"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"AMERICAN BEAUTY"

by

Alan Ball

Final Draft



INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

On VIDEO: JANE BURNHAM lays in bed, wearing a tank top. She's
sixteen, with dark, intense eyes.

JANE
I need a father who's a role model,
not some horny geek-boy who's gonna
spray his shorts whenever I bring a
girlfriend home from school.
(snorts)
What a lame-o. Somebody really should
put him out of his misery.

Her mind wanders for a beat.

RICKY (O.S.)
Want me to kill him for you?

Jane looks at us and sits up.

JANE
(deadpan)
Yeah, would you?

FADE TO BLACK:

FADE IN:

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL - EARLY MORNING

We're FLYING above suburban America, DESCENDING SLOWLY toward
a tree-lined street.

LESTER (V.O.)
My name is Lester Burnham. This is
my neighborhood. This is my street.
This... is my life. I'm forty-two
years old. In less than a year, I'll
be dead.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

We're looking down at a king-sized BED from OVERHEAD:

LESTER BURNHAM lies sleeping amidst expensive bed linens,
face down, wearing PAJAMAS. An irritating ALARM CLOCK RINGS.
Lester gropes blindly to shut it off.

LESTER (V.O.)
Of course, I don't know that yet.

He rolls over, looks up at us and sighs. He doesn't seem too
thrilled at the prospect of a new day.

LESTER (V.O.)
And in a way, I'm dead already.

He sits up and puts on his slippers.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - MASTER BATH - MOMENTS LATER

Lester thrusts his face directly into a steaming hot shower.

ANGLE from outside the shower: Lester's naked body is
silhouetted through the fogged-up glass door. It becomes
apparent he is masturbating.

LESTER (V.O.)
(amused)
Look at me, jerking off in the shower.
(then)
This will be the high point of my
day. It's all downhill from here.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER

CLOSE on a single, dewy AMERICAN BEAUTY ROSE. A gloved hand
with CLIPPERS appears and SNIPS the flower off.

CAROLYN BURNHAM tends her rose bushes in front of the Burnham
house. A very well-put together woman of forty, she wears
color-coordinated gardening togs and has lots of useful and
expensive tools.

Lester watches her through a WINDOW on the first floor,
peeping out through the drapes.

LESTER (V.O.)
That's my wife Carolyn. See the way
the handle on those pruning shears
matches her gardening clogs? That's
not an accident.

EXT. JIMS' HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

In the fenced front yard of the house next door, a dog BARKS
repeatedly. A MAN in a conservative suit (JIM #1) chastises
the barking dog.

JIM #1
Hush, Bitsy. You hush. What is wrong?

LESTER (V.O.)
That's our next-door neighbor Jim.

A second MAN in a conservative suit (JIM #2) comes out of
the house.

LESTER (V.O.)
And that's his lover, Jim.

JIM #2
(re: barking dog)
What in the world is wrong with her?
She had a walk this morning.

JIM #1
And a jerky treat.

JIM #2
You spoil her.
(sternly)
Bitsy. No bark. Come inside. Now.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

Lester watches all this from the window.

CAROLYN
Good morning, Jim!

Jim #1 walks toward the fence to greet Carolyn.

JIM #1
Morning, Carolyn.

CAROLYN
(overly friendly)
I just love your tie! That color!

JIM #1
I just love your roses. How do you
get them to flourish like this?

CAROLYN
Well, I'll tell you. Egg shells and
Miracle Grow.

Jim #1 and Carolyn continue to chat, unaware that Lester is
watching them.

LESTER (V.O.)
Man. I get exhausted just watching
her.

Lester's POV: We can't hear what Jim and Carolyn are saying,
but she's overly animated, like a TV talk show host.

LESTER (V.O.)
She wasn't always like this. She
used to be happy. We used to be happy.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - JANE'S ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JANE is seated at her desk, working at her computer.

LESTER (V.O.)
My daughter Jane. Only child.

CLOSE on the COMPUTER MONITOR: A PERSONAL BANKING SOFTWARE
window suddenly disappears to reveal another window: a PLASTIC
SURGERY WEBSITE, featuring clinical "before" and "after"
photos of surgically augmented breasts.

LESTER (V.O.)
Janie's a pretty typical teenager.
Angry, insecure, confused. I wish I
could tell her that's all going to
pass...

Outside, a CAR HORN BLARES. Jane stuffs items into her
BACKPACK.

LESTER (V.O.)
But I don't want to lie to her.

We HEAR the CAR HORN again from outside. Jane studies herself
in a mirror, then shifts to get a good profile of her breasts.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

Carolyn stands next to a platinum-colored MERCEDES-BENZ ML320,
reaching in through the drivers' window to blow the HORN
again.

Jane shuffles out of the house, her backpack slung over her
shoulder.

CAROLYN
Jane. Honey. Are you trying to look
unattractive?

JANE
Yes.

CAROLYN
Well, congratulations. You've
succeeded admirably.

Jane gets in the car. Lester hurries out the front door,
carrying a BRIEFCASE.

CAROLYN
Lester, could you make me a little
later, please? Because I'm not quite
late enough.

Lester's briefcase suddenly springs open and his papers spill
all over the driveway. He drops to his knees to gather
everything.

JANE
Nice going, Dad.

Lester smiles sheepishly, trying to lighten the moment.

His POV: Carolyn looks down at us, contemptuous but also
bored, as if she gave up expecting anything more long ago.

LESTER (V.O.)
Both my wife and daughter think I'm
this gigantic loser, and... they're
right.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 - A SHORT TIME LATER

Carolyn is driving; Jane stares out the window. Lester is
asleep in the back seat.

LESTER (V.O.)
I have lost something. I'm not exactly
sure what it is, but I know I didn't
always feel this... sedated. But you
know what? It's never too late to
get it back.

INT. OFFICE BUILDING - DAY

Lester sits at his workstation, a BEIGE CUBICLE surrounded
by IDENTICAL BEIGE CUBICLES. He's staring at a computer
monitor and talking on a HEADSET PHONE. The beleaguered
expression on his face is at odds with the light, friendly
tone of his voice.

LESTER
Hello, this is Lester Burnham from
Media Monthly magazine, I'm calling
for Mr. Tamblin, please?... Well,
we're all under a deadline here, uh,
but you see, there is some basic
information about the product launch
that isn't even covered in your press
release and I... Yeah. Can I ask you
a question? Who is Tamblin? Does he
exist? 'Cause he doesn't ever seem
to come in... Yeah, okay, I'll leave
my number...

BRAD, a dapper man in his thirties, approaches and observes
Lester, who is unaware of his presence.

LESTER
It's 555 0199. Lester Burnham. Thank
you!

Lester disconnects the call, obviously irritated.

BRAD
Hey Les. You got a minute?

Lester turns around, smiling perfunctorily.

LESTER
For you, Brad? I've got five.

INT. BRAD'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER

Brad is seated behind his desk in his big corner office.

BRAD
I'm sure you can understand our need
to cut corners around here.

Lester sits across from him, looking small and isolated.

LESTER
Oh, sure. Times are tight, and you
gotta free up cash. Gotta spend money
to make money. Right?

BRAD
Exactly. So...

Brad stands, ready to usher Lester out.

LESTER
(blurts)
Like the time when Mr. Flournoy used
the company MasterCard to pay for
that hooker, and then she used the
card numbers and stayed at the St.
Regis for, what was it, like, three
months?

BRAD
(startled)
That's unsubstantiated gossip.

LESTER
That's fifty thousand dollars. That's
somebody's salary. That's somebody
who's gonna get fired because Craig
has to pay women to fuck him!

BRAD
Jesus. Calm down. Nobody's getting
fired yet. That's why we're having
everyone write out a job description,
mapping out in detail how they
contribute. That way, management can
assess who's valuable and--

LESTER
Who's expendable.

BRAD
It's just business.

LESTER
(angry)
I've been writing for this magazine
for fourteen years, Brad. You've
been here how long, a whole month?

BRAD
(frank)
I'm one of the good guys, Les. I'm
trying to level with you. This is
your one chance to save your job.

Lester stares at him, powerless.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON

A MOVING VAN is parked in front of the COLONIAL HOUSE next
door to the Burnhams'. Movers carry furniture toward the
house.

The Mercedes-Benz pulls into the Burnham driveway. Carolyn
drives, Lester is in the passenger seat.

CAROLYN
--there is no decision, you just
write the damn thing!

LESTER
You don't think it's weird and kinda
fascist?

CAROLYN
Possibly. But you don't want to be
unemployed.

LESTER
Oh, well, let's just all sell our
souls and work for Satan, because
it's more convenient that way.

CAROLYN
Could you be just a little bit more
dramatic, please, huh?

As they get out of the car, Carolyn scopes out the MOVERS
next door.

CAROLYN
So we've finally got new neighbors.
You know, if the Lomans had let me
represent them, instead of--
(heavy disdain)
--"The Real Estate King," that house
would never have sat on the market
for six months.

She heads into the house, followed by Lester.

LESTER
Well, they were still mad at you for
cutting down their sycamore.

CAROLYN
Their sycamore? C'mon! A substantial
portion of the root structure was on
our property. You know that. How can
you call it their sycamore? I wouldn't
have the heart to just cut down
something if it wasn't partially
mine, which of course it was.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - DINING ROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT

We HEAR EASY-LISTENING MUSIC.

Lester, Carolyn and Jane are eating dinner by CANDLELIGHT.
RED ROSES are bunched in a vase at the center of the table.
Nobody makes eye contact, or even seems aware of anybody
else's presence, until...

JANE
Mom, do we always have to listen to
this elevator music?

CAROLYN
(considers)
No. No, we don't. As soon as you've
prepared a nutritious yet savory
meal that I'm about to eat, you can
listen to whatever you like.

A long beat. Lester suddenly turns to Jane.

LESTER
So Janie, how was school?

JANE
(suspicious)
It was okay.

LESTER
Just okay?

JANE
No, Dad. It was spec-tac-ular.

A beat.

LESTER
Well, you want to know how things
went at my job today?

Now she looks at him as if he's lost his mind.

LESTER
They've hired this efficiency expert,
this really friendly guy named Brad,
how perfect is that? And he's
basically there to make it seem like
they're justified in firing somebody,
because they couldn't just come right
out and say that, could they? No,
no, that would be too... honest. And
so they've asked us--
(off her look)
--you couldn't possibly care any
less, could you?

Carolyn is watching this closely.

JANE
(uncomfortable)
Well, what do you expect? You can't
all of a sudden be my best friend,
just because you had a bad day.

She gets up and heads toward the kitchen.

JANE
I mean, hello. You've barely even
spoken to me for months.

She's gone. Lester notices Carolyn looking at him critically.

LESTER
Oh, what, you're mother-of-the-year?
You treat her like an employee.

CAROLYN
(taken aback)
What?!

Lester is quiet, staring at his plate.

CAROLYN
(more authority)
What?

Lester gets up and starts after Jane, taking his plate with
him.

LESTER
I'm going to get some ice cream.

Carolyn watches him go, irritated.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

Jane stands at the sink, rinsing off her plate. Lester enters.

LESTER
Honey, I'm sorry. I...

Jane turns and stares at him, waiting for him to finish.

LESTER
I'm sorry I haven't been more
available, I just... I'm...

He's looking to her for a little help here, but she's too
uncomfortable with this sudden intimacy to give him any.

LESTER
(finally)
You know, you don't always have to
wait for me to come to you...

JANE
Oh, great. So now it's my fault?

LESTER
I didn't say that. It's nobody's
fault. Janie, what happened? You and
I used to be pals.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

On VIDEO: We're looking through GREENHOUSE WINDOWS at Lester
and Jane in the kitchen We can't hear what they're saying,
but it's obvious it's not going well.

Jane puts her plate in the dishwasher and leaves. We FOLLOW
HER out the door, then the camera JERKS back to Lester calling
after her.

CLOSE on the face of RICKY FITTS, illuminated by the screen
of his DIGICAM as he videotapes. Ricky is eighteen, but his
eyes are much older. Beneath his Zen-like tranquillity lurks
something wounded... and dangerous.

His POV, on VIDEO: Through the kitchen window, we see Lester
at the sink, rinsing off his plate, muttering to himself.

His head suddenly jerks up and he looks at us, as if he
realizes he's being watched.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

Lester's POV: We're looking out through the kitchen window
at the point where Ricky was just standing, but he's no longer
there.

Lester turns off the faucet, dries his hands, then tosses
the towel on the counter on his way out, where it lands next
to a framed PHOTOGRAPH of Lester, Carolyn, and a much-younger
Jane, taken several years earlier at an amusement park.

It's startling how happy they look.

EXT. SALE HOUSE - DAY

CLOSE on a wooden SIGN that reads:

OPEN HOUSE TODAY
BURNHAM & ASSOCIATES REALTY 555-0195
Carolyn Burnham

The sign is planted in front of a RUN-DOWN HOME in a run-
down neighborhood. The Mercedes is parked in front of the
house. Carolyn, wearing a smart business suit, is unloading
a box of cleaning supplies and a BOOMBOX from the back of
the Mercedes when something across the street catches her
eye.

Her POV: In front of a different house with much more curb
appeal is another SIGN, featuring a picture of a handsome
silver-haired MAN. It reads:

Another One SOLD
By Buddy Kane
The Real Estate King
555-0100

Carolyn frowns and slams the back of the Mercedes shut.

INT. SALE HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

The interior of this house is ugly, oppressive and tasteless.
Carolyn opens the front door, breathes deeply and solemnly
announces:

CAROLYN
I will sell this house today.

She neatly arranges her sales materials on a desk, then strips
down to her undergarments.

MONTAGE:

We see Carolyn, working with fierce concentration as she:
Cleans glass doors that overlook the patio and pool; Doggedly
scrubs countertops in the kitchen; Perches on a stepladder
to dust a cheap-looking ceiling fan in the master bedroom;
And vacuums a dirty carpet that will never be clean.
Throughout all this, she keeps repeating to herself:

CAROLYN
I will sell this house today. I will
sell this house today. I will sell
this house today.

INT. SALE HOUSE - BATHROOM - LATER

Carolyn stands in front of the mirror, wearing her suit once
more, applying lipstick. She stares at her reflection
critically.

CAROLYN
I will sell this house today.

She says this as if it were a threat, then notices a smudge
on the mirror and wipes it off.

EXT. SALE HOUSE - FRONT YARD - LATER

The front door opens to reveal Carolyn, greeting us with the
smile she thinks could sell ice to an Eskimo.

CAROLYN
Welcome. I'm Carolyn Burnham!

INT. SALE HOUSE - FOYER - CONTINUOUS

Smiling, Carolyn leads a man and woman into the living room.
They're thirtyish, and they've seen a lot of houses today.

CAROLYN
This living room is very dramatic.
Wait 'til you see the native stone
fireplace!

The man and woman glance around the dark room, unimpressed.

CAROLYN
A simple cream would really lighten
things up. You could even put in a
skylight.

The woman wrinkles her face, skeptical.

CAROLYN
Well, why don't we go into the
kitchen?

INT. SALE HOUSE - KITCHEN - LATER

Carolyn enters, followed by a different couple in their
fifties.

CAROLYN
It's a dream come true for any cook.
Just filled with positive energy.
Huh?

INT. SALE HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM - LATER

Carolyn stands with a different couple: African American,
late twenties.

The woman is pregnant.

CAROLYN
...and you'll be surprised how much
a ceiling fan can cut down on your
energy costs.

EXT. SALE HOUSE - BACK YARD - LATER

Carolyn stands by the pool next to two fortyish WOMEN.

CAROLYN
You know, you could have some really
fun backyard get-togethers out here.

WOMAN #1
The ad said this pool was "lagoon-
like." There's nothing "lagoon-like"
about it. Except for maybe the bugs.

WOMAN #2
There's not even any plants out here.

CAROLYN
(re: shrub)
What do you call this? Is this not a
plant? If you have a problem with
the plants, I can always call my
landscape architect. Solved.

WOMAN #2
I mean, I think "lagoon," I think
waterfall, I think tropical. This is
a cement hole.

A beat.

CAROLYN
I have some tiki torches in the
garage.

INT. SALE HOUSE - SUN ROOM - LATER

Carolyn enters, alone. She's furious. She locks the sliding
glass door and starts to pull the vertical blinds shut, then
stops. Standing very still, with the blinds casting shadows
across her face, she starts to cry: brief, staccato SOBS
that seemingly escape against her will. Suddenly she SLAPS
herself, hard.

CAROLYN
Shut up. Stop it. You... Weak!

But the tears continue. She SLAPS herself again.

CAROLYN
Weak. Baby. Shut up. Shut up! Shut
up!

She SLAPS herself repeatedly until she stops crying. She
stands there, taking deep breaths until she has everything
under control, then pulls the blinds shut, once again all
business. She walks out calmly, leaving us alone in the dark,
empty room.

We HEAR CHEERING and APPLAUSE.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASIUM - NIGHT

We're at a high-school BASKETBALL GAME. Teenage boys play a
fast and furious game. One team wearing pale blue and white
uniforms scores a basket. Perky cheerleaders jump up and
down as the CROWD goes wild.

Seated in the bleachers, next to the high school BAND, is a
group of about twenty TEENAGE GIRLS, dressed in pale blue
and white uniforms. Among them, Jane sits next to ANGELA
HAYES. At sixteen, Angela is strikingly beautiful; with
perfect even features, blonde hair and a nubile young body,
she's the archetypal American dream girl.

Jane stands and scans the bleachers.

ANGELA
Who are you looking for?

JANE
My parents are coming tonight. They're
trying to, you know, take an active
interest in me.

ANGELA
Gross. I hate it when my mom does
that.

JANE
They're such assholes. Why can't
they just have their own lives?

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 - CONTINUOUS

Carolyn drives. Lester is slumped in the passenger seat.

LESTER
What makes you so sure she wants us
to be there? Did she ask us to come?

CAROLYN
Of course not. She doesn't want us
to know how important this is to
her. But she's been practicing her
steps for weeks.

LESTER
Well, I bet money she's going to
resent it. And I'm missing the James
Bond marathon on TNT.

CAROLYN
Lester, this is important. I'm sensing
a real distance growing between you
and Jane.

LESTER
Growing? She hates me.

CAROLYN
She's just willful.

LESTER
She hates you too.

Carolyn stares at him, unsure of how to respond.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASIUM - LATER

The uniformed girls now stand in formation on the gym floor.

ANNOUNCER
(over P.A.)
And now, for your half-time
entertainment, Rockwell High's award-
winning Dancing Spartanettes!

In the crowded stands, Lester and Carolyn find seats.

LESTER
We can leave right after this, right?

The HIGH SCHOOL BAND plays "ON BROADWAY." On the gym floor,
the girls perform. They're well-rehearsed, but too young to
carry off the ambitious Vegas routine they're attempting.

Lester, watching from the stands, picks out his daughter.

His POV: Jane performs well, concentrating. Dancing awkwardly
next to her is Angela. Suddenly Angela looks right at us and
smiles... a lazy, insolent smile.

Lester leans forward in his seat.

His POV: We're focused on Angela now. Everything starts to
SLOW DOWN...

the MUSIC acquires an eerie ECHO...

We ZOOM slowly toward Lester as he watches, transfixed.

His POV: Angela's awkwardness gives way to a fluid grace,
and "ON BROADWAY" FADES into dreamy, hypnotic MUSIC. The
light on Angela grows stronger, and the other girls DISAPPEAR
entirely.

Lester is suddenly alone in the stands, spellbound.

His POV: Angela looks directly at us now, dancing only for
Lester. Her movements take on a blatantly erotic edge as she
starts to unzip her uniform, teasing us with an expression
that's both innocent and knowing, then...

She pulls her uniform OPEN and a profusion of RED ROSE PETALS
spill forth... and we

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASIUM - CONTINUOUS

Angela, fully clothed, is once again surrounded by the other
girls. The HIGH SCHOOL BAND plays its last note, the Dancing
Spartanettes strike their final pose, and the audience
APPLAUDS.

Carolyn claps along with the rest of the audience. Lester
just sits there, unable to take his eyes off Angela.

EXT. HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASIUM - LATER

The game is long over. Jane and Angela come out of the gym.

JANE
Oh shit, they're still here.

Her POV: Lester and Carolyn stand at the edge of the parking
lot.

LESTER
Janie!

CAROLYN
Hi! I really enjoyed that!

She crosses reluctantly toward her parents, followed by
Angela.

LESTER
Congratulations, honey, you were
great.

JANE
I didn't win anything.

LESTER
(to Angela)
Hi, I'm Lester. Janie's dad.

ANGELA
Oh. Hi.

An awkward beat.

JANE
This is my friend, Angela Hayes.

LESTER
Okay, good to meet you. You were
also good tonight. Very... precise.

ANGELA
(warming)
Thanks.

CAROLYN
(to Angela)
Nice to meet you, Angela.
(to Jane)
Honey, I'm so proud of you. I watched
you very closely, and you didn't
screw up once.
(then, to Lester)
Okay, we have to go.

She starts toward the parking lot. Lester stays behind.

LESTER
So, what are you girls doing now?

JANE
Dad.

ANGELA
We're going out for pizza.

LESTER
Oh really, do you need a ride? We
can give you a ride. I have a car.
You wanna come with us?

ANGELA
Thanks... but I have a car.

LESTER
Oh, you have a car. Oh. That's great!
That's great, because Janie's thinking
about getting a car soon too, aren't
you, honey?

JANE
(you freak)
Dad. Mom's waiting for you.

LESTER
Well, it was very nice meeting you,
Angela. Any, uh, friend of Janie's
is a friend of mine.

Angela smiles, aware of the power she has over him. He is
mesmerized; grateful, even.

LESTER
Well... I'll be seeing you around
then.

Lester waves awkwardly as he crosses off.

JANE
Could he be any more pathetic?

ANGELA
I think it's sweet. And I think he
and your mother have not had sex in
a long time.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM - A FEW HOURS LATER

CLOSE on a solitary red ROSE PETAL as it falls slowly through
the air.

We're looking down on Lester and Carolyn in bed. Even in
sleep, Carolyn looks determined. Lester is awake and stares
up at us.

LESTER
It's the weirdest thing.

The ROSE PETAL drifts into view, landing on his pillow.

LESTER
I feel like I've been in a coma for
about twenty years, and I'm just now
waking up.

More ROSE PETALS fall onto the bed, and he smiles up at...

His POV: Angela, naked, FLOATS above us as a deluge of ROSE
PETALS falls around her. Her hair fans out around her head
and GLOWS with a subtle, burnished light. She looks down at
us with a smile that is all things... Lester smiles back
and LAUGHS, as ROSE PETALS cover his face.

LESTER
Spec-tac-ular.

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL - CONTINUOUS

A WHITE BMW 328si CONVERTIBLE is parked on the street outside
the Burnham's house. We HEAR girlish LAUGHTER from inside.

INT. ANGELA'S BMW - CONTINUOUS

Angela is behind the wheel, Jane in the passenger seat.
They're passing a JOINT back and forth.

JANE
I'm sorry my dad was so weird tonight.

ANGELA
It's okay. I'm used to guys drooling
over me. It started when I was about
twelve, I'd go out to dinner with my
parents. Every Thursday night, Red
Lobster. And every guy there would
stare at me when I walked in. And I
knew what they were thinking. Just
like I knew guys at school thought
about me when they jerked off.

JANE
Vomit.

ANGELA
No, I liked it. And I still like it.
If people I don't even know look at
me and want to fuck me, it means I
really have a shot at being a model.
Which is great, because there's
nothing worse in life than being
ordinary.

An awkward beat. Jane stares at the floor.

JANE
I really think it'll happen for you.

ANGELA
Oh, I know. Because everything that
was meant to happen, does. Eventually.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

On VIDEO: Jane gets out of the car, still LAUGHING, and waves
as Angela pulls away. We ZOOM toward Jane as she walks up
the driveway. She turns suddenly, sensing our presence.

Her POV: We're looking at the COLONIAL HOUSE next door where
the moving van was parked earlier. The front porch is shrouded
in darkness... then a PORCH LIGHT abruptly reveals Ricky. As
usual, he's dressed conservatively.

There is a BEEPER attached to his belt, and his DIGICAM
dangles loosely around his neck.

Irritated, Jane stares at him, hard.

JANE
Asshole.

He looks back at her curiously, then raises his Digicam and
starts to videotape her.

His POV, on VIDEO: Jane, angry and self-conscious, turns and
walks quickly toward her house, flipping us off as she goes.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - FOYER - CONTINUOUS

Jane enters, closes and locks the door. She quickly TURNS
OFF THE LIGHT that's been left on for her, then peeks through
a window.

Her POV: There's no sign of Ricky.

Jane turns back into the room, her heart racing... and smiles.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - JANE'S BEDROOM - THE NEXT MORNING

CLOSE on an ADDRESS BOOK: A man's hand flips to the H page
and then his finger stops at the name Angela Hayes.

Lester, dressed for work, goes through Jane's address book.
We HEAR the SHOWER running in the adjacent bathroom. He grabs
Jane's phone and dials, then stands with the receiver to his
ear, nervous.

ANGELA
(over phone line)
Hello? Hello?

Lester is frozen, unable to speak. Suddenly, the SHOWER is
turned off in the next room. Lester hangs up and exits
quickly. A moment, then the PHONE RINGS. Jane emerges from
the bathroom, a towel wrapped around her torso, drying her
wet hair. She picks up the PHONE.

JANE
Hello?

INT. HAYES HOUSE - ANGELA'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Angela is sprawled across her bed, on the phone.

ANGELA
Why'd you call me?

INTERCUT WITH JANE IN HER BEDROOM:

JANE
I didn't.

ANGELA
Well, my phone just rang and I
answered it and somebody hung up and
then I star sixty-nined and it called
you back.

JANE
I was in the shower.

Then Jane notices her address book open to the H page.

JANE
Oh, gross.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

On VIDEO: We're across from Jane's WINDOW, looking in. Jane
picks up the address book, frowning. She speaks into the
phone, but we can't hear her.

WOMAN'S VOICE (O.C.)
(sing song)
Rick-y! Break-fast!

INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Ricky stands at his window, videotaping. He lowers his
Digicam, but his eyes remain locked on Jane across the way.

RICKY
Be right there.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

BARBARA FITTS stands at the stove, flipping bacon strips
mechanically, her eyes focused elsewhere. At least ten years
younger than her husband, she's pretty in a June Cleaver-ish
way. The Colonel sits at a dinette reading The Wall Street
Journal. Ricky enters.

RICKY
Mom.

Startled, Barbara turns to him.

BARBARA
Hello.

As she attempts to serve him bacon:

RICKY
I don't eat bacon, remember?

BARBARA
(unnerved)
I'm sorry, I must have forgotten.

Ricky serves himself scrambled eggs from another pan, then
joins his father at the table.

RICKY
What's new in the world, Dad?

COLONEL
This country is going straight to
hell.

A DOORBELL rings. The Colonel and Barbara look at each other,
alarmed.

COLONEL
Are you expecting anyone?

BARBARA
No.
(thinks)
No.

The Colonel heads toward the living room, a little puffed
up.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - FOYER - MOMENTS LATER

The Colonel opens the front door to reveal the two JIMS.

JIM #1
Hi.

JIM #2
Welcome to the neighborhood.

Jim #1 holds out a basket filled with flowers, vegetables
and a small white cardboard box tied with raffia.

JIM #1
Just a little something from our
garden.

JIM #2
Except for the pasta, we got that at
Fallaci's.

JIM #1
It's unbelievably fresh. You just
drop it in the water and it's done.

The Colonel stares at them, suspicious.

JIM #1
(offers his hand)
Jim Olmeyer. Two doors down. Welcome
to the neighborhood.

COLONEL
(shakes)
Colonel Frank Fitts, U.S. Marine
Corps.

JIM #1
Nice to meet you. And this is my
partner...

JIM #2
(offers his hand)
Jim Berkley, but people call me J.B.

COLONEL
Let's cut to the chase, okay? What
are you guys selling?

JIM #2
(after a beat)
Nothing. We just wanted to say hi to
our new neighbors--

COLONEL
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But you said you're
partners. So what's your business?

The Jims look at each other, then back at the Colonel.

JIM #1
Well, he's a tax attorney.

JIM #2
And he's an anesthesiologist.

The Colonel looks at them, confused. Then it dawns on him.

INT. COLONEL'S FORD EXPLORER - LATER

The Colonel drives, staring darkly at the road ahead. In the
passenger seat, Ricky is using a CALCULATOR and jotting
numbers down in a NOTEBOOK.

COLONEL
How come these faggots always have
to rub it in your face? How can they
be so shameless?

RICKY
That's the whole thing, Dad. They
don't feel like it's anything to be
ashamed of.

The Colonel looks at Ricky sharply.

COLONEL
Well, it is.

A beat, as Ricky continues his calculations, before he
realizes a response is expected from him. Then:

RICKY
Yeah, you're right.

The Colonel's eyes flash angrily.

COLONEL
Don't placate me like I'm your mother,
boy.

Ricky sighs, then looks at his father.

RICKY
Forgive me, sir, for speaking so
bluntly, but those fags make me want
to puke my fucking guts out.

The Colonel is taken aback but quickly covers.

COLONEL
Me too, son. Me too.

Case closed, Ricky goes back to his calculations.

CLOSE on the pencil in his hands: He's totaling two columns
of NUMBERS.

Under the column "Income" he writes in swift, bold strokes:
$24,950.00.

EXT. HIGH SCHOOL CAMPUS - A SHORT TIME LATER

Jane and Angela are standing with two other TEENAGE GIRLS.

ANGELA
I'm serious, he just pulled down his
pants and yanked it out. You know,
like, say hello to Mr. Happy.

TEENAGE GIRL #1
Gross.

ANGELA
It wasn't gross. It was kind of cool.

TEENAGE GIRL #1
So, did you do it with him?

ANGELA
Of course I did. He is a really well-
known photographer? He shoots for
Elle on like, a regular basis? It
would have been so majorly stupid of
me to turn him down.

TEENAGE GIRL #2
You are a total prostitute.

ANGELA
Hey. That's how things really are.
You just don't know, because you're
this pampered little suburban chick.

TEENAGE GIRL #2
So are you. You've only been in
Seventeen once, and you looked fat,
so stop acting like you're goddamn
Christy Turlington.

The two TEENAGE GIRLS move away from Jane and Angela.

ANGELA
(calling off)
Cunt!
(then)
I am so sick of people taking their
insecurities out on me.

The Colonel's Ford Explorer pulls up, and Ricky gets out.

JANE
Oh my God. That's the pervert who
filmed me last night.

ANGELA
Him? Jane. No way. He's a total
lunatic.

JANE
You know him?

ANGELA
Yeah. We were on the same lunch shift
when I was in ninth grade, and he
would always say the most random,
weird things, and then one day, he
was just like, gone. And then, Connie
Cardullo told me he his parents had
to put him in a mental institution.

JANE
Why? What did he do?

ANGELA
What do you mean?

JANE
Well, they can't put you away just
for saying weird things.

Angela stares at Jane, then her mouth widens into a smile.

ANGELA
You total slut. You've got a crush
on him.

JANE
What? Please.

ANGELA
You were defending him! You love
him. You want to have like, ten
thousand of his babies.

JANE
Shut up.

Jane suddenly finds Ricky standing in front of her.

RICKY
Hi. My name's Ricky. I just moved
next door to you.

JANE
I know. I kinda remember this really
creepy incident when you were filming
me last night?

RICKY
I didn't mean to scare you. I just
think you're interesting.

Angela shoots a wide-eyed look at Jane, who ignores it.

JANE
Thanks, but I really don't need to
have some psycho obsessing about me
right now.

RICKY
I'm not obsessing. I'm just curious.

He looks at her intently, his eyes searching hers. Jane is
unnerved and has to look away. Ricky smiles and walks off.

ANGELA
What a freak. And why does he dress
like a Bible salesman?

JANE
He's like, so confident. That can't
be real.

ANGELA
I don't believe him. I mean, he didn't
even like, look at me once.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - DEN - THAT NIGHT

CLOSE on a TV SCREEN: "Hogan's Heroes" on Nick at Nite.

The Colonel and Barbara are seated on a couch, watching
television. The Colonel is smiling, enjoying the show; Barbara
just stares. The Colonel CHUCKLES at a joke and startles
her.

We HEAR a door opening elsewhere in the house, and Ricky
enters.

RICKY
Hey.

He sits on the couch, next to his father, and watches TV
along with them.

The Colonel's smile fades.

BARBARA
(out of the blue)
I'm sorry, what?

RICKY
Mom. Nobody said anything.

BARBARA
Oh. I'm sorry.

The three of them stare at the TV, like strangers in an
airport.

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM - NIGHT

We HEAR MUSIC under a room full of people all talking at
once, as Lester and Carolyn enter a hotel ballroom. We FOLLOW
THEM as they pass a SIGN that reads:

GREATER ROCKWELL REALTOR RESOURCES GROUP

CAROLYN
--everyone here is with their spouse
or their significant other. How would
it look if I showed up with no one?

LESTER
Well, you always end up ignoring me
and going off--

Inside the ballroom, well-dressed real estate professionals
stand in clumps, chatting. Catering waiters serve hors
d'eouvres.

CAROLYN
Now listen to me. This is an important
business function. As you know, my
business is selling an image. And
part of my job is to live that image--

LESTER
Just say whatever you want to say
and spare me the propaganda.

CAROLYN
(spots someone)
Hi, Shirley!
(to Lester)
Listen, just do me a favor. Act happy
tonight?

LESTER
(grins stupidly)
I am happy, honey.

Carolyn's jaw tightens, then:

CAROLYN
(spots someone)
Oh! Buddy!

She drags Lester toward a silver-haired MAN and his much
younger WIFE. We recognize the Man as BUDDY KANE, The Real
Estate King.

CAROLYN
(shakes Buddy's hand)
Buddy! Buddy. Hi! Good to see you
again.

BUDDY
It's so good to see you too,
Catherine.

CAROLYN
Carolyn.

BUDDY
Carolyn! Of course. How are you?

CAROLYN
Very well, thank you.
(to his wife)
Hello, Christy.

CHRISTY
Hello.

CAROLYN
My husband, Lester--

BUDDY
(shakes Lester's hand)
It's a pleasure.

LESTER
Oh, we've met before, actually. This
thing last year. Or the Christmas
thing at the Sheraton.

BUDDY
Oh, yes.

LESTER
It's okay. I wouldn't remember me
either.

He LAUGHS. A little too loudly. Carolyn quickly joins in.

CAROLYN
(forced gaiety)
Honey. Don't be weird.

She smiles her most winning smile at him. He knows this
persona well, only it's never pissed him off as much as it
does right now.

LESTER
All right, honey. I won't be weird.
(his face close to
hers)
I'll be whatever you want me to be.

And he kisses her--a soft, warm kiss that speaks unmistakably
of sex--then turns to the others and grins.

LESTER
We have a very healthy relationship.

BUDDY
I see.

Carolyn's smile is frozen on her face.

LESTER
Well. I don't know about you, but I
need a drink.

He crosses off. Carolyn, Buddy and Christy watch him go.

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Lester stands at the bar. A bartender pours him a drink.

LESTER
Whoa. Put a little more in there,
cowboy.

The bartender complies. Lester takes his drink and turns to
face the center of the room.

His POV: Carolyn is talking to Buddy and Christy. She's on:
smiling, animated, LAUGHING too loud at their jokes.

Lester shakes his head. Ricky approaches him, wearing a
waiter's uniform, carrying a tray of empty glasses.

RICKY
Excuse me. Don't you live on Robin
Hood Trail? The house with the red
door?

LESTER
(suspicious)
Yeah.

RICKY
I'm Ricky Fitts. I just moved into
the house next to you.

LESTER
Oh. Hi, Ricky Fitts. I'm Lester
Burnham.

RICKY
Hi, Lester Burnham.

A beat. Lester looks away, scans the crowd, then downs the
rest of his drink in one gulp. Ricky just stands there,
watching him. Finally Lester turns back to Ricky: what does
this kid want?

RICKY
Do you party?

LESTER
Excuse me?

RICKY
Do you get high?

Lester's surprised, but instantly intrigued.

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Carolyn and Buddy are deep in conversation. Christy has
wandered off.

Carolyn is nervous; Buddy seems amused.

CAROLYN
You know, I probably wouldn't even
tell you this if I weren't a little
tipsy, but... I am in complete awe
of you. I mean, your firm is, hands
down, the Rolls Royce of local Real
Estate firms, and your personal sales
record is, is, is very intimidating.
You know, I'd love to sit down with
you and just pick your brain, if
you'd ever be willing. I suppose,
technically, I'm the "competition,"
but... I mean, hey, I don't flatter
myself that I'm even in the same
league as you...

BUDDY
I'd love to.

CAROLYN
(shocked)
Really?

BUDDY
Absolutely. Call my secretary and
have her schedule a lunch.

CAROLYN
I'll do that. Thank you.

They look at each other for a beat, then look away. This
situation is loaded and they both know it.

EXT. HOTEL - LATER

Ricky and Lester stand next to a dumpster behind the service
entrance to the hotel, smoking a JOINT.

LESTER
...Did you ever see that movie, where
the body's walking around holding
its own head? And then the head goes
down on that babe?

RICKY
Re-Animator.

Suddenly, the service entrance opens, and a large CATERING
BOSS in a cheap suit peers out at them. Ricky hides the joint.

CATERING BOSS
(to Ricky)
Look. I'm not paying you to...
(eyes Lester,
suspiciously)
...do whatever it is you're doing
out here.

RICKY
Fine. So don't pay me.

CATERING BOSS
Excuse me?

RICKY
I quit. So you don't have to pay me.
Now, leave me alone.

CATERING BOSS
Asshole.

He goes back inside. Lester looks at Ricky, who shrugs.

LESTER
I think you just became my personal
hero.
(then)
Doesn't that make you nervous, just
quitting your job like that? Well, I
guess when you're all of, what?
Sixteen?

RICKY
Eighteen.
(then)
I just do these gigs as a cover. I
have other sources of income. But my
dad interferes less in my life when
I pretend to be an upstanding young
citizen with a respectable job.

CAROLYN (O.S.)
Lester?

Carolyn is standing in the open service entrance. Lester
quickly hides the joint behind his back.

CAROLYN
What are you doing?

LESTER
Honey, this is...
(laughs)
Ricky Fitts. This is Ricky Fitts.

RICKY
I'm Ricky Fitts, I just moved in the
house next to you. I go to school
with your daughter.

LESTER
With Jane? Really?

RICKY
Yeah. Jane.

CAROLYN
Hi.
(then, to Lester)
I'm ready to go. I'll meet you out
front.

And she goes back inside.

LESTER
Uh-oh. I'm in trouble. Nice meeting
you, Ricky Fitts. Thanks for the,
uh, thing.

RICKY
Any time.

Lester goes inside.

RICKY
(calls after him)
Lester. If you want any more, you
know where I live.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - FAMILY ROOM - LATER

Jane and Angela are watching MTV. We HEAR the back door open.

JANE
Oh, shit. They're home. Quick, let's
go up to my room.

Jane switches off the TV.

ANGELA
I should say hi to your dad.
(off Jane's look)
I don't want to be rude.

She starts toward the kitchen. Jane doesn't like this.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

Lester enters and opens the refrigerator.

ANGELA (O.S.)
Nice suit.

He turns, and is instantly transfixed by:

His POV: Angela leans against the counter, twirling her hair.

ANGELA
You're looking good, Mr. Burnham.

She starts toward him.

ANGELA
Last time I saw you, you looked kind
of wound up.
(spots something)
Ooh, is that root beer?

She reaches inside the refrigerator to grab a bottle. As she
does, she moves to place her other hand casually on Lester's
shoulder. He sees it coming. Everything SLOWS DOWN, and all
sound FADES...

EXTREME CLOSE UP on her hand as it briefly touches his
shoulder in SLOW MOTION. We HEAR only the amplified BRUSH of
her fingers against the fabric of his suit, and its unnatural,
hollow ECHO...

BACK IN REAL TIME: She grabs the root beer and smiles at
him.

CLOSE on Lester: his eyes narrow slightly, then:

He cups her face in his hands and kisses her. She seems
shocked, but doesn't resist as he pulls her toward him with
surprising strength. He breaks the kiss, looking at her in
awe, then he reaches up and touches his lips. His eyes widen
as he pulls a ROSE PETAL from his mouth right before we

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

Angela is back against the counter, drinking the root beer.
Lester stands by the refrigerator, gazing at her, still lost
in fantasy.

ANGELA
I love root beer, don't you?

Jane watches from the doorway to the family room, feeling
incredibly awkward in her own home. Carolyn enters from the
dining room. Lester snaps out of it and grabs a root beer
from the refrigerator.

JANE
Mom, you remember Angela.

CAROLYN
(her sales smile)
Yes, of course!

JANE
I forgot to tell you, she's spending
the night. Is that okay?

LESTER
Sure!

He takes a sip of his root beer, but it goes down the wrong
way and he starts COUGHING violently.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - JANE'S BEDROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT

Angela lays on the bed, in bra and panties, reading a
magazine. Jane, in an oversized T shirt, plays a video game
on her computer.

JANE
I'm sorry about my dad.

ANGELA
Don't be. I think it's funny.

JANE
Yeah, to you, he's just another guy
who wants to jump your bones. But to
me... he's just too embarrassing to
live.

ANGELA
Your mom's the one who's embarrassing.
What a phony.

Jane glances at Angela, irritated.

ANGELA
Shut up.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Lester, still in his suit, stands outside Jane's room, his
ear up against the door. He can't believe what he's hearing.

ANGELA (O.S.)
He is. If he just worked out a little,
he'd be hot.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - JANE'S ROOM - CONTINUOUS

JANE
Shut up.

ANGELA
Oh, come on. Like you've never sneaked
a peek at him in his underwear? I
bet he's got a big dick.

JANE
You are so grossing me out right
now.

ANGELA
(really enjoying this)
If he built up his chest and arms, I
would totally fuck him.

Jane covers her ears and starts SINGING to drown her out.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Lester, still listening, looks like he's about to implode.

ANGELA (O.S.)
(laughs)
I would! I would suck your dad's big
fat dick, and then I would fuck him
'til his eyes rolled back in his
head!
(then)
What was that noise? Jane.

Jane's SINGING stops.

ANGELA
I swear I heard something.

Panicked, Lester scurries down the hall.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - JANE'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

JANE
Yeah, it was the sound of you being
a huge disgusting pig.

ANGELA
I'm serious.

We HEAR the sharp TAP of a penny being thrown against glass.

ANGELA
See?

Angela crosses to the window and looks out.

ANGELA
(spots something)
Oh my God. Jane.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

We see Angela standing at the window in her underwear, looking
down at us.

Jane joins her and is immediately unnerved by:

Their POV: In the Burnham's DRIVEWAY, the word "JANE" is
spelled out in FIRE.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - JANE'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

ANGELA
It's that psycho next door. Jane,
what if he worships you? What if
he's got a shrine with pictures of
you surrounded by dead people's heads
and stuff?

JANE
Shit. I bet he's filming us right
now.

ANGELA
(intrigued)
Really?

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

On VIDEO: We're across from Jane's window, looking in. Jane
tries to shut the drapes, but Angela won't let her. Irritated,
Jane retreats into the room.

We ZOOM toward her, even as Angela poses in the window; we're
clearly not interested in Angela. The ZOOM continues,
searching for Jane, who has disappeared.

Finally, we settle on the small make-up MIRROR where we see
a REFLECTION of Jane, back at her computer. She's smiling.
Then suddenly the DRAPES CLOSE and she's gone.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Ricky sits in darkness with his DIGICAM, videotaping. He
lowers the camera and smiles... then something below catches
his attention. He leans out the window to get a better look
at:

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - GARAGE - CONTINUOUS

Ricky's POV: Through a WINDOW on the side of the Burnham's
GARAGE DOOR, we see Lester, still in his suit, digging through
shelves against the back wall.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - GARAGE - CONTINUOUS

Lester digs through stuff stored on the shelves, searching
for something as if his very life depended on it.

LESTER
Shit. Shit!

He yanks aside COLLEGE YEARBOOKS, a racquetball RACQUET,
boxes of old HOT ROD MAGAZINES, an unopened remote-controlled
MODEL JEEP KIT, stacks of old vinyl LPs... finally his face
lights up when he finds:

A pair of DUMBBELLS obviously unused for many years.

Lester rips off his jacket and tie and unbuttons his shirt.
He glances around, finding his REFLECTION in the WINDOW as
he pulls off his shirt, then the T-shirt underneath. He eyes
himself critically: Angela was right, he's not in bad shape.
Just a few extra pounds around his middle that wouldn't be
hard to shed. He kicks off his shoes and begins to step out
of his pants.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Ricky holds his Digicam up and starts to videotape.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - GARAGE - CONTINUOUS

Ricky's POV, on VIDEO: Through a WINDOW on the side of the
Burnham's garage, we see Lester step out of his pants and
briefs. Then, naked except for his black socks, he grabs the
dumbbells and starts lifting them, watching his reflection
in the window as he does.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Ricky stands at the window, videotaping.

RICKY
Welcome to America's Weirdest Home
Videos.

Suddenly we HEAR someone trying to open a locked door.

COLONEL (O.S.)
Ricky!

Moving swiftly, Ricky pulls the drapes shut and switches on
a light. His room is a haven of high-tech. A state-of-the-
art multimedia COMPUTER crowds his desk, and high-end STEREO
and VIDEO EQUIPMENT line the shelves, as well as HUNDREDS OF
CDs. There is easily twenty thousand dollars worth of
equipment in this room.

RICKY
Coming, Dad.

COLONEL (O.S.)
You know I don't like locked doors
in my house, boy.

Ricky opens the door. The Colonel stands outside, eyeing
him.

RICKY
I'm sorry, I must have locked it by
accident. So what's up?

The Colonel holds out a small PLASTIC CUP WITH A CAP.

COLONEL
I need a urine sample.

RICKY
Wow. It's been six months already.
Can I give it to you in the morning?
I just took a whiz.

COLONEL
Yeah, I suppose.
(an awkward beat)
Well. Good night, son.

He disappears down the hall. Ricky smiles, shuts and locks
his door. He puts the plastic cup on the shelf, then crosses
to a MINI REFRIGERATOR in the corner of his room and takes
out a cup-sized TUPPERWARE CONTAINER from the freezer, already
filled with urine, albeit frozen, and places it on a saucer
to thaw overnight.

INT BURNHAM HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT

Carolyn lies sleeping. Lester is awake, staring at the
ceiling. After a moment, he gets up, taking care not to
disturb Carolyn, and walks toward the bathroom.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - MASTER BATH - CONTINUOUS

Lester enters and switches on the LIGHT. The room is filled
with STEAM.

Lester looks around, confused, then focuses on:

His POV: Across from us, in a PEDESTAL BATHTUB, is Angela.
She smiles and beckons us, and we MOVE CLOSER. ROSE PETALS
float on the surface of the water, obscuring her naked body.

ANGELA
I've been waiting for you.

Lester kneels by the bathtub like a man in church.

ANGELA
You've been working out, haven't
you? I can tell.

She arches her back and looks up at him provocatively.

ANGELA
I was hoping you'd give me a bath...
I'm very, very dirty.

Lester gives her a hard look, then slowly slips his hand
into the water between her legs. Her eyes widen and she throws
her head back... and we

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

CLOSE on Carolyn, her eyes wide, listening to the rhythmic
BRUSH of Lester's hand as he masturbates under the covers.

She flips over and faces him.

CAROLYN
What are you doing?

A beat.

LESTER
Nothing.

Carolyn switches on the bedside LIGHT.

CAROLYN
You were masturbating.

LESTER
I was not.

CAROLYN
Yes, you were.

He turns to her, trying to look innocent, then gives up.

LESTER
All right, so shoot me. I was whacking
off.

Carolyn gets out of bed, repelled. Lester LAUGHS.

LESTER
That's right. I was choking the
bishop. Shaving the carrot. Saying
hi to my monster.

CAROLYN
That's disgusting.

LESTER
Well, excuse me, but I still have
blood pumping through my veins!

CAROLYN
So do I!

LESTER
Really? I'm the only one who seems
to be doing anything about it.

CAROLYN
Lester. I refuse to live like this.
This is not a marriage.

LESTER
This hasn't been a marriage for years.
But you were happy as long as I kept
my mouth shut. Well, guess what?
I've changed. And the new me whacks
off when he feels horny, because
you're obviously not going to help
me out in that department.

CAROLYN
Oh. I see. You think you're the only
one who's sexually frustrated?

LESTER
I'm not? Well then, come on, baby!
I'm ready.

CAROLYN
(furious)
Do not mess with me, mister, or I
will divorce you so fast it'll make
your head spin!

LESTER
On what grounds? I'm not a drunk, I
don't fuck other women, I don't
mistreat you, I've never hit you, or
even tried to touch you since you
made it so abundantly clear just how
unnecessary you consider me to be.
But I did support you while you got
your license. And some people might
think that entitles me to half of
what's yours.

She sinks into a chair, stunned. It's clear he knows where
she's most vulnerable. He sees this, and likes it; it feels
good to win for a change.

He curls up under the covers contentedly.

LESTER
Turn out the light when you come to
bed, okay?

CLOSE on Lester, smiling.

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL - EARLY MORNING

We're FLYING high above the neighborhood. Below us we see
the two Jims, jogging. We APPROACH them steadily.

LESTER (V.O.)
It's a great thing when you realize
you still have the ability to surprise
yourself. Makes you wonder what else
you can do that you've forgotten
about.

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL - CONTINUOUS

We're now at street level, FOLLOWING the two Jims.

LESTER
Hey! You guys!

Still running, the Jims turn back in perfect unison, as Lester
runs INTO FRAME, wearing a baggy sweatshirt and a pair of
faded old sweatpants. The Jims slow down until he catches
up, then the three men run together in the early morning
light.

JIM #2
Lester, I didn't know you ran.

LESTER
(panting)
Well, I just started.

JIM #1
Good for you.

LESTER
I figured you guys might be able to
give me some pointers. I need to
shape up. Fast.

JIM #1
Well, are you just looking to lose
weight, or do you want have increased
strength and flexibility as well?

LESTER
I want to look good naked.

EXT. FITTS HOUSE - A SHORT TIME LATER

The Colonel is washing his Ford Explorer, squatting to scrub
the bumper, when something Catches his eye:

His POV: Lester and the Jims jog down the street.

The Colonel stands, scowling, as Ricky comes out of the house,
holding the URINE SAMPLE in front of him.

COLONEL
What is this, the fucking gay pride
parade?

Lester breaks off from the two Jims and jogs up to Ricky and
the Colonel, out of breath. He grabs hold of his knees and
bends over, panting.

LESTER
Hey! Yo! Ricky!
(re: the Jims)
My entire life is passing before my
eyes, and those two have barely broken
a sweat.

He LAUGHS, and extends his hand to the Colonel.

LESTER
Sorry, hi. Lester Burnham, I live
next door. We haven't met.

COLONEL
(shakes)
Colonel Frank Fitts, U.S. Marine
Corps.

LESTER
Whoa. Welcome to the neighborhood,
sir.

He salutes the Colonel good-naturedly, grinning. The Colonel
doesn't think it's funny. An awkward beat.

LESTER
So, Ricky, uh, I was thinking about
the, uh... I was gonna... the movie
we talked about...

RICKY
(quickly)
Re-Animator.

LESTER
Yeah!

RICKY
You want to borrow it?
(before Lester can
answer)
Okay, it's up in my room. Come on.

He heads into the house. Lester waves at the Colonel, then
follows him.

The Colonel watches them go, his eyes dark.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Ricky enters, followed by Lester.

RICKY
Can you hold this for a sec?

LESTER
Sure.

He gives the URINE SPECIMEN to Lester, then locks the door.

RICKY
I don't think my dad would try to
come in when somebody else is here,
but you never know.

Ricky crosses to a bureau and opens a DRAWER. He takes
clothing out and piles it on his bed.

LESTER
(re: urine sample)
What is this?

RICKY
Urine. I have to take a drug test
every six months to make sure I'm
clean.

LESTER
Are you kidding? You just smoked
with me last night.

RICKY
It's not mine. One of my clients is
a nurse in a pediatrician's office.
I cut her a deal, she keeps me in
clean piss.

Lester picks up a CD case from a shelf and examines it.

LESTER
You like Pink Floyd?

RICKY
I like a lot of music.

LESTER
Man, I haven't listened to this album
in years.

He shakes his head, then puts the CD case down. Ricky, having
emptied the drawer, now removes a FALSE BOTTOM, revealing
rows of MARIJUANA, tightly packed in ZIP-LOC BAGS.

RICKY
How much do you want?

LESTER
I don't know, it's been a while. How
much is an ounce?

RICKY
(indicates bag)
Well, this is totally decent, and
it's three hundred.

LESTER
Wow.

RICKY
(indicates another
bag)
But this shit is top of the line.
It's called G-13. Genetically
engineered by the U.S. Government.
Extremely potent. But a completely
mellow high, no paranoia.

LESTER
Is that what we smoked last night?

RICKY
This is all I ever smoke.

LESTER
How much?

RICKY
Two grand.

LESTER
Jesus. Things have changed since
1973.

RICKY
You don't have to pay now. I know
you're good for it.

A beat.

LESTER
Thanks.

RICKY
(hands him a bag)
There's a card in there with my beeper
number, call me anytime day or night.
And I only accept cash.

LESTER
(looks around room)
Well, now I know how you can afford
all this equipment. When I was your
age, I flipped burgers all summer
just to be able to buy an eight track.

RICKY
That sucks.

LESTER
No actually, it was great. All I did
was party and get laid.
(smiles)
I had my whole life ahead of me...

RICKY
My dad thinks I pay for all this
with catering jobs.
(off Lester's look)
Never underestimate the power of
denial.

Lester smiles. This kid's cool.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - LATER

Carolyn, carrying a basket of fresh cut ROSES, passes by the
GARAGE WINDOW. From inside the garage, we HEAR ROCK MUSIC.

Carolyn stops and SNIFFS the air, frowning. She peers through
the window.

Her POV: Lester, in a T-shirt and gym shorts, lies on a new
WEIGHT BENCH, doing bench presses with shiny new BARBELLS.

INT. GARAGE - CONTINUOUS

ROCK MUSIC blasts from a new BOOMBOX on the floor.

The garage is in the process of becoming Lester's sanctuary.
An ugly but comfortable 70's BOWL CHAIR has been pulled out
and cleaned off, his old hot rod magazines strewn across it,
and the remote-controlled MODEL JEEP KIT is spread across a
card table. The SHELVES that Lester tore through earlier
have been dismantled, leaving a blank wall on which now hangs
a DART BOARD.

Lester finishes his last rep, straining, then puts the weights
in their rack and sits up. As he takes a drag off a joint,
the GARAGE DOOR suddenly starts to open. Lester looks up,
squinting at:

His POV: The door raises to reveal Carolyn, silhouetted
against the bright sunlight outside, pointing a REMOTE at
us.

LESTER
Uh-oh, mom's mad.

CAROLYN
What the hell do you think you're
doing?

LESTER
Bench presses. I'm going to wail on
my pecs, and then I'm going to do my
back.

CAROLYN
I see you're smoking pot now. I'm so
glad. I think using illegal
psychotropic substances is a very
positive example to set for our
daughter.

LESTER
You're one to talk, you bloodless,
money-grubbing freak.

CAROLYN
(hostile)
Lester. You have such hostility in
you!

LESTER
Do you mind? I'm trying to work out
here.
(then, suggestively)
Unless you want to spot me.

CAROLYN
You will not get away with this. You
can be sure of that!

And she's gone. Lester leans back on the bench and grabs the
weights.

LESTER
(as he lifts)
That's. What. You. Think.

INT. BRAD'S OFFICE - DAY

Brad is seated behind his desk, reading a document. Lester
sits across from him, smiling.

BRAD
(reads)
"...my job consists of basically
masking my contempt for the assholes
in charge, and, at least once a day,
retiring to the men's room so I can
jerk off, while I fantasize about a
life that doesn't so closely resemble
hell."
(looks up at Lester)
Well, you obviously have no interest
in saving yourself.

LESTER
(laughs)
Brad, for fourteen years I've been a
whore for the advertising industry.
The only way I could save myself now
is if I start firebombing.

BRAD
Whatever. Management wants you gone
by the end of the day.

LESTER
Well, just what sort of severance
package is "management" prepared to
offer me? Considering the information
I have about our editorial director
buying pussy with company money.

A beat.

LESTER
Which I'm sure would interest the
I.R.S., since it technically
constitutes fraud. And I'm sure that
some of our advertisers and rival
publications might like to know about
it as well. Not to mention, Craig's
wife.

Brad sighs.

BRAD
What do you want?

LESTER
One year's salary, with benefits.

BRAD
That's not going to happen.

LESTER
Well, what do you say I throw in a
little sexual harassment charge to
boot?

Brad LAUGHS.

BRAD
Against who?

LESTER
Against you.

Brad stops laughing.

LESTER
Can you prove you didn't offer to
save my job if I'd let you blow me?

Brad leans back in his chair, studying Lester.

BRAD
Man. You are one twisted fuck.

LESTER
(standing)
Nope. I'm just an ordinary guy with
nothing to lose.

INT. OFFICE BUILDING - MOMENTS LATER

Exhilarated, Lester walks down a corridor, his belongings in
a box on his shoulder. He's happier than he's been in years.

LESTER
Yeah!

INT. RESTAURANT - LATER THAT DAY

Carolyn sits at a table, lost in thought. There are two menus
on the table. After a moment, Buddy Kane, the Real Estate
King, joins her.

Carolyn immediately becomes warm and gracious.

BUDDY
Carolyn.

CAROLYN
Buddy.

Carolyn smiles, genuinely touched that he remembers her name.

BUDDY
I'm so sorry I kept you waiting.
Christy left for New York this
morning, and... let's just say things
were very hectic around the house.

CAROLYN
What's she doing in New York?

BUDDY
She's moving there.
(off Carolyn's look)
Yes. We are splitting up.

CAROLYN
Buddy. I'm so sorry.

BUDDY
(bitterly)
Yes, according to her, I'm too focused
on my career. As if being driven to
succeed is some sort of character
flaw. Well, she certainly knew how
to take advantage of the lifestyle
my success afforded her. Oh. Wow.
(then, laughing)
Ah, it's for the best.

CAROLYN
When I saw you two at the party the
other night, you seemed perfectly
happy.

BUDDY
Well, call me crazy, but it is my
philosophy that in order to be
successful, one must project an image
of success, at all times.

He smiles, then opens his menu. Carolyn picks hers up
mechanically, but continues to stare at him, enraptured,
like a fervent Christian who's just come face to face with
Jesus.

EXT. HIGH SCHOOL CAMPUS - LATER THAT DAY

Ricky stands with his DIGICAM, videotaping something on the
ground at his feet.

On VIDEO: A DEAD BIRD lays on the ground, decomposing.

ANGELA (O.S.)
What are you doing?

On VIDEO: The camera JERKS up to discover Jane and Angela
staring at us.

RICKY (O.S.)
I was filming this dead bird.

ANGELA
Why?

RICKY (O.S.)
Because it's beautiful.

On VIDEO: Angela looks at Jane, trying not to laugh.

ANGELA
I think maybe you forgot your
medication today, mental boy.

On VIDEO: She falls out of frame as we ZOOM toward Jane.

RICKY (O.S.)
Hi, Jane.

JANE
(uncomfortable)
Look. I want you to stop filming me.

Ricky lowers the Digicam.

RICKY
Okay.

He looks at her, curious, his eyes searching hers. She doesn't
look away.

ANGELA
Well, whatever.
(to Jane)
This is boring. Let's go.

JANE
(to Ricky)
Do you need a ride?

ANGELA
(to Jane)
Are you crazy? I don't want to end
up hacked to pieces in a dumpster
somewhere.

RICKY
It's okay. I'll walk. But thanks.

ANGELA
Yeah, see? He doesn't want to go
anyway. C'mon, let's go.

Angela starts off, but Jane doesn't follow. Ricky smiles at
her. She almost smiles back, then:

JANE
(calls off to Angela)
I think I'm going to walk, too.

Angela stops and stares at her.

ANGELA
What? Jane, that's like, almost a
mile.

EXT. TOP HAT MOTEL - LATER THAT DAY

Carolyn's Mercedes is parked next to a JAGUAR CONVERTIBLE
with a VANITY LICENSE PLATE that reads "R E KING."

INT. TOP HAT MOTEL - CONTINUOUS

Carolyn and Buddy are in the middle of sex.

CAROLYN
Yes! Oh, God! I love it!

BUDDY
You like getting nailed by the king?

CAROLYN
Oh yes! I love it! Fuck me, your
majesty!

EXT. STREET - LATER THAT DAY

Lester's TOYOTA CAMRY cruises through the streets. We hear
Lester SINGING along to "AMERICAN WOMAN" on the STEREO.

INT. TOYOTA CAMRY - CONTINUOUS

Lester is driving, smoking a joint.

LESTER
AMERICAN WOMAN, STAY AWAY FROM ME...
AMERICAN WOMAN, MAMA LET ME BE...
DON'T COME A HANGIN' AROUND MY DOOR...
I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE NO
MORE...

EXT. MR. SMILEY'S - CONTINUOUS

Lester continues singing along to "AMERICAN WOMAN," as the
Camry pulls into the parking lot of a FAST FOOD RESTAURANT.

Lester pulls up to the drive-thru speaker box.

DRIVE-THRU GIRL (O.S.)
(over speaker box)
Smile you're at Mr. Smiley's.

Lester turns down the volume on the stereo.

LESTER
What?

DRIVE-THRU GIRL (O.S.)
Would you like to try our new bacon
and egg fajita just a dollar twenty-
nine for a limited time only.

LESTER
Uh... no. But thank you.
(reading menu)
I'll have a Big Barn Burger, Smiley
fries, and an orange soda.

DRIVE-THRU GIRL (O.S.)
Please drive up to the window, thank
you.

He pulls the car around to the WINDOW, where a teenage GIRL
wearing a headset is waiting.

DRIVE-THRU GIRL
Smile, you're at Mr. Smiley's, that'll
be four eighty-nine, please.

Lester pays her. As she hands him his food, he notices a
SIGN in the corner of the window that reads:

NOW TAKING APPLICATIONS

COUNTER GIRL
Would you like some Smiley Sauce?

LESTER
No. No, actually... I'd like to fill
out an application.

She stares at him, confused by his age and attire.

COUNTER GIRL
There's not jobs for manager, it's
just for counter.

LESTER
Good. I'm looking for the least
possible amount of responsibility.

INT. MR. SMILEY'S - A SHORT TIME LATER

Lester sits at a booth with the MANAGER, a greasy kid wearing
a white short sleeve shirt and a tie covered with the Mr.
Smiley's logo. He looks over Lester's application, baffled.

MANAGER
I don't think you'd fit in here.

LESTER
I have fast food experience.

MANAGER
Yeah, like twenty years ago.

LESTER
Well, I'm sure there have been amazing
technological advances in the
industry, but surely you have some
sort of training process. It seems
unfair to presume I won't be able to
learn.

The Manager sighs and runs a hand through his greasy hair,
wondering what he could possibly have done to deserve this.

INT. TOP HAT MOTEL - LATER THAT DAY

Carolyn and Buddy are in bed, post-sex.

CAROLYN
That was exactly what I needed. The
royal treatment, so to speak.

They laugh.

CAROLYN
I was so stressed out.

BUDDY
Know what I do when I feel like that?

CAROLYN
What?

BUDDY
I fire a gun.

Carolyn sits up, eager to learn from the master.

CAROLYN
(intrigued)
Really.

BUDDY
Oh yeah, I go to this little firing
range downtown, and I just pop off a
few rounds.

CAROLYN
(embarrassed)
I've never fired a gun before.

BUDDY
Oh, you've gotta try it. Nothing
makes you feel more powerful.
(smiles seductively)
Well, almost nothing.

Carolyn is quick to pick up her cue and kisses him, ready
for another round.

EXT. SUBURBAN STREET - LATER THAT DAY

Ricky and Jane walk along without speaking. He seems
comfortable with the silence; she doesn't. After a beat:

JANE
So how do you like your new house?

RICKY
I like it.

A beat.

JANE
The people who used to live there
fed these stray cats, so they were
always around, and it drove my mother
nuts. And then she cut down their
tree.

An automobile FUNERAL PROCESSION appears and begins to pass
them slowly.

RICKY
Have you ever known anybody who died?

JANE
No.
(a beat)
Have you?

RICKY
No, but I did see this homeless woman
who froze to death once. Just laying
there on the sidewalk. She looked
really sad.

They watch the FUNERAL CARS pass.

RICKY
I got that homeless woman on video.

JANE
Why would you film that?

RICKY
Because it was amazing.

JANE
What was amazing about it?

A beat.

RICKY
When you see something like that,
it's like God is looking right at
you, just for a second. And if you're
careful, you can look right back.

JANE
And what do you see?

RICKY
Beauty.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

Barbara Fitts sits at the kitchen table, staring off into
space as if hypnotized. Behind her, Ricky enters, followed
by Jane.

RICKY
Mom, I want you to meet somebody.
(no response)
Mom.

Barbara's eyes flutter and she turns to him slowly.

BARBARA
(pleasant)
Yes?

RICKY
I want you to meet somebody. This is
Jane.

JANE
Hi.

BARBARA
Oh, my. I apologize for the way things
look around here.

Jane glances around. The room is spotless.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - THE COLONEL'S STUDY - MOMENTS LATER

We HEAR KEYS TURNING in the lock, then the door opens and
Ricky enters, holding a RING OF KEYS, followed by Jane.

RICKY
This is where my dad hides out.

GLASS CASES filled with GUNS line the walls.

JANE
I take it he's got a thing for guns.

Ricky crosses to a built-in CABINET behind the desk.

RICKY
You got to see this one thing...

He unlocks the cabinet and opens it, revealing shelves stacked
with WAR MEMORABILIA.

RICKY
My dad would kill me if he knew I
was in here.

JANE
Did you steal his keys?

RICKY
No. One of my clients is a locksmith.
He was short on cash one night, so I
let him pay me in trade.

He reaches into the cabinet and carefully removes an oval
CHINA PLATTER, which he hands to Jane. She examines it.

RICKY
Turn it over.

CLOSE on the bottom of the plate: A small SWASTIKA is
imprinted in the center.

JANE
Oh my God.

RICKY
It's like official state china of
the Third Reich. There's a whole
subculture of people who collect
this Nazi shit. But my dad just has
this one thing.

He puts the platter back into the cabinet and shuts the door,
then notices Jane looking at him oddly.

RICKY
What's wrong?

JANE
Nothing.

RICKY
(concerned)
No, you're scared of me.

JANE
No I'm not.

But she is. Ricky studies her.

RICKY
You want to see the most beautiful
thing I've ever filmed?

INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER

On VIDEO: We're in an empty parking lot on a cold, gray day.
Something is floating across from us... it's an empty,
wrinkled, white PLASTIC BAG. We follow it as the wind carries
it in a circle around us, sometimes whipping it about
violently, or, without warning, sending it soaring skyward,
then letting it float gracefully down to the ground...

Jane and Ricky sit on the bed, watching his WIDE-SCREEN TV.

RICKY
It was one of those days when it's a
minute away from snowing. And there's
this electricity in the air, you can
almost hear it, right? And this bag
was just... dancing with me. Like a
little kid begging me to play with
it. For fifteen minutes. That's the
day I realized that there was this
entire life behind things, and this
incredibly benevolent force that
wanted me to know there was no reason
to be afraid. Ever.

A beat.

RICKY
Video's a poor excuse, I know. But
it helps me remember... I need to
remember...

Now Jane is watching him.

RICKY
(distant)
Sometimes there's so much beauty in
the world I feel like I can't take
it... and my heart is going to cave
in.

After a moment, Jane takes his hand. Then she leans in and
kisses him softly on the lips. His eyes scan hers, curious
to see how she reacts to this...

JANE
(suddenly)
Oh my God. What time is it?

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - DINING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Lester sits at the table in sloppy clothes, eating his dinner
voraciously and drinking beer from a bottle. Across from
him, Carolyn picks at her food, watching him with contempt.
EASY-LISTENING MUSIC plays on the STEREO.

We HEAR the back door SLAM, then Jane enters and quickly
takes her seat at the table.

JANE
Sorry I'm late.

CAROLYN
(overly cheerful)
No, no, that's quite all right, dear.
Your father and I were just discussing
his day at work.
(to Lester)
Why don't you tell our daughter about
it, honey?

Jane stares at both her parents, apprehensive. Lester looks
at Carolyn darkly, then flashes a "you-asked-for-it" grin.

LESTER
Janie, today I quit my job. And then
I told my boss to fuck himself, and
then I blackmailed him for almost
sixty thousand dollars. Pass the
asparagus.

CAROLYN
Your father seems to think this kind
of behavior is something to be proud
of.

LESTER
And your mother seems to prefer I go
through life like a fucking prisoner
while she keeps my dick in a mason
jar under the sink.

CAROLYN
(ashen)
How dare you speak to me that way in
front of her? And I marvel that you
can be so contemptuous of me, on the
same day that you lose your job!

LESTER
Lose it? I didn't lose it. It's not
like, "Oops, where'd my job go?" I
quit. Someone pass me the asparagus.

CAROLYN
Oh! Oh! And I want to thank you for
putting me under the added pressure
of being the sole breadwinner now--

LESTER
I already have a job.

CAROLYN
(not stopping)
No, no, don't give a second thought
as to who's going to pay the mortgage.
We'll just leave it all up to Carolyn.
You mean, you're going to take care
of everything now, Carolyn? Yes. I
don't mind. I really don't. You mean,
everything? You don't mind having
the sole responsibility, your husband
feels he can just quit his job--

LESTER
(overlapping)
Will someone pass me the fucking
asparagus?

JANE
(Rises)
Okay, I'm not going to be a part of
this--

LESTER
(means it)
Sit down.

Jane does so, surprised and intimidated by the power in his
voice. Lester gets up, crosses to the other side of the table
to get a PLATE OF ASPARAGUS, then sits again as he serves
himself.

LESTER
I'm sick and tired of being treated
like I don't exist. You two do
whatever you want to do whenever you
want to do it and I don't complain.
All I want is the same courtesy--

CAROLYN
(overlapping)
Oh, you don't complain? Oh, excuse
me. Excuse me. I must be psychotic
then, if you don't complain. What is
this?! Am I locked away in a padded
cell somewhere, hallucinating? That's
the only explanation I can think of--

Lester hurls the plate of asparagus against the wall with
such force it SHATTERS, frightening Carolyn and Jane.

LESTER
(casual)
Don't interrupt me, honey.

He goes back to eating his meal, as if nothing unusual has
happened.

Carolyn sits in her chair, shivering with rage. Jane just
stares at the plate in front of her.

LESTER
Oh, and another thing. From now on,
we're going to alternate our dinner
music. Because frankly, and I don't
think I'm alone here, I'm really
tired of this Lawrence Welk shit.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - JANE'S BEDROOM - THAT NIGHT

Jane is sitting on her bed. There is a KNOCK at the door.

JANE
Go. Away.

CAROLYN (O.S.)
Honey, please let me in.

Jane rolls her eyes, crosses to the door and lets Carolyn
in.

CAROLYN
I wish that you hadn't witnessed
that awful scene tonight. But in a
way, I'm glad.

JANE
Why, so I could see what freaks you
and Dad really are?

CAROLYN
Me?

She stares at Jane, then starts to cry.

JANE
Aw, Christ, Mom.

CAROLYN
(tearful)
No, I'm glad because you're old enough
now to learn the most important lesson
in life: you cannot count on anyone
except yourself.
(sighs)
You cannot count on anyone except
yourself. It's sad, but true, and
the sooner you learn it, the better.

JANE
Look, Mom, I really don't feel like
having a Kodak moment here, okay?

Carolyn suddenly SLAPS Jane, hard.

CAROLYN
You ungrateful little brat. Just
look at everything you have. When I
was your age, I lived in a duplex.
We didn't even have our own house.

Embarrassed, she quickly leaves. Jane looks in a mirror and
rubs her cheek, then crosses to the window and looks out.

EXT. FITTS HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

Jane's POV: We're across from Ricky's room, looking in. He
stands at the window with his DIGICAM, videotaping us. On
the WIDE-SCREEN TV behind him, we see Jane standing in her
window as she looks across at him. She waves.

Ricky just keeps videotaping. A beat, then she starts to
take off her shirt.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

We're behind Ricky as he videotapes Jane in her window. She
has now removed her shirt. She stands there in her bra, then
reaches behind her back to unhook the bra.

On VIDEO: We ZOOM toward her as she takes off her bra
clumsily. She's obviously embarrassed, but she's gone this
far and there's no turning back. She stands there with her
breasts exposed, trying to look defiant, but she's achingly
vulnerable...

Suddenly, the door is thrown open and the Colonel enters,
incensed.

Startled, Ricky turns around. As soon as his eyes meet his
father's, he knows what's up.

COLONEL
You little bastard--

Ricky scrambles to dodge his father, but the Colonel is too
fast; he punches Ricky in the face, knocking him to the floor.

COLONEL
How did you get in there?

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

From her window, Jane watches, pulling the drapes in front
of her.

EXT. FITTS HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

Jane's POV: In the WINDOW across from us, the Colonel proceeds
to give Ricky a serious beating, punching his face.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Ricky's lip is bleeding, but he maintains a steady gaze at
his father during this violence.

COLONEL
(unnerved)
How!? How?! C'mon, get up! Fight
back, you little pussy!

RICKY
No, sir. I won't fight you.

The Colonel grabs him by the collar.

COLONEL
How did you get in there?

RICKY
I picked the lock, sir.

COLONEL
What were you looking for? Money?
Are you on dope again?

RICKY
No, sir. I wanted to show my
girlfriend your Nazi plate.

A beat.

COLONEL
Girlfriend?

RICKY
Yes, sir. She lives next door.

The Colonel glances toward the window.

His POV: in the window across from us, Jane peeks out from
behind the drape. She quickly pulls it shut.

RICKY
Her name's Jane.

A beat. The Colonel is suddenly, deeply shamed.

COLONEL
This is for your own good, boy. You
have no respect for other people's
things, for authority, for...

RICKY
Sir, I'm sorry.

COLONEL
You can't just go around doing
whatever you feel like, you can't--
there are rules in life--

RICKY
Yes, sir.

COLONEL
You need structure, you need
discipline--

RICKY
(simultaneous)
Discipline. Yes, sir, thank you for
trying to teach me. Don't give up on
me, Dad.

The Colonel stands, still breathing heavily. Tenderness fills
his face, and he reaches out to touch Ricky's cheek.

COLONEL
Oh, Ricky...

But something keeps him from doing it.

COLONEL
You stay out of there.

He leaves. Ricky gets up and goes to his bureau. He looks at
his reflection in the mirror, calmly takes a cloth and starts
to wipe the blood from his face.

FADE TO BLACK:

In darkness, we HEAR repetitive GUNSHOTS.

FADE IN:

INT. INDOOR FIRING RANGE - ONE MONTH LATER

Carolyn, wearing PROTECTIVE HEADGEAR, is holding a GLOCK 19
AUTOMATIC REVOLVER with both hands, FIRING it directly at
us.

She empties a round and stands there, exhilarated. An
ATTENDANT approaches with a new round of ammunition.

ATTENDANT
(loading gun)
I gotta say, Mrs. Burnham, when you
first came here I thought you would
be hopeless. But you're a natural.

CAROLYN
Well, all I know is... I love shooting
this gun!

And she starts FIRING again.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 - LATER

Bobby Darin sings "DON'T RAIN ON MY PARADE" on the RADIO.
Carolyn SINGS along as she drives. Her face has lost its
usual resolute determination; she's actually enjoying herself
spontaneously, and the lack of her usual self-consciousness
allows us to see just how beautiful she is.

ANGLE ON the GLOCK 19 sitting on the passenger seat amidst
some CDs.

Carolyn takes the gun and holds it at arm's length, admiring
it as she continues to SING.

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL - CONTINUOUS

The Mercedes turns onto Robin Hood Trail.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 - CONTINUOUS

Carolyn's POV: We turn into the Burnham driveway. A 1970
PONTIAC FIREBIRD with racing stripes blocks our access to
the garage.

CLOSE on Carolyn: She doesn't like having things in her way.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - FAMILY ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Lester's REMOTE-CONTROLLED MODEL JEEP is zooming across the
floor of the family room, expertly maneuvering corners and
narrowly avoiding crashing.

Lester is sprawled on the couch in his underwear, drinking a
BEER and controlling the car. His working out is beginning
to produce results. The room, too, seems changed: sloppier,
more lived in.

Carolyn enters through the kitchen, flushed and angry. She
just stands there, staring at Lester. After a moment, he
looks up at her.

LESTER
What?

CAROLYN
Ah, whose car is that out front?

LESTER
Mine. 1970 Pontiac Firebird. The car
I always wanted and now I have it. I
rule!

CAROLYN
Where's the Camry?

LESTER
I traded it in.

CAROLYN
Shouldn't you have consulted me first?

LESTER
Hmm, let me think... No. You never
drove it.
(then)
Have you done something different?
You look great.

CAROLYN
(brusque)
Where's Jane?

LESTER
Jane not home. We have the whole
house to ourselves.

He smiles at her playfully. She stares back, annoyed. It's
the same look she had at the beginning, when he dropped his
briefcase, but whatever power that look had is gone. Lester
just LAUGHS.

LESTER
Christ, Carolyn. When did you become
so... joyless?

CAROLYN
(taken aback)
Joyless?! I am not joyless! There
happens to be a lot about me that
you don't know, mister smarty man.
There is plenty of joy in my life.

LESTER
(leaning toward her)
Whatever happened to that girl who
used to fake seizures at frat parties
when she got bored? And who used to
run up to the roof of our first
apartment building to flash the
traffic helicopters? Have you totally
forgotten about her? Because I
haven't.

His face is close to hers, and suddenly the atmosphere is
charged. She pulls back automatically, but it's clear she's
drawn to him. He smiles, and moves even closer, holding his
beer loosely balanced. Then, just before their lips meet...

CAROLYN
(barely audible)
Lester. You're going to spill beer
on the couch.

She's immediately sorry she said it, but it's too late. His
smile fades, and the moment is gone.

LESTER
So what? It's just a couch.

CAROLYN
This is a four thousand dollar sofa
upholstered in Italian silk. This is
not "just a couch."

LESTER
It's just a couch!

He stands and gestures toward all the things in the room.

LESTER
This isn't life. This is just stuff.
And it's become more important to
you than living. Well, honey, that's
just nuts.

Carolyn stares at him, on the verge of tears, then turns and
walks out of the room before he can see her cry.

LESTER
(calls after her)
I'm only trying to help you.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

On VIDEO: Jane lays in Ricky's bed, wearing a tank top. She
glances at us.

JANE
(shy)
Don't.

We're watching the WIDE-SCREEN TV in Ricky's room.

A CORD leads from the TV to Ricky's DIGICAM. Ricky holds the
camera, sitting naked in a chair. It's been almost a month
since his father beat him up, and there are still slight
SCARS on his face. He's aiming his camera at Jane.

RICKY
Why?

JANE
(re: image on TV)
It's weird, watching myself. I don't
like how I look.

RICKY
I can't believe you don't know how
beautiful you are.

JANE
I'm not going to sit here for that
shit.

She gets out of bed, takes his Digicam and focuses it on
him. We see his image on the TV as she videotapes.

JANE
Ha. How does it feel now?

RICKY
Fine.

JANE
You don't feel naked?

RICKY
I am naked.

JANE
You know what I mean.

Jane ZOOMS in on his face, which remains placid.

JANE
Tell me about being in the hospital.

Ricky smiles.

RICKY
When I was fifteen, my dad caught me
smoking dope. He totally freaked and
decided to send me to military school.
I told you his whole thing about
structure and discipline, right?
(laughs)
Well, of course, I got kicked out.
Dad and I had this huge fight, and
he hit me... and then the next day
at school, some kid made a crack
about my haircut, and... I just
snapped. I wanted to kill him. And I
would have. Killed him. If they hadn't
pulled me off.
(then)
That's when my dad put me in the
hospital. Then they drugged me up
and left me in there for two years.

JANE
Wow. You must really hate him.

RICKY
He's not a bad man.

He grabs a half-smoked JOINT from an ashtray and lights it.

JANE
Well... you better believe I'd hate
my father if he did something like
that to me.
(laughs)
Wait. I do hate my father.

RICKY
Why?

He passes her the joint, then takes the Digicam and focuses
it on her. We see her image on the TV as he videotapes.

JANE
He's a total asshole and he's got
this crush on my friend Angela and
it's disgusting.

RICKY
You'd rather he had the crush on
you?

JANE
Gross, no! But it'd be nice if I was
anywhere near as important to him as
she is.
(then)
I know you think my dad's harmless,
but you're wrong. He's doing massive
psychological damage to me.

RICKY
How?

Jane looks into the camera, a loopy, stoned grin on her face.

JANE
Well, now, I too need structure. A
little fucking discipline.

They LAUGH. She lays back on the bed.

JANE
I'm serious, though. How could he
not be damaging me? I need a father
who's a role model, not some horny
geek-boy who's gonna spray his shorts
whenever I bring a girlfriend home
from school.
(snorts)
What a lame-o. Somebody really should
put him out of his misery.

Her mind wanders for a beat.

RICKY
Want me to kill him for you?

Jane looks at him and sits up.

JANE
Yeah, would you?

RICKY
(smiles)
It'll cost you.

JANE
Well, I've been baby-sitting since I
was about ten. I've got almost three
thousand dollars. 'Course, I was
saving it up for a boob job.

She stands and sticks out her breasts, then falls back on
the bed, LAUGHING.

JANE
But my tits can wait, huh?

RICKY
You know, that's not a very nice
thing to do, hiring somebody to kill
your dad.

JANE
Well, I guess I'm just not a very
nice girl, then, am I?

She smiles dreamily at him. He turns the Digicam off and the
TV screen goes BLUE. He lowers the camera and looks at her
intently.

JANE
(suddenly nervous)
You know I'm not serious, right?

RICKY
Of course.

He puts the Digicam down and joins Jane on the bed. A long
moment where neither of them speaks. He caresses her hair,
gazing into her eyes.

RICKY
Do you know how lucky we are to have
found each other?

FADE TO BLACK:

FADE IN:

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL - EARLY MORNING

We're FLYING above Robin Hood Trail. We see the BURNHAM'S
HOUSE below us as we APPROACH it steadily.

LESTER (V.O.)
Remember those posters that said,
"Today is the first day of the rest
of your life?" Well, that's true of
every day except one.
(a beat)
The day you die.

We're almost on top of the Burnham house now, as Lester,
wearing sweatpants and running shoes, bursts out of the front
door and dashes up the driveway.

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL - A SHORT TIME LATER

We're now at street level, as Lester runs toward us. He
carries a WALKMAN and wears EARPHONES, and we HEAR ROCK MUSIC
as he runs. The endorphins have kicked in, and Lester grins,
reveling in the sheer physical pleasure of his body.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - KITCHEN - A SHORT TIME LATER

The blender GRINDS as Lester, still in his sweatpants, makes
himself a high-protein shake. He's in excellent shape; even
his posture has changed, and he moves with the confident,
easy swagger of an athlete. Jane watches him blankly from
the kitchen table.

Carolyn enters. Lester leans against the counter, drinking
his shake directly from the blender pitcher, eyeing her.
He's got a newfound sexual energy that makes her
uncomfortable, and he knows it. Carolyn quickly rinses off
her coffee cup, avoiding his eyes, and starts out.

CAROLYN
Jane, hurry up. I've got a very
important appointment--

JANE
Mom, is it okay if Angela sleeps
over tonight?

Jane looks at Lester to see how he reacts. He doesn't.

CAROLYN
Well, of course, she's always welcome.
(on her way out)
You know, I thought maybe you two
had a fight. I haven't seen her around
here in a while.

And she's gone. Jane continues staring at her father. Finally,
he glances over at her.

LESTER
What?

JANE
(nervous)
I've been too embarrassed to bring
her over. Because of you, and the
way that you behave.

LESTER
What are you talking about? I've
barely even spoken to her.

JANE
(angry)
Dad! You stare at her all the time,
like you're drunk! It's disgusting!

LESTER
(angry himself)
You better watch yourself, Janie, or
you're going to turn into a real
bitch, just like your mother.

Jane is stunned. She quickly rises, trying to get out of the
kitchen before she starts crying.

ANGLE on Lester, and the immediate regret in his eyes.

LESTER
(under his breath)
Fuck.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

We're outside Ricky's room, MOVING slowly toward the open
door, through which we can see Ricky, standing at his bureau
mirror, combing his hair.

The scars on his face are almost gone now.

A REVERSE ANGLE reveals the Colonel standing outside the
door looking in, watching Ricky with great tenderness. Then
Ricky looks up at him, and the Colonel is suddenly self-
conscious.

COLONEL
(brusque)
You ready to go?

RICKY
Oh, I don't need a ride. I'm going
to go in with Jane and her mom.

EXT. FITTS HOUSE - FRONT PORCH - MOMENTS LATER

Ricky emerges from the house, followed by the Colonel, who
watches his son as he heads toward the Burnham house.

His POV: Carolyn waves from the Mercedes, flashing an
insincere smile.

Jane leans forward from the passenger seat and glares at us.
As Ricky starts to get in the car, Lester emerges from the
house in his sweatpants.

LESTER
Yo, Ricky. How's it going?

RICKY
Pretty decent, Mr. Burnham.

Ricky pulls his door shut, but not before Lester mouths "call
me" and Ricky gives a slight nod in acknowledgment.

CLOSE on the Colonel's face: he looks confused.

As the Mercedes backs out of the driveway, Lester glances
over at him.

Lester's POV: The Colonel watches the car driving off, then
looks at us.

His face tightens.

LESTER studies him for a moment, then grins and salutes before
going inside the house.

CLOSE on the Colonel, deeply troubled.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

The door swings open silently and the Colonel enters. He
starts going through Ricky's bureau. He opens the DRAWER in
which we know Ricky keeps his marijuana, but he doesn't
discover its false bottom. He stands and looks around, his
eyes finally landing on:

The DIGICAM and a stack of CASSETTES on a shelf. The camera
is still connected to the TV.

The Colonel turns on the TV, examines the Digicam and presses
"play." The TV's blank screen suddenly gives way to...

On VIDEO: Barbara Fitts sits at the kitchen table, staring
off into space.

The Colonel watches, at first baffled, then impatient. He
takes the cassette out of the Digicam and inserts another.
On the TV screen we see...

On VIDEO: Through the Burnham's GARAGE WINDOW, we see Lester
step out of his pants and briefs. Then, naked except for his
black socks, he grabs the dumbbells and starts lifting them,
watching his reflection in the window as he does...

The Colonel sinks slowly onto Ricky's bed, mesmerized.

INT. MR. SMILEY'S - LATER

Lester, wearing a Mr. Smiley's uniform, is happily flipping
burgers on a grill.

CO-WORKER
Hey Lester, I need that Super Smiley
with cheese, A.S.A.P.

LESTER
You need more than that, my little
hombre.

Lester looks up suddenly when he HEARS:

CAROLYN (O.S.)
(over speakers)
What's good here?

BUDDY (O.S.)
(over speakers)
Nothing.

CAROLYN (O.S.)
(over speakers)
Then I guess we'll just have to be
bad, won't we?
(then)
I think I'll have a double Smiley
Sandwich and curly fries, and a
vanilla shake.

BUDDY (O.S.)
(over speakers)
Make that two.

COUNTER GIRL (O.S.)
(over speakers)
Please drive around thank you.

Lester's face darkens, then... he smiles. He puts his spatula
down.

EXT. MR. SMILEY'S - CONTINUOUS

The Mercedes pulls around to the DRIVE-THRU WINDOW. Carolyn
drives; Buddy sits beside her.

CAROLYN
I think we deserve a little junk
food, after the workout we had this
morning.

BUDDY
(nuzzles her neck)
I'm flattered.

They are too involved with each other to notice Lester
watching them from the drive-thru window.

LESTER
(overly cheerful)
Smile! You're at Mr. Smiley's!

Carolyn almost jumps out of her skin.

Lester leans out of the drive-thru window, grinning at her,
holding bags filled with fast food. The Counter Girl stands
next to him, staring blankly.

LESTER
Would you like to try our new beef
and cheese pot pie on a stick, just
a dollar ninety-nine for a limited
time only?

Carolyn struggles to appear nonchalant.

CAROLYN
(re: Buddy)
We were just at a seminar.
(then, all business)
Buddy, this is my--

LESTER
Her husband. We've met before, but
something tells me you're going to
remember me this time.

COUNTER GIRL
(to Carolyn)
Whoa. You are so busted.

CAROLYN
(flustered)
You know, this really doesn't concern
you.

LESTER
Actually, Janeane is senior drive-
thru manager, so you kind of are on
her turf.
(to Carolyn, quietly)
So. This makes sense.

CAROLYN
(miserable)
Oh, Lester--

LESTER
Honey, it's okay. I want you to be
happy.
(then)
Would you like Smiley Sauce with
that?

CAROLYN
Lester, just stop it!

LESTER
Uh-uh. You don't get to tell me what
to do. Ever again.

Carolyn closes her eyes, defeated, then grabs the wheel,
shifts gears and drives off.

EXT. TOP HAT MOTEL - A SHORT TIME LATER

The sky is filled with ominous gray clouds. Wind whips garbage
across the parking lot as Carolyn's Mercedes pulls in next
to Buddy's Jaguar.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 - CONTINUOUS

Carolyn grips the wheel tightly, staring straight ahead.
Buddy looks at her unhappily.

BUDDY
I'm sorry. I guess we should cool it
for a while. I'm facing a potentially
very expensive divorce.

CAROLYN
Oh, no. I understand completely.
(sarcastic)
In order to be successful, one must
project an image of success. At all
times.

She regrets it the second it's out of her mouth, and turns
to him. He just looks at her sadly, then gets out of the car
and shuts the door. She starts to CRY. As before, she SLAPS
herself, hard.

CAROLYN
Stop it. Stop it!

She closes her eyes tight, trying to stop the tears, then
suddenly SCREAMS as loud as she can.

EXT. TOP HAT MOTEL - CONTINUOUS

Buddy's Jaguar speeds off, leaving the Mercedes alone in the
parking lot.

We can still HEAR Carolyn's muffled SCREAMING. There is a
sound of distant THUNDER.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - GARAGE - THAT NIGHT

It's RAINING outside. We HEAR ROCK MUSIC as Lester pumps
iron. He puts the weights down and looks at his REFLECTION
in the window:

His POV: His arms are pumped. He smiles.

He reaches under the bench and grabs a CIGAR BOX. Opening
it, he digs through MARIJUANA PARAPHERNALIA, only to pull
out an empty ZIP-LOC BAG.

LESTER
Shit.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

Ricky and the Colonel sit at the table, eating in silence.
Barbara rinses off a pan at the sink, then stares at it as
if she can't quite remember what she meant to do with it. We
suddenly HEAR a BEEPING noise. Ricky pulls his BEEPER off
his belt and checks it.

RICKY
(getting up)
I have to run next door. Jane left
her geometry book in my bag and she
needs it to do her homework.

He heads into the hall. The Colonel watches him go, uneasy.

INT. ANGELA'S BMW - CONTINUOUS

Angela drives, squinting through the windshield as the wipers
move back and forth.

ANGELA
So you and psycho boy are fucking on
like, a regular basis now, right?

JANE
(irritable)
No.

ANGELA
Oh, come on. You can tell me. Does
he have a big dick?

JANE
Look, I'm not gonna talk about his
dick with you, okay? It's not like
that.

ANGELA
Not like what? Doesn't he have one?
(then)
Why don't you want to talk about it?
I mean, I tell you every single detail
about every guy that I fuck.

JANE
Yeah, and maybe you shouldn't, all
right? Maybe I don't really want to
hear all that.

ANGELA
Oh, so now that you have a boyfriend,
you're like, above it?
(rolls her eyes)
We gotta get you a real man.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

The Colonel rinses off his plate at the sink. Something
outside catches his eye, and he cranes his neck to get a
better look at...

His POV: Through the window over the sink, we can see into
the Burnham's GARAGE WINDOW.

Our view is blurred by the RAIN, but we see Lester, his upper
body pumped and glistening in sweat as he counts out a wad
of BILLS... and then Ricky walks into view.

The Colonel's face tightens.

His POV: Lester drapes his arm around Ricky as he gives him
the money. We can only see Lester from the waist up, so he
looks naked.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - GARAGE - CONTINUOUS

Ricky, his hair wet from the rain, puts the cash in his
pocket. Lester's arm remains draped around his shoulder.

RICKY
(grins)
You got any papers?

LESTER
Yeah, in the cigar box, right over
there.
(laughs)
You know, put up a fight, dude! You
are such a pushover. "No I can't.
Really. Okay."

And he slaps Ricky playfully on the chest. Ricky grins, then
squats down and reaches under the weight bench.

RICKY
You should learn to roll a joint.

Lester sits in the bowl chair and leans back, his hands behind
his head, watching Ricky roll the joint.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

The Colonel's POV: Lester leans back in his chair. We see
only Ricky's back and shoulders as he rolls the joint.

After a beat, Lester's jaw drops, then he throws his head
back. From our perspective, it looks very much like Ricky is
giving Lester a blow job.

The Colonel watches, incredulous. Then we HEAR a CAR
APPROACHING, and the Colonel glances over at:

His POV: Angela's BMW pulls into the driveway, stopping behind
Lester's Firebird.

As Angela and Jane get out and run toward the house, our
focus MOVES back to the GARAGE WINDOW. Ricky stands, looking
a little panicked.

Lester pulls on his T-shirt, and both he and Ricky cross out
of view.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

Lester leans nonchalantly against the counter. Jane and Angela
enter. Jane frowns when she sees him.

LESTER
Oh. Hi.

JANE
Where's Mom?

LESTER
Don't know.

ANGELA
Hi, Mr. Burnham.

LESTER
Hi.

He's trying to remain cool, and doing a pretty good job.

ANGELA
Wow. Look at you. Have you been
working out?

LESTER
Some.

Jane rolls her eyes and exits. Angela walks over to Lester.

ANGELA
You can really tell. Look at those
arms.

She places her hand on his arm flirtatiously, looks up at
him and smiles, fully expecting to intimidate him by doing
so.

But something has changed, and he isn't intimidated at all.
He looks directly back at her, leans in and smiles slowly.

LESTER
You like muscles?

His voice is low and intense. She moves away, suddenly
insecure.

ANGELA
I--I should probably go see what
Jane's up to.

And she heads out quickly. Lester watches her go, baffled.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Ricky enters, wet from the pouring rain, and crosses to his
bureau, pulling the wad of CASH out of his pocket as he goes.

COLONEL (O.S.)
Where'd you get that?

Ricky turns, startled.

His POV: The Colonel steps out of the shadows.

Ricky takes a step back.

RICKY
From my job.

COLONEL
Don't lie to me.
(beat)
I saw you with him.

RICKY
(incredulous)
You were watching me?

COLONEL
What did he make you do?

RICKY
(laughs)
Dad, you don't really think... me
and Mr. Burnham?

COLONEL
(furious)
Don't you laugh at me!
(then)
I will not sit back and watch my
only son become a cocksucker!

RICKY
Jesus, what is with you--

The Colonel BACKHANDS Ricky so hard it sends the boy
sprawling.

COLONEL
I swear to God, I will throw you out
of this house and never look at you
again.

RICKY
(taken aback)
You mean that?

COLONEL
Damn straight I do. I'd rather you
were dead than be a fucking faggot.

A beat. Ricky suddenly smiles. He gets up.

RICKY
You're right. I suck dick for money.

COLONEL
Boy--

RICKY
Two thousand dollars. I'm that good.

COLONEL
Get out.

RICKY
And you should see me fuck. I'm the
best piece of ass in three states.

COLONEL
(explodes)
Get out!! I don't ever want to see
you again!!

Ricky eyes the Colonel. He's finally discovered a way to
break free from his father, and he can't believe it was this
simple.

RICKY
What a sad old man you are.

COLONEL
(a whisper)
Get out.

Ricky grabs his backpack, turns and walks out the door,
leaving the Colonel standing there, glassy-eyed and breathing
heavily.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

Ricky enters to discover Barbara standing in the middle of
the room, clutching a dish, frightened. She's obviously heard
his argument with his father, and she looks into his eyes,
searching, aware that something eventful is taking place.

RICKY
Mom, I'm leaving.

A beat.

BARBARA
Okay, wear a raincoat.

RICKY
(hugs her)
I wish things would have been better
for you. Take care of Dad.

He kisses her cheek softly, then exits out the back door,
leaving her standing alone, still clutching her dish.

INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

The Colonel's POV: Below us, Ricky dashes through the rain
to the Burnham's front door and knocks. Lester opens it and
lets him in.

EXT. FITTS HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

The Colonel looks coldly down at us from Ricky's bedroom
window, and then he pulls the drapes shut.

EXT. FREEWAY - CONTINUOUS

The MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 is parked in the breakdown lane, its
HAZARD LIGHTS BLINKING. Cars ZOOM past in the rain.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 - CONTINUOUS

Carolyn sits behind the wheel, listening to a MOTIVATIONAL
TAPE on the STEREO.

TAPE VOICE
--disinvesting problems of their
power, and removing their ability to
make us afraid. This is the secret
to "me-centered" living. Only by
taking full responsibility for your
problems--and their solutions--will
you ever be able to break free from
the constant cycle of victimhood.

Carolyn leans over and open the glove compartment. She takes
out her GLOCK

TAPE VOICE
Remember, you are only a victim if
you choose to be a victim...

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - JANE'S ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Angela is sprawled across the bed. Jane stands across the
room from her.

JANE
I don't think we could be friends
anymore.

ANGELA
You are way too uptight about sex.

JANE
Just don't fuck my dad, all right?
Please?

ANGELA
Why not?

There is a KNOCK on the door. Jane sits up, alarmed.

JANE
(angry)
Dad! Leave us alone!

RICKY (O.S.)
It's me.

Jane jumps up and opens the door and lets him in.

RICKY
(to Jane)
If I had to leave tonight, would you
come with me?

JANE
What?

RICKY
If I had to go to New York. To live.
Tonight. Would you come with me?

JANE
Yes.

ANGELA
You guys can't be serious.
(to Jane)
You're just a kid. And he's like, a
mental case. You'll end up living in
a box on the street.

JANE
I'm no more a kid than you are!
(to Ricky)
We can use my plastic surgery money.

RICKY
We won't have to. I have over forty
thousand dollars. And I know people
in the city who can help us get set
up.

ANGELA
What, other drug dealers?

RICKY
Yes.

ANGELA
Jane, you'd be out of your mind to
go with him.

JANE
Why do you even care?

ANGELA
Because you're my friend!

RICKY
She's not your friend. She's somebody
you use to feel better about yourself.

ANGELA
Go fuck yourself, psycho!

JANE
You shut up, bitch!

ANGELA
Jane! He is a freak!

JANE
Well, then so am I! And we'll always
be freaks and we'll never be like
other people. And you'll never be a
freak because you're just too perfect.

ANGELA
Oh, yeah? Well, at least I'm not
ugly.

RICKY
Yes, you are. And you're boring. And
you're totally ordinary. And you
know it.

Angela stares at him, stunned, then starts toward the door.

ANGELA
You two deserve each other.

And she exits, SLAMMING the door behind her. Jane turns to
Ricky and he takes her in his arms.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Angela sits on the stairs, shaken, crying.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - GARAGE - CONTINUOUS

We're MOVING SLOWLY toward the Burnham's GARAGE WINDOW through
the RAIN.

Through the window, we see Lester, wearing only his
sweatpants, performing bench presses.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - GARAGE - CONTINUOUS

Through the window, we see the Colonel standing outside,
watching. We ZOOM slowly in on him as he watches, transfixed.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - GARAGE - CONTINUOUS

His POV: Lester finishes his last rep, then racks the weights
and sits up, sweaty and out of breath. He runs his free hand
over his chest...

And then he glances at us, suddenly aware he's being watched.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - GARAGE - CONTINUOUS

Lester and the Colonel stare at each other through the window.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - GARAGE - MOMENTS LATER

The RAIN is coming down in sheets now, and there is a sharp
CLAP of THUNDER. We're directly outside the GARAGE DOOR as
it slowly lifts to reveal Lester smiling at us.

LESTER
Jesus, man. You're soaked.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - GARAGE - CONTINUOUS

Lester pulls the Colonel inside. The Colonel moves stiffly
and seems preoccupied, slightly disoriented.

LESTER
You want me to get Ricky? He's in
Jane's room.

The Colonel just stands there, looking at Lester.

LESTER
You okay?

COLONEL
(his voice thick)
Where's your wife?

LESTER
Uh... I don't know. Probably out
fucking that dorky prince of real
estate asshole. And you know what? I
don't care.

The Colonel moves closer towards him.

COLONEL
Your wife is with another man and
you don't care?

LESTER
Nope, our marriage is just for show.
A commercial, for how normal we are.
When we are anything but.

He grins... and so does the Colonel.

LESTER
You're shaking.

He places his hand on the Colonel's shoulder. The Colonel
closes his eyes.

LESTER
We really should get you out of these
clothes.

COLONEL
(a whisper)
Yes...

He opens his eyes and looks at Lester, his face filled with
an anguished vulnerability we wouldn't have thought possible
from him. His eyes are brimming with tears. Lester leans in,
concerned.

LESTER
It's okay.

COLONEL
(hoarse)
I...

LESTER
(softly)
Just tell me what you need.

The Colonel reaches up and places his hand on Lester's
cheek... and then kisses him. Lester is momentarily stunned,
and then he pushes the Colonel away. The Colonel's face
crumples in shame.

LESTER
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I'm sorry. You got
the wrong idea.

The Colonel stares at the floor, blinking, and then he turns
and runs out the open garage door into the rainy night.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 - CONTINUOUS

Carolyn is still listening to the same MOTIVATIONAL TAPE.
She holds the GLOCK in her hand.

TAPE VOICE
"I refuse to be a victim." When this
becomes your mantra, constantly
running through your head--

Carolyn switches the TAPE OFF and puts the gun in her purse.

CAROLYN
I refuse to be a victim.

EXT. FREEWAY - CONTINUOUS

The Mercedes pulls away from the shoulder.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

Lester enters, opens the refrigerator and grabs a BEER.
Suddenly we HEAR MUSIC coming from the other room. Lester
opens his beer and starts toward the family room.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - FAMILY ROOM - CONTINUOUS

His POV: AS we MOVE SLOWLY around a corner, Angela comes
into view, standing at the STEREO, holding a CD case.

She's been crying; her face is puffy, and her hair mussed.
She regards us apprehensively... then puts on a slightly
defiant smile.

ANGELA
I hope you don't mind if I play the
stereo.

Lester leans against the wall and takes a swig of his beer.

LESTER
Not at all.
(then)
Bad night?

ANGELA
Not really bad, just... strange.

LESTER
(grins)
Believe me. It couldn't possibly be
any stranger than mine.

She smiles. They stand there in silence; the atmosphere is
charged.

ANGELA
Jane and I had a fight.
(after a beat)
It was about you.

She's trying to be seductive as she says this, but she's
pretty bad at it.

Lester raises his eyebrows.

ANGELA
She's mad at me because I said I
think you're sexy.

Lester grins. He is sexy.

LESTER
(offering beer)
Do you want a sip?

She nods. Lester holds the bottle up to her mouth and she
drinks clumsily.

He gently wipes her chin with the back of his hand.

LESTER
So... are you going to tell me? What
you want?

ANGELA
I don't know.

LESTER
You don't know?

His face is very close to hers. She's unnerved--this is
happening too fast...

ANGELA
What do you want?

LESTER
Are you kidding? I want you. I've
wanted you since the first moment I
saw you. You are the most beautiful
thing I have ever seen.

Angela takes a deep breath just before Lester leans in to
kiss her cheek, her forehead, her eyelids, her neck...

ANGELA
You don't think I'm ordinary?

LESTER
You couldn't be ordinary if you tried.

ANGELA
Thank you.
(far away)
I don't think there's anything worse
than being ordinary...

And Lester kisses her on the lips.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 - CONTINUOUS

Carolyn drives, her face resolute.

CAROLYN
I refuse to be a victim. I refuse to
be a victim. I refuse to be a
victim...
(angry)
Lester, I have something I have to
say to you...

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - FAMILY ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Angela lays back on the couch as Lester moves in over her.
He pulls her jeans off and gently brushes his fingers over
her legs, then moves up and caresses her face...

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - JANE'S ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Ricky and Jane, fully clothed, lie curled up on Jane's bed.

JANE
Are you scared?

RICKY
I don't get scared.

JANE
My parents will try to find me.

RICKY
Mine won't.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - FAMILY ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Lester starts unbuttoning Angela's blouse. She seems
disconnected from what's happening. Lester pulls her blouse
open, exposing her breasts.

Lester looks down at her, grinning, unable to believe he's
actually about to do what he's dreamed of so many times, and
then...

ANGELA
This is my first time.

Lester LAUGHS.

LESTER
You're kidding.

ANGELA
(a whisper)
I'm sorry.

A beat. Lester looks down at her, his grin fading.

His POV: Angela lies beneath us, embarrassed and vulnerable.

This is not the mythically carnal creature of Lester's
fantasies; this is a nervous child.

ANGELA
I still want to do it... I just
thought I should tell you... in case
you wondered why I wasn't... better.

Lester's face falls. There's no way he's going to go through
with this now.

ANGELA
(confused)
What's wrong? I thought you said I
was beautiful.

LESTER
(tenderly)
You are beautiful.

He grabs a blanket from the back of the couch and drapes it
around her shoulders, covering her nakedness.

LESTER
You are so beautiful... and I would
be a very lucky man...

He smiles and shakes his head. Humiliated, Angela starts to
cry.

ANGELA
I feel so stupid.

LESTER
Don't.

He hugs her, letting her put her head on his shoulder,
stroking her hair and rocking her gently.

ANGELA
I'm sorry.

Lester takes her by the shoulders and looks at her, serious.

LESTER
You have nothing to be sorry about.

But she keeps crying. Lester hugs her again. We HEAR a loud
CLAP of THUNDER outside.

LESTER
(smiles)
It's okay. Everything's okay.

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL - MOMENTS LATER

The Mercedes pulls onto Robin Hood Trail.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 - CONTINUOUS

CLOSE on Carolyn's eyes, reflected in the REAR-VIEW MIRROR.
She turns her head to look out the window:

Her POV: The RED DOOR of the Burnham house stands out, even
in the pouring rain.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

Angela, once again fully clothed, sits at the kitchen counter.
She's eating a turkey sandwich.

ANGELA
Wow. I was starving.

Lester puts a jar of mayonnaise back in the refrigerator.

LESTER
Do you want me to make you another
one?

ANGELA
No, no, no. I'm fine.

He turns to her and cocks an eyebrow.

LESTER
(concerned)
You sure?

ANGELA
I mean, I'm still a little weirded
out, but...
(sincerely)
...I feel better. Thanks.

A long beat, as Lester studies her, then:

LESTER
How's Jane?

ANGELA
What do you mean?

LESTER
I mean, how's her life? Is she happy?
Is she miserable? I'd really like to
know, and she'd die before she'd
ever tell me about it.

Angela shifts uncomfortably.

ANGELA
She's... she's really happy. She
thinks she's in love.

Angela rolls her eyes at how silly this notion is.

LESTER
(quietly)
Good for her.

An awkward beat.

ANGELA
How are you?

LESTER
(smiles, taken aback)
God, it's been a long time since
anybody asked me that.
(thinks about it)
I'm great.

They just sit there, smiling at each other, then:

ANGELA
(suddenly)
I've gotta go to the bathroom.

She crosses off. Lester watches her go, then stands there
wondering why he should suddenly feel so content.

LESTER
(laughs)
I'm great.

Something at the edge of the counter catches his eye, and he
reaches for...

CLOSE on a framed PHOTOGRAPH as he picks it up: It's the
photo we saw earlier of him, Carolyn and Jane, taken several
years ago at an amusement park. It's startling how happy
they look.

Lester crosses to the kitchen table, where he sits and studies
the photo.

He suddenly seems older, more mature... and then he smiles:
the deep, satisfied smile of a man who just now understands
the punch line of a joke he heard long ago...

LESTER
Man oh man...
(softly)
Man oh man oh man...

After a beat, the barrel of a GUN rises up behind his head,
aimed at the base of his skull.

ANGLE ON an arrangement of fresh-cut ROSES in a vase on the
opposite counter, deep crimson against the WHITE TILE WALL.

Then a GUNSHOT suddenly rings out, ECHOING unnaturally.
Instantly, the tile is sprayed with BLOOD, the same deep
crimson as the roses.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - FOYER - MOMENTS LATER

Ricky comes down the stairs, followed by Jane.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

Ricky opens the door from the dining room, then stops. Jane
appears behind him.

JANE
Oh God.

Their POV: A pool of blood is forming on the kitchen table.

Ricky comes into the kitchen and slowly approaches Lester's
lifeless body, wide-eyed but not afraid. Jane follows him,
in shock. Ricky kneels, gazing at Lester's unseen face...
then he smiles, ever so slightly.

His POV: Lester looks back at us; his eyes are lifeless, but
he's smiling the same slight smile.

RICKY
(an awed whisper)
Wow.

LESTER (V.O.)
I had always heard your entire life
flashes in front of your eyes the
second before you die.

EXT. SKY - DAY

We're FLYING across a white blanket of clouds.

LESTER (V.O.)
First of all, that one second isn't
a second at all, it stretches on
forever, like an ocean of time...

EXT. WOODS - NIGHT

In BLACK & WHITE: Eleven-year-old Lester looks up, pointing
excitedly at:

His POV: A DOT OF LIGHT falls across an unbelievably starry
sky.

LESTER (V.O.)
For me, it was lying on my back at
Boy Scout camp, watching falling
stars...

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - JANE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Ricky and Jane lie curled up on Jane's bed, fully clothed.
We HEAR a GUNSHOT from downstairs. They look at each other,
alarmed.

EXT. SUBURBAN STREET - DUSK

In BLACK & WHITE: Maple trees in autumn. Ghostly LEAVES
FLUTTER slowly toward pavement.

LESTER (V.O.)
And yellow leaves, from the maple
trees, that lined my street...

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - POWDER ROOM - NIGHT

Angela stands in front of the mirror, fixing her make-up. We
HEAR the GUNSHOT again. Angela turns, frightened.

INT. SUBURBAN HOUSE - DAY

In BLACK & WHITE: CLOSE on an ancient woman's papery HANDS
as they button a cardigan sweater.

LESTER (V.O.)
Or my grandmother's hands, and the
way her skin seemed like paper...

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE - NIGHT

Carolyn walks slowly toward the RED DOOR, drenched to the
bone, clutching her PURSE tightly. We HEAR the GUNSHOT again.

EXT. SUBURB - DAY

In BLACK & WHITE: A 1970 PONTIAC FIREBIRD in the driveway of
a suburban home. The SUN'S REFLECTION in the windshield
FLASHES BRILLIANTLY.

LESTER (V.O.)
And the first time I saw my cousin
Tony's brand new Firebird...

INT. FITTS HOUSE - THE COLONEL'S STUDY - NIGHT

The Colonel enters, wet. He's wearing LATEX GLOVES. BLOOD
covers the front of his T-shirt. He paces in front of one of
his GUN CASES; the GLASS DOOR is open, and a gun is
conspicuously missing from inside.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - HALL - NIGHT

In BLACK & WHITE: Jane opens her bedroom door, staring at
us.

LESTER (V.O.)
And Janie...

EXT. SUBURBAN HOUSE - DUSK

In BLACK & WHITE: A door opens to reveal 4-YEAR-OLD JANE,
dressed for Halloween in a Princess costume, holding a lit
SPARKLER aloft and smiling shyly at us.

LESTER (V.O.)
And Janie...

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT

Carolyn enters, terrified, still clutching her PURSE. She
shuts the door and locks it, then takes the GLOCK 19 out of
her purse. She opens the closet door and shoves the gun into
a HAMPER.

Then, suddenly aware of Lester's scent, she grabs as many of
his clothes as she can and pulls them to her, burying her
face in them. She sinks to her knees, pulling several items
of clothing down with her, and she begins to cry.

EXT. AMUSEMENT PARK - NIGHT

IN BLACK & WHITE: A younger Carolyn sits across from us in
one of those SPINNING-TEACUP RIDES, LAUGHING uncontrollably
as she twists the wheel in front of her, making us SPIN even
faster.

LESTER (V.O.)
(with love)
And... Carolyn.

EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY

On VIDEO: We're watching the video Ricky showed Jane earlier,
of the empty white PLASTIC BAG being blown about. The wind
carries it in a circle around us, sometimes whipping it about
violently, or, without warning, sending it soaring skyward,
then letting it float gracefully down to the ground...

LESTER (V.O.)
I guess I could be pretty pissed off
about what happened to me... but
it's hard to stay mad, when there's
so much beauty in the world. Sometimes
I feel like I'm seeing it all at
once, and it's too much, my heart
fills up like a balloon that's about
to burst...

EXT. - ROBIN HOOD TRAIL - DAY

We're FLYING once again over Robin Hood Trail, ASCENDING
SLOWLY.

LESTER (V.O.)
...and then I remember to relax, and
stop trying to hold on to it, and
then it flows through me like rain
and I can't feel anything but
gratitude for every single moment of
my stupid little life...
(amused)
You have no idea what I'm talking
about, I'm sure. But don't worry...

FADE TO BLACK:

LESTER (V.O.)
You will someday.

THE END

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