computer in those boxers or

are you happy to be here? Must be a

portable cause it sure ain’t a desktop.

The man is kicked in the ass. He falls forward onto his

face. The girl leaps on top of him.

HUSH

Joe’s in transistors. He’s havin’ an

“erectric” experience.

Hush’s groan of dismay is heard over the p.a.

HUSH

Lord. This is so lame I’m offending

myself. I swear, I was better off

dancing. Least I could day dream while

doin’ it.

The d.j. checks his watch, hits a button. The music ends.

HUSH

Okay, gents, let’s give our lovely

combatants a round of applause! Buy

those pictures before your friends do

and don’t forget to tip your

waitresses. (Get a life.)

And turning, Hush heads for the door.

TOMMY

(into his mike)

Thank you, den mother Natasha! And

now, on the main stage! One hot lady!

Sassy Sue from Tocaloo!

A girl comes out onto the main stage and begins dancing.

INT. THE CLUB – CONTINUOUS

Hush comes out of the sound booth, makes her way through

the crowded room towards the bar.

AT THE BAR –

Hush walks up to the service bar. Calls to the bartender.

HUSH

Diet Coke, Billy, when you got a

chance.

Hush suddenly freezes. Sitting halfway down the bar is a

handsome, Elvis Presley clone. He smiles at Hush. Hush

swallows whatever she’s feeling and moves down the bar.

ON ELTON AND HUSH –

ELTON

Hello there, sweet thing.

HUSH

Go sweet thing yourself, Elton. It’s

been 6 months.

ELTON

You know how it is. Things come up.

HUSH

You said you was goin’ to the corner

for a pack of cigarettes.

Elton just grins.

HUSH

Look, are you here for a reason? Cause

if I don’t get away from you in about

two seconds I’m gonna slap your face or

puke in your lap.

ELTON

I got a job, Hush.

HUSH

You? That’s a laugh.

ELTON

I do. Working for a friend of yours.

HUSH

If they hired you, they’re no friend of

mine.

ELTON

George’ll be sorry to hear that.

George the Geek? You owe him, darlin’.

He wants his money. You don’t have it,

I’m supposed to take it out of your

hide.

HUSH

You would do that after all that’s gone

between us?

ELTON

I’d enjoy it.

HUSH

Any remote semblance of an orgasm I

ever had with you was feigned.

Hush turns and walks away.

HUSH

crosses the club floor and enters the sound booth.

IN THE SOUND BOOTH

Hush comes up the steps and sitting on her stool, lets the

tough facade drop.

TOMMY

A nice round of applause, gentlemen,

for Sassy Sue! And now, on the main

stage, back by popular request! Get

your hands out of your pockets for that

celestial goddess… Ariel!

(turning from the mike)

What’s the matter, kid?

HUSH

Nothin’. I oughta just shoot myself is

all, end my misery.

TOMMY

Get in line for the gun.

Hush stares out of the booth out onto the floor of the

club. And suddenly sees something.

HUSH

Oh, Lord… now this is all I need.

Joe has entered the club. He stands, looking around

uncertainly. “Sassy Sue” passes him, near naked, trailing

her costume.

TOMMY

Friend of yours?

HUSH

Nah, just some guy I met out at the

track today. Dumb bastard hit the

jackpot and then gave it all to a nun.

TOMMY

Must be nice to be so rich.

Hush freezes. She hadn’t thought of that.

INT. THE CLUB – NIGHT

Joe is now sitting at a table. He looks up as Hush

suddenly sits down next to him, seductively close.

HUSH

Well, well. You made it.

JOE

I had the time. How yeh doin’?

HUSH

Couldn’t be better… now. Whatcha

drinkin’, lover?

JOE

Club soda.

HUSH

Is it good?

JOE

It costs five dollars.

HUSH

Worthy every penny.

(to a passing waitress)

Southern comfort, Glynis, a double.

Same for Beautiful Joe here too.

Hush can see Elton sitting at the bar, staring at her.

HUSH

So… ever been to a place like this

before, Joe?

JOE

Not like this one.

HUSH

Lemme tell you something, hon. Women

love takin’ their clothes off in front

of strangers. It turns us on.

JOE

Does it?

HUSH

Oh, yeah. Sometimes a girl needs a

cold shower just to cool off.

JOE

Personally, I think it’d be very

depressin’.

She stares at him, speechless.

JOE

For m’self anyway.

HUSH

Are you messin’ with me, buster?

JOE

In what way?

HUSH

(to the heavens)

Oh, god, why am I doin’ this? Give me

one reason why I should be puttin’

myself through this torture –

The waitress arrives with the drinks. Joe pays. And Hush

sees that Joe’s wallet is bursting with cash.

HUSH

So… “Joe”… wanna wrestle in the mud

with some of the girls?

JOE

Me?

HUSH

Darlin’, in my opinion, a man who

hasn’t tumbled naked in goo with

several well endowed females has not

fully experienced life.

Joe thinks about it. She might be right.

TOMMY (O.C.)

(over the speakers)

In this corner, weighing in at a 125

pounds of punch and pulchritude –

INT. THE CLUB – LATER

Three girls in bikinis are glaring across the mud pit at

Joe. Joe is in a bathing suit. Hush is next to him.

TOMMY

(over the speakers)

– the Astounding Ashley. Her partners,

from exotic New Orleans, Monique and

Scarlet!

JOE

What do I get if I win?

HUSH

Darlin’… it’s the journey that

counts, not the destination.

She pushes him into the ring. The girls scream and run at

Joe, knocking him down.

HUSH

I should be ashamed of myself.

Hush turns away.

AT THE BAR

Elton watches Hush disappear into the back.

BACKSTAGE –

Hush moves down a hallway towards a dressing room. Checks

to see that no one’s around. Unlocks the door. Enters.

IN THE PIT –

Joe is getting the crap beat out of him.

IN THE DRESSING ROOM –

Hush picks up Joe’s carefully folded pants. Removes his

wallet. Opens it. So much cash. Hush sighs. She isn’t

a thief, just desperate. She puts a few bills back in

Joe’s pants pocket. She thinks she hears something. She

tosses the pants back on the chair; moves to the door.

Peeks out. Exits. Joe’s pants fall to the floor.

IN THE CLUB –

Hush comes out from backstage and moves towards the bar.

Behind her, Joe is covered with women.

IN THE PIT –

Ashley has Joe’s head in a leg scissors.

ASHLEY

Scream when it hurts, hon.

JOE

No, I’m enjoying meself, thanks.

AT THE BAR –

Hush circles the bar and passes Elton without stopping.

HUSH

Meet me around the side in five

minutes.

She moves back across the flkoor towards the wrestling pit.

The music comes to an end.

TOMMY

(over speakers)

Let’s hear it for our lovely

combatants!

IN THE PIT –

The girls help Joe to his feet. Scarlet kisses him on the

cheek.

SCARLET

Thanks, baby, you were the best.

JOE

You were very formidable yourself.

Ashley passes Hush. She grins, mouths the words – “big

dick” – and winks.

HUSH

Well, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

(to Joe)

There now. That weren’t so bad, was

it? Let’s get you showered up and then

you can check out the free

commemorative photos that I’m sure

you’ll want to share with the entire

family.

They move towards the dressing room.

AT THE BAR –

Elton watches them go. He finishes his drink. He rises.

IN A BACKSTAGE HALLWAY –

HUSH

There’s towels back there. Shampoo.

You need anything else, you holler.

JOE

Can I buy you a cup of something after?

Guilt plays across Hush’s face.

HUSH

Save your money, Joe. Go. Get

dressed.

He moves down the hall. She watches him unlock the door;

look back at her; enter. Hush sighs, turns away.

IN THE CLUB –

Hush comes out from backstage, hurries across the floor and

out the front door.

IN THE DRESSING ROOM –

Joe wipes mud off his face. And now he sees that his pants

are on the floor. He picks them up. Sees his wallet is

gone. He begins pulling his clothes on.

EXT. THE CLUB – NIGHT –

Hush comes down the alley that adjoins the club.

HUSH

Elton? Elton, you here? Aw, don’t

play games with me, ya dumbass.

And Elton leaps out from behind a dumpster.

ELTON

Boo!

Hush shrieks. Elton laughs.

HUSH

You’re such a moron.

ELTON

Watch your mouth.

HUSH

Oh, shut-up. You been called a moron

so much you think it’s an endearment.

IN THE CLUB –

Joe is looking around for Hush. Waitresses stare – he

still has mud in his hair.

IN THE ALLEY –

Elton is holding Joe’s wallet; counting the cash.

HUSH

It’s almost eight thousand dollars.

ELTON

I can count.

HUSH

Since when?

Elton puts the wallet into his pocket.

ELTON

Pleasure doing business with you, Hush.

Now where’s the rest of it.

HUSH

Aw, come on, Elton, There’s credit

cards there, tell the Geek to charge

some clothes or something.

He grins. And slaps her, knocking her back.

HUSH

Bastard! What’d ya do that for!?

ELTON

Look at it this way, Hush. The

interest on four thousand bucks is

going to hurt a lot less than the

interest on twelve.

She faces him, seemingly resigned…

HUSH

Aw, Lord… just don’t hit me in the

face is all…

And Hush suddenly lashes out, kicking Elton in the groin.

He doubles over. Hush turns and runs.

ELTON

You are dead meat!

He chases her down the alley. Hush sprinting – tough in

high heels. Elton gains on her. He leaps and sprawls,

just grabbing her ankle. Hush falls with a shriek. And

bumps into somebody’s legs. She looks up. Joe.

JOE

Can we talk?

Hush shrieks as Elton drags her back towards him.

HUSH

Him! I gave your wallet to him! He

has your money, he does!

Elton drags Hush to her feet.

ELTON

You! Fuck off!

JOE

No way to treat a lady, is it, lad.

Maybe you oughta be lettin’ her go.

ELTON

Say what?

HUSH

He said, let me go, Elton! You know

what’s good for you, ya will!

ELTON

Who is this clown?

HUSH

You don’t want to know. Just get out

of here now and maybe he’ll let you

live.

JOE

Actually, all I want is me money back.

Hush glares at Joe – shut up!

ELTON

Ah, Christ. What a friggin’ night.

And he releases Hush and turns towards Joe.

JOE

Can we at least talk about this like

adults?

ELTON

Sure. Whatever you say… let’s talk.

He meaningfully cracks his knuckles. Hush takes the

opportunity to viciously kick Elton in the shins.

ELTON

Ah! You bitch!

Hush promptly kicks Elton in the other leg.

ELTON

(staggering)

Ah! That does it. You both die!

Hush grabs for a trashcan lid.

HUSH

Run and get help!

JOE

Can I have me wallet back first?

ELTON

Arghhh!

And he starts for Joe. WHAM! Hush swings the trash lid

into his face. Elton staggers. Hush rears back and

wallops him over the head. Elton falls. On the ground, he

blinks, groggy. He looks up. Joe is peering down at him,

concerned.

JOE

Y’ all right?

Elton rolls away, scrambles up and staggers down the alley.

ELTON

You’re going be sorry you ever met me!

He turns and runs; disappears into the night.

JOE

Friend of yours?

HUSH

Nah, we just lived together for about

six months.

(tossing the trashcan lid

aside)

I need a drink.

JOE

I hope you’re buying.

INT. TIP-TOP CLUB BAR – NIGHT

Hush drains a shot of Southern Comfort. The bartender

refills her glass.

JOE

A loan, is it?

HUSH

All I need is one good day at the

track.

JOE

You’re good at this gambling, are yeh?

HUSH

Is the Pope Catholic?

JOE

This lad you’re owin’ so much money to.

What’s he do again?

HUSH

He’s a bookie and loan shark.

JOE

I think the Pope in this case is

Protestant.

She scowls; drains her drink. Rises from her stool.

HUSH

Got a place to stay?

JOE

Not hardly.

HUSH

Come on. You can stay the night with

me.

JOE

That’s very nice of you.

HUSH

Idn’t it though? Plus I need a ride

home.

EXT. LOUISVILLE – NIGHT –

Joe’s van moves through the city streets.

INT. JOE’S VAN – NIGHT

Joe and Hush drive in silence. And then:

JOE

I keep thinking you’re gonna say

something.

HUSH

Like what?

JOE

I dunno… like an apology.

HUSH

You didn’t have to show up tonight.

EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING – LOUISVILLE – NIGHT

The van pulls to a stop. Joe and Hush get out. The

neighborhood’s old, run down. Joe looking around.

HUSH

I know what you’re thinking.

JOE

What’s that?

HUSH

The neighborhood’s a dump. Well, for

your information, gentrification’s due

any day now. Some homos have moved in

so it’s only a matter of time.

They head up the walk.

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING – NIGHT

They come up the stairs to the second floor. Hush unlocks

an apartment door.

HUSH

Just be quiet, okay? Last thing I need

is the old lady upstairs pounding on

the floor with her cane.

They enter.

INT. APARTMENT – CONTINUOUS

Joe looking around as Hush turns on lights. Needless to

say, Hush is not a housekeeper.

JOE

Gentrification’s due any day, is it?

HUSH

(embarassed)

…it was the housekeeper’s day off or

she must not a’ come… I was raised

with servants, see, I never got into

the habit of pickin’ up.

(annoyed)

You don’t like it, go sleep on a park

bench.

JOE

No, it’s fine. My ex-wife, she must of

been raised by servants too.

HUSH

Come on.

She leads him down the hallway.

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

Hush enters, Joe behind her. Hush turns on the light.

Kicks off her shoes; rubs her feet.

HUSH

Lord, my feet are killing me. It’s one

of the main reasons I quit strippin’.

Prancin’ around like some pony in six

inch heels was the pits.

Joe is looking a little uncomfortable. Especially as Hush

proceeds to strip down to a camisole and panties.

HUSH

And to think I once took modern dance.

You could see it in the way I moved on

stage. I didn’t so much take my

clothes off as do an interpretive

dance. All so a bunch a drunks could

droolin’ on my kneecaps. I tell you,

life sure can stink. I’m just lucky I

have my Momma’s optimistic nature. She

was a dancer too. It’s also from her I

inherited my artistic temperament.

And with that, Hush lifts off her hair-do. We realize now

it’s a rather elaborate wig. Underneath it, Hush’s fine,

fair hair is cut short.

HUSH

(ruffling her hair)

… ah. That’s better.

(looking at herself in the

mirror)

Lord, I’m gettin’ old and fat.

She waits a moment for him to contradict her. He doesn’t.

HUSH

Well… ain’tcha gonna get undressed,

lover?

JOE

Am I sleeping here?

She turnsto him; seductively straightens his collar, kisses

his cheek.

HUSH

Thought you might want to. Just my

little way of saying… thanks. For

being so understanding.

She nuzzles his neck. Give a fake little moan of passion.

She begins to unbutton his shirt.

JOE

Can I ask you something?

HUSH

Sure, hon. Ooh… you make me so hot.

JOE

What traumatic childhood event ever

happened that you should be offerin’

yourself to complete strangers?

She freezes. She steps back. She glares at him.

JOE

Not that I don’t find you very

attractive. Maybe after we get to know

each other a little better, ey?

HUSH

Buster-brown, this was the only chance

you was ever gonna get. Out.

Joe starts backing towards the door. She picks up a shoe.

HUSH

I said, get out!

She throws the shoe. It flies past his head. She reaches

for the second shoe.

JOE

Good night then. And thanks much for

the hospitality.

He quickly closes the door behind him. The second shoe

bangs off the doorjamb.

HUSH

I swear, what’d I ever do that God made

me so magnanimous to mushheaded

mutants!

A moment. Something bangs overhead. It sounds like a

cane.

HUSH

Oh, shut up.

And she throws herself on the bed.

IN THE LIVING ROOM

Joe makes himself comfortable on the couch. He’s lying on

something. It’s a plastic pony. He tosses it aside. He

rubs his temples – he has a headache. He sighs, trying not

to worry. He stares out the living room window at the

streetlight. REVERSE ON JOE – As we pull back and out.

EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING – MORNING

Establishing shot. Somewhere a garbage truck is whining.

INT. APARTMENT – MORNING

Joe. Asleep, his jacket covering him. He opens one eye.

Opens both eyes. Stares. A boy, age 6, is about as foot

away, staring at him. He’s holding the plastic pony.

JOE

How yeh doin’?

The boy turns and exits into the kitchen. Joe gets up.

INT. THE KITCHEN – MORNING

Joe sticks his head in. Stares. The boy – his name is

LeE – and a girl, VIVIEN, 11, stare back at him. Vivien is

remarkable looking; a mix of black and white; chocolate

skin, blue eyes; curly hair. She is sitting at the table,

not so much eating as playing with a bowl of cereal.

Neither child seems remotely surprised at Joe’s presence in

the apartment. Joe enters.

JOE

Hello. I’m Joe.

(more silence)

You, I take it, are the children of the

establishment?

VIVIEN

(sounding like Hush; a

Southern accent)

We’re not supposed to talk t’

strangers.

JOE

Oh. Well, then, we’ll wait to be

formally introduced.

(a beat)

Breakfast, is it? Good, that’s good.

No answer. He picks up the cereal box. Looks at it.

JOE

It’s none of my business but this is

nothing but white flour and sugar.

Empty calories. Breakfast is the most

important meal of the day. You should

always eat a good breakfast.

He opens the fridge. Not much. The cupboard. Even less.

Joe turns. The kids are just staring at him.

INT. HUSH’S BEDROOM – MORNING

Hush is asleep. Her nose wrinkles. Even asleep, she

smells something. Now she’s awake. She sniffs, sniffs

again.

IN THE KITCHEN –

Joe has a pan and a spatula in hand.

JOE

Who’s ready for another one?

VIVIEN

Me, I am.

Joe puts a pancake on Vivien’s plate.

JOE

And how about you.

Lee just stares at him.

VIVIEN

Lee don’t talk.

JOE

No? Why not?

VIVIEN

He just doesn’t.

JOE

Strong silent type, is it?

(a beat; to Lee)

Somebody’s gotta eat it.

Lee hesitates, then holds up his plate. Joe plops the

pancake down.

JOE

All right then! And maple syrup?

Lee nods. Joe pours. Hush enters.

HUSH

What the hell is goin’ on here?

JOE

Hey! Well now, you’re up. And look at

you. Your face all over your face.

HUSH

Huh?

She checks her reflection in the oven window. She didn’t

take off her make-up last night before going to bed.

HUSH

Oh, God…

(wiping at her face)

You wanna tell me what it is you think

you’re doin”?

VIVIEN

We’re having breakfast, Momma.

HUSH

I can see that. Where’d all this

stuff come from?

JOE

I went out. I bought a few things.

VIVIEN

Pancakes, Momma. Whole wheat with

banana.

HUSH

I’m gonna be sick, then I’m going back

to bed. Okay, look, you have no right

to go out an’ buy food for my kids.

JOE

They were eating shit.

HUSH

Perfectly good shit, thank you. And

even if it weren’t, we don’t take

charity from strangers.

VIVIEN

His name’s Joe, Momma.

JOE

I know his name, Vivien, and do not eat

another bite a that.

VIVIEN

You always say it’s a sin to waste

food.

HUSH

I say a lot of things, you know I don’t

mean half of them.

Hush falls into a chair, exhausted by all this.

HUSH

All right, did you at least get coffee?

JOE

As a matter of fact.

HUSH

I don’t see it.

JOE

You don’t have a pot.

HUSH

Oh, lord, one of those people who makes

it themselves.

(rising; starting to exit)

Okay. Thank you for making breakfast

for my kids. After you clean up,

leave.

JOE

(sitting; beginning to eat)

Actually, I been thinkin’.

Someting in his voice stopping her.

HUSH

Oh, you do that? Think?

JOE

Now and again. I think we ought to go

have a talk with these lads of yours.

HUSH

What “lads” we talkin’ about?

JOE

The ones took my wallet.

HUSH

Ho-ho. About what?

JOE

About givin’ it back.

HUSH

That’ll be the day.

JOE

And why not?

HUSH

Because they’ll laugh in your face

before they break it is why not.

Because you kicked Elton’s acne covered

butt –

JOE

I did?

HUSH

– because I still owe the Geek money –

VIVIEN

Elton’s back?

HUSH

– and he wanted it last week. Lord, do

I gotta explain everything around here?

VIVIEN

Are you getting back with Elton? Cause

he used to try and open the door while

I was in the bathtub.

Silence. This news just about makes Hush sick.

HUSH

…y’see? You scared her, bringing up

unpleasant things at the breakfast

table.

A moment. Hush turns and exits.

JOE

There’s more orange juice in the

fridge.

Joe rises.

INT. THE BEDROOM – NIGHT

Hush has her back to Joe as he enters. And now Joe sees

that she is weeping. With anger and frustration.

HUSH

I’ll kill him, I swear I will. Think

what you want of me, I love my kids.

I’m no Betty Crocker but I love my

kids. My problem is I’m attracted to

psychos. It’s a disturbing

characteristic.

JOE

You got an address or phone number?

I’m gonna go talk to this Geek lad.

HUSH

Are you really this brave or are you

just stupid?

JOE

What’s the worst they can do? Open up

me head?

(and then:)

Come on. There’s still the makings for

a few pancakes left.

HUSH

Do I look like the kind of woman that

eats pancakes? Do I?

JOE

No. Maybe that’s why you should.

Joe exits.

HUSH

Pancakes, shit… my favorite.

EXT. LOUISVILLE – DAY

A working class neighborhood. Joe’s van moves down the

street. Joe and Hush in front. They stop at a light.

IN THE VAN –

Joe in his leather jacket. Hush doing her make-up in the

mirror, trying to pretend she’s not frightened.

HUSH

That place on the corner.

On old pub. Joe nods.

ON THE VAN AS –

Joe drives through the light and pulls to the curb.

INT. THE VAN – CONTINUOUS –

Hush nervously looks at Joe as he gets out of the van.

HUSH

Wait!

He turns back. Hush wants to say something profound…

HUSH

…leave the keys.

He tosses her the keys. Hush watches him cross the street

towards the bar.

EXT. THE STREET – CONTINUOUS

Joe comes up the sidewalk. He stops in front of the pub.

He should be frightened. He’s not. In fact, he’s never

felt more alive. Nothing to lose, he enters.

INT. BAR – CONTINUOUS

A dive. Joe makes his way to the bar. The barman, 50’s,

approaches and wipes the bar in front of Joe.

JOE

How y’ doin’. Club soda.

IN A DOOR IN THE BACK OF THE BAR –

A peep hole opens… then closes.

AT THE BAR –

The bartender puts the club soda down in front of Joe.

JOE

Lime?

BARMAN

Now you’re pushing your luck.

JOE

I’m lookin’ for George the Geek.

BARMAN

He doesn’t like people calling him that

to his face.

JOE

Is he here?

Before the barman can answer, Elton steps to the bar next

to Joe. Bandaids on his forehead. Behind him is a huge,

dumb looking guy, HOWDY and a small, mean looking guy,

MOUSE.

ELTON

Well, well, look what the cat drug in.

JOE

Well, now. Elton, is it. And friends.

MOUSE

We got a problem here, Louis?

BARTENDER

Gentleman wants to see Mr. Jenkins.

ELTON

Aw, this is an coincidence. Mr.

Jenkins wants to see him.

MOUSE

On your feet.

JOE

(To Elton; his club soda)

Your shout, idn’t it?

Elton hesitates; and then annoyed, puts a bill on the bar.

Joe slides it to the bartender.

JOE

Keep the change.

Joe turns and walks towards the back. Mouse smirks at

Elton. Elton scowls. They all follow Joe to the back

where they go through the door.

INT. HALLWAY – CONTINUOUS

They enter and move down a brick hallway past old beer kegs

and stacked bottles of beer. Joe’s sense of calm is making

Elton, Mouse and Howdy nervous.

MOUSE

This guy took you out, huh?

Joe glances at Elton. Elton won’t meet his gaze.

HOWDY

He don’t look so tough to me.

They move towards a door at the end of the hall.

INT. OFFICE – CONTINUOUS

The door opens. Howdy pushes Joe into the room. Elton

steps in behind him. The office is surprisingly elegant;

more like a men’s club than anything else. The sound of

pruning sheers clipping.

JOE

How yeh doin’? You must be George the

Geek.

A well dressed man in tweeds, bow tie and tortoise shell

glasses is pruning some potted flowers. The man freezes;

slowly looks up, stares coldly at Joe.

JOE

(crossing towards him)

Orchids, ey? Nice. Except this room

is all wrong for’m. You want my

advice, you’ll take’m in the bathroom,

close the shades, turn on the shower.

They’ll thank you for it.

And now Joe suddenly reaches out and touches George’s

jacket, startling him.

JOE

(remembering:)

Nice jacket. Is it a wurst?

Putting down his pruning sheers, George turns; crosses to

his desk.

GEORGE

You seem to know clothes as well as

flowers, my friend.

JOE

Ah, well, you know…

GEORGE

No. As a matter of fact, I don’t know.

I don’t know anything about you. I

know you tried to prevent one of my

employees from collecting money owed me

by a client. I know that, my friend.

I’m very upset about it.

JOE

You know, as a matter of fact, me too?

Cause the money you got? The eight

thousand dollars? It’s mine.

GEORGE

Really? And what was Miss Mason doing

with it?

JOE

She stole it. It was understandable.

She was under pressure from Elvis here.

Elton starts forward. George stops him with a glance.

GEORGE

And let me guess. You want it back.

JOE

Thought I’d ask.

George reaches into a drawer; takes out a Joe’s wallet.

GEORGE

Credit cards too?

JOE

Nah, s’okay, I canceled’m.

GEORGE

Driver’s licence?

JOE

It’s a hassle gettin’ a new one.

Mouse almost laughs. George stifles it with a glance.

GEORGE

What did you say your name was, my

friend?

JOE

I didn’t. Joe.

GEORGE

Where are you from… “Joe”?

JOE

Dublin originally. Bronx, New York the

last few years. Can I ask a question?

GEORGE

How else do we learn?

JOE

How come they call you a Geek? I

thought a geek was, like, this poor

retard, went around biting the heads

off a chickens. You do that, do yeh?

Mouse, Howdy and Elton glance nervously at one another.

GEORGE

Are you familiar with Barbies, my

friend?

JOE

The little dolls with the big tits?

GEORGE

Exactly, the little dolls with the big

tits. I played with Barbies as a

child, my friend. I had a Barbie

collection. I loved Barbie. I am, on

rare and unpleasant occasions, called

the Geek, because when I was eight

years old, my sister took my Barbies,

doused them in lighter fluid and set a

match to them. In response, I –

sensitive child – bit her nose off and

swallowed it. I was fond of my sister;

still am – vicious, scheming dyke that

she is. Imagine then, how I express my

displeasure to people – like you – who

I don’t like even a little bit.

Joe glances at Howdy, Mouse and Elton. Back to George.

JOE

So what are yeh saying. Do I get me

money back or not?

George picks up the wallet as if considering something.

And then he flips it Joe.

GEORGE

Take it.

ELTON

Mr. Jenkins – !

George shuts him up with a glance.

GEORGE

It’s yours, Joe.

JOE

Just like that?

GEORGE

Just like that.

JOE

Well, I must say, this is nice of you.

GEORGE

A man is measured by how he treats his

friends, Joe.

JOE

I couldn’t agree more. And you know, I

was thinking. The money Hush owes you?

GEORGE

Miss Manson?

JOE

Yes. Maybe you could work out a

payment schedule for her. A little

each month. Not a lot. She’s got kids

to care for.

GEORGE

Have her come in, we’ll talk about it.

JOE

That also is very nice of you. Well.

I guess I’ll be goin’ then. It’s been

a real pleasure.

GEORGE

All mine.

Joe starts for the door. He stops, turns back.

JOE

Oh, and listen, get some mist on those

orchids, ey? They’ll thank you for it.

GEORGE

Thank you, Joe. Goodbye.

Joe exits. George walks to his orchids. Thoughtfully

caresses a blossom.

ELTON

Mr. Jenkins, I don’t get it! You let

him walk right out of here!

GEORGE

Howdy, hit Mr. Shuggs in the face.

HOWDY

Huh?

GEORGE

Hit him in the face.

(picking up his pruning

shears)

If he tries to dodge, sit on him so I

cut off his fingers one by one.

Mouse and Howdy look at one another. Mouse shrugs. Howdy

wacks Elton.

INT. BAR – CONTINUOUS

Joe walks down the length of the bar. He passes the

barman.

JOE

Nice fella.

The barman stares as Joe exits.

EXT. THE BAR – DAY

Joe comes out of the bar and crosses the street to the

parking lot. He stops. His van is gone.

INT. THE GEEK’S OFFICE – CONTINUOUS

Elton is holding a handkerchief to his bloody nose. George

is at his desk, calmly drinking from a glass of Perrier.

GEORGE

Tell Mr. Shuggs, who we lay off the

bulk of our betting action to, Howdy.

HOWDY

Our action, right, we lay it off to…

I dunno, who?

GEORGE

(a sigh)

The O’Connor syndicate, Howdy.

HOWDY

Yeah, right, the O’Connors, right.

GEORGE

And the O’Connors now base themselves

out of… where? Mouse?

MOUSE

Uh…

GEORGE

New York, you simple clot. The Bronx,

New York.

MOUSE

Hey, that guy was from the Bronx.

GEORGE

Indeed. And who are we hoping is going

to come in and give us the money and

muscle to expand our little operation

here in Louisville. Jump in, Mr.

Shuggs, take a wild guess.

ELTON

The O’Connors?

GEORGE

The big time, my friends. And now,

last question, who is the big hitter

for the O’Connors, a man as famous for

his brogue as he is for his brutality?

HOWDY

Everybody knows that – Beautiful Joe.

ELTON

Who?

MOUSE

Beautiful Joe. He took out Micky Cenzo

and Gill Hubie in Atlantic City last

year. The guy’s a legend.

ELTON

Wait a minute, what are you saying, Mr.

Jenkins, that guy’s Beautiful Joe?

GEORGE

Isn’t he?

MOUSE

Aw, I don’t know, Mr. Jenkins, I heard

Beautiful Joe’s a dude. Five hundred

dollar ties, Italian suits. That guy

was a bum.

GEORGE

He knew clothes. He knew flowers. And

he was calm. Confident. As if there

was nothing in the world we could do to

hurt him.

ELTON

So what’s he doing with Hush?

MOUSE

Ey! Beautiful Joe likes the ladies.

GEORGE

And Miss Manson is not unattractive. I

think he’s using her, my friends. I

think the O’Connor Family wanted to see

how we handle ourselves and they sent

their number 1 vindictatore in to do

it.

HOWDY

You know, you’re right, Mr. Jenkins,

the guy was a total pro.

George smiles. It’s nice to be so smart.

EXT. LOUISVILLE – DAY

“The Pro” – Joe – is walking along a street looking lost.

Suddenly a van – Joe’s van – comes roaring out of nowhere,

and careens towards the curb, almost hitting Joe.

HUSH

Quick. Get in. I’m bein’ followed.

JOE

By who? The Geek?

HUSH

(eyes glued to the rear view

mirror)

Nah. Some guy. He was parallel

parking and I dinged his door as I went

by.

Joe opens the door. A mangled side-view mirror falls from

the passenger seat to Joe’s feet.

JOE

(quietly furious)

You left me.

HUSH

I came back, didn’t I?

JOE

Why did y’leave?

HUSH

I’m allergic to bloodshed. Will you

get in?

JOE

No. You get out. I’m driving.

He starts around the van. Hush gets out.

HUSH

I shouldn’t have to remind you that

operating a vehicle without a driver’s

licence is a serious offense.

JOE

He gave me back my wallet.

HUSH

No way! The money too!?

JOE

The money too.

Hush lets out a shriek and throws her arms around Joe.

HUSH

Owwwww! How did you get him to do

that?

JOE

I asked.

And Joe disentangles Hush’s arms from his neck and gets in

the van. Hush hurries around the van to get in before Joe

can drive away. And then he does.

INT. THE GEEK’S OFFICE – DAY

George is on the phone.

GEORGE

(cheery)

Larry! George in Louisville!

(not so cheery)

George Jenkins… book, strong arm,

loan sharking?

(wincing; you can almost hear

it)

Yes, George the – that’s the one.

(trying to be cheery again)

Quite a fast one you tried to pull on

us, Larry. Your boy, I mean. By the

way, we gave him back his money which I

hope you’ll credit to our account…

Oh, come on, Larry, your boy, Beautiful

Joe. Pleasant guy, we look forward to

working with him in the –

And the expression on George’s face, abruptly changes.

GEORGE

Well, no, I… of course, I… I

assumed… eight thousand dollars…

MOUSE

(to Howdy; softly)

We’re screwed.

INT. THE VAN – MOVING – DAY

HUSH

I guess you’ll be leaving now, huh?

Joe is silent.

HUSH

Can I ask one question? What about me?

JOE

The Geek said you can work out a

payment schedule.

HUSH

And you believe that?

Joe is silent.

HUSH

Look… I don’t know what you did to

get out of there in one piece, let

alone with your money but believe me,

that isn’t gonna happen to me.

JOE

You know what your problem is? You

don’t trust people. People aren’t as

bad as y’ think they are.

INT. THE GEEK’S OFFICE – DAY

A pot of orchids crashes to the floor to join all the

others. George jumps up and down on them in berserk rage.

Mouse, Elton and Howdy stare. George stops, panting.

GEORGE

We are going to kill them very slowly.

EXT. HUSH’S APARTMENT BUILDING – EVENING

The van pulls to a stop. Hush quickly gets out of the van

and angrily strides towards the building without waiting.

Joe gets out, watches her go. He follows.

INT. APARTMENT – EVENING

A tacky talk show is on the t.v. Lee is on the floor

mezmerized by it. Vivien is at the table doing her

homework. They both look up as Hush barges in, leaving

the door ajar. She marches straight into the kitchen.

Crash – the sound of a chair being knocked aside. Joe now

enters, looking sheepish.

VIVIEN

Hi, Joe.

JOE

Hey, Vivien, how y’ doin’?

VIVIEN

Homework.

JOE

Good, that’s good.

A crash from the kitchen – cupboard doors slamming.

JOE

Your Mommy’s a little upset.

VIVIEN

Yeah, I figured.

Hush comes out of the kitchen.

HUSH

Well! He’s leaving! Just like every

man’s ever walked into our lives as if

we’re some kinda revolving door! Well,

don’t just stand there, go on! Just

go!

(throwing tupperware:)

And take your pancakes with you.

JOE

I don’t understand. This morning you

couldn’t wait to throw me out on my

ear.

HUSH

I was playing hard to get!

And Hush storms down the hallway towards the bedroom.

HUSH

Men! I swear, just once I’d like to

find one, can read my mind.

Bam! The sound of the door slamming behind her. A moment.

VIVIEN

Don’t worry. She’ll get over it. Men

are always leavin’. She always does.

Lee hasn’t looked away from the boob tube once.

INT. THE APARTMENT – NIGHT

A duffel is zipped shut. Joe turns. Vivien and Lee are

sitting on the couch, staring at him; Lee clutching his

plastic pony. Joe glances down the hallway. The bedroom

door is still closed.

JOE

Here. Y’ take this.

He takes out his wallet, grabs some bills, offers them.

VIVIEN

You’re sweet, Joe. But we don’t take

charity.

Joe hesitates, puts the money in his pocket.

JOE

(ruffling Lee’s hair)

Take care of that horse, cowboy.

Vivien and Lee just watch him go.

EXT. THE APARTMENT BUILDING – NIGHT

Joe comes out. Walks to the van. Throws his bags in.

Turns back for a last look. Vivien is at the window. Joe

waves. She doesn’t wave back. Joe gets in the van.

IN THE VAN –

Joe starts her up. When he glances back towards the

window, Vivien is gone. Joe puts her in gear.

THE VAN

pulls away from the curb and rolls away down the street.

AT THE OTHER END OF THE STREET –

A Cadillac comes around the corner.

INT. APARTMENT – NIGHT

Hush comes out of the bedroom. She’s been crying. She

looks beautiful… tragic. She comes down the hall into

the living room. Vivien and Lee are watching another talk

show.

VIVIEN

You can quit the act, Mum, he left.

HUSH

No way!

VIVIEN

He was right. You couldn’t get rid of

him fast enough.

HUSH

Oh, for goodness sake, Vivien, that was

when he was broke.

VIVIEN

It’s too bad. He liked you.

HUSH

(bitterly:)

Are you kidding? What’s to like?

She’s turning back to her bedroom when the doorbell rings.

She and Vivien look at one another, excited:

VIVIEN

I told you he liked you!

Hush starts for the door. Stops at a mirror. Checks her

face.

HUSH

Well, of course he does. Your Momma

hasn’t lost it yet, Vivien.

The doorbell.

HUSH

Now when I invite him in, don’t go

pretending you’re all happy to see him.

VIVIEN

But I am.

HUSH

Vivien! Get in the game!

She smooths her skirt; pulls open the door.

HUSH

Well now! Didn’t I just know you’d

come runnin’ back to –

The words freeze in her throat. It’s George the Geek

GEORGE

Hello, Hush.

He enters, followed by Mouse, Elton and Howdy.

EXT. GAS STATION – NIGHT

Joe is getting gas. Not looking at the map in his hands.

ATTENDANT

You lost?

JOE

… which way’s the Interstate?

INT. THE APARTMENT – NIGHT

Hush and the kids are on the couch, Howdy standing over

them. George is in a chair. Elton is at the window,

peering out; he has a gun in his hand.

HUSH

– he went out for Chinese. You know

what’s good for you, you’ll be gone by

the time he gets back.

ELTON

Put a sock in it. We played that tune.

HUSH

(holding Vivien protectively)

I’m gonna play you a tune, Elton. On

your flute with a sharp knife.

Elton glares.

GEORGE

He didn’t give you the money, did he,

Hush? If he did, we can all go home.

HUSH

…money. What money is that?

George coldly stares at her. Mouse comes out of the

kitchen, mouth full, a piece of cake in his hand.

MOUSE

This cake is good.

He stops, seeing the expression on George’s face. Click.

A switchblade appears in George’s hand. Hush shudders.

GEORGE

Cut me a piece.

Smiling pleasantly, George hands Mouse the knife.

EXT. ROADWAY – OUTSKIRTS OF LOUISVILLE – NIGHT

The van comes up the road, passes a sign for a main

highway. Pulling to the side it stops.

IN THE VAN –

Joe sits a moment, still feeling torn and guilty. Annoyed

with himself, he puts the van in gear and drives on.

THE VAN

goes up the ramp towards the highway.

INT. THE APARTMENT – NIGHT

Elton is pacing, impatient. Mouse is at the window

curtain.

HOWDY

I don’t think he ordered to go, Mr.

Jenkins.

ELTON

I know this crazy broad, Mr. Jenkins,

she’s lying through her teeth. The

slick bastard took the money and ran.

HUSH

Sounds familiar, don’t it, Elton?

GEORGE

Alas, I think Mr. Shuggs is right. Our

Joe has flown this coop. It’s been

delightful, Hush, but I really must be

going now.

HUSH

What about me?

GEORGE

Oh, yes, you. Mr. Shuggs is going to

teach you a lesson. I think arson will

do nicely.

Hush goes pale; squeezes the children to her.

ELTON

(nervously)

Uh, listen, Mr. Jenkins…

GEORGE

Howdy, hit Mr. Shuggs in the face.

ELTON

No! No, I’ll do it. I have matches.

GEORGE

Good. Come along, gentlemen.

Mouse and Howdy follow George out the door.

EXT. THE APARTMENT BUILDING – NIGHT

George, Mouse and Howdy come out of the building. Howdy

holds the car door open for George. George gets in.

GEORGE

I think we’ll stop for ribs on the way

home.

Mouse and Howdy gets in. They drive away. Pass a parked

van. Joe sits up in the seat and watches them go.

INT. THE APARTMENT – CONTINUOUS

Hush and the kids are sitting on the couch.

HUSH

Come on, Elton, you’re no arsonist.

ELTON

Nobody’s paid me enough to try before.

VIVIEN

What about me and the kids, you gonna

burn us up as well?

ELTON

Just be quiet, all right? I have to

think…

VIVIEN

I have to go to the bathroom.

HUSH

You go ahead, hon.

ELTON

Hey.

HUSH

Oh, shut up. Whatcha gonna do, burn

the place down twice?

Vivien rises and heads down the hall.

INT. THE BATHROOM – CONTINUOUS

The light is off as she enters. The window is open.

Vivien crosses; closes it. Starts to turn on the light –

someone reaches out from behind the shower curtain and

claps a hand over her mouth. Joe. He raises a finger to

his lips. Vivien nods. Joe takes his hand away. Vivien

hugs him.

IN THE LIVING ROOM –

Elton is looking more and more nervous. He glances at his

watch. Hush is just staring at him.

ELTON

What’s taking her so long? Vivien!

Get your ass back here!

HUSH

Don’t you talk to her like that – !

ELTON

You move, I’ll tie you both to that

chair and then I’ll set the place on

fire. I might anyway.

(starting down the hall)

Vivien!

IN THE HALLWAY –

The bathroom door is open just a bit.

ELTON

All right, out. I said, out –

And he throws open the door. And sees that the bathroom is

empty and that the window is open. He rushes in –

IN THE BATHROOM

– and to the window. Looking out. No one in the street.

He turns – to see Joe standing in the doorway.

ELTON

You!

IN THE HALLWAY –

Joe closes the bathroom door. CLOSE ON – He turns the key

in the lock.

IN THE BATHROOM –

Elton rushes forward to open the door – too late. He steps

back, aims his gun at the lock – he fires. The bullet

ricochets off the brass and careens around the bathroom

like an angry bee. Elton hits the floor.

IN THE KITCHEN –

Hush is tearing through the drawers as Vivien runs in.

VIVIEN

Momma – !

Someone else right behind her. Hush spins, raises the

kitchen knife high and –

JOE

(cowering)

Jesus!

Hush gapes. Recovers enough to say:

HUSH

What took you?

JOE

I got lost along the way. Grab your

things, we’ll get out of here.

EXT. THE BUILDING – NIGHT –

Elton is in the bathroom window, trying to figure out a way

to reach the roof above him. He looks down. A long drop

to a huge metal dumpster. Brutal.

EXT. THE BUILDING – NIGHT

Joe peeks out of the front door of the apartment building.

Coast clear.

JOE

Let’s go then.

Lee hurries past him carrying his plastic horse and lugging

the television (a portable). Vivien carries a small bag of

clothes. Hush drags a huge suitcase.

JOE

You got everything?

HUSH

Sarcasm does not become you.

They run for the van.

IN THE BATHROOM WINDOW –

Elton sees them. Aims his pistol – and fumbling, drops it.

It bangs off the edge of the dumpster below and falls to

the street. Elton curses. Looks at the ledge above the

window. Takes a breath. He leaps. And grabs the edge of

the roof. He tries to pull himself up. He can’t. He

hangs there.

ELTON

…ho, boy.

DOWN ON THE STREET –

Joe is helping Hush and the kids get into the van.

HUSH

Where we goin’ anyway?

JOE

Personally, I was on my way to San

Francisco.

HUSH

Fine, you can drop us in Vegas on the

way.

They suddenly hear a mournful cry –

ELTON

Help!

Joe and Hush turn. And see Elton hanging from the roof.

ELTON

Hush…?! I wasn’t going to burn you,

baby, I swear I wasn’t!

Joe hesitates… starts back. Hush stops him.

HUSH

Where you goin’?

JOE

Give’m a hand.

HUSH

Leave the keys.

Right. Joe gets in the van. Starts it. They pull away.

ON THE ROOF –

ELTON

No! Don’t go! Don’t leave me!

And his fingers can’t hold anymore and with a howl, Elton

falls, screaming and lands in the garbage filled dumpster.

IN THE VAN –

HUSH

Stop, stop!

THE VAN –

stops. Hush jumps out and picks up Elton’s gun. She looks

up as Elton drags himself up over the edge over the

dumpster. She aims the gun.

HUSH

Get back with the garbage, Elton! It’s

where you belong!

He dives for cover. She laughs. She turns back to the

van, jumps in. The van disappears down the street.

INT. GEORGE THE GEEK’S OFFICE- DAY

GEORGE

– all right, Liam, yes! Yes! We

miscalculated.

The tough looking guy in the expensive suit who’s sitting

at George’s desk as if he owns it, swivels casually in his

chair. George, Howdy, Mouse and Elton – who’s arm is in a

cast and who’s neck is in a collar – are standing.

LIAM

We? We did nothin’. You fucked up.

ELTON

Uh-oh. Hit him, Howdy.

George’s eyes cast daggers. Liam helps himself to one of

George’s cigars.

LIAM

One. There are no refunds, not in the

loansharkin’ business.

GEORGE

I am aware of that, Liam –

LIAM

Shut up. Two. If it had been a test,

and we were lookin’ to see how you

handled yourself, the way to impress us

would have been to have this guy’s legs

broken. Am I right?

Liam looks for a light; doesn’t find one. Mouse quickly

lights Liam’s cigar.

GEORGE

We will when we find him, Liam, I

promise you.

LIAM

Three. You better find him. This

ain’t business, Geek, it’s personal.

GEORGE

Liam, eight thousand dollars –

LIAM

Beautiful Joe doesn’t care if it’s

eight cents.

GEORGE

Beautiful Joe? You mean the real one?

LIAM

The one and only. The man’s pissed.

He don’t like people pretending to be

him. He wants you to find this joker –

fast. When you do, you call, he comes

in and does the job. Got it?

GEORGE

What if we don’t. Find the imposter, I

mean.

LIAM

Than maybe he comes in and does the job

on you. I’d find him… Geek. Good

cigar.

George and company look a little sick.

EXT. THE VAN – MOVING – DAY

The Van proceeds on the interstate west through St. Louis;

the arch in the distance –

EXT. THE VAN – MOVING – DAY

– and on into Missouri.

INTERCUTTING: INT. THE VAN – MOVING – DAY

Laughter and good spirits in the van. The kids, maps open,

playing navigator, thrilled to be traveling. Hush annoyed

at their enthusiasm, for the most part with her nose stuck

in the sports page of a newspaper.

EXT. A COUNTRY STORE – MISSOURI – DAY

The kids pile into the van. Joe has bought them ice cream

comes.

VIVIEN

Come on, Momma!

Hush is at the steps of the store, writing on something.

HUSH

Hold your horses!

And she finishes. She licks a stamp puts it on the

postcard she’s been addressing and pops it in a mailbox.

She turns and walks towards the van.

HUSH

Always rushing me. The one thing I

can’t stand is being rushed.

Joe starts to drive away. Startled, Hush breaks into a

run. Joe stops. Hush gets into the van. Off they go.

EXT. THE VAN – MOVING – DAY

The van drives on, heading West on the the Interstate.

INT. THE VAN – DAY

The silence is broken by:

VIVIEN

Momma? Is Joe Lee’s Dad?

If she was drinking something, Hush would do a spit take.

HUSH

What?

VIVIEN

Lee wants to know if Joe’s his Dad.

The kids are looking at her. Joe is looking at her.

HUSH

Sweetheart, the only thing you have in

common with this man is a penis. After

that the resemblance abruptly ends.

Hush dives back into her newspaper.

EXT. INTERSTATE – EVENING

The sun is setting in the west. The van pulls off the

interstate somewhere in Western Illinois.

EXT. THE MOTEL – NIGHT

A cheap motel. Not crowded. The van is parked in the lot.

The lights are on in 116; the door is open.

ON THE VAN –

The side doorS are open. Joe has made himself comfortable

in the back. He’s looking at a small datebook with a pen

flashlight. A voice calls out from the direction of the

room.

VIVIEN (O.S.)

Good night, Joe!

JOE

G’ night, Vivien! G’ night, Lee!

VIVIEN (O.S.)

Lee waves goodnight!

And then Joe hears:

HUSH (O.S.)

What is this, the Waltons? Vivien,

close the door, you’re letting the air

in! Lee, turn off that t.v.! How many

times I gotta tell you, these

television talk shows’ll rot your

brain! I swear, if I didn’t know

better, I’d think y’all like that silly

man better’n your own –

Slam. The door closes. A moment. Joe has a headache.

Has had for awhile now. He sighs to himself. Looks at the

datebook again. Little more than a week left until he has

to go home. He crosses out the day.

INT. VAN – NIGHT

Joe comes awake with a start as the side door of the van is

pulled open. It’s Hush, ablanket wrapped around her.

JOE

What’s the matter?

HUSH

Can’t sleep. It’s too early for me.

JOE

You want to come in?

HUSH

No, I came out here barefoot to freeze.

She gets in the van, gets comfortable.

HUSH

Got a cigarette?

JOE

No.

HUSH

Good, I’m trying to quit. Anything to

drink?

JOE

Water.

HUSH

You are a party animal. Well, that’s

fine, I’ve had enough parties lately.

(and then:)

You ever get restless at night?

JOE

How do y’ mean?

HUSH

Sometimes I feel like I’m gonna bust, I

don’t do something to keep my mind off

itself. All the stuff I haven’t done

in my life. All the stuff I have. You

don’t ever feel that way?

JOE

No.

HUSH

What do you feel?

JOE

Pretty good mostly.

HUSH

You must be a very simple individual.

JOE

Maybe I just don’t expect so much.

A moment.

HUSH

Y’know, I don’t know anything about

you.

JOE

What would you like to know?

HUSH

For starts, what the hell are you doin’

wanderin’ around the country with a

crazy woman and her two kids?

JOE

I got this brain tumor.

HUSH

(a shocked beat)

Is this your idea of flirting with me?

JOE

I wish.

HUSH

I’d imagine it’s serious.

JOE

Have you ever heard a one that wasn’t?

HUSH

Mmm. You gonna die or are you gonna be

one of those guys, stumbling down the

street with dents in their heads?

JOE

I’m due back home to see the docs in

several weeks. I expect we’ll figure

it out then.

HUSH

The world’s this scary place, idn’t it.

You stop dodging even for a minute,

something jumps up and gets you. Well.

We’ll just pretend we never had this

conversation.

She gets out of the van.

JOE

Hey. Thanks for waking me up.

HUSH

Oh, shush. You’re fallin’ in love with

me and you know it. You can’t help it.

She starts back towards the motel. She yells at the sky.

HUSH

It’s my curse! God denies me money

cause he gave me audience appeal!

Joe watches her disappear back inside.

EXT. THE VAN – DAY

The Van continues West. Across the Mississippi River.

EXT. THE VAN – DAY

Through Kansas City and on.

EXT. THE VAN – DAY

On the Interstate. Moving through the Kansas plains.

INT. THE VAN – DAY

The kids in back. Joe driving. Hush staring out the

window, preoccupied with something. Finally:

HUSH

I was thinking we might make a small

detour up ahead here…

Joe looks at her in surprise.

EXT. THE VAN – CONTINUOUS –

The van passes a sign. LEAVENWORTH.

EXT. A BURGER KING – DAY

Joe has the kids at one of those carnival-like playgrounds

that they have for the little ones. Lee on the superslide.

Joe and Vivien watching.

VIVIEN

Joe? Where’d Momma go? Honest.

JOE

Shopping.

EXT. LEAVENWORTH – PENITENTIARY – DAY

Establishing shot.

INT. PENITENTIARY – VISITING AREA – DAY

Wives, mothers and children visiting sons, husbands,

lovers. Hush waiting. Someone sits down across from her.

Hush looks up. Softly smiles. The handsome, light skinned

black man across from her wears prison garb.

HUSH

Hello, Roscoe Lee.

ROSCOE LEE

Hello, Hush.

HUSH

How you doing?

ROSCOE LEE

I’m in prison.

HUSH

I was in the neighborhood, thought I’d

stop by.

ROSCOE LEE

(almost smiling)

Same old Hush.

They stare at one another a moment. Hush goes to her bag;

hands over a picture. Roscoe Lee looks at it. It’s a

snapshot of Vivien. A moment. And then, quietly:

ROSCOE LEE

She with you?

HUSH

I was gonna bring her but then I

thought I’d ask first.

ROSCOE LEE

She know about me?

HUSH

A little.

ROSCOE LEE

She know I’m doing twenty to thirty?

HUSH

Maybe you could explain that to her

yourself.

ROSCOE LEE

I’m dead, Hush. Her Daddy’s dead.

(a moment)

Can I keep this?

Hush nods. He puts it carefully in his shirt pocket.

ROSCOE LEE

See you, Hush.

HUSH

Take care yourself, Roscoe Lee.

She watches him exit. And then she rises and leaves.

EXT. MOTEL – NIGHT

The van pulls into the lot. Parks. Hush gets out. She’s

been drinking. Maybe crying.

INT. MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

Lee’s horse has fallen to the floor. Joe picks it up.

Vivien and Lee are asleep in the same bed together. Joe

puts the horse under in Lee’s covers. He turns as Hush

enters. Hush takes in the scene, then moves to the glasses

on the sidetable. Takes a half full pint of Southern

Comfort from her bag. Pours.

HUSH

Want some?

She doesn’t wait for an answer, just hands him the glass.

Joe takes it. Hush fills another. Sips.

HUSH

I went and saw Vivien’s Dad today.

About eight years ago he killed some

guy accidently on purpose. You can

imagine over what. He was a musician

when I met him. Trumpet. Boy, could

he play. An’ he had a sweet smile an’

he could never pass a bum without

slipping’m a couple a dollars. But he

was always looking for the big score.

We had that in common.

(looking at Lee)

I’m not sure who Lee’s Daddy was.

Can’t say I’m proud of that. I think

he was probably a good man. His son’s

an awful good little boy. You think

it’s my fault he don’t talk? I’ve

taken him to doctors. They say there’s

no reason why he shouldn’t. He just…

don’t.

JOE

He will. When he’s ready. And has

something to say.

And Hush is surprised to find herself somehow reassured.

Joe moves to the door. He stops, looks back.

JOE

What’s your real name.

HUSH

Alice. Alice Mason.

JOE

Goodnight, Alice.

HUSH

Goodnight.

Joe exits, closing the door behind him. Hush lost in

thought. She scowls – what is she even thinking…

INT. TIP-TOP CLUB – NIGHT

The usual action. Elton is at a pay phone in the back.

ELTON

Mr. Jenkins? It’s just like I told

you. She’s sending post cards to her

friends.

Elton is holding a postcard; the one Hush sent.

EXT. THE VAN – INTERSTATE – DAY

The van is near the Kansas/Colorado border. Plains giving

way to mountains in the distance.

EXT. THE VAN – DAY

The van makes it’s way through the foothills of the

Rockies.

EXT. A TOWN IN COLORADO – MAIN STREET

The van drives down Main Street of a small, picturesque

town. A town green. Nice looking shops.

INT. THE VAN – CONTINOUS

The kids have their noses glued to the window. Something

about this perfect small town America. Hush resents it,

feels guilty she can’t give it them, hates it.

EXT. COUNTRY BED AND BREAKFAST – DAY

It’s a lovely, old place. The van is parked in the small,

pebbled lot.

INT. A ROOM AT THE B AND B – DAY

Hush lying on the bed. Bored and restless. She rolls

across the bed so she can look out the window.

HER POV –

There’s a barn and corral behind the house. Joe and Vivien

are walking a pony up the hill to a meadow beyond. Lee is

on the pony, being led along by Joe.

HUSH

watches a moment. Rolls back… sighs.

HUSH

I’m losin’ my edge.

EXT. MEADOW – COLORADO – LATE AFTERNOON

The view is lovely – Colorado in the early spring. Vivien

is picking wild flowers.

VIVIEN

Joe? Lee wants to know how much longer

you’re stayin’ with us.

Joe looks at Lee who is silent – now how would Vivien know

that?

JOE

I don’t know, Vivien. Probably as far

as Las Vegas.

VIVIEN

Where you going after that?

JOE

California, I think.

VIVIEN

And after that?

JOE

Why you askin’ all these questions,

Vivien.

VIVIEN

We just are.

(a moment; feeding grass to

the pony)

You don’t want to stay with us longer?

JOE

It’s not a question of what I want.

It’s a question of what is.

VIVIEN

She likes you, you know. Momma does.

She just don’t know it yet. You should

least hang around till she does.

JOE

I don’t know if there’s that much time

in the world, Vivien.

VIVIEN

Could you try?

JOE

We’ll see.

They continue on. Vivien running ahead to pick another

bunch of flowers. Joe smiles. Enjoying this day… this

view… these kids. And suddenly it’s like a hammer hits

Joe in the head – the world spins – the hillside… the

horse… Vivien… Joe falls.

VIVIEN

Joe!

She runs for him. Lee slides off the horse and runs to

join her. Joe lying there, eyes closed.

VIVIEN

Joe, are you dead?

Joe sighs as the pain subsides; blinks up at the

children…

JOE

… I slipped is all.

They help him rise; looking at him, concerned.

JOE

We best be gettin’ back.

They turn and start back down the hill. Lee leading the

horse by the rope, Vivien holding her bouquet of flowers.

VIVIEN

You have to take care of yourself, Joe.

There’s too few honorable men left in

this world.

And now first Lee and then Vivien takes Joe’s hand.

INT. A ROOM AT THE B AND B – DAY

Hush looks surprised.

HUSH

You wanna do what?

JOE

We were talking to the owner

downstairs. She about lives for

children…

IN THE ADJOINING ROOM –

Vivien and Lee are peeking around the door – watching,

listening.

JOE

I thought we might get her to baby-sit

so you an’ I could go out tonight.

HUSH

(suspiciously)

…and do what?

JOE

I’ve sometimes heard it said that

dinner is a place to start.

HUSH

(a sigh)

Lord, have I fallen this far?

(and then:)

Give me twenty minutes to get dressed.

She disappears in the direction of the bathroom.

HUSH

You could do the same, wouldn’t hurt

you.

Joe turns. Sees the kids smiling at him. He smiles back.

MUSIC BEGINS:

INT. THE SITTING ROOM – LATER

Hush looking like a cool million in a tight dress and

heels, makes her entrance from the bedroom, putting on

earrings. She stops in surprise. Joe rises. He’s freshly

shaved, his hair is combed, he’s wearing a jacket and tie.

The kids are trying not to giggle with excitement.

EXT. THE B AND B – EVENING

Hush lets Joe opens the door to the van for her. She gets

in. Joe closes the door. Looks back. Vivien and Lee and a

grandmotherly looking woman all wave. Joe gives a thumbs

up. He moves around the van.

EXT. A RESTAURANT – EVENING

A country inn. Upscale by the look of the BMW’s and sports

utility vehicles parked outside. A valet looks up as the

old van pulls to a stop.

INT. THE RESTAURANT – EVENING

Men and woman look up from the tables and stare as Joe and

Hush are led to a table. Hush pleased at the eyes upon

her.

INT. THE RESTAURANT – EVENING

They sit. Joe holding Hush’s chair. Joe surprised as his

chair is held out for him by the maitre’d. They’re given

menu’s, a wine list.

INT. THE RESTAURANT – EVENING

Hush perusing her menu; shocked at the prices.

JOE

(opening the wine list)

Shall we have wine with dinner?

HUSH

Wine no less. Thought you didn’t

drink.

JOE

You have to try things when you get the

opportunity. You might surprise

yourself and decide you like’m.

HUSH

I’ll assume it’s just wine you’re

talkin’ about.

And suddenly Joe turns to the table next to him.

JOE

Scuse me. What is it you’re eatin’

there, please?

THE MAN

Escargot. Snails.

JOE

Holy Mary, Mother a’ God. Snails is

it? I’m definitely startin’ with some

a’ them.

The music continues as:

INT. THE RESTAURANT – EVENING

A wine steward pours a splash of wine. Waits for Joe to

taste it. Joe holds up the glass, expecting him to fill it

to the brim. Hush watching as the steward pushes the glass

back to Joe… Joe pushes the glass back towards him. This

reverse tug of war ends when Joe abruptly drains the glass

in a single gulp. Hush trying not to smile.

INT. THE RESTAURANT – EVENING

Snails are served. Hush watching as Joe stares at them.

Trying not to smile at the look on his face. He eats one.

Not bad. Good even. He offers her one on a fork. She

hesitates… tastes.

INT. THE RESTAURANT – EVENING

Hush and Joe eating dinner. The food delicious. The wine

loosening them up. The two of them talking, laughing.

Sharing bites.

INT. THE RESTAURANT – EVENING

Over coffee.

HUSH

Tell me about your ex.

JOE

Slyvie? She was the first girl I went

out with here in the States. I was

fresh off the plane, y’know, and

already frettin’ about havin’ to go

back to nothin’. And we got along

pretty good. So we got married.

Automatic Greencard. No… it wasn’t

nearly so mercenary. I thought it was

love. I thought we’d have a family.

But we didn’t. She wasn’t happy.

HUSH

Some people don’t want happiness. Some

people wouldn’t know what to do with

happiness if it stared’m in the face

and stuck out their tongue.

JOE

Not you, a course.

Hush is silent.

JOE

What kind of world you want to live in,

Alice? That’s what it boils down to.

The waiter puts the bill down. Joe examines it, whistles,

smiles, puts cash down.

JOE

Shall we grab a night cap somewhere?

Hush looks pleasantly surprised.

EXT. ROADHOUSE – NIGHT

Establishing. A crowded parking lot. Music is playing.

People are talking, laughing.

INT. ROADHOUSE – NIGHT

The bar is crowded and noisy. A small band is playing

country music. People are dancing.

INT. THE BACK OF THE BAR – NIGHT

Hush is on the pay phone.

HUSH

Yeah! Las Vegas, girl. I’m gonna

start out at one of them big places on

the strip and end up owning the place.

Huh? Oh, yeah, he’s still with us…

She looks back. Joe, drink in hand, has struck up a

conversation with a group at a table; attractive young men

and women. They obviously think he’s terrific.

HUSH

Couldn’t get rid of him if I tried.

The sexiest of the young women is dragging Joe to his feet;

wanting him to dance with her. Hush stares a moment.

HUSH

Huh? No, I’m still here. Listen,

gotta go. Tell all the girls I’m doin’

fine, kay? Uh-huh. Love you too.

Bye.

She hangs up. Starts back towards the bar.

INT. A BEDROOM – NIGHT

Becky, in bed, hangs up the phone that’s her night table

and turning, smiles at… Elton.

BECKY

She’s on her way to Las Vegas.

Elton smiles.

INT. THE ROADHOUSE – NIGHT

Hush squeezes her way through the people ringing the small

dancefloor to see Joe dancing with the young woman. The

young woman enthusiastically throws her arms around Joe’s

neck and pulls him close. Hush staring. And now one of

the men is at her side. His name is WAYNE.

WAYNE

Your buddy’s a popular guy.

HUSH

Amazing, isn’t it?

WAYNE

Buy you a drink?

HUSH

… all right.

EXT. ROADHOUSE – NIGHT

The sound of laughter. Hush comes out. Wayne follows.

It’s a lot of drinks later.

WAYNE

One more drink. One more!

HUSH

I told you, Wayne, I gotta get home.

WAYNE

What about your friend?

HUSH

(annoyed about it)

He’s having such a good time, let him

get home his own self. Have a nice

life, Wayne, y’hear?

She moves into the parking lot. Wayne follows.

WAYNE

Wait, wait. I thought we were friends.

HUSH

I don’t even know you.

And he suddenly moves in front of Hush.

WAYNE

You’d like to thought, wouldn’t you.

HUSH

C’mon. Out of my way.

WAYNE

Make me.

She starts around him; he steps into her path.

WAYNE

Look at you in that dress. Letting a

man buy you drinks, laughing at his

jokes. You teasing, is that it?

And all of a sudden the night has turned ugly. Again, she

tries to pass. And he grabs her.

WAYNE

Well, I don’t like being teased.

He tries to kiss her. Hush scratches at his face. She

breaks away as he cries out in anger and pain.

WAYNE

Bitch! I’ll kill you – !

And furious, he starts for her – only to find that Hush has

pulled Elton’s pistol from her purse and has leveled it-

HUSH

Come on, you shit for brains son of a

bitch, I’ll blow your head off.

WAYNE

Oh, god, please –

HUSH

You’re gonna touch me!? You’re gonna

kill me!?

WAYNE

No! Please!

HUSH

(the rage just filling her)

My whole life… assholes like you

grabbin’ at me… lyin’ to me… usin’

me… my whole damn life!

And suddenly you just know she’s going to pull the trigger.

JOE

Alice!

Joe suddenly there. A moment. Quietly:

JOE

Y’know, this is gettin’ silly. Every

time I turn my back you end up outside

in altercations with strange men.

Hush staring at Wayne, trembling, so close to doing it.

JOE

All right, go ahead. Do it. Spend the

rest of your life in jail for the

bastard.

(and then:)

Nah… put the gun down, Alice.

WAYNE

Please… I have children.

HUSH

I do too. I’m a mother. I’m the

mother of children.

(and then:)

Dear lord, what am I even doing here?

She lowers the gun. She abrutply turns and oves to the

van. Throws the gun away as she goes, wanting no part of

it.

JOE

(to Wayne)

Consider yourself lucky, y’ sad sack a

shit.

He follows Hush to the van.

INT. B AND B BEDROOM – NIGHT

Joe outside the open door, giving the old English woman

some bills. The woman murmuring goodnight, moving away.

Joe coming back into the room, closing the door behind him.

Hush is sitting in a chair, staring at Lee and Vivien who

are asleep in the bed together. And then, softly:

HUSH

Are you trying to steal my kids from

me?

JOE

How could I ever do that?

HUSH

We were doin’ just fine till you came

along, with your groceries and your

house cleaning and dinner dates…

JOE

Alice…

HUSH

Don’t call me that! What I want to

know is how I’m gonna explain it to’m

when you’re gone? How am I supposed to

get the disappointment off their faces

when they wake up one morning and find

themselves stuck with me? Selfish,

that’s what you are. Selfish.

Rising, she hurries past him and into the adjacent

bedroom… Joe hesitates, then follows.

IN JOE’S ROOM –

Joe enters. To find Hush pacing, desperately fighting

tears.

HUSH

Look, why don’t you just take those

children and get’m away from me.

That’s what they want. They know

they’ll be better off.

JOE

You don’t mean that.

HUSH

How do you know what I mean? How do

you know anything? I almost killed a

man tonight! If you hadn’t come along

when you did… I would have. What

kinda person does things like that?

What kind of person am I?

JOE

Come here.

Hush shakes her head.

JOE

You need a hug.

HUSH

I need a lot of things.

JOE

I will then.

He moves to her. Carefully takes her in his arms.

HUSH

Oh, shit. This is really gonna make me

cry.

JOE

It’s all right. You have permission.

HUSH

Once I start, I’ll never ever stop.

JOE

Just let it go.

She does. She sags against him. She sobs and sobs. And

suddenly she’s kissing Joe… desperately…

HUSH

Love me… just love me for a while…

Joe kissing back… they fall back on the bed…

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

Hush and Joe in bed together. Joe asleep. Hush awake.

Hush content. For a moment anyway, in such a place of

delight; a protected place. Looking at Joe with some

wonder… not such an unattractive guy… and suddenly

remembering… brain tumor… gently touching his head…

turning away… frightened again….

EXT. BED AND BREAKFAST – MORNING

Establishing.

INT. BEDROOM – MORNING

Sun pouring past the curtains. Joe wakes up. No Hush. He

can hear the sound of the shower. He starts to get out of

bed… on second thought, he reaches for his pants.

IN THE OTHER ROOM –

Joe pops his head in. The kids are still asleep. He hears

the sound of the shower being turned off. He turns back.

IN HIS ROOM –

He crosses towards the bathroom. The door is closed. Joe

hesitates… starts to knock – Hush, in a bathrobe, opens

the door. Joe startled –

HUSH

Hi! It’s all yours.

She moves past him towards the kids room. Joe turning,

wanting to say something… not knowing what to say. Hush

stopping in the doorway.

HUSH

Let’s get a move on, okay? I wanna

make Vegas today.

JOE

No problem…

Hush smiles and closes the door behind her. It’s like it

never happened. Joe doesn’t know what to think.

EXT. THE VAN – DAY

Establishing. The van moves along the highway.

IN THE VAN –

The kids are quiet in the back. Joe, checking the rear

view mirror to see that they’re occupied. Glancing at

Hush, who has her nose in the newspaper…

HUSH

(not looking up)

Something on your mind?

JOE

No… yeh.

HUSH

Speak or forever hold your peace.

JOE

That was… quite the surprise last

night.

Hush stiffening slightly, checking the kids and then:

HUSH

I didn’t mean to take advantage.

JOE

You? Hardly. It was lovely.

HUSH

I’m glad you thought so.

JOE

You didn’t?

HUSH

Did I say that?

JOE

You’re not saying nothing, that’s the

problem. Was it boring?

HUSH

What?

JOE

Me ex, she said it was boring.

HUSH

No! It was… you were very patient.

Now let’s not talk about ever again.

She goes back to her paper. Joe is silent.

EXT. THE VAN – CONTINUOUS

The van is drives on. PULL UP AND AND BACK to see that the

van is on a road approaching and crossing the HOOVER DAM.

They are mere hours from Las Vegas.

EXT. AIRPORT – LAS VEGAS – DAY

A plane lands. The Mediterranean gleaming. Houses

dotting the green hills.

INT. AIRPORT TERMINAL – DAY

George, Elton, Mouse and Howdy carrying overnight bags,

come off the jetway into the terminal.

GEORGE

Keep your eyes open. Liam said there’d

be someone here to meet us.

ELTON

(sarcastic)

I don’t know, you think that’s him?

A young guy in a suit, t-shirt and sunglasses is holding a

small sign. On the sign is printed the word – GEEK.

George flushes. They move towards the guy. George takes

the sign from the guys hand.

GEORGE

Jenkins, my friend, the name is

Jenkins.

YOUNG GUY

Whatever.

The guy turns and walks, expecting George to follow.

ELTON

You think at least he’d offer to take

your bag, wouldn’t you, Mr. Jenkins?

George thrusts his over night bag at Elton to carry.

EXT. THE STRIP – DAY

Establishing.

INT. HOTEL SUITE – DAY

Joe is at the suite window, staring out at the strip, the

other hotels, the desert in the distance.

JOE

It’s a lot tackier than I expected.

Hush is unpacking her clothes.

HUSH

You won’t say that when you see it at

night.

Lee is on the floor in front of the television, watching a

talk show. Vivien has opened the little safe that’s in each

room.

VIVIEN

Look, Joe, they got a safe for your

valuables.

Joe turns; looks, crosses to it.

JOE

What’s your birthday?

VIVIEN

May sixteenth.

Hush, unpacking, looks up and watches as Joe programs the

safe. He takes out his wallet starts to put it the safe.

HUSH

Hey, Joe? How about lendin’ me a

hundred pounds?

(he hesitates)

Aw, come on, it’s Vegas

He gives her a hundred pounds. Hush watches as he puts the

wallet into safe. He and Vivien close the safe.

EXT. LAS VEGAS – NIGHT

The strip is lit up like a Christmas tree.

INT. THE CASINO – NIGHT

IN A SERIES OF CUTS – People of every description. Milling

about. Looking. But mostly gambling. Craps. Roulette.

Black jack. The slots.

INT. CASINO AMUSEMENT ARCADE – NIGHT

Joe watches Lee and Vivien play at one of the games.

JOE

You guys okay here for a minute?

VIVIEN

I’m about to destroy Europe, Joe. It

doesn’t get better’n this.

JOE

I’m gonna go find your mother.

Joe turns and walks.

INT. THE CASINO – NIGHT

Joe comes through the casino, looking for Hush. He’s just

about given up when he sees her at a table. He approaches.

AT THE TABLE –

Joe stopping to watch as Hush puts out chips. The man

dealing. Hush asking for another card. And another. And

busting. Trying to smile as the dealer takes her chips.

HUSH

You sure this idn’t a stacked deck?

He ignores her. Hush studies her last chips, starts to put

them out. Joe steps up next her, takes her arm.

JOE

Come on, lets go.

HUSH

Huh?

JOE

You’re not having fun.

HUSH

Course not. I’m losing.

JOE

So let’s go grab the kids. We’ll go

see a movie or a show –

HUSH

You go. I’ll take the money you’re

gonna pay for the ticket and see if I

can get my –

And Joe suddenly grabs her hard.

HUSH

Hey!

JOE

Get what back? Your money? It’s not

your money, it’s mine.

HUSH

You gave it to me –

JOE

Not so you could go throwin’ it away

like it was ice cubes on a hot day.

HUSH

(softly; hurt)

Let go a’ me…

Joe releases her. She quickly moves away. Joe follows.

INT. LOBBY – CASINO – NIGHT

Hush entering. Followed by Joe. Joe catching up to her.

JOE

What’s next? Ey? Some other sure

thing’s gonna come along and put you

over the top? Is that what y’think?

Then what? Do you even know? You

should be countin’ your blessings. You

got health. Lovely children. But all

you can think about is what you don’t

have.

HUSH

(turning on him)

You give me even a chance I could win.

JOE

Desperate people don’t win.

It’s like he’s slapped her.

JOE

You think all these lights are going

blinkity-blink cause people like you

win? Desperate people do not win!

She turns, walks away. He doesn’t follow this time.

JOE

Why do I even bother? There’s no

talking to ignorance.

(Hush just keeps going)

Y’ hear? There’s no talking to

ignorance!

She’s gone. Joe turns. And stops. The kids are standing

there, looking at him. Saw it all.

VIVIEN

We still gonna go see Sigfried and Roy?

JOE

Sure, why not. I hear they make

miracles happen.

He puts his arms around them as they all move away.

INT. HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

Hush enters, furious and upset. Throws her purse down.

Turns on the t.v.; turns it off. Drinks some bottle water.

Throws the bottle across the room. Sits on the bed. Shit,

she’s gonna start crying again… No!

And then it catches her eye… the safe. The thought of

what’s in there freezes her heart. She can’t… mustn’t…

She does. She bolts for it. Keys in the numbers –

Vivien’s birthday – opens it, grabs the wallet, takes out

all the money, drops the wallet on the bed. We hear the

sound of the door opening, then slamming shut as Hush

exits.

INT. THE CASINO – NIGHT

Hush is playing craps. Breathing on those dice. Praying

to them. Rolling. Trying to stay calm as she loses.

Pushing out more chips.

INT. THE CASINO – NIGHT

Hush is at the cashier, turning Joe’s bills into chips.

INT. THE CASINO – NIGHT

Hush is at the blackjack table. Winning. Raking’m in.

Oh, baby! Isn’t life grand? Betting. The cards falling.

Losing. Grimly upping her bets. Losing. This isn’t fun

no more, this is life and death. More chips. Cards.

Double down. Hit me. Again. Busted. Dying. Buck it up,

buck it up. Double the bet. Gimme cards.

INT. THE CASINO – NIGHT

At the cashier window. No hundred dollar chips now. Tens

and twenty’s. Hush looking pale. Desperate.

INT. THE CASINO – NIGHT

The roulette wheel spinning. Hush staring at it. Wanting

to scream as her chips are swept away. Betting again.

Detached from it now. Her piles of chips shrinking;

getting smaller. Until…

A SINGLE TEN DOLLAR CHIP

is pushed onto the board

HUSH

On the red.

The wheel spins. The ball is tossed; flying, round and

round. Hush, lifeless as a statue, already knowing what

it’s going to be….

CROUPIER

Black – 27.

Hush’s last chip disappears. She just sits there. And

then she slowly rises and moves away.

INT. A CASINO COCKTAIL LOUNGE – NIGHT

Hush is served a drink. She lifts the glass, sips. And

suddenly her hand is trembling and she has to fight not to

vomit. Eyes closed, she takes a deep breath… she rises,

to go. Turns. And gasps.

GEORGE

Hush. Fancy meeting you here.

Mouse, Howdy and Elton behind him. Hush so frightened, she

sits back down.

INT. HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

Joe sits in a chair. The kids asleep together in one of

the beds. He’s holding the empty wallet. He looks… sad.

The phone rings. Joe grabs it before it rings again. He

holds it to his chest a moment. And then:

JOE

Did ya win?

INTERCUT: INT. ANOTHER HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

Hush sits on a bed, is on the phone.

HUSH

…no.

(a moment)

Are the kids with you?

JOE

What do y’think?

Hush smiles. She thinks he wouldn’t let them out of his

sight. And then, urgently:

HUSH

Take’m and run, Joe. Get away from

here as fast as you –

Elton grabs the phone. Howdy and Mouse grab Hush, pull her

away as she struggles. Elton hands the the phone to

George.

JOE

Alice… Alice, y’there?

GEORGE

Hello, Beautiful Joe.

JOE

(a beat)

George the Geek. How y’doing?

GEORGE

Not well, Joe, not well at all.

JOE

Good, that’s good.

GEORGE

You have opened up a Pandora’s box of

enormous trouble for me, my friend.

It’s time for you to close it.

JOE

(looking at his empty wallet)

You gone to a lot of trouble for eight

thousand bucks, George.

GEORGE

Oh, but it’s become much more than

that, my friend.

HUSH

(trying to shout into the

phone)

Joe, they got some mob guy coming into

kill you – !

Mouse clasps a hand over Hush’s mouth.

GEORGE

Well, Joe, what’s it to be? You or

Miss Mason means nothing.

JOE

You let her go, I’ll come easy. You

got me word.

GEORGE

That means a great deal to me, Joe.

Here’s what we’re going to do….

INT. HOTEL – PARKING GARAGE – NIGHT

The elevator doors open. Joe carrying a sleeping Lee comes

out with Vivien. Vivien is carrying some of their things.

VIVIEN

Where we going, Joe? Where’s Momma.

They cross the garage towards the van.

JOE

Shush. We’re going to get her.

Lee starting to wake up as they get in the van. Joe starts

it up, pulls out of his space. And instead of heading

towards the exit, he turns and follows the sign towards the

lower levels of the garage.

ON THE NEXT LEVEL DOWN –

The van moves through the deserted parking garage.

INT. THE VAN – NIGHT

Vivien glances at Joe as the van passes empty parking

stalls.

THE VAN

turns and goes down another level.

ON THE LOWEST LEVEL OF THE PARKING GARAGE

It’s deserted down here. A Citroen sedan is parked.

IN THE CAR –

Mouse and Elton in the front; George, Howdy and Hush in the

back. The lights of the van hitting them as –

AT THE END OF THE GARAGE –

The van comes down the ramp. Stops.

IN THE CAR –

HUSH

George… I’ll do anything you want.

Make money for you. Any way you

want… this was never his fault.

GEORGE

Since when does fault have anything to

do with anything, Hush?

George turns on the headlights.

JOE

is just getting out of the van. He squints as the lights

hit him. Behind him, Vivien and Lee hang out the driver’s

window, watching.

GEORGE

and Elton and Mouse get out of the car. Elton helps Howdy

bring Hush out.

GEORGE

Right on time, Joe. Punctuality is

just another of your virtues.

JOE

She comes to me, then I come to you.

GEORGE

See you, Hush.

He nods. Elton gives Hush a push. Hush starts forward.

Joe, not moving, as she comes towards him. Hush beginning

to cry… breaking into a run at the end… running into

his arms. Joe holding her tight. And then, as he let’s

her go.

JOE

There’s a plane to San Francisco leaves

in 40 minutes. I made you

reservations.

HUSH

No.

JOE

Park the van at the airport. Leave the

keys. I’ll find it.

HUSH

Oh, god, Joe, forgive me…

everything…

He pushes her towards the van.

JOE

C’mon, get these short ones outta here.

HUSH

Joe, wait… that night, we…? It

wasn’t boring, Joe… it was the most

unboring night I ever had…

JOE

Me too.

He pushes Hush into the van. Closes the door. The kids

wide-eyed. Joe smiles at them.

JOE

Meet you at the Golden Gate Bridge, day

after tomorrow, right? Oh, wait –

Joe takes out his wallet… pulls a credit card.

JOE

I didn’t cancel this one. Now go.

HUSH

Oh, God…

JOE

For god’s sake, go!

HUSH

Oh, God!

She floors it. The van roars across the garage towards the

exit; turns up the ramp and is gone. The sound of

shrieking tires as Hush speeds away. And then the sound of

clapping.

GEORGE

Very moving, Joe. I really can’t tell

you how honored I am to have made your

acquaintance.

Joe calmly walks across the garage towards them.

GEORGE

Close enough. Do you have the money?

JOE

Was it gonna make a difference?

GEORGE

No problem. We’ll collect it from Miss

Mason sometime in the future.

The sound of car tires whining on pavement – a car coming

down from the upper levels.

GEORGE

Ah. Lucky you. He’s early.

A Mercedes comes around the corner, glides down towards

them. And stops. The lights go out.

JOE

Beautiful Joe, is it?

GEORGE

You made the wrong people upset, my

friend. Contract killers do not

consider imitation the sincerest form

of flattery.

The front doors on the Mercedes opens. Two very tough

looking Irishmen get out of the car.

ELTON

We gonna have to watch this?

JOE

There’s an Elvis show in the Casino.

Maybe you could get a job.

ELTON

You couldn’t pay me to leave.

The rear door on the Mercedes opens. Light gleams off

expensive shoes as they hit the pavement. Silk socks.

Cuffed pants – beautiful material.

George, Mouse, Howdy, Elton… all staring. Joe resigned

to his fate.

The man strides forward. Click of his heels echoing.

Beautiful suit. Beautiful lizard belt. Beautiful shirt

and tie. The man stepping into the light… Joe staring

at…

JOE

…Happy?

HAPPY

(surprised)

Joe?

JOE

You, Hap? A contract killer?

HAPPY

(sheepish)

… it’s a living. Joe, what are you

doin’ here?

JOE

I think you’re supposed to kill me,

Hap.

HAPPY

You? You’re kiddin’ me.

JOE

Fraid so.

And Happy turns to glare at George.

HAPPY

This is the guy? This is the guy? You

know who this is?

GEORGE

… a friend of yours?

HAPPY

The hell with that, y’friggin’ moron!

He’s Lou O’Connor’s son-in-law!

(to Joe)

Ex. But still favorite.

JOE

Jesus, Hap… Poppa Lou’s connected

too?

HAPPY

Connected, hell. He’s head a the whole

shebang, Joe.

JOE

Poppa Lou!?

HAPPY

You didn’t need to know. Have these

assholes been giving you a hard time,

Joe?

Happy suddenly pulls a pistol as big as a Buick out from

under his suit coat. His “assistants” step forward, cold

eyed as snakes. George, Mouse, Elton and Howdy are

suddenly looking very nervous. Joe smiles at George.

JOE

I dunno… what do you think?

EXT. GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE – DAY

Hush and the kids on the observation walk. The kids

looking at the passing people. Hush knowing Joe’s not

going to be here but going through this for the kids.

VIVIEN

I don’t see him.

HUSH

He’ll be here, Honey.

VIVIEN

Why is he late?

HUSH

We just… have to wait.

VIVIEN

You don’t believe he’s gonna be here,

do you

HUSH

Vivien…

VIVIEN

You don’t! We never should have left!

We should have stayed together.

Lee is expressionless. And suddenly he breaks away and

begins to walk towards the bridge.

HUSH

Lee, honey, where you goin’? Honey, I

want you to stay close. Lee!

She and Vivien move after him. He starts to run. Dodging

people, he runs up the bridge towards –

VIVIEN

(suddenly:)

Joe!!

Hush stops. Watches as Joe strides forward, kneels.

Watches Lee run into his open arms. Vivien breaking away

from Hush and running to Joe as well. Hush watches him

open his arms wide to Vivien; hugging both children to him.

And now Hush starts forward too, slowly at first but then

breaking into a run, towards Joe too, just like the kids.

But then almost to him, she slows, once again uncertain,

perhaps realizing just what it is she’s doing. She stops.

Joe just looking at her. Hush forces a smile. And then:

HUSH

Well. Looks like you made it.

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO AIRPORT – DAY

Establishing shot.

INT. AIRPORT – CONCOURSE – DAY

They’re calling a flight for London. People are boarding.

Joe is saying goodbye to Hush and the kids.

JOE

Well… I’ll be in touch. Or someone

will.

HUSH

We go somewhere, we’ll let you know.

JOE

Good, that’s good.

Joe kneels. Vivien has tears in her eyes.

JOE (cont’d)

Vivien, what’s this?

She hugs him.

VIVIEN

You get well, Joe.

JOE

Y’ need help with homework, Vivien, y’

call me.

He releases her, turns to Lee.

JOE (cont’d)

See yeh, Lone Ranger.

Lee just stares at him. And suddenly he raises his hand in

offering; his plastic horse. Joe takes it. He ruffles

Lee’s head. Stands, looks at Hush.

JOE (cont’d)

Don’t take less than ten thousand for

the van.

HUSH

I won’t.

JOE

And make sure these two eat a good

breakfast, right?

HUSH

We all will.

JOE

See yeh, Alice.

He turns and walks down the gateway to the plane and is

gone. Hush swallows hard.

HUSH

Lord, let’s get out of here.

EXT. AIRPORT PARKING LOT – DAY

A plane hurtles up into the air, disappears towards the

east. Hush unlocks the van. She and the kids get in.

IN THE VAN –

Hush attempts to start the van. As if angry with her, it

refuses to start.

HUSH

Oh… don’t do this to me now.

It still won’t start. She keeps at it. And suddenly:

CHILD’S VOICE (O.C.)

I’m ashamed is what I am.

HUSH

Vivien, let’s not start.

VIVIEN

I didn’t say anything.

Rrr-rrr-rrr! The van still won’t turn over.

CHILD’S VOICE (O.C.)

We are tossing that man on the rocks

like trash fish.

HUSH

Vivien –

VIVIEN

It’s not me, Momma!

Hush realizes; turns, staring, wide eyed –

HUSH

Lee? Is that you, are you talking…?

LEE

Yes.

HUSH

(overjoyed; wanting to kiss

him)

Aw, Lee, baby –

LEE

Momma, I think you’re attracted to

worthless men because you think they

make you look good.

HUSH

Honey… who put an idea like that into

your head?

LEE

Jerry Springer. He had these women on?

He asked them. Why are you terrified

of putting anything on the line?

Hurt and a little annoyed, Hush turns and atacks the

ignition again. The van still won’t start.

LEE

In a similar situation, Geraldo Rivera

wanted to know why doing the right

thing is always for suckers.

Hush just pumping the gas pedal, turning the key again.

LEE

Oprah Winfrey asked the audience what

is wrong in being loved by a good,

decent man and loving him in return,

girl!

HUSH

Lee, that’s enough now.

LEE

Most women, in Sally Jesse Raphael’s

opinion, would thank their lucky stars

for a heart that’s good and true.

HUSH

Lee, I said hush.

LEE

Cathy Lee Gifford would point out that

Joe isn’t good lookin’. But Regis

would ask, are we to be defined as

human beings by how we look?

HUSH

Hush, child.

LEE

We, the studio audience say no, Momma.

HUSH

Child, will you hush?

Verroom! The van suddenly starts.

LEE

Momma!

Hush turns to look at him. It’s hard to meet his eyes.

LEE

We are defined as human beings by how

well we love. Loving someone means

putting their well being ahead of our

own, Momma. Why should we do this?

Because when we give of ourselves, what

we give is returned to us a

thousandfold.

HUSH

Who told you that one?

LEE

Joe.

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – DAY

Joe being prepared for surgery.

LEE (V.O.)

Not in words. He’s a man of few words.

INT. HOSPITAL CORRIDOR – DAY

Joe is being wheeled down a hall on a guerney. We LOOK

DOWN on him as he is wheeled into an elevator.

LEE (V.O.)

His love for us was expressed by deeds.

INT. OPERATING THEATRE – DAY

Joe is in the operating room. The operating team buzzes

around him. Joe doesn’t look frightened.

LEE (V.O.)

Momma… you’ve always been so good at

talking. For once in your life, turns

words into deeds…

Joe is serenely looking at us. The anesthesiologist begins

his work. Joe’s eyes softly flutter… the room fades

away.

COLORS

Hazy but bright. A rainbow of colors. We’re in a field

perhaps… or a garden… someplace beautiful. COMING INTO

SOFT FOCUS. The COLORS are –

FLOWERS

They’re in a vase. We’re:

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – DAY

Joe in a bed. Head bandaged. He blinks… not

understanding where he is… or what’s happened…

VIVIEN (O.C.)

Joe?

Joe turns his head, stares dully for a moment. It’s

Vivien.

VIVIEN

Hi, Joe.

He looks at her, hardly comprehending… and Lee moves to

Vivien’s side.

LEE

Hi, Joe. Guess what, I’m talkin’ now.

And Joe just stares. Does he even understand?

VIVIEN

He don’t recognize us, Momma.

HUSH (O.C.)

…Joe?

Joe turns his head. Hush looks different. Softer, maybe;

at ease. She gently takes Joe’s hand.

HUSH (cont’d)

How you doin’, Joe.

Nothing. Joe blinks, eyes empty and vacant. Hush kisses

Joe’s hand.

HUSH (cont’d)

How you doin’… oh, how you doin”…

She weeps. Silence. And then, softly:

JOE (O.C.)

How y’doin’, Alice?

Hush looks up at him. He’s looking down at her. Eyes

suddenly warm and clear.

JOE

How you doin’?

HUSH

… I’m fine.

JOE

Good, that’s good.

HUSH

Oh, Joe, oh, god…

Moving to kiss him. Joe touching her face. The children

smiling. Joe turning to them.

JOE

Come here.

Moving close to him. Tentative, not wanting to hurt him.

JOE (cont’d)

It’s all right. I’m all right. I’m

still me.

All of them holding one another as we PULL BACK AND FADE

TO:

CREDITS.