"CARNIVORE"

by

Larry Wachowski and Andy Wachowski

UNPRODUCED



FADE IN:

EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT

Dream-like tides of shadow swirl around the wet phosphorescent
streetlights that glow dimly in a desolate urban intersection.
It is Fall; the misty breath of winter rises up through the
sewer grates.

Huddled in a small doorway is a figure swaddled in darkness.

We hear footsteps, expensive shoes clicking against the
pavement in a brisk city gait.

The figure stirs.

A well dressed man passes the doorway as the figure raises
its head. It is Kuru. Kuru is dressed in rags, his jet black
skin, including his face and bald head, is covered with blue
tattoos.

KURU
Mister?

His hand reaches for the shadows.

KURU
Mister? You got a dollar, mister?

The man ignores him as Kuru rises behind him.

KURU
Mister -- mister, please. I'm hungry.

Walking even faster, the man continues past Kuru as he strides
into the street against the blinking "Don't Walk" sign.

KURU
Mister? Mister? Hey -- Mister!

A horn explodes as a car booms past, almost hitting the man.
He shrieks.

Kuru's laughter echoes from the dark.

The man looks back but Kuru is gone. He scurries across the
street toward the layered concrete parking garage.

Dead red neon causes the vertical sign to read: RAGE.

INT. GARAGE STAIRWAY - NIGHT

The man climbs quickly, the metal stairs ringing, "thoom,
thoom, thoom."

As he reaches his level, a whisper floats up from the garage's
concrete bowels.

KURU
...mister.

The man looks over the railing but sees only shadow. He then
turns and pushes through the door.

INT. PARKING GARAGE - NIGHT

The grey garage is damp and cold, every sound echoing as
though it were inside a whale.

Nervous, the man hurries toward the only car on the level,
his red SAAB. He digs out his keys and hits the remote alarm
disarm.

Far away, we hear a rattling metal sound.

The man reaches the car groping for the door handle as the
rattling draws closer.

He jumps into the car, locking the door and jams the key
into the ignition.

Suddenly, a baseball bat arcs down so that the twisting of
the key seems to shatter the windshield. The explosion of
glass becomes --

INT. DINER - NIGHT

The crash and tinkle of dirty plates being thrown into a bin
by a busboy clearing them from the table of an old diner.

Once the table is cleared by the quick automatic hands, the
busboy wipes it down with a grey rag.

He then places a setting. A napkin. A fork and a spoon. A
knife. The utensils are heavy duty stainless steel. The knife
is flat like a butter knife but the end is serrated and sharp
enough to cut meat.

We hold on the empty setting as if we were sitting at the
table waiting to be served.

John Bunyan throws his backpack into the booth and sits down
at the empty setting.

JOHN
Man, I'm starving.

John is a friendly looking fellow whose simple expression of
awe and behind-the-times wardrobe immediately places him as
new to the city.

The waitress steps over to the table. John smiles.

JOHN
Hi there.

She stands, pencil to pad, waiting for his order.

JOHN
How are you tonight?

She sighs.

WAITRESS
My feet hurt, my back is killing me
and I smell like a hamburger. Now
what can I get you?

JOHN
Let me see here.

He runs his finger down the menu, not the items, but the
prices.

JOHN
I'll have the hamburger special.

WAITRESS
To drink?

JOHN
Water is fine.

WAITRESS
Let me give you some advice, country.
When in Rome, do like the Romans,
okay?

She leaves.

John takes out twenty dollars from a small compartment in
his backpack, then zips it back up.

In the background, there is a commotion that swallows the
normal diner noise. John turns and we follow his gaze to a
far booth where a man and a woman are having an argument.

Ophelia is a young, attractive woman who is uncomfortably
overdressed, expecting to be in a more formal restaurant.

Her date, Roman Links, has the face of a weasel. His hair is
slicked back into a ponytail and he is also overdressed but
quite comfortable.

He holds up his hamburger to her mouth, trying to get her to
taste it.

OPHELIA
No! You know I don't eat red meat!

LINKS
It ain't fucking red! Look at it!
It's brown. Just try it!

OPHELIA
No!

Links slaps the burger down.

LINKS
Shit. Why go out if you never try
nothing?

OPHELIA
You call this going out?

LINKS
Oh, I'm sorry, this place ain't good
enough for your highness.

She tries to lower the argument.

OPHELIA
I didn't mean that.

LINKS
What the fuck difference does it
make where you eat? All you ever
want is a fucking salad. I take you
to the fucking Ritz, you'd order a
fucking salad.

OPHELIA
You have no idea what I want.

She snatches up her purse and coat.

LINKS
You ain't going anywhere until you
clean that plate.

He snatches her by the wrist. She struggles, then grabs her
fork with her free hand.

OPHELIA
Fuck you. Fuck your salad.

She stabs him with the fork just hard enough to make him let
go. Before she can get out of the booth, he catches hold of
her hair, yanking her head down.

LINKS
You foul-mouthed bitch.

He forces her face in the plate of salad and cottage cheese.

LINKS
Now eat it. Eat it!

She screams, squirming free. Her face covered with food,
eyes burning and tearing, she runs for the nearest door, the
women's bathroom.

Links calmly pushes the last over-sized bite of burger into
his mouth. He chews, glancing around.

The diner is uncomfortably quiet.

He sips the last of his coffee then politely dabs at his
mouth with his napkin before getting up.

Links walks to the women's bathroom and lightly knocks on
the door.

LINKS
Fifi? Open the door. It's Roman.

OPHELIA (O.S.)
Leave me the fuck alone.

He smashes open the door, goes inside and slams it shut.

John looks around the room at the frozen employees and patrons
in the diner. Muffled behind the bathroom door, a sharp slap
is heard and Ophelia cries out.

There is another loud slap.

The diner is silent, listening.

John stands and slowly walks toward the bathroom as the
waitress runs for the pay phone. At the door, John can hear
Links talking and Ophelia crying. He knocks.

Links becomes quiet and John knocks again.

The door swings open. Links has a huge black eye.

LINKS
What the fuck?

JOHN
I heard the woman crying.

LINKS
Are you from another planet or
something?

JOHN
Why don't you leave her alone?

Links' bony finger pokes John in the chest.

LINKS
Why don't you do what you're supposed
to do and mind your own fucking
business.

John shrugs, staring hard.

JOHN
Too late now.

LINKS
You got that right.

Links throws the first punch but John blocks it, ramming a
fist into Links' gut.

Links doubles over as John grabs him, spinning him out of
the bathroom, cocking another punch. He swings, mashing Links'
thin pointy nose, sending him sailing onto his back.

Links scrambles to his feet, a wild man, hair splayed across
his bleeding face, and grabs a knife from the nearest table.

Screaming, he rushes at John like an animal.

John jumps back but the knife slashes open his forearm. His
hot blood speckles the bright white ceramic floor.

John howls and lunges at Links, seizing hold of the knife
hand, knocking both of them to the ground. They thrash wildly
like dogs, Links even biting John, fighting for the knife
until --

Ophelia stomps on Links' arm with her high heel and snatches
up the knife.

OPHELIA
Stop it. Stop it, Roman!

Both men recoil, standing. Links, his ears red hot, throws
back his hair.

LINKS
This ain't over! This ain't over!

He points at his bloody nose, staring at John.

LINKS
I never forget. This dog's got a
long memory! And you --

He stabs a finger at Ophelia who is still holding the knife
over him.

LINKS
Pay for your own fucking salads!

They watch as he whirls, storming out of the diner. John,
suddenly conscious of his bleeding arm, groans.

OPHELIA
Oh my god. You're really hurt.

JOHN
It's okay, I think.

His knees buckle a bit at the sight of so much of his own
blood and he sits at one of the chrome tables.

JOHN
Maybe not.

Ophelia digs out a handful of paper napkins from a dispenser
and presses them to his wound.

OPHELIA
I can't believe this, I mean Roman
is a little crazy but what you did,
it was really... thank you.

John looks up into her smiling face.

JOHN
You're welcome.

OPHELIA
You're not from around here, are
you?

JOHN
Just off the bus, actually. I didn't
know it was that obvious.

Ophelia looks up, suddenly uncomfortable that the eyes of
the diner have been on them the entire time.

OPHELIA
Listen --

JOHN
John. John Bunyan.

He shakes her hand, using his left.

OPHELIA
I'm Ophelia. We really need to get
you to a doctor.

JOHN
I don't really have the money. But
I'll be alright.

OPHELIA
Do you have someplace to stay?
Relatives?

He shakes his head.

Ophelia looks at the clump of napkins, white soaking red.

OPHELIA
Well, that arm is going to get
infected if we don't take care of
it.

She thinks.

OPHELIA
Come on.

EXT. THE MISSION - NIGHT

A cab pulls up outside the Mission.

The Mission is an old stone building that had once been a
proud, magnificent landmark. It is now a squatting corpse;
with its boarded windows and crumbling brick work, it wears
an edifice of dark, urban decay.

John follows Ophelia from the cab into the alley that runs
behind the Mission.

EXT. THE ALLEY - NIGHT

Ophelia pounds on the heavy steel side door.

JOHN
What is this place?

OPHELIA
It used to be something like a YMCA
but it was condemned. A man named
Rex Mundi somehow convinced the city
to let him run a soup kitchen out of
it.

She pounds on the door again.

OPHELIA
Granny? Granny?

JOHN
Your grandmother's house?

OPHELIA
No, her name is Gretchen, but she
told me to call her Granny. She's
the cook.

From inside, we hear a faint, old voice.

GRANNY
We're closed. Come back tomorrow.

OPHELIA
Granny, wait. It's Ophelia. I have a
friend here who's hurt, bleeding. I
was hoping you could...

After a long pause, a series of locks and bolts click and
slide before the door finally opens.

Granny is a woman who looks impossibly old, thin, and wrinkled
as a willow tree but has the boundless energy of a child.
Her smile is a checkerboard of lost teeth gladly given for
the chocolate she constantly consumes.

OPHELIA
Granny, this is John.

Her gaze fixes immediately on the cut on his arm and her
eyes bulge.

GRANNY
Oh, blood. Come in. Come in quick.

She pulls them inside and the door slams shut. We hear the
locks and bolts snapping back into place.

INT. MISSION DINING HALL - NIGHT

The dining hall is a cavernous room that seems to have no
walls or a ceiling, only endless rows of cheap fold out tables
and chairs.

Beneath nasal-humming fluorescent light, Granny sits hunched
over John's arm. Ophelia, leaning in, dabs at the wound with
a wet, bloody towel.

Close on a large button hook as Granny pushes another stitch
through the flaps of skin. She then pulls, drawing the skin
together.

John winces.

GRANNY
Almost done. There. Just like sewing
up a turkey --

She wraps it with gauze as Ophelia hands her strips of tape.

JOHN
Feels better already.

GRANNY
Just bad enough for a nice scar and
a good story.

She winks at him.

JOHN
I don't know how to thank you.

GRANNY
Oh no, no -- Well --

An idea slips into her mind and a smile creeps across her
face.

GRANNY
Okay, how about a kiss?

Ophelia laughs.

OPHELIA
Granny!

GRANNY
Oh, it's not like that. Just a sweet
little thank you, that's all.

JOHN
Uh, sure.

Granny leans forward, her eyes closed, lips puckered.

John puts a hand on her shoulder, leaning in, deciding to
close his own eyes. The moment is painfully slow to arrive
as they inch closer and closer until finally their lips touch.

Granny pops back cackling with laughter. John laughs awkwardly
as she licks her lips, tasting the kiss.

GRANNY
Yes, yes, very nice. Ophelia, you
ought to give them a try.

Ophelia looks up at John. There is a hint of something beyond
the smile on her lips.

GRANNY
Now, can I get you kids something to
eat, some chocolate, maybe? Sugar
for the blood?

OPHELIA
Actually, Granny, there was something
else. I brought John here because
he's new to the city and has nowhere
to go.

Granny is suddenly very uncomfortable.

GRANNY
Oh, you'd really have to ask the
boss about that.

OPHELIA
Is Rex here tonight?

MUNDI
At last, the fair Ophelia calls.

They turn as Rex Mundi emerges from the black edges of the
room.

Mundi is a dark featured man, tall and sinewy who forever
seems to be cast in shadow. His clothes have an antique
quality to them which includes a battered stove-pipe hat.

He smiles, gliding across the room, his eyes riveted on
Ophelia.

GRANNY
Rex, I thought you'd gone out.

MUNDI
You know me, Gretchen. Always about.

Mundi takes Ophelia's hand, holding it almost to his lips.
His face hovers over her, nostrils flaring, inhaling the
scent of her soft skin. Then, ever so delicately, he kisses
it.

MUNDI
To what do we owe this savory
surprise? Tell me, how is Ms.
Shelley?

OPHELIA
She's good. I'll tell her you say
hello.

Mundi nods.

OPHELIA
The reason I'm here, Rex, is for my
friend, John Bunyan. He's looking
for a job, a place to stay, anything.

Ophelia gestures to John but Mundi does not look away from
her.

GRANNY
You did promise me a dishwasher,
Rex.

Mundi considers this, turning, appraising John. He notices
the bright, white gauze bandage and the small spot of blood
seeping through.

MUNDI
Are we running an animal shelter
now, Gretchen? Taking in every wounded
stray?

OPHELIA
I brought him here, Rex. It's my
fault. He was hurt because he helped
me. This is all I could think of.

Mundi watches John.

MUNDI
The city is full of cheap hotels.

OPHELIA
He doesn't have much money.

MUNDI
Then why not bring him home?

Ophelia doesn't know how to answer, leaving an awkward
silence.

JOHN
Listen, it's okay. I don't need any
charity.

MUNDI
I am not offering charity. Charity
has no place here.

JOHN
I thought this was a soup kitchen.

MUNDI
Oh it is. But it is not run out of
charity. There is a bargain, a
contract if you will. I offer a bowl
of stew in exchange for an appetite.

John is confused.

MUNDI
This is my mission, you see. To teach
those that will listen that no one
need ever be hungry.

He has a voice that seems to weave the words around his
audience.

MUNDI
Two percent of the world's population
controls ninety percent of the world's
wealth. It sounds obscene, doesn't
it? Yet if you were to meet one of
the two percenters you would find
them quite at ease with it. How do
they do it?

His black eyes flash like the spinning watch of a hypnotist.

MUNDI
What is it that they whisper to
themselves when they open a closet
full of fur coats, or a garage full
of sports cars? How do they justify
the consumption of so much while so
many have so little? It is painfully
simple. They may equivocate, they
may obfuscate, but deep down the
rich know exactly what I know. They
know that this world is cruel, it is
unfair and uncaring and its single
guiding principle is dog eat dog.

OPHELIA
Gee, you're as cheery as ever, Rex.

MUNDI
Perhaps I should apologize for my
candor.

JOHN
Not necessary.

MUNDI
In that case, would it be a fair
question to ask you what brought you
to our vanity fair?

JOHN
Your what?

MUNDI
To the big city?

JOHN
Oh, just looking for a job.

MUNDI
Is that all? You seek nothing but a
paycheck? You have no dreams? No
aspirations?

JOHN
Well... no. I like to cook, I hope
one day to open a restaurant.

MUNDI
Ahh, ambition. That is something I
can understand. Understand the dreams
and you understand the man. Would
you agree with that?

JOHN
Yeah, I think so.

MUNDI
Let me tell you, Mr. Bunyan, that I
am many things to many people but I
am first and always a pragmatist. My
mission is growing and Gretchen
reminds me that I am in need of hands.
I can offer you the bedroom above
the kitchen and all of Gretchen's
stew you can eat in exchange for...
your hand.

John is surprised by the offer, Mundi extending his hand.

MUNDI
We have a deal?

JOHN
We have a deal.

They shake left hands.

Behind them, the door to the dining room opens and clangs
shut. For a moment, silhouetted against the kitchen's light
we see a very large man.

MUNDI
Ah, Kuru. Come, someone for you to
meet.

Kuru moves into the room and when he reaches the light, we
see that it is the man with the blue tattoos.

MUNDI
Kuru, this is John, our new hand.

Kuru ignores John, whispering something in Mundi's ear.

MUNDI
I must be off. Business. Granny will
show you the room, John. Ophelia --

He tips his hat.

MUNDI
It is always a pleasure.

Together, Kuru and Mundi leave.

GRANNY
I'll go find you some bedding, John.
Bye now, Ophelia. Don't be such a
stranger.

Ophelia and John are alone again.

OPHELIA
I should be going too.

JOHN
Listen, do you think -- I mean, would
you mind --

OPHELIA
Would you like my phone number?

JOHN
Yes. Very much, yes.

She hands him a business card she already had in her hand.
It reads: Slimage Surgicenter.

OPHELIA
It's where I work. I wrote my home
number on the back. Call me.

JOHN
I will.

He watches her leave then regards his increasingly throbbing
arm, the spot of blood growing wider.

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

John stands in the door frame of the small, dark room.

It is bare of furniture except for a twin-sized metal framed
bed and a broken chair. A layer of dust covers the floor
like moss. A naked bulb hangs above John's head.

He tugs on the pull chain but the bulb is burned out.

INT. JOHN'S BATHROOM - NIGHT

John throws a wall switch and a buzzing strip-light flickers
on. Cancerous spots of mildew grow everywhere on the dirty
tub, shower curtain and tile.

John urinates and flushes the toilet. Then, leaving the light
on, he edges back into his bedroom.

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

John sits on the bed, the metal springs shrieking beneath
his weight. He takes off his shoes and lays back, pulling
the single blanket over him.

After a long beat, we begin to become aware of faint noises
from deep within the building; pipes groaning, the distant
hiss of a radiator. It is though the building were trying to
digest something.

John twists, turning away from the sounds.

INT. APARTMENT STAIRWAY - NIGHT

Crouched in the shadow behind the banister, Roman Links
squats, hiding, watching Ophelia's door from the landing
above. His breathing is labored, open-mouthed as both nostrils
are stuffed with wads of bloody congealing cotton.

Below, the lobby door opens and closes.

Links presses against the spindles to watch as Ophelia climbs
the stairs and crosses to her apartment.

Silently, he descends the stairs, creeping towards her as
she pulls out her keys and unlocks the door.

A stair creaks.

Ophelia looks back over her shoulder and sees Links. She
screams as he lunges, grabbing at her coat but she rips free
of him, squeezing through her apartment door and locking it
behind her.

LINKS
Fi! Let me in!

He pounds on the door.

OPHELIA
What do you want? What are you doing
here?

LINKS
I didn't mean to scare you, Fifi.
I'm really sorry about what happened.

He leans against the door, mock pouting.

LINKS
I went a little crazy, that's all.
Please, Fi, open the door. I need
you.

OPHELIA
What happened to, "Buy your own
fucking salads?"

LINKS
You know I love it when you use that
word.

OPHELIA
Yeah? Then fuck off!

Ophelia feels the steel dinner knife still in her pocket.

LINKS
Bitch.

She rips out the knife, holding it up as if to stab him.

OPHELIA
Don't call me that!

LINKS
Fifi in heat.

OPHELIA
You little prick.

LINKS
Fifi -- Come!

OPHELIA
Goddamn you!

LINKS
Good poodle.

OPHELIA
Stop it!

LINKS
Pretty poodle.

She screams, jamming the knife into the door. An inch of the
blade splinters through, just missing Links' neck.

Links steps back, laughing.

OPHELIA
I'm calling the police.

LINKS
I saw you leave with that guy. I saw
you take him to that flophouse.

OPHELIA
What? You were following me?

He pulls out a small plastic folder that is labeled "Master
series 1001-2001." Inside are five skeleton keys of which
Links draws the first.

LINKS
It's killing me, Fi. Just thinking
about you and somebody else. It's
eating me up.

She hears the first key go into the lock. The lock jiggles
as he twists it back and forth but it does not open.

He rips the key out, pulls another and jams it in. Ophelia
backs away as he works it against the lock.

Another key is pushed in, its teeth fighting tumblers.
Ophelia yanks the knife out of the door.

OPHELIA
Roman!

LINKS
I need you, Fifi.

He slides out the last key.

LINKS
You're mine. My Fifi.

He shoves it in, the teeth sawing into the keyhole.

OPHELIA
Roman!

The lock clicks and the door floats open, stopping lightly
against the chain lock. Ophelia holds her breath.

After a beat, she hears his footsteps fade down the stairs.

Ophelia leans against the door, still clutching the knife.

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

John sits up in his bed, hair heavy with sweat stuck to the
side of his head. Dehydration carries him to the plip, plip,
plipping bathroom sink.

As he rises, we see that his sheets are soaked with blood.

INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT

John squints at his bleary eyed reflection, turns on the
water, and reaches for a glass.

The glass is knocked from the sink top and shatters on the
floor.

JOHN
Oh great --

John looks down and immediately sees why he broke the glass.

Where his hand had been is now a bloody, bandaged stump.

JOHN
Oh god! My -- My hand! Where's my
hand?!

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM

His body heaving in panic, John searches frantically around
the room, under the bed, behind the radiator.

JOHN
Where is it? Oh god, not my hand. I
need that!

He turns for the hall.

INT. KITCHEN

John finds Rex Mundi in the gleaming steel and tile kitchen
making himself a sandwich.

JOHN
Rex!

Mundi smiles warmly from behind a mountain of strange
condiments, meats, and produce.

MUNDI
Hello, John. Care to join me in a
midnight snack?

Mundi drags a serrated knife across a loaf of French bread.

JOHN
No, Rex. My hand -- Look! My hand!

MUNDI
Oh my, I see.

JOHN
Someone -- Someone stole my hand. I
woke up and it was gone!

Mundi butters the two long slices of bread with clumpy wads
of mayonnaise, licking his fingers, chuckling slightly.

MUNDI
Relax, John, relax. Can't you see
you're only dreaming?

John stares, confused.

JOHN
What? Then -- then this isn't real?

Mundi begins to pile things onto his sandwich.

MUNDI
Real? Oh no, John. I didn't say that.
Dreams are more real, more true than
life itself.

He looks up.

MUNDI
They are the sum of us, John. Secrets
whispered while we slumber, revealing
who we are. And are sometimes all
that we are.

Mundi returns to fixing his snack.

MUNDI
You say you are missing something.
Your innocence? Lost childhood,
perhaps? Any sexual shortcomings of
late?

He smiles at John.

MUNDI
Have you, maybe John, run off and
sold your soul to the devil?

John begins to feel a sickness in his stomach.

MUNDI
Perhaps, though, the answer is a
more literal one.

Mundi closes the top of his sandwich.

MUNDI
A hand which is a sandwich turns a
man into a meal.

He lifts the sandwich and John sees his hand between the two
pieces of bread.

MUNDI
Care for a bite?

He takes a huge bite.

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM

John's eyes crack open. He rubs his hand, then his face.

JOHN
What happened to counting sheep?

He rolls over.

INT. MISSION KITCHEN - DAY

Close as a pile of raw liver drops into a deep metal pot
sizzling with onions and yellow fat.

Granny stirs the reddish brown meat into the mixture, then
ladles in another cup of melted fat. As the steam blossoms
up, she inhales deeply.

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM - DAY

John, still asleep, begins to smell Granny's cooking wafting
up through the floorboards. The smell is suffocating, as if
his mouth were suddenly stuffed with liver and onions.

His eyes pop open.

INT. MISSION KITCHEN - DAY

Granny pours a mound of salt into her hand and begins to
sprinkle it into the pot when John, stiff and disheveled,
stumbles into the kitchen.

GRANNY
Morning. Stomach got you up, did it?

Granny scoops up a big spoonful.

GRANNY
Liver and onions. Base for any good
stew. It's real revitalizing.

She offers the steaming meat to him, blowing on it between
her teeth.

John swallows hard, trying to keep his stomach from turning
on him.

JOHN
No thanks. Not just yet.

She dumps it back into the pot.

GRANNY
Suit yourself.

They both turn as the basement door slams open and Otto enters
carrying a large sack of flour over his shoulder.

Otto is the Mission's dwarf-like butcher. He is a terribly
wide man with enormous hands that he is constantly wiping on
his bloodstained apron.

GRANNY
Oh John, this is Otto. He handles
the goods and deliveries and does
all of our butcher work.

Otto wipes his hand before they shake.

He lets the bag of flour drop to the ground and crosses back
to the basement door, giving John a friendly wink.

JOHN
You butcher your own meat here?

GRANNY
It's a lot cheaper that way.

John watches as Otto shuts the basement door behind him.
After a beat, we hear the click of a lock snapping into place.

EXT. THE MISSION - DAY

John is wandering outside the building, exploring his new
surroundings. It does not look quite as ominous in the
sunlight.

John turns, following a strange noise around back.

EXT. ALLEY - DAY

A large stray dog is chewing open some plastic garbage bags
piled near a dumpster.

JOHN
Hey boy. Find anything good?

As John edges closer, the dog looks up, revealing his large
canines.

John freezes as the growl grows to a bark. The dog coils
ready to attack when the back door slaps open.

OTTO
Hey!

Otto rushes right at the dog.

OTTO
Get out of here! Go on, get!

The dog whines, bolting down the alley as Otto turns to John.

OTTO
You alright? Didn't bite you, did
he?

JOHN
No.

OTTO
Yeah, mostly they're alright, even
friendly considering. But when they're
hungry, you got to be careful.

INT. MISSION KITCHEN - NIGHT

Wearing heavy, yellow latex gloves, John scrubs the enormous
silver pot Granny had been cooking in earlier. There are
stacks of soup bowls beside him, perhaps three hundred of
them, already cleaned. John rinses the pot and racks it. It
has been a long night.

He opens the door and sees the bowl of stew Granny left for
him. It is still hot.

John smells it. It smells good. He dips a finger into it and
samples it. Surprised, it tastes very good.

He grabs one of the newly washed spoons.

INT. MISSION DINING HALL - NIGHT

The only lit strip of fluorescent light hangs above the far
table where Granny sits, smoking a cigarette.

John sits down with his bowl across from her.

GRANNY
All done then?

JOHN
It wasn't too bad. Those bowls were
pretty clean.

She smiles, nodding.

GRANNY
They love every last drop.

JOHN
Who are they?

GRANNY
The poor. Homeless. Rex calls them
the invisible people.

JOHN
The same people every night?

GRANNY
When we started, we had thirty to
forty. Now we get two hundred.

John spoons up his first taste of the stew. Granny watches
as he blows on it and slips it into his mouth.

GRANNY
How do you like it?

He chews a juicy piece of the meat, hot in his mouth.

JOHN
It's good. It's really good.

She seems as if she's about to start laughing.

JOHN
What kind of meat is this? Veal?

GRANNY
Whatever's donated. Veal, chicken,
beef, lamb, rabbit even.

John samples it again, trying to identify the different
ingredients.

JOHN
Garlic, rosemary, basil. Lots of
pepper but --

He swishes the masticated stew over and around his tongue.

JOHN
There's something I can't put my
finger on.

She smiles again.

JOHN
What else is in it?

GRANNY
Oh, a little bit of everything.

JOHN
Come on, Granny. A secret recipe?

GRANNY
Everyone's got a secret.

JOHN
I don't have any secrets.

GRANNY
You do. You just can't keep them to
yourself.

Granny stares off into the dark edges of the room, exhaling
a cottony cloud of smoke. John's chewing fills the silence.

He looks up.

GRANNY
I remember when I came to this city.
I was young and poor with little
ones.

JOHN
You had kids?

GRANNY
A long time ago, Rex helped me. Like
he helped you.

She smiles her checkerboard smile.

John fills his spoon with a big chunk of the stringy stew
meat, but stops remembering something.

JOHN
Oh, Granny, do you think you could
loan me a quarter? I'm good for it.

INT. OPHELIA'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Ophelia, in bed, awakes and reaches to answer the ringing
phone.

OPHELIA
Hello?

JOHN
Ophelia? Hi, it's John.

John leans against the wall, talking on an old rotary pay
phone.

OPHELIA
John?

JOHN
Um, yeah. We kind of met the other
night...

Ophelia sits up, rubbing her eyes.

JOHN
Over dinner.

She smiles.

OPHELIA
Oh, hi. How are you? How's your arm?

JOHN
It's okay. Uh, did I wake you? I can
call another time.

OPHELIA
No, no, it's okay. You saved me again,
actually.

JOHN
Huh?

OPHELIA
I was -- I was having the weirdest
dream.

JOHN
You too, huh? I think I'm punishing
myself for not getting a chance to
thank you properly.

OPHELIA
Oh really? I think I should be
thanking you.

He smiles.

JOHN
Okay. Then thank me by letting me
cook you dinner.

She laughs.

OPHELIA
Sounds easy enough.

JOHN
Tomorrow? Nine o'clock?

OPHELIA
Do you mind if it's vegetarian?

JOHN
How could I forget that?

OPHELIA
Tomorrow then.

He lingers, savoring her goodbye.

JOHN
Bye.

He hangs up, a grin spreading wide on his mouth.

EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT

We race with a pounding roar of drums, down an empty street,
around a corner and into a parking lot.

Faster and faster we glide across the cracked concrete which
is awash in the bright overhead kliegs toward the only car
in the lot, a red Mercedes.

We circle around the car, the drums at their most fevered
pitch and we see the driver's door open, the window smashed.

It hangs open, the only sound is the whining electric warning
that the keys have been left in the ignition. On the car
seat, we see a splintered broken gold inlay cane.

EXT. PARK STREET - NIGHT

The whine becomes the metal squeak of a broken shopping cart.

A small figure pushes the cart which is piled high with green
garbage bags down a deserted sidewalk, a cigarette hanging
between her wrinkled fingers.

Close on the broken wheel as blood trickles from the dark
load down the chrome frame.

INT. JOHN'S BATHROOM - NIGHT

A steady rhythm of droplets drip from the leaping faucet
against the soft echoing digestive sounds from the building's
pipes.

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

John, unable to sleep, rolls up from his bed in frustration.

INT. MISSION KITCHEN - NIGHT

The refrigerator door opens, frigid light spilling into the
dark kitchen.

Inside, there is a massive bowl of raw meat. John groans. He
turns, reaching for a cupboard but pauses when he notices
the basement door is ajar.

With one hand, he gently pushes and it creaks open. Down the
uneven steps, he can make out a light at the bottom.

JOHN
Otto?

He steps down.

JOHN
Otto, are you down here?

He looks around, then starts down the stairs.

INT. BASEMENT - NIGHT

It is the old men's locker room. Except for a sparse few
hooded electrician's lamps hung from the web of pipes
overhead, it is dark.

John slowly moves into the labyrinth of rusting metal lockers.
The red paint, cracked and peeling, covers the locker doors
like frozen flame.

He creeps down the aisles past a bank of old salvaged
refrigerators and freezers most of which are wrapped and
padlocked with heavy iron chains.

INT. WORKSHOP - NIGHT

On the pegboard, behind a six foot chopping block, John sees
various butchering tools; hacksaws, curved bone saws, and
rows of glinting, metal cleavers and paring knives.

An old white radio with a bent hanger for an antenna sits on
a workbench beneath the peg board, its knobs crusty with
smears left by bloody fiddling fingers.

A layer of sawdust covers the floor, much of it clumped
together with dried blood.

On a coat hook, John sees Otto's apron.

JOHN
Otto?

At the end of the room a dirty, clear plastic curtain hangs
in front of what appears to be the showers.

He edges toward it and slides back the curtain. The room is
pitch black.

INT. THE SHOWERS

After a moment, John finds the pulls chain for the naked
bulb.

In the center of the room, hanging from the ceiling are
several blood encrusted meathooks. Web-like cracks have formed
in the large tiles and green furry mold grows in the grout
lines. Near the door, John sees a pair of black, heavy rubber
boots.

The room reeks of rot. John catches the odor from an old
metal pail and mop in the corner of the room.

Grabbing hold of the wooden handle, he lifts the mop from
the pail, covering his nose.

There is a nasty wet, sucking noise as the tangled mop strings
separate from the scum at the bottom. In the light, he sees
the mop is caked with thick, red-brown gore.

Sickened, he drops it back into the bucket, then turns
suddenly, hearing something from the kitchen.

John rushes for the stairs.

INT. MISSION KITCHEN - NIGHT

John slips up from the basement.

Mundi stands in the open back door, looking out, a silhouette
against the alley flood lights. From outside, we hear low,
animal-like growling.

Mundi reaches to the counter where there is a small pile of
meat in unwrapped butcher brown paper. He takes a piece of
red meat and tosses it outside.

We hear something scarf it up as John silently backs out
through the stairwell door.

Mundi smiles almost imperceptibly as he tosses another chunk
of meat out.

MUNDI
Good boy. Good boy.

In the alley, we can make out the unmistakable forms of
several naked men and women, hunched protectively over the
meat. As they devour it, their bare skin glows sickly under
the yellow alley light.

INT. SLIMAGE SURGICENTER - DAY

Close on a white Persian cat, purring as it is stroked and
scratched by a woman with long, red nails.

Ms. Sedier is an extremely wealthy, older woman sitting alone
in the clinic's waiting room. Nestled in a chair with her
mink coat over her shoulders, she seems very much like her
over-fed cat who sits in her lap.

The clinic is stylishly furnished; a cross between a modeling
agency and a nautilus health club.

Ophelia enters from her receptionist's office, smiling
brightly, carrying a clipboard.

OPHELIA
We're almost ready, Ms. Sedier. I
just need you to sign a few more
things.

She sits in the chair next to Ms. Sedier, pointing out the
lines that require a signature.

OPHELIA
That's a beautiful cat.

MS. SEDIER
Felicity.

OPHELIA
Here and here.

Ms. Sedier continues to sign.

MS. SEDIER
They say that animals love
unconditionally. No matter what I
did or what I looked like, Felicity
will always love me. Do you have a
pet, Ophelia?

OPHELIA
No, Ms. Sedier.

MS. SEDIER
Everyone should. Do you know Mrs.
Kovit? She has a Pekinese. She feeds
it caviar. Can you imagine?

She hands the clipboard back to Ophelia.

MS. SEDIER
Don't you find it funny that some
pets live better than some people?

Ophelia doesn't know how to answer.

In the background we hear a noise coming through the walls
from another room in the clinic. It is a high-pitched whine
like that of a vacuum cleaner.

OPHELIA
Well, I think we're ready. Would you
follow me, please?

She leads the older woman through a series of doors to --

INT. SHELLEY M. PERDUE'S OFFICE - DAY

Ophelia opens the door allowing Ms. Sedier to enter. Through
the opening we see Shelley M. Perdue rising from her desk,
moving to greet Ms. Sedier.

Shelley M. Perdue is a mature looking woman, unnaturally,
cosmetically perfect. Everything about her is slick with
glamour magazine gloss.

SHELLEY M. PERDUE
Evelyn, it's so good to see you again.

They embrace as Ophelia is about to close the door.

MS. SEDIER
Did you ask her?

SHELLEY M. PERDUE
Oh, Ophelia, of course you know Ms.
Sedier is here for a treatment, but
she's a bit nervous after the last
one and she asked if it would be
possible to have Felicity nearby.

She is moving closer to Ophelia.

SHELLEY M. PERDUE
I spoke with Dr. Manno and he said
that it would not be a problem so
would you be a dear and hold the
kitty-cat? You know I would myself
if it wasn't for my allergy.

Ophelia does not want to do it. Shelley M. Perdue takes hold
of her arm.

SHELLEY M. PERDUE
It won't take long and I'll mind the
front desk. I really do appreciate
this and so does Ms. Sedier.

She smiles, her teeth sharp and pearly white.

Ophelia looks at Ms. Sedier and her cat.

MS. SEDIER
We hate to be apart.

INT. CLINIC OPERATING ROOM - DAY

Ms. Sedier is laying on the table, surrounded by several
nurses and the cosmetic surgeon, all dressed in white and
wearing masks.

Everything in the room looks sterile and crowded with high
tech machines attached to stainless steel cables and hoses.

Chrome-plated scalpels and other operating instruments are
spread neatly like a dinner setting.

Ms. Sedier is wearing a small hospital gown that leaves her
lower buttocks and legs exposed. Her flesh is moon-white
except for her face which is still covered with make-up.

Ophelia, cradling the cat, watches from nearby as the
operation begins.

We hear again the whirring of the vacuum clearer but now it
is very loud.

Ophelia sees the large clear container of the liposuction
machine as it begins to fill with white, viscous wads of
cellulite.

INT. MISSION KITCHEN - NIGHT

A large hunk of butter is thrown into a heavy skillet and
begins to melt. John flashes a large knife over an onion,
doing his best Benny Hana imitation.

He carries his cutting board over to the large skillet and
scrapes the various vegetables into the hot, melted butter.
As he turns up the burner, he looks at the clock. It reads
7:30pm.

INT. JOHN'S BATHROOM - NIGHT

John steps from the shower, drying himself in the swirling
steam and moves toward the sink to shave.

He wipes a circle in the fogged mirror and we see his face
lathered with shaving cream. Dragging a cheap disposable
razor across his cheek, he nicks himself.

Close on the blood as it trickles down the white shaving
foam.

He touches the blood. There is something about it. The
redness. Something he has never noticed before.

Slowly, John brings his fingers up to his nose. Then to the
tip of his tongue.

He looks up at his reflection as though his name were just
called. The steam has refogged the mirror somewhat, his image
blurred.

INT. MISSION KITCHEN - NIGHT

Steam wisps up from a rich burbling spaghetti sauce.

There is a soft knock on the back door, John throws it open.

OPHELIA
I'm so sorry I'm late.

JOHN
What? Oh no, no. You're... perfect.

She smiles from the bottom step.

OPHELIA
I'm starving.

JOHN
Good. Everything tastes better when
you're hungry.

He takes her hand, leading her in and closes the door.

INT. MISSION DINING HALL - NIGHT

John and Ophelia walk towards the far dining table.

It is romantically set, including candlelight. The candles,
propped up in tin cans, lean at strange angles.

OPHELIA
John, this is so nice.

He helps her into a chair and lifts a large jug of wine to
fill their glasses.

JOHN
Only the freshest wine for the lady.

She looks at the cans and laughs, finding them terribly cute.

JOHN
It's the best I could do on my budget.

OPHELIA
Oh no, no. They're perfect. Everything
is.

Close on a candlestick as it suddenly begins to collapse, as
though superheated, time-lapsing into a melted, multitiered
globular pool of slag wax.

Dinner is almost over. They are still nibbling at the tangle
of saucy red noodles on their plates. The wine bottle is
nearly empty and they both are feeling quite warm.

OPHELIA
When I was little, I wanted to be a
dancer. My mother sent me to a special
school one summer. It was horrible.
The instructor would weigh us every
Monday in front of the entire class.
Whoever weighted the most won the
piggy prize and had to wear a little
piggy nose for the rest of the week.

JOHN
Yikes. That's pretty horrible.

OPHELIA
Yeah, but in a way, I was grateful
because I learned real quickly what
dancing was all about. It wasn't
tutus and ballerina shoes. It's a
brutally competitive world where you
learn to torture your body to survive.

JOHN
And how long did that take to learn?

OPHELIA
Eight weeks. One summer. Tutu buried
in the closet. Never saw daylight
again.

JOHN
Wise woman.

OPHELIA
Not wise enough. I went from wanting
to be a dancer to wanting to be a
model. Not a big difference. Took me
much longer to figure that out. After
high school, I came here to the city.
I went to all the agencies. They
liked me but everyone told me I needed
"work." My nose, my chin, my breasts,
my hips. They all needed work.

JOHN
You mean surgery?

OPHELIA
Yeah. That's how I met Shelley. I
was about to get a nose job and I
just broke down. I couldn't do it.
She talked to me for a long time. I
guess she liked me 'cause she offered
me a job.

JOHN
Do you like working there?

OPHELIA
Sometimes it does feel like we're
helping people. Other times... I
don't know.

She drains her glass and he refills it.

OPHELIA
What about you? Have you always wanted
to open a restaurant?

JOHN
I don't think so. But I've always
loved cooking.

OPHELIA
Well, you are an incredible cook.
Dinner was delicious.

JOHN
Thank you.

OPHELIA
Oh god, speaking of dinner, look
what I found in my pocket the other
day.

She pulls out the knife from the diner.

OPHELIA
I don't know why I kept it.

JOHN
Uh no. I think my arm is having a
flashback.

OPHELIA
God, if what happened to you happened
to me, I'd have been on the next bus
back home.

JOHN
No. I can't go home.

OPHELIA
Why?

JOHN
I'm from this small town. Total
Hicksville. Unless you've been there
you can't imagine it. Every day is
the same. The people are the same.
Nothing ever happens. Living there
is like being dead. It's Night of
the Living Dead, but it's night and
day and night and day of the living
dead.

OPHELIA
What about your parents?

JOHN
Living dead.

OPHELIA
They can't be that bad.

JOHN
My parents and I never really got
along. We had a falling out when I
was young.

OPHELIA
How young?

JOHN
Seven.

Ophelia laughs, almost choking on a sip of wine.

JOHN
I found this duckling with a broken
wing so I decided to bring him home
and take care of him.

OPHELIA
Aw.

JOHN
He was really my first pet. I took
him everywhere which was funny because
I'd always see my Dad come back from
hunting and he'd have all these ducks
hanging upside down from his belt. I
figured that was the way you carried
ducks. So I'd loop some string around
his feet and hang him from my belt.

OPHELIA
Didn't he bite you?

JOHN
No, he would just fall back and his
wings would spread loose and he'd
dangle there until I let him down.

OPHELIA
The poor thing.

JOHN
It gets worse. We had a rule on our
farm that no animal could have a
name, for obvious reasons. But that
duck was my best friend. So in secret
I gave him a name. I called him Jesus.

OPHELIA
Jesus?

JOHN
I was just a kid. Anyway, after about
a year, Jesus got nice and fat and
one day when I came home from school
and I smelled something cooking --

OPHELIA
Oh no.

JOHN
Oh yes. From then on I never liked
school and I never trusted my parents.

OPHELIA
That is so sad.

JOHN
You know what the worst, the weirdest
part of it is? I ate dinner that
night.

OPHELIA
You ate poor Jesus?

JOHN
I had to. They made me. Even stood
over me while I cleaned my plate.
But Jesus sure did taste good.

She studies him with the kind of intensity that is only
possible after consuming large quantities of alcohol.

JOHN
What?

OPHELIA
I'm trying to figure out why I'm so
attracted to you since you don't
have a hairy back.

JOHN
You like hairy backs.

OPHELIA
No, I hate hairy backs but I always
seem to end up with men that have
hairy backs.

JOHN
What about hairy palms?

She laughs.

JOHN
I'm glad my back isn't hairy.

OPHELIA
So am I.

The urge to touch, to feel, to kiss is over-powering,
magnetically so, pulling them up from the table to each other,
their lips snapping tightly as they embrace.

She tears open his buttoned shirt and reaches for his jeans.

Every action seems to drive them farther, each desire leading
to another. He lifts her, sitting her on the table, right
where he had been eating. He pushes her dress up past her
thighs as she leans back on her hands, dizzy with alcohol.

We watch her reaction, lit by the flickering candles, as he
pulls off her underwear. A smile creeps across her face,
then a short giggle.

OPHELIA
He feeds me, then eats me.

We see them from the dark edges of the room. Her thighs are
wrapped around his head when she suddenly feels a chill.

OPHELIA
John, wait...

He looks up over her leg. Looks around, then up at her. They
laugh guiltily as he lifts her up.

We hold on the table listening to their laughter fade as
they run for the door.

INT. SECOND FLOOR HALL - NIGHT

Moving down the hall towards John's door, we hear the sound
of violent love making. It sounds almost bestial.

The door opens, as the sounds rise to their most desperate
and wild and we see the lovers sound asleep, the sheets wound
about their naked intertwined bodies.

But the wild animal sounds continue, as we move over the bed
to the open window. The sounds are coming from outside, rising
up from the alley.

They grow more and more vicious, until --

A scream.

John lurches up.

Ophelia stirs slightly, as he eases from her side and goes
to the window.

Outside in the alley, he sees two stray dogs savagely fighting
over a large bone. White, against the dark fur of the dogs,
its strange shape catches John eye. It is a bone he has never
seen before.

After a moment, he closes the window, shutting out the noise.

EXT. THE CITY SCAPE - DAWN

The sun has begun to rise.

INT. OPHELIA'S APARTMENT - DAWN

Ophelia enters, closing the door behind her. She is very
disheveled, her dress not zipped all the way up, still very
tipsy and smiling. Obviously, she had a good time.

Then she hears something. Something inside her apartment.

It is still and dark inside, the orange of dawn hardly visible
behind the drawn blinds.

OPHELIA
Who's in here?

Her heart pounds as she reaches for the nearest light.

OPHELIA
I have a gun.

The light clicks on a metal desk lamp, and she shines it
into the darkness. She lets out a scream when the improvised
spot finds --

Roman Links, hunched strangely, standing on her futon bed.
He looks over his shoulder, his broken nose is taped up, his
eyes wide like an animal frozen in the headlights of a car.

OPHELIA
Shit, Roman! What --

LINKS
Bitch!

He charges at her and she sees that he is naked under his
long black leather coat.

LINKS
Bitch! Filthy, fucking bitch!

She rips the lamp from its cord, the light flashing blue as
it dies.

As he lunges at her, she swings the lamp violently, catching
him on the side of the head, knocking him over a chair.

Links scurries wildly to his feet and races for the door,
still screaming.

She slams the door behind him and slides the heavy iron
deadbolt. She nearly crumbles with relief, but realizes
something is wrong with her apartment.

There is a terrible smell.

INT. MISSION KITCHEN - DAY

Granny stirs up a mixture of liver and onions as John enters,
a smile stretched from ear to ear. His hair is pointing in
various gravity defying positions.

JOHN
That smells good.

GRANNY
And a good morning to you, John.

John smiles.

GRANNY
I saw your company leaving this
morning.

JOHN
You did? Was she all right?

GRANNY
Oh yes. Wearing an equally ridiculous
smile.

John smiles even harder, almost blushing.

JOHN
Man, I'm starving.

GRANNY
Worked up an appetite, did we? Maybe
you'd like a taste?

She scoops up a spoonful.

JOHN
Right now, I could eat anything.

She offers him the steaming helping of meat and wet onions
and he opens wide.

It's hot and he chews carefully. He is again surprised by
the richness and flavor. Rolling it in his mouth, the liver
seems to melt away, his face contorting orgasmically.

Granny smiles, holding her spoon like some bizarre
advertisement.

INT. OPHELIA'S APARTMENT - DAY

In the background, we can hear a vigorous scrubbing sound.
The phone begins to ring but the scrubbing does not stop.

The answering machine clicks on.

JOHN (V.O.)
When I woke up I was thinking maybe
it was all a dream, but then I found,
well not exactly a glass slipper...

INT. MISSION STAIRWELL - DAY

John, on the pay phone, is holding her bright pink panties.

Smiling, he smells them, as if they were a country morning.

JOHN
But this is not your typical fairy
tale.

INT. OPHELIA'S APARTMENT - DAY

Ophelia, on her hands and knees, is wearing rubber gloves,
scrubbing the carpet with a heavy brush and sudsy water.

JOHN (V.O.)
Perhaps I should scour the
countryside, trying every butt,
searching for the perfect fit.

She drops the brush into the bucket and grabs the phone.

OPHELIA
Hello, John, I'm home.

JOHN (V.O.)
Hey! I called work but they said you
weren't coming in. Not hungover, I
hope?

OPHELIA
Not exactly.

JOHN (V.O.)
Are you okay?

OPHELIA
I don't know if I want to talk about
it.

JOHN (V.O.)
Oh no. Was it Roman?

There is a long beat.

OPHELIA
Yes.

JOHN (V.O.)
Shit. What happened?

Her voice is very faint.

OPHELIA
He just scared me. When I came in
he...

JOHN (V.O.)
What? He did what?

OPHELIA
He pissed all over my apartment.

JOHN (V.O.)
Ophelia, just tell me where he lives --

OPHELIA
No, John. I called the police. They're
looking for him. I had the landlord
change the locks. I don't want it to
get any worse.

JOHN (V.O.)
Okay, I understand. But if you need
anything. Anything.

OPHELIA
Thanks. John, I had a really beautiful
time last night.

JOHN (V.O.)
So did I.

OPHELIA
Call me tomorrow.

JOHN (V.O.)
I will.

INT. SLIMAGE SURGICENTER - DAY

Ms. Sedier is again in the waiting room. She sits awkwardly
as her thighs, buttocks, and abdomen are encased by heavy
medical binders used to patch the liposuction punctures.

There is a tension to her body as though she were afraid
that motion might cause some seepage, some meaty human juice
to leak out of the sieve-like holes.

OPHELIA
Are you all right, Ms. Sedier?

MS. SEDIER
You're smiling today.

OPHELIA
Am I? I guess I am.

MS. SEDIER
Is it a boy?

Her smile brightens.

OPHELIA
Yes.

MS. SEDIER
Of course. I remember that smile. It
feels wonderful while it lasts but
that's the trouble with smiles, they
never do.

The smile fades.

OPHELIA
And how do you wish to pay for this
visit?

MS. SEDIER
By check as usual.

OPHELIA
There was a problem with your last
check.

MS. SEDIER
I've already spoken to Shelley about
that.

OPHELIA
Fine.

MS. SEDIER
Can I ask you something, dear? How
much do you weigh?

OPHELIA
One hundred eighteen.

MS. SEDIER
A size seven?

OPHELIA
Six.

MS. SEDIER
I once weighed one hundred four
pounds, wore a size four and had an
eighteen inch waist just like Scarlett
O'Hara.

She leans back and smiles.

INT. CLINIC OPERATING ROOM - DAY

Doctor Manno positions Ms. Sedier's lower legs in the stirrups
of the adjustable operating table.

Ms. Sedier stares up past the bright lights at the mirrored
ceiling as the anesthetic is fed into the air mask.

DR. MANNO
Okay, Ms. Sedier. From one hundred.

MS. SEDIER
100, 99, 98, 97...

She sucks at the gas, her thoughts drifting up to the mirror.

MS. SEDIER
95... 90... Mirror, mirror on the
wall...

Outside the observation window, Ophelia pets the fat white
cat. The sudden vacuum whir makes the cat cry out.

OPHELIA
Shhh, it's okay.

The cat continues to cry and as Dr. Manno goes to work,
Felicity squirms and jumps free.

OPHELIA
Felicity!

She follows the darting cat who runs straight to Shelley's
office.

INT. SHELLEY'S OFFICE - DAY

The cat stops, circling a pair of high heels, its white tail
curving up the perfect calf of Shelley Perdue.

SHELLEY
Ophelia.

OPHELIA
I'm sorry, Ms. Perdue, the cat got
spooked.

SHELLEY
I'm fine. Come here. Look.

She is standing at the wall adjacent to the reception area.
The two-way mirror behind Ophelia's desk allows Shelley to
look into the waiting area while maintaining the privacy of
her office.

SHELLEY
Is that him? The one you brought to
the mission?

Ophelia looks out the glass and sees John talking to Mimi,
one of Shelley's stunning beauty technicians.

OPHELIA
Yes, John.

SHELLEY
He's adorable.

Ophelia smiles again.

OPHELIA
He is.

She starts to turn for the door.

SHELLEY
Wait. Watch. I want you to see
something. Look at his eyes.

Mimi smiles at John, batting her luscious false eyelashes.

John jokes with her, smiling boyishly.

Finishing a report, she stands to return a file to an open
cabinet.

The drawer is very low. She bends. He watches.

SHELLEY
Yes. There they are. Eyes like that
never lie.

Ophelia's smile again fades away.

SHELLEY
Don't feel hurt, Ophelia. Or jealous.
He is only looking at her as one
might look upon a Monet, or a
Michelangelo. Beauty demands our
admiration. His eyes speak for him
but you mustn't fault their honesty.

She scoops up the purring cat.

SHELLEY
But if I were you, I would certainly
ask myself, does he look at me like
that?

INT. RECEPTION AREA - DAY

John turns as Ophelia enters the waiting area.

JOHN
Ophelia!

OPHELIA
John, what are you doing here?

JOHN
I came to take you to lunch. I made
reservations.

OPHELIA
Reservations?

JOHN
Yeah. They do let you eat lunch,
don't they?

OPHELIA
Yes.

She grabs her coat and purse while Mimi smiles at them.

MIMI
Have a nice time.

INT. RESTAURANT - DAY

It is a trendy little bistro. A charred, pepper-crusted filet
mignon is set before John.

JOHN
This is exactly the kind of place
I'd like to open one day. Oh, that
smells good, doesn't it?

She nods as a walnut and avocado salad is placed in front of
her. There is a clatter of wielded knives and stabbing forks
as John begins sawing open his meat.

JOHN
It can't be too big. That's the trick.
The bigger it is, the more prep there
is, the less fresh it is and the
more assembly line it becomes. You
might as well open a McDonald's.
God, I'm starving.

Red, ruddy juice oozes from a glistening cube of steak that
he pitchforks into his mouth.

OPHELIA
It's lovely, John. I've always wanted
to come here but it's so expensive.

He nods, his jaw grinding hard while she watches him, her
fork furtively advancing on her salad.

OPHELIA
Where did you get the money?

Suddenly he grimaces, choking down the lump of meat.

OPHELIA
Is something wrong?

JOHN
Had a funny taste... like charcoal.
Maybe it's overcooked.

He pokes at the bloody steak.

OPHELIA
Are you kidding? It's almost raw.

JOHN
It's supposed to be.

He continues to eat but tries to cut away the charred crust,
slicing out the reddest part of the steak.

OPHELIA
So, you didn't answer my question.

JOHN
Granny gave me some money, she said
she knew I'd play her back some day.

OPHELIA
She's so sweet.

JOHN
Yep, she is. And she's a helluva
cook. Her stew is amazing. I'm trying
to get the recipe. It's unbelievably
rich. How's your salad?

OPHELIA
It's good.

JOHN
Yeah, but I know what you really
want.

He stabs a tiny bit of steak onto a single fork tine.

JOHN
Come on, just a little taste.

OPHELIA
John, you know I don't eat meat.

JOHN
Why not? Is it a taste thing or an
ethical thing?

OPHELIA
Ethical... mostly.

JOHN
You don't believe those vegetables
died for you?

OPHELIA
They don't have eyes.

JOHN
What do eyes have to do with life? A
blind man isn't alive? That's not
ethics. It's just discrimination.

OPHELIA
I don't have to have a reason. It's
a personal choice.

JOHN
I know but it's not like it's the
forbidden fruit here. You won't burn
in hell for it. And one tiny teeny
weeny taste won't turn you into some
kind of strung out meat addict. So
come on, just try it.

OPHELIA
Why? Why do you want me to?

JOHN
Haven't you ever watched two people
in a restaurant feeding each other,
sharing their food? I know why they
do it. It's because they're in love.
They want their lover to taste what
they're tasting to feel what they're
feeling. That's all it is.

Ophelia smiles nervously.

OPHELIA
Okay --

She watches as he lifts the tiny, uneven cut of meat to her
mouth like a bizarre communion. She closes her eyes, her
lips slowly parting as he slips the fork inside.

John smiles as she chews.

JOHN
Little party going on in there I
think.

Ophelia shivers, the heavy taste blooming through her.

OPHELIA
I can't believe I just did that. I
must really like you.

JOHN
In that case, why don't we pick up
some pig's feet and have a real lunch.

OPHELIA
Oh, I get it. You're Satan.

JOHN
You hate me now?

OPHELIA
I'm not sure. Maybe I just need a
taste, a tiny teeny weeny taste.

She leans toward him and they kiss.

EXT. RESTAURANT - DAY

From far away, someone watches as they exit the restaurant.
We hear the mucused whistle of his breathing and a sound
that repeats rhythmically; swick, chick... swick, chick.

OPHELIA
That was wonderful. Thank you.

JOHN
Can I see you tonight?

OPHELIA
I'd like that.

Roman Links peers around the corner of the alley, fondling a
switch blade that he continues to open and close; swick,
chick.

EXT. THE MISSION - NIGHT

A crescent moon cuts scythe-like through the clouds.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

John is washing bowls. The stack appears to have doubled in
size. He is about to drown another beneath the sudsy water
when he notices a small puddle of stew gravy at the bottom
of the bowl.

He slips off his yellow latex glove and runs his finger along
the curved belly of the bowl.

Sticking the coated finger into his mouth, he sucks. After a
moment, we hear a small crunch as he absently bites down.

JOHN
Ow -- shit.

A tiny drop of blood swells around his knuckle and he sucks
on his finger again.

Outside, one of the alley dogs begins to bay.

INT. SLIMAGE SURGICENTER - DAY

There are several women in the waiting area, all of whom are
reading glamour magazines. Ophelia, at her reception desk,
is also reading a glamour magazine.

The only sound in the clinic is the rattle of magazine pages
being turned.

Beneath her desk, Ophelia rubs her thighs together. She has
a terrible itch on the inner part of each thigh.

Glancing up, she surreptitiously slides her hand under her
dress. As she scratches, her nail catches on something that
hurts to touch.

Concerned, she goes to the bathroom.

INT. BATHROOM - DAY

Alone in a stall, she pulls her dress up and examines her
thigh. There are several red sores swollen with irritation.
At the center of each sore is a white protuberance, like a
stye but harder.

INT. DR. MANNO'S OFFICE - DAY

Shelley is talking to Dr, Manno when Ophelia enters, obviously
upset.

OPHELIA
I'm sorry to interrupt, Ms. Perdue,
but there's something... something
wrong with me.

SHELLEY
What is it, dear?

OPHELIA
I don't know, I thought it was just
a rash but it's gotten worse.

SHELLEY
It's all right. Come. Sit here and
let's let Dr. Manno have a look.

She gestures to the examination table and Ophelia sits,
fitting her feet into the steel stirrups. Swinging a light
between her legs, Dr. Manno examines the sores.

SHELLEY
Oh no.

OPHELIA
What? What is it?

DR. MANNO
Does this hurt?

OPHELIA
Ow -- yes!

SHELLEY
How bad is it?

DR. MANNO
Difficult to say.

OPHELIA
Tell me, please. What is it?

DR. MANNO
Calcified cellulite. In certain cases,
particularly with vegetarians,
cellulite spreads beneath the derma
like a spore, typically in dark,
moist places like between toes or
the inner thigh. The danger is that
it is impossible to know how large
the tumors have gotten.

He probes her flesh, feeling a large lump. With a pair of
gleaming stainless steel forceps, he clamps hold of one of
the white nubs.

He pulls and the nub is revealed to be a thick white stalk
like a root growing from the eye of a potato.

Ophelia winces and writhes in the chair as Dr. Manno continues
pulling the stalk.

DR. MANNO
It's coming. Hold on.

The side of her thigh bulges, the root obviously connected
to something much larger.

Ophelia screams as the fist-like potato of calcified fat is
torn from her thigh.

INT. OPHELIA'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Ophelia continues to scream, bolting up from her bed.

JOHN
Ophelia?!

Ophelia breathes, looking at John, realizing she is in her
apartment.

OPHELIA
It was a dream. Just a bad dream.

She opens her leg and examines the inner thigh.

JOHN
What? Is something wrong with your
leg?

OPHELIA
Do you know what that is?

There are several small dimple-like marks on her thigh.

JOHN
No, but it looks good to me.

He starts to bite her but she pushes him away.

OPHELIA
It's not funny. It's cellulite. It
means that I have a diffused pattern
of irregular and disconnective tissue.
It's a genetic predisposition. That's
what's so horrible. There are olympic
athletes with cellulite. It doesn't
make any sense, why would nature
design something like this, or acne,
or warts. What's the purpose?

JOHN
So people like Shelley Perdue could
make a lot of money.

OPHELIA
That's not an answer.

JOHN
I don't know, Ophelia. Maybe nature
is evil.

OPHELIA
Do you know the only way to get rid
of cellulite is to go U.T.K.?

JOHN
U.T.K.?

OPHELIA
Under the knife. It's done with lasers
now but we still call it U.T.K.

She leans back down, switching off the light.

OPHELIA
I think you're right, John. Nature
is evil.

EXT. ALLEY - NIGHT

A big stray is viciously digging at the garbage behind the
mission. Sensing someone, his head jerks up.

Roman Links stops. He looks terrible, still wearing the same
clothes; one brown crusty wad still plugging his nose.

The dog growls. Links growls back. The dog coils onto its
haunches, baring its teeth. Links slides the knife out of
his pocket; swick.

The dog attacks and Links slashes a bright red cut across
its flank. Howling, the dog scampers away. Links smiles,
wiping the bloody blade on his pant leg.

Prowling along the back of the Mission, Links searches for a
way inside. He finds a rotting piece of plywood covering a
basement window and pries it open.

INT. BASEMENT - NIGHT

Worming through the small window, Links drops down among the
stalls of the men's room, the toilets are black with an
unctuous grime. He slips on a patch of congealed grease as
he moves through the showers into the locker room.

INT. LOCKER ROOM - NIGHT

Creeping through the maze of lockers, he finds the work bench.
Several pounds of meat and miscellaneous organs have been
fed through the grinder. Huge piles of hamburger sit
proportioned onto butcher paper.

Sniffing, eyes wide as he reacts to every noise, Links creeps
toward the refrigerators.

One of the chains hangs loosely around the bulbous waist of
an old Frigidaire. The padlock is open.

Quietly, Links pops the door. In the white light and swirling
frost, his expression turns to horror.

The door slams shut, revealing Kuru.

Links yelps, coiling back, his knife flashing from his pocket.
Kuru sees the tiny blade and smiles.

From the back of his belt, he unsheathes his massive gurki
like blade.

EXT. MISSION - NIGHT

Several smaller dogs now digging through the garbage react
to a terrible animal-like scream.

INT. SLIMAGE SURGICENTER - DAY

Ophelia is sitting anxiously at her desk, staring into the
appointment book. There are no names scheduled after three
thirty.

Ophelia begins to circle the open space, her pen orbiting
the only blank hole in the book. After a moment, the circle
becomes a spiral, the pen trail whirlpooling until the entire
space is blackened into an inky tangle.

She looks over at a clock. It is three twenty. She is now
very nervous.

Glancing at the mirror that separates her from Shelley, she
gets up and goes to the bathroom.

INT. BATHROOM - DAY

Ophelia talks to the reflection.

OPHELIA
This is not a big deal. People change
themselves every day. It is as natural
as getting a haircut. It's more
natural than having your ears pierced.
If you had a cavity, would you ignore
it? No. You see, it's not big deal.
But if it isn't then why am I freaking
out? I don't know! You need help --

The door opens and Shelley smiles.

SHELLEY
There you are. Ready?

Ophelia takes a breath and looks back into the mirror. The
reflection answers.

OPHELIA
Yes.

INT. OPERATING ROOM - DAY

Hydraulically, the chair rises into position. Ophelia stares
at the mirrored ceiling, breathing in the gas, as Dr. Manno
moves between her spread legs.

Ophelia sees Shelley standing over her; angel-blue eyes
staring down, a smile half-hidden beneath the surgical mask.

SHELLEY
Don't worry, Ophelia. Everything
will be fine. It's just like magic.
You go to sleep and when you wake
up, you'll feel wonderful. Your legs
will be smooth and beautiful. It's
what you want, isn't it? To be
beautiful.

Ophelia's body becomes light, transubstantiating with the
gas and she feels herself floating up towards her reflection.

Through the slurred syrup of her senses, she hears the whir
of the machine.

The first tiny white bits of Ophelia's inner thigh slap
against the glass wall of the catch as the splattering sound
becomes --

INT. OPHELIA'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

The coughing hiss of whipped cream spitting out the nozzle
into a cloud-like mound.

Ophelia puts a spoon into the chocolate sundae and carries
it to the living room.

John is on the futon. He looks like a piece of overcooked
meat; his eyes are dark and hollow, his face grey and gaunt.

OPHELIA
Are you sure you're okay? You don't
look very good, John.

JOHN
I'm fine. I'm just tired. Tired and
hungry.

She hands him the sundae.

OPHELIA
I hope this helps.

JOHN
You're not having one?

OPHELIA
No, I can't.

JOHN
Why?

OPHELIA
My surprise.

John scoops up a spoonful of ice cream into his mouth.

JOHN
Ahh yes. The surprise. When do I see
the surprise?

Her smile says something naughty.

OPHELIA
I did it.

JOHN
Did what?

Slowly, she slides her loose fitting dress up over her thighs,
revealing the heavy white binders.

JOHN
Oh god. What happened?

OPHELIA
I got some lipo.

JOHN
What?

OPHELIA
I told you. The cellulite.

JOHN
Ophelia, you're crazy. Your body is
perfect.

OPHELIA
As perfect as Mimi's?

JOHN
Who's Mimi?

OPHELIA
The one you were drooling over when
you came to take me to lunch.

JOHN
I wasn't drooling.

OPHELIA
You certainly were.

JOHN
Maybe a little. But I wasn't really
interested.

OPHELIA
Oh no?

JOHN
No. There was nothing to her. I could
tell. She's like an appetizer, pretty,
but never very satisfying.

OPHELIA
Is everything about food with you?

JOHN
Food is life, you know.

He grabs hold of her, lifting her into his arms.

OPHELIA
What are you doing?

JOHN
I'm taking you to your bedroom.

OPHELIA
I thought you wanted dessert?

JOHN
I do.

INT. OPHELIA'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

It is later. They are both asleep, fit tight to each other
like spoons. Again, John is having a tortured night.

His face is wet with sweat when his body seems to jerk him
awake.

There is a smell in the air that swirls about him like a
perfume. He turns and sees the bandages on Ophelia's thighs.

His gut squeezes hard and demanding as a fist. Sick and
afraid, he pushes himself off the bed, away from her.

OPHELIA
...John? What are you doing?

Hurriedly, he gets dressed.

JOHN
I have to go. I'm not feeling very
good.

OPHELIA
I knew it. Something is wrong.

JOHN
I just need some rest.

OPHELIA
Promise me you'll go see a doctor.
I'll give you the money. Just promise
me.

JOHN
Okay. I will. I promise. Now, go
back to sleep.

OPHELIA
Kiss me.

He does, but as her eyes close and he pulls away, he notices
something he never had before --

The taste of her lips.

Quickly, he leaves.

EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT

John crosses the street towards "Babe The Blue Ox's BBQ," a
late night take-out joint.

There is a group of rowdies in leather, sitting outside
despite the cold, guzzling beer and gobbling barbecued
chicken.

Smoke is billowing from the stack and John catches the scent
of char-broiling ribs. He grimaces.

A woman in the group, nibbling at a chicken wing begins to
laugh, a high drunken cackle.

Something is wrong. John looks at her and sees that she is
now holding a large, fleshy piece of raw meat.

The human like skin flaps with her laughter and a piece of
gelatin falls to the table.

LEATHER MAN
Hey, what are you looking at?

John turns, glimpsing that the woman is again holding a
chicken wing.

LEATHER MAN
Dickhead.

John hurries away, clutching his stomach. Very faintly, an
ambulance siren can be heard.

Something catches his eye and he stops beneath a sign that
reads: "Casmir's Butcher Shoppe." The siren is getting louder.

His head cocked, staring into the window listening to a sound
that is growing in his head; a sound like the buzzing of
flies.

The ambulance booms past, splashing red light across John
and the store front window. In that moment John sees hanging
in the window, massive slabs of rancid meat covered with
maggots and flies. Dotted with black ink spots of rot, they
swing ever so slightly, dripping oil and gelatin to the
ground.

John spins away, doubling over as he vomits. We see the window
now filled with a beautiful assortment of meats and sausages.

EXT. MISSION - NIGHT

John stumbles toward the open alley door when he catches a
scent that immediately bolsters his strength.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

Mundi is at the stove, stirring the burbling stew which is
in an unusually large pot.

MUNDI
Welcome home, John.

JOHN
Where's Granny?

MUNDI
Off to bed. She's left me to tend
the stew.

JOHN
God, it smells good.

MUNDI
You're hungry. I can smell it on
your breath.

JOHN
I haven't been feeling very well. My
stomach... is upset.

MUNDI
Perhaps just a taste then?

JOHN
Yeah, maybe. Just a little.

Mundi steps away and John edges closer to the stove. The
rising vapors envelop him with medicinal magic.

Mundi smiles as John slurps the thick broth from the spoon.

JOHN
Mmm, that's good.

He dips the spoon in for another when a hand shoots up out
of the stew and grabs his wrist.

Screaming, he wrestles to get free as the stew-demon rises
up out of the brown magma until we see his face and realize --

It is John.

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

He wakes, terrified. Gradually, the panic subsides and, as
it does, thoughts begin to fill his mind with the chill of
ice water.

Determined, he rises from his bed and heads for where he
knows he must go.

INT. MISSION KITCHEN - NIGHT

A long blade knife is pushed through the wall and John
methodically jimmies back the bolt from the jamb. The door
swings open without a sound.

The stairs curl like a beckoning finger into the darkness
below.

John descends, sweating almost immediately, clutching his
knife. From below, we begin to hear music, barely audible,
crackling through the old, cheap radio.

INT. THE LOCKERS - NIGHT

The music is a catchy little Muzak number like "The Girl
from Ipanema."

Through a slit, John sees Otto in the workshop. The butcher's
hands are bloody to the elbows as he carries something that
looks like a bleeding basketball.

John moves with him, catching glimpses as Otto waddles to
the nearest refrigerator, a bulbous 1950's model which he
opens.

Standing in the wash of white refrigerator light and a
swirling mist of cold steam, Otto checks the object and then
sets it inside. He then closes the door and goes back to
work.

Silently, John makes his way towards the refrigerator.

In the background, over the continuing Muzak we hear Otto as
he returns to work. The sounds are grisly, leading the
imagination towards the most gruesome speculations; the back
and forth grate of a saw, followed by a series of shredding
sounds like corn being husked and then a snapping like the
cracking of crab legs.

John inches towards the door handle as suddenly the cracking
stops.

After a beat, there is a chilling sucking sound.

John, his heart pounding from his temples to his toes, opens
the refrigerator.

Inside he sees the eyeless, tongueless, sawed-open head of
Roman Links. The white tape still covers his broken nose.

A scream catches like a barb in John's throat.

The knife slips from his hand, clattering to the floor. His
hand covers his mouth as he stumbles back, slamming into the
lockers.

Otto, still sucking the marrow from the femur bone whirls at
the crash and sees John. He lets out a shrill animal yelp as --

John runs.

Otto grabs the nearest cleaver and flails after him.

John slams through the rows of lockers, around a corner
towards the stairs now in sight but, Otto whips around the
corner gaining --

Raising the cleaver as John stumbles on the first steps,
then lunges up the curving stairs just as Otto swings --

The cleaver just misses, embedding into the wooden tread.
Jerking it free, Otto scales the stairs into --

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

But John is already gone, the back door thrown open. Otto is
about to follow when a hand reaches out and stops him. Otto
hunches back like a heeled dog as Rex steps toward the door.

He closes it and, in his black eyes, we see the hint of a
smile.

INT. OPHELIA'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

The apartment door signal is buzzing. And buzzing.

The light goes on and Ophelia enters, obviously annoyed,
hitting the intercom.

OPHELIA
If this is you, Roman -- you fucking
asshole -- the police are on the way --

She switches to "listen."

JOHN
No. No. Ophelia -- it's John.

OPHELIA
John, it's three-thirty --

JOHN
Please, Ophelia, something happened --
something bad --

She presses the "enter" button. As soon as she unlocks the
door. John bursts in. He is shaking and out of breath. His
hair, despite the cold, is slick with sweat.

OPHELIA
John -- what happened?

Immediately, he is pacing around the small apartment.

OPHELIA
Is it Roman?

A little squeak jumps out of John's mouth.

OPHELIA
Did you see Roman?

John nods, hands wringing, fingers knotting.

OPHELIA
In the mission?

JOHN
In the refrigerator.

OPHELIA
What? You saw Roman in the
refrigerator?

John nods again, unable to speak.

OPHELIA
Oh, I see. It was another bad dream.

JOHN
No. No, it's real. They told me
what they were doing. They told me
the first day.

OPHELIA
Told you what?

JOHN
They butcher their own meat. It's
cheaper that way.

OPHELIA
John, you're not making any sense.

JOHN
But I didn't know! I swear to you I
didn't know!

OPHELIA
All right. I'm calling the police.

JOHN
No! You can't!

OPHELIA
Why not?

JOHN
Because they won't... believe me.

OPHELIA
Believe what?

JOHN
That I didn't know because I was
there, like everyone else. Every
night. Two bowls. They'll know it's
still inside me, they'll smell it. I
can smell it!

OPHELIA
Smell what?

JOHN
The meat!

OPHELIA
John, something is wrong with you --

JOHN
I know, I know. It's the meat. I can
feel it. I ate it every night,
Ophelia, and it's making me sick
because...

His stomach convulses.

JOHN
Because...

OPHELIA
What? Say it.

JOHN
It tasted so...

Horror and revulsion rise with human bile as he clamps his
hand over his mouth and runs to the bathroom.

Forcing herself to remain calm, Ophelia follows.

INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT

John is kneeling on the floor, half-dead, his head still
hanging over the toilet.

She kneels beside him, taking hold of him.

OPHELIA
It'll be okay. Maybe its some kind
of food poisoning. Making you half
crazy.

Shivering and weak, he wraps his arms around her.

OPHELIA
You need rest. You need sleep.

As she hold him, his breathing begins to ease. She softly
kisses his head resting on her shoulder.

He turns his head, kissing her neck when something happens
to him. She feels his body go rigid with fear.

There is the soft curve of her neck, he smells something,
something just beneath her skin, something that tastes...
good.

OPHELIA
John?

He screams, scrambling away from her.

OPHELIA
What! What!!

He's too terrified to speak.

OPHELIA
Goddamnit, John, you're scaring me.

JOHN
Something's happening to me.

OPHELIA
What?

JOHN
I don't know!

She jumps to her feet.

OPHELIA
Enough of this shit!

She throws open the medicine cabinet and grabs a large bottle
of sleeping pills. She fills a glass of water.

OPHELIA
You need to calm down. You need to
sleep. When you wake up, we'll talk.

She shoves the glass into his hand.

OPHELIA
Open!

He opens his mouth and she drops in several capsules. He
drinks and swallows.

FADE OUT.

FADE IN:

INT. OPHELIA'S APARTMENT - DAY

The room is still dark, the venetian blinds holding back the
morning.

John, his face as gray as ash, is asleep on the futon, wrapped
tightly in a mess of sheets. It was a torturous night.

A smell fills his nostrils, a terrible gagging smell and he
coughs, waking up.

Rex Mundi, fully dressed, is sitting in the room, deep in
shadow. A single slice of light cuts across his mouth.

MUNDI
Good morning, citizen.

John scrambles back into the corner.

JOHN
How did you? Where's --

MUNDI
The fair Ophelia stepped out to find
you something to eat.

He grins.

MUNDI
But it won't be enough, will it,
John?

JOHN
I know what you are doing?

MUNDI
Of course you do. You've known all
along, from the very first bowl,
that first mouthful --

JOHN
That's a lie!

MUNDI
Your body knew at once what it had
inside of it. It was what it had
always wanted.

John can feel his stomach, a great gaping hole, as empty as
it has ever been.

MUNDI
It is what everyone wants.

John grimaces. His stomach feels like the skin of a sausage
grilling, about to rupture.

JOHN
What's wrong with me?

MUNDI
Your body has been set free.

Mundi watches John in obvious anguish.

MUNDI
There is only one true desire, John.
Everything else is a lie, a lie that
begins for most when they are pulled
from their mother's teat and given a
bottle of cow's milk.

John tries to stand, to move away. He does not want to hear
this.

MUNDI
The mind learns to accept what it
cannot have, but deep inside, the
body never forgets.

JOHN
No.

MUNDI
You can eat until you are sick without
ever feeling sated or satisfied --
why? You will gorge yourself on the
flesh of every animal except one --
why John? Because you are afraid.
Afraid of what you really are. Afraid
that what you are is all that you
are.

JOHN
No!

MUNDI
I reminded you. I woke the truth
inside you. Now, the appetite is
alive.

John, dripping with sweat, sinks to the floor, clutching his
stomach in agony.

JOHN
God!

MUNDI
There is no god that can help you.
The appetite is a part of you now,
gnawing away. You can feel your
stomach trying to digest itself.

Mundi pulls a heavy package, wrapped in butcher-brown paper
from his pocket. John stares at it and we can almost see him
begin to drool.

Mundi throws it on the floor between them.

MUNDI
You can make it stop. Give it what
it wants. Feed it.

John hesitates, his glance shifting from Mundi to the package.

MUNDI
Feed me.

On hands and knees, John lunges for the package, tearing it
open. Bloody cubes of raw meat spill out. John stuffs them
in his mouth, gobbling them down.

Mundi smiles.

MUNDI
Good boy. Good boy.

EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT

It is a bitter cold night, outside a dull, gray, office
building.

After a long beat, we hear a woman giggling.

As the giggling grows louder, we see a man and woman pushing
out through the revolving door of the building. He is pushing
with both hands on her ass.

They stagger out, obviously drunk, laughing as she stumbles
in her high-heels. Their laughter is swallowed by the
emptiness of the city.

The woman is disheveled; her blouse not fully buttoned, her
hair tousled, her lipstick smeared. Her appearance suggests
they just had sex, yet he looks exactly as he probably looked
early this morning when he entered the building. Even his
tie is fixed tight to his collar.

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his wedding ring
and slides it on.

The woman's laugh dies ugly.

WOMAN
Oh, yes. There it is.

He looks at her indifferently.

WOMAN
You could wait five more fucking
minutes.

MAN
It doesn't bother you when you see
me take it off.

WOMAN
God, you're a pig. I don't know why
I fuck you.

He smiles.

MAN
You want to keep your job.

Stunned and sickened by him, she rips a ruby earring from
each ear.

WOMAN
You make me sick! I don't want any
part of you anymore!

She throws the earrings at him, spins on her heel and walks
away.

MAN
See you tomorrow.

He smiles, picks up the earrings and slips them into his
pocket.

Whistling, he heads towards the entrance of an underground
parking garage. Its staircase darkens into a black shadow
that swallows the man as he descends.

INT. STAIRCASE - NIGHT

The man appears, rounding the corner of the first level.
Abruptly, he stops, noticing a figure huddled in the corner
of the landing below.

It is John dressed in garbage-picked clothes. The man looks
away and continues down the stairs toward John.

JOHN
Mister? Mister?

The man does not acknowledge him.

JOHN
Mister, can you help me?

John reaches out with his hand as the man passes.

JOHN
I'm hungry --

John grabs hold of the man's pant leg. The man is repulsed
and jerks his leg free. His footsteps quickly fade down the
stairs.

JOHN
Hungry...

John crawls to the edge of the landing, listening as the
door to the level below opens and closes.

INT. UNDERGROUND GARAGE - NIGHT

The vast garage is ominously empty and silent, save for the
man's hurried footsteps. From behind, the door again opens
and booms shut.

The man stops and looks back at the circle of light around
the door. It is empty.

There is faint rattling in the distance.

To his left, he hears the sound of someone running and he
turns, catching a glimpse of a shadow that disappears behind
a steel column.

MAN
Is someone there?

Another series of running steps; a flash somewhere else.

The metal rattling grows louder, closer. The man's eyes are
darting. He seems frozen, like a deer.

He bolts.

In the dark edges of the garage, behind the rows of columns,
he can see them; shadows, running with him.

It is a wild chase weaving through the iron and concrete
columns that seem like the trees of a man-made jungle.

The man can see his red Jaguar; the silver cat is poised on
the hood as the man races towards it. Behind him the predators
gain.

He tears out his keys and jams the key into the lock when --

There is an animal shriek.

John bounds up, springing over the car, landing on top of
the terrified, screaming man.

They tumble to the ground, John rolling away.

The man, free for a moment, tries to get back to the car,
scampering on hands and knees.

He reaches for the handle, for the keys, but the keys are
gone.

He hears the jingling keys behind him. He begins to cry,
turning to see --

The predators surrounding him; John, Otto, and Kuru, dangling
the keys.

The jingle of the keys blends into the metal rattle as Granny
moves into the half circle, pushing her grocery shopping
cart.

MAN
What do you want?

He throws his wallet at them.

MAN
Here -- take it! Take it! Please
don't hurt me.

They close in on him, Kuru and Otto taking hold of his arms
as the man, feeble, unable to resist, continues to sob.

GRANNY
Sssh, now. This'll just take a minute.

She pets his head, trying to calm him.

GRANNY
It's okay, nothing to worry about.

She runs her fingers across his forehead, coating them with
his sweat. She licks them, tasting, smacking her lips and
tongue. Not bad.

Inspecting closer, she reaches under his arm, pinching his
fat. He is now crying uncontrollably.

GRANNY
Congratulations, John.

From her shopping cart, Granny pulls a baseball bat.

GRANNY
He's a keeper.

She gives John the bat and pushes him up to the plate.

The man on his knees, his arms still held behind him, looks
up at John pitifully.

John stands motionless.

The man begins repeating the word "god" over and over.

John raises the bat. The man drops his head as he fills his
pants with urine. John's grip loosens.

JOHN
I can't...

Granny stands behind him, whispering in his ear.

GRANNY
You can and you will. Because deep
down you want to.

John shakes his head.

MAN
Please...

GRANNY
Look at him, John. See him for what
he really is. Meat. That's all. Fresh
marbled meat that you can smell.
Meat you can almost taste.

John's mouth begins to salivate.

GRANNY
There is only one truth in this world,
one law to obey, one rule to survive.
Eat, John. Eat or be eaten.

His face contorts viciously as he raises the bat.

The scream fills the entire garage.

The bat falls.

There is a loud pop as the bat strikes the back of the man's
skull.

The scream fades, but never seems to die; just a dim echoing
roar in our ears. Granny pats John.

GRANNY
You're one of us now.

Kuru and Otto lift the body of the man and load it into the
shopping cart.

INT. SLIMAGE SURGICENTER - DAY

Ophelia walks down the hall towards the glass door of the
clinic. She digs the keys from her purse and stoops to unlock
the doors when she notices a manila envelope with her name
on it.

Inside the envelope is a note from John: "I'm sorry that I
haven't been myself lately. I hope these will help you forgive
me."

She tilts the envelope and a pair of ruby earrings spill
into her palm. They are the same earrings the woman threw
back at the man.

Ophelia smiles and unlocks the door.

INT. SLIMAGE SURGICENTER - DAY

Ophelia is admiring her new earrings in the mirror behind
her desk when Shelley enters.

SHELLEY
Good morning, Ophelia.

OPHELIA
Morning, Ms. Perdue.

SHELLEY
How are your thighs?

OPHELIA
Much better today.

SHELLEY
I am so proud of you, Ophelia. It
was a big step, wasn't it?

Ophelia nods.

SHELLEY
Believe me, the first step is always
the hardest but now a whole new world
of possibilities has opened up for
you, you can feel it, can't you?

OPHELIA
Yes, I suppose I can.

SHELLEY
And you're still so young and pretty.

OPHELIA
Thank you.

SHELLEY
Now maybe we'll finally get to fix
that little nose of yours.

She winks teasingly and passes Ophelia but stops at the door
to her office.

SHELLEY
Oh yes, cancel Ms. Sedier's
appointment today.

OPHELIA
All right. Was there another problem?

SHELLEY
Yes, but I've taken care of it. I
don't think she'll be back.

Smiling, she shuts the door behind her.

INT. MISSION BASEMENT - NIGHT

Stretched limply over a hanger, suspended in the dark space
above us, is a beautiful dark fur.

In the background we can hear John and Otto, though their
voices are muffled.

OTTO
There is one basic rule of thumb.
The richer they are, the more they
eat, the better they taste.

JOHN
Is that why Rex wanted this one?

OTTO
I don't know. I think this one was a
favor.

We pass under the dark emptiness of the fur.

OTTO
See here, on the flank and all along
the butt and thighs. Lipotracts. All
the tasty bits, sucked dry. But she
ain't bad.

Ahead, we see the voices are coming from the shower room,
which is hidden by the heavy plastic shower curtain. There
is a gap at the bottom, where we can see into the room.

OTTO
Now grab one of them bottles.

We can see John's shoes and the heavy rubber boots that Otto
wears. On the floor beside them is a funnel and several green
wine jugs. The jugs are empty.

John bends down and lifts one of them.

OTTO
Hold it like this. Here.

We hear the quick zink, zink, of a knife being sharpened.

We see the three figures in the room, more defined through
the foggy plastic.

The two darker figures are Otto and John, which can be
determined by their feet.

The other figure appears to be suspended in the air and
through the translucent haze of the curtain, it looks like a
great side of beef; white and pink, the colors of suet and
meat.

OTTO
You just pull back on the hair and
cut.

Blood suddenly sprinkles onto the floor around their feet.

OTTO
The bottle! The bottle!

The blood stops, as we hear it filling the bottle. Otto slaps
the naked flesh.

OTTO
This one here'll probably fill three
and a half or so. After they're
drained, I'll show you what's next.
It's easier than you think.

Zink, zink, the knife sharpens again.

OTTO
Here at the tailbone, about an inch
deep, right down the spine.

There is a strange zipping sound.

John steps back as though he suddenly lost his balance. Blood
is missing the bottle and splattering around his feet.

OTTO
Then, here... and here.

We are almost to the curtain and the blood is everywhere,
puddling on the floor.

OTTO
Then you just cut a finger hole...
and tear.

An awful tearing noise begins as --

The bottle that John had been filling, slips out of his hand,
shattering on the tile floor, in a deafening explosion of
green glass and blood.

John turns towards the curtain, lunging out, gulping air.

The heavy rubber boots step through the pool of blood, glass
crunching underfoot, past the swinging shadow of the hanging
body.

Otto throws open the curtain and finds John sitting on the
bench between the lockers, breathing deep and looking very
sick.

Otto shakes his head, disappointed.

OTTO
Granny's probably got some work for
you upstairs.

John looks up.

JOHN
I'm sorry...

OTTO
You can throw all that stuff in the
furnace. But not the coat. It's a
good coat.

Otto snaps the curtain shut and again we hear the knife
sharpening.

INT. MISSION KITCHEN - NIGHT

A bowl is being washed. John passes it under the running
water, rinses it, then sets it in the rack.

John stares blankly as he lifts another dirty bowl from the
cart.

The crusty, brown remnants of the stew, thin scrape lines
left from the spoon.

John begins to hear the scraping of the spoon against the
bowl. He is unable to move, listening.

We hear the man eating, slurping the stew, smacking on the
thick pieces of meat.

John looks at the enormous stack of dirty bowls piled on the
cart. The number has grown to almost comic proportions. We
begin to hear more eating noises.

The munching, scraping, clattering spoons multiply, growing
louder, swelling, until it seems the entire dining hall was
stuffed into the tiny kitchen.

Suddenly, there is a knock on the back door, cutting the
noise short.

John shuts the water off goes to the door. He throws the
bolt and opens the door to find Ophelia.

She pulls back her hair, revealing the ruby earrings.

OPHELIA
I love them.

She embraces and kisses John who reacts awkwardly.

OPHELIA
I... thought you were feeling better?

JOHN
I am. I just, I mean, I wish...

He glances at the open basement door.

JOHN
You shouldn't come here anymore,
Ophelia.

OPHELIA
Why not?

He doesn't want to answer the question.

JOHN
Come on. Let's go upstairs.

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

John shuts the door.

OPHELIA
John, what's going on? You have to
tell me. I want to know why you were
acting so strange the other night
and why you disappeared that morning.

JOHN
God...

OPHELIA
What?

He can't stop himself from smiling at her.

JOHN
You are so beautiful.

She blushes.

JOHN
How are your legs?

OPHELIA
They're fine.

JOHN
Can I see?

He sits on the bed beside her and tries to push her skirt
up.

OPHELIA
No. I can't remove the bandages yet.

JOHN
Just a peek.

OPHELIA
No, John. Stop. Come on, talk to me.

JOHN
Talk about what?

OPHELIA
What happened the other night?

JOHN
I don't know, I'm not sure I can
explain it. And even if I could, I
don't think you could understand it.
Not yet, anyway.

OPHELIA
What does that mean?

JOHN
I've just had this feeling lately
that there's this connection between
us, like we're headed in the same
direction and that, right now, you're
learning the same things that I'm
learning.

OPHELIA
Learning what things?

JOHN
Things like who and what you are.
And more importantly, what you want.

He leans into her and kisses her neck.

JOHN
You liked the earrings?

OPHELIA
Yes. Very much. But I have to know
where you got the money for them.
And don't tell me Granny gave it to
you.

JOHN
They were donated to the Mission.

OPHELIA
By who?

JOHN
An older woman, or, I mean, her
estate. She died and gave everything
to Rex. He said I could pick out
what I wanted. I took the earrings
and...

He crosses to the closet.

JOHN
I was going to save it and give it
to you later, for your birthday maybe
or Christmas but I think you should
have it now.

From the closet, he pulls the long, lush fur coat. Ophelia
clamps her hand over her mouth.

OPHELIA
Oh my god.

John offers it to her though she seems almost scared to touch
it.

JOHN
Do you like it?

OPHELIA
It's beautiful.

Her fingers disappear beneath the thick, soft fur.

JOHN
Try it on.

She smiles guiltily, but turns and lets him slip it on.

OPHELIA
Oh, god, John. I can't believe this.
There's woman who comes to the clinic
who has a coat like this. I've always
wondered what it would feel like to
wear one.

She models herself in the mirror, wrapped in its
luxuriousness.

John, behind her, is excited by the animal skins. He buries
his head in her hair which tumbles loose in the fur. He feels
the fur against his naked arms wrapped around her.

OPHELIA
Oh, no.

He kisses her neck and ear.

JOHN
What?

OPHELIA
It feels wonderful.

JOHN
Good.

OPHELIA
No, it's bad.

JOHN
Why?

OPHELIA
It's fur. It's not right.

JOHN
You said it felt good.

She smiles, almost intoxicated by the feel.

OPHELIA
It feels incredible.

JOHN
Listen to what your body wants.

She laughs.

OPHELIA
That sounds like Rex.

He unbuttons her blouse, exposing her naked body beneath the
black coat. His hand strokes across the fur finding her
breast.

OPHELIA
John, please, we need to talk.

JOHN
No, no one needs to talk.

She moans, closing her eyes.

She moans again. And he answers in a low, almost bestial
growl. He begins to bite at her hair, her shoulder and up
along her neck. The more he touches her, her warm flesh under
the animal skin, the more excited they become.

He presses her against the wall, his hands moving through
the fur, down her wallet, where he begins to pull the coat
and her skirt up along the back of her thighs.

Against the wall, in the shadows of the room, lost in the
coat, she looks very much like an animal standing on its
hand legs.

He begins to nibble at her ear lobe. Licking it, pulling at
it with his lips and as he sucks it we hear her earrings
tinking against his teeth.

Suddenly, her expression changes. Blood begins to seep from
his tightly pursed lips.

OPHELIA
John -- ow!

He holds her tighter.

OPHELIA
John, that hurts!

She screams and as she tears free, we hear his teeth biting
through the cartilage.

John stumbles back, his mouth and chin covered with blood.
She covers her bleeding ear.

OPHELIA
Jesus!

Ophelia throws off the coat.

OPHELIA
What is wrong with you?!

John, stunned, still has something in his mouth.

JOHN
I love you.

Shaking her head, she rushes out the door.

John is unable to say anything, unable to understand what he
has become.

After a moment, he tastes the piece of her earlobe and earring
in his mouth. He spits it into his hand, blood and saliva
running between his fingers. He closes his hand into a fist,
holding it tightly.

John turns to the window and watches Ophelia burst into the
alley, running from the building.

He is seen pressed against the panes of the window, like an
animal pressed against the bars of its cage.

Granny opens the door to John's room.

GRANNY
John.

John cannot move. Ophelia is gone.

Granny gently turns John from the window. She begins to clean
the blood from his face with a dish towel.

GRANNY
Tsk. Had a little mess, here, didn't
we?

He stands numbly, his fist still clenched.

GRANNY
It's hard at first. It'll get better.

John, suddenly, looks straight at Granny.

JOHN
I bit her.

GRANNY
I know, honey. I know. It's okay.
It's natural.

She continues to clean him, dabbing the towel to her tongue
and then wiping his face.

GRANNY
Do you know that cats eat their young?
Rex kept telling me that, over and
over.

She pauses for a moment, remembering.

GRANNY
I felt so bad about it, for a long
time, but Rex just kept saying, "It's
natural, Gretchen. It's natural."
That's when I wondered. Something
has to die for something else to
keep on living.

She puts the towel to his nose.

GRANNY
Here, blow.

John blows his nose into the towel.

GRANNY
Now, you just need to get some sleep.

She leads him to the bed.

GRANNY
Sleep makes everything feel better.

He lays down. She sees the blood leaking from his fist and
tries to open it. He jerks it away from her.

GRANNY
Okay. I know. One day you'll
understand. You'll see.

He clutches his fist to his chest and rolls away from her.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

It is much later that night.

John is having a nightmare, tossing in his sleep, his face
beaded with sweat.

INT. THE PARKING GARAGE - NIGHT

Everything moves very slowly as John rises up to see himself
standing with the baseball bat. He sees everything from the
perspective of the man he killed.

The bat smashes down.

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

John's head whips sideways as if he had been bashed by the
bat.

INT. SHOWERS - NIGHT

John is hanging upside down, staring at the tile floor and
the feet of Otto and John, as Otto slits his throat.

We watch as John holds the bottle, catching the stream of
blood. The bottle slips and we see it slowly fall and smash --

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

John bolts upright, his mouth gaping, as though he were trying
to scream, but couldn't.

He grabs his throat to make sure it isn't slit.

He calms down, his breathing begins to slow.

He looks at his hand, which is still knotted into a tight
fist. Slowly, the hand opens, but to his horror, it is empty.
The earring is gone.

He jumps out of bed and runs to --

INT. JOHN'S BATHROOM - NIGHT

Clicking on the white light, John goes to the sink and turns
on the cold water.

He gulps at the stream for a long time before coming up for
air.

He lifts his head and catches his reflection in the mirror.
He sees he has begun to sweat tiny beads of blood. He tries
to wipe it off but he cannot.

He begins to cough. He doubles over, his face turning bright
red, unable to breathe, unable to dislodge the object caught
in his throat.

He gags, a spray of blood dotting the sink, and hacks
something out onto the porcelain.

It is an entire ear with the earring.

He starts to scream.

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

John, again, covered in sweat, bolts upright from his dream.

There is blood on his lips.

He looks at his fist and opens it. The earring is gone.

He starts to cry, collapsing into himself, curling up in the
bed.

JOHN
Oh god. What's happened to me?

INT. SLIMAGE SURGICENTER - DAY

It is late, near the end of the day. The phone rings and
Ophelia answers it.

OPHELIA
Slimage Surgicenter, how can I help
you?

DETECTIVE DARROW (V.O.)
This is Detective Darrow with the
Chicago P.D. I need to speak with
one Shelley M. Perdue.

OPHELIA
Yes, of course. One moment.

She puts the detective on hold.

OPHELIA
Ms. Perdue, there is a police
detective that would like to speak
to you.

SHELLEY (V.O.)
Really? How strange. Put him through.

OPHELIA
Go ahead, detective.

Ophelia is about to disconnect but stops herself and stays
on the line.

DETECTIVE DARROW (V.O.)
Ms. Perdue, I'm sorry to bother you
but I'm investigating a missing
persons and I need to ask you a few
questions.

SHELLEY (V.O.)
Of course, detective.

DETECTIVE DARROW (V.O.)
Can you verify that Ms. Evelyn Sedier
was a patient of yours?

SHELLEY (V.O.)
Yes, she was. For several years,
we've been seeing Evelyn for a variety
of procedures.

DETECTIVE DARROW (V.O.)
Did Ms. Sedier have an appointment
scheduled on the afternoon of the
12th?

SHELLEY (V.O.)
Yes, she did. But the appointment
was canceled.

DETECTIVE DARROW (V.O.)
Can you tell me why?

Ophelia fiddles nervously with her bandaged ear.

SHELLEY (V.O.)
There had been a problem with Evelyn's
payments for the past several
appointments.

DETECTIVE DARROW (V.O.)
She owed the clinic money?

SHELLEY (V.O.)
Forty six thousand dollars, I believe
was the figure.

DETECTIVE DARROW (V.O.)
I see, one last question, Ms. Perdue.
Do you have any idea what might have
happened to Ms. Sedier?

SHELLEY (V.O.)
I'm sure I don't know, detective,
but why don't you ask my secretary?

Ophelia looks back at the mirror, feeling the presence of
Shelley behind the silvered glass.

SHELLEY (V.O.)
She has been listening to our
conversation. I suspect she can tell
you what happened to poor Evelyn.

OPHELIA
No, I don't know anything.

The phone line goes dead. Ophelia twists back to find Rex
Mundi, his hand still over the phone.

OPHELIA
Rex? What are you doing here?

MUNDI
You know the answer to that question,
Ophelia.

OPHELIA
I don't. I swear I don't.

Mundi moves around the desk as Ophelia backs away.

MUNDI
Of course you do. You tried the coat
on, didn't you? You knew the truth
the moment you tried it on.

OPHELIA
No, that's a lie!

He steps closer and Ophelia pulls the dinner knife from her
pocket.

OPHELIA
Get away from me!

MUNDI
Oh yes. I love a little vinegar in
my greens.

He grabs for her and she swipes wildly, ducking past him and
bolting into the hall while --

Shelley appears behind her and grabs her by the throat.

SHELLEY
Remember, Rex, she's mine. You got
the boy. I get the girl.

Ophelia screams, fighting for the knife which she twists
free and --

Slashes across Shelley's breast, causing clear saline to arc
from the lacerated implant.

From behind, Mundi grabs Ophelia, lifting her into the air.

SHELLEY
You little bitch! You're going to
pay for that!

INT. OPERATING ROOM

Mundi slams Ophelia down onto the operating table.

OPHELIA
No! No! Please!

He holds her down as Shelley holds her in place with a heavy
roll of white medical tape.

OPHELIA
Why are you doing this?

MUNDI
If you look deep enough, you know
the answer, Ophelia. Isn't this all
your fault? Didn't you bring John to
the Mission in the first place?

OPHELIA
Who are you?!

Mundi laughs.

MUNDI
Would you like me to tell you that I
am a demon, an incubi as old as hunger
itself or that Shelley was born
beneath the face of the first mirror?

SHELLEY
Rex, never reveal a woman's age.

MUNDI
Perhaps you would prefer a more
secular answer. That we are
manifestations of human nature created
by your subconscious to
anthropomorphize your darkest fears,
your guilt and desire.

He moves in closer, savoring her helplessness.

MUNDI
The conclusion is really the same,
isn't it, my dear?

He is close enough to whisper.

MUNDI
Nature is evil.

He smiles, showing her the long hollow needle-tube of the
liposuction machine. Ophelia begins to scream when Shelley
stuffs her mouth with gauze and secures it with more tape.

SHELLEY
Suck it all out, Rex dear. Suck her
dry. I want every last lovely drop.

The machine whirs to life, and Mundi begins inspecting the
meaty part of each thigh.

SHELLEY
Don't worry, pretty girl. It'll be
over soon. It's just another bad
dream.

She smiles.

SHELLEY
Isn't it?

Ophelia screams into her gag as Mundi inserts the needle and
begins to suck the life out of her until --

INT. OPHELIA'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

She wakes, shaking with fear.

OPHELIA
Oh god... John...

The words seems to conjure a resolve and she suddenly knows
what to do.

INT. MISSION - NIGHT

Ophelia creeps down the back alley, looking for a way into
the mission. She finds the basement window that Links broke
open.

INT. MEN'S ROOM - NIGHT

Ophelia crawls down into the putrid lavatory. The smell of
the basement assaults her. Quietly, she moves through the
greasy rot of the showers and enters the locker labyrinth.

She hears someone descending the stairs. Trying to keep
herself calm, she hides inside one of the lockers.

Kuru turns the corner just as she closes the door. Carrying
several empty wine jugs, he walks past the locker where she
is hiding.

Through the metal slits she sees him. Suddenly, like a dog
catching a scent, he stops. His nostrils flare.

Blood pounds against her temples as her body sets, rigid
with fear. He seems about to look straight at her when he
turns and continues on his way.

With painstaking care, she opens the locker, then hurries as
silently as she can to the stairwell.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

Coldly quiet, the kitchen appears to be empty. Ophelia rushes
to the back staircase.

INT. JOHN'S BEDROOM

Again wrestling with his dreams, John lays in a tangle of
sheets. Ophelia sits softly beside him, touching him gently.

OPHELIA
John.

He jerks awake as though electrified by her touch.

JOHN
Ophelia?

He looks around, expecting another dream.

OPHELIA
Yes. It's me. I'm here.

She touches his face and the warmth of her hand fills him
with emotion. He wraps his arms around her, drawing her in
tight.

JOHN
Ophelia... I'm so sorry...

OPHELIA
No, it's not your fault. I brought
you here.

She takes hold of him.

OPHELIA
John, look at me. The police were at
the clinic today, asking me all sorts
of questions about Shelley and Ms.
Sedier. Then they started asking
about Rex and the mission.

He pulls away from her.

JOHN
You shouldn't have come here.

OPHELIA
Why? What's happening here?

JOHN
Please, don't ask me that.

OPHELIA
I want to help you.

JOHN
You can't. It's too late for me.

OPHELIA
No. I don't believe that. Come on,
we're getting out of here.

She grabs his clothes from the floor and begins dressing
him.

JOHN
Please, Ophelia, leave this place
and just forget about me.

OPHELIA
I can't. I won't. Don't you get it?
I love you.

He feels those words, trying to heal some part of him.

JOHN
...I love you too.

OPHELIA
Then come with me.

He nods, when suddenly he sees something over her shoulder
that frightens him.

OPHELIA
What is it?

She turns and finds Mundi standing behind her.

MUNDI
Ophelia, you are, as always, a feast
for the eyes.

Kuru stands at the door, a bloody baseball bat cradled in
his arms.

OPHELIA
Rex? Good. I was hoping to see you.
I wanted to thank you and to say
goodbye.

MUNDI
Yes. I believe you will be saying
goodbye but you won't be leaving
here, will she John?

John can almost feel Mundi squeezing his intestines.

MUNDI
I spoke with Shelley, Ophelia. She
told me you were talking to the
police.

OPHELIA
I didn't tell them anything! I don't
know anything.

MUNDI
Poor Ophelia, still living in denial.
Like so many others, unable to face
what a part of them has always known
to be true. There is only one truth
that is universal, that is eternal
and everlasting.

His eyes gleam with the wet-black of coal.

MUNDI
Hunger.

Ophelia feels the knife in her pocket.

MUNDI
It is hunger that drives us, hunger
for power, for love, for money, for
beauty. It is hunger that shapes us,
that gives our lives purpose, and in
the end, it is hunger that separates
the world into the only two
distinctions that matter: that of
predator and that of prey.

He steps towards her with malice in his grin and she rips
the knife from her pocket.

OPHELIA
Stay away from me!

MUNDI
Oh yes, I do enjoy a little vinegar
with my greens.

Ophelia feels a strange dyslexic blur of dreams and reality.

MUNDI
What is it, Ophelia? You look as if
you've seen a ghost.

He grabs the knife hand, twisting it behind her.

OPHELIA
No! John, help me!

MUNDI
Yes, John. Help her.

Kuru hands John the bat. He turns to Ophelia, his eyes cold
and dead.

OPHELIA
John! John!

JOHN
Ophelia, you shouldn't have come
here.

His grip tightens on the bat.

OPHELIA
John, fight him. It's not too late,
you have to believe me. John? Please,
I love you.

MUNDI
Of course. The magic elixir of love.
But what is love, really? Sadly, it
is little more than something we
simply acquire a taste for, like
sex, or power, or chocolate. I myself
must confess to a certain weakness
for vegetarians.

He holds her face as if he might kiss her, staring at her
mouth.

MUNDI
Such beautiful canines wasted...

Ophelia rips free of his grip and bites down, sinking her
teeth into his hand. Mundi howls with rage as --

John's face contorts as a bestial cry rises out of him and
he raises the bat --

Smashing it down, cracking it against Mundi's head.

Ophelia tears free and Mundi falls while john attacks Kuru,
forcing him back into the bathroom until --

He grabs Ophelia and they bolt from the room.

Kuru helps Mundi, blood oozing down his temple as he quickly
regains consciousness.

MUNDI
Kill them!

INT. STAIRWELL - NIGHT

Otto rises up the stairs, a cleaver in each hand as Ophelia
and John turn, scrambling back up the stairs.

At the end of the hall, Kuru now rushes towards them as they
flee, running wildly through the first open door --

Slamming it and bolting it just as Kuru batters against it.

OPHELIA
What are we going to do?

Caged windows glow with moonlight. It seems that they are
trapped. John examines them even as Kuru and Otto continue
to bludgeon on the door.

There is a small padlock and latch which is screwed into the
window jamb.

JOHN
I need...

He takes the dinner knife from her. The screws turn, painfully
slow, as the door shrieks with every shouldered blow.

Finally, the cage opens. They are over two stories above the
alley. To the left, several windows away is an open window.

JOHN
It's the only way.

The bolt begins to splinter.

JOHN
You first.

Ophelia summons her courage and crawls out onto the stone
ledge.

JOHN
I'm right behind you.

Forcing herself to stare at the open window, she edges toward
it. John looks back once, the door suddenly quiet, then climbs
out onto the ledge.

Together they slide, inch by inch, along the thin stone edge.

JOHN
Careful.

Ophelia slowly reaches for the sash, bending down, she crawls
into the dark opening. There is a muffled bump, as if she
fell to the floor.

JOHN
Ophelia?

He edges closer, unable to see inside the black hole.

JOHN
Ophelia?

He is about to climb in when Otto jumps out at him. John
shouts, twisting away but loses his balance --

His arms flail wildly, trying to find some kind of hold as
he begins to fall --

He dives forward, grabbing hold of the window ledge. Legs
kicking helplessly, he dangles over the alley, holding onto
the ledge with one hand.

Mundi steps out of the shadows, looking down at John.

JOHN
Ophelia!

MUNDI
She's here. Don't worry. She'll be
joining you soon enough.

Mundi smiles.

MUNDI
You came here with only one thing to
offer me. Your hands. That's why I
couldn't let you leave, John. We had
a deal.

He nods to Otto and John suddenly sees the horror of what is
about to happen.

JOHN
Nooo!

There is the flash of a sharpened wedge of steel as the
cleaver --

Buries itself into the wood sill, just behind the bone of
the wrist and --

John screams, plummeting to the alley below where he slams
into a pile of over-ripe bags of garbage.

FADE TO BLACK.

FADE IN:

INT. SHOWERS - NIGHT

We are unsure of where we are. Dirty white lines of moldy
grout stretch out like lines of longitude of a dark, unreal
world.

We begin to move, dragged roughly, our blurry single eye
sliding along the greasy green ceramic tile.

Our vision fades in and out as the world begins to tilt with
a racheting chain ringing in our ears until the hard green
squares slowly fall away and spin lightly beneath us.

We are dangling there when we see the bloody stump at the
end of one arm as we realize that we are John, naked, hanging
upside down in the shower room.

Again, we black out.

INT. MEAT FREEZER - NIGHT

Ophelia jerks awake. She is inside a dark, cold space that
feels like a coffin. Screaming, she beats against the door
which gives enough to let a sliver of light in.

Ice-cold, her skin is pale moon-white, her lips already blue.
Her breath steams around her as she realizes she is locked
in one of the refrigerators packed with slabs of bright red
and white marbled meat.

INT. SHOWERS - NIGHT

Kuru leans over the inverted John.

KURU
You're stew now, John-boy.

OTTO
What are you doing down here? You
see the time? Granny's gonna need
help serving.

KURU
In a minute. I just want a little
sip of him while it's still nice and
warm.

INT. REFRIGERATOR - NIGHT

Ophelia kicks viciously at the door but a padlocked chain is
wrapped around and through the handle.

She cracks open the plastic shelve-form, exposing the inside
of the door. Tearing out the old foam insulation, she finds
the nuts to the back of the handle.

INT. LOCKER ROOM - NIGHT

Otto grabs his knives and the sharpener. As he passes one of
the refrigerators, we see a handle screw turn and fall, making
a tiny plink against the floor.

INT. SHOWERS - NIGHT

Half conscious, John begins to hear a familiar sound; zink,
zink. He tries to reach up to free his feet but he has no
hand.

JOHN
Ophelia...

KURU
She's on ice, John-boy. After dinner's
served tonight, Rex promised us a
little treat, sashimi.

Otto grabs his hair, pulling him back, exposing his throat.

OTTO
Grab one of them bottles.

Kuru holds the bottle with the bloody funnel under John's
head.

The knife gleams unnaturally bright and long, like death's
scythe, arcing towards his neck.

Suddenly, all the basement lights go out.

OTTO
Fucking fuses.

INT. LOCKER ROOM - NIGHT

Behind the bank of refrigerators is the main fuse box. Otto
slips in behind the largest freezer and finds the circuit
main has been tripped.

OTTO
What?

INT. SHOWERS - NIGHT

John sees his pile of clothes nearby. They seem to be out of
reach but he begins to swing toward them, each time drawing
closer and closer.

INT. LOCKER ROOM - NIGHT

Kuru finds the chain curled around the base of the
refrigerator and the inverted, limp handle.

KURU
Otto! Otto!

Otto turns just as Ophelia plunges a long boning knife into
Otto's hump.

OTTO
You bitch!

He grabs for her but she knees him in the groin, shoving him
back against the wall where the knife hits the open fuse box --

Electrifying Otto, cooking him instantly.

INT. SHOWERS - NIGHT

With the faintest of holds, John catches the sleeve of his
coat.

INT. LOCKERS - NIGHT

Kuru sees Otto's twitching body fall to the floor. Ophelia
runs into the dark metal labyrinth of the lockers as Kuru
lunges after her.

INT. SHOWERS - NIGHT

Straining to stay conscious, John searches the pockets until
he finds what he needs; the dinner knife.

INT. LOCKERS - NIGHT

Ophelia creeps silently through the maze, trying to not even
breathe.

Kuru follows her scent; a true predator stalking its prey.

She turns a corner, moving through the black space by touch,
her fingers using the lockers as the blind use braille.

There is a sharp metal bang behind her. She freezes, afraid.
Crouching, she listens, almost feeling the darkness come

alive around her as --

We move up to the top of the locker where Kuru stands
barefoot, perched above her like a jungle cat.

His knife hisses against the leather of his belt. Ophelia
hears it and bolts --

Rushing blindly, searching for the showers until --

She runs straight into Kuru. He slams her back, pinning her
against the lockers.

The long knife traces down her body like a finger.

KURU
Oh... I just been dying for a piece
of this ass.

Hearing something, he turns to see John heave the enormous
wine jug --

Smashing down onto Kuru who crumbles under the explosion,
falling with a shower of blood and green glass.

Ophelia and John collapse into each other's arms.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

Granny stands at the edge of the basement stairs, calling
into the stygian dark.

GRANNY
Otto! Kuru! Quit your monkey business
and get up here! Can't you hear them?

Behind her, through the double doors, the clatter of spoons
can be heard.

Fretting, she wipes her hands on her apron and goes to the
stove.

GRANNY
Rex? Rex! Dammit, where are you? I
need help.

She tries to lift the enormous pot of stew but it is obviously
too heavy. The stew sloshes about precariously and as some
spills over the edge, splattering against the floor, the
clattering spoons seem to react.

John, dressed now, with a towel wrapped around his hand,
leads Ophelia up from the stairs. Granny whirls around.

GRANNY
Oh?... John, Ophelia...

Her smile is dark and toothless.

JOHN
We're getting out and if you try to
stop us, I will kill you.

They cross to the metal backdoor but each and every lock has
been thrown.

JOHN
Where are the keys?

Granny smiles innocently.

GRANNY
I might know --

JOHN
Where are they!

GRANNY
Please, John, I need help. Can't you
hear them? It's late. So late. They're
hungry. They have to eat. Everyone
must eat --

He rushes at her, pinning her throat against the metal
refrigerator with his forearm as he searches the pockets of
her apron.

GRANNY
You can't leave, John! No one leaves
Rex! No one!

John finds the keys but when he turns to Ophelia, Granny
attacks.

OPHELIA
Look out!

She jumps on his back, knocking him into the counter where
he slams against the enormous oven.

Falling, he grabs hold of the oven door which yawns open as
they tumble to the floor.

Granny sinks her few remaining teeth into his shoulder, blood
bubbling out around her leathery lips as --

John, howling mad, gets hold of her and flips her over onto
the oven door which he quickly kicks shut --

Rolling her into the hot metal box, locking it shut as she
yowls in pain. The oven jerks and bangs, smoke billowing out
until her screams die.

John stumbles over to the steel door. The room seems to grow
quiet.

There is a dream-like quantity to the number of keys and
locks and a dream-like quality to the struggle to find each
match.

With only one hand, John fumbles the key ring. Smoke swirls
around him, sweat stings his eyes as a single sound begins
to rise, like blood pounding in his temples, a sound that
blots out even the metal clatter of keys; the soft burble of
stew.

OPHELIA
John, let me help you.

He almost can't hear her as she takes the ring of keys. The
stew continues to call, siren-like, luring him towards the
stove.

He stands over the pot, finger-like wisps of fragrant stew
steam curling around him, running through his hair.

Turning away, he looks at the smoke-blurred image of Ophelia,
trying to open the door.

JOHN
Hurry... Please...

He sees himself reflected in the metal door of the
refrigerator. A fat bubble of stew pops as the distant rhythm
of beating bowls grows more and more insistent.

His mouth begins to water, his stomach growls and, when he
glimpses the reflection again, he does not see himself, he
sees Mundi.

The final lock snaps open and Ophelia throws open the door.
Outside, the alley seems empty.

OPHELIA
John! Come on!

When she turns back to the open door, Rex Mundi is there.

MUNDI
Leaving before a meal is bad luck.

OPHELIA
No! John!

He grabs her by the neck, backing her into the kitchen,
gagging her with his other hand.

MUNDI
It's all right, John. Go ahead. One
last taste, one little finger dip,
and then you can go.

John feels Mundi taking hold of him.

MUNDI
I give you my word, John. One last
taste and I will release the lovely
Ophelia and you and she may do as
you wish.

Ophelia tries to scream, "No" as John stands at the edge of
the stove.

JOHN
No. No more deals.

John grabs the entire pot and lifts it.

MUNDI
What are you doing?

He pitches the pot forward, throwing half the stew onto the
floor.

The steaming brown liquid rushes over Mundi and Ophelia's
feet, running across the tile, spilling under the double
doors.

MUNDI
What have you done?

There is a huge commotion of scraping chairs and tables as
hundreds of people scramble to the doors.

The first few slam against them, followed quickly by a dozen
more.

John holds the pot which is half filled with stew.

MUNDI
Give that to me.

John shakes his head as outside becomes a feeding frenzy,
tongues and fingers lapping at the bottom of the doors.

MUNDI
If you want to live you will give
that to me!

JOHN
Let her go!

The frenzy becomes more and more violent, marked by bestial
cries as bodies begin pounding against the door.

MUNDI
You're making your final mistake,
John!

JOHN
Let her go!

MUNDI
Remember this, John. Wherever you
go, I'll be there with you. Remember
that. You are what you eat.

He shoves Ophelia towards him.

MUNDI
Now give it to me.

JOHN
Take it!

He throws the remaining stew at Mundi, covering him from
head to toe in thick, brown gravy.

MUNDI
Oh no.

The double doors burst open with a savage force as --

John and Ophelia jump into the alley, slamming the door shut,
bracing against it as the tidal wave of humanity slams Mundi
against the metal.

Blood pours out of the bottom of the door, an unnatural amount
of blood, a waterfall of red, rushing down the concrete steps
and washing over their feet.

The pounding against the door becomes --

INT. DINER - NIGHT

The pounding of a single palm against a bottle of ketchup.
The bottle coughs and the thick red sauce gushes onto a
hamburger.

HUNGRY MAN
Mom, I'm starving.

As the man sinks his teeth into his hamburger, we see John
and Ophelia enter the diner.

It has been several days. Both are bandaged, John's hand
thoroughly wrapped, and are carrying their suitcases.

The fat cook watches as Ophelia reaches into her pocket. She
slaps the dinner knife onto the counter. It is bent and
flecked with blood.

Arm in arm, they turn and leave.

FADE OUT:

THE END